Bentley Sets The New Gold Standard For Sovereigns

There was an air of sadness in the room as the final part of the Bentley Collection went under the hammer. The end of an eighteen month journey of auctions, and thirty four years of collecting, did not however go out with a whimper. 306 lots achieved a sale total of £845,292 (inclusive of buyer’s premium) which took the total for the sale of the entire collection of 1,240 coins to a staggering £3,994,638 (inclusive of buyer’s premium).

The legendary George III 1819 Sovereign by Benedetto Pistrucci

The legendary George III 1819 Sovereign by Benedetto Pistrucci

Steve Hill, Director and English coin specialist at Baldwin’s commented after the sale:
“It has been a rare and delightful privilege to handle the cataloguing and sale of such a high calibre collection. We hope the catalogues have done the collection justice and will serve as a lasting record of the achievement of the collector, as well as an inspirational resource to all Sovereign enthusiasts.”

Just under a third of the lots (100 in total) were sold to 56 online bidders who joined a packed room and buyers on the telephone to send Bentley out with a bang. A total of 17% of the hammer total was sold to online bidders including lot 1233, a 1937 George VI Matt Proof Finish Gold set of four coins, which sold online for £55,000 hammer to a bidder from the Far East.

High prices were achieved across the board with key pieces selling well above estimate. Among the best performing was lot 966, an extremely rare 1837 Victoria Pattern Sovereign, obverse engraved by William Wyon, chief engraver at the Royal Mint. The coin, depicting the head of Queen Victoria on the obverse, is considered to be the second obverse for the proposed pattern Sovereign for the young Queen, for which she granted Wyon multiple portrait sittings. The coins sold for £33,600 against an estimate of £15,000 – 20,000.

Lot 941, was undoubtedly the highlight and the most valuable coin in the third part of the sale. The George III 1819 Sovereign by Benedetto Pistrucci, the key date of the London series, had a very low calendar mintage (3,574) and there are fewer than ten known examples in private hands. The Bentley Collection coin is the finest example by more than a whole British grading step and has not been on the market for nearly 15 years. The coin was last offered at public auction as lot 286 in Sotheby’s, London on 15 October 1998 where it sold for £55,000 including premium. It carried an estimate of £150,000 – 200,000 and sold for £186,000.

Elsewhere in the collection lots 957 and 1212, an 1830 George IV Proof Sovereign and an 1880 Victoria Pattern Sovereign proved popular selling for £43,200 and £32,400 respectively.

A three part limited edition Collectors’ Catalogue of the entire collection will be available to buy through Baldwin’s at the end of the year and online catalogues and results are available to view online at www.baldwin.co.uk/auction-archive.

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