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The E-Sylum: Volume 13, Number 8, February 21, 2010, Article 7

BOOK REVIEW: CATALOGUE OF NEW ZEALAND COMMEMORATIVE MEDALS 1941-2007

Martin Purdy submitted this review of Catalogue of New Zealand Commemorative Medals 1941-2007 by Hamish MacMaster. Thanks! -Editor

Macmaster NZ commemorative medals 1941-2007 Hamish MacMaster's new Catalogue of New Zealand Commemorative Medals 1941-2007

Ever since the publication of Leon Morel's seminal catalogue of Medallic Commemoratives of New Zealand, covering the first 75 years of such issues (1865-1940) (1976, 2nd ed. 1996 and supplement in 2000), collectors have bemoaned the absence of a comparable volume covering the post-1940 period.

For the past eight years or so, Hamish MacMaster and I (mainly Hamish) have been contributing articles on our researches into post-1940 medals to the NZ Numismatic Journal, partly in the hope that it would make the information more readily available to whoever took up the much greater task in due course.

In the end, Hamish did so himself, compiling information from our articles and his own extensive collection, as well as details supplied by other collectors and those gleaned from primary sources and earlier numismatic publications, to produce a book whose scope rivals that of its earlier companion. The new Catalogue of New Zealand Commemorative Medals 1941-2007, published by the Royal Numismatic Society of New Zealand in December 2009, lists over 400 commemorative medals by date, with appendices for undated/unattributed issues, collector series, wooden medals, "challenge coins", etc.

Most medals are illustrated, and all are described in full detail, which in some cases makes up for images that are not as sharp as we might have preferred – images of some medals that we could not photograph directly were "as supplied" or drawn from earlier Society publications, photocopied newsletters, etc., and for some medals the final image resolution is lower than anticipated.

The "rarity scale" used by Morel has been dropped as, in many instances, original mintages are known, or not enough examples have been seen in trade to permit a reasonable estimation of rarity. Significant recent sale prices have been included for some earlier issues in particular, and issue prices are recorded where known. Otherwise the entries are unpriced.

If I dare say so myself as editor for this project, it's a must for NZ collectors in particular, and numismatic bibliophiles in general, as the first attempt at a comprehensive listing of commemorative medals struck in or for this country since 1940. Popular lore had it that the post-1940 period was "dead" for the commemorative medal; Hamish has definitively put an end to that myth.

Specifications: 206pp, A4 format. Soft cover (laminated). Soft cover print run limited to 400. ISBN 978-0-473-15585-8. Order from the RNSNZ, PO Box 2023, Wellington 6140, NZ, or e-mail hamish.macmaster@mfat.govt.nz

Prices: NZ$45 ea. delivered in NZ. Overseas: AUD50, US$45, £30 incl. p+p.

Wayne Homren, Editor

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