02. Ancient Coin Catalogues 1880 to 1980 John Spring
Not an auction catalogue but an invaluable resource about them. The title however conceals a far more interesting book than one would suspect. It is, at the same time, an history of private collections, about the collectors themselves, and about the auction houses and their proprietors since the latter 19th century. As well as full reviews of some 900 auction catalogues, with appropriate indexing and best-of lists, there are biographies of dozens of collectors and proprietors often including atmospheric photographs. I know of no other book of this types - it is different from any of the books on numismatic history that I previously reviewed, with a focus on the activities of the private collector. As an example I would not have expected to see a full page devoted to the opera singer Enrico Caruso and his collection, nor a photo of the excavations at Knossos used to illustrate the 1926 Ars Classica sale of Sir Arther Evans collection. Not just a reference but a book to read. Hardback, large format, high quality paper. Here is a sample page that is illustrative of the style.