World Coins

Ancient coin from legendary designer brings big price

The artist Kimon is regarded as one of the finest of Syracuse, the center for ancient coin art. This silver decadrachm by Kimon sold during Fritz Rudolph Künker’s Sept. 26 auction.

The market for premium ancient Greek and Roman coins continues to thrive, based on recent auction results in sales in Europe.

Recent offerings of major collections, as well as scattered highlights of iconic coins, provide proof that the top end of the market is, for the most part, cruising right along. Some weakness is evident when material isn’t superb quality, but top items bring top prices.

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A handful of lots sold at auction in late September to mid-October reveal market dynamics for these popular areas of coin collecting. Here is one of five that we’re breaking down over the coming days:

A classic Greek coin

Ancient Greek coins are revered for their artistry and have inspired countless imitations and homages across the centuries since they were issued.

They are, in many ways, the standard bearers for classical beauty in coin design.

Among the well known and respected practitioners of this art is the sculptor known to us today as Kimon.

A silver decadrachm by Kimon was sold during Fritz Rudolph Künker’s auction No. 280 on Sept. 26 in Osnabrück, Germany.

The circa 412 to 409 B.C. silver decadrachm was made for Syracuse, one of the centers of ancient monetary artistry.

The obverse features that familiar image of a quadriga, while the image of Arethusa graces the reverse.

This example is graded Extremely Fine, according to the auction firm, and that could explain why it just met its pre-sale estimate of €100,000, realizing €108,000 ($121,191 U.S.), including the 20 percent buyer’s fee.

Keep reading about recently sold ancient rarities:

‘Eid Mar’ denarius of Brutus‘Eid Mar’ denarius of Brutus brings in over $300,000 in auctio: Perhaps no coin of antiquity is as familiar, or as important, as the ‘Eid Mar’ denarius of Brutus.


A.D. 71 gold aureus of VespasianHow much would you pay for this gold aureus from A.D. 71? (Tip: It would need to be a lot): The design is more readily available as a silver denarius, but less so in gold on the aureus.

460 B.C. silver tetradrachms of NaxosWhy this 460 B.C. silver tetradrachm brought a whopping $613,999: The coin is "Very rare and among the finest specimens known of this prestigious and fascinating issue."

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