It is not unusual to have several auctions take place during the same week at a major show, and we cover such auctions quite frequently. Sometimes different sessions are combined in a single catalog (which is convenient, although it can be heavy to carry around). Other times, there are multiple catalogs for a single week, as is the case with the World & Ancient Coins auction, organized by Heritage Auctions in Chicago in conjunction with the World’s Fair of Money. While all auctions are held on August 13, Heritage decided to print four individual auction catalogs to cover the lots: one each for Platinum Night, the Kaiser Collection of German Gold Coins, the Eric Beckman Collection of Canadian Coins, and part one of the Rudman Collection of Mexican Coins. In this preview, we will look at a few of the most exciting and noteworthy lots to be found in the four auction catalogs.
The Eric Beckman Collection of Canadian coins is a small but high-quality collection, mostly concentrated in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. One of the true rarities in the collection is offered as lot 29032, the finest known specimen example of the 1921 five-cent piece. Graded SP-66+ by PCGS, the coin is an impressive example of one of the classic key dates in the Canadian series. Despite a mintage of just over 2,500,000 coins, virtually all were melted, and only a few hundred examples are known, with the high-grade supply very limited. Most are specimens, such as this coin offered by Heritage, which was most likely purchased during a mint visit and carefully cared for in the subsequent 90+ years. Another rarity is offered as lot 29074, which is plated on the catalog cover, an 1875-H Specimen 25 cents, graded SP-68 by PCGS. Another difficult date to find in the higher grades, the quality of the coin is outstanding, and it is one of the rarest 19th century Canadian coins in existence.
Of the four catalogs, the smallest collection offered is the Kaiser Collection of German Gold Coins which was put together by an anonymous collector. The 109 lots include numerous rare Mint State and Proof issues, focusing on German gold coins struck after the establishment of the German Empire in 1871. The highlight of the collection is plated on the cover: lot 30046, a gold ten mark struck in 1873 at the Berlin Mint for Mecklenburg-Strelitz and graded MS-67 by NGC. The coin, taken from a mintage of 1,500, is a true rarity that seldom comes up for sale. Also offered in the Kaiser Collection is a trio of rare German colonial gold coins, included as lot 30108, one of the finest known 1895-A Proof German New Guinea gold pieces. Graded PR-66CAM by PCGS, the coin is the largest denomination in the German New Guinea series, with an impressive and always popular bird of paradise on the obverse.
The first part of the Isaac Rudman Collection of Mexican Coins also received a separate catalog. This part of the collection consists of colonial milled gold coins, the earliest of which are dated 1732. The collection consists of a virtually complete set of these important and historical gold coins, including numerous rarities. Lot 31060 is what is considered one of the finest known examples of the 1732-Mo eight escudos, graded XF-45 by NGC. This is the first milled date of a long run of gold eight escudos, and a rare coin with only about half a dozen examples traced. Several other coins are among the finest of only a handful known, underscoring the importance of this collection. For Mexican gold specialists, the collection of early 19th century gold coins struck at the Guadalajara Mint are of particular importance. During the Mexican War of Independence, the mint was the only provisional royalist mint authorized to strike gold coins, though only in limited quantities, which accounts for the extreme rarity of several coins. An example is lot 31420, a four escudos dated 1812 Ga-MR and graded XF-45 by NGC. The coin is one of just four examples presently traced from an unknown quantity, minted using crudely made dies and planchets. The survival of such a coin is nothing short of a miracle.
Finally there is the main auction catalog, which features lots from around the world and focuses predominantly on gold coins. The session starts with ancient coins, continues with Argentina, and ends with Transylvania. One of the highlights of the session is offered as lot 32122, a very rare gold 40 ducat from Bohemia, struck in 1629 under Ferdinand III and graded AU-58 by NGC. A massive gold coin at 139.1 grams, this rarity is one of the highlights of European gold coinage from the 17th century. The coin is pedigreed to the Providence Collection as is another highlight in the catalog, lot 32230, a Triple Unite from Great Britain struck under Charles I and graded AU-58 by NGC. The type is very rare, struck for only three years during the first English civil war, and few examples have survived to the present day. This example is pedigreed to the Booker Collection, the most advanced collection of coins struck under Charles I ever assembled.
The final coin we’d like to discuss is another Spanish colonial gold coin. Lot 32261 is a rare Guatemala 1747 G-J eight escudos, graded MS-61 by NGC, a type that seldom comes up for sale and is often struck on undersized planchets. The coin is perhaps the sole survivor known from an original mintage of just 127 coins, all of which were struck on May 8 of 1747. This coin is a fully struck example with most of its important elements—such as the date, mint and assayer—clearly visible.
Needless to say, all of these coins will see considerable attention and spirited bidding when they come up for sale on August 13. Heritage made a point of only accepting rare and quality submissions for these four sessions, and the auction catalogs certainly illustrate this. The quality of the coins is outstanding and, no less important, they are split over four different catalogs, making it more convenient to carry the appropriate catalogs around!
All lots are available for viewing and bidding on Heritage’s Web site.