The E-Sylum v8#50, November 27, 2005

esylum at esylum at
Sun Nov 27 20:58:23 PST 2005

Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 8, Number 50, November 27, 2005:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2005, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers is Bill Hunter of Pittsburgh.
Welcome aboard!   We now have 822 subscribers.

A few readers have reported problems with AOL again.  
AOL was rejecting last week's E-Sylum email message.  
All it gives me is a vague message about there being a 
URL in it that generates complaints, but it doesn't tell 
me which one. Anyone who missed the last issue can read
it on the web site at this address:

Another reader wrote to describe a problem with the formatting of the issue,
but unfortunately I've lost the note - please resend!  I've been using a
different mail system for the last few weeks, and that is why some of you
have noticed some changes.  Sorry for any inconvenience.  Speaking of
formatting, the previous paragraph (beginning with "A few readers...") was
formatted to have line breaks keeping each line to about 70 characters or
less.  This paragraph (beginning "Another reader...") has no line breaks.
Let me know if you have a format preference.  For years we've maintained the
70-character limit because it's the lowest common denominator that seems to
work on every email device around.  But if it's unnecessary for the majority
of our readers I won't bother doing it anymore.

In his issue, George Kolbe reports highlights of his 
recent numismatic literature sale #98, and the market 
continues to be strong for quality material.  Sale 99 
and the magic 100 are on the way.

Fred Schwan reports that a new edition of Gene Hessler's 
Comprehensive Catalog of U. S. Paper Money is in the works, 
with a new co-author.  Fred also describes the extensive 
set of hoops a publisher must jump through to obtain 
publication-quality images of currency from the Bureau 
of Engraving and Printing.

In the "interesting numismatic-related trivia" department, 
we learn about a fight over the subsequent sale of Krause 
Publications' parent company's new owner, and some interesting 
facts about a Los Angeles home owned by former coin dealer 
and jailbird Bruce McNall.

In the international banknote area, we learn of an 
embarrassing "typo" found on an about-to-be-released 
note and the planned recall of high-denomination Swedish 
notes.  In Columbia, counterfeiting is a family affair 
- a network producing millions of dollars a month in 
fake cash has been broken up.

In the numismatic personalities department, remembrances 
of Bill Spengler continue to arrive, and we have some 
further discussion on gold coins and medals owned by 
the Saint-Gaudens family.

Lastly, we examine a new Act passed by the U.S. 
Senate calling for Presidential $1 coins, changes to 
the Lincoln Cent, and the creation of several new 
commemorative and bullion pieces.

Off-topic: an interesting article on modern covered bridges:

This week's quiz: What numismatic personality likely 
witnessed an historic event aboard the Lusitania?  
Read on to find out.  Enjoy!

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


Fred Lake writes: "This is a reminder that our sale #82 
closes on Tuesday, November 29, 2005 at 5:00 PM (EST).
There are four changes/additions to our printed catalog 
and these are now incorporated into our catalog as presented 
on our web site at
They are:
C 3 has the addition of a condition description (M) 
    and an estimate ($50.00)
C 20 has a change in the estimate to $18.00
C 50 has been eliminated.
C 85 has been eliminated."


Auction Sale 98 Results: George Frederick Kolbe/Fine 
Numismatic Books reports that Auction Sale 98, closing 
on November 17th, 2005, was very successful, with 84% 
of the lots in the sale sold, bringing 110% of the total 
of all of the estimates. Some sale highlights include: 
a special leather-bound edition of Harold P. Newlin’s 
rare 1883 work on United States half dimes, perhaps the 
author’s own copy, selling @ $3,565 on a $3,000 estimate 
[all results cited include the 15% buyer premium]; the 
original Bowers and Ruddy contract establishing their 
first auction firm sold for $747 on a $250 estimate; 
Edward T. Newell’s superb original set of Ernest 
Babelon’s monumental Traité des Monnaies Grecques et 
Romaines saw spirited bidding, bringing $12,363 on a 
$10,000 estimate; Gunter Kienast’s personal annotated 
copies of his two standard works on the medals of Karl 
Goetz realized $1,150, having received two identical 
high bids; an extensive series of notebooks, apparently 
compiled by Bernard Hoidale from the 1950s to the 1980s, 
recording half dime prices at auction and fixed price 
was estimated at $250 and sold for $575; a remarkable 
manuscript record of data on United States pattern coins 
written in a copy of the Adams-Woodin work on the topic, 
compiled by Walter Breen’s early mentor, William Guild 
sold for $2,070 on an estimate of $1,000; Gerson da 
Cunha’s rare 1884 work on Indo-Portuguese Numismatics, 
annotated and extra-illustrated, saw spirited bidding 
and ended up selling for $1,380 on a $300 estimate; 
an extensive collection of Lyman Low auction sale 
catalogues, estimated at $2,500, brought $3,450; plated 
Chapman brother catalogues mostly sold substantially 
over the estimates; Raphael’s Thian’s 1876 Confederate 
Note Album ended up bringing $1,610 on a $350 estimate; 
a fine selection of 19th century German coin dealer 
Adolph Weyl’s catalogues featuring American coins brought 
strong prices; a fine example of Alföldi’s extremely 
rare work on Roman coins “A Festival of Isis,” sold for 
$1,610 on a $750 estimate; and standard works on ancient 
coins generally brought strong prices."


Auction Sale 99 Announcement: "On March 9, 2006, George 
Frederick Kolbe/Fine Numismatic Books will conduct their 
99th sale of rare and out of print numismatic literature. 
Consignments are currently being accepted. Catalogues may 
be ordered by sending $15.00 to Kolbe at P. O. Drawer 3100, 
Crestline, CA 92325 or the catalogue is accessible free 
of charge at the firm’s web site (" 

Auction Sale 100 Announcement: "In June 2006, the firm 
will conduct their one hundredth auction sale and plans 
are being formulated to make it a memorable event. 
Consignments of exceptional quality are currently being 
accepted for the sale. The firm may be contacted at P. O. 
Drawer 3100, Crestline, CA 92325; by telephone at 
909-338-6527; or by email at GFK at Those 
interested are also invited to visit Kolbe’s web site 


With all the great U.S. literature sales recently, I asked
George Kolbe, "In the bygone days of yore when Armand Champa, 
Harry Bass, Dan Hamelberg and others were building their 
libraries, the major buyers of top-end U.S. literature were 
pretty well known to all.  With the first two libraries 
dispersed, and Dan already owning most everything one might 
want, who are the big buyers in today’s market?   No need 
to name names of course, but I’m curious and was hoping you’d 
share your thoughts on this for The E-Sylum.  What kinds of 
people are assembling the big libraries today?  Or is the 
material being more widely dispersed to a lot of specialists 
who aren’t intent on building a “one of everything” U.S. 

George replied: "The easy, and most accurate, general response 
to your various queries is: I don't know, at least with any 
certainty. But that will not satisfy, so I'll ramble on a bit.

Harry Bass, Armand Champa, then (and now) Dan Hamelberg, 
overlapped each others' acquisitional timeframes. Other 
names could be added to this unparalleled period in the 
field of American numismatic literature. John Adams, for 
one, jumps to mind, as does the original host of the 
disease, John Ford; George Fuld and Eric Newman were also 
pioneers. Craig Smith, though largely unknown until his 
library was dispersed earlier this year, promised to carry 
on the tradition. Right now, I cannot provide the name of 
a new carrier of the flame, though there are candidates.

Libraries are a reflection of their owners. This is trite 
but true. Harry Bass formed his library on a scale commensurate 
with the size of his state, though with keen discernment. 
He viewed his holdings as a source of information on the 
coins he loved to collect, though he was no less enamoured 
of his library and treated it as such. The raison d'être 
of Armand Champa's library is more complicated, or perhaps 
not. Books seemed to be the end, not the means. He loved 
to be the big buyer at auctions, traveled the country to 
buy libraries or single rare books, and he was a great 
popularizer. With the help of Armand and his peers, the 
numismatic book market made great forward leaps. Dan 
Hamelberg came to the endeavor as a seeker of information 
and has become a keen preserver of our heritage. Library 
buckram rules no more. Harry Bass limited himself to works 
written in English; Armand Champa had nearly all of the 
rarities but sometimes lacked more common though essential 
reference books; Dan Hamelberg's main emphasis has been on 
works concerning American coins, though titles on paper 
currency and tokens and medals have in recent years come 
under his purview. Bass left his books and catalogues as 
is. Champa often "messed" with them via "sophistication" 
(combining elements of two or more different copies of a 
work to "perfect" one) or by binding or rebinding, frequently 
to their detriment, at least in the early years. Hamelberg 
has combined the best of both approaches, often housing 
delicate items in protective book boxes, thus preserving 
them in their original state.

What does the future hold? The market has matured in some 
respects yet much remains unknown or little understood. 
Opportunity abounds and interest in the field continues 
to expand to a new generation of bibliophiles and researchers, 
facilitated to some degree by the ubiquity of the internet. 
Will material be dispersed to specialists or will general 
libraries continue to be formed? My guess is that the day 
of the great comprehensive numismatic library is not over."


Gerry Anaszewicz writes: "I love all books, and especially 
coin related books! Both The E-Sylum and the print version 
(The Asylum) are top shelf in my book! Thanks for making them.

I've been collecting coins for over 30 years, and books, 
more or less seriously, for about 20. I bought from The 
Money Tree, visited Michael & Marlene Bourne before Remy, 
et al. I mainly collect Russian coins and books, but 
always dabble in interesting coins (and books!) from 

For Thanksgiving I visited my family in Chicago (I'm in 
Connecticut now) and hit as many used book stores as I 
could find. At one, after picking up several rock music 
and movie related books, I asked the owner if he had 
anything on coins. He told me no, but then remembered one 
volume he's had for a long while. I bought it of course! 
Though I don't really collect coins of England, the handsome 
volume was too good, and too cheap, to pass up. It was 
"The Silver Coins of England, with Remarks on British 
Money, Previous to the Saxon Dynasties, by Edward Hawkins, 
2nd edition, from 1876! Beautiful gilt covers with an 
engraved coin of Victoria. No idea if rare or not - or 
even useful! But a classy addition to the library. Any 
ideas on rarity or usefulness? It even included a few 
loose engravings (distinct from plates) of coins and 


In the November 24, 2005 (Vol 7, No. 1378) issue of 
MPC Gram, the military numismatics newsletter, editor 
Fred Schwan discussed a new book his company (BNR Press) 
is working on.  

He writes: "I have mentioned several times that I have been 
working with Carlson Chambliss on a new book... The book 
is the seventh edition of the Comprehensive Catalog of U. S. 
Paper Money. The first six editions have been by Gene Hessler. 
The seventh edition adds Carlson Chambliss as a co-author 
and general editor.

If I may say so, this is a perfect match. Gene has done 
outstanding research on many aspects of US paper money. 
This research shows in the first six editions and continues 
in this edition. I would categorize Gene's research as being 
of a more or less non-commercial nature. Of course, all 
editions have included values and Gene did a good job of 
soliciting help from collectors and dealers for this aspect 
of his catalogs. However, that part was hardly a passion. 
It was a duty.

On the other hand, Carlson is a market maven. He studies 
the heck out of just about every public transaction. He 
can read an auction prices realized list and get excited 
where most of us would go to sleep. Furthermore, he is 
an active and advanced collector of most areas covered 
by the catalog. This is an ideal marriage of talents and 
I believe that the product will reflect that."


In the same issue of MPC Gram (No. 1378) Fred Schwan 
discusses the lengthy process publishers must go through 
to get approved images of new U.S. currency for publication.  

He writes: "One of the last pieces missing from the book 
has been images of the $10 Series 2004A notes. The design 
was released about two months ago. You have seen pictures 
in the numismatic press and possibly even in the general 

Of course we wanted to include images of the new design 
in the book even if they have not yet been released because, 
among other things, the notes might be out by the time that 
the book is and certainly will be circulating during most 
of the functional life of the catalog.

I went to the BEP web site. You can do the same. Anyway, 
I found that some low resolution images are readily 
available. These are certainly suitable for reproduction 
in newspapers, but not suitable for use in the book. The 
site includes information about requesting high resolution 
images.  The intended use must be provided. That was no 
surprise although it would not do any good if there was no 
checking on the requestor. Much to my surprise the process 
then required submitting a written request requiring 
substantial personal and business information. I jumped 
those hoops then was told that it would take a few weeks 
for approval.

I must point out that the staff was helpful and stayed 
in contact via email. Yesterday I received an email that 
the images had been shipped and would arrive via Fedex 
today. The sender also explained that after I received 
the CD, I would have to call the BEP to obtain the 
required password to open the images.

The package arrived today. The CD has nice BEP markings, 
a serial number and bar code. It would make a nice addition 
to my collection except that the provided documents 
demand the return of the CD. Darn.

Everything went OK with the computer, but as promised 
a password was required before I could open the thing.
I called the BEP. The person was pleased to hear from me 
and had expected the call. The first few tries were 
unsuccessful because of the syntax of the password, 
but ultimately they extracted two recognizable files 
(one each face and back).

I then ran Photoshop and attempted to open the files. 
The file for the face opened, easily and quickly. It 
also printed without problem. The back however would not 
open in Photoshop. I got the same message that was 
discussed in the past about the software not allowing 
images of paper money! Double darn. I then tried 
importing the images into the software being used to 
lay out the book (In Design CS).  They BOTH imported 
just fine and also print fine.  Fortunately for me the 
images were nicely cropped etc so that I only needed 
to drop them in."


Larry Gaye writes: "I was very interested in seeing the 
news of Jules Reivers' large cent collection coming to 
the market.  I had the pleasure of meeting Jules at the 
ANA Convention in Portland, Oregon in 1998.  John Haugh 
his friend and contributor to Jules' book The United 
States Early Silver Dollars 1794 to 1803 had a reception 
at his home to fete Jules and others from the convention.  
It was here that Rob Retz and I met Jules and were 
invited into his warm and generous fraternity.  He 
shared some of the coins he brought for sale and gave 
all present "first shot" before presenting them to the 
rest of the copper weenies on the floor.  What a great 

Sadly, John passed away several years ago, and this is 
where the biblio connection comes in.  I was browsing 
Powell's' Book store and found several books that came 
from John's library.  I immediately bought them as 
most were inscribed to John by their respective authors.  
Among them was one inscribed to John from Jules, it said: 
"To my friend John Haugh with Best Wishes, Jules Reiver."  
I was truly amazed that these books found their way to 
Powell's and was sure they would be marketed to numismatists.  
Well, my library is very thankful they are there."


On November 25 the New York Post reported that "A 
fight between two of the big media money power players 
in New England — Boston-based Abry Partners and 
Providence, R.I.-based Providence Equity Partners — 
looks like it will get nastier before anyone comes 
to their senses and settles. 

The quarrel is over the pricetag for F+W Publications, 
a mid-sized publisher for magazine titles including 
Writer's Digest, Turkey & Turkey Hunting, Old Cars 
Weekly, Numismatic News and several book clubs directed 
at hobbyists, including WoodWorker's Book Club. 

In August, Abry paid $500 million for F+W Publications, 
which was headed by Primedia co-founder William Reilly 
with financial backing from Providence Equity. 

Three months later, Abry appears to be suffering 
from a severe case of buyer's remorse. 

On Nov. 3, Abry filed suit against Providence trying 
to rescind the purchase or obtain a major damage 

Abry claims that Providence "had employed a variety 
of devices and schemes to artificially inflate the 
company's reported revenues for the first half of 
the year, according to a suit in Delaware Chancery court." 

To read the full story (registration required), see:

Here's another story in a publication for dealmakers:


An historic home once owned by coin dealer Bruce McNall 
Will be moved to save it from demolition in Los Angeles.  

According to a November 26 article in The New York Times,
"Paul Revere Williams, who designed the Morris Landau House, 
could not have lived in the tony Holmby Hills section of 
Los Angeles when the home was built there.

Williams was black, and in 1936, the year he completed 
the red brick English-country-style residence, African-
Americans were barred by restrictive covenants and 
prevailing biases from owning property in the best parts 
of the city."

"By the time he died in 1980, black celebrities were 
moving into Beverly Hills and Bel Air. The Landau House, 
meanwhile, named for the South African merchant who 
commissioned it, would continue passing from owner to 
owner, among them Bruce McNall, who built a vast fortune 
as a coin collector before going to prison for fraud, 
and Ronald O. Perelman, Revlon's chairman."

To read the full story, see:


A November 22 Associated Press story reported that
"The Central Bank of the Phillipines [sic] quickly 
halted circulation of a batch of new banknotes after 
noticing an embarrassing typo on the bills."

[After Ken Berger's reprimand in the October 16, 2005 
E-Sylum, I want to quickly note that the misspelling 
of "Philippines" isn't mine - it came from the web 
site (hence the [sic] notation I added).  

The page links to a video which I was unfortunately 
unable to view on my computer.  If any of you can 
run it, please let us know what it says.  I've also been
unable to locate another copy of the Associated Press 
story.  -Editor]

Neil Shafer writes: "For some reason I could not read 
the article either, but the note is a 100-Piso with the 
president's name spelled as ARROVO instead of ARROYO, 
probably as part of the signature title, as the president 
of the country is one of the signatories on Philippine 
paper issues.  I have not yet seen an example but hope 
to before long.

As to other instances where a paper money issue has been 
suppressed because of some error, the 20-Boliviano note 
of 1911 from the Banco de la Nacion Boliviana comes to 
mind.  Notes were prepared in values from one to 100 
Bolivianos by American bank Note Company, and all were 
duly issued- until it was discovered that the back plate 
for the 20B with repeated denomination wording around 
the inner periphery said 20 PESOS, an amazing error and 
only on this one denomination.  As I understand it, the 
small number of  issued pieces were recalled as much as 
possible, and a new plate with the correct 20 BOLIVIANOS 
inscription was prepared.  I have seen one issued example 
of the error note in very low grade, and a single back 
proof with this error was part of the American Bank Note 
Company Archive Sale held by Christie's in 1990-91.  
I'm sure there are other significant instances of recall 
but they will have to come later if anyone (including me) 
can think of them!"

[So - can anyone tell us about other banknotes that 
have been recalled (either before or after entering 
circulation) because of a mistake? -Editor]


Ralf W. Böpple of Stuttgart, Germany writes: "One of 
the recurring topics in the E-Sylum has been the process 
of electronic money replacing cash. According to recent 
newspaper reports, the Swedish monetary authority has 
published a proposal to take the county’s largest bill, 
1,000 kroner (about $120), out of circulation. At a 
later stage, even the 500 and 100 kroner bills should 
follow. The reason behind this is the officials’ view 
that large amounts of cash and high denomination bills 
are predominantly used in illegal transactions. Cash 
is not electronically traceable, tax evasion or money 
laundering can thus not be documented. Simply put, no 
honest individual or reputable company should have a 
significant demand for high denomination bills. There 
is also another point to this. A number of spectacular 
assaults on cash transports have occurred in Sweden in 
the recent past, and the authorities simply think that 
it is much more difficult to carry away an amount of, 
say, ten million kroner, if it consisted of 50 kroner 
bills only.

According to the report, credit cards and electronic 
payment systems are widely used in the population, 
and many Swedes don’t even know how what a 1,000 
kroner bill looks like."

[So what DOES it look like?  Can anyone point us to 
a web page with an image and information on the Swedish 
1,000 kroner note?  -Editor]


On Monday, November 21, 2005 The Daily Journal of Bogota, 
Columbia reported that "Police assisted by U.S. Secret 
Service agents on Sunday broke up a network capable of 
printing millions of dollars a month of excellent quality 
counterfeit money and arrested five suspects during a 
raid on a remote village in northwest Colombia, officials 

Nearly U.S.$3 million in fake 100 dollar bills was seized 
during the raid in Dagua, a village nestled in Andean 
foothills some 300 kilometers (190 miles) southwest of 
the capital, Bogotá, said Eduardo Fernández, head of 
the DAS police agency in Valle del Cauca state.

"The printing plates they were using were very good, 
so that the quality of the counterfeit money was 
excellent,” he said in a telephone interview with 
The Associated Press.

Fernández said Valle del Cauca, of which Cali is the 
state capital, has turned into a center of global 
counterfeiting. "Entire families are dedicated to 
falsifying and trafficking money.”


Russ Rulau writes: "I learned of Bill Spengler's passing 
through The E-Sylum.  It troubles me greatly. I've known 
Bill as one of the finest gentlemen in our hobby for many 
years, and he and I were together on several numismatic 
study tours in Europe.

In 1969 Bill was a member of our small (20 people) tour
group that visited Bern for the International Numismatic 
Congress, along with such luminaries as Miguel Munoz, 
Ken Bressett, Grover Criswell and others. After Bern we
toured Paris, London and Oxford, meeting numismatists all
the way.

My wife Darlene and I lunched with Bill in a small cafe
on the Champs Elysee  -- Chinese food. Bill pulled a very
memorable joke that has stuck with me these 36 years. He
said he opened a fortune cookie once, and the message
inside said, "Help! Help! I'm a prisoner in a Chinese 
fortune cookie factory."

Later, at the Ashmolean Museum coin cabinet in Oxford,
he displayed his knowledge of south Asian coins better 
than the curators.

In the summer of 1993, 22 Americans including Bill,
myself, Bob Julian, David Bloch, Hal Blackburn, Emil 
Ilko, Bob Barrett, Irving Berlin (of Texas) and others 
put together a 3-week tour of the Soviet Union. Landing 
in Leningrad we visited the Hermitage collection; in 
Odessa we met with local collectors just forming a 
coin club; then Mineralnye Vodyi in the Caucasus; off 
to Tashkent, Bukhara and Samarkand, finishing up in 
Moscow. Bill spoke Russian as did our Intourist (no 
doubt KGB) guide/translators.

Bill at that time had a summer home in Rural, Wis., 
Just 20 miles or so south of Iola, so he visited Krause 
Publications frequently. He was a great guy -- almost 
everyone who knew him say that."
Bill Rosenblum writes: "More than a few of you have 
asked me if their is a something we can do in Bill 
Spengler's name. I spoke with his widow, Phid, earlier 
this week. First of all she is doing quite well as she 
has a very good support system with two sons in the 
area plus a number of organizations she belongs to.

She suggested a few of Bill's causes: South Asian 
Earthquake Relief which can be contacted at 
or Also she mentioned Pikes Peak Hospice 
at Of course a donation to the 
ANA in Bill's name would also be appropriate. I think 
that Rita and I personally will make a donation to the 
Pikes Peak Hospice as they not only helped Bill and 
his family but three years ago we lost a very close 
friend to cancer and they were amazingly supportive 
to his widow, his family and friends.  Obviously you must 
do what you feel is correct."


Regarding our earlier discussions of George Kunz of 
Tiffany's, Roger Burdette adds: "Please extend my 
thanks to Kay O. Freeman for providing corrected 
information on Louis Hannweber (not Karl Hanwebber) 
of Tiffany's."
Greg Burns ( writes: "One of 
the items in the 11/20/05 issue of The E-Sylum caught 
my attention: the name of George F. Kunz (A/K/A Kuntz), 
of Tiffany jewelry and mineralogy fame.

One of my passions is the Lusitania medal designed 
by Karl Goetz, the Munich medallist. During one of 
my forays into the on-line world I found a resource 
that had a letter (which I later purchased), signed 
by Robert Lansing (at that time Counselor under 
Secretary of State William J. Bryan), written to Mr. 
Kuntz at his New York City address on Fifth Avenue, 
stating that the State Department had received Mr. 
Kuntz' letter "...of February 18th, and in reply 
informs you that your remarks relative to the use 
of the American flag by foreign powers, has received 
the attention of the Department."

The significance of the letter to me was the inference 
that Mr. Kuntz had been aboard the Lusitania during 
its trip from New York to Liverpool early in 1915, 
and he had evidently personally witnessed the incident 
referred to: the use of the American flag by the captain 
of the Lusitania to confuse any enemy submarines that 
may have been observing her at the time. This 
well-documented incident aroused American protests 
and German, too.

The facts of the incident were that the German submarine 
U-21 had, on January 30, 1915, sunk three unarmed merchant 
vessels in the Irish Sea, close to the port of Liverpool 
(Lusitania's home port). The heightened tension caused 
Captain Dow of the Lusitania great distress, and 
according to President Wilson's emissary, Colonel Edward 
House, on board at the time and recording in his journal 
the entry for February 6, "This afternoon, as we approached 
the Irish coast, the American flag was raised. It created 
much excitement and comment and speculation ranged in 
every direction."

Mr. Kuntz had apparently indignantly written to the 
State Department to complain of this illegal ruse, 
perhaps surprising since he had been the recipient of 
the safety it would have prompted.

Less than three months after the State Department letter, 
the German submarine U-20 loosed a single torpedo which 
sunk the Lusitania in 18 minutes killing 1,201 on board. 
Only a month after the sinking, Secretary Bryan resigned 
his post in protest of Wilson's stance during dialog 
with the German government over the incident. So many 
titans of politics and government - so much drama!

I don't know why I'm writing this to you, except perhaps 
to note that as Frigyes Karinthy proposed in his 1929 
short story, "Chains", we are all connected by six degrees 
of separation. Other writers to E-Sylum mention George F. 
Kuntz, and when I see his name what sparks in my mind 
is his relation to the Lusitania and his role as a minor 
player in the unfolding of that momentous event. And 
this is what I love about numismatics. Go figure..."


Last week I noted that Saint-Gaudens' son Homer was 
associated with the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh, and 
recalled a story that Homer had arranged to donate an 
extremely high relief double eagle to the Museum's 
Roger Burdette writes: "This is very interesting. In 
1908 Augusta Saint-Gaudens was sold one of the two EHR 
$20 from the Philadelphia Mint collection at the 
direction of President Roosevelt. Augusta later gave 
the coin to Homer. According to Dr. Duffy at the SGNHS 
the coin was not part of the material transferred to the 
National Park Service and no one seemed to know what 
happened to Homer's EHR $20. If Homer donated his coin 
to the Carnegie Museum and the holdings were later sold, 
it may be possible to trace the coin's present owner. 
This would be the only EHR example with any direct 
connection to the Saint-Gaudens family."

[It would indeed be interesting to verify this tale.  
Glenn was a fountain of knowledge about the Carnegie's 
collection, but unfortunately he's gone now and I have 
no documentation of the story other than my own poor 
memory.  I definitely recall Glenn telling me a coin 
donated by Homer was misplaced, and I'm very sure it 
was a high relief $20 Saint.  Was it an extremely high 
relief?  That's the way I recall the story, but I could 
be wrong or perhaps Glenn was.  He told the story a 
number of times; some of our E-Sylum readers are members 
of the Western Pennsylvania Numismatic Society, and may 
have their own recollections of the tale.  Even if it 
wasn't an EHR, it still makes for an interesting story 
- even a plain -ol' high relief is a scarce and valuable 
coin to misplace, even temporarily.  

I believe there were four sales of the Carnegie numismatic 
holdings in New York, London, and Zurich.  A review of 
the catalogs would at least confirm whether or not a high 
relief $20 was sold by the museum, and if so, the catalog 
description might note the provenance.  The only sale I 
have handy is the March 24-26 New York sale by Spink & 
Son USA, held at the Vista International Hotel at the 
World Trade Center.  This was the third sale in the series.  
Lot 871 is described as "Double-eagle, 1907, Saint-Gaudens 
type, high relief, wire edge. Two edge bruises on reverse 
at 4:00; very slight cabinet friction, otherwise as struck 
and choice."   It does NOT say the piece is an EHR example, 
only "high relief".  -Editor]

Roger adds: "The situation actually extends to the $10 
plain edge pattern and several HR $20s once at the Aspet 
studio. These and all the gold medals went missing from the 
S-G property. I suspect that a careful investigation would 
show some interesting gold specimens "appearing" out of 
thin air at some auction or other in the 1970s or later. 
I doubt that the Carnegie had an EHR $20 - even 50 yr ago 
it was too well known to be casually overlooked.
It seems that museum and public collections like to have 
a specimen owned by someone famous, but then forget to 
properly identify the pieces. The Mitchelson collection 
in CT has one HR $20 from Henry Hering but there's no way 
to tell which coin it is, or if it was one of those sold 
some years ago. A bunch of the ANS coins came from George 
Kunz, although Huntington or others may have reimbursed 
him for the cost.
Maybe my book on the S-G & Pratt gold designs will pop 
some items out of the woodwork."


Dave Perkins writes: "I recently learned that the 
Massachusetts Historical Society has an online catalog, 
with quite a few historical and numismatic references.  
I entered a number of searches, both numismatic and 
genealogical (both my Perkins and my Strong families 
date back to the 1630s in Massachusetts).  One search 
turned up an interesting and different type of pedigree 
on a Spanish Milled Dollar dated 1773, as follows:

“1773 Spanish Milled silver dollar (modified pillar 
series), stained with blood [my apologies
] from the 
Battle of Bunker Hill, enclosed in a frame with a note 
signed by Nathaniel Greenough.  The note explains that 
the dollar was taken from a “British soldier’s woman” 
by Greenough’s sister Hannah a few days after the 
battle in 1775.  Also includes a tax bill to Greenough.”

It’s not often we learn where an old silver dollar 
was in 1773-5.

A second item was more of a personal interest to me, 
and references a shipment of gold dollars:

“Documents regarding the shipment of $40,000 Spanish-milled 
gold dollars to Batavia (Jakarta) aboard ship Rebecca, by 
James and T. H. Perkins.  Includes justice of the peace 
certificate for William Stevenson signed by Mass. Gov. 
Caleb Strong, declaration, invoice, and bill of lading.”

This had double interest for me.  The first interest was 
of course numismatic.  The second, I’m distantly related 
to Gov. Caleb Strong (1745-1819) on my mother’s side of 
the family (she was a Strong).  I’m also distantly related 
to these two Perkins.  

If interested, here is the web address for the Massachusetts 
Historical Society online catalog:  
Click on the ABAGAIL Online Catalog, and enjoy!"


Dick Johnson writes: "The Senate passed legislation last 
week that authorized the U.S. Mint to strike presidential 
dollar coins, much like the successful statehood quarter 
dollar program. It's similar to House bill passed earlier 
this year; backers say President Bush is sure to sign this 
bill into law.

In addition to the presidential dollar coins, it authorizes 
changing the reverse of the Lincoln Cent in 2009, the 
bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln’s birth. The cent design 
change had been proposed by the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial 
Commission. Perhaps you read it first here in The E-Sylum back 
in June 2004 (vol 7, no 26) when first notice was published 
of their desire for cent design ideas.

The Senate bill (S. 1047) retains the concept of the four 
reverse designs proposed by the Lincoln Commission, each 
for a different period in Lincoln’s life and honoring three 
states in which Lincoln lived and worked plus Washington DC 
where he was president. The states are: Kentucky for his 
birth and early childhood; Indiana for his formative years; 
and Illinois for his professional life where he practiced law.

The bill further authorizes a $10 bullion coin series bearing 
images of the First Ladies.

The issuance of U.S. coins honoring states and now 
presidents follow closely the concept of private medal 
series in half-dollar size issued forty years ago. Popularity 
of president medal series and state series by Presidential 
Art of Vandalia Ohio, led to a third series – Signers of the 
Declaration of Independence Series. Could this foretell the 
prospect for a future series for the U.S. Mint? The medal 
series was popular for the patriots in America’s formative 
years, particularly those founders who were not presidents, 
like Benjamin Franklin and John Hancock. All three series 
were created by one artist, Ralph Joseph Menconi (1915-1972) 
in contrast to the artistic hegemony which has created the 

These medals are more than "associated items" to the coins 
-- they are the same subjects! I see exhibits of both coin 
and medal series side-by-side in the future.

If you wish to read about the law passed last week, click on: "

David M. Sundman forwarded the following update from the 
Office of Senator John Sununu on the Presidential 
$1 coin Act.  It's a lengthy law with many provisions.

"The United States Senate today (11/18) approved bipartisan 
legislation introduced by Senator John Sununu (R-NH) that 
would place images of U.S. presidents on a new $1 coin. 
The "Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005" (S. 1047) - which 
71 senators co-sponsored - aims to bolster circulation of 
the $1 coin, generating millions of dollars for consumers, 
businesses, and the federal government." 

"S. 1047 is based on the successful 50-State Quarter 
Program established by Congress in 1997. That program 
has helped renew interest in coins, coin collecting and 
the history of our nation's states in addition to 
quadrupling the number of quarters in circulation and 
earning the federal government millions of dollars. 
According to the Government Accountability Office, a 
fully circulating dollar coin would earn as much as 
$500 million a year for the government. The revenues 
reflect the difference between the costs of making the 
coin and the amount of worth it carries in commerce, 
equaling about $0.80 for each $1 coin. 

Specifically, Sununu's legislation: 

* Places the images of four U.S. presidents on the 
dollar coin each year, in the order of their service, 
until all are so honored, starting in 2007;

* Features the Statue of Liberty on the reverse side 
of the coin;

* Locates significant information, such as the date 
and the so-called mintmark, on the edge of the coin;

* Provides for the Sacagawea coin to continue to be 
issued during the Presidential Coin Program; upon 
termination of the program, all $1 coins will revert 
to the Sacagawea design;"

* Requires the federal government to use the dollar 
coin in all of its retail operations;

* Requires that dollar coins be available in convenient 
forms, including rolls and small bags, enabling businesses 
to use the coins easily;

* Takes steps to address problems created by the 
co-circulation of the Susan B. Anthony coin with new 
dollar coins;

* Creates a new pure-gold bullion coin to honor 
presidential spouses, generating excitement about 
the series, and appealing to collectors and investors;

* Creates a new, pure-gold bullion, one-ounce coin with 
the image of the so-called "Indian Head" or "Buffalo" 
nickel - a popular design for investment; and

* Calls for the issuing of newly designed pennies to 
celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of 
Abraham Lincoln."


This week's featured web page is suggested by Roger 
deWardt Lane.  He writes: "While searching for pictures 
of British coins I came across this short but very well 
done page.

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society

The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization 
promoting numismatic literature. For more information please 
see our web site at

There is a membership application available on the web site 
at this address:

To join, print the application and return it with your check 
to the address printed on the application. Membership is only 
$15 to addresses in the U.S., $20 elsewhere.  For those without 
web access, write to:

David M. Sundman, Secretary/Treasurer
Numismatic Bibliomania Society, 
P. O. Box 82 Littleton, NH 03561

For Asylum mailing address changes and other membership 
questions, contact David at this email address: 
dsundman at

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