Cuff, James Dodsley (DNB00)

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CUFF, JAMES DODSLEY (1780–1853), numismatist, was born in 1780, and was the son of a Wiltshire yeoman living at Corsley, near Warminster. His mother was a daughter of Isaac Dodsley, brother of Robert and James Dodsley the publishers. For about forty-eight years he was in the service of the Bank of England, the last twenty-eight being spent in the bullion office. His leisure time he devoted to numismatics. He was one of the original members of the Numismatic Society of London, founded in 1836, and remained a member till his death. In 1839 he was elected a member of the council, and in 1840 honorary treasurer of the society. He was also a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. He made three contributions to the ‘Numismatic Chronicle’ (old series). When in 1847 John Hearne, the publisher, issued a ‘Supplement’ to Ainslie's ‘Illustrations of the Anglo-French Coinage,’ 1830, Cuff, in conjunction with Edward Hawkins, supervised the printing of the work, and contributed descriptions of coins, chiefly from his own cabinet. Cuff was engaged for more than forty years in coin collecting, and his collection, which consisted chiefly of Saxon and English coins, was a remarkable one, and contained many pieces of great rarity. Cuff's collection was, in accordance with the directions of his will, disposed of by public auction, and the sale took place in London at Sotheby's during eighteen days in June and July 1854. The sale catalogue fills 193 pages octavo. The coins sold were Greek and Roman, British, Anglo-Saxon, English (from the Conquest to Victoria), Anglo-Gallic, Irish, Scotch, &c. Cuff's numismatic books were also disposed of. The sale brought 7,054l. Compared with similar coin sales between 1854 and 1883, the Cuff sale is remarkable for its length and for the large sum which it realised. Probably the nearest approach to it is the Bergne sale, which occupied eleven days, and realised 6,102l. 13s. (Thorburn, Guide to British Coins, p. 151). Cuff's English medals came into the possession of the authorities of the Bank of England, and passed into the British Museum as part of the Bank collection.

Cuff's death took place on 28 Sept. 1853, at Prescott Lodge, his house at Clapham New Park. He was buried in Norwood cemetery. His wife—a daughter of Mr. Bartholomew Barry, a Bristol bookseller—survived him. He had no children.

[Gent. Mag. 1853, new ser. xl. 532, 533; Numismatic Journal; Numismatic Chronicle; Priced Catalogue of the Cuff Sale, 1854; Publisher's preface to Supplement to Ainslie's Illustrations.]

W. W.