Great Britain: James I (1603-25) gold Spur-Ryal ND,...
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|Auction Ended On:||Jan 6, 2014|
4 Internet/mail/phone bidders
1,122 page views
Waldorf Astoria - Norse Suite
301 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10022
King James, the scholarly Scot whose lineage was among the most royal of all English monarchs, introduced a series of new denominations and attendant style changes, importantly including the Scottish arms in his royal shields, for the first time ever, as he was both James VI of Scotland and James I of the combined kingdoms. Frequently his coins display the national emblem of Scotland, the thistle, as an Initial Mark. Elizabeth had begun this transition to more denominations, recognizing the needs of commerce as the nation's wealth grew. For many years, the Angel, made of high-grade gold and carrying a "face value" of 6 Shillings and 8 Pence (the standard "professional fee") in the Middle Ages, was the coin made in largest quantities. At times the Angel was variously valued, as low as 8 Shillings for Henry VIII and as high as 10 Shillings in Elizabeth's reign, its value as this reign began. James I introduced a new coin, the Spur-Ryal, worth 15 Shillings, clearly stated on the coin as "X V" - seen on this coin split by the royal shield. Handily, it was worth one and a half Angels at the time of its first appearance. Marking the denomination on the coins themselves was a practice that commenced in this reign. Gold became more plentiful as an ore during this era - beginning with Elizabeth I and continuing forward - largely as a result of new trade. European trading abounded: gold coins minted from raw bullion mined in the New World and shipped to Spain, then reminted as that money moved across borders, eventually became English coins when traded to England. Another major source of new money in the form of gold was the growth of trade in the East - China, the Malay Peninsula, India and Ceylon - which exchanged silks, spices, gemstones and other native goods for English luxuries. Gold flowed into England as never before. When Queen Elizabeth, almost with her last breath, named her successor with these words - "I will that a king succeed me, and who but my kinsman the king of the Scots" - could she have imagined that the wealth of the nation which she inspired ever have taken form in such regal gold money as this fabulous Spur-Ryal with its sunburst reverse and its portrait of the king himself as a crowned lion?
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