The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 26, Number 38, September 17, 2023, Article 22


OK, one last article about my consignment and I'll shut up already. Here are some additional lots I think are special in one way or another. -Editor

Kolbe-Fanning Sale 168 Lot 271 1858 ANS Constitution and By-Laws 1858 ANS Constitution and By-Laws
Lot 271: American Numismatic Society. CONSTITUTION AND BY-LAWS OF THE AMERICAN NUMISMATIC SOCIETY. ADOPTED APRIL 6TH, 1858. New York: A.J. Townsend, Printer, 1858. 24mo [12.5 by 8 cm], original printed salmon paper covers. 8 pages. Fine. The extremely rare first printing of the ANS constitution, the earliest publication issued by the Society. According to Adelson's The American Numismatic Society, 1858–1958, this first printing of the Constitution of the longest surviving numismatic society in the United States was adopted at the April 6, 1858 meeting of the Society.

He goes on to relate that the "Constitution which had been adopted so quickly at the first regular meeting was duly published with the list of officers and members of the standing committees, but no sooner was this done than proposals were made to revise that document and the By-Laws. At the fifth meeting on July 13, 1858, some modifications were suggested in the wording of the first article of the Constitution which would have removed the emphasis that had been placed on American coinage and medallic productions... At the meeting of September 14, 1858... the new Constitution was adopted."

Indeed, this first printing includes the phrase, "its objects shall be the collection and preservation of the coins and medals struck in this country, with an investigation into their history..." This is the first publication listed by Belden in his Medals and Publications of the American Numismatic Society with an Historical Sketch (1915). The only copy of this rarity sold in the modern era that we recall was in the Armand Champa Library (Davis/Bowers Sale I, lot 34), where the bidders failed to adequately appreciate it—it sold under estimate. Ex Wayne Homren Library.

I bought this out of a literature dealer's fixed price list - I believe it was Walt Weigand. Listed at $15, I couldn't place my order fast enough, and was lucky to get it. In all my years of collecting I haven't seen another. Although I visited the Champa library and attended the sales, I didn't view the lot described.

As noted in the video tour of my library, I recall being with a group of numismatic bibliophiles soon after, probably at an ANA convention, when dealer John Bergman brought up this item, saying something to the effect of, "Some lucky son-of-a-bitch got that before I could." I wish I'd spoken up, because we all would have gotten a good laugh out of it, but I was too shy and kept my mouth shut. But I was indeed one lucky son-of-a-bitch. -Editor

To read the complete lot description, see:
The First American Numismatic Society Publication (

Carothers, Fractional Money

  Kolbe-Fanning Sale 168 Lot 299 Carothers Fractional Money book cover Kolbe-Fanning Sale 168 Lot 299 Carothers Fractional Money plate
Lot 299: Carothers, Neil. FRACTIONAL MONEY: A HISTORY OF THE SMALL COINS AND FRACTIONAL CURRENCY OF THE UNITED STATES. New York: Wiley, 1930. First edition. Small 8vo, original red cloth, gilt; original printed jacket. Frontispiece; xiii, (1), 372 pages. Inscribed and signed by Q. David Bowers to John J. Ford, Jr. Ford's ink stamp on front flyleaf; marginal staining; hinges cracked; frontispiece loose; jacket with minor chipping. Very good or so.

An interesting copy of the scarce original edition of this important reference, derived from the author's 1916 Princeton doctoral dissertation. Seven decades after publication, it remains a storehouse of useful and important numismatic information on U.S. coins and fractional currency. Pete Smith has written that "Much of the original edition was destroyed in a warehouse fire."

This copy was given by Q. David Bowers to John J. Ford, Jr., and is inscribed as such. It is perhaps even more notable for having an intact (if somewhat worn) dust-jacket, which is very rarely encountered. Clain-Stefanelli 13465. Grierson 221: "L'un intérêt et d'une valeur exceptionnels." Sigler 441. Voted as one of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society's "One Hundred Greatest Items of United States Numismatic Literature." Ex Money Tree Sale 24, lot 519; ex Wayne Homren Library.

I was happy to see David highlighted this special volume, which was quadruply attractive to me - connected to two of my numismatic friends, both of the Mt. Rushmore of American numismatics, it's one of my favorite numismatic titles of all time, and to boot has the original dust jacket, which I'd never seen before or since - amazing. A truly rare and important item. -Editor

To read the complete lot description, see:
With the Very Rare Dust Jacket (

Chapman Cents of the Year 1794
Kolbe-Fanning Sale 168 Lot 313 Chapman Cents of 1794 Lot 313: Chapman, S. Hudson. THE UNITED STATES CENTS OF THE YEAR 1794. Second edition, first printing. Philadelphia, 1926. 4to, original blue cloth, gilt; front cover and spine lettered in gilt. 29, (3) pages; 4 collotype plates. Mourning card of Mrs. S. Hudson Chapman, 1128 Spruce Street, laid in, on which has been written, "To replace obsolete 1923 edition of Hudson's Cents of 1794." Very minor wear to binding, else fine. [with] Chapman, S.H. FOUR PHOTOGRAPHIC PLATES DEPICTING 1794 LARGE CENTS. Four 8 by 10.5 inch photographic plates, being the original photographs from which the collotype plates of Chapman's book were prepared. Plates depict 1794 cents on a black background; annotated by hand in pencil. Marginal chips and folds, most not affecting images; one plate with fold affecting two images; marginal tape repairs to one plate, not touching images; S.H. Chapman's ink stamp on verso of Plate 3. Very good. A highly important copy of the revised second edition of this work, from the library of the author, accompanied by the calling card (with black border denoting mourning) of Mrs. S. Hudson Chapman, and—most importantly—the original photographic plates taken for (both editions of) the book. These are clearly the photographs from which the collotype plates in the published volumes were prepared. They are similar to other Chapman photographs, bear his stamp, and are annotated by him in pencil.

  Kolbe-Fanning Sale 168 Lot 313 Chapman Cents of 1794 photo Kolbe-Fanning Sale 168 Lot 313 Chapman Cents of 1794 photo2

This was offered to me by a used and rare book dealer in response to one of my ads. Unusually, it wasn't offered at a fixed price - he asked for my bid. I knew the inserted photos were a nice plus, but had no idea how special they and the book were. Figuring I was bidding against a dealer, I bid the current retail price of the book plus about $50, and that was enough to be successful. I was floored to see what I'd ended up purchasing. -Editor

To read the complete lot description, see:
With the Original Photographs from which the Plates Were Prepared (

Kolbe-Fanning Sale 168 Lot 316 Clapp Cents 1798-1799 book cover Clapp's Large Cents of the Years 1798-1799
Lot 316: Clapp, George H. THE UNITED STATES CENTS OF THE YEARS 1798–1799. Sewickley, 1931. 4to [31 by 24 cm], original black and blue cloth, gilt. 64 pages; 2 fine photographic plates. Signed inscription from the author to Caroline M. Opperman on front flyleaf. Modern photograph of Clapp laid in. Slight wear to spine; near fine. A remarkable presentation copy, with an inscription reading: "To Caroline M. Opperman, whose careful writing and editing greatly helped the production of this book. (signed) Geo. H Clapp." No. 9 of only 126 copies bound in cloth, of an entire edition of 135. A classic work, the photographic plates of which are the finest of any large cent reference.

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  Kolbe-Fanning Sale 168 Lot 316 Clapp Cents 1798-1799 inscription Kolbe-Fanning Sale 168 Lot 316 Clapp Cents 1798-1799 photo plate

This is another special book, but it has extra meaning for me personally because of how I acquired it. It arrived in the mail on the day we buried my father in 1991. It came to me totally out of the blue - I hadn't ordered or paid for it, but it was waiting when we got home from the funeral. I'd earlier written to local descendants of George Clapp asking for information relating to his coin collecting. The recipient shipped the book to me with his complements. "Thanks, Dad," I thought - "you pulled some strings in heaven."

I also feel a strange relationship to Clapp himself, ever since I realized our common century-apart connections to Pittsburgh numismatics. Clapp was born in 1858 and co-founded the Western Pennsylvania Numismatic Society in 1878 as a 20-year old student at what later became the University of Pittsburgh. I was born in 1958 and joined WPNS in 1978 as a 20-year-old Pitt student. Spooky! -Editor

To read the complete lot description, see:
A Signed Presentation Copy (

Small Note Law Conspiracy Trial
Kolbe-Fanning Sale 168 Lot 506 Small Note Law Conspiracy Trial Lot 506: Homren, Wayne [compiler]. BINDER 25: U.S. OBSOLETE CURRENCY. Includes the following: 1) advertisement of Stack's sale of the American Bank Note Company Archives (September 12–15, 1990); 2) The Trial of David P. Hazen, Esq., Absalom Morris, Daniel T. Lawson, and David F. Davis, in the Court of Quarter Sessions of Allegheny County, Penna., on Charges of Conspiracy Arising from Their Instituting Suits for Violations of the 48th and 49th Sections of the Act of April 16, 1850, Commonly Called the Small Note Law reported by J. Heron Foster (1854); [see the lot description for more]

Includes a number of specialized publications, with the 1854 legal proceedings regarding the case pertaining to the Small Bill Law being rare and little-known. Ex Wayne Homren Library.

This pamphlet is a gem. It describes a court battle over a Civil War era scrip issue. The issuer of the scrip lost the case and redeemed and destroyed most of the notes. The only example I'd ever seen was the plate note in Richard Hoober's book on Pennsylvania Obsolete currency. I was later able to purchase that very plate note from fellow collector Ray Rennick. I used the note and this pamphlet as the basis for an article I wrote for the journal of the Western Pennsylvania Historical Society. As a specialist in U.S. Civil War numismatics, this checked every box of desirability as a collector. I was ecstatic when I found and acquired it. -Editor

To read the complete lot description, see:
U.S. Obsolete Currency (

Wayne Homren, Editor

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