The Numismatic Bibliomania Society


The E-Sylum: Volume 25, Number 49, December 4, 2022, Article 14


Dennis Hengeveld writes:

"I was wondering if any of your readers may be familiar with a periodical called the Foreign paper money journal that was published by Dwight Musser in Dunbar, WV from 1957 to 1959, and then continued as World paper money journal in 1959-60 and finally World Paper Money Club bulletin in 1960-1961. I have found very little other information regarding this publication. The three iterations are mentioned in Clain-Stefanelli but not much information can be found in that volume, except that it was continued by Paper money, which may be the SPMC journal.

Internet searches have not turned up much at all. I would be interested in acquiring these to gain insight into the very early studies of world paper money, or at least learn more about them."

Great question - can anyone help? I don't believe the Newman Numismatic Portal has any of these. One thing NNP does have is the July/August 1993 issue of Paper Money which has on p135 an article about the early days of the Society of Paper Money Collectors by Charter Member Peter G. Robin. Here's an excerpt. -Editor

As did so many of us in our mis-spent youth, I started to collect U.S. coins while in high school, graduating to proof sets in my junior year (1955 or thereabouts). The Pittsburgh of that era had few coin shops that I could visit, and, in any event, prices for proof coins prior to 1952 were generally beyond the means of a teenager.

One day, I saw an ad of Lauren Benson of Davenport, Iowa offering 100 pieces of German Notgeld at $1.50. 1 ordered them, and became hooked for life. I quickly bought out his limited supply of other foreign notes, and he was good enough to put me in touch with Dwight Musser in West Virginia. Dwight, whom I did not get to meet in person until seven or eight years ago, can be credited, in my humble opinion, as the founder of organized foreign paper money collecting. His price lists evolved into News Letters which provided virtually the only information available in English about foreign bank notes. I still remember with pride being listed in his "Climbers Club" as the happy possessor of notes from sixty-nine different countries.

Somewhere along the line, the News Letters became the voice of the World Paper Money Club, and I took on the delightful tasks of General Secretary. Those were glory days indeed when known collectors numbered in the dozens and rarities could be had out of dealers' junk boxes with just a little effort and luck.

The year 1959 saw the formation of the Maryland Foreign Paper Money Club under the leadership of John Sandrock. I joined a year later, if memory serves, and became editor of its journal. The Currency Collector, in the early part of 1964. I was freshly out of the Army and just as freshly married. The MFPMC survives today, in a truncated and re-named version— World Paper Currency Collectors— mostly through the one-man efforts of Paul Curtis in California.

The end of 1961 saw the first issue of PAPER MONEY, the journal of the Society of Paper Money Collectors. The president and editor was Hank Bieciuk. On the back of the contents page, listed very legitimately as well as alphabetically last, was my name as a member of the Board of Governors. This fluke of fate, which put me in the same group as Amon Carter, Jr., Julian Blanchard, William A. Philpott, Eric P. Newman and others of their stature, was due to an administrative decision on the part of SPMC to accept the World Paper Money Club as a junior partner in a merged membership; the WPMC officers were to hold (very temporarily, it turned out) seats on the new board.

As far as I am aware, there was little interest shown by either U.S. or foreign paper money enthusiasts for making PAPER MONEY a truly internationally-oriented publication. The first year and a half saw the publication of two brief articles by Dwight Musser; the next non-U. S. item was published in the Spring, 1964 issue. It is fortunate indeed, for those of us interested in foreign bank notes, that the International Bank Note Society came into being at roughly the same time. Both periodicals have grown slowly but very surely into extremely fine purveyors of information and enthusiasm, without which few of us would likely continue to collect.

Can anyone put us in touch with current or former members of the Maryland Foreign Paper Money Club or the World Paper Currency Collectors group? Does anyone have a file of Dwight Musser price lists, News Letters or other world paper money publications? -Editor

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Wayne Homren, Editor

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