Available on NumisMaster.com is a July 19th World Coin News article by Debbie Bradley about the history of the Standard Catalog of World Coins. Here are some excerpts.
It debuted 38 years ago, an 800-page catalog of world coins.
“This volume is designed to fill a need which has come into growing evidence in recent years as the expanding interests of the American coin collecting community have been ceaselessly shifting into the arena of world coin issues,” wrote Chet Krause and Cliff Mishler in the book's introduction.
And so the Standard Catalog of World Coins was born. It featured 261 countries, 15,000 photographs and more than 30,000 coins listed by date. It was published by Krause Publications, which had already made a name for itself in numismatic circles with Numismatic News and Coins magazine.
That was in 1972. Fast forward to 2010. Today, the Standard Catalog of World Coins series of books spans more than 7,500 pages with more than 2 million prices, 450,000 date and mintmark listings and 125,000 photographs in five volumes.
The precursors to the Standard Catalog were books by Richard Yeoman and William Craig. Each covered 100-year periods focusing on types, but not specific dates and varieties, said Standard Catalog market analyst Tom Michael.
“Those books were not annuals,” Michael said. “The full intent was that the Standard Catalog would be an annual book. Chet and Cliff enlisted the help of a lot of different contributors to help with different sections of the book.”
That help continues today as hundreds of contributors worldwide provide images and listings, as well as pricing suggestions, for their areas of expertise.
The first catalog was produced using a keypunch typesetting system. Pages were laid out using paper proofs and wax. The coin images would later be pulled off the pages and saved for the next edition.
The first book covered coin issues from the mid 1800s to 1971, but in the 1980s more and more coin information was added so the book was split into two volumes, said Standard Catalog editor George Cuhaj.
The numismatic department's focus on producing a book on gold and another on crowns and thalers in the 1980s helped grow the listings back to the 1600s, Cuhaj said.
The first computerized relational database was developed in 1995. It was a great achievement, Michael said, because it allowed information that had been linked to types and date runs to be linked to individual dates.
Cuhaj and Michael credit former editor Arlyn Sieber with developing a database that would clearly list weight, diameter, composition and design with each individual coin., not just the type description at the beginning of the series.
“Arlyn wanted to expand the data so it would be understood by everybody, not just the sophisticated numismatist,” Michael said.
Another milestone was reached in 2006 when a website-based database was launched with the debut of numismaster.com. It not only allowed public access to the 2 million price listings, it provided easier access for contributors to send updates or additions to the Krause numismatics staff.
Today the listings and images are pulled from the database, sorted in various ways for the different publications and designed electronically. No more melting wax for pasting type on pages.
The article's photo was uncaptioned, but that's George Cuhaj on the left and Tom Michael on the right. Nice article. It's good to see some recognition in print for the staffers who work very, very hard for our hobby, and generally go unnoticed and unappreciated by folks who have no idea of the amount of effort it takes to put books like these together. Thanks, guys!
To read the complete article, see:
Standard Catalog Keeps Growing
Wayne Homren, Editor
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