The E-Sylum v6#52, December 7, 2003

whomren at whomren at
Sun Dec 7 18:34:47 PST 2003

Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 6, Number 52, December 7, 2003:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2003, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


   On this date in 1941, also a Sunday, the Japanese attacked
   the U.S. Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.  "The 7 December
   1941 Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor was one of the great
   defining moments in history. A single carefully-planned and
   well-executed stroke removed the United States Navy's
   battleship force as a possible threat to the Japanese Empire's
   southward expansion. America, unprepared and now
   considerably weakened, was abruptly brought into the
   Second World War as a full combatant."  From:

   The Pearl Harbor attack had a direct effect on U.S.
   numismatics in the form of the Hawaii overprint notes of


   Dr. K. A.  Rodgers of  Auckland, New Zealand writes:
   "Greg Burns suggested I send you an e-mail.  I had
   written him as follows:

   "2004 is the sixtieth year since the San Francisco Mint last
   struck coins for Australia. It struck coins in 1942, 43 and
   44 during World War II.

   I am putting together a piece on the Mints of San Francisco
   for an Australian coin magazine to commemorate the
   occasion.  I have received several excellent images from
   various American numismatists but am anxious to try and
   get something truly spectacular of the World War II mint
   building as a high resolution image we might use as a cover
   illustration.  I have seen several such on the web that would
   seem to be aerial views looking obliquely across the mint
   building.  However, I am at pains not to breach other people's

   Can you perhaps help me?  ... if not directly then can you
   steer me to someone who might assist?"


   An informal regional meeting of the Numismatic Bibliomania
   Society has been scheduled for 1:00PM Saturday, May 8,
   2004 during the Central States Convention in Milwaukee
   (May 6-9, 2004).   NBS President Pete Smith will preside
   at the meeting.  If you are an NBS member and are planning
   to attend the show, please put the meeting on your calendar.
   If you would be willing to give a presentation to the group
   about numismatic literature or research, please contact NBS
   Secretary-Treasurer W. David Perkins at
   wdperki at


   Steve Pellegrini writes: "I just received my issue of The
   Asylum and want to congratulate all involved. It is an
   outstanding issue.

   Like any other on-going publication not every issue is a hit.
   But this one is.  I hope that Pete Smith has enough material
   for another article taking us along Dick Johnson's years at
   Medallic Art Co.  This is fascinating and important numismatic
   history. While we have a great many memoirs of coin collectors
   and dealers we are sadly lacking in material on the key figures
   in the field of Medals.  You need only flip through the pages
   of any Johnson & Jenson auction catalogue and read some of
   his lot descriptions to get an inkling of just how broad is Dick's
   knowledge of this often obscure field.

   A few years back I think I mentioned in E-Sylum how important
   and immediate it is to collect and preserve the recollections of
   our major numismatists. Pete Smith's foresight in listening and
   recording Dick Johnson as he 'blue skys' is exactly the
   appropriate modal.  Couldn't we mail mini-recorders and a
   pound of Starbucks and/or a fifth to our veteran Illustrati? We
   would include a SASE to make retrieval of their memoirs all the
   more convenient.  We would certainly get more historical value,
   more bang for the buck than by contributing to yet another
   building fund created by our Numis-politicos.

   I'm sure that every subscriber of this Newsletter has a short
   list of the living people they feel has had the greatest impact
   on numismatics. Those few whose knowledge & experiences
   we can least afford to lose.  My list would include in addition
   to Dick Johnson, George Fuld, Gunther Keinast, Christopher
   Eimer, Joe Levine and Paul Bosco. I believe Dave Bowers
   would have pride of place on most lists.  It would be interesting
   to see who would appear on the short lists of other members.

   I have been selling my duplicate Numismatists and have been
   re-reading them as I go. The Fulds, father & son, had a byline
   in the 50s.   I do think that it would be very interesting to learn
   how the two managed to coordinate all their research, books
   and regular columns while living in two different cities - with only
   snail mail and a telephone."


   Steve Pellegrini writes: "In the current issue of the Asylum it is
   mentioned that this issue may be the last in which past issues
   are offered. Has an Articles Index ever been prepared?  Even
   a bare bones listing of Articles would certainly help the individual
   to ID which issues would be most interesting or useful.  If there
   is such an index would you include info or a link in The E-Sylum?

   [There is a copy of an Asylum index on the NBS web site,
   courtesy of compiler Bill Malkmus and webmaster Bruce Perdue.  Click on Publications.  Then click
   on Subject Index or Author Index.   Indices have been published
   in past issues of The Asylum.  With our 25th anniversary coming
   next year, Bill is already working on a completed updated version.
   So stay tuned.  -Editor]


   John W. Adams writes: "On Tuesday, December 2nd, the
   American Numismatic Society Library was dedicated to Harry
   W. Bass, Jr.  Most of you know Harry as an avid collector of
   numismatic books on his own but only a few of you appreciate
   his success in bringing modern technology to the greatest
   numismatic library of all. This accomplishment, along with
   many others, was described movingly by Frank Campbell, his
   friend of 33 years. The large audience then repaired to the 5th
   floor of the new ANS building, where Harry's widow, Mrs.
   Doris Bass, accompanied by her sons David and Michael
   Calhoun, cut the ceremonial ribbon. Skeptics might say that
   the event will be little noted nor long remembered.  However,
   for bibliophiles, the celebration of one of its most honored
   own in a stunning new facility combined for a truly memorable


   Just after we all breathed a sigh of relief over the Crestline
   fire, there was another close call at the American Numismatic
   Association library in Colorado Springs, CO.   It was the
   Sunday before Thanksgiving (November 23). ANA Education
   Director Gail Baker came in to her office that day and heard
   the sound of running water.  A pipe had burst on a heat
   exchanger, and water was flowing in the basement section of
   the library.  Help was called quickly and the water shut off.
   It is believed that the pipe had burst about an hour before it
   was discovered.

   Although the event could have been a catastrophe for the
   catalog section of the library, damage was minimal and nothing
   irreplaceable was lost.  The area sustaining the most damage
   held videotapes of Numismatic Theatre presentations.  A few
   other boxes of recently donated material, which had been
   temporarily stored on the floor were also damaged.  A disaster
   recovery company swooped in to salvage the damaged material,
   which was quick-frozen and dried out again.  It is believed that
   that video tapes are fine - only the paper inserts in the cases
   were lost.

   The rare book room and main section of the library were
   never in danger, thankfully.  Librarian Nancy Green has
   probably sprouted a grey hair or two, but we all have
   something new to be thankful for.  Hats off to Gail for her
   fortuitous discovery.   The ANA is investigating the
   installation of water sensors to immediately alert the staff
   should something like this happen in the future.


   Len Augsburger writes: "The commercial web site
   now offers fully searchable text of the New York Times and
   Washington Post back into the 1800s.  Local libraries may
   have subscriptions where you can access this for free.  I tried it
   at the Maryland Historical Society this Friday & quickly found a
   ton of leads on topics of interest.  The constant explosion of
   electronic resources really  demands that you keep rechecking
   the Internet periodically for any research you have in progress."


   Joseph Lasser, of New York, who admits to being
   "sufficiently computer and typing illiterate" forwarded the
   following item via "snail mail" this summer.  Your editor
   is only now getting a chance to type it up.  He adds,
   "The E-Sylum gives me a weekly lift."  Sorry for the delay.
   Here goes:

   William Swann, the New York bookseller, offered a copy
   of Lord Anson's "A Voyage Around the World in the Years
   MDCCXL, I, II, III, IV" at auction, I wanted it because I had
   several "Lima" minted from Anson's booty.

   Successfully bid -- in due course, the book arrived at my
   home carefully packed -- very carefully packed -- because
   it was in miserable condition.  The spine was broken; the front
   and back covers had fallen off and were stained and split;
   several sections of pages were detached; the engravings of
   scenes and the maps were discolored and improperly folded,
   etc. etc.  Overall, it was a mess; completely useless as a book.

   What could be done?  I made a call to a recognized conservator,
   Jeff Rigby, and asked what I should do.  His reply was simple
   and direct.  "The book is an antique.  Have someone make a
   book box labeled "Anson's Voyage."  Put the book in the box
   and place it on a bookshelf."

   Dismayed, I replied "I bought the book to read about Anson's
   adventure.  I don't want a book box ornament.  His response
   was "You made a mistake.  Antique books are no longer antique
   if you recondition them."  "But, Jeff, I want to read about Anson.
   My coins will have much more meaning,"  "Sorry, Joe, you'll
   no longer have an antique."

  We argued the pros and cons and I won.  Jeff said he would
   restore the book and give it a presentation binding.  I sent it to
   him and four months later it was at my home again -- pristine --
   at a cost of more than the book itself.

   -- And I've had the pleasure of reading a well written and well
   illustrated history of Anson's four year round the world expedition
   to South America, Manilla and Canton; then back to England.

   My book, no longer is an antique but it has brought my coins
   to life -- and it even may become an antique again in another
   hundred years.


   During a web search Christine Smith found Pete Smith's
   online exhibit on the NBS site about an ancestor of hers,
   coin dealer and publisher A. M. Smith.   I put her in touch
   with Pete and he forwarded her a good deal of information.
   She writes: "This is a brief  note of thanks for putting me in
   touch with Pete Smith, from whom I heard this morning.
   I am both appreciative and excited to be able to receive so
   much information about my family.

   This is very much thanks to your kindness in forwarding my
   request to Pete: I am most grateful!"


   David Gladfelter writes: "I received a greeting card today
   from a real old time numismatist, and New Jersey historian,
   Bill Dewey. Bill writes: "I'm doing fairly well for a "young"
   man of 98!  I spend part of my time in the summer on the
   deck here in the sunshine, and by the lovely fireplace in the
   wintertime. Your cards and notes are very much appreciated,
   and I enjoy hearing about your lives and families.  My very
   best wishes to you for a very Merry Christmas and a
   Happy New Year."

   Bill was the ANA librarian in the 1940s and is a Krause
   Numismatic Ambassador. His address is: Woodcliff Lake
   Manor, 555 Chestnut Ridge Road, Woodcliff Lake, N. J.

   [I'm sure Bill would be glad to receive cards from well-
   wishers among our E-Sylum readers.   -Editor]


   Alison Frankel writes: "I just wanted to thank you for running
   my query. I just heard from an e-sylumite who collects Woodin
   memorabilia, which should help me a lot.  Thanks again. I love
   the newsletter."


   Chris Fuccione was the first to respond with a correct answer
   to last week's question about the oldest continuously operating
   museum in Manhattan.  Gar Travis was a close second with this
   reply: "The New-York Historical Society, which was formed in
   1804, runs the oldest museum in the city and is the
   second-oldest historical society in the country."

   David Klinger adds: "It is located at: 2 West 77th Street at
   Central Park West  (212) 873-3400"

   [So what's the oldest continuously operating museum in the
   country?  The Peabody Essex Museum of Salem, MA.
   From their web site:  "This museum is one of New England's
   largest and specializes in early American decorative arts and
   Federal period architecture. Begun in 1799 by seafaring
   entrepreneurs, it is the country's oldest continuously
   operating museum."   -Editor]


   About the "Reminiscences of Frederick Ayer", Fred Reed
   writes: "The important things to remember about Fred Ayer

   (1) he was General George S. Patton's father-in-law
   (2) he does not mention encased stamps in his book
   (3) another copy of the rare book will be in the Ford book
        sale by Kolbe, since the copy I used for my book,
        Civil War Encased Stamps, was Ford's"


   David Fanning writes: "Does anybody know what caused
   the animosity between J.W. Scott and Ed. Frossard?
   Frossard was the editor of Scott's "Coin Collector's Journal"
   for its first year, at the end of which he left and started his
   own publication, "Numisma." Based on Frossard's comments
   over the next several years in "Numisma," he and Scott did
   not part on the best of terms and it was no secret that he
   thought Scott a poor numismatist. However, I've never read
   anything that went into detail about this. Did they have a
   quarrel over something in particular? Any info would be
   greatly appreciated. My e-mail address is
   fanning32 at"


   Dave Ginsburg writes: "Does anyone have a copy of, or
   know where I can get a copy of, R.W. Julian's article "First
   Years of the New Orleans Mint" that appeared in the
   November 1977 issue of Coins magazine?  Please contact
   me at ginsburg.d at if you can help."


   U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow was interviewed by
   Time magazine for their November 10th issue.  Asked
   "How do you feel about spending money with your
   signature on it?" he replied: "It's made me a hero to my
   grandchildren.  And it's been the occasion for my meeting
   any number of people in restaurants and airports and ask
   me to sign their money.  I try to oblige."


   Darryl Atchison writes: "I need to know if any E-Sylum reader
   has a named copy of the McKay-Clements sale conducted
   by Frank Rose in May 1976.

   I am specifically trying to determine who the purchaser was
   for lot no. 512 which is noted as " a possibly unique pattern
   St. John's, N.B. halfpenny". The coin is obviously an error
   piece since it should read St. John, N.B. However, the
   question that has to be asked is whether the piece is a pattern
   or a remainder from an returned order since corrected pieces
   were issued.  By the way, this sale is the only place that I
   know of where this particular token was auctioned since I
   cannot find any previous or later mention. It is also the only
   place where the token is illustrated to my knowledge.

   If any E-Sylum reader can me help with the name of the
   purchaser I would be greatly appreciative.  I can be
   contacted by email at atchisondf at"


   Great collections deserve great catalogs - and great libraries
   deserve hardbound catalogs.   I've heard from several
   collectors wondering if I've heard if/when Stack's will make
   available for sale hardbound copies of the John J. Ford sales.
   I've seen no announcement, but understand the firm is aware
   of the demand and is considering options for producing some
   hardbounds.   I'll reserve a space next to my sets of other
   important modern U.S. sales, such as Taylor, Garrett, Norweb,
   Champa and Pittman.


   Joe Boling writes: "You printed Amanda Rondot's confession
   about becoming a numismatic bibliomaniac  I had already
   responded to the ANA as follows:

   Amanda Rondot, in writing about some of the books in her
   library, had this to say about one of them:  "Official ANA
   Grading Standards for United States Coins is helpful not only
   for those of us who doubt our grading abilities and wish to
   improve them, but also for all coin collectors.  Since few
   people are familiar with the grading standards for series
   outside their collecting specialties, this book is good for
   acquainting oneself with a new series before buying unfamiliar
   coins.  I find it to be an especially useful study guide when I
   am acquiring type coins for my collection."

   I took the ANA grading course last month [October 2003].
   I found, when comparing the ANA grading set (graded by
   NGC) with the book, that the book no longer reflects market
   practice. If you are using it to familiarize yourself with a new
   series, expect the circulated coins that you find in recent slabs
   to be at least one full grade different from what you will see in
   the photographs in the book. In other words, if you want a
   coin that looks like one called fine in the book, you will have
   to buy a coin slabbed as very fine to find one with that degree
   of wear. If the grading service is one of the ones reputed to
   use even more liberal standards than NGC and PCGS, you
   might find two grades difference between the slabbed grade
   and the book's illustrations.

   If you are trading by mail with another collector, and you both
   agree to use the standards of the book, that will work OK.
   But if you are buying from a dealer, and you find one who is
   still using the standards of the ANA's official grading book,
   you had better cultivate that relationship."


   In recent issues of the Colonial Coins email discussion
   group, two books of interest were discussed.

   "The Economic Rise of Early America" by Gary M.
   Walton & James F Shepherd was described as a
   readable look at the financial side of the period.

   "From Dependency to Independence: Economic
   Revolution in Colonial New England", by Margaret
   Ellen Newell was also mentioned as a favorite.

   "Financing The American Revolution" by Udo Hielscher,
   published by the Museum Of American Financial History
   in New York was described as "a very easy read and
   great photographs of various Colonial and Early American
   notes of commerce."


   The Dallas/Ft. Worth Star-Telegram published an article
   about the designer of next year's Texas state quarter.

   "[Daniel] Miller's winning design, announced by Gov. Rick
   Perry's office Nov. 17, features a five-pointed Lone Star
   superimposed on an outline of the state. A rope design will
   border the coin."

  "Miller rejected a longhorn and an armadillo after deciding
   that no single critter could represent the entire state.  He finally
   put about 100 hours into the design before rushing to the post
   office on the day of the deadline for the competition."

   "... Miller isn't worried about how many Texas quarters are
   made. The honor is enough for Miller, who is an art director
   for Practitioners Publishing Co. in Fort Worth. Much of  his
   work involves creating materials for CPAs.

  "You can imagine how exciting that is," he said."

   To read the full article, see:

   [Now we know why many of the state quarter designs are
   so shallow.  They are designed by laypeople and graphic artists
   who work in two dimensions and may have little understanding
   or appreciation of the sculptural arts.  The third dimension of
   relief never comes into play.   The paltry $1,000 stipend the
   mint is offering to "artists"  seems likely to attract more writers
   of accounting manuals than true artists.   Medallic artist Alex
   Shagin is quoted in an article on coinage redesign in the January
   2004 issue of COINage magazine as follows: "The fact that the
   mint won't credit the artists who designed the coins, as opposed
   to the engraver who simply takes someone else's design and
   sculpts it, indicates to me it does not care about art." ("The
   New Counterrevolution: Coinage Redesign Champions Are
   Concerned About the Future" by Jon Blackwell)  -Editor]


   Gar Travis sent a link to a Forbes magazine article about
   currency redesign in Vietnam.  (The article was from the
   Reuters news service).

   "In an effort to foil counterfeiters and promote the use of
   vending machines, Vietnam said on Thursday it will introduce
   a 500,000 dong ($32) currency note, redesign its 50,000
   dong note and mint three types of coins."

   "Vietnam decided on the changes "to make the money
   structure more reasonable and to better fight against
   counterfeits.  ... the new Australian-made polymer-based
   notes were more durable, dipping one specimen into a
   glass of water to demonstrate.

   "People selling vegetables and fish in the market will be
   very happy with this money," he said to laughter.


   Peter Koch writes:  "I had planned a trip to Baltimore for this
   past Friday, but weather forecasts of blizzard conditions
   convinced me my usually pleasant 4-5 hour journey from north
   Jersey to the Inner Harbor would be nightmarish so I reluctantly
   canceled. Don't mind the snow, and never cared about how
   cold it gets, but, man, that ice. Lookout!

   Really sorry to miss this show. Joe Levine (Presidential Coin)
   had an important auction and I planned on some serious table-
   hopping.   I participated in the auction via last-minute fax but
   doubt any lots will come my way.  I dislike mail bidding; you're
   at a distinct disadvantage.  Especially on unusual items where
   no published price guides exist or no past performance can be
   leaned on. How do others feel about mail bid sales? Any
   special strategies you could share?

   I don't know if the Baltimore show took a hit because of the
   weather.  Anyone hear anything?  It would be tough to cancel
   a coin show/convention, but has it ever happened?  The recent
   California fires caused a postponement of the Kolbe MBS, and
   auctions and any shows surrounding 9-11 were moved.  Down
   through the years I wonder how many numismatic events,
   auctions, or shows were cancelled/postponed for whatever
   reason.  Anyone know?

   [The topic comes up periodically in The E-Sylum.  For example,
   some events were postponed due to the September 11, 2001
   terrorist attacks, and a coin auction was postponed due to the
   Lincoln assassination.  Has anyone ever compiled a
   comprehensive list?  -Editor]


   Peter Koch writes: "This may have been covered somewhere
   along the line, but for the life of me, I simply cannot find it.
   What do we call ourselves?  Those that study and collect
   coins are numismatists; what are those who study and collect
   numismatic literature, and likely to may or may not collect
   coins also?

   If 'Bibliomaniacs' is the choice, it was a term I recall that did
   not sit well with many collectors. Of course, 'Bibliophile' seems
   to make the most frequent appearance.

   I thought I saw somewhere the derivative use of the words
   Numismatic and Literature.  Numis-Lit-Matist? Numis-Lit-Mist?
   Numis-Lit-eratti?  Any thoughts??  My genuine thanks for any

   [One who loves books is a "bibliophile"; coin book lovers are
   "numismatic bibliophiles".   The term "bibliomaniac" is related,
   and I take it to mean one who takes bibliophilic urges to
   extremes.  Perhaps some of our readers will chime in with
   their current thoughts on the topic.  I hadn't heard these other
   terms before.  I do like "numisliterati" !  -Editor]


   Anyone who would mortgage their home to buy books
   is a bibliomaniac in my opinion, although in the end many
   such hobby maniacs turn out in the end to be crazy like a
   fox.  One numismatic example is John Pittman, who I
   believe put a second mortgage on his home to obtain funds
   to purchase rare U.S. coins in the fabled Farouk sale.  His
   investment paid for itself many times over.   The Wall Street
   journal ran a front-page profile of a bibliomaniac in another
   field.  The December 5, 2003 article describes "A Man's
   Pursuit Of Lewis and Clark - Construction Worker Builds
   A University's Collection."  Some excerpts follow:

   "In 1805, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark reached the
   Pacific Ocean ....  at the end of their epic journey across
   North America.

   In 1986, Roger Wendlick embarked on his own daunting
   quest: to buy everything ever written about the expedition.
   Every book, journal, article and government record. In
   English, German and Dutch. From the first report by President
   Jefferson in 1806 to the 1979 paperback bodice-ripper about
   Sacagawea and beyond.

   "I'm just a construction guy," says the 58-year-old Mr.
   Wendlick, who laid sewer lines in the Portland drizzle, never
   married and didn't go to college. But he needed a hobby, he
   says, and "there's no better story in American history" than
   Lewis and Clark."

   "The weathered and wiry Mr. Wendlick says his interest in the
   expedition began with a souvenir plate from the centennial and
   an eight-volume set of the journals that a Wisconsin
   newspaperman named Reuben Thwaites published in 1904,
   the first time the journals were printed. When he inherited the
   plate from his grandmother, Mr. Wendlick says, he decided to
   start collecting centennial knickknacks -- crockery, buttons and,
   in 1986, a first-edition set of the Thwaites journals that cost him
   $695, or about $395 more than his weekly take-home pay.

   The books, he quickly realized, were a bigger challenge and a
   better investment than the tchotchkes. There were so few of
   them, and with the expedition's bicentennial approaching, he
   figured their value could soar. So, for $1,000, Mr. Wendlick
   next bought an account of the expedition that was written in
   1814 by a banker named Nicholas Biddle, who wasn't on the
   trip but had read the captains' journals. After that, for $200,
   came a copy of a journal kept by Patrick Gass, a sergeant
   on the expedition and the first member of the corps to get to

   "In 1991, 1993 and 1995, he refinanced his house to buy
   books. He ran up $142,000 in debt on nine credit cards.
   He worked six days a week, bulldozing trenches even in
   Portland's raw winter, as a crew foreman for a construction
   company that laid utility lines for housing developments."

   "Finally, in what Mr. Wendlick calls the perfect sale, he
   moved his Lewis and Clark library to Lewis and Clark
   College, which already had a small collection about the
   expedition and wanted more. In 1998, the college agreed
   to pay Mr. Wendlick $375,000 in cash and $30,000 a
   year for a decade, and gave him a desk in the library.

   Mr. Wendlick retired from his construction job the next
   day and then, for the first time, began to read his books.
   "I dove in," he says, working his way through everything
   except the novels in three years."

   [See the Journal for the full article.  QUICK QUIZ:
   What famous bank was Nicholas Biddle affiliated
   with?  And what is the bank's connection with numismatics?


   Inspired by Myron Xenos' coin quiz last week, Col. Bill Murray
   writes: "After a recent conversation with a numismatic friend,
   I got to thinking about how much fun I have had with a
   presentation I make to non-numismatists of all ages above

   I had no trouble with Myron’s trivia quiz, primarily because I
   have a 30 minute presentation, based on the cent, originally for
   grade school kids, then to Kiwanis, Rotary, other service clubs
   and once to a group of bank employees.  While the presentation
   varies based on the audience (words, techniques), the base
   information remains the same.  The point of the presentation, at
   whatever level, is to point out how little we know about our coins,
   which we see and handle every day.  It's fun for me and seems
   to be enjoyed at all levels. Here's an outline.

   Issue a coin to each person.  Whose picture? They respond.
   Why his picture on the coin?  Not “because he was president,”
   but because the 1792 law (Act of April 2, 1792) required a
   “device emblematic of liberty” to be on coins.  Lincoln surely
   qualifies. The word liberty - same law.

   Ask about the date  - usually answered correctly.  Why the
   small letter below the date?  Most know about mint marks.

   How many Mints? (None know West Point.)

   Read "In God We Trust" above Lincoln's bust.  First on 1864
   2-cent piece (tell that story, including, not on paper money and
   not a national motto until after 1956 when Eisenhower signed bill).

   What's the name of this coin?  Unanimous answer, “Penny.”
   “Turn it over.  What does is say at the bottom?” “One cent.”
   “We've never had a U. S. penny.  That's just a nickname, held
   over from the English coin (1792 law).  “See United States of
   America at the top?  Required by 1792 law on gold and silver
   coins, but always on the penny, oops! One cent.”

   How many times does Lincoln appear on the cent?”  This piece
   of trivia frequently is known by non-numismatists.

   Most times, I cut some cents into two pieces, and before
   handing them out, ask what is the cent made of.  Usual answer,
   “Copper.”  Not since 1857, I tell them.  Then bronze until 1982
   and then copper plated zinc.  Hand out cut coins and prove it.

   Believe me, this is an attention holding presentation, fun to give
   and educational about something few people know."


   From a December 2nd Reuters report: "A Frenchman who
   burned his life savings to a cinder before swallowing two
   bottles of pills is facing life with an empty bank account after
   neighbors foiled his suicide attempt."

   "The man, who lived alone, had cleared out his bank balance
   of 240,000 euros ($288,500) and set fire to the pile of 500
   euro notes in his bath before swallowing the pills, hoping to
   leave nothing behind after his death."


   Burning cash must be the latest fad.  A December 1st report
   noted: "A British radio station is under investigation after it
   burned 5,000 pounds ($8,600) rather than give it to charity
   -- or to a listener for her breast enlargement operation.

   Birmingham-based Galaxy radio torched the cash after listeners
   voted to burn it rather than give it to a competition winner ..."

   Galaxy ignored its appeals for the money to be given to charity.
   "There are some bloody good charities in Birmingham doing
   good work week in, week out," said the church spokesman.
   "There is quite a groundswell of resentment."


   This week's featured web page is a short section from
   Q. David Bowers' book, The History of United States

   "In January 1895 the readers of The Numismatist were
   treated to an interesting article, "A Tour Among the Coin
   Dealers," by Augustus G. Heaton, a frequent contributor
   to The Numismatist and the person who had several years
   earlier advanced the interest in collecting mintmarks of
   United States coins by publishing a monograph on the subject."

   Dealers mentioned include J.W. Scott, David Proskey,
   Ed Frossard, Henry Chapman, J. Colvin Randall, Edward
   Maris, E. B. Mason, Jr., E. B. Mason, Jr., W. Von Bergen,
   Charles Steigerwalt, and Dr. George Massamore.  Interesting
   how information lives on in new forms - from Heaton's
   original article to Bowers' book, to a web site and now this
   email, 108 years later.

  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 W. David Perkins, NBS Secretary-Treasurer,
  P.O. Box 212, Mequon, WI  53092-0212.

  For Asylum mailing address changes and other
  membership questions, contact David at this email
  address: wdperki at

  To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum,
  just Reply to this message, or write to the Editor
  at this address: whomren at

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