Prospero Collection offers hundreds of ancient Greek rarities

Gold Pantikapaion stater among highlights
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Published : 12/21/11
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In a collection filled with numerous “finest known” and “unique” pieces, the circa 350 to 300 B.C. gold stater of Pantikapaion, a city on the Black Sea in ancient Greece, is perhaps the highlight.

The facing head Pantikapaion gold stater is regarded as “one of the greatest masterpieces of ancient coinage and is among the most spectacular numismatic objects to survive from the classical world,” according to the New York Sale auction consortium selling the coin.

The Greek colony, founded in the seventh century B.C., by the fourth century had amassed considerable wealth through its exports of grain, alluded to on the reverse design upon which a griffin stands. The obverse depicts a satyr with disheveled hair.

In Extremely Fine condition, the coin has an estimate of $650,000.

It is one of dozens of highlights from the Prospero Collection, which was formed over several decades by a collector with a passion for the arts and a taste for “beautiful and famous ancient Greek coins,” according to the sellers.

Artistically, the coins in the collection rate among the finest examples of ancient art. Many of the coins are unique or among a few examples known and many have a provenance linking them to historic collections dating from the early 19th century.

“Not since the Nelson Bunker Hunt collection of ancient Greek and Roman coins was sold in five parts by Sotheby’s in the 1990s has the numismatic community seen the sale of such an important collection of ancient coinage,” according to the New York Sale.

The Prospero Collection contains 642 coins that together are expected to realize many millions of dollars when sold Jan. 4.

The auction is one of three scheduled to be conducted during the New York International Numismatic Convention by the New York Sale entity. The partner firms for the New York Sale are Baldwin’s Auctions Ltd., Dmitry Markov Coins and Medals, and M & M Numismatics Ltd.

All successful bids are subject to a 15 percent buyer’s fee.

The auction catalog is posted for free viewing at the website www.theNewYorkSale.com. A limited edition hardcover copy is available for purchase.

The sale will be broadcast live over the Internet using www.the-saleroom.com.

For catalogs or more information, telephone Markov at 908-470-2828 or email him at markov@banet.com, telephone Lucien Birkler at M&M Numismatics at 202-833-3770, or contact Baldwin’s at (011) 44 20 7930 9808 or via email at auctions@baldwin.co.uk.

Some additional highlights:

Greece, Calabria, Tarentum, circa 344 to 338 B.C. gold stater, 8.56 grams, Lot 23, “two small insignificant nicks on the obverse and one on the reverse edge,” Extremely Fine.

Greece, Calabria, Tarentum, circa 302 B.C. gold stater, 8.58 grams, Lot 29, Good Very Fine.

Greece, Sicily, Katane, circa 415 to 404 B.C. silver tetradrachm, 16.51 grams, signed by the artist Choirion, Lot 135, Very Fine to Good VF.

Greece, Sicily, Naxos, circa 520 B.C. silver drachm, 5.68 grams, Chalcidian standard, “only three other examples from these dies,” Lot 148, Nearly EF.

Greece, Sicily, Naxos, circa 460 B.C. silver tetradrachm, 16.98 grams, die engraver believed to be the “Aitna Master,” coin is “one of the great classics of the ancient Greek series,” Lot 149, About EF.

Greece, Sicily, Naxos, circa 415 B.C. silver tetradrachm, 16.94 grams, Lot 150, Good VF.

Greece, Sicily, Naxos, circa 410 to 405 B.C. tetradrachm, 16.75 grams, “only four examples recorded,” Lot 151, “some light porosity, toned with some light iridescence,” About VF.

Greece, Sicily, Syracuse, circa 466 to 465 B.C. silver decadrachm, end of Deinomenid Tyranny and beginning of the Second Democracy, 42.65 grams, by the Demareteion Master, “one of the most spectacular of fifth century Greek coins,” Lot 163, VF.

Greece, Sicily, Syracuse, circa 466 to 465 B.C. silver tetradrachm, end of Deinomenid Tyranny and beginning of the Second Democracy, 17.09 grams, by the Demareteion Master, Lot 164, “a few pits towards obverse edge, lightly toned,” VF.

Greece, Sicily, Syracuse, Dionysios I, circa 405 to 400 B.C. silver decadrachm, by the artist Kimon, 42.7 grams, “from the very first pair of decadrachm dies,” Lot 174, Nearly EF.

Greece, Sicily, Syracuse, Dionysios I, circa 405 to 400 B.C. silver decadrachm, by the artist Kimon, 42.5 grams, Lot 175, About EF.

Greece, Sicily, Syracuse, Dionysios I, circa 405 to 400 B.C. silver tetradrachm, signed by Eukleidas, 17.11 grams, Lot 178, Good VF to Nearly EF.

Greece, Sicily, Syracuse, Dionysios I, circa 405 to 400 B.C. silver tetradrachm, signed by Kimon, 16.51 grams, “one of the most famous Greek coins,” Lot 179, obverse VF, the reverse “nearly so.”

Greece, Sicily, Syracuse, Dionysios I, circa 400 to 390 B.C. silver decadrachm, unsigned but by Euianetos, 43.26 grams, Lot 181, Nearly EF.

Greece, Siculo-Punic, circa 360 B.C. silver tetradrachm, 17.28 grams, Lot 198, EF.

Greece, Black Sea Region, Kolchis, late fifth to early fourth century B.C. silver didrachm, 9.33 grams, Lot 211, VF.

Greece, Black Sea Region, Pantikapaion, circa 340 to 325 B.C. gold stater, 9.1 grams, Lot 214, EF.

Greece, Macedon, Amphipolis, circa 366 to 365 B.C. silver tetradrachm, 14.21 grams, Lot 271, Good VF.

Greece, Macedon, Amphipolis, circa 360 to 359 B.C. silver tetradrachm, 14.11 grams, “only two examples from one set of dies,” Lot 272, Good VF.

Greece, Macedon, Amphipolis, circa 355 to 354 B.C. silver tetradrachm, 14.4 grams, “one of four recorded examples from this obverse die and the only example of this reverse die,” Lot 273, “toned,” VF.

Greece, Kingdom of Macedon, Alexander III (the Great), circa 327 B.C. Poros silver decadrachm of 5 shekels, struck at Babylon, 40.08 grams, Lot 304, Good VF.

Greece, Kingdom of Epirus, Pyrrhos, circa 280 to 277 B.C. silver tetradrachm, 16.77 grams, possibly from mint at Lokroi Epizephyrioi, Lot 340, “attractively toned,” EF.

Greece, Kingdom of Epirus, Pyrrhos, circa 278 B.C. gold stater, 8.55 grams, struck at Syracuse, Lot 342, Good VF.

Greece, Phokis, Delphi, circa 485 to 475 B.C. silver tridrachm, 18.36 grams, fewer “than a dozen known examples,” Lot 356, EF.

Greece, Attica, Athens, circa 467 to 465 B.C. silver decadrachm, 42.56 grams, “only two other examples known from this pair of dies, of the highest numismatic and historical importance and a magnificent example of ancient art,” Lot 369, “a few light marks, otherwise About Extremely Fine.”

Greece, Mysia, Lampsakos, circa 360 B.C. gold stater, 8.42 grams, “apparently unique,” Lot 468, EF.

Greece, Mysia, Pergamon, after 336 B.C. gold stater, 8.57 grams, “none of the published examples bear the rose on the reverse,” Lot 477, About EF.

Greece, Troas, Abydos, circa 410 B.C. gold stater, 8.58 grams, “unique,” Lot 483, obverse VF, reverse Good VF.

Greece, Caria, Halikarnassos, circa 375 B.C. silver tetradrachm, 13.98 grams, “unique,” “only known tetradrachm of Halikarnassos,” Lot 533, “toned,” Good VF.

Greece, Kingdom of Syria, Seleucid Kings, Seleukos I Nikator, circa 281 B.C. silver tetradrachm, 16.7 grams, Lot 610, “one of the finest known examples,” About EF.

Greece, Kyrenaika, Barke, circa 360 silver tetradrachm, 13.16 grams, Lot 629, VF.

Greece, Kyrenaika, Kyrene, circa 400 B.C. silver tetradrachm, 13.16 grams, “apparently only the second known example,” Lot 634, Good VF. ■

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