Auction 67 of numismatics: always alive the passion for Greek coins

United States, Great Britain, Germany, Switzerland: collectors from all over the world came from all over the world who, on July 11th, animated the auction of ancient and modern coins held in London by Bertolami Fine Art. To give battle, often winning it, even fierce Asian collectors of classical numismatics, the umpteenth confirmation, if necessary, of the universal afflatus of a myth that modernity is unable to mist, the myth of Greco-Roman civilization.

The modern collecting of numismatics and archaeology demands documented provenance

"Given the excellent selection of coins in the catalogue, with pieces of often exceptional quality, we expected the interest of a highly qualified collector, but the final results exceeded our most optimistic expectations. I believe that it was the illustrious provenance of most of the lots in the competition that made the difference, a peculiarity to which contemporary antiquities collecting attributes increasing importance. The fact that many of the pieces for sale came from historic European collections sparked the race to buy. Andrea Pancotti, head of the numismatics department of the auction house founded by the Roman entrepreneur Giuseppe Bertolami, speaks.

The success of the Greek World section: Greek coins and Greek mage again in the buyers' shopping bag

The most attentive analysts confirm the truthfulness of the assumption on which Pancotti and his staff have worked: the real trend in the international collecting market of ancient numismatics and archaeology is the search for quality and quality is not recognized in the absence of a scrupulously documented provenance. The proof of the nine comes from the success obtained by the "Greek World" section, dedicated to Greek coinage and Greek magno. Too beautiful not to be desired and too desirable not to be massively counterfeited, Greek coins have seen their commercial success decline due to the growing distrust of buyers. There is no doubt about this: the fear of running into a counterfeit is holding back the market. The scenario changes radically in the presence of pieces above suspicion. And those brought to London by Bertolami left no room for doubt, which is why even the nominal bronzes, traditionally the most fake ones, left en masse.

Agyrion, Hemilitron, 339-336 BC.
Lot 38 of the Bertolami Fine Art auction No. 67 of Ancient and Modern Numismatics,
London 11 July 2019

Sold for € 6.388,48

The Greek bronze coins? They are fine (if authenticity is guaranteed)

The most popular lot in the Greek bronze category is a Hemilitron of Agyrion (339-336 BC), characterized by a very fine style and bright green patina. Starting from a base of 1680 euros, the coin reached a final price of 6,388, a remarkable figure for its type, a rare example of the second series of coins minted by the Sicilian city - today's Agira, in the province of Enna - in the variant with Hercules' head on the obverse and leopard devouring a prey on the reverse.

Mozia, Tetradracma, about 405-397 BC.
Lot 121 of the Bertolami Fine Art n. 67 auction of ancient and modern Numismatics,
London 11 July 2019

Sold at € 15,276, vice world record for this type of currency.

Comes from the island of Mozia the top lot of the Greek coins section

Among the Greek Sicilian silverware, the lot 121, a Mozia's tetradrama a.C., it won the interest of the enthusiasts. the exemplar was a valuable expression of the stylistic renewal suffered by the minting of the Sicilian island starting from 405-397 b.C., a renewal that, in the case of the tetradramas, led to the introduction of the type with the head of Arethusa surrounded by dolphins on the obverse and realistic representation of crab on the reverse, on the model of the splendid cones made in Syracuse by the legendary engraver Kimon. The elegant and severe style of the last season of classicism, the perfect state of preservation, the extreme rarity and the impeccable provenance justify the sale price of 15,276 euros which is the second award of all time for this type. It started from an auction base of 8,960 euros.

Sicily, Himera - Thermai Himeraiai, tetradrama, ca 350 B.C.
Lot 211 of the auction Bertolami Fine Art n. 67 of ancient and modern Numismatics,
London 11 July 2019

Sold for € 10,814

Beauty and rarity: only four examples known for a precious variant of the Himera tetradrama

A tetradrama of Himera, the oldest of the Sicilian colonies of Greek foundation, of the greatest rarity. There are in fact only four known examples of the variant that contrasts the usual image of the quadriga led by a charioteer crowned by a winged victory with a verse with the head of Tanit-Persephone surrounded by dolphins. If we add to the rarity, as in the case of the coin sold by BFA, stylistic and conservative excellence, the success of the sale, in this case at €10,814, is guaranteed.

Syracuse, tetradrama coined between 413 and 405 BC, attributed to Sosion and Eumenos.
Only four known specimens.
Lot 142 of the Bertolami Fine Art n. 67 auction of ancient and modern Numismatics,
London 11 July 2019

Sold for € 6,217

The search for perfection guides the choices of high-end collecting

The audience seems to have been intimidated by a slight porosity of the silver, a ridiculous defect, yet capable of affecting the outcome of the race. A striking confirmation of the exhausting search for perfection that now prevails in the sector market.


Angelica Bonvicini

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