Len Augsburger published a review in the March 2021 E-Gobrecht (the online publication of the Liberty Seated Collectors Club) about Rusty Goe's new three-volume work on Carson City coinage. With permission, we're republishing it here. Thanks!
Rusty Goe Publishes The Confident Carson City Collector
Following up on his previous books (The Mint on Carson Street, 2003, and James Crawford: Master of the Mint at Carson City, 2007), Rusty Goe is at it again, with a three-volume compendium on Carson City coinage, The Confident Carson City Collector. This is a massive work, weighing in at 2,500 pages, and we can be grateful it is split into multiple volumes. Let’s address the elephant in the room immediately – this is not a cheap set of books, and will run you around $300. But, if you intend to spend thousands of dollars on Carson City coinage (and you could easily spend a lot more), you will do well to allocate a few percent of your coin budget to education. Books play an important role, but do not form the whole picture – I highly recommend the ANA in-person grading course, and traveling to shows to compare coins face-to-face with other collectors can also be a learning experience.
Back to Carson City coinage. The three volumes cover the periods 1870-1874, 1875-1885, and 1889-1893. For each of the 111 issues in the Carson City series, Goe has created separate historical and numismatic overviews. Yes, that comes out to an average of 22 (8.5x11) pages dedicated to every single Carson City coin. The historical overviews weave together a narrative of the goings on in Carson City, including the Mint, and these are not repetitive, they tell a whole story. The numismatic sections combine market information, price history, and Rusty’s inside knowledge of where all the important coins are. I have no doubt that if you sat down with Rusty for an extended chat about Carson City coinage, he could recite the stories of hundred of distinct specimens, off the top of his head. This is perhaps the most important part of the book – anyone can look up population reports and auction appearances, but Rusty has poured out his firsthand experience with the Battle Born collection (the only complete CC set, besides the Eliasberg collection), and many other important coins.
Rusty Goe relies on the written record as well, and has clearly spent a lot of time looking at microfilm of the Carson Daily Appeal and other regional newspapers. We also see research from the National Archives and Nevada State Museum, in addition to little-known numismatic sources such as the Thomas Hall notebooks recently digitized by Newman Portal. While historical background can add much to the appreciate of numismatic objects, some collectors are more motivated by market concerns and how to value Carson City coins. That’s all here too, with extensive discussions about why certain coins sold at the level they did. For those investing substantial amounts in Carson City issues, this detail is invaluable, taking you into Rusty’s head as a coin dealer and providing hundreds of case studies into how to evaluate specific coins. I, for one, won’t be buying any more Carson City coins without first consulting this reference.
What’s not here? Goe provides only high-level information on die varieties, which is already well-covered by Bugert, Fortin, Winter, Brunner/Frost, Osburn/Cushing, Briggs, and other references. Goe could have easily included a fourth volume on this topic, but little could be added to the excellent work that is already out there. The recently discovered coinage dies at the Nevada State Museum also deserve a book, but these pieces are not yet fully excavated or curated. We can hope that this is not Rusty’s last book!
The 3-volume set is available through Heritage (http://ha.com/CarsonCity) for $279 plus tax and shipping, or through the Southgate Coins site (https://www.southgatecoins.com/books-supplies/the-confident-carson-city-coin-collector) for $299 plus $16 shipping. Rusty’s first book, The Mint on Carson Street, is now out of print and has risen in value since the time of publication – unusual for recent numismatic books. This current series will clearly be the definitive work for a long time, and I would not be surprised to see similar demand for this multi-volume set.
For more information on the Liberty Seated Collectors Club (LSCC), see:
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NEW BOOK: CONFIDENT CARSON CITY COIN COLLECTOR
Wayne Homren, Editor
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