The E-Sylum v7#18, May 2, 2004
whomren at coinlibrary.com
whomren at coinlibrary.com
Sun May 2 09:57:57 PDT 2004
Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 7, Number 18, May 2, 2004:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2004, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
No new subscribers this week. The issue is being published
earlier in the day because your editor has to catch a plane for
a business trip. I'll have a lot of mail to plow through on my
return, so if you're awaiting a reply, please be patient.
MOULTON'S APRIL 2004 FIXED PRICE LIST
Karl Moulton's latest fixed price list has been published.
Covering American numismatic auction catalogs from
1860 to date, the list is the most comprehensive of its
kind. Karl's annotations are great references in themselves.
This list includes a significant run of William H. Strobridge
sales. For more information, see Karl's web site:
NEW BOOKS FROM THE BIBLIOTHEQUE NATIONALE
Howard A. Daniel III writes: "I recently received a book
catalog from the Bibliotheque Nationale de France in Paris.
The first numismatic book in it is "Monnaies Chinoises II. Des
Qin auz Cinq Dynasties" by Francois Thierry. 304 pages, card
covers and illustrations, ISBN 2-7177-2239-4 for 78 Euros.
The second book is "Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum. France
6,1. Italie: Eturie, Calabre" by Anna Rita Parente. 141 pages
and 141 plates, ISBN 2-7177-2232-7 for 140 Euros.
All of the references in my library written by Francois Thierry are
of the high quality of research, and the photography is absolutely
fantastic, I don't know the author of the Greek book, but I
expect it to be first class too.
The address to write to for the above references is Bibliotheque
Nationale de France, 58 rue de Richelieu, F-75084 Paris
CEDEC 02 France or email them at commercial at bnf.fr."
JEWISH PAPER MONEY IN RUSSIA BOOK
Regarding a book we first mentioned last week, Bill
Rosenblum writes: "U.S. and Canadian subscribers who are
interested in purchasing "Jewish Paper Money in Russia" might
have an easier time purchasing it from me then from the
firm in Prague. A reader tried to buy two copies from them
but because they do not accept credit cards or Paypal it was
a bit difficult. They suggested that the reader contact me. I sell
the book for $37 plus $3 shipping.
The book is very good and a useful reference. It should be
noted that Mr. Kharitonov's collection was stolen shortly after
he completed the book, so if the plate notes turn up it is a very
good possibility that they were stolen.
I've also been meaning to write a note about the gentlemen who
wrote concerning Bibliographies, estimates and errors in auction
catalogs, but I spent the month of March writing our mailbid
catalog - which included a bibliography, estimates and no doubt
errors. I've spent April trying to clean up the office from a month
of writing a catalog. One day I'll forward my two cents."
SO-CALLED SESQUICENTENNIAL DOLLAR
Ron Abler writes: "The U.S. Mint issued a "so-called dollar"
for the 1926 Sesquicentennial, depicting Ben Franklin on the
obverse and Pegasus on the reverse. It was minted in nickel,
bronze, copper (I believe) and gilt. My sources say that it was
actually produced on-site at the 1926 Philadelphia
Sesquicentennial Expo on an electric press. All compositions
are known for flat strikes with poor detail, perhaps due to the
lower striking pressure of an electric press. However, there is
a high-relief version of the bronze medal that is strikingly better
detailed and much higher relief than its low-relief counterparts.
I suspect that it was produced on a more powerful, perhaps
hydraulic, press. Can anyone point me to the answer? Perhaps
the high-relief version was contracted out by the Mint? If so,
to whom? Medallic Arts? Greenduck?"
BAKER'S ORIGINAL TEXT
In reference to William S. Baker's 1885 work, "The Medallic
Portraits of Washington," Ron Abler writes: "Is Baker's original
text available - the one in which he first proposed the now-
standard Baker numbers for Washingtonia medals? I have the
Rulau-Fuld edition, but the numbers seem to be inconsistent in
[The original work does appear on the market from time to
time, and is not unduly expensive. There is also a 1965 reprint
with updates by George Fuld. -Editor]
WHY IT'S CALLED AN EAGLE
Regarding our earlier question, RW Julian writes: "The first
reference I can find to the use of "Eagle" for the ten dollar
piece is in a law of August 8, 1786:
"That there shall be two gold coins: One containing two
hundred and forty-six grains, and two hundred and sixty-eight
thousandths of a grain of fine gold, equal to ten dollars, to be
stamped with the impression of the American eagle, and to be
called an Eagle: One containing one hundred and twenty-three
grains, and one hundred and thirty-four thousandths of a grain
of fine gold, equal to five dollars, to be stamped in like manner,
and to be called a Half-Eagle."
Perhaps someone has an earlier citation?"
Bob Neale writes: "For anyone interested, it does indeed appear
that Thomas Jefferson was first to propose the term "eagle", as
reported by D. Klinger. This is even better documented in an
article by George Fuld in Numismatic News, June 22, 1999.
Therein, Fuld presents TJ's Congressional Resolution of August
8, 1786. This document talks about standards for US gold
and silver coinage and comes to this paragraph: "That there
shall be two gold coins one...equal to ten dollars, and to be
stamped with the impression of the American Eagle - & to be
called an eagle." And the next paragraph: "One containing...
fine gold equal to five dollar to be stamped in like manner and
to be called a half eagle."
MEDAL-MAKING IN LOS ANGELES?
Rich Hartzog forwarded the following query from an artist
in the Los Angeles area looking for a Janvier reducing
"My name is Charles Danek and I am one the artists working
in the Artistic Infusion Program of the U.S. Mint. Presently,
I am seeking to create 'Art Medals' of some of my designs to
further my sensibilities in the medium. I live in Los Angeles,
and I was wondering if you knew of any facilities in my
area that may be able to assist me, or who might be interested
in collaborating. Ideally, I would like to have access to a
Rich replied: "Not too many of the Janvier lathes around! I
don't know of any in the L.A. area, but I know a group that
does know the answer to all such questions. I've forwarded
this reply to the group moderator; the once-a-week email
goes out Sunday.
The short answer is to check my
http://www.exonumia.com/comm.htm page for commercial
manufacturers of medals. And, there is the American Medallic
Sculpture Association (AMSA), which as a medalist, you
should join. Lots of contacts there!
[Your editor is slipping - the following note arrived this week,
but I've lost or misplaced the original and didn't record the
name of the author. My apologies.]
"Concerning "Konowal's 40 dollar fortune:" Could his "two
American $20 bills" have been Canadian? Check this with
others more knowledgeable, but I don't believe that in 1913
any official Canadian bills of the $20 denomination had been
issued. However, there were bills in circulation of that
denomination issued by chartered banks, and according to
the Charlton Standard Catalogue of Canadian Bank Notes
(I have the 2nd edition, 1989), most but not all were
redeemable. The circulation of chartered bank notes
continued into the 20th century in Canada because that
country did not tax the bank notes as the United States did
in 1866. This possibility occurred to me because I think of
Canada and Mexico, as well as the United States, as
"American" (remember that discussion). Just a thought."
RECORD PRICE FOR A VICTORIA CROSS
The Konowal story revolved around the recovery of
his stolen Victoria Cross medal. Coincidentally, from
London comes a report that another hero's Victoria
Cross has set a price record:
"A Victoria Cross awarded to an airman who climbed onto
a Lancaster bomber's wing at 20,000ft to put out a fire has
sold for a record price.
It went for £235,250 at the Spink auction house in London
on Friday, smashing the old record for a VC of £178,250."
"Mr Jackson was 25 when his crew came under fire from
a German fighter on a bombing raid on the town of
Schweinfurt in April 1944.
He climbed out of the cockpit into a slipstream to try to put
out the flames, before falling off and crashing to the ground
under a burning parachute.
Despite serious injuries, he managed to crawl to a nearby
German village and spent 10 months in hospital before
being transferred to a prisoner of war (POW) camp."
To read the full story, see"
BENJAMIN C. TRUE REVEALED
David Gladfelter writes: "Concerning Benjamin C. True:
Groce & Wallace, The New-York Historical Society's
Dictionary of Artists in America, 1564-1860 (New Haven,
Yale University Press, 1957) has a brief listing for him
as an "engraver, seal engraver and die sinker" working in
Cincinnati, 1850-60. He is credited with the Wealth of the
South tokens of the 1860 Presidential campaign which are
listed in Fuld as Patriotic Civil War tokens as well as in
Sullivan as political medalets. See Melvin and George Fuld,
"The Wealth of the South Mulings," in 24 Numismatic
Scrapbook Mag. 1785 (Sept. 1958). One of the
"President's House" dies in that series is signed with his
initial T. Benjamin C. True may be a relative (son and
nephew) of the Troy, NY engravers Benjamin C. and
Daniel True, who produced some of the Hard Times
tokens of that city. See "Miscellany," 24 Numismatist 42
(Jan. 1913). This isn't much, but hope it helps."
Alan Luedeking writes: "Regarding Andy Lustig and Saul
Teichman's request for info on the engraver Benjamin C. True,
I turned of course to L. Forrer's "Biographical Dictionary of
Medallists, Coin-, Gem-, and Seal-Engravers, Mint Masters,
&c." Here is a verbatim transcript of what can be found on
pages 145-146 of Volume VI:
"TRUE, BENJAMIN C. and DANIEL (Amer.) There were
two Die-cutters in Troy named True, --- Benjamin C. and
Daniel ; judging by the appearance of their names in the
Directories, the first was the elder, but whether relatives or
not, I have not found. Benjamin C. was a "letter cutter,"
having a shop at 7 Beaver Street, and residence at 134
Lydius Street, as early as 1832 ; in 1834 he is called a
gunsmith, and in 1835 a die-cutter, at 7 Beaver Street,
"up-stairs"; in 1840 he added to his business as a die-cutter
that of a "military store keeper," --- perhaps making military
buttons --- and his store was in 88 North Market Street, if
the notes furnished me are correct. In 1842-4 he was in
business with J. Roseboom & Co., in Church and Division
Streets, but I have not been able to trace him further. Daniel
True was a die-cutter at 48 Union Street as early as 1837,
and continued to do business as such at various locations,
in time adding that of seal-engraving, until 1856, when he
seems to have been the senior partner in the firm of True &
Pilkington, and his address was "Bleecker Hall ;" in 1858 he
was at the same location, alone; in 1868, the same name, ---
presumably the same person --- appears as a die-cutter and
steel engraver, in Hudson Street, and afterwards at 396
Broadway until 1879. The work of this engraver (whether
Benjamin or Daniel is uncertain), as shown on the tokens, is
not of a very high order.
A number of Tokens signed T are described in 'American
Journal of Numismatics,' 1899, p. 119. The above notes are
extracted from this paper."
There is nothing further to be found in the Supplement to
Forrer's work, and I have not looked in the AJN as I don't
Dick Johnson writes: "To answer Rick D. Whisman about
Benjamin C. True, I have four pages on True in my
biographical databank of American Artists, Diesinkers,
Engravers, Medalists and Sculptors. Here is the first
TRUE, Benjamin C. (fl 1832-79) Early American engraver,
diesinker, seal engraver, letter cutter; Albany, New York
(1823-38); Cincinnati (1849-1879). Listed in Albany first
as letter cutter (1823-33) then gunsmith, but left for
Cincinnati in 1849. His Albany business was carried on by
relative Daniel True (q.v.) [who Richard Kenney believed
to have been his brother].
The next paragraph tells of his portraits of Lincoln,
Breckenridge, John Bell and Steven Douglas and his
stock reverse that he offered to anyone who wanted
his services. Then I list 20 campaign medals for which
he was most noted and 16 medals the dies of which I
can document he engraved. With each item listed here
are all citations to numismatic literature, appearance in
auction sales, and public collections containing that item.
(The ANS citations here are most useful, as it gives the
accession number where you can go on the ANS
website to find the full description of that item in their
massive catalog databank.)
After this, I list 16 references on Benjamin True for
further research including biographical articles that Rick
will find useful in "The Numismatist" (December 1941)
and two references by Gladfelter in "Journal of the Civil
War Token Society" separated by eight years as he
corrected his data (1970 and 1978).
I even mention that NBS president Pete Smith has included
True in his unpublished manuscript on private mints in North
America. I have attempted to include most of what has been
published (and some unpublished!) data on every American
coin and medal artist.
I might mention the publication of this directory has been
delayed due to conversion of 118,309 lines on 3,356 artists
from the program in which I entered it, into some very
sophisticated software demanded by my publisher.
However, for numismatists seeking data in the meantime,
please contact me. I will email a summary, but will not send
any text -- destined to be copyrighted -- on the internet.
If you wish more extensive listings (even full text) I would
mail this in hard copy for a small fee. Like four pages on
Benjamin True for $5.
[It never ceases to amaze me what information E-Sylum
readers can come up with. Dick's email address is
dick.johnson at snet.net -Editor]
COINS ON COINS
Alan Luedeking writes: "I recently saw an Israeli 5 Agorot
coin depicting an ancient coin on it. I also remember having
seen a Hungarian 2000 Forint of 1996 depicting 13 coins
upon it, and a couple of Isle of Man coins with several coins
on them. This got me wondering if there are any other such
coins. Is there anybody out there who collects coins on
coins, and is there any reference specifically on this topic?"
COLONIAL NEWSLETTER NOW ALL ELECTRONIC
Jim Spilman writes: "The Colonial Newsletter Foundation,
Inc. (CNLF) has changed the back-issue availability for the
Colonial Newsletter (CNL) to a digital format by producing
a CD of back-issues #1-103 in .PDF format. The CD (for
PC or MAC) includes a computer searchable Cumulative
Index - also in .PDF format. The price is $65.00 postpaid
within the USA or Canada and it can be ordered from
CNLF; P.O.Box 4411; Huntsville, AL 35815.
Also available is one set of hardcopy issues #1-103 (the
CNLF issues) and two sets of issues #104-124 (the ANS
issues). Please contact CNLF at Comcast.NET for details.
When these sets are gone, that will be the end of hardcopy
availability from CNLF except for a few individual back
issues and odds and ends of this and that. After these are
sold the only source will probably be the secondary market.
Over the years, CNL has become the premier publication
on Early American Numismatics (prior to 1793). As we
have entered the Digital Millennium, CNLF has established
a group of 18 eSIGs (electronic Special Interest Groups)
for each of the primary areas of interest in this field.
[See the February 8, 2004 E-Sylum (v7n6) for more
information on the CNLF eSIGs. -Editor]
KERRY MEDALS IN THE NEWS
Dave Bowers sent us a copy of an article about the brouhaha
over U.S. Presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry's Vietnam
"At issue is Kerry's participation in a 1971 protest at which
several veterans discarded their medals in protest of the
Kerry threw away the ribbons from his medals, along with
the actual medals of two veterans who were not able to attend
the ceremony, according to the candidate's Web site.
Karen Hughes, a campaign adviser to President Bush,
described herself as "very troubled" by the fact that Kerry
only throw away his ribbons -- not the medals themselves.
"He only pretended to throw his," she charged Sunday..."
"Kerry has said he did not throw away his own medals
because he did not have them with him."
To read the full article, see:
NEITHER LUCKY NOR PRETTY IN PINK
This Reuters report from Dallas, Texas isn't numismatic in
itself, but it's amusing and raises the question, "Just what
happens to all the banknotes that get splattered with dye in
a foiled bank robbery attempt? Are they simply returned to
the Federal Reserve to be destroyed? Have any found
their way into numismatic channels? Of course, there's no
easy way to authenticate such notes, and they would have
no premium on the market. Still, I think it would be interesting
to to have such a note if the story were known. Wouldn't it
be interesting to have one of the notes stolen in a famous
robbery of the past? Collectors often wonder what stories
their acquisitions could tell, if only they could talk.
"A Texas woman was arrested on Wednesday after a pink
dye pack attached to money she is suspected of stealing
from a bank exploded when she took the cash to a different
bank to open a new account, police said.
Fort Worth police said Sharon Luck, 43, was arrested on
suspicion of robbing a bank in the city early on Wednesday,
after a woman gave a bank teller a threatening note and
walked out with cash to which the dye pack had been
"When she opened her purse, the dye pack detonated,"
"Police said she was easy to find because she was covered
in pink dye."
To read the full story, see
FEATURED WEB SITE
This week's featured web site is dedicated to the Victoria
Cross, "the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry
in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and
The site notes that "Fourteen men not born British or
Commonwealth citizens have received the VC; five Americans,
one Belgian, three Danes, two Germans, one Swede, a Swiss
and a Ukrainian."
Numismatic Bibliomania Society
The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a
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literature. For more information please see
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There is a membership application available on
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