The E-Sylum:  Volume 7, Number 38, September 19, 2004, Article 7


  Lane J. Brunner, Ph.D writes: "It is often repeated by
  those who live to quote a nickel's worth of dime-store
  advice that misery loves company. If such vapid popular
  psychology is true, then have I got a story for you. It's a
  whale of  a saga, the substance of which, I am sure, is
  familiar to many of us.  This is just one more open entry
  in the log of any numismatic researcher.

  As readers of the E-sylum I am sure we can all appreciate
  the joy of finding that one detail that helps advance a
  research project or provides that missing shred of information
  that brings together an  area of study. But what if the book
  itself is that elusive prize?  I am not speaking of a rare,
  expensive, high-demand book whose resting  time in a
  dealer's inventory can be measured with a watch, but rather
  the nearly unknown, minor publication from an all but
  forgotten author.  The kind of book that when discussed
  causes even serious  bibliophiles to garner a look not
  dissimilar to a dog tilting his head at an odd sound. The
  kind of book for whose apparent need only a  compulsive
  researcher can fathom. Such a book is my burden.

  Several years ago, far too many years to quantitate and
  not be  embarrassed, I began work on a book about
  United States twenty-cent  pieces. My fascination with
  the series actually derived from the paltry numismatic
  literature on this coin. Namely, the articles,  book,
  columns, and the like I read stated essentially the same
  facts and legends.  Albeit each author's pen was different,
  but like  yesterday's spaghetti, it was the same, nonetheless.
  I knew there  just had to be more to this ephemeral
  denomination than what was in  print at the time.

  After endless tracking, I amassed much of the literature
  on double  dimes, including many primary sources. One
  book still eluded me. Then one bright day I was paging
  through the ANA library catalog, and  there it was; the
  book. The rain stopped, birds sang, and people  began
  using their turn signals. All was right in the world.  A quick
  letter to the ANA and soon, yes, oh so soon, the book
  will on its way  and I will be reading the words.

  The ANA's letter arrived on a dark and stormy night.
  Okay, fine, it  was during the day and it was only a threat
  of clouds; but reality is  far less dramatic. I opened the
  letter only to read that the book,  once resting quietly at
  GB20.R8, was lost. My heart sank, rain poured, birds
  were mute, and people drove erratically. Oh, how can it
  be?  What a cruel twist of fate the literary gods have
  dealt me. What  kind of world do we live in where books
  are lost from libraries? Is  there no end to this suffering?
  Okay, perhaps that is a little too  dramatic. Regardless, I
  was a bit frustrated.

  That was a few years ago and despite numerous hours
  on the web,  conversations with many numismatic literature
  dealers, countless  interlibrary loan requests, and letters
  to every Robert O. Rupp I could track down, this small
  book remains a phantom. This simple,  unpaged book,
  written 37 years ago in Fort Collins, Colorado with the
  unassuming title "The Silver Twenty-cent Piece", still
  remains at  large and has become my white whale.

  [This book has eluded my grasp as well. I tend to
  accumulate every title I can find, and often these odd
  little issues find their way into my library.  Not so with this
  one.  I've never seen the book, and was unaware of its
  existence until now.  If anyone can help locate this title,
  please let us know.  -Editor]

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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