By David W. Lange – www.coincollectingboards.com ….
For Collectors of Antique Coin Boards
Number 46 — Spring 2018
AS I WAS SAYING…
I recently sent out an email blast with regrets that the Spring issue of CBN would be delayed by my busy schedule. Well, a funny thing happened on the way to the Whitman Baltimore Expo—it snowed.
Soon my flight was cancelled. Given the option of taking a very late night flight or just bailing on the whole thing, I went with the latter choice and thus found time to put together this very issue.
Most of the coin boards appearing on eBay since the first of the year have been the usual run of Whitman Second or Fourth Edition titles grading anywhere from Poor to Very Fine and attracting little interest, even when priced at or below catalog values.
There were, however, some standout exceptions.
Easily the most exciting listing was for a pair of rare Gramercy Stamp Company boards. Partially completed sets of Eagle/Indian and Lincoln Cents, the first board retained several of the cardboard plugs that came with it as sold by the publisher. These are seldom found, and the pair of boards in decent condition brought a strong $305 with seven bids. The backs of the boards were not shown, but the buyer reports that they are both ‘a’ varieties, lacking the Trenton Savings Fund overprint. In an entirely separate deal, I purchased a similar pair of Gramercy boards that were not on eBay, the Lincoln Cent board being of the ‘b’ variety with TSF overprint. These were quickly placed with want list customers, yet I still have one more to offer. The early bird gets it!
Another nice lot of four Colonial Coin & Stamp Company boards featured the common titles for Early Nickels and Buffalo Nickels, as well as the less often seen boards for Washington Quarters and 2- and 3-cent pieces. All were in collectible condition, and this group went for $103.50 after six bids. An average quality example of Whitman’s Volume I publisher-bound set of Second Edition coin boards brought $280, which is about my retail price for similar items. These bound sets are the only way to obtain W2E boards looking as they did when new, as the hard covers protected the boards. I seldom have them in stock, though I do have one presently. Contact me if interested.
A very surprising eBay sale was that of a Joseph Oberwise board for Liberty Head Quarters 1892-1904. While a fairly scarce title grading VF or so, it brought the remarkably high price of $155, which is double catalog. There were a total of 12 bids, but with only two of them topping $100. Normally, this would call for an increase in catalog values, but I believe it to be an exceptional event and not indicative of the overall market.
In an unusual occurrence there is an update to the catalog for elusive Lincoln Printing Company boards. L1ȼAa becomes L1ȼAa.2, with the new variety L1ȼAa.1 listing just two available titles on its back: “This is Coin Board No. 126. We also have Coin Board No. 121 for Lincoln Head Pennies from 1909 to 1937 inclusive.” This is undoubtedly the very first printing of this board. I have more news about LPC boards that is even more significant, but I’m saving this bombshell for the next issue. Stay tuned…
COIN BOARDS ON VIEW AT FUN
The Florida United Numismatists (FUN) convention and coin show in Tampa featured an exhibit on collecting Liberty Seated coins put together by Carl Feldman, who manned the Liberty Seated Collectors Club booth. Carl is a collector’s collector, and a few years ago I sold him a pair of Whitman Third Edition boards for LS Dimes that were second only to my own in quality. These were displayed prominently at the show, along with National Coin Album pages and a Library of Coins album, both for Liberty Seated Dollars. This was almost a subliminal ad for my three books on these subjects, and the vintage items drew quite a lot of favorable attention.
OUR HOBBY THE SUBJECT OF ARTICLE SERIES
Longtime coin board collector Donald Kocken of Wisconsin has been writing a series of articles about coin boards and albums for N.O.W. News, the quarterly publication of the Numismatists of Wisconsin. The second installment features nice color photos of all seven board publishers’ products and a brief history of each. I’m looking forward to future issues as some great publicity for the hobby. Don has exhibited his boards at coin shows in the Upper Midwest, and these displays have drawn quite favorable attention. For information about N.O.W. News, write to Editor, POB 3572, Oshkosh, WI 54903.
INFORMATION SURFACES ABOUT BOARD PUBLISHER
Among the more enigmatic publishers of coin boards is the Colonial Coin and Stamp Company. Its owner, Leiser Wolf Schnelling, seemed to have left very little biographical information at the time I wrote my book, but we now have more details courtesy of two researchers.
Board collector and CBN reader Chris Buck found a reference to Schnelling in an old auction catalog of former numismatic bookseller Remy Bourne and attempted without success to locate the April 1933 issue of Hobbies magazine cited in the catalog. He then reached out to researcher John Lupia, who publishes biographical sketches of numismatic figures on his website numismaticmall.com. John did indeed have that issue, and he posted the story of Leiser Wolf Schnelling, including a photo from the magazine that I’ve reproduced here.
Rather than paraphrasing what Chris and John wrote, I’ll simply include the direct link to the article on John’s website:
Speaking of CC&S Company, I’m including an image from the frontispiece of George G. Evans’ popular history of the U.S. Mint that was sold to Philadelphia visitors during the 1880s-90s. The illustration is the same one used on the earliest CC&S board for Washington Quarters, later being replaced by one more closely resembling the coin.
Schnelling made a similar image swap for his two-cent and three-cent board to better represent the coins.
FOLLOW-FOLLOW-UP TO NELCO MYSTERY UP TO NELCO MYSTERY
Chris Buck was also intrigued by the 1972 NELCO Lincoln Cent coin board illustrated in CBN 45. He uncovered some information about the company that produced it, and he submitted it to The E-Sylum for publication.
It turns out that the name of the publisher was derived from the common surname of its principals, Edwin L. Nelson (president) and Leonard P. Nelson (vice president). Edwin was a resident of Orlando, Florida and registered the company name on November 10, 1970. NELCO’s office was on the top floor of the State Bank of Orlando and Trust Company building. The registration expired six years later, so whatever NELCO did in addition to producing a coin board must not have been particularly successful.
Chris also found something about artist Bob MacCourt, whose signature appears with the Lincoln portrait on NELCO coin boards. In 1968 issues of The Orlando Sentinel he was described as a sketch artist living in Casselberry, Florida who drew portraits in charcoal.
A WORD ABOUT GRADING
When I wrote the grading standards for coin boards that appear in my book I used Whitman Second and Third Edition boards to come up with the descriptions, as these were the most plentiful and thus the easiest to compare side by side. The problem with this is that the backing paper for those boards was probably the sturdiest found in vintage coin boards and not truly representative of other brands. Hands-on experience in grading about 2,500 boards of all brands for both my own collection and my sales inventory has led to some reinterpretation.
For boards other than the two editions mentioned, a certain license may be applied with regard to the number of torn openings. I’ve been grading these other boards based on overall condition, without focusing so literally on the number of tears. Thus, an Oberwise or Lincoln board, for example, can grade Very Fine with even three or four tears, if the overall condition merits such a grade. I’ve applied this flexible standard to the more fragile boards for years now, and I’ve had no complaints or challenges from buyers.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
My coin show calendar is bare for this quarter, with nothing confirmed until the ANA Convention in Philadelphia this August. I will be teaching at the ANA Summer Seminar in June on my usual topic of collecting United States type coins, and a couple hours spent at the local Colorado Springs show is in the offing.
Please visit my eBay store: Cagemast Coin Boards and Albums
—David W. Lange, coincollectingboards.com
The author’s desktop, featuring Gramercy coin boards as his computer wallpaper. Photo courtesy David W. Lange
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Continuing his highly acclaimed series of books about coin boards and albums, numismatic researcher David W. Lange has written Coin Collecting Albums – A Complete History & Catalog Volume Two: The Library of Coins and the Treasury of Coins. In addition to providing detailed catalogs and photos of both coin album lines, this book provides a history of their publisher, The Coin and Currency Institute, and an entertaining biography of the company’s founder, famed coin dealer Robert Friedberg. Richly illustrated, this new book has 144 heavy and coated pages, including 64 pages in full color. It is a deluxe, hardcover volume that will last for many years. The price is $49.95, plus $10 for priority mail shipping in a rigid, protective box.
Also available from Lange’s PennyBoard PressTM are his two previous books.
Coin Collecting Albums – A Complete History & Catalog Volume One: The National Coin Album & Related Products of Beistle, Raymond & Meghrig. Published at $75, this deluxe, hardcover book is now available at just $49.95.
Coin Collecting Boards of the 1930s & 1940s: A Complete History, Catalog and Value Guide, published at $39.95, is now just $19.95. Shipping is the same as for the new book. Call or write for combined shipping of two or more books.
All books purchased from David W. Lange will be signed, unless requested otherwise, and personalized inscriptions are available upon request. Payment may be made by check to David W. Lange or via PayPal to [email protected]. David W. Lange may be contacted at POB 110022, Lakewood Ranch, FL 34211 or by telephone at (941) 586-8670. His website providing a history of vintage coin boards and from which he buys and sells such items, is coincollectingboards.com.
NGC-Certified Indian Head Cents Currently Available on eBay