Living History Illuminated: Jamie Franki’s Numismatic Art for a Purpose

Living History Illuminated: Jamie Franki’s Numismatic Art for a Purpose

Coin and medal artist Jamie Franki has graciously donated an original piece of art featuring the Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists (PAN) Living American History performers, with the proceeds from the auction benefiting this educational initiative.

The artwork, skillfully crafted by Jamie Franki, portrays familiar faces from major coin shows across the country: Dennis Boggs as Abraham Lincoln, Patrick McBride as Benjamin Franklin, and Curt Radabaugh as George Washington. The auction, held during the PAN Banquet on October 19, 2023, at the LeMont Restaurant, concluded with a winning bid of $1,400 from coin dealer David Siebert of The Coin Collector.

Jamie’s work captures the essence of each historical figure with symbolic elements – Lincoln’s Gettysburg address, Franklin’s electricity experiment, and Washington’s Colonial Battle Flag amid falling Christmas snow from his Delaware crossing. The artist used a combination of client-supplied photos, Photoshop, Prismacolor pencils, and digital enhancements to create this unique piece.

For those interested in supporting the Living American History Program, smaller matted prints are available for $50 each, measuring 8×10 with a 12×14 black beveled mat. All proceeds from these sales will contribute to sustaining and expanding the program.

In addition, we’d like to reflect on a notable moment in numismatic history: at the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money in August 2023, Whitman Publishing introduced Dennis Boggs as President Abraham Lincoln to the numismatic community. Whitman Publishing’s numismatic research director David Crenshaw played a key role in organizing Boggs’ appearance at the WFOM. Crenshaw fondly recalls that the show’s coordinator, Brenda Bishop, remarked that President Lincoln was the hit of the show! Boggs soon became a fixture at various numismatic shows nationwide, evolving into a trio of living history portrayers.

We encourage enthusiasts to consider supporting the Living American History Program by acquiring prints of Jamie Franki’s artwork, available through the PAN website. Your contribution will help maintain and expand this valuable initiative, preserving and celebrating our nation’s history in a unique and engaging manner.

Posted by News Release in Recent
Unveiling America’s Numismatic Treasures: A Journey Through Rarity and History at Heritage’s FUN US Coins Auction

Unveiling America’s Numismatic Treasures: A Journey Through Rarity and History at Heritage’s FUN US Coins Auction

In the world of numismatics, where every coin tells a story, Heritage Auctions is set to unveil a remarkable collection that promises to captivate both collectors and history enthusiasts alike. Among the treasures to be showcased is the much-anticipated appearance of the 1855 Kellogg & Co. Fifty Dollar PR64 Cameo PCGS. CAC, a coin revered as a pinnacle of beauty and scarcity. Described by Fort Worth coins dealer B. Max Mehl as “the most beautiful of all Pioneer gold coins,” this exemplar stands as a testament to a bygone era and is anticipated to steal the spotlight in the upcoming auction scheduled for Jan. 10-14.

With only 14 known examples to exist, none surpassing the grade of the featured coin, its allure lies not just in its aesthetic brilliance but also in its historical significance. Crafted in proof format, these coins likely served as prestigious presentation pieces for esteemed officials and businessmen of the time. The tale surrounding the Kellogg $50 coins, conceived to rival other coinage in circulation during the mid-19th century, unveils a fascinating chapter in American numismatic history.

Executive Vice President at Heritage Auctions, Todd Imhof, sheds light on this era, explaining, “The emergence of the San Francisco Mint in 1854 marked the end of private coinage in California, yet the Mint struggled to meet the burgeoning demand for coins, making these proof examples highly sought after.”

Adding further intrigue to this event is the appearance of the 1792 Half Disme, Judd-7, Pollock-7, R.4, MS62 NGC, one of the earliest official coins of the United States. This coin’s origins trace back to a significant deposit of silver by none other than Thomas Jefferson, a transaction that led to the production of a mere 1,500 of these remarkable early American rarities.

The collection also boasts a stunning array of Morgan dollars, including the 1893-S Morgan Dollar, MS63, and the 1889-CC Dollar MS64 Deep Mirror Prooflike PCGS. CAC, each bearing a tale of economic turmoil and limited minting, resulting in their status as coveted treasures within the Morgan dollar series.

David T. Miller’s collection adds to the allure with coins like the 1893-S Morgan Dollar, a testimony to a tumultuous year in American history, and the 1889-CC Morgan dollar, emblematic of the Carson City Mint’s legacy and scarcity.

The auction will feature treasures from various top collections, including the Bob R. Simpson Collection, Part XI, showcasing rare Half Unions from 1877, among other remarkable pieces.

However, it’s the Old Pioneer Collection that truly embodies the spirit of exploration and entrepreneurship during the early American gold rushes. Highlighted by coins like the 1830 Templeton Reid Quarter Eagle and the 1852 Assay Office Ten Dollar, each coin echoes tales of a time when pioneers sought to transform gold nuggets into private coinage.

Among the standout lots, the 1804 Ten Dollar, Judd-34, Pollock-46, PR64 PCGS, stands as a testament to the enigmatic King of Siam Proof Set, representing a pivotal era in American numismatic history.

The auction promises a journey through time, inviting collectors and enthusiasts to delve into the rare and storied world of American coinage. Each coin, a tangible piece of history, beckons with its unique narrative, sparking intrigue and fascination.

For those eager to explore further or secure their place in this remarkable event, images and information about all lots in the auction can be found at HA.com/1371. Don’t miss the opportunity to own a piece of history and immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of American numismatics at Heritage’s FUN US Coins Auction.

Posted by Matthew S. Mulberry in Auctions, Recent
Echoes of History: Exploring Ancient Artifacts

Echoes of History: Exploring Ancient Artifacts

The third edition of Harlan J. Berk’s 100 Greatest Ancient Coins will debut in December 2023, available from bookstores and hobby shops nationwide, and online (including at Whitman.com). Here, David Hendin, vice president and adjunct curator of the American Numismatic Society, shares his thoughts on the book and its author.

The greatest thing about Harlan Berk’s 100 Greatest Ancient Coins—aside from the coins!—is that even family and friends of collectors will appreciate the fabulous photos of these treasures and Harlan’s concise historic explanations. Collectors fear not, however, since Harlan has also provided current scholarly information to satisfy them as well. He also gives us a book that covers Greek, Roman, and so-called Byzantine coins in a single, impressively entertaining and informative volume.

I can’t think of another person more qualified to have written this popular book than Harlan J. Berk. He is a serious collector and connoisseur of art and paintings. (He has amassed the best-known collection of Chicago Modernists.) Anyone who has even chatted casually with Harlan knows his excitement for the subjects, as well as his expertise. He has also been a leading coin dealer, based in Chicago, for more than fifty years. He maintains an extensive numismatic library at his office and welcomes collectors and scholars. I’m proud to say that we have been friends for fifty years or so.

Harlan is obsessed with beauty and workmanship of coins, which, he notes, “have been collected almost since they were issued. There is evidence that the leaders of some great cities issued wonderful artistic coins made by recognized artists so that future generations would know what heights they reached. . . . Renaissance kings and princes collected coins. . . . Today ancient coins are collected around the globe.”

If you are one of those readers who tend to skip the text and admire the beautiful photos and look up values—don’t even think about it. Harlan’s notable introduction explains a great deal about ancient art and how it evolved; in the third edition of 100 Greatest Ancient Coins he adds a new section on cave paintings. We also get Harlan’s quick guided tour of coinage from the beginning up to the Eastern Roman Empire (the topic of one of his other important books), as well as an overview of collecting, grading, and authentication. Especially illuminating is Harlan’s snapshot of how the values of these coins have evolved from the mid-twentieth century forward. I’ve been reading about ancient coins for more than fifty-five years, and I learned something!

In this third edition, Harlan has paid special attention to updating his text on Tyre shekels, coins with portraits of Cleopatra VII, Athenian owl tetradrachms (a significant summary that updates dating theories and suggests that some later Athens types, once believed to be Athenian in origin, were actually struck in the ancient East), the Horseman staters of Tarentum, Brutus’s Eid Mar coins, Nero’s Port of Ostia sestertius, Titus’s Colosseum sestertius, Constantine IV folles, and the Judaea Capta sestertius. Photos of these coins and others have been upgraded to even more fabulous than in previous editions.

If you are a collector on a budget, you don’t need to worry. If you cannot afford to purchase all 100 of these significant coin types, there are many first-cousins of the “100 Greatest” that can still be purchased for less than $100.

It’s not easy to write about the “best 100” of anything. Harlan presents his numismatic hit parade in the order they were issued, hence #87, the Ionia electrum stater, is listed first. There is also an appendix that lists the coins in their order of “greatness,” as well as an appendix that shows the coins in actual size alongside each other together with dimensions, weight, and page number where the coin is featured.

Even some collectors often pass over words they do not fully understand. Harlan provides a brief but excellent illustrated glossary of terms, locations, and mythological and actual names that enhance the book’s value.

It’s no wonder that the first two editions of this classic book are “out of print.” It is the perfect gift for your cousin, aunt, uncle, mom, dad, sibling, grandpa, or friend who collects ancient coins. In fact, it’s a fun book to read for anyone interested in ancient history.

Coin collectors have a well-known saying: “Buy the book before the coin.” In this case you must have the book, so in this case it is okay to buy it before or after you buy the coin. You will be paging through it for many years to come.

Posted by News Release in Books, Recent
Ron Drzewucki Assumes Presidency at CAC Grading

Ron Drzewucki Assumes Presidency at CAC Grading

A Numismatic Visionary

We are thrilled to announce the latest development at CAC Grading, one that marks a significant milestone in our commitment to setting the highest standards in rare coin authentication and certification. Ron Drzewucki, a distinguished figure in the numismatic world, has been appointed as the new President of CAC Grading, succeeding John Albanese, who continues his role as Chief Executive Officer.

Ron’s journey with CAC Grading has been nothing short of exceptional. As one of the co-founders, he played a pivotal role as Senior Finalizer, overseeing the authentication and grading of over 100,000 coins since our inception. With over 40 years of experience as a professional numismatist and a reputation for being a world-class grader, Ron’s dedication and expertise have been invaluable to our growth and success.

A stalwart in the numismatic community, Ron’s affiliations with esteemed organizations like the American Numismatic Association, the American Numismatic Society, and the Professional Numismatists Guild underscore his deep-rooted commitment to the craft. His extensive background, coupled with his tenure at Numismatic Guaranty Corporation, where his discerning eye for coins was highly regarded, positions him as an exemplary leader for CAC Grading.

“I am honored to take on the role of President at CAC Grading and continue the legacy of transparency and excellence set by John Albanese,” expressed Ron Drzewucki. “My focus remains on upholding the highest standards in grading and fostering the growth of coin enthusiasts, guiding us into an exciting future.”

John Butler, Co-Founder and Finalizer at CAC Grading, commended Ron’s journey, emphasizing his unwavering dedication from his early days in a coin store to this pinnacle in his career. His ascent to the presidency is a testament to his relentless pursuit of excellence, a sentiment echoed by the numismatic community.

With the exceptional leadership of both John Albanese and Ron Drzewucki, we anticipate a robust 2024, building on the momentum and trust garnered by collectors and dealers since our inception.

CAC Grading’s journey, initiated in 2007 with Certified Acceptance Corporation (CAC), has evolved into a symbol of accuracy and reliability in the numismatic realm. In 2022, under the guidance of Albanese and key figures like Drzewucki, CAC Grading emerged as a beacon of consistency, setting new benchmarks in third-party grading and encapsulation services.

We invite you to explore our services and join us in celebrating this exciting new chapter in the world of numismatics. For more information, visit www.CACgrading.com, reach out via email at help@CACgrading.com, or call 888-537-3798. Join us as we continue our commitment to excellence in rare coin authentication and grading.

Posted by News Release in Recent
Rare 1815 B-1 Quarter from ‘Colonel’ Green’s Collection at Heritage’s US Coins Auction

Rare 1815 B-1 Quarter from ‘Colonel’ Green’s Collection at Heritage’s US Coins Auction

In the world of numismatics, there exists a captivating phrase: “history that can fit in your pocket.” This sentiment rings true in the upcoming Heritage’s Dec. 14-17 US Coins Signature® Auction, where a breathtaking array of rare and historically significant coins awaits eager collectors and enthusiasts.

Among the illustrious figures woven into the tapestry of American coinage history are John Reich and Edward Howland Robinson Green. Reich, a German-born designer, dazzled Thomas Jefferson with his medal-making prowess before leaving an indelible mark at the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia. His masterful hand crafted the iconic Capped Bust design, defining American coinage for decades across various denominations, from the large cent to the $5 gold piece cherished by collectors.

One of Reich’s crowning achievements, the exquisite 1815 B-1 Quarter Dollar in its finest-certified state (CACG-Certified MS67), stands as a centerpiece offering. Originating from the esteemed collection of “Colonel” E.H.R. Green, this coin holds a distinguished place in numismatic history. Green, a titan among collectors and a multifaceted personality, was renowned for his vast collection that included the famed “Inverted Jennies” and close ties with President William McKinley.

Todd Imhof, Executive Vice President at Heritage Auctions, emphasized, “This auction underscores the rare coin market’s enduring strength and growth. It features some exceptional individual lots, as well as featured collections that will allow winning bidders prime opportunities to bolster their collections heading into the new year.”

The auction further boasts remarkable pieces such as the exceedingly rare 1864-S Liberty Eagle, XF40 NGC, a testament to the scarcity of S-Mint Ten coins, and the sought-after 1853-D Liberty Half Eagle, MS64+ PCGS. CAC, a prized possession among Southern gold collectors for its distinction as one of the finest certified examples from the Dahlonega Mint.

A stunning highlight is the 1927-S Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle, MS64, a coin steeped in allure and historical significance. Once believed to be rarer than it was, this masterpiece reflects a chapter in numismatic history intertwined with international trade and the aftermath of the Gold Recall of 1933.

Also gracing this auction is the exclusive 1855 Gold Dollar, MS66+, the pinnacle of NGC grading, showcasing the transition in coin design from the Type One to Type Two gold dollars, marking an era of captivating evolution in numismatic craftsmanship.

Delve into these numismatic treasures and explore the stories they hold by visiting HA.com/1367. The auction promises an extraordinary opportunity to acquire these timeless pieces that encapsulate the rich history of American coinage.

Join us in this journey through time, where history finds a home in the palm of your hand.

Posted by News Release in Auctions, Recent
Coin World and Shepherd Expos Management Launch Tampa Show!

Coin World and Shepherd Expos Management Launch Tampa Show!

In a groundbreaking move, Coin World magazine, in collaboration with Shepherd Expos Management, is set to launch the first-ever Great American Coin and Collectibles Show! This momentous event will take place at the renowned Tampa Convention Center in Florida from September 11-14, 2024.

Breaking Tradition for a Modern Approach:
Amos Media Chairman, Rick Amos, shared insights into the decision to host a coin and collectibles show. Inspired by the success of Larry Shepherd in revitalizing the Central States Numismatic Society show, Amos believes it’s time to bring the concept of coin shows into the 21st century.

“Coin shows have not changed much in 50 years, and we need to bring the concept into the 21st century. The ability to sell and buy coins online is a significant part of today’s marketplace, but we believe it is still vitally important to be able to see coins and bank notes in person and to conduct transactions face-to-face, as well as offer in-person educational opportunities,” explained Amos.

A Show Designed for the Future:
Led by veteran numismatist and show planner Larry Shepherd, the event aims to introduce fresh and innovative approaches to cater to a new generation of collectors and dealers. With a focus on in-person interactions, the show plans to offer a large bourse space accommodating nearly 600 dealers’ tables, along with a separate collectors’ annex featuring an additional 60 to 70 tables.

Key Features and Dates:

  • Dealer-to-Dealer Trading Day: September 10, 2024 – An exclusive day for table holders to engage in dealer-to-dealer trading.
  • Extended Security Room Access: Until September 16, 2024 – Providing convenience for dealers and visitors to store valuables while exploring Florida’s attractions.

Strategic Location and Future Plans:
Tampa was strategically chosen due to its proximity to a large concentration of collectors and the acclaimed Tampa Convention Center. Shepherd Expos Management is already gearing up for a semi-annual event, with the first two shows scheduled for September 2024 and March 2025.

Get Ready for the New Age of Coin Shows:
This marks a significant shift in the landscape of coin collecting events. The Great American Coin and Collectibles Show promises a dynamic and forward-thinking experience for all attendees.

For additional information about the show, please visit www.GACC.show. For inquiries about Shepherd Expos Management, contact Larry Shepherd at 719-464-8801 or email at ShepherdExpos@gmail.com.

Stay tuned for further announcements, and mark your calendars for this historic event in the world of numismatics!

Posted by News Release in Recent
CDN Publishing’s Whitman Acquisition Focuses on Digital Expansion and Innovation

CDN Publishing’s Whitman Acquisition Focuses on Digital Expansion and Innovation

CDN Publishing, LLC, the prominent numismatic data company that publishes the wholesale-pricing Greysheet and other resources, is pleased to announce it has acquired Whitman Publishing, the leading firm in numismatic book-publishing. Included in the acquisition are storied Whitman brands including H.E. Harris & Co. (stamps), Cowens (supplies), and the Whitman Coin and Collectibles Expo. The deal was inked at Anderson Press headquarters in Florence, Alabama, on October 31, 2023. Management and staffing of both companies will remain in place, with main offices in Alabama and Virginia.

The acquisition is expected to bring fast growth to Whitman’s expansion in the digital arena. The combined companies will deliver even more data-driven resources to coin and paper-money collectors, dealers, and researchers.

“CDN has established the Monthly Greysheet and CDN Exchange as the industry standards in wholesale pricing and dealer-to-dealer buying, bidding, and selling rare coins and currency,” said president and CEO John Feigenbaum. “Since 2015 we’ve expanded our business in monthly and quarterly publications and other print and online resources. As we continue to grow, it makes perfect sense to move into the world of numismatic book-publishing and there’s no company in that field that compares to Whitman.”

Whitman Publishing president Mary Burleson said, “Anderson Press has nurtured and grown Whitman since 2003, building on the Official Red Book brand and creating hundreds of new books and products with leading authors and experts. We’re proud of the growth our team has encouraged in the collecting community. Now Whitman is in good hands with CDN Publishing, and we foresee continuing to thrive and innovate.”

CDN Publishing, previously branded as Coin Dealer Newsletter, has published Greysheet coin pricing continuously since 1963. Today its products cover colonial, U.S. federal, and world numismatics with print and digital access.

Whitman Publishing is the world’s leading producer of numismatic reference books and supplies to display and store coins and paper money. Whitman is the Official Supplier of the congressionally chartered American Numismatic Association. Feigenbaum and Burleson and their associates will be available to answer questions at the Winter 2023 Whitman Baltimore Coin and Collectibles Expo in November.

Posted by David Crenshaw in Recent
Whitman Publishing’s 15th Edition Modern World Coins Catalog

Whitman Publishing’s 15th Edition Modern World Coins Catalog

Whitman Publishing announces the release of the 15th edition of A Catalog of Modern World Coins, 1850–1964, by R.S. Yeoman, edited by Arthur L. Friedberg. The 544-page book is available nationwide as of October 2023, in bookstores and online.

The revised and edited 15th edition features retail valuations by coin type for 300 nations and states, in up to four grade levels. Editor Arthur Friedberg and his team of experts from around the globe provide an accurate snapshot of the exciting market for more than 11,000 world coins.

The 1st edition of the Catalog of Modern World Coins was published in 1957 (at which time it listed coins from 1850 to 1955). Collectors quickly nicknamed it the “Brown Book,” after its cover color—similar to the “Red Book,” as author R.S. Yeoman’s Guide Book of United States Coins was popularly known.

Modern World Coins is an introductory coin book, a framework for organizing a collection of coins of the world by type or design. The editors have made every effort to illustrate as many coin types as possible. The book contains more than 7,300 actual-size coin photographs to aid in identification.

Coins are listed chronologically by nation, and grouped by metallic content, design, and denomination. Average retail values are shown for each type and denomination, in multiple grades. In addition, a substantial number of rare dates that sell for higher premiums are shown separately, just beneath their respective type-listing charts. Similarly, prices are given for nearly 800 Proof coins and Proof sets.

Modern World Coins is useful for beginner and advanced collectors as a handy source of information to supplement more complex books that list all dates, mints, and varieties. Friedberg, who has edited the book since the 1980s, says, “I have always enjoyed using the Catalog of Modern World Coins. The period of 1850 to 1964 is where you find the greatest concentration of collecting interest for world coins. There is a strong demand for a reasonably priced book that gives collectors all the information they need in a portable format that’s more concise than the larger telephone-book–sized references.”

Dozens of specialist dealers, collectors, researchers, and historians contributed their time and knowledge to make the 15th edition the most comprehensive and accurate to date.

One major upgrade in the 15th edition is the arrangement of the gross weights, finenesses, and net metal contents of every country’s silver and gold coins, 1850 to 1964, in both grams and troy ounces. In past editions these data, compiled in great detail by numismatic researcher Holland Wallace, were gathered in an appendix. In the 15th edition, this information was moved to each country’s catalog listing, for more convenient access. In almost every case these coin weights and finenesses are from official sources such as mint reports and other government publications.

Other major changes in the 15th edition include reorganization of the Canadian provinces, which are now listed under their own names (while cross-referenced under “Canada”); substantial reorganization of the coinage of China; and expansion of the listings for Colombia. Throughout, the typography of the book has been updated for improved readability.

As in prior editions, Modern World Coins includes coverage of 25 German princely states, free cities, and other independent bodies that issued their own coinage, from the Grand Duchy of Anhalt to the Kingdom of Wurttemberg. It also covers the coinage of 56 Indian princely states, from Alwar to Travancore, and 10 Mexican Revolutionary states, from Aguascalientes to Sinaloa. Medals, patterns, and tokens are generally excluded, but bullion issues are included for some of the popular series.

For researchers, the 15th edition includes an appendix of the coinage standards of the Latin (1865–1926) and Scandinavian (1874–1958) Monetary Unions; an alphabetical listing of world coin denominations, from the abbasi of Afghanistan to the Polish zloty; and an index for ease of looking up information.

R.S. Yeoman, the book’s original author, wrote about the appeal of world coins in 1984: “There are dozens of different ways that you can collect foreign coins. You can select gold coins of the world; crown-size coins (approximately U.S. silver-dollar size) from various countries; type coins of a particular country; commemorative coins; a single coin from each country; all types of coins from a single country or group of countries; or coins of a different variety or design—for example, coins with fishes on them, or coins with foreign rulers. As you get into it, you can view and consider many other areas.” He pointed out that most foreign coins “are not collected by date and mintmark, the way American coins are, but rather by type. It is for this reason that the [Yeoman and Krause-Mishler] numbering systems in this book are so useful. This is how most coins have been collected for years.”

“This handy volume is perfect for today’s world-coin hobby,” says Whitman publisher Dennis Tucker. He describes the book as “small enough to easily hold, carry, and read, but packed with useful photos, data, and valuations.”

Posted by News Release in Books, Recent
Doris Kearns Goodwin on Safeguarding History

Doris Kearns Goodwin on Safeguarding History

On October 3, 2023, Whitman Publishing released Safeguarding History, the memoirs of internationally famous artifacts collector and dealer Kenneth W. Rendell. Subtitled Trailblazing Adventures Inside the Worlds of Collecting and Forging History, the 328-page book shares Rendell’s business philosophy as well as his life story, and shows why he’s known as the “Indiana Jones” of the collecting world.

Among coin collectors, Rendell is noted as a founding member of the Rittenhouse Society, a contemporary of Q. David Bowers and Kenneth Bressett. He was a prodigy coin dealer while in his teens in the 1950s, selling colonial coppers to such luminaries as Ambassador R. Henry Norweb, and a contributor to the Red Book at the age of sixteen.

Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin wrote the foreword to Safeguarding History. Here, she shares her thoughts on Kenneth Rendell and his autobiography:

“This eloquent, captivating, and moving memoir takes the reader on the journey of an eleven-year-old boy, Kenneth Rendell, growing up in a poor neighborhood, who, with the sale of a single 1806 half dollar, experiences the magic of collecting and goes on to become the world’s most notable collector, dealer, and appraiser in historical letters, documents, and artifacts.

And what a journey it is! We share his excitement when, at the age of sixteen, he meets a dealer in presidential documents and trades his entire British coin collection for a group of presidential letters. While old coins were great historical artifacts, he fell in love with handwritten letters that provide a window into the hopes and dreams—the very soul—of figures who have shaped the destiny of our country. Collecting became an emotional pursuit as well as an intellectual one.

In an essay on the nature of collectors, the philosopher Walter Benjamin argues that collecting allows children a small corner where they can order a disordered world. For the teenage boy whose father fell into bankruptcy and committed suicide, collecting provided a sanctuary where he could be on his own, free from the pandemonium of his household.

He had found his vocation, the arena in which he felt he was most vitally alive, when, as the philosopher William James suggested, a voice inside speaks and says, ‘This is the real me!’ And how lucky we are to share in his passion, to savor the moments he comes upon breathtaking documents and letters—manuscript pages written by Henry David Thoreau, a George Washington letter discovered in a New Hampshire auction, a Thomas Jefferson letter about the future of slavery. (This letter, which Rendell bought in the early 1970s for $20,000—a princely sum when still in his twenties—and then immediately sold to Malcolm Forbes for $25,000, was eventually sold again in the 1990s after Forbes died for $700,000.)

Over the decades, as Rendell’s collecting interests expand from modern to ancient times, from North America to every continent in the world, we meet a cast of intriguing characters and are privy to an inside look at the complex world of collecting—a world filled with adventures, mysteries, sensational hoaxes, thefts, and even murders.

Self-taught in foreign languages, culture, and history, Rendell becomes an expert in authenticating handwritten materials and documents and is called upon as a special consultant in a number of high-profile cases that read like fast-moving detective stories.

A master storyteller, with keen insight into the motivations of people, Rendell brings the reader into the drama of uncovering the biggest hoaxes in modern literary times—the discovery of sixty volumes of a purported Hitler diary; the dramatic unearthing of a diary by Jack the Ripper, promising to reveal the mind of one of the most notorious serial killers; the sensational Mormon White Salamander letter and the related murders.

We follow Rendell’s painstaking work that revealed the forgeries—his examination of the individual characteristics of handwriting and the known habits of the writer. A uniformity in the writing and the ink used would suggest a diary written in a short period rather than over a number of years. He knew how to date the ink, the paper, the bindings, the use of words not yet in use in colloquial language. In Jack the Ripper’s supposed 1880s diary, the use of the phrase ‘one off,’ which was not in common use until 1925, was a clear warning signal.

Rendell’s role in debunking these multi-million-dollar hoaxes landed him in the front pages of newspapers and magazines. In print and on television, he was dubbed the Indiana Jones of the collecting world.

In each case, other independent experts had authenticated the material, and a great deal of time and money had been spent in publicity and publishing rights. Rendell concluded that publishers had seen only what they wanted to see—beating the competition, fame and fortune.

There are additional compelling stories behind Rendell’s creation of a 10,000-book library for Bill and Melinda Gates, and the building of the most comprehensive World War II collection that follows the war from beginning to end through tens of thousands of documents and artifacts, including Hitler’s writings, Nazi party banners, anti-Semitic broadsides, Resistance newspapers, Churchill’s propaganda posters and manuscripts, a first edition of Anne Frank’s diary, and the surrender documents.

In the end, however, this compelling memoir is the story of a boy who rises above adversity with ambition, a curiosity that allows him to keep learning his entire life, a powerful work ethic, an ability to think outside the box, and, most importantly, a recognition that reputation and character are the true driving forces of success.”


Doris Kearns Goodwin is a historian and presidential biographer, international keynote speaker, and New York Times #1 best-selling author. Her book No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II earned the Pulitzer Prize in history. She is the author of other bestsellers including Wait Till Next Year, The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys (adapted into an award-winning television miniseries), and Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream

Posted by News Release in Books, Recent
Numismatic Rarity Extravaganza: Heritage’s Upcoming Auction Showcases Exceptional Coins from Around the Globe

Numismatic Rarity Extravaganza: Heritage’s Upcoming Auction Showcases Exceptional Coins from Around the Globe

Exquisite Coins from Around the World Await Collectors and Investors

Numismatic enthusiasts and collectors of rare coins are gearing up for an exciting opportunity as Heritage Auctions presents its upcoming World Coins Platinum Session and Signature Auction on November 3-4. This prestigious event promises to showcase a diverse array of exceptional coins from different eras and countries. Among the highlights is a Prooflike near-Gem example of the extremely rare 1894 100 Francs from the coveted Genie series.

The star of the auction, the Republic gold 100 Francs 1894-A MS64 Prooflike NGC, hails from the KJR Collection and belongs to a limited mintage of just 143 pieces. What sets it apart is its Prooflike designation, a distinction earned by only five specimens, including the one offered in this auction, across various grading services. This particular coin is expected to take center stage as collectors vie for the chance to own a piece of numismatic history.

Cris Bierrenbach, Executive Vice President of International Numismatics at Heritage Auctions, expressed his enthusiasm for the event, saying, “This is an auction that is a continuation of clients taking advantage of the exceptionally high-grade coins that are consistently available at Heritage Auctions. This 100 Francs is exceedingly rare and a perfect example of the trophy-level items people are seeking to assume a centerpiece role in elite collections.”

The KJR Collection, which specializes in top-grade 100 Francs from France and Monaco, as well as 100 Soles from Peru, has always valued the historical significance and beauty of these series. The current market is increasingly recognizing the wisdom of this approach.

Among the notable Peruvian lots in the auction is an exceptional rarity: one of just eight examples of a Republic gold 100 Soles 1958 MS65 NGC, Lima mint, KM231, Fr-78. With a mintage of only 101 pieces certified by NGC, the 1958 100 Soles holds a special place in collectors’ hearts. This example, from the VMF Collection, shares the top spot in the census, a remarkable achievement for this coveted coin.

A highlight from the ancient coin section is an extraordinary LYDIAN KINGDOM AV stater from the era of Croesus (561-546 BC). This coin, certified by NGC as Choice AU 5/5 – 5/5, is notable for its historical significance. Croesus is renowned for introducing the world’s first bimetallic standard, replacing electrum with standardized gold and silver coins. This innovation resolved issues arising from inconsistent gold-to-silver ratios, previously prevalent in electrum coinage.

Also featured is a Marc Antony AV aureus, a unique coin that includes Octavia, marking the first lifetime issue featuring a Roman woman. This extraordinary piece comes from the Military mint that traveled with Antony and Octavia in Athens, circa 38 BC.

From the Eardley and Ethel Madsen Collection, a SICILY. Syracuse. Time of Dionysius I AR decadrachm is a numismatic gem. Certified by NGC as (photo-certificate) AU 4/5 – 2/5, Fine Style, it features a racing quadriga driven left by a charioteer, reins in the left hand, kentron in the right. With only two examples cited in Gallatin, this coin represents a rare die combination.

Adding to the rarity quotient is a 1826 Concordiataler, one of the few survivors from a reported mintage of 75 to 200 pieces. This coin is a rare find outside of Europe, featuring an intricate engraving showcasing the symbols of Bern within vertical ellipses framed by peripheral rings.

Russian specialists and collectors will be intrigued by the incredibly rare Silver 2 Para of Moldavia & Wallachia, a scarce emission in silver with only seven auction appearances in the last two decades. This example, one of just two currently certified, is sure to generate significant interest among collectors.

Lastly, a British Mandate Proof 100 Mils 1931 PR63 PCGS adds to the auction’s allure. As the only Proof 100 Mils from 1931 certified by either service, it is a treasure sought after by collectors for its rarity, especially in Proof condition.

Heritage Auctions’ World Coins Platinum Session and Signature Auction promises to be a landmark event for numismatics enthusiasts and collectors seeking unique and exceptional coins. More details and images of all lots in the auction can be found at HA.com/3110. Don’t miss the opportunity to bid on these extraordinary numismatic treasures.

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