The 67-lot Ross King Collection of British Coins crossed the block during an April 6-7 Dix Noonan Webb sale in the United Kingdom.
Ontario’s Ross King, a long-time dealer and collector for nearly seven decades, began focusing on British coins in the late 1970s.
“Ironically, also at this time, along with my teaching career, I decided to start a new part-time business, which I managed for 40 years, specializing in the coins of Great Britain,” said King, a member of the Canadian Association of Numismatic Dealers, Ontario Numismatic Association, Royal Canadian Numismatic Association, and American Numismatic Association. “But as I started collecting GB (Great Britain) coins, I found that the number of coins available was daunting. Since I had been always fascinated with the British monarchy, I assembled a monarch portrait type set of all the kings and queens from 1066 to 1970 – hammered pennies first, then groats, and finally shillings – including all the varieties of some monarchs, particularly George III and Victoria.”
Drawn to George III, King noted “all the major historic events during the period of his long reign,” which ran from 1760-1820.
“Just think of all that happened during these years – the American Revolution, the French Revolution, the Napoleonic wars, the War of 1812 but most importantly, as far as coinage was concerned, the Industrial Revolution which completely changed the way coins were minted.”
Highlights include a “very fine, very rare” 1761 Guinea George III medal that brought £6,500 as Lot 396 plus an 1813 “Military” Guinea George III medal that brought £4,600 as Lot 401.
EARLIEST GEORGE II MEDAL PORTRAIT
A 320-year-old German gold medal featuring the earliest known portrait of Georg August, who later became King George II, sold for £5,500 (nearly $9,500 Cdn.) at the U.K. auction this April.
The 1701-dated medal, issued when the future king was 18 years old, crossed the block as Lot 1267. It shows the electoral prince of Brunswick-Calenburg-Hanover – the last British monarch born outside of England – on the obverse and Herrenhausen Palace, a former royal summer residence in Hanover, Germany, on the reverse.
“This is a very rare depiction, thought to be the earliest portrait of George II – at this time he had no idea that he would be king,” said Peter Preston-Morley, the head of the firm’s coin department. “It is from an old Irish collection, the formation of which is shrouded in mystery, but it is likely to date from the early 19th century, if not earlier.”
King George II reigned from 1727 until his 1760 death at the age of 76.