102184 | GREAT BRITAIN. Would-Be Coronation of Edward VIII bronze Medal.
102184 | GREAT BRITAIN & AUSTRIA. Would-Be Coronation of Edward VIII bronze Medal. Issued 1936 after his visit (80mm, 177.81 g, 12h). By L. Hujer at the Vienna mint.
EDWARD VIII, uniformed bust left / VIVAT CRESCAT FLOREAT / AD MULTOS ANNOS (may he live, may he grow, may he flourish for so many years), IN / REMEMBRANCE / OF THE / CORONATION / 1937 in five lines. Edge: MADE IN AUSTRIA.
Giordano CM300 (RR); BHM 4289; Eimer 2042. Choice Mint State. Brown-bronze surfaces, with a pleasing matte nature; a few small spots on the reverse are noted merely for completeness. Very rare and highly impressive. Compare to a similar example, though graded slightly higher and clearly inferior, that realized a total of $690 in the Stack's Bowers February 2022 CCO (lot 74144).
Edward was the eldest son of King George V and Queen Mary, raised to eventually take the place of his great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, then grandfather, King Edward VII, and then father, though he always had somewhat of a rebellious streak. By the time of his father's passing, he had developed great affection for an American divorcée, Wallis Simpson, whose former marital status nullified her as a consort in the eyes of many within the kingdom. The new king was unwavering, however, and chose abdication in order to pursue his own choice in marriage. In so doing, before his own coronation, Edward passed the crown onto his younger brother Albert, who would choose the reign name of George VI in a show of continuity with their father, George V. The younger brother, however, had not been prepared to be king, with the stress of World War II and managing a kingdom likely aiding in his rather young death in 1952 at only 56.
A further numismatic anecdote is that monarchs alternate on UK coinage, facing in the opposite direction of their predecessor. Edward would have been slated to face right on his coinage, were it to have ever actually been officially produced and released for circulation. However, on account of him parting his hair on the left side of his head, he demanded that his effigy be presented facing left in order to display it. In retrospect, this seems like a far less break from protocol given how things played out. Nevertheless, he is presented on the medal above in the manner in which he would have desired. Rather interestingly as well is the Latin phrasing upon the medal’s reverse, calling for a desire that he “may live, grow, and flourish for so many years.” That didn’t quite hit the mark, though it certainly can be said that it did for his niece, Queen Elizabeth II.