Shatter European Auction Records
The first grading project
of NGC Ancients and a select group of just over
one hundred NGC-graded World coins highlighted a
Geneva auction conducted by Numismatic
Genevensis SA on December 2 and 3, 2008.
The recently completed sale realized 31.1
million Swiss Francs ($25.6 million), the
highest ever for a non-US coin auction. More
than 300 of the finest coins in the sale were
graded by NGC, the only third-party grading
“The success of this sale was really about its
great coins. Great coins are always eagerly
sought by collectors around the world, and they
can recognize important opportunities to acquire
rare pieces. Additionally, NGC certification
provides buyers with an additional sense of
comfort that coins have been evaluated by
independent third-party experts,” comments Alain
Baron of Numismatica Genevensis SA.
All the coins evaluated by NGC in the
record-setting auction received the pedigree
GENEVENSIS V. The clear standout lot was a brass
Sestertius of the Roman emperor Hadrian (AD
117-138) bearing a portrait engraved by the
celebrated ‘Alphaeus Master.’ The coin is graded
NGC ChAU. Strike: 5. Surface: 5. Fine Style. It
had not traded publicly since the landmark 1990
Sotheby’s sale of the Hunt Collection where it
fetched $214,500 – at the time an astonishing
price for a coin of this type. However, it pales
in comparison to the robust 2.3 million Swiss
Francs ($1.9 million) it traded for in Geneva on
Wednesday. This is the highest price ever paid
for an ancient coin in public auction.
NGC Ancients evaluates the appearance and
condition of ancient coins using an innovative
grading system, noting their wear and providing
separate assessments of the Three S’s of Ancient
Coin Grading: Strike, Surface and Style.
Additionally, a star may be awarded should the
coin possess other attributes of exceptional
merit. NGC Ancients launches formally to the
public on January 1, 2009.
“The quality and rarity of the coins in this
sale finds no parallel. It is astonishing to
think that the top 25 ancient coins we graded,
alone, realized nearly 10 million Swiss Francs.
This is not merely a strong result, but an order
of magnitude compared to any sale of ancient
coins held at any point in history. Needless to
say, we are thrilled to have been selected as
the exclusive grading service,” comments David
Vagi, director of NGC Ancients.
Coins of the modern era also fared well. An
Italy 1864 50 Lire gold coin graded NGC Mint
State-64 garnered $384,100, setting a new
record. Considered to be the most important
rarity of coins issued by the Kingdom of Italy,
this example is also among the finest known.
Another rarity, a Russia 25 Rouble struck in
1876 in St. Petersburg graded NGC Proof-63
realized $321,475 against a pre-sale estimate of