When asked about the evolution of a collector into a numismatist, I
often use the following definition: the first year that you spend more
money on your library than you do on your numismatic purchases is when
you become a numismatist.
I remember early in my collecting career that I thought I was in
possession of an adequate numismatic library. I had obtained a “Red
Book” (A Guide Book of United States Coins), a “Blue Book”
(Handbook of United States Coins), A Guide to the
Grading of United States Coins and the Photograde
grading guide, and even a copy of Bert Harshe’s How to Detect
Altered & Counterfeit Coins and Paper Money. I had the
ability to grade any U.S. coin and look up the wholesale and retail
pricing for it as well as knowing that it was authentic. What more
could I ask for? Now, hundreds of books and catalogs later, I am still
searching for more education.
Which brings up the eternal question: What is more valuable to me,
the coins or the books?
Most of the coins reside in a safe deposit box for security, while
the books are stored at home on shelves, in an old built-in china
closet (my house was built in 1899) and in stacks on the floor.
They are within easy reach. The coins require a trip across town.
What is a poor collector to do? Easy — buy more books!
Everyone knows about all the numismatic societies that cater to
the collectors of coins from specific series.
Not everyone knows about the Numismatic Bibliomania Society for
collectors of numismatic literature. I strongly recommend that
everyone join the society to share in our passion for printed
numismatic literature even as digital publishing expands.
You can get membership information at the NBS website, www.coinbooks.org/, where you can
sign up to begin receiving your weekly fix of numismatic literature
information via email.
The free E-Sylum weekly newsletter supplements the
quarterly printed journal, The Asylum.
E-Sylum is delivered to your inbox every Sunday evening
containing immeasurable amounts of information and delight to its
subscribers. The opening table of contents alerts readers to what is
in the newsletter. Submissions from readers include the latest news on
books, auctions, numismatic trivia and requests for information. I
guarantee satisfaction with your subscription, or I’ll personally
refund your subscription fee!
So, begin building your numismatic library. You will find more
enjoyment from your coin purchases. You may even find yourself reading
something outside our numismatic circle to learn more about the
history of your coins.
Brad Karoleff is a vice president of the John Reich Collectors
Society and editor of the club’s journal. He can be reached via email