“It takes a village to raise a child,” the old saying goes, and the same could be said about creating a good numismatic book. This brings to mind the most prolific numismatic writer of all time, Q. David Bowers. One of Bowers’s not-so-secret ingredients of success is an impressive network of helpful collaborators. His long career as an author has benefited from other researchers sharing their findings and bouncing ideas around (of course, he always returns the favor). This flow of information is good for everyone involved, not to mention the hobby community as a whole.
When you’re writing a manuscript for a numismatic book, don’t try to go it alone—look for opportunities to collaborate. And while you do, keep track of everyone who helps you along the way. You’ll want to thank them in your book’s credits and acknowledgments.
A credit is public indication of a source of information, ideas, or other content. (This can include scholarly footnotes/endnotes and citations; broad crediting for general inspiration, numerous acts of help, and the like; or credit for specific content.)
An acknowledgment is an expression of gratitude.
Here are a few types of people and organizations you should thank in your numismatic book. Compile a list or spreadsheet as you work. Creating a manuscript can take months or years, and it’s easy to forget or lose track of contributors if you don’t write them down.
Helpful research collaborators. Everyone who answers (or asks!) questions, follows up on leads, shares knowledge, or otherwise aids you in gathering and processing information.
Assisting organizations. Libraries, museums, archives, history centers, foundations, educational nonprofits, and similar sources. You can thank both the organization and any particularly helpful staff or officers. Often a communications department or copyright office will provide specific wording for certain kinds of credit (e.g., a museum might want you to list archive or collection numbers, donor names, or other source information).
Licensors and others who require credit. Unless your book’s images come completely from your own photography and/or the public domain, you’ll need to license or otherwise get permission for illustrations. Permission might be granted in exchange for credit in the book, or it might also require payment. Often it will require specific wording (e.g., “Image courtesy of the Town of Schroeppel Historical Society Museum”) spelled out in a contract or permission letter. Keep especially careful track of such requirements as you go along.
Early readers and editors. Anyone who takes the time to read, critique, and offer feedback on drafts and revisions of your work is doing you a great service. Be sure to thank them publicly!
Personal inspirations. This can include a formal dedication to a loved one or a colleague or mentor, or broader acknowledgment of the help, sacrifices, or other inspiration provided by individuals or groups.
Door-openers. This might seem like a “kitchen sink” approach, but it’s good form to thank those who don’t necessarily roll up their sleeves and dig the trenches, but who put you in contact, grant permission or entry, smooth the way, grease the wheels, open doors, write letters of recommendation or reference, make introductions, and otherwise share their own connections and access, either personal or professional. It might be tempting to think, “Well, that person had to say ‘yes’ to my request; it’s their job”—but ask yourself, “Could they just as easily and defensibly have delayed or ignored me, or simply said ‘no’?” It doesn’t cost you anything to acknowledge professional courtesies.
A Case Study: Thanks in American Gold and Silver
Here are the credits and acknowledgments I compiled for my book American Gold and Silver: U.S. Mint Collector and Investor Coins and Medals, Bicentennial to Date.
First I noted that “A book of this scope doesn’t happen overnight and it can’t make the long journey from early concepts to press without the help of many people and organizations. In alphabetical order I’d like to gratefully thank the following—and apologize for the oversight if anyone was accidentally left out.”
I then credited and acknowledged everyone who helped me over the course of several years it took to create the book.
At the American Numismatic Association, Barbara Gregory and Jerri C. Raitz (Editor-in-Chief and Senior Editor of The Numismatist, monthly magazine of the ANA), along with Rob Kelley (ANA Museum Specialist and Photography Director), helped with photograph research and provided historical images, while Susan McMillan, Education Project Manager, coordinated ANA presentations that allowed me to meet with other collectors and researchers.
The Honorable Stephen T. Ayers, Architect of the U.S. Capitol, assisted with historical images. Allegra K. Boverman provided photographs of White Mountain National Forest. Coin dealer Andrew Bowers shared insight into the modern bullion market. Numismatic historian Q. David Bowers reviewed the manuscript, was a constant source of guidance and inspiration, and graciously wrote this book’s foreword. Kenneth Bressett, senior editor of the Guide Book of United States Coins, provided vital review and feedback on chapters 1, 2, and 3 in particular, and shared recollections of the U.S. Assay Commission and other information. The British Geological Survey was a source of data relating to worldwide silver- and gold-mining production. Numismatic historian Tom DeLorey shared insight and recollections of the American Arts gold medallion program, and provided photographs. Connor Falk shared information from his work in Numismatic News. Coin dealer and current ANA President Jeff Garrett advised on the modern coin market. Numismatic columnist Louis Golino provided encouragement and information. The Honorable Karen L. Haas, Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives, provided an image. Dave Harper, editor of Numismatic News, gave permission to extract from the newspaper. Coin dealer and bullion specialist Patrick Heller shared insight on the American Arts gold medallions. Heritage Auction Galleries shared historical and numismatic images. U.S. Mint Artistic Infusion Program Designer Joel Iskowitz discussed his First Spouse coinage designs. Charla S. Kucko, Simon Business School, University of Rochester, assisted with research and provided an image. The Library of Congress provided numerous historical images. Littleton Coin Company provided various photographs. Coin dealer Harry Miller shared reflections on the modern coin market. Numismatist Michael Moran contributed observations on various topics. Edmund C. Moy, 38th director of the U.S. Mint, shared memories and behind-the-scenes insight into the modern Mint. Certain images, of various coins previously published in Whitman books, are by numismatic photographer Tom Mulvaney. Coin dealer Richard Nachbar shared insight on the American Bicentennial gold medals. Numismatic Guaranty Corporation of America (NGC) opened its image archives and also provided certified-population data. John Pack, Executive Director of Consignments at Stack’s Bowers Galleries, shared his knowledge of the coin market. Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) provided information and data. The Peterson Institute for International Economics, Washington, DC, offered assistance. Treasurer of the United States Rosie Rios facilitated research. Alexander R. Santos provided invaluable support and encouragement. The Securities and Exchange Commission shared advice on investment in silver and gold. Jeff Shevlin discussed national medals struck by the Philadelphia Mint. Numismatic historian Pete Smith shared research on the national medals of the U.S. Mint. Max Spiegel, vice president of sales and marketing for NGC, assisted with information and coin images. Stack’s Bowers Galleries provided some images. David Sundman of Littleton Coin Company shared insight on various aspects of numismatics. American popular-culture historian Gerry Szymanski reviewed various sections of the manuscript. Numismatist Troy Thoreson advised on the secondary market for gold and silver bullion coins. Officers, staff, and employees of the United States Mint (see below for a detailed listing) shared information and resources including historical photographs, coin images, data, personal knowledge, and perspective. Coin dealer Rodger Virtue contributed images of the American Arts gold medallion packaging. Coin dealer Fred Weinberg shared insight on the American Arts medallions. Stephanie Westover assisted with certain images.
At the Washington, D.C., headquarters of the U.S. Mint, the following people and their teams were very helpful: Dave Croft, Associate Director for Manufacturing; Judy Dixon, Office of the Director; Carolyn Fields, Corporate Communications; Abby Gilbert, Assistant Historian; Robert Goler, Curator; Maria Goodwin, Historian; Rhett Jeppson, Principal Deputy Director; Tom Jurkowsky, Director, Office of Corporate Communications; Mary Lhotsky, Deputy Associate Director, Numismatics and Bullion; William Norton Jr., Director, Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs; Dennis O’Connor, Headquarters Chief of U.S. Mint Police; Richard A. Peterson, Deputy Director; Heather Sabharwal, Corporate Communications; Tracy Scelzo, Corporate Communications; Lateefah Simms, Corporate Communications; April Stafford, Division Manager, Design Management; Adam Stump, Deputy Director, Corporate Communications; Greg Weinman, Senior Legal Counsel; and Michael White, Corporate Communications.
At the Philadelphia Mint: Thanks to Don Everhart, Sculptor-Engraver; Michael Gaudioso, Medallic Sculptor; Renata Gordon, Medallic Sculptor; Tim Grant, Exhibits Division; Phebe Hemphill, Medallic Sculptor; Steve Kunderewicz, Deputy Plant Manager (now retired); Marc Landry, Plant Manager; Jim Licaretz, Medallic Sculptor; Joseph F. Menna, Medallic Sculptor; and Charles L. Vickers, Sculptor-Engraver. Thanks to the Philadelphia Mint Design and Engraving Division (Stacy Kelley, Division Chief; Steve Antonucci, John McGraw, Eric Custer, Jay Kushwara, and Jerry Burdsall [retired]); the Die Manufacturing Division (Dave Puglia, Division Chief; Brian Cassidy, Thomas Larizzio, Dallas Williams, Doug Wiggins, and Gwenevere Holiman); the Numismatics Division (Paul Zwizanski, Stan Ostaszewski, Chris Luberski, Larry Hoffman, Chrystal Jones, and Joyce Williams); the Coin Manufacturing Division (Joe Falls, Frank Perkins Jr., and Matt McComb); the Protection Division (Robert Bankhead, Tanya Washington, and Nancy Filoon); and to Anthony Mallamaci, Facility Management Division.
At the West Point Mint: Thanks to Jennifer Butkus, Production Manager; Luigi DiCocco, Chief Engineer; Tom DiNardi, Deputy Plant Manager; William Giraud, Acting Division Chief, Plant Engineering; Jeanette Grogan, Assayer/Chemist; and Ellen McCullom, Plant Manager.
At the Denver Mint, thanks to Rebecca Barnstein, Public Affairs; Patrick H. Brown, Visual Information Specialist; Jennifer H. DeBroekert, Public Affairs; Tom Fesing, Public Affairs; Gary Hall, Chief of Die Manufacturing; Dave Jacobs, Deputy Plant Manager (now San Francisco Mint Plant Manager); Laurie Johnson, Acting Deputy Plant Manager; and Randy Johnson, Plant Manager.
At the San Francisco Mint, thanks to Monica Barnes, Coining Division; Lynn Black, Office of the Plant Manager; Loretta Dickerson, Quality Assurance Division; Carlos Dumpit, Manufacturing Department; Larry Eckerman, Plant Manager (now retired); Ralph Hodge, Coining Division; Dawn Hoef, Office of the Plant Manager; Tonya Jones, Packaging Division; Michael Levin, Inventory Manager (and de facto historian); Paul Lewis, Industrial Manager; Lynn Lobb, Coining Division; Don Penning, Packaging Division; and Joe Vasquez, Manufacturing Department.
The writings of Richard G. Doty, Robert Wilson Hoge, Ana Lonngi de Vagi, Bruce Lorich, Michael J. Shubin, and David L. Vagi were particularly helpful in understanding the global significance of silver and gold, especially in coinage but also in relation to mercantilism, war, and trade, going back to Antiquity and covering ancient Greece and Rome, the Middle Ages, the Age of Reason, the New World from the 1500s to the formative years of the United States, and to the end of World War I.
In chapter 2, parts of the discussion of American money in the Civil War are adapted from “Look Closer—That’s Not a Cent: Civil War Tokens Tell the Story of America in the 1860s,” by Q. David Bowers and Dennis Tucker, COINage Magazine, April 2014.
Following these credits and acknowledgments, I included 1-1/2 pages, double-columned, of image credits and notations, in small type—lots of information! I broke this down section by section, chapter by chapter, page by page, to ensure that every image was properly credited.
Types of image credits included:
Personal sources. E.g., a professional photojournalist and friend from college graciously allowed me to publish some of her photographs. I credited her: “On page 270, the photographs of White Mountain National Forest are by Allegra K. Boverman.” I noted which images were my own: “On page 11, the portrait of Kaiser Wilhelm II is by Reichard & Lindner, Berlin, from the author’s collection.”
Museum, library, and archive sources. I tried to give a bit of context and historical information for most illustrations, e.g., “On page 13, the image of devils pouring gold coins from a man’s hat into a woman’s apron and a boy’s hat is courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division (original copyright Warren, Johnson & Co. Designers, Engravers and Printers, Buffalo, circa 1870).” “On page 17, the oil painting Embarkation of the Pilgrims, by Robert Walter Weir, 1857, is from the American Art Collection of the Brooklyn Museum, A. Augustus Healy Fund and Healy Purchase Fund B.”
Federal government sources. E.g., “On pages 263 and 264, the photographs of a coquí llanero and a Puerto Rican parrot are courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.” “On page 226, the portrait of Lady Bird Johnson is by Aaron Shikler, courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration.”
Professional numismatic sources. E.g., “On page 51, the photograph of a Kentucky coin shop is courtesy of Jeff Garrett.” “On page 7, the Waltham gold pocket watch is courtesy of Heritage Auctions.” “In appendix B, the photographs of U.S. Assay Commission medals are courtesy of Stack’s Bowers Galleries.”
Licensed-permission sources. E.g., “In chapter 6, the chapter-opener photograph, taken in the East Room of the White House, November 19, 2007, is by Chip Somodevilla, courtesy of Getty Images.” “On page 302, the photograph of Nellie Tayloe Ross is by Marie Hansen, from the LIFE Picture Collection, courtesy of Getty Images.” “On page 303, the photographs of Clifford Northrup and Donald Scarinci are by Andrew Harrer, Bloomberg, via Getty Images.”
Other sources I’d hunted down. E.g., “On page 55, John Ruberry gave permission to use the 1970 photograph of Adlai Stevenson III, from his father’s collection; the uncropped original shows Stevenson with longtime Cook County assessor Patrick J. Cullerton in the Bismarck Hotel’s Walnut Room, when Stevenson was running for U.S. Senate.” “On page 62, artist Everett Raymond Kinstler granted permission to reproduce his oil-painting portrait of Treasury Secretary Michael Blumenthal; the photograph is courtesy of the U.S. Mint.”
Finally, don’t forget to “acknowledge” yourself! Give your readers an “About the Author” biography—a brief and convenient summary that lays out your credentials.
Dennis Tucker is an award-winning numismatic researcher who has written and lectured nationwide on coins, medals, and other antiques and collectibles. A collector since the age of seven, he is a Life Member of the American Numismatic Association and a past governor of the Token and Medal Society. His writing has appeared in The Numismatist; Coin World; Numismatic News; COINage; Coins Magazine; Postcard World; the journals of the Token and Medal Society, the Civil War Token Society, the Barber Coin Collectors Society, and the Numismatic Bibliomania Society; and other hobby periodicals. He has earned the Extraordinary Merit Award from the Numismatic Literary Guild; the Forrest Daniel Award for Literary Excellence from the Society of Paper Money Collectors; the silver medal of the Original Hobo Nickel Society; and the Gloria Peters Literary Award from Women in Numismatics.
As publisher at Whitman Publishing, he specializes in books on numismatics (the study of money), banking and financial history, the American presidency, U.S. political and military history, and other nonfiction topics.
Tucker grew up in Phoenix, New York, earned a degree in political science from the University of Rochester, and started his career in corporate and nonprofit communications and publishing in that city. He moved to Georgia in 2002 and now lives with his family in Atlanta. He was honored in January 2015 by Governor Nathan Deal for his career in book publishing and his promotion of the state’s history.
Credits and acknowledgments are an important part of your numismatic research. Some you’ll list as professional courtesies, some by contractual obligation, some for personal reasons. All of them publicly show your gratitude to the “village” it takes to create a good book.