The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 13, Number 32, August 8, 2010, Article 10


Hobbies Magazine front cover
Several readers came forth with assistance in response to David Lange's query seeking access to copies of Hobbies Magazine for research. Thanks! -Editor

Saul Teichman writes:

With regard to Hobbies Magazine, the New York Public Library in Manhattan at 42nd street has a set.

Dave Bowers writes:

Some years ago I read through all the issues of Hobbies for numismatic content. The ANA Library has a bunch you can borrow by mail.

I found about six inches (shelf space) of these and am mailing them off to Dave Lange at the end of this week, as he will be at the ANA in Boston until then.

I used to subscribe to Hobbies in the 1950s and 1960s, by which time each of the multiple hobbies featured had a person who wrote an article each month in exchange for a free ad. Charles French (born Lehrenkrauss), of Troy, NY, was the writer for a while. I then let my subscription lapse as there wasn't much useful in comparison to Coin World and Numismatic News. By that time they had a new columnist, G.R. One day a customer wrote to me, “Did you know that G.R. in Hobbies Magazine is using the text from your Coins and Collectors book?”

I didn't know, but found it was true. Hobbies Magazine was as embarrassed as all get out and asked what they could do, etc., etc. Would I take legal action? What would I do? I told them that these things happen, it was okay, and so on. They dumped G.R. immediately and, if I recall, ran a free ad for me.

Bob Leonard writes:

In response to Dave's query, I have nothing like a set of Hobbies Magazine, but can assist a little. The earliest issue I have is "Number 3, Volume 36" (May, 1931), though I have difficulty believing that Hobbies Magazine was really started in the 19th century. The October 1931 issue has a full page ad by B. Max Mehl on the back cover, offering "some real bargains" such as U.S. $3.00 gold for 6.00, bust half dollars for 75 cents each, etc.

The latest issue I have is June, 1982 (Vol. 87, No. 4); at that time Hobbies claimed to be "America's oldest publication dealing in both antiques and collectibles." The June, 1982 issue features an article, "Collecting Tokens," by Q. David Bowers!

So yes, Hobbies belongs in every numismatic library, and assembling a set may prove as difficult as finishing a complete run of Chapman catalogs.

Len Augsburger writes:

Hobbies Magazine started in 1931. Prior to this it was published as Philatelic West. Philatelic West merged with several other publications into Hobbies in 1931. There was good "coin content" into the 1950s. I believe the magazine survives under another title today.

I was able to access the Hobbies run (in hardcopy, from 1931 on) at the Chicago Public Library. They also have microfilm which is of course more difficult and slower to use.

Several years back I called for Philatelic West at the ANS. Frank Campbell brought out an old box that was literally turning into dust. There was good content, but they only had a few assorted issues. I believe there is a complete run of this at the Nebraska State Historical Society in Lincoln, NE where it was published. I've had it on my "to do" list for a long time and if there are any NBSers in that part of the country I think this would be worth calling for.

Finally - Frank Ross, who was a long time author for the Hobbies coin section, had several volumes of his collated contributions bound together; these were sold by Orville Grady about 15 years ago. I am anxiously awaiting to see these volumes reappear on the market, but so far no luck.

Bruce Smith writes:

Dave Lange asked about Hobbies magazine. This was a major publication in its day, containing many good articles on many collecting topics, including coins and paper money. The full title is: Hobbies The Magazine For Collectors (there are other magazines titled "Hobbies"). Published by Lightner Publishing in Chicago, the magazine was formed in 1931 by Otto C. Lightner (1887-1950) from the merger of several smaller hobby magazines.

It was published monthly until 1985, when the title was changed to Antiques & Collecting Magazine. The latter was still being published in the 1990's, but I don't know if it is still in publication. An index was published in 1969, covering 1931-1969. Many public libraries and some university libraries have holdings of Hobbies -- at least they once did. Many libraries are throwing out their periodicals to make room. Hobbies is available in microfilm, and maybe someday will be available online.

Single copies of the magazine can be found for sale on Ebay, on internet book sites (try or or, or elsewhere on the Internet. Some used bookstores and antique shops also sell old issues. Single copies seem to be selling for around $5. There is an article on Otto C. Lightner in the March 2006 issue of Antiques Magazine.

Jan Monroe writes:

If David Lange wants a partial set of Hobbies Magazine I would send them to him if he will pay for shipping.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: QUERY: RESEARCHER SEEKS HOBBIES MAGAZINE SET (

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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