Incredible Gold Rider of James III of Scotland

The British Isles provide another amazing centuries-old gold piece that Stack’s Bowers Galleries is proud to offer in our Official Auction of the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Baltimore Expo, November 5-8, 2015. Our coin comes from the independent kingdom of Scotland, and their king James III. He ascended the Scottish throne in 1460 at the age of nine, though various individuals acted as regent until he came of age. The final regent, Lord Boyd, secured a marriage for the king to the Princess Margaret of Denmark. Her dowry included the Orkney and Shetland islands, the addition of which marked Scotland’s greatest territorial extent. James III’s legacy as a monarch is somewhat unflattering; he is remembered as an ineffectual and unpopular ruler.

In the realm of numismatics James III’s rule is very interesting for multiple reasons. First, new denominations were introduced including the type featured in our upcoming November Baltimore Auction, the gold Rider. This coin features an armored King James III atop a horse at full gallop. Other new denominations introduced include the gold Unicorn and the billon plack and half-plack. Other developments included the first appearance of the thistle head as a Scottish emblem on a coin and the portraits of the king in the new renaissance style, which predated English coins of the same style by a few years.

The armored King James holds a sword atop a horse riding facing left at a full gallop. The legend reads: “IACOBVS DEI GRA REX SCOTOR” which loosely translates to “James, by the grace of God, King of the Scots.” The reverse features a crowned shield bearing the coat of arms of the King of Scotland, over a long cross. The reverse legend states: “SALVM FAC POPVLVM TVVM DNE” or “O Lord save thy People.” The coin offered here is in remarkable condition, with fully original surfaces and undamaged rims. This incredible piece boasts sharp clear legends, fully detailed devices and rich subdued golden luster. The coin will add instant prestige to any collection of medieval Scottish coinage. 

Look for this and other world numismatic rarities in our upcoming Official Auction of the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Baltimore Expo in November. For details please refer to the Events Calendar link at Though our Stack’s Bowers November Baltimore Auction is no longer open for further consignments, we are now accepting consignments of world and ancient coins for our January New York International Auction as well as Chinese and other Asian coins and currency for our December 2015 Hong Kong Showcase Auction. Time is running short, so if you are interested in consigning your coins and paper currency (whether a whole collection or a single rarity) be sure to contact one of our consignment directors.

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