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Meiji gold dominates Heritage NYINC sale

Heritage Numismatic Auctions launched 2017 in spectacular fashion when its NYINC World Coins Signature Auction, held Jan. 8-9, realized $15,625,761.

Twelve gold coins fetched in excess of $100,000 apiece. Of that number, six sold for over $200,000. These results reflect the juxtaposition of extreme rarity with superb quality.

As anticipated pre-sale, prices realized were dominated by Meiji proof gold. All coins were outstanding examples of their kind; all were ex-Commander Collection; and all came dated Year 13 (1880).


Top-selling Meiji gold: 20 yen, KM-Y13, which realized $305,500 in PR64 Cameo NGC. (Images courtesy and ©

The 20 yen on offer, KM-Y13, is believed the finest extant, grading at PR64 Cameo NGC. It raced away to a record-breaking $305,500.

The 10 yen, KM-Y12a, also graded PR64 Cameo NGC. It made $270,250 with less than 5 presently known.

Next up was the 2 yen, KM-Y10a, in a fantastic PR66 Cameo NGC. One of only two examples certified, it took $170,375.

The 5 yen, KM-Y11a, one of two in private hands, went for $117,500 in PR65 Cameo NGC.

The same price was realized by a proof silver 10 sen, KM-Y23, graded PR63 NGC.

The remainder of the 1880-dated collection, consisting of six silver proofs, sold for between $88,125 and $5,170.


The excessively rare 25 ducat of 1709 struck on the occasion of the installation of Franz Anton von Harrach as Archbishop of Salzburg, KM-304. In MS61 NGC, it fetched $223,250. The reverse shows Saints Rupert and Virgil contemplating a miniature Salzburg Cathedral. (Images courtesy and ©

Other countries were not to be outdone. Third top price of the sale went to a massive and rare 25 ducat of 1709 struck in the name of Franz Anton von Harrach, Archbishop of Salzburg, KM-304.

The piece is excessively rare and the largest 18th century non-medallic gold issue struck by the Salzburg Mint. In MS61 NGC, it had no problem fetching $223,250.


Obverses of the two top-selling pieces of choice British gold. At left is a 1700 William III 5 guineas, KM-505.1, which realized $211,500; at right, an 1893 Victoria proof £5, KM-787, which brought $152,750. (Images courtesy and ©

Three large pieces of British gold were among the top sellers. An exceptional Mint State example of a William III 5 guineas of 1700, KM-505.1, S-3454, made an eye-watering $211,500 in MS63 NGC, while a Veiled Head Victoria proof £5 of 1893, KM-787, S-3872, took $152,750 in PR67 Ultra Cameo NGC.

Rounding out the trio was a William & Mary 5 guineas dated 1691, KM-479.1, S-3422, in an outstanding MS63 NGC, which went for an remarkably modest $105,750.

Russia was well represented by Elizabeth, Empress and Autocrat of All the Russias. Her contribution was one of two known large-planchet, 1755-C Novodel gold pattern 5 rubles from the St. Petersburg mint. In PR64 Cameo NGC, it sold under its $250,000 estimate for $211,500.

Next came the legendary 1915 gold Cuban Republic six-piece proof set of 1 peso to 20 pesos, KM16-21. Struck at the Philadelphia Mint, it had once graced the Eliasberg Collection. With the coins in immaculate condition and grading PR64 to PR66, the price tag of $199,750 was not unexpected.

Rare Swiss gold has been commanding healthy prices in the past twelvemonths, which looks set to continue based on the Confederation gold specimen “Stirnlocke-Vreneli” pattern 20 francs dated 1897-B (Bern Mint) that arrived on the block.

It was an example with the “frivolous” lock of hair blowing across Helvetia’s forehead, KM-Pn39. Graded SP66+ PCGS, its price of $146,875 was considerably in excess of the $90,000 obtained by a similar example in Heritage’s August 2016 ANA Signature sale.

It is an unusual world coin sale when an Elizabeth I hammered gold pound of 20 shillings ends up amongst also-rans; even more so when the Mint State coin comes graded an astonishing MS64 PCGS. Yet given the above competition, it managed a mere $88,125.

Full details of lots sold and prices realized are available online at

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