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The E-Sylum: Volume 3, Number 45, October 29, 2000, Article 6


In response to last week's "Gee honey, it's not as bad as collecting <fill in the blank here>", David Lange writes:

"Here's my "blank." I collect any and all coin albums and folders, excepting those made entirely or mostly of plastic. When asked why I do this (and I get that question a lot), I simply say, "because no one else does."

While this is not enough to satisfy my girlfriend, who derisively refers to my treasured archive as "dust collectors," it does usually prompt most coin people to pause for a moment and reflect on what is being lost. Dealers routinely buy collections in albums, pop out the coins (damaging the albums in the process) and then discard the albums as just so much junk. Those that are saved for resale are usually marred further by the dealer writing what he paid for each piece below the holes or applying some irremovable price sticker on the album's front cover.

My attempt to preserve these relics of our hobby's past has proved to be a fascinating treasure hunt. Many dealers know of my interest and simply hand me any albums they can't sell. While some brands, particularly the Library of Coins series, are still sought by collectors for the storing of coins (why would someone do that?), most old albums and folders have little secondary value. The most obscure brands are usually the least valued, and I can acquire very rare items for a dollar or so. I've amassed a large collection of boards, folders and albums, saving them by title, edition, printing variants, and so on. Nothing has been published on this subject, other than my own articles, and only the most prominent brands ran advertisements that help me to reconstruct their history. For all the others, all that is known is what may be gleaned from the albums themselves.

There seems to be no area of numismatics remaining in which one can still be a pioneer, so I'm enjoying this opportunity to collect and catalog items that are otherwise disregarded by the numismatic community. I hope it remains that way for many years. I don't want to be priced out of yet another collecting field!"

Wayne Homren, Editor

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