The 1663 Charles II silver Crown, which set a record for an English silver coin when it sold for £180,000 at Spink on September 27.

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The coin, which was sold as part of a £1.64m sale, was an example of Thomas Simon's Petition piece.

At the Restoration, the king brought over the Dutch Roettier brothers to become his engravers at the Mint. Simon, who in turn had served Charles I and Oliver Cromwell, took this as a snub.

Soon enough, the king forgave Simon his service to Cromwell and to demonstrate his extreme skills, Simon engraved this coin and included on its edge his petition: Thomas Simon most humbly prays Your majestie… compare with the Dutch and if not more truly drawn & emboss'd. More gracefully and more accurately engraven…

The inscription runs to some 40 words in two lines.

Sadly for Simon, his own restoration to the king's favour was shortlived as he died of the plague in 1665.

A number of his drawings for seals and coins were sold at Christie's in July 1987, but for the first appearance of this celebrated coin one must travel much further back - to 1755 in fact, when it took £12 at the Dr Mead sale in London.

From then on, it was in just about every major English coin sale for 150 years.

At roughly century intervals, the prices achieved were £105 (1802) and then £155 (1908), its last auction appearance.

It was bought privately in 1944 and remained in the Glenister collection, one of the finest of English coins - out of reach of scholars.

At Spink, the buyer was Stephen Fenton, who fended off three other bidders to win it. He revealed to ATG that he had wanted one since he was a child. I understand he was offered a profit within hours of the sale.

The last example to be auctioned was the Slaney one, also at Spink, which took £120,000 in May 2003. It had previously taken £450 at Glendinings in 1950.

Mr Fenton's coin is the slightly better example, but my moles tell me that the owner of the Slaney version has already turned down an offer of £380,000 for it.

A record for an English silver coin it may be, but the record for an English gold coin more than doubles it: the £400,000 paid by Baldwin's, also at Spink, for an Edward III double florin in June 2006.

That coin is now on loan and view at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.

By Richard Falkiner