The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 13, Number 30, July 25, 2010, Article 10


Last week Len Augsburger shared images with us of the old Hobbies Magazine building in Chicago. This week David Stone comes through with images of the front and back cover of a typical issue (September, 1936). Thanks! The back cover features an ad from Ft. Worth coin dealer B. Max Mehl. -Editor

Hobbies Magazine front cover Hobbies Magazine back cover

Karl Moulton provided the following thoughts on the publication and its usefulness to numismatic researchers. -Editor

"Hobbies, The Magazine for Collectors" was a tremendous publication that covered any and all collectible items. From coins to stamps, from penny banks to firearms, from canes to railroadiana, from lithographs to Indian relics, from miniatures to antique furniture, from records to wood cut prints of the 19th century, from autographs to presidential items, from old dolls to old books, from postcards to exquisite glass, from rocks and minerals to early American pioneer life, it was well written about in this fine monthly publication.

For numismatists, this is the only source for the 1931 A.N.A. auction in Cincinnati. The August issue discusses the upcoming A.N.A. convention, while the November 1931 issue has the listing and prices for the A.N.A. sale. This is the only source as there was no separate catalogue ever printed.

B. Max Mehl had a full page advertisement on the rear cover, while Thomas Elder had a full page ad inside the front cover (at least in the late 1930's). Elder also wrote a column about numismatics. In the August 1936 issue, in his column titled, "Recollections of an Old Collector" Elder discusses the recent death of Col. E.H.R. Green and the collection that he had assembled. He also relates his 1930 journey to Rutherfordton, North Carolina, where the Bechtler coinage was struck and continuing on to Dahlonega, Georgia where the Mint was in existence from 1838 to 1861. He also took pictures of gold mine shafts.

Coin dealers Ira Reed, Norman Shultz, Rollo Gilmore, A. French, L.W. Hoffecker, D.C. Wismer, Walter P. Nichols, Charles Fisher, and M.H. Bolender were advertisers as well. Other unknown numismatic advertisers were "in the coin business" because of the Commemorative Half Dollar craze that was sweeping the country.

There is interesting source material for researchers, as seen in the November 1931 article about the father of Mrs. Erna Brand Zeddies collection which was part of the Virgil Brand collection. Robert Zeddies (husband of Erna) was the sales manager of the Kroger Grocery and Baking Co. Horace Brand (Erna's father) even wrote an article about cents circulating in America since 1793.

The September 1936 issue had an article about President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his collecting of items having to do with the U.S. Navy, American philatelic (stamps) material, and N. Currier and Currier & Ives prints of the Hudson River. It was mentioned in the interview that F.D.R,. had visited the Merwin-Clayton auction house in New York during the first few years of the 20th century. Also noted was Alice Roosevelt, oldest daughter of President Theodore Roosevelt, who had a collection of old manuscripts. Secretary of the Interior in Roosevelt's administration, Harold Ickes, was also a dedicated stamp collector.

Numismatic director for Hobbies, Frank C. Ross, who lived in Kansas City, is mostly remembered for creating the "Orphan Annie" 1844 dime. He placed ads looking for this date as early as 1931 and had very few responses, thus recognizing the scarcity of that particular coin.

This timeframe was just before the separation of the collectibles markets, and offers a lot of interesting reading and background information for the collector. It's definitely an overlooked resource for the numismatist.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: THE HOBBIES MAGAZINE BUILDING IN CHICAGO (

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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