The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 12, Number 41, October 11, 2009, Article 6


John and Nancy Wilson, NLG, submitted this review of Q. David Bowers newest book, the Whitman Encyclopedia of U. S. Paper Money. -Editor

Bowers Whitman Encyclopedia U.S. Paper Money We attended the First Annual Coin and Collectibles Philadelphia Expo held on September 23 26, 2009 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center which was sponsored by Whitman Publishing, LLC. We were there to represent the ANA at a free table that Whitman was gracious to let us have. Thank you David Crenshaw, your staff along with Whitman Publishing. We also attended the sale by Stack's of the First Session of Chester L. Krause's Wisconsin Obsolete Note Collection.

What immediately caught our attention at the Stack's auction lot viewing room was this large book sitting on a ledge near the entrance of the room. This book was the Whitman Encyclopedia of U. S. Paper Money authored by Q. David Bowers with a Foreword by Fred Reed. We were amazed at the size and scope of this new reference. It premiered at this First Whitman Convention in Philadelphia.

The book has all the attributes of another, "Touchdown or Grand slam," for prolific author Q. David Bowers. Coming in at just under six pounds, this hardbound Whitman Encyclopedia of U. S. Paper Money has 900 pages filled with valuable information on U.S. Paper Money. It is possibly the finest reference ever written on the subject and may be one of the best books ever by award-winning author Q. David Bowers. It was very enjoyable for us to read, and once we started to read - we found it hard to put down.

Of great importance, not only to new collectors but also to those who are advanced Chapters 1 to 5 contain invaluable information on: Introduction and overview, history and overview of Federal Notes, the development and federalization of paper money, grading, and how to be a smart buyer. The 90 pages within these first five chapters will take the reader on a very interesting and informative ride on anything and everything you wanted to know about U.S. Paper Money.

Chapter 5 would be especially useful to any novice or even advanced collector and deals with how to be a smart buyer. We learned a lot from the four steps to success in this chapter which are:

  • 1. Grade Assigned.
  • 2. Eye Appeal at First Glance.
  • 3. A Closer Look.
  • 4. Establishing a Fair Market Price.

Reading these four steps would benefit you greatly if you wanted to pursue the collecting of or investing in U. S. Paper Money.

We collect most U. S. Paper Money from Colonial, to modern U. S. Small Size Notes. We particularly enjoyed going through Chapters 6 to 17, which individually contained information on notes denominated from $1 to $100,000. As collectors, we rarely collect anything over the $20 denomination, but if we were to pursue higher denominations this reference would certainly help.

The book contains more than 1,600 full-color images, and in most cases more than four grade and price valuations. The Federal Reserve Note section shows the number of notes printed as well, in most cases, the estimated current population and recent auction results for that note by signature combination or city where applicable.

It next lists Postage and Fractional Currency 1862- 1876 with all of the varieties and five conditions with estimated market values. This is an area of the hobby that is overlooked by most dealers and collectors. If people knew the actual rarity of these "small change notes" everyone would collect them. A short section on paper-money errors covers only the basic errors giving no values. The book also covers star notes and mules.

Continental Currency, 1775-1779 with pictures of representative notes are shown. Prices are shown by date on the note with quantity issued. Prices are given in summary form in seven conditions.

Early 19th Century Treasury Notes from 1812 to 1860 are also shown with some pricing. The last area covered is U. S. Encased Postage Stamps. A representative obverse and reverse is shown for each issuer and prices on all varieties. Prices from recent auctions are shown for the rare pieces.

The book ends with a list of the signatures on U.S. Currency from 1861 to date, and the terms of service of Treasury Officials, 1913 to date.

In many cases, we find the Bibliography in Q. David Bower's references very useful. In this reference we found some new books that will be useful in stories we plan do, along with exhibits we are building. This reference also contains the Friedberg and Whitman Numbering Systems. We can now go over our collection and utilize these numbering systems, which are the standard in the collecting of U. S. Paper Money.

In summary, we feel the book is a must have for all collectors and dealers of U. S. Paper Money. We also recommend it to anyone with an interest in the monetary system of our country. Buy the book, if for nothing else, quoting the recent Whitman Press release (on this reference), it will help you to "Make wise purchases in today's market." It is another "can't miss" reference authored by one of the greatest numismatic authors of all time. The book is 8 x 11 inches and retails for $69.95 and can be purchased from your local coin dealer or from Whitman Publishing, LLC, Main Office, 3103 Clairmont Road, Suite B, Atlanta, GA 30329 or call (800) 546-2995 or at the Whitman web page, .

Kolbe 2009 Stacks ad 6

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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