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Obolos 20 Was a Rousing Success!

This year the Nomos 23 Fall Auction is coming up in late Fall, just three weeks before the start of Winter. Well, it will definitely cheer everyone up and will make those cold winter months much easier to bear: sitting at home, all snug and warmed by attractive new acquisitions while blizzards rage outside is a vision straight from “the good old days”!

But, of course, many of you are already happily going through your purchases from Obolos 20: the sale’s total starting price was 185,308 CHF, while the total of the prices realized, excluding the buyer’s fee, was a whopping 418,520 CHF (the sale was 93% sold and there were 7,426 bids)! So before giving you a précis of the great coins coming up in Nomos 23, here are some of the exciting results of Obolos 20.

  • As usual rare coins with interesting pedigrees did very well, indeed. Lot 17, a very rare diobol from Lampsakos, with a starting price of 100 CHF: It went for 1,000 CHF!
  • Now for an apparently unique triobol from the rare city of Larissa in the Troad (lot 39). With a starting price of 200 CHF it soared up to 2,400 CHF!!
Lot 63: Aeolis, Myrina. Tetradrachm, c. 155-145 BC. Toned. Light scratches and flan flaws, otherwise, good very fine. From the Vineyard Collection, ex Naville V, 18 June 1923, 2493. Result: 1,500 CHF.
  • Yes, this is an incredibly rare coin, but it has suffered from the ravages of time. It just goes to show how many serious and erudite collectors there are out there. Pedigrees also helped. Lot 63 is a decent tetradrachm from Myrina, which has, however a pedigree going back to Naville V in 1923: Back in 1923 it was bought by an American collector named Gillette for 70 SFr, now it went from its starting price of 500 CHF to 1,500 CHF!
  • Rarity always attracts great interest. Lot 130 is the fourth known drachm of the minor city of Syangela in Caria: Bought at a sale in Munich in 2000 it had a starting price of 400 CHF and sold for 1,300 CHF.
  • Exchange rates can make odd results. Bought at Baldwin’s in 2003 our lot 229 was then illustrated in a fairly terrible photo, very much unlike the one here: We gave it a starting price of 350 CHF and it sold for 1,500 CHF (now £1,180); back then it sold for £750!
Lot 250: Seleukis Kings of Syria. Seleukos I Nikator. Drachm, 312-281 BC, uncertain mint 18, in Areia, Margiana, or Baktria. Very rare. A handsome issue, and with attractive light toning. Slightly rough surfaces, otherwise, good very fine. From the Vineyard Collection. Result: 1,200 CHF.
  • When I first saw this coin (lot 250, Estimate: 200 CHF) I really liked it – and I still do! So did everyone else! It went for 1,200 CHF!
  • However, I honestly did not think much of lot 252 (Estimate: 30), a “ratty” little Seleucid bronze from Askalon… It turned out to be a massive specialist rarity, which received 25 bids (!) and soared up to 1,300 CHF!!
  • Now this is a “fun” coin of no little topical interest. It is the reverse of a coin of Valerian from Alexandria Troas (lot 316, Estimate: 75 CHF) and it shows what might be best described as a “bunch of drunks”! Herakles is standing at the center, helped by Pan who stands on his left, and by two satyrs, one of whom has his arms around Herakles’ waist (!) and another who holds his right arm. What a scene for a coin! It went for 380 CHF, which, in fact, turns out to be a colossal bargain since it previously sold for 900 EUR back in 2002!!! Maybe if I had written a big note on the coin it would have gone for more…
  • Anepigraphic Roman coins are quite unusual and they are usually identified as being tessera; with S C they tend to be known as “anonymous quadrants”. This piece, a tessera (lot 497, Estimate: 100 CHF), soared up to 600 CHF – quite a bit more than its purchase price in 2003!
  • Once again, style and rarity definitely mean a lot. Here is lot 530 (Estimate: 75 CHF), a nomos of Metapontum with dies cut by a follower of Euainetos: Yes, it has a die break, and yes, it has traces of die rust and corrosion, but it still soared up to 700 CHF!
Lot 569: Sicily, Syracuse. Second Democracy (466-405 BC). Tetradrachm, c. 440-430 BC. Artistic dies. Good very fine. Result: 9,000 CHF.
  • Sometimes, when our valiant cataloguers are working at top speed, and if owners insist on having their coins sell “at any price”, strange things happen. Take lot 569 (Estimate: 300 CHF), a tetradrachm from Syracuse struck from what our cataloguer called “artistic dies”. After getting 25 bids it went to an extremely astute bidder in the USA for 9,000 CHF (!).
  • As usual, coins of great rarity and equally great interest did very well, indeed. Here’s another one, an electrum 1/24th stater from somewhere in northern Greece with the type of a rather bug-eyed gorgoneion: lot 623, Estimate: 75 CHF. With 16 bids it sold for 1,900 CHF!
  • This coin looks rather pleasantly well-designed and struck from carefully engraved dies. It is vaguely reminiscent of coins struck in the time of Mithridates VI of Pontus, which is quite reasonable because it was struck in Pontus, at the obscure mint of Kamos (lot 763, Estimate: 200 CHF). But its date of 258 = 55/4 BC means it was minted somewhat later. If, however, you have never heard of Kamos, that’s fine, because Kamos is surely one of the rarest mint cities in northern Asia Minor. This is only the second known example of the type and so it went up to 550 CHF to a specialist.
Lot 843: Cyprus, Salamis. Evagoras I. Sixth stater, c. 411-374 BC. Rare denomination – no examples on CoinArchives. Toned. Light earthen deposits, otherwise, very fine. Result: 3,200 CHF.
  • For our final result from obolos 20, here we have lot 843 (Estimate: 200 CHF), an extremely rare – in fact, it seems to be unpublished – silver 1/6 stater from Salamis on Cyprus: with no fewer than 20 bids it finally sold for 3,200 CHF!

We could go on and on with results like this, but most of the coins in obolos 20 sold quite reasonably – though many of the buyers of the coins mentioned above undoubtedly thought those prices were reasonable! – at anywhere from the starting price to two or three times that. What a happy sale!


All lots of Obolos 20 can be found in the Nomos online catalog.

For further information, visit the website of Nomos AG.