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Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

Bentley Has The Midas Touch at Baldwin’s Auction

The Great British sping may have been a wash out so far but the sale of The Bentley Collection raised more than a few smiles (as well as hands) as part one of the collection got off to a flying start. Every single lot of the 381 lot auction sold for a spectacular £899,346 (including buyer’s premium at 20%), providing Baldwin’s with their second ‘white glove’ auction of the year and giving new meaning to the words Gold Rush!

Pre-sale interest in the collection was high with demand for the auction catalogue seeing Baldwin’s completely sold out more than a week before the sale. Collectors, dealers and investors seemed more than a little keen to embrace the once in a lifetime opportunity to own some of the rarest and best quality gold sovereigns to come on to the market in decades. Bidding in the room and on the phone was fierce as buyers competed with the hundreds who logged in all from over the world to bid online via

Steve Hill, Baldwin’s British coin specialist and company Director commented after the auction:

Baldwin’s were delighted to have been chosen to sell this prestigious collection and the results achieved for this, the first of a three-part collection, are a fitting reflection of the quality of the coins. I have no doubt that our vendor will be delighted and we are now fully focused on making part two of the collection just as successful.

Extremely Rare 1887 Pattern London Shield Reverse Sovereign of Queen Victoria

From the top selling lots, lot 302 was without doubt the most significant. The 1887, Victoria Pattern Sovereign sold for £33,600 against a modest estimate of £12,000 – 15,000. Not only did the lot come with a great pedigree it is known that 1887 is the final year for the young head design upon the coinage, so it seems natural that some young head Sovereigns of proof quality from highly polished dies would be struck as a matter of record for the Mint and probably for presentation to highly important persons, or as suggested in the Douglas Morris, catalogue that it could be a trial for a Colonial Sovereign.

Lot 3, a George III 1817 Proof Sovereign drew a great deal of pre-sale interest, not least because the modern milled gold Sovereign was introduced to the British public on the 5 July 1817. The standard design for the initial currency depicts King George III on the obverse and carries the first depiction of the classic St. George slaying the dragon design on the reverse. The design, engraved by the famous medallist Benedetto Pistrucci, has now become an iconic image and synonymous with the Sovereign. Two of the key features of the design of this proof, as adopted and engraved for currency by Pistrucci, are the wreath of 10 leaves and the date below the bust, coupled of course with St. George slaying the dragon. Some of the letters in the legend lack serifs, no doubt due to blockages or faulty letter punches with corner serifs broken off being employed. The lot sold for £27,600 but carried an estimate of £15,000 – 20,000.

Finally, lot 33, an extremely rare Victoria small bust pattern Sovereign of 1837 sold for £28,800. The coin is considered to be the first proposed pattern Sovereign for the young Queen Victoria for which she granted engraver, William Wyon, multiple portrait sittings. The head is of a small stature, the rear hair fillet lightly ruled with horizontal lines and the legend closely spaced; the reverse by Jean Baptiste Merlen being very similar to that adopted for currency. The piece is very light in weight so that it would not go very far should it escape into circulation. The coin sold well over its initial estimate of £15,000 – 20,000.

Parts two and three of the Bentley Collection are due to be sold on the 27th September 2012 and the beginning of May 2013. The collection, in its entirety, is estimated to achieve around £3,000,000 and the decision to divide the collection in to three parts has been carefully considered to allow Sovereign collectors time to plan their proposed purchases properly.

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