Many of the historic English coins that will be displayed at the February 22-24, 2018 Long Beach Expo (www.LongBeachExpo.com) in the upcoming inaugural exhibit of rarities from the privately owned Tyrant Collection are so rare that normally they may be seen only in European museums. Some of the coins in the “Tyrants of the Thames” exhibit have never before been publicly displayed in the United States.
For three days, though, it will be possible to examine, up close, examples of these coins as well as popular styles and designs such as superb coins of Queen Victoria. The anonymous owner of the Tyrant Collection wants the public to see these coins in person for their educational value.
Veteran professional numismatist and English coinage specialist Bruce Lorich, on behalf of the Tyrant Collection’s anonymous owner, has cataloged the more than 500 “Tyrants of the Thames” exhibit coins to be displayed at the February 2018 Long Beach Coin, Currency, Stamp & Sports Collectible Expo in Long Beach, California. This is the fourth in a series of four articles by him about the historical significance of some of the coins in that unprecedented exhibition.
Gleaming Gold Coins: Treats for the Eye
Henry VIII Sovereign: A gold sovereign of King Henry VIII, issued 1526-1544 and the largest coin of his turbulent reign, is one of the great treasures in the Tyrants of the Thames” exhibit at the February 22-24, 2018 Long Beach Expo.
Photo credit: Professional Coin Grading Service
Among the many special qualities of this exhibit will be exceptionally fine examples of gold coins issued by England’s kings and queens, including almost every style and denomination of coin made by hammer during the Middle Ages and Renaissance. These historical coins present viewers with images of the rulers as well as emblems of royalty which are part of the coins’ designs. Dozens of hammered gold rarities will be on view, among the most important being a marvelous, lustrous gold sovereign (1526-1544) of King Henry VIII certified and graded PCGS MS-63.
Beginning with Oliver Cromwell’s coinage of 1656-58, England turned to modern-looking coins made by machine, called “milled” issues. The exhibit will portray the entire history of milled gold coinage beginning with one of the finest known of Cromwell’s gold Broad of 1656.
The exhibit continues chronologically, from Charles II to Elizabeth II. Most impressive of course are the largest pieces, called 5 guineas from the 1660s through the 1770s. Every type is present in this collection and will be on display. These include the extremely rare 5 guineas 1670 proof of Charles II, 5 guineas of all the styles of the Stuart kings and queens including a wonderful example of the exquisite 1701 Fine Work design for William III. There are examples of all the 5 guinea types minted for the Hanover monarchs beginning with George I, perhaps the most spectacular coin being the pattern Young Bust 1770 of George III. Each of these coins ranks among the finest known.
Near the end of King George III’s long reign, a series of new denominations emerged, called the New Coinage. The largest gold issues were the 5 pounds, replacing the earlier 5 guineas coins. One of the great rarities of this series is the 1820 pattern, engraved by Benedetto Pistrucci and struck at the then-new Tower Hill Mint in London, and a lovely example appears in the Tyrant Collection display. George IV’s large gold proof of 1826 in this collection is a superb piece, as are two examples of the young Queen Victoria’s famous Una & the Lion issue. Her 1887 Jubilee Head and 1893 Veiled Head 5 pound coins are also shown in superb Proof conditions.
Edward VIII 1937 proof 5 Pounds – The only complete 1937 Edward VIII proof set in private hands will be displayed for the first time in the United States as part of the Tyrants of the Thames exhibit at the February 2018 Long Beach Expo. This coin from the historic set is the gold proof 5 pounds.
Photo credit: Professional Coin Grading Service
Victoria’s son Albert became King Edward VII in 1902, and his matte proof set is infamous for often being marred by abrasions and hairlines, but the Tyrant Collection exhibit will show a truly magnificent and, therefore, very rare example. George V’s 1911 5 pound is represented by another superb piece, in brilliant proof.
Next comes one of the rarest coins of the world, the gold 5 pounds of the abdicated King Edward VIII dated 1937. The Tyrant Collection contains the only privately owned complete set of Edward VIII’s coins, and the 5 pound coin in the set is a splendid proof.
When Edward abdicated, his younger brother became king, and his coronation set of 1937 was typically a brilliant proof assemblage. In the “Tyrants of the Thames” exhibit, his 5 pound coins are represented by two pieces, the normal one having brilliant surfaces and the special matte proof, of extreme rarity. Each of these coins is of wonderful eye-appeal, and each is part of a complete set.
Elizabeth II’s coins in the main are commonly available. Each type is on view in this exhibit, but two are so rare that this could be the public’s only chance ever to see them. The first is the 1953 gold proof sovereign, one of perhaps as few as two in private collections. Queen Elizabeth’s coronation occurred in 1953; as a result of World War II’s financial impact on the country, the Royal Mint issued no gold coins for collectors in that year, and just a handful of pieces were struck for the queen and for museums.
The other great rarity of this reign in the collection is a unique 5 pound gold proof dated 2010 which shows the queen’s portrait on one side and a facing image of the famous musician John Lennon on the other side. This coin was made by The Royal Mint for collectors in silver. A single piece was struck in gold as a present for Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, who auctioned it and donated the proceeds to charity. It is now part of the Tyrant Collection and will be on view in this special exhibit.
2010 John Lennon – A unique 2010 gold 5 pound coin depicting Queen Elizabeth II and musician John Lennon was given to Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, who subsequently donated it to an auction to benefit a children’s hospital in Liverpool, England. It will be displayed for the first time in the United States at the February 2018 Long Beach Expo.
Photo credit: Professional Coin Grading Service.
All of the other types of milled gold coins of England will also be shown as part of the Long Beach display, alongside the larger pieces mentioned above. These include the 2 guineas and 2 pounds issues, the guineas and sovereigns issues and their halves. Many are rarities, but all of the types are represented by beautiful examples. Among the rarest are early pieces bearing the famous Elephant hallmark of the 1660s or the Elephant & Castle hallmark of the 1670s to the 1690s, a 1702 proof guinea of Queen Anne, coins showing the VIGO hallmark of Queen Anne and LIMA hallmark of George II to depict gold seized by the British navy from Spain, and an amazing collection of proofs and patterns.
All of these coins will be on display in the Tyrants of the Thames exhibition at the February 2018 Long Beach Expo. The one-of-a-kind exhibit is being presented by The Tyrant Collection’s anonymous owner with the assistance of Ira and Larry Goldberg Coin & Collectibles of Los Angeles.