World Coins

Mark & Lottie Salton library auction takes place Sept. 18

An archive of the bid books for the Schlessinger firm provides an important archive of this numismatic auctioneer whose assets were seized in World War II. Mark Salton worked to preserve the legacy of his family, while his wife, Lottie, was a specialist in Renaissance and Baroque medals.

All images courtesy of Kolbe & Fanning.

Kolbe & Fanning Numismatic Booksellers is set to present the library of Mark and Lottie Salton on Sept. 18 in cooperation with Fritz Rudolf Künker, of Osnabrück, Germany.

The Salton Library is especially rich in works devoted to ancient coins and medals, especially in its extensive holdings of European auction catalogues, many of which are heavily annotated.

One of the top lots is a 43-volume set of the Royal Collection of Coins and Medals in the Danish National Museum, Copenhagen, published from 1942 to 1979. The Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum books contain 584 photographically printed plates depicting 23,339 coins with introductory and descriptive text.

The key series in the SNG publications was described as “the largest and most complete of all SNG’s and is utilized extensively by both scholars and the trade.” Kolbe & Fanning calls complete sets rare and estimates it at $7,500.

The auction house’s introduction shares the fascinating life story of the collecting couple, writing, “Lottie and Mark were both born in Germany: Mark in 1914, Lottie in 1924. Mark’s father, Joel Felix Schlessinger, had initially trained as a banker. He was, however, a nephew of Leo Hamburger, the principal of a prestigious numismatic firm in Frankfurt, and in 1911 Felix joined that company. In 1928, he formed his own numismatic establishment, moving it to Berlin where it became a prominent auction house. Mark’s mother, Hedwig, was a descendent of the notable Feuchtwanger family of Munich, which included Lewis Feuchtwanger, well-known to American numismatists for developing ‘Feuchtwanger’s composition,’ in which alloy he produced tokens in the 1830s.”

Mark and Lottie married in 1948 and shared an interest in numismatics with Lottie focusing on Renaissance and Baroque medallic art. Medal collector Ira Rezak said in a tribute, “Mark and Lottie Salton were sophisticated representatives of an older culture, which has now disappeared; their friendship was important to me and to many others, and their generosity lives on. The traditional Jewish phrase of remembrance considers them ‘of blessed memory.’ ”

Remembering a firm

Among the rich archives included in the Salton library are 14 catalogs bound in five volumes of the bid books of the Felix Schlessinger firm in Berlin-Charlottenburg and Amsterdam from 1928 to 1937. The cataloger explains, “annotations vary somewhat from catalogue to catalogue but generally record absentee bids on the interleaves, with the printed catalogue pages being hand-priced and annotated with the buyers’ names; what would appear to be live bids are at times also recorded on the interleaves; most sales feature handwritten lists of absentee bidders on a blank leaf at the front of the catalogue.”

Kolbe & Fanning called the archive the “heart and soul of the library,” since Mark Salton worked to preserve the records of the family business that operated until May 1940, when Germany invaded the Netherlands, forcing the Dutch to surrender. The assets were seized, the family separated, with Felix and his wife Hedwig sent first to Theresienstadt and then to Auschwitz, where they were killed.

Kolbe & Fanning concludes on the archive, estimated at $5,000, “On a more personal level, it encompasses the story of a family’s business during a time of crisis — a crisis that led to horrors the modern world had never seen before. Mark Salton did much to rescue and reconstitute his family’s library, of which this is the most significant part.”

Connect with Coin World:  
Sign up for our free eNewsletter
Access our Dealer Directory  
Like us on Facebook  
Follow us on Twitter

Community Comments