Sunday, March 17, 2013
A Time Traveler's Guide to Coin Collecting in the early 1940's
While browsing the collectibles section of our local Half Price Books I came across a small 84 page pamphlet titled the "Illustrated Catalog and Price List No. 17 of Coins, Paper Money and Medals of The United States and Foreign Countries." It is undated but the cover states "Price 25c - For Sale by Norman Shultz Numismatist P. O. Box 746, Salt Lake City, Utah." with the disclaimer: "This Cancels All Previous Lists."
The cover is grey card stock with purple text and features what appear to be watermark illustrations of the obverse and reverse of a 1794 US Dollar, an 1851 Humbert Fifty Dollar Gold Octagonal, and a 1776 Continental Dollar. The back cover reads:
"Wanted U.S. and FOREIGN Gold Coins. I will pay 30 percent over face for any of these in nice condition, $20.00 Gold Pieces, $26.00 each, and others accordingly. I also want other U.S. Coins in nice condition. Pioneer Gold Coins, Colonial Coins, Unc. Lincoln and Indian Head Cents, etc."
There is nothing to indicate who printed the pamphlet so it may have been self-published. There is no date on the pamphlet which makes for a nice, if not too difficult challenge. Norman Shultz offered "Liberty Standing Type Half Dollars" dated 1940 to 1943 for 85 cents each. Under the heading "Washington Centennial Quarters" he offered "1936 P, D or S mint, to 1943, Unc. 60c each." 1943 is also the latest year listed for uncirculated Mercury Dimes which he sold for 25 cents each.
Interestingly, the "Jefferson head" is listed under "Indian Head and Buffalo Type" nickels. The 1939-D cost 35 cents while the "1943, S or P, Part Silver. Unc." were 15 cents each.
The Lincoln Cents section includes a "1909, S mint, with V. D. B., Unc., $3.50; Fine, $2.50; V.G., $2.25. Rare." Again, 1943 is the latest date listed but unlike the part silver Jefferson nickel, no mention is made of the change to steel for the 1943 cents. For that reason, I'll guess that Mr. Shultz published this price list in 1942. It's possibly the catalog a collector would receive by answering this ad in the February, 1942 issue of Popular Mechanics.
The last page in the pamphlet is a full page ad: "Kodachrome Transparencies 35mm - Scenic Views of the West in Full Natural Color - Scenes taken with 35mm Contax Camera....each 50c or 6 for $2.50." Was Norman Shultz a photographer and numismatist or were these sold on consignment for somebody else?
After some quick research on the internet, I found Norman Shultz was not only a well known numismatist but was inducted into the ANA's Numismatic Hall of Fame in 1984. Ed Reiter interviewed Norman Shultz for the New York Times in 1981. He includes portions of that interview in his PCGS article from 1999: "Norman Shultz Longtime Dean of Numismatics". Part 2 of that article is here.
In future Coin Roll blog entries I will examine and describe this fascinating pamphlet. It includes Norman Schwartz's comments on U.S Pattern Coins, Commemorative Coins, California and other "Pioneer Gold Coins." This catalog provides a unique perspective on coin collecting and coin dealing in the western US in the early 1940's.