US Coins

John Dannreuther’s research volumes at May auction

A comprehensive collection of auction catalogs from Thomas Elder published between 1903 and 1940 carries the top estimate at Kolbe & Fanning Numismatic Booksellers’ May 22 auction.

All images courtesy of Kolbe & Fanning Numismatic Booksellers.

An extensive collection of auction catalogs from the dealer Thomas L. Elder, from 1903 to 1940, carries the top estimate at Kolbe & Fanning’s Important Numismatic Books Sale 160 auction on May 22.

The lot includes 261 catalogs, plus three duplicates, bound in 20 volumes. A number of the catalogs are hand-priced and include the original prices realized lists.

John W. Adams wrote on the often feisty dealer in his second volume of U.S. Numismatic Literature, “He could cause the fur to fly but none could doubt his sincerity and, in the end, few can match the breadth of his contributions.”

The group is nearly 90 percent complete, and many were originally in the library of D.W. Valentine, who the New York Times in its Jan. 25, 1932, obituary called, “one of the best known coin collectors in the United States and the author of two widely read books on numismatics.” Valentine’s book on half dimes is still a standard reference, and he annotated many of the catalogs with prices realized and names of bidders.

The Kolbe & Fanning catalog notes, “Among the over four linear feet of Thomas Elder catalogues present here is the entire numismatic world, waiting to be unlocked by a persistent and hardy researcher,” explaining, “Elder sold everything, and rarities in nearly all U.S., ancient and foreign series are present in abundance.” It was consigned by researcher and Professional Coin Grading Service co-founder John Dannreuther. The lot carries an estimate of $10,000.

Pattern coin research

Also from the Dannreuther library and of interest to researchers is a file folder of mounted pages from Edgar H. Adams and William H. Woodin’s 1913 book, United States Pattern, Trial, and Experimental Pieces, that was the leading reference to the pattern series until Dr. Hewitt Judd’s book decades later.

Kolbe & Fanning calls it “a unique and most interesting assemblage,” with the pages pasted onto blank sheets, holed for a three-ring binder, with extensive ink annotations with additions and corrections.

Included is a 1946 letter by Lenox R. Lohr, writing in his capacity as president of Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry, to dealer Wayte Raymond, addressing pattern 5-cent pieces with the civic leader writing, “If you come into possession of any patterns, trials, or die strikes, I wish you would send them on to me for inspection.”

The lot was originally presented at George Frederick Kolbe’s and Stack’s 2004 sale of the John J. Ford Jr. Library.

An annotated copy of the important 1913 book, with annotations by dealer Abe Kosoff, is offered as a separate lot.

“This copy has been heavily annotated by Abe Kosoff, who was intimately involved with the development of the Judd pattern book that took the AW volume’s place as the standard work on the subject,” the cataloger writes, adding, “the annotations are mostly in blue and red pencil, with blue indicating those pieces in the Newcomer-Boyd collections, and the red indicating those derived from the Woodin-Newcomer-Green-Boyd pedigree chain.”

Dannreuther purchased it from Jack Collins’ first numismatic literature sale in 1983 where it sold for a hammer price of $875, offered as lot 319.

Both the archive and book carry estimates of $1,500.

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