The market for World & Ancient Coins continues to show increasing momentum as collectors drove spirited bidding and impressive prices realized throughout the course of Heritage Auctions’ $6.6 million April 9-14, 2015 CICF World Coins & Ancient Coins Signature Auction.
“Overall, prices were stronger than in our last auction,” said Cristiano Bierrenbach, Vice President of Heritage Auctions. “Our web capability also realized some incredible success, with activity that was off the chart — there were more than 1.2 million page views for this auction alone. All of this drove the strong prices.”
Two coins vied and tied for top honors in the auction, realizing equal $82,500 prices realized: An 1814 Brazilian Joao VI gold ingot 1814, a treasure of Brazilian numismatics, and an 1894-A French Republic gold 100 Francs, MS64 PCGS, a beautiful rarity in a high grade.
“Heritage sold one of these coins last August, graded MS61,” said Bierrenbach. “That one realized $28,200. This coin was graded three points higher and realized almost three times as much, which all goes to show what a big difference condition can make.”
The demand for early 19th century British coins is an area that has shown a decided increase, as evidenced by the $76,375 price realized for an 1862 George IV gold Proof 5 Pounds PR62 Cameo PCGS, a world record for the type.
“This is a very strong market right now,” said Bierrenbach, “Even though we’ve sold higher grade pieces in the past — just last September Heritage sold a PR63 example for $67,563, itself a world record for the type — the bar just keeps getting pushed higher.”
The top lots on the Ancients side of the auction came in the form of two spectacular decadrachms — A Time of Dionysius I (406-367 BC) AR decadrachm signed by Kimon and a Time of Dionysius I (406-367 BC) AR decadrachm signed by Euainetos — realized $70,500 and $58,750 respectively. Both of these coins came from the Allatini Collection, with pedigrees that extended well back more than 80 years.
Besides the top lot in the auction, further Brazilian rarities continued to command a premium, as a 1724-A Joao V gold 10000 Reis U58 NGC realized an impressive $49,350 final price realized, while Canadian coins made their presence felt with a 1916-C George V gold Sovereign MS64 NGC that brought a highly respectable $39,950 price realized.
A world record for type was set by the $32,900 price realized for a 1601 Netherlands East Indies: United Amsterdam Company Daalder of 8 Reales MS63 NGC. A 1904 Danish West Indies Danish Colony Christian IX gold 10 Daler (50 Francs) 1904 MS64 Prooflike NGC more than tripled its $8,000+ pre-sale estimate to finish the auction at $28,200, while a 1931 Panama Republic Matte Proof Balboa 1931 PR65 NGC, which also greatly surpassed its $6,000+ pre-sale estimate. The demand for Austro-Hungarian coins has exploded in recent months, as amply illustrated by a 1908 Austrian Franz Joseph I gold Proof 100 Corona PR63 Cameo NGC, which more than quadrupled pre-auction estimates to soar to $23,500.
One of the most interesting sections of the auction came from a collection titled The Virginia Cabinet, a grouping of World coins that had been set aside with great care and left to tone in a coin cabinet for a very long time.
“The Virginia Cabinet is just a spectacular grouping,” said Bierrenbach, “and collectors went all out to acquire the best pieces. The entire group realized more than $112,000 versus our pre-sale estimates of anywhere from $48,000 to $68,000. It was remarkable all around.”
The most impressive pieces in the collection came the US Philippines coins, featuring several proof sets that realized solid prices. It was the beautiful 1910-S USA Administration 20 Centavos MS66 NGC that drew the most attention, selling for $9,988, more than doubling its pre-auction estimate.