The E-Sylum v6#29, July 20, 2003

whomren at whomren at
Sun Jul 20 18:14:29 PDT 2003

Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 6, Number 29, July 20, 2003:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2003, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


   NBS President Pete Smith reports the following results
   of our recent election:

   President: Pete Smith
   Vice President: John W. Adams
   Secretary-Treasurer: W. David Perkins
   Board of Governors:
      Phil Carrigan
      John Kraljevich, Jr.
      Karl Moulton
      Joel Orosz
      P. Scott Rubin
      David Sklow

   Congratulations to all, and welcome to the newcomers
   Carrigan, Moulton and Perkins.


   Allan Davisson has stepped up to the plate to offer a
   copy of Bill Daehn's Annotated Bibliography of articles on
   ancient Greek coins for the NBS donation auction at the
   annual meeting.   Who's next?


   Howard A. Daniel III will be manning a club table at the
   ANA convention in Baltimore where materials for the
   Numismatic Bibliomania Society (NBS) will be distributed.  The
   table will also have material for Numismatics International (NI)
   and the International Bank Note Society (IBNS).

   Howard welcomes visitors and all NBS members and E-Sylum
   subscribers are invited to relax there, but it would be nice to
   have a volunteer or two to sit in for him once in awhile.  So if
   you're at the show please say hello to Howard and if you can,
   please spell him for a while at the table.  Also: if anyone has any
   numismatic "stuff" that can be given away at the table, please
   bring it and Howard will see that it finds a home with a new


   Myron Xenos writes: "We are looking for applicants to be
   contestants at a numismatic question and answer contest to
   be held in Baltimore at the ANA convention, on Friday night,
   August 1st.   If you have a good general knowledge of
   numismatics and don't mind getting cheered, booed,
   applauded and humiliated by the audience, you can have a
   great time and get bragging rights if you win.  Small prizes
   will be awarded.

   To join in the hour of fun and games, e-mail me at
   mdxenos at .  I guarantee you will enjoy it."


   Fred Lake writes: "The prices realized list for our sale #69
   which closed on July 15, 2003 is now posted on our web site

   Please scroll down (or click on the "2003" link) to go to sale
   #69 and you will see the links to either the list in PDF or Word

   Many thanks to our consignors and bidders for making this
   another interesting sale. Please note that our sale #70 will
   have a closing date of September 16, 2003 and will feature
   Part I. of the library of Dr. William E. Hopkins, Early
   American Coppers members #85.


   The American Congress bestowed a Congressional Gold
   Medal on Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair on Thursday,
   July 17th.  Dick Johnson reports that Blair's mention of the
   first such medal, the famous "Washington Before Boston"
   medal drew laughter at a joint session of Congress.  Here
   is what he said after expressing thanks for this award:

   “Mr. Speaker, sir, my thrill on receiving this award was
   only a little diminished on being told that the first Congressional
   Gold Medal was awarded to George Washington for what
   Congress called his ‘wise and spirited conduct’ in getting
   rid of the British out of Boston.”

   [Blair also made reference to the Library of Congress.
   "On our way down here, Senator Frist was kind enough to
   show me the fireplace where, in 1814, the British had burnt
   the Congress Library. I know this is, kind of, late, but sorry."

   The medal has been awarded  to a British leader only once
   before.  Sir Winston Churchill was given the award
   posthumously in 1969.   The first link below is to one press
   account of Blair's speech.  The second link is to an official
   page listing all awardees since 1776.

   I've only seen one original Congressional Gold Medal, that
   of General Matthew B. Ridgeway.  It was awarded in 1990.
   I was somewhat in awe to hold the piece in my hand.  I believe
   it was nearly six ounces of gold, and a beautiful piece of the
   engraver's art.   The U.S. Mint web site didn't seem to have
   much information on the Congressional Gold Medals.  Does
   anyone know who designed and engraved the new Blair medal?


   Web site visitor Darlene A. Johnson of Westminster, MA
   writes:  "Would you have any information on the whereabouts
   of the "bas relief" of Dr. Malcolm Storer, the author of
   "Numismatics of Massachusetts" published in 1923 by the
   Massachusetts Historical Society?  My second cousin,
   Madeleine A. Bartlett of Boston was the sculptor of this work
   as noted in "Contemporary American Sculpture", 1929.
   I have been trying to find evidence of her art.  Thanks for
   any help you be able to give."

J. C. LIGHTHOUSE (1844-1909)

   From an American Numismatic Association press release:
   "The medal for this year's recipient of the American Numismatic
   Association's (ANA) Farran Zerbe Memorial Award for
   Distinguished Service is inscribed to Charles J. Ricard, Charles
   N. Ricard and the Lighthouse Family. When Charles J. Ricard
   accepts the Association's highest honor on August 2, he will
   proudly represent three generations of collectors and a century
   of contributions to the ANA.

   The family's numismatic story begins just prior to the Civil War
   with J.C. Lighthouse--a successful businessman from Rochester,
   New York, who operated a leather manufacturing and tanning
   firm, and was awarded a government contract for his invention
   of the U.S. Mail pouch.

   Lighthouse began collecting coins in 1860 and eventually used
   his wealth to assemble a fabulous numismatic collection of
   21,572 items that included 660 U.S. proof coins.  He hosted
   monthly coin discussions in his home, and he numbered among
   his guests the award's namesake, numismatist Farran Zerbe.

   On the invitation of Association founder George F. Heath and
   General Secretary Howland Wood, Lighthouse joined the
   ANA 100 years ago this year as member #479. Lighthouse
   faithfully exhibited at annual ANA conventions and was
   considered a founder of numismatic education.  He served on
   the ANA Board of Trustees from 1904 to 1907."


   Bill Malkmus writes: " To add to Chris Hoelzle's data on
   Mehl's Star Rare Coin Encyclopedia (which I have often
   wondered about myself) --

   I have a 28th ed. (1925) (as reported by Neil Shafer last
   week), a 31st ed. (1928), a 35th (1931), and a 52nd ed.

   The ANS catalog lists a 16th (1918), 29th (1926) (mentioned
   by Chris), 30th (1927), 32nd (1929), and a 36th (1932).
   The ANA catalog only refers to "various" eds., dates.)

   Charlie Davis in American Numismatic Literature lists a 7th
   ed. (1912) (in black morocco, no less) and an 8th (1913).
   Chris didn't say what issues he had between the 29th ed.
   (1926) and the 61st ed.(1959), other than the 45th (1938).
   Maybe reporting those would help give a good start.

   [The following list of editions and publishing dates was
   compiled from input provided primarily by Chris Hoelzle,
   Bill Malkmus,  Myron Xenos and myself.  -Editor]

   Star Rare Coin Encyclopedia
    7th (1912)
    8th (1913)
   14th (1916)
   16th (1918)
   20th (1921)
   22nd (1922)
   24th (1923)
   26th (1924)
   27th (1925)
   28th (1925)
   29th (1926)
   30th (1927)
   31st (1928)
   32nd (1929)
   34th (1930)
   35th (1931)
   36th (1932)
   38th (1933)
   39th (1934)
   40th (1934)
   42nd (1935)
   43rd (1936)
   44th (1936)
   45th (1938)
   46th (1939)
   47th (1940)
   48th (1940)
   50th (1942)
   51st (1944)
   52nd (1947)
   53rd (1950)
   54th (1951)
   55th (1952)
   56th (1953)
   58th (1954)
   60th (1957)
   61st (1959)

   NOTE: From the 28th though 40th editions the title was
   expanded to "The Star Rare Coin Encyclopedia and
   Premium Catalog."

   Myron Xenos writes: "The Star Rare Coin Encyclopedia was
   always priced at $1 through the years.  The Star Coin Book
   2nd ed. (which was smaller than all future editions) had no
   price, but all the later issues bore a price of 50 cents.  The
   Star Coin Book jumps nine editions in six years, but I have
   not seen any but the 7th in between them.  It is possible that
   during these prolific years he printed new editions as the old
   ones ran out without respect to dates.  I'd be curious to hear
   comments from others who have runs of these emissions"

   Bill Malkmus adds: "The Star Coin Books, however, seem
   to have purposely been lacking in dating information -- none
   of mine help."

   The following Star Coin Book data was provided by Myron

   2nd (no date)
   4th (1910)
   7th (no date)
   13th (1916)
   through 49th (no date)


   One of Mehl's scarcest publications is The Star Coin
   Book Junior, a smaller version yet, priced at 25 cents.
   I have two examples in my library, both undated.  The
   first is lacking the front and back covers, but the title
   page states "Sixth Edition."  The second example is in
   superb shape, but presents a new mystery: the cover
   states "sixteenth edition" but the title page states "fifteenth
   edition."  Does anyone have other editions of this little


   Myron Xenos adds:  "Two more Mehl items that appear to
   be periodicals, as opposed to occasional emissions are first,
   Mehl's Coin Circular, of which I have only Mehl's number 14,
   dated May, 1932, color white, 32 pages.

   The second item is called Mehl's Coin Chronicle, mailed in an
   envelope which said Mehl's Circular, and was dated September
   1939, 24 pages, color orange and blue.  Were there more?
   The subscription price on both was "an occasional order."


   Two items in the July 18, 2003 issue of  MPC GRAM,
   an email newsletter for collectors of Military Payment
   Certificates, note how some interesting matched serial
   number notes were discovered after being entered into
   a shared database residing at

   Such a shared database for numismatic literature could
   provide answers to many questions like the mystery of the
   Mehl Star book emission sequence.


   David F. Fanning writes: "Who won the best Asylum article
   award for Vol. 19 (which would have been awarded at the
   2002 ANA)?  I can't find it listed in either the Asylum or
   E-Sylum, nor is it on the Web site. Thanks."

   [Once we find out we will update our web site so we
    have one place to go to for information like this.  I was
    unable to recall the winner with certainty myself,  even
    though I was there when it was announced.  Early
    Alzheimer's setting in, I suppose.  All the more reason
    for keeping our site up to date.


   Neil Rothschild writes: "Anyone having a copy of the Lyman
   Low Sale #149 of April 29, 1910 please email me.  I would
   like to get information on a few specific lots.    My address is
   nrothschild at"


   Dick Johnson writes: "The current issue of Topical Time, for
   stamp collectors of all topics, contains an article of interest to
   numismatists.   “Of Mints and Minting” is in the July-August
   2003 issue (page 35–37).  Written by Johann G. Meiring, a
   retired banker of Pretoria, South Africa, it's his second article
   relating to numismatics; the previous was “Early Media of
   Exchange” (Topical Time, Nov-Dec 2001).

   The present article includes stamps illustrating external views
   of mint buildings and views of minting equipment. Discussed
   are 27 stamps (with Scott numbers). Seven are illustrated,
   along with a 1983 souvenir booklet of Great Britain with a
   cover photo of dies and engraver's tools and a very brief
   story of the Royal Mint.

   Does any E-Sylum subscriber have an extra copy of this
   Topical Time issue which could be donated to the AMerican
   Numismatic Society library?  They are not a Topical Time
   subscriber and this article deserves to be cited in their library
   databank.    Otherwise I will send a photocopy.   Let me
   know at: dick.johnson at"


   Phil Carrigan writes: "Would anyone know about the
   following item from Hathaway and Bowers?

   Hathaway and Bowers Galleries, Inc
   Choice and rare  UNITED STATES COINS  for sale
   Catalogue No. 2  June 1969
   (one page, printed double sided in two column format)

   This list offers US half cents through nickel three cents
   and may be incomplete though it is not paginated."


   Inspired by our discussion of the odd numismatic collectibles
   that attract E-Sylum readers, David Lange writes:

   "For my collection of coin boards, albums and folders, I
   recently acquired a very interesting item. It is a zinc plate
   used to print the cover of one of Whitman's coin folders
   during the 1960s. As printing technology evolved during
   the 1970s and '80s, such plates were no longer used, and
   Whitman came up with a clever way to dispose of its stock.
   The letter that accompanies this plate tells the story. A form
   letter, it explains how such plates were often ground down
   and then retooled to keep up with changes in cover graphics.
   Below this typed text is a 1984 handwritten note from Dick
   Yeo, pen name R. S. Yeoman, explaining to the recipient of
   the plate that Whitman was sending these obsolete relics to
   their better wholesale customers as thanks for years of

   The plate I have is for folder No. 9038. This is Part Four
   of a four-part sequence covering the Liberty Seated Half
   Dollar series. This particular folder includes the dates 1873
   Arrows through 1891, a title no longer offered by Whitman.
   In fact, this catalog number has more recently been re-used
   for Washington Quarters 1988-2000, a title which, by virtue
   of the state quarters program, is itself probably no longer in

   The plate I have bears the eagle logo used by Whitman on
   its folders only during the years 1965-67, after which time
   it was replaced by the Western/Whitman globe logo. Now,
   here's the really strange part: Despite owning a folder for
   every edition for which this title was offered (1953-70),
   I'm lacking the one edition that bears the eagle logo! If
   anyone finds folder No. 9038 for Liberty Seated Half Dollars
   1873-1891 bearing the eagle logo on its front cover, please
   let me know. I want very much to acquire it for my collection
   or, at the very least, confirm that this plate was actually used."


   Dick Johnson writes: "A bill extending the life of the Abraham
   Lincoln Bicentennial Commission was signed by President
   Bush Monday, July 14th, which virtually guarantees the
   Lincoln cent will be struck through the Lincoln Bicentennial
   year, 2009. This is also the centennial year for sculptor Victor
   D. Brenner’s Lincoln Cent design.

   As a coin denomination the Lincoln cent is under considerable
   economic pressure to be discontinued.  It circulates, from
   banks to retail outlets to customers, who in turn add them to
   a home accumulation and, more often than not, do not return
   the coins to circulation.  It is considered by some that a great
   economic benefit would accrue to discontinue the cent
   denomination and round up -- or down -- prices to the nearest
   five or ten cent price.  But more than two-thirds of all
   Americans want the cent to stay alive (according to a December
   2002 General Accounting Office report).

   The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission is planning a
   national celebration of Lincoln’s 200th birthday on February
   12, 2009 and supports the issuance of the Lincoln Cent through
   that time. The commission was due to expire next year without
   Bush's signature on new legislation.

   Undoubtedly the 2009 celebration will be an occasion, like
   the birth centennial in 1909, for an outpouring of Lincoln
   numismatic and medallic items. The largest collection of 1909
   items was assembled by Robert Hewitt Jr, a New York City
   real estate operator and Lincolnophile, who donated his
   collection to the Smithsonian in 1918. Numismatist Robert P.
   King cataloged all Lincoln items and published his work in
   The Numismatist beginning in 1924.  It was later reprinted by
   the Token and Medal Society in 1966.

   Continued issuing of the Lincoln cent is supported by the active
   organization, Americans for Common Cents. Its director, Mark
   W. Weller, stated “It's not just that the front of the penny [read:
   obverse of the cent] has had Lincoln’s image since 1909, it's
   what Lincoln did for our nation.”


   Col. Bill Murray writes; "The Dauer book, American History
   As Seen Through Currency, is introduced with some
   biographical material of the authors some introductory
   material to the subject of paper money collecting for the
   uninformed.  Chapter 1 gives a very brief history of the
   Bureau of Engraving and Printing. The remaining chapters
   carry titles of the various types of U. S. paper money. e. g.
   "Demand Notes," Legal Tender Notes." Silver Certificates,"
   et cetera."

   The book is obviously a vanity publication, and Dauer
   provides high quality, color illustrations of the various notes
   and then inserts snippets of historical information which
   occurred when the particular note or notes were issued or
   in circulation.  Examples:  Columbus included with a photo
   of the $1,  "Rainbow" note, Series 1869, with a separate
   enlarged illustration of the Columbus vignette from the bill;
   with a Legal Tender note, Series 1917, is a picture of Pres.
   Kennedy noting he was born, "the same year the note...
   was issued." Then he pictures a a letter from Goldwater to
   Kennedy expressing condolences on the loss of his son,
   then come pictures, from his collections, of the Executive
   Order appointing the Warren Commission and a letter
   from Pres. Ford, three pages of text and pictures of Marilyn
   Monroe ending with a photo of a letter, signed "as approved"
   by Marilyn Monroe, where she agrees to pay a dentist bill
   of Natasha Lytess, whoever that was; in the chapter on
   treasury notes, he includes, amongst others, a section on
   Stanton, Secretary of War under Lincoln and Johnson, and
   a  section on Pres. Johnson (with a picture of a ticket
   admitting the bearer to the Senate gallery for the
   "Impeachment of the President."

   The notes pictured often are extremely rare, even unique.
   Dauer also include much "impressive" stuff  from his
   obviously fine philatelic and autograph collections.  The
   material he owns is impressive to say the least. The photos
   make the book of interest since they provide the only chance
   most of us will ever get to see the most ot the items pictured.

    The book is worth owning for the beautiful pictorial
   presentation of his material, the inclusion of numismatic
   information of interest, to me at least -- no expert in paper

   I'd recommend those going to ANA in Baltimore might visit
   the Heritage table to look at the book, which presumably
   they will have on hand to sell.  I wouldn't call it a great
   numismatic nor a great history book, but I found it interesting."


   The power of the internet to bring people together never ceases
   to amaze.  Earlier this week I received the following note from
   retired Los Angeles Police Department detective Sherman
   Oakes (great name!), in response to our earlier discussion in
   The E-Sylum regarding the murder trial of coin dealer and
   author Frank Lapa:

   "A partial article was sent to me regarding a  article by Bill
   Rosenblum regarding Frank Lapa who was convicted of murder.
   The article had few facts, not even the identity of the victim.
   I was the detective that was assigned to the investigation.  If Mr.
   Rosenblum  in further details, he is more than welcome to
   contact me at any time."

   I forwarded the note to Bill Rosenblum, who corresponded
   with the gentleman and asked his permission to publish his
   information.  Bill writes: "The detective said he saw no problem
   with running this in the E-Sylum with the following caveat: "Just
   remember that it occurred twenty eight years ago and it is as I
   remember the facts.   The actual case file is in my barn and has
   not been looked at in over twenty years."   Here is Detective
   Oakes' account:

   "The Yablum murder generally took from three to four hours
   of explanation to the district attorneys office.  The murder
   drew a lot of attention in Chicago for several reasons.  John
   O'Brian of the Chicago Tribune was a friend of Ray Yablum,
   second the conspiracy was conceived in Chicago, third, one
   of the suspects was the nephew of  Machine Jack McGurn,
   who committed the St.Valentine Day Massacre.   There were
   other unrelated murders and crimes that were connected,
   including the robbery of the DuPont family rare coins.   The
   suspects in this crime were found executed not far from the
   crime scene.  Frank Lapa alleged that he had a rare dime from
   this collection.  The F.B.I. had a sting operation aboard the
   Queen Mary to buy the coin from Lapa on Saturday during the
   show.  That Friday night, we arrested Lapa for murder, and
   the sting never occurred.  The F.B.I. was outraged and in a
   sense became more of a problem than Lapa.  We had to
   release Lapa, due to lack of evidence.  The murder occurred
   on Friday the 13th.  It took a year and 13 days to solve the
   murder without a body.  After the arrest, we found the grave
   of Ray Yablum off  Sherman Hill near Bridgeport, California.

   The crime and conspiracy was as follows.   Ray Yablum was
   in possession of some rare coins (never recovered).  Due to
   his poor health, Lapa told him that he had met VanCleff, the
   owner of a jewelry store in Beverly Hills, who just happened
   to be a coin collector and would be on the same flight as
   Yablum from Chicago to Los Angeles.  Van Cleff was in fact,
   the nephew of Jack McGurn.  He introduced himself on the
   airplane and escorted Yablum to Lapa's ex-wife's house in
   West Los Angeles.  She was at work during this time.  When
   Yablum became suspicious, Frank Lapa picked up a heavy
   glass ash tray and hit him over the head.  They stripped the
   body and wrapped the head in plastic, and Yablum
   suffocated to death.  They transported the body to Northern
   California and buried him.   His grave was dug up by a
   mountain lion and a camper found the skeleton and called the
   sheriff's office.   After the arrest of Lapa, Mr.. & Mrs. Crosby,
   Lee Samuel Rusettos, his girlfriend, Patty Harder, who is now
   in the Witness Protection Program and Lapa's girlfriend who
   entered the U.S. Air Force and became involved in a Black
   Operation of unknown origin and basically disappeared off the
   face of the earth.  She was never heard from again.  All
   suspects were convicted.  The Crosby's committed suicide in
   Long Beach, California prior to sentencing.   During the follow
   up investigation, we served a search warrant on Lapa's
   ex-wife's residence.  The rear garage was surrounded by large
   bushes and trees on two sides.  The garage was not near the
   property line, which seemed strange.  We finally found a false
   wall that revealed a lab to manufacture rare coins.   We believe
   that Yablum's coins ended up with  Lapa's attorney, who died
   a short time later.  His wife was a pretty woman, sort of a wall
   flower, quiet etc.   The word was that after his death, she found
   new wealth and had shed the wall paper, and found a new and
   exciting life, who knows.  The whole story was interesting, and
   we had a movie offer, which never occurred.  One of Lapa's
   associates went to high school with me.  During investigation
   he was found murdered on the dividing line between West Los
   Angeles Division and Wilshire Division where I worked Homicide.
   West Los Angeles never solved that  murder, but they won in
   the end.  At the end of the Yablum murder, we discovered that
   he was in fact murdered in West Los Angeles Division, and they
   were credited with the solution statistically.   I am the only living

   person from the Yablum Murder, my partner died young of a
   heart attack, the District Attorney also died young.  If you
   have any questions please feel free to ask."


   David Gladfelter writes: "Ole Bull was also a utopian who
   founded Oleana, a colony in Pennsylvania.  It eventually failed
   as did other utopian colonies. But it is remembered in the folk
   song "Oleana" one verse of which goes: "If you really want to
   live/ To Oleana you must go,/ The poorest wretch in Norway/
   Becomes like a king in a year or so." Folksongs and Footnotes
   by Theodore Bikel, An International Songbook (New York,
   Meridian Books, 1960) p. 213."

   [A web search found a couple references to Oleana, near
   Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, not far from his friend Mickley's
   home city of Philadelphia.   In 2002, Paul W Heimel published
   a book titled "Oleana -  The Ole Bull Colony."


   Regarding last week's Featured Web Page, Larry Gaye writes:
   "I read the presentation on Canadian Tokens by Greg Burns
   and was delighted by it.  Thanks for posting the link and
   introducing a well presented web page."

   If you come across an interesting numismatic web site or web
   page, please let me know about it.  We tend to avoid commercial
   sites, but make exceptions for interesting content of a
   noncommercial nature.  Where do I find all these web sites?
   Mostly by dreaming up some more-or-less random web search
   terms, sometimes related to one of the items discussed at 10pm
   Sunday night before finalizing the week's issue.

   Why not try this yourself?   Pick some terms of interest to you
   and see what turns up.  Even if you've already made an
   exhaustive web search, new content appears daily and if you
   haven't done a search recently, it's time to try again.

   This week's featured web page is an article by J. Hunter
   Barbour from the pages of the Journal of the Colonial
   Williamsburg Foundation.  Titled "Enduring Images of War,"

   "DEPICTED IN THIS photographic essay are rare and
   precious representations of George Washington, as well as
   selected events associated with his service to America,
   chosen from the collection of Joseph R. Lasser of Scarsdale,
   New York. Each is a commemorative medal or medallion
   struck between 1778 and 1808, most to celebrate a man
   and his life, as well as the emergence of his nation."

  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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