By Jeremy Bostwick – Senior Numismatist & Cataloger, Stack’s Bowers ……
The crowning of any monarch is always a momentous celebration, highly anticipated and carefully planned.
In the United Kingdom, such an occasion warranted the striking of medals commemorating the regal festivities so that the collecting community might honor the new sovereign. This practice began during Stuart rule, and grew in refinement and artistry as the years and centuries progressed.
Examples of these issues in multiple metals would be offered, allowing those of greater means to acquire medals is gold, while others could purchase specimens in silver or even bronze. Consorts would also be presented—sometimes with their royal spouse, other times on individual medals in their own right.
By the time of George III, this collecting area became so popular that even unofficial medals—those issued by private manufacturers and commissioned by numerous cities—also enjoyed a great deal of interest. While some issues within this massive series feature sizable mintages that make them rather easy to acquire, others—especially those in gold—can be virtually unobtainable and are seldom encountered within the marketplace.
This summer, Stack’s Bowers Galleries, as a part of our August World and Ancient Coin auction, is proud to present an exceptional and well-cultivated collection of British Coronation Medals formed by the “Duke of Lansing”.
Beginning with James I and continuing through the coronation of the current sovereign, Elizabeth II, this vast collection presents official issues in their various metals and modules. In addition, the cabinet features medals commemorating other historically important events, such as silver and golden jubilees, and even the rather scandalous and unparalleled abdication of Edward VIII.
Of particular note are top-pop highlights like the gold coronation issues of James II (PCGS MS-61), Mary of Modena (his wife, PCGS MS-62), and Anne (PCGS MS-62). Regarding the medal of queen consort Mary of Modena, “the Duke” quite accurately writes that, since it “…reputedly featured a mintage in gold of just 100 specimens, I contend that there can only be 100 complete sets of British Coronation Medals in all.” This observation relates just how difficult it would be to assemble a crowning jewel such as the present collection.
However, it is not just monumental coronation issues that are found in this well-formed collection, as the ever-popular “diamond jubilee” medal of Victoria and the infamous abdication medal of Edward VIII are featured as well. Further, various metals and modules convey the completeness that the “Duke of Lansing” achieved, as corresponding medals in silver and bronze, where issued, are also present. This allows both experts and novices to participate in this fantastic and immensely popular offering.
In closing, we offer some of the collector’s own words to put this majestic array poignantly into focus:
I feel that it is now time to pass the collection on to others and I hope they will be as inspired by it as I have been. Stewardship is a special responsibility, and we collectors are links in a chain of custody that will hopefully preserve the quality and value of such special rarities for posterity.
To view our upcoming auction schedule and future offerings, please visit StacksBowers.com where you may register and participate in this and other forthcoming sales.
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We are always seeking coins, medals, and paper money for our future sales, and are currently accepting submissions for our next Hong Kong auction occurring this October. The consignment deadline for this popular venue is July 17. Our next CCO (Collectors Choice Online) auction will also be in October, with that consignment deadline being September 8. If you would like to learn more about consigning, whether a singular item or an entire collection, please contact one of our consignment directors today and we will assist you in achieving the best possible return on your material.