The E-Sylum:  Volume 5, Number 18, April 28, 2002, Article 13


  Stephen Pradier writes: "Perhaps a month or so ago I and
  others commented on the limited run of numismatic literature
  publications.  Statistics and numbers are a funny thing and
  most times leave one to wonder.

  We know that there are 400 plus NBS members thanks to
  Wayne's weekly updates on Sunday's release of the E-Sylum.
  [Actually, since NBS membership isn't required for subscribing
  to The E-Sylum, the number of members is different; over
  300 I believe, but less than 469.   So what are you guys
  waiting for?   We'd love to have you all as members.  -Editor]

  We also know that 500 is a generally accepted number for a
  limited run on a book covering some specialized area of
  numismatics. This would leave the publisher with perhaps 150
  plus copies after the  book goes on sale.  Perhaps later on
  down the road someone else will need a copy.  Then again,
  there is eBay.

  To cause a book to become antiquarian overnight a printing
  of less than 50 copies seems to be a good number.  George
  F. Kolbe's press release of his March 22, 2002 Auction 87
  mentions that there were 350 plus auction participants.  Not
  400 or 500, but 350 plus.   I wonder if that was just the
  number of winning bidders, or did it include the losers, too?
  [See George's explanation below. -Editor]

  Realizing that there are sometime three or four Numismatic
  Literature auctions going on at the same time, some of those
  same 350 plus bidders surely participated in those other
  auctions as well.  We may or never know their numbers.
  George seems to be the only one at present to provide the
  numbers at the end, along with a PRL.

  Then you have as an example this writer, who owns three
  copies of a limited run of 500, two copies of a run of 1000
  and so on.  I tend to get a working copy of a book that is
  in my area of interest . It is not that I am hard on a book
  by any means.  It's just that "Book Thing".

  The other reasons for the multiple copies is, winning bids
  on books I already own, since I lack a convenient way to
  check what I have versus what I bid on in an upcoming
  auction.  What's more, I don't have Alzheimer's -- yet.

  I can only imagine how many others of the 300-400 have
  the same problem.  Another fact of worth is that some of
  the same 350 plus bidders in GFK's last auction are selling
  and buying the same books  that they just won or lost
  from each other. It might be said that those of us with this
  strange interest are incestuous to say the least when it comes
  to acquiring the book of their dreams.

  Are there other auctions going on that I don't know about?
  Out of all of the billions of people in the world, the professed
  10,000,000 to 100,000,000 coin collectors in the world,
  are there only 350 to 400 plus individuals who have an
  intense interest in numismatic literature?

  It boggles the mind to come to grips with realization that
  there are seemingly so few who know that the book is much
  rarer than the coin.  Show me the numbers!"

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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