The E-Sylum v7#02, January 11, 2004
whomren at coinlibrary.com
whomren at coinlibrary.com
Sun Jan 11 19:37:38 PST 2004
Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 7, Number 02, January 11, 2004:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2004, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Among recent new subscribers is Anthony Jack Carlisle,
Ph.D. Welcome aboard! We now have 619 subscribers.
VAN LOON BIRTHDAY
Happy Birthday to Dutch historian and numismatist
Gerard van Loon, who was born January 17, 1683.
Quick Quiz: what were Van Loon's numismatic
GREETINGS FROM BUDAPEST
Dave Hirt writes: "Greetings from Budapest. We are having a
good time here. I always go to used book stores here and
usually find something, but this time nothing numismatic so far.
I sort of winced when I read of the man trapped under his
books, and the Collyer brothers. I saw myself, because it
breaks my heart to throw away anything printed on
SO WHO THROWS COINS AWAY?
Regarding the Ancient Coin educational project discussed in
the last issues, Arthur Shippee writes: "The following is an
interesting request from the Explorator editor, from whom
I've given you some of the ancient coin news. One hopes
that your readership will have definite news one way or the
Explorator editor David Meadows writes: "Speaking of ACE
coins, they were giving a presentation at a symposium
somewhere in Pennsylvania and after their talk, some classicist
guy got up and gave a paper on why things like ACE coins
were wrong (the usual AIA anti collector thing). So ACE
asked me what *my* view was and if I had heard of any
cases of museums actually throwing away the sorts of coins
they use in their program. They've heard 'anecdotal evidence'
but even that was sketchy. Do you or your coin friends know
PILES OF ERUDITION
Bill Murray writes: "I thought our readers might find the
following item amusing - it is from Jeffery Kacirks Forgotten
English -- All the italics in the quoted passages are Kacirk's.
Englands most famous bibliomaniac, Richard Heber (1771-
1833) (was) an obsessive collector
On hearing of a curious
book, he was known to have put himself in a mail coach and
traveled three or four hundred miles to obtain it. Hebers
family inheritance allowed him to indulge his desire and spend
immense sums to purchase books, which he did
local booksellers called, bibliopolists
When asked about his habit of collecting multiple copies of
the same works, he replied
Why you see, sir, no man can
do comfortably without three copies of a work. One he must
have for a show copy, and he will probably keep it at his
country-house. Another he will require for his own use and
reference; and unless he is inclined to part with this, which is
very inconvenient, or risk the injury of his best copy, he must
needs have a third at the service of his friends.
His house at Hodnet
was nearly all library. His house in
was filled with books from top to bottom, every
chair, table and passage containing piles of erudition. A
house in York Street, Westminster, was similarly filled. He
had immense collections of books in houses rented merely
to contain them at Oxford, Paris, Antwerp, Brussels and
Amazingly, when Heber died his will did not even
acknowledge his books. His bibliolatry had driven him to
acquire, by one estimate, half a million books, but in their
disposal after his death they were treated simply as so much
property in the hands of an auctioneer. Sothebys sale of a
portion of the books required two hundred and two working
days spanning more than two years. It was reckoned that
the proceeds of his books amounted to only about two thirds
of the books original cost.
Now there was real bibliomaniac!
Happy New Year to all!"
NEW BOOK ON BRITISH CARDBOARD COINS
Paul Withers writes: "For those who have an interest in such
things, the first few days of the new year have brought a new
book. Those who know us well know that we have an
interest in the slightly off-beat areas of numismatics, sometimes
termed 'paranumismatics' and to further knowledge of the
subject we have just published 'British Cardboard Coins from
1860'. This has a secondary title of 'Card Toy Coins and their
related Paper Money'. It has been written by David Evans,
a didact and collector of these pieces. Whilst those of us far
from childhood might be tempted to think that these pieces are
no longer made, I have to report that they are very much alive
and kicking and still being produced - even if the author laments
that the quality of some of them is so lamentably poor that it
almost makes one consider taking up the collecting of stamps,
matchbox labels, or 'possibly even the bottle'.
The author has collected these pieces for some considerable
time, inspired perhaps by 'Toy Coins' by David Rogers, the
pioneering work on the subject. There is little doubt this
monograph will become the standard reference work on the
subject, because, as far as we know, and to the best of the
author's and our abilities, it is complete and apart from
'Toy Coins' is the only thing of its kind. Full details are as
"British Cardboard Coins from 1860. Card Toy Coins and
their related Paper Money." A4 71 pages. Illustrated. Card
covers. ISBN 0-9543162-1-5 Available from the publishers,
Galata Print Ltd., The Old White Lion, Market Street,
Llanfyllin, Powys, SY22 5BX UK. Price £15 plus postage.
The book, within its body, reproduces 'Toy Money for
Arithmetic Teaching in the Transition Class and in Primary
Schools - A Series of Exercises, and a few suggested Games'
by Margaret A Wroe which came with boxes of toy money
sold to schools in the first decade of the last century.
As far as has been possible, details of the companies
producing these 'coins' have been carefully researched.
All known types, embossed or printed, dated and undated,
are listed. Also listed and illustrated where possible are
ancillary items such as banknotes, work cards and teachers'
booklets. Where possible, boxes and their contents are
described and illustrated. There is an illustrated and
identification key to printed issues. Grading guide and
estimated values. The work is cross-referenced to 'Toy Coins'
by David Rogers."
[PAul may be contacted online via email at Paul at galata.co.uk.
The web site is http://www.galata.co.uk/ -Editor]
1688 MINT DOCUMENTS
Tom DeLorey writes: "Let me be the 37th person to ask
how this 1688 proposal could have resulted in "the first mint
to strike coins on American soil," unless it also declares the
Massachusetts Bay Colony to be Canadian soil."
Well, Tom was actually the first to ask, but I wondered
about this statement, too. For more information, see the
extensive lot description on the Holabird Associates catalog.
The web address is
The description begins "U. S. Mint Related Document from
the American Colonies to the King of England, June, 1688.
Includes the first proposal for the construction of a Mint
on American soil. Series of three documents from the Edmund
Andros Estate regarding a Proposal to His Majesty offered by
the petitioners and their associates unto the committee appointed
by His Majesty. These four documents trace one of the first, if
not the first, proposal to the King for mineral rights in the
[So the description is qualified as "ONE of the first" and
emphasizes mineral rights rather than coining, which is
discussed later in the description. -Editor]
"The need for milling, smelting, and refining facilities was made
apparent in the petitioners proposal to build a mint, thereby
guaranteeing immediate marketability of metals produced: "to
help the company defray costs, his Majesty would be gratiously
pleased to erect a mint in new England for the coyning of small
mony for change of...blankets or fine copper also of mony of
gold and silver when by their means and industry it shall be
provided out of any such mine or mines..." [note- the spelling
here is as it appears on the original document. Note the early
spelling of these important words]"
David Fanning writes: "I'm afraid I made a small mistake in
my E-Sylum account of our trip to Frossard's grave.
Frossard's daughter was not named Edith. She was named
Edna Marie. I may be the only person who cares, but I'd
appreciate it if you'd run the erratum. Thanks much."
RADIO ID TAGS FOR CASINO CHIPS AND PAPER MONEY
A recent report in The New Scientist said: "If the gambling
industry reaps the benefits of electronically tagging its chips,
the world's central banks could follow with their banknotes."
A gambling industry publication got the story all bollixed up
when it reported: "In a new research report published by the
New Scientist, casino chips which have embedded radio
frequency identification tags (RFID) could eventually replace
traditional paper currency or bank notes and cut down fraud."
Plenty of currency substitutes have found their way into
general circulation over the years, but casino chips aren't likely
to appear any time soon. The gist of the report is that the
SAME TECHNOLOGY (i.e. radio frequency ID tags) that
could soon see use in casino chips might also one day be used
in paper currency. Later in the article the reporter seemed to
figure this out. The article correctly notes that "casinos and
companies are expected to face opposition from privacy
advocates and customers who don't want to be tracked for
everything they buy or do."
Another article in the U.K.'s Independent gave a balanced
treatment to the subject in its 8 January issue:
"Technology that has been used to monitor the shopping habits
of supermarket customers is about to be introduced to casinos.
An American company is making playing chips that will beam
an identification code to sensors in gaming houses. Although
they will be more expensive than other chips, they should
allow casino owners to reduce counterfeiting and theft and to
monitor gamblers more closely. Known as "RFID", Radio
Frequency Identification, the technology has already been used
in the UK by supermarkets, including Tesco and Marks &
Spencer, for tracking items such as razor blades and men's
suits from the warehouse to the store."
"The new generation of chips is being made by Chipco
International in Raymond, Maine. The RFID system adds
about 20p to the price of each chip. But that cost could pale
in comparison with the potential savings ..."
"The tagged chips could also be a forerunner of new banknotes
being considered by the European Central Bank, which wants
to use RFID technology for high-denomination notes to reduce
For the complete article, see:
ERRANT ORMSBY PLATE NOTES
David Gladfelter writes: "I mentioned the fact that plates
cannibalized from broken-up Ormsbys were circulating among
us. If you will turn to lot 17236 of the current Heritage-CAA
auction, or look it up on line, you will see an example of this.
It is a supposed "progress proof of an unadopted design for the
Erie & Kalamazoo Rail Road Bank" and is about to become
enshrined as such in our literature (Dr. Wallace Lee's
forthcoming book on Michigan obsoletes). It is nothing of
What it is, is a clipping from plate 7 of Ormsby, specifically the
image with check letter C. This plate, Ormsby tells us, was
made by his 17 year old son as an example of how easy it is
for an untrained person to counterfeit bank notes (Ormsby's
book is an elaborate polemic against counterfeiting and for
wall-to-wall intaglio engraving as the best protection against
counterfeiting). The plate is superficially impressive except
that the central vignette is a ludicrous alteration of a railroad
scene used on several legitimate bank notes. The perspective
is all wrong on the alteration, and gives you the feeling that
the sea is about to wash over the train, carrying the
not-so-distant steamship with it!
Ormsby's kid remembered to put check letters A, B & C on
three of the images on his creation but somehow overlooked
letter D on the 4th!
The description by Heritage-CAA is certainly not an intentional
misrepresentation, but it is wrong nevertheless. I hope Dr. Lee
catches the error in time to correct his listing. Collectors
with Ormsby should watch for other fugitive notes finding their
way onto the market undetected. The same thing happens with
fugitive plates from Heath counterfeit detectors."
OTHER BOOKS ON BANK NOTE COMPANIES
Michael J. Sullivan writes: "In response to the dialogue on Bank
Note Engraving Histories, I've collected this material for years.
What I have found useful is to study both British bank note
engraving and American bank note engraving firms. There were
a number of firms and individuals involved in the trade on both
sides of the Atlantic. Some great related titles:
- Hewitt & Keyworth: As Good As Gold: 300 Years of British
Bank note Design (1987)
- Byatt: Promises to Pay: the First Three Hundred Years of
Bank of England Notes (Spink, 1994)
A bit more esoteric:
- Story of British American Bank Note Company Limited,
- Smith: James Heath Engraver to Kings and Tutor to Many
- Symes: Kirkwood & Sons Copper-Plate Engravers
A variety of other titles are on my shelves as well."
WAS LYNN GLASER JOSHING US?
Regarding Neil Shafer's note about the article on Josh Tatum
and the gold-plated 1883 "racketeer nickels" in the defunct
New England Journal of Numismatics, Bob Leonard writes:
"Very interesting, and I have this issue too. Unless Lynn Glaser
came across this story in some obscure periodical (and no one
has come forward yet to identify an earlier appearance), my
increasingly strong suspicion is that he made the whole thing up
to enliven his 1968 book. (Glaser's career after numismatics is
extremely interesting -- including time in prison.) It is amazing
how his brief account of "Joshua Tatum" turned into the
elaborate later accounts being quoted here."
NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL EPHEMERA
In reference to the New England Journal of Numismatics,
Bob Leonard writes: "I subscribed to it, and received a small
payment years later to satisfy the balance of my subscription
when New England went bankrupt."
[I got one of these checks, too, and believe I set aside the
paperwork for my numismatic ephemera collection. I can't
recall if I bothered cashing the check, though. -Editor]
BECKER VS BECKER
Regarding last week's reference to Becker the Counterfeiter,
Bob Leonard writes: "Oops! Here you have confused Carl
Wilhelm Becker, 1772-1830, the German counterfeiter of
ancient, medieval, and German coins, and the subject of Sir
George Hill's Becker the Counterfeiter, with Peter Rosa,
operator of the Becker Manufacturing Company 1955-1990,
covered in some detail in Wayne Sayles' Classical Deception.
Pieces marked BECKER were signed by Rosa, not Becker
(Sayles, p. 86), though Sayles says he always marked them
on the edge, not the face. (The catalog description is unclear
as to whether the markings are on the edge or not.) But
possibly there was another counterfeiter appropriating the
[It doesn't take much to confuse your Editor. The 1804 date
of the replica U.S. cent overlapped the timeframe of the
German Becker, so I didn't question it. But Bob's Leonard's
attribution to the 1955-1990 period makes more sense for
a copy of this coin, which may have had a collector
premium before 1830, but probably not enough of one to
justify the effort of making a replica. -Editor]
BAY AREA COUNTERFEIT REFERENCES SOUGHT
Gene Anderson writes: "As a bibliophile newbie with a modest
library there are lots of things I have missed over the years.
Hopefully, some of you more seasoned collectors can help
me out. I am looking for auction appearances of Bay Area
counterfeit coins. These are spark-erosion die struck pieces
that are very deceptive. I am aware of the two coins plated
in Superior's Pre-Long Beach catalog dated 5-7 June 2000.
Can anyone refer me to other appearances?"
ANOTHER STUPID COUNTERFEITING STORY
On January 6, 2004 The Associated Press reported that
a Vancouver, Washington man pulled over for a traffic
violation "got his mother to try to post bail with $500 in
poorly made counterfeit bills from his wallet..."
"At 5:30 a.m. Ludwig asked his mother to bail him out with
money in his wallet. She handed $500 to a clerk, who saw
the money was phony, told her to wait and called police."
The police report, made available Monday, described the
counterfeit bills as bad copies that were the wrong size."
The mother refused to post bail in genuine currency and
the son remained in jail. To read the full story, see:
RUSSIAN CURRENCY CHANGES
A January 9th article in the Moscow Times reported upcoming
changes in currency:
"The ruble will start sporting a new look later this year in an
effort to outwit counterfeiters, the Central Bank announced
this week. There is no need for a run on the bank, First
Deputy Chairman Arnold Voilukov said at a press conference
Tuesday. "There will be no exchange," he said. Anyone finding
a stash of old rubles in years to come will be able to use them
"at any time," he said.
"Voilukov said the Central Bank had decided against a
fundamental redesign. "The Americans took the path of
modifying [the $20 bill] and we too ... decided not to change
the look of the notes but to modify those that already exist."
Indeed, the changes will be so subtle that some might not
realize the bill in their hands is a new one, he said. The new
bills will incorporate a color-changing foil stripe as well as a
security thread stitched through the bill rather than embedded
inside. Bills of 100 rubles and above would come with 126
laser perforations showing the bill's denomination when held
up to the light. This latter innovation has proved itself in
Switzerland, where the technique has never been successfully
copied, Voilukov said."
To read the full article, see:
ZETZMANN BOOK FOUND
Steve Huber writes: "Thanks for obtaining the lead. The book
is on its way to me, as we speak: Georg Zetzmann, 'Deutsche
Silbermedaillen des I. Weltkriegs' (German Silver Medals of
In response to a question about backgrounds to line
exhibit cases for numismatic literature exhibits, I wrote:
"What I did when I started exhibiting was get a length of
fabric (I chose a satiny black cloth) from a fabric store
and cut pieces into the approximate size of an exhibit case.
I've been using them over and over ever since. It takes a
few minutes to lay them neatly in the empty cases, but
they fold up neatly for transport. I've never even bothered
washing or ironing them and they still look OK. When
you're exhibiting books and ephemera they tend to cover
up most of the background anyway.
Since most men wouldn't know a fabric store if one landed
on them like Dorothy's house hit the witch in The Wizard of
Oz, do what I did: send a woman to buy it for you (I was
single at the time and sent my sister)."
SO: IS THERE A CURE?
Speaking of the common problem of accumulating too much
material, David Lange writes: "I'm fairly careful about piling up
too much numismatic literature at home. For the most part my
wife doesn't want to see anything of the kind outside of my den,
so I periodically thin out the herd. That which won't fit at home
and is still of value to me gets taken down to my workplace
office. There's plenty of room for it there, and it adds to the
overall atmosphere of numismatic study.
The biggest problem I have with things piling up concerns my
collecting of coin boards, folders and albums. I often come
back from coin shows with a new load of items that were
either purchased by me or donated by dealer friends, and it
may take a few months to catalog these and place them on
the proper shelves. A lot of what I acquire turns out to be
duplicated, despite my ongoing cataloging efforts, and such
items end up in sealed plastic tubs in the garage. The better
items are retained, while the lesser duplicates get donated to
coin club book sales.
I'm currently in the process of cataloging my collection of
Raymond binders and pages, as well as the Meghrig clones
of the Raymond line. This has proved to be the most difficult
cataloging job to date, because these items were in production
for some forty years, with seemingly countless subtle
variations in titles, date sequences, copyright information and
fonts. I've already determined that it would be foolhardy to
collect every title in all its manifestations, but just sorting out
and recording what I have on hand is a daunting task. There
are presently several piles of pages and binders on the floor
of my den in various stages of documentation, with the fully
recorded items already isolated in a big tub in our bedroom.
I do hope to get those items on a shelf at some point, but
with the FUN show stealing yet another weekend I can't
make my wife any promises."
INDIAN ANCIENT COIN FIND
Arthur Shippee sends the following link from the Explorator
6.36 newsletter: Indian authorities recovered a pile of ancient
VIKING VILLAGE HOPES DASHED
On January 8th Reuters reported that "Archaeologists were
excited to find what they thought was the first evidence of
ninth century Viking settlement in Scotland.
They had spent days painstakingly excavating the site after
50-year old Marion Garry said she had uncovered an unusual
arrangement of smooth, flat stones a few feet below the surface
of her garden in Fife.
"We thought we'd hit the jackpot," Scottish archaeologist
Douglas Speirs told newspapers."
"Only when the area was completely excavated and materials
analyzed did the horrible truth dawn -- the stones were nothing
more significant than a 1940s sunken patio."
To read the full story, see:
FEATURED WEB PAGE
This week's featured web page is The Royal Mint's page
about Isaac Newton's tenure at the mint.
"The Mint was then in the Tower of London and it was
accordingly to the Tower that Newton came in April 1696
to take up his new duties. It was a time of great activity.
The Mint was grappling with the recoinage of old silver
coins that dated back to the reign of Elizabeth and even
to earlier reigns.
In 1699 the post of Master of the Mint fell vacant.. The
post was offered to Newton and he took up his duties
with effect from Christmas Day 1699, his fifty-seventh
birthday. Surviving the political upheavals of the early
eighteenth century, he remained as Master until his death
in March 1727 and for the last thirty years of his life he
therefore occupied high position in the Mint.
Even after the completion of the recoinage of the 1690s
there was much to do. Coins and coronation medals had
to be prepared following the accession of Queen Anne in
1702, and then came the coining of the booty from Vigo
Bay in 1703. In 1707 the Union of the Kingdoms of
England and Scotland required the assimilation of the
old Scottish coinage to that of England as well as the
methods of the Edinburgh mint to those of the mint in
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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