Hess Divo, CH-Zurich

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29-11-2017 – 01-01-1970

Auction 333

Top results at Hess Divo in Zurich

728 lots were called out at Hess Divo’s Auction 333. The numismatic spectrum ranged from ancient to present times, covering all five continents. The majority of the objects on offer were outstanding rarities and the customers reacted by placing high bids. Four auction lots obtained results in the six-digit region. Counting the five-digit results, too, would be too much work. However, those pieces being of interest to the collector with an “average” budget witnessed vigorous bidding as well. All of the coins of the Galba Collection, for instance, sold very well, even if it was assembled by type and not restricted to high-end quality material. 

58 – Ptolemies in Egypt. Berenice, wife of Ptolemy III, 246-222 BC. Attic pentekaidekadrachm, Alexandria(?). Uncirculated. Estimate: CHF 25,000. Hammer price: CHF 50,000.

But let us have a look at Greek coinage first. Featuring the portrait of Berenice, wife of Ptolemy III, a large silver coin in the weight of 15 Attic drachms obtained the highest hammer price. 

87 – Galba Collection. Clodius Macer, propraetor in Africa under Nero. Denarius, North Africa (Carthage?). Less than 10 specimens known to exist. From the Hunt Collection. Extremely fine. Estimate: CHF 25,000. Hammer price: CHF 42,000.

The first highlight of the auction was undoubtedly the collection of coins from the time of Roman Emperor Galba. Advised by Silvia Hurter, the collector had not limited himself to the portraits of Galba, but had also collected other exciting coins from this era, for example an extremely rare denarius from North Africa, produced in the name of Clodius Macer between May and October 68. Once part of the Hunt Collection, the extremely rare piece rose from its estimate of CHF 25,000 to CHF 42,000.

135 – Galba Collection. Galba, 68-69. Aureus, July 68 – January 69. RIC 147. Extremely fine. Estimate: CHF 10,000. Hammer price: CHF 40,000.

A portrait of Galba to the left, depicting him bare-headed and clad in an aegis, hammered at CHF 40,000 (estimate: CHF 10,000). Featuring Roma Victrix on the reverse, another aureus with the same estimate ended at CHF 36,000. 

140 – Galba Collection. Galba, 68-69. Denarius, July 68 – January 69. RIC 167. From NFA sale XX (1988), 130. Extremely fine. Estimate: CHF 2,500. Hammer price: CHF 14,000.

The silver and bronze coins also witnessed outstanding results, as the final bid for a perfect denarius with an exquisite, highly stylized portrait was CHF 9,500 (estimate: CHF 2,500), whereas another denarius with a very realistic portrait, estimated at CHF 2,000, even garnered CHF 14,000. An extremely fine dupondius with slight traces of corrosion, but sharply struck and featuring a stylistically unusually realistic portrait, exactly doubled its estimate when it sold for CHF 7,000.

263 – Gupta in India. Skandagupta, 455-467. Gold dinar. Very fine. Estimate: CHF 1,000. Hammer price: CHF 10,500.

A group of gold dinars of the Gupta in India came as a surprise. Estimated at CHF 3,000 altogether, the results of the four lots added up to CHF 22,300. An attractive gold dinar was the best-seller with its price of CHF 10,500. Rendering a depiction of the King and the goddess Lakshmi, it provided an interesting insight into the religious beliefs of the Gupta.

314 – Switzerland. Fischingen Abbey. Abbot Franz Troger, 1688-1728. Thick double ducat 1726. Only 6 specimens struck. From the Virgil Brand Collection. Estimate: CHF 20,000. Hammer price: CHF 34,000.

Swiss coinage was next, offering a number of rarities and pleasing results. Estimated at CHF 34,000, the most expensive item in this section was a thick double ducat on the golden primiz (first mass) of Abbot Franz Troger von Fischingen from the Virgil Brand Collection, as one of only six specimens struck. Featuring Charlemagne on the reverse, a Zurich gold gulden from around 1510 realized CHF 24,000, and a later Zurich gold gulden from 1622 sold for CHF 19,000.

450 – Great Britain. Victoria, 1837-1901. 5 pounds 1839 “Una and the Lion”, London. By W. Wyon. Very rare. Uncirculated. Estimate: CHF 50,000. Hammer price: CHF 140,000.

And that takes us to the world coins, where we limit ourselves to the pieces that obtained results in the six-digit range. A British 5 pound piece from 1839, known as “Una and the Lion” to numismatists, was estimated at CHF 50,000. This relatively low price was due to the fact that a former collector had had some working done on the rim, in order to have gold removed that had become superfluous during the minting process. The price illustrates that the repair did not impair the beauty of the piece: CHF 140,000.

579 – Transylvania. John Kemeny, 1661-1662. 10 ducats 1661, Klausenburg. Only two specimens known on the market. Extremely fine. Estimate: CHF 100,000. Hammer price: CHF 170,000.

With no more than two specimens available on the market, an extremely rare 10 ducats piece of John Kemeny who tried to impose the independence of Transylvania from Turkish rule, was already estimated at CHF 100,000 but changed hands for as high a price as CHF 170,000.

584 – Holy Roman Empire. Ferdinand III, 1625-1637-1657. 10 ducats 1645, Vienna. Very rare. Extremely fine. Estimate: CHF 50,000. Hammer price: CHF 100,000.

A 10 ducats piece of Ferdinand III, struck in Vienna, dates to the final phase of the Thirty Years’ War. It was probably intended to be handed as an impressive gift to the diplomats, who at that time were negotiating a possible end to the war in Osnabrück and Münster. Equally impressive was the price the new owner gladly paid for it: CHF 100,000.

723 – Gold nugget from Western Australia in high fineness. 3,787g of gold. Accompanied by a certificate of the University of Bern. Estimate: CHF 200,000. Hammer price: CHF 260,000.

Weighing nearly 4kg, an enormous gold nugget from Western Australia was the top item of a collection of gold nuggets. It yielded far more than its gold value, which would be around CHF 150,000, according to the current daily exchange rate. Estimated at CHF 200,000, the nugget realized as much as CHF 260,000.

You can find all results on Sixbid.

If you are interested in consigning to the Spring Auction 2018, contact Hess Divo AG, Löwenstrasse 55, CH-8001 Zurich, phone: +41 / (0)44 / 225 40 90, e-mail.