The Collection of 17th Century Tokens of Kent formed by the late Robert Hogarth

The Collection of 17th Century Tokens of Kent formed by the late Robert Hogarth

Robert Hogarth (1938 - 2003)

A charismatic, ebullient and almost Pickwickian figure, Robert Hogarth brought colour and cheer to all those in the numismatic world who knew him. Born in London on 27 May 1938, he followed national service in the RAF by joining Her Majesty's Diplomatic Service. His postings to the Sudan, the USA, South Korea, Israel, Botswana and Cameroon meant that he was well travelled and well read, and he could hold a deep and intelligent conversation on many subjects.

Robert enjoyed life, was of a jolly disposition and had a good sense of humour. He had a hearty chortle, especially when the victim of someone else's cutting wit. A case in point was when he came upon an enamelled badge depicting lnvicta and bearing the letters KM and MK in opposing corners. On enquiring the meaning of those letters, he was quickly told Kentish Man, Man of Kent, and what he was considered to be having not realised their meaning. This episode was particularly amusing because the more serious side of his nature had for many years been devoted to the study and collection of Kent-related numismatic items.

A posting back to London in 1968 coincided with him getting more seriously interested in numismatics. Setting up home, initially in Sittingbourne and later in Canterbury, and joining the Kent Numismatic Society, his attentions were soon directed towards Kentish hop tokens and other paranumismatica; the hop tokens were later disposed of in order to build up his series of the county's 17th century tokens. The other numismatic theme close to his heart was Africana and his substantial collection of this material is currently being catalogued.

What follows is the best collection of Kent 17th century tokens to have been publicly dispersed since the holdings of Luther Clements, Williamson's sub-editor for Kent, were auctioned in May 1937. Totalling 561 different varieties, a smidgen short of the 567 (recte 566) collected by Clements and attributed to Kent at that time, this assemblage was only begun in 1991; yet in the space of 12 short years until his untimely death of a heart attack on 4 November 2003, Robert Hogarth assiduously put together what is the second most important collection of the county in existence. No less than 228 pieces derive from the holding formed by Viney James 'Nicky' Newbury (c. 191 0-85), a local antiquary whose green-ticketed pieces, all regrettably without any provenances, were acquired en bloc post-mortem by Baldwin's. Other sources of note include Mrs Norweb, Col. Carthew, Philip Greenall, the barrister and philatelist Sir Geoffrey Edgar Duveen (1883-1975), William Gilbert and even Clements himself.

Apart from numismatics Robert had many other interests, especially photography and railways. He leaves his wife, Hyun-key, an anthropologist and author whom he met in Seoul in 1965, two children, Edward and Clare, and many friends in the worlds of numismatics, railways and the Diplomatic Service.