A rare collection of ancient Greek coins, called the Prospero Collection, fetched a record price of $25 million at an auction in New York.
The Prospero Collection is a spectacular assemblage of historical and valuable coins by a private British collector over a period of three decades from 1960 to 1991.
Included in the collection is a coin which has been regarded as a rare artistic masterpiece by experts. This catalogue cover coin features the head of a satyr - a character widely used in Greek mythology - and was sold for $3.25 million, thereby breaking all previous world records for an ancient Greek coin.
The sale of the Prospero Collection has far exceeded our expectations. It has truly been a once in a generation auction and one that will go down in numismatic history, said Paul Hill, Baldwin's ancient coin specialist and cataloguer for the Prospero Collection after the auction.
Hill mentioned that though a majority of the lots were sold to collectors, yet coins were still increasingly being viewed as an attractive investment amid the ongoing financial crisis.
They are of great artistic beauty and historical significance, which makes them more interesting than stocks or shares, and they are tangible and portable, compared to a big estate, Hill told the CNN.
AH Baldwin & Sons, the specialist coin dealer behind the sale, refused to provide details about the identity of the collection owner.
The auction has just concluded after eight hours. We are delighted to have sold this important and comprehensive Prospero Collection for a total of approximately $25 million, making it the largest auction in Baldwin's history, said Ian Goldbart, Managing Director of Baldwin.