Morton & Eden, GB-London

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09-06-2014 – 10-06-2014

Ancient, British, Islamic and World Coins, Historical Medals and Plaquettes, Banknotes

Greek masterpiece from Naxos top lot at Morton & Eden sale

On June 10 and 11, 2014 London-based auction house Morton & Eden offered coins and medals in a general sale. The sale totalled £1,056,838 (including 20% BP) and 93% of the lots were sold by value.
Auctioneer James Morton commented ‘This successful sale underlined the continued strength of the market, notably among the Russian and British coins offered. The excellent price achieved by the rare Naxos tetradrachm, Lot 7, one of the most celebrated coins in antiquity and a masterpiece of numismatic engraving, was particularly satisfying. The British James II five guineas, Lot 173, and also the George II young head five guineas, Lot 182, each sold above their presale high estimates. Strong presale interest in the historical medals and plaquettes translated into enthusiastic bidding, notably the £16,800 paid for Lot 564, portraying Caracalla as a boy, which achieved a multiple of its estimate.’

And these were the top ten (Prices shown include the Buyer’s Premium of 20%):

Lot 7
Sicily, Naxos, tetradrachm, c. 460 BC. Cahn 54. very fine and rare, minor tooling in obverse field.
In 476 BC, the entire population of Naxos was moved to Leontini by Hieron of Syracuse. They were eventually repatriated fifteen years later in 461 BC and it is believe that this special issue, all examples known from a single pair of dies, was struck to celebrate this event. One of the most celebrated coins from antiquity and a masterpiece of engraving.
From a European collection formed in the 1920s.
Estimate: £30,000-50,000. Sold for £74,400 ($125,234). Purchased by private collector.

Lot 456
Russia, Alexander I, 5 kopecks, 1812, St. Petersburg (cf Bit. 255 (R3)), mint state and toned, in PCGS holder graded MS64, a very rare date and exceptionally rare in mint state.
Estimate: £8,000-12,000. Sold for £46,800 ($78,776). Russian dealer.

Lot 452
Russia, Alexander I, 10 kopecks, 1803, Banking mint (Bit. 62 (R2)), mint state and toned, in PCGS holder graded MS65, extremely rare thus.
Estimate: £15,000-20,000. Sold for £33,600 ($56,557). Russian dealer.

Lot 173
Great Britain, James II, five guineas, 1687, TERTIO, nearly extremely fine with a few minor marks on reverse, exceptionally well struck.
Estimate: £15,000-20,000. Sold for £26,400 ($44,438). European dealer.

Lot 486
Russia, Alexander I, 5 kopecks, 1825, St. Petersburg (Bit. 282 (R3)), mint state and toned, in PCGS holder graded MS64, extremely rare.
Estimate: £6,000-8,000. Sold for £24,000 ($40,398). Russian dealer.

Lot 182
George II, young head, five guineas, 1738, DVODECIMO, nearly extremely fine.
Estimate: £10,000-12,000. Sold for £19,200 ($32,318). European dealer.

Lot 564
Italy, the Emperor Caracalla as a Boy, bronze medal attributed to Giovanni Boldù, c. 1466, ANTONINVS PIVS AVGUSTVS, draped and laureate bust left, rev., the artist and the Genius of Death, 91.5mm (cf. Hill 423 and note; Arm. I, 37, 4; Pollard 164 = Kress 143), pierced, trace of solder on top edge, a very fine contemporary cast with brown patina
In common with a number of other examples of this medal, the reverse lacks the usual inscription (IO SON FINE) and date (MCCCCLXVI) which may have been removed (as commented by Hill) or was never present. The reverse composition was used earlier by Boldù in his self-portrait medal of 1458 (Hill 421). Please note: There is an additional small solder mark on the bottom of the medal.
Estimate: £5,000-6,000. Sold for £16,800 ($28,279). Overseas private collector.

Lot 8
Sicily, Syracuse, dekadrachm, c. 400-390 BC, unsigned dies by Euainetos, fast quadriga driven left by charioteer who holds goad over horses in extended right hand and reins in left; Nike flies right holding wreath to crown charioteer; below exergual line on two steps, panoply of arms, rev., head of Arethusa left, her hair bound in a wreath, wearing triple drop earring and pearl necklace; scallop shell in right field; four dolphins around, 43.28g (Gallatin RXI/ FII), minor scratches on cheek, obverse struck from a worn die, otherwise very fine. From a European collection formed in the 1920s.
Estimate: £10,000-15,000. Sold for £15,600 ($26,259). UK dealer.

Lot 562
Italy, Rimini, Isotta degli Atti, mistress and then wife of Sigismondo Malatesta, bronze medal by Matteo de’ Pasti, dated 1446, veiled bust of Isotta right, rev., OPVS MATTEI DE PASTIS V, the Malatesta elephant standing in a flowery meadow; below, M.CCCC.XLVI, 84.9mm (Hill 167; Armand I, 21, 20; Pollard 31 = Kress 59 = Scher, Currency of Fame, 12), pierced, a very fine contemporary cast with dark patina.
The obverse inscription describes the sitter as Isotta of Rimini the ornament of Italy for beauty and virtue. The date of 1446 refers to the year that Sigismondo claimed Isotta as his mistress. In that year Matteo de Pasti was in Verona, only coming to Rimini in 1449, the year that Sigismondo’s second wife Polissena Sforza died. His various medals of Isotta, of which this type is his masterpiece, would have been made then or in the immediate years following.
Estimate: £5,000-7,000. Sold for £15,000 ($25,249). American private collector.

Lot 177
Great Britain, Anne, five guineas, 1706 QVINTO, draped bust left, rev., crowned cruciform shields (S. 3566), lightly flecked flan on face, good very fine to nearly extremely fine, some toning.
Estimate: £12,000-15,000. Sold for £13,200 ($22,219). UK dealer.

The auction house are now accepting consignments for their next sale of Ancient, British, and World Coins, Historical Medals, Plaquettes and Banknotes to be held in November.

For more information go to the Morton & Eden website.