The E-Sylum v6#08, February 23, 2003
whomren at coinlibrary.com
whomren at coinlibrary.com
Sun Feb 23 20:44:10 PST 2003
Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 6, Number 8, February 23, 2003:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2002, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
CANADIAN BIBLIOGRAPHY NEARS COMPLETION
Darryl Atchison writes: "I am very pleased to announce that
work on our new Bibliography of Canadian Numismatics is
nearly 100% finished. Our intention is to release the text to
the public this July at the C.N.A. convention in Windsor,
In order to get a general sense of how many copies we will
need to print as well as to determine the print costs, I would
appreciate if any E-Sylum members would notify me if they
would be interested in purchasing a copy of the text. Our
plan is to take pre-orders starting in mid-March but no-one
needs to order now. The text will be a good quality,
hardbound, stitch bound, two-volume, illustrated publication
of over 1,000 pages in length.
We expect the cover price to be somewhere between 85-125
Canadian dollars (or approximately 60 - 90 US dollars) for the
set based on current exchange rates. However, we cannot
lock down a figure until we have a general sense of a minimum
number we would require. We intend to print enough copies to
fill the pre-orders as well as a small overrun.
Our text covers every field of Canadian numismatics including
coins, tokens, all classifications of medals, paper currency,
banking, minting, security printing, counterfeits and counterfeiting,
auction catalogues, collectors, societies and associations as
well as other information which may be of interest to a collector
or researcher interested in Canadian numismatics.
If you think that you would be interested in purchasing a copy
please let me know as quickly as possible. My email address is
canbiblio at julaine.ca
Please copy your email to ragreene at telus.net and
gbel at nb.sympatico.ca. Obviously the more people that are
interested the cheaper we can produce the copies.
Even if you have assisted us in the past and expressed an
interest verbally, I would appreciate an email so that we
tabulate a rough count. Again, I am not asking anyone to order
now nor is this a commitment to purchase. But, please do not
email us if you would not be genuinely interested.
If you think you know someone who would be interested
please pass this message on to them. All we require is your
full name and a brief message that you would be interested.
I would like to thank those of you who have assisted us over
the past eight and a half years and hope to hear from you."
DIGITAL HISTORIA NUMORUM
E-Sylum readers might be interested in an online version of
Barclay Head's "Historia Numorum" being created by Ed
"The Historia Numorum, one of the greatest works on ancient
Greek and Roman Provincial coins, has entered the public
domain. In a very real sense you now own the book. Until
now you've had no way to read it unless you were lucky
enough to own a copy or your local library kept it.
That's why I've created a project to put the HN on the
internet. The project page is http://www.snible.org/coins/hn/.
Over 200 pages of the HN have already been uploaded.
However, these pages are incomplete. They contain many
typos and OCR errors. There are few hyperlinks.
Converting scanned pages into text is hard work, especially
if the text is full of pictures, tables, Greek, and monograms.
It took over 20 hours to get the first 200 pages online, even
in this rough state. I expect it will take much more to create
a clean edition."
In response to last week's item about the Library of Congress'
plan to archive much of the Internet, Kavan Ratnatunga writes:
"A 120 Terabyte archive of the Internet was put online in Oct
2001 in the WayBack Machine. http://www.archive.org/ .
It archives with a delay of about 6 months. Google maintains a
cache of the current Internet, and archives with a delay of about
1 month. In a recent talk at CMU I was told Google operates
with with a system of 15000 computers with 2000 Terabyte of
storage. So anything put online with simple HTML not hidden
behind database queries will probably be preserved. Personal
disk files are a different story. So I suggest putting online
anything worth preserving and sharing with others."
SHELDON'S PHOTO PROJECT
David Fanning writes: "I was reading an article on the Atlantic
Monthly online about Yale's "Sex Week," when, oddly enough,
the author started talking about William Sheldon.
[Sheldon is the author of "Early American Cents", the classic
reference in the field. His photo project has been discussed
previously in The E-Sylum (Volume 3, Number 47, November
12, 2000, among other references) -Editor]
Fanning goes on: "I knew about Sheldon's research, but I was
interested in seeing how this person described it:
"...But nudity does figure in another remarkable Yale scandal,
one in which I was both exposed and exposer, so to speak,
which took place a few blocks north of Skull and Bones, at
the Payne Whitney Gymnasium.
"This was 'The Great Ivy League Nude Posture-Photo Scandal.'
Yale was not alone in being victimized by the posture-photo
scandal: just about every Ivy League and Seven Sisters school
from the 1930s to the 1960s was inveigled into allowing photos
of nude or lingerie-clad freshmen to be taken and then
transferred to the 'research archives' of a megalomaniac
pseudo-scientist, W. H. Sheldon. Sheldon believed that the
secret of all human character and fate could be reduced to a
three-digit number derived from various 'postural relationships'
(the photos were taken with metal pins affixed to the spine to
define the arc of curvature). I was the reporter who discovered,
in 1995, that all these nude photos of America's elite--tens of
thousands of them, anyway--were available for viewing by
'qualified researchers' in an obscure archive of the Smithsonian
"I don't know if this can be classified as a sex scandal, exactly,
but it demonstrates the tendency of a certain strain of academic
to find a way to abstract from an actual body to a body of
mathematical relationships--to pure number rather than impure
flesh, if possible."
You can read the entire article at:
You've got to watch those coin fellas, huh?"
MORE ON CHITS
Bob Fritsch writes: "Chits were in nearly daily use in the Navy
throughout my long career. On the monetary side, we had
pay chits so we could get paid every couple of weeks. It was
basically a voucher where the payee would fill in name, rank,
serial number, and pay amount (read from a large list posted
outside the disbursing office.) Cash was paid out and any
foreign exchange, depending on where we were at any given
time, was done at the same time.
Chits were also important for gaining permission to do
something out of the daily routine. Leave chits were most
important for a sailor to get permission to go on leave and to
have official documentation that he was in a leave status.
Special request chits were used to gain myriad permissions,
from reenlistment to getting off watch to getting married
(yes, you had to get the Navy's permission to do that also!).
These chits needed signatures from the entire chain of
command, including supervisor, division chief, division officer,
department head, and in many cases, executive officer and
Supply chits were used to draw material from the supply
system. It was a fairly complicated process that entailed
signatures from a person usually reluctant to spend the money
even if the need was evident. It would then go into the vast
supply system where the requisitioned item would appear
in the indeterminent future.
These were the major types of chits I can remember, but I
am sure there were many more."
Bill Spengler writes: "As an old "South Asia hand" (seven
years with the Foreign Service in Pakistan and many in and
out of India) I have greatly enjoyed the discussion of the
origin and meaning of the Anglo-Indian term "chit". Permit
me to add my own perspective on this common little term
which originated in the Subcontinent in a slightly different
form, was abbreviated and adapted by colonial visitors,
and brought back to the homeland to enter the English
language like so many other Indian words (of which
thousands are listed in Webster):
Mike Metras' experience with "chits" in Eritrea testifies to
how far the term has traveled from India via the military.
Ron Haller-Williams has provided interesting etymology
and practical definitions of the word but only from
secondary, English language sources. Here is what the
vernaculars say (vernaculars in the plural because the term is
common to Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi and a host of other South
Asian tongues though, as Ron notes, it can be traced back
My dictionary of the Hindi language (Bhargava's "Standard
Illustrated Dictionary", Banaras 1946), with words rendered in
the Devanagari script, records "chit" only as a feminine noun
meaning "the soul, intuition, knowledge of God" -- but as
"chiT" (with a terminal retroflex "t" formed by flipping the
tongue from the rear of the roof of the mouth forward) it is a
different noun connoting "a rag, a scrap, a chit (of paper), a
slip, a note". How's that for defining something in terms of
itself! The latter, however, is only an abbreviation for, even
a slang version of, the standard word "chiTTHI" (with a
double retroflex "t" and "th" followed by a long "i") defined
as "a note, letter, favour, bilet, document, an order". This,
then, is unquestionably the root from which "chit" is derived.
As for Urdu, according to John T. Platts' "A Dictionary of
Urdu, Classical Hindi and English", OUP London 1974, the
word "chit" in Perso-Arabic script (with a dot below the "t"
to indicate retroflex) translates "a bit, piece, chip; a scrap, a
rag", much as in Hindi. But Urdu's "chitthI" (with two retroflex
"t's"), defined as "a letter, a note; a certificate, testimonial; a
note of hand, promissory note, bill, draft; an order; a pass",
is even closer to the meaning and use of the military "chit"
which Mike and Ron have described.
There are two amusing sources in English on "Anglo-Indian
colloquial words and phrases". The Glossary called "Hobson-
Jobson" by Col. Henry Yule and A. C. Burnell, London
1886, observes under "CHIT, CHITTY":
"n. A letter or note; also a certificate given to a servant,
or the like; a pass...[derivations from Hindi and Marathi]
from Sanskrit "chitra" meaning 'marked'..." There follow
several examples of the word in actual historical context
including, from 1829, "He wanted a 'chithee' or note,
for this is the most note-writing country under heaven".
Nigel B. Hankin's parody of "Hobson-Jobson", whimsically
entitled "Hanklyn-Janklin", New Delhi 1992, has this under
"n. An anglicism from chitti, a letter; meaning an
informal piece of paper serving as a cash memo, a memo-
randum, a delivery note, etc.
"To receive, or give, a good (or bad) chit: a reference
to a written commendation (or censure), or a favourable
(or unfavourable) report. A clean chit: the equivalent of
an unblemished report."
Like others, I used the term "chit" routinely in the Subcontinent
from the 50s up to now, for such purposes as letters of
reference for household servants (they were always called
"chits"), social notes, receipts for purchases or things left for
repair (alternatively known by the English loanword "rah-seeds")
and, of course, running tabs at the club bar. Vicariously, the
term sometimes raised eyebrows when mistaken in conversation
for its vulgar near-homonym."
GLEANINGS FROM "NUMISMATIST"
The 2nd issue of the new-format "Numismatist" (February,
2003) has hit the streets, the the American Numismatic
Association's monthly publication has a number of items of
interest to bibliophiles and researchers. Here are a few that
caught your Editor's eye:
Listed in Nancy Green's "ANA Library Additions" column is
a book I wasn't aware of: "The Norris, Gregg and Norris
Coin and the Gold Rush of '49" by George Hull, Published by
Ye Galleon Press. No publication date is given, but
Amazon shows it as May, 2002. Can any of our readers
tell us more about the book or where to order a copy?
David Sklow's "Historian's Diary" column discusses "The
Mystery of the January 1894 Cover," an imprint variant of
The Numismatist. One example of the cover bears the
imprint of "Detroit Free Press," while all other examples
show ""'Press' Steam Ptg Co., Waterloo, Indiana." Dave
wrote: "..I did contact the Detroit Free Press and asked
if they had any records from 1894. When he stopped
laughing, a staff member informed me that the company's
bookkeeping did not extend quite that far back. If any
reader has a January 1894 issue of The Numismatist,
please examine the front cover to see what company is
listed as the printer and let me know what you find."
Dave's email address is sdsklow at aol.com.
[My bound set unfortunately does not include the covers
for the 1894 volume. -Editor]
Under "Association News & Notes" is an announcement
of the 2003 "Outstanding Club Publications Awards."
"Publications must have been issued on a regular basis---
monthly, quarterly or otherwise. The competition is divided
into three categories: Specialty Clubs, Regional Clubs and
Michael E. Marotta's "Internet Connections" column
referenced Bruce Morelan's web pages with background
information on the U.S. Trade Dollar:
[Call me goofy, but I tend to read many publications
from back to front - often the best little tidbits are found
far in the back, like the footnotes to corporate financial
Anyway, great job on the issue - it looks super. You
know, I was one of several bibliophiles who complained
about a proposed format change prior to the 100th volume
of The Numismatist, preferring that any such change wait until
the 101st volume began. The change was delayed, but the
101st volume came and went with no format change. Now
that the transition has finally been made, I'll go on record
agreeing that the change indeed allows for many
improvements in readability and presentation. -Editor]
CEYLON RIX DOLLAR REPLICA INFO SOUGHT
Kavan Ratnatunga writes: "I am researching a Gold gilt,
oversize, high grade replica of the 1821 Ceylon Rix Dollar
I won on eBay today -- it is claimed to have been struck by
the British Royal Mint in the late 1960's. I have made a web
page for it. Could someone on The E-sylum help identify it?
CD ON DIME-SIZE COINS
E-Sylum subscriber Gary Lewis writes: "Roger deWadt Lane
of Hollywood, Florida has recently put out a CD called
"Modern Dime Size Silver Coins of the World". Enjoy your
trip around the World viewing some of the coins during the
over 150 years from Queen Victoria to Netherlands Antilles
in 1970 which ends this series of Silver Coins. You can get
more information about this new CD from Roger Lane at PO
Box 81-3732, Hollywood, Fl 33081-3732 or on his cell phone
KITTANNING MEDAL DOCUMENTS
While looking up other things I came across some original
documents relating to the Kittanning medal, in web pages
on the history of Armstrong County, PA. It is thought to
be the earliest American medal. The following background
information comes from the Harry Bass collection web site:
"Kittanning was an Indian village on the banks of the Allegheny
River, located 45 miles from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which
was burned during the French and Indian War. According to
Betts, each of the commissioned British officers involved in
the affair was awarded one of these medals struck in silver.
Edward Duffield, a Philadelphia watchmaker, is credited with
having prepared these dies.., which have survived and are
housed at the Philadelphia Mint, according to Betts."
The following text is excerpted from the "Historical Sketch of
Armstrong County." See the web page for more information.
"Description of the medal sent to Col. Armstrong:
Occasion. In honor of the late Col. Armstrong, of Carlisle,
Pennsylvania, for destroying Kittanning Indian towns.
Device. An officer followed by two soldiers; the officer
pointing to a soldier shooting from behind a tree and an Indian
prostrate before him. In the background Indian houses are seen
Legend. Kittanning destroyed by Col. Armstrong, September,
Reverse Device. The arms of the corporation of Philadelphia,
consisting of four devices: On the right a ship under full sail; on
the left a pair of scales equally balanced; in the right, above the
ship, a wheat sheaf; on the left, two hands locked.
Legend. The gift of the corporation of the city of Philadelphia."
To Col. John Armstrong:
Sir: The corporation of the city of Philadelphia greatly approve
your conduct and public spirit in the late expedition against the
town of Kittanning, and are highly pleased with the signal proofs
of courage and personal bravery given by you and the officers
under your command in demolishing that place. I am, therefore,
ordered to return you and them the thanks of the Board for the
eminent service you have thereby done your country. I am also
ordered by the corporation to present you, out of their small
public stock, with a piece of plate and silver medal, and each of
your officers with a medal and a small sum of money, to be
disposed of in a manner most agreeable to them; which the
Board desire you will accept as a testimony of the regard they
have for your merit. Signed by order,
January 5, 1757. ATWOOD SHUTE, Mayor."
A 1963 presentation by Dr. R. J. Hudson to the Western
Pennsylvania Numismatic Society is also available on the web at:
ARTICLE: CURATORS BUYING ONLINE
A February 18th Associated Press article noted that museum
curators are making the most of the Internet as a way to locate
difficult-to-find items to fill out their collections.
"Forget musty, dusty museum storerooms. Curators nowadays
are digital archeologists, digging deep into the Internet for a
touch of humanity to warm the cold slate of history.
Using online auction searches, Bruce Johnson, a buyer for the
Indiana Historical Society, found love letters written nearly
100 years ago between an Indiana farmer and his girlfriend.
He also uncovered photographs of Confederate prisoners of
war at a camp in Indianapolis.
"The thing that always amazes me is that this is the only way
that I could have possibly found these particular kinds of items,"
"There is a person in the world who is collecting just about
anything you can think of," Endelman said. "It's just the trick
of finding it."
FEATURED WEB PAGE
This week's featured web page is from The Newton Project,
an online compilation of Isaac Newton's manuscripts. The page
lists "Overseas Mints and Coinage Mint Papers, The Public
Record Office, Kew." Sample record:
"18 August 1698. Mint to Treasury. Clerical hand. Firm
rejection of a proposal to erect a Mint for silver coinage in
Dublin. Ireland 'is and ought to be inferior to this Kingdom,
and subservient to it's interests'. Such a measure would be
to the advantage of Irish and detriment of British trade, and
might ultimately lead to Irish secession."
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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