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    Description

    George VI gold Matte Proof 1/2 Sovereign 1937 PR62 NGC, KM858, S-4077, W&R-443 (R7). A bona fide numismatic treasure of the absolute highest rarity. In December 1936, King Edward VIII abdicated after less than a year on the throne in order to marry the divorcee Wallis Simpson, thrusting his reluctant brother George into the position of King as George VI. Accordingly, the painstakingly prepared dies bearing Edward's portrait had to be discarded and new dies produced bearing George's visage, and from these the 1937 coronation proof sets were struck. 5501 of these sets were produced in gold available for collectors to purchase, making them a not-uncommon sight today; however, at the time, issues arose as to how to include images of these new coin sets within adverts. Photographic technology had yet to be perfected in the late 1930s, particularly where numismatics was concerned. Whilst early coin sales catalogues had made do with simply creating wax casts of coins for inclusion as plates (a practice which may make numismatists today shudder), flash photography was the vogue by this point, and yet this method could not be applied to brilliant proofs due to the issues of the metal's reflectivity. Consequently, with limited options open to them, the Royal Mint had no choice but to alter the surfaces of the coins themselves to dull them, rendering them suitable for flash photography. Whilst matte proofs are typically made by sandblasting the dies before production begins, each matte proof coin of George VI had to be sandblasted individually! Only a tiny number of coins underwent this laborious process, making them exceedingly elusive and desirable today.

    We offered a rare, complete 15-piece 1937 silver and bronze matte proof set in our ANA auction August 2017 where it realized $56,400, but this Half Sovereign represents our first gold offering of this extremely rare matte issue. Truly a gorgeous piece; whereas one is used to seeing 1937 Half Sovereigns with brilliant flashy fields, the minutely-stippled surfaces of the present offering are an especially charming departure, the planchet colored a mustard-yellow with a light tone at the peripheries. Clearly, a particularly well-produced coin was selected to undergo this sandblasting process (a sensible decision considering its use in an advert), as it is very well-struck with a minimal loss of detail from the altering of its surfaces. Conservatively graded, no discernible wear or contact marks visible on either surface of this rarity, and indeed appearing to be a near-pristine example. Representing one of just four specimens seen by either NGC or PCGS, this is not an offering we expect to become available again soon, and thus we encourage serious consideration of this magnificent rarity from the highest tier collectors of British patterns. A superb piece of numismatic history, accompanied by its original receipt of purchase for 25 Pounds and 25 Shillings in 1947 by the Godalming Museum, Surrey, England.


    Note for clients in the European Union: This lot is considered by the European Union to be “investment gold”. We believe that it meets the criteria established in Article 344(1), point (2) of Council Directive 2006/112/EC and thus should be exempt from import VAT regardless of the selling price. Any questions or concerns about VAT should be addressed to your accountant or local tax authority.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2018
    17th Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 17
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,389

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