The E-Sylum v8#12, March 20, 2005
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Sun Mar 20 19:28:06 PST 2005
Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 8, Number 12, March 20, 2005:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2004, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Among our recent subscribers are George Fitzgerald and
Matt Gordon. Welcome aboard! We now have 735
BOWERS SEEKS ASSISTANCE FOR PUBLICATIONS
Dave Bowers writes: "For Whitman Publishing Co., LLC,
I am involved in multiple projects. One of them is a
dictionary/almanac type of book listing numismatic terms,
people, events, places, and the like.
While I will not be able to list the many thousands of
collectors and dealers who have come in and out of the
hobby, I would like to catch the more important ones,
including modern-day figures.
If you have been an author of numismatic items, or have
been important in the trade, or have held a significant
office in a numismatic organization, or have done research,
etc., I would be grateful to receive a brief biographical
sketch suitable for publication.
Such could include your date of birth, when you entered
numismatics, your specialties, accomplishments, trade
styles (if you are in the numismatic business), and more.
Probably from about 15 words to 40 words would be
ideal. I can edit.
Separately, I am doing an “all about coins” book for
Whitman, and desire any sharp photograph, suitable for
publication, that have to do with numismatic libraries,
research, and related matters. It seems to me that NBS
members have much to offer in this regard! Any
individuals in the pictures should be identified.
Thank you so much for any interest you may take.
Private e-mail you can use: qdbarchive at metrocast.net "
CONFEDERATE CURRENCY GROUP FORMING?
Fred Reed writes: "After publishing our 2nd very successful
Confederate/Civil War special topical issue in PAPER MONEY,
the Society of Paper Money Collectors award-winning magazine,
and fielding numerous inquiries and comments resulting from my
Confederate States of America column “Shades of the Blue and
the Grey” in BANK NOTE REPORTER, it’s become
apparent that interest in CSA material is on the upsurge.
Conversations recently have turned to the possibilities of
a study group or loose organization developing among our
CSA fraternity along the lines of a special interest group (SIG),
quasi-club, e-mail or internet chatter group, e-newsletter, or
similar body along the lines of the Fractional Currency
Collector’s Board, Large Cent, or Colonial specialist
Several outstanding specialized CSA books have appeared
in the last couple years, suggesting how diverse our
“commonality of interest” is. With (at least) two more new
CSA books on the horizon, now seems be the right time to
start up such a group.
These new books are by J. Wayne Hilton, whose book
“Collecting Confederate Currency: A Hobby or An
Investment?” incorporates the results of thousands of
auctions from 1865 – 2005” was revealed in the April
issue of BNR. The other by Pierre Fricke, entitled
“Collecting Confederate Paper Money,” promises a
thorough reworking of the Bradbeer-Criswell Type-
Variety system and was described by its author in the
recent special issue of SPMC’s PAPER MONEY.
The Fricke book will be published by R.M. Smythe.
Each will further energize this genre.
The proposed CSA Currency SIG need not be formal
to be effective. And such a group needn’t necessarily
plunder already existing paper money groups either.
What do readers of The E-Sylum think? Your ideas
and input are of value. Information about this proposed
group or SPMC is available from me via e-mail at
freed3 at airmail.net or by snail mail at P.O. Box
118162, Carrollton, TX 75011-8162. If you desire
a reply please enclose a self-addressed stamped
[I, for one, am all for the idea. In fact, I'm surprised that
such a group hasn't been formed already. When I read
Fred's suggestion in PAPER MONEY I encouraged him
to submit the idea to E-Sylum readers. -Editor]
AIPN BOOK OF THE YEAR NOMINATIONS SOUGHT
Allan Davisson writes: "Each year the IAPN (International
Association of Professional Numismatists) presents its "book
of the year" award to the work that receives the most votes
from members attending the annual congress.
This year the congress will be in San Diego in late May. I
am responsible for organizing the presentation for this award
this year. Both as an IAPN member and as the person
responsible for organizing the program, I would be happy to
consider nominating numismatic books that E-Sylum readers
might want to recommend. The publishing date can be 2004
or later. In addition to the recognition and a medal, there is
also a cash award that goes with the prize. Last year Dekesel's
BIBLIOGRAPHY OF 17TH CENTURY NUMISMATIC
BOOKS (3 volumes) won the prize.
Submitters can send review copies of their books to me. The
books in the contest are all donated, after the meetings, to a
local numismatic society. I can be emailed at coins at cloudnet.com
for more information. Our regular US mail address is simply
Davissons/ Cold Spring, MN 56320. (This is not always
enough for UPS or FEDEX though most of the drivers find us.
If you want to use one of those services, contact me and I
will provide a physical address.)"
THOUGHTS ON JERRY REMICK
Fred Reed writes: "I am very sorry to hear of Jerry's death.
I only "knew' Jerry in the 1970s when I was at Coin World
and I knew him best (I'll bet many of us did) by his letterhead
which listed dozens and dozens of numismatic affiliations.
At first this struck me as somewhat off-putting, especially
when his stationery would be amended by hand as
organizations would transpire or he'd join others. As time
went on, however, and Jerry's many writings (especially
book reviews and notices) would reach my desk I came
to realize that he was a genuine decent individual with a
great many interests and by golly some of them were my
interests too. So this individualistic approach was an
excellent way of reach out across the miles and make
"friends." Jerry's great diversity of interests made him
kind of a one-man wire service in the days before the
Internet, and surely a Renaissance spirit in our hobby.
He will be missed by his many correspondent "friends."
GEORGE FISHER, CHINESE COIN EXPERT
Bill Rosenblum writes (Saturday, March 19): George Fisher
passed away Friday afternoon. George was one of the leading
western authorities on early Chinese cash coins and other non
machine made Chinese coins. He had been an instructor at
the ANA Summer Seminar for many years and had spent an
even longer time as a weekly volunteer at the ANA museum.
He was also the author and publisher of Fisher's Deng a
compilation of Ding Fubao's book on the same subject. He
numbered, priced and arranged the book so that westerners
could have a basic understanding of the system.
More information will follow next week but I'm still in shock.
I had seen George on Thursday and while not well and weak
there was no indication that the end was so close. He had been
diagnosed with pancreatic cancer the previous week but had
been given 1 to 3 months to live. He lived 8 to 9 days after
BACK ONLINE: PETER MOSIONDZ, JR.
Peter Mosiondz, Jr.of Laurel Springs, NJ has been an
on-again, off-again E-Sylum subscriber for a number of
years. He's back with us, and shares his story with us:
"I had been very ill off and on during the past several years.
I did not know what the problem was. I had been diagnosed
as having acid reflux disease and then a severe digestive
disorder. Anyway, significant weight loss began to set in
early last year and I decided to have a colonoscopy. On
November 4th I was diagnosed with colon cancer. Five
days later they removed a 4-1/4 pound cancerous tumor
from my colon. The surgeon said that I was carrying
cancer in my body for at least three, and possibly as long
as five, years. The operation was successful. I am now
(thank almighty God) cancer-free. I have recuperated and
regained my strength. I have also put back on about 10 of
the 40 pounds I lost.
I apologize for causing you so much work in adding, then
removing me, etc. But, I was very ill and felt very weak
during the past few years. In any event, would you be
kind enough to add me back on the E-Sylum mailing list.
You may print this if you want. I would like all of my friends
to know what had become of me. My Sincerest Thanks,
[Welcome back, and here's to your health! -Editor]
WORK IN PROGRESS: GOOD MONEY:
The web address listed below holds links to sample chapters
of a new book in progress about the private copper coinage
of 18th-century England. The author is E-Sylun subscriber
George Selgin, Professor of Economics at The Terry College
of Business at University of Georgia. On the web site he
"Two recent works, Angela Redish's Bimetallism (Cambridge
University Press 2000) and Thomas Sargent and François
Velde's The Big Problem of Small Change (Princeton
University Press 2002) discuss Britain's 18th-century small-
change problem and how it delayed the emergence of the
gold standard. Both mention the private copper coinage,
but wrongly assume that its success was due to the invention,
by Matthew Boulton, of the steam-driven coining press
rather than to the competitive nature of the private coinage
regime. My Economic History Review paper, "Steam, Hot
Air, and Small Change: Matthew Boulton and the Reform
of Britain's Coinage." refutes this view and explains the real
reasons behind the superiority of the private copper coinage."
The book is to be titled "GOOD MONEY: Birmingham
Button Makers, the Royal Mint, and the Beginnings of
Modern Coinage 1775-1821."
E-SYLUM ARCHIVE SEARCH
A web site visitor recently asked if we had a search feature
for the E-Sylum archive. We do - go to this page:
You can also do this via Google. Go to http://www.google.com
and put "site:coinbooks.org" in the search box before your query.
For example: "site:coinbooks.org panamint ball" will locate
three E-Sylum issues containing that obscure combination of
JOHN ADAMS PEACE MEDAL FOLLOW-UP
Anne E. Bentley, Curator of Art of the Massachusetts
Historical Society writes: "Thanks to all who replied to my
"John Adams Peace Medal by Alan Leonard" question.
John Kraljevich sent me to our neighbors down the street,
Boston Museum of Fine Arts, where Patrick McMahon
confirmed that he has another JA by Leonard. He's also
located a third in the Smithsonian, as well as the various
publications in which this medal is cited and/or illustrated.
We discovered a significant weight difference between our
medals, so the MFA has been analyzing them for us.
When we've completed our research, we'll get an article
together for the fun of it.
Thanks to all for being so generous with information -- I
learn something new each Monday!"
HODGES' AMERICAN BANK NOTE SAFE GUARD
On another topic, Anne E. Bentley writes: "I have a
question concerning the rarity (or not) of our copy of
E.M. Hodges' American Bank Note Safe Guard, revised
edition [n.p., n.d.] with J.L. French autograph, 1865, and
an additional note on the inside cover as follows:
"Returned with thanks to J.L. French after constant use in
the Campaign of 1892 as a practical illustration of the
disadvantages & inconveniences of State Banks-- [signed]
Henry Cabot Lodge Nov. 19th 1892"
Sen. Lodge's inscription and the accompanying newspaper
articles relating to his use of the book up the ante for us as
far as its historical value, but I'm wondering if the volume
itself is considered a rarity in numismatic literature?"
[1865 is the last edition of this title, according to George
Kolbe's description of lot 590 in his June 1, 2004 sale of
the John J. Ford numismatic library, Part I. Lots 589-594
in the sale are various editions of the Hodges work, under
various titles, dated 1859, 1859, 1861, 1862, 1863, 1863.
Kolbe states "All of the various editions appear to be rare,
some extremely so. The 1865 edition was not in the Ford
sale, nor was it in the landmark Armand Champa library
(Bowers and Merena sales 1994-1995, cataloged by
Charles Davis). -Editor]
LABAN HEATH'S MAGNIFYING LENSES
Heath's Counterfeit Detectors became much more popular
than the Hodges book, and are much more plentiful today.
Collectors of Heath Counterfeit Detectors will find an
article in the Winter 2005 issue of the Fractional Currency
Collectors Board (FCCB) of interest. Jerry Fochtman
"In our last Newsletter Benny Bolin challenged us to find
an example of the Heath folding microscope that is advertised
in the back of several editions of Heath's Counterfeit Detector.
As it turns out, there are three club members that have examples
of this magnifying glass! Two of the members were able to
provide graphic pictures showing the folding magnifying lens
and its box." The article pictures ads for "Heath's Improved
Adjustable Compound Microscope," two boxes (for two
difference size versions of the microscope, and two of the
We first mentioned these in the June 8, 2003 (v6n3) issue
of The E-Sylum, in a discussion of Item 105 in George
Frederick Kolbe's 2003 Numismatic Bookseller fixed price
THE 1922 ARRAS HOARD
Last week, Henry Bergos wrote: "I remember reading about
some French workers finding Roman Medallions. They were
told that they were counterfeiting them and would land in
prison if they didn't stop. The workers MELTED them!!!
They were gold and from the first 1/3 of the fourth century.
As I remember it this happened in 1924 as they were
building a subway in Paris."
Bob Lyall writes: "I heard that story 30 or more years ago,
possibly from one of the most respected and knowledgeable
UK coin dealers. If more data is desired, then I could ask
him (he is retired) or someone with a command of French
could try asking the Bibliotech Nationale in Paris."
Bob Leonard writes: "This is the Arras hoard, one of the
most famous hoards of Roman coins. "Found in Arras in
the suburb of Beaurains in France on the 21st of September
in 1922, the hoard was not the largest in quantity to be found,
only about 200 to 300 coins, but what made it famous were
the 40 Roman gold medallions it had." The story of many
huge medallions being melted is, unfortunately, true.
There are many papers about the Arras hoard in the ANS
One of the references Bob mentioned is the ANS' Numismatic
Notes and Monographs No. 28 by Agnes Baldwin Brett:
"Four Medallions from the Arras hoard", 1926.
A web search turned up other references to the hoard:
"Struck in AD 310 at Trier, the nine solidi Arras Medallion
depicts, on the reverse, the personification of London
kneeling before the city gate, which is approached by a
Roman warship. Constantius is portrayed mounted on
horseback in the guise of a triumphant emperor, holding
a spear in one hand and a globe in the other, with the
inscription "restorer of eternal light." Part of a treasure
hoard found in Arras, France in 1922, the medallion
sold at auction for $341,000 in 1996.
Carausius is depicted on the left, Allectus on the right.
Both wear the laurel crown of an emperor."
" the 4 aurei struck in AD 305, part of the Arras Hoard
found in 1922 in France and still the only known specimen;
it was listed in the auction catalog at 375,000 Swiss
Francs and was bought by Gunnar Thesen of Oslo
Mynthandel, on behalf of a European client, for 510,000
Swiss Francs, the highest price ever for an antique Roman
coin put on the block in Switzerland."
HASELTINE PHOTO SOUGHT
Stephen Vogelsang writes: "I was referred to you by Mr. Bill
Malkmus, whose name appeared in The E-Sylum website in
connection with some images of Captain John Haseltine, the
numismatist who did the Lovett restrikes circa 1874.
I am currently working on an article about the Lovett/Haseltine
Cent for an Australian magazine. He suggested the magazine
article the photo was first published in, but thought I should also
contact you regarding possible mention in The E-Sylum. I am
working in collaboration with Mr. Harold Levi, who is writing
a book on the Lovett Haseltine Cent, and indirectly Mr. Rulau
of Krause publishing who has apparently also involvement with
some research on the Confederate States of America and
CSA pattern coinage.
Obtaining a photo of the elusive and enigmatic Haseltine has
proved challenging. I am a member of the Unrecognised States
Numismatic Society, www.usns.info which specializes in the
study of unofficial, unauthorized or regional numismatic production.
Thank You. My email address is knossos134 at earthlink.net."
UNRECOGNISED STATES NUMISMATIC SOCIETY
Until receiving the previous note from Stephen Vogelsang
I was unaware of the existence of the Unrecognised States
Numismatic Society. From the group's web site:
"Specialising in the study of coins, medallic pieces, banknotes
and related numismatic, pseudonumismatic and exonumismatic
material issued by unrecognised states, alternative governments,
rebel and secessionist groups, political associations, alternative
currency promoters, chivalric orders, new country projects,
micronations and related entities, commercial organisations,
artists, writers, film makers, royal pretenders and exiles,
fantasists and utopian visionaries."
The annual membership fee is US $15. The web site is
limited, but does list some articles of interest as well as
listing "unrecognised entities that are known or reputed to
have minted coins or printed banknotes," including the
Republic of San Seriffe, the Nation of Celestial Space
(Celestia), the Conch Republic, the Principalities of
Freedonia and Hutt River Province. One that I would
add to the list is Nicholas Veeder's Eutopia Dollar.
Mark Van Winkle, writing about the 1952 ANA Sale
for the Heritage Insider magazine, stated: "my favorite coin
from the auction (although it only realized $29) is the 1886
Co-Metallic Dollar of Eutopia. With its twelve signs of the
zodiac, this part silver, part gold pattern was designed and
struck by Nicholas Veeder of Pittsburgh. Called "a version
of the Goloid dream" by a contemporary, only four pieces
were believed known of this unofficial pattern."
Another coin to add (under the "Rebel governments"
category) is the 1990 gold token issued by the Tamil Rebels
in Sri Lanka (formal name: Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam
(LTTE). See the following pages on Kavan Ratnatunga's
If any E-Sylum readers would like to provide more
information on the Eutopia dollars or any other such fantasy
coins, I'll pass it on to the USNS. See their web site at:
THE MINI 50TH ANNIVERSARY RED BOOKS
In response to our earlier discussions, David Lange writes:
"These little folders came both with and without dimes dated
1946 and 1996. You had to get to the booth early to get the
ones with dimes, as these ran out after the first couple of days.
Being already known as a collector of coin folders, I was able
to score several examples with dimes and a few without. I
have still have them, and they are listed in the catalog I
Not mentioned in the E-Sylum were the 1990 mini-folders
distributed at the Seattle ANA convention that year to mark
the 50th anniversary of the familiar Whitman blue coin folder.
These were slightly larger than the mini-folders of 1996 and
displayed a reduced-size version of the then-current Whitman
Lincoln Cent folder #9004. Each contained a 1940 and 1990
cent. As in 1996, the ones with cents ran out early, so they
may be found without coins, too."
1851 LONDON EXHIBITOR'S MEDAL INFO SOUGHT
Jim Barry writes: "I recently purchased an Exhibitor's Medal
from the 1851 Great Exhibition in London. (Bust of Prince
Albert facing left on the obverse, a globe decorated with a
scroll inscribed EXHIBITOR within a wreath on the reverse).
While I have done research on same, I would like to know
more about this particular medal. The medal is edge lettered
"United States of America #14". Is there any information on
the person who was Exhibitor #14 and what his/her exhibit
was? I realize that there were several types of exhibits with
foreigners being listed separately but hope someone would
have more information on this exhibitor. Thank you for your
THE PERILS OF SHRINK-WRAP
Nancy W. Green, Librarian of the American Numismatic
Association writes: "Someone mentioned books in shrink-wrap
this week. This is not the best way to store books. Most
shrink-wrap has a few small holes in it now but if it doesn't
and there is any moisture trapped inside the packaging you
may get green and growing books. If you live in a humid
climate, I would remove the shrink-wrap just in case, even
if it does have holes. Fire and water are the two biggest
dangers to books and it doesn't take much water."
CHECK 21 TO HURT COLLECTORS
We've discussed the new "Check 21" act and its affect
on the U.S. check collecting and autograph hobbies before.
This month I received my first "substitute check" with my
bank statement. Here's an excerpt from a recent article
about the act's effects:
"It has been touted as the biggest change in banking law
in years and is likely to have a significant impact on the
way you conduct business.
The Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act, commonly
referred to as "Check 21", became effective on Oct. 28.
Check 21 is designed to enhance the efficiency of the
payment system by reducing some of the legal barriers to
check truncation. The bottom line of what this means for
most consumers is that in time you will no longer be seeing
any of your checks again after you send them off as payment.
Rather, your bank will now truncate each of your checks to
create a new electronic negotiable instrument called a
substitute check, after which, your old checks will most likely
To read the full article, see:
Check collecting is a wonderful numismatic sidelight. It's bad
enough that debit and credit cards have eaten into the number
of checks being written each year, but now many of those
checks will be destroyed long before they have a chance to
become a collectible?
1802 HALF DIME HAMMER PRICE SOUGHT
David F. Fanning writes: "Could anyone tell me what the
1802 half dime included in J.W. Scott's March 4-6, 1878
auction catalogue brought? It's lot 542a. My e-mail address
is <fanning32 at earthlink.net>. Thanks!"
THE BISON ON THE NICKEL AS A 'SAD FAILURE'
Bob Van Ryzin writes: "Regarding what people had to say
when Fraser's "Buffalo" nickel debuted in 1913, Edgar H.
Adams wrote in the March 1913 issue of The Numismatist:
"Through the courtesy of the Hon. George E. Roberts,
Director of United States Mint, we are enabled to show in
this number a reproduction of the new five-cent piece, which
is now being coined at the mint. It was intended to issue this
coin early in February, but it was not until Feb. 17 that regular
coinage started, when one press produced them at the rate
of 120 per minute.
"The design is radically different from that of any five-cent
piece that has ever been issued at the Mint, and is slightly
concave on both sides, somewhat like the present ten and
twenty-dollar pieces. Directly under the figure '3' of the date
1913 on the obverse is the letter 'F' for the designer of the
piece, James Earl Fraser of New York City. It is said that
Mr. Fraser took as a model an Indian of the Cheyenne tribe
who recently visited New York City. The bison was modeled
after a specimen in the New York Zoological Garden.
"Mr Fraser, the designer, is reported as saying that the capital
'F' below the date has met with the approval of the Secretar
of the Treasury, the Director of the Mint, and also the National
"Already, it is said, the presence of this tiny letter has aroused
a certain amount of criticism, similar to that which greeted the
appearance of the letters 'V.D.B.' on the Lincoln cent, which
resulted in their removal, doing injustice to Mr. Brenner, its
designer, and violating all precedents.
"It is to be regretted that the new coin does not show much
more finished die work, which could easily have been
accomplished. We are inclined to think that the rough finish
of the design will encourage counterfeiters, whose handicraft
need not now fear comparison which it has met in the past
with the ordinarily delicate and finished mint issues.
"The new piece certainly has radically changed the old-time
tradition that Columbia is our best representation of 'liberty.'
In view of the rather restricted character of both the Indian
and the buffalo to-day, it is an open question whether either
is a good symbol of 'liberty.' St. Gaudens, in an interview,
once stated that his conception of a symbol of liberty was
that of 'a leaping boy.'
"We still prefer Miss Columbia as the proper representation
of freedom, and regret that she does not appear on the new
five-cent piece. We have no doubt that the original enlarged
model of this design was of a handsome character, but that
it would not allow for the great reduction to the size of a
five-cent piece is quite apparent. From an artistic point of
view no doubt the design is all that it should be, but there is
another element to be considered in the making of a coin
design, and that is the one of practicability. For instance,
the date and the motto are in such obscure figures and
letters that the slightest wear will obliterate them beyond
"Altogether the new design emphasizes the absolute necessity
of the appointment of a proper committee to pass upon new
coin designs. Such a committee should be composed of sculptors,
numismatists, and die engravers. One of this committee should
be the Chief Engraver of the Mint. It will not be until the
appointment of such a committee that we may expect to see
a coin that will embody all the proper requisites."
Also, William T. Hornaday, the first director of the New York
Zoological Park, wrote in reply to a Jan. 7, 1918 letter from
Martin S. Garretson, secretary of the Bison Society "...judging
from the character of the buffalo on the nickel, I should say
from its dejected appearance" that the animal was likely an
inmate of a small menagerie, having lived all of its life in a
"It's head droops as if it had lost all hope in the world, and
even the sculptor was not able to raise. I regard the bison
on the nickel as a sad failure."
The New York Zoological Park was cited by Fraser as
the place where he modeled Black Diamond. However,
Hornaday, who was responsible for bringing a herd of
bison to the park, where they grazed on a special 20-acre
range, knew of no such animal in the zoo's holdings. The
above quote from Hornaday appeared in William Bridges'
Gathering of Animals: An Unconventional History of the
New York Zoological Society, 1974. "
COINS KNOWN BY THEIR REVERSE DESIGN
Steve Woodland writes: "It was intriguing to read the article
about the new Buffalo Nickel today, particularly since I
had just finished Mort Reed's short book "Odd and Curious..."
(Sanford J. Durst Numismatic Publications, New York, 1979).
On page 23 of the book Reed states "The 'Buffalo' A
Non-Existant Coin: The Indianhead Nickel is the only coin
not identified by its legal name but rather by its reverse design."
As a Canadian, I must point out that in 1987 the Canadian
'Loonie' Dollar joined the Buffalo Nickel as a coin named
exclusively for its reverse design, Robert J. Carmichael's
'Common Loon.' (Since his book was written in 1979, Mr.
Reed is not guilty of a factual error!) Are E-Sylum readers
aware of any other coins out there known by the design on
COLORADO QUARTER DESIGNS
Steve Dippolito writes: "I saw the five finalist designs the
day they came out. As a nearly life-long Coloradoan I can
say that the critics need to jump into the nearest lake:
None of them are as atrocious as the Pennsylvania, Michigan,
or Texas designs--and I picked those three at semi-random;
I could name many other states. An informal poll of my
co-workers and some friends (only a couple of whom are
seriously into numismatics) shows that the 10th mountain
division skier is least popular (however, those who like it,
_really_ like it), while the columbine/centennial state one
(the backdrop for which is the very commonly photographed
Maroon Bells mountains near Aspen, BTW) is most popular.
Oddly enough, the Pikes Peak design, which ought to be the
local favorite (I am in Colorado Springs) is not terribly popular.
The artistic criticisms that seemed legitimate to me were that
Mesa Verde might not show very well on a coin, and that the
"Colorful Colorado" mountainscape would leave a gigantic
blank area in the middle of the coin. That one happens to
be my second least favorite if only because that mountainscape
looks kind of "blah" to me. But none of the designs is, in my
not so humble opinion, actually _bad_.
I am not terribly surprised that there was difficulty getting an
Eastern US artist to render the mountains properly. The
Appalacian mountains are much, much older than the Rockies
and consequently have been worn down to the point where
(to us Westerners) they look like very large rounded hills.
(That "very large" is the saving grace; I do consider the Great
Smokies to be mountains even though the tallest of them
barely comes up to the bottom of my well.) People I know
from the eastern US who come here to see the Rockies end
up with radically altered ideas of what a "mountain" is. (As
I am sure I would, if I ever saw the Himalayas, Tien Shan,
Steve Woodland writes: "I chuckled when I read of the
challenges facing the commission to select the final design
for Colorado's 2006 Statehood Quarter. Perhaps they
should adopt a new Canadian practice: asking the people
to vote for their preferred design using the Internet. The
Royal Canadian Mint recently invited the public to indicate
their preference for the new commemmorative 25-cent
pieces to be issued this summer, which celebrate the
centennials of the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Via the RCM's website (www.mint.ca), people could 'vote'
for one of four designs for each 25-cent piece. When
voting ended on February 17th, over 45,000 total votes
had been received for the two coins."
NUMISMATIC LIBRARY FILING SYSTEM.
Dick Johnson writes: "Joe Boling has piles on his two
library tables. I’ll bet these are unshelved books, pamphlets,
periodicals, auction catalogs, correspondence, clippings
and manuscripts. Does that also describe you as well,
kind E-Slylum reader (okay, I’ll say it, E-Syluminary --
does anyone else like my newly coined word!)? It sure
was my situation until I moved and had to build a library
room all to itself. I am trying something new. I hope it
works. Ask me in a couple months.
Years ago I bought the book "File ... Don’t Pile! A
Proven Filing System for Personal and Professional Use"
by Pat Dorff. Guess what I did with it? I put it on top of
one of my piles!
Yep. I was a piler. When the piles got too high, or, I had
to clean off the work tables for a visitor, say, I put the
piles in a storage box and marked it ‘TBS’ – To Be Sorted.
I must have moved a dozen TBSs.
Author Pat is a is a professional librarian. She had some
excellent suggestions. I read the first couple of chapters,
looked at every one of the cartoons and skimmed the
rest of the book before I put it back on one of my piles,
intending to do something, sometime in the future.
My real inspiration came from the new ANS Library in
New York City. Librarian Frank Campbell – wisely! –
took all the auction cats and pamphlets out of the vertical
files (that’s "library speak" for filing cabinets) and put them
on the shelves. I liked that! I was determined to do the
same with my own stuff. Put as much as possible on
But how to organize it? Books – by subjects, then by size
(U.S coins together, world coins together, mints, medals,
tokens, technology, one or more shelf for each). Periodicals
in chronological order, of course. But what about everything
We drink a lot of orange juice at our house. The half gallon
cartons come six to a box. I found these orange juice boxes
are the ideal size, 8 ½ x 12 inches. Most everything fits these
open-top boxes -- file folders, 3-ring notebooks, loose
papers, books, pamphlets, photographs, reports, post cards,
even legal size pages (folded). I even have medals in some.
We get these boxes from one of the discount grocery stores
(ALDI). They let you take the boxes to pack your purchases.
I grab a couple every trip.
I put labels on the end of the boxes and these fit nicely on
book shelves. I pick subjects for these labels which ideally
would contain about six inches of closely related material
(leaving room for expansion). When I empty a TBS box I
deal the papers, clippings and photocopies into these
labeled boxes. Later I can organize the stuff within each
box with file folders.
I work on several projects at once. I have a box for each
project, and the most important project boxes are in a
bookcase next to my desk. Fifteen boxes fill a bookcase.
No filing cabinet in my office. I now have shelves and
orange boxes. The library with books and more boxes on
shelves are in the next room.
I know my boxes are not archive caliber. Some of the
stuff doesn’t deserve it. But I sure could transfer over
really important valuable material into acid-free archive
boxes in the future. As soon as read the last chapters
of "Don’t Pile!"
KORVER SEEKS STEWART MINT RELICS
Mark Borckardt writes: "Bob Korver of the Heritage staff
recently asked about the mementoes made for Frank Stewart
from timbers of the first Mint building. Chairs, a bench, gavels,
and paperweights were described by Stewart in his History
of the First Mint. Bob wants to know if any of these items
still exist today, and where they are located. He can be
contacted at Korver at heritagegalleries.com."
Bob wrote about his quest in a recent Heritage electonic
I must also confess that I am often distracted by one of
eBay's great marketing come-ons, "Other Postings by This
Seller." Following one such trail of breadcrumbs, I 'discovered'
a posting for Our New Home and Old Times, a book of
which I was previously unaware, but promised to include
much early history of the electrical products distribution
business as well as the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia. Only
modestly intrigued, I put in a 'throw-away' bid without
doing any research, and won; when the very thin package
arrived, I opened it with about the same sense of dread if
I had bid on a raw, fuzzy-photoed $30 coin.
Long story short, the eBay description of the book was
precisely correct. The book was published in 1913 by the
Frank H. Stewart Electric Company, purveyors of industrial
wiring products: insulators, wire, fuses, conduit, etc.
Stewart's business was successful enough to construct a
new "fire-proof building of the best type," of "steel, concrete
and brick." Unfortunately for future generations of numismatists,
the location they chose for this magnificent new cathedral of
commerce was 37 North Seventh Street, and the building
razed in 1911 to accommodate Stewart's six-story behemoth
was the original U.S. Mint. More than a dozen full-page
photographs of the company's "over one thousand" new
shelving bins and storage rooms are proudly included, the
latest in turn-of-the-century industrial chic. But enough of
One other photograph definitely caught my eye: aware of
the historic significance of the original Mint Building, the
Stewart Company constructed a bench and two chairs in
1911 from the "oak timbers of the coinage building of the
"The bench and chairs... were made of oak joists from the
Coinage building. These timbers were so hard that the
cabinetmaker claimed extra compensation for his work.
One hundred and twenty years of seasoning gave the wood
an obstinacy which even a novice would suspect if he were
to feel the weight of the furniture. The bench has a suitably
engraved brass plate screwed on the top piece. About two
dozen gavels and the same quantity of paper weights made
of the same wood as the bench and chairs were made for
us by Mr. James Barton, of Camden, N.J. These rare
mementos were nearly all distributed at the cornerstone
laying to those participating and a few special guests."
Anyone know if any of these still exist?"
"The unlisted author of this book refers to a "forthcoming
history of the First United States Mint" referring almost
certainly to Frank H. Stewart's History of the First United
States Mint, published in 1924 (and typically encountered
in the Quarterman reprint. Mention is also made of the "ye
Olde Mint" booklet, which seems to have been previously
printed by the Stewart Electric Company. I was not
particularly familiar with the Stewart book, being an 'Evans'
fan myself, so I visited Mark Van Winkle, Heritage's chief
cataloger, in his book lined office (some guys have all the
luck). I showed him the photo of the bench and chairs, and
we both wondered if they might still exist. Neither of us had
heard of existing gavels or paperweights either. He then
pulled down his copy of Stewart, and we discovered the
same photos were published therein! I had reinvented a
numismatic wheel, so to speak. Personally, I am blaming
it on age; Mark can use whatever excuse he wants.
All in all, a fair number of numismatic challenges out of a
The complete text of the article, with illustrations, is
on this web page:
[Bob reports that since publishing his article he has located
two of the gavels and one gavel 'target'. -Editor]
WHERE'S GEORGE PROFILED IN FORBES
The March 28, 2005 issue of Forbes magazine has an
article profiling the WheresGeorge.com web site.
"Born during the bubble, Wheresgeorge.com has grown
into a cult for those who follow the money.
Dwayne (Fishbone) Richardson is a "Georger," an avid
devotee of Wheresgeorge.com, a quirky little Web site
that tracks the travels of dirty, cold and otherwise
anonymous cash. He stamps a dollar bill with a message
urging recipients to visit the site to enter the bill's serial
number and whereabouts, then spend it and tap into the
Web site to learn where it pops up next. And next and
next and next.
"I live vicariously through my bills. It's like a message in a
bottle," says Richardson, who admits to dabbling in this
"weird hobby"since 2001.
All told, 2.3 million people have logged 59 million distinct
bills for a total nearing $335 million. (That includes 48 million
singles--and 33,686 old-style $100s.) But 40,000 avid
Georgers keep the Web site alive, spending hours chronicling
their paper's progress and coloring in maps that detail every
zip code "hit." They feed their addiction by traveling to
prearranged gatherings (a good time was had by all at the
New York fest over the President's Day weekend), where
they trade 2-inch-thick stacks of dollar bills to get
Wheresgeorge dollars circulating."
"It still boggles my mind," says tech consultant Hank Eskin,
40, the dollar-obsession site's creator. He started
Wheresgeorge as a hobby in late 1998 and dreamed of
cashing in during the Internet bubble. Didn't happen, but
today Eskin is seen as a "god" by his dollar followers. "It's
sort of an ego trip," he admits."
To read the full article, see:
WHAT TO DO WITH VIRGIN BOOKS
Steve Woodland writes: "I too, have faced the dilemma of
what to do about a book with unsplit pages. I had managed
to acquire an original copy of P.N. Bretton's 1894 "Histoire
Illustree des Monnaies et Jetons du Canada/Illustrated
History of Coins and Tokens Relating to Canada," wherein
the octavo pages were unsplit. I thought "Well, books are to
be read, and I want to read this one!" So I carefully took a
very sharp knife and slit the edges of all the pages. I suspect
there is a bibliophile (or several) who is cringing at my barbaric
actions, especially since there are re-prints of the book available.
However, I can now read my copy, which is why I purchased
it in the first place."
WHAT TO CALL E-SYLUM READERS
Oops! A slip of the mouse made me drop a letter from
Tom DeLorey's suggestion for what to call E-Sylum readers.
He wrote: "Use the KISS Principle: E-Nuts." Perhaps my
follow-on comment make more sense now. Sorry!
OF NUMISMATIC INTERST IN READER'S DIGEST
Dick Johnson writes: "The April 2005 Reader's Digest has two
articles of interest. The first (page 27) has a full page illustrated
with elongated cents, a paragraph of text with quotes by Bob
Fritsch, pres of Elongated Collectors.
The second (pp 120-125) is a full-fledged article "The Great
Coin Heist" on the theft of the Willis DuPont coin collection in
1967, subtitled "How a bunch of small-time thieves stumbled
into the haul of their lives." Some of the major items, like the
Brasher Doubloon, 1804 dollar and the 1866 No Motto dollar,
have been recovered but none of the Mikailovich gold medals.
Numismatist Alan Luedeking was quoted in a conversation
with Mr. DuPont.
I remember when this theft occurred and covered it in Coin
World. My contact with the DuPonts was through a colorful
Cincinnati coin dealer, Sol Kaplan. Sol was the one who
sold the Mikhailovich material to the DuPonts and perhaps a
lot of the other numismatic material as well. Sol had learned
a lesson from Hans M.F. Schulman -- befriend wealthy
collectors and you can sell them high-price material. Hans'
biggest customer was King Farouk, Sol's was Willis DuPont.
Read the article for the inside story on the coin theft and
return of most -- but not all -- of the coins taken and how
many years it took to recover them."
[Readers may recall that in the v7n15 issue of The E-Sylum
(April 11, 2004), Alan Luedeking shared with us the story
of his chance meeting with Willis H. DuPont. Not having
the Reader's Digest handy, I wrote to Alan to confirm the
connection. His response follows. -Editor]
Alan Luedeking writes: "As a result of my E-Sylum piece,
months later the author of the Reader's Digest article
contacted me out of the blue to interview me for this article
on the basis of my piece for the E-Sylum; I was rather
uncomfortable doing it, assuring him that there were far better
numismatists better informed on the DuPont collection than I
was, but he insisted on proceeding; I felt like I was walking
a tight wire between confirming what I had written yet trying
to protect Mr. DuPont's privacy. I suggested to him that he
contact attorney Harold Gray and the ANA, and he confirmed
that he had already spoken extensively with Mr. Gray. The
editor at Reader's Digest later called me to confirm details,
and I had to correct quite a few; they promised me an advance
copy of the article for proofing, but never sent it. They also
promised me a copy of the published magazine, but that also
has not come (I'm not a subscriber.) They told me the article
was originally slated for publication in December 2004 or
January 2005, but I was later told it had been pushed back.
Now that I've finally seen it, I can confirm that the gist of the
article is accurate, but most definitely not my "quotes". The
author has greatly embellished my conversation with Mr.
and Mrs. DuPont, right down to my dry throat. After
initiating my conversation with them by congratulating them
on their recovery of the 1866 dollar, and importuning Mr.
DuPont with a few more questions, it became apparent to
me that this was the last theme he wished to dwell on. In
essence, our memorable (only for me, of course) encounter
is exactly as I recounted it in my earlier E-Sylum piece.
Nevertheless, while the Reader's Digest article presents
absolutely nothing new in the way of numismatic information,
or concerning the heist, it is worthwhile if only to keep
publicity for the DuPont coins alive, as this can only help
in recovering those still missing."
DISTINGUISHED SERVICE CROSS
On March 13, 2005, the St. Petersburg Times published
an article about a local Vietnam veteran who is being given
a medal he earned 34 years ago, but never received due to
an Army snafu. The award was the Distinguished Service
"The Distinguished Service Cross, also known as the DSC,
is our Nation's second highest award for valor, second only
to the Medal of Honor. The Distinguished Service Cross
was created during the First World War and was signed into
law by President Woodrow Wilson on January 2, 1918."
We've discussed the Medal of Honor before, but not the DSC.
Here is an excerpt from the St. Petersburg Times article,
followed by some additional web references about the medal.
"Although he was a member of the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots
Association, Lawrence didn't go to their reunions or look up
old brothers-in-arms. The recipient of other service medals
from the Army and Coast Guard, Lawrence, now 55, admits
he didn't even bother to display them.
"When I came back, it was not a good time to be saying I
was a Vietnam vet," said Lawrence, who now flies planes
for FedEx. "And now, I don't really offer it up."
But then Almquist, who had been looking up helicopter
pilots who served in Vietnam, got in touch with him in late
2003. They corresponded for several months, and over
that July dinner, Almquist told Lawrence he was going to
do everything in his power to get him that medal.
Lawrence was touched by the effort, but didn't expect
anything to come of it. Getting someone a medal years
after the fact requires mountains of paperwork, but the
men would not be put off.
It didn't take years. And the paperwork they were
prepared to fill out was never filed. Almquist's inquiries
uncovered the fact that Lawrence had been awarded a
different rare medal in 1972: the Distinguished Service
Cross. The cross is the country's second-highest military
award, just below the Medal of Honor.
But the Army had lost it.
Only a researcher at the National Archives discovered
the oversight. Lawrence learned only two weeks ago
that he received the medal. He shares the distinction
with just more than 13,000 other veterans who have
received the Distinguished Service Cross since it was
established in 1917.
To read the full article, see:
For more information on the medal, see:
Quick Quiz: What American celebrity received the DSC?"
RARE CRUSADER COIN FOUND IN ISRAEL
According to a news article, "A rare Crusader coin dating
from the mid-13th century has been excavated by archaeologists
digging up a flea market in the suburbs of Tel Aviv, the Israeli
Antiquities Authority (IAA) revealed.
The silver half drachma has been dated to between 1251 and
1257 and is imprinted with a cross, fleur-de-lis and an Arabic
inscription of the Christian Trinity -- the Father, the Son and
the Holy Spirit, IAA said Wednesday.
"It is an extremely rare find and it is the first to be discovered
in excavation," Israel Museum numismatics expert Robert
Kool told AFP.
"Until now, we only had two of these coins out of the 150,000
in the museum," he added.
In 1250, a visiting papal legate was furious to discover that
Franks in the Latin East minted coins inscribed with the Prophet
Mohammed and requested the pope to intervene personally.
Pope Innocent IV banned the practice and threatened to
excommunicate all offenders. To circumvent the papal prohibition,
minters merely added Christian legends and symbols."
To read the original article, see:
DOLLAR BILLS ON THE WALLS: CONFIRMED
Recently, I wrote about the Mar Vista restaurant in
Longboat Village, Florida, where I read that dollar bills
are attached the the walls as part of the decor. I asked
if any of our readers could confirm this.
Robert Zavos writes: "This restaurant is less than 10 miles
from my home in Sarasota, although Sarasota Bay is in
between so it about a 35 minute drive. I had driven past
but never eaten there and had no idea of the numismatic
theme on the walls. It is just as reported. There are two
walls in the inside dining area with dollar bills. The
restaurant is quite busy and has marvelous vistas.
This is located right on the western side of Sarasota Bay
on a barrier Island called Long Boat Key. Due to incredible
increases in waterfront property prices over the last 5 years
or so there are very few single family homes in the area
that sell for under $1 million and most are a lot higher than
that so it would be a good place to meet a millionaire."
Robert attached two photos in his email, clearly showing
scads of one dollar notes covering two walls of the
JULIUS CAESAR SURVIVES IDES OF MARCH
Julius Caesar walks among us, according to a March 16th
"Sharing a name with the most famous leader of ancient Rome
is not always easy when you're a modern politician -- especially
on the Ides of March, when the first Julius Caesar was
Allowing for the alternative spelling of his forename, his name
exactly matches that of his Roman predecessor Gaius Julius Caesar,
who was stabbed to death by senators in Rome in 44 BC, on
March 15 -- the Ides of March.
Caesar, 54, said on Tuesday that while his name has made it
easy for him to stand out in politics, it does have its drawbacks --
especially when people refuse to believe it's genuine.
One member of his party could only respond with sarcasm
when the politician first tried to introduce himself.
"I introduced myself as Cajus Julius Caesar, and he replied
'and I'm Napoleon Bonaparte' because he didn't believe me,"
said Caesar, who hails from western Germany.
FEATURED WEB SITE
This week's featured web site is the Orders and Medals Society.
Numismatic Bibliomania Society
The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a
non-profit organization promoting numismatic
literature. For more information please see
our web site at http://www.coinbooks.org/.
There is a membership application available on
the web site 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 North America,
$20 elsewhere. For those without web access,
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 LittletonCoin.com
To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum,
just Reply to this message, or write to the Editor
at this address: whomren at coinlibrary.com
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(or wishing to Unsubscribe) can go to the following
More information about the Esylum