ON December 9, Morton and Eden are to offer what is possibly the most important collection of Renaissance medals to come onto the market in decades.
Formed by New York dealer and collector Lawrence (Larry) Stack over the past decade, the 350-piece offering consists mainly of the very finest examples from Italy, France, the Low Countries and Germany. They are owned by a partnership which is now to be dissolved.
The decision to sell the collection, with many elements bought at high profile sales for high prices, was not taken lightly.
However, they are to be offered without reserve to encourage new buyers into the field. The figure of £2m has been suggested as a guide to the total value of the colllection.
Whatever the result, in terms of content this promises to be on a par with great London sales of the pre-War era including the Oppenheimer sale at Christie's in 1936 and the Rosenheim dispersal at Sotheby's in 1923.
Among the many highlights is the 1554 gold portrait medal of Mary Tudor by Jacopo da Trezzo, sculpted in the year of her marriage to Philip II of Spain.
This medal, one of only two known in gold, is no stranger to the saleroom. It was sold by Morton and Eden in 2005 for £210,000. Before that it appeared at Christie's in December 2000 from a Rothschild collection when it made £115,000.
This time out it bears an estimate of £200,000-300,000.
Mr Stack, who intends to continue his Renaissance interests, recently left his family's firm. He sold 826 lots of early English coins at Sotheby's in 1999 for £585,000.
• Dix Noonan Webb have launched their first online-only 'Desktop' military medal auction, which will run until November 16.
Comprising 205 lots of predominantly Great War medals from the late Bruce Cazel Collection, the system allows visitors to browse the sale, submit questions to DNW experts and even book a viewing at their London office.
DNW have already scheduled their next online-only Desktop sale of the late Eric Smith Collection of medals to the British Navy and Army for November 13-23.