Important News! CoinLink has merged..... Visit our NEW Site www.CoinWeek.com

BREAKING NEWS:....... Vist Our NEW Site at CoinWeek.com

Category: World Coins

World Coin Highlights from Goldbergs Upcoming Pre Long Beach sale

Ira and Larry Goldberg will be holding three exceptional sales prior Long Beach. They include the sale of THE DAN HOLMES COLLECTION Part II, Middle Date U.S. Large Cents on Sunday May 30th, 2010, United States Coins and Currency on Monday May 31st, 2010 and then Ancient and World Coins & Currency on Tuesday & Wednesday June 1& 2, 2010.

Here we would like to highlight 4 of the World Coin Highlights, coincidentally all from the previous Goldberg’s Millennia Sale. They are as follows:

Lot 3411 Russia. Peter I, 1682-1725. Novodel Ruble struck in Gold, 1705 (Moscow).

Fr-76 (62); Sev-12; Bitkin-532; Diakov-page 87, part 1. 44.22 grams. Laureate, cuirassed youthful bust right. Reverse: Crowned, double-headed eagle with scepter and orb. Plain edge. Sharply struck with all details bold, Peter’s hair curls in higher than normal relief. The surfaces are fully prooflike on both sides, with the devices softly lustrous to frosty matte and the fields reflective with an almost watery texture. Undoubtedly a high gift of state, the coin has been carefully preserved, with minimal marks or hairlines. The reverse die shows faint radiating cracks. This is one of the most important of all Russian coins!

Struck in gold to the weight of 13 Ducats, 44.22 grams, and created from the dies of the novodel ruble of 1705 (Sev-185), this is the plate coin shown in Bitkin and Diakov which appeared in both the 1977 Soderman and the 1991 Goodman auctions and is the only specimen appearing at public auction in over 25 years. Severin mentions this particular specimen (his number 12) as well as another weighing 40.4 grams, making this one of only two known examples. He also mentions a gold 1707 rouble (no. 18) and a 1723 in 12-ducat weight, each presumably unique. NGC graded MS-63.

Among Peter’s numerous reforms, he caused his country’s coinage system to change from being the most old-fashioned in Europe to being the most up to date. His was the first coinage to employ the decimal system (dividing the Ruble into one hundred smaller units, of copper Kopecks). Part of his reform involved devaluation, which made, for the first time, the Russian Ruble equivalent in its buying power to the Polish, Saxony and Silesian thalers which had seen such free circulation within the country before. It is said that, when the first Ruble coins bearing Western-style Arabic dates were struck in 1707, it was Peter himself operating the coin press!
Estimated Value $275,000 – 325,000.

Ex Dr. Robert D. Hesselgesser Collection (5/30 – 6/1/05), lot 1751; Goodman Collection (Superior, Feb. 1991), lot 4; and Soderman Collection (Swiss Bank, Feb. 1977); Illustrated in Money of The World, coin 115. Ex Millennia, Lot 802 where it Realized $340,000 (more…)

The First Israeli Bullion Coin Is Released

“There was great excitement among both international and Israeli coin collectors on the day of the initial offering of the first Israeli bullion coin,” the Israel Coins and Medals Corp. said in a statement Wednesday. “In the morning, the telephone lines at our order call center crashed because of high demand and interest for the special gold coin.”

The Bank of Israel has issued and aptly named this series “Jerusalem of Gold”. The coins in the series are legal tender. Each contains 1 oz. of fine gold.9999 and has a face value of 20 New Sheqalim (NIS).

These are the very first Israeli gold bullion coins, priced in accordance with the daily international price of gold, plus a reasonable mark up over gold.

These bullion coins are equally valuable as collectors items and as financial investments. The Gold Bullion Coins in the “Jerusalem of Gold” Series will depict a treasured historical site in the eternal city of Jerusalem.

The obverse features the The Tower of David, rising above the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem, near Jaffa Gate. The word “Jerusalem” appears above the Tower, again in all 3 languages, the Face Value of 20 New Sheqalim (NIS), mint mark and year. On the right side appear the words “1 oz. fine gold .9999” in Hebrew and English.

The reverse of each coin will depict The Lion of Megiddo, with its stylized curved tail, is taken from an ancient seal excavated in Megiddo (Armageddon) in the Jordan Valley, dating from the 8th cent. BCE. The seal belonged to Shema, the servant of Jeroboam II, Israelite King. The lion is also the symbol of the Tribe of Judah and of the eternal capital of Israel, Jerusalem. The same Lion of Megiddo appeared in the past on the Israeli 5 Lira Banknote (1958), 5 Lira Coin (1978), and on the Half Sheqel Coin (1980). Above the figure of the lion appears the State of Israel Emblem and below it the word “Israel” in English, Hebrew and Arabic..

One coin will be issued annually, starting from 2010 with the “Tower of David”. The 2011 coin in the series, will feature another timeless treasure, “The Western Wall” the last remnant of the Second Holy Temple.

The gold coins are valuable as collector’s items and as financial investments. The Tower of David edition will be limited to 3,600 coins. In addition, there is a strict limit of five gold coins per customer.

The coins in the series are legal tender and are issued by the Bank of Israel.

Legendary 1898 Single 9 Pond South African Coin Certified by NGC

“King of South African Coins”, the unique and historic 1898 Single 9 Pond, sells for a record multi-million rand price and is certified by NGC.

The sale of South Africa’s rarest and most celebrated coin, the 1898 Single 9 Pond, has been concluded for an unprecedented multi-million rand figure. [Editor: $1.00 USD = 7.51133 ZAR]

The sale, like the prior two sales of the same coin, was facilitated by Mr. Walter Fivaz. The buyer, who wishes to remain anonymous, is thrilled to own such an impressive and important part of South Africa’s heritage. The Single 9 has justifiably been dubbed the “King of South African Coins” and is among the most valuable rare coins in the world.

Upon completion of the purchase, the coin was promptly sent to NGC for certification. NGC was selected because of their consistency in grading, their extensive South African numismatic knowledge and the prestige offered by NGC certification. The coin graded MS 63 PL by NGC. The grade of MS 63 identifies it as a choice uncirculated example. Many coins of such illustrious provenance have been mishandled, and fortunately this coin has retained its original surface quality. Additionally, the fields of the coin are mirror-like, indicating that it was struck from freshly polished dies. Accordingly, it has been designated PL, for proof-like, which is assigned to coins that possess some of the special attributes that are often seen on presentation coinage.

“We are very proud to certify such an important and historic coin. Seldom does a coin play so significant a role in cultural history and for many years this coin has been considered the most coveted of all coins struck on the African continent,” commented Ken Krah, NGC vice president, who heads NGC’s world coin grading department.

The details surrounding the creation of the Single 9 Pond form one of the most compelling stories in numismatics. The Single 9 was the first one pound gold coin produced during the Anglo-Boer War between South African and the British Empire in 1899. At that time, the government of the South African Republic sought legitimacy in the eyes of the international community. One of the best ways of doing this was to manufacture their own coins and currency. Since they did not have a facility to produce dies for coinage in South Africa, the government contracted with a mint in Germany to create dies for 1899 coinage. En route from Germany to the Transvaal, the shipment of dies was intercepted and seized by the British. (more…)

Odyssey Marine Exploration Files Appellate Brief in “Black Swan” Case

Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. (NasdaqCM: OMEX) has filed its Appellate Brief in the “Black Swan” case with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

In the brief, Odyssey demonstrates that the district court erroneously dismissed the case by using flawed legal analysis and by failing to acknowledge or understand several major aspects of the case, including the issue of sovereign immunity.

Odyssey’s brief cites the recent favorable ruling by the Eleventh Circuit for the salvor in the Aqua Log (Aqua Log, Inc. vs. State of Georgia, 594 F.3d 1330, 11th Cir. 2010) case. This ruling was made shortly after the district court ruled in the “Black Swan” case and is a beneficial clarification of sovereign immunity in support of Odyssey’s position. In the Aqua Log case, the Court ruled that the sovereign must be in possession of the salvaged items in order to claim immunity from the courts in an admiralty case.

“The precedent set in the Aqua Log case is very relevant to the ‘Black Swan’ case and Spain’s sovereign immunity claim. The Eleventh Circuit found, as we had argued to the district court in our case, that a sovereign could not claim to be immune from the jurisdiction of the court when it did not have possession of the salvaged goods. It’s clear that Spain never owned the majority of the cargo here and did not have possession of them either,” said Melinda MacConnel, Odyssey Vice President and General Counsel. “The district court apparently dismissed the fact that there was no vessel present at the “Black Swan” site. The concretions of coins found by Odyssey were scattered over an area bigger than six football fields, with no coherent ship’s hull or structure. Even if that cargo did come from the Mercedes, it is well documented that the majority of the Mercedes’ cargo was owned by private merchants who paid for its transport and the Mercedes was carrying paying passengers. Under well-established U.S. and international law, vessels on such commercial voyages do not have sovereign immunity.”

The opening brief also points out several erroneous factual findings and legal conclusions made by the district court including the following:

  • The district court did not conduct an evidentiary hearing on the disputed issues of fact, unquestioningly accepting testimony presented by Spain. This was a violation of due process for all of the claimants as well as Odyssey.
  • The district court erred in failing to recognize that the Defendant in the case (an in rem proceeding) was NOT Spain or a vessel owned by Spain. The actual Defendant in the case was the group of coins and artifacts (the res in this case) discovered and recovered by Odyssey.
  • (more…)

Ponterio Baltimore Auction to Offer Diverse Selection of Ancient and World Coins, Plus Currency

Ponterio & Associates, Inc., the world and ancients auction division of Bowers and Merena Auctions, will conduct its Baltimore Auction of World and Ancient Coins and Paper Money as part of Bowers and Merena’s Official Auction of the June 2010 Whitman Coin & Collectibles Baltimore Expo.

The two-session sale will be conducted June 18 and 19 at the Baltimore Convention Center. More than 2,300 lots will be offered, including approximately 1,500 lots of Ancient and foreign coins and 825 lots of world paper money.

Executive vice president, Rick Ponterio states, “Our June 2010 Baltimore Auction is sure to see strong bidder participation—and competition—among specialists in many areas of foreign coins and paper money. Featured among the coin offerings in this sale are important rarities from many periods of history, ranging from Ancient Greece to the modern era.”

Continued Ponterio: “An example of the diversity in this sale can be found in two of the more important highlights. The first is a very rare Zeugitana, Carthage AV Trihemistater, or 1 ½ Shekel, that dates to the early period of the First Punic War (ca. 264-260 BC). The coin is attributed alternatively as Jenkins & Lewis Group IX Pl.18#392 (same dies) and Muller-Pg.86#66, and has been certified by NGC as AU, Strike: 5/5, Surface: 3/5.”

“We will also present a Yuan Dynasty Zhi Yuan 50 Tael Sycee Ingot that is extremely rare and historically significant,” Ponterio added. “It is dated the 14th year of the Zhìyuán era (1273 A.D.), inscribed with the denomination at upper left and the ruler’s name and date at lower center, Khubilai Khan, the fifth Great Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan (1260-94). It is among the earliest known Chinese 50 Tael Sycee ingot.”

MORE THAN 825 LOTS OF WORLD PAPER MONEY TO BE OFFERED

“We have received a wide array of important world paper money consignments for this sale,” stated Bowers and Merena’s director of currency auctions, Matthew Quinn. “A splendid selection of Iranian notes from the 1920s and 1930s figure prominently among the highlights in this auction, and they include a stunning Choice Uncirculated 1 Toman note dated 1.6.1920 and attributed as P-1b. Also of note is a China, Republic, 5 Yuan dated 4.10.1914 and attributed as P-34. The note grades Very Fine and is significant because examples of this type are usually seen only in remainder form without signatures and perforated ‘canceled,’ which is a fate this note escaped. We anticipate strong bidder competition for these and other important world paper money lots in this sale.” (more…)

World Coins – Unique 1928 South Africa 6 Pence Graded by NGC

Certified by NGC is this recently discovered South Africa 6 Pence dated 1928. It is the only known example bearing this date.

The coin was first spotted in an English country auction where it was cataloged with an unusual notation: the coin’s date was not listed in the standard series reference. It was purchased by a dealer who had a strong suspicion about the its origin.

Although he had no doubt about the coin’s authenticity, he sent it first to South Africa, where a number of experts examined the coin, all declaring it genuine. The coin itself, as a unique discovery piece, created a sensation among collectors of South African coins, who marveled that this discovery took over 80 years to occur.

From South Africa, the coin was sent the coin to the United States to be certified and encapsulated by NGC.

The dies for South African coins of this era were manufactured in England and then sent to South Africa for use in coinage production. Mysteriously, six pence dies of this year were not shipped and no pieces dated 1928 were struck in South Africa. Other denominations of coins were produced in that year, however, and it is not certain why the six pence was omitted.

Numismatist believe that the coin was produced in England as a specimen piece.

It has shallow mirrored fields, a crisp strike, as well as squared rims, similar to all South African presentation coinage of this era. It is also struck on a .925 fine silver planchet, while coins struck for circulation in South Africa are only .800 fine. It has a deep amber patina and is remarkably well preserved, evidence that it resided in the possession of a collector since it was struck.

World Record $138,000 Brazilian 100 Reis leads $5.2 million+ Heritage CICF World Coin auction in Chicago

Revamped CICF auction brings more the 3300 bidders; World Coin market continues to excel, see broad demand

DALLAS, TX – There can be no doubt as to the continuing strength and ever-growing interest in the World Coin market after Heritage Auction Galleries April 21-22 Signature® World Coin Auction at the Chicago International Coin Fair (CICF) brought almost 3350 bidders to the table and realized a stunning total of more than $5.2 million.

“Heritage couldn’t be happier with the move of our spring auction to the CICF,” said Cristiano Bierrenbach, Director of International Sales at Heritage. “Anytime we can reach so many high-end world buyers in one place, and subsequently realize more than 94% by value and 97% by lot on an auction, we know we’re in the right spot.”

The auction also marked the beginning of a new CICF partnership between Heritage and Krause Publications, the producers of World Coin News, Numismatic News and Bank Note Reporter, among its many publications. By all accounts, the new union was an unqualified success.

“The addition of Heritage as official CICF auctioneer gave the show a big lift,” said convention chairman and Krause Group Publisher Scott Tappa. “The depth and breadth of the four-session sale attracted a great array of attendees and added to our growing bourse floor. We look forward to Heritage’s continued partnership with CICF and Krause Publications for years to come.”

“Scott Tappa and his crew put together a world class event and we matched it with more than 4700 lots for the Heritage collecting community worldwide,” said Bierrenbach. “When I think the world coin market can’t surprise us anymore, we have an auction like this with results much stronger than we could’ve predicted. It’s a wonderful thing to be a part of.”

Of all the international numismatic treasure up for grabs at the Heritage CICF event, a Brazilian rarity was to be the most coveted, with a Pedro II 100 Reis 1844, KM452, Russo 525, VF35 NGC breaking its own World Price Record of $84,000, set in May of 2008, when it finished at $138,000, more than doubling its base estimate of $60,000. The coin came to auction via the Paulistana Collection.

“This is the finest specimen of only three known,” said Bierrenbach. “In 1834, Brazil, now an independent empire, attempted a new monetary system nicknamed the Cruzado. While it ultimately failed by 1848, the 1844 100 Reis is without a doubt the jewel of the series.” (more…)

Collector Coins From The Royal Canadian Mint To Feature Nature and Canadiana Themes

Royal Canadian Mint marked spring’s arrival with a strong accent on nature in the launch of exciting new coins designed to appeal to the discerning collector and the budding coin enthusiast alike.

A number of popular series continue in this latest release of 2010, notably: the 99.999% pure gold Canadian Floral Emblems series featuring Manitoba’s Prairie Crocus; the 1/25 oz. pure gold coin honouring the RCMP; the Birds of Canada 25-cent coin series celebrating the colourful Goldfinch; and the 2010 50-cent specially-wrapped coin roll.

New entries include a $20 Fine Silver coin adorned with a painted water lily and CRYSTALLIZED™ Swarovski Elements; a $2 “Young Lynx” circulation coin in a new Wildlife Specimen Set series; and, new Coin Collector Cards featuring complete sets of 2010 circulation coins available in four different “all-Canadian” backgrounds.

“Every year, Royal Canadian Mint coins are inspired by the best of Canada’s history, culture and values and the richness of these most recent themes proudly stands out on the best collector coins in the world,” said Ian E. Bennett, President and CEO of the Royal Canadian Mint. “In the spring of 2010, our collector products continue to demonstrate that quality, innovation and artistry are at the heart of every coin produced by the Royal Canadian Mint”.

Below are descriptions of the featured products being launched today.

2010 $20 FINE SILVER COIN — WATER LILY
The addition of genuine CRYSTALLIZED™ Swarovski Elements to finely crafted Royal Canadian Mint numismatic coins has delighted collectors since their first appearance of our popular Crystal Snowflake and Crystal Raindrop coins.  In 2010, this innovative enhancement simulates three water droplets shimmering over a beautifully painted water lily gracing the reverse of a 99.99% pure silver coin.

The painting of a blooming water lily on an impressive 38 mm coin is inspired by the 75th anniversary of Flore laurentienne, a seminal compendium of Canadian flora by renowned botanist Brother Marie-Victorin.  Designed by Quebec wildlife artist Claudio d’Angelo, this coin is limited to a mintage of 10,000 coins worldwide and retails for $104.95 CDN.

2010 PURE GOLD COIN — PRAIRIE CROCUS
The Mint’s 2010 $350 Pure Gold Coin is the 13th in a series started in 1998 and features the Prairie Crocus, Manitoba’s official flower.  Made of 99.999% pure gold, this newest addition to a precious collection of Canadian floral emblems stands out as the finest gold collector coin in the world.  The reverse of this exquisite coin was designed by Ontario botanical artist Celia Godkin.  Limited to a worldwide mintage of 1,400, this coin retails for $2,599.95 CDN.

2010 1/25 OZ GOLD COIN – RCMP
The smallest gold collector coin currently produced by the Mint has been a perennial favourite since its introduction in 2004. In 2010, the 1/25 oz 99.99% pure gold coin is dedicated to the RCMP, one of Canada’s best known and most enduring icons. This coin is limited to a world-wide mintage of 14,000 and retails for $109.95 CDN. (more…)

Sedwick Treasure Auction #7 Brings In $1.37 Million

Daniel Frank Sedwick, LLC announced this week that their seventh Treasure Auction on April 7-9 realized $1.37 million (including buyer’s fees, same for all prices quoted here) and over 94% of the 2160 lots sold, well exceeding the pre-auction estimate.

“Our latest auction proves that world coins and treasure items are still strong,” said Daniel Sedwick, company principal and founder, “and that we achieve consistent results. This is our second auction in a row that reached over $1 million with a 94% sell-through rate, which is remarkable and a testament to the hard work we put in, both to get great consignments and to do what it takes to sell them all.”

Sedwick also pointed out that many sections like shipwreck coins were complete sell outs and brought record prices, particularly the Karl Goodpaster estate of 1715 Fleet silver coins. Gold cobs, as always, fetched strong prices, with the two featured Peruvian specimens from the Frank Sedwick estate realizing $19,550 (8 escudos 1712) and $18,400 (4 escudos 1711, finest known). Perhaps the most interesting coin in the sale was a Mexican cob 1 escudo from the 1715 Fleet that was flown to the moon aboard Apollo 14, and that coin brought $8,625. Most of the money, however, was in gold and silver ingots, including the highest priced lot in the whole auction, a naturally coral-encrusted “clump” of two complete gold bars from a mid-1500s Spanish wreck that brought $112,125. Many museum-quality artifacts sold for up to 5 times the high estimates.

Sedwick’s assistant Augi Garcia pointed to several unique factors for the success of their auction, including video lot viewing and illustration of all lots, but particularly the concept of live bidding via the Internet:

“People love bidding online, at their computer, in the comfort of their own home or office, even from their iPhone. At times we had more people actively bidding online than you see on the floor of a typical world-coins auction at a major coin show.”

A very strong online thrust via the Sedwick website as well as the bidding platform iCollector attracted over 25% new bidders from around the world. Also of benefit was lot viewing at the Baltimore show in March.

Consignments pledged or already received for Sedwick’s Treasure Auction #8 in October (consignment deadline July 31) indicate that it will be another big event, with still more improvements and innovations in store.

“Our goal is constant improvement through technological innovation, while retaining good old-fashioned personal service,” says Sedwick, “and that formula is hard to beat.” (more…)

Royal Mint Unveils New Britannia Coin Design

Today, the Royal Mint launches its newly designed 2010 Britannia coin series

The design depicts the famous icon of Britain and British coinage as an Amazonian-like warrior, with a protective and serene watch over modern Britain’s liberty and values.

The new design has been launched to celebrate Britannia’s enduring presence as an important symbol of national identity in changing times.

Designer Suzie Zamit says: “Britannia is a really important British icon and I wanted to create a design that represents her as a symbol of British liberties and democracy. I felt it was important to portray Britannia as strong – almost Amazonian – and courageous, but not overly warlike, more peaceful and protective.”

The new 2010 Britannia coin series is launched in both gold and silver, available in an extended range of both individual coins and Proof sets. Suzie Zamit’s beautiful design is the first new Britannia design since 2008 and offers a fresh interpretation of the goddess, capturing the strong, courageous and watchful qualities of her spirit.

The new Britannia wears a Corinthian-style helmet, emphasising her warlike spirit and is accompanied by a lion to symbolise courage. However, Britannia’s serene gaze and the presence of an olive branch, also portrays the goddess as a protective defender of peace and modern British liberty and values. Her eastward looking gaze alludes to Britain’s role in the EU and its presence in Afghanistan.

Dave Knight, Director of Commemorative Coin at the Royal Mint, said: “Britannia is an enduring icon that has become an integral part of British coinage and heritage. She represents the strength of the British national identity and Suzie Zamit has captured this force in her new design. We are delighted to have created a coin that honours the history of British coins, whilst celebrating the future of modern Britain. Our 2010 Britannia Series is a great chance for us, along with the public, to celebrate this constant symbol of British success.” (more…)

Baldwins to Sell The Strickland Neville Rolfe Collection of Ancient, British and World Coins

Baldwin’s is delighted to announce the addition of yet another rare collection to their May 2010 auction, to be held on the 4 th and 5 th May at the CIPFA Conference Centre, Robert Street, London.

The Strickland Neville Rolfe Collection is an amazingly conserved compilation of Ancient, British and World coins, tokens and Commemorative medals that has been untouched and out of circulation since 1852. This numismatic collection has remained in the hands of Rolfe’s descendents since his death and brilliantly represents a snapshot of the tastes and interests of an educated English country gentleman and divine of the Victorian era.

Strickland Charles Edward Neville Rolfe was born in 1789, eldest son of General Neville of the Royal Artillery. He assumed the name and arms of Rolfe by royal warrant in 1837, upon receiving the bequest of the estates at Heacham and Sedgeford, from Edmund Rolfe, a distant relative who had no issue.

Educated at Wadham College, Oxford, BA 1812, MA 1816, he was ordained in 1814. He became domestic chaplain to the Duke of Kent in 1814 and to the Duke of Somerset in 1825. He was appointed vicar of Heacham in Norfolk in 1838. His first wife, Agnes, was the only daughter of Henry Fawcett, MP for Carlisle. They married in 1814 and had five sons and four daughters. In 1833 he married Dorothy, widow of the Rev TT Thomason, Chaplain to the Honourable East India Company.

It is known that he was an enthusiastic collector of both natural and archaeological items, as well as having a keen interest in art. Rolfe had had a number of artists staying for long periods to study artistic endevours at Heacham Hall. It is said that he had a large coach built in which he took these artists on excursions to draw and paint buildings or articles of interest in and around the area.

He was especially interested in the area of Norfolk and part of his collection of portraits of Norfolk celebrities, original drawings, topographical and antiquarian, were sold by Sotheby’s. Some of these pieces were used to extra illustrate ‘Blomefield’s History of the County of Norfolk’ (compiled by Francis Blomefield and published in 1805). Later, in 1929, a number of water-colour drawings from the collection were also used to illustrate a publication compiled by his great grandson, Clement Rolfe-Ingleby, and entitled ‘A supplement to Blomefield’s Norfolk.

Strickland Rolfe died in 1852. Heacham Hall was destroyed by fire in 1941, whilst being occupied by the
RAF.

The English coins from the collection span three centuries and include some key rarities, such as the pattern “Incorrupta” crown (lot 1405), one of only eighteen known to have been struck, and the “Three Graces” crown, one of the most important and majestic coins of the English series (lot 1406, pictured above). Both the “Incorrupta” and the “Three Graces” crowns were struck by the renowned medallist, William Wyon. (more…)

NGC launches a new free website resource for collectors of certified gold coins from around the world.

NGC’s website now features a value guide for the most popular world gold coins. Included are sovereigns, 20 francs and other frequently-traded world gold coins. Average asking prices for common-date examples are shown in all grades from MS63 to MS67. This chart also details each coin’s intrinsic metal value calculated from current market gold asking price. Gold ask is updated approximately every 20 minutes and the values for graded coins will be updated periodically as current market information is made available. For each set of figures, the last time of update is also displayed.

The World Gold Coins Value Guide is entirely free and can be seen by visiting the following link:

World Gold Coins Value Guide

In addition, NGC’s website also features the most accurate and comprehensive price guide for US coins available, the NumisMedia FMV Price Guide. A free NGC Collectors Society account provides complete access to the NumisMedia Guide.

“This new site feature is part of NGC’s ongoing commitment to provide the most comprehensive and valuable suite of resources to coin collectors. It’s one of a number of great site enhancements coming this year from NGC,” comments Scott Schechter, NGC Vice President, Sales & Marketing, “We hope to improve the accuracy and number of issues covered on the Gold Values Chart, and welcome any user feedback.”

To suggest a revision or an update to the World Gold Coin Value Guide, users can e-mail goldvalues@NGCcoin.com. To explore other numismatic resources available from NGC, visit the NGC Research Home Page.

Daniel Frank Sedwick Treasure and World Coin Auction #7

In three sessions, Wednesday-Friday, April 7-9, 2010

As usual our latest Treasure Auction is full of surprises, but this time we feel it is also very well balanced across many fields, with more general world coins than ever before. Here are some highlights:

In great deference to the Sedwick patriarch, for the first time ever we are offering selections from the Frank Sedwick study collection of 1715-Fleet gold cobs, including plate coins from past editions of the Practical Book of Cobs and other pieces never seen or offered for sale, coins that the pioneering “Dr. Cobs” kept as the best examples among thousands that passed through his hands.

The unique opportunity to own a “Frank Sedwick” specimen will start in this auction with just two 1715-Fleet masterpieces: The finest-known Lima 4 escudos 1711 and one of the best Lima 8 escudos 1712 ever offered.

In the same category of quality as Frank Sedwick’s 1715-Fleet gold cobs is a choice Cuzco cob 2 escudos 1698, a plate coin in Marty Meylach’s classic book Diving to a Flash of Gold.

But perhaps most intriguing in the gold cobs this time is a 1715-Fleet Mexican 1 escudo that was flown aboard Apollo 14 in 1971, the only one of its kind. Before this specially engraved coin came to us, we had no idea that the Apollo astronauts included genuine shipwreck treasure in their “flown” souvenirs on their trips to the moon, but apparently the link between NASA and the Real Eight Co. was more than just geographic. We have come to understand that medallions made of 1715-Fleet silver flown to the moon are very hot with space collectors, who will no doubt go crazy for this genuine coin as well, but perhaps the treasure collectors will win out in the end.

Highlights in shipwreck silver coins include large offerings of lion daalders from the Campen (1627), Potosí cobs from the Consolación (1681) and the Boticaria site of the 1681 Fleet off Panama (first-ever offering, also with some artifacts, with updated history), and hundreds of choice (and some interestingly shaped) 1715-Fleet Mexican cobs from the estate of Karl H. Goodpaster (Real Eight Co. conservator), as well as hundreds of Mexican cobs from the Rooswijk (1739). The Goodpaster collection in particular will be fun to watch, as nothing is hotter today than Fleet silver cobs! (more…)

Odyssey Marine Exploration 2009 Financial Results and Status on it’s Treasure Hunting Projects

Odyssey Marine Exploration (NasdaqCM: OMEX), pioneers in the field of deep-ocean shipwreck exploration, today reported full year 2009 financial results.

For the full year 2009, Odyssey reported revenues of $4.3 million, compared to $4.1 million in 2008 while operating expenses decreased $6.4 million from $29.1 million in 2008 to $22.7 million in 2009.

The Company reported a net loss of $18.6 million for the full year 2009, compared to a net loss of $24.8 million in 2008. The net loss per share for the full year 2009 was $0.33, compared to a net loss per share of $0.50 in 2008.

“We are pleased with the results of our 2009 operations, which despite some interesting challenges, saw some key strategic opportunities realized that I believe will have a profound effect on our business going forward. Several significant announcements made in late 2009 and early 2010 represent outstanding new opportunities for Odyssey, including the intention to syndicate multiple shipwreck projects with Robert Fraser & Partners that will mirror the structure of the “Enigma” project already executed. Taking into account expected revenue from multiple sources including these syndicated projects, we believe our current cash position is sufficient to fund operating cash flows through 2010, barring unforeseen circumstances,” said Odyssey CEO Greg Stemm.

“Also in 2009, we acquired a stake in a venture to pursue the exploration of deep-ocean gold and copper deposits. By providing our technical expertise and certain marine assets, we believe this will provide a lucrative future opportunity and is a natural extension to leverage our core competencies in deep-ocean exploration,” stated Stemm.

“In 2010, Odyssey will remain focused on continuing to strengthen our relations with several governments to conduct shipwreck searches with no upfront cost to taxpayers while returning cultural heritage and economic value to the governments. In September 2009, the UK Government awarded Odyssey a salvage award for the two cannon recovered from HMS Victory, while discussions continue to determine future plans for the site. The UK Government also awarded the exclusive salvage contract to Odyssey for the cargo of silver from the SS Gairsoppa,” continued Stemm. “We have a very ambitious operational schedule planned for 2010, with seven separate projects planned, utilizing at least three ships as well as some outstanding new deep ocean assets we have just acquired. We also have some interesting new technology on the drawing board that will extend our capabilities to a depth of 6,000 meters.”
(more…)

Princeton University Acquires Armenian Ancient and Medieval Heritage Coin Collection

The Princeton University Numismatic Collection has acquired the Armenian Heritage Collection of ancient and medieval coins, adding a new strength to the University’s extensive numismatic research holdings.

The Armenian Heritage Collection was assembled to represent the various periods in the pre-modern age when Armenia produced its own coinage or made substantial contributions to the coinage of other powers, according to Princeton Curator of Numismatics Alan Stahl.

Stahl said the acquisition will provide scholars with access to significant materials to study early Armenian civilization, as well as provide new opportunities at Princeton to research ancient and medieval societies.

The earliest coins in the collection are those of the Artaxiad dynasty, which became the largest political power east of Rome in the first century B.C. The coins of most relevance to Princeton’s existing holdings are those minted in the reign of Tigranes the Great, who ruled from the Seleucid capital of Antioch-on-the-Orontes from 95 to 55 B.C.

“The coins of Tigranes from Antioch hold special interest for Princeton because University scholars led the excavations of the site in the 20th century and the University holds more than 30,000 coins found there in our collection,” Stahl said. “One of the great mysteries of the coins from these excavations is the lack of any in the name of Tigranes and the dearth of local municipal coins for the period of his reign.”

“The collection includes coins of three distinct periods, all of interest to the academic concerns of the University,” Stahl said.

Included in the collection are two large silver pieces of Tigranes the Great and 19 bronze coins in his name, as well as examples of rare coins featuring his successors. All of these coins follow the models of the Hellenistic world, with the portrait of the ruler on the front of the coin and a local deity on the back. The writing on the coins is in Greek.
(more…)

Goldbergs Acquire Legendary King Edward VIII 1937 Proof Set

At the end of February 2010, Ira and Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles purchased England’s legendary King Edward VIII 1937 Proof Set for $2.1 Million (1,350,000 Pounds). This purchase was made in England with the assistance of noted English coin dealers Steve Fenton and Mark Rasmussen.

Considered the “Holy Grail” of English Milled Coinage, this is the only Proof Set of its kind in private hands, and all are in Gem Proof condition. This set has never before been seen outside of England.

Apparently, only four sets, plus a few minors, were minted; the Royal Mint has two of the sets, and another was broken up over 40 years ago, with a few of the coins occasionally appearing at auction.

King Edward the VIII abdicated the throne in December of 1936, after reigning for only 10 months, to marry the American divorcee Mrs. Willis Simpson, a commoner.

It is this King Edward VIIII quote that many school children have been taught to memorize: “I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge my duties as King as I would wish to do without the help and support of the woman I love.”

The proof set was minted at the Royal Mint and dated 1937 to be issued on his coronation in January 1937, an event which never took place.

This particular set belonged to Mrs. R. Henry Norweb, whose husband was the American Ambassador to England.

Upcoming Champion Hong Kong Auction Offers Chinese Numismatic Rarities

The 10th Hong Kong Champion Auction will be held on February 24 at the renowned Hyatt Regency Hotel located in 18 Hanoi Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, and features a rich selection of Chinese coins and banknotes certified by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) and Paper Money Guaranty (PMG).

Among the auction listings are Chinese Empire minor Silver and Copper coins from a long-standing American collection. Also presented is a group of Copper Pattern coins from another American collection, including an extremely rare Yunnan Dollar pattern with raised edge, whose heritage may include the Schuler Company.

The auction will be held on February 24, 2010, at the Hyatt Regency Hong Kong. More information can be found on Champion’s multi-lingual Web site, www.cghka.com, and the auction can be seen at www.liveauctioneers.com/catalog/20498.

586 rare coins and banknotes will be offered and Among the highlights of coins are:

CHINA-Yuan Dynasty 5 Taels Gold Sycee, Weight 185.5g, VF?lot 48?
CHINA-SHANTUNG 1926 Dragon and Phoenix 10 Dollars Gold Pattern, KM Pn7, K1536, NGC MS65?lot 68?
CHINA-YUNNAN ND 10 Cash Copper Pattern, AU. Extremely rare possibly unique (lot 235)
CHINA-SINKIANG 1878 One Mace Silver, Lanchoufu Arsenal Mint, L&M808, K1000, NGC AU55(lot 214)
CHINA-Qing Dynasty Empress Dowager Presentation Birthday Charm, 63mm in diameter, 10mm thick, 241.8g, XF(lot 41)

Highlights of banknotes are:
CHINA 1911 Shensi Provincial Bank 3 Taels (Guo-829), VF-XF(lot 449)
CHINA 1854 Board of Revenue 10 Tales PA12b(lot 367)
CHINA 1907 Kiangse Government Bank $1 PMG VF20(lot 447)
CHINA 1914 Bank of China Chihli $5 PMG AU58EPQ(lot 389) (more…)

Paulistana Collection Highlights Brazilian Coins at Chicago World Coin Auction

It’s with tremendous pleasure that Heritage presents the Paulistana Collection of Brazilian coins, the most important and complete collection of Brazilian coins to appear in the world numismatic market for many years, to be offered on April 22, 2010 in Chicago, in conjunction with the Chicago International Coin Fair (CICF). In total there are more than 900 pieces from the first counterstruck coinage up to pieces of the Republic, with no duplication!

“When I had the pleasure of inspecting the collection,” said Cristiano Bierrenbach, Heritage Director of International Sales, “I was impressed by the accomplishment of our consignor, who in a short time was able to assemble a complete cabinet with very few missing pieces. Many of the coins not included in the collection are found only in museums!”

One of the highlights of the collection is the group of counterstruck coins, with more than 30 pieces, many of which are very difficult to find. The collection also includes a complete set of 960 Reis, including very rare varieties, as well as three pieces from Minas Gerais, the three patacoes of the second empire (1832, 1833, and 1834), various Minas counterstamps on rare Hispanic 8 Reales, and a complete collection of Cruzados (!), including the extremely rare 1200 Reis of 1839 and 100 Reis of 1844.

Our Brazilian offerings in this auction do not end with the silver rarities from the Paulistana Collection; we will be offering dozens of gold rarities as well, including two 3200 Reis coins, a 1000 Reis dated 1727-M, an extremely rare 2000 Reis dated 1703-R, and more than 30 pieces of 6400 Reis from Rio and Bahia.

To sum it up, if you are interested in the fascinating coinage of Brazil, this auction has something for you. Just a few of the highlights of this auction will include:

Baldwins 48th Hong Kong Coin Auction Results

The 48th Hong Kong Coin Auction is taking place a little earlier than usual this year, in-line with the Hong Kong International Coin Convention and Antique Watch Fair. As usual the sale will be held at the Holiday Inn Golden Mile, Kowloon, Hong Kong, at 10.00am on the 25 th February, and will feature two sessions (868 lots in total) of predominantly Asian coins and banknotes.

The auction opens with lot 1, a Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) 1-Kuan banknote. The Baldwin’s – Ma Tak Wo auction group sold a similar piece in their last sale for a record breaking US$19,000 and, although this note isn’t in as good condition, they are hopeful that this piece will attract as much attention.

The banknote section continues to show promise with lot 39 a 1908 Hio Lung Kiang Government Bank, Branch Office $5 note in extremely fine condition and leads into an extensive selection of Indian banknotes, the most unique and desirable being lot 227 the 1000 Rupees, first issue note of Hyderabad.

Following the success of the Chinese medals and orders section of the last sale the Hong Kong sale this year offers a smaller but equally as interesting selection. The highlight of the orders is lot 560 – The Order of the Stripped Tiger, First Class Set.

Founded in 1912 by President Yuan Shih-Kai as an award of merit to Chinese Navel and Military Forces, the award cam in nine classes and is no longer awarded. The class is indicated by the number of stars appearing above the tiger’s head and also by the size of the badge itself. Three stars denotes a first class award, two a second class award and one for third class. Lot 560 holds three stars and is in extremely fine condition and estimated at US$12,000 – 15,000. (more…)

A.H Baldwin January Ancient and World Coin New York Auction Results

Held as part of the 38th annual New York International Numismatic Convention, A.H. Baldwins & Sons New York Sale proved to be a welcome move away from the subdued bidding of 2009. The majority of the interesting lots offered during the course of the week were from the Baldwin’s/Dmitry Markov/M&M auction and the high prices achieved reflected the recent trend for buyers paying well above estimate for quality and rarity.

Peter_1_1707_Half_Tymf_baldwin2010In marked contrast to last year’s event the bidders appeared to be out in force. Seth Freeman of Baldwin’s commented that there was a real buzz around this years event, both the convention and the auction and buyers ‘seemed to be focused on one thing, spending money to secure key items’.

The results from the sale this year reflected the more optimistic view of the financial markets for 2010. Across the board bidders seemed less cautious than last year and prices realised on particular items were substantially higher.

Highlights from the first day of the sale included the catalogue cover piece (pictured above), lot 128, a Roman Empire Drusus Sestertius which sold for $17,250 USD against a pre-sale estimate of $8,500 USD; and lot 251, a Constantinus II Solidus, Treveri, which achieved $34,500 USD.

As ever the Indian section was strong and attracted a lot of attention, the most interesting lot being 304, a very rare Gupta Dinar, Tiger-slayer type depicting the goddess Ganga standing on an elephant-headed fish, sold for $21,850 USD.

Bidding interest and excitement centered on the Medieval, Portuguese and Russian sections and this is demonstrated by the incredibly strong prices achieved. Highlights of the section incorporate lots 470 and 628, a Carolingian Denarius of Toulouse, and a Portuguese Sancho I Morabitino which sold for $13,800 USD and $25,000 USD respectively.

Lot 1027, a 1707 Shestak Half Tymf, was one of the most unique and interesting pieces in the sale. This coin was first recorded in 1897 where it was the only image available of this very rare coin and soon became the plate coin in all standard references. The groups research produced no other specimen of this particular coin offered at public auction and this was reflected in the realised price of $97,500 USD. (more…)

NGC Certifies Spanish Gold Coin Rarity from Majorca

ngc_mallorca_012010NGC recently graded the finest known example of a legendary Spanish rarity, the 8 Escudos of Charles II from the Spanish Mediterranean Island of Majorca.

NGC recently certified an extremely rare gold 1689/72 Spanish 8 Escudos struck on the island of Majorca. It is the only known crown-size gold coin of the Cob era struck in Majorca, and graded NGC XF45, with a strong, full strike and abundant underlying luster.

The Calico “Onza” book describes the coin as unique. The 1879 edition of Numismatica Balear by Alvaro Campaner included this coin, illustrating it with a line drawing. A counterfeiter, relying only on the illustration as his model, produced a meticulous replica from which these coins are perhaps better known.

The unique genuine example resided in the Marquis of Palmer collection, as noted by Campaner, and recently sold as part of the Caballero de las Yndias collection, one of the largest private collections of gold coins from Spain and Latin America.

This sale is believed to be the only time the piece has ever been publicly offered for sale.

NGC was privileged to certify this rare specimen.

Ponterio & Associates Realizes $2.5 million+ at Official N.Y.I.N.C. Auction

Ponterio & Associates, Inc., the world and ancients auction division of Bowers and Merena Auctions, conducted its Official Auction of the January 2010 New York International Numismatic Convention (N.Y.I.N.C.) and realized more than $2.5 million. The sale was conducted in two sessions January 8-9, 2010, and offered more than 2,300 lots of important Ancient coins, International coins, paper money, orders and decorations.

ponterio_ny10_russian37.5“Bidding activity was very strong in our January 2010 N.Y.I.N.C. Auction,” observed Rick Ponterio, executive vice president of Bowers and Merena Auctions, “with many coins and notes selling for noteworthy prices. Particularly impressive results were achieved through our offering of the Chester Skotak Collection of Central American Coinage as well as in the section of the sale dedicated to Russian, Annamese and Argentine Sun Face coinage.”

Continued Ponterio: “We offered the Prize of Russian Numismatics–a 1902 37 1/2 Rubles–as lot 7389. This important coin, attributed as Fr-170, Y-B65, Bitkin-309 and Sev-578 and graded AU, realized $69,000, more than double our pre-sale estimate. Also of note is lot 7139, a very rare 1826 Great Britain 5 Pounds with a mintage of just 150 pieces. An original, unimpaired piece certified Proof-63 Deep Cameo by PCGS, the coin went to the winning bidder at $19,550.”

Additional highlights of the Ponterio & Associates January 2010 N.Y.I.N.C. Auction include:

o Lot 5041, Belize, 10 Dollars, 1.1.1974, P-36a, Superb Gem Uncirculated 67EPQ (PMG), realized $3,278
o Lot 5153, Taiwan, 50 Yen, 1921, P-1924, Very Fine, realized $2,818
o Lot 5448, India, 2 Rupees – 8 Annas, Undated (1917), P-2, Uncirculated, realized $7,705
o Lot 5457, India, 1 Rupee, Undated (circa 1928-1935), P-14b, About Uncirculated-Uncirculated, realized $8,625
o Lot 5832, Macedonia, Mende, AR Tetradrachm, circa 425 B.C., AU (NGC), realized $10,350
o Lot 5921, Rome, AE Aes Grave As, circa 280-269 B.C., Choice Extremely Fine, realized $17,250
o Lot 5942, Rome, Antonia, AV Aureus, posthumous struck circa 41-42 under Claudius, Very Fine, realized $10,350
o Lot 5959, Rome, Diocletian, AV Aureus, Nicomedia Mint, 294-295, Choice AU (NGC), realized $10,638
o Lot 7134, Great Britain, Broad of 20 Shillings, 1656, Fr-273, S-3225, KM-Pn25, AU-55 (NGC), realized $25,300
o Lot 7296, Mexico, Iturbide, Gold Medal, 1821, Grove-5 (unlisted in gold), AU-55 (NGC), realized $14,950
o Lot 7316, Peru, 8 Escudos, 1710-H, Fr-7, KM-38.2, Choice EF, realized $18,400
o Lot 7332, Romania, 20 Lei, 1868, Fr-1, KM-5, AU Details–Reverse Scratched (NGC), realized $37,375
o Lot 7356, Russia, Platinum 6 Rubles, 1830, Fr-159, C-178, Bitkin-56, Sev-599, MS-64 (NGC), realized $26,450
o Lot 7561, China, Pattern Dollar, Tientsin Mint, Undated (1907), L&M-20, K-212, MS-63 (NGC), realized $10,350 (more…)

Heritage Auctions Tops $11 million at NYINC World Coin Auction

Legendary 1936 Canadian Dot Cent brings $402,500

ha_nyinc_2010Heritage Auctions’ World Coins division kicked off 2010 with a bang over the New Year’s weekend at the Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan, setting an in-house record total with its $11 million+ Signature® World Coin Auction, Jan. 3-4, with the most famous Canadian coin in existence, the best of three known George V 1936 Dot Cents, leading all coins with a final price realized of $402,500. All prices include a 15% Buyer’s Premium.

“We don’t see any weakness in the World Coin market right now,” said Cristiano Bierrenbach, Director of International Sales at Heritage Auctions. “It almost seems strange to say it, but it’s true. Usually one area or another will show some kind of slowdown, but there were a record amount of bidders vying for almost every coin in this auction, especially The Canadiana Collection, as the more than 90% sell-through rate indicates.”

The Canadiana Collection did indeed top all entries into auction and set coin collectors across Canada, and the world, abuzz with its stunning array of offerings. In the process of realizing $3.85 million total, it made international news with the sale of the legendary 1936 Dot Cent, KM28, Specimen 66 Red PCGS, Ex: Belzberg, the finest of three known, as mentioned above.

Long considered essentially uncollectible since noted numismatist John Jay Pittman had held all three known examples from 1961 until his death, these coins were struck in 1937 prior to the creation of coinage dies for George VI but never released for circulation. Since first re-appearing on the market more than a decade ago, and now well-scattered, the three 1936 Dot Cents create great excitement whenever one appears on the auction block.

While it didn’t garner the same level of media attention as the Dot Cent, a simply beautiful 1934 Australian Proof Set, also featuring George V, KM-PS11, comprising KM22-27, certified and graded by PCGS, generated high interest and spirited bidding from collectors of Australian coins, ultimately bringing more than four times its low estimate of $60,000 to settle at $276,000. (more…)

Canadian “Dot Cent” Rarity Sold in New York by Heritage for $400K+

UPDATE: Legendary 1936 Dot Cent–Finest of Three Known had been sold to an identified buyer for  $402,500.

Pre-sale estimates of the coin valued it at around $300,000. The penny was part of one of the most valuable Canadian coin collections ever offered at auction, however while the 1936 penny is certainly among the priciest Canadian coins ever sold, it did not a new record for the country. A 1911 Canadian silver dollar — one of only two known to exist — was sold in 2003 to a Canadian collector for $1.1 million

ha_dot_cent_112309Heritage’s  2010 January Signature World Coin Auction features quite a number of great coins, but none are as famous as the legendary Canadian 1936 Dot Cent. This coin, struck in 1937 prior to the creation of coinage dies for George VI but never released for circulation, has seen its reputation grow exponentially since its discovery.

In early 1936, Great Britain’s George V passed away and was succeeded by his son King Edward VIII. As was common practice, for the remainder of 1936 the coinage continued to have the effigy of King George V. Toward the end of the year, and throughout the British Commonwealth coinage, models were made and dies produced with the effigy of King Edward VIII, but upon Edward’s abdication the dies were no longer valid and a severe shortage of Canadian 1, 10, and 25 Cent pieces arose in early 1937.

Because of the shortage, Canada was forced to continue producing coins dated 1936 with the portrait of King George V. Canadian authorities felt a need to distinguish this 1937 mintage from the 1936 production and a small Dot was placed on the reverse of the 1, 10, and 25 Cent coins. The dot is under the date on the 1 Cent coin, and under the bow on the wreath of the 10 and 25 Cent coins.

History tells us that only the 25 Cent piece was placed in circulation and that three pieces of the Dot Cents, and four pieces of the Dot 10 Cents are the only surviving examples. (more…)

“Black Swan” Case to Move to Appeals Court

Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. has received notification from the U.S. District Judge that he has adopted the Magistrate’s Report and Recommendation in the “Black Swan” case in favor of Spain.

black_swan_silver
Although the Judge complimented Magistrate Pizzo’s Report and Recommendation, he also made it clear that he felt a separate opinion by him would “add only length and neither depth nor clarity (and certainly not finality) to this dispute.” The Judge also stayed the order vacating the arrest warrant and the return of the recovered coins to Spain until the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit rules in the case, which serves to keep the coins in Odyssey’s possession pending the outcome of the case.

“Judge Merryday’s ruling serves to move this case to the appellate court faster, where we feel confident that the legal issues are clearly in our favor. The ruling yesterday does not affect the current operations of Odyssey, and we have not been counting on any revenue from the “Black Swan” in any of our budgets since it was clear that this case would go to appeal no matter which way the judge ruled,” said Greg Stemm, Odyssey CEO.

“We are moving ahead with our other current projects – and it is important for people to understand that the vast majority of our shipwreck projects don’t have the same potential legal issues that have surfaced in the “Black Swan” case. Our focus for 2010 is on projects that are either under specific permits with governments or commercial vessels.”

“We take heart from cases like the shipwreck of the Atocha, which seemed lost at the district court level but was won during the appeals process, granting the salvor the majority of the coins and artifacts from that shipwreck. The Central America shipwreck case was also reversed on appeal and the salvor’s position in the case of the RMS Titanic was substantially vindicated by the Fourth Circuit court of appeals in 2006, so the three most famous shipwreck cases to date were reversed on appeal. I believe that this shows that it is not unusual for district courts to miss key legal principles in shipwreck cases because of their complex admiralty issues. ” (more…)

Unique Item: Republic 50 Francos Gold Coin from Ecuador

50_francos_uniqueHeritage Wold Coin Auctions will be offering perhaps the most interesting and desired South American coin, the unique 50 Francos gold piece, which was unknown for almost a century until it was discovered by Robert Friedberg in the 1950’s.

It is likely that Friedberg discovered this piece amongst the Virgil Brand collection he acquired around this time. It first appeared in Gimbels (where Friedberg worked) fixed price list in 1956 for US$3500.

In 1962, it was offered in Hans Schulman’s “The Golden Sale of the Century” where it was illustrated and sold for US$7500. Finally, it was offered and sold by Christie’s in the “Escudo Sale” of March 1970 and on April 1st of the same year it was authenticated and evaluated by Schulman for $10,000. The certificate as presented to the owner of the coin, Enrique Maulme, accompanies this lot.

An apparent contradiction to the Reales/Escudos denomination of the time, the 50 Francos was actually struck not for internal circulation but for international trade.

Some researchers argue that this piece was struck at the Paris Mint, since it features the “A” mint mark, but it is our opinion that it was actually struck in Ecuador mainly due to the crudeness of the design and overall engraving quality.

Important South American numismatist Carlos Jara also argues that this piece was probably part of a small circulation issue coin while Friedberg and Krause both list it as a pattern piece.

It is unquestionable though that this piece is one of the most charismatic and intriguing coins of South America if not the world. Estimate: $400,000 – $500,000.

Ponterio & Associates to Conduct January 2010 N.Y.I.N.C. World Coin Auction

Russian, Annam and Argentine Sun Face Coinage Loom Large Among Highlights

Ponterio & Associates, Inc., the world and ancients auction division of Bowers and Merena Auctions, will commence its 2010 auction schedule as an Official Auctioneer of the New York International Numismatic Convention (N.Y.I.N.C.).

ponterio_ny10_russian37.5 The auction will be conducted January 8-9, 2010, in New York’s prestigious Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Pre-sale lot viewing will take place in the same location beginning January 6, with additional lot viewing opportunities available at the Bowers and Merena world headquarters in Irvine, California, December 21-31, 2009 (by appointment only; closed December 24-27).

“Our 2010 N.Y.I.N.C. Auction will feature more than 2,300 lots of ancient coins, world coins, paper money, and orders and decorations,” stated Rick Ponterio, executive vice president of Bowers and Merena and founder of Ponterio & Associates. “Leading the way among important consignments is the second installment of the Chester Skotak Collection of Central American Coinage. We sold the first part of this fabulous collection through our Official November 2009 Baltimore Auction, and we anticipate equally impressive results when the second portion of Mr. Skotak’s holdings comes up for auction at the N.Y.I.N.C. We also have significant consignments of Russian and Annamese coinage, as well as a noteworthy array of Argentine Sun Face Coinage.”

Continued Ponterio: “One of the most prominent coins in our upcoming N.Y.I.N.C. Auction is a 1902 Russian 37 ½ Rubles—the Prize of Russian Numismatics. Attributed alternately as Fr-170, Y-B65, Bitkin-309 and Sev-578, this is a very rare type with a mintage of only 225 pieces. A special issue that was used by the Czar for gifts on special occasions, this is the largest Russian gold coin struck in the modern era. We grade the piece attractive AU and are offering it as lot 7389.” (more…)

Ruling in FOIA case condones DOS intransigence on ancient coin import restrictions

A long-awaited ruling fails to address serious issues within the U.S. State Department bureaucracy.

accg_cyp_chi_coinsUS District Court Judge Richard Leon—well known for his pro-government views—has issued a ruling upholding the State Department’s refusal to disclose information about the controversial decisions to impose import restrictions on coins of Cypriot and Chinese type. The Ancient Coin Collectors Guild and the other Plaintiffs in this suit remain committed to seeking transparency and accountability from the State Department (DOS) bureaucracy and are considering whether to appeal this ruling to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Despite the disappointing decision, this litigation was in many ways a win for the plaintiffs. The mere fact that ACCG and the other Plaintiffs brought this FOIA action forced the State Department to process all the Plaintiff’s FOIA requests–including some that had been ignored by DOS for as much as three years. As a result of this action, literally hundreds of pages of requested text were released and the State Department was prompted to produce documents implicating high level political interference as the reason for the Cypriot decision. Other information stemming from this litigation suggests that State Department personnel added coins to the Chinese request without a formal request from China for that inclusion. The decision rendered by Judge Leon dealt with those items still remaining on the plaintiff’s list that DOS had refused to release. While the plaintiffs obviously would have been happier with a summary judgment on their motion, the process was not without considerable rewards.

The Ancient Coin Collectors Guild still plans to pursue a test case regarding whether those import restrictions were promulgated in an arbitrary and capricious fashion. A copy of Judge Leon’s Memorandum Opinion can be found here.