Giovanni Aperlo and his Commemorative Coin Collection
Giovanni Aperlo was a reputable doctor from Milan during the first half of the 1900s. He was born in Sassari in 1882 and he graduated in medicine from the University of Siena in 1908. He taught Pathological Surgery at the University of Milan. He first became the director at the Hospital Alessandro Mussolini and then was promoted to Chief of Health Services at the Disease Mutual Fund of industrial workers of the Province of Milan. He died in Milan in August of 1942.
The Aperlo Collection comes to Museo Galileo
On December 3rd, 1941, Doctor Giovanni Aperlo wrote to a colleague, Andrea Corsini, then the director of Museo dell'Istituto Nazionale di Storia delle Scienze di Firenze (now Museo Galileo), to propose the purchase of his collection of coins and medals. In the letter he explained the motive of his offer: "I have to tell you that, unfortunately, for almost a year I have been afflicted with a lymphatic leukaemia that, naturally, for as with any chronic condition does not leave doubt that its final outcome is more or less near. And since my economic position does not permit me to donate my collection but, on the other hand, I would hate if it were dispersed, so I thought I would offer to sell it to an institution dealing with the History of Medicine."
This is just the first letter of many that follow which then bring about the acquisition of this precious collection by the museum. The amount of 12.000 Lire (an amount significantly inferior to the actual value of the medals) was set by Aperlo himself in order to help keep the fruits of his hard work in collecting these so that they could be maintained by an appropriate institution.
Prassitele Piccinini mediated the negotiations. He was not only a physician and hydrologist but also a famous professor in Pharmacology at the University of Milan. The same Piccinini, convinced of the worthiness of this operation personally went to Aperlo's home to take a look at the collection and decided to contribute 5.000 Lire towards the purchase of the collection. After his visit to his colleague Aperlo who was no longer able to leave his home due to health reasons, Piccinini wrote to Corsini on January 26th, 1942, "My dear friend Castaldi writes to me to describe the true importance of the Aperlo Collection. He is right. I went to see it. It is a very unique, beautiful and interesting collection."
The negotiations came to a good ending and Giovanni Aperlo succeeded in sending his collection to Florence just a few months before his death.