Rare Edward VIII coin sells for record £1 million

17 January 2020

The coin was never released due to the monarch's abdication


A rare Edward VIII sovereign has been sold for £1 million, a new record for a British coin.

It was bought by a private buyer in the UK after the Royal Mint located it from a collector in the US.

The 22-carat gold coin belongs to a small collection of ‘trial sets’ created following Edward VIII’s ascension to the throne in January 1936.

Just months later the country was thrown into a constitutional crisis over his romantic involvement with the divorcee Wallis Simpson and he abdicated in December, leaving his brother George to become king.

Only six of the coins were ever produced but they were not released due to his abdication.

The coin is also unique as Edward VIII broke with the tradition of monarch's heads facing in opposite directions as he preferred his left profile.

It is just one of two examples thought to be in private ownership. The remaining four are in museums and institutions, including the Royal Mint Experience, where it is on permanent display to the public.

Rebecca Morgan, head of collector services for The Royal Mint, says: “The Edward VIII Sovereign is one of the rarest and most collectable coins in the world, so it’s no surprise that it has set a new record for British coinage.  We were delighted to be able to locate such a special coin for our customer, and bring it back to the UK to make history once more.

“The Royal Mint has an unbroken record of minting for 1,100 years so we’re uniquely placed to source historic, British coins for our customers. Our coin finding and authentication service draws on original documentation and the latest technology to provide customers with complete confidence that coins are genuine, and help them to create a collection with purpose.”

Matt Curtis, Royal Mint collector services, says “The Edward VIII Sovereign is part of numismatic legend – belonging to a series of coins that were never meant to exist, and were hidden from the public for decades. This Sovereign is significant not only because of its rarity, but because it sits at the heart of an international story and has been treasured by collectors in both the UK and US.

“Collecting historic coins is more popular than ever, and helps people engage with the history of their nation and their family. The Edward VIII Sovereign is certainly one of the rarest coins in the world but we hope it will help inspire others to look through their homes and see what treasures are hidden.”

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