Coin collectors would cringe at the idea of a rare coin being played with like a children's toy. Yet this is exactly what one man was allowed to do as a little boy—and had been allowing his own son to enjoy in the time since. That is, until they found out how valuable the coin was!
Now, this overlooked gold five-guinea coin could net the owner six figures at auction.
In most cases, when someone sifts through the family heirlooms or reflects upon familial "hand-me-downs," the exercise is more focused on finding items of personal or sentimental value rather than those that possess true historical rarity. The chances of such a lucrative discovery are incredibly low, anyway.
Yet when Hertfordshire, U.K. man received a three-century old British gold coin from his grandfather as a child, the notion of the relic's historic (and monetary!) value was hardly a thought. Rather, it was quaint plaything for the young lad when he wanted to play pirates.
The boy—now a father himself—could never have imagined how true to reality his imaginary pirate escapades with the gold coin were! The coin has unsuspectingly been passed down through the family for four generations.
Minted in 1702 from gold that British privateers seized from Franco-Spanish ships returning from the Americas, this British Gold "Vigo" 5 Guineas coin matches its swashbuckling provenance with staggering absolute rarity. A mere 20 of these coins with inscriptions reading "VIGO" (for Vigo Bay off the Spanish coast) were produced. It is estimated that only 15 are extant. Queen Anne is depicted on the obverse of the coin.
Fittingly, the coin was kept in a little toy treasure chest. In fact, this is still where it was stored until the coin's inheritor found out how much it could potentially be worth as a collectible.
The coin will be sold on November 16th in London by Bonington's Auctioneers. Because it's so exceptionally rare, the fact that coin has been handled and may be slightly more worn is less important. It is expected to fetch around £250,000 (~$312,500), a sum that would be a record-breaking high for the auction house. Another coin of the same type dated 1703 realized nearly $400,000 in February of this year.
The opinions and forecasts herein are provided solely for informational purposes, and should not be used or construed as an offer, solicitation, or recommendation to buy or sell any product.