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More on Arthur Conan Doyle’s Coin Collection

More on Arthur Conan Doyle’s Coin Collection

“Here was a case of ancient coins.

The Adventure of The Three Garridebs (3GAR)

Earlier, we had posted about Arthur Conan Doyle’s coin collection and asked for assistance in tracking down the sale catalog of the auction and learning what coins made up his collection.  We’ve had a few responses and share them here.

1764 Half Real Obv 1764 Half Real Rev
Dr. Lawrence J. Lee commented to us that “the Conan-Doyle Sale also included coins from his collection that were not ancients. A client of mine has a 1764 1/2 real from Mexico (KM-68) graded VG. She has a letter stating this coin is from the collection and the writing on the envelope is in Doyle’s own handwriting.” (The 1764 1/2 real pictured above is not from the ACD collection.)

We also found the mention of the ACD collection in the December 1968 issue of The Baker Street Journal (Volume 18, No. 4, Page 247):  A price list of coins, including the Arthur Conan Doyle collection of ancient coins, is available for a 6-cent stamp from Manfra, Tordella & Brookes, Inc., 48 W. 50th Street, New York 10020.

We were also referred to a discussion group forum from 2012 regarding whether previous owners effect value? The relevant comments are reproduced below:

Nothus: …What do you all think, does previous ownership of a coin in any way alter your idea of what a coin is worth?

Pirate1707I purchased a denarius of Lucius Verus a while back from Manfra Tordella & Brookes in NYC that was part of the collection of Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle (author of the Sherlock Holmes stories) Although I feel I didn’t really pay anything extra for it because of it I still hold onto the documentation that says it was from his collection. He also had the reverse of the coin improperly attributed. He had it as Armenia seated on ground and it was actually Parthia.

BingYou know, I don’t go out seeking autographs or the like, but to own something that was once owned by (fill in name of famous/important person) means something to me and does add some value. Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle? Are you kidding me? What a story that makes.

NothusArthur Conan-Doyle and a founding father?! Wow, either one of those would somewhat raise value to me, especially JQA. I think I would avoid something like an Eliasberg coin though; for some reason I have a problem with a collection that complete being broken up and sold in pieces like a junkyard Caddy, even though it is a perfectly reasonable thing to do. Not sure why, unless it is simply avoiding the bad karma of completely undoing something that somebody spent so many years lovingly piecing together. Just seems wrong to me. Thanks for the input all. I think I will stick with my skepticism and label the coin I saw as ‘overpriced.’

DVCollector: That would get my attention too, since I’m a big fan of Sherlock Holmes. From a half-dozen stories involving gems, I knew Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle had an interest there, so I’m not surprised he was a coin collector too.

NothusI love his stories too. And I would get a perverse pleasure out of having corrected his misattribution.

I agree with the last comment.  It’s nice to see that ACD had the same problem attributing his coins as he did in keeping track of Dr. Watson’s war injuries and wifes….

Gallienus Obv Gallienus Rev

 We then were referred to a Roman bronze that sold on Ebay on February 14, 2012 with the following description:

Offering one genuine Ancient Roman Coin Certified ( EX-Conan Doyle Collection ) by Manfra Tordella & Brookes, Inc. NYC

This is a bronze coin of the Roman Emperor Gallienus, who was the son of Valerian I, and was named Caesar at his father’s accession to the throne in 253 AD. He assumed the title Augustus and began numerous reforms and military campaigns to defend his empire. At the same time he presided over the last flowering of classical Roma culture, patronizing poets, artists, and philosophers. He was assassinated while besieging Milan.I am by no means an expert in this field, but according to my research, I found that this coin is from Roma Provincial Egypt, since it has Egyptian inscription on the face of the coin depicting the head of Gallienus. the denomination is “Tetradrachm”, there is an eagle on the reverse, and I believe the L I stands for year 10 of his reign. This coin has been my collection for the past 40 years. It is in very good condition and comes with the documentation of its authenticity as stated above.

 Gallienus Obv 1 Gallienus Rev 2

We have another bronze of Gallienus that was found at the Tantalus Coin Registry with the following description: In 1968 Manfra, Tordella & Brookes auctioned off a lot of ancient Roman and Greek coins from the personal collection of Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle, author of the famous Sherlock Holmes stories.  Each coin came with a special folder certifying the origin of the coin and containing the tag for the coin penned by Conan-Doyle in ink in his handwriting.  This particular coin is a very nice condition Gallienus 253-268 as identified by Conan-Doyle.  The reverse has an eagle type bird.

Lastly, in the Fall 2014 newsletter of the BSI Trust, there is mention that a 10”x 11” coin tray which housed coins belonging to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had been donated to the archives of the BSI Trust.


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