Kolbe & Fanning

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Sydney F. Martin Library Sale Results

Lot 64.

On Saturday, 30th April 2022, Kolbe & Fanning Numismatic Booksellers sold at auction the outstanding numismatic library formed by ANS President Syd Martin in what proved to be an exciting and memorable event. Prices across the board were generally very strong, and a number of record prices were realized for individual items. Some particularly notable results include the following (prices here quoted do not include the 20% premium):

  • Lot 64: Walter Breen’s personal, annotated copy of his 1988 Complete Encyclopedia, estimated at $5,000, opened to bidders watching the live online sale for an amazing $30,000, before a few additional bids drove the price up to $37,500 hammer.
  • Lot 270: Breen’s extraordinarily annotated copy of Miller & Ryder on the state copper coinages, described as one of the true gems of the Syd Martin Library, sold for $27,500.
Lot 138.
  • Lot 138: continuing the interest in Breen-annotated volumes, the copy of Crosby’s Early Coins of America annotated by him had three bidders active above the $10,000 mark before closing at $14,000.
Lot 264.
  • Lot 264: an exquisitely bound complete set of Mehl’s Numismatic Monthly was the subject of a fierce bidding war between two determined collectors before closing at $14,000.
  • Lot 131: another beautifully bound set, this time of The Colonial Newsletter, also received heavy bidding and brought $10,000.
Lot 168.
  • Lot 168: Charles Bushnell’s copy of George Ewing’s 1724 Defence of the Conduct of the People of Ireland, one of the most important and rarest of the attacks on the William Wood coinage, sold for $10,000.

More than ten lots closed at $10,000 or higher, with enormous interest shown in the Breen material, rare publications on colonial coins, exceptional bindings, and archival materials. Many items estimated in the hundreds brought prices in the thousands, and the sell rate was well over 90%. It was a truly memorable occasion, and a testimony to the care with which Syd Martin had developed his library over the years. He cared deeply for his books, and it was gratifying to see that this respect was shared by many others.


All prices realized can be viewed in the online catalog.

The next sale is tentatively scheduled for August. For further information about the auction house, visit the Kolbe & Fanning website.