Rare King Edward VIII coin makes UK auction record

A rare Edward VIII 1937 pattern penny sold at Spink & Son for a hammer price of £110,000.

A UK auction record for a copper coin was set this week when a rare Edward VIII 1937 pattern penny sold at Spink & Son.

Extracted from Antiques Trade Gazette | Laura Chesters

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Competed for via the internet and phone, the winning £110,000 bid came from a British collector in the room at The Waterbird Collection of Choice Numismatic Rarities auction on September 24.

The total price was £133,000 including buyer’s premium, more than double the £60,000 estimate.

The coin is rare as it was made as a trial, never released for circulation as a result of the king’s abdication in December 1936 to marry American socialite and divorcee Wallis Simpson – ending his 10-month reign.

Second set

A set of patterns for the penny was added to the royal collection, but the remainder were stored in a safe of the deputy master of the Royal Mint and not rediscovered until his death in 1950. It was then that a second set of coins was created. Some were given to the British Museum and the Royal Mint and a few privately transacted with collectors. Edward, then the Duke of Windsor, also asked for a set of ‘his coins’ but his request was declined by the king.

Spink specialist Gregory Edmund said: “It goes without saying that Edward VIII coins do not appear at auction very often. Indeed the last time this particular coin appeared was in 1978, so the sale becomes an occasion in itself. It is no surprise, therefore, that collectors the world over have fought tooth and nail to obtain this example.”

The current world record for a British penny is held by the 1933 penny of Edward VIII’s father King George V, which last changed hands in New York in 2016 for the equivalent of £150,000.