US Coins

Dwight Manley donates Breen books to ANA

Dwight Manley, pictured here, donated a group of books and other material owned by Walter Breen to the ANA.

Image courtesy of the American Numismatic Association.

Dwight Manley, a numismatist and philanthropist, donated more than 60 books, auction catalogs, and photos previously owned by Walter Breen to the American Numismatic Association, according to the ANA May 11.

The items, many of which bear Breen’s handwritten notes and annotations, were purchased from the auction of the Sydney F. Martin Numismatic Library Collection.

The collection’s highlights include two annotated drafts of Walter Breen’s Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins; Breen’s personal copy of The Encyclopedia of United States Silver and Gold Commemorative Coins, 1892-1954, a 1981 reference that he coauthored with Anthony Swiatek; 29 auction catalogs for sales that took place between 1951 and 1978; and 19 photographic plates “depicting colonial-era state and other pre-federal coins with his handwritten notes on rarity.” A number of Breen’s letters are also part of the collection.

Manley reflected on the significance of both Breen and the collection: “Walter Breen had a troubled personal life, but he was one of the top numismatic researchers of his era. These important documents can help current and future researchers provide useful information for our hobby.”

The ANA’s library bears Manley’s name in recognition of a $250,000 donation made in 2003, which Manley described as a “thank-you” for a $400 scholarship awarded to Manley to attend the ANA’s 1980 Summer Seminar. Manley is a lifelong collector who in 1999 purchased the treasure recovered from the SS Central America while serving as managing partner of the California Gold Marketing Group LLC. Manley has also placed record-setting bids for legendary rarities such as the King of Siam Proof set and the finest-known 1913 Liberty Head nickel.

Martin was a noted collector, researcher, and author, who died in January 2021. Kolbe & Fanning Numismatic Booksellers auctioned his collection and library in April 2022.

Breen was a noted researcher and numismatist, whose monographs and books were considered groundbreaking. His personal life, however, was notorious; he died in prison after being convicted of child molestation.

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