“Carl F. Chirico Jr. Collection of World Pattern Coins” Tops $2 Million at Bowers And Merena’s Baltimore Auction
IRVINE, Calif. – Bowers and Merena Auctions, America's leading rare coin auction house, delighted World coin enthusiasts in Baltimore and across the globe on March 1 with an action-packed special session of World/Ancient Coins as part of their first of three Official Auctions of the Baltimore Coin and Currency Convention for 2008. The World session was the grand finale of the four-session auction that realized a total of $9,764,934 and saw more than 3,200 lots cross the auction block. The World/Ancient session realized $2,155,414.
“I have to say we are ecstatic with the results of this Baltimore auction, and especially the World session,” said Steve Deeds, president of Bowers and Merena. “Our worldwide marketing and advertising efforts helped draw hundreds of new international registered bidders to Bowers and Merena and really created a buzz throughout the global numismatic community. I was thrilled to see many foreign dealers and collectors who actually made the trip to Baltimore for live bidding.” Dealers and collectors were welcomed from France, Italy, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, Colombia, as well as the United States.
Additionally, Deeds attributes the overwhelming success of this World session to a variety of other factors, as well. “We took full advantage of available means of bidding in order to make it as convenient as possible for our international and even domestic customers who could not be in the room with us. We had very active phone bidding, plus live online bidding through the Bowers and Merena website, eBay Live Auctions and Proxibid, which were all very successful. The convention itself was outstanding as usual thanks to the undying efforts of Mary Counts, David Crenshaw and the Whitman team, which certainly kept the auction room full and very exciting.”
The featured draw of the World session was no doubt the “Carl F. Chirico Jr. Collection of World Pattern Coins,” 741 lots of worldwide Proofs, Patterns, Essais, Provas, Pieforts, and Trial Strikes from China, Belgium, Cambodia, France, Germany, Italy, Latin America, and Europe, which realized $2,028,278.
“This was the largest collection of Patterns, Essais and Trial Strikes sold in the United States in the past 30 or 40 years,”
said Ron Gillio, numismatic acquisitions coordinator and World coins specialist for Bowers and Merena. “I personally spoke with several dealers who were astounded by the selection. A few of the French dealers made the comment to me that they had never seen this many of these types of coins at one time and probably would not see it again. I spoke with a Japanese dealer after the sale who said he could not believe his eyes to see the prices realized. It is my opinion that the catalog will become a standard reference, especially for Chinese and French Patterns and coins.”
“The Chirico Collection was the result of a lifetime of collecting efforts and many of these coins had not been available to the collecting community for decades,” Deeds added. “The enthusiasm for this collection was remarkable, starting months ago as we promoted the collection and displayed the highlights at various coin shows. Many lots in the collection realized far more than their printed value estimates in the catalog.” Notable highlights include Lot 5378, a China, Republic (1911-), Sun Yat-sen Silver Pattern Half Dollar, Year 25 (1936), estimated at $4,000 to $5,000 but realized $46,000, and Lot 5334, a China, Republic (1911-), Yuan Shih-kai Silver Pattern Dollar by L. GIORGI, Year 3 (1914), which was estimated at $8,000 to $10,000 but realized $37,375. Also noteworthy is Lot 5864, a Poland, Republic (1919-39), Silver Pattern Proba 10 Zlotych, 1932 (Warsaw) originally estimated at $500 to $600 but brought $13,225.
“I am especially pleased to report that Mrs. Chirico attended the sale personally and was amazed by all the activity,” said Gillio. “When I called her after the sale she said she could not believe the prices and was shaking with excitement, very pleased with the performance of the auction and with how we had handled everything. She felt that we at Bowers and Merena were true to our word about the worldwide interest this collection would generate. The collection was very sentimental to her family, and it was important to her that her husband’s legacy be shared with others who were equally enthusiastic about collecting World coins.”
In addition to the Chirico Collection, a dozen other consignors contributed to the overwhelming success of the World session. Highlights include Lot 5041, a China, Hupeh Province, Kuang-hsu (1875-1908), Silver Tael, Year 30 (1904), that realized $23,000, and Lot 5122, a Peru, Felipe V (1700-1746), Gold 8 Escudos, 1711-Lm (Lima), that realized $12,650.
“We are extremely happy to be back in the business of World numismatics,” said Deeds. “Bringing coins and currency together from the world over is something very special. We are already looking forward to our future World auctions, and I am pleased to announce a truly outstanding collection of Chinese currency from Eduard Kann will highlight our November Baltimore auction. We see this March session as just the beginning of Bowers and Merena making history in the World coin and currency arena.”
Prices realized for all lots in the Bowers and Merena Official Auction of the Baltimore Coin and Currency Convention are available online at www.bowersandmerena.com. This is the first of three Baltimore auctions by Bowers and Merena in 2008, continuing their longstanding and ongoing association with the convention – the next is scheduled for June 4-8 followed by November 19-23. Bowers and Merena will conduct its Chicago Rarities Sale in Rosemont, Ill., on April 15 prior to the Central States Numismatic Society Convention.
Bowers and Merena Auctions was founded in 1983 and has grown to become the world’s preeminent numismatic auctioneer with more than half a billion dollars in rare coin and currency sales. Bowers and Merena has handled four of the five most valuable United States coin collections ever sold, including the Louis E. Eliasberg Sr. Collection, the Harry W. Bass Jr. Collection, the Garrett Collection for The Johns Hopkins University, and the Norweb Collection.
For more information about Bowers and Merena and the Official Auction of the Baltimore Coin and Currency Convention in February/March, call 800.458.4646. For media inquiries, ask for President Steve Deeds. Complete prices realized for all past auctions are available at www.bowersandmerena.com.
Session 4: World/Ancient Coin Highlights With Prices Realized
Lot 5213 France. Third Republic (1871-1940). Gold 5 Francs. 1889-A (Paris). $14,950
Lot 5258 Algeria. Provisional Government (1940-44). Aluminum 1 Franc. Trial Strike by Graziani. 1943. $8,740
Lot 5308 Cambodia. Norodom I (1860-1904). Silver Piefort 1 Piastre-1 Peso. 1860. $26,450
Lot 5325 China. Republic (1911-). Li Yuan-hung Silver Dollar. ND (1912). $14,375
Lot 5334 China. Republic (1911-). Yuan Shih-kai Silver Pattern Dollar by L. GIORGI. Year 3 (1914). $37,375
Lot 5360 China. Republic (1911-). Chu Yu-pu Silver Dollar. Year 16 (1927). $29,900
Lot 5362 China. Republic (1911-). Sun Yat-sen Silver Pattern "Junk" Dollar by A. MOTTI INC. Year 18 (1929). $31,050
Lot 5378 China. Republic (1911-). Sun Yat-sen Silver Pattern Half Dollar. Year 25 (1936). $46,000
Lot 5392 China-Taiwan. Republic (1949-). Collection of (38) Coins. 1949-1966. $16,100
Lot 5544 France. Third Republic (1871-1940). Silver Pattern Essai 5 Francs by Roty. 1898. $12,650
Lot 5773 Italy. Vittorio Emanuele III (1900-46). Gilt Silver Prova di stampa 5 Lire. 1914. $12,650
Lot 5864 Poland. Republic (1919-39). Silver Pattern Proba 10 Zlotych. 1932 (Warsaw). $13,225