Thursday, 12 July 2018

Pavlos S. Pavlou: I was born a collector

One of our new dealers here at Alfies is also one of our long established numismatics dealers that came from Grays Mews. A global authority on coins of European and Middle Eastern origin, encompassing the Middle Ages and Renaissance period, Pavlos is well known in the numismatic world. I started our interview by asking him some questions about the origins of his becoming an antique’s dealers.

Pavlos in his stand, S011

Pavlos, please tell us how did it all start? 
I started full time in 2003. I used to catalogue coins for Bonham’s Auctioneer’s for 15 years.

How did you become involved with Bonham’s?
I was always interested in coins. I was working in banking for 29 years and during that time I was basically a collector. So when I was made redundant I became employed in the numismatics. 

Is this how your passion for coins started?
My passion for coins started in 1965. I was already a collector of coins by then, but 1965 is my benchmark. My father had a shop and I was helping out sometimes. I remember an incident which marked me; it was when I gave this old lady a Churchill crown as change. She threw it back at me because she thought I was cheating her. The Churchill crowns were commemorative as they had just come out after Churchill’s death. That experience shocked me because I thought coins were beautiful. 

My father owned an Import Export Company. So he travelled a lot for work. Whenever he came back from abroad, I used to take all his change. I was totally fascinated by the different styles and designs. I remember him coming back from Italy and seeing those coins. The images on them looked like Greek goddesses. They were Roman Goddesses of course. But I collect stamps too. And I collect paper money. I was born a collector. 

How do you source your stock?
I am known in the numismatic world. I buy at auctions and from other dealers. I also go to Fairs and I belong to clubs. I am a member of the Royal Numismatic Society.

Would you like to say something about your favourite pieces?
I studied History of Art, History and Latin, and my stock reflects my interest in Ancient Greek and Roman coins, Byzantine and European Medieval collections. I am also a specialist in Ancient Egyptian coins.  As a matter of fact I started with Egyptian, because they were cheap at the time. Now the tables have turned and they are the most expensive. I collect and deal in Ptolemaic and Roman Egyptian coins.

Could you point to an item in your collection that is very special to you?
Well, I love the coins of the Crusades and of the Byzantine Empire. I see them as my heritage. In particular the period since Anastasius I, who, as you know, is a Saint in Greek Orthodox Church, is very important to me. And I specialise in Armenian coins too. My paternal grandmother is Armenian you know, and so I have a particular attachment to the Amenian culture and heritage. It’s a romantic thing. I am a romantic at heart.

BYZANTINE EMPIRE. Phocas AD 602-610. AV.Solidus

CRUSADER STATES. CYPRUS. James II AD 1460-1473. AR.Gros.'Coronation issue'

ARMENIA. Levon I AD 1198-1219.AR. Double Tram. (5.67g, 27.1mm, 3h)

ITALY. VENICE. Nicolo Tron (1471-1473), Silver Trono (or Lira of 20-Soldi)

Pavlos S. Pavlou | S011 | Second Floor Gallery

Written by Titika Malkogeorgou

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