On January 1, 2019 Canadian Coin News published the first of two articles by Jesse Robitaille highlighting Canadian numismatic literature. It features E-Sylum
contributor Alan Roy. Here's a short excerpt- be sure to see the complete article online. -Editor
"I like old Canadian numismatic literature," said Roy, who also authors a regular column on the subject in The Canadian Numismatic Journal, the official journal of the
Royal Canadian Numismatic Association (RCNA).
"I don't care if it's weird, obscure or doesn't have much apparent value; I like anything - even kid's books - and I pretty well don't throw anything away, especially Canadian
The first catalogue he ever owned was The 1979 Charlton Coin Guide, which reached its 58th edition this year as Canada's oldest continuously published buying guide.
Today, he considers himself a "bibliomaniac," one of three different kinds of numismatic literature collectors.
"They like numismatic literature for its own sake. They get the same satisfaction out of a group of Charlton catalogues as other collectors would get out of a collection of
Another type of literature collector, Roy said, is "the researcher," who values the information offered in the books.
"Their library might have some old, worn-out reprints of classic numismatic literature, or they might have photocopies stapled together from the library. These are the people
who enjoy tracking a coin through a chain of auction catalogues to figure out its provenance."
In digging for information and publishing their findings, the researcher ensures the hobby's survival.
"They help build the hobby," Roy added.
The last type of literature collector is what he calls the "pure collector, who doesn't understand the benefit of the reference guide."
"They're always chasing that one coin they need for their collection, but they don't really show much of an interest in new reference books. They use reference books kind of
like a checklist. A classic example is somebody who would pay $200 for a coin but wouldn't pay $20 for a new reference catalogue."
The "pure collectors" drive bibliophiles batty. As a numismatic literature dealer setting up at coin shows, my old friend John Burns encountered them all the time and
loved to complain about them. He didn't have a category label for them, but if he did, rather than "pure collector", I imagine it would be something more like
"Dumbass". I'm equally incredulous at their attitudes toward books, but not being a seller of them I didn't have a dog in that fight. To each their own, I
suppose. You can lead a horse to a fountain of knowledge, but can't make them drink.
There's a lot more to the article, so click the link below to continue. It has great background on the development of numismatic literature in Canada.
QUICK QUIZ: what two articles published in 1910 are still referenced by collectors today? -Editor
To read the complete article, see:
Literature an affordable offshoot to numismatics
Wayne Homren, Editor
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