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Greece Still Raking In The Dough

from The Financial Times

Greek coin lot set to fetch millions

By Susan Moore

Greek Coin

While investors across the globe are preoccupied by the fate of Greece’s currency, a British collection of just a few hundred Greek coins is predicted to fetch millions of dollars when auctioned next month in New York.

Described by Paul Hill of Baldwin’s, the London coin dealer, as “the most important collection of ancient Greek coins to appear on the market in almost a quarter of a century”, the 642-piece Prospero Collection will go under the hammer on January 4.

Arguably the rarest and most spectacular coin in the collection is the facing head gold stater of Pantikapaion, a colony on the Black Sea. An example has not been seen at auction in living memory, and the coin bears a conservative estimate of $650,000.

The collection is one of several due to be auctioned at the New York International Numismatic Convention between December 31 and January 9. Kevin Foley, the convention’s chairman, said there was “a realistic chance” that its nine participating auction houses staging 16 sessions of sales would realise $100m.

The week’s star lot is a masterpiece of late 5th century Greek art, the so-called “dekadrachm of Akragas”. Produced in Sicily, the coin appears to celebrate the victory of Exainetos, a citizen of Akragas, who won the chariot race of Olympia in 412BC.

Struck in the 4th century BC, the coin depicts a satyr or wild man of the woods, wide-eyed and dishevelled; on the reverse is a griffin standing on an ear of grain – a symbol of the city’s wealth.

Only 12 such coins are known and this example has a starting bid of $2.5m.

[ click to continue reading at FT.com ]

Posted on December 26, 2011 by Editor

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