coinfodder's Blog

16 Jun 2021

BOOK REVIEW- The Early Coins of America- Sylvester S. Crosby

Library | coinfodder

Well folks, lets head to the dark ages! At least, of Numismatology. Yes, we are doing a book from 1875.

Well with my hands, I would break a book. The nice thing is that I picked up a reprint from 1985 at the library.

Without further ado...

As the title states, this is a book about the Early Coins of America. And it is a total yawn to read. Well, you most likely wouldn't fall asleep, due to the fact you would need all of your brain power to decipher some of the 1800's English. And pictures- next to non-existent. There are pictures, and the reprint quality (or 1800's photo) is blurry at best. Most, unless Crosby provided a picture, you would be forced to visualize the coin in your head, something that is not easy to do.

Most of the book is a ramble of the history. The book spends a lot of time discussing the laws and the creation of these coins. The book spends an unbelievable amount of pages of the Massachusetts copper section talking about the "Memorial to Mr. Seth" and reprinting the words of a bill that would authorize copper.

Once Mr. Crosby begins discussing coins, however, is where he shows his genius of imagery, describing coins in a way that could replace seeing a picture of the coin itself. Here is a sample (Massachusetts 1788 Indian Cent)

"OBVERSE- Device: An Indian standing, facing left, holding in his right hand a bow, and in his left, an arrow; between the top of the bow and his head, is a mullet. LEGEND: COMMONWEALTH

REVERSE: An eagle, displayed, on his breast a shield argent, six pales gules, a chief azure; on the chief, the word CENT;..."

Well, you get the idea. The description is pretty good. This helped him cement himself as one of the premier numismatists of the day. This skill was vital back in the day, where now, images eliminate the need for an in-depth description.

Also included- charts GALORE. They are extremely meticulous. They are charts, describing the obverse, and where designs are and where “One Ray of Mullet Points”. Only a man like Crosby, lacking photographs, would need to do stuff like that.

For the pattern coin lovers, there is plenty. There are line drawings, and many chapters devoted on the topic. Long descriptions, again.

My final take: the book is great. Mostly for reading. The book is, umm, not the greatest for reference. For that, pay a little for Whitman’s guide to Early Coins. Lovers of old coin books, however, will love the old style of writing. I love this book. This is a good book to sit down with.

Please ask Numimaster (Preston) for link. I have been providing the editing Link.

Link to TheNumisMaster's website and Centsearchers Newsletter. On his behalf, I am asking for subscribers. It is completely free. -www.numismastery.weebly.com

Guess the Song Lyrics: Last Time:Jump: Van Halen

A long, long time ago
I can still remember how that music
Used to make me smile
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make those people dance
And maybe they'd be happy for a while

But February made me shiver
With every paper I'd deliver
Bad news on the doorstep
I couldn't take one more step
I can't remember if I cried
When I read about his widowed bride
Something touched me deep inside
The day the music died



Level 5

Looks like a good read.

I. R. Bama

Level 5

Thanks for a book review of something more of interest to the advanced collector! I'm into all that history surrounding coins too


Level 7

Thanks Kepi. It was Don Mclean. He wrote it about the plane crash in 1959 to remember the great Buddy Holly and two other stars going to there next concert. That's the day the music died. I don't buy books anymore. I'm done I bring them to the library. I beat all of you I messaged it to him when the blog went up!!!


Level 5

Yes Mike won today


Level 6

Kepi is right. Interesting take on the book

Long Beard

Level 5

Kepi beat me to it....a true classic! As to the book, wow. I often think of adding books from around that time period, only have not thus far. This one is now on my list. Thanks!


Level 6

Now this is a honest book report. I would have a huge problem reading that book. Thanks for the heads up on it. 1800's are a tough read for sure. Thanks.


Level 6

"American Pie" by Don McLean ; ) Nice book review! Thanks for sharing.

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