Small Wonders: Miniature and Pocket-Sized Numismatic Literature

October 20, 2012 – October, 2013


According to the Miniature Book Society, a miniature book in the United States is “usually considered to be one which is no more than three inches in height, width, or thickness. Some aficionados collect slightly larger books while others specialize in even smaller sizes. Outside of the United States, books up to four inches (about 10 cm) are often considered miniature.” Although the miniaturization of literature dates back to ca. 2000 BC in the form of a Babylonian tablet, the process was especially popular in the Middle Ages in Europe for prayer books to be easily carried and concealed from prying eyes. Examples of nearly all genres of literature can be found in miniature form today. The ANS Library contains 7 books that are no larger than four inches and can thus be considered miniature (by international standards). There are a larger number of pocket-sized examples of numismatic literature, which were still rather portable to the user. This exhibit will display some of those examples while exploring the novelty and practicality of such a small size. Because of their small size, such small items are often kept in the rare book room for added security.

Hoshino, AsaoOld Coins of the World. Numbered limited edition miniature book (no. 188 of 300). 192 pages, 2cm x 2cm. Japan: s.n., 1977.
Gift: Rick Witschonke

Other items in this exhibition include:

Istvan, Gedái. Történelmünk penzeken = (Münzen dokumentieren unsere Geschichte). 192 pages, 7 cm. Budapest, 1975.

Noticia de las Ordenes de Caballería de España, Cruces y medallas de distincion, con estampas. 10cm x 7cm. Madrid, 1815.

Petrov, S. David Robinson : v vospominaniiakh. 172 pages, 10 cm. Sankt-Peterburg : Miniatiura, 1996.

Colonial Coins, Illustrated with numerous Photo Engravings. Hillside Press, 1974. Preface by F. E. I. 6cm x 5cm.

Hoff, Mark. American Coins (Tiny Tomes). 127 pages, 4.5cm x 5.5cm. Andrews McMeel Publishing, 1996.

Green, Ben. Numismatists’ reference and check book : being a list of coins issued by the United States mint and branches, with principle varieties, private issues of gold, paper fractional currency, and encased postage stamps, with provisions for checking and recording pieces. (Number of coins issued in each coinage). 120 pages. Chicago, 1902.

Small Change: Obsolete British banknote designs. Haslet, Texas: Tony Firman Bookbinding, 2010. 20 pages. 4 cm x 7.5 cm. Gift: Rick Witschonke

Heath, Laban. Heath’s infallible counterfeit detector at sight : applicable to all banks in the United States and Canadas … with genuine bank-note designs.Boston : Laban Heath, 1864.

Patin, Charles. Introductio ad historiam numismatum. 251 pages, 13 ½ cm. Amsterdam, 1683.

Sambucus, Johannes (1531 – 1584). Emblemata, et aliqvot nvmmi antiqvi operis Ioan. Sambvci Tirnaviensis Pannonii. 352 pages : plates ; 17 cm . Antverpiae : ex officina Chr. Plantini, 1584.

[bound with]:

Hadriani Iunii medici Emblemata : eiusdem Aenigmatum libellus. 157 pages, 17 cm. Antuerpiae : Ex officina Christophori Plantini, 1564