The Numismatic Bibliomania Society


The E-Sylum: Volume 25, Number 26, June 26, 2022, Article 9


On Numismatic Auctions and In-Person Bidding
Regarding the fate of live numismatic auctions, Stack's Bowers Galleries Senior Numismatist and Auctioneer Ben Orooji writes:

Online auction gavel on keyboard "I am happy to report that Stack's Bowers Galleries has no intentions of eliminating live auctions. In fact, we've built a beautiful studio at our headquarters in Costa Mesa, CA specifically for the purposes of showing our live auctions all over the world in high definition that makes you feel as if you're right there even if you're watching on a screen. Of course if you would like to come to our studio and bid live in-person we will wholeheartedly welcome you and will have snacks, drinks and meals provided. Many bidders do so.

"Me and my fellow auctioneers and our studio managers keep working hard to make our live auctions exciting events that rival the best of the best art auction houses. We are confident when we say we think our live auctions are the finest among our numismatic competitors and invite you to watch them anytime. All of our recent sales are archived on YouTube. During the live auctions you can watch from our website, on our smartphone app, on YouTube and on Facebook Live."

It's a whole new world, and will take some getting used to. Having lot viewing at major shows with the auction itself taking place afterwards does make shows more relaxing. But for most bidders, travelling to a second location to bid in person is cost prohibitive. Yet as everyone's at-home technology and room setup improves, I think more bidders may be willing to drop their anonymity and fully participate in ways similar to the old style in-person sales (as Chris MacDowell recalls)- kibitzing, position-jockeying, trash-talking and cheering their fellow bidders as new records are set and new collections created and completed. The platforms aren't there yet, but such features could be possible one day. -Editor

Ben adds:

"You are correct that remote bidders cannot interact with each other on our platform. A major benefit here is that you are anonymous and a beginning collector has equal footing with the most seasoned among us. Yes, the in-person trash talking is eliminated, but collectors can do the same over Facebook, the Collectors Universe forums or Discord channels if they like. It's a different experience for sure, but I'll be honest here: when I began collecting real auction-worthy coins in the era of auctions in conjunction with shows I was incredibly intimidated. Today I wouldn't be of course, but I definitely would have appreciated the prevalence of online bidding while watching the sale that is currently the standard. To the dealers, this could present a disadvantage but I can't imagine a situation where this hurts the collector.

"Regardless, I'll submit your feedback and online interaction idea to the team here at SBG. Maybe there are others who are thinking along the same lines."

Good points. Just because technology COULD enable something doesn't always mean it SHOULD. I agree with Chris that something positive has been lost yet I'm glad there are already some alternate channels available. It just takes some coordination among the participants to initiate what happens naturally when a bunch of coin-crazed people are all in a physical room together. -Editor

Alan V Weinberg writes:

"I've attended live coin auctions since 1958 (Parke Bernet hotel 57th & 6th Ave NYC) and they've always been a major attraction at shows, attracting many collectors and dealers who otherwise might not have attended the show itself. With the catalogues themselves serving as reference material for many decades thereafter - like the John Ford auction series of nearly 30 separate auction catalogues.

"On the other hand, there is the solid argument that such on-site show auctions pull buyers off the bourse floor and cause potential bourse buyers to avoid spending on the bourse floor in favor of perhaps buying at the auction itself later that evening or even 1-2 days later.

"Additional auctioneer expenses at shows include large room rental and chair & table rentals, catered food & drinks for lunch/ dinner (more than a decade ago one major auctioneer told me a catered can of soda cost them $3 each THEN), per hour employees (likely working overtime) monitoring the bids, auctioneer expense, extra security, etc. There are considerable savings if only lot viewing occurs simultaneously with a show. Well, you say they get 20-25% buyers fee. Well, those fee figures are now a decade+ old and we all know what inflation has occurred.

"So, our concern now should be continued physical publication of the auction catalogues, NOT just online listings. There are so many arguments for keeping in-hand auction catalogues being issued. Stack's Bowers told me a decade ago that a major auction catalogue cost them, start to delivery, $35 each. Heritage has in-house publication and mailing so their costs may be somewhat less. But again that $35 per catalogue cost was over a decade ago. Mailing costs alone have skyrocketed."

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

More on Browning's Early Quarter Dollars
Regarding my audio recording of the 1991 Numismatic Bibliomania Society Symposium and John Ford's discussion of A.W. Browning's 1925 Early Quarter Dollars book, Joel Orosz writes:

Ford reprint of Browning's Early Quarter Dollars "I have one of the five interleaved copies, ex Ted Craige and John W. Adams. It is exactly as Kellen described it: it appears to be crimson half morocco with crimson and green marbled paper sides and pastedowns, but a closer examination reveals that what appears to be morocco is actually a pebbled cloth. There is gilt lettering on the spine, but none on the covers, as in your illustrated regular edition copy. It contains the 1925 Wayte Raymond reprint, and eight linen-backed reprint plates.

"The plates are really superb, and have remained so because the interleaving has prevented them from rubbing against the coarse linen backing of the preceding plate. This rubbing problem affects most of the original 1925 Raymond reprints and the regular 1950 Ford issue. The special edition thus passes the test for usefulness as a reprint of an important text.

"I am so glad, Wayne, that you preserved the 1991 NBS Symposium on tape, and that Len and Kellen were able to successfully digitize it. I remember sitting rapt through all of the presentations, and hearing it again after 31 years have passed will be a real treat. It's gratifying to note that three of the five speakers are still with us all those decades on."

The tape is a real gem, and many thanks to the Newman Numismatic Portal for digitizing and sharing it. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

The 1,000 oz. Bullion Scale

Curious, I reached out to Jan Monroe for more information on the scale he's advertising to sell. He can be reached at . -Editor

Jan writes:

"The history of the scale is that it was purchased by the US Government and at some point sold. It was then owned by the Northwest Territorial Mint. I purchased it at a subsequent auction. I do not know which part of the US Government owned the scale but I would certainly like to. I can't imagine that there are very agencies that would need a 1,000 oz. Bullion scale."

Compass Point Currency Names
Martin Purdy writes: Latin American banknotes

"Tickled by the idea of "sur" (south) as the proposed name for a unified Latin American currency: after all, that was the literal meaning of Argentina's "austral" back in the 1980s, so the concept of a compass point for a unit of currency isn't entirely new."

The origins and meanings of currency names would make an interesting study. Perhaps someone has already written one. Is anyone aware of a comprehensive book or thesis? Of course, the internet is full of short articles and lists. Here are a few I found for your reading pleasure. -Editor

To read the complete articles, see:
Origins of World Currency Names
World Currencies and their etymological origins (
How the world's currencies got their names (

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

More on the 1875 William Douglas Catalog
David Fanning writes:

"Dave Hirt has asked about the 1875 catalogue issued by William Douglas, of Zanesville, Ohio. We've handled two or three copies of that over the years, and I had a copy in my own library at one point. It's pretty rare, but not unheard of. The catalogue offers a nice range of material for the time, including paper money and ancient coins in addition to the U.S. and modern foreign coins one might expect. Zanesville was pretty far off the beaten track at the time (still is, I suppose, though I know one or two numismatists in the area)."

Thanks! -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: JUNE 19, 2022 : Query: 1875 William Douglas Auction Sale (

The Case of the Missing Pages
Chriss Hoffman writes:

"I've been going through my library and trying to read some of the books I had not gotten around to completing or at least flipping through, in doing this I've come across a book with missing pages.

History of US Coinage Garrett Collection "In "History of United States Coinage as Illustrated by the Garrett Collection" by Q. David Bowers, I found a section of 24 pages missing (pages 241 through 264), I have several copies of this book and none of the others have this problem. There are no indications the pages were removed as the binding is still tight as new. This book is a first edition, I'm sure of, as no indication of any other editions nor revisions are on the 1979 copyright page information.

"I wonder if any other readers have the same issue with this book, or possibly never noticed it. I only did so, as at the end of page 240 the word is hyphenated to continue on to the next page... It of course never does, which is what led me to flipping pages thinking I had missed some text or a page was stuck before I realized the page numbers had jumped ahead by 20+ pages.

"It's still one of my favorite books ever written on the subject of American coinage, and I cherish my other copy given to me by Q. David Bowers when I was a YN attending his course "All about coins" at the ANA Summer Seminar in 1981, it's complete with no missing pages and it's a third printing, even if it's much more worn from reading and rereading over the years."

My copy is the second printing, and those pages are present. Has anyone else seen this problem? -Editor

To read earlier E-Sylum articles, see:

2007-P Washington Dollar Ray Variety Certified
Tom Koolick provided this update to his April 3, 2022 article:

"The Numismatic Guaranty Company (Variety Plus, Mr. Dave Lange) has certified this 2007-P Washington Dollar, Elongated Ray Variety."

  2007-P Washington $ Normal Third Ray 2007-P Washington $ Elongated Third Ray
  2007-P Washington Dollar Ray Variety obverse slabbed 2007-P Washington Dollar Ray Variety reverse slabbed
  2007-P Washington Dollar Ray Variety diagnostics

Thanks, and congratulations on a nice find. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

Early American E-Sylum ad 2022-05-27

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization promoting numismatic literature. See our web site at

To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor at this address:

To subscribe go to:


Copyright © 1998 - 2021 The Numismatic Bibliomania Society (NBS)
All Rights Reserved.

NBS Home Page
Contact the NBS webmaster