A £1 coin featuring the Queen’s uncle Edward VIII has sold for a record £1m to a private collector in a deal brokered by the Royal Mint.
The coin, one of only six produced, commemorates the ascension to the throne of Edward VIII in January 1936.
He then abdicated in December that same year to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson, leaving his brother George, Queen Elizabeth II’s father, to become king.
The 22-carat coin was one of only six ever made, as the coin was not circulated to the public after the royal’s abdication. In fact its existence was hidden from the public for decades afterwards, said Royal Mint Collector Services’ Matt Curtis.
“The Edward VIII sovereign is part of numismatic legend – belonging to a series of coins that were never meant to exist,” he said.
“This sovereign is significant not only because of its rarity, but because it sits at the heart of an international story and has been treasured by collectors in both the UK and US.”
It is also unusual in that Edward broke with a tradition to that point of monarchs facing in opposite directions on their coins, as he preferred his left profile.
The coin, which weighs just 7.98g, was one of only two believed to belong to private collectors. The other four belong to museums and other institutions like the Royal Mint Experience, where it is on permanent public display.
Rebecca Morgan, head of collector services for the Royal Mint, said: “The Edward VIII Sovereign is one of the rarest and most collectable coins in the world, so it’s no surprise that it has set a new record for British coinage. We were delighted to be able to locate such a special coin for our customer, and bring it back to the UK to make history once more.
“The Royal Mint has an unbroken record of minting for 1,100 years so we’re uniquely placed to source historic, British coins for our customers.
“Our coin finding and authentication service draws on original documentation and the latest technology to provide customers with complete confidence that coins are genuine, and help them to create a collection with purpose.”