The world coin market is in a state of extraordinary good health. The results from Heritage Auctions’ Platinum Night sale make this abundantly clear. The 1,085 lotS realized a total of $11,041,293 or over $10,000 a lot. Of these 19 took over $100,000 while a further 234 fetched between $10,000 and $99,999.
The catalog was blessed by several outstanding collections. These included the Cape Coral 3 marks, Allen Moretti’s Swiss collection, and George Cook’s Canadian coins. It was coins from the latter collection that occupied the three top spots.
Heading the field by a substantial margin was the sole George V specimen pattern Canadian dollar of 1911 in private hands. It is one of only two known examples (KM-Pn15, DC-6).
As the Heritage catalog points out, “If the 1921 Half Dollar is considered the ‘King of Canadian Coins,’ then it follows that the 1911 Dollar reigns as, ‘The Emperor of Canadian Numismatics’.”
But it is not just about rarity. The cataloger continues “The deeply saturated planchet hosts a mixture of cool blues and fiery auburn tones, while the strike is impeccable across even the most intricate details of the King’s effigy and reverse wreath. Those who have viewed both this coin and the example in the National Currency Collection consider this piece to be the finer of the two silver strikings.”
Given these factors plus the SP64 PCGS grade, it was not unexpected when the coin realized a comfortable $552,000 on an estimate of “$500,000 - up”.
Nor did that ‘King of Canadian Coins’ take-out second place. That position went to a choice example of a George V ‘dot’ cent of 1936 (KM-28). This is the coin struck in 1937 before the creation of coinage dies for George VI. The coins were never released and long considered uncollectable once John Jay Pittman had secured all three known examples which he held from 1961 until his death. That on offer had been in the Cook collection for nine years. Graded SP65 Red and Brown PCGS it had no trouble in selling for $312,000.
Finally, it was the turn of the ‘King’: a 1921 George V 50 cents (KM-25a). Graded a desirable MS66 PCGS it romped to an easy $240,000.
The first non-Canadian coin was an extremely rare, Lucerne 34.52 g gold 10 ducat of 1714-HL and struck from taler dies (KM-G51; Fr-308). It is just one of three 10 ducats produced in the history of the Lucerne Canton and the only certified example. It arrived on the block from the Allen Moretti Swiss Collection and easily bid-up to $162,000 in MS63 NGC.
And then came the ancients.
Leading the charge here was a previously unknown and hence unpublished gold 4.5 solidi of Constantius II. This 35 mm, 20.12 g medallion struck at Siscia c. AD 340 to 19 January AD 350 is the companion issue to the Constantius 4.5 solidi medallion RIC VIII 128. The obverse shows Constans as Augustus; the reverse two Victories holding a wreath. Graded NGC AU 5/5-2/5 ex-mount and with some damage it had little difficulty in making $156,000.
The same price was achieved by a delightful and somewhat older Phanes Ionian 14.14 g electrum stater struck at Ephesus (c. 625-600 BC). It shows a spotted stag walking along with a legend that translates “I am the badge of Phanes” (BMC Ionia 1). It came to the block graded NGC (photo-certificate) VF 4/5-4/5.
Other top-selling lots included:
George V gold sovereign 1916-C, (KM-20, S-3997) MS66 PCGS: $156,000;
NSW ‘Holey Dollar” 1813 (KM-2.9) AU53 NGC: $144,000;
GB gold Una & Lion proof £5 1839 (KM-742, S-3851) UNC (repaired) PCGS: $132,000;
George III gold proof pattern 2 guineas 1768 (KM-Pn49, S-3724) PR64 NGC: $132,000;
George V gold proof pattern crown 1935 (KM-PnM122, ESC-379) PR65 Deep Cameo PCGS: $126,000.
The remainder of the results is well worth close scrutiny by all those interested in the state of the current world coin market. Full catalog details and prices realized are available at www.ha.com.