The E-Sylum v7#35, August 29, 2004

whomren at whomren at
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.


   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: Thanks are also due
   E-sylum  editor, Wayne Homren, for his valuable help in
   planning the event."


   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."


   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]


   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
   the ANA."

   "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. ",0,1721438.story


   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!"


   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!"


   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"

   [Some volumes of Mickley's diaries exist, and there may
   well be other correspondence or book inscriptions extant.


   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?
   Please advise."

   [I would imagine there are several, but this is out of my
   area of expertise.  Could some of our readers here?


   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?


   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]


   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)


   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."


   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 Conte’s 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

  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. 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

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