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Supremely Rare Great Britain 1922/24 Specimen Proof Set; The "Osage Collector" Mystery

7Jaguars7Jaguars Posts: 7,182 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited December 2, 2023 7:19AM in World & Ancient Coins Forum

The recent private sale by Sovereign Rarities this last week of the extremely rare Great Britain Satin Specimen 1924 threepence brought this to my attention as Heritage held a sale in about 2005 that also held other rare matte GB sets as well as other world coins. Interesting that he or she saw fit to sell these coins which represented some very scarce coins and sets (to say the least!). Does anybody know or can they speculate as to who the Osage Collector was or is? Here is the background given by Sovereign.

The coin mentioned was snapped up for 5,000 pounds on pre-sale:

George V Specimen Matt Satin Finish 1924 Threepence SP64 of highest rarity

George V (1910-36), Matt Satin finish Proof silver Threepence, 1924, bare head left, B.M raised on truncation for engraver Betram MacKennal, legend and toothed border surrounding, GEORGIVS VII D. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:, rev. crowned mark of value within oak wreath, date either side of 3, weight 1.43g (Bull 3942; ESC -; Davies -; S.4026). Toned practically as struck, graded by PCGS SP64 S-4026 Satin Specimen, and of the highest rarity, one of only two examples known to the cataloguer.

PCGS certification 204682.64/47311924 - top of the graded population as Specimen 64.

The Latin legend translates as "George the Fifth, by the grace of God, King of all the Britons, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India."

The only small silver coins required for the 1923 to 1924 period were for Maundy purposes which were given a brilliant proof-like finish of which there were 1,430 threepences struck in 1923 and 1,515 threepences in 1924, there were no currency pieces issued in these years at all and the existence of this satin finish specimen and its companion coin are an interesting anomaly but prepared for good reasons. They were actually both prepared as part of two satin finish specimen sets of coins supplied to the South African Mint in 1924 soon after its opening in 1923. Each of the two sets, one to display obverse and the other the reverse, consisted of an unusual array of coins the most notable among them being the 1922 dated Penny with the 1927 reverse in specimen format. These unusual satin finish British coins were also part of a larger group of British Colonial and Empire coins also with similar satin finishes as part of the museum display which was disbanded and sold to now defunct British dealer Dolphin Coins in the late Summer of 1997. The British element of the holdings then found there way to Spink and Son Ltd via the auspices of now defunct dealer Grantham Coins, whereas the colonial pieces found their way later to North America with dealers Karl Stephens and Randy Weir. This cataloguer was working with Spink at this time and sold the best looking and superior satin finish set complete and intact immediately to one collector who wanted it principally for the unusual Penny as up to that time the 1927 reverse Penny dated 1922 was only know by a few well circulated coins. The second set, having no buyer available for it intact was broken down to sell to individual collectors of the varying series and consisted of a satin finish 1924 Halfcrown, 1924 Florin, 1924 Shilling, 1924 Sixpence, 1924 Threepence, the 1922 Penny with 1927 reverse (there are no pennies dated 1923, 1924 or 1925), 1924 Halfpenny and 1924 Farthing. The senior coins all found new homes with collectors quickly as well as the unusual Penny, but the smaller coins ended up appearing for sale in the Spink Numismatic Circular and sold from there where we see the Threepence listed in December 1997 - item 5989 followed by the Halfpenny and Farthing listed in the March 1998 edition as items 1224 and 1267 respectively.

As they only turned up within the last 25 years these coins were not listed in the old edition of English Silver Coinage nor in the Davies publication and were added to the next available edition of the Spink Standard Catalogue and remain listed today (though the Farthing has been recently omitted, surely in error).

To complete the contemporary picture as it were, other experimental trial pieces were being struck in this period dated 1924 and there is an example of the Threepence struck in gold which has a number "4" stamped in the field. This being the last coin struck in a short series of gold 1924 Sixpences plus one Threepence, the sixpences being numbered 1 to 3.

To complete the provenance since the late nineties, a keen USA based collector attempted to reform the dispersed coins from the second set in the early 2000s and subsequently by 2003 had bought the superior complete set too. The collector kept what he considered the best and then sold one complete satin finish set in the Heritage New York signature sale of 12th January 2004 as the Osage Collection, lot 15206. This Threepence was in that set since dispersed and now graded at 64 level. The other Threepence with satin finish the collector retained is slabbed and graded by PCGS on the 63 level of grade as certificate number 204682.63/2818125.

It is most likely these coins will remain the only two known in the future as the museum holding was fully dispersed.

The story is intriguing, and the provenance speaks for itself and the Threepence is the ultimate accolade for any collector in addition to the unique gold version.

I believe the Tyrant Collector does NOT have this set.

Love that Milled British (1830-1960)
Well, just Love coins, period.


  • pruebaspruebas Posts: 4,276 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Interesting story.

    I bought the Iceland proofs (1957-58) from the South African Mint Collection from Karl, not because I collect Iceland, but because I thought them to be interesting. Now I know the fuller story behind them.

    And I know @Stork bought the Albanian proofs from the same collection (since sold but without the provenance given).

    Since I don’t collect British of this era, I probably wouldn’t have stumbled upon this story otherwise. Thanks for posting it.

  • 7Jaguars7Jaguars Posts: 7,182 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Yes, thanks. I wish I could find out about just how the Pretoria Mint decided to dump all the fabulous rarities and just how that was done. I suspect it may not have been a straightforward operation as a principle or two did not have pristine reputations....

    Love that Milled British (1830-1960)
    Well, just Love coins, period.
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