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The late John Hayward.

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Known to everyone interested in medals, John was also familiar to many in the antiques trade, especially when he had his London premises in Piccadilly Arcade.

After serving in the RAF, he worked for the Royal Mint and it was here that he gleaned the ‘technical’ information (about the manufacture and naming of medals) which was to set him in such good stead as a dealer.

In fact, when he left the Mint to become a dealer, he rapidly established himself as the most technically knowledgeable expert in the UK.

Success bred success and, largely as a result of a remarkable nationwide advertising campaign, John’s business rapidly became the leading player in the field.

To further encourage collectors, he then turned to publishing both new books and, more significantly, reprinting old reference works, many of them excessively rare official government publications which had long been unobtainable.

In the early 1980s he decided to leave take semi-retirement but, after a short time, was persuaded by Christie’s to become consultant to its medal department which was looking to expand.

John threw himself into this new challenge with characteristic enthusiasm, bringing immediate benefit to his new employer.

To further encourage collectors, he then turned to publishing both new books and, more significantly, reprinting old reference works, many of them excessively rare official government publications which had long been unobtainable.

In the early 1980s he decided to leave take semi-retirement but, after a short time, was persuaded by Christie’s to become consultant to its medal department which was looking to expand.

John threw himself into this new challenge with characteristic enthusiasm, bringing immediate benefit to his new employer.

Fresh career move

When, in due time, Christie’s bought out Spink and transferred its numismatic department, John also changed his allegiance and began working for his former biggest competitor. All the while, he continued to deal on his own account and to advise his many personal clients.

Some 10 years ago he contracted acute pancreatitis which, largely due to his great strong constitution, he was able to defeat. However, it left him somewhat weakened and, sadly, his health gradually deteriorated thereafter.

In recent years and up until the time of his death John worked as a consultant at auction house Dix Noonan Webb, where his wisdom and expertise were still in much demand by his loyal following of clients.

Michael Naxton, Curator Emeritus, Ashcroft Medal Collection