Saturday, March 29, 2014
Spring Auctions: Heritage makes a statement for graded ancients
Heritage Auctions will cap the spring auction schedule with a major collection of Roman Gold assembled by Andre Dimitriades. This is combined with selections from another major ancients auction the "Lexington Collection."
These are both collections that undoubtedly would have ended up in with major European houses like Numismatica Ars Classica (NAC) or NGSA in yeas past. Heritage was able to lure these collections away from their European competitors in part because of a state of the art online platform coupled with tremendously effective PR support. But also because the US market has become deep enough with the arrival of a collector base that is moving from US Coins into Ancients with the advent of the NGC grading program.
The fact that all the Roman Gold will be either slabbed or provided with a NGC photo certificate attests to the arrival of graded ancients on the international stage.
The collection includes many rarities such as the beautiful Antony aureus pictured above with what is unquestionably the finest portrait of this seminal historical figure in any medium, as well as spectacularly well preserved Caesar and Cassius aureae and impressive runs from each and every Emperor. The late Roman is particularly amazing as there are as many as ten solidi from many emperors considered scarce like Theodosius the Great.
The auction will be held live in Chicago along with the coin fair, which long has been a locale for mainly US collectors.
To be sure, many old school collectors and dealers still deplore graded coins. Some reasons are valid, as some very skilled and knowledgeable collectors hate to be told by a third party how to value and grade a coin. It's an individual art. Experienced connoisseurs value their own opinion. Other reasons are less noble as unscrupulous dealers will pass off tooled, smoothed and otherwise repaired coins - as well as outright fakes - as genuine and original. Heritage is riding the line by providing NGC photo certs form many of these rarities.
But as these important historical artifacts become more and more expensive it's natural that investors care to know a coin is original and genuine.
The success of the new Heritage Ancients division has prompted the company to add their first auction later this summer for only high value ancients coins.
There is no doubt that that NGC combined with Heritage have cast the first stone on the world stage for graded ancients which unquestionably appeals to US collectors. Eventually many Europeans will come to accept it too.