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Künker Spring Auction Results Defy Troubles

Künker Spring Auction Results by Künker GmbH ……

The Künker Spring Auction Sales took place in the middle of the worldwide coronavirus crisis and under constantly tightened security requirements. The concern was enormous: How would the collectors react?

In brief, the mood was positive and participation was high overall. For the more than 6,500 lots, Künker realized over 10 million euros surpassing the estimate for the sales that had been set at around 6.7 million euros [About $7.29 million USD. —CoinWeek].

At the beginning of March, the Künker team was ready for the upcoming Numismata Munich, but at that time the first restrictions were imposed on major events (particularly in Munich). The team weighed up the options: Participate in Numismata or not? And what about Spring Auction lot viewing in Munich? We decided to cancel our participation in the Numismata, in order to protect the employees and not to endanger the upcoming auctions. The risk of an infection and having to be quarantined seemed too great. But Künker does have an obligation to the collectors and consignors to protect their interests. For this reason, lot viewing was not cancelled, but supervised by Munich colleagues – naturally in compliance with all hygiene regulations.

The following days brought new safety regulations. International collectors and dealers, who combined their trip with a visit to the Numismata and participation in the Künker auction, were also alarmed. On March 11, the United States of America issued an entry ban on all those who had been in the European Union. The inner-European borders were also gradually closed. So it was clear that guests from abroad had to return home as soon as possible. In Germany, too, the situation was tense and nobody knew what measures would be taken. The question for the Künker Auction House was how to guarantee participation in the auctions.

On Thursday evening – three days before the start of the floor auction sale – the decision was made to hold the auction despite the circumstances. However, solutions had already been developed that could take effect if the worst came to the worst. For example, live bidding via the internet was permitted for the first time at a Künker floor auction sale. In less than three days, the procedure was implemented, employees trained and international customers informed.

Over the weekend, constantly updated instructions were implemented so that the auction could begin on Monday morning under special conditions: The seating was set up in such a way that the rules of social distancing were observed, signs with the hygiene regulations on them were attached, and disinfectant dispensers were set up. Every employee, every security guard, and every guest was listed by name and asked about their state of health.

The first day of the auction ended at 6.30 pm. In the evening, the news came that the State of Lower Saxony had issued a ban on events both public and private. What next?

“Plan C” had to work now.

“Plan C” meant packing up the necessary equipment and moving into the office. Planned, said, done.

On Tuesday morning, the auction started on schedule in Künkers viewing room, with no public access. Künker employees served the customers over the telephone, the auctioneer took the pre-bids, and many other bidders took advantage of the opportunity for live bidding via the internet. The official orders were of course also implemented and continuously monitored in the company’s own building.

The five-day auction was held under special conditions, but already on the first evening it became apparent that the demand for interesting coins was rising rather than falling despite the current situation.

Thanks to foresighted planning and flexibility, Künker was able to make its Spring Auction Sales a success despite the worldwide pandemic. With a total estimate of around 6.7 million euros, the total hammer price reached more than 10 million euros (not including buyer’s premium) [More than almost $10.87 million USD. —CW].

In this issue, we will not, for once, limit ourselves to the expensive individual items, but rather provide a picture of the overall market situation–especially in the medium price segment.

The Dr. W. R. Collection: Coins from Asia Minor and Cyprus

The Dr. W. R. collection was at the beginning of Auction 333 with coins of the ancient world. This was an ensemble of coin types from Asia Minor that had been gathered with a great deal of knowledge. Rare bronze coins with a fine patina in above-average condition, this was the main part of this collection. The estimates started at 25 euros. Of the 610 pieces in the collection, not a single one is unsold!

Especially attractive coins brought prices that were much higher than their estimates. The first example is an extremely rare bronze coin from the city of Mytilene on Lesbos. Lesbos is known all over the world for Sappho. And it was exactly this famous poetess that was on the reverse of the coin. The result: The hammer price of 3,600 euros with an estimate of 1,000 euros – and this although the obverse of the coinage was “only” almost beautiful.

As a second example, we present an extremely rare coin: a drachma(!) of the city of Myrina – in the best style and perfect condition. The piece, estimated at 750 euros, achieved 6,750.

For the cover of auction 333, the Künker team had chosen an extremely rare Augustan large bronze from Kos. A good decision. It became the most expensive lot in the Dr. W. R. Collection. The coin climbed from an estimate of 2,500 euros to an impressive hammer price of 16,000 euros.

No. 202: Myrina (Aeolis). Drachma, 2nd century BC. Very rare. Extremely fine. Estimate: 750 euros. Hammer price: 6,750 euros

No. 211: Mytilene (Lesbos). AE 138-192. Very rare. Almost very fine / Very fine. Estimate: 1,000 euros. Hammer price: 3,600 euros

No. 318: Kos (Caria). Nikias, tyrant. AE, around 30 BC. Very rare. Extremely fine. Estimate: 2,500 euros. Hammer price: 16,000 euros

Big Prices for Small Coins

For many years, small coins were an area that collectors chose when they had to preserve their budget. But small coins can also call for impressive hammer prices, and this was also the case in auction 333, where a perfect 1/16th stater from the Phoenician city of Sidon came from the collection of a Northern German ancient coin connoisseur. Its full centering is quite unusual. The result? It increased its estimate tenfold from 150 euros and changed hands with 1,500 euros.

That this was not just a mistake became evident just one number later.

From the Phoibos collection came a 1/4 stater by Tyros with a dolphin and purple snail (murex) on the front. It also brought more than 10 times as much: 4.200 euros with an estimate of 400 euros.

No. 854: Sidon (Phoenicia). Baalshallim II, 401-366 BC. 1/16 shekel. Extremely fine. Estimate: 150 euros. Hammer price: 1,500 euros.

No. 855: Tyros (Phoenicia). 1/4 shekel, 450-425. Good very fine. Estimate: 400 euros. Hammer price: 4,200 euros

Other Top Results from the Ancient World

Here are two leaders each from the field of Greek and Roman coins:

  • Olynthos (Macedonia). Tetradrachm, approx. 500. Very fine. Estimate: 5.000 euros, Hammer price: 15.000 euros
  • Cyrene (Cyrenaica). Didrachme, 308-277. Extremely fine. Estimate: 1.250 euros, Hammer price: 10.000 euros
  • Probus. Gold quinar, 281/282. Extremely fine. Estimate: 15,000 euros, Hammer price: 38,000 euros
  • Procopius. Solidus, 365/366. Extremely fine. Estimate: 50,000 euros, Hammer price: 65,000 euros

No. 711: Olynthos (Macedonia). Tetradrachm, circa 500. Very rare. Very fine. Estimate: 5.000 euros. Hammer price: 15.000 euros

No. 872: Cyrene (Cyrenaica). Didrachme, 308-277. Extremely fine. Estimate: 1,250 euros. Hammer price: 10.000 euros

No. 1420: Probus. Goldquinar, 281/282. Very rare. Extremely fine. Estimate: 15.000 euros. Hammer price: 38.000 euros

No. 1573: Procopius. Solidus, 365-366. Ex the Jameson and ESR collections. Extremely rare. Extremely fine. Estimate: 50,000 euros. Hammer price: 65.000 euros

340,000 Euros for a Piece of the Jerusalem Temple Treasure

It was highly expected how the prices for the coins of the Samel collection would develop. Especially for Jewish coins there are traditionally important collectors in the United States. Thanks to live-bidding there was not a big difference to any floor auction. Whoever wanted to bid sat at home at the computer or on the telephone instead of in the auction room. This was shown by the excellent final results.

The most expensive coin was a unique coin, which was minted on the order of Titus in October 70 CE from the gold of the stolen temple treasure. Johannes Nollé had succeeded in reconstructing the history of this highly symbolic piece of gold. And so this unique coin climbed from 30,000 euros to more than 10 times that amount, namely an impressive 340,000 euros!

Other rarities also brought outstanding prizes: A Yehud coin with the portrait of Ptolemy I, 48,000 euros (estimate: 12,500 euros), the rare coin with the unique representation of the seven-armed candelabra 65,000 euros (estimate: 25,000 euros) and a shekel from year 4 of the First Jewish War 36,000 euros (estimate: 12,500 euros).

But we want to look at the whole price spectrum in this review. So let’s take a look at a frequent minting, which many coin collectors either already have in their collection or would love to have: Five copies of the Prutah of Pontius Pilate with the Lituus from the year 30/31, i.e. from the year assumed to be the year of Christ’s death, were included in the Samel collection. The five coins were estimated at a total of 275 euros – from 25 to 100 euros – a very reasonable price. However, more than half of them were “only” beautiful or had faults. The surcharge was more than five times as much, namely 1,580 euros – from 140 for a piece in “beautiful” to 460 euros for a piece in “almost very beautiful”.

No. 2009: Yehud. Ptolemy II, 285-246th Hemidrachm, 261/260(?), Jerusalem. Extremely rare. Very fine. Estimate: 12,500 euros. Hammer price: 48,000 euros

No. 2070: Hasmonean Dynasty. Mattathias Antigonos, 40-37. Prutah, Jerusalem. Very rare. Very fine. Estimate: 25,000 euros. Hammer price: 65,000 euros

No. 2205: Judaea. Pontius Pilate. Prutah, year 17 (= 30), Jerusalem(?). Almost very fine. Estimate: 75 euros. Hammer price: 460 euros

No. 2271: Great Revolt. Shekel, year 4 (= 69/70), Jerusalem. Extremely rare. Extremely fine. Estimate: 12,500 euros. Hammer price: 36,000 euros

No. 2334: Domitian Caesar. Aureus, October 70, Caesarea Maritima. Struck by Titus on the occasion of the games in honour of Domitian’s birthday. The only known specimen. Almostextremely fine. Estimate: 30,000 euros. Hammer price: 340,000 euros

Bracteates of the Finest Quality

Auction 335 began with medieval coins of the finest quality from the collection of a passionate numismatist. As expected, interest in the auction was great. Not a single piece went unsold!

The top seller was a unique bracteate of the abbess Gertrud von Eschwege. It brought 17,000 euros (Estimate: 10,000 euros) and even overtook the equestrian bracteate from Gotha with the representation of the Landgrave of Thuringia in full armor on his warhorse, which is considered the highlight of the Romanesque stamp cutting art. It achieved 13,000 euros.

In contrast, a very rare bracteate from Reichenau Abbey, minted in Radolfzell, seems almost inconspicuous. The piece, unusually well preserved for this issue, climbed from 1,000 to 4,600 euros.

No. 3165: Thuringia. Ludwig III, 1172-1190. Bracteate, Gotha. Uncirculated. Estimate: 10,000 Euro. Hammer price: 13,000 euros

No. 3172: Eschwege. Abbess Gertrude, 1180-1188. Bracteate, Eschwege. Unique. Extremely rare-uncirculated. Estimate: 10,000 euros. Hammer price: 17,000 euros

No. 3205: Reichenau. Diethelm von Krenkingen, 1169(?)-1206. Bracteate, Radolfzell. Rare. Uncirculated. Estimate: 1,000 euros. Hammer price: 4,600 euros

A Special Collection from Bavaria

Künker was able to offer several special collections in its Spring Auction Sales. One of them – the Special Collection from Bavaria – we would like to show how healthy the market for classic collector’s coins is.

Of course, this collection also contained a number of rarities, but the majority of the objects consisted of nice Talers in fine condition. Estimates started at 25 euros and were mostly in the three-digit range. Of the 328 lots, only one is unsold. The total estimate of around 163,000 euros rose to a total hammer price of nearly 254,000 euros.

The rarities such as the silver cast medal of Duke Wilhelm IV from 1535, which sold for 11,000 euros–11 times the estimate–contributed to this. But also, quite ordinary Reichstalers achieved high prices since their conditions were mostly well above average. At this point we would like to mention as an example a Reichstaler of the year 1624 in almost extremely fine, which climbed from 400 to 1,300 euros.

Among collectors, the historical taler of Ludwig I is probably one of the most popular Bavarian coins. Three specimens of the not so rare taler, which deals with Otto’s election as King of Greece in 1832, were sold in the auction. The extremely fine piece fetched 280 euros, the almost uncirculated piece 600 euros, and the almost uncirculated specimen with a magnificent patina even 1,300 euros.

No. 3375: Bavaria. Duke Wilhelm IV, 1508-1550, silver cast medal 1535, unsigned, by Matthes Gebel. Probably original casting. From the Gutekunst Collection. Very rare. Extremely rare. Estimate: 1,000 euros. Hammer price: 11,000 euros

No. 3413: Bavaria. Maximilian I, 1598-1651. Reichstaler 1624. Almost extremely rare. Estimate: 400 euros. Hammer price: 1,300 euros.

No. 3457: Bavaria. Elector Ferdinand Maria, 1651-1679. Reichstaler 1657, Munich, on the vicarage. Very rare. Almost extremely rare / Extremely rare. Estimate: 4,000 euros. Hammer price: 5,500 euros

No. 3651: Bavaria. Ludwig I, 1825-1848. Convention thaler. On the appointment of Otto I as king of Greece in 1832. Almost uncirculated. Estimate: 500 euros. Hammer price: 1,300 euros

The Eberhard Link Collection: Siege Coins

Already over the course of some auctions, additional parts of the Eberhard Link collection have been dissolved. Auction 335 and 336 contained the siege coins. These were historically highly interesting pieces, whose estimates are mostly in the three-digit range and Eberhard Link selected those with great expertise and a good eye for condition. No wonder that many collectors bid on these coins.

The great rarities in the collection rose to as much as 7,000 euros, such as a one-sided klippe, which was created during the siege of Landau in 1702, and which one can still see clearly that it was previously a plate rim (estimate: 2,500 euros). Also a Sechsteltaler of Mainz from 1689, emergency money produced by the French commander during the siege by the imperial troops (estimate: 2,500 euros).

Nevertheless, let us take a closer look at the whole series of Mainz emergency money: There were nine lots. Their estimates were between 100 and 2,500 euros. In total, the estimates add up to 8,200 euros, which is an average of 911 euros per lot. The overall result was 26,400 euros, an average of 2,933 euros per coin, more than three times. The most impressive increase achieved the lot with the lowest estimate of 100 euros: a one-sided pattern for a copper penny was sold at 2,400 Euros.

No. 3974: Landau. One-sided klippe at 4 livres and 4 sous 1702. Very rare. Almost extremely fine. Estimate: 2,500 euros. Hammer price: 7000 euros

No. 4131: Mainz. 1/6 Taler 1689. Extremely rare. Good very fine. Estimate: 2,500 euros. Hammer price: 7,000 euros

No. 4135: Mainz. One-sided pattern for a copper penny (1689). Probably 2nd known specimen. Only copy in trade. Almost very fine. Estimate: 100 Euro. Hammer price: 2,400 euros

Currently in high demand: Eastern European pieces

Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, all these countries have an incredibly active collector community, and coins from these areas therefore fetch excellent prices. We illustrate this on four Czechoslovak ducats with the portrait of Charles IV, which were created between 1979 and 1982.

They are also a fantastic example of the high prices that rare coins from the recent past can fetch when demand exceeds supply. All three ducats were estimated at 300 euros, and they were sold at 1,200, 2,800, 1,700 and 1,400 euros.

No. 6267: Czechoslovakia. Ducat 1980, Kremnitz. Uncirculated. Estimate: 300 euros. Hammer price: 2,800 euros

A Special Collection of Württemberg Coins

In recent years, a very active collector community has developed for the Württemberg collection area. And they also bid strongly at auction 335, which contained an impressive collection with many rarities. The nearly 150 lots were estimated at a total of 138,325 euros. Not a single one remained unsold. The total hammer price was 256,855 euros, almost double the estimate.

Of course the great rarities contributed their part. A very rare half Reichstaler of Johann Friedrich, minted 1623 in Christophstal in Very Fine climbed from 3,000 to 10,000 euros. An unusually well-preserved Reichstaler from the same prince from the same mint, but a year later even realized four times his estimate of 6,000 euros: 24,000 euros. And the coins of the 18th century also brought impressive prices: For example, a magnificent Reichstaler Karl Eugens from 1744 from Stuttgart garnered 20,000 euros after an estimate of 6,000 euros.

But let us take a look at the coins with the more modest estimates. A tipper-24 cruiser from Stuttgart in 1622 was valued at 400 euros. The condition for this coin was Very Fine to Extremely Fine Extraordinary – therefore a collector could only win it over with 1,700 euros. Similarly, there was a 6 Kreuzer 1746 from Stuttgart in mint condition. The piece, which is not considered rare, was estimated at 250 euros but then earned 1,200 euros at the sale.

Let us complete this picture with a look at auction 336, where gold coins from Württemberg were offered. The top item was a double ducat from Stuttgart in 1623, which shows the appointment of Johann Friedrich as colonel of the Swabian district. It rose from 10,000 to 29,000 euros.

No. 4443: Württemberg. Johann Friedrich, 1608-1628. Reichstaler 1624, Christophstal. Very rare in this condition. Extremely fine. Estimate: 6,000 Euro. Hammer price: 24,000 euros

No. 4476: Württemberg. Karl Eugen, 1744-1793. Reichstaler 1744, Stuttgart. Very rare, especially in this condition. Extremely fine-uncicrulated. Estimate: 6,000 euros. Hammer price: 20,000 euros.

No. 4478: Württemberg. Karl Eugen, 1744-1793. 6 Kreuzer 1746, Stuttgart. Uncirculated. Estimate: 250 euros. Hammer price: 1,200 euros.

No. 6624: Württemberg. Johann Friedrich, 1608-1628. 2 ducats 1623, Stuttgart. Very rare. Very fine-extremely fine. Estimate: 10,000 euros. Hammer price: 29,000 euros.

Another Look at Coins from the German Empire

Let us take a look at the most popular collecting area of the Germans, the coins of the German Empire. In order not to lose the overview, we limit ourselves to the silver coins of the Grand Duchy of Baden. 37 lots were offered with a total estimate of 59.925 euros, the estimates ranged from 50 euros to 10,000 euros. Not a single lot went unsold. Only three lots were knocked down to their estimate or below. The rest brought, in some cases, considerably more, especially if the coins were in exceptionally good condition.

For example, two 5 Mark pieces of 1891 and 1902 respectively realized 16,000 and 13,000 euros. The total result amounted to 80,105 euros for this small but highly sought after group of coins.

No. 6697: Baden. Friedrich I., 1852-1907. 5 Mark 1902. Very rare. Proof. Estimate: 6,000 euros. Hammer price: 13,000 euros

A Few Top Results

The coin market is stable despite the coronavirus. Especially in times when people suddenly spend many more hours in their homes, collecting is very trendy.

So now is the best time for beautiful coins. And that is why we would like to conclude this review by showing you some particularly beautiful coins that have produced particularly high results.

No. 4008: Lübeck / City. Thaler 1544. From the Dr. Dieter Dummler collection. Very rare. Very fine. Estimate: 20,000 euros. Hammer price: 30,000 euros

No. 4147: Mecklenburg-Schwerin. Adolf Friedrich, 1610-1658. Triple Reichstaler 1613, Gadebusch. Very rare. Extremely fine. Estimate: 40,000 euros. Hammer price: 70,000 euros

No. 4425: Wallenstein. Albrecht, 1623-1634, Duke of Friedland. Reichstaler, 1628, Jitschin. Very rare. Extremely fine. Estimate: 15,000 euros. Hammer price: 65,000 euros

No. 4443: Württemberg. Johann Friedrich, 1608-1628. Reichstaler 1624, Christophstal. Very rare. Extremely fine. Estimate: 6,000 euros. Hammer price: 24.000 euros

No. 4860: Eggenberg. Johann Ulrich, 1623-1634. Double Reichstaler 1629, probably Prague. Very rare. Very fine-extremely fine. Estimate: 10,000 euros. Hammer price: 33,000 euros

No. 4886: Mud. Silver medal 1532, dedicated by the widow of Stephan Schlick, in memory of the death of her husband at the battle of Mohacs. Very rare. Extremely fine. Estimate: 3,000 euros. Hammer price: 24,000 euros

No. 6128: Sicily. Frederick II, 1197-1250. 1/2 Augustalis after 1231, Messina. Very rare. Almost extremely fine. Estimate: 20,000 euros. Hammer price: 26,000 euros.

No. 6408: Holy Roman Empire. Ferdinand II. 5 ducats 1629, Breslau. Extremely rare. Estimate: 10,000 euros. Hammer price: 38,000 euros

No. 6544: Cologne. Joseph Klemens of Bavaria, 1688-1702. 3 ducats 1696 (minted 1698), Bonn, minted from Westphalian gold mined at Brilon in 1696. Extremely rare. Extremely fine. Estimate: 15,000 euros. Hammer price: 37,000 euros

No. 6601: Regensburg. 10 ducats 1766, Nuremberg. To the homage of Josef II. Extremely rare. Extremely fine. Estimate: 50,000 euros. Hammer price: 95,000 euros

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