The E-Sylum v9#15, April 9, 2006

esylum at esylum at
Sun Apr 9 18:51:51 PDT 2006

Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 9, Number 15, April 9, 2006:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2006, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers are Neil Berman, J.S.G. Boggs, and
Chris Jones. Welcome aboard!  We now have 873 subscribers.

I'm sad to report that we lead off this week's issue with word 
of the loss of two of our hobby's leading lights, R.A.G. Carson 
and William Dewey.  Our thoughts go out to their families and 

A family vacation has cut into my editing time this week, so 
some submissions which arrived over the weekend could not be 
included in this issue and will be held for the next issue 
- sorry!

In the correction department, the author of the Coin World article 
about Bill Himmelwright and his shop was MICHELE Orzano, not Michael.  
My apologies to Michele.  I know better, but it was a typo I shouldn't
have let happen.

Arthur Shippee noted that I'd forgotten to include the link to the 
source of the 2003 article on the half a million Purple Heart medals
remaining unissued at the end of World War II.  Sorry - it's 

In a correction of a correction, Tom Delorey notes that "The 
Denver Mint produced regular issue Dimes, Quarters, Half Dollars, 
Half Eagles, Eagles and Double Eagles in 1906." Ray Flanigan's note 
stated that the Denver Mint "produced the first coins in 1907." 
Neil Shafer also reported this one.

Some of you figured out that the item from the MPCGram was an 
April Fool's joke.  One reader wrote: "Surely the new military 
money grading service, which was announced April 1, is just that, 
another April 1 joke? POGS? Come on..."

Last week's mention of an ancient coin counterfeiting technique 
prompts Dick Johnson to discuss firebranding and galvanoplasty, 
Allan Davisson provides some background information on the 
recently-sold 1575 £20 gold piece of James VI, and Alan Weinberg 
provides some interesting anecdotes about John Ford bidding at 

New numismatic products debuting or on their way include a "pink 
quarter" from Canada and Mozambique debates new coin and banknote 
designs as part of a proposed currency revaluation.

In other news, the WWII medals discovered last week in a service 
station basement have been returned to the recipient's family, a 
businessman in Marco Island, Florida adopts the Liberty Dollar, 
and a Canberra mint worker is caught smuggling coins in his 
steel-toed workboots.

And to learn how a group of Germans hoped to turn decades-old 
Franklin Mint products into a million dollar profit, read on.  
Have a great week, everyone.

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


Former American Numismatic Association Librarian William Dewey 
passed away this week at the age of 100.

Jim Majoros, President, Ocean County Coin Club writes: "Bill 
Dewey celebrated his 100th birthday on Dec 5, 2005, it is sad to 
say that Bill passed away on Sunday, April 2nd at the nursing home 
in Woodcliff Lake, NJ, where he had been for a number of years.   
Bill, a professional engineer by trade and a direct descendent of 
Admiral George Dewey, had a long and remarkable life with interests 
in numismatics that began in 1932.  

These interests led him to research and writing about a number of 
subjects, primarily the Bergen Iron Works Tokens and Early Manchester 
and William Torrey.  He took to numismatics just as a fish takes to 
water and was the ANA librarian in the late thirties.  He co-founded 
the Westchester County (NY) Coin Club and received the Numismatic 
Ambassador Award amongst many other individual recognitions.  

Just recently, he was honored with two special citations on his 
100th birthday, presented by ANA president Bill Horton at the Nursing 
home.  A number of members of New Jersey's Ocean County Coin Club 
will always remember Bill for his dedication and interests in the 
club and its members,  consistently being available to discuss some 
of his numismatic findings at the club's "show & tell" sessions.  

Bill Dewey has been missed the past twenty years ever since he 
moved to his nursing home in north Jersey and he will continue 
to be missed by all who knew him.  He never forgot us and we will 
never forget him.
Bill's daughter, Autumn said there will be a memorial service on 
Sunday, April 23, 2006 at 1 pm at the 1st Congregational Church in 
River Edge, NJ (off exit 161 of the Garden State Parkway to Route 4) 
for those who would like to attend.  Cards may be sent to Mr.& Mrs. 
Robert H. Owens at 390 Fifth Ave, River Edge, NJ 07661."  
David Gladfelter adds: "He was ANA librarian in 1940 when the 51 
year index to the Numismatist was published, and was on the 
committee that published it. In 1987 he received the Krause 
Numismatic Ambassador award. I believe he won a Heath Award from 
the ANA for articles in the Numismatist on his relative, Admiral 
George Dewey. He had a fine collection of Admiral Dewey medals. 

He wrote 2 books on New Jersey historical subjects, "Early 
Manchester and William Torrey," in 1982 and "The Bergen Iron 
Works and its Tokens" published by the Ocean County (N.J.) 
Historical Society in 1989. He won the Society of Paper Money 
Collectors literary award in 1984 for a series of articles on 
the S. W. and W. A. Torrey railroad scrip, and again in 1998 
for an article (with me) on Bergen Iron Works scrip. He was a 
professional engineer who retired in 1966. And was a hell of 
a guy."

David also forwarded the following from the introduction to 
Dewey's first book.  David's comments are in brackets []: "Born 
in New York City in 1905 and educated in Mt. Vernon public schools, 
Mr. Dewey received his Bachelor of Science degree in electrical 
engineering in 1927 from Union College in Schenectady, New York. 
A licensed professional engineer in New York, he retired in 1966 
after many years of service in the engineering department of 
New York Telephone."

"He has been honored many times for his varied activities, among 
those of which he is most proud -- the Gold Medal Award from the 
Alumni Council, Union College; President Emeritus, Cruiser Olympia
Association of Philadelphia [the Cruiser Olympia was Admiral Dewey's 
flag ship in the Spanish-American war, now docked at the Philadelphia 
waterfront]; honorary membership in the Bergen County (N. J.) Coin 
Club; and the Heath Literary Award of the American Numismatic 
Association in 1959."

"While active in research and uncovering past mysteries, Mr. Dewey 
still enjoys the violin and though he no longer participates in 
lacrosse and cross country running as he did in school [that must 
be why we hit it off], keeps in excellent physical shape with brisk 
walks and exercise."

Bob Mitchell writes: "I first contacted Bill around April 1974, 
when I was stationed in Ethiopia. My aunt had sent me a newspaper 
clipping about a man that was researching the "Torrey" family. 
She knew that I had collected the Torrey scrip and I immediately 
wrote Bill. His reply dated May 12th arrived soon afterwards, and 
we started our exchange of information and many years of friendship 
to follow. 
Bill told me in a letter dated Dec 13, 1996 that he was sorry to 
have had to turn over all his records and collections and stop 
research and writing. (Torrey stuff went to the Lakehurst Historical
Society, and I believe some of the notes went to a fellow NJ collector 
with the stipulation they be donated to the Ocean County Historical 
Society upon his death). Bill had just turned 91 and said he was 
thankful to be alive and still be able to add 2+2. And he only 
complained about increasing difficulty in hearing! He was such an 
energetic man in mind and spirit, certainly an example for all of 
us to live by.  
I think I have every letter Bill wrote me since 1974 because we 
exchanged so much information on our mutual interests in the Ocean 
County money and scrip. Now I can look them over and enjoy the 
memories he left me with."

To read previous E-Sylum items on Bill Dewey, see:  

OBITUARY: R.A.G. CARSON, 1918-2006

On April 3 The Independent of London published an obituary of
British Museum curator and Roman coin expert R.A. G. Carson:

"Robert Andrew Glendinning Carson, museum curator and numismatist: 
born Kirkcudbright 7 April 1918; Assistant Keeper, Department of 
Coins and Medals, British Museum 1947-65, Deputy Keeper 1965-78, 
Keeper 1978-83; FBA 1980;"

"Robert Carson was the leading British expert of his generation 
on Roman coins. He joined the staff of the British Museum as 
Assistant Keeper of Roman Coins in the Department of Coins and 
Medals in 1947, a few months after his life-long colleague Kenneth 
Jenkins, an expert in Greek coins."

"Their arrival coincided with the start of the slow recovery of 
the museum from the effects of the Second World War, when most 
of the staff had left to take part in the war effort and the 
collections were evacuated from London. The fabric of the museum, 
including the offices of the Coin Department, was much damaged 
by bombing and it was not until about 1960 that the department 
was able to return to permanent accommodation when its bombed 
offices were finally rebuilt."

"Robert Carson was in great demand as a reviewer and also as 
an editor. It is typical of his generosity and selflessness that 
he spent so much of his own time bringing other people's work to
publication. He was always willing to share his time and expertise,
especially with a younger generation of his colleagues, one of 
whom at least has every cause to be grateful for his endless 

"After his retirement, Robert Carson and his wife Fransisca 
moved to Australia to join one of their children who had emigrated 

To read the complete article, see: 


NBS President Pete Smith writes: "I just returned from the ANA 
Money Show in Atlanta. This show does not have a classification 
for numismatic literature exhibits but there was an excellent 
literature exhibit in the History and Politics class. “The 
Numismatic Publications of Charles Trissler Steigerwalt” was 
placed by John Eshbach. I talked with John briefly about his 
research and his unsuccessful search for a photo of Steigerwalt’s 
house. I was not aware of Steigerwalt’s middle name so I learned 
something from the exhibit."


Charles Davis writes: "Bob Vail's account of the Henry Chapman 
Library discovery published in the latest issue of Penny Wise 
has probably resulted in a number of phone calls to the Art 
Department of the Philadelphia Free Library from EAC members 
hoping to view or acquire some of the holdings. 

Bob should have continued the story by noting that he contacted 
me and I was able to obtain the library, and it was sold at public 
auction at the 1997 ANA Convention in Cleveland.  The $100,000 
generated was used to set up an endowment for conservation of 
needy works in the Free Library's collection. 

The Chapman material had laid untouched for over 50 years, hidden 
in the Art Department where it was "triple shelved" - eg Chapman 
book in the back with an art book in front of it and another art 
book in front of that.  As the collection had never been 
"accessioned," there was no problem in "de-accessioning it."  Had 
it made it to the library's card file, it would no doubt still be 
there tied up in bureaucratic red tape." 


We've seen a number of articles with a numismatic theme from 
the Daily News of Newburyport relating to the Jacob Perkins 
building and the "roofer hoard" of banknotes.  On April 5th 
the paper published an article on another common theme, 
criticism of new designs - in this case, the new U.S. $10 bill.

"Although the new $10 hasn't caused major headaches for local 
businesses, some have had to make changes to equipment that 
handles the bills.

Bonnie Demars, owner of the Village Washtub Laundromat, had to 
change a computerized chip for the washing machines three times 
to accommodate the new $10s."

"The new bill is real currency, but many say it looks like 
"play money."

Janette Hill, branch supervisor at TD Banknorth in Newburyport, 
said she's had customers make comments. 

"Some people like them and some people don't. But a few people 
have said it looks like it's been sitting in rusting water," 
she said, referring to the bill's background colors of red, 
orange and yellow that look dingy to some. 

Teller Amanda Hardy has also had similar responses. "A lot 
of people question it because it looks like play money," she 
said. "It looks like foreign currency more than anything."

But both agree that the $5 bills need a makeover, too. Hill 
said the $5 bills are "nasty;" Hardy said they haven't had a 
new look in years."

Derek DeBoisbriand, a salesperson at Richdale's, said that 
older people seem to question the validity of the new $10 bill 
more than other customers, because they're used to the older 

"While he says "personally I think it's really ugly" and like 
coffee has been spilled on it, he did add that he likes the 
numeral 10 in the right-hand corner of the new bill, because 
it turns from copper to green, depending how one looks at it."

To read the complete article, see: 


The Edmonton Journal published an article March 31 about 
Canada's new "pink quarter":

"The Royal Canadian Mint, together with the Canadian Breast 
Cancer Foundation, on Friday unveiled a 25-cent coin, featuring 
the iconic pink ribbon. 

The "breast cancer awareness" quarter, according to the RCM, 
is the second coloured circulation coin to be produced following 
the popular 25-cent poppy coin in the fall of 2004.  

The RCM said it plans to produce up to 30 million "pink" coins, 
which will enter into circulation beginning on Saturday."
"As part of the unveiling of the coin, 12 Canadian fashion 
designers generously created and donated one-of-a kind fashion 
items featuring the new coin.  From travel wallets to corsets, 
all items will be auctioned on the RCM website with the proceeds 
directed to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation."

To read the complete article, see:

[Has anyone seen these coins?  How are they manufactured?  
Is there some sort of insert for the ribbon, or is the coloring 
applied after striking, like enameling?   There are many bimetallic 
coins being made today, but other than the Canadian Poppy quarter 
mentioned in the article, are there other coins with similar 
color features?  -Editor]


Allan Davisson writes: "A bit more on the 1575 £20 gold piece of 
James VI (And a story with a brief moral for those who do not 
adequately value important old auction catalogs....)

The cataloger did not catch the fact that the piece was part 
of the great Murdoch sale of May 1903 (lot 266) where it realized 
£81, a huge sum for the day. In general, Murdoch had the means 
and opportunity to collect the finest known examples of everything 
in his huge collection and coins from his collection show that he 
did, in fact, obtain the best.

In 1997, DNW offered this piece as lot 214. Their publicity at 
the time, as I recall, referred to a "new and formerly unrecorded" 
example of the piece and the catalog notes that "To the best of 
our knowledge, this coin has never before been offered at Public 

It sold to Lucien LaRiviere for £22,500 in a sale that had 
virtually nothing of significance otherwise in the Scottish series.

The Spink catalogers also missed this extremely important bit 
of provenance. The coin was estimated at a moderate £30,000 to 
£40,000 and sold for £48,000, again a modest sum, it seems to me, 
for one of the most important and dramatic coins in the Scottish 
series if not the entire British series.  And this great coin 
also happened to be a part of the most renowned of British 


Kay Platt writes: "I have a question that I am hoping a member 
of the NBS could answer, or just steer me in the right direction 
to find an answer.
I have four different versions of The Medallic History of England 
attributed to John Pinkerton, two with text, two without text. 
The spine of one contains his name, otherwise there is no mention 
of his name anywhere else. The information on the four volumes 
may be summarized as follows: 

(A) The Medallic History of England to the Revolution, with 
Forty Plates. Dated 1790, No author’s name on the title page, 
but Pinkerton's name appears on the original spine. “Printed for 
Edwards and Sons, Pall Mall, Faulder, in New Bond Street.” 
This volume contains 40 plates and commentary on each medal. 

(B) The Medallic History of England, Illustrated by Forty 
Plates. Dated 1802. Pinkerton's name does not appear on the 
original spine, which is badly deteriorated.  “Printed, at the 
Oriental Press, by Wilson and Co
for E. Harding, No. 98, Pall-Mall; 
and J. Scott, St. Martin’s Court
”  This edition contains 40 plates, 
no preface but the same commentary as (A).

(C) The Medals of England, consisting of 384 Specimens Engraved on 
Forty Plates.  Undated.  No author. “Nichols & Son, 25 Parliament St.” 
This edition contains 40 plates and commentary, but no preface or
commentary. This copy is bound together with Adam d. Cardonnel’s
Numismata Scotiae (1786).

(D) 384 Medals of England, Engraved on Forty Plates.
Dated 1831. No author.  “Printed for JB Nichols & Son, 25, 
Parliament-Street.”  No preface or commentary. Binding (red 
leather?) appears to be a later replacement for the original.

I also have Snelling’s Thirty Three Plates of English Medals 
(1776).  This is, of course the source of about 2/3 of the 40 
plates, although Snelling had died in 1773. Some questions are:

How did Pinkerton’s name come to be associated with Snelling’s 
work? Did he purchase the rights from Snelling’s family, or did 
he just appropriate the work and have the additional plates added 
and publish the revised work for his profit? After all, it would 
appear that Pinkerton had a great interest in medals. But he was 
also accused of having appropriated other authors’ works without

Perhaps the most basic question is, how do I really know that 
Pinkerton had anything to do with the publication of the “40 
Plates” works, other than his name appearing on the spine of one 
of the four volumes, and in libraries? Also, did Pinkerton actually 
write the text that accompanied the plates, or did he hire someone 
to do it (or did the publisher write the preface and text), and 
why the (odd, to me) appearance of incomplete later editions 
lacking the accompanying text? And, finally, was he associated 
with all four versions?

Any light a member could shed on the Pinkerton relationship with 
Snelling’s original work, and the four later editions would be 
greatly appreciated. Any references to commentaries or works which 
would shed light on these questions would especially be welcomed. 

More broadly, recommendations to any other essential sources on 
the eminent writers on medals of the 17th century would also be 
appreciated. I have Evelyn, Vertue, Pinkerton’s Essays on Medals 
(not of much value), Henfrey, Turner’s Pinkerton’s Correspondence, 
Pinkerton’s earlier work, On Medals, and of course the works 
mentioned above. More generally, I have Medallic Illustrations, 
Helen Farquhar’s articles, Besly’s book (and article on for the 
Forlorn Hope in The Medal), Mayo, Lessen’s articles, and Nathanson’s 
small work on Simon. Is any other essential book missing that I 
should have that would provide more information on the writers 
mentioned?   Many thanks in advance for your readers’ help."


The Naples Daily News of Naples, Florida reports that a local 
entrepreneur plans to market Liberty Dollars.

"Seeking to liberate his neighbors from a monetary system that 
he believes has lost some of its juice, Marco Island accountant 
Al Wagner plans to launch an independent Liberty Dollar franchise 
next month. 

But he's mostly in it for the fun, Wagner said. 

The silver-based money is neither endorsed by Marco Island 
government, nor Marco Island Chamber of Commerce leaders. 
Newly elected Marco Councilman Rob Popoff is an investor in 
Wagner's project."

"Wagner won the right to distribute the currency throughout 
Collier County. It is a $20 silver minted circle, which he 
plans to unveil on April 6 at an event at the Esplanade on 
Marco. Wagner said he can't use the word "coin" because that 
is legally defined as U.S. government money." 

"The Liberty Dollar is a national franchise, initiated in 1999 
by self-described monetary architect Bernard von NotHaus, because 
American money is no longer backed by the silver and gold that 
was once protected at Fort Knox."

"Claudia Dickens, spokeswoman for the U.S. Treasury Bureau of 
Engraving and Printing, said no matter how the Liberty Dollar 
is presented, it is not legal currency. 

"We have heard of Liberty Dollars," she said. "This agency 
prints U.S. currency, and it is the only legal currency." 

Dickens compared Liberty Dollars with Disney Dollars, used 
exclusively at Walt Disney amusement parks. Like poppet beads 
at Club Med, Disney Dollars are bought with real money, but 
are not real U.S. currency. 

"If a merchant wants to accept Liberty Dollars, that is their 
right," Dickens said. "As long as the person doesn't claim it 
is the legal tender of the land." 

Wagner said he regards the comparison with Disney Dollars as 

"Disney Dollars are not real silver," Wagner said."

To read the complete article, see:


In response to the article on Doubloons by Paul MacAuley, 
numismatic literature dealer Richard Stockley writes: "I sell 
a book called "Doubloons Commemorative Medals" by Jerry Ledet Sr. 
I don’t know if it is updated every year - mine is a 1994 edition. 
It is basically a listing, not illustrated, of the doubloons along 
with a couple of other items. If anyone is interested, I can be 
contacted at rstockley at To those collecting these 
items, enjoy!"


Michael Savinelli writes: "I will be visiting Washington, DC at 
the beginning of May on a business trip.  Does anyone know whether 
there are any good used bookstores there (and preferably ones that 
might have numismatic literature)?  I will be staying at the Marriott 
at H & 12th Streets.  I will not have a rental car, so any suggestions 
for bookstores within walking distance would be appreciated. Thanks."     


Tom DeLorey writes: "The Sunday, April 2 Toledo Blade has an 
amazing article which reveals that Tom Noe was the driving 
force behind the creation of the 2006 one ounce .9999 find 
gold bullion coin bearing the image of Fraser's 1913 Buffalo 
nickel, and the 2007 and subsequent half ounce .9999 fine 
gold "First Lady" coins.
If Mr. Noe is ever convicted of anything (and of course he 
remains innocent until proven guilty), does this mean that 
righteous collectors should boycott these coins?
If not, should we at least refer to the one ounce Buffalo 
Nickel coin as the "Noe Bull Chit?"

[The lengthy article quotes coinage committee member Ute 
Wartenberg Kagan, executive director of the American Numismatic 
Society, Scott Travers, and several government officials.  In 
addition to the gold bullion coins, Noe suggested a palladium 
coin as well.  The following are some brief excerpts. -Editor]

"Last week, Greg Weinman, the Mint’s senior counsel and ethics 
official, told The Blade that the Treasury Department’s inspector 
general had opened an investigation into Mr. Noe’s role as a 
member and chairman of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee, 
a panel that advises the Treasury secretary on themes and designs 
for coins and congressional gold medals.

In May, 2003, the White House and House Speaker Dennis Hastert 
recommended that Mr. Noe get a seat on the influential 11-member 
committee. Treasury Secretary John Snow appointed Mr. Noe, less 
than six months after the Toledo-area coin dealer expressed 
interest in joining a Mint committee to Henrietta Fore, then 
director of the Mint.

“I have always had interest in getting more involved on the 
national level,” Mr. Noe wrote to Ms. Fore."

To read the complete article, see: 

[A commercial web site claims that "In 1967, Tonga issued 
palladium coins on the occasion of the Coronation of King 
Taufa Ahau Tupou IV, thereby achieving a world's first."   
Is that true?  Were the first palladium coins issued by Tonga?  -Editor.]


Philip Mernick forwarded a story published April 6 by the BBC 
News about a Canberra mint worker who stole coins by concealing 
them in his workboots:

"An ex-worker at Australia's mint has admitted stealing tens 
of thousands of dollars in coins he put in steel-capped boots 
to avoid metal detectors.  Prosecutors said William Bosia 
Grzeskowiak stole more than AU$155,000 (£65,000) in new 
two-dollar coins over a year at the Canberra mint. 

Grzeskowiak, 48, was arrested two months ago while trying to 
change a large number of coins into notes." 

"Workers are not required to remove boots during random screening.  
They said they found AU$100,000 in coins hidden in plastic buckets 
and shopping bags in the garage of Grzeskowiak's mother."

"The case triggered a review of security at the mint during which 
Australian Federal Police found a host of problems. The mint has 
since upgraded security." 


Dick Johnson writes: "I too, share friend George Fuld’s 
appraisal of the shortcoming of material at the Baker Business 
Library at Harvard. A researcher must be pleased however, with 
the material he does find in any archives. Pleased with what you 
have to work with, but not satisfied to stop looking for more – 
keep digging!)

Case in point: The Philadelphia Mint could not meet the demands 
of the Columbian Exposition officials who wanted raised lettering 
on all the Expo Award Medals after the1892-93 Expo. This is a 
large chore to make an "insert die" for every medal. The Philadelphia 
Mint contracted this to private industry, Scovill Manufacturing with 
whom they had a long relationship. (The technology is simple, but very 
labor intensive. A cavity must be created in one side of the award 
medal dies. A large quantity of steel "inserts" must be made to EXACTLY 
fit that cavity. Then each one of the inserts must be engraved with 
the lettering to appear as raised lettering on the medal.)

The Baker Library has the journal in the Scovill archives which 
recorded the exact inscription on every Columbian Expo award medal. 
The trouble is that they have only one journal. The order of 23,757 
medals required TWO journals to record all those names. One journal 
is missing. The existing journal is gargantuan! It must be 4 feet tall, 
with numbers down the left hand side of each page and a nice hand 
script entry of the insert die lettering. Does the other journal 
still exist? It may. Keep digging.

In all, it took Scovill two years to complete this striking order 
even with a small team of workers. Several engravers creating those 
insert dies. A pressman or two for striking. A finisher to patina 
the medals. And several clerks to keep the records straight and to 
enter those names in that journal. Oh! I do hope the other journal 

What should be saved for the archives? Another case in point: When 
the old Scovill headquarters building was demolished in Waterbury 
in 1995 to make room for a shopping mall (Brass Center Mall) the 
demolition crew came across one room that was sealed. No one could 
get the door open to enter. A worker climbed down from the roof, 
broke open a window and entered the sealed room.

They discovered it was the office of the press officer. It was 
filled with material. Filing cabinets and shelving filled with 
reports, pamphlets, books, magazines, clippings, company publications, 
on and on.

One of the demolition crew saved the material, instead of hauling 
it to the dump (bless him!). From four filing cabinets and lots of 
shelving he filled 46 boxes. He contacted a friend of mine, who 
knew of my interest in Scovill history. He had his company driver 
drop off two sample boxes at my home for me to examine and return.

It is exactly what a press officer would save. (I know; I was one 
once!) Gist for some future article or report. This is the corporate 
intelligence that senior management often needs to make enlightened 
decisions (and often needs in a hurry). Perhaps we should be grateful 
the room was sealed, and that the material hadn’t been discarded 

My suggestion was this material should go to the Baker Library to 
join the rest of the Scovill archives. I contacted the curator I 
had worked with when I researched in their library. He, in turn, 
went to his administration. The reply came back, in essence, they 
would accept it for donation but would not for purchase.

My friend has the 46 boxes stored at his Waterbury company 
storeroom. The material is for sale. The purchaser can be a 
Scovill buff, or someone who can make the purchase and donate 
it to the Baker Library. (Or it could be a lifetime of very dry r

[It’s tragic what gets thrown away sometimes.  We owe a lot to 
the people who take the initiative to save this sort of material, 
and it's only right that they should be compensated for their 
effort.  Several years ago, someone walking past the Pittsburgh 
City Courthouse discovered a large number of boxes of documents 
on the sidewalk awaiting trash pickup.  A crew had cleaned out 
the attic and documents decades or even a century old were being 
thrown out.  A number of boxes were salvaged but a lot went to 
a dump.

I've gotten a few items for my numismatic library by being in 
the right place at the right time with a catcher's mitt as things 
were being thrown in the trash, including a few complete years of 
Mehl's Numismatic Monthly and some numismatic correspondence of 
Howard Gibbs.   Do any of our readers have a "saved from the trash"
story to tell?  -Editor]


David Klinger writes: "Here is an article with the follow up to 
the story about the medals of Walter F. Lanen, found in the trash 
at a gas station."

"With a slight trace of tears in his eyes, William J. Lanen stood 
still and straight as the 87-year-old retired Army colonel stared 
down at his younger brother's grave.

"He was a good soldier," Lanen said of Private First Class 
Walter F. Lanen, who is buried at the Immaculate Conception 

A few minutes earlier, two strangers had handed William Lanen 
long-lost mementos of his brother.

They included a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart with two clusters, 
and two other medals that Walter Lanen had earned while serving 
with the 339th Regimental Combat Team in the US Army during World 
War II."

The medals were discovered this week in the basement of Larry's 
Service Station on Haverhill Street as co-owners Emile Levasseur 
and Bill McDaniel were cleaning up."

"We have no idea how they got there," Levasseur said. 
"Not a clue."

"A newspaper account in The Eagle-Tribune led a producer from 
the television station CBS4 to find William Lanen, who is living 
in retirement in Bow, N.H."

To read the complete article, see: 

Howard A. Daniel III forwarded a link to a similar article with
Images of the medals:


Inspired by Russ Rulau's account of the famous John Ford - 
Don Miller auction fistfight last week, Alan V. Weinberg writes: 
"I distinctly recall at an early 60's (Howard Egolf sale?) NYC 
Stack's auction John Ford standing up at the back of the room 
and confronting cigar-wielding NYC coin dealer Max Kaplan, a 
few feet apart,  as Max drove him up and up on a desired  coin. 
This resulted in a shouting match as each man, with a booming 
voice, tried to get in the last word, disrupting the auction. 
I believe a young Dave Bowers and Johnny Rowe were present, as 
was I.
At the 1984 NYC Bowers & Merena Virgil Brand Part II auction, 
John bellowed out loud "Whaddya want this put-together cockamamie 
thing for?" as John Hamilton bid him up on a unique 1850 gold 
hand-constructed "Eureka" San Francisco medal which JJF won for 
I remember these and other incidents as not disparaging but 
adding to the colorful history of a colorful collector/dealer." 


Eric P. Newman writes: "Since there has been recent comment in 
The E-Sylum on when the discovery in the ANS library of the 
"Essay on Coining" manuscript was made and a mention of my 
being excited about it, I feel I should point out that Don 
Taxay in 1966 published The U.S. Mint and Coinage in which, 
beginning on page 88, a group of images from "Essay on Coinage" 
and information from the text was included."


Regaridng the Advertising Age photo mentioned by Dick Johnson 
last week, Dave Bowers writes: "Although I don't remember the 
photo, I have always been a student of advertising, of the old 
John Caples, et al., mail-order variety, "Which Ad Pulled Best," 
and so on. For a number of years in the early 1960s I went to 
the annual seminar held by Advertising Age in Chicago. Often 
after hearing a presentation the attendees would break into
study groups. I remember I was in one such small group with 
Dick Clark, of rock and roll memory now of current rock and 
roll fame back then."


Jeff Reichenberger writes: "I'm pleased Werner Mayer and Dave 
Kellogg (volume 9, number 13, March 26, 2006) mentioned the 
fine article in the Smithsonian magazine about the San Francisco 
Mint and the earthquake. Coupled with the equally fine story in 
the April Numismatist you really get a feel for the mint, the 
fury, and the chaos there a hundred years ago. 

A highlighted column within the Smithsonian article features a 
group of survivors who get together every year on that day. 
Centenarians now, all but one, who claims being conceived the 
night of the earthquake! She says she danced at the saloon where 
her father worked when she was six. Longshoremen threw nickels 
and pennies at her feet. One wonders, what nickels? What pennies? 
Perhaps 1912 S Liberty nickels, 1909 S VDB pennies, or how about 
1894 S dimes....   Are there any centenarians in our group?"


Regarding living non-heads of state on coinage Dr K.A. Rodgers 
writes: "I think this topic has had its day,  but the South African 
Mint has just announced its 2006 Protea designs featuring the very 
much alive Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu.  This 
leads to looking at other folks on previous Proteas.  It looks 
like at least one other living South African has been featured 


An article posted April 4, 2006 discussed plans of the Mozambican 
parliament on currency reform.  While politicians debate, the Bank 
of Mozambique is moving ahead with plans to produce revalued coins 
and banknotes:

"Back in November the Assembly passed a government bill intended 
to make the Mozambican currency, the metical, more manageable, by 
lopping off the last three digits. 

The bill established a rate of conversion of one to a thousand. 
Thus the current 1,000 metical coin will be worth one metical in 
what the government refers to as the "new family" of the currency. 
The largest current banknote, for 500,000 meticais, will be worth 
500 meticais in the "new family"." 

"The government stresses that the metical is not being abolished, 
and the country is not embracing a new currency. All that is happening 
is a simple mathematical operation - division by a thousand. The name 
of the currency is unchanged and the old notes and coins will remain 
legal tender for a lengthy transition period, as they are gradually 
withdrawn from circulation."

"Meanwhile, the Bank of Mozambique is pushing ahead its preparations 
for the introduction of the new banknotes and coins. 

As from 1 April it became compulsory for shops and other business 
to indicate their prices both in the existing meticais, and in the 
"new family" meticais. Posters and leaflets explaining the changes 
have been distributed all over the country, and the new notes should 
be unveiled on 1 July."

To read the complete article, see: 


Ken Berger writes: "You state that "A new book has been published 
on Philippine Counterstamped coins".  Then you mention that Howard 
Daniel received a copy of "Philippine Counterstamped Coins, 1828-1839" 
by Dr. Quint Jose Ma. Oropilla Y Fortich.  

This is not a new book.  It was published in 2001.  I've had mine 
for over two years!  I got it from Bill Elwell of Bishop Coins.  
Ponterio has has been advertising this book on eBay for almost 3 


Regarding a proposal to charge admission for the Smithsonian 
Museums, last week I wrote: "It would be sad to see the tradition 
end, but I think it's only fair that visitors help pay part of 
the burden."

Pete Morelewicz writes: "The Smithsonian is supported by our tax 
dollars. Similarly, a "road to nowhere" in Alaska, for example, 
is paid for by tax dollars, even if few people ever use it. That 
the Smithsonian be subject to usage fees when other, arguably 
less important, projects are not is, in my opinion, ludicrous.  
(Phew! -- needed to get that off my chest. Not having a vote in 
Congress can subject one to such sudden outbursts.)

Oh, and the comparison to gun/coin/boat shows is faulty, as 
these are not government-funded events."

[Government funding subsidizes public transportation, too, but 
the rides aren't free, and I would argue that they shouldn't be.  
Some part of the burden rightly rests on the user of the service.  
But every taxpayer is entitled to an opinion.  -Editor]


Dick Johnson writes: "It is understandable an ancient coin that 
appeared silverplated would raise many questions (as noted in last 
week’s E-Sylum). The process of electrolysis was developed by a 
German physicist and engineer, Moritz Herman Jacobi (1801-1874), 
in 1837. He called his process "galvanoplasty" and it led to the 
fields of electroforming and electroplating (great for the 
silverware industry). 

The process required an electric current, so from 1837 until 1890, 
when electric generation became available (thank you Thomas Edison!), 
it had to be accomplished with primitive batteries.

There was a technique that could have been used this early. It was 
the technique of "firegilding." The ancients knew how to coat an 
object with gold by using mercury. They could have accomplished this 
with silver just as well (but I have not heard of the term 
"firesilvering" nor have I heard of such an object). [Museum 
Curators Note: Please prove me wrong that such a silver-coated 
object DOES exist, particularly before 1837.]

The process shorted the lives of those who did firegilding. The 
mercury fumes are deadly. I’ll describe the process, but don’t 
try this at home. [Official Disclaimer – We Are Not Responsible 
If You Are Stupid Enough To Try This!]

You need a "gilding stone" a flat surface like marble will do. 
You need gold, mercury, a brass brush, nitrate of bioxide of 
mercury and a stove. That’s all. Shortly before you do this, mix 
the gold and mercury together, it becomes waxy between the fingers. 
Make a ball and place this under water until use. When ready take 
the ball and rub all over the gilding stone until it covers a 
large spot.

Dip the brass brush in nitrate of bioxide of mercury. Rub the 
brass brush on the gilding stone until the mercury-gold is deposited 
on the brass bristles. It will be white in color. Then brush the object 
to be gilded with the brass brush. It will take considerable brushing 
to get an even deposit of the mercury-gold on the object (well cleaned 
and degreased). Then heat the object. The mercury fumes will burn off. 
Don’t get anywhere near these fumes – they will kill you!

The gold is left on the object. Several applications may be necessary. 
It is not a thick coating like goldplating. The thin coating is 
susceptible to wearing off, particularly on the highpoints. In later 
years firegilt objects may have an uneven gold color (with dark areas) 
and sometimes only left in the crevices of the relief. This gave rise 
to the term "parcel-gilt" which may have been intended (only a portion 
of the relief with gold) or a result of wearing off.

The ancients could have done firesilvering by suing silver instead of 
gold. Renaissance medals frequently show evidence of firegilding. 
Japanese had a similar process where they gilded sword guards – tsuba 
– 400 years ago.

In America, firegilding was done as early as 1820 by Scovill 
Manufacturing (there’s that name again!). They used this process 
to coat with gold, silver, copper and zinc but converted to 
electroplating entirely by 1844."

[You never know which E-Sylum item will trigger an interesting 
response from one of our readers.  Leave it to Dick Johnson to 
provide us with background on another fascinating aspect of 
numismatics and minting technology.  -Editor]


Bob Merchant writes: "I have one of the Republic of Texas 
fantasy countermarks in my collection, on a 1746 British LIMA 
Half Crown.  It is countermarked with the two punches 
To view an image of the piece, see:


The Cook Island Herald reported on a previously hushed-up scheme 
to redeem Cook Island "coins" for profit, which prompted the 
country to update its coinage laws.

"Cook Islanders do not know it, but early last year, a crisis 
arose which was kept quiet and which has remained unpublicised 
until now.

Such was the urgency that the Minister of Finance of the time 
relied on the Herald not to publicise the matter. In June, 
government rushed a much-needed amendment to legislation through 
all three stages in the House."

"He told the House that coins left the country as souvenirs and 
that was good for the Cook Islands. Then he dropped a big clue 
as to the nature of the crisis. He said he heard that some coins 
had somehow come back to the Cook Islands and payments had been 
demanded. Then he referred to a few who, “Would come back to a 
developing country and try to rip us off.” 

The coins Dr Maoate referred to, are $50 silver coins. According 
to Greta Little of the Numismatic Bureau, the coins involved are 
the “explorer series, it is a set of $50 silver coins which mark 
the 500th anniversary of America 1492-1992. They are currently not 
on display at the bureau. While the face value of the coin is $50, 
the rise and fall of the price of silver on the market also affects 
the coin’s true value.

Little says that last year, some German collectors whom she describes 
as scam artists, tried to “cash in” some of the $50 coins and asked 
for the money to be sent overseas to them.  They had somehow acquired 
a lot of the coins at a lower value. Unfortunately, Cook Islands 
currency legislation did not provide any safeguard against someone 
wanting to cash them in."

The Herald understood the Finance Secretary had estimated that the 
Germans stood to make many millions of dollars. The exact figure was 
not known. There needed to be a law change or some contingency built 
into the upcoming budget to provide for a very large payout."

To read the complete story: 


This week's featured web site is the Bank of Canada's Bank Note 
Series, 1935 to present. 

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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

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

To join, print the application and return it with your check 
to the address printed on the application. Membership is only 
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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 
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