1896 Russian gold presentation coin brings $217,375 at Heritage’s $15 million world and ancient coin auction
An 1896 Russian Czar Nicholas II Presentation 25 Roubles sold for $217,375 to take top lot honors in Heritage Auctions’ $15 million world and ancient coin auctions held April 10-12 and 15-16 at the Chicago International Coin Fair (CICF) and online. The price of the presentation piece, rarely seen at auction, set a world record for the type by nearly $30,000.
“We continue to see strength across the board in the world and ancient coin markets. Premium quality coins often doubled or tripled estimates at the auction,” said Cristiano Bierrenbach, Vice President of Heritage. “Heritage has a strong relationship with the CICF and we are happy to see an incredibly well attended auction both in Chicago and on HA.com.
Standout Canadian rarities in the auction include a rare 1921 George V specimen 50 cents from the Prager Collection of Canadian Coins, which sold for $141,000. Considered one of the most covetable Canadian coins in existence, with very few pieces known to exist, the George V was dubbed “the King of Canadian Coins” by James Charlton, author of the primary Canadian numismatics reference book. One of the rarest and most important patterns in all of Canada, a stunning 1865 Victoria gold Pattern Specimen $2 dollar – likely the only known example of this type in private hands – saw action by four bidders before closing at $102,812.
Additional rare coins include a rare 1817-BS Ferdinand VII Real, struck during the Venezuelan War for Independence at the Caracas mint. Likely the finest-known example of this type, this piece was pushed to $88,125 by eight bidders. In addition, an 1895-A Germany Colony gold 20 Mark from New Guinea, perhaps the finest-known example of this very attractive type with a mintage of only 1,500, sold for $76,375.
Chinese rarities included a 1911 Chinese Empire Long Whisker silver Pattern Dollar Year 3, a rare and popular type and the standout piece of the impressive Robert Raymond Ruff collection, which closed at $76,375 as well as an 1888 Szechuan Brass 50 Cent Pattern ND, which sold for $64,625 in the first time one has ever been offered at auction.
Among the impressive selection of ancients, a Marc Antony as Triumvir (43-31 BC), AV aureus – the centerpiece of the Andre Constantine Dimitriadis Collection – sold for $141,000. The portrait aureus of the triumvir Marc Antony comes with a distinguished pedigree dating back to the Mazzini Collection in 1957 and is the plate coin of Xavier Calico’s standard reference The Roman Aurei. The collection’s truly extraordinary holdings were built with patience and connoisseurship, taking advantage of many important collections from the 1980s to the early 2000s. Mr. Dimitriadis’ eye for coins of unparalleled historical importance spanned a pleasing general survey of Greek rarities, however his taste in Roman and Byzantine gold coins – more than 800 altogether – showed his true passion. Heritage will offer those selections in Imperial Gold II: The Byzantine Empire in its fall auction of World and Ancient Coins in New York City, Sept. 17-19.
A Pertinax (AD 193), AV aureus, featuring a rare visage of the short-lived Roman emperor, sold for $129,250. The coin shocked collectors when the gold coin in such impressive condition finally crossed the block as part of the Lexington Collection, which is a small but very select group of coins that were chosen for their rarity, artistry, and condition.
Another coin from the Lexington Collection, an Augustus (27 BC-AD 14), AV aureus, displays a Capricorn on the reverse, which was the natal sign of Rome’s first emperor. The inscription SIGNIS RECEPTIS also commemorates the return of the Roman legionary standards that were lost to the Parthians during the military campaigns of Crassus and Marc Antony.
The auction also featured a high-grade specimen of one of the most iconic coins of the ancient world: a Titus (AD 79-81), Orichalcum sestertius. Displaying the great Colosseum that still stands in Rome, the coin was a standout example from the Dr. Patrick Tan Collection as it sold for $105,750.
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