After sitting forgotten in a cabinet for nearly 50 years, a 'remarkable' collection of Tudor, Stuart and Commonwealth coins is set to sell for £500,000 at auction.
Amid the stunning set is a Henry VIII coin valued at £60,000, which was struck in tribute to the Tudor king's first wife, Catherine of Aragon, in around 1526–29.
Other highlights include an Elizabeth I 'Ship Ryal' Rose Noble coin from the year of the Spanish Armada — one of only three known to still exist — valued at £60,000.
Meanwhile, a coin from the reign of Edward VI, the so-called 'Boy King' and son of Henry VIII who took the throne at the age of nine, has been valued at £6,000.
The coins were amassed by the noted numismatist Horace Hird in the period from the early 1920s to his death in 1973. They are now being sold by his relatives.
Mr Hird's collection will go under the hammer at the London-based auction house of Spink & Son on September 28 this year.
The sale contains 'arguably the most impressive collection of Tudor coins to come on to the market for 70 years', and has come as a surprise to numismatists.
Mr Hird had widely been thought to have sold or gifted away the entirety of his collection by the 1960s. However, it appears he retained the 52 coins now on sale.
Included within Mr Hird collection's is also a James I Spur Ryal coin (dated to 1611–1612) which has been valued at £60,000.
A Charles I Pattern Unite minted in 1630 and originally worth 20 shillings is expected to sell for at least £25,000, while a Henry VII Sovereign coin from 1504–1509 could be sold for some £30,000.
A Double Crown from 1651, which has an usual spelling mistake, with 'Commonwealth' written with three 'M's, has also has been estimated at £10,000.'We had a call from a descendant of Horace Hird earlier this year to look at the coins,' said Spink & Son auctioneer and coin specialist Gregory Edmund.
'They had been untouched since the 1960s and were still wrapped up with their paperwork.
'His once-in-a-lifetime collection includes a complete series of "Double Rose Nobles" or "Sovereigns" as issued for the Dutch Revolt.'
These coins were minted to pay for the English forces that occupied Holland during the Anglo-Dutch Revolt of 1585–1587.
'There is also an extremely rare example of the Rose Noble or 'Ryal', depicting Elizabeth I in a ship, as issued for the year of the Spanish Armada,' Mr Edmund said.
The coin depicts the Virgin Queen on board a war galleon, holding an orb and sceptre. Despite being championed by Elizabeth I's 'favourite' statesman, Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester, the coin proved commercially unsuccessful.
It was beset by local imitations and a poor supply from the Royal Mint, resulting in only 6,000 being produced, or which just three examples are known to remain.
'Words fail to express the significance of this coin to the story of the English nation,' the auctioneer continued.
'Whilst three portraits exist of Elizabeth I in the aftermath of the Armada — at Greenwich, Woburn Abbey and the National Portrait Gallery — these paintings have been subject to restoration and alteration over subsequent centuries.
'This coin remains an unchanged and true contemporary record of one of the most seismic chapters in this island's story.'
'Once in a lifetime is often overused in discussion prior to auction, but in this case it is simply an understatement,' Mr Edmund continued.
'Such a complete assemblage of this series, as Horace has diligently formed, has to my knowledge not been achieved at public auction since 1950.
'It is as great a testament as any to the calibre of Hird's contribution to the long and illustrious history of British numismatics.'