Beds, Herts & Bucks

Bishop's Stortford man's vigo gold coin sells for £225k

The Queen Anne "Vigo" five guinea Image copyright Boningtons
Image caption The Queen Anne Vigo five guinea is said to be one of only 20 made

A rare coin made of gold seized from a treasure ship more than three centuries ago has sold for £225,000 at auction.

The seller from Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire, had been given the Queen Anne Vigo five guinea by his grandfather when he was a boy.

The auctioneers said it was one of 20 made from 7.5lbs (3.4kg) of gold seized by the British in northern Spain on 23 October 1702.

Coin specialist Gregory Tong said it was a "record-breaking" sale.

The seller, who did not want to be named, said his grandfather would give him "bags of coins" collected from all over the world.

Golden distraction

He said: "As time passed these coins were forgotten about until I rediscovered them after my granddad passed away.

"I looked back through the coins - remembering the stories I made up about them when I was small - and then gave them to my own son to play with and put into his own treasure box.

"My little boy has been playing with this coin as I did all those years ago."

Auctioneers Boningtons in Epping, Essex, said the Vigo coins were made after the British fleet failed to take Cadiz in 1702.

The fleet instead managed to seize gold and silver from Franco-Spanish treasure ships coming back from America.

The coins were made to detract attention from the British failure at Cadiz.

They were delivered with full pageantry through London and received at the Royal Mint by the Master of the Mint Sir Isaac Newton, the auctioneers said.

Mr Tong from Boningtons, said: "The coin is only the sixth example of its type to be offered for sale in the last 50 years.

"It has broken Boningtons' house record of £200,000 set by the sale of a painting by Sir Winston Churchill earlier this year."

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