Summer Reading (and the upcoming ANA Show)

25 Jul

Summertime is the perfect time to delve into a little lighter reading as you relax by the pool during your summer vacation. Below are some cool numismatic reads that I’ve enjoyed over the years—they’re a fast read that won’t bog you down! In an upcoming blog, our interns, Emily and Lola, will tell you about their summer reading of numismatically related books; in the meantime, check out my recommendations.

Where can you find us next month? We have a table at the ANA World’s Fair of Money show in Anaheim, CA, from August 9 to 12. It’s a great time to bring your consignments for our next auction in November. Or, just stop by and say hello.

If you’ve got a good read to share, by all means let us know what it is. Until then, here are some of my picks:

One Coin is Never Enough by Michael S. Shutty, Jr. Ph.D.

One Coin Is Never Enough

As the title suggests, coin collecting can become habit forming! Mike Shutty takes you through the sometimes logical, sometimes nutty world of coin collecting. As he says at the beginning, “It should be clear by now that, as coin collectors, we believe in magic! We love our coins and treat them accordingly no matter how irrational it appears to onlookers. The coins in our collections are special. They have stories to tell, and we marvel at their survivorship, rarity and beauty. Through the act of collecting them, we transform the mundane into the marvelous.”


City of Silver by Annamaria Alfieri

City of Silver

The story of the scandal at the Potosi mint in the mid-1600s is well documented and it makes a great story because people love to read about misfortunes of that proportion. It’s also the stuff of legend and conjecture, as in the case of City of Silver, which is a fictional account of the backstory of the Potosi mint scandal. It’s very readable and certainly enjoyable to those who love Potosi coins.


Caliban’s Shore by Stephen Taylor


Calibran's Shore

This is a bit deeper a read because of the extensive research the author conducted to give an authentic portrayal of the shipwreck of the Grosvenor, the finest East Indiaman of its day that was sailing from India when it became shipwrecked off the coast of southeast Africa in 1782. The details of the fate of the 123 surviving passengers (from a crew of 150 total) is harrowing and sad, especially given that only 18 eventually survived. From the privations of losing everything aboard ship to dealings with native Indians inland, it’s a wonder that anyone lived to tell the tale.


Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton

Pirate Latitudes

I almost read this book twice! It’s hard to argue with success, and Michael Crichton knows all about that. This novel, set in the swashbuckling pirate days of Port Royal, Jamaica in the mid-1600s, depicts the Hatfield-and-McCoy relationship between the Spanish and English. The characters and scenery are vivid, and you almost feel like you’re there. It’s hard to put down this book.


There are hundreds if not thousands of interesting books pertaining to maritime history, coins, shipwrecks, and all things pirate, so my selections are but a tip of the very large iceberg. Next month, you’ll hear from our interns about the books that they’ve read!

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