E-Sylum Feature Writer Pete Smith has written a new book on U.S. Mint coin bags. Here's an excerpt.
The February 12, 2023, issue of The E-Sylum, published by Wayne Homren, included an article
COLLECTING AND CATALOGING U.S. MINT BAGS. In his comments following the article,
This is the fun and challenge of collecting numismatic ephemera. These artifacts
served a purpose in their time, and most were later discarded after their useful life. The few
that remain are interesting souvenirs and collectibles. Who will be the David Lange of mint
bags? It would be interesting to catalog these and learn more about what exists.
I agreed that it would be interesting to catalog these and learn more about what exists. And so I
began. I wrote
AN ESSAY ON COIN BAGS that was published the following week on February
19. Again, editor Homren had comments.
As I noted last week, coin bags are interesting
souvenirs and collectibles, and a project to photograph and catalog them would be welcome.
Wayne had just told me that I needed to gather photographs so I began to harvest what I could
find on the Internet. A week into the project I realized that my list of bags and file of pictures
needed to be integrated into a book format.
I discovered that eBay had hundreds of listings for Mint bags but most of the photos were, in my
opinion, not good enough to illustrate a book. A recent Heritage sale had about fifty excellent
images I could use. In addition, I set my camera on a tripod and began to photograph items
from my collection.
I knew I could not list and harvest photos of all Mint bags. My efforts would be incomplete and
would only include what I had seen. My goal was to publish what I could and encourage others
to report what they have to fill in the blanks.
About the Author
In 2004 I worked for Minneapolis Gold and Silver in the dealer-to-dealer bullion trading
business. The company bought 90% silver coins from various local sources. The coins came in
used canvas bags and were repackaged in new canvas bags imprinted with the name of our
major client. I was allowed to rummage through the used bags to form a modest collection. I
was generally looking for Mint and Federal Reserve bags. I avoided blank bags, bank bags, coin
dealer bags and lead shot bags.
I attempted to avoid duplication and occasionally upgraded condition. I never bought or sold a
bag. I collected for the joy of collecting without any commercial influence.
To learn where to find a free online copy of the book, see the Newman Numismatic Portal article elsewhere in this issue. Please let us know if you have relevant material not already listed in the book. As its title acknowledges, every initial cataloging effort is by nature incomplete. One has to start somewhere, and once the initial effort is published and provides a baseline, the community can begin adding to that body of knowledge.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
COLLECTING AND CATALOGING U.S. MINT BAGS
AN ESSAY ON COIN BAGS
Wayne Homren, Editor
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