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    A Pistrucci Masterpiece: The 1820 Pattern 5 Pounds

    George III gold Proof Pattern 5 Pounds 1820 PR63+★ Ultra Cameo NGC, KM-Pn84, Fr-369, S-3783, W&R-177 (R4). By Benedetto Pistrucci. DECUS ET TUTAMEN. ANNO REGNI LX (raised) on edge. A legendary British rarity with a purported mintage of only 25 examples, the 1820 Pattern 5 Pounds in raised edge lettering ranks as one of the most important in the entire series, and an issue that remains outside the hands of all but a small group of privileged collectors. The masterful engraving of Benedetto Pistrucci comes to its full fruition in this opulent gold Proof format, an observation that necessarily leads one to the conclusion that this canvas-in-metal may well be the peak presentation of his designs, which were so prolifically employed in the contemporaneous silver crowns and sovereigns of the day, though never with the forceful combination gold production, Proof striking format, and sheer impact seen here.

    In addition to its impressive rarity, the type is also notably one of the last designs issued in the name of George III. In fact, it was not put into production until after the King's death, Pistrucci having worked painstakingly, but failing, to finish the design before the King's expected demise. It is believed that William Wyon, also a recognized master of engraving, contributed to the completion of the work. Thus, this treasured specimen may be seen, not only as an homage to the late King, but also as a confluence of skill and expertise that easily allows the type to reach the ranks of the most important of all British coins, in addition to being one of the most beautiful.

    The depth of cameo contrast is startling. Indeed, both George's portrait and the iconic St. George motif are heavily laden with a decadent blanket of golden frost that fully rivals those of current Proofs produced by technologically superior processes, engendering a magnificent aesthetic juxtaposition that remains sharp at every viewing angle. This effect is owed equally to the mirror finish of the fields, which demonstrate clear reflectivity to several inches, serving as a pondlike backdrop to the carefully engraved designs, themselves rendered with the utmost care to George's well-defined locks of hair and to even the most minute reverse features. Isolated hints of cupric tone are light and provide a further contrast against the sun-gold radiance of the offering, which, lacking in all but the most trivial instances of contact, earns both a "+" and "Star" designation by NGC in recognition of what can only be described as a sublime masterpiece.

    From the Paramount Collection

    View Certification Details from NGC

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    March, 2021
    25th-27th Thursday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 21
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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