12-10-2014 – 16-10-2014
Russia for the third …
by Lutz Neumann-Lysloff
What will happen in the third auction of the fantastic Sincona Collection (auction 19)? Will the sanctions against Russia spoil the collectors’ fun? Will they buy less because the rouble has weakened? Will the prices become weaker or fall dramatically?
Well, one can answer the last three questions with a categorical No; and the first question with: Once again it was a superlative auction sale. The number of Russian clients that came to the viewing on Sunday led to the assumption that there was great interest for the sale. This was also noticeable in the minutes before the sale when the auction room began to fill with the most important dealers and buyers.
The auctioneer as well as the public were happy when the first lot – a denga from the year 1700 climbed from CHF 150 to CHF 3,200. No. 2, a small 5 kopeck piece from 1701, estimated at CHF 200 jumped to CHF 1,200. No. 3, a poltina 1701 – fetched about 10 times the estimate CHF 4,400 with CHF 42,000. The ban was now broken. No. 6, a not so attractive but rare polupoltinnik of 1703 exploded in price from CHF 500 to CHF 46,000.
But let us look at the really expensive coins. Lot 418, a pattern rouble from the year 1807 in Proof reached CHF 1,300,000 (estimate CHF 50,000).
The second item in the million category was lot 880, a pattern rouble from the year 1886. This rouble also cost CHF 1,300,000. It was estimated at CHF 80,000.
Ten lots fetched results in six digit figures. Especially noteworthy was lot 222, un unedited kopeck 1757 of the “baroque type”. Bernhard Brekke, the author of the standard book about Russian copper coinage predicted the appearance of such a coin. The records of the St. Petersburg mint show a mintage of such pieces in value of 6200 roubles. But the coin has never ever appeared anywhere before. Now this unique piece was in the Sincona Collection. Estimated at CHF 5,000, it was knocked down for CHF 130,000 after a heavy bidding match.
A family rouble of 1835 sold for CHF 550,000. The coin shows Czar Nicholas I on the obverse and his spouse and 7 children on the reverse. This is a classic rarity of Russian numismatics and the rarest variety of this emission. It was modelled after a Bavarian history taler of 1828 “Blessing of Heaven”.
One needs to download the Sincona prices realised list and compare it to the catalogue in order to really appreciate the astounding results. It is of special interest that many minor coins in Proof or best quality reached high prices. In all, the Russian coins, including a group from other consignations, over 11 million Swiss Francs.
Auction 20, the general sale, attained good prices. An Egyptian large gold medal (lot 2261) fetched CHF 42,000, slightly over the estimate. A specially beautiful taler 1696 of Henneberg sold for CHF 14,000 on the telephone. The estimate was CHF 7,000.
The 100 perpera 1910 of Montenegro (lot 3072) went for CHF 31,000 (15,000).
The special collection of Swiss coins realised extraordinary prices.
The first piece (lot 3277) an unusually beautiful batzen of 1808 from Aargau climbed after heavy bidding from an estimate of CHF 150 to CHF 1,000. A batzen of Bern from 1774 (lot 3341) realized CHF 1,300 (400). Lot 3491, a penny of of the Abbey of St. Gallen n. d. (1791) brought CHF 2,600. A dealer commented: “These are Russian prices”. In all the collection of Swiss coins fetched over CHF 145,000.
Auction 21 Banknotes – was postponed to May 2015. A technical breakdown made bidding over internet for the numerous registered clients impossible. The owner of Sincona AG, Jürg Richter, excused himself to the public in the auction room and reimbursed them generously for their futile attendance.
In all, the auctions realised over 12 million Swiss Francs. The fourth part of this unbelievable collection of Russian coins will come next year. This last “Sincona Collection” catalogue will be awaited with great anticipation and some “sadness”. It is the end of a collection of a century.
You can download the auction catalogues, result lists, and lists of unsold lots from the Sincona website.