The latest coin sales from around the world, plus, on page 18, the latest online sales
A gold ‘Ides of March’ coin was recently sold at auction house Roma Numismatics for a staggering £2,700,000, the world record price paid for a Roman coin. The star lot was only the third known example of a gold EID MAR coin, struck by Marcus Junius Brutus, the most famous of Julius Caesar’s assassins, on the eve of the battle of Philippi, commemorating (if not celebrating) the murder of the dictator. The auction catalogue described the coin as being: ‘excessively Rare; the third known example: one on long-term loan to the British Museum, the other in the Deutsche Bundesbank collection.’ The coin reflects historic death of Caesar. The reverse features the three principal elements of this ‘patriotic’ act of regicide committed to liberate the Republic from monarchical tyranny. Most striking are the two daggers of differing design, the one symbolising that wielded by Brutus himself, the other that of Cassius his co-consipirator.
SOLD FOR £2,700,000
Appearing at auction for only the second time in 113 years, an 1807 Draped Bust quarter, the finest-known example of the type, brought a record-breaking $630,000 from the Bob R. Simpson Collection at Heritage Auctions’ U.S. Coins Auction. After the auction Simpson said: ‘I feel very rewarded and humbled to see so many auction records. I remain grateful to Heritage for its effective marketing efforts and to the collecting community for responding with so much demand for these special coins.’
SOLD FOR £471,480
Baldwin’s of St James’ recently sold a complete set of ‘Kings and Queens of England’ copper medals. The set ranged from William the Conqueror to the Dedication Medal of George II, Queen Caroline, and Death of George II, and included the medal of Cromwell. The medals were contained in a Georgian green leather-bound case with the gilt text ‘THE ROYAL SERIES’ stamped on the lid.
SOLD FOR £2,250
Acquiring coins ‘discretely and off the radar of the collecting community’, the late Larry H. Miller assembled a worldclass collection of US coins, and the first part of the sale, at Stack’s Bowers realised more than $9 million. Amongst the many highlights was a ‘virtually pristine’ 1896-S Silver Morgan Dollar, said to be ‘far and away the finest known’.
SOLD FOR £538,800
The Hardcastle Collection recently went under the hammer at Spink and was described as ‘an auctioneer’s dream’. The sale offered a collection that had been hidden from the market for at least a century and was made up of a variety of ‘pledges’ and unredeemed loans made to Yorkshire Pawnbroker Henry Hardcastle from the 1870s until he wound down his business in Lady Peckitt’s Yard, York in 1923. The collection was said to offer a glimpse into the social history of York at the turn of the 20th century, and provide also a snapshot of a ‘Victorian’ collection frozen in time. Highlights of the eclectic offering included a range of gilt-copper proof 1/48-Rix Dollars, from Ceylon (Sri Lanka) 1802, featuring an elephant design, including the illustrated example which fetched £1,300.
SOLD FOR £1,300
An 1817 Proof Half Sovereign with milled edge was recently sold at London Auctions. The reverse of the crown features a crowned angular shield, with dot below; with the bust of George III on the obverse. According to the auction house, of the seven examples on the PCGS Population Report, only this coin and one other have achieved the Deep Cameo designation.
SOLD FOR £14,000
Morton & Eden recently sold a Roman aureus of Caracalla, the elder son of Septimius Severus and Julia Domna. The coin from 201 featured a draped and cuirassed young bust facing right on the obverse, and ‘jugate busts’ of Septimius Severus and Julia Domna facing right, on the reverse. The auction description explained the significance of the design: ‘Septimius Severus wears the radiate crown of Sol, the sun-god, while the crescent moon under Julia Domna’s bust depicts her as Luna, the moon-goddess: he as day, she as night, and anticipating the way in which emperors and empresses were to appear on antoniniani following their introduction by Caracalla in late 214.’
SOLD FOR £39,000
A probably unique octagonal 17th-century token from Ludlow, Shropshire sold for twenty times its pre-sale estimate at Dix Noonan Webb recently. Expected to fetch £100 to £200, the Jeremiah Bright token eventually fetched over £2,000. Peter Preston-Morley, Head of Coin Department, Dix Noonan Webb, said: ‘Tokens were a currency substitute issued by private individuals, merchants and organisations when governments were not, for various reasons, issuing small change. They are mostly copper, although during the Napoleonic wars silver tokens were also made and circulated. Shropshire material is always very keenly sought after, so it was no surprise that this probably unique token sold very well and was bought by UK private collector.’ The octagonal halfpenny was believed to be previously unpublished, and featured the unusual message ‘sqvare dealing’.
SOLD FOR £2,108
The Coin Cabinet in London recently offered a wide range of Sovereigns, including a George III example of 1817. Minted in London the coin featured the laureate head right and the familiar image of St George slaying the dragon.
SOLD FOR £2,500
A 1934 George V AR wreath crown recently reached $3,500 at Davissons Ltd in the USA. The rarest piece in the series, the coin was in ‘Good Extremely Fine’ condition; with some uneven toning on the obverse; and a superb reverse, suggested perhaps that the coin had been stored in a tray for some time.
SOLD FOR £2,600