Henry Cohen, who was born in Amsterdam in 1806, was a versatile man who brilliantly researched and published in several fields.
In music, he composed a few operas and musical pieces, and wrote some books about harmony and musical theory.
He was a great bibliophile, and his Guide de l'amateur des livres à vignettes du XVIII Siècle had four editions in his lifespan. Its sixth edition (1912, revised by Seymour De Ricci) is still available in facsimile reprints, and is considered the standard bibliography of French eighteenth century illustrated books.
In numismatics, he created an important collection, focusing mainly in the area of Roman Republican coins. In 1857, he published his first important work in numismatics, the Description Generale des Monnaies De La Republique Romaine, Communement Appelees Medailles Consulaires (not to be confused with Babelon's later work with a similar title).
When financial problems hit, he had to sell his collection and seek employment. In 1859, he found a small job as a helper in the Cabinet des Médailles in the Biliothèque National.
In the same year, the first volume of the first edition of his work on Roman Imperial coins appeared. The Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l'Empire Romain was completed in 1862 with the sixth volume. But by 1868, there was already the need for a volume of Suppleément.
His work continued, and in 1880, he published the first volume of the second edition of his wonderful work. This was the only volume he would see published; the second volume contains his obituary.
The publication went on, nevertheless (it is not clear how much of the work he had left to do), and the eighth volume was printed in 1892.
This second edition is a milestone in numismatic bibliography. There are several facsimile reprints made of it (Graz, Akademische Druck 1966; New York, Scorpin Publishers, 1976; Bologna, Forni Editore 1979; Maastricht, Van der Dussen 1980?; Boston, Elibron 2001) and it is what this site is based on.