The Collection of Anglo-Saxon and Earlier Hammered Coins formed by the late Captain 'Peter' Arnot
Captain 'Peter’ Arnot (1917 - 1994)
Axel John Arnot was a highly respected and knowledgeable numismatist specialising in coins of the Anglo Saxon era, and over a period of about twenty five years built up one of the finest collections of Anglo Saxon coins held in private hands. Great care was taken in putting this collection together with a number of examples being changed for ones of better quality, as and when they became available. This selection process also extended to types of moneyer and towns of origin.
Born in London in 1917, Axel Arnot excelled at school before joining The Commonwealth Bank of Australia in 1938; however his life took a sudden and more dramatic change following the outbreak of war. He joined the R.A.F. as a pilot officer early in 1940 and although too inexperienced to take part in the Battle of Britain, he quickly adapted to flying and was soon able to transfer his skills to others as a pilot instructor in Rhodesia. At that time an instructors life expectancy was not a long one but he used his abilities to escape from several close shaves and survive unscathed. It was also at about this time he adopted the nickname Peter, a name by which many people knew him, since he believed Axel had a too Germanic connotation. By 1944 the war had moved on and he found himself in Cairo with the option of joining a new outfit called B.O.A.C. or Ferry Command. It was the thought of flying a variety of aircraft that immediately attracted him to the latter and he eagerly set off for a remote airstrip to await his first arrival. It never came and after a week of idleness he gave up and returned to Cairo and joined B.O.A.C. with whom he served until 1947, when he became one of the original pilots of B.E.A. He flew with them until1967 when he was forced to stop flying following a mild heart attack. Having been forced to leave early he rejoined B.O.A.C., rather ironically in their training division, where he continued until his retirement in 1981.
Eventual retirement was of no great hardship to him since he always had a string of outside interests to keep himself busy. He was an excellent bridge player and also an umpire at Wimbledon for several years, culminating in control of a Men's Semi-Final on the Centre Court.
More latterly he worked with the National Trust, the Red Cross and maintained his links with British Airways by becoming a Pensioner Contact right up until his sudden death on 27th November 1994.
Although he had collected stamps since childhood, his first love was Anglo-Saxon coins and he became a noted expert in this somewhat narrow and specialised field. The collection is therefore a tribute to someone who truly believed in collecting and taking an interest in items of rare quality, rather than just as a pure financial investment.
Axel Arnot was a member of The British Numismatic Society and left a wife, two sons and six grand-children.