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The E-Sylum:  Volume 11, Number 4, January 27, 2008, Article 4

NUMISMATIC BOOK FETCHES RECORD PRICE OF $115,000

Fred Schwan writes: "Perhaps there were other books somewhere
in the Heritage paper money sale at FUN, but there was only
one important book. It probably went unnoticed by most
numibibliophiles.  The title of the book was 'Composite,
Progressive, and Specimens Military Payment Certificates
Series 692'.  [My thanks to David Klinger for helping me
locate the lot on the Heritage web site. -Editor]

To view the lot description on the Heritage web site, see:
Heritage web site

"The book included 72 pages of the subject material. No
similar book has been previously been reported in private
hands. The book realized a record price for any MPC item --
$115,000 including juice. I wrote up the full story for the
current issue of the Bank Note Reporter. Where does $115,000
stack up in records for numismatic books?"

[Although this item is indeed a book, the value of the
book derives primarily from the fact that it houses a
collection of numismatic items  its part book, but part
album.   I would put the Raphael P. Thian album of Confederate
Currency in this category as well.  It sold in the 1994 Armand
Champa library sale for $25,300. Like the MPC "book", the
lion's share of the value was in the notes mounted within.
These "books" are collections in the form of books.  I wasn't
sure of any U.S. numismatic book (or album) exceeding the
Thian record, but George Kolbe set me straight.  -Editor]

George Kolbe writes: "In the John J. Ford library sale, lot
518, the single volume Colonel Green inventory, brought
$37,000 hammer; Vols. 1-6 of The Numismatist, bound in one
volume, sold for $35,000; the 1851 Hart pamphlet brought
$30,000 hammer (this fully conforms with your main criterion).
I found these by making a quick scan of the prices realized
list. There may be others, in Ford, and earlier. Another Hart,
for example, sold in the Bass library, though I believe it
brought less.

Recently, an early numismatic book from the library of Jean
Grolier sold at auction in Europe for around $75,000-$80,000.
One or two other numismatic books in Grolier bindings have
sold at auction for over $25,000, I believe. Several years
ago, Douglas Saville and I bought together at auction a 1517
first edition of Fulvio's "Illustrium Imagines" (for well
over your threshold figure) and I placed it privately at
over $50,000. It was one of only a few printed on vellum.
I do not know if other numismatic books in this league have
reached six figures but I would not be particularly surprised."

"The above items derive their value intrinsically, though
a Grolier binding makes a bit of a difference (the book noted
above, in a nice 'anonymous' contemporary binding, would bring
several thousand dollars at most, and vellum vs. rag stock
enhances Fulvio's value by a factor of ten)."

[A list of the "Top Ten Most Valuable Works of Numismatic
Literature" would make for interesting reading.  Has anyone
been keeping track of recent sale records in this regard?
-Editor]

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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