Al Roy published a nice article in the June 2008 issue of The CN Journal, the official publication of the Canadian Numismatic Association. It's about Alfred Sanham and his pioneering 1869 catalog of Canadian tokens. With permission, here are some excerpts. -EditorAlfred Sandham was born in Griffintown (Montreal) in 1838. After spending two years in New York, he worked for the Montreal Telegraph Company, which was later absorbed by the Grand Trunk Railroad. He then worked briefly with his father and brother as a painter before becoming the General Secretary of the Y.M.C.A.
He joined the Montreal Numismatic Society in 1865 and helped to incorporate it as the Numismatic and Antiquarian Society of Montreal. As the society's secretary, he was involved in the first attempted Canadian numismatic work in 1863 called Catalogue of the Silver and Copper Coins of Canada. It was never completed.
A few years later, Sandham created the first numismatic catalogue in Canada: Coins, Tokens, and Medals of the Dominion of Canada. He wrote and illustrated the 72-page work himself. Fellow Society member Daniel Rose printed it.
In 1992, a letter written by Sandham was discovered. It gives insights into the printing of his catalogue:
Of this work there were 300 copies printed but only 250 were bound. It was anything but a financial success. While it was offered at the absurdly low price of 75 cents, only about 100 copies were disposed of by sale. The remaining copies were given away to friends, societies and the press. The sheets remained in the hands of Mr. Rose, printer for nearly three years when they were thrown out as waste paper, by my orders.
He also discusses the methods used to create the printing blocks from his illustrations. Usually books of this period were sold in wrappers; the owner would then have it bound to match the rest of his library. But Sandham had his book bound in blue cloth.
Before the Catalogue of the Silver and Copper Coins of Canada was published, ancient and classical coin collecting was de rigueur in this country. We can thank Alfred Sandham for helping to make our hobby what it is today.
THE BOOK BAZARRE
Wayne Homren, Editor
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