Edward Baldwin, fourth generation and the last of the Baldwin clan to work for AH Baldwin & Sons Ltd has retired from the firm. Edward’s full name has the initials A H (for Albert Henry) in front of E because, as his parents told him “it would look good on the letterhead”. In these days of heightened travel security he has to get used to answering to the name Albert, that of his great grandfather and father, as printed in his passport.
Joining the Firm
Edward joined the firm in September 1970 after completing his MA degree at Edinburgh University.
Involved in management from the start, he steered the company into a new era, starting with the move to the iconic Baldwin address in Adelphi Terrace, still used in the Company logo to this day. He was supported by his mother, Anne, his father having died in 1967 and cousin Peter. He specialised in “foreign” coins, an area not previously well covered by the firm. His main areas of expertise were European coins and medals, especially Germany, France, the Netherlands and Russia, from medieval to modern times, a broad field that chimed well with the then exciting new access to the European Single Market. He also focused on China, Japan, Korea, the Indies and the whole British colonial series. The ease of European mainland trade was to boost the profitability of the business beyond all expectations, as did expansion into Asian markets.
Baldwin’s Enters the Auction Market
In 1994 Edward founded Baldwin’s Auctions Ltd, at that time a separate entity from the retail business. Baldwin’s historically had never been auctioneers, preferring to use the services of the specialists such as Glendining and Sotheby. The older generation would not have approved. Edward saw that the future of the business lay here, at a time when retail was declining, before the boost of internet sales arrived. The auction company was to use the latest computer technology for catalogue preparation and accounting from the start. Over the next twenty-two years they held more than 150 sales in London and a similar number overseas, in Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai and New York. The overseas sales were joint ventures with local and other firms, a format that Edward was able to make work well. This auction heritage continues as an element of Baldwin’s of St James’s.
In 2007 Baldwin’s merged with Noble Investments plc. Edward became Chairman of Baldwin’s and reduced his working days to allow him the devote more time to his “other world” in St. Helena, a small British island in the South Atlantic, where he is deeply involved in the local Museum and heritage and conservation matters. He remained as Chairman until 2015, when Baldwin’s and Noble were bought by Stanley Gibbons plc. He was then retained as a consultant until the end of October this year.
“It is a strange feeling no longer being part of Baldwin’s after 49 years on the payroll, and probably ten years before that “playing” with coins in the office on a Saturday morning” says Edward. “Mind you the numismatic world has changed beyond all recognition since my early days. However, I find I can now relax more than was ever possible before. I will not drop out of the coin world completely just yet. It has been my life and an important social base too.”
As a long planned retirement project, Edward is working on a definitive history of the firm, which he hopes to complete in good time for it to be published to mark the firm’s 150th Anniversary in 2022.
Edward was awarded the MBE for his services to St Helena in this year’s New Year’s Honours.
Edward can be contacted via e-mail.
For more information visit Baldwin’s official website.
Find contact details and a short overview of the company’s history in this article.