Antique Coin Boards with David W. Lange – www.coincollectingboards.com …..
For Collectors of Antique Coin Boards
Number 63 — Summer 2022
STRIKE UP THE BAND
It’s September 24, 1936—opening day—and members of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks from throughout the State of California are launching their convention in Oakland. Four uniformed contingents have arrived from Los Angeles, and this 25-piece band is led by none other than Dave J. Malloy. The Los Angeles funeral director has been featured in COIN BOARD NEWS many times, not only because he commissioned two personalized printings of a coin board published by Lincoln Printing Company of Los Angeles, but also because he seems to have been at the center of many local stories throughout the 1930s. A community leader and man-about-town, Malloy was just shy of 37 when captured in this Associated Press photo. He would live another 47 years, and several of his non-numismatic activities are detailed in my coin board book.
I spotted this charming image for sale by an eBay poster of de-accessioned newspaper photos, and I jumped at the opportunity to add it to my collection. A detailed image of Malloy’s 1939 coin board appears below.
The months of April and May witnessed the biggest offering of coin boards I can recall seeing in my 20 years of following eBay. Most of these were posted by Bellevue Rare Coins of Tacoma, Washington, and among the many common boards were some noteworthy rarities. A couple of the lots offered a dozen or more coin boards, oftentimes of the same publisher and title. I purchased one such lot of 13 Oberwise Lincoln Cent boards just to get one variety that was lacking in my own collection. As none of the other lots included boards I needed for my collection, my bids were always at a wholesale level, and I was unsuccessful in most. I did secure a trio of Oberwise Liberty Head Dime boards at a favorable price.
Among the individual highlights of this run was a very choice example of the First Edition Whitman board for Morgan Quarters 1892-1905, W25¢A1c. I graded it Very Fine or slightly better from the photos, and it brought $162.50 against a catalog value of $130. A similar board for Standing Liberty Quarters, W25¢C1d, realized $97 against a catalog value of $150. One lot that included just four Whitman boards brought a whopping $320. The pair of Second Edition Morgan Quarter boards likely played no part in this, but inclusion of a scare Second Edition board for Large Cents 1793-1825 and a very rare Third Edition Large Cents 1826-1857 board made all the difference. Prices for both will be higher in next year’s Value Guide.
A trio of Oberwise boards for Standing Liberty Quarters grading VF or so, O25¢Cv, brought $150 – which is strong for the Oberwise brand. A quintet of Oberwise boards for Shield and Liberty Head Nickels, again grading around VF, brought $76 against my wholesale bid of $70. These likely would have brought more if sold individually over several weeks since few buyers need more than one, and fewer still have a means of unloading the duplicates. To show what the release of so many common boards in a short time can do, one lot of six Whitman Second and Third Edition boards in so-so condition sold for just 99 cents!
In addition to the “Bellevue Hoard“, if I may call it that, there were individuals who offered some desirable pieces for sale over the past quarter. A partial set of Indian Head Pennies in a worn Gramercy Stamp Company board brought $75. Still available as of this writing is a very clean Second Edition Whitman board for Morgan Half Dollars 1903-1915. A First Edition Whitman board for Liberty Head Nickels likewise remains available.
ON THE PERIPHERY
Though it pertains to neither coin boards nor albums, the photo at right is of interest, as it reveals the common form of packaging used for all Whitman albums and books prior to the 1970s.
Indeed, it is quite similar to the bundle illustrated in CBN #62 for the delivery of Bookshelf albums. 9051 was, of course, the publisher number for that stalwart Whitman product, Yeoman’s A Guide Book of United States Coins (the “Red Book“). The 76th Edition of this invaluable reference was released just a few months ago. At one time I owned a complete run of this publication through 1995 or so, but these were sold years ago to make more room for coin folders and albums. Until recently, however, I hadn’t seen an original, wrapped bundle.
ANOTHER NEW ENTRY
… in the archive of vendor stamps found on old coin boards. This one is for Cullen’s Stamp & Coin Shop in Washington, D.C. A Google Earth search reveals that 1319 F. Street NW is the International Office Building, a handsome early 20th Century structure still standing just a couple of blocks from the U.S. Treasury Department.
Nope, this is not news about my grandfather. Rather, it’s a follow-up to the piece several issues back in which I displayed a coin board made for collectors of the red and blue fiberboard tokens produced for the Office of Price Administration (OPA) during World War II. These have grown in popularity along with the token market in general, but long before that happened I acquired this charming wallet for storing OPA tokens. It dates to the period and was likely a free premium given to customers of the company named on its cover. Like so many pieces in my collection, I lost track of it amid the general chaos of the collecting mania that is my life. I imagine there were many similar such holders produced during the war, as shoppers learned to cope with an entirely new set of rules, restrictions, and rationing.
When I thought that the abundance of coin boards being sold by Bellevue Rare Coins had finally run its course, I reached out to that business to learn the back story behind this amazing hoard.
I was pleasantly surprised to learn that these boards were from the estate of the late Issaquah, Washington coin dealer Gene L. Henry, who passed in 2014. Gene was big into silver dollars, and I had the pleasure of attributing the VAM varieties within the many Morgans that NGC certified from his inventory. I knew Gene well, and Bellevue reported that the copy of my coin board book I signed to him at a show shortly after its publication was found among his effects. He made a point of saving every board that came his way in the course of buying old coin collections, and now these “pedigreed” items are being enjoyed by new owners.
With so many coin boards entering the market in such a short time it seems pointless to send out my own list of boards for sale right now. I’m still analyzing the impact of this release on availability and pricing, particularly for boards that already were somewhat common. It brings to mind the millions of Carson City silver dollars sold by the General Services Administration (GSA) during the 1970s. Dealers of the time were apprehensive that the release of so many formerly rare issues would cause values to plunge. As it is, the GSA Hoard, which was followed closely by the distribution of the Lavere Redfield Hoard of silver dollars, had the opposite effect. With mint-fresh examples now readily available, thousands more collectors were drawn into silver dollar collecting who previously had been dissuaded by these coins’ rarity. While coin boards are not the same as actual coins, some parallels may be found in the great many additional boards that have come to light. These have to go somewhere, and it may just be that we’re witnessing the birth of many new board collectors. Time will tell.
ON (OFF) THE ROAD AGAIN
I was looking forward to my teaching gig at the ANA Summer Seminar in June, but an unanticipated development derailed it and all my other travel plans for the near future. The cancer I entertained during 2018-19 was feeling lonesome and decided to move in with me again until further notice. Oh well, I beat it once, and I will again. I hope to continue issuing CBN, but I’m curtailing some of my other writing commitments rather than risk a lessening of quality. We’ll see where things stand in a few months.
—David W. Lange, coincollectingboards.com
The author’s desktop, featuring Gramercy coin boards as his computer wallpaper. Photo courtesy David W. Lange