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V13 2010 INDEX       E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

The E-Sylum: Volume 13, Number 38, September 19, 2010, Article 14

MORE ON THE WORST NUMISMATIC BOOKS

Tom DeLorey couldn't resist chining in on the topic of the worst numismatic books. -Editor

Apropos bad numismatic books, I am reminded of the 1976 edition of the Scott Comprehensive Catalogue & Encyclopedia of United States Coins, based upon the 1971 edition by Don Taxay but edited by Joseph Rose and Howard Hazelcorn. Some radical changes from the Taxay edition were not

improvements in my opinion, and the illustrations were so bad that the book came from the publisher with several sheets of pictures on gummed sheets with peel-off backs that the buyer was invited to cut out and paste over the original illustration.

That was not the horribly bad book, however. Because the book was intended to serve as a reference that would last several years (unlike the Redbook which was repriced and reissued every year), the publishers decided to offer a small-format companion booklet that could be sold as an updated pricing guide every year, cross-referenced to the numbering system in the main book.

The publishers jobbed this out to somebody on staff who knew nothing about coins. One statement informed you that "All U.S. commemorative coins are so carefully made that they are Proofs." Another paragraph described how all U.S. Coins were made (as best I can remember):

"First one side of the coin is struck, and after it is cleaned and inspected the coin is put back into the press and the other side is struck. After that side is cleaned and inspected, the edge device is added to the coin."

This book inspired Coin World to write its first negative book review ever. Mssrs. Rose and Hazelcorn disavowed any knowledge or connection to the booklet, and I have no reason to doubt them.

I know, some of us were hoping the topic of worst numismatic book had run its course, but Iíve been laughing all week over those quotes and just had to publish this. At least no author in the numismatic community is involved. Tom offers another candidate below. I've redacted the name of the author and publisher. -Editor

Tom adds:

Another bad numismatic book is "The Cleaning and Preservation of Coins and Medals," published in the 1970s. Suffice it to say that the book advocated the use of steel wool to clean coins and medals.

Pete Smith writes:

I don't have a nomination for worst numismatic book ever. Can we come up with another classification? Perhaps "books too worthless to prop up an uneven table leg" or something like that.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: MORE ON THE WORST NUMISMATIC BOOKS (AND WHAT WE LOVE ABOUT ALL OF THEM) (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v13n37a10.html)

Wayne Homren, Editor

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To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor at this address: whomren@gmail.com

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