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Ancient Coin Sale: We Review CNG Feature Auction 121


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I only got 1 coin....which wasn't even one of my main targets.....

AR Tetradrachm of Demetrios II from Sidon mint


I don't actively collect Greek coins, but when I saw this piece was very impressed with it and thought why not just throw a bid or two at it? I won it at only two increments above the pre-bidding...so I was very happy!

I was very disappointed to have lost my primary target (which I will not share) because I had discovered an exceptional pedigree for it a while ago. It was listed with no pedigree, but I suspect that the other bidder was aware of the pedigree as the bidding was quite aggressive compared to the coin's previous hammer price. I knew that this coin was auctioned a few years ago because I previously contemplated bidding on it, and discovered its provenance by chance a few months ago. I made a note to myself to go after it if it popped up again and I was very excited to see it in this sale. However, my excitement quickly turned to disappointment when the coin went for a few bids over my max. 😞 

Oh well...I guess you can't win everything


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I sat through portions of the auction & reviewed the results later, but didn't bid on anything. Many of the lots sold well below estimate & quite a few didn't reach an opening bid & were passed. Many of the Greek & Roman coins did well & most of the LRBs from the London mint collection of Paul DiMarzio did exceptionally well, some selling for 10 times estimate 😮! Two Byzantine coins that caught my attention were the solidi  pictured below, lots 1084 & 1085.


Revolt of the Heraclii. AD 608-610. AV Solidus: 4.50 gm, 21 mm, 6 h. Extremely rare. Sear 718. Estimate $10,000, price realized including buyers premium $18,375. 

The coin pictures Heraclius the younger & Heraclius the exarch of Alexandria, when they started their military campaign against emperor Phocas. The result of their campaign was a coup at Constantinople, Heraclius the younger becoming emperor, & Phocas being executed in 610. This coin is one of finest in existence.

The next coin has been mired in controversy for decades. It was listed in David Sear's book BYZANTINE COINS and Their Values, #852, as a product of the Jerusalem mint, from research conducted by Simon Bendall & M. F. Handy. At a later date Simon Bendall rebutted this attribution & assigned it to an unknown mint, most like a moving military mint in the East. Many dealers & collectors are still attributing this coin type to the Jerusalem mint based on Sear's listing, either by deception or ignorance of Bendall's reattribution. If this coin type could be proven to be a product of the Jerusalem mint it would have great historical importance in light of Heraclius returning the original Holy Cross to Jerusalem after defeating the Persians in battle. Never the less, this coin type along with two similar coins is rare & expensive. 


Heraclius with Heraclius Constantine. AD 610-641. AV Solidus: 4.55 gm, 21 mm, 6 h. Uncertain eastern mint (Jerusalem or a mint in Syria?). Lustrous, EF. Rare. Estimate $750, price realized with buyers premium $1408.75.

Long ago I bought an example of this coin type slabbed by ICG that was misattributed to the Jerusalem mint, pictured below.


After discovering the reattribution by Simon Bendall I sent the coin to NGC for correction, pictured below.




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