Elizabeth I, sixth issue, sovereign, mm. tun (1592(?)-1593), queen enthroned holding orb and sceptre, portcullis at feet, back of throne decorated with pellets, the uprights plain, ELIZABETH D G ANG ET HIB REGINA, rev. shield of arms on Tudor rose, A DNO FACTV EST ISTVD ET EST MIRAB IN OCVLIS NRS, pellet stops, wt. 15.39gms. (S.2529; N.2003; Schneider 783; Brown & Comber A26), of exceptional quality, beautifully struck up with an outstanding portrait, extremely fine or better
*ex Spink Auction 32, 1 December 1983, lot 316
Leu Numismatik, Auction 89, 21 October 2003
This beautiful example of Elizabeth’s largest gold coin reveals, among other things, an image of the monarch which the poet Edmund Spenser romantically alluded to as ‘Gloriana’ in the first of six ‘books’ of The Faerie Queene, reflecting the queen’s great popularity. It was first published in 1589. Centuries later it would inspire another money engraver when he recalled the concept for Victoria in her largest gold coin, and again the word gained acceptance among the queen’s subjects. This final issue of Elizabeth’s gold sovereign began in 1583 and either five or six initial marks appeared during this time. The initial mark tun seen on this specimen was the final such mark used on the gold sovereigns of this late period, possibly being employed as late as 1594. By the end of the reign, Elizabeth had restored her money’s physical beauty as well as its fineness, which as North states succinctly had been so ‘shamefully’ debased by her father. Craig seems to have had the last word (The Mint, p. 132) on this topic: ‘The English coinage of the reign passed the then phenomenal total of £5,400,000. £794,138 was coined in gold, and £3,849,753 in silver, besides the £783,248 of specific recoinage. Nearly the whole of the new bullion imported was believed by the Mint to be the plunder of Spain’.