Continuing a precedent started last year, Heritage Auctions
is again holding a fall World & Ancient Coins Platinum Night and Signature® Auction on Oct. 28-29. There's another break with tradition, too.
Leading this event is not one of the typical lots that normally graces the "highlights" list. Rather than a rarity from the ancient world or masterpiece of the 18th or 19th century, the top lot is actually a modern marvel from Great Britain, an Elizabeth II "Three Graces" 1000 Pounds graded PR70 Ultra Cameo by NGC. Weighing in at a full kilo of pure gold, this piece from the highly popular "Great Engravers" series captures the design of one of the most popular British patterns of the 19th century, the "Three Graces" pattern crown designed by William Wyon.
As of this writing, it is the only piece from the tiny mintage of 20 coins that has been certified by NGC.
It's but one of myriad extraordinary lots in an ever-evolving event that has moved around the calendar, but continues to dazzle no matter the date.
In the past, Heritage held these Platinum Night and Signature® sales in August and September, at the ANA convention and the Long Beach show, respectively. But the pandemic forced the cancelation of numerous shows, which allowed Heritage to re-evaluate its schedule and join the two events into one.
"The change just made a lot more sense for our schedule," says Cristiano Bierrenbach, Executive Vice President of International Numismatics at Heritage Auctions. "The auctions are spread out much more evenly and consistently now. Our clients received the change so positively last year that we decided to keep the schedule even after coin shows started to return to normal."
On the ancients side of this fall's main event, the clear standout is a Syracuse decadrachm from the time of Dionysius I (405-370 BC), graded AU 4/5 4/5, Fine Style, flan flaw by NGC. Always a popular series, this particular issue is unsigned, but in the style of the engraver Euainetos.
Though relatively modest in total number of lots, the material is high quality from top to bottom. "Gone are the days of having world and ancient coin auctions of thousands and thousands of lots," says Bierrenbach. "We've intentionally made efforts to add more sales to our calendar with fewer lots each, making it easier for bidders to focus on the lots they are truly interested in, and ensuring nothing gets lost in the shuffle."
Other highlights include:
A Vitellius aureus in NGC VF 5/5 3/5: Vitellius is always one of the hardest of the 12 Caesars to find, especially in gold, since he only reigned for a mere 8 months in AD 69, the "Year of the Five Emperors." Finding a problem-free example such as this is a challenge to say the least.
A Brazil Joao V gold 128000 Reis 1731-R AU55 NGC: An example of the very rare "italic shield" variety, this is a type that Heritage hasn't offered in more than a decade; the last example offered of this variety was a lesser-graded AU53 that sold in 2009 for $103,500.
A Colombia Charles III 8 Reales 1770 NR-VJ MS64 NGC: One of the keys of the entire Latin American series, this is another example of a type that Heritage has not offered in more than 10 years.
A Victoria gold Proof Pattern Crown 1887 PR62 NGC: Without a doubt one of the most distinctive designs of the Victorian series, this type supposedly had just 6 pieces struck, and so they always command fierce competition whenever they appear for sale.