February 11, 2010 – The Osnabruck Auction House Künker has achieved a new record hammer price of 410,000 Euros: That was the final bid for a Russian trial piece when the hammer fell. This represents the most expensive coin ever auctioned in Germany.
Anna’s trial rouble was sold for 410,000 Euros – a record for German coin auctions.
The event “occurred” on January, 28, at the beginning of the 5th World Money Fair in Berlin. The coin fair is traditionally launched with a Künker auction, this time featuring catalogues 163 (“Gold and Silver Coins from Medieval and Modern Times”) and 164 (“Exquisite Pieces from Russian Numismatic History”). The record coin was a 28 gram trial rouble from the Moscow Kadashevsky Mint dated 1730 – the inaugural year of Czarina Anna’s accession to power (1730-1740). On the face of the coin is a very beautiful depiction of the czarina, crowned, with curls, dressed in armour. The reverse side of the trial piece with scrolling foliage features a crowned double-headed eagle with a sceptre and globe cruciger, and on the breast a small crest of St. George. The Russian heraldic eagle is encircled by the chain of the Order of St. Andrew. Anna’s trial rouble is only listed in Bitkin’s catalogue (386, R4), and is not found in Davenport (comp. 1670) and Diakov. Hence it is “of utmost rarity”, and what’s more, as elaborated in Künker’s catalogue text, it is an “attractive specimen with a fine patina” and the condition is “very fine to extremely fine”. Anna was so highly coveted in Berlin that individual bidders went ahead and leapfrogged several customary bid increments. This built up an air of amazement and thrilling anticipation in the auction hall, eventually culminating in the record sale price of 410,000 Euros and erupting in thundering applause. Experts at Künker’s obviously had an intuition for the stunning outcome. First of all, they had already estimated Lot No. 1110 at an even 100,000 Euros, plus the fact that they had dedicated an entire catalogue page with four photographs to this rarity. It should also be mentioned that Künker was able to sell all but 21 of the 1,148 lots on offer, whereby the total estimated proceeds of 2.7 million surged to over 5.6 million Euros. The superb result can in large part be attributed to Anna & Co: In total, the 425 Russian lots were sold at some 190 percent above the overall estimates. One thing remains very clear: Russian treasures are always full of surprises.