A new Henry III gold penny – England’s “first gold coin”


Rarely does a single find cause the enthusiasm of English numismatics, and fewer still are designated of national significance.

However, once-in-a-blue-moon exceptions must be made, especially when recounting the discoveries of Coenwulf lack of gold in 2001, and the Edward III ‘Double-Leopard’ in 2006. Spink had the greatest honor of auctioning off these two pieces and prides itself on “world firsts” – what better way to celebrate than with this latest find.

Gregory Edmond, senior numismatist and auctioneer at Spink comments:

“[W]We have the immense privilege of celebrating this longstanding trust and reputation by auctioning off this spectacular latest find on par with these previous magnificent finds at a special evening sale on Sunday, January 23, 2022.”

First opportunity to bid for the type at public auction since 1802

This newly discovered Henry III gold penny adds only one example to an extremely limited corpus of only eight pieces, and the first addition since the accession of the Tale specimen at the Fitzwilliam Museum (Cambridge) in 2001. Notably, the new find shares an inverted die with this new find, but you have to go back 260 years before a parallel die can be found for the obverse.

Enchantingly, this new piece cements the sequence proposed by renowned antique dealer Sir John Evans laid down in 1900, as it provides us with a second example of Evans’ “first obverse die” in the series of four known dies. While numismatic emphasis has traditionally been on the mythical quality of this talismanic emergency coinage from August 1257, extensive work by Henry III’s world-renowned specialist professor David Charpentier of King’s College London in the years since our Norweb The sale provided new context for Henry’s gold species and its raison d’être.

This piece survives as a remarkable and extremely rare contemporary witness to Henry’s true self-image and his evident affinity with the iconography of England’s first patron. Saint Edward the Confessor and serves as the ultimate demonstration of Henry’s influence and customization on the final design.

For more information, please contact Gregory Edmund at [email protected].

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About Spink

Originally created by John Spink in London in 1666, Spink and Sons Ltd is now the world’s leading auction house for collectibles, with experience and expertise in stamps, coins, banknotes, medals, bonds and stocks, autographs , books and fine wines. Based in London, the company also holds regular auctions at New York, hong kong, and Switzerland. Catalogs can be accessed through Spink’s website (www.spink.com).


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