Monday, November 17, 2014
Christopher Foley Collection at Woolley and Wallis Auctions
The recent auction of British Historical Medals included some of the most amazing portrait medals ever engraved. This portrait medal of Queen Elizabeth I, by Simon De Passe, is surely one of the most remarkable works of art of the early 17th Century. It is one of eleven specimens known in silver and it hammered at $27000 including hammer fee.
Compare this to the price of a nice but crude Elizabeth gold Pound, of which hundreds exist, and you get the idea of the value represented by this gem:
The process of engraving employed that yielded the near-photographic image (Two centuries before the invention of the camera) is a mystery to this day.
A specimen in gold was presented to Queen Elizabeth II. The "Armada" dress was that worn to the service of Thanksgiving at St. Paul's Cathedral. Simon de Passe (c. 1574-c.1644), the youngest son of Crispin Passe, an eminent artist from Utrecht, who taught him the art of engraving. He came to England in about 1613, living here some 10 years mostly in the employment of Nicholas Hillard to engrave counters of the Royal Family of England. He later moved to the service of the King of Denmark.
Other portraits included James I ($14000) and James with Queen Anne and Prince Charles, of which nine examples are known ($28,000)
Many other rare and exceptional medals were sold at this small regional British Auction. I would venture to guess that the prices paid for these under-appreciated numismatic gems will appear to be genuine bargains in years to come.
Compare the Elizbeth medal to the price of a nice but crude Elizabeth gold Pound, of which hundreds exist, and you get the idea of the value represented by this gem.