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whomren at whomren at
Sun Sep 15 19:30:03 PDT 2002

Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 5, Number 37, September 15, 2002:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2002, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Sender: esylum-owner at
Precedence: bulk


   We have one new subscriber this week:  Lisa Herrington of
   Littleton Coin Co.  Welcome aboard!   Our subscriber count
   is now 488.

   Announcement:  Soon the E-Sylum will be switching to an
   automated email server, freeing your editor from a number
   of administrative tasks.  The only noticeable change is that
   people will subscribe and unsubscribe to the mailing list
   automatically by sending an email request.  Instructions
   will be published when the switchover is effective.  Now
   back to our regularly scheduled programming...


   Dick Johnson writes: "For a research project on the patinas
   of art medals, the former foreman of the finishing department
   at Medallic Art Company for nearly two decades has agreed
   to be interviewed.  He was the one who created the many
   patinas to be put on selected art medals, including The Society
   of Medalists issues, for art medals made by this firm in the
   1950s thru 1970s.   He is going to reveal how these patinas,
   and previous Society issues, were created.   We have a
   complete set to show him to ascertain these patinas.

   In addition, he created all the patinas for the Presidential Art
   Medal series, The Great Religions of the World, issued
   1971-1973 all by sculptor Ralph J. Menconi and struck by
   Medallic Art Company.  Each of the 25 medals in the series
   had a different color patina.  But it appears most people
   ordered only their own religion; we have been unable to
   locate a complete 25-medal set.

   We need to borrow (or purchase, if necessary) a complete
   set of these 25 medals. Or if the owner would like to bring
   these to the interview (in southern Connecticut) they would
   never be out of  sight (and he or she could learn of this
   important information). The interview is scheduled to take
   place Friday afternoon, October 25, 2002.

   E-Sylum readers often perform miracles in locating unusual
   numismatic items.  I hope someone can help in this very
   important research project. Please contact me at:
   dick.johnson at or call (860) 567-0431 day or night."


   Darryl Atchison writes: "Recently while reading Hoare Auction
   sale no. 72 (Jan. 2002),  I noticed that  they had a notation
   referring to nine auction appearances of this exceptionally rare
   token.  I have accounted for six of these, as follows:

   1)  Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge - Murdoch collection -
        July 1903
   2)  Lyman Low - Frank Benson Sherman collection -
        July 1904
   3)  Wayte Raymond - W.W.C. Wilson collection -
        Nov. 1925
   4)  Max Mehl - William Forrester Dunham collection -
        June 1941
   5)  New Netherlands et al - A.N.A. sale -Aug. 1952
   6)  Jeffrey Hoare Auctions - sale no. 72 - Jan. 2002

   The cataloguer of the Hoare sale states that other
   appearances in the Nov. 1926 and Nov. 1927 W.W.C.
   Wilson sales also by  Wayte Raymond.  Also they refer to
   a [P.M.] Wickham collection sold in 1947 but they do not
   mention  the auction house which ran the sale.

   Could our readers please check their copies of the
   Raymond sales for Nov. 26, Nov. 27, and also May
   1928 to verify if specimens of this token were indeed in
   those sales?   It seems incredible that Wilson could have
   had as  many as 50% of the suspected population of these

   Also, if anyone has information on the Wickham sale I would
   be pleased to hear from them.

   Just to be absolutely sure of ourselves, I am talking about
   Breton 956 which is the McAuslane token from Newfoundland
   and not the McAusland token which  is from Prince Edward
   Island.    Thank you, once again for your assistance."


    I've spent some more time with Dave Bowers' new book,
    "More Adventures With Rare Coins".   It is one of the few
    numismatic books that is much more than a reference - it
    is a book for reading from cover to cover.

   As a collection of chapters on disparate topics, it lends
   itself well to the furtive, piecemeal reading habits of many
   of us living in today's time-sliced, cellphone world.

   It's hard to pick just one favorite "Adventure", as the
   chapters are labeled.  There are many reasons to like
   each.   As a longtime collector of U.S. encased postage
   stamps, I enjoyed #41, "Drake's Plantation Bitters."
   As a collector of counterstamped U.S. coins I also
   greatly enjoyed #39, "Little Billboard of a Bygone Era"
   and #27, "The Numismatic Legacy of  Yankee Robinson"

   Number 42, "The 'Too Classic' 1915-S Panama-Pacific
   $50" is another gem.  I was delighted to see the photo
   of Farran Zerbe's "Money of the World" exhibit booth.
   Similarly, I was fascinated to see the photo of the
   Philadelphia Mint exhibit at the Columbian Exposition of
   1893 in #28, 'The Story of the 1892 Columbian Half

   Dave's done it yet again - the book is a gem and a true
   service to numismatics.  May he have the longevity of
   Florida numismatist Bob Hendershott (104 and going
   strong).   I suspect that no matter how many years Dave
   continues to research and write about numismatics, he'll
   never run out of interesting topics.  -Editor


   Steve Pellegrini writes: "In Luigi Pedalino's 'Numismatist'
   article about philanthropist Peter Cooper, he includes a large
   group photo taken in front of the Cooper Union.  The
   occasion is the 1907 dedication of Saint-Gaudens'
   memorial statue of Cooper.   The author states in the photo's
   caption that sculptor Saint-Gaudens is present somewhere
   in that large crowd.  Of course I was immediately curious
   to see if I could find the artist's exact location.  Naked eye,
   magnifying glass and 17x loupe were all of little help although
   I did think the aspect and stance of a slight figure standing at
   the left of the monument's pediment seemed eerily familiar.
   The figure is attired in a European cut suit and hat far more
   stylish than his rather dowdy academic neighbors.

   Remembering the digital kiddy-cam microscope I'd recently
   bought on an E-Sylum tip,  I decided to use it for a (much)
   closer look. Sure enough,  there stood the dapper
   Saint-Gaudens standing directly at the west corner of the
   monument with his arm raised in a "here I am" wave -- at
   least it appears that way to me.  Did anyone else with too
   much time on his or her hands bother to search for
   Saint-Gaudens in this photo?"


   Andy Lustig writes: "I picked up a neat book this weekend,
   "Manuel Du Commerce" by Pierre Jeanrenaud, published in
   1859.  It's a bankers’ guide to the coinage of the world, with
   illustrations, weights and fineness.  I don't suppose it's much
   of a bibliomaniacal treasure, but it does have some pretty
   cool coin drawings, my favorite being an 1831 Capped Bust
   Dollar!  It reminds me of another book I saw a while back
   that contained an illustration of a 1793 Flowing Hair Dollar.
   Naturally, this all leads me to wonder what other fictional
   coins are illustrated in similar works.  Perhaps our gang would
   like to compile a list?"

   [Sounds like fun.  The Evans' "History of the U.S. Mint"
   playfully included an illustration of an entire tray full of
   1804 dollars.  Although that many of them don't exist, it is
   a "real" coin.   I also recall that some editions of the Heath
   Counterfeit Detectors illustrate specimen notes which never
   saw circulation.  Other examples, anyone? -Editor]


   In response to Kavan Ratnatunga's query, Howard A. Daniel
   III writes: "NCLT (Non Circulating Legal Tender) coins
   (and notes) are frequently produced in Southeast Asia in
   large to low numbers.  For those NCLT made in very low
   numbers and often in other than "normal" metals or paper,
   the term "Presentation Pieces" is frequently used for them,
   and they were made going back a couple of hundred years
   in Southeast Asia.

   But then there are some very low numbers of pieces made
   by employees for their personal profit and they are called
   "Sports".  I do not know when this name was developed,
   but they are often found in price lists and auction catalogs
   as "official" errors.  But most of the modern Southeast
   Asian "errors" are really sports.   I hope the above has not
   confused anyone."

   Steve Pellegrini adds: "on reading Kavan Ratnatunga's query
   about a more precise term for the Lankan restrikes he
   describes, the term 'Novodel' came immediately to mind.
   Novodels were special coins produced by the Russian Royal
   Mint in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.  They were
   struck on demand for sale or presentation to favored collectors.
   These favored collectors were almost exclusively of the
   Russian aristocracy. As one would expect of a Russian Count
   or Duke with a hole in his Whitman Folder he would present
   the Mintmaster with an order for whatever date, denomination
   and composition of coin he desired. If the dies were extant,
   fine, if not, new ones were cut.  If the coin in question were
   so rare that nobody remembered or ever knew how it looked,
   then an approximation was produced.  Many Novodels were
   struck of rare dates in off metals, some were of dates which
   had never existed, but which the noble collector felt should
   have existed. The characteristic most Novodels shared (aside
   from rarity) is whimsy. It appears that in the area of
   manufactured rarities the Russian Mint put even the
   Philadelphia Mint in far the shade."


   This week, Kavan Ratnatunga adds: "The non-english words
   "essais" and "provas" are used in Krause without definition.
   Do they have precise numismatic meaning, and are they the
   same or in some way different from these terms - ?

   Pattern - official design that did not go into production.

   Trial   - coin with some Test mark identifying them as a Test
   piece. A uniface strike also indicates it obviously a Trial

   OMS  - off-metal-strike of a regular coin in circulation
   with no other markings

   I could not figure why "essais" and "provas" are Trial or OMS,
   or different.  Krause as usual does not seem to be consistent."


   Dick Johnson writes: "Last week I wrote that the best way to
   glean numismatic information from city directory research is to
   create "strings" about a person or business -- to search a run
   of directories by year until you can identify when a listing starts
   and when it stops.

   This week let's talk about where to find city directories. If you
   live within commuting distance of seven American cities, you
   are, indeed, fortunate.  For in each of these cities is a large
   collection of city directories.

   * In Washington DC are three such libraries:  the Library of
      Congress, the DAR library, and the National Archives.

   * In Worcester Massachusetts, the American Antiquarian
      Society library has a collection that might even surpass all
      others. A bibliography was once compiled of all early
      American city directories, AAS had all those listed, save

   Other cities with large collections:

   * Salt Lake City, the Family History Library.
   * Boston, the New England Historic & Genealogical Society
   * New York City, the New York Public Library.
   * Chicago, the Newberry Library.
   * Fort Wayne, Indiana, the Allen County Public Library.

   Almost every large city library has a run of their own city's
   directories, and perhaps a neighboring large city or two.
   State libraries usually have all for the cities in their state.

   Only rarely will you be able to use original bound volumes.
   Most all will furnish either microfiche or microfilm rolls. You
   will have to learn how to use the reader machines for each
   of these. Modern readers have a photocopy device attached.
   Find a page, center it on the screen, drop a coin in the device
   and seconds later you have a photocopy of the photographed
   image (other libraries have an honor system, they will accept
   your count and payment).

   Granted, you are two generations away from the original, and
   all the streaks from years of use of the film will be reproduced
   as well. But you do get an image, and that saves you from
   manual copying.  I learned to carry a roll of quarters and a
   notebook to record exactly what I was looking for and note
   which entries I had checked (or photocopied).

   Learn to thread the microfilm into the machine yourself
   (generally the fiche and rolls are self-service). For rolls start the

   machine at slow speed even if you want something at the end
   of the roll.   If you jam the film, ask for help from the attendant
   (don't try to fix it yourself).  You never want to break the film
   (this requires a splice or to replace the roll).

   This is how a pair of researchers compiled the most useful
   book on early American Artists (up to the Civil War):  George
   C. Groce and David H. Wallace. Their book, "The New-York
   Historical Society's Dictionary of Artists in America" published
   by Yale University Press, 1957.

   From learning the "strings" of artists in both city directories
   and business directories they next went to Census records,
   and then other sources. From all this they could glean dates
   of birth and death, then added as much biographical data
   they found or deemed useful for such an artist directory.

   What does that directory have to do with numismatics?
   Plenty. I have found 246 of the artists listed in G&W
   engraved coins or medals, or prepared their designs
   (and are included in my directory of American artists of
   coins and medals). All the early die engravers are included,
   all the mint engravers, all the engravers at private firms.
   It is very accurate information in G&W (I have found only
   one transposed date!).

   Here is what the authors say about city directories:
   "Probably no single source has provided more artists'
   names than the directories of towns, cities, counties,
   states, and regions, of which the first appeared in Boston,
   New York, and Philadelphia shortly before the end of the
   18th century.  In some cases directories provide the only
   information we have, while in others they provide a fairly
   reliable chronological and geographical framework on
   which to hang otherwise unrelated information from
   other sources."

   Next week I will discuss further numismatic use of
   data from city directory research."


   Dick also pointed out an article from the September 10,
   2002 issue of The New York Times.  The article discusses
   collector attitudes toward new coin designs.  Dick writes:
   "The thought that comes to me is:  numismatics does not
   speak with a unified voice.  Ask a dozen numismatists and
   you get a dozen different viewpoints.   And I am not satisfied
   with any statement the American Numismatic Association
   states (which should be the voice for all of us in the field).

   Should not a study be made of the future of coins and what
   denominations are required before we start squabbling
   about whose portrait should appear on them?   Personally, I
   see dropping both the cent and the nickel in a future economy.
   But I believe coins should be struck in one, five, ten and
   twenty dollar denominations with dime and half dollar fractional
   denominations.  I suggest coins be created in the same
   denominations as paper money, and the portraits for these new
   coins should be the same person (not necessarily the same
   portrait -- it is a different kind of art -- that the notes bear!
   Quarters?  Souvenirs of the future!"

   Here are a few excerpts from the article by Lynette
   Clemetson, headlined "Penny in Their Thoughts: Two
   Camps Debate New Look for Coins":

   "Change is good. But changing change, as the United
   States Mint is finding out, may prove to be tricky business.

   The mint wants to make over America's pocket change,
   replacing Thomas Jefferson's beloved Monticello from the
   nickel with an image of Lewis and Clark's expedition, and
   possibly retiring Abraham Lincoln from the penny and
   Franklin D. Roosevelt from the dime.

   Traditionalists are reluctant. But coin collectors are cheering.
   After all, they are the ones who got the debate rolling,
   arguing that the United States' coins are boring."

   "Some coin collectors have advocated redesigns that
   eliminate presidents altogether, in favor of thematic
   depictions of liberty and history.

   "I'm not trying to put down dead dignitaries, but the public
   wants to see something new to stimulate pride and interest,
   not just in coins, but in history," said Fred Weinberg,
   former president of the Professional Numismatists Guild,
   which represents more than 300 coin dealers around the
   world. "In the coin fraternity, this is hot news."

   The idea has drawn a chilly response from presidential
   supporters. The redesign report was originally released a
   year ago, in August 2001, but became the focus of debate
   this summer when officials at the Treasury Department put
   forth preliminary plans for a new nickel that would replace
   Monticello with a Lewis and Clark design.

   The suggestion stirred the outrage of Virginians.
   Representative Eric Cantor, Republican of Virginia, with
   support of other Virginia lawmakers and Monticello
   enthusiasts, introduced and pushed through legislation in
   the House that would allow for a temporary three-year
   commemorative redesign, provided that Monticello return
   to the coin in 2006."


   Bob Knepper writes: "Suggestions will be appreciated of
   where to borrow or buy a copy of this book:

   "Die Medaillen und Münzen der Wild- und Rheingrafen
   Fürsten zu Salm", by Paul Joseph.  Original 1914, reprint
   1975.  This is #9534 in "Numismatic Bibliography" by

   I recently discovered that a few of the coins of small
   German line Salm-Kyrburg in 1780 have the "wildmen"
   which I collect.   Some other books list the coins but I
   hope this book will give more details.  The coins are
   rare so I may or may not, be able to buy some, but I
   would like to give the details in "Wildmen of the World"
   which I hope to sometime publish.

   Neither the ANA nor NI have this book.  I do not get
   to New York to use the ANS.   I have not yet queried
   European dealers but it was not in some numismatic
   literature catalogs.  Thank you."

   [Bob may be reached at: Bob at  The
    organizations referenced are: American Numismatic
    Association (ANA),  Numismatics International (NI),
    and American Numismatic Society (ANS).


   Howard A. Daniel III writes that a non-numismatist friend
   sent the following definition to him:

   "nummary (NUM-uh-ree) adjective.  Pertaining to coins
   or money.  [From Latin nummarius, from nummus (coin).]

   "`Originally the nummary Denomination of Silver,' observed
   William Douglass, a physician who commented on economic
   affairs,  seems to have been the same as its Weight ...'"
   Elizabeth E Dunn, `Grasping at the Shadow': The
   Massachusetts Currency Debate, The New England
   Quarterly (Boston), Mar 1998."

   The definition came from the Word A Day email from which we've cited before in The
   E-Sylum.  He notes that the web site also has a dictionary
   "which appears to be VERY extensive."  Howard found
   this site to be very interesting and that it would be very
   useful to him and  might be to other NBS members too.

   [Interesting word, but as a numismatic bibliophile, I'm even
   more interested in the mentioned citation.  A web search
   found a number of references to the Dunn article, but
   unfortunately the text seems to be unavailable, even on
   the New England Quarterly web site (see

   Has anyone read the article, or have access to the journal?
   I'll see if offprints or back issues are available from the
   publisher.  -Editor]


   In response to last week's pieces about electronic money,
   Stephen Pradier writes: "I am a firm believer in going cashless
   and coinless. Back in 1987 debit cards were in wide use on
   the West Coast years before they made it over to the East
   Coast.   I thought it amazing to be able to make a purchase
   from your personal bank account with plastic as opposed to
   using a credit card.

   In Arizona, the debit cards were different colors (from the
   same bank), allowing merchants to have some idea of the
   customers standing at the bank.  Arizona is fairly transient
   with tourists and retirees (snowbirds) so a debit card was
   more widely accepted than a paper check.

   Ever since debit cards were made available on the East
   Coast, around 1996/1997, I have never had a red cent or a
   greenback on my person.  Now I only collect coins and
   paper and never spend them.

   Plastic money is accepted everywhere --  Colonel Sanders,
   the grocery, pizza orders, taxi cabs, the US Post Office
   (they even give you cash back if you want it) and most of
   all the Internet merchants.  Individuals can also accept
   plastic or electronic money via Bill Payment services like
   PayPal, C2IT, Billpoint, etc. You name it they take it.

   Plastic money comes in all kinds of colors and motifs.
   Cards produced with your favorite pastime, like Beer
   Drinkers, Shooters, NFL, Golf, Birds, Cats, Trees, and
   Spider Man to name a few. What's more, you are no
   longer limited to a plastic card.   They come as Wands,
   Key Chains, and New Wave shapes.   I have yet to see
   a card that had the appearance of money.

   It may yet take awhile for the U.S. to go cashless, much
   like trying to go paperless.  Some people just love the
   look, feel and smell of real money."

   In the opposite court is David Davis, who writes: "I find
   the discussions about the demise of coins and currency
   interesting to read or listen to but can't get very excited.
   The past prognostications haven't been very reliable and,
   while it may be shortsighted, who cares?  The coins and
   currency I collect was all made over 70 years ago.  I am
   more concerned with the fact that more firms in many
   different fields are either going to or using CDs to replace
   catalogs.  I like the printed forms and find it inconvenient
   to have to go to the computer to look something up.  Is
   this just another go around on the elimination of paper?
   In business computers only added to the paperwork


   According to a new study published in a letter to the
   journal Nature,  Euro coin users may get blisters -
   their high nickel content is giving people with allergies
   rashes and blisters after contact.

   "There's another complaint against some euro coins -- they
   cause skin irritation in people who are sensitive to nickel.

   Scientists at the University of Zurich studied the phenomenon
   by taping one- and two-euro coins to the skin of patients with
   nickel allergies. After 48 to 72 hours, all the patients showed
   a strong allergic reaction, including redness and blisters.

   The researchers say these coins [the two-Euro] cause more
   irritation than other coins with similar levels of nickel, and they
   think they know why.

   The one- and two-euro coins are made with a ring of one
   metallic alloy surrounding a central "pill" of another alloy.
   Both alloys contain nickel.

   When the coins are exposed to sweaty hands, ions flow
   between the two compounds, which generates a tiny electrical
   charge, and makes both metals corrode faster than they would
   by themselves.

   The amount of nickel released can be more than 300 times
   the levels permitted under European Union regulations. The
   scientists confirmed the effect by soaking coins in artificial
   human sweat.

   The reaction also takes its toll on the coins:  They changed
   color and showed signs of corrosion."

   See also the December 2, 2001 E-Sylum (v4n49) for an earlier
   item on this topic.  -Editor]


   This week's featured web site is the American Numismatic
   Association's online exhibit of the currencies of Imperial

  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
  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

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