31-07-2014 – 01-08-2014
Richard L. Lissner Collection: New World Coins
The Richard L. Lissner Collection: “New World” Coins
by D. Scott VanHorn
St. James’s Auctions, LLC (Knightsbridge Coins), of London, England, in association with Classical Numismatic Group, Inc., of Lancaster, Pennsylvania and London, England, and cataloging by M. Louis Teller Numismatic Company of Encino, California, are conducting the sale of The Richard L. Lissner Collection – The Collection of an American Connoisseur on 1-2 August 2014 at the Chicago Marriott O’Hare, just prior to the annual summer convention of the American Numismatic Association in Rosemont, Illinois.
Information for lot viewing, the virtual online catalog, online bidding, and ordering the printed catalog is available at CNG’s website under the Printed Auctions category.
The political and numismatic history of Central and South America begins almost immediately after the discovery of San Salvador by Cristóbal Colón (Christopher Columbus) on 12 October 1492. Under the terms of the 1494 Treaty of Tordesillas, which divided the newly-discovered lands outside of Europe between Spain and Portugal along an imaginary north-south line 370 leagues (1184 nautical miles) west of the Cape Verde Islands, Spain was to receive sole control over the New World. Because the terms failed to take into account the location of the continent of South America in relation to the boundary line, the tip of what is modern-day Brazil came under Portuguese control. For this reason, while the rest of Central and South America became part of the Spanish Empire and followed the currency system of Spain, Brazil’s coinage is based on that of Portugal. To control all Spanish exploration and colonization, and to collection import duties and taxes of all goods entering Spain, the Casa y Audiencia de Indias, more commonly known as the Casa de Contratación, was established in Seville.
This sale presents the specialist with an unparalleled opportunity to acquire specimens that took Dick Lissner over 50 years to acquire.
Highlights of difficult to acquire, but less expensive pieces:
Lot 1140. ARGENTINA, Provincias del Rio de la Plata. 1813-1837. AR 2 Soles (28mm, ~6.76 g, 12h). La Rioja mint. Dated 1826 RA. This coin has metal alignment and is missing the P. KM 18. In NGC encapsulation graded MS 63. Beautifully lightly toned choice uncirculated specimen with wonderful surfaces. Very scarce type coin. Estimate: $750.
Lot 1161. BOLIVIA, Republic. 1825-present. AR 1/4 Sol (13mm, 0.82 g, 6h). Potosí mint. Dated 1852. KM 111; Y 1. In NGC encapsulation graded MS 67 WINGS APPROVED. Choice uncirculated with light overall patina and a hint of light blue. Highest graded specimen. A one year only type. Extremely difficult to find in this condition. Estimate: $200.
Lot 1337. CHILE, Republic. 1818-present. AR 1/2 Real (17mm, ~1.70 g, 6h). Santiago mint. Dated 1840 So IJ. KM 98.1. In NGC encapsulation graded MS 66 WINGS APPROVED. Gem fully prooflike specimen. Quality strike. A two-year type. The only coin ever graded for the date. Superb quality. Estimate: $600.
Lot 1435. COLOMBIA, Republica de Colombia (Gran Colombia). Provincia de la Nueva Granada. Cundinamarca. 1819-1830. AR Real (19mm, 3.42 g, 6h). Bogotá mint. Dated 1821 BA JF. KM B9. In NGC encapsulation graded MS 64 WINGS APPROVED. Lightly toned fabulous strike. Close to perfection. Highest graded specimen. A remarkable coin and so atypical of the type, which is normally found in lower grade. Estimate: $750.
Lot 1536. COSTA RICA, Central American Republic. Issued under the República de Costa Rica. 1823-1839. AV 1/2 Escudo (14mm, 1.60 g, 12h). San José mint. Juan Barth, assayer. Dated 1848 CR JB. KM 13.1; Cr 6. In NGC encapsulation graded MS 64. A virtual gem BU with full tree and very choice lustrous surfaces. Highest graded. A stunner. Estimate: $750.
Lot 1616. DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, Segunda República. 1865-pres. Proof AR 10 Centavos (18mm, 2.50 g, 6h). Paris mint; différents: cornucopia and torch. Henri-Auguste Patey, engraver general. Régie des Monnaies, directors. Dated 1897 A. KM 13; Y 11. In NGC encapsulation graded PF 63. Beautiful brilliant proof with a hint of patina and a few tiny contact marks. Extremely rare. This is the only graded proof of this denomination. Estimate: $1,500.
Lot 1625. ECUADOR, Republic. 1830-pres. AR 1/2 Real (16mm, 1.79 g, 6h). Quito mint. Santiago Taylor, assayer. Dated 1838 ST. KM 22; Y 2. In NGC encapsulation graded MS 65. Gem uncirculated with moderate toning over lustrous surfaces. Strike is sharp as a razor. This particular lot of coins that Dick purchased out of the Superior sale of the Wolfson collection is one of the best buys of all time. Extremely rare type. Estimate: $2,000.
Lot 1675. EL SALVADOR, Republic. 1841-pres. CU Centavo (25mm, 4.91 g, 6h). Central America (San Salvador) mint. Dated 1892. KM 108; Y 3. In NGC encapsulation graded MS 63 BN. Deep brown surfaces. One-year only type and only a small amount were put in circulation, most were melted. Estimate: $150.
Purchased from Meridian Coin Company. Ex Palace Collections of Egypt (King Farouk – Sotheby’s, 24 February 1954), lot 2090 (part of).
Lot 1711. GUATEMALA, Republic. 1839-pres. AR 1/4 Real (11mm, 0.76 g, 6h). Nueva Guatemala mint. Dated 1859. KM 130; Y 1. In NGC encapsulation graded MS 64. Choice toned uncirculated. Only two graded, one in XF and this one. Of the highest rarity and the rarest 1/4 real of Guatemala. Estimate: $4,000.
Lot 1839. HONDURAS, Republic. 1840-pres. Proof Pattern CU 2 Pesos (26mm, 6.39 g, 12h). Provisional coinage. London mint. Dated 1862 TA. KM 25; Y P2. In NGC encapsulation graded PF 65 RB. Super choice reddish brown. Highest graded. Estimate: $500.
Lot 1932. MEXICO, Segunda República. 1867-1905. AV 2½ Pesos (16mm, 4.24 g, 6h). Ciudad de México (Mexico City) mint. Dated 1888 Mo M. KM 411.5. In NGC encapsulation graded MS 65 WINGS APPROVED. Gem prooflike BU or specimen quality. Finest example we have seen. An ultimate type coin with a total mintage of 540 struck. Estimate: $1,500.
Lot 1971. NICARAGUA, Republic. 1838-pres. AR 50 Centavos (29mm, 12.56 g, 12h). Philadelphia mint. Dated 1929. KM 15; Y 15. In NGC encapsulation graded MS 62. Blast white choice BU. Highest graded specimen of the date. Estimate: $250.
Lot 2005. PARAGUAY, Republic. 1811-pres. CU 1/12 Real (23mm, 6.38 g, 1h). Soho (Birmingham) mint. Dated 1845. KM 1.1; Y 1. In NGC encapsulation graded MS 66 BN WINGS APPROVED. Toned gem UNC. Highest ever graded by 8 grades. Estimate: $200.
Lot 2067. PERU, Republic. 1821-present. AV 1/2 Escudo (15mm, 1.69 g, 6h). Lima mint. Dated 1828 JM. KM 146.1; C 141.1. In NGC encapsulation graded MS 64 WINGS APPROVED. Choice brilliant uncirculated with full luster. Only two of this date have been graded and this is 10 grades higher than the other. Estimate: $400.
Lot 2136. URUGUAY, Republic. 1830-present. Proof CU-NI 10 Centesimos (24mm, 6.02 g, 6h). Vienna mint. Dated 1936 A. KM 28; Y 19. In NGC encapsulation graded PF 66 WINGS APPROVED. A gem lightly toned proof. A jewel. Very few minted. Estimate: $200.
Lot 2165. VENEZUELA, Republic. 1830-present. AR 2 Reales (23mm, 4.60 g, 6h). Paris mint; différents: hand and anchor. Désiré-Albert Barre, engraver general. Ch.-Louis Dierickx, director. Dated 1858 A. KM (Y) 10. In NGC encapsulation graded MS 65 WINGS APPROVED. Gem beautifully colored proof-like. Without a doubt, one of the most beautiful coins in this collection. Highest graded for the type. Estimate: $6,000.
Then for history and rarity a few select examples:
Coquimbo ‘Fine’ Peso, From the Boyd collection
Lot 1334. CHILE, Republic. 1818-present. AR ‘Fine Type’ Peso (41mm, 25.95 g, 12h). Coquimbo mint. Gregorio Cordovez, mintmaster. Theodor Hagen, assayer. Dated 1828 TH. KM 88. In NGC encapsulation graded MS 63 WINGS APPROVED. Deep mottled toning over incredibly lustrous fields. Razor sharp strike. This is the finest known Mint State example in existence, next closest graded specimen is AU 58. This cataloger had the opportunity to hold the Lissner coin and the AU coin together at a recent Chicago Coin Fair, a once in a lifetime opportunity. Estimate: $100,000.
Ex F.C.C. Boyd Collection (Superior Stamp & Coin, 19 August 1975), lot 1787.
The ultimate jewel in the crown of the Richard Lissner Collection. This was Richard’s favorite South American coin and is the centerpiece of his South American collection. Only one other coin from Ecuador reaches the rarity and desirability of this coin. These coins were struck at a provincial mint less than fifty miles from Santiago during the early stages of the Chilean Republic.
Because of the distance between the mines at Coquimbo and the mint at Santiago, a local mint at the mines was proposed. Authorized in 1827, the new mint was supervised by Gregorio Cordovez. Under him, Theodor (or Teodoro) Hagen acted as both engraver and assayer. When the Santiago mint failed to send some of the materials necessary for the manufacture of dies, Hagen was forced to create his own for his initial trial strikes of issues from the new mint.
In late June and again in mid November 1828, two trials of the Coquimbo mint’s initial output were shipped to Santiago for inspection. Included in these were examples of the 1828 peso. In both cases, mint officials rejected the coins on the basis of their lower than expected fineness and “defective” (i.e. crude) engraving and execution. These two samples constitute the so-called ‘Crude Type’.
By late 1829, a screw press was installed at the Coquimbo mint and Hagen, with hubs and prepared punches now at his disposal, was able to make dies of a finer style, unlike the earlier, hand-engraved, ones used in 1828. Although the Coquimbo Mint was now equipped to strike coinage of a high standard and did begin striking trials of the new, so-called ‘Fine Type’ peso, the Chilean Civil War of 1829-1830 forced the Coquimbo mint to close and its bullion and trial strikes to be lost in looting. Today, no more than fourteen examples of the ‘Fine Type’ peso are known, with one in the British Museum and one in the Banco de Chile collection.
Lot 1710. GUATEMALA, Central American Republic. 1823-1839. AV 8 Escudos (36mm, 27.12 g, 12h). Nueva Guatemala mint. Manuel Eusebio Sanchez, assayer. Dated 1824 NG M. Friedberg 26; KM 8. In NGC encapsulation graded MS 62 WINGS APPROVED. Lustrous BU with very prooflike devices. Incredibly nice strike with full ceiba tree. Extremely rare. Two-year only type. Only one graded higher. Estimate: $75,000.
Lot 2120. PERU, Confederación Perú-Boliviana. Estado Sud Peruano (South Peru). 1836-1839. AV 8 Escudos (36mm, 27.04 g, 12h). Cuzco mint. Dated 1838 MS. KM 171; C 184; Calicó, Onza 2251 (this coin illustrated). In NGC encapsulation graded MS 64 WINGS APPROVED. Choice brilliant uncirculated with lustrous muted surfaces on obverse and fully prooflike reverse. One of only two at this, the highest, grade for date and type, and very rare so choice. Estimate: $5,000.
Ex Paul Karon Collection (Superior Galleries, 11 December 1992), lot 99; Mortimer Hammel Collection (Stack’s, 15 September 1982) lot 908.
Printed catalogs for the Lissner Collection are now available. To order a catalog, please visit cngcoins.com and visit the Order a Printed Lissner Catalog page under the Printed Auctions category. Catalogs are $75 to North American addresses, and $100 to the rest of the world. Payment may be made by U.S. $ check or Visa/MasterCard.
We published an auction preview of the Lissner Collection sale in CoinsWeekly.
You can view the Lissner Collection sale on the CNG website.
There is also available a preview catalogue for world coins.
To browse through the Lissner Collection in the CNG coin shop please click here.
If you are also interested in coins from the Old World, read on here.
If you want to learn more about Richard Lissner don’t miss this article written by his friend Mark Teller.