Numismatic and History Discussions > Books and References

Old Auction Catalogue Madness!

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Carausius:
My old auction catalogue madness has relapsed.  I just bought this copy of Ars Classica 1 (Pozzi) ON SALE from the FORVM shop.  Thank's, Joe!  FORVM has some wonderfully useful catalogues in the shop, and the sale prices make them hard to resist.


Carausius:
I wonder if any Forum friends might have a copy of Pegasi Auction VI (8 April 2002)?  I'm hoping to both confirm a provenance and see what breadcrumbs might be lurking within the lot description for a coin I've recently acquired.  Thanks.

Joe Sermarini:
A wee bit of advertising... Not auction VI, but Pegasi catalogs...

https://www.forumancientcoins.com/catalog/roman-and-greek-coins.asp?param=16423q00.jpg&vpar=1385&zpg=92806&fld=https://www.forumancientcoins.com/Coins2/

https://www.forumancientcoins.com/catalog/roman-and-greek-coins.asp?param=16422q00.jpg&vpar=1385&zpg=92805&fld=https://www.forumancientcoins.com/Coins2/

Curtis JJ:
Lest a classic thread die after only 5 years (now 7), I hope no one minds another entry (and that I get the images right -- larger ones linked at end). Two Greek coin provenances found “in the wild” in catalogs with their own provenance (Pozzi Collection, D. Weaver / T. Stanton, H.J. Berk; Libraries of Salton-Schlessinger, BCD, H. Christensen).

(I’ve read the replies for a long time without participating but have clearly been infected with the “madness” of catalog bibliomania. I’ve shared these two coins with different writeups elsewhere, not on Forum, linked at the end. Believe it or not, this is much condensed.)

First: Corinth AR Stater (ex Pozzi-Naville 1688 = Pozzi-Boutin 3756; for type: Ravel 1029, Calciati 419, BCD 110).

One of my first ancient coin purchases (c. 1991, ~12 years old). Bought at Glass Shoppe coins in Tucson, AZ – not from the owner (then, Halden Birt), but another guy who was there a lot (possibly Anthony “Tony” Tumonis, who later took over). They were cheaper then, but I still did neighborhood yardwork & saved up all year to buy one ancient coin every summer.

Happily, its sentimental value multiplied when, on its 100th anniversary, I was looking at the 1921 Naville - Ars Classica catalog of the Pozzi Collection, and found my coin illustrated (Lot 1688; No. 3756 in Boutin 1979). I don’t have a hard copy of the auction, but there are multiple acceptable copies online (e.g., Uni. Heidleberg (link), Bib. Nat. Fr. – Gallica (link), INHA Fr. (link), Archive.org (link), and elsewhere, all of which repositories have digitized many other important catalogs of ancient coins). The PRL is available, but I haven’t found a “named” copy – yet.…



I do, however, have the 1979 Pozzi collection catalog by Serge Boutin (not exactly a reprint). It has its own interesting provenance from the library of Mark Salton-Schlessinger & Lottie Salton (Kolbe & Fanning 161, 141, part of). I’m interested in the family’s coins/books as an important illustration of how gravely WWII and the Nazi regime affected the world of numismatics. Though it’s all post-WWII, I’m glad I bought some literature since I didn’t manage to get any ex-Salton coins at this month’s (ferocious!) Stack’s sale.

The new mystery is how my coin got from 1921 Lucerne to 1991 Tucson. I don’t think it’s cited in Ravel, and I haven’t found it elsewhere (except as a reference in Gemini VI [2010], Lot 801). A lot of Pozzi coins ended up with R. C. Lockett, but no luck there either. Maybe I’ll find it combing through catalogs and journals… Or it may remain a mystery.

Second: Athens “mass classical owl” AR Tetradrachm (ex-Weaver & HJB, mid-1970s).

The next coin and its recent background are less exciting, but still a nice reminder of forgotten moments, actors, and documents in the recent history of the ancient coin market (c. 1970s).
A mediocre example, it didn’t even merit its own listing at Morton & Eden 104 in 2019 (Lot 109, part of)(here), so I didn’t hold out much hope for finding it illustrated in older catalogs.



Since my interest in provenance research extends to catalogs, this “Note from BCD” on a mixed lot of American FPL’s caught my attention in a recent sale of “BCD Library Duplicates”:


--- Quote ---This writer considers himself fortunate to have met some of the people that issued these lists. Sadly, they are not with us anymore and it is about time the numismatic community does something significant in their memory so that they will always be remembered. (Jacquier 49, 940)
--- End quote ---

It’s not quite what BCD meant, but, having found my owl in one of those lists, I’ve certainly tried to remember its authors and recognize their connection to the numismatic world.
 
The list in question is Douglas Weaver’s mail-order FPL from November 1975. It’s the first (or second?) by Tom Stanton after he joined Weaver and they “greatly expanded our ancient section.” A great thing about old mail-catalogs is that the addressee is often labeled on the back cover (often with postage still attached). This one was addressed to coin dealer Henry Christensen at his New Jersey business.
 
The same coin was illustrated one year prior inHarlan J Berk’s FPL #2 (Fall 1974), Lot 80 ( link). The prices were $295 (HJB) and $350 (DW; about $1,600 and 1,800 in 2022 USD – representing quite a loss of value over 45 years). Once I’d found a bit of backstory, I was really hoping for a collection history, but none is mentioned by Berk either. Perhaps someday I’ll find it in a 1973 auction!

More:

If anyone knows/knew any of the characters involved, I’m interested to learn more, of course. My previous writeups (incl. additional biographical & bibliographical refs. & my notes from Pete Smith's American Numismatic Biographies & Gengerke's American Numismatic Auctions):

Pozzi & Salton, (link here) “A French Gynecologist Playboy, Nazis, and Numismatic Bibliomania.”
The owl, Weaver & Christensen

Larger images plus a few relevant others: https://imgur.com/a/c5sSFII

esnible:

--- Quote from: Curtis JJ on January 28, 2022, 02:52:37 pm ---One of my first ancient coin purchases (c. 1991, ~12 years old). Bought at Glass Shoppe coins in Tucson, AZ – not from the owner (then, Halden Birt), but another guy who was there a lot (possibly Anthony “Tony” Tumonis, who later took over). They were cheaper then, but I still did neighborhood yardwork & saved up all year to buy one ancient coin every summer.

--- End quote ---

Amazing finding a Pozzi coin at age 12, in Tucson, being able to realize it’s quality.  Also, finding enough grass in that desert city -- needing cutting -- to be able to afford a Pozzi coin!

I have not found anything of mine in Boutin’s Pozzi but I recently acquired the Ars Classica reprint.  I have not checked … yet.

There are many interesting illustrated fixed price lists.  No one knows much about many of them.

The first provenanced ancient coin I bought was a diobol of Methymna from the May 2001 FPL of Colosseum Coin Exchange (Ira Teitelbaum / Hazlet NJ).  No listed provenance, but it turned out to have been part of the Rosen Collection of archaic coins, published in 1983.  This got me on the CCE mailing list, so I got the last catalogs.   (I no longer have them — I donated them to the ANS which lacked copies!)

Many people are chasing after pre-1970 provenances.  There aren’t many illustrated FPLs from this period.  There seems to be little interest in FPLs from later — and perhaps that will give us a chance to obtain FPLs cheaply for now.

I was able to obtain a run of Tom Cederlind catalogs from Lottie Salton (not part of K&L sale).  I found a coin of mine in the December 2007 catalog.  I already had older and newer provenances, but it added another data point.

Because of copyright law, these catalogs probably won’t make it online during our lifetime.  No one thought to ask for permission to put them online when the dealers were alive.  No one recorded ownership of the intellectual property when they passed, so we don’t know who to ask now.  Many (most?) are also rare.

I am acquiring FPLs, but I am not scanning them.  I have the start of an inventory so that I don’t double-buy, with a few notes like how many lots of ancients are present.  I haven’t really organized the data or tried to write about them or put anything online about them.

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