Here's the third installment of Harvey Stack's blog series on the value of numismatic literature. -Editor
Today books are more expensive and they do not sell as well as the lower priced ones did years ago. Today’s “coffee table” volumes contain great
information and wonderful color pictures but often cost $20 to $50 each or more. Sometimes the cost of the book may exceed the amount a collector
would pay for an actual coin or note, and beginners especially find the higher prices prohibitive. Perhaps these hardbound books could also be
published with a paper binding or be available as a smaller pocket book.
I believe it is important that all coin stores should stock books on various subjects, including the history of coinage, advanced studies of dies
and designs, and of course price listings so that new buyers and advanced collectors are informed about market values and costs. Stack's and the
different companies owned by Dave Bowers published quarterly as well as monthly price lists offering coins for sale, as well as articles about
various series. Also offered for sale were reference books from beginning to advanced. These publications were sent to in-house mailing lists
compiled from customers, both auction and retail, and also to people who wrote in requesting information. This is how these companies grew their
client bases. To attract readers, there were sections devoted to current conditions in the market place and historical stories to advance interest in
Our way of merchandising not only coins but also knowledge expanded our business and helped our clients to build wonderful collections. I believe
that this knowledge also led these collectors to better enjoy their hobby and their cabinets. Reading about coins and learning what others have
accomplished in various areas is just another fascinating feature of numismatics. And, in the long run, our business benefitted as many of the
collections we helped to build came back to us for sale by private treaty or at public auction. It is easy to see why I still endorse the policy of
“Buy the Book Before the Coin.”
There are many books available today, some written a century or more ago and modified with new knowledge. There are also new books being written
every year covering every field of numismatics. These can create a foundation of knowledge to guide collectors to greater appreciation of the hobby.
Current books on dealers’ shelves, at bookstores, super markets, or libraries, or even in digital form can continue to develop interest in coins, be
a source of increased learning, and may even be a store of value for the future.
So, I suggest anyone wishing to advance in numismatics, seek out the catalogs, books, magazines and other publications that enhance interest and
Everyone says the internet is the thing of the future, but when one wants to learn, it , in my opinion, is better to have a book on ones lap or
desk for easy referral and information.
If one wants to look up specific information, yes, the internet is a good tool to help find some information to review. But if one wants to learn
they need a book in hand, along with the coin so that each item will speak to the reader and give him the background needed to pursue his
I hope what I said comes true, the screen is great, but the real book is SUPER.
To read the complete article, see:
their Value to Collectors, Part 3 (www.stacksbowers.com/NewsMedia/Blogs/TabId/780/ArtMID/
To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:
HARVEY STACK ON BOOKS AND THEIR VALUE (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v17n45a06.html)
HARVEY STACK ON BOOKS AND THEIR VALUE, PART 2
Wayne Homren, Editor
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