The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 13, Number 43, October 24, 2010, Article 11


Dick Johnson submitted this note encouraging the creation of web sites on specialized numismatic topics. -Editor

I had an exchange of emails this week with Dale Hall, whose web site was featured in last week's E-Sylum. It has brought to mind how useful it is to compile your own topical collection and put this on the web for other collectors interested in the same topic.

Dale was well along in photographing images of coins and medals in his collection of numismatic items of Austrian interest. He also -- to his credit! -- compiled a list of the artists of this collecting topic. While the coins are well documented in the Krause publications on World Coins, no such publication lists or illustrates medals and tokens which would logically fall into the same collecting topic.

I encouraged Dale to continue working on his web site. I sent him data on 26 artists from my databank who were Austrian artists who had created coins and medals of American interest, primarily portrait items of John F. Kennedy, other American presidents, and the great outpouring of medals for the Moon Landing of 1969 and American astronauts. It also included American artists who were born in Austria and came to America and created coins and medals.

How useful it would be for other collectors to do what Dale has done. Catalog and photograph your collection. Whip it into shape for a web site and put it up on the Internet. Not only will you attract interest from other collectors -- hopefully spurring some fascinating correspondence sharing mutual interest and exchanging collecting lore -- but also providing a "shopping list" of what can be included in that collecting topic.

Here are some tips:

(1) Photograph all specimens in color on a "light box." This eliminates all color background. Even if you lay a specimen on white paper it will be gray on the photo. It has to be strong white light to eliminate any background color.

(2) Prepare a "Check List" for your descriptions. Include obvious data, as obverse, reverse, edge, size, shape, composition, fineness if precious metal, artist, mint or medal maker, and such. Provide as much information as you can for each item. But don't get hung up if you can't find any one datum. Move on without it.

(3) If you enter the information on a spreadsheet you are creating an extra step for yourself. You might want to put your description in words right from the start. Spreadsheets limit your thinking to filling little boxes. Use words, sentences, paragraph and you are unlimited in how much you can write. If you already have a list in spreadsheet, convert it to words before you go online.

(4) Name every item. Put that in bold face. Put the date either before or after the name. Then you can list the rest of the information in the order of your Check List.

(5) You won't capture everything in your topic on the first attempt. Invite other collectors to inform you of what you have omitted. Collectors love to do this (human nature I guess). Don't try to list everything before before you go public. If that is your goal, you will die before you do.

(6) List only one topic for one web site. Keep it purely to that topic. I know, you collect more than one topic. Pick your favorite and create that web site first. You can always add another, and another and ....

(7) Contact me with your topic interest. Chances are I can send you something from my databank of 3,587 artists of American coins and medals. Glad to furnish you with this info. Email:

(8) Once you are on the Internet, do what Dale did. Let the world know it's on the web. Tell Wayne Homren at The E-Sylum. He tells the world.

Actually, John and Nancy Wilson deserve the credit for suggesting this web site for The E-Sylum, but ideas are welcome from everyone.

And don't forget to consider as an easy venue to manage and share your collection data. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: FEATURED WEB PAGE: AUSTRIAN ENGRAVERS (

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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