Dick Johnson submitted this article about E-Sylum reader Bill Burd's numismatic library. -Editor William A. Burd deserves a medal from his customers. And the everlasting gratitude of every numismatic book author, publisher and member of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society. He is building a numismatic library but not squirreling it away in his private back office for his exclusive use. No - he has put it right inside his coin shop where his customers can peruse any volume they desire.
"It is not a lending library," he points out, "but it is available to serious researchers looking for comprehensive information as well as to the casual collector who may want to obtain information on an elusive coin."
He started this library 13 years ago, shortly after he acquired the Daru Coin & Stamp shop in 1995. He stayed in the same location where a coin shop has been located for 40 years, renamed it the Chicago Coin Company, and now serves a community near the Chicago city line but still inside Chicago. It's two miles west of the Midway Airport in a nice neighborhood, he notes, where a lot of firemen and city employees live who must reside inside the city of Chicago.
Five years ago he added extensively to the library which now numbers over 12,000 items.That's not all books, he explained, but includes catalogs, periodicals and pamphlets. "We are always looking for old and unusual items to add to the library," he says.
While the library does not get the use from the great number of his customers, he notes it does impress numismatic scholars. "Just a few weeks ago Leonard Augsberger was in the shop, looking at the books and expressed his admiration for the collection."
I agree. What impressed this seasoned numismatic book collector are his advertisements that list his recent book acquisitions. A year ago he replaced his "institutional ads" -- you know those ads that usually say we are in the coin business but cannot list anything for sale because of quick turnover of stock. Instead Bill lists a full page with books recently added to the library. That's a useful service.
Burd's most recent ad in The Centinel, Central State's quarterly organ, for example, lists a dozen books and catalogs now available at his Archer Avenue coin shop. There is some serious literature available here. I can understand why Len Augsberger was impressed. Some new, and indeed some numismatic classics.
The ad noted the 112 auction catalogs conducted by William Elliot Woodward, there are 72 of these on hand gathered by Bill Burd over the years. Many are priced, a few are named.
"I have you to thank for one of my latest purchases" Bill told me when I called him this week. "I bought two sets of Benezits. One for the shop and one set to be donated to the ANS. I am a life member and have a fondness for the Society."
[That's Emanuel Benezit, Dictionary of Artists. Paris: Grund, 14 volumes, 20,608 pages, 170,000 artists entries. This is the first English language edition, translated from the French 14th edition with updates and additions. European artists are extensively covered, plus 735 American artists!]
"You must have read my articles in The E-Sylum," I replied. [When I bought my set I wrote about it in E-Sylum, where it took me six weeks to go through all 20,000 pages looking for American coin and medal engravers and medallists. See E-Sylum vol 10, no 49, art 9.] "That's right," Bill said.
"Do you go along with John J. Ford's maxim for coin dealers: 'an intelligent numismatist is our best customer'?" I asked. "Absolutely!" he answered.
I complimented Bill for this program, "You've got a mini ANS library right in your coin shop." "Not quite," said Bill. But it is a valuable resource for numismatic scholars closer to Chicago than ANS in New York City.
Kudos to Bill for assembling and making available such a great resource! -Editor
To read Dick Johnson's earlier E-Sylum article, see: THE BENEZIT INTERNATIONAL DIRECTORY OF WORLD ARTISTS (http://www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v10n49a09.html)
Wayne Homren, Editor
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