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Rare Money Blog

rare sicilian gold coin in stacks bowers galleries august auction

A Fantastic Sicilian Gold Issue with a Mid-18th Century Pedigree

By Jeremy Bostwick, Senior Numismatist and Cataloger

Author: Jeremy Bostwick / Friday, July 16, 2021 / Categories: World Coin of the Week
In addition to an exemplary live session of ancient coins, our upcoming Official Auction of the ANA World's Fair of Money will feature the magnificent "Collection of a Gentleman," an advanced cabinet of Greco-Roman denominational rarities. Assembled over the course of five decades, this astounding array features various denominations that are not often seen, with a handful offering some rather incredible pedigrees. One such rarity emanates from the Sicilian city of Gela and displays a man-headed bull on the obverse and a nymph on the reverse. G. Kenneth Jenkins, in his die study for the coinage of the city, lists only a small handful of the type known to him, with the offered piece being one of those cited. This important citation leads to a further history of the piece, as it was once part of the famous collection assembled by Sir Hermann Weber (1823-1918)—a German-born medical doctor who eventually spent much of his career in London, pioneering the open-air treatment of tuberculosis. Prior to being a part of Weber's collection, however, the specimen played a role in an ever more fabled holding of numismatic treasures. Weber obtained this fractional gold piece from a Christie's auction in 1884, when the remaining portion of the vast collection of Sir Andrew Fountaine (1676-1753) was finally offered. Fountaine, a prominent nobleman in early-mid 18th century England, was an enthusiastic coin collector among his other historical pursuits. Part of his collection was sold in order to raise funds for his country estate, Narford, while the balance stayed with the family until being sold in the aforementioned Christie's sale. As such, the terminus ante quem for our delightful Sicilian gold issue is obviously Fountaine's death in 1753, meaning that it entered his collection before that date and establishes a provenance back some 268 years at the very least! Rather accordingly, this specimen perfectly blends the art and history of the ancient Mediterranean with the noble pursuit of numismatics throughout Stuart-Hanoverian England.

To view our upcoming auction schedule and future offerings, please visit StacksBowers.com where you may register and participate in this and other forthcoming sales.

We are always seeking coins, medals, and paper money for our future auctions, and are currently accepting submissions for our Official Auction of the 2022 NYINC next January and our ensuing Hong Kong auction next spring. Additionally, we are continuously accepting submissions for our Collectors Choice Online (CCO) auctions, the next of which will be in October. If you would like to learn more about consigning, whether a singular item or an entire collection, please contact one of our consignment directors today and we will assist you in achieving the best possible return on your material.​​​

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