The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 13, Number 47, November 21, 2010, Article 3


Dennis Tucker forwarded announcement focusing on the numismatic content in their latest decidedly non-numismatic book. More interesting I think, is how the "Collector's Vault" format used in the recent Whitman book on gold is translating to the non-numismatic market. -Editor

Palin and Alaska Quarter Designs

Whitman Publishing has released a new VAULT book devoted to Sarah Palin, Tea Party favorite and former Alaska governor. Sarah Palin, An American Story: A Collector's Vault retails for $49.95. The oversized slipcase-bound book is available online, including at, and in bookstores nationwide.

In this richly illustrated scrapbook, author Dave Lifton tells the uniquely American story of Sarah Palin—from small-town Idaho to the governor's mansion in Alaska, to center stage on the national political scene.

The special Collector's Vault includes behind-the-scenes photos and insightful text. Tucked into pockets and envelopes are more than 40 replicas of Palin-related memorabilia: campaign bumper stickers; famous speeches; old postcards; newspaper clippings; a Boston Tea Party poster; personally autographed “thank-you” cards; official proclamations as governor; and more.

Palin-Treasury Warrant01 Whitman Publishing has created numismatic products since 1934, and is best known to hobbyists for its annual Guide Book of United States Coins, popularly called the “Red Book.” While the Sarah Palin Vault is not a hobby title, it does include numismatic content, including several pull-out replicas. One such facsimile is of the Treasury warrant the United States wrote to purchase Alaska from Russia in 1867, for the sum of $7.2 million—less than 2 cents per acre.

The warrant is made out to Edouard de Stoeckl, Russian minister and envoy extraordinary to the United States, who negotiated on behalf of the empire. It was signed by Francis E. Spinner in his capacity as treasurer of the United States. (Spinner is famous among currency collectors for his elaborate signature.) Accompanying the Treasury warrant is a reproduction of the Treaty of Cession signed by Czar Alexander III, formally concluding the purchase agreement.

Another numismatic pullout is a three-inch sticker of the 2008 Alaska state quarter—the 49th coin issued in the U.S. Mint's 50 State Quarters® Program—featuring a grizzly bear and a freshly caught salmon.

“The Sarah Palin Vault book is available nationwide in stores like Barnes and Noble, Borders, and Books-A-Million,” said Whitman publisher Dennis Tucker. “Tens of thousands of copies will be sold. We see it as an opportunity to boost the numismatic hobby with mainstream visibility.”

Other coins are used to illustrate Alaska's history and Sarah Palin's life story. The obverse and reverse of the 1990 Eisenhower Centennial commemorative silver dollar (designed by John Mercanti and Marcel Jovine) are shown alongside the 34th president's official White House portrait. “Ike” signed the Alaska Statehood Act in 1958, and the following year Alaska became the 49th state admitted into the Union.

A two-page sidebar called “Majestic Alaska: Mount McKinley” includes enlargements of the obverse and reverse of the 1916 McKinley Memorial gold dollar designed by Charles Barber and George T. Morgan. This section also observes that the martyred president was featured on the Series of 1934 $500 Federal Reserve Notes.

The two-page opening spread for chapter 2 shows Governor Palin talking about the process she went through to choose Alaska's state quarter design. The coin was unveiled in Anchorage on April 23, 2007, and the U.S. Mint released it into circulation in August 2008. Palin is shown standing alongside blowups of four potential Alaska quarter motifs.

Sarah Palin, An American Story is a 10 x 12–inch hardcover coffee-table book in a library-quality slipcase. It retails for $49.95 and is available online and in bookstores nationwide.

Hardcover in slipcase
144 pages, plus inserted replicas
Author: Dave Lifton (author of Barack H. Obama, President of the United States: Limited Edition Collector's Vault)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0794832768
ISBN-13: 978-0794832766
Retail: $49.95

I think the "Collector's Vault" format is a masterful marketing move for a print publisher threatened by the growth of Internet competition. It focuses on the physical format of the object for sale, the hardcopy book, and embellishes it with features that distinguish it from both "ordinary books" and online content. I can almost hear the product manager say, "Hey, Google - scan THIS!" -Editor

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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