Boston & Philadelphia: June 1890 to March 1891. Four issues, complete. Tall 8vo, original printed paper covers. 20 + 12 + 12 + 12 pages; a few lithographic illustrations in the first issue. Some staple rust; final issue with chipped corner to cover. Generally near fine. Item #6328
All issued. The first two numbers were published in Boston, the last two in Philadelphia. After the second issue, “New Series” on the front wrapper is dropped from the masthead; with the third issue “Collectors’” becomes “Collector’s” and “Price Current” is moved to the lower half of the cover, revised to read “Coin Price Current.” The drop-title remains “Mason’s Coin Collectors’ Magazine” throughout. Mason’s phoenix-like series of periodicals spanned nearly a quarter century, comprising by his reckoning a total of fourteen volumes. These final two volumes rarely appear for sale (the last one isn’t even listed by Bourne). Though he lived another decade, his last coin auction sale was held in Boston in June 1890. The move to Philadelphia late in the same year apparently presaged his departure from commercial numismatics. In the final March 1891 issue of the magazine he advertises for a “Partner Wanted,” who would “take an indoor position in our store, near the U.S. Mint… the duties of outside coin collecting, in both hemispheres, and absence during the summer months of the present proprietor renders it necessary that an assistant (only as a full partner) is necessary.” The impression of an idle dilettante making grand tours of the Continent sadly appears to be at odds with reality. In Mason’s obituary appearing in the January, 1902 issue of the American Journal of Numismatics, his colleague Lyman Low wrote in closing: “He was a man of energy and upright in all his dealings, and though the latter years of his life were not crowned with the success which human judgment thought he had deserved, he left a large circle of friends who will ever cherish his memory.” John Adams’s paean to the man also bears repeating: “Ebenezer Mason did a great deal to promote numismatics and to push back the borders of its ignorance. His enthusiasm was, commercially speaking, poorly compensated. However, one often senses in his writings that he was speaking to posterity. Perhaps, he realized that many of his contributions would survive and the immortality so envisioned served to soften the hardships of financial failure.”.