Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Library

To say there are thousands of books on coins, medals and tokens is perhaps shy of the mark. Collectors tend to publish every scrap of available information, a noble obsession.
The subjects may be very, very arcane. Spin down through the list on Rich Hartzog's web site for evidence of that.
A "book" in this field, then, may be a stapled photo-copy of a manuscript concerning ... for instance, the communion tokens of a particular parish ... in, say, Uruguay.
So, unless there is a special reason, we will confine our list to books of broad appeal. Links when given are to Amazon because your click-through may generate a few pennies to help keep this project afloat. There are, of course, many other sites supplying books, such as that of the aforementioned Rich Hartzog. A search by title should bring results in many cases.

UNUSUAL WORLD COINS: A copy is near or on my desk as a matter of routine, not entirely as a reference but somewhat just for entertainment ... I take a break by cruising for interesting entries. If you are unfamiliar with it, this is quite a hefty door-stop of a book, chocked full of coin information. I use the chart that shows numerals in different languages as a start for identifying unknowns. Here is a statement from the publisher, a fair assessment -- "This new edition ... provides up-to-date pricing based on collector interest and precious metal prices, plus 6,000 detailed photos - including 1,000 more photos than the previous edition - for easily identifying coins from micro-nations, private artists, governments in exile, as well as fantasy issues and medallic coins. With more than 13,000 listings, this one-of-a-kind reference meets all your uncommon needs."
I believe I saw that a new edition will be out in October, meanwhile it looks as though the recent one is bargain priced.

A browser's book, a beautiful survey of the consensus of experts, the ones collectors dream about. A large book and, I would have to agree, more an art book than a collection of intriguing tales -- you will probably have to dig deeper, elsewhere, if you want the stories behind the selections. Stil, introductory information is there, often five or six fullsome paragraphs of it. An appendix mentions 100 more also-rans. The bibliography offers some ideas, though one would need access to a large and specialized library to obtain some of the material mentioned. All in all, this is as close as some of us will ever get to some of the "greats" and therefore very much worth obtaining.

(to be continued)