The E-Sylum v9#16, April 16, 2006
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Sun Apr 16 10:16:58 PDT 2006
Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 9, Number 16, April 16, 2006:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2006, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Among our recent subscribers are Joe Fitzgerald (courtesy of
John Eshbach), Dennis P. Skea and Barry Jablon. Welcome aboard!
We now have 878 subscribers.
We're publishing a little early today because of the holiday.
Lots of submissions this week, on topics old and new. One
highlight for me has been reading Barry Jablon's recollections
of his days working in department store coin shops, a topic
discussed by several readers last year. Barry found us as a
result of a web search which led him to the E-Sylum archive.
In the news, another quarter-million dollars worth of coins and
gold bars have been recovered from the Atocha shipwreck, copper
and zinc prices imperil the U.S. cent, hackers stuff the electronic
ballot box with votes for their favorite Washington State quarter
design, and new legislation could mandate better record-keeping at
the U.S. Mint and provide funds for displaying more of the National
And finally, to learn why some people fry their ATM cards in a
microwave oven, read on. Have a great week, everyone.
Numismatic Bibliomania Society
ROGER BURDETTE'S 1905-1908 VOLUME PUBLISHED
Roger Burdette writes: "There will be a color ad in Coin World
next week announcing availability of my new book "Renaissance
of American Coinage 1905-1908." Copies will be available for
$44.95 + $5.00 shipping until May 10. Thereafter the regular
retail price is $64.95 plus shipping.
The book is an in-depth examination of the origin and initial
production of the Saint-Gaudens $20 and $10 of 1907 and the Pratt
$5 and $2.50 released in 1908. As with the previous book, the work
is based on hundreds of original documents, drawings and photos -
many never before published. There are more than 100 previously-
unknown letters relating to the new coins! In 400 pages of text
and images, the story of the collaboration between Theodore Roosevelt
and Saint-Gaudens is revealed in a new light. The book even expands
on the decades-long animosity between Saint-Gaudens and Philadelphia
Mint Engraver Charles Barber."
The following is from the press material already sent to hobby
publications: "Authoritative text, extensive illustrations and
thorough referencing make "Renaissance of American Coinage 1905-1908"
the only comprehensive source for this important, but poorly
understood aspect of American art and numismatics. This book will
be of special interest to historians of the early 20th century,
coin collectors, numismatic auction companies, researchers and fine
art historians. It is intended to become a standard reference for
libraries and research facilities.
Renaissance of American Coinage 1905-1908 is the second of three
books exploring the coinage redesign of 1907-1921. A companion
volume covering the 1916-1921 period (ISBN 0-9768986-0-8, available
from the publisher.) was released in October 2005, and a third
volume covering 1909-1915 is planned for release in late 2007.
The book is available direct from Seneca Mill Press LLC, PO Box
1423, Great Falls VA 22066 for $64.95 plus $5 postage."
[Roger's latest volume is eagerly anticipated. Few numismatic
authors today go to the lengths Roger has in seeking and finding
previously unpublished original source material. The book and
its companion volumes are a must for libraries of American
numismatic literature. -Editor]
AMERICAN NUMISMATIC RARITIES LAUNCHES PAPER MONEY REVIEW
The following is from the April 14 American Numismatic Rarities
"Christine Karstedt, President of American Numismatic Rarities,
is pleased to announce the launch of another company magazine,
The Paper Money Review, which will join the highly popular
Numismatic Sun. Emphasis in the new title will be paper money
of America—ranging from colonial times through obsoletes, scrip,
and providing the main focus, federal issues from 1861 to date.
Edited by Q. David Bowers, the inaugural issue will feature a
mix of research articles, interesting tidbits from history and
market information, along with a panorama of currency for sale,
including many of the more beautiful and rare federal issues,
as well as the ever-popular “type” notes, such as the 1896
Educational series, various “nickname” notes (“Woodchopper,”
“Battleship,” “Silver Dollar”), and more.
Paper money enthusiasts on the American Numismatic Rarities
customer list will all receive a copy. However, a limited number
of extra copies have been made available, and, subject to the
supply on hand, interested readers can request one free of charge
by sending their mailing information by email, mail or fax to the
attention of Mary Tocci; maryt at anrcoins.com; ANR; PO Box 1804;
Wolfeboro, NH 03894. Fax 603-569-3875. Publication is anticipated
for late April."
JAPANESE OCCUPATION PATTERN COIN AND BOOK
David Klinger writes: "Recently, I have been doing a world tour of
numismatic museums on the Internet. My latest visit was to the Money
Museum of the Bank Negara Malaysia, in Kuala Lumpur. There, I found
a very interesting Japanese Occupation Pattern Coin on display. The
curator of the museum sent me some details about this coin.
The Japanese did not issue any coinage for their occupation of
Malaya in WWII. All the occupation currency, including denominations
of less than one dollar were printed on paper. Of course, many
Americans refer to these issues as Japanese Invasion Money (JIM).
However, the pattern coin on display in this museum, and some others,
are a clear indicator that occupation coinage was considered.
The pattern on display is a 20 cent aluminum pattern coin inscribed
on the obverse with the name MALAYSIA, and the date 2602, which
translated from the Japanese calendar is 1942 A.D. Inscribed on
the reverse is a typical Japanese design of a sun ray with sakura
flowers, with 20 CENTS at the top.
It is interesting that the name MALAYSIA was used on a pattern coin
of 1942, given that the name for this country was not changed from
MALAYA to MALAYSIA until 16 September, 1963. However, that name had
actually been in common use since the 19th Century. Mr. Saran Singh
of the Malaysian Numismatic Society received verification from the
Osaka Finance Ministry, Japan, that this pattern coin had indeed
been minted at the Osaka Mint, and that the name MALAYSIA was the
Japanese name for that region, at that time.
In a new book entitled ''Malaysian Numismatic Heritage" to be
released in May, 2006, by the Money Museum, Central Bank of Malaysia,
it states: "This specimen coin is the most unique [sic] in the Money
Museum's collection". (I was sent some excerpts from an advanced
copy of this book.)
It has also been reported in Schwan/ Boling WWII Remembered
(p 619) that the Japanese produced other related pattern coins:
Two one cent occupation coins with a pattern of a wooden head,
dated 2603 (1943) and 2604 (1944).
One five cent occupation coin , with a pattern of a shadow puppet,
dated 2604 (1944).
Two 10 cent occupation coins made from an alloy of zinc and
nickel, dated 2603 (1943) and 2604 (1944).
You can visit the Money museum of the Central Bank of Malaysia here:
You can view the Occupation Pattern 20c Coin here:
You can purchase the book "Malaysian Numismatic Heritage" published
by Central Bank of Malaysia from the following address. The book
will be available for direct sale in May 2006 at RM100.00.
Money Museum & Art Centre
Bank Negara Malaysia
Jalan Dato Onn
P.O. Box 10922
50929 Kuala Lumpur
CANADIAN NUMISMATIC BIBLIOGRAPHY UPDATE
In a note to advance subscribers to the Canadian Numismatic
Bibliography Project, Ronald Greene writes:
"I was in Toronto this last week and had the opportunity to
meet with the copy editor, Paul Petch. We went over what has
been done and what needs to be done, and I must say that the
part of the bibliography that I saw completed looks extremely
nice. I trust that when it finally gets into your hands you
will be pleased with it.
It is certainly much more comprehensive than anything attempted
before by a factor of ten or more times. It has also been
significantly more complex and time consuming a project than
ever envisioned. We thought that we were ready to go to press
in 2003 after seven years of work. We obviously were not ready
then, and all concerned in the project regret the delays since
we started selling the work. However, we are getting much closer
and no one will be happier than Darryl, Paul and I when the
finished product is in your hands.
The text is essentially complete. The main task that needs to
be done is the completion of the insertion of the photographs
and illustrations, much of which has already been done. However,
this work is complex, detailed and covers over 1,200 pages in the
finished two volume set, so it is very time-consuming.
The copy editing is a job that needs to be done by one person,
so that consistency and control can be maintained. We are very
fortunate that we have a copy editor with the necessary technical
skills and numismatic knowledge. Paul is spending four to six
hours per day on the project and has set the objective of finishing
the editing by mid May, if all goes well. However, not everything
has gone smoothly to this point.
If we meet the mid May target the printer estimates that he can
have finished copies ready to be delivered at the C.N.A. convention.
If that is the case, then I will try to bring as many copies as I
can when I go to the convention. Some time in June, please let me
know if you will be attending and would be willing to accept your
copies at the convention. If you have moved or changed your mailing
address in the last three years it would be wise to provide us with
We’re optimistic with the progress being made and we do thank
all the subscribers for their patience."
[This is a very worthwhile project, and I'm sure purchasers will
feel it's worth the wait. Subscriptions are closed however, and
no more will be sold at the originally published price. -Editor]
QUEEN DISTRIBUTES MAUNDY COINS
David Sundman forwarded this story about Great Britain's annual
Maundy Money ceremony:
"The Queen has distributed Maundy Money to 160 pensioners in a
service ahead of her 80th birthday next week. She gave 80 men
and 80 women two purses each at the ceremony at Guildford Cathedral,
which she attended with the Duke of Edinburgh.
The purses contain 80p in Maundy coins and a £5 coin both of
which mark the Queen's forthcoming 80th birthday."
"One of the purses presented by the Queen also contains a 50p
coin marking 150 years of the Victoria Cross. All the coins are
newly minted this year."
"The Maundy service dates back centuries. Until the 18th Century
the monarch would also wash the feet of the poor selected to
receive the coins.
In modern times the monarch has distributed the money without
washing the recipients' feet."
"Canterbury Cathedral spokesman Christopher Robinson said the
feet washing ceremony at the cathedral was re-instated in 2003
after a 400-year absence."
To read the complete story, see:
OTHER NUMISMATIC LITERATURE EXHIBITS IN ATLANTA
At the recent ANA Convention in Atlanta, there was more than
one exhibit related to numismatic literature or topics discussed
recently in The E-Sylum. Congratulations to all the exhibitors,
E-Sylum subscribers every one. We'd love to hear more about
Third place, History and Politics: John Eshbach,
The Numismatic Publications of Charles Trissler Steigerwalt."
Third place, Economics: Nancy Wilson, "Scovill Manufacturing Company."
Second place, The Arts: John Wilson, "Early ANA Ephemera."
Larry Gaye adds: "I too was at the ANA in Atlanta and enjoyed
“The Numismatic Publications of Charles Trissler Steigerwalt”
exhibit. It was very well done.
The other exhibits were excellent too. The checks and other
items in the Scovill exhibit were complete and really well done.
Howard Daniel III was very busy at the club table. He had a
real haul and was giving stuff away faster than gas burns.
He is a true WAG, for the uninitiated, "What A Guy."
Howard reports: "When I arrived at the Atlanta ANA, I had 82
references donated by NBS and other numismatists to give to
new and young collectors. It was a great time and I gave all
of them away except three!!!"
NEW ANA JOURNAL SEEKS AUTHORS
The following item is from the American Numismatic Association's
"April marked the debut of the ANA Journal, a quarterly scholarly
publication devoted to in-depth numismatic topics featuring member-
submitted articles and original numismatic research. The ANA is
seeking content for the Summer 2006 and later editions.
Manuscripts are evaluated by a review panel on the basis of
scholarship, presentation and suitability of illustrations."
[For more information on the Journal, see:
Contact Research Editor David Sklow (phone 719-482-9823,
e-mail sklow at money.org. -Editor]
BARRY JABLON'S GREAT DEPARTMENT STORE COIN SHOP ADVENTURE
New subscriber Barry Jablon writes: "I recently came across
your articles written about people who purchased stamps and
coins at department stores around the county in the early 1960s
thru the 1980s. I was lucky enough to apprentice with Ernst Kraus
at the Gimbel's in Philadelphia. I then became manager of the
newly opened coin department in Hutzler's Department store in
Baltimore when I was eighteen years old.
I transferred back to Philadelphia when I was nineteen and worked
for Gimbel's (actually Jack and Bob Friedberg) at their suburban
Gimbel's outside Philadelphia. In 1962, I left the company and
went to the Air Force and then went on to become a school teacher.
I recently retired. I have some great stories about some of the
purchases I made in Philly and in Baltimore and about meeting
Louis Eliasberg and the Stefanelli's in Washington (curators of
the Smithsonian coin exhibit)."
I invited Barry to share some of his stories with us. He writes:
"I have thought a lot about my years in the coin business and
the excitement associated with it. As far back as I can remember,
I was a coin collector. The old Whitman coin albums were sold
everywhere for $.35. I would go through my father's change every
night and fill in the holes. Of course, there were always those
holes which would remain empty.
To own a 1909-S VDB or a 1914-D was as remote to me as owning a
DaVinci painting. However, I could gaze upon these rarities any
Saturday, and for free. All I had to do was to take the subway
to center city Philadelphia, walk a block to Gimbel's, and gaze
into the old wooden display cabinets at all of those coins that
we would never own.
Just imagine how I felt, when I was sixteen and happened to be
staring into the cases in front where the manager was standing,
and I heard him talking on the phone about being able to hire a
part-time salesperson. I got up the nerve to ask for the job.
One half hour later, I was filling in forms and was starting my
career as a coin dealer for Coins and Currency Institute, who
leased space all around the country in the largest department
stores along with Jacques Minkus (stamps)."
"Each of the coin departments owned by the Friedberg/Minkus
group was allocated as much money as it needed to make purchases
from the public who came to the counter with their coins or currency.
Mr. Kraus, who ran the Philadelphia Gimbel's coin dept., was from
New York. He had been a member of the Brooklyn Coin Club with the
Kagins and other famous people in the coin hobby and business.
He trained me to know all coins. American, foreign, ancients,
I wasn't allowed to make purchases on my own. After a few months
on the job, he allowed me to evaluate a collection someone had
for sale, but I had to clear the price I was going to pay with him.
One Saturday afternoon, we had the usual crowd around the department,
when Mr. Kraus called me over to where he was standing talking to
two well-dressed gentlemen. "Barry" he said, "this gentleman has
a coin he wants to sell, you handle it." He walked away, smiling
Here I was, about to make my first purchase, totally on my own.
I took the jeweler's tray from under the counter and asked the
gentleman what he wanted to sell. He reached into his coat pocket
and took out a square Lucite coin holder and, literally, tossed
the holder onto the jeweler's tray. I took out my jeweler's loop
and picked up the coin. It was a 1913 liberty nickel!
The gentleman's name was Wolfson. I don't recall his first name.
He was in town for an A.N.A. show at the old Ben Franklin Hotel
in Philadelphia. He was a friend of Mr. Kraus, and they thought
they would have some fun with the "new kid". The coin was to be
put on display at the show. But, of course, at the time, I didn't
know any of this. "Well" he laughed, "will you give me enough for
the coin so I can take you and Ernie out for lunch?"
My hands were still shaking when Mr. Kraus came over to me and
took the coin, and gave it back to his friend. So, here I was,
sixteen years old, and I had held one of the rarest coins in the
world in my hands. This was going to be a great job."
RESEARCHER SEEKS 1930S HOBBY SHOP PRICES REALIZED LIST
Dave Lange writes: "I'm hoping that one of our pack-rat readers
has the prices realized list for The Hobby Shop's sale of March
15, 1930. The final lot, 545, either is or includes a 1918/7-D
nickel, and I'd like to know what it brought."
NUMISMATIC TITLES REPRINTED BY UNIVERSITY OF MIGHIGAN
Ed Snible writes: "The University of Michigan Library has gotten
into the reprint business. Their first numismatic titles were
issued late last year.
Amazon lists the publisher as "Scholarly Publishing Office,
University of Michigan Library". That office has a web site, http://spo.umdl.umich.edu/, but it doesn't mention reprints.
Quality control can't be very high, as at least one title is
Misspelled. Also, the UofM has neglected to supply author's
names to Amazon, except as part of titles.
Some of these books are also available for free through
books.google.com -- but not all -- suggesting that the UofM is
picking titles rather than reprinting everything Google scans.
The first title choices are rather odd, though. Not what I
would have chosen.
I recently used the UofM's MITS service (Michigan Information
Transfer Source) http://www.lib.umich.edu/mits/ to obtain a
printout of a rare 1885 book. MITS prices are about the same
as other libraries' copy services, 25 cents a page, the benefit
of MITS is that you get the option of downloading a PDF instead
of waiting in the mail for Xeroxes. MITS won't copy whole
copyrighted books, though. I recommend this service."
The coinages of the world; ancient and modern. By Geo. D. Mathews.
Illustrated with several hundred engravings of the principal
coins (312 pages, $24, reprint from 1876)
A description of ancient and modern coins, in the cabinet
collection at the Mint of the United States. Prepared and
arranged under the direction of James Ross Snowden
(420 pages, $27, year ???)
Catalogue of a selection from Colonel Leake's Greek coins,
exhibited in the Fitzwilliam museum, by Churchill Babington
(54 pages, $15, from 1867)
Catalogue of the cabinet of coins belonging to Yale college,
deposited in the College library (48 pages, $12, from 1863)
Coins, medals, and seals, ancient and modern. Illustrated
and described. With a sketch of the history of coins and
coinage, instructions for young collectors, ... and American
coins, medals and tokens, &c. (302 pages, $24, from 1861)
New varieties of gold and silver coins, counterfeit coins,
ad bullion; with mint values(SIC!)
(132 pages, $17, from 1850)"
FINDING USED BOOK STORES
Regarding last week's query, Steve Woodland writes: "I don't
know of any specific bookstores in Washington, D.C., but readers
going there can search for bookstores on abebooks.com before
Just browse to www.abebooks.com, choose "Bookstores" from the
red menu bar, then choose "USA" and "District of Columbia" and
click on search. When I did the search, there were 20 stores
listed in the Washington, D.C. area. The potential buyer could
then browse the store inventory and view contact information
online to determine which ones to visit.
Unfortunately, the listings are by state, not by city. So readers
headed for other cities may not find this feature as useful."
Warner Talso writes: "In the The E-Sylum: Volume 9, Number 15,
April 9, 2006, there was an article seeking information on
bookstores in Washington D.C.
For Michael and other travelers, I suggest searching on "mapmuse"
or checking this website:
One can search anywhere in the country for any kind of
interest or product."
SAME BOOK, DIFFERENT TITLE?
Darryl Atchison writes: "Here is a quick question for our
readers. I came across a reference to a publication recently
on the Internet which seemed somewhat familiar to me but yet
somehow not quite as per my recollection so I did a further
check on a couple of websites to corroborate my suspicions.
The text I came across was entitled "Matthew Boulton: Master
Silversmith 1760 - 1790" by Eric Delieb and Michael Roberts.
It was published in New York in 1971 by Clarkson N. Potter.
I was already familiar with another book by Delieb and Roberts
entitled "Great Silver Manufactory: Matthew Boulton and the
Birmingham Silversmiths, 1760 - 1790. This book was also
published in 1971 in London, England by Studio Vista.
Both books are 144 pages in length.
I suspect that these two books are, in fact, the same publication
but that they were published simultaneously under different titles
for both British and U.S. markets.
I wonder if our readers can either verify or disprove this
theory, or comment upon other numismatic books which may have
been simultaneously published under different titles. Thanks."
MORE ON DON TAXAY AND THOMPSON'S ESSAY ON COINING
Recently Eric Newman noted that in 1966 Don Taxay published
"The U.S. Mint and Coinage" which included a group of images
from Thompson's 1783 "Essay on Coinage"
Jim Spilman writes: "As usual -- Eric is correct. I wish
that my memory was as good as his. It may well be that Barnsley's
information on the Thompson document came from Taxay and that
Barnsley's information was inaccurate. I wish he were here so
that we could ask him. I have a copy of Taxay's book in my library,
but Barnsley did not as I have his library -- rather small -- that
he gifted to me personally, and there is no copy in it.
If I had known of the Taxay discussion I would have reported it
in The Colonial Newsletter, so apparently I totally missed it,
and at best we can give Barnsley the credit for "rediscovering"
the actual document in the ANS Library.
I believe that all the other information in my earlier letter
is correct. I have a color slide, someplace, of Ned Barnsley
holding open the original manuscript in the ANS Library that I
made while we were there. I shall try to locate it."
PLAY MONEY: IT'S ALL RELATIVE
Regarding the criticism of the new $10 bills, Gary Dunaier
writes: "If memory serves me right, the current $10 bills,
with the larger portrait off to a side, also looked like "play
money" when they were first introduced.
Once people get used to the new bills, as well as once the bills
themselves become less "crisp" and more "circulated," I'm sure
people won't have any problem seeing them as what they are --
CORRECTION: FIREGILDING, NOT FIREBRANDING
Dick Johnson writes: "One of last week's "Wayne's Words" was
incorrect. The technology I proposed for silver coating ancient
coins could have been a form of :"firegilding" not "firebranding."
Did you have cattle branding on your mind, Wayne? If you did, it
reminds me of a charming instance of California sculptor Spero
Anaygros who designed the Salinas California Centennial Medal of
1984. He depicted a horse in the design and signed the medal with
his initials "S" over "A" on the horse's haunch like a cattle
brand. That's "firebranding" in numismatics. That's charming."
[Where "firebranding" came from, I have no idea. This is what
happens when an editor doesn't have an editor of his own to keep
him honest. But that's what corrections are for. Sorry, Dick!
Besides, if it weren't for my boneheaded mistake, we wouldn't
have learned about Spero Anaygros' charming signature. -Editor]
NEW FIND OF ATOCHA GOLD BARS AND COINS
According to an April 11 Associated Press report, "Divers returned
to port Monday with two gold bars and 15 silver coins they unearthed,
which had been buried beneath the ocean floor for almost 400 years.
The objects are believed to be from the shipwreck of the Nuestra
Senora de Atocha, a Spanish galleon that sank off Key West in 1622."
"The first bar found weighed one pound and measured about 7
inches long, while the second weighed two pounds and was 7.25
Kim Fisher, the president of the Fisher company, estimated the
value of the find to be about $250,000."
To read the complete article, see:
WHY PEOPLE MICROWAVE THEIR ATM CARDS
In previous issues, we've discussed the use of RFID (radio
frequency identification) tags in currency and credit cards.
On April 10 the Wall Street Journal published a related article
titled, "Why Some People Put These Credit Cards In the Microwave."
"When Brenden Walker got his new MasterCard PayPass ATM card
in the mail last month, he headed to the gas station to try
To test the card's "Tap N Go" convenience, he passed it in front
of the scanner, which activated with a beep and displayed the
word "authorizing..." on its LCD screen.
That was quite enough for Mr. Walker. Without completing the
transaction, he put the card down on the pavement and took a
hammer to it."
"The PayPass card, which contains an embedded radio chip, had
worked perfectly.... But Mr. Walker, a 37-year-old software
engineer in Canton, Ohio, is one of a growing number of computer
and technology experts who are becoming anxious about possible
abuses of the technology. Mr. Walker fears that thieves will be
able to eavesdrop on the radio transmission and buy gas at his
"Others are using do-it-yourself methods for disabling radio
chips, including microwaving them. The electromagnetic energy
emitted by a microwave oven fries the chip and renders it
useless. The downside: Tagged items might burst into flames
in the process..."
LEITZMANN, JOHN PINKERTON AND MEDALLIC ILLUSTRATIONS
Regarding Kay Platt's query about different versions of "The
Medallic History of England", David Gladfelter writes: "Attribution
of the 1802 edition to Pinkerton goes back at least to 1867, when
Leitzmann listed him as the author in the supplement to Lipsius's
"Bibliotheca Numaria." That doesn't prove anything, of course."
HEROIC NURSE'S WWI MEDAL SELLS AT AUCTION
According to the UK's Greenock Telegraph, "A rare medal
won by a Greenock war heroine has sold for more than £3,000.
The Military Medal was awarded to nurse Kate Carruthers for
showing bravery in the face of the enemy during the First
Miss Carruthers was one of only a few women to receive the
award for her heroic efforts in treating the wounded on the
"The 30-year-old nurse was stationed on the Western Front in
1917 when her field hospital came under attack. She was injured
in the fighting but battled bravely through the pain barrier to
continue treating the wounded.
In 1917 she became one of only a few women to be awarded the
prestigious Military Medal, which was created by King George V
"The medal was bought on behalf of an unknown collector. It
had lain forgotten in a bank vault until Miss Carruthers died
in 1969. It was left in her will to the Haylie House nursing
home in Largs, where she spent her final days.
The medal, along with a newspaper cutting announcing the award,
was sold on behalf of the home."
To read the complete article, see:
AUSTRALIANS WATCHING SCRAP VALUE OF AMERICAN CENTS
Dick Johnson writes: "Are American cents destined to be melted
for their scrap value? Metal experts in London say a rise in
copper and zinc prices equal to what has happened in the last
three weeks could exceed the metal value of the lowly U.S. cent.
In a report by Kevin Morrison in London, published in The Australian,
he quotes market analysts who follow international metal prices.
Copper is up 30 percent, zinc is up 55 percent in the last three
weeks. The experts project this could have a dramatic effect on
the world’s largest storehouse of these two medals – the United
States cents in circulation.
What happens when the scrap value of a cent is greater than its
face value? Nothing, at first, say the experts. Prices go up,
prices go down. The price could descend without notice, negating
a mass meltdown of America’s lowest denomination coin.
Each U.S. cent is 97.5 percent zinc and 02.5 percent copper [since
1982]. There are 160 cents to the pound. At present copper and
zinc prices those 160 cents have a scrap value of $1.36 according
to this article.
You might want to read this report. The prices are quoted in
DICK JOHNSON ON FUTURE COINS
Dick Johnson writes: "I have praised the United States Treasury
officials in previous writings for choosing the copper clad zinc
composition for the U.S. cent and converting to this coinage alloy
World market prices of metal are rising. Should they rise even more
– an even-money possibility – it would make U.S. cents in circulation
vulnerable to hoarding at first, scrapping in the long run.
Treasury officials will be faced with an immediate dilemma – what
composition for cents being struck? What to do with all the cents
in circulation? It could be the great silver meltdown of the 1960s
on a smaller scale, deju vu all over again.
The brilliance of the copper clad zinc is that melting these coins,
the metal could be easily reformulated into – brass! (Pick a formula,
add a little virgin copper, you could have a highly successful brass
The Treasury has two options. One. Use this brass to strike a new
cent coin; unfortunately it will have to be a smaller diameter or we
might face this monster recoinage problem again, shortly.
Two. Abolish the cent. Hold on, collectors, all is not lost in
removing this coin from circulation.
I have written a 41-page plan titled "Future Coins" which addresses
this problem. My advice -- don’t attack this cent problem alone.
Restructure the entire U.S. coinage schedule with advance planning
(a 50-year plan!) and enlightened understanding in a Master Plan For
All U.S. Coins. Plan for the long run. Eliminate politics. Use common
sense. Plan ahead. More later."
TED BUTTREY ON FRANKLIN, FORD, AND FAKES
Regarding Dave Bowers' recent comments on Paul Franklin, Ted Buttrey
writes: "It is good to see Bowers coming on board. He says that he
was suspicious of certain Ford/Franklin pieces, and did not like
“Ford-supplied research about certain new coins”. He acknowledges
the Republic of Texas fraud.
Those who would argue that Ford was conned by Franklin present us
with a very curious picture – a man who on the one hand exhibited
the utmost sagacity, a true scholar, deeply learned in the minutiae
of American numismatics (including counterfeits – he served on the
Counterfeit Committee of the IAPN), and not just the numismatic
material but the underlying documentation, all of this testified to
universally -- but who at the same time was so innocent and naïve as
to be duped by Franklin’s faked material – not just a couple of
rarities, mind you, but ingots by the dozens and dozens, with no
history as issues, no plausible proveniences individually – with
Ford continuing in this haze over decades.
I don’t think it is unfair to suggest that those who accept this
implausible scenario are more comfortable with the notion that Ford
was conned by Franklin, than with its alternative, that they themselves
were conned by Ford. No, there really is no doubt about it: Ford
and Franklin were a team, Ford thinking up the bars and confecting
the historical setting – my favorite is the vanishing Duke of Carlyle
--, Franklin producing the objects, and the two of them (but mostly
Ford I believe) getting them out into the market. For further
details see http://www.fake-gold-bars.co.uk.
On Fred Holabird’s note in E-Sylum v9n14: he has undertaken a
mammoth task which will include the metallurgical analysis of certain
of the Western ingots to a very fine scale. This is wonderful, and
all of us can only wish him well and look forward to the results of
his investigations in antiquarian metallurgy. Just one caveat to
what he says, that we must “let science do the talking, and make the
discoveries regarding authenticity through applied science”.
The implication – perhaps not intended – is that authenticity can
be established only through metallurgical analysis, and therefore
not now, and only later, much later, when those tools are finally
ensured. This of course not the case at all. There is plenty of
expertise already available today in the study of American
counterfeiting, whether coins or paper or ingots.
Counterfeit coins have been identified with certainly by the
trainload, and not 1 in 1000 has been subjected to metallurgical
analysis. On the simplest level, e.g. historical misplacement,
you know that a silver dollar dated 1806 is wrong; and so too with
equal certainty are purported Western ingots with erroneous punches.
Metallurgical analysis is one tool, and may it be a fruitful one,
but it is only one."
MORE ON CANADA'S PINK QUARTER
Regarding the Royal Canadian Mint's newly-released 25-cent
colourized coin for breast cancer, Steve Woodland writes: "The
coin is manufactured from a standard 25-cent planchet (steel core
with nickel-copper-nickel plating). The obverse of the coin features
the current uncrowned effigy of Queen Elizabeth II, while the reverse
has the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation's "pink ribbon loop" symbol
on a white background in the centre, surrounded by three groupings
of the loop and the words "25 Cents CANADA". I am not certain of
exactly how the coloured image is placed on the coin, but it is
applied after striking and it seems that it is stamped on.
Much discussion is occurring among Canadian collectors about the
"right" orientation of the coloured image on the reverse and of
the quality of the image. The loop appears in all possible
orientations and often the white background is "splotchy". The
accepted "right" orientation appears to be medal orientation with
the loop up and the tassels down.
For the info of interested collectors, the enamelled version of
the 25-cent coin contained in the bookmark is of better quality
and much nicer to look at, with a proof-like finish and a slightly
different colouring arrangement. Photos of this and the $5-dollar
Silver Proof coin are on the RCM's website at http://www.mint.ca.
As for other colourized circulating coins, I am not aware of any
others aside from the Canadian 2004 Poppy 25-cents and this coin.
There are, however, many non-circulating colourized coins, as I am
sure E-Sylum readers are aware."
To view an image of the coin, see:
In the April 10, 2006 issue of the Canadian Numismatic Association
E-Bulletin (v2n12), editor John Regitko writes:
"Now the Royal Canadian Mint has partnered with Shoppers Drug Mart
and Pharmaprix to distribute a new circulating colored quarter. A
collaboration of the RCM and Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation,
the first of the up to 30 million went into circulation on April 1.
You remember the criticisms Tim Hortons received about the fact
that you had to make a purchase before you received a Poppy quarter
as change, even though the commercials said you did not? Or the fact
that they would not give you more than one in change, even when you
bought coffees for the whole office or coin club? Or were out of
stock when they saw you coming in again to buy a coffee just to get
another one, even though your friends went in 10 minutes later and
received one from a bunch that mysteriously appeared from one of
the compartments in the cash register?
My wife went to Shoppers Drug Mart on April 7, made a purchase and
was asked how many of the new pink-ribbon coins she wanted."
Canadian coin dealer Vern Gilbertson protested the distribution
plan in an interview with The Brandon Sun:
"I went up to Shoppers and asked for 10 rolls of coins. I was
prepared to pay a premium, too. But they told me I could only get
one coin per purchase.
“I’m the only coin dealer between Winnipeg and Regina. We being
a dealer, we like to have a lot of coins on hand. While I am able
to order coins from the mint in Winnipeg, I have to pay double.”
Gilbertson said he paid $90 for five rolls of quarters worth $50
at face value.
Right now, Gilbertson has only one of the pink ribbon coins
in his possession — the one he got at Shoppers Drug Mart.
He’s awaiting a special order from the Winnipeg mint."
To read the complete story, see:
WASHINGTON STATE QUARTER ONLINE BALLOT BOX STUFFED
Steve Pradier forwarded an article about electronic ballot-box
stuffing in the online voting for Washington state quarter designs.
"Talk about your two-bit schemes. Robotic computer programs
stuffed the online ballot boxes in a contest for Washington's
official state quarter design over the weekend, forcing technicians
to suspend voting Monday while they retooled the Web-based poll.
State officials overseeing the balloting realized something was
fishy when the poll, launched last Thursday, swelled to more than
1 million votes during the weekend."
To read the complete article, see:
UTAH STATE QUARTER ONLINE VOTING BEGINS
The press release doesn't say whether robot programs are
eligible to vote, but Utah has opened online voting for its
state quarter design:
"The designs depict the driving of the golden spike, a beehive
and a female snowboarder. The concepts were taken from nearly
5000 ideas submitted by school children and citizens of the state
then the designs were created by artists selected by the United
States Mint for their expertise in creating artwork for coins.
"One of the artists lives in Utah, though the Mint will not
disclose the name of this artist until the final design has been
approved," said Margaret Hunt, Chair of the Utah Commemorative
Utahns may provide feedback for the Utah Quarter design by
taking an online survey at www.utah.gov between now and May 8th."
To read the complete press release, see:
ARTICLE ON "ELEVEN CENT" COIN ERROR
Dick Johnson forwarded this article from the Sun Herald of
Florida about a local man who discovered a muled cent/dime
"Ed Brooke didn't know what to think when he received an odd
coin as change from the North Port Publix five years ago.
The unusual coin is silver like a dime, but stamped with the
indicia of a penny. Brooke has taken to calling it his
The dime/penny apparently started its numismatic life as a
silver-colored dime. It's the size of a penny, a little larger
than a dime. On the obverse (the face side), you can make out
a bit of the outline of Roosevelt's profile. Otherwise, it
bears a clear image of Lincoln's portrait along with the
standard text ("In God We Trust" and "Liberty") and the date
it was minted, 1999.
The reverse gives away the coin's former life as a dime. Just
under the hybrid penny's Lincoln Memorial is a clear image of
part of the olive branch that, on a true dime, is to the left
of the torch. You can also make out a few letters of the
"E Pluribus Unum" phrase just under the olive branch that,
on a true dime, crosses at the bottom of the torch.
"I don't know whether to consider it worth a penny or 10 cents,"
Brooke says, tongue in cheek."
"One guy wanted to give me $125 for it," Brooke said.
However, until he knows its real worth, he does not want to
give it up.
"I think it's probably worth more than 11 cents, though,"
To read the complete story, see:
[There is a front-page article about this error in the April 17
issue of Coin World. One of the nine reported examples will be
offered in an April Heritage auction. Here's a link to the
auction lot (#5271). http://coins.heritageauctions.com/common/view_item.php?Sale_No=404&Lot_No=5271
PROPOSED BILL COULD LEGALIZE SOME COINS, HELP SMITHSONIAN
The numismatic press has been covering proposed legislation that
could have some side benefits for numismatic researchers and writers.
The following excerpts are from a Numismatic News article published
on the web this week.
"Owners of 1913 Liberty Head nickels and the 1885 Trade dollar get
relief under terms of proposed legislation aimed at preventing
government seizure of pre-1933 rare coins owned by collectors.
Owners of 1933 double eagles and 1964 Peace dollars do not."
"Authored by Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla., the bill seeks to clarify
the law regarding ownership of coinage minted before 1933."
"However, Lucas’ bill would require the government to display at
least some of the pieces it seizes and auction off extra coins not
needed for display. The proceeds would go toward preservation and
display of the Smithsonian’s collection, thought to contain more
than 900,000 pieces.
“It’s time the Smithsonian dusted off its extensive collection so
that these historic pieces can be enjoyed by the public,” said
"Another feature of the bill is that it calls for an inventory
of what numismatic material the Mint has on hand right now."
To read the complete article, see:
ON CHARGING ADMISSION TO MUSEUMS
Joyce Weiss writes: "When my husband and I and our children were
younger, we spent many hours at the Smithsonian Museums. We lived
in Maryland at the time so access to the city was easy for us. We
did not have a lot of extra money to spend on fun activities for
us and the children so going to the museum really was a wonderful
experience both for us and them. We could not have taken advantage
of this great opportunity as often as we did if we had to pay a fee.
The Smithsonian is one of the very few things left in this country
where young families, like we were once, can go and be educated and
have fun at the same time and not have to worry about paying a fee.
I agree with the writer of the other letter that you printed that
Congress should take the money away from pork barrel projects and
spend it on something worthwhile like keeping the museum free for
Perhaps the next thing will be to charge admission to libraries
so that only people of means will be able to enjoy these
facilities. I hate to think that our country is already turning
into a place of the "haves and the have-nots" where only the
"haves" are able to take advantage of the educational opportunities
that the country offers."
EURO COINS COUNTERFEITED
An April 16 article in Stars and Stripes notes that Euro coins
are being counterfeited in large numbers:
"Wednesday, Italian police in Naples busted a counterfeit money
ring said to have manufactured upward of 5,000 coins a day,
according to Italian news reports and officials.
“From what we are hearing from the Carabinieri, it is difficult
to distinguish the counterfeit coins from real coins,” said Debbie
Rocco, a Naval Criminal Investigative Service agent who works out
of Naval Support Activity Naples and closely with Italian officials.
“The problem of controlling this illegal activity is aggravated
by technological advances in printing and by reproduction machines,”
she said in an e-mail."
"Police seized minting machines the alleged criminals used to make
2-euro and 50-euro-cent coins, ANSA reported. It added that in
January 2002 — when the first euro coins appeared — Naples came
out with Europe’s first fakes."
To read the complete article, see:
ON PALADIUM COINS
Regarding palladium coins, Ralf Böpple writes: "In the 1840s,
Russia issued coins in palladium which were actually meant for
circulation, but as I assume that there are E-Sylumites more
knowledgeable in Russian numismatics than me, I will leave this
topic to them.
However, I know of a coin or a coin set from Sierra Leone,
celebrating the 5th anniversary of the country - which would
make the year of issue 1966. I don’t know if these items were
actually put on the market in 1966, though.
I remember having seen one of these coins at a local coin show
in an exhibit on “Lions on Coins” (there is a lion head on the
coin) a few years ago, but I have been unable to find out more
about them for the E-Sylum (my library is a little weak on
COIN JARS AROUND THE WORLD
Dick Johnson writes: "If you thought you were unique by tossing
your loose change in a jar at the end of the day, you are not.
In fact, it's a trait pretty much universal around the world,
and it has been for hundreds of years (as evidenced by many
unearthed coin hoards found in jars).
Here is a report from Ireland that 60 percent of all Irish
households have a coin jar."
"SOME €40m in loose change which is sitting in jars and piggy
banks in homes has been targeted by a company that provides
machines at shopping centres that sort the change and return
Change Depot Ltd already has a number of machines for collecting
the coins in shops, and plans to expand its operation. It believes
that €40m worth of euro coins is sitting in piggy banks, dresser
drawers and sofas."
"According to the company's research, 60pc of Irish households
keep a coin jar or container and amass about €5.50 per week or
€286 per year in stored change.
Change Depot boss Eugene Bent contends that the Irish are the
biggest hoarders of small change in Europe."
"Most people underestimate the value of the change they've
accumulated. Most people who show up at a Change Depot machine
think they have €10 or €15, and statistically they usually
"People typically underestimate their coin jar by half," Mr
To read the full article (registration required), see:
HOW TO MAKE YOUR EDITOR'S LIFE EASIER
Dick Johnson writes: "E-Sylum readers should be aware of the
sacrifices that our esteemed editor goes through to bring us
our weekly dose of numismatic gossip, news and discourse.
While juggling his day job, family time with his wife and three
small children, and all the usual hassles of daily life, he
somehow also gets the E-Sylum out every week on schedule. He
should be applauded. It is no wonder last week's issue was
Wayne, I know you have a lot of energy (to accomplish what you
do every week), but don't overdo it. You are purdy important to
us E-Sylum readers. How can we make your tasks easier? If it
means shorter E-Sylums, that's okay."
[Well, whatever I can't find time to include just doesn't make
the cut. Usually I find the time somehow, but anything readers
can do to save me some time is appreciated. Here are some
1. When sending submissions, be sure to email them to me at
whomren at coinlibrary.com. Just hitting the Reply button to
an E-Sylum message does the trick. This also puts "E-Sylum"
in the subject line, making it easy to recognize what the
message is about.
2. Do NOT send messages to esylum at binhost.com - that is
reserved for outgoing mail, and messages to that address go
into a holding tank and take more time to deal with.
3. Please refrain from asking me to change your subscription
address unless you're having trouble with the automated
4. When sending a submission that refers to an article or
image on the Internet, don't forget to include the URL -
I need to have that to reference it in The E-Sylum.
5. If you see an interesting article ANYWHERE and think
it would be of interest to our readers, don't assume I've
seen it. I may not have, and even if I have, I may not
have had the time to write it up. So write it up! Don't
worry if you think you're not such a great writer - that's
what editors are for - we edit. I'll whip it into shape
and will often have time to send you a draft for review.
6. Send me suggestions for the Featured Web Site. These
are all too often last-minute ideas I stumble across on
Sunday night after desperately typing some random keywords
into Google to see what turns up.
7. Help promote The E-Sylum. Recruit some new subscribers!
Mention The E-Sylum at local club meetings, in other online
forums, or in emails to some of your numismatic friends.
8. If you can send your submission before Saturday, please
do so. Most of the issue gets pulled together by Thursday
or Friday, leaving the final edits and publication for Sunday
night. The fewer new submissions over the weekend, the more
likely everything will come together at a decent hour. But
don't let that stop you from sending important items at
Now back to our regularly scheduled programming. -Editor]
COOK ISLAND: WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND
Regarding the attempt to cash in the Cook Islands $50 "coins",
Martin Purdy writes: "Isn't it interesting that selling these
things originally - for presumably much more than $50 - is
apparently considered OK, but trying to redeem them for only
their face value is considered "ripping us off"? Wonderful
example of a double standard!"
[My thoughts exactly, though it's unclear what portion of
the original profits went to the Cook Islands, and what portion
went to the Franklin Mint. Who was scamming who? -Editor]
Martin add: "It sounds odd when they claim that "millions"
are involved, if the coin denominations are only in the order
of $50. What were the mintages of these pieces again? You'd
need 20,000 $50 coins to claim back a single million."
[Well, the piece WAS dated April 1st, but it had the ring of
truth to me. I also wasn't sure whether the Cook Island dollar
is linked to the U.S. dollar or a separate currency at some
exchange rate. Ralf Böpple informs us that Cook Islands dollars
are linked to the New Zealand Dollar. -Editor]
Ralf Böpple of Stuttgart writes: "No, I am not one of the
Germans who presented Cook Islands money for redemption, but
the story does not really sound that new to me. A similar thing
happened on another Pacific archipelago a few years ago - I
think it was Micronesia.
The official currency of Cook Islands is the New Zealand Dollar.
A 50-dollar-coin of Cook Islands could thus be cashed in for 50
NZ-dollars, which is 30 US-dollars. The “coins” have approximately
the size of a silver crown. Hundreds, if not thousands of these
sets were marketed in Germany, and who knows how many sets never
got sold and just sat in the vaults of some wholesale company.
A quick look into eBay reveals that, quite unsurprisingly, these
disks can today be bought at close to their bullion value, which
is much less than 30 US-dollars.
It seems to me that this is not really a scam to “rip of a
developing country”, as the Cook Islands officials claim, but
simply a case of a government being too greedy and keen on the
proceeds of these pseudo-coins to do their homework in economics.
Or maybe they were just too self-conscious to think that somebody
would actually show up at their forlorn shores with the money
that has their name on it!"
Mike Marotta writes: "Cook Island's monetary crisis is its own
doing. They thought that they could scam tourists with their
non-circulating non-legal non-tender. The government of Cook
Islands found themselves obligated to a group of Germans who
apparently knew their folktales: you have to pay the piper.
Rather than allowing the Cook Islands legislative junto to get
away with denigrating merchants who deal in money, we should be
boycotting the Cook Islands as a thug state where tourists are
victimized by the authorities for the profit of the ruling clique.
Closer to home, the Liberty Dollar silver warehouse notes are
an interesting example of the kinds of alternatives that people
create to facilitate trade and commerce. All through history,
merchants of all commodities whether "farmers" or "craftsmen"
or "clerks" have solved problems in currency. To denigrate the
Liberty Dollar is to make fun of coins for not being cows or
to laugh at "pounds-shillings-pence" because they were only
"money of account" and not "real" money.
You have to ask who is laughing at whom. In ancient times,
merchants supplanted farmers when democracies replaced monarchies
and philosophies replaced superstitions. In the middle ages, a
vibrant patchwork society with thousands of polities striking
hundreds of currencies was united by traders who threw wide the
cathedral doors to allow new arithmetics and (not surprisingly)
new philosophies. In our time, we know that fiat currencies
are doomed. This is not some unfortunate accident of history,
but an economic law as immutable as gravity. People who choose
silver over fiat and whose silver is tallied with attractive
promissory notes are applying the truths of numismatics to the
solution of practical problems."
JAPANESE MAN'S MONEY SAVED FROM TRASH
According for an April 13 Reuters article, "A Japanese man
wept for joy this week when he recovered 5 million yen ($42,210)
in cash his wife had mistakenly thrown out with the household
The 35-year-old man had withdrawn the money from a bank account
but, fearing it would be stolen, he hid it inside a refuse bag
which he placed in a rubbish bin, Japanese media said.
His wife unknowingly threw out the bag, which was found last
month at a refuse collection point outside an apartment building
in Saitama, north of Tokyo."
To read the complete story, see:
FEATURED WEB SITE: BANK OF CANADA'S CURRENCY MUSEUM
This week's featured web site is recommended by Steve Woodland.
He writes: "A related site to the Bank of Canada's series of
banknotes website featured in E-Sylum v9#15 is the Bank of Canada's
Currency Museum website which features the Bank's currency collection.
For numismatic visitors to Ottawa, the Currency Museum is a must see.
It features all types of currency, including an 8 ft diameter Yap
stone, and best of all, i's free!"
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