The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 15, Number 37, September 2, 2012, Article 5


Caroline Newton of Baldwin's in London writes:

Please find attached details of The Brussels Hoard of 1908, the first part is due to go under the hammer on the 27th September alongside part two of The Bentley Collection. There are also details of the book recently published by Baldwin’s and the British Numismatic Society detailing the study of the British coins from the hoard, undertaken by Bob Thomas and Ron Churchill. Further details of the book and of Baldwin’s other Coinex auctions will be available early next week.

Thanks! Here's an excerpt. -Editor

Brussels Hoard of 1908 On the 27th September this year 101 of the rarest Henry III Pennies from the Brussels Hoard will go under the hammer in London, over 100 years after they were first discovered in July 1908. A. H. Baldwin & Sons Ltd is delighted to be offering these coins for sale in celebration of the publication (jointly by Baldwin’s and the British Numismatic Society) of the definitive study of the hoard, written by Ron Churchill and Bob Thomas.

Found in Brussels by a group of workman engaged in pulling down an old tavern during construction of the main railway line through the centre of the city. The uncovered hoard totalled over 140,000 English, Scottish and Irish pennies and continental coins. The original reports recorded the site of discovery as being 32 and 34 Rue d’Assaut which, at the time, was occupied by the café-hôtel-restaurant A l’Assaut and basked in the shadow of the striking Cathedral of St Gudule and St Michael.

The coins were concealed in a large container which had been placed in a bricked-up vault beneath a water cistern in the basement of a stone house on the site of 32 and 34 Rue d’Assaut. At the time the owner M Coenegracht said that the container crumbled into dust as soon as it was touched but it had the shape of a round upside-down dish (couvercle). It was found under an ornamental tiled floor during the demolition of the wall of an old tank constructed in the solid arch or vault.

Through the foresight of a prominent Belgium coin dealer, Charles Dupriez (and later Albert Baldwin, grandson of Baldwin’s founder) that the “English” portion of the hoard was kept intact for detailed study. The coins were sold en-bloc in 2 lots at auction 99 of the auction house of Charles Dupriez in Brussels in October 1909. Lot 1372 from that auction contained 80,927 English, Scottish and Irish silver pennies.

The purchase of lot 1372 by Albert Baldwin has now the aura of a fable. It is said that a thick fog descended over the English Channel the night before the auction which delayed potential buyers. This left the field almost exclusively open for Albert Baldwin and he returned to London the owner of the vast majority of the English coins for a sum of 15,250 francs (plus a commission of 10%) then equivalent to about £9,000. Lot 1373 contained around 55,000 continental coins; sold to another bidder these coins were sadly melted down after initial identification.

Brussels Hoard coin Over half the English portion of the Hoard has provided a worthwhile subject for study and, in total, some 55,000 English coins have been analyzed. The results of this study have been published in one volume, entitled, The Brussels Hoard of 1908. Written by ex-Whitehall civil servant and historical devotee, Ron Churchill and retired banker and numismatist, Bob Thomas the book has proved to be a true labor of love. Over 12 years in the making it has involved hundreds of hours work by two dedicated enthusiasts. It will however, prove to be the new reference work on Henry III coinage for generations of numismatists.

The book includes details of the discovery of the hoard and its subsequent history as well as considering the likely date of deposition and a detailed analysis of the individual coins extant at the commencement of the study. Building on this analysis the authors have attempted to update the classification of the long cross series of Henry III whilst introducing a new element to this classification.

The Brussels Hoard book is available to buy online from Baldwin’s website: To read the complete article, see:

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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