British Gold Triple Unites

Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio is very pleased to offer a trio of British gold Triple Unites – the largest and heaviest hammered gold coin produced in England – in the April 2018 Hong Kong Showcase Auction

By Chris Chatigny, Numismatist & CatalogerStack’s Bowers ……
 

During the reign of Charles I (1625-49) a number of factors strained the relationship between the king and Parliament. The king’s marriage to a Roman Catholic, failure in wars with Spain and France, the levying of taxes without the consent of Parliament and the use of antiquated laws to fine individuals led to revolts from both the Scots and the Irish and estranged the king from the main factions in Parliament. One of the final blows before the start of the war was Charles’ attempted arrest of five members of the House of Commons, actually entering the House by force with an armed guard. After this failed arrest attempt Parliament seized control of London and Charles marched north to raise an army. The king would eventually control the west and north of England and set up his court at Oxford in October of 1642, which also produced coinage for the Royalists.

British Gold Triple Unites of Charles I. Images courtesy Stack's Bowers Galleries Ponterio

While assembled in Wellington before one of the first battles of the war Charles made what became known as the “Wellington Declaration”, wherein he declared he would uphold “the Protestant Religion, the Laws of England and the Liberty of Parliament.” This slogan was afterward given a Latin abbreviation that was added to the design of several of his coins – including the Triple Unites of 1642-44, which display it on the reverse in three wavy lines or within an unfurled scroll. This design is surmounted by the Roman numeral “III” for the denomination and surrounded by three banded plume mintmarks.

On the obverse we see Charles’ half-length bust (at times robed) holding an upright sword and olive branch. This warrior image (along with the equestrian motif found on the silver issues) is prevalent in much of Charles’ coinage and was meant to inspire as many of his subjects as possible. However his cause was all but lost by 1645 in the face of the Parliamentarians’ New Model Army under Sir Thomas Fairfax and Oliver Cromwell. While seeking assistance from a Scottish army in Nottinghamshire, Charles was handed over to Parliament only to broker a secret deal with the Scots leading to the Second Civil War where he was once again defeated. This time he was tried, convicted and executed.

The first of the trio of coins is dated 1642, with a Spink attribution of 2724, which indicates a tall, narrow bust. This example is certified by NGC at MS-61, and is the second-finest certified at NGC with none of this type in Mint State at PCGS.

The second example is dated 1643, with a Spink attribution of 2726 indicating a wider bust with a scarf. This example is certified by PCGS at AU-58, which makes it the second-finest graded at PCGS, with one additional piece graded finer at NGC. The third and final example is dated 1644 with a Spink attribution of 2730. It is very rare and the only example of this variety certified at either PCGS or NGC. 1644 is the most difficult date to locate of this short-lived three-year type. This example is certified by PCGS at AU-55.

While we are no longer accepting consignments for our April Hong Kong Showcase Auction, we are accepting consignments of Chinese and other Asian coins and currency for our August 2018 Hong Kong Showcase Auction. In addition to this, we are taking consignments of world and ancient coins as well as world paper money for our May 2018 Collector’s Choice Online Auction and August 2018 ANA Auction. Time is running short, so if you are interested in consigning your coins and paper currency (whether a whole collection or a single rarity) be sure to contact one of our consignment directors.
 

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