Numismatics and the Fortsas Library Sale of 1840 – Gary Oddie

Few library sales catalogues have generated as much interest at the time or subsequently as that printed for the sale of the library of Mr le Comte J.-N.-A. de Fortsas on the 10 August 1840. The auction report appeared in a local newspaper, describing the strong bidding, along with some of the prices realised and names of the buyers. Original copies of the catalogue were selling at a significant premium shortly after the date of the sale and it has been reprinted and translated several times. Chapters of books have also been written describing the build-up to the sale, the day of the sale and its aftermath. This note will describe details of the sale and then three numismatic and bibliophilic connections that came to light whilst looking into the related literature, though all is not as it initially appears.

Harry Manville and BNJ and NC Offprints – Hugh Pagan

The present note explains the treatment of offprints in the late Harry Manville’s Numismatic Guide to British and Irish Printed Books 1600-2004;  points out the difference between offprints that are repaginated and offprints which are simply bound from original printed sheets; identifies the point in time when the change from one type of offprint to the other was respectively made for BNJ and for NC; and makes some further observations about the utility of offprints and the number likely to have been printed of any given offprint of an article published in the major numismatic periodicals.

Britain’s Deplorable Coinage – Not Fit For Purpose – Graham Birch.

The long term effects of inflation have left us with a debased coinage that is overdue for reform.  Our highest denomination circulation coin – the £2 piece – is no longer even capable of buying a copy of the Sunday Times or a Starbucks coffee.  Lower denominations are fast becoming functionally useless.  Rishi Sunak’s COVID-19 stimulus programme represents money printing on an unprecedented scale and this heaps further inflationary pressure into the system.  Contactless payments are on the rise and without some drastic action coin use may become obsolete.  What should the Royal Mint do?  Perhaps go back to basics rather than deluging us with yet more “collectible” and “commemorative” offerings.