World Coins

Nomos Ag auction offers Holy Grail of Greek coins

One of three examples available to collect of the 1852 gold 20-drachma coin of Greece’s King Otto realized $1,170,886 U.S., including the buyer’s fee, in Nomos Ag’s March 23 auction of the El Greco Collection.

Images courtesy of Nomos Ag.

The Holy Grail of modern Greek coins, an 1852 gold coin carrying a face value of 20 drachmai, sold March 23 at auction for the equivalent of $1,170,886 U.S.

The coin was sold in Nomos Ag’s auction No. 31, of the El Greco Collection of Modern Greek Rarities. The sale was held in conjunction with A Karamitsos, where it realized a hammer price of 850,000 Swiss francs, or 1,041,250 Swiss francs after the buyer’s premium of 22.5%.

The buyer does not want to be identified but bought heavily in the auction, purchasing several other important coins as well, according to Alan Walker of Nomos.

A major rarity

“There is some disagreement as to the number of 20 drachmai coins struck in 1852,” according to The Coinage of Modern Greece, Crete, the Ionaina Islands and Cyprus, by S. Gardiakos. 

Figures range from two to 32, according to the book, which noted that a 1932 publication of the Greek Ministry of Finance reported the mintage at 16. The piece is one of three examples available privately, according to Nomos.

The coin, which was struck in Athens, weighs 5.76 grams and measures 21 millimeters in diameter.

The coin shows King Otto, a Bavarian prince who ruled as king of Greece from the establishment of the Kingdom of Greece on May 27, 1832, under the Convention of London, until he was deposed in October 1862.

The obverse of the coin depicts the king, and the reverse carries the crowned shield bearing the coat of arms of Greece with the Wittelsbach arms at the center; all within an olive wreath with ties below.

The coin is graded Mint State 62 by Numismatic Guaranty Co., and is unique in the population reports of NGC and Professional Coin Grading Service. 

The auction realized prices totaling 3,670,300 Swiss francs, equivalent to $5,055,884 U.S. including the buyer’s fees.

For full details, visit the auction house website,

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