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HomeCollecting StrategiesCoin Board News Number 57 - For Collectors of Antique Coin Boards

Coin Board News Number 57 – For Collectors of Antique Coin Boards

Antique Coin Boards with David W. Langewww.coincollectingboards.com …..

Coin Board News by David W. Lange

For Collectors of Antique Coin Boards

Number 57 — Winter 2021

Annual Update Issue

 

A YEAR OF MINIMAL CHANGE

Yes, 2020 was a year in which we were all too distracted with a pandemic and a contentious presidential election to generate much action in the coin board hobby. As a result, there was just a single update to my board book for the entire year, and that was reported in Coin Board News 56.

There were, however, a number of new varieties and a few corrections to my three coin album books.

MARKET ACTIVITY

There was little of note this past quarter, as the coin board hobby seemingly has joined much of our society in quarantine.

Most of the offerings have been common boards that were/are overpriced or simply unattractive. The sole exceptions are a pair of Oberwise boards for Shield/Liberty Head Nickels and Buffalo Nickels that are quite nice but loaded up with coins that push their BIN prices a bit high for board seekers.

An interesting new entry, while it doesn’t quite meet our definition of a coin board, is a line of laminated coin sorting mats. They’ve been appearing in YouTube videos that feature the hopeful poster sorting through large quantities of coins for “keepers”. I bought a couple of these mats just for reference.

NEW EDITION OF KOCKEN BOOK

Fellow collector Donald Kocken has published a new and expanded edition of his book Collecting Vintage Coin Boards, Albums, and Folders: 1930s to 1960’s. It’s a fun and well-illustrated introduction to the many such products that were produced during the hobby’s golden age.

In addition to actual coin collecting holders, the book features a look at bank “dime savers” and holiday coin gift cards. There’s even a charming poem by Don’s daughter describing the adventure of his hobby. This 74-page book is $21.40 postpaid and may be ordered directly from Don at [email protected] or by calling (920) 337-6509.

MORE ABOUT NORMAN H. BROCK

Last month I featured a coin board vendor stamp and several wooden nickels put out by this San Antonio coin dealer, and I promised to have more about him this time.

Norman Howard Brock was born October 12, 1908, in Milwaukee. He was a college graduate, married to Laurine Nummy (1913-82). Brock died May 25, 1991, but his death notice didn’t appear in The Numismatist for another 15 years. This happens more often than one would expect, as paid life members often continue receiving the magazine until someone finally notifies the ANA of his or her passing.

From the volume of his advertising during the 1930s and ’40s, Brock must have operated a rather prosperous business.

We know from his wooden nickels that his shop was relocated a few times, so I pulled out my collection of American Numismatic Association Membership Directories. The earliest address I have is 413 Avenue E in San Antonio during 1935. In 1940 his address was 108 Broadway, and he listed his specialty as U. S. Commemorative Halves; in 1948 he was at 317 Navarre Street; in 1951 at 1608 W. Huisache; in 1957 at 134 W. Commerce Street (as seen on several woods). He was still at that address in the 1964 directory. This was the last edition published by the ANA to include members’ addresses, as it quickly became known as the “burglars’ guide to locating marks”.

Brock joined the ANA in January 1935 as member 4789, and his earliest advertisement in The Numismatist appeared that May. He was then a player in the red-hot speculation in commemoratives that dominated the hobby during 1935-36. His last ads appeared in 1948, but he remained active at least into the 1960s. Tucked into some publication I acquired in my search for coin dealer literature was a flyer that features what may have been his home address. This fact, combined with his very low selling prices, dates it to the 1930s.

Note that 1926-D and 1928-D are the only Liberty Standing Quarters available Uncirculated at the time. These two issues were largely withheld from release until the mid-1930s, at which time every midwestern dealer seemed to have them in quantity. To this day they remain far more available than their mintages suggest.

The war years of 1942-45 were good ones for coin dealers, with prices rising quite rapidly. Hobbies thrived at a time when Americans were making a lot of overtime pay and had no consumer goods to spend it on due to rationing. That this prosperity occurred at a time when many others were sacrificing their youth to military service disturbed Brock enough to submit a full-page ad to the April 1945 issue of The Numismatist berating his fellow dealers for their exploitation. A remarkable document, it shows something of the man and illustrates that America was not quite as united at that time as nostalgia would lead us to believe.

LURING IN NEWBIES

Those of you who follow my eBay store may have noticed that I recently listed about 20 coin boards for sale. These are mostly common boards in slightly better-than-average condition that I can sell at prices that may attract first-time buyers of coin boards, which is my intent. As it turns out, the first sales were to established mailing list customers, but I’m still hopeful of growing our hobby for the future.

THREE PEAS IN A POD

I recently participated in a podcast conducted by Jeff Starck and Chris Bullfinch of Coin World. The subject was the collecting of coin boards, folders, and albums, with an emphasis on my recently published book about Whitman Publishing Company’s history and product lines. My segment begins at the 30-minute mark and may be found here.

Best Regards,

David W. Lange, coincollectingboards.com
Photo of the author's desktop and computer wallpaper. Courtesy David W. Lange - Coin Board News

The author’s desktop, featuring Gramercy coin boards as his computer wallpaper. Photo courtesy David W. Lange

* * *

David Lange
David Lange
The author of several books on United States numismatics, David W. Lange received numerous awards and accolades from both the ANA and the NLG. David was the former President of the Pacific Coast Numismatic Society, the California State Numismatic Association, and the New Jersey Numismatic Society. He also had memberships in the ANA, the NLG, the ANS, the LSCC, the EAC, the BCCS, and the Rittenhouse Society. Career highlights included the launching of NGC's Photo Proof and writing historical copy for the United States Mint's website and H.I.P. Pocket Change program for kids. His specialties have included Seated Liberty silver, Philippine coinage under U.S. administration, and British coinage from 1816-1970. In 2007, David published the first comprehensive reference to Coin Collecting Boards of the 1930s and '40s, and for over a decade published Coin Board News four times a year. David Lange died on January 16, 2023. He is missed.

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