The E-Sylum v6#28, July 13, 2003

whomren at whomren at
Sun Jul 13 19:19:02 PDT 2003

Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 6, Number 28, July 13, 2003:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2003, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


   Among recent new subscribers is Dr. Scott Rottinghaus,
   courtesy of  John and Nancy Wilson.  Welcome aboard!
   We now have 575 subscribers.


   Reminder: the Numismatic Bibliomania Society has scheduled
   two events at upcoming convention of the American Numismatic
   Association in Baltimore.  I may not arrive at the convention in
   time for the Symposium, but hope to see many of you at the
   annual meeting.

   Thursday July 31, 2003, 1 PM
   Numismatic Bibliomania Society Symposium
   Barry Tayman and George Fuld will present a paper on the
   research methodology for their upcoming monograph on
   Blacksmith tokens

   Friday August 1, 2003, 11.30 AM
   Numismatic Bibliomania Society Annual Meeting
   Leonard Augsburger will present a paper entitled
   "132 South Eden: House of Gold"


   A semi-regular feature of the NBS Annual Meeting is a
   short fund-raising auction to augment the society's
   coffers.   Sometimes the auction is all that keeps us from
   going into the red, so it's important that members and
   friends of NBS participate by bidding or donating. If
   you have an item of numismatic literature (or something
   interesting related to numismatic literature or research,
   or just something fun), please bring it to the meeting or
   send it to one of the NBS Board members.  Their email
   addresses are on the NBS web site.  Plain old cash
   donations are welcomed as well.  Every dollar helps.
   Be creative!

   Many of our readers are authors.  Why not donate a
   copy of your latest book with an appropriate inscription
   to NBS (or the lucky bidder)?   How about an old
   manuscript?  Or a box of photos used in the book?
   A file of correspondence from researching the book?

   Some of you old-timers have some great numismatic
   yarns to tell.   Sell some of your time to the highest bidder
   for lunch or a coffee or beer break during the show.

   Some of you are photographers.  Why not offer to take
   a group photo at the meeting and sell prints for the benefit
   of NBS?

   Some of you are veteran ANA Exhibitors or Judges.
   Why not sell an hour of free advice or assistance to a new
   exhibitor of numismatic literature?

   What am I bid for the right to be E-Sylum editor for
   a week?  8-)


   Using text from our print journal The Asylum,
   provided by past president Michael Sullivan, webmaster
   Bruce Perdue has added a number of useful pages to the
   NBS web site (

   Linked to the Officers page is a page listing past officers
   from our founding through 1997.  NBS Historian Joel
   Orosz is working to bring the list up to the present.
   The direct link is

   Linked from the Publications page are Author and Subject
   indexes for first 15 volumes of The Asylum.  The index was
   compiled by Bill Malkmus.


   Chief Judge Joe Boling reports that there is one exhibit in
   Class 22, Numismatic Literature, titled "Researching the
   Sestroretsk Ruble."   In New York last year there were a
   number of exhibits outside Class 22 which included a
   significant amount of numismatic literature and ephemera.


   Those who recall the "Great Debate" controversy over the
   authenticity of western U.S. ingots should plan to attend the
   1pm Saturday August 2nd session of the Numismatic Theatre
   at the ANA convention.  "The Good, The Bad & The Ugly:
   Western Precious Metal Ingots" will be presented by Bob
   Evans, Fred Holabird and Dave Fitch.


   Michael Schmidt writes: "The Franklin half dollar has the same
   small o in oF.  Again just artistic license as far as I know."
   [This coin was designed by John Sinnock. -Editor]

   Arthur Shippee writes: "The lowercase "o" on the cent
   probably reflects the standard practice of how one capitalizes
   phrases (like book or hymn titles), where "of" is one of the
   words not given an initial cap.  I gather US coins tend to all
   caps, but one sees this initial cap. practice on the Ohio Quarter,
   where the phrase, "Birthplace of Aviation Pioneers" is in upper
   case and small caps, instead of upper case and lower case,
   and where the "of" is in small caps.

   At a guess, it seems that the Lincoln Memorial cent is an
   artistic extension of this principle."

   [Now why didn't I think of that?    Thanks for the great
   submission.  Sounds like a fine explanation.  Too bad the
   designer Frank Gasparro died recently - we could have just
   asked him!   Perhaps the answer will turn up in his
   correspondence someday.  -Editor]


   Speaking of Gasparro, another convention event should be
   of interest to anyone who collects artwork by U.S. Mint
   engravers.  At 6pm Friday the "Frank Gasparro Memorial
   Fund Scholarship Event" will take place.   The event is a
   fundraiser for the Fleischer Art Institute in Philadelphia.
   Specifically, funds raised will go toward a scholarship fund
   in the name of the late Frank Gasparro, former Chief
   Engraver of the U.S. Mint.  Gasparro was so grateful for
   the art education he received at Fleischer that he taught
   courses there for free for the rest of his life, until just
   months before his death.  I understand several donated
   original works of art by present and past mint engravers
   will be auctioned at the event.  How often do numismatists
   get a chance like that?


   Gary Trudgen writes: "The August 2003 issue of The Colonial
   Newsletter (CNL) has been published.   This issue consists of
   two feature-length papers and one technical note.

   The historical context of "Hogge Money" is studied in the
   first paper written by Dr. Louis Jordan.  This coinage was the
   first to be struck for the English colonies in America, specifically
   Bermuda which was also known as the Somer Islands.  Hogge
   money is known in four denominations: shilling, sixpence,
   threepence, and twopence.  Struck on lightly silvered copper
   planchets, the obverse depicts a hog with the legend SOMMER
   ISLANDS.  The reverse shows a fully rigged ship.

   The second paper investigates the Maris plates of New Jersey
   coppers.   Authored by Dr. Roger Moore and Dennis Wierzba
   they document the three known zinc plates, explaining the
   differences between them and their sequence of issue.  Dr.
   Maris, the father of the New Jersey copper series, assembled
   zinc plates in the 1800s containing actual coins, electrotypes
   of coin and possible photographs of individual coins.  He used
   the plates to record the known die varieties and their marriages.

   A technical note from Leo Shane presents evidence that a St.
   Patrick farthing was stuck with a segmented collar. This
   discovery is significant because in the December 2002 issue
   of CNL Dr. Brian Danforth concluded that the St. Patrick
   coinage was manufactured by Peter Blondeau using his newly
   invented one-step single collar technology.

   CNL is published three times a year by The American
   Numismatic Society, Broadway at 155th Street, New York,
   NY 10032.  For inquires concerning CNL, please contact
   Juliette Pelletier at the preceding postal address or e-mail
   pelletier at or telephone (212) 234-3130
   ext. 243."


   The Reuters news service reported that actor Buddy Ebsen
   died Sunday, July 6, 2003, at Torrance Memorial Medical
   Center in Torrance, CA.  Ebsen was discussed in earlier
   E-Sylum issues as one of a number of celebrity coin collectors.


   Neil Shafer writes: "In response to Chris Hoelzle and his
   question about dating of Mehl's Star Encyclopedias - I have
   one example, Copyright 1925 by the Numismatic Company
   of Texas, and it's the 28th edition.  I have no idea if this was
   on a yearly basis or what, just this piece of information which
   may help him."


   While on the subject of Mehl, I'm surprised no one mentioned
   the June 17, 2003 Numismatic News article by David Lange
   on his recent visit with Stewart Huckaby to the old B. Max
   Mehl building at 1204 Magnolia Avenue in Fort Worth, TX
   (see p20).   The structure has been vacant for years.  A faded
   sign painted on the building proclaims "STAR BUILDING,"
   perhaps a reference to Mehl's signature publication.  The article
   includes some good photos and is a must for the files of
   collectors of Mehl memorabilia.


   Gar Travis sends this link to a web site about Robertson
   Davies, in response to the quote Ron Guth submitted the
   last E-Sylum.  The site has several more of his quotes, and
   one relating to bibliomania follows.

   "She herself was a victim of that lust for books which rages in
   the breast like a demon, and which cannot be stilled save by
   the frequent and  plentiful acquisition of books. This passion
   is more common, and more powerful, than most people
   suppose. Book lovers are thought by unbookish people to
   be gentle and unworldly, and perhaps a few of them are so.
   But there are others who will lie and scheme and steal to get
   books as wildly and unconscionably as the dope-taker in
   pursuit of his drug. They may not want the books to read
   immediately, or at all; they  want them to possess, to range
   on their shelves, to have at command.  They want books as
   a Turk is thought to want concubines -- not to be  hastily
   deflowered, but to be kept at their master's call, and enjoyed
   more often in thought than in reality. "

   A second quote reminds me a bit of The E-Sylum - a dustbin
   of worthless but fascinating curiosities.  And dirt.

   "Well, allow me to introduce myself to you as an advocate of
   Ornamental Knowledge. You like the mind to be a neat
   machine, equipped to work efficiently, if narrowly, and with
   no extra bits or useless parts.  I like the mind to be a dustbin
   of scraps of brilliant fabric, odd gems, worthless but
   fascinating curiosities, tinsel, quaint bits of carving, and a
   reasonable amount of healthy dirt. Shake the machine and it
   goes out of order; shake the dustbin and it adjusts itself
   beautifully to its new position."


   I recently picked up an item I had been looking for
   for a number of years. It's a non-numismatic publication
   by Philadelphia collector Joseph J. Mickley.  A printing
   from the papers of the Historical Society of Delaware,
   it is titled "Some Account of William Usselinx and Peter
   Minuit: Two Individuals Who Were Instrumental in
   Establishing the First Permanent Colony in Delaware."
   The paper was originally read before the society at its
   annual meeting December 10, 1874, four years before
   Mickley's death.  The paper was published in 1881.
   The pamphlet includes a two-page obituary notice for
   Mickley which was extracted from a Philadelphia
   newspaper, and contains much fodder for the dustbin.
   The obituary notes:

   "Ole Bull was his intimate friend, and his house was
   for may year the resort of antiquarians, musicians, and
   historians from all parts of the world. It was he who
   discovered that the violin which Ole Bull bought for a
   Gaspar Desala was a counterfeit."

   So who was Ole Bull?  A web search found some
   information.  Ole Bull (1810-1880) of Norway was
   one of the greatest violin virtuosos of his time.

   The last link is to a book on Bull's life.  Perhaps it
   contains some references to his friend Mickley.
   "Bull counted among his friends the great names of his era:
   Schumann and Lizst, Emerson and Wagner. Longfellow
   and Hans Christian Andersen modeled characters on him,
   and he was in part the inspiration for Ibsen's Peer Gynt."


   Hal V. Dunn writes: "Documents from the various U.S. Mints
   should be added to "Coin Bag Collecting and Other Strange
   Afflictions."  There is a wide variety of these interesting and
   often overlooked items.  There are bullion deposit  receipts,
   internal receipts (for example, from the superintendent to the
   coiner), assay reports, letterhead stationery for each
   department within the mint, etc.  All of these have a number
   of printing varieties -- at least for those from the Carson City
   Mint.  And within such a collection one can build a collection
   of autographs of mint  officers.  And another odd-ball: souvenir
   plates depicting a mint building (have three in my collection)."

   [Actually, none of this seems odd to me.  I have some of
   these myself with the exception of the souvenir plates.


   Has anyone seen the new book published by Heritage /
   Currency Auctions of America?  It's "American History as
   Seen Through Currency" by Joanne and Edward Dauer.
   The 400-page, 9" x 12" full color hardbound book was
   advertised recently on one of the company's mailings, but
   the ad forgot to list the price!   A check of their web site
   shows a retail price of $79.95.  See


   Gar Travis reports that the URL given last week for online
   U.S. Mint reports didn't work.   It's a problem with the Mint
   web site - for some reason you can't get there by directly
   entering that address.  Instead, go to and click on the Annual
   Report link at the left.  Reports for 1998, 1999. 2000 and 2001
   are available.


   Some readers asked how to subscribe to COINage magazine.
   See    The site's "Current Issue"
   isn't up to date, but clicking on the Subscribe link at the left
   will take you a page where you can get an introductory
   subscription for just $9.00.

   The August issue of COINage has a great article on Augustus
   G. Heaton (author of Mint Marks) by David Alexander as well
   as the one by John Iddings on the John J. Ford collection.

   As for an index, Chris Fuccione contacted  COINage and
   Managing Editor Marcy Gibbel wrote:  "COINage includes a
   index of the year's stories in every January issue, going back to
   about 1980.  At one time, I believe there was one available
   that chronicled the magazine's articles until 1980 or so, but it's
   out of print. For locating things from the more recent past,
   though, the January issues will be the way to go."

   The earlier index Gibbel refers to is "Index to Coinage Magazine,
   Vols. 1-16: 1965-1980" by Paul Andersen.  Chris found it
   referenced on the Internet, but was unable to come up with one
   for sale.  Does anyone out there have this?


   Upon reading about the publication of the new Canadian
   Numismatic Bibliography edited by Darryl A. Atchison a
   month ago, I immediately dropped my order in the mail.
   This week an email arrived from Ron Greene stating:

   "Your cheque arrived today, but only after doing a bit of
   "a walk-about" as the Aussies might say.  It was endorsed
   "Not Carlsbad, N.M." and postmarked at Roswell, NM!
   If you collect postal covers let me know and I will send it to
   you.  It will probably go via S. Dakota on the return trip."

   Last I looked at a map, the most direct route to Canada
   from Pittsburgh, PA  did not go through New Mexico.
   Perhaps the postal carrier was abducted by space aliens.
   At any rate, I'm glad my order at last arrived.  For ordering
   information, see the June 15, 2003 issue of The E-Sylum
   (v6n24).  Back issues are archived on our web site at


   This week's featured web page is Greg Burns' 1994
   presentation to the Glendale Coin Club on Canadian
   Colonial Tokens.

  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

  To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum,
  just Reply to this message, or write to the Editor
  at this address: whomren at

   (To be removed from the E-Sylum mailing list
   send an email message with the word "Unsubscribe"
   in the body of the message to:
   esylum-request at

More information about the Esylum mailing list