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1 & 2 February 2023

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№ 815


2 February 2023

Hammer Price:

“We judge the worth of a scientist by the benefits he or she brings to science and society; by this measure Archer Martin was outstanding, and rightfully his contribution was recognized with a Nobel Prize” (James Lovelock, CH, CBE, FRS [1919-2022], writing in 2002)

The honours and awards bestowed upon Archer Martin, National Institute for Medical Research, London, awarded the Nobel Laureate Prize for Chemistry, 1952, for his invention, with Richard Synge, of partition chromatography:

SWEDEN, Svenska Läkaresällskapet [Swedish Medical Society], Stockholm, Jacob Berzelius Medal, 1951, a gold award medal by P.H. Lundgren after C.G. Qvarnström [1849], bust of Jacob Berzelius right, rev. winged Genius standing, filling a cup held by Isis seated right, sphinx at right, edge named (A.J.P. Martin), edge stamped mjv guld 1951, 56mm, 23ct, 144.35g (Storer 332; Brettauer 99), in blue case of issue, lid gilt-blocked ‘Svenska Läkaresällskapet ät A.J.P. Martin’;
SWEDEN, The Nobel Laureate Prize for Chemistry, 1952, a gold award by E. Lindberg for the Kungliga Svenska Vetenskapsakademien [Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, 1902], bust of Alfred Nobel left dividing legends, rev. robed female figures representing Science and Nature, the former holding a scroll and raising a veil over the head of the latter, who holds a cornucopia, tablet below named (Archer J.P. Martin, mcmlii), edge stamped mjv guld 1952, 66mm, 23ct, 204.08g (Storer 2615), in maroon gilt-blocked case of issue, named (Archer J.P. Martin);
The Presentation Certificate for the Nobel Laureate Medal, inscribed Kungliga Svenska Vetenskapsakademien har víd sín sammankomst den 6 November 1952 í enlíghet med föreskrifterna í det av Alfred Nobel den 27 November 1895 upprättade testamentet beslutat att överlamna det prís som detta är bortgives för den víktígaste kemiska upptäckt eller förbättríng till A.J.P. Martin och R.L.M. Synge gemensamt, med hälften till vardera, för deras uppfínníng av fördelníngskromatografíen. Stockholm den 10 December 1952. Sigurd Nauckhoff, Kgl. Vet. Ak:s Preses Arne Werttgren Kgl. Vet. Ak:s Sekreterare [The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, at its meeting on November 6, 1952, in accordance with the provisions of the will drawn up by Alfred Nobel on November 27, 1895, decided to award the prize for the most important chemical discovery or improvement to A.J.P. Martin and R.L.M. Synge jointly, with half to each, for their invention of partition chromatography. Stockholm, 10 December 1952. Sigurd Nauckhoff, Prizes, Arne Werttgren, Secretary], in maroon gilt-blocked binding as presented, with the monogram of Alfred Nobel;
USA, City of Philadelphia, The John Scott Medal, 1958, a light bronze award medal, unsigned, arms of the city of Philadelphia and supporters, rev. wreath, named (A.J.P. Martin, Ph.D., F.R.S., for inventions in Chromatography and particularly Vapor Phase Chromatography, May 16, 1958), 102mm, in fitted maroon and black display case, lid gilt-blocked ‘John Scott Medal, A.J.P. Martin’;
USA, The Franklin Institute, Philadelphia, John Price Wetherill Medal, 1959, a plated bronze award medal, unsigned [1925], bust of John Wetherill left, rev. oak wreath, legend at right, named (1959...A.J.P. Martin R.L.M. Synge – A.T. James), 51mm, in fitted blue display case, lid gilt-blocked ‘F.I.’;
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, [1960], C.B.E. (Civil), Commander’s second type neck badge by Garrard & Co, 65mm, in original black fitted case by Garrard & Co Ltd, 112 Regent Street, W1, with instructions for wear;
The Royal Society Tercentenary, London, Leverhulme Medal, 1963, a gold award medal, unsigned, by the Royal Mint, crest of the Society, rev. shield with arms of England in upper left quarter, edge named (Dr Archer John Porter Martin, C.B.E., F.R.S., 1963), hallmarked jhj [Jack James, Deputy Master] London 1963, 73mm, 9ct, 279.89g, in original red gilt-blocked case by the Royal Mint;
USA, American Pharmaceutical Association, Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Arlington, VA, Kolthoff Medal, 1969, a gold award medal by A. Belskie for Medallic Art Co, New York [1967], bust of Izaak Kolthoff facing, head turned to left, rev. legend, named (In recognition of contributions to Analytical Chemistry, A.J.P. Martin, 1969), 63mm, 10ct, 132.81g, in original black case of issue stamped Medallic Art Co, New York;
Institute of Measurement and Control, London, Callendar Medal, 1971, a frosted silver award medal, unsigned, for A.E. Poston, bust of Guy Callendar right, rev. legend, named (A.J.P. Martin 1971), hallmarked Birmingham 1971, 51mm, in blue fitted case by A.E. Poston & Co Ltd, Lonsdale House, Dowgate Hill, London EC4;
JAPAN, Japan Society for Analytical Chemistry, Honorary Member, 1971, a silver and partially gilt medal, unsigned, lion couchant to right, legend below, rev. JSAC logo, named (Prof. A.J.P. Martin, 1971), stamped 1000, 73mm, in black fitted case with gilt-blocked legend, hinges of case deficient;
JAPAN, Order of the Rising Sun [1972], Second class, set of insignia, comprising neck badge including paulownia flowers suspension, silver-gilt and enamel with red cabochon in centre, 83 x 55mm; star, silver and silver-gilt, with red cabochon in centre, ‘triple hook’ retaining pin, 94mm, complete with neck riband, in rio-nuri lacquered case of issue;
The Presentation Certificate for the Order of the Rising Sun, together with a translation in English, inscribed ‘The Second Class of the Order of the Rising Sun is hereby conferred upon Mr Archer John Porter Martin, Englishman, by His Majesty the Emperor of Japan...the Imperial Palace...the Thirty-first of the Third Month of the Forty-seventh Year of Showa’ [31 March 1972], with the seals of office of Eisaku Sato, Prime Minister, and Kazuma Yoshihara, Director of Decoration Bureau;
GERMANY, 25 Tagung der Nobelpreisträger, Lindau [25th Meeting of the Nobel Prize Winners], 1975, a heavy cast bronze medal by Marianne Kiesselbach, three naked females, their modesty hidden by shields bearing the signs of the planets, the staff of Æsculapius and a model of the atom, rev. cityscape, arms above, 126mm, in a blue plastic box, inside of lid with label ‘Dr Marianne Kiesselbach, Bildhauerin, 4 Düsseldorf, Moorenstr. 84’;
USA, The Mikhail Tswett Medal for Distinguished Research in Chromatography, 1976, a light bronze award medal, unsigned, for Medallic Art Co, Danbury, CT, bust of Mikhail Tswett half-left, rev. oak wreath, tablet named (A.J.P. Martin), 63mm, in dark blue fitted case;
ESTONIA, 75th Anniversary of the Discovery of Chromatography, Tallinn, 1978, a bronze award medal, unsigned, bust of Mikhail Tsvet facing, head turned to right, rev. names of the cities associated with Tsvet, named (A.J.P. Martin), 70mm, in wooden case with glazed lid;
USA, Merck & Company and the University of Connecticut, Randolph Major Medal, 1979, a light bronze award medal, unsigned, for Medallic Art Co, Danbury, CT, bust of Randolph Major half-right, head facing, rev. wreath, named (A.J.P. Martin 10-5-79), 76mm, in white card box of issue;
Chromatography Society Discussion Group, Martin Medal, 1983, a silver-gilt award medal by Tower Mint [1978], bust of Archer Martin left, rev. wreath, named (Dr Archer Martin F.R.S.), hallmarked London 1983, 45mm, in red leatherette case of issue;
AUSTRIA, Österreichische Gesellschaft für Mikrochemie und Analytische Chemie [Austrian Society of Analytical Chemistry], Fritz Pregl Medal, 1985, a bronze award medal by W. Gosser [1931], bust left, rev. legend, named (Archer J.P. Martin, in Würdigung Seiner Aussergewöhnlichen Wissenschaftlichen Leistungen, 26 September 1985), 70mm, in maroon gilt-blocked case of issue [Lot]. All medals and awards in mint state, as issued; an exceptional group of extreme rarity £100,000-£150,000

Archer John Porter Martin, CBE, FRS (1910-2002), b. London; educ. Oaklands School Crouch End, Bedford School and Peterhouse, Cambridge; researcher at Dunn Nutritional Laboratory, Cambridge, 1933-8; moved to Leeds to work at the Wool Industries Research Association, Headingley, where, with Richard Synge, he invented partition chromatography, one of the most powerful analytical techniques ever developed for separating and identifying the components of complex mixtures, their invention in 1944 arising from research on analysing the amino acid components of wool fibre; director of biochemical research at Boots, Nottingham, 1946-8; Medical Research Council, Lister Institute, Mill Hill, London, 1948-57, appointed head 1952; FRS 1950; purchased Abbotsbury House, Elstree, with his Nobel prize money, establishing Abbotsbury Laboratories Ltd, 1959; CBE 1960; consultant to Wellcome Medical Research, Beckenham, 1970-3; professorial appointments at the University of Sussex 1973-4, Houston University 1974-9 and the École Polytechnique, Lausanne, 1979-80; retired to Llangarron, Herefordshire.

The public first became aware of Archer’s genius when he shared the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1952 with Richard Synge for their ground-breaking invention of partition chromatograpy, an effective method of separating compound elements that had far-reaching implications for analytical chemistry. Archer’s singular intellect and approach to life were evident from childhood. Unable to read at the age of nine, the breakthrough came when he was given a book about batteries and couldn’t find anyone in the household to read it to him. He simply decoded it and became a competent reader.
Archer suffered with stomach ulcers. During the war he was allowed extra milk as an anti-inflammatory. When his ulcer became very troublesome in later life, he was puzzled that milk then proved ineffective. Learning that pasteurisation methods had changed, he experimented with unpasteurised milk but was annoyed to find himself putting on weight. He decided to separate the milk and found the active ingredient in the whey, which he could then concentrate. He persuaded various companies to test the extract which they found effective at calming inflammation. He demonstrated this himself by burning his arms with a cigarette, but they refused to invest in his discovery because, whey being a natural product, it could not be patented.
He suffered intermittently from depression, and with restless leg syndrome, and wondered whether modern sleeping arrangements might be the cause. Archer allied himself in many ways with primitive man, believing there had been too little time for evolution to have caused significant change. He reasoned that early man must have slept beside a fire at night, with one side heated and the other chilled, and must have turned over as needed. He tested this by spending several nights lying on the hearthrug in front of his bedroom gas fire, but to no positive effect.
By contrast, one of the most successful experiments he took part in was when he was the patient rather than the researcher in a trial involving the THA (Tetrahydroaminoacridine) drug for alzheimer’s disease. Early absentmindedness hinted at the dementia that was to blight his later life. As the condition developed it is thought to have cost him his lifelong post as a professor at the University of Houston after he produced only a couple of minor papers rather than the more regular output expected. A subsequent tenure in Switzerland proved no better when he repeated failed experiments after forgetting that he had done them before, and he was left unable to study because he immediately forgot what he had just read.
As a talented linguist, Archer lost his ability to understand French, while confusing German and Dutch. He missed appointments and would set out for award ceremonies only to forget where he was going. A particular low point came when he wrecked his wife’s car driving furiously out of their driveway, and he never drove again.
Despair turned to hope when he became one of the first volunteers for the THA trial, with astonishing results. After just a short course of the drug, not only was Archer able to discuss the possible effects coherently, but he also managed to criticise research proposals shared with him by a colleague. Damage to his liver meant that he had to have a break from the drugs.
Discussing education with his elder son Paul, he said that in an ideal world he would have created clones of his children so that he could send one set each to very different schools to properly evaluate their relative effectiveness (he had hated his own schooldays). “He taught me more than any of the schools I went to as we grew up amidst his workshops and laboratories, and always was willing and able to answer any technical question I could devise. At age six he gave me a lesson in oxyacetylene welding,” said Paul.
Archer’s scientific legacy remains widespread today. Chromatography is a technique for separating components in a substance. Many specialised types have been developed for specific purposes and are essential tools for the life science industries. These include testing for drugs in blood, urine and breath, and the development of new drugs. They are used in the development of vaccines and their purification. In food production they analyse ingredients, toxic impurities, pesticide residues. They are relied upon for detection of pollutants in the environment, in soil, water and air. Archer, a teetotaller, was amused to realise his work had made possible the breathalyser.

Richard Lawrence Millington Synge (1914-94), biochemist; b Liverpool; educ. Winchester and Trinity Colleges, Cambridge; Wool Industries Research Association, Headingley, 1941-3; Lister Institute of Preventive Medicine, 1943-8; Rowett Research Institute, Aberdeen, 1948-67; Food Research Institute, Norwich, 1967-76; honorary professor of biological sciences at the University of East Anglia, 1968-84.

Jöns Jacob Berzelius (1779-1848), one of the founders of modern chemistry; b Väversanda, Sweden; medical student, Uppsala University, 1796-1801; professor of chemistry and pharmacy, Karolinska Institute, 1808-36; discovered silicon, 1824, and coined the terms polymer in 1833 and protein in 1838.

Sigurd Adolf Gustafsson Nauckhoff (1879-1954), b Grängesberg, Sweden, managing director of Nitroglycerin AB, became a member of the Kungliga Svenska Vetenskapsakademien in 1939.

John Price Wetherill (1844-1906), mining engineer, b Montville, NJ; served in the 147th Pennsylvania Infantry, 1863; chief mining engineer for the Philadelphia & Reading Coal and Iron Co; acquired joint ownership of the Lehigh Zinc and Iron Co, 1881, of which he was general manager; company later merged with the New Jersey Zinc Co. The medal named after him was established by a family bequest in April 1917, and brought to fruition by the board of managers at the Franklin Institute in 1925, with the first award made in 1926 and the last in 1997. Among the other four recipients of the medal in 1959 was Martin’s Nobel Laureate compatriot Richard Synge, whose papers are deposited at Trinity College, Cambridge.

William Hesketh Lever, 1st Viscount Leverhulme (1851-1925), industrialist, philanthropist and politician; b Bolton; educ. University of Edinburgh; joined Lever & Co, the family grocery business, 1867; began manufacturing Sunlight soap, 1884; established Lever Bros, 1886 and founded Port Sunlight; Liberal MP for the Wirral, 1906-9; cr. Baron Leverhulme, 1917. The Leverhulme Medal, a triennial award supported by the Leverhulme Trust, was first presented in 1960 and has an additional cash prize of £2,000.

Izaak Maurice Kolthoff (1894-1993), widely considered as the father of analytical chemistry; b Almelo, Netherlands; educ. University of Utrecht, PhD; lecturer in electrochemistry 1918-27; emigrated to the US 1927, working at the University of Minnesota 1927-62; founded the American Chemical Society Division of Analytical Chemistry, 1938; developed the process for producing synthetic rubber during World War II.

John Scott (†1815), an Edinburgh druggist, established a fund calling upon the corporation of Philadelphia entrusted with the management of Benjamin Franklin’s legacy to bestow upon ‘ingenious men or women who make useful inventions’ a cash premium and a suitably inscribed copper medal. The first awards were made in 1822 and past recipients included Thomas Edison, Guglielmo Marconi, Wilbur and Orville Wright and Marie Curie. Archer Martin was one of four recipients of the medal in 1958.

Guy Stewart Callendar (1898-1964), steam engineer and inventor, b Montreal; educ. St Paul’s School; seconded to the Air Ministry testing aircraft engines at RAE Farnborough; worked at Imperial College, London; an early student of the effects of global warming and infra-red radiation, measuring the effects of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

The Japanese Society for Analytical Chemistry, founded in 1952, is headquartered in Tokyo.

The Lindau Nobel Laureate meetings have been staged annually at Lindau, on the shores of Lake Constance, since 1951, with the aim of bringing prize winners and young scientists from up to 90 countries together to promote scientific exchange across generations, cultures and disciplines.

Mikhail Semyonovich Tsvet, or Tswett (1872-1919), Russian-Italian botanist, b. Asti; BS degree from the University of Geneva, 1893, PhD 1896; laboratory assistant at the Institute of Plant Physiology, Warsaw, 1897, later assistant professor, 1903; evacuated to Moscow, 1914, then to Gorki, 1916; professor of botany at the University of Tartu, Estonia, 1917-18. Tsvet invented chromatography in 1903, when he separated the pigments from plants by washing them down a column of powdered chalk with an organic solvent, but his research was not published until 1905 and the term was first used in print in 1906.

Randolph T. Major (1901-76), organic chemist; b Columbus, OH; educ. University of Nebraska and Princeton; director of research programmes at Merck; research professor at the University of Virginia, 1967-70, then University of Connecticut, 1970-6.

Fritz Pregl (1869-1930), Slovenian-Austrian chemist and physician, b Ljubljana, worked at the University of Graz, awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1923 for making important contributions to quantitative organic microanalysis.

Recent Nobel Prize Medals sold include:
Dimitry Muratov, Nobel Peace Prize for 2021 ($103.5m, June 2022); Walter Kohn, Nobel Prize for Chemistry, 1998, ($457,531, January 2022); Murray Gell-Man, Nobel Prize for Physics, 1969, ($625,000, April 2021); Friedrich von Hayek, Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, 1968, (£950,000, October 2019); John Forbes Nash Jr, Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, 1994, ($735,000, October 2019); Richard Feynman, Nobel Prize for Physics, 1965, ($975,000, November 2018); Alfonso Garcia Robles, Nobel Peace Prize for 1982, ($487,500, April 2017); Sir Cyril Hinshelwood, Nobel Prize for Chemistry, 1956 ($1,280,000, November 2017); Kary Mullis, Nobel Prize for Chemistry, 1993, ($665,000, February 2016)