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HomeCollecting StrategiesCoin Board News Number 62 - For Collectors of Antique Coin Boards

Coin Board News Number 62 – For Collectors of Antique Coin Boards

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


For Collectors of Antique Coin Boards

Number 62 — Spring 2022



I haven’t been able to buy any nice boards this past quarter, though I’ve added a few pieces that most of you likely have already. This is disappointing after the exciting news of my Whitman Third Edition board bonanza that led off CBN 61. Between the lack of new inventory and my traveling schedule this time of year, I’m holding off on producing another list of stuff for sale. As always, I’ll entertain want lists of items desired.


I always save the coin board offerings I’ve seen for reporting in this publication, but during the past quarter I’ve added only eight pieces to the list; that’s how slow things have been. Just two of these entries are notable enough to mention here.

The first is an example of a nearly filled Kent board K1¢A2b for Indian Pennies. The board, which is still being offered as of this writing, appears to be in decent condition. The images, however, have been so drastically enhanced in an attempt to highlight the coins that I’m unable to discern which of the two varieties it is.

Also worth noting is a pair of rare Gramercy Stamp Company boards offered as a lot, one of each of the two known titles. Normally, this is a call to action on my part, but the condition of the boards–especially that for Lincolns–places their value well below the asking price. As a watcher of this lot, I was offered a substantial reduction in price, yet it was still above what I’d ask from my own customers so the boards remain available.


In Coin Board News 61, I reported that an individual had created his own coin albums that mimic the appearance and construction of the old Library of Coins line. Images of these have been posted on the PCGS Message Board, and now he has added several more titles, including a most unusual one for Indian Head Eagles. The albums carry the copyright of Donahue Numismatics, and several respondents have asked whether there’s a plan to market them. The poster was agreeable to that prospect but reminded readers the albums presently are handmade, one at a time. In reading the various comments, it’s remarkable to me that only one person seems to have heard of LOC albums! I’ll keep following this story and advise of any further developments.


While scanning my own collection of boards to display on the Newman Numismatic Portal, I discovered that I actually own a variety I thought was yet to be found. A slot had been reserved in my book for the Third Edition Barber Quarters 1892-1905 board W25¢A3b with leatherette finish, but its discovery was not included in my annual updates. I must have acquired it at some point and failed to report that fact.


First up in my travels for NGC is the ANA’s National Money Show in Colorado Springs March 10-12. Then it’s off to the Whitman Baltimore Expo March 31-April 2, followed by the Central States Numismatic Society Show in Schaumburg, Illinois April 27-30. If your plans include any of these events, please stop by to talk coin boards (late afternoon is best for me).


CBN 44 included photos and a write-up of the coin board produced by Joe Lawonde in the early 1970s for housing OPA tokens. That board is rarely found today, but now there’s a competing product that remains available as of this writing. An eBay seller is offering holders similar to those produced by Capital Plastics, with sheets of rigid plastic held together by plastic screws. There are different color insert sheets at the buyer’s preference, and the whole ensemble is fairly priced.


A pet peeve of mine is that some sellers of used, First Edition Whitman Bookshelf albums will plastic shrink-wrap them and sell as “still in the factory wrap.” My book on Whitman folders and albums states clearly that First Edition albums were shipped in paper bundles, but I didn’t have an example to illustrate this.

Recently, an online seller had bundles of some very rare titles, such as the one at right, still in their paper wraps. Too valuable to sell as intact bundles (these are $100+ albums), he did include photos of each bundle that I was able to download an archive for future reference. Now, if only I could find a bundle of common titles…


…filling a coin folder circa 1941. This photo was used by Whitman in its advertising during the early days of the blue folders. A poster on one of the coin message boards identified her as his mother, who saved the clipping in her scrapbook and gave it to him years later.


The April-May 1963 issue of Whitman Coin Supply Merchandiser included a tribute by the creator of the Red Book to the humble coin board, which was then approaching its 30th anniversary. It still reads well today, so I’m reproducing it here with Whitman’s permission:

Every now and then someone goes into a coin shop and carefully unwraps one or more old 11″ by 14″ black or blue WHITMAN coin boards full of coins. The common remark made by the visitor is. “I came across these old boards when I was straightening out the closet. I’d forgotten I had the collection. What’ll you give me for them?”

Any collector who disposes of such a set of Lincoln cents, V nickels, Mercury dimes, etc., is usually pleasantly surprised at the amount he realizes from a group of coins he took out of circulation in the 30’s at face value.

An old-time dealer or collector who was active before 1940 can recall how these boards stirred up so much interest in checking dates and mint marks on coins—a new fad. The object was to see how quickly one could fill the entire board. The premium value of coins was slight and incidental. It was simply fun and a challenge to complete the set in much the same spirit as filling in the blank spaces of a cross-word puzzle or of a jig-saw puzzle.

Things started back in 1934 when a man placed a printing order with our company to produce a small series of simple, flat coin boards. It was perfectly natural for “samples” to find their way to our desks and even to our homes where we quickly and irresistibly got the bug to fill them up from our pocket change. The WHITMAN staff was soon sold on the clever new item. Only months later WHITMAN bought the rights to the popular boards and added them to the regular line of books, games and stationery items. With national distribution, the popularity of filling the boards rapidly spread to all corners of the country. A little later boards for obsolete series were added, and before Adolf Hitler got to taking over little neighboring countries in Europe, we had a strong-lunged demanding baby on our hands.

By 1940 the coin hoard gave way to the folder style, so well known today. We had come to realize, along with dealers and collectors, that “filling a board” was more than a fad and had somehow entered the realm of numismatics. Collectors had become more and more conscious of protection for their coins, and they wanted to store them safely in a smaller space. So the folders took over and gained in popularity while the boards gradually faded from the scene.

Occasionally we see a framed coin collection in a WHITMAN board on a den or work wall. These old-style holders certainly have a proud dignity which somehow cannot be matched by the modern folders, albums or plastic holders. We just naturally come to attention and execute a silent salute whenever confronted by one of these mementos of bygone days. Everything has a beginning, followed by a normal evolution of growth. There had to be a wheel before we had a cart. So the coin board just had to come first in our bourgeoning hobby of modern coin collecting.

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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