Rare gold led the way as Heritage's recent World & Ancient Coins Auction realized over $8.2 million January 2-3 in New York. Over 93% of the lots in this auction sold, with post-auction buys continuing. All prices include a 15% buyer's premium. This was the first of Heritage's January numismatic events in New York and Florida, with overall proceeds expected to top last year's $53 million total.
The star of this auction was a Chinese 10kg gold 100000 Yuan 2008. Only 29 examples of this enormous, 321-ounce, gold coin were minted, with this example the only one allocated to the US market. Although this piece did not sell during the floor auction, an astute collector quickly snapped it up when it became available after the auction.
South American gold shone brightly once again in our auction. A quintet of Brazilian coins fetched prices in excess of $50,000, with top honors going to a Pedro Regent Prince 4400 Reis counterstamped over a Portuguese 4 Cruzados, which realized $103,500. We know of only two examples of this piece, and the other is housed in a museum and nowhere near as nice as this AU coin. Equalling the aforementioned at $103,500 was an 1813J 8 Escudos from Provincias de Rio de la Plata. This coin was Argentina's first independent gold issue, and is considered one of the greatest South American rarities.
Three Greek coins shared top honors among ancient coin offerings in this auction. An extremely rare silver Carthaginian Second Punic War issue shekel from the time of Hannibal (ca 221-201 BC), perhaps one of five or fewer in existence, sold for $46,000. The possibility exists that this famous type was an early attempt at portraiture, which is remarkable considering that no other portraits of the great Carthaginian general survive from his lifetime.
Selling for the same amount was a beautiful gold Mnaieion or Oktadrachm of Ptolemy VI-Ptolemy VIII. NGC graded this coin Choice Mint State, with both strike and surface rated 5/5. This is the highest grade possible for any ancient coin from NGC! Finally, also selling for $46,000 was a silver tetradrachm of Gela, ca. 415-405 BC. This remarkable die pairing, featuring unique types on both obverse and reverse, appears to be the work of a master die engraver and is highly prized.
Other highlights include, but are not limited to:
- Spanish Colonial gold Bar From the Nuestra Senora de Atocha. Realized: $80,500.
- Brazil: Joao V gold 12800 Reis 1729B, KM138, Russo 100, XF-AU. Realized: $77,625.
- Brazil: Pernambuco. Geoctroyeede West-Indische Compagnie (GWC) 3 Guilders (Florins) 1646, KM5.3, Fr-3, choice XF. Realized: $74,750.
- Brazil: Joao V gold 10000 Reis 1724M, KM116, MS62 NGC. Realized: $60,375.
- Russia: Peter I Rouble 1720, KM-157.4 MS64 NGC. Realized: $57,500.
- Brazil: Pernambuco. Geoctroyeede West-Indische Compagnie (GWC) 12 Guilders (Florins) 1646, KM7.1, F-1, AU. Realized: $54,625.
- Italy: Vittorio Emanuele III gold 100 Lire 1937R XVI, KM84, Fr-36, MS65 NGC. Realized: $48,875.
- Russia: Peter I gold 2 Roubles 1718-L, KM158.1, Fr-91, MS61 PCGS. Realized: $43,125.
- Brazil: Pernambuco. Geoctroyeede West-Indische Compagnie (GWC) 6 Guilders (Florins) 1646, KM6.2, Fr-2, better EF. Realized: $43,125.
- Ethiopia: Empress Zauditu silver Pattern Birr EE1917 (1925), Gill-Z5 but struck in silver instead of tin and not Uniface, choice Unc.. Realized: $43,125.
- Brazil: Jose I gold 3200 Reis 1756-R, KM183.2, MS65 NGC. Realized: $43,125.
Heritage's January signature coin auctions conclude with the 2011 January World & Ancient Coins Non-Floor Session on Tuesday, January 11. Bidding for this auction continues through 8:00 AM CT, with the live session scheduled for 10:00 AM CT exclusively at HA.com/Coins.