Peter I triumphs in New York at spectacular Russian gold coins sale

Last week, Baldwin's completed their great New York sales in co-operation with Dmitry Martov and M&M Numismatics and some of the results have just been compiled.

We reported on the results of their Ancient, Islamic, Indian and World Coins auction with some interesting results, with the top lot being an Indian coin from the reign of Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II.

Nevertheless, our eyes were always fixed on the Russian auction, as it seemed likely to show the difference between a very satisfactory sale and a spectacular one, and so it proved.

Firstly, a 10 Roubles gold coin from 1805 (the reign of Alexander I, 1801-1825) went under the hammer. Very rare, and with a mint lustre and given an authentication and gradingby PCGC as About Uncirculated 55, it had been expected to sell for $25,000, but bidders quickly left this behind and it left the stage for $120,000.

The trend continued of coins not merely passing but reaching multiples of their estimates - that happened too many times for investment-grade pieces for us to report, but here are some of the most fought over examples.

A 2 Roubles gold coin weighing 4.07g from the last year of Catherine I's 1725-1727 reign and showing her facing left and looking regal with an image of Christ bearing his cross on the reverse had also been graded AU 55 (this time by the NGC). It cruised past its $50,000 listing to bring $130,000.

Dating from soon after was a Ducat from the first year of Anna's 1730-1740 reign. Authenticated by the PCGC as genuine and very rare, especially this well preserved, the obverse shows Anna appearing regal, yet benevolent, facing right.

Peter I gold ducat
Peter I gold ducat

Uncirculated it was previously sold at the Important Russian Coins and Medals - the Synadino Collection Sale at Christie's in London back in 1979. Whatever it achieved then, it will certainly have been less than the $185,000 it brought here, beating a $75,000 estimate.

The other two lots we'll mention bore the same estimate - with increasing inaccuracy.

A gold ducat from the first year of Paul I's 1796-1801 reign was described by the auctioneer as "A Classical Russian Rarity which is very seldom offered in the market, especially so superbly preserved".

One of the best preserved specimens, it was authenticated and graded by the PCGC as Mint State 62 and sold for $200,000.

Finally, a gold ducat from 1703, halfway through Peter I's reign, took the top spot. Of the greatest rarity - among the rarest of the Petrine Ducat series and among the best preserved specimens of all, it more than tripled its estimate, bringing $230,000.


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