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Stack's Bowers & Ponterio
January 2022 NYINC Auction  14-16 Jan 2022
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Starting price: 135 000 USD

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VENEZUELA. Specimen Set (5 Pieces), 1879. All NGC Certified.
1) 5 Bolivares. NGC SPECIMEN-61. KM-Y-24.1.

2) 2 Bolivares. NGC SPECIMEN-61. KM-Y-23.

3) Bolivar. NGC SPECIMEN-62. KM-Y-22.

4) 1/2 Bolivar. NGC SPECIMEN-62. KM-Y-21.

5) 1/5 Bolivar. NGC SPECIMEN-60. KM-Y-19.1.

A set of monumental importance, it represents not only important quality for these KEY DATE issues (which also happen to be the first for their type after the monetary reform that shifted the Centavo/Venezolano system to the Centimos/Bolivar system) on an individual basis, but on the whole as well, it represents what may be the only examples of these denominations in presentation quality. Clearly produced to uniform standards, they possess uncommon reflective gleam, with each displaying significant die polish lines in the fields. The rims are also impressively sharp, with the relief being especially prominent on the minors. Clearly stored together for ages, each coin displays soft orange iridescence with some deeper dappled tone on the lesser denominations. Despite light handling that determines the grade, the appearance of the set is altogether sublime.

While presentation quality examples of this set (be they of proof or specimen quality) have been heretofore unrecorded in numismatic literature, it takes little imagination to posit how this set came into existence. Pedigreed to the sale of the M. Charles L'Écluse Collection that was sold within a decade of the set's manufacture, it seems likely that the collector himself had a relationship with surrounding mints (in Paris and Brussels at least) and had coins specially made for his collection. Evidence to support this theory lies in the fact that other coins pedigreed to this collection, such as an 1858-dated Venezuelan set (lot 259 in that sale) that was struck at the Paris Mint, have received the Specimen grade when certified by NGC (see NGC: 4668576-001). If in fact these strikings were a private commission, that would explain why so few are known and why they remain virtually unrecorded in the numismatic community. Considering its potentially UNIQUE status, a set that should regarded among the most important items in Venezuelan numismatics; not only because of its rarity, but also because it marked the introduction of the Bolivar denomination that exists in Venezuela to this day.

Ex: M. Charles de L'Ecluse Collection (M. C. Van Peteghem - Paris, 6/1887) Lot # 263.

Estimate: $225000 - $275000

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