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IBNS Journal 53-4

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Arnold Keller (2010)

Arnold Keller can rightly be called the father of modern paper money catalogues. He was born in Germany in 1897 and began collecting paper money around the age of 14.

During World War I and the ensuing years of inflation in Germany, he built a large collection of emergency currency and notgeld. Based on this he published his first catalogue. In 1922 he opened a coin and paper money business in Berlin and worked on further catalogues. During the depression of the 1930s, there was little interest in colleting coins or paper money, and Dr. Keller turned his attention to fur farming. After World War II, Dr. Keller again turned his attention to numismatics. His first attempt in 1956 to provide a catalogue in English of foreign notes for collectors in North America, called Paper Money of the World: Modern Issues of Europe, was frustrated by bureaucracy; the book was confiscated by the US Secret Service because it showed pictures of foreign currency at time when it was still illegal. Over the years Dr. Keller wrote many articles on paper currency for periodicals in his native Germany and was among the first to publish books on the subject especially for collectors. In the late 1960s, Whitman Publishing Company in the US bought Dr. Keller’s manuscript to a catalogue of world paper money with the intention of publishing it in North America. When Whitman decided against going ahead with the project, the manuscript was purchased on behalf of the IBNS by Ruth Hill. A few years later Krause Publications Inc. produced the first SCWPM based on the work of Dr. Albert Pick. Dr. Keller died in 1972.