Joel Orosz has a nice article in the latest issue of our print journal, The E-Sylum. Here's a brief excerpt. Be sure to read the complete article in the printed journal.
THE UNITED STATES POSTAL GUIDE AND OFFICIAL ADVERTISER:
A PIONEERING NUMISMATIC JOURNAL
Joel J. Orosz
If you happened to be a coin collector during Millard Fillmore’s administration, to what national magazine would you have turned to read all of the breaking numismatic news? Not to The Historical Magazine; this estimable publication, which would become the American numismatic journal of record prior to the end of the decade, was not yet, in 1851-1852, a glimmer in its publisher’s eye. No, in those two years, the coin collector’s go-to journal was, improbably enough, The United States Postal Guide and Official Advertiser. A first-class title for an American philatelist, one might think, but likely not worth a cent to a numismatist.
Quite the opposite, however, is true: in its two year run, the Postal Guide offered no philatelic content whatever, but delivered an embarrassment of numismatic riches. It featured regular reports on the U.S. Mint; an occasional letter from the Mint’s Director; interesting fillers about specific coins; the very first nationally-published review of an American coin auction; and two important letters from Professor Daniel Edward Groux about his collections of coins, medals, and numismatic literature. The Postal Guide’s pioneering coinage content has never registered with coin hobbyists. That content was so rich, however, that it deserves to be reintroduced to 21st century numismatic bibliophiles.
However you gain access to the considerable numismatic content within the pages of the Postal Guide, your efforts will be repaid with useful—and sometime whimsical—information. Where else might we learn of the scourge of split gold dollars (June 1852) or read a long and earnest essay upon the monetary value of guano (May 1852)? Without question, although its existence was ephemeral, the Postal Guide preserved much numismatic knowledge worthy of saving.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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