Auction: 22027 - The "Ellerby Area" Hoard of English Gold Coins
The Remarkable "Ellerby Area" Hoard of English Gold Coins (1610-1727) | James I (1603-1625), Second Coinage, Crown Gold Issues [.917 Fine], Unite, 12 May 1610 - 9 May 1611, Tower, (m.m.) IACOBVS • D .' G .' MAG .' BRIT .' FRAN .' ET HI .' REX • fourth crowned bust right, wearing plain armour, holding orb and shouldering sceptre, rev. (m.m.)• FACIAM • EOS • IN • GENTEM • VNAM • small Ms, crowned and garnished shield of arms, I-R at sides, 9.75g [150.4grns], 11h, m.m. bell  over key  / bell  (PAS: YORYM-18E848 = BM 2019 T668/1 this coin; Lingford II, 926; Schneider I, - [cf. 26]; North 2084; Spink 2619), deft crease through centreline of portrait and struck with a very aged obverse die - the central device resultingly weak and scarcely good, the peripheries and reverse approaching very fine and further accentuated by natural reddish-orange tone in recesses, the pyx overmark fascinating, clear and truly rare being the scarcest mintmark of James' reign and earliest coin in the hoard, with NGC 'Ellerby' Certification (#6380983-001)
Despite the overt striking softness exhibited on this obverse die, it would remain a workhorse of the Mint for at least another year into the Mullet Pyx period (10 May 1611 - 22 May 1612) as evidenced by a Unite dispersed from the Penkill collection (cf. Spink 255, 25-26 September 2018, lot 1691). The obverse die exhibits its further transitional credentials in the abbreviations of FRAN and HI, the former spelling universal to issues struck prior to the Coronet (fl. 17 May 1609); and the latter synonymous with those struck for the Tower pyx mark onwards (23 May 1612). Curiously the former group all bear the spelling HIB, making this remarkable obverse die all the more incongruous and more outstanding within the Jacobean specie. Cursory inspection of examples furnishes us with only one further obverse die reading FRA; and two further reverse dies, one with the Bell over Key; the other a virgin die with the remarkable 'GENTEMO' spelling variety. Schneider records the extraordinary drop in output of Fine Gold, Crown Gold and Silver during the Bell Pyx period - the second lowest for James' reign behind the Spur Rowel issues up to 19 August 1619. However as the Spur Rowel pyx would continue into the Third Coinage, the Bell by default represents the smallest overall output of the entire Jacobean reign, with only £195 of Angels and fractions; £38,428 of Unites and fractions and £20,920 of small specie struck.
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