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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Summer 2019 Literature Auction, Lot: 75. Estimate $750.
Sold for $1600. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

[Biaggi di Blassys, Leo]. The Biaggi Collection of Roman Gold Coins. Two bound volumes containing 134 plates of scanned photographic images illustrating 2398 Roman gold coins. A complete set of high quality scans from the original photographic record of Biaggi’s remarkable collection, made in the 1970s. One of very few sets made for private circulation and a tremendously valuable record of one of the greatest collections of the twentieth century. As new, an exceptionally important record of a remarkable collection. Very rare thus. Website shipping rates do not apply.

From the Numismatic Library of a Major North American Dealer.

Leo Biaggi de Blasys (1906-1979) was a Swiss sugar magnate and sportsman whose fascination with ancient Rome led to the creation of one of the world’s greatest collections of Roman gold coins. Born in Genoa to a Swiss-Italian diplomat and a French mother, he became active in the Red Cross after 1943 and, with his father, he repeatedly helped Jews in Italy escape persecution in the later years of World War II. He was also alleged to have knowingly aided in the escape of high-ranking Nazis, a notion dismissed by his friends and relations. In 1961, he received the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic for his services. His extensive collection focused on Roman gold from the Republic to the late Empire, ultimately comprising over 2,000 specimens. It was purchased en bloc by Bank Leu (Zurich) in 1978, and then slowly dispersed over the next few decades before Numismatica Ars Classica’s auction 49 in 2008 where a further 500 ex-Biaggi coins were offered. Pieces from the collection continue to come to market today where the Biaggi pedigree remains highly prized among collectors of Roman gold.