The smaller six-coin set contains a silver crown, half crown, florin, shilling, sixpence and threepence with a 10-coin set including four gold coins (a five pounds piece, two pounds piece, sovereign and half sovereign).
Engraver Thomas Brock (1847-1922) was given the task of producing what would become known as the ‘widow head’, ‘veiled head’ or ‘old head’ bust of the monarch. His initials TB appear in relief in the field below the shoulder.
Records at the Royal Mint suggest a total of 773 of the larger sets were issued but, in a strong market for the best-preserved English gold coins, it is not unusual for a good example to bring more than £20,000 – a tenfold increase on what it might have made at the turn of the 21st century. The condition of the £5 piece – the most valuable single coin in the set – is key.
A £40,000 set
The set (above) offered by Adam Partridge (20% buyer’s premium) in Macclesfield on April 13 came with a letter dated 1976 from a numismatist in Blackburn offering it for sale at £1250. Some of the elements were good rather than pristine but, estimated at £3000-5000, it took £40,000.
Two complete 1893 proof sets were offered by Roseberys in London last November as part of an 85-lot consignment from the Schroder merchant banking family. Estimated at £2000-3000, they took £90,000 and £75,000.