1930s auction catalogs

Finding the value of publications
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Published : 02/16/14
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I recently bought some old coin auction catalogs at an auction and was wondering if they have any value whatsoever.

They are dated 1937 to 1939 and are from B. Max Mehl and Stack’s.

They are all in nice condition with no tears, pencil marks or defects.

Any information you can give me is appreciated.

Monroe Yoder

Millersburg, Ohio

B. Max Mehl, of Fort Worth, Texas, was the founder and owner of The Numismatic Company of Texas. He joined the American Numismatic Association in 1903 and published his first price guide a year later.

Mehl published The Star Rare Coin Encyclopedia — Listing Coins of the World and Mehl’s Coin Circular, among other publications.

He produced catalogs for 116 auctions. He sold coins to a number of the “who’s who” in 19th and 20th century numismatics and then often auctioned their collections. Mehl died Sept. 27, 1957.

Stack’s Rare Coins was established in New York City in 1933 by brothers Joseph and Morton Stack.

The firm conducted its first public auction Oct. 18 to 19, 1935. The firm began issuing fixed-price lists in 1939. In 2011 Stack’s and Bowers and Merena merged to become Stack’s Bowers Galleries. Bowers and Merena, headquartered in Irvine, Calif., was founded in 1983 by Ray Merena and Q. David Bowers. The merged firms continue to conduct auctions today.

Numismatic literature includes books, auction catalogs and dealer’s fixed price lists, each category very collectible. Just like coins and other numismatic collectibles, condition and rarity influence the value of a book or catalog.

To get an idea of the value of the items you found, Coin World’s numismatic literature columnist, Joel Orosz, suggests first putting together a list of the title, date and condition of your publications.

Then contact numismatic booksellers who regularly hold public or mail bid auctions. Many of these dealers advertise regularly in Coin World.

Orosz said that 1930s-era Stack’s catalogs sell for about $50 to $75 retail and about half of that at the wholesale level.

A 1940 copy of Mehl’s “encyclopedia” recently sold for $17 on eBay. A copy of Mehl’s Nov. 8, 1932, The R. Taylor and Other Collections auction catalog was being offered on eBay for $35.

Again, auction catalogs issued by these firms may sell for more or less, depending on condition and rarity.

Coin World’s Readers Ask department does not accept coins or other items for examination without prior permission from Coin World. Readers Ask also does not examine error or variety coins. Materials sent to Readers Ask without prior permission will be returned unexamined. Please address all Readers Ask inquiries to cweditor@coinworld.commailto: Joeljorosz@gmail.com or call 800-673-8311, Ext. 172.

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