A. H. Baldwin & Sons Ltd are delighted to announce that they have been chosen to auction the extensive collection of Renaissance and later medals formed by the New York collector, Michael Hall.
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". In the 1960s he turned to antiques and spent time in London.
Hall gifted the majority of his collection to the Los Angeles County Museum, but a number of important pieces were held back and will be offered in the sales. These pieces have remained mostly unseen.
The collection is strongest in early Italian medals, though the medals of later Italy, France, Germany, the Holy Roman Empire and the Netherlands are also well represented.
There are extensive groups of Papal medals, many of which featured in the 1981 publication Roma Resurgens, Papal Medals from the Age of the Baroque; and a group of Florentine Baroque medals that will be seen as a match to the Lankheit Collection sold by Morton & Eden back in May 2003.
Perhaps the most fascinating of all is a bronze portrait medal of Cecilia Gonzaga created by Antonio Pisano, known as Pisanello (c. 1395 - c. 1455), who is thought to be the first artist to create portraits in medal format, starting in 1435.
The Gonzaga medal, Pisanello's only portrait of a female subject, was 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. This stunning medal was selected by the art historian Stephen K. Scher for the 1994/5 touring exhibition, The Currency of Fame (as were four other medals in the collection).
Baldwin's are expecting the medal to sell for at least £65,000 in the sales, the first of which takes place in May 2010.
Ian Goldbart Baldwin's Managing Director commented "We have made the sale of commemorative, historical and artistic medals a feature in our auctions and have been complimented on our presentation, accurate descriptions and historical footnotes.
"The sale of Michael Hall's collection takes us to a new level and we are looking forward to the challenge".