It’s impossible to overstate how important money is to people all around the world. It buys food, clothing, shelter, entertainment and much, much more. But for rare coin and currency aficionados, money is sometimes used to buy rare money! One of the world’s largest stages for coins and currency is the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money, which attracts enthusiasts from all over the world.
The following is a list of some of the exceptional pieces that were on display and auctioned off at the 2015 ANA World’s Fair of Money in Chicago.
Alexander the Great Gold Distater
A marvelous gold coin dating back to around 324 B.C. was up for auction. Think about that: 324 B.C.! That’s what makes coin collecting so fascinating. Imagine how excited a car collector might get when coming across a 50-year-old Mustang in great condition. This coin is 2,339 years old!
The coin weighs 17.22 grams and is 22 millimeters in diameter. It was worth about 20 day’s work for one of Alexander the Great’s Macedonian soldiers. These gold distaters were in heavy circulation during the time of Alexander the Great; most of the coins that remain today show substantial wear on their surfaces. The one here in Chicago was a rare specimen in spectacular condition, with pristine surfaces and a very healthy glow.
Henry Herrick Bond Complete Denomination Set
Henry Herrick Bond was the assistant secretary of the treasury and was responsible for the transition from large-size to small-size currency in the United States. The set that was up for auction was truly one of a kind, and alongside the 11 face and 11 back specimens (from $1–$10,000) there was also a wide variety of material that highlighted Bond’s career. From photos and letters to archival material and news clippings, this complete set gives a deep and intriguing look into the life of the man responsible for the U.S. currency being what it is today.
8 Escudos of Guatemala
Dating back to the mid-18th century, a pair of coins that few would have ever seen separately was auctioned together. The hammered-issue Philip V coin dates back to 1741. Hammered coinage refers to placing a blank piece of metal between two different dies and hammering the top die to imprint the design on the metal. It’s a dazzling piece on its own. However, alongside the 1747 Ferdinand VI (which was previously unknown to even the biggest collectors in the world), it is nothing short of a miracle. They are being auctioned off together just for that reason: the wow factor of two such rare coins side by side.
An ancient coin auction can’t be complete without a specimen from the Roman Empire. Arguably the finest example that was on display at the auction was the gorgeous Gem MS Verus Aureus, which dates back to 161 A.D. Although it’s not as old as the Alexander the Great specimen, it’s safe to say that a coin in near-mint condition that is 1,854 years old is pretty mind-blowing. The rare coin shows Marcus Aurelius and Verus Aureus facing each other while shaking hands on one side, while the other shows the head of Verus. The coin was awarded the highest grade possible and is an absolutely brilliant addition to any fine collection of ancient coins.
1253 Enrique I Gold Morab Safard
This was arguably the most important and interesting coin on display at the event. The historical importance of this piece is so significant that it is considered to be a “discovery coin.” The coin has very unique features including a Christian motto that is written in Arabic in a style imitating that of the dinar. With the dinar, the text begins “In the name of Allah…”; however, this coin (while the text remains in Arabic) starts off with, “In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”
Cristiano Bierrenbach, the vice president of Heritage Auctions, said, “This is an important coin, in that it clearly shows the amalgamation of Christian and Islamic influences in medieval Spain. It’s also the only gold coin known with the name of Enrique I.”
The 2015 ANA World’s Fair of Money was a huge success and the event continues to inspire collectors and numismatists from around the world. A diverse and significant variety of coins and notes from near and far, old and new, all on display at the same place is beyond important for the world of numismatics. But what is even more important than the collection of coins was the gathering of interested people who will continue to spread the passion of numismatics for generations to come.
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