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GNA XIV Consignors

Philip T. Ashton

Philip T. Ashton could be described as a man motivated by learning, seeking, or searching in an effort to answer, solve, or find. Phil was born on February 24th, 1934 to English immigrants. As an only child he could entertain himself, was a quick learner, and loved to read. Phil attended Yale University where he earned a bachelor of science in electrical engineering in 1956. It was there that he met his wife, Jane Bishop. Phil worked much of his life for Northeast Utilities (now Eversource). In 1990 he orchestrated the required spin off of the natural gas business and formed Yankee Energy. He was president until his retirement in 1995. Phil was a great community leader all of his adult life, making lasting changes in many areas and organizations. When Phil was about eight years old he had an illness that required a few weeks of bed rest. During that time he was introduced to stamp collecting. Phil recalled that stamps helped him learn about the world, geography, and personalities of interest. Phil became an avid reader and history was his love. Over time, Philís collections became an extension of his learning. Phil, and his wife Jane, began to travel in the 1970ís, and Bermuda was a favorite destination. Phil put together an extensive collection of Bermuda stamps, books, maps, and some art work. He often volunteered with the Bermuda National Trust during their visits, his knowledge and time always valued. Family lore suggests that Phil received a few of his earliest Roman coins from his daughters, purchased in England in 1973. As Phil and Jane began to travel to Europe, Greece, and Italy, his interest in coins heightened. Museums were always favorite stops, and then on to book and coin shops. By the time Phil retired, he had become a discerning collector of ancient Roman and Greek coins. Phil went to some coin shows, but he could spend hours poring over numismatic auction catalogs from all over the world. The ones from Harlan J. Berk, Ltd. were his favorite. He would make notations on coins he was interested in, such as whose bust was on the coin, unusual features of the coin, symbol meanings, and the history of the time. For Phil, it was always about the hunt. Once a coin was acquired, he considered and appreciated it, and then it was catalogued. Phil returned to the hunt for the next coin that would delight him and bring history alive in some way. Phil passed away in January of 2017. He is survived by Jane, his wife of 60 years, their four children and spouses, and 10 grandchildren. His family, and many others continue to marvel at how his love of history and knowledge grew continuously throughout his life. May it be so for all who enjoy his collections.

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