The E-Sylum v6#11, March 16, 2003
whomren at coinlibrary.com
whomren at coinlibrary.com
Sun Mar 16 19:36:47 PST 2003
Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 6, Number 11, March 16, 2003:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2002, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Among recent new subscribers are Aaron East, who read
about us on the PCGS Coin Universe Forum
(http://www.pcgs.com). Welcome aboard! We now have
DR. DOUGLAS BALL
On Thursday, March 13th, John and Nancy Wilson Ocala, FL
wrote: "We have just received some very sad news. Dr.
Douglas Ball, who was employed by R. M. Smythe & Co., Inc.
passed away today. Very few numismatists were as
knowledgeable as Douglas in the area of Confederate States
of America, Virginia paper money, and many other areas of our
hobby. He could talk for hours on many different numismatic
subjects. His lectures were always in-depth and done in a way
that made them very interesting.
We are deeply saddened by this tremendous loss in our
numismatic hobby. We want to wish his family our deepest
condolences. Douglas, you will live in our memories forever."
Dave Bowers writes: "No doubt you've received the news of
the unfortunate passing of Douglas Ball, a true gentleman, a
credit to the highest standards of numismatic professionalism,
and a person who will be missed by all.
The hobby of numismatics can be grateful that although
Douglas was in the commercial sector through connections
with NASCA and R.M. Smythe, and helped turn out some
marvelous catalogues for them, he generously shared his
talents and research expertise in many arcane pursuits and
byways that have been scarcely explored in depth by others,
especially with regard to federal and Confederate paper money
and its connection to the economics and finances of those
By the time of his PhD dissertation in 1974, Confederate War
Finance 1861-1865: Economic Policy Making in the South
During the American Civil War, he had already taken home
two Heath Literary Awards given by the ANA.
In 1991, when his Financial Failure and Confederate Defeat
was about to be published by the University of Illinois Press,
I received a call from Doug asking if I would write a blurb
for the book, which I gladly did. My reference library is still
largely packed away in boxes, and thus I don't have my copy
at hand as I write this and am not sure whether my comment
was used in the book or in some of the publicity for it.
On my to do list is (now was), asking Doug what he could
tell me about the infamous Floyd acceptances, by which
certain banks in the North were stricken in the Civil War when
John B. Floyd, former Secretary of War for the U.S.
government, placed paper with these financial institutions,
then along with many other government officials, decamped
to the Confederacy in 1861, leaving his creditors hanging
(Floyd was later memorialized on the famous traitors medal
by George H. Lovett). My question was this, which he
cannot now answer: What do you know about the Floyd
acceptances, and why were they considered to be personal
notes from him? How was he able to connect to multiple
state-chartered banks and place these acceptances? Claims
were pressed to the U.S. Congress, then transferred to the
Court of Claims for adjudication, but I would like to learn
the intricacies and details.
I last saw Douglas Ball a few months ago when I was with
Bowers and Merena Galleries and was on the podium during
an auction session of paper money. He was seated in the
front row at my right, quietly studying his catalogue and
bidding, presumably for some clients. As I was sometimes
inclined to do, I singled out for mention a few professional
luminaries in the audience, and mentioned some of Dougs
accomplishments, as I had done a few times before when
he honored our sales with his presence.
I shall always remember with great fondness this kind, modest,
and truly wonderful man and numismatist."
INVENTORY OF UNIVERSITY NUMISMATICS
Ray Flanigan writes: "We need your help! Early last year
John Wilson, President of the ANA and Arthur Fitts,
Governor and Chairman of the Education Committee
appointed a Subcommittee on Numismatics in College and
Universities. The primary goal was to have the American
Numismatic Association (ANA) seen by post-secondary
institutions and their faculties as a primary and credible
source of knowledge and resource for use in the education
of their students.
The subcommittee was to identify/develop/recommend ways
and means for the ANA to become preeminent in promoting,
fostering, facilitating, and advancing the offering of courses in
Numismatics leading to a broadening of our base of knowledge.
The study of Numismatics itself is important, but equally
important, is the study of numismatics as part of art, history,
archeology, museology, or economics.
The subcommittee decided to start by identifying numismatic
holdings by U.S. colleges and universities and courses in
numismatics currently being offered at the college level. To
date the subcommittee has identified approximately 2-dozen
collections and more than 18 courses. We know we have
not identified them all and that E-Sylum readers probably
know of some that we would like to contact and add to our
Anyone knowing of a U.S. college or university with a coin
collection or offering a course in numismatics can contact
Ray Flanigan at JacquieandRayF at Netscape.Net
Your help would be greatly appreciated.
So far, we know of the following universities with numismatic
collections: Ashland, Bowdoin, CA-Berkeley, Colorado,
Cornell, Dartmouth, Duke, Harvard, Iowa, Michigan,
Mississippi, North Carolina, Princeton, Washington,
Wisconsin and Yale.
Those colleges that currently/have offered courses in
numismatics include: Bowdoin, CA - Berkeley, Lawrence,
Mary Washington, Moravian, Pepperdine, Tulane, Colorado,
Illinois, Maryland, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia,
Washington and Yale."
[The ANA's request is timely, coming on the heels of
E. Tomlinson Fort's recent article in our print journal, The
Asylum. "De Historia et Numismatica" (Winter 2003,
p36-40). Tom's article points out some of the reasons
why there isn't already more interest in numismatics among
historians and other scholars, and recommends some
possible actions to remedy the situation. The ANA's
outreach program is another step in the right direction.
For my part, I would like very much to gain additional
E-Sylum subscribers among the halls of academia.
Their expertise could be quite valuable in settling open
questions and helping to steer numismatic researchers
toward new sources of information. Likewise, readers
from other fields could come to learn a lot about our
specialty. If you know any such potential subscribers,
please invite them to join in. -Editor]
INTERNATIONAL NUMISMATICS CONFERENCE
From the Press Release: "We inform you that the XIII
International Numismatics Congress will be held in Madrid
(Palacio de Congresos, Castellana 99), Spain, between the
15th and 18th September, 2003. ... You can find all the
information related to the Congress in the webpage
"In the Congress headquarters some shops will be available for
those booksellers who are interested in exhibit or sell their
books about Numismatics. In case you have publications
about Numismatics and you are interested in taking part in
this event, you can get in touch with the Congress Technical
Secretariy, where you can get informed about the details:
E-mail: cherrasti at siasa.es"
NEW BOOK: SMALL CHANGE III
Paul Withers writes: "Readers may like to know that a new
book, "Small Change III" is now available. This deals with the
halfpennies and farthings of Henry IV, V and VI (1399 - 1461).
We had hoped that we should have finished the book in time
for Christmas - but for various reasons we didn't manage it,
things kept turning up right until the very last moment and we
also needed to track down an illustration of the Henry VI
annulet issue farthing struck at York - of which only one
example is known. We eventually traced it to a collector in
the USA, and he, nice guy that he is, photographed it and
sent us the negatives, along with information about several
other interesting pieces from his collection.
Like the two already published parts of the series, it is based
on the collection of the late David Rogers. It has a new
classification based on research done over the last three years,
revising the works of Potter, Whitton and North, and even
adding a few new types to those listed in Coins of England.
The compilation of this work has meant that we have traveled
far and wide : to Cambridge, Cardiff, Dublin, Glasgow,
Edinburgh, Llantrisant, London, Manchester, and Oxford, to
view museum collections, some of them several times. We've
also been to nearly two dozen other places to view private
collections, including some of the finest in the country. Dealers
and auction houses have helped too, and this time we have
had contact, via the Internet, with collectors and dealers as far
away as America, Australia and New Zealand, who have
provided valuable information and or images of coins in their
collections or stock.
C A Whitton, back in the late 1930s recorded 133 halfpennies
and farthings of Henry VI. Alas, some of these we have
found to be errors - it is very easy to make mistakes with such
tiny coins that are struck on small flans and clipped and worn
afterwards. We were unable to confirm quite a few others that
Whitton recorded, but listed in the book are no fewer than 90
that we have seen that were not recorded by him.
As with the last two parts, the illustrations are about 4 times
natural size so that details can be seen as clearly as possible.
To help the beginner, we have provided line drawings to show
and name features, such as saltires, broken annulets, and the
like that appear on the coins with which the new collector may
be unfamiliar. At the other end of the scale, for the really
serious enthusiast, we have provided concordances with our
book to Potter, for the coins of Henry V, and to Whitton,
North, and Spink for coins of Henry VI. There are several
that are not in the current issue of the Spink 'Coins of England',
but will be in the next !
The price, including postage in the UK is £12 or 23 USD
including airmail postage to the US
For this small price it is too good to miss, and as you are
buying directly from the authors/publisher, all the profit goes
back to finance further research.
Paul at galata.co.uk"
B.E.P. ENGRAVERS FEATURED IN ARTICLE
A February 20th article in The Washington Post featured the
Bureau of Engraving and Printing's engravers, who have been
toiling to create the updated designs for U.S. paper money,
to be revealed later this month. Information about the
engravers can be hard to come by - a few have been well-
known, but most labor in obscurity.
"Computers still can't match Dixie March's hands.
As one of only 13 engravers who create the nation's currency
-- which will soon sport new colors -- March carves thousands
of teensy dots and lines onto steel plates while peering through
her 139-year-old brass magnifier and wielding her hand-made
"We're kind of dinosaurs," said March, who works for the
Bureau of Engraving and Printing.
"It's a dying craft," March said. "Technology is going to take
over . . . . The technology just hasn't gotten there yet."
March and her three fellow letter engravers, five picture
engravers and a single sculpture engraver toil away in relative
obscurity on the top floor of the BEP's vault-like annex at 14th
and C streets NW. Three letter engravers work at the bureau's
Fort Worth plant."
[Numismatic author Gene Hessler was quoted in the article.
Can you tell he's a musician? -Editor]
"This is the first time the United States has used color to
differentiate between denominations, something other countries
have been doing for decades," said Gene Hessler, author of
several books on engraving and currency."
"Today, there are fewer than 100 security engravers worldwide,
because of the dwindling number of private bank-note firms and
because governments are replacing much hand engraving with
technology, engraving expert Hessler said. He predicts that one
day "there could be a handful of freelance engravers" serving the
entire world. Many countries already use computer-imaged and
"It's like the difference between a synthesizer and a live
performance by a 100-piece orchestra," he said.
"It sounds similar, but it's not the same."
ORMSBY SHIP IMAGE QUERY
Dr. Arthur Tobias of Los Angeles writes: "I have a query for
your readers. I have two questions relating to W. L. Ormsby
and ship images. Did Ormsby engrave any ship images on
paper money? And in the late 1830s - 40s what access
would he have had to ship images when he had an assignment
to do a specific naval scene?
I am working on a second article for publication on the 3
engravings that Ormsby did for Samuel Colt's revolver cylinders
in the 1840s. The first article was on the Stagecoach Holdup
Scene and described the context of the image and aspects of
the grammagraph process. The Autry Museum in Los Angeles
provided me with a photo of a proof plate in their collection.
The article was published in the 11.01 The Gun Report.
I am now working with an image from the proof plate of the
Naval Engagement Scene (commemorating the 16 May 1843
fight between ships of the Texas Republic and the Mexican
Navy) and am writing about the historical events behind the
scene. Ormsby would have received the commission for the
Naval Scene circa 1849.
I have consulted Muscalus' Early Ships ... On Paper Money.
I find no notes by either Continental Bank Note or New York
Bank Note Companies. Ormsby was connected with both
these firms in the 1850s. He worked for Carter, Andrews & Co.
prior to that time.
I have found a handful of images, mostly in the Newberry
Library or UTexas Archives, of journal sketches of Texas and
Mexican ships in harbor, etc. from the period of the Texas
Republic. But these would not have been published at that time
and so not available to Ormsby. They do confirm that his
depiction of the ships Austin, Wharton, Guadalupe and
Moctezuma are relatively accurate. Any help will be
[Dr. Tobias' email address is harvart at mindspring.com
NOTES ON HIGH DENOMINATION NOTES
Ken Berger and David Ganz spotted a typo in last's week's
item by Ron Haller Williams, who noted that "The highest
denomination issued for public circulation was $10,000 (with
the portrait of 19th-century U S Supreme Court Judge
Salmon P Close)."
The gentleman's name is of course, Salmon P. CHASE,
whom Ganz notes "... was also Treasury Secretary in
Lincoln's first term."
David Ganz continues: "Currency notes of denominations
above $100 are not available from the Department of the
Treasury, the Federal Reserve System, or the Bureau of
Engraving and Printing. On July 14, 1969, the Department
of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve System announced
that currency notes in denominations of $500, $1,000,
$5,000, and $10,000 would be discontinued immediately
due to lack of use. Although they were issued until 1969,
they were last printed in 1945.
The $100,000 Gold Certificate was never released into
general circulation and was only used in fiscal channels.
This note cannot be legally held by currency note collectors."
Kavan Ratnatunga writes: "Promotional $million notes may
get mistaken for real overseas. I met the officer in the
Central Bank of Sri Lanka who had to testify in this fraud
case few years ago, and gifted him one as a souvenir.
[The link points to a page on Kavan's website containing a
copy of a newspaper article describing the incident. Some
excerpts follow. -Editor]
"Police arrested a woman who attempted to encash US
dollar one million currency note."
"The suspect had returned from India recently and had
unsuccessfully attempted to encash it in Chilaw, Negombo,
Seeduwa and Wattala areas. Chilaw Police, on information
received, sent a posse of policemen in mufti, posed as rich
"The broker who mistook the policemen in mufti as genuine
businessmen, brought forth the woman with the currency
(Rs.65 million) note to a place in Wattala on Friday afternoon.
From there she was driven to the Chilaw Police. The broker
too was arrested."
"Sources added that the currency bill looked genuine and is
expected to be sent to the Central Bank for verification. But
Police sources further added that even if it is genuine, the
suspect should have made a declaration with the Customs
on her arrival."
SPMC LIBRARY SEEKS NEWER REFERENCES
A note in the March/April 2003 issue of Paper Money, the
official journal of the Society of Paper Money Collectors
"Newer reference books on a variety of paper money
subjects are missing from the SPMC Library, which has
been neglected for much of the past decade. Authors or
publishers of reference books/catalogs published during this
period are encouraged to donate examples of their volumes
to update our revitalized library. Donations to this worthy
project are tax deductible for the cover price of the work,
and books may be shipped directly to the SPMC
librarian. Write first. Donors will be acknowledged in
a future issue of Paper Money."
[E-Sylum readers are encouraged to assist in this effort.
Librarian Bob Schreiner may be contacted at
spmclibrarian at earthlink.net. -Editor]
VLACK BOOK ON FRENCH COLONIAL COINS?
The Spring 2003 issue of The C4 Newsletter, published by
the Colonial Coin Collectors Club notes (on p37):
"Heard on the grapevine: Bob Vlack's book dealing with
French Colonial coins that circulated in North America is
finally at the printer. We await it with baited breath!"
Does anyone have any further information on this book?
Meanwhile, your Editor shall await with BATED breath...
What BAIT would one use for a book, anyway?
Actually, by some accounts, "baited" is becoming a more
accepted spelling in this context, so maybe your Editor is
becoming a fossil himself. From Michael Quinion's
"World Wide Words" web site:
"The correct and original form is bated breath, but the first
word is now so rare that it only appears in this phrase.
Because bated is archaic, the phrase bated breath is a
linguistic fossil. As a result, people have begun to respell
it as a word they do know (a process that linguists call folk
Bated is an abbreviation of abated through loss of the first
vowel, and which has the meaning reduced, lessened,
lowered in force. So bated breath means that you almost
stop breathing through terror, or awe, or extreme anticipation
The item goes on to quote uses of the phrase in the works of
Shakespeare and Mark Twain.
For more information on C4, see their web site at
MORE ON THOSE MI££ION$
Ron Haller-Williams writes: "Although I do not regard the
Guinness Book of Records as an unimpeachable source, it
has its uses, but where practical the information should be
verified from other sources - which I have not yet done!
And there are some interesting variations.
Bank of England £1000 notes - unpredictable variation in
the number "unretired" and the number in the hands of
1974: As of May 1973 (the latest date for which statistics are
available), 62 of these £1000 notes are unretired, but
only 3 of these are in the hands of collectors."
1977: As of May 1973 (the latest date for which statistics are
available), 62 of these £1000 notes are unretired, but
only 4 of these are in the hands of collectors."
1985: At least 16 [of these £1000 notes] were unretired
through November 1979, of which 10 are in the hands of
1995: Just over 100 [of these £1000 notes] were unretired
through April 1993. [No mention of "hands of collectors"!]
Treasury £1,000,000 notes - another has subsequently
1977/1985: In November 1977 the existence of a Treasury
£1,000,000 note dated 30th August 1948 came to light,
and it was sold by private treaty for $A18,500, then the
equivalent of £11,300 in Australia.
1995: Two Treasury notes for £1,000,000 exist, dated 1948.
One was sold to dealer Brian Dawson for £23,000 at
Christie's London on 9th October 1990.
This week's theme at the A Word A Day is words about
collecting and study of things. Tuesday's selection relates
to Pete Smith's article in the Winter 2003 issue of The
Asylum - "Postcards As Numismatic Literature."
"deltiology (del-tee-OL-uh-jee) noun
The study or collecting of postcards.
[From Greek deltion, diminutive of deltos (writing tablet)
"Floyd Jerdon is one of those people who would never
confuse deltiology with scrutinizing college Greek week or
studying deposits at the mouth of a river."
Barbara Dempsey; Postcards Send Him Back to Another
Time; South Bend Tribune (Indiana); Feb 2, 2003."
See http://wordsmith.org/awad/ for more information on
A Word A Day.
The item on deltiology mentions that "(David) Brown, founder
of the Institute of Deltiology ... has one of the largest postcard
collections in North America." A web search located this
address. Perhaps the collection includes more postcards
picturing minting facilities.
Institute of American Deltiology
300 West Main Avenue
Myerstown, PA 17067.
STUART'S WASHINGTON PORTRAIT
From 'A Moment in Time', Dan Roberts' radio series about
historical events and figures, comes this item: "Gilbert Stuart's
portrait of George Washington that appears on the one-dollar
bill was, ironically, an unfinished portrait, but through numerous
reproductions it has become an American icon.... Since 1869,
Stuart's Athenaeum portrait of the first American president has
appeared on the one-dollar bill."
MINT SET ARRIVES A WEE BIT LATE
A March 12th article in The Hartford Courant describes
a local couple who received an unusual item in the mail
recently - the mint set they ordered in 1968.
"It's amazing that we're still alive to get it," marveled Janice
Sargent, 85, laughing over the inch-thick, envelope-sized
package as she and her husband, Warren, sat in their
apartment in Avon.
The contents? Four plastic sheets containing freshly minted
1968 quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies from the
numismatic division of the U.S. Treasury.
FEATURED WEB PAGE
This week's featured web page is a chapter on the United
States Mints from "The History of Gold" by A.B.J. Hammett,
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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