World record broken by Cope Collection coin


15 June 2024
A ‘Petition Crown’ of Charles II, one of the most important coins ever struck has been sold for CHF949,375, which is the equivalent of £826,440 and has become the most expensive British silver coin ever sold at auction.

Auctioning the Cope Coin Collection 

The coin was included in a joint sale on 8th May of the Cope Collection of prized British and Roman coins by Numismatica Ars Classica, Classical Numismatic Group and Numismatica Genevensis

The collection was amassed over a period of 50 years by numismatist Geoffrey Cope and was made up of 170 ancient Roman bronze coins and over 800 British coins, several of which broke records during the sale. One of these was an Oxford Crown of Charles I, the only coin in the British series to feature a city, which was sold for CHF441,000 (£383,95). This was a record-breaking sale for the type and any coin of gold or silver of Charles I. Another record-breaking sale for its type was a Henry VIII testoon which sold for CHF116,375 (£101,306). 

Above: The Petition Crown by Thomas Simon sold for £826,440

Related article: Cope Coin Collection Up for Sale

Some of the Roman coins sold included a bronze sesterius of Emperor Hadrian, commemorating the completion of Hadrian’s Wall in AD 122. This coin was previously on display in the British Museum and sold at the auction for CHF735,000 (£639,825). A bronze sesterius of Agrippina the Elder, which was issues in her memory by her son, Caligula was sold for CHF245,000 (£213,275). 

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Above: a bronze sesterius of Emperor Hadrian to commemorate the completion of Hadrian's Wall sold for £639,825

The collection amassed total sales of CHF8 million (£7 million, whilst the whole auction made a total of CHF20 million (£17.5 million) across a 3-day period. 

Related article: Rare testoon fetches £9,000 at Baldwin's

On the subject of the Petition Crown and the sale of the Cope collection as a whole, David Guest, director of Classical Numismatic Group said: ‘Widely regarded as the most beautiful machine-made coin ever struck and undoubtedly the most important coin in the British series, we are delighted to have seen the 1663 Petition Crown realise a world-record price. The overwhelming success of the sale of the Cope collection further underlines the confidence in the market for superb and rare British coins.’ 

The making of the Petition Crown

The Petition Crown of Charles II was struck by celebrated medallist Thomas Simon in 1663 in order to petition the king to rehire him as the sole chief engraver at The Royal Mint. Making use of the new mechanical technology available to him, Simon printed a message around the edge of the coin, requesting that the king ‘compare this tryall piece with the Dutch.’ The reverse of the coin features a striking portrait that is so detailed, the veins on the king’s neck can be made out. 

Although masterfully played out by Thomas Simon, the petition to the king ultimately failed and the work wasn’t used for coinage.