Dix Noonan Webb to sell the late Jeffrey Gardiner’s collection of British tokens

Art Daily
Published on
The collection that was amassed by the late Jeffery Gardiner has been sold by DNW in four parts over the past four to five years.
The collection that was amassed by the late Jeffery Gardiner has been sold by DNW in four parts over the past four to five years.

LONDON.- More than 720 local tokens and tickets issued in the 19th and 20th centuries from Co. Durham, Teesside and Northumberland will be offered by International coins, medals, banknotes and jewellery specialists Dix Noonan Webb in a live/online auction of British Tokens, Tickets and Passes on Thursday, August 27, 2020 at 10am on their website.

The collection, that was amassed by the late Jeffery Gardiner, has been sold by DNW in four parts over the past four to five years, however this section focuses on the North East of England. Comprising 36 lots including many scarce examples, estimates range from £600 to £30. A comprehensive group of tokens relating to Newcastle is expected to fetch £400-600, while a group devoted to Northumberland carries an estimate of £300-400, and one for Bishop Auckland is estimated at £120-150.

Jeffrey Gardiner was born in 1940 and he and his twin brother Clive were educated at Fencehouses school, near Houghton-le-Spring, co Durham. At the age of 15 Jeff left to become an apprentice electrician in a nearby coal mine, but mining was not his scene and, apprenticeship completed, he joined the Royal Signals as an electrician, a trade he was to follow all his life, both in the north-east and in France and Germany.

Jeff’s interest in numismatics began when he was a teenager. A collector throughout his working life, it was not until after retirement that the hobby became his passion. A gifted and enthusiastic speaker, Jeff lectured to local numismatic societies and was a keen participant in the annual Token Congress, to the extent that he attracted 59 delegates to Darlington’s Blackwell Grange Moat Hotel in 1984 for the third such gathering. In 2010 he joined forces with Mike Roberts to hold that year’s congress at Collingwood College in the city of Durham. With an encyclopaedic knowledge and a vast numismatic library covering everything from ancient Greece to modern banknotes, it was no surprise that Jeff was in demand. He became a valuer at Tennants in Leyburn, overseeing their specialist sales of coins and medals and maintaining a close watch on their auctions of antiquarian books, which yielded several titles for the Gardiner library over the years.

Of all his numismatic interests, it was local tokens and medals where his knowledge was profound. He made a particular study of Edward Herdman, the Bishop Auckland curio dealer and lay preacher brutally murdered on New Year’s Eve 1934. Herdman was a pioneer student of English communion tokens who put together a collection numbering about 17,000 pieces. His murder, and the subsequent conviction of John Bainbridge, a Durham Light infantryman home on leave who professed his innocence to the last but was convicted and hanged at Durham Jail on 9 May 1935, was the subject of a talk that Jeff gave on many occasions. Jeff’s own contributions to local numismatics included Checks, Tokens, Tickets and Passes of County Durham and Northumberland, privately published in 1996 and aimed at helping readers understand the range of paranumismatica in the two counties known to him at that time. Jeff died in 2015 after a short illness.

As Peter Preston-Morley, Specialist and Associate Director, Dix Noonan Webb, explains: “The Jeffrey Gardiner collection includes the best such group of local tokens and tickets issued in the 19th and 20th centuries from Co Durham, Teesside and Northumberland ever to have been offered at auction. There are over 720 different pieces in all, including large groups from Newcastle, Darlington, Gateshead, Sunderland, South Shields, Middlesbrough and the other major conurbations, but many of the local mining and coastal villages are represented as well – even the Barnard Castle school tuck-shop. Jeff collected them over some 50 years and wrote the standard reference on the subject, which he was in the process of revising at the time of his death in 2015.”

Elsewhere in the Auction, there are 82 lots of Tickets and Passes of London from the David Young Collection. Two interesting tokens linked to two notable society characters will be offered. A very fine and extremely rare silver Free Ticket to Vauxhall Gardens, engraved Admit Sir Thos. Turton Bart. Family & Friends and hallmarked London 1821 is estimated at £1,000-1,500. Sir Thomas Turton, 1st Bt (1764-1844), of Starborough Castle, Surrey, and latterly Grosvenor street, Mayfair was called to the Bar 1794; then was High Sheriff for Surrey, 1795-6; Major, Surrey Yeomanry Cavalry, 1797; and established his chambers in Lincoln’s Inn, 1801; director, Atlas Assurance, 1811, and chairman, 1816. Turton married a Yorkshire heiress, Mary Michell (†1837) in September 1786, who bore him seven children. Nevertheless, according to a report in The Times of 9 March 1820, commenting on his efforts to re-secure the seat of Southwark in that year’s election (that he had won in 1806 and held until 1812), Turton was prepared, even on the hustings, to enter into ‘the history of his youthful adventures a little more explicitly than we can decently report’. Apparently, scurrility was a feature of Southwark elections, and at Turton’s first appearance there in 1802, which proved unsuccessful, he was obliged to gloss over his adultery with Mrs Margaret Dunnage, wife of James Dunnage, a City merchant, which had cost him £5,000 damages in 1797. The report of the trial, held at the Guildhall on 14 June 1797, detailing their affair over some 18 months in 1795-6, at various parks, gardens and houses on both sides of the river, was the talk of the City. Lady Turton showed ‘the accommodating spirit of modern wives’ by appearing in company with Mrs Dunnage on that occasion. Turton nominated Admiral Sir Alan Gardner for Westminster (Lot 613). The Turton family are buried in the family vault at the Turton Chapel, Lingfield

Also of interest is a very fine and rare octagonal ivory token for Her Majesty’s Theatre, Haymarket, named Duchess of Cleveland, Box 57 ½ which is estimated at £300-£500. Elizabeth Russell, Duchess of Cleveland (1777-1861), second wife of William Henry Vane, 1st Duke of Cleveland, KG (1766-1842), himself a direct descendant of Charles II by his mistress Barbara Palmer, 1st Duchess of Cleveland.