The E-Sylum v8#13, March 27, 2005
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Sun Mar 27 17:25:27 PST 2005
Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 8, Number 13, March 27, 2005:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2004, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Among our recent subscribers is Jorge A. Proctor, a researcher in
the field of Spanish Colonial Numismatics, referred to us by Alan
Luedeking, and Kevin Foley, courtesy of John and Nancy Wilson,
and Tom Green. Welcome aboard! We now have 739 subscribers.
ROBERT L. HENDERSHOTT, 1898-2005
Fred Lake writes: "Bob Hendershott passed away on Tuesday,
March 22 peacefully in his sleep. Bob was 106 years old at the
time and had lived a very full life in numismatics, including being
one of the founders of the Florida United Numismatists, Inc. in
Those of us who knew Bob felt fortunate in being able to spend
time with him and learn from his many experiences in our hobby.
He will be missed by those whose lives he touched."
[A capsule history of the founding of FUN, along with a 1950s
photo of Bob, is on the FUN web site at this address:
I attended Bob's 100th birthday celebration at the 1998
American Numismatic Association convention in Portland.
Two years earlier at the ANA convention in Denver, I had
the pleasure of spending an afternoon touring Colorado
Springs with a busload of convention attendees, including
the 98-year-old Bob Hendershott. He certainly didn't show
his age as he walked and walked with us around the city and
into shops and museums, not even slowing down much to
climb a tall flight of stairs. He could walk circles around
people half his age. Bob would have been 107 on August 7th.
God bless, Bob - we'll miss you. -Editor]
BOB HENDERSHOTT AND THE 1904 WORLD'S FAIR
Bob Hendershott authored a book on one of his favorite
collecting specialties: 1904 St. Louis World's Fair
Mementos and Memorabilia. The following is from the
web site of a dealer who sold the book:
"Bob has an advantage over many other 1904 collectors...
He was there!
Born in St. Louis in 1898, Bob was 6 in 1904 and has fond
memories of the wonders of the Fair. Bob has accumulated
a great deal of experience and a vast collection in his many
years of collecting. He has used his special insights to
develop a unique numbering system (67 specific categories)
which is accepted as the standard for the hobby. Beginning
this project when he was 93, Bob took less than 3 years to
photograph, describe and organize thousands of souvenirs.
Bob's life's work, Mementos and Memorabilia, really has it
all. It describes 105 beautiful pieces of china and bisque, 75
different plates and 59 fascinating postcards. Numismatists
will enjoy several examples of badges, elongated coins,
encased cents, medals and tokens. Even in 1904, advertisers
knew the value of merchandising, and companies handed out
souvenirs of every shape and design."
For more information, and a more recent photo of Bob, see:
John and Nancy Wilson, of Ocala, FL write: "On March 18,
2005 Herb Schingoethe, a famous Illinois collector passed
away at the age of 86. His wife Martha passed away in
January, 2004. The Schingoethes were the most famous
collectors of every states obsolete notes. Their collection
consisted of over 30,000 obsolete bank notes. Besides
obsolete notes, they were avid collectors of college currency,
depression scrip from 1933 and panic notes that were issued
in the 1890s and early 1900s. In 1993, "College Currency -
Money for Business Training" was released. The majority of
notes in this wonderful reference are in the Schingoethe
collection. Edited by Neil Shafer, Herb and Martha
Schingoethe also have their name on this numismatic reference.
Herb and Martha were two wonderful collectors who we have
had the pleasure of knowing for close to 20 years. Very few
collectors past or present pursued obsolete notes, depression
scrip or panic notes with the passion of Herb and Martha
(H & M). We have many catalogs with the H & M initials
besides lots that they added to their collections over the years.
We attended many sales over the years that H & M were also
in attendance at. When the time came for the lot to sell that
we needed, we hoped H & M already had an example in their
collection. They never went after duplicates even if the price
was very cheap and they paid a lot more for their item. If they
didn't have it, we always came out on the losing end.
Their passion, love, enthusiasm and determination to add
collections or single numismatic items (mentioned above) to
their collections will be deeply missed in our great hobby.
Sometime down the road a reference of Illinois obsolete
notes will be published in their memory by the New York
R. M. Smythe & Co. firm. Part Two of the R. M. Smythe
sale of the Herb and Martha Schingoethe Obsolete Currency
Collection sold on March 23, 2005. We were fortunate to
get a few notes out of the Schingoethe collection from Part
One held last Fall in Strasburg, PA.
We will miss their smiling faces that lit up a room when they
walked in. They were well loved by the many hundreds of
dealers and collectors who knew them. Everyone considered
Herb and Martha part of their family. We pass on our prayers
and condolences to their family. These two icons in our hobby
are now gone but their memory will be with us forever. Rest
in peace Herb and Martha, and you are now together for
[A web search found some tidbits of information about
the Schingoethes and their other collecting interests:
"After George "died of a heart attack — too young," as Martha
put it, she made the acquaintance, through her brother John, of
a local farm manager, square dance caller and collector. Herb
Schingoethe had also lost his first spouse.
When Herb and Martha were married in 1975, they embarked
together on a new phase of their lives, pooling their interests in
travel and collecting to form an adventure that continued right
up to the time of Martha's final illness in 2003-2004.
In his years as a ranch manager in Colorado, Herb already
had begun serious collecting of Native American art and
artifacts, especially from the Southwest culture area. Martha
caught the collecting bug in a very big way, developing a
particular passion for silver and turquoise jewelry, fine
Southwest pottery, Native American rugs, and contemporary
Native American sculpture. All of these collecting interests
are represented in the Schingoethe collection."
To read the full article, see:
To read the R. M. Smythe press release on the sale of the
Schingoethe obsolete paper money collection, see:
CZESLAW SLANIA, MASTER ENGRAVER
Arthur Shippee forwarded the following, from The New York
Times: "Czeslaw Slania, a master engraver who applied his art
most extensively to the tiniest works, postage stamps, died in
Stockholm on March 17, the Swedish post office announced
Monday. He was 83.
Mr. Slania emigrated from Poland to Sweden more than four
decades ago and became the country's royal court engraver.
In a career that stretched from forging documents for the
underground in German-occupied Poland in World War II to
engraving portraits of monarchs and movie stars, Mr. Slania
produced more than 1,000 stamps for 32 countries or postal
jurisdictions, including the United States, Britain, France,
Germany and China; his American commissions included two
1993 stamps that commemorated Grace Kelly and Dean
Acheson. He also produced banknotes for 10 countries."
"With modern printing methods, engraving is a fading art, and
few countries still engrave stamps or currency. An engraver
uses a tool called a graver or burin to cut a mirror image in a
steel plate, with deep cuts for heavy inking and shallow cuts
for shading. The plate, its cuts full of ink, is pressed onto the
paper being printed, leaving a slightly raised image that can
be felt with a fingertip. For stamps, the artist's work area is
about one inch square.
Czeslaw Slania (pronounced CHESS-wav SWAH-nya) was
born in southern Poland on Oct. 22, 1921, to a poor mining
family. He showed artistic skills as a teenager, drawing fake
banknotes to sell at craft fairs.
The invasion by Nazi Germany in 1939 forced him to quit
his high school studies in Krakow, and he joined the
underground, for which he helped forge documents."
To read the complete article, see:
[Did Slania sign his teenage forgeries? Are any of his
counterfeits for the underground known today? -Editor]
NEW CANADIAN MUNICIPAL TRADE TOKEN BOOK
The following is reprinted from the C.N.A. E-Bulletin, an
electronic publication of the Canadian Numismatic
Association (Issue Number 7, March 20, 2005):
"The collecting of Canadian municipal trade tokens is a large
field. If you were to take a survey at your local coin club in
Canada, we venture to guess that every collector has at least
some in their collection, with at least half possessing a dozen
or more. This is possible because hundreds of municipalities
and regions have issued them over the years, most in sufficiently
large quantity to make them readily available and very affordable.
Thanks to the late Jerry Remick, who wrote hundreds of articles
on the topic, to publications such as Canadian Coin News that
published them, and to Serge Pelletier and Ray Desjardins that
have published catalogues over the years, its popularity remains
Eligi Consultants has just published the 2nd edition (2005) of
"A Compendium of Canadian Municipal Trade Tokens" that
includes denomination, year, description of obverse and reverse,
metal, quantity struck and value of all known Canadian municipal
trade dollars. The catalogue is a 124 page booklet size 5-1/2" x
8-1/2", spiral bound, with plastic cover. The catalogue is
available for $12.95 plus $2.50 shipping and handling anywhere
in Canada or U.S. If shipment is made to Ontario, add 15%
PST & GST. Anywhere else in Canada just add 7% GST.
Their Website is www.eligi.ca/bonavita. "
THE FABLED 1792 HALF DISMES
Joel Orosz and Carl Herkowitz' work on the origins of the
1792 Half Dismes has been published by the American
Numismatic Society, in the American Journal of Numismatics
Second Series 15 (2003), pp 111-156. "George Washington
and America's "Small Beginning" in Coinage: The Fabled
1792 Half Dismes" was previewed by Joel as a Numismatic
Theatre presentation at the American Numismatic Association
convention on Pittsburgh last August. The article opens:
"Historical truth is fragile; historical error is all but immortal."
Researchers, bibliophiles, and just plain numismatists everywhere
(i.e. E-Sylum readers) will enjoy this delightful account of
numismatic detective work which includes an interesting
description of the numismatic career of John A. McAllister, Jr.
of Philadelphia, whose interest in numismatics began in 1826.
COINS KNOWN BY THEIR REVERSE DESIGN
Last week, Steve Woodland asked about coins known by
their reverse design. Several readers chimed in with their
thoughts. First was James Higby, who emailed his suggestions
shortly after the issue was published Sunday night. He listed
the following U.S. coin types:
1. Chain cent
2. Wreath cent
3. Lincoln Memorial cent
4. Two-cent piece
5. Three-cent piece (both types)
6. V nickel
7. Three dollar gold piece
I'm not sure if I would agree that coins known by their
denomination should count, even though the denomination
is on the reverse. But others included these as well.
Denis Loring added the $4 "Stella," but this unusual word
appears on the reverse, so I'll agree there. David
Gladfelter writes: "How about the Eagle?". I would agree
with this one as well, but don't think the quarter-eagle,
half-eagle or double-eagle denominations count, since
they all picture exactly one eagle. The $50 "Half Union"
patterns wouldn't count either, since the word "Union"
does not appear on the coins.
Denis and Tom DeLorey endorsed the 1793 Chain Cent
and 1793 Wreath Cent, and Tom added the "Wheatback"
Ken Berger adds: "Another coin known by its reverse is
the Peace Dollar, since the word Peace appears on the
Mark Borckardt adds: "how about every State Quarter
issued to date?"
Michael Schmidt cited several of these, and added the
Trade dollar, noting that "the design isn't mentioned but the
denomination is unique and found on the reverse."
Paul Schultz adds: "This may be more common in ancient
coins, where the more interesting design can be on the
reverse, while the obverse often has some random god,
goddess, or emperor. Athenian Owls (tetradrachms with
Athena on the obverse) and Corinthian pegasi (staters with
Athena on the obverse) come quickly to mind, but a large
portion of the ancient coinage is more distinctive on the
reverse than the obverse. Of course, this assumes that the
obverse is the "heads" side of the coin, while the reverse
would be the other design side. Those who would define
obverse and reverse more technically as coming from the
hammer and anvil dies could form a different conclusion.
A final note--V nickels preceded Buffalo nickels, and may
have set a precedent for calling nickels by their reverse
design. [Until the Jefferson nickel came along -Editor]
With liberty on such a large portion of U.S. coinage, it
really makes more sense to refer to a distinctive reverse
design feature, rather than some variation of liberty for
HODGES' AMERICAN BANK NOTE SAFE GUARD
Regarding Anne E. Bentley question about Hodges'
American Bank Note Safe Guard books, George Kolbe
writes: "I believe that Roy Pennell's 1977 reprint is of the
1865 edition of Hodges (is the original now in the American
Numismatic Association library?). The Massachusetts
Historical Society copy appears to be undated, i.e., "n.p. n.d."
usually translates as "no place or date of publication noted."
The inscription does not necessarily indicate the date of
publication. Dillistin, however, records copies of the 1865
edition at the Baker Library and MHS though it might be
interesting for Ms. Bentley to compare the MHS copy with
the easily obtainable reprint, as Dillistin also indicates that
neither is a "revised edition." I do not recall having handled
an 1865 edition over the years but would need to wear a
bib if examining the truly remarkable MHS example."
[A bib! Is that why they call use drooling numismatic
book fiends BIB-liomaniacs? -Editor]
Eric Newman writes: "The inquiry of Anne Bentley as to
Hodge's Bank Note Reporter was answered by you to
a great extent but so far as I know no detailed bibliographical
list has ever been published of these volumes, and should be.
This style of bank note description began with Dye's
Delineator in 1855 and was apparently acquired by Hodge
for his 1856 edition. There were editions thereafter which
were quarterly for a time and then only annually.
If your readers would list their editions, date and number of
pages I will try to assemble the data. Our collection has 10
issues. The Civil War period issues gradually include Federal
issues and fractional currency and eliminate bank note issues
of the Confederacy. The numismatic book dealers or others
could check prior auctions. It is a most interesting series
because it has constant new issues, constant bank failures and
defaults. constant new counterfeit and alteration problems, etc.
[This is exactly the sort of project E-Sylum readers should
be able to take on. If any of our readers can supply
information on these books, I'll put them in touch with Eric.
MORE ON THE UFO TOKEN
Philip Mernick writes: "Did anyone ever give a comment
on the "UFO"/"Flying Saucer" token from a few weeks
back? I don't recall seeing anything and have some
[The "UFO" item was published in the January 30, 2005
issue (v8n5). The item in question is "a mysterious UFO-like
design on a 17th century French copper coin" described by
The Men in Black swooped in on their helicopters and dragged
away the first two E-Sylum readers who tried to respond.
But using our connections in the numismatic underworld, I've
secured permission to publish Philip's information, which he
encrypted and emailed from an undisclosed location, just in
case. (It was NOT London. Really. It wasn't) -Editor]
He writes: "The item itself was correctly described as a jetton
and is listed as F12528 in Collection Feuardent, Jetons et
Mereau Depuis Louis IX jusqu’a la fin du Consulat de Bonaparte
by F. Feuardent, published by Rollin et Feuardent, Paris, 1913.
It would appear to be a version of F12527 which is coupled
with a portrait of Louis XIV and is dated 1656. Feuardent
describes the “UFO” as “un bouclier celeste” a celestial shield.
The depiction of a shield on the jeton is similar to one illustrated
in Juan de Borja, Empresas morales, first published Prague 1581
(illustration from Brussels 1680 edition). It is there described as
representing a timely occurrence. It could refer to an event in
the war against Spain or possibly to the return of Mazarin in
1653. The other side symbolises the revival of France (illustrated
by a lily plant being refreshed by rain from the sky).
Information originally supplied by Robert Thompson."
Ken Bressett writes: "Thanks for sending this information to me.
It is numismatically correct and informative. I have been having
lots of fun with this, and with prodding people to take a more
careful look at the designs on their coins. The article was never
intended to convince people that the object was a flying saucer,
but simply to stimulate public curiosity about old coins. And
secondarily to try and locate other examples of this scarce jetton.
Comments from people around the world (really) have suggested
that the "unidentified object" is variously: an umbrella, a sundial,
shield, wheel of life, jellyfish, flower, a crown, sand dollar, or an
umbrella. The most frequent responses opted for a sundial, or
As you might expect, the UFO guys really got a kick out of
this unusual piece, and read all sorts of things into it."
[Ken had been having trouble with his E-Sylum subscription.
He writes: "I am beginning to think that those Men in Black
have had something to do with blocking The E-Sylum from
my computer!" -Editor]
MAN FINDS & REPLACES COIN IN OLD BUILDING
Dick Johnson writes: "A man working to conserve the ancient
Pembridge Market Hall in Herefordshire England found an
1806 penny in the foot of one of the building’s oak posts this
week. Not much news in that story. For centuries people
have put coins in the cornerstones of buildings that are later
But the contractor, Barry Goodman, put it back – along with
a current one-pound coin. Dog bites man, man bites dog –
To read the full BBC story, with a photo of the workman
and the coins, see:
GOOGLE PROJECT PRODDING FRENCH TO ACTION
Google's massive indexing project is spurring other countries
to launch similar projects for books in their native language.
>From a French publication:
"The California based Internet search engine, Google, has
announced its plans to begin scanning entire books into its
database. Stanford University, Harvard University, Oxford
University, the University of Michigan and the New York
Public Library are partnering with Google in this incredible
expedition, which will result in millions of books being s
canned in the next few years.
What does this mean for the French? It means that the French
Revolution will be told by American writers in English books.
Jean-Noel Jeanneney, the head of France's National library
has expressed such concerns. As the EU has made an effort to
give the world more than the voice of the U.S., they will fight
to have their stories told in their own languages and from the
point of views of their writers. France's search engines are
likely to follow in Google's footsteps."
Another article from The Financial Times:
"Jean-Noël Jeanneney is horrified when he imagines how our
children might come to see the world: Will future generations
think no great books have been written in a language other
than English? And even worse: Will they see history only
through American eyes?
The president of the French national library has made himself
the frontman in what he sees a struggle to save cultural diversity.
In the postmodern world, the battleground is the internet. Here,
search engines determine what tomorrow's generations will
click on, learn and think."
GEORGE KNOWS HOW TO HANDLE A VIRGIN
George Kolbe writes: "Regarding the "very sharp knife"
Steve Woodland described, the commentary that I have
read over the years invariably advises using a dull knife,
a butter knife being often mentioned. If one is not careful,
a sharp knife can easily cut INTO the outer margin
(I know, alas, from experience)."
Alan Luedeking writes: "I was intrigued by Steve Woodland's
success story in opening his "virgin" book. I have often been
faced with this dilemma with Latin American numismatic
literature (a classic example being Burzio's "Diccionario", an
essential read, often encountered unopened.) The first time,
I did what Steve did: I took a "very sharp knife" and failed
dismally. Careful as I was, nothing could change the fact that
I'm basically a clumsy oaf, so of course I slipped and slit a
page away from its natural fold. Belatedly recognizing my
shortcomings, I stopped and did what I should have done
from the start: ask George Kolbe for his advice! To my
great surprise, George said to use a very dull knife (an
ordinary table knife), and voilá!-- this has worked
successfully every time. I congratulate Mr. Woodland for his
successful opening-- no doubt he is a far more dexterous
gentleman than I."
FIFTY STATES PLUS SIX?
On March 23, 2005, the Miami Herald published an opinion
piece by Kenneth D. McClintock, president of the Puerto Rico
Senate, about the stalled bill proposing to extend the Fifty States
Commemorative Coin Program Act to include quarters for
Washington, D.C. and the U.S. territories of American Samoa,
Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands
and Puerto Rico.
"It is offensive and frankly inexplicable that Congress should
treat these half-dozen loyal U.S. communities as if we were
not part of the nation.
Several times in recent years, the U.S. House or Representatives
has passed the District of Columbia and United States Territories
Circulation Quarter Dollar Program Act, which would rectify
this omission and place the ''Separated Six'' on an equal numismatic
footing with the rest of the United States. However, in the U.S.
Senate (where none of the six has a voice, let alone a vote), the
Banking Committee has repeatedly failed to act on the bill.
Roughly 80 percent of the American citizens being snubbed by
the Senate are residents of Puerto Rico."
"Since 1898, the American flag has flown over Puerto Rico.
The American dollar has been Puerto Rico's currency since
1899. Since 1917, Puerto Ricans have been U.S. citizens.
After more than a century as patriotic members of the
American family, having defended the nation in two world
wars and every conflict thereafter (including Afghanistan and
Iraq), Puerto Ricans have earned the right to civic parity. It
is patently wrong that the U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico are
denied the right to vote for the commander-in-chief who
dispatches Puerto Rican military personal into harm's way,
but it is utterly preposterous that we have been legislatively
ostracized from something so presumably noncontroversial
as a commemorative coin program."
To read the full article (registration required)
NUMISMATIC INDEXES PROJECT
A web site visitor writes: "I was unable to access the
Numismatic Indexes Project on your site. Do you have
a new url for this source?
[Yes - some time ago the Harry Bass Research Foundation
reorganized its web site. The new URL is
This is a marvelous resource for numismatic researchers.
>From the web site:
The NIP indexes cover a wide range of numismatic scholarship
over many decades from both this century and the last. From
the American Numismatic Society they include:
* American Journal of Numismatics (AJN1), First Series 1866-1924
* ANS Proceedings (ANSPROC) 1878-1914
* Museum Notes (MUSNOTES) 1945-1988
* American Journal of Numismatics (AJN2), Second Series 1989-Current
* Coinage of the Americas Conference (COAC) 1984-Current
* Numismatic Notes and Monographs (NUMNOTES) 1921-1968
* Numismatic Studies (NUMSTUDIES) 1938-1993
In addition to those above, these periodicals are included in NIP:
* The Numismatist (ANA), 1888-Current, from the American Numismatic
* Numismatic Scrapbook Magazine (SCRAPBOOK), 1935-1975, from COIN WORLD
* Numismatic Review (NUMREV), 1943-1947, produced by Stack's (Numismatists)
* Coin Collector's Journal (CCJOUR#1), 1875-1888, by Scott Stamp and
* Coin Collector's Journal (CCJOUR#2) - New Series, 1934-1954, Wayte Raymond
* Colonial Newsletter (CNL) 1960-Current, Colonial Newsletter Foundation
* The Celator (CELATOR) 1987-1988, The Celator
UNRECOGNISED STATES NUMISMATIC SOCIETY
Regarding items of interest to the Unrecognised States
Numismatic Society, George Fuld writes: "The most important
list of such "unofficial" coins (mostly dollars) was an article in the
Numismatist by Richard Kenney about 1952 (I do have a
photocopy somewhere). The gold silver Veeder dollar (Utopia)
is listed along with other Universale issues. When the balance
of the Ford material is sold, a few surprises in this area will
WILLIAM VON BERGEN INFO SOUGHT
Nancy Oliver & Rich Kelly write: "We recently acquired a
four-page news letter of sorts that was distributed in 1913.
The news letter contains much advertisement for William Von
Bergen's book, "The Encyclopedia of Rare Coins, Stamps,
Old Books and Paper Money". It states that Mr. Von Bergen
established his business in 1885 and is currently located at
196 Chestnut Ave. in Boston, MA.
The news letter also contains information on the "Phenomenal
Advance in Values" of various coin issues, "The Discontinued
Denominations", "Mint Marks", Canadian Coins and Tokens,
We hope that someone out there might be able to shed further
light on the distribution of such news letters by William Von
Bergen. Were these handed out at shows, to his customers,
sent to collectors or other? Are these items common for this
year as well as others? Is the business or building still extant?
It is a nice little news letter and is in good condition. If you
know anything, we would really appreciate anything you
might pass on to us about the man and his literature. Please
email us at noliver146 at sbcglobal.net"
INTERVIEW: JOE FITZGERALD, NICKEL DESIGNER
>From The New York Times: "Though corporate America turns
to Martha Stewart or Michael Graves for a little wow in what
it sells, the United States Mint at the Treasury Department
turned to Joe Fitzgerald.
In the world of coins, Mr. Fitzgerald, 54, is an overnight
sensation. Beating out the mint's in-house designers and a
group of 23 others who constitute the mint's Artistic Infusion
Program, inaugurated last year, Mr. Fitzgerald won two
commissions for a new nickel.
His portrait of Thomas Jefferson, which is uniquely and
controversially off center, with a new larger nose that critics
have compared heatedly to Bob Hope's, appeared on the
obverse of a nickel introduced to the public by President
Bush on March 1. And Mr. Fitzgerald's design for the flip
side (replacing a bison by Jamie Franki) will have its debut
in August, making the nickel pretty much Mr. Fitzgerald's
personal turf and bragging right, designwise, whether you
agree with his thinking or not. Talk about excitement.
"This is 'American Idol' in metal," Mr. Fitzgerald said,
sitting at home in suburban Maryland last week with his
wife, Jean, and their pug, Fabio. Mrs. Fitzgerald calls
her husband "5 Cent," rapper style."
"Mr. Fitzgerald began collecting coins when he was 8 after a
gift of some Civil War era flying-eagle pennies from his mother.
They had belonged to his grandfather in Tennessee.
"I liked history," he said. "I was kind of a dork. I think the
thing that engaged me was that I was holding in my hand
something from 1860, thinking about all the pockets it had
been in, the people who had held it, what was happening
in the country when the coin was made. That to me was
"Mr. Fitzgerald took his cue from Roman coins.
"They took great pride in doing very realistic coins," he
explained. "If the emperor was fat, they put him on the
Mr. Fitzgerald's Jefferson is based on a bust executed in
1789 by Jean-Antoine Houdon, which friends of Jefferson
said was an exceptional likeness. The mint asked Mr.
Fitzgerald in subsequent drafts to bag and sag the
president's face to approximate him in 1805, when one
of his most famous executive initiatives, the Lewis and
Clark expedition, was under way.
Mr. Fitzgerald's second design, to be introduced on the
nickel's reverse in August, commemorates Clark's sighting
of the Pacific and reproduces his journal entry, "Ocian in
view! O! The joy!" Playing safe, the mint changed Ocian
In addition to a bigger, more accurate nose, Jefferson,
in the most radical aspect of Mr. Fitzgerald's design, is
positioned at extreme left on the coin, and in a tight
close-up that cuts out wig and collar.
"Don't bother with the hair," Mr. Fitzgerald recalled advising
himself. "Hair tells you nothing about a person's personality.
Work on the eyes and the mouth. My frustration with American
coins is that the heads are so small, you can't tell much about
an individual's character." Mr. Fitzgerald included the word
"Liberty" in Jefferson's own hand rather than a typeface, and
floated it before his mouth in the fashion of political cartoons
of the period."
"Mr. Fitzgerald's designs, the last two of four in the mint's
"Westward Journey" nickel series, will be replaced by a new
permanent nickel in 2006. His designs will be submitted, with
others, to the secretary of the Treasury as candidates for the
To read the complete article, see:
GOBRECHT DOLLAR AUCTION INFO SOUGHT
Dennis Hengeveld of Ruurlo, The Netherlands writes: "I'm
looking for auction descriptions for Gobrecht dollars. That's
including all varieties, patterns, originals and restrikes. I'm
seeking this information because I'm planning to do a nice
article about these short lived dollars. Unfortunately, as I live
in the Netherlands I can't get a lot of auction catalogs here.
That's why I'm only looking for the descriptions (I will try
to find the pics on the Internet). Other information is also
welcome, like things you've read in old books or auction
I'm especially interested in pre-1950 auction appearances.
A scan of the article or auction in a format like .JPG will
be fine, or when you want to type over the descriptions
that's okay too. My email address is dph10 at ilse.nl.
DISTINGUISHED SERVICE CROSS QUIZ ANSWER
Last week I asked, "What American celebrity received
the DSC?" The answer is Audie Murphy, who became
a celebrity AFTER his heroic war adventures. Murphy
also earned the Medal of Honor for his actions.
In September 1943, the Distinguished Service Cross was
awarded to Audie L. Murphy, Second Lieutenant, (then Staff
Sergeant), Infantry, Company "B", 15th Infantry Regiment, for
extraordinary heroism in action.
"Landing near Ramatuelle, France, with the first wave of the
assault infantry, at 0800 hours, 15 August until halted by
intense machine gun and small arms fire from a boulder-
covered hill to his front. Leaving his men in a covered position,
he dashed forty yards through withering fire to a draw. Using
this defiladed route, he went back toward the beaches, found
a light machine gun squad and, returning up the rocky hill,
placed the machine gun in position seventy-five yards in
advance of his platoon. In the duel which ensued, Lieutenant
Murphy silenced the enemy weapon, killed two of the crew
and wounded a third. As he proceeded further up the draw,
two Germans advanced toward him. Quickly destroying both
of them, he dashed up the draw alone toward the enemy
strongpoint, disregarding bullets which glanced off the rocks
around him and hand grenades which exploded fifteen yards
away. Closing in, he wounded two Germans with carbine fire,
killed two more in a fierce, brief fire-fight, and forced the
remaining five to surrender. His extraordinary heroism resulted
in the capture of a fiercely contested enemy-held hill and the
annihilation or capture of the entire enemy garrison."
"Audie Leon Murphy, son of poor Texas sharecroppers, rose
to national fame as the most decorated U.S. combat soldier
of World War II. Among his 33 awards and decorations was
the Medal of Honor, the highest military award for bravery
that can be given to any individual in the United States of America,
for "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life
above and beyond the call of duty." He also received every
decoration for valor that his country had to offer, some of them
more than once, including 5 decorations by France and Belgium."
"Actor James Cagney invited Murphy to Hollywood in
September 1945, when he saw Murphy's photo on the cover of
Life Magazine. The next couple of years in California were hard
times for Audie Murphy. Struggling and becoming disillusioned
from lack of work while sleeping in a local gymnasium, he finally
received token acting parts in his first two films.
His first starring role came in a 1949 released film by Allied
Artists called Bad Boy. In 1950 Murphy eventually got a
contract with Universal-International (later called Universal)
where he starred in 26 films, 23 of them westerns over the
next 15 years."
1802 HALF DIME HAMMER PRICE FOUND
Last week David F. Fanning asked: "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."
Mark Borckardt writes: "The 1802 half dime you asked
about realized $172.50. Check the front of the recent
Logan-McCloskey half dime book. Pages 12-35 list all
auction appearances of 1802 half dimes, most with prices
realized. Also included are catalog descriptions from these
WHAT TO DO WITH OLD NUMISMATIC NEWSPAPERS?
Len Augsberger writes: "I have a dozen odd years of Coin World
and Numismatic News back issues looking for a good home.
My numismatic literature dealer advisor suggested that the recycling
bin might be the best option, but I could not bring myself to so
dispose of much valuable information. On the other hand, lack of
space is forcing the issue one way or another. Readers willing to
take this "hoard" off my hands for postage (quite likely costing more
than the original subscription) may contact me at this email address:
leonard_augsburger at hotmail.com."
ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH. VERY HIGH
Regarding last week's discussion of the proposed Colorado state
quarter designs, Tom DeLorey writes: "As a former Coloradan,
I am less than impressed with the Colorado state quarter finalists.
Pikes Peak is almost unrecognizable, from either of the two
faces shown. As to Eastern vs. Western mountains, the
unofficial Colorado definition makes it clear: Anything less than
14,000 feet is a hill."
MORE BUCKS ON THE WALL
Ron Abler writes: "I live in Southern Maryland, and there
is a restaurant called The Roost in a nearby town named
Lexington Park. The original owner of The Roost had
served as a pilot in the Berlin Airlift before opening his
establishment. Apparently, many of his war buddies visited
the restaurant, and they honored a custom of many WW II
veterans by leaving "buck snorts" as calling cards. Buck
snorts are one-dollar bills autographed by the presenter.
To this day, the wall behind the bar of the Roost is
plastered with buck snorts, including several square feet
of them that were blackened by smoke from a kitchen fire
long ago. I don't know if this has anything to do with the
dollar-plastered walls of the Mar Vista restaurant in Florida."
[Perhaps there are other establishments out there that
honor this tradition. But before rushing to The Roost,
note the following item I located on the web - the place
was involved in hepatitis litigation. -Editor
ONLINE CHATS WITH NUMISMATIC CELEBS?
Michael Savinelli writes: "I was wondering if there are any
"online chats" being conducted anywhere with either famous
numismatists, famous dealers, or famous authors. At my
job, we have monthly online chats with our CEO in real
time. I don't know what the exact technology is, but it works
basically like a chat room where you submit a question (your
identity is hidden), and then the CEO (or other guests) type
answers. You can see all of the questions and answers of all
of the participants on your screen, and the questions and
answers just scroll down your screen as more questions and
answers come in. It is usually held for an hour and an
incredible amount of information gets disseminated.
Does anyone know of a similar forum in the numismatic
context? I know there are various message boards on
the Internet, but I am not aware of any scheduled chats
with special guests. Wouldn't it be great to get to "chat"
with some of the major numismatic authors on a monthly
basis, maybe for an hour or so? For a regular collector
like me, it would be a special treat to ask a question and
get a response, along with seeing the questions and
answers that others might have."
[Well, it's not a chat, but The E-Sylum is the biggest
gathering of numismatic luminaries I know of (E-Syluminaries,
as Dick Johnson described them). In this issue alone, we
have submissions from several top numismatic researchers
authors, collectors and dealers from around the U.S. and
the world. I'd rather be here than anywhere else on the
web. I'm not familiar with many other numismatic sites
or their chat schedules; perhaps one of our readers can
fill us in. -Editor]
THAT'S ONE BIG NICKEL
... or as Maxwell Smart would say, "That's the SECOND
biggest nickel I've ever seen!"
The following is reprinted from the C.N.A. E-Bulletin, an
electronic publication of the Canadian Numismatic
Association (Issue Number 7, March 20, 2005):
About 3 hours north of Toronto on Highway 11 lies the town
of Sudbury. There you will find a number of tourist attractions,
including the Science North complex, a mine tour and the
Canadian Centennial Numismatic Park. The numismatic
highlight of a visit to Sudbury is, without doubt, the Big Nickel.
The other numismatic highlight is the upcoming ONA
Convention being hosted by the Sudbury Coin Club.
A recent issue of the Ontario Numismatist, official publication
of the Ontario Numismatic Association, included the following
history of the Big Nickel Monument:
The Big Nickel was the brainchild of a Sudbury fireman,
Ted Szilva, and artist/sign maker, Bruno Cavallo. The idea
was to develop the coin to celebrate Canada's 1967 centennial.
The centennial committee rejected the submission. Undaunted,
Szilva and Cavalloo formed the Nickel Monument Development
Corporation Ltd. (MDCL) and Szilva coined the phrase Big
Nickel. The NMDX chose the 1951 Canadian five-cent piece
as the model.
The 1951 coin was designed by Canadian artist Steven Trenka.
The coin was issued to commemorate the 200th anniversary of
the isolation of nickel as an element by Swedish chemist Baron
Axel Frederick Cronstedst in 1751. The coin featured King
George VI on one side and a nickel refinery on the other side.
As Sudbury was the second largest producer of nickel in the
world, it was the perfect choice for the Big Nickel.
The construction project was undertaken in Cavallo's sign
manufacturing workshop in Sudbury. Two vertical columns
and several angle iron pieces make up the framework. The
inside layer is a sheet of metal skin. Plywood is the middle
layer and the outer layer is stainless steel sheet metal.
In May, 1964 the nickel was erected and the Canadian
Centennial Numismatic Park began operations. The nickel
was unveiled at the official opening on July 22, 1964 in
front of 2,500 Sudbury residents and dignitaries.
In 1981, Ted Szilva sold the Big Nickel and the Canadian
Centennial Numismatic Park to Science North (Northern
Ontario's future science centre). Science North considered
dismantling the nickel due to the high cost of maintenance.
But, as the monument was considered a unique, unmistakable
landmark for Sudbury, Science North refurbished the
nickel in 1984 at a cost of $12,000. All other non-mining
related items were removed from the site.
During the week of January 22, 2001, the Big Nickel was
removed from its original base at the Big Nickel Mine in
Sudbury. Dismantled for refurbishing, this was the first time
in almost 40 years that the nickel was absent from
In April 2001, the Big Nickel was temporarily relocated
to Science North. It was moved back to its traditional
site on Big Nickel Mine Road at the newly constructed
Dynamic Earth on May 10, 2003.
For the full story and other statistics, go to
If you want to own a big chunk of the Big Nickel (donation
of $10,000), or just a letter ($2,500) or even a dot ($1,000),
you just have to check out
If you want to know what other tourist attractions are near
the Big Nickel in Sudbury, Ontario, including tours of an
underground nickel mine, go to
about the Sudbury area is indeed timely if you are planning
on attending the ONA Convention. It is the premium
numismatic event taking place in Ontario in 2005 that is
hosted by non-profit clubs.
As a matter of interest, Alan Herbert's Coin Clinic column
in the February 8 issue of Numismatic News included the
following: "What is the biggest coin reproduction known?
I know of at least three candidates, including the big 1953
cent erected at Woodruff, Wis. Somewhat larger is the
30-foot-high 1951 Canadian nickel in the Canadian
Centennial Numismatic Park at Sudbury, Ontario. Both are
dwarfed by the Japanese reproduction of a coin that is
described as being 100 meters (328 feet) in diameter,
laid out on the grounds of a park."
[Can anyone tell us more about the "Northern Centennial
Numismatic Park"? How about some more information
on the Woodruff cent or the Japanese big coin? -Editor]
FEATURED WEB PAGE
This week's featured web page is about a communion token
first issued in 1800 by the First (Scots) Presbyterian Church
of Charleston, South Carolina.
"Now, let’s take another look at the token itself. Measuring
28mm, and made from silver, it was made in England in the year
1800. According to Autence A. Bason, author of Communion
Tokens of the United States, 300 specimens were ordered by
the church in that year. An additional order of 500 pewter tokens
was made at some later point in time. Although resembling the
silver tokens in having a communion table on one side and a
“burning bush” on the other, the pewter tokens were somewhat
different in substance, being die struck, not hand-engraved. They
were manufactured by Robert Lovett, prominent diesinker in
New York City, and were meant to be used by the black members
of the congregation. Mrs. Bason states in her book that “during
the Civil War the valuable silver communion service of the church
was sent to Columbia, S.C. for safe keeping and the communion
tokens were included. Later, a column of Union soldiers visited
the city and the vessels and tokens were taken. The soldiers,
thinking they were some sort of Confederate money, took the
tokens.” Bason goes on to state that 14 specimens of the silver
token were known, but that count has probably increased to
20 or so since the printing of her book. The pewter tokens are
much scarcer, with only three or four presently known."
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
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