A king’s ransom! Exceptionally rare £5 gold coin made for Edward VIII’s short-lived reign is tipped to sell for over £1million
- The £5 coin with a bust of the monarch was struck but never put into circulation
- King Edward VIII was coronated in January 1936 but abdicated 11 months later
- The very rare coin is one of only three specimens known to exist in the world
- Edward requested a set of the coins, but was refused as they were never official
- The coin broke with tradition in showing left side of the monarch, not the right
An exceptionally rare gold coin for King Edward VIII’s short-lived reign is tipped to sell for more than £1million.
The £5 coin with a bust of the controversial monarch on one side was struck but never put into circulation as he abdicated after just 11 months on the throne.
It is one of only three Edward VIII £5 coins known to exist, with the other two belonging to the Royal Mint and a private collector in America.
An extremely rare £5 coin with a bust of controversial monarch Edward VIII is up for auction
The reverse of the coin, tipped to sell for £1million, features St George slaying a dragon
They are so scarce that it is believed even Edward, as the Duke of Windsor, had to request a set of his own coinage, but was turned down as the coins were never officially recognised.
The coins were never been issued and did not pass through the Royal Proclamation process.
The Royal Mint had been due to begin production of Edward VIII coinage on January 1, 1937.
Pattern coins had been prepared in readiness before the monarch gave up the throne on December 11, 1936, in order to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson.
Edward VIII, now as the Duke of Windsor, pictured on his wedding day with Wallis Simpson on 3 June 1937 at the Chateau de Cande, near Tours in France
The £5 coin is one of these trial coins and is expected to attract worldwide interest when it goes under the hammer with Heritage Auctions, of Dallas, Texas.
The front of the 1.4ins diameter coin carries a left facing bust of Edward, with St George on horseback slaying a dragon on its reverse.
The coin was controversial even before his abdication as he chose to show his left side, breaking with centuries-old tradition.
Edward and Wallis Simpson pictured after their ceremony, with Randolph Churchill, right
His father, George V, had also been captured from his left, so it was expected he would be shown from his right side, as monarchs are supposed to alternate. However, this he declined.
The coin has been consigned for sale from an Asian collector, who has owned it since about 2002. Its earlier provenance is not known.
Cristiano Bierrenbach, executive vice president of international numismatics at Heritage, said: ‘Since the transition of power from Oliver Cromwell to Charles II, the kings of England had adopted a style of alternating the direction of their busts with each change of monarch.
Edward abdicated in 1936 after he was refused permission to marry divorcee Wallis Simpson
‘This coin was breaking with centuries of British numismatic tradition.
EDWARD VIII: THE KING WHO ABDICATED
Born 23 June 1894 during the reign of his great-grandmother Queen Victoria to the Duke and Duchess of York, later King George V and Queen Mary
He became Prince of Wales on his 16th birthday when his father was king
Edward served in the British Army during the First World War
He became king on 20 January 1936
Months into his reign he caused a constitutional crisis by proposing to American divorcee Wallis Simpson
He abdicated in December 1936
His brother George, known as the ‘reluctant king’, was crowned in May 1937
Edward married Wallis Simpson just a month later and spent the rest of their lives in France
‘By all measures, bidders should consider the opportunity presented here to be truly once-in-a-lifetime.
‘To the best of our knowledge, not a single example of the Edward VIII £5 coin has come to auction in at least the last 20 years, if not longer.
‘A surviving letter exchanged between the Duke of Windsor and his brother, George VI reveals that even Edward himself was refused his request to obtain a set (of Edward VIII coins) for himself.
‘We feel it is fitting to state that this is the coin that even a ‘king’ couldn’t have.
‘It is an absolute paragon in the field of British numismatics.
‘There are only three examples known to exist and the interest is such there are already 24 phone bidders lined up.
‘Bidding is already at $750,000 (£537,000) and we expect it to sell for more than £1million.’
The Duke of Windsor stepped down from power so he could marry socialite Wallis Simpson.
They were estranged from the Royal Family and spent most of the remainder of their lives in France.
The Royal Mint brokered the sale of an Edward VIII Pattern Sovereign coin (with a face value of £1) for £1million in January 2020.
The £5 coin, which was designed by Humphrey Paget, will be sold on 25 March.
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