The E-Sylum:  Volume 10, Number 38, September 23, 2007, Article 7


In response to my email letting him know I'd received my copy of
his new book on Coin Collecting Boards, David Lange writes: "Thanks
for letting me know that my book arrived. I was beginning to imagine
that no one would receive it.

"I had a meltdown of sorts with my book mailing. The new postal
regulations in effect since May 14 are so draconian that the USPS
returned every copy I sent out by priority mail, and I discovered
them sitting in the station this past Thursday. It seems that we
can no longer tape the edges of the priority mail flat rate envelopes.
Of course, I did this because they would otherwise never withstand
the journey. The USPS doesn't want anyone sending material that
weighs more than 13 ounces by first class or priority mail, because
the package may contain a bomb! The good news is that they have no
problem with me sending my bombs by media mail, so that's the course
I'll have to take with the remaining books.

"The one question the clerk couldn't answer for me is why anyone
would pay $4.60 to send something that weighs no more than 13 ounces
when such material isn't worth the added expense of priority mail.
He just stood there in stunned silence with beads of sweat running
down his contorted face."

[Dennis Tucker wrote a very nice review of Dave's book on the
Collector's Universe coin forums.  With permission I'm reprinting
it here, with my own comments added below. -Editor]

"I just received a copy of Coin Collecting Boards of the 1930s and
1940s: A Complete History, Catalog and Value Guide, by David W.
Lange, self-published through his Pennyboard Press.

"Not surprisingly, it's an amazing work of scholarship!

"Lange has gathered up a thousand strings and woven them into an
engaging history of these previously unsung products --- sturdy
cornerstones in the foundation of modern coin collecting. He tells
the stories of the companies, publishers, personalities, dealers,
marketing mavens, journalists, and everyday collectors who fueled
a multi-million-dollar business during the Great Depression,
taking numismatics out of the exclusive domain of the wealthy
and leisured (who could afford an expensive piece of non-essential
furniture like a coin cabinet), and bringing it to the living rooms
and kitchen tables of workaday America.

"The book is written with Lange's signature style, a combination
of the best instincts of the journalist, the historian, and the
technician. He makes heavy-duty research look easy --- a rare talent
--- and tells a good story while sharing huge amounts of information.
The subject matter in the hands of a less gifted writer and researcher
would have come off dry and dusty. Lange brings it to life, backed
up by primary documents, first-person interviews and anecdotes, and
a wealth of vintage and modern photographs, illustrations, and
newspaper clippings. There's much to learn here, and Lange is a
good teacher.

"Mary Jo Meade's clean and stylish design is a strong partner in
the book's high quality. Meade, the research assistant and graphic
designer for Lange's History of the United States Mint and Its Coinage,
has delivered another beautiful composition. Her choice of fonts and
ornaments lures the reader back in time without being clichéd or
kitschy, and the page layouts are balanced and inviting.

"A foreword by David Sundman and a preface by Lange comprise the
front matter, along with a page of acknowledgments that indicates
the depth of his research. The introduction explores the historical
background and legacy of coin boards. A chapter discusses why coin
boards deserve our attention as collectibles, as well as grading,
storage, and other aspects of collecting. The book features profiles
and sidebars on vendor stamps, the Manthei Collection, J.K. Post, R.S.
Yeoman, L.W. Schnelling, the Great Depression, the Ritterbrands, the
Trenton Saving Fund Society, and other important topics.

"The board-by-board section --- the 'Catalog and Value Guide' of the
book's subtitle --- offers a detailed study of each type and variety
of board published in the decades covered, plus mavericks and select
moderns. Each is cataloged by Lange Number. Pricing is indicated for
four grade levels, and is rounded out by a handy check list for the

"The book's back matter includes a bibliography, image credits,
and a select index.

"Overall we have a fun, finely detailed, attractively packaged,
and interesting book that serves both the casual reader and the
enthusiastic collector. It will appeal to anyone interested in
the people and products of a classic boom era in American numismatics.
Congratulations to David Lange on a wonderful addition to the
hobby's literature!"

To read Dennis' original review on, see:
Full review

[Dennis has made my reviewing job an easy one.  Although I could
probably say "ditto" and stop here, I do want to add that the period
typeface and stylish design are delightfully appropriate for the
subject matter.  And although my personal preference would be for
a hardcover, the oblong spiral binding is quite usable.

It's hard to compliment David enough for the achievement this book
represents.  It's truly a pioneering effort, the kind that comes
along all too rarely in numismatics, because frankly, it's damn hard.
In his preface David correctly acknowledges that "It's fun to write
up one's research and ultimately see it in book form, but it's not
so pleasurable to perform all the drudgery associated with it."
With the publication of this book the hobby has been greatly enriched,
but it should not be forgotten that many long hours and days were
spent plodding through dusty libraries and archives and personally
visiting a number of locations around the country.

The illustrated catalog portion of the book is quite usable and
detailed, with each board type and variety being assigned a reference
number.  The checklist and value guide are both handy and invaluable.
But the true delight of the book is the narrative description of the
history of the coin board and the colorful anecdotes of the lives of
their creators and distributors.  Some are quite well known, such
as Richard Yeo, but most until now were quite obscure to today's

Congratulations to Dave for a real and lasting contribution
to the literature of numismatics. -Editor]

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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