Coins from the famed Archer M. Huntington Collection of Hispanic
Coins continue to enter into the marketplace.
Officials representing auction firms Jean Elsen, Numismatica
Genevensis and Morton & Eden have confirmed plans to sell coins
that were once in the 37,895-piece collection.
The entire collection was originally sold March 8 by its owner,
the Hispanic Society of America, in a single, sealed-bid sale. A
consortium of buyers placed the winning bid, and since have been
selling the coins both in private transactions and public auctions.
The first public auction of coins took place June 26. More recently,
Numismatica Ars Classica scheduled a sale for Oct. 17.
More than half of the 37,895 coins have already been bought by a
private individual and anonymously placed on long-term loan to the
American Numismatic Society, where the coins had resided since their
namesake placed them with the institution decades ago. When the ANS
moved, an agreement with the collection’s actual owner, the Hispanic
Society of America, was voided, and the coins were returned to the HSA.
Morton & Eden
London auction house Morton & Eden announced plans to offer
approximately 500 Portuguese and Portuguese colonial coins from the
collection on Nov. 13, at an auction estimated to realize about
£500,000 (about $809,542 U.S.).
A group of nearly 1,500 Spanish colonial coins will be offered in
an auction early in 2013, a representative for the firm said.
Highlighting the Nov. 13 auction is a “beautiful” and unique
variety of the excessively rare half dobra pé terra from the Lisbon
Mint, dating from the reign of Fernando I “the Handsome” (1367 to
1383), who is seen on the obverse, wearing armor, and holding a sword
Five examples of the half dobra pé terra are reported, in three
different design variations; two of the design varieties have a plain
central escutcheon on the reverse (two examples are recorded of both
varieties), and the offered variety has a pointed escutcheon, which is
described as unique.
The half dobra pé terra is very seldom if ever offered for sale,
according to Morton & Eden.
Though the coin in the auction has a minor edge chip at 4 o’clock,
it is otherwise Almost As Struck and estimated at £120,000 to £150,000
(about $194,332 to $242,909 in U.S. funds).
A dobra pé terra dating from the same period, also from the Lisbon
Mint and bearing a similar medieval portrait, is another highlight
from the Huntington Collection.
Nearly Extremely Fine, the dobra coin is estimated at £100,000 to
£120,000 (about $161,944 to $194,332, U.S.).
Another highlight is the fourth known example of a circa 1383 gold
real (tornés), which was struck in Santarém for D. Beatriz, “the Pretender.”
Beatriz was the only surviving child of Ferdinand I and, at 11
years old, married John I of Castile in May 1383. When her father died
in October of 1383, Beatriz’s mother was controversially proclaimed
Regent. John I of Castile invaded Portugal in December 1383 with the
aim of claiming the crown of Portugal in his wife’s name, leading to
the war of 1383 to 1385. Castile was eventually defeated, and John of
Aviz became King of Portugal.
Historians are still divided over whether Beatriz was correctly a
reigning monarch, and she is usually known as “Pretender.” Throughout
John of Castile’s lifetime he and Beatriz continued to use the titles
King and Queen of Portugal. She died in Castile in 1410. The few coins
struck in her name were presumably issued in the last months of 1383.
The four examples of the coin known to exist have minor variations
to the ends of the legend on both sides. The coin from the Huntington
Collection is one of two known of the variety; the other example,
described as “About Very Fine,” was sold in a Spink Taisei auction in
Zurich on June 9, 1993, for 140,000 Swiss francs.
Because three different die pairs were used to strike the coins,
researchers believe the coins were not struck for only a suggested
coinage, or as presentation pieces, but were intended to be a major
coinage, of which few examples survive, according to the firm.
In Good Very Fine/VF condition, the coin has an estimate of
£80,000 to £100,000 (about $128,250 to $161,944 U.S.).
While those three lots generate the headlines, many of the lots
from the Huntington Collection will be affordable to nearly all
collectors, according to the firm, with some estimates in the low
hundreds of pounds.
For more details of the auction, telephone James Morton at (011)
+44 20 7495 6325 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Later in November, Numismatica Genevensis SA will offer a large
selection from the Huntington Collection, including siege coins and
coins from the Netherlands, the French city of Besançon, the German
States and the rest of the world.
The offering from the collection features approximately 300 siege
coins issued across a nearly 200-year period.
According to a statement from the auction house, “The richness and
range of offerings is hard to believe, and with many rare pieces
offered in the triple-digit ranges, even the collector of more modest
means can get in on the action.”
Leading the Huntington Collection lots in the NGSA auction is a
gold 8 souverains d’or from Flanders, minted under Charles II in 1694.
Cataloged as Friedberg 229 in Gold Coins of the World by
Arthur L. and Ira S. Friedberg, it is one of 639 examples minted. In
EF condition, it has an estimate of 25,000 Swiss francs (about $26,625 U.S.).
Among the nearly 50 lots of coins from Besançon (with estimates
ranging from 200 Swiss francs to 10,000 Swiss francs) is the unique
1664 double ducat of Charles V (Charles I of Spain).
The coin is listed as F-75a, though the coin’s existence is listed
in that reference as unconfirmed. The next edition of the Friedberg
book will reflect the confirmation of its existence, Arthur Friedberg said.
The coin in the NGSA auction is graded EF with an estimate of
10,000 Swiss francs (about $10,652 U.S.).
The auction will
offer other Huntington Collection coins from the German states, the
Habsburg Empire, Great Britain, Russia, Brazil and many more. Further
details about the contents were unavailable at press time.
The auction, the firm’s seventh overall, is scheduled for Nov. 27
and 28 in Geneva.
For more information, telephone the firm at (011) 41 22 320 46 40
or email it at email@example.com. The
catalog will be posted to the NGSA website, found at www.ngsa.ch.
Philippe Elsen, of the Belgian firm Jean Elsen & ses Fils,
confirmed that the firm’s 115th auction, scheduled for Dec. 8, will
include coins of the Spanish Netherlands from the Huntington
A highlight is the gold double rose noble
(sovereign) from Kampen.
Undated, the coin was struck circa 1600 and meant to imitate the
English sovereign of Queen Elizabeth, according to the Friedberg
catalog, where it is classified as F-155 and noted as “very rare,”
which usually in the catalog indicates fewer than five examples known.
An EF example sold in a 2001 auction in the Netherlands for 46,000
This example, also in EF, has an estimate of 15,000 (about $19,347 U.S.).
A highlight from the silver section is the Uniedaalder (or Union
daalder) of Groninger Ommelanden, issued by Friesland when the area
between the Ems and Lauwers rivers were in rebellion. Dated 1579 and
struck at the mint in Appingedam, the coin is “of the greatest
rarity.” The coin is graded Good VF.
Email the auction business at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit its website,
www.elsen.eu, for more
Jesus Vico, the firm that conducted the first public auction of
coins from the Huntington Collection earlier in 2012, conducted a
second such auction Oct. 9. All 1,326 lots in the auction have the
Final results were not available at press time, but some
individual prices for highlights are available.
Leading the auction was the unique 1652 gold 8-escudo coin of
Pamplona, the only 8-escudo piece struck at that mint, according to
the auction house.
The coin weighs 26.95 grams.
Graded VF+, the coin sold for 575,000 (about $741,610 U.S.), its
Another highlight that drew interest equal to its estimate was the
1613 silver 50-real coin (cincuentin) from Segovia.
The giant silver cincuentin coins (measuring some 76 millimeters
in diameter and a weight of 171.5 grams) were not provided for in the
monetary system, but were created from 1609 to 1682 to be used as
gifts and to mark state visits by high-level European personalities.
This issue marks the royal visit of King Phillip III, his son the
Prince of Asturias, daughter Ana (later Anne, Queen of France) and the
other children of the king, among other relations.
One of three known examples, the coin bears the assayer’s mark APR
indicating Andres Pedrera.
Graded VF+/VF, the coin realized
170,000 (about $219,244 in U.S. funds). ■