Ronan Fitzpatrick submitted these notes on
John Lindsay's 1839 book, A View of the Coinage of Ireland, etc., etc.,. He's compiling a census of presentation copies of this important work. Can anyone assist?
DISTINGUISHED COLLECTORS OF IRISH COINS & ANTIQUITIES
On Valentine's Day 1839, John Lindsay a barrister from Cork published, A View of the Coinage of Ireland, etc., etc., which is still an important book on the history of Irish Coinage. In the remainder of his very long title he explains that this covers the period from the invasion of the Danes to the reign of George IV and includes some accounts of the ring money; also, copious tables, lists, and descriptions of Hiberno-Danish and Irish coins; and an account of some of the principal hoards or parcels of coins, discovered in Ireland. Illustrated with engravings of upwards of one hundred and fifty unpublished coins.
In order to compile this work, Lindsay relied on a number of collectors of the day to supply him with details of coins and drawings. He describes them as ‘Distinguished collectors of coins & antiquities'. Principal amongst them is the Very Rev. Dawson, Dean of St Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin and the book has a printed dedication to "Very Rev. R. H. Dawson", Dean of St Patrick's, immediately following the title page. Lindsay acknowledges that he relied very heavily on the cabinet of Rev. Dawson during the compilation of the book. Together with the other individuals he is named and acknowledged in the Preface pages ii, iii & iv, the Supplement pages 65-70. Appendix 7 pages 133 – 137, and in the Advertisement pages 138 & 139. The following is a listing of those Distinguished collectors that are mentioned in the pages of the book.
Once Lindsay received copies from the printer, he set about sending them (with compliments and best regards) to each of those he acknowledged. He added a handwritten personal dedication on the flyleaf of each copy and by including the recipient's name and a date, Lindsay gave each book a provenance and age. It's like saying that the book was born on 14 February 1839, that it was baptised on whatever day Lindsay dated the dedication, and its first owner was the named distinguished collector who received it.
All of this suggests a research project along the lines of 'Where are the copies now' - a project to find out what became of those distinguished books. There are 31 named individuals acknowledged in the book – so, 31 distinguished copies. Other copies have been seen which also have a dedication, are dated, and have a named recipient (as illustrated), but that recipient is not one of those Distinguished collectors listed in the book. Just five of the distinguished copies have been found so far. Two are in public collections and are available to the public for viewing, and three are in private collections.
A second aspect to the research is concerned with the individuals themselves. These were the numismatic and antiquarian collectors who collected Irish coins and in the main they were local to Ireland in the early to mid-1800s (although some were based in England). A simple study of them would add further to our understanding of the state of numismatics in Ireland at that period. Some of them have already been written about (Dawson, Lindsay, Sainthill) but over the past fifty years there would be new information available and technology would make access easier.
So, if you have any knowledge of the whereabouts of any of the distinguished copies (in your own library, a fellow collector's, a university collection, or in a museum) or have any knowledge about the recipients themselves then you might like to make contact. One member is completing an article on Rev. John A. Malet which will be printed in one of our publications. And, since some of the recipients are British based perhaps some of your UK readers might be able to share something too.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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