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    A Splendid Series Rarity Scarcely Encountered at Auction

    Ferdinand III gold 10 Ducat 1655-(c) UNC Details (Reverse Damage) NGC, Vienna mint, KM993, Fr-209, Horsky-Unl., Julius-Unl., Reichel Collection-Unl., MzA-153, Herinek-20. 34.31gm. Jan Conrad Richthausen as mintmaster. Dated reworked from 1654. Struck from the same dies as the 20 Ducat, also in this sale. A piece which eludes all attempts at a description that can fully do justice to its true rarity. Working from extent auction records over the past 20 years, together with catalogs of major collections, we have been able to trace only three examples offered in the last decade and a half--one from Hess-Divo's April 2008 Auction 309 (lot 730), one from Numismatica Ars Classica's January 2005 Auction 28 (lot 91), and one from Rauch's May 2010 Auction 86 (lot 3778). What is perhaps even more telling, however, is the number of major collections that did not include a specimen, to which we can enumerate Adolph Hess's 1911 sale of Hermitage duplicates, the Horsky, Julius, and Reichel Collections, and Hess-Leu's October 1962 Goldpr├Ągungen auction. One of two designs employed for this date, the other showing a large shield surmounted by a crown and ringed with the Order of the Golden Fleece, though both were struck from the same obverse die, this particular emission has the trait of being minted with a reverse unique to the gold types of this date.

    Any explanation for the exact purposes for which such a coin might have been produced continue to puzzle us. The fact that the reverse die of the other 1655 10 Ducat extends back to 1651, together with the reworked date, may suggest that the design was initially conceived during Ferdinand's summoning of the Reichstag, where he postponed constitutional questions he considered dangerous to his power and had his son elected as King of the Romans in 1653 (though he died in 1654). Whether or not such a broad gold multiple would have been meant to convey a sense of the Emperor's grandeur and royalty before the Perpetual Reichstag assumed a great deal more authority is hard to know for certain, though we can remark on the majesty and resolve depicted for the aging Ferdinand.

    From the Paramount Collection

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    March, 2021
    25th-27th Thursday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 14
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 349

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