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The Thos. H. Law Collection of English Gold Coins

By Greg Cohen, Professional Numismatist and Consignment Director, U.S. and World Coins

Author: Greg Cohen / Thursday, July 18, 2013 / Categories: Crossing the Block
For the past six weeks or so, Bruce Roland Hagen and I have used this space to discuss aspects of single rarities or a series of coins from this fabulous collection, one of the most extensive, impressive, and important collections of English gold coins to be assembled and sold in the United States. The entire team at Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio is extremely honored and proud to have the opportunity to make numismatic history with the cataloging and subsequent sale of the Thos. H. Law Collection.

While Bruce and I have covered the famous Una and the Lion 5 Pound (http://www.stacksbowers.com/Blogs/crossing-block-glorious-proof-62-ultra.html); the Cromwell Broad (http://www.stacksbowers.com/Blogs/crossing-block-fabulous-proof-oliver.html); the extremely rare 1831 pattern Crown struck in gold (http://www.stacksbowers.com/Blogs/crossing-block-very-rare-1831-pattern.html); the history of the Tudor Sovereigns offered in the collection (http://www.stacksbowers.com/Blogs/crossing-block-tudor-gold-sovereign.html); the Angel Coinage (http://www.stacksbowers.com/Blogs/crossing-block-much-ado-about-angels.html); and finally those large, impressive 5 Guinea pieces (http://www.stacksbowers.com/Blogs/crossing-block-impressive-selection-of.html), I would like to use this week’s article to talk about the beautiful catalog that Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio produced to showcase this marvelous collection, as it will long be recognized for its value as a reference work on English gold.

The Thos. H. Law Collection is now on our website (as are the rest of the World and Ancient sessions of the Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio official auction of the American Numismatic Association’s World’s Fair of Money at www.stacksbowers.com ), ready for your viewing and bidding consideration. The beautifully illustrated and fully researched catalogs are in the mail, and you should be receiving them shortly. The cataloging and presentation was truly a strong team effort, with Bruce Roland Hagen as lead cataloger (Bruce is best known for his paper money acumen, but after his cataloging of the Michael S. Tallent Collection in April 2008, Larry and Harvey Stack asked that Bruce take the reins of this project). With the numismatic and historical expertise of the Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio staff (including Harvey and Larry Stack, Marissa Russell, and myself), the superb photographs, and wonderful job of laying out the catalogs, the Stack’s Bowers team is proud to present the Thos. H. Law Collection to its finest advantage. Indeed the excellent photographs and layout are a testament to lengths that our graphics and photography department go to accurately showcase the coins in all of our auctions sales. The marketing department developed a multileveled plan for marketing the collection -- the featured full page advertisements in international numismatic publications, email blasts, and our weekly newsletter articles. Word quickly spread from New York and California “across the pond” to England, and the excitement from collectors and dealers alike has been palpable, a direct result of our marketing team’s efforts. With the support of the entire Stack’s Bowers organization, the catalog of the Thos. H. Law Collection will forever be a reference.

From the inception of the project, we wanted, not only to showcase the individual coins, but to also explain their importance in the history of Britain. The coins are arranged in chronological order by ruler with a concise biographical sketch, compiled by Marissa Russell, and a numismatic historical note about each reign, which I put together. With the historical background for the coins now in place, the coins themselves are tangible connections to that history, and illustrate better than words can, what Britain was like during those times. The Law Collection features a total of 459 lots of English gold coins, from Richard III (ruled 1327-77) to Elizabeth II (1952-present). While many collections either focus on the earlier Hammered coinage or the later Milled coinage (and each of these subsets are extremely impressive for their depth and quality) the Law Collection focuses on every aspect of English gold coins. Many of the numerous highlights were described before in this space, and require no singular mention again here (see links above). Thos. Law took great pride in showcasing his collection at ANA conventions (winning the Howland Wood Best in Show award five times). The coins themselves show that pride of ownership he felt each time he laid each coin, carefully, lovingly, on the velvet in the cases. It is with that same care and thought that his collection is presented in our official ANA World’s Fair of Money auction.

With such a comprehensive collection, there is something for everyone and anyone interested in numismatics in this collection. There are coins of all price points, ranging from a couple of hundred dollars to over one hundred thousand dollars. For collectors of world gold coins, or English gold specifically, there are excellent choices for type coins and there are rare dates and variants for a more specialized collection. A collector of early American coins could include a few of these coins, as they relate to colonial history (select a James I coin for instance, during his reign in 1607, the English established the first permanent settlement at Jamestown, Virginia; or a coin of George III, whom the colonists rebelled against in the Revolutionary War). For students of art history, many of these pieces are mini artistic masterpieces. Even if you do not currently have a strong interest in English gold coins, take a look at the coins in the offing, and perhaps a new area of collecting interest will develop; it only takes a few minutes reviewing the catalog to realize how wonderful these coins are.

On behalf of the entire team at Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio, I would like to extend to you a personal invitation to come to lot viewing and examine these wonderful coins in hand and take in the history that each of the 459 pieces represents. We will be offering lot viewing in our Irvine office from July 18 to 26, 2013; in New York from August 2 to August 6; and in Rosemont, at the Donald Stephens Convention Center August 9 to August 13. The sale will take place on the evening of Tuesday, August 13, 2013, at 6PM Central Time. When the hammer falls on the last lot, the Thos. H. Law Collection will be enshrined in numismatic history. Time is running out to get your name on our mailing list if it is not already there. If you wish to receive a copy of the Thos. H. Law Collection catalog, please contact one of our auction services associates today. Remember, a PDF version of every Stack’s Bowers sale is posted on our website shortly after the sale goes live. If you have questions regarding any of the coins in the collection, be sure to contact one of our numismatic professionals. If you cannot attend the sale in person, and would like to participate as a phone bidder, be sure to contact us as soon as possible; there is little doubt that the phone lines will be busy for this epic event. We wish all bidders the best of luck and hope that they feel the pride of ownership that Thos. H. Law felt when they bring home their new treasures.