Key Renaissance medal catalogs in Kolbe-Fanning auction

Online and mail-bid offering of important numismatic literature June 24 and 25
By , Coin World
Published : 06/11/16
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Kolbe and Fanning Numismatic Booksellers will host Sale 142: Important Numismatic Literature online June 24, with a mail-bid-only section on June 25. 

Among the highlights are important works on Italian Renaissance medals. 

One is George Francis Hill’s 1930 two-volume work titled A Corpus of Italian Medals of the Renaissance Before Cellini, estimated at $1,500. 

The two volumes have matching tan cloth covers with gilt lettering and include 1,333 detailed descriptions of medals. The set was published by the British Museum. 

Kolbe and Fanning describe the offered set as, “The magnificent original edition of this classic and still most important work, covering in great detail ‘the known varieties of medals produced by Italian artists from 1390 to about 1530,’ ” before citing Elvira Clain-Stafanelli who called the work “a monumental achievement.” It is estimated at $1,500. 

The next lot is the first volume of Hill’s 1931 three-volume catalog The Gustave Dreyfus Collection: Renaissance Medals, published by Oxford University Press. The 311 pages include 141 plates depicting 667 individual Renaissance medals, and this volume is bound in a later black cloth binding. 

The collection the work catalogs now resides as part of the Samuel H. Kress Collection at the National Gallery of Art. 

Hill’s preface states, “Gustave Dreyfus appreciated all his beautiful things, he had a particularly soft place in his heart for the Italian medals. ... His was perhaps the finest collection that has ever been in the hands of a private collector — the ‘perhaps’ might be omitted but that it is difficult to range the great collections in a true perspective.” 

The lot description concludes, “The limited initial printings and concentration of copies in institutional holdings combine to make the appearance at sale of any of the three volumes a noteworthy occasion.”

The offered single volume has an estimate of $2,000. 

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