Welcome to Auction 37


Quality, Variety, Value


A year of planning, searching, and preparing have gone into this catalog. For this once-a-year sale we search out the most interesting, important, exciting things we can find to offer you.

This is a “collector’s sale.” We approach the sale with the enthusiasm that led us into professional numismatics in the first place. There are expensive pieces included, but our main focus is on pieces of value, regardless of cost. “Value” in this context means exceptional condition, style, historic significance, “clang response” appeal -- all those aspects of a piece that excite and satisfy. Many of the better pieces have historic pedigrees.

For this, our 37th major auction, we have many outstanding coins and some consignments that meet these standards. Beginning with the ancient sections, watch for exceptional style and condition, and important provenances. We are continuing with the choice material that Frank Robinson acquired in a life-time of collecting, covering maundy sets, sixpences, and shillings this time. 

Douglas Bayern was born in Minnesota but grew up on the east coast. He and his wife came back for eight years in the 1980’s, and I got to know him then.  After they moved to Oregon, he and I stayed in touch. He passed away last year from that scourge of a disease, ALS. He and I talked many times about his collecting. On a limited budget but with a keen eye he built a small but select collection of coins of medieval Britain and France. 

Another consignor who has been a client of ours for many years also patronized Seaby in London. A few of the most valuable hammered coins in the sale are from his collection.

The Irish section was notably enhanced by the collecting efforts of Bruce Ormond, a knowledgeable specialist collector we know. His enthusiasm for the Ireland and Ormond issues stems from his descendance from the Ormonde namesake for this complex issue of siege pieces.

The catalog is rounded out by other purchases, items picked up in auctions and shows, material from our own longer term holdings, two old collections, pieces from one discriminating collector with a “good eye,” and a few small consignments. 

Valuations come from careful study of recent auction and sale records. You should find that our estimates are  on the moderate side of the current market, with the quality exceeding what is typically offered in this era.

An overview (in order of appearance in the sale):

  • A pretty piece of early electrum and a handful of choice Byzantine gold scyphates
  • In the Greek section, what stands out is fine artistic style of a quality seldom offered, along with important provenances, coins from important old collections that contained the best of the best. There are many particularly choice coins in this section.
  • In Roman coins we offer brilliant iridescent mint state denarii and siliquae, helped by a purchase of a mid-20th century European collection with brilliant minty surfaces and gorgeous iridescent toning. Also look for a half dozen denarii from the Knobloch Collection of Roman Imperial coins, auctioned by Stack’s on May 1, 2, 3, 1980 -- Roman denarii of exceptional quality. Denarii are plentiful; few are exceptional. We sought out the exceptional.
  • Anglo Saxon: not many but a great portrait penny of the first “King of all England” and a nice group of early sceats
  • A tranche of Tealby pennies from the Bayern collection
  • Groats: Tournai was a short event during Henry VIII’s reign; coins were minted with the “T” m.m.  a particularly artistic and scarce type. Two ex-Carlyon-Britten rarities round out this fascinating three-coin section.
  • Renaissance hammered, crowns, shillings, Thomas Simon’s last issues—there are some hammered coins from this late era in the hammered series
  • The Frank Robinson section: a type run of Maundy sets (Charles II to Victoria), sixpences from Anne to Victoria, shillings from Charles II to Victoria—many exceptional pieces from a collector who over his lifetime successfully sought out the best
  • Scotland: three items, an attractive 4th coinage 20 shillings (a dramatic piece with the half-length profile of the young king) and two Jacobite medals
  • Irish -- a strong section: scarce varieties of Hib-Norse, a couple of scarce early hammered, several HVIII harp groats, rarely offered base metal Tudor shillings in superb condition for the issue, a run of Ormonde pieces including many of the varieties of this complex series, a Confederate Catholic (Rebel) Crown (the first time I have handled this fascinating rarity), some Irish copper with a colonial America connection, and a strong run of types of the VOCE POPULI halfpenny
  • The Douglas Bayern collection of early Anglo-Saxon sceats, English hammered pennies, Carolingian, feudal France, and a few more
  • British trade tokens start with an Irish mid 18th century issue; continues with a few unusual 18th century pieces including two hard- to-assemble sets of die progressions, a group of Kempson Warwickshire bronzed proofs from Baldwin’s fabled but now largely disbursed basement, and some mint state 19th century silver tokens from the same place
  • Finally, some classic American coins starting with a Pine Tree Shilling and ending with some well used but highly collectable early U.S. type

Scattered throughout are detailed notes and short articles reflecting on some of what you see here…

It has been a pleasure to put all this together. We hope you enjoy it as well.

Marnie and Lief join me in thanking you for your interest and support, and we wish you a healthy and prosperous 2018.


Allan Davisson

Friday, December 15, 2017


How Bidding Works


Davissons Ltd uses a soft close for its auctions, which means no lot closes until everyone is done bidding. Every time a bid is placed within the final 40 seconds of a lot closing, the timer is reset to 40 seconds. This continues until no bids are placed for 40 seconds, at which point the lot closes. There will never be more than one lot closing at once, as the next lot is not allowed to begin closing until the current lot closes.

To bid: enter your maximum bid into the text box, and click submit. Only round dollar amounts are accepted. You are then required to confirm your bid. Once confirmed, all bids are final. If you have placed a bid in error you must call during office hours and speak to one of us. If you are the current high bidder then it will display “Current High Bidder: YOU” If you are not the high bidder, or if you are not logged in, then the current high bidder will be identified by their 5 digit client ID. You may find your client ID under the Account tab.

Bids are reduced automatically, so feel free to bid your maximum and it will be reduced to one increment over the current high bid. If a user places a bid that is higher than necessary to be the current high bidder on the lot, the displayed bid will reflect one advance over the next lower bid. For example, if a user "A" places a bid of $120 on a lot which opens at $100, "A" will be winning that lot at $100. If another user "B" bids $110, the winning bidder will be "A" at $120, one advance over the supporting bid of $110. If user "B" in this example instead placed a bid at $120, then user "A" will still be winning at $120 because they placed that maximum bid value first.

Increments can be viewed here. The next bid will always be on the next increment, so if a user is winning a lot at $100, or $105, or $109, the next bid will still always be $110.

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