Ursula Kampmann, editor of CoinsWeekly wrote a nice article in the October 27th edition about a Sheik from Qatar who's been buying up rare coins.
The beautiful stater from Thurion was estimated moderately at 6,000-8,000 pound sterling ($9,575-$12,767) before it went to auction at Morton & Eden's on October 24, 2011, as no 15. This piece is of quite an extraordinary provenance. It is from the legendary Kunstfreund collection and was sold for 30,000 Swiss Francs in 1974 at the peak of the coin boom. In 2011 some collectors might have been disposed to pay that prize again for this gem. They were outstripped. Sheik Saud bin Mohammed bin Ali al-Thani went up to 85,000 pound sterling ($135,659) to swallow the coin up in his collection.
Nowadays it has become an usual scenario. The lion's share of the top auctions of ancient material - whether tetradrachms or fractions - goes to the bidder from Qatar. According to a preliminary addition of Hadrien Rambach, a London-based coin-advisor, who was attending the sale, the sheik bought 41 lots for over 1 million pounds (more than $1.5 million) during the recent auction of Morton & Eden.
That included 70,000 pound sterling ($111,719) for a tetradrachm of the Aitna Master from Naxos, 40,000 ($63,839) for an archaic didrachm from Dikaia and 140,000 ($223,439) for an archaic double shekel from Tyre, the last two objects being also from the Kunstfreund Collection. Altogether we are talking about peanuts for the sheik. Only recently ARTnews chose him the biggest collector of 2011. His fine taste is lauded, while dealers will appraise his determination and financial exhaustlessness.
The Sheik was in the auction room, seated next to his employee-advisor, who was bidding on his behalf. Investor, or true collector? He purchased about 40 lots, but not all were big-ticket items - some had estimates as low as 100 GBP.
To read the complete article, see:
The World's Biggest Art Collector Is Also Interested In Coins
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, or call 1-800-546-2995.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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