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Polish 100 Ducats of Sigismund III Brings $1,380,000
By Stacks

Stack’s Sets New World Coin Price Record

Sigismund III, 1587-1632. 100 DucatsWeighing in at nearly a troy pound of gold, a stupendous 1621 Polish 100 Ducats has set a new price record for a world coin, realizing $1,380,000 at Stack’s January 14th Kroisos Collection Sale (all prices quoted include the 15% buyer’s fee).

The sale of this historically important Sigismund III 100 Ducat piece, one of only two or three known in private hands, was much anticipated. Within the international numismatic community the buzz augured a record-breaker especially since Polish and Russian coins continue upwards as the hottest world coin markets. And the 100 Ducats, lot 3091 and the cover coin of the sale, certainly lived up to expectations. After heated bidding, the filled to-capacity Tansa room of New York’s Le Parker-Meridien Hotel erupted in applause, as the electrified crowd cheered the winning bid of $1,380,000.

Monumental in size and weight (69.46 x 69.1mm, 4.9mm thick; 349.49 grams), this 100 Ducats coin may be the largest gold coin ever struck in Europe and certainly one of the rarest and most desirable. A special issue to celebrate the Polish victory over the Turks at the Battle of Chocim, the coin was struck from dies prepared by Samuel Ammon of Danzig and Jacob Jacobson of Emden. The obverse depicts a half-length, armored bust of Poland’s Swedish-born king Sigismund III wearing the Order of the Golden Fleece. On the reverse is the quartered Arms of Poland and Lithuania with the Swedish and House of Vasa Arms on a central escutcheon. Of the handful of 100 Ducats produced, it is known that one was presented to the Pope by Sigismund III. The photo of this remarkable piece is available on www.stacks.com Lot 3091 in the Kroisos sale.

Well-placed lot-wise, the 1621 100 Ducats was set amid other Polish rarities about half-way in one of the most important sales of world coins held in the U.S. in quite some time. Featuring a staggering array of world gold rarities, choice coins in other metals and important collections of Russian Orders and Decorations and Historical Medals, Stack’s Kroisos Collection Sale saw spirited bidding across the board.

Sigismund III, 1587-1632. 100 DucatsPrices for the sale’s rich vein of Russian material was, not surprisingly, meteoric. Two Russian Historical Medals in Gold each climbed over $300,000: a Peter the Great piece celebrating the Naval battle of Gangut, 1714 at $345,000, and a Centennial of the Order of St. George, 1869 Medal at $322,000. A Very Rare Russian Order of Saint Alexander-Nevsky Sash Badge with diamond brilliants, meanwhile, commanded a lusty $690,000 The other Russian Historical Medals, Order and Decorations, and coins also brought lofty prices.

For 2008, Stack’s has an extensive calendar of auctions, many to be in New York City in the firm’s new auction gallery, as well as in Baltimore and other locations. Consignments are being accepted for sales from the spring onward, although space is at a premium on several events. For more information about the services offered by Stack’s see stacks.com or write to Stack’s, 123 West 57th Street, New York City, NY 10019—founded in 1935 and in the same location for over half a century.

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