It was about a quarter of a century ago that Mr Foley, a picture dealer specialising mainly in British portraits, realised that medallic coins and commemorative medals illustrating the history of Britain from the late 15th to the early 18th centuries were relatively undervalued. His first purchase was a rare oval uniface Naval Reward medal of 1588 bearing a portrait of Elizabeth I.
The main emphasis of this 591-lot collection is the Elizabethan and the Civil War period. It includes many individual rarities such as the Naval Reward for Captains gold medal, one of 80 struck in 1653 by Thomas Simon whose name appears to stern of the Dutch ship sinking in the foreground. This is popularly known as the Blake Medal, named for Robert Blake, General at Sea of the Commonwealth of England and one of the greatest of all naval commanders.
This carries the sale's highest estimate of £30,000-40,000.
Point of Reference
The sale has been catalogued in great detail by Daniel Fearon and the catalogue promises to be a permanent reference, taking its place alongside Christopher Eimer's standard reference on the subject, the second edition of British Commemorative Medals and their Values published 2010 by Spink.
The price guide in the latter was deliberately set on the optimistic side so as to give the work greater longevity but it is indicative of the recent interest in this area of numismatics that many values have already been confidently exceeded.
The collection will be on view in London at the time of the Coinex fair on Friday, September 26, and on the following day at the Millennium Hotel in Grosvenor Square.