OT: A long journey ends. (update)

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DHalladay
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OT: A long journey ends. (update)

Post by DHalladay » Fri Jul 07, 2023 6:49 pm

It started in January 2002 as a hunt for a memento of fond visits to one of my ancestral homelands. A perfect choice turned up in an eBay auction by a seller in France, for a raw Scotland 1567 James VI Ryal or “Sword Dollar” (face value 30 shillings). When it arrived I was captivated by the big, crude, hammered coin – but especially its history. It soon triggered the cluelessly naïve thought that, “I only need seven more for a complete set.”

1567 Mary.jpg
1567 Mary.jpg (125.78 KiB) Viewed 1463 times
The first coin in my set was a 1567 James VI located in France.

Finding all eight turned out to be a marathon test of patience. Two types of Ryals were involved: those issued under Mary Queen of Scots in 1565-66-67 whose main design element is a tortoise climbing up a palm tree (don’t even try to make sense of that), and those issued under her infant son James VI in 1567-68-69-70-71 whose main motif is a sword.

If Ryal mintage records were ever kept 450+ years ago, they haven’t been found yet. My personal hunch is not many were made; maybe a couple thousand or less of each year and type. Even if I am close, there’s a likely bigger reason why Ryals are so scarce today: Rapid Inflation during and after the time of issue pushed their silver bullion value far above face value, resulting in widespread melting.

A leading expert on Mary Ryals estimates the total surviving number for all three years of that type is just 575. He has no estimate for James VI Ryals, but my own research tracking down the sales of 202 Ryals since 2002 suggests the surviving number may be equally tiny. The breakdown is 97 Mary coins and 105 James VI coins. Interestingly, the smallest single year totals are both James VI dates – 1569 and 1568.

Once the set began (it is the only one in the PCGS Set Registry program) it soon became clear that the biggest obstacle to finishing it was that Ryals seldom came up for sale, or at least in places I knew about. I only saw four of them in all my years of attending FUN and ANA shows (two were auction previews), none at smaller shows, and filling out want lists was useless. I once went seven years between purchases, and five years another time.

But – hooray! – my persistence finally paid off last month. The last coin is now in hand: a 1568 James VI Ryal. Fittingly, my journey ended the same way it began, with a raw coin in Europe.

1568 images ganged.jpg
1568 images ganged.jpg (128.63 KiB) Viewed 1463 times

Besides being the last coin, the 1568 is extra-special because it resulted from a tip from the Ryal expert, who lives in New Zealand. We have never met or spoken; just corresponded to share information. His email arrived during Heritage’s special VAM sale in June, letting me know where it was available in England. I quickly went to the dealer’s website, located the coin, bought it, and went back to watching the auction.

Talk about a small coin world, not to mention the joy of numismatic networking! Although I got shut out at Heritage that day I still feel like I was the biggest winner of all.

Now just one step is left: sending in the 1568 for grading so all 8 coins will be in PCGS holders. Fingers crossed; I’m thinking VG10.

P.S.: Another remarkable page in the 1568 chapter of this story is the delivery experience. What a whirlwind!:
– Ordered June 27
– Mailed from England June 28
– Arrived in Northern Ireland June 29
– Arrived at New York Customs July 2
– Handed off to USPS in Queens, NY July 4
– Arrived in Denver July 5
– Arrived in Salt Lake City July 6
– Arrived in Boise July 6
– delivered July 7
Last edited by DHalladay on Tue Sep 05, 2023 7:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
When in doubt... don't.

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hairfield1
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Re: OT: A long journey ends.

Post by hairfield1 » Fri Jul 07, 2023 7:15 pm

Kewl :D

collectinsince65
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Re: OT: A long journey ends.

Post by collectinsince65 » Fri Jul 07, 2023 7:22 pm

Fascinating quest Dennis!
And an awesome conclusion in finding the last of your hunt.

Never ever give up!
Well done.
Mike

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fogie
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Re: OT: A long journey ends.

Post by fogie » Fri Jul 07, 2023 7:29 pm

Congratulations !!!!!
Have a great day!

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messydesk
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Re: OT: A long journey ends.

Post by messydesk » Fri Jul 07, 2023 7:34 pm

Congrats! When I first saw your set, I thought the same about the coins. Big ol' coin with a big ol' sword on it with the inscription indicating that it was to be used for the king or, if he deserved it, against him, with the finger clarifying that it referred to the sword. Cool! I went as far as to reserve a spot in my Prime Number set for one, which I filled at CSNS this year with a 1571.

Looking forward to seeing how it grades. VG-F seems right. Next order of business will be to have your complete set reholdered with your pedigree. Work out a deal that they can show it at their booth at a show as the only complete Scottish set of anything (actually, the only Scottish set of anything) in their registry in exchange for free reholdering, then wait for upgrades to find you.

Slàinte Mhath!
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Mhomei
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Re: OT: A long journey ends.

Post by Mhomei » Fri Jul 07, 2023 10:31 pm

Congrats on finishing the set

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ljs123
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Re: OT: A long journey ends.

Post by ljs123 » Fri Jul 07, 2023 10:43 pm

WTG Dennis
Congratulations

vamnuke
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Re: OT: A long journey ends.

Post by vamnuke » Fri Jul 07, 2023 10:43 pm

8-)

PickNGrin
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Re: OT: A long journey ends.

Post by PickNGrin » Fri Jul 07, 2023 10:44 pm

NICE JOB!

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UNCLE BINGO
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Re: OT: A long journey ends.

Post by UNCLE BINGO » Fri Jul 07, 2023 11:05 pm

That is an awesome story sir ! Kudos
" May your clashes be EDS , your breaks be LDS , and your wife not have PMS over your collecting habits! " ;)

Jodemyer
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Re: OT: A long journey ends.

Post by Jodemyer » Sat Jul 08, 2023 2:05 am

Congratulations!! Thats awesome!!
They must have taken my marbles away

morganman
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Re: OT: A long journey ends.

Post by morganman » Sat Jul 08, 2023 3:08 am

So see DH, Stories of acquisitions are very exciting & sometimes a major
part of ones collecting history
I do not and will not throw negative comments on your achievent here
as you have done to me in mypast posts.

Stories of purchases are varied & exciting with history and much
more for readers/mmbers to enjoy, not for a few to throw under the
bus. Scott The Oregon Collection
:|

Vam-mysterio
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Re: OT: A long journey ends.

Post by Vam-mysterio » Sat Jul 08, 2023 3:20 am

Dennis
Awesome
Congrats!
Challenge yourself,start doing your own date study!

keilg1
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Re: OT: A long journey ends.

Post by keilg1 » Sat Jul 08, 2023 7:39 am

Flippin' a this is a cool story with cooler coins! Congrats for sure...

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SilverToken
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Re: OT: A long journey ends.

Post by SilverToken » Sat Jul 08, 2023 11:45 am

Always the best for info and history. Super nice for a super guy.

If you sent them in all as a bunch, could they reholder the set in sequential order and some special note of your accomplishment?
When it's no longer fun, I think I'm done!

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vampicker
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Re: OT: A long journey ends.

Post by vampicker » Sat Jul 08, 2023 5:04 pm

That's a great set, congrats on completing it. I was wondering about the heraldry of the palm with a turtle on it, so I went looking. As far as I can tell, as heraldic symbols, the turtle represents invulnerability and the palm tree is symbolic of righteousness and truth. I'd guess taken together, the central device would have represented an increase in strength through righteousness. More than a little ironic considering the history that followed after the coins were struck.
often the crusher of hopes and dreams

VamHelsing
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Re: OT: A long journey ends.

Post by VamHelsing » Sat Jul 08, 2023 5:22 pm

WTG Dennis!

JohnGoldsmith
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Re: OT: A long journey ends.

Post by JohnGoldsmith » Sun Jul 09, 2023 12:07 am

WTG Dennis, numerous shows I ask Foregin coin dealers about these. All I get is the look.
Last edited by JohnGoldsmith on Sun Jul 09, 2023 10:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

DHalladay
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Re: OT: A long journey ends.

Post by DHalladay » Sun Jul 09, 2023 4:33 am

vampicker wrote:
Sat Jul 08, 2023 5:04 pm
That's a great set, congrats on completing it. I was wondering about the heraldry of the palm with a turtle on it, so I went looking. As far as I can tell, as heraldic symbols, the turtle represents invulnerability and the palm tree is symbolic of righteousness and truth. I'd guess taken together, the central device would have represented an increase in strength through righteousness. More than a little ironic considering the history that followed after the coins were struck.

John:

Your interpretation of an allegorical meaning for two things that don't exist in Scotland is both spectacularly plausible and insightful! Thank you very much for sharing it, because I will now look at the three years of Mary coins with far greater appreciation, and perhaps understanding.
When in doubt... don't.

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Albannach
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Re: OT: A long journey ends.

Post by Albannach » Mon Jul 10, 2023 1:36 pm

Actually there are palm trees in Scotland. It’s quite something when you see it. Google Plockton Scotland palm trees…..
Indicating sea fairing or trading likely the former. So interaction of the scots with lower latitudes is obvious. The how and why they arrived is a bit of a mystery.

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