A rare 1910 George V Pattern Crown in gold, one of only two known specimens designed by A.G. Wyon sold for £144,000 in Dix Noonan Webb’s auction of coins, tokens and historical medals on 11 February 2015. The NGC PF 62 specimen fetched £144,000 including buyer’s commission (£120,000 hammer price).
The other highlight of the sale was a group of NGC-certified 20th Century Royal Mint proof-record coins formerly in the Melbourne Mint Museum in Australia which sold for a total of £213,732 (£178,110 hammer prices). Overall the auction made £635,436 (£529,530 hammer prices) with only 31 of the 709 lots remaining unsold. There were 220 successful buyers.
The Wyon rarity was produced following the death of the British king Edward VII in May 1910. Plans for new coins bearing the head of his successor George V were put into place long before the latter was formally crowned at Westminster Abbey in London in June the following year. A number of designs were submitted to the authorities for approval, one of which was by A.G. Wyon, a member of a dynasty of designers and engravers which had played an important role in British public life for more than a century. Wyon’s design had the bare head of the new king facing left on the obverse while the reverse depicted St George on horseback spearing a dragon with the date below this image.
Despite his illustrious family pedigree, Wyon’s design was not chosen so his Proof Crown in gold bearing the date 1910—the year before George officially became king—became a numismatic rarity rather than standard currency. Only two examples are known and the coin auctioned at Dix Noonan Webb is in virtually mint state. It has been in a number of important collections over the past century. “There has been considerable interest in this”, said auctioneer Christopher Webb, head of the coins department at DNW, before the coin swiftly exceeded its £80.000 to £100,000 estimate.
The 86 lots of proof-record coins formerly in the Melbourne Mint Museum, all of which were certified by NGC, formed an exceptional offering, the like of which will not be repeated as holdings of this size and scope are now exclusively retained by institutions. Proof-record coins were always struck in tiny quantities and were intended for distribution to certain national collections for display and exhibition and for presentation to potential customers. Without exception, proof-record coins are very rare and these lots were surplus sets from the Melbourne Mint Collection. They were originally offered for sale in two tranches in 1988 and 2009.
The highest price for one of these ex-Melbourne Mint lots at Dix Noonan Webb was £15,600 (£13,000 hammer) for a Greek Republic 1930 proof set comprising a 20 Drachma (NGC PF 66), 10 Drachma (NGC PF 65) and 5 Drachma (NGC PF 66) which had been despatched from the Royal Mint in London to Melbourne in 1931. A 1929 Saudi Arabian proof set consisting of a Riyal (NGC PF 66), Half-Riyal (NGC PF 67), Quarter-Riyal (NGC PF 65), Ghirsh (NGC PF 65), Half-Ghirsh (NGC PF 65) and Quarter-Ghirsh (NGC PF 65) sold for £12,000 (£10,000 hammer).
Additional NGC highlights include:
- Egypt King Farouk 1937 Proof Set with a 20 Piastres (NGC PF 66), 10 Piastres (NGC PF 62), 5 Piastres (NGC PF 65) and NGC PF 66 (2 Piastres). £6,500 hammer or £7,800 with buyers' commission.
- Lebanon 1961 Proof 10 Piastres, NGC PF 67 Cameo. £6,500 hammer or £7,800 with buyers' commission.
- Eire 1939 Proof Set with a Halfcrown (NGC PF 65), Florin (NGC PF 65), Shilling (NGC PF 65), Sixpence (NGC PF 65), Threepence (NGC PF 66), Halfpenny (NGC PF 65 BN) and Farthing (NGC PF 63 BN).
Dix Noonan Webb Ltd is one of the world’s leading specialist auctioneers and valuers of coins, tokens, medals, militaria and paper money of all types. Established in 1990, the company boasts over 250 years' combined experience in this field and stages regular auctions throughout the year.