Ancient rare Greek coins attract attention during New York international numismatic convention


Coins and Medals
6 Jan 2012
New York
Mysia, Pergamum (Pergamon), Gold Stater, After 336 BC
8.61g. Gulbenkian - 699, Jameson-2580 (Same Coin). Only three examples recorded. This historically highly significant coin was a piece presumably of Herakles, illegitimate son of Alexander, who grew up in Pergamon. It is very likely that he commissioned the emission before his assassination in 309.

Obverse: Alexander III as Herakles, wearing lion skin, facing right. Reverse: Archaistic Palladion standing figure with chlamys over shoulder, spear in raised right hand, shield w/ star in left hand. Crested Corinthian helmet in lower left field. Struck in extremely high relief, a few microscopic handling marks are confined mostly to the reverse field which are a very minor issue when one considers the extreme rarity of this outstanding specimen.

The Kingdom of Pergamum, situated in modern-day Turkey approximately 85 kilometers north of Izmir and 25 kilometers east of the Aegean Sea, played a significant role in the Ancient Mediterranean stage. The ancient city of Pergamon (or Pergamum, today's Bergama) was created by the newly-founded royal dynasty in the mid-third century BCE. It became one of the classic late-Hellenistic cities, on a dramatically steep site, with imaginative solutions to the urban design problems created by the site, wonderfully embellished by the generous attention of its royal (and other) patrons. The site divides into two main sections, the steep upper town and the flat lower town. Though today's Bergama is entirely in the lower areas, a number of important remains have survived even there: the Asklepieion, one of the major healing centers of antiquity, the Red Hall (Serapeum), the stadium, a Roman Bridge and tunnel. But it is the upper town that captures the imagination, with its extensive remains, innovations, and drama.

Bonhams announces a successful January 6 sale of Meyer & Ebe Ancient Greek Coins, which coincided with the 40th Annual New York International Numismatic Convention. There was a strong presence of international buyers from Europe and Asia, as well as buyers in the US. New bidders to Bonhams showed great interest, claiming most of the auction's lots, including the top lot of the sale. It was a thrilling auction, and week, for collectors and coin enthusiasts alike.

Paul Song, Director of Rare Coins and Banknotes at Bonhams, states, "We are quite pleased with the overall result of our Meyer and Ebe Collection of Ancient Greek Coins. We had selective but strong bidding for higher-end Greek Coins from a largely international crowd, bidding from Europe, Asia and the United States. Also, our private collection of British sovereigns sold to active bidding from the US and the UK. We are looking forward to our next auction to be held May 27 in our Los Angeles gallery of United States and World Gold Coins."

The top lot of the sale was an exceedingly rare Mysia, Pergamum, Gold Stater ca. 336 BC which claimed $104,500 (pre-sale est. $115,000-$125,000). This stunning example is one of less than a dozen known examples in existence, and is essentially in mint state. The second top lot of the sale was a Bruttium, Rhegium, Tetradrachm, 425-420 BC coin selling for $22,500 (pre-sale est. $30,000-$40,000). This example has a bold high relief, iconic image of a lion's scalp on the obverse.

Also highlighting the sale were numerous rarities from Ptolemaic Egypt, including a silver Decadrachm struck under Ptolemy III for the deified Arsinoe II, ca. 246-241 BC, selling for $20,625 (pre-sale est. $25,000-$28,000); an octadrachm struck under Berenike II, ca. 246-221 BC, selling for $17,500 (pre-sale est. $15,000-$18,000); and an octadrachm struck under Arsinoe II, ca. 253-246 BC, selling for $15,625 (pre-sale est. $16,000-$20,000).

Press Contacts:

Julie Saunders Guinta julie.saunders@bonhams.com (917) 206-1681


NOTES FOR EDITORS

Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to www.bonhams.com

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