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All Posts Tagged With: "World Coins"

Dr. Norman Jacobs Collection of Korean and Japanese Coins on display at NYINC

Heritage Auctions has announced that we will be auctioning The Dr. Norman Jacobs Collection of Korean and Japanese Coins, the most important collection of its kind, from one of the most famous Asian numismatic experts to have lived. This collection will be featured in our September 2011 Long Beach Signature Auction.

The groups of coins from both nations individually represent possibly the most complete sets of Japanese and Korean coins and currency ever assembled, and most likely the most important numismatic offerings of both countries in the last half century.

Collectors will not have to wait 10 months to get a look at these amazing coins, however, as highlights will be on display at the New York International Numismatic Convention, at the Waldorf-Astoria, Jan. 6-9, 2011, in conjunction with our New York Signature World and Ancient Coin Auction. This appearance will be the beginning of a “world tour” for the coins, as they visit the Chicago International Coin Fair, April 13-16, 2011, heading to Tokyo in May and coming home for the ANA World’s Fair of Money in Chicago, Aug. 15-21, 2011.

“Collections such as Dr. Jacobs’ is what we live for here at Heritage,” said Cris Bierrenbach, Vice President of International Numismatics at Heritage. “Handling the incredible Asian rarities that Dr. Jacobs dedicated his numismatic life to is a great honor to us. The World Coin department at Heritage, along with our entire company, will be working hard to produce a catalog and an auction that match the fantastic accomplishments of Dr. Jacobs in Korean and Japanese numismatics. The next 10 months are going to be a great ride.”

In 1953, Dr. Jacobs (along with Cornelius Vermeule) wrote the first English language book on Japanese numismatics that covered both ancient and modern coins. It was also the first publication (in any language) to catalog Japanese coins by date and type. That book opened up the world of Japanese (and modern Korean) coinage to western collectors.

The principle highlight of the auction comes from the Korean collection: a unique set of 1909 Korean gold in 5, 10 and 20 Won denominations — the only other set in existence is in the collection of the Bank of Japan.

“The vast majority of these coins, and the core of the collections, were purchased in the 1940s and 1950s,” said Bierrenbach, “during Dr. Jacobs’ time in Asia. He also added significantly to his collection when he worked with Robert Friedberg at Capital Coin of New York in the 1950s. So the vast majority of the ultra rarities have been in his collection for 50+ years.”

Ponterio & Associates Kicks-Off 2011 with the January N.Y.I.N.C. Auction

Sale features outstanding selection of Mexican and ancient coinage and Italian banknotes

Ponterio & Associates, a division of Bowers and Merena Auctions, is pleased to present the January 2011 N.Y.I.N.C. Auction at the Waldorf Astoria in New York on Jan. 7-8. The auction will feature 2,558 lots including Part I of the Len Novotny Collection of Mexican Coinage, the Michael Demling Collection of Ancient Coinage, David Ian Wright Collection of Italian Banknotes and a superb selection of Fussli specimens.

“After wrapping up our December Hong Kong auction with the Wa She Wong Collection, we are excited to offer another extremely diverse selection of ancient and world coins and paper money,” said Rick Ponterio, executive vice president of Bowers and Merena. “Sure to be the center of attention, the 1854 Guatemala 8 Reales, lot 1036 and graded AU-55 by NGC, is perhaps the rarest crown-sized type coin for all of Latin America.”

Shortly after the production of this coin, the Republic of Guatemala adopted the decimal system and began producing coinage in Pesos and Centavo-equivalent denominations. This marks the coin as the first, last and only 8 Reales produced by the Republic of Guatemala.

Another anchor of the sale is lot 827, an extremely rare and important 1897 Anhwei Pattern Dollar, graded MS-62 by PCGS. “This particular specimen is clearly intended for special presentation purposes as it exhibits a bold, full-bodied strike with all special characters and sharp details,” said Ponterio.

Furthering the significance of the piece, the short-lived Anhwei mint only produced silver coinage for approximately two years before operations ceased and the mint was dismantled.

Additional coin and paper money highlights of the auction include:

· Lot 116, 1784/3 Mexico 8 Escudos, Key Charles III Proper Portrait, Choice Extremely Fine

· Lot 131, 1823 Mexico 8 Escudos, Hookneck Eagle, AU-55 (NGC)

· Lot 258, 1835 Belgium 40 Francs, MS-64 (NGC)

· Lot 357, 1850 Costa Rica ½ Onza, SP-61 (NGC), (Ex: Fredrick Mayer Collection)

· Lot 464, 1883 Honduras 10 Pesos, , AU-50 (NGC)

· Lot 549, 1926 Italy 50 Lire, MS-64 (NGC)

· Lot 550, 1926-R Italy 20 Lire, MS-65 (PCGS)

· Lot 2031, 264 B.C. Siculo-Punic Silver Dekadrachm, Time of First Punic War, Sicilian Mint, Choice Very Fine

· Lot 2536, 1892 Bank of Greece 100 Drachmai, P-45

· Lot 2611, 1913 Imperial Bank of Persia 2 Tomans, P-2, About Uncirculated, Consecutive pair

· Lot 2613, 1890-1923 Imperial Bank of Persia 1,000 Tomans Specimen, P-10s, Choice Uncirculated

The first day of the two-day auction will feature Part I of the Len Novontny Collection of Mexican Coinage and an array of world gold coins, world crowns and minors. The second day will host the Michael Demling Collection of Ancient Coinage, David Ian Wright Collection of Italian Banknotes, and ancient and world paper money including Fussli specimens. Lot viewing will be conducted before the sale at the Waldorf Astoria in the Morgan Suite, floor 18, Jan. 5-8. (more…)

Wa She Wong Collection of Chinese and Other Asian Coins Tops $10.7 Million at Hong Kong Auction

Exclusive NGC-graded sale marks most important array of Chinese coinage offered at auction in 20 years

Over 300 anxious bidders filled the live auction floor for the highly anticipated sale of the Wa She Wong Collection and other Asian Coins on Dec. 3-4. The Hong Kong auction, presented by Ponterio & Associates, a division of Bowers and Merena Auctions, featured 1,107 lots with total sales reaching $10.7 million.

“A collection of Chinese coinage of this magnitude has not come to market in over 20 years and it surely did not disappoint,” said Rick Ponterio, executive vice president of Bowers and Merena. “We saw such spirited bidding, the sale of the first 487 lots took an astounding 11 hours with many of the lots selling for multiple times their estimated value.”

Drawing worldwide attention, the collection is a compilation of Wa She Wong’s lifelong passion for collecting which contained multiple rarities missing from major exhibits including many scarce pattern coins that were never released into general circulation. Headlining the collection, the 1890 Kwantung Mint Specimen Set, lot 220, began with an estimated value of $300,000 and realized a staggering $718,750. The set represents a landmark in Chinese minting as the first silver coinage produced with modern machinery.

Another important coin was the extremely rare “Flying Dragon” Szechuan 30 Cash Struck in Copper, lot 311. Opening at $12,500, lively bidding quickly brought the coin to a final selling price of $460,000. “The buyer had been searching for this rarity, one of only two known in private hands, for more than 30 years. The two other examples known to exist are housed in public museum collections,” said Ponterio.

All major rarities in the collection were certified by the Numismatic Guarantee Corporation (NGC), a market leader in grading Chinese coins, and pedigreed as “Wa She Wong Collection” on individual holders. Additional highlights of the Wa She Wong Collection include:

  • Lot 3, 1920 “Yuan Shi Kai” Dollar Struck in Gold, MS-64 (NGC), realized $138,000
  • Lot 27, 1911 “Long-Whisker” Dragon Pattern Dollar Struck in Silver, MS-65 (NGC), realized $431,250 (Ex: Kann Collection)
  • Lot 130, 1844 Changchow Military Rotation Dollar, AU-50 (NGC), realized $103,500
  • Lot 139, 1909 Honan Pattern 20 Cash Struck in Copper, AU-55 BN (NGC), realized $126,500
  • Lot 147, 1930 Hunan Pattern 500 Cash Struck in Copper, MS-63 BN (NGC), realized $103,500
  • Lot 162, 1897 Kiangnan Dollar, Plain Edge, Proof-66 Cameo (NGC), realized $373,750 (more…)

Heritage’s World and Ancient Coin Auction in NYC

International numismatic treasures highlighted by rare German, Polish and South American coins, as well as the largest gold coin in the world, a Chinese 321+ ounce Beijing Olympics gold 100,000 Yuan

DALLAS, TX – As the profile of Heritage Auctions’ World & Ancient Coins category has continued to skyrocket over the last few years, each consecutive offering has raised the bar significantly. With the Jan. 3-4 New York Signature? World & Ancient Coin Auction at the Waldorf Astoria, coinciding with the New York International Coin Show (NYINC), Heritage has not only assembled its largest World Coin auction to date, it has also once again raised the bar in terms of absolute quality.

“With more than 5,000 total lots in this auction we have literally scoured the planet for the best possible international numismatic offerings,” said Cristiano Bierrenbach, Vice President of International Numismatics at Heritage. “The incredible scope of countries represented, and the depth to which the collections go is so advanced that putting this catalog together was like a getting a graduate degree in world numismatics at a crash course pace.”

More than 240 consignors have placed coins in the auction, most of which will be on display for lot viewing, Dec. 29 and 30, at Heritage’s jewelbox New York space at 445 Park Avenue (at 57th). To further entice International coin collectors, Heritage will have highlights from the upcoming auction the Norman Jacobs Collection of Korean and Japanese Coins, the most important collection of its kind, on display at the NYINC, January 6-9, at the Waldorf-Astoria.

A Polish Sigismund III gold 10 Dukats 1588, Fr-83, XF45 NGC represents one of the superb early highlights of the auction. This exceedingly rare type, with its clean lines and striking imagery is appealing as much for its numismatic value as for its artistic value, and is sure to be the subject of spirited bidding. It carries an estimate of $175,000+. (more…)

Sea Search Armada Seeks Rights to 1708 Shipwreck and Treasure Coins Worth $17 Billion

Sea Search Armada, a US-based salvage company, claims the Republic of Colombia owes it $4 billion to $17 billion for breaching a contract granting it the right to salvage the galleon San Jose, sunk by the British Navy on June 8, 1708.

The Spanish galleon San Jose was trying to outrun a fleet of British warships off Colombia on June 8, 1708, when a mysterious explosion sent it to the bottom of the sea with gold, silver and emeralds owned by private Peruvian and European merchants, and lies about 700 feet below the water’s surface, a few miles from the historic Caribbean port of Cartagena, on the edge of the Continental Shelf.

Jack Harbeston, managing director of the Cayman Islands-registered commercial salvage company Sea Search Armada, who has taken on seven Colombian administrations during two decades in a legal fight to claim half the sunken hulk’s riches.

“If I had known it was going to take this long, I wouldn’t have gotten involved in the first place,” said Harbeston, 75, who lives in Bellevue, Wash.

The 41-page federal lawsuit outlines a long, tortuous jpurney through the Colombian courts after the Glocca Morra Co. identified six shipwreck locations, between 1980 and 1985, operating with permission of Colombia’s Direccion General Maritima.

Harbeston claims he and a group of 100 U.S. investors – among them the late actor Michael Landon and the late convicted Nixon White House adviser John Ehrlichman – invested more than $12 million since a deal was signed with Colombia in 1979 giving Sea Search exclusive rights to search for the San Jose and 50 percent of whatever they find.

Colombia tried to weasel out of the deal after Sea Search recovered materials from the ship, proving it was down there. Colombia “delayed signing the written agreement it had drafted, and eventually refused to sign the offer it had made to SSA,” the complaint states. But nonetheless Colombia refused to let it salvage the shipwreck.

All that changed in 1984, when then-Colombian President Belisario Betancur signed a decree reducing Sea Search’s share from 50 percent to a 5 percent “finder’s fee.” (more…)

Spink World Coin Auction Realises over £3.2 Million

Over the past 48 hours, Spink auctioned their highest grossing coin sale to date. The fantastic catalogue of over 1300 coins totalled over £3.2 million in sales and generated interest from collectors around the world. Dozens of phone bidders, a standing only room and hundreds of participants on Spink Live contributed to a bidding frenzy in the room.

William Mackay, specialist at Spink, had this to say about the sale:

“This sale demonstrates the strong market for top quality, rare historical gold coins. It definitely showcases the extent to which the value of these sorts of coins have appreciated in the last few years. We are extremely pleased with the results of this sale which demonstrates continued confidence in the marketplace.”

Top lots included the following:

Lot 895
Henry VII (1485-1509), Sovereign, type IV
Sold for £180,000

Lot 949
Charles I, Civil War issues, Oxford,
small module type Triple Unite
Sold for £161,000

Lot 5
Mughal Empire, Jalal ud-Din Muhammad Akbar,
AV 5-Mohurs
Sold for £150,000

Lot 948
Charles I, Civil War issues, Oxford, Triple Unite
Sold for £120,000

Lot 975
James VI (1567-1625), second coinage,
Twenty-Pound piece
Sold for £102,000

About Spink

Spink is the world’s leading auctioneer of coins, stamps, medals, banknotes, bonds, share certificates and autographs, with offices in London, Singapore, New York and Dallas. Since its foundation in 1666, the Spink name has become synonymous with tradition, experience and integrity. Holders of three royal warrants and numerous records for prices achieved at auction, Spink offer an unparalleled range of services to collectors worldwide.

For more information, pictures or to request an interview with the specialist please contact Emily Johnston, ejohnston@spink.com , 020 7563 4009.

Argentine Rarities to the Fore!

by Greg Cohen – Stacks

One of the many highlights of Stacks upcoming New York International Sale is a lovely and rare 1830 RA P 8 Escudos of Argentina. This is a key date example of the classic Sunface design, the second rarest date in the series.

This piece hails from the Porteño Collection, a small but high quality offering of Argentine coinage, and displays pleasing original gold surfaces with only light wear. This specimen was uncertified when offered in Heritage’s January 2007 sale, and was recently submitted to NGC for encapsulation where it was graded EF-45.

In his 1962 work, Argentine numismatist and researcher, Jorge Ferarri was able to track fewer than 10 examples of this date. In Calico’s “Onza” book, it is simply described as “Extremely Rare.” Even in the current information age, we can only positively identify two examples that have traded at auction in the past five years.

These include: the example in the October 2008 Spink-Smythe sale (which later appeared in the Ponterio New York International 2010 sale) and this example (ex Heritage NYINC 2007). Curiously, this date was missing from our (ANR’s) sale of the Eliasberg World Gold Collection, Goldberg’s sale of the Millennia Collection, our Kroisos Collection Sale, and other important recent sales of quality Argentine coins. While there are probably examples in museums in Argentina, the number available to the collecting public is quite small indeed.

Another stunning Argentine rarity offered as part of the Porteño Collection is an 1836 Rosas portrait 8 Escudos struck in silver. Called an “ensayo” or essay in Hector Carlos Janson’s book, research conducted by our consignor shows that the 1836 8 Escudos was supposed to be an 8 Soles piece, and thus the silver strikings (which are nearly as rare as the gold) are the officially struck coins.

There are four known examples struck in gold, including the Eliasberg-Clapp coin we offered in the Eliasberg World Gold Collection in 2005. Regardless of whether these are official strikes or essay pieces, they are extremely rare. The last silver specimen to sell at public auction was the AU-50 (NGC) that appeared in the Millennia Collection sale. The Porteño Collection example is sharper than the Millennia coin; unfortunately, it has been polished, and is now residing in an AU Details (NGC) holder.

Stack’s is proud to be able to offer these rarities to the collecting public—for the advanced Argentine coin collector, this is an opportunity not to be missed.

Bowers and Merena November 2010 Baltimore Auction Tops $13 Million in Sales

Malibu, Kupersmith and Zürich collections excite bidders

Bowers and Merena, one of the world’s preeminent auctioneers for rare coins and currency, saw spirited bidding as the Official Auctioneer of the November 2010 Whitman Coin & Collectibles Baltimore Expo. Nearly 3,900 lots of rare U.S. coins and currency crossed the auction block in the Nov. 4-6 sale and realized $11.6 million. Ponterio & Associates, Bowers and Merena’s world and ancient coin division, brought over 2,900 lots and added an additional $1.6 million to the sale.

“With the selection of U.S. and foreign collections presented, this year’s November Baltimore Auction ranks as one of our most important auctions yet,” said Greg Roberts, CEO of Bowers and Merena Auctions. “Even our optimistic appraisals were far surpassed, especially those in the fabulous Malibu Collection, which was comprised of the #2 collection of Standing Liberty Quarters with full-head designation on the PCGS Set Registry and an awe-inspiring array of Seated Liberty coinage.”

The Malibu Collection of Standing Liberty Quarters, featured lot 1750, the key-date 1916 in PCGS/CAC MS-67 FH that sold for $115,000, lot 1760, the finest-known 1919-D in PCGS MS-66+ FH, that brought $109,250 and lot 1776, the pop 1/2 example of low mintage 1927-S in PCGS/CAC MS-65+ FH sold for an impressive $149,500.

The 1882 Half Dollar, one of only three Motto Seated Half Dollars certified MS-68 by PCGS and verified by CAC, lot 2074, traded hands at $74,750. Finally, the amazing Stack-Pryor-Malibu Specimen of 1855 Arrows Seated Half Dollar in PCGS/CAC MS-66, lot 2018, realized $54,625.

Leading the way among gold coin highlights, the Kupersmith Once-in-a-Lifetime Collection of 1875-dated gold coinage featured many of the rarest and most significant pieces of the sale. The proof-only 1875 Three-Dollar gold piece, certified Proof-66 Ultra Cameo by NGC with a pop 1/0 sold for $253,000. The business strike 1875 Liberty Half Eagle offered as lot 5043, an even rarer issue, went for an impressive $149,500. Certified AU-55 by NGC, the coin represents the finest grade available among the 10 coins believed to exist from a 200-piece issue.

Another anchor in the Baltimore Auction was the Zürich Collection which almost exclusively contains rare, high-grade proof Liberty Double Eagles. A beautiful gem, the 1892 Double Eagle in NGC Proof-66 Ultra Cameo from the collection netted $103,500 as lot 5392. (more…)

Rare 1903-R Italian 100 Lire Gold Coin to be Sold at Spinks Sale

Sale 304 Lot 355 – Italy. 1903-R 100 Lire, Vittorio Emanuele III. NGC MS63. KM-39. FR-22. Mintage: 966.

Numismatists won’t want to miss out on Spink Smythe’s November Collectors’ Series Sale, which is taking place tomorrow (November 20) in New York.

A colossal rarity and an ultimate collector item, as the present coin stands as the largest and highest denominated Italian gold coin of the era. The type, produced during 1903 and 1905, saw limited production, with 1903 yielding a mere 966 coins and 1905 slightly besting that amount with a production of 1,012 coins – today, relatively few of either date exist.

The surfaces of the present example, unlike its few surviving brethren, have been lovingly preserved through the years and maintain full prooflike mirrors on both sides.

Few marks are visible anywhere, and none are worthy of singular notation. Inspection of the grading services population reports confirm this example as exemplary – being the single finest graded and the only one to merit MS63 status. In fact, it is only the fourth specimen to have been graded in the 25 plus years of PCGS and NGC grading.

To further illustrate the rarity of the present example, when the Eliasberg Collection of over 3500 world gold coins was sold in 2005, neither the 1903 or 1905 date of this type was offered as a part of this collection.

For the Italian specialist, one can only stretch to imagine a more important opportunity to acquire a true collection linchpin. An opportunity that should not be missed.
Estimate $ 10,000-12,000

Morton & Eden Ancient and World Coin Auction Yields Surprise Result

Below are the Top Ten prices for a sale of Islamic, Ancient, British and World Coins Medals and Memorabilia relating to Edward VIII Historical and Renaissance Medals and Plaquettes, held at London specialist auctioneers Morton & Eden on Thursday November 11.

The surprise of the sale was the outstanding price paid for the Roman aureus of Maximinus I Thrax (AD 235-238) which tripled estimate to sell for £195,500 to a European private collector, bidding against telephones and internet interest (lot 272).

This wide-ranging sale also registered strong interest in Islamic coins where a poorly preserved but extremely rare Umayyad dirham of Ifriqiya dated AH120 also tripled its top estimate to sell for £4,370 (lot 30).

English coins were in demand and the Charing Hoard of coins of Edward IV (1461-70), discovered by a metal detectorist in Kent last year sold for a total of £2,300.

There were strong results for Italian Renaissance plaquettes and medals where a finely preserved plaquette of Marcus Curtius (the legendary saviour of Rome) by the famous sculptor Riccio sold to a U.S. collector for £16,100, more than double its top estimate (lot 585).

The sale demonstrated the continuing strength of the numismatic market despite the current world economic climate. Images are available on request.

Lot 272
*Maximinus I, Thrax (235-238), aureus, Rome, April-December 235, IMP MAXIMINVS PIVS AVG, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, rev., PAX AVGVSTI, Pax standing left holding branch and transverse spear, 5.37g (RIC 12; BMC 4; C. 30; Calico 3159; Alram 10/1B), well struck on a broad flan, a few minor marks but about extremely fine and extremely rare.

Ex Nelson Bunker Hunt Collection, Part 2, Sotheby’s New York, 21-22 June 1990, lot 789 and Rauch auction 46, Vienna, 14 May 1991, lot 597.

While the silver coinage of Maximinus is plentiful, in contrast, his gold is extremely rare. Of lowly birth in Thrace, Gaius Julius Verus Maximinus, known for his enormous stature (the Historia Augusta claimed he was over 8 feet tall) came to the notice of Septimius Severus and rose through the ranks of the army. When there was rebellion against the policies of Severus Alexander and his mother Julia Mamaea during the German campaign, the emperor was murdered at Moguntiacum (Mainz) and Maximinus was proclaimed emperor, bringing an end to the Severan dynasty. Maximinus’s reign marked the beginning of the so-called Crisis of the Third Century. He never set foot in Rome itself, and his harsh rule was resented by the Senate. On his way to Rome to deal with the insurrection there, he and his son Maximus were assassinated at Aquileia by disaffected soldiers.

Estimate: £40,000-60,000 SOLD FOR £195,500 Purchased by private European collector (more…)

Sedwick Auction To Feature Shipwreck Treasure, Gold Cobs and World Coins

Daniel Frank Sedwick, LLC announces the release of their Treasure and World Coin Auction #8, scheduled for October 21-23, 2010, comprising 2789 lots, by far their largest sale to date. For the first time Sedwick has incorporated “World Coins” into the title, as the auction features almost 1000 lots of general world coins.
As usual the auction will start with Gold Cobs, more than 50 of them this time (mostly from shipwrecks), including several of the finest known 1715-Fleet specimens: a full-date and exceptionally struck Mexican 8 escudos 1714 and 4 escudos 1715; a near-perfect Lima 2 escudos and probably the finest known Lima cob 1 escudo, both dated 1710 and encapsulated PCGS, the latter MS-64. Also there are no less than nine Fleet “bogeys” (Bogotá 2 escudos) in this sale.

The next section, World Gold Coins, contains over 300 lots, most of them Spanish Colonial “busts,” including: the finest known Mexican 1 escudo 1733/2, recovered by Marty Meylach from the 1733 Fleet and the inspiration for his book Diving to a Flash of Gold; a unique Santiago, Chile, 1 escudo, 1755/4, from the famous Eliasberg collection; and well over 100 Spanish colonial bust 8 escudos by date, most of them starting below melt value.

The Ingots section features a collection of large, natural gold nuggets, as well as several important 16th-century ingots (including “tumbaga”) and a unique silver “piña” ingot from the Atocha (1622).

“This is not just a treasure auction–it is also a world coin auction, our first big offering of gold and silver coins from countries all over the world.
Daniel Frank Sedwick

In Shipwreck Silver Coins bidders will find hundreds of Atocha (1622) silver coins, both rarities and wholesale lots, in addition to coins from dozens of shipwrecks around the world assembled by two different collectors.

The Silver Cobs sections for Mexico, Lima and Potosí contain no less than four Royals (round presentation specimens) in various denominations. The Lima listings are dominated by the collection of Robert Mastalir, including a nearly complete date-run of 1R that contains several unlisted overdates. Featured in Other Cobs is a Santo Domingo 4 reales of Charles-Joanna (one of very few ever offered at auction), as well as a large collection of dated cobs from mainland Spanish mints.

Following a short but varied Ancient Coins offering (the first for Sedwick), the expanded World Silver Coins section comprises over 600 lots, with particular emphasis on Colombia (featuring Part II of the Herman Blanton collection) and the British Isles (Great Britain, Ireland and Scotland). There is also a large collection of British Admiral Vernon medals.

“Our most important items are in shipwreck artifacts, however,” says Sedwick’s assistant Agustin “Augi” Garcia, whose new book The “Tumbaga” Saga about some conquest-period silver bars is being released at the same time. “Of particular significance is a unique Tarascan (Mexican) silver rodela (plate) from the “Tumbaga wreck” (ca. 1528), featured in my new book and the important link for figuring out what the silver ingots of that time were made of.”

The Shipwreck Artifacts section also features a large gold-and-emerald pendant and a gold religious medallion and chain from the 1715 Fleet, followed by many lots of small artifacts from the 1733 Fleet, the collection of Marty Meylach himself. Non-shipwreck Artifacts include a large selection of colonial-era weapons, mainly flintlocks and swords, as well as several natural history items like fossils and scrimshaw.

The auction is rounded out by Documents and Media (books and catalogs), ending with a special, full-color, hardbound, limited edition #1 of 50 copy of Augi’s much-anticipated book The “Tumbaga” Saga, which the author will personally inscribe to the winning bidder. (more…)

Coin Grading in Paris, PCGS Grading Week a Big Success

Next Grading Week Event Will Be October 25 – 29, 2010

PCGS Authorized Dealers from across Europe eagerly attended another successful Grading Week conducted at the Paris, France offices of Professional Coin Grading Service, September 13 – 17, 2010.

Photo: Don Willis, Fabrice Walther, David Hall

PCGS Co-Founder and Collectors Universe President David Hall personally met with the attendees to talk about the current rare coin marketplace in Europe, the importance of third-party grading, and the next scheduled Paris Grading Week, October 25 – 29, 2010. “There is a thriving market for world coins in Europe and there are a lot of U.S. gold coins still in Europe. Paris is the center of the European coin market. There are dozens of dealers there and a ton of activity,”

“Certified grading is starting to be accepted in Europe. Many dealers and collectors are beginning to see the advantages of third-party certification and are quite enthusiastic about the new PCGS grading office in Paris. said Hall.

“There were many outstanding coins submitted, including an amazing collection of high-grade Greek coins and several hundred Brittany coins,” said Don Willis, President of PCGS, a division of Collectors Universe, Inc. (NASDAQ: CLCT).

Dealer Takis Syvridakis of Collector’s Shop International in Athens, Greece, who submitted a 1901 (Creta) 2 Drachmas that was graded PCGS MS64, said: “My client was more than pleased with such a grade and he promised to continue to send his collection to PCGS for grading.”

Syvridakis was also pleased to meet Collectors Universe President and PCGS Co-Founder David Hall in person in Paris.

“I was very impressed with his enthusiasm, his honesty, his knowledge and his visions on the coin market. He was very helpful with my collection, gave me great ideas for my business and many solutions to offer to my clients. I was very glad to meet him in person and felt quite privileged.”

Jonathan Fhal of Godots et Fils in Paris agreed: “We were very happy to get the opportunity to actually meet Monsieur David Hall. He had great advice and, indeed, guided us all along the process of selecting the coins which we should grade or not.”

Laurent Fabre of Monnaie d’Antan in Poses, France submitted over 200 Brittany coins from the prestigious collection of collector Alexis Bigot for an upcoming auction (www.catalogues.monnaisedantan.com/vso8) including an 1861 Napoléon III 5 Francs that was graded PCGS MS65. He described it as “certainly the most beautiful known today.”

PCGS Authorized Dealer Fabrice Walther of Numisaisne in Paris brought in for authentication and grading a large quantity of important rare coins he is offering in the upcoming Salon de Brogniart Paris show on October 16, 2010. PCGS will participate in that show.

“We’re now also eagerly looking forward to attending the big Coinex show in London, October 1 and 2, and the Warsaw Coinexpo in Poland, October 14 and 15, and, of course, hosting the next PCGS Paris Grading Week, October 25 to 29,” said Muriel Eymery, Manager of the Paris office and PCGS Director of International Business Development.
For a list of PCGS Authorized Dealers in the EU, visit www.PCGS.com/dealers and click on the map to locate your country.

To make an appointment for PCGS’ next grading sessions or to obtain more information, EU dealers can contact the Paris office at info@PCGSglobal.com or by calling Muriel Eymery at 33 (0) 1 40 20 09 94. Additional information on PCGS is available in English and other languages at www.PCGSglobal.com.

Ponterio & Associates to Auction the Wa She Wong Collection of Chinese and other Asian Coins

Ponterio & Associates, a division of Bowers and Merena Auctions, is pleased to present the Wa She Wong Collection of Chinese and Asian coins as well as other fine properties in its December Hong Kong Auction held Dec. 3-4, 2010 at the Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel and Towers. The Wa She Wong collection represents one of the most important offerings of Chinese and Asian coins to ever be held.

“The Wa She Wong Collection contains rarities that are an honor to view, let alone bid upon,” said Rick Ponterio, executive vice president of Bowers and Merena. “We are extremely proud to have been entrusted with its sale as it is one of the most memorable collections I have had the pleasure of preparing for auction. Bidders from around the world have begun to make reservations to attend the highly anticipated Hong Kong Auction in December for a chance to bid on the lots firsthand.”

The Wa She Wong collection is a masterfully gathered assortment of rare coins of China, including many rarities which are coveted by the most important collectors of Chinese numismatics as well as many scarce pattern coins, which are coins of proposed designs and strikes of that were never released into the general circulation. An extremely unique coin in the collection is the Szechuan 30 Cash Struck in Copper, 1904, HSU-289, CCC-Unlisted. Considered one of the 100 greatest Chinese coins, there was believed to have been only three known in existence until the fourth was unearthed in the Wa She Wong Collection after being hidden away for 30 years.

“It is not frequent that a rarity, like the ‘Flying Dragon’ Szechuan 30 Cash Struck in Copper, is unearthed such as the case with the Wa She Wong Collection,” Sun Hao, Chinese coinage expert and author. “This specific example features a profile or ‘Flying Dragon’, while the others depict a frontal view or ‘Facing Dragon’. The opportunity to bid on this coin is a chance of a lifetime.”

The fine Wa She Wong collection features coinage that has rarely appeared on public markets and others that are missing from most major collections. Some other highlights of the auction include:

· Kwangtung Specimen set, 1890 (5 coins). K-21/25. ($1, 50¢, 20¢, 10¢, 5¢)
· Shensi Specimen Set, 1898 (4 coins). K-53,54,56,&57 (50¢, 20¢, 10¢, 5¢)
· Kiangnan. Pattern dollar, 1897. Plain edge Proof. K-66.
· Kwangtung Specimen set, 1890 (5 coins). K-16/20. ($1, 50¢, 20¢, 10¢, 5¢)
· Pattern dollar, 1911. L&M-29. (Ex: Kann Collection)

The auction is further bolstered by Asian coins and bank notes from other consignors and is highlighted by an 1868 Hong Kong Five Piece Silver Proof Set. (more…)

Coin Collecting: Do We Still Have a $20 Hobby ?

By Mark Benvenuto – The California Numismatist Magazine

If you are like many collectors, you may have spent a bit of time wondering just where our hobby has been going since 2007. With the economic slump, then the proclamations of recovery, you can’t help but wonder where that recovery really is when gold flirts with price tags like $1,250 per ounce, and when silver gets close to $20 per ounce. It makes a person wonder if there I still anything out there that doesn’t automatically have a hefty price tag slapped on it.

For all of us who pine for some bygone day when coins were cheap (if there ever really was one), we present for your collecting pleasure a laundry list of what can still be added to a collection for $20. Here we go.

First: Dealer bargain bins of cents, nickels, dimes, and quarters.

If you have always been the type of collector to wander past these jumbled, often chaotic offerings, slow down. Smell the roses, as it were. Dealers often buy large numbers of coins for a select few within the group that they know they can sell for a profit. This isn’t being crafty, sneaky, or cheap. Dealers have to live and have to eat. The coin business isn’t the grocery business, meaning you can’t eat what you don’t sell. The profit they make the difference between what they spend for a coin, and what they sell it for it what keeps the food on their tables. So, what happens to the many coins in a purchase that aren’t really big ticket items, but that might have been purchased along with those potential gems? They end up in the bargain bin.

Also known as the junk box, dealer bargain bins can be the home of some wonderful U.S. coins. Proof quarters, nickels, dimes, and cents that have been cracked out of US Mint cases sometimes end up here, often for only a dollar or two. A person with a bit of patience can assemble a date run of any or all of these denominations. Additionally, there are plenty of bins that have been sorted according to denomination and series. Wheat back cents come quickly to mind as a coin that ends up in plenty of “copper bargain bins,” if that is a proper term. Loads of these go for much less than a dollar per coin.

Older Jefferson nickels, as well as well-circulated Buffalo nickels, are also the stuff of bargain bins. Silver isn’t entirely absent from the bargain bin either. Roosevelt dimes are often found in them, as well as some of the more common Mercury dimes. A person with a keen eye and some patience can assemble some good looking date runs for $20 or less. If you move up to quarters, you’ll receive less of them for your $20 than you will dimes, but some careful searching can land you a handful of silver Washington, or even Standing Liberty, quarters. Certainly, these won’t be mint state specimens, but they can still be handsome coins.

Second: Silver dollars in circulated, but attractive conditions.

Okay, if smaller U.S. coins aren’t your bag, there are still some bargains to be had among what are arguably the most collected of US silver coins, the Morgan and Peace dollars. Those big, fat Morgans are not entirely out of reach, although $20 will only get you one. The common dates, such as the 1879, the 1880, the 1880-S and the 1881-S to name a few examples, can be had for about $20 each in grades such as very fine. Again, these aren’t mint state gems, but they aren’t dogs either.

The tail end of the Morgan dollar series also has a few promising items. Specifically, the 1921, as well as its siblings from Denver and San Francisco, can all be had for about $20 per coin in a grade such as extra fine. There’s a pretty trio that a person on a budget can still collect. The Peace dollars are just about always check by jowl with the Morgans when it comes to dealer selections. The most common Peace dollar is the 1922, with a mintage of a whopping 51.7 million coins to its official tally. Today you can nab one in almost uncirculated condition for $20. But don’t stop with just this one Peace dollar. Take a look through any of the reference price lists and you’ll find several of these large, silver disks that list at just about the same price tag. (more…)

Baldwin’s Ancient and World Coin Auction 67 & 68: The Official COINEX Auction

September 2010 brings with it “Coinex”, one of the most exciting events of the numismatic calendar and the largest Numismatic coin show in the UK. This year Baldwin’s are proud sponsors of the occasion and, as hosts of the official Coinex auction, a spectacular event awaits.

Baldwin’s two day auction is to be held over the 28 th and 29 th September and begins with the third part of the Michael Hall Collection of Renaissance and later medals, of which, parts one and two were sold earlier this year through Baldwin’s.

New York based collector and art expert Michael Hall spent over fifty years putting together an awe-inspiring collection and this, the final part, offers an array of choice pieces. Lot 2090, a 1671 Louis XIV Damascened Medal (estimate £800-1,000) by Jean Warin II is a beautifully crafted piece by arguably the best and most powerful French engraver of coin dies of the 17 th Century.

Warin (or Varin) came from a family of artists and distinguished himself primarily as a painter and sculptor. He was one of the first engravers to use the power of the medallic form for propaganda purposes in France. Carrying the title of controleur general Warin imposed strict controls over artists that they were allowed no artistic license, but were instead forced to reproduce official designs that commemorated the magnificence of the state.

This lot is a prime example of the effectiveness of his creations to this end. Lot 2614, a Gustav II Adolf Silver medal of 6-Riksdalers by medallist Sebastian Dadler, estimate £1,200 – 1,500, is another one of the stand out pieces of the sale and distinguished by the intricacy of the artwork on both the obverse and reverse of the medal. Dadler was one of the leading medallists of the 17 th Century, working widely throughout the courts of Germany and princely houses of Europe, amassing an array of high profile supporters at the time.

The Hall Collection is immediately followed by a diverse selection of commemorative medals and a section of Orders, Decorations and Medals. The extensive Commemorative medal section includes lot 3005, a fantastic 1666 Dutch silver Medal (estimate £1,500 – 2,000) depicting the “Four Days” Naval fight on the obverse and crafted by medallist Jerian Pool. The medal commemorates the famous action and carries a poem on the reverse by the Dutch writer and playwright, Joost van Vondel, which appears to have been written especially for the medal.

Commemorative and historical medals have become a feature of Baldwin’s flagship London auctions and the variety on offer in this sale is testament to the accurate cataloguing and historical referencing that assure Baldwin’s achieve the highest possible prices.

A small collection of military medals and decorations from the Seddon-Brown family are some of the most interesting pieces in the sale, most notably lot 3196, The Order of the Nile group of awards to Lieutenant Colonel Seddon-Brown J.P.O.N. the lots includes three attractive copied pictures, one of which portrays Sir Winston Churchill, with whom he worked closely and was personal friends with through his role as chairman of the Conservative party in the North East. (more…)

Warren Tucker Named VP of Heritage World Coins

Following on the heels of a $8.57 million World Coin auction at the Boston ANA World’s Fair of Money, Heritage Auctions has announced the promotion of Warren Tucker to Vice President of the World Coins division.

“Warren is one of the best known numismatists in the business and his reputation is second to none,” said Greg Rohan, President of Heritage Auctions. “Under his careful watch, the World Coins category at Heritage has grown by leaps and bounds, as clearly evidenced by the recent showing in Boston. This promotion is in recognition of his tireless promotion of World Coins at Heritage.”

Tucker became a full-time coin dealer in 1964. In 1968 he joined Jack Boozer and Doug Weaver in business in Waco, Texas, where he first met Steve Ivy. After moving back to Georgia, Warren became a partner with John Hamrick at WorldWide Coin Investments of Atlanta.

In the 1970s, he began more extensive travel throughout Europe and Asia to buy coins before joining forces with Steve Ivy, in 1979, and opening an office in Atlanta. Associations with noted numismatists Richard Nelson and Ronald J. Gillio followed thereafter. From 1985 TO 1995 spent a great deal of time in the Orient, with extended stays in Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, and the Philippines. Tucker moved to Dallas in 1999, where he lives today, working at Heritage headquarters.

“Working with Warren on a daily basis is like getting free tuition at ‘Numismatic University,'” said Cristiano Bierrenbach, Vice President of International Numismatics at Heritage. “There are but a handful of numismatists worldwide with his experience and knowledge of world coins. He’s also one of the most well-liked and respected coin professionals in the market.”

During his tenure at Heritage, Warren has been instrumental in the consignment and subsequent auction of numerous International numismatic rarities and collections that have realized World Record prices. He is a lifetime member of PNG.

With Tucker as the primary world coin expert since the World Coin Department’s inception as a separate entity at Heritage in 2000, Heritage has grown to be one of the worldwide leaders in world coin sales.

“I’m fortunate to be able to work every day in a field that I love, for a company that I’m dedicated to and with colleagues that I very much respect,” said Tucker. “I look forward to continuing my work at Heritage in keeping it the World’s premier rare coin auctioneer.”

Mint of Finland issues a coin incorporating hand-crafted filigree

Filigree technique has never been used in coin minting before

Mint of Finland issues a coin which incorporates hand-crafted filigree on October 15. Mint of Finland presented the Cabbage Rabbit Filigree coin in American Numismatic Association’s conference in Boston on August 11. The Filigree coin aroused plenty of interest in the conference. The Filigree .

The Cabbage Rabbit Filigree coin will be issued by the Mint of Finland on October 15. In the middle of the collector coin there is a delicate rabbit made of filigree. The Cabbage Rabbit Filigree coin is a part of the Mint of Finland’s Year of the Rabbit series. The collector coin illustrates popular Chinese Lunar theme. Chinese astrology designates year 2011 as the Year of the Rabbit.

Filigree – traditional hand-craft art as a centerpiece for modern design

Filigree is a delicate kind of jewel work made with twisted threads usually of silver or other alloys. The silver wire is not much bigger than the thickness of a hair so making the filigree is very intricate, requiring fine attention to detail and steady hands. The filigree technique has been used in jewellery making for thousands of years but it has never been used in coin minting before.

One of the Mint of Finland’s design techniques is combining coin with fragile materials that haven’t been used in coin making earlier. “The Mint of Finland is the only mint in the world that offers collector coins minted with joining technology. The technology is developed and patented by the Mint of Finland. Before filigree the Mint of Finland has joined also stone and coin”, comments the Mint of Finland’s Collector Item’s vice president Mika Peippo. The patent number of the joining technology is FI 118505B.

In the EU-area the Cabbage Rabbit Filigree coins can be subscribed from the Mint of Finland’s webstore at www.suomenrahapaja.fi from October 15.

Mint of Finland is the leading company in its field in Scandinavia and the Baltic region. Mint of Finland owns Mint of Sweden (AB Myntverket) and 50% of Mint of Norway Ltd. (Det Norske Myntverket AS). Its activities include the design, marketing and minting of coins. The company is owned by the Finnish state. It encompasses two business units: Circulation Coins and Collector Items. Mint of Finland produces metal circulation coins, jubilee and special coins, coins sets, medals, badges of honour and jewellery. The group employs some 133 people and exports to nearly 40 countries. The year 2010 marks the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Mint by the order of Tsar Alexander II. During the jubilee year, Mint of Finland will issue five new collector coins, open an online boutique, and in October, Finns can discover how coins are minted at an exposition at the Finnish Science Centre Heureka. For further details about the jubilee year events, see our website at www.suomenrahapaja.fi (more…)

Turkish Numismatic Association Chairman Cem Mahruki Call for change in Ottoman Coin Law

Gold and silver coins from the Ottoman sultans are being melted down because traders are afraid of being charged with smuggling Lamenting rules making it illegal to have, purchase or sell such coins in Turkey, Mahruki says it is time for the government to reform the law

The following is from an Article from Hurriyet Daily News

“Turkey desperately needs to change its legal injunctions against the trading of Ottoman coins if it wants to preserve such heritage, according to the head of the country’s top coin-collecting association.

“In our country, people who are seized with a copper coin from the Sultan Mahmud II that is not even worth a Turkish Lira are treated like smugglers,” said Turkish Numismatic Association Chairman Cem Mahruki, who added that the system was very different in Europe.

“In most of contemporary countries, especially in the European Union countries, old coins are freely purchased and sold over the Internet,” he said.

Speaking to the Anatolia news agency, Mahruki said the Code of Protection of Cultural and Natural Properties banned the purchase and sales of coins until the last six sultans and only granted permission for collection under very stringent conditions.

Many moneychangers and junk dealers obtain old gold and silver Ottoman coins made of valuable metals everyday, Mahruki said, but added that such people typically melt and turn the coins into bars of gold for fear of the law.

“In this way, hundreds of kilograms of historic Ottoman coins vanish because those having these coins are considered as smugglers,” he said.

Law encourages smuggling

In this, the law does not prevent smuggling but, on the contrary, encourages it, Mahruki said. “Old coins that cannot find buyers in the country are found by smugglers for cheap prices and taken abroad.”

Noting that the potential for coin collection is high in Turkey, Mahruki said: “If the law is amended, coins that collectors easily purchase and sell will remain in the country and moreover, the ones abroad will be brought back. We can see its example in paper coins that can easily be collected, and coins inherited from the period of the last six Ottoman periods.”

Complaining about the high prices Turkish collectors must pay at European auctions to bring Ottoman coins back to the country, Mahruki said, “If the goal is to prevent smuggling abroad, there should be heavier punishments and measures against smuggling of these coins to abroad. It should be free to own, purchase and sales the Ottoman and Turkish coins.”

Mahruki also said the current law violated the right to property and that many families had old coins from their ancestors. (more…)

Chinese Gold Leads World & Ancient Coins section of Heritage Boston Sale

Trio of ‘Lucky Number 8’ Lunar Kilo 10,000 Yuan gold pieces top $480,000 combined prices realized in Heritage event

International coin rarities continued to assert their growing numismatic strength during the Aug. 11-16 Heritage Auctions Boston ANA World’s Fair of Money trio of auctions, realizing more than $8.6 million in Heritage Signature® World Coin Auction, part of the overall $46+ million total of the combined auction events.

More than 2,860 collectors were on hand – whether on the auction floor or online via Heritage LIVE!™ – to bid on the more than 3200 offerings assembled for the auction, which translated into a sell-through rate of more than 94% by value.

“This auction offered one of the strongest groupings of any World Coins event we’ve held yet,” said Warren Tucker, Vice President of Heritage World Coin Auctions, “and international collectors, I think, recognized that. As a result we saw excellent prices across the board, especially where British rarities were concerned; the Highlands Park Collection brought more than 30%-40% than our pre-auction estimates.”

The trio of Chinese 10,000 Yuan Lunar Kilo coins that took the top three spots in the auction showed that Chinese collectors are asserting their willingness to claim their nation’s numismatic treasures. It was an extremely rare Lucky Number 8 Year of the Dog 2006 Lunar Kilo 10,000 Yuan, Gem Ultra Cameo Proof, that led the pack with a final price realized of $162,627. That coin was very closely tailed by a Lucky Number 8 Year of the Horse Lunar Kilo 10,000 Yuan 2002, Gem Ultra Cameo Proof and a Lucky Number 8 Year of the Rooster Lunar Kilo 10,000 Yuan 2005, both of which brought $161,000. All prices include 15% Buyer’s Premium.

“The number 8 is widely regarded as a universally lucky number in Chinese culture,” said Cristiano Bierrenbach, Vice President of International Numismatics at Heritage, “and it proved very fortunate for Heritage in this auction, as well. We’re currently in a 20 Year cycle of the number 8, which began in the lunar year of 2004 and runs through 2024. All 15 of the Chinese Kilo Lunar issues are rare, but there is only one number 8 for each issue, hence the heated competition to acquire these beauties.”

Chinese rarities were not the only coins bringing seriously high bids, as the rest of the auction’s Top 10 lots show, with the top seven lots all breaking the $100,000 threshold. As closely bunched as the prices of the top three lots were, they were again followed closely on the heels by a previously unknown 1928 George V Specimen Sixpence, KM16.1 for type but an unlisted date, SP63 NGC, Reeded Edge, struck in .925 (sterling) silver, which saw spirited bidding between several collectors before finishing at $155,250.

Russian rarities proved popular in the Heritage Boston ANA World Coin auction, led by a spectacular Nicholas II Proof gold 25 Roubles (2 1/2 Imperials) 1896, Bit 312 (R2), Fr-171, Proof 61 NGC, which brought $149,500. This coin was thought to be a special commemorative issue for the Coronation of Nicholas II and was issued in a tiny mintage of 301 pieces, of which very few examples are known to survive.

The Edward Roehrs Collection of U.S. Regulated Gold proved to be one of the most exciting highlights of the auction, one of the most hotly contested groupings, as collectors seriously went after the important offerings in it, including an historically important Myer Myers regulated Half Joe marked by New York’s most famous Jewish goldsmith, perhaps unique, Brazil. Jose I 6400 Reis 1771-R, Rio mint, KM172.2. EF-45, which brought $92,000, while a Chilean Carlos III 8 Escudos 1775 DA. Santiago mint. EB in oval for Ephraim Brasher, KM27, VF, coin of great historicity and collectible appeal – a genuine Brasher doubloon – realized $80,500. (more…)

Perth Mint Unveils the Gold and Silver Bullion Coins to be offered in 2011

Recognized throughout the world for their superior quality, superb artistry and Government guarantee of weight and purity, the Perth Mint has unveiled it’s 2011 Australian Bullion Coin Program. These pure gold and silver coins are actives sought after by both investors and collectors.

The comprehensive line-up for 2011 includes two designs for gold bullion coins ranging from 1/20oz up to 10 kilos and three designs for Silver bullion coins from 1/2oz up to 10 kilos.

Struck by The Perth Mint from 99.99% pure gold, each coin is issued as legal tender under the Australian Currency Act 1965, the undisputed guarantee of its weight and purity. Portraying creative new reverse artistry, every 2011 gold bullion coin also features The Perth Mint’s historic ‘P’ mintmark, a traditional symbol of quality trusted by investors worldwide. Uniquely, many of these releases are restricted by mintage, a feature that creates an exciting potential for even greater investment return in the form of a numismatic premium.

AUSTRALIAN KANGAROO GOLD BULLION COINS : 1 kilo, 1oz, 1/2oz, 1/4oz, 1/10oz
A kangaroo is the most instantly recognisable wildlife symbol of Australia. In 2011, The Perth Mint is releasing four small gold bullion coins portraying two kangaroos ‘boxing’ in the outback. In addition, a large 1 kilo Australian Kangaroo coin is available with a classic kangaroo design by Dr Stuart Devlin, AO CMG goldsmith and jeweller to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

No more than 350,000 1oz coins, 100,000 1/2oz coins, 150,000 1/4oz coins and 200,000 1/10oz coins will be produced in 2011.

AUSTRALIAN LUNAR GOLD BULLION COINS : 10 kilo, 1 kilo, 10oz, 2oz, 1oz, 1/2oz, 1/4oz, 1/10oz, 1/20oz
The Australian Lunar series of gold coins epitomizes The Perth Mint’s rich tradition of minting investor coins portraying Chinese themes. This year’s releases mark the 2011 Year of the Rabbit, one of 12 animals associated with the ancient Chinese lunar calendar. In Chinese culture, people born in the Year of the Rabbit – 1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999 and 2011 – are articulate, talented, and ambitious. They are virtuous, reserved, and have excellent taste. Rabbit people are admired, trusted, and are often financially lucky. They are fond of gossip but are tactful and generally kind. Rabbit people seldom lose their temper. They are clever at business and being conscientious, never back out of a contract.

No mintage limit applies to 1 kilo, 10oz, 2oz, 1/2oz, 1/4oz, 1/10oz and 1/20oz coins. However, production will close at the end of 2011, when The Perth Mint will declare each coin’s official mintage. A maximum of 100 10 kilo coins will be produced on a made-to-order basis. However, production will close at the end of 2011, when the coin’s actual mintage will be declared. The Perth Mint will produce no more than 30,000 1oz coins. Production will cease when the mintage is fully sold or at the end of the series, whichever comes first. (more…)

Odyssey Marine Exploration Challenges Claims by Spain in Its “Black Swan” Appellate Reply

Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. today filed its Reply to Spain’s Response in the “Black Swan” case, currently pending in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta, Georgia. This is expected to be the last round of written pleadings at the appellate court level. Odyssey’s filing is available for review at http://www.shipwreck.net/blackswanlegal.php

Odyssey is appealing the district court’s dismissal of the case based on the court’s finding of lack of federal jurisdiction. Odyssey’s Reply presents the following documented facts that debunk the misrepresentations made by Spain that contributed to the clear error in the district court’s earlier ruling and that have been repeated in Spain’s appellate Response:

  • there was no vessel and there were no human remains located at the “Black Swan” site
  • Odyssey acted legally and appropriately in the recovery of the “Black Swan” artifacts
  • evidence, including accounts from Spain’s “experts” and Spain’s own contemporaneous diplomatic communications, prove that the Mercedes (the vessel Spain associates with the site) was on a commercial mission on her final voyage — a fact that legally voids Spain’s claim of immunity under settled international law and conventions
  • a distinction between cargo and vessel is allowed and even required by settled admiralty law; and — according to the manifest of the Mercedes, the vast majority of cargo on board did not even belong to Spain — even Spain concedes the cargo was “articles of Spanish citizens.”

“The emotional and inflammatory language used in Spain’s appellate response serves to distract from the truth and the relevant legal issues. The story Spain tells mirrors the one it told at the district level, where the court made clearly erroneous factual findings,” said Melinda MacConnel, Odyssey Vice President and General Counsel.

“Spain’s filing has painted a negative portrait of Odyssey, but the company has always acted in full compliance with the letter and spirit of the law. We brought the artifacts to the U.S. courts for proper adjudication of claims, but we didn’t even receive a hearing on the jurisdictional facts. If the court did not have jurisdiction, it would have no legal authority to order transfer of the property to Spain, who did not have possession of the coins. (more…)

History of Coins: TWO-BITS, FOUR-BITS, SIX-BITS, EIGHT…

by Leon F McClellan as published on columnarios.com

Columnario and a CobHave you ever wondered why a United States quarter-dollar is called “two-bits”? Or, a half-dollar “four-bits”? Do you know why we call our basic monetary unit “dollar” instead of something else?

Two-bits, four-bits, six-bits and eight-bits make reference to the eight-reales silver coin of New Spain and Mexico. It is also called piece of eight and circulated in the English Colonies and freely in the USA following the Revolutionary War. As a matter of fact, the eight-reales coin was legal tender in the United States until 1857 and was the world’s most used coin at one time. It is the renowned piece of eight that became part of the Spanish Main pirate lore.

The coins minted until 1734 technically, are called a cob coins, because they were originally made by hand stamping “tail ends of bars” or “cabos de barra”, which were sliced as planchets from rudely cast, more or less round, bullion bars which were assayed and carefully weighed. “Cabo” might well have given us the name of cob, although it does mean a lump or small mass (as of coal). The second definition comes from the Dutch “kubb”.

Cob coinage was made at the first mint in the Americas in Mexico City, established in 1535. Authorized by a Spanish Royal Decree dated 14 September 1519 to melt, cast, mark and put aside the royal-fifth of the gold and silver being collected from the Aztecs in Mexico City (Tenochtitlan). He used the palace of Axay catl (father of Moctezuma II) for the task. This may be considered the first foundry of New Spain and of all North America.

When Cortes moved into a home in 1521 in what is today the Mexico City suburb of Coyoacn, he established the second foundry in order to meet the demand for currency and produced “more than 130,000 castellanos”, according to information in documents collected by Francisco Antonio de Lorenzana. “Castellano” (Castilian) was the current coin of the time. These were the first cobs of the New World. The royal fifth was faithfully sent to Spain in the Spanish galleons.

When the Viceroyalty of New Spain was established by Spanish Royal Decree signed by the Queen of Spain the 11th of May of 1535, the Casa de Moneda (house of coin or mint) was formally established. Beginning sometime in April of 1536, according to the best estimates, the first mint of the Americas started coining operations.

Cobs did not start pouring-out into world marketplaces until the reign of Phillip II, after 1556. These crudely minted reales (literally, royals) of silver were undated until 1580 when some were and others were not marked with the year of coinage. The first pieces of eight were struck in Spain, as early as 1497, although it was not until after 1572 that the Casa de Moneda in Mexico City struck them. Before that time, only denominations smaller than eight-reales were struck in Mexico. (more…)

PCGS’ Paris Office Grand Opening: Dealers Praise Easy Access to Coin Grading

Professional Coin Grading Service successfully opened its European grading center at its Paris, France office on June 7, 2010. Coin dealers from all over Europe visited PCGS in Paris to submit coins for onsite authentication and grading. By the end of the week, PCGS’ numismatic experts had evaluated thousands of rare and modern commemorative coins from French, German, Italian, Greek and British dealers and collectors.

The dealers were extremely pleased with this new, convenient setting. More and more dealers and collectors are recognizing that impartial, third-party grading (evaluation) by PCGS will help their coins realize their true worth in the marketplace. The Paris office finally allows them to benefit from PCGS grading more easily and in a less-costly way.

Michael Creusy of ABC Numismatique in Lyon, France, expressed his appreciation: “Thank you, PCGS, for having made this marvelous grading service so easily available to all Europeans.”

Because of this overwhelmingly positive reaction, PCGS is preparing for an even bigger workload when the grading team returns to Paris. The next big grading week begins on September 13th, 2010.

“By establishing its EU grading center in France, PCGS has eliminated the need for European collectors and dealers to send their coins to the U.S. for grading and authentication. All submissions from within the EU are now made directly to the Paris office through PCGS’ network of EU Authorized dealers,” explained Muriel Eymery, Director of International Business Development at PCGS.

Dr. Josef Fischer of Emporium Hamburg in Hamburg, Germany, shared his opinion: “The PCGS grading in Paris was an excellent experience. It was easy to ship there and we got very quick service; turnaround times are much shorter than shipping to the USA with customs clearance and so on. Grading in Europe will make PCGS better-known and more appealing for European dealers and collectors.”

PCGS President Don Willis is encouraged by the dealers’ responses. “The convenience of a central Paris location makes getting coins authenticated and graded by PCGS easy for EU dealers,” he said. “Coins received on Monday and Tuesday are returned graded on Thursday or Friday of the same week. The dealers appreciate our commitment to serving them.”

Ingram Liberman of The London Coin Company in London, England expressed his approval of PCGS services: “Why have we chosen an American (coin grading) company rather than a British one? The main reason is that PCGS is the most respected of all the coin grading companies in the world and truly impartial. The future is bright for the future of grading.” (more…)

Ponterio & Associates Realizes $1.6 Million in Baltimore Auction

Extremely Rare Kublai Khan Sells for $64,900

[CoinLink News] – Ponterio & Associates, a division of Bowers and Merena Auctions, realized $1,608,082 as the Official Auctioneer of the June 2010 Whitman Coin & Collectibles Baltimore Expo. The three-session sale, occurring June 17-19, featured ancient and foreign coins and paper money. Bowers and Merena added an additional $6,438,778 in sales with its five-session auction.

“Ponterio & Associates’ Official June 2010 Baltimore Auction resulted in strong bidder competition and equally strong prices realized for ancient and foreign coins and foreign paper currency,” said Rick Ponterio, executive vice president of Ponterio & Associates. “Iranian bank notes proved particularly popular in this auction, as did Chinese coinage and world gold coins in general.”

The most notable sale was lot 8278, an extremely rare Kublai Khan, the fifth Great Khan and grandson of Genghis Khan, 50 Tael Sycee Ingot. Issued in Year 14 (A.D. 1273) of China’s Yuan Dynasty, the piece realized $64,900. Leading the way among foreign bank note offerings, lot 7409, an Iranian First Series Toman, 1.6.1920, P-1b, Choice Uncirculated, sold for $17,700.

Additional ancient and foreign coin and paper currency highlights in the Ponterio & Associates June 2010 Baltimore Auction include:

* Lot 6037, Greece, 10 Lepta, 1831, cf.KM-12, cf.Geo-13, Chase-411-F.e, missing first “H” in “KYBEPNHTHE,” Very Fine, realized $8,850
* Lot 6089, Mexico, Charles II (1665-1700), Escudo, 1879 (J), Fr-5, KM-50, Very Fine, realized $8,850 (the first dated gold coin of Mexico)
* Lot 6551, Great Britain, William III (1694-1702), 5 Guineas, 1701, Fr-310, S-3456, KM-508, NGC XF-45, realized $10,325
* Lot 6601, India, Travancore, Sovereign, ME1057/1881, Fr-1403, KM-32, NGC MS-63, realized $9,853
* Lot 6750, Transylvania, 10 Ducats, 1605, Fr-305, KM-18, Resch-2a, NGC VF-30, realized $16,520
* Lot 7410, Iran, 1 Toman, 12.2.1924, P-1b, Extremely Fine, realized $9,440
* Lot 7420, Iran, 5 Tomans, 30.3.1925, P-13, Choice Very Fine, realized $9,440
* Lot 7422, Iran, 10 Tomans, 11.10.1927, P-14, Very Fine, realized $11,800
* Lot 8086, Ptolemaic Egypt, Ptolemy II (285-246 B.C.), AV Octadrachm, Alexandria Mint, after 265 B.C., Choice Very Fine, realized $10,030
* Lot 8286, China, Kiangnan, Dollar, 1898, L&M-215, Y-145a.18, “WU HSU” reversed, PCGS XF-45, realized $9,440
* Lot 8719, Venezuela, 5 Bolivares, 1888, Y-24.1, NGC MS-62, realized $20,650. (more…)

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…)

PCGS Launches New International Web Site – PCGSGlobal.com

To help accommodate the company’s expanding international presence, Professional Coin Grading Service has launched a new web site, www.PCGSGlobal.com, that allows coin enthusiasts from around the world to view information about PCGS third-party grading and explains in their own local language how to use PCGS’ services.

The launch of PCGSGlobal.com coincides with the recent opening of the new PCGS submission center in Paris, France. A key aspect of the new web site is how it provides the particulars of submitting coins for grading and encapsulation to the Paris submission center through PCGS Authorized Dealers located in the European Union.

“PCGS continues to expand its services to collectors and dealers throughout the world and especially in Europe,” PCGS President Don Willis explained. “Offering access to our web site in multiple languages is just another step forward in that expansion. In the weeks and months ahead we will continue to think globally and act locally.”

PCGSGlobal.com is initially offered in French, English, German, Italian and Polish, representative of some of the most active numismatic communities in Europe. Other languages will be added as the market dictates.

“While not intended as a substitute for the vast content carried on www.pcgs.com, one of the most information-rich web sites in the entire numismatic field, PCGSGlobal.com gives visitors the essentials they need to do business with us,” said Willis.

The Home Page contains information about PCGS, the importance of coin grading, the PCGS Guarantee and PCGS Grading Standard. The site’s menu includes separate pages on PCGS Services, How to Submit, Resources (with links to important PCGS.com pages including online Price Guide and Population Report, Auction Prices Realized and Set RegistrySM), About PCGS and Contact PCGS.

Professional Coin Grading Service is a division of Collectors Universe, Inc. (NASDAQ: CLCT).

Bienvenue! PCGS Opens Paris Office

The Professional Coin Grading Service (www.PCGS.com) has opened an office in Paris, France as part of the company’s expanding international services. The new facility, physically establishing PCGS’s third-party grading in Europe, already is being praised by several of the European Union’s top numismatists for the convenience it brings to collectors and dealers in EU countries.

“The opening of a PCGS grading center in France is very good news for all European dealers and collectors who can now have their coins graded more easily. The time-consuming and costly exportation of sending them first to the United States, along with customs issues, will soon only be bad memories!” said Eric Palombo of Maison Palombo in Marseilles, France.

“For several years we’ve been successfully increasing our presence in Europe and Asia with participation at major numismatic events and agreements with government mints,” said Don Willis, President of PCGS, a division of Collectors Universe, Inc. (NASDAQ: CLCT). “The establishment of a full-time office in a major European capital now gives us an even greater opportunity to conveniently and efficiently assist EU collectors and dealers with the certification of their coins.”

To expedite services and eliminate the need to send coins to the United States, effective June 1, 2010, all submissions to PCGS from EU countries for grading, re-grading or crossover service will be made through the Paris office. “Grading will be performed on-site on a regular basis. All submissions from the EU to the Paris office must be made through a PCGS Authorized Dealer located in the EU. Submissions are accepted from those dealers by appointment only,” explained Muriel Eymery, Manager of the Paris office and PCGS Director of International Business Development.

Three other prominent dealers also praised the establishment of the Paris office.

Fabrice Walther of Numisaisne Paris stated: “We thank PCGS very much for establishing a presence in Europe, especially in Paris. We are convinced that in the very near future PCGS grading will make the European and world coin markets more dynamic than anybody today could have foreseen.”

Arnaud Fhal of Godot Et Fils in Paris commented: “With PCGS in Paris, French and European coin collectors can finally have easy and secure access to impartial, independent grading and the capacity to know and get the best prices for their coins.”

Jean-Claude Deroche, who represents Panorama Numismatique in Paris and has been a coin dealer for more than 30 years, says he chooses PCGS “for its international capabilities and its grading rigor.” He added: “Bienvenue to PCGS graded coins! The PCGS European setting is most welcomed in Paris. PCGS will further strengthen collectors’ confidence and security and add value to their coins.” (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…)