Kolbe & Fanning
Auction 164  27 Aug 2022
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Lot 6
Starting price: 10 000 USD
Current bid: None
Minimum bid: 10 000 USD
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The First Six Volumes of The Numismatist
American Numismatic Association. THE AMERICAN NUMISMATIST / THE NUMISMATIST. Title varies. Volumes 1-6 (Monroe, Michigan: Dr. Geo. F. Heath, September 1888-December 1893), complete, bound in one volume. Small 8vo [20.5 by 14 cm], somewhat later red cloth, gilt. 26 + 48 + 112 + (2), 30, iv, (31)-86, (89)-106 + (3)-34, (37)-52, (57)-112 + 132, (4), (133)-176 pages; unpaginated section in Volume VI consisting of the Program to the 1893 ANA Convention; halftone portraits of Lyman Haynes Low, Samuel Hudson Chapman, Ed. Frossard, Joseph Hooper, Jos. Leroux, David Harlowe, Charles Taylor Tatman, Herbert E. Morey, P. Napoleon Breton, and W. Kelsey Hall bound with appropriate issues, inconsistently counted as part of the pagination; lithographic plate of "The Proposed World's Fair Souvenir Half Dollar"; double-page lithographic table by Brudin of Chinese numerals; text illustrations; woodcut portrait of Dr. Geo. F. Heath in the text. No printed paper covers included. First six leaves with small tape repair of about 1 cm at the center top margin. Slightly and unobtrusively trimmed. A very good set. Bourne 1880-110. One of the true landmarks in American numismatic literature. The whereabouts of about a dozen sets of the first six volumes of The Numismatist are currently known. Originally, George Heath titled his little publication The American Numismatist, but after the first issue the name was shortened to The Numismatist, perhaps to avoid conflict with C.E. Leal's The American Numismatist, which had appeared two years before (interesting commentary on both publications may be found in Joel J. Orosz's "The Printer's Devil," appearing in the Winter 1997 issue of The Asylum). Print runs of the first two volumes were small; as early as 1893, Heath no longer could supply certain issues. David Sklow has traced as many as two dozen sets through various public offerings, but the whereabouts of only 11 can be ascertained. A number of the unlocated listings likely record the appearance of sets duplicated in the known census; and, sadly, a few sets have probably perished. Sklow aptly closes his article: "There is one great, overwhelming fact concerning the magazine: the first six volumes are the most highly sought pieces of American numismatic literature. A library lacking these informative volumes just seems to fall short of greatness." This has been recognized for some time. In an article appearing in the May, 1941 issue of The Numismatist, Editor Frank G. Duffield wrote: "It is with considerable interest that we see that a set of the first six volumes of The Numismatist (or American Numismatist, as Volume 1, No. 1, was styled) catalogued in Mr. Fisher's sale of May 3rd. While it is generally conceded that the information to be obtained from these early numbers is not significant, the collectors' love of completeness and desire to have rare items, make the sale of this series of our predecessor in the [fiftieth] anniversary year of the Association an item of note. It is seldom realized how few complete sets of The Numismatist are available." Recent years have seen three sets come to market, with Eric P. Newman's set sold in 2018, D. Brent Pogue's in 2020, and Rick Bagg's in 2021. The most recent offering brought the highest price--$31,200 with the premium--suggesting that the market has not been hurt by this relative plenitude. It may be some years until the present opportunity presents itself again. Ex M. Bourne Library.
(Estimate: $15000)
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