Sunday, November 18, 2012

Certifying/Slabbing Vatican Coins

Vatican coins sold in Europe are auctioned based on the quality and reputation of the auction house. A grade from the Italian system is given.  Now the online auctions such as eBay and Teletrade are requiring graded and slabbed coins, how can this be accomplished?

For a number of years NGC graded and slabbed Vatican coins and medals. About a year or so they stopped doing this and I've been unable to find a reason. Although many people prefer PCGS grading, one advantage to NGC slabbing was the wide range in sizes of the holders. NGC has the capability to slab large medals. In addition, several coins can be slabbed together in one large NGC holder. (For example, the 5E and 10E coins for a given year or the 20E and 50E coins).

PGGS (and also ANACS) now continue to slab Vatican coins. In the past coins had to be submitted to PCGS via a dealer but now one can join for a nominal membership and receive a submission kit. However, there is a limit to the size of PCGS slad holders and bigger medals can't be fit into these smaller holders. (I don't know if ANACS will handle them).

PCGS also lists set registries. I found one collector who shows a prime collection of Vatican 100L coins from 1929-1938.

It will be interesting to see how slabbing affects commercial trading of Vatican coins, particularly regarding the larger auction houses.
1740 Benedict XIV 1/2 ScR

During this post-Reformation century the Christians of Europe continued (in the eyes of the Church) to need reminders about the primacy of St. Peter, the "rock upon which I will build my Church."
Hence many coins have images of St. Peter on the obverse, as does this coin. On the reverse there is a set of keys. "What you bind on earth will be bound in heaven; what you loose on Earth will be loose in heaven." There has only been one other Pope named Benedict between 1740 and 2005.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

"Coins of the Popes" by Joseph Coffin

I have been perusing "Coins of the Popes, by Joseph Coffin, published in 1946 by Coward-McCann publishers in NYC. The dist-jacket reads:

"In 'Coins of the Popes' the author of 'Coin Collecting' has concentrated on all of the significant features of the  Papal coinage, which has endured, with a few short breaks, since the time of Pope Adrian I (772-795) to Pius XII (1939-). Papal mints are enumerated, as well the the principal Papal engravers, including those who produced works of art in coinage, such as the great Benvenuto Cellini, the Hamerani, Pasinati and Pistrucci.

The book is illustrated with photographs showing inscriptions on Papal coins in Latin, and for the first time, in English from the eighth century, with scriptural references and historical significance of inscriptions and legends. One particularly interesting section deals with Christian symbols, their significance both in a general way and particulary as they relate to their inclusion on most of the papal coins. The book is an invaluable aid to collectors of ancient, medieval and modern coins, and should further appeal to lovers of history and the arts."

More to be said on this book.....


On October 12, 2012 the Vatican released its yearly 50 Euro coin, "The Restoration of the Pauline Chapel." The release brochure contains the following information:

The Pauline Chapel is a place of worship reserved for the use of the Pope and the papal household. It has been redesigned frequently throughout the centuries. The chapel includes two frescoes by Michelangelo that are across from each other, "The Conversion of St. Paul" and "The Martyrdom of St. Peter."

In "Conversion," on the 50E coin, there is a flash of light where St. Paul has just been thrown to the ground.

This is a fitting theme for the Year of Evangelization. Paul becomes Apostle to the Gentiles where he goes out to preach:  "filled with the holy Spirit...began at once to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God."