The North Yorkshire Moors Collection of British Coins formed by Marvin Lessen (Part 2) (3 July 2019)

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Date of Auction: 3rd July 2019

Sold for £9,500

Estimate: £3,000 - £4,000

Richard I (1189-1199), Penny, class IIa, Lichfield, Johan, ioan · on · lihef’l, 1.21g/10h (Lessen, SNC 1974, p.191, this coin; Mass, SNC 1988, p.314, ‘2nd Specimen’, this coin; SCBI Mass 714, same dies [= DNW 61, 148]; Brand pl. 1, 28, same dies; N 965; S 1346). Flat in parts, otherwise good fine and toned, exceptionally rare; only two Pennies of this mint available to commerce £3,000-£4,000

Footnote

Provenance: Adams Family Collection; Massachusetts Historical Society Collection, Part II, Stack’s Auction (New York), 17-18 September 1971, lot 886 (part); bt A.G. Malloy July 1972.

Only four coins are known of this mint, all from the same dies, namely 1) British Museum (E 2042; 1.28g/3h), illustrated by Lawrence (BNJ XI, pl. 1, 4), and the subject of some debate as to its genuineness by Michael Dolley and Francis Elmore Jones at the British Numismatic Society meeting on 27 September 1960, and by John Brand (BNJ 1964, pp.57-8), until the discovery of 2), the present piece, buried within a group of short cross pence collected, most likely, by Charles Francis Adams (1807-86) when resident in London in the 1860s and donated by his son to the Massachusetts Historical Society in 1913 (see Lessen I, lot 217, footnote). In publishing this coin in 1974, Marvin Lessen cast aside any doubt hinted at by previous authors as to the genuineness of the British Museum example; the dealer Alex Malloy’s envelope, sold with the coin, clearly states that he (Malloy) was also in no doubt of the coin’s genuineness and notes that it was sent to John Brand for study by Mr Lessen after he (Lessen) acquired it in the summer of 1972. The lot is also accompanied by an envelope in the hand of Marion Archibald, who was shown the coin by Brand. Subsequently, Jeffrey Mass (SNC December 1988, pp.314-15) put on record a cut halfpenny, 3), acquired from a metal detectorist by Joseph Bispham and passed to Mass earlier that year, which was purchased by a collector in North America at the first Mass sale in 2004, and 4) a specimen discovered in 2017, is now in a British private collection.

Prior to his departure for Palestine on crusade and by way of a charter dated 12 November 1189, Richard I granted a pair of dies and a moneyer to Bishop Hugh de Nonant of Coventry, for use at Lichfield (Mass, SNC December 1988, p.314, and Allen, in SCBI Mass, pp.2-3)