The opening auction sale of this year’s World Money Fair with a total hammer price of 7.6 million euros was a huge success indeed: this result exceeded the expectations by more than 65 per cent. 1,200 lots were sold, and only 13 went into the post-auction sale. Auction house Künker, which by tradition fires the starting pistol for the big three-day coin show, again provided for some record hammer prices, which is hardly surprising given the stock presented. Rarities from the Friedrich Popken Collection were assembled in catalog 223, and the extraordinary collection Pomerania of Professor Helmut Hahn filled catalog 224. And Russian coins and medals (catalog 225) are to be considered a must for Berlin anyway.
Hence, the large auction room in Estrel Convention Center was full up, and the audience witnessed two bombshells: 180,000 euros for 5 roubel (1/2 imperial) 1895 in PP and 160,000 euros for a gold medal 1814 of Tsarina Maria Feodorovna on Alexander I in extremely fine / mint state on pre-sale estimates of 100,000 and 80,000 euros, respectively. These outstanding pieces are representative of all the high results – when it comes to extraordinary and rare items, hammer price and estimate aren’t connected: the third most expensive piece of the entire auction became a pound 1874 of the Republic of South Africa, extremely rare and in mint state which quadruplicated its estimate: instead of the expected 30,000 euros the new owner had to pay 110,000 euros. In the list of the most expensive items it was Russia, again, which got fourth place: the 5 rouble piece 1804 in gold of Alexander I had been estimated at ‘just’ 15,000 euros. It was sold for 100,000 euros in the end. The total result for the 217 Russian lots surpassed the estimates by more than 120 per cent, with the paper money being anything but a kind of bonus pack. Some of the hammer prices amounts to sums as high as 22,000 euros – like the one for lot 1699, a bank note of 3 roubles from 1840 (estimate: 2,500 euros).
The results of auction sale 223 were likewise pleasing: the foreign countries witnessed a plus of almost 80 per cent, the Holy Roman Empire about 28 per cent and Germany 36 per cent. And here are the best-sellers: a Chinese dollar 1896 from the Pei-Yang province improved to 55,000 euros (estimate: 10,000 euros). The in all probability unique thaler of the County of Barby from 1616, issued under Wolfgang II (1586-1615), estimated at 50,000 euros, realized 70,000 euros. Double reichsthaler means two times the estimate? There is no such equation with Künker. The thick double reichsthaler 1694 from the Hanseatic City of Hamburg brought in 36,000 euros, which is more than two times its estimate of 15,000 euros. A 10 ducat piece from Magdeburg, without year but minted in 1599, rose from its estimate – 60,000 euros – to 95,000 euros in the end. Let’s conclude Germany with a gold pattern of 8 1/2 ducats of the reichsthaler dies from 1617, issued by the abbess Dorothea of Saxony. The pre-sale price tag was 10,000 euros. It brought three times that sum: 30,000 euros.
A quick look at Switzerland: a ducat from Zurich n. y. (around 1580) started with an estimate of 10,000 euros and arrived at 13,000 euros; a splendid double thaler from Basel n. y. from the end of the 17th century was estimated at 2,600 euros and was sold for 6,500 euros.
The final coin we would like to single out from auction 223 is a double reichsthaler from 1647 in extremely fine with a sharply struck portrait of the Swedish queen. This piece is the perfect transition to the following auction. The double reichsthaler with its weight of about 58 grams from Pomerania was estimated at 20,000 euros but the hammer went down only at 40,000 euros.
Catalog 224 with “The Coins of the Dukes of Pomerania. The Collection Professor Helmut Hahn, Berlin” (title of catalog) proved once more that well-designed auction catalogs can become the best works of reference. 382 lots were auctioned off; not a single one was left unsold, the estimates were doubled, and the result was 1.4 million euros. A fantastic result for Professor Hahn, who, by the way, assured after the auction that he had no intention to buy a new house or a new car. He rather planned to donate the proceeds to the Berliner Medizinische Gesellschaft, which was founded in 1860.
The Hahn collection spanned the period of time between 1498 to 1654, it ranged from a goldgulden of Bogislaw X for 26,000 euros (estimate: 10,000 euros) to the 1/8 reichthaler on the funeral of the last duke of Pomerania, Bogislaw XIV, for 1,500 euros (estimate: 750 euros). Let’s have a look at the highlights: the 6 ducat piece n. y. of Philip II (1606-1618), the only specimen available on the market, doubled its estimate with a hammer price as high as 50,000 euros. An extremely fine double reichsthaler of the very ruler from 1617 rose from 15,000 to 32,000 euros. A reichsthaler Duke Franz had minted in 1618, after his bishopric of Cammin had been abandoned, surprisingly left its estimate of 4,000 euros way behind to finally arrive at 26,000 euros. The same rulers had sent the most expensive coin of this collection, a decuple ducat without year, auctioned off for 70,000 euros (estimate: 20,000 euros).
That was a pretty good opening of the three-day World Money Fair. If you’d like to relive the auction day please have a look at the internet: www.kuenker.de.