In late January, the Classical Numismatic Group announced that their annual Triton sale had realized $10,482,153 on pre-sale total estimates of $7,831,550.
The catalog featured 1,456 lots of Greek, Celtic, Oriental Greek, Central Asian, Roman Provincial, Roman Republican & Imperatorial, and Roman Imperial coinage.
Thrown in for good measure was a selection of Byzantine, Early Medieval, Islamic, World, and British coinage plus a number of choice large lots.
Four outstanding collections dominated the sale:
• The Gasvoda Collection consisted of exceptional Greek and Roman coins with an emphasis on Magna Graecia and Sicily. It realized $3,047,376 on a $1,850,700 estimate.
• Seleukid coinage from the MNL Collection took $282,270 on a $172,250 estimate.
• The Michel Prieur Collection of Syro-Phoenician silver coinage sold for $500,844 on a $216,550 estimate.
• Roman Republican coins from the Alan J. Harlan Collection fetched $435,810 on a $273,950 estimate.
Top-selling lot from the Gasvoda Collection was a Sicilian silver tetradrachm by Kimon (26mm, 17.44 g) from the Second Democracy c. 406-405 BCE. The head of the nymph Arethousa fills much of the obverse, her sea-swept hair radiant about her. Adjectives fail to adequately describe this superb artwork. It is a true masterwork in the original sense of that word.
On the reverse, a charioteer drives his quadriga at breakneck speed with Nike hovering above waiting to crown him with a laurel wreath.
Graded EF with underlying luster, this coin shot past its $150,000 estimate to hammer at $225,000 for a total of $270,000.
A second tetradrachm came from the MNL collection and was sourced from the Seleukid Empire of Demetrios I Soter c. 155/4-150 BCE (31mm, 16.68 g). The obverse shows the king’s effigy within a laurel wreath in high relief. The reverse has Tyche seated (SC-1611.3).
In EF, it realized $14,400 on an estimate of $3,000.
Top lot from the Michel Prieur Collection was a third tetradrachm (25mm, 10.58 g) struck at Hierapolis for Caracalla c. 215-217 CE (Prieur 925). The emperor is shown laureate, draped, and cuirassed. On the reverse are cult figures of Haddad seated on bulls and Atargatis seated on lions. Between is a semeion surmounted by a golden pigeon. All are supported by an eagle.
This is an extremely rare coin. Prieur cites just four examples. In gVF and toned, it made a most comfortable $16,800 on a highly conservative $5,000 estimate.
From A.J. Harlan’s Imperial Roman coins came an exceptional example of a silver denarius (17 mm, 4.05 g) struck by moneyer T. Carisius for Imperatorial Rome c. 46 BCE. On the obverse, the head of Sibyl Herophile is displayed with her hair decorated with jewels and enclosed in bands. On the reverse is a Sphinx.
As the cataloger notes, this coin’s design shows that Roman moneyers were familiar with the legends and coin types of obscure Greek cities. In this instance, the city is Gergis, sited near ancient Troy. It was said to be the birthplace of the Sibyl Herophile, a priestess with prophetic powers. Coins of the city struck c. 350-300 BCE show the head of the Sibyl and a seated sphinx, a symbol of prophecy. These themes are repeated here.
Given its superb EF condition, the coin realized $5,700, or well over three times estimate.
Full catalog details and prices realized can be found at the CNG website: www.cngcoins.com. On the list, the number of each lot is hot-linked to the catalog description.
Prices and totals cited here included a buyer’s premium of 20%. However, those bidding online and who used The Saleroom.com would have paid 22.5%.
CNG is currently accepting consignments for its next mail bid auction, CNG 111, scheduled for May 8.
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