Session A, begins at 9:45pm on the evening of Tuesday, January 8, and is dedicated to Ancient Greek and Roman Republican coins. This diverse session, features 410 lots of coins from various collections, including the Demarete Collection and the Alicia and Sid Belzberg Collection. Among the delicacies offered on Tuesday evening, a very rare Tarentum Gold Stater featuring a bold portrait of Zeus appears as lot 38. Lot 53 is one of the most beautiful numismatic items ever issued, by any entity, at any point in history: the silver Decadrachm of Syracuse, ca. 400-390 B.C. This Choice Extremely Fine example has a full and clear signature, and has a wonderful strike. A classic of Greek numismatics and certainly a coin that will see much spirited bidding when it crosses the block. A very rare and somewhat enigmatic coin, an Electrum Stater of Cyzicus (lot 195)will create a stir in the room when the auctioneer begins the bidding. Seemingly unlisted in the references, this piece combines design elements of coins from Cyzicus as well as Lampsacus; our numismatists attribute this coin to Cyzicus due to the similar weight standard and what may be a tunny fish below the portrait. We are also pleased to offer as lot 294 a very rare Babylonian Double Daric, one of only three currently known, and struck during the governorship of Mazaios after he surrendered to Alexander the Great. Historic and boldly defined, this coin will be a centerpiece of the next cabinet it graces. A pleasing and very rare Octadrachm of Ptolemy III’s wife, Berenike II in Extremely Fine condition will entice bids ever higher when lot 307 comes to the auction podium. Roman Republican coins begin at lot 332, and features one of the largest and most interesting selection of Bronze Aes Graves we have had the pleasure of offering in quite some time, and is anchored by the Alicia and Sid Belzberg Collection. The session will end with a fine selection of ten (!) Aureii of Julius Caesar.
Friday, January 11, 2013, 7pm, Session B will commence, (running concurrently with Session I of the Robert O. Ebert Collection). The session starts with a collection of orders and decorations, perhaps one of the largest and most varied selections we have had the privilege of offering. Many of these rare and historic items are gold and silver, inlaid with fine enamels and set with diamonds and other precious stones. Lot 1005 is the Bulgarian Order of St. Alexander, Second Type Grand Cross and Grand Cross Breast Star, issued from 1908-1944. A marvelous piece with 653 diamonds, housed with the sash and velvet covered case. The extremely rare Gau Warthe Commemorative Badge, issued in 1939 and awarded to people “for outstanding service to the Nazi Party in the province of Gau Warthland- a political division of the territory annexed from Poland.” Constructed of 14KT gold and set with diamonds and sapphires. Our research shows that about 15 of these were originally awarded, with the currently offered example to be only the sixth known, and the first we have handled. Lot 1026 is a collar badge from the British Most Noble Order of the Garter, which was instituted in 1348. This very finely crafted example of “The George” was produced in the 19th century and depicts St. George slaying the dragon, produced in gold with fine enamels and set with diamonds. Although it has some minor flaws, this is an extremely rare and historic decoration, and is a magnificent specimen.
Lot 1061 begins our offering of world Crowns and Minors. This session is literally a world tour of numismatics with an excellent selection in the offing, featuring coins from the Luis H. Flores Collection, the Demarete Collection, selections from the Archer M. Huntington Collection, as well as coins from other important consignments. A conditionally rare Canadian 25 Cent of 1889 with the “Closed 9,” will cross the block as lot 1112, and is PCGS certified MS-64. A Very Fine 1912 50 Tael Maritime Customs ingot, weighing 1,880 grams will appear as lot 1121, and begins an impressive selection of classic and modern Chinese issues, including lot 1137, a VF-35 (PCGS) 1928 Kweichow Auto Dollar and lot 1173 an NGC graded Proof-68 Ultra Cameo 1994 150 Yuan Unicorn. A historically interesting piece, worthy of further research is lot 1318. This British Half Pound struck at the Oxford Mint in 1642 was hand engraved with two scenes, the first being King Charles praying at the chopping block with a priest and guards flanking the executioner; below shows a scene of Cromwell’s mounted “Roundheads” and pikesmen. Long retained in the Demarete Collection, this fascinating piece depicts one of the most tumultuous times in English history. Another product of the English Civil war is an exceptionally fine example of the Pontefract Siege Shilling, the subject of an earlier “Coin of the Week” blog. The Sanjay Gandhi Collection anchors our selection of coins from India, and a very rare 1939 Bombay Mint Rupee (lot 1426), graded AU-58 by NGC is certainly a highlight. A high quality and very rare 1732 Mexican 8 Reales, the first year of the historically important “Pillar Dollar” appears as lot 1517, and stands out in our offering of coins from just south of the border. This coin has very strong “cross over appeal” with collectors of US colonial coins, as it was struck in the year George Washington was born, the type circulated freely in the colonies (in fact much of the colonial paper currency was backed in “Spanish Milled Dollars”), and is the first type listed in A Guide Book of United States Coins, (i.e. The Red Book). We expect to see serious bidding competition when this coin crosses the block. Among Mexican War of Independence coins, is an Extremely Rare Real Del Catorce 8 Reales of 1811. The coin exhibits EF details, but has some graffiti on the reverse. A popular Waitangi Crown, lot 1584, graded PCGS Proof-63 Cameo stands out among the type coins.
Directly following Session II of the Robert Ebert Collection of Roman Coins, on Saturday, January 12, we will offer both Part II of our Ancient coin offering and Gold Coins of the World in Session C. Starting with the coins of the Roman Empire, lot 2014 is an attractive Caligula Aureus in Very Fine condition. This session contains a rather extensive offering of Aureii, and is sure to attract serious bidding activity from the room (as well as from the internet, phone, and mail bids). Among the many high quality examples, is lot 2057, a standout choice Septimus Severus Aureus that has survived in remarkably high grade, and is called “Nearly Mint State” by our cataloguer. Following the Roman and Byzantine coins, is our selection of gold coins of the world. Lot 2211 is a marvelous, NGC MS-63 20,000 Reis from Brazil, dated 1726. Sharply struck and attractive, this coin will see strong bidding activity when it crosses the block, and is a highlight of a large selection of Brazilian gold coins. A remarkable, high grade Philip VI of France Double Royal d’or, graded MS-62 by NGC will turn heads, and entice strong bidding activity. High quality English hammered and milled gold coins, are highlighted by lots 2345, an attractive 1649 Unite graded AU-55 (NGC) and lot 2359, the Extremely Rare 1902 Pattern Crown, struck in gold, graded Specimen-62 by PCGS and is Ex. Eliasberg Collection. A beautiful, very rare 1824 Guatemalan 8 Escudos, the first year of this highly popular and distinctive type coin, graded AU-58 by NGC will be well received by bidders. A large offering of Kushan Empire gold Dinars is highlighted bt a very rare Huvishka Dinar in Choice Mint State. Among other coins of India is a Gem, PL-65 Ultra Cameo (NGC) 1835 2 Mohurs Restrike. An extremely rare, one year only type from a mintage 141 pieces, is a 2 ½ Pesos of Culiacan, 1893. Graded MS-64 by PCGS and housed in a Secure Holder, this coin will certainly entice spirited bidding from specialists.
The final live session, Session D, will be held at our New York City auction gallery at 110 West 57th Street, on Monday, January 14 at 10am. and features over 650 lots of quality and rare world bank notes. There are many highlights, and the session is especially memorable for strong selections of middle eastern bank notes, as well as specimen notes. A beautiful “Mona Lisa” 2 Colones note, of Costa Rica is one of the many wonderful specimen notes that will seduce advanced collectors of bank notes. A major collection of Persian notes will also entice excitement.
Between these highlights are hundreds of quality coins that will either be great additions to your collection, or perhaps upon review, a new interest will be sparked and a whole new numismatic journey will begin. Many new opportunities and specialties await you. We invite you to be our guest and attend the auction in person. Some of the coins in the offing are so rare, this may be the only opportunity to acquire an example. Careful inspection of the listings and then in person viewing of the lots, either in our Irvine office, our New York office, or at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, will be a rewarding endeavor. Catalogs are in the mail, and will be arriving in your mail box shortly (if not already). If you are not on our mailing list, please contact one of our auction services associates to receive a copy, otherwise, the entire sale is available online at www.stacksbowers.com. While you read this, the Christmas season is upon us, and from all of us here at Stack’s Bowers Galleries, we wish you and your families a very happy and healthy holiday and new year.