This week, Stack’s Bowers Galleries is proud to offer a historically monumental offering. In our upcoming August ANA World’s Fair of Money world coin auction, we will be presenting unique obverse and reverse uniface models struck in tin for the proposed Edward VIII Crown. The obverse model is the only known striking in any metal while the reverse model is known in silver. These pieces represent the short-lived reign of King Edward VIII of Great Britain, who ruled from January 20, 1936 until his abdication on December 11, 1936, a grand total of 326 days, one of the shortest-reigning monarchs in British and Commonwealth history.
When King George V died, his eldest son was elevated to the throne. Mere months into his reign, he caused a controversy within the British government by disregarding royal protocols and proposing to marry an American socialite and divorcee, Wallis Simpson. The British Prime Minister opposed the idea, arguing that the common people would not accept her as queen. Moreover, the marriage would cause additional conflict as the monarch of Britain is also the head of the Church of England, which opposes the remarriage of divorced people if their spouse is alive. King Edward VIII knew that if he continued with the marriage. his Prime Minister and government would resign. Edward chose abdication and avoided a much larger constitutional crisis. He married Ms. Simpson in France, where they lived in exile.
Before the above scandal and abdication, the Royal mint created patterns for new coinage with Edward VIII’s portraiture and name/titles. King Edward VIII cared little for tradition, including the tradition set forth by previous monarchs of alternating portrait facing. If he had followed tradition, his portrait would face right, since his father King George V’s faced left. Edward insisted on facing left, “So as to show the part in his hair”.
The first piece we feature displays the proposed obverse for Edward VIII’s Crown, with the already mentioned left facing bare head. The surrounding inscription reads: “EDWARDVS VIII D:G: BR: OMN: REX”, signifying Edward VIII, “by the Grace of God, of all the Britains King”. This design was engraved by T. Humphrey Paget, and his initials appear below the truncation. The reverse model depicts the crowned royal arms and supporters with the lower inscription of, “CROWN: 1937”. The upper inscription reads: “FID: DEF: :IND: IMP”, which stands for, “Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India”. The initials of the engraver, G. Kruger Gray appear just below the supporters. Each of these pieces has a plain reverse with “MODEL” in raised letters in the center, and each has a toothed border with a milled edge. Both pieces are housed in NGC holders, with the obverse model graded NGC PROOF-62 and the reverse model graded NGC PROOF-63. The Royal mint museum contains the finest collection of Edward VIII pattern coinage in existence; however it does not contain examples of these models. Their collection does contain a reverse model for the 1937 Crown, however it is of a different design, featuring a crowned coat of arms with different legend (see museum number RMM 14), as well as four examples of the Crown struck in silver (RMM 10-13). (RMM 12 is the British museum specimen, which has been on loan since 1973, and RMM 13 is a Matte Proof.) These examples are reportedly unique and are extremely significant historically and to numismatics.
Look for this and other world and ancient numismatic rarities in our upcoming August ANA World’s Fair of Money Auction and Sale. Preview this impressive coin along with the rest of our auction this July at the Stack’s Bowers Galleries office located in Irvine, California. For details please refer to the Events Calendar link at www.StacksBowers.com. To schedule an appointment, please call 800.458.4646. While our Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio August ANA World’s Fair of Money Auction is closed for further consignments, we are currently taking consignments of world and ancient coins for our Official Auction of the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Baltimore Expo in November. 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.