Rare Italian Gold Coin Set Realizes Over $250,000 in London Auction

Posted on 10/12/2021

The four gold "Aratrice" coins offered by Harmers of London each had a mintage of only 40 pieces.

A highly desirable set of gold coins, minted to commemorate an Italian king and now certified by Numismatic Guaranty Company™ (NGC®), realized over $250,000 in a Harmers of London auction in September. Dozens of other coins that were certified by NGC also realized prices exceeding pre-auction estimates. The sale, Ancient, Modern Coins and Banknotes, was held September 27, 2021.

The top lot in the sale was an extremely rare set of four NGC-certified Italian gold coins minted in 1926 to honor King Victor Emmanuel III, who ruled the Kingdom of Italy from 1900 through 1946. Only 40 of each coin, ranging in denominations from 10 Lire to 100 Lire, were minted to include in the sets, which were intended for numismatic collectors. The set of four coins (lot 521) realized £198,000 (about $268,000 USD).

The Italy 1926R Lire Set included four gold “aratrice” coins with grades ranging from NGC MS 64 to NGC MS 65+
Click images to enlarge.

Each coin in the set features on the obverse a uniformed bust of King Victor Emmanuel III and on the reverse a plowwoman, or “aratrice,” designed by Egidio Boninsegna and engraved by Luigi Giorgi, chief engraver of the Royal Mint of Rome. The aratrice serves as an allegoric representation of agricultural Italy.

Other NGC-certified highlights in the sale included:

  • a Great Britain 1826 5 Sovereigns graded NGC PF 60 Cameo (lot 255) that realized £86,400 (about $117,000 USD)
  • a Great Britain 1893 Proof Set with 10 coins — 5 Sovereigns, 2 Sovereigns, Sovereign, Half Sovereign, Crown, Half Crown, Florin, Shilling, 6 Pence and 3 Pence — graded from NGC PF 63 to NGC PF 64 Ultra Cameo (lot 293) that realized £60,000 (about $81,000 USD)
  • a Great Britain 1825 Gold Pattern 2 Sovereigns graded NGC PF 63+ Ultra Cameo (lot 257) that realized £51,600 (about $70,000 USD)
  • a Great Britain 1820 Gold Pattern 2 Sovereign graded NGC PF 62+ (lot 249) that realized £50,400 (about $68,000 USD).
  • a Switzerland 1925B Gold 100 Franc graded NGC MS 63+ (lot 677) that realized £13,200 (about $18,000 USD)
  • a set of four Great Britain 1937 coins — 5 Sovereigns, 2 Sovereigns, Sovereign and Half Sovereign — graded from NGC PF 61 through NGC PF 65 Cameo (lot 311) that realized £13,200 (about $18,000 USD)
  • a Great Britain 1847 Un Decimo Crown, Gothic Type graded NGC PF 61 (lot 274) that realized £7,500 (about $10,000 USD)
  • a Roman Empire, Severus Alexander A.D. 222-235 Gold Aureus graded NGC Ancients MS, 5/5 Strike and 4/5 Surface (lot 136) that realized £7,200 (about $9,700 USD)

All prices include buyer’s premium.

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