An Unexpected Connection

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Chris B, Nov 24, 2020.

  1. Chris B

    Chris B Supporter! Supporter

    I recently made an impulse purchase. I have a bad habit of buying anything shiny that I like. Medieval coins have intrigued me for a while but I haven’t purchased many because I don’t have much experience attributing them. It helps to have the correct literature but I don’t. In the past, any medieval coins I purchased were already attributed by the seller. This is a collecting area out of my comfort zone.

    I already posted these on the Medieval Monday thread but felt the need to expand on that a little bit.

    France 11.jpg
    France 12.jpg

    Heritage lot description:

    10-Piece Lot of Uncertified Assorted Deniers ND (11th-13th Century) VF, 18.1-19.9mm. Average weight 9.64gm. Lot includes (7) Besançon Deniers, (2) Philip Deniers, (1) Louis IX Denier.

    So, I purchased the lot of 10 French Medieval coins in a recent Heritage sale. Of course, they were not attributed except to mention the ruler, which, at least, is a good start. On another coin website I posted a message asking for suggestions on the best literature for French medieval coins. Several members responded and the consensus was that the book I needed was:

    Title: Les Monnaies Francaises Royales de Hugues Capet a Louis XVI (987-1793): Tome I (Hugues Capet - Louis XII)

    Author: Jean Duplessy


    I found an inexpensive copy off of Abe Books. Here is where the fun (to me) begins. The seller’s description of the book included this:

    “Mendel Peterson's copy with his personalized bookplate to the front pastedown. Peterson was the former curator of the Smithsonian Institution and is considered to be the father of underwater archaeology.”

    The book came in the mail today:

    I love stuff like this.

    Mendel L. Peterson (March 8, 1918 – July 30, 2003) was an American pioneer in the field of underwater archeology and former curator at the Smithsonian Institution, becoming known as "the father of underwater archeology". His specialties included underwater exploration and numismatics. Peterson Island in Antarctica is named after him.

    I’m not sure why Mr. Peterson had a copy of this. The only numismatic reference I can find is a pamphlet published by him in 1962 titled “The Emergency Currency of Leyte”.
    The Emergency Currency of Leyte.jpg

    However, judging by his bookplate, it looks like maybe he was a collector. He may have received this book due to his association with the Smithsonian or maybe he did have an interest in Medieval French coins. It doesn’t matter to me, I’m just glad to have this book that once sat on the bookshelf of this great man. Mr. Peterson did publish a number of other books but they were mostly related to underwater exploration.

    The Funnel of Gold.jpg

    This is one of the great things about our hobby. I made a simple purchase and it turned into an unexpected learning experience that sent me down a path introducing me to a man that I wasn’t familiar with but curated the collection of my favorite place to visit. I have ordered both of the other books pictured from Amazon. Let’s see how much further down this rabbit hole I travel.

    Feel free to share any connections you have made in the past that were surprising.

    If you are interested I posted my 2020 top 10. No ancients this year but there are a few medieval coins.
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