Long a favorite of numismatic bibliophiles everywhere, The Numismatic Bookseller has been on hiatus, but it's been brought back in electronic form by booksellers Kolbe & Fanning. Here's the Proem from the March 5, 2015 issue (Number 50, Spring 2015)
The first issue of The Numismatic Bookseller was published in January 1984. The last ink and paper issue, No. 49, was published in 2009. Kolbe & Fanning are extremely pleased to renew publication, albeit in a different form.
Envisioned in 1984 primarily as a vehicle to list and sell books, this new electronic iteration will act a bit more as a newsletter (though the occasional numismatic book may be offered for sale) and we will unabashedly call your attention to upcoming K&F book sales and other activities.
The early 1980s were an exciting time in the field of rare and out-of-print numismatic literature. The literal “I have a dream” moment of Jack Collins led to the formation of a society for numismatic researchers and bibliophiles whose quarterly journal was first published in the summer of 1980. Our June 1981 auction, highlighted by a remarkable consignment from the Essex Institute, set records galore. Two years later, the outstanding Ted Craige library was sold. In the first issue of The Numismatic Bookseller, we announced upcoming 1984 sales, including the June sale of the memorable Lester Merkin library and the third Kolbe/Spink December New York Sale, featuring highlights from the top-tier library formed by Western (Whitman) Publishing Company.
The world in general and the world of books in particular has changed since then. Yet much remains the same. Books are still the key to uncovering the secrets of numismatics and the numbers of new books being published on virtually all aspects of the topic exceed any other period in history. How books are sold certainly has changed. Many brick and mortar rare and out-of-print bookstores have closed their doors, as have new bookstores. The internet has become the great bookstore in the cloud.
Common books can no longer masquerade as “scarce”; “rare” books, conversely, become manifestly so when none are to be found for sale. Though long true, demand, and values, continue to accelerate at this end of the spectrum. In an earlier era, Percy H. Muir, British author, bibliographer, and antiquarian bookseller, described the phenomenon well: “The common books you may pick up at leisure, rarities must be seized whenever they occur, for you may not see them again, for a long time, and by then the price may have risen against you.”
We “call on booklovers everywhere to close ranks, face the invaders,
and give them the works, preferably in elephant folio.”
Kolbe & Fanning are confident that the future of books is bright and fully ascribe to the cri de guerre eloquently expressed by librarian, bibliographer, and author of more than 100 books, Lawrence Clark Powell: “I believe that books—those beautiful blends of form and spirit—have a future fully as glorious as their past; that to disbelieve this is an act of faithlessness, is dangerous, and could lead to the downfall of the kind of librarianship in which the book is central and basic. I know that I am not alone in my belief, my faith, my love, and I call on booklovers everywhere to close ranks, face the invaders, and give them the works, preferably in elephant folio.”
The Table of Contents for this issue includes:
2015 in Brief
K&F, Abe and Rare Book Prices
Join the Numismatic Bibliomania Society
Live Online Bidding
February 28th Online Sale
Benjamin Franklin In Terra Cotta
Reminiscences of a Numismatic Bookseller
To get on the Kolbe & Fanning email list, contact David Fanning at
Wayne Homren, Editor
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promoting numismatic literature. See our web site at coinbooks.org.
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