NGC-certified Edward VIII Gold 5 Sovereign Realizes $2.28 Million, Smashing the Record for a British Coin Sold at Auction

Posted on 29/03/2021

Now the world’s most expensive British coin, the Edward VIII Gold 5 Sovereign became the fifth NGC-certified coin to top $1 million in 2021.

An extremely rare Edward VIII Pattern Gold 5 Sovereign certified by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation® (NGC®) has realized a spectacular $2.28 million, smashing the record for a British coin sold at auction. It was the top lot among 701 world and ancient rarities offered from the NGC-certified Paramount Collection, which has now realized a breathtaking $48,476,663 in two extraordinary sales by Heritage Auctions.

The Edward VIII Gold 5 Sovereign also became the fifth NGC-certified coin to top $1 million in just the first three months of 2021. In a February sale of US rarities from the Paramount Collection, a 1907 Double Eagle realized $3.6 million and an 1880 Coiled Hair Stella realized $1.86 million. The three Paramount Collection coins are joined by two NGC-certified Brasher Doubloons from the Partrick Collection that were sold in January: a 1787 ‘EB’ on Wing Brasher Doubloon that realized $9.36 million and a 1786 Lima-Style Brasher Doubloon that realized $2.1 million.

Great Britain 1937 Gold Pattern Edward VIII 5 Sovereign graded NGC PF 67 Ultra Cameo and pedigreed to the Paramount Collection. Realized: $2,280,000
Click images to enlarge.

Soaring well beyond its pre-auction estimate of $1 million, the 1937 Edward VIII Gold Pattern 5 Sovereign (lot 30339) is graded NGC PF 67 Ultra Cameo. The stratospheric $2.28 million price set multiple records, including the highest price ever paid for a world coin sold at a Heritage Auctions sale and the highest price ever paid for a British coin.

It is one of just two examples known in private hands. Only a few pattern coins across all denominations were produced for Edward VIII after his coronation in 1936. Less than a year into his reign, he gave up the throne to marry an American socialite, and his coinage was never issued.

NGC-certified English gold rarities dominated in the sale, and almost all of them crushed their pre-auction estimates. So ambitious is the Paramount Collection that a total of 36 NGC-certified coins realized at least $250,000 each in the world and ancient sale.

"The number of NGC-certified coins in this sale that dramatically exceeded their pre-auction estimates is jaw-dropping," said Ben Wengel, NGC Senior Grading Finalizer of World Coins. "NGC is proud that its trusted certification services helped the Paramount Collection achieve its maximum potential."

The second-highest price realized was $780,000 for an England 1662 Gold (Off Metal Strike) Crown, graded NGC PF 63 Cameo (lot 30294). It more than tripled its pre-auction estimate of $150,000 to $200,000. One of only a few survivors known, the coin dates to early in the reign of Charles II, just after the English monarchy was restored in 1660.

England 1662 Gold (Off Metal Strike) Crown graded NGC PF 63 Cameo and pedigreed to the Paramount Collection. Realized: $780,000
Click images to enlarge.

Meanwhile, a Great Britain 1773 Gold Pattern 5 Guineas graded NGC PF 64 Cameo (lot 30319) realized $750,000, far exceeding its pre-auction estimate of $150,000 to $250,000. This is one of only seven known examples of this coin, which dates to relatively early in the long reign of King George III.

Great Britain 1773 Gold Pattern 5 Guineas graded NGC PF 64 Cameo and pedigreed to the Paramount Collection. Realized: $750,000
Click images to enlarge.

Other highlights included a Great Britain 1731 5 Guineas graded NGC PF 64+ (lot 30313) that realized $660,000 and a Great Britain 1820 Pattern Gold 5 Sovereign graded NGC PF 63+★ Ultra Cameo (lot 30320) that realized $504,000. Each obliterated their pre-auction estimates of $150,000 to $200,000 and $200,000 to $250,000, respectively.

So immense is the Paramount Collection that its example of an “Una and the Lion” — typically a headline-grabbing coin in other auctions — had the sixth-highest price realized among British coins in the sale. With a design celebrating Queen Victoria’s ascension to the throne, the 1839 Gold 5 Sovereign graded NGC PF 63 Ultra Cameo (lot 30186) realized $456,000, roaring past its pre-auction estimate of $150,000 to $250,000.

“The Paramount Collection is among the most important collections that Heritage has ever handled, and the most significant collection of world and ancient coins to come onto the market in at least a generation,” said Cristiano Bierrenbach, Executive Vice President of International Numismatics at Heritage Auctions. “Helped by the confidence that NGC certification brought to our bidders, we are extremely proud of these extraordinary results.”

Other NGC-certified highlights in the Paramount world and ancients sale included:

  • a France 1640A 10 Louis d'Or graded NGC MS 61 (lot 30162) that realized $456,000, far above its pre-auction estimate of $100,000 to $150,000
  • an Austria 1655 20 Ducat graded NGC AU 55 (lot 30111) that realized $432,000, far above its pre-auction estimate of $80,000 to $120,000
  • a Bohemia (1612) 5 Ducat graded NGC MS 63 (lot 30130) that realized $408,000, far above its pre-auction estimate of $20,000 to $40,000
  • a Germany 1623 10 Ducat graded NGC MS 62+ (lot 30259) that realized $384,000, far above its pre-auction estimate of $30,000 to $50,000
  • an Italy 1610 10 Doppie graded NGC MS 61 (lot 30364) that realized $384,000, far above its pre-auction estimate of $150,000 to $250,000
  • a Germany 1695 10 Ducat graded NGC AU 58 (lot 30245) that realized $372,000, far above its pre-auction estimate of $50,000 to $75,000
  • an Austria GFN 1690 Gold Joseph I Coronation Medal graded NGC MS 61 PL (lot 30120) that realized $360,000, far above its pre-auction estimate of $100,000 to $200,000
  • an Italy 1663 10 Scudi d'Oro graded NGC MS 61+ (lot 30384) that realized $336,000, far above its pre-auction estimate of $60,000 to $80,000
  • a Germany (1599-1633) 20 Ducat graded NGC AU 55 (lot 30218) that realized $336,000, far above its pre-auction estimate of $150,000 to $250,000
  • an England 1693 5 Guinea graded NGC MS 64 PL (lot 30302) that realized $336,000, far above its pre-auction estimate of $150,000 to $200,000
  • a Roman Empire, Magnentius (AD 350-353) Gold Medallion graded NGC Ancients MS★, 5/5 Strike, 3/5 Surface, with Fine Style (lot 30066) that realized $336,000, far above its pre-auction estimate of $100,000 to $150,000
  • an England 1703 5 Guineas graded NGC UNC Details (lot 30309) that realized $324,000, far above its pre-auction estimate of $100,000 to $200,000
  • a Great Britain 1817 Three Graces Pattern Silver Crown graded NGC PF 65 (lot 30318) that realized $312,000, far above its pre-auction estimate of $80,000 to $100,000
  • an England 1663 Petition Crown graded NGC XF 40 (lot 30295) that realized $312,000, far above its pre-auction estimate of $80,000 to $100,000
  • a Roman Empire, Maxentius (AD 307-312) Gold Medallion graded NGC Ancients MS, 5/5 Strike and 2/5 Surface, with Fine Style (lot 30065) that realized $312,000, far above its pre-auction estimate of $100,000 to $200,000
  • a France 1640A 8 Louis d'Or graded NGC MS 61 (lot 30161) that realized $300,000, far above its pre-auction estimate of $60,000 to $80,000
  • a Germany 1795 15 Ducat graded NGC MS 62★ PL (lot 30256) that realized $300,000, far above its pre-auction estimate of $20,000 to $40,000

Prices realized include buyer’s premium. All estimates are provided by the auction house in US dollars.

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