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The E-Sylum (10/6/2013)

Book Content

With permission, here's an excerpt from article from the October issue of the E-Gobrecht (the Liberty Seated Collectors Club’s electronic newsletter) by Len Augsburger. In it he discusses the volume, variety and velocity of numismatic information flowing through collector hands, and how with the help of fellow researchers, great gems of information can be found. -Editor

A good amount of numismatic information travels through my inbox. It all starts with the U.S. mail, with a wide array of coin club journals, auction catalogs, book purchases, and the like coming in almost daily.

Beyond the snail mail, there is virtually unlimited information coming in over the Internet.

All of this can be overwhelming, and there is no way for one person to get through it all. This is where the network comes in. Three eyes are better than two, and three hundred are better still. I have always favored collaboration over competition, and unless you are collecting finest knowns (that game has its own set of rules), you may be missing out on the collecting experience if you aren't plugged into like-minded numismatists. "Numismatics is the magnetism that pulls needles of haystacks" is how Eric Newman put it, and as we all pull together, the magnet gets stronger.

Peale's Philadelphia Museum Pass Token No. 1 obverse Peale's Philadelphia Museum Pass Token No. 1 reverse

Last month, I mentioned an ANA purchase - pictured here - this is a token engraved by Christian Gobrecht, used as a pass to Peale's Museum in Philadelphia in the 1820s. This particular piece is copper, gilt in gold. As can plainly be seen, it is numbered "#1," numbered examples are known to the extent of about fifty, and are thought to have been assigned to particular individuals. Named examples are also known, with the recipient's name engraved within the wreath, in place of a specific number. I showed the piece around at the ANA to a number of collectors who take interest in such things.

Fast forward a few weeks. My long time collaborator, Joel Orosz, while looking for something else, stumbled upon the following in an 1859 Edward Cogan auction catalog:

"Lot 881 Philadelphia Museum No. 1, gilt, size 20."

And with that, we now have a provenance for this piece. Cogan was selling the Levick collection, which is even better as Levick was not some faceless 19th century numismatist, but instead well known as a collector and researcher of large cents. It is highly unlikely I would have found this information on my own, but with multiple researchers aware of my interest in Gobrechtiana, the odds get better.

Naturally, I had to share some smack with my auction agent, John Kraljevich, who commented "This is awesome news. I hereby revoke title and demand Len sell it back to me at a large profit!" John may have to wait awhile for that. In the meantime let's keep working the books and sharing information as opportunity presents.

Many thanks to Len for also plugging The E-Sylum in his article: "if you haven't subscribed, stop what you are doing right now and take care of this." -Editor

For more information on the Liberty Seated Collectors Club, see:

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