by Hadrien Rambach
Sir John Evans was a paper-manufacturer of Nash Mills (Hertfordshire) who was a passionate numismatist. A very active member of the Numismatic Society of London (later Royal Numismatic Society) from 1849 onwards, he was its President from 1874 until his death. He was also President of the Society of Antiquaries, and a Trustee of the British Museum. He possessed numerous collections, reflecting his interests as archaeologist: prehistoric items, medieval jewels, and coins – Roman, ancient British, Anglo-Saxon and English. He published more than a hundred articles – notably on Celtic coins – and three books on The Coins of the Ancient Britons (1864 and Supplement in 1890), The Ancient Stone Implements of Great Britain (1872) and The Ancient Bronze Implements of Great Britain (1881).
His son Arthur J. Evans (1851-1941) inherited his coin collection, keeping some but selling a number of Roman aurei in the 363-lot auction of the “collection J. E.” in Paris in May 1909 that realized 113,301 francs. Most of the Anglo-Saxon and English hammered coins were bought en-bloc by Spink and J. P. Morgan (and later by the British Museum and Richard Cyril Lockett). Sir John’s interest in medieval jewellery was shared by his daughter Dame Joan Evans (1893-1977), who was an important art-historian but who remains in the shadow of her half-brother, 42 years her elder.
- Arthur MacGregor (ed.), Sir John Evans: antiquity, commerce and natural science in the age of Darwin, Oxford 2008; Leonard Forrer, “Numismatic reminiscences of the last sixty years”, in British Numismatic Journal, vol. 73 (2003), pp. 191-196: p. 193; Harrington Manville, Biographical dictionary of British and Irish numismatics, London 2009, pp. 90-91; John Spring, Ancient Coins Auction Catalogues 1880-1980, London 2009, pp. 228-229.
- Hadrien Rambach, “Provenance glossary”, in Numismatica Ars Classica, Auction 91: the George W. La Borde collection of Roman aurei – part I, Zurich, 23 May 2016, pp. -[79.
- Hadrien Rambach, “Provenance glossary”, in Numismatica Ars Classica, Auction 99: the George W. La Borde collection of Roman aurei – part II, Zurich, 29 May 2017, pp. 47-63.
- Hadrien Rambach, “Provenance glossary”, in Numismatica Ars Classica, Auction 105: the George W. La Borde collection of Roman aurei – part III, Zurich, 9 May 2018, pp. 82-105.
This article was first published in a catalogue of auction house Numismatica Ars Classica.