One of the highlights of the upcoming Kolbe & Fanning December 2022 numismatic literature sale is an album commemorating the National Numismatic Collection's acquisition of the Mikhailovich collection.
Deluxe Georgii Mikhailovich Album with Photographs, Letters, &c.
159 Kosoff, A. [editor]. THE MIKHAILOVITCH COLLECTION: RUSSIAN COINS AND MEDALS. Cincinnati: (Sol Kaplan), 1958. 4to, original padded black full morocco, gilt; DR. V. CLAIN-STEFANELLI impressed in gilt on front cover; red moiré doublures; original printed card covers bound in. Cover letter bound in, signed by 15 attendees of the June 28, 1960 opening of the exhibition accompanying the acquisition of the remaining collection of Grand Duke Georgii Mikhailovich of Russia through its donation by Willis H. duPont. 24 pages; illustrated throughout. Laid in are eleven 8 by 10 inch photographs taken at the opening, depicting Willis and Margaret duPont, Vladimir Clain-Stefanelli, Sol Kaplan, Rebecca Pollard Guggenheim, and others. Also laid in are letters to Dr. Clain-Stefanelli from Arthur A. Houghton III and J. Paul Getty (see comments). Spine worn; internally fine. $1000
Dr. Vladimir Clain-Stefanelli's copy of the Deluxe Presentation Edition. Bound in at the beginning of the volume is a printed letter to the Smithsonian Institution from Willis H. duPont, dated 6/28/60 in ink, and featuring 15 original ink autographs, including those of Willis H. du Pont, Margaret F. du Pont, Rebecca Pollard Guggenheim, and other notables attending the gala event celebrating the presentation of the Georgii Mikhailovich collection of Russian coins and medals to the Smithsonian Institution.
Loosely laid in the volume are eleven 8 by 10 inch official Smithsonian Institution publicity photographs. Among them are: a photograph depicting Clain-Stefanelli and duPont with a wall display of
Rubles 1720 in the background and Clain-Stefanelli holding the volume at hand, apparently having just accepted it from duPont; a photograph depicting wall displays of
Russian Medals and Square Grivnas 1720 with three original Georgii Mikhailovich volumes in the foreground; a photograph of several display cases; and various group and candid photographs depicting the attendees in formal attire, including the duPonts, Elvira Clain-Stefanelli, Sol Kaplan, and others (in one, three of the attendees are holding copies of the presentation volume).
Also present are two September 20, 1966 typewritten letters, signed in ink, to Dr. V. Clain-Stefanelli, as follows: 1) a letter, with the original Sutton Place mailing envelope, signed by J. Paul Getty, reading:
I am sorry to tell you that I did not acquire any ancient coins from the Niggeler Collection and consequently am unable to help the Smithsonian Institution. I hope some day to have the pleasure of meeting you personally;
and 2) a letter from Arthur A. Houghton III concerning his collection of Seleucid coins.
Concerning this famous collection, Elvira Clain-Stefanelli wrote in 1986, in Perspectives in Numismatics: Studies Presented to the Chicago Coin Club, that:
Mr. Willis H. duPont, the scion of one of our nation's leading families, decided to share with us one of the most outstanding collections of Russian coins and medals outside of the Hermitage in Leningrad. The 9,739 silver and copper coins and early silver ingots, the 371 gold and 64 platinum coins, and the 1,227 silver and 32 gold and platinum medals, depicting the history of Russian monetary evolution from the 13th to the 20th century, were bequeathed by Mr. duPont over a period of ten years to the Smithsonian. These coins had an interesting history in themselves; they belonged originally to the Grand Duke Georgii Mikhailovitch, a Romanov Prince, a cousin of the last Czar Nicholas II.
The Grand Duke did not survive the turbulent changes of the Russian Revolution, but his wife and daughters, Princess Xenia and Princess Nina succeeded in fleeing the country; the collection followed them through their peregrinations until it reached the United States. My husband and I heard of it in the early 1950s in New York; later the collection was acquired by Mr. Edward Gans, who with the help of his Russian wife and of Mr. James Teodorovici succeeded in cataloguing the large holdings. The collection changed hands and was ultimately acquired by Mr. Willis duPont, who in 1958 began to donate it, in yearly installments, to the Smithsonian. It is undoubtedly the finest collection of modern Russian coins outside Russia.
Left unmentioned, it was Cincinnati coin dealer Sol Kaplan who had purchased the collection from Gans, and, in a cooperative venture with Abe Kosoff, eventually sold the collection to duPont. Ex Kolbe Sale 100, lot 56.
For more information on the sale, see:
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
KOLBE & FANNING AUCTION SALE 165 ANNOUNCED
Wayne Homren, Editor
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