The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 12, Number 7, February 15, 2009, Article 9


Julian-Keusch Assay Medals
Last week I asked who could point out the mistake on the cover of this specially-bound book on U.S. Assay Medals. Kate Pennington of Maine Antique Digest, Ray Williams, Douglas Mudd, Dave Lange, Scott Miller, Joe Boling and George Kolbe all correctly noted that author Robert Julian's surname is misspelled as Julien. -Editor

George Kolbe forwarded the following interesting description from his Sale 84 (June 16, 2001):
622 Julian, R. W. & Keusch, Ernest E. MEDALS OF THE UNITED STATES ASSAY COMMISSION, 1860-1977. Lake Mary: The Token and Medal Society, Inc., 1989. 91, (1) pages, illustrated throughout. Quarto. Original red cloth, gilt, original printed card covers bound in. Near new. (50.00)

Special Hardbound Edition. Autographed on front flyleaf by Keusch in a scarcely legible hand. Presumably quite scarce. Though attractively bound, the binder has unfortunately misspelled the first author's name (JULIEN) on both the upper cover and the spine.

In a 2001 conversation with the author, Mr. Julian related that Mr. Keusch notified him of the spelling error before the volumes were distributed but he decided, since the family name originally was de St. Julien, that the volumes should not be rebound but issued as is. Julian's recollection is that 75 or 80 copies were specially bound.

Scott Miller writes:
I bought a hard bound copy in 1990 and had it signed by Ernest Keusch. I didn't get Bob Julian to sign it until 1995 and he signed it with an A instead of an E as on the cover.

Bruce W. Smith writes:
When I first started collecting in the 1960's, I bought a book from Aaron Feldman at one of the coin shows in St. Louis (my hometown). The book, The James H. Stewart Lockhart Collection of Chinese Coins, was published in 1915 as a large size paperback (more than 12 inches tall). I had the book hardbound in a nice blue cover, but the binder got the title wrong. It reads: The Stewart Collection of Chinese Coins. I sold that book in the 1970's or 1980's, so somewhere out there, someone owns the only known copy of the Stewart Collection.

Paul Horner writes:
When these books are upright on the shelf, the titles on the spine reads from bottom to top. Distracting.
  • Early Michigan Scrip brown hardcover by Harold L. Bowen, no date.

  • Sovereigns of the British Empire, J.J. Cullimore Allen, Spink & Son, 1965. Blue hardbound. Title is up-side-down on the spine and the dust jacket.

  • Schwer Price Guide to 18th Century Tokens, 1983, Schwer Coins, card cover

It took me many years to catch on to this bookbinding custom, but in the U.S. at least, book titles typically read from top to bottom on the book's spine, while books produced in Europe typically read from bottom to top. Why that is, I don't know, nor do I know what the prevailing customs are elsewhere in the world. So while Bowen's Michigan Scrip book may be an anomaly for books made in the U.S., I wouldn't count spine text direction as an error. -Editor

Paul continues:
These have no titles on the spine:
  • United States Half CentsGilbert, Coinage of 1793 Cents and Half Centsby S.S. Crosby, Elder Numismatic Press, maroon cloth hardbound
  • The Fantastic 1804 Dollar, Newman & Bressett, Whitman 1962. Brown hardbound. Whitman should have known better!
  • United States Commemorative Coinage, Arlie Slabaugh. 2nd printing 1963. Grey hardbound
  • Confederate Currency and Stamps 1861-1865, Claud E. Fuller, 1949 Grey hardbound
  • Texas Confederate County Notes & Private Scrip, Bieciuk & Corbin, 1961. Card cover
  • 1977 Standard Catalogue of Canadian Coins, Tokens, & Paper Money, Charlton
I'll give "some" card cover booklets a pass on not putting a title on the spine. But if it is bound such that a title can be on the spine then it should be!

That's how I can find my Fantastic 1804 Dollar book from across the room, but I agree with Paul that it's very disappointing for a book to not have its title displayed on the spine. Is this an error though?.

Paul also listed some books where the title on the spine does not match the title of the book. We discussed this once before, and due to space considerations it's a fairly commonly accepted practice for publishers to shorten the spine title. The only "official" title for a book is the one found on the title page. -Editor

Paul adds:
Here's my all time favorite: I have a "special" 4th edition in black binding of Grover C. Criswell's "CONFERERATE CURRENCY" (per the spine), signed to me by the author. The title on the cover is spelled correctly.

That's a whopper of a mistake, and it's not only on the special edition. Ron Benice sent in this image of the book's spine. -Editor

Criswell Confederate 4th ed

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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