More than 2,500 years of human history, as told by some of the greatest numismatic rarities ever presented, populate Heritage Auctions’ ANA World & Ancient Coins Signature® and Platinum Night Auctions in Chicago, Aug. 12-17, 2015, in Chicago.
“World and Ancient coins are truly abundant in this auction,” said Cristiano Bierrenbach, Vice President at Heritage Auctions. “There are so many astounding highlights that it’s hard to point to any one area as being the strongest. What I can say for certain is that every type of collector will find something for their collections here.”
A pair of Central American coins kick off the highlights in the form of two very early 8 Escudos of Guatemala; dated 1741 (Philip V) and 1747 (Ferdinand VI), these hammered issues are the rarest of the rare, with the 1747 piece being previously unknown. The fact that both are being offered together, as discovery pieces new to the numismatic community, is nothing short of miraculous.
A Gustav II Adolf 3 Ducats, struck during the Swedish Occupation of Elbing – a small industrial city located in Poland – bears specific mention. One of only two known, the piece is not only remarkable for its rarity, but also for the fact that it shows the portrait of Sigismund III, King of Poland, while also displaying the titles of Gustav II Adolf in the legends.
For the collector of more modern coinage, an absolutely spectacular British 1826 5 Pound of George IV is sure to be of significant interest. While no strangers to this rare issue, the present piece, graded PR64 Cameo by NGC, is among the very best that Heritage specialists have ever seen.
One of the most interesting and important coins in the auction comes in the form of an historically important piece of early Spanish (Castille) gold in the form of a 1253 Enrique I gold Morab Safard MS64 NGC, a unique “discovery coin.”
“This is an important coin, in that it clearly shows the amalgamation of Christian and Islamic influences in medieval Spain,” said Bierrenbach. “It’s also the only coin in gold known with the name of Enrique I.”
The selection of ancient coins in the action numbers only 105 lots, but each one is impressive in its own right, with a particular emphasis on Greek and Roman Imperial gold. Leading the way are the Greek offerings, with many coins that are both high-grade and extremely rare, such as one of the highest grade Alexander the Great distaters ever seen. Other ancient Greek highlights include one of the finest known Croesus lightweight gold staters, a very artistic Cyzicus stater depicting the facing head of a Gorgon, and a high grade Eucratides I stater with lovely natural red toning.
The Roman Imperial section has many high-grade aurei representing a diverse array of different emperors. These include several coins designated by NGC as Mint State or finer, including a Gem MS Lucius Verus aureus. There are also several examples of the ever-popular Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius, some of which were assigned the coveted “star” designation by NGC. The ancients section ends with a small but important Byzantine section, including what is very likely the finest known Leo V solidus.
There are several significant named collections within Platinum Night, with perhaps the most notable single consignment being Part 1 of the Providence Collection, selections from a significant collection of ancient and European coins.
While every piece of this collection can be considered a highlight in and of itself, there are a few true gems that standout from the rest, chief among them being a Ferdinand III gold 40 ducat from 1629, a true masterpiece of Baroque numismatics. Another of the other main highlights from this part of the collection is one of the finest known Charles I triple unites, a classic rarity of British coins.
Further Important stand-alone collections presented at the ANA include The Rudman Collection of Mexican Coins, The Kaiser Collection of German Gold andThe Eric Beckman Collection of Canada, all presented in separate catalogs.