Hyman Montagu (1844-1895)
Born into a British Jewish family, Hyman Montagu (formerly Moses), was a prominent London attorney who developed a strong bankruptcy practice. Montagu was an eclectic collector,, beginning with beetles, and then moving on to English hammered and milled coins. Montagu then turned his attention to Roman coins, and purchased large portions of the Ponton D’Amencourt’s collection in 1887. He would begin collecting Greek coins in 1889. He acquired the entire inventory of the Parisian dealer Hoffmann when he retired in 1893, was in direct contact with most European dealers, and travelled extensively. His Roman gold coins were auctioned by Rollin & Feuardent in April 1896, for a total of 363,004 francs. His collection contained 1291 pieces of Roman gold, the largest until Biaggi, and contained pieces of exceptionally high quality. Montagu did a great deal for Britain's numismatic community, most notably, (i) inviting William Webster to join Spink in 1892 (ii) and donating an extremely large group of exceptional aurei to the British Museum. Spink and Sotheby’s, held numerous auctions to disperse of Montagu’s Greek and English holdings. It is very likely that Montagu’s collection would have been even more impressive if not for his untimely demise at the age of 50. Regardless, it remains one of the most important collections of Roman gold coins ever assembled.
Biblio: Hadrien J. Rambach, Provenance Glossary of Coins in the George W. LaBorde Collection (published over three auctions in NAC 91, 99 and 105) (description); https://www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v17n05a03.html