A rare British penny bearing the head of King George V has recently sold for double its pre-sale estimate, through Baldwin’s auctioneers.
The 1933 penny is the rarest coin in Britain from the 20th Century. Only a limited number of the coins were made during 1933, as so many were already held by the banks at that time. However, according to the Royal Mint Museum, a number of the 1933 coins were produced to be used for ceremonial purposes. The King placed three of the coins beneath foundation stones of buildings deemed to be important. The British Museum had two of the coins, while the remaining two were held by private collectors.
The design had four prototypes, also known as pattern pennies, which are even more rare than the 1933 coin itself. While three are in private collections, the fourth is kept at the Royal Mint Museum. One of the pattern pennies from a private collection recently sold at auction for £72,000, which is £27,000 more than one that sold a decade earlier.
One of the pennies placed beneath stones by the King has disappeared, believed to have been stolen in the 1960s during construction work. However, experts say that it is pointless to search for the missing penny, as there are many fakes around, along with pennies from that year which were made elsewhere.
Collectors are often faced with this problem, which is why they tend to source a reputable antiques dealer when purchasing antique furniture, like antique desks.
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