Coins, Tokens and Medals of the Isle of Man from the Collection of the late Neil B. Todd

Coins, Tokens and Medals of the Isle of Man from the Collection of the late Neil B. Todd

Neil Bowman Todd (1936 - 2014)

Neil Todd was born on 3 January 1936 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the son of Albert Bradbury Todd Jr and his wife, Mary Heath. His love of travelling and world affairs began when he was young, living with his military family on Army Air Corps bases in Alabama, Maine and Wales.

From the age of seven Neil was an avid collector, specializing in comic books, coins and stamps. For many years he was affiliated with numismatic societies and, at the age of 25, was a cofounder of Colony Coin Company in Newtonville, Massachusetts, in 1961, with his partners Harvey Fenton, Charles Wallace, Arthur Fitts III and John Cobb.

Neil graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst with honours in Zoology for his treatise, ‘The Inheritance of Taillessness in Manx Cats’. At Amherst he met his wife, Joyce, née Seat. Neil and Joyce moved to Newtonville when Neil began his doctoral studies in biology at Harvard University, completing his dissertation, The Catnip Response, in 1963. An N.I.H. post-doctoral fellowship and the Committee for the Study of Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University supported his field studies on the lions in the Gir Forest, Gujarat, India. Dr. Todd was affiliated with and taught biology at Harvard, Boston University, Boston’s Lesley University and Emmanuel College, and at Trinity College, Dublin.

He combined his love of history with his interest in genetics, engaging in extensive travel in order to map the gene frequency distribution of the domestic cat. By conducting historical research on shipping and trade routes, he was able to determine how specific coat patterns and other genetic markers were distributed throughout the world. His field studies were conducted in Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, Iceland, the Faeroe Islands, France, Spain, Iran, Morocco, Tunisia, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Sudan, Mexico, Curacao and Venezuela. For 17 years Dr. Todd published The Carnivore Genetics Newsletter. Dr. Todd’s articles were published in the Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society, the Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, and in the organs of many other learned bodies.

Throughout his life Neil was a keen numismatist, developing a special interest in 19th century tavern checks of the British Isles and Ireland. His British Tokens, Advertising Tickets, Checks, Passes, etc, ca. 1830 to 1920, the first edition of which appeared in 1974 and broke new ground at the time. Subsequently, and often in collaboration with Yolanda Courtney (née Stanton), Andrew Cunningham and Malcolm Eden, Neil published numerous catalogues of tavern checks of various counties, a pursuit he continued until his death. Aside from his extensive collection of these checks, he formed a type collection of British milled coins and a small but quality group of Isle of Man material, both offered in this catalogue.

For the past 20 years Neil was affiliated with the New England Historical Genealogical Society, where he was head of Research Services in the 1990s. He thoroughly enjoyed helping people learn about their ancestry.

Neil had an adventurous and unusual life until his health began to fail a few years ago as a result of autoimmune disease and cigarette smoking. He remained interested and well-versed in history and world affairs until his death, which occurred on 30 March 2014 at the age of 78. He is survived by Joyce, two daughters, Lydia and Amy, four grandchildren and two step-grandchildren.

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