||James I gold Angel "Touch Piece" ND, S-2616, North-2081 (rare), 2nd Coinage (of 1604-19), Escallop mm (struck 1606-07), pierced as a touch piece, AU Details (Holed Planchet Cracked) NGC. An impressive example having a full, broad flan with the obverse rim beading much in evidence. This example was pierced at or near the time of issue for use as a talisman; the piercing goes through the back of the Saint Michael's head but his face still shows. The angel and dragon are both well detailed and generally sharp in strike. On the reverse, the ship is largely unaffected by the piercing and still sharply defined, with the beaded rim here also mostly intact. The flan is exceptional despite a light crack from being pierced, and the color is a pleasing "old gold" in various hues. The ancient hole is, in fact, tidy, whereas many extant touch pieces show a crudely made hole. Historically, the gold Angel was a dependable standard of medieval money of a value which guaranteed a fairly wide usage. By the time this coin was made, at the beginning of the English Renaissance, its main purpose was often to be a religious charm, thought to ward off disease and harm; Saint Michael, the "dragon slayer" of legend, could be called upon by being touched by the wearer to use his powers against evils of all sorts. It is not, therefore, technically correct to suggest that this historical coin is not "gradable" but damaged. It is, in fact, desirable because it is holed --?valuable not only as money but as a religious charm in which an entire society had faith.
Realized $2,820.00. Description courtesy of Heritage Auctions.