by Ursula Kampmann
translated by Sylvia Karges
August 18, 2016 – There are books which are truly useful because they take a lot of work off the hands of collectors
R. Kevin Paul with Alan Glasser, Contributing Editor. The complete guide to collecting composer coins. 2nd Edition. 70 pages, color illustrations throughout. Published by the author 2016. 21 x 28 cm. Paperback, adhesive binding. ISBN 978-1-329-14840-6. Also available as an ebook ISBN 978-1-365-06891-1. $29.95 + shipping and handling. Order at firstname.lastname@example.org
In order to avoid misunderstandings: This book is not bibliophile. It is not overcrowded with information. It is, no more and no less, a cleanly made list of all modern coins dedicated to composers. And this is great. The author didn’t want to compete with the Wikipedia entries by also giving each composer his or her own detailed biography. On the contrary, the biographical data really only displays basic information: name and dates, nationality, musical epoch, main focus in composing and sometimes the name of a major work. Additionally, for the most part, there is a photo of the composer, often accompanied by one, sometimes more, coin images. In the following, modeled after the volumes of Krause-Mishler, the coins are presented in tabular form: country / KM number / year / denomination / color and material / diameter / weight / fineness / estimated price.
This presents a perfect list for collectors to check off. And the book is lightweight enough to take along to coin fairs in order to verify if the offered coin truly isn’t part of the collection yet. Thereby, the collector can decide whether his or her collection is arranged by composers, by countries or years – the book supports all three of these options.
The introduction offers additional recommendations on how to decide on collecting what. If the goal is to have one coin for every composer, the result would be 131 pieces. If looking for a composer coin from every country, the collection would be complete with 69 pieces. Composer coins in silver will amount to 230 pieces and in gold to 96 specimens.
I like this book because it’s a perfect temptation to start collecting, but without a large amount of effort. Hand out this book to a young aficionado of classical music, add one or two coins of his or her favorite composer and look what will happen. There’s a good chance you have just won over a new collector for the community (plus now you know what to give as birthday presents).
By the way, there is also a website focusing on this topic on which the author keeps his catalog up to date.