Dick Johnson submitted this review of Jeff Shevlin's new booklet on the So-Called Dollar medals of Pacific Coast expositions. Thanks!
Three Cs come to mind when examining Jeff Shevlin’s latest book. Colorful. Compact. Current valuations. It has a long title for such a small, pocket-size publication, published this week –
So-Called Dollar Collectors Pocket Price Guide, Pacific Coast Expositions.
It’s professionally designed, with colorful covers and color on every page. Every medal variety is shown in color, of course, but each exposition’s medal photos has a separate background color, a
useful and innovative feature. It’s compact, card-cover, glossy page, 8 ½ x 4 ¼-inch size really does fit a pocket.
Current valuations are given in five conditions along with a rarity scale (the usual R-1 to R-10). This is my one complaint; we don’t need five condition categories for medals since medals do not
circulate like coins. Three conditions would be satisfactory. (I know Jeff is going to object reading this; he can grade uncirculated medals in three conditions – at higher prices – in those
inappropriate coin condition terms “MS-“ something. At least he is not calling them “uncirculated” instead of the preferred term “mint” for medals.)
I like the prices in boxes under a blue-background header listing the conditions. This imitates the new format of Whitman’s Red Book of U.S. Coins and their other publications in a variety of
colors. This is destined to become the standard now for all price guides in the field. Incidentally it was Wayte Raymond who, in 1929, invented the tabular format of price lists of coins in a number
of conditions. Before that all coins were graded individually.
The author created his own numbering system. There is a cross index section referring back to the standard work on So-Called Dollars, by Hibler and Kappen, the original 1963 book on this
series. He even repeated the blue and yellow dust jacket color of the HK original in his covers and two introductory pages.
Master promoter Shevlin has become prominent for taking a sleepy series of medals, so-called dollars, and promoted these to collectors in lively style. So-called dollars is a fascinating series.
He has taken a subset of these -- those of the eight Pacific Coast expositions -- and popularized these based on his extensive knowledge of all their 134 varieties.
One other feature should be mentioned. On every line of a medal variety is an open box to check if this variety is owned making this a handy Check List. I wonder if this is a forerunner of others
publishing similar check lists of collector’s series. It is an useful tool for those building collections by buying at coin shows.
Listed as “Annual” above the title, apparently he intends to issue this yearly. In addition I would welcome, say, the Chicago 1892-93 World’s Fair medals or other expo medals in similar format.
However, don’t wait, get a copy of Jeff Shevlin’s Pacific Coast Expo medal guide now. It’s modestly priced at $19.95.
Stay tuned for more information on where and how to order copies. I've also seen a copy of the new booklet and agree with Dick Johnson that's a very handy and useful
guide. It reminds me of a modern version of the old Whitman "Black Book" monographs on specialized topics such as Civil War tokens and fractional currency. Several advertisements are
included, but I have no objections - these help subsidize the production of the booklet, and serve to identify serious buyers and sellers of these specialized items. The color photography and bold
layout make this product really stand out, and I look forward to seeing more titles in the series. -Editor
Wayne Homren, Editor
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