Dix Noonan Webb, the international coin, medal, banknote and jewellery specialists, are extremely pleased with the results of Part II of The North Yorkshire Moors collection of British coins formed by Marvin Lessen, which was 100% sold when it was offered on Wednesday, July 3, 2019 at their auction rooms in central Mayfair. The sale comprising 526 lots saw a gross total of £284,400 (£341,280 including buyers' premium). Part I was sold in April 2018, and the combined total realised for the two parts of the Lessen collection so far sold is £542,860 (£651,432). Please see the bottom of the release for biography.

The highest price of the sale was for a rare penny (class IIa) from the Lichfield Mint -
only four Pennies of this mint are known - dating from the reign of Richard I (1189-1199) which fetched £11,400 against an estimate of £3,000-4,000. There was a lot of interest in it and it was bought by a UK collector [Lot 463].

An extremely fine and rare penny dating from the reign of Edward the Martyr (975-978), originating from Stamford in Lincolnshire sold for £9,600 against an £4,000-5,000. It was bought by a UK collector aswell [Lot 292].

The third highest price was paid for a very fine and very rare Henry IV or Henry V groat which fetched £6,600. It had been estimated at £2,000-2,600 [Lot 670].

As Peter Preston-Morley, Specialist and Associate Director, DNW, commented: “We were very pleased with the result which was broadly in line with expectations even though some areas of the market in the 14th and 15th centuries were predictably somewhat soft. However, all the really good coins sold very well and quality remains the key in this series. Good British hammered coins have always been in demand on both sides of the Atlantic and with 140 different buyers across the 526 lots (and many more bidders who were unsuccessful), this dispersal has amply satisfied the current collector base.”

** Please note that all prices quoted include buyers premium of 20%.

Mr Lessen was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1934. His family moved to Hazleton, Pennsylvania and thence to Albany, New York, where relatives still live. Graduating from the Moore School of Electrical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, he spent his career in the aerospace/defence industry, working in various technical locations in Europe and North America. A collector from an early age, of coins, stamps, arms and armour, his move to Scarborough in 1962 precipitated the interest to collect British coins on a serious basis. By the time he had joined the British Numismatic Society in October 1964, and subsequently the Royal Numismatic Society and the American Numismatic Society, he was well-known to the principal London dealers of the day – Baldwin (Douglas and Peter Mitchell, and later Michael Sharp), Seaby (Frank Purvey and Alan Rayner), and in particular, Spink, where he enjoyed firm friendships with the late Douglas Liddell, then Patrick Finn, as well as with Douglas Saville and Howard Linecar in literature; also Corbitt & Hunter in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and other sources in the North-East. In the US there developed close connections with CNG (David Guest and Victor England), David Hess, Chris Blom, Joel Malter and Bill Castenholz, to name a few dealers in classical and medieval coins, as well as friends.