Stack’s Bowers Galleries Offers Colonial Rarities from the Sydney F. Martin Collection Fourth Installment Includes Betts Medals, Fugio Coppers, and More

Author: By Stack’s Bowers Galleries / August 1, 2023

Costa Mesa, CA – Stack’s Bowers Galleries is honored to present another chapter in the extraordinary numismatic legacy of Sydney F. Martin, as the fourth major Martin sale is offered on August 19 as Session 10 of the firm’s August Global Showcase Auction. With more than $10 million worth of important early American coins already sold since the first offering in August 2022, the Martin Collection is one of the most significant cabinets of colonial and related material ever sold.

The current sale focuses on several series Martin pursued passionately. The session begins with the first installment of Martin’s very advanced collection of Betts medals, opening with Spanish medals from the Era of Discovery and encompassing pieces through the end of the 18th century. Highlights include a superb quality run of Admiral Vernon medals, struck between 1739 and 1741 to honor the naval exploits of the man Mount Vernon is named for and an advanced grouping of medals struck during the French and Indian War. Individual highlights include a remarkable five different Betts medals in gold and a superb example of the rare and important 1763 Charles Town Social Club medal.

Among non-Betts listed early American medals, a pair of extraordinarily rare and important 1789 Florida Proclamation medals are standout highlights, struck to announce the accession of Carlos IV to the throne of Spain. The Martin Collection includes specimens in silver and copper, the latter of which was recovered by a metal detectorist in Virginia. A few important medals of African-American interest include a silver medal struck in Denmark in 1792 to mark the end of that nation’s transatlantic slave trade and an 1800 Charleston slave hire badge, the very rare first year of issue.

Circulating coinage includes Syd’s collection of Massachusetts silver coins, representing every major design type. Highlights include his VF-35 (PCGS) Noe 2-A NE shilling, two Willow Tree shillings, and a very rare Willow Tree sixpence graded Fine-12 (PCGS). High grade examples of the Oak Tree and Pine Tree types rival some of the finest collections of coins from colonial Boston ever assembled.

The run of seven Higley coppers is historic, each representing a different die variety. His Freidus 1.1-A, graded VG-8 by PCGS, is one of only two known, and the Freidus 3.3-D Broad Axe in PCGS VF-20 is especially lovely for the type. This offering also includes five Continental dollars, three of which are graded AU-58 or better by PCGS.

The heart of the sale comprises two series of coppers made in New Haven: the Connecticut coppers and the Fugio coppers. This sale builds on past offerings of Connecticuts from the Syd Martin Collection with an extensive group of pieces from 1787, one of the most thorough and high grade offerings ever sold. An extraordinary 52 different varieties of Fugio coppers are included, many of which have superb provenances and Condition Census stature due to their fine state of preservation.

Syd’s Vermont coppers include notable rarities including both cast and struck versions of the extremely rare contemporary counterfeit Ryder-5, a superb AU-50 (PCGS) Backward C Ryder-30, and the infrequently offered Ryder-32 and Ryder-33, the latter of which is one of just two in private hands.

“Syd was the consummate modern numismatist, gathering acquisitions from every imaginable source with limitless enthusiasm and expertise,” noted cataloger John Kraljevich. “He built close relationships with numismatists of every description from around the globe, allowing him to source the kinds of coins and medals that made his collection so special.” Stack’s Bowers Galleries President Brian Kendrella added “Syd Martin was a very special guy who built a truly incredible collection. Our firm is honored to continue the legacy Syd built through all his homework and hard work with our ongoing series of auctions of the Martin Collection and the catalogs that pay tribute to it.”

The entire Stack’s Bowers Galleries August 2023 Global Showcase Auction is available for viewing and bidding at For more information on the sale or to consign to an upcoming auction call 800-458-4646 or email

About Stack’s Bowers Galleries

Stack’s Bowers Galleries conducts live, Internet and specialized auctions of rare U.S. and world coins and currency and ancient coins, as well as direct sales through retail and wholesale channels. The company’s nearly 90-year legacy includes the cataloging and sale of many of the most valuable United States coin and currency collections to ever cross an auction block — The D. Brent Pogue Collection, The John J. Ford, Jr. Collection, The Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection, The Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection, The Joel R. Anderson Collection, The Norweb Collection, The Cardinal Collection, The Sydney F. Martin Collection and The Battle Born Collection — to name just a few. World coin and currency collections include The Pinnacle Collection, The Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection of World Gold Coins, The Kroisos Collection, The Alicia and Sidney Belzberg Collection, The Salton Collection, The Wa She Wong Collection, and The Thos. H. Law Collection. 

The company is headquartered in Costa Mesa, California, with galleries in New York, Boston and Philadelphia. Offices are also located in New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Virginia, Hong Kong, Paris and Vancouver. Stack’s Bowers Galleries hosts an annual Global Showcase in August featuring United States coins and currency, Ancient coins and World coins and currency in its Costa Mesa auction gallery. They are also the Official Auctioneer for several important numismatic events, including the New York International Numismatic Convention, the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Spring, Summer and Winter Expos, the Spring and Fall Hong Kong shows, and the Maastricht Paper Money Shows. 

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