Longtime coin dealer Q. David Bowers offers these thoughts on the Library of Coins albums.
I recall that circa 1960 the new Library of Coins albums were a sensation. We had a display rack of them, and they sold quickly. By that time the Raymond (National) albums were available but hard to find and, as I recall, promotion for them had stopped. We found that the Type Set album in particular inspired buyers to get busy building a type set.
These were among the new products that ignited the great coin market of 1960-1964, the prime catalysts being the inauguration of Coin World and the pandemonium created by the “very rare” 1960 Small Date Lincoln cent.
In this single year numismatics evolved from a hobby to a big business. Coin shops by the thousands opened (think: sports cards shops in the 1990s), and at one point the circulation of Coin World crossed 150,000. The market leader was the bank-wrapped $2 roll of 1950-D nickels which at one point sold for over $1,200.
Interesting to reflect upon today!
Dave Lange adds:
To follow up on James Higby's observations about the Library of Coins albums, the titles for pre-1840 coinage were in print for several years but were not big sellers. Even 45 years ago there were relatively few people assembling date and variety sets of early federal coins; most were too busy hoarding BU rolls and proof sets. That's why these titles are hard to find today. The only one to be produced in a second edition was Volume 38, which was for Large Cents 1821-57. Evidently that period of cents was popular enough for the album to have sold out in the first edition.
As for the incomplete roster of varieties, this represented what was included in the Red Book circa 1960-61, when these albums were being designed. Though a few varieties may have been added to or deleted from the Red Book during the course of the 1960s, the albums were never updated.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
MORE ON THE LIBRARY OF COINS AND TREASURY OF COINS ALBUMS
Wayne Homren, Editor
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