For David Welsh and others interested in Mardi Gras throws,
my former colleague at Coin World Jay Guren co-authored
a great book on this topic with Richard Ugan. I'm attaching
an illustration of the cover.
As you can see the cover is die cut and an actual
Mardi Gras doubloon is mounted in the cut out. It is a 1966
New Orleans Carnival Parade Schedule Medal "struck in
golden aluminum . . . available exclusively to purchasers of
this book," according to a legend inside.
The book was published
in 1966 by Anderson Publications, New Orleans, and printed by
Sidney Printing and Publishing Co., Sidney, Ohio, the parent
company of Coin World owned by the Amos family. It is very heavily
illustrated with pictures of the carnival doubloons and photographs
of Mardi Gras, and has an extensive history of the event and
The book is dedicated "to the Spirit of Carnival
in New Orleans." The book is 208 pages, with a tipped in
pricing supplement. The catalog includes medals from 1884 to date
of publication, catalog numbers, and estimated values up to $100
for a very, very rare 19th century Mardi Gras medal.
Readers of The E-Sylum
may not be familiar with my friend Mr. Guren, now deceased, who toiled in the trenches
at Coin World during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s following
a career on Madison Avenue in New York. Think MAD MEN.
was stupendous in the period when Coin World was a much, much
larger publication than that which exists today, with large oversize tabloid issues
brimming with up to 200 pages weekly. Coin World needed a lot of copy
each week to fill the spaces between the prodigious ads, and Jay was adept at pounding
out stories long into the night fortified by cordials from his lower right desk drawer.
Jay very rarely took a byline, and refused to join the Numismatic Literary Guild for the reason
it seems that he would not join any organization that would have him as a member.
On July 21, 1987, the Numismatic Literary Guild honored Jay
with a special "gotcha" award as the "unsung Hercules of numismatic
writing." The award recognized Jay as the most prolific numismatic writer
of the past 27 years. I believe this tribute was accomplished by our colleagues Tom DeLorey
and David Alexander, who were very active in NLG. Jay died in Jackson, MS on March 19, 2002.
Although the book is long since out of print, ANA members can borrow
it from the ANA Library. Call Number is RM85.M3G8. The catalog
also lists Jay's offprint "Catalog of 1966 Mardi Gras Medals," no. RM85.M3G8a.
The salutation in my copy in Jay's faltering hand writing reads:
"To Fred Reed -- a good friend, extraordinary gentleman, dedicated researcher
and fine numismatist, Jay Guren."
Such praise was laughingly premature in 1975 -- if it is
even remotely true today with regard to the undersigned,
but it surely accrues for all time to Jay Guren . . . a good friend,
extraordinary gentleman, dedicated researcher and fine numismatist. Back at 'ya Jay,