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Tudor Gold Sovereign Rarities From The Thos. H. Law Collection

By Bruce Roland Hagen, Senior Research Numismatist

Author: Bruce Roland Hagen / Tuesday, June 18, 2013 / Categories: Crossing the Block
The ANA World’s Fair of Money is a gathering of great collectors and often greater collections. This year in Chicago, Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio is honored to sell the Thos. H. Law Collection of British Gold Coins from Edward III to the present day Queen Elizabeth II. Appropriately, over the decades this revered and popular venue was one Mr. Law’s favorite hunting grounds to obtain many of his museum caliber rarities. These rarities helped form his numerous award winning educational exhibits at, where else, the ANA World’s Fair of Money. Over 450 lots from his cabinet, in all price ranges, have been cataloged for sale and will find new homes with the collecting fraternity. From late Medieval Nobles to modern day proofs, there will be something for everyone, each possessing the flavor of British history.

Mr. Law’s ANA exhibits were never the same and he certainly sought a different educational focus for each of them. Among the most fascinating topics he exemplified was the history of early British sovereigns, first introduced in 1489 by Henry VII Tudor. The House of Tudor, perhaps the most famous of all British ruling houses, was the result of Henry VII’s victory at Bosworth Field in 1485 over Richard III which ended the War of the Roses. British Fine (made of nearly pure gold) Sovereigns were first coined in 1489 with the titles of Henry VII. The obverse and reverse designs for the Fine Sovereigns stayed relatively unchanged for a century. The obverse portrayed the monarch seated upon King Edward’s Chair (the Coronation Throne) facing, with the reverse portraying the Tudor Rose and arms. Symbols to identify the date or period of minting appear on the obverse or reverse and sometimes both. The Law Collection contains four of the five Henry VII types which is a gargantuan feat; each has a slightly different design style. The Type I example is noteworthy for being exceptionally early (1492-93) and choice. The Type IV Sovereign is in stunning grade with superb old cabinet toning. This quartet of different Henry VII Sovereigns is among the most historic and important British coin offerings in an American sale.

The most famous (or infamous) Tudor is of course Henry VIII. Monetarily, he is noted for the eventual debasement of British coinage, which carried on into the reign of his only surviving son, Edward VI. However, prior to expensive foreign wars the coins met excellent standards and Mr. Law’s example of Henry VIII’s Second Coinage Fine Sovereign is another superb coin (1541-42) of stunning quality. Struck and preserved carefully, this eyeful is conservatively Choice Extremely Fine and been considered ‘’FDC’’ in the past.

The children of Henry VIII also issued Fine Sovereigns. Edward VI ruled very briefly due his frail nature from birth. His Southwark minted Fine Sovereign issue is extremely rare, unusual and a key type. The portraiture is not of a boy king, but an older man. The Law coin was purchased at the Mallinson Collection in 1984 in London and has been off the market since. Mary Tudor’s Sovereigns were the first dated types using Roman numerals. The final Tudor monarch, once the disgraced daughter of Anne Boleyn, was Queen Elizabeth I and the Law Collection has several Fine Sovereigns from this reign. An attractive later Sovereign with the ‘’A’’ mark (1583-85) represents the coinage well with lovely cabinet toning and a beautiful strike.

The Thos. H. Law Collection will be a memorable event within the Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio official world and ancient coin auction sessions of the ANA’s World’s Fair of Money. We anticipate many distinguished collectors and dealers will be eager to add these and other Law coins to their collections. The fabulous Law Collection sale catalog, containing these and further important coins, is currently being crafted by our expert production team. If you have any questions about the Fine Sovereigns or any of the coins in the Law Collection, be sure to contact either Bruce Roland Hagen or Lawrence R. Stack (through our New York office, 1-212-582-2580). If you are not currently on our mailing list and would like to receive a copy of the Law Collection catalog, be sure to contact one of our auction services associates. Finally, if you have a collection of rare world coins or an important individual rarity, we are currently accepting consignments to future Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio sales, including our November 2013 Baltimore, January 2014 New York International Numismatic Convention, and April 2014 Hong Kong sales. Be sure to contact one of our consignment specialists to discuss your collection and which auction venue will be most beneficial for realizing record prices for your significant coins and currency.