The E-Sylum v8#43, October 9, 2005
esylum at binhost.com
esylum at binhost.com
Sun Oct 9 19:11:18 PDT 2005
Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 8, Number 43, October 9, 2005:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2005, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Among our recent subscribers are Jim Stofle and Gene Sherman.
Welcome aboard! We now have 803 subscribers.
Is there a programmer in the house? To improve the usefulness
of the E-Sylum archives, we'd like to expand the archives by adding
individual web pages for each item. This would enable an online
table of contents and the creation of links among related items.
What we could use is a simple tool to generate the web pages
from a single E-Sylum issue. If you or someone you know
might be able to help, let me know and I'll forward the details.
Last's week E-Sylum was a monster-sized issue. Not quite so
much material this week, but we do have some interesting
submissions. A new numismatic periodical debuts, a mystery
woman is sought, a grandson of Hans Schulman surfaces, and
we learn of a nice web page on the Royal Mint in Sydney,
Australia. Some more news on the New Orleans Mint building -
it is expected to be closed through 2007. This issue also includes
the final installment on the early days of The E-Sylum and a
review of a booklet on fake Confederate soldier ID tags. Finally,
we learn what a woman from Borneo was hiding in her brassiere,
and no, it wasn't a '64-D (Peace Dollar).
Numismatic Bibliomania Society
NBS TABLE AT 2006 ANA CONVENTIONS
Howard A. Daniel III writes: "I stopped attending the ANA
events because of the club tables being placed in out-of-the-way
locations. It was becoming difficult to give coins from Numismatics
International; bank notes from the International Bank Note Society;
and references from the Numismatic Bibliomania Society, to the
young and new collectors, and to discuss with all attendees the
benefits of joining our organizations.
I was recently contacted by the ANA and the previously bad
locations of club tables was discussed. I was assured that all
club tables will now be in the traffic flow and not put off to the
side or other locations where attendees cannot see them. As a
result, I have signed up for the ANA National Money Show in
Atlanta, GA at the Cobb Galleria Convention Centre at 2 Galleria
Parkway, Atlanta 30339. The dates are April 7, 8 & 9, 2006
and I will likely have a club table on the Midway. The table will
be identified with three signs; International Bank Note Society,
Numismatic Bibliomania Society and Numismatics International.
And for the ANA World's Fair of Money in Denver, CO at the
Colorado Convention Center at 700 14th Street, Denver, CO
80202. The dates are August 16, 17, 18 & 19, 2006 and the
club table will likely be on the Midway. The table will be
identified as above."
Numismatic Bibliomania Society members and non-members
are invited to visit the tables and use it as their base for the
conventions. Anyone who would like to volunteer to sit at the
table, please contact me. And if anyone wants to donate coins,
notes, tokens, references, etc., to pass out, please contact me
as soon as possible at HADANIEL3 at MSN.COM. All
donations will be recognized with a donation thank you letter
that can be used to document a tax deduction."
[Many thanks to Howard for including NBS at his club table;
he's done this for a number of years now. When the convention
rolls around, those who attend should all make a special effort to
stop by, thank Howard, and offer some help. Take a load off
your feet and man the table for a while, hand out materials for
NBS and the other clubs, and collect some email addresses for
The E-Sylum. Thanks! -Editor]
GAZETTE OF MUNICIPAL NUMISMATICS DEBUTS
Serge Pelletier of Canada is the editor of a new publication titled
"The Gazette of Municipal Numismatics." Volume 1, No. 1 is
available now. According to the editor, Municipal Numismatics
"encompasses all material attributable to a municipality, such as
municipal trade tokens, scrip, medallions, notgeld, wooden money,
and so on. We are casting a wide net and are hoping to be
surprised by what comes up!"
The magazine's focus will be on recent material from Canada and
the United States. He writes: "we're focusing on recent material
because we feel it is important to capture numismatic data for the
future generations, a bit like Leroux, Breton and, more recently,
Remick did - not that we are comparing ourselves to them!"
The following is from the press release: "This quarterly magazine
is available in both printed and electronic forms. The printed
form (ISSN 1715-4154) is letter-size and contains between 44
and 52 pages of material printed on bond paper with a colour
cover. Subscription is $30.00/year for Canadian addresses,
$35.00 for American addresses and $45.00 for international
addresses. Single copies are available respectively at $10.00,
$12.50 and $15.00.
... it is also available in electronic format (ISSN 1715-4162).
Subscribers will receive a screen-resolution locked Portable
Document Format (pdf) file at the time of publication and,
at the end of the year, a CD-ROM containing the four issues
in printable print-resolution pdf format.
E-Subscription is $15.00/year for Canadian addresses, $17.50
for American addresses and $22.50 for international addresses.
Single copies is available at $3.75, and is a screen-resolution file."
To more information or to order, contact the publisher, Eligi
Consultants, Inc., at: Box 11447, Station H, Nepean, ON
K2H 7V1, Canada; telephone: +1-613-823-3844;
email: info at eligi.ca
FAKE CONFEDERATE ID DISCS REVIEWED
Last week I reviewed Peter Bertram's booklet on the
Southern Cross of Honor, and mentioned his earlier
publication, "Fake Confederate ID Discs." I've
obtained a copy and would also recommend it to anyone
with an interest in military medals, Civil War history, or
medals and numismatics in general. It does a fine job of
documenting a slew of fakes that have been making the
rounds and fooling a number of collectors into parting with
cash for a fantasy piece. The author writes: "I somehow can't
help but feel that these fakes are the cruelest hoax of all to
invade our hobby. Imagine spending a good deal of hard
earned money to acquire a priceless coin that is engraved
with the name of a Confederate soldier who actually carried
it as an ID Disc during the War Between the States. What
a treasure to be cherished - until you discover the someone
is producing them in quantity and you're being ripped off!"
There was no widespread production of ID tags ("dog tags"
in later years) in the South during the War Between the States.
Almost more than death, the average soldier feared being killed
and buried in some remote place where his family would never
know what happened to him, much less find him. Soldiers thus
fashioned their own ID devices out of almost any material -
wood, metal, paper and yes, even coins. If you are lucky
enough to acquire one, original Confederate ID items are
extremely rare and quite expensive."
The booklet focuses on fakes of engraved coin-based ID
tags. The fakes are of silver U.S. Half Dollar or Dollar coins
engraved with the name of a soldier and other identifying
information. Several of the fakes are pictured full size.
The book also pictures an authentic ID disc engraved by
Robert Lovett. The author writes: "This ID Disc did not
receive much use until after the War Between the States,
but it then saw scattered employment through the Spanish
American War and on up to WWI. I show it here as a
warning to collectors. I have seen two cast examples of
this disc (two difference sellers) with a Confederate soldier
name and unit ID engraved on each one."
The item is listed in the 2nd edition of "Medallic Portraits
of Washington" by Russell Rulau and George Fuld. See
Chapter 34, "Miscellany" under "Civil War Dog Tags",
Baker nos. 621 and 621A.
To order a copy of the booklet, see last week's E-Sylum
or contact the author via email at: peterbatl at aol.com.
The price is $5 + $1 shipping, signed upon request.
This web page describes and pictures a Union soldier's ID disc:
The most famous Confederate ID coin is probably the double
eagle good-luck piece of Lt. George E. Dixon, commander of
the Confederate submarine H. L. Hunley, which we discussed
a great deal in earlier E-Sylum issues.
MILLION-DOLLAR CASINO CHIP AND TOKEN AUCTION
This morning an article datelined Reno, NV publicized an upcoming
auction of collectible casino chips and tokens touted as a "million
dollar collection." with a matching minimum bid.
"It's not unusual to see chips and tokens from Nevada casinos pop
up on eBay and other online auction sites.
It is unusual when a collection of chips and tokens go on sale with a
minimum bid of $1 million. That will be the case on Tuesday when
"The Platinum Collection" is made available to bidders.
The collection is made up of 6,600 chips and tokens that date
from the 1950s -- the centerpiece of which has a direct connection
to Reno. That piece is a platinum $1 token made by the Franklin
Mint in 1965 for Reno gaming magnate Bill Harrah. The Platinum
Collection of gaming chips and tokens is named for the Harrah piece."
"It's not a reproducible collection," says Howard Herz, owner
of Gaming Archaeology and author of the soon-to-be published
Illustrated Standard Guide to Nevada Gaming Tokens. "If you
went out today and attempted to build a similar one, you couldn't
do it. You'd have to own pieces from this collection in order to try."
"Chips in the Platinum Collection date from the beginning era of
legalized gambling in Nevada in 1931, to rare issues used at the
large Las Vegas strip casinos, as well as those in Lake Tahoe
and Reno. Many are from clubs that were shuttered years ago.
The eBay auction is scheduled to begin Tuesday and run for
10 days. The final hammer will come down at 3 p.m. on Oct. 21."
To read the complete article, see
For more information about the Platinum Collection, go to:
NEW U.S. NICKEL OBVERSE UNVEILED
An Associated Press story on October 4 discussed the
newest design unveiled by the U.S. Mint:
"After nearly 100 years of depicting presidents in somber
profiles on the nation's coins, the Mint is trying something
different: The new nickel features Thomas Jefferson, facing
forward, with the hint of a smile.
"It isn't a silly smile or a smirk, but a sense of optimism that
I was trying to convey with the expression," says Jamie Franki,
an associate professor of art at the University of North
Carolina-Charlotte. His drawing was chosen out of 147 entries.
In unveiling the design Tuesday, Mint officials said they
believed the new image of Jefferson was an appropriate way
to commemorate his support for expanding the country through
the Louisiana Purchase and sending Meriwether Lewis and
William Clark to explore the territory in 1804-05."
"The new five-cent coin, which will go into circulation early
next year, is the last scheduled change in the nickel's appearance.
It will feature Jefferson's Monticello home on the reverse side
of the coin but in an updated image from the Monticello that
first began appearing on the nickel in 1938."
"Since Abraham Lincoln became the first president to be
depicted on a circulating coin, in 1909, presidents have always
been shown in profile, in part because profile designs remain
recognizable even after extensive wear on the coin. The Mint,
however, believes it has produced an image of Jefferson for
the new nickel that can stand up to heavy use."
"The coins will be called the Jefferson 1800 because Franki's
image of Jefferson is based on a Rembrandt Peale portrait of
Jefferson done in 1800, the year Jefferson was first elected
To read the Mint's press release, see:
To see an image of the new design, go to:
[Time will tell how well the new nickel wears in circulation.
The task of engraving the portrait will fall to Donna Weaver at
the U.S. Mint. It doesn't look like much of a smile to me, but
old Tom does appear to have a five o'clock shadow. It should
be a challenge to create a working die. This is an interesting
twist on coin portraiture, at least for the United States. What
other circulating coins feature a forward-looking portrait? How
well have the designs worn? -Editor]
MYSTERY BANKNOTE CHEMIST SOUGHT
According to an article published in The Scotsman October 8,
"A hunt was launched yesterday for a mystery scientist featured
on a Scottish banknote.
The woman, believed to be a chemical scientist, posed for the
picture more than ten years ago. She features on the back of
Bank of Scotland £20 notes with the caption "education and
But she has always remained anonymous and now the Royal
Society of Chemistry hopes to find her in time for the annual
Science and the Parliament event in Edinburgh next month."
"The Bank of Scotland said it was unable to reveal the
"A bank spokeswoman said: "The image on the reverse of the
£20 note, illustrating education and research, shows an individual
using a high pressure liquid chronometer. The engraving by
(banknote producer) De La Rue, as far as we are aware, is
based on a photograph of a real person."
To read the complete story, see:
A set of modern Scottish notes, including the research note, is shown here:
NEW ORLEANS MINT BUILDING UPDATE
Two online reports provide some more information on the state
of the old U.S. Mint building in New Orleans following the damage
from Hurricane Katrina:
"The nine properties of the Louisiana State Museum suffered
some modest to moderate damage. The U.S. Mint took the
heaviest hit with broken windows on upper floors. The few
artifacts that encountered water were immediately taken to Hill
Memorial Library in Baton Rouge, which took care of the problem."
"Casey Helm of the Louisiana State Museum, headquartered at
the LSU Museum of Art in Baton Rouge, confirmed that museum
properties had little damage.
"We're in very, very good shape," she said. "The Mint lost about
60 percent of the copper roof, but less than 1 percent of the
artifacts were in contact with water. Those that were touched
were taken to Hill Memorial Library immediately. They (Hill
Memorial staff) are wonderful."
To read the full story, see:
"The Old U.S. Mint is predicted to be closed through 2007. "
AMERICAN NUMISMATIC SOCIETY EVACUATION PLAN?
Dick Johnson writes: "New York City officials released last
Tuesday, October 4, 2005, an evacuation plan for the city. It
prophesied an event similar to a Rita or Katrina Hurricane
hitting the nation's largest city with 120 mph winds and a
30-foot water surge.
"A major hurricane barrels into New York City about once every
90 years," it states. Such an event would surely put Wall Street
under water first of all.
"The South Street Seaport," the report noted, "would become
more sea, less port." The South Street Seaport is only six blocks
from the American Numismatic Society's new Headquarters
Building at Fulton and William Streets.
My first thought was: "Thank Goodness the ANS library is on
the fifth and sixth floor -- well above the 30-foot water level."
Then it dawned on me there are windows on three sides of
the building on the fifth and sixth floor. The numismatic catastrophe
of the millennium would be for the wind to blow out those windows
and rain in on the world's most irreplaceable numismatic library.
Imagine 100,000 books -- the world's most valuable single
archive of numismatic knowledge -- turning into a soggy mess!
Would some future ANS officials rue the day their forebearers
once agreed to put this treasure into such a vulnerable location?
To read the Associated Press article on the city evacuation plan, click on:
[Here are a few additional excerpts from the AP article. -Editor]
"If it happened before, it will happen again," said hurricane expert
Nicholas Coch, a Queens College professor of coastal geology.'
"In fact, an 1821 hurricane lifted the tide 13 feet in an hour, with
the East and Hudson rivers converging over lower Manhattan as
far north as Canal Street. Deaths and property damage were
limited because the city was far smaller back then."
"Most New Yorkers," Coch said, "think hurricanes only occur in
places with palm trees."
[I spoke with ANS officials about Dick's question, and
although they are unable to discuss the details in a public
forum, they assured me that the collections were protected
in many ways. -Editor]
MORE ON THE DEVONSHIRE SALE CATALOG
Last week Jerry Platt inquired about the date of "The Duke
of Devonshire's sale" referred to in Medallic Illustrations.
Ron Haller-Williams writes: "By some strange coincidence
an answer arrived through the post on 5th Oct, as I had just
bought "A Guide to English Pattern Coins" by the Rev.
G F Crowther. This was published in 1886 or 1887, just a
year or two after Medallic Illustrations, and contains MANY
sales prices indicated as follows: "Devonshire (1844) £8 10s"
(Prices vary, of course!)."
Anders Frösell writes: "Harrington E. Manville & Terence
J. Robertson´s book "BRITISH NUMISMATIC AUCTION
CATALOGUES 1710 - 1984", at page 85 says:
1844:4 "CH 16-23, 25 Mar - Anon. (´Very Important Collection´
- William George Spencer CAVENDISH, 6th DUKE OF
DEVONSHIRE, many collected by William CAVEDISH, 2nd
Duke of CAVENDISH, d.1729)".......
1844:5 Second part including "British & Foreign Medals" and
many other objects.
Part 1&2 in total little more than 2000 numbers. Those catalogues
are represented in "[BMC; RBS; CHR; FMW; DER; ANS]"
Manville & Robertson's book is very good, 420 pages in A4.
Appendix at pages 375-379 lists "Non-auction purchases and
[Steve Pellegrini sent Jerry some information on the Duke of
Devonshire, and on Saturday Jerry wrote: "I also heard from
Douglas Saville at Spink, who sold the exact catalogue
(Christie's, London, 1844) which was referred to in MI--he
just sold it as part of a collection last month!" -Editor]
HOLDERS OF $MILLION BILLS ARRESTED
In India, owners of novelty U.S. "million dollar" notes are
finding themselves pursued by police for merely possessing them.
The following is from an article published today in a Kashmir
newspaper about "two cases in which a million-dollar note
was recovered. ”But does this note exist?” asks a senior
officer in JK Bank’s International Banking Division: “Not actually."
"But that does not affect the police that continue to chase these
fakes knowing fully well that no bank can accept it. This is the
proverbial ignorance that does not make police to stop making
It was in May 2002 when Delhi Police arrested Altaf Ahmad
Wani, a shawl-vendor when he was on his way home to
Zainakote Srinagar. He was found carrying a million-dollar note.
When journalist Iftikhar Gilani, the author of ‘My Days In Prison’,
one of the Penguin India recent hits, met Wani in Tihar, he told
him: “I purchased it from a vendor thinking I will keep it in a glass
frame and keep it in my house as symbol of good luck.” But the
fake proved a bad omen; he is still in the jail.
Says IGP Kashmir Javed Mukhdoomi: “After I got the note with
the certificate to my office, I rang up American embassy in Delhi.
They said this is fake, there is nothing like that in USA.” But police
would not let the “accused” go. They are actually hunting for a
bank manager as well. They are being charge sheeted under
"But who will tell the police forces that no real million-dollar bill
exists. It is not an official USA note manufactured by the bureau
of engraving and printing (BEP) and it is not redeemable by the
department of the treasury. The largest denomination ever printed
was $100,000 carrying the portrait of President Woodrow
Wilson in 1934."
To read the full story, see:
YAHOO-LED ALLIANCE TO DIGITIZE BOOKS
Arthur Shippee and others noted an October 3, 2005
New York Times article describing a challenge to Google
by an alliance of organizations led by Yahoo:
"An unusual alliance of corporations, nonprofit groups
and universities plans to announce today an ambitious plan
to digitize hundreds of thousands of books over the next
several years and put them on the Internet, with the full
text accessible to anyone."
"The new project, called the Open Content Alliance, has
the wide-ranging goal of digitizing historical works of fiction
along with specialized technical papers. In addition to Yahoo,
its members include the Internet Archive, the University of
California, and the University of Toronto, as well as the
National Archive in England and others."
"In a departure from Google's approach, the Open Content
Alliance will also make the books accessible to any search
engine, including Google's. (Under Google's program, a
digitized book would show up only through Google search.)
And by focusing at first on works that are in the public domain
- such as thousands of volumes of early American fiction -
the group is sidestepping the tricky question of copyright
"The new group is calling for others to join. And Mr. Kahle
of the Internet Archive said he hoped to recruit Google.
"The thing I want to have happen out of all this is have Google
join in," he said. "I know we're dealing with archcompetitors,
but if there's room for these guys to bend, by the time my kid
goes to college, we could have a library system that is just
Homepage for the Open Content Alliance:
[These projects are of great interest to numismatic researchers,
and not just because of the possible digitization of out-of-copyright
numismatic literature. By making the contents of a wide range of
works searchable, numismatic researchers stand to uncover a lot
of interesting material that may lay otherwise unnoticed by the
hobby in books not ordinarily found in numismatic libraries. -Editor]
THE STACK'S JOHN J. FORD CATALOGUES
Tom DeLorey writes: "The Stack's John J. Ford Catalogue
Part XII is, indeed, incredible! Congratulations, once again,
to the Stack's and their excellent cataloguers.
Was I the only one bemused by the fact that this catalogue,
featuring Massachusetts silver, should happen to be numbered
XII in the series? That is, after all, how the denomination is
expressed on the Shillings. No doubt this is nothing more than
a remarkable coincidence?
If not, can we perhaps expect the long-awaited and (some say)
ill-starred Western Assay Bar collection to appear as
Catalogue # XIII???"
[I did notice the XII numbering and wondered if it was
intentional. Definitely amusing either way.
I'm probably not the only one wondering just how many sales
there will be before the Ford collection is completely dispersed.
I asked someone at Stack's when I called about the hardbound
set I've been assembling, and was told (and I'm paraphrasing
here) "we're not sure - they keep finding more stuff."
Certainly the Assay Bars and the famed Nova Constellatio
silver pattern set have yet to cross the block. What else is
in the wings? -Editor]
David Gladfelter writes: "The entire series (12 thus far) of
Ford collection catalogs produced by Stack's, not only the
latest catalog of Ford's Massachusetts silver, deserves to
be cited as setting a new standard in numismatic cataloguing.
The thoroughness of the research (including pedigree, just
now beginning to receive anything like serious appreciation
in cataloguing), the quality of the photographs, the liberal use
of historical background information, the design and layout,
the written descriptions including contributions by guest
catalogers and essay writers such as George Fuld, Bruce
Hagen, Scott Rubin and Michael Hodder, in addition to
Stack's in-house staff, all make for a world class presentation
of what some would call the finest U. S. numismatic collection
of all time (despite the comment I heard that Ford didn't have
any national bank notes).
Stacks's had to be coaxed into producing special hardbound
library editions of these catalogs, and The E-Sylum took the
lead in convincing Stack's that there would be a market for such
hardbounds. Stack's responded with sturdily-bound special
editions (signature-sewn, not side-sewn or perfect-bound)
in sufficient quantities that anyone who wants them can order
them. And guess what? They're even pretty to look at, with
lettered and blind-stamped matching front covers and marbled-style
endpapers. So whether your Ford bids are successful or not,
you have great information on the coins, tokens, medals and
paper of interest to you. These standards are being maintained
in Stack's regular auction catalogs.
I think John Ford would have been pleased that advances in
numismatic cataloguing didn't stop with his work on New
Netherlands's 60th sale (in John Adams's opinion, the best
catalog to date when he published United States Numismatic
Literature, Volume II)."
MORE HANS SCHULMAN INFO SOUGHT
David Fanning writes: "The following is a message from the
grandson of Hans Schulman, who is looking for information
on his grandfather. I sent him excerpts from the recent
conversations on the E-Sylum about him, but I thought you
could post this message as well. He has given me permission
to forward it to the group. Thanks."
Mark Schulman writes: "I am Hans Schulman's grandson
and I am trying to piece together his life for a possible biography.
It sounds like he was very well known in the coin word. I never
knew him, I have lived in the U.S. my whole life so I hardly
saw him. Do you have any other avenues to get more
information on him? Thank you."
[Mark should certainly embark on the task of assembling a
set of Hans Schulman's catalogs, books and articles as a
starting point. Are there any published biographies that anyone
is aware of? The Numismatic Indexes Project (NIP) lists a
number of articles, but I didn't notice an obituary. Was one
ever published, perhaps in Coin World? -Editor]
NEW NUMISMATIC WEB SITE BUZZ?
According to editor Ray Hanisco in the October 2005 issue
of the Belladona Coin News (v1n11): "Rumor within the industry
tells us that within the next three to four month there will be a new
website coming on to the scene that will help create a change in
how the coin industry will be doing business. I hear that this website
will be subscriber based, and will allow for a much freer flow of
information and coins between the novice, average and hard core
collectors. Its scope will be international so it will assist collectors
from all over the world to become a close knit community.
Remember you heard it here first, and I will keep you informed as
I hear more about it."
[Have any of our readers heard these rumors, or otherwise
know what they might be based on? -Editor]
MANDEL, JAVON WORKS DONATED TO ANS LIBRARY
Roger deWardt Lane writes: "I'm disposing of my numismatic
library, slowly. Some time ago I set aside two books to donate
to Frank Campbell and the American Numismatic Society library
(they were moving at the time, so I put them aside). [These will
soon be on their way to the ANS - Editor]
One came from the personal library of London Haynes. He was
a member of the ANS . He endorsed my membership in both
the ANS and RNS. I met him a several times (took him to lunch
at the hotel the first time to get the endorsements, met him at a
flea market next) and found him to be an expert on Asian coinage.
He passed on a number of years ago. Unfortunately he did not
dispose of his numismatic library, so parts ended at a flea market
and some at a used book dealer in Ft.Lauderdale, where I got
this volume. It is of interest for several reasons - It is signed to
Mr.Haynes by the author - Edgar J. Mandel. Has his two
personal 'Chinese type' red ink stamps and dated Oct. 5, 1972.
The unique part is that it is a library bound copy of 'printers proofs'
reproduced by the pre-Xerox wet-copy method of Mandel's
book "Cast Coinage of Korea".
Bound in the same volume is another pre-Xerox type copy of
the 1963 reprint of The Coinage of Corea by C.T. Gardner,
from the Journal of China Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society.
Vol. XXVII (1892-93). I think Mandel used an earlier copy to
cross-reference numbers between the two book, some of the
plates have additional numbers penned on them.
The second book - Money and The Mechanism of Exchange
by W.Stanley Javons 1876., set me on a research project
which has kept me busy for four hours so far. The ANS has
a copy noted as year 1900, mine is 1876.
[Be sure to keep the ANS, ANA, and other numismatic
organization libraries in mind as you weed out of dispose of
your numismatic libraries. Even the best libraries in the world
have holes in their collections, and some of the missing items
are surprisingly common. I would encourage the librarians
among our readers to alert us to the items on your want lists.
Perhaps one of our readers can help. -Editor]
THE ROYAL MINT IN SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA
Roger deWardt Lane adds: "In doing research on W. Stanley
Javons, several biographies noted that he was for a time an
assayer at the Mint in Sydney, Australia. This mint at the time
was a Branch Mint of the Royal Mint, London. So a search
on the Sydney mint came up with the following web site -
The page has several links to other pages regarding the mint and
[The page features some neat period photos of the mint and its
operation. Another page on the site has a modern photo of the
building and notes, interestingly: "The Mint was constructed
between 1811–1816 as the southern wing of the Sydney Hospital.
Known as the Rum Hospital it was built by private contractors in
exchange for an exclusive license to import rum."
REMELTING CENT SCRAP
Last week, Dick Johnson mentioned that the skeleton scrap
generated from the U.S. cent blanking operation could easily
be melted and reformulated into brass.
Tom DeLorey writes: "The webbing, or skeleton scrap as you
call it, left over from the punching out of cent blanks can simply
be remelted into new strip and need not be recycled into brass
(though it could be). The strip itself is not copper plated, or
otherwise the edges of the cents would show the zinc core. The
blanks themselves are copper plated after being punched out
of the strip.
Even if the strip were plated, it could still be melted down into
new strip. The specifications for the copper-plated zinc cent
introduced in 1982 specifically calls for a trace amount of copper
in the zinc core, to allow for spoiled blanks, planchets and cents
to be melted down into new strip without the need to refine out
the copper which had already been applied to them. They did it
THE "GOLDEN DOLLAR"
Last week I noted the use of the term "Golden Dollar" in the
U.S. Mint's request for proposals to supply blank planchets.
Kavan Ratnatunga writes: "The minimum legal standard of
karatage in the U.S. is 10K. Anything less than 10K can not
be called gold. Is the Mint in Violation? Isn't it no different than
scam eBay sellers who use Gold and Silver color to describe
brass and Cupro-nickel coins?
[The term "Golden" rather than "Gold" refers to the color,
not the content. But plenty of people have been fooled into
thinking the coin contains at least trace amounts of gold.
Both the Mint and the eBay sellers you describe are within
the bounds of the law, even if some buyers are fooled.
ANOTHER WORLD'S GREATEST PRESENTATION SET
Brad Karoleff writes: "I have the set of World's Greatest
Catalogs issued to the Cincinnati Numismatic Society
autographed by K and K. Please add these to the list of
THE E-SYLUM - THE EARLY DAYS
At the request of Roger deWardt Lane, last week we
began reprinting parts of my recent Asylum article on the
birth of The E-Sylum. We finish this week, starting with
the first two of what I called "The Seven Commandments
Of The E-Sylum:
One: Thou Shalt Have A Regular Publishing Schedule.
Computer bulletin boards and automated mailing lists serve
a definite purpose, but have many drawbacks. While it's nice
to have a forum that pretty much runs itself, human nature
usually sees to it that the end result is anarchy. At times, days
or weeks may go by without any posts to an Internet forum,
and then you get such fascinating exchanges as "Hello — is
anybody there?," followed by replies of the ilk, "I'm here —
it's been pretty quiet for a while." "Yeah, it has." Scintillating.
At the other extreme, you can have times when the forum
erupts into ceaseless chatter, some of which is often enlightening,
but the majority of which is simply noise, making one long for
the days of prolonged silence. To avoid these problems, any
newsletter must have a strict publishing schedule. In the case
of The E-Sylum, I chose a weekly format. Why? A month
seemed too long to go between issues, and daily was just too
much work. A week I could handle, or so I thought at the time.
This schedule represented a significant speedup in the
communication with NBS members as opposed to the
quarterly Asylum publication schedule.
Two: Thou Shalt Have A Human Editor. The other problem
with automated forums is the lack of a human editor to exercise
judgment and impart style and organization. Automated forums
are lightening fast publishing tools, but all too often serve only
to spew mindless prattle across the globe at the speed of light.
[To read the remaining Commandments, see the full article in
The Asylum, Summer 2004 25th Anniversary issue. -Editor]
As mentioned above, what came to be known as The E-Sylum
was originally intended to serve fairly narrow needs of the NBS
organization. But the power of the medium became apparent
early on as the publication morphed into a broader role,
addressing not just numismatic literature, but numismatic research
in general. It was also convenient to include mentions of numismatic
articles appearing in the general press. By the early issues of the
2000 volume most of the elements seen in today's E-Sylums
are present: new publication announcements, research requests,
comments and stories from readers, new or amusing stories
relating to numismatics, the occasional editorial comment or
"quick quiz", and the featured web site. The E-Sylum has also
managed to break a few important stories, which later in the
week appeared in the mainstream numismatic press.
Although The E-Sylum is a publication in what was at the time
an entirely new medium for its audience, it is really nothing new
under the sun. One of my favorite sources for contemporary
accounts of 18th century numismatics is The Gentleman's
Magazine of London. Begun in 1731, it is considered the first
modern magazine and was the most influential periodical of
the eighteenth century. Reviews of contemporary books and
news accounts were regular features, as were letters from
readers which sometimes amounted to lengthy articles on a
wide range of subjects by the most learned men of the day.
In America, another favorite numismatic source is The
Historical Magazine, begun in 1857, a scholarly journal
devoted to historical research and criticism, which exhibits
some of the same properties. The E-Sylum is similar to
these publications in several ways, but at its most basic it
serves as a means of both formal and informal communication
among far-flung devotees of the subject, with an immediate
flavor of the times. It's like listening in on the conversations
of hundreds of today's numismatic personalities at a giant
weekly gab session. Perhaps in years to come researchers
will look back on The E-Sylum as a ready source of
contemporary accounts of the state of numismatic research
in the early 21st century. But all that matters right now, is
that the forum is a useful and entertaining way to keep in
touch with our fellow numismatic bibliophiles and researchers.
ASK ME NOW (IF YOU JUST CAN'T WAIT TIL LATER)
On October 5, 2005 article by Walter Mossberg in the Wall
Street Journal notes: "If you're one of those people who thinks
he's always right, but can't prove it on the spot, we might have
just the technology for you.
This week, my assistant Katie Boehret and I tested a new
service called AskMeNow that attempts to be like a digital
version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire's phone-a-friend.
This service works by answering questions of all sorts in just a
few minutes for free, or in some cases for 49 cents per question."
"Its concept is very straightforward: You send questions to
the service by calling from your cellphone or emailing directly
from a portable smartphone, and answers are sent back to your
phone or hand-held via Short Messaging Services (SMS) or
email within about a minute."
"To answer your questions, the company employs real people
who sit at computers in the Philippines, furiously researching
the Internet (using data from content partnerships) trying to
respond to your queries within three minutes. This doesn't
always mean the response is correct. It simply means that the
retrieved information was online somewhere. But our results
proved rather accurate."
"To start using AskMeNow, users must go to its Web site,
www.askmenow.com, to enter sign-up information including
your name, ZIP Code, country and cellphone number;"
We asked some tough questions like, "Where are the Rolling
Stones playing tonight in Washington, D.C.?" and "Why do
men have nipples?" But we got accurate responses to both.
Katie even tried a snarky question: Why are girls smarter than
boys? But the response just said that her question was
unanswerable due to editorial policy."
To read the full article, see
[So, any of you smarty-pants readers care to submit some
numismatic research questions and report back on the
accuracy of the results? Will the Phillipino research staff
come through? There is an awful lot of numismatic information
available on the web now. Ask the right question, and the
answer may be found in the E-Sylum archives. What is a
Panamint Ball, for instance? -Editor]
STOP SCRIBBLING ON OUR MONEY!
"The Cypriot central bank, alarmed at the number of
defaced banknotes in circulation, appealed to doodlers
on Wednesday to resist the temptation to scrawl on the
Unable to see the humour in drawing smiley faces on
bills or using them to jot down notes, the central bank
pointed out in a statement that it was a illegal to deface
To read the full article, see:
BORNEO WOMAN STASHES THE CASH
According to the October 7 Borneo Bulletin ("Your Gateway
to Borneo"), "In Sandakan, a local woman who hid counterfeit
currencies amounting to RM5,600 in her bra was jailed 36
months by the Magistrate Court on Wednesday.
Ishikarna Hanil, 27, of Kg Batu Semporna admitted to having
30 pieces of RM100 notes, 41 pieces of RM50 notes and 55
pieces of RM10 notes with intention to use them as genuine
downtown on August 16.
Magistrate Ramzi Osman heard that Ishikarna was detained at
1.15am by a police team following a tip-off. A black plastic
bag containing the fake currencies was later found in her bra."
FEATURED WEB SITE
This week's featured web site is suggested by John and
Nancy Wilson, Ocala, FL. They write: "The Wikipedia
is a great site for E-Sylum readers to get information.
As an example the link below is to a page listing the
Treasurers of the U. S through the current appointee.
[We have referenced the Wikipedia before, but not this
particular page. It is a very useful site, as long as one
remembers that it is maintained by volunteers and should
not be relied upon as the final word on any research topic.
Numismatic Bibliomania Society
The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a
non-profit organization promoting numismatic
literature. For more information please see
our web site at http://www.coinbooks.org/.
There is a membership application available on
the web site at this address:
To join, print the application and return it with
your check to the address printed on the application.
Membership is only $15 to addresses in North America,
$20 elsewhere. For those without web access,
David M. Sundman, Secretary/Treasurer
Numismatic Bibliomania Society, P. O. Box 82
Littleton, NH 03561
For Asylum mailing address changes and other
membership questions, contact David at this email
address: dsundman at LittletonCoin.com
To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum,
just Reply to this message, or write to the Editor
at this address: whomren at coinlibrary.com
Those wishing to become new E-Sylum subscribers
(or wishing to Unsubscribe) can go to the following
All past E-Sylum issues are archived on the NBS
web site at this address:
>From September 2002 to date the issues are also
archived at this address:
More information about the Esylum