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Auction: 20005 - The Stratos Sale of Spectacular English Gold Coins
Lot: 227

William IV (1830-1837), Proof Halfcrown, 1831, bare head right, block W W on truncation, rev. crowned shield on mantle, edge plain, 13.78g, 4h (ESC 2473 [657]; Spink 3834), an evidently early or more probably original '1831 striking' with inverted die axes as customary for currency issues of the period, with an attractive tone overlying sumptuously brilliant surfaces, somewhat carbon speckled to reverse, otherwise virtually FDC, a most handsome coin, rare

This lot is also offered as a group lot in lot 280. Whichever reaches higher hammer price will sell and the other option will be withdrawn.

The Gemini Collection

NGC PF64 CAMEO (Certification #5880299-003)

19th Century Proof Coins can be divided into at least two distinct categories. Namely those struck at the time of the Coronation of the ruling monarch, as in this instance, 1831, and those evidently struck thereafter to accommodate the demands of collectors enquiries at the mint or to the Chief Engraver within the King's lifetime and even up to many decades after the monarch's death. As Wyon is known to have had control over the distribution and production of such sets, it is no surprise that varieties exist within the series of Proofs extant. The earliest are readily identifiable by their die orientation, conforming to the standard currency alignment practice of the period, with most 'medallic' strikings appearing from refurbished dies as became the dominant striking practice for currency issue in Great Britain in the second half of the 19th Century. Consequently peculiarities and numismatic incongruities occur amongst these Proofs, with the presumed chronology logically following that later lifetime and early posthumous issues were struck over the refurbished dies for 1831 currency Halfcrowns (cf. Spink 263, 25 September 2018, lot 1864) and evidently when those had been exhausted or destroyed, the employment and refurbishment of any surviving William IV matrices like the 1834 dies with the altered engraver's signature in script format (cf. DNW 138, 12 December 2016, lot 2380). Further research on the chronology of these mint practices should be welcomed, not just to further clarify the earliest from latest strikings, but also to decode the now somewhat confusing 19th Century auction records which imply a lower number than the currently 225 or so believed struck sets.

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