Regarding our discussion of complete sets of Coin World, Pete Smith submitted these thoughts on his experience with one such set. -Editor I can relate the story of one complete set of Coin World that no longer exists. I admit it - I destroyed and discarded a set of Coin World.
In 1994 I got a call from Remy Bourne who was closing the advertising agency he ran in a Minneapolis suburb. He had acquired a complete set of Coin World that he stored at his business. He also had an incomplete set of Numismatic News. I could have these if I hauled them away. It took a couple of trips to move these to my kitchen. I recall this was in about 30 large boxes that took up more space than I could afford to devote to storage.
I intended to go through the issues looking for biographical material for my book, American Numismatic Biographies. My initial review took hundreds of hours over about two years. If I found something I wanted to keep, I tore out that page. Then the rest went into the recycling bin.
I believe that Remy would have sold the set if he could have gotten enough to justify the shipping cost. When he was in the literature business I believe he was offered long runs of Coin World that he declined. I didnít have the space to store it and didnít know what else to do but destroy it.
A complete set of Coin World contains an incredible wealth of information. However, I believe there are reasons why few collectors have an interest in keeping it.
- 1. A complete set requires a large amount of storage space.
- 2. The paper deteriorates. Pages were crumbling as I went through them.
- 3. With no index, it may be impossible to find the treasures that are contained. Who would be willing to page through that volume of material looking for something?
- 4. Most researchers look for something once. Few have the need to go back for repeated use.
- 5. This is a research tool, not a collectorís item. There are more collectors than researchers.
- 6. Most numismatic libraries are overfilled with other material already.
My biography clipping file is in an alphabetical sorter about 15 inches deep. My other clippings would make a pile about three feet high. That takes up enough space in my library. Now, fifteen years later, the clippings are mostly disorganized. I do use the biography file frequently.
I ended up traveling this weekend and was unable to get to some planned book and article reviews. But everyone should check out Roger Burdette's cover article in the August 3, 2009 issue of Coin World describing his research relating to the 1933 Double Eagle. It's a great example of the scholarship available in the pages of the numismatic weekly newspapers. -Editor
To read earlier E-Sylum article, see: TRACKING SETS OF COIN WORLD (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v12n29a09.html)
Wayne Homren, Editor
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