By Sincona ……
In May of 2018 Sincona held its 46th and 47th auctions. A so-called “Stirnlocken-Vreneli” was sold at 130,000 CHF, a 10 ducat piece of the city of Berne won the bid at 190,000 CHF and a mohur of the Indian freethinker Akbar found a new home at 140,000 CHF.
Auction 46: World Gold Coins
Sincona’s auction 46 was all about gold – and gold has captivated people since the beginning of time.
Lot 13: Australia, Sovereign 1861. Estimate: 800 CHF / Price realized: 2,500 CHF (excl. premium).
The numismatic journey began in Australia where we saw that the hammer prices of rare and highly graded items can exceed all estimates and expectations. Lots 11 to 13, for example, surpassed the starting price three- to fourfold.
Lot 72: Brandenburg-Prussia, Frederick II. Gold medal of 5 ducats 1742, on the occasion of the Treaty of Breslau. Estimate: 5,000 CHF / Price realized: 11,000 CHF (excl. premium).
The special chapter containing the gold coins of Frederick the Great was nothing to sneeze at. This selection comprised a total of 110 lots and numerous rarities found a new home – lot 72 is only one of many interesting examples.
Lot 442: France, Napoleon III. 100 francs 1869 A (Paris). NGC MS65. Estimate: 7,500 CHF / Price realized: 16,000 CHF (excl. premium).
It’s a short crossing to come to France and lot 442 once again gave proof of the fact that an exceptionally highly graded coin still attracts the attention of buyers. This 100 francs coin, which was minted in Paris in 1869, is one of the best-preserved items we know of.
Lot 513: India, Mughal Empire. Akbar I. Mohur, 45 Year of Ilahi (AD 1599). Extremely rare. Estimate: 20,000 CHF / Price realized: 140,000 CHF (excl. premium).
The crying of the lot featuring an Indian Mohur from the time of the third Mughal emperor Akbar I was much anticipated. It took a total of four telephones to cater to all bidders and the hammer price of 168,000 CHF (incl. premium) proves how exceptionally important this rarity is.
Lot 678: Japan, Tempo era. Oban, no date (1838-1860). 165.3g. Very rare and extremely fine to FDC. Estimate 35,000 CHF / Price realized: 46,000 CHF (excl. premium).
Due to its form alone, Japanese gold minting seems out of the ordinary to a Western collector. The fact that the value and the signatures of the respective sovereign were applied with ink, however, makes this Oban even more special. Only 1887 copies were made of this Oban offered as lot 678. Consequently, the bidding war was very exciting.
As per usual, the catalog featuring gold ended with the famous Sincona gold auction. Here, private collectors, as well as dealers, have the opportunity to purchase bullion at attractive terms without the usual premium. This surely is a tradition that will be carried on indefinitely.
Auction 47: Swiss and World Coins and Medals
Sincona’s auction 47 presented to collectors and dealers both interesting individual pieces as well as special series including some exceptional pieces from Switzerland and all over the world.
Lot 1336: Ore Mountains. Silver medal 1531 featuring Erasmus of Rotterdam. Dies of Hieronymus Magdeburger. Estimate: 1,500 CHF / Price realized: 5,000 CHF (excl. premium).
First and foremost, we have to mention the collection “Ore Mountains” containing more than 115 lots. Medals, some with old gilding, mostly from the 16th century were cast, rarely struck by talented silversmiths. They show rulers, religious topics, and persons, many connected to the Reformation like Jan Hus and Luther. Some of them were looped in order to be able to sew them to clothing.
Numerous dealers and collectors had traveled long ways from other countries just to ensure their best possible chance of successful bidding. You could argue that bidding by means of one of the several internet platforms is more economical as one saves on travel and lodging costs. However, if you are present and you have the chance of getting a sense of the auction’s atmosphere, you do get a better overview and can consequently make quicker decisions.
Lot 1755: France, Lorraine. Robert de Lenoncourt, Taler 1551. Estimate: 6,000 CHF / Price realized: 13,000 CHF (excl. premium).
France was an important destination in this auction as well – special attention was paid to the region of Lorraine. One of the items that stood out among the large choice of talers and the considerable selection of denarii, gros, and smaller silver denominations was the rare taler 1551 depicting the striking portrait of Robert de Lenoncourt.
Lot 2020: Holy Roman Empire, Rudolf II (1576-1612). Double taler 1607, Kuttenberg mint. Estimate: 4,000 CHF / Price realized: 18,000 CHF (excl. premium).
Connoisseurs of this field of interest could not disregard the important selection of heavy silver coins and medals of the Holy Roman Empire. It was the enticing items from the time of Emperor Rudolf II with their beautiful old toning that attracted considerable attention. A very rare double taler that was made in Kuttenberg in 1607 is an appropriate representative of this selection.
Lot 2624. Switzerland, Berne. 10 ducats 1681, Die engraver David Dick. Extremely rare. Ex Vogel collection (Auction A. Hess Nachf. Frankfurt / Main, Oct. 1928, Lot 5436). Estimate: 100,000 CHF / Price realized: 190,000 CHF (excl. premium).
It’s common knowledge that Sincona offers a huge variety of Swiss coins and medals in each of their sales. Therefore, it is in no way surprising that the top item of this auction – a 10 ducats coin made in Berne in 1681 – featuring an outstanding pedigree, reached a hammer price of 190.000 CHF which was almost twice the initial estimate of 100,000 CHF.
Lot 3322: Switzerland, Swiss Confederation. “Stirnlockenvreneli” 20 francs 1897 (with forelock). Extremely rare. Estimate: 80,000 CHF / Price realized: 130,000 CHF (excl. premium).
Due to their beauty and rareness, coins of the Swiss Confederation fascinate both collectors and dealers. Only 12 specimens were made of this pattern in 1897 which became known as “Stirnlockenvreneli”. Thus, it is rated among the classic rarities of Swiss numismatics. The hammer price is indicative of its significance.
Lot 3438: Switzerland, Zug. Rifle club of Zug, medal 1827. Only approx. 150 specimens struck. Estimate: 1,500 CHF / Price realized: 1,700 CHF (excl. premium).
Shooting medals from Switzerland concluded this auction. This, too, is a field of interest Sincona promotes in all of their sales. One representative example is a rare medal that was made by the rifle club of Zug in 1827. It is possibly the only existing medal depicting the view of this city.
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Collectors and bidders did not go home at the end of these two auctions as two members of the Sincona staff presented their latest publications to all collectors present.
Over several years, Ruedi Kunzmann and Karl Weisenstein transcribed the famous Zurich Probierbuch (account book of essays), which was kept by the goldsmith and mint master family Stampfer for over 130 years. Countless insights into monetary history are presented in this book.
Following them, Jürg Richter presented the second and extended edition of his book on Swiss shooting medals, which remains the standard reference within this field of collection. This issue offers a detailed English translation. The author drew additional attention to all of the new specialized chapters, which will surely facilitate the work of collectors and dealers alike. With these presentations accompanied by some good wine and various canapés, the Sincona spring auctions came to a memorable end.