The E-Sylum v6#12, March 23, 2003

whomren at whomren at
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.


   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."


   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 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
   contribution.  -Editor]


   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."


   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."


   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
   coin collectors."


   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."


   Rusty Goe writes: "Does anyone know why the Redbook's
   mintage figures for 1871 & 1872 are different than Official
   Mint records?

   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
   be appreciated."


   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]


   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.


   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.

  Wayne Homren
  Numismatic Bibliomania Society

  The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a
  non-profit organization promoting numismatic
  literature.   For more information please see
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