The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 27, Number 6, February 11, 2024, Article 19


In an email to clients today, Allan Davisson announced his firm's upcoming auction sale. -Editor

Davisson Auction 43 sale cover

Auction 43, closing Wednesday, March 20th 2024, is online now! Print copies will be mailed later this month, if you are not on our mailing list and would like a copy please let us know.

The first high quality, substantially pedigreed collection of Scottish coins to come to the market since the LaRiviere sale in 2006 begins in this, our major annual sale of some of the best coins we have come across in the past year. A beautiful and historic series with a fascinating array of designs typically reflecting the frequently changing winds of Scottish history are chronicled in a series that is a major departure in style and beauty from both the English and Irish coinage series.

Many of these pieces have important pedigrees. The Scottish series is small enough that high quality examples have often been important enough parts of the collections of others that they continue to carry this cachet. There have not been enough high grade Scottish pieces offered since LaRiviere to be able to cite equivalents for many of the pieces. I have relied on years of focus on Scottish material including personally marked catalogs from attending major sales, paying attention to the market and helping with building some major collections. Estimates are at the conservative end of the value range.

This collection will be offered over three sales—a major introduction to the collection with some of the most important pieces in the series featured in these pages. Our early June sale will focus on some of the less valuable coins in the collection. The grading standards for high quality for the rare pieces hold for the less valuable pieces in the series as well.

Then, early in the fall we will offer the last portion of the collection, again featuring some of the major rarities of the series—both gold and silver.

We have been fortunate with other consignments for this sale—Roman and Byzantine gold, English hammered and milled gold in addition to the Scottish material, and some historic US gold as well.

Our ancient offering is diverse and interesting. The Greek section includes many beautiful coins of superior style, for example the beautifully toned Kroton nomos with classic head of Hera Lakinia (lot 33). The Greek material ranges from fractions to tetradrachms and includes a small section (lots 43-47) from an old collection of pieces with old toning on fine quality flans and high aesthetic style tetradrachms of Alexander III from different mints. Continue on to some small rare denominations in exceptional condition. Then bronzes ranging from the Romans in North Africa to Spain move us into the interesting Roman Provincial (Greek Imperial) section.

A pleasing selection of beautifully toned Roman Republic denarii—largely from one old collection—follows. Imperatorial Rome is represented by the difficult and important denarius of Octavian celebrating his conquest of Egypt (lot 118) featuring the fearsome Nilus crocodile. A decent section of Roman Imperial follows, with many rare and unusual coins to appeal to collectors and condition-conscious buyers both. Military themes predominate. A pair of Byzantine coins precede the continuation of our offering of Robert Ready created British Museum electrotypes of the Museum's finest Greek coins. (MD)

Several lots of historic Anglo-Saxon electrotypes from the British Museum collection are offered next. They are rare, produced in very limited quantities. There is a note that begins this section that summarizes what I know about them.

A small and select collection of Carolingian coins follows this section. The Carolingian denier brought the flat and round coin with neat legends into circulation. The series also reflects French history and geography during the era with many cities and issuing authorities producing their own neat coinage.

We have been very fortunate to have a strong bloc of Anglo-Saxon pieces to offer again this year. In March 2023 we sold a major collection of coins from this era in one of the larger Anglo-Saxon offerings in recent years. While we cannot match the depth of that sale, the pieces offered here do match the quality and appeal. The English section continues on with hammered issues including a clear heavy halfpenny of Henry IV, a groat of Richard III, an appealing shilling of Philip and Mary, and a bit of milled coinage.

The Scottish section is next and a few Anglo-Gallic pieces follow.

The 18th century trade token section includes rarities and unusual pieces that have been held specially for this sale. The sale last year of the Deane Collection in London achieved remarkable prices on almost everything. (It also sold substantially to one client.) The estimates in this sale are conservative and, in a fair number of cases, below what someone paid initially for the piece.

A select sampling of world coins follows, representing a wide range of times and places including a particularly attractive example of the China Republic junk dollar with wild geese flying toward a rising sun. The authentication/grading service graded it AU cleaned. If you have access to images of other examples of this issue, look at them on your computer screen and then look at this one. Whatever the cleaning, this coin has a particular freshness and appeal that many others do not. (It is amazing to be able to see so much so easily in this internet age—as someone who began in business long before such ready access really appreciates.)

A small selection of coins from the USA's colonial era provides a succinct introduction to the importance of English counterfeit currency to American trade. This has become an important area for US colonial scholars and collectors.

The sale ends with a mix of US material—some choice classic commemorative pieces, another rare Lincoln Emancipation Proclamation Medal (we had one in our sale last year that was a factor in our getting this consignment for this sale), and a few important and attractive historic medals.

Assembling all this has been both a challenge and a pleasure, and we hope that you enjoy it as well and find some pieces to enhance your own collection.

To browse the online and print catalogs, see:

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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