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The Hardcastle Collection

This came across from SPINK London. How cool! There’s even a coin or a few that I would consider bidding on.

The Hardcastle Collection is an auctioneer’s dream. A collection hidden from the market for at least a century, and as diverse in interests as any sale one could hope to create. Dictated not necessarily by discerning collector choice, but instead by the variety of ‘pledges’ or unredeemed loans made to Yorkshire Pawnbroker Henry Hardcastle from the 1870s until he wound down the business in Lady Peckitt’s Yard, York in 1923. Ranging from Patterns and Proofs from the East India Company, to locally found Roman coins, this sale presents a rare opportunity to glimpse not only the social history of York at the turn of the 20th Century, but also a snapshot of a ‘Victorian’ collection frozen in time, and presented here for all to enjoy.

Comments

  • BoosibriBoosibri Posts: 10,025 ✭✭✭✭✭

    That is really cool. Will to check this out!

  • YorkshiremanYorkshireman Posts: 3,604 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thanks for the tip.
    As you can see from my alias, I have ties to Yorkshire.

    Yorkshireman,
    Obsessed “Master Collector” of pieces of history.
    Hunting for Latin American colonial portraits



    Yorkshireman's Box of 20
  • bidaskbidask Posts: 11,977 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Oh boy !

    I manage money. I earn money. I save money .
    I give away money. I collect money.
    I don’t love money . I do love the Lord God.




  • pruebaspruebas Posts: 2,535 ✭✭✭✭✭

    No Latin America, boys.

  • TwoKopeikiTwoKopeiki Posts: 8,383 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @pruebas said:
    No Latin America, boys.

    Time to load up on some Patterns and Proofs from the East India Company, eh?

  • tbishoprictbishopric Posts: 82 ✭✭✭

    Some of those East India Company patterns and proofs were very nice and very expensive. I bid on a couple but quickly got out bid. This one was my favorite.

    https://live.spink.com/lots/view/4-15AET7/proof-64-top-pop-british-india-bombay-presidency-proof-6-reas-1-pice-1791-in-gilt-copper-soho

  • pruebaspruebas Posts: 2,535 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I thought the follow-up from SPINK was good:

    100% SOLD

    When Henry Hardcastle closed down his pawn brokering business in Lady Peckett’s Yard, York in 1923, he left his premises with a nest-egg. A delightful cabinet of coins, some undoubtedly pledged by local inhabitants and some he must have purchased from contemporary dealers including one Messrs. Spink and Son of Piccadilly.
    His cabinet would remain undisturbed for a Century until Spink would once again be commissioned to aid in its dispersal. Not only do the results testify to the searing passion coin collectors have for their local history and pedigree, but equally at the incredible strength of the marketplace for small collectables.

  • JohnnyCacheJohnnyCache Posts: 1,013 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @pruebas

    I think I could read a whole book on this subject. The story of this particular pawn shop sounds very intriguing, first in the fact that all this material was kept while the business was operating but particularly that things remained together after another 100 years. That must be unheard of, I would think certainly in today's world it would. A business closes today or a relative passes and the vultures appear out of nowhere to pick at the bones.

    Any info on the HOW it lasted all together so long?

  • pruebaspruebas Posts: 2,535 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November 11, 2020 1:07PM

    @JohnnyCache I was unable to find any additional information on this collection other than the above.

    As you know, stories sell coins (and probably all antiques). This was a good story. It helps that the collection is new to the market and basically a snapshot to collecting a century ago. It also had some great coins!

    Back in May 2010, Baldwins auctioned the Neville Rolfe Collection. It was a similar kind of thing. The collection had been off the market for over a century. I will copy the story below. @MrEureka was there and I won a few coins via him.

    And a little less than a year later, the collection of Diedrich Uhlhorn came to market. Uhlhorn was the inventor of the knuckle coining press (in 1817), the technology of which is still used today and was essential for high speed coining. Prior to his invention, coins were minted using steam-powered screw presses which required the hammer die to screw down and screw back up, limiting the speed of coining. His collection had been in the hands of his family since he died in 1837 (added to by his son who took over the business) and I purchased it intact (but individually via auction :'( ).

    THE STRICKLAND NEVILLE ROLFE COLLECTION

    Strickland Charles Edward Neville Rolfe was born in 1789, eldest son of General Neville of the Royal Artillery. He assumed the name and arms of Rolfe by royal warrant in 1837, upon receiving the bequest of the estates at Heacham and Sedgeford, from Edmund Rolfe, a distant relative who had no issue.

    Educated at Wadham College, Oxford, BA 1812, MA 1816, he was ordained in 1814 and subsequently became domestic chaplain to the Duke of Kent in 1814 and to the Duke of Somerset in 1825. He was appointed vicar of Heacham in Norfolk in 1838. His first wife, Agnes, was the only daughter of Henry Fawcett, MP for Carlisle. They married in 1814 and had five sons and four daughters. In 1833 he married Dorothy, widow of the Rev TT Thomason, Chaplain to the Honourable East India Company.

    It is known that he was an enthusiastic collector of both natural and archaeoalogical items, as well as having a keen interest in art. Rolfe had had a number of artists staying for long periods to study artistic endeavours at Heacham Hall. It is said that he had a large coach
    built in which he took these artists on excursions to draw and paint buildings or articles of interest in and around the area. He was especially interested in the area of Norfolk and part of his collection of portraits of Norfolk celebrities, original drawings, topographical and antiquarian, were sold by Sotheby’s. Some of these pieces had been used to extra illustrate ‘Blomefield’s History of the County of Norfolk’ (compiled by Francis Blomefield and published in 1805). Later, in 1929, a number of water-colour drawings from the collection were also used to illustrate a publication compiled by his great grandson, Clement Rolfe- Ingleby, and entitled ‘A supplement to Blomefield’s Norfolk.’

    Strickland Rolfe died in 1852. Heacham Hall was destroyed by fire in 1941, whilst being occupied by the RAF.

    The numismatic collection has remained in the hands of descendents and represents a snapshot of the tastes and interests of an educated country gentleman and divine. The English coins span three centuries and includes key rarities, such as the pattern “Incorrupta” and “Three Graces” crowns, as well as some rare and interesting coppers. It is amazing to think that the crowns were probably acquired soon after they were issued, which would account for their remarkable state of preservation.

    There is an interesting selection of colonial coins including a number of East India Company coins from India and the Far East, as well as St Helena. It would be tempting to think that these may have been gifts from relatives who travelled overseas. We know that his second son, Henry Fawcett Rolfe, served in the Royal Navy, and died in the Far East. Amongst the colonial coins are some superb early American coins, a pewter Continental Dollar, some well preserved Rosa Americana coppers, and a magnificent Virginia halfpenny. There were Rolfes amongst the early settlers in America, notably as successful Virginia tobacco farmers. It was a Rolfe who brought the ill-fated native American Pocahontas to England, but the family assure us there is no direct connection to this line.

    Perhaps the most remarkable part of the collection is the series of Norfolk and Suffolk 17th Century tokens. This is a substantial collection of 365 pieces, formed with obvious pride and dedication, as is confirmed by the meticulous notebook kept by Rolfe for the Norfolk part. Whether he drew the astonishing pen and ink illustrations himself, or employed an artist to do them, we will never know. There are numerous rarities for both counties, many in remarkably high grade. The sobering thought is that this collection was completely unknown to the key researchers and cataloguers of this series in the 19th and 20th Centuries, William Boyne (1858), George Williamson (1889) and latterly, Michael Dickinson. The tokens listed in the notebook will be sold with it in one lot, to maintain the integrity of the collection.

  • JohnnyCacheJohnnyCache Posts: 1,013 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November 11, 2020 2:12PM

    Thank you for sharing this. It really is fascinating. The depth of history some families have, in and of itself, aside from their astonishing collections is something remarkable to me, as someone who knows little beyond his humble grandparents.

    "His collection had been in the hands of his family since he died in 1837 (added to by his son who took over the business) and I purchased it intact (but individually via auction :'( ). "
    That had to be quite a decision to take on such an undertaking via auction. Once in, there was really no going back. But to know you have preserved that collection intact must have been utter exhilaration once the last hammer struck I imagine.

    I feel so humbled many times by the knowledge and grasp of all things numismatic that posters such as yourself share. I could live three lifetimes and not absorb it all.

    Have you ever shared images of this collection? Have you considered how you would like to see this and/or other articles you may posses to be carried forward after your gone. It would seem a shame to not have it it remain together after such effort by you, and those before, to keep it so.

    Thank you again pruebas, it was very nice to read.

  • bidaskbidask Posts: 11,977 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @pruebas said:
    I won this Soho half penny pattern. It’s quite rare in silver. Top pop at NGC.

    Very nice....what is the grade ?

    I manage money. I earn money. I save money .
    I give away money. I collect money.
    I don’t love money . I do love the Lord God.




  • pruebaspruebas Posts: 2,535 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @bidask said:

    @pruebas said:
    I won this Soho half penny pattern. It’s quite rare in silver. Top pop at NGC.

    Very nice....what is the grade ?

    PF65UCAM

  • jgennjgenn Posts: 552 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November 12, 2020 2:19AM

    The tokens listed in the notebook will be sold with it in one lot, to maintain the integrity of the collection.

    Were you able to acquire the notebook from the Rolfe collection, too?

  • robp2robp2 Posts: 48 ✭✭✭

    @pruebas said:
    I won this Soho half penny pattern. It’s quite rare in silver. Top pop at NGC.

    I wondered who bought that one. Fortunately for me I didn't need one as I have restricted myself to just an example of each die pair of Soho halfpennies and their restrikes in whatever metal I have or appears and so have had a copper KH41 for years.

    I think you paid a very full price for it, but doubt you would find another. Peck's coin is now in Birmingham Museum and I don't know of any others (cue a new discovery piece). It's probably the only one available, so the grade isn't so important. Nice coin though. As an aside, the cataloguing of the patterns was all over the place with several having the wrong attribution, though this one was correct.

  • pruebaspruebas Posts: 2,535 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @robp2 said:

    @pruebas said:
    I won this Soho half penny pattern. It’s quite rare in silver. Top pop at NGC.

    I wondered who bought that one. Fortunately for me I didn't need one as I have restricted myself to just an example of each die pair of Soho halfpennies and their restrikes in whatever metal I have or appears and so have had a copper KH41 for years.

    I think you paid a very full price for it, but doubt you would find another. Peck's coin is now in Birmingham Museum and I don't know of any others (cue a new discovery piece). It's probably the only one available, so the grade isn't so important. Nice coin though. As an aside, the cataloguing of the patterns was all over the place with several having the wrong attribution, though this one was correct.

    Thanks for the comments @robp2. I do not consider myself an expert on these, but merely "dabble" in Soho patterns. I have examples of this same pattern in copper (bronzed?) and brass. And I love the design.

    Interesting that Peck's "very rare" actually means 1 known (because this specimen was unknown until recently). I wonder what "extremely rare" indicates?

  • pruebaspruebas Posts: 2,535 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November 13, 2020 8:20AM

    @jgenn said:

    The tokens listed in the notebook will be sold with it in one lot, to maintain the integrity of the collection.

    Were you able to acquire the notebook from the Rolfe collection, too?

    I only bought a few pieces from that Rolfe collection. I was just giving examples of how interesting stories of long-lost collections can help sell coins.

    I did buy the intact collection of Uhlhorn though. That was fun! But it was only 25-30 pieces.

  • robp2robp2 Posts: 48 ✭✭✭

    @pruebas said:

    @robp2 said:

    @pruebas said:
    I won this Soho half penny pattern. It’s quite rare in silver. Top pop at NGC.

    I wondered who bought that one. Fortunately for me I didn't need one as I have restricted myself to just an example of each die pair of Soho halfpennies and their restrikes in whatever metal I have or appears and so have had a copper KH41 for years.

    I think you paid a very full price for it, but doubt you would find another. Peck's coin is now in Birmingham Museum and I don't know of any others (cue a new discovery piece). It's probably the only one available, so the grade isn't so important. Nice coin though. As an aside, the cataloguing of the patterns was all over the place with several having the wrong attribution, though this one was correct.

    Thanks for the comments @robp2. I do not consider myself an expert on these, but merely "dabble" in Soho patterns. I have examples of this same pattern in copper (bronzed?) and brass. And I love the design.

    Interesting that Peck's "very rare" actually means 1 known (because this specimen was unknown until recently). I wonder what "extremely rare" indicates?

    Sorry, should have said R41 and not KH41. This one was a Peck 1050, his R41 Taylor restrike listed on p.285 in the second edition. In the book it is rated as EXR, which I think he implied means only 2 or 3 known. He only listed his own piece (which passed as part of his Soho collection to Birmingham Museum in lieu of death duties). That aside, I hadn't seen another example until this one came up. Significantly, there was no example in the Selig collection sold in 1999. I presume this coin was doing the rounds in the US, as prior to the internet age there were two pools of coins that transferred between each other on a very restricted basis. For the same reason, I have a Peck 1046 which was in the Riever collection, but no example had come up in the UK for about 50 years.

    You say you have a similar pattern in copper (bronzed?) and brass. The bronzed could be either an Early or Late Soho strike (Peck 1036 to 1044), or a Taylor restrike (Peck 1047 to 1056). The R41 is only listed in bronzed (Peck 1051), though I have long thought the R41 Peck 1051 is copper as opposed to bronzed because Taylor's bronzing was much lighter than the Soho equivalent. If in brass, you might mean a Peck 1055, which is a R42 and has a population of 5 or 6 as far as it is possible to establish. The difference between the R41 and R42 is most readily identified by the single hair strand directly below the ear. In the R41 the tip points slightly forward, whereas the R42 (peck 1052 to 1056) points backwards. It can be shown that the R42 was reworked from the R41 because the curls below the truncation were filled in as seen on the attached image, and a microscope picture of the end of the hair strand also shows where the curl was modified.


    As for the various rarity assignments, a lot of them can be shown to be guesses which have proved over time to be at odds with the evidence. Mick Martin wrote an excellent article in the July 2009 Numismatic Circular where he recorded the number of coins of each Peck type (excluding gold, silver and aluminium) that had gone through auction or appeared on dealers' lists between 1970 and 2008 and reassigned rarities to these. Most listed as EXR were either virtually unobtainable or rarely so (0-6 offerings). ER Peck ratings came into the range of virtually unobtainable to periodically obtainable (0-24 offerings), but some VR rated types were readily available. Conversely, some of those rated Scarce by Peck only appeared a handful of times in 40 years. Some types are always available, even if 'Rare'.

    In summary, don't believe all that is written without some corroborative evidence.

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