A 19th century replica of the world’s largest coin measuring 13.5cm and weighing 900g will be included in an auction of Coins, Tokens and Historical Medals at Dix Noonan Webb, the international coins, medals, banknotes and jewellery specialists. The auction will be held on Wednesday, February 20 and Thursday, February 21, 2019 at 11am at their auction rooms in central Mayfair - 16 Bolton St, London, W1J 8BQ.

Expected to fetch £3,000-4,000, the original was made for Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan I. A similar specimen is also in the British Museum and both are clearly copies of the same original, a coin which was discovered in Patna in the 18th century and which was last seen in the 1840s. The specimen, worth 200 mohurs, in the British Museum was formerly in the collection of the India Museum in London, which closed in 1879. Mughal multiple-mohur coins are known to have been struck in denominations up to 1,000 mohurs, probably for presentation purposes; very few are known to exist today, as most were probably melted down at some point.

Elsewhere, a very fine and very rare testoon dating from the reign of Henry VII (1485-1509), which is estimated at £12,000-£15,000. This coin sold for £70 at the Wheeler sale in 1930, at the time one of the highest prices ever paid for an English hammered silver coin of less than crown-size.

Of interest is a group of medals awarded to the pioneer aviator Paul Tissandier (1881-1945), the French pilot-pupil of the renowned Wilbur Wright and the second man in France to get a pilots license. Comprising medals from Société Météorologique de France, Aéro-Club de Belgique and Aero-Club d’Italia, they are estimated at £200-400 (See Biography in Notes to Editors).

Discovered by a metal detectorist near York, a copper-alloy Roman medallion of Severus Alexander (AD 222-235), dating to the period c.AD 231 (Reece Period 11) is also among the highlights of this sale. The coin depicts Jupiter naked holding a thunderbolt in right hand and long sceptre in left. Severus Alexander is helmeted, in military dress, stands facing him, holding a spear in left hand. Two medallions of this type are held in the British Museum and just seven Roman medallions are currently recorded, this example is the first of Severus Alexander and of the first half of the 3rd century all together. It is estimated to fetch £1,000-1,500.

Public viewing is held two days before the sale between 10am – 5pm and free online bidding is available is www.dnw.co.uk.
For more information, please call 020 7016 1700
DNW are on Social Media Instagram @dixnoonanwebb Facebook: dixnoonanwebb Twitter @dixnoonanwebb

Dix Noonan Webb – a brief history
In 1991, its first year of trading, the company held three medal auctions and sold 1,200 lots for a total hammer price of £553,000. Two years later it opened a coin department which also auctions commemorative medals and tokens and in 2015 DNW added jewellery to its sales calendar. Last year, it set up a standalone banknotes department and expanded into premises next door. In 2018 DNW achieved a total hammer price of £11,676,580 and the total number of lots across all departments was 20,273. To date the company has sold in excess of 300,000 lots totalling £155 million.

Biography: Paul Tissandier son of the French chemist, meteorologist and aviator Gaston Tissandier (1843-99) who, in a flight undertaken in April 1875 with two colleagues, ascended unwittingly to the then unheard of altitude of 28,000 feet (8,600 metres) – his colleagues died from the effects of breathing thin air but Gaston survived. Paul was first taken aloft by his father, subsequently becoming a balloon pilot and then qualifying to fly dirigibles in January 1904. In 1908 the entrepreneurs Lazare Weiller (1858-1928) and Henri Deutsch de la Meurthe (1846-1919) founded the Compagnie Générale de Navigation Aérienne and engaged Wilbur and Orville Wright to come to France with the twofold aim of completing a flight from French soil with a passenger, and to train three pilots, the Count de Lambert, Paul Tissandier and Lucas Gérardville, who would become the first three French aviators. The first aim was completed several times, taking off from the racecourse at Hunaudières, the first passenger in August 1908 being the pioneer motor manufacturer Léon Bollée (1870-1913), who let the Wright brothers use his factory in nearby Le Mans as a base. The climate at Le Mans, particularly the wind, was not deemed ideal for the establishment of a flying school, so Tissandier and a colleague suggested the south-west province of Béarn. The Wright brothers’ engineer, Hart Berg, in company with Tissandier, visited the area and met with the mayor of Pau, Alfred de Lassence (1852-1933), who gave his enthusiastic blessing to the establishment of what became the world’s first flying school, which opened in December 1908. Early visitors to the school in 1909 were the kings Alfonso XIII of Spain and Britain’s Edward VII; after the Wright brothers
returned to the USA at the end of March 1909 the school was run by Tissandier.

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Rachel Aked
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Email: Rachel@rachelaked.co.uk