Welcome to Auction 41


Our annual major sale marks the final result of a year of planning, selecting, acquiring, and soliciting material from this fascinating realm of numismatics. It all comes to a conclusion just as one calendar year ends and another begins. Many of the lots you see in this sale have stories that go beyond the tales the coins or tokens themselves might tell.


The U.S. private territorial gold pieces came from a collection formed over a lifetime by a collector who could get as excited about a beat-up button from the Civil War or an Anglo-Saxon penny. He would usually call after our sales closed and pick up lots that hadn’t sold regardless of whether they were the kinds of things he ordinarily collected, as long as they were nice.


Part of the ancient Greek silver offered is from a collection formed by a collector who left behind Spink and Glendining invoices from 1950 and 1951 for a small group of exceptional Greek silver coins. He left behind a sheaf of invoices with a note that “these receipts…may not be of interest because they came as lots & too difficult to match with any coins!” I have no idea why the period of enthusiasm and purchasing was as short as it was. What I do realize is that Americans collecting ancient coins in that era was not as widespread in America as it is now. 


The ancient section includes a select group of Judaean bronzes. A particularly astute and thoughtful collector put his group together with the help of Brian Kritt, reknowned for his own scholarship and the quality of the material he offers. The prutah is a humble coin in terms of its size and its use. We have seen and offered (and have in stock) other examples of this historic coinage, but the quality we are privileged to offer here is mind-boggling.



Just after the ancient section of the catalog and before beginning the British section we have included a few of the delightful Robert Ready British Museum copies of Greek coins. You have seen others before in our catalogs. In the same section is a group of British Museum electrotypes—double thick copies of Anglo-Saxon coins whose purpose seems to have been to provide photographs for the Seaby (now Spink) Standard Catalog of British Coins. I have had these since well back in the last century. I was fascinated when I got them, enjoyed looking at them on occasion but did not really know what they were until I brought them to the office one day late last year and wondered why they were produced and why I had seen almost nothing like them offered over the multiple decades I have been focusing on British coins.


On the topic of things I have happily owned for many years—the collection of Newcastle-on-Tyne patterns were puzzling when I bought the group from a British dealer. Fortunately, the legendary collector Francis Cokayne explained them in tiny notes on a small roundrel that came with the collection.  It has been a special experience to own, temporarily (as is true for all of us in this hobby) this small group with a pedigree that goes directly back to the source of the patterns in the first place.


While we are nearing the end of the exceptional collection of 18th century tokens formed by Michael Sussman, we have had other consignments as well. Most of a small but select collection from another collector is offered here. The quality is exceptional, but a particularly fascinating aspect of the collection is his representation of all but one of the uses of the die for the famed British actor David Garrick. Rated “as one of the most talented, convivial, and influential actors of all time…an iconic global thespian” on a website sponsored by the Shakespeare Trust, he was a native of Hereford, partly educated by Samuel Johnson, a would-be lawyer who became a wine merchant before becoming an actor known for introducing realism into his acting. The die is well designed with a high relief that comes through in all the strikes. His popularity seems to have transferred to the use of the die itself because it shows up on ten different tokens in the D&H series, nine of which are represented in this sale.



Finally, the seldom seen and significant—thanks to consignments from collectors who recognize as have I in assembling this catalog that there is time for letting important pieces go to new owners who we hope will enjoy and appreciate them as much as we have in the short time of our stewardship.


There are more special stories in this sale— 

  • Lot 202: the short-lived 16 shillings of 1581, a superb example of one of the great rarities of the Scottish silver series, a centerpiece from a collector I have known for many years
  • Lot 223: unique but not expensive; but what a statement about a birth in 1754, with cheerful looking village scene on the other side
  • Lot 302: the massive Birmingham six pence token minted to try to demonstrate that one could produce a token whose copper value reflected its weight
  • Lot 327: an amazing overstrike of an 18th century imitative halfpenny on a Middlesex mail coach token
  • Lots 329 and 330: rare strikes of non-dimes on silver dime flans, a reflection of our fascination when something supposedly highly reliable goes amuck


There is a subtext here. Over the years I have found myself sometimes putting something I find particularly appealing back. This love for the material is what has driven many years of active work in numismatics. But I too recognize that stewardship is temporary in this area of long preservation. It is time to pass things on to new owners.

Working on this catalog, as always, has been a consuming endeavor for some time. Now it is your turn to see what the three of us have done. 


Allan Davisson

Saturday, January 29, 2022


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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