Chronology : 1920 2007
1621 The Ducats of King Sigismund
2018 SOLD for $ 2.16M including premium
The sharpness of the strike on such a large item is exceptional for its time. The rim circle and the centering of the unit for sale are almost perfect : 69.4 x 69.1 cm. It is 4.9 mm thick and weighs 349.49 grams. Tiny hairlines subsequent from handling are inevitable because of the malleability of gold. The coin is signed I.I. and S.A. It could only be used for presentation.
No previous edition is comparable. The 100 ducats coin issued in 1629 for King Ferdinand of Hungary and Bohemia, later the Emperor Ferdinand III, is of similar design with the portrait of the monarch on one side and royal shields on the other.
The coin lists the titles of Sigismund III Vasa as King of Poland and Sweden and Grand Duke of Lithuania, Russia, Prussia, Masuria, Samogitia and Livonia. The king is decorated with the Order of the Golden Fleece as a sign of allegiance to the Habsburgs.
Sigismund was a fervent Catholic born in a Protestant dynasty. He wanted to take over the throne of Sweden which he had lost for that reason in 1599 and was unpopular in Poland. At the beginning of the Thirty Years War, Poland was threatened with an invasion by the Turks but he did not participate directly in the resistance of the Khotyn Fortress in Moldavia against the Ottoman army in 1621. The conjunction of date of the 100 ducats coin with this heroic event is a mere coincidence or an opportunity.
Jacob Jacobson van Emden who signed with his Latinized initials I.I. was since 1616 the mint master in Bydgoszcz (Bromberg). The 100 ducats coin is a demonstration of his know-how which undoubtedly helped him to obtain from 1623 a direct or indirect responsibility over six other royal mints. The initials S.A. designate the engraver Samuel Ammon.
Exceedingly rare Poland commemorative 100 Dukat (349.49 grams) of Zygmunt III Wasa, celebrating 1621 victory over Ottomans, offered by CNG at 46th New York International Numismatic Convention, 10 January 2018, is one of the largest gold coins ever struck. https://t.co/I1Ad44EOqD pic.twitter.com/90dcByCj9A— Ancient Nomos (@ANAMCurator) December 8, 2017
1640 The Warin Gold
2019 SOLD for CHF 700K before fees
The circulation coins are the double-louis, the louis and the demi-louis. To launch this operation, coins of 10 louis, 8 louis and 4 louis are also released, in very small quantities. They enter into the category of 'pièces d'hommage' or 'pièces de plaisir'. They have not been documented in period and the only supposed use is at the king's gaming table. Such an operation will never be repeated and these coins are the most prestigious in the history of the French currency.
The cardinal de Richelieu, minister of Louis XIII, was the instigator of this reform. He took the opportunity to skilfully reduce the gold content from 0.958 to 0.917.
They display on one side the portrait of Louis XIII in profile and the date 1640. The bust is naked for the 4 and 8 louis and draped for the 10 louis. The other side shows the attributes of royalty, crowns, fleurs-de-lis, intertwined L's which form a cross, and the letter A which designates the Paris workshop.
An 8 louis weighing 53.68 g was sold for € 210K including premium by Rouillac on June 11, 2017. A 4 louis weighing 26.86 g was sold for € 290K including premium by Briscadieu on September 20, 2019.
On November 19 in Geneva, NGSA (Numismatica Genevensis) sells an example of the heaviest French gold coin, a 10 louis weighing 67.49 g, with a starting bid of CHF 500K, lot 657 here linked on the Biddr auction platform.
1703 Vigo Five guineas
2019 SOLD for $ 1.08M including premium by Baldwin's of Saint James's
narrated in 2020
Gold is rare in England. In 1703 the metal seized in Vigo is used to mint coins with the effigy of Queen Anne. The largest denomination is the five guineas, a superb achievement weighing more than 40 grams. Its total population is estimated at 20 units in two basic variants differentiated by the position of the word VIGO centered under the bust or offset under the shoulder. The VIGO beneath shoulder is the rarer.
On February 9, 2016, St. James's sold for £ 275K before fees an example in very good condition of the VIGO beneath shoulder, graded AU55 by PCGS.
Another VIGO beneath shoulder was sold for £ 280K including premium by Boningtons on Novemner 16, 2016. It had just been resurfaced by the consignor from a "pirate treasure" that had been constituted for him many years earlier by his grandfather who had been a lover of travels and coins.
On January 13, 2019, Baldwin's of Saint James's, successor to St. James's, sold another example for $ 1.08M including premium. This VIGO beneath shoulder has a slightly different position of the VIGO hallmark. It may have been a prototype whose irregular letter height in that mark was not acceptable for the rest of the production. This coin is graded Mint State 62 by PCGS and is perfectly centered.
1740 silver pattern rouble for Ivan VI
2012 SOLD 3.6 MCHF before fees by Sincona
1741 The 20 Ducat Gold Coin of Basel
2014 SOLD for CHF 800K before fees
On November 25 in Geneva, Numismatica Genevensis sells a presentation specimen of this coin in a stunning condition, lot 581 estimated CHF 500K. Here is the link to the site of the auction house.
The engraving is very sharp and very attractive, with Basel symbols including a spectacular basilisk with outspread wings, the coat of arms of the city and the arms of the eight associated municipalities, plus a cornucopia. One side displays a wide panoramic view of Basel with the houses over the Rhine, a bridge and two boats.
The only other surviving copy, in poorer condition, is preserved in the museum of Zurich.
I invite you to play the video shared by Numismatica Genevensis showing the great quality of carving of the Basel cityscape :
1766 The Early Maturity of Catherine the Great
2012 SOLD 800 K$ before fees
The first coins depicting the new Empress showed the face of a young woman.
This ambitious certainly wished offering another figure of herself to better enforce her authority. In 1763, her enthroned portrait by Rokotov flatters the maturity of this 34 year old woman, already imposing and ruling.
In 1766, a new rouble is prepared, with a bust profiled to the right which may have been inspired by the painting of Rokotov. The engraving is very sharp compared to the regular Russian coinage of the time. A few specimens are made, but this pattern coin will never be released.
One of three known pieces is estimated $ 1M, for sale by Baldwin's in New York on January 5. The estimate may seem high, but Russian art collectors often outbid for imperial rarities.
This coin is illustrated in the release shared by CoinWeek. The other side shows a two-headed eagle. I complete the iconography of this article by inviting you to view on Wikipedia the portrait of Catherine the Great by Rokotov.
POST SALE COMMENT
I feared that this lot would be difficult to sell. Although it remained below the estimate, I consider that the price, $ 800K before fees, is excellent.
1808 pattern rouble of Alexander I
2013 SOLD 1 MCHF before fees by Sincona
1827 pattern rouble of Nicholas I
2013 SOLD 2.05 MCHF before fees by Sincona
1839 The Young Head
2020 SOLD for $ 690K including premium
The new reign is organizing. Victoria is crowned on June 28, 1838 and married on February 10, 1840. In 1839 the Royal Mint commemorates the new reign with a prestigious issue including the fifteen monetary values from farthing to five pounds.
The highest denomination is the masterpiece of British coinage, both for aesthetics and for political importance. Wyon targeted it skilfully. The obverse is the young head. The reverse stages Una leading the lion. The young Una has the features of the new queen. The lion is the traditional symbol of Great Britain. A saying from the Psalms (117: 133) promises a kingdom delivered from sin.
These coins have not circulated. All the Five pounds inspected by PCGS or NGC are Proofs, graded between PR60 and PR66. The contrast must also be taken into account for their appraisal.
On September 26, 2015, Baldwin's sold for £ 500K including premium a full set of the fifteen denominations, in an unsurpassable condition. The eight highest denominations have all been graded PR66 or better by NGC. The Five pounds is the only known example of its kind in PR66, and its contrast is Ultra Cameo.
Regarding the sales of single pieces, Baldwin's of St James's sold on September 22, 2017 for £ 340K before fees a Five pounds graded PR65 Ultra Cameo by NGC. On January 13 in New York, Heritage sells a Five pounds graded PR64 Deep Cameo by PCGS, lot 32248 estimated $ 200K. With the same grade and contrast, another coin was sold for $ 260K including premium by Heritage on January 5, 2015.
POST SALE COMMENT
In the same sale, the next lot was another example of the same coin, graded PR61 Ultra Cameo by NGC. It was sold for $ 300K including premium.
1886 Ruble Patterns for the Tsars
2014 SOLD for CHF 1.5M including premium
On 9 October 2012, Sincona sold for CHF 3.6 million before fees a pattern coin made in 1740 with the figure of the baby Tsar Ivan VI. A coin dated 1766 for Catherine II was sold for $ 800K before fees by Baldwin's on January 5, 2012.
Catherine's successor, Paul I, interrupted the tradition of offering the portrait of the Tsar on the coinage.
However, during the confusion that followed the death of Alexander I in 1825, a test piece was struck with the effigy of the apparent heir, Grand Duke Constantine, who had not yet confirmed his refusal to reign. This Constantine ruble is the most prestigious currency in the Russian numismatics. One of them was sold for $ 525K before fees by Baldwin's and M & M on January 15, 2004, a very high price for that time.
In the second specialized Sincona auction from 14 to 16 October 2013, the highest results were achieved for pattern rubles with the two-headed eagle: CHF 1M before fees for the 1808 coin and CHF 2.05 million before fees for the 1827 coin.
In 1886, the portrait of Tsar Alexander III will come back onto the silver rubles and two medalists are in competition. A pattern coin from one of the non accepted models is for sale by Sincona in Zürich on 13 and 14 October. Both sides of this beautiful piece are shown in the article posted by Numismatic News.
1910 Yunnan Spring Dollar
2010 SOLD for US $ 1.06M including premium by Champion Hong Kong
narrated in 2020 before the sale of another specimen by Heritage (see below)
The region is bordering Tonkin. The railway line connecting Haiphong to Kunming is an entirely French project with the authorization of the Chinese government. The rail reaches Kunming on April 1, 1910 after seven years of work in extremely severe conditions.
A 1 dollar silver coin surfaced in 1920. Its characteristics are unusual. An inscription in four Chinese characters on the reverse indicates that it was made in the spring of a year corresponding to 1910, defined in the calendar cycle of 60 years and not by the year of the reign. This is the only known example of a Chinese coinage naming a season. An English inscription on the side of the dragon recalls the Chinese value of 7 mace and 2 candareens and the production in the province of Yun-Nan.
This piece was considered unique after three runs of fakes had been identified. Graded AU55 by NGC, it was sold for US $ 1.06M including premium by Champion Hong Kong on August 22, 2010, lot 12 here linked on LiveAuctioneers bidding platform.
A few months later, another coin was authenticated. NGC and Champion testified that it was struck with the same dies as the discovery coin. Graded AU58 by NGC, it was sold twice by Heritage : for $ 550K including premium on September 8, 2011 and for $ 660K including premium on July 12, 2020, lot 30141.
The two surviving pieces referred above are certified AU (Almost Uncirculated) by NGC. This variety has thus the characteristics of a pattern coin which has not been followed by production. Champion supports the very plausible hypothesis of the project of a presentation coin to celebrate the completion of the rail line.
The 2020 Heritage catalog announces a total population of three units certified by NGC and confirms that the coin for sale is the finest.
1920 The Sovereigns of the British Empire
2012 SOLD 780 K£ including premium
The British Empire extended over all regions of the world. It was logical that Australia, a major producer of gold, minted also these coins as soon as security enabled it. Coins made in Sydney, identified by the letter S, were issued from 1855 to 1926, for a total of 115 variants when separating the years.
For many decades, American collectors have built complete thematic series of their currencies composed of the best possible specimens. In other countries, this approach is still unfrequent. The sale by Baldwin's in three parts of the Bentley collection of British sovereigns shall be used as a reference.
The first sale, on 8 May 2012, included all variants made in London, with the exception of the 1819 sovereign which will be the top lot of the third sale in May 2013.
The second sale, on September 27 in London, is devoted to colonial issues.
The 1920-S sovereign is an exceptional piece. The extreme rarity of this variant is not correlated with the statistics of the plant, but it is likely that almost all coins minted in Sydney in 1920 remained mintmarked from the previous year.
This coin was purchased for Aus $ 580K including premium by its current owner in 2006 in an auction organized by KJC Coins. It is now estimated £ 300K. Both sides are shown on the article shared by Blouin Artinfo.
POST SALE COMMENT
The result is both excellent and very satisfying, because usually the high end of the modern coin market is dominated by U.S. dollars. The Australian sovereign was sold £ 780K, according to a tweet of the auction house.
The £ 780K figure includes the fees.
It has been found in 2014 that the few 1920-S sovereigns struck in 1920 were made on a special order for an NSW politician celebrating his gold wedding anniversary. The sovereign was expensive at that time in terms of gold content and no 1920 sovereign had been required by the officials to the Sydney mint. A 1920-S sovereign novodel made in 1926 after cleaning the reverse die is also known. This story is narrated by Sterling & Currency.
2007 Her Majesty's Bullion
2010 SOLD 3.27 M€ before fees
Gold bullion coins generally have a purity of 99.99%.
In 2007, the Royal Canadian Mint announces the launch of a product line to 99.999%. And as now the only way to get noticed is gigantism, they produce a coin with facial value of 1 million Canadian $. A small number of investors will then order similar parts.
The piece measures 53 cm in diameter, 3 cm thick, and weighs 100 kg. Chemists will appreciate this remarkable feat of engineering. The reverse shows the emblem of Canada, three maple leaves. Its value to weight is approximately € 3.2 million.
The copy that was owned by an Austrian financial company is for sale by Dorotheum in Vienna on June 25. Exciting fate for this symbol of capitalism: the owner has gone bankrupt!
POST SALE COMMENT
This lot has been sold 3.27 million € before fees. This is the price of its metal value to weight, not surprisingly. The extreme purity of gold has not generated an added value.