World Coins

Ancient coins comprise Cabinet W collection

A unique circa 485 B.C. silver tetradrachm of the tyrant Gelon realized $826,000 during a Jan. 4 auction in New York City.

A unique silver tetradrachm of the tyrant Gelon, featuring what the auction house calls “very probably the finest facing head ever to appear on Greek coinage,” is a highlight from the auction of Masterpieces of Ancient Greek Coinage: Selections from Cabinet W.

The 19-lot catalog is offered at auction Jan. 4 by Classical Numismatic Group in association with Nomos AG.

The circa 485 B.C. silver coin was issued in Syracuse in Sicily, part of ancient Greece, and bears a striking portrait of the river god Alpheios on the obverse.

The coin was reportedly discovered in dealer stock in Europe, uncleaned and thickly encrusted, before ancient coins dealer Sylvia Hurter picked it out and sold it in 2000 to an American collector. The American collector “had it very professionally and very carefully cleaned: this is the result,” according to the auction catalog.

The reverse of the coin is “marginally triple struck,” but otherwise the coin is in Extremely Fine condition. It has an opening bid of $600,000.

The coin is just one of the highlights from the Cabinet W auction, which have opening bids together totaling more than $6.7 million (two of the lots are featured in separate coverage in Coin World, Dec. 26, 2011, and Jan. 2, 2012 issues).

The auction is one of seven being held in conjunction with the New York International Numismatic Convention, with three catalogs from CNG offering several thousand lots of a wide array of material. Previews for the firm’s other two catalogs may be viewed at

Virtual catalogs may be viewed at the firm’s website, and are accessible through; printed catalogs may be ordered from the firm for a fee.

For more information, telephone the firm at 717-390-9194, email it at or visit its website.

Some additional highlights:

Greece, Sicily, Naxos, circa 520 B.C. silver drachm, 5.75 grams, Chalkidian standard, Lot 1001, “toned and of splendid late archaic style,” About Extremely Fine.

Greece, Islands off Troas, Tenedos, circa 490 to 480 B.C. silver didrachm, 8.94 grams, Lot 1002, “lightly toned and of superb late Archaic-early Classical style, a magnificent coin of great beauty, slightly porous surfaces, otherwise nearly Extremely Fine.”

Greece, Thraco-Macedonian Tribes, Ichnai, circa 485 to 470 B.C. silver octadrachm, 28.97 grams, “probably the finest known of the type,” Lot 1004, “lightly toned with some minor areas of flatness, otherwise Good Extremely Fine.”

Greece, Phokis, Delphi, circa 480 to 475 B.C. silver tridrachm, 18.31 grams, “extremely rare and of the greatest artistic, historical and architectural importance,” “a superb example, probably the finest known,” from the Asyut Hoard, Lot 1005, EF.

Greece, Sicily, Naxos, circa 425 B.C. silver tetradrachm, 17.14 grams, Lot 1007, “a lovely toned example, very well struck and centered,” EF.

Greece, Sicily, Katane, circa 405 to 403/2 B.C. silver tetradrachm, 17.2 grams, signed by the engraver Herakleidas on the obverse, Lot 1009, “toned, and of splendid classical style,” EF.

Greece, Macedon, Chalkidian League, circa 380s to 370 B.C. silver tetradrachm, 14.6 grams, Olynthos Mint, “apparently an unpublished die pair,” Lot 1010, “a serene and youthful head of Apollo of great beauty,” EF.

Greece, Argolis, Argos, circa 370 to 350 B.C. silver stater, 11.99 grams, “the second example known,” Lot 1011, “some striking flatness but beautifully toned and struck on a broad flan,” EF.

Greece, Arkadia, Arkadian League, Megalopolis, summer 363 to spring 362 B.C. silver stater, 11.76 grams, signed on the reverse by the magistrate Olympios, Lot 1012, “some old scratches, long toned over, otherwise Extremely Fine.”

Greece, Arkadia, Pheneos, circa 360 to 350 B.C. silver stater, 11.95 grams, “this example unrecorded,” “one of the finest known examples,” Lot 1013, “very minor deposits on the reverse, otherwise Good Extremely Fine.”

Greece, Elis, Olympia, 107th Olympiad, 352 B.C. silver stater, 12.18 grams, “the only example from this die pair known,” “one of the most powerful and impressive of all the heads of Zeus to be found on the coinage of Olympia,” Lot 1014, “beautifully toned and very well struck,” EF.

Greece, Arkadia, Stymphalos, circa 350 B.C. silver stater, 12.04 grams, “very probably the finest known example,” Lot 1015, “some very minor traces of corrosion, otherwise Good Extremely Fine.”

Greece, Sicily, Syracuse, Timoleon, circa 344 to 337 B.C. silver stater, 8.62 grams, “the second example known,” Lot 1016, “some minor edge bumps from the striking process, otherwise a magnificent, well-nigh perfect coin,” Fleur de Coin.

Greece, Phokis, Delphi, Amphictionic issues, circa 336 to 334 B.C. silver stater, 12.27 grams, Lot 1017, “a lovely toned coin,” EF.

Greece, Sicily, uncertain Punic military mint, circa 320 to 310 B.C. silver tetradrachm, 16.8 grams, “probably the most beautiful of all Carthaginian silver coins,” Lot 1019, “some very minor corrosion, otherwise virtually as struck.” ¦

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