Julian Leidman pointed out an interesting exchange this week on the
Coin Collector's Universe Message Board, inspired by an item in last Sunday's E-Sylum.
Here are a few excerpts. What do E-Sylum readers think?
I was reading the latest issue of Esylum, and saw the following tidbit:
"David F. Fanning Numismatic Literature held its third mail-bid auction on December 3. Featuring material from the libraries of John J. Ford, Jr. and Douglas Ball, the sale included many scarce works and specialized studies. A few highlights included: Lot 607: A complete, 21-volume set of hardcover Stack's Ford catalogues brought $2500."
Does anyone think that $2,500 for a complete 21 volume hard-bound set of the Ford sales is the greatest bargain in numismatics? That is just $119 per book for a wealth of knowledge. At the upcoming FUN sale, many people will drop six or seven figures on coins (most of it in the Syrup of Saints™ sale), but will scoff at spending $2,500 for a set of books. For shame.
Considering that a single HB Ford I sale brought over $400 in a Kolbe sale last year, to pick the entire set up at issue price is a good deal for someone.
No, it can't possibly be "the greatest bargain" considering that many of us received a complete set of paperback Ford catalogs *free of charge* one by one as the auctions took place. I would say that *free* is a much greater bargain than $2500 cost !!
I agree - I received all of the soft-bound copies for free also. Hey, if you're a book-lover who wants to just admire the hard-bound copies sitting on your shelf, then go for it. I'll admit I do have a few special hard-bound catalogs in my library but they are only in my specific area of collecting. The Ford catalogs don't do anything for me.
I think it's a deal, but not the "greatest" deal. I'd take the card cover set for $500 (I already have one) and spend the other $2,000 on cooler things. On the other hand, $2,000 isn't going to go very far in the Kolbe Stack's family sale. Pre-sale estimate on the 1st six years of Numismatist is $25k...it'll likely hammer at $35k+.
It may be a bargain, but not for the information. The information is only worth (roughly) $500, because that's what you can get it for in another format. The extra $2000 for the bindings has nothing to do with "information".
Naturally, Your Editor is in the "it's a bargain" camp. I have a hardbound set that I purchased individually by subscription. I actually had a subscription for TWO sets initially, and when I was moving a few years ago I sold my duplicate copies at double and triple the issue price to raise cash and clear off some shelf space.
I consider the set a cornerstone of my numismatic library, or of any library of American numismatic literature. I fully expect the price to only go up from here, and wouldn't be surprised to see sets selling in the $5,000+ range someday. But only time will tell.
To read the complete thread, see:
Is $2,500 for a complete, 21 volume hard-bound set of Stack's Ford catalogs the greatest bargain in numismatics?
Wayne Homren, Editor
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