A sovereign depicting king Edward VIII was sold in the US to a private collector for 1 million pounds ($1.3 million). It has thus become the most expensive coin in British history.
The new owner of a 1-pound gold coin paid a million times its face value for it.
According to the collector, who asked not to be named, he could not miss the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring a coin with the image of Edward VIII home from the United States.
Six su.ch coins were issued. The coin with the image of Edward VIII never entered mass coinage and, accordingly, was not in circulation.
Less than a year after taking the throne, Edward VIII abdicated the crown to marry a divorced American woman, Wallis Simpson.
Four of these sovereigns are in museums, and private collectors hold two more. The sovereign is made of 22-carat gold, its diameter is 22 mm, and its weight is 7.98 grams.
The coin was supposed to go into mass minting in January 1937, but in December 1936, King Edward VIII signed an abdication for himself and his descendants to marry Wallis Simpson, who was in the process of divorce at the time.
Thus, only samples of this coin remained, and for several decades they were not exhibited anywhere. Edward VIII, who shortly after his abdication received the title of Duke of Windsor, asked several times for sovereigns with his image, but his brother, George VI, refused this request.
“When I had the opportunity [to buy a sovereign with an image of Edward VIII], I realized that I could not refuse it. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” says the new owner of the most expensive coin in British history.
“I understand that 1 million pounds is a lot of money to give away for one coin, but if I didn’t pay it now, I would never have had such a chance in my life,” says the owner.
The previous owner — a collector from the United States – bought this coin in 2014 for 516 thousand pounds (about 850 thousand dollars at the then exchange rate).