The E-Sylum v6#12, March 23, 2003
whomren at coinlibrary.com
whomren at coinlibrary.com
Sun Mar 23 20:07:32 PST 2003
Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 6, Number 12, March 23, 2003:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2002, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Bob Shippee (NBS Life Member #6) writes: "In the March 16
edition of The E-Sylum, you said that you would welcome new
subscribers from the halls of academia. Well, my brother
qualifies as an academic, and so I invited him to join. He has
gone a step further and sent my invitation on to several of his
colleagues. So, if you get small flood of new subscribers from
outside the world of numismatics, this "mailing" may be the
[We certainly welcome all new subscribers. This week we
don't happen to have many research questions, but it would
be useful to get feedback from the academic community about
any of the varied topics that come up in The E-Sylum.
REMEMBERING DOUGLAS BALL
Dick Doty, Curator of Numismatics, Smithsonian Institution
writes: "I just got your message about Douglas Ball's death.
He was a friend and mentor of twenty years' standing, a true
gentleman in an increasingly-impolite age. I last saw him at
the Baltimore show last autumn, and he appeared to be in
remission, looked fit. Then he matter-of-factly observed that
the doctors had told him that he had two, perhaps three,
years left. I wish he had at least been granted that time.
As it is, I can only mourn the passing of a friend, the research
opportunities and possibilities left unexplored by the absence
of a very special person."
ANS LIBRARY FUND DRIVE UPDATE
John W. Adams writes: "Our drive to raise $2,000,000 to
fund the Francis D. Campbell Library is proceeding apace.
We have received encouragement from the National
Endowment for the Humanities that they will provide us with
a 25% match. This is our alpha, whereas our omega will be
a Kolbe auction in August 2004 at which donated items will
be sold. Of this, more later as well as more on the "in
Most exciting, the renovation of 140 William Street remains
on a schedule that would have us moved in by year end. The
library has been allocated two full floors, which will provide
us ample space for future growth. Those interested in naming
opportunities in the new library should e-mail me at
jadams at ahh.com and I can provide you with layouts.
We warmly invite any and all contributions. Make your
checks payable to the American Numismatic Society,
Broadway at 155th Street, New York, NY 10032,
referencing the Francis D. Campbell Library Chair."
[Although I don't often have a chance to visit the ANS library
in person, I had a very pleasant experience several years ago,
when Mr. Campbell furnished me with a photocopy of my
local club's 1878 Constitution and Bylaws pamphlet. It is
gratifying to know that over a century later this publication
was still safe and sound under the stewardship of the ANS -
our club did not have a copy, and despite years of searching
I have never found another. The ANS copy may be the
only one left on the planet. Thank heaven for the ANS library.
Contributing to this fund is the best way I know how to show
my gratitude and ensure that collectors of future centuries have
similar pleasant experiences. Please consider making a
LEATHER MILITARY SIEGE MONEY
David Klinger writes: "I recently acquired an interesting used
book from an online bookseller (B&N): "Money and Conquest -
Allied Occupation Currencies in World War II", by Vladimir
Petrov (1966 - The Johns Hopkins Press). This is from Petrov's
"During the prolonged siege of Tyre in the year 1123, the Doge
Domenigo Michieli exhausted his treasury chest. Because his
brave Venetians clamored for pay and some reportedly
contemplated desertion, the resourceful Doge had leather
coins struck and issued them to pay his troops. The issue
of this "money of necessity" was accompanied by a solemn
promise that it would be redeemed at full face value upon
the return of the fleet to Venice. Historians did not record
the reaction of the crusaders to this early substitute for good
gold, or indeed whether Domenigo Michieli, noted for his
shrewdness as well as his ferocity, actually honored his
pledge. But in all probability these leather coins were the first
issue of what has eventually come to be called military currency.
Although the evidence is meager, it seems that throughout the
Middle Ages and on into the modern period, such currencies
were used from time to time, serving a single limited purpose,
that of paying troops when supplies of regular money were
inadequate or non-existent; they bore no relation to the
currencies of the occupied enemy territories.
In the nineteenth century military currencies assumed a new
and important role: they were used not only to pay troops but
also as a means of paying the people of an occupied territory
for supplies requisitioned by the occupying army.
During World War II military currencies were used by all the
major powers and to a much greater extent than ever before.
In addition to paying the troops and compensating the owners
of requisitioned property, military currencies also served as a
major means of manipulating the economies of occupied
I wondered if any of these leather "coins" still exist? I never
heard of them before this."
BILL OF RIGHTS RECOVERED
The following is non-numismatic, but we have covered some
related topics in previous issues. Apparently the FBI has
recovered an original copy of the Bill of Rights, the first set
of amendments to the U.S. constitution. Said to be stolen
from the North Carolina Statehouse by a Union soldier
during the Civil War, the document has been missing for
138 years. The following excerpts are quoted from two
different press accounts. Follow the links to read the full
"The document, one of 14 copies of the Bill of Rights
commissioned by President George Washington, is worth
an estimated $30 million, the FBI said.
"A carpetbagger took it in 1865," said one official.
"It's really priceless."
"Signed in 1789 by the 13 original U.S. colonies, the Bill of
Rights contains the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution
and guarantees such rights as freedom of speech, freedom of
religion and the right to a speedy public trial.
At the signing, President George Washington provided each
signatory state an original handwritten copy, and kept a 14th
copy for the federal government.
North Carolina's copy was stolen in 1865 by soldiers in General
William Tecumseh Sherman's army while the Union army
occupied the Southern state during the Civil War, Easley said."
"An agent posed as a philanthropist financing the purchase and
the FBI seized it when the unidentified seller sent it by courier
for him to examine."
"The document will be returned to a federal courthouse in
Raleigh and exhibited to the public."
MINE, MINE, ALL MINE?
Regarding the seized Bill of Rights, "Pennsylvania Gov. Edward
Rendell said any decision to file charges would depend on
whether the would-be seller knew the document was stolen."
What if you were the holder of that document? And you
didn't know it had been stolen? I wonder what proof the
officials have that the document was indeed stolen in the first
place, and that this copy is that very same one. If these facts
can be proven then the document should indeed be returned
to its rightful owner, for valid title has not passed despite the
138-year gap. But what a disappointment!
This talk of ownership brings to mind another topic I've been
wanting our readers' thoughts on. Say you buy a numismatic
book or periodical from a dealer, and later, while reading it,
you find a piece of interesting numismatic correspondence
tipped in. It may be worth at least as much as you paid for
the book. You didn't know if was there when you bought the
book, and the seller probably didn't, either. Who owns it?
Should you return it to the seller? Or keep it?
Suppose the correspondence is worth 10 times what you
paid for the book. Still feel the same way?
Suppose instead of correspondence, you find a piece of
rare paper money. Now what do you think about the
situation? What if the paper money were worth 100 times
what you paid for the book? Does any of this matter?
George Fitzgerald and others quickly noted a glaring
omission from the draft list of University numismatic
collections published last week.
David F. Fanning writes: "The University of Notre Dame has
an important numismatic collection which I was surprised to
not see mentioned on your list. Information on the collection
can be found at the following Web site:
Bob Leonard writes: "To this list should be added the University
of Notre Dame. Their collection of U.S. Colonial coins and
currency and Washington tokens is largely on-line. Dr. Alan
Stahl taught a course on medieval numismatics there last summer.
The ANA subcommittee would do well to contact the American
Numismatic Society, as they provide postgraduate training in
numismatics at a seminar every summer, and, as a member of
the Council of Learned Societies, are already viewed by
post-secondary institutions around the world as "as a primary
and credible source of knowledge and resource" in this area.
The ANS publishes an annual peer-reviewed journal (The
American Journal of Numismatics), which is pretty much the
opposite of the way the ANA is currently going with Numismatist,
plus other scholarly works. Frankly, I do not see how the ANA
can expect to be taken seriously by academia interested in, say,
the Aegean wine trade, with its current publication format (no
bibliography or footnotes), which seems to be intended to
attract buyers of proof sets, savers of state quarters, and junior
THANKS A MILLION
Responding to the lengthy discussion about ultra-large
denomination notes (started by the item about Mark Twain's
"Million Pound Note" story), Joe Boling writes: "I have fielded
several inquiries from India, as an International Bank Note
Society officer, about how the various souvenir $1,000,000
notes could be negotiated."
RED BOOK MINTAGE QUESTIONS
Rusty Goe writes: "Does anyone know why the Redbook's
mintage figures for 1871 & 1872 are different than Official
1871 - Redbook is 52,072 less than Mint records
1872 - Redbook is 13,750 higher
1871 - Redbook is 154,100 higher than Mint records
1872 - Redbook is 11,480 higher
Also, have anyone ever heard why the Redbook lists the
proof mintages with the business strikes most of the time,
but occasionally it doesn't include it. The proof mintages
are always in parentheses, regardless. Any help would
POLLACK'S ACCOUNT OF MINT PROCESSES
Speaking of the Mint, Joel Orosz adds: "Several weeks ago,
I recall an E-Sylum reader raising a question about the source
of James Pollock's A Brief Account of the Processes Employed
in the Assay of Gold and Silver Coins at the Mint of the United
States. I can't recall if the question was subsequently answered.
If not, I have found the source.
Pollock's article was published in the Annual Report of the
Smithsonian Institution for 1869. I do not know the context, but
I just saw a citation, so I pass it along to you. Keep up the great
work on the E-Sylum!"
[See The E-Sylum, volume 5, numbers 44 & 45 (November
3-10, 2002. Our readers found the monograph in the 1894
and 1896 editions of the Report of the Director of the Mint.
The initial question was answered, but Joel's note adds a new
twist. We were not aware of the 1869 Smithsonian publication.
After forwarding this information to Joel, he responded as
follows: "The source was an online bookseller, although by the
time I got to it, the book was gone. The listed author was
James Pollock, which would make the 1869 date correct,
since Pollock directed the Mint from 1869-1873. Could
there have been two items by this title, one published in 1869,
and the other in the 1890s? The only caution I have is that I
have not seen the actual 1869 Smithsonian report--just the
citation to it."
[The longer I collect numismatic literature, the less I feel I
know. There could well have been an earlier version of this
report, which later Mint Directors updated. If this 1869
version could be located, perhaps a side-by-side comparison
would yield some clues. Was one of our E-Sylum readers
the lucky buyer? -Editor]
LONG BEACH DIARY, 1995
With web logs (or BLOGS) being all the rage now, I
wonder if there are any numismatists out there chronicling
their travels in a web log. What would pioneer collectors
such as Joseph Mickley have written if they had had access
to such a tool?
In the days long before The E-Sylum, your editor wrote
up some "mini-diaries" which later found their way onto
one of the world's first numismatic web sites, Lloyd Lim's
Numismatica. The diaries are still there. One is about a
trip to the Long Beach show in February 1995.
Here's an excerpt:
"I stopped at Paul Koppenhaver's table to see the group of
1792 patterns on display. Gorgeous pieces, most with
pedigrees as long as your arm. The 1792 "fusible alloy"
cent was ex- Virgil Brand, Lorin Parmelee, and the Norweb
family. There was a silver-center cent, half disme, disme,
and three Washington pieces, a silver half dollar and two
pattern cents in copper."
John Bergman had a display of numismatic literature in the
back of the hall. Nearby was Art Rubino with an even larger
display. I bought a number of items from each dealer. John
had an advance copy of the Champa II sale catalog, and I
spent a good hour reviewing it, making a list of items for bid
on at the sale next month.
Jack Collins stopped by the table and showed me part of the
manuscript for his upcoming book on the 1794 dollar. Later
I found a dealer with a beautiful 1-cent White the Hatter
encased postage stamp for sale. I need one for my collection,
and made a deal to purchase it in installments. My tastes have
long outgrown my budget, but this will help."
I'm glad I wrote this up, for I had long forgotten most of
what I did at that show. It's sad to think that John Bergman,
Jack Collins and Armanda Champa are all gone now. But
it was a pleasure to have known them all.
FEATURED WEB PAGE
This week's featured web page is suggested by Chris Fuccione,
who writes: "I found this on building and maintaining a numismatic
The page is from the web site of the Chicago Coin Club (scroll
down to view the article). The paper was presented by Phil
Carrigan and Carl Wolf at the club's February 12, 2003 meeting.
"Phil started the program with a 1951 quote from P.O. Sigler
concluding "... that a collector may dispose of all or a major part
of his collection during his lifetime, but that his coin books are
sold by his executor." That is a great way to summarize the
transition from just acquiring numismatic items to studying those
items and the conditions that produced them. One result of the
search for more information is a stack of books, pamphlets,
articles, and other material; the start of a numismatic library. "
Coincidentally, the page also includes a paper titled "The Role
of State Bonds on the Economic Development of the United
States, 1800-1900", presented by the late Douglas Ball at the
club's February 22, 2003 meeting.
Numismatic Bibliomania Society
The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a
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literature. For more information please see
our web site at http://www.coinbooks.org/
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