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HomeAuctions‘Petition Crown’ of Charles II Sells for World Record $1 Million

‘Petition Crown’ of Charles II Sells for World Record $1 Million

Petition Crown. Image: Numismatica Ars Classica
Petition Crown. Image: Numismatica Ars Classica

A ‘Petition Crown’ of Charles II has been sold for CHF 949,375 (about $1 million) to become the most expensive British silver coin ever sold at auction. The coin was included in a joint sale on May 8, 2024, by Numismatica Ars Classica, Classical Numismatic Group, and Numismatica Genevensis of the Cope Collection of prized British and Roman coins. The collection realised a total of CHF 8 million (about $8.8 million), while the auction as a whole realized CHF 20 million (about $22 million) across three days.

The Petition Crown of Charles II was struck by celebrated medallist Thomas Simon in 1663 to petition the king to rehire him as the sole Chief Engraver at The Royal Mint. Making use of new mechanical technology, Simon printed a message around the edge of the coin entreating the King to “compare this his tryall piece with the Dutch”. The coin features a striking portrait so detailed that even the veins on the King’s neck can be made out. Though masterfully executed, Simon’s Petition Crown failed to persuade Charles II to use his work for coinage.

Among the British coins in the collection, which was amassed over 50 years by noted numismatist Geoffrey Cope, the auction saw a number of other records broken.

An Oxford Crown of Charles I, the only coin in the British series to feature a depiction of a city, sold for CHF 441,000 (about $486,000), making a record for the type and for any coin, gold or silver, of Charles I. A Henry VIII testoon (modeled on the famous painting by Hans Holbein the Younger) sold for CHF 116,375 ($128,000) – a record for its type.

David Guest, Director of Classical Numismatic Group, said: “Widely regarded as the most beautiful machine-made coin ever struck and undoubtedly the most important coin in the British series, we are delighted to have seen the 1663 Petition Crown realize a world record price. The overwhelming success of the sale of the Cope collection further underlines the confidence in the market for superb and rare British coins.”

Of the Roman coins, a bronze sestertius of Emperor Hadrian commemorating the completion of Hadrian’s Wall in 122 AD, formerly held in the British Museum, sold for CHF 735,000 ($810,000) and a bronze sestertius of Agrippina the Elder, issued in her memory by her son Caligula, fetched CHF 245,000 ($270,000).

Arturo Russo, Director of Numismatica Ars Classica, said: “This is one of the greatest collections of Roman bronzes ever to come onto the market, containing many unique pieces in an exceptional state of preservation rarely found outside an institution.”

The second and final part of the Cope Collection will be offered in Zurich, Switzerland, in October 2024. Viewing will take place at the London offices of Classical Numismatic Group (British) and Numismatica Ars Classica (Roman) in September, prior to the auction in Zurich. This is the first time these three leading numismatic firms have collaborated on an auction.

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Coinweek is the top independent online media source for rare coin and currency news, with analysis and information contributed by leading experts across the numismatic spectrum.

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