Friday - 21 November 2014

Big Apple, huge price

18 February 2002Written by ATG Reporter

USA: The annual general sale of good quality classical coins (446 lots) hosted by the triumvirate of Baldwins (London), Markov (New York) and M&M (Washington DC) took place in the Big Apple on January 17.

As with all general sales it is hard to pick out individual coins for special attention. That said, it is worth noting the griffin, guardian of the treasury, delineated on a silver tetradrachm of Abdera in Thrace (c.475-450BC). It is a coin that does turn up from time to time but this example is a particularly nice one. Estimated at $4000 it took a final bid of $3200 (£2240) which should have made somebody very happy.

From an uncertain mint in Macedonia (550-540BC) comes an image so excellent that it is illustrate in twice natural size. It is of a gentleman (well, a satyr, actually) chatting up a nymph. Estimated at $2500 (it is a relatively common coin) it got $35,000 (£24,500). Splendid, yes, but will someone tell me why?

Fine Roman portraits are always popular and few finer than that on a denarius of Augustus. Estimated at a modest $1000 it found new velvet to nestle on at $1800 (£1260).

Exhibitions are currently being planned to demonstrate that the classical period did not actually end until 1453, since the Byzantine world was classical in spirit despite being ‘medieval’ in date. To the same end is offered an 11th century lead seal of one Niketas the Chartophylax (remember that for Scrabble!). The Chartophylax was the principal assistant to the Patriarch of Constantinople.  

The image of the Virgin and Child is icon-like and so must have a wider interest than usual. It was estimated at $600 but made $700 (£490). In 1998 this same example sold for £280 at Spink in London.

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