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Rare Russian coins help auction house sale net more than $6 million

January 17, 2014, 15:26 UTC+3 NEW YORK
A 1729 gold 10-ruble coin with Peter the Great's portrait on its obverse and a double-headed eagle on the reverse was sold for $205,000
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NEW YORK, January 17. /ITAR-TASS/. Heritage Auctions raised $6.1 million selling rare coins from the collection of famous American numismatist Eric Newman, among them currency minted during the Russian Empire, the auction house press office reported on Thursday.

Some 2,000 coins Newman brought from dozens of countries went under the hammer from January 14-16.

A gold coin of 14 ducats and minted in 1612 at Salzburg was the top lot, fetching $211,000. Its obverse features the Prince-Archbishop Mark Sittich von Hohenems. “Though the coin was made of gold, the minted image is preserved in minute detail,” the auction house’s experts said.

A 1729 gold 10-ruble coin with Peter the Great's portrait on its obverse and a double-headed eagle on the reverse received a slightly lower evaluation and sold for $205,000. Press officer Noah Fleischer said this was considered the most remarkable lot among the Russian coins on sale and had been valued at about $70,000.

Heritage Auctions vice-president Cristiano Bierrenbach said few gold coins were minted featuring Peter the Great as he died of smallpox only three years after becoming emperor in 1727.

A two-thaler silver coin made in 1674 in the town of Emden, now in Germany, raised more than $111,000. Its obverse features a view of Emden - galloping horses against the backdrop of the port with harboring ships under sail, the town wall and spires. According to the auction house, even 1-thaler coins of this kind are rare and only several of them are known to experts.

The 1748 gold coin with a portrait of Elizabeth of Russia, initially estimated at $20,000, fetched almost $40,000. And another numismatic rarity from the Russian Empire, a ten-ruble gold-coin with a portrait of Catherine the Great minted in 1766, sold for $18,800. This large, almost perfectly preserved, coin was minted at the start of the empress’ long rule, Bierrenbach said. The estimate was $10,000.

According to Heritage, the former lawyer from the state of Missouri, now 102, started his collection in the 1930s at a cost to Newman of about $7,500.

In November, 1,800 rare American coins from his collection sold for $23 million in New York, following a series of similarly successful auctions. Proceeds were designated for the Newman-founded numismatic society in Missouri.

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