Rare gold led the way at Heritage's recent World & Ancient Coins Auction which realised over $8.2m on January 2-3 in New York. Over 93% of the lots in this auction sold, with post-auction buys continuing.
This was the first of their January numismatic events in New York and Florida, with overall proceeds expected to top last year's $53m total.
The star of this auction was a Chinese 10kg gold 100000 Yuan 2008. Only 29 examples of this enormous, 321-ounce, gold coin were minted, with this example the only one allocated to the US market.
Although this piece did not sell during the floor auction, an astute collector quickly snapped it up when it became available after the auction for $575,000.
South American gold shone brightly once again in our auction. A quintet of Brazilian coins fetched prices in excess of $50,000, with top honours going to a Pedro Regent Prince 4400 Reis counter-stamped over a Portuguese 4 Cruzados, which realized $103,500.
Only two examples are known of this piece, and the other is housed in a museum and nowhere near as nice as this AU coin. Equalling the aforementioned at $103,500 was an 1813J 8 Escudos from Provincias de Rio de la Plata. This coin was Argentina's first independent gold issue, and is considered one of the greatest South American rarities.
Three Greek coins shared top honours among ancient coin offerings in this auction. An extremely rare silver Carthaginian Second Punic War issue shekel from the time of Hannibal (ca 221-201 BC), perhaps one of five or fewer in existence, sold for $46,000.
The possibility exists that this famous type was an early attempt at portraiture, which is remarkable considering that no other portraits of the great Carthaginian general survive from his lifetime. Selling for the same amount was a beautiful gold Mnaieion or Oktadrachm of Ptolemy VI-Ptolemy VIII.
NGC graded this coin Choice Mint State, with both strike and surface rated 5/5. This is the highest grade possible for any ancient coin from NGC. Finally, also selling for $46,000 was a silver tetradrachm of Gela, ca. 415-405 BC.
This remarkable die pairing, featuring unique types on both obverse and reverse, appears to be the work of a master die engraver and is highly prized. This makes it a strong investment.
Other highlights included: a Spanish Colonial gold Bar From the Nuestra Senora de Atocha which realised $80,500 (another example of gold valued by something other than its weight).
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