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Coin Stories Redux

coins-cover-eFour years ago, I published my full-color coin collecting memoir at at time when I was unable to actively participate in the hobby for financial reasons.  Since then, I have retired and am even less able to afford coins, but I found a way to stay active  – by “cherrypicking ebay” and writing books on numismatic subjects (see my recent blog posts). As a result, my memoir (Coin Stories) needed an update.

The revised version has 30 more pages and about a dozen new photographs. Unfortunately, this expansion almost doubled the price I have to charge – from $15.95 to $27.95. Color is nice but it doesn’t come cheap! However, I have also published a new ebook version, which is much more affordable at $2.99.

This book is a self-indulgence, but I believe it will be of interest to other collectors because it shows what amazing experiences and acquisitions are available to the collector on a very tight budget when she or he is willing to think outside of the box and look in places other collectors might not be looking.


Ancient Animals/Ancient Coins

cover-animal-coins-blogAnimals were perceived quite differently in the ancient Greco-Roman world than is usual in the modern West. They were not considered fundamentally different from  human beings, possessing immortal souls. Humans and gods were often transformed into animals and vice versa in legend and mythology. There was a widespread belief in reincarnation, and the followers of men like Pythagoras and Apollonius of Tyana refrained from eating meat, partly because they believed that animals could be the reincarnations of ancestors or gods in animal form.

Partly because of this veneration and respect, as well as because of the close association the ancients had with animals, as food, transportation, entertainment, and a wide variety of household pets, their coinages featured sensitive and realistic portrayals of many different types. This is in contrast with most modern coinages, where few animals besides eagles and lions appear on the money issued for commercial purposes.

Ancient Animals and Their Coins presents a discussion of the place animals occupied in the ancient Greco-Roman world as well as a portfolio of 200 coins, illustrated with enlarged black and white photographs and full attributions.

Irish Hammered Pennies – Take Five!

5th-blogcoverThe fifth edition of my guide to the Irish hammered pennies of the English Kings Edward IV, Edward V, Richard III, and Henry VII has just been published. I consider the understanding of this series to have really come of age with this edition, thanks largely to the brilliant work of Mr. Oisín MacConamhna. His findings, published in the current edition of the British Numismatic Journal, have used the existing evidence, including information in previous editions of my book, to construct a detailed chronology of the series, attributing specific issues to specific moneyers with a high degree of certainty. This is ground-breaking work, and I am honored to have been able to contribute to it.

The new edition also unveils a previously unreported issue of Richard III and a new Suns and Roses coinage of Edward V, the latter based on Mr. MacConamhna’s research.  This Irish medieval coinage has always been problematic. Now it is much better understood and can be a powerful tool for archeologists and historians and a much more rational and attractive series for collectors.

The ‘Archaic Smile’ on Coins

cover-smile-blogWell, I wasn’t sure if new book ideas would join me in retirement, but now one has. I’ve long been interested in the so-called “archaic smile” of ancient Greek art. It figured prominently in my novel Bulla Felix: The Roman Robin Hood.  Now I’ve taken a closer look at “the smile” and the coins on which it appears.

My new book, entitled “The ‘Archaic Smile’ and Greek Coins”, presents the historical and cultural background and possible significance of the famous smile. It includes a fully annotated catalog of 84 spectacular coin types displaying “the smile,” maps showing the distribution of mints, and a basic chronology of the Archaic Period. There are more than 100 illustrations, including enlarged photographs of all coin specimens.

My Last Book?

auto-blogMy 65th birthday is next March and I’ve run out of book ideas. I plan to retire soon and may not be able to afford my book publishing software subscription or maybe even high speed internet.  So, I decided to write my literary autobiography now. In addition to reflections on most of my published works, Auto-BOOKS-ography includes some background about my life and influences.

Many of the chapters in this book are expanded versions of my blog entries here, but there is a lot of new material and I thought it would be nice to have everything in one place – for me to reminisce and for anyone who is interested to review my body of work. Available as a Kindle book and full-color paperback..

Irish Pennies – Fourth Edition!

irish-4Once again, I have published a new edition of my guide to the hammered pennies minted under the English kings of 15th century Ireland sooner than expected. As with the third edition, this was prompted by the tentative discovery of a new coinage. This time, it is an unrecorded early portrait coinage of Henry VII minted soon after the death of Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 using crown and portrait punches that had been used for both Edward V and Richard himself. This proposed coinage seems to have been extremely short-lived as only two examples bearing Henry’s name are known to me.

Seems like a good opportunity to thank everyone who has contributed ideas, new discoveries, and words of encouragement, as well as those dealers and others who have chosen to cite my work in their coin attributions. I have noticed a great increase in interest in these coins since the first edition was published ten years ago, as well as a significant increase in prices. Few medieval coinages offer as much variety of types and opportunities for new discoveries as the Anglo-Irish pennies of Edward IV, Edward V, Richard III, and Henry VII.

Animal Lives Matter

OBITS-cover3Are human lives more “important”, valuable, or fulfilling than animal lives?  Are animals less conscious or aware than humans? I don’t think so. I don’t see how anyone who has really gotten close to an animal and seen things from his or her perspective can believe that.

But how do we measure the worth and value of an animal life? It occurred to me that a crude method might be the same one we apply (inadequately) to human lives – the obituary.  Rather than generalize about animal behavior and experience, why not consider the life stories of individual animals?

So here it is: a collection of fact-based obituaries for thirty animals of various kinds, with portrait drawings for most.