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The E-Sylum:  Volume 3, Number 48, November 19, 2000, Article 9

MORE ON COIN HOLDERS 

   Pete Smith writes: "I would like to comment on the study and 
   collection of coin holders. 

   Earlier this year I did volunteer work at the Minnesota 
   Historical Society reviewing their coin collection. Most of the 
   collection has no historical connection to Minnesota and may 
   be considered for deaccession. The largest donation was 
   made in 1921 by a former president of the Society, Charles 
   Phelps Noyes, and part of my contribution was a biography 
   of Noyes. 

   It is clear that the coins have no connection to Minnesota. 
   They might have a value to the Society from a different 
   perspective, representing a leasure-time activity of a 
   prosperous Victorian gentleman. An additional part of my 
   contribution was a review of books Noyes donated to the 
   Society and what they said about his study of coins and his 
   assembly of the collection. 

   After this study was well under way, it occurred to me that 
   most of the collection was housed in brown Whitman envelopes. 
   The collection was donated in 1921 and Whitman envelopes 
   were not available until the 1950's.  Other parts of the 
   collection were kept with rectangular pieces of cardboard with 
   round recesses to hold the coins. Many of the Noyes coins 
   retained glue residue from an even earlier mounting.  It was my 
   conclusion that the collection, now being considered for 
   reholdering in 2000, had been reholdered at least twice since 
   it was donated. Any while this reholdering may protect the 
   coins, it had destroyed the evidence of the way Noyes had 
   inventoried, marked and stored his collection. 

   I found myself educating the curatorial staff on the history of 
   coin holders.  One of my recommendations was that examples 
   of old holders be kept with the collection along with a description 
   of previous reholdering.  Although these notes add nothing to 
   the value of individual coins, they are essential to understanding 
   the historical context of the collection. 

   While collectors of "white" Morgan dollars or commemorative 
   coins may have no interest, collectors of toned silver coins 
   should study holders and their effect on toning.  Advanced 
   collectors preserve old envelopes and holders as part of the 
   provenance of the coins history. 

   As with any specialty area, study of holders is not for everyone, 
   but we should appreciate those who appreciate the topic and 
   share their information with us." 

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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