Auction Catalogs: Who Uses/Buys Them ?

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by GoldFinger1969, Jan 23, 2021.

  1. GoldFinger1969

    GoldFinger1969 Well-Known Member

    I am into the older catalogs as they contain information on a few series I have interest in -- mostly Saints and Morgans -- which allows me to see commentary above-and-beyond what I see in most of the major books on those coin series.

    I know the modern catalogs sometimes have useful information but it seems that the stuff from the 1970's through the early-2000's has stuff that you don't see elsewhere in books or even on the internet (and if it is on the internet, it's in a gazillion places). For instance, commentary by David Akers.

    I understand that the catalogs are essential for obscure foreign/world coins, but does anybody else buy older catalogs either for the auctions themselves or the information they provide on U.S. coins ?
    MIGuy likes this.
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  3. physics-fan3.14

    physics-fan3.14 You got any more of them.... prooflikes?

    I have bought very few auction catalogs - usually, I'm only interested if it is a super thorough catalog that can serve as a reference for the series. For example, I recently bought John Kraljevic's catalog of the John Adams collection of Comitia American medals:
  4. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    The vast majority of those catalogs don't have much value. As a result, many of them have ended up on landfills. I used to have many of them years ago. They filled up a big spot on my attic when I lived in New England and had a house with an attic. I discarded them all. I kept the important ones like Eliasberg, Norweb and Garret, but the others ... no.

    Heritage is a treasure trove of numismatic information on-line. I think that Stacks' has gotten better in recent years although I don't go there very often.
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  5. GoldFinger1969

    GoldFinger1969 Well-Known Member

    Thanks PF....I just bought a David Akers Numismatics catalog on the Thaine B. Price catalog and also the Heritage Duckor FUN 2012 catalog which both contain commentary that is not in the 1st or 2nd Editions of his 1907-33 Gold book.

    I've actually been cutting-and-pasting 2012 and other commentaries that looked "new" from Heritage or other sites and saving them myself into Word/PDF format. Eventually I realized they had to be coming from somewhere and I hope I tracked down the original source.
  6. GoldFinger1969

    GoldFinger1969 Well-Known Member

    Yup, I bought 1 or 2 clunkers the last few months....I now ASK if it at least has a few pages on coins I am interested in.

    The Price and Duckor catalogs have to have lots of information on the Saints because their commentaries appear in lots of other places.

    I have Eliasberg and Norweb stuff in my WatchLists but haven't pulled the trigger on them. Can't recall about Garret.

    Also bought a coin price list from Max Mehl from the 1950's. :D
  7. Lueds

    Lueds Active Member

    I know a number of collectors of Colonial Copper and Large cents/half cents that get the catalogues as they are a reference to provenance and help track down where certain coins came from
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  8. GoldFinger1969

    GoldFinger1969 Well-Known Member

    Yeah, that's what I kind of thought....that more obscure and niche coins, the catalogs might be not only the best source of information but the ONLY source of information. Especially recent info.
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  9. GoldFinger1969

    GoldFinger1969 Well-Known Member

    Yes, I am in the process of consolidating HA information including additional David Akers commentaries on Saint-Gaudens and when I have something legible and properly formatted and edited, I'll post it here for anybody who wants it.

    I wanted something like his 1907-33 Gold Handbook or Roger Burdette's Saints book in PDF form on my smarpthone so I could call up any particular year/mintmark without lugging the damn things around at shows (my back was killing me last year at FUN carrying around 3 catalogs one day:D). But those aren't options: HA says they don't have it in PDF format and can't find anything on Akers' book for PDF or Kindle-like access.

    Heritage seems to have the most in-depth analyses and the Aker's additional thoughts but I probably will check Stacks and maybe even GC to see if they have something additional that got missed (doubt it) on a particular year or special coin like a super-rare 1920-S or High Relief.
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2021
  10. scottishmoney

    scottishmoney Я люблю черных кошек Supporter

    If a significant collection of a specialty area of collecting comes up they can be a very valuable resource of information depending on the cataloger and the consignor. For me, most auction catalogues are a nuisance. Except one, The Dundee collection of Scottish coins was auctioned in 1976 by Bowers and Rudd. It was the largest collection of Scots coinage in a very long time and has a lot of information about particular varieties especially with Queen Mary's reign.
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  11. GoldFinger1969

    GoldFinger1969 Well-Known Member

    Did you get it at that time or later purchase it online ?
  12. GoldFinger1969

    GoldFinger1969 Well-Known Member

    Also matters how RARE the catalog is.

    I was looking to buy the 1933 Saint Sotheby's catalog years ago, but the prices were too high for what was basically a 1-coin catalog that was 20-30 pages: like $25-$30. There was always 5-10 of them available so I figured I could wait. Eventually got it for like $10-$12 including S&H or so.

    Conversely, I've seen a few other catalogs where there is only 1 offered and who knows if another will pop up in weeks...or months...or years or never. So I usually make offers there and make sure I grab it. To quibble over $10-$15 when I might miss out is not worth it.

    OTOH, I saw some 1987-88 Norweb catalogs that looked great and might even have some useful information for my collecting interests -- but not at $500 for all 3 of them !! :D
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2021
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  13. physics-fan3.14

    physics-fan3.14 You got any more of them.... prooflikes?

    As it turns out, there is a very active but very small community that actually collects auction catalogs. The rare catalogs, or catalogs for famous sales like Eliasberg and Norweb will garner a fairly large premium.

    You might be approaching the catalog as a reference material - but these guys are treating the catalog *as the collectible*

    It's kind of like @Treashunt , who collects Red Books - to the point that he wrote the RedBook about Redbooks.
  14. physics-fan3.14

    physics-fan3.14 You got any more of them.... prooflikes?

    I will also add - if you're looking for a specific catalogue, or if you can't find one and want someone to help you, Kolbe and Fanning is a great source of rare numismatic books or catalogs:

    I've bought from them many times, and have always been very well pleased.
    GoldFinger1969 likes this.
  15. derkerlegand

    derkerlegand Well-Known Member

    I've still got a bunch of Jean Elsen catalogs from over 20 years ago. They're so pretty, I can't throw 'em out! Tried selling a couple of years ago, but no takers, man some folks just can't appreciate great art!
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  16. physics-fan3.14

    physics-fan3.14 You got any more of them.... prooflikes?

    Well, turns out I have more to add: if you're looking for information, but don't want to buy the catalog, check out the Newman Numismatic Portal:

    Literally thousands of auction catalogs from the past 200 years have been scanned and uploaded, all for free.
  17. GoldFinger1969

    GoldFinger1969 Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the heads-up, far what I've gotten from Ebay has been OK for the price, but great to have another source.
  18. GoldFinger1969

    GoldFinger1969 Well-Known Member

    Yeah, Roger mentioned that ATS....I just have to learn how to navigate my way around. :D
  19. GoldFinger1969

    GoldFinger1969 Well-Known Member

    World and ancient coins ?

    Still around ?
  20. derkerlegand

    derkerlegand Well-Known Member

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  21. scottishmoney

    scottishmoney Я люблю черных кошек Supporter

    I was a young kid in 1976, way before I ventured off into Scottish numismatics. I bought it from a book dealer. I have reference books on Scots numismatics back into the 18th century.
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