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The £4.5m deal will see Baldwin’s boss Edward Baldwin join the Noble board, with his entire staff continuing to do business as now, under the Baldwin name.

Noble managing director Ian Goldbart told ATG that the resulting company, who would operate under the respected and established Baldwin brand, were a natural fit. Noble, who only began trading under their name in October 2003, are an investment company and dealership specialising in high-value English, European and ancient coins. Baldwin’s dealership, AH Baldwin’s, and their auction business, Baldwin’s Auctions, were concerned with the medium to lower end of the market, said Mr Goldbart, and specialise in Middle East, Far East and Islamic coins.

Having also acquired Spink’s specialists Steve (English coins) and Paul (Ancient coins) Hill recently, Noble feel they will now be able to offer a much wider choice and improved service.

Promising more than the current annual total of ten sales, Mr Goldbart said: “You’ll see a much greater range of coin values at sales, from £50 to £50,000. And we probably now have the finest team of numismatists in the world.”

He added that the dealership would also have a much larger and broader stock.

Noble will become the holding company name as the Baldwin brand takes precedence – useful in any future takeovers – but Mr Goldbart felt that Noble would be bringing more than money to the deal. “We want to step up activity a bit. Baldwin’s don’t really have a website to speak of, we can help with that.”

Noble will also acquire Baldwin’s other assets. There is AH Baldwin’s freehold property as well as their stock of rare coins and numismatic reference library, comprising thousands of books and catalogues, independently valued at about £450,000.

Noble’s statement noted that AH Baldwin’s enjoyed a 17.8 per cent growth in turnover in 2004, from £870,000 to £1.025m, although profits dropped slightly.

The deal, which is subject to the outcome of an extraordinary general meeting of Noble shareholders on November 28, will see the new company operating from December 1. It will also bring Noble’s chairman, Nick Bonham, back into active auctioneering for the first time since he quit the board of his family firm. “I think he wants a hammer in his hand again,” said Mr Goldbart, “and not for DIY!”