The E-Sylum v9#18, April 30, 2006

esylum at esylum at
Sun Apr 30 20:28:25 PDT 2006

Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 9, Number 18, April 30, 2006:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2006, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers are Mitch Sanders and Thomas Van 
Zeyl. Welcome aboard!  We now have 882 subscribers.

We've got our usual mixed bag of material this week.  No 
earth-shaking developments, but interesting stuff nonetheless.  
We start off with an announcement of a new book for Conder token 

Several readers have offered tidbits about J.V. McDermott's 1913 
Library Nickel displays, but the central question of who exhibited 
one of the nickels at the 1957 Philadelphia ANA convention remains 
unanswered, although J.V. McDermott seems the likely candidate.

Although it's unrelated to numismatics, there are some parallels, 
and our readers may find something of interest in a story about 
an investigation into the recent sale of the United Nations' stamp 

We have some new discussion of royal portraits on coinage, and 
another report indicating that the rising interest in sports medals 
continues unabated.  For fans of Roman debauchery, a new museum 
exhibit examines Caligula's reign through coinage. 

In the "numismatic tourism" department, Dick Hanscom provides 
photos of the Jacob Perkins mint building in Newburyport, MA, and 
Dick Johnson provides some more background on Brookgreen Gardens.    
Have a great week, everyone.

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


Allan Davisson provided the following information on a new 
book for Conder token collectors.  He adds: "It’s a great 
work, a major production on John Whitmore’s part."

Whitmore.  A 390 page A4 format volume, hardbound (or 
leather if you prefer) with

* THE TOKEN TRACER 1700-1860; a guide to all the legends, 
dates only or design only tokens issued in this entire period. 
Dalton and Hamer, Australasian, the Bell volumes including 
Unofficial Farthings, Withers—Coin-Weights & 19th Century 
Copper, Breton, Cobwright, Davis & Waters, Dalton (silver) 
and more.

* An extensive listing of major auction prices of Dalton and 
Hamer tokens going back to the Jan sales in 1983 and including 
the Noble sale of 1998 and the major DNW sales.

* A supplement, with four plates, to Unofficial Farthings. 
And a price guide.

* A definitive listing of Inn tokens.
* A comprehensive index to Hawkins.
* Bibliography and general index.

This is a tremendous volume, the result of painstaking work 
and an extensive depth of knowledge and experience on the 
part of John Whitmore. I began with only a proof copy in 
sheets that I used extensively. I now have an early copy of 
the work itself. he binding and dustjacket are notably high 

I happily agreed to distribute this outstanding work in the 
United States.  The cost is modest for all this offers, $125 
hardbound or $190 half leather. (Prices are postpaid to U.S. 
addresses. Delivery will be in early June.)

Allan and Marnie Davisson
Cold Spring, MN 56320
320-685-3835 € 24 hr FAX 320-685-8636
email: coins at


David Gladfelter writes: "About 60 of William S. Dewey's 
family and friends attended his memorial service at the 
First Congregational Church in River Edge, Bergen County, 
New Jersey, on April 23, 2006. Bill, noted collector and 
writer about the historical medals, tokens and paper money 
of New Jersey and the medals and mementos of his distant 
relative, Admiral George Dewey, died at age 100 earlier 
this month at the nursing home where he had lived the past 
4 years.

In attendance were both of Bill's children, William E. Dewey 
and Autumn Owens, all six of his grandchildren and all 10 of 
his great-grandchildren. The service, like Bill himself, was 
very upbeat as speakers recalled his warm family relationships, 
engineering career, volunteer activities, numismatic pursuits, 
love of music and family history. Afterward, there was time to 
visit, eat and browse Bill's photo albums, publications, awards 
and news items. 

Among the last named was a December 1937 article about Bill 
taking charge of some 600 books belonging to the American 
Numismatic Association and working up the collection into a 
lending library operated out of his home. The family allowed 
interested persons to take away some of Bill's award plaques 
as remembrances of him.

His children said that although confined to a wheel chair while 
in the nursing home because of a fractured hip, his mind remained 
clear. Most days he dressed like the professional he was, in a 
jacket and tie and occasional jaunty cap.

I had the pleasure of working with this remarkable man on the 
last article he wrote, 9 years ago, about the rare paper money 
of the Bergen Iron Works in Lakewood, Ocean County, New Jersey. 
In that article we described and illustrated all of the five 
known specimens, in all denominations. Since that time, only one 
additional specimen has turned up. He took great pleasure in 
being thorough."


Mark Borckardt writes: "I would suggest that the "well-dressed" 
gentleman was, in fact, George Walton.  Walton and Wolfson are 
similar enough names that this could be an easy mixup.  My 
understanding is that George Walton was always extremely well 
dressed at shows, and also, he did indeed have his nickel in a 
Lucite (capital plastics style) holder."

[As Barry clarified last week, he is certain that it was Wolfson 
in the shop that day, but it was Wolfson's well-dressed companion 
who had the 1913 Nickel.  The companion could have been George 
Walton, J.V. McDermott, Lou Eliasberg or any of the other nickel 
owners. -Editor]

Dave Bowers writes: "Concerning the 1913 Liberty Head nickel 
owned by J.V. McDermott, he at first kept it mingled with pocket 
change and keys. He would pass it around the bar (where he could 
usually be found) in the hotel where a convention was being held, 
or nearby. Later, he put it in a small green rectangular plastic 

George Fuld writes: "I remember McDermott throwing a 1913 nickel 
to me at an ANA convention (possibly 1957).  The coin was in a 
small Lucite holder--possibly a Capitol one. He carried it with 
him most of the time!!"

Ken Hallenbeck writes: "In the late 1950s, probably about 1959, 
I borrowed J.V.McDermott's 1913 liberty nickel for our local coin 
show when I still lived in Fort Wayne, IN.  I don't recall many 
of the details, but do recall it was in a Lucite plastic holder.  
The holder was quite large and quite thick.  It was quite a thrill."

Rich Hartzog writes: "McDermott lived near Rockford, IL (my source 
says Beloit, WI, about 15 miles north), and kept his 1913 nickel 
in a Lucite holder.  He would pass it around at coin clubs, in bars, 
at shows, and generally everywhere, not keeping any particular track 
of it.  When he was ready to go, he would inquire of the room who 
had his nickel, and always get it back.  My friend Joe Michalek 
remembers this clearly, and he got to hold it on several occasions.  
This was before I moved to Rockford, but McDermott was famous for 
passing his nickel around."


Bill Coe of Rochester, NY forwarded the text of an item he wrote
for the August 5, 2003, Vol. 52, No. 31 issue of Numismatic News:

"I found the following information from an article in the program 
of the 1965 Empire State Numismatic Association 30th Semi-Annual 
Convention held in Rochester, NY, and hosted by the RNA, on May 
14 – 16, 1965.

“The J. V. McDermott specimen was on display throughout this 
convention. But the more incredulous fact is that, in 1920, Samuel 
W. Brown of North Tonawanda, NY, attended a regular meeting of the 
Rochester Numismatic Association held in the old Rochester Museum 
in Edgerton Park and there laid out five (yes, all five) of these 
rare coins to the amazement of the RNA members! Subsequently, he 
showed the specimens to the 1920 ANA conventioneers.” 

The article indicates that all five coins were struck in proof, 
although, at least some, have been mishandled since. The article 
goes on to reveal some of the facts leading up to the existence 
of these famous nickels. Unfortunately, I was not among those 
who enjoyed seeing these fabulous legends in American numismatics."

"Unless additional references surface, I will claim for the 
Rochester Numismatic Association that it has the distinction of 
being one of the, perhaps only, local coin clubs to have had all 
five of the 1913 Liberty Head nickels displayed at one of its 
regular meetings."


Continuing with his reminiscences of life in the coin business, 
Barry Jablon writes: "I was asked to run the newly opened Hutzler's 
coin department for the Friedbergs in 1960. I stayed in Baltimore 
until 1961. After I had been in Baltimore for a few months, two 
women showed up at the department early one Saturday morning. They 
were from Cambridge, Maryland and had seen the ad in the paper 
advertising our new department and the fact that we would buy coins. 

They told me that they belonged to a church in Cambridge and, 
when the church was being razed to build a new one, a box of 
coins was found in the old cornerstone. The tin box contained 
about twenty old copper coins. Most of them were early 1800's 
and were in excellent condition. However, there in front of me 
was a beautiful 1793 Liberty Cap cent. It was a dark chocolate 
brown color, hardly any wear, no nicks or bruises. I purchased 
the coins for $200.00 and called New York immediately.

As department manager, aside from my salary, I received 2% 
commission on total sales. I wanted permission to keep the coin 
in Baltimore and try to sell it. The first potential buyer was 
Louis Eliasberg. I knew he had a complete collection, however, 
I thought this coin was so special, maybe he would want another 
one. So, I wrote Mr. Eliasberg a letter describing the coin. 
Four days later, I got a call from New York. Send the coin back 
to New York! Mr. Eliasberg did want the coin. However, he was 
going to trade Jack Friedberg for some duplicate coins he had. 
I wound up with no coin to sell and no commission. 

Looking at coin prices today, I would see this coin being at 
least $100,000. Oh well, like the 1895 dollar and the 1913 
nickel, it was nice to be able to hold such rare coins. Most 
people never get the chance. Oh, by the way, when the coin did 
get back to New York, Jack showed it to Walter Breen, and Breen 
thought it was truly beautiful."

On a related note, George Fuld writes: "Regarding the Gimbel's 
coin shops, they had one in Boston and I bought a proof New York 
Theater penny from them for $90 in 1958 or so -- I sold it for 
a small  profit to Dick Picker."


On April 28 Fox News posted a very lengthy article about an 
investigation into the 2003 sale of the United Nations' stamp 

"Amid the many scandals at the United Nations, a new mystery 
now looms. What happened to the world organization’s unique 
and valuable postal archive — in effect, the U.N.’s own stamp 
collection, one of the crown jewels of its past and a popular 
point of contact with the global public?

Auditors from the U.N.’s investigative arm, the Office of 
Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), are currently putting the 
last touches on an investigative report that has taken months 
to complete, and that aims to determine exactly what happened 
— and why — to the U.N.’s rare and much-admired collection of 
materials that belong to the United Nations Postal Administration."

"One thing that investigators know for certain about the archive: 
In a discreet but historic auction carried out in a quiet suburb 
of Geneva, Switzerland, all of it — more than a metric ton of 
prized material, dating from as early as 1951 — was sold off to 
a single bidder on May 12, 2003. 

The collection included original artwork for U.N. stamps, unique 
so-called die proofs to test the faithfulness of design reproduction, 
printing proofs and other rarities, along with hundreds of thousands 
of other stamps, reflecting many of the most colorful aspects of U.N. 

"But for the U.N., it was no coup, even though, according to 
officials familiar with UNPA finances, the UNPA netted “some $2.5 
million” from the Swiss auction deal. The reason: according to U.N. 
sources, the archive sale may well have taken place without the 
permissions required by the regulations of the U.N. Secretariat 
for the disposal of such important U.N. property."

"The sole winner of the Geneva auction bid was Arthur Morowitz, 
CEO of a Manhattan-based firm called Champion Stamp Collection. 
Morowitz is also secretary of the American Stamp Dealers Association, 
an industry group. When contacted by FOX News, Morowitz declined to 
comment on the sale, or the subsequent resale of the postal archive.

Even before leaving Geneva, however, Morowitz had been contacted 
by another U.S. auctioneer, Greg Manning, head of a New Jersey 
auction firm named Greg Manning Auctions, Inc (GMAI)..."

"Six months later, at his auction galleries in West Caldwell, N.J., 
Manning put the rarest and most unique items in the U.N. archive up 
for auction once again — more than 2,000 items in all. They ranged 
from artists’ drawings for the earliest U.N. stamps in 1951 to 
approved models for special anniversary issues to unique rarities 
celebrating peacekeeping operations and national member states."

"This auction, however, was only the tip of the UNPA’s archival 
iceberg. After the sale, Manning still retained "hundreds of 
thousands” of individual items from the archive, less unique than 
the top-line items but still in highly limited quantity. These, 
he says, he disposed of throughout 2004 to other private customers."

To read the complete article, see:,2933,193181,00.html


Dennis Tucker of Whitman Publishing writes: "For an upcoming 
Whitman book, I'm looking for full-color photos or scans of 
Civil War memorabilia. Do your readers know anyone who collects, 
and would share some pictures?  There must be an NBS member or 
two in the field. I'm seeking portraits, maps, enlistment posters, 
newspapers, uniforms, awards and decorations, citations and other 
ephemera, battlefield photos (either contemporary to the war, or 
modern-day), maybe even scenes from re-enactments. If anyone would 
like to participate, I'd be happy to give them credit in the book. 
I can be reached at dennis.tucker at, or 404-235-5348."


In the March 26, 2006 E-Sylum (v9n13) Dave Bowers noted his 
earlier suspicion of research about certain new coins supplied 
by John J. Ford. Bowers wrote: "The Franklin technique seems to 
have been to find something in historical records bearing the 
name of a person or firm associated with the Gold Rush. A "new 
discovery" was then presented, an item needing research. A writer, 
dealer, cataloguer, or someone else was then guided toward 
contemporary directories, history, etc., of the Gold Rush and 
was able to find that John Doe did indeed go to San Francisco, 
or that John Smith was listed as a jeweler or something else in 
a San Francisco directory or newspaper or other account. This 
"proved" that the new item was, in fact, made in San Francisco, 
etc. Then, a scenario was constructed by the writer about John 
Doe going to San Francisco, making gold coins or ingots, but 
"today little is known about him" etc.

Ted Buttrey writes: "Not to rehearse this business but to 
correct a point made by Bowers.  He quite rightly points to 
the use of early records, such as western American city 
directories, as a source for the “new discoveries”.  This is 
well said, but Bowers calls this operation “The Franklin technique”.  
No, it was Ford who collected the directories and drew on them for 
the bogus histories which he wove about the fake bars --  “the writer” 
above was Ford.  You can check the directories for yourself: there 
was a wonderful collection of well over a hundred of them in his 
library, so many that Kolbe called attention to them with a 
subheading in his auction of the Ford Library pt. I, 1 June 2004, 
most of lots 1-115."

[Possession of the directories is not proof of how they were used, 
but it is important for collectors and researchers to understand 
how an assortment of small facts can be used to mask a larger lie.  
A similar technique was employed by master forger Mark Hofmann.  
Hofmann would dive into libraries and archives in search of tidbits 
of information.  Using the information, he would then concoct a 
forged document and offer it to a collector or dealer.  Later, 
anyone researching the document would find "evidence" supporting 
its authenticity.

Interestingly, I learned of the "Hofmann technique" at an ANA 
Numismatic Theater presentation by none other than Eric Newman, 
a longtime opponent of Ford's in disputes relating to purported 
forgeries.  -Editor]


Regarding the Queen's portrait on various nations' coins and 
banknotes, Martin Purdy writes: "I guess they must have some 
freedom - NZ had a "unique" (and not very successful) portrait 
of the Queen by James Berry on its NCLT dollar coins from 1979 
to 1981, before reverting to the Machin portrait.  

The dates of changeover from one portrait to another are not 
standardised, either.  The Machin portrait was introduced on 
some "colonial" coinage before the UK itself made the switch 
away from the Gillick portrait.  The UK adopted the Machin 
version in 1968/71, while Machin was adopted in Rhodesia as 
early as 1964 (I'm quoting from memory, I think it was the 
first), Canada in 1965, Australia in 1966 and New Zealand in 
1967.  Likewise, changes to later portraits have been staggered 
from country to country."

Charlie Hosch writes: "As for Maundy money, traditionally the 
monarch's portrait on the obverse is never changed throughout the 
reign.  They are not  "circulating currency," so who really cares?  
Maundy money is quite rare, but not collected by a significant number 
of numismatists, and therefore the retail prices are quite low 
compared to the mintage.  

As for different images used by various British Commonwealth countries that do not "conform" to the UK image -- well, they (the Commonwealth countries) can do anything they want to do.  It's not like the Queen can have their heads cut off if she doesn't approve.  Of course she will approve whatever a mint puts in front of her.  Is she going to cause a "stink" because she has a minor problem with the design?  Not hardly.  I'm sure Her Majesty has other fish to fry."

Kerry Rodgers writes: "Gary Dunaier queries the use on coins 
of different EFFIGIES (NOT portraits) of Elizabeth the Second, 
by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain 
and Northern Ireland and Her other Realms and Territories Queen, 
Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.

The Queen may be Head of the Commonwealth, Supreme Governor 
of the Church of England, Lord of Mann and the Duke of Lancaster, 
but is also Queen of at least sixteen independent nations known 
as the Commonwealth Realms, consisting of the United Kingdom of 
Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, 
Jamaica, Barbados, Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, Solomon 
Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, 
Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, and Saint Kitts and Nevis. The key 
word is "independent". By the Statute of Westminster 1931 she holds 
these positions equally; no one nation takes precedence over any 
other. As such there is and never has been a "home office" since 
1931, except where and when any of these countries were colonies.  
All are now independent.

As such, each of these realms can do what it wishes with their 
own queen's effigy, although the approval of HRH is sought as to 
how she is depicted.  New Zealand did it own thing back in 1979-82 
with a distinctive effigy of the Queen of New Zealand.  Canada has 
its own effigy of the Queen of Canada.

I spoke to one mint about their use of the Maklouf effigy vs the 
Rank-Broadley version and they said it depended on cost, convenience 
and usage of the particular realm. Consequently, while the IRB 
version may be "current" in one of Her Majesty's realms it may well 
not be in another.  The situation is no different than it is with 
bank notes or stamps.

I may be doing Gary an injustice but I presume he is from one 
republic or another - or is an Australian! I used to struggle to 
explain to such folk that Elizabeth is Queen of New Zealand quite 
independently of being Queen of England.  These days I usually 
don't bother - particularly with confused Australians.  Intriguingly, 
I have found the California numismatists I know have no problem 
with the concept. Many of them had it sorted out long before I hove 
into view.

They point out that a number of countries use the currency of 
another with which they are not politically connected.  For example, 
Tuvalu uses Australian dollars. Consequently, having a Head of State 
who doesn't live in your neck of the woods is no big deal. I had 
always understood it was Bostonians who were the politically savvy 
folk in the U.S. I now know it is the Californians - which may 
explain a lot!"


The Huddersfield Daily Examiner published an article about a 
reverend executed in 1690 for the offense of coin-clipping:
"Thurstonland had its own coin clipper, one Reverend Robinson, 
and even though the reverend acted strangely and seemed to 
have more money than one would expect, no-one suspected he 
was taking part in this popular crime.

Robinson, ably assisted by his 18-year-old son, carried out 
his underhand activities in his cellar. When he was eventually 
caught it was discovered that there was a tunnel running from 
his house to a nearby field, indicating the involvement of others.

He was put on trial, found guilty and executed in 1690. His 
son, however, got off lightly and went on to work at the Mint 
in London!"

To read the article, see: 

[Would any of our readers have more information on Reverend 
Robinson or his son?  What was his position at the Mint? 


The fever for historic sports medals continues. The Evening 
Times reports that "A rare medal from Celtic's first Scottish 
Cup defeat has sold at auction for more than £800. 

The gold medal sparked a bidding war in Glasgow as football 
collectors clamoured to get their hands on the controversial 

Bought by a Scottish private collector for £850, it was presented 
to player William Love of Third Lanark after his team swept to 
victory with a 2-1 win in a replay in 1889."

To read the complete article, see:


Dick Johnson writes: "Brookgreen Gardens was a favorite haunt 
of super collector, world traveler and American Numismatic 
Association official John Jay Pittman. Mine too. In addition 
to the statues by numismatic artists mentioned by Rich Jewell 
in last week's E-Sylum, are the animals (it’s also a zoo), the 
birds (it’s also an aviary) and the flora and fauna. Plan to 
visit four times, once each season. The color and beauty change 
with each season. I have been there three times (but I forgot 
what season I am missing so I am going to have to start the 
cycle all over again).

The sculpture (and medals in their collections!) are the domain 
of Senior Curator Robin R. Salmon. Buy her 1993 book on the 
Brookgreen collections. It includes some of the best biographies 
of all those numismatic artists Rich mentioned last week. Also 
get the book by her predecessor, Beatrice Gilman Proske. Both 
are great books, they don’t duplicate each other, and both have 
excellent artists bios.

Mrs. Proske worked at the Hispanic Society, next door to the 
American Numismatic Society in New York City when it was at 
Audubon Terrace. I often ran into her at a function of one or 
the other, or at some sculpture function. She wrote the first 
edition in 1936, the second in 1968, and she was still active 
years later.

The Huntingtons – Archer Milton and Anna Hyatt – bought 
Brookgreen Plantation in 1929 and added adjacent land until 
they had 9,000 acres. Brookgreen plantation was once the home 
of John Trumbull (who designed the four Washington Seasons 
Medals of 1796 and was the subject of the third medal, for 1849, 
in the American Art-Union Medal Series with portrait by Charles 
Cushing Wright).

While the Huntingtons were building Brookgreen Gardens they 
lived in a bunker-like building across the highway right on 
the seashore. Visit that also on your trip to Brookgreen Gardens. 

Archer Huntington is the same person who was the benefactor to 
the American Numismatic Society. He not only gave the Society 
the building they recently abandoned, but also five other buildings 
to organizations which located at Audubon Terrace (he had earlier 
bought John James Audubon’s farm located from Broadway to the 
Hudson River, and from 152th to 156th Street.

He was also a benefactor to several other museums. They say 
"Everywhere he put his foot down, a museum sprung up." Anna 
Hyatt was six years younger, but well known as a sculptor even 
before they married. In fact, she was listed in Who’s Who as a 
sculptor before he was listed as a philanthropist. She was earning 
$50,000 a year before the income tax was enacted (while Archer was 
spending more than ten times that in a year’s time!).

Question for E-Sylum readers. Archer was spending inherited money, 
where did it come from?"

[Dick Johnson has answered last week's Quiz Question for us: 
Huntington's numismatic connection is his support for the
American Numismatic Society.  But now Dick has saddled us with 
a fresh Quiz Question - who can tell us where Huntington's 
millions sprang from? -Editor]


The Daily Record of Morris County, New Jersey reports that the 
home of an early U.S. Mint Director will be the center of a 
charitable event expected to draw some 20,000 people in upcoming 

"The Federal-era Ross farmhouse, set on 61 acres of pastures 
and woods, was built in 1771 by Elias Boudinot, who frequently 
invited Gen. George Washington to dinner during the two winters 
he was encamped in nearby Jockey Hollow -- 1777 and 1779-80.

Boudinot, a lawyer, held various leadership positions in the 
fledgling American government and was a signatory to the document 
that preceded the Treaty of Paris, which ended the American 
Revolution. After the war, he served three terms in the House 
of Representatives. In 1795 Washington appointed him director 
of The United States Mint, a position he held until he retired 
10 years later."

To read the complete story, see: 


Last week I asked about numismatic gems that turned up in 
the buckets of coin and bullion dealers in the silver frenzy of 
1980. Dave Lange writes: "I saw quite a few uncirculated pieces 
of modest scarcity get processed through counting machines as 
just so much bullion, but I never found anything truly rare at 
my local coin shop. The best piece retrieved was an 1877-CC half 
dollar in choice XF condition (probably AU by today's standards). 
I bought this for its melt value which, unfortunately, was not 
much less than its numismatic value at the time.

I've always contended that very few of the silver coins cashed 
in for their bullion value in 1979-80 were actually melted at 
refineries. When one does the math, it simply doesn't make sense 
to go to the added expense of having the coins rendered into bars. 
They were worth as much in the marketplace in coin form as they 
were in bar form, since the extraordinary demand for silver was 
not from industrial need but rather from pure speculation. Such 
speculators would not have added to their overhead without a clear 
financial incentive to do so, and this simply didn't exist.

I believe that these accounts of millions of silver coins being 
melted is just a myth perpetuated by those trying to create a sense 
of rarity that simply doesn't exist. It seems to be one of those 
stories that, told often enough, becomes numismatic fact. It's 
revealing that all of these reports are not from end users, but 
rather from coin dealers. I'd like to read an account from someone 
who actually worked at a refinery and witnessed the coins being 
melted before I would accept it as fact."

[Dealers shipped the silver out as fast as they got their hands 
on it, for two main reasons:  One, they needed to get the cash so 
they could buy more the next day, and Two, because they were afraid 
of the price dropping before they could turn a profit.  So who was 
left holding the bag(s) when the bubble burst?  Investors who took 
delivery of silver bags?  Smelters who sat on the bags?  Middlemen?  
Have most of those bags been returned to the marketplace, or are 
there still piles of silver coins sitting around in vaults?  Several 
years ago investor Warren Buffett bought over 100 million ounces of 
silver, and I understand he took delivery of the metal.  Was it in 
bar form, or did the purchase include bags of coins? -Editor]


Last week I wrote: "I may be in possession of the only remaining 
empty box of Almond Delight cereal, which pictures and describes 
the set of banknote reproductions given away in the boxes as a 
promotion several years ago." 

Bill Gibbs writes: "At least two empty boxes of Almond Delight 
with the information about the note replica promotion survive. 
I kept one as well, and have (somewhere) the note replicas 
included in the boxes and the uncut sheet ordered through the 

Joe Boling writes: "I have one of those boxes, too, but mine 
contained genuine notes of various countries (including the USA, 
up to a $500 note)."

[I think I ate my $500 bill my mistake.  Good source of fiber ...


According to an article in the Coventry Evening Telegraph, "An 
historic tale of incest, murder and cannibalism is being revealed 
at a Warwickshire museum this summer."

"Dating from as early as the 1st Century BC, the cash includes 
Greek and Roman coins brought back by Sir Roger Newdigate of 
Arbury Hall, Nuneaton from his grand tour of Europe in the 18th 

Dr Stanley Ireland, of the University of Warwick and the museum's 
former honorary numismatist, then late Wilfred Seaby catalogued 
the coins.

One tells the story of the insane Roman Emperor Caligula who, 
believing he was the son of a god, had incestuous relations with 
his sisters, murdered and then ate the offspring."

Other money on view between now and September includes Celtic 
coins featuring cartoon horses, an 'angel' of Henry VII and heavy 
Roman coins."

To read the complete article, see: 


The Baltimore Jewish Times published an article about the trash 
bin rescue of a hoard of historic medals and molds which could 
become the nucleus of a future museum collection.

"The workers were emptying the factory, moving a lot of heavy 
objects," he says. "I asked my father about them and he said, 
'Forget it, this is just old stuff.' " 

Kretschmer began taking boxes out of the garbage at the factory 
and going through them. He was amazed, and took everything that 
was left. 

"The early copper etchings from the early 20th century are pure 
works of art," he says. "They are priceless works by a professor 
from the Bezalel School, my grandfather, and I found them in a 
garbage bin."

"There are round etchings of Zionist founding father Theodore 
Herzl with his trademark beard. There are medallions of writer 
Sholem Aleichem cast from clay for the Zionist Congress of 1921, 
and of Chaim Weizmann, the first president of the State of Israel. 

"You can stare at the faces of Herzl and Weizmann and Prime 
Minister Ben-Gurion and they step right out of the copper and 
bronze into real life," says kibbutz member Boaz Kretschmer, the 
medallions' owner. 

Kretschmer rescued the medallions, produced by his grandfather, 
from an industrial garbage bin. He hopes one day to be able to 
show them to the public in a museum he wants to build on the 

"There is David Ben-Gurion declaring the State of Israel's 
establishment in Tel Aviv. The 1948 scene was etched in clay, 
then cast in bronze and copper. All three round tablets are 
on display." 

"Kretschmer wants to build a museum on the kibbutz to attract 
people to this part of the western Negev Desert."

"Meanwhile, people come from the region alone or in small 
groups to see the medals, coins, insignia and etchings." 

To read the complete article, see: 


Dick Johnson writes: "Last week I predicted there would be no 
Lincoln cents struck in 2010. Strong economic forces are driving 
this decision. The costs of the metal composition alone -- 
irrespective of the striking costs -- of a cent coin will be so 
overwhelming by then that it would be foolish for the U.S. 
government to underwrite continued striking, and losing, even 
a fraction of a cent for each coin. Unless the government wants 
to make cents in nonmetallic form -- "How to you want those Ma'am, 
paper or plastic?" -- Americans must face the fact the cent is 
destined to be abolished. 

The bright spot is already passed into law. There will be four 
different commemorative reverses of the Lincoln cent in 2009 
honoring the four locations in Abraham Lincoln's life -- Kentucky, 
Indiana, Illinois and the District of Columbia. This is to honor 
the bicentennial of the birth of Lincoln -- and the centennial of 
the Lincoln cent itself. These special reverse cents should be 
coins for circulation, much like the recent Lewis & Clark reverses 
of the Jefferson nickel. 

To make a spectacular departure from America's family of denominations, 
the 2009 Lincoln cents with four reverses should be struck in something 
special -- perhaps precious metals -- silver and gold! Imagine the 
charm of a silver cent and the uniqueness of a gold penny! Each with 
four different reverses. THESE coins should be the commemorative cents. 
These could be coins with a surcharge. These could be sold to 
collectors for the spectacular final issuance of Lincoln cents.

It will be like the finale of a musical program or the fireworks 
display at the end of July 4th! A grand finale!

When the public was asked for commemorative Lincoln cent design 
plans back in 2004 E-Sylum had a string of readers' comments. 
E-Sylum reader Gary Dunaier suggested the Lincoln cent be issued 
with the original Victor Brenner models of 1909. The original obverse 
and reverse, from galvanos of Brenner’s original design. (The galvanos 
still exist!) Here’s what I wrote (vol 7, no 28, article 10):

"I also would like to see Brenner's reverse with his name signed in 
full in script like on the original 1909 model for the 2009 Cent. 
Great Idea, Gary! Can we carry your idea one step further? Can only 
484,000 cents be struck at San Francisco -- with "S" mintmark obviously 
-- this was, of course, the original 1909 mintage. And 27,995,000 
struck at Philadelphia. And unlimited striking at the Denver Mint 
(since it didn't strike any cents until 1911)."

Can anyone at the U.S. Mint say "collector friendly"?"


Dick Johnson writes: "Rising metal prices are making copper and 
zinc coins worldwide vulnerable. Will numismatics forever lose minor 
coins to the melting pot? Could be. But not for the moment.

A decade or two in the past it was the precious-metal coins that 
were melted in vast numbers for their metal content. Shortly we could 
face a similar mass destruction for coins of lesser value even with 
base metal compositions. But we could still have enough coins around 
for collectors.

A Canadian writer, Robert Sheppard, reporting on the CBC, responded 
to the New York Times article (see last week’s E-Sylum) that the U.S. 
cent is costing 1.4 cent to make at current metal costs. He analyzed 
Canadian cents since their composition differs from the U.S. cent 
(which converted to a copper coated zinc in 1982). It wasn’t until 
1996 that Canadians solved the problem with a cent composition of 94 
percent steel, 1.5 percent nickel and 4.5 percent copper.

He pointed out, however, that all Canadian cents prior to 1996 were 
98 percent copper. They are vulnerable to melting for their copper 
content. If his figures are correct he said a ton of pre-1996 Canadian 
cents would be $4,081.63 face. A ton of copper is selling around $7,000 
(and the Chinese are buying). But don’t start smelting coins in your 

For a transcription of his interesting broadcast, see:


"Artist Sally Logue, from Kirkoswald, near Penrith, has been 
asked to produce portraits of photogenic pigs for the New 
Zealand Mint. 

She has already had a selection of canine portraits used to 
mark the current lunar Year of the Dog." 

Ms Logue said: "The New Zealand Mint contacted me last year 
to see if I could provide them with a series of drawings of dogs. 

"I thought it was a bit of a wind up at first because they 
said the coins would be issued in Cambodia, sold in Russia 
and minted in New Zealand. 

"But now we have three Cumbrian dogs with the king of Cambodia 
on the other side." 

"Now they are looking for pigs, but it's not certain exactly 
what kind of pig they want. So I thought it would be good to 
have a portfolio to show them. 

"So I am looking for people who might want to have a portrait 
done of their pig." 

To read the complete article, see: 


Last week Kerry Rodgers discussed the estimated outstanding 
dollar amount of Cook Islands noncirculating legal tender 
issues.  He came up with over $10 million face, justifying 
the term "millions" that had popped up the previous week.  
He asked me to check his math, and I quickly agreed that 
millions was correct, but I didn't get the details right 
in my comments.  

Mike Marotta writes: "I worked the arithmetic three times -- 
twice on calculator and once by hand using a different commutation 
-- and got 108 000 000 for 36 issues of 60,000 coins worth 50 
dollars each."   He's right - the correct total is $108 million 
New Zealand dollars.

On the coinage of the term NCNLT (non-circulating non-legal 
non-tender) Mike also correctly points out that that he had used 
the term in his previous week's submission.  He writes: "On the 
coining of NCNLT -- the term, not the coins -- in the April 16 
issue, I had published this:  "They thought that they could scam 
tourists with their non-circulating non-legal non-tender."  I 
agree that NCNLT is more correct and that my phrase was overkill."


Dan Freidus writes: "Again, an item in The E-Sylum led me to do 
some searching.  I was suspicious about the statement that Marburg's 
dissertation had "never been published."  So I checked the company 
formerly known as UMI, and before that as "University Microfilm 
International" (and now calling themselves Proquest).  I found that 
they do indeed have Marburg's dissertation (1942, not 1946):

I also found a few more possibly relevant tidbits:

Marburg, Theodore 1952.  Commission Agents in the Button and Brass 
Trade a Century Ago. Bulletin of the Business Historical Society 
16:8-18 (Feb 1952)

Marburg, Theodore F. 1954. A Study of Small Business Failure: 
Smith & Griggs of Waterbury.  Business History Review. 28:366-384 
(Dec 1954)

MARBURG, THEODORE F. 1956.  Small Business in Brass Fabricating: 
The Smith & Griggs Manufacturing Co. of Waterbury. New York: NYU 

The University of Connecticut library has records of Scovill 
(about 6 shelf feet of paper) and American Brass (the company 
that acquired Scovill; about 160 shelf feet of paper):

I suspect that these records would prove useful, though they are 
likely to require a substantial investment of time.  I hope these 
links help out Dick and/or the Wilsons."


Dick Hanscom of Fairbanks, AK writes: "From the August 1997 
issue of World Coin News:
"As the Marshall Islands Journal reported on June 13, 1997, 
an individual must:
-Appear in person at the Treasury
-Redeem no more than 10 coins per day.
-Present an original invoice showing the purchase of the 
   coins; and
-Pay a 10 percent fee."
Thus, if exchanging 10 - $50 coins, the maximum one could 
realize is $450 per day.
An earlier letter to the editor (March 1, 1993 World Coin News) 
from the "Secretary of Finance" indicates that for coins over 
$10 denomination, only one coin per day could be redeemed, and 
for coins of less than $10, a maximum of $10 per day will be 
exchanged.  All other terms from the above 1997 statement hold."

[They really make holders stand on their head and bark in order 
to collect, don't they?  Shades of the days of wildcat banks, 
which would force noteholders to appear in person at certain 
hours on certain days at their home office in some remote hamlet 
with some impossibly large amount of notes in order to redeem 
them for coin. -Editor]


Dick Hanscom visited family in Newburyport, MA last week, and he 
took some photos of the old Jacob Perkins mint building that's been 
in the news recently.  He writes: "They're not good photos, but good 
enough to show what all the fuss is about."  He uploaded them to his 
web site for all to view:
Dave Perkins writes: "The photos are exactly as I remember the 
building to look.  One appears to have been taken from the "backyard" 
of the Newburyport Historical Society.  It's fun to imagine the activity 
200 years ago in Perkins' workshop."

Here are links to some recent E-Sylum articles about the building: 




According to an article in the Manilla Standard, "De La Rue PLC and 
Giesecke & Devrient (G&D) GmBH, the world’s top two private banknote 
printers, are vying for a contract with the Bangko Sentral ng 
Pilipinas, including the printing of Philippine peso notes..."

"The Arrovo notes—P100 notes that misspelled the name of President 
Gloria Macapagal Arroyo—were printed by Oberthur, the third-largest 
private printer of banknotes. It caused great embarrassment to the 
central bank. It is not clear whether Oberthur was also the printer 
of the defective P1,000 notes. 

The BSP shredded some 78 million pieces of the Arrovo notes but the 
fate of the P10 billion worth of defective P1,000 notes remains 
unknown. Oberthur shouldered 75 percent of the losses arising from 
the Arrovo notes but the BSP had to shoulder the remaining 25 percent 
of the cost as it had approved the printing of the notes."

To read the complete article, see:

To read an earlier E-Sylum article about the Arrovo error, see:


Regarding the National Coin Week "penny drop" stunt, Gary Dunaier 
writes: "Unless the actual purchase is done with no media present, 
what's there to prevent the merchant with whom the coin is spent 
from putting it aside and subsequently turning it in himself?"

[Well, when I saw the photos of all the press surrounding Scott 
Travers in New York, I wondered just how the coin drop COULD work 
without the merchant suspecting something and immediately pocketing 
the coins.  There's never a guarantee that the merchant or clerk 
won't spot the coin and immediately set it aside.  

When I did my coin drop in Pittsburgh I picked a busy bakery at 
lunchtime (with no media in tow), when I figured no one would have 
time to examine coins.  I went back to the bakery following the coin 
show and told the staff what I'd done.  They'd seen the publicity 
about the coins and had searched their tills, but no one found the 

As far as we knew, it had been handed back out in change shortly 
after I'd spent it.  Most likely, it went straight into someone's 
dresser drawer or coin jar.  

The Lincoln cent is the longest-lived of current coin designs, and 
provides the best cover for a scarce coin.  Pre-1965 silver coins 
are out because the color and sound of silver would draw immediate 
attention.  I'm waiting for someone to use a scarce state quarter, 
like the extra corn leaf variety. But varieties are much harder to 
describe in a press release than a simple date/mintmark combination.  
We never repeated the coin drop in Pittsburgh out of courtesy to the 
local coin dealers - the publicity set their phones ringing with 
callers who seemed to think they could cash in their 1994 cents for 
$100 apiece.  -Editor]


Pete Morelewicz of the Squished Penny Museum in Washington, DC 
writes: "It was right under our noses the whole time! The Washington 
Post helpfully pointed out perhaps the best solution to the 
Smithsonian's funding woes: exonumia."

Pete included a link to a Washington Post editorial cartoon 
lampooning the Smithsonian's funding predicament, and proposing 
that sales of souvenir elongated cents could fill the funding gap 
and eliminate the need for an admission fee, as proposed by a 
congressman recently.

The cartoon states that "Squished penny machines are the major 
source of income for many tourist destinations, like the Louvre 
and West Virginia.  Thirty of forty of them in each museum ought 
to do the trick."

To view the cartoon, see: 

Pete adds: "Since their site requires registration, I posted a 
version here, too: "

[Given the discussions over the fate of the cent, perhaps there 
should be some concern as well over the fate of elongated cents.  
Could they be on the way out as well?  Nearly any coin can and 
has been rolled into an elongated souvenir, but without the cent 
the nickel would be the next lowest value coin.  Is there a 
Squished Nickel Museum in our future?  -Editor]


This week's featured web page is from a commercial site, 
featuring portraits of British Kings & Queens on coins.

"We present a royal portrait gallery of kings and queens on 
British coins. Because of their very nature, these are all 
contemporary images of monarchs engraved in metal by some of 
the finest artists or sculptors of their day. We have shown 
the best example we could find of each ruler taken from coins 
in our recent stock." 

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 
$15 to addresses in the U.S., $20 elsewhere.  For those without 
web access, write to:

David M. Sundman, Secretary/Treasurer
Numismatic Bibliomania Society, 
P. O. Box 82 Littleton, NH 03561

For Asylum mailing address changes and other membership 
questions, contact David at this email address: 
dsundman at

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