In the last post, we covered selected ancient coins from Auction 73 of the Heidelberger Münzhandlung, taking place November 14 and 15, 2017. Today we move on to selected coins from foreign countries. This part of the auction offers many interesting ...

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Rarities in fabulous grades at Grün part 2: World coins and medals and more...

Rarities in fabulous grades at Grün part 2: World coins and medals

Lot 731. England. Elizabeth I, 1558-1603. Crown, no date (1601-1602). Very rare. Very fine. Estimate: 5,000 euros.

In the last post, we covered selected ancient coins from Auction 73 of the Heidelberger Münzhandlung, taking place November 14 and 15, 2017. Today we move on to selected coins from foreign countries. This part of the auction offers many interesting specimens, among these a small series of English, French, and Flemish gold coins dating from the late Middle Ages and early modern times. A gorgeous example is the rare double souverain d’or of Albert and Isabella of Tournai, which was minted between 1598 and 1621 (724, VF-EF, estimate: 3,000 euros). This era is also represented by an English crown that was struck between 1601 and 1602. It shows a portrait of Queen Elizabeth wearing a high ruff.

Lot 859. France. Besançon. Double schautaler 1564. Extremely rare. Very fine. Estimate: 4,000 euros.

More than 150 lots of French coins — with roughly half of it consisting of what numismatics call “féodal” — are offered in catalog 73. Whether a pfennig from the High Middle Ages, a Baroque medal, or gold from the 19th century — every collector of French coins is presented with a broad range of offers. Many specimens deserve special mentioning; we restrict ourselves to a double schautaler from the city of Besançon featuring the half-length portrait of Emperor Ferdinand I wearing the Order of the Golden Fleece on his ceremonial armor.

Lot 1062. Sweden. Frederik I, 1720-1751. Gold medal of 6 ducats 1746 on the birth of his grandson, Prince Gustav, minted from the gold yielded at the Västra Silvberg mine. Unique. Almost FDC. Estimate: 9,000 euros.

It goes without saying that at Grün the coins from the foreign countries include a large number of extremely rare pieces in the most magnificent grade. One is a 1746 gold medal in the weight of 6 ducats of Swedish King Friedrich I. This unique specimen was minted from the gold of the Västra Silvberg mine and commemorates the birth of Prince Gustav.

Lot 1081. Switzerland / Grisons / Haldenstein. Julius Otto I von Schauenstein, 1628-1666. Ducat 1642. Extremely rare. Very fine. Estimate: 10,000 euros.

Another is a ducat of the ‘Bündner Herrschaft’ Haldenstein and is also extremely rare. It was minted in 1642 at the behest of Julius Otto I von Schauenstein.

Coming up next, Part 3: Holy Roman Empire and Austrian Mediatized Princes

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Rarities in fabulous grades at Grün part 1: Ancient coins

From November 14 to 15, 2017, Auction 73 of the Heidelberger Münzhandlung will take place. Herbert Grün has again assembled a catalog that contains rarities in the best grades imaginable — ranging from ancient times to the Federal Republic of Germany. A large series consisting of more than 700 lots of ancient coins is followed up by almost 600 lots of world coins and medals. More than 100 lots from the Holy Roman Empire with mediatized princes, as well as almost 800 lots from the German states, will be included as well. Succeeding the medals, more than 800 lots of post-1871 German coins will conclude the auction.

Lot 20. Celts. Treveri. 1/4 gold stater. Very rare. Very fine. Estimate: 2,500 euros.

More than 700 lots comprising ancient coins will kick off Auction 73. These are old collector’s items with all strengths and weaknesses. In the past, rarity and the historical context were prioritized over a perfect grade. This means in turn that there is much to be discovered, including the quarter staters of the Treveri. Conservatively described as Very Fine, they are extremely rare, featuring on the obverse a stylized head and on the reverse, a human-headed horse spurred by a charioteer.

Lot 264. Claudius, 41-54. Sestertius, countermark NCAPR. Coin fine, countermark very fine. Estimate: 150 euros.

More than 40 lots with Greek coins and more than 30 lots featuring Roman Provincial coins are next, before the nearly 80 lots with coins from the Roman Republic and the 450 lots with coins from Roman Imperial times will be called out. The connoisseur will find rare material at collector-friendly estimates. A small series of coins from the Julio-Claudian dynasty, which have been countermarked, serve as a good example. Our specimen is a sestertius of Claudius that bears the abbreviation NCAPR (Nummus Caesare Augusto Probatus). ⤵️ 

Lot 458. Postumus, 260-269. Antoninianus, Cologne. Very rare. Very fine to extremely fine. Estimate: 500 euro.

The collector of Postumus can’t get past this catalog. It lists almost 170 antoniniani and double sestertii of this emperor. It is already a very special specimen that will open this series: a very rare antoninianus from Cologne featuring Diana leading a hind.

Something very special will be called out under Lot 658: A collection of 610 coins of Magnentius and Decentius that were not split up but are being offered as a whole.

Lot 672. Constantinus III, 407-411. Solidus, Trier. Rare variant. FDC. Estimate: 9,000 euros.

Struck in Trier, a solidus of Constantine III illustrates that the coins offered include many rare emperors and empresses, too.

Coming up next, Part 2: World Coins and Medals

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Early October releases from Niue commemorate “Battles That Changed History” and two Disney classics

In the first half of October, the New Zealand Mint has produced seven new commemorative coins for the island of Niue, with themes covering the Battle of Trafalgar, the 80th anniversary of the animated Disney movie Snow White, and Disney’s 1983 production of Mickey’s Christmas Carol. Each of these new coins comes in a Proof finish, with the exception of the 1-ounce silver Trafalgar coin, which has an antiqued finish with applied color. The Snow White coins are produced in 1/4-ounce gold and 1-ounce silver versions, while the Mickey Mouse coins are produced in 1/4-ounce, 1-ounce, and 1/2-gram gold and 1-ounce silver versions. All of the silver coins are .999 fine, while the gold coins are .9999 fine.

Hover to zoom.

Commencing with the Battle of Trafalgar commemorative, the coin honors Admiral Lord Nelson, who led the British fleet to victory against the combined forces of the Spanish and French armadas on October 21, 1805, off the southwest coast of Spain. It’s the third coins in the New Zealand Mint’s “Battles That Changed History” series (the first two were “Battle of Yorktown” and “Battle of Waterloo”). The coin has a limited mintage of 5,000 pieces and combines color with an antique finish. The reverse features Admiral Lord Nelson set in color against an antique-style backdrop of naval warships engaged in battle. The inscription at the top reads TRAFALGAR • 1805. In smaller letters at the bottom are the weight, fineness, and metal: 1 oz. 999 FINE SILVER.

The obverse of the 1-ounce silver Trafalgar coin features the Ian Rank-Broadley effigy of HM Queen Elizabeth II with the counterclockwise inscriptions ELIZABETH IINIUE, and TWO DOLLARS. The issue date, 2017, is at the bottom of the coin.

The coin is presented with a certificate of authenticity in an antique-effect timber box with black velvet interior and themed outer packaging.

The gold and silver Snow White coins are officially licensed by Disney. The reverse of the 1/4-ounce gold coins features Snow White flanked by two of the seven dwarfs. Underneath Snow White, the inscription, in three lines, reads Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. To the left of Snow White, an additional inscription reads 1/4 oz 9999 Fine Gold © Disney.

The obverse features the Ian Rank-Broadley effigy of HM Queen Elizabeth II with the counterclockwise inscriptions ELIZABETH IINIUE, and 25 DOLLARS, with 2017 below.

The reverse of the 1-ounce silver coin features color-highlighted images of Snow White and the seven dwarfs flanked by relief images of other supporting characters in the film. Below Snow White, the inscription, in three lines, reads Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. To the left of Snow White, an additional inscription reads 1/4 oz 999 Fine Silver © Disney.

The obverse features the Ian Rank-Broadley effigy of Queen Elizabeth II with the standard inscriptions and the denomination, TWO DOLLARS.

The 1/4-ounce gold coin is presented in a wooden case and themed outer packaging, while the 1-ounce silver coin is presented in a circular red commemorative box with themed outer packaging as well.

The gold and silver “Mickey Through the Ages” coins, from which depict Mickey Mouse as rendered in Disney’s Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983), all have identical reverses aside from their technical specs. The silver coin additionally highlights Mickey Mouse with added color. At lower left of each coin is the weight and 9999 Fine Gold or 999 Fine Silver, followed by Disney’s copyright mark. The lower right inscription on all reads Mickey’s Christmas Carol, 1983.

The obverses all carry Ian Rank-Broadley’s effigy of the Queen and include the standard inscriptions. They differ only in the denominations, which are as follows: 1/4-ounce gold, 25 DOLLARS; 1-ounce gold, 250 DOLLARS; 0.5-gram gold, 2 DOLLARS 50 CENTS; and 1-ounce silver, TWO DOLLARS.

Each Mickey’s Christmas Carol coin comes in a wooden display case presented in colorful themed packaging. Please visit the website of the New Zealand Mint for more information on these and other coins on offer.


Hungarian commemorative coins honor the 500th anniversary of the Reformation

Background image by Cadetgray.

On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther, an Augustinian monk, nailed his Ninety-five Theses to the door of a church in the German town of Wittenberg. In doing so, he challenged the position of the Catholic Church on the forgiveness of sins. The theses claimed that it was not the Pope, but God alone who could forgive sins, based on the repentance of the sinner. Accordingly, Luther’s theses condemned the practice of selling indulgences. This act initiated the great movement of the Protestant Reformation, which spread very quickly and enjoyed mounting support in society.

By the middle of the century, the Reformation began to spread in Hungary, contributing greatly to the development of Hungarian language and literature. One of the Reformation’s fundamental ideas was that everyone should have access to the Bible in their native language. As a result of the Reformation, new centers of culture developed, and the first full Hungarian version of the Bible, translated by Gáspár Károli, was printed in Vizsoly.

The Reformed Church became the most influential branch of Protestantism in Hungary, but the Lutheran Church and the Unitarian Church also had significant impacts on the nation’s cultural history.

To mark the Reformation’s 500th anniversary, the National Bank of Hungary is issuing a 10,000-forint coin in silver and a 2,000-forint coin in cupro-nickel. Both legal tender commemorative coins are 38.61 millimeters (1.52 inches) in diameter with issue limits of 5,000 coins each. The .925 silver coin is struck in Proof quality, weighs 31.46 grams, and costs $59.75. The 2,000 forint cupro-nickel coin is in Brilliant Uncirculated condition, weighs 30.8 grams, and costs $19.75. The first day of issue is October 31.

2,000-forint cupro-nickel coin.

10,000-forint silver coin.

The two formats have identical designs. The obverse depicts the facade of a church with open gates, symbolizing that the Reformation brought people closer to religion, as the word of God was preached in local languages as opposed to exclusively Latin. The sturdy walls of the church allude to the Protestant hymn “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” which was composed by Martin Luther. The image of a dove, the symbol of the Holy Spirit, appears in the window of the church. The rays emanating from the open gates symbolize the Holy Spirit flowing out.

2,000-forint cupro-nickel coin.

10,000-forint silver coin.

The reverse shows an open Bible, with the Greek letters alpha on the left and omega on the right, standing for the beginning and the end. Believers say the Reformation sharpened the focus on the Holy Scriptures as the one true source. Above the Bible, a dove can be seen in a window, indicating that the Bible can be understood only with the help of the Holy Spirit. The legend 500th Anniversary of the Reformation is at the bottom of a ribbon-like bookmark, also indicating that the process has not ended and that reformation and renewal are always needed. The mark of the sculptor, Róbert Csíkszentmihályi, is on the other end of the ribbon.

To order, or for more information on these and other coins from Hungary, contact the Hungarian Mint’s North American representative, Coin & Currency Institute (click on the Hungarian flag).


Libertad mintage round-up

Five-ounce silver bullion Libertad.

The big surprise for the 2017 Libertad mintages was hinted at in the last Libertad article: the minuscule gold bullion mintages. The 1/10-ounce gold Brilliant Uncirculated coin came with the key number of 300 (tied with 2003 for low mintage). Recent auctions on eBay have the 1/10th selling above $800, so the question of whether or not gold bullion will eventually find its way to Libertad collectors seems to have been answered. We warned you!

The silver Libertad mintages were way down in 2017 for the bullion coin. Given the recent earthquake in Mexico City and the low mintage marks of the bullion, there also exists a giant debate in Mexico. The question facing the Mexican Congress is whether to monetize the silver Libertad.


Exactly. The proposal is that the Central Bank of Mexico will determine a face value for the Libertad coin. This will operate essentially like the $50 gold eagle in the U.S., but with an actual value close to the spot price that protects against the coins being melted down for silver value, as the price of silver goes up. The bank would set the actual value of the Libertad at a different value each day. One imagines they could even increase the value above spot (maybe even make older Libertads worth 10 times spot value). More news to come on this, but it would cut out the middleman and allow Libertad owners to exchange their coins at the bank. It marks an important currency development and one which would likely only increase the demand for these gorgeous, thinly sliced silver and gold pancakes of perfection.

Last year 1,437,500 silver bullion 1-ounce coins were minted, and this year it’s 636,000 — the lowest in three years. The fractional Brilliant Uncirculated coins are all in the 8,000-9,000 mintage range — the lowest since 2008.

Proof silver coins came in at 8,650, less than last year’s 13,250, but still on the higher end of silver Proof 1-ounce coins. The 1/2-ounce Proof is second only to last year with 12,750. The 1/4-ounce is the lowest mintage Proof of 2017 silver, at 4,850 (about half of last year’s 9,550), but still toward the higher end overall. For example, before 2010, there had never been more than 3,000 quarter-ounce silver Proofs — and recent eBay prices are showing the 1/4-ounce Proofs skyrocketing.

The kilo has a mintage of 500 for the Prooflike and 200 for the Brilliant Uncirculated.

The gold Proof returns from last year’s 2,100 high to 600 for the 1-ounce Proof, 700 for the half, 1,500 for the 1/4 and 1/10, and 600 for the 1/20. This should make collectors who were worrying about the gold mintage inflation happy again. The gold Proof sets from 2013 and 2014 have jumped and are now hard to find anywhere. Most of these coins (particularly the fractionals) go for at least twice the spot price. The gold Proofs have the same issue as gold eagles — the price is high enough that the upside seems to be a little baked in.

Onward and upward!

Third-party graders have started adding “first strike” and “early release” to the Libertad Brilliant Uncirculated coins; so far this early designation hasn’t added much extra value (but that will likely change). However, the graded Brilliant Uncirculated market has taken off, and it bears noticing. Coins graded MS-67 and above in low-mintage bullion dates are routinely selling for over $400, and the ungraded set in the Libertad binder represents a tremendous upside if the coins grade well. It’s no surprise that these sets are nearly impossible to find (it’s been that way for years), with values fetching between $2,000 and $4,000 for a complete Brilliant Uncirculated set. You were warned!


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