Back in the mid-1930s, there weren't many reference books for the US commemorative coin series, there was Howland Wood's out-of-date 1922 volume, Commemorative Coinage of the United States,
and that's about it in terms of dedicated volumes. The next noteworthy, series-specific publication would be David Bullowa's The Commemorative Coinage of the United States
which was published in 1938.
Collectors of the time had to make do with dealer price lists, advertisements in hobby publications such as the American Numismatic Association's The Numismatist
magazine and limited sections in the rudimentary guide books of the day.
In the early 1930s, Raymond began publishing the Standard Price List of United States Coins
which listed and illustrated US copper, silver and gold coins of all series. The prices listed were the selling prices of the coins at Scott Stamp and Coin Company, the coin firm for which Raymond served as Manager of the Numismatics Department.
In 1935, Wayte Raymond stepped beyond a simple price list for the commemorative series and published The Commemorative Half Dollars of the United States - An Illustrated Price List.
A separate, multi-page, bound price list dedicated to the US commemorative series was something new for the marketplace. Within its pages, the price list provided photographic images of each coin type along with some basic descriptive information regarding its design; the coin's designer was also listed. At essentially the same time, Raymond added a US commemorative section to his annual Standard Price List
; the SPL had abbreviated content with just the year, coin name and selling price listed.
The Standard Price List
publication was developed alongside the Standard Catalogue of United States coins and Currency,
a hard-back book that was first published in 1933 ("1934 Edition") and continued its annual publication into the 1950s. (It was later (beginning with 1940 edition) retitled to Standard Catalogue of United States coins and Tokens
with an accompanying change in content focus.) The Standard Catalogue
was the leading guide to US coins
at the time, providing year-by-year listings, design descriptions, illustrations, mintage information and value information.
The Standard Catalogue
was the forerunner to The Guide Book of United States Coins
(aka the " Red Book
"); it ceased publication soon after Wayte Raymond's death in 1956; the "1957 Edition" was the last.
Here are a few pages from 1935's Illustrated Price List
to provide a sense of the coverage provided for each commemorative coin. The booklet's coverage begins with the 1892 World's Columbian Exposition half dollar and extends through the 1935 Boone Bicentennial coin and the 1935 Connecticut Tercentenary half dollar. My copy certainly isn't pristine, but it took me some time to find one so I am content with it (but always on the look out for a nicer example!).
As you review the simple listings of the Illustrated Price List
, keep in mind the time of its publication. The US commemorative series had not yet exploded in popularity among collectors and coin references, in general, were no where near as comprehensive as today's publications. Wayte Raymond's Illustrated Price List for US Commemorative Half Dollars - Front CoverWayte Raymond's Illustrated Price List for US Commemorative Half Dollars - First Page of Coin ListingsWayte Raymond's Illustrated Price List[/i] for US Commemorative Half Dollars - Last Page of Coin Listings