The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 3, Number 16, April 16, 2000: 
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 
Copyright (c) 2000, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 


   We have no new subscribers this week.  Our subscriber count 
   holds at 296. 


   Numismatic researcher and author Pete Smith of Minneapolis 
   has joined the NBS Board to fill the vacant seat.   A former 
   NBS Board member, Pete has authored "American Numismatic 
   Biographies", "Building and Maintaining a Numismatic Library", 
   and a monograph on the Starred Reverse Cent.  Pete is also a 
   regular columnist for The Numismatist.  His February 2000 
   column acknowledged how E-Sylum subscribers helped him 
   locate portraits of American collector Matthew Stickney. 

   At the ANA convention in Chicago last year Pete was elected 
   to the board for the newly-organized Medal Collectors of 
   America, and has volunteered to take over as editor of the MCA 
   Advisory, a newsletter previously edited by David T. Alexander. 


   Nolan Mims writes: "Just wanted you to know that I look 
   forward to reading the E-sylum every Monday morning. I have 
   only been a subscriber for three weeks now, but I am hooked. 
   Maybe someday I will attempt to make a contribution, but for 
   now, I will just sit back and enjoy." 


   A recent review of the membership list for our Society 
   reveals the following interesting piece of  information about our 
   organization:   Our current membership is 296 people, which 
   coincidentally is the same as the current number of E-Sylum 
   subscribers.  From our earlier E-Sylum survey, we estimate 
   that about half of that number are both members and E-Sylum 

   Of the NBS members, only 18 are outside of the U.S., broken 
   down as follows:    Australia - 1,  Belgium - 1,  Canada - 11, 
   England -1, Guadeloupe - 1,  Ireland - 2,   Mexico - 1. 


   Earlier this week your editor had one of those heart-stopping 
   moments that every computer user runs into sooner or later. 
   While doing some maintenance on the E-Sylum subscriber 
   list, suddenly it just disappeared:  poof -  gone.  No amount 
   of clicking, undoing, rebooting, or praying brought it back. 
   But after some reconstructive surgery, it looks like we're back 
   in business.   One side effect is that some subscribers may 
   receive two copies of this newsletter.  If this happens, please 
   let me know. 

   A couple of our Board members have duplicate copies 
   squirreled away for just such occasions, although these 
   backups are a little dated.   We'll do our housekeeping 
   and meanwhile, should you ever mysteriously cease to 
   receive The E-Sylum, please let myself or one of our Board 
   members know. 


   In response to Mike Jones' comments on "Book Rate" fees, 
   Numismatic literature dealer Charles Davis writes:  "In the early 
   80's, it was the old bugaboo Buyers Premium and the pages of 
   Cal Wilson's Repository were filled with discussion pro and con. 
   Now it's the Packing Fee.  E-Sylum subscriber Mike Jones is 
   entitled to his opinion, but his diatribe against book dealers is 
   poorly taken, and I for one am offended by it.  He is correct 
   that the Post Office will provide free boxes, but he neglects to 
   point out that these are Priority Mail boxes, not ones for book 
   rate or parcel post, and even they and the free tape are so light 
   weight, neither is recommended for book shipments.  Most of 
   my shipments are made in new boxes or padded mail bags 
   which cost me on average 40c-$1.00 each.  Peanuts and 
   bubble wrap add to the cost, as does the considerable labor in 
   correctly packing the box.  A packing fee of $1-$2.00 over the 
   postage charge hardly covers the cost and should not be the 
   subject of much concern. Has Mr. Jones ever purchased an item 
   from a mail order catalogue where shipping may be as much as 
   10%?   I recently did, and on a $150.00 item I paid $15.00 
   shipping for an item that cost $3.20 to mail.  Now that might be 
   a subject of a discussion. 

   As for the comment "some dealers will charge only actual postage 
   and those dealers are the ones that describe the condition of a 
   book correctly",  I guess Bergman, Lake, Kolbe, Grady, Moulton 
   and I all misdescribe books because we all charge a little more 
   than actual postage. 

   According to his analysis, we book dealers are lining our pockets 
   at the collectors' expense.  Perhaps Mr. Jones would care to join 
   us in our profession. He could undercut our costs and put the lot 
   of us out of business in no time." 

   Karl Moulton notes: "Mr. Jones' comments about "book buying" 
   are something we all share as bibliophiles.  What he relates about 
   conditions, shipping charges, packing fees, etc., are all part of the 
   "hidden costs" involved with acquiring a library.  It's similar to 
   buying a new car with the destination charges, sales tax, license 
   fees, and special "dealer prep coat" (another way of charging for 
   car wax) added to the sticker price. 

   As a literature dealer, I leave every option open to the customer 
   when it comes to shipping and insurance.  In my price list there 
   is a detailed outline explaining the postage and insurance rates 
   from the USPS.  Naturally, my customers pay only the charge 
   needed to receive the package.  As every literature dealer knows, 
   the US Postal Service can be a terrible business partner! " 

   Finally, George Kolbe adds "Whether it's shipping charges, 
   buyers' premiums or other add-ons, the solution seems so simple, 
   at least to me. Add everything up, use a calculator if math is not 
   your forte, AND, if the total is appealing, go for it!  If not, take a 
   deep breath and think SERENITY!" 

   Well, George, I couldn't have summed it up better.  Many is the 
   lot I've reduced my bid on to account for the total cost of buyer's 
   fees, shipping, etc.   And many is the lot I've missed out on to 
   more aggressive bidders.  But the lots I win I'm generally happy 
   with, for I have no one to blame but myself for paying too dearly. 

   From Mike's note he's already making those calculations and has 
   passed up items due to their total cost.  Also, lest our numismatic 
   literature dealer friends get too worked up, his comments were 
   directed primarily at the great unwashed booksellers across the 
   internet, rather than any of our brethren dealers in particular. 

   As a collector, though, it can seem heartbreaking to pass up an 
   item you'd otherwise purchase if not for the extra fees.   But no 
   matter how you slice it, the total cost is the only relevant factor. 
   If it's not meant to be, it's not meant to be. 


   This week's featured web site is "Matthew Boulton, Father of 
   Modern Coinage", set up by Carl Honore. 

  Wayne Homren 
  Numismatic Bibliomania Society 

  The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a 
  non-profit organization promoting numismatic 
  literature.   For more information please see 
  our web site at 
  There is a membership application available on 
  the web site.  To join, print the application and 
  return it with your check to the address printed 
  on the application.   For those without web access, 
  contact Dave Hirt, NBS Secretary-Treasurer, 
  5911 Quinn Orchard Road, Frederick, MD 21704 

  (To be removed from this mailing list 
   write to me at   

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