This was the fourth and final part of the North Yorkshire Moors Collection of Coins and Medals that had been amassed by American-born Marvin Lessen, he spent his career in the aerospace/defense industry, working in various technical locations in Europe and North America. However, it was when he moved to Scarborough in North Yorkshire in 1962 that he began 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 and auctioneers of the day.
As Peter Preston-Morley, Head of Department and Associate Director, Dix Noonan Webb, explains: “We are extremely pleased with the results of today’s sale, which saw the Gold Cromwell 50 Shilling piece fetch a World Record Price for a Cromwellian coin.”
He went on to say: “This is the best collection of Cromwellania to come onto the market in modern times – many of the pieces were either unique or the only one outside an institution.
Marvin Lessen’s favourite period of numismatic study centred on the mid-17th century – the coins, medals and seals of Oliver Cromwell and the early years of Charles II and the prices in the sale reflected the importance of these coins. We felt that we had kept the best to last and the prices achieved were evidence of this.”
This was the fourth and final part of the collection, which has been offered at Dix Noonan Webb over the past four years and had a combined total of £2,296,050. Other highlights of the sale included an extremely rare and fine silver Commonwealth Shilling by Irishman David Ramage. Once in the collection of the Duke of Devonshire, the shilling is decorated with a small shield of England and sold for £74,400 against an estimate of £15,000-20,000 to a UK Collector. David Ramage was Simon’s competitor and fell out of favour with Cromwell but had the monopoly on the production of 17th trade tokens [lot 1135].
An extremely rare and fine gold Naval Reward medal from 1653-4, again struck by T. Simon, decorated with the shields of England, Scotland and Ireland superimposed on anchor and surrounded by rope sold for £49,600 to the American trade against an estimate of £30,000-40,000. It is believed to have been awarded to Clerk of the Cheque John Clifton, on the Commonwealth warship George. ‘The Plaine Borderless Medal’, first authorised in August 1653, was awarded after the successful conclusion of the last of the three great naval battles of the First Anglo-Dutch War [lot 1181].
A gold medal of Lord Protector, circa 1655-8 by T. Simon, depicting an armoured and draped bust sold for £39,680 to the American trade (estimate: £10,000-15,000). Only three or four of these medals are known and one is in the British Museum. In Simon’s archive there are invoices for five medals and their recipients, namely two English officers and three ambassadors. In the 17th century it was normal for a ruler to give out precious awards to diplomats in the form of such items as miniature pictures in jewelled mounts, or gold medals and chains, and Cromwell employed both methods [lot 1175].
PLEASE NOTE THAT THE PRICES INCLUDE 24% BUYERS PREMIUM
FORTHCOMING SALES AT DNW
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 2 - COINS AND HISTORICAL MEDALS
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 17 - ORDERS, DECORATIONS, MEDALS AND MILITARIA
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 24 – BRITISH, IRISH AND WORLD BANKNOTES
TUESDAY, MARCH 2 - COINS, TOKENS AND HISTORICAL MEDALS
TUESDAY, MARCH 16 - JEWELLERY, WATCHES, ANTIQUITIES & OBJECTS OF VERTU
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 17 - ORDERS, DECORATIONS, MEDALS AND MILITARIA
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NOTES TO EDITORS:
Dix Noonan Webb – a brief history
In 1991, its first year of trading, the company held three medal auctions and sold 1,200 lots for a total hammer price of £553,000. Two years later it opened a coin department which also auctions commemorative medals and tokens and in 2015 DNW added jewellery to its sales calendar. In 2018, it set up a standalone banknotes department and expanded into premises next door. In the same year, DNW achieved a total hammer price of £11,676,580 and the total number of lots across all departments was 20,273. To date the company has sold in excess of 300,000 lots totalling £155 million.
For further press information and images please contact:
Rachel Aked - Tel: 07790732448/ Email: Rachel@rachelaked.co.uk