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Press Release - November 29, 2005
Heritage to Offer Rare British Threepence Piece!
Dallas, Texas: Heritage Galleries & Auctioneers (HG&A) will offer a prototype 1937 King Edward VIII brass threepence, listed as "Probably Unique," in their upcoming Signature auction, to be held January 8 & 9 in New York City.
"This is one of the greatest of all modern British coin rarities," said Warren Tucker, Director, Heritage World Coin Auctions, "struck for the abdicated Edward VIII, who gave up the throne for love and married the American Wallace Simpson. After the much-publicized abdication, the pair became international celebrities as The Duke and Duchess of Windsor. This pattern is so ultra rare that, much as he tried, the Duke never managed to obtain a specimen for his own collection."
"Originally intended for use in transport, as bus fare for example," Tucker continued, "this piece displays a fascinating die-combination, featuring the stark left-facing portrait of the king on the obverse, engraved by T.H. Paget, signed 'H.P.' This is mated with a reverse design modified by Percy Metcalfe after sketches originally submitted in June 1936 by Miss Frances Madge Kitchener, niece of military hero Lord Kitchener. Miss Kitchener's conception for the coin, introduced as a type in this pattern, was for a sideways-appearing trio of thrift, or thistle plant, flowers atop curling tendrils. The idea for the reverse motif surely had been borrowed from the 1928 Irish Free State coinages which introduced the use of 'native flora and fauna' for reverse designs in place of the traditional royal insignia, and in subsequent commercial versions the coin proved popular, useful and durable. Two models of this were prepared in 1936 but abandoned as overly ornate, in favor of a less realistic or more deco-styled image of the plant, but showing fuller flowers, which was finally adopted for the brass coinage of George VI later in 1937."
"The 12-sided edge is plain, with a raised and squared-off set of rims," Tucker said. "This is the prototype for this then-new coinage, the final version of the brass pattern struck in tiny numbers for King Edward VIII but abandoned at his abdication. As well, this extraordinary coin is not the usual frosted 'bright brass' version but an even rarer Matte Proof and, as Peck noted, 'probably unique' as such. This is a major collecting opportunity to own the rarest of the rare, a coin which belongs in a museum as it is a national treasure."
For more information about Heritage's auctions, and a complete record of prices realized, along with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit our Permanent Auction Archives at HeritageGalleries.com.
To reserve your copy of any Heritage auction catalog, please contact Nicole Jewell at 1-800-872-6467, ext. 272, or visit HeritageGalleries.com to order by email.