The E-Sylum v6#27, July 6, 2003
whomren at coinlibrary.com
whomren at coinlibrary.com
Sun Jul 6 19:28:17 PDT 2003
Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 6, Number 27, July 6, 2003:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2003, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Among recent new subscribers is Bob Hearn. Welcome
aboard! We now have 573 subscribers.
LAKE BOOKS SALE #69 CLOSING
Fred Lake writes: "A reminder that Lake Books' sale #69 of
numismatic literature closes in just over a week on July 15,
2003. Email and telephone bids are welcome. The sale
can be viewed at: http://www.lakebooks.com/current.html."
GALA AT OLD SAN FRANCISCO MINT
A July 1, 2003 article in the San Francisco Chronicle
reported on a fundraising event held at the old San
"The rats have been poisoned, the scale model has been built,
and the dreamers have done their dreaming. Now, all that's
needed for the old U.S. Mint to open as a museum is for
someone to cough up $46 million.
The latest effort to save the mint kicked off on Monday night
with a fundraiser, the gala kind. It raised about $90,000. That
means, said project director Jim Lazaraus, there's only
$45,910,000 to go.
"This time," Lazarus said in his most optimistic voice, "I'd say
it may happen."
"In the courtyard, a black rope kept visitors from venturing
outside. Were there to be an earthquake, the unreinforced
brick chimneys could come down and bonk donors on the
head, which would not be good for the museum's future.
Small pieces of granite that had fallen from the wall littered
the courtyard. Some well-wishers picked up the pieces for
If all goes well, Lazarus said, renovation of the building will
begin next year, and the glorious new museum of San
Francisco will open in 2006, complete with atrium, skylights,
a theater, elevators, a tony restaurant and souvenir shops."
To read the full article, see:
The article's tone is not very hopeful for the success of the
venture of the San Francisco Museum and Historical Society.
It was created in 2002 as an umbrella organization for "The
management of the City history collections of the San Francisco
Museums and Historical Society, the Fine Arts Museums of
San Francisco, the San Francisco Public Library and other
City departments. See http://www.ci.sf.ca.us/site/mhsac_index.asp
Question: if the courtyard was off limits how did souvenir hunters
grab the granite? The project director's name was spelled two
different ways in the article, so we can all be puzzled by that.
Further background on the project is available at the San
Francisco Historical Society web site: http://www.sfhistory.org/
Click on "more information" under the item titled "Keep up on
the news of the Old Mint." Readers can make a donation to
the project via a link on that page.
STAR COIN BOOK AND ENCYCLOPEDIA DATING
Chris Hoelzle of Laguna Niguel, CA writes: "Perhaps your
readers can help me figure one thing out - The numbering of
the Editions vs. the year of publication of The Star Coin Book
published by dealer B. Max Mehl..
It appears that first there was The Star Coin Book, and I
believe from what I read that this began in 1906 (first edition)
and then there was the Star Rare Coin Encyclopedia.
I have an Eighth edition which has the date of 1913.
I have a Thirteenth edition which has no date but another
owner has written it up as 1920.
I have a Twentieth edition which I bought from a fellow who
thought it was 1917.
I have just bought a Twenty-Seventh Edition with no date.
Lastly, I have a Thirty-Seventh Edition that states "In the same
place, same business, same ownership for over 38 years" with
Then there is the series of The Star Rare Coin Encyclopedia
and Premium Catalog. These seem to be very good at having
a printed date of publication along with their Edition number.
My Earliest is 1926 (29th Edition) and my latest is 1959
One edition of note is 1938 the 45th Edition which has the
same phrase on the title page "In the same place, same
business, same ownership for over 38 years" .
So it appears that the books were published concurrently,
but the frequency of the release of the Editions may not
have been on a purely annual basis. Does anyone happen
to have any information that might help me crack the
"Edition / Year" code on The Star Coin Book?"
MINDING YOUR B'S AND Q'S
From the American Numismatic Association's Summer
Seminar in Colorado Springs, Dan Gosling writes:
"During our last class on Numismatics of the American
Revolution Period, with instructors John Kraljevich Jr. and
Ken Bressett, a slide was shown of a November 1709
New York Colonial 16 dollar note. Ken mentioned that
when he was a typesetter he lived by the motto "mind your
p's and q's".
Because type is backwards a typesetter can easily make a
mistake by inserting a "p" where a "q" belongs, hence the
expression. Ken then pointed out a typesetting error on the
note being discussed. The wording on the note contained the
phrase "shall be in value equal to". The "q" in equal was
actually an upside down "b". It would seem that the
typesetter of the New York note forgot to mind his b's
ANA LIBRARY SALE
Dan also reports that "the American Numismatic Association
held their annual Library Spares Sale on Sunday morning
June 29th. The first person lined up at 7 am. At 8 o'clock
ANA Research Librarian Jane Colvard handed out numbered
tickets to everyone that was lined up. The tickets provided an
opportunity to tour the fabulous exhibits in the museum,
including the Harry Bass collection of gold coins.
Everyone lined up again at 8:50 outside the conference room
where all of the goodies awaited the lovers of numismatic
literature bargains. Within moments of ANA Librarian Nancy
Green opening the door at 9 am sharp the main table in the
center of the room was surrounded three deep with the most
aggressive shoppers you ever met outside a department store
sale. At least this is one description of the mob scene that a
visiting curator shared with me. The many books on the center
table were being offered for from $2 to $10 and included a
wide range of topics including many monographs from the
The side table contained many periodicals including a long
run of the World Coin monthly journal that I managed to
grab. The back two tables were absolutely stacked high
with auction catalogues from well known and obscure auction
houses. The quantity of auction catalogues was overwhelming.
It was not until the second day that more buyers were able
to begin to get a feel for what was there. On day two the
prices were reduced by 75% on all remaining stock and set
off another busy scene. One numismatist is reported to have
purchased 10 boxes of books and auction catalogues. ;-)
All in all another fabulous Library Spares Sale. Nancy has
indicated that additional fresh material will be added this
Sunday for students of the second session of the Summer
THE LITTLE O ON THE LINCOLN CENT
Steven Wolf, a web site visitor, writes: "The U.S.Mint
Customer Care Center has had no idea how to answer
the following question:
On the back (tails side) of the penny, there is a lower
case "o" in The United States oF America. Why is that
letter lower case? Is it just a language mechanics thing
or is there any significance?"
My reply was: "It has no significance whatsoever that I
am aware of. It is simply artistic license - that is the way
the designer chose to create that letter."
I've noticed that element of the cent design before, but
this is the first time I've heard the topic come up. Am I
correct in saying there is no particular significance to the
size of this letter? Is anyone aware of other coins (U.S.
or otherwise) with a similar odd mixture of letter sizes?
A CENTURY MEDAL
Rich Hartzog writes: "I seem to recall an article semi-recently
about the few 'century' medals that exist. That is, medals to
commemorate the turning of the century (which was really
1901, 2001, but that is another story). In going over the
massive consignment of exonumia from Greg Brunk, I found
one of interest: http://www.exonumia.com/news/news_23.htm
A neat piece, with Germany and Egypt connections. And, yes,
the Brunk collection of counterstamps, medals and tokens is
still not ready. But I've made progress! I'll be again offering
free custom web pages of items matching your interests, upon
Regarding Gar Travis' question on American Numismatic &
Archeological Society membership, Fred Reed writes: "A
"resident member" was one residing in the local community of
the group, as contrasted to a "corresponding member" who
resided at some distance and generally did not attend meetings."
SOMER JAMES INFORMATION
In response to Alan Roy's query about H.C. Taylor and
Somer James last week, Gar Travis writes: "Somer James
established the Canadian Numismatic Publishing Institute in
1958. The web site is here: http://www.coinscan.com/ An
e-mail address can be found on the web site. I would
guess since this institute published all of the works of James
& Taylor, that some of the answers to your questions may
be found here.
Also I found a reference which shows a photograph of a
"Somer James" a Canadian who was invested with the
British Empire medal (WWII)....the only photograph on
the page.... and I'm betting it's the same fellow.
Alan Roy replied: "I already knew about Patrick Glassford's
site, but not about the other. I did find a searchable website of
Winnipeg cemeteries which listed H. C. Taylor, and managed
to confirm it in the Canadian Numismatic Journal."
U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE COUPONS
Inspired by last week's item about the U.S. Government Printing
Office, Tom DeLorey writes: "When I worked for Coin World
back in the 70s, fellow staffer Ed Fleischmann showed me his
collection of GPO refund coupons which you received back in
lieu of a check when you ordered two or more publications
from the GPO and one or more of them was unavailable. Back
then publication prices were very cheap, often under a dollar,
and if an eighty cent publication was out of print you would
receive a 50 cent coupon, a 25 cent coupon and a 5 cent
coupon along with your order. These could be used when
sending in future orders. I don't know if anybody other than
Ed cared about them and/or collected them, but they could
be considered an obscure form of United States "money."
Also while at Coin World, I once saw an item, in print, that
referred to the "Government Painting Office." As they say,
KOREAN WAR PROPAGANDA CURRENCY
Herb Freidman writes: "The readers might be interested in
an article I have placed on the Internet on the subject of
American propaganda currency used in Korea. This story
was originally three different in-depth articles published in
the International Bank Note Society journal. This is a much
lighter version with no Pick Nos., numismatic data, etc.,
meant for the casual reader or military student. Still, if you
have never read my "official" articles, you might find this
For viewing old stereo slides, Alan Meghrig suggested
Fred Reed admonished me for not already having a viewer,
for "it was perfected by Joseph L. Bates." Several years
ago I contributed some research to Fred's book on Encased
Postage Stamps, and Joseph Bates was one of the issuers.
Paul Horner and Jerry Roughton produce a very nice occasional
periodical called The North Carolina Numismatic Scrapbook.
I ordered a set of back issues and they arrived this week. It is
a quality publication, well illustrated and researched. It is
focused on, but not limited to, paper money history. It is an
outlet for the pair's research, and is not affiliated with any
numismatic organization. Articles in the first four issues include:
A Commemorative Banknote -
The History Behind the Vignettes
Madison Toll Bridges
C.C. Sanford Sons Co. Mocksville, North Carolina
Cardboard Store Scrip
A Rare North Carolina Counterstamp of Fayetteville
Of special interest to bibliophiles is "A. B. Andrews, Jr.
Cataloguer of North Carolina State Treasury Notes."
An article on the notes by Andrews was published in the
Charlotte Daily Observer in 1908. Andrews' catalogue
was later published in The Numismatist, but his pioneering
work was not acknowledged in Bradbeer's 1915 book,
"Confederate and Southern State Currency".
When I first wrote to Paul Horner about the Scrapbook,
he replied: "It is a small journal devoted primarily to the
obsolete paper money and scrip of North Carolina. Each
issue typically contains 12 pages of new material that will
not be found elsewhere, say 3 - 6 articles. All the research,
writing and printing is done by my coeditor, Jerry Roughton,
When a printing run is made of the SCRAPBOOK no extra
copies per se are included, only issues for those who are
subscribers. To do another original printing of back issues
would require too much time and expense. However we can
offer you all the back issues (Nos. 1 - 5), but they must be
copies of the originals. If this would suit you, the price for a
set is $25.
We have started our second year of publication, and have
recently mailed out issue #6. The cost is $15 per year.
We anticipate at least 4 issues a year, on an "infrequent"
basis, last year we put together 5 issues that included about
65 pages of material, extra pages beyond 12 being added
If you care to get a set of back issues @25, a subscription
@15 or both for $40, please send a check for the appropriate
amount, with your mailing address to:
PO Box 793
Kenansville, NC 28349
Both the back issues and new issues will be mailed via first
class mail. The back issues and new subscription will be
mailed from different places, and will not be sent together."
[By the way, another good place to find articles on obsolete
paper is Numismatic Views, the journal of the Gulf Coast
Numismatic Association, edited by subscriber Nolan Mims.
The May 2003 issue features an article by Nolan on "The
Bank of Mobile 1820-ca.1866."
Ron Guth writes: "I found the following item in a recent
Internet surf session and thought your readers might enjoy
reading the "behind-the-scenes" story of the Trompeter
[The description of the collection of 400 high-grade U.S.
gold coins begins on page 5 of the document. The collection
was the subject of a dispute over grading involving the estate,
Superior Stamp & Coin, and the PCGS and NGC grading
services. The estate was unhappy with grades being assigned
to coins in Superior's catalog of the second part of the
Trompeter collections (190 coins), but that is only one of the
disputes, which involve divorce, a fiancee, sons of
acquaintances, hidden assets, and a million dollar "reward"
request. The document was filed in 1998. Interesting, though
one-sided, reading. Every party to the dispute I'm sure, has
their own opinion of the circumstances. -Editor]
STILL MORE ON INTERNMENT CAMPS
Ronald Thompson writes: "I have trouble understanding how
John Kleeberg could say "Yes, some of their American
spouses and children joined them, but that was voluntary."
It could only be construed as "voluntary" if the spouse had
independent means of support to survive while their German
or Italy citizen/spouse was interned. That was the day of one
bread winner per family. My guess is that most of German
or Italy citizen/internees were men. That meant that their
housewife/homemaker had to feed the family and pay the
bills without any income. This was before the welfare system
of the last half of the 20th century. Certainly the housewife/
homemaker could conceivably get a job if she had the skills,
however, most didn't. Yes, there were Rosie the riveters
etc., but those individuals worked in the defense industry.
How many spouses of interned aliens do you think could
get a job with the defense industry? And if they lived in a
small town who would hire them for anything when they
knew the husband was an interned alien?
No, this wasn't voluntary. It was the only alternative to being
homeless that was forced on them due to the government's
policy. It is somewhat like the choice the cow has in the
slaughter yards - go down the chute or get zapped with the
cattle prod. If the cow had a real choice, it would be anywhere
but in the slaughter yards, but circumstances and, in this case,
the government's actions, dictated this "voluntary" choice."
Russ Rulau writes: "Dear Friends, I guess I should enter the
discussion about Germans being interned in the U.S. during
WWII, as I covered this in a small way in one of my books,
"Latin American Tokens" (2nd edition, 2000, page 220).
Beginning 1873 Guatemalan president Justo Rufino Barrios
invited Germans to immigrate, and Chancellor Bismarck gave
a boost to the arrangement. A special agreement permitted
the Germans to reside, own property and every other right
(except the vote) as resident aliens, keeping German citizenship.
In the next 25 years these Germans and their offspring became
wealthy, controlling coffee estates, railroads, banks, etc. In
1918 Guatemala declared war on Germany and seized all
German-owned property controlled from Germany, but did
not disturb the resident aliens or their lands, etc.
In 1941 strongman Jorge Ubico declared war on Germany
and "intervened" all property of those Germans of the third
or fourth generation who had never taken Guatemalan
citizenship, and interned all the Germans themselves (many
of whom had never seen Germany). The internees, full
families, were locked up at a U.S. Army base in Texas by
arrangement with the U.S. government. In all, Ubico seized
130 German-owned coffee plantations of more than
600,000 acres, employing 80,000 persons.
Ref: "Area Handbook for Guatemala," John Dombrowski et
al, American University, Washington, D.C., 1970. Good
input recently from John Kleeberg on this subject. Under
international law, enemy aliens do have some rights, but as
the above shows, they are slim."
A MAGAZINE FOR NUMISMATISTS?
A number of people have lamented the changes to the
American Numismatic Association's publication,
"Numismatist", citing a "dumbing down" of the level of
scholarship to cater to newer collectors. One response
is to note that the more scholarly articles have long ago
migrated to specialty publications. Dick Johnson pointed
out to me that not all collectors have ready access to these
other publications, and it's a point well taken. I'm a goof
for numismatic information, and shell out a ton of money
each year in order to receive a wealth of U.S. numismatic
periodicals. Few collectors are as voracious, and a
general publication with high-quality articles would be
attractive. But there is a publication which I believe already
exhibits a high degree of scholarship, and it may be
unfairly overlooked by serious numismatists - COINage
magazine. Once one gets past the breathless "How Much
Is Your Coin Worth?" cover blurbs, the articles inside are
the equal of any U.S. numismatic periodical published today.
I find myself reading COINage first when it arrives in my
P.O. Box. I always learn something new from the articles.
The August 2003 issue, for example, has great articles by
Tom DeLorey, R. W. Julian and David T. Alexander, all
of whom are regular contributors. John Iddings' articles
on the John J. Ford collection and 1787 coinage are very
interesting. Other articles cover the new $20 paper money
designs, the numismatics of Napoleon and the American
Numismatic Association library. The articles do not have
end notes or footnotes, unfortunately, so COINage will
never be a true journal of record, and it will never be the
place to find information on newly discovered varieties.
But the information is great, and many articles are well worth
saving for future reference. Researchers of the future will
find some real gems in the magazine's index. [Speaking of
which, does an index to COINage exist anywhere?]
NEXT STEP IN COIN TRADING?
Now that slabs enable collectors to own a coin without
having to bother touching or looking at it directly, perhaps
the next step is owning coins without the bother of actually
possessing them. The sports card world shows how the
third-party trend can be taken to extremes. A recent
article in Wired magazine (known for publishing spoofs,
by the way) describes an online trading site for cards
designed by the Topps card company.
"Mike Clark owns $30,000 worth of special-edition baseball
and football cards. And he's never seen a single one of them.
That's because these cards aren't the kind you can pick up in
foil packs at a hobby shop. They're sold like stocks, more or
less, on an online trading floor designed by the Topps card
company and run by eBay. And while Clark and his fellow
collectors are willing to pay hundreds of dollars for the right
to call the rarest of these specimens their own, the cards
themselves remain, for the most part, sealed in a climate-
controlled warehouse in Delaware."
ONLINE MINT REPORTS
Chris Fuccione sends the following link to online U.S.
BUYING VOTES WITH COUNTERFEITS
Bill Spengler writes: "I enjoyed your anecdote in the last
E-Sylum about the Vietnamese man being paid off in
counterfeit bills and, again, it reminded me of an analogous
incident in my own experience.
While I was serving in the 1960's as American Consul in
Peshawar, in the wild and woolly Pushtun country of Pakistan's
North-West Frontier Province, a tribal leader and friend of
mine (call him Yaqub Shah) was engaged in a close electoral
contest for a seat in the National Assembly. It was an "indirect
election" in which only locally chosen electors voted. To clinch
his victory, Yaqub went around to electors in his constituency
-- many of them "maliks" or local tribal leaders -- the night
before the election and purchased their votes for 500 rupees
each in crisp, new 100 rupee notes. It was not until the
election was over the next day that the recipients discovered
that their bills were bogus, skillfully counterfeited in
unadministered tribal territory in the mountains outside
Peshawar -- where tribesmen also replicate foreign firearms
complete with the original manufacturers' marks and serial
Needless to say, Yaqub won the election by a solid margin.
And the bilked Pushtun tribesmen, inherently capable of
taking a joke, just laughed it off. I reported the incident
back to Washington in a tongue-in-cheek dispatch entitled
"The Present Price of Maliks". As I recall, 500 rupees at
the time were worth about US $25, a princely sum to a
malik. What a bogus bill would have cost I have no idea.
Such was fun in the Foreign Service."
COIN BAG COLLECTING & OTHER STRANGE AFFLICTIONS
Regarding last week's mention of collecting coin bags, Dan
Hamelberg writes: "It looks like I have company on my U.S.
Mint coin bag collection. I am not as serious about the bags
as I am on other items, but when I find them I usually buy them.
One more thing to crowd into my library.
If you think collecting Mint bags is nuts, try some other
"exonumia" items such as:
coin paperweights ( the clear lucite items with coins)
U.S. Mint postcards
book press units (have 4)
"large coins" - - display items
R.K.'Bob' Lusch adds: "File this under you-do-not-have-to
-be-nuts-but-it-helps. Joe Luek collects mint bags. I have
a collection of "Bank Bags' as well as Federal Reserve bags.
NOT ONLY THAT, but the Bell System used to have their
own bank bags sewn up just like the mints. Each 'operating
company' had their own. So I guess there is more than one
"squirrel' in the "NUT" pile."
QUOTATION: ROBERT DAVIES
Ron Guth writes: "I'm not sure who Robertson Davies is, but
he seems to have us pegged. He said, "To be a book collector
is to combine the worst characteristics of a dope fiend with
those of a miser."
FEATURED WEB SITE
This week's featured web site is recommended by Andy
Lustig. La Casa de Moneda de México (The Mexican Mint)
"was the first in America, established by "Cédula Real (Royal
Decree)" in 1535."
"... in 1908, the Mexican Mint acquired the Ulex Collection
to begin the organization of its numismatic values which include
pieces that narrate, by themselves, the history of Mexico."
Numismatics International, on their web site
(http://www.numis.org/pubs.htm) offers a copy of the 1908
Ulex auction sale catalog published by Adolph Hess Nachfolger.
"An outstanding German auction of Western Hemisphere
numismatics material.... Medals, tokens. and jetons amassed
over forty years by Georg F Utes. a Hamburg pharmacist. ...
George Ulex attributed his collection meticulously with reference
to the principal standard works .."
[So... did the Mexican Mint acquire the Mexican portion
of the Ulex collection intact at the sale? -Editor]
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,
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P.O. Box 76192, Ocala, FL 34481.
For Asylum mailing address changes and other
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