US Coins

Kolbe & Fanning’s literature auction on Sept. 23

Wayne Homren’s complete set, from 1888 to 1980, of the ANA’s monthly publication “The Numismatist” carries a modest estimate of $1,500. The auctioneer calls it “an unparalleled, comprehensive chronicle of coin collecting in America from the turn of the century to the present.”

Images courtesy of Kolbe & Fanning.

Kolbe and Fanning’s Sale 168 on Sept. 23 will auction two primary consignments: the Richard Cooper Library, which focuses on Canadian coins, and the wide-ranging library of Wayne Homren, well-known to collectors as the editor of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society’s weekly newsletter The E-Sylum.

From the Cooper Library is the first Canadian numismatic publication: Stanley C. Bagg’s 1863 Notes on Coins, Read Before the Numismatic Society of Montreal. The modest text was prepared by Bagg, who was “a notary, large land-owner, justice of the peace and President of the Numismatic and Antiquarian Society of Montreal.” It carries an estimate of $300.

The Cooper Library also includes a finely bound, complete set of The Canadian Antiquarian and Numismatic Journal, from 1872 to 1933, uniformly bound in full red leather.

David Fanning explained, “Entirely complete sets are very rarely encountered, perhaps due in part to a checkered publishing sequence, though it would appear that some issues were also issued in very small quantities.” He called it, “The Canadian equivalent of the American Journal of Numismatics,” published by the American Numismatic Society. The impressive set of 33 volumes has an estimate of $5,000.

An instant library in one lot

Another bulky, but invaluable lot is Homren’s complete set of the American Numismatic Association’s publication The Numismatist, complete from 1888 to 1980. Volumes 1 to 6 from 1888 to 1893 are present in reprint form. According to the lot description, “While condition varies slightly, the set on the whole is near fine, with many of the early years achieving that level of preservation.”

The publication is still considered by most ANA members as the primary benefit of membership.

Fanning added, “The Numismatist remains one of the mainstays of American numismatic literature, though it has never had scholarly pretensions, nor has it been primarily a commercial publication.” The historical issues are “filled with vignettes of collectors of the day, results of important sales, and fascinating gossip on a wide variety of topics.”

Fanning calls the bound set “one of the great bargains of American numismatic literature” as it carries an estimate of just $1,500.

Unusually fine quality

A rarity in the auction is a previously unrecorded plated catalog of the William F. Gable Collection, cataloged by S.H. Chapman and offered at a May 27 to 29, 1914, auction. It features its original printed white paper covers and a full-page halftone frontpiece portrait plate of the collector, along with one of Chapman for good measure, and another 14 photographic plates featuring coins.

The catalog is much nicer than typically found, Fanning writes, stating, “At first glance, it is obvious that this copy is special, being exceptionally well-preserved in the original paper covers and with essentially perfect contents — fresh plates, no internal chipping, virtually untouched. Closer examination quickly draws attention to the paper on which the catalogue is printed. It is subtly tinted, noticeably heavier, and is smoother to the touch than the paper used in other Chapman catalogues.”

It is unclear why this special copy was printed, but the collector was interested in finely bound books, and perhaps Chapman presented the consignor with a specially bound edition of his own collection. According to Chapman, Gable’s coin collection was formed “between the years 1890 and 1901, since which time he has been so engrossed in affairs that he has added practically nothing to it,” and the photographic plates were particularly fine for their day. It is estimated at $3,000.

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