The E-Sylum v5#49, December 8, 2002
whomren at coinlibrary.com
whomren at coinlibrary.com
Sun Dec 8 19:34:16 PST 2002
Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 5, Number 49, December 8, 2002:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2002, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Among recent new subscribers is Sig. Franco Rapposelli,
sponsored by Jose-Luis Rubio. Welcome aboard! One
person dropped out. We now have 508 subscribers.
RARE COIN REVIEW 150TH ISSUE
The November/December issue of Bowers & Merena's
Rare Coin Review is the 150th number of the publication,
launched in the late 1960's by Q. David Bowers.
Congratulations on a fine and continuing run of a great
publication. Many interesting and well-researched
numismatic articles have appeared within its covers over
This issue features Dave's article "Enjoying Numismatic
Research: My Love Affair with History," which was
based on his presentation to the Numismatic Bibliomania
Society at our annual meeting at the Atlanta, GA
convention of the American Numismatic Association in
2001. The article is a transcription of Dave's remarks
edited by NBS President Pete Smith, with some updates
by Dave. Don't miss it!
1934 BALTIMORE GOLD HOARD ARTICLE
Also in the issue is one of those articles I no longer
feel compelled to write, for someone has beaten me to
it. Leonard Augsberger writes about "The 1934 Baltimore
Gold Hoard." I have a copy of the May 1935 Perry
Fuller sale catalog of the hoard discovered by two
Baltimore teenagers on August 31st, 1934, and always
wanted to learn more about the incident. Augsberger
has done a masterful job, unearthing court documents,
newspaper articles, Thomas Elder correspondence and
other sources, then neatly telling the story in nine pages.
GOLD RUSH HISTORY NEARLY SOLD OUT
The same issue of Rare Coin Review notes that
Dave's book, "A California Gold Rush History,"
printed in an edition of about 5,000 copies earlier
this year, is nearly sold out. Only a few hundred
ITALIAN TELEPHONE TOKEN BOOK PUBLISHED
Jose-Luis Rubio writes: "I have the pleasure of reporting
the fine catalogue, titled "IL GETTONE TELEFONICO
ITALIANO" written by Franco and Vincenzo Rapposelli,
125 pages plus Index, with excellent photography and line
drawings. Edited by : Centro Programmazione Editoriale,
Via Canaletto, 20/abcd 41030 San Prospero, MODENA
ITALIA. FAX : 059 90 630 29
This book will answer the questions about the use of the
Italian Phone Tokens as coins. I can recommend the book
to anyone interested in this subject."
VIETNAM COIN CATALOG INFO SOUGHT
Howard A. Daniel III (Howard at SEAsianTreasury.com)
writes: "I am looking for the latest edition of the Schon or
Shoen world coins catalogue with Viet Nam in it and a 20
Viet gold coin catalogued as A4. If you know a source of
this reference, please send it to me their mailing and/or email
address. I will be glad to know of an overseas source but
would prefer one in the U.S. Thanks in advance for any
CASTENHOLZ COIN CHART UPDATE
Regarding the existence of the Castenholz coin chart we
discussed a few issues ago, Alan Meghrig writes: "Somewhere
I have a few copies rolled up. It's about 2' x 3'. I also cut one
up to fit in a notebook. It is basically a checklist of the various
issues... or at least that's what I recall .....last time I saw the
tube was 22 years ago... when I put it in a safe place."
INTERVIEW: B.E.P. ENGRAVER TOM HIPSCHEN
The popular press it starting to cover the next next change
in U.S. paper money. Jeannine Aversa of the Associated
Press recently interviewed portrait engraver Thomas
"Color is coming, and government money makers are hoping
for a warmer reception for the changes. The new $20, with
its public unveiling set for the spring, is supposed to be in
circulation as early as next fall.
Jackson is first in line for a makeover. And after the new $20
makes its debut, the new $50 (Ulysses Grant) and the $100
Benjamin Franklin) will follow within 18 months."
"Portrait engraver Thomas Hipschen is working on the current
He remembers spending countless hours during the last
makeover meticulously cutting into steel by hand the portraits
of Jackson, Franklin and Grant for the new bills."
"You worry about what the press is going to do," he said. "I
have an old clipping file about all the horrible things they said
about the portraits that I engraved. Some fun things, too."
"With the makeover, color tints will be added in the neutral
areas of the note... "
"Money makers want the new notes to have an American look
and feel, and not be confused with, for instance, the colorful
euro, the paper currency of the European Union."
AT LEAST IT DOESN'T TAKE AN ACT OF CONGRESS
To follow up on Larry Lee's discussion of the state of the
Byron Reed collection, Bob Leonard writes: "In response, I
would only state that a catalog of the pioneer fractional gold
pieces in the Byron Reed Collection, if it still exists, will not
be supplied by the Western Heritage Museum to numismatic
researchers--so the data about them is less than if they had
been sold at public auction. Certainly no such catalog was
ever published anywhere, and cannot be published now.
Larry Lee advised me when I was frantically searching for
this information that the Breen-Gillio catalog numbers are not
noted in the Museum's copy of Breen-Gillio, nor written on
the coin envelopes, nor anywhere else, apparently. All that
remains is a single, incomplete sheet lacking the essential
Breen-Gillio numbers and corresponding weights.
Actually I was advised to appeal to the city attorney, not the
City Council, but any museum that requires an ordinance to
be passed in order to find out what it has certainly proves
my point. As a nonresident of Omaha I did not expect that I
would receive prompt action."
OLDEST ARTICLE/SPEECH ON NUMISMATICS?
David Klinger submitted a lengthy item taken from The Avalon
Project at the Yale Law School. It is a copy of a 1588 speech
titled "A Discourse Upon Coins" by Bernardo Davanzati,
translated out of Italian by John Toland of London, and
printed by J.D. for Awnsham and John Churchil, at the Black
Swan in Pater-Noster-Row, 1696.
The full text is on the web at this address:
Here are some excerpts:
"The first Money that the Antients wrought was Copper, and
was by common Consent preferr'd to this high Office. So
whatever superabounded to any Person, he gave it for as much
Copper as was compar'd with, or judg'd equal to it; this
Copper he afterwards gave for other things wanting to him, or
otherwise he kept it by him in his Coffer, as a Security for the
Supply of his future Necessities. And this was the Original of
selling and buying... Afterwards the greater Excellency of
Gold and Silver did set them off, and occasion'd them to be
made Money. They were at the beginning us'd in unwrought
Pieces as they came to hand; but, as Additions are easily
mde to Inventions, they were next weigh'd, then stamp'd,
and so became Money."
"When, where, and by whom Money was first coin'd is not
agreed upon by Writers. Herodotus says in Lydia, others
in Naxos, Strabo in AEgina; some in Lycia by King
Erichthonius; Lucan says in Thessaly by King Ionus. I
cannot learn that there was any Money in use before the
Flood: but the Scriptures speak plainly of it afterwards.
Abraham purchas'd a Field from Ephron the Hittite for four
hundred Shekals of Silver, currant Money with the Merchant.
Joseph was sold by his Brethren for twenty pieces of Silver.
And Moses laid upon the Israelites by Poll hald a Sheckel,
that is, four Drachms of Silver. Theseus, who reign'd in
Attica abou the time of the Judges in Isreal, coin'd Silver-
Money with the Stamp of an Ox upon it, to invite those to
manure and till the Ground, who till then liv'd at random in
the Woods. When Janus King of Latium receiv'd Saturn
fled by Sea from his Son Jupiter, who drove him from his
Throne, (that was in the so well govern'd, and so much
celebrated Golden Age) Janus, I say, did in the Memory
of this Favour coin Copper Money, which had stamp'd
upon it the Prow of a Ship. The first Money among the
Romans was a piece of Copper, without any coining, or a
Pound Weight, call'd by them AEs gravis..."
A new book by Rab Hatfield titled "The Wealth of
Michelangelo" mentions a hoard of coins owned by the
legendary artist. Estelle Shirbon of Reuters interviewed
Hatfield in a December 3, 2002 article.
"Michelangelo, who painted the ceiling of the Vatican's
Sistine Chapel and designed the dome of St Peter's
Basilica, passed himself off as poor but was actually too
miserly to show his huge wealth, a U.S. art historian says."
"He was a funny sort of man, somewhat paranoid and
somewhat dishonest, who didn't want it to be known he
was fabulously rich," Rab Hatfield, a professor at the
Florence branch of Syracuse University, told Reuters
"Hatfield has unearthed two of Michelangelo's bank
accounts and numerous deeds of purchase that show the
prolific painter, sculptor and architect was worth about
50,000 gold ducats when he died in 1564, more than
many princes and dukes of his time."
"It was an enormous, truly enormous amount of money,"
"He liked to keep large amounts of money in a wooden box
by his bed. When he died, 8,400 ducats were found in the
box," Hatfield said.
ANOTHER JULES REIVER WAR STORY
Inspired by my recent mention of Delaware numismatist Jules
Reiver, Henry Bergos writes: "When he got his men on the bluff
over Omaha beach a general came and told him to bivouac his
men on a nearby field. He thought a moment and told one of his
officers to use another field. His men complained about the
cattle in that field -- and what cattle usually leave as souvenirs.
He told the men to clean it up and use that field.
The next day the general returned and blew a gasket. Jules told
him that the Frenchman who owned the animals was probably
there when the Germans were and thus knew where the land
mines were. As the cattle were important to the farmer he
wouldn't put his animals where there were mines.
The general yelled at him, but later sent word down the line to
always use the fields that the animals were in.
I have also enjoyed spending time listening to this fantastic
DIGITAL DOMESDAY BOOK SALVAGED
Dave Bowers and others have warned of the dangers of
over-reliance on newfangled media as a way to preserve
information for the future. An article from the BBC News
provides a fine example of why we're seeking to create
a hardcopy version of the electronic E-Sylum. Here's
how the December 2, 2002 NewsScan Daily summarized
the article, along with a link to the full text:
"The BBC's computer-based, multimedia version of the
famed Domesday Book has received a new lease on life,
thanks to scientists at Leeds University and the University of
Michigan, who have found a way to access the archive stored
on 1980s-era interactive video discs. To unlock the
now-obsolete technology, the Camileon project teams have
developed software that emulates the Acorn Microcomputer
system and the video disc player.
"BBC Domesday has become a classic example of the
dangers facing our digital heritage," says project manager
Paul Wheatley. "But it must be remembered that time is of
the essence. We must invest wisely in developing an
infrastructure to preserve our digital records before it is too
late. We must not make the mistake of thinking that recording
on a long-lived medium gives us meaningful preservation."
The information on the Domesday discs has been
inaccessible for 16 years. By contrast, the original
Domesday Book, an inventory of England compiled in
1086 by Norman monks, is in fine condition in a London
Public Record Office."
PROTECTING YOUR LIBRARY
Doug Andrews writes: "Last weekend, NBS member
Paul Petch of Toronto sent me a copy of my article
"Seven Steps to Protect Your Library Investment" that
appeared in the fall issue of 'The Asylum.'
If, by chance, any NBS members wish to contact me on
this topic, my email address is storms at mts.net.
I will be applying for NBS membership in 2003!"
BUYING BOOKS ONLINE
The November 29, 2002 print edition of the Boston
Business Journal has an article by by Matt Kelly about
how the internet has changed the rules of the game for
dealers in collectibles.
"Collectors who once spent countless hours tracking down
rare books and art are finding gems just a mouse click away
The Internet is a mixed bag for dealers. They do have that
same new access to a virtually endless supply of buyers and
sellers across the globe, but because the web has raised a
generation of well-informed buyers, prices for many items
"It has affected us both well and badly," said Forrest Proper,
co-owner of Joslin Hall Books in Concord, who has about
2,000 titles in current inventory.
Proper said he now routinely does business with dealers in
Europe and Australia, an impossible idea 10 years ago. At
the same time, he says, has seen profit margins on his
midrange books - those priced anywhere from $25 to $200
- fall significantly.
On the brighter side, Proper now stumbles across gems he
otherwise might never have found. He recently acquired a
200-year-old French book about spontaneous human
combustion - "there's not a whole lot on that subject," he
notes - from a dealer in Switzerland. Proper now hopes to
sell the book for $750. Were it not for the Internet, he never
would have found the book unless the dealer had listed it in
a catalog or he had paid a visit to Switzerland.
[So if you think it's too hard to add numismatic books to
your library, just be glad you aren't collecting literature on
spontaneous human combustion. Hmmm, I wonder what
the insurance premiums are like... -Editor]
WHY DO BOOKS COST SO MUCH?
Asylum Editor Tom Fort found an article on Salon
about "sticker shock" over new book prices. I know
I have to blanche sometimes at the cost of new
numismatic books these days. Maybe I'm just getting
old. People who used to buy a Coke for a quarter don't
much feel like paying $1.95 for the same thing today.
Here are a couple excerpts - follow the link for the
"During his 10 years in the retail book business-- at B.
Dalton and also at independent stores and selling college
textbooks -- he's seen the same reaction time and again.
"No matter what the prices are, they say it's too expensive,"
he says. "The first thing they ask about is price, and the
reactions range from a grunt to an outright whine."
It's unlikely that Ritenbaugh will be hearing happier noises
anytime soon: Book buyers now must shell out $20, $30
or even $40 or more for hardcovers that decades ago
used to cost less than $10. And the sticker shock is
causing many customers not to buy as many books."
"Why do books cost so much? Consumers are often
baffled at the price tag attached to what appears to be little
more than a mass of paper, cardboard and ink. A whole
host of factors, including the size of the book, the quality of
paper, the quantity of books printed, whether it contains
illustrations, what sort of deal the publisher can make with
the printer and the cost of warehouse space, all affect the
production costs of a book. But, roughly speaking, only
about 20 percent of a publisher's budget for each book
pays for paper, printing and binding, the trinity that
determines the physical cost."
FEATURED WEB PAGE
This week's featured web page is suggested by
Alan Meghrig. "About the United States Mint" is on
the mint's official web site. On this page are links to
the mint's annual reports for 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001
Alan adds: "Does anyone have a 1987 Annual Report... they
won't mind parting with?" Alan's address is
alanmeghrig at cox.net
Numismatic Bibliomania Society
The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a
non-profit organization promoting numismatic
literature. For more information please see
our web site at http://www.coinbooks.org/
There is a membership application available on
the web site. To join, print the application and
return it with your check to the address printed
on the application. For those without web access,
write to David Sklow, NBS Secretary-Treasurer,
P.O. Box 76192, Ocala, FL 34481.
For Asylum mailing address changes and other
membership questions, contact Dave at this email
address: sdsklow at aol.com
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