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German rarities top auction

The rarest gold coin type of the German Empire headlined results of two auctions conducted May 16 and 17 by Heidelberger Münzhandlung in Germany.


Bringing a hammer price of 116,000 euros was a 20 marks dated 1872 of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Ernst II, 1844-1893. It graded Almost FDC. Pre-sale estimate was 75,000 euros.

Selling for 80,000 euros on an estimate of 25,000 was a previously unknown gold strike of 12 ducats of the second falkentaler from Brandenburg-Ansbach during the reign of Carl Wilhelm Friedrich, 1729-1757. It graded extremely fine.

Carl Wilhelm Friedrich went down in history as the Wild Margrave. Historians used to accuse him of having spent enormous sums of money on falconry while his country was facing state bankruptcy.

Falconry was extremely expensive and was thus interpreted by contemporaries as a reflection of wealth.

Carl Wilhelm Friedrich was renowned throughout Europe for his falconry with its 51 employees. Becoming known far and wide through his passion, his degree of familiarity clearly surpassed the importance of his relatively small principality. It is no wonder then that he chose falconry as a motif for coins, particularly for those intended to serve as gift to foreign ambassadors and princes.

The firm describes the gold coin as depicting the prince on a galloping horse, watching his falcon beating a heron. Three are horsemen, two with trumpets and one with a drum.

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