AN EXTREMELY rare copper coin marking King Edward VIII’s short reign has sold for a record price of £133,000.
The Edward VIII 1937 Pattern Penny was created as a trial coin by the Royal Mint ahead of his coronation in the same year.
However, the coin never entered mass production because he abdicated in December 1936 to marry American socialite Wallis Simpson, bringing an end to his reign.
Only a handful of the coins were created, making them desirable to collectors.
The last time a version of this coin was auctioned off was in 1978.
The coin sparked an international bidding war under the auctioneers Spink & Son in London.
It is understood the coin was bought by a British private collector in the room, who paid more than double of the auctioneer’s estimate of £60,000.
The coin sold at the hammer price of £111,000, but the extra fees tipped the final figure paid to £133,000.
The Edward VIII pattern coins were added to the Royal Collection in June 1938, and the remaining coins are stores in the safe of the Royal Mint.
It is believed Edward VIII asked the Royal Mint to give him set of the coins in 1950, but the George VI declined the request.
Auctioneer Gregory Edmund said: “The abdication crisis of 1936 forever denied the mass production of coins bearing Edward VIII’s likeness.
“The handful of his attractive trial specimens produced in anticipation of the coronation are all that exist for those seeking to complete their coin collections.
“It goes without saying that Edward VIII coins do not appear at auction very often, indeed the last time this particular coin appeared was in 1978, so the sale becomes an occasion in and of itself.
“It is no surprise therefore that collectors the world over have fought tooth and nail to obtain this example today, particularly as its extreme rarity goes hand in hand with the very fact this coin represents such a tangible link to a defining historical event within living memory.
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“It has been a privilege to handle this coin and also add to the story of this great numismatic icon.”
The previous British record for a copper coin was £72,000 for a 1933 George V Pattern Penny struck by French artists Andre Lavriller in London in May 2016.
The current world record for a British Penny is a 1933 George V coin, which sold in New York later in 2016 for £150,000.
Why was King Edward VII's reign short-lived?
King Edward VIII became king on January 20, 1936 following the death of his father George V.
His reign lasted less than a year after he decided to abdicate in order to marry American Wallis Simpson.
Wallis divorced her first husband in 1927 and then moved to London with her second husband Ernest Simpson.
Edward and Wallis met in 1931 and started to have an affair.
When Edward became king in 1936 he continued be involved with Wallis as she filed for divorce for a second time.
Edward then made his intentions to marry Wallis and the Church of England would not allow him to wed a twice-divorced woman.
He chose to abdicate on December 10, 1936 in the face of overwhelming position from the church, the government and within the royal household.
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