In a time when coin shows have disappeared it seems just right to offer a collection that was formed from coins bought at coin shows by a very serious collector. Freeman Craig Sr. was an Army Air Force navigator who flew 50 missions from North Africa into Italy during World War II. During the Depression his parents had a grocery-gas station-repair shop business and he was able to collect “Indian Pennies.” The war interrupted his life but when he came back, he took up collecting again.
His numismatic achievements and contributions make a long list. He was active at coin clubs, helped organize the Texas Numismatic Association, invested in a major coin firm, and formed collection concentrations from all over the world. His collection of 25 hammered coins covering English kings from Cnut to Henry VIII was one of those specializations. It looks to have been formed entirely by contacts at coin shows. The names of the dealers are familiar to all of us who were active coin show participants in the 1980s and 1990s. Charlie Wolfe in particular is legendary as a source for serious hammered.
Freeman had a good eye with an appreciation for portraiture, a decent sized flan, and an attractive tone on good metal. His family has consigned his collection and it anchors this sale.
Gold has been bouncing around the $1800/ounce level lately, a dramatic gain when you remember that it puttered along in the $1300 range for the past five years. A regular consignor with us who has been responsible for some unusual and fascinating pieces has consigned a serious tranche of gold. You will find this—and some US Mint gold—after the Greek electrum issue and the Crusader ducat that open the sale.
Our Ancient section this time around is an interesting mix: Greek opens the gold section, with a lovely red-gold toned piece of electrum, then three nicely patinated better bronzes from Spain; eleven Greek silver pieces, mostly attractive stater size or larger, but with a couple litra-size also; and six more bronzes, picked for beauty of style and condition, including two fascinating pieces from the Campanian mercenaries in Sicily. A lovely section of eight of the finest British Museum electrotypes follows, then five Roman Republican denarii. Carefully selected affordable Roman colonial portraits include Augustus, Tiberius, Livia, and Claudius, followed by nineteen special imperial issues beginning with a beautiful Nero as. Three attractive Byzantine pieces include two high relief lead seals. An interesting Islamic section includes two notable Mongols issues, followed by a Crusaders section of six good pieces (see lot 2 as well).
In addition to the Craig collection, the English section continues with some high quality 20th century pieces from the Frank Robinson Collection. Then the Mike Sussman Collection of British Trade Tokens section covers later parts of Dalton and Hamer—Wales and Scotland.
The United States section continues with some affordable and interesting Colonial material, and some highly collectible though lightly used US type coins. Merchant tokens from a collection we have been handling offer a fascinating and moderate cost window into the Civil War era.
Finally, a few medals including a massive medal for Victoria, a few American event issues, and, to close, a couple of mementoes of baseball over 100 years ago.
We have enjoyed putting all this together. Best regards from the three of us, and “stay well!”
Allan, Marnie, & Lief Davisson
P.S. This auction was joyfully delayed by the arrival of the newest Davisson. Meghan and Lief welcomed Calvin on July 11th!
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