The E-Sylum:  Volume 8, Number 14, April 3, 2005, Article 18


Some comments from Dave Bowers to all NBS members
and E-Sylum readers:

"Thanks to many of you for sending biographical and other
information for use in my new dictionary/encyclopedia of
American numismatics now being prepared for Whitman
Publishing Co. This has been moved into the fast lane,
production wise, and all input will be finessed this month
(April). Here are some questions and answers, based upon
some inquiries received:

Scope of book: It will be a dictionary of American (not foreign
or ancient) numismatic people, terms, objects, and events.
Accordingly, Sylvester S. Crosby will have his due, but Barclay
Head (of ancient coin fame and of foreign residence) will not.
Terms will include basics such as those used to describe coins,
minting, etc., over a long period of time; ranging from the obvious
“mint” and “wire rim,” as examples, to the more obscure
“annular” and “French bronze.” I am attempting to be very
comprehensive—with thousands of entries, but also concise.

Biographies: Famous numismatists (writers, scholars, collectors,
dealers) of the past will be covered, the detail depending upon
the importance, past or present, of the individual covered.
Accordingly, Joseph W. Mickley will get more ink than Thomas
Cleneay or Theodore Venn. I will not include ALL consignors
to past sales (Martin Gengerke’s superb study can be used for
that), but I will delineate many of them.

As to present-day people, I invite YOU to submit your bio if
elevant. I am not going to send out pleading letters to the many
deserving recipients. In the absence of hearing from some people,
if they are listed in the PNG or PCDA directories, or if I have
info on hand concerning them, or if I happen to have much
about them in my data base, they will be listed. However, if
John/Jane Doe, president of the XYZ Numismatic Society,
does not contact me, he/she may not be listed.

Certain subjects appearing on coins and related items, but
otherwise not of numismatic focus, will have SHORT bios.
If you want long bios, such as for people pictured on the gold
medallion series of the 1980s, Pete Smith’s excellent work
beckons. If you want to read about the Korean War (subject
of a “38th anniversary of” commemorative, this will not be a
key source. Accordingly, W. Elliot Woodward will get
extensive coverage, and Abraham Lincoln (topic of coins,
currency, etc.) will be treated briefly, as his bio is easily
available elsewhere. William Strickland will get coverage,
but only for his numismatic connections (designer of various
mint buildings), not for his even better known civic architectural
accomplishments. I may mention Stanford White; I haven’t
decided (close “sporting pal” of Augustus Saint-Gaudens and
the designer of several notable banks). Anyway, lots to think
about, lots of fun!

Many people have sent in nice bios of other people (thanks,
Scott Travers, for example!). I welcome this. Need date of
birth, numismatic accomplishments, city and state of activity,

The new work will be completely original and will not be
based on the superb works of Frey, Doty, Smith, Gengerke,
or anyone else. However, I am reviewing key listings for
thoughts and inspiration.

The book will be in “almanac format,” sort of like the World
Almanac, or similar, probably on inexpensive paper, a very
large number of pages and thousands of entries, and will be
priced to be very affordable. Scattered illustrations may be
used for accent, perhaps one every 5, 10, or so pages.

It is expected that the volume will be useful for anyone
interested in the detailed study and enjoyment of coins,
tokens, medals, paper money, and numismatic literature,
as well as in Mint history, and, to a limited extent, American
economic and financial history with numismatic connections.
Relating to the latter, you can read about the Panic of 1837,
Panic of 1857, the Embargo Act, the “Silver Question,” etc.,
to the extent that you are interested in such matters.

The book will be distributed nationwide by Whitman.
A publication date has not been set, but is expected to
be later this year.

My personal thanks to all of you who have sent me
useful information."

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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