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The E-Sylum:  Volume 3, Number 23, June 4, 2000, Article 7

FAVORITE BOOKS FOR READERS 

   Doug Owens writes: "I have enjoyed your Monday morning 
   e-mail missives so much that I have joined NBS and look 
   forward to obtaining a set of back issues of the Asylum. 

   I am a relative newcomer to coins and numismatic books.  I 
   would really enjoy a discussion by you and your readers of 
   their favorite numismatic books.  I have a limited budget and 
   often think that my collecting dollar goes further with a book 
   than with the coins themselves. 

   I enjoy books with excellent photography (e.g. Hoberman, 
   "The Art of Coins and Their Photography" - this book has the 
   most spectacular color photography imaginable, and constitutes 
   a virtual coin collection in itself).   Other books with great 
   photos are Kent-Hirmer "Roman Coins", Kraay-Hirmer, 
   "Greek Coins", and a newly published book on the Wine and 
   Coins of Ancient Greece). 

   I like books on art and coinage, and books with narrative 
  description as opposed to catalogue-type books (such as "The 
   Splendid Shilling", Sutherland's "Art of Coinage", Anthony's 
   "Collecting Greek Coins", "Coins and Christianity", Bastien's 
   "The Coin Collectors",  and Berry's "Numismatic Biography"). 

   Other books I have and enjoy are Vermuele's "Numismatic Art 
   in America" and Seltman's "Masterpieces of Greek Coinage". 

   I would appreciate any advice you and your readers may have 
   along these lines, and also would like to hear from others what 
   they like to collect and why, as well as recommendations for 
   particular books." 

   Mr. Owen is certainly a very well-read newcomer, and 
   there's not a book among his list that I wouldn't heartily 
   recommend to others.  While I buy and hold innumerable 
   books and periodicals for reference,  the ones I cherish most 
   are those which provide a good read. 

   Three titles I always recommend are Carothers, "Fractional 
   Money", Willem's "The United States Trade Dollar", and 
   "The Fantastic 1804 Dollar" by Newman and Bressett.  These 
   are all on U.S. coinage, but that's my collecting bias.   The 
   Carothers book should be required reading for any student of 
   American numismatics - it lays out the history, economics and 
   politics of small change in a very readable and informative 
   fashion.  The Willem book does the same for a single series - 
   the Trade Dollar, and the Newman-Bressett book does it for 
   a single coin.  The research, scholarship, and numismatic 
   detective work in these books set a standard for those which 
   followed. 

   The Carothers and Willem books have been reprinted. The 
   Newman-Bressett book is long out of print, but it is relatively 
   common, and easier to obtain than the more comprehensive 
   (and also out-of-print) Encyclopedia of U.S. Silver Dollars 
   by Q. David Bowers. 

   To prove how nuts I am about these books, I've accumulated 
   multiple copies of the original editions, all either signed by the 
   authors or inscribed by famous numismatists to other 
   collectors.   I'm not the first to recommend them, and won't 
   be the last.   So - what titles do our E-Sylum readers 
   recommend? 

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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Copyright © 2005 The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.

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