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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: Triton IX, Lot: 2284. Estimate $5000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 9 January 2006. 
Sold For $4000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

TUDOR. Elizabeth I. 1558-1603. A matched set of iron obverse and reverse dies for a silver shilling. Martlet issue, 1560-1561. Obverse: ELIZABETH • D : G • ANG'. FRA'. ET • HI' . REGNIA (sic), crowned bust left, wearing elaborate court robes / Reverse: POSVI DEV'. ADIVTOREM • MEV'., coat-of-arms on cross fourchée. Type of North 1985; SCBC 2555. Obverse die has a flat base 47mm in diameter, 13mm thick, die face 34mm. Reverse die has a flat base 47mm in diameter, 13mm thick, die face 34mm, and has a separate circular iron collar extending 8mm above the face of the die, which does not extend along the entire circumference of the die face. Moderate rusting to the outer surfaces, the two pieces seem to have been joined and thus the surfaces of the dies are clean, with minimal erosion. In a custom case, with red wax impressions of the dies. An extremely rare set of Elizabethan period dies. ($5000)

From the Dr. Thomas Dailey Collection.

There are no dies of Elizabeth recorded by Hocking in the Royal Mint Museum, nor by Allen in the Public Record Office collection (BNJ 1938, pp. 31-50), and none are mentioned by Besly in his notes on a Charles I die found along the Thames (BNJ 1988, pp. 135-137). This die set does differ significantly in important aspects from other known official dies of the period. The reverse die (trussel) is typically set at the head of a tapered cylinder with a shank for embedding in the anvil, this to provide stability while striking thousands of coins. It is not typically a flat plate such as this piece. In addition, close examination of the die work reveals numerous hesitancies in the punch placement, with letters double punched and out of alignment, a notable misspelling, and furthermore the details of Elizabeth's ornate dress do not match the known bust punches of the martlet issue. These dies were not likely to have been engraved by a Tower Mint engraver. It is likely that is a rare surviving set of 16th century forger's dies in an extraordinary state of preservation.