The E-Sylum v8#52, December 11, 2005

esylum at esylum at
Sun Dec 11 19:38:21 PST 2005

Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 8, Number 52, December 11, 2005:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2005, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers are Alfonso Alos Vall and 
Paul Joseph. Welcome aboard!  We now have 825 subscribers.

This week we have some more discussion on library care & 
organization, and suggested listings for a bibliography 
on U.S. commemorative coinage.  Under research requests, 
readers are seeking information on a reprint of the Maris 
New Jersey plate and biographies of Colonial paper money
signers.  In the paper money world, there may be a backlash 
growing against the "Where's George" web site, and the 
Swiss are in an uproar over proposed new designs.  Our 
biggest discussion, however, revolves around "The Liberty 

Quiz question: How many dollar signs are there on a 
U.S. one-dollar bill?  Read on to find out...

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


David Gladfelter writes: "William S. Dewey, numismatic 
writer, former ANA librarian and a Krause Numismatic 
Ambassador in 1987, was taken to Valley Hospital in New 
Jersey on December 6, the day after his 100th birthday. 
He is in critical condition with multiple problems. He 
celebrated his birthday early (on Thanksgiving weekend) 
at the home of his granddaughter Jinny (and John) in 
Wyckoff. His children are hopeful that he will beat the 
odds and be able to enjoy his 100th Christmas soon. In 
his Christmas card he wrote: "It's a privilege to be a 
century old, and I feel especially grateful to have been 
able to fulfill my dream of writing two books on the 
history of the pinelands and many articles on Admiral 
Dewey that were published during my retirement years. 
I'm grateful too, for my wonderful family and friends 
-- you all mean so much to me." Let's pull for him."


The times they are a-changin'.   This month members of 
Early American Coppers, Inc. were greeted with a made-over 
format for their journal, Penny-Wise.  The "old" Penny-Wise 
was delivered to members in loose-leaf format.  Many members 
filed these in three-ring binders or saved them to be bound.  
The new Penny-Wise format is more traditional, bound with 
a glossy white cover, similar to our print journal, The 
Asylum (but in the larger 8 1/2" x 11" size).  EAC members 
commented favorably in the club's Region 8 email newsletter 
last week.  Great job! The following are two selected quotes:

Red Henry writes: "Just got back into town, and found the 
new and improved PW in the mailbox: glossy pages with clear 
printing, plus greatly improved coin images-- extremely 
important, I think-- and the issue holds itself together! 
No more 3-hole punching here every month, and no more 
additional loose-leaf notebooks on my shelves each year 
(talk about 1940s technology). PW's printed format has 
finally caught up with the content, which has always been 
high-grade. Congratulations to Harry Salyards, Bill Eckberg, 
and everyone else who had a hand in the changeover!"

Barry Kurian writes: "Harry & Bill, congratulations on 
taking P-W to a new level. It's stunning, very professional 
looking, and does a beautiful job of representing EAC."


Paul DiMarzio writes: "Since you've resurrected the 
topic of library care, I wonder if you might also 
consider bringing up the topic of library organization?  
The library that I am building is not so much a collection 
as it is a resource for me to do research in the areas 
of Roman Imperial coinage and British hammered coinage.  
For example I recently purchased a couple of very tattered 
volumes of RIC, worthless as a collectible but invaluable 
for the information contained within.

I have added to my library significantly over the past 
year and have found in a few instances that I had relevant 
material on my shelves that I forgot was there when doing 
the work!  This is especially true of journals, periodicals, 
pamphlets, etc.  Since I'm still pretty new at this I'd 
love to hear some tips from members who have large working 
libraries, both as to how the material is organized on 
the shelves as well as how to better index what is actually 
contained in the volumes.  Thanks!"

[One suggestion I'd make is to look at Tom Fort's catalogue 
of his personal reference library.  A copy is available 
on the NBS web site.  Tom put a lot of time into indexing 
the articles of interest to him in his periodicals, and 
this makes it very easy for him to relocate them when 
needed for research. 

Pete Smith writes: "This week's E-Sylum has a question 
about preserving items in a numismatic library. I recall 
in the past someone wrote a book on "Building, Maintaining 
and Disposing of a Numismatic Library." I am sure some 
information is out of date. However, the book might be 
useful for some readers. Perhaps some E-Sylum reader 
recalls the author and can suggest where to obtain a copy 
of this book."

Jim McNerney writes: "I found this on The Canadian Coin 
Reference Site: "

[The link is to a 1996 Bibliography of Standards and 
Selected References Related to Preservation in Libraries. 


Roger Siboni writes: "I have begun to contemplate the idea 
of using some sort of Book Plate, stamp or embossing for 
my ever expanding Library. I would appreciate some advice 
from our members regarding the appropriateness of this idea 
and what is the most archivally correct approach. In other 
words, is this just an old custom that in the end does more 
harm than good to the book. Or if appropriate, is embossing, 
a label or a plate the way to go? Perhaps it depends on 
the book. 

I would also be curious as to approaches for library 
identification. Ford went with a simple JF. I have also 
seen some pretty elaborate labels and embossing.

Finally, is there a source for obtaining such material 
that would be more archivally correct than say a local 
stationary store."

[Simple is good - I like the modest Ford JF bookplate.  
In the March 25, 2001 issue of The E-Sylum (v4n13) 
George Kolbe addressed the issue of what type of glue 
to use on bookplates: 

   "Wheat paste is what I used to apply the Bass bookplates, 
   and it is what I use for my own ex libris (es). It was 
   a gift years ago from a friend who is also a commercial 
   bookbinder (I still have a little left - I keep it 
   refrigerated). Reversible and non-reactive are the reasons, 
   I believe, why it is preferred, though there may be better 
   modern products. It used to be available from TALAS, 
   though my bookbinder friend makes his own from the 
   supermarket variety. To apply it right, you need a book 
   press (or a heavy weight - a stack of books will do) and, 
   until you become proficient and learn to apply enough 
   glue but leave no residue, you need to lay in wax 
   paper sheets. 

   A few, admittedly biased, caveats: pre-printed labels are 
   tacky, as are pressure-sensitive labels (pun intended); round, 
   notary-like, blindstamps damage not only the paper but a 
   booklover's sensibilities (ink name and address stamps are 
   perhaps even worse); smaller is generally better; use good 
   taste and spend a few bucks-it's how you will be remembered 
   by future bibliophiles."


In a press release published December 6, the American 
Numismatic Association announced a resolution of the recent 
controversy over the naming of the ANA Museum.  The 
following is an excerpt:

"We are grateful for the assistance of Chet Krause and 
Cliff Mishler, and happily can announce the following 
mutually satisfactory arrangement:  The American Numismatic 
Association Money Museum at ANA headquarters in Colorado 
Springs, Colorado will be named in honor of Edward C. 
Rochette, a distinguished former Executive Director and 
former President of the association."

Recognition of the museum naming will be conducted this 
coming July when hundreds of collectors from across the 
country attend the annual ANA Summer Seminar.
"I've known Ed since 1963 when he was Editor of Numismatic 
News, and then he went on to serve the ANA beginning in 
1966.  It is appropriate that the museum be named in his 
honor," said Krause who now has rescinded his earlier 
resignation of his ANA membership. 

Mishler said:  "For all of its 114 years, the ANA has had 
warts.  But, warts and all, the ANA is still the best 
collector's organization in the hobby."  


A scaled-down exhibit of selections from the National 
Numismatic Collection is now on display in Washington, D.C.  
On December 9 the Associated Press reported that  "The 
exhibit of rare, historic and beautiful currency opens 
Friday at the Smithsonian Castle, the original 150-year-old 
home of the Smithsonian Institution. There are 56 coins, 
bills and medals in all, a tiny slice of the more than 
1.5 million in the museum's collection.

Specialists in coins much admire a $20 gold piece 
designed by one of the most famous American sculptors 
of the late 1800s and early 1900s, Augustus Saint-Gaudens. 
The goddess Liberty is on one side, torch and olive branch 
in hand, and a flying eagle on the other. President Theodore 
Roosevelt, impressed by a medal Saint-Gaudens made for his 
inauguration, urged him to try doing coins. The medal is 
on show, too.

For comparison, Richard Doty, the museum's senior curator 
of numismatics, has included in the exhibit an ancient 
Greek coin in high relief struck about 400 B.C.

The display also includes a portrait medal of James 
Smithson, who bequeathed his fortune of 104,960 British 
gold sovereigns to the United States for the advancement 
of knowledge. It was the founding bequest of the Smithsonian 

"Legendary Coins and Currency' will be on display 
through Sept. 10. Admission is free."

To read the complete article, see:

For museum hours, see:


Dr. Ute Wartenberg Kagan, Executive Director of The 
American Numismatic Society forwarded a link to this 
New York Times article about a recent coin discovery
in Manhattan:

"Three weeks after the Metropolitan Transportation 
Authority started digging a subway tunnel under Battery 
Park, the project hit a wall. A really old wall. Possibly 
the oldest wall still standing in Manhattan.

It was a 45-foot-long section of a stone wall that 
archaeologists believe is a remnant of the original 
battery that protected the Colonial settlement at 
the southern tip of the island. Depending on which 
archaeologist you ask, it was built in the 1760's or 
as long ago as the late 17th century. 

Either way, it would be the oldest piece of a 
fortification known to exist in Manhattan and the 
only one to survive the Revolutionary War period, 
said Joan H. Geismar, president of the Professional 
Archaeologists of New York City."

"Among the items found around the wall are a well-
preserved halfpenny coin dated 1744 and shards of 
smoking pipes and Delft pottery, said Amanda Sutphin, 
director of archaeology for the city's Landmarks 
Preservation Commission."

To read the complete article, see:


David Provost writes: "Thanks for another interesting 
collection of news, tidbits and tips!
I'm writing to provide you with a few notes about a 
website that might be of interest to the group.  I took 
over as president of the Society for US Commemorative 
Coins (SUSCC) last year and have been working to make 
the collecting public more aware of our group.  One of 
the problems we faced this past year was the restructuring 
of the ANA's website and the loss of our web page.
I recently launched a new SUSCC website ( 
and, like many a fledgling webmaster, have started simply 
but with plans for continued expansion.  Once I completed 
the home page with basic info about the organization and 
how to become a member, I was faced with the decision as 
to what 'content' page I should add first.  It didn't take 
me long to decide that it should be a page that featured 
an annotated bibliography of books about US commemorative 
coins.  If you have a moment, check it out and let me 
know your thoughts.
The titles listed are all from my personal collection, 
with a few more yet to be added.  I would like to reach 
out to the NBS membership, however, to seek assistance 
finding a few titles that I haven't been able to locate.  
I have been searching for Fred Morton Reed's book about the 
commemorative series (published in 1972, I believe) as well 
as any volumes of Ray Mercer's Buyer's Guide series beyond 
Volume One.  Of course, I'd be interested in hearing from 
anyone with any other titles on the series -- I'm sure 
there are more than a few that I haven't come across!  
I can be reached at commems at if anyone would like 
to correspond."

[One obscure title to add to the list is "One Fatt Calfe", 
a great book on the history of the New Rochelle half.  
I bought my copy from George Kolbe several years ago, and 
he forwarded the following details: "Skipton, Amy C. One 
Fatt Calfe: Being an Account of the New Rochelle Half-Dollar 
and of the Celebration Marking the 250th Anniversary of the 
Founding & Settlement of the City of New Rochelle New York. 
New Rochelle: New Rochelle Commemorative Coin Committee, 1939. 
(8), 123, (1) pages, 13 plates. 

One of only 200 copies printed in Caslon type on Linweave 
Rag Book paper at Pell Press. The author was the Executive 
Secretary of the Coin Committee and she wrote this work 
"in the hope that it may serve as a signpost to future 
Celebration Committees in planning an event such as was 
celebrated in 1938." It includes portraits of the main 
participants, including the designer Gertrude Lathrop 
and her "Fatt Calfe" model. This work remains the most 
detailed account ever written surrounding the issuance 
of a commemorative half dollar."  

Some I found on my shelf are:

Foster, Charles W., Historical Arrangement of United 
States Commemorative Coins, Rochester Museum of Arts 
and Sciences, Rochester, NY, 1936, 75 pages, softcover

Ganz, David L., 14 Bits: The Story of America's 
Bicentennial Coinage, Three Continents Press, Washington, 
D.C., 1976, 102 pages, softcover

Hyder, William D. and Colbert, R.W., The Selling of 
the Stone Mountain Half Dollar, a reprint from The 
Numismatist, no date, 20 pages, card covered

Ruby, Warren A., Commemorative Coins of the United 
States (Gold and Silver), Graphic Publishing Company, 
Lake Mills, IA, 1961, hardcover

Reed, Mort, United States Commemoratives 1892-1954, 
Coin World, 1972, 36 pages

The Foster and Ruby titles are very scarce. The Mort 
Reed booklet from Coin World includes a bibliography 
by Frank Katen, and it lists this title, which I 
haven't seen:

Weber, C. E., Let's Have New Commemorative Coins. 
Reprint NM, 1961

Can our readers provide more information on these 
titles, or suggest other titles on U.S. Commemoratives?  


Roger Moore writes: "I appreciate your republishing my 
request for information about a 1880's numismatist in the 
latest E-Sylum.  Unfortunately, my original request to 
the Yahoo eGroup got the name wrong.  It is not J. E. Bass 
I need to know about, but rather J. E. BULL!!  I would 
still greatly appreciate any information I can get about 
this gentleman, who evidently had a very advanced New 
Jersey colonial collection.  I will eventually publish 
the contents of the Maris letters that I recently acquired 
that were written to Mr. Bull.  Thank you."


Roger Moore adds: "There is one other request that I 
have.  When researching the Maris Plate papers I wrote 
for The Colonial Newsletter there were rumors that a 
large photograph was made of an original Maris Plate I
photograph by the American Numismatic Society.  These 
large photographs were evidently given to major ANS 
patrons back in the 1950s, 1960s or 1970s.  I tried 
to find someone with this photograph at the time I was 
writing the papers but was unsuccessful.  At the Colonial 
Coin Collectors Club (C-4) auction in Boston last month, 
I bought two large mounted photographs of an original 
Maris Plate I photograph.  They were donated to the C-4 
auction by Tony Terranova and he indicated that he had 
obtained them from a relative of Richard Picker following 
Richard's death.  I believe these are the photographs 
that ANS made and I plan to research them further at ANS, 
but would appreciate any input from others who may have 
received copies of them or at least had knowledge about 
the reproductions made by ANS."


Ray Williams writes: "With several recent acquisitions 
of colonial notes, my curiosity has been aroused with 
respect to who all the signers were.  The well known 
signers who signed the Declaration of Independence, 
Constitution, etc are easy to find, but what about all 
the others?  Is there a reference book that gives short 
biographies for the known signers of colonial paper 
money?  They must have been men of renown, or at least 
locally known."

[Good question.  The signers are listed in many 
references, but I know of no comprehensive compilation 
of biographical sketches.   Can any of our readers 
point us to one, or know of someone who is compiling 
one?  -Editor]  


Regarding the "Penny Pro & Con" article Dick Johnson 
pointed out last week, Kavan Ratnatunga writes: "That 
debate used some totally out dated statistics. The 
latest U.S. Mint report states that it cost 0.98 cents 
in 2003 and 0.93 cents in 2004 to mint a penny, not the 
0.72 mentioned in that pro article.

Interestingly, the 2004 report also mentions a new coinage 
material study:  "The first comprehensive coinage material 
study for circulating coins was started this fiscal year. 
The objective is to review and consider cost effective 
alternative materials for current and future coin denominations.
Initially targeting single layer materials for cent and nickel, 
the study will expand to look at alternatives to the clad 
materials used on higher denominations. The study is in the 
early stages with results made available after summarizing 
tests are performed on all materials."


Pat MacAuley writes: "I agree with Dick Johnson that the 
penny will steadily disappear from daily use as inflation 
and technology make it obsolete.  But the more serious 
issue for numismatics is that ALL COINAGE is threatened 
with extinction in daily commerce.  In my lifetime the 
half dollar has disappeared from circulation. And the 
dollar coin in its Eisenhower, Anthony, and Sacajawea 
forms is so scarce that most people can go years without 
seeing a dollar coin. Nowadays vending machines can take 
paper bills just as easily as coins.

Ironically, the dollar coin is a potential winner because 
it could save the U.S. government hundreds of millions of 
dollars.  (Coins last much longer than bills, yet don't 
cost much more to produce.) Unfortunately, the government 
does very little to encourage the use of the dollar coin.  
Here in Washington, D.C. the subway system does not accept 
dollar coins because it would cost $40,000 to convert its 
600 machines to accept them.  If the U.S. Treasury paid 
the subway's cost of conversion, it could easily recoup 
its investment.

When a reporter explained this problem to the official 
in charge of the Sacajawea dollar,  he confidently 
predicted that the Treasury could pay these conversion 
costs, perhaps by buying advertising on the subways.  
How wrong he was -- the thicket of regulations covering 
this type of promotion is so dense that he barely dented 
it before his term was over.   It would take an Act of 
Congress, at a minimum, to make much headway.

If current trends continue, coins will largely disappear 
from daily life, and Americans  will be poorer for it. 
In my opinion the best way to rescue coinage from these 
trends is to make a success of the dollar coin.  If public
transit systems used dollar coins the way Post Office 
vending machines do, the visibility of the dollar coin 
might reach the tipping point where it might become 
widely used.   It would take Congressional action to 
enable the Treasury to compensate public transit systems 
for their conversion costs (perhaps paid from a trust 
fund derived from seignorage profits) but everyone 
would benefit.

Are there any coin collectors in Congress?"


Joe Boling writes: "Further to the notice about the 2004A 
$10 notes coming in March, has anyone actually seen a 2004A 
$20 or $50 yet? I have had my bank tellers searching for 
them for weeks, and have found none. I am interested in 
the lead block letter. Since the large head notes were 
introduced, each series has had a unique leading letter 
before the letter that designates the Federal Reserve 
District). The list looks like this:

A 1996
B 1999
C 2001
D 2003
E 2004

Now, the $10 series 2004A samples that have been shown 
all have G as the lead letter. From that I infer that 
the 2004A $20s and $50s are going to have the letter F 
(and that the $10 notes may actually be designated as 
series 2005, not 2004A as has been announced). Either 
that, or the $10 notes will NOT have the letter G. 
But I'd like a confirmation that the $20 and $50 notes 
in series 2004A are using letter F. Has anybody seen 
one (and noted the leading block letter)?"


In the November/December issue of Paper Money, the 
official publication of the Society of Paper Money 
Collectors, editor Fred Reed authored a detailed 
article on, a web site featured 
in The E-Sylum way back on March 8, 1999 (v2n10).  
Here's what I wrote:

    One of the most unusual numismatically-related  
    sites on the internet is "Where's George - The  
    Great American Dollar Bill Locator"  at  Readers can enter  
    the serial numbers of dollar bills passing through  
    their hands and track their later progress around  
    the country with the help of like-minded bill 
    trackers.   Strange, but true...

In a sidebar, Reed notes that not all collectors 
are pleased about Where's George.  He quotes paper 
money dealer Tom Denly: "Perhaps I am being a bit 
curmudgeonly, but this excessive marking has crossed 
the line between fun and games and the deliberate 
mutilation of currency.  I have not reported this 
bill, and I am going to tear it in half and turn it 
in at the bank for replacement."


The proposed new paper money designs for Switzerland 
we discussed recently are drawing criticism from the 
public.  According to a report this week by Bloomberg 
News, "Switzerland, a global financial center, is in an 
uproar that the central bank may put images of embryos 
and blood cells on the country's currency. 

The designs are "horrible, horrible, horrible," Verena 
Graf, a retired bank archivist waiting for a white-and-blue 
tram at Zurich's Paradeplatz financial sector, said on 
Dec. 2. "I would rather keep the old ones with the 
people on them." 

The banknotes, designed by Zurich artist Manuel Krebs, 
35, last month won a central bank competition to 
replace the current edition, which features motifs 
of famous Swiss artists such as Alberto Giacometti. 
The central bank sought new ideas to create an "open" 
image for a country whose two biggest banks alone manage 
about $3.3 trillion. The Neue Zuercher Zeitung newspaper, 
required reading for any Swiss banker, on Nov. 27 said 
the notes lack a sense of the "eroticism of money." 

"The central bank will decide on a final design for 
the banknotes in the spring, based on technical criteria 
and the ease with which new security features can be 
incorporated. Production of the new notes may start as 
early as 2008."

"In theory, the notes should be Swiss, but the problem 
is that if there aren't people on them, what are we 
going to put on there -- mountains and cheese?" said 
Thomas Bruehwiler, a Zurich-based computer programmer.

[Everyone is a critic when it comes to new coin and 
currency designs.  It is interesting to read of a banker 
talking about "the eroticism of money" - would they find 
mountains and cheese more desirable as images? -Editor]


On the topic of design criticism, here's one novel 
characterization of the new nickel obverse from Grand 
Traverse Herald editor Garret Leiva: "Why does the new 
U.S. nickel with the profile of Thomas Jefferson look 
like the Mac Tonight half-moon character from those 
mid-1980s McDonald's ads?

I know the third president of the United States never 
wore sunglasses or a black tuxedo but the similarities 
are uncanny. Actually, it kind of creeps me out. I'm 
not sure who down at the United States Mint thought 
Jefferson needed a makeover. Probably the same genius 
responsible for the "Heaven's Gate" of coinage: the 
Susan "I'm Not George Washington in Drag" B. Anthony."

To read the complete editorial:


The legacy of Emperor Norton lives on in San Francisco, 
and gets stranger and stranger.  A modern successor to 
Norton's eccentric ways may soon have a street named 
after him.  According to a December 8 report in the 
Bay Area Reporter, "Jose Sarria, the first out gay man 
to run for public office in California and founder of 
the Imperial Court system, could see a San Francisco 
street named after him under a proposal by Supervisor 
Bevan Dufty."

"Sarria is a longtime champion of gay rights and 
fundraiser for the LGBT community. He ran for city 
supervisor in 1961 and founded the Imperial Court 
System over 40 years ago in 1964 when he took on the 
title of Empress Jose I.

He later assumed the title of the Widow Norton after 
the 19th century San Francisco eccentric Joshua Norton, 
who proclaimed himself "Emperor of North America and 
Protector of Mexico" and printed his own money. Each 
year Sarria leads a processional to Norton's grave 
in Colma, in tribute to him as well as those Imperial 
Court members who have died of AIDS."

To read the full article, see:


Regarding last week's query about The Liberty Dollar, 
Gar Travis writes: "Did you see the disclaimer page?"

[The page notes: "I hope by this time that everybody knows 
the Gold and Silver Libertys are not "legal tender". 
Nor are they "coins", as a "coin" is something issued 
by a government and we are not they, nor do we ever 
want to be. The fact that the "Libertys" cannot be 
described in these terms has been enshrined in the 
United States Code, so it is not just numismatic, it 
is the law. And as the government also defines "money" 
and "current money", the Gold and Silver Libertys are 
neither of these."

Will Robins writes: "Just wanted to respond to the little
article about the "Liberty Dollar" in the December 4th 
issue. This is not the first time I have heard of them. 
I remember a year or two ago, watching a coin documentary 
on the history channel, when the "Liberty Dollar" was 
talked about. Apparently it is a legitimate organization 
which has been going on for a good deal of time. As I 
recall, "Liberty Dollar" production is legal because the 
basic unit is not the standard American "dollar," but 
"Liberty Dollar." Anyone can create their own type of 
money, as long as the primary denomination is not "dollar," 
because then it would be counterfeiting. Whether a store 
accepts it is up to the cashier or manager."

Bob Leonard writes: "I agree with Andrew W. Pollock III 
that the silver Liberty money by a few businesses, like 
the Lesher dollar was, and--since I collect Lesher dollars
--I ordered one from his web site last year for my 
collection.  Bernard von NotHaus is a hard money man who 
doesn't trust the Federal Reserve, while Lesher was a 
"crank" on the silver question, as a Secret Service 
operative once referred to him.  He's been doing this 
for years, so I think he is steering clear of the monetary 
laws (as Lesher finally did), though he needs to be careful 
about ordinary civil fraud.  
But even von NotHaus is not above market forces: when I 
bought my Liberty Dollar, silver was about $6 an ounce 
(the quote from their website gives only $5.10), and the 
face value and selling price (one troy ounce, proof) was 
$10; now that silver has broken $8, I see that the face 
value of a 2005 Liberty Dollar has doubled to $20.  For 
an "inflation-proof" currency this is not how it's supposed 
to work!  Anyway, if anyone wants to collect these I 
recommend buying only the silver and gold "coins," 
hard-money admirer that I am, not the paper certificates 
he sells below "face value."
[The paper notes as well as the metal items would make 
for an interesting collection.  Numismatists of today 
(and museum curators in particular) should take the 
opportunity to assemble collections of these items while 
they are readily accessible.  In years to come the creators 
of these currencies will be long gone and the items could 
well become rare, if not valuable.  Experience tells me 
that it will be the high-valued paper items that will be 
the hardest to find.  For the very reason Bob cites, 
today's high relative cost discourages their collecting.  

Another reader writes: "Bernard von NotHaus might sound 
pretty loopy but he actually has more legitimacy and 
standing than people might expect. I can tell you that 
his is not a fly-by-night operation and that over $3-million 
in Liberty dollars are in circulation as an alternative 
form of currency. And there really is a warehouse, subject 
to quarterly audits, that contains gold and silver ingots 
owned by thousands of people.

Bernard issues silver and gold certificates, which are 
basically receipts, verifying the holder owns x-amount 
of silver, physically located and accessible in a warehouse 
controlled by Sunshine Smelting. The silver certificates 
can be spent with merchants who will accept them (several 
thousand now, all over America). This is coinage at it most 
basic. That some of the survivalists and nutcases happen 
to use and endorse Liberty Dollars both helps and hurts 

Bernard raises a lot of interesting questions about the 
Federal Reserve, economics, supply and demand, etc. He 
charges $9 for a silver "Liberty Dollar", that is good 
for $10 in trade to whoever will take it as such. He 
asks how this is different than a US Eagle bullion coin, 
stamped $10, and carrying the exact same amount of silver. 
These are available for about $9 as well. He says there 
is no difference, that circulating bullion based coinage 
can be an alternative to the Federal Reserve system.

Also, his association with the Royal Hawaiian Mint is 
well-attested. See the latest Unusual World Coins by Colin 
Bruce, which has over 20 pages of RHM material which 
Bernard designed and struck. Bruce also lists the Liberty 
Dollar in his catalog!

Bernard is well-known in the numismatic world. He is 
provocative, thoughtful, and somewhat out there. Everyone 
has an opinion about his theories, but I would bet he knows 
more about history and economic theory than most numismatists, 
including me.

Readers interested in more information can go to Wikipedia 
and review a rather lengthy treatment of the Liberty Dollar 

[I guess I was one of the uninformed numismatists, but 
that's what I love about The E-Sylum - there's something 
new to learn each week.  Bullion depository receipts are 
the earliest form of paper currency, so this is nothing 
new under the sun.  I would agree that NotHaus and his 
users have every right to set up an independent currency;  
that's done by businesses every day - bank-issued credit 
and debit cards are only the most prominent example.  
Boggs bills and community-based currencies are another 
example - if a person willingly accepts them in payment, 
that's an issue between the two parties and no one else.

Here's the link to the Wikipedia entry on the Liberty 

Timothy Grat, Mint Master of The Gallery Mint writes: 
"I was somewhat surprised to see Bernard VonNothaus' 
project to come up as new. The Liberty Dollar is indeed 
for real and has been in production for many years. I 
must say I do know Bernard personally, as we have had 
much interaction with him at the Gallery Mint. 

Many of your readers will be familiar with the small, 
black screw press that was on display and used by the 
ANA Money Museum. Or is that the Ed Rochette Money 
Museum? I am still not sure... but I digress. The screw 
press belongs to Mr VonNothaus. The small press was 
manufactured by Ron Landis and the late Joe Rust.

Previously Mr VonNothaus produced many beautiful coins 
under the Royal Hawaiian Mint. Point being, Bernard is 
a serious numismatist and a strong supporter of the 

Does this mean there is no marketing involved in his 
product? Of course not, there is plenty, but he is serious 
about his stance and the value of his product, as are his 
numerous supporters. 

By coincidence, Eureka Springs, AR (the location of Gallery 
Mint) is about 12 miles from the county seat of Berryville, 
AR. Berryville is one of the Liberty Dollar's largest 
markets and the Dollars are accepted all over town. The 
NORFED sticker appears in many store front windows. Many 
people have even had their Liberty Dollars accepted at 
the Wal-Mart! 

The Liberty Dollar is also now listed in the new Unusual 
Money catalogue. Bernard has also edited and had published 
a book entitled "The Liberty Dollar Solution to the Federal 
Reserve" With contributions from economists (Alan Greenspan), 
statesmen (Congressman Ron Paul), and many others. There 
is some marketing in these pages but still makes for an 
interesting read for anyone curious about the economic 
opinions expressed.

This is not an endorsement! While many of us are still 
secure about the spending power of our Fed notes (myself 
included), the Liberty Dollar customers are not. While 
many find it easy to marginalize a seemingly extreme 
point of view, this does not mean the Liberty Dollar 
is not for real and not accepted by the Feds. If I am 
not mistaken, a transaction with the Liberty Dollar is 
viewed as a barter. It is legitimate. And in my own 
opinion, the coins display a rather attractive 
representation of Liberty, a device long gone from 
our coinage."

Russ Rulau writes: "The E-Sylum reader who thinks the 
Liberty Dollar scheme is some sort of scam and that 
the Feds will close it down because it impinges on the 
Federal Reserve's paper money rights, really doesn't 
have a clue to what's involved here.

I wrote an article in Numismatic News Oct. 25 issue, 
pages 25 and 28 entitled "Will 2005 be Repeat of 1978 
for Gold Prices?" in which I illustrated the silver 
dollar note and the $500 gold note of Bernard VonNothaus' 
issue. His idea is to issue paper receipts for gold and 
silver stored in Idaho at a third-party vault.

As a writer on gold and gold coins for some 44 years, 
I don't believe the scheme can work, as the U.S. debt 
now has passed the $8 trillion mark. In a full century 
we could not repay our indebtedness. But a return to any 
gold-silver standard is ludicrous because there isn't 
enough of both above or below ground to make a dent in 
the U.S. debt, much less the world debt.

Our Federal Reserve notes are simply monetized debt, 
backed by nothing but our reputation as a nation for 
honesty. I have no agenda either way vis-a-vis Liberty 
Dollars, except one thing -- the notes are beautifully 
designed. VonNothaus has had some "left field" ideas 
over the years, but dishonesty is not among them, and 
he's a very skilled engraver. His Hawaiian silver and 
gold fantasy coins of the 1980's are magnificent, 
portraying King Kalakaua and Queen Liliuokalani, and 
may now be found in the current catalog "Unusual World 
Coins" by Colin Bruce (KP) priced  very high."


Per last week's request, David Klinger found us an 
image of the note Howard Daniel described, with an 
ill-looking Ho Chi Minh.  He writes: "Here's a link 
to an image of the Vietnam 10000 Dong note of 1990."


Last week we published a link to an image of a Swedish 
note. Gene Hessler writes: "The wonderful portrait of 
Gustav Vasa on the Swedish 1000 kronor was engraved by 
a woman, Agnes Miski-Torok (The International Engraver's 
Line, G. Hessler, p. 190)."


An editorial in The Independent of Nigeria addresses 
a "credibility crisis" around a new note:

"We have never seen anything like it! Since Independence, 
there has been various changes in the currency and its 
component denominations. Indeed there was a change from 
pounds to Naira which the Nigerian public took in its 
stride: there was not a whisper or whimper of controversy 
or debate let alone any dissent or question about the 
legality of the tender.

For now however, there are clearly troubled whispers. 
In spite of an advertising blitz, there has been great 
skepticism about the validity and reluctance to accept 
the new N1000 note as a medium of exchange. The Central 
Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has had to announce that it would 
not withdraw the N1000 note following an alleged error 
detected on the new note.

CBN states that: "The new banknote remains certified 
legal tender. The CBN is also not contemplating replacing 
the existing N1000 note with a new design. The CBN is 
hereby assuring the public that the absence of the 'Naira' 
sign on the N1000 banknote is the result of a deliberate 
change in design to reflect modern concepts in line with 
best practices."

The question that refuses to go away however is: why the 
reluctance on the part of the public to accept the new 
legal tender?"

To read the full article, see:

[Here's a link to the Central Bank of Nigeria's press 
release about the note:

The alleged error is the removal of the 'Naira' sign.
The bank is saying that they are removing the currency
symbol "to reflect modern concepts in line with best 
practices".  Reading between the lines, I believe the 
thinking here is that symbols can have multiple meanings 
and interpretations, but spelled-out currency names are 
unambiguous, and that the modern practice is to use only
spelled-out names on currency.  I'm not a world currency 
collector, so perhaps one of our readers can confirm this. 
Has this practice ever been written up formally, in a
publication or trade journal for central bankers?

QUIZ ANSWER:  A quick look at the U.S. paper money in my 
wallet today brings the answer to today's quiz question:
The dollar sign "$" appears nowhere on the U.S. one dollar
note.  New question: has it appeared on U.S. currency in
the past?  -Editor]


Inspired by last week's excerpt on "money laundering", 
Roger deWardt Lane of Hollywood, Florida writes: "My 
family has been in the Resort Hotel business for years, 
I'm third generation and I now have a granddaughter working 
in Hawaii in the resort field.
I'm going to write this from memory - I'm not 100% sure 
of the facts, as the subject was always passed on in more 
of a joking manner, but I believe the details to be correct.  
The story goes that one of the first hotels to wash their 
money (silver coins) was the Waldorf-Astoria.  They would 
send the coins down to the kitchen pantry where the steam 
washing machine was located, and used daily to keep the 
table silverware shiny.   It took more than one employee 
to do the job, one to wash and one to watch the washer! 
I believe other very famous resorts like the Greenbriar 
also washed their money.
The clean money was returned to the General Cashier, 
who would dispense it to the cashiers at the front desk 
and restaurants.
On the same subject, not laundering money, but providing 
"clean money" for the guests; all the resort hotels at 
which I have worked, 16 before my thirty years at the 
Classic Diplomat, Hollywood, Florida and the two that 
followed, The Doral Saturnia 5 Star Spa, Miami and the 
last resort - the Lago Mar Resort and Club, Ft. Lauderdale 
all followed the same pattern. Orders for money from the 
Bank always requested brand new currency, $1, $5, $10, 
and $20. Most of the time the strapped brand new bills 
were supplied.  Large denominations were more difficult 
to get as 'new money' because the notes lasted for years 
and stayed in pretty good condition, as we numismatists 
would say VF to XF.
About twenty years ago, I needed to cover the vacation 
period of our General Cashier and while on this assignment, 
had to order $2,000 in brand new $1 bills.  They came 
in a $1000 'brick' with a piece of plywood on each end, 
and a steel strap binding the notes.  The first wood 
piece would have a label showing the serial numbers of 
the brick.  Last year I found among my collectables, 
these two labeled wood pieces and the same numbered dollar 
bills, which I had also kept.  I then donated them to the 
American Numismatic Society collection, as I thought they 
were quite unique. Today the bricks are shrink-wrapped in 
sturdy plastic."


Even if your own wallet end up empty this holiday season, 
don't give anyone else an empty wallet.  Dick Johnson writes: 
"If you are giving a wallet, purse or briefcase this Christmas, 
be sure to put coins or bills in it.  That's the rule of 
Feng Shui.  Here's some brief advice for proper gift giving.  
[The following are quotes from the web page Dick referenced:
"--Never give an empty wallet as a gift, since it 
symbolizes that the recipient will never have enough money.

--Avoid giving knives, scissors, or letter openers as 
gifts since they "cut" a friendship. 

These are just a sample of the Feng Shui tips on holiday 
gift-giving from nationally-recognized Feng Shui Practitioner, 
Carol M. Olmstead, FSII. 

"My Eastern-European grandmother told me never to give 
a wallet or a purse as a gift without sticking a penny 
in it for good luck," said Olmstead. "Seems like grandma 
never realized she knew a bit about Feng Shui," she adds," 
since it's also good Feng Shui advice." Inflation may have 
changed grandma's penny into something more substantial, but it is still
good Feng Shui wisdom."


This week's featured web site is suggested by Steve 
Woodland, who writes: "Here is an intriguing website all 
about coins with a wildlife theme.  It is called "Daniel's 
Coin Zoo" and it is a great place for the youth of our hobby 
to visit to see some beautiful coins.

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 
at this address:

To join, print the application and return it with your check 
to the address printed on the application. Membership is only 
$15 to addresses in the U.S., $20 elsewhere.  For those without 
web access, write to:

David M. Sundman, Secretary/Treasurer
Numismatic Bibliomania Society, 
P. O. Box 82 Littleton, NH 03561

For Asylum mailing address changes and other membership 
questions, contact David at this email address: 
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