Past Sales

See the "Catalogues" tab for our past sales or find earlier catalogues on the Newman Numismatic Portal.

George Kolbe Retires from Bookselling

George Kolbe portrait

George Frederick Kolbe, numismatic bookseller and author, has announced his retirement from the partnership of Kolbe & Fanning Numismatic Booksellers. The firm will continue to operate as Kolbe & Fanning under the ownership of David and Maria Fanning and will remain in their Gahanna, Ohio offices.

Kolbe began his career as a numismatic bookseller in May 1967 with the publication of his first fixed price list, a three-page typewritten compilation sent from Redondo Beach, California, to no more than two dozen potential customers. Subsequent lists grew in sophistication both of content and format, and in 1976 Kolbe (by now in Mission Viejo) held his first auction, a mail- bid sale of 763 lots. Three subsequent mail-bid sales were followed by Kolbe’s first public auction, held in conjunction with the 1979 Convention of International Numismatics in Los Angeles.

To date, George Kolbe has been associated with some 168 auctions conducted under his name or (beginning in 2010) under the Kolbe & Fanning banner. Many of these sale catalogues function as references within the field of numismatic literature. A listing of notable libraries sold over the years would consist of too many names to include here, though the Harry W. Bass, John J. Ford, and Stack Family libraries require particular mention, as do the fifteen New York auctions conducted jointly with Douglas Saville of Spink. During his career, Kolbe also published The Numismatic Bookseller, which variably functioned as a house organ, fixed price list, and mail-bid sale, and founded the Numismatic Bibliomania Society with his friend Jack Collins. In 2012, Kolbe published a bibliography, The Reference Library of a Numismatic Bookseller, based on his personal working library.

David Fanning writes, “When Kolbe & Fanning was established in 2010, it was a great honor for me to join forces with the preeminent numismatic bookseller of our day. As our partnership is ending and our firm prepares to move forward on our own, it is our honor to do so with the Kolbe name firmly attached. We are enormously grateful to George for providing us with the opportunity to go into business with him, and we send our very best wishes with him into his well-earned retirement.”

Kolbe & Fanning Numismatic Booksellers will be holding their next auction on February 17, 2024, when they will be offering highlights from the extraordinary BCD Library on ancient numismatics. The firm’s website will remain at

November 13, 2023

Contact David Fanning to talk to your club

Dr. Fanning has spoken on the book’s topic to the New York Numismatic Club, the Newman Numismatic Portal Symposium, and various ancient coin collecting groups, and is available to give presentations to coin clubs and other organizations via Zoom. Contact to schedule a virtual appearance or for more information.

New Book Ancient Coins in Early American Auctions, 1869–1939 by David F. Fanning released

Kolbe & Fanning Numismatic Booksellers are pleased to announce the publication of a new book by David F. Fanning. Ancient Coins in Early Americans Auctions, 1869–1939 is a well-illustrated bibliography and analysis of American auction catalogues issued before the Second World War that feature photographically printed illustrations of ancient coins.

Photographically illustrated numismatic auction catalogues made their first appearance in the United States in 1869. These plated catalogues have become vital tools in conducting provenance research. However, while many collectors and dealers in the ancient coin field are familiar with classic European auction catalogues, this level of familiarity is rarely extended to older American catalogues.
Ancient Coins in Early American Auctions provides a detailed listing of 96 catalogues, illustrating at least one plate from each of them, and providing historical and biographical context to allow a fuller understanding of the world of ancient coin collecting as it existed in the United States during this period. A statistical analysis of these catalogues follows, together with supplementary information relevant to provenance research. Fanning demonstrates throughout that these early American catalogues have more to offer the student of ancient coins than may be expected.

Read Oliver D. Hoover's review in the American Numismatic Society's ANS Magazine, Issue 2021, No. 1.

Read Christopher McDowell's review in the E-Sylum