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V23 2020 INDEX       E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

The E-Sylum: Volume 23, Number 9, March 1, 2020, Article 28

DWIGHT MANLEY ACQUIRES BULK OF BAKER COLLECTION

The Philadelphia Inquirer reporter who wrote about the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's sale of the Baker collection of Washingtoniana wrote this week about the new owner of the bulk of the collection - Dwight Manley. -Editor

There was a moment, early on during the Nov. 16 auction, when anonymous internet bidder 3975 had a kind of epiphany.

Declaration of Independence Signing medal He was acquiring medal after medal, each from the legendary collection of William Spohn Baker, all being sold at a Baltimore auction on behalf of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Baker, who died in 1897 at his Arch Street home, had directed his collection be held by HSP in perpetuity, but HSP decided perpetuity had its limits — 122 years, to be exact, from the time of their donation to the time they were boxed and sent out of town last year, with prior approval from both the Attorney General's Office and Orphans Court.

Bidder 3975 didn't know about that, he said. What he did know was that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to buy one of the great numismatic collections in the nation, a collection painstakingly gathered over decades by Baker, a writer and collector of books, documents, prints, and coins and medals, all associated in some way with George Washington. (The books and documents remain at HSP.)

The medals, being auctioned in 1,102 individual lots, were the prize for bidder 3975.

"I was shocked that such a historical and unique collection would be sold off," he said. "I went into it thinking I'm just going to pick up a few pieces. But I realized the opportunity is there to keep [the collection] intact."

Dwight Manley with Baker Collection

So it was that Dwight Manley, 54, a California coin collector since he was a kid, the man who rescued the career of bad-boy basketball player Dennis Rodman and made him rich again, came to what may be his biggest achievement yet.

"I bought 85 percent of the lots," Manley said. "Some I didn't buy because I already had the medals. Some I bought after the auction from other buyers. I bought over 850 individual lots."

Now Manley plans to make the collection accessible to the public. An exhibition is already in the works for the spring of 2021 at the Money Museum at the Colorado Springs digs of the American Numismatic Association.

"I want to give people the opportunity to see the collection and to use it for research," Manley said. "I want people to know that the collection is mostly intact and that it will be available for scholars and the public."

The museum will hold the medals on loan, incorporating them into its educational programs, according to Douglas Mudd, Money Museum curator and director.

Emancipation Bill token Mudd called the collection "amazing."

"Ultimately the [Baker Collection medals] should be on display in Washington or Pennsylvania or some place," said Manley. "These aren't all round, shiny things. They all ... each piece, has a story."

To read the complete article, see:
Dennis Rodman's ex-agent bought the Pa. Historical Society's prized Baker Collection medals at auction. He's going to exhibit them (https://www.inquirer.com/arts/dennis-rodman-former-agent-dwight-manley-buyer-philadelphia-pa-historical-society-baker-collection-medals-20200228.html)

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
THE SELLING OF THE BAKER COLLECTION (https://www.coinbooks.org/v23/esylum_v23n08a30.html)



Wayne Homren, Editor

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The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization promoting numismatic literature. See our web site at coinbooks.org.

To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor at this address: whomren@gmail.com

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