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Lot
30010

Austria: Salzburg. Markus Sittikus Graf von Hohenems gold 14 Ducats 1612,...

2014 January 14 - 16 Selections From the Eric P. Newman Collection Part III Signature Auction - New York #3029

 
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Auction Ended On: Jan 14, 2014
Item Activity: 8 Internet/mail/phone bidders
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Location: Heritage Auctions
445 Park Avenue, 15th Floor
New York, NY 10022
Description:
1612 Salzburg 14 Ducats

Extraordinary Multiple Ducat Masterpiece
Salzburg. Markus Sittikus Graf von Hohenems gold 14 Ducats 1612, KM-unlisted, Fr-700 (listed only as Rare), Probszt-unlisted, AU58 NGC. Obv. Leftward facing bust in clerical garment. Rev. Oval arms below legate's hat with St. Rupert and St. Vergilius facing at sides. A massive multi-ducat issue that, despite the certain complications of production, was made to a master's specifications. While being bold, the engraving maintains delicacy, and the strike rises to virtual completeness. Diagonal reeding adds a nice touch to the overall feel. The surfaces show even handling in the form of minor ticks throughout, and point to this piece, albeit for a short period, filling a commercial role. One hint to this fact lies in the tiny etching of "XIIII" just before the reverse legends, a certain quick-identifier of this, even at the time, very rare denomination.

This coin is a complete enigma of a type; it's a type that seems to have avoided numismatic plating for at least a half century. Further adding to the mystery, while smaller ducats of similarity (same legends and design composition) are shown to exist, the lone plated examples we have been able to locate are of the 4 Ducat size. These show Markus Sittikus on the obverse facing right, instead of the more stylized leftward facing portrait on the current example. Given the absent notation of this major design difference in previous catalogs, we must question if the present example has ever been numismatically classified. Whatever the case, we don't hesitate to call the current offering "once in a lifetime," as this unique, or nearly so, gold coin is certain to land in a cabinet of the highest sophistication.

In 1612, Markus Sittikus Graf von Hohenems (born in 1574) was elected Archbishop of Salzburg after his cousin, Wolf Dietrich Raitenaus, was deposed. Wolf Dietrich was thereafter imprisoned in the Hohensalzburg Fortrees. Sittikus died in 1619; his primary legacy consists of the numerous Baroque architectural projects that helped shape the feel and style of the city.

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