The Royal Mint
A rare British coin featuring the profile of abdicated King Edward VIII has sold for a record £1 million ($1.3 million).
The coin was created following Edward VIII’s ascension to the throne in January 1936, but was never released to the public after he gave up the throne to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson.
The 22-carat gold coin, described as “one of the most coveted in the world” by the U.K.’s Royal Mint, is one of two to be privately held. The remaining four in existence are held by museums or institutions.
According to the Royal Mint, which oversaw the transaction, the coin — officially titled the Edward VIII Sovereign — was previously owned by a collector in the United States.
It was returned to the U.K. for the sale, becoming the first British coin in history to command a price of £1 million.
The coin was sold to its previous owner for £516,000 in 2014, after being auctioned off in 1984 for £40,000. Its first recorded sale was in 1981, when it was sold privately for an undisclosed amount.
Matt Curtis of the Royal Mint Collector Services said in a press release Friday that he hoped the sale would “inspire others to look through their homes and see what treasures are hidden.”
“The Edward VIII Sovereign is part of numismatic legend, belonging to a series of coins that were never meant to exist and were hidden from the public for decades,” he said. “This Sovereign is significant not only because of its rarity, but because it sits at the heart of an international story.”