Many American coin collectors began as youngsters assembling date sets. They soon recognized that 20th Century US coins had some fascinating varieties—the three-legged buffalo was one, and the piece offered here is the first I have ever had. Even though buffalo nickels had long since given way to the Jefferson pieces, I can still recall getting rolls of nickels from the bank and searching for a piece such as this. (My brother was luckier than I—he once found a 1914-D Lincoln cent.) This catalog features an interesting variety of American type coins. Most of them are “raw”—i.e. not slabbed. (The rare nickel is in a PCGS slab, a note of reassurance that this often counterfeited piece is genuine.)
There is much else to see in this sale. An array of interesting precious metal pieces, including an attractive Italian restrike (11) and a palladium crown (10). Both silver and gold have been moderately priced lately, and the estimates on many of these pieces reflect those more appealing price levels.
Many of the ancient coins stand out: a particularly fine style Philip II tetradrachm (23), a rare and attractive Epeiros drachm with great cabinet tone (28), a dramatic Nero sestertius (49), to name only a few.
The hammered English section includes a run of attractive and scarce shillings of Elizabeth I. This select group is part of a small and carefully assembled collection that has been consigned to us.
Frank Robinson’s exceptional collection of milled coinage begins the next major denomination: halfcrowns. A few are offered here, along with more select minors. Look for one of the great rarities of 20th century English coinage—the 1905 halfcrown, in choice condition—in our 2019 auction.
Maundy sets are popular with people well beyond the usual collector base. At the time the Maundy sets were distributed there were private manufacturers who created finely made little boxes to hold the newly issued sets. People who acquired the boxes seem to have been very careful with the sets, and many of the sets we see this way have wonderful old toning from the silk linings. The coins themselves tend to be choice as well—apparently kept safe and snug in their finely fashioned cases. The boxes that accompany the sets in this auction are pictured on the back cover.
Once you get past the US type section, with its offering of some unusual denominations like three cent pieces and two cent pieces and two rare Hawaiian pieces, you will find a mixed group of medals. There are pieces that are beautiful in and of themselves, and there are pieces that mark important events—a couple of English coronation pieces (191, 192), an American Civil War veteran’s medal, a large silver ANS medal of Paul Revere, and a final piece reacting to the 1945 event that permanently changed the world we live in.
I suspect that if I started this introductory note again I would find a different mix of things to write about. We—Lief, Marnie, and I—all work together to assemble our catalogs to offer an appealing mix celebrating different times and places and pieces of art and style.
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