Results from the Heritage Sept. 6-11 Long Beach World Coins & Ancients sale must have brought a warm and contented glow to the auction house’s heart.
No coins attracted record-breaking, six-figure sums. The top-selling lots all fetched well under $50,000. Yet, coming hard on the heels of the $9+ million ANA Heritage sale, the 5,223 lots on offer realized a most satisfactory $5,895,183 total, of which 34 lots took in excess of $10,000 apiece. The reason was simple: Coin quality was to the fore.
A mix of Great British and ancient coins dominated top results. Highest-priced item was a 1917 British sovereign of George V (KM-820, S-3996, Marsh-219).This is a coin with strong U.S. and World War I connections.
Despite having a mintage of 1,014,714 back in 1917, today this sovereign has a rarity of R5. Following WWI, most of that original mintage was shipped to America as part payment for accrued war debts. Following passing of the Gold Reserve Act in 1934, all those 1917 sovereigns were melted; hence the few remaining today.
That on offer at Long Beach came in a most desirable MS63 PCGS accompanied by a “brilliant cartwheel luster, canary-gold with a superb strike.” It realized $28,800 on a starting bid of just $10,000.
Just a little way behind came a 1656 pattern 20 shillings broad of Oliver Cromwell (KM-Pn25, S-3225) – the work of Thomas Simon and the engineering know-how of Pierre Blondeau. A valuable piece of English numismatic history, it arrived via the “Collection of a Berkshire Gentleman.” Graded AU50 NGC, it raced away from a starting bid of $5,000 to sell for $26,400.
A high-quality Macedonian Acanthus silver tetradrachm c. 470-430 B.C.E. led the ancients. The obverse shows a lion attacking a kneeling bull with a tuna below. Deeply struck and graded NGC Choice AU 5/5–4/5, Fine Style, it had no problems in fetching $24,000.
It was then back to the Best of British: a classic 6th issue hammered Elizabeth I gold pound struck c. 1595-1598 at Tower Mint (S-2534). In a more-than-acceptable AU55 NGC, it took a most satisfactory $21,600.
Ancients stormed back with a mint state Diocletian aureus struck at Cyzicus in 290 C.E. (RIC V, Part II 285, Calicó 4434). Graded NGC MS 5/5–4/5, it sold for an easy $21,600.
The rest of the world got its first look-in with a Russian Nicholas I gold proof 5 rubles dated 1853 from the St. Petersburg mint (KM-C175.3, Fr-155). This is a very rare coin as a proof and, in PR62 Ultra Cameo NGC, the price was a not unexpected $21,000.
Other top-selling lots included:
- South African George V 2-1/2 shillings, 1927, KM19.2, MS65 NGC: $19,200; Central American Republic 4 escudos, 1837 CR-F, KM16, AU58 NGC: $15,600; Queen Victoria gold proof Golden Jubilee medal, 1887, PR62 Cameo NGC: $15,600.
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