I was recently on eBay looking for Bibles when I found the
American Standard Book of All U.S. Coins. The seller states
this is the 27th edition from 1960.
The cover says the book covers Alaskan, Hawaiian, Philippine, and
error coins. I have to admit I’m confused on the Alaska part. I
never knew Alaska issued its own currency before. I know about
Hawaii and the Philippines.
Have you heard of this book?
Joshua Holman / Via email
Your question is a good one. We immediately turned to our numismatic
literature columnist (“Numismatic Bookie”), Joel Orosz, for his observations.
“This is a really neat conundrum that I think I may have solved.
When I read your message, I wondered, how could there be there have
been 27 editions of a book I’ve never even heard of?
“Then when I looked at the book’s typeface it looked just like the
typeface used for many years by Wayte Raymond in his
The Standard Catalogue of United States
Coins, which was the pioneering coin guide book that R.S.
Yeoman used as a model when he started the ‘Red Book’ in 1947.
“The first edition of The Standard Catalogue came out in
1934, and by 1957, it had gone through 18 editions (Raymond died in
1956, but John J. Ford took over editing for the 18th edition).
“At first I thought someone bought the rights to The Standard
Catalogue from Raymond’s widow, Olga sometime in 1957 or 1958.
“Then that person renamed the book (keeping ‘Standard’ in the
title), and also renumbered the editions (perhaps by adding the number
of editions of a different guide book he had published to the number
of previous Standard Catalogue editions).
“But when I received the book and looked inside, there was nothing
to reinforce my conjecture about someone buying the rights.
“In fact, information suggests the publisher, R.A. Wilson Sr., had
been publishing variously-titled books like the American Standard
Book since 1931, and Wayte Raymond is not mentioned at all.”
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