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Early Numismatic Publication

The coins of the world. Philadelphia: Matthew T. Miller, [1849]

The coins of the world

First edition of one of the earliest American numismatic publications. Matthew T. Miller, described in Philadelphia city directories as an "exchange broker," had published Bicknell's counterfeit detector and bank note list for a decade before issuing this related work.

Described within, and stunningly illustrated on 12 plates printed in gold and silver against a blue background, are 189 world coins. Extensive assay tables detail the bullion content and dollar value of each coin. Although primarily intended for businessmen, this attractively bound and illustrated pocket-size pamphlet also catered to a growing collecting fraternity. Indeed, its format, and the design and colors of the plates, mimic those of the leading British collector's manual of the 1840s: H. N. Humphreys' The coins of England. This copy bears the ownership inscriptions of the Baltimore Equitable Society, a fire insurance firm founded in 1794 and still in business.

Purchased from Michael Brown Rare Books. NEH Challenge Grant Fund.

--David Whitesell, Curator of Books

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C.C. Baldwin "One day I am visited by a collector of ordination sermons; the next, by a collector of 4th of July orations; then comes a collector of geography; another wants religious newspapers; another wants every book printed in New York before 1700. I accommodate myself to all; for I want every thing and collect every thing, and I have more zeal than the whole of them: and in this way I am kept very busy."
~Christopher Columbus Baldwin
 3rd Librarian of AAS