The E-Sylum v6#54, December 21, 2003

whomren at whomren at
Sun Dec 21 19:47:46 PST 2003

Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 6, Number 54, December 21, 2003:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2003, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


   From the Press Release:
   "David Fanning is offering a fixed price list of numismatic
   literature, with an emphasis on numismatic periodicals,
   ephemera, and books from the nineteenth and early twentieth
   centuries. Items of particular note include a nearly complete
   run of Frossard's Numisma, important publications of early
   numismatic and antiquarian societies, significant publications
   of Ebenezer Locke Mason and W. Elliot Woodward, and
   signed correspondence and business documents of M.H.
   Bolender, Leonard Kusterer, and B. Max Mehl.  For a
   copy of the list, e-mail David Fanning at
   fanning32 at"

   [The ranks of U.S. numismatic literature dealers have thinned
   greatly in recent years with the deaths of Frank Katen, John
   Bergman and Ken Lowe, and the demise of The Money Tree
   and Remy's Bourne's literature business.  It's great to see a
   new face in the business.  David's 12-page FPL is very nicely
   done, and should be a welcome sight for collectors.  -Editor]


   [My apologies to George Kolbe for being late publishing the
   following release concerning his recent sale - his message to
   me got lost in the ether (or caught in a spam net).  -Editor]

   George Kolbe writes: "Our apologies to E-sylum members
   and other interested parties for the late posting at our web site
   ( of the prices realized list to Sale 92.  The
   sale was earlier postponed by wildfires; this past week Linda
   and I were beset by the "wild" flu but both of us are getting
   better now and parcels will begin leaving Crestline in a day or
   two. A review of the results of the sale follows:

   George Frederick Kolbe/Fine Numismatic Books reports that:
   “although postponed due to the Southern California wildfires,
   our November 29th, 2003 auction was a great success. It
   brought $180,000, and over 350 bidders participated in the
   sale.” All prices cited include the 15% buyer premium.

   The auction featured many seldom offered works on a wide
   variety of topics, and competition was often intense.  Some
   sale results follow. A near complete set of The Numismatist,
   unbound, realized $2,990; the catalogue of a New York
   coin auction originally scheduled for April 27-29, 1865 but
   postponed “upon the assassination of President Lincoln,”
   brought $402 on a $175 estimate; an early April 1 supplement
   to The Numismatist, probably dating from 1894, was avidly
   sought after, finally selling for $862 though estimated at $100;
   a very nice set containing all 116 of B. Max Mehl’s famous
   series of coin auction catalogues was slow to get off the mark
   until the last several days of the sale when one very strong and
   two more moderate bids were received, followed on the closing
   day of the sale by bids of $3,450 and $4,025 (it ended up
   bringing $4,312). Works on Napoleonic medals were
   particularly in demand. Though unillustrated, Bramsen’s three
   volume standard work on the topic realized $431 on a $275
   estimate; two volumes on the topic from the great 19th century
   “Trésor de Numismatique” series were heavily bid upon, one
   selling for $1,265 on a $450 estimate, the other, from the family
   of Napoleon, brought $1,725 on a $750 estimate; an excellent
   set of Davenport’s works on crowns and talers realized $690;
   George Miles’ 1938 The Numismatic History of Rayy, headlined
   “The Most Elusive American Numismatic Society Publication?”,
   brought $690; a wonderful bound collection of 175 Sotheby
   British coin auction catalogues dating from 1830 to 1900
   realized $3,220; Q. David Bowers’ first numismatic publication,
   an 8 page 1955 price list, sold for $718; an extensive research
   archive on obsolete paper money formed by John Muscalus
   brought $1,035; competition for an 1879 German auction
   catalogue featuring the first foreign appearance of an 1804 silver
   dollar, estimated at $250, continued to escalate over the course
   of the sale, culminating in a winning bid of $862; the many
   important books and catalogues on ancient coins featured in the
   sale generally brought strong prices; and, though a complete set
   failed to sell, individual early editions of Yeoman’s “Red Book”
   from the holdings of Garce Futerer continued to be in considerable

   A few copies of the sale catalogue are still available and may be
   obtained, along with a prices realized list, by sending $15.00 to
   Kolbe. The firm's next public auction sale, to be held in association

   with Stack’s, will comprise the magnificent numismatic library of
   John J. Ford, Jr., scheduled for June 1, 2004. Details will be
   appearing in the numismatic press early next year, and some
   information and highlights are currently available at the firm's web
   site ( The firm may be contacted at P. O.
   Drawer 3100, Crestline, CA 92325; by telephone at 909-338-6527;
   or by email at GFK at"


   Len Augsberger writes: "I read with great interest about the
   Newman Library as I went to school at Washington University.
   It will be fun to go visit in a couple years after they get settled."

   Mike Hodder wrote: "As you can imagine, I was interested to
   read your communications with Eric about his book and coin
   collections. Can you email me with the exact citation to the
   paper in which the notice you found appeared? I'd like to
   obtain a hard copy for my files."

   [The URL was a mile and a half long, which is why I didn't
   publish  it.  Here goes.  -Editor]

   [A browse through my numismatic ephemera collection
   unearthed two pamphlets from the old Mercantile Money
   Museum in St. Louis.  They confirm my recollection:
   "The museum features two audio-visual mannequins:
   Benjamin Franklin and a counterfeiter.  Mr. Franklin
   presents some comments about money and his many
   witticisms.  The counterfeiter, dressed in prison garb,
   explains his predicament and the penalties for
   counterfeiting."   I wonder if he had his ears cropped...


   Howard A. Daniel III writes: "First, I want to thank the editor
   for identifying the Reuters' article about some Javanese coins
   being found in London because I missed seeing it in my news
   sources about Southeast Asia.   I went to the Reuters' web
   site to read the original article.  I am sorry to write that
   whomever the Reuters' editors and/or reporters talked to was
   an absolute dunce or they are being incorrectly quoted.  One
   quote was "Even in the 17th century they would have had no
   value in London."  Can you believe that?  Copper in any form
   in London was worth the value of copper, just like in Java or
   elsewhere in the world.  They are also quoted with "How they
   got to London remains a mystery.", but then followed up with
   "One possibility is that a merchant dropped them overboard
   from an East Indiaman (ship) moored in the Thames when he
   found they were worthless."  Was copper worthless in 17th
   century England?  I doubt it, so it was absolutely a mishap
   that the bag was dropped.  But the last sentence in the article
   finally grabs a little piece of reality with "Another is that they
   were being imported as curios for one of the many collectors
   keen to acquire interesting objects from the farthest corners
   of the earth."

   I am assuming they are quoting the British Museum, but from
   what was in the article, they must have been talking to a janitor
   because I do not know anyone there who would say such

   [I'd like to thank Howard for the opportunity to publish the
   word "balderdash" in The E-Sylum.  (It doesn't take much
   to amuse an editor.  -Editor]


   Dick Johnson writes: "Joe Boling’s comments in last week's
   E-Sylum for the most part were right on target.  Relief on
   our coins and medals is so important.  Name one element
   that is evident at every step of a coin or medal's creation
   and life – its relief!   This is of great concern for the designer,
   of course, relief is what the modeler creates, this is what
   forms the pattern from which the die is made.

   Relief determines the height of the rim for a circulating coin,
   it dictates a large part of how thick the blank must be, what
   pressure to set the coining press – or the number of blows
   for an art medal.  Relief is most evident on the struck piece,
   it is what the public sees and the numismatist studies. The
   amount of wear on relief determines condition, of interest
   to the collector.

   Joe Boling called relief the “third dimension.” This is almost
   right. Three dimensions is the equivalent of sculpture in-the-
   round (and antique dealers use the atrocious term “3D”).
   Because it is attached to its background the relief on coins
   and medal is correctly called “bas-relief” -- the “s” is silent,
   pronounced baa-relief.   (Joe: sculptors humorously, but
   more accurately, call this two-and-a-half dimensions!)

   Discussions with coin and medal artists talking about the
   concept of the rise and fall of relief – the design – needed a
   better term to express this.  Years ago I came up with
   MODULATED RELIEF.  Everyone understands it exactly.
   The rise and fall of the sculptural design.  This is even
   true when it is incuse, like on the Pratt U.S. quarter-eagle
   and half-eagle coins of 1908.  It is still true when this is in a
   sunken panel – raised relief below the background – which
   is termed “coelanaglyphic relief,” but which is better known
   as Egyptian Hollow Relief because it was so widely used by
   early Egyptian stone carvers.

   For the relief on a coin or medal – be my guest! -- call it
   Modulated Relief.  What Joe is asking for is a higher or more
   modulated relief on coins made at the U.S. Mints."

   [coelanaglyphic - now that's a 50-cent word!   I'll have to
   work that into conversation this week.  Hmmm.  -Editor]


   David Gladfelter wrote: "The deluxe Franklin Pierce copy of
   Ormsby is in the Heritage/Currency Auctions of America FUN
   sale next month. It has a realistic $15K-up estimate.  There is
   also a nice run of Heath detectors.  These are all listed in the
   back of the catalog under "miscellaneous". Go to

   [See lot 16959.  I've taken the liberty of publishing the
   lot description below.  If memory serves, this copy was
   discovered in New England by Bob Wester.  Can anyone
   confirm that?   Where has it been in the meantime?  The
   book's pedigree is alluded to in the catalog description, but
   not published.  The description begins with the text of a
   letter which accompanies the book.  -Editor]

   New York Jan 31 1853
   Dear Sir:
   Allow me to present you with a copy of my late work on
   Bank Note Engraving which will explain the cause of the
   vast amount of counterfeiting in this country. This is the first
   publication on this subject, and it is daily growing more and
   more important to every person in the community.  I beg
   permission to call on you, at some future time, when my
   plans for constructing bank notes to prevent forgery are
   mature, that I may have an opportunity of convincing you
   of the utter insecurity of our  present paper money, and the
   necessity of Legislative action on the subject.  At present I
   will only ask your attention to the important requisites of a
   Bank Note which    constitute its value - there are but two -
   first that the Bank be good - second that the note be genuine.
   The people loose (sic) more by counterfeiting money than
   by broken banks. It is therefore of as much importance to the
   poor people to have the note genuine as it is to have the Bank
   good. It is my object and aim to instruct the people in the art
   of Bank Note Engraving to the end that our General Banking
   Laws may be amended, so that they should define no less
   particularly the manner in which a note must be engraved than
   the manner in which the bank must be organized.   Many of the
   counterfeit bills in circulation are absolutely the work of the
   original engravers. Counterfeiters obtained their work in spite
   of their utmost efforts to prevent it. This is all owing to the patch

   work system of constructing the note and the use of dies in the
   engraving of plates.   My plan is to have a Bank Note one
   design or picture, with all the lettering interwoven in it. The
   whole to be engraved on the plate by the hand of the artist with
   out the use of dies. A counterfeiter then would be obliged to do
   the work himself in stead of employing others who do not know
   for what purpose their work is to be used. On turning to page
   52 you will learn how a counterfeit plate of a five hundred dollar
   Treasury note was engraved for a counterfeiter by the very
   engraver who executed the original plates! Such things have
   frequently occurred - the matter is seriously alarming to every
   business man.   Any encouragement which I may receive from
   you will be gracefully received by

   Your most obedient humble Sevt,
   W. L. Ormsby

   The book itself is inscribed on the blank flyleaf, "Presented
   to Gen. Frank. Pierce by his humble Sevt. The author W.L.

   Elaborately gold leafed on both front and back covers, the
   100+  page master work measures thirteen-and-a-half inches
   by ten-and-a-half inches and contains a large number of
   beautifully detailed, superbly engraved plates, including a
   tri-color red, blue and brown frontispiece. The book is in
   flawless, as-issued condition, fully tight in its binding with
   only a few, very minor scuffs at the edges of the cover.
   Included with the book are some items of correspondence
   between previous owners, one of which discusses a possible
   $16,000 valuation in 1991 and another which presents a
   history of the ownership of the book since 1853. We
   auctioned this book in May of 1998 and at that time it
   realized just over $9,000. This book would be the crowing
   glory in any numismatic library or the ultimate association
   item in a collection of Obsolete Bank Notes. Est.15,000-up.


   Coincidentally, Dave Bowers mentioned Ormsby in a note
   on a completely different subject.  He writes:

   "I enjoyed the info on the BANK OF THE UNITED STATES.
   For a long time I have been gathering data on the Second Bank
   of the U.S. (1816-1836), including federal documents,
   contemporary financial accounts, etc.  The popularly published
   histories of this bank are fascinating--as few people have ever
   delved into the SOURCE material. Also, Nicholas Biddle, who
   engaged in fraud after the Bank of the United States lost its
   federal charter and was then chartered by Pennsylvania, is
   hardly ever noticed in this connection--almost an untouchable
   subject (the record is clear--he engaged in illegal practices,
   many of his associates lost large amounts of money, etc., and
   if his name had been John Doe he would have been disgraced).

   The main cause of the Panic of 1837 was rampant inflation, not
   the failure of the Second Bank of the U.S. to be rechartered. In
   the west (then Indiana, Illinois, etc.) there were great land
   speculations.   Jackson's "Specie Circular" put an end to buying
   land by "paying" for it with essentially worthless paper.

   If anyone doubts that popular histories often do not mesh with
   facts gained in numismatic and financial research, just pick up a
   copy of Schlesinger's prize-winning The Age of Jackson book,
   and read all about Hard Times tokens, bank scrip, etc. (hint:
   there is hardly anything mentioned).

   The Second Bank of the U.S. opened "subscriptions" in 1816
   at its various branches, including Portsmouth, NH.  If any
   E-Sylum subscribers have any printed currency or memorabilia
   specifically relating to the Portsmouth Branch I would be
   delighted to receive it to add to what David Sundman and I
   have (we've been gathering New Hampshire bank history, and
   if I were to print out the stuff on the Bank of the U.S.,
   Portsmouth Branch, probably 50 pages would be used -- but,
   still, there are many unanswered questions and puzzles).

   Concerning the Second Bank of the U.S. (all over, not just
   Portsmouth), it is not often realized that most everyday citizens
   in the hinterlands -- did not like the bank. The reason was that
   other banks were state-chartered, were in general loosely
   regulated, could issue lots of currency with the hope that some
   of it would become lost or never redeemed, etc. There were
   state-chartered banks everywhere, and within any given state
   they had huge political clout--as they provided loans for the
   sinews of trade and commerce. The Bank of the U.S. was
   viewed as Enemy No. 1, and all across America the various
   local and regional bankers had no difficulty enlisting political
   solons to join them in this opinion.

   The Second Bank of the U.S. in Philadelphia was a spectacular
   example of the Greek Revival style (as was the 2nd Philadelphia
   Mint) and was widely reproduced on engravings---easily enough
   found today. Later, it was used for other purposes.

   While I am at it, a particular interest of mine is the history of
   bank-note engraving and engravers, mostly pre the Bureau of
   Engraving and Printing era. This field is very rich for research,
   and somewhat resembles that of early American silversmiths
   and pewterers (another interest) in that most publications
   simply copy other publications, there are vast errors in dating,
   spelling, etc. As a sample, as part of a biographical study of
   Waterman Lily Ormsby,  I once checked all of the "standard"
   sources including numismatic publications, the Essay-Proof
   Journal (articles by Julian Blanchard), Groce & Wallace,
   Hamilton, Fielding, and others on engraving, and just about all
   say the same thing. And, all misspell his middle name as LILLY
   (probably thinking of Eli Lilly pharmaceuticals!). Again, I
   probably have 50 to 100 pages on Waterman, but, ironically,
   almost all gathered item by item, with no big help from
   numismatic sources (except from none other than Eric P.
   Newman, who loaned me an item I had never seen).

   Someday I may issue a Dictionary of  Early American Bank
   Note Engravers and Printers, simply because this is a book
   I would enjoy owning now, and nothing like it even remotely
   exists. The main problem with printed sources is that, in
   actuality, a bank note partnership that expired years earlier
   may have an imprint of, say, 1855, on a piece of currency --
   the result of an early plate being dusted off, and a later date
   entered on it. Accordingly, I have found my best sources are
   contemporary documents and newspaper records, and, a
   distant second, early town and city directories. However,
   newspapers are hard to find and tedious to read.

  Wayne, keep up the good work."


   Joel Orosz writes: "According to Frank H. Stewart, in his
   "History of the First United States Mint", "It is most unfortunate
   that [Henry] Voigt's first account book cannot now be found.
   Forty years ago [1884] it was in existence and brief quotations
   from it were made by Evans and others.  Book Number 2 has
   been located, and on October 13, 1792 we find that George
   Breining was paid $1.50 on account of cutting a screw..."
   (p. 75)

   It appears that book Number 1 would have covered the period
   from June 1, 1792, when Voigt was hired, at least through the
   summer of 1792.  Book Number 1 is not in the Mint collection
   at the National Archives branch in Philadelphia.  Taxay does
   not specifically cite it in his U.S. Mint and Coinage (1966).

   Have any of you ever heard of Voigt's first account book
   surfacing?  If you have, would you have any idea of where it
   might be, and whom I might contact about examining it?

   Many thanks, and happy holidays to all. "


   Tom DeLorey writes: "I remember the day in the Fall of 1978
   when I was still working for Coin World, when Margo Russell
   came into the Editorial Department with the official Mint
   rendering of the new Susan B. Atrocity dollar. I was less than
   impressed, but being rather technically minded I asked her
   where the mint mark was going to be placed, there being none
   shown in the rendering. Margo, ever prone to direct action,
   immediately called the Mint Director to ask her where the mint
   mark would be, only to find out that the Directrix had no idea
   herself. She said she would check, and called back within the
   hour to tell Margo that the mint mark would be behind the
   shoulder, and that the Philadelphia Mint would be using a P
   mint mark on them!

   I found it amusing that the Mint Director had not been consulted
   on either the mint mark placement or the use of the P mint mark
   before our call, and have often wondered if my innocent remark
   caused the Director to stick her nose into an area where the
   Mint's actual management did not want her direction, and if it
   was perhaps her "helpful" idea to begin using a P mint mark on
   regular issue coins. We shall never know."


   While looking for other things in my ephemera collection I
   unearthed an October 1862 U.S. mint pricelist titled "List of
   Medal  Dies of a Public Character."  It lists size and price for
  70  bronze medals in seven subject categories.  (from the 19th
   Money Tree sale Lot 252  (March, 1994)).  I remembered
   Dick Johnson's recent query for information about the sale
   of medals, so I wrote to him asking if he'd like a copy, he
   replied: "Would I?  Yes!  This sounds like the first use of
   the word "List" in relation to the medals for sale at the
   Philadelphia Mint.  Isn't it interesting they call this "Dies"
   instead of just "Medals."   Does this not imply they had
   the dies on hand and would strike for anyone who wanted
   such a specimen?

   It is not only beneficial to know what  you have but also the
   significance of the item and its importance.   This sounds like
   it is important in the numismatic scheme of things. Your
   discovery is astounding."

   So off went a photocopy to Dick.   In addition to the 70
   bronze medals, The pricelist offers seven silver medals, and
   four in gold.  In addition to the medals, proof coins were
   offered as well:  "Set of silver and cent proof coins of the
   year 1862, $3.00"  A set of gold proof coins was $43.
   Payment for gold coins was to be made in gold coin;
   payment for silver, in gold or silver coin.


   Bob Leonard  writes: "I wonder whether any E-Sylum readers
   have encountered the story of Josh Tatum and the gilded nickels
   of 1883 BEFORE 1968, when Lynn Glaser published it in
   Counterfeiting in America (pp. 224-6).  I haven't, but I haven't
   made an exhaustive search.  Eric von Klinger, in his fine article
   in Coin World, December 22, was unable to substantiate it.


   Tom DeLorey writes: "In the movie "Run Silent, Run Deep,"
   set in WW2, a submariner pays for a bar bill back in Pearl
   Harbor with a $1 Silver Certificate laid face down on the
   bar so that "IN GOD WE TRUST" plainly shows. Though
   some Series 1935 bills bear this motto, they were not issued
   until the mid-1950s.

   In the George C. Scott version of Dickens' "A Christmas
   Carol" (not sure of the name of the movie), young Ebenezer
   Scrooge's fiancee tosses a King George V gold sovereign
   onto a balance scale, though George III might have been
   more appropriate."

   Philip Mernick writes: "You asked in the latest E-Sylum if
   readers had more examples of wrong coins in movies. There
   was a good (that is bad!) example on BBC TV just a few
   weeks ago. It happened in the final episode of a very detailed
   (and apparently well researched) series on the life and loves
   of King Charles II titled "Charles II The Power and the
   Passion". Some one was handed a tray of coins that were
   clearly 20th century rather than 17th. In just the few seconds
   that the coins were in shot it was possible to distinguish a
   George VI  coin and a French Fifth Republic coin. No
   doubt a frame by frame examination of a videotape would
   have shown more but I watched it "live". The BBC web site
   encourages feedback on their programs and they received
   many comments about this. This quote is part of their reaction
   to these comments:  "Unfortunately that was a production
   error and a few people have commented on it! We will say
   that we are pleased the audience follows the programme s
   closely.....!" They seemed surprised that anyone would have
   spotted something so fleeting.  Little do they know how
   observant we collectors can be! I am sure the series will be
   shown on TV in the USA. Will they change the scene? -
   probably not - so look out for the wrong coins!"

   Joe Boling writes: "The Hindenberg (about the crash of the
   Zeppelin), in which a shot of the pursar going through some
   of the money on board shows modern Japanese Y1000 notes.

   The Time of Your Life, the William Saroyan play on film.
   Set in the 1930s, a 1953 or later $2 bill (small red seal) and
   a 1963 or later $1 FRN are visible taped to the mirror
   behind the bar.

   It should not have been so hard for the props departments
   to get this right."


   "Google has started letting people search text within books,
   following similar strides from retail behemoth

   The service, called Google Print Beta, lets Web surfers call
   up brief excerpts from books, critic reviews, bibliographic
   and author's notes and, in some cases, a picture of the book

   "The search feature works with approximately 120,000 titles
   from 190 publishers, which translates into some 33 million
   pages of searchable text."

   To read the full article, see:


   Arthur Shippee sent a link to an article about a newly
   found hoard:

   "Peter and Christine Johnson, from Sittingbourne, sparked a
   massive dig when they discovered some coins on farmland near
   Maidstone using a metal detector.

   The couple contacted Kent County Council and as a result
   more than 360 coins and coin fragments, dating from the first
   century BC, were dug up."

   "The hoard could be worth thousands of pounds, according to
   the council, which is keeping the coins in its safekeeping until
   they are sent to the British Museum for analysis."

   To read the full article, see:


   Len Augsberger writes: "Remarkable.  The world's largest book
   has been produced, and QDB did NOT write it."
   Len included a link to article about the book:

   "A 133-pound tome about the Asian country of Bhutan
   that uses enough paper to cover a football field and a
   gallon of ink has been declared the world's largest published

   Author Michael Hawley, a scientist at the Massachusetts
   Institute of Technology, said it's not a book to curl up with
   at bedtime - "unless you plan to sleep on it.''

   Each copy of "Bhutan: A Visual Odyssey Across the
   Kingdom,'' is 5-by-7 feet, 112 pages and costs about $2,000
   to produce. Hawley is charging $10,000 to be donated to a
   charity he founded, Friendly Planet, which has built schools in
   Cambodia and Bhutan.

   Guinness World Records has certified Hawley's work as the
   biggest published book, according to Stuart Claxton, a
   Guinness researcher."

   "Hawley said he's received about two dozen orders for the
   book, which includes an easel-like stand. Early customers
   include Brewster Kahle, the inventor of the Internet Archive
   project, who has known Hawley for years through his
   computer science work at MIT.

   Hawley said his research revealed that the biggest book in
   the Library of Congress was John J. Audubon's 19th century
   "Birds of America,'' which is 2-by-3 feet. "

   To read the full article, see:"


   This week's featured web page is the Roman Numismatic Gallery
   of  Emperor's Wives and Families

  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
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  P.O. Box 212, Mequon, WI  53092-0212.

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