As you read these words I am busy writing a new book, Coins and Collectors Part 2. Next year, 2014, will be the 50th anniversary of the first book I ever wrote, Coins and Collectors. I was in my early twenties at the time, but was already recognized as one of America’s leading dealers, having been in the trade since 1953, when I started on a part-time basis in high school. While collecting coins and dealing in them I found a special interest to be numismatic history. At the time there was a world of interesting information available at virtually no cost. Back issues of The Numismatic Scrapbook Magazine, The Numismatist, auction catalogs of B. Max Mehl, Stack’s and other firms, the American Journal of Numismatics and reference books were for the most part very inexpensive. In the early days many of these were gifted to me by members of the Wilkes-Barre Coin Club. There was no market for them. By 1964 there was a great deal of interest, and scarce auction catalogs could sell for a few dollars or more, quite a bit more when it came to those put out by the Chapman brothers and illustrated with photographic plates, for example. I enjoyed reading the magazines in particular, as year by year the scenes of numismatics unfolded. Along the way I learned many interesting stories. This led me to write Coins and Collectors, an assortment of things I found diverse and interesting — from the 1955 Doubled Die cent in which my business partner Jim Ruddy and I were very involved in the marketing arena to stories of old-time coin dealers, the Columbian Exposition and the coins there, and more.
Coins and Collectors sold quite well, and in time we reprinted, probably with a total press run of fewer than 10,000 copies, however. It was picked up by Crown Publishers, a mainstream publisher and distributor, given a new cover, and offered at a discount price all over America. I was told that over 100,000 copies were sold! If so, this probably was the best-selling rare coin book of its time, exceeded only by the annual Guide Book of United States Coins. Now, Coins and Collectors Part 2 will have new stories, new adventures, and new insights — as so much has happened since then. I do not have a deadline in completing it as in this way I can’t be late! However, I do hope to have the copy in the hands of Whitman Publishing by the end of the year, which indicates that it might be available in spring 2014. Stay tuned.
Thank you for reading my latest weekly e-column, a collection of clippings, comments, things that amuse me, numismatic comments, and more. You can contact me at [email protected].