Classical Numismatic Group, LLC, USA-New York

08. January 2019 - 09. January 2019

CNG’s Triton XXII

Triton XII Features Multiple Collections and Individual Rarities

Classical Numismatic Group, LLC of Lancaster, Pennsylvania and London, England is going to hold Triton XXII, a Public, Internet, and Mail Bid Sale in conjunction with the 47th Annual New York International Numismatic Convention (NYINC) on January 8-9, 2019. The 2019 NYINC will be held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, located at 109 East 42nd Street, New York, NY 10022, between Park and Lexington Avenues.

Triton XXII features 1456 lots of Greek, Celtic, Oriental Greek, Central Asian, Roman Provincial, Roman Republican & Imperatorial, and Roman Imperial coinage. Additionally, there are featured selections of Byzantine, Early Medieval, Islamic, World, and British coinage, as well as a nice selection of large lots. The pre-sale estimate total for Triton XXII is just shy of $8 million.

Triton XXII is highlighted by a number of collections and individual rarities, which make up the majority of coins on offer:

  • Exceptional Greek and Roman Coins from the Gasvoda Collection with an emphasis on Magna Graecia and Sicily
  • A Published Athens Dekadrachm from the Spina Collection
  • Seleukid Coinage from the MNL Collection
  • Extremely Rare and Spectacular Philistian Imitations of the Athenian Dekadrachm 
  • Rare Egyptian Coins from the Collection of a Northern California Gentleman 
  • Selections of Greek and Roman Coins from the DMS Collection
  • The Michel Prieur Collection of Syro-Phoenician Silver Coinage
  • Roman Republican Coins from the Alan J. Harlan Collection
  • Roman Gold Coins from the Heath Collection
  • Iconic First Year Post-Reform Dinar from Damascus
  • A Date Set of Umayyad Dinars
  • Two Class A Zodiac Type Mohurs – Aries and Pisces
  • Early Medieval and Anglo-Saxon Coins from the Londinium Collection 

Just a few of the individual highlights from Triton XXII are:

Lot 18. Lucania, Metapontion. Nomos, circa 540-510 BC. From the Gasvoda Collection. Near EF, toned, die breaks on reverse (diagnostic for die). Estimated at $20,000.

Lot 18. Lucania, Metapontion. Nomos, circa 540-510 BC. From the Gasvoda Collection. Near EF, toned, die breaks on reverse (diagnostic for die). Estimated at $20,000.

Ex Moretti and Gillet Collections

The most interesting type of the incuse coinage of Metapontum certainly must be the issues that include the locust (or grasshopper) design detail, as here. There are a number of variations. Here it is paired with a dolphin in outline. The locust would have been a serious threat to the agricultural community and likely the dolphin relates to Apollo who would have been seen as the God who eliminated a plague of these insects in the year this coin was struck.

Lot 120: Sicily, Katane. Tetradrachm, circa 405-403/2 BC. From the Gasvoda Collection. Ex Billoin Collection (Rollin et Feuardent, 22 March 1886). Good VF, lovely old collection tone, a few marks under tone. Very Rare. Estimated at $100,000.

Lot 120: Sicily, Katane. Tetradrachm, circa 405-403/2 BC. From the Gasvoda Collection. Ex Billoin Collection (Rollin et Feuardent, 22 March 1886). Good VF, lovely old collection tone, a few marks under tone. Very Rare. Estimated at $100,000.

Ex America, De Guermantes, Gillet, Jameson, Durulfé, and Billoin Collections

Founded about 730/29 BC by the colonists from the neighboring Chalkidian colony of Naxos, the city of Katane was located on the eastern coast of Sicily on the fertile Katanian plain near the southern limits of the lava flows from Mt. Aitna. Like its neighbor to the north, Leontini, the city prospered from its exploitation of the fertile plain for the production of barley. Katane continued to prosper until the late 5th century BC, when the city entered a period when it became continually embroiled in conflicts between other states. In 415 BC, Katane was attacked and captured by Athens, which used the city as the base of operations for the first year of the famous Sicilian Expedition. Later, in 403 BC, Katane fell to Dionysios I of Syracuse, who, like Hieron I before him, re-founded the city, this time with Campanian mercenaries. In the period leading up to this conflict with Syracuse, the coinage of Katane underwent another transformation. By the late 5th century BC, the numismatic art of Sicily had achieved an unparalleled degree of quality in the Greek world. This was due in large part to the great masters whose signatures are boldly displayed on their minute canvasses: Choirion, Euainetos, Eumenos, Exakestidas, Kimon, and others. Most of these artists are known from their work in the Syracusan series, but a few also created masterful works of art at other cities as well. One of these, Herakleidas, created a magnificent facing head type that is a standout among the famed Katanean issues. Certainly influenced by the Kimonean facing-head portraits of Arethusa on tetradrachms at Syracuse, the subject here was the god Apollo, whose profile portrait was featured on the reverse of earlier issues of Katane.
Here, the god’s portrait has become the prominent feature of the coin, moving to the obverse and appearing in a nearly frontal aspect. One may sense Herakleidas’ attempt to portray Apollo in a naturalistic form, retaining through his countenance an attitude of an other-worldly god, while introducing a delicacy that conveys the thought of a living being. The hair falls in individual locks reminiscent of Arethusa of Syracuse, but rather than radiating outward, as if in an aquatic environment, they are depicted in a downward splayed fashion, evoking the picture of a woodland entity whose natural appearance would retain a hint of the wild. His laurel wreath is likewise splayed, as though placed upon his head directly from the laurel bush, without any thought of molding or preparation. In contrast, his wide eyes gaze outward with an obvious power that belies his heavenly nature. The viewer has the impression that he is looking into the face of a living god. Herakleidas’ work represented the high point of numismatic artistry at Katane, a period that was cut short by the conquest of the city by Dionysios I.

Lot 130: Sicily, Naxos. Drachm, circa 461-430 BC. From the Gasvoda Collection. Ex Arthur Löbbecke Collection. Superb EF, lovely deep cabinet tone. Among the finest examples of the type, with a choice pedigree. Estimated at $150,000.

Lot 130: Sicily, Naxos. Drachm, circa 461-430 BC. From the Gasvoda Collection. Ex Arthur Löbbecke Collection. Superb EF, lovely deep cabinet tone. Among the finest examples of the type, with a choice pedigree. Estimated at $150,000.

Ex Gillet, Vicomte de Sartiges, Berlin Königliches Münzkabinett, and Löbbecke Collections

The present issue is composed of multiple denominations in silver, and is dated by Cahn to the first few decades after the refoundation of the city in 461 BC. Some theorize that it was struck upon the refoundation as a celebratory issue, but one wonders whether the city had the resources for such a coinage so soon. It could also have been struck somewhat later, after the city had prospered from its trade ties to Kamarina and Leontini, and could afford the requisite silver for such a large output. The types found on the drachms are the same as that on the famed tetradrachms (Cahn 54), and the styles of both are so close that it is likely they were engraved by the same hand. The obverse features Dionysos, the god of the vine. The reverse is also an allusion to wine and the Dionysiac cult, featuring the satyr Silenos. Half-man, half-goat followers of Dionysos, these satyrs were often depicted in an ithyphallic state as they pursued the god’s female attendants, the maenads. Silenos was the oldest, wisest, and most drunken of the satyrs. According to Euripides’ only surviving satyr-play, the Cyclops, Silenos had been forced to attend to Polyphemos, who dwelled in the region of Mt. Aitna, hence providing another reason for Silenos’ appearance on this coin of Naxos.

Lot 211: Attica, Athens. Dekadrachm, circa 469/5-460 BC. From the Spina Collection. EF, attractive deep gray tone, with iridescence around the devices. Superb metal quality for issue, and perfectly centered strike. Estimated at $500,000.

Lot 211: Attica, Athens. Dekadrachm, circa 469/5-460 BC. From the Spina Collection. EF, attractive deep gray tone, with iridescence around the devices. Superb metal quality for issue, and perfectly centered strike. Estimated at $500,000.

Published by Stannard & Fischer-Bossert. From the Spina Collection and North American Collection of Numismatic Masterpieces

The present coin represents a splendid example of this magnificent ancient work of art, with a surface quality far exceeding that of the specimens offered over the past several years. It exhibits clear flow lines, very sharp detail junctures, and a crispness often lacking in such large module ancient coins. Additionally, the aesthetic quality of the reverse is exceptional, an extremely powerful design with a well-defined and expressive owl in full glory.
Various interpretations of the dekadrachms’ purpose have also been proposed. Although Fischer-Bossert suggests that the size of the issue indicates an economic, rather that ceremonial purpose, Head, much of whose work had formed the basis of dekadrachm scholarship, thought they were special, ceremonial issues struck at various times for “the personal gratification of Tyrants or Kings”, and were not part of the actual currency. As seen above, Starr’s survey of the Athenian coinage, and his confirmation of Kraay’s earlier conclusions, rejected this earlier conception. It seems clear that such an exceptional and compact issue must have served some special function. Recent scholars have focused on two key historical events during this period that could have produced sizable quantities of silver for this series: the battle of the Eurymedon River in 467 BC, where the resulting captured Persian booty was enormous and was attested to have been distributed (Plutarch, Vit. Cim. 13.6-8), and the capture of Thasos and its mines in 463/2 BC, where the plunder is assumed to have been substantial (Plutarch, op. cit. 14.2).
The dekadrachms stand apart from the typical Athenian coinage not only by their massive size, but the transformation of the reverse type from an owl in profile to one facing the viewer. One cannot fail to notice the power in such a portrayal, which clearly is a representation of the growing Athenian military might that produced the victory over the Persians at the Eurymedon River and the later capture of the bountiful Thasian mines. 

Lot 1036: Galba. AD 68-69. Sestertius, struck circa August-October AD 68, Rome mint. Ex Leu 18 (5 May 1977), lot 304. EF, wonderful dark green patina. Bold portrait. Estimated at $30,000.

Lot 1036: Galba. AD 68-69. Sestertius, struck circa August-October AD 68, Rome mint. Ex Leu 18 (5 May 1977), lot 304. EF, wonderful dark green patina. Bold portrait. Estimated at $30,000.

Peak of Roman Portraiture

Though reigning scarcely seven months, Servius Sulpicius Galba has the honor of inspiring Rome’s portrait artists to reach heights never again equaled or surpassed. Achieving the throne at age 70, Galba was a wizened Roman aristocrat whose sagging, craggy countenance could not have been more different than that of his predecessor, the bloated and dissolute Nero. Indeed, Galba seems to have deliberately promoted himself as a steely martinet who would restore Rome to proper Republican austerity. His coinage pairs his aged, scowling portrait with reverses touting traditional Roman virtues, here depicting Libertas, a concept that embodies both freedom and responsibility. Rome’s mint masters rose brilliantly to the challenge, producing astoundingly lifelike and sculptural portraits such as the present example. But Galba’s austerity program proved to be a major miscalculation, as Rome was not yet ready for such bitter medicine. 

Lot 1259: India, Mughal Empire. Nur al-Din Muhammad Jahangir. AH 1014-1037 / AD 1605-1627. Mohur. Zodiac Type, Class A. Agra mint. Dated [Isfandarmuz] AH 1028 (19 December AD 1618-7 December AD 1619) and RY 13 (15/24 October AD 1617-14/23 October AD 1618). Constellation of Mahik/Matsya (Pisces the Fish). VF, lightly toned, traces of deposits in devices, a few minor field marks. Estimated at $100,000.

Lot 1259: India, Mughal Empire. Nur al-Din Muhammad Jahangir. AH 1014-1037 / AD 1605-1627. Mohur. Zodiac Type, Class A. Agra mint. Dated [Isfandarmuz] AH 1028 (19 December AD 1618-7 December AD 1619) and RY 13 (15/24 October AD 1617-14/23 October AD 1618). Constellation of Mahik/Matsya (Pisces the Fish). VF, lightly toned, traces of deposits in devices, a few minor field marks. Estimated at $100,000.

Zodiac Mohurs. Constellation of Mahik/Matsya. Pisces the Fish

Previously to this, the rule of the coinage was that on the face of the metal they stamped my name, and on the reverse the name of the place and the year of the reign. At this time it entered my mind that in place of the month they should substitute the figure of the constellation which belonged to that month...in each month that was struck, the figure of the constellation was to be on one face, as if the sun was emerging from it.
In the 29th year of his reign, the Mughal emperor Akbar (1556-1605) established the Din-e Ilahi (literally faith of God), a syncretic belief system that incorporated elements of the different religious beliefs in his empire. Immediately thereafter, Akbar began counting his reign in accordance with the tenets this new belief system. Known as the Ilahi Era, dating was now based on a solar, rather than lunar, calendar with the year divided into twelve Ilahi months.
Akbar’s early successors continued to employ this dating system. Jahangir (1605-1628), Akbar’s son and immediate successor, used the Ilahi Era to great artistic effect by issuing two series of mohurs that incorporated Ilahi Era elements. The earliest series, known as the portrait series, since the coins show the emperor on the obverse, all show the constellation Leo superimposed over the sun – a reference to Jahangir’s birth in August. This series was struck within a three-year span early in Jahangir’s reign and are quite rare. The second series, known as the zodiac series, since each of the twelve constellations of the Zodiac is represented on the reverse, was a much larger series. Struck both in gold and silver, the zodiac series was issued from several mints (with Agra being the primary), and like the previous series, minted over three or four years. Since the Ilahi months were solar months and corresponded with the solar ecliptic (an imaginary line in the sky that marks the annual path of the sun), each month was represented by an appropriate sign of the Zodiac, recording its particular month of issue.
Because many of these coins had been recalled and melted by Jahangir’s successor, Shah Jahan, original strikes are very rare. Collector restrikes were periodically issued over the following century, and though they are more often encountered than the originals, are relatively rare themselves. Numismatists have divided the portrait and zodiac series mohurs into four classes:

  • Class A: Undisputed original strikes, characterized by deep relief, somewhat uneven flans, and rounded calligraphy.
  • Class B: Possibly original strikes, but more likely minted in the first decade or two following Jahangir’s death. The relief is shallower, of a more uniform appearance, and the calligraphy is more square.
  • Class C: Mohurs of Class A or B that have had the zodiac type removed and re-engraved.
  • Class D: Later imitations and forgeries. 
Lot 1368: Anglo-Saxon, Kings of Wessex. Alfred the Great. 871-899. Penny. Cross-and-Lozenge type (BMC v). Uncertain mint; Beorheah(?), moneyer. Struck circa 877-880s. Near EF, darkly toned. Unrecorded moneyer for issue. Extremely rare. Estimated at $20,000.

Lot 1368: Anglo-Saxon, Kings of Wessex. Alfred the Great. 871-899. Penny. Cross-and-Lozenge type (BMC v). Uncertain mint; Beorheah(?), moneyer. Struck circa 877-880s. Near EF, darkly toned. Unrecorded moneyer for issue. Extremely rare. Estimated at $20,000.

Exceptional Alfred

Our understanding of the cross and lozenge coinage of Alfred the Great and his contemporary Ceolwulf II of Mercia has been transformed by the discovery of the Wattlington Hoard in 2015. This extremely important hoard of some 200 coins, jewellery and hack silver was acquired by the Ashmolean Museum after a major fund raising campaign. The cross and lozenge coinage is now firmly recognized as a joint issue of the kings of Wessex and Mercia acting in unison under extraordinary circumstances as their territories were ravaged by marauding Viking armies. Though Mercia was unable to withstand the onslaught Alfred held firm and turned the tide against the foreign invaders, laying the foundations for a new, united kingdom of England in the struggle.

Lot 1406: Plantagenet (Anglo-Gallic). Edward the Black Prince. As Prince of Aquitaine, 1362-1372. Hardi d’or-Guyennois, struck circa 1368-1371/2, Bordeaux mint. In NGC encapsulation, 4833043-001, graded MS 64. Superb portrait. Rare. Estimated at $15,000.

Lot 1406: Plantagenet (Anglo-Gallic). Edward the Black Prince. As Prince of Aquitaine, 1362-1372. Hardi d’or-Guyennois, struck circa 1368-1371/2, Bordeaux mint. In NGC encapsulation, 4833043-001, graded MS 64. Superb portrait. Rare. Estimated at $15,000.

Choice Hardi d’or of the Black Prince

Humphrey Sutherland praised the restraint and foresight of the unknown master who designed this type, who “in age when sumptuous decoration of all redundant space was the normal fashion, was content – and dared – to leave the field totally devoid of ornament within its encircling tressure. By this means he concentrated upon this larger and more personal portrait, so lifelike in its almost voluptuous forms, an emphasis which the Italian artists themselves were only just beginning to estimate and enjoy.” Art In Coinage, p. 154. 

The online catalog is available on the CNG website.

Lot viewing for Triton XXII will begin on Sunday, January 6th, from 1PM until 7PM in the Broadway Room, located on the Conference Level (CC floor) of the Grand Hyatt Hotel. The complete lot-viewing schedule for Triton XXII is:
Sunday, January 6, 2019 - 1PM until 7PM;
Monday, January 7, 2019 - 9AM until 7PM;
Tuesday, January 8, 2019 - 8AM until 6PM; and
Wednesday, January 9, 2019 - 8AM until Noon.

Auction lots will also be available for viewing at the Pennsylvania offices of CNG from Wednesday, December 5th, 2018 until Friday, December 21st, 2018 by appointment only. Please note that CNG’s office hours will be limited during the holiday season.

The auction sessions for Triton XXII will be held in the Empire State Ballroom I, located on the Ballroom Level (B floor) of the Grand Hyatt Hotel. Triton XXII will be conducted over four sessions with the morning sessions beginning promptly at 9:30 AM on Tuesday, January 8th, and Wednesday, January 9th, 2019, and the afternoon sessions will start at 2 PM on the same days.

In addition, there will be an online, Internet-only, Session 5 for Triton XXII, which CNG will be conducting as our Electronic Auction 436, and will open for bidding on January 2nd, 2019. E-Sale 436 will feature over 1,000 lots, with a closing date of Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019, and will include coins from some of the same collections listed above.

Printed catalogs for Triton XXII are now available. To order a catalog, please visit CNG’s website. The catalog is $75 to North American addresses, and $100 to the rest of the world. Payment may be made by U.S. $ check or Visa/MasterCard. Catalogues have already been mailed to customers on CNG’s active mailing list.

CNG is currently accepting consignments for its next Mail Bid and Internet auction, CNG 111, scheduled for May 8th, 2019. The consignment deadline is Friday, January 25th, 2019.

For further details and any additional information, please contact CNG, LLC at:
Classical Numismatic Group, LLC
P.O. Box 479
Lancaster, PA 17608-0479
Telephone: (717) 390-9194
Fax: (717) 390-9978
E-mail

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