Idea of the Week!

Over a given week or two I get many emails regarding numismatic history, research, and the like. Increasingly, more clients as well as others are going beyond looking at the date, grade and price of a coin and are seeking to learn more about it. To me, this is great news, as nearly all United States coins have a story to tell. One of my favorite suggestions for anyone starting is to spend a couple hundred dollars or so for a Carson City Morgan dollar of the early 1880s. These have low mintages, are beautiful to behold and the story of the Carson City Mint — easily enough found on the Internet or by looking through some of our old catalogs — is absolutely fascinating. As has been said, such a coin is like holding history in your hands.

Back to my idea of the week: If history interests you, a good place to start is to take a recent copy of A Guide Book of United States Coins and read the introductory material, the narrative preceding the colonial series. Probably nowhere else in numismatics has so much information been packed into such a small space!

I do not expect you to remember it all, but reading from end to end will give you a nice narrative on a time line. Later, you can check back and reread any items of interest.

A number of years ago I proposed to Whitman that a Specialized Catalog of United States Coins be created. Ken Bressett, editor of the Guide Book and I discussed this. To me there would be room for such a book, following the success of Walter Breen’s Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins published by Doubleday in 1988. We sold 10,000 copies of this book in the first year it was released! Times have changed since then, and with a lot of free information on the Internet I am not sure if this many would be sold of a new book. However, I certainly can envision a fine reception.

In the meantime, check out the early pages in the Guide Book and enjoy what you read. See you next week.

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