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Very Rare 1831 Pattern Crown Struck in Gold

By Greg Cohen, Professional Numismatist and Consignment Director, US and World Coins

Author: Greg Cohen / Wednesday, May 29, 2013 / Categories: Crossing the Block
Stack’s Bowers is extremely proud to have been selected to present the Thos. H. Law Collection of British Gold Coins, to be offered in a scholarly researched and illustrated stand-alone catalog during our official ANA auction in Chicago this August. The Law Collection is one of the most extensive collections of British gold ever assembled in the United States. Over 450 coins, from the 14th century to the late 20th century provide a tangible historic perspective into the 700-year history of British gold coins. Thos. H. Law displayed his collection with pride throughout the United States, especially at the annual ANA convention, where he won numerous awards, including the Howland Wood Award five times. We will be featuring a coin from this award winning collection each week, and the first is a superlative 1831 Pattern Crown, struck in gold. The reign of William IV was a short one, lasting only from 1830 to 1837, but he had many interesting pattern gold coins struck and offered is an ultimate example, the highlight of this ruler’s coinage in the collection

The obverse of this impressive gold coin was designed by William Wyon, and features a bare head of William IV facing right with the legend GULIELMUS IIII D: G: BRITANNIAR: REX F:D:. The reverse was designed by Johann B. Merlen and shows an intricately engraved British Arms within the collar of the Garter supported by a crowned draped mantle. St. George is suspended from the collar, date ANNO 1831 below. Simple designs are elegantly presented by the very talented engravers. Examples of this and all 1831 gold coins are struck in Proof format.

Attributed as Seaby-3833; Friedberg-381; Wilson and Rasmussen-270 (Rarity-5); KM-PnA98, there were no crowns struck for circulation in 1831 and all are considered patterns. The off metal strike in gold has often been described as a Five Pound piece, although no Five Pound coins were struck during William IV’s reign. Wilson and Rasmussen estimate that there are 6 to 10 examples known. Thos. H. Law purchased this example in 1984 from Spink & Son for £39,000. It is currently graded Proof-63 Ultra Cameo by NGC, and is the only example certified by that service. Bold cameo contrast is seen between the fields and the devices; we note some minor handling on the high points of the obverse and a small toning spot on the reverse, which will help identify this piece as the Law coin.

It has been a very long time since a specimen of this rare issue has been offered for sale and we suspect that the bidding activity will be frenzied when it crosses the block during our offering of the Thos. H. Law Collection, part of our official auction for the American Numismatic Association’s World’s Fair of Money. If you are interested in British gold coins, be sure that your name is added to our mailing list for this important numismatic event by contacting one of our auction services associates. For more information on this collection, please contact Bruce Roland Hagen or Lawrence R. Stack.