The E-Sylum v8#18, May 1, 2005
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Sun May 1 19:32:21 PDT 2005
Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 8, Number 18, May 1, 2005:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2005, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Among our recent subscribers are Howard Spindel and
Serge Pelletier. Welcome aboard! We now have 747
Our publicity is mostly word-of-mouth. Can you help us
get to the 1,000 subscriber level? If you know someone
who'd be interested in receiving The E-Sylum, encourage
them to sign up on our subscription web page:
ANS PHOTOFILES SAFE AND SOUND
Last week I questioned a report that a substantial portion of
the American Numismatic Society's photo archives had been
destroyed. I am pleased to report that, no, it ain't so. Joe
Ciccone, ANS Archivist writes:
“The E-Sylum recently published an unconfirmed and erroneous
rumor in which it was alleged that the ANS had destroyed much
of its photographic archives. The truth is quite the contrary:
these archives are alive and well. In fact, we recently began a
digitization effort to ensure the preservation of these images
while also enhancing their accessibility. Anyone who wants to
know the true state of the Society’s institutional archives can
visit our website at: http://www.amnumsoc.org/archives.
The staff and management of the ANS deeply cherish the
Society’s history – one of the reasons they hired an institutional
archivist – and certainly would not permit the destruction of a
substantial portion of the Society’s historical records.
Admittedly, in the spring of 2004 an inspection by the New York
Fire Department revealed that certain negatives from the 1940s
had deteriorated to the point where they were unstable and
therefore and not legal to house on the ANS premises. As a
result, the New York City fire department removed them for
reasons of health and safety. These negatives contained images
of only the collections of the Hispanic Society. Photographic
prints of the negatives were made, which both societies own.
Thus no information was lost, and these negatives represented
only a small fraction of the Society’s photographic holdings,
which actually date to the 19th century, not the 1940s as was
Much of the unnecessary concern and confusion which
resulted from the rumor’s publication could have been avoided
had the ANS simply been contacted. Please come and visit
the ANS collections."
CHARLES DAVIS LITERATURE SALE CLOSES MAY 7
Charles Davis reminds readers that his mail bid sale featuring
Surplus Works from the Library of the American Numismatic
Society closes Saturday May 7. The catalogue may be viewed
at the Maine Antiques Digest site:
UPCOMING KOLBE SALES 95 & 96
George Kolbe forwarded the press release for his upcoming
sales: "The second part of the John J. Ford, Jr. American
Numismatic Library will be sold at public and mail bid auction
on June 4 & 6, 2005. At the same time, the outstanding Craig
and Ruanne Smith Library will be sold. Two hundred lots
from the Smith Library and four hundred lots from the Ford
Library will be sold publicly at the Long Beach Coin &
Collectibles Expo on Saturday, June 4th, starting at 2:00 PM.
The remaining lots from both libraries will be sold via mail bid
auction on June 6th. The Ford sale is being held in association
with the New York coin firm Stack’s. Illustrated copies of
both catalogues may be ordered by sending $35.00 to George
Frederick Kolbe, Fine Numismatic Books, P. O. Drawer 3100,
Crestline, CA 92325. The catalogue is also accessible at the
firm’s web site: www.numislit.com.
The estimates of the 1,150 lots in the two sales total nearly
one half million dollars. Many rare works on American, ancient,
and foreign numismatic topics are featured, among them: a
superb leather bound set of The Numismatist, 1888-1952,
including the first six original volumes from the library of the
first A. N. A. president; a remarkable American Bank Note
Vignette Book featuring 76 superbly engraved plates, many
comprising vignettes utilized on South American bank notes;
the first illustrated numismatic book, Fulvio’s 1517 Illustrium
Imagines; a complete, handsomely bound set of the American
Journal of Numismatics; a complete, most attractive leather
bound set of American Numismatic Society Numismatic
Notes and Monographs; a handsome leather bound set of
Ars Classica auction sale catalogues of ancient coins; two
American Bond Detectors, one being the rare leather bound
edition; a number of Chapman Brothers auction catalogues
with original photographic plates, along with a number of
the firm’s unique Bid Books; rare early works on counterfeit
bank notes; a number of classic works on Latin American
coins and medals written by José Medina; Colonel Green’s
deluxe full morocco edition of Browning’s classic 1925
work on quarter dollars; several hardbound sets of classic
19th and 20th century American auction sale catalogues
originally in the George Fuld Library, including the W. Elliot
Woodward series; several rare Thomas Elder auction
catalogues with original photographic plates; fascinating and
historically important early correspondence written by Walter
Breen, John J. Ford, Jr., and other important American
numismatists; original photographic illustrations for New
Netherlands Coin Company auction sales; important
Americana, including an extensive selection of nineteenth
century American Directories; eight remarkably fine original
copies of Crosby’s 1875 Early Coins of America, including
John Robinson’s superb Subscription Copy; a fine
hardbound set of B. Max Mehl auction sale catalogues and
a set of Mehl’s Numismatic Monthly; Edgar Adams’ plated
Woodside and other classic United States pattern coin sales;
Ormsby’s 1852 Description of the Present System of Bank
Note Engraving; an original copy of Attinelli’s 1876
Numisgraphics; rare works on printing medals; a very rare
1840 Brasseaux work on Napoleonic medals; classic works
on large cents and American colonial coins; an 1850 Eckfeldt
and Du Bois work featuring actual samples of California ‘49er
gold; Harry Bass’s annotated set of Walter Breen monographs
on United States gold coins; superb leather bound works on
various numismatic topics; ; important British sale catalogues
featuring content on American medals and coins; and much
Those interested in learning more about these two sales or
in accessing the catalogues online may do so by visiting:
NEW CANADIAN MUNICIPAL TRADE TOKEN VOLUMES
The Standard Catalogue of Canadian Municipal Trade Tokens,
Volume 4 – Ontario, 2d ed., by Serge Pelletier has been published.
The following is from the press release:
"The Standard Catalogue of Canadian Municipal Trade Tokens,
Volume 4 – Ontario is one of the six volumes which will constitute
the complete work. The 139-page, 8 ½ x 11” spiral bound book
has a foreword, an introduction, the main listing and a reference list
of catalogue numbers. It lists all the known municipal trade tokens
of Ontario, more than 380 pieces, presented alphabetically by
municipality. The following information is given for each token:
municipality, background information on the municipality and on
the specific issue, actual size photo, catalogue number (SP#),
denomination, year, brief description of obverse, brief description
of reverse, any additional information, metal, quantity minted and
value. In addition to the 600 plus actual size photos it has 49
enlarged photos to help in the identification of varieties. Two
versions of this book are available: the book only
(ISBN 0-9697074-9-5) and the book and CD
(ISBN 0-9737777-2-9) which contains an electronic copy
of the book (locked pdf) with some of the photos in colour.
They are available from Bonavita (address below) respectively
for $24.95 and $34.95. S&H and taxes are extra.
In addition, a companion work by Serge Pelletier has also been
published: "A Compendium of Canadian Municipal Trade Tokens",
2nd ed. From the press release:
"The Compendium (ISBN 0-9697074-8-7) is designed to be a
succinct reference and a companion to the Standard Catalogue.
The 5 ½ x 8 ½” spiral bound booklet has a foreword, an
introduction, the main listing and a detailed index for a total of
125 pages. It lists all the known municipal trade tokens in
Canada, more than 4,300 pieces, presented alphabetically by
province and by municipality within each province. The
following information is given for each token: municipality,
catalogue number (SP#), denomination, year, brief description
of obverse, brief description of reverse, any additional
information, metal, quantity minted and value. It has a
transparent plastic cover making it a most valuable tool,
anywhere you go. It is available from Bonavita (address
below) for $12.95. S&H and taxes are extra.
Bonavita can be reached as follow: Box 11447, Station H, Nepean,
ON K2H 7V1, tel: (613) 823-3844, fax: (613) 825-3092, e-mail:
bonavita at eligi.ca. Postage and handling is as follows (Canada and
U.S.): $2.50 for orders under $15.00, $4.25 for orders between
$15.00 and $49.99, $5.25 for order between $50.00 and $80.00,
$7.00 for orders between $80.01 and $125.00 and free for orders
above $125.00. Canadian residents must add the appropriate
DEXTER 1804 DOLLAR NOTEBOOK SOUGHT
Brent Pogue writes: "I'm writing to you on Dave Bowers'
suggestion. Five or six years ago my father purchased the
Dexter 1804 Silver Dollar. When it sold in the Bareford sale
in 1981, a notebook of original correspondence was passed
along to the successful bidder. The catalogue mentions these
documents, but they were separated from the coin at some
point, and I would like to reunite them. Can your readers
assist me? I believe they belong with the coin and should
pass on to the next custodian when that time comes."
[Dave Bowers' 1999 book, "The Rare Silver Dollars Dated
1804 and the Exciting Adventures of Edmund Roberts"
listed the post-Bareford pedigree of the coin as follows:
"1981-1985: Rarcoa (Ed Milas), Chicago, Illinois
1985-1989: Leon Hendrickson and George Weingart
1989: Racroa Auction '89, Lot 247
1990-? American Rare Coin Fund, L.P.,
Hugh Sconyers, financial manager, Kevin Lipton,
1990s, early: Northern California collector
1993, July: Superior Galleries sale. Reserve not met;
returned to consignor.
1994: May 30-32: Superior Galleries sale.
1994: Harlan White, proprietor of the Old Coin Shop,
San Diego, California.
Private Southeastern collection."
Any leads on the notebook's whereabouts will be appreciated.
SOME MORE EMAIL TROUBLE
Please resend any submissions that didn't make it into this
issue. I know at least one was lost, and I apologize.
A GHASTLY AND WORTHLESS SOUVENIR
The Kashar News of Kabul, Afghanistan reported on scavengers
at the site of a recent airplane crash. One man thought he hit pay
dirt with a banknote:
"Hayatullah, 32, proudly displays his foreign banknote, convinced
he is a rich man because it carries so many zeros. He has no idea
that the two million Turkish lira bill is worth less than two US dollars.
The banknote is part of the booty he collected on a day-long hike
to the wreckage of Kam Air Boeing 737, which crashed during a
blizzard in February, killing all 104 people on board.
“I got there, and saw pieces of the plane, torn boxes, and bits of
flesh. I was so upset that I could not eat at all that day,” he said.
But Hayatullah managed to compose himself long enough to
come away with the Turkish lira note, 1,000 Pakistani rupees
and a pair of children’s shoes his son now wears to school. "
PAPER MONEY TALE A THEFT COVERUP?
Too good to be true? An April 26th story by TV station
NBC4 reported that "Two Massachusetts men digging
around a tree have uncovered buried treasure. They found
the loot in a wooden box. It contained $100, $1 , $2 and
$20 bills, all dating as far back as 1899.
The cash, along with gold and silver certificates and a few bank
notes, was inside rusty tin cans placed inside the box."
"All of sudden, I find this rotten crate with all these tin cans of
money," said Tim Crebase. "Bills after bills after bills after bills.
It was unreal."
To read the story and see a slide show, go to:
The Associated Press had a more detailed story April 27:
"Simple luck helped Tim Crebase and two friends find a stash
of cash buried in his yard."
"It was a rainy day that prevented Crebase and friends Barry
Billcliff and Matt Ingham go to their roofing job, so they began
digging around his Methuen yard to dig up a shrub whose roots
were creeping into a nearby set of stairs.
About a foot down, Crebase said, he hit some soft wood. More
digging cracked open a can and he saw the cash.
After grabbing it, Crebase said he ran screaming to show Billcliff
and Ingham, and they helped him uncover about eight remaining
cans. The total stash was about 1,800 bills dating between 1899
and 1929 and piles of gold and silver certificates. Exactly who
buried it at the home in Methuen, about 30 miles north of Boston
- and why - is unknown."
To read the full story, see:
Another reader saw the story, too, noting: "This buried treasure
story ran in newspapers all over the world."
When I read one account stating the money was found under a
tree and another account saying a bush, I shrugged it off as
inaccurate journalism. I've been quoted in print many times as
part of my work, and I know reporters don't always get the
story straight. But local police smelled something fishy when
the men's stories kept changing and just didn't add up. And then
an anonymous tip came saying that the money had been taken
from a barn the men recently worked on as roofers. An April
30th article in the Boston Globe was one of the follow-up pieces
on the story:
"The more they told their fantastic tale of unearthing buried
treasure in a Methuen backyard, posing with wads of cash and
bathing in the lights of prime-time fame, the more their story
began to fray.
Barry Billcliff, 26, of Manchester, N.H., and Timothy Crebase,
24, of Methuen, described again and again their amazing luck
three weeks ago when, they said, they dug up antique money
worth more than $100,000 at a house Crebase was renting.
Thursday night, their whirlwind media tour was preempted by
an inconvenient legal development: their arrest.
The good-luck tale that bounced from Tuscaloosa, Ala., to
Grand Forks, N.D., imploded yesterday as police yesterday
charged the men with receiving stolen property, conspiracy,
and being accessories after the fact. Police say Crebase, a
roofer, found the money more than a month ago while repairing
a barn in Newbury.
The men pleaded not guilty yesterday to the charges in Lawrence
District Court. A third man, Kevin Kozak, 27, of Methuen, who
owns the house where the other two said they found the money,
turned himself in last night at 8:45, according to Methuen police."
"Police said yesterday that the money -- about 1,800 bills dating
from 1899 to 1929 -- was stashed in metal cans in the rafters
of the barn, which sits on a 200-acre farm belonging to Sylvia
Dan Iwanowicz, who works on the farm where beef cattle, goats,
and chickens are raised, said the owners did not know the money
was in the building, which he described as a tractor and tool shed."
"No one has disputed that the bills are authentic. Yesterday, Solomon
said Secret Service agents were excited about the discovery because
many of the bills are so rare they do not think they appear in their
archives. Essex Assistant District Attorney Gabrielle Foote Clark
said the men had been offered $125,000 by a collector.
Most of the cash has been recovered, Solomon said, and police
expect to reclaim the little they believe has been sold. Solomon
said he believed the men concocted their story about stumbling
upon the money so they could sell it without arousing suspicion."
To read the full story, see:
KITTANNING MEDAL AND THE FRENCH AND INDIAN WAR
An article in the April 29, 2005 edition of the Leader Times
of Armstrong County, PA, describes a new exhibit at the
Senator John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center,
featuring a rare Kittanning medal.
"All historically-minded eyes will be focused on Pittsburgh when
what is proclaimed to be the "Largest French and Indian War
Exhibition in the World" opens for public viewing Sunday."
"People ask why this war is of any interest to us, here," history
center president and CEO Andy Masich said. "Truly, the French
and Indian War was the first world war. It was a time when the
whole world was ablaze and it started here in western Pennsylvania."
In Europe it is known as the Seven Years War.
"It was a struggle between three empires," he explained, "the British,
the French and American Indian people -- the Iroquois Nation."
One of the many highlights of the exhibit is significant to Armstrong
County -- the Kittanning Medal, the first documented military medal
awarded in colonial America.
The medal was engraved by Edward Duffield, a Philadelphia
watchmaker and engraver, and cast January 5, 1757, by noted
Philadelphian silversmith Joseph Richardson in honor of Lt. Col.
John Armstrong's victory in the battle at Kittanning.
The original medal also was cast in pewter, copper and bronze.
The sliver medal is the most rare, less than six are known to still
exist. Reproductions were cast following the end of the American
Revolutionary War, and in the early 1800s."
[The article does not say any more about the silver Kittanning
medal being displayed, so I'm not sure who owns it. Has
anyone compiled a list of the current whereabouts of the six
known specimens? -Editor]
To read the full article, see:
G.A.R. RELIC BOOK PUBLISHED
Author Dennis M. Gregg forwarded a press release for his
new book: " 'An Identification and Price Guide for Grand
Army of the Republic Memorabilia', is the first and only book
of its kind. It was written by a collector and dealer for
collectors and dealers and is a very handy ID and price guide
for the thousands of G.A.R. relics, artifacts and souvenirs left
behind by Civil War veterans. This book covers virtually
every aspect of collecting G.A.R. Cover to cover, it is loaded
with photographs and illustrations of the many types of memorabilia
that one can collect, and is divided into easy-to-find main subjects
including Canteens, Fabric, Paper & Ephemera, Pins, Badges
and Ribbons, and Miscellaneous items. It includes extra chapters
on Corps Symbols, Non/Pre-G.A.R. organizations, The History
of the Grand Army Badge and more. It also has up-to-date real
market values for each item shown."
[The numismatic aspects of G.A.R. collectibles are the many
different badges and medals. The book retails for $24.95 postpaid.
Dealer discounts are available. To order, see this web page:
STAUFFER NOT THE BEST WORK ON ENGRAVERS.
Dick Johnson writes: "In response to Larry Mitchell’s item in
last week’s E-Sylum, our opinions differ on the utility of his
recommended reference work on engravers. Stauffer, Fielding
& Gage's "American Engravers Upon Copper & Steel" just
does not cover the field adequately.
Stauffer concentrated on engravers of prints and engraved
plates. Thus he lists "flat engravers" and the only coin and
medal engravers (that is, diesinkers) were those who did
both forms of engraving. (I have faced this problem
throughout my research in this field.)
Fielding is excellent and went trough three editions before it was
added to Stauffer and Gage for the three-volume 1994 edition
Larry recommends. Fielding’s best edition was published in 1965
by James F. Carr for the additions and corrections from the
catalog card notations in the New York Public Library. Fielding
was also used as a basis for the Opitz directory published in 1984.
All of these however – Stauffer, Fielding, Gage and Opitz –
have all been supplanted by the monumental work of Falk
Among 806 books listed in the bibliography for my upcoming
coin and medal artists directory I list 33 directories of artists,
and 19 directories of engravers. (Most of these have fewer
than 100 coin and medal artists cited.)
Here are some statistics on the number of citations to artists
of selected published works of these 49 directories in my
databank compared to my total number:
Groce & Wallace 306
Stauffer is among the lowest of the group. (Although I must
admit he includes all the early paper money engravers which I
do not cover and not included in this count.)
In contrast, my directory so far lists 3,356 artists of
American diesinkers, engravers, medalists and sculptors
of coins and medals.
Falk is highly recommended. His directory, "Who Was Who
in American Art" contains 65,000 American artists in three
volumes. Among those are the 1,035 coin and medal artists.
It is fairly recent, published 1999, but is rather expensive,
$300. Without question it is worth it for the extensive coverage
and determined scholarship with facts you will not easily find
elsewhere. (I have an extra set, mint in unopened box, if anyone
is interested.) Falk’s new publishing firm will publish my
Fielding was comprehensive and fairly accurate. Once it was
out of copyright it was merged and updated in the three works
Groce & Wallace cuts off at the Civil War, it lists only American
artists prior to 1864 with 306 coin and medal artists listed.
Pessolano-Filos concentrates on U.S. Mint engravers and coin
designers. All 262 are cited, but the compiler was a little loose
with his facts. (Wayne Homren has copies for sale.)
Kenney’s work was published in Coin Collector’s Journal and
reprinted as a separate pamphlet. He listed 105 coin engravers.
Thanks to the ANS I had access to Kenney’s manuscript card
file for an additional 39 more artists.
Larry’s recommendation of Stauffer, Fielding & Gage sells for
about $125. My directory will have ten times as many artists
listed – with brief biography, full list of their work, extensive
citations to auction sales, numismatic and art references, plus
a bibliography of each artist – at a fraction of that cost.
In the meantime buy a Falk if you can afford it, a Fielding if
you must, and one or two of the others, but just forget Stauffer.
I will repeat the offer I have made earlier in E-Sylum. Until my
directory gets published, I will offer to supply a printout of the
artist entry in my databank on any one artist, particularly for
someone who is researching an American coin and medal
artist. My rules are as follows: if less than six lines I will send
this by email; over six lines I will print out and mail. (Send your
address.) If over five pages (2 ounces) I charge for postage.
Some artists are embargoed because of file size (example:
Victor D. Brenner is 40 pages long). The information is for
your personal use. You cannot photocopy or give the
information to another person. Contact me at:
dick.johnson at snet.net "
THE KRUGERRAND BAN
Myron Xenos writes: "Mint Director Henrietta Fore's quote
last week on banning the sale of Krugerrands in the U.S. doesn't
sound right. I thought only Krugerrands dated after 1985 or
1986 were verboten.
I got the impression long ago that South Africa just kept putting
the old dates on them. Irrespective of that, it would be a shame
if she spread that news around incorrectly."
SPY DOLLAR AT THE CIA MUSEUM
Roger deWardt Lane of Hollywood, Florida was web surfing
recently, and came across an interesting numismatic item at,
of all places, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency's museum.
"This hollow container, fashioned to look like an Eisenhower
silver dollar, is still used today to hide and send messages or
film without being detected. Because it resembles ordinary
pocket change, it is virtually undetectable as a concealment
[... except for the fact that nobody, but nobody, carries around
Eisenhower dollars for change, that is. If you were to pull a
few out of your pocket at an airport checkpoint today, they
would probably raise some eyebrows. -Editor]
To see the image:
To visit the CIA Museum, see:
KNOXVILLE, KY MINT INFORMATION SOUGHT
Len Augsberger writes: "I have a question for E-Sylum readers.
In a recent conversation with a member of the Hanover, PA
numismatic society, it was mentioned that the Gobrecht medals
issued by that club were minted in Knoxville, Kentucky, c. 1970.
Can anyone identify the name of the private mint operating in
Kentucky at that time?"
DENVER ASSAY OFFICE & CLARK, GRUBER & CO.
Regarding last week's question about Herman Silver and his
time as "director of the U.S. Mint in Denver" beginning in 1874,
Tom DeLorey writes: "As the U.S. Assay Office in Denver was
located in the former Clark, Gruber & Co. mint, it is quite
possible that contemporary newspaper accounts referred to it
as the Denver Mint, or the U.S. Mint in Denver."
[I've found no reference to Herman Silver in Mumey's "A
Pioneer Mint in Denver," Kagin's "Private Gold Coins and
Patterns of the United States," or Taxay's "The U.S. Mint and
Coinage." Is anyone else aware of a reference that would
confirm his employment in 1874? -Editor]
The May 2005 issue of The E-Gobrecht (Volume 1, Issue 3)
has been published by the Liberty Seated Collectors Club
(LSCC). To be added or removed from the E-Gobrecht
mailing list, send an email message with the words "Subscribe/
Unsubscribe" in the subject line of the message to editor Bill
Bugert at wb8cpy at arrl.net. The issue includes these items:
==> Len Augsburger writes about the PHS Christian Gobrecht files.
==> Too much silver in circulation by David Ginsburg.
==> Biography of Daniel Webster Valentine by Stephen Crain.
==> Gobrecht Journal Article Index for 2004.
==> New feature: Recent Finds.
==> New feature: Advertisements for the sale of Liberty Seated Coinage.
Below are some short excerpts that may be of interest:
THE GOBRECHT PAPERS
"LSCC members Len Augsburger and Bill Bugert made a
trip to the Pennsylvania Historical Society (PHS) on March 9,
2005 to view the Christian Gobrecht papers in the Society’s
collection. The Pennsylvania Historical Society had been the
site of numismatic pay dirt at least once before - during the
2000 ANA in Philadelphia, Joel Orosz uncovered a long lost
diary of the 19th century Philadelphia collector Joseph Mickley.
The 1852 Mickley diary described the story of a mint insider
whose special connections greatly benefited his cabinet.
Orosz in the American Journal of Numismatics, volume 13
(2001), gave this story of this find. The Gobrecht papers at
the Society are divided into a number of files...
Overall, this is a rich archive, which deserves further study.
In particular, the Gobrecht catalog prepared in 1902 may
reveal work by Christian Gobrecht, which is currently
unattributed. This material is available to the public and may
be viewed during open hours at the Society. There is a six
dollar charge for admission."
TOO MUCH SILVER COINAGE
"Club member David Ginsburg submitted this interesting
article about too much silver coinage in circulation (don’t we
wish!): "Recently, while reading the reminiscences of a
19th-century riverboat gambler, [Forty Years a Gambler on
the Mississippi by George Devol (Cincinnati: Devol & Haines,
1887) reprinted by Applewood Books, Bedford, MA],
I came across these sentences:
“At one time, before the war, silver was such a drug in New
Orleans that you could get $105 in silver for $100 in State
bank notes; but the commission men [factors who acted as
business agents and informal bankers for planters] would pay
it out to the hucksters dollar for dollar.” Later in the book,
Devol writes: “There was a man in New Orleans before the
war that supplied the steamboat men with silver to pay their
deckhands. He could buy it at a discount, as it was a drug
on the money market at that time. I have often seen him,
with his two heavy leather bags, on his way from the bank
to the boats.”
"Dr. Daniel Webster Valentine
March 7, 1863 – January 24, 1932"
"Most collectors of the Liberty Seated design are familiar
with The United States Half Dimes by Daniel W. Valentine.
Valentine assembled several notable collections, including a
comprehensive collection of United States fractional currency,
for which he published "Fractional Currency of the United States"
in 1924. This publication was issued in a cloth bound edition
of 225 copies at $5.00 each, and in a limited, leather bound
edition of twenty-five numbered copies at $15.00 each. He
also assembled a collection of United States one dollar gold
coins, complete by mintmark.
Dr. Valentine is perhaps best remembered for his extensive
collection of United States half dimes, which he exhibited at
the American Numismatic Society in 1914. He published his
monograph United States Half Dimes in 1931, with the
American Numismatic Society, as #48 in their series
Numismatic Notes and Monographs."
CATALOG NUMBERING SCHEMES
Duane H. Feisel writes: "Having written a number of catalogs
for token collectors (several of which have won awards) and
extensively used most other token catalog, my advice to any
would-be token (or medal) catalogers to definitely have a
numbering system, but keep it simple. While a complex
numbering system may appeal to the very dedicated collector,
it usually will be a turn-off to the less dedicated collectors
representing a larger market for the catalog. Keep the
numbering simple and provide details in the listing itself.
Complex numbering also does not provide understandable
Scott Semans writes: "While I haven't authored any substantial
catalog myself, I deal in numismatic books in the ever expanding
numislit field of Asian numismatics, and I catalog numismatic
items in a wide range of fields. I have developed some definite
opinions on numbering systems! I think what Ron is considering
for his Goetz medal catalog is what I call a "suitcase" numbering
system - one in which the numbers themselves carry information
about the piece cataloged. This type of system is almost
universal among token cataloguers, and often used elsewhere.
An extreme example comes from Ray Bows' "Vietnam Military
Lore 1959-1973, Another Way to Remember" with TV954A-5
representing Vung Tau (TV) Airfield, an Army (A) base, a 5
Cent (5) token. Suitcase systems are useful in two ways: the
specialist can quickly tell something about the piece just from
a catalog number, and can communicate or make decisions
about the piece without even opening the book. More
importantly, if a 25 Cent token is discovered later, it can be
added in sequence without disturbing the existing numbers
(although there is no remedy for a new type between 954
and 955). I believe the disadvantages to such a system
generally outweigh the advantages. Numismatic authors tend
to think their books are bought and used mainly by specialists
in the field of their topic, while as a book seller I would guess
that only about 10-20% of the sales are to hard-core collectors,
researchers, or those interested in non-catalog features of a
work. Probably a majority of the buyers end up using it
casually, to look up a piece now and then, and if the arrangement
or layout of the catalog is unintuitive or complex, or the numbering
system requires a "how to use this book" section, the book will
get diminished use from the majority of its buyers. Dealers and
auctioneers, to whom look-up time is money lost, not relaxation
gained, will favor alternative works, and be less likely to stock
the book itself, and this will strongly influence what references
collectors buy. This will not bode well for sales of the second
edition in which the author includes all of the information and
newly discovered pieces brought to light by the first edition.
This is why I favor, in all fields, a "standard" (1,2,3) numbering
system with as few decimals and alphabetical prefixes and
suffixes as possible. Such numbers are shorter, easier to
remember, and will sort properly by computer. Since it is
logical to designate varieties and subvarieties as subsets of
the main number, the third subvariety of the second variety
of type 12 should be 12b.3. Alternative 12.2c is a close
runner-up, but sortability will be lost after 10 varieties (12.11
sorts before 12.2) rather than after 26 (12y sorts before 12z)
and generally there are more varieties than subvarieties.
Alternative 12.2.3 is disfavored for the same reason, plus it
is a digit longer. I feel that letter prefixes should be reserved
for intervening types discovered later (12, A13, B13,13) not
to designate broad divisions of the catalog such as ruler or
mint. Prefixed numbers do not sort, and conflict with the
common practice of using the author's initial to designate his
numbers. Roman numerals are long, unintuitive, do not sort
by computer and in my opinion utterly useless in cataloging.
Suitcase systems are helpful during the working phase of a
catalog, to remind the author of what piece the number represents,
but only cause grief if used as a final numbering. The problem of
how to insert later discoveries can be handled by leaving intelligently
chosen gaps in the number sequence, with letter prefixes and a
renumbered second edition as second choices but still, in my
opinion, preferable to a complex numbering system which may
confuse casual users. Although collectors complain bitterly when
a published numbering system is replaced in a later edition rather
than patched up to incorporate extensive discoveries, I would
urge authors to pluck up their courage and do just that. It will
result in higher book sales, a cleaner more intuitive numbering
system, and less temptation for later authors to use clunky
LIBRARIANS WORRY OVER LOSS OF WEB PUBLICATIONS
The Chicago Tribune published an article on April 29, 2005,
discussing the pitfalls of online publishing, which should be no
surprise to most bibliophiles. Their prime example is the U.S.
Government Printing Office:
"At its peak in the 1980s, before the days of Web sites and
e-documents, the office printed more than 35 million documents
a year, sending copies to libraries across the country, some of
which kept everything the GPO produced and made it available
to anyone who asked.
But now to cut costs, government agencies are increasingly
putting documents online rather than printing them and do not
always provide an electronic copy to the GPO."
"Scholars and activists say that important government information
is being lost when an agency takes them offline.
For instance, librarian Constance Lundberg of Brigham Young
University's law library, said documents pertaining to operation
criteria for dams along the Colorado River and environmental
assessment reports, have gone missing after being removed
from government Web pages."
"And the printing office recently issued a report estimating
that half of all government documents bypass it and go
directly online, conceding, "therein lies the biggest challenge
for the Government Printing Office."
The report proposed that the GPO reinvent itself, creating
one huge online archive that would be available in late 2007
and would capture all federal digital documents.
Critics say this proposal would lead to the consolidation of
public information on government servers, where it is more
susceptible to deletion or alteration. They also warn of a
diminished role for GPO's partner libraries in preserving
the public record, and they are concerned the public won't
have broad access to free government information."
"We believe the GPO's proposed model will do more to
endanger long-term access to government information than
ensure it," three librarians at the University of California,
San Diego, wrote in an article in the latest issue of the
Journal of Academic Librarianship."
"The biggest question facing GPO may be the one of posterity.
Eternally preserving electronic data presents a huge intellectual
and technical challenge for the agency, as computers and
software evolve every few years and the agency's budget
hasn't grown to keep pace."
To read the full article, see:
KENYA CURRENCY DESTRUCTION
On April 26, 2005, The East African Standard published a
nice article about the creation of a new series of Kenyan
banknotes and the destruction of the old notes.
"Deep inside the vaults of the Central Bank of Kenya building
off Haille Selassie Avenue, three men are struggling to feed
dirty cash into the Note Disintegration and Briquetting machines."
"As Kenyans wait for the introduction of new generation bank
notes — which will be equivalent in size to the US dollar notes
and only featuring the portrait of the founding President Mzee
Jomo Kenyatta — this machine is going to be very busy over
the next five years.
Around 2.1 billion pieces of bank notes will be introduced into
the economy during that period and the old notes will be
destroyed and replaced with new ones."
"Previously, a contingent of heavily armed paramilitary troops
used to guard a small note destruction exercise deep into the
heart of Karura Forest. But these days, as Mariwa says, "soiled
currency is destroyed online without the intervention of human
operators here in Nairobi and at the branches in Mombasa
and Eldoret as well."
COAL SCRIP ARTICLE PUBLISHED
The Charleston Gazette (of West Virginia) published a nice
article about coal scrip on April 29, 2005:
"It went by nicknames like clackers, flickers, chinky-tin and
It looked like money and spent like money — though usually
faster, since prices were often artificially marked up for those
who relied on it to purchase the staples of life.
Not long after the last stores that traded in coal and lumber
company scrip faded into oblivion in the 1960s, the distinctive
brass, copper and aluminum coins redeemable only at company
stores took on a new life as collectors’ items.
“Coal mine scrip has something of a tragically romantic image,
inspired in part by the Tennessee Ernie Ford song ‘16 Tons,’
and in part by the reality of the sad and dangerous lives most
miner families lived,” said Kevin Traube, a Beckley scrip
collector and dealer. “There are so many heart-tugging stories
behind these coins.”
"Scrip coins were issued in denominations of 1, 5, 25 and 50
cents, with 1-dollar coins often serving as the largest unit in a
coal or lumber company’s in-house trading system.
“Some companies issued 5-dollar, 10-dollar and even 20-dollar
coins, but they were rare,” said Singleton.
Along Hughes Creek, which flows through the hollow below
Singleton’s hillside home, there were once seven stores that
traded in scrip issued by either coal or lumber companies. A
former Valley Camp Coal Co. store — one of the state’s last
company stores to close — remains standing a few hundred
yards down U.S. 60."
“Some people collect scrip from their hometowns or their home
counties,” he said. “The book ‘Rocket Boys’ made Coalwood
a popular place to collect scrip from."
The bible of coal company scrip collecting is the Edkins Catalogue,
which comes in two volumes — one for West Virginia and one
for the rest of the country. The West Virginia book is larger."
"The Edkins guides list numerous scrip tokens that were known
to have been produced but have so far failed to turn up in any
But small caches of the coins keep turning up.
“Collectors are finding pieces we didn’t even know were out
there,” said Singleton. “Some pieces are quite rare and are
becoming very valuable.”
To read the full article, see:
[We love words here at The E-Sylum, and "clackers, flickers,
chinky-tin and dugaloos" are real keepers. I couldn't have
made those up in a million years. -Editor]
COMMEMORATIVE CENTS OF 2009 CERTAIN.
Dick Johnson writes: "We will have four different reverses
on the cent in the anniversary year 2009. That coming year
will be the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln’s birth and the
centennial of the Lincoln Cent. Honoring our 16th president
with four commemorative reverses on the cent was an idea
proposed by the Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, an
organization created by Congress in 2000 to plan the
Congress has now passed the legislation to put the Commission’s
plan into action. The House passed it’s version this Wednesday,
April 27, 2005 with a 422-6 majority. The Senate had passed
their version last summer. The final legislation will undoubtedly
be signed by the president.
The 2009 cent will retain Victor David Brenner’s obverse
portrait. Four new reverses will bear designs commemorating
events in Lincoln’s life, each in a different state (and supported
by Congressional persons in those states).
Kentucky: Lincoln’s birth and early childhood.
Indiana: Lincoln’s formative years.
Illinois: Lincoln’s professional life.
Washington DC: Lincoln as president.
This has been discussed in The E-Sylum before -- June 28,
2004 (v7 no 26) and July 11, 2004 (v7 no 28) where
E-Sylum readers had suggested the U.S. Mint strike regular
cents from Victor Brenner’s original models with his full
signature on the original wheat ear reverse. Such a mintage
would not require new legislation and could be accomplished
in addition to the commemorative reverses.
U.S. Newswire article:
Here’s the Associated Press article prior to law passing the House:
The Gannett News Service had a similar version:
CONGRESS WANTS PRESIDENTS ON DOLLAR COINS
Dick Johnson writes: "Coming off the success of the statehood
quarter program, a new law has passed the House of Representatives
this week -- the same one authorizing the 2009 Cent commemorations
– also authorizes putting the U.S. presidents on the dollar coin. It
is driven by the $5 billion generated by the sales of statehood
quarters. It also made 140 million people aware of coin collecting.
The dollar coin was chosen because of the failure of the Sacagawea
dollar. The U.S. Mint had spent $67 million in promoting it. But the
public didn’t accept it.
"That coin needs some sort of boost to do better," said Michael
Castle (R-Delaware), who sponsored both the state quarter and
the presidential dollar legislation. "The question is, will there be
enough demand (for the presidential series) for a young person to
walk into McDonalds and tell the cashier, 'I want a $1 coin in
change' "? Representative Castle is head of the Congressional
committee with the greatest influence on changing coin designs.
The plan is to issue four new presidential dollars a year, starting
with Washington. Even past presidents who hadn’t been dead
for 25 years would be placed on the coins at the end of the series,
in contravention to the Treasury Department’s own rule."
COMMEMORATIVE DESIGNS FOR ALL DENOMINATIONS
Dick Johnson writes: "Let’s see. We have statehood quarters.
Rep Michael Castle’s new legislation passed the House this week,
it puts U.S. presidents on dollar coins. What’s next? I know --
Signers of the Declaration of Independence on half dollars!
All 56 signers.
Isn’t this deja vu all over again? Yes, this does sound familiar.
These are the same ideas 40 years ago for a series of medals
by a group of Ohio numismatists. Do you remember Presidential
Art Medals? They issued several highly successful medal series,
one of presidents, a series of statehoods, a series of signers.
All three of these series were the inspired creations of one
sculptor-medalist, Ralph J. Menconi.
What other series did they issue? Apollo flights. World
War II events. Medical celebrities.
Put the Space flights on cents. World War II events on
nickels. Medical heroes on dimes.
The U.S. Mint would have to hire a dozen more engravers,
add a night shift in the press room and mint sets would cost
over $300 for all the year’s coins!
Harried cashiers would inadvertently accept more foreign
coins in U.S. retail businesses. You would have to closely
examine every coin at every transaction. There are some
things best commemorated on medals.
Presidential Art Medal Series are listed on the website of
the Medal Collectors of America:
MAY 2005 MONNAIE MAGAZINE
Serge Pelletier forwarded the following summary of
Monnaie Magazine #67 (May 2005). He writes:
"Monnaie Magazine is France’s premier numismatic magazine
which is 106 pages in full colour. This month’s articles are:
• Saint Eloi, patron des monnayeurs
(St. Eligius, patron of minters)
• La saga du franc (The saga of the franc)
• Actualités de l’euro (Euro news)
• D’où vient la Semeuse?
(Where does the Semeuse come from?)
• Jean-Paul II : sa vie, ses monnaies
(John-Paul II : his life, his coins)
• 8 mai 1945 : l’Europe monétaire en crise
(May 8th, 1945 : Monetary Europe in crisis)
• 10 nouveaux pays : l’Euro avance
(10 new countries : the Euro grows)
• Référendum du 29 mai : incidences monétaires
(Referendum of May 29th : monetary impact)
• Le Reichsmark : une monnaie pour dominer l’Europe
(The Reichsmark : a currency to dominate Europe)
• L’Atelier monétaire du Kazakhstan
(The Kazak Mint)
• 1975-2005 : 30 ans de serpent monétaire européen
(1975-2005 : 30 years of european monetary snake)
• Guide pratique des métaux et alliages utilisés en numismatique
(Guide to the metal and alloys used in numismatics)
• Aux sources de la Ville : Rome, la monnaie et l’eau
(Rome, coins and water)
For more information on subscribing please contact :
relationspresse at monnaiemagazine.com "
GEEKS GAGA OVER $10,000 MAGAZINE
Numismatic bibliophiles know it's not uncommon for rare
periodicals to sell for princely sums, but the computer community
was made aware of the rarity of one of its own ephemeral
publications recently when Intel Corporation issued a princely
reward for "a 1965 copy of Electronics Magazine that featured
Intel co-founder Gordon Moore's thoughts on how silicon
technology would evolve"
"David Clark, an engineer in Surrey, England, had a copy of
the coveted issue and has sold it to Intel, reaping the chip giant's
Intel posted a notice about its reward offer on eBay on April 11,
on the eve of the 40th anniversary of Moore's Law."
"I honestly didn't think we'd get a quick response (after posting
the reward notice). We had looked for a copy before and couldn't
find one," said Manny Vera, an Intel spokesman. "It was one of
those publications that most people wouldn't keep around after
reading it. It was a trade publication."
But then there's Clark, who apparently is a pack rat. He had
stored old copies of the magazine underneath the floorboards of
his home for decades.
"His wife gave him a hard time over the years for hoarding the
magazines, but he kept telling her one day they'd be worth a lot
of money," Vera said. And, apparently, one was."
"Perhaps the sale will put an end to any raiding of library shelves
for the magazine. Shortly after Intel announced its reward, one
library's copy went went missing, and other librarians said they
were irritated about the reward. The chipmaker had said that it
would buy library copies only if they were being offered by the
libraries themselves, but that warning apparently didn't stop
[I made a point to tell my wife about the $10,000 magazine,
but I still suspect that my basement stash will be out of here
before my corpse is cold. -Editor]
BILL WYMAN: COINS BETTER THAN STONES
Jeff Starck writes: "On Bill Wyman, here's a story from Feb. 3
about his metal detecting. I saw it then, but didn't think to share
it with E-Sylum readers."
"Wyman, 65, who for 40 years was part of one of the world’s
biggest musical phenomena, is the co-author of a new book
that expresses his love of digging up the past. Wyman explained:
"Metal detecting is more interesting than a new Stones record."
He co-wrote the book, a gazetteer of treasure troves found in
the British Isles, with his friend Richard Havers, of Duns,
Berwickshire. They have previously collaborated on music
Their latest work, Bill Wyman’s Treasure Island, is
published next month and is the culmination of an ambition
dating back a decade.
Wyman realises his hobby is sometimes perceived as "nerdy"
but his contribution could add considerable street cred to the
pursuit. He said: "I love it. It revitalised my childhood interest
in history and I find great stuff.
"I’ve found 200 old coins, Roman brooches and an axe from
1700BC. I’ve discovered Roman sites, all manner of 15th-
century artefacts, all of which are verified by the British
"Havers, 53, added: "Bill’s passion, apart from the Rolling
Stones, is metal detecting. He always said we should write a
book and so we did. We weren’t aiming to produce a scholarly
work but it can be a source of reference."
"He added: "Bill’s passion may raise a few eyebrows. It isn’t
really throwing televisions out of hotel windows, is it?"
FEATURED WEB SITE
This week's featured web site is "A Pike's Peak Medal
Collection" by Matt Carpenter.
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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