Auction catalogs can serve as a wellspring of scholarship, especially
when thorough collections are presented for sale with careful, even
There are exceptions, like the 1954 catalog for Sotheby’s auction of
Egyptian King Farouk’s collection. A Near Fine example of the catalog
is offered in Kolbe & Fanning Numismatic Booksellers’ Jan. 10
auction in New York City.
Though not among the expensive highlights, the book is important for
the collection that it represents.
According to David Fanning, Fred Baldwin cataloged the Farouk sale
and had to do so in very poor circumstances. “He was rushed, under
armed watch at all times, and had little access to any references in
Cairo. The resulting descriptions were intended largely for those
personally in attendance, who could see the coins for themselves,”
Besides U.S. coins (like the famous 1933 gold $20 double eagle),
Farouk’s collection (dubbed the “Palace Collection”) contained a wide
array of world and ancient coins.
“This universal appeal explains in part the somewhat expensive price
tag of a not-especially-old catalog that isn’t particularly fancy,”
The catalog has an estimate of $350.
To learn more about the sale, visit the firm’s website.
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