Simon Bendall (1937-2019)

Simon Bendall (1937-2019).
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Virtually every collector of Byzantine coins knows at least one book in the preparation of which Simon Bendall played a decisive role. David R. Sear, whose catalogues have become a constant companion of many collectors, wrote about him in the preface of the second edition of “Byzantine Coins and their Values” published in 1987: “I have been fortunate indeed in securing the collaboration of my old friend and distinguished Byzantinist, Simon Bendall, whose published works, especially in the field of Palaeologan coinage, are well known. Simon took on the unenviable task of completely rewriting the post-1204 section of the catalogue, an undertaking for which he is uniquely qualified. With his access to unpublished material and deep understanding of the special problems associated with this final phase of the Byzantine coinage, he has transformed what was, undoubtedly, the weakest part of the catalogue into the most comprehensive listing of Palaeologan and pre-Palaeologan material ever to appear in print.”

And if we didn’t know anything about Simon Bendall but this little quote taken from the preface, it would be enough to tell us everything about him. Simon was a person willing to stand in the second row if it served the cause. He was someone who was able to describe the most complex interrelationships of the noble science in a way that was also comprehensible to a collector. And he devoted the same attention to a simple price catalogue as to any scientific project. He thus belonged to the generation of collecting dealers for whom it was a matter of course to be part of the scholarly world.

Simon Bendall (*1937) caught the “collectors’ virus” in 1953. He found a Roman coin – a fact that made him become a hobby archaeologist. For more than half a century, from 1959 until his retirement in 2010, he worked in the field of coin trading. Among his employers were Spink and Baldwin, NFA and Sotheby.

Simon Bendall also published more than 200 articles in the course of his life, mainly dealing with antique coins (preferably Byzantine coins, of course), military history and jewellery. And, of course, numerous standard reference works can be traced back to him. The most impressive one is probably the monograph “An introduction to the coinage of the Empire of Trebizond” from 2015. For more than a century, no summarizing work had been published on this subject.

We mourn Simon Bendall. He was a man who connected all the worlds of numismatics. Our sympathy goes to his family, who will bury him on 6 August 2019.


Simon Bendall has an entry in our who’s who, where you can read more about his life’s work.