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Exceptionally Choice Spur-Ryal of James I

By Chris Chatigny, Numismatist & Cataloger

Author: Chris Chatigny / Thursday, December 10, 2015 / Categories: World Coin of the Week

Our next preview for the Stack’s Bowers Galleries January New York International Auction features a stunning numismatic piece merging great beauty and historical importance. Today’s coin is an exquisite gold Spur-Ryal issued by King James. Ascending the Scottish throne at the tender age of 13 months, James would also go on to succeed Elizabeth I to the English throne, effectively making him the first monarch of the “United Kingdom,” though that name would not be adopted until 1800. One could arguably say James I put the "Great" in Great Britain, having unified the kingdom throughout the British Isles as well as overseeing the emergence of Britain as a global empire. The settlements at Jamestown, Plymouth Colony, and Newfoundland were among the many accomplishments achieved under his rule. The coin offered here can be seen as a by-product of his success as a leader, having not only steered Britain clear of the disastrous Thirty Years War, but also expanding international commerce drawing copious amounts of the new world's gold into British coffers.

Featured is an imposing and regal facing sejant lion holding a scepter with broad quartered square atop shield (including the Rampant Lion of Scotland and the Irish Harp) in the fore, flanked by “X” and “V” (denoting the value of 15 Shillings). The reverse design includes a spur rowel, small rose at center, encircled by a ring of alternating crowned lis and lions, all within a beaded treasure of eight arches. This coin combines great rarity with numismatic and historical significance, and is phenomenally well preserved as well. Having been struck in nearly pure gold, the piece is free of toning or other color anomalies. It is well struck from what appear to be fresh dies and the degree of detail is impressive, with bold legends surrounding exquisitely rendered devices. A stellar piece in every respect, the winning bidder will be acquiring a very desirable coin that is certain to become the centerpiece of any collection it enters.

Look for this and other world numismatic rarities in our upcoming January New York International Auction. For details please refer to the Events Calendar link at www.StacksBowers.com. Though our Stack’s Bowers January New York International Auction is no longer open for consignments, we are accepting consignments of world and ancient coins for our August 2016 ANA Auction, as well as Chinese and other Asian coins and currency for our April 2016 Hong Kong Showcase Auction. If you are interested in consigning your coins and paper currency (whether a whole collection or a single rarity) be sure to contact one of our consignment directors.