The E-Sylum v6#53, December 14, 2003
whomren at coinlibrary.com
whomren at coinlibrary.com
Sun Dec 14 18:21:31 PST 2003
Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 6, Number 53, December 14, 2003:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2003, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Among recent new subscribers are Yossi Dotan, courtesy of
Howard Daniel, and Jim Wiley. Welcome aboard! We now
have 609 subscribers.
NEWMAN NUMISMATIC MUSEUM
On December 9th, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch published
an article about The Sam Fox Arts Center at Washington
University is St. Louis. Why should E-Sylum readers care?
According to the article, "When completed, one special
feature of the $56.8 million arts complex will be a 3,000-
square-foot numismatic museum, the Newman Money
A gift of $2 million from St. Louis philanthropists and
civic leaders Eric P. Newman and Evelyn E. Newman
will endow it. A variety of money-related exhibits are to be
presented, as well as opportunities for scholarly research."
"Evelyn Newman is famous for raising money for good
causes... Her husband, Eric, is a distinguished numismatist.
His collection began more than 80 years ago when his
grandfather gave him a one-cent piece dating from 1859.
His fascination grew, and his collection has grown to be one
of the nation's most famous. It is especially important for its
U.S. and early American coins and paper money. Eric
Newman, a former Edison Brothers Stores Inc. executive
and a lawyer, is a graduate of the university's law school."
The paper's web site is: http://www.stltoday.com/
After reading the article I dropped everything and sent a
quick note to Eric: "I just read the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
article about the new Newman Money Museum. Fantastic!
Would you mind sharing some of your thoughts with your
bibliophile friends via The E-Sylum? "
Eric replied: "You certainly do not let a piece of newspaper
publicity stay unnoticed and I thank you for contacting me.
The Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society
(Incorporated in 1958) will be allotted numismatic museum
space of about 3,000 sq. ft. in the new 55,000 sq. ft. Sam
Fox Arts Center on the campus of Washington University in
St. Louis which will have a total exhibit space of 15,000 sq. ft.
open to the public and the balance will be used for art and art
history education, reading rooms, administration, facilities and
art collection storage, etc. Our coin and paper money exhibit
space will include a small Victorian office-library containing
some of our numismatic library material (major rarities will be
kept in bank vaults) and the balance of that library will be
brought to the museum for research from on-campus space
when convenient. Unusual numismatic books, broadsides,
and pamphlets will sometimes be on exhibit. Construction is
scheduled to begin in spring 2004. I am delighted to be
connected with such a prestigious institution which is only a
couple of blocks away from my home.
Any suggestions from your readers as to subject matter or
types of coin, paper money, token or library exhibits are
more than welcome."
Several years ago during an Early American Coppers
convention in St. Louis, I visited an earlier incarnation of
Eric's museum (twice), with Eric himself as a guide. John
Burns and Charlie Davis joined us for a look at Eric's
numismatic library, which was displayed in a two-story
high office at the back of the museum. A balcony circled
the room, accessed by a spiral staircase. I felt like I was
in the numismatic library of heaven.
I replied to Eric: "I recall your earlier museum at the
Mercantile Bank. I remember some simply gorgeous
high-grade colonial coins. I also seem to recall you had a
couple animated figures in period dress. What became of
them? Your exhibits were very nicely done. Would there
be both a permanent exhibit and rotating exhibits of coins?
Could we expect to see your Confederate Half dollar on
Eric replied: "What a memory you have! We had the
numismatic museum at the Mercantile Bank in St. Louis for
almost 20 years and the new one at Washington University
will be bigger and hopefully better. It will emphasize money
uses, the economic and political history of money, the art on
money and other matters related to numismatics. We will be
revitalizing the best of the old displays and adding new ones.
We are developing a new animated figure of Franklin and
a few surprises. We will rotate exhibits when deemed
advisable. You ask about exhibiting the Confederate Half
dollar and other major rarities and that gives rise to a security
problem which must be carefully considered. Anything we
have would be available for examination to appropriate
scholars on advance arrangements but the items not on
exhibit would naturally be kept in bank vaults and not at the
Our numismatic books and pamphlets are too numerous to
count but will be available to researchers. Some of our
library will be in a small Victorian style office in the exhibit
space. We invite encourage you and your readers to suggest
themes, subject matter and categories for displays which will
increase public interest in numismatics other than commercial
value. We try to use associated artifacts, pictorial material,
explanations, broadsides, etc. to supplement the coins, paper
money and tokens in a display. If you have any more
questions please feel free to ask them as you have your eye
on what encourages the joys and satisfactions of the
intellectually stimulating discipline of numismatics. A happy
holiday to you and your many friends."
ANS LIBRARY ARTICLES
The December 22 issue of Coin World has two great articles
relating to the American Numismatic Society library.
Q. David Bowers chronicled the recent dedication of the
Harry W. Bass Jr. Library (p76). ANS Librarian Frank
Campbell provided an overview of the library and its
holdings of 150,000 items beginning on p76.
LAKE BOOKS SALE #72
Fred Lake writes: "Lake Books announces that its 72nd mail-bid
sale of numismatic literature is now available for viewing on our
web site at http://www.lakebooks.com
The sale is Part III of the library of Dr. William E. Hopkins and
features reference material relating to ancient coinage, early
American coinage, tokens, medals, paper money and the full
gamut of the numismatic hobby.
The closing date for the sale is January 20, 2004 at 5:00 PM
(EST) and email, telephone, FAX, and regular mail bids are
I hope that you all have a Happy Holiday season and that 2004
will bring you much health and prosperity. Cordially, Fred."
NBS TABLE AT PORTLAND ANA
Howard A. Daniel III, has formally applied for an ANA
National Money Show club booth in Portland, Oregon,
where he will promote NBS, Numismatics International (NI)
and the International Bank Note Society (IBNS) from March
26th to 28th, 2004.
Howard will also be moderating separate meetings and
educational forums on March 27th (Saturday) for IBNS at
11 AM and NI at 12 Noon in the same room. The booth
and meetings are regularly approved, so he is not expecting
NBS members are invited to both meetings, but especially the
NI meeting because Scott Semans will be speaking about his
recommendations for creating numismatic catalogs. Howard is
still searching for a speaker for the IBNS meeting. If anyone is
interested in speaking at it for 20-30 minutes, please contact
Howard at Howard at SEAsianTreasury.com
NBS members are also invited to visit the booth and use it for
leaving messages for other NBS members or just to take a break
and rest. If an NBS member finds a prospective member at the
show, please send them to the booth and Howard will convince
them to join us, or at least to sign up for The E-Sylum."
NBS PLANS FOR 2004 PITTSBURGH ANA
As announced at the NBS meeting at this year's ANA
convention in Baltimore, plans are underway for a special
outing to celebrate our 25th anniversary at next year's
convention here in Pittsburgh. We'll visit the E-Sylum
Ground Zero (my library), as well as the numismatic libraries
of Asylum Editor E. Tomlinson Fort and the Carnegie Library
of Pittsburgh. The latter features the rare first six volumes of
the ANA's Numismatist magazine, and a shelf of early U.S.
copper literature from the library of George H. Clapp.
Separately, if there is enough interest, we may be able to
arrange a viewing of selected coins from the Carnegie
collection, which includes Clapp's Large Cent collection,
some colonials, and some U.S. patterns. The colonials
include three Higley coppers (at least two of which are
likely copies). Although the bibliophile excursion would
be limited to NBS members, the coin excursion would be
open to all ANA members.
We are currently looking into costs for chartering buses,
and to gauge demand for these two events, I'd like all
SERIOUSLY interested readers to respond to this e-mail.
Please don't respond simply to agree that it's a great
idea; respond only if you would be willing to commit
an entire afternoon of the convention to the outing and
pay your fair share of the cost in advance. Please
specify interest in the BOOK trip, the COIN trip, or
BOTH. The convention is August 18-22, 2004. The
book trip would be Friday the 20th, following our
normal general NBS meeting. No date has been set for
the coin trip, but it has to be on a weekday during regular
museum hours. I'll look forward to hearing from many
INVASION OF LOUISVILLE TAPE
The planned Pittsburgh excursion brings to mind the famed
"Invasion of Louisville." Coincidentally, Darryl Atchison
writes: "I was reading in an issue of Out On A Limb recently
that Armand Champa had a VHS Tape made of the "Invasion
of Louisville" which was subsequently shown at one of the
N.B.S. meetings. Sorry I don't recall which year this was
I am hoping that one of our readers may have a copy of the
tape that I could borrow. I would really like to watch this
tape. If anyone can help me, please feel free to contact me
at atchisondf at hotmail.com. Thanks."
[Bibliophile Armand Champa of Louisville, KY chartered
a bus to bring a few dozen bibliophiles from the Cincinnati,
OH convention of the American Numismatic Association
(1988, I believe) to view his library in Louisville. The event
became known as "The Invasion of Louisville." I was one
of the lucky attendees, and it was quite a day. Armand was
never one to do things half-way. He hired caterers and
bartenders to dole out refreshments, and had a photographer
and videographer on hand to record the proceedings. Later,
Armand treated everyone to dinner at one of his favorite
restaurants. The afternoon's video was shown after dinner.
Would some of our readers who were present care to tell
us their recollections of the event? -Editor]
SUSAN B. ANTHONY DOLLAR'S 25TH ANNIVERSARY.
Dick Johnson writes: "Several editorial feature syndicates
furnish lists "This Day In History" or similar to newspapers.
One of these stated -- erroneously -- that last Friday,
December 13th, was the 25th anniversary of the day "the
Susan B. Anthony Dollar WAS ISSUED."
One writer on the Cleveland Plain Dealer (Bill Blubinger)
picked up on this item and wrote a story published Friday.
He got the facts correct and noted the short-lived legacy
of the Susan B. Anthony dollar. He called it the "Edsel of
dollars; the New Coke of coins" and ended with the
statement that the coin's legacy was rich but short-changed.
Friday, December 13, 1978, was the day the first Susies
were struck. The coin was designed and modeled by Frank
Gasparro, chief engraver at the Philadelphia Mint at the time,
and were placed into production that day. They weren't
issued until July the following year. The date on the first
coins was 1979, of course.
The Plain Dealer story goes on to quote one Beachwood
coin dealer, Jack Griffin, and also former Ohio Representative
Mary Rose Oakar, who stated "When they wanted to do
another Miss Liberty, I said, Why not put a real woman on
the coin?" She had introduced a bill to use the famed women's
rights advocate image on the coin.
Here's the full story in The Cleveland Plain Dealer:
Looking back from a quarter century's perspective, the coin's
lack of popularity rests -- not with the subject or the designer
-- but mostly with its size. In a private conversation I once
had with Frank Gasparro, he even admitted he spent one of
the dollar coins as a quarter himself!"
Jim Wiley writes: "For over a year, someone (probably
Larry Dziubek) has been very nice to me by including me
on your mailing list even though I am neither a "book collector"
nor one who has always been able to fully appreciate some
of the numismatic historical events and references that many
of your compatriots seem to "get". I do enjoy reading many
of the articles and enjoy trying to determine just what "turns
the engines" of "you folks". ( Can't say I know for sure, but
it intrigues me to see what kinds of things interest your
subscribers.) At any rate, if you will be so kind, I would
appreciate continuing receiving The E-Sylum at my new
email address. With appreciation and admiration,
Jim Wiley, mere merchant token collector"
QUIZ ANSWER: NICHOLAS BIDDLE'S BANK
David Gladfelter writes: "You'll get lotsa answers to the quiz,
from John and Nancy Wilson among others. Biddle was
president of the ill-fated Second Bank of the United States.
Its numismatic output is catalogued in vol. 4 of Haxby; also
see Hessler, An Illustrated History of U. S. Loans. John and
Nancy had a specialized collection of the bank's notes."
Chris Fuccione writes: "He was the president of the Second
Bank of the United States until Andrew Jackson vetoed
rechartering it. Biddle resigned in protest. I believe that was
the start of the downfall of our economy in 1837. There are
many references to the Second Bank on Hard Times Tokens."
Nolan Mims writes: "I enjoyed the article on Roger Wendlick
and his collection of Lewis and Clark memorabilia, especially
the reference to Nicholas Biddle and his two volumes written
from Lewis and Clark's notes. Biddle, later President of the
Bank of the United States, was a brilliant financier who, I
believe, graduated from Princeton as class valedictorian at the
ripe old age of fifteen. His feuds with Andrew Jackson became
legendary. Biddle's influence was felt as far South as Mobile,
Alabama through the establishment of a branch bank there,
much against the wishes of many Alabama politicians, including
then Governor Murphy. Your QUICK QUIZ question as to
the bank's connection to numismatics has several possible
answers. One, of course, is the highly collectible notes issued
by the bank and its branches. Another is the famous $1000
note bearing serial number 8894 which has collectors to this
day believing they have a rare note worth a fortune. Also,
many hard times tokens and scrip refer to the Bank of the
United States and the controversy surrounding it.
The E-Sylum is a great way to start a Monday morning.
Keep up the good work!"
Jess W. Gaylor sends the following, found in
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
"In the legislature Biddle quickly became prominent. He
originated a bill favoring popular education, a quarter of a
century in advance of the times. The bill was defeated, but
came up again in different forms until, in 1836, the Pennsylvania
common-school system was inaugurated as a direct result of
his efforts. He was more successful in advocating the re-charter
of the Bank of the United States, which was his first step toward
a financial career. The War of 1812 intervened. Moving to the
state senate, the United States bank was re-chartered in 1819
and President Monroe appointed him a government director.
Upon the resignation of bank president Langdon Cheves, Biddle
ascended to president. During his connection with it he was
appointed by Monroe, under authority from Congress, to
prepare a "Commercial Digest" of the laws and trade regulations
of the world, for many years regarded as an authority.
The "bank war," inaugurated by President Andrew Jackson in
1829, undermined the credit of the institution, and after the bill
for its re-charter was vetoed in 1832, Biddle's efforts to save
the bank failed. The withdrawal of the government deposits by
Jackson's order in 1833 precipitated financial disasters that
involved the whole country. Biddle's friends assert that his
non-partisanship provoked Jackson's hostility, a claim denied
by Jackson's admirers. The literature of the "bank war" is
voluminous, including a series of letters by Mr. Biddle,
vindicating his own course. In 1839 he resigned the bank
presidency, and in 1841 the bank failed."
Paul Horner added a fact I wasn't aware of: "He was the
president of the 2nd Bank of the United States, and that bank
received the 1836 Gobrecht dollars."
COLLECTED JULIAN ARTICLES?
Dave Ginsberg writes: "Nancy Green (ANA Librarian, as
you undoubtedly know) sent me an e-mail today, offering
me a copy of R.W. Julian's article. Thanks for your help.
By the way, do you know if Mr. Julian's articles/research
have ever been collected in one place? I would think they'd
be an invaluable resource."
[Later, Dave heard from Mr. Julian himself. I recall that at
one time Ken Lowe of The Money Tree was compiling an
index of Julian's articles, but do not know what became of
the effort after Ken died. I'm not aware of any collected
volume, unfortunately. I agree that it would be a very
useful publication. -Editor]
MEMPHIS BANK INFO SOUGHT
Dave Ginsberg writes: "Recently, I purchased a $5 banknote
issued by The Farmers' and Merchants' Bank of Memphis, TN.
The note, which features a central vignette of five figures
surrounding five Type I gold dollars, is numbered (#3308),
signed (by [unintelligible first initial] Clarke as Cashier and
J. Fowlkes as president) and dated March 1, 1854, which
leads me to conclude that this note was actually issued for
circulation rather than being an unissued note, as so many
Obsolete banknotes in the market are.
In reviewing my copy of "Banking in the American South from
the Age of Jackson to Reconstruction" by Larry Schweikart
(Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1987), I
discovered that this bank has a particularly colorful history.
According to Mr. Schweikart (who is a Professor of History
at the University of Dayton and the author of two other books
on banking history), "Jeptha Fowlkes, a physician turned financier,
was elected a director [of the bank] together with Seth Wheatley,
Joseph Watkins. . ., and General Levin Coe on January 6, 1847,
and immediately began an intrigue against the other directors,
especially Wheatley." The bank was "forced to suspend
operations in May 1847." On January 26, 1848, "two eastern
stockholders" began legal action and three days later, when the
sheriff served an injunction against the officers of the bank, a
mob formed and tried to take possession of the bank.
"After two years of legal wranglings, the court appeared ready
to turn the bank back over to Fowlkes and the directors.
Opponents and creditors of the bank persuaded former director
General Levin Coe, a prominent lawyer, to oppose returning the
bank to Fowlkes. [While Coe was regarded by some as the
only man who could rescue the bank,]. . . others, including E.W.M.
King and Alanon Trigg, regarded Coe as an enemy of Fowlkes.
After making a court appearance, Coe and two friends ran into
Trigg and one of his friends. In the ensuing gun battle, (emphasis
added) Trigg was killed and Coe suffered a fatal pistol shot in the
back. The deaths of Coe and Trigg and the turmoil surrounding
the bank took its toll on popular support. Although the bank
remained convincingly solvent, its notes dropped to 25 percent
discounts. After six years the bank was dead."
This information raises the question: "What exactly do I own?"
Was this bank liquidated in 1847, as Mr. Schweikart states in a
table of antebellum Tennessee banks and is suggested by the title
of one of his sources: "Chronicles of the Farmers' and Merchants'
Bank of Memphis (1832-1847), by Jesse the "Scribe", ed. by
James Roper (Memphis, 1960) or did it resume operations?
Mr. Schweikart, in the above paragraph, implies the bank's notes
were still circulating in 1850. Could new notes have been legally
issued in 1854? (Certainly, my note hasn't seen much, if any
circulation. Although the edges are a bit worn, the note doesn't
appear to have any folds.) This note could not have been printed
prior to 1849 (as gold dollars didn't exist then), but was it printed
by a bank that was on its last legs, or was it printed and
by criminals in order to defraud those who didn't know that the
bank had ceased operations years before? Was Mr. Fowlkes'
signature forged or was he in fact guilty of "pilfering, swindling,
and perjury" as Mr. Schweikart says he was accused of by the
editor of the Memphis Eagle?
I'd appreciate hearing from anyone familiar with this bank, or who
owns a Counterfeit Detector from the period that mentions these
notes. Please contact me at ginsburg.d at worldnet.att.net.
NEW BUFFALO BILL WEEKLY COIN ARTICLES
Ron Guth of Coinfacts.com writes: "I ran across the following
tidbits in, of all places, a pair of "New Buffalo Bill Weekly"
Magazines from 1916.
From the November 4, 1916 issue:
UNCLE SAM'S NEW COINS
If some one hands you a silver coin that has an unfamiliar
look, don't refuse it immediately in the belief that it is a
counterfeit or of foreign origin. The probabilities are that it
will be a sample of Uncle Sam's new mintage, which has
been placed in circulation in compliance with the law that
requires a change in the designs of the silver pieces once in
every twenty years.
The new coins consist of half dollars, quarter dollars, and
dimes. For more than a month the United States mints in
Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco have been turning
them out at a rate of about forty thousand dollars' worth a
The design of the new half dollars is considered a higher
type of art than the coins that have for so long been familiar.
The markings are not so prominently cut, and the coin has a
much smoother appearance. On one side of it is the figure
of the Goddess of Liberty, holding in one arm a bunch of
olive branches. Above the figure are the words, "In God
We Trust;" below it is the word, "Liberty." On the opposite
side of the coin there is a spread eagle, grasping an oak twig
in his talons as he stands upon a rock. At the top is printed,
"The United States of America," and at the bottom, "Half
One side of the new quarter has a full figure of a woman
coming through a gate in a wall. On the opposite side
there is pictured an eagle in flight. The new dime is of a
sharper cut. On one side is the head of a woman. Over
the head is printed the word, "Liberty," and in the lower
left-hand corner the date. The obverse side of the coin
has a bundle of Roman "fasces" tied tightly together, with
an ax and a strong oak stick. Below the cutting is the
Latin quotation, "E Pluribus Unum."
From the November 11, 1916 issue:
TWO AND THREE-CENT COINS SCARCE
Ever wonder what has become of the two-cent and
three-cent coins? Doctor William G. Graus, of Cleveland,
Ohio, knows about the disappearance of some of them.
"I have two hundred two-cent pieces and one hundred
three-cent coins," he said. "I've been collecting them for
fifteen years. Two-cent pieces have disappeared from
circulation, but a few three-cent coins are still seen."
These were the 217th and 218th issues of the magazine, so
I suspect that additional interesting anecdotes are sprinkled
throughout earlier issues. Anyone have a set of these?"
POSTAGE CURRENCY PATTERN COLLECTION COMPLETED
David Cassel writes: "This is a news release of sorts addressed
to members of The Numismatic Bibliomania Society who bought
my book, United States Pattern Postage Currency Coins.
It has taken me three years since the publication of my book in
2000 to complete my Postage Currency coin collection. With
the recent acquisition of the only collectible Judd-642, the only
other example is housed in the Mitchelson Collection of the
Connecticut Library acquired 100 years ago, I now have what I
consider to be a complete variety collection consisting of at least
one coin of each known variety. The collection numbers
thirty-three coins with few duplicates. The Judd numbers include:
325 through 331 a,b, & c and 641 & 642, and 644-646, and
714 through 717a. plus multiple variations within the numbering
system." [Congratulations! -Editor]
MORTENSEN YEARBOOKS PUBLISHED
Morten Eske Mortensen of Copenhagen, Denmark writes:
"Following a number of enquiries from professional market
players the owners of the publishing rights have agreed by
special orders to produce an utmost and extremely strictly
distributed minor number of 2003/2004 yearbooks which
alone can be bought by those who previously are known to
the publishers on a serious and professionally level . Printing
run will not be allowed to exceed 99 copies (ninety-nine).
The order of reservations will be according to the dates of
receivings of the advance orders. (aka: first come first serve).
For details, prices, order form etc. check this direct link:
Ron Haller-Williams writes: "So imagine this description at
some future auction: USA dime, 1910, slabbing grade MS-63,
slab XF-40, coin EF-55. It could happen!
Reminds me of where we often need to specify different grades
for a counterstamp and for the host coin (where we'd also have
the complication of genuine stamps on false coins, and vice
THE THIRD DIMENSION
Joe Boling writes: "Reference your note about state quarter
designs, "The third dimension of relief never comes into play."
That's because the mint won't allow it. For years now they
have designed coins with extremely flat relief, in the name of
manufacturing efficiency. Look at how the dies for the half
dollar were changed in the late 1980s (I don't have enough
half dollars here to tell you what year the hub was changed)
- the shield on the reverse went from having a conspicuously
raised chief to having a very flat chief. Similarly with the cent -
the relief is now so flat that a road kill coin has its date
obliterated very quickly. The old bronze cents take a hard
beating before becoming illegible (and it's not just because
bronze is harder than zinc)."
MOVIE MONEY MADNESS
Doug Andrews writes: "The Pearl Harbor anniversary that you
mentioned in the December 7th issue of E-Sylum reminds me
of the 2001 movie, "Pearl Harbor," and an egregious error
that was made during its production.
In one scene, there is a boxing match involving the character
played by actor Cuba Gooding, Jr. Set just before the attack
staged by the Imperial Japanese forces, several sailors are
seen gambling on the fight on the deck of the ill-fated USS
Arizona. Clearly visible on the back of some of the Silver
Certificates and Federal Reserve Notes they were betting
with are the "Hawaii" overprints!
Of course the movie presents an impossibility, since the
overprints first appeared in July 1942 - in response to the
attack that had not yet taken place! - so the US currency
could be quickly demonetized in the event Hawaii was
Perhaps other NBS members and readers can contribute
other movie "bloopers" made involving numismatic items."
[We did touch on this particular blooper in the v4n27
issue of The E-Sylum (July 1, 2001), when Tom Delorey
and Michael Schmidt reported it. In the previous issue,
Alan Luedeking reported a blooper in the 1997 movie
Titanic. Some others, anyone? -Editor]
HARDBOUND FORD CATALOGS
Regarding the Ford catalogs from Stack's, Steve Pellegrini writes:
"About a month before the first Ford sale I called Stacks to ask
about getting a copy. I was told that not only were they all 'sold
out' but that a waiting list was developing. When I offered to
send a check for $50 'just in case one showed up.' I was told
that I really shouldn't because one was not likely to turn up.
Hopefully Stacks will come out with a deluxe re-print but I sure
would have liked to get hold of an original. Pretty amazing
demand for a look at what is probably the most interesting,
diverse collection of American material ever assembled."
A NUMISMATIC INTERNET TURKEY SHOOT
Roger deWardt Lane submitted the following item, which he
titles, "Happy Thanksgiving!"
For the past three years, I have had a Yahoo! Geocities.com
site for my numismatic related information. Pages for the two
local clubs; Gold Coast Coin Club, for which I am their
Treasurer and bourse chair, and Fort Lauderdale Coin Club,
where I am currently the Vice President.
Another page promotes my e-book - Brother Can You Spare
A Dime? So when I first built the site I posted the several page
INTRODUCTION from my e-book and titled the page
Like many webmasters, I have known that the site provider
has statistical information on my site, as they like to also know
the number of hits a particular site is receiving. It's good for
their pop-up advertising that supports the free sites.
Now the story begins the other day I was looking at some
of the statistics as I had just posted a new Mutt and Jeff story
on the Ft. Lauderdale Coin Club page -
www.geocities.com/dewardt/flcc/flcc.html. Much to my surprise,
my site has received over 2,000 hits since inception. When you
consider the specialty of a numismatic site and pretty much only
word of mouth references, I was greatly pleased, but a little
inquisitive. From their summary statistic page, I could see that
the Introduction page was getting all the action over 800
hits and a closer look at the statistics showed that between
6 and 10 people looked at it every day recently. Why, was
the question I asked myself? So, I looked at another statistic
known as the KEYWORD used to reach this page.
Here is what I found:
Top search word used to find this page 42.71% typed
"illustrations of a turkey"
... Turkey minted coins name lira and 2 piastres. ... The
illustrations shown are from an earlier catalog published by
JW.Scott Co., Ltd. 1913. ...
For you computer non-literate people there are many
search engines, two very popular are Yahoo! and MSN.
To update their search engine database they use a program
known as a web-crawler. This program looks for prominent
words and creates a Keyword list for the search engine.
Sometimes they do not understand the subject matter, like
numismatics and therefore you get this weird result.
All during November, when Internet users were looking for
a picture of a TURKEY for a greeting card or invitation to
family members, they kept being directed to my site. I wonder
if this introduced any new people to the science of numismatics."
NUMISMATISTS INTERVIEWS AND ORAL HISTORY
Chris Fuccione writes: "Great newsletter. You were writing
about how old timers should be interviewed to preserve their
story. Further down you mention Bill Dewey. Has anyone
contacted him about his story? It would be a great story."
Nolan Mims writes: "Steve Pellegrini has an excellent idea in
preserving the recollections of major numismatists and has made
a good start to a list of persons deserving of recognition. One
who should definitely be included is Eric Newman. Although
many noted numismatists are deserving, I would have a hard time
choosing those to honor."
Dick Johnson writes: "I sincerely appreciate the kind words
by Steve Pellegrini in last week's E-Sylum. What Steve
proposed sending mini-recorders to selected numismatists
for their recollections is one method of gathering information
(often used with aged family members in genealogical research).
What is better, of course, is a one-on-one interview. In effect,
creating an Oral History.
If the interviewer is well prepared, has done his homework
in advance, to determine the questions and sequence to ask,
he can guide the direction of the response instead of a rambling
discourse of questionable value. Ask the right questions and
you can get the data you are seeking -- and often, a whole lot
This came to mind recently for Donald Scarinci and myself
on a research trip to Cape Cod and the Boston area. We
were interviewing people for the book Don is writing on
The Society of Medalists. We interviewed the widow of
one sculptor (Ralph Menconi), my old boss at Medallic Art
Co (Bill Louth), a couple who managed the Society for a half
dozen years (the Crams), and one sculptor (Mico Kaufman).
The first three were most successful. For Mico Kaufman,
however, the taped record is a disaster. Mico was so
excited his mind jumped from one subject to the next. He
started a new sentence before he finish the last. He wanted
to give us so much information it was difficult to stay focused.
Also there were six people in the room. Often there were
more than one person talking at the same time (myself
included). It became difficult to direct the interview (and
impossible to transcribe).
I have been interviewing people for print since I was 18.
For a high school journalism class and with more gravitis
than my youthful age warranted I interviewed the editor
of the Kansas City Star. In my mind he was like a journalism
god. I entered that newsroom, it was the size of a half city
block, as if this was the Holy Grail. His desk was in the
center of that newsroom, no private office, he was in the
midst of all the action. But he was so kind to me, his responses
were so great, the interview literally wrote itself. He set the
tone and gave me confidence for my interviewing for the rest
of my life.
I never feared people in high positions after that. I learned
I could approach anyone, numismatic biggies included, and
sincerely show an interest in what they had to say. After all,
everyone is an expert on themselves, their work (and their
collections!). And most people will talk about all (for hours
if you let them).
I remember an early interview of Reverend Arthur Braddan
Coole, who built a fantastic collection of Chinese coins and
compiled the Bibliography on Far Eastern Numismatics and
the Encyclopedia of Chinese Coins. The interview was
published in the Kansas City Kansan, the paper I was
working for at the time (despite the fact I was in the advertising
department). It was published the same month I received the
letter from the publisher of the Sidney Press to come to Ohio
and start a coin publication (which resulted in Coin World).
Steve, if you want interviews of prominent numismatic
personalities. I'm ready. If you have a motor home and can
spare the time, I've got a computer and a tape recorder. We
can travel the country together and interview whomever you
JAVAN COINS FOUND ON BANKS OF THAMES
On December 11, Reuters reported that a mysterious "bundle
of 17th century coins from Java, Indonesia, has been found
buried in mud on the banks of London's River Thames.
The 90 copper alloy coins are pierced with hexagonal holes
and inscribed in Arabic with the words "Pangeran Ratou ing
Bantan" (Lord King at Bantam)," according to experts at the
London museum where they will be displayed."
"These are the first Javanese coins ever found in Britain, the
museum said in a statement.
"How they got to London remains a mystery," it added.
"Even in the 17th century they would have had no value in
DEATH BY MISADVENTURE
Q. David Bowers' "The Joys of Collecting" column in the
December 8 issue of Coin World touched on the subject of
cleaning coins and the use of a cyanide solution as one good
method, with a deadly drawback. Bowers quoted from the
August 1921 issue of The Numismatist:
"J. Sanford Saltus, an international figure in the numismatic
world, died suddenly at the Hotel Metropole, in London, on
June 24. Apparently in the best of health up to the time his
body was found in his room, the manner of his death was for
a time a mystery until an official investigation revealed that it
was due to accidental poisoning.... A verdict of 'death by
misadventure' was rendered by the coroner's jury. The
evidence at the inquest disclosed that on the day before his
death he had purchased a small quantity of potassium cyanide
for the purpose of cleaning some recent purchases of silver
coins and retired to his room. Shortly afterward he ordered
a bottle of ginger ale. A glass containing the poison and a
glass containing the ginger ale were found side by side on
the dressing table, and it is believed that while interested in
cleaning the coins he took a drink of the poison in mistake
for the ginger ale."
FEATURED WEB PAGE
This week's featured web page is "Turkish Money" From the
page: "The first thing to mention here should be the difficulty for
a foreigner to get used to the zeros. We are not use if there is
another money with so many zeros on it...
The national monetary unit is the Turkish lira (TL.). The coinage
is in 25.000, 50.000 and 100.000 lira pieces. Bank notes are of
250.000, 500.000, 1.000,000, 5.000.000, 10.000.000 and
20.000.000 Turkish Lira."
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 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 attglobal.net
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