Tokens from the Collection of the late Ernest Danson

Tokens from the Collection of the late Ernest Danson

Ernest William Danson

Ernest William Danson was born at Syston, near Leicester, in 1922. He recalls that his earliest awareness of coins, other than the circulating media of the day, was of items brought back by his Father from residence in Canada and s World War I service in the Middle East, which included two small bronzes of Arcadius dug up at Khan Yunus, in the present-day Caza Strip. However, it was not until his later teens that Ernest's main collecting interests switched from postage stamps to coins.

Apart from service in the R.A.F.V.R. as a meteorologist from 1944 to 1947, Ernest has always resided in the East Midland counties of Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. He soon found the products of the Saxon and Norman mints of Leicester, Nottingham and Derby, bearing the name of both mint and moneyer, particularly fascinating. The following 57 lots from his collection include purchases from wartime roneod Seaby lists of 1942 and 1943, to several coins formerly owned by Bernard Walter Hunt, the Erdington, Birmingham collector who sold his pieces to Spink in 1962. Although the acquisition of such specimens after the 1960s generally proved to be beyond the means of a teacher of physics with a family, the collecting and study of tokens, medallions and paranumismatica of 'his' counties, together with medals of persons connected in some way with them, have received much of his attention since then. In particular he was the first to painstakingly record the public house checks of the three counties, generously making his research available to others with a similar interest. When the late Harry Pegg and I were working on a new catalogue of the 17th century tokens of Nottinghamshire in the late 1970s Ernest kindly loaned us not only his county collection for study, but also his manuscript notes on the series.

In October 1949, one year after its foundation by Harry Pegg, Ernest joined the Numismatic Society of Nottinghamshire. As Grenville Chamberlain recalls in his history of the Society, Ernest's contribution to it over the years has been considerable; honorary secretary and treasurer from 1951-6, vice-president from 1958-60 and again from 1963-4, he was president from 1960-3, appointed in the wake of the Society's successful hosting of the BANS Congress in May 1960, when he was Congress secretary. In 1964 he founded the Derbyshire Numismatic Society and became its first president. For both clubs he was their representative at the British Association of Numismatic Societies, in the case of Nottinghamshire for over 40 years, and fittingly he is now an honorary member of both societies. His membership of the British Numismatic Society dates from 1957 and he has been a member of the Token Corresponding Society since its foundation in 1971.

Ernest has had the pleasure of personal contact with many fellow collectors and students, from the early 'Coin Days' instigated by the late Bert Seaby to BANS Congresses, BANS weekend courses and Token Congresses, at which he was a frequent attender, although his presence at such gatherings has now virtually ceased as his mobility decreases with advancing years. However, he continues to attend meetings of the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire societies and also of the Derbyshire Archaeological Society, archaeology being another of his interests.

Marriage to Iris in 1948 was followed by the birth of two sons and a daughter, who between them have produced eight grandchildren for him. Unhappily Ernest's elder son, David, died in a road accident and Iris passed away in 2000.

Ernest William Danson

Ernest Danson was born at Syston, near Leicester, on 30 April 1922. His earliest awareness of coins, other than the circulating media of the day, was of items brought back by his Father from residence in Canada and World War I service in the Middle East, which included two small bronzes of Arcadius dug up at Khãn Yunus, in the present-day Gaza Strip. However, it was not until his later teens that Ernest’s main collecting interests switched from postage stamps to coins.

Apart from service in the R.A.F.V.R. as a meteorologist from 1944 to 1947, Ernest always lived in the East Midlands. He soon found the products of the Saxon and Norman mints of Leicester, Nottingham and Derby, bearing the name of both mint and moneyer, particularly fascinating. In April 1943 he made his first purchases from the roneod Seaby lists of the day – his ‘Numismatic Accounts’ book proudly notes the acquisition of a Western District gold quarter-stater for £1 2s 6d, an Æthelred II BMC IIIa penny of Winchester for 7s 6d (DNW Auction 68, 12 December 2005, lot 170, £240) and a John penny of London, class Vc, for a mere 2s, among others. Among his most important acquisitions were several coins owned by Bernard Walter Hunt, the collector from Erdington, Birmingham, who sold his pieces in 1962. Ernest secured Hunt’s Edward the Martyr penny of Tamworth, ex Argyll, for £25, the most he had ever spent on a single coin up to that point (DNW Auction 68, lot 166, £4,000).

Although the acquisition of such specimens after the 1960s generally proved to be beyond the means of a teacher of physics with a family, the collecting and study of tokens, medallions and paranumismatica of ‘his’ counties, together with medals of persons connected in some way with them, received much of his attention in later years. In particular he was the first to painstakingly record the public house checks of the three counties, generously making his research available to others with a similar interest. That research, in the shape of his fully-illustrated card index system, is included in this sale (lot 642). When the late Harry Pegg and I were working on a new catalogue of the 17th century tokens of Nottinghamshire in the late 1970s Ernest kindly loaned us not only his county collection for study, but also his manuscript notes on the series.

In October 1949, one year after its foundation by Harry Pegg, Ernest joined the Numismatic Society of Nottinghamshire. As Grenville Chamberlain recalls in his history of the Society, Ernest’s contribution to it over the years was considerable; honorary secretary and treasurer from 1951-6, vice-president from 1958-60 and again from 1963-4, he was president from 1960-3, appointed in the wake of the Society’s successful hosting of the BANS Congress in May 1960, when he was Congress secretary. In 1964 he founded the Derbyshire Numismatic Society and became its first president. For both clubs he was their representative at the British Association of Numismatic Societies, in the case of Nottinghamshire for over 40 years, and fittingly he became an honorary member of both societies. His membership of the British Numismatic Society dated from 1957 and he was a founding member of the Token Corresponding Society in 1971.

Ernest had the pleasure of personal contact with many fellow collectors and students, from the early ‘Coin Days’ instigated by the late Bert Seaby to BANS Congresses, BANS weekend courses and Token Congresses, at which he was a frequent attender.

Marriage to Iris in 1948 was followed by the birth of two sons and a daughter. Unhappily Ernest’s elder son, David, died in a road accident and Iris passed away in 2000. Ernest himself died on 26 September 2008 but his name lives on in East Midlands numismatic and archaeological circles, particularly within the societies to which he devoted so much of his time and energy for so long.

Ernest sold many of his better coins in his lifetime, an important element being dispersed in December 2005, as noted above. Other coins and medals have been included in a number of DNW auctions since June 2009, most notably in March 2012. His Nottinghamshire 17th century series was purchased outright by Alan Judd, while his 17th century tokens of other East Midland counties were sold by DNW in October 2010. What follows in the next 18 lots is the last element of the collection to be dispersed - paranumismatica, principally of Derbyshire and Leicestershire