Joel Orosz penned the following open letter to John N. Lupia, III, author of the book American Numismatic Auctions To 1875 : A Chronicle of American Numismatic History. which was published last year.
I have been slowed by the holidays and my chronic ill of over-commitment, but I want to inform you that I have been reading American Numismatic Auctions to 1875 with great interest, and I don't want to wait until completion to extend congratulations to you on an extraordinary contribution to American numismatic literature.
I would be fibbing were I to say that I agree with every one of your conclusions--I remain, for instance, unsure about your thesis that there were three distinct groups of printings of Numisgraphics --but any disagreements pale compared to the vast mass of important new information you have brought to the banquet. The most remarkable of these new finds, in my view, is the Price Sale of 1813, which you demonstrate was the first exclusively numismatic auction held in America--nearly 40 years prior to the Roper sale!--and remarkable, too, for containing the still-intact coin cabinet of Pierre Eugene Du Simitiere!
These new finds are important in many respects, but nearest to my heart is the way they finish the old erroneous conception that numismatics in the United States sprang, like Athena fully armed from Zeus's forehead, suddenly into being during the 1850s. I have long maintained that there was a considerable prior period of development, particularly during the first half of the 19th century, but I had insufficient evidence to make that insight stick. Your data vindicate this view completely.
American Numismatic Auctions to 1875 is a significant contribution to the history of American numismatics. I am sure that I will learn much more as I read it through to completion, but for now, John, I wanted to give you well-deserved kudos for a signal accomplishment. Please do put me on the list to purchase the succeeding volumes you have in contemplation!
The discovery of an American numismatic sale in 1813 is a revelation in and of itself, but a sale containing the legendary Du Simitiere cabinet is an amazing discovery. I'm looking forward to reading the book myself, and encourage other bibliophiles to do the same. See the link below to an earlier E-Sylum article with more information.
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