Trade dollar book
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19 posts in this topic

My purpose in asking about a Trade Dollar book here and on other message boards, is to try and nudge collectors into cooperating to produce a really good, thorough guide to the series. This includes background, series history, economic influences, hub and die varieties, chop and other "regulation" markings, and final disposition.

A reasonable approach might be to produce a solid, long-lasting basic volume including necessary identification and measurement standards, plus the best 25 or 30 varieties. (These are the kinds of things that draw attention to the series.) Then prepare a digital catalog of all the varieties as a supplement that can be revised from time-to-time.

Maybe that’s dreaming – to expect collectors to cooperate is almost as hard as getting any two to agree on a “grade.” But I think it is not only possible, but highly advantageous for current and future collectors of Trade Dollars. The series is short, with many die varieties, and the number of specialty collectors is small. These imply that there is only "one shot" at getting it right, and that any book should be designed to last for 50 years.

The other piece that I feel is important is to learn from the mistakes made in the original VanAllen-Mallis books and the latter inundation of microscopic “varieties.” These merely clog the pipeline and confuse potential buyers/collectors.

I’m interested in publishing such a “Collectors’ Guide to Trade Dollars,” but it must be a truly beneficial and cooperative effort.

RWB

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Since the trade dollar series is not widely popular there will be little economic incentive for a commercial concern to publish such a book. Thus, I don't expect to see a Whitman title on the subject as part of the Bower's "Red Book" series of softcover references. It will have to be a labor of love created by one or more series enthusiasts and self-published. Just off hand I cannot name any particular individual who is strongly associated with the collecting and studying of trade dollars. If a quality work is sought that will be an expensive undertaking.

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Mr. Lange is absolutely right -- there is no way to recoup basic printing cost. The market for now and the next generation is too small. It's also not a good fit for the Whitman Guide Book series, much like Seated dollars, 2-cent and 3-cent.

I'm interested in publishing so that the subject is available to collectors - but I am not a specialist in the coins and must rely on current collectors for the expertise. From what I have been shown over the past few months, there appears to be sufficient material, but considerable work would be necessary to improve organization, image quality and other things.

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I am one of those collectors that has little to zero interest in trade dollars, I have one for my type set and that is all I will ever need so I cannot be of any help to you.   I know there are a few individuals on the PCGS forum that are very much into the type and series, given that you are not allowed to participate there (at least not under your usual name) if there is someone there that you want to contact I would be happy to send them a PM on your behalf.

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On 4/26/2022 at 1:13 PM, Coinbuf said:

I am one of those collectors that has little to zero interest in trade dollars, I have one for my type set and that is all I will ever need so I cannot be of any help to you.   I know there are a few individuals on the PCGS forum that are very much into the type and series, given that you are not allowed to participate there (at least not under your usual name) if there is someone there that you want to contact I would be happy to send them a PM on your behalf.

What about trade dollar nut? Not sure if Bruce collects them or not.

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On 4/26/2022 at 10:18 AM, Zebo said:

What about trade dollar nut? Not sure if Bruce collects them or not.

I do believe that TDN was into the trade dollars at one time, but I don't know him at all so I have no idea if that still an area of interest for him or not.   He has basically disappeared from the PCGS forum as have a few others, that forum is becoming a hangout for the microscope loving fantasy error troll types that we see too much of here.

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Posted (edited)

Several years ago, the person mentioned was asked to share some of his "vast ? expertise about Trade dollars with other collectors. The request was refused; possibly too busy, or possibly had nothing useful to say; there was no follow-up.

Edited by RWB
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It is an unfortunate "rule" in the hobby that very, very few participants with deep pockets do anything to encourage publication of improved information. The approximate cost of printing a Trade Dollar book is $15,000 - a considerable sum for most of us -- but hardly more than pocket change or an overnight hotel stay for a number of  collectors. That $15k does not do anything more than print the final product, so there is nothing put toward all the research, writing editing, layout and other necessities.

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On 4/26/2022 at 4:45 PM, RWB said:

It is an unfortunate "rule" in the hobby that very, very few participants with deep pockets do anything to encourage publication of improved information. The approximate cost of printing a Trade Dollar book is $15,000 - a considerable sum for most of us -- but hardly more than pocket change or an overnight hotel stay for a number of  collectors. That $15k does not do anything more than print the final product, so there is nothing put toward all the research, writing editing, layout and other necessities.

I can confirm this from my experience at Red Rose Coin Club. There are perhaps DOZENS of active members who have “important” collections, but they are tight-lipped to a fault - you could even say paranoid of sharing even information. 
 

The two Farran Zerbe awardees is just scratching the surface at that club. One guy has a world class Buffalo collection that is all raw, and another three guys are all Bust Half Nut members with HUNDREDS of die marriages in top notch condition. None of the three have ever been online and don’t even do email. 

Edited by VKurtB
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Most guys are going to want one Trade Dollar for a 19th century type set. I want two - one clean and one with chop marks, hopefully several. 

Edited by VKurtB
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On 4/26/2022 at 6:09 PM, The Neophyte Numismatist said:

I would love to have better resources for Trade Dollars, but I am no expert and do not have a large collection to lend.  Wish I did hm

 

That's an excellent reason for the book to be a long-term, high quality resource. If you ever become interested in the series, there will be something you can go to for answers, and not dealer hype.

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On 4/26/2022 at 12:37 PM, DWLange said:

Since the trade dollar series is not widely popular there will be little economic incentive for a commercial concern to publish such a book. Thus, I don't expect to see a Whitman title on the subject as part of the Bower's "Red Book" series of softcover references. It will have to be a labor of love created by one or more series enthusiasts and self-published. Just off hand I cannot name any particular individual who is strongly associated with the collecting and studying of trade dollars. If a quality work is sought that will be an expensive undertaking.

...ur comments r absolutely correct....additionally, there r several very advanced collectors n collections of trade dollars , down to die pairings n major varieties...most of these individuals r well below the radar n prefer to stay that way...i will contact u in person at the next major show where we both r in attendance n provide u with some avenues to pursue if u so desire, im not attending either the CS or the ANA this year but plan on the fall Whitman show, ill contact u there...

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On 4/26/2022 at 10:50 PM, zadok said:

...ur comments r absolutely correct....additionally, there r several very advanced collectors n collections of trade dollars , down to die pairings n major varieties...most of these individuals r well below the radar n prefer to stay that way...i will contact u in person at the next major show where we both r in attendance n provide u with some avenues to pursue if u so desire, im not attending either the CS or the ANA this year but plan on the fall Whitman show, ill contact u there...

Fall Whitman has the best seafood for sure. ;) 

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On 4/27/2022 at 12:43 AM, VKurtB said:

Fall Whitman has the best seafood for sure. ;) 

...absolutely on the money there...

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There are perhaps DOZENS of active members who have “important” collections, but they are tight-lipped to a fault - you could even say paranoid of sharing even information. 

Some advanced collectors are careful to keep their knowledge to themselves to maintain an edge over other buyers. Before I published my book on coin boards in 2007 I was buying rare examples for $5-10 apiece, because no one knew their rarity. Nowadays, I routinely get outbid by my own customers whenever something good comes up for sale.

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Posted (edited)

If you were to look for specialist in the Trade dollar you would probably need to get in contact with the Liberty Seated Collectors Club.  I know there are, or at least were, a couple of specialists in the group.

Edited by Conder101
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I'm in touch with several Trade Dollar specialists. I've seen samples from them and offered suggestions, including reconstructed pages and images. I've made a couple of rough outlines for my own use. That's where things stand at present.

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