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United Kingdom, George IV, 1825 Plain Edge Pattern Proof Sovereign Extremely Rare, R5, Finest Known, Single Finest Graded NGC Proof 66 Cameo

- Rated R5, extremely rare. There are only 6-10 examples.

- The finest graded example by three full grades.

- Although often considered a proof, more likely an earlier pattern of the design.

Condition
NGC Proof 66 Cameo. Extraordinary. Sharp details with fresh surfaces and good cameo. Finest graded. Finest known. Extremely rare. 6-10 examples known.
Obverse
Bare head left; • GEORGIUS IV DEI GRATIA • [George IV, by the grace of God].
Reverse
Crowned shield of arms, with seven heart semée; BRITANNIARUM REX FID: DEF: [King of Britain, defender of the faith].
Edge
Plain.
Provenance
ex. SINCONA British Collection, SINCONA 75, lot 321, 16th May 2022.
Our Price:
£57,500.00
Weight
8.00 g
Diameter
approx. 21.5 mm
Metal
gold
Fineness
22 carat (91.67%)
Fine weight
7.334 g (0.2358 oz t)
Production method
milled
Designer
obv.: Francis Leggatt Chantrey (1781-1841)
rev.: Johann B. Merlen (1769-1850)
Engraver
obv.: William Wyon (1795-1851)
rev.: Johann B. Merlen (1769-1850)
General References
Fr.377 [type]; KM.696; Marsh.10B [R5]; S.3801; WR.235 [R5]
Collection References
Bentley.17; British.II.321 [this coin]; DM.158; King.-; Montagu.929; Murdoch.382 [part]; Nobleman.137 [part]; Slaney.-
Certification number

The plain edged pattern proof of 1825 is extremely rare, with only 6 to 10 examples known. It is scarcer, more desired and most likely created earlier than its milled edge counterpart. This particular example is the finest known, and its technical grade is a full three grades superior to all other third-party graded examples. The coin exists in a league of its own.

There is some slight mystery surrounding the intentions of this coin’s production. It is most often regarded as a proof, in kind with its milled edge counterpart. However, the lack of an eighth heart in the Hanoverian arms strongly suggests that this is an earlier set of dies to all other bare head issues. In combination with its far fewer mintage than the proof issues, it is most likely that this coin is a true pattern and therefore of much greater interest and value than the other bare head proofs. The issue is unanimously recognised as extremely rare, with no more than ten examples known.

The design of this coin was birthed of a collaboration between three masters of the physical form: Francis Chantrey, William Wyon, and Johann Merlen. Chantrey, a sculptor famed for ability to bring the warm and soft reality of human form to the cold and hard media of sculpture, created the model of the king from which the master engraver Wyon skilfully and painstakingly engraved in steel. Merlen both designed and engraved the delicate and well-proportioned reverse, which would go on to be immortalised in the half sovereign series.

The coin is astounding. A grade of 66 is shocking for a coin of this age and the extraordinary nature of the grade is reflected in the exceptionally clean surfaces and defined strike of the coin. Barring a minor metal flaw on the obverse and two delicate spots of tone on the reverse, there is not one distraction to the eye and the design exists here as true to form as exists in any other example. The humanity and dignity that Chantrey somehow manages to bring to the face of the king is as captivating as his flowing curls, each painstakingly moulded by the sculptor then engraved by Wyon. Only with such a full strike can these achievements in fine style be appreciated. Complemented by a pleasing cameo and Merlen’s timeless reverse, this example is an immense rarity of British coinage and would take pride of place in the most illustrious of collections.

George IV (1762-1830)

George IV was the personification of the decadent Regency period. Although the technical span of his reign was from 1820 to 1830, he had been in control of the country since early 1811 when his father’s debilitations forced a retirement in all practical senses. George, as Prince Regent, led (or was supposed to lead) the country through the Napoleonic Wars and 1816, and The Year Without a Summer (1825) - when one of the most violent volcanic eruptions in 1,300 years plunged half of the world into a false winter with very real consequences. Nothing grew. And as such poverty was rampant. The tastes of the Prince however became more and more repugnant in their resplendence, growing almost as quickly as the public’s resentment of their deluded and gluttonous leader. Civil unrest bubbled and foamed only to be crushed with new, authoritarian laws such as the death penalty for unlicensed public meetings. Parliament agreed to clear the Prince’s debts if he would take a wife; which he did, only to disown and treat her with the cruel and cold brutality he had become so accustomed to.

With his coronation, this story only continued. King George IV fiercely fought parliamentary reform while defending religious intolerance. Towards the end of his life, ashamed of his bloated physical appearance and diminished public appeal, the King eschewed public life and preferred to live his hedonism in private. He died in 1830, deranged, grossly overweight and a laughingstock.

The British Collection

This coin graced the illustrious British Collection, sold by the Swiss auction house SINCONA in two parts. The collection is one of the most complete and important collections of British coinage ever to exist. Assembled over 50 years of collecting with pieces spanning nearly six centuries and all of astounding quality, the collection sold for $5.8 million and stands as a momentous event in British numismatics, likely not to be bested for years to come.

It is worth noting however that most of the coins in the sale were sold without their provenances, much of which were of the highest prestige. Independent research on our part has been successful in reuniting some of these significant pieces with their history.

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Rest of the world

Orders to rest of the world are shipped via Royal Mail up to an order value of £2,500, via DHL on order values over £2,500. Insurance cover at 0.5% of order total will be added. Prices are excluding VAT.

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Rest of World

£20.00

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