The E-Sylum v7#01, January 4, 2004

whomren at whomren at
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.


   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:

   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
   and paste.


   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
   more detail."

   [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
   message.  -Editor]


   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
   (   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.


   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]


   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."


   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]


   Gene Anderson (genea at 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
   large cent.

   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:



   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]


   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.


   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?


   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:


   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]


   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
   you can do using layers in PhotoShop.  You Need a JavaScript
   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]


   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
   century value."

   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"


   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).


   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]


   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."


   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
   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
   New Year."

   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  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.'


   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
   Thank you."


   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,
   cried thief.

   "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."


   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
   of Pittsburgh.

   "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
   her pupils.

   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
   and Greek.

   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 ( and consider
   helping or sponsoring a class in your own region.  Here's a link
   to the full article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:


   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."


   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
   which pile.

   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."


   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....?


   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."

  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

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