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    The Legendary Triple Unite

    Charles I gold Triple Unite 1644 AU58 NGC, KM338, S-2729, North-2385. Obv. Smaller size. Rev. 1664/OXON. Some die lines in the obverse fields, as well as a tiny planchet flaw on the reverse in the X of EXVRGAT. In addition, there is some evidence of multiple strikes on the reverse, which does explain the relatively high relief and thorough definition of this piece. Beautiful red toning accents aid the overall eye-appeal. Exceptionally pleasing in hand, and among the finest known.

    Few coins approach the prestige of the legendary Charles I Triple Unite. Struck for only three years towards end of the reign of Charles I, it is rare enough where it is difficult to obtain an example, particularly a nice one, but available to the point where it is a well-known and readily recognizable type. A Triple Unite any condition would surely be a major addition to any collection, and one in a condition such as the present piece would undoubtedly become the "crown jewel" of whatever collection it ends up in.

    There are actually multiple varieties for each of the three years during which the triple unite was struck; the Standard Catalog of British Coins identifies nine such sub-types. However, aside from one variety where the king holds a short olive branch rather than a long one (S-2725A), the dates and varieties are all more or less equally rare and valuable. With the hope of providing some guidance to the bidder, we have been able to identify about sixty instances of a Triple Unite being offered publicly in the last decade. This is probably a large enough sample size so that we can speculate fairly accurately as to how the piece on offer here compares to the existing population at large. While the vast majority have been sold without being seen by a third-party grading service, it is just as well since hammered coins often have nuances that a single number alone fails to entirely address.

    The highest price ever paid for a Triple Unite was for an example that Heritage sold in June, 2005. That piece, graded by NGC as MS63, was an example of the rare S-2725A variety. When one moves past that particular variety, the highest price for one of the more common types goes to an example sold by St. James Auctions in September 2011 (Auction 18, lot 62). That coin was actually the exact same type as the one offered here (the same dies, in fact) and hammered at 150,000 GBP ($233,173 at the time). Judging just by the photograph, it was likely in comparable grade to the present specimen, if not technically slightly higher. However, we doubt that it could compare in contrast to the lovely reddish-copper color of this coin that pleasingly highlights the devices. Indeed, looking at records from the past decade we find very few examples that come close to this coin, meaning that this is a very special opportunity to obtain one of the finest-known Charles I Triple Unites.

    Ex. J.G. Booker Collection (private sale); L.A. Basmadjieff Collection (Glendining's, 15 July 1953), lot 46; V.J.E. Ryan Collection, Part I (Glendining's, 28-30 June 1950), lot 524; Reverend S. A. Thompson-Yates Collection (private sale); H. Clark Collection (Sotheby's, 23-26 May, 1898), lot 277; A. D. Clarke Collection (Christie's, 15-17 June 1891), lot 238; G. W. Egmont Bieber Collection (Sotheby's, 13-18 May 1889), lot 141; J. Halliburton Young Collection (Sotheby's, 7-12 April 1881), lot 272; E. Wigan Collection (private sale to Rollin & Feuerdent, 1872).

    The reign of Charles I was a troubled one at best.  Born in Scotland, Charles succeeded his father James I to the united thrones of England, Scotland and Ireland in 1625.  James became the King of Scotland at an early age after his mother abdicated, and unified his crown with those of England and Ireland after Queen Elizabeth I died without any children. 

    The issues which plagued Charles during his reign began well before he ascended.  His father James had inherited a large debt due to extended wars in Ireland, which caused tension with Parliament over taxation policies; James also suffered because he refused to give freedom of worship to Catholics, which famously led to the Gunpowder Plot, an unsuccessful assassination attempt led by Guy Fawkes.

    After Charles was crowned, Parliament quickly realized that there was little hope for change from James' unpopular policies.  Charles believed that his monarchy gave him the absolute authority to rule as he pleased, without the need to seek guidance or approval from Parliament.  He attempted to bypass the Parliament when he levied taxes to pay off debts accrued by his predecessors; after Parliament passed the Bill of Right in an attempt to limit Charles' power, he dissolved the body.  Charles managed to simultaneously anger Protestants over his peace with France and Spain (as well as his marriage to a Catholic princess from France), as well as Catholics who wished for freedom to practice openly.  In 1642 these issues came to a head with the English Civil War, during which Charles had this particular coin minted.  The result of the war was the beheading of Charles in 1649 and the institution of the Commonwealth of England, which Oliver Cromwell controlled until Charles' son Charles II returned to England to retake the throne.

    From The Providence Collection

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2015
    13th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 5,171

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