Monday, January 25, 2016

Keep The Change: A Collector's Tales by Harley J Spiller

Keep the Change is a curious book written by Harley J. Spiller, also known as Inspector Collector.

The full title is Keep the Change: A collector's tales of Lucky Pennies, Counterfeit C-Notes, and other Curious Currency. 112 pages, softcover. $19.95. The heart of the book is eight essays on Spiller's numismatic interests. His main collection is of damaged coins he received in change at face value. He is also interested in money manipulations by artists.

Spiller seems to be doing well with his hobby. He secured a table at the Wall Street Bourse coin show at the Museum of American Finance just to show off his collection and sell these books.

The book is severely limited by Spiller's emphasis on the material he collects and the events he was physically present for. He doesn't hunt for material on auction floors but waits to receive it in change. The book lacks ancient coins, which I have found much more likely to be damaged and corroded in interesting ways. Spiller's New York focus is also limiting: there are no non-US coins, and the chapter on burning money does not even mention The K Foundation!

I wonder where Mr. Spiller will go next. Ancient coins would be a good fit for him, as they often have very interesting corrosion collectors of ancient coins have a culture of acceptance of fine patinas. I gave Mr. Spiller a copy of the catalog of Stephen Sack's Metal Mirror with best wishes in the hopes of getting him interested.

It is difficult to assemble a collection at face value over a single human lifetime and for that we must commend Mr. Spiller for not losing focus. I recommend the book for anyone interested in either the intersection of Contemporary Art and Money.

1 comment:

Barters Technology said...
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