Last week Charlie Davis noted that the late Al Hoch of Quarterman Publications also started The Colonial Newsletter, a masterful publication documenting research on U.S. colonial coinage that continues today under the auspices of the American Numismatic Society. David Gladfelter provides the following additional background.
Al started The Colonial Newsletter in October, 1960, following the ANA convention in Boston. From the outset, the newsletter was printed, although the first two issues contained actual photographic plates which Al made at home. “This newsletter will not be sold,” he wrote. “It will be available to those of us who have the interest and willingness to make periodic contributions. The circulation of this newsletter will remain very small. However, with the interest of only a few more individuals this will become a useful medium of communication and an asset both to us and the science.”
Al published seven issues on a quarterly basis through April-June, 1962, then, after a hiatus of one year, turned the newsletter over to James C. Spilman who served as its editor and publisher for the next 34 years. The Colonial Newsletter is now published by the American Numismatic Society. It has become the journal of record on colonial and early American numismatics.
Al's original early issues of CNL are quite scarce. He told me that only 10 copies of the first and second issues were made. Under his brief editorship, contributions by Ken Bressett, A. R. “Del” Boudreau, Philip D. Greco, Walter Breen, Richard Picker, Thomas Ollive Mabbott, Edward R. Barnsley, Robert A. Vlack, George J. Fuld, T. V. Buttrey, Ted Craige and Spilman, among others, were published. Al's success in attracting leading collectors and researchers to his publication, and providing a forum in which new writers could participate, helped this field of numismatics to grow and thrive.
As for Quarterman Publications, Al said that many of his titles fell into the “labor of love” category, but the second edition of U. S. Civil War Store Cards by George and Melvin Fuld was a financial success. With Al's cooperation, several reprints of this edition were made for the benefit of the Civil War Token Society. The Society is now working on a third edition.
Al had a fine collection of Civil War tokens, some of which he sold directly to me and to other collectors. The balance of his collection was auctioned by the late Jack R. Detwiler in 1971.
Al was a generous person by nature. After we negotiated the contract for the Fuld catalog reprint, Al sent me gratis a copy of Quarterman's most ambitious project, the reprint of the British Museum's 1911 Medallic Illustrations in full size, with 183 superb annotated plates and 63 pages of indexes. Just out of the goodness of his heart.
Ray Williams, President of the Colonial Coin Collectors Club (C4) wrote about Al's reprint of the Maris book on the coinage of New Jersey in the group's Yahoo email group. I've edited his remarks for publication here.
Several years ago, I had arranged to have Al Hoch as our featured speaker at C4. With all his contributions to numismatics, I thought he'd have much to share and the guys would enjoy listening to him. That Friday afternoon at the convention, Al sought me out and found me. He apologized and told me he was going to have to cancel his talk because of medical issues. I was so disappointed but one's health should come first.
Al Hoch's company, Quarterman Publications, made the best reprints in the hobby. I wish they could have done more. My original Maris is the one Quarterman used to make all the reprints, and it has documentation inside. I was fortunate to purchase it from a friend at an Early American Coppers convention. It seemed a little pricey at the time, but I'm thrilled to have it.
It has a bookplate from the John Crerer Library in Chicago, and a bookplate from Melvin & George Fuld, Baltimore MD. Pasted on top of the Fuld bookplate is a white label that states:
QUARTERMAN PUBLICATIONS, INC.
The "08" is written in by hand. So I assume that the Quarterman reproduction of the Maris NJ book was possibly the 8th in the series?
Ray followed up with an interesting question along the lines of our earlier "You Might be a Bibliophile" discussion.
I don't know if I'm a real bibliophile or not. I have a working library for numismatics, but in that library I do have some rare and collectable books. I have the Quarterman Maris reprint, which would be fine for research, but I also have the original Maris too. Same with Crosby - I have a Quarterman for research but also have an original too. Under these circumstances, does this make me a bibliophile? Has NBS ever defined what a "bibliophile" actually is? I'm definitely not a bibliomaniac, but a bibliophile... This is the stuff I ponder when tired and I should get to bed...
To me, anyone who owns an original Maris is by default a bibliophile. He's certainly a NUMISMATIST. Any collector with enough knowledge of and reverence for hobby history to purchase an original work when a cheaper reprint is available has a true love and appreciation of numismatics.
Thanks also are due to Ray for providing images of various Maris editions for the NBS Bibliography.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
CHARLES DAVIS: REMEMBRANCES OF AL HOCH
THE BOOK BAZARRE
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