Henry VII Gold Sovereign, Type 1, Cross Fitchée Realizes $499,375 | Silver Coins

Henry VII Gold Sovereign, Type 1, Cross Fitchée Realizes $499,375

On August 13 Stack’s-Bowers sold the Thomas H. Law collection of English Gold Coins. Assembled more than several decades by a Texas resident with a keen interest in English history and coinage, the collection integrated many gold rarities struck on the British Isles, dating back to the time of Edward III in the fourteenth century. While practically every and each lot in the sale is worthy of a lengthy write-up, we’ve decided to concentrate on 1 outcome in particular: the initial of four offerings of a Henry VII Sovereign (struck at the Tower Mint in London), lot quantity 20047, with a Cross Fitchée on the reverse, which sold for $ 499,375 after an estimate of $ 125,000-$ 175,000. The other three Henry VII Sovereigns sold for reduce amounts, in between $ 49,938 and $ 223,250, indicating the supreme rarity of the piece presently discussed, one of the earliest sovereigns ever minted.

Henry VII sovereign

Dating of this certain piece is hard. Spink, the primary catalog of English coins, claims that the Cross Fitchée (or Fitchy) mintmark can be dated to 1487, even though North in the standard reference “English Hammered Coinage” gives the situation a date of 1489. The Stack’s-Bowers catalog offers it a date of 1492-93. While some of the earlier denominations may indeed have been struck with the Cross Fitchée mintmark the earliest that this sovereign could have been struck is late 1489, when the sovereign denomination was 1st issued, a big gold coin valued at twenty shillings.

Even though Henry VII is not as nicely recognized as his son Henry VIII (well-known for his a lot of wives) the father was the very first Tudor Monarch of England and plays an important part in English history. He seized the crown in 1485 right after victory at the Battle of Bosworth Field exactly where King Richard III was killed. It was the last main battle in the Wars of the Roses fought in between the houses of York and Lancaster (of which Henry was a descendant) and would eventually lead to the Tudor period in English history, so recognized for the emblem of two roses combined (a white rose for York, a red rose for Lancaster) which was created after Henry VII married his third cousin Elizabeth of York, combining the two houses and securing his correct to the throne. Henry VII would reign till his death of tuberculosis in 1509.

Apart from a number of minor design changes, the key modify in the coinage for the duration of the period of Henry VII was the introduction of the sovereign. Regarded by many to be 1 of the most magnificent coins ever created on the British Isles they would be struck till 1604, though the name lives on in a smaller sized denomination up to this day (it would not be introduced till 1816 and is irrelevant to the present discussion). Minted in 23 karat gold, sovereigns weigh about half an ounce (240 grains) but are struck on thin planchets creating them as large as a silver dollar. The design, with a king seated on a gothic throne on the obverse and a shield on the reverse was based on a coin of similar size referred to as the Réal d’or which was 1st struck by Maximilian, king of the Romans, in the Southern Netherlands in 1487.


The Law collection featured four of the 5 kinds, missing what is frequently identified as the earliest sort (with a cinquefoil mintmark, which presumably was the very very first sovereign struck and minted for a quite quick period) which is a main rarity that was missing from practically all significant English collections ever formed. Apart from the Cross Fitchée mintmark observed on the coin presently discussed (it is located at the prime of the reverse, also referred to as an “initial mark” the Law collection featured examples of the Dragon Mark, Lis/Dragon Mark and lis/Cross Crosslet marks. The latter two function various marks on each the obverse as effectively as the reverse in addition to variations in the style.

While English gold coins from the 15th century may possibly not be the specialization of many these enigmatic pieces are true rarities that shed light on the history of the instances. All other Tudor Monarchs continued to strike this specific sort, but it died quickly following the accession of James VI to the throne in 1603, generating the English sovereign a denomination that runs parallel with the Tudor monarchs and a turbulent and typically discussed period in English history.

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