Coins, Tokens, Historical Medals and Antiquities (2 & 3 June 2021)

Date of Auction: 2nd & 3rd June 2021


Estimate: £800 - £1,000

An important relic originally awarded to “Honest Jack Althorp”, the 3rd Earl Spencer, “the most decent man who ever held high Government office”:

NORTHAMPTONSHIRE, Northampton, uniface octagonal silver, unsigned, racehorse standing right, winning-post in background, stippled field, back named (1, Ld. Spencer), 57 x 36mm, 30.73g (W 1551; D & W –; cf. DNW 138, 3232). Scuffed on the back, otherwise about very fine, extremely rare £800-£1,000


John Spencer, 3rd Earl Spencer, PC, DL, FRS (1782-1845); educ. Harrow and Trinity College, Cambridge; DL for Northamptonshire 1803; enjoyed a love for the turf and horses from an early age; MP successively for Okehampton, St Albans and Northamptonshire, 1804-34; Leader of the House of Commons and Chancellor of the Exchequer, 1830-4; considered by many as the architect of the fight to pass the Reform Bill, 1832; entered the House of Lords, 1834; first president of the Royal Agricultural Society, 1838.

Race meetings were staged unofficially at Northampton Heath in the 17th century but were regularised in the late 1730s by the Earl Spencer and in 1737 the first official meeting took place. New grandstands were erected in 1844, but before then the racecourse had the dubious reputation for also being used for public executions. Racing ceased in 1904 after a fatal accident involving spectators