A unique South African bronze 1928 pattern sovereign, graded Matte Proof 64 by NGC, brought $184,000 as the top lot in Heritage Auctions’ $10.7+ million Jan. 2-3 World & Ancient Coins Signature® Auction at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel held as part of the New York International Numismatic Convention (NYINC). All prices include 19.5% Buyer’s Premium.
“South African numismatics are quite hot and the prices in this auction show that, led by this beautiful pattern sovereign,” said Cristiano Bierrenbach, Vice President of Heritage Auctions. “This coin appealed broadly to collectors worldwide, for a variety of reasons, and ended up more than doubling its pre-auction estimate of $40,000+.”
The $10.7 million total prices realized came from more than 2,580 bidders vying for more than 2,250 lots in the auction, translating into a sell-through rate of 87% by value. While the NYINC World & Ancient Coins auction was happening, Heritage was conducting its annual FUN U.S. Coins and Currency auctions in Orlando, FL. The Currency section of the FUN auction realized $7.64+ million, with a 93.7% sell-through rate by value, while the U.S. Coins section realized approximately $64 million, also with a 93.7% sell-through rate by value, lifting Heritage’s New Year’s Week’s total to well above $75 million.
“Prices were solid, the offerings were top shelf and collector interest was steady,” said Bierrenbach, “resulting in steady bidding and superb results in a market with a close eye on the current international financial situation.”
Right behind the 1928 South African pattern sovereign was another spectacular South African coin, a proof 5 shilling piece dated 1892 and graded Proof 66 Cameo by NGC, which realized $161,000 after several rounds of spirited bidding.
“This beauty, from the Orange River Collection, is one of an estimated mintage of only 25 pieces and perhaps the finest we’ve ever seen at Heritage,” said Bierrenbach. “With a final price of $161,000, it roughly doubled the pre-auction estimate.”
Two other numismatic hotbeds contributed the next three results from this auction. From Brazil, a pair of extremely rare 6400 Reis coins from 1827 – one from the Rio mint and one from Bahia – realized $143,750 and $126,500 respectively, while from Australia came a very rare 1919 George V copper-nickel pattern Kookaburra penny, a choice and original piece that brought $86,250.
One of the observable trends of the week, while South African and South American coins performed with such uniform strength, was the comparative softening of the market for Chinese rarities.
“Prices, while still stratospheric when compared to three years ago,” said Bierrenbach, “are about 20%-30% lower across the board when compared with six months ago.”
Further highlights include, but are not limited to:
Regensburg: Free City gold 8 Ducats, ND (1765-90), Fr-2558, MS63 Prooflike NGC: Realized: $69,000.
Poland: Nicholas I Proof 10 Zlotych-11/2 Roubles 1833 H? (St. Petersburg), KM-C134, Proof 67 NGC: Realized: $63,250.
Russia: Nicholas I Novodel Family 1-1/2 Roubles 1836, KM-C172.2, MS61 NGC: Realized: $57,500.
Argentina: La Rioja gold 8 Escudos General Rosas 1842R, KM14, XF40 NGC: Realized: $51,750.
Cuba: Republic gold 2 Pesos 1916, KM17, Proof 65 PCGS: Realized: $51,750.
China: Hupeh. Tael Year 30 (1904), KM-Y128.2, MS64 NGC: Realized: $46,000.