The E-Sylum v8#20, May 15, 2005
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Sun May 15 21:15:06 PDT 2005
Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 8, Number 20, May 15, 2005:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2005, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Among our recent subscribers are Werner Freystätter, Andrew
McIntyre, Woody Harter, Marc Breitsprecher and Timothy Cook.
Welcome aboard! We now have 755 subscribers.
SUBSCRIBER PROFILE: WERNER FREYSTÄTTER
Our first new subscriber writes: "My name is Werner Freystätter
and I live in Helsinki, Finland. My interests are:
A) German paper money & literature, Finnish and Russian
B) Any literature on Notgeld - i.e. emergency paper money,
scrips etc. - (in the languages of English, French and German)
- Yet I make exceptions for outstanding works in any other
languages as long as they come with a decent set of illustrations.
I can help other collectors to source German and Finnish
literature. Please note that I am a private collector and not a
[Werner's subscription brought our subscriber count to 750!
We've come a long way since the initial list of 49 current and
former NBS members we started with on September 4, 1998.
Although the majority of our subscribers are from the U.S., we've
had an international distribution from the beginning, with early
subscribers coming from Italy, Poland, and the Russian Federation.
I enjoy receiving your submissions and piecing together each
week's issue. Keep those emails coming! -Editor]
NBS EVENTS AT THE UPCOMING ANA CONVENTION
Numismatic Bibliomania Society President Pete Smith writes:
Tentative plans have been made for NBS events at the
American Numismatic Association convention in San Francisco.
Our numismatic literature symposium will be at 1:00 PM on
Thursday, July 28. Scheduled speakers are Rich Kelly and
Nancy Oliver who wrote "A Mighty Fortress" about the San
Francisco Mint and a more recent book about coiner Joseph
Our NBS membership meeting will be Friday, July 29, at
11:30 AM. We expect to have reports from officers and a
benefit auction of donated literature. ANA Librarian Nancy
Green will also speak about recent developments at the
LAKE BOOKS SALE #79 PRICES REALIZED AVAILABLE
Fred Lake writes: "The prices realized list for our sale #79 which
closed on Tuesday, May 10, 2005 is now available for viewing on
our web site at: http://www.lakebooks.com/archive.html
Please scroll down to sale #79 (or use the "2005" button) and
you will see the two choices for viewing the list.
We are a bit later than usual in posting the results due to a very
heavy deluge of last-minute bidders.
Our next sale will be held in early July and will be posted to our
web site in early June."
MINT DIRECTOR MOVING ON?
The White House issued the following announcement on May 10th:
" The President intends to nominate Henrietta Holsman Fore, of
Nevada, to be Under Secretary of State for Management. She
currently serves as the 37th Director of the United States Mint.
Director Fore previously served as Chairman and President of
Stockton Products. Earlier in her career, she worked at the United
States Agency for International Development as Assistant
Administrator for Asia and as Assistant Administrator for Private
Enterprise. Director Fore earned her bachelor's degree from
Wellesley College and her master's degree from the University
of Northern Colorado."
To read the full press release, see:
[So... who will be the NEXT Mint Director? -Editor]
PLANET COLLECTOR PUBLISHER IN LEGAL BATTLES
In our April 24, 2005 issue (v8n17) I mentioned receiving
copies of a magazine called Planet Collector, a glossy
publication showcasing many different collectible fields.
The latest issue of the Maine Antique Digest has an article
about lawsuits the publisher is involved in.
"Last December, Sotheby’s filed a lawsuit against Jordan
Wright, publisher of Planet Collector, a collecting magazine
started in June 2004, over a confidential list of 21,000 clients
that Sotheby’s claims Wright sold to Heritage Galleries and
Auctioneers, the Dallas coin and collectibles auction house."
"In a counterclaim filed May 10, Wright offered an explanation
for how he came by the list and countersued Sotheby’s for
making false and defamatory statements about Wright and his
magazine. Wright claims his possession of the list is a result of
the consignment to Sotheby’s of a $200,000 Batman collection."
To read the full story, see:
A web search turned up
another reference to the lawsuits in The New York Post.
[The first article states that Heritage has subsequently purged
the disputed mailing list. The whole affair sounds pretty batty,
but does begin to explain how the magazine began showing up
unsolicited in collector mailboxes, although I don't think I'm on
any Sotheby's list. Perhaps other lists were used as well. It
might be a fun exercise to use different names and initials for
every publication and membership in order to be able to track
subsequent uses of a mailing address, but I've never been so
curious as to bother. Have any of our readers tried that?
Have any of you gotten an unsolicited Planet Collector mailing?
EURO COIN REDESIGN
On May 13, 2005, The Associated Press published a story
about plans to redesign the Euro coinage.
"The European Union will redesign the euro coins to reflect
the bloc's massive eastward expansion last year when it
absorbed 10 nations that are not depicted on the map of
Europe shown on the current coins.
Euro notes show a map of the 25-nation EU, but coins only
the 15 nations that formed the bloc up to May 1, 2004, when
Cyprus, Malta and eight East European nations joined.
The EU finance ministers agreed future coins should either
show a larger Europe or another common symbol reflecting
a bigger EU."
"Officials gave no date for the introduction of the new-look
To read the full story, see:
KITTANNING MEDAL OBSERVATIONS
Regarding my discussion of the Kittanning medal displayed at
a new exhibit at the Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center,
John Kraljevich writes: "The Kittanning Medal at the new
museum was Hugh Mercer's specimen and is apparently
owned by the City of Fredericksburg, Virginia. I think this is
the first time anyone has really taken numismatic note of it.
There was one in the LaRiviere collection that is now at
Colonial Williamsburg. The two from Garrett are now in
the Ford collection and a private New England collection.
I'm not sure where the others are, but I could probably
hazard a few guesses.
The Kittanning medal is very important as an American-made
military honor and the first medal struck in America (first
medal dies made in America too, for that matter). The article
calls them cast, though they are actually struck, and the originals
were all silver, though white metal and copper restrikes exist.
The Mercer medal is the only awarded one I know of, as the
two Garrett pieces and the LaRiviere piece don't look like
they were ever worn.
I'm looking forward to seeing the write-up on the one Ford
has -- or maybe he has more than just the Garrett specimen?
MEDALS IN THE CLASH OF EMPIRES EXHIBIT
In response to my query, David F. Halaas, Ph.D, Director of
Library & Archives/Publications at the Senator John Heinz
Pittsburgh Regional History Center writes: "There are 18 medals
in Clash of Empires:
Peace Medal, early 18th century, Ft. Ticonderoga
“Reign of Louis XV,” Library and Archives, Canada
Friendly Association Peace Medal, 1757, Historical Society of PA
Kittanning Medal, 1757, City of Fredericksburg
Medal by David Fueter, 1761, Library and Archives, Canada
“British Commanders, 1759, private
Belle Isle Taken, 1761, private
Quebec Taken, 1759, McCord Museum
Halfpenny with trophy of arms & thistle, private
Victories of the Year, 1759, private
Victories of the Year, 1758, private
Louisbourg Taken, 1758, private
“ “ , 1758, private
Peace Medal, 1764, Library and Archives, Canada
Order of Saint Louis 1775, McCord Museum
Cumberland Society, 1746, private
Loyal and Friendly Society of the Blew and Orange, 1727-60, private "
FRASER'S AMERICAN INDIAN MODELS
Roger Burdette writes: "Regarding comments about the models
for the native American on the Buffalo nickel, Fraser's list of
models varied somewhat over the years, as did his recollection
of many events. The earliest directly nickel-related sculpting
was in 1910 when Fraser produced a portrait bust that closely
resembles several versions of the nickel portrait. Nearly all of
Fraser's design work on the nickel was completed in September
1911. Minor refinements led to what was supposed to be the
final models in August 1912. Had it not been for Clarence
Hobbs and associates, the new nickel might have been dated
1912. (However, then we would have no 1913 Liberty nickels
to obsess about!) As with any coinage portrait, Fraser's native
American is a composite of several individuals plus the artist's
idealizations. Readers may also be interested to know that Bela
Pratt's native American on the $5 gold coin of 1908 was done
from a photograph, not a living model, and was significantly
modified by mint Engraver Charles Barber with approval from
Mint Director Leach."
[Hobbs Manufacturing, a producer of slot machines, protested
the proposed nickel's high relief, delaying the introduction of
the coin. -Editor]
BUFFALO NICKEL BOOK A SURPRISING TREASURE
Dick Johnson writes: "I would like to echo editor Wayne Homren’s
glowing praise of Taylor Morrison’s book, "The Buffalo Nickel."
Even if you do not have young children to give or read this book
to, get it for yourself.
The author is an extremely gifted painter AND author. What’s
better, he is a diligent researcher. He had contacted me early in
his project and we met in New York City early in his research
activities. I had directed him to the National Sculpture Society
(for data on Fraser) and the American Numismatic Society
(for data on the nickel). Later he went to Washington, DC, for
further digging at the Smithsonian and the U.S. Mint. He is that
thorough! He gets his facts straight and his resulting text and
illustrations – which he paints himself – are meticulously
accurate based on all his research!
He boils down the story -- which he writes himself -- and
chooses illustrations that are dramatic snapshots of the events
that best reveal the story. This book has only 32 pages, but has
48 illustrations and more facts on how the nickel was created
than any numismatic book. And believe me, his facts are accurate.
It is not based on the tales you hear at the local coin club or
If you are thinking "I wouldn’t put a juvenile book in my library!"
don’t shortchange yourself. This book is worth ten times its
retail price. In fact, I donated a double signed copy -- with the
author’s pen & ink drawing of a buffalo above his autograph --
for Kolbe’s auction benefiting the ANS and some lucky buyer
paid $86 for that lot.
Here’s what I penned on the same page above my signature:
"It was a delight working with Taylor Morrison on this book
project. He is a talented author / artist! Best of all, he got the
technology correct for James Earle Fraser’s modeling, the
die making, and the striking of the Buffalo Nickel."
The painting of the U.S. Mint building in Philadelphia (the
one at 16th & Spring Garden Street), page 24, was based
on a drawing I furnished Taylor. In return he sent me an
enlarged painting of that same drawing. That’s a keeper
and adorns my library wall.
Booklovers may also find Taylor Morrison’s previous book
– "Civil War Artist" -- of interest. It dramatically illustrates
how printers’ plates were made of wood before
photoengraving and metal plates were used. Get both books.
[I had already searched for other titles by Taylor Morrison,
and they are already on my want list for my kids. I would
also like to thank the American Numismatic Association,
for stocking the book in their shop. I discovered it on my
visit to ANA headquarters last year, and might not have
been aware of its existence otherwise. -Editor]
WOODWARD PHOTO STILL UNFOUND
David F. Fanning, Editor-in-Chief of our print journal,
The Asylum, writes: "Regarding the existence of a photo of
W.E. Woodward, unfortunately all I can do is add that I have
also been unable to find one. I was in touch with WEW's
great-great-grandson, Steve Levine, who has published an
online biography of Woodward at
and he has never seen one in his family's possession. Charlie
Davis may well be correct about the reason behind this, since
it is odd that so prominent a citizen didn't have a portrait done."
PETROLEUM AS A COLLECTING TOPIC
Dick Johnson writes: "Roger de Wardt Lane’s item in last
week’s E-Sylum on petroleum brought memories flooding
my mind. He is to be thanked for bringing that fantastic
petroleum topic website to notice.
When I first started collecting numismatic books, I visited a
lot of used bookstores in my native Kansas City. I noted
every one of them had a shelf or so reserved for "cattle" or
similar topic. "They appeal to big ticket buyers," said one of
the booksellers when questioned. Of course! Kansas City
was a hub of the beef industry. A lot of locals became
wealthy in the cattle industry. And what do they collect?
They collect what they know. Ergo. A thousand dollar
pamphlet published in 1880s on cattle raising!
I never forgot that observation. Later, when I became a
medal dealer, I couldn’t find much on cattle raising, but my
second thought was oil. There are a lot of wealthy oil men.
Perhaps I could find a market for petroleum medals and
tokens. So I began setting aside any such petroleum item
that came through our medal dealing.
Perhaps Harry Bass came to my mind first as a prospect.
He had been a house guest for three days once when he
wanted to examine my numismatic library. Later my partner,
Chris Jensen, and I assembled a complete set of medals
issued by the American Numismatic Society. Harry had
recently been named president of ANS. We dragged that
collection to a Houston ANA convention one year with
the intent to show it to Harry. My best sales pitch "As
President of ANS you should have a complete collection
of every medal they made."
Harry looked at perhaps two medals. "Ship it to my office
with an invoice." Two sentences for a gigantic sale.
Contrast that with a half hour discussion with a hesitant
collector for a $10 purchase. Harry was accustomed to
buying early U.S. gold. I did not see him buying a Sunoco
token. However a well-built, ready-made collection of
medals and other numismatic items of petroleum topic
might have appealed to him. Or, if not him, perhaps
someone else in the oil business.
My hoarded collection of petroleum items never grew
large. So we never placed it on the market. (It resides,
probably, in a never-opened wooden box of unsold items
from my medal dealing days. If I don’t get around to
selling these in the next couple of decades, watch for
my estate sale.) Anyway, thanks Roger. You brought
back a lot of fond memories. And that’s a great website!"
AMERICAN STATE PAPERS ONLINE
Paul Hybert writes: "The Library of Congress has placed
images of all pages of the "American State Papers" volumes at
Although the text is not searchable, the pages can be read or
saved locally. They also have a searchable index for each of
[This should be a handy resource for researchers interested in
early U.S. and colonial coinage. -Editor]
MORE ON MUSCALUS PUBLICATIONS
David Gladfelter writes: "Dr. Muscalus (as the "Historical Paper
Money Research Institute") issued a list of his own publications
in print, also with 80 titles although numbered differently from
the Katen list and without the last 4 works cited by Katen. On
this list a number of the early works are omitted, probably
indicating that they were then out of print. Four of these omitted
works must not be on the Katen list.
Muscalus wrote 10 articles published in periodicals that are
listed in Clain-Stefanelli but not in Katen. They are C-S #
13547, 13591-97, 13356, 13377 & 13378. "
In the late 1960s-early 1970s Dr. Muscalus had a used book
store in Trenton called "Acres of Books" on either Lafayette
Street or the next street up from Lafayette before you get to
State Street. Later it moved up to State Street in the downtown
mall area. Dr. Muscalus hung out in the store and would know
where to find any book you might ask for. He never seemed
to have much on New Jersey history. If memory serves he
was then on the faculty of Mercer County Community College.
I'm sure he stocked his own publications but I didn't ask him
for any. "
Fred Lake writes: "I have copies of the listing of Dr. Muscalus's
works done by Frank Katen. I will be happy to mail a copy to
anyone who will send me a SASE. The "K" numbers are quite
useful. My address follows.
6822 22nd Ave N
St. Petersburg, FL 33710"
[Thanks, Fred! -Editor]
SAY IT ISN’T TRUE! A LIBRARY WITHOUT BOOKS!
Dick Johnson writes: "The New York Times ran an article
Saturday, May 14, 2005, that a University of Texas library is
dispersing all its books to be replaced by computer modules.
Will the digital age replace more libraries? Only dictionaries
and certain reference books remain as books. Otherwise its
"software suites" on four floors of this undergraduate university
Students are going to learn Google and not the pleasure of
opening a sheaf of bound pages and feel the heft of the author’s
words between cloth-bound covers. The smell of paper. The
images of sharp type on printed pages and illustrations in original
printing. Pixels instead of pictures.
Read this article by Ralph Blumenthal only if you have a strong
[Joel Orosz also forwarded the article, noting, "For now, the
books are being moved, but since out of sight is out of mind, it
is only a matter of time before they will begin to discard them.
This is chilling." Some excerpts follow -Editor]
"Students attending the University of Texas at Austin will find
something missing from the undergraduate library this fall.
By mid-July, the university says, almost all of the library's
90,000 volumes will be dispersed to other university
collections to clear space for a 24-hour electronic
information commons, a fast-spreading phenomenon
that is transforming research and study on campuses
around the country."
"Such digital learning laboratories, staffed with Internet-expert
librarians, teachers and technicians, have been advancing on
traditional college libraries since appearing at the University
of Southern California in 1994. As more texts become
accessible online, libraries have been moving lesser-used
materials to storage. But experts said it was symbolic for a
top educational institution like Texas to empty a library of
"Significantly, librarians are big supporters of the trend.
"There's a real transition going on," said Sarah Thomas, past
president of the Association of Research Libraries and the
librarian at the Cornell University Library in Ithaca, N.Y.
"This is not to say you don't have paper or books. Of course,
they're sacred. But more and more we're delivering material
to the user as opposed to the user coming into the library
to get it."
To read the full article, see:
BILKED BANKER TWISTS THUMBS
The following story from the Daily Herald of central Utah
has only a tenuous numismatic connection, E-Sylum readers
love history and a good tale of treachery, so here are a few
"On the morning of April 21, 1891, Nephi banker Charles C.
Whitmore put up $6,000 as security for a share in a Mexican
gold mine. He also promised to sell two gold ingots produced
by that mine to the U.S. Mint. Whitmore received a severe
shock later that day. He learned the ingots were really copper,
and the people who had taken his money had left town.
People from all over the territory wondered how the flimflammers
had duped the wealthy banker. They reached a consensus of
opinion -- sometime before the jeweler tested the metal, the
swindler switched, by slight of hand, the packet carrying the
copper filings with one containing gold.
Hell hath no fury to match that of a bilked banker. With frenetic
fortitude, Whitmore pursued the men who had bamboozled him.
He promised Provo lawmen a liberal reward if they captured
the mysterious Mexican and his two cronies."
"Early on the morning of April 22 while the exciting news of the
gold brick scam was still spreading through Utah, Rio Grande
Western Agent D.S. Taggart saw the same red-nosed gambler
who had come into town the previous day. The man appeared
to come to the train from a saloon on the south side of the
tracks, and he boarded the late night train bound for Salt Lake
City from the south side. Most passengers boarded from the
"Whitmore claimed he recognized the Mexican and notified the
train's conductor that the man they wanted was on board. Then
he pointed the man out to Hill and ordered the officer to make
"Provo's Enquirer wrote that the jailer put the suspect in a cell
"at an hour when graveyards are said to yawn," and admitted
Hill and Whitmore before going about his early morning business.
The Salt Lake Tribune printed a sensational article describing its
version of what happened after the jailer left.
The newspaper claimed Whitmore was worked up to a frenzy
by "alcoholic liquifacations" and was determined to wring a
confession out of the suspect whose real name was found to be
William Leonard. According to an inmate in a nearby cell,
Whitmore swore at the man he interrogated and repeatedly
yelled, "You have got to confess!"
When this method brought no admission of guilt, Whitmore
resorted to the "Siberian torture." He pulled out a rawhide
thong and a metal bolt. The banker turned master of the
Spanish Inquisition wrapped the thong around Leonard's
thumbs and used the bolt to twist the rawhide tighter and
tighter until the prisoner screamed and yelled, "Stop it!
The Tribune claimed the jailbird didn't sing "until the blood
bursted from under the nails." Leonard confessed to the
crime, but he refused to say what he had done with his share
of the money until Whitmore produced the leather thong and
bolt once more.
Just seeing the instruments of torture induced Leonard to reveal
that he had sewn the money in the lining of his coat. Whereupon
Whitmore ripped loose the lining and removed seven $100 bills.
The jailer, who had heard yelling and screaming, returned at that
point and compelled Whitmore to leave the cell. "
To read the full story, see:
ANOTHER ROMAN COIN HOARD FOUND
Forwarding an article discussed in The Explorator newsletter,
Arthur Shipee writes: "Another Roman coin hoard has been
found by some UK metal detectorists:
"For nearly 2,000 years a treasure trove of Roman coins
lay hidden just below the surface of an Ipswich field.
But today around 1,000 coins are being examined at the British
Museum after being unearthed by two metal detecting enthusiasts.
After Suffolk had thundered to the sound of the Roman legions,
the coins lay undisturbed through two world wars, invasions of
the Saxons and Vikings and the reigns of numerous kings and
And all it took to unearth them was two men from Chantry
with a metal detector.
Rick Talman and Chris Roper could not believe their eyes
when they uncovered more than one thousand of the bronze
and silver coins in a field just outside the town."
To read the full story, see:
NEW HAMPSHIRE LOSING TURNPIKE TOKENS
Dick Johnson writes: "New Englanders will want to get a
souvenir token from the New Hampshire Turnpike soon.
They will shortly eliminate tokens and replace collection
booths with EZ-Pass lanes. And what happens to all those
old tokens? Rich Hartzog buys ‘em up.
Here’s the story (but not part about Rich Hartzog --
I added that):"
[Here's an excerpt from the article: "Executive Councilor
Ruth Griffin of Portsmouth is pretty sure she’ll vote to get
rid of tokens on the turnpike system next week, in exchange
for a 30 percent discount to drivers using the proposed
E-ZPass system. She predicted the Senate would soon copy
the House and abolish tokens, along with the 50 percent
discount for drivers using them." -Editor]
To read the full article, see:
DOLLAR COIN PROBLEM: CONGRESS
Regarding the problem with dollar coins not circulating in
the U.S., David Gladfelter writes: ""It's the Congress, stupid."
Don't blame the Mint for failure of the "Cagi" to circulate.
Congress, in its infinite wisdom, directed in the legislation
authorizing the Sacagawea dollar that "[n]othing in this Act
or the amendments made by this Act shall be construed to
evidence any intention to eliminate or to limit the printing or
circulation of United States currency in the $1 denomination."
Public Law 105-124, § 5. (A victory for the B. E. P. lobby?)
The Mint's Office of Public Affairs undertook a fairly extensive
publicity campaign for this new coin. See U. S. Mint, Dollar
Coin Program Information Kit.
Repeal § 5 of the United States Dollar Coin Act of 1997 and
we will have circulating dollar coins in out country."
I hadn't heard the term "Cagi" before. David writes: "It's just
a name that is short for Sacagawea. I always carry at least one
"Cagi" and, like Johnny Appleseed of old, look for opportunities
to put it into circulation."
MORE ON THIBODEAU'S NONEY MONEY
On May 9th the Providence Journal published a lengthy article
about "noney," a currency created by Rhode Island artist Alec
Thibodeau. We first discussed this in The E-Sylum for April
10, 2005 (v8n15). here are some excerpts:
"The 32-year-old Providence man is standing on the other
side of the counter at CVS. He has just put down a twin-pack
of indelible markers ($2.19), then handed the cashier a cheerful
yellow-and-violet piece of paper.
It appears to be the currency of some obscure country,
depicting a happy young man named Ryan, a penguin and
Call it funny money. But Thibodeau's not laughing. So for
a few suspenseful seconds, the cashier searches his face
for telltale signs of joking.
"It's a kind of art currency," he says.
He explains. He's an artist. This is his art. Would she
trade a couple markers for it?
"I can't take that," she says.
The deal dies. Thibodeau leaves. He's pleased, though.
He wasn't that interested in buying indelible ink anyway.
He has other markers. Thibodeau's more interested in
engaging unsuspecting people in thoughts of art, specifically
placing value on it.
"Some people get it right away," Thibodeau says. "Some
people react hostilely. But they are reacting. That's what
art is supposed to be about."
"On Noney.com, you can read stories of where Thibodeau's
art currency has surfaced around the world, and what people
have traded for it."
"The concept's not new.
"Jackson Pollock paid bar tabs with paintings," Thibodeau says.
"Picasso would write checks and then draw on them, knowing
the drawing would prevent people from cashing the check.
The doodle would be worth hundreds of dollars, and no money
was ever withdrawn from his checking account."
"Thibodeau copes. However, he'd rather not have to. The
tradition of posthumously priceless art isn't popular with artists.
"Art is one of those professions where you're economically
better off dead," he says. "I'd like to get more immediate value
from my art."
KEN SMALTZ FEATURED IN NEWSDAY
In The E-Sylum: April 10, 2005 (v8n15) we discussed some
publicity for Ken Smaltz, owner of K. Smaltz, Inc. which he
claimed to be the first African American-owned coin dealership
in the United States.
On May 13, 2005, Newsday featured an article on Smaltz.
"New customers often do double takes when they meet Kenneth
Smaltz Jr., a rare-coin dealer in Garden City. That's because
Smaltz himself is a rarity in the industry: He's an African-American
who owns a rare-coin business.
"It's always in the back of your mind that when you meet someone
of another ethnicity, that they might have second thoughts about
me being African-American," said Smaltz, who owns the
8-year-old K. Smaltz Inc."
"What the Jamaica, Queens, native does is buy and sell rare coins
in a $3-billion to $5-billion industry, whose players run the gamut
from individual dealers to long-established businesses such as
Stack's, a Manhattan company that is the country's oldest rare-coin
dealer. The businesses are overwhelmingly white, as are the
majority of the customers, who include captains of industry and
Although the rare-coin industry has many black salesmen,
encountering a black business owner is uncommon, experts said.
At national shows, which dealers rely on significantly for buying
and selling, you don't see many African- Americans or many
women, except for spouses, said Beth Deisher, editor of
CoinWorld, a weekly trade newspaper in Sidney, Ohio.
But, she added, "That is changing."
To read the full story, see:
John and Nancy Wilson of Ocala, FL write: "We find this one
of the best universal currency converters on the Internet. It is
free to everyone. Please pass this great site onto the readers
of the E-sylum: http://www.xe.com/ucc/
[I've used this myself in the past, and it comes in handy when
buying or bidding on numismatic items in other countries.
Another one is http://www.oanda.com/convert/classic
FROM THE MAILBAG
In no particular order, here are some items of possible
interest to bibliophiles and researchers gleaned from other
BANK BAGS OFFERED: In the past we've discussed
various types of numismatic-related ephemera, and one
was the collecting of canvas coin bags imprinted by banks
and mints. (See The E-Sylum June 29 & July 6, 2003,
v6n26 & v6n27). The upcoming May 21, 2005 sale by
Craig A. Whitford Numismatic Auctions includes 10 lots
containing a total of over 175 individual bags.
INTERNATIONAL ENGRAVER'S LINE
The May/June 2005 issue of Paper Money, the official
journal of the Society of Paper Money Collectors has
an article (p228) about Gene Hessler's upcoming new
book, The International Engraver's Line. The book will
be a "392-page compilation of the lives and work of
world security engravers from the 1700s to the issuance
of the Euro." Most of the 700 illustrations will be in color.
The book will be produced in a limited edition of 500
copies. In addition, "there will be a premium edition of
100 copies that is accompanied by eleven engraved works,
ten of them signed by individual engravers.... Prices have
not been announced. For further information contact the
author at engraversline at aol.com."
CANADIAN CARD MONEY RESEARCH COMPENDIUM
In the April 10, 2005 issue of The E-Sylum (v8n15) our
Featured Web Site was the Canadian Association of Token
Collectors, publishers of Numismatica Canada. The March
2005 issue of the journal has a lengthy article by Wayne L. Jacobs
titled "The Saga of the Playing Card Money of New France."
The article is a one-stop compendium of the most important
published information on the topic, compiled from multiple
1856 SAN FRANCISCO MINT ARTICLE
The Spring 2005 issue of the Brasher Bulletin, newsletter of
the Society of Private and Pioneer Numismatists (v17n1)
includes a reprint of an illustrated article titled "Coining
Money at the San Francicso Branch Mint," reprinted from
Hutchings' California Magazine, Vol 1, No. IV, October
1856. Here's a short excerpt:
"On the pavement in front stands a number of odd looking
square boxes containing bottles with glass necks rising above
the top and in which are the various kinds of acid used in the
manufacture of gold and silver coin within. In the street can
be seen drays and wagons with men unloading supplies of
various kinds for the Mint; express wagons with packages
of the precious metal from all parts of the mines; men going
up with carpet sacks hanging heavily on their hand all desirous
of having their gold dust converted into coin."
JOHN J. FORD REFERENCE LIBRARY, PART II
George Kolbe's catalogue of the second part of the Ford
library has some wonderful introductory essays by Jon
Hanson and Q. David Bowers. Interesting reading!
RIDDELL SCRIP IN MAY 26 FORD SALE
We've discussed research relating for John Leonard Riddell,
head of the New Orleans Mint and recipient of one of the four
original Confederate Half Dollars. The upcoming Stack's
auction, part X of the John J. Ford Jr., collection, includes
a selection of "Historic and Unusual Cardboard 'Chits' from
the New Orleans Post Office, issued and signed by Riddell
when he held the position of New Orleans Postmaster from
1859 through the Confederate occupation of the city (see
COINAGE ARTICLE ON ALEXANDRE VATTEMARE
I've noted in the past that numismatists are missing something
if they overlook COINage magazine. The June 2005 issue
is proof of that, in the form of David T. Alexander's article,
"Alexandre Vattemare: Numismatic Magician and Bibliophile."
It's a fascinating article based on recently discovered materials
about this "former soldier and ventriloquist who went on to
become an acclaimed bibliophile, numismatist and international
cultural ambassador of the 19th century." In 1861 Vattemare
authored "Collection des Monnaies et des Medailles de l'Amerique
du Nord 1652-1858, Offerte a la Biblioteque Imperiale"
(My loose translation: "Collection of the Monies of North America
1652-1858 of the Biblioteque Nationale")
COMMEMORATIVE COUNTY COINS COMING!
David Fanning noted the following story at The Onion, the
satirical Internet newspaper:
"Following the success of its 50 State Quarters program—
deemed one of the most popular commemorative-coin programs
in American history—the U.S. Mint announced its next ambitious
project: releasing a unique penny for every county in the nation.
"Located in the first state in the union, Delaware's Kent County
will be the first county honored in this grand celebration of
America," U.S. Mint Director Henrietta Holsman Fore said
Monday. "But over the coming years, citizens all across the nation
will see the best aspects of their own counties celebrated on the
obverse side of a penny. Collecting all 3,143 county pennies will
be a fun activity your family will enjoy for generations."
Starting in 2006, the U.S. Mint will release five new pennies
per year for the next 629 years. While the process will be a
long one, residents of the nation's 3,143 counties and county
equivalents have already begun debating how their regions
should be depicted."
"The U.S. Mint has designed a folder for collecting and
displaying the county pennies. The cardboard murals, measuring
8 feet by 35 feet, will be available at most Walgreens stores, or
directly from the Mint by mail for $4.95 plus $179 for postage
To read the full story, see:
FEATURED WEB PAGE
This week's featured web page is a 17-page article about
Alexandre Vattemare by Suzanne Nash of Princeton University
"The extraordinary life of Nicolas-Marie-Alexandre Vattemare
(1796-1864), known today by a handful of bibliographers as
the founder of the American Collection at the Bibliothèque
Administrative de la Ville de Paris and for his role in the creation
of the Boston Public Library, deserves to be told, not only as
a revealing page in the history of Franco-American relations,
but as a window onto the rapidly changing cultural history
of nineteenth-century France."
"The tragi-comic events of his peripatetic life are the material
for a Bildungsroman worthy of Stendhal, Dickens, and,
ultimately of Flaubert, reflecting in their protagonist’s
achievements and failures the powerful social, economic and
political changes that underlay opportunities for individual
advancement after the French Revolution. Actor, publicist,
entrepreneur, collector, philanthropist, and writer, Vattemare
was, in many respects, a distorting mirror of the Enlightenment
idealism which a progressivist middle class, bent on self-
advancement, liked to see in itself. Its reflection in Vattemare
was ultimately too much of a caricature, too ambitious, in short,
too quixotic to be acceptable by the official representatives of
the social order."
The Boston Public Library web site has a photo of
Vattamere here: http://www.bpl.org/guides/founders.htm
Numismatic Bibliomania Society
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