England, Mary I, 1553-1554, Gold Fine Sovereign of Thirty Shillings, MDLIII (1553)
14.81 grams. S.2488. N.1956. Schneider Coll. Vol. I: 704. Mintmark: Pomegranate/Pomegranate after MARIA. Queen enthroned holding orb and scepter, portcullis at feet, date MDLIII at end of legend; reverse: square topped shield in center of Tudor rose, within double tressure, double annulet stops, the legend A DNO FACTV EST ISTV Z EST MIRA IN OCVL NRIS surrounds. Mary, the daughter of King Henry VIII reigned for a brief five years before her premature death in 1558. All of Mary's gold coins are rare. This sovereign, the largest of the gold coins of the period, is unusually nice for the issue. Good portrait and detail, a nicely struck example with light wear over the centers. The legends are quite strong, and as a pedigree identifier, there is a small planchet flaw at 1 o'clock when viewing the obverse. Pleasant rose-gold toning with traces of luster within the lettering.
Now valued at 30 shillings, and of larger and finer style than preceding types, the impressive "fine gold" sovereign of Queen Mary I shows the Tudor queen enthroned and holding the implements of state, a large portcullis "stop" at her feet. Dated in Roman numerals. Biblical inscription in Latin as reverse legend translates as "This is the Lord's doing and it is marvelous in our eyes." An excellent example of this important rarity, made possible as a large and evenly struck gold piece of high purity by improvements at the mint which included, for the first time, crude mechanical methods for rolling metal, cutting the blanks from sheets of gold, and striking them using techniques introduced by Italian artisans. This improvement in technology may be seen here in the sharpness of the small details in the portrait, the overall clarity of impression of the dies, and the centering. Not all gold coins of this period claim these fine qualities, and it is evident that improvements were not consistent at the mint in the early 1550s. Ex: Stack's, Vermeule, Ward, and Mexico Maxico Collections, (1/2010), lot 762, flip accompanies.