The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a 10-digit number that uniquely identifies books published internationally. In 2007, the ISBN expanded to 13 digits. Dave Lange spotted an anomaly in the ISBNs of some numismatic books he was citing. Have others encountered this problem? -EditorI've been updating NGC's online encyclopedia, adding reference titles and completing the information presented on each, when I discovered two books having the same ISBN numbers. At least, the same numbers were printed in each, probably as the result of a mistake in the publisher's art department.
The books in question are Walter Breen's Encyclopedia of Early United States Cents and Dan Owens' California Coiners and Assayers. Both were published by Bowers & Merena Galleries in 2000 and were likely being prepared for publication simultaneously.
Another oddity I'm encountering is books whose cover title doesn't match that on the title page. An example is the second edition of Arlie Slabaugh's commemorative coin book published by Whitman in 1975. Its cover reads United States Commemorative Coinage, while its title page reads United States Commemorative Coins: The Drama of America as Told by Our Coins.
A more glaring example is the book on Type I double eagles by Douglas Winter and Adam Crum. Its cover reads An Insider's Guide to Collecting Type I Double Eagles, while its title page reads Type I Double Eagles, 1850-1866. Both books are newer editions of previous works by the same authors, and I suspect that their front covers were given updated titles by marketing people, while their title pages retained the old ones merely as an oversight.
I wonder how many other examples readers of The E-Sylum can find?
Great questions. Whenever I see a conflict between a title page and cover, I go with the title page as the "official" version, assuming that what's printed on the cover could be influenced by marketing concerns, space constraints or both. But any difference could well be a mistake or oversight.For more information on ISBNs, see: Frequently Asked Questions about the ISBN (http://www.isbn.org/standards/home/isbn/us/isbnqa.asp)
As for ISBNs, I'll admit I never paid close attention, but it's every publisher's nightmare to release a product with such a glaring error.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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