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Why? They were proud to offer a fine series of the silver pennies struck mainly by the Viking invaders (and traders) of Dublin in the closing centuries of the first millennium. Indeed, it was perhaps the finest offering of such rarefied material since the dispersal of the Lockett collection, also by Glendinings, in 1957. Yes, these scruffy little coins are not to everybody’s taste but they are eagerly sought after by the Emerald Islanders, and rightly so because they are just about the only documents of those turbulent times.

The MacDuinnsleibhe collection consisted of 42 lots. What is remarkable about it is that it was formed in the 1990s. Further, every lot was illustrated rather better than is often the case in recent sales catalogues.

Some high prices were anticipated – but Nemesis struck. It appears that there was some difficulty about exporting them from Ireland. I am not privy to the whole story but the result was that, thanks to paperwork and added bureauracy, they were withdrawn that seems to be about the crux of it. However, all’s well that ends well as this interesting group is now to be offered by Bonhams as an add-on to their sale scheduled for March 24 in their Knights-bridge saleroom.

As if that was not enough, there was also some pretty frantic telephoning about the handsome George III (1814) North American Indian chief’s medal. These pieces were issued by the King of England and his brother monarch of France to honour and curry favour with Native Americans.

They are many and various. However, this one was listed in the catalogue as being found by a metal detector in the mud of the Detroit River in the 1990s and was fresh to market.  No reckoning had been taken of the Canadian cultural authorities querying the medal’s export. Again all’s well that ends well. The medal remained in the sale. An estimate of £3500-4000 was suggested. It turns out that this was on the bold side as it just made £3200.

It must have been a relief that all these alarums were satisfactorily resolved. The sale total of £53,775 was considered very satisfactory given that in its truncated form this was a really rather ordinary offering.

Not entirely ordinary however.

Of more than narrowly numismatic interest was the 1752 engraved silver badge of the Isle of Man society of the Knights of Laxey. It seems that this was a group devoted mainly to conviviality. Resplendent with the triskelis of the three legs of that happy island, it was estimated at only £300-400; it made £800.

Another contribution to the success of this Irish-oriented sale was the demand for the so-called ‘ploughman’ pound notes issued during the troubled times of th ’30s. It has to be said that they were mostly in rather inferior condition but they engender avarice among collectors. Despite their condition they made good money. An example described as having “some discolouration and wear along the top edge” (I can add that the other edges were also a little tattered) was prudently estimated at £140-160 and realised £200. This was roughly the relationship between the estimates and the actualité.