The E-Sylum v7#01, January 4, 2004
whomren at coinlibrary.com
whomren at coinlibrary.com
Sun Jan 4 17:55:47 PST 2004
Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 7, Number 01, January 4, 2004:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2004, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Among recent new subscribers are Bill Luebke, courtesy of
NBS Secretary-Treasurer W. David Perkins, Jeff Marsh,
Vice President of Marketing, Littleton Coin Company, Inc.
and Roger Burdette, courtesy of Dick Johnson. Welcome
aboard! We now have 617 subscribers.
DEAR NUMISMATIC BRETHREN
To start the first issue of the new year, I thought I'd quote
from another Number 1 issue of a numismatic publication,
the March 1880 Volume 1, Number 1 issue of A.M. Smith's
Coin Collectors' Illustrated Guide:
"TO OUR READERS:
In launching our craft out into the journalistic sea, we presume
to attract the attention of Numismatic readers. We know our
task is hard and we will have up-hill work before us; we do not
expect to avoid unjust criticism, we know we shall be joked at
and ridiculed - but dear Numismatic brethren do not be jealous,
give us a chance in our small boat, and by your aid, we are
positive to make our voyage and appear before you once a
quarter. We hope, with the promise of assistance of many of
our noted collectors in Coins, Medals, Currency and
Autographs, to make this a favorite guide to the Coin Collector
in general. We will post you, dear reader, on the price which
fine and rare coins bring at auction, and shall try to tell you all
about Copies, Counterfeits and Electrotypes of rare coins.
Beginning with Number I, we treat about Colonial Coins, first
U.S. Copper Cent, first U.S. Dollars; and as we continue the
history of America's coinage to the present time, we shall spare
no expense for illustrations or for as good writing on the subject
as money will procure.
As our pages are not for advertising purposes, we shall be
enabled to devote part of our space to a Counterfeit Detector
of U.S. Coins and currency.
N.B. We intend to use a good pair of scissors liberally, and
clip wherever we shall find anything of importance, relating to
our subject; we shall not let our own want of knowledge stand
in the way of putting before you the good things we shall come
Smith's stated intentions are similar in many ways to our goals
with The E-Sylum, particularly the parts about the "assistance
of many of our noted collectors" and the intention "to use a
good pair of scissors liberally." Thanks again to all who make
submissions to our little publication - it wouldn't be the same
without you. And as long as interesting articles, pamphlets,
book and catalogs about numismatic keep appearing, we'll
keep on clipping with our 21st-century equivalent of scissors
A FROSSARD PILGRIMAGE
David F. Fanning writes: "On December 27, my wife, Maria,
and I drove to White Plains, New York, to visit the gravesite
of nineteenth-century numismatist Ed. Frossard. I had located
Frossard's burial site some months ago, but this had been my
first opportunity to actually visit.
Frossard is buried in the White Plains Rural Cemetery, located
off I-287 (exit 6). The woman who works in the office left a
map taped to the front door of the office (which was closed),
clearly marking the location of Frossard's burial. Armed with
the map, finding him was the work of a few minutes.
I'm pleased to report that Frossard's grave is nicely marked
and is in a well-kept location. His stone reads:
In Loving memory of
Capt. Co. I. 31 Regt. U.S.V.
1838 / 1899
There is a Masonic symbol between the year of birth and year
of death. I noticed that lying next to the stone was a small metal
sign, much the worse for wear, which had been erected to mark
the grave as that of a member of Solomon's Lodge, Free and
Accepted Masons. Knowing that to have been Frossard's
lodge, I put it back up beside his tombstone.
Frossard is buried alongside his wife, Anna, and they have
nearly matching stones. According to the cemetery's records,
their daughter Edith is also buried in the plot, though she is not
mentioned on either stone.
I intend to publish a biographical account of Frossard in the
Summer 2004 issue of The Asylum, in which I will include
[We'll look forward to David's article - it's just one more
reason for subscribers who aren't already NBS members to
consider signing up. See the instructions at the end of this
AN ENCASED POSTAGE PILGRIMAGE
The Fanning's Frossard visit reminds me of a similar excursion
I made at the time of the 1982 Boston ANA convention.
I met up with Bob Kincaid from Hastings, Nebraska. Bob
had been doing a lot of research on issuers of U.S. encased
postage stamps, which is a specialty of mine. Later the two
of us would join up with Fred Reed who pooled his own
extensive research with ours and published "Civil War Encased
Stamps: The Issuers and Their Times" in 1995.
Bob gave a talk about his research at the ANA's "Little Theater",
as it was called then. He had located information about the
inventor of encased postage stamps, John Gault, including his
obituary and will. His final resting place as it turned out, was in
Mount Auburn cemetery in nearby Cambridge, MA
(http://www.mountauburn.org/). We took my car out to
Cambridge and made our way to Gault's gravesite and took
some pictures. I believe we also got some more information
about the family from the cemetery office.
JOSH TATUM AND THE NEW ENGLAND
JOURNAL OF NUMISMATICS
Neil Shafer writes: "Hello Wayne, and Happy New Year!
I enjoy the E-Sylum and write when something comes up
that I can comment on. I'm not sure many readers remember
the ill-fated New England Journal of Numismatics, a 2-issue
magazine published in 1986 for which I had the pleasure of
serving as Editor-in-Chief. It was operated by New England
Rare Coin Galleries even while they were under FTC
investigation (a fact they had somehow withheld from me).
Vol. 1 No. 1 came out during Summer of 1986, and in that
issue there was an anonymous article I found somewhere
about Tatum and the 1883 story. It was dual-titled "A
Numismatic Believe-it-or-Not" "When is a Nickel Not a Nickel?"
Maybe Krause Publications had the original, I don't know,
because the illustration was obtained through that office. In this
version it says that Tatum and a jeweler obtained 1000 of the
new V coins and worked on them as needed.
By the way, there is also an ad for the NBS in this issue, and it
lists Alan Meghrig as treasurer. I was surprised that NBS was
founded as far back as 1980 but that's what the ad indicates.
Just thought the readers would like to know all this."
[I just so happen to have these NEJN issues handy in my library.
As Neil notes, there is no source cited for the information in
the article. It was certainly a quality publication and I was sad
to learn of its demise. Walter Breen, Elvira Clain-Stefanelli,
Douglas Ball, Arlie Slabaugh, RIchard Doty, R.W. Julian,
Randolph Zander, Neil himself and others all contributed to the
debut issue. And yes, NBS was already around back then -
see the next item. -Editor]
The Numismatic Bibliomania Society was founded in 1979.
We will celebrate our 25th anniversary at the 2004 convention
of the American Numismatic Association in Pittsburgh this
August. For more information, I encourage all E-Sylum readers
to see Joel Orosz' capsule history of our organization on our
web site at
"More than 100 numismatic bibliomaniacs met during the
Cincinnati convention to attend the meeting of the newly-formed
Numismatic Bibliomania Society. The meeting was an
outgrowth of an informal gathering in St. Louis at the 1979 ANA
Convention when approximately a dozen bibliomaniacs gathered
for a dinner and discussed forming an organization for numismatic
book and catalog collectors.
With these somewhat redundant sentences, an unsigned article
on page 2712 of the November, 1980 issue of The Numismatist
announced the birth of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
The article, which occupied a full page, was headed "New Society
for Bibliomaniacs Meets at Convention," and included photos of
NBS "Chairman" George Frederick Kolbe and the featured
speaker at the first meeting, John J. Ford, Jr. The "Cincinnati
Convention" referred to was the 89th anniversary convention of
the American Numismatic Association (ANA) held in the Queen
City August 18-23, 1980. Here it was (in the Bamboo Room of
Stouffer's Cincinnati Towers on August 18 at 8 p.m.) that the
NBS was delivered, but it was a long time aborning."
[I remember that meeting well, and believe it was there that I
first signed up as an NBS member. Ford gave a great talk,
which I believe was later transcribed and published in the
NBS print journal, The Asylum. -Editor]
HOW TO HOLD A COIN
Regarding the article about the Roman coin found in New
Zealand, Martin Purdy writes: "The picture that accompanied
the article in the print version of the story (Dominion Post,
December 27) showed the archaeologist, Mr Nichol, holding
the coin not by the rim but appearing to pinch something
*behind* the coin between his finger and thumb; in other words,
he was holding it like a badge. I can only assume it must have
had a pin soldered to the back at some stage to make a brooch
out of it.
I've asked the paper for more detail, though I suspect they
won't consider it important enough to follow up."
WE SAY UNC-LE
Dick Johnson is trying to be funny again! He writes: "The
department of pig husbandry at the University of North
Carolina wants to issue a new medal but decided to issue
it only in worn condition. Otherwise it would be an unc UNC
medal." [Ugh! -Editor]
BECKER COUNTERFEIT PEDIGREE SOUGHT
Gene Anderson (genea at 1starnet.com) writes: "Lot 57 of the
Michael Arconti sale by Superior was a "Becker" counterfeit
which I purchased. I have been trying to trace the history of
this lot. Mick Arconti had no information nor did Bill Anton
who owned the item previously. When I received the lot,
there was a catalog description of this piece from an earlier
The catalog description does not state what sale the description
is from. I would like to identify that catalog. The catalog in
question is not dated earlier than November 1999. Does
anyone recognize the catalog from the description quoted
below? It mentions EAC grading, but is not from an EAC
sale. If you identify the catalog, please contact me. Thanks.
"#41 A fascinating obverse and reverse die pair of Becker
electrotype for a 1804 Large Cent. VF-20. The obverse and
reverse of this 1804 early date die paring are both stamped
with a prepared punch BECKER. Both halves make the full
Both pieces of this Becker electrotype grade VF-20 by
EAC standards on nice smooth olive brown surfaces. The
reverse piece shows the reverse of Sheldon 266 with an
advanced state exhibiting a large rim cud over MERIC of
AMERICA. A great addition to any U.S. Large Cent
collection. Fascinating to view.
George F. Hill has written a book about Becker the
Counterfeiter, which makes for fascinating reading. See the
recent George Frederick Kolbe sale of November 13,
1999 under lot 58 for more information about this famous
[A search turned up the following article about Becker on
the web site of Britain's Bexley Coin Club:
Another search for information on George Hill turned up
this biography on the American Numismatic Society site:
STAMP AUCTION BIBLIOGRAPHY SOUGHT
Len Augsberger writes: "Is there a source similar to Martin
Gengerke's "American Numismatic Auctions" for American
stamp auction sales? I am searching for information on the
stamp auction catalogs of Perry Fuller, Baltimore coin &
stamp dealer in the 1930s and 1940s."
[A peek through my library turned up two Fuller catalogs:
The famous May 2, 1935 "Auction Sale of United States Gold
Unearthed in Baltimore, Maryland by Theodore Jones and
Henry Grob, minors" and a May 22, 1936 catalog of
"United States Coins, Stamps and Miscellaneous Jewelry
(Collection of the late Judge Walter I. Dawkins). The 213-lot
sale consists primarily of U.S. gold coins and U.S. proof and
uncirculated sets from 1901 through 1926. -Editor]
RENAISSANCE OF AMERICAN COINAGE SERIES
Roger Burdette writes: "Dick Johnson sent me an extract from
your current E-Sylum edition mentioning my book "Renaissance
of American Coinage, 1916-1921."
I would like to add that there are actually three books in the
series with similar titles:
"Renaissance of American Coinage, 1905-1908";
"Renaissance of American Coinage, 1909-1913"; and,
"Renaissance of American Coinage, 1916-1921."
The 1916-21 book is complete; the 1905-1908 book is about
95% done awaiting only some new photos and minor editing;
the 1909-1913 book is about 75% complete with some
research holes and photos to fill. Each volume has between 325
and 350 pages. Together the books present the first
comprehensive examination of this innovative period in
American coinage design.
The research approach is the same for all three: operating
records and other primary sources contemporary with events.
Very limited use of contemporary or modern published material.
Wide range of archives and private papers consulted. All
documents are referenced to their sources which will permit
future researchers to find the documents and corroborate/refute
statements as new information becomes available.
I hope this information will be useful to your members."
[We'll eagerly look forward to the publication of the series;
This was a very exciting and important era in U.S. numismatics,
and we're sure the books will be well-received. By the way,
for a taste of Roger's work, see his article in the January 12,
2004 issue of Coin World (p88). "By Hammer and Anvil: Mint
Officials Order an American Heritage Destroyed" discusses the
destruction of hubs, dies and related material on May 24-25,
1910, at the direction of Mint Director Abram Piatt Andrew.
CARSON CITY DIE, 1688 MINT PROPOSAL SOLD
One U.S. Mint die spared the hammer and anvil treatment
was sold at the December 13th Holabird Americana auction.
A Carson City mint half dollar reverse die c.1870-78 brought
$18,975 (including a 15% buyer's fee). In the same sale a
group of four documents from a 1688 proposal to build the
first mint to strike coins on American soil brought $12,650.
The documents came from the estate of Sir Edmund Andros,
who served as governor of New York (1674-1681) and
New England (1686-89).
Is this a new record for American numismatic ephemera?
Is anyone aware of any letters which have sold for more?
ABRAM PIATT ANDREW
And speaking of Andrew, there is a short biography of him
which was taken from the National Cyclopedia of American
Biography and updated by his sister. Some excerpts:
"Mr. Andrew predicted the panic of 1907 in an article
published in the New York "Journal of Commerce" on Jan. 1,
"In August, 1909, Pres. Taft appointed him director of the
mint, and during the year of his administration the organization
of the several mints and assay offices was radically overhauled
and the number of employees reduced by more than 530 from
a total of 1,300, thereby accomplishing an annual saving of
more than $320,000. In June of the following year he became
first assistant secretary of the treasury, resigning in July, 1912."
His numismatically-related writings include "Hoarding in the
Panic of 1907" and "Substitutes for Cash in the Crisis of 1907."
The latter is a great reference listing more than 200 substitutes
for money used at that time, which we now generally refer to as
1907 Clearing House Certificates.
Andrew's work has influenced later writings on the subject,
such as this 2002 article from the University of Missouri -
St. Louis: http://www.umsl.edu/~nabe/buol1.pdf
WESTER'S ORMSBY ARTICLE
David Gladfelter writes: "Bob Wester's article on the Pierce
Ormsby was published in 3 Asylum 4 (1985). In a later article
he traced 18 copies of Ormsby in all editions. Others have been
broken up for the plates." [Volume 3, No. 1, page 4 -Editor]
MAKING LINE DRAWING OVERLAYS FOR COINS
Kavan Ratnatunga writes: "I purchased another computer
Toy for Numismatics:
I have written up my notes on how to line draw an ancient
coin using PhotoShop elements and the Graphire3 Tablet
I purchased a week ago. See
A nice way to display images are shown on a page
This allows you to flip between the coin images and line-draw
which helps one to confirm the validity of the line drawing as
Enabled Browser, else see
[I encourage everyone to take a look at Kavan's web pages.
The overlay line drawings are a fantastic tool which really help
bring these coins to life. It's a marvelous way for numismatic
authors to point out key features of a coin and is particularly
useful for understanding ancient coins which are worn,
corroded, crudely struck (or all three). -Editor]
MUSEUMS NOT COOPERATING ON JAVANESE COINS?
Howard Daniel writes: "Several weeks ago, there was an item
herein about the discovery of some Javanese coins found in the
mud along the Thames River in London, England. I went to the
Reuters web site to read the source of the information and was
flabbergasted with the lack of knowledge by the "expert"
consulted about the coins. I wrote about it herein and
mentioned that the janitor of The British Museum must
have been consulted and not a numismatic curator.
The December 29, 2003 issue of Coin World has an item on
page 79 with more information from The Guardian's web site.
A curator at the Museum of London has the coins and not The
British Museum. This curator is still researching them to
"decipher the coins' history" and "to establish the coins' 17th
I am very sure this information is readily available in The British
Museum, so there must be something going on between it and
the Museum of London and they do not cooperate with each
other. I am a strong proponent of cooperation and sharing in
numismatics, so it saddens me to see the lack of communications
between the two museums. If any reader learns more about
this "heap" of Javanese coins, please contact me (Howard A.
Daniel III) at Howard at SEAsianTreasury.com"
WHITMAN PUBLISHING UPDATE
One of our new subscribers is Teresa Lyle of Whitman
Publishing, LLC. Whitman is the publisher of the
classic Yeoman/Bressett "Redbook" of U.S. Coins.
She gives us this update: "St. Martin's Press sold Whitman
Publishing to H.E. Harris in February 2003. Whitman
Publishing, LLC is the umbrella name for our company
that now carries three lines of products: Whitman, H.E.
Harris, and U.S. Mint."
"Redbook" editor Ken Bressett gave us an update
earlier this year at the time of the sale to H.E. Harris
(see v6n5, February 2, 2003).
BANK NOTE RESEARCH
Responding to the comments about researching bank
note company history, Ron Benice writes: ""Antecedents
of the American Bank Note Company of 1858" by Foster
Wild Rice first appeared in "The Essay-Proof Journal" vol.
18, nos. 71 and 72 (1961), and later re-appeared as an
undated 25-page monograph."
Dave Bowers writes: "I enjoyed the feedback on my
comments concerning my compiling data concerning bank note
engravers and firms. I have and use regularly Gene Hessler's
book on the subject, and also have read Foster Wild Rice's
material (in the Essay-Proof Journal, essentially forming the
foundation for the material in the later Griffith history of the
American Bank Note Co.).
While I may not have ALL of the standard references on
American engravers of bank notes, if there are any I lack,
I am not aware of them. However, I am always learning, and,
often, I find information in out-of-the-way places such as on
data for early printers and publishers.
My comment earlier, which seems to have struck a responsive
chord with, for example, David Gladfelter (who has also been
keeping such information), is that the vast majority of standard
references copy each other--and if there is an error in one,
such as the misspelling of Waterman Lily Ormsby's middle
name as "Lilly," it is copied and recopied--not by everyone,
but by most. And, if someone's bio landed in Appleton's
Cyclopedia, then that was usually copied with not much else
done. That said, what is in print serves as a superb foundation
and jumping-off spot for something a bit more accurate and
with new information.
Whether I will do anything in print with the information I do
not know, and David Gladfelter said something similar
concerning his data--but I find it interesting to compile."
[If I were a betting man, I'd never bet against Dave Bowers
being familiar with any published work on U.S. numismatics.
Anywhere. Ever. But it's always worth mentioning possible
sources which may not be familiar to other readers. Along
the same lines I would mention "Ten Decades Ago 1840-1850
A Study of the Work of Rawdon, Wright, Hatch and Edson of
New York City" by Winthrop S. Boggs, published in 1949 by
the American Philatelic Society. Any item published outside the
mainstream numismatic channels can be extremely useful - these
are the sort of gems I love to sniff out. -Editor]
FOSTER WILD RICE'S JOCELYN FAMILY PAPERS
David Klinger found a reference to Foster Wild Rice in
an earlier E-Sylum issue (v4n19, May 6, 2001):
An excerpt follows:
Another favorite area is ephemera, and another of the
article's footnotes describes a banknote printer's
advertising piece: "An advertising circular of the Jocelyn
engravers stated that the cost of engraving four notes on
copperplate was $250.00 and produced 6,000 good
impressions; the cost of engraving four notes on steel
was $500.00, producing 35,000 good impressions.
Printing cost $2.00 per hundred impressions. Advertising
circular of N. and S. Jocelyn, New York and New Haven,
2 May 1831, in The Jocelyn Family Papers, 1810-1835,
collected by Foster Wild Rice, Connecticut Historical
Society (CHS), Hartford."
ZETZMANN GEDENK TALER REFERENCE
There is some uncertainty over the proper spelling for the
medals Steve Huber is interested in. Are they Geddenk
Talers (with two d's) or Gedenk talers (just one "d")?
A web search found nothing with two d's, but several
instances of one d.
Steve writes: "Thanks for publishing my reference inquiry.
Stack's recent auction catalogs lists the medal as Gedenktaler
(one d)as you suggest but I still think I've seen it with 2-d's.
For now, I'm convinced one d is correct. Thanks and Best
wishes for 2004."
Jess W. Gaylor writes: "I could not find a reference for any
new books on the subject but did find this book reference.
On page 2 of the link below, it has pictures and prices for
GEDENK TALERS. Hope this helps."
Peter Irion, Token and Medal Society Librarian, writes: " In
the V6#55 of the E-Sylum, Steve Huber asks about a new
reference for German "Gedenk Taler". I am not aware of
any new overall references on the entire Gedenk Taler series,
but there is a new specialized book out just on the silver medals
of the 1st World War. The title of the book is "DEUTSCHE
SILBERMEDAILLEN DES 1. WELTKRIEGS, auf die
militaerischen Handlungen und denkwuerdigen Ereignisse von
1914 bis 1919". It is authored by a collector named Georg
Zetzmann, and published by the H. Gietl Verlag &
Publikationsservice GMBH in the year 2002. ISBN:
3-924861-52-8. In my opinion it is an excellent reference
catalogue for these medals and medalets. Most items and
illustrated, assigned a "Zetzmann" catalogue number, and
estimated pricing/valuation information is provided in up to
four grade levels. A significant amount of historical background
information is provided about the issuance of these pieces.
I think I bought this book in Germany for the issue price of 35
Euros in Dec. 2002. The telephone number for Gietl Verlag is
(49) 9402 93370. Best regards for a very healthy and happy
Steve Pellegrini writes: "I believe the book you are referring to
is the relatively new (2000) book by Georg Zetzmann titled
'Deutsche Silbermedaillen des I. Weltkriegs' (German Silver
Medals of WW.I, 1914-1919). It's published by H. Gietl
Verlag & Publihationsservice GMBH. I believe Fallbrook, CA
dealer Karl Stephens (specialist in German and Polish
Numismatics) may still have a few copies for sale. He has a
website at http://www.karlstephensinc.com. I bought mine
from the German Auction house Münzenhandlung Harald
Möller GmbH. They too have a webpage.
The book begins with five introductory chapters of
well-researched information on the series - much of it new.
The bulk of the book is, of course, the numbered catalogue
listings. Although written in German the book is very well
organized and easy to use. Each medal is pictured and priced
in three grades and proof. The author has also provided a
rarity rating for each issue similar to that used in Hawkins &
Grueber's 'Medallic Illustrations' - R, RR, RRR. Following
the catalogue Zetzmann has created a series of indexes which
make attribution searches a breeze.
This surprisingly inexpensive book has become an instant
standard for the series. Many German and some US auctions
are already using 'Zetzmann Numbers' in their descriptions.
If you collect this historic and often dramatic series of
gedenktalers then Zetzmann's book is a must. I only hope
that Herr Zetzmann is planning a new edition expanded to
include the many medals only issued in bronze, iron and zinc.
A great many of these 33.3 - 50mm silver medals are struck
reductions of medals originally issued as large 100+ mm cast
medallions of iron and bronze. To my knowledge these rare
and impressive cast medallions can only be found catalogued
& pictured in their entirety in Schulman's out of print and out
of date, 'La Guerre Europeenne, 1914-1919.' Certainly the
cast originals of many of these medals have a place in a future
edition of 'Zetzmann.'
KANSAS REFERENCES SOUGHT
Darryl Atchison writes: "Could you please ask our readers
if they can recommend any books on the subjects of trade
tokens and paper currency of Kansas? If anyone has any
information they can contact at me atchisondf at hotmail.com.
STATE QUARTER QUAGMIRE
The December 29, 2003 issue of The Wall Street Journal
featured a front-page article about the U.S. state quarter
series, highlighting the fractious bickering between states,
the mint and one another over choosing designs for the coins.
"These days, a growing number of two-bit battles are rattling
the sleepy U.S. Mint. The federal agency's commemorative
quarters program, a pocket-change salute to the 50 states,
has pitted politicians, tourism officials and artists against each
other in bruising battles. Launched in 1999 as a benign patriotic
gambit to revive coin-collecting, it's instead spurring peevish
spats over custody of American icons and how states define
"The commemorative quarters program "wasn't supposed to be
contentious, but it's been nothing but one contretemps after
another," says David Ganz, a New York lawyer and coin
collector who has written a book about the program."
"The most recent controversy: The Iowa quarter, due out next
summer. The Iowa Quarter Commission wanted the famously
stony-faced husband-and-wife farmers from Grant Wood's
painting "American Gothic." A foundation that protects artists'
copyrights nixed that. An alternate plan to depict the Sullivan
brothers, five Iowa servicemen who died together in World
War II, gained favor. But the U.S. Mint bans head-and-
shoulder busts on quarters (no competing with George
Washington). Finally, Iowans settled on an engraving based
on a lesser-known Grant Wood painting, "Arbor Day." Then
neighboring Nebraska, home of the Arbor Day Foundation,
"That's so typical of Iowa," says Darcy Beck, an Omaha, Neb.,
coin collector who wonders why Iowa didn't just "claim the
Statue of Liberty while they're at it."
ANCIENT COINS FOR EDUCATION PROJECT
The Ancient Coins for Education project has been helping
grade school students learn about numismatics through
ancient coins. The group supplies uncleaned Roman
coins for the students to clean, identify and keep. There are
links to several newspaper articles about the project on the
project's web site at
One of the most recent articles is about a school in a suburb
"Pupils at St. Louise de Marillac School in Upper St. Clair
received their coins about four weeks ago. They took them
home for their Thanksgiving holiday to continue the cleaning
and identification process. They brought them back to school
last week to report on their progress.
Some still looked like crusty blobs. One boy reported that he
could see a snake on a portion of the little coin, and another
said he could see legs on one side of his.
"Be patient and don't give up," teacher Zee Ann Poerio told
Mia Gilardi, of South Fayette, triumphantly displayed her coin,
with images visible on both sides. With the help of her parents,
teacher, and a Web site, the coin has been identified. It's a
bronze coin bearing the image of a Roman Ruler Valentinian I.
The coin was struck in 365 A.D.
"Mia is the first person in the class to clean her coin," Poerio
said. "She is the youngest person ever to clean and identify a
coin in the ACE program. Sometimes you have to look at
hundreds of coins" on Web sites to identify a coin."
"Poerio started the program last year at St. Louise, and then
held a local workshop in May. About 40 local teachers
attended the workshop, which was sponsored in part by the
Pennsylvania Classical Association, Dickinson College
Department of Classics and the National Committee for Latin
Proponents of teaching Latin and Greek say elementary pupils
who study the languages show improved scores on standardized
tests, Poerio said. They also say that studying Latin improves
the English vocabulary and grammar of students and helps them
learn other languages, especially French and Spanish, which
have Latin roots."
Many thanks to Sam Deep and Dick Gaetano for pointing out
the article. Since this teacher is in our area, we will contact her
to offer assistance and invite her pupils to the Coins4Kids events
we run at local coin shows. I encourage other E-Sylum readers
interested in promoting the hobby to take a look at the project
web site (http://www.bitsofhistory.com/ace/) and consider
helping or sponsoring a class in your own region. Here's a link
to the full article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
HOW REAL BIBLIOPHILES MEET THEIR END
Len Augsberger sent a link to an Associated Press article
about a New York man who became trapped under a
mountain of books and papers.
"A man who says he sells books and magazines on the street
was rescued after being trapped for two days under a mountain
of reading material in his apartment."
"I didn't think I was gonna get out," Moore told the New York
Post, adding that he called for help repeatedly."
"The apartment was stuffed from wall to wall and floor to
ceiling with stacks of paper."
SO: IS THERE A CURE?
Peter Koch heard about the incident as well. He writes:
"Man Buried Alive Under His Books" was the radio voice
grabber last Tuesday morning. The story was included in
every NYC/Metro area news broadcast. Later in the day,
by the time the nationally-syndicated Paul Harvey ("Now
you know the rest of the story") broadcast the calamity, the
story came to include magazines, telephone books,
newspapers, direct mail, and any and all printed matter of
every stripe. The unfortunate episode of the 43-year-old man
living in a tiny Bronx, New York apartment will likely catch
national media's commentary and anecdotal inserts. It took
emergency workers, neighbors and some twenty firefighters
an hour to dig through the debris just to reach and free the
man who had been trapped for two days, never hitting the
The incident recalled the compulsive hoarding extremes of the
legendary "Hermit Hoarders of Harlem." In 1947 the Collyer
brothers were buried by an avalanche of urban junk that filled
to the hilt their four-story brownstone. Other than a tiny space
of passageway which one became bruised while navigating
the stairs, not an inch of wall, floor, or ceiling was exposed.
Both brothers were found dead; one trapped under a pile of
papers, the other died of starvation. Name it, they had it. Tall
statues, huge chandeliers, fourteen grand pianos (!), bags and
boxes of rotten groceries, and an automobile chassis!
It was estimated the Collyer brothers had accumulated some
136 tons of books and paper.
Obviously, with the pathological behavior here there's more
to the above stories. But the disturbing picture prompted
personal action, and a New Year's resolution: gotta get
I immediately removed varying piles of catalogues and books
off the floor. Yes, I had convinced myself those piles were
temporary and would return to the shelves any day now. Piles
left on the floor, and you find yourself stepping over them
- no matter how neat and clean the piles - is not good. It
would be nice to collate them back in their proper places, but
the problem is the piles are all current work. Waiting for one
last kernel of fact; waiting on a correspondent's answer to a
Is there a disciplined method NBS members use in their
ongoing research activities? Can our computers help?
My piles are now neatly arranged on a long table. I dare not
separate them. At least, I know for the current project, the
book or answer is in one of those piles; and I usually know
Over the years we've all seen or experienced at one time or
another the response to a request for a book, reprint, etc.
"Yes, I have it, but I can't quite put my hands on it." Or worse,
having it and not wanting to make that confessional, "Sorry,
I don't have it."
Thoughts? The best for all of us in the new year."
DISPOSOPHOBIA: THE COLLYER BROTHERS SYNDROME
Here's another new word for our vocabulary mavens:
disposophobia - the fear of throwing anything away.
The following links leads to some interesting stories
about the infamous Collyer brothers.
There is also a new book on the subject: "Ghosty Men:
The Strange but True Story of the Collyer Brothers,
New York's Greatest Hoarders, An Urban Historical"
by Franz Lidz, released October, 2003. I'd buy it, but
where to put it....?
FEATURED WEB SITE
This week's featured web site is recommended by Dave
Menchell. It's a site with some information relating to
American Colonial coinage research. Dave first mentioned
it in the colonial coins email forum. Here is his original note,
followed by Mike Hodder's reply:
Dave wrote: "While I was researching some topics in regard
to Betts medals (remember those?), I came across this
website which has a wide variety of older literature listed
having relevance to American Colonial history and economics.
There should be some useful references here for those of you
researching various topics dealing with Colonials coins,
currency, financial policy, etc.
Mike Hodder replied: "Thanks for the heads up about this site.
I've bookmarked it. One caveat, 'though, the references are all
quite dated since the digitizers had to work around the Berne
convention on copyright. I saw nothing dated after 1922. That
said, there are some good classics on the site, including some
things by Andrew MacFarland Davis that are handy to have."
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. 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 attglobal.net
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