Last week in his announcement of his upcoming book on John Ford, Karl Moulton wrote:
John J. Ford, Jr., was the most controversial figure ever to appear in American numismatics. His collection, when sold by Stack’s, realized over $55 million.
Bob Lyall writes:
Just to set the record straight, John J Ford Jr's West Indian coin collection was not sold by Stack's, but sold in London by Glendining's on the 16th October 1989.
The collection included over 30 countermarked/plugged gold coins in addition to a superb range of cut/countermarked silver and billon coins, expertly catalogued by Peter Mitchell (then Managing Director of Baldwin's) with a little help from myself.
Whilst there was a scattering of modern forgeries (made to fool collectors in contrast to contemporary ones intended to pass alongside officially issued pieces), the collection was fairly comprehensive and a very important one for West Indian specialist numismatists bringing high prices.
I recall bidders at the sale were invited to supper at the restaurant that "Bertie" Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, used to dine with Lillie Langtrey, where we enjoyed a most memorable evening.
As an aside, the catalogue's foreword mentioned that John Ford "was stationed in Paris in 1944 after the liberation of that city where he was able to obtain a number of fine specimens for his collection. He recalled that some of the transactions involved cigarettes and Nescafe, soap and candy bars, items in short supply with the French coin dealers following four years of occupation."
There were other sales of Ford material as well, such as duplicates consigned to auction at various times. And as mentioned here in The E-Sylum, the Stack's sales did not include several important Ford items, such as his political collection or the landmark Nova Constellatio silver pattern set. As if $55 million weren't enough, the grand total of all Ford holdings is an even higher number.
My copy of the Ford's West Indian sale is pictured above. -Editor
Wayne Homren, Editor
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