The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 25, Number 23, June 5, 2022, Article 14


Dave Lange submitted these thoughts on a rare issue of The Coin Collector newspaper. -Editor

The Coin Collector 1964 Typically, I don't acquire issues of The Coin Collector, the long-running newspaper published by the Lawrence Brothers of Anamosa, Iowa for decades until their passing. In one instance, however, I spotted an issue on eBay that just seemed to packed full of interesting stories that are of lasting value. It's dated February 25, 1964, which is just about the pinnacle of coin collecting's broad popularity in the United States.

Produced in a tabloid format similar to Coin World newspapers of the period, this particular issue of The Coin Collector is 48 pages long. Many of these pages are occupied by classified ads, as was the fashion in pre-internet days, but there are a lot of local and national stories that make for interesting reading. Here's a list of some stories from the cover alone:

"Kennedy Coins in Production" - It's revealed that the first pieces struck by the Philadelphia and Denver Mints were produced February 11. Photos of both sides of a 1964(P) half are included, and for many collectors this was their first view of the actual coin as struck. Until that time eager coin publications had been using mock-ups of what might be expected, typically featuring a Franklin Half Dollar with a Kennedy Head in Place of old Ben or the Kennedy Inaugural Medal with a 1964 date superimposed over it. Even the first printing of the Library of Coins album for this series had a fanciful illustration, so great was the pressure to beat competing products to the market. The new coins were finally released to the public on March 24.

"Silver Dollar Stock Dwindles" - Since the late summer of 1962, when several previously rare O-Mint Morgan Dollars had surfaced in bag quantities, dealers and speculators had been buying up millions of silver dollars at face value from the U. S. Treasury in Washington, DC. Right around the time that this issue was published, the draw-down finally reached the highly desirable Carson City coins that were immediately worth multiples of face. Within a month of its cover date the Treasury halted the payment of silver dollars in exchange for silver certificates, providing only silver ingots or granules in their place. The numbers reveal why: It's reported that 27,886,146 silver dollars remained as of January 30, 1964, but when exchanges for dollar coins were halted in March just over three million remained. These are the coins that would be auctioned by the GSA during the 1970s.

"Earl Parker Dies" - This San Francisco coin dealer was very prominent during the 1940s-60s, being best remembered today for buying two 1894-S dimes from an old woman in the early 1950s and placing them with new owners. I won't repeat the old "Ice Cream" story, since so little of it can be confirmed, but this was certainly the highlight of his career. After Parker died, his widow married one of his customers who'd worked closely with Earl. I knew them both during my youth in the San Francisco area, though I was too young to have met Earl himself.

"Town to Build Huge Replica of Nickel" - The town of Sudbury in Ontario promoted its claim as "the nickel capital of the world" by building a 30-foot tall sculpture of the 1951 Canadian five-cent piece produced for the bicentennial of nickel's isolation as an element. So far as I know this still stands, and the actual coins are collector favorites.

Some time ago I searched for The Coin Collector at the Newman Numismatic Portal, but the only entries that come up under that title are the Bowers & Merena Galleries newspaper of that same name produced during the 1990s. It would be great to have the Lawrence Brothers publication available in its entirety, as it's likely no longer under copyright. The real obstacle is that a complete set may not exist. The single copy I have is slightly brittle from age, and small pieces fall off every time I handle it. I'm attaching an image of its cover.

So - does anyone have some of these issues tucked away in their library? -Editor

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Wayne Homren, Editor

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