British and World Coins

Th, 23.11.2017, from 05:00 PM CET
The auction is closed.


SWEDEN. Johan III, 1568-92. Gold 6 Mark 1590, Stockholm. 2.7 g. Mintage 1,623. Ahlstrom 13 (XR). In early 1589, both Sweden and Russia prepared for war. An armistice between the two countries was about to end a year later, and the Swedish king Johan III urgently needed cash for the coming expenses. This was the start of the second inflation period during Johan’s reign. During the following years both round coins and klippes with a quickly decreasing silver content were produced. In 1590 a series of gold coins in mark denominations were also struck. The first coinage decree concerning these coins was issued by the king in August 1590. To start with, gold coins in the denominations 12, 6 and 3 marks were struck; at the end of the month larger ones with a face value of 48 and 24 marks were also produced. However, the gold content in these never exceeded 583/1000 and they were probably regarded as typical inflation coins by the people. According to the accounts from the Mint, they were mostly used for paying foreign mercenaries and merchants. The gold for the minting of these coins came partly from a special tax, levied by the king personally and paid by the cities in Sweden. King Johan delivered various foreign gold coins to the Mint to be melted down, mostly German goldgulden, English angels and Hungarian ducats. The coinage of mark denominations in gold continued in 1591, but the production was lower and was soon halted. Only 1623 pieces of the 6-mark were struck in 1590 and very few of these have survived until today. Astley Levin, who published a catalogue of king Johan III’s coins in Numismatiska meddelanden XI in 1887, was only able to locate seven specimens, of which one has remained in a private collection. A second 6-mark 1590 in private hands– the one offered here – was first seen in public at a coin fair in Stockholm in February 1975, when it was shown to the late dealer Bjarne Ahlström by the owners, who were asking for an appraisal. The story behind the coin is remarkable; it was found circa 1912 by a young boy in Linköping, Sweden. It was then kept in the family and recently sold by the boy’s relatives. The coin is in a remarkable condition; the slight chip in the edge and the planchet cracks do not disturb the overall impression of this extremely rare and historically interesting coin.

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Price realized 36'000 GBP
Starting price 30'000 GBP
Estimate 40'000 GBP
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