An enthusiastic Irish collector acquired 230 of the 231 dates issued but went to his grave not knowing if No. 231 was real
The most comprehensive private collection of Irish Ten Shilling notes ever assembled is to be auctioned in London this month.
The Dix Noonan Webb auction follows the death of Tyrone collector Tony Lenny, who spent 40 years putting it together.
Tony, who latterly lived in Wicklow, acquired examples of 230 of the 231 dates on which Irish Ten Shilling notes were issued. And opinion still differs on whether the one that evaded him actually exists.
The Lenny Collection is being auctioned in two parts with 78 lots offered for sale on 25 September and they also include rare notes from the 1920s and 1930s and a group from the early 1940s which are stamped with single code letters as a wartime security measure.
Estimates for lots range from £100 to £150 up to £800 to £1,000 for a rare note dated 31 December 1929.
“Tony knew and maintained contact with collectors and dealers all over the world, sharing ideas and relentlessly trying to improve his collections,” said his son David Lenny.
“His approach to collecting was to first search for dates in his collections that he was missing, with additional attention to serial numbers that appealed to him, then subsequently scouring the globe to acquire examples in better condition, always fine tuning his collection.
“He spent over 40 years improving this Irish Ten Shilling notes collection, which he considered his finest and most comprehensive set, acquiring the best condition notes he could of 230 of the 231 dates issued.”
Tony was born in 1924 in Cookstown, County Tyrone, before moving to Dublin to attend college, where he met his wife Dympna.
Career and family
During his career he worked as an executive at the Irish Grain Board and at R. & H. Hall, Ireland’s largest importer and supplier of grains and cereals.
The couple moved to Bray, County Wicklow, where they raised five children and ran a wool shop.
Tony loved horse racing and he opened two betting offices, one in Bray and the other in central Dublin. In later life he and Dympna moved to Wicklow town where he died in 2013 aged 88.
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