The collection of educational award medals formed by the late T.H. Watts has acquired an aura of mystique over the past 50 years or so. Mr Watts, a schoolmaster himself, appears to have most active in acquiring pieces in the 1950s and early 1960s and was an occasional visitor to the London dealers, particularly A.H. Baldwin & Sons, at that time. After the British Museum had made a photographic record of it, the collection was acquired by Baldwin’s and a listing made by Thomas Curtis, who shared some of his findings with students, including the late Margaret Grimshaw (1904-90), lecturer in Mathematics at Cambridge, bursar of Newnham College and author of the trilogy of catalogues on the subject published between 1981 and 1989.
Quite apart from its sheer breadth, the Watts collection, originally numbering some 1,500 pieces, is particularly noteworthy for its stunning quality. The majority of medals are in superb condition, a testament to the keen eye of its creator. DNW will be selling portions of the collection over the next few auctions and, in so doing, the cataloguer wishes to acknowledge the prior work and research undertaken by Daniel Fearon, much of which is incorporated within the descriptions below.