A new column about collecting numismatic books and literature makes
its debut in Coin World this week.
The column, titled “Numismatic Bookie,” will be written by Joel J.
Orosz, a widely published numismatic author and a charter member of
the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
“We are delighted that Joel has joined our team of expert
Coin World Editor Beth Deisher. “This area of
numismatics is growing and offers many opportunities for collectors.
He is the ideal person to provide insight and tips for those who may
be interested in exploring numismatic literature as a collecting specialty.”
Orosz has served the NBS in many capacities, including as editor
of its official journal, The Asylum, from 1985 to 1987; as
board member from 1986 to 2008; as a longtime columnist for The
Asylum under the byline of “The Printer’s Devil”; and as the
founding historian/archivist since 1989.
His books on numismatic topics include: The Eagle That is
Forgotten: Pierre Eugene Du Simitiere, Founding Father of American
Numismatics (1987), and The Secret History of the First
United States Mint: How Frank H. Stewart Destroyed—And Then Saved—A
National Treasure (2011, co-authored with Leonard Augsburger).
Orosz says his long journey in numismatics was launched in 1965,
when he began helping his father search rolls of circulating Lincoln
cents. After time out for high school and college, he returned to the
hobby in earnest in 1982, when he purchased a large library of
numismatic literature for $500, which represented his entire pool of
capital at the time. The library contained near-complete runs of
Stack’s catalogs and The Numismatist, as well as a complete
run of B. Max Mehl’s Numismatic Monthly. That single purchase
became the core around which he established his numismatic library.
Today his collection is ranked as the finest of rare and ephemeral
literature of antebellum American numismatics, much of which was
published in non-numismatic titles and is therefore very elusive. His
collection is also notable for its association and provenance value,
with hundreds of pieces inscribed by the authors and subsequent owners
He also collects numismatic Americana in the field of tokens and
medals, especially store cards and personal tokens issued by 19th and
early 20th century American coin dealers and numismatists.
He is a member of the American Numismatic Association and is a
fellow of the American Numismatic Society. He was invited to join the
Rittenhouse Society in 2002.
He has written dozens of articles published in The
Numismatist, The American Journal of Numismatics, The Asylum
and Rare Coin Review. His specialty is numismatic biography.
His writing has been recognized with awards from the NBS, the
Numismatic Literary Guild and the ANA (winning both the ANA’s Heath
literary award and its Raymond research award).
Orosz earned his bachelor of arts degree in American History from
Kalamazoo College, his master’s degree in history and museum studies
from Case Western Reserve University, and his doctorate in American
social history at Case Western Reserve University. His doctoral
thesis, Curators and Culture: The Museum Movement in America,
1740-1870, was published by the University of Alabama in 1990.
Orosz began his career as a museum curator at the Kalamazoo Public
(now Kalamazoo Valley) Museum in 1983. In 1986, he joined the W.K.
Kellogg Foundation as executive assistant to the CEO and chairman of
the board. He was promoted to associate program director in 1989, to
program director in 1990, and to coordinator for philanthropy and
volunteerism programming. The centerpiece of his work at Kellogg was a
20-year, $64 million initiative, the Michigan Community Foundations’
Youth Project. The project founded 23 new community foundations across
the state, and permanently endowed 86 Youth Advisory Councils, which
have trained tens of thousands of young people in techniques of good
grant making and fundraising. His Kellogg grants also established the
Michigan Campus Compact, the Michigan Nonprofit Association, the
Michigan Community Service Commission and the Dorothy A. Johnson
Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University.
In 2001 he joined Grand Valley State University’s Johnson Center
for Philanthropy as Distinguished Professor of Philanthropic Studies,
only the third person in the university’s history to hold the rank of
distinguished professor. While at the Johnson Center, he founded The
Grantmaking School, the first university-based training program for
charitable foundation professionals. In July of 2010 he retired and
was named Distinguished Professor of Philanthropic Studies Emeritus by
the university’s board of trustees. ■