World Coins

Despite withdrawn lots, Cabinet W collections nears $5

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

Even though the marquee lot and another rarity were seized by local authorities, the Jan. 4 auction of coins from collector Dr. Arnold-Peter Weiss realized $4,991,400, including the 18 percent buyer’s fee.

The collection was promoted as “Masterpieces of Ancient Greek Coinage: Selections from Cabinet W,” and the 19-lot offering was ripe with multiple highlights.

The lead lot, not counting the silver decadrachm of Akragas that was expected to establish a new record price for an ancient Greek coin (Coin World, Jan. 23 and Dec. 26 issues) before it was seized by authorities, was a unique silver tetradrachm of the tyrant Gelon. The coin features what Classical Numismatic Group and Nomos AG (which jointly conducted the auction) call “very probably the finest facing head ever to appear on Greek coinage.”

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 realized $826,000, including the 18 percent buyer’s fee.

A total of 15 lots were sold of the Cabinet W offerings, and for three catalogs worth of material offered in conjunction with the New York International Numismatic Convention, CNG realized in total $13,672,589. Results for the firm’s other two catalogs may be viewed at

The buyer’s fee was 18 percent, with discounts to 15 percent for certain bidding and payment methods; all prices here reflect the 18 percent fee.

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, Islands off Troas, Tenedos, circa 490 to 480 B.C. silver didrachm, 8.94 grams, “lightly toned and of superb late Archaic-early Classical style, a magnificent coin of great beauty, slightly porous surfaces, otherwise nearly Extremely Fine,” $212,400.

Greece, Thraco-Macedonian Tribes, Ichnai, circa 485 to 470 B.C. silver octadrachm, 28.97 grams, “probably the finest known of the type,” “lightly toned with some minor areas of flatness, otherwise Good Extremely Fine,” $236,000.

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, EF, $708,000.

Greece, Sicily, Naxos, circa 425 B.C. silver tetradrachm, 17.14 grams, “a lovely toned example, very well struck and centered,” EF, $324,500.

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, “some old scratches, long toned over, otherwise Extremely Fine,” $356,000.

Greece, Arkadia, Pheneos, circa 360 to 350 B.C. silver stater, 11.95 grams, “this example unrecorded,” “one of the finest known examples,” “very minor deposits on the reverse, otherwise Good Extremely Fine,” $356,000.

Greece, Arkadia, Stymphalos, circa 350 B.C. silver stater, 12.04 grams, “very probably the finest known example,” “some very minor traces of corrosion, otherwise Good Extremely Fine,” $356,000.

Greece, Sicily, Syracuse, Timoleon, circa 344 to 337 B.C. silver stater, 8.62 grams, “the second example known,” “some minor edge bumps from the striking process, otherwise a magnificent, well-nigh perfect coin,” Fleur de Coin, $224,200.

Greece, Phokis, Delphi, Amphictionic issues, circa 336 to 334 B.C. silver stater, 12.27 grams, “a lovely toned coin,” EF, $188,800.

Greece, Cyprus, Paphos, Nikokles, circa late 320s B.C. or later (perhaps circa 310 B.C.) silver distater, 21.29 grams, “the finest of only four known genuine examples,” “sharply struck in good silver, well centered,” EF, $708,000.

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,” “some very minor corrosion, otherwise virtually as struck, $236,000. ¦

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