The E-Sylum v5#52, December 29, 2002

whomren at whomren at
Sun Dec 29 20:13:11 PST 2002

Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 5, Number 52, December 29, 2002:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2002, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


   In response to Granvyl Hulse's query, Martin Purdy sends
   the following translation of the book's title page:
   Coins and Medals
   from the Royal Collection of Coins,
   Medals and Cut Stones
   at The Hague
   The Hague, Martinus Nijhoff, 1910"

   Ron Haller-Williams provided a translation as well:

   Selected Coins and Medals  from
   the Royal Cabinet of Coins,  Medals
   and  Cut  Stones at The Hague
   [published at]   The Hague   [by] Martin Nijhoff  [in] 1910

   Granvyl Hulse might like to visit where we learn that
   "Swets Blackwell announced today (9 August 2001) an
   agreement to acquire Martinus Nijhoff International, the
   Dutch subscription agent and book dealer, with immediate
   effect. ..."   Thus the book was PUBLISHED by, not
   WRITTEN by Martin Nijhoff"


   Dick Johnson writes: "On the day before Christmas I
   delivered a gift poster to my Favorite Bookbinder. The
   poster was for an exhibit of rare bookbinding on exhibit
   at Princeton University (where I had gone recently to
   appraise a collection of medals).  I knew he would love
   the poster and perhaps even want to visit Princeton's
   Firestone Library to view this exceptional exhibit (on
   view until January 15th).

   I learned my FB was declining any more bookbinding
   work. I was crestfallen. He found it was easier to make
   money buying books and selling these on the internet
   than engaging in his once very prominent and lifelong
   profession.  He agreed to leather-bind my upcoming
   book on American artists; "But" he added, "don't send
   me any more bookbinding work."

   "You're getting lazy!" I accused. "I was born lazy!"
   exclaimed the French-born artisan.  But true enough,
   his work tables, once piled high with sensuous and
   colorful leathers, were now covered with books. And
   there was his wife keyboarding away at the computer.

   "Would you call this fine condition?"  She handed me a
   book. "Where's the dust jacket?" asked my FB. "Here"
   she said, holding it up. Wow, this book was far better
   than fine, and from what I saw of the dust jacket it was
   near flawless.

   At that moment I knew he was serious. He was lowballing
   his condition estimates. From experience I know that
   dealers who did this were making certain no one who
   purchased a book sight unseen would return it because
   of condition.

   I am not going to tell you my FB's name or location. I
   don't want him to succeed as a bookdealer.  I want him to
   be forced to go back to bookbinding.  I want to return to
   those days of yesteryear when we talked for hours of
   leathers, and goldtooling, and punches and even the
   diesinkers who made those punches.  I even learned from
   him that the craftsmen who made punches for coin and
   medal engravers were the same men who made them for

   The internet has corrupted my FB. My only hope is that
   no one will buy the books he has listed on the internet."


   Howard A. Daniel III writes: "I found a letter in my mail today
   from Remy Bourne and was happy to see it until I read that he
   was announcing his retirement from the numismatic literature
   business.  There has not been a time that I have been in Remy's
   company and not had a good time and learned something too.
   He has found some references for me with Southeast Asian in
   them that I would have never ever thought of looking in them,
   and I have often thanked him for his support of the ANA
   Library as a governor on the ANA Board.  I am going to miss
   seeing him and his lovely wife at shows and conventions, but I
   hope to visit Minneapolis one of these days and see that city he
   brags about.   I believe we will see him and his wife at future
   shows and conventions because no one can completely give up
   being a numismatic bibliomaniac!  Can they?"


   In response to last week's quiz question about Ken Rendell,
   P. Scott Rubin summed up the answer neatly as follows:
   "Rendell was a coin dealer before he was an autograph
   dealer.  Well known during his time in the numismatic

   Mark Borchardt writes: "Ken was very closely connected to
   numismatics in the late 1950s. He and Dave Bowers were
   very close friends, and remain good friends today.  Ken
   issued a fixed price list of copper coins around 1958 or so.
   A couple years ago, I bid on a lot in a mail order auction,
   the lot being described as a single copy of Ken's price list of
   large cents.  When I got the lot, I actually received two
   copies of this list. After contacting Ken regarding this, and
   learning that he did not have a copy of his own fixed price
   list, I forwarded the second copy to him.  Ken was an early
   member of numismatics' Rittenhouse Society, and recently
   attended one of the annual ANA breakfast meetings (in
   Chicago in 1999)."

   Dick Johnson elaborates: "Ken Rendell was a teenage coin
   collector who attended the 1952 ANA convention in New
   York City.  At that convention a small group of similarly-aged
   enthusiasts met for the first time.  We all became life-long
   friends. That group consisted of Ken Bressett, Dave Bowers,
   Walter Breen, George Fuld, Grover Criswell, Ken Rendell
   and myself.  Each of  us have made our own contributions to
   numismatics in our own way.  Later we formalized that close-
   knit association by forming the Rittenhouse Society (named
   after the first Director of the U.S. Mint).

   This organization still exists today with only one new member
   added a year. We are not as snooty as this exclusivity sounds,
   however.  Our original intent was -- and that tenet continues
   to the present -- to encourage young enthusiasts to really
   become interested in numismatics enough to make a significant
   contribution to the field.  I would be hard pressed to
   enumerate the total number of books and articles Rittenhouse
   Society members have published.

   One of my proudest moments was to vote with my peers into
   Rittenhouse Society membership two years ago your E-Sylum
   editor, Wayne Homren. This is exactly the caliber of person
   it takes to become a candidate for membership.  And in no
   small part have you, the subscribers to E-Sylum, thrust on
   Wayne the responsibility he so adequately fulfills.  Wayne
   helped bring us old-timers and numismatics into the 21st
   century with his electronic medium!

   I don't believe Ken Rendell's feet touch the ground -- he is still
   in constant motion.  My last phone call with him had to be
   scheduled in advance with his secretary and it came from a
   cell phone in a taxicab in New York City between trips with
   clients, auction houses and his retail establishment on 57th
   Street in NYC.  He has long since reached the pinnacle in his
   second chosen field, that of autographs and documents.  His
   first love was coins, as it was with that small group of
   youngsters over fifty years ago!"

   [You never know what E-Sylum readers will come up with.
   That was very interesting.  All I had in mind to mention was
   Rendell's Fixed Price List on Hard Times Tokens.  I wonder
   if Ken has one of those in his files?   I know I do, but I'm
   having trouble locating it.  It's in one of my ephemera binders,
   I just don't know which one...   I don't think I've seen
   Rendell's large cent FPL.  Heck, I may already have one of
   those somewhere, too.  -Editor]


   Alan Luedeking writes: "Mr. Daniel III wrote "I am searching
   for references and/or articles about any pre-Spanish "money"
   or barter pieces." I assume he means of the New World and
   not of mainland Spain prior to the unification.  If so, I can
   recommend the following three works:

   Medina, José Toribio; "Monedas Usadas por los Indios de
   América al Tiempo del Descubrimiento Según los Antiguos
   Documentos y los Cronistas Españoles"; Buenos Aires, 1912.
   This is an offprint from "Actas del XVIIo Congreso
   Internacional de Americanistas," (Gresham's MNR-16), and,

   Pradeau, Alberto Francisco; "Numismatic History of México
   from the Pre-Columbian Epoch to 1823"; Los Angeles, 1938,
   pages 9-22, and,

   Cuadra Cea, Prof. Luis [ed.]; "Aspectos Históricos de la
   Moneda en Nicaragua," Volume I, Banco Central de
   Nicaragua, Managua, June, 1963, pages 1-11.

   The first work is very scarce, the second is not hard to get
   and is very worthwhile (in fact, I see George Kolbe has three
   examples for sale on his list), and the third is downright rare.
   If Mr. Daniel III would like further info he is welcome to
   contact me at alan at"


   Bill Rosenblum writes: "To add to the story of Mark Hoffman
   one should also note that he claims to have made the
   controversial 1959 Wheat Ears Lincoln cent. This is the coin
   that many of the leading authentication and grading services
   claim as a fake, but the Secret Service has authenticated as
   genuine. It was subject to a dispute between a number of
   people and a PNG arbitration panel decided it should be
   auctioned off by Ira and Larry Goldberg.  The coin was to
   be sold in the pre Long Beach sale last fall (as-is!). Just
   before the auction Hoffman claimed that he had made the
   coin and the coin was withdrawn. I'm not sure of all the
   details, someone who is more familiar with US coins can
   probably tell us more.


   Bill Rosenblum adds: "However, murderers and
   counterfeiters as one are not new.  The late Frank Lapa
   was one. Frank was perhaps one of  the most knowledgeable
   US dealers in foreign coins in the 1960's and early 70's but
   had many flaws.  He was a  counterfeiter and maker of
   fantasies of many different coins, among them rare Russian
   wire money.

   At the 1973 Boston ANA I had a beautiful gold wire coin
   that a client had given me on consignment. I showed it to a
   potential customer and his first words to me were, "Ah, a
   Lapa."  A year or so later he wrote me a letter (these were
   the days way before the fax and email) asking me how much
   I would pay for a 1947 Palestine coin, (A very rare date,
   most of which were melted due to the impending
   independence of Israel). While the letter did not specifically
   say it, it sounded like if I offered Frank enough money he
   would make it for me.

   Sadly, not too long after that Frank was arrested for the
   murder of his ex-partner in California."

   [I feel compelled to add that opinions expressed are
   those of the writers and not the Numismatic Bibliomania
   Society.   Interesting, though.  Can anyone provide us with
   references to the Lapa counterfeits or his arrest?   Was he
   convicted?  -Editor]


   John Dembinski writes: "Regarding the Dec. 8, 2002 article,
   "Why Do Books Cost So Much?", I would just like to say that,
   personally, I rarely buy books at retail prices, just as I rarely
   buy coins at retail prices.  As with coins, so with books -- the
   "sticker shock" is unbelievable!

   I have turned to auctions at the local clubs that I belong to for
   buying coins for my collection.  For books, I have subscribed
   to Edward R. Hamilton Bookseller, Falls Village, CT  06031.
   Web address   Their mail
   order catalog is free, sent out about once a month or so, and
   is jam-packed with thousands of titles, covering every subject
   under the sun, including a collectibles section (with some
   numismatic reference books) at discounted prices!  And the
   shipping costs only $3.50 regardless of how many books you

   This is the way I buy most of my books anymore.  The only
   time I buy books at a retail outlet is when I see a "bargain
   books" sign.  I recently purchased a book this way titled
   "Mythology - The Illustrated Anthology of World Myth and
   Story Telling", edited by C. Scott Littleton, a huge volume
   that measures 11"x 9"x 2" with 688 pages (profusely illustrated!)
   For 20 bucks!  You just can't beat a deal like that.  No more
   "sticker shock" for this fella!   Kiss those outrageous sticker
   prices goodbye!  Try the Hamilton catalog.  You'll like what
   you see!"

   [Everyone loves a bargain, and if you don't mind waiting for
   a title to go out of print and wind up in the remainder bin,
   waiting is a reasonable strategy.  I comb the Hamilton catalog
   too, and have picked up a few numismatic titles I needed
   on the cheap.  But few numismatic books are printed in runs
   so large that many copies would be remaindered.  While I've
   purchased many nice new hardbound copies of outdated
   editions of books such as some of the Krause catalogs, I've
   yet to see something like Dave Bowers' Gold Rush History
   remaindered.  That's a book that like his Silver Dollar
   Encyclopedia will likely bring multiples of the issue price
   once it goes out of print.  -Editor]


   From Italy, Ferdinando Bassoli adds: "Please remind your
   gentle correspondent and associate Howard A.Daniel III that
   (as the old Horace said) "carmina non dant panem" (poetry
   doesn't bring bread) ...

   Ron Haller-Williams writes:  "There's an old Welsh folk song
   that may be relevant to the quote from Horace.  It translates

        In the Vale of Llangollen the tale is told still
        Of a hapless old harper who lived on the hill
        Till his harp "bread and sup" could so seldom provide
        That in cold cruel want and starvation he died.
        Yet his funeral feast was so plenteous a store,
        'Twould have kept him alive for a twelvemonth or more!"


   John and Nancy Wilson of Ocala, Florida write: "We want
   to wish all of you and your families a healthy, happy, safe
   and prosperous New Year."

   Thanks, folks, and let me add my wishes for a great new
   year as well.  Volume 5 of The E-Sylum is now history,
   and it was another fun and interesting year.  Thanks also
   to our contributors, whose emailed submissions are what
   make this publication possible.  Keep those missives,
   coming, everyone!  -Editor.


   This week's featured web site is the E-Sylum Archive.
   Thanks to the diligent efforts of volunteer Bruce Purdue,
   our archive is kept up-to-date year round.  All past issues
   of The E-Sylum may be found here, and there is a search
   engine to help locate previously published items.  If you
   have some time, peruse the back issues, particularly issues
   published before you subscribed -- you just might find
   something of interest you missed before.   Just go to the
   NBS web site and click on the "E-Sylum Archive" link.

  Wayne Homren
  Numismatic Bibliomania Society

  The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a
  non-profit organization promoting numismatic
  literature.   For more information please see
  our web site at
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