NGC-Graded Coins Shatter European Auction Records

Posted on 12/12/2008

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 Numismatica 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 service represented.

"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.

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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.

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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 $127,500.

For more information, see the Genevensis SA gallery.