Heritage Auctions has been selling the superb Morris Collection of Imperial Rome progressively throughout this past year. The coins of ancient Rome were not Morris’s sole interest. He also assembled an impressive number of historic world coins. A selection of these was offered in Heritage’s July 28 World Coin Monthly Online Auction #271928.
The ten top-selling lots show the breadth of Morris’s collection as well as his eye for quality pieces. Among the top ten prices, six were achieved by French and English hammered gold, two by milled Russian silver for the 18th and 19th centuries and the tenth by a delightful Carolingian denier of Charlemagne.
The top-priced lot was a 27 mm, 3.74 g, undated Charles V gold franc à pied of the 14th century (Fr-284; Dup-360). This outstanding coin came on a near round flan with a uniformly well struck-up design. It could well be the finest extant - its MS66 NGC grade placing it at the top of 122 certified examples. All of which explains the $9,000 price tag.
The top English-struck coin was a gold fifth issue angel of Elizabeth I, c. 1582 (S-2525; N-1991/1). Both faces show high-quality engraving that serves to enhance details of the design. Its price of $7,200 is perhaps commensurate with its AU55 NGC grade.
The top Russian piece was a 1741 rouble of the ill-fated Ivan III struck at St. Petersburg (KM-207.2; Dav-1676). A rare coin and graded XF45 NGC it had no problems in fetching $7,800.
But for your reporter the most fascinating piece of the collection was the near mint state 19mm, 1.37 g, Class 2 denier of Charlemagne struck at the Melle mint c. 771-793 (Rob-896, MEC I-728). The design consists almost entirely of the monarch’s and mint’s names; the former carefully formed and well-proportioned while the latter is oddly arranged as on some of Charlemagne’s earlier coinage. Graded AU58 NGC it sold for $4,080. This price contrasts with the $4,465 achieved by a similar piece in AU53 sold by Heritage in their 2015 ANA Platinum Night sale.
The total realized by the 430 lots was $261,432. Full auction details and prices realized can be found at Heritage’s website: www.ha.com.