Morton & Eden Sale 124 Surpasses £8 Million
Morton & Eden
Sale 124: Important Greek Coins – The Collection of a European Connoisseur
26-27 September 2023
A fabulous collection, formed over 20 years ago, of 561 Greek coins by a European connoisseur has been auctioned over two days on the 26th and 27th September at Morton & Eden in London. Notable for the very high standard of quality of the pieces overall, many coins were sold for several multiples of their pre-sale estimates.
Specialist Tom Eden said of the sale, “I am not surprised about the level of interest to date and the prices being paid for this collection which is probably the finest to appear on the market since the sale of the “Prospero” collection in New York in 2012. Many of the coins are in exceptional condition and perfect examples of their type”.
- Lot 112, which sold for £660,000 (pre-sale estimate £400,000-600,000) was struck around 460 BC. It is a beautiful silver tetradrachm from the Sicilian city of Naxos, once owned by Jean-Jacques Barre, Chief Engraver of the Paris Mint from 1842 to 1855, who was himself a celebrated designer and engraver who perhaps drew inspiration from this very coin. The style is transitional from archaic to classical and the example sold is one of the finest known of the few surviving specimens. The coin depicts the head of the wine god Dionysos on the obverse and his woodland companion, the drunken and naked Silenos, on the reverse, both types which obviously celebrate a flourishing local viticulture. Coins of this type have long been greatly admired for the skill of the die engraver, named in modern times as the “Aetna Master” after a unique tetradrachm of Aetna in the Brussels Museum which was issued at the same period as the Naxos piece and is stylistically similar.
- Lot 144 was an exceptional silver dekadrachm of Syracuse struck around 405 BC and signed by the celebrated artist Kimon. Described in 1927 by Sir George Hill as “perhaps the most perfect specimen of its kind” this coin was loaned to the British Museum from 1927 to 1947 before being privately purchased by the British collector R.C. Lockett for £1,800, an enormous sum in the 1940s. It was later owned by the French writer Roger Peyrefitte, whose collection was sold in Monaco in 1974, before becoming a highlight of the Nelson Bunker Hunt Collection sold by Sotheby’s in 1990. In this sale it realised £384,000, slightly less than its pre-sale lower estimate of £400,000).
- An extremely rare silver tetradrachm from the Dodecanese island of Kos (lot 471), struck circa 445 BC and featuring an athletic discus thrower on one side and a crab on the other, was sold on the second day of the auction for a very strong £240,000 against a pre-sale estimate of just £25,000-30,000.
- Amongst gold coins, a magnificent stater of Pyrrhus (295-272 BC) achieved £312,000 following the pre-sale guide of £150,000-200,000 (lot 311).
Ranging in date from the 6th to the 1st century BC, the collection includes coins from all over the Ancient Greek world from Spain in the West, around the whole of the Mediterranean region and then to Egypt and Cyrene in North Africa.