The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 22, Number 13, March 31, 2019, Article 23


In the Spring 2019 issue of his Coin Board News, Dave Lange published a nice history of the rare Koinpanel product from the E & T Kointainer Company. I'm republishing it here with permission. Thanks. -Editor

Koinpanel images

THE KURIOUS KOINPANEL--- Bernard A. Nagengast contacted me recently to inquire whether I'd like to publish his history of a coin board he manufactured and sold during the 1980s under the name Koinpanel. This immediately stirred a memory from that time when I actually purchased a Koinpanel from his E & T Kointainer Company to house my set of Kennedy Half Dollars. I'd transferred all of my modern coins into Kointains, which are inert, clear plastic lenses that friction fit over the obverse and reverse of a coin. These could then be inserted into the openings of the Koinpanel, resulting in a coin board that permitted viewing both sides of the coins. Needless to say, I welcomed his reminiscences about the company and its products. Too long to reprint in its entirety, I'm including here my summary of the main points.

In the late 1940s a collector named Francis S. Epps noticed that some of his coins were deteriorating due to the primitive state of coin storage products at the time, and he set about finding a solution. Consulting with a research chemist named Trainer (spelling uncertain), he selected ethyl cellulose as the ideal plastic for chemical inertness and malleability. The end product was the "Kointain," a two-piece capsule that was convex so as to not contact the coin except on its edge. E & T Kointainer Company was established in 1950, and ultimately holders of many sizes were offered. Epps bought out his partner and continued the business until his death in 1973. Bern Nagengast purchased the rights five years later and has operated the company ever since. It still manufactures and sells the Kointain capsules.

Francis S. Epps sought a display product for his Kointains and came up with a hardwood veneer plywood board with openings cut to fit various sizes of coins. The Koinpanel debuted in 1952 in a standard size of 8" wide x 6" tall x 3/16" thick. African Mahogany was the default wood, but Rosewood was available at a higher price. These were drilled and labeled in gold-colored hot type for various coin denominations, and a smaller 8" x 3" Koinpanel was added for proof or mint sets.

When Bern Nagengast purchased the company from Epps' successors he acquired a large back inventory of these panels, which had enjoyed only limited sales over the years. Collectors suggested to him that a larger format Koinpanel that could hold all or part of a coin series would be much more desirable, and he set about to produce such an item. He discovered that the woods used by Epps were either unavailable or unaffordable, but he found a suitable replacement in Honduran Mahogany. The new Koinpanel measured 8" wide by 12" tall.

The decision was made to start with the most popular coin series—cents back to 1857, nickels back to 1883, silver coins back to 1892, etc. To reduce the number of different die cuts, he settled on eight panel arrangements. He had the drilling equipment from Epps to cut the openings, but hot type had become obsolete, so he sought a new lettering/numbering technique. The simple solution was the dry transfer type sold by stationery stores. He custom ordered 2000 sheets that included every combination of titles, dates, mints, etc. that he anticipated would be needed.

The new Koinpanel line debuted in 1982, but it was destined to last only a year or so. Production was labor intensive, sales were disappointing, and collectors sometimes complained that the Kointains were difficult to insert into the openings. Indeed, I found this to be true of my Kennedy Half Dollar panel, and I declined to order any more Koinpanels. Bern Nagengast estimates that only 100 or so of the new Koinpanels were sold in that time.

Obviously, this is a very rare entry in coin board history, and I sorely regret not having saved for posterity my one and only purchase. Bern discarded most of the company's inventory years ago, but he graciously sent me a few of the original Epps Koinpanels for my collection along with associated literature.

For more information on Coin Board News, see:


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Wayne Homren, Editor

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