Last week Susan Trask solicited questions for an upcoming panel at the American Numismatic Association convention on "The Allure of Tokens and Medals". I suggested a few
deliberately provocative questions designed to get a conversation started:
- Why hasn't somebody written the Red Book of U.S. Medals?
- Or the MEGA RED of U.S. Tokens?
- TAMS was originally founded to include Paper Money collectors, but that faction soon split off to form the Society of Paper Money Collectors (SPMC). Now that there are national specialized groups
for medals (like MCA) and tokens (like NTCA, the National Token Collectors Association), does TAMS still have a need to exist?
TAMS President Fred Holabird jumped in with these great responses. -Editor
Questions such as these serve a purpose from time to time in helping understand the scope and purpose of collecting organizations
TAMS not only has a need to exist, it is an essential element in the world of token and medal collecting. The benefits are overwhelming:
- TAMS publishes both scholarly works and collecting guides of tokens and medals -Collectors meet once a year at the ANA national coin show, tying the forms of numismatics together, and allowing
new collectors to meet with “the old gu ard”
- Collectors are provided with a first-class journal – a journal that provides scholarly articles about both tokens and medals
- Collectors can use this 55 year publication for research of their own pieces
- The TAMS Journal is now part of a massive digitization process that will allow full access of the first 50 years online to anyone through the Newman numismatic portal
- TAMS members are a friendly, sharing group. When we’re all asked questions, we don’t hesitate to send collectors in the right direction for an answer. This is a near constant in today’s world of
- TAMS members publish articles in other numismatic publications, furthering the interest and education in the hobby
- The key element of TAMS is Education of the public about Tokens and Medals
The fact that Paper Money might have been included originally and has split off, doesn’t bother me at all. Paper tokens are still a live part of TAMS.
While a number of “splinter groups” have formed over the years, they have a different purpose than that of TAMS. ATCO, NTCA, and WESTS are/were regional and national token collector groups who
have/had no technical journals that explore the deep history or technical aspects behind tokens and medals. Any articles they had were generic in form (including the ones I wrote!). Perhaps the key
element of their existence is that they offered a sales platform that was important to the members. Both NTCA and WESTS have annual shows that offer tokens to the general public, which are in
addition to the “Big” national ANA convention. These sales forums form an important part of the collecting genre, but the “mother” group is TAMS – the clear leader of the field. This is akin to the
ANA- a national organization with a monthly journal and an annual show. Regional coin clubs hold regional shows and generally have newsletters. They have and serve a different purpose than that of
the “mother ship” ANA.
With regard to “Red Book” of tokens and/or medals, I’m sure we all agree - This is a near impossible task. If a funding source existed for such a project, a compendium of tokens from every class
is necessary. Some of these have been completed (to some degree), such as Civil War Tokens, or So-Called Dollars.
A compendium of medals has never been attempted. This subject matter would easily encompass one million pieces, since medals are minted every day at one the many minting facilities. As in other
fields, books on medals would need to encompass specific collecting fields within the whole. Some of these books exist today, such as Washington Medals.
If we think about the possibility of a compendium of 50 states merchant good-for tokens, that compendium would number in excess of one million entries. It would also require the cooperation of
approximately 50 authors, also a near impossible task because of copyright issues. This would be a lofty goal – to someday digitize all of the token databases for easy search, but let’s face it- we
are years away from this, perhaps decades.
Some of these compendiums are current works in progress. Richard Greever has attempted a digital listing of United States merchant good-for tokens with his online token catalog, a massive
undertaking in a field he dearly loves. The site survives because of voluntary help.
TAMS members continue to publish outstanding work. Among them recently are Greever’s work on Brunswick-Balke (and other) tokens, Schenkman’s regular columns in The Numismatist and
elsewhere, and Schimmel’s work on American Chinese tokens.
TAMS also reaches out to other collecting genres, with the goal of partnering with collecting organizations such as the Civil War Token Society, and our efforts to get token and medal books
published by TAMS available through other partner organizations.
In summary, TAMS is an educational organization at the top of its game because of strong member input/output in a multitude of token and medal genres.
Thanks! All great points. I'll still look forward to the stellar panel featuring David Schenkman, Bill Hyder, Steve Hayden, Neil Musante and Q. David Bowers. -Editor
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: MAY 28, 2017 : Symposium On The Allure Of Tokens And Medals
Co-Editor Bill Hyder kindly forwarded the Table of Contents for the latest issue of the TAMS Journal. Thanks - see the club's web site for how to join. -Editor
Crossing the Line: A Maritime Rite of Passage by David E. Schenkman
Allison's Coupon Books by Bruce Smith
World War I Themed Medal by Susan Taylor Wins the 2016 AMY Award
Joseph Pulitzer Medal Issued by the Jewish-American Hall of Fame by Mel Wacks
Revena Park Over-the-Rhine Spanish Fort by Glyn Farber
Morlein Lager House, Cincinnati, Ohio by William D. Hyder
Remembering R,W. Colbert 1930-2017 by William D. Hyder
For more information on the Token and Medal Society, see:
And of course, there does exist a great book that attempts to summarize the vast fields of U.S. Tokens and Medals - 2009's A Guide Book of U.S. Tokens and Medals by
Katherine Jaeger. The below information is from the publisher's web site. -Editor
Since the 1700's, Americans have used tokens and medals to encourage business, lampoon politicians, celebrate special events, pay fares, promote social causes, award the deserving, and
scold the wicked. In the Guide Book of United States Tokens and Medals, award-winning author Katherine Jaeger explores these fascinating and collectible pieces of American history, from
colonial times to today. Thousands of full-color illustrations, market values, and a grading guide add to the book's reference value. Essential reading for every coin collector and American
history buff! Featuring images from the American Numismatic Society's Collection. By Katherine Jaeger, foreword by Q. David Bowers. 304 Pages, Full Color. Softcover
To read the complete article, see:
A Guide Book of U.S. Tokens and Medals
JUNE 29th 2017 AUCTION
SELECTIONS FROM THE DR. ALAN YORK COLLECTION OF INTERNMENT CAMP AND RELATED PAPER MONEY INCLUDING 3 DIFFERENT NOTES FROM CAMP HAY, NUMEROUS WORLD WAR II RELATED NOTES FROM BRITAIN, ISLE OF MAN, ETC.
PLUS A COMPLETE SET OF GIL GIL POW CAMP NOTES FROM KENYA
A NICE SELECTION OF WORLD COINS, TOKENS AND MEDALS IN ALL METALS INCLUDING: ANCIENT AND WORLD COINS INCLUDING MANY CERTIFIED COINS
THE EXCEEDINGLY RARE, AND PERHAPS FINEST KNOWN, 1947 1 MIL COIN OF PALESTINE
HIGH GRADE AND RARE WORLD COINS WITH MANY COINS FROM AFRICA: SOUTHERN RHODESIA 1932 PROOF SET SOUTHERN RHODESIA 1954 2 SHILLINGS OTHER RARITIES FROM SUDAN TO ZANZIBAR
JEWISH RELATED MEDALS, TOKENS AND PAPER MONEY AND MANY OTHER ITEMS
Catalogs will be mailed early to mid-June, send $10 for printed copy or check our website for color images. The sale should be up on our website in early June as well.
LOT VIEWING at Kansas City International Paper Money Show June 8-10, Colorado Springs Coin Show during the break from the ANA Summer Seminar June 21-24.
William M. Rosenblum, LLC
P.O. Box 785, Littleton, CO 80160-0785
Cell phone 303 910 8245
Wayne Homren, Editor
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