"I would like to comment on the study and
collection of coin holders.
Earlier this year I did volunteer work at the Minnesota
Historical Society reviewing their coin collection. Most of the
collection has no historical connection to Minnesota and may
be considered for deaccession. The largest donation was
made in 1921 by a former president of the Society, Charles
Phelps Noyes, and part of my contribution was a biography
It is clear that the coins have no connection to Minnesota.
They might have a value to the Society from a different
perspective, representing a leasure-time activity of a
prosperous Victorian gentleman. An additional part of my
contribution was a review of books Noyes donated to the
Society and what they said about his study of coins and his
assembly of the collection.
After this study was well under way, it occurred to me that
most of the collection was housed in brown Whitman envelopes.
The collection was donated in 1921 and Whitman envelopes
were not available until the 1950's. Other parts of the
collection were kept with rectangular pieces of cardboard with
round recesses to hold the coins. Many of the Noyes coins
retained glue residue from an even earlier mounting. It was my
conclusion that the collection, now being considered for
reholdering in 2000, had been reholdered at least twice since
it was donated. Any while this reholdering may protect the
coins, it had destroyed the evidence of the way Noyes had
inventoried, marked and stored his collection.
I found myself educating the curatorial staff on the history of
coin holders. One of my recommendations was that examples
of old holders be kept with the collection along with a description
of previous reholdering. Although these notes add nothing to
the value of individual coins, they are essential to understanding
the historical context of the collection.
While collectors of "white" Morgan dollars or commemorative
coins may have no interest, collectors of toned silver coins
should study holders and their effect on toning. Advanced
collectors preserve old envelopes and holders as part of the
provenance of the coins history.
As with any specialty area, study of holders is not for everyone,
but we should appreciate those who appreciate the topic and
share their information with us."
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