It is rare that collectors get a chance to get inside the heads of legendary numismatic researchers.
Kolbe & Fanning Numismatic Booksellers is offering the research archives of Elvira and Vladimir Clain-Stefanelli in a Jan. 12 auction at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City, in association with the New York International Numismatic Convention.
The Clain-Stefanellis moved to the United States from Europe in 1951. Vladimir was appointed curator of the National Numismatic Collection in October 1956 and Elvira joined as co-curator the following year. She succeeded her husband upon his death in 1982, serving as curator until her retirement in 2000, after 43 years of curatorial work. She died the next year.
Under their direction, the collection grew from 65,000 objects to more than 1.6 million pieces.
Among the lots offered are original typescript manuscripts of their books Numismatics — An Ancient Science (1965) and History of the National Numismatic Collections (1968). Each carries an estimate of $500.
A substantial of group of 77 binders filled with the couple’s notes including a major unpublished work on Roman Republican coins that is described as “an extraordinary effort on the part of the Clain-Stefanellis and a substantial resource for the researcher.” The binders are offered as a single lot with an estimate of $5,000.
The auction also includes what the firm describes as the most complete archive of material related to the controversy of the Franklin Hoard of U.S. 1853 Assay Office gold $20 coins ever offered for public sale. The description notes, “The controversies surrounding the area of pioneer western bars and ingots remain the most important areas of significant scholarly disagreement in U.S. numismatics and have repercussions in areas outside the United States.” The lot is estimated at $10,000. ■