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The E-Sylum:  Volume 11, Number 19, May 11, 2008, Article 6

BOOK REVIEW: GUIDE TO VINTAGE COIN FOLDERS AND ALBUMS BY THOMAS MOLL

[David Lange submitted this review of the print-on-demand
book "Guide to Vintage Coin Folders and Albums" by Thomas
Moll. -Editor]

I learned of this book by sheer chance, with Dennis Tucker
of Whitman announcing his discovery of it on a popular coin
message forum. Perhaps it is meaningful that the only response
to this posting was my own, but I was determined to get a
copy of the book nonetheless. Certainly the reason that this
book, published last year, went unnoticed until now is that
it comes from the print-on-demand service, Lulu.com. A person
has to be looking for a particular title to find it there,
and it never occurred to me that anyone else was studying
this subject besides me.

Iíve never heard of Thomas Mall, which is unusual, given my
many writings about coin albums, folders and boards; we folks
have a way of finding one another. I suspect that Mr. Moll
does not follow mainstream numismatics or our paths would
have crossed at some point. A search of his other Lulu titles
reveals that his main interest seems to be German-American
genealogy in Pennsylvania, as he has written a four-volume
series on this subject. There is no biographical information
to be found within this particular book.

Now that I have a copy of his coin album book in hand,
hereís the scoop: This is a perfect-bound volume measuring
6Ē x 9Ē and including 117 pages in all. It has a number of
black-and-white illustrations of so-so quality, but these
have been selected and placed quite usefully. Following a
brief overview of the subject, including Mollís introduction
to coin collecting as a child, Part I features a listing of
available brands and titles. These are arranged not by
publishers, but rather alphabetically by country. For example,
under the heading of Australia Moll briefly describes the
four companies that produced coin folders and albums for
this nation and includes a roster of the titles each one
offered. A price range is given for whichever entries he
has acquired for his own collection, while the ones that
have eluded him are marked simply as ďnot seen.Ē

There are several omissions of both brands and titles
(prominent among the USA publishers not mentioned at all
are Harris, Shore Line and Hobbies Unlimited). On the other
hand, I learned from this book of several Whitman titles
never even suspected by me. These include the eight folders
Whitman produced for Ireland having green covers in place
of the usual blue (Moll confirmed six of these in his own
collection) and a line of Whitman folders for Jersey and
Guernsey that the company announced but neither Moll nor
I have seen.

Part II is quite unusual in its theme: The author lists
all the options for storing coins in folders and albums
not made for those specific issues. For example, if one
wants to house of collection of Luxembourg one-franc pieces
from the years 1952-87, the author advises using Whitman
folder No. 9042, which is titled simply NICKELS. This almost
borders on the surreal for me, as my interest in coin folders
and albums is solely in their appeal as collectable items,
whereas Mollís focus seems to be on their utility in storing
and displaying coins. This section occupies 20 pages by
itself and includes some very obscure country references
(Zambian collectorsónever fear! There are folder options
for you).

Part III brings Mollís book to a conclusion with a complete
roster of Dansco folders by catalog number and Whitman
folders and albums by catalog number. This can be quite
useful as a checklist of available titles. Though I published
most of this information in a series of articles in The Asylum
some years ago, it is not generally available at this time
with the exception of Mollís book.

Per the authorís own mission statement, this book does not
address folders produced before the 1950s nor after the
mid-1980s, his focus being on what he considers to be (and
I concur) the heyday of folder and album productionóthe 1950s
and Ď60s. One weakness of this book is that it does not address
the various editions of each publisherís coin folders and
albums (to date there are ten distinctive editions of the
Whitman blue folders alone), nor does it provide any specific
chronology. For example, a nearly complete listing is given
of the Whitman line, yet there is no way to know when a
particular title was introduced and, in many cases, discontinued.
It is implied that most of the world and obsolete USA titles
date from decades ago, but there is nothing here to help the
serious collector. Given that the authorís focus seems to be
more on the usefulness of folders and albums in housing coins
than on their rarity and value as collectable objects, this
is perhaps excusable.

While this book will be a helpful reference to anyone not
already familiar with the subject, it will have no impact
on my plans to push ahead with a comprehensive history and
catalog of coin folders and albums in two separate volumes.
This is an area of numismatics that deserves a fuller treatment,
but Mollís book fills a useful void in the interim. Priced
at just $14.95 plus shipping, the curious reader is risking
little to add this fun title to his library.

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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