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The E-Sylum:  Volume 3, Number 10, March 5, 2000, Article 9

CRITIC'S CORNER: FORRER'S BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY 

   Bill Burd of Chicago Coin Co. writes: "I read The E-Sylum 
   every week - very enjoyable.  Regarding the Critic's Corner, 
   I would assume most subscribers have Breen's Encylopedia 
   but wonder what percent have Forrer's  Biographical 
   Dictionary.   I am not a critic so I won't comment other than 
   to say I have found it to be very useful on several occasions." 

   George Fuld writes: "The subject of Forrer's Dictionary is 
   interesting.  This is a landmark publication, especially for 
   British related issues.  The indexing is poor, and much 
   American material is sparse -- but it is still the most useful 
   publication of the type available.  Certainly it needs revision 
   based on today's knowledge, but who would attempt it? 

   I have found it to be most invaluable over the years, as 
   long as you didn't take everything as gospel." 

   George Kolbe writes: "I consult Forrer quite often and usually 
   find the information I seek.  To me, it is invaluable! This is from 
   a bibliographical view, so I cannot vouch for it from a 
   numismatic perspective, though I have rarely if ever heard 
   anything negative from my clientele. 

   When the van der Dussen-Baldwin set came out I actively 
   promoted it and sold fifty sets or so. Since then, through my 
   auctions and private sales I have surely sold near that number 
   again. No one has ever expressed buyer's remorse, and it has 
   taken more than a little arm-twisting, on occasion, to sell sets 
   to those I believe should have it.  As I mention in my 
   catalogues, the most recent reprint (the Franklin reprint 
   contains printing errors in the first volume) is one of those 
   cases where the reprint is preferable to the original, though 
   the elegance of a well-preserved original set in the original 
   blue morocco is compelling to some (me included). 

   Not everyone knows that the work originally appeared serially 
   in Spink's "Numismatic Circular." So, if you buy the relevant 
   years of that venerable journal, you get quite a bonus. " 

   [Editor's note:  the original was published between 1902 and 
   1930;  The Burt Franklin reprint around 1970, and the 
   van der Dussen reprint around 1980] 

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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