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Of course, this meant that there were quite a few lower-priced coins which means that, if this trend is continued, their catalogues deserve detailed scrutiny by a larger clientele than before.

The main source of material was the “rather mysterious” De Guermantes collection of Greek, Roman and Byzantine coins. The collection was formed by a French scholar long resident in Switzerland over some half a century who purchased coins as a sideline to his interest in ancient and modern art. I long to know just what is mysterious about this.

A relatively common coin but a typically nice example is the silver tetradrachm struck at Athens, c.449-420BC (for the romantically inclined this was just when Pheideas was creating the Parthenon and the marbles of which there is so much discussion). The estimate was SFr6000. It made SFr5200 (£2080). Actually this was a good price because these coins do turn up and may be had for less.

Now to something rarer: a magnificent portrait Aureus of Pompey with a portrait to die for (many did). It was struck at an unknown Sicilian mint, and seems to be an unrecorded variety which has never before been in a public sale.

The cataloguer guessed that SFr55,000 would buy it, but SFr92,000 (£36,800) was required and that was only to satisfy the gavel.
Teddy Kollek may well be known to many Gazette readers, if only by good repute – he was for many turbulent years mayor of Jerusalem. Express no surprise, therefore, that he collected Jewish coins and his collection was dispersed in this sale. From it I offer a fairly common coin – a silver shekel of the Jewish War
of 66-70AD which led to the destruction of the town of Jerusalem.

This is the war that involved the famous siege of Masada. These shekels are dated years one to six and in general they get progressively rarer (year six is almost unknown).

There was a better than usual example of year one. Estimated at SFr4200, it made SFr6200 (£2480). Perhaps this was the Kollek effect.