The E-Sylum v6#07, February 16, 2003
whomren at coinlibrary.com
whomren at coinlibrary.com
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.
KOLBE SALE CLOSING
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 http://www.numislit.com, along with a
fixed price listing of over 2,000 publications currently for
sale at special prices."
THE FIRST 'NUMISMATIST' ?
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?"
CHILE'S COQUIMBO MINT BOOK PUBLISHED
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
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 yahoo.com> or myself at
<alan at ludeca.com>. Orders will be shipped now from
Santiago, or from within the U.S. at the end of this month."
WORD DEFINITION: CHIT
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
http://www.worksandwords.com/graphics.htm. 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 worksandwords.com"
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."
TAMS TOKEN & MEDAL ARTICLES INDEX
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
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
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,
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
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.
AMERICAN MEMORY PROJECT
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
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/amlaw/lwsp.html for pre-civil
war Mint reports... etc."
FRENCH REFERENCE FOUND
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."
BOOK REVIEW: CENTENARY OF THAI BANKNOTE
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 (http://www.bia.co.th) 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
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 SEAsianTreasury.com, or Ron at
bia at cscoms.com, if you want to know more details about it.
Scott Semans (SSemans at aol.com) is the only U.S. dealer,
with this book on his website at http://www.coincoin.com.
If there is any interest in it, he will ask the publisher for
IRAQI CURRENCY CHANGES MULLED
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
"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
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
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."
FEATURED WEB SITE
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!"
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 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 aol.com
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