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Sir Rodney Sweetnam, Collection of English Gold Coins

Sir Rodney Sweetnam Collection of English Gold Coins

Spink’s auction of the Sir Rodney Sweetnam Collection of English Gold Coins was held on 17 January 2021. The full catalogue can be found here. The collection featured gold coins from Edward III to Elizabeth II, including some proof sets.

Some strong prices achieved at the auction, particularly at the top end – see lots 38 and 41. The £70,000 achieved for lot 38 would have been perhaps £20,000 more if were not for the staining on the king’s face.

Hammer prices are subject to a Buyer’s Premium of 20% (plus VAT, where applicable).

Sir Rodney Sweetnam

Sir Rodney Sweetnam

Sir Rodney Sweetnam was a distinguished consultant orthopaedic surgeon. During his career he was orthopaedic surgeon to the royal family and President of the Royal College of Surgeons.

Selected Lots

My selection of the lots is shown below:

Lot 38 - James II, Five Guineas, 1688 Quarto

Lot 21004 - James II Five Guineas

The James II Five Guineas was engraved by John Roettiers. He was considered one of the best engravers ever employed at the English mint with Samuel Pepys saying of his work “some of the finest pieces of work that I ever did see in my life“. He died in 1703 and was buried in the Tower.

The coin has “QVARTO” engraved on the edge. This translates as “Fourth” to signify the fourth (and final) year of the reign of James II. His reign ended on 23 December 1688 as a result of the Glorious Revolution.

Estimate: £40,000 – £50,000

Hammer: £70,000

Other Lots

Lot 14, Edward III Noble

Treaty period Noble and so no French title.

The Noble was introduced by Edward III during his second coinage.

The legend reads: IhC : AVTEM : TRANSIENS : PER : MEDIV .’ ILLORVM : IBAT, “But Jesus passing through their midst went His way

Estimate: £2,000 – £3,000

Hammer: £2,800

Lot 17, Richard II Noble

Calais mint, as indicated by the flag flying from the stern.

French title resumed.


Estimate: £4,000 – £5,000

Hammer: £3,800

Lot 21, Henry IV Noble

Heavy coinage, Tower mint



Estimate: £6,000 – £10,000

Hammer: £10,000

Lot 28, Elizabeth I, Angelet

Angelet or Half Angel

Sixth Issue, Tower mint

Legend reads: A : DNO.’ FACTVM: EST: ISTVD ET EST · MIRA, which is an abbreviated version of the legend on the Angel, meaning “ This is the Lord’s doing and it is marvellous in our eyes”


Estimate: £3,000 – £4,000

Hammer: £3,000

Lot 35, Charles II Touchpiece

A touch piece that was handed out to the poor.

This one has carbonised spotting as a result of a suspicious fire in 1920.


Estimate: £200 – £300

Hammer: £1,300

Lot 41, William III Five Guineas

A “Fine-Work” Five-Guineas, 1701 DECIMO TERTIO

Inscribed on the edge: DECVS • ET • TVTAMEN • ANNO • REGNI • DECIMO • TERTIO, “An ornament and a safeguard. Thirteenth year of reign” – see Lot 38, above.

Estimate: £30,000 – £40,000

Hammer: £68,000

Lot 46, Anne Guinea

Post-Union Guinea

Elephant and Castle provenance mark, indicating that the gold is from the Royal Africa Company.

Estimate: £5,000 – £6,000

Hammer: £10,000

Lot 54, George II Guinea


Estimate: £2,000 – £3,000

Hammer: £4,800

Lot 61, George III Quarter Guinea




Estimate: £250- £350

Hammer: £950

Lot 67, George IV, Sovereign



Estimate: £1,500 – £2,000

Hammer: £6,500

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