Morton & Eden auction realizes $1.6 million

South African special order coin tops bidding
Published : 12/24/11
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A South African rarity created at the direction of industrialist and financier Sammy Marks led all bidding for individual lots during a Nov. 29 and 30 auction in London.

The 1898 gold 3-tickey coin (threepence), in Extremely Fine “or better,” realized £39,600 ($62,232 in U.S. funds), nearly 10 times its lower estimate.

The coin was one of 215 pieces struck from .9167 fine gold using dies for a silver denomination (though no silver tickeys were stuck with that date). The coins were struck at the behest of South African financier Sammy Marks during a specially arranged one-day visit to the Pretoria Mint, using gold most likely recovered from his Sheba mine near Barberton. Marks distributed the pieces to his friends, family and confidants, which included the South African President Paul Kruger seen on the obverse of the coin.

Many of the issues were used in jewelry, according to Morton & Eden, the London auction house that held the auction, so the condition was especially rare for the coin.

The sale raised a total of £1,044,112 ($1,670 579), including the 20 percent buyer’s fee (all price here reflect the fee). For information about another marquee lot, gold coins from the Hackney Hoard, please see the story at

The auction was conducted in association with Sotheby’s.

The complete catalog and prices realized are posted at the firm’s website,

For information about the auction, email Morton & Eden at, visit its website or telephone the firm at (011) 44 20 7493 5344.

Some additional highlights:

Islamic, Post-reform Umayyad, 79h (circa 698 to 699) silver dirham, Anbir mint, “only recorded date for this extremely rare Umayyad mint, “edge chip, otherwise Very Fine,” £33,600 ($52,816 U.S.).

Islamic, post-reform Umayyad, Amirs of Crete, Shu ‘ayb b. ‘Umar, circa A.H. 270 to A.H. 280 (circa A.D. 883 to 894) gold dinar, no mint name, “overstruck on a Byzantine solidus of Theophilus,” “apparently unpublished, this is the earliest date recorded for the gold coinage of the Amirs of Crete,” “some edge damage, otherwise Very Fine,” £14,400 ($22,597 U.S.).

Greece, Otho, 1844 silver 5-drachma coin, Athens Mint, “traces of original ‘guidelines,’ virtually Mint state,” £19,200 ($30,161 U.S.).

Greece, Otho, 1845 silver 5-drachma coin, Athens Mint, “lightly cleaned, Very Fine,” £24,000 ($37,115 U.S.).

Greece, Otho, 1847 silver 5-drachma coin, Athens Mint, “toned, some brilliance, weakly struck on crown, nearly Mint state,” £36,000 ($56,591 U.S.).

Greece, Otho, 1847 silver half drachma, Athens Mint, About EF, £16,800 ($26,370 U.S.).

Greece, George I, 1868 silver 50-lepton coin, Paris Mint, “60 pieces struck,” “proof-like fields, colourful tones, almost Mint state,” £16,800 ($26,370 U.S.). ■

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