Cumae, 350 - 340 BC.
Height 33,6cm, ø mouth 31,2cm.
with cow horns.
Width 22cm, height 19cm, depth ca. 7cm.
Taranto, early 4th century BC.
depicted as a bearded man with luxurious curls.
Roman Imperial Period, last quarter 2nd century A.D.
Roman Imperial Period, 1st / 2nd century AD.
the bust of armed Minerva to the left supported
by two entagled snakes.
Roman Imperial Period, 2nd century A.D.
with palmette below.
Length 19cm, width 8cm, height 7cm.
Roman, about 50 - 150 AD.
Cologne, 2nd - 3rd century AD.
Greenish translucent glass.
About 130 - 150 A.D.
32cm - 22 cm on a thin wavy wood panel.
1st - 3rd century A.D.
Nomos 29-30 – The Results
5-6 November 2023
By Alan Walker
Yes, indeed, here are the results of Nomos Auctions 29 and 30. Finally. Why “finally”? Well, as usual with the mysterious and arcane world of computers there was some glitch that could only be solved either by extremely well-trained experts or ordinary present-day 6-year olds, and it took our prices realized a long time to get onto our website! So, now, finally, I can start one of our eagerly awaited, prize-winning reviews, so greatly appreciated by our friends and clients! So here are a few interesting, exciting and intriguing results…
Starting with Nomos 29…
Nomos 29 contained 390 lots, which made up Part II of the Collection sans Pareille of Ancient Greek Fractions; they continued on as lots 551-940 from the 550 lots that already appeared as lots 1-550 in Nomos 26’s Part I. Some of these coins were duplicates of the pieces in Nomos 26, some were similar, and others were simply not picked because they were overlooked; but all of them were attractive, interesting and, often, unexpectedly rare! So they all sold, and sold very well, indeed (total estimate of the sale: 118,475 CHF. Total realized: 405,250 CHF!).
Lot 585: This is a triobol from Sybaris II and comes from M&M 88 in 1999 where it was estimated at 650 CHF and sold for 550 CHF. Here it was estimated at 350 CHF and sold for 2,000 CHF!
Lot 590: Here we have lot 590, a coin from Thourioi which is inscribed with the abbreviation for the curious denomination of 1 1/4 obols and weighs 0.42 g: on exactly what standard this coin was struck – Achaean?, reduced Achaean? – is a mystery! In any case, it rose from its estimate of 250 CHF to 1,100 CHF!
Lot 609: In our pre-sale newsletter we mentioned that the monster on this litra from Himera (lot 609, est. 400 CHF) would be cross if you did not bid, and become the next in a line of distinguished owners (joining Jameson and Evans, among others). And so it went up to 3,000 CHF!
Lot 635: Back in 1987 M&M sold this coin (lot 635, est. 225 CHF) for 385 CHF. Now it soared up to 1,800 CHF!
Lot 698: Some people thought this coin seemed to be a remarkably accurate and prescient illustration of one of Kallirhoi and Mitsos’s wedding pictures, rather than simply being a trihemiobol of the Bottiaians (lot 698, est. 600 CHF), but, nevertheless, it soared up to 3,000 CHF (which turns out to be quite a bargain compared to the piece from very similar dies that was sold two days later in NAC 140 as lot 43). In any case, of course, in reality Kallirhoi is much better looking than the portrait that appears here (I have to admit to being more noncommittal when it comes to Mitsos).
Lot 757: This late Archaic Athenian obol (lot 757, est. 450 CHF) was both ex Lockett and Pozzi, which is doubtless why, despite its problems, it soared up to 5500 CHF!
But let us end this recap with what was undoubtedly the biggest surprise of the sale: lot 765 (est. 350 CHF):
Lot 765: This coin is a Corinthian diobol dating to the first half of the 4th century BC, and was previously in the BCD collection (unnoted in Nomos 29, it was first acquired from Spink’s NCirc of November 1993). It sold in Nomos for an absolutely astounding 10,000 CHF!
Every coin in Nomos 29 sold, do look at the online results and you’ll see…
Auction 30 – The P. P. Urone Collection
Now let’s turn to Auction 30; the total estimate was 2,380,025 CHF and the total price realized was a healthy 3,254,665 CHF.
Roughly the first half of the sale – lots 1001-1228 – was composed of Greek coins from the collection of the emeritus physics professor P. P. Urone. Carefully amassed by a collector with specific interests and a good eye, these 228 lots had a total estimate of 205,400 CHF; they more than doubled the estimate and sold for 459,555 CHF!
Lot 1004: Here we have an octopus with seven arms (rather than the usual eight – a diobol from Pisae (lot 1004, est. 1600 CHF). It sold for 2,600 CHF.
Lot 1028: This unique hemiobol was in the famous animals-on-coins collection of J. Falm where it sold for 2,800 CHF (estimated at 3500, NAC 82, 2015, 75). We estimated at 3,500 CHF again (lot 1028) but it soared to a very deserved 6,500 CHF!
Lot 1052: Another unique coin, from Kroton this time (lot 1052, est. 3,500 CHF): this one sold for 7,000 CHF!
Lot 1074: This coin was a particularly serendipitous find, especially for a scholarly collector! This is a silver litra from Akragas, with a dark patina as found, that was sold to its professorial last owner as a minor bronze coin for $206!!! Properly identified by our experts, we estimated lot 1074 at 3,500 CHF and watched it be battled over until it reached 6,000 CHF!
Lot 1099: This is a truly spectacular bronze coin, a tetras from Naxos minted c. 425-420 BC. It is beautifully designed, perfectly struck from fresh dies, and carefully centered on a full flan. It comes from the famous Moretti collection and was sold in 2013 in NAC 72 (lot 321), where it was estimated at 600 CHF – it sold to PPU for 3,200 CHF! So we estimated it at 2,500 CHF (lot 1099)…and it was battled over until it hit 15,000 CHF!
Now for another coin that turned out to be a brilliant buy for its owner: lot 1140, a chalkous from Melitaia in Thessaly (est. 500 CHF).
Lot 1140: It was previously in the collections of C. Morcom, M. P. Vlasto and S. Pozzi; in CNG MBS 76 (lot 387) then it was estimated at $200 and it sold for $330, now it sold for 7,000 CHF!!!
Lot 1151: This is another great rarity: the BCD, Pozzi and Rhousopoulos Tanagra stater (lot 1151, est. 10,000 CHF). It was fought for in the room and online until it sold for 30,000 CHF!
Lot 1203: This is a wonderful hemiobol from Methymna (lot 1203, est. 450 CHF); but don’t just take my word for its wonderfulness, take the word of the many, many bidders who wanted it, and drove it up to 5,000 CHF!
Lot 1225: This is the last coin from the Urone collection for today: lot 1225 (est. 3250 CHF), a very rare tetradrachm from Kyrene, ex Asyut 835. It went up to 22,000 CHF!
Now for the rest of Nomos Auction 30…
The remaining lots of Nomos 30 came from a variety of owners, who consigned everything from whole groups to single pieces – as the prices realized online show, the results ran everywhere from the very inexpensive to the stratospheric!
Lot 1270: This is a hemiobol from Thasos (lot 1270, est. 750 CHF). It has two digs or flan faults on the reverse, which would normally be a fatal defect, but since they rather miraculously do not affect the design, they are of somewhat lesser importance. In any case, the astounding fineness and beauty of the satyr’s head on the obverse, struck from a die that must have been made by an engraver of supreme talent, made up for the defects! In fact, this head seems almost to be an idealized portrait of Socrates! In any case, after a long fight from bidders online and in the room, this coin soared to a final price of 8,000 CHF!
Lot 1278: Rarities did very well: this piece, a silver stater attributed to Stagira and dated to c. 530-525 BC (lot 1278, est. 7,500 CHF), sold for 17,000 CHF.
Lot 1284: Also estimated at 7,500 CHF, this wonderful, wonderful hemidrachm from Kierion appeared as lot 1284: it sold for 18,000 CHF!
Lot 1292: The truth about “junk boxes” is the fact that what is in them is usually – let’s be honest! – junk! Except for those serendipitous occasions when it isn’t – like with this coin!!! Acquired during the early 1990s in a well-known south German city, this coin remained unloved and uncared-for until it was plucked from dim obscurity by knowing hands. It is an obol, which turns out to come from the Akarnanian city of Astakos (= Lobster City, lot 1292, est. 500 CHF), and sold to a great specialist for 3,600 CHF!
Lot 1321: This Kyzikene stater was minted in c. 410 BC and is a personal favorite (lot 1321, est. 50,000 CHF), so the fact that it went up to 65,000 CHF is most gratifying!
Lot 1389: During the last generation many Bactrian coins that used to be tremendous rarities ceased to be so: some remained very rare, indeed, while others ended up being no more than very scarce, if not common! However, tetradrachms of the ephemeral ruler Plato, as this one (lot 1389, est. 10,000 CHF), remained very rare, desirable and important: so it went up to 17,000 CHF.
Lot 1403: Here we have an extremely rare bronze Tressis struck for Mark Antony by L. Calpurnius Bibulus M.f. in the late summer or autumn of 38 BC (lot 1403, est. 10,000 CHF). For the issue, it is both very well-struck and very well-preserved, as well as being very, very desirable: it sold for 44,000 CHF!
Lot 1536: As the story goes, in the old days the German excavators of Pergamon selected about 25-30 kilos of what they thought of as being common base metal coins of no scholarly or artistic interest – i.e., generally worn Greek and Roman coins, Byzantine bronzes, Turkic and Ottoman bronzes, and post-medieval bronzes in general – and had them all melted down to provide the metal to make an honorary portrait bust of the director! Unfortunately, while they certainly were right (!) about most of the coins, there were surely some rudimentarily designed and crudely struck ones that were actually of real historical importance, had they been recognized! Like, this one – lot 1536, est. 500 CHF. This is an extremely rare and historically important bronze of the Bulgarian ruler, Ivan Aleksandar (1331-1371), and is notable for the crudity of its design, obviously deriving from nearly equally unprepossessing late Byzantine prototypes. After a true bidding war it finally sold for 3,800 CHF!
Well, that’s enough for today! For many, many, many more interesting results, just go to our site and have a browse through – you will enjoy doing so!