Pio Santamaria (circa 1930's)
Pietro Santamaria (1863-1930) founded the auction house in 1898, and was thereafter joined by his cousin Pio Santamaria (1881-1947). The family produced numerous catalogues, from 1908 until 1963: their most famous sale was Magnaguti’s which was published as the Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. Santamaria also sold the notable collectionsHartwig, Signorelli, Stiavelli, and Trivulzio. Pietro was fluent in English and founded the first two English language newspapers in Rome. During WWI, he became Chief of the Inter-Allied Propaganda Commission in Italy– for which he was made Knight Commander of the Crown of Italy and Member of the Order of the British Empire. Pio was co-founder of the Associazione Artistica Internazionale, before becoming an authority on Italian medals as well as Medieval and Modern Italian coins. Pietro’s son, Alberto Santamaria (1900-1984), wrote a thesis on Roman coin production and joined the family business – with his brother Ernesto – in the 1920s. The firm ceased operations in the 1960's.
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); John Spring, Ancient Coins Auction Catalogues 1880-1980, London 2009 (image)