NGC-Certified English Gold Penny Brings $720,000 in Heritage Sale


An extremely rare English gold penny struck more than 750 years ago and now certified by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) realized an impressive $720,000 at a Heritage Auction sale of world and ancient coins that was held January 21-22, 2021.

Henry III (1216-1272) gold Penny of 20 Pence ND (c. 1257) MS63 NGC
Henry III (1216-1272) gold Penny of 20 Pence ND (c. 1257) MS63 NGC. This rarity realized $720,000 at a Heritage sale of world and ancient coins held Jan. 21-22.

Graded NGC MS 63, the gold penny of King Henry III is just one of seven known examples, including four in museums. Its hammer price far exceeded the pre-auction estimate of $250,000 to $500,000.

The gold penny shows the king seated in robes, wearing a crown and holding an orb and scepter. This motif marks the first time an enthroned ruler was shown on a gold coin of medieval Western Europe. For a variety of reasons, the gold pennies were not embraced in English commerce and the ambitious experiment in coinage failed. Nevertheless, they represent a turning point in numismatics and are highly valued today.

"The historic Henry III Penny represents a rebirth of gold coinage that took place over 750 years ago," said Ben Wengel, NGC Senior Grading Finalizer of World Coins. "I am thrilled that NGC’s expert and impartial certification helped one of the greatest treasures of English numismatics achieve this impressive result."

The second-highest price realized in the auction was for another NGC-certified coin: a modern British coin that also surpassed expectations. A Great Britain 2019 Una and the Lion Gold 2000 Pounds graded NGC PF 69 Ultra Cameo realized $360,000, well above its pre-auction estimate of $150,000 to $200,000.

Elizabeth II gold Proof "Una and the Lion" 2000 Pounds (2 Kilos) 2019 PR69 Ultra Cameo NGC
Elizabeth II gold Proof “Una and the Lion” 2000 Pounds (2 Kilos) 2019 PR69 Ultra Cameo NGC. This coin brought $360,000 at a Heritage sale of world and ancient coins held Jan. 21-22.

The coin, struck with 2 kilograms of gold, pays tribute to the iconic 1839 Una and the Lion design created for a young Queen Victoria. The current monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, is depicted on the other side. NGC attributed the coin with Certificate of Authenticity #1, from a mintage of only four.

Another gold rarity, a Mexico 1715MO J "Royal" 8 Escudos graded NGC MS 63, realized $234,000. Pedigreed to the Isaac Rudman Collection, the coin originated from a mint in Spanish Mexico. The coin’s dies and strike show it is an example of Royal Coinage — struck as presentation pieces that are easily distinguishable from the cruder and more common cob 8 Escudos. This particular example is an extremely rare variety.

Nine of the top ten prices realized in the sale were for NGC-certified coins, a testament to the expertise that NGC brings to authenticating and grading world and ancient coins.

"We are elated that this sale once again affirmed the strength of the marketplace for world and ancient coins," said Cris Bierrenbach, Executive Vice President of International Numismatics for Heritage Auctions. "NGC certification helps give bidders confidence at a time when buying and selling coins is increasingly done remotely."

Other NGC-certified highlights in the sale included:

Prices realized include buyer’s premium.

About Numismatic Guaranty Corporation® (NGC®)

NGC is the world’s largest and most trusted third-party grading service for coins, tokens and medals, with more than 48 million collectibles certified. Founded in 1987, NGC provides an accurate, consistent and impartial assessment of authenticity and grade. Every coin that NGC certifies is backed by the comprehensive NGC Guarantee of authenticity and grade, which gives buyers greater confidence. This results in higher prices realized and greater liquidity for NGC-certified coins. To learn more, visit

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Now that’s a hefty Penny. I wonder if they cleaned it courtesy of NCS lol never clean a coin! Keep them cool and dry.

Seth Riesling

Jake – Crooked NGC/NCS says they never “clean” coins, but they say they “conserve” coins through a proprietary laboratory process!! LOL. I have a friend who works there & it is a cleaning process, no matter what they call it publicly. They are privately-owned companies under the parent company CCG, and they do not even put their own word “conserved” on NGC labels & they even stopped putting the words “shipwreck effect” on their “cleaned”/”conserved” coins retrieved from shipwrecks in the organic muck (both alive & dead) on the bottom of the salt-water oceans, including gold coins with 10% copper… Read more »


I agree wholeheartedly. I know your not a crook, I just like to feed the birds lol. I value your input! Thanks dude!

Mark D.

Any dirty, little secrets like this at PCGS?