The Royal Mint’s ‘Great Engravers’ returns with a fifth issue, and it’s the Petition Crown, a real British numismatic rarityt
The fifth in the Royal Mint’s hit ‘Great Engravers’ series features a reproduction of a coin with an almost mythical reputation. The Petition Crown, A pattern coin designed in 1663 by Thomas Simon, a noted medallist, was never actually put into circulation, simply because he was late putting his design for the coin forward. He was beaten by the Roettiers brothers, one of whom, John, is considered to be one of the best engravers to have ever worked at the mint, even praised by Samuel Pepys himself.
Despite losing out, he submitted the coin directly to King Charles II as a personal ‘petition’ against the contemporary coins designed by the Flemish brothers John and Joseph Roettiers, and it bore his ‘petition’ engraved in 200 letters in two lines around the coin’s rim, (‘THOMAS SIMON MOST HVMBLY PRAYS YOVR MAJESTY TO COMPARE THIS HIS TRYALL PIECE WITH THE DVTCH AND IF MORE TRVLY DRAWN & EMBOSS’D MORE GRACE: FVLLY ORDER’D AND MORE ACCVRATELY ENGRAVEN TO RELEIVE HIM’.) It was remarkable minting work for the period. Only a few were ever struck, and prices today are big, with one said to have been sold in 2018 for $649,000, and one holds the sales record for an English silver crown.
As with previous coins in this very elegant series, the mint has recreated the original with modern dies to get the reproduction as crisp and defined as possible. They appear to have succeeded. As they did with the previous ‘Royal Crown’, the two faces of the original have been split over two modern coins, each of which has a current effigy (King Charles III) on the obverse. However, instead of issuing them separately (the Royal Crown was the 3rd and 4th issues in this series), the Petition Crown will be sold as a two-coin set.
It does make sense in many ways, but it also means that prices are higher, for what is already an expensive series. The choice of formats doesn’t help, with silver available in 2 oz, 5 oz, and 10 oz forms (per coin, not per set), and gold in 2 oz, 5 oz, and 1 kg forms. No 1 oz silver or 1/4 oz gold, unfortunately. There is a special, with a mintage of just one set. Each of the two coins within it tip the scales at 5 kg of gold. It’s bound to be an extraordinary looking thing, but with the 1 kg set draining your bank balance to the tune of almost £175k, we can only guess at how painful the pillaging of your bank balance will be for this one. Even the Viking’s tip a horned helmet to the Royal Mint on that score…
This is a very fine release indeed. Oozing historical significance to numismatists, it joins a range that has mined Britain’s rich portfolio of beautiful coins with great success. It’s a shame that there are no smaller variants for us mere mortals, but you have to be grateful these things exist after all. Available now.
The Royal Mint, official maker of UK coins, has today unveiled a two-coin set, featuring a remastered design produced by Thomas Simon, the Petition Crown – one of the rarest coins produced in The Royal Mint’s 1,100-year history. The two-coin set will see the Petition Crown’s obverse and reverse design remastered to appear on two individual collectable coins. The Petition Crown is a fine example of Simon’s technical, engraving and design capability and with a design that features one of the best portraits produced in The Royal Mint’s history.
The remastered Petition Crown two-coin set, forms part of The Royal Mint’s popular ‘Great Engravers’ Collection, which celebrates the finest artists and engravers who have worked on British coinage. Thomas Simon is the next engraver to be celebrated with a remastering of the well-known Petition Crown, one of the rarest coins ever produced by The Royal Mint. Other engravers such as William Wyon RA have featured as part of the collection.
The two-coin set pays tribute to the Petition Crown’s beautiful reverse design and its masterfully created obverse, which features a life-like portrait of Charles II. The two-coin set offers collectors across the globe an opportunity to own a remastered edition of one of the rarest coins produced by The Royal Mint. Only a handful of the original coins were produced, as they were pattern pieces struck for King Charles II by Simon to demonstrate his skills and abilities as an engraver.
Thomas Simon produced the Petition Crown during the reign of Charles II to regain favour, after John Roettier, a Dutch engraver, was brought over to produce coinage designs. Simon created the Petition Crown to showcase his technical and artistic ability. Despite his efforts, Thomas Simon was unsuccessful, and the Petition Crown was never formally issued, making it extremely rare to own the original coin. However, in 2007 an original example sold for £207,100 (approx. $420,000) setting a new world record price for a British silver crown at the time. More recently, an example sold in New York in 2018 for a reported $649,000.
The Royal Mint’s engraving, design and Master Tools team, ensured that Thomas Simon’s original design of the Petition Crown, was remastered authentically to stay true to Simon’s idea and design. Combining traditional engraving and craftsmanship skills with modern minting technology, The Royal Mint’s craftspeople have successfully remastered the Petition Crown for collectors across the world to admire. Remastering a coin of this calibre required specialist tooling to recreate some of the intricate details that appear on the original coin design such as the edge inscription.
While the Petition Crown features a beautiful numismatic design appearing on both the obverse and reverse, the edge inscription that appears on the coin highlights Simon’s extraordinary talent as an engraver. Featuring a direct appeal to Charles II, this unique raised edge inscription consisting of 200 letters etched across two lines, which says ‘THOMAS SIMON MOST HVMBLY PRAYS YOVR MAJESTY TO COMPARE THIS HIS TRYALL PIECE WITH THE DVTCH AND IF MORE TRVLY DRAWN & EMBOSS’D MORE GRACE: FVLLY ORDER’D AND MORE ACCVRATELY ENGRAVEN TO RELEIVE HIM’.
The Royal Mint cannot be certain exactly how Simon, during the seventeenth century, was able to produce the two lines. Even with the benefit of modern minting technology, recreating the raised edge lettering proved challenging for The Royal Mint’s team of craftspeople, who relied on traditional engraving techniques combined with innovative laser technology to produce tooling that would achieve the same effect.
Gordon Summers, Chief Engraver at The Royal Mint, “As the current Chief Engraver of The Royal Mint, I am passionate about preserving and continuing traditional minting and engraving techniques when creating coinage for collectors to admire and treasure. The Great Engravers collection highlights the exception skills of our craftspeople and is a wonderful tribute to some of the finest engravers that have worked for The Royal Mint over the centuries. The remastered Petition Crown is no exception, capturing and highlighting the technical abilities of Simon as an engraver during the 17th century. Utilising traditional engraving techniques combined with modern minting technology and innovative laser technology, the remastered Petition Crown featured is a modern interpretation of Simon’s design while also staying true to his original idea.”
“Thomas Simon’s work is not only remarkable for his obvious ability as an artist and as a highly accomplished engraver but also for his incredible ability to innovate. Even from our advantage perspective, following 350 years of scientific method, enlightenment and industrial and digital revolutions, producing raised edge inscription by the methods Simon conceived is still a huge challenge.”
Serving under Charles I, Oliver Cromwell and Charles II during his time at The Royal Mint, Thomas Simon is one of the finest engravers that Britain, has ever known. Producing intricate works on the small canvas of a coin, particularly during an era before powerful coining presses or advanced minting technology, Simon possessed outstanding engraving skills and artistic talent; his work was even acknowledged in the diaries of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn. Simon’s Petition Crown is the coin for which many know him best.
|£10 UKP||312.59 g of 0.999 silver (x2)||65.60 mm||Proof||150||£2,375.00|
|£10 UKP||156.30 g of 0.999 silver (x2)||65.60 mm||Proof||500||£1,190.00|
|£5 UKP||62.86 g of 0.999 silver (x2)||40.60 mm||Proof||3,250||£560.00|
|£5,000 UKP||5015.00 g of 0.999 gold (x2)||175.00 mm||Proof||1||A kidney or two|
|£1,000 UKP||1005.00 g of 0.999 gold (x2)||100.00 mm||Proof||6||£172,865.00|
|£500 UKP||156.30 g of 0.999 gold (x2)||50.60 mm||Proof||125||£27,935.00|
|£200 UKP||62.42 g of 0.999 gold (x2)||40.60 mm||Proof||300||£11,610.00|
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