The E-Sylum v6#51, November 30, 2003

whomren at whomren at
Sun Nov 30 20:01:36 PST 2003

Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 6, Number 51, November 30, 2003:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2003, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


   Among recent new subscribers are NBS member Dan
   Vollmer.  Welcome aboard!  We now have 605


   Tom Fort writes: "The latest Asylum issue was mailed last
   Thursday.  We had some problems due to my using a new
   computer (they did not have the latest version of Quark yet),
   and there were some questions regarding the member
   addresses.  All of these have been solved and everyone
   should be getting the latest issue any day."

   Dick Johnson writes: "My Summer 2003 issue of The Asylum
   arrived today with the lead article on me.  Kindly express my
   appreciation to NBS President and author Pete Smith.

   Also my appreciation to Tom Fort for running my picture on
   the cover. I like the gryphons and putti -- nice touch! -- and
   you choose the print of me wearing the ivy crown.  I think this
   print shows my hair length just about right length but I see now
   that my toga is one size too large.  Thanks!"

   [NBS members will get the joke when they see the cover of
   the issue.  The rest of you, well, we hope some of you will
   choose to become members of our organization.  Only paid-up
   members receive issues of our print journal, The Asylum.  The
   latest issue leads off with Dick Johnson's recollections (as told
   to Pete Smith) of his start in numismatics and creation of Coin
   World and other numismatic publications.  Other interesting
   articles include David Lange's essay on "Ghostwriting in
   Numismatics" (reprinted with permission from the Numismatic
   Literary Guild Newsletter), Joel Orosz' Printer's Devil column,
   "Bowers, Books, and Bloviation," George Frederick Kolbe's
   notes on "A Rare Vellum Edition of Andrea Fulvio's Illustrium
   Imagines," Pete Smith's President's Message, and editor E.
   Tomlinson Fort's "Numismatic Literature Bibliography, 2000-
   2003."  Editor]


   John and Nancy Wilson write: "We just received this from the
   Honorable David Ganz regarding James Miller from COINage:

   James L.  Miller, founding editorial director of COINage
   Magazine and a fixture in the American numismatic publication
   scene for nearly 40 years, died Saturday, November 29, after
   a year-long battle with throat cancer.  He is survived by his wife
   Jill, three daughters, and many grandchildren. Funeral
   arrangements are for Wed., December 3 at San Buena Vista
   Mission in Ventura, CA."


   Dr. Ute Wartenberg Kagan, Executive Director of the American
   Numismatic Society writes:  "Enclosed is the press release for
   Tuesday's event at the new ANS building.  The library will be
   dedicated in the name of Harry Bass Jr.   Note that all E-Sylum
   readers are welcome to attend this event, which will be held on
   Tuesday, December 2, from 11.30 onwards at 140 William
   Street in New York City."   [The press release follows. -Editor]

   On December 2, 2003, at 11:30 a.m., the official dedication of
   the Harry W. Bass, Jr. Library will be held at the new home of
   the American Numismatic Society at 140 William Street in New
   York City.  The Library, which holds the largest collection of
   numismatic literature in the world, will occupy both the 5th and
   6th floors of the new building.  During the ceremony on Tuesday,
   Doris Bass, Harry’s widow, and her two sons, David and Michael
   Calhoun, will present a check of $400,000 to the American
   Numismatic Society.  With this gift the Harry Bass Foundation will
   have contributed over $4,000,000 to the Society. “We are deeply
   grateful to Doris and her sons for this generous gift.  The library
   the new building will be a fitting tribute to Harry’s extraordinary
   leadership,” says Donald Partrick, President of the American
   Numismatic Society.

   Harry Bass had a significant influence on the Society, both as
   a Councillor and during his years as President, a post he held
   from 1978 until 1984.  As an accomplished businessman and
   a devoted public servant, he served as Dallas County Chairman
   and Republican State Committeeman.  Bass also administered
   two foundations, the Harry Bass Foundation and the Harry W.
   Bass, Jr. Research Foundation.  Through the former, he provided
   support to many Dallas area institutions and through the latter
   he furthered research and scholarship in certain areas of U.S
   coinage. Harry Bass assembled one of the largest and finest
   collections of U.S. gold in the world and built a comprehensive
   reference collection of U.S. gold.

   In 1997, thanks to the support and vision of Harry Bass the
   ANS set up its first website, which was one of the first museum
   websites on the internet.  It is today one of the foremost resources
   for the numismatic community. Scholars, collectors and researchers
   from all over the world can access images and information on the
   remarkable collections of coins and books at the ANS.  This year
   alone the ANS had hits from 92 different nations.  On average the
   website receives over 100,000 hits a month. To the present day
   two full-time staff members are being paid from the funds donated
   by Bass for maintaining the website and updating all technology
   at the ANS.  The ANS takes great pride in having its Library
   bear the name of Harry W. Bass, Jr.  “Harry was one of the first
   people to realize the importance of computers and information
   technology for museums. Over two decades ago he started the
   ANS on its course towards computerizing all its objects. Without
   him we would not be where we are today,” says Frank Campbell,
   ANS Librarian for 30 years.

   The ANS, founded in 1858, is the second oldest Museum in
   Manhattan and houses America’s most comprehensive collections
   of coins, medals, tokens, paper currency and other items."

   [I hope many of our readers will be in hand to witness this
   historic event.  This is also a good time for all friends of
   numismatic literature to consider a donation to the Francis D.
   Campbell Library Chair fund, as discussed in previous E-Sylum
   issues.  Flyers were included with the latest Asylum mailing.
   I urge NBS members to take the time NOW to write a check.
   Others may simply send a check made out to "The American
   Numismatic Society" (with a notation that it is for the Campbell
   Library Chair Fund) to the Society's present address, 617 West
   155th Street, New York, NY 10032.  For further information,
   see the ANS web site at

   QUIZ QUESTION:  If the ANS is the SECOND oldest
   museum in Manhattan, what's the OLDEST?  -Editor]


   A front-page article in the December 8 issue of COIN
   WORLD discusses Will Mumford's discovery of a
   Chalmers threepence coin in dirt excavated from a 1770
   home at 10 Cornhill Street in Baltimore, MD.

   "It was a one-man dig, and if I hadn't volunteered, all
   the excavated dirt would have gone to the dump.  I dug
   for three weeks and discovered a brick floor about a
   foot below the surface.  Below the bricks, I found about
   five inches of pure sand, then a mixture of sand and soil.
   Another six inches down, I hit clay bottom.  In this bottom
   layer, I started finding artifacts of the 18th century."

   Mumford found 22 coins in all, including a Connecticut
   Cent, a Virginia Halfpenny, and a William III halfpenny.

   "Local legend places the Chalmers mint at 10 Cornhill,
   but land records show only that Chalmers owned 14
   Cornhill just down the street."

   "For Mumford, "It has been the time of my life.  At age
   70, it has been my greatest adventure."

   [Who wouldn't want to time-travel back to a colonial-era
   mint?  Congratulations!   The above excerpts can't do
   justice to Eric von Klinger's great article - be sure to
   find and read the whole piece.  Adventure!  Suspense!
   Surprise!  -Editor]


   Lot 528 in the December 11, 2003 sale of Holabird
   Associates is an early document related to the establishment
   of a mint in the American colonies.  From the catalog:

   "U. S. Mint Related Document from the American Colonies to
   the King of England, June, 1688. Includes the first proposal
   for the construction of a Mint on American soil. Series of three
   documents from the Edmund Andros Estate regarding a
   Proposal to His Majesty offered by the petitioners and their
   associates unto the committee appointed by His Majesty.
   These four documents trace one of the first, if not the first,
   proposal to the King for mineral rights in the American
   Colonies. The four documents are dated June to August, 1688.
   Edmund Andros was Governor of New York 1674-1681 and
   Governor of the American Colonies 1686-1689. "

   See the online catalog for more information:

   The sale also includes a Carson City mint reverse die.
   (Half Dollar Reverse Die, c.1870-78, lot 623)


   Arthur Shippee forwarded a link to an article in today's
   New York Times about salvage from the wreck of the
   steamship Republic.  Here are some excerpts:

   "It lay in darkness at the bottom of the Atlantic for more than
   a century, guarded only by the occasional shark. Now, the
   150-year-old steamship has a visitor: a robot bristling with
   lights, cameras and mechanical arms that is picking its way
   through the wreckage, hauling up a fortune in gold and silver
   coins, eventually perhaps 30,000 of them.

   The ship is the Republic, which sailed from New York in
   1865, just after the Civil War, carrying 59 passengers and
   crew and a mixed cargo meant to help New Orleans recover
   from the war. About 100 miles off Georgia, battling a hurricane,
   it sank in waters a third of a mile deep.

   Its cargo of lost coins, experts say, may now be worth up to
   $150 million..."

   "... Odyssey Marine Exploration of Tampa, Fla., announced the
   find in August and said it hoped to retrieve the coins. Today it is
   announcing that the treasure is real and is detailing its findings.
   So far, the company has retrieved more than 1,600 gold and
   silver coins. None are dated later than 1865, tending to confirm
   the wreck's identity, said Greg Stemm, the company's director
   of operations.

   "For some reason, even the silver coins are in great condition,"
   said Mr. Stemm, 46. "Part of it is surely the physical environment
   down there."  The icy deep, explorers are finding, can often
   preserve objects, even precious metals like silver that normally
   corrode easily."

   "Early this month, the team had the robot vacuum away sand
   from where the cache was believed to lie. A few coins appeared,
   then more. "They followed it like a trail of bread crumbs," Mr.
   Stemm said, "and came upon a cascade of gold coins."

   To date, the company has recovered more silver than gold.
   "That caught us by surprise," Mr. Stemm said. He said Odyssey
   expected to find gold coins because silver was scarce in the
   Republic's day. Mr. Stemm noted that most of the coins they
   are finding now are gold.

   Once numismatic experts have inspected the recovered coins,
   the company plans to release reports on their number,
   condition and value."

   For the full article, see:


   Sixty-one years ago this week, (November 26, 1942), U.S.
   President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered nationwide gasoline
   rationing as part of the war effort.  The new rules would take
   effect December 1.   The wartime Office of Price Administration
   (OPA) issued books of ration coupons and corresponding
   tokens.  Gasoline, sugar, meat, silk, nylon and other items were
   rationed.  Below are as couple web pages discussing rationing
   and the tokens.   Can anyone locate a more detailed discussion
   of the OPA tokens on the web?


   Regarding last week's item about Charleston, S.C. slave tags,
   Rich Hartzog writes: 'Not to detract from the Wake Forest
   web site, but the 5 Tags listed are those he purchased from
   me in my 1999 World Exonumia mail bid sale.  He doubled
   the price,  was unable to sell them, and ended up consigning
   them to (as I recall) B&M a few years back.  I am constantly
   fighting a battle against the fakers of Slave Tags, and maintain
   two main pages on Tags, and fakes at "

   [I'm sorry I missed Rich's page in last week's note.  The
   Wake Forest page was included because it had some good
   illustrations of the tags - we don't normally reference
   commercial pages.  -Editor]

   John Kraljevich writes: "I'd love to hear from anyone who
   has additional information or listings of Charleston slave hire
   badges. I've been compiling a database of these things for
   awhile. I might add that the B+M sales of the LaRiviere
   Collection Part II and the Flannagan/Logan Collections
   contain a number of important slave hire badges and some
   of my research up to those dates are included therein.

   Did anyone notice how horribly the Charleston Museum
   has buffed the slave badge that the curator was holding
   with cotton gloves??  Seems like misplaced priorities to me --
   dig it out of the dirt, buff the everlovin' crap out of it, then
   hold it in a gloved hand?"

   [I experienced the same sickening feeling when viewing
   a traveling blockbuster exhibit of early american silver at
   the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh many years ago.  One
   of the first cases contained coins, including a New England
   shilling, which had been buffed within an inch of its life.

   Alan V. Weinberg writes: "I was a serious collector of
   Charleston slave tags until approx. 25 years ago. I'd guess
   at the time I had the finest and most diverse "occupation"
   collection.  I decided not to continue collecting them as
   they were being offered to me "hot and heavy" and I soon
   determined they were not rare & easily acquired - all you
   needed was the funds.  There was no challenge.  So I
   disposed of my collection, the best piece being a round
   1802 Servant tag in EX F condition for the highest price
   then of $900.

   Since then my decision has been vindicated, although not
   in price appreciation.  Hundreds of Charleston slave tags
   have been excavated around the Charleston area and I'll
   wager the population had doubled in the past decade. A
   recent conversation with a foremost Americana cataloguer
   agreed with my assessment - that there were now over
   1,000 genuine Charleston slave tags extant.

   Not to speak of the huge number of diestruck Charleston
   tags that have been counterfeited since the inception of eBay.
   They are quite deceptive except to the experienced collector
   of tags.

   My definition of "rare" has always been the extreme
   difficulty in locating a piece for your collection despite having
   the necessary funds.  For example, a decent 1792 Birch cent
   which I have pursued for over 35 years."

   ["Rare" is a relative term, and slave badges are certainly more
   rare than the shiny Morgan dollars Ford was discussing as
   being offered up as "rare" coins.   But I appreciate Alan's
   definition of rarity - being unable to find a desired item for
   years on end is the type of challenge I enjoy too, and
   suspect many of our E-Sylum readers do as well.  One of my
   specialties is U.S. Encased Postage Stamps, and anytime I
   search a bourse floor for pieces I need for my collection, I
   usually come up empty-handed.   Numismatic literature can
   present the same type of challenge.  Recently I purchased a
   book relating to my EPS collection that I'd been seeking
   for nearly twenty years.  The last time I saw a copy in person
   was at the rare book room of the New York Public Library.
   "The Reminiscences of Frederick Ayer" was privately printed
   in Boston in 1923.  Frederick was the brother of J.C. Ayer.
   Together they ran the J.C. Ayer company which was such a
   prolific advertiser and issuer of encased postage stamps during
   the Civil War.  -Editor]


   The U.S. Mint just published a press release about their new
   "Artistic Infusion" program.  The following are some excerpts
   from the release.  Follow the link to read the full release.

   "The United States Mint invites American artists to participate
   in its new Artistic Infusion Program to help design U.S. coins
   and medals. The program will provide an opportunity for artists
   to be part of the rich history of artistry in United States coinage.
   The United States Mint is notifying colleges, art publications
   and art associations of its “Call for Artists.”

   “Coin design is a fine, ancient art,” said United States Mint
   Director Henrietta Holsman Fore.  “Artistic Infusion will mark
   a historic change in the United States Mint’s 211 year history.
   We are looking forward to working with a group of great
   American artists, as we seek enduring images that reflect a
   great Nation’s values.”

   "Master and Associate Designers selected for the program
   will enter into one-year renewable agreements with the United
   States Mint. They will be invited to create and submit at least
   one new design annually for a coin or medal program.  Each
   Master Designer submitting a design will receive an honorarium
   of $1000.  Associate Designers will receive $500. United
   States Mint sculptor/engravers will model the designs
   submitted by the Artistic Infusion Program artists."

   [It will be interesting to follow the outcome of this program,
   but my first impression is that it hardly seems worth an artist's
   time to develop a design for a lousy $1,000.  Since the Mint
   sculptor/engravers would do the hard work of turning the
   design into workable dies, perhaps the Mint feels that's a fair
   price.   But given the level of fees,  their offer seems more likely
   to attract only amateurs, not professionals.

   And speaking of  the sculptor/engravers, how are they going to
   feel about having their own artistic freedom taken away?   If
   they could regain that freedom (and make much more money)
   in the private sector, what would keep them at the mint?   I
   worry that the law of unintended consequences could turn this
   otherwise fine-sounding idea into a big mess.  Other thoughts?


   A professional artist like Augustus Saint-Gaudens is perhaps
   what the Mint is hoping to lure this time.  David Gladfelter
   reports that "The Allentown (PA) Art Museum is showing
   "Augustus Saint-Gaudens:Master of American Sculpture"
   through January 18. For info go to
   For a review go to search
   "articles last 7 days" for "sozanski".

   [An excerpt from the review follows:

   "His influence extended even to coinage. The $20 gold
   piece he designed, a commission from President Theodore
   Roosevelt, is properly described as the most beautiful
   American coin ever minted."

   "Saint-Gaudens was a lot more than a designer of monuments.
   He was a prolific and equally imaginative portraitist who
   favored bronze reliefs of the kind found on coins and medals.
   He executed many of these as plaques,  whose delicate lines
   and poetic spirit have become his trademark.

   A sculptor of such versatility who worked so much in the
   public sphere isn't easy to define through a museum
   exhibition. However, the Saint-Gaudens survey in Allentown
   does so magnificently."

   [So, here's another QUIZ QUESTION:  how much was
   Saint-Gaudens paid for his work on U.S. coinage designs?
   How much would that be in 2003 dollars?  -Editor]


   Roger deWardt Lane writes: "A numismatic friend, Steve Shor
   and myself, both members of the Fort Lauderdale Coin Club,
   have been since the first of the year taking our exercise at a
   local flea market on "free" day, when the garage sale people
   come out.

   We started writing the stories of these trips for the Newsletter
   of the FLCC in January 2003.  A few months ago I still had
   all the stories on my computer, and since I am recently retired,
   had lots of time.   I already had a Fort Lauderdale Coin Club
   page as part of my site.  So it seemed natural to rewrite the
   stories in HTML and post them with color images to the
   FLCC page.

   Since from the first trip, we had started calling ourselves -
   Mutt and Jeff, the pages were called the Adventures of Mutt
   and Jeff.  What, you can see with the following link, is the rest
   of the story, as Paul Harvey would say.

    As time went on I got a little more colorful with the page
   designs.   Some of the more recent finds of medals have taken
   quite a lot of research which I very much enjoy.

   It is interesting you mentioned the demise of CD's, DVD, &
   VCR storage in the next few years.  The prediction is that
   on-line storage has become so inexpensive, everything will be
   saved electronically.  I still like my numismatic library of over
   1000 volumes, but their storage gets to be a problem and will
   have to pass them on to others soon.  Just as an aside, my
   600 page e-book does not sell much (2 copies on ebay, one
   recently to another collector of the series. He is the second
   small silver coin collector, I know of, after a local spat two
   years ago.) No one ever wanted to publish on paper - too

   I very much like reading your newsletter each week.  Keep
   up the great job."

   [I believe the article on the demise of CDs etc. referred to
    those particular formats only.  Digitized content of one form
    or another seems to be with us for good.    Some interesting
    items are discussed on the Mutt & Jeff pages.  -Editor]


   The 2004 ANA convention (also called the World's Fair of
   Money) will be held in Pittsburgh, PA next August 18-22.
   It's not too soon to be thinking about setting up an exhibit or
   speaking at the Numismatic Theatre.   E-Sylum readers have
   some interesting collections and lots of knowledge - I hope
   many of you will "strut your stuff" at the convention.  The
   ANA web site has all the required information and application
   forms.  Go to:

   Numismatic Theatre proposal:

   Exhibit proposal:

   Remember, the Aaron Feldman Memorial award for
   exhibits in Class 22 - Numismatic literature was funded
   by the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.  The category
   covers "Printed and manuscript (published or unpublished)
   literature dealing with any numismatic subject."   Only one
   exhibit was entered in the category in Baltimore in 2003.

   Let's not let the same thing happen in 2004.  Plan now to
   exhibit some of your great numismatic literature.   I will offer
   to assist exhibitors, if necessary, to set up or tear down a
   literature exhibit if their travel plans make it difficult to
   exhibit without such assistance.

   I spoke to ANA Education Director Gail Baker earlier
   this week, and some applications for Numismatic Theatre
   have already arrived at headquarters.   Don't just sit in the
   audience this year - participate!  We'd love to hear what
   you have to say about your numismatic specialty.


   Alison Frankel writes: "I noticed a reference to a William
   Woodin letter in the most recent E-Sylum, and wondered if
   you'd post a request for information about Woodin's papers
   on the site.  I'm writing a book about the 1933 Double Eagle,
   and plan to devote a chapter to Woodin, about him as an
   influential collector and as the Treasury Secretary during the
   100 Days. Unfortunately, the FDR Library tells me they have
   no idea where Woodin's papers are housed. I'm hoping one
   of your readers might have a clue for me."


   George Kolbe writes: "Regarding Roger Burdett's request,
   there is a file in the John J. Ford, Jr. library concerning this
   1910 pattern litigation, including John W. Haseltine's original
   affidavit, and much, much more. These materials will be
   offered in the June 1, 2004 sale of the Ford library.

   Regrettably, the items in the file are not available for research.
   Like many other items in the Ford library, we will not be able
   to share information contained in them with researchers since,
   to do so, may dilute their desirability.  This is not an easy
   decision for us to make but I hope our researcher friends will
   understand that the decision to share "unique" information
   contained in certain Ford lots rightly belongs to those who
   purchase them."


   Dick Johnson writes: "Your quotation of Chief Engraver
   Gilroy Roberts in his phone conversations with Director of
   the Mint Eva Adams in regards to selecting Kennedy’s portrait
   for the half dollar in last week’s E-Sylum included the term
   “list medal.”  In my research I have learned that mint officials
   and numismatists had used the term “list medal” for those
   medals struck by the Philadelphia Mint and offered for sale
   to the public for virtually the entire 20th century.

   I tried to trace the term back into the 19th century without
   much luck, however. A few U.S. branch mints struck medals
   for their opening (and some recent minimedals), but all U.S.
   government medals are struck by the Philadelphia Mint. All
   these medals are “National Medals” (a term defined in the
   U.S. Code really making it official). But not all National
   Medals are List Medals -- not all were offered for sale to
   the public.

   Of the 573 (National) medals listed by Bob Julian in his
   monumental book, “Medals of the United States Mint, The
   First Century, 1792-1892,” only 123 are List Medals.
   [Nota bene:  I constantly admire this book and Julian’s effort
   – I rank it second only to “Breen’s Encyclopedia of Colonial
   and U.S. Coins” as the most well-researched and important
   American numismatic books – ever!]

   Some of these mint medals were award medals, as you might
   expect. However, some of these National Medals were also
   Private Medals. We believe the first medals struck by the
   fledgling Philadelphia Mint in 1792 was for Ricketts Circus;
   this was a private medal. The Philadelphia Mint struck school
   medals, expo medals and even a wedding medal.  These
   were Private Medals – not List Medals. [Reason for these
   was that the equipment for striking large medals did not
   exist in America outside the mint. Such medals had to be
   struck at the Philadelphia Mint, or in Europe.]

   Washington medals struck by the Philadelphia Mint began
   selling prior to the Civil War, with Lincoln medals shortly after.
   Thus the mint began offering medals for sale to the public with
   a little more push. Thus the concept of list medals may exist
   back to 1861 [Julian concurs]. But the term is derived from
   offering these medals for sale – from a List.

   I obtained my first U.S. Mint Medal Lists after World War II
   when I started buying proof sets from the mint and asked
   what else they had for sale. These were mimeographed sheets
   of short size (not 8 ½ x 11, but a half-inch shorter both ways
   – this size saved the government money – isn’t that a hoot?).
   I have lost these sheets over the years (as probably most
   everyone else because of their ephemeral nature).

   However, I would like to ask E-Sylum readers to search their
   files for any of these U.S. Mint sheets offering List Medals for
   sale. I would like to learn of the earliest. Does such a 19th
   century list exist? (You can date them by the last presidential
   medal offered.)  How did the Mint publicize these offerings
   back as far as the 1860s?"


   Asylum editor Tom Fort writes: "I thought the following
   article in The Independent might be of interest to readers:

   [The article describes the latest milestone in's
   quest to expand their book search capabilities  This deal doesn't
   seem to expand the searching of text WITHIN books, but it
   may make more titles available.   Here are some excerpts
   from the article.  -Editor]

   "The online retailer Amazon has stormed the fusty world of
   antiquarian booksellers by acquiring the rights to the British
   Library's unique back catalogue, dragging the buying and
   selling of rare and out-of-print books into the dotcom age."

   "The deal gives Amazon the right to use the British Library's
   bibliographic catalogue, which contains 2.55 million books.
   Crucially it includes 1.7 million produced before the
   introduction in 1970 of the International Standard Book
   Number (ISBN), a 10-character code that uniquely identifies
   any modern book.

   Amazon will open a new online market where buyers and
   sellers can strike deals for some of the world's most expensive
   literary creations.  Robert Frew, vice-president of the
   Antiquarian Book Association, whose members' stomping
   ground include the bookshops of Charing Cross Road and
   Great Russell Street in central London, said the news would
   almost certainly mean greater pressure on those with real


   ANA Education Director Gail Baker writes: "I thought you
   and the E-Sylum readers might enjoy the attached article.
   I'm running it in Your Newsletter, an email publication for
   young numismatists, but if you are interested, Amanda said
   you could put it in The E-Sylum also."

   [Amanda is "a proud Seminole at Florida State University."
   She has good taste in books, leading off her list with
   one of my own all-time favorites.  Here's her article. -Editor]

   My Selected Books
   By Amanda Rondot

   I have a confession to make.  For the last several years, I have
   slowly but surely been turning into a numismatic bibliomaniac.
   Each year, my library grows by inch after inch of shelf space.
   Why, this summer alone it grew by over a third of a foot!  Now,
   while it is wonderful to own so many books, I had to pack my
   belongings to move away to college for the very first time in
   August.  Since dorm rooms are not known for being overly
   spacious, I could not bring much of my library along with me.
   What a conundrum!  Consequently, I had to pause and think
   long and hard about which selected books would move with
   me.  Though it pained me to leave so many behind, these are
   the seven I finally chose after great deliberation, presented in
   random order.

   First, Fractional Money by Neil Carothers was a must-have
   for me.  This book explains the United States monetary system
   in its economic context, making changes in series and
   denominations easy to understand.  Since it was written by an
   economist, it provides a different view on coinage and focuses
   on other information than that given by traditional numismatic
   authors.  However, it is still comprehensible and interesting to

   Coinage Laws of the United States, 1792-1894, reprinted by
   Bowers and Merena Galleries in 1990, gives the full text of laws
   regulating the coinage (as its name suggests).  Reading an entire
   act instead of just isolated portions out of context is helpful in
   understanding the intent of the legislators.  While not designed
   to be read through in its entirety like a story, this book is good
   for looking up specific pieces of information.

   Next, Coins and Collectors by Q. David Bowers tells the tale
   of the development of American numismatics.  This book
   discusses my favorite part of the hobby, the people who formed
   the numismatic community, from its beginning in the 1800s until
   the 1960s, when this book was written.  It is well illustrated
   with reproductions of early numismatic advertisements and
   pictures of coins.

   Official ANA Grading Standards for United States Coins is
   helpful not only for those of us who doubt our grading abilities
   and wish to improve them, but also for all coin collectors.
   Since few people are familiar with the grading standards for
   series outside their collecting specialties, this book is good for
   acquainting oneself with a new series before buying unfamiliar
   coins.  I find it to be an especially useful study guide when I
   am acquiring type coins for my collection.

   What library would be complete without a copy of A Guide
   Book of United States Coins?  The standard yearly price guide
   for U.S. coins, it contains numerous facts and figures explaining
   general information and the specifications for each series.  The
   Red Book is extremely useful for showing my non-collecting
   friends, who are only familiar with the presently circulating
   coins, what the country’s coinage looked like in the past.

   Coin World Almanac by the Staff of Coin World is a great
   general reference, touching on a little of everything.  This book
   does a particularly good job of discussing modern affairs.  In
   addition to the standard written format, it contains a plethora
   of information listed in convenient tables (for example: “paper
   money series-denominations-signatures”), making information
   easy to find when I am not sure what I am looking for.
   Consequently, it is one of my most frequently reached for

   Finally, Q. David Bowers’ United States Coinage as
   Illustrated by the Garrett Collection was my final choice to
   come to my new home-away-from-home.  My reading material
   for the drive down, this book has wonderful color plates (and
   black and white ones) on glossy paper, corresponding to the
   descriptions carefully presented in the text.  As do all books
   by Bowers, this work incorporates historical background into
   the numismatic discussions.  It contains many excerpts from
   letters between early important numismatic personages,
   transporting the reader to the collecting scene as it was many
   years ago.

   All in all, I am happy with my selections.  The only book I
   greatly regret not bringing is my copy of Bowers’ A California
   Gold Rush History, Featuring the Treasure from the S.S.
   Central America, my pride and joy.  However, after debating
   until the very last minute before I climbed in the car to leave
   (literally! Ask my mom!), I stuck with my painful decision to
   leave it behind; it was just too big to take along.  Currently, it
   is eagerly awaiting me at home, when I can spend several
   weeks of Christmas vacation once again lovingly caressing its
   pages, reunited with it and all my other long lost books.


   Alan Luedeking writes: "Regarding the concern over broken
   internet links mentioned in the last E-Sylum, here's a little
   search tip I've found greatly useful:  When searching on
   Google for instance, if a search result links to a dead page,
   try the "cached" link instead. This will always bring up the
   page that existed at the time the link posted into Google's
   memory banks."


   Alan continues: "I also enjoyed your piece about the
   Florida bank and the "motherstickers"... if the scene of
   this incident is in Miami (as is most likely!) I'd be happy
   to check out if the plaque is indeed there..."

   Tom DeLorey writes: "Well, I first heard a version of this
   joke about 25 years ago........"

   Ron Haller-Williams writes: "I think I can "prove" that it
   is an urban legend:

   If e.g. you try a GOOGLE search for the PAIR of
   expressions "mother-stickers" and "darwin awards", you
   will find about 569 entries.  Or, with "award" in the
   singular, about 73 entries.  Discounting duplicates, this
   leaves us with over 300 sites claiming that the robber
   won an "official Darwin award".

   However, there is NO TRACE of the story on the
   Official Darwin Awards site at
   Moreover, neither the robber nor anybody else in the story
   would qualify for such an award.  The thing is, there are
   three criteria, all of which must be met:

   1.  Great stupidity is called for.  (No problem so far!)
   2.  The whole point of the Awards is related to Darwin's
        Theory of Evolution.  The perpetrator is required
        (inadvertently!) either to die or at least  to render
         himself or herself incapable of reproduction:
         "Darwin Awards commemorate those who improve
          our gene pool by removing themselves from it."
        (Failure on this point might still lead to an "honourable
   3.  The story must be true.  Attempts ARE made to verify,
         and it is not unheard of for an award to be withdrawn
         or canceled, in which case  the story would remain on
         the site, with additional notes, such as the one at

   Surely a lot of the Bank's customers would be upset at the
   plaque's wording.  And, no matter how good a story, this
   would not be good business!  If enough people were to get
   upset over something like this, and therefore switch to some
   other bank, maybe such an event should be commemorated
   by the creation of a "banking Darwin" award?    ;-)"


   Myron Xenos sends this link to test E-Sylum readers'
   observational powers.

   No cheating. Look at the 12 cents on this page.  No getting
   any real cents to use as a guide prior to doing this.  Move
   your mouse over the one you think is the real U.S. cent, and
   click. How did you do?


   From a November 25th Reuters report:
   "Texas police say they made the state's largest seizure of cash
   during a traffic stop when troopers pulled over a truck hauling
   frozen dinner rolls -- and found $5.3 million in bills sealed in
   plastic wrap."


   This week's featured web site is recommended by Dick
   Johnson.  He writes: "There is a new website in the numismatic
   field:"   From the web site:

   "Medal Collectors of America (MCA) was founded in
   August 1998 at the Portland, Oregon, convention of the
   American Numismatic Association (ANA). Its primary
   purpose was to serve COLLECTORS of world and U.S. art
   and historical medals.  MCA would bring together those
   interested in collecting, research and publication of research
   concerning art and historical medals."

   [The site could eventually become quite a trove of information
   on medals, if the Collector's Guide section of the site continues
   to grow.  The first entry in this section is a detailed list of the
   Society of Medallists issues, with illustrations of each medal.

  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 W. David Perkins, NBS Secretary-Treasurer,
  P.O. Box 212, Mequon, WI  53092-0212.

  For Asylum mailing address changes and other
  membership questions, contact David at this email
  address: wdperki at

  To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum,
  just Reply to this message, or write to the Editor
  at this address: whomren at

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   send an email message with the word "Unsubscribe"
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