NEW YORK – Doyle is honored to auction the Oliver Talcott Banks Collection of Ancient Greek Coins on Wednesday, January 19, starting at 10 am Eastern time. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
Oliver Banks grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His love of art surfaced early; as a boy he drew avidly, “almost as soon as he could hold a pen,” his father once remarked. When he was nine years old, a school field trip to an exhibition of old master drawings at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts suddenly opened up a new world. Enthralled by what he had seen, he began to visit the art museums of Boston and Cambridge on weekends, and during the next few years, immersed himself in what he saw.
One particularly thrilling discovery was the Boston Museum’s magnificent collection of ancient Greek coins. As he would later recall, “These were nothing like the machine-made coins we use today. They were works of art — miniature reliefs — made by hand, by artists.”
Another revelation was that it was actually possible to buy these marvelous objects from local antiquities dealers. Once he learned this, most or his allowance went toward Greek coins. After several years he had assembled as good a collection of them as he could afford. He came to the frustrating realization that the examples he wanted to buy were too far beyond his ability even to save up for. And so, with regret, he sold the collection and moved on to other things. During the following 30 years, he completed a Ph.D. in art history; taught at several universities; and embarked on a career as a private art dealer in New York City.
In June 1990, however, an extraordinary event changed the course of his life. In that month, the eyes of the New York art world were riveted on what was called “The Sale of the Century” – the auction of the Nelson Bunker Hunt Collection of Greek and Roman Coins. This was a four-day event offering thousands of pieces, many of remarkable beauty and condition. At the exhibition, it suddenly struck Oliver that now he could afford to buy coins of this quality. Galvanized by this realization, he purchased four lots from the Hunt sale. The following week he began to make the rounds of new York’s numismatic dealers in search of the coins that he had longed to buy years before. Throughout 1990 and into the spring of 1991, he assembled a new collection of these beloved treasures. It is this collection that Doyle will offer on January 19.
Oliver Banks died late in the spring in 1991. Throughout this last year he enthusiastically embraced the things he loved, including his renewed fascination for ancient Greek coins. He enjoyed conversations with his new friends in the numismatic world, and he loved forming this collection. And so, in this way, he lived this last year jubilantly.
Directly following the offering of The Oliver Talcott Banks Collection of Ancient Greek Coins, Doyle will hold an auction Coins, Stamps, Bank Notes & Sports Collectibles on Wednesday, January 19.
The selection of bank notes is anchored by a strong group of United States Small Size Hawaii and North America Emergency Bank Notes, with a Choice 1934 $10 N. Africa note, estimated at $2,500-$3,500. Within the section are generous offerings of group lots replete with STAR notes. The Large size notes include an 1875 $1 Sawhorse and a 1870 $5 Gold note. In the paper arena there are a few interesting Americana groups and a Confederate Loan certificate.
The lineup of coins and medals of the world offers a selection of individual gold and silver coins and our usual offering of mystery lots, including United States $20 Liberty coins, a Great Britain 1752 Half Guinea, an Order of St. Michael breast medal, a selective group of Russian Bronze coins and some fine literature, which includes a bound copy of the desirable Duke Mikhailovich auction catalog of 1950. Medals offered include a Jackson-DeWitt white metal piece and a Lincoln 20th century Indian Peace medal.
The postage stamps on offer are noteworthy for the group of 19th century pieces, including United States Scott 7, ex Ishikawa, a combination cover bearing Scott 9 & 11, a select cover from the US to China, ex Ishikawa, National issue Scott 149 Mint Never Hinged, along with several fun group selections.
The sports collectibles in the January 19 sale features single cards and autographed material. Among the single cards are a 1953 Robinson Rookie, a 1955 Clemente Rookie, a 1986 Nolan Ryan Rookie, a 1970-71 Maravich Rookie and a 1980-81 Topps Bird Triptych. The collectibles range from a Bill Russell autographed basketball, a Michael Jordan Black signed jersey and an original six pack of Coca-Cola from Superbowl XXVlll in its souvenir case.
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