This week's Featured Web Page is from the bibliography section of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society web site. Tom Wetter has been volunteering a great deal of time and images to flesh out the United States portion. This page is a great example of his work - it describes George Kolbe's auction catalogs for the Harry Bass numismatic library, featuring text from Len Augsberger's 100 Greatest Items of American Numismatic Literature.
A two thousand lot celebration of American numismatic literature, this writer's task might have been considerably simplified given a few days inside the Bass library - but more likely we would have been distracted to the point of paralysis. Where to begin? Bid books of all flavors abound, while plated versions of the important early sales seem prolific as kudzu. Impossible items like Thian's Register Of The Confederate Debt, or the E. H. R. Green eagle and half eagle photographic plates seem to appear every few pages.
Other delicacies include Bushnell's copy of the Roper sale, Hart's treatise on colonial paper money with historical chart, and The Numismatist from the first President of the ANA. Beyond individual rarities, the capable executive Bass was more than happy to leverage the efforts of others, in particular Melvin and George Fuld, who contributed to the Bass collection Woodward, Low, Haseltine, Frossard and Elder sets, among other items. A decade later, many of the prices realized in the Bass sale seem quite attractive – yet another reminder that today's record price is often tomorrow's bargain.