Richard Jewell submitted the following review of a new book published earlier this year which should interest those collecting or researching numismatic items made of hardened wood. -EditorI recently acquired a new book on an old subject. The name of the book is Bois Durci Un Plastique Naturel, A Natural Plastic 1855-1927, by Gaston Vermosen. As you might surmise by the title the book is bilingual, written in French and English. I do not know of too many books written in this format, certainly not any numismatic ones ("I could be mistaken, but never wrong" - who said that?)
For those of your readers who may not know what bois durci is, it literally means "hardened wood", a process of taking sawdust, albumen or animal blood and hardening in a mould to form the desired object.
What numismatic connection is there? Various medals and medallions were made this way after being introduced at the 1862 London Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations.
The book is seventy-two pages in length, highlighted by fourteen pages dedicated to photos of the various manufactured objects de bois durci. It traces the historical beginnings, the many companies that evolved over time, their factories locations, production methods and their individual trade marks (mint marks?)
I found the book to be enlightening and one that should be in every numismatic library. It comes with its own CD and the author's promise to forward any additional updates. At the present time the only way to purchase the book is to e-mail the author at the following address firstname.lastname@example.org The price is $45 USD.
Many thanks to Rich for making this book known to the larger numismatic community. I'd heard of bois durci, but wasn't aware of a book on the subject. For less than the cost of just one of the medals one can buy the book and become an expert on the topic - sounds like a bargain to me, especially with the accompanying CD.
The first edition is limited to 150 copies, and according to the Belgian author's web site, only 29 copies remain. The wide-format (21 x 21 cm) book has 72 pages of text and 14 color plates. The accompanying CD has a catalog with over 300 items illustrated, including over fifty plaques and medallions. The price is 22.50 EUR plus shipping. -Editor
To view the book's web site, see: http://users.telenet.be/plastics_collection/BOIS%20DURCI/index..htm
Wayne Homren, Editor
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