In the frame of the XXXIII National Numismatic Week, the AUREO & Calico auction was held on March 11, 2010, in Barcelona, Spain. As accustomed by this auction house, the sale was divided in three sections: Mail Sale, Floor Sale and a Monographic Sale. In addition to the regular Selection Sale of the Monographic section, a special sale of the Caballero de las Yndias Cuba and Costa Rica Collection was included in a separate section, owing to the consignor’s preference to highlight this part of his collection and give it due importance. The Caballero de las Yndias Collection is one of the most important collections of Spanish and Colonial coins, considered by many among the finest collections ever assembled, and as prestigious as other well known collections such as the Eliasberg and John J. Ford Collections.
Interestingly, the Cuban and Costa Rican coins, which were conspicuously missing from the previous Caballero de las Yndias America and the Philippines Sale held on April 8, 2009, were all included in this sale. The emotional attachment of Caballero to the Cuban and Costa Rican pieces explains why a special sale was organized for just these 54 lots. Although the coins from Costa Rica comprised most the auction catalog (52 out 54 lots), the highlight of the sale were the two Cuban lots, described as:
|Lot 2253: 1915. 1, 2, 4, 5, 10 y 20 pesos. (Fr. 1 y 3 a 7) (Kr. 16 a 21) (C.C. 2253) (Subasta Eliasberg, nº 1712, un conjunto similar realizó 126500$). Lote de 6 monedas, serie completa. Bellísimas. Pleno brillo original. Extremely rare. A similar set realized $126.500 plus commission during the Eliasberg sale, 2005. The set presented here forms a perfect match. All of the 6 specimens share deep proof fields and frosted devices under an even and rich orange patina. Scattered hairlines, visible only under magnification, are evidence of mininum handling. Gem proof. Rarísimas así. Proof. Est. 150.000.|
|Lot 2254. 1916. 1, 2, 4, 5, 10 y 20 pesos. (Fr. 2 a 7) (Kr. 16 a 21) (C.C. 2254). Lote de 6 monedas, serie completa. Bellísimas. Acuñación Proof. Extremely rare. This set shares with the previous one the magnificent deep mirror fields, frosted devices and beautiful patina with, again, minimun hairlines as if both were one and the same. However, this set is of a higher rarity. The reported mintages for the 1 peso is 100 pieces. For the 2 pesos only 8 specimens were struck. For the 4 pesos 90 pieces. Of the 5 pesos and 10 pesos very few pieces are known and of the 20 pesos only, 10 were reported minted but fewer are known to exist. This is the only complete 1916 set that we are aware of. Gem Proof. ¿Único set conocido en esta conservación?. Proof. Est. 200.000.|
Lot 2253 opened at €75,000 (USD $103,226) and realized €80,000 (USD $110,095), well below the estimate, whereas Lot 2254 opened at €90,000 (USD $123,850) and seems to have been sold at the same price (€90,000), also below the estimated price. These two sets, rarely seen together, include some of the rarest pieces in Cuban numismatics; particularly the 1916 Proof set that includes the very rare 2 Pesos and 20 Pesos pieces, with mintage of 8 and 10 pieces, respectively. The hammer price for both lots was surprisingly low by all estimates, which makes one wonder if it wasn’t the right time and/or place to sell these sets. Below, you can see unpublished images of these two magnificient lots.
A number of other Cuban coins were sold in the Floor and Mail Sales, including: 1898 Peso, 1937 Peso, a few 1897 Souvenir Pesos of both the Close Date and Wide Date varieties, as well as First Republic silver coins, all sold at prices more in tune with the current market. However, the highlight of the sale was Lot 429 of the Special Selection Sale:
|Lot 0429. Cuba. 1870. PCT. 1 peso. (Kr. Pn5). Acuñación Proof. Pátina acerada. Bella. Rarísima. EBC. Est. 5.000.|
This rare piece opened at €3,000 (USD $4,132) and sold for a whooping €18,000 (USD $24,793), shattering the estimate of €5,000 (USD $6,887). In our opinion, the 1870 series has historically been underrated, and it is great to see it for once receive the special attention that it should based on its rarity.
The AUREO & Calico Sale featured some of the rarest and nicest Cuban coins of any auctions in recent years, and it may be a while before we witness a similar offering. We’d love to hear your opinion. Please post your comments below.
1915 Gold Proof Set
1916 Gold Proof Set