The E-Sylum v8#46, October 30, 2005
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Sun Oct 30 19:44:23 PST 2005
Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 8, Number 46, October 30, 2005:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2005, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
No new subscribers this week - our count holds at 810.
This week we have another varied group of stories, and
not a one on counterfeits for a change. First, two of our
subscribers recount their experiences with Wilma, one of
the latest in a series of strong storms battering the U.S.
this season. We have a report on the Stack's Ford sale
of Massachusetts silver, some answers to previous research
questions, and a few new questions for our readers.
Numismatic Bibliomania Society
POST-WILMA BIBLIOPHILE STORM REPORTS
Fred Lake of Lake Books in St. Petersburg, FL writes: "Wilma
missed us, but the tropical force winds knocked out our power.
We were out of power for about eleven hours, but the generator
did the trick. I am using an Internet-based telephone service and
am especially in need of the computer when I have just finished
Dave Lange of NGC writes: "The office was closed on Monday,
due to high winds that lingered even after Wilma passed. The office
is in Sarasota, FL, and I live in Bradenton, which is just north
across the county line. No damage was suffered at home nor at
the office, and all books came through it dry.
Since nearly my entire numismatic library is here at the office,
where I actually use it, I spent Friday afternoon doing something
I really should have done as soon as we moved to Florida. As it
became clear that the storm was indeed headed our way, I began
compiling a list of all my books, monographs, etc. for the purpose
of insurance and replacement, if needed. I was able to get through
only three shelves worth before quitting time, and I left the office
worried whether I could complete the list from memory, should
the contents be blown away.
At home I had to take precautions with respect to my non-numismatic
library. I've made no attempt to compile of list of these books, but
I did take a series of photographs for each bookcase. These, along
with photos of furniture, clothing and other household items of insurable
value, were burned to a CD that I was determined to take with us,
should we be forced to leave. I wasn't concerned about flooding, but
rather water and wind damage, should the roof and/or windows be
lost. Our first Florida house proved to be in a flood zone, something
we didn't think about when selecting it. We moved this past spring,
and one of the priorities in finding a new house was to be away from
rivers and high enough to be outside the flood plain. I also had my
precious collection of coin boards and albums to think about. This
has a dedicated room of its own, shut off from sunlight, but still with
a window that could be blown out in a storm. In last year's hurricanes
I had to relocate all items from the lower shelves to tabletops, due
to the danger of flooding. This time I simply taped up the windows
and moved as much as I could to the far side of the room. This
would have achieved nothing in the event of the roof being
compromised, but at least the window was not such a concern.
Two lessons were learned from this episode: First, every bibliophile
(or working numismatist, as in my case) should have an up-to-date
list of their libraries; second, there are a lot of publications that can
be forgotten amid the more often used titles. Not surprisingly, as
I came across some of the more obscure items I found myself
distracted in browsing through them instead of sticking to the task
at hand. Clearly, I will have to complete the list when there is no
WILLIAM BLADES: THE ENEMIES OF BOOKS
Coincidentally, Larry Mitchell writes: "A digital version of
William Blades' 1888 work--the sections on damage from fire,
water, gas, heat and dust remain just as relevant today. From
the "Universal Library" at Carnegie Mellon University, here are
a couple excerpts:
[On books lost at sea]
"Next to Fire we must rank Water in its two forms, liquid
and vapour, as the greatest destroyer of books. Thousands
of volumes have been actually drowned at Sea, and no
more heard of them than of the Sailors to whose charge
they were committed. D'Israeli narrates that, about the
year 1700, Heer Hudde, an opulent burgomaster of
Middleburgh, travelled for 30 years disguised as a mandarin,
throughout the length and breadth of the Celestial Empire.
Everywhere he collected books, and his extensive literary
treasures were at length safely shipped for transmission to
Europe, but, to the irreparable loss of his native country,
they never reached their destination, the vessel having
foundered in a storm.
In 1785 died the famous Maffei Pinelli, whose library was
celebrated throughout the world. It had been collected
by the Pinelli family for many generations and comprised
an extraordinary number of Greek, Latin, and Italian works,
many of them first editions, beautifully illuminated, together
with numerous MSS. dating from the 11th to the 16th century.
The whole library was sold by the Executors to Mr. Edwards,
bookseller, of Pall Mall, who placed the volumes in three
vessels for transport from Venice to London. Pursued by
Corsairs, one of the vessels was captured, but the pirate,
disgusted at not finding any treasure, threw all the books
into the sea. The other two vessels escaped and delivered
their freight safely, and in 1789-90 the books which had
been so near destruction were sold at the great room in
Conduit Street, for more than L9,000"
FORD MASSACHUSETTS SILVER SALE REPORT
Alan V. Weinberg writes: "I'm really surprised no one reviewed
the Stack's JJ Ford Sale of Massachusetts colonial silver
coinage in NYC this past October 18. So here's my contribution:
Massachusetts colonial silver coinage has been a favorite specialty
of mine back to my high school days - I'm 61 now. I received a
choice shilling for graduating from high school and another choice
shilling in 1976 for my wedding...still have 'em (yes, the wife too).
So it was with enormous anticipation when I first learned the Ford
Mass silver would be auctioned as I knew the collection, ex T.
James Clarke & FCC Boyd, would be noteworthy. And when
I received the Stack's ground-breaking auction catalogue I was
ecstatic. The quality of the catalogue - not just the contents - was
beyond expectations. A classic reference.
I'd always regarded the series as rather esoteric in that very few
people collected Mass silver by variety compared to collectors
of colonial state coppers. So I didn't anticipate the crowd that
I saw upon entering the hotel auction room across the street from
Stack's. Standing room only. Uh oh, another record-breaking
auction. Can I buy anything?
I was even more concerned when the New England shillings
broke the previous 2001 Andy Hain records, ranging from
$220,000 to $300,000 "hammer" (that's plus another 15%
buyers fee). And the tiny, visually unimpressive Willow Tree
threepence hammered for $550,000. Oh Boy! I'm gonna
go home empty-handed!
Coin after superb coin, and some not so superb, sold for
top prices. And this on top of the fact that many varieties
were offered in duplicate, triplicate and more. To mainly
serious collectors and dealer colonial specialists , not to
"slabbers" and speculators. And no one bidder dominated
the bidding as has occurred in some previous Ford sales,
to the chagrin of other bidders.
I went targeting two particular coins and went home with
one, my first choice, an extraordinarily choice and massive
Pine Tree shilling . An altogether pleasant day in NYC
viewing, bidding and then socializing during and after the
sale. Pure numismatics. Not a slab or a Grey Sheet in sight.
And it was warm and sunny in NYC , not like the previous
CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL WINNER ROSA PARKS DIES
The following is from an October 25, 2005 article on the
National Public Radio web site:
"Rosa Parks, the woman known as the "mother of the civil
rights movement," has died. Parks turned the course of
American history by refusing in 1955 to give up her seat
on a bus for a white man.
In 1999, when former President Bill Clinton presented Parks
with the Congressional Gold Medal, he said her short bus
ride went a long way for civil rights."
"Parks worked as a seamstress at a local department store,
and on her way home from work one day, she engaged in a
simple gesture of defiance that galvanized the civil rights
It was nearly 50 years ago, Dec. 1, 1955, when Parks
challenged the South's Jim Crow laws -- and Montgomery's
segregated bus seating policy -- by refusing to get up and
give her seat to a white passenger. "
To read the complete story, see:
BLUE BOOK ISSUE PRICES
Carl Binder writes: "I am a two year subscriber to The E-Sylum.
I read that you help with research work. I am a collector and
I am seeking to learn the issue prices of the the following
Bluebooks (Handbook of United States Coins):
2nd edition 1943;
3rd edition 1944;
4th edition 1945;
5th edition 1946;
6th edition 1948;
7th edition 1949;
8th edition 1950;
9th edition 1952
10th edition 1953.
I know the 1st edition 1942 sold for $.50. Any help will be
greatly appreciated. Thank you for any information on this."
WHAT "MITE" IT SIGNIFY?
Last week I quoted a passage from a book on the Library
Company of Philadelphia. "... I cannot withhold from
contributing my Mite." The "Mite" was a bill of exchange for
sixty pounds, worth in those days $1,000 - the first monetary
gift to the Library. The donor of the "Mite" was Dr. Walter
Sydserfe, an aged physician ..."
Arthur Shippee writes: "I hesitate to state this unequivocally
without looking at the context, but at first glance this strikes me
as rhetorical move, metaphoric and perhaps euphemistic. To
be claiming to contribute a "mite" does several things: it sounds
modest; it sounds pious and well meaning; &c. I don't think
that this is a substitute meaning here, but an extension of the
familiar "widow's mite," i.e., a small coin, all that she had.
Whether such a transferring is in the best of taste, or is
wholly applicable to a significant gift to a library company I will
leave others to judge for themselves."
[Now that I reread the passage, I think Arthur is right - the author
puts quotes around the word "mite". I misunderstood the context,
thinking that "mite" was actually a term used for a sixty pound note.
No wonder I'd never heard that use of the term before. -Editor]
SPECIAL ASSAY QUESTION ANSWERED
Regarding last week's question from Rich Kelly & Nancy Oliver
regarding coins reserved for assay, Roger Burdette writes: "Both
special assay and assay commission coins were included in the
total of coins struck and accepted by the coiners of the various
mints. Special assay coins were production samples from each
delivery of silver and gold coin. (There was a formula for
calculating the number of coins to submit, also.) After 1873, these
were sent to the Director's office in Washington where they were
assayed and the results checked against the local mint's assay for
the same batch of metal. Nearly all special assay coins were
destroyed during the assaying process. Assay Commission coins
were samples from each delivery of coin that were selected for
use by the annual Assay Commission which met each February
to independently examine the weight and purity of struck coins.
Because the Commission was composed of prominent citizens,
members of congress, a federal judge and the Mint Director,
the Assay Commission coins were often selected for quality by
the various mints - they wanted the officials to see their best work.
Only about 1/3 of Assay Commission coins were destroyed during
the Commission's work, and it was common for members to
purchase some of the pieces as souvenirs of the occasion. Mint
collection curator T. L. Comparette also used the Assay
Commission coins as a source of specimens for the mint collection
and for sale (at face value) to museums and public coin collections
such as the Mitchelson collection at the Connecticut State Library.
Remaining coins were placed into circulation.
The above is based on documentation in US Mint, Library of
Congress and Connecticut State archives. I hope this will be helpful."
COIN COUNTERS DETERMINED MINTAGE REPORTING
Dick Johnson offers another perspective on mintage figures.
He writes: "Coins were set aside immediately after striking at
each U.S. mint for assay, and particularly so, for the Trial of
the Pyx conducted by the annual Assay Commission at the
Philadelphia Mint each year. These coins were chosen prior
to the next step of counting and bagging. Which brings to
mind the technology of counting coins.
Prior to the 20th century, coins at every mint were counted
by "counting boards." These are illustrated in A.M. Smith
(page 22 in my 1885 edition) and in Denis Cooper (page
208, illus 227). Even such a rudimentary contraption as a
counting board was effective for the job they performed
but evolved over time.
The earliest ones had the required number of circular
depressions in a flat board – slightly larger than the diameter
of the coins being counted but of equal depth as the coin was
thick. The coins would easily fall into these openings, but a
second one would not. They required a different board for
each denomination. Coins were dumped on these and spread
around by hand until they filled every depression. Excess coins
were returned to the hopper from which they came.
Later models had channels built into the board the width of
the coin. Even later ones had brass rails the thickness of the
coin to create these channels. The board was supported on
the underside in the center by an horizontal axle, much like
a teeter totter. Coins would be spread over the channels on
the top side, then tilted toward one worker to allow excess
coins to fall back into the hopper. After visual inspection that
all channels were full they would tip the board in the opposite
direction for the coins to fall out of the channels.
The counted coins were then funneled into cloth bags. One
report states 400 coins could be counted in 12 seconds by
two men, one dumping and spreading the coins, one pouring
counted coins into a bag and tying it off. [Try doing this
repetitive job for nine hours a day! Makes sitting at a computer
writing this a dream by comparison!]
At the end of the 19th century it became more difficult for
this manual operation to keep up with coining presses chunking
out many thousands of coins an hour. A more mechanical
method was needed. The first mechanical coin counting
machines were developed in England by Maudslay, Sons,
and Field and installed in the British Royal Mint in 1891.
The Brits had their own term for these machines, "automatic
The U.S. Mint installed similar machines for the new Third
Mint at 16th & Spring Garden Streets in Philadelphia when
it opened in 1904. Of great interest, my film associate Michael
Craven, when researching U.S. mint images, discovered a
very rare film in the Eastman archives. It was filmed by a
Thomas Edison Company crew inside the U.S. Mint at
I believe the year was 1913, and one segment shows $20
gold coins being counted on a counting board in just such
a manner as I described above. Whether these mint workmen
pulled out an old counting board just to show off for the
filming, we may never know. The mint did have counting
machines by then.
So to answer Rich Kelly and Nancy Oliver’s specific question
in last week’s E-Sylum: assay coins were probably not counted
in mintage reports, such mintage reports were probably derived
from the records of the coin counting. The San Francisco Mint
probably got their coin counters shortly after these were
installed at Philadelphia.
Counters installed on each coining presses was a later
sophistication. This would give a true number of pieces struck,
but would include rejects pulled out by inspectors (can you say
"mint errors" collectors?). With increased volume of coins
produced, inspection ceased during the Second World War.
I doubt press counter numbers were ever used in official mintage
reports. The number bagged for shipping was a far more meaningful
Would someone else care to give a history of the Trial of the Pyx,
the American Assay Commission and the reason for assaying of
American coins? This person should be a Democrat who can
justify Jimmy Carter in 1977 killing this 200-year old institution
of numismatic interest. Comments from a Republican numismatist,
I fear, would be incendiary."
[Now, now, let's not drag politics into this. But it was certainly
unfortunate that this ancient tradition was broken in the U.S.
ON THE CIRCULATION OF GOLD
Bob Leonard writes: "In response to Dave Ginsberg, Dave
Bowers has written on this subject in the Bass Sylloge (cannot
quote, since I don't have a copy). He needs to make a distinction
too between the money used east of the Rocky Mountains and
west of the Rocky Mountains, for the period 1862-79; gold
continued to be used in the West then, but was replaced by
paper in the East.
There are many accounts of the use of gold coins, and Dave
should broaden his search to include fiction. For example, in
Home Life; or, A Peep across the Threshold by Mrs. Caroline
A. Soule (Boston: A. Tomkins and B.B. Mussey & Co.,
1855), in the story, "'I Haven't the Change'" (pp. 101-113,
with illustration facing p. 101), the plot concerns a woman
who is unable to pay her Irish cleaning lady because she has
no change: "'I am sorry, Bridget, but really I forgot to ask
Mr. Mann for any change at dinner; and I haven't a cent
myself, nothing less than an eagle.'" (The rest of the story
describes the poverty of Bridget and her children, who
have no food and must have the money that day or go
hungry, and Mrs. Mann's awakening and repentance.)
This is interesting for two reasons: it shows that, in 1855,
the general public actually referred to a $10 gold coin as
an eagle, which was doubted by Alan Herbert in his "Coin
Clinic" column in Numismatic News, March 28, 1989, and
it is also another example of the preference of "cent" for
"penny" in Boston at that time.
Many, many other examples could be found, and Dave
just needs to focus on the period and region he is interested in."
[Dave has written on the subject in the newsletter of the
Southern Gold Society. According to the group's web site,
"The Southern Gold Society was formed to increase the
enjoyment and study of Southern gold coins and related history,
through an informal, relaxed mix of education and fellowship.
The society is reminiscent of those of a bygone era, in which
connoisseurship and a gentlemanly appreciation of Southern
gold coins is the order of the day."
ISLAND OF SAL, CAPE VERDE TOKEN INFO SOUGHT
Perhaps E-Sylum readers can help with this query posted
by Mr Paul Baker of the U.K. this week on the COINS mailing
"The Island of Sal is an island of Cape Verde. Recently very few
specimens of some so far unknown tokens of the Island of Sal
showed up. They were issued by the former French owners of the
salt production enterprise on the Island of Sal. There are 3 different
denominations, one of them in 2 metals and the tokens were accepted
for payment on the whole Island of Sal. Does anyone know any more
about the pieces? Has anyone ever seen them offered?"
MORE ON THE 9/11 "COIN" FINES
Regarding the fines levied against the makers of the 9/11
"coin", Richard Schaefer writes: "Dick Johnson's comments
are disappointing. Mr. Spitzer is a careful prosecutor and
his charges were unchallenged. Yet Mr. Johnson omits
both charges and merely mentions that collectors buy and
Americans use base metal coins all the time. Why doesn't
Mr. Johnson say that these sellers not only sold base metal
coins but claimed the coins were pure silver? This is fraud.
There is no chill for honest business people, only for frauds.
Shouldn't we be glad that the medal business in NY State has
been purified? The great majority of numismatic dealers and
manufacturers are honest, and this case will protect them and
Neil Simmons writes: "I'm very surprised by your (and Dick's)
comments about the 9-11 medal marketing.
Are you also opposed to ANA/PNG/IAPN codes of conduct?
Are those organizations merely bothersome "do-gooders" in the
hobby? And was the Hobby Protection Act a bad mistake?
It seems to me that the issue is blatantly false claims by the
company: they weren't pure silver, and they weren't legal tender.
Medal manufacturers have nothing to fear as long as they don't
lie about their product. On the other hand, collectors concerned
about the health of the hobby should fear the effect of marketers
like these... potential new collectors are put off when they discover
they've been lied to... whether that news comes from the State
of New York, or when they try to sell their medal to a reputable
dealer some day and can't even get the (supposed) bullion value."
Kavan Ratnatunga writes: "Allowing for the cost of making the
medals and the advertising costs of the Scam the $370K fine is
probably about 5% of the Pure SCAM profit. Rather than
been excessive, IMHO it is just a slap on the wrist."
[They had to refund about $2 million in addition to the fine.
But that's still relatively small, I suppose, but no mere slap
on the wrist. Where I agreed with Dick was on the unfortunate
effects the prosecution could have on other coin and medal
purveyors who aren't so loose with the facts in their advertising.
Any national advertiser will have tremendous fixed costs that
have to be made up with huge markups on the merchandise.
If the large ads were touting accurately described coins or
medals priced ten times the going price on the coin market,
would that be considered a scam, too? I used to think so,
but no longer. As long as the items are not described in a
misleading manner, then such ads should be perfectly legal.
As a young collector I recall answering ads from Littleton Coin
Company. I enjoyed my packages of coins and didn't know
or care that the same coins could often be found at local coin
shows for a fraction of the cost. I didn't go to those shows,
and was blissfully happy in my ignorance. Later, once I learned
where to buy the coins I wanted more cheaply, I generally
shopped elsewhere. But Littleton had very high marketing costs
for printing, advertising and mailing in order to reach me, and I
feel that whatever I paid was worth it at the time.
It is also an unfortunate that this prosecution affected just one
issue by one marketer from one state. I agree that the advertising
for this particular piece was misleading and that a fine and restitution
were certainly called for. But there are hundreds of these misleading
marketing ploys out there; what I'd like to see is a nationwide
enforcement of the existing laws for truth in advertising such items.
SATIRICAL STATE QUARTERS
For some time now, entrepreneurs have been producing satirical
knockoffs of the U.S. Fifty State Quarter series. I've not heard
of any claims of misrepresentation on the part of the producers,
and they seem to be pretty widely distributed via eBay and other
An October 27 article in the Kalamazoo Gazette describes
some of the coins:
"The coins feature revised verbiage and, well, let's say risque
images. The most popular is the "2003 Arkansas'' quarter that
says "Head Quarters'' on one side and has an engraved image
on the other side that is supposed to represent former President
Bill Clinton in a low moment.
"We've sold thousands,'' said Michael Cline, owner of The
Coin Shop in Indianapolis, which sells the quarters for $4.95
Cline said the coins come from a distributor in California.
They look similar to real quarters because they are made from
real quarters. The spoof coins are simply pressed with the new
images and words, making them slightly larger. Their weight is
nearly the same, making detection difficult for banks. Cline said
defacing U.S. currency has not been a crime since 1973.
None of the local bank tellers with whom the Gazette spoke
had ever seen the spoof coins, but it was clear they would
treat them like counterfeit currency and call the authorities."
[Is it true that these are overstruck on real quarters? I don't
have any handy to examine but didn't notice any evidence of
overstriking when shown the pieces before. -Editor]
To read the full article (registration required) see:
TRAVELOGUE: THE MINT BAR, DUBLIN, IRELAND
Michael Savinelli writes: "I am on a business trip and staying at
the Westin Hotel in Dublin, Ireland. I always like to explore the
hotels that I stay at when I first arrive. This hotel has a restaurant
called The Exchange, and the bar is called The Mint Bar. Being
curious, I asked about the numismatic connection to person of
authority-- the guy working in the gift shop. He said that the
hotel building is a former bank. The Mint Bar (which is in the
basement of the hotel), is the old vault of the bank. Additionally,
the larger rooms of the hotel are named for old Irish currencies,
such as the punt. My meeting is being held in The Banker's Hall
at the hotel, which is a large, very ornate room which served as
the main banking room for the public. I am sure there are other
hotels in the world with numismatic connections. Do any
E-Sylum readers know of any?"
[The hotel's web site has a nice picture of the building and
has this to say about its history: "Behind the historic-listed
facade of the former Allied Irish Bank built in 1863, The
Westin Dublin is the new landmark in Ireland's capital,
occupying a city block opposite Trinity College."
Another web site has this to say: "The building housing The
Westin Dublin has been carefully restored and incorporates
the stunning architecture of two of the city's landmark buildings,
dating back from 1863. A major feature of the hotel is the
magnificent Banking Hall, timelessly restored to its original
19th century splendour, which serves as the main conference
and banqueting room accommodating up to 160 for a seated
banquet. Opulent marble pillars, tall mahogany doorways
and magnificent detailing on the walls and ceiling together
with state of the art technology, positions the venue as the
most luxurious and unique ballroom in the city."
RUSSIAN/UKRAINIAN CURRENCY COLLECTION ONLINE
Bill Rosenblum writes: "My son, who is a "digital librarian"
now at the University of Kansas, forwarded this to me. I
thought E-Sylum readers might be interested."
Rita Van Duinen writes: "On behalf of Nadia Zilper, Curator
for Slavic and East European Collections and the Andre Savine
Collection at UNC-Chapel Hill, I am happy to announce the
availability of a new online resource, 'Paper Currency &
Banknotes in the Andre Savine Collection'.
The Paper Currency & Banknotes database features detailed
descriptions and images of over 600 numismatic pieces found
in the Andre Savine Collection. Pieces in the numismatics
sub-collection consist primarily of paper currency and other
forms of scrip such as banknotes, loan obligations, and coupons.
Items featured in this database represent various periods of
Russian history, including rare paper currency issued by the
Russian White Army while in control of southern Russia during
For Russian and Ukrainian currency in the database, all
descriptive text from both the obverse and reverse sides has
been transliterated from the vernacular according to the
Library of Congress transliteration scheme for Cyrillic
alphabets. In addition to descriptive information, this
database provides both a mid-size and high-resolution
image of the obverse and reverse sides of each piece.
Access to the database is available at the following URL:
For information on the Andre Savine Collection, please
visit http://www.lib.unc.edu/savine/index.html/ "
[The web site is a database interface, so the collection isn't
easily scrolled through, but querying the database brings
access to individual records with thumbnail images of the
notes. Clicking on the images brings up high-quality full-size
color images of notes in the collection. -Editor]
THE COIN COLLECTING COMMUNITY
Clifford Mishler writes: "Having noted Dick Johnson’s posing
of the question of what we might best categorize our interest
pursuit in the Oct. 23 issue of E-Sylum, I am moved to offer
the following observations.
For right around a decade, now, I have endeavored to opt for
“coin collecting community,” or “our hobby community.”
This appellation did not originate with me, I must point out.
Rather, it was broadcast into my mind back in 1994, when
I read the New England Numismatic Association’s “Executive
Secretary’s Address” presented by Robert F. Fritsch in
As Bob observed at that time; “Numismatics is a Community,
composed of Collectors, Dealers and Organizations.”
Since that time I have I have appended thereto, when I’m
delivering programs and writing about the topic, additional
elements such as collectors, dealers, publications, scholars,
catalogers and writers.
The point is, in my opinion, all hobbies are small communities.
They are like the community of my youth – Vandalia, Mich.
– or that of my maturity – Iola, Wis. – in that, so to speak,
everyone knows everyone else and is dependent on their
success for the involvement of everyone else. The coin hobby
is like a small community, except that instead of being
geographically concentrated, it is geographically spread. The
pursuit of one of the elements is best pursued when that
pursuit is not oblivious of the others.
I personally believe it better captures what we are than
“industry,” “field,” “world,” “business,” or any other terminology
that has come within the scan of my eyes and ears.
As an aside, in answer to Dick’s other inquiry, to the best
of my recollection I never encountered the “Coin Whirl”
parody that he referenced."
CARSON CITY MINT STRIKES RAILROAD "COIN"
Dick Johnson forwarded a link to an article about a recent
striking ceremony at the old Carson City Mint:
"The minting of this year's first 350 commemorative V&T
coins celebrating Nevada's locomotives drew a crowd
of about 50 people to the Carson City Mint at the Nevada
State Museum Friday.
Sales from the coin -- 1 ounce of pure silver, featuring
Locomotive No. 11 -- the Reno, will go toward the V&T
"Ken Hopple, chief coiner of Coin Press No. 1 at the
Carson City Mint, said it takes 120 pounds of pressure
to strike each coin.
In its heyday, the press turned out 100 coins a minute,
but now it kicks out about six a minute, he said.
"We're not in a race now. Every one is done by hand,"
The Carson City Mint at one time had three presses.
The last Carson City dollar was minted in 1893, he said.
Penny Fairfield, a volunteer at the museum, said she
was glad to be working Friday.
"This is an exciting day because the coin press is working.
It's 136 years old. This was once a money-making factory,"
To read the complete story, see
COINS AND CHRISTMAS PUDDING ARTICLE
Len Augsburger writes: "For more on coins and Christmas
puddings, see Alan Percival Major, Coins and Christmas
Pudding, The Numismatist, December 1983, pp. 2496-2497."
FRED MERRITT INFORMATION SOUGHT
I have a few catalogs issued by Fred Merritt of Rochester , NY
in 1916 and 1920. I checked with subscriber Nick Graver
of the Rochester Numismatic Society. He in turn checked with
RNA member Gerry Muhl who noted that Merritt was the sixth
president of the RNA in 1917. Does anyone else have any
information on Merritt to share?
DANISH MINT PHOTO OFFER
Howard A Daniel III writes: "I have a photograph dated to
the 1920s of a Danish mint worker with what appears to be
a box of blank copper coin planchets and pouring the contents
into a large pot. I am not sure if they are being prepared for
minting or melting, but the back has " 11 The finished copper
coins. DG." and it is attributed to O.L. Kjeldsen at 15 Vestre
Boulevard, Copenhagen, Denmark, and it is copyrighted to a
firm in London. Maybe they are being cleaned before striking.
The picture cost me US$10.50 and I will send it to a researcher
and/or collector who is interested in it. If someone does want it,
they will have to contact me at HADaniel3 at msn.com after
Christmas because by the time this is published I will be on a
plane to Southeast Asia for a couple of months."
NEW CENT VARIETIES: 1909 VDP AND 1909 VSP
The October 23 issue if the Ottumwa Courier of Ottumwa, IA
marks a new low in mainstream reporting on numismatics. The
reporter could have checked his facts and spelling just about
anywhere, but managed to misspell Victor David Brenner's
initials twice in the same paragraph, never once getting it right:
"If you want a banner year for coin collectors, you look at 1909.
Denny Ross knows about it. He said the VDP penny got its name
from the artist who designed it. The initial minting had VSP, the
artist's initials, in large print on the coin."
Johnny-on-the-spot David Sklow, former numismatic literature
dealer, cataloguer and NBS officer (and now the Numismatic
Researcher and Historian for the American Numismatic
Association) saw the story and entered a correction on the
newspaper's web site.
To read the full story, and David comments, see:
UNUSUAL USES OF COINS
Jeff Starck of Coin world writes: "Seeing this press release
about placing several "lucky" coins in the keel area of a ship
for good luck and "safe travels" makes me curious about
other coin lore. I know pennies (sorry, cents) were placed
over the eyelids of the deceased (a Chicago museum has
what cents it claims were placed on President Abraham
What other fun uses can E-Sylum readers think of?"
[Here is an excerpt from the Press Release Jeff refers to
"In keeping with ancient shipbuilding tradition, there will be
a coin ceremony in which representatives from Aker and
its leasing partner, Overseas Shipholding Group ... will place
several lucky coins in the massive keel section as symbols of
good luck and safe travels. The coins, under the enormous
weight of the steel, will be affixed to the hull for the life of
FEATURED WEB SITE
This week's featured web site is "A Short History of Token
Use in South Carolina."
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