Numismatic booksellers Kolbe & Fanning held their latest auction on Saturday, November 7. The sale featured numismatic literature from around the world, including books from the library of Stephen Epstein, founder of the Barber Coin Collectors Society (BCCS).
To give you a taste of what Kolbe & Fanning has to offer, here (in ascending order) are the top five prices realized for lots in Sale 140 (for a complete listing of auction results, click here).
1. Lot 323: Julius Guttag’s Set of The Elder Monthly
Julius Guttag was an important coin dealer and numismatist in New York City in the first half of the 20th century. Together with his brother Henry, Julius owned and operated the Guttag Brothers family business until he retired in 1948. He was life member 24 of the American Numismatic Association (having joined in 1907) and is considered the founder of National Coin Week. Guttag co-authored Civil War Tokens and Tradesmen’s Store Cards (1924) with George Hetrich and issued the Guttag Coin Bulletin with his brother until 1929.
He also played “controversial” roles in the distribution (or lack thereof) of the Hudson Sesquicentennial (1935) and New Rochelle (1938) commemorative half dollars.
The Elder Monthly was a numismatic magazine issued and edited by Thomas L. Elder, an avid collector and auctioneer of note, as well as one of the great personalities of the hobby. He was also a numismatic author, writing several articles for the ANA’s Numismatist alongside his own guides to rare coins. Published The Elder Monthly from 1906 to 1907 and The Elder Magazine between 1910 and 1911.
Price Realized: US$1,300
2. Lot 416: Hardcover Set of Ford Catalogues
This set includes all 21 hardbound volumes of the near-legendary 2003 Stack’s auction catalog of the John J. Ford, Jr. Collection was part of the Stephen Epstein numismatic library.
The collection was the life’s work of John J. Ford, Jr., a noted and, yes, “controversial” collector, dealer and cataloger. He worked with Stack’s in the late 1930s and ’40s, and the New Netherlands Coin Company from 1951 to 1971. His cantankerous personality meant that you either loved or hated the man, and the feeling was probably mutual. Thanks to the efforts of Eric P. Newman and others in the industry, Ford’s role in the passing of certain numismatic counterfeits became known.
Price Realized: $1,600
3. Lot 339: Numismatic Broadside for the First Cincinnati Coin Auction (1863)
A broadside was a large piece of paper printed on one side and used for the rapid (and disposable) dissemination of news or information. As such, it might be used as a poster or a handout, and often contained an advertisement, news, a proclamation or a song.
The professionally-framed, 31″ x 28″ broadside in lot 339 is an advertisement for a March 18, 1863 auction in Cincinnati, Ohio by one S. G. Hubbard, a local auctioneer. The auction consisted of almost 300 lots of a diverse array of material, including but not limited to:
- Bronze and copper English tokens
- Conder tokens (this auction being among the first in America to feature them)
- Ancient coins and tokens
- American political medals
- Colonial coins
- Large cents
- Half cents
- Store cards and tokens
- Previous coin auction catalogues
Formerly part of the Stephen Epstein and Harry W. Bass, Jr. numismatic libraries.
Price Realized: $1,900
4. Lot 436: Complete Set of the Red Book (1947-2014)
Yet another valuable set from Sale 140, putting together a complete set of editions one through 67 of Whitman Publishing’s ubiquitous Guide Book of United States Coins (or, “Red Book“) is easier said than done. Especially in such good condition.
The first edition Red Book also happens to be a first printing.
Numismatist and series editor Ken Bressett signed 33 of the volumes (1974-2006). The 58th edition included herein is a Florida United Numismatists (FUN) 50th Anniversary special edition. 55 is a 2002 SS Central America special edition. The 60th edition is a Tribute Edition reprint of the first Red Book.
Price Realized: $2,000
5. Lot 273: Attinelli’s Numisgraphics (1876)
It’s hard to overestimate how important Attinelli’s work has been to future generations of American numismatists.
Numisgraphics, not incidentally published in the centennial year of 1876, is a watershed book in the history of American numismatics. Dr. Emmanuel Joseph “E.J.” Attinelli was a New York City numismatic author who self-published and self-distributed this now-extremely-rare listing of and commentary on coin sale catalogues dating 1828-1875. Only 12 or so are known to exist, and half of those are held by institutions.
Price Realized: $2,750
Be sure to visit www.numislit.com for upcoming sales. And don’t forget – new members of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society receive a 10% discount on all purchases from Kolbe & Fanning’s online store through the rest of November.