By Kerry Rodgers
Spink’s December London sale provided the opportunity for collectors to indulge in some purchases. Much interest centered on the sale of Celtic coins from the Geoff Cottam Collection. However, it was not among these that highest prices were realized.
The catalog also included several rare historically important Polish coins and it was one of these that became top of the pops: a stunning Polish 10 ducats of Sigismund III Vasa dated 1612. Weighing in at 34.66 g this very rare coin had no problem in exceeding double its upper estimate by taking $108,720 [£72,000] in VF. Its last known auction sale was by Stack’s Coin Galleries in 1962.
Some distance behind came a rare Elizabeth I (1588-1603) silver portcullis 8 testerns. It too rocked its past upper estimate to fetch $52,548 [£34,800] in gVF.
Also among the high rollers was an Anglo-Saxon gold thrysma c.655-c.750. Described as a “Concordia” type with clasped hands on the reverse it had been found at East Grafton in Wiltshire in April 2015. Just five examples are known of this style and of these few are available to collectors. Graded as EF it sold for $32,616 [£21,600] on a £8,000-12,000 estimate.
The Cottam collection consisted of over 400 lots spanning almost all known Celtic tribes of the British Iron Age. Cottam was recognized as a leading expert his the field. Over the years he took time to cultivate detectorists. As a result many coins went straight from the ground into his extensive collection. The Spink sale saw most being offered for the first time at public auction. Many are rarities. Many are among the finest specimens available. The prices realized confirm this.
The highest price in this segment of the sale of $16,308 [£10,800] was made by an uninscribed gold stater of 5.53 g from North Thames found in 1999. The obverse had been struck with a badly worn die but the reverse had a sharp image of an annulate horse, a wing motif above, a wheel below, and a sun before. It came graded F/EF and was described as “excessively rare.”
The same price was achieved by a spectacular gold quarter stater of the Atrebates and Regni peoples, minted under Tincomarus (c. 20 BC-AD 10). Graded EF it is one of the finest known. The coin displays mixed cultural symbols with Rome’s Medusa dominating the reverse surmounted by wings and serpents. The king’s name is abbreviated “TINC” on the obverse.
An excessively rare gold stater of the Trinovantes and Catuvellauni struck by Cunobelin (c.10-40 AD) came graded EF. It realized $14,496 [£9,600]. The reverse shows an ear of wheat; the obverse a rearing Romanized horse and crescent moon. It had been found in Berkshire.
A second coin of Tincomarus turned-up in Sussex and proved to be only known example of its type. It consists of a silver unit weighing 1.18 g with a stylized head on the obverse and a horse with a hook below on the reverse. In choice EF it romped to $9,815 [£6,500].
Full details of the sale, including the catalog and prices realized, are available at the Spink website: https://www.spink.com/. A 20 percent buyer’s premium has been added to the prices cited where 1GBP = 1.51USD.
This article was originally printed in World Coin News.
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