By Antoinette Rahn
I don't recall the first time I heard or read the phrase 'more than meets the eye,' but I do remember always being rather fond of this particular commentary.
On more than one occasion, I've found myself thinking and even uttering those very words in reference to a particular coin or note. I'm not sure if that speaks to the mysteries and unique characteristics of these monetary specimens, or more about my lack of knowledge surrounding numismatic history. I'm going to lean toward the mysterious and unique answer because it makes me feel better about myself.
In any event, as I was perusing the auction catalogs for four specimens in this week's 4 Movers & Shakers' column, I found myself thinking that each example featured does have a certain level of being 'more than meets the eye.'
A little fascination with mystery is good for the soul, right? I think I heard that somewhere, or perhaps I read it on the back of a cereal box or on the inside of a Snapple bottle cap. Regardless, it makes for an interesting common thread for this week's 4 Movers & Shakers in Numismatics.
Charles I Provincial and Civil War coin, 1643
Presented for auction Nov. 11, 2018, by Bonhams
Sold for $6,388 (w/buyers’ premium)
I’m continually amazed at the messages and meanings that are conveyed on the small space of coins. Especially when the coin dates to 1643, like the gold coin pictured here.
Bonhams recently sold the coin for $6,364 during its Medals, Bonds, Banknotes and Coins sale, which featured 518 lots in all.
Amazingly, 375 years after mintage the words and image on the obverse and reverse of this coin are clear and present with the crowned bust of Charles I (reigned from 1625 to 1649), dressed in armor and holding a sword and an olive branch. The hammered inscription on the obverse reads: CAROLUS D G MAG BRIT FR ET HIB REX (Charles by the Grace of God King of Great Britain, France and Ireland), and on the reverse it reads: EXURGAT DEUS DISSIPENTUR INIMICI (RELIG PROT LEG ANG LIBER PAR 1643), which translated means: Let God arise and His enemies be scattered (The religion of the Protestants, the laws of England, the liberty of Parliament 1643). *Translation provided by www.psdetecting.com
I realize that the inscription speaks directly about God’s enemies being scattered, but I’d say it might be a good bet that King Charles I’s enemies lay squarely with the English parliament. His relationship, according to a report by the BBC, was tumultuous at best with regard to the English parliament. Ultimately, it resulted in his arrest, conviction, and execution on the grounds of treason. Hmm, if only coins could speak.
Dominion of Canada 1 Dollar, 1898, DC-13a
To be presented for auction Jan. 11, 2019, by Stack’s Bowers
If there is one thing most appraisal experts agree upon, it’s that condition is king when it comes to items of collectability. With that in mind, when a shining star comes along it’s something to behold, and certainly serves to attract attention and interest.
That’s where this uncirculated Canadian note appears to fall, in the realm of uncommon and exceptional. As is explained in the Stack’s Bowers auction catalog this note is among almost 200 specimens of its kind in three varieties that have been certified by PMG, and only two (including this one) have been certified as uncirculated.
The face of the note is also an example of numismatic artistry, with a vignette depicting lumberjacks at work showcased between profiles of the Countess Ishbel Maria and Earl John Hamilton-Gordon of Aberdeen.
This note is one of 4,092 slated to cross the auction block during Stack’s Bowers’ Jan. 2019 NYINC Auction.
Peru 8 Escudos, 1837
Presented for auction Nov 2-3, 2018, by Daniel Frank Sedwick, LLC
Sold for $45,000 (w/buyers’ premium) against an estimate of $30,000-$50,000
As I’ve mentioned before, I find numismatic specimens to be among the most fascinating subjects of historical study. Take this Peruvian 8 escudos coin for example. It is identified as a FEDERACION issue, which preceded the CONFEDERACION version of this coin. This is due to a change in the political entity of the country during the same year. It’s an indication of the evolution of Peru in its independence.
In terms of numismatic history, this coin is also a stunning example of the advanced artistic approach for the time, and preservation, as the coin is deemed as having ‘no rival for finest extant, since it is at the highest known grade of 64+ and the only one designated Proof Like,’ according to the description found on the Daniel Frank Sedwick, LLC website.
It is one of more than 1,700 lots featured in the Treasure World, U.S. Coin & Paper Money Auction 24.
1885 Trade Dollar, PR66, Ex-Atwater-Eliasberg collection
To be presented for sale at auction Jan. 10, 2019 by Heritage Auctions
Current Bid (As of Dec. 20, 2018): $1 million
There are a lot of coins that bear the word ‘rare’ in their description, and often it’s applicable, but I’ve heard some seasoned collectors and numismatic experts say ‘if everything is rare, then it diminishes the rarity.’ I’d go out on a limb to say that the 1885 Trade dollar is truly uncommon and as Heritage Auctions’ described in its auction catalog a ‘most enigmatic’ issue among American coinage. According to the historical details surrounding the origin of the 1885 coin, it’s believed it may have been part of a proof set that had been canceled, but only after a small batch had already been struck. Reports also place the official discontinuation of the Trade dollar around 1887.
Another interesting element within the provenance of this coin is the fact that the Trade dollars, which were reportedly minted in the first half of 1885, were not in public eye until the early part of the 20th century. Mysterious indeed. This specimen is featured in Heritage Auctions’ US Coins Signature Auction, which will take place during the FUN Show and is slated to include 5,745 lots. This coin is one of only five known examples, and according to the experts, it’s the finest.
The story of this coin and its related provenance is much more detailed than this basic profile, and for that information, I’d recommend you visit the Heritage Auctions’ site>>>.