The E-Sylum:  Volume 4, Number 53, December 30, 2001, Article 6


  Bob Lyall writes:  "You ask for top catalogue in a specialty.
  I nominate Fred Pridmore Part 1, West Indies, (auctioneer
  Glendining & Co, London, cataloguer A H Baldwin & Sons
  Ltd, London) 21st September 1981.  (And please don't say
  Ray Byrne -- the West Indian specialist collectors wouldn't
  agree).  This was the first part of three sales of "Coins of the
  British Commonwealth of Nations" (actually including quite
  a lot of tokens) spanning 1981, 1982 and 1983."

  Bob Dunfield of Tradewind Books writes: "Regarding the top
  ten reference catalogs, I would nominate the Guthrie-Bothamley
  catalog of Mexican Revolutionary Coinage, 1913-1917,
  Superior Stamp & Coin Co., Inc., 1976.  This has become a
  standard reference for this series, as you probably know.

  Bill Bischoff writes: "I have one candidate to nominate, namely
  the Swiss Bank Corporation's Coins of Peru (Zuerich, Auction
  20, September 14 and 15, 1988).  Some coins from the period
  after Independence are included, but the bulk of the 1,356 lots
  is drawn from the mints of the Spanish Colonial Viceroyalty
  of Peru -- Lima, La Plata, and, especially, Potosi.  Subsequent
  research has modified some of the cataloguing, of course.  (For
  example, experts no longer believe it is possible to distinguish
  between the short-lived (1574 only) La Plata issues and those
  of  Potosi from 1575 on.)  For the sake of completeness the
  inclusion of Cartagena and Bogota would have been desirable,
  but Sellschop, whose collection underlay the auction, seems
  not to have been interested in those mints.  Still, the coins
  described and profusely illustrated here were the basis for the
  Grunthal/Sellshopp Coinage of Peru handbook published in
  1978, and they stand out for their high quality (none, as far as
  I can see, were from sea salvage, the source of the vast
  majority of macuquinas that come on the market today).
  Sellshopp started collecting these pieces long before there was
  a real market for them: hence it's unlikely that any one individual
  would be able to put together a comparable corpus today."

  Allan Davisson  writes: "Definitive sales on particular series?
  Some of the most exciting (and expensive) volumes in my
  library are sale catalogs. They are also some of the most
  useful volumes. The British series is rich in well produced and
  scholarly sale catalogs with fine plates.  Murdoch and Montague
  at the turn of the century should be on every serious British
  numismatic bibliophile's shelf.

  The mid-century Lockett sales are equally impressive and
  equally important. But, important as Lockett is, other British
  sales have their place as well.   Many years ago I published
  a list of the fifty most important British sale catalogs (for
  which I owe a great vote of thanks to an enthusiastic British
  colleague). I frequently pull down my custom bound set of
  Norweb sales when I wonder about a particular rarity.

  Ten on British hammered coins?  In no particular order:
  Murdoch, Montague, Ryan, Lockett, Norweb, Doubleday,
  Grantley, Carlyon-Britton, Rashleigh, and, finally, though
  not a sale catalog, the corpus of catalogs published over
  six years in the latter part of the 1990's by the late Patrick

  But what is the best catalog?  It all depends on what you
  are doing at the moment. I have just finished cataloging an
  important collection of hammered crowns of Charles I.
  The November 2001 Spink sale of the Van Roekel
  collection was extremely helpful.  This was a thoroughly
  catalogued sale with most of the varieties represented.
  In recent years it is arguably the "best" for this series. But
  the 1978 "West Country Collector" sale held by Glendining
  offered and illustrated the collection F. R. Cooper formed
  and used as the basis for his definitive work on the series.
  I turned to that as often as I turned to Van Roekel.  But it
  has also been convenient to have Paget and Lingford on hand.

  At the risk of being immodest, our catalog of Viking coins
  several years ago, our offering of the John Perry Celtic
  collection and our offering of Wayne Anderson's 18th
  century token collection still provide me with a record that
  I regularly use."

  On the topic of United States numismatics, Mark Van Winkle,
  Chief Cataloger for Heritage writes: "In response to your
  question about the top ten definitive reference catalogs,
  Heritage has just published a definitive catalog on Liberty
  Double Eagles.   The coins will be sold at the FUN Sale in
  January and the catalog is all-color (a first for Heritage), and
  100 hardbound copies were also printed (another first for

  I believe the most comprehensive catalog on Dimes by die
  variety is Stack's Lovejoy Collection, and Superior's
  Robinson Sales are still the best for early Cents. For proof
  gold, Ed Trompeter's sales in Superior (2/92) and Heritage's
  offerings of his Tens and Twenties are still definitive. Speaking
  of proof gold, Heritage also offered a complete set of high
  grade matte proof gold in the 1994 ANA Sale with updated
  information on the numbers believed extant of each issue by
  Jim Halperin. Heritage also sold what has to be the most
  complete set of Class I, II, and III branch mint proof
  Morgans in the 1995 ANA Sale.

  Those are the ones that I can think of off the top of my head,
  and I look forward to reading what others believe are
  definitive catalogs."

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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