Forty-seven years after the secessionist ambition of Biafra, a rare modern silver coin from Biafra realised about $8,812.50, including the 17.5 per cent buyer’s fee, in a recent auction held between January 19 – 22.
The silverware, which is a rare and little understood silver coin from Biafra was one of the many highlights from an auctioneer, Stephen Album Rare Coins’ Auction No. 27.
The 1969 coin is from Biafra, a short-lived entity that fought for freedom from Nigeria from May 30, 1967, to January 1970, the coin realised $8,812.50, including the 17.5 per cent buyer’s fee, against an estimate of $5,000 to $7,000.
The coin features on its obverse the bust of former Biafra warlord, late Chief Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, who served as chief of staff during Biafra’s brief ‘independence era.
Graded about uncir-culated 58 by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation, it was gathered that the coin’s feature also include a coconut palm tree which graces the reverse, and which also is inscribed a toga: Independence and Liberty.
The firm noted that: “Little is known about this seldom encountered commemorative, probably intended for two years of independence…
No specimen has appeared at auction or for sale in recent years, to the best of our recollection.” The cataloger for Album suggests that the piece is often attributed to an Italian firm known as Istituto Numismatico Europeo,“but there is no evidence to confirm this assumption.”
Uncertain letters, perhaps N.D.R., beneath the trunk of the palm tree and a possible letter C on the base of the palm may be a Mint mark and designer’s initials. Regardless, the style and arrangement of the design are totally different from any of the other issues struck for Biafra during its ephemeral existence.
A similar coin sold in Stephen Album Rare Coins Auction No. 18, January 16 to 18, 2014, realised a hammer price of $13,000, nearly twice the $7,000 hammer price for this example.