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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

Lot 585
*Andrea Briosco, called Riccio (1470-1532), The Death of Marcus Curtius, bronze plaquette, the figure of Marcus Curtius, in armour and with right hand raised, on a rearing horse, about to leap into the chasm, 68 x 63mm (Molinier 416; Bange 365; Kress 213; Planiscig p. 490, 123 and fig. 259), pierced, the top somewhat cut down, a very fine contemporary cast with dark patina.

Ex Sylvia Phyllis Adams collection, Bonham’s, 23 May 1996, lot 90 and John R. Gaines collection, Morton & Eden, 21 April 2005, lot 47. The piece has been constructed in two parts: the horse and rider are cast in the round while the background, which includes the horse’s tail, its back legs and the watery chasm, has been cast separately. The two pieces have then been joined by three small lugs (two of which are slightly loose). This form of construction can be seen in other works by Riccio, notably the beautiful plaquette of Venus and Cupid which was in the Gaines sale part 2, 8 December 2005, lot 57.

Estimate: £4,000-6,000 SOLD FOR £16,100 Purchased by U.S. private collector

Lot 285
*Mary (1553-4), ‘fine’ sovereign (30s.), m.m. pomegranate, dated MDLIII (1553), the queen seated on ornate throne facing, holding orb and sceptre, portcullis below, annulet stops, rev., arms within double rose, 15.21g (cf. Schneider 704; N. 1956; S. 2488), repaired at top, nearly very fine.
Estimate: £6,000-7,000 SOLD FOR £10,350 Purchased by private collector on the Internet

Lot 286
*Elizabeth I (1558-1603), ‘fine’ sovereign (30s.), sixth issue, m.m. scallop (1584-6), the queen seated on ornate throne facing, holding orb and sceptre, portcullis below, tressure divided by queen’s head only, pellets on back of throne and on pillars, rev., arms within double rose, legend ends OCVLIS NRS, 15.01g (BC A18; cf. Schneider 780; N. 2003; S. 2529), mount removed from top, nearly very fine
Estimate: £5,000-46,000, SOLD FOR £7,475 Purchased by London dealer

Lot 395
*Switzerland, Confederation, 100-francs, 1925 B (Bern), Vreneli type (F. 502; DT 291) almost mint state [5,000 struck].
Estimate: £6,000-7,000 SOLD FOR £6,900 Purchased by European private collector

Lot 377
*Italy, Mantua, Lodovico II Gonzaga (1445-78), ducato, standing figure of the Marquis, cuirassed, holding sword and shield, LODOVICVS MARCHIO MANTVE Z E, rev., St. George and the dragon, SANCTUS GE ORGIUS, 3.44g (MIR. 388; CNI. IV. 230,3; F. 515), very fine.
Estimate: £2,500-3,000 SOLD FOR £6,900 Purchased by Italian dealer

Lot 421
*Russia: Ivan III (1740-1741), poltina, 1741, St. Petersburg (Bitk. 42; Diakov 7; Uzd. 763), very fine, rare.
Estimate: £4,000-5,000 SOLD FOR £5,520 Purchased by German dealer

Lot 491
*Sweden, Karl XI (1604-11), 20-mark, 1606, Stockholm, laureate, cuirassed and mantled figure of king standing left, holding sword and orb, a table to his right bearing crown with crossed key and sceptre, 20 M S in field to left, all within two circles of legend, radiate Jehova above, rev., crowned arms within two circles of fifteen small and fourteen large shields, 97.48g (SM 27; Dav. 573), good very fine, rare.
Estimate: £3,500-4,500 SOLD FOR £5,175 Purchased by private collector

Lot 314
*Scotland, James III (1460-88), quarter-rider (5s.9d), issue of 1457-83, m.m. cross pattée, crowned king on horseback galloping to left holding sword upright, lis below sword arm, SALWM …, rev., crowned shield over long cross, IACOBV… 1.26g (Burns p.150, fig.622; S.5261; St. p.141; cf. LaRiviere collection lot 60 (ex Strauss), fine, possibly removed from a mount, extremely rare. No quarter-riders are recorded of the first type with the king riding to the right rather than to the left; the type is known only for the one rider.The inscriptions on this second type are reversed, and not as listed in Burns. The quarter-riders, which are extremely rare, are the rarest of all the denominations.
Estimate: £1,500-2,000 SOLD FOR £5,175 Purchased by European dealer

Lot 394
*Spain, Carlos II (1665-1700), cob type 8-escudos, 1670, Seville, M, crowned arms, S M on left, rev., cross within quadrilobe, 26.86g (Cal. 44; F. 217), poorly struck as usual, good very fine for issue.
Estimate: £4,000-5,000 SOLD FOR £4,600 Purchased by U.S. private collector

COMMENT:
Specialist Tom Eden said: “The surprise of this 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.”


Morton & Eden Ltd., are specialist auctioneers of Collectors’ Coins of all periods and types, War Medals, Orders and Decorations, Historical Medals and Banknotes. The company was founded in 2001 by James Morton and Tom Eden, who were both directors of the Coins and Medals Department at Sotheby’s, with whom the company maintains a close association.

For more information regarding this sale please contact:
Press Officer: Christopher Proudlove, Tel/Fax: +44 (0)1492 544514.
Email: chris@chris-proudlove.co.uk.

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