“The decision was made in friendly, mutual agreement”, says Neil Paisley, managing director of Baldwin’s. “We are planning to hold a Baldwin’s auction once again in fall. The contract with St. James’s was expiring and we decided not to renew it.” Stephen Fenton confirms: “Everything was very amicable. It’s quite simple: Baldwin’s of St. James’s will once again become Baldwin’s and St. James’s. Both auction houses will run their own auctions.”
The Parties Concerned
The joint auction sales had been taking place since 2017. Stephen Fenton, founder and owner of Knightsbridge Coins and St. James’s Auctions, the department responsible for their auctions, announced at the time that they created a joint venture together with Baldwin’s to hold auctions, and that he was to be the head of this company.
Knightsbridge Coins is a renowned coin shop that was founded by Stephen Fenton in the 1970s. In 2004, the auction department St. James’s Auctions was created.
Collectors all over the world are familiar with Baldwin’s as one of the most known traditional auction houses for numismatics. It was founded in 1872 by Albert Henry Baldwin. Since 2013, Baldwin’s has been part of the Stanley Gibbons Group, a public limited company that combines publishing and auction houses for philately and numismatics under one listed umbrella.
A Statement of the Stanley Gibbons Group
The decision that Baldwin’s and St. James’s will go their separate ways again was revealed by the Stanley Gibbons Group in one of their regularly issued information sheets for stakeholders. They will “bring coin auctions back in house after a four-year hiatus”, as the Antiques Trade Gazette reports. The article describes the decision as a “major milestone”.
One may well assume that the decision has something to do with the current situation, which is characterised by Covid restrictions. While retail stores (have to) remain close and acquisition becomes more difficult due to numerous travel bans, online trade is booming. Electronic auctions achieve the best results and gains, which Baldwin’s can thus take full advantage of again.
The measure is also necessary because – as the Antiques Trade Gazette reports – the Stanley Gibbons Group’s “insurance claim for business interruption due to the pandemic has been denied”.
The Stanley Gibbons Group does not want to accept that. According to Graham Shircore, CEO of the Stanley Gibbons Group, “the firm is taking legal advice and will try to appeal”.
The Antiques Trade Gazette states that Shircore is optimistic about the future: “We are hopeful that the relaxation of restrictions, combined with greater participation in the hobbies we serve and our hard work, bodes well for our prospects.”
One thing must already be seen as a very positive aspect outcome: the fact that both coin shops – Baldwin’s and St. James’s – made the decision in an amicable atmosphere and on the best of terms.
And let’s be honest: the tongue twister “Baldwin’s of St. James’s” was unpronounceable for non-Brits anyway and often caused confusion. That will be different once Baldwin’s and St. James’s go back to holding their own auction sales.
This is the Baldwin’s website.
Here you can find out more about Knightsbridge Coins.
This is the website of Baldwin’s of St. James’s.
And this is the website of the Stanley Gibbons Group.
By the way, we reported that Edward Baldwin retired in 2019 as the last member of the family that still worked at Baldwin’s.