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North Yorkshire Moors Collection


Dix Noonan Webb held an auction of the North Yorkshire Moors Collection, Part IV: Coins and Medals on 21 January 2021. The collection was formed by Marvin Lessen, who was a collector from an early age. His move to Scarborough in 1962, at the age of 28, sparked his interest to collect British coins on a more serious basis. The catalogue for the auction can be viewed here.

Mr Lessen’s collection has made a total of almost £2.3 million in four separate sales held over the last four year.

Hammer prices are subject to a Buyer’s Premium of 20% plus VAT.

The auction contained coins and medals from Charles I, Oliver Cromwell and the Commonwealth and Charles II.  Some strong prices were achieved for the Commonwealth and Oliver Cromwell coins. In particular, the star lot in the auction, Lot 1142, an Oliver Cromwell Pattern Broad, achieved a spectacular result.

Lot 1142 - Oliver Cromwell, Pattern Broad

Lot 1142 - Oliver Cromwell, Pattern Broad or Fifty Shillings

Oliver Cromwell Pattern Broad or Fifty Shillings in gold, 1656, produced by Thomas Simon. Simon had been a pupil of Briot (see below) and was the most prominent medallist of the Commonwealth (1649-60). He was chief engraver at the Mint at this time. This coin is thicker than the broad to accommodate an engraved edge. It is extremely rare, with about 12 specimens believed known.

On top of the hammer price of £380,000, the American buyer would have to pay a buyer’s premium of £76,000 plus VAT, giving a total of £471,200. The auctioneer says that his is a record for a Cromwellian coin. 


Estimate: £100,000 – £150,000

Hammer: £380,000 

Nicholas Briot

These next three coins were produced by Nicholas Briot, a French coin-engraver and medallist, who invented a new method for minting coins by machine. In 1631 and 1638, Briot produced some coins using his new screw press alongside the hammered coins still being minted.

Lot 1117, Charles I Shilling

Briot’s second machine-made issue.

Daisy mint mark and signed B, for Briot, on both sides.

Estimate: £700 – £900

Hammer: £2,200

Lot 1120, Charles I Shilling

Briot’s second machine-made issue.

Anchor mint mark

Estimate: £700 – £900

Hammer: £8,000

Lot 1121, Charles I Sixpence

Anchor mint mark

Estimate: £300 – £400

Hammer: £500


Some other lots of interest

Lot 1127, Charles II Royalist Medal

Unsigned, by T. Rawlins or T. Simon: both were pupils of Briot.

Estimate: £300 – £400

Hammer: £1,300


Lot 1135, Commonwealth Pattern Shilling

Engraved by David Ramage, another pupil of Briot

Extremely rare

Estimate: £15,000 – £20,000

Hammer: £60,000


Lot 1146, Oliver Cromwell, Halfcrown


Estimate: £8,000 – £10,000

Hammer: £14,000

Lot 1151, Oliver Cromwell, Shilling


Estimate: £2,000 – £2,600

Hammer: £2,800

Lot 1155, Oliver Cromwell, Pattern farthing

By David Ramage. Unique as a silver farthing of Oliver Cromwell

Estimate: £10,000 – £15,000

Hammer: £14,000

Lot 1156, Oliver Cromwell, Pattern farthing

From the same dies as Lot 1155. One of only four known specimens

Estimate: £10,000 – £15,000

Hammer: £32,000

Lot 1190, Charles II, Shilling


Estimate: £1,200 – £1,500

Hammer: £1,900

Lot 1197, Charles II, Shilling


Estimate: £700 – £900

Hammer: £1,800


Lot 1201, Charles II, Halfcrown


Estimate: £200 – £260

Hammer: £700

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