One of my many projects lately has been organizing my numismatic ephemera collection. I was so proud of myself when I completed what I thought was the last of it - until I found three more boxes of stuff I'd overlooked.
So I'm going through a second phase of sorting, organizing and prioritizing. Here are a few of the items I came across and thought I'd share.
Green's Numismatist's Reference and Check Book
Ben Green of Chicago published Green's Numismatist's Reference and Check Book in 1902 and 1912 according to Charlie Davis' 1992 American Numismatic Literature. Pictured here is a leather version of the 1912 second edition along with two supplements. Is anyone aware of other editions or supplements? Supplements "A" and "B" cover coinage of 1902 and 1903 - were there annual supplements for all the intervening years between the first and second editions?
Whitman Coin Checklist
Whitman also had a checklist. Rather than carry their full coin folders with them, collectors could carry this handy checklist to record their wants. This one was heavily used by its owner. Does anyone else have one of these?
Someone I was certain would have some of these is researcher and author
David Lange, who as it happens is just putting the finishing touches on a new book about Whitman products, the fourth of his books on coin boards, albums and folders. He kindly provided this sneak preview of the section on Whitman checklists. Thanks!
"As a child collecting coins from circulation the author kept track of his growing collection by placing a tiny ink dot next to each corresponding line in his 1964 edition of Whitman's Blue Book (A Handbook of United States Coins). Evidently, this practice was widespread, as many old coin guidebooks are found today with dots, dashes, checkmarks or cross-outs marking their owners' progress. Evidently, Whitman knew that collectors were using its references in this manner, and in 1960 it published an actual pocket-size check book for that sole purpose. This bore the grand title Illustrated Check List and Record Book of United States and Canadian Coins: All Regular and Commemorative Issues Including Gold.
"Like all Whitman coin products, it bore a four-digit Publisher Number. Originally this was No. 9091, but different numbers were assigned in later years as the booklet evolved. The idea was not original, as Chicago dealer Charles Green had produced his Mint Record and Type Table, United States Coins in 1936, widely used as a convenient check list in its own time. Whitman's book, however, included mintages and a grade table with which collectors could check off the appropriate grade for a particular date/mint. This permitted them to know when a coin under consideration was a potential upgrade, and the record book has gone through many editions and format changes since 1960.
"The story of Whitman's record book actually goes back some years earlier, as before it assumed book form the same concept was put out as a tiny pamphlet. A simplified product titled Check List for Whitman Coin Collectors, it was actually a listing of each date/mint to be found in each of the company's Blue Folders. The coin series name and its corresponding folder's Publisher Number appeared above the listing of dates/mints, but there were no mintages and no grade grid. Instead, users simply crossed out each entry as it was obtained, regardless of grade, though one could also place a tiny dot or check mark where the limited space allowed.The author's collection includes examples of this check list utilized in each of these various ways.
"The earliest one seen dates from 1942, and the latest known is from 1964. All were folded over themselves as issued, and an unprinted area was provided below the words "For Sale By." This permitted each shop owner to stamp or write his business name and address. Whitman got the idea for this feature from the coin boards published by J. Oberwise and Company, whose boards always had such a vendor block at the lower right of their backs. In addition to being useful in marking the progress of one's collection, these lists subtly encouraged coin enthusiasts to acquire the additional folders not already owned, and they likewise reminded users from whom they could find both the folders and the coins to fill them."
Tim's Official Redback
A Worthpoint article pictures a group of similar notes in denominations of 1, 5, 10 including one "Superman" Redback. They are described as 1940s toy money.
To read the Worthpoint articles, see:
VINTAGE SUPERMAN AND TIM'S OFFICIAL REDBACK TOY MONEY
1940S SUPERMAN REDBACK TIM STORE PROMO CURRENCY NOTE LOT 1 5 10 DOLLAR VINTAGE
A March 6, 2015 Coin World article by Michele Orzano describes a different style piece sold by Heritage.
A Superman fan club scrip note sold for $28 in the Feb. 17, 2015, Heritage Internet Currency Auction.
More than 70 years ago a company called Tim Publications Inc. created a club for young children called the Superman-Tim Club. It was aimed at those who enjoyed the company's Superman-Tim comics.
These comics were 6-inch by 9-inch booklets printed monthly. Each comic's pages offered club members the opportunity to redeem "Redbacks" to buy Superman-Tim clothing items that were carried in department stores.
The first issue of Superman-Tim was published in 1942, shortly after Superman's debut in Action Comics #1. Publication of the Superman-Tim comic ceased in 1950.
To read the Coin World article, see:
Superman-Tim scrip note from the 1940s sells for $28 in auction
My piece is accompanied by a note stating "Groff + Wolf Co stamped on some." I found a Groff and Wolff men's clothing store in Lancaster, PA.
I don't collect play money, but like any semi-numismatic item, these have a story to tell. Do any of our readers have a collection of them?
W. Elliot Woodward's Mt. Pleasant Apothecary Store Scrip
Numismatic bibliophiles know W. Elliot Woodward (1825-1892) of Boston as one of the top coin auctioneers of the 19th century.
As a collector of U.S. Civil War scrip I also knew him as the issuer of 5 and 20 cent notes of his pharmacy, the Mt. Pleasant Apothecary Store. Most of the notes available today are unissued remainders, but some were signed by Woodward himself and used in commerce. I searched for quite a while to find the ones below. I bought the 5 cent note from Claud Murphy at the 1991 ANA convention. I don't have a record of where the FACSIMILE note came from. It's is a reproduction on different paper than the originals, but I'm not sure who created it or when. Ideas anyone?
Moving to the late 20th century, on the left below is a flyer advertising Numismatists Online, an early internet site for running coin auctions. On the right is one of their ads from the July 1999 Numismatist. This was in the days before most dealers had web sites of their own. Even Heritage Rare Coin Galleries is listed as a seller.
I remember being in touch by email with the owner of the business, but I'm afraid I've lost his name and contact information. The domain name is unused today and up for sale. It was a very labor-intensive process in those days, with web pages being built by hand rather than being driven by databases and software. Dealers had to send the company all the information about their lots so the web pages could be custom built.
Can anyone tell us more about the business and what became of it?
THE BOOK BAZARRE
IN GOD WE TRUST:
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(352 pages, hardcover) for $29.95
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