The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 18, Number 13, March 29, 2015, Article 11


David Lange submitted this announcement of a new milestone in the nascent filed of collecting vintage coin boards. Thanks! -Editor

E&K 1c board - face E&K 1c board - back E&K 5c board - face E&K 5c board - back

I've just set a new record price for a coin board sale. Recently acquired by me were two very rare coin boards published by the obscure company Earl & Koehler of Portland, Oregon (my article about this firm was included in the program for the ANA Money Show in Portland, recently concluded). The original purpose of these boards was for the buyer to fill them and return the completed boards for a cash premium (the schedule of premiums paid appears on the back of each board).

So rare are E&K boards that they were entirely unknown to me before 2006, despite my having collected coin boards since the early 1980s. The company produced only three titles known to exist today, though it's possible that others were issued but have been lost. The fact that all were sold only out of the partners' Portland variety store accounts for their extreme rarity. Some of the boards were undoubtedly redeemed for the promised premium, and this certainly added to their attrition.

One of the boards I placed with a longtime customer is for Lincoln Cents. Four varieties are known of this board, each being identical except for the color of their face printing. Lange variety EK1¢Ad was printed in a brownish purple, and this example is only the second piece known to me, the better one residing in my own collection. The example I sold grades Very Good-Fine and brought $95, a record for that title though not for coin boards in general.

Even more significant, however, was the extremely rare E&K board for Buffalo Nickels, known only in carmine. Until now this title was unique in my own collection, but a second example was acquired by me along with the cent board, and both were sold to the same advanced collector. The nickel board grades Fine and is nearly equal to my own. This piece has set a record price for any coin board of $225.

While this may seem like a rather paltry figure as compared to the prices for coins, it is a significant milestone in the relatively new hobby of coin board collecting. Prior to the 2007 publication of my book on coin boards I had never paid more than $15 for any item. But the publicity that the book, my website and my newsletters have generated has made it impossible to cherrypick rare boards.

The hobby has enjoyed only modest growth in the overall number of participants, but the competition for rare and choice items has become as intense as any coin auction. It's now well-known which boards are common and worth very little in less than Near Mint condition, but knowledgeable collectors also know when to reach for those boards of exceptional rarity or in exceptional condition.

I obtained these boards from an older woman in Idaho who'd inherited them from her late grandmother. The grandmother lived in Portland. A coin dealer in Idaho purchased the relatively common cents and nickels they formerly held, but the woman also contacted me about purchasing the boards. It took a month of back and forth emails to consummate the deal, and I already had want-lists for these boards from half a dozen collectors when they finally arrived.

The original purchaser from Earl & Koehler was Donald Malay, an amateur antique dealer and coin collector living in or near Portland. It was his coin collection that the seller inherited. Donald's second wife was Leota Harder, the seller's grandmother, and she was left with the coin collection when Donald died around 1970. The coin boards and the coins they held remained within a box inside a cedar chest from that time until recently, passing to the seller in 2013 upon the death of her mother.

It's only a five-figure deal if you count the digits to the right of the decimal point, but a milestone nonetheless. Congratulations! This is great pedigree information as well, and will be meaningful to future owners of these rare boards. -Editor

Wayne Homren, Editor

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