For Collectors of Antique Coin Boards
Number 26 — Spring 2013
Special Colonial Coin & Stamp Company List The newest list of Coin Boards for Sale #126 is another special edition, this time highlighting my inventory of boards published by Colonial Coin & Stamp Company of New York City. This business was established by German immigrant Leiser Wolf Schnelling around 1931. His first coin boards appeared in 1935, with only J. K. Post’s Kent Company boards predating them by a few months. Colonial brand boards were a cut above Post’s simple 25-cent items, as they used transparent cellophane as a backing instead of opaque paper. Colonial boards also featured attractive, though not always accurate, illustrations and a handsome logo of a boy examining his coin collection at a table. The First Edition of Schnelling’s boards from 1935 showed this boy as a rather effeminate-appearing figure from the 1900 period, but this was quickly revised to a contemporary image that was more suitable. These Second Edition boards are effectively the only ones collectable, as I’ve never had a duplicate of a First Edition title.
I recently acquired a book for which I’ve been searching a long time. This is L. W. Schnelling’s Illustrated Catalogue of United States Gold, Silver and Copper Coins 1934 which was described on page 112 of my coin board book. Published in 1933 on the date of his naturalization as a United States citizen, it is really nothing more than one of many similar publications put out during the last century to entice new collectors. His book includes a list of dates, mints and retail values, with illustrations that were probably lifted from some earlier publication. This was also very common among coin dealers at the time. It is of no use in research, but it makes for a wonderful tie-in item with his coin boards. Someone else must have recognized its rarity and/or historic significance, as I had to place a very high bid to win this quite humble publication. I’ve included some images of the book with this issue.
MARKET ACTIVITY In a fortuitous coincidence the last quarter’s coin board appearances on eBay featured a number of desirable Colonial brand boards in groups and as singles. After about a year of teasing us, the lot of several Colonial boards that were offered as a $500 Buy-It-Now or Best Offer finally found a buyer. I was able to acquire those boards not kept by the buyer, and a few of these are offered in the current list. Another great lot of four Colonial boards sold not long afterward at $100 in competitive bidding. These were in pretty nice condition and included the scarce titles for Eagle/Indian Cents and Buffalo Nickels. A few weeks later was offered a very choice example of the rare C25¢D2a variety of the Washington Quarter board. Since it included 29 silver quarters, the price realized was high enough to prompt only two bidders, but deducting the silver value still leaves a price for the board itself of $115. This would have been an upgrade to my own example, and I was the disappointed underbidder.
Other board appearances were unexciting for the most part. The usual line-up of Whitman Second and Third Edition titles predominated, several without a sale occurring. A very clean Oberwise Lincoln Cent board, partially filled, brought $66. This is a high figure, given the limited value of the coins, and it suggests that bidders were more interested in the board itself. It turned out that this was a minor new variety which is described below.
BOOK UPDATES There are several important developments this quarter, mostly involving Whitman boards. The most exciting is the discovery of a board long suspected to exist from a fuzzy photo in an old eBay listing that was little noticed at the time. This item is the first incarnation of Whitman’s board for COMMEMORATIVE HALF DOLLARS. It measures only 7 inches wide by 9 inches tall and is a bright blue with white printing. Like the previously known variety of this title, which is of conventional size and appearance to other Whitman boards, it has no backing so that both sides of the coins may be viewed, and the printing is identical on both sides. This new board is dated to the Second Edition by its Publisher Number, 364, which appears on all Second Edition boards and is different from that of the conventional variety, Number 388. I was able to purchase two of the smaller boards, the duplicate of which has already been placed with another collector, while the normal size variety is still unique within my collection to the best of my knowledge. 364 has been assigned Lange No. W50¢D2a, while 388 is now W50¢D2b. A photo of Number 364 is included with this newsletter.
This same purchase included a quantity of nice Whitman Second Edition boards which prompted a reexamination of this largely understudied series. In consultation with reader Chris Buck, I concluded that there are two possible backing varieties for Second Edition boards dated 1937 and another two for those dated 1938. Rather than attempt to describe these here, I’ve simply prepared a table that is attached to this newsletter. Several new varieties and renumberings of existing varieties have resulted, so please update your books accordingly.
Also new this quarter are three varieties of Oberwise boards. The Lincoln Cent board described above is of a previously known face/back combination, but with a slightly different mintage statement for the 1940 cents. As a result O1¢Bu has now been split into O1¢Bu.1 (“4 months”) and O1¢Bu.2 (“5 months”). Reader Mark Mally discovered that the “e” backing for Oberwise boards comes with a premium paid for Buffalo Nickels of either $4.25 or $4.50, but I’ve elected to not give these separate designations. Also a new discovery is Oberwise Mercury Dime board O10¢Bd. It has the broad title font as on varieties a-c of the Mercury board. This broad font was copied by Oberwise from the Lincoln Printing Company boards and then revised to the more familiar Oberwise font beginning with variety e. Like O10¢Be this new variety has the date 1916 pasted over an incorrect date.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN I’ll be at the Whitman Baltimore Expo March 14-16, and this is followed April 24- 27 by the Central States Numismatic Society show in Schaumburg, Illinois. After that is the ANA’s Money Show in New Orleans, May 9-11 and the Long Beach Coin Expo, June 6-8. I hope to see some of you at one of these events.