One of the Europe's most famous coin, 50 Excelentes, commissioned by the 15th century monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella as gifts will be in an auction by Sotheby's next month. The Archer M. Huntington collection of 37,895 Spanish coins, valued between $25 million and $35 million will be sold in a single batch in a sealed bid auction that ends March 8. The collection was put together a century ago by American railroad magnate and philanthropist Archer Milton Huntington, who also founded the Hispanic Society of America.
David Redden, Sotheby's vice chairman and head of special projects said, the collection, which is owned by the New York chapter of the Hispanic Society of America, was offered to the government of Spain before the auction but its bid was too low, Redden said. Persons who have expressed an interest in the auction include Americans, Spaniards and other Europeans
The collection is dominated by the nearly five-ounce (140 gram) solid gold 50 Excelente coin, which Redden called "arguably the most important and valuable European coin in existence." It shows a profile of the monarchs on one side and a shield on the other side. Other 50 Excelente coins were minted but disappeared for reasons that can only be guessed.
The collection also includes a copy of the "Ides of March" denarius, the most famous ancient coin, which was coined by the ancient Roman politician Brutus in the year 4 BC to commemorate the assassination of Julius Caesar, in which Brutus conspired. Other coins in the collection were among the first minted in the New World as the Spanish colonized the Americas, and coins from the Muslim period in Spain. The coin collection is on display at Sotheby's New York galleries.