By Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez for CoinWeek …….
Kolbe & Fanning Numismatic Booksellers will be offering a two-part sale on June 24-25, 2016 that includes a huge selection of old and rare texts, including books on ancient coins, world coins, and United States coins.
Sale 142 is divided into two segments:
–The first portion consists of an online, live-bidding event that begins 12:00 Noon Eastern Time on June 24.
–The second session, closing at 9:00 PM Eastern Time on June 25, caters to those bidding by postal mail, email, fax, or phone. More than 1,000 lots are up for bid, and each is subject to a 17.5 percent buyer’s fee.
As co-owner David Fanning explains, the most important lots in the auction aren’t necessarily the most popular books.
“Lot 18 in the auction illustrates this point,” he remarks, referring to a rare Italian book about medals by Gianfrancesco Barbarigo. The book, titled Numismata Virorum Illustrium Ex Barbadica Gente, was originally printed in 1732 and includes a supplement written in 1760.
“It’s specialized to the point that your average collector wouldn’t know about it,” Fanning comments. “But for those interested in early medals, it’s an absolutely essential book. The richly adorned tome with 85 engraved plates stands nearly two feet tall and is estimated to be valued at US$3,500. “It’s an absolute gem.”
The medal book was posthumously written under the name of Cardinal Barbarigo by Jesuit Father Francesco Saverio Valcabbi and edited by Giovanni Xavier Valcavio. The book was published two years after Barbarigo died in 1730, and it is little wonder that the Italian cardinal was held in such high esteem. At the time, the recent Barbarigo family lineage included other high-ranking church members and political officials, including San Gregorio Barbarigo, who was Gianfrancesco’s uncle and a cardinal who was beatified, or blessed, by the Catholic Church in 1761 and canonized as a saint on May 26, 1960 by Pope John XXIII.
Lot 202, Estudio De Los Reales De A Ocho, También Llamados Pesos, Dólares, Piastras, Patocones O Duros Españoles, written by Tomás Dasí ca. 1950 is an important work according to Fanning because it’s one of the most comprehensive volumes concerning popular Spanish coins like the 8 Reales.
“When that book came out, very few in the U.S. collected such coins, and this is one of the main references for the 8 Reales. The five-volume work by Dasí of Spain is relatively scarce, as only 500 sets of the books were made, and most of the survivors are now in relatively poor condition due to their fragile paper and poor binding,” he said. The auction estimate for the five-volume set is $300.
Lot 277 is, in Fanning’s words, “a pretty amazing item,” too. He’s referring to none other than an undated Colonial copper auction catalog compiled by Frederick Charles Cogswell Boyd, a New York City coin dealer who lived from 1884 through 1958.
The auction catalog may seem not much to look at aesthetically – it’s written in standard typeface and stapled on top – but it contains a treasure trove of information for Colonial copper enthusiasts. “It lists 224 Connecticut coppers and 527 New Jersey coppers,” he says. The pre-sale estimate of this rare numismatic resource is $400.
“It is the first copy of this I have ever seen,” says Fanning, whose background in numismatic literature dates back to the 1980s; he partnered with George Kolbe in 2010 to run what has become Kolbe & Fanning Numismatic Booksellers, the world’s largest rare numismatic literature firm, originally founded in 1967.
Among the other items are more interesting lots, including a 1987 American Numismatic Association (ANA) Edition Red Book (40th Edition of A Guide Book of United States Coins) by R.S. Yeoman with an estimate of $250, the “very rare” Volume 5 of the ANA’s The Numismatist estimated at $500, and a unique item in all respects – a postcard sent by Brooklyn coin dealer Edward Cogan in 1875.
“Edward Cogan reigned as the first person in the United States to make a multi-decade career of being a coin dealer,” Fanning explains. This piece of ephemera, estimated at $100, is significant not just for its notable sender but also for its important recipient: J.N.T. Levick, a longtime collector whose cabinet included Colonials, medals, and rare early U.S. federal coinage.
“I like to have things like that postcard because they are historically important.”
Fanning believes vintage numismatic books remain relevant in the digital era for important reasons.
“The Internet is good for finding the things I’m looking for,” he says. “Books are great for finding the things I’m not looking for. One thing I love about books is they expose you to information you didn’t even know you needed.”
He says the Internet has changed the dynamic for the numismatic book industry, though neither for the better nor worse. “It’s just different now,” he notes.
“There’s a lot of information in books that hasn’t been published online yet,” Fanning says. “I hope the Internet can expose today’s collectors to our predecessors,” he says, remarking on the authors who penned the great numismatic works of the literary past.
“I try to remain confident that at least some collectors will appreciate the world of numismatic literature.”
Numismatic Literature Currently Available on eBay