Bonhams completed their sale of roughly 550 lots of rare Russian coins and currency last week with nearly 100 coming from the Tsarina collection.
We felt confident in predicting that many of the best lots would shoot past their estimates given the rapidly increasing power of the Russian collectibles markets which certainly has numismatics at its head. We weren't disappointed.
In the run-up to the sale, one coin was given an estimate of $80,000-100,000: a proof of an 1876 Alexander II gold 25 Roubles, Y-27 coin. This roughly doubled expectations selling to an eager bidder for $187,000, and will doubtless prove a strong investment.
But it wasn't the top lot in the sale. Two exceptionally rare Peter the Great Gold Medals of 20 Ducats, one dated 1710, the other dated 1719 were offered in the sale, both estimated to be worth $15,000-20,000. The 1719 narrowly passed that to sell for $25,740.
The 1710 did rather better. A wonderfully detailed gold medal commemorating the capture of Riga, on July 4, 1710; the date is a chronogram.
Designed by P.H. Muller, a bust of Peter I faces right on the obverse whilst the reverse exhibits a view of Riga with its fortress under heavy artillery fire, and the inscription below - CAPTURED 8TH DAY OF JULY. For some unknown reason, all of the Riga medals feature this incorrect date.
The medal is of the lettered edgevariety with the inscription "ENSE-PATENT-FORTAE-CVM-FESTE-CADAVERA". That perhaps goes a little way towards explaining the frenzied bidding it generated. It sold for a spectacular $234,000.
Two other lots, a gold Nicholas II (1894-1917) 1896 25 Roubles piece (graded Mint State 60) and a Peter I the Great (1682-1725) 1713-DL, 1 Ducat (About Uncirculated 58) also broke the six figure mark easily in excess of their estimates at $111,150 and $105,300 confirming the overall strength of the market.
Collectors interested in investing in rare gold coins may wish to take a look here.
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