A Staffordshire auction house resurrected a centuries-old rivalry last week, with coins dating from the respective reins of Lord Protectorate Oliver Cromwell and his adversary King Charles II going ‘head to head’ under the hammer.
Cuttlestones’ Friday 3rd June Fine Art Sale saw the two rare coins; a 1656 GOLD BROAD OF TWENTY SHILLINGS dating from the Cromwellian period (est. £8,000 – £12,000) and the CHARLES II 1662 GOLD BROAD OF TWENTY SHILLINGS (est. £3,000 and £5,000) consigned alongside one another in an ironic twist of fate. Coin collectors and Civil War buffs were out in force on the day of the sale – both in the room and placing bids via telephone, commission and live internet budding.
As forecast, it was to be Cromwell’s day – but, with the hammer falling at an estimate-shattering £22,000, even the experts were left surprised. The Charles II example followed suit; selling for an impressive £11,000.
MD and Head Auctioneer, Ben Gamble, said, “The prices realised by these coins surprised everyone – including the telephone bidders, who were out in force! However, they were very rare items in exceptional condition and we had huge interest in both lots before the sale. The Cromwellian coin in particular is a very special example – not only due to the short period of Cromwell’s rein but that it was one of the very first coins made using the modern minting method rather than being struck by hand, so it really got the enthusiasts in a spin. This, and the subsequent price achieved by the less rare Charles II coin, just shows how a bidding war can develop and send prices well beyond expectations!”
Both historic coins sold to a London-based bidder, who had travelled to the Midlands to attend the sale in person.