Sale 121 Biographies

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

The following biographies are of John Wilson, Ian Laing, Bill Woolmore, and Christopher Haymes. Their various collections will be featured in the upcoming sale.


John Wilson
John Wilson’s coin collection was auctioned by us in Sale 87B in April 2008, soon after his death. John and his family decided to retain the banknotes and not offer them in that auction. At the time the eighty or so notes had a high catalogue value of about four million dollars. Subsequent events have seen the market return to more conservative levels of pricing. Nonetheless, this small high quality collection stands out as possibly the fnest-ever in terms of condition. It is not complete as John was insistent on picking only the best, being patient and waiting for the right note to come along. His early death cut short the achievement he would have made in time. Several collectors have approached to enquire about the Collins/Allen one hundred pounds and whether it could be bought.

Anne, John’s widow, has now decided it is time to let other collectors have the opportunity to acquire these outstandingly provenanced Australian Commonwealth pre-decimal notes. John was a constant purchaser from our auctions and most of his notes have graced the great collections of the past such as the Deutsher, Vort-Ronald, Richard Williams and the Alan Nicholson collections.


Captain Ian Laing
Born in London, Ian Laing (1923–2017) was still a teenager when he signed up for the RAF and was sent on the Queen Mary to learn to fly in the Arizona desert. He returned to London and flew Spitfres till the end of the war, receiving medals of honour, still treasured by the family. After the war, he transported planes sold by the RAF to the Middle East. For several years he was based in Persia (Iran) and flew for the Shah. He started collecting gold coins, stamps and banknotes at this time, and added to his collection over his lifetime as he travelled the world. He flew for Shell Oil in North Borneo, became a commercial pilot for QANTAS, MSA and fnally one of the senior pilots in Singapore Airlines.


Even after retiring from flying and moving to Sydney, he began a second career as an investment consultant. He had a ferce intelligence and a curiosity about the world that never diminished. He spoke fve languages, loved learning and continued his education as both student and tutor at U3A to nearly the end of his life at age 93. His world banknotes are featured in this sale, including some from the Middle East.

W. (Bill) Woolmore
The late Bill Woolmore was born in Gladstone, Queensland in 1932, and spent most of his school days in Durban, South Africa, including the war years, 1939–1945. Although 40 years had elapsed, he was able to observe frst-hand, the residual effect of the conflict  from the turn of the century. It was at this time that his interest in the Boer War 1899–1902 developed. He was a foundation member of the Anglo Boer War Study Group (Australia). Travelling to South Africa over many years, he visited battlefelds and historic sites researching for his books on the Boer War, namely “The Bushveldt Carbineers and the Pietersburg Light Horse” and his second book “Steinaecker’s Horsemen”.

From the 1970s his passionate interest in Boer War medal collecting commenced and continued for nearly 50 years. He was a prolifc collector and actively researched everything he acquired. His interests were many and varied. He was a professional pianist, a licensed gun-smith, had a lifelong involvement in the shooting sports to which he was enthusiastically committed.

This is a rare opportunity for collectors to acquire his treasured medals and memorabilia.


Christopher Haymes 
Chris Haymes (1947-2015) was an avid coin and book collector from childhood, which was overlaid with a special love of Roman history. His participation as a member of the NAV (Numismatic Association of Victoria) and NAA extended over fifty years. 


Chris also had an enduring passion for chemistry and archaeology that took him on a dedicated career path of teaching, coupled with archaeological fieldwork. It was during his many excursions to Syria as an academic and historical tour leader, from 1995 to 2011, that Chris embarked on his PhD dissertation which focused on the coinage of Philip the Arab and Emperor Trajan Decius. While illness prevented the completion of the thesis, he published his earlier research in a number of numismatic journals, and presented catalogued exhibitions of Roman Republican coinage at the core of his collection.


Chris's remarkable Roman coin collection is complemented by his equally impressive numismatic library. Chris loved Roman coins for their sheer artistic beauty, rich iconography and portraiture, along with the political and cultural history they convey. 

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