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Lyall Collection realizes $800,000

By any standard, the Dix Noonan Webb sale of the Lyall Collection of cut and countermarked coins on Sept. 25 was an outstanding success.

Too often in recent years the sales of specialized collections have failed to live up to their pre-sale hype. Not so the Lyall. It proved to be a classic white glove event.

Bidding was so competitive that it took well over twice the anticipated time for the 328 lots to cross the block. Pre-sale estimates were left in the dust as bidders from around the globe competed for rarities unseen for decades. At sale’s end, the total realized was $798,671 [£610,338] on estimates of just over $250,000.

Obverse and countermark of the only known example of an Essequibo & Demerara 22 guilders (Pridmore 1; cf. KM-3). Struck on a counterfeit 6,400 réis of Joseph I, it sold for $72,250. (Images courtesy DNW)

As anticipated, the star of the show proved to be the only recorded specimen of an Essequibo & Demerara 22 guilders (KM-3). The host coin is a counterfeit 6,400 réis of Joseph I with the script ED countermark applied within a rectangular indent.

Bidding began at £6,000 and quickly accelerated. Success was achieved by a telephone bidder from the United States, who paid $72,250 [£55,200] for the privilege – or just under seven times upper estimate.

Obverse and countermark of extremely rare 22 livres of Guadeloupe (KM-5; Pridmore p.299, fig. 20) struck on a 6,400 réis of Maria I and Peter III. It realized $34,556. (Images courtesy DNW)

The second highest price of $34,556 [£26,400] was paid for a 22 livres of Guadeloupe (KM-5) considered by the cataloger as being “of the highest rarity.” It had been countermarked by the French administration on a 1784 6,400 réis of Maria I and Peter III of Portugal.

Other top-selling lots included an Essequibo & Demerara 3 guilders countermarked on a pierced 1796 Mexico City 8 réales of Charles IIII (KM-2). It realized $28,271 [£21,600] on a £4,000-5,000 estimate.

And one of three known Guadeloupe 82 livres 10 sols countermarked on a Maria I and Peter III 6,400 réis of 1786 under the British Administration (KM-28) fetched $23,560 [£18,000] in VF. This countermark had once been considered fraudulent, but detailed examination of all three coins has demonstrated it to be official.

Post-sale, DNW Head of Coins Christopher Webb observed, “Normally a sale of this size should have been wrapped up in about two hours, but it took more than twice as long. There were bidders from countries as far apart as the United States, Brazil, and Sweden, and there were a lot of new buyers – I didn’t recognize three-quarters of the names on the final list of purchasers.”

And in case any U.S. collectors were wondering, the Rufus Farnam quarter dollar, c. 1796-1833, countermarked “R.F.” on a Charles IIII 2 réales of 1795FM, made $204.

Full catalog details and prices realized can be sourced at www.dnw.co.uk.


This article was originally printed in World Coin News. >> Subscribe today.


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