An Important Group of Ephemera relating to Thomas Graham, Master of the Mint

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Date of Auction: 4th December 2019

Sold for £650

Estimate: £300 - £400

Queen Victoria’s Approval of the New Bronze Coinage, 1860:

ALS from William Gladstone at 11 Downing Street, Whitehall, 6 August 1860, to Thomas Graham, Esq, confirming Queen Victoria’s approval of the new British bronze coinage, 1pp. Very fine, important; in a marbled paper holder


The text reads: “My dear Sir. Her Majesty is well satisfied with the Copper coins as they now stand: you may therefore, I trust be at once enabled to proceed with dispatch. Please to let me know if striking can begin forthwith. Yours faithfully, W. Gladstone.”

In early June 1860 the first proofs of the new bronze penny were struck, and by the end of the month Thomas Graham had submitted specimens to Gladstone for approval by Queen Victoria. The monarch requested alterations to the portrait, which were made and further specimens submitted. Final approval from the Queen followed and a copy of this historic letter from Gladstone, made by Wyon, was partly quoted by Dyer and Gaspar (BNJ 1984, p.268). By the end of September 1860 production of the new coins, in all denominations, was under way at the Mint