The E-Sylum v6#07, February 16, 2003

whomren at whomren at
Sun Feb 16 19:31:56 PST 2003

Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 6, Number 7, February 16, 2003:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2002, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


   George Kolbe writes: "Our 1200-lot auction sale, featuring
   rare and important works on many numismatic topics, closes
   this coming THURSDAY, February 20th.  Telephone bids
   will be accepted until 6 PM California time on the 20th; fax
   and email bids will be accepted until midnight.  The catalogue
   may be viewed at, along with a
   fixed price listing of over 2,000 publications currently for
   sale at special prices."


   George continues: "Kolbe & Spink are in the final throes
   of publishing an English translation of Ernest Babelon's
   landmark introduction to ancient numismatics and its
   literature. Here's a little gem found in this upcoming
   publication pertaining to recent E-sylum discussion on
   the origins of THE AMERICAN NUMISMATIST and

   In Babelon's chapter on English numismatics and its
   literature is found the following: "Maximilian Borrell
   founded a periodical which only lasted one year: 'The
   Numismatist, a monthly publication exclusively devoted to
   the familiar illustration of the science of Numismatography'.
   London, 1851, in 8°, in two parts."

   This information is hardly unknown but I doubt that it is
   widely known to American bibliophiles.  It is interesting to
   note that the sub-title adopted by Heath in 1894 is more
   than a little similar to Borrell's, i.e., "An Illustrated Monthly
   devoted to the Science of Numismatics."


   Dick Johnson writes: "The Library of Congress is facing a
   herculean task.  It is going to preserve what is on the internet.

   However, "The digital history of this nation is imperiled by
   the very technology that is used to create it," said James H.
   Billington, Librarian of Congress.  He stated Friday,
   February 14th, that the Library of Congress is taking the
   next step to preserve that digital history.

   It has established, beginning in 2000, to do for digital
   information what it does for printed matter, preserve this
   form of communication for future generations.  It had
   received $5 million from Congress that year to plan the
   National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation
   Program (NDIIPP).  Last week Congress approved $20
   million to place this plan into action (as part of a total $100
   million appropriated for this project).

   Library officials are aware of the size of this task.  Google,
   the largest search engine currently, has over three billion pages.
   Not only is this in a constant state of change, but more is
   added every hour.

   "Much of what has been created is no longer accessible,"
   Billington said. "And much of what disappears is important,
   one-of-a-kind material that can never be recovered, but
   will be desperately looked for [later]."

   In a story by Nicholas Johnston in the Washington Post
   Saturday, the author stated the Library of Congress receives
   more than 20,000 pieces each day, but saves less than half.
   "It now faces the herculean task of deciding what digital
   information should be saved for future generations."

   The full story is at:

   Dick continues:  In our own field of numismatics we have
   observed the loss of original research that has been lost (e.g.
   Carl Carlson's computer files destroyed when he went into a
   nursing home).  How many of our own files have disappeared,
   perhaps, from a crash or virus via the internet.  Is anyone in
   the field saving numismatic data files for the future?   Is it time
   for a numismatic data archive?"


   Alan Luedeking writes: "I'm very pleased to announce that
   Carlos Jara's new book "Chile's Coquimbo Mint: A
   Documented History," is finally available for sale in a limited
   edition of only 50 numbered examples. This is the first
   publication supported by the recently founded "Sociedad
   Chilena de Estudios Numismáticos," and will be followed by
   more books and monographs dealing mostly with (but not
   limited to) Chilean numismatics. Here's a little review of this
   great work:

   Although the 1 Peso Coquimbo coin is so famous that it has
   many times been labeled the most important republican Latin
   American crown, no one has undertaken a serious study of it
   since Jose Toribio Medina in the early 1900's. Medina
   presented very incomplete information on this mint and its
   coins, leaving the door open to a lot of controversy. This
   comment may seem a bit harsh, but the amount of new
   documented information contained in Jara's book will prove
   that the assertion is merited. Through painstaking research,
   Mr. Jara uncovered much new documentation that was
   heretofore unknown and is crucial to understanding the
   precise chronology of the events that took place during the
   short time the Coquimbo Mint existed: 1827-1830. Was
   there more than one emission of coins from the Coquimbo
   Mint?  Jara presents incontrovertible evidence that there
   were in fact three different emissions.

   All relevant documents are presented in the Appendix,
   along with careful translations of the most essential ones.
   This work will finally bring closure to the long-running
   controversy concerning the legitimacy of the two known
   types of Coquimbo 1 Peso coins. Another controversial point
   concerns whether or not Coquimbo coined minor
   denominations. This is also cleared up. Previously
   undocumented and unknown contemporary descriptions and
   analysis of the various emissions of coins is presented, and by
   contrasting these with the actual coins known, it is possible to
   establish that the previously enigmatic and often called
   "dubious" specimens are in fact genuine. The diagnostics to
   identify genuine coins are also presented.  Other relevant items
   such as the mint employees' identities are also revealed,
   including the mysterious "T.H." whose initials appear on the
   Coquimbo coins. Illustrations of many known specimens of
   these coins along with a record of virtually all of their auction
   appearances are presented.

   The book (ISBN 956-291-669-3) is hardcovered, 176 pages
   long, and printed on high quality "couche" paper. Those
   wishing to order it are encouraged to do so, and may contact
   the author directly at <clejara at> or myself at
   <alan at>. Orders will be shipped now from
   Santiago, or from within the U.S. at the end of this month."


   Eric Newman writes: "As to the meaning of the word "chits",
   I have in my library A TRIAL LISTING OF MILITARY
   CHITS (St.Louis, MO 1969) written by Ruth W. Hill.  It is
   20 pages plus a a 1969 amendment.  I cannot get to it at this
   time but she was an accurate writer and many of the foreign
   paper money group knew her well. Perhaps she commented
   on the matter there."

   Mike Metras writes: "Chuck Ambrass asks what a "chit" is.
   When I was in Asmara, Eritrea, in the late '60s in the army,
   in order to control the money flow somewhat our Enlisted
   Men's  and Non-Commissioned Officer's clubs had $5
   books of coupons, little 3/4" by 1-1/2" or so paper coupons,
   that the waiters tore out to when we bought things. They
   were in 5, 10, 25 and maybe 50 cent denominations if I
   remember correctly.  The official name on the booklet called
   them "coupons," but we called these little coupons "chits"
   and the books that held them, "chit books."  I have no idea
   if they have a more numismatic designation as I never have
   formally collected them. I just have my few. We had to buy
   the books at a special window in the club.

   If you want to see what mine look like, I have included
   them in my CD-ROM book, "Ethiopia: Travels of a Youth."
   Although the text of this book is available on my web site,
   there is only a thumbnail version of most of the pictures. But
   you can see the chits well enough. You can see them at This page
   has a lot of graphics so it takes it a while to load. But click on
   the Kagnew Station link or scroll down to that title.  The chit
   thumbnail is the 17th in the Kagnew Station chapter. (If you
   had the full version of the book, clicking here would take you
   the full size version, but the online version has no large pictures.)

   If someone wants to see a larger version of this one or of the ]
   cover (the image next to the chits). I'd be glad to put the larger
   versions somewhere on my site or to email them copies of the
   jpg files. (Of course, one is always welcome to buy the book
   too. :) )  My email addresses is" mike at"

   Ron Haller-Williams writes: "I think I can help, being in
   England and having heard the word "chitty" used many times,
   but only by people who had served in India during World War
   II (or occasionally by people from the Indian sub-continent) -
   provided we forget about Ian Fleming's story of an old,
   restored car ("Chitty Chitty Bang Bang").

   It appeared to mean "receipt", or almost any other form of
   official piece of paper that might be needed either for proof
   of entitlement to certain goods/services or for subsequent
   handling of paperwork. This might include a requisition form
   for ordering supplies from the stationery or other materials
   repository, leading to the "Catch-22" situation for newcomers
   that they cannot put in an order, even for a pad of requisition
   forms, without a "chitty";  hence the first order form used
   would need to be begged from a kindly colleague!

   Chambers' Twentieth Century Dictionary, 1952 edition,

   chit - (noun) a short informal letter;  an order or pass.
       Also "chitty".   [Hindi "chitthi"]

   Collins English Dictionary, 1994 edition, gives:

    chit - (noun)
        1. a voucher for a sum of money owed, especially for
            food or drink.
        2. Also called "chitty" (chiefly British)
            (a) a note or memorandum
            (b) a requisition or receipt

          [18th century; from earlier "chitty", from Hindi
           "cittha"  = note, from Sanskrit "citra" = brightly-coloured]

   So, depending on the usage of the actual "chitty" itself, it may
   or may not need to be signed, and may well not have a
   "redemption value" (if it is a pass, a receipt, or a requisition
   or order for supplies).

   I would only expect it to be of card or cardboard, rather than
   paper, if it is a reusable or "permanent" voucher (e.g. for
   canteen meal/s), or a "pass" of longer duration than, say, a
   week-end. And nowadays some of these might even be
   laminated with plastic."


   Dick Johnson writes: "With the arrival of the February 2003
   issue of TAMS Journal came a delightful surprise:  "Exonumia
   Journal Articles."  Compiled by Gregory G. Brunk, the 71-
   page bibliography lists articles only  -- over 2,700 articles, no
   books -- from world journals that touch on, or illustrate tokens
   and medals.

   Obviously most of the journal sources are numismatic. For
   some of these journals compiler Brunk make a page-by-page
   inspection. For others we assume he captured these from
   citations in the literature. He also included a few citations from
   journals outside our field as well. He has performed a
   herculean task for the benefit of collectors and writers in the
   field. We always welcome Finding Aids, both on the internet
   and hardcopy.

   The arrangement is essentially geographical among 101
   token-and-medal-issuing countries.  His methodology of
   indexing -- and this has been discussed in E-Sylum before
   -- was a folder within a folder within a folder, somewhat like
   the arrangement in Elvira Clain-Stefanelli's massive
   "Numismatic Bibliography." As the number of entries grow
   under a country when compiling, how can they be broken

   By bringing related items together and giving them a new
   headline, a group subject title.  Boy, the computer sure helps
   when doing this arranging. But assigning each headline its
   position in the hierarchy becomes important. (Elvira's
   differing headline type styles was somewhat annoying,
   Gregory's isn't.)

   For each entry the author's last name is listed in full, but
   only the initials for any given names. There is a subject index
   but no author index.  Also, no item is repeated.  And that is
   somewhat of a problem in using the directory when an article
   cuts across two or more subjects.  You have to search
   extensively for a specific interest of your choice, and you
   have to rely on the article title alone.

   Assigning proper subject heads is critical.  I found only two
   of my articles listed, both are under an incorrect heading. An
   article on the medals of the American Numismatic SOCIETY
   is listed under American Numismatic ASSOCIATION. (The
   proper head should have been: American Numismatic
   Organizations.)  Also an article of mine, and one by G.
   Sanfilippo, on half-dollar size medals, both titled "So-Called
   Half Dollars" is listed under So-Called Dollars, which has a
   very specific meaning in the numismatic field and incorrect for
   our two articles.

   A point I have made previously in E-Sylum:  Before anyone
   starts indexing journal articles, check out the 2-volume
   reference work "Index to 19th Century American Art
   Periodicals" by Mary Morris Schmidt. It was published by
   my publisher, Sound View Press, in 1999.  It is an expensive
   set ($200), but study the methodology of her indexing. Here
   any number of citations can be made to a single article, its all
   in one alphabet and it contains authors and all possible subjects
   in that single alphabet.   Plus it gives detail on content of the
   article! (She could, and did!, pinpoint a single fact among a
   200-page article.)

   Having said all that, do get Gregory Brunk's useful work for
   your library. It's available from TAMS, Box 76192, Ocala,
   FL 34481 (that's David Sklow's address).  Or, better yet,
   join TAMS for twenty-five bucks.


   Alan Meghrig writes: "I try to keep tabs of the American
   Memory project, where Congressional Documents and
   Debates are being placed on the Internet.

   This search can lead you to George Washington.  Go to
   and enter 'a small beginning  (coinage)' as your search
   criteria.  This can lead you to this November 6, 1792

   "In execution of the authority given by the Legislature,
   measures have been taken for engaging some artists from
   abroad to aid in the establishment of our Mint; others have
   been employed at home. Provision has been made of the
   requisite buildings, and these are now putting into proper
   condition for the purposes of the establishment.  There has
   also been a small beginning in the coinage of half-dismes;
   the want of small coins in circulation calling the first
   attention to them.

   The regulation of foreign coins, in correspondency with the
   principles of our national coinage, as being essential to their
   due operation, and to order in our money concerns, will, I
   doubt not, be resumed and completed."

   My most recent visit notes the expansion of the U.S Serial
   Set and the Addition of America State Papers.  See   for pre-civil
   war Mint reports... etc."


   In response to Gar Travis' request, R. W. Julian writes: "I
   have this book; the title page has the author's name as J. B.
   A. A. Barthelemy and it was published at Paris at "A La
   Librairie Encyclopedique de Roret."  There is no date. "

   Hadrien Rambach of Paris writes: "Anatole de Barthelemy
   (= JBAA Barthelemy)
       Nouveau manuel complet de numismatique ancienne
       1 volume of text + 1 volume of plates (i.e. the atlas)
       Fist (rare) edition : Paris 1866
       Second edition : 1890

   The author also wrote a "Manuel de numismatique du

   Your edition is from the 2nd edition, according to the mention
   "membre de l'Institut" (= member of the French Academy).

   Complete sets of two volumes are unusual, but no copy is
   really expensive (the most expensive copy I know (mine!),
   is the text-volume in the first ed. with the ex-librisses of
   Henry Chapman & John W Scott, bound in half  leather)."

   Gar Travis adds: "I came by my copy as a lining in the bottom
   of a metal box with a few coins I purchased from an old
   collection, some years ago. I have just moved into a new office
   and came across it again. I thought about removing the plates
   and having them framed, but common sense may prevail and
   the book may stay together."


   Howard A. Daniel III submitted the following book review:

   "Centenary of Thai Banknote: 1902-2002" by a Working
   Group (under the direction of Bank of Thailand Governor,
   M.R. Pridiyathorn Devakula), Bank of Thailand, Bangkok,
   Thailand, Oversized Hardbound, 448 pages,

   One of the editorial consultants working on this excellent
   reference was Ron Cristal of Bangkok International
   Associates ( in Bangkok, and he
   recently sent a copy to me.

   It starts with describing the "bullet" coins, other coins, cowrie
   shells, porcelain gaming tokens during the time of King
   Mongkut (Rama IV), who came to the throne in 1868.  The
   King decided current Thai coins were not sufficient for
   Thailand to merge into the world's economies and he started
   a modernization process.

   King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) succeeded him and foreign
   banks started issuing their own notes to satisfy the demands
   of large transactions.  King Chulalongkorn decided that
   Thailand needed its own banknotes and the first were issued
   in 1902.

   This reference describes all of the Thai banknotes issued
   from 1902 to 2002 with much of the detail information never
   before seen in English or in published form.  I believe the
   details about the World War II issues has the largest amount
   of new information about the production, shipping, and issuing
   of these banknotes.  And it includes the postwar U.S.-printed

   If you have any general questions about this reference, please
   contact me at Howard at, or Ron at
   bia at, if you want to know more details about it.
   Scott Semans (SSemans at is the only U.S. dealer,
   with this book on his website at
   If there is any interest in it, he will ask the publisher for
   quantity pricing."


   A February 13th article in The Wall Street Journal discussed
   several scenarios for a post-Saddam Iraq, including changes
   to the currency.

   "In closed-door meetings around the capital, Rubar Sandi and
   his colleagues are way beyond debating whether Baghdad has
   chemical weapons.

   "Our job is to envision what will happen on Day Two," says
   Mr. Sandi, a Washington-based financier who fled the Kurdish
   north of Iraq 28 years ago. "And, of course, there are a lot of
   different opinions."

   Mr. Sandi has his cure. He wants to peg the dinar to a blend
   of the dollar and the euro, then introduce new bank notes as
   swiftly as possible. How the two dinars will merge isn't yet
   clear, and the group is skimpy on details for fear of feeding
   the speculators.

   But Mr. Sandi goes on. "I suggest that the image of the great
   Babylonian lawgiver-king Hammurabi be imprinted on the
   most widely used denomination of the new dinar," he proposes
   in one of his papers. And then, he says aloud, "we should
   burn all the Saddam dinars in one final act of celebration."

   This last pitch draws howls from Mr. Sandi's colleagues,
   who favor a more gradual approach. "We should try not to
   be emotional about this," says Mr. Al-Shabibi, sipping his
   coffee. He suggests keeping the Saddam dinar for as long
   as necessary, but with the president's face systematically
   crossed out. "At least in some ways," he says, "we may
   have to keep living with Saddam."


   This week's featured web site is recommended by Larry
   Mitchell, who writes: "It's an excellent FLASH animation
   of the history of books, put together by the BBC.  Works
   best with a high-speed connection!"

  Wayne Homren
  Numismatic Bibliomania Society

  The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a
  non-profit organization promoting numismatic
  literature.   For more information please see
  our web site at
  There is a membership application available on
  the web site.  To join, print the application and
  return it with your check to the address printed
  on the application.   For those without web access,
  write to David Sklow, NBS Secretary-Treasurer,
  P.O. Box 76192, Ocala, FL  34481.

  For Asylum mailing address changes and other
  membership questions, contact Dave at this email
  address: sdsklow at

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