Collection of Sixpences formed by the late Alfred Bole
Samuel Alfred Bole (1925 - 2002)
My father, Samuel Alfred Bole, was born on 11 December 1925 in co. Offaly, Ireland, where he spent a happy childhood. At the age of 10 he was sent to King's Hospital School in Dublin, a public school founded in 1699, where he boarded until the age of 17. In a different era he would have almost certainly gone up to university as his academic qualifications merited such progress, and he enjoyed first team rugby and athletics, but it being 1942 and the middle of World War II, he joined the Royal Navy.
After the War he moved to London where he met my mother, Glenys, who herself had moved to the city from the Lake District. He became an articled clerk with a firm of accountants and subsequently qualified as a chartered accountant himself. Following several assignments for his accountant employers he joined W.J. Marston, a firm of builders in Fulham, where he progressed to become company secretary and finance director. He retired from Marstons in 1990.
It was in the early 1980s that my father developed a taste for numismatics. He first took an interest in banknotes, adding a few coins 'here and there'. After a few years the banknotes took a back seat and his collecting of coins was refined to sixpences, which he pursued with vigour, determination and passion until his untimely death from complications of asbestosis on 14 September 2002 (the same fate had befallen the collector Roger Shuttlewood two years earlier).
He is survived by Glenys, my brother Max and myself. I took on the collection with the aim of 'filling a few gaps'. The collection was already so vast that often months would pass without a single coin being added, so I began to add some Irish rarities which hitherto had not been represented. But now, with a young family to support and school fees to pay, I have decided the time has come to allow others an opportunity to enjoy the pieces that my father had so painstakingly pursued.
Auctioneers' Note: The Bole collection of sixpences is arguably the best and most complete that has ever been put together by a private collector. Rich in pieces of extreme rarity and replete with variants from every reign and period, it reflects what can still be achieved with single-minded determination and a wide circle of dealing contacts. Mr Bole tended not to keep detailed records of his acquisitions and so known provenances are relatively few for a collection of this magnitude. Some pedigrees of previous ownership are discernable from surviving tickets and others known to the cataloguers have been quoted in the text, but time spent trawling through the illustrations in London auction catalogues, the Numismatic Circular and other trade lists issued over the last 25 years would undoubtedly reveal other provenances for many pieces.