Handkerchief drawer yields rare gold coin 1703 Vigo Bay 5-guinea piece surfaces in estate

October 17, 2012 in British Coins, Coins, Gold Coins

By Jeff Starck Coin World Staff (

A surprise find in a handkerchief drawer included what may be just the 16th known example of one of the most famous and valuable British gold coins.

A woman searching through her late husband’s belongings found a Very Fine example of the 1703 Vigo gold 5-guinea coin, which was struck from gold seized after a victorious naval battle at Vigo Bay off the coast of Spain.

The coin, identified with VIGO beneath the bust of the queen, is regarded as one of the most desirable coins in the entire English milled gold series.

The coin, which could be worth an estimated £80,000 to £120,000 (about $128,322 to $192,483 U.S.), will be offered in a Dec. 6 auction in Lewes, England.

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