An Attractive 1875 Crosby, with the Woodburytype Plate Bound In

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An Attractive 1875 Crosby, with the Woodburytype Plate Bound In
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Crosby, Sylvester S. THE EARLY COINS OF AMERICA; AND THE LAWS GOVERNING THEIR ISSUE. COMPRISING ALSO DESCRIPTIONS OF THE WASHINGTON PIECES, THE ANGLO-AMERICAN TOKENS, MANY PIECES OF UNKNOWN ORIGIN, OF THE SEVENTEENTH AND EIGHTEENTH CENTURIES, AND THE FIRST PATTERNS OF THE UNITED STATES MINT. Boston: Published by the Author, 1875. 4to, later green half morocco, gilt, with marbled sides; spine with five raised bands, ruled and lettered in gilt; marbled endpapers. (2), v, (5), (11)-381, (1) pages; 110 wood engravings in the text; 2 folding heliotype manuscript facsimiles; 10 fine heliotype plates of coins and tokens with original tissue guards; Woodburytype plate of Dr. Maris bound in between pages 282 and 283. Occasional minor discoloration; second manuscript facsimile repaired, as is the verso of Plate 8 (no image affected). A near fine copy in a fine modern binding. An attractive copy of what is arguably the best and certainly the most enduring work on American numismatics ever written. Sylvester Sage Crosby began gathering information for his magnum opus in the late 1860s. Nominally the head of a committee of six appointed by the New England Numismatic and Archæological Society to publish a work on early American coinage, he soon found himself alone in that pursuit. Not only was the research and composition of the work done almost entirely by Crosby, ultimately he also had to publish it. “It is truly the keystone to any library of American coinage.” -- Eric P. Newman. A most interesting addition to the text is the Woodburytype plate compiled and published by Dr. Edward Maris. This handsome plate was first offered in an April 1876 editorial announcement appearing in the American Journal of Numismatics: “Subscribers to the Early Coins of America, can obtain a plate of forty-eight varieties of Connecticut, Vermont and New Jersey coins, which are described but not illustrated in that book. The size of the plate is uniform with those in Mr. Crosby’s work. Price, 50 cents.” Depicting coins from Maris’s notable collection, the plate is useful for establishing pedigrees as well as being an important adjunct to Crosby’s classic. Probably fewer than 100 plates were originally prepared and today it is infrequently encountered. It has been suggested that Maris’s intentions in publishing his plate were less than pure, and that a rivalry existed between Maris and Crosby from which this plate may have been derived as an act by Maris to “show up” Crosby by drawing attention to varieties not included by him. The presence of examples in copies of Crosby in Nova Constellatio bindings commissioned by the author has, however, bought this rivalry into some question, and its presence in the finely bound copy in Crosby’s own library suggests that whatever rivalry may have existed between the two numismatists did not preclude them from an admirable cooperation (see Kolbe & Fanning’s 2011 New York Book Auction, lot 418). State with overprinted coin numbers on Plates IV and V. Coin 15a on Plate VII hand-numbered in pencil, apparently as always. Without the handwritten correction, sometimes seen, to Miss Eliza Susan Quincy’s name in the subscribers’ list on page 381. The binding is very nice, with quality materials (including hand-marbled paper) having been used. Voted No. 2 on the Numismatic Bibliomania Society’s “One Hundred Greatest Items of United States Numismatic Literature.” Attinelli 105. Clain-Stefanelli 12115*. Davis 291. Grierson 218. Sigler 603.