By Hadrien Rambach
Count Magnaguti was born in Mantova, at the Castello di Cerlongo di Goito. He graduated from the University of Naples in jurisprudence, but then devoted himself to the management of his own extensive lands.
His major collection of Mantovan coins has been preserved intact, and was acquired in 1993 by the Banca Agricola Mantovana from the family, but his ancient coins had been auctioned by Santamaria in Rome beginning in 1949.
He wrote that he had started to collect coins in 1905, and that his coins of Hadrian and the Gonzagas had been found all over the world (especially in Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Holland, Belgium, England, France and America) but that by 1928 he couldn’t find anything to purchase anymore that he didn’t already have. He had a special interest for the coins of Alexander the Great, possibly because of their shared name, and published research on the mint of Mantova in his twenties.
His passion was so extreme that he did not hesitate to go to great lengths to obtain a coin that he desired: he once restored the entire convent of Castiglione delle Stiviere in order to get a gold coin found there. But the strain of the war, and his relative impoverishment after WWII, probably explain why he stopped collecting and sold his coins – with the exception of the Gonzaga collection.
- Franco Bompieri, “Un collezionista mantovano Conte Alessandro Magnaguti”, in Il Collezionismo numismatico italiano, Milan 2014, pp. 194-196; John Spring, Ancient Coins Auction Catalogues 1880-1980, London 2009, pp. 255-256.
- Hadrien Rambach, “Provenance glossary”, in Numismatica Ars Classica, Auction 91: the George W. La Borde collection of Roman aurei – part I, Zurich, 23 May 2016, pp. -.
- Hadrien Rambach, “Provenance glossary”, in Numismatica Ars Classica, Auction 99: the George W. La Borde collection of Roman aurei – part II, Zurich, 29 May 2017, pp. 47-63.
- Hadrien Rambach, “Provenance glossary”, in Numismatica Ars Classica, Auction 105: the George W. La Borde collection of Roman aurei – part III, Zurich, 9 May 2018, pp. 82-105.
This article was first published in a catalogue of auction house Numismatica Ars Classica.