British Tokens from the Collection of Dr Ronald Ward

Date of Auction: 7th December 2015

Sold for £120

Estimate: £150 - £200

Engraved coin: George III, Penny, 1797, obv. engraved (Fauntleroy the Robber of Widows & Orphans Executed 1824). Coin mediocre, engraving very fine, an unusual memento; at least three other similar pieces known


Provenance: Bt M. Fuld December 1975.

Henry Fauntleroy (1784-1824), banker, joined the family firm of Marsh, Stracey, Fauntleroy & Graham in Berners street, London, as a clerk in 1800 and became acting partner in 1814. In September 1824 the bank suspended payment after Fauntleroy, who liked to model himself on Napoleon and considered himself the Napoleon of commerce, was arrested on the charge of appropriating trust funds by forging the trustees’ signatures, including that of Lady Nelson, a practice he had started in 1815. In that period he had embezzled stock to the value of £170,000, although it was freely rumoured that the true amount was closer to £250,000 which, it was said, he had squandered freely in debauchery and high living, with mansions in London and Brighton, an extensive wine cellar and a cohort of mistresses to support, including the pseudonymous ‘Mrs Bang’. At his trial at the Old Bailey on 28 October 1824 no less than 17 merchants and bankers gave evidence as to his general integrity, but the jury was not swayed, taking only 20 minutes to convict him and a sentence of death was passed. After two unsuccessful appeals by his counsel, Fauntleroy was hanged at Newgate by the Brighton hangman, James Botting, on 30 November 1824. A similar piece sold at auction in London in March 2011 for £410