Kevin Vinton of Stack's Bowers Galleries submitted this capsule review of Ed Fuhrman's new book on the Half Cents of 1800-1808. Thanks.
The Half Cent Handbook, Draped Bust Varieties 1800-1808 by Ed Fuhrman
Fuhrman's handbook is a welcome new addition to the half cent literature that is as technically masterful as it is light and enjoyable for beginners and experts alike. That combination is a rare feat for this genre, something that could only be accomplished by someone who has lived and breathed a series for decades, as both a collector and a student, the way that Ed has. The book covers many important topics of interest to specialized collectors – grading, attribution, rarity estimates, counterfeit detection. There are also in-depth descriptions of die states for each variety which are an improvement and expansion on the Manley book, the previous standard reference on this topic.
In addition to all this, what really separates Fuhrman's book from other treatments of the series is the wealth of fascinating anecdotes, personal experiences, and valuable
cherry picking tips for the rare varieties. Those who know Ed know he is one of the all-time greats of cherry picking half cent rarities, and his generous advice on this topic alone is more than worth the price of admission. The Half Cent Handbook, Draped Bust Varieties 1800-1808, along with Fuhrman's future volumes covering the rest of the half cent series, will no doubt become a valuable and
oft-referred-to addition to any half cent collector's library, and will likely also be responsible for creating many new enthusiasts of these fascinating coins.
The color photos of die states are a great resource, as are the author's recommendations about cherrypicking - spotting unrecognized rare varieties in dealer inventories. It's very nicely designed and produced.
The book fails my back-of-the-book test though, not having an index or bibliography. For example, it mentions Roger Cohen's work, but doesn't state the title, when it was published, etc. But it's not meant for researchers and bibliophiles - as the title states it's a handbook of useful information for active buyers, and I expect to see copies floating around bourse floors when the major shows resume.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NEW BOOK: THE HALF CENT HANDBOOK
Wayne Homren, Editor
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