Most coins that you have in your pocket today are average at best–pedestrian pieces of commerce that can be owned by nearly anyone. However, Heritage Auctions is now offering a coin in World Coin Auction #3088 that was fit for a queen (and her most trusted nobles).
The piece in question is a very special Queen Elizabeth I gold Sovereign that was minted between 1584 and 1586. This oversized gold coin will immediately catch your attention and has an impressive portrait of the Virgin Queen on the obverse as well as the famous Tudor rose on the reverse.
Graded AU details by PCGS, this coin will attract significant attention when it crosses the auction block.
During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, the typical British citizen would never have the opportunity to see a special piece like this in person. Sovereigns were almost never seen beyond noble circles and changed hands infrequently, used mainly for display purposes at Court rather than day-to-day commerce. These coins were sometimes given as gifts to reward the Queen’s favorites or those who earned her respect. They would have been saved and cared for by the recipients rather than being spent right away.
Unlike many debased coins of the period that did not have pure precious metal content and earned the public’s distrust as a result, this Elizabethan coin made a bold statement by being produced in nearly pure gold. Its intrinsic quality as well as its design really stood out at the time (and continue to impress collectors today). Given the periods of economic distress that had led to English rulers debasing their coinage, striking these coins with such a reliable gold content sent a message of Queen Elizabeth’s power.
Coins also served as a form of pictorial propaganda during a period when information did not spread as quickly as it does today. The gold sovereigns of Queen Elizabeth became an emblem of power and wealth for the holder, broadcasting a message about both the Queen and her trusted nobles. The obverse shows the Queen holding the scepter and orb–equally impressive today as it would have been at the time it was minted over 400 years ago.
This coin will be a true prize for the collector who acquires it at auction, just as it would have been a special piece for its original owner in the late 1500s.