Lot Archive


№ 187


22 February 1995

Hammer Price:

Victoria (1837-1901), Old head, Proof Halfcrown, 1893 (ESC 727). About as struck, deeply and attractively toned

Sold with a signed hand-written letter on Royal Mint stationery by C.W. Freemantle, Deputy Master of the Royal Mint, to James Calder of Liverpool, together with the original envelope. Much of letter is of a personal nature, thanking Calder for his hospitality when on a visit to Liverpool, but it includes the following comment “will you let me send you, in memory of your goodness to me, a specimen of our first coins struck with the new designs. I hope you will accept and like the halfcrown I enclose. I am so far pleased to get a coinage which shall be at any rate a great improvement on the last.” The designs for the Jubilee coinage by Joseph Edgar Boehm had been almost universally disliked, and was openly derided by the artistic establishment and other public figures, among them the prominent English painter, Sir Edward Poynter whose comments were particularly mean spirited and spiteful. The letter provides interesting and rare documentary evidence of this contemporary controversy. See G.P. Dyer and Mark Stoker “Edgar Boehm and the Jubilee Coinage” BNJ, 1984, for an excellent essay on this subject