Author Topic: Books About American Numismatics  (Read 4326 times)

Offline mmarotta

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Books About American Numismatics
« on: August 07, 2009, 12:59:29 PM »
When I worked at Coin World, one of the books in our reference library had a handwritten note from editor Bill Gibbs never to cite this book as it was unreliable -- even though we published it. Therefore, you need to know which books to read, and the first resource you need is The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.  Their website, www.coinbooks.com will take you to the E-Sylum maillist archives. 

Several books by Q. David Bowers have been recommnded.  If you want great narratives, you might enjoy
  • The Numismatist's bedside companion (1987)
  • The Numismatist's fireside companion (1988)
  • The Numismatist's weekend companion (1992).
Dave Bowers has been called "the Dean of American numismatics" because he has written, co-authored or published over 100 books.  Dave Bowers currently is working with Whitman Books on their stellar series of outstanding new references that are at once lavish and affordable.

Goto Whitman Books, click on Whitman Books at the left and find the numismatic references.  Among those with the strongest narratives -- all nod to pricing; it is what "most people" seem to want -- are these:
  • 100 Greatest U.S. Coins - 3rd Edition $29.95
  • 100 Greatest American Medals and Tokens $29.95
  • History of the United States Mint and Its Coinage $19.95
  • Encyclopedia of U.S. Gold Coins 1795-1933 - 2nd Edition $69.95

Whitman just sold out of Bowers' new Whitman book Colonial and Early American Coins.  That book supplanted the previous standard, Sylvester S. Crosby's Early Coins of America (1876), reprinted last by Quarterman.

Those classic books are the stock in trade of John Burns, Fred Lake, David Sklow and Pete Smith, among a few other numismatic book dealers who bring their wares to conventions.  They also have on-going auctions and catalogue sales.  Collectors of ancients know the ads of Sanford Durst in The Celator.  Sandy Durst's full inventory includes many titles for American numismatics.  He also has done well by doing good because he reprints works that otherwise would be lost. Among the other numismatic publishers focused on American topics are J. T. Stanton, David Lawrence (as DLRC), and Money Tree of Rocky River, Ohio.

Another classic narrative read is The U.S. Mint and Coinage:An Illustrated History from 1776 to the Present by Don Taxay (1966). I consider that one of three books that every numismatist interested in US coinage must own.  The other two are Walter Breen's Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins and The History of United States Coinage as Illustrated by the Garrett Collection by Q. David Bowers.

The Red Book is not a "must."  However, it is ironic that for all the people who own Red Books very few have the attention to detail to notice the Bibliographies of sources in the important headings, such as Gold Dollars, Silver Dollars and Territorial Gold.  Under Silver Dollars, you will find The Fantastic 1804 Dollar by Newman and Bressett.  Eric P. Newman was president of the American Numismatic Society. Kenneth L. Bressett was president of the American Numismatic Association.  You will find no more authoritative and readable narrative about the history of the object that many American collectors consider "The King of Coins."

The best way to read a lot of books cheap is to join the ANA (www.money.org).  ANA members can borrow books from the ANA Library for only the cost of shipping and insurance both ways.  Right now I have materials on The Wizard of Oz (no kidding: some consider it a numismatic parable).  Without the ANA Library, the articles I wrote on The Peace Dollar and Proof Double Eagles would have been impossible.



Mike M.
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Michael E. Marotta
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http://necessaryfacts.blogspot.com
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Offline mmarotta

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Re: Books About American Numismatics
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2009, 01:07:25 PM »
Book Review -- THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO ATTRIBUTING BUST HALF DOLLARS
by Glenn R. Peterson, MD. (2000. Money Tree, Rocky River, Ohio)

This book belongs on the shelf of every collector of American coins. Brad Karoleff's "Introduction" alone, explaining the history of the coin is worth the cover price. Since modern collecting leans heavily to errors and varieties, any collector of any series can benefit from the scientific methodology for identifying die marriages. Dr. Peterson's work sets the new standard for the century.

These large silver coins were the mainstay of America's trade and commerce in the early 1800s. So many are affordable in high grade because banks used them for their hard money reserves and they were stored in bags in vaults.

In the early 1800s, only the major devices on a coin -- Miss Liberty and the Eagle -- were "hubbed" from master dies. Then every letter, numeral and star was placed individually and punched by hand.  As a result varieties and errors abound. 

If you have a Red Book, then you know the previous standard references on Bust Halves cited there: M. L. Beistle (1929) and Overton (1967, 1980).  However, most of the varieties in those books are described in words. Attributing a Bust Half could take an hour. The new book by Glenn Peterson has over 700 high-quality photographs most of them enlargements. Other illustrations are skillful engineering drawings. As a result, you can sit down with a tray of Bust Halves and identify a variety in a matter of minutes. Peterson follows the Overton catalog in his numbering.

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO ATTRIBUTING BUST HALVES provides a year-by-year catalog. Each chapter begins with an overview of American history for that year. Also, each chapter begins with a large, professional engineering drawing of the coin with its areas of interest called out.

The book cost about $100 for hardcover and a bit less ($93.95) for spiral bound. The price may seem high.  However, there is no better book about Bust Halves.  Even if you are not an active collector of Bust Halves by variety, this book is unsurpassed as example of how to scientifically investigate any coin's production. My primary interest in numismatics is Ancient Greek. This book about Bust Halves has already paid for itself by teaching me how to look at any coin's details.

The book is available from
The Money Tree
1260 Smith Court,
Rocky River, Ohio 44116
phone (440) 333-3444
fax (440) 333-4463

Mike M.
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Michael E. Marotta
ANA                                                      MSNS  
http://necessaryfacts.blogspot.com
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Offline coinsarefun

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Re: Books About American Numismatics
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2009, 03:07:21 PM »
Excellent information!!
I thank you for posting this.

Besides the RedBook and a few others


The books that you mention:
    * 100 Greatest U.S. Coins - 3rd Edition $29.95
    * 100 Greatest American Medals and Tokens $29.95
    * History of the United States Mint and Its Coinage $19.95
    * Encyclopedia of U.S. Gold Coins 1795-1933 - 2nd Edition $69.95



I do own these and they are the best! and well worth the money.
The key to collecting is knowledge..........knowledge is king :)



Stefanie

Stefanie

Offline mmarotta

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STRIKING CHANGE -- Roosevelt and Saint Gaudens
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2009, 10:09:15 AM »
Mike M.
------------------------------------------------
Michael E. Marotta
ANA                                                      MSNS  
http://necessaryfacts.blogspot.com
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Offline coinsarefun

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Re: Books About American Numismatics
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2009, 06:09:41 PM »
Very interesting and thanks for the info :)