British Tokens from the Collection of Dr Ronald Ward

British Tokens from the Collection of Dr Ronald Ward

Ronald A Ward

I was born in New York City in 1929 and moved to Larchmont and Mamaroneck, NY, when I attended elementary and high schools. At the time, portions of these suburbs were quite wooded and I became interested in natural history. Consequently I attended scout camp and became an assistant in the nature lodge where I developed an interest in entomology. Ultimately I was awarded an Insect Study badge - the only one ever awarded in that region.

In 1946 I entered Cornell University on a New York State Scholarship and received a BSc in Entomology in 1950. Subsequently I attended the University of Chicago and was awarded a PhD in Zoology (1955), with a dissertation on host-parasite relations of avian parasites. Following graduation I was a biology instructor at Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington (1955-8) and continued further host-parasite studies on pocket gophers and their insect parasites. During the summer of 1958 I was recruited by the head of the Entomology Department at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Washington DC, for a position as a medical entomologist. I remained at Walter Reed for the next 36 years conducting research on malaria, African Trypanosomiasis and mosquito taxonomy in Thailand, Zaire, Afghanistan and Tanzania. During the last few years I was in charge of the Walter Reed Biosystematics Unit at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington. After retirement I was editor of the Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association (1984-92).

My interest in numismatics began at the age of 12 when I started to collect cents and nickels from pocket change and placing them in the blue Whitman folders. These were put aside when I entered college. In 1958 I renewed my interest, starting with US large cents which were acquired from a local coin shop, Bonanza Coins, in Silver Spring, Maryland, where I lived with my wife and children. They had a large number of foreign coins and I started collections of British coppers, British Colonial and Asian coins. I sold them my US large cents and continued seeking material from local coin shows. About 1960 I contacted the Colony Coin Company in Massachusetts and started receiving mimeographed British lists from the late Neil Todd (1936-2014), from whom I purchased and exchanged thousands of British tokens over the following 50 years. From Neil I developed an interest in unofficial farthings which are a major portion of the collection now being sold.

In 1966, I received a US Secretary of the Army Fellowship for a year's study at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, where I conducted research and developed a guinea pig model for studying African Trypanosomiasis. On Saturdays and school holidays I visited Seaby, Baldwin and Spink as time permitted. Seaby's copper department had more of the material that was of particular interest. Robert Sharman was very helpful in showing me British tokens at that period and over subsequent years when I visited London. My usual method of collecting was to secure as much material as possible within my budget and hold the coins for sale at an opportune time after which I started different collections. Stack's handled my Asian collections, US Hard Times and Merchant tokens, Washingtonia, miscellaneous US medals and British 18th and early 19th century tokens. The remaining British material is with DNW for dispersal in this and a future auction, with the exception of a large number of pre-decimal British transportation tokens currently under study. Recent areas of interest have been obsolete stocks and bonds bearing images of Lincoln and Washington, Republic of Texas currency, Virginia Civil War paper money and US fiscal paper of the Colonial and early Republic era – much of which is not catalogued.

My wife and I and two Scottish terriers have lived in suburban Washington for over 50 years.