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Rare Money Blog

By Q. David Bowers, Co-Founder

​In numismatic history, Virgil M. Brand (1861-1926) is part of the hobby's DNA. Never has one person assembled such a large and varied collection, and few people have had as much numismatic knowledge. In his office and residence attached to the Brand Brewery on Elston Street in Chicago, it seems that he ate, slept, and dreamed coins. Well, almost. By the time of his passing he had gathered over 300,000 coins. If one rarity was good, multiples were better. As an example, he had six of the ten known 1884 trade dollars!

By Q. David Bowers, Co-Founder

​For my blog this week I am questions from a coin quiz I wrote 25 years ago for Rare Coin Review #107 in 1995. As opposed to asking questions about famous and rare coins, it deals with coins that are quite affordable, but at the same time are numismatically interesting.

By Q. David Bowers, Co-Founder

​The November 1929 issue of The Numismatist began with an article,   “Which Are the Ten Best Coins?” a paper by George A. Pipes. His listing, which he based upon the importance of the coin in the development of coinage, historical or literary associations, an intrinsic beauty in design and workmanship, included the following.

By Q. David Bowers, Co-Founder

​I have always enjoyed trade dollars—one of my favorite series in American numismatics. Coming up in our March auction with the Whitman Coin Expo in Baltimore are the two great rarities in the series—the 1884 and 1885. Per information from John W. Haseltine and Stephen Nagy there were just 10 struck of the former and five of the latter.

By Q. David Bowers, Co-Founder

​I love to read books. At any given time I have two or three in the wings and one at my side. Apart from the subject matter, for me a key to enjoying a book is the writing style of the author. I bought a recently-published history of Boston that, to me, was about as interesting to read as an adding machine tape.

By Q. David Bowers, Co-Founder

​It is difficult to give any general advice about collecting; it is a matter of taste. If one means to become a collector, and not merely a possessor, it is wisest to choose perhaps a somewhat limited field. To collect everything numismatic means to acquire much that does not interest, and therefore one often becomes discouraged. The more acquired the more one finds there is to be gotten, and the farther one seems to be from a constantly receding goal.

By Q. David Bowers, Co-Founder

​In early 1883 there were perhaps 10,000 to 20,000 people who collected coins in a systematic manner. No more than a couple thousand belonged to one or another of the societies. The American Journal of Numismatics was the magazine of record, supplemented by newsletters and auction catalogs.

By Q. David Bowers, Co-Founder

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. In numismatics it has been a very good year not only for Stack’s Bowers Galleries but for the entire hobby. In a nation and world of unrest, numismatics is a quiet harbor—a place of rest to enjoy the lore and lure, the history and tradition, the pleasures of studying and collecting coins, tokens, medals, and paper money. Our dynamic series of auction sessions at the Whitman Expo in Baltimore last month still echo—lots of excitement! 

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