December 14 Auction of Baron Lorne Thyssen-Bornemisza and Dr. Thomas S. Kaplan's Joint Collection of "MASTERPIECES OF GREEK COINAGE"

A Friendship that Highlights the Growing, Transcendent Appeal of Numismatics

Nov 28, 2015, 01:14 ET from Numismatica Genevensis

GENEVE, Switzerland, Nov. 28, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- On Monday 14 December, a series of rare, ancient Greek coins dating back as far as the 6th century B.C. will be offered for auction at the Beau-Rivage Hotel, Geneva by Numismatica Genevensis, one of the leading rare coin companies in the world. Featuring 75 lots of notable provenance with estimates ranging from CHF3'000 to CHF200'000 the sale marks the continued rise of numismatics within the art world and presents a wonderful opportunity for serious collectors to choose from an impressive array of extremely rare and artistically stunning coinage from the joint collection of the noted art collectors Baron Lorne Thyssen-Bornemisza and Dr. Thomas S. Kaplan.

"This is not only one of the most spectacular collections of ancient Greek coins offered to the public in recent times, but a celebration of a life-long friendship between two young men from completely different worlds: Lorne, the scion of the German Thyssen dynasty and a benefactor to the study of Classics and Tom, who hails from a prosperous Jewish family, supporter of conservation, medical and community causes.

"Both collectors were already attracted to coins 35 years ago when they met in the Swiss school Le Rosey," Dr. Baron added. "Their passion for art gave birth to the idea of forming a joint collection of exquisite Greek coins. This sale is about the message of perfection they deliver."

With record sales prices for rare coins being achieved at auctions in the U.S. and Europe in recent years, numismatics has moved far beyond that of the casual  hobbyist. Coin collecting is today an investment area and a market for serious art collectors, with people paying millions for coins. Rare coins, especially of the ancient Greeks such as those included in the Thyssen-Bornemisza/Kaplan joint collection, truly reflect the art of the time period just as statues and architecture that have long been lost to history.

Among the featured pieces is Lot 30, a brilliant and artistically stunning 9.19g gold coin dating to the 4th century B.C. The coin, which originated in ancient city of Tauric Chersonese in the Black Sea region (called Pantikapaion by the Greeks), features on one side the elaborately detailed head of a satyr with a pointed beard, a goat's ear and a pug nose, wearing an ivy wreath. On the other side is a horned griffin—the mythological guardian of the goldmines. The starting price on this remarkable work of art is CHF200'000.

The first, simple coins were struck in AsiaMinor (Modern Turkey), around 600 BC. Around 560 B.C.Croesus, the King of Lydia, was the first to strike both silver and gold coins, with elaborate design-work.  Almost immediately, coins became demonstrations of a culture's power and the objects of sophisticated collectors.  Cities invited the best artists of the time to design the dies that were made to strike their official coins. Greek artists created some of the most artistically breathtaking coins in history; so nice that some Roman emperors started collecting them.  The "hobby of kings" was subsequently adopted by some of the greatest personalities in history, including French King Louis XIV and the early American President Thomas Jefferson.

"A coin is perhaps the most complete witness to history of all art forms. These pieces have in fact travelled through history to reach us. No other field of art allows one to hold history in your hands, to reflect upon it, and to transport the holder to the very people and places they depict."

The proceeds of this sale will be donated to the Recanati-Kaplan Fondation and The Cogito Foundation. The Recanati-Kaplan Foundation supports the environment, education, medical research and community causes. The Cogito Foundation endows scholarships to Eton College and UK universities for exceptionally gifted Arab children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

About the Auction:

  • Masterpieces of Greek coinageMonday 14 December 2015, 3:00 PM (Central Europe Time): lots 1 to 75
    • In our offices, by appointment only: until Friday 11 December 2015. Address:
      Rond-point de Plainpalais 1
      CH 1205 Geneva
    • Beau-Rivage Hotel, Geneva:Sunday 13 December from 10am to 6pm
      Monday, 14 December from 9am to 2.30pm
      Quai du Mont-Blanc 13 / Geneva / Switzerland

Catalogue can be viewed on the Numismatica Genevensis website.

SOURCE Numismatica Genevensis