Pete Smith submitted these notes on the background of the George Kolbe token Jeremy Milligan asked about last week. Thanks!
The George Kolbe bookseller token, shown with the May 18, 2014, issue of The E-Sylum, was originally included with Trade Tokens of British and American Booksellers & Bookmakers, published in 1989.
Henry Morris produced the book for Bird and Bull Press of Newtown, Pennsylvania. A bookseller provides this description, “8vo, quarter morocco. One of 300 copies of this edition, with an essay on tradesmen's tokens and their use from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries. With a checklist of known British tokens, and many illustrations and details. Quarter-bound in light blue morocco and printed paper, with a gilt-titled morocco label affixed to the spine. Housed in the publisher's slipcase with a portfolio of contemporary tokens struck for this volume.”
The portfolio of contemporary tokens represented these companies:
Bird & Bull Press
The Book Press
Dawson’s Book Shop
Detering Book Gallery
Joseph J. Felcone
George Frederick Kolbe / Fine Numismatic Books
G. T. Mandl, English papermakers
Iris Nevins, marbler
Oak Knoll Books
Also included was one blank planchet (flan).
The dies were engraved by Kenneth Douglas at the Green Duck Company in Olive Branch, Mississippi. The tokens were struck under the supervision of Meyer Katz at the Unity Mint in Ambler, Pennsylvania. Morris reported that the dies cost $9800 in 1988. The set of used dies along with a mahogany box were offered for sale in 2006. The box included a metal plate engraved, “ORIGINAL DIES FOR BOOKSELLER’S TOKENS … BIRD AND BULL PRESS.”
Henry Morris began as a paper maker and printed his first book in 1958 as an outlet for his paper. The Bird and Bull Press combines high quality printing with high quality binding. They specialize in topics related to book production and paper making. Morris announced his retirement from the private press business in 2013 at the age of 88. A special exhibition of “The Life and Times of the Bird and Bull Press” was shown at the University of Delaware Library in 2013.
George Frederick Kolbe also included his bookseller token in copies for his 1990 44th sale catalog, “Selections from the American Numismatic Library of John Weston Adams.” The pages were die cut to fit around the token. Only 200 copies of the catalog were printed with the token included. Thus the token has an association, not only with Kolbe, but with Morris and Adams as well.
Some quantity of these tokens were not glued into a publication but were given out by Kolbe as promotional store cards and “good for” tokens after 1990. The Kolbe tokens show up occasionally on the secondary market. I can’t recall seeing the Bird and Bull token not attached to the book.
I was honored to work with Henry Morris on The Magnum Opus of Joseph Florimond Loubat, with 150 copies printed in 2007. This was a reprint of my 2006 article on Loubat for The Asylum. Also included were articles by John W. Adams and George F. Kolbe. The book was bound at Campbell-Logan Bindery in Minneapolis.
Henry Morris, Bird and Bull Press, John Weston Adams, George Frederick Kolbe and Campbell Logan Bindery all represent the highest accomplishments in their fields. When I see my name included in the credits, it is like entering an elite private club and expecting that security will escort me out at any moment.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
1988 GEORGE FREDERICK KOLBE GOOD-FOR TOKEN
Wayne Homren, Editor
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