The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 13, Number 21, May 23, 2010, Article 7


Peter Preston-Morley also alerted me to the numismatic books from the libraries of Hanfried Bendig (Bremen) and Bernard Poindessault (Paris) being sold by the Kuenker company on June 21, 2010. Douglas Saville cataloged works from the Poindessault library, and I asked him for his thoughts. -Editor

Douglas Saville writes:

Bernard's library was formed over many years, and he summarizes it nicely in his Introduction to the catalogue.

Many of the major works are in really nice condition, and there are some fine association items, such as the superb Poey d'Avant from the Ponton d'Amecourt library, and a wonderful set of Babelon's Traite.

Over the many years that I have known Bernard, since the mid 1970s, whenever I visited Paris I would call on him and try to convince him to sell me (when I was at Spinks) his library - never successful, I fear.... so, he has now decided to sell a major part of it - but not all of it, since he still has a fine library at home that he still he says in the catalogue.

His part of the sale is strong in Greek, Roman, French numismatics and Medallions, and some antiquarian works - he has a fine set of the rather rare Mongez/Visconti (lot 143) and also, quite unusually for a numismatic library sale, it includes works on Bibliography - since Bernard is, quite apart from being a professional numismatist, at heart, a true bibliophile, a real collector with a passion for books.

Arne Kirsch of Kuenker kindly forwarded a copy of the text of Bernard's remarks in the catalog. Thanks! Here there are in their entirety. -Editor


As I will be 75 years old next month, this picture does not show me as I am today but I chose it because many of my colleagues and clients will find it easier to recognize me.

By the time it was taken, in France, it was said that in numismatics there was God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Jean VINCHON, who had been a professional numismatist since the Liberation of Paris in 1945 and had done much to promote numismatics, was God the Father. I, who had used other methods of promotion, such as television and the creation of 2 numismatic reviews, was God the Son while our much estimated colleague, Emile BOURGEY, who was also very efficient in a more discreet fashion, was known as the Holy Spirit.

In 1964 or 65, I was lucky enough to be invited to appear on a prime time television show called “Avis aux Amateurs” (“Take note, Enthusiasts”) produced by SABBAGH and FOLGOAS and broadcast live on the only national TV channel available at the time. With over 1.200 letters received I had beaten the record for the show.

It took me over 15 months to answer them all and the writers of these letters formed the basis of my first customer database. I then decided to sell the insurance consultancy I had founded and, in September 1967, I opened my first numismatic shop - thus devoting myself to my passion for History and Art.

During the following years, I published an important number of auction catalogues and my professional success enabled me to buy numismatic books, first on Roman and French coins, then on Greek coins and, finally, on all the important numismatic topics including medals and tokens. My fondness for books was such that I had most of them bound by one of the best book-binders in France.

These are the books that are being auctioned and if the title of the catalogue is “The Library of Bernard Poindessault – Part I” it is because I had continued thinking like an insurance broker, “an insurance premium is expensive until the accident occurs”, which is why, just in case my office were to burn down, I had bought two examples of all the important books. As I had got used to working at home in the mornings to catalog coins, this “second” library became nearly as important as the one in the office. As we still refer to these books, they will most certainly not be sold before my death.

Among the numismatic books to be auctioned, some are in such exceptional condition that I hesitated to part with them. To mention only two, there is the magnificent copy of the POEY d'AVANT from the library of the Vicomte PONTON d'AMECOURT and the leather-bound “Traité des Monnaies Grecques et Romaines” by Ernest BABELON, which is extremely rare when complete.

The other books of this sale come from the ancient numismatic and historical book department I had created in my offices, rue de Richelieu, which business was run by Josiane VEDRINES. This subsidiary having been accepted as a member of the SLAM “Syndicat de la Librairie Ancienne et Moderne” (the French trade association of antique book dealers), I attended the General Assembly that followed and, because of my comments during this assembly, its president, Pierre BERES, the most famous antiquarian book dealer in France at the time asked me to become a member of the committee of the SLAM at which time I was already president of the SNENNP (Syndicat National des Experts Numismates et Numismates Professionnels), the French numismatic trade association.

In the 1980's, we published several book catalogues and, at the time, our main “competitors” were: Douglas SAVILLE in charge of SPINK's book department in the splendid building they had in King Street, David EDMUNDS in charge at SEABY's and George KOLBE in the United States. We have kept in touch with Douglas for the past 30 years and that is why I wanted him to be the co-expert for this sale.

You now know the origins of this two-fold library: not only is it the library of a professional numismatist but also that of an antiquarian book dealer.

Lochner1 Lochner2


George Kolbe sent a letter to Kolbe & Fanning clients this week noting that they will be attending the sale. -Editor

Kolbe & Fanning will attend Fritz Rudolf Künker's June 21, 2010 Auction Sale 169 in Osnabrück, Germany, featuring the fine numismatic libraries of Hanfried Bendig and Bernard Poindessault.

This noteworthy public auction sale features over 2000 lots of works on ancient coins and on a wide variety of medieval and modern numismatic topics. Many of the works in the sale are very important and are seldom offered for sale.

If you are interested in being personally represented at the sale, please contact George Kolbe by telephone: (909) 338-6527; or by email: Advice on values and desirability will gladly be provided and those lots of interest in the sale will be viewed beforehand. A commission of 5% of the hammer price of successful purchases will be charged for our services.

A limited number of printed sale catalogues will be available to those not on the Künker mailing list. We will be happy to send copies to interested parties while our supply lasts.

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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