Catalogue of Richard Mead's Collection 1755
Item Reference: BKS1287
THE RARE AND IMPORTANT 1755 CATALOGUE OF RICHARD MEAD’S COLLECTION [Abraham Langford] Museum Meadianum sive Catalogus Nummorum, Veteris Aevi Monumentorum, ac Gemmarum, Cum aliis quibusdam Artis recentioris et Naturae Operibus; Quae Vir Clariffimus Richardus Mead, M. D. Nuper defenctus comparavet. London, 17th – 19th February, 1755. Printed for A. Langford in Covent Garden. Quarto, pp. engraved plate as frontispiece, title page, errata on verso, 262 pages, lots 1-141, 1-80, 1-80, 1-81, 1-76, 1-74, 1-61. Ruled throughout and hand annotated with prices realised and many buyers’ names. With; Musei Meadiani Pars Altera: Quae Veteris aevi Monumenta ac Gemmas, Cum aliis quibusdam Artis recentioris et Naturae Operibus, Complectitur. London, March 11th 1755. Continuously paginated, pp. (211)-262, lots curiously unnumbered but ruled throughout with prices realised, small errata list at end. Tastefully bound in three quarter black morocco, five raised bands, lettered and ruled in gilt, top edge gilt. Marbled endpapers with manuscript note written by Leopold George P. Messenger taped onto first pastedown. Contents remarkably clean with some insignificant browning. A remarkably fresh copy of this fascinating catalogue containing many major rarities. Early catalogues such as this are rarely seen, especially when hand annotated and in such a good state of preservation, as here. Exceptionally rare thus. Richard Mead (1673-1754) was an eminent Royal Physician who in his lifetime attended to Sir Isaac Newton as well as both Queen Anne and George II. Author of a number of renowned medical texts he is most remembered for the ground breaking work, ‘A Short Discourse concerning Pestilential Contagion, and the Method to be used to prevent it’ (1720) - revolutionary at the time for its understanding of contagious diseases. His decision to collect coins came rather late in life and upon the prompting of his second wife whom he married in 1724. During this relatively short time he managed to build a vast collection consisting of Ancient Greek coins (this series was sold to Angel Carney and Patrick Kennedy prior to the auction), Roman coins, British coins and Commemorative Medals. The present volume also details his impressive collection of Gems and Antiquities. “Mead’s sale offered the most extensive collection of coins available in London to that date and the purchasers included many well-known eighteenth century English Collectors”. Notable highlights of his collection include, on the first day two exceptionally rare Aurei, lot 17, of Pompeius (£25.0.0) and lot 19, of Brutus (£22.10.0), on the second day, lot 110, an Aureus of Allectus (£21.5.0). On the sixth day of the sale, lot 26, an Elizabeth I Portcullis Crown (£4.4.0), lot 38, a Charles II Petition Crown, “highly preserved” (£12.0.0), and lot 76, an “exquisite fine” Fifty Shilling piece of Oliver Cromwell (£9.0.0), on the seventh day, lot 21, a Twenty Pound Scottish piece of James VI described as being “A large beautiful piece” (£4.10.0), and on the eighth day, lot 48 (p.197), “An exquisite fine oval Gold Medal upon Admiral Blake’s Victory at Sea by Thomas Simon” (£21.0.0). As Manville states, ‘Many lots contained 20-40 Roman Coins, each described with full legends, which helps to explain the catalogues length of more than 200 pages for fewer than 600 lots.’ The total value of the sale realised an incredible £1,997.17.0, unheard of at this time.