Stacks Bower’s Rarity Auction Highlights for January 2018 NYINC

The Ancient and World coin sale will take place over two days, with Session C commencing on Friday evening, Jan. 12, at 6:30 p.m. ET. Session E will be held Saturday, Jan. 13 at 6:30 p.m. ET. Session B, featuring World paper money, is scheduled to begin Friday. Jan. 12 at 1:30 p.m. ET.

In addition, the auction house will present The Eldorado Collection of Colombian Coins and Paper Money across three days with:

World coins ranging from Afghanistan to Guatemala comprise Session C.

Lot 20065 offers an impressive highlight of the session, the “King of Canadian Coins,” a 1921 50 Cents. This coin is exceedingly rare in any grade, with this example graded an incredible PCGS Specimen-62.

Also to be presented in this session is a portion of the Alex Siegel Collection, featuring high grade date runs of coins from Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica and Guatemala (more highlights from this collection — including coins of Mexico — can be found in Session E). Standout pieces from in this session include a Mint State Chile 1867 Peso and a high grade Costa Rica 1831 8 Reales.

The offering of 125 French coins in this session is simply stunning and includes nearly a dozen major highlights. Lot 20135, a Royal d’Or of Philip IV, begins this tremendous run of medieval French gold coinage.

Just three lots later, a magnificent Pavillon d’Or of Philip VI de Valois in NGC MS-65 is featured, and is sure to elicit excitement. From the same king is a lovely type depicting St. Michael the Archangel — Lot 20144 — a rare Ange d’Or.

IN THE EARLY 1960S, A Nevada physician received a curious gift from one of his patients: a handful of loose coins. But these weren’t just spare change. Robert Myles’s patient was a coin dealer, and among the hodgepodge of old coins he’d given his internist, three stood out as peculiar.

They were coins from the Philippines, but nothing like Myles, a casual coin enthusiast since boyhood, had ever seen before. Unlike the country’s traditional peso, these were marked with a caduceus, the ancient symbol showing two serpents encircling a staff. Made of cheap metal rather than gold, they didn’t seem particularly valuable. And they weren’t; in fact, even when they were in circulation, they weren’t considered legal tender.

Decades before they landed in Myles’s palm, the coins were exclusively used on a secluded island two hundred miles away from Manila: the Culion Leper Colony, which at one point was home to over 5,000 people quarantined to the island. Myles had stumbled upon “leprosy coins.”

In many quarantines, these coins were the only form of money that leprosy patients could access during their indefinite medical exiles. They were created with the intent to keep disease from spreading by restricting patients’ handling of money, which was inaccurately feared as “tainted” by leprosy, from the mainstream circulation. And, with their value rendered null beyond the walls of their respective compounds, these currencies also made it nearly impossible for desperate patients to escape. You might be able to slip past the sentries keeping watch or wriggle through the fencing of your settlement’s enclosure, but you can’t get too far with the equivalent of Monopoly money in your pocket.

The next French highlight is a lovely Mint State Hardi d’Or of Charles issued for Aquitaine. Lot 20178, a Double Henri d’Or of Henry II, continues this run of rare and desirable French gold. A very rare Double Louis d’Or Aux Insignes is featured as Lot 20207, and is a marvelous piece with traces of the coin it was struck over visible and adding to its appeal. A Demi (1/2) Louis d’Or au Buste Habille is found in Lot 20227 and is an extremely rare type that has not surfaced in a U.S. auction in the last decade.

Among coins of Germany, a massive Quedlinburg 8 Ducat is offered as Lot 20277, a hefty, extremely rare and ornately designed piece.

The 124 lots of British coinage range from the 9th century through to Queen Elizabeth II, and there is certain to be something for all collectors. The first major highlight is a lovely sovereign issue of Queen Elizabeth I, a highly desired type found as Lot 20299.  A visually stunning nine-piece set from Soho Mintmaster James Watt Jr. (sold as three lots, arranged by metal type) is preceded by a richly detailed introduction.

Immediately following the three Proof sets is a 1818 pattern crown by Pistrucci, which also offers ample historical information. This marvelous coin, Lot 20350, is destined for a collection of significant caliber. A gorgeous “Old Head” Queen Victoria 10-piece Proof set with gorgeous toning is featured as Lot 20384. Guatemala rounds out the session, with a strong run of the aforementioned Alex Siegel Collection pieces.

The bidding resumes on Saturday evening at 6:30 p.m. ET with Session E, which begins with Ancient coins and also covers the remainder of the world coin lots starting with Haiti.

The Ancients section opens with a nice run of Syracusan gold minors. Additional highlights include a Cyzicus EL Stater with a lion’s head (Lot 21036) and a Judaean First Jewish War Year 3 Half Shekel. Among Roman coinage, a nice run of Aurei from multiple emperors is culminated by a choice Julian II AV Solidus (Lot 21072).