Dr. Thomas Hall's Numismatic Inventory
Hall, Thomas P. Coin and Medal Collection Ledger.
Boston, etc., 1888-1909. Small 4to, original maroon half leather;
rebacked spine with four raised bands, ruled and lettered in gilt;
marbled endpapers reinforced at hinges in black. 408 pages, on most
of which have been neatly recorded in several inks Hall's sizable
coin collection. Binding rubbed; generally near fine.
An Exceptionally Detailed Collection Record
An extraordinary volume, being Dr. Thomas Hall's original manuscript record of most of his famous collection. The ledger belonged to Burdette Johnson in 1946, at which time George H. Clapp wrote to Sydney Noe at the American Numismatic Society suggesting that Johnson might give the volume to the Society, but that, in the meantime, photostating it "may give you all that you need." The ANS had a microfilmed photostat produced as suggested, but Clapp hoped that Johnson would decide to donate the book, "so let us be very nice to Johnson." As it happened, Johnson died within a year of the microfilm being produced and the Hall inventory accompanied the rest of Johnson's library when it was acquired by Eric P. Newman.
The ledger fell from collective numismatic memory until it was brought back to wider attention by Ned Barnsley, writing in the April 1984 issue of the Colonial Newsletter. He wrote:
"In September 1946, The American Numismatic Society borrowed a 408 page manuscript on Early American coins written by Thomas P. Hall, and a photographic copy of it was made on microfilm for use in the Society's library. No record was made of the original owner, and its present whereabouts cannot now be ascertained. This notebook contains accession records and all sorts of miscellanea numismatica concerning Hall's wide collection of Colonials, with one exception ... Connecticut Coppers are not even mentioned in this notebook, because he recorded all of them in another book containing 288 numbered pages."
This tells us what the volume does not contain--the inventory of Connecticut coppers that would have been of greatest personal importance to Barnsley--but leaves us to discuss what it does include. The scope of the collection far surpasses what one might expect. The ledger is over 400 pages long, and very few of those pages are blank. While an exhaustive overview is beyond the scope of an auction description, a glance through these pages shows us Washington medals--forty pages of them, followed by a carefully tabulated chart listing Baker's classification of the medals--followed by other presidential and political medals, Masonic medals, Centennial medals, school medals, Admiral Vernon medals, and so on. The medals continue through page 186 of the ledger, indicating the scope of his medallic holdings (which include yet more Washington material listed after the initial batch). Various tokens and Colonial series follow, with tables listing Hard Times Tokens by Low number, and Massachusetts, Virginia, and Vermont coppers arranged according to Crosby. The New Jersey series is arranged by Maris number, with pages following listing New York and Nova Constellatio pieces, Fugio coppers, William Wood's coinage, the Voce Populi coppers, Talbot, Allum & Lee tokens, Castorland jetons, Chalmers pieces, Continental Currency issues, Maryland silver, Immune/Immunis Columbia pieces, and Sommer Islands coinage. The Massachusetts silver follows.
An important section sees Hall discussing the Fugio pieces in detail. He here gives a more detailed description of what he terms the "Fugio Patterns" before starting in earnest on what he terms his "Fugios Original Classification," an apparently unpublished attribution and classification system for the Fugio coppers of Hall's own devising. This section is followed by more Massachusetts silver, then by a substantial number of listings given over to U.S. patterns. Then, and only then, do the regular U.S. series begin. The large cents are thoroughly described, with many provenances recorded. (This ledger has at times been referred to elsewhere as Hall's "Colonial Encyclopedia," but this is misleading.) The U.S. issues are only described through the dimes, after which Hall returns to the Colonials, including copying out by hand his October 1903 article in the American Journal of Numismatics concerning "A New Rosa Americana Two-Pence," which he signs. Various notes to be integrated into earlier parts of the ledger follow.
It is important to note that Hall treated this as a living document. A quick perusal demonstrates that he revisited entries, adding information to them as he found it, so that it is not at all uncommon for entries to be written in multiple inks. Hall even recorded every time he retrieved various coin trays from his cabinets for inspection. This was a volume that was continually used and updated, revised and amended, by Hall, as he studied and enjoyed his collection. It is a pleasure to spend time with and of exceptional importance to American numismatic history. One of the real gems of the Eric P. Newman library. Estimate $15,000.
Ex: Dr. Thomas P. Hall; Virgil Brand; Armin Brand; Burdette G. Johnson.
Ex: Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society.
Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.
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A powerful and intimidating dealer of the 1960s, backed by important colleagues, was accused of selling fraudulent gold coins and ingots to unsuspecting numismatists. Who would go up against a man like that and, over the course of decades, prove the fraud? Who would expose a widely respected scholar as a thief, then doggedly pursue recovery of coins that the scholar had stolen from an embarrassed numismatic organization, all over the objections of influential collectors who had bought coins with clouded titles? Eric P. Newman would - and did. Reserve your copy today.
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