Past Auction

The Oliver Talcott Banks Collection of Ancient Greek Coins

Wed, Jan 19, 2022 at 10am EST |
New York
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Sale Total Surpasses Expectations Amid Competitive Bidding

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  • Successful Auction of The Oliver Talcott Banks Collection of Ancient Greek Coins on January 19, 2022
  • Presented as a Featured Section Comprising Lots 1-64 in the January 19 Sale
  • Sale Total Surpasses Expectations Amid Competitive Bidding
Ancient Greek Coin
The Oliver Talcott Banks Collection

NEW YORK, NY -- Doyle held the landmark sale of The Oliver Talcott Banks Collection of Ancient Greek Coins on January 19, 2022. The Collection was presented as a featured section of the auction of Coins, Stamps, Bank Notes & Sports Collectibles from various collections and estates.

With competitive bidding, the auction totaled a successful $414,319, surpassing the pre-sale estimate of $254,875-377,600, with an exceptional 95% sold by lot and 99% sold by value. All 64 lots in The Oliver Talcott Banks Collection were sold.

Oliver Banks grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His love of art surfaced early; as a boy he drew Oliver Talcott Banksavidly, “almost as soon as he could hold a pen,” his father once remarked. When he was 9 years old, a school field trip to an exhibition of Old Master drawings at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts suddenly opened up a new world. Enthralled by what he had seen, he began to visit the art museums of Boston and Cambridge on weekends, and over the next few years, immersed himself in what he saw.

One particularly thrilling discovery was the Boston Museum’s magnificent collection of ancient Greek coins. As he would later recall, “These were nothing like the machine-made coins we use today. They were works of art—miniature reliefs—made by hand, by artists.”

Another revelation was that it was actually possible to buy these marvelous objects from local antiquities dealers. Once he learned this, most of his allowance went toward Greek coins.  After several years he had assembled as good a collection of them as he could afford. He came to a point that, to his great frustration, the examples he wanted to buy were too far beyond his ability even to save up for.  And so, with a pang, he sold the collection and moved on to other things. Over the following thirty years, he completed a Ph.D. in art history; taught at several universities; and embarked on a career as a private art dealer in New York City. He also wrote two art-historical mystery novels, The Rembrandt Panel and The Caravaggio Obsession. 

In June 1990, however, an extraordinary event changed the course of his life. In that month, the eyes of the New York art world were riveted on what was called “The Sale of the Century”: the auction of the Nelson Bunker Hunt Collection of Greek and Roman Coins. This was a four-day event offering thousands of pieces, many of remarkable beauty and condition.  At the exhibition, it suddenly struck Oliver that now he could afford to buy coins of this quality. Galvanized by this realization, he purchased four lots from the Hunt sale. The following week he began to make the rounds of New York’s numismatic dealers, in search of the coins that he had longed to buy years before. Throughout 1990 and into the spring of 1991, he assembled a new collection of these beloved treasures. It is this collection that Doyle will be offering on January 19.

Oliver Banks died late in the spring in 1991. Throughout this last year he enthusiastically embraced the things he loved, including his renewed fascination for ancient Greek coins. He enjoyed conversations with his new friends in the numismatic world, and he loved forming this collection. And so, in this way, he lived his last year jubilantly.

Coins, Stamps, Bank Notes & Sports Collectibles

The January 19 sale also offered a wide selection of coins, stamps, bank notes and sports collectibles from other collections and estates. Read More

A Walkabout with the Specialist

Specialist Norman Scrivener discussed a selection of auction highlights on January 14 livestreamed on Instagram @doylenewyork
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Consignments are currently being accepted for future sales. We invite you to contact us for a complimentary auction evaluation. Our specialists are always available to discuss the sale of a single item or an entire collection.

For information, please contact Norman Scrivener, 212-427-4141, ext 273, [email protected]

Consignments are currently being accepted

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Norman R. Scrivener
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  • Property from a Connecticut Estate
  • Property from the Estate of Oliver T. Banks
  • Property of a San Francisco Lady
  • The Insley Sports Memorabilia Collection

A Selection of Auction Highlights

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