Sworders Auctioneers coin it in for Treasury coffers

A SINGLE collection of coins and medallions brought in over three quarters of a million pounds for the treasury at Sworders’ latest fine art sale in Stansted Mountfitchet.

The group of around 700 items is believed to have belonged to an east European man who had deposited them in a London bank vault over 50 years ago. When the vault closed in the 1990s, the company concerned tried to establish his identity but was unable to do so. After trying in vain for over a decade, permission was given to sell the collection on behalf of the Government.

Sworders’ coin consultant Simon Monks said: “This was probably the biggest collection ever to appear in a sale outside London, featuring items of exceptional rarity and quality.

“Twenty years ago, such a sale would only have taken place in the capital - and the jaw-dropping result just goes to show what regional auctioneers can do. London auction rooms would struggle to raise better prices than this!”

Buyers in the room had come from as far afield as Russia, Poland, Germany, Holland and the United States of America, with additional bids coming in by telephone and internet. Some of the medallions were so unusual that there was no record of anything similar being sold previously.

Star of the sale was a gold Japanese 20 Yen piece dated 1870, measuring just 35 millimetres in diameter. Interest in the item was such that its guide price of �12,000-�15,000 was doubled when the hammer came down at �29,000 (�34,800 including buyer’s premium).

“Only a handful of these would ever have been minted – and this was a beautiful example, in excellent condition,” added Mr Monks.

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Sworders’ managing director Guy Schooling said: “It’s not often that the proceeds of a sale go directly into treasury coffers – especially not to the tune of �750,000.”

Sworders’ next auction in Stansted Mountfitchet is its Fine Wine & Port Sale on Monday April 23, followed by its Spring Country House Sale on Tuesday April 24 and its Antique Sale on Wednesday April 25.