This week Collectors Weekly published a lengthy interview with E-Sylum regular David Lange. Here are some excerpts.
In this interview, David Lange—coin collector, author, and director of research for Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC)—talks about the history of the Buffalo nickel, including its use as a canvas for creating caricatures in the folk art form known as hobo nickels. He also discusses Lincoln head cents and coin-collecting boards. Lange can be contacted via his website, coincollectingboards.net.
I started collecting coins when I was about 7 years old. I took over my brother's collection of Lincoln cents. At that time, the early 1960s, it seemed like every boy collected coins for a week or two and then got bored just like my brother did. I kept at it, collecting a little bit of everything over the years—from ancients to metals to tokens to paper money. I learn as much as I can, but usually my interest in a particular area runs out before I finish the collection. Very often I sell things to start something new.
David Feigenbaum, who put out the “The Complete Guide to…” series on U.S. coins, asked me to write about Buffalo nickels and Lincoln cents. He wrote the original books himself. He's since passed away. He did ones on the three Barber silver coin series and then wanted to expand the line into other popular series. I was asked to write about Buffalo nickels since I was already fairly well known in that field. That book went so well that I wrote one on Mercury dimes a year later. A couple years after that, I wrote the “The Complete Guide to Lincoln Cents.”
I also collect and sell coin boards and have a website devoted to them. The object of the coin board was to hold a complete date and mint series of a particular coin type. Most of the titles were for coins that could still be obtained in circulation at the time the boards were made in the 1930s. Very few boards were made for coins that were no longer circulating, and the ones they did make were generally poor sellers. Of course, those are the most rare today for collectors.
The business of selling them was somewhat of an unplanned offshoot of the publication of my book, “Coin Collecting Boards of the 1930s and 1940s: A Complete History, Catalogue and Value Guide.” For about 25 years, I bought every coin board I could find. The coin-board business was primarily a way to move the 400 to 500 duplicates I'd acquired.
To read the complete article, see:
An Interview With Author David Lange on Lincoln Cents, Buffalo Nickels and Coin Boards
Wayne Homren, Editor
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