However, from the return of a celebrated Una and the Lion proof set to specialist sales of Indian and Islamic material, the UK and continental auction calendar continues to offer plenty of opportunities for dealers and collectors in the coming weeks.
Harmers' debut in Mayfair
This gold aureus struck at the Cyzicus or Serdica mints for the emperor Tacitus in 275-276AD has an estimate of £10,000-12,000 at Harmers’ inaugural coins sale at the Westbury Mayfair Hotel on September 25. The coin has a long provenance having been sold at auction in 2017, 2012 and 1929.
Venerable philatelic auctioneers Harmers first sold stamps at auction in 1918. The firm became part of the Bolaffi Auction Group, the Italian company specialised in stamps, coins and collectables, in late 2018.
The first coins of Islam
The early Muslim conquests during the first half of the 7th century crippled the Byzantines in the West and completely overthrew the Sasanian empire in the East. However, having conquered huge swathes of territory, the victorious Muslims showed little inclination to significantly change how these lands were governed and typically the existing coinage remained in circulation.
The exceptions are a handful of ‘de-Christianised’ gold solidus probably made on the instigation of a regional governor or commander rather than through any initiative from the caliph himself.
Typically, as in the case of this example featuring three standing figures made in Egypt or Syria between c.40-72, they were close imitations of regular Byzantine coins, but with garbled legends and all references to the cross removed. The ‘modified cross’ solidi, estimated at £60,000-80,000, forms part of the sale of Indian and Islamic coinage at Morton & Eden on October 22.
The hero of Plattsburgh
As part of its Fall Auctions series from September 28-October 2, Osnabrück firm Künker offers this Congressional Gold Medal awarded to Major General Alexander Macomb (1782-1841), the hero of Plattsburgh.
The Battle of Plattsburgh, also known as the Battle of Lake Champlain, effectively ended the invasion of the northern states during the War of 1812. A British army under Lieutenant General Sir George Prévost and a naval squadron under Captain George Downie converged on the lakeside town of Plattsburgh, New York in September 1814 but was successfully defended by local militia and detachments of regular troops under Macomb’s command.
He received the Congressional Gold Medal on November 4 and on December 24 the Ghent peace treaty was signed.
Made by the Philadelphia die cutter Moritz Fürst (1782-1840), the medal’s obverse features the Macomb’s portrait in profile alongside his title while the reverse depicts the naval battle and fighting land forces in the foreground.
Through the marriage of Susan Watts Macomb (1849-1928), the medal passed into the possession of the Grand d’Hauteville family whose descendants are offering it for sale with a guide of €150,000.
Ticket to ride
This gold ticket would have allowed the owner free first-class travel on the East Indian Railway. The company, that introduced the railways to northern and eastern parts of the subcontinent, was established in 1845 completing 601 miles of track by 1862. Pierced for suspension, it has an estimate of £1000-1200 at Dix Noonan Webb’s sale of Indian coins and historical medals on October 14.
Dedicated coins and medal sales are not just for the specialist auctioneer.
A George VI 1937 four coin proof set comprising five pounds, two pounds, sovereign, half sovereign, presented in original red leather case of issue, has a guide of £7000-8000 in an online only sale of gold coins to be held by Sheffield Auction Galleries on September 28.
Peter Wilson in Nantwich also conduct a coins and banknotes sale this month. On September 24 this Queen Victoria 1887 Jubilee silver specimen set containing a crown, double florin, half crown, florin, shilling, sixpence and threepence is expected to bring £150-200.