James VII (II) gold Restrike 60 Shillings 1688 MS62 NGC,
Of the highest rarity, being one of just three examples known.
The latter part of the reign of Charles II saw many problems at the mint in Edinburgh, including questionable appointments, charges of corruption, inaccurate weight standards, and political infighting. Numerous officials were removed from their posts, and the mint itself was closed in 1682.
By the time James VII (II) had succeeded his brother, a solution to the weight problems was to be achieved through the Trial of the Pyx, a judicial system in which a sampling of the new strikings were kept aside for periodic review and assay. Even with this safeguard, only silver coinage for use in Scotland was issued during his reign: 40 and 10 shilling pieces.
Dies for a larger denomination, however, were apparently produced in the form of a 60 shilling piece, and were possibly by the hand of one of the Roettiers.
It is speculated that these coins were never produced due to James’s scandalous conversion to Catholicism, an act which increased ill-feelings toward the monarch and hastened the actions to find a solution to this issue—a solution ultimately in the form of James’s daughter and son-in-law, Prince William of Orange, who would succeed him following the Glorious Revolution in 1688.
The production of these 60 shilling pieces, in the expected silver as well as off-metal strikings in gold, apparently took place over a century later, when Matthew Young rescued the dies and produced these pieces. In any event, the 60 shilling pieces are a glimpse into what may have been, with the extremely rare gold issue providing a keystone for any Scottish collection, as it is of the highest rarity at only three known specimens.
Ex. St. James’s 26, lot 74; Lucien LaRiviere Collection (Spink 6029), lot 256; Spink 108, lot 518; Cochran-Patrick collection (Sotheby’s, 1957), selling there for £1100, 22 times the price of the Cromwell broad in the same auction.
Estimate: $100,000 – $150,000.