Auction of The Dr. Al Collection of Gold Coins on October 22, 2019
Featured In the Sale of Coins, Bank Notes & Postage Stamps
NEW YORK, NY -- Doyle was honored to auction The “Dr. Al” Collection of Gold Coins as a feature of the sale of Coins, Bank Notes & Postage Stamps on October 22, 2019. This remarkable and extensive collection was highlighted by stellar examples of the Liberty Head and St. Gaudens Double Eagle Series. The collection was assembled in the 1950s until 1970 at a time when gold was at or under $100 per ounce. Fortunately, "Dr. Al” chose well and carefully stored the coins. They have only recently emerged after many decades. As a result, the Collection represents a remarkably diverse offering of mainly high-grade coins completely fresh to the market.
When he started practicing medicine in 1931, Alfred Cossidente, M.D. (1903-2003) charged $2 for an office visit and $3 for a house call. Even then, he managed to put a few dollars aside to buy a pocket watch whose movement or workmanship fascinated him. It was the beginning of an important collection assembled by this avid horologist who lived to be 100 years old. Fellow collectors knew and respected him as a member of the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors (NAWCC) for 57 of those years, possessing the very early membership number of 342. In recognition of his leadership, devotion to horology, and development of the organization's charter, the NAWCC named him a Fellow in 1959, its highest honor at the time. Doyle was honored to auction his remarkable collection of pocket watches in 2004, and the following year, his collection of fine pens.
From his dignified, cultured manner, one would never know that Dr. AI came from a humble background. The son of a master cobbler and small grocery store owner who immigrated from Protenza, Italy, Dr. AI was born in New Haven, Connecticut in 1903 in a little house on Summer Street that shook every time a train went by on the tracks across the street. He was the one chosen among his four siblings to go to college, and they dutifully handed over their paychecks to help cover his tuition and expenses.
Surmounting the challenges of a first-generation American, he graduated with honors from Yale’s Sheffield Scientific School in 1927, immediately matriculating into medical school at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons. Throughout his life, he was grateful for his family’s generosity, which he never forgot.
Dr. Al led a very full life that included a 63-year marriage to his wife Virginia, known as “Babe," a registered nurse whose father was a New York Times sports editor. Babe served as his nurse throughout his distinguished 40-year medical practice, which he began as a general practitioner, soon switching to obstetrics/gynecology. Although he and Babe never had any children of their own, he delivered more than 3,000 babies. He served on the staff of three New York teaching hospitals where he instructed and mentored future physicians and nurses without remuneration.
At his surprise 100th birthday party, Dr. Al grumbled at all of the fuss, because he was still chipper, still interested in collecting, and now into new endeavors like serving as Yale Alumni Magazine’s Class of ’27 Scribe, something he undertook only a few years earlier. Even the President of Yale marked Dr. Al’s centenary by presenting him with a new Yale watch and an original poem penned in his honor. Dr. Al has lived on through the landmark sales of his collection of pocket watches and fine pens, and now his collection of gold coins. They serve as testimony to the scholarship, passion and discerning eye of a true collector.