The E-Sylum v7#35, August 29, 2004
whomren at coinlibrary.com
whomren at coinlibrary.com
Sun Aug 29 19:28:50 PDT 2004
Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 7, Number 35, August 29, 2004:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2004, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Among recent new subscribers is John Frost. Welcome
aboard! We now have 685 subscribers.
ANS LIBRARY SALE RESULTS
George Kolbe writes: "The American Numismatic Society
Library Chair Endowment Benefit Auction held in Pittsburgh
on August 19th was, by almost any measure, a great success.
Thanks are due John W. Adams, Chairman of the ANS
Library Committee, for his leadership, the donors for their
important contributions, and the three dozen or so sale
attendees who, combined with a like number of absentee
bidders, bid often and generously.
Estimated at around $50,000, the fifty lots in the sale brought
nearly $90,000. ANS Librarian Frank Campbell attended
the sale and may have even blushed a time or two at prices
that often were more a tribute to his long and faithful
stewardship than a reflection of the marketplace. The prices
realized list and catalogue will be accessible for a short time
at our web site: www.numislit.com. Thanks are also due
E-sylum editor, Wayne Homren, for his valuable help in
planning the event."
LAKE BOOKS SALE #76
Fred Lake writes: "The seventy-sixth mail-bid sale of numismatic
literature is now available for viewing on our web site at:
Our catalog features selections from the library of Robert Doyle.
Bob has been collecting numismatic objects for over 60 years
and is a specialist in the token and medal field. His library
consists of some of the hobby's finest research works and he
now finds the time to allow others to share in the rich rewards
that these books provide. He is presently completing a new
book titled "An Index of Communication Tokens of the World".
It will be the most detailed study ever undertaken in the area of
collectible tokens of this subject.
In addition, you will find material in all aspects of numismatic
research...a complete original set of "Penny-Wise" handsomely
bound in green buckram, a long run of "The American Journal
of Numismatics" that contains over 60 issues, draft copies of
"The Language of Numismatics" produced by PCGS, Leo
Kadman's four-volume set of early ancient coinage, and a new
section devoted to banking histories.
The sale has a closing date of September 28, 2004 and bids
will be accepted via regular mail, email, fax, and telephone
until 5:00 PM (EDT) on that date."
FRANK VAN ZANDT HOSPITALIZED
Nick Graver of Rochester, NY sends the following information
about former Numismatic Bibliomania Society office Frank
Van Zandt: "Frank's name was mentioned several times in
Pittsburgh, and I had to admit that I have not seen him much in
recent years. The Rochester Numismatic Association bulletin
just arrived, mentioning that Frank broke his hip on August 17,
and was hospitalized at Strong Memorial Hospital here. No
details were printed."
[We all certainly wish Frank a speedy recovery. If anyone
has been in touch with him, please keep us informed. -Editor]
ASSOCIATED PRESS ARTICLE ON 1792 CENT DISCOVERY
The following are a few excerpts from the Associated Press'
article on last week's discovery of a 1792 Cent at the American
Numismatic Association convention in Pittsburgh:
"The chocolate brown, quarter-sized coin sat in a tobacco can
for decades, with its owners unaware of the item's history or its
But on Saturday afternoon, appraisers at the American Numismatic
Association's World's Fair of Money declared it was a 1792
American copper penny worth at least $400,000. There are just
nine coins like it in the world, said Donn Pearlman, spokesman for
"A family from New York state, who wished to remain
anonymous, arranged to have Professional Coin Grading Service
of Newport Beach, Calif., appraise the coin, Pearlman said."
"The 1792 copper penny has been called a "silver cent without
the silver" because it was an experimental coin the new country
developed before the establishment of the U.S. Mint. Some
such coins had a silver plug, others were made of an alloy of
copper and silver and this coin was made of nearly pure
copper, Bressett said.
There are less than a dozen coins like it because the piece
never went beyond the experimental stage, Bressett said.
Their father found the coin 30 years ago in an old tobacco can
where their grandfather kept about a dozen other old coins.
From about 1976 to 1989 their father kept the coin in a small
safe in a house that he never locked, Pearlman said. "
MORE ON THE 1792 CENT DISCOVERY
Alan V. Weinberg writes: "I'm just back from the ANA and
read my email before retiring. I see you mentioned the 1792
fusible alloy pattern cent that appeared at the ANA.
I know a bit more about it so perhaps the readers will enjoy
further details. The coin was brought in raw to the ANA by
the family owners - I believe 4 people. It had been in the family
for generations with a distant great-grandfather being a coin
collector around the time of the Civil War.
It was shown to Bob Rhue and Tony Terranova, both of
whom believed it to be genuine as it had the telltale diagonally
reeded rim, an esoteric fact not widely known to forgers and
Tony has handled his share of related 1792 silver center cents.
Then someone else convinced the family to have it slabbed
(thus obscuring the key diagnostic reeded rim!) and it was
walked over to NGC who, at the peak of the day, was no
longer accepting submissions and told the family to come
back the next day! So PCGS accepted it and quickly slabbed
the quite dirty piece as VF-30 without so much as oiling or
brushing it...which they aren't supposed to do anyway.
NGC's refusal to slab it got around quickly - some employee
really goofed! This was not a Morgan dollar !
The family was inclined to consign it to auction and considered
Heritage and American Numismatic Rarities' proposals before
deciding to take it home and discuss alternatives with other
family members. Both firms gave their best effort to claim the
prize for auction, spending considerable time with the owners.
The Redbook says there are 8 known, now 9. BUT in fact
there are only 3 indisputably genuine and collectible grade
pieces known (now 4) - an EF 40 in the Smithsonian, a nice
VF ex-Norweb, now in my collection and a VF, weak with
prominent planchet cutter crescent mark , ex-JHU/Garrett,
in Don Partrick's collection. All other specimens are very
porous, heavily worn and less than Good condition, one ex-
Lauder collection and one in the ANA (the Lauder coin?)
which has been questioned as to authenticity.
The so-called "fusible alloy" cent - from the same dies as
the more "common" silver center cent - supposedly has the
silver plug alloyed with the copper and thus is known as the
fusible alloy cent. It is a great rarity and is as difficult to
acquire - probably more so - as the 1792 Birch cent
pattern. Value as a VF -30? Well, the Norweb coin in
similar condition auctioned for $32,000 plus the buyers fee
in 1988. So all the publicity claiming it is a $400,000 coin
may well just be ballyhoo. Perhaps this estimate is based
on the fact that a choice Unc 1792 silver center cent
auctioned in Stack's January 2002 Americana auction for
$414,000 to a phone buyer (reputed to be a prominent
Chicago dealer/collector well known for his taste for high
quality great numismatic rarities) . But that is in a condition-
hyped market and a bimetal coin, more appealing than the
rarer "fusible alloy" coin. At least that's my opinion.
I'm also reliably informed a new specimen of a copper
1792 disme appeared at the show, off the street, but that
it is seriously marred. And an Ext Fine silver, UNholed
76 mm Lincoln Indian Peace medal, absolutely genuine,
also walked in off the street. The owner had no idea as
to authenticity or value and had played with it as a child.
Offered $10,000, he put it back in his sock in
astonishment and took it home.
The annual ANA is certainly the place where great rarities
can appear "out of the woodwork." What a thrill!"
NBS BOOTH AT THE PITTSBURGH ANA CONVENTION
Howard A. Daniel III writes: "Before the ANA Convention
in Pittsburgh, I was not in a good mood because the forms
were lost for our booth with IBNS and NI, but the meeting
contractor did process the forms for the NI and IBNS meeting,
which was in the same envelope. Someone misplaced the
booth form? But Rachel Irish at the ANA came to the rescue
and matched me up with Ray Czahor of the Philippines
Collectors Forum and I shared a booth with him.
[IBNS = International Bank Note Society;
NI = Numismatic International. -Editor]
I arrived on Tuesday at my usual time and went to the bourse
to help setup the exhibits area but it was already done! The
union labor had worked Monday night and had already put
up all of the tables and cases! So I went back to my vehicle in
the convention center parking garage and brought two loads
of stuff to booth 15. During the afternoon Ray and I set up
our booth with each of us using one half of it, but after his
forum on Friday, he packed up and departed and I had my
usual complete booth to split it up between NBS, IBNS and
During each convention I give away one old Standard Catalog
of World Paper Money and one old Standard Catalog of World
Coins to a school-age person who I think shows much more
than normal enthusiasm for numismatics. So when I do not have
many children at the booth, I ask each child and/or parent about
their ethnic background.
After they answer, I try to find an IBNS banknote and some
NI coins that will complement that background, and tell them
that collecting them and mixing it in with the family history and
photographs can prove to be more valuable time and money
spent than just collecting anything else. There is usually a
positive response and I continue to talk about how they can
collect a type set to start, while the child digs through the NI
box of world coins for his or her ten coins.
During this convention, a boy of about 12 with some Boy Scout
things on him came to the table. I mentioned to him that the
Boy Scout Coin Collecting Merit Badge now allowed him to
collect US paper money, world coins and paper money, and
tokens to acquire his badge. He did not know this and got
quite excited about it. I asked him what was his ethnic
background and he said "Jewish." I told him there were no
Israeli banknotes in the IBNS stack but there were some coins
in the NI world coins box. He really jumped into the box and
his father assisted him.
As I talked to them, I could see they could really be interested
in numismatics, and now more so that the boy could assemble
an Israeli collection for his merit badge and the father could
use it to talk to him about their heritage. So I presented the
two catalogs to them, and told them why they were getting
the references. I also said they were two years old but they
can still learn something about Israeli coins and paper money,
and they could create a want list from them.
Besides buying the general world catalogs in the future, I also
suggested that they should find some numismatic book dealers
and buy several specialty catalogs too. Not only will they
discover more to collect, but they will find much more
background information about each piece, and some things
they can relate to their heritage. I was very happy to see two
enthusiastic people leave our booth with a goal of becoming
numismatists specializing in Israeli coins and paper money.
During the first few days of the convention, a man come to
the booth twice and asked me about the NBS function with
a dinner and a book auction. It had really slipped my mind
as to what he was talking about so I could not answer him.
After his second visit, I walked around and asked some
people about it until I discovered it was an American
Numismatic Society function for their library. I got all of
the information about it and had it at the booth but the
man never returned.
I was planning to attend some of the NBS meetings and
functions at the convention but I missed every one of them.
Just as I planned to leave the booth, someone would come
to it and we would get into a conversation and I would
remember the meeting after it was over. I hope everyone
had a good time at the meetings because I did not. But I
did find time to attend a few meetings.
On Saturday, I was moderator for the IBNS and NI meetings.
The IBNS meeting had about 30+ attendees and the NI had
about 10+. I introducing myself and NI or IBNS and then
had a show and tell session. Everyone introduced themselves
and many briefly talked about a piece they own, or a particular
project. Then I gave a talk: You Too Can Write an Article,
Booklet or Book. Part of my talk was that periodicals like
our journal can even use one page articles about one piece,
so they did not have to start by writing a major piece. The
talk was very well received and several of us volunteered
to be anyone's editor who wants to try their hand at writing.
For the entire convention, I passed out about 3000 world
coins for NI and about 300 world notes for IBNS to children.
My standard spiel is that I ask them to research them and
use them for show and tell in one or more of their classes.
Many of the coins came from the shipment of about 40
pounds of coins from an NI member who lives near Chicago, '
and the notes came from several IBNS members, to include
If I had time, I also asked each adult if he or she was a
veteran and each child if they had a veteran in their family.
If yes, I gave them an Military Payment Certificate (MPC)
or Allied Military Currency (AMC) note and asked them to
research it, to also talk about it in a class, and show it to the
one or more veterans in their family. And I told them they
could subscribe to the free MPCGram, an emailed newsletter
about military monies to learn more about them.
As I have already written, the Girl and Boy Scout Coin
Collecting Merit Badge has been revised and they can use
other than U.S. coins to earn their badge. What I have
not written about is that some of the work on it was done
by George Cuhaj, of Krause Publications, who is also a
Boy Scout advisor. How many of you have this numismatic
pamphlet in your library?
My goal at every ANA is to sign up a total of six people
for NBS, NI and IBNS. This time I beat it by one with four (!)
for NBS, two for NI and one for IBNS. And I probably
found about a dozen more people who wrote down the
information to subscribe to The E-Sylum! See you at the
next ANA Convention!"
MICKLEY HANDWRITING SOUGHT
Ray Williams writes: "Could you ask the E-Sylum subscribers
if anyone has a sample of Mickley's handwriting? If so, please
email me at njraywms at optonline.net."
[Some volumes of Mickley's diaries exist, and there may
well be other correspondence or book inscriptions extant.
LATIN AMERICAN NUMISMATIC PERIODICALS SOUGHT
Jane L. Colvard, Research Librarian/Archivist at the American
Numismatic Association writes: "Are you, or any of your
esteemed readers, aware of any commercial Mexican or
Latin American numismatic periodicals available by subscription?
[I would imagine there are several, but this is out of my
area of expertise. Could some of our readers here?
MINT BUILDING IMAGES
One interesting item I added to my library this week was
the 1869 "Report of Supervising Architect of the Treasury
Department." The disbound volume contains wonderful
images of the U.S. branch mints at Carson City, Nevada
and San Francisco, California, and the Assay Office at Boise
City, Idaho. The Mint views are ones I don't recall seeing
before, although they may well have appeared elsewhere.
The text notes that construction on the San Francisco mint
"has commenced," so perhaps this image is based on an
architect's drawing. The report also recommends the sale
of the mint buildings at Charlotte, NC and Dahlonega, GA.
Like the mint director's reports, the supervising architect's
reports were an annual affair, so perhaps a set of images
of all U.S. Mint building could be assembled through these
reports. Do any of our readers have a set of these?
DECIMAL COINAGE SYSTEMS
In a letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal discussing
an earlier articled crediting Thomas Jefferson with devising
"the world's first decimal currency system," a reader wrote:
"Actually, Russia's Peter the Great introduced the modern
era's first such system when he had his coiners strike rubles
in the first decade of the 18th century. One ruble equaled
100 kopeks. Even authoritarian Russians can have good
monetary ideas and can sometimes teach us Americans a
thing or two."
[So who gets the credit for the world's first decimal coinage
system? Was it Peter the Great? Or was there an earlier
decimal system? -Editor]
RANDOM NOTES ON LITERATURE TOPICS
Having sworn off late nights for the time being now that
the ANA convention is past, I'll only make short mention
of a number of other interesting items to cross my desk
this week. Readers are welcome and encouraged to
elaborate on any or all for next week's issue. -Editor
The Colonial Coin Collectors Club (C4) has just published
"An Illustrated Catalogue of The French Billon Coinage in
the Americas" by Robert Vlack, 2004. I purchased my
copy at the convention from Ray Williams.
The Heritage Currency Auctions of America September
9-10 sale of the Lowell Horwedel Collection of California
National Bank Notes features a rare original scrip note
of Emperor Norton I (see lot 15446).
The American Numismatic Rarities issue #3 of The
Numismatic Sun (Summer/Fall 2004) includes an article
by David Fanning, Editor-in-Chief of our print journal,
The Asylum. The title is "Collecting Numismatic Literature."
Steve Carr has photographed the early american copper
coins in the National Numismatic Collection, and is
developing a web site devoted to images of the coins
(per his article in the August 17, 2004 Numismatic News).
Russ Sears has published a booklet of "Pre-Civil War
Baltimore Lotteries." It is available from the author at
$20. Russ Sears, 9323 Waltham Woods Road, Baltimore,
MD 21234. (September 2004, Bank Note Reporter,
Dwight Manley purchased nearly $30,000 worth of
literature in the recent John J. Ford library sale, and
donated it to the library of the American Numismatic
Association. (Coin World, August 30 issue, p32)
ANOTHER MASTHEAD MISHAP
Regarding the New York Times issue numbering mistake
mentioned last week, Tom DeLorey writes: "Many years
ago, while I was living in Detroit, the Detroit Free Press
'fessed up to a spelling error in its masthead that had been
running, unnoticed, for 109 years! The name of the paper
was in a gothic-style type, and it inadvertently read "Vetroit
Free Press." The error was discovered when a man who
set type for church hymnals down South came to Detroit
to visit his sister, noticed the error, and contacted the paper.
The paper good-naturedly ran the story on the front page."
FEATURED WEB SITE
This week's featured web site is recommended by Larry
Mitchell. "The Fitzwilliam Museum has recently acquired
one of the finest collections ever formed of Norman and
Angevin coins dating from 1066 to 1279. It was assembled
by Dr William Conte, an American geneticist and a leading
authority on Norman coinage. Dr Contes aim was to create
a representative reference collection of coins in the best-
possible condition, in order to illustrate the great variety of
portraits and other designs and the mints at which they were
struck. The 750 coins include many that are unique or great
Numismatic Bibliomania Society
The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a
non-profit organization promoting numismatic
literature. For more information please see
our web site at http://www.coinbooks.org/
There is a membership application available on
the web site. To join, print the application and
return it with your check to the address printed
on the application. Membership is only $15 to
addresses in North America, $20 elsewhere.
For those without web access, write to W. David
Perkins, NBS Secretary-Treasurer,
P.O. Box 3888, Littleton, CO 80161-3888.
For Asylum mailing address changes and other
membership questions, contact David at this email
address: wdperki at attglobal.net
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