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First let us take the Classical Numismatic Group (15% buyer's premium) mail-bid sale which closed on September 22. On offer were a shade over 2000 lots of mainly classical coins. So much material, indeed, that it is hard to find examples which indicate a state of the market so diffuse are the offerings.

A choice based on visual appeal will serve, as appealing coins always realise more than the technically interesting because they appeal to a wider clientele. A good example of this type of coin is the Siculo-Punic silver decadrachm (mid 3rd century BC), which is attractive because of its size and the depiction of Pegasus. This was a better than usual example as the phoenician inscription is extensive. It made $22,000 (£12,940) - estimate $15,000.

The Hellenistic silver portrait coins of the successors of Alexander the Great (d. 323BC) are one of the wonders of miniature sculpture of any age. There is a large variety of them and many are really quite affordable. As a piece of miniature sculpture I commend to your attention the silver tetradrachm of Antiochus III (223-187BC). It was estimated at $300 and it made just $350 (£205). His successor, Antiochus IV (174-164BC), struck a tetradrachm at Antioch. This, a finer example of sculpture, is much rarer and so justified an estimate of $3000. It made $3300 (£1940). This very coin turned up at Christie's in New York in 1993 when it was estimated at $2500-3500. It made $2200 which was £1438 at the time.

Another Antiochus, the VI (145-142BC), portrayed himself with a nimbate head. It is a relatively common coin but this example was particularly attractive and estimated at $1000. It made only $700 (£410). Somebody was lucky.

Finally on this theme, there is the photogenic tetradrachm of yet another Antiochus (VII, 138-129BC) A mere $200 was guessed at. It made $380 (£225).

So much for one of the main and affordable themes of this sale. Just as affordable was the brooding figure of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian (d.AD565) on a bronze follis struck at (to him) far-off Carthage. Here is an image of the figure whose laws influence us even today. The estimate was $300. It made $625 (£370).

The 100 Years War was raging when Henry VI struck a gold salut at Rouen. The Angel Gabriel, as if leaning over the garden fence, imparts to the Virgin Mary knowledge of her pregnancy, the little scroll between them, like a strip cartoon inscribed with Ave (Hail!). Again this coin turns up really quite frequently and this one was estimated at $1500. It made $1400 (£825).

Exchange rate: £1 = €1.7