Mr Lessen was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1934. His family moved to Hazleton, Pennsylvania and thence to Albany, New York, where relatives still live. Graduating from the Moore School of Electrical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, he spent his career in the aerospace/defence industry, working in various technical locations in Europe and North America. A collector from an early age, of coins, stamps, arms and armour, his move to Scarborough in 1962 precipitated the interest to collect British coins on a serious basis. By the time he had joined the British Numismatic Society in October 1964, and subsequently the Royal Numismatic Society and the American Numismatic Society, he was well-known to the principal London dealers of the day – Baldwin (Douglas and Peter Mitchell, and later Michael Sharp), Seaby (Frank Purvey and Alan Rayner), and in particular, Spink, where he enjoyed firm friendships with the late Douglas Liddell, then Patrick Finn, as well as with Douglas Saville and Howard Linecar in literature; also Corbitt & Hunter in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and other sources in the North-East. In the US there developed close connections with CNG (David Guest and Victor England), David Hess, Chris Blom, Joel Malter and Bill Castenholz, to name a few dealers in classical and medieval coins, as well as friends. As Peter Preston-Morley, Specialist and Associate Director, DNW, explains: “This second sale of coins from the Lessen collection spans the half-millennium between Eadgar’s coinage reform in 972/3, when mint names started to accompany those of moneyers on coins, and the death of Richard III in the Battle of Bosworth on 22 August 1485. Coins from over 50 different mint-towns from the period 973 to 1278 are represented in this catalogue, of which worthy of particular mention are the only penny of Lichfield available to commerce, excessively rare coins of Hythe and Pevensey and two issues from Gothabyrig, the West Country establishment whose exact location remains the subject of debate. Students of the later medieval period will be aware of Mr Lessen’s particular interest in the coinages of Henry IV and V, and the period from 1399 to 1422 is very liberally represented in this catalogue”.
The collection comprises 526 lots and among the highlights is an extremely fine and rare penny dating from the reign of Edward the Martyr (975-978) which is estimated at £4,000-£5,000, and an example of a very fine and rare groat, dating from the reign of Edward I (1272-1307) and a new denomination at the time, is also estimated at £4,000-£5,000.
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NEXT SALE OF COINS, TOKENS AND HISTORICAL MEDALS –
TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY & THURSDAY 17-19 SEPTEMBER 2019
Public viewing is held two days before the sale between 10am – 5pm
and free online bidding is available is www.dnw.co.uk.
For more information, please call 020 7016 1700
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