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DNW 2008 Coinex Auction

Irish Coins of Hillel Kaslove

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Hillel Kaslove is a very knowledgeable numismatist in the realm of modern world coinage. He was curator of Modern World Coins at the American Numismatic Societyfrom the late 1960's to the early 1970's. After leaving the ANS, Kaslove moved up to Canada and became curator of the Currency Museum at the Bank of Canadain Ottawa.

In the late 1980's when I began my tenure with Krause Publications, I was blessed in developing a good friendship with Bob Archer, who then worked at Stack's in New York. Bob had a wonderful knowledge of Heaton Mintcoins and other British Colonial issues. Whenever I had a question, Bob always made time to help me. He answered my questions and gave me an exceptional education on Heaton Mintproofs over the years.

I remember one time I came to Bob with a question and he recommended that I talk to Hillel Kaslove. It was something about a specific area of British Colonial coinage and Bob said that Hillel would have the answer and sure enough he did. That was the only time I spoke with Kaslove and though I would have liked to expand the working relationship, time never allowed this to happen.

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Yesterday, I was looking over the Dix Noonan Webb 2008 Coinex Auction set to cross the block this week and trying to organize my thoughts about the sale in order to bring them to you in some blog postings, when friend and fellow blogger, George Cuhajpointed out that some of Kaslove's Irish collection was presented in the sale.

What a treat! There are 36 lots of Irish coinsfrom Kaslove including a great run of Gunmoney, some very beautiful high grade pieces from George II and George IV, plus a very rare 1681 small letter Halfpennyof Charles II. Though rather smooth and graded about fine, the small letter 1681 Halfpenny is quite rare, possibly unique and the low estimate on this lot presents a prime opportunity for some lucky collector of Irish copper to snag this coin at a bargain price.

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Though the 2003 Spink catalog of Coins of Scotland, Ireland and the Islands offers prices in three grades for the 1681 small letter Halfpenny, I am not aware that any examples exist above the grade of fine. In fact, Coincraft's 1999 edition of the Standard Catalogue of the Coins of Scotland, Ireland, Channel Islands & Isle of Manonly values the 1681 small letter in fine at 150 pounds. In our Krause PublicationsStandard Catalog of World Coins 1601-1700 edition, we have listed the 1681 small letter Halfpenny as unique for several years, with no objection from numismatic quarters. Perhaps this is the only known example? Perhaps collectors have been too isolated to report additional examples?

This auction will provide me a value record to add to the SCWC and NumisMaster and I would hope that the coins surfacing at public auction might drive some meticulous numismatist to offer the SCWC further data on this ellusive date.