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Spink – The Rymer and Trajan Collections

Spink – The Rymer and Trajan Collections

Spink held an auction that closed on 29 April 2021 . The full catalogue can be found here. To see a specific lot in the auction catalogue, click on the lot number.

There is a buyer’s premium of 20 % (plus VAT) on the hammer price.

Featured Lots

Photo: © Spink

Edward III, Noble

Mint: Calais
Estimate: £2,500 – £3,500
Hammer: £4000

The obverse legend reads EDWARD’ DI GRA REX AnGL + FRAnC DnS hIB + AQVIT. The inclusion of the French title indicates that this is a Post Treaty Period noble minted in Calais. The Treaty of Bretigny was abrogated on 3 June 1369 and Edward reaffirmed his claim to the French throne.

Comparison with a “Treaty B” Noble

The first of the post treaty nobles were in the same lettering and general style of the old “Treaty B” with Z.FRA inserted after ANGL to show the French title.

Early in 1370 new obverse dies began to be used with the French title now shown as FRANC instead of FRA. When compared to the Treaty B noble, shown here, it can be seen that the ship is redrawn with the two castles having battlement tops instead of pellets. Also, the bowsprit is carried through the forecastle, and there’e a mooring rope at the bow.

The reverse of the Calais noble would now have a central E with a cross or, as in this lot, a pellet in front of it. To distinguish it as a Calais mint, all the Calais obverses would now carry a flag at the stern (only about half the Treaty Period, Calais noble dies had a flag) and a voided quatrefoil over the sail. They were various minor privy marks employed. In this lot, pellets flank the upper lis at the end of the floriate cross on the reverse.

Photo: © Spink

Henry VIII, Testoon

Mint: London
Estimate: £5,000 – £8,000
Hammer: £14000

Introduction of the testoon

The testoon was the forerunner of the shilling. Although Henry VII introduced the coin around 1489, they were produced in extremely small quantities and were probably patterns, not meant for general circulation. Henry VIII began issuing testoons in large quantities from 1544 and they continued to struck after his death in 1547. They were struck during the period of debasement which saw coins struck with increasingly reduced fineness.


In 1536, Hans Holbein was appointed the English King’s Painter and shortly after that he painted the most famous portrait of Henry VIII. The original was lost when the Whitehall Palace was burnt down in 1698. However, Henry had recognised the power of the image and had encouraged artists to copy the painting as shown in the picture here.

Nobles would also commission copies to show their loyalty to the king and hence this has become the iconic image of Henry VIII. Therefore, it made sense to use this image for this coinage.

Scarcity of testoons

Although the testoon was struck in very significant numbers, its subsequent demonetization and withdrawal in 1548 meant that is is quite scarce today. Of those that survive, many are in a poor condition due in part to the composition of the alloy and wear.

Selection of other lots

Photo: © Spink

Cnut, penny

Obverse legend:  CNVT REX ANGLORV Reverse legend: EADÞERD ON P•EALI
Estimate: £200 – £250
Hammer: £600
Photo: © Spink

Henry VIII, Groat

Second coinage groat. The Cardinal’s hat below the shield and the T-W either side indicating that this was issued in the name of Archbishop Thomas Wolsey at York.
Estimate: £150 – £250
Hammer: £350
Photo: © Spink

Edward VI, Half Sovereign

A second period half sovereign minted between January 1549 – April 1550. Reverse legend reads: SCVTVM * FIDEI * PROTEGET * EVM *, “The shield of faith shall protect him“
Estimate: £2,000 – £3,000
Hammer: £1800
Photo: © Spink

Elizabeth I, penny

Second issue, mint mark: cross crosslet
Estimate: £20 – £40
Hammer: £70
Photo: © Spink

Elizabeth I, sixpence

Third and fourth issues. Mint mark: ermine.
Estimate: £60 – £100
Hammer: £160
Photo: © Spink

James I, Laurel of 20 Shillings

Mint mark: lys. Reverse legend reads: FACIAM EOS IN GENTEM UNAM, “I will make them one nation“. The laurel was the third English gold coin issued by James I with a value of twenty shillings, (indicated by the XX to the right of the king’s head). It was preceded by the Sovereign and the Unite.
Estimate: £800 – £1,200
Hammer: £1900
Photo: © Spink

Charles I, Groat

Civil war issue with the date of 1644 in the legend
Estimate: £200 – £300
Hammer: £420
Photo: © Spink

George I, Guinea

The guineas of George I were struck in all years of his reign (1714 – 1727) and are notable for using five different portraits of the king. This one is the third laureate head. The edge of the coin is obliquely milled. The value of the guinea had fluctuated over the years. In 1717, Great Britain adopted the gold standard and the value of the guinea was fixed at 21 shillings.
Estimate: £1,200 – £1,800
Hammer: £2000
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