The E-Sylum v6#13, March 30, 2003

whomren at whomren at
Sun Mar 30 18:10:02 PST 2003

Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 6, Number 13, March 30, 2003:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2003, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


   Among recent new subscribers are Dr. Michael A. Bailey.
   Welcome aboard!  We now have 537 subscribers.


   Doug Andrews of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, is a new
   member of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.  He also
   serves on the American Numismatic Association's Information
   Technology Committee.  He writes:  "Wayne, I want to share
   with you and with non-members the reasons why I recently
   decided to join the NBS.

   There are many fine numismatic organizations today. What
   separates the NBS from the rest, in my opinion -  and why I
   joined - comes down to its innovative use of technology.
   Every week for the past year I have been receiving The
   E-Sylum. Think about it: Every seven days I receive a
   comprehensive, well-written publication that provides useful,
   timely, and accurate reporting on an important aspect of
   numismatics that I enjoy. And it's FREE!

   The NBS is surely going "the extra mile," sending me valuable
   and interesting information and never asking me for anything
   in return.  The E-Sylum goes to roughly 540 recipients every
   week, plus those who receive it from those now on your
   mailing list. That means you can probably double or triple the
   actual number of readers.

   From the NBS's perspective, this is a very sensible and cost-
   effective means of communication and "outreach." Whether
   The E-Sylum goes to 5 or 5,000 readers, the cost is nearly
   constant. At the same time, the value to the organization in
   demonstrating the benefits of joining to potential members
   is fantastic!

   I digress. What better introduction to an organization, and the
   merits of joining it, could there be?  I am somewhat familiar
   with The Asylum and the NBS website. These are two more
   excellent reasons to be an NBS member.

   The E-Sylum reminds me every week what a great organization
   publishes it. I urge every other E-Sylum reader to join, and to
   tell their friends that the Numismatic Bibliomania Society is
   open, accessible, and WANTS them as members!"

   [Instructions for joining are found at the end of each issue of
   The E-Sylum.  I'll repeat them here:  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.

   Thanks, Doug, and welcome to the NBS!  -Editor]


   NBS Board member Tom Sheehan sent the following report
   about the recent regional meeting of the society at the
   American Numismatic Association convention held recently
   in Charlotte, NC:

   "At the NBS meeting in Charlotte we had about a dozen
   members and prospective members present.  We were very
   informal but we were all brought up to date on the latest
   developments at the ANA library by Nancy Green.  She now
   has an actual budget to buy books.  Nancy also told us about
   the book sale that is held each year at the ANA's Summer
   Seminar.  Since "Coin Camp" is now two sessions,  Nancy
   has made plans to have two book sales with every effort to
   make them equitable.

   Howard Daniel brought me a copy of the first edition of Fred
   Schwan's Military Payment Certificates.  This book will be
   auctioned off at our NBS meeting at the ANA Convention in
   Baltimore in August.  If other members have a book or
   pamphlet or two they would like to donate please be sure to
   bring it with you or forward it with a member who will attend.
   This meeting is always worth the trip and a lot of fun."


   An article about the late Dr. Douglas Ball in the April 2003
   issue of Bank Note Reporter quotes Ball's colleague Stephen
   Goldsmith of R. M. Smythe saying, "He was working on what
   was to have been an extraordinary book on Confederate
   currency, and his fondest wish would have been to have
   finished it before he died."

   It would be a shame for the book to go unpublished, but
   unfortunately, that is often the case when an author dies.
   Is there anyone who could pick up the reigns on the project?


   The same issue of Bank Note Reporter brings better news
   about another book relating to Confederate currency.
.  "Counterfeit Currency of the Confederate States of
   America" by George B. Tremmel has just been published.
   "Its 144 pages include a historical discussion of the people
   and events involved with CSA counterfeits, as well as steps
   taken by the Confederate Treasury to combat the plague
   of illegal notes."    The hardcovered book may be ordered
   from Hugh Shull, P.O. Box 761, Camden, SC 29020 for
   $35 plus $3 shipping.

   Another long-awaited publication is being publicized in
   ads by "Bowers and Merena Galleries" -- the long-awaited
   update to "California Pioneer Fractional Gold" by Walter
   Breen and Ronald J. Gillio.  The new revised and enlarged
   second edition was authored by Robert D. Leonard, Jr.
   In the ad, Robert J. Chandler of the California Historical
   Society writes, "It is a toss up to decide what Bob Leonard
   has done best: Coordinating iconoclastic, egocentric
   collectors, or tracking down leads on the highways and
   byways of research.  To cite one area, Leonard's revelations
   on manufacturers in the 1870s and 1880s are amazing."
   Pre-publication prices are $39.50 hardbound, $27.50
   softbound.  Orders may be made through the company's
   web site:"

   Has it only been 12 years since this book was in print?
   Secondhand copies of the earlier editions have been
   bringing up to $300 until recently.  Perhaps more people
   will support the authors and publisher this time around
   by buying their copies before it goes out of print again.
   I have a deluxe copy of the first edition in my library
   (ex-Jim Sloss), but had sold all my copies of the
   softbound version.  It will be nice to have a working copy
   of the revised edition on the shelf soon.


   I've never been flummoxed by a coin question from the general
   public, but the other day a web site visitor wrote, "I would like
   to ask a question about coins.  In history,  were there any coins
   with totally identical  sides?"

   Well, I was flummoxed and tongue-tied.  I'm sure there are
   tokens with identical sides, and perhaps medals as well,
   although I can't think of any specific examples.  There are
   probably some ancient coins that fit the description, but as
   for official modern coins, I'm not sure.  I have collected both
   U.S. and world coins in my day, and don't recall any where
   the obverse and reverse used identical designs.  But if anyone
   can come up with examples, you can, dear E-Sylum readers.
   So .. make me feel stupid and send in your lists.


   In response to last week's query, Kenneth Bressett, Editor of
  "A Guide Book of United States Coins", aka the "Red Book"
   writes:  "I wish that I could easily answer why the Red Book
   mintage figures for 1871 are different than the Mint's estimates.
   Unfortunately, I no longer have access to the records and input
   that went into establishing the numbers.

   Early editions of the Red Book were inconsistent about including
   Proof figures along with the regular coinage. Most of those have
   been separated over the years, but there are uncertainties about
   others, and they have been left in their original form even though
   technically they may not be entirely accurate.

   Accurate mintage figures have always been a problem for
   researchers.  The Mint has not been consistent in their method
   of reporting in the past, and the situation is not much better now.
   Mint figures are occasionally 'updated' to reflect final sales to
   collectors, disposal of coins and sets that were held back for
   any number of reasons, and perhaps even inconsistencies in

   Red Book figures do not claim to be 100% accurate, but the
   Mint has often quoted them, rather than using their own records,
   knowing that their numbers are often less reliable."


   Bruce Burton of Round Rock, Texas writes: "I've thought
   about asking this before, but have just never gotten around
   to it.  In the course of my buying/selling/collecting I have
   acquired two copies, both apparently original (1867), of
   W. Elliot Woodward's sale catalogs of the Joseph J. Mickley
   collection.  Each binding is a bit different and the books are
   slightly different sizes.  Some of the distinctions between the
   two are as follows:

  "Copy No. 1"
   This volume has a black leather spine (no lettering) and corners.
   The boards are marbled a tannish/brown. Preceding what
   would have been the title page in copy 2 (below), this one has
   two pages that announce this as Woodward's tenth semi-annual
   sale and then provide an introduction by Woodward after which
   is the text:

   "Please preserve this Catalogue for use at the sale, as it is proba-
   ble that none can be obtained at that time."

   The following title page starts "Catalogue of the Numismatic
   Collection formed by Joseph J. Mickley, Esq., ..." and toward
   the bottom states "Orders for the sale will be faithfully executed
   by the Auctioneers Edward Cogan, Esq., 100 William Street, ...."

   This volume is partially priced, presumably by a bidder at the

   "Copy No. 2"
   The slightly smaller of the two has a small, printed errata strip
   attached near the spine on the last page (196).  This volume is
   bound in black leather with gilt printing on the spine that reads
   "Mickley Collection".

   The title page of this copy starts "Priced Catalogue of the
   Numismatic Collection formed by Joseph J. Mickley, Esq., ..."
   and omits any mention of "Auctioneers Edward Cogan, Esq.,
   100 William Street, ...."

   My questions:  Can someone provide information on how many
   variants of the Mickley Sale there were/are and how many
   catalogues of each variant were likely produced?"

   [I'll take a stab at answering some of Bruce's questions, and
   I'm sure our readers will have their say as well.   In the 19th
   century, the common practice was for catalogs to be furnished
   to bidders unbound.  If desired, the bidder would take it to a
   local bookbinder and have it bound according to his personal
   preference.  Official hardbound catalogs produced by the
   publisher are a much more recent phenomenon.  So finding
   copies with different bindings is not unusual - it would be more
   of a surprise to discover two that are exactly alike.

   Since the binding was subject to the whims and tastes of each
   catalog's owner, it was similarly up to the owner as to what
   items to include or exclude from the binding.  Errata notes,
   bid sheets, plates etc. could be bound in the volume in any way
   the owner decides.   For example, one of the owners decided
   to save and bind in the prospectus (i.e. announcement flyer) for
   the sale.  The other owner either didn't have a copy of the
   prospectus, or decided not to bind it in.

   As for the "Orders for the sale" text, dealers who planned to
   attend the sale in person would send copies of the catalog to
   their customers, but only after first printing or stamping  their
   name and address on it.


   Martin Purdy writes: "Two different anecdotes on the subject -
   the trader in the first story is NOT me, by the way.

   It would probably be a question of vendor's bad luck in most
   cases, depending on the purchaser's conscience.  I know of
   a case where a pair of valuable banknotes were found tucked
   in a stamp album that a trader bought, and neither parties were
   aware that the notes were there. I may be wrong, but I think
   the original vendor still doesn't know about it ...

   I was sorting through some non-numismatic books a while
   back and found I had two identical copies of one title, so
   thought I would discard whichever was in the worse condition.
   I flicked through them to check the content of the pages, and
   found an uncirculated Australian $100 bill inside one of them.
   Not treasure trove, sadly - I had put the note there myself
   when on holiday in Melbourne, as I needed somewhere to
   keep it flat, and had completely forgotten about it by the time
   I got home.  Had it gone to a book sale and sold for the 20
   cents that the book is probably worth, it would have been
   my loss and rightly so for being so careless!"

   David F. Fanning of Fanning Books and Editor-in-Chief of our
   print journal, The Asylum, writes: "I'm used to giving my opinion
   unsolicited, so the opportunity to give my two cents in response
   to an actual solicitation is too good to pass up.

   Regarding inserted items in books, the buyer owns whatever it
   is. Unequivocally. Indubitably. There may be occasions where
   ethics calls for returning found items to a prior owner (love
   letters, say), but it's up to the buyer, I think. I don't care if
   an 1804 dollar: the seller has to know what he or she is selling.
   If the seller hasn't flipped through the book, that's being lazy.
   It's as if I buy a rare die variety off an established coin dealer
   too lazy or dumb to attribute the thing: my gain, his loss, no

   It'd be different if I found something really good in a book I
   bought off someone who wasn't a coin or book dealer (the
   widow of a collector, say);  then I'd feel obligated to work
   something out with them."


   On a related topic, Dick Johnson writes: "Every specialist in
   the numismatic field -- and I assume this holds true with other
   fields that deal in artifacts -- faces this problem of ethics every
   day. When someone offers you an item in your specialty and it
   is mispriced, what do you do? Does it matter if this person is
   a professional dealer or a lay person?

   Many pros I know hold this view:  If a dealer prices his
   merchandise and it is undervalued (even way undervalued) you
   buy it. If it is priced at close to retail you pass, allow him to
   it to a collector at the fair price for both. If it is overpriced you

   obviously pass but you have a choice of mentioning it or not
   (usually I mention it to a friendly dealer, or if, say, it is a flea
   market dealer I say nothing, he has to get his education

   For years I wondered why seasoned dealers would ask me a
   question about a medallic item or two in their stock. Hans
   M.F. Schulman did this to me many times.  It was more like
   "How would you grade this?" than a blatant question like "Is
   this priced correctly?" Subtlety, I thought, they were asking
   for my appraisal.

   [Hans was a dear friend of many years.  I made him the first
   weekly columnist when I started Coin World. Later, when I
   became a dealer in medals, he guided several collections my
   way, when he could have sold them himself. By his questions
   he was, in effect, educating me, strengthening my dealer skills.]

   In regard to appraisals:  A paid professional appraisal is worth
   every penny!  This holds true for both the vest pocket dealer
   and the seasoned pro, but particularly so for someone from the

   But even a professional appraiser can overlook something.
   Example: A bachelor collector in New England had built a fine
   medal collection. He paid Henry Grunthal, a former dealer but
   then a curator at ANS, to come look at his collection and offer
   an appraisal. There was one award medal that had been
   awarded to an early American photographer, a quite valuable
   piece among the collection. Apparently Henry didn't catch it.

   Our offer was near Henry's appraisal and the collector sold the
   collection to my partner and I.  We researched the medal,
   learned of its super rarity, and described it correctly in our
   auction catalog. It was purchased by an unknown photography
   collector who sent an agent to our auction to buy it for a hefty
   four-figure amount.  It realized more than we paid for the entire

   This fine tunes the ethics. Should we have shared part of the
   proceeds with the former owner even though our deal had
   been completed to the satisfaction of both parties? Or was
   this a legitimate profit for our expertise and research?  What
   would you have done?

   Dealers have the responsibility to correctly grade and price
   the items they offer for sale.  The public, it appears, is open
   game for most dealers depending upon their level of greed.
   My advice to all is: Get a bono fide appraisal from a specialist
   knowledgeable for that item before you offer any item for sale.

   I throw up my hands, however, for the sellers on eBay. They
   range all over the place:  From the arrogant and ignorant to
   the nicest, most sophisticated dealers you'll find. But the
   misinformation on eBay is omnipresent; I won't even mention
   the mispricing or their ethics. It is not only caveat emptor on
   the internet, its: Buyer Be Educated!"


   NBS Board member John Kraljevich writes: "I will no longer
   be able to use the johnk at email
   address within the next few days, so please contact me at:
   jkral2003 at"


   Bob Leonard writes: "I wrote about the Doge Domenigo
   Michieli leather money in 1989 in "The History of Leather
   Money," for the Chicago Coin Club's CICF giveaway of a
   leather token.  This article has been reprinted a couple of
   times in numismatic publications, in The Centinel v. 37, no. 2
   (summer 1989), p. 23-29, and World Coin News v. 17, no.
   5 (Mar. 5, 1990), p. 26, 28, the latter somewhat condensed
   and revised.  My source for this item, "Leather Currency,"
   by W. Charlton (British Numismatic Journal, 1906, p. 316,
   gave the date as 1122, not 1123.  Charlton cited "Italian
   history" as his source.  Einzig, Primitive Money, also mentions
   this issue on p. 268, citing Charlton, and I found another
   source (?Alexander Del Mar, History of Monetary Systems)
   that mentioned usage at the siege of Tyre in 1124.  Though
   Charlton describes the shapes of the pieces, to the best of
   my knowledge none have been preserved."


   Steve Pellegrini writes: "It was nice to read that fundraising for
   the Francis D. Campbell Library Chair is moving along
   successfully. I always have and always will donate to
   worthwhile library projects.

   Living on the West coast I have no opportunity to utilize the
   ANS Library. In effect the ANS library is only available to
   members living in or around New York City or those who
   can afford the time and money to stay in New York each
   time reference to the stacks is called for. In contrast, getting
   to the mostly US material in the ANA's catalogue is simplicity
   itself.  The easily accessible lending facilities of the ANA
   Library is a major reason I maintain membership in that
   organization.  However, most of my collecting interests revolve
   around historic European, political and satirical medals.
   Naturally the ANS library is much broader and deeper in this
   international area than is the ANA library. Anyone know the
   reasons the ANS won't allow access to 'non-rare' library
   materials through the mail?"

   On the related topic of differences between ANA and ANS,
   Kavan Ratnatunga writes: "I saw the discussion about the
   difference between ANS and ANA and thought I will
   comment that they play complementary roles which are both
   important. Research and popularization and both important to
   keep any field alive. Amateur astronomers play an useful
   support role in professional astronomical research. It is like
   philosophy and religion.  The ying and the yang."


   Chick Ambrass writes: "Reading the article about the recently-
   found copy of the Bill of Rights, prompted me to share this
   personal activity.  My daughter has lived in Raleigh, NC for
   not quite 1-1/2 yrs now. We've only visited once, before a
   couple of weeks ago, when we went for an extended week-
   end.  I asked what where we going to do with the time, I
   didn't want to spend it sitting in her apartment watching TV.
   I said that there was some sort of park in the downtown
   section when we drove by last night. I suggested we check-
   out the downtown area.

   It turns out that I was referring to the State House, the original
   building to house the North Carolina State activities. In this
   building are the two chambers for the senate, and the
   representatives, numerous offices, a "geological" room, and
   the library are the rooms we were able to visit.  A very
   attractive building, with many historical artifacts on display.
   It was a self-guided tour, and the cleaning lady explained that
   the impressive chambers are no longer used on a daily basis,
   but only for special events, such as the governor presenting an
   award or perhaps a small press conference.

   Outside, around the building the grounds include 10-12
   monuments/statues/cannons/etc. honoring the three Presidents
   that hailed from NC, and the men and women of NC from the
   revolutionary war up thru the Viet Nam conflict.

   An interesting note: there are over 80 fireplaces in the building,
   and it was stated that it required over 300 cords of wood to
   heat the building each winter season.  The back stairs, made
   of stone of some sort, were in very poor condition -- cracked,
   chipped, gouged, and just heavily worn in some areas, due  to
   the fact that this staircase was used to move the 300 cords of
   wood, in "steel-wheeled" wheel barrels to the upper floors of
   the building.

   This building is where the newly acquired lost copy of the
   "Bill of Rights" will be on public display."


   Allan Davisson writes: "We delivered our next auction catalog
   to the printer on Friday. It has 67 lots of U.S. colonial coinage
   --all copper except for one silver Higley copy using Bolen dies.
   Every lot is photographed and offered separately including a
  Vermont, Ryder 13, a Bar Cent, and a choice Virginia halfpenny.
   It is a nicely representative "collector's collection."

   I am happy to send copies of the sale catalog to anyone
   requesting. Our address is just Davissons, Cold Spring, MN
   56320. Our email address: coins at"


   Ken Berger writes; "I was rereading David Ganz's comments
   on the currency notes of denominations above $100.  He
   stated that "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." I always found this interesting, since today such large
   denominations would seem to be much more useful than they
   were in the past. I wonder if the reason stated by the Treasury
   is the real reason."


   Gar Travis,  Communications Coordinator for the ANA
   Sub-committee on Numismatics in Post Secondary
   Institutions writes: "Notre Dame is on the "list" for the ANA
   subcommittee on  Numismatics in Post Secondary Institutions,
   we did not publish  all of the universities as we have many on
   the list, simply  showing only a representative few.  We have
   shared  many e-mails and ideas with Louis Jordan, Special
   Collections curator at Notre Dame and of course we have
   also established contacts within the American Numismatic

   There was mention to our committee chairman of two courses
   that were mentioned on the University of Michigan web site.
   Well, they are there for all to see, but the courses have not
   been offered for many years...the last time being when Ted
   Buttrey was an instructor there.

   Ray Flanigan writes: "Numismatics in Colleges and Universities
   generated more responses that we had envisioned. As many
   of your readers correctly pointed out Notre Dame does indeed
   have a world class collection and was on our list and somehow
   inadvertently omitted when the article was written.   Not only
   does this fine collection, curated by Lou Jordan, contain
   Colonial and early American coins but also Colonial Currency,
   Washington Tokens, Confederate Currency, 19th Century
   American Tokens, a complete type set of regular issue US coins,
   Conder Tokens, Franklin Mint and modern commemorative issues.
   Several readers also pointed out that Dr. Alan Stahl taught a
   course at Notre Dame this past summer.  The course was
   Medieval Coinage and Money under the aegis of the Medieval
   Institute, but the University does not offer a regularly scheduled
   course in numismatics.

   Concerning the ANS, the subcommittee has been in contact
   with the ANS and believes that there is no overlap in goals or
   objectives.  The ANS summer seminars are aimed at
   postgraduate and postdoctoral students.  The subcommittee
   is trying to promote the study of numismatics at the
   undergraduate level (thus providing students for the ANS
   program) and reader suggestions on ways to promote this
   goal would be most appreciated.  They can be sent to
   RFlanigan at  Success in this area might be reflected
   in some more scholarly articles in The Numismatist or The
   Asylum.  The Aegean wine trade, we'll leave to the Oenologists."


   A correspondent emailing from an account under the name
   of "Walter Breen" submitted the following:

   Perhaps the following might be of interest to E-sylum readers.
   Yours Truly,
   S.S. Elreep, 4/1/2003

   We have the privilege of announcing the long awaited return
   of Dr. Q. Bo Dawvies to the numismatic scene.  Dr. Dawvies
   favored us with the following press release:

   My new firm, Arcane Miniaturistic Maimers, will be setting up
   at the 103rd annual National Middle States convention this
   August.  As everybody knows, I’ve been attending the National
   Middle States conventions for years, in fact I had a table there
   when my mother was still pregnant.  My dad had to guarantee
   it as I was not yet born.  It’s been said that, after the show, I
  was born with a 1909-SVDB in my hand.  Fortunately for my
   mother the slab had not yet been invented.  Apparently no one
   recognized the coin since Lincoln cents were not yet circulating.
   I thought it was a dandy design and exhibited the coin at my
   first birthday party.  Everyone thought it was real nifty and the
   splendiferous example was placed front row center next to the
   candle on the cake.

   Many of you have asked what we’ve been doing since parting
   ways with our predecessor firm, Awesome Barrelled Earnings.
   I’ve been delving into the life of one Warren B.Etel, who holds
   a unique place in the pantheon of American numismatists.  Mr.
   Etel was the fourth cousin of Augustus Sage and the seventh
   cousin (twice removed) of Edward Cogan.  Although Mr. Etel
   never met either of these esteemed luminaries, it seems that on
   several occasions he actually spent American coins.  Our six
   hundred page volume will “put you there” at the scene of each
   of these most memorable transactions.

   It’s a pleasure to be back and we look forward to meeting all
   of you at the National Middle States!"

   [I am not making that up.  It really did show up in my email.
   Happy April Fool's Day.   -Editor]


   This week's featured web site is about German Inflationary
   Notgeld 1922-1923. "After WWI, Germany was plunged
   into one of the worst inflations ever to hit a western country
   as the government struggled with the truly massive punitive
   damages demanded by the Treaty of Versailles. During this
   brief period of hyper-inflation, people who did not convert
   their savings into tangible assets lost them completely.  Many
   bank accounts were closed because even large pre-war
   sums of 100,000 Marks were longer worth even the price
   of a postage stamp. The middle class was by and large
   reduced to poverty, theft and petty crime soared, pensions
   became worthless and many people starved to death.

   However an interesting by-product of this period was the
   rich variety of banknotes churned out from each town,
   displaying values of anything up to 100,000,000,000,000
   marks.  This web site is devoted to these incredibly
   high-value banknotes.

  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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