Paris: Imprimerie de Ad. Lainé et J. Havard, 1861. 12mo, later black half morocco with decorative sides; spine with five raised bands, ruled and lettered in gilt; original printed russet paper covers bound in; all page edges speckled blue. 134, (2) pages. Contemporary notation on from paper cover. Fine. Item #6349
A scarce and important 1861 publication describing American coins, medals and tokens from 1652 to 1858, written to accompany the collection given to the Bibliothèque Impériale (Nationale) in the name of the government and citizens of the United States. Following an interesting historical overview, from colonial issues to pioneer gold, some 381 pieces are described in detail. “Alexandre Vattemare is recognized among American numismatists as one of the fathers of the discipline in the New World, having assembled the first comprehensive collections of American coins, medals, and paper currency, and produced the first comprehensive catalog of American numismatics.” — Alan Stahl, in The Extravagant Ambassador: The True Story of Alexandre Vattemare, the French Ventriloquist Who Changed the World. Vattemare developed the System of International Exchanges, initially aimed at the exchange of duplicate books between libraries, especially government publications, and later extended to include works of art, maps, natural history specimens, coins, medals and other similar objects. He came to America in 1839 and again in 1847, and was granted funds by Congress and by several state legislatures to further his scheme, which met with greater success here than in Europe. Ex Alain Poinsignon Library.