The collection of William (Bill) Pinch, acquired in 1989 by the Canadian Museum of Nature for a reported $3.5 million (US) is one of the most important private mineral collections assembled during the 20th century. Pinch’s collection was exceptional in that, unlike most collectors, his primary focus was to get “best of species” examples of as many rare (and common) minerals as possible. He achieved this on a middle-class income by leveraging his exceptional enthusiasm and knowledge, relationships with museum curators including the singular Paul Desautels, and a willingness to trade.
This outstanding, coffee-table sized book, written and illustrated by photographer and mineral writer Michael Bainbridge, is a triumph in the field of collection catalogs. Pinch was most famous for the rare species he collected, and these are well-represented in the book. Many specimens of collector favorites such as fluorite, wulfenite and others are also illustrated. While you will come to this work for the exceptional photography of outstanding specimens, you will also find a well-researched biography of Pinch. Bainbridge makes it a point to put Pinch’s activities into historical context, which makes the book much more far reaching than it otherwise would be. The biography is followed by a collection overview organized into locality suites, just as Pinch organized his collection in his home in Rochester, New York. The book ends with a detailed species and locality index, making finding specific photos a breeze.
This is your opportunity to view one of the 20th century’s greatest mineral collections, without even leaving your living room. Beware though, paging through this book may cause you to long for a trip to Canada!