The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 22, Number 30, July 28, 2019, Article 10

SIMON BENDALL (1937-2019)

Some readers have asked about Byzantine coin specialist Simon Bendall, who passed away recently. I didn't know him, but I've been able to gather the following. Other comments and remembrances would be appreciated. -Editor

From Wikipedia:

Simon Bendall (1937 – 2019) was a numismatist specialising in Byzantine coins. He wrote the first major work on the coinage of the Empire of Trebizond.

After finding a Roman coin as a teenager, Bendall became a collector, researcher and dealer in ancient coins. After leaving Cheltenham College, he did military service (1956-58), partly in Germany, then studied part-time at the Institute of Archaeology, University of London (1962-1965), while working in the coin department of Spink & Son (1959-1965). He was later elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.

Bendall worked for several specialist coin dealers: the coin department of Spink & Son (1959-1965), A.H. Baldwin (1967-1987), Numismatic Fine Arts in Los Angeles (1987-1988), and in 1998 catalogued the first sale of the Byzantine gold coins from the Nelson Bunker Hunt Collection for Sotheby’s, New York. In the 2000s he rejoined Spinks in London (2006-2010). He was elected as an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Numismatic Society in 2010. His collection of Byzantine coins was stolen in London in February 2018.

In his A Corner of Tenth-Century Europe blog, Jonathan Jarrett writes:

... Simon didn’t use e-mail, and barely used computers; the only practical way to send him a PDF was in print, and all the correspondence I had with him was actual letters, answered in longhand and in scrupulous detail...

Simon Bendall ... Simon was one of the people who had written about the concave fabric of later Byzantine coins, and one of the very few who had asked the important question: well, how did they do it? And by then I was also aware that for the coinage of the last and longest-lasting dynasty of Byzantine emperors, the Palaeologans, the standard reference was by one Simon Bendall...

And in fact, I now learn, a full bibliography of his work would have two-hundred-plus things in it, from two- or three-page notes in the little auction house periodicals we used to have to full-length monographs, because he just knew a lot, largely through his ongoing connections with those same auction houses as employee and then consultant expert. Numismatics is one of the last fields where you don’t have to be an academic to be a major contributor, and that is not least because of the demonstrable importance of the work of people like Simon.

In her Newsletter #122 Shanna Schmidt writes:

I learned a few weeks ago of the passing of my old friend Simon Bendall. Simon was a scholar of Byzantine numismatics, as well as author of numerous articles and books. He was a contributing author to the numismatic staple, Byzantine Coins and Their Values by David Sear. Aside from being brilliant in his area of expertise, he also was a kind man and a lot of fun to know. I met Simon when I was a young girl as he helped to do attribution work for my father’s firm off and on. When I was in my early 20’s I had the fortune of working for a short time with Simon in London. In the last years his health was not wonderful so when I learned of his death it came as no big surprise. That said, I lament at the loss the numismatic world will experience with his passing. There is a nice article about him in this week’s Coinsweekly.

Andy Singer writes:

Simon was a frequent visitor to the Washington DC area where he went to research the Byzantine collection at Dumbarton Oaks, joining other scholars such as Cecile Morrisson and Philp Grierson. He also attended meetings of the Washington Ancient Coin Club and brought coins for sale from the stock of A. H. Baldwin and Sons. His presence would enlighten every meeting.

Thanks, everyone, including Mike Markowitz, who pointed out Jonathan Jarrett's blog entry. -Editor

To read the Wikipedia article, see:
Simon Bendall (

To read two CoinsWeekly articles, see:
Simon Bendall (1937-2019) (
Bendall, Simon (

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Wayne Homren, Editor

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