A. Tkalec AG, Zurich29. February 2012
Finest quality at maximum prices
On February 29, 2012, auction A. Tkalec AG was conducted. 308 lots of superb quality were offered for sale. Pieces of finest quality reached excellent prices.
We are familiar with this development for years now: the size of a coin is no longer important for its price but solely its condition and its style. Both features were at their best with the Tetrobol of the Macedonian city of Potideia, offered under no. 47. Riding Poseidon on the obverse of this type was magnificently chiseled, the woman’s head on the reverse had great Archaic charms. Hence the piece, estimated at 1,500 CHF, was sold for 4,400 CHF.
78: Philip VI Andriskos. Drachm, 149/8. Starting price: 12,000 CHF. Hammer price: 27,000 CHF.
Many had wondered about how high the price would be for the historically highly interesting drachm of Andriskos. This rare coinage of the Macedonian usurper was moderately estimated at 12,000 CHF. It is only the 4th known specimen, and the coinage is of high historic significance: when the Romans ended the Third Macedonian War with the Battle of Pydna in 168, it was clear to them that their new province should never become a hotbed of resistance again. They systematically crushed the Macedonian economy, prohibited mining and divided the country into four separate districts which weren’t allowed to transact any kind of private or commercial business with each other. No wonder, then, that the people seethed with anger. When in 149 B. C. a man called Andriskos turned up, heading a powerful army of Thracian mercenary soldiers, who claimed to be the son of the last Macedonian king, he attracted support. Andriskos managed to prevail in Macedonia for almost a year before he was captured by Quintus Caecilius Metellus and brought to Rome. Andriskos, too, was executed in Rome. His highly rare drachms bear witness to his dedication. They show a portrait that takes the likeness of Philipp V as a model, whose name Andriskos had likewise adopted. The reverse depicts Heracles with club, rhyton and the lion’s skin. The almost extremely fine piece was auctioned for 27,000 CHF!
131: Roman Republic. Anonymous Didrachm, 269-266. Starting price: 5,000 CHF. Hammer price: 22,000 CHF.
That sum was almost reached by an early Didrachm from Roman Republican Times as well. The anonymous piece, estimated at 5,000 CHF, showing a bust of Hercules on the obverse and the she-wolf suckling the twins on the reverse, changed hands for 22,000 CHF. That proud sum was obtained thanks to the outstanding die cutting and the perfect condition. The finely toned Didrachm bears comparison with the best Greek pieces of that era.
149: Julius Caesar. Denarius, 44. Starting price: 5,000 CHF. Hammer price: 16,000 CHF.
When it comes to portraits, the Romans were always the greatest masters. Tkalec auction included one very good example of the veristic image of Caesar. The Etruscan crown, the ascetic facial features, the high forehead and the Venus rings at the neck – only few dies exhibit such a quality as the one this Denarius was made with, estimated at 5,000 CHF and sold for 16,000 CHF.
A result not quite as high but still interesting brought a Denarius of Pompey the Great, likewise with an exquisite portrait. The piece, estimated at 7,500 CHF, was auctioned off for 10,500 CHF.
223: Gordianus I. Sestertius. Starting price: 2.500 CHF. Hammer price: 5.750 CHF.
Let’s look at the last specimen from Roman Imperial Times. This section contained, amongst others, a Denarius and a Sestertius of Emperor Gordianus I. The Denarius was mint state, estimated at 4,500 CHF and achieved 7,250 CHF. The Sestertius on a broad planchet with a sharp strike, fine light brown patina in the best condition had been estimated at 2,500 CHF and was sold for 5,750 CHF.
Satisfied were not only the ones looking for expensive pieces. Many collectors participated in the auction via live bidding and occasionally got the chance to buy the finest coins at an affordable price. It always pays off to watch the auctions of A. Tkalec with care. Even if many pieces obtain maximum prices you can make one or two good catches for your own collection.
If you like to have a look at the auction’s offer again please click here. On that site you can also purchase the unsold lots.