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V13 2010 INDEX       E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

The E-Sylum: Volume 13, Number 39, September 26, 2010, Article 18

TO PRICE OR NOT TO PRICE? THAT IS THE QUESTION

Ron Abler poses an age-old question for numismatic authors - to price, or not to price? -Editor

Tom DeLorey’s review of a “worst numismatic book” contained a statement that is very germane to a conundrum that I am facing with my book on 1876 Centennial medals. Mr. DeLorey wrote,

“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.”

He goes on to point out that the annual pricing guide itself was a failure.

This begs a perennial question: To price or not to price? My thinking is that a price list in a comprehensive reference almost certainly contains many prices that are little more than educated guesses and, as such, can be more misleading than informative. Further, the value of such a price list begins to depreciate the day it is sent to the printer.

My personal preference would be to provide an estimate of rarity rather than price. I would be very interested to find out what your readers think.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: MORE ON THE WORST NUMISMATIC BOOKS (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v13n38a14.html)

Wayne Homren, Editor

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