Ok so this isnt really “our” news at Braintree Antiques Centre but we do have first hand account from a good friend of ours who works at Bonningtons Auctioneers and saw the coin come over the counter.
This coin is one of 20 Queen Anne Vigo coins. They were made from gold that was seized by the British in a…. well a Galleon fight really!. Gold was won / looted (depending on how you look at) from Spanish Galleons that docked at Vigo bay in Spain to escape the British blockade of Cadiz in 1703.
From this haul of gold and sliver many coins were struck and bear the words “Vigo”. However, only 20 gold coins were struck as the haul contained only 8lbs of gold, with the vast majority being silver. Until recently only 15 of the gold coins had been discovered from the original 20 made. That was until two builders took a coin from their childrens play pirates treasure chest.
The chap we know was at Bonningtons counter when the two builders arrived to get a valuation which they thought might be a few hundred pounds. The coin was quickly identified by Bonningtons and a first estimate or £80,000 was given. This was subject to further research as a “current value” for something this rare is anyones guess. At auction the coin made £300k.
Its does happen! AND there are four gold Vigos left unaccounted for which could be located literally anywhere. Maybe they are in your trinket box or attic.
The point here is that gold coins don’t generally get melted down. They are worth more intact, even as scrap, because their purity and provenance is known. UK sovereigns or SA krugerands, for instance, are almost always kept intact and traded because in their original form they do no have to be assay marked ,which costs money if you melt them down.
The fact of the matter is that the four remaining gold vigos are….somewhere and more than likely unidentified and intact. Take a good look at the coins picture and memorise it!.
A couple of links for those interested in the history follow.