Graded Mint State-64 by Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS), the finest-known Elizabeth I (1558-1603) gold “Ship” ryal is expected to bring upwards of $80,000 US (about $113,000 Cdn.) at the April 22-27 Central States World Coins Signature Auction.
The 15-shilling coin is among “the rarest and most popular coins of Elizabeth I’s reign, absent from most British collections in any condition, yet preserved here to an unprecedented standard,” according to auctioneers.
“Every collector of hammered British gold will be familiar with this intensely sought-after issue, designed with charming medieval-style imagery and Lombardic lettering.”
The ryal was “a slightly controversial type,” adds the auction catalogue, “representing an attempt during Edward IV’s first reign to simplify the confusion of circulating gold denominations” by producing a half-sovereign equivalent worth 10 shillings.
Another, earlier, English gold coin – the noble, which was introduced in the mid-1300s – was “by then the accepted standard,” according to auctioneers. The ryal was unsuccessful and soon replaced by the angel, another gold coin introduced in 1465.
“By the time of Elizabeth’s reign, it was a far-from-necessary denomination and was produced solely for trade in the Netherlands, in a failed attempt to extract profit from the arbitrarily higher price ryals traded for in the Low Countries,” add auctioneers, regarding the ryal.
The example slated to cross the block later this month was previously offered in May 2015, when it sold for a record hammer price of more than $180,000 US.
“Now fully certified as the single highest graded example by NGC or PCGS by three points, we can only speculate on the excitement this immaculate, near-gem ultimate rarity will generate.”