Here's an excerpt of a recent CoinWeek review of Ed Fuhrman's new book on Half Cent varieties.
Since its release in 2019, The Half Cent: 1793-1857, self-published by former Early American Coppers (EAC) president William Eckberg, has been a mainstay at the CoinWeek offices for the information it provides on America's "greatest little coin". An update on Breen's outdated work, Eckberg's book is an accessible read – although it is written from Eckberg's particular perspective.
The direction that fellow EAC member Ed Fuhrman advances in his new book, The Half Cent Handbook: Draped Bust Varieties: 1800-1808, is certainly different. While the Fuhrman text is also written in a conversational tone, it focuses on collecting each issue by die variety and die state. That said, there is next to nothing provided here regarding the who, what, when, and why of each variety's creation. Fuhrman preempts this criticism by devoting a single page to lay out what is not covered in his book. Potential buyers should note that Fuhrman's uncovered areas include mintage figures, die variety emission sequences, historical background information, anecdotes about famous collectors, discussion of mint errors, and reverse die rotations for each variety. To us at the CoinWeek offices, these are critical areas of interest, and asking why can a volume cannot also include this information is fair and reasonable, given the title's $105 price.
On the other hand, Fuhrman readily admits that he is charting his own course with the way he chose to lay out his book. This is the author's right, but a clearer (and less defensive-sounding) explanation as to why certain areas of key information were omitted would have made these omissions less jarring.
That said, what the book clearly aims to accomplish is to mainstream the highly technical facets of the "on the coin" numismatics of half-cent variety attribution and die state collecting.
To read the complete article, see:
New Half Cent Handbook Looks to Demystify Collecting Half Cents by Variety and Die State
To read earlier E-Sylum articles, see:
NEW BOOK: THE HALF CENT, 1793-1857
NEW BOOK: THE HALF CENT HANDBOOK
REVIEW: THE HALF CENT HANDBOOK
Wayne Homren, Editor
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