HomeMasterpieces of Greek Coinage at Numismatica Genevensis

Masterpieces of Greek Coinage at Numismatica Genevensis

Masterpieces of Greek Coinage at Numismatica Genevensis

By Numismatica Genevensis SA ……

75 masterworks of Greek numismatic art will cross the auction block at Numismatica Genevensis SA on December 14, 2015. The proceeds of this sale featuring the joint collection of Baron Lorne Thyssen-Bornemisza & Dr. Thomas S. Kaplan will be donated to the Recanati-Kaplan Foundation and the Cogito Scholarship Foundation.

Thirty-five Years of Friendship (PDF Catalog) is the title of the auction, which will be held by Numismatica Genevensis SA at the Hotel Beau-Rivage in Geneva on December 14, 2015. This very special sale presents “only” 75 lots. Nevertheless, every single piece bears testimony to the deep friendship of two men, which they had fostered since they were young. Baron Lorne Thyssen-Bornemisza and Dr. Thomas S. Kaplan went to the same school. Both had a profound interest in history and politics. Since their school days, they have been hotly debating issues of global politics.

Together they assembled the collection of Greek coins now sold by Numismatica Genevensis. Joining the best taste and enthusiasm they were able to create one of the most outstanding collections the market has seen in the last decades.

As expected, the Auction “35 Years of Friendship” presents the finest of ancient numismatics one can think about. The quality of this collection becomes evident by taking a closer look at those specimens, which seem to be rather familiar at first sight, but which never have been seen in such a perfect condition.

Let’s take Lot 59 as an example. We all have seen staters from Caunos. On the obverse, it depicts Iris, the winged messenger of the gods. Holding a snake-entwined staff and a wreath in her hands, she is rapidly progressing to the left. The reverse is of austere simplicity: It shows a conical baitylos, a cult stone that constituted the heart of many Archaic cults in Asia Minor.

As we said before, this coin type is not rare at all. But look at the perfection with which the die cutter has captured the figure on the coin! How delicately and yet meticulously he has modeled the divine body through the folds of the drapery! How much artistic skill becomes apparent in the tiniest details, as evidenced by the fine toes of the back foot! Altogether this is truly unparalleled.

The same applies to a tetradrachm of the Carian dynast Pixodaros. Strictly speaking, this coin type is not rare, too. So far, however, not a single specimen of this coin type has been known to exist, whose obverse, struck in high relief and featuring the facing portrait of Apollo, does not exhibit any traces of wear.

Therefore, it does not come as a surprise that a large number of the coins from this collection have been chosen as cover coins of major auction sales of the past.

We are left with nothing more than to emphasize that this auction sale features not just exceptionally fine coins but also great rarities.

We would like to name only a few:

  • The triple shekel from Cartagena with a portrait that is quite likely to represent no one else than Hannibal (five specimens known to exist, of which two are currently housed in museums)
  • An 8-litra piece from Syracuse, which seems to have been issued during the siege of the city by the Romans (two specimens known to exist)
  • A tetradrachm from the First Region of Macedonia which the Romans had divided (eight specimens known to exist)
  • A unique tetradrachm from Chalcis on Euboea from the BDC Collection
  • An Archaic tetradrachm from Eretria (third specimen known to exist)

It hardly needs special mention that the collection also features all the highlights from Greek numismatics. Let us single out only a few examples:

  • A tetradrachm from Catane with the facing portrait of Apollo
  • A Syracusan decadrachm signed by Kimon
  • A gold stater from Panticapaeum
  • A tetradrachm from Rhodes featuring a facing portrait of Apollo

The proceeds of the sale go to the Recanati-Kaplan Foundation as well as the Cogito Scholarship Foundation.

Founded by Dr. Thomas S. Kaplan and his wife, the Recanati-Kaplan Foundation focuses on the exploration and the preservation of the fauna, with a special emphasis placed on large cats and snakes. It is concerned with medical and social issues, and engages in the education of economic and political leaders in regards to their knowledge about national and international politics. What is more, the foundation supports the Hebrew Charter School Center, a community which teaches U.S. American pupils modern Hebrew.

The Cogito Scholarship Foundation, on the other hand, pursues a different goal. The future of young Arab people is a matter of great personal concern to Baron Lorne Thyssen-Bornemisza. He is co-founder of a foundation that intends to ensure talented pupils from disadvantaged families of the Near East and North Africa access to a pre-university education in the best schools worldwide.

The catalog can be viewed on the internet at www.ngsa.ch. Printed copies may be ordered at Numismatica Genevensis SA, Rond-Point de Plainpalais 1, CH-1205 Genève, phone +41 / 22 / 320 46 40, email [email protected].

Highlights of Auction 9


At the time of publication, one Swiss franc (CHF or SFr) trades for one U.S. dollar (USD).

Lot 1: Qart Hadasht or Carthago Nova (Hispania). Triple shekel, ca. 221-210/09 BC. Head of Melqart-Hercules (or Hannibal?) l. Rv. African elephant r. CNH 12. Ex NGSA 5 (2008), 161. One of only five specimens known to exist. Good very fine. Estimate: 100,000,- SFr. 31.1 mm

Lot 5: Temesa (Bruttium). Stater, ca. 450 BC. Tripod, flanked by greaves l. and r. Rv. Corinthian helmet r. Basel 234 (same die). Ex LHS 102 (2008), 54, as well as Leu 86 (2003), 263. The finest specimen of this emission known to exist. Extremely fine. Estimate: 25,000,- SFr. 19.1 mm

Lot 8: Camarina (Sicily). Tetradrachm, ca. 410 BC. Athena driving galloping quadriga left, flying Nike approaching from r. and placing a wreath on Athena‘s head. Rv. head of bearded Herakles l. Westermark-Jenkins 151 (same die). Ex NAC 48 (2008), 26, as well as NAC 9 (1996), 139. The finest coin from Camarina ever to be struck. Good extremely fine. Estimate: 100,000,- SFr. 27.5 mm

Lot 13: Naxos (Sicily). Drachm, ca. 450 BC. Head of Dionysus with ivy wreath r. Rv. nude Silenus, holding cantharus, reclining l. Cahn 56, 40 (this specimen). Ex Virzi Coll., ex Ars Classica 17 (1934), 175, ex Kunstfreund Coll., Bank Leu & MMAG (1974), 96, as well as Leu 45 (1988), 49. Very rare, particularly in this grade. Good extremely fine. Estimate: 100,000,- SFr. 19 mm

Lot 17: Syracuse (Sicily). Decadrachm, 405-400 BC of Kimon. Galloping quadriga r., flying Nike from l., to place a wreath on the charioteer’s head. Rv. head of Arethusa l., wearing sphendone signed KI; four dolphins around. Jongkees 7 (this specimen). Ex Hirsch 32 (1912), 312. Douplicate from the Berlin Coin Cabinet, separated out in the late 1930s or early 1940s. Ex Dr J. H. Judd Coll., Bank Leu 15 (1976), 118, as well as Leu 71 (1997), 80. Extremely fine. Estimate: 150,000,- SFr. 33.7 mm

Lot 21: Syracuse (Sicily). 8 litra, ca. 212. Female head l., torch behind. Rv. quadriga l., scepter in chariot. Hitherto only published in auctions. Ex Giessener Münzhandlung 60 (1992), 74, ex Moretti Coll., NAC 25 (2003), 125, as well as NGSA 5 (2008), 57. One of two specimens known to exist. Probably the last emission of the free city of Syracuse. Good extremely fine. Estimate: 50,000,- SFr. 20.5 mm

Lot 30: Panticapaeum (Taurian Chersonesos). Stater, ca. 340-330 BC. Head of a satyr with ivy wreath l. Rv. cornute griffin l., holding spear in his mouth. Gulbenkian 585-586. Ex R. Abecassis Coll., acquired by Spink in 1968, ex J. Abecassis Coll., Leu 81 (2001), 124, as well as NGSA 4 (2006), 84. Good extremely fine. Estimate: 200,000,- SFr. 20 mm

Lot 32: Cardia(?), Miltiades II (Thracian Chersonesos). Tetradrachm, ca. 495-494. Lion r., head turned back. Rv. head of Athena with Attic helmet l. Traité I, 1798, pl. 57, 15 (same die). Ex Triton 8 (2005), 247. Ex L. R. Stack Collection, Stack’s (2008), 2162. Extremely rare. Probably the best specimen of this emission known to exist. Good very fine. Estimate: 30,000,- SFr. 24 mm

Lot 42: First Region of Macedonia. Tetradrachm, ca. 168 BC, Amphipolis. Head of bearded Zeus with ivy wreath r. Rv. Artemis Tauropolis reclining on bull l. Kraay-Morkholm Essays p. 237, 213 (this specimen). Ex Sitochoro / Larissa hoard from 1968 (IGCH 237), ex Leu 22 (1979), 84, ex Leu 50 (1990), 125, as well as NGSA 5 (2008), 79. Only eight specimens of this emission known to exist. Extremely fine. Estimate: 200,000,- SFr. 29.5 mm

Lot 46: Chalcis (Euboea). Tetradrachm, ca. 170 BC. Veiled head of Hera r. Rv. Hera driving quadriga with horses walking r. BCD Euboia 235 (this specimen). Ex BCD Coll., Numismatik Lanz 111 (2002), 235, as well as Nomos 1 (2009), 64. Unique. Extremely fine. Estimate: 75,000,- SFr. 31.3 mm

Lot 47: Eretria (Euboea). Tetradrachm, ca. 525-500 BC. Bull standing l., head turned back to scratch his nose with his foot. Rv. incuse square with octopus. Cahn, Monnaies Grecques Archaiques (Basel 1947), 14 (this specimen). Ex A. Rousopoulos Coll., J. Hirsch 13 (1905), 1896. Ex C. S. Bement Coll., Naville 6 (1923), 1069, ex J. W. Garrett Coll. and John Hopkins University, Bank Leu and NFA (1984), 213, ex BCD Coll., Numismatik Lanz 111 (2002), 306, as well as Nomos Fixed Price List 2008, 306. Third and best graded specimen of this type (the other two are currently owned by museums). Good very fine. Estimate: 150,000,- SFr. 35 mm

Lot 59: Caunos (Caria). Stater, ca. 410-390 BC. Winged Iris kneel-running l., holding wreath and kerykeion. Rv. baitylos. K. Konuk, Essays Price 112b (this specimen). Ex Leu 48 (1989), 239, as well as NAC 48 (2008), 98. Good extremely fine. Estimate: 100,000,- SFr. 25.5 mm

Lot 61: Pixodaros, Satrap of Caria, ca. 341/0-336/5 BC. Tetradrachm. Facing laureate head of Apollo. Rv. Zeus Labraundos r. with long scepter and double axe. Pixodaros 7-8 var. (these dies not listed). Ex Triton 12 (2009), 325. Probably the best specimen of this emission known to exist. Good extremely fine. Estimate: 50,000,- SFr. 25.8 mm

Lot 68: Pnytagoras, Ruler of Salamis, 351/0-332/1 BC (Cyprus). Stater. Head of Aphrodite l. Rv. head of Aphrodite l. BMC 26. Ex Gorny & Mosch 121 (2003), 207, as well as NGSA 4 (2006), 103. Extremely fine. Estimate: 50,000,- SFr. 17.3 mm


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