David T. Alexander submitted these notes on Walter Breen and his relationship with Coin World. Thanks! -Editor
Mention of the late Walter Breen can still stir up flaming passions. I recall learning in 1974 that at Coin World, Breen did not
exist and would never exist again! I had written a review of a reprint of Dr. Maris' work on New Jersey Coppers, a book made worthwhile
mostly by Breen's in-depth introduction to the series. My typed review copy came back to my desk attached to the publisher's
son-in-law, who sternly informed me, "Walter Breen does not exist at Coin World!!!"
A few years later the late Dr. Stanley Apfelbaum of First Coinvestors arrived with legal staff to inform the publisher, "I own
Breen. I am going to merchandise him to the hilt, and exclusion of his name from our ads will be regarded as an unfriendly act! These are
my lawyers!!!" Breen immediately returned from the dead!
This excommunication dated back several years to Breen's former Coin World column "Bristles and Barbs" which
examined the controversial origins of many classic U.S. rarities. Breen was fascinated by such old numismatic expressions such as piece
de Plaisir and piece de caprice that described many side-door Mint productions. One fine day in silly season when the only CW
staffer with language skills was on vacation, Walter described a famous rarity as piece de merde, piece of S--t! This description
got through and was duly received by thousands of readers. The merdt hit the fan - no more Breen until Apfelbaum's threats.
To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:
CONFRONTING THE LEGACY OF WALTER BREEN
READER COMMENTS ON WALTER BREEN (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v18n46a10.html)
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Wayne Homren, Editor
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