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Described as "a unique opportunity to acquire a piece of history", the bidding for this piece - the highlight of a sale of "One Hundred Numismatic Rarities - opened at £160,000. An anguished pause in the room was filled by bidding between a member of Baldwin's staff and a telephone, before it fell to the latter at a price that is the second highest paid at auction for an English coin.

ATG understand that both bidders were likely to keep this piece in the country, so an application for an export licence currently looks unlikely. The price exceeds by £10,000 that obtained by Spink for an Anglo-Saxon gold coin in November 2004. The record for an English coin stands at £400,000 for the Edward III double Leopard at Spink in June which was bought by Baldwin's for the Avarae fund which they manage.

Baldwin's 100 sale realised a total of £626,950. The concept of a 100-lot rarity sale derives from a series incepted by Jean-Paul Divo in Zurich over the last decade. The idea is to present spectacular numismatic items to a wide public.

By Richard Falkiner