The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 24, Number 26, June 27, 2021, Article 15


James Higby writes:

"I remember subscribing to a bi-weekly numismatic newspaper called The Coin Collector during the 1950s. It was published in Anamosa, Iowa, and a subscription was within my financial capabilities as a newspaper boy. For some reason the name "Lawrence Brothers" pops into my mind.

I remember the first issue that I received very well - the front page had a photo of a couple of smiling young ladies who had access to the daily take of a business (it may have been a wishing well) and were surrounded by bags of coins that they could go through. By that time I myself was going through rolls of pennies (that's what the wrappers said on them) from the bank and remember feeling jealous of their good fortune."

Here are some additional notes from Rusty Goe. -Editor

Mention of this publication seemed to have awakened memories in James buried decades ago.

One of the listings David Hill from the ANS sent me shows this: The coin collector: the world's greatest paper for coin and stamp collection. The Lawrence brothers of Anamosa, Iowa, are listed as publishers. (The address was 300 Booth St., Iowa.)

David's ANS library listing shows what appears to be one issue on hand from 1960 in the Rare Book Room at the ANS.

Remy-Bourne-Lists-1860-1960-The-Coin-Collector-Jan-20-1954 On the NNP I found a digitized copy of Remy Bourne's 1990 American Numismatic Periodicals 1860-1960, Book II: An Illustrated Collectors Guide. In this book there is a section devoted to The Coin Collector, confirming that the Lawrence brothers of Anamosa, Iowa, published it.

I have attached a scan of Remy Bourne's image of the January 20, 1954, issue. It appears as if Bourne states this was the first issue. In the table of contents from Bourne's other book David Hill sent me, it shows publication dates running from 1950 to 1955.

Further research I conducted reveals that The Coin Collector was formerly published by the Lawrence brothers as The Philatelic Press.

In the 1/1/1994 issue of Calcoin News (vol. 48, no. 1 , pg. 13), Michael S. Turrini published a well-researched article about the Lawrence brothers, Roy C. and Ray L., who were twins born in 1904. Turrini details how the brothers started their Lawrence Bros. Stamp Bulletin in the 1920s, and how it evolved into The Philatelic Press and later The Coin Collector. During these brothers' five (or more) decades in business they serviced an extremely large mailing list. They also had some involvement with the 1946 Iowa Statehood Centennial Commemorative half dollar campaign.

Also, I discovered in the June 1, 1966, number of The Numismatic Scrapbook Magazine (p. 10) that, The Coin Collector has been sold by Lawrence Bros. Anamosa Iowa to the printing firm in Kewanee, Illinois, who will operate as Coin Collector Publishing Co. Inc. (Ed Babka.) Also noted is, One of the Lawrence brothers recently suffered a heart attack.

Two years later, in 1968, Ed Babka transferred The Coin Collector to Krause. By the end of 1969 Krause, as Turrini notes, discontinued it and its combined The Coin Shopper and merged the subscription lists with Numismatic News and Coins.

All of this is very interesting. It opens a corridor into numismatics (and the philatelic world) that I have never traveled before.

Nevertheless, it still does not lead me to the opportunity of acquiring copies of the issues I'm seeking. These are the following mail bid auctions:

  • 04/12/1957 K. O. Cunningham (In The Coin Collector)
  • 01/05/1958 K. O. Cunningham (In The Coin Collector)
  • 03/10/1958 K. O. Cunningham (In The Coin Collector)
  • 08/05/1958 K. O. Cunningham (In The Coin Collector)
  • 12/09/1958 K. O. Cunningham (In The Coin Collector)

It appears as if issues of The Coin Collector from this period are extremely rare. The fact that they were in newsprint format probably foreshadowed their extinction.

Martin Gengerke must have seen the issues he cited in his American Numismatic Auctions. Perhaps they—or microfilmed copies of them—are in the ANA's library. (David Sklow will know. I will contact him.)

At any rate, if anyone reading this can furnish me scans of the issues cited I will be grateful and will gladly pay for the privilege of acquiring them.

Thank you again for publicizing my research request to the E-Sylum readership.

Cool. Who has some hardcopies of this publication? I've checked my ephemera files, and don't seem to have any of these. It would be nice to see the other cover photos, but nicer still to get scans to Rusty for his research. Here are some additional facts he learned from his digging. -Editor

This story could eventually gather enough information to write a book—not by me, mind you.

After my last email to you, I discovered that David Ganz got his start as a professional writer (presumably as a young teenager) submitting articles to The Coin Collector in 1965. He obviously knows as much about this publication's history as anyone living. No doubt, Remy Bourne owns a fact-file that would supplement David's knowledge regarding the Lawrence brothers' publishing activities.

Something else I learned is that Anamosa, Iowa, reveres the Lawrence brothers. They donated to the city the building in which they operated for decades. It became (at first) a historical society. It is now called the Lawrence Community Center. Ray Lawrence died in 1968 and his twin brother Roy passed in fall 1983.

One last thing, I called the ANA today hoping to connect with David Sklow. The woman who answered said he no longer works for the ANA. I had not heard this news. I asked if someone had replaced him as the ANA's library director. She said she didn't know. The library is still closed until further notice, except for online inquiries.

I never dreamed my simple request for scanned copies of mail-bid sales conducted by a Carson City coin enthusiast (not a professional dealer) living in Reno, Nevada, would open so many doors to a fascinating saga of numismatic publishing from the 1920s to the 1960s.

You never know where a question will lead.

That's what makes numismatic research interesting and fun! Sorry to hear the ANA library hasn't been reopened yet. -Editor

Mike Bourne writes:

"I have issues of The Coin Collector 1964-1965 and Coin Shopper 1967-1968. Nothing in the 1957-1958 range."

Len Augsburger writes:

"The American Philatelic Research Library has a run of the predecessor publication (Philatelic Press) from 1935-1951, but unfortunately no issues of The Coin Collector.

"Neither the Iowa State Library or Anamosa, IA library have it listed in their online catalog. I did however, find a microfilm copy at the Iowa State Historical Society.

"Eric Newman and Ken Bressett cite a 1960 issue of the Anamosa, IA Coin Collector in their 1987 COAC article on the 1804 dollar, so one of them must have had access to at least this issue. It's possible there are copies in the Newman library remainders, but it would take a good deal of hunting to confirm one way or another."

Clifford Mishler writes:

"I checked the shelves in the old KP library yesterday and did not find anything in the way of bound or loose issues of The Coin Collector . . . I distinctly recall that the product was on the shelves in bound form at one time . . . blue bindings as I recall ... "

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: JUNE 20, 2021 : Query: The Coin Collector (


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Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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