Baldwin’s, GB-London

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25-09-2013 – 01-01-1970

The Arielle Collection Part One

British Colonial Coins Exceed Expectations at Official Coinex Auction

26th September 2013 saw the final Official Coinex Auction, and the start of a new adventure, with the first part of The Arielle Collection of British Colonial Coins going under the hammer. This first sale featured the most comprehensive collection of coins of British Africa to have been offered for many years. In Randy Weir’s introduction to the catalogue he suggests that, “The price you pay is quickly forgotten when you win the ‘must have’ coin that you have been chasing for years.” A room full of eager bidders that had flown in from all over the world to witness this remarkable event, obviously had this in mind, resulting in a ‘white glove’ auction with all 818 lots selling for a total of £505,092.

Lots were offered in geographical order and the auction opened with coins from British West Africa. Although the area has not been extensively studied, lots sold well, achieving solid prices across the board.

3202: British West AFRICA. George V, Brass 2-Shillings, 1928. KM 13b. Semi-prooflike, about uncirculated. Starting price 4,800 GBP. Sold for: 10,000 GBP.

Lot 3202 however set the bidders alight; this remarkable George V, brass 2-shilling survived the economic hardship of 1929 when 22,000,000 of these coins were melted down. Thought to be one of only two still in existence, it is clear why this semi-prooflike coin ultimately sold for an outstanding £12,000.

3663: East AFRICA. George V, Trial/Pattern Silver Florin, 1921 (KM 16). Frosty uncirculated and excessively rare. Starting price: 2,400 GBP. Sold for: 11,000 GBP.

As the auction moved towards coins from South Africa bidding grew stronger and lots achieved some exceptional results. The East Africa selection proved extremely popular, claiming the best prices from the sale. Lot 3663, an exceedingly rare George V trail/pattern Silver Florin, dated 1921 created much excitement, and sold for £13,200.

The last section of the sale focused on the coinage of Zanzibar, a country that has a very limited history of coinage prior to 1882 when Sultan Barghash began to issue coins. The only gold coin in the section;

3694: Zanzibar. Sultan Barghash ibn Sa’id, Gold 5-Riyals, AH 1299 (1882) (KM 6). Good extremely fine, very rare. Starting price: 6,400 GBP. Sold for: 16,000 GBP.

Lot 3694 a very fine Sultan Barghash idb Sa’id, Gold 5-Riyals attracted a lot of attention selling for £19,200, double the pre-sale estimate. Struck in Belgium at the Brussels mint, the 5-Ryials was the largest denomination minted under Sultan Barghash, the second Sultan of Zanzibar and one of only two gold coins. During this period the Sultan controlled much of the East Coast of Africa and trading routes, but was targeted by the British and German powers from 1886 onwards for control of the area. Inscribed in Arabic this gold 5-Riyals is not just a coin of beauty but a rare survival from Zanzibar that achieved a worthy and superb price.

Baldwin’s Auctioneer, Seth Freeman, commented after the sale:
 “We were delighted to be able to continue offering such important collections to our clients. The international response to this auction exceeded even our expectations and was clearly demonstrated by the number of bidders active in the room and online, as well as the prices achieved. The owner has already expressed his thanks for such a well presented catalogue and the stage is certainly set for part two next year.”

Part Two of this amazing collection will include coins of the highest grade, with rarities from Europe & the Far East to excite all collectors. Results for part one can be found online.


  • Lot 3109: British West Africa. George V, Brass Pattern 3-Pence, 1920KN, KN below bust, portrait of George V has been altered slightly and ‘strengthened’, the reverse has changes too, in the larger floral design and letters (KM 10b; FT 126, where David Vice states that this was struck at the Heaton Mint, despite the mint mark). Semi-prooflike uncirculated, unique. A curious and altogether different coin that would never have seen circulation. Sold for: £3,600
  • Lot 3253: Sierra Leone. Silver Proof Dollar, 1791, 36.2mm, struck for Boulton’s customers between 1793-1799 (FT 2A; KM 6). Attractively toned, tiny edge knocks, otherwise brilliant about uncirculated. official mintage of only 40. Sold for: £7,200
  • Lot 3270: Gold Cost. Silver Pattern 1/2-Ackey, 1818, on a broader, lighter flan (26.55mm/6.80g), arms with supporters and legend, rev head of George III right, two pellets over E of ACKEY (Vice 14; KM Pn9). Brilliant mint state, excessively rare. ex R J Ford collection, Spink Auction 88, 14 October 1991, lot 153, sold for £1850 ex H M Lingford collection The Diana collection had an example, lot 1650, that sold for £2200. I believe that four or five examples of this coin are known. I have also seen two examples in North American auctions, only one of these were catalogued as the Pattern. As commented in the Diana auction catalogue: “Quite distinctively different from the currency example. The planchet is thinner and wider at 26.6mm vs 25.3mm for the currency piece. The portrait is more in line with the English coins being produced at this time. Other differences include the placement of the denomination “1/2 TRADE ACKEY” under the bust. Sold for: £2,880
  • Lot 3274: Gold Cost. Silver Proof Ackey, 1818 (Vice 3A; KM 9). Lightly toned, a superb example. ex H M Lingford collection, with ticket ex Spink Numismatic Circular, August 2000, item 3482 The record price for this coin is the example from the Remick collection, lot 853, which sold for £3600. Sold for: £5,280
  • Lot 3294: South Africa. Orange Free State, Nickel-plated Pattern Penny, 1888V, LLC below PENNY (H 017). The odd insignificant spot, otherwise choice prooflike brilliant uncirculated. Estimated mintage of only 20. Sold for: £5,760
  • Lot 3316: South Africa. George V, Farthing, 1928 (H S7). Possibly a specimen strike, choice uncirculated. Although not listed as a Specimen, this example certainly has the attributes of one and as such it has to be particularly interesting. Note, there is a unique 1928 Proof 6-Pence known, perhaps there is a set out there and this belongs in it. Sold for: £3,600
  • Lot 3489: Rhodesia. Silver Proof Set, 1939, 3-Pence, 6-Pence, Shilling, 2-Shillings and 1/2-Crown (KM PS3).Brilliant mint state, all with light marks, this beautiful set has got to rank among the greatest rarities in the series. (5) A choice set and one of only a few sets still intact out of the original ten sets struck, two of which are “trapped” in museums in Australia and Canada. Sold for £7,200
  • Lot 3633: East Africa. George V, Silver 50-Cents/Shilling, 1920A, struck in very limited quantities at the Ackroyd and Best mint in Birmingham (KM 16). Choice mint state and probably unique in this grade. ex Pridmore Collection, lot 681, sold for £1700, a gift personally to him from the Ackroyd and Best mint. Sold for: £4,320

Estimates do not include buyer’s premium and prices achieved include the hammer price plus buyer’s premium.

Baldwin’s broadcast all of their main auctions over the internet and provides a live bidding service through The Saleroom.

A list of all prices realised in this auction is available from the Baldwin’s website.

The auction catalogue is still available at Sixbid.