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Gibraltar’s 1994 The Empty House Crowns

Gibraltar’s 1994 The Empty House Crowns

“… with convulsive strength he seized Holmes by the throat; but I struck him on the head with the butt of my revolver …”

– The Adventure of The Empty House (EMPT)

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Gibraltar released 8 different designs for its 1994 series of coins commemorating the 100th anniversary of the return of Sherlock Holmes. In this post, we will discuss the three coins that feature the scene inside Camden House with Holmes and Dr. Watson subduing Colonel Sebastian Moran.

Edward C. Rochette, the 5th Garrideb, suggested the idea of a series of coins commemorating Sherlock Holmes while having discussions with Derek Pobjoy, the head of the Pobjoy Mint in the early 1990’s. Pobjoy Mint then struck 8 different designs in 3 metals – cupro-nickel, sterling silver and .999 fine gold.

OBVERSE:  ELIZABETH II / (right facing bust of Queen Elizabeth II) / GIBRALTAR • 1994

REVERSE: • 100th ANNIVERSARY OF THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES • / THE / EMPTY / HOUSE / (Dr. Watson using the butt of his revolver to strike Colonel Sebastian Moran, who has his hands around the throat of Sherlock Holmes, by the window of Camden House, opposite of 221b Baker Street) / 1 / CROWN

KM288  – Round, 36.60 mm, Cupro-Nickel, 28.28 grams, Reeded Edge, unknown mintage

KM288a – Round, 36.60 mm, .925 Sterling Silver, 28.28 grams, Reeded Edge, 30,000 minted

KM280 – Round, 22 mm, 1/5 ounce .999 Gold, 6.22 grams, Reeded Edge, 5,000 minted

The press release, issued by the Pobjoy Mint, announcing these coins is somewhat vague and implies that all three coins are Crowns. The Standard Catalog of World Coins 1900-1999 (whose KM catalog numbers we are referencing above) lists the gold coins as being a 1/5 Crown. If this is the case, a slight modification is needed to the reverse description above.

Issue prices were $6 for cupro-nickel, $35 for the sterling silver and $165 for the gold coins.

He seized Holmes by the throat. – Illustration by Sidney Paget in The Strand Magazine, October 1903

Once again, the Pobjoy Mint’s engravers need to be commended on the quality of transferring Sidney Paget’s drawing of the scene onto the struck coin.