The E-Sylum:  Volume 8, Number 42, October 2, 2005, Article 6


[A major new catalog hit the streets this week: Stack’s
John J. Ford Jr. Part XII Catalogue--The Silver Coinage
of Massachusetts. I asked an expert in the field for a brief
review. Roger S. Siboni writes:

"In a word, magnificent! This could be the finest catalogue ever
produced by the Stack’s Family and certainly the finest written
by Michael J. Hodder. Indeed, it may be one of the finest
catalogues on Colonial Coinage ever published. This is a must
read for anyone with even a remote interest in the silver coinage
of Massachusetts. It’s building blocks include Crosby, Sydney P.
Noe’s ANS monographs, the New Netherlands 48th and 60th
Catalogues, the Ford Archives, Lou Jordon’s fine work on John
Hull and the Boston Mint and it stands on the shoulders of the
previously definitive Hain catalogue produced by Stack’s and
Hodder in January of 2002.

In the forepart, Hain provided us with a broad overview of
the history and environment of the Massachusetts Colony
during the late 17th century. Hain also spent time reviewing
how the different coinage was manufactured. Ford XII takes
the discussion to another level by seriously delving into the
tougher questions like why the coinage was produced, why
the almost exclusive 1652 date, the sequence in which the coins
were produced, and in what quantities and over what periods
of time. I found the meshing of Jordan’s analysis of production
quantities and production duration with Hodder’s die linkage
charts particularly interesting. It really gave you a sense that
these coins were only periodically manufactured in bulk when
a particular customer or group of customers required them.
I ended my read thinking about Hull and Sanderson conducting
a drastically different “old school” operation when compared
to those high volume operations carried out in the various
colonies during the late 18th century. It is also worth noting that
Hodder makes a clear plea to the Numismatic Community to
tackle the job of coming up with a new classification system
for Massachusetts Silver that builds upon Crosby, Noe, Picker
and Hodder himself. As Michael points out, the project is long
overdue and the resource material is readily available.

The actual catalogue is a delight for the eyes and mind. Every
coin in the extensive Wurtzbach-Clarke-Boyd-Ford holdings
is pictured, carefully described, analyzed, and generally
conservatively graded. A particularly nice touch is the use of
a silver background behind each photographic image that
elegantly enhances each coin for evaluation. Each variety is
catalogued in a two-part fashion. The first part covers the
diagnostics of the particular variety and the second part talks
about the particular coin (or coins in the case of duplicates).
Rarities, known examples and the like are updated from Hain
and by reading both catalogues and examining the photographs
in each, one gets a very clear idea of what’s out there and in
what grade.

A final nice touch worth mentioning is the liberal use of
collateral photographs related to the era, Massachusetts
Paper Currency, Hull and Sanderson, and certain key
individual players of the day. I particularly liked the images
of various pieces of Hull and Sanderson Silver from an
earlier Sotheby’s Auction.

If you are getting the idea that I enjoyed the catalogue
---I did!"

[Thanks, Roger, for writing your review for The E-Sylum.
I, too was struck by the stunning photography in the catalog.
Just marvelous! -Editor]

Ray Williams adds: "I read today in Coin World that the
catalog is available at a cost of $35. That's well worth it
for those not on Stack's mailing list. "

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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