The first stage of the auction referred to simply as The New York sale, held by Baldwin's and others, has concluded. Some truly extraordinary pieces were on offer and they seem to have brought prices to match.
The day's auction was itself divided into roughly three sections: Firstly Ancient Greek, Roman and Byzantine Coins, then Islamic and Indian Coins featuring the important Al-Sayyed Collection of Indian Coins and finally World Coins, featuring coins from Denmark, Germany, Italy and Transylvania.
Four coins stood out, representing all the sections:
There was a gold Stater from the ancient Greek city of Phocaea, datedto about 580 BC showing a head of a griffin on the obverse with its tongue protruding from open jaws.
The reverse shows a four-part incuse square. It is of the greatest rarity, probably the third specimen known and a highly important masterpiece of early Greek coinage. It was estimated at $40,000 but excited bidders pushed it up to $70,000
A somewhat more modern piece was a sestertius displaying the Laureate head of the Roman Emperor Vespasian on the face whilst he appears in military garb on the reverse with the figure of Juadaea, draped and veiled, seated on a cuirass, propping her head on her hand.
This was known to be rare and almost extremely fine, but it seems that at least two bidders thought they'd spotted something more as it sold for $100,000, which was dozens of times more than was expected ($2,500).
The pick of the World Coins section was a Danish coin from Christian IV, (1588-1648). The extraordinary gold 6-Daler dating to 1604 shows the king crowned and armoured, right-facing within three lines of dots, cross in each angle.
Of the highest rarity and in good very fine condition it achieved $50,000.
The top lot, however, was from the Indian and Islamic section:
From the rule of the Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II (1759-1806) a 10 Rupees coin from year 6 struck at Surat, in the name of Shah 'Alam II. It is a large coin of the Mughal type, a late successor to the list of large and gigantic Mughal coins.
Incredibly rare, it is one of the only two known specimens and sold for $160,000.
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