The E-Sylum v8#53, December 18, 2005

esylum at esylum at
Mon Dec 19 03:46:57 PST 2005

Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 8, Number 53, December 18, 2005:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2005, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


No new subscribers this week.  Our count is 826. 

Seven years ago I reported in The E-Sylum issue
#12 (v1n12) that my son Christopher was born on
December 18, 1998.  So today's his birthday and he
had a great weekend of parties.  The E-Sylum is just
a bit over seven years old as well.  Happy birthday!

We have a lot of good tips on maintaining a numismatic 
library this week. On the web we have a new collection 
of images of numismatic postcards and StereoView cards 
and a site for collectors of encased coins.  Katie Jaeger 
contributed an interesting story of an art historian's 
numismatic detective work to identify a number of medals 
depicted in a painting of a Civil War general by John 
Singer Sargent.

Two important events are approaching next month - the 
NBS meeting at the Florida United Numismatists show on 
January 7 and the January 12 Numismatic Book Auction to 
be held at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City for the 
benefit of the American Numismatic Society Library Chair 

The 100th anniversary of the San Francisco Mint building's
ordeal in the 1906 earthquake is coming up next year.
Our quiz question for this week is: who designed the 
sturdy building? Read on to find out!

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


>From the press release: "On January 12th, 2006, a Rare 
Numismatic Book Auction will be held in New York City at 
the Waldorf-Astoria for the benefit of the American 
Numismatic Society Library Chair Endowment. The Auction 
will be held in the 4th floor Louis XVI Suite, with 
cocktails and lot viewing beginning at 4:30, and the sale 
from 5:00 to 6:00. In addition, all lots will be available 
for viewing at the Triton Sale viewing.  All absentee bids 
must be sent to the American Numismatic Society, care of 
Librarian Francis D. Campbell.

Sixty highly desirable lots are featured in the sale, 
estimated at nearly $50,000. Some sale highlights include: 
a personal tour of Library treasures by A. N. S. Librarian 
Frank Campbell; a complete original set of Sylloge Nummorum 
Graecorum Sammlung von Aulock; a very fine example of the 
Chapman brothers' landmark 1882 auction of the collection 
of Charles Bushnell, handsomely, bound, with all 12 fine 
phototype plates; Sylvester Sage Crosby's 1869 American 
Numismatic Society membership and 1876 honorary member 
medals, the latter in silver; many key works on ancient 
Greek and Roman coins; a fine, plated copy of Henry Chapman's 
1916 sale of Clarence Bement's colonial and United States 
coins, as well as the Ars Classica catalogues of his Ancient 
coins (addenda to sale); a suberb example of the deluxe 
leatherbound edition, photographically-illustrated, of B. 
Max Mehl's legendary 1941 W. F. Dunham sale; several works 
by Julius Meili including his rare book on Brazilian paper 
money; and W. Elliot Woodward's 1869 American Numismatic 
Society bronze membership medal.

Perhaps the most intriguing item is lot 49: David Sear's 
original, handwritten manuscript for his Greek Imperial 
Coinage.  This comprises over 900 annotated pages in David's 
beautiful script.  And, in the age of word processing, it 
may represent a unique opportunity to obtain an original 
manuscript of an important numismatic work. 

A copy of the catalogue is being sent to all those on 
George Kolbe's regular mailing list. In addition, the 
catalogue and addenda list may be viewed at the A. N. S. 
website: or at George Kolbe's website:  Please remember that ALL BIDS MUST BE 


Fred Lake writes: "Another year is drawing to a close 
and it will be 2006 very soon. That means kicking off 
the New Year with another great Florida United Numismatists 
coin show. The show is being held in Orlando, Florida on
January 5 - 8, 2006. We will be in the newest part of 
the Orange County Convention Center (Hall NB) which is 
across the street from the old site.
Of note to you bibliophiles, the Numismatic Bibliomania 
Society will hold a meeting on Saturday, January 7, 2006 
at 11:30 AM. The featured speaker is David Crenshaw, 
Director of Numismatic Research for Whitman Publishing. 
The title of his Power-Point talk is, "What is black and 
white and read all over?" Ken Bressett will assist in the 
presentation and be available to answer questions about 
the ubiquitous "Redbook" which is celebrating its 60th 
year in publication."

[For a list of other educational talks and more 
information on the show, see   


Dave Lange writes: "I've seen so little mention in 
print of Roger Burdette's new book that I just want 
to remind subscribers to the E-Sylum that this is 
one of the outstanding numismatic works of 2005. The 
book's title is Renaissance of American Coinage 1916-1921. 
It is the first emission of a planned three-volume series 
and is actually the third volume. The other volumes will 
cover the years 1905-08 and 1909-15, respectively.

Roger's book is being offered by American Numismatic 
Rarities in the company's house organ, The Numismatic Sun, 
but otherwise it is receiving little attention. Roger 
invested enough in the first volume that he likely can't 
afford large advertisements, and I want him to sell enough 
copies to ensure that volumes one and two will see print. 
I believe that the former is nearing completion and is 
expected next year.

The current volume lists at $64.95, plus $4.50 for 
shipping. It may be ordered from Seneca Mill Press, 
POB 1423, Great Falls, VA 22066. In addition to ANR's 
offering, the book is also being carried by Amos Advantage 
and Edelman's.

I have no interest in this venture other than my selfish 
desire to own volumes one and two. I know enough about 
the numismatic publishing business to realize that 
marketing is everything with respect to sales, and I 
don't want this worthy project to fly under our radar."

[Well said - if you've been procrastinating, it's time 
to stop.  Order your copy now and support Roger's great
research efforts.  For years I've always ordered copies
of new books as soon as I see the first advertisement or 
book review.  Often, they seem to disappear after that, 
because ongoing marketing efforts are expensive.  Many 
of the books I've purchased this way later go out of 
print and sometimes rise greatly in value, such as the 
Haxby series on U.S. Obsolete paper money or Dave Bowers' 
Silver Dollar Encyclopedia.  I don't know the print run 
of Roger's books, but I'm willing to bet that the three-
volume set could someday be difficult and expensive to 
obtain in the secondary market.  -Editor]


Dave Bowers writes: "Perhaps a reader can help. I need 
a photograph or image of John Flanagan (1865-1932), 
designer of the Washington quarter.  Thanks!"


Arthur Shippee writes: "The Dutch government has recovered 
a pile of Dutch East India Company bullion from a shipwreck:

"The Dutch Government has started taking possession of 
tens of thousands of dollars worth of silver bullion that 
it last saw 266 years ago.

The silver had been on a Dutch East India Co. ship that 
vanished in a storm in the English Channel in 1739.

Although wreckage was found at the time on Britain's 
south coast, nobody knew precisely where it had sunk. 
The disaster meant that the Dutch East India Co. lost 
around 250 crew and soldiers, and a large silver treasure, 
which was on the way to the East Indies to be converted 
into local coinage.

Despite the disappearance of the ship, the Rooswijk, 
the lost vessel and its treasure remained the property 
of the Dutch East India Co. When the company was taken 
over by the Dutch government in 1798, the Netherlands 
became the legal owners of the vanished bullion.

Last year a British sports diver - Cambridgeshire 
carpenter Ken Welling - found the wreckage. The Dutch 
Government was contacted, and the discovery was kept 
secret until this week, when Holland's Finance Minister, 
Joop Wijn, took possession of original wooden chests 
full of bullion."

To read the full article in The Age:

Dick Johnson writes: "The U.S. Senate passed and sent 
to the president the bill to create four new designs 
for the reverse of the cent -- and commence striking 
dollar coins bearing president portraits and bullion 
coins of their ladies -- all beginning in 2009. We 
have written about this in E-Sylum before: 

The news was carried on ABC news, channel 7 in Chicago 
the following day. Illinois will be a state honored by 
one of the four new Lincoln cent reverse designs. 
However the news broadcast carried one sentence with 
two errors:
"The redesigned pennies will feature four designs on 
the coin's reverse side." 
All collectors know the American coin is a cent, not 
a penny. The other:  "reverse side" is redundant. 
"Reverse" means "back side."   It's like saying the 
"back side side."  Send that station's continuity 
writer back to school.

Wanna read the broadcast story? Click on: "

[The bill also calls for versions of the coins in the 
"exact metallic content" of 1909.  Dave Lange writes: 
"This is for the collector editions only. It's the same 
idea as the .900 fine silver proofs made since 1992. The 
real question that remains is whether the circulating 
cent can survive until 2009 in its present composition. 
I'm certain that the Mint's creative accounting is hiding 
the fact that it costs more than their face value to 
manufacture and distribute these coins."  -Editor]


Regarding last week's item about Fred Reed's recent article 
about the Where's George web site, where I attributed a 
quote to dealer Tom Denly, Tom DeLorey writes: "Tom Denly? 
That was Tom DeLorey, aka me, who was being curmudgeonly.  
You would think that a person with the name of Wayne Homynym 
would be familiar with the problem of similar sounding 
names....... LOL"

[I really must stop editing at midnight, but the show must 
go on whether I'm fully awake or not.  Sorry!  I don't have 
my copy of the issue handy today, but author Fred Reed 
confirms it was indeed Tom DeLorey who was quoted in the 
article, but I'm glad he's laughing out loud about the mixup.


Fred Schwan writes: "Wayne, not you too! Please. In v8n52 
you make the following comment: 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?

One of my pet peeves (and it really drives me crazy) is 
the use of the word currency to mean paper money. Currency
is the money in circulation--both struck and printed. Yes, 
I know that the word currency is frequently misused in this 
way and even by people who really should know better. I 
started to list some example here but decided not to 
antagonize anyone. 

Yes, I wish that we had a nice convenient word for paper 
money comparable to coin, but we do not--at least not yet 
or that I know of. My final yes, you can find a dictionary 
that will support the use of the word currency to mean paper 
money if you look in enough of them, but the majority of 
dictionaries will support the inclusive definition.

Ah, I know, I just figured it out. You sly fox. I get it 
now. You used currency inaccurately in order to generate 
mail! I love it. I might have to try that myself as an 

[Yeah, that's it!  I make mistakes on purpose, just to 
see if anyone's watching.  Yeah, that's the ticket!  


Mark Tomasko writes: "I was getting new money at the 
bank this morning and in answer to Joe Boling's inquiry, 
the prefix on the 2004A $50 bill is G.
David Klinger writes: "The confusing relationship between 
series, year, banks, and serial numbers, on Federal 
Reserve Notes issued since 1996, is explained on the BEP 
web site at the following link: "
"Beginning with Series 1996 Federal Reserve notes, 
there are two prefix letters to the serial number. 
The first prefix letter indicates the series year. 
The second prefix letter indicates the issuing Reserve 
Bank. Table 1 shows the relationship of the series 
year to the first prefix letter serial number. Table 2 
shows the relationship of the second prefix letter in 
the serial number to the Reserve Bank. The last letter 
of the serial number or suffix letter identifies the 
number of times that the Bureau of Engraving and Printing 
used the sequence of serial numbers - A is the first time, 
B is the second time, C is the third time and so on."


On December 11, the Cape Gazette of Delaware reported 
another case of genuine bills being falsely deemed 
counterfeit by a teller using a marking pen:

"Disabled veteran Rob Stevens of Millsboro cashed his 
U.S. Federal Reserve monthly disability check at a 
Millsboro bank shortly after 9 a.m., Dec. 1, and 
closed out his account there. 

As Stevens later explained to police, he immediately 
took the slightly more than $2,000 - mostly in $50 bills 
- to the Sussex County Federal Credit Union on Route 1 
in Lewes, where he wanted to open a new account.

When Stevens handed the money to the teller, who used 
a marker to check the $50 notes, Stevens' world turned 
upside down. The teller told him the money was counterfeit.

His life savings were confiscated as evidence and a six-day 
investigation ensued."

"Cpl. Jeff Oldham, state police spokesman, said the 
marker used by the credit union teller to test the 
money might have been defective. Counterfeit currency 
markers have been advertised on line since 1998 as highly 
effective - but not perfect - tools for detecting bad U.S. 
or universal currency." 

"The pens are designed to make an amber mark on good 
currency and a dark brown or black mark on bills that 
are probably counterfeit."

"Stevens said after receiving the call that he was 
greatly relieved to learn state police had solved the 
case and were returning the stack of $50 bills he had 
tried to deposit at the credit union."

To read the complete story, see: 


Andrew W. Pollock III writes; "A few years back E-Sylum 
had a fair amount of discussion on the retrieval of 700 
volumes of Treasury records c. 1840-1910 that has been 
scheduled for destruction because of a lack of "sufficient 
archival value." I can't remember if E-Sylum mentioned 
the date of the issue in Coin World in which the story 
was originally published, but since I've found an 
incomplete copy of the original article in my papers, 
I thought I'd report the details for those who have 
access to a microfilm edition:

Title: Dealer retrieves 700 volumes of Treasury records
Author: William T. Gibbs
Date: May 18, 1983
Volume 24, Issue 1205"

[The topic was discussed in April 2001.  Here are links 
to the original E-Sylum articles: 


George Vanca of Santa Clarita, CA writes: "In regard 
to your question about additional points on care and 
preservation of one's numismatic library, I have found 
the following to be very helpful:

I store much of my material; i.e., thinner card covered 
auctions, newsletters, brochures, etc., in Mylar sleeves.  
Mylar is of Archival quality and will not turn yellow 
with age.  

On my most treasured items, I slide an acid free backing 
board into the Mylar sleeve. The backing boards I use 
have an activated charcoal layer that absorbs and 
neutralizes the pollutants associated with (older) paper.

The backing board supports and protects the material, 
while at the same time, acting as a buffer.  This is 
extremely important, particularly with more valuable 

The charcoal actually helps to retard the aging process 
of paper products.  I then store the documents in archival 
storage boxes.  When someone looks at my collection, they 
can thumb through the boxes examining items within the 
Mylar sleeves. This is a nice way to showcase one's more 
fragile items, without worrying about fingerprints or 
damage occurring from misuse.

This may sound like a lot of work, but when one takes 
pride in their collection, they can derive a sense of 
satisfaction in knowing that they are preserving these 
valuables for future generations.  After all, as 
bibliophiles, aren't we caretakers entrusted with a 
little piece of history?"

[I have an extensive collection of numismatic ephemera, 
and store most of the items in archival sleeves with 
archival backing boards.  The sleeves are in three-ring 
binders, organized by topic and labeled.  This makes it 
very easy to locate and view items while still keeping 
them protected.  Last year at the Pittsburgh Library 
tour, I put all these binders in cardboard boxes and 
set them out on a table for easy access.  After the event, 
I ended up lining the boxes across the top of a long row 
of bookshelves, with the binder edges facing out, just 
like on a bookshelf.   I've toyed with the idea of ordering 
custom binders in slipcases, but haven't felt like spending 
the money.  My binders are a motley mix of new and used in 
various sizes and colors. Not fancy, but it works pretty 
well.  The material is safe and sound, and that's what 
matters most. -Editor]


Anne Bentley writes: "After 25 years as conservator 
at the MHS, I've seen just about everything a human 
being can do to kill a book...believe me, it's not 

Some quick pointers for your readers to give them 
years of enjoyment from their libraries:

Store "heavy" books flat: upright storage, even with 
good bookends, can result in the text pulling away 
from the binding.

When removing books from the shelf, don't use the headband 
to pull the book from the shelf. Instead, shove the adjacent 
books back a bit and pull the book straight out (thumb and 
fingers holding it by the boards)

Don't let rubber bands anywhere near anything you plan to 
keep.  If you have rubber bands on things, use scissors to 
cut them off so you don't damage anything by the friction 
of pulling them off.

Don't use self adhesive tapes of any kind on your books...
even the so=called "conservation tape" is pretty irreversable 
after awhile.

If you need to hold body and soul together, tie the 
item with 100% unbleached cotton twill tape. If you tie 
it like a present, with the bow either on the top or fore
edge, the knot and bow won't damage books alongside the 
tied one.

If you stuff extra material in your books, you will 
eventually break the binding.  We place additional 
material in archival envelopes alongside the volume. 

Don't save your place by folding down pages or using 
"Post-its."  A simple flat paper marker is easier on 
the book and just as handy.

For those of you who use bookplates, remember that you 
only paste down the whole plate on hard covers: for 
paperbacks, tip the plate into the front cover...use a 
thin line of adhesive on the back, right hand edge, then 
stick the plate onto the inside front cover as close to 
the shoulder as possible. Do check to find archival (ie- 
reversable in water and neutral pH) adhesive: lots of 
craft stores carry it now under various brand names, 
so it shouldn't be difficult.  

For excellent information on collections preservation, 
check out the Library of Congress conservation pages at

To see the sort of archival storage materials available, 
check out Conservators On Line' listings at

I hope this answered a few questions.
Season's Greetings to all!"


Last week Pete Smith wrote: "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."

Joe Boling writes: "Pete Smith knows very well who wrote 
that book. OK, Pete, where ARE some available for sale?"

[Humor doesn't always come across well in print, especially 
for readers in no position to get the inside joke.  I 
should have clarified that last week, but figured his 
note would generate some responses.  The author of the 
aforementioned book was Pete Smith himself.  -Editor]

Harold Eiserloh writes: "I have a copy of the book 
"Building, Maintaining and Disposing of a Numismatic 
Library" in like-new condition. It was written by Pete 
Smith and published by the author in 1994. The book is 
card cover, nominally 8 1/2" x 11" and has 62 pages with 
two staples at the centerfold."

[It is a great book, a handy one-volume reference to much 
of what a numismatic bibliophile needs to know.  Pete 
does have some copies on hand, for sale at $12 each, 
postpaid.  Send payment to Pete Smith, 2424 4th Street 
N.E., Minneapolis, MN 55418.  -Editor]


>From a December 12 Reuters article: "U.S. publisher 
HarperCollins said on Monday it plans to convert some 
20,000 books in its catalog into digital form in a bid 
to rein in potential copyright violations on the Internet.

The move comes as the U.S. publishing industry is 
bringing lawsuits against Web search leader Google Inc. 
over its effort to scan copyrighted books in libraries 
-- a move the industry fears would set a dangerous 
copyright precedent."

"She said that while there were no concrete plans in 
place to make money from the project, there were various 
possibilities down the line, from e-books to subscriptions 
or advertising. "Those things are possible and they will 
all happen most probably more quickly than not," she said. 

"Right now we're not selling ... our first concern is 
protecting the authors' copyright. But we're not non-profit, 
obviously. We're going to look to monetize all this." 

"Do I believe people will be reading novels on their cell 
phones? Who knows?" she added." 

[William H. Sheldon's numismatic classic "Early American 
Cents 1793-1814" was published in 1949 by HarperCollins 
predecessor Harper & Brothers.  Will it become available 
online someday?  -Editor]


The News-Tribune of Tacoma, WA published a lengthy 
story on Todd Imhof of Pinnacle Rarities and his recent 
purchase of the a 1927-D double eagle. 

" "I was as relaxed as I could be," Imhof said. Employees 
and trusted friends sat nearby, ready to identify the 
other bidders for Imhof.

Up came the 1927-Denver $20 gold piece graded as mint-state 
67, a pristine example, one of the finest known.

"I was - not nervous - but a little bit confused," 
Imhof said. "It opened higher than I thought it would."

"I have an opening bid of $1.6 million," said the 
auctioneer. It was an Internet bid, not from someone 
in the room.

No one spoke.

A bit befuddled, Imhof indicated an advance to $1.65 
million - or, with the buyer's premium fee, a total 
of $1,897,500.

"It suddenly got quiet, very unusual," Imhof said. 
"I anticipated a small war."

No battle arose. The gavel came down. Applause rolled 
through the room.

"It was surreal. It was the most I'd ever spent on 
a coin," Imhof said."

To read the complete article, see:


Alan Meghrig writes: "I helped Karl Moulton add images 
of his numismatic postcards and StereoView cards to 
his website.  I found them fascinating.  As I scanned 
and processed them I would stare at them completely 
mesmerized. With them filling my 20" iMac screen...  
You could almost hear the activity and smell the machinery.  
I swear I thought I could hear the muffled sound of a 
Tardis somewhere just out of sight.  More reasonably 
sized version are posted to the web site. 

They can be accessed from:

Or you can go directly to them at: "

[Tardis is the time machine from the BBC 'Dr. Who' 
television series.  -Editor (with assistance from
Alan, who had to fill me in)]


Katie Jaeger writes: "A few weeks ago in The E-Sylum, 
Dick Johnson mentioned our joint research trip to the 
Tiffany & Co. archives in Parsippany, NJ.  Aside from being 
a day spent in exceptional good company, for me it was a 
day of piqued interest, not just in my own research and 
Dick's, but in a query the archivist posed to us at the 
end of the day.  Having spent all afternoon overhearing 
our comments as we worked, the archivist (Louisa Bann) 
began to realize how much Dick knew about American medals 
and brought over some queries she had been receiving, that 
had stumped her.  He answered some immediately, so she 
brought more.  One was an email from a man researching a 
John Singer Sargent portrait of Civil War general Lucius 
Fairchild.  In the painting, Fairchild is wearing 5 medals.  
Sargent was an impressionist, so there is no detail but 
the shape, ribbon color, and general attributes of the 
bars, eagles, etc., on the medals, but these are all 
accurate.   The emailer had identified three of the medals, 
and sought help with Tiffany's for the other two.  Both 
were unfamiliar to Dick and me, but the emailer's quest 
to establish biographical detail (on Fairchild) through 
material culture (a painting AND medals), had me salivating.  
I wanted the details.  So I emailed Louisa Bann and begged 
her to give me the guy's address. 

His name is Barry Bauman, of River Forest, IL and he is 
a painting conservator.  He told me that he has done so 
well in that business, that he has been able to quit 
charging for his work, but he will only accept jobs from 
cash-strapped museums and historical societies who need 
his services to preserve really important works.  Imagine 
his delight when the Wisconsin Historical Society sent 
him a $4 million Sargent to conserve!  Working on the 
painting prompted him to want to get to know its subject, 
General Lucius Fairchild, and tell his story.  He spent 
months on the quest, and the attached link, recently made 
public by Bauman, spells it out. It is a magnificent story 
with many levels of interest: historical, artistic, and 
numismatic. And in my opinion, Sargent was one of our top 
portraitists and this website is a feast for the eyes.  
I'm sure E-Sylum readers will be interested to learn how 
Bauman tracked down the five medals.  The link is below: "

[From Fairchild's diary: "December 9, 1887--"The portrait 
is going on--probably three more sittings will finish it 
--The badges are all on the manly breast."  

Here's a quick link to the medal section: 

Medal #1: The Grand Army of the Republic
Medal #2: The Unknown Medal
Medal #3: The Grand Army of the Republic 
          Presentation Medal
Medal #4: The Military Order of the Loyal Legion 
          of the United States
Medal #5: The Society of the Army of the Potomac

"As stated earlier, the search for the medals took 
numerous paths. Contacts were made with historians, 
medal experts, museum curators, descendants and Internet 
forums. Four of the medals are now known. Medal #2 remains 
unknown but there are inherent clues, based on Fairchild's 
career, as to its possible origins. Gleaned information 
from Sargent's artistic reinterpretation of the previous 
medals lends benefits and difficulties."

Can any of our readers help identify Medal #2?  -Editor]


The previous item about the medal of General Lucius 
Fairchild includes one from an organization I hadn't 
heard of before: MOLLUS.   Do any of our readers have 
one of these medals?  Have any been sold in numismatic 

"With the death of President Lincoln on April 15, 1865, 
rumors spread throughout Washington of a larger conspiracy 
to assassinate other officials leading to the overthrow 
of the Federal government.(29) Three officers who formed 
the guard of honor when the President's body arrived at 
Independence Hall in Philadelphia, on its way to Springfield, 
Illinois, pledged unswerving loyalty to the Union and the 
ideals the President stood for. Together they formed "The 
Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States", 
or M.O.L.L.U.S., and set the day of Lincoln's death as 
its founding day. 
Its first meeting was held at Independence Hall on April 
20, 1865. Membership was limited to commissioned officers 
of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard."

For information on the organization, see: 


According to a December 12 story by the Northwest 
NewsChannel 8 in Portland, Oregon, on Monday a public 
building in that city by the designer of the San 
Francisco Mint has been reopened following an extensive 
restoration: "The 130-year-old courthouse had become 
deteriorated from decades of use. It's now open for 
public tours." 

"Pioneer Courthouse is the second oldest courthouse 
west of the Mississippi River. It was listed as a 
National Historic Landmark in 1977. 

The courthouse was originally designed as a complete 
federal building, according to the GSA. It primarily 
housed the U.S. Court and a post office. Other functions 
included assessor and collection offices for the Internal 
Revenue Service and customs offices. 

It was designed by Alfred B. Mullett, who also designed 
the United States Mint in San Francisco." 

To read the complete story (registration required):

The Portland Courthouse was constructed at about the 
same time as the San Francisco Mint, and understanding 
Mullett's thinking about both buildings goes a long way 
toward explaining why the Mint survived the 1906 
earthquake and fire.  

>From the Treasury Department's web page on the old Mint:
"Originally constructed on the edge of the city's downtown 
in a predominantly residential and commercial area. The 
desire for the building to be unencumbered by adjoining 
structures was a central part of Supervising Architect 
Alfred B. Mullett's architectural philosophy. A fire at 
the Custom House in Portland, Maine, taught him the 
importance of keeping public buildings free-standing, 
"isolated by wide streets or open spaces."

"The Pioneer Courthouse is arguably the most important 
building in the Pacific Northwest and is the oldest 
standing Federal Building in this region. The Courthouse 
and its surrounding parklike site occupies a full city 
block in the center of downtown Portland."

[So there's the answer to our Quiz Question: Alfred Mullett 
designed the old San Francisco Mint building.  He also 
designed the Carson City, NV mint building.  Note that 
Mullett is spelled with two Ts and is not to be confused 
with the Mullet haircut.  From the Wikipedia entry: "The 
mullet is a type of haircut, in which the hair is long at 
the back of the head (usually at least to the shoulders), 
but cut shorter on the top, front, and sides of the head. 
The result looks like long hair from behind, but short 
hair from the front.... The style has, since the early 90s, 
become the subject of ridicule in some circles. A common 
description of the mullet hairstyle and its "versatility" 
is "Business in the front, party in the back."


"Alfred B. Mullett was born in England in 1834. His 
family immigrated to Glendale, Ohio in 1845. A couple 
of years later he began work in the Cincinnati office 
of architect Isaiah Rogers. Mullett later moved to 
Washington, D.C. and in 1863 began work for the 
Treasury Department. He rose to the position of 
Supervising Architect in 1866. 

During his eight years as Supervising Architect, he 
oversaw the design and construction of over forty 
federal buildings across America. 

Several of these buildings are still standing, 
including the Mint in Carson City, NV, the Mint in 
San Francisco, CA, and the State, War and Navy Building 
(now the Old Executive Office Building) in Washington, D.C." 

For more on the Old Executive Office Building, a true 
Washington D.C. landmark, right next door to The White 
House, see:

In 1985 family members Daisy Mullett Smith and Suzanne 
Mullett Smith published "A.B. Mullett Diaries & C: 
Annotated Documents, Research and Reminiscence Regarding 
a Federal Architect Engineer Architect" (ISBN: 0961141018).
In 1990 Daisy Mullett Smith published "A.B. Mullett: His 
Relevance in American Architecture and Historic Preservation"


>From an Associated Press report December 12: "Coin 
collectors, state officials, educators and an elementary 
school student are among 22 Arizonans selected by Gov. 
Janet Napolitano to serve on a new commission to help 
pick Arizona's entry in the U.S. Mint's 50 State 
Quarters Program.

The Arizona State Quarter Commission will hold its 
first meeting Wednesday. Napolitano ordered its creation 
in October and her office announced its membership 

"This is a unique opportunity to create a piece of 
Arizona history," Napolitano said in a statement. 
"These coins will be in cherished collections for 
years to come."


Chick Ambrass alerted us to the web site for Encased 
Collectors International.  The site has a number of 
great articles and images on encased coins. 


>From a December 14 news report: "Korea's central 
bank said yesterday it would supply its new 5,000-won 
($4.84) notes with stronger anti-forgery features 
starting in early January.

The Bank of Korea plans to stockpile 80 million of 
the notes by the end of the year and start supplying 
them to local financial institutions on Jan. 2.
The central bank began printing the new notes at 
state-run minting facilities in November in hopes 
of thwarting an increasing number of counterfeiters. 
The new banknote, featuring the portrait of Yul-gok, 
a Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) scholar-bureaucrat, 
includes holograms and other anti-forgery features.

The central bank is also preparing new designs for 
the 10,000-won and 1,000-won notes. The prototypes 
will be made public in the first half of 2006 and 
the notes released later the same year.  Increasingly 
sophisticated attempts to counterfeit the money have 
been a major headache for Korea's central bank, 
leading to the adoption of the additional anti-forgery 


Mark Tomasko writes: "I enjoy reading The E-Sylum. 
Interesting stories on the Swiss and Nigerian paper money. 
Thanks for your efforts. 

I was surprised at Pat MacAuley's comments. I do not 
see coinage threatened with extinction in daily commerce. 
While you rarely see a half dollar today, you rarely saw 
them in the past either. That coin hasn't circulated to 
any great extent for the last half century. And I don't 
agree that the "dollar coin is a potential winner." The 
Sacajawea dollar is a coin in search of a purpose, as 
I believe it was produced primarily due to the copper 
producers' lobbying efforts, and those of the vending 
machine industry too. I believe that public opinion polls 
have shown that the American public greatly prefers the 
convenience of paper dollar bills. And the purported 
savings by forcing us all to have a pocket full of heavy 
change (such as was foisted upon the the Canadians and 
Europeans) is probably a small fraction of the cost of 
one jet fighter plane. Fortunately, in the U.S. public 
opinion does count.  In terms of numismatics, the state 
quarter program and the changes in the nickels have been 
the most interesting things to happen to coinage in my 
lifetime. For the last 40 to 50 years the circulating 
coinage has effectively been the penny through the quarter. 
It was then and it is now. While use of the penny may 
diminish (I don't see that happening at the current time), 
I suspect the nickel, dime, and quarter will be around 
for a very long time."


This week's featured web site is recommended by John 
and Nancy Wilson. They write: "While looking for 
information on Justice L. F. G. Baby, whose portrait 
appears on the 25th Anniversary Medal of the Numismatic 
and Antiquarian Society Montreal Medal in 1887, we ran 
across a nice site with loads of Canadian and collecting 
information.  We wish you and the readers a great Holiday 

>From the web site: "The Bank of Canada's Currency Museum 
was opened in 1980. It is home to the National Currency 
Collection, the largest collection of Canadian bank notes, 
coins, and tokens in the world. The Museum is located 
within the first Bank of Canada building (built in 1934), 
just minutes from Parliament Hill.

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: 
dsundman at

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