'This is the biggest coins sale to come to the market in decades'
In part two of his exclusive interview, Ian Goldbart discusses Baldwin's anticipated forthcoming sale
In May of this year, the numismatist AH Baldwin & Sons Ltd will auction an extensive collection of Renaissance and later medals.
The renowned collection was compiled by the New York connoisseur, fine art collector and actor Michael Hall.
Over 2,000 lots will feature in the sale, billed as the largest numismatic sale of its type since the sale of Henry Oppenheimer's collection at Christie's, way back in 1936.
Last week, when Ian Goldbart, Managing Director of Baldwin's, took time out to speak to Paul Fraser Collectibles about coin collecting, he filled us in on the forthcoming Michael Hall auction.
And, needless to say, numismatists and other investors should be very excited indeed about this important collection.
"Michael Hall has a phenomenal expertise and an enormous breadth of knowledge and appreciation of art in across the spectrum," said Ian.
"He has inspired top curators and helped enhance a surprising number of museum collections, with subject matter [in his collection] ranging from European tapestry to classical bronze sculpture."
The collector Michael Hall's earlier years were spent in Hollywood. Notably, in 1946, he played Fredric March's son in William Wyler's The Best Years of our Lives.
By the 1960s, he had turned to antiques and spent time in London. Most of the examples in Hall's collection were purchased from London dealers in the 1960s-70s.
According to Ian, the collection was compiled over half a century: "The Michael Hall Medal Collection is the product of over 50 years' solid experience in art and antiques."
"It starts with the earliest appearance of medals as a portrait art form, in 15th century Renaissance Italy, and charts the development of the medium over several centuries into northern Europe and its evolution into the fashion for large series of complimentary medals commemorating people and events."
Medals from early Italy are the main strength of the collection, although Hall's assortment is also very comprehensive in historic artefacts from later Italy, Germany, France and the Holy Roman Empire.
Significant rarities in the sale will include the Hans Reinhart The Elder (c.1510-1581) Silver Trinity Medal (Moritz-pfennig).
The medal depicts God the Father, enthroned and wearing the Imperial crown and jewelled cope, his beard and hair applied in the round with twisted silver.
Before him is the crucified Christ, surmounted by the Holy Spirit which appears in the form of a dove.
The Hans Reinhart The Elder Silver Trinity Medal is regarded as one of the most significant European Renaissance medals to emerge on the marked.
But, as Ian says, the provenance is important - but so is the artistry born on the medal's surfaces.
"The Renaissance section itself is very comprehensive but beyond that the scale of European medallic art being offered is vitally important," he said.
Among these is a cast bronze portrait medal of Cecilia Gonzaga by Antonio Pisano (c. 1395-c. 1455), the pioneering artist known simply as "Pisano".
The Gonzaga medal, uniquely features Pisanello's only portrait of a female subject, created in 1447.
The 21 year old is depicted near-naked as the figure of Innocence who, as a virgin, is able to tame the Unicorn.
Baldwin's expects the Pisano medal to sell for over £65,000.
Aside from these two highlights, the sheer scale of the auction is enough for it to be marked as a major 2010 event on numismatists' calendars.
"It's the biggest sale of its kind to come to the market for decades," enthused Ian.
"There are nearly 2,500 medals - which far outweighs the Duke of Northumberland's collection from Alnwick Castle in 1980."
Ian hopes that the sale will offer an entry for new collectors across the world into the fascinating historic coin markets.
"We predict a lot of established collectors, and quite a few new ones, will take advantage of the opportunity to buy from this sale.
"Dealers across Europe and in the US will also compete."
Baldwin's first auction is scheduled for May 2010 and will be held in London.
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