The fifty-five Anglo-Saxon lots in this sale represent a major offering in this series, and are the heart of the collection formed by Patrick Zabel, a committed and scholarly collector who was active in the latter part of the 20th century. That was a time when metal detectors were bringing finds to the market helping to make this historic series accessible to a broader range of collectors than had been possible a few decades earlier. The pieces offered here include three gold thrymsas, an impressive run of high grade and rare sceats, as well as pennies representing twenty-four different rulers or issuers of Anglo-Saxon pennies.
I knew Pat Zabel from many telephone conversations and from meeting him in person during trips through Texas with a small cohort of fellow professional numismatists in the 1990s. Pat was a dedicated collector with a strong scientific background, a good eye for quality and a broad range of numismatic interests. He sought quality in all his purchases and our invoices from that era show that some of the best coins we handled went to him. His Anglo-Saxon collection was his most significant area of interest but he was fascinated by other areas too. Living little more than a couple of hours from Mexico on Interstate 35, he also had an interest in Spanish American coins. Several pieces in this auction continue our presentation of that part of his collection, featured in our last e-auction. His interest in Spanish issues carried over into Ancient Greece in the form of Punic Spain and North Africa.
Two other areas that fascinated him were collections where individual pieces are typically worth very small amounts— “barbarous radiates” of 4th and 5th century Britain and the Continent (Lot 228) and Russian wire money from 16th century Russia through 1717 during the reign of Peter the Great (Lot 381). (Marnie worked with him on forming both these collections over twenty years ago.) These collections are both composed of creative answers by societies in times of chaos to serve their need for small change. They also reflect the same dedication and attention to high quality that Pat exhibited with his Anglo-Saxon. Both collections are offered en bloc at estimates that represent less than one would have to spend to duplicate the collections piece by piece.
There is much more in this sale. It begins with gold from several consignors at a time when the price of gold is climbing. The sale opens with several important Roman Imperial issues including a particularly rare solidus of Julian II with sale prices for the very few other examples offered in recent years extending well into five figures. Rare medieval issues from the Zabel collection fit well with the Anglo-Saxon offering that we feature in this sale. There are also several high- quality modern gold pieces including Central American, Mexican, Turkish and US gold.
Responsibility for the ancient coinage we handle is now in the expert hands of Marnie and Lief. When I reviewed the ancient Greek silver I was amazed at the extent and quality of the section. Many of the better Greek pieces come from a consignment from another collector we have known for many years. His knowledge and sense of quality shines through in the material he consigned. Pat Zabel is again represented here by his collecting interest in the fascinating ancient coinage of North Africa, including issues from the First and Second Punic Wars and the family of Hannibal Barca (look for war elephants and horses).
The Roman section is also strong. It begins with lovely Roman Republican coins, all carefully selected fascinating types notable for their fresh surfaces and beautiful iridescent toning, many from a group that Marnie found. Also included are some beautiful imperatorial issues, the dictator Sulla and the Ptolemies, and Octavian and Mark Antony. First and Second Century Rome is well represented, many of the coins coming from a serious collection Lief handled purchasing that we bought early last year. Look for many rarities in both silver and bronze, including some amazing condition rarities, a group of denarii from the emperor Hadrian’s “Travel Series,” and much more.
Our catalogs have been offering 18th century provincial tokens (“Conders”) from the beginning. This catalog is no exception. Three years ago I purchased a major collection of pieces based on R. C. Bell’s Commercial Coins from a collector I have known for many years who has an excellent eye for quality. As he formed most of his collection in the 1970’s and 1980’s, in addition to D&H numbers, he also provided Bell numbers or “GTT” from Waters for pieces that Arthur Waters deemed “General Trade Tokens” in his 1954 publication Notes on Eighteenth Century Tokens. Look for some amazing pieces. (Jon Lusk has a recent publication on these same pieces—well worth owning.)
Variety comes in the form of a few European talers in exceptional condition from the Zabel collection, several important Spanish American coins, a few choice crown size pieces, and finally a few United States issues including a consigned run of choice Carson City dollars that have been recently graded by PCGS.
The penultimate portion of the auction harks back to 19th century United States with a couple of slavery-related pieces, some rarely seen Civil War related pieces, and an attractive encased US postage stamp. Finally, the last lot is one more side interest from Pat Zabel’s collection—a small group of attractive porcelain coins.
Most of the material offered in this catalog is from collections carefully formed by knowledgable collectors. As catalogers and dealers, we recognize quality when we see it and value the work of these passionate collectors. We hope you enjoy the result in this offering.
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.
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