John Hayward, Mark Quayle and Oliver Pepys
The three medal specialists who are leaving Spink and joining Dix Noonan Webb. From left to right: John Hayward, consultant to the department at Spink since 1993; Mark Quayle, appointed as head of the medals department at Spink in 2006; Oliver Pepys, at Spink since 2005, and latterly the department’s business manager and auctioneer.

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Mark Quayle, Oliver Pepys and John Hayward comprised the core of the medals department at Spink and have a combined service of 47 years.

Pierce Noonan, partner at DNW, said the appointments were “a very important moment” for the firm, describing the trio as “three of the most knowledgeable and highly respected experts in the field of orders, decorations and medals”.

Olivier Stocker, chairman and CEO at Spink, and the 350-year old firm’s owner, told ATG the medals department at Spink “is very much an important part of the company” and would “carry on under new leadership. In any event, our expertise in medals extends beyond the department itself”.

Philip Skingley, recently appointed business manager of Spink’s numismatic department, will take charge of Spink’s forthcoming 533-lot Orders, Decorations and Medals catalogue on April 21.

ATG’s annual survey of the London coins and medals market (reported in the printed edition of ATG No 2230) revealed that in 2015, DNW had 65.5% of the total medals market (£5.2m) with one-time market leader Spink some distance behind at 15% (£1.2m).

Across the numismatic world, including coins and notes, Spink remained the leading player in 2015, with sales of £10.9m.

Olivier Stocker of Spink

Olivier Stocker, chairman and CEO at Spink.

Stocker conceded that “we have thought in the last few years that Spink was not boxing its full weight in medals and orders”.

Quayle, Pepys and Hayward handed in their resignations on Monday, April 4 with the news announced by DNW the following day.

The possibility of one or more Spink specialists joining DNW is understood to have been discussed for some time – prompted by the imminent retirement of DNW’s long-serving specialist Brian Simpkin (also ex-Spink).

Once Quayle and Pepys made the decision to go, John Hayward, a consultant to the firm since 1993, followed.

Small Specialist Pool

Stocker agreed that, with a small pool of available specialists in this area, the movement of staff was inevitable but described the timing of the announcement as both “disappointing” and “premature”.

“The medals team continues to be employed by Spink during their notice periods and are not free to actually join DNW for some time. The [Tuesday, April 5] announcement was therefore premature.”

“Spink has a policy not to comment on its staff hirings, especially when people are still employed by others and still bound by duties of loyalty to their existing employer that we totally respect.

“Indeed, we have hired three excellent specialists from competitors in recent weeks, but no announcements were or will be made until they completed their time with their existing employers.”

Dix Noonan Webb was founded in 1990 as Buckland Dix & Wood, taking its present name in 1996.

Spink plan a celebration of the firm’s 350th anniversary in September.