Heritage Auctions' World and Ancient coin sale at the Central States May 5-7 auction included 18 lots that sold for more than $100,000 and 37 that reached at least $50,000. It featured selections from the Regent Collection, a trove that is among the finest assemblages of Australian rarities to reach the market in years, if not ever. The Regent Collection enjoyed enormous success, claiming the top two results in the sale and four of the top five. Among the highlights:
The finest of just six known examples of the George V gold Sovereign 1920-S MS64+ NGC, which is widely acknowledged as the “King” of the Australian Sovereign series and led the event at $552,000. This magnificent specimen is from an issue that initially was underappreciated as a rarity, due to its mintage of 360,180 – all from 1920-dated dies and struck between January and June 1920. It was suggested that the small handful of surviving examples was commissioned by prominent Sydney citizen Jacob Garrard from the Mint for distribution to his seven children to celebrate his Golden Wedding Anniversary, but contemporary documentation records no formal order from Garrard, meaning he likely obtained them from the Commonwealth Bank to which the Sydney Mint delivered newly struck Sovereigns during the 1920s. Therefore, the 1920-S represents what is perhaps the paramount rarity of the regular circulation Sovereign series, rather than a private order. This particular representative was held by Garrard's descendants for the last 100-plus years and represents a fresh addition to the known census not previously available for public auction.
Also from the Regent Collection was a Victoria gold Proof Pattern Sovereign 1853-SYDNEY PR63 Ultra Cameo NGC, which reached $384,000. The famed “Sydney Mint” Pattern Sovereign of 1853 was the first Sovereign for the colony, and one of only four originally produced. This example is believed to be unique in private hands, with all other specimens permanently impounded in museum collections – one in the British Museum and the other two in the Royal Mint Museum of Wales.
Other top lots from the Regent Collection included a Victoria gold Proof Pattern Sovereign 1855-SYDNEY PR65 Ultra Cameo NGC, which soared past pre-auction estimates on its way to $240,000, and a Victoria gold Proof Pattern Sovereign 1856-SYDNEY PR65★ Ultra Cameo NGC, the finest of only two examples in private hands, which brought $234,000.
The sale included a wide range of highlights from outside the Regent Collection, including: a Victoria gold Proof “Una and the Lion” 5 Pounds 1839 PR62 Ultra Cameo NGC, KM742, S-3851, W&R-278 (R4), Marsh-F23 (R3) is from one of the most fervently and consistently contested series in recent memory and is considered the crowning artistic achievement of master engraver William Wyon at the height of his career. This issue is so popular that its production continued decades later, and the British Royal Mint revived the design for inclusion in its commemorative “Great Engravers” series.
A Nürnberg. Free City gold 6 Ducat 1745-PPW MS60 Prooflike NGC sold for $216,000. This coin is noteworthy as a type absent from both the Erlanger and Paramount collections, it is believed that as few as five other examples having come to auction in the last 20 years, with this very coin serving as the plate in the Standard Catalog of World Coins.
A Constantine I the Great (AD 307-337). AV festaureus or 1-1/4 solidus medallion (25mm, 5.44 gm, 12h). NGC MS★ 5/5 - 5/5 brought a winning bid of $204,000 – a world record for the type. These incredibly rare gold medallions weigh 1-¼ solidi, which corresponds to the old aureus weight standard of the Diocletian reform, and were minted for special festive occasions, hence their Germanic name “festaureus.” This issue commemorates the 30th anniversary (tricennalia) of the reign of Constantine I, which the emperor celebrated in July AD 335 in Constantinople.
Complete results from the World & Ancient Coins auction can be found at HA.com/3099.