Rich Mantia of Mastro Auctions was pleased to be winning bidder for a Polish gold 1925 pattern five-zlotych coin that was among top highlights of Stack?s April 24 auction.
Stack?s offered the piece as part of the Alicia and Sid Belzberg collection of Polish coins.
It sold for $218,500.
?I?ve had to wait eight years for the opportunity. I was not going to let it go this time,? said Mantia, referring to a previous time this piece was offered at auction, in a December 2000 Classical Numismatic Group sale.
Mantia said he purchased it for a client, a Chicago-area collector who enjoys Polish patterns, which are known as probas.
?Last time I wanted to purchase it, it was a good idea, and it?s still a good idea. It will always be a good idea,? Mantia commented.
Mantia said that this is the only example known from a group of four gold patterns struck. And of those four it is the only one of its particular design variety, Stack?s sale catalogers wrote.
On the reverse is an allegorical representation of Polonia presenting a Constitution to a young Poland. Mantia said that Poland?s Constitution of May 3, 1791, was the first written national constitution adopted in Europe, and that it was second in the world behind that of the United States adopted in 1787.
Stack?s catalogers said the piece is ?unique, and possibly the only gold Constitution in the public domain (there are three other recorded varieties).? The auction firm graded it ?choice brilliant specimen strike.?
This variety has 81 dots encircling the reverse design and shows the Warsaw Mint?s mintmark located to the right of the date on the obverse.
The other varieties have 100 dots on the reverse, among other differences.
Mantia said the current record auction price for a world coin is $1.38 million, paid for a 1621 Polish 100 ducats of Sigismund III. That record was set in Stack?s Jan. 14 Kroisos collection sale. Mantia said there are multiple examples of that coin available; there?s only one of these. He also feels the Constitution theme is a strong one, characterizing its May 3 signing date as being regarded in Poland similar to July 4 in the United States.
?Polish coins have been greatly undervalued and greatly underappreciated,? Mantia commented.
The full Stack?s auction of ancient, European and other world coins in Rosemont, Ill., April 24 realized about $6,592,500. All prices reported here are from Stack?s preliminary list of prices realized and include buyers? fees.
Top lot of the sale was a Poland 1621 gold 50 ducats of Sigismund III, also from the Belzberg collection. The coin is part of ?a series of large gold and silver coins for presentation? to commemorate a victory of Poland over Turkey at the Battle of Chocim, catalogers wrote.
Graded about extremely fine by the auction firm, it sold for $431,250.
Coming in second was a 1533 gold presentation 10 ducats graded very fine by sale catalogers. It brought $322,000. The coin features Sigismund I on the obverse and his son Sigismund August II on the reverse.
Mantia?s purchase was third-highest price realization of the sale.
Following it was a 1617 silver double talary of Sigismund III that sold for $184,000. It was graded choice extremely fine by catalogers.
A proof 1996 one-kilogram .999 fine gold lunar series Year of the Rat issue from China denominated 2,000 yuan also fetched $184,000. It was part of a mintage of 15 pieces, this example numbered 11 on its certificate of authenticity. The auction firm graded it gem brilliant proof.
The sale also featured the Michael S. Tallent collection of British and European coins, as well as about 200 lots of ancient Greek, Roman and other coins from the Alpha-Omega collection of ancients.
For more information, contact Stack?s, 123 W. 57th St., New York, NY 10019; telephone (800) 566-2580.
Additional prices realized and lots with images can be seen at Web site www.stacks.com.