Rare Halfcrowns sold at London auction

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29 March 2019
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A single-owner collection of 194 lots of Halfcrowns from the reigns of Edward VI through to Elizabeth II was recently sold at Dix Noonan Webb in London.

Christopher Webb, Head of the Coin Department at the auction house, said:

'We were delighted to offer this collection on behalf of Brian Dawson, a well known and respected coin dealer from Lancashire who was selling his collection of Halfcrowns. Brian started collecting coins in 1956, starting like most young men with Pennies in his change, from this he acquired the taste for dealing, so he could finance his collecting from the profit of selling coins, his first sales through Exchange and Mart, 10 different date Pennies for £1! By 1967 he was a full time dealer and bought his first Halfcrown from a fellow dealer in Bolton.

'This was one of the best collections of Halfcrowns ever to be offered at auction; certainly the best since the Colin Adams Collection was sold in 2005. There were 85 successful buyers, of whom approximately three-quarters were private collectors and one- quarter trade buyers. Successful buyers bought by phone, online, in the room, and by leaving commission bids in advance.'

Like the crown, the Halfcrown, which is the equivalent of 121⁄2p in current UK money, was introduced as a gold coin during the reign of Henry VIII.

The issue of gold Halfcrowns ceased in the 17th century, but the silver Halfcrown continued in circulation until January 1970, when the Halfcrown ceased to be legal tender.

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The highest price of the sale was paid for an extremely rare Charles I Halfcrown struck at the Exeter mint in 1642, which sold for £48,000 against an estimate of £10,000-12,000. Only seven specimens of this type, which shows the king galloping over arms and holding a marshal’s baton aloft, have been traced and it was purchased by a private collector.

The second highest price was paid for a unique silver Charles I pattern Halfcrown, showing the King seated left on horseback and holding a sword, which was described as 'an exceptional strike of the very finest style, better than extremely fine' and boasted a provenance dating back to 1824. This coin sold for £40,800 against an estimate of £12,000- £15,000; it was bought by an American dealer.

Also of note was possibly the finest known example of a Charles II second hammered issue Halfcrown, which sold for £36,000 to a UK dealer. It had been estimated to fetch £6,000 - £8,000.