Two Roman Empire Gold Medallions Certified by NGC Ancients Each Realize Over $300,000 in Paramount Collection Sale
Posted on 3/29/2021
Spectacular gold medallions from two ill-fated Roman rulers were among the rarities certified by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation® (NGC®) that dramatically surpassed their pre-auction estimates in the ancient coins portion of a sale showcasing the phenomenal Paramount Collection. Organized by Heritage Auctions, the sale of world and ancient coins from the NGC-certified Paramount Collection was held March 25-27, 2021.
The top ancient rarity in the auction was a gold medallion of Magnentius that realized $336,000, double its pre-auction estimate of $100,000 to $150,000. Graded NGC Ancients MS★, 5/5 Strike, 3/5 Surface, with Fine Style (lot 30066), it is now one of the most expensive numismatic rarities from the ancient world that Heritage has ever sold.
|Roman Empire, Magnentius (AD 350-353) Gold Medallion graded NGC Ancients MS★, 5/5 Strike, 3/5 Surface, with Fine Style. Realized: $336,000Click images to enlarge.|
Flavius Magnus Magnentius was the commander of the guard of Constans, ruler of the western part of the Roman Empire. Emperor Constans' unpopularity with the army gave Magnentius the opportunity to seize power and kill him in AD 350.
The gold medallion includes the word LIBERATOR, reflecting Magnentius' ambition to be seen as a savior in a wide swath of the Roman world. Ultimately, Constantius II, the ruler in the east (who was also the brother of Constans), defeated Magnentius in AD 353 in a key battle in modern-day France, after which Magnentius killed himself.
A gold medallion from another unfortunate ruler of the Roman Empire also exceeded expectations in the sale by realizing $312,000, well above its pre-auction estimate of $100,000 to $200,000. The Maxentius (AD 307-312) gold medallion graded NGC Ancients MS, 5/5 Strike and 2/5 Surface, with Fine Style (lot 30065) depicts a man who spent his brief reign as emperor vying for power in a civil war.
|Roman Empire, Maxentius (AD 307-312) Gold Medallion graded NGC Ancients MS, 5/5 Strike and 2/5 Surface, with Fine Style Realized: $312,000Click images to enlarge.|
Maxentius died in the Battle of Milvian Bridge in AD 312 against the forces of his brother-in-law, Constantine I "the Great," when they marched on Rome. Constantine reportedly had a vision before the battle that led to his embrace of Christianity, a turning point in world history.
Meanwhile, a silver Decadrachm of Syracuse, Sicily (lot 30013), produced centuries earlier, realized $216,000, more than double its pre-auction estimate of $50,000 to $75,000. Issued circa 405-400 BC and signed by the artist Kimon, it is graded NGC Ancients Ch AU★, 5/5 Strike and 4/5 Surface, with Fine Style. Silver coins like these are considered a magnificent achievement in ancient Greek numismatics, and this example earned the NGC Star (★) Designation for its superior eye appeal.
|Syracuse, Sicily circa 405-400 BC Silver Decadrachm graded NGC Ancients Ch AU★, 5/5 Strike and 4/5 Surface, with Fine Style. Realized: $216,000Click images to enlarge.|
This particular coin was certified via NGC Ancients' Photo Certification service, which is used when it is impractical to holder a coin or when a collector prefers not to have their coin placed in a holder. In this case, high-resolution images were taken and the coin was given a unique certification number (6066349-042) that can be used with the Verify NGC Certification online tool.
Other NGC Ancients-certified highlights in this Paramount Collection sale included:
- a Bosporus, Panticapaeum circa 340-320 BC Gold Stater graded NGC Ancients AU, 5/5 Strike, 4/5 Surface, with Fine Style (lot 30024) that realized $138,000, several times its pre-auction estimate of $20,000 to $30,000
- a Roman Empire, Hadrian AD 117-138 Gold Aureus graded NGC Ancients MS★, 5/5 Strike, 4/5 Surface, with Fine Style (lot 30054) that realized $111,000, several times its pre-auction estimate of $10,000 to $15,000
- a Sicily, Syracuse circa 485-480 BC Silver Tetradrachm graded NGC Ancients AU★, 5/5 Strike, 4/5 Surface, with Fine Style (lot 30012) that realized $90,000, several times its pre-auction estimate of $15,000 to $25,000
- a Ptolemaic Kingdom, Berenice II (d. 221 BC) Pentekaidekadrachm graded NGC Ancients AU★, 5/5 Strike, 4/5 Surface, with Fine Style (lot 30041) that realized $84,000
- a Sicily, Siculo-Punic circa 264-260 BC Silver 5-Shekels (or Decadrachm) graded NGC Ancients AU, 5/5 Strike, 3/5 Surface, with Fine Style (lot 30015) that realized $78,000, more than double its pre-auction estimate of $20,000 to $30,000
- a Caria, Island of Rhodes circa 404-385 BC Silver Tetradrachm graded NGC Ancients AU, 4/5 Strike, 4/5 Surface (lot 30030) that realized $69,000
- a Roman Empire, August 27 BC to AD 14 Gold Aureus graded NGC Ancients Ch XF, 5/5 Strike, 3/5 Surface (lot 30049) that realized $63,000
- a Roman Empire, Commodus AD 177-192 Bimetallic Medallion graded NGC Ancients Ch AU (lot 30058) that realized $57,600
- a Ptolemaic Kingdom, Ptolemy II 285/4-246 BC Gold Octodrachm graded NGC Ancients Ch AU, 5/5 Strike, 3/5 Surface (lot 30040) that realized $50,400
Prices realized include buyer's premium and are expressed in US dollars. All estimates are provided by the auction house.
Want news like this delivered to your inbox once a month? Subscribe to the free NGC eNewsletter today!