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MORE ON THE 100 GREATEST WORKS OF AMERICAN NUMISMATIC LITERATUREAlan V. Weinberg writes: "Katie Jaeger was perfectly correct - Francis Paul Prucha's book on Indian Peace medals should have been on the 100 Greatest list and I'd have voted that in the top 35 or so. I constantly refer to it and it is three feet away from where I type in a frequently used area of my library."
Alan, Fred Reed and others have provided a number of "write-in" candidates for the list of the greatest works of American Numismatic literature being compiled by Len Augsberger for the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
I'm just as guilty of not responding when the first tentative list was printed. But Len has indicated that write-ins will be considered, so I'll second the nominations mentioned here earlier and add a few of my own.
I walked thru my library shelf by shelf, choosing what I thought were highlights - books I've found extremely useful, enlightening, entertaining (or all three)! Often I checked the printed ballot and discovered my choices were already present. Here are a few that were not. Most are relatively recent publications - a book doesn’t have to be old to be great.
Phillips, Henry, Historical Sketches of the Paper Currency of the American Colonies, 1865. While Eric Newman's The Early Paper Money of America is indispensible, the Phillips work is an ideal companion, going into greater detail on the historical background of many of the note issues.
Hessler, Gene, U.S. Essay, Proof and Specimen Notes, 1979,2004. Fred Reed nominated this one but I wanted to add my appreciation for this book. Just as the Judd pattern book opened up a whole new aspect of U.S. coinage for me, Hessler's book did the same for U.S. paper money. Important research which took a tremendous amount of time and effort to compile and present, Hessler's work is mandatory for the serious numismatist.
Hancock & Spanbauer, Standard Catalog of Counterfeit and Altered United States Coins, 1979. Although long out of date and out of print, I found this book a wellspring of great information, and find myself referring to it frequently. Again, it's a book which required a great deal of time and expertise to compile, and I'm grateful to the authors. It would be on my list of "must reading" for a serious student of U.S. numismatics.
Van Ryzin, Robert, Crime of 1873: The Comstock Connection, 2001. Like another favorite already on the 100 Greatest ballot (Fractional Currency by Neil Carothers), Van Ryzin's book delves deeply into the economic and political events that gave birth to new coinages. It's a look into the "sausage factory" that despite its skullduggery and chaos manages despite itself to somehow produce works of utility and beauty.
Montgomery, Borckardt & Knight, Million Dollar Nickels: Mysteries of the Illicit 1913 Liberty Head Nickels Revealed, 2005. Here's another deep-dive into a coin's creation which also traces its subsequent collecting history to the present day. A great story and a great read - also a "must-have" for the serious student.
Frankel, Alison, Double Eagle: The Epic Story of the World's Most Valuable Coin, 2006. OK, there's a theme here. I like history, and the biggest part of history is the STORY. Here’s another great story of a great coin. While David Tripp's 2004 book Illegal Tender on the same subject (the 1933 Double Eagle) was nominated, Frankel's book was not, and I think that's an unfortunate omission. Both are great works and I would recommend either (or better yet, both)!
Wayne Homren, Editor
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