The Richard III gold coin, found near Leicestershire in early November, was expected to sell for much less. Pre-sale estimates were as low as £12,000, but in the end, a private collector took it home for three times that much ($57,960) at Spink in London on Wednesday December 5th.
William MacKay, coin specialist at Spink, said in a press release following the sale:
“There was fierce competition in the saleroom for this exceptional example of an historically important coin from an interesting find location. This is a fantastic result, which shows the demand continues to be strong for top quality, rare English gold coins.”
Bearing the personal emblem of King Richard III—a boar’s head—the coin dates from the late 15th century, circa 1484. Called an Angel because of the depiction of St. Michael spearing a dragon on the reverse, it is in pristine condition, with minimal signs of wear and tear, leading experts to believe that it was lost soon after being made. The coin’s obverse bears a ship at sea with a crucifix above a shield.
The discovery of the coin comes on the heels of another interesting find made recently in the same area. Archaeologists from the University of Leicester unearthed from beneath a parking lot in Leicester, central England, what they believe are the remains of the 15th century monarch, who died in the famous Battle of Bosworth. The bones are consistent with the king’s abnormality (a slight distortion in the shoulders) and also bear the signs of a man killed in battle.
“It’s incredible that just as we are having all the publicity about the discovery of Richard III’s tomb in Leicester,” said MacKay, “this coin, which was found so close to where he met his death, should be brought in to our offices.
“It is conceivable the owner of this coin was involved in the events of August 1485 and the Battle of Bosworth.”
Undoubtedly, the serendipity of the coin being found just months after the remains of the king whose emblem it displays drove the final selling price up so much higher than the pre-sale estimates.
Spink officials have not divulged the coin’s owner or who discovered it.