The E-Sylum v8#42, October 2, 2005
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Sun Oct 2 20:01:10 PDT 2005
Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 8, Number 42, October 2, 2005:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2005, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Among our recent subscribers are the Mediterranean Archaeological
Society, Tom Fulton, Bill McCormick, Mark Tomasko and John
Smithwick. Welcome aboard! We now have 800 subscribers!
How long until we reach the 1,000 mark?
This week's issue is a lengthy one, bringing news of multiple
literature auctions and fixed price lists, reviews of important coin
auction catalogs, announcements of new books, a numismatic
correspondence course and a book review. News from the
world of government includes the release of the new U.S. $10
bill and the exit of a Mint Director and a Mint Director nominee.
[But not the same Mint. This reminds me of an old Woody
Allen gag about a mythical creature that had the head of a
lion, and the body of a lion, but not the same lion....]
Among my favorite E-Sylum items are those featuring numismatic
recollections, and this issue has a number of these from various
sources. I hope some of our readers will chime in with some
additional interesting stories for our next issue. Of interest to
our newer subscribers is a reprint of parts of my recent Asylum
article on the early days of this newsletter, which seems particularly
appropriate as we cross the 800 subscriber mark.
A question for this issue: Who is David Dingwall and how much
does his chewing gum cost? Read on to find out his numismatic
connection (this will be easy for some of our readers). Enjoy
Numismatic Bibliomania Society
MOULTON SEPTEMBER 2005 FIXED PRICE LIST
Karl Moulton's latest fixed price list has been published.
Covering American numismatic auction catalogs from
1855 to date, the list is the most comprehensive of its
kind. Karl's annotations are great references in themselves.
For more information, see Karl's web site:
KOLBE SALE #97 PRICES REALIZED
George Kolbe forwarded the following release about the
results of his latest sale: "George Frederick Kolbe/Fine
Numismatic Books reports that the September 29, 2005
Auction Sale 97 of Important Numismatic Books attracted
spirited bidding throughout the United States and from many
other countries, including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada,
Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Mexico,
Morocco, Norway, Poland, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland,
and the United Arab Emirates. The sale featured a number
of works from the numismatic library of Vladimir and Elvira
Clain-Stefanelli, longtime curators of the numismatic
department at the Smithsonian Institution.
A few notable sale results follow. All prices cited include the
15% buyer premium. One of the highlights in the sale was a
substantial run of Zeitschrift für Numismatik, 28 of the first
31 volumes, 1874-1914, which sold for $10,925 on a $7,500
estimate; Gielow’s rare 1930 work on the ancient Greek coins
of Dankle-Messana attracted many bids and sold for $604
on a $350 estimate; a collection of offprints on ancient Greek
coins from the Clain-Stefanelli library brought $747 on a $300
estimate; Mint Director’s A. L. Snowden’s copy of Edwin
Johnson’s rare little 1882 work on Bolen medals was avidly
sought after, selling for $1,495 on a $400 estimate; and Amon
Carter’s deluxe leatherbound edition of B. Max Mehl’s famous
1941 William Forrester Dunham auction of rare American coins,
featuring documentation from Mehl on Carter’s 1822 half eagle,
ultimately brought $3,680 though estimated at $1,250. A few
copies of the sale catalogue are still available and may be
obtained, along with a prices realized list, by sending $15.00
UPCOMING KOLBE SALES
George Kolbe forwarded the following release for his upcoming
sales: "On November 17, 2005, George Frederick Kolbe/Fine
Numismatic Books will conduct their 98th sale of rare and out
of print numismatic literature. 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 (www.numislit.com). The sale features 777 lots
covering virtually all aspects of numismatics. Some of the 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; desirable rare early Bowers and Ruddy
memorabilia, including the original contract establishing their
first auction firm; Edward T. Newell’s superb original set of
Ernest Babelon’s monumental Traité des Monnaies Grecques
et Romaines; Gunter Kienast’s personal annotated copies of
his two standard works on the medals of Karl Goetz; an
extensive series of notebooks compiled from the 1950s to the
1980s recording half dime prices at auction and fixed price; 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; Gerson
da Cunha’s rare 1884 work on Indo-Portuguese Numismatics,
annotated and extra-illustrated; an extensive collection of Lyman
Low auction sale catalogues; plated Chapman brother catalogues;
Raphael’s Thian’s 1876 Confederate Note Album; a fine selection
of 19th century German coin dealer Adolph Weyl’s catalogues
featuring American coins; a fine example of Alföldi’s extremely
rare work on Roman coins “A Festival of Isis”; standard works
on ancient coins including Price on Alexander the Great, Jenkins
on Gela, Burnett on Roman Provincial Coinage, many Sylloge
Nummorum Graecorum volumes, and more.
The firm's first 2006 auction sale is slated for March and
consignments are currently being accepted. Please call or
write first. In June 2006, the firm will conduct their one hundredth
auction sale and plans are being formulated to make it a memorable
event. 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 numislit.com. Those interested are also invited to visit
Kolbe’s web site (www.numislit.com)."
ANS DINNER GALA AND BOOK AUCTION UPDATE
Rick Witschonke writes: "The annual ANS dinner gala, held
in conjunction with the NYINC, will be on Thursday evening,
January 12th, with cocktails starting at 6pm. Unfortunately,
the Sky Club is closing in December (the building was sold),
so we will have our event at the Waldorf Astoria. Invitations
will be sent to ANS members at the end of October, but
others are welcome. Just contact the ANS
(Pelletier at nusmismatics.org) if you would like to attend.
In addition, we will be holding an auction of numismatic
books to benefit the Frank Campbell Librarian Chair
endowment fund, from 5-6pm., with cocktails and book
viewing beginning at 4:30, and attendance at the auction will
be free and open to all. George Kolbe will prepare a catalogue,
and Herb Kreindler will call the auction.
At this point we have some wonderful books for the auction,
but are looking for more donations to round out the sale. If
you have anything you would be willing to donate to this worthy
cause (retail value $400 plus, or a group of related items that
could be sold as a lot), please let us know (Witschonke at numismatics.org).
The deadline for submission is Oct. 20. "
STACK'S FORD MASSACHUSETTS SILVER CATALOG
[A major new catalog hit the streets this week: Stack’s
John J. Ford Jr. Part XII Catalogue--The Silver Coinage
of Massachusetts. I asked an expert in the field for a brief
review. Roger S. Siboni writes:
"In a word, magnificent! This could be the finest catalogue ever
produced by the Stack’s Family and certainly the finest written
by Michael J. Hodder. Indeed, it may be one of the finest
catalogues on Colonial Coinage ever published. This is a must
read for anyone with even a remote interest in the silver coinage
of Massachusetts. It’s building blocks include Crosby, Sydney P.
Noe’s ANS monographs, the New Netherlands 48th and 60th
Catalogues, the Ford Archives, Lou Jordon’s fine work on John
Hull and the Boston Mint and it stands on the shoulders of the
previously definitive Hain catalogue produced by Stack’s and
Hodder in January of 2002.
In the forepart, Hain provided us with a broad overview of
the history and environment of the Massachusetts Colony
during the late 17th century. Hain also spent time reviewing
how the different coinage was manufactured. Ford XII takes
the discussion to another level by seriously delving into the
tougher questions like why the coinage was produced, why
the almost exclusive 1652 date, the sequence in which the coins
were produced, and in what quantities and over what periods
of time. I found the meshing of Jordan’s analysis of production
quantities and production duration with Hodder’s die linkage
charts particularly interesting. It really gave you a sense that
these coins were only periodically manufactured in bulk when
a particular customer or group of customers required them.
I ended my read thinking about Hull and Sanderson conducting
a drastically different “old school” operation when compared
to those high volume operations carried out in the various
colonies during the late 18th century. It is also worth noting that
Hodder makes a clear plea to the Numismatic Community to
tackle the job of coming up with a new classification system
for Massachusetts Silver that builds upon Crosby, Noe, Picker
and Hodder himself. As Michael points out, the project is long
overdue and the resource material is readily available.
The actual catalogue is a delight for the eyes and mind. Every
coin in the extensive Wurtzbach-Clarke-Boyd-Ford holdings
is pictured, carefully described, analyzed, and generally
conservatively graded. A particularly nice touch is the use of
a silver background behind each photographic image that
elegantly enhances each coin for evaluation. Each variety is
catalogued in a two-part fashion. The first part covers the
diagnostics of the particular variety and the second part talks
about the particular coin (or coins in the case of duplicates).
Rarities, known examples and the like are updated from Hain
and by reading both catalogues and examining the photographs
in each, one gets a very clear idea of what’s out there and in
A final nice touch worth mentioning is the liberal use of
collateral photographs related to the era, Massachusetts
Paper Currency, Hull and Sanderson, and certain key
individual players of the day. I particularly liked the images
of various pieces of Hull and Sanderson Silver from an
earlier Sotheby’s Auction.
If you are getting the idea that I enjoyed the catalogue
[Thanks, Roger, for writing your review for The E-Sylum.
I, too was struck by the stunning photography in the catalog.
Just marvelous! -Editor]
Ray Williams adds: "I read today in Coin World that the
catalog is available at a cost of $35. That's well worth it
for those not on Stack's mailing list. "
STACK'S LEMUS U.S. DIMES CATALOG
As if the Ford Massachusetts catalog weren't enough to
satisfy the U.S. numismatic public, Stack's issued THREE
catalogs this week, and here's a review of one of the others:
Editor Bill Bugert notes in the October 2005 (v1n7) issue
of E-Gobrecht.an electronic publication of the Liberty Seated
Collectors Club (LSCC):
“For those of you who haven’t seen the Stack’s 70th Anniversary
Sale catalogue of the The Lemus Collection of United States Dimes,
1796-1916, it is a real keeper. Each dime has enlarged full obverse
and reverse photos and attribution to Gerry Fortin’s seated dime
book on the Internet. This catalogue belongs in a dime specialist’s
[Fortin's web site is at http://www.seateddimevarieties.com/.
The "web book" is password-protected; subscriptions are
available for $55/year or $130 or three years. A free preview
is available. The following description is from the site's home page:
"After collecting and researching the Seated Dime series for
nearly twenty years, I'm happy to present the 3rd reference book
to the numismatic community. Through prior hardbound books,
both Kam Ahwash and Brian Greer advanced the knowledge and
collector base for Liberty Seated Dimes. I've decided to take a
different approach with the 3rd book given the advancements in
computer and Internet technology. Within this web-book, you will
find a wealth of new information about Seated Dime die varieties
and die states in a format that organizes the previous die varieties
defined by Ahwash and Greer." -Editor]
CANADIAN CORRESPONDENCE COURSE, PART II
Paul Johnson writes: "I would like to announce a new
correspondence course that the Canadian Numismatic
Association has recently developed. I was the
Coordinating Editor of this project.
The course is available to all collectors and we believe is very
worthwhile. It was a team effort as we had eighteen qualified
individuals write the individual chapters. The course was
developed as a learning opportunity for collectors and not a
profit making venture.
If individuals do not want to complete the questions, the book
itself is a tremendous reference source numbering 486 pages
and more than a thousand photographs."
The following is from the CNA's web page announcing the
course: "The Canadian Numismatic Association has launched
a new correspondence course known as the Canadian
Numismatic Correspondence Course - Part II. Since the
release of the original correspondence course in 1995, there
has been an overwhelming demand to create a new course
for collectors. The original course was also launched in
Calgary in grand style.
This new course consists of seventeen chapters, 486 pages
and hundreds of photos and features all new material from
what was in Part I. The authors were chosen for their
numismatic expertise of the subject covered. The chapters
offers greater detail and more in-depth coverage than the
first course. These chapters include the following:
1 Canadian History and Numismatics
2 Buying and Selling Numismatic Material
3 Grading Canadian Coinage
4 The Benefits of Organized Numismatics
5 A History of Decimal Coinage in Canada
6 The Token - Canada's Original Currency
7 Canadian Paper Money for Advanced Collectors
8 Canadian Tire "Money" as a Numismatic Collectable
9 Canadian Commemorative and Historical Medals
& Art Medals
10 Exonumia and Related Items
11 Canadian Municipal Trade Tokens
12 The History and Collecting of Canadian Wooden Money
13 Ancient and Medieval Coins of the Western World
14 Computer Literacy and Its Use in Numismatics
15 An Overview of Canadian Numismatic Literature
16 The Benefits of Research In Numismatics
17 Developing Your Writing Skills and Using Illustrations
In Numismatic Publications
For more information, see the CNA web page at:
The following is taken from the press release: "The course
is $50 for current C.N.A. members, $85.00 for non-current
C.N.A. members (which will include all benefits of membership
in the C.N.A. for a calendar year, including the 10 Journals
published during the year. Persons joining before December
31, 2005 will be considered members for the calendar year
The rate for junior collectors (16 years of age and under) is
$40.00 for current CNA members, $56.50 for juniors that are
NOT currently members of the CNA (Includes all benefits of
membership for a calendar year, including a special Young
Numismatist Kit only sent to new YN applicants). Pricing
includes all applicable taxes, shipping of the course, return
of the question & answer sheets and mailing of the Certificate
For further information on C.N.A. Correspondence Course -
Part II, or benefits of membership, go to the C.N.A. Website
at www.canadian-numismatic.org. We can be reached via
e-mail at cnainfo at look.ca or telephone (416) 223-5980."
[This is a monumental undertaking and I encourage our
subscribers to consider purchasing the course materials.
I removed the author's names to save space, but I'll
acknowledge them here - they include a Who's Who of
Canadian numismatics, and quite a few are E-Sylum
subscribers as well: Wayne Jacobs, Michael Walsh, Brian
Cornwell, Chris Boyer, Paul S. Berry, Scott E. Douglas,
Robert J. Graham, Roger A. Fox, Ronald A. Greene and
Del Newbigging, Marvin Kay, MD, Serge Pelletier, Norm
Belsten, Bruce R. Brace, Bret Evans, Daniel W. Gosling,
Chris Faulkner and Peter N. Moogk, Ph. D." -Editor]
INTERNATIONAL ENGRAVER'S LINE
"The International Engraver’s Line" by Gene Hessler
is now available, in a limited edition of 750, each with a
free engraving. The press release follows:
"With most of the 700 illustrations in color, The International
Engraver’s Line is another feast for the eyes from the author.
This library-bound, 392-page compilation documents the lives
and work of men and women throughout the world who have
engraved and designed images on paper money from the 18th
century to the 21st-century issuance of the Euro. Since many
of these artists also engraved postage stamps, that work is listed
as well. Security and postage stamp artists who worked in the
United States are documented in an earlier work, The Engraver’s
Line. As computer programs replace engravers, Mr. Hessler’s
work thoroughly documents and era of hand engraving that is
coming to an end.
Albrecht Dürer established line engraving as a genre in the 16th
century. Later, this art form was adopted and perfected for bank
notes, securities and postage stamps. The pages of this fascinating
and colorful book are devoted to the lives and the work of the
men and women throughout the world, except those in the United
States, who have engraved and designed images on paper money
that have been used to purchase trinkets and treasures. (Security
artists who worked in America have been documented in The
Engraver’s Line.) In addition you will find engravers of postage
stamps. Many of these miniature works of art, bank notes, listed
by Pick numbers and postage stamps, listed by Scott numbers
have become treasures in the hands of collectors.
Mr. Hessler has spent more than 15 years on this monumental
achievement. He has been in touch with engravers from all over
the world in an attempt to attribute their bank note work. Some
elderly engravers have since passed on after they related
personal information to the author about themselves, their
colleagues and predecessors. The historic information in The
International Engraver’s Line cannot be found anywhere else.
This is the definitive book on the subject.
Many of the artists who are documented here, especially
engravers of bank notes, have received no other recognition —
anywhere. Their employers often forbade them to discuss their
work in the “outside world.” British engraver Joseph Lawrence
Keen said that accepting a position with a bank note company
was like entering a monastery and surrendering one’s identity
“as the iron door clanged behind you.” Mr. Hessler has
penetrated that door and now reveals what he uncovered.
In addition to issued bank notes you will see colorful essais,
or unissued bank notes, for Brazil, Czechoslovakia, France,
Ghana, Mauritania, the Netherlands and other countries.
In addition to the collector edition of The International
Engraver’s Line, but included in the 750 (350 copies are
reserved for European distribution), there is a premium edition
of 100 copies, each is accompanied by 11 engraved works,
ten of them signed by the engravers.
One engraver accidentally signed the wrong notes that are
included in all but number 100 of the premium edition. The
first purchaser to identify this mistake and notify the author
will receive $50. With permission, the observant recipient’s
name will be published in the numismatic press.
Collector Edition $69, Premium Edition $135, add $5
postage and insurance for each book; outside the U.S.
contact the author. Payment in US funds: bank checks,
money orders and personal checks drawn on U.S.-located
banks. Order from Gene Hessler PO Box 31144, Cincinnati,
OH 45231. For inquiries contact the author: engraversline at aol.com.
Copies of The Engraver’s Line, which focuses on engravers
and designers who worked in the U.S. are still available at $85.
Special: The International Engraver’s Line and The Engraver’s
Line $140 (incl. postage in the U.S.) For international postage
rates for this special contact the author: engraversline at aol.com.
There will be three matching ultra-deluxe leather-bound sets of
The International Engraver’s Line (TIEL) and The Engraver’s
Line (TEL). TIEL will have inserts of six bank notes and one
portrait, all signed by the engravers. TEL will have the same
four inserts (three portraits and one bank note, all signed) as
the special edition that was issued in 1993 and an additional
insert. The price for this matching set will be $1200. Interested
parties inquire at: engraversline at aol.com.
Gene Hessler, past editor of PAPER MONEY is the author
of four additional books (The Engravers Line; the Comprehensive
Catalog of U.S. Paper Money; U.S. Essay, Proof and Specimen
Notes; and An Illustrated History of U.S. Loans, 1775-1898.
Each has received literary awards.) Mr. Hessler has written over
350 articles including columns for Coin World and the Numismatist.
He served as curator for The Chase Manhattan Bank Money
Museum and the St. Louis Mercantile Money Museum.
As part of “Money Talks”, a series originating at the ANA and
broadcast on National Public Radio, one of his scripts was selected
to represent the nomination for a Peabody Broadcasting Award in
In addition to lecturing at the Smithsonian Institution, the ANS,
the ANA and elsewhere, Mr. Hessler has acted as a consultant
to museums including those of U.S. Federal Reserve Banks and
the Banknote and Postage Stamp Museum in Japan.
Mr. Hessler, a retired musician has traveled the world and has
performed with many of the most famous names in jazz and
classical music. He is listed in various editions of Who’s Who
in the Midwest, America and the World, and has appeared on
national television including two appearances on the NBC
MOULTON'S UPCOMING BOOK ON VOIGT AND OTHERS
In his introduction to his September price list, Karl Moulton
notes, "I have been working on a book titled "Henry Voigt
and Others -- Creating America's Early Coinage". The
beginnings of this nation's coinage have long been of interest;
however, the available information has been somewhat incomplete
and inaccurate. My work will be an attempt to provide insights
and details never before mentioned about the people and events
relating to the subject matter of the title. The book should be
available sometime next year if I can finish researching enough
to be satisfied with the end results."
Karl writes: "I'm still working on the text portion from all sorts
of research notes. As you might guess, the title includes many
different activities about the people, the coins, and the problems
encountered at the first U. S. Mint. Does anyone happen to
know if there is a sketch or portrait of Henry Voigt anywhere?
I have no other specific research requests at present; however,
if anyone wants to post something not commonly known about
Henry Voigt, they are encouraged to present it."
BEP ANNOUNCES NEW $10 BILL DESIGN
The U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing unveiled the newly
designed $10 Note on September 28, 2005. From the BEP
"The U.S. government unveiled a new, more secure design for
the $10 note that will enter circulation in early 2006. Highlighted
by images of the Statue of Liberty's torch and the words "We the
People" from the U.S. Constitution, the new $10 note incorporates
easy-to-use security features for people to check their money and
subtle background colors in shades of orange, yellow and red.
New money designs are being issued as part of an ongoing effort
to stay ahead of counterfeiting, and to protect the economy and
the hard-earned money of U.S. currency users. The new series
began with the introduction of the $20 note on October 9, 2003,
and continued with the $50 note issued on September 28, 2004."
See image of the new bill on the BEP web site:
The Courier-Journal of Louisville, KY published an article on
September 30th about an executive from the Louisville office of
the Federal Reserve Bank who did some "man-in-the-street"
interviews soliciting public comments about the new bills.
"U.S. currency is a symbol of the nation's economic stability, so
"it's important that people be comfortable with it," said Maria G.
Hampton, senior executive for the Louisville office of the Federal
Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
So she left her office on the 19th floor of the National City Tower
yesterday to meet a few folks on Louisville sidewalks and show
them the money.
Some said it didn't matter much what their money looks like as
long as it spends, but others had some very personal reactions
to the new bill's design and symbolism.
The first thing Jeanine Telfer noticed was the opening phrase
from the U.S. Constitution, "We the people." It's in large print --
and in the document's 18th-century script -- behind the Treasury
Department seal on the front of the bill.
"It's really out there in pink," said Telfer, in town from New
York City to interview for a job with a law firm. "It represents
cohesiveness among the people. There's been a lot of things
dividing the people lately."
Touches of red, yellow and orange and the bill's design made
a strong impression on research assistant David Jeffers of
Corydon, Ind. Compared to the current version, "it's much
more open," Jeffers said. "The colors are more energizing, too."
Hampton said she was surprised by the details people noticed
and that they knew the redesign is aimed at foiling counterfeiters.
"I was impressed with the number of people who saw 'We
the people,' " she said. "I was pleased that everyone was positive."
To read the complete article, see:
CANADIAN MINT DIRECTOR RESIGNS
Dick Johnson forwarded this story, which was published
September 29th in the Chronicle Journal of Ottowa, Canada:
"The head of the Royal Canadian Mint has resigned amid
allegations of ethical misdeeds, making him the fifth Crown
corporation boss to leave in controversy since Paul Martin
became prime minister.
David Dingwall resigned Wednesday as president of the
mint after being pummelled by allegations of lavish spending
and working as an unregistered lobbyist."
"Dingwall has been under fire over reports that he and top
aides racked up expenses of more than $740,000 last year."
To read the full story, see:
On September 30th, the editor of the Toronto Star wrote:
"The Royal Canadian Mint is supposed to make coins, not
spend them with wild abandon.
So the resignation of its president, former Liberal MP David
Dingwall — after he and top aides spent $747,000 on travel
and meals in 2004 — is the right move.
Dingwall, appointed to the post in 2003 by former prime
minister Jean Chrétien, has argued that the mint under his
leadership has returned to profitability. He has defended the
expenses as the price of doing business in far-flung locations.
He has asked for a special committee to review the expenses
and notes the mint's board of directors approved them.
Despite his claims he did nothing wrong, Dingwall clearly
doesn't understand that taxpayers are justified in being
outraged that a man earning $277,000 a year is billing his
employer, in this case a crown corporation, even for his
$1.29 chewing gum."
To read Dingwall's letter of resignation, see:
NEESE MINT DIRECTOR NOMINATION WITHDRAWN
Our crack team of numismatic investigators missed this one,
but the folks at Numismatic News covered it on the front page
of their October 4th issue. Coin World also covered it this
week in their October 10-dated issue.
Terry Neese of Oklahoma's nomination to the post of Director of
the U.S. Mint has been withdrawn. A notice was posted on the
White House web site September 20th. According to the
Numismatic News article, Neese asked not to be considered for
the post and "informed the White House of her decision on Sept.
19," one day before her scheduled congressional hearing.
The E-Sylum published word of her nomination on August 5, 2005
(v8n34), and I questioned her background, asking "Shouldn't a
Mint Director have experience managing far-flung manufacturing
operations with a large workforce? It will be interesting to see how
the Senate explores Neese's qualifications."
Well, the Senate never got the chance. Perhaps Neese became
a victim of the post-Katrina fallout over the Federal Emergency
Management Agency's Director's qualifications for his position.
Was she asked to withdraw? We may never know - Neese
simply cited family reasons for her pullout. But it will be interesting
to compare her qualifications with those of the next nominee.
Will it be another political appointee with little relevant experience?
Or a candidate more likely to withstand the likely congressional
To read the White House press release, see:
Here are some questions for our hard-core Mint trivia fans - is this
the first time a Mint Director nominee has been withdrawn? Has
a nominee ever been rejected? I don't know the answers, but
perhaps one of our readers does.
MINT BIDDING OUT MORE PLANCHET MANUFACTURING
For those of you who can't get enough of Mint minutia, now
available on the Internet is detailed information for companies
wishing to bid on the business of providing blank planchets
to the U.S. Mint. This article is from the September 28, 2005
issue of "The Fabricator", a publication for manufacturers:
"The U.S. Mint is looking for stamping companies to bid on
providing ready-to-coin blanks or planchets.
The Mint is engaged in a Public-Private Competition under a
deviation granted by the Office of Management and Budget
(OMB) to compare the cost of purchasing the blanks or planchets.
The competition requires the mint to get pricing and participation
from two domestic commercial suppliers for providing 3 to 4
billion blanks annually to the Mint. The government is making
existing equipment in Denver and Philadelphia available for the
The competition is expected to end January 2006."
The following text is from the bid specifications:
".. the United States Mint is seeking two (2) geographically
separate independent domestic commercial suppliers (CS) to
produce and deliver planchets (ready-to-strike coin blanks) in
5¢, 10¢, 25¢, 50¢ and $1.00 denominations to its production
facilities in Philadelphia, PA and Denver, CO. In a typical year,
the United States Mint produces 6-7 billion clad coins (5¢
through $1.00). Historically (1998 – 2004), annual production
requirements have fluctuated from 5 to 14 billion clad coins.
Each CS shall also have the capacity to produce and deliver
uncirculated (UNC) quality planchets to Philadelphia and Denver,
and proof quality cut blanks to the United States Mint production
facility in San Francisco, CA.
Each CS shall also have the capacity to convert the United States
Mint’s current supply of Golden Dollar coinage strip into planchets.
The United States Mint currently holds an inventory of Golden
Dollar coinage strip. To meet Dollar planchet requirements, each
CS shall be responsible for converting Mint supplied strip into
Golden Dollar planchets until that inventory is exhausted. Once
the Mint’s inventory of Dollar strip is exhausted, the CS will be
required to provide all materials necessary to produce and deliver
The United States Mint will make available all equipment
associated with the current blanking, annealing, and upsetting
operations in Philadelphia, PA and Denver, CO.
Bid specifics and contact information can be found here:.
[This "Public-Private Competition" is a way to make sure
the Mint itself is operating efficiently. If an outside company
can do the job more cheaply, then this whole operation could
be outsourced to private industry. It will be interesting to
learn the outcome of this bidding process.
It's also interesting to see the "Golden Dollar" term used in the
proposal, which is itself an interesting parallel to the purchase
of copper blanks from England in the early days of the U.S.
Mint. I wonder what that Request for Proposal looked like?
It probably took the form of a simple letter. One last question:
Why aren't cent planchets included? I asked Dick Johnson,
and his reply follows. -Editor]
Dick Johnson writes: "The suppliers for cent blanks are already
in place. This requires a highly specialized metalworking
operation. Zinc strip must be rolled to precise gauge, copper
plated in exacting thickness, then blanked and upset. So far
only two plants in the United States have been such a supplier
of cent blanks and to be able to meet the Mint's required
standards on a sustained basis.
Interestingly, the skeleton scrap generated from the U.S. cent
blanking operation of this composition can easily be melted
and reformulated into -- brass! -- So such a plant would also
have to have an outlet for the high quantity of brass as well as
supply the cent blanks. The U.S. Mint's decision to use this
composition for cents was brilliant -- repeat, brilliant! -- for
this maximum utilization of the scrap technology to its greatest
I am unaware of the scrap technology required for the
copper-nickel clad coinage. But the bidders for suppling
copper-nickel clad or even silver-clad coinage blanks would
also have to take this scrap process into consideration before
they can bid for any of the Mint's coin blank requirements."
SCORE ONE FOR THE GOOD GUYS
Regarding the 1854-S Quarter Eagle which recently sold for
$253,000, David Lange writes: "So many times in commercial
numismatics stories are invented to mask the origins and/or recent
history of a rare coin. We're always hearing about alleged junk
box finds and little old ladies from Pasadena revealing incredible
rarities. Most of these stories are concocted to disguise the
consignor's identity or to mask how little was paid for a coin
as compared to what the seller now wants. Therefore, it's a
pleasure to report that everything published about the 1854-S
quarter eagle auctioned by ANR in September is absolutely true.
I've been involved with this episode from day one, and I know
all the parties involved. I only wish that I could say more, but
the consignor wishes to withhold her exact identity and location,
which is quite understandable.
This story could have ended in a number of sorry ways, as
sometimes happens when a member of the general public is in
the possession of a numismatic rarity. Fortunately, everyone she
encountered had a genuine love of the hobby and a desire to see
that she was treated fairly. I believe that she walked away feeling
very good about the parties involved and about her own judgment
in selecting them.
Score one for the good guys."
MEDALLIC ILLUSTRATIONS QUERY
Jerry Platt writes: "I wonder if you might query the readership
of the E-Sylum on my behalf as to whether anyone knows the
date of "The Duke of Devonshire's sale" referred to in Medallic
Illustrations (see, e.g., M.I.i. 392/15). I have had no luck in
tracking it down. Any other details of the sale would also be
[Jerry is referring to "Medallic Illustrations of the History of
Great Britain and Ireland to the Death of George II" by
Edward Hawkins & Herbert Grueber. -Editor]
LESTER MERKIN ENAMELED COIN COLLECTION
"The Atlanta Sale" planned for October 6, 2005 is a joint
offering of Stack's and American Numismatic Rarities in
conjunction with the the Whitman Coin and Collectibles
Atlanta Expo. Included is a most unusual offering of 351
lots of enamel-inlaid coins from the estates of Lester Merkin
and Joseph B. Stack. I don't believe there has ever been
a reference work devoted to this subject, but this catalog
will probably become the primary reference by default.
A web page we pointed out in the January 16, 2005 E-Sylum
(v8n3) is a useful one-page article on the topic:
"The majority of enamelled coins are based on the existing
design of the original coin. The first task in the production
process was to take out all the background of the coin, leaving
the letters and pattern in. In some cases the letters and design
were even removed. The enamel was then applied in layers,
fired and then ground down to enable the colours to come
through in varying shades. This process was often done in more
than one stage to enable the intricate colours and painted effect
to be perfected. "
"Two of the finest coin enamellers were William Henry Probert
and the Steel family. The earliest enamelled coins were thought
to have been produced by William Henry Probert in his
Birmingham workshop. His initial designs were very plain with
no more than three colours used. However, the coins were
"PHANTOM" SCOTT CATALOGS LOCATED
In his "Shades of the Blue and Grey" column in the October
2005 issue of Bank Note Reporters, Fred L. Reed III writes:
"Great news. Once again Bank Note Reporter readers have
come through in the pinch. Eric Newman, who certainly needs
no introduction to regular readers of this publication, has supplied
color photocopies from the first three editions of Scott's Colonial,
Continental, Confederate Currency catalog. These items are really
special, and Eric has owned his for many years."
"But instead of running them this time - nobody needs to be
subjected to four straight months of J.W. Scott material, no matter
how important he was a century or more ago - we'll analyze the
catalogs and update his saga in the future."
HISTORIC PAPER MONEY ISSUE COVERS 1812 NOTES
Fred Reed is also the Editor of Paper Money, the official
publication of the Society of Paper Money Collectors, Inc.
The September/October issue features an important article
by Don Kagin. Reed describes it as "THE definitive (thus
far) look at the nation's first post-revolutionary circulating
currency. Because of their rarity, the U.S. Treasury Notes
of 1812-1815 have languished in obscurity for nearly two
centuries. Although both Hessler and Krause-Lemke
have cataloged the notes, their exclusion from Freidberg
(early eds.) relegated these important notes to the fringes of
our recollection and the backwaters of our hobby."
COIN COLLECTING REMINISCENCES
The September 2005 issue of Penny-Wise, the official
publication of Early American Coppers, Inc. reprints an
article that originally appeared in The New York Times
Magazine supplement on Sunday, October 20, 1901.
It was later reprinted in the November 1901 issue of The
Numismatist. Edward Groh, a founder of the American
Numismatic Society, and Ebenezer Gilbert were interviewed
for the article. Gilbert mentioned "the Steigerwalt variety of
the '94 cent" which Chuck Heck discusses in a commentary
at the end of the article. Here are a couple excerpts from
the Times article:
"When I started to collect coins," he said, "it was perfectly
possible for one to make a fine collection of the different kinds
of American money simply by keeping a sharp lookout on
the currency of the day. ... Take the 1804 cent for instance.
One was sold in this city not many months ago for $200. I
remember finding a half-dozen of those very coins when I was
a boy, simply by examining change that passed through my hands."
During the civil war Mr. Groh made his famous collection of
copperheads, which he has since presented to the New York
Numismatic Society. There were about 3,500 pieces in all,
representing every State, town, and business house in which
such coins were issues.
"It wasn't necessary to approach a dealer for one of them,"
said Mr. Groh, "I simply gathered specimens of those about
me as they were issued, and I corresponded and traded with
collectors in all our Eastern towns and cities. Then after the war
I traveled through the West, collecting and trading as I went."
I WAS A TEEN-AGE NUMISMATIST
... and so was John Kraljevich of American Numismatic Rarities.
Dave Bowers' recent Coin World column about numismatic
figures who became prominent in the hobby as teenagers
reminded me of an article in the January, 1993 issue of COINage
magazine. "Heading for the Top," an article by Kari Stone (p94)
noted that "at 15, John Kraljevich, Jr. has already established
himself as a numismatic author and dealer."
"Kraljevich's most noteworthy numismatic research thus far is
his original research on the hoard of large cents 19th-century
numismatist John Swan Randall bought from an upstate New
York storekeeper. Kraljevich assembled examples of all of
the varieties from the hoard - which was dispersed beginning
in the late 1800s - and pored over early documentation,
including auction catalogs and letters from Randall to auctioneer
Ed Cogan in the 1860s and 1870s."
[When I was 15, I'm not sure I knew what a Large Cent
was, let alone who Randall and Cogan were! -Editor]
E-SYLUM ARCHIVE SITES
I've added some additional text to the standard footer
at the end of each E-Sylum noting where the archives
of past issues may be found.
All past E-Sylum issues are archived on the NBS
web site at this address:
The issues from September 2002 to date are also
archived at this address:
THE SOUTHERN CROSS OF HONOR
In the September 4, 2005 E-Sylum (v8n38) we noted the
publication of "The Southern Cross of Honor: Historical
Notes and Trial List of Varieties" by Peter Bertram. I've
obtained a copy and read most of it recently, and here are
First, the book confirmed my expectations that it would
be the kind of book I love to see, summarizing in one compact
package most (if not all) of the most important historical and
numismatic information available about its topic. It is the kind
of book I suspect the late John J. Ford, Jr. would have devoured.
As the first-ever comprehensive work on the subject, there
will undoubtedly be new information discovered which will
expand on our knowledge of the subject. But given the depth
of author Bertram's research and cataloging effort, I think it
could be some time before this edition becomes obsolete.
The book's Introduction summarizes the medal thusly: "The
Southern Cross of Honor stands unique in the lore of American
military medals and awards because it was presented to its
recipients after the fact - after the Cause for which it was given
was lost. The Crosses recognized the valor of the Confederate
soldier and sailor and represented the thanks of a grateful nation
that fate denied. They were conceived, produced, and awarded
by that nation's Daughters in the absence of its fallen government.
It is a tribute to the success of the United Daughters of the
Confederacy's vision that after 103 years and some 79,000
Crosses bestowed, so precious few are available to collectors
The first chapter is "The Southern Cross of Honor Story" with
subheadings "Birth of a Concept" and "Designing the Cross".
The chapter includes text from letters describing first-hand the
personalities, thoughts and ideas of those involved in the project,
as well as a U.S. Patent Office design and specification for the
medal. Subsequent chapters describe three major types and fourteen
varieties of the cross, with detailed descriptions and illustrations of
the various diagnostics, which include hand-engraving, manufacturer
logos, wreath and border variations, clasp and bar variations, etc.
Another chapter is a handy guide to known reproductions of the
Of interest to the ephemera collectors among us is a chapter on
the various versions of "Certificates of Eligibility", the application
forms veterans or their families completed in order to receive their
Cross. An "Auction Report" chapter provides data on online
auctions of Crosses the author tracked for a one-year period (July
2002 through June 2003). "A Few Selected Crosses" is a compilation
of images of several Crosses together with their associated boxes and
paperwork, where available. Appendices list the names of many
Cross awardees. Also near and dear to a bibliophile's heart is a
two-page bibliography listing over thirty sources used in researching
the book. Finally, the back cover of the book features a compact
photographic quick reference to the author's trial list of Cross varieties.
In summary, I'd recommend the book to anyone with an interest
in military medals, Civil War history, or medals and numismatics
The following is from the author's press release:
"60 pgs: 5 ½ x 8 ½: soft covers: 175+ B&W images
$20.00 + $1.50 Postage (Dealer Inquiries Invited)
PO Box 451421
Atlanta, GA 31145-1421"
The Southern Cross book is the author's "Little Greybook #2"
Number 1 was titled "Fake Confederate ID Discs," which may
also be of interest to E-Sylum readers. It is still available for just
$5.00 + $1 shipping. Peter's email address is peterbatl at aol.com
He writes: "I'll be happy to sign or personalize the booklets for
E-Sylum readers upon request."
WURZBACH SET OFFERED
Steve Pellegrini writes: "For those who may be interested in
acquiring a two volume set of 'Wurzbach', MGM, the German
coin dealership, has a few copies on-hand at 245 Euros a set.
They tell me these are not the reprints which were done in
Hamburg in the late 1970's. They are fully illustrated as the
originals and bound in half cloth. However, they say the pages
are copied. A bit confusing but this is such a tough set to find
that I thought if anyone is interested they could email them for
a better description. This set is usually well over $1000 for a
nice original and about $350 for the Hamburg re-print.
"The two volumes have 8 plates and they are half-cloth
volumes. Surface mail shipping would be 24 EUR (airmail: 48
EUR). Prepayment is required. Payment can be made by a
[The MGM firm is Münzgalerie München
Handelsgesellschaft mbH & Co., Joker KG
Stiglmaierplatz 2, 80333 München
Their email address is: kontakt at mgm-muenzboerse.de
The complete title of the work is "Katalog meiner Sammlung
von Medaillen, Plaketten und Jetons. Zugleich ein Handbuch
für Sammler. Mit einem Literatur-Verzeichnis, vielen Daten
und numismatischen Zitaten, einem Verzeichnis der Medailleure
und anderen Beigaben."
MEMORIES OF THE NEW YORK METROPOLITAN SHOW
Alan V. Weinberg writes: "Regarding the NY Metropolitan coin
show, as I recall it was always held in March each year back in
the late 50's and early 60's. In a small ballroom at the then-Park
Sheraton Hotel around the corner from Stack's on 57th St.
It was the 2nd biggest show each year after the ANA and
Stack's always had an auction in connection with it back then.
Robert Batchelder (still around, prominent in paper historicana
now), Max Kaplan, Herb Tobias, Ed Shapiro, a very youthful
Dave Bowers, Harry Forman, Wormser and Ford of New
Netherlands , Cathy Bullowa, F.K. Saab, "Foxy" Steinberg ,
Isadore Snyderman, Jerry Cohen, Lester Merkin, Dan Messer,
Bob Jenove, Tom Wass, Ben Levin, Ed "Hawk" Shapiro and
others rimmed the periphery of the room, perhaps 1/5th the size
of a normal bourse room now. All coins were "raw", priced at a
tiny fraction of prices today (I distinctly recall gem toned Barber
proof halves priced at $50) and rarities abounded. You could
have your pick of 3 - 4 genuinely Extremely Fine 1793 Chain
cents at this show. Choice Extremely Fine New Jersey colonials,
often unattributed, at $35 were quite plentiful and unattributed
choice Connecticut coppers were so numerous they were
considered a "poor man's colonial".
I recall at one show around 1959 NY club President Martin F.
Kortjohn approached me, a kid, on the bourse floor and pulled
me aside, warning me I'd be kicked off the bourse floor if he
saw me again selling coins to the bourse dealers as I did not
have a bourse table. Unheard of today.
I recall viewing the superb exhibits on the hotel's balcony above
the bourse floor. R.L. Miles, who cleaned most of his coins,
exhibited his almost complete US coin collection and later
auctioned it at Stack's. But there was an utterly superb exhibit
of early American coin rarities in the finest condition. I was
mesmerized by it and got as close to the display case glass as
possible to view these incredible treasures. An elderly, well
dressed man approached me and put his hand on my shoulder.
"Like what you see?" We got into a lengthy conversation.
Turned out he was Harold Bareford and it was his exhibit. I
still shake my head in wonder at meeting him and seeing his
exhibit of several cases. He was definitely one of the most
particular and demanding collectors of the 20th century.
Those were good times - before slabs, unaffordable prices,
and multiple massive auctions preceding a major coin show."
[Ah, for the Good Old Days. Who else has some
recollections of these old shows to share with us?
How about other memorable shows of the past? -Editor]
1913 LIBERTY NICKEL AT WHITMAN'S ATLANTA SHOW
David Crenshaw, Director of Numismatic Research at
Whitman Publishing writes: "I wanted to follow-up on Dave
Bowers' comments in a recent E-Sylum about the exciting
exhibits that will be on display at the Whitman Coin and
Collectibles Atlanta Expo. We are pleased to announce that
the Expo will feature the finest known 1913 Liberty Head nickel."
The following excerpt is from the press release David attached:
"The finest of only five known 1913 Liberty Head nickels will
be on display at the Whitman Coin and Collectibles Atlanta
Expo. The Eliasberg-Legend specimen, certified PCGS Proof-66,
will be on exhibit Thursday through Saturday, October 6-8.
Laura Sperber of Legend Numismatics and her two partners,
George Huang and Bruce Morelan, purchased the coin for
$4,150,000. This is the highest price ever paid for one of the
five famed nickels, and the second-highest price for any rare
coin. (Only the Farouk-Fenton specimen of the 1933 $20
gold piece has sold higher, at $7,590,000.)
This nickel has been displayed only three other times since
2004—once in Florida and twice on the West coast...."
"The Expo opens at 10:00 a.m., Thursday, October 6 at the
Cobb Galleria Centre. Admission is free. For the latest
information about the Expo, visit www.WhitmanExpo.com."
LECTURE AND PUBLICATION ON EMPEROR NORTON
The press release for the Whitman Coin and Collectibles
Atlanta Expo also notes that there will be a presentation
about Emperor Norton I, the eccentric San Francisco native
who issued bonds to raise funds for his "nation." The talk
is on Saturday, October 8:
"Did you know that the United States once had an emperor?
Attend “Hail to Thee, Emperor: The Story of Norton I, Emperor
of the United States and Protector of Mexico” by Lenny Vaccaro
at 1:00 p.m. to learn more about this self-proclaimed monarch.
A little birdie told us that through a forthcoming Whitman
publication the whole numismatic world will soon appreciate
Norton I, but by attending the presentation in Atlanta, you
will be well prepared in advance."
WORLD'S GREATEST COLLECTION
Kenneth Bressett writes: "Thanks for another great issue of
The E-Sylum. Mondays just wouldn't be the same without it.
You asked about presentation copies of the World's Greatest
Collection. I have the Silver section that was presented to
Clarence Camp, II (a name I am not familiar with). I have
also seen one or two others. I only have the full set with
original paper covers."
[By the way, Ken will be presenting "Money of the Bible"
on Saturday, October 8 at 11:00 a.m. at the Whitman Coin
and Collectibles Atlanta Expo. -Editor]
Harry Cabluck writes: "Regarding George Polizio's query
about his search for a named copy of the World's Greatest
Collection sold by Numismatic Gallery: The WGC catalog
hereabouts was a presentation to Damon G. Douglas.
It is bound in blue leather in cloth, not inscribed, not gilt.
On page 13 of auction catalog no. 30, lot 24 (the 1806 B-8
quarter) it was graded VF estimate price is $10. Sale price
was $7. The auction was held Saturday, March 3, 1945.
The book includes a reprint of Hazeltine's Type Table of U.S.
Silver Dollars. There are no scribbled notes that would
indicate who the buyers were. Hope this is some help."
Karl Moulton writes: "A follow-up to last week on the WGC
leatherbound editions - I have Homer K Downing's copies,
which were inscribed by both AK's. This is the finest set I've
ever come across in the past ten years. As Homer was an early
copper enthusiast, he really didn't need to look through these
silver and gold sales. They ended up residing in John Ford's
library, along with FCC Boyd's leatherbound WGC copies and
I doubt if Ford ever looked through them either."
Dave Perkins writes: "Wayne, in the last E-Sylum you asked if
anyone had a named copy of the World’s Greatest Collection of
U.S. Silver Coins sale catalog, or a set of presentation copies.
I acquired Boyd’s copy of the World’s Greatest Collection sale
in the June 1, 2004 Stack’s / Kolbe auction sale of the Ford library.
This catalog is priced, not named. F. C. C. BOYD is inscribed in
gilt on the front cover in the lower right corner. On the first page
is written, “With the compliments of the Numismatic Gallery” and
is signed by both Kosoff and Kreisberg.
My reason for writing is to first thank you for publishing the
information on Adolf Friedman. I am familiar with Friedman as
he acquired over half of the early U.S. Silver Dollars 1794-1803
in the WGC sale, as well as numerous other silver dollar lots in
this sale. Over the years I have not had much luck tracking down
information about Friedman. I knew only that he was a friend of
Abe Kosoff. I also have the Kosoff bid book for the silver dollar
portion of this sale. I had always suspected (prior to acquiring
the bid book) that many of the 1945 WGC early dollars were
acquired in this sale by Adolf Friedman (Friedman is listed as the
consignor of most of the early silver dollars (ex. WGC sale) in
the August 21 – 24, 1949 ANA Auction Sale on page 8).
There is a small group of 8 early dollar (and 6 half dollar) lots
in the ’49 ANA Sale that appear to have not to have sold in the
1945 WGC sale.
This very well may be the reason Adolf Friedman had been
given a special copy of the sale catalog with his name inscribed
on the covers.
I have been trying to locate a copy of the 1949 ANA Auction
Sale with buyer’s names for years, with no luck. I hope the
E-Sylum posting is successful in locating one. If you ever come
across this information I’d appreciate receiving a copy of the
buyer’s names for the early dollars. Milferd H. Bolender will
be one of the buyers, Harold L. Bareford will be another, and
John J. Pittman will likely be the buyer of one of the early dollars
(per the Akers sale catalog of the Pittman collection).
Many of the early dollar lots in the WGC have proven to have
been misattributed as to the correct Haseltine numbers. The
buyer’s names coupled with later appearances of these specimens
in another sale or collection will be valuable in helping learn what
the correct die varieties were in this 1945 sale.
One more thing: a friend of mine writes, ""Mine's H. E. MacIntosh,
and I have only the silver portion of that sale in hardbound."
BOOK COVER IMAGES AND SEARCH BY ISBN NUMBER
Dick Johnson writes: "Standing in line at Post Office I overhead
one woman telling another that on eBay you could get the illustration
of a book's cover or title page by typing in its ISBN number.
Have you heard of this service?"
[I only tried two examples, but it worked on print.google.com
both times and only once on ebay.com. Use "0813527015" to
locate Michael Molnar's book, "The Star of Bethlehem: The Legacy
of the Magi" (See the September 12&19, 1999 E-Sylum issues,
Volume 2, Number 37&38, for the numismatic connection). The
other example I used was "0226893952", the ISBM of Lawrence
Weshler's book, "Boggs : A Comedy of Values."
Print.google.com has an image of the cover of every book
they digitize, and a thumbnail version of the image shows up
alongside search results. If you click on the image you can get
to a full-size version.
On eBay, if someone has a copy of the book for sale, you get
a "Stock Photo" of the cover with your search results.
I wouldn't call it a "service" as much as I would a "feature"
of the two web sites. -Editor]
THE E-SYLUM - THE EARLY DAYS
Roger deWardt Lane writes: "I recently picked up the Asylum
- Summer 2004 issue which I had never read (The book had
fallen between two boxes at the foot of my bed). I found the
first article (Jean Foy-Vaillant) most interesting. I also read
'Some Reminiscences by Q. David Bowers' He always writes
so well. But then I started to read your story of how The
E-Sylum got started. I've been reading and submitting items to
you for a couple of years, yet I never knew your background.
You must find time to copy the first three or four pages and
post it. I'm sure that half of the readers are like me and did
not know the story of early days."
[In this issue and the next, I'll reprint several paragraphs
from the article. -Editor]
Starting my career at Bell Labs in 1980 I was on the Internet
from day one, although it wasn't called that at the time. E-mail
was a natural part of my workday, as were newsgroups, an
early bulletin-board feature. By the mid-1990s "The Internet"
began getting noticed outside of universities and business. Early
interfaces were crude, and I recall vividly my excitement when
I was first able to locate a programming tool I needed over the
Internet. What once would have taken me weeks, if ever, to
find, I was able to quickly locate on a server somewhere in
Switzerland. And this was before there were graphics-based
browsers and search engines. Those who know me know I'm
not the excitable type, but I raced to get Steve DiAntonio, a
colleague I was working closely with at the time. I showed him
what I was doing and explained how it worked. I said, "this is
going to change the world." In time this new publishing medium
would change a lot of things, and would add a new dimension
to collecting numismatic literature.
Getting started took time. I recall one NBS Board meeting where
Mike Hodder and I exchanged email addresses. It was like we
were part of some exclusive society exchanging a secret handshake.
Year after year I asked for a show of hands at the annual NBS
General Meeting to see how many people had email addresses,
and each time only a few hands went up. The US numismatic
literature world just wasn't ready for a mailing list yet. But at the
fateful meeting in Portland in August 1998, dozens of hands went
up. The Internet had arrived on Main Street.
Shortly after the initial September 4 mailing, announcements
were also sent to the COINS and BIBLIONUMIS mailing lists,
as well as the Early American Coppers "Region 8" mailing list.
The initial E-Sylum mailing list was comprised of the addresses
of NBS officers and board members, other current and former
members, and other interested parties, for a total of 49 names.
By noon subscription requests began arriving from around the
world. Peter Gaspar of St. Louis, Missouri, was the first. Jere
Bacharach of the University of Washington in Seattle, was
second, with Dr. Hubert Emmerig of Austria a close third.
Some current members wrote to confirm or update their mailing
address, and ten new folks subscribed. By 5 pm the list had
already grown to 59 names. Over the course of the Labor Day
weekend another twenty people subscribed, mostly from the US,
but from as far afield as Italy, Poland and the Russian Federation.
Neil Rothschild offered to publicize the mailing list on the
Compuserve coin forum, and Bill Malkmus offered to do the
same on the NUMIS-L mailing list for collectors of ancient and
medieval coinage. By September 15 the list had grown to 90
members. Coin World published an article about the email list
in the July 5, 1999 issue.
The newsletter didn't even have a name until the February 8,
1999 issue, when we announced: "These email missives are in
their sixth month now, but they've never had a formal name.
To remedy that situation, we've decided on The E-sylum, an
obvious play on our print journal The Asylum. " Later I settled
on The E-Sylum, with a capital “S.”
The NBS Board had lengthy email deliberations about the name
before deciding on The E-Sylum. We voted on a list of about a
dozen suggestions. I believe The E-Sylum was my idea, but it
was my second choice — I lobbied for The Babbler, that being
what members of an Asylum are wont to do. But saner heads
prevailed, and The E-Sylum was born.
[To be continued ... -Editor]
ON MONEY SAYINGS
Howard Spindel writes: "How about: It ain't worth a
[So what exactly IS a plugged nickel, anyway? I
found an answer on the Word Detective web site:
""Not worth a plugged nickel" as an Americanism meaning
"worthless" first appeared in print about 1912, although we
can assume "plugged nickel", along with the similar "plugged
quarter" and "plugged peso," were in common usage long
before they made it into print. To "plug" a coin means to
remove its center, usually because the coin is made of a
precious metal such as gold or silver, and to replace the
missing part with a cheaper metal "plug." This sort of
larcenous messing with currency has been popular since
coins first appeared millennia ago, and Americans were
plugging French, English and other nations' coins back in
the days before we had our own to plug. A plugged nickel,
while it may be accepted at face value by an inattentive
shopkeeper, is, of course, fundamentally worthless."
CANADIAN TIRE MONEY
This is always room for all of us to learn something new, and
one thing I hadn't heard of until I read the syllabus for the
Canadian Numismatic Correspondence Course - Part II was
"Canadian Tire Money". Playing Card Money, that I'd heard of,
but Tire Money? Emergency scrip cut from old tires, perhaps?
Actually, no. A quick web search located several sites which
explain and illustrate Canadian Tire Money:
>From the Wikipedia: "Canadian Tire 'money' (CTM) was first
introduced in 1958, as a response to the promotional giveaways
that many gas companies offered at the time. It was only available
at Canadian Tire gas bars, but was so successful that in 1961,
it was extended to the retail stores as well, and has become the
most successful loyalty program in Canadian retail history.
Many Canadian households have a wad of Canadian Tire
money stashed somewhere in a drawer. These are coupons
issued by Canadian Tire, which resemble real currency
(although the coupons are considerably smaller than Bank of
Canada notes), and can be used as scrip in Canadian Tire
stores. In fact, Canadian Tire money has been successfully
passed off as Canadian currency to American and Mexican
tourists on a few occasions, and some privately-owned
businesses (in Canada) accept it as payment, since the owners
of many such businesses shop there."
"An unusual incident occurred in Moncton, New Brunswick
in late 2004, when several customers at a Canadian Imperial
Bank of Commerce ATM were dispensed a total of 11 bills
of Canadian Tire money instead of real bills. They were
compensated by the bank."
To read the full reports, see:
The Canadian Tire company site has a history of the bills:
"Canadian Tire 'Money'™ was inspired by Muriel Billes, the
wife of Canadian Tire's co-founder and first president, A.J.
Billes, and was introduced as a "cash bonus coupon" in 1958
in the first Canadian Tire Gas Bar in Toronto."
This site is an image catalog of Canadian Tire Currency,
Of interest to bibliophiles is a guidebook to the Canadian Tire
series offered on the web site of the Canadian Tire Coupon
"FOR SALE: The Bilodeau "Guide" of CANADIAN TIRE
money -The 6th edition Volume I with it's up to the minute
revisions is now available at $23.99 shipping included. To
order the Guide please send your payment, "PAYABLE" to:
Lucien Levesque, 13285, rue de la Bourgogne, Mirabel,
Québec, J7J 1P9
The day has finally come. The long awaited Volume 2 of the
Bilodeau Guide is finally ready for shipping! The work is done
and what an enormous task it was. The Bilodeau Team is
ready for a lengthy vacation!
Two is almost twice the thickness of Volume One with a
corresponding increase in our printing costs. Volume Two is
priced at $34.00, postage included. It can be ordered from
Lucien Levesque, 13285, de la Bourgogne, Mirabel, Québec,
J7J 1P9. Please make your check payable to Lucien Levesque."
SKINFLINT NUMISMATIST LEAVES $1.3 MILLION TO LIBRARY.
Dick Johnson writes: "Does collecting coins lead to thrift? Or
does thrift lead to coin collecting? A Milwaukee veteran of
World War II was one in the same. A member of the Milwaukee
Numismatic Society, who, from the size of his estate, had saved
his money for a lifetime. He left a will which named several
organizations as beneficiaries, the largest of which was the West
Allis Library, in the amount of $1.3 million. He was a notorious
skinflint to his neighbors, however.
Yet to be answered: Who will get to sell his coin collection,
said to contain gold coins and silver bars?
Story and pictures of Irv H. Terchak:
SALE ON LITERATURE?
I'm not sure if it's a typo or not, but an item in the October
4, 2005 Numismatic News (p46) about Lake Books' 81st
sale (closing October 18) features the following headline:
"Sale on Literature". If it's all on sale, how deep is the
FEATURED WEB SITE
This week's featured web site is suggested by Roger
deWardt Lane and features German paper money.
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/.
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the web site at this address:
To join, print the application and return it with
your check to the address printed on the application.
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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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