Thursday, December 8, 2011

Prospero Collection on sale in January

The most important collection of ancient Greek coins to come up for sale for the past half century will be sold at auction in New York in January 2012.

The 642 coins - known as the Prospero Collection and estimated to be worth at least 5 million pounds - were collected by an anonymous classical coin enthusiast from the 1960s to the 1990s. They include dozens of rare and unique examples of ancient Greek gold and silver currency in circulations from the sixth to third centuries BC.

Historically, the most important coin is a silver decadrachm of Alexander the Great, buried with 150 other coins for safe-keeping at around the time of his death in 323 BC. It shows Alexander on horseback pursuing an Indian king on an elephant. Only around ten other examples of this coin are known, mostly held in public museums. The hoard was discovered in 1973 in Babylon, the city where Alexander had his headquarters. The coin is expected to sell for around 90,000 pounds.

However, dwarfing that piece in terms of value and beauty, is a gold stater from what is now southern Ukraine, currently estimated to be worth around 400,000 pounds. Minted in the ancient city of Pantikapaion, it is arguably one of the world's rarest, most technically brilliant examples of the ancient craft of coin making.

Five coins in the collection are unique. They include a silver tetradrachm  from Halicarnassus and a gold starter from Abydos, minted in around 410 BC. Both are thought to have formed parts of hoards discovered in Turkey or the Aegean in or before the mid-20th century.

The collection will be sold on the auction at The Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York, on 4th January 2012.
Full information you can find on Baldwin's

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