|Volume 69 No. 8||August, 2023|
The 1254th meeting of the Chicago Coin Club was called to order by President John Riley at 6:47 PM CDT, Wednesday July 12, 2023. This was a hybrid in-person and online meeting. Attendance at the meeting was 17 members and 2 guests with 23 online, for a total of 42.
Club Meeting Minutes and Treasurer’s Report
The June 2023 meeting minutes were approved as published in the Chatter, both in print and on the CCC website. Elliott Krieter gave the June period treasurer’s report detailing $980.00 revenue (dues, advertising) and $218.00 expenses (Chatter expense, Annual PO Box rent) for a period total of -$761.20. The June report was approved by the club membership.
Scott McGowan reported there were no new membership applications. Guests were Steven Mills from the Elgin Coin Club and Ellen Haake.
Mary Lannin, NYNC Vice President and past CCAC member presented an amazing program on History of Collecting: Parallel Lives – Samuel Pozzi and Fenerly Bey.
Show and Tell
Second Vice President Deven Kane announced there were 7 Show and Tell presentations.
ANA World’s Fair of Money at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on August 8-12, 2023.
The next meeting will be August 9, 2023 6:45pm CDT at the Chicago Bar Association.
CCC Board Meeting will be August 16, 2023 at 6:00pm.
John Riley adjourned the meeting at 8:29pm CDT.
Scott A. McGowan, Secretary
by Mary Lannin,
presented to our July 12, 2023 meeting
Abstract: Coins not only have an ancient history, but a modern one as well. Two men in the early twentieth century, Samuel Pozzi and Fenerly Bey, had important collections of ancient coins that have filtered down to present-day collectors. These prominent men were teachers of medicine and students of numismatics, alike in their vocations and avocations. From Paris and Constantinople in the early 1900s, their collections were dispersed under unusual circumstances.
In the early twentieth century, two collectors in two capitals, Paris and Constantinople, assembled world-class Greek coin collections that have since been dispersed over the past 100 years: Samuel Jean Pozzi (1846-1918) of Paris and Pavlakis Fenerlis (1833-1911) of Constantinople. The latter is better known to numismatic cataloguers as Fenerly Bey du Phanar.
By coincidence, both men shared the same profession, that of doctors specializing in obstetrics and gynecology, at the beginning of that medical discipline. Much less coincidentally, they formed their collections by purchasing coins from noted dealers like Spink, Bruder Egger, Jacob Hirsch, and Merzbacher. Through these dealers they also obtained coins from other eminent collectors, such as E. P. Warren, Gustav Phillipsen, and Osborne O’Hagan. Some of the coins collected by Pozzi and Fenerlis now grace the cabinets of the American Numismatic Society, the Kunsthistoriches Museum in Vienna, the Münzkabinett of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, and the British Museum. They also have enhanced the private collections of such noted collectors as Edward T. Newell, Virgil Brand, Clarence Bement, Robert Jameson, and Sir Hermann Weber. Other Pozzi and Fenerly Bey coins remain in commerce, many of them separated from their pedigrees for lack of tickets.
Pavlakis Fenerlis (1833-1911)
Pavlakis Fenerlis was born on 15 August 1833, and studied medicine in Paris. In 1855, at the age of 22, he obtained his medical degree and published his thesis. Two years later, in 1857, he returned to Constantinople, where he taught zoology at the Imperial School of Medicine as was common for many Ottoman physicians. Operated by the military, the school was the first of its kind in Turkey. Teaching at the school was conducted in French and based exclusively on European medical texts. At the beginning of his teaching career, Fenerlis held no rank at the school. However, he became a member of the Sultan’s Medical Council and by 1879 he held the rank of Colonel Doctor. Thanks to his connections in the palace, Fenerlis was ultimately promoted to become the chief physician of the military, and was permitted to wear a uniform of his own devising. Every Easter he donned this uniform and visited the Patriarchate. By age 63, Fenerlis was listed as a Brigadier General, at which point his honorific title was changed from bey to pasha. It must have been a long wait for an ambitious man.
Fenerlis married into the wealthy Zarifi family, and with his wife Euterpe, had two daughters, Euphrosyne and Marie (1874-1950). It was Marie’s inheritance and subsequent sale of her father’s collection by Bruder Egger in 1912 that inspired my research.
Fenerlis died at age 78, on October 24, 1911, and in just over a year, his entire coin collection was sold by the Vienna firm of Bruder Egger on 18 November 1912. The coins were described in this sale as having belonged to “Dr. Fenerly Bey.” In order to be written up and cataloged for Egger auction XLI, the coins traveled a distance of 1,500 kilometers, from the Bosporus Strait to the heart of Europe, through mountain passes, difficult terrain, and local conflicts.
Although contemporaneous mentions of Fenerlis are scarce, the prominent Ottoman banker and financier, Georgios Zarifi, dedicated a chapter of his diaries to Fenerlis, who was also cousin to Zarifi’s grandmother. In his recollections, he described the house, located in the Cibali district on the Grande Rue du Phanar, and
it was made of wood and had a security perimeter built with large stones. While you could not see it from the street, the view from the courtyard made it seem like a castle. The house had a bath, a small church, and an original marble fountain at the entrance to the hall. In the fountain, the water passed through small pools into other small pools, forming tiny waterfalls that cooled the air and emitted entrancing melodies.
There were similar fountains in the waiting halls of the sultan’s palaces, and they were built in this way so that whatever was said in the sultan’s private room could not be heard. The house was divided into two parts, connected by a bridge. The children lived in the wooden part, while his private stone tower was opposite them. He would let no visitors in the two-story tower, and it was there he kept his collections of antiques, coins, and family heirlooms. His grandfather’s turban was one of his prize possessions.
Zarifi was disappointed after the death of Fenerlis, however, noting in his diary that “the great misfortune of our cousin, Fenerlis Pasha, was that I was the only member of the extended family who inherited his taste. After his death, one of his daughters wasted no time before she invited the Jews of the Grand Bazaar and sold off his marvelous collections.” This seemingly anti-Semitic statement can be used to corroborate how Fenerlis received his coins after purchase from Bruder Egger, a Jewish firm founded in the late nineteenth century, with branches in Budapest and Vienna.
By the time of Fenerlis’ death, the eastward-looking Ottoman Empire had long been suffering from internal decay. The Greek War of Independence in 1821 had previously exposed the weaknesses of the military, and in 1912 the First Balkan War broke out, pitting the Balkan League of Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece, and Montenegro against the Ottoman Empire. In the context of this political turmoil, Fenerly Bey’s daughter, Marie Fenerly Hristic (anglicized as Christitch) sent the collection to Vienna – outside of the Balkan war zone – for sale. In 1898, she had married Serbian diplomat, Jovan Hristic (1859-1918), and thus she and her husband were on the side of the anti-Ottoman coalition in the new conflict. Since Georgios Zarifi seems to have believed that that the coins were sold to the “Jews of the Grand Bazaar” in Constantinople, but Marie Fenerly Hristic is identified as the owner (“Mme. Ch.”) in the Egger sale catalogue, it seems very probable that she used Jewish agents to consign and transport the collection to Bruder Egger.
Fenerlis’ collection was particularly strong in several areas, especially Sicilian. Remarkably, the Sicilian portion of the sale contained four dekadrachms, one of which was donated to the British Museum in 1913 by Mr. Henry Van den Bergh through the National Art Collections Fund. It appears that this coin was subsequently sold as a duplicate. The Kunsthistoriches Museum in Vienna also acquired a gold aureus of Marcus Aurelius at this auction (ID63790).
The coins of the Fenerly Bey collection also crossed the Atlantic Ocean. The Philadelphia dealers Henry and S. H. Chapman bid in this auction, purchasing 82 coins. Virgil Brand, a wealthy Chicago brewer and extensive coin collector also acquired 49 coins from the Egger sale. The total cost of these purchases came to 22,500 Austrian krone, or a little more than US $137,132 today, taking account of inflation.
One of the coins ultimately obtained by Brand – a unique tetradrachm of Mesembria – already enjoyed some fame at the time of the Egger sale from its listing in the 1911 second edition of Barclay Head’s influential Historia Numorum (Head 1911, 278; Egger 1912, lot 268; Egger 1914, lot 261; Sotheby’s, 9 June 1983, lot 51). The coin has since disappeared and its authenticity has been questioned.
The magnificent gift bequeathed to the American Numismatic Society in 1944 by its former president Edward T. Newell included at least five of Fenerlis’ coins: issues of Thasos (ANS 1944.100.16754), Lysimachus (ANS 1944.100.77431), and the Seleucid kings Seleucus II (ANS 1944.100.75092), Antiochus III (ANS 1944.100.73399), and Demetrius II (ANS 1967.152.653), all of which were purchased through intermediary dealers. The Fenerly Bey collection was especially rich in Seleucid coins – a favorite collecting area for Newell – thanks to the Ottoman Empire’s geographical extent, which encompassed much of the area that had once been the Seleucid Empire. When it was sold by Egger in 1912, the collection contained 130 Seleucid coins.
The 860 Greek lots in Egger auction XLI realized 99,030 Austrian krone, equivalent today to more than US $603,500. The additional 540 Roman and Byzantine coins that made up the Fenerly Bey collection only added to this total.
Samuel Jean Pozzi (1846-1918)
One of the bright lights of Paris was Samuel Jean Pozzi (1846-1918), a French surgeon and gynecologist who traveled in the company of politicians, authors, actors, and other noted Parisians during the Belle Époque. His social circle was wide, and he counted as friends such luminaries as Marcel Proust, Henry James, Oscar Wilde, and Alfred Dreyfus. The expatriate American, John Singer Sargent, was only 25 years old when he painted 35-year-old Dr. Pozzi at Home. He, too, became a friend.
In 1864, seven years after Pavlakis Fenerlis left Paris to practice medicine in Constantinople, Pozzi was making his way there from the French town of Bergerac. He would ultimately become one of Paris’ most noteworthy physicians. After becoming a surgeon in 1874, he was appointed the University of Paris’ first chair of the department of gynecology in 1901, a full eleven years after publishing his two-volume work, A Treatise on Gynaecology, Medical and Surgical. Translated into six languages, this treatise became the standard reference work on the subject for the next 50 years. Remarkably, in a footnote on page 154, Pozzi refers to a thesis written in Paris in 1855, by a certain “Dr. Paul Fernley” – a man known to us as Pavlakis Fenerlis or Fenerly Bey.
Samuel Pozzi married the wealthy Thérèse Loth-Cazalis (1856-1932), heiress to a railroad fortune, in 1879. They had an unhappy marriage which nonetheless produced three children: the poet, Catherine (1882-1934); the diplomat and art collector, Jean (1884-1967); and Jacques (1896-1953). Living separately in the same house, Pozzi was amorously connected to many women. The famous actress, Sarah Bernhardt, whose friendship and regard for him lasted until his death, was a noted friend. His companion and love, Emma Sedelmeyer Fischhof, the daughter of an art dealer and wife of a horse breeder, traveled with him for over 25 years.
The house at N. 47 Avenue d’Iéna was a virtual museum, a microcosm of the collecting interests in Paris in the early twentieth century. Located in the 16th arrondissement, the Pozzi home then, as now, was in a neighborhood of wealth and refinement, on a short avenue ending at the Arc de Triomphe. Neighbors then included politician Daniel Wilson, whose home at N. 2 became the private residence of the American Ambassador. N. 11 was originally the site of the mansion of Charles Ephrussi, the noted art critic and collector. Descendants of the Pozzi family continued to live at N. 47 until the mid-1950s. Today’s neighbors include the Embassy of the Sultanate of Oman, the Egyptian Embassy, the Fondation Calouste Gulbenkian, and the Shangri-La Hotel.
When the Belle Époque was shattered by the outbreak of World War I, Pozzi re-enlisted as a military surgeon, with the rank of lieutenant-colonel at age 68. He had previously served as an assistant major, second class, during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, when he was a 24-year-old medical student. Despite being a busy surgeon, made even busier by the flow of wounded coming from the front, Pozzi still managed to buy coins at auction and from dealers who acted as his agents. He almost certainly would have seen an advertisement by Bruder Egger, noting a collection to be sold in Vienna on 18 November 1912 and mentioning another collector of Greek coins, Fenerly Bey.
The scale of Pozzi’s collecting is suggested by a letter written to him on December 11, 1914, by a M. Mazel from the firm of Jacob Hirsch stating:
Following the accounting established on June 30, 1914, by Mr. Jacob Hirsch, a German subject, whose property in France have been placed under my administration by an ordnance of the President of the Civil Court of the Seine last November 4, you remain indebted to him the sum of 3842 [francs].
The summary on the reverse will give you the accounting for the aforementioned sum. I am honored to advise you that you can pay me directly, partially or in full; I will give you all useful receipts.
The value of the debt is no small amount considering that 3,842 francs in 1914 is roughly equivalent to slightly more than US $22,000 today. The fact that the payment reminder was issued at all also illustrates the interruption of the usual methods of business between collectors and numismatic firms – especially French and German ones – caused by the outbreak of the war.
The accounting on the reverse of the letter notes two important coins added to Pozzi’s collection, a tetradrachm from Gela, priced at 17,750 francs (about $100,000 today), and a decadrachm from Syracuse, signed by the famed engraver, Kimon, and acquired at 16,500 francs (slightly less than $100,000 today). There is also a mention of coins from an Egger auction, where it seems Pozzi used Hirsch as an agent.
As spectacular and charmed as Pozzi’s life was, his death was startling and dramatic. On 13 June 1918, a mentally ill former patient confronted the doctor in his office and shot him four times before killing himself. Although he directed his own surgery under local anesthetic, Pozzi nevertheless succumbed to a blood clot. Such was the astonishing end of a remarkable twentieth-century collector.
Pozzi’s collection was a scholar’s collection and its owner corresponded with the leading numismatists and dealers of the day – Friedrich Imhoof-Blumer, Ernest Babelon, and Etienne Couturier. During his lifetime, Pozzi had 4,630 of his coins photographed for an eventual publication of his collection – the so-called Boutin plates – but most collectors are familiar with the coins from the famous Ars Classica I sale held by Naville et Cie in Lucerne on 4 April 1921. The auction included 3,334 Greek coins, almost three times the number in the sale of the Fenerlis collection, which included only 860.
On the occasion of the Ars Classica I sale many major museums and collectors of the day swept through the offerings. The Munzkabinett Staatliche Museen zu Berlin took the opportunity to add nine magnificent coins to their collection, including an Ainos tetradrachm (object no. 18236811). At the same time, Edward T. Newell bought more than 100 of Pozzi’s coins, which he subsequently donated to the American Numismatic Society. Over 30 of these coins were issues of the Seleucid Empire, continuing the interest in this area that Newell had expressed through his purchases from the sale of Fenerly Bey’s collection in 1912. Virgil Brand, one of the United States largest collectors, also added over 140 coins to his collection from the sale. He apparently loved coins of Alexander the Great and the Ptolemies, as fully one-third of the Pozzi coins he purchased were from these areas of interest.
Not all his coins were as spectacular as these, however. Some of Pozzi’s bronze coins found their way into the Michael Vlasto collection, which in turn, became part of the famous Rev. Edgar Rogers collection before it was sold to the British Museum in 1933.
Ars Classica I realized the staggering sum of over 765,800 CHF in 1921, equivalent to approximately US $2,175,000 today. This sale was entirely numismatic, but Pozzi’s collecting interests also encompassed books, paintings, tapestries, Greek vases, and Egyptian antiquities. These, together with his furnishings, took up seven other sales.
Cited in reference books, such as Ernest Babelon’s massive study, Traité des monnaies grecques et romaines, the Pozzi name even today continues to be used as a reference, a tribute to the thoroughness and quality of his collection. Dying just seven years earlier than his fellow doctor-collector, Pavlakis Fenerlis as “Fenerly Bey” is nonetheless mentioned in the collections of Clarence Bement, Sir Hermann Weber, Theodor Prowe, and in studies by Agnes Baldwin Brett, Edward Newell, and Friedrich Imhoof-Blumer.
Although we do not know if these two doctor-collectors ever met each other in real life, there was one true numismatic meeting of Samuel Pozzi and Pavlakis Fenerlis: a tetradrachm from Katane, lot 107, was purchased from the auction of the Fenerly Bey collection in Bruder Egger XLI on 18 November 1912. It traveled from Vienna to Paris, and entered the collection of another busy doctor, Samuel J. Pozzi. The coin was subsequently sold as lot 417 in Ars Classica I, on 4 April 1921.
|Chicago Coin Company|
|Harlan J. Berk, Ltd.|
|Kedzie Koins Inc.|
|Classical Numismatic Group|
Items shown at our July 12, 2023 meeting,
reported by Deven Kane.
|Date:||August 9, 2023|
|Time:||6:45PM CDT (UTC-05:00)|
At the Chicago Bar Association, 321 S. Plymouth Court, 3rd or 4th floor meeting room. Please remember the security measures at our meeting building: everyone must be prepared to show their photo-ID and register at the guard’s desk.
Because things can change between when this is written and we meet, please bring your face covering to the meeting – all attendees must follow the city’s and building’s rules.
This will be another attempt at a regular in-person meeting in the post-Covid-19 era. We will try for a better experience than in the past, but please be prepared for possible diifficulties.
|Online:||For all the details on participating online in one of our club meetings, visit our Online Meeting webpage at www.chicagocoinclub.org/meetings/online_meeting.html. Participation in an online meeting requires some advance work by both our meeting coordinator and attendees, especially first-time participants. Please plan ahead; read the latest instructions on the day before the meeting!|
|Featured Program:||Arthur Schattke and Steve Mills —
This will be an overview of the minting process and the results of malfunctions that occur during the process from molten metal to a finished product. These malfunctions are called errors! They are what happened when something went wrong. Things can go wrong in many ways and cause many interesting “coins.” Examples will be shown and explanations given on how certain errors are produced, with emphasis on characteristics of genuine mint products versus errors “manufactured” outside of the mint.
Unless stated otherwise, our regular monthly CCC Meeting is in downtown Chicago and also online on the second Wednesday of the month; the starting time is 6:45PM CT.
|August||8-12||ANA in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Admission is free for ANA members — see http://www.worldsfairofmoney.com for details.|
|August||9||CCC Meeting - Featured Speakers - Arthur Schattke and Steve Mills on Error Coins|
|September||7-9||ILNA 2023 Annual Coin & Currency Show at the Tinley Park Convention Center, 18451 Convention Center Drive, Tinley Park, Illinois 60477. Details, including hours and events, are available at http://www.ilnaclub.org/show.html|
|September||13||CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Robert D. Leonard on When Princes Overpromise: “Latin” Imitations of Byzantine Gold Coins, Minted by Geoffrey II Villehardouin of Achaea (Plus Sutton Hoo and King Offa)|
|October||11||CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Marc Ricard on The Red Book Special Editions and Their Histories|
|November||8||CCC Meeting - Club Auction - no featured speaker|
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