Howard A. Daniel III writes:
As readers of The E-Sylum have learned, Dick Johnson and I have an interest in words and their proper uses and definitions. For many years, I have been purchasing dictionaries which have or might have a word and its definition in it of interest to me. A few days ago, I was at the Second Story Books warehouse in Rockville, Maryland. This firm has accepted my credit card or cash from me for hundreds of books since the 1970s.
My latest find was "The American Stamp Collector's Dictionary", by Harry M. Konwiser, Tudor Publishing Company, New York, 1949, 309 pages. In the Foreword, there is a sentence that could be, easily reworded for a numismatic dictionary;
For many years there has been a pressing need for a single comprehensive volume (within the means of all who are interested) that would list, define and explain the thousands of important words, phrases, places, abbreviations, significant events and dates that occur in American philately.
There are some words that could be in a numismatic dictionary like
Watermark - Design worked into the paper. Herbert S. Ackerman, Stamps, Nov. 23, 1935. Detecting Watermarks, D. Thensen, Dec. 15, 1924.
Not only is there a definition but two sources for the individual to read more about it! I like this and want to see it in our next numismatic dictionary.
Another definition is
Accepted Design - The final stage in the readying of a stamp. After all designs and essays have been considered and the changes made to fit specifications, the design is accepted and sent to the engraver or printer. - Franklin R. Bruns, Jr.
Included with the definition is the name of the individual who wrote it! Both this entry and the above Watermark entry allow the reader to find the source and contact the individual about it. I like this entry, too and want to see it in our numismatic dictionaries.
The day before I went to Second Story Books, I had lunch at the Chevy Chase Country Club in Maryland with one of its members. He is Bill Mullan, a World War II Navy veteran and long time collector of topical world coins who gives talks about them to school children and any other group who will listen to him. He has given me hundreds of coins to put into the packets I hand out to young and new numismatists at the shows and conventions I attend.
He commented to me that somewhere in one of my writings, I used "less than" when writing about the rarity of a particular piece. He told me that "less than" can be used to describe something like a "less than a ton of copper," but when describing the number individual numismatic pieces, I need to use "fewer than." Wow, I did not realize the difference in their use and had never looked up their definitions. How many numismatic references have you read that have "less than" in them?