The much-anticipated 642-lot sale of the Prospero collection of classical Greek coins conducted by A.H. Baldwin & Sons of London (in association with Dmitry Markov of New York and M&M Numismatics Ltd of Washington DC) concluded after eight hours at 03.30 EST on January 5.
Although results were still in the process
of being confirmed, initial figures released by Baldwin's suggest a
'white glove' sale and a premium-inclusive total of approximately
$25m, more than double the pre-sale estimate.
A new record for the classical coin was set
when the catalogue cover lot, a gold stater from Pantikapaion
depicting the head of a satyr, soared past the $650,000 estimate to
bring $3.25m (plus 17 per cent buyer's premium).
Ranked among the most spectacular numismatic
objects to have survived from the ancient world, it is the only
example in private hands.
In total around 200 bidders were in
attendance in the Vanderbilt suite at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in
New York (a fitting venue for the most significant auction of
ancient Greek coins for 20 years) with an additional 156 registered
to bid online via the-saleroom.com contributing $1.4m to the
The underlying strength of this market, and
the spectacular range and condition of this particular collection,
ensured many coins were taken to previously unseen levels. European
and American dealers and collectors proved particularly strong
Paul Hill, Baldwin's ancient coin specialist
who had devoted much of 2010 to the cataloguing and promotion of
the sale, commented immediately after the auction:
"The sale of the Prospero collection has far
exceeded our expectations. It has truly been a once-in-a-generation
auction and one that will go down in numismatic history. It was an
honour and a privilege to catalogue this collection and the results
achieved are testament to the dedicated team at Baldwin's."