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Baldwins Auction to Feature Ancient Coins
By Baldwins

The latest auction organised by Baldwin’s auction department begins with an impressive selection of Ancient Greek, Roman and Byzantine coins featuring a very rare Greek Medallion (lot 105, pictured below). It is presumed that this medallion was produced to commemorate an African victory of the emperor Commodus, although it appears to have few details of any specific campaign, and it is thought that this could be the specimen illustrated in Gnecchi.

The British section of the auction comprises over 400 lots and includes a collection of 69 Maundy Sets from the period 1660 – 2008, 38 lots of Anglo-Saxon Pennies and a fine selection of 5 Guinea pieces. Alongside these coins are a selection of high grade British 19th Century copper tokens, including some rare and unpublished varieties. A small but well-formed group of rare English banknotes, includes as the highlight, an Isle of Man, Bank of Mona Specimen £5 from 1867 (lot 596).

The first day of the auction concludes with a highly comprehensive range of world coins including an outstanding collection of Danish coins and an interesting group of South American and Spanish American coinage. The Danish collection of coins features many incredible rarities, including lots 605 and 652, a Christian III (1535-1559) Gold Gulden and a Christian VII (1766-1808) Gold Ducat, both desirable pieces, and an exceptionally rare square gold 6-Daler from 1604 (lot 606), which is possibly a unique die combination. The highlight of the South American/Spanish American collection is lot 706, a gold 8-Escudos which is among the “top five known” in quality for this date. These two collections are complemented by nice groups of coins from modern Cyprus, medieval Georgia and modern Greece.

An outstanding collection of Scottish gallantry and campaign medals forms the basis of the first part of the second day of the auction. Awarded, in the main, to soldiers with the surname Rennie, the most notable amongst the group is lot 1104, an extremely rare Great War Military Medal with two bars (pictured above). This particular medal was awarded to Private W. Rennie Gordon, a member of the Gordon Highlanders who were renowned for their bravery.
He was only one of two people from his regiment to win this award and he was the only person to have won it three times on the Great Western Front (each bar on the medal denotes another award). Sadly the records detailing exactly what Private Rennie did to achieve such an accolade were destroyed during fire in 1940, and so we may never have full details of his achievements. A group of very attractive and extremely rare British Orders rounds off this part of the sale with lots 1192 and 1193 being sure to draw a lot of attention – both awards of The Most Noble Order of Garter, beautifully preserved and available to view by appointment at Baldwin’s London office in the two weeks preceding the sale.

The two-day auction will be held on the 29-30th September 2009 at CIPFA, the Conference Centre on Robert Street near their offices in Central London. Taking place in the same week as Coinex, the UK’s premier Numismatic Trade Show, this auction is sure to be a great event, with a room packed full of international buyers who fly in for the auctions and the show.

Auctioneer Seth Freeman commented that “… this auction demonstrates very nicely the diverse nature of our business at Baldwin’s – from ancient coins through to modern Greek; historical medals through to military medals and even a few English provincial banknotes for good measure. Over 2000 years of numismatics and something for everyone.”

For more information about any of the other lots in the sale please contact Seth Freeman on +44 (0)20 7930 9808 or at
seth@baldwin.co.uk

Sale Highlights

Lot 105 - Commodus (AD 177-192), AE Medallion, AD 190-191, M COMMODVS ANTONINVS PIVS FELIX AVG BRIT, laureate and bearded bust of Commodus right, wearing paludamentum and cuirass, border of dots, rev COS VI (in exergue), Commodus standing right, wearing paludamentum and cuirass, holding parazonium and leaning on spear; before him, Africa reclining left, wearing peplum and elephant’s skin head-dress, placing her right hand on the back of a lion and holding corn-ears; in background, Victory standing right, erecting a trophy, border of dots, 83.22g, 42mm (Gnecchi 5, pl.78, 5; cf BMC 29, pl.XXXIII, fig 3; Cohen 69). Smoothing in fields, rather more extensive on the reverse, red-brown patina, good very fine and very rare.

ex Michele Baranowsky sale, Milan, 25 February 1931, lot 2218 ex Henry Platt Hall Collection (Part II), Glendining, 17 November 1950, lot 1636 It is not impossible that this medallion is the specimen illustrated in Gnecchi. However, the cataloguer finds it difficult to fully accept that the shield of the trophy is identical in appearance.

Commodus, an emperor infamous for his megalomania, does not have a reputation as a military leader, preferring to leave provincial campaigns to his generals. He had gained the title BRITannicus in AD 184, following the successes of Ulpius Marcellus in a war in Britain against the Caledonian tribes after they had crossed the Antonine Wall. This medallion was presumably issued to commemorate an African victory, although we would appear to have few details of any specific campaign. The reverse had first been used on a medallion of Antoninus Pius in AD 160 (Gnecchi plate 47, 1 and see plate 45, 7) after a revolt in Africa had been crushed. We know that Commodus had been planning to visit Africa in AD 188 (see also BMC clxxxii) and that in AD 186 he had instituted a regular fleet of ships to help safeguard the corn supply from Africa (Scriptores Historiae Augustae 17, 7).

An Aureus of Commodus (BMC 335, plate 99, 15), struck in AD 192 (COS VII) would appear to refer to the successful completion of a campaign in Africa. Commodus is shown togate, clasping hands with Serapis and Isis, and being crowned by Victory. As Commodus is depicted in civilian dress on this coin, as opposed to military dress on the above medallion, we can perhaps assume that a recently completed campaign had taken place, albeit on a minor scale, in AD 191.

Estimate: £18,000-22,000

Lot 596 – The Bank of Mona (Branch of the City of Glasgow Bank, incorporated by the Act of Tynwald), Specimen £5, 18-
- [1867], black and white, denomination at centre and top corners in blue, perforated “CANCELLED” twice (Quarmby 30). Jagged vertical 25mm crease top left and small tear in lower border, otherwise nice extremely fine and extremely rare.

After the closure of the Isle of Man Commercial Banking Company in 1849 the City of Glasgow Bank established a branch under the name of the Bank of Mona. This was the first time that a large modern bank had operated on the island.

Estimate: £1500-2000

Lot 605 – Christian III (1535-1559), Gold Gulden, Rhineland type, Gottorp, (15)36, 3.23g, CRISTIAN.D.G.D.HOLSACIE, St Andrew standing with cross, dividing “3” and “6”, rev trefoil, MON:NOVA:AVREA:SLEVICNSIS, cruciform shields of Holstein, Schleswig, Stormarn and Norway, shield of Oldenburg at centre (Galster 131; Sieg 23; F 18). A very fine example of this important coin, of the highest rarity.

ex Jens Dahl Knudsen collection, Thomas Hoiland auction, 7 November 2005, lot 1097 Only 18 or 19 examples are known, of which 13 are in public collections.

Estimate: £15,000-18,000

Lot 606 – Christian IV (1588-1648), Gold 6-Daler, 1604, 12.95g, CHRISTIANVS.IIII. D.G.DA, crowned and armoured bust right within three lines of dots, cross in each angle, rev .VI. .DAL. 1604 in three lines in a dotted circle within a dotted square, trefoil in each angle (H 11A; Schou obverse 2, reverse 3 var; F 45). A bold very fine and of the highest rarity.

ex Schlessinger (Berlin) 1933 ex Zinck V, lot 16 ex Jens Dahl Knudsen collection, Thomas Hoiland auction, 20 November 2006, lot 610 Only 425 examples of this extremely rare square gold coin were struck, and this specimen seems to be a unique die combination

Lot 652 – Christian VII (1766-1808), Gold Ducat, 1771, 3.47g, GLORIA EX AMORE PATRIÆ, wild man standing with shield, dividing date, rev four line inscription MON.AUR. ALTONAV. AD LEGEM IMPERII in an ornate square tablet (H 1; S 28; F 282). An extremely rare coin in extremely fine condition, a most desirable piece. only 341 pieces struck.

Estimate: £20,000-25,000

Lot 706 – Charles II of Spain (1665-1700), Gold 8-Escudos, 1699 R, Lima, obv castles and lions in angles of cross, rev crown over denomination and date. Choice uncirculated, a near perfect strike on the obverse cross and a full legend with very minor doubling on the reverse date. among the top 5 “finest known” of this date, an exceptional coin

Estimate: £10,000-12,000

Lot 1104 – The extremely rare Great War Military Medal with two bars, awarded to Private W Rennie, Gordon Highlanders, together with his 1914-15 Star Trio, group of four, comprising: Military Medal, Geo. V (2926 Pte W. Rennie. 1/7 Gord: Hdrs – T.F.) two clasps; 1914-15 Star (2926 Pte. W. Rennie, Gord. Highrs.); British War & Victory Medals (2926 Pte. W. Rennie, Gordons), group officially impressed. MM with a few light scratches and lightly polished, group good very fine overall. (4) M.M. London Gazette 21.9.1916 1st Bar to MM London Gazette 22.1.1917 2nd Bar to MM London Gazette 7.10.1918

The 1/7 (Deeside) Battalion, Gordon Highlanders were a Territorial Force Battalion raised from the Deeside area of Aberdeenshire, which served as part of the 51st (Highland) Division. This Division initially suffered from a lack of training and front line experience, fairing only moderately well at Festubert and Givenchy, but through the course of the war they gained a fearsome reputation on the Western Front through bold displays of bravery in the assaults on High Wood and Beaumont-Hamel. From this point on they were recognised for the quality of their infantry, and took a proud position on the German High Command’s ‘Most Feared’ list. The Division also took part in the Second Battle of the Marne (during which the 1/7 Gordons suffered 272 killed, wounded, missing or gassed) and was later chosen for difficult actions at Arras and Cambrai to name but a few.

All three of Private Rennie’s MMs were awarded for bravery during service on the Western Front, in France, but due to the loss of roughly 4 million regimental service records through fire in September 1940, we may never know the specific circumstances and details of each award. Groups of this type are extremely rare, with only 180 second bar MMs issued in the Great War, and only 1 issued in WWII. Private Rennie was one of only two members of this famous Scottish Regiment to win the MM on three occasions.

Sold with MIC and useful paperwork. ex Glendining’s, Thursday 20th of June 1991, lot 853, sold for £1,450.

Estimate: £6000-8000

Lot 1192 – THE MOST NOBLE ORDER OF THE GARTER, Garter Principal King of Arms Badge, in gold and enamels, c.1820, privately made, unsigned and without marks – but of excellent quality, cross of St. George beside quartered shield of arms bearing the Hanoverian shield, garter and legend surrounding, crown above, rev of the same design, fitted with hinged suspension loop (for a neck ribbon) with knurled locknut, height 119mm. Slight loss of enamel at junction with crown, otherwise extremely fine and extremely rare.

Estimate: £22,000-28,000

Lot 1193 – THE MOST NOBLE ORDER OF THE GARTER, KG sash badge or Lesser George, in gold and enamels, c.1850- 1880, privately made, unsigned and without marks, a piece of superb quality, St. George fighting the dragon on horseback in very fine detail, garter and legend surrounding, rev showing the reverse of the same scene, 89mm x 47.5mm (excluding suspension). Very slight wear to areas of the enamel, including one or two very minor scuffs or chips, otherwise extremely fine and extremely rare.

Estimate: £35,000-45,000

 



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