Stack’s Bowers Galleries has been selected to sell Sydney F. Martin’s many remarkable numismatic collections at public auction over a several-year span, beginning in 2022. Stack’s Bowers Galleries has sold most of the finest collections of pre-Federal coins presented at auction over the last 50 years.
“Our world-class expertise in this specialized area was a natural pairing with Mr. Martin’s world-class collection,” said Brian Kendrella, Stack’s Bowers Galleries president. “After spending years of his life and millions of dollars building one of the finest numismatic cabinets of all time, Syd left very particular instructions on how the cabinet should be dispersed. We’re grateful that we are able to provide all the aspects he sought from a numismatic auction firm.”
The Martin Collection could be compared to the Norweb Collection (sold by Bowers and Merena in 1987-88) in its expansiveness and its inclusion of headline rarities, but it’s both bigger and deeper than Norweb.
It could be compared to Garrett (1979-81) or Ford (2003-13), but either comparison underestimates the breadth of series that Martin explored.
The collection of Connecticut coppers is both the most complete and most important ever assembled. The collections of other early copper series, notably the New Jerseys, are similarly important. The series that Syd Martin collected and researched vigorously enough to produce new standard references — the St. Patricks, the coinage of William Wood, and the French colonial series — are unlike any collections that have ever been formed or could conceivably be formed again. Massachusetts silver, colonial type coins, Fugio coppers, coins and medals of George Washington, Betts medals, and more, are all present in world-class quality.
The cataloging of the Martin Collection will focus on Martin’s unique approach and important legacy, with early American expert John Kraljevich leading an experienced Stack’s Bowers Galleries team. Kraljevich and Martin’s friendship dates back decades, to small-town shows in their native Pennsylvania, and continued as both grew in experience and expertise.
“It’s an honor to have a chance to contextualize Syd’s amazing efforts and bring them — and his coins — not only to a new generation of collectors but also to pages that will memorialize his contributions for numismatists not yet born,” Kraljevich said. “The man was the total numismatist: scholar, writer, collector, and companionable colleague. I’m so thankful he did so much work to improve the community of numismatic scholars and collectors, and we all owe him a debt. These catalogs are one way we can say thanks.”
The first selection of items from the Sydney F. Martin Collection will be offered at the August 2022 Global Showcase Auction, August 22-27, with lot viewing available in Rosemont, Illinois, concurrent with the ANA World’s Fair of Money.