At a recent auction of Renaissance medals by Morton and Eden, for which the seller Lawrence Stackwas present, there was only likely to be one star.
The Mary I gold medal, created by the highly respected 16th century artisan Jacopo Nizzola da Trezzo, was commissioned by Mary's then new husband Philip VI of Spain. We looked forward to its sale over two months ago.
The work was created in 1554, and bears a strong resemblance to the famous portrait of Mary by Antonis Mor, done at a similar time. Mary appears to be wearing the same pendant in both, most likely one given to her by her fiancé Philip.
The reverse of the medal depicts the figure of Peace, holding olive branches and setting fire to arms and armour. The image is not really one which most associate with Mary I, as she is commonly remembered for her religious persecutions. Philip also dragged her into a war against France.
The medal is acknowledged as da Trezzo's best work, and was expected to fetch over �200,000. In selling for �276,000, however, it breaks the �243,000record price for a historical medal, set by the very same piece in 2005.
This gives a good indication of the investment worthy nature of unique pieces of gold workmanship through economic troubles. Those interested in collecting gold coins may be interested in viewing this selection.