July 30, 2008

HSK auction planned for August 30

Michael Weingarten just sent notice that Hanseatisches Sammlerkontor für Historische Wertpapiere (HSK) will holds its 26th auction in Hamburg, Germany on August 30.

As always, certificates from North America are well represented. Of the 1,466 lots offered, 170 lots are from American companies. 92 lots are railroad certificates.

To make it easy on English speakers, all HSK lots are described in both German and English. Every lot is illustrated and available online at http://www.hsk-auction.com/

July 26, 2008

LaBarre at ANA show

George LaBarre is going to have two corner spaces at the ANA's World's Fair of Money in Baltimore, July 30 to August 3. George tells me he is going to have a huge selection of paper, including stocks and bonds, paper money, autographs, presidential memorabilia and so forth.

Look for George at adjacent spaces 853 and 952. The ANA convention this year will be at the Baltimore Convention Center, One West Pratt Street. Hours are 10 am to 7 pm.

If you plan to attend, then I strongly suggest you make your appearance on Wednesday or Thursday. Saturdays are always terribly crowded.

July 14, 2008

More ABN plates offered in latest Stack's sale

Stack's will offer the next batch of 148 American Bank Note Company plates in its upcoming Samuel J. Bernhard sale at ANA's World's Fair of Paper Money in Baltimore. The sale will take place July 27 and 28.

The plates will appear in lots 4001 through 4147. This time, the vast majority of plates are related to paper money with only two plates directly related to railroad certificates.

Lot 4027 (starting price $60) is a cylindrical die of the main vignette and masthead portion of many popular certificates of the Chicago Rock Island & Pacific Railway Co. This die shows the company name and the vignette of a 4-4-0 locomotive facing l-r.

Lot 4038 (starting price $120) is a plate of a full stock certificate of the Morris & Essex Rail Road Co (MOR-735a-S-50). Of all the plates offered in all the sales so far, only a handful have represented full certificates. This is a very rare opportunity to acquire a full metal printing plate of a railroad stock certificate.

You may view and bid on all the lots online at Stack's web site. Contact Stack's at 800-566-2580 for a copy of the beautiful full color catalog.

Before bidding, I seriously recommend researching past sales prices for plates that have appeared in past sales. (I have a full listing of past Stack's and ANR sales that featured American Bank Note Company plates on my Coxrail site.) Fortunately, all those past sales and prices realized are archived on the Stack's site.

July 06, 2008

New German glossary on my web site

Translation software is constantly getting better, but it is still a long way from perfection. This is especially true if you want to translate descriptions of U.S. certificates you find in German auctions.

I like the translations I get using Google Translate. There seems to be a moderately good sensitivity to context. In other words, it translates by considering surrounding words, instead of merely offering dictionary definitions.

I recently compiled a glossary of German words I most frequently see in certificate descriptions. I also added hints for improving your translation results. (German compound words often befuddle the best translation software.)

Why am I telling you about German auctions?

Because there are certain U.S. certificates that ONLY appear in German auctions.

You need to know that if you bid, you will compete with European collectors who typically bid more freely for rarities than Americans. And if you win, you WILL pay very serious premiums because the dollar has slid so much against the Euro. Nonetheless, the major German language houses speak excellent English and will help you bid if, like me, you do not speak German.

Interview with Ephemera

You may read my recent interview with Marty Weil who has a huge Ephemera blog. He offers excellent coverage of a wide range of subjects. For those of you who collect other kinds of paper, Ephemera is a great place to start.

July 03, 2008

Gene Hessler wins prestigious Farran Zerbe Memorial Award for Distinguished Service

The latest issue (July 2008) of the Numismatist has a great article about Gene Hessler and his winning the American Numismatic Association's highest honor. The honor is especially hightened by the fact that the recipient has worked tirelessly promoting paper money collecting in a hobby dominated almost entirely by collectors of metal coins.

From my earliest days collecting currency, Hessler has been THE towering force in the paper hobby. His works include:
  • U.S. Essay, Proof and Specimen Notes
  • An Illustrated History of U.S. Loans
  • Comprehensive Catalog of U.S. Paper Money
  • The Engraver's Line
  • The International Engraver's Line
  • Buy and Sell Guide to U.S. Coins
  • Buy and Sell Guide to U.S. Paper Money
  • Collecting Large Size U.S. Paper Money
  • Collecting U.S. Obsolete Currency
In addition, Hessler's articles have appeared constantly in numismatic periodicals including Paper Money, Bank Note Reporter and the Numismatist.

His stack of awards keeps growing and you have to wonder how he possibly finds time for anything else. Never mind that he is a superb musician who's worked with the likes of Woody Herman and Buddy Rich and played in the orchestra pits of Broadway! He has yet another book coming out, a memoir of his music career titled, Hey Mr. Horn Blower."

I mean really! Does this guy sleep???

The announcement of the award appears in a nicely-done article in the Numismatist by Fred Schwan. (Fred is the guy who took the chance and published the first edition of my catalog.) You may read the article in its entirety online at http://thenumismatist.idigitaledition.com/. The article starts on page 50. Pay special attention to the 1974 picture of Hessler and NBC's critic Gene Shalit on page 53. If that picture doesn't convince you that Gene Hessler is a musician, I don't know what it will take.

Please note that Hessler's book, The Engraver's Line, is focused fully on the engravers and companies of the security printing industry that created paper money, stamps and stocks and bonds. If you don't already have the book, you really owe it to yourself to put a copy on your bookshelf. You can buy the book from Amazon, numismatic book dealers, and from me at Papermental.com.

I hope that every one of you will join me in extending congratulations, good will and appreciation to Gene Hessler, a true giant of the hobby. All you have to do is add a comment below and I will make sure that Gene gets the message.