Wednesday, 29 September 2010

ACCG Third "Benefit Auction": A Coin to Watch


Lot 85 offered in the Third ACCG Benefit Auction is a pretty awful off-centre provincial coin of Antoninus Pius (A.D. 138-161) minted in Antioch ad Orontem, or a contemporary imitation of one. According to the seller it has an "attractive dark desert-green and brown patina". . ...TI A A ANTΩ..., laureate head of Antoninus Pius right / S · C within laurel wreath with medallion at the top; in field, Є; below, eagle standing facing with wings displayed, head right McAlee -; cf. Butcher 319. Well, I can't see any "eagle" on this coin. For the issue see coin dealer Beast Coins who has a range of them, some where you do not need imagination to see eagles where the epsilon is on this coin.

The "interest" of this otherwise unlovely piece of dugup metal is revealed by the seller - one Peter Thompa (sic) of Washington D.C. -
A note on the back of the collector's ticket that comes with this lot mentions that the coin was exhibited at the CPAC hearing on Italy that took place on 8 September 2005. If for no other reason than this, this coin should command a strong bid as it is a piece of historical memorabilia in the fight to protect collector rights!

So the object has some kind of accompanying documentation and collecting history. It was presented to make some point or another at a meeting about controlling illegal exports from source countries. It is inconceivable that an illegally imported object would be presented to the committee in such circumstances and its owner would be able to demonstrate its wholly legitimate origins if challenged. Presumably then its own provenance is impeccable. The auction description does not say so, but can we assume that this ex-CPAC object comes accompanied by full documentation of legitimate provenance? Mr Tompa, can you be more transparent about where this coin came from and how its new owner can be sure that it was not originally illegally obtained?

UPDATE: it failed to reach the $75 estimate, it went for $46 dollars.

Photo: A coin presented at a meeting in the US State Department presumably with impeccable credentials, now being sold in support of the ACCG's no-questions-asked trade policies (Photo: ACCG).

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