North Yorkshire Moors Collection of British Coins part II to be auctioned in London in July.


12 June 2019
Lot 292
Part II of The North Yorkshire Moors collection of British coins formed by Marvin Lessen is to be sold at auction on 3 July 2019 by Dix Noonan Webb.

The sale follows on from the success of part I of the collection, which sold for more than £300,000 in April last year.

UPDATE: auction results supplied by Dix Noonan Webb on 11 July 2019:

The collection was 100% sold when it was offered on 3 July 2019. 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).

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 as well [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].

Collection highlights

The collection comprises 526 lots and among the highlights is an extremely fine and rare penny dating from the reign of Edward the Martyr (975-978) which is estimated at £4,000- £5,000, and an example of a very fine and rare groat, dating from the reign of Edward I (1272-1307) and a new denomination at the time, is also estimated at £4,000-£5,000.

As Peter Preston-Morley, Specialist and Associate Director, DNW, explains: “This second sale of coins from the Lessen collection spans the half-millennium between Eadgar’s coinage reform in 972/3, when mint names started to accompany those of moneyers on coins, and the death of Richard III in the Battle of Bosworth on 22 August 1485. Coins from over 50 different mint-towns from the period 973 to 1278 are represented in this catalogue, of which worthy of particular mention are the only penny of Lichfield available to commerce, excessively rare coins of Hythe and Pevensey and two issues from Gothabyrig, the West Country establishment whose exact location remains the subject of debate. Students of the later medieval period will be aware of Mr Lessen’s particular interest in the coinages of Henry IV and V, and the period from 1399 to 1422 is very liberally represented in this catalogue”.

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Background to the collection

Marvin 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.

Auction details

The auction will be held on 3 July 2019 at noon, at Dix Noonan Webb, 16 Bolton Street, London W1J 8BQ.

Public viewing is held two days before the sale between 10am – 5pm and free online bidding is available at the Dix Noonan Webb website. For more information, please call 020 7016 1700.

QUICK LINK: New Peter Pan 50p coins

(images and report courtesy of Dix Noonan Webb)

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