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Book Review: New Jersey State Coppers: History, Description, Collecting

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 Posted 09/17/2021  4:34 pm Show Profile   Check westcoin's eBay Listings Bookmark this topic Add westcoin to your friends list Get a Link to this Message

New Jersey State Coppers. History, Description, Collecting

Authors: Roger Siboni, John L. Howes, and Abel Buell Ish

Published by ANS & C4, New York, 2013

Hardcover large (heavy) format (4to), bound in black cloth with a glossy full color dust jacket.

Published by the American Numismatic Society and the Colonial Coin Collectors Club, 2013,

592 pages

Illustrated in color throughout

On to the review...

This extraordinary standard reference, is the first work to surpass Maris's 1881 work. With a foreword by Michael Hodder. This tome is the definitive reference on the series and is available through various numismatic and literature dealers, though getting harder to find now that it is out of print.

The Numismatic Literary Guild "Book of the Year; Best Specialized Work" honor was awarded to this book about New Jersey colonial coins in 2014. New Jersey State Coppers: History, Description, Collecting by Roger S. Siboni, John L. Howes and A. Buell Ish won the guild's top honor for specialized books.

The book details the fascinating history of the New Jersey copper coinage and examines the coins struck for New Jersey by Thomas Goadsby, Albion Cox, Walter Mould, and Matthias Ogden, as well as imitations created for the collector market in the nineteenth century. New Jersey State Coppers also tells the story of how these coins ultimately became prized pieces in modern coin collections

The New Jersey General Assembly granted authority to strike copper coins beginning on June 1, 1786 and ending in June 1788 to attempt to satisfy public demand for small coins after the revolution but before the new government of the United States could be formed. These coins were struck privately in Morristown, Rahway and Elizabeth, NJ and some were struck in New York as late as 1790.

Attributing these copper coins by mint and die variety has been a passion for numismatists for almost two centuries. This book represents the most current scholarship in the area by three of America's leading numismatic scholars.

Author Roger S. Siboni is a former President of the American Numismatic Society, a museum and a research institute that studies the coins of all periods and cultures.

Jack L. Howes is a noted and published researcher and long time collector.

Abel Buell Ish is also a published author, researcher, Jack and Abel also recently co-authored the book The History and Coinage of Machin's Mill along with Gary Trugden.

The extraordinarily researched and thought out book is the result of collaboration between the American Numismatic Society and the Colonial Coin Collectors Club (C4).

As described by the publishers, "Every known New Jersey die variety is presented in minute detail with lavish enlarged full-color illustrations, condition censuses, as well as commentary on die states and other notable features. New Jersey State Coppers will surely become the primary tool for the study of this coinage and the basis for deepening the understanding and appreciation of its charm as old copper." Lavishly photographed by Neil Rothschild the photos are well produced and translate onto the high quality art paper, allowing the user to easily see the various die varieties as well as the smallest of details.

The full-color, hardcover book is 592 pages and weighs a hefty six and a half pounds, which may be daunting for some. But the quality of the book far surpasses any logistical concerns. As highlighted by, "the size makes the book not one to carry on a long plane ride or curl up with at the beach. Alas, with so much information, what else could have been done? Heavy editing would not have produced a better book, and multiple volume sets can be as unwieldy as a single large volume." Completeness will do that to a book.

The list price of New Jersey State Coppers: History, Description, Collecting is $235.00 (Though it can be found for about half that price if you search around).

Following is an excerpt from the Numismatic Bibliomania Society review by Colonial collector Bruce W. Smith:

I'm not a NJ collector, or I didn't know I was, but I have a few pieces, so I dove right in to the die varieties section (433 pages). First up 6-D. The commentary told me why it fell where it does in the emission sequence. The perceptive authors knew I was puzzled by that. Neil Rothchild's outstanding photographs allowed me to easily assess the die state. For this variety three states were described and illustrated, but other varieties have more. The authors state that they limited most varieties to five.

Having had my fun and checked out my coins (and I regretted not having more to study), it was time to examine the first 102 pages. Here are wealths of information. Material by which any colonial enthusiast will be enriched. The authors describe the contemporary economic and social conditions in which these coins were struck and circulated. There is also a full discussion of the coiners and the mints.

I particularly enjoyed reading about the early collectors of the field. The story of the dispersal of Virgil Brand's collection is amusing and might serve as a cautionary tale. Make sure your non-numismatic heirs are prepared. Although it's not likely anyone could have been prepared to deal with Brand's collection. As with the rest of the book, this section is detailed, carefully annotated, yet thoroughly readable.

Several pages are devoted to the terminology used to describe striking and planchet anomalies and post-strike alterations. I finally understand how planchet cutter marks are left.

Eight pages are devoted to numbers of coins struck and the relative rarity of survivors. The author's methodology is carefully explained with a table giving data for each variety.

Perhaps the most important part of the book for a newcomer is the four pages that are given to suggestions for collecting. Four possible type collections are described before tackling Maris varieties. Let's see, I have a basic date set (one each 1786 - 1788) and an advanced date set isn't too far off. Am I a NJ collector after all?

I purchased my book back in May 2021, through the long time dealer and Colonial expert Jeff Rock of San Diego. I found out he had a only very few volumes left in his inventory, so I jumped on the chance to finally acquire a copy of my own. Jeff puts out a fantastic fixed price list through his company "Rosa Americana, Ltd." featuring mainly New Jersey coppers but also handles other Colonial issues as well the occasional book. You can contact Jeff at ask to be placed on his mailing list and soon you will have a copy of his FPL sent to you. I would also like to note that Jeff is the proud recipient of two NLG awards for his work with the ANS Journal of Early American Numismatics (JEAN).

The book is also usually available through:
Kolbe & Fanning Numismatic Booksellers

Charles Davis Books

I would also recommend having copies of some of the auction catalogs of larger collections of New Jersey coppers to use as additional reference material (Free on the NNP for download or browsing).

Stack's/Bowers Baltimore Sale:

The Gordon Shaw Collection of New Jersey Coppers:

The 1st Annual C4 Convention Sale:

Featuring The John M. Griffee collection

Heritage Auction Galleries, Inc.:

Donald R. Partrick Collection of Extraordinary Colonial Coinage featuring New Jersey Coppers
"Buy the Book Before You Buy the Coin" - Aaron R. Feldman - "And read it" - Me 2013!
ANA Life Member #3288 in good standing since 1982, EAC Member #6202, NBS Member, 2 variety collector.

See my want page:
Edited by westcoin
09/17/2021 4:36 pm
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