Yesterday, we were surprised and delighted to receive a very nice and quite unexpected email from the good people at the German auction house of
They had somehow found our work here and not only freely offered their permission to use information and images from their catalogues, but also praised
the project and offered to help in any way they could.
Our sincere thanks to them.
We will of course be adding images from their sales. Here, as a nice first example, is a Siculo-Punic Tetradrachm with provenance that goes back to the Bement sale, Naville VI (1924).
Quick update, lest you think we are sleeping.
In the Numismatic Auctions Database, we've populated all records for the Kolner Munzkabinett auctions, 116 of them. In every case, PDF catalogs are available from the auction house and/or gallica and we have provided links. We're also working on entries and links for Ira & Larry Goldberg sales. Ongoing.
In the Provenance Database we are currently adding Italy/Sicily records for two sales:
Virgil is doing the image extraction for Cavedoni, using our scans, while I'm doing the Jacob Hirsch sale and the database updates. A list of what's been done can always be seen here (click the AUCTIONS ADDED button).
Egger Bruder 45 (1913) is done - in all 13 Italy/Sicily plates, totalling 327 lots. Many thanks again to Virgil Huston who did all the image extractions
from our scanned plates. Great job! We're up to 8,130 lots in the Provenance database now.
Next up will be one or more auctions from Italy, starting with Rodolfo Ratto's 1911 Cavedoni sale.
For the Numismatic Auction Database, we continue to add auction records and catalog links. This week's work included new data for Numismatica Ars Classica, Kuenker, Gorny & Mosch, and Ira & Larry Goldberg. More remains to be done for these and the many other auction houses in the database.
Finally, we were happy to see a new thread at CoinTalk with rNumis as the subject: rNumis: A Fantastic new resource. For anyone who is a member over there (we are not) please join their conversation if you have any comments.
Recently, I've been working on website code, improving some of the look and feel, but really laying the groundwork for better searching and filtering.
The Numismatic Auction Database pages were tidied up several weeks ago, but today a major upgrade of the Provenance Explorer code was
released, adding multi-level filters.
These make it much easier to find a coin of interest. The result sets are smaller for filtered data, and now we can compare side-by-side coins with broadly similar
So far we have implemented Level 1 tags for database lots from Messana, Velia, Leontini and Metapontion.
Going forward, tags will be added for other regions and issuers as time permits.
Naville / Ars Classica XIV (1929) is done!. Thanks again to Virgil Huston who did the coin image extractions
from our scanned plates. The database size is now 7,681 lots.
With all the Naville sales now completed (for Italy/Sicily) , we are going to devote at least part of our time to work on the website. First up are the Numismatic Auction Database pages. We've just added the ability to search by Country and by Date Range. This is very useful if you're looking, for example, for a Paris auction from 1927, but have no other details.
We may add some other auction search filters - keyword search for example. The 'show only sales with online catalogs' filter is gone for now (casualty of code cleanup) but may be restored at some point. There are some other ideas too. We'll see. Anyway, the main point is you may see those website pages evolve and hopefully improve.
The same applies to the Provenance pages which also need some work. As always, watch this space!
Naville / Ars Classica XV (1930) has been added, with 410 lots from Italy & Sicily featuring many coins from the Woodward
collection. This sale gave us our first database entry for
Teate, Apulia, lot 65, ex Martinetti et Nervegna, Sambon (1907).
Next up is Naville XIV (1929), Spencer-Churchill. When done, that would complete all the Naville sales with Italy/Sicily lots, a major milestone for us.
Today we also completed the addition of Jacob Hirsch XX (1907), the sale of the Hoskier Collection. This is the second Hirsch Sale in the database, the first being XXVI Berlin Duplicates (1910). The database size is now 7,527 entries.
Finally, we extend our sincere thanks to Virgil Huston who freely volunteered to help with this project and spent hours of his time to extract the Hoskier coin images from our plate scans. The results were superb and the project will move forward that much faster with help like this. Thanks Virgil!
Naville / Ars Classica XII (1926) has been added.
The 878 lots from Italy and Sicily bring the database size to 6,895 entries
This was a large sale and took a long time. Individual coin images had to be extracted from 33 plates, and at almost 30 minutes per plate, that's already around 15 hours. Then catalog details have to be added to the database (issuer, weight, price realized, provenances)...another 10 hours. So spending 2-3 hours of spare time a day on this, Ars Classica XII took almost 3 weeks. Phew.
The sale did give us our first database entries for some of the scarcer issuers. These include Ausculum, Barium, Butuntum, Herdoniae, Graxa, and Larinum. Nice to see those!
Unfortunately, Naville did not record the weights for many bronze coins in his sales. Some auctions from other houses do not record weights at all! This makes provenance hunting a bit more difficult as we can't filter or match by weight. But there are other ways, of course.
First, our sincere thanks go to Roma Numismatics Ltd who have kindly
given us permission to reproduce images from their auction catalogs on the rNumis website.
Here is a nice Rhegion Drachm
from the Roma 18 (2019) sale, with Lockett (1955) and Pozzi (1921) provenance.
We will continue to contact other houses now that the NYINC is over.
To the database, we have finished adding the 140 Italy/Sicily lots from Hess-Leu 1957 (Jacob Hirsch). This auction gave us two 'firsts': our first coin from Stiela, Sicily (a rare Litra HGC2 1271 R2), and our first coin from Temesa, Bruttium (a Didrachm ex Jameson).
Currently, we are working on adding Ars Classica XIII (1928) and the database size is now 5,787 lots.
Jan 25th: Ars Classica XIII (340 lots) is complete. The database now has 6,017 entries for Italy/Sicily.
We are very happy to announce that rNumis has been given permission to use images and lot descriptions from
older Münzen and Medaillen sales, and we extend
our sincere thanks to this esteemed auction house.
To the database, we have now added the following records for Italy & Sicily:
This brings the database size to 5,553 entries. As always, the list of all auctions added
so far can be found at the top of the main database page.
Next up will likely be Hess-Leu 1957 (Jacob Hirsch), with a good number of provenance connections to both past and future.
After that we may go back to work on the remaining 4 sales of Naville / Ars Classica. This would complete our ancient Greek Italy & Sicily coverage of that auction house. Stay tuned.
Naville / Ars Classica IV (1922) has been added to the database. This sale includes coins from the collections
of the Russian Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich and Sir Arthur Evans.
The 421 lots from Italy and Sicily bring the database size
to 5,371 entries.
At some point in the near future we want - and need - extended filtering when searching for a coin in the provenance database. For example, there are currently over 1,330 coins from Syracuse alone. While weight filtering certainly helps to reduce the search space, visually spotting a particular Tetradrachm is getting more and more difficult as the database gets larger. We hope to provide some new filters soon.
We are delighted that the auction houses of
Fritz Rudolf Künker,
Numismatica Ars Classica NAC and
Harlan J. Berk, LTD,
have granted permission to reproduce images from their past sales. Our sincere thanks to them.
We continue to contact other firms, but try not to bother them too much given the busy
NYINC coming up in a few days.
We are also very happy that rNumis was discussed in two separate articles this week:
We are immensely grateful to both authors.
We have now added Egger XXIII, November 26th 1909, the Lestranges sale.
Included is our first example of a rare
Tetradrachm of Eryx, HGC2 307 (R2).
This coin fetched a very respectable 2,500 Kronen, similar to the prices realized for the 3 Syracuse Dekadrachms
that were also sold in this auction.
With 181 new entries for Italy and Sicily, the database size is now 4,926 lots.
Three more sales have been added. While there are fewer lots of Italy and Sicily, compared to other auctions in our database,
there are some spectacularly rare coins present.
The first is Egger XXXIX Jan 1912 (Munzkabinetts Wien) with 71 plated lots from Italy and Sicily, including our first example of a coin from Longane.
Next is Egger XLVI (Prowe III) May 1914, with 76 plated Italy/Sicily lots. This was the last sale held by this esteemed Vienna auction house.
Finally we have Glendining Dec 1929 (Nordheim) with 31 lots. That auction is perhaps better known for the choice Roman Aurei from the Anderson collection, but those coins are outside the current scope of this project.
With these sales the Greek Provenance database size is now 4,728 lots.
For Jacob Hirsch XXVI (May 1910), 307 plated lots from Italy and Sicily have now been added to the database.
Lots 1-161 are duplicates from the Berlin Munzcabinetts following their 1906 purchase of the Arthur Lobbecke collection, consisting of 26,000 ancient coins. The remaining lots were introduced in the catalog as "Coins from the Estate of a Well-known Foreign Collector".
This brings the Greek Provenance database size to 4,551 lots.
One of our goals in the project is the presentation of Provenance Chains, pictures showing on one page the same coin appearing in different sales and references over the past 150 years, along with clickable links to further details. As there are attendant copyright questions for more recent sales, this week we have begun contacting the dealer community to advise them of the project and to ask for permission to use their text and images (this is ongoing). We are delighted that Dr. Busso Peus Nachfolger was the first to respond with their blessing and to wish us luck with the project. This Akragas Didrachm is a nice example of a chain that includes a coin from Peus, while this Akragas Tetradrachm forms our longest chain to date, with 6 different appearances going back to 1910!
We continue to add Italy/Sicily lots from the Headlam sale, Sotheby May 1916. So far 147, the remainder to follow.
These are very slow to add, for various reasons
Here we find a Didrachm from Himera with a nice provenance chain. Also, Headlam Lot 155 is the first coin from Enna in the database!
All plated Italy/Sicily lots from Headlam, Sotheby May 1916 have now been added. This brings the Greek Provenance database size to 4,213 lots.
The Bement Greek Sale, Ars Classica VI 1924, has been added. The database now has 4,030 entries for Italy and Sicily.
Also, we have added Prices Realized to the database entries for lots from Ars Classica XVI (1933) and will next add prices for Ars Classica XVII (1934)
Finally, we have added many missing links to archive.org and BnF Gallica online catalogs for Sotheby and Rollin & Feuardent sales.
The Pozzi Sale, Ars Classica I 1921, has been added. The database now has 3,471 entries for Italy and Sicily.
This one took a long time as the coin images had to be extracted by hand. We normally use our own much faster algorithms to do this but they need a sharp boundary between coin edge and background - normally no problem. For Pozzi, coin edges slowly fade into the background and the algorithms dont know what to cut. It's better (but much slower) just to do it by hand.
Next up is Ars Classica VI 1924 (Bement I), before we move on, probably to a Sotheby or Jacob Hirsch sale.
The Gallica website at the BIBLIOTHÈQUE NATIONALE DE FRANCE has a really nice online repository of French numismatic auction catalogs. Their collection for Bourgey is particularly good. We have been updating our database of historical Bourgey sales that have Ancient coins and also adding links to their online catalogs (we still have a few more to add). See them here: Bourgey Auctions.
Ars Classica V has been added. The database now has 2,836 entries for Italy and Sicily, complete for the following sales:
The next Ars Classica
sales to be added will be Sale I (1921) [Pozzi] and Sale VI (1924) [Bement/I].
Ars Classica XVI has been added. The database now has 1,685 entries for Italy and Sicily, complete for the following sales:
The next Ars Classica sales to be added will be Sale I (1921) [Pozzi], Sale V (1923) [Duplicates of the British Museum], and Sale VI (1924) [Bement/I].
Over 1100 auction records for Italy and Sicily have now been added to the Greek Coins database:
(Ars Classica XVI (Sicily) will be added soon). The database has a few additional entries but these are just to illustrate Provenance Chains.