Most numismatic authors outlive their books. R.W. Julian’s “Medals of the Unites States Mint: The First Century, 1792-1892” provides a modern example of the evergreen numismatic reference.
On May 25, 1857, at Philadelphia’s second Mint, “old coin was traded for new.” Specifically, the Mint took in large cents, as well as worn Spanish and Mexican fractional silver, in return for 1857 Flying Eagle cents.
The author of The Profit March series on coin investment, the Barnumesque George Haylings, was widely off the mark with his predictions of profits to be made in U.S. coins. A roll of U.S. coins he was certain would hit $10,000 in 1971 was actually worth less than $50.
The best numismatic advice comes from the late Aaron Feldman, who wrote “buy the book before the coin,” but before Dr. Bilinski wrote A Guide to Coin Investment, it was impossible for coin investors to heed Feldman’s wise counsel.
During its early years, the American Numismatic Association sought a permanent official publication. Would it be "The Numismatist," then a journal privately owned by the ANA's founder, or "Plain Talk," a youth newspaper with a coin column?
A quiz: When was the first guide book of United States coins published? Most will answer “1947,” the cover date of the Red Book’s first edition. The correct answer is “1860.” In that last antebellum year, George F. Jones invented the retail price guide for American coins.
Why not try collecting one copy of every auction catalog offering an 1804 dollar for sale? If you love challenges, this one will turn your crank. You’ll need to find more than 50 catalogs, ranging in age from 148 years to few months, and in price from hundreds to $15.
Just how “deluxe” have editors Ken Bressett, Q. David Bowers, and Jeff Garrett made A Guide Book of United States Coins: Deluxe Edition, the beloved “Red Book”?
Let’s play “Desert Island Numismatic Book,” and choose a single volume we’d cherish if washed up on Gilligan’s Isle.
Is it possible for you to own a numismatic library without owning a numismatic reference?