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The E-Sylum: Volume 12, Number 37, September 13, 2009, Article 10

MORE ON MARDI GRAS DOUBLOON LITERATURE

Bob Knepper writes:

In last week's E-Sylum, Dick Welsh asked for information about collecting Mardi Gras "doubloons". The involved organization is the "Crescent City Doubloon Traders" at www.crescentcitydoubloontraders.com. Each year they publish a "New Orleans Mardi Gras Doubloon Swapper's Check List and Price Guide".

I was a member for awhile because a few of the doubloons include the "wildman" subject of my theme collection. Their members were friendly and helped me find some, but not all, of the wanted doubloons.

Fred Reed writes:

Guren-Carnival Panorama 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 medals.

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.

Jay's output 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,

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: QUERY: INFORMATION ON MARDI GRAS DOUBLOONS SOUGHT (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v12n36a19.html)

Wayne Homren, Editor

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