The E-Sylum v9#32, August 6, 2006

esylum at esylum at
Sun Aug 6 20:57:29 PDT 2006

Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 9, Number 32, August 6, 2006:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2006, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers is former U.S. Mint Sculptor-Engraver 
Tom Rogers.  Welcome aboard!  We now have 952 subscribers.

Naturally, this week we have some more announcements relating to 
the upcoming American Numismatic Association gathering, and several 
requests for information on various research projects.  Dave Lange 
opens a new web site for coin boards, and several readers chime in 
with answers to last week's quiz questions on Harry X Boosel, Basil
Demetriadi, and numismatic uses of cyanide.  To learn how coins can 
save your life, read on.  Have a great week, everyone!

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


Fred Lake of Lake Books writes: "This is a reminder that our 85th 
mail-bid sale of numismatic literature will close in one week on 
Tuesday, August 8, 2006 at 5:00 PM (EDT).
You may view the sale at
Bids may be placed by email, telephone or fax until the closing 
time. The bidding has been quite active and you should remember 
to bid early as ties are won by the earliest bid received."


Joe Boling informs us that two exhibits have been entered in the 
Numismatic Literature exhibit category at this month's ANA World's 
Fair of Money show in Denver.  They are:

1. A Numismatic Mystery: How Can a Coin be in Two Places at the 
   Same Time?
2. The Numismatic Publications of Charles Trissler Steigerwalt

E-Sylum readers attending the convention should make it a point 
to check out the exhibit area at their first opportunity.  Best 
of luck to both exhibitors - please consider sending us the text 
of your exhibit following the convention, for publication on the 
NBS web site.  Is anyone able to photograph the literature exhibit 
cases for us so we can have images on the web site as well?   
Here's a link to the page of prior year exhibits: 


John Kraljevich writes: "The annual members-only meeting of the 
Rittenhouse Society will be held on Saturday, August 19 at 8 AM at 
Allie's American Grill, Marriott City Center Hotel, 1701 California 
Street, Denver Colorado. Elected members are cordially invited to 
attend. This year, as last, Whitman Publishing Company will be 
hosting the breakfast (picking up the tab) in appreciation for 
all the Rittenhouse Society members have contributed to numismatics.
The Rittenhouse Society was founded in 1960 for sharing of information 
and goodwill among numismatic researchers. Members are elected, 
generally at the rate of one new member per year, in recognition 
of their past contributions to the body of American numismatic 
scholarship. The founding members were: Q. David Bowers, Walter Breen, 
Eric Newman, Ken Bressett, Grover Criswell, Dick Johnson, and Ken 
Elected members are invited to contact John Kraljevich (Deputy 
Assistant to the Assistant Deputy Secretary Pro-Tem) to RSVP at 
johnk at Elected members are also invited to contact 
other elected members who may not closely read their E-Sylum to 
make sure everyone knows about the meeting."


Fred Reed writes: "Does anybody on this list know ANY reference 
in a numismatic auction catalog or elsewhere (reference book, 
correspondence, etc.) to the supposed connection of New Orleans 
"dix" notes to the moniker "Dixie" that pre-dates 1911?   Why I 
ask is that my hypothesis is that this cracked notion was hatched 
Feb. 1, 1911, and I would be delighted to know anything to the 
contrary.  The resource represented in E-Sylum readers' libraries 
is awesome, so if anybody can help me out I'd appreciate chapter 
and verse (or even a scan) of anything germane from the 19th and 
early 20th century that would bring me back down to earth. I can 
be contacted at freed3 at  Thanks."


David Gladfelter writes: "Does anyone have access to Homans's Merchants 
and Bankers Almanacs for 1865 and 1866? If so, could they look up the 
names of the president and cashier of the State Bank at New Brunswick, 
New Jersey, for those years? The 1864 almanac with information current 
as of December, 1863 lists the president as John B. Hill and the cashier 
as Moses Coddington. If the names of these officers can be identified 
for November 10, 1865 and are the same as the signers of a note of that 
date, it would provide verification for what would be the latest dated 
genuine obsolete note issued by a New Jersey bank. Thanks."


Dave Bowers will be at the American Numismatic Rarities bourse table 
at PNG Day and for the first few days at the ANA Convention in Denver, 
working with Tom Mulvaney (photographic set up at the ANACS table). 
Dave is seeking the  following items to be photographed for various 
ongoing Whitman publishing and related projects:

COINS: Any and all patterns, especially rare dies and types. ••• 1893 
Elongated nickel, World’s Columbian Exposition ••• 1862 Siege of 
Vicksburg Counterstamped Cent/Dime ••• 1818 New Spain jola ••• 1820 
North West Company beaver token ••• 1797 Theater at New York token 
••• 1784 Washington Ugly Head ••• 1861 CSA half dollar original ••• 
Rare Guide-Book listed pre-1836 copper, silver, and gold issues 
(selected wants).

PAPER MONEY, FEDERAL: Rare issues of the 1860s and 1870s $50 and 
up ••• Color proofs and essays of issues 1860s to 1880s

TOKENS, MEDALS, and related, misc: 1515 One World is Not Enough 
or “le Concordat” medal ••• 1757 Geo II Indian peace medal ••• 
1763 Charles Town Social Club medal   Rulau SC-1. ••• 1764 Happy 
While United Indian peace medal ••• 1776 Washington/Column Indian 
peace medal ••• 1777 B. Franklin Americain medal ••• 1779 DeFleury 
at Stony Point medal ••• 1779 John Paul Jones medal ••• 1783 
Felicitas Britannia et America medal ••• 1783 Peace of Versailles 
medal   ••• 1789 Zespedes Florida proclamation medal ••• 1790
1776-dated bronze Diplomatic medal ••• 1790 Albany, NY, Church 
penny ••• 1793-95 Rickett’s Circus token ••• 1796 P.P.P. Myddelton 
token ••• 1796 Washington “Seasons” medals   ••• 1797 Peter Getz 
Washington Masonic medal ••• 1799 New York Associate Church communion 
token  1801 Thomas Jefferson Indian peace medal  ••• 1804 Edward 
Preble medal ••• 1829 John Stevens Hoboken Ferry token ••• 1806 to 
1820 C & H Turnpike token ••• 1809 Madison Indian peace medal ••• 
1812-15 P.B (Planters Bank) counterstamp on cut quarters of Mexican 
dollar; can use several ••• 1817 Amelia Island, FL “Green Cross” 
Gregor MacGregor ••• 1825 Castle Garden admission token •••
1825 John Quincy Adams Indian peace medal ••• 1826 Charles Carroll 
of Carrollton medal ••• 1826 Inaugural medal for John Quincy Adams 
••• 1826 National Jubilee medal HK-2. ••• 1826 New England Society 
for the Promotion of Manufactures and Mechanic Arts medal ••• 1832-44 
Beck’s Public Baths token ••• 1833 Tisdale & Richmond   token  Rulau 
HT A335. ••• 1834 Puech,Bein & Co. token ••• 1835 I.M. Gibbs stage 
token ••• 1835-1838 Atwood’s Railroad Hotel token (plus any info on 
this hotel)••• 1835-1838 N-York & Harlaem Railroad token ••• 1840 
Astor Fur Trade Indian peace medal ••• 1845 Johnson, Himrod & Co. 
token ••• 1846 U.S.S. Somers Rescue medal ••• 1848 Gilbert Stuart 
and other Art Union medals ••• 1849 Lifesaving Benevolent Association 
medal ••• 1849 Zachary Taylor medal by   Wright ••• 1850 Palmetto 
Regiment medal ••• 1850-57 Royal Hawaiian Agricultural Society medals 
••• 1850s Signing of the Declaration of Independence, large format 
by C.C. Wright: do not need a medal but seek info on how this was 
first issued and how?) ••• 1850s State Department lifesaving medal 
••• 1856 Committee of Vigilance membership medal ••• 1859 James Ross 
Snowden medal ••• 1860 Assay Commission medal ••• 1860 Hawaiian 
Waterhouse Plantation token ••• 1860s Congressional Medal of Honor 
••• 1861 (1879) CSA/Scott store card ••• 1861-1865 Abraham Lincoln 
silver Indian peace medal ••• Encased postage stamp rarities ••• 
1863 Grant congressional medal ••• 1863 Stonewall Jackson medal ••• 
1867 Joseph J. Mickley medal ••• 1870s Alcatraz Island Post Exchange 
token ••• 1876 J.W. Scott & Co. Centennial medalets ••• 1876 Official 
Centennial medal ••• 1878 c Boyd's Battery ••• 1880s Dude Saloon token,
Birmingham, Alabama ••• 1890 Benjamin Harrison Indian peace medal ••• 
1892 Landing of Columbus medal ••• 1893 Ferris Wheel medal ••• 1904 
“Pike” elongated cent from the St. Louis World’s Fair ••• 1905 Theodore 
Roosevelt inaugural medal by Saint-Gaudens ••• 1907-17 Valdez, Alaska,
Copper Block Buffet token ••• 1917 Pulitzer Prize medal ••• 1919 ANS 
Saltus medal ••• 1927 Congressional medal awarded to Charles Lindbergh 
••• 1800s Meschutt’s Metropolitan Coffee Room counterstamps ••• 
1900-1901 Lesher “dollars” w rare imprints. ••• 1860s-1870s Merriam 
tokens, rarities and odd mulings. ••• 1860s-1870s Bolen tokens, rarities 
and odd mulings.  ••• 1933 Crescent City, California clamshell money 
••• 1950s Frederick Earl Fankhauser encased coin ••• 1965 Harrah’s $1 
token of Reno ••• Carnegie Hero medal ••• Circa 1828 Goodyear & Sons 
Merchant token ••• Elgin National Watch Co. token ••• Massachusetts
Charitable Mechanic Association medals ••• 1905 Las Cruces Majestic 
Saloon token •••   1777 Horatio Gates at Saratoga medal ••• 
Rittenhouse medal."


Fred Holabird writes: "I am doing research for a book on historic 
ingots of America.  I would like to create a census of known ingots.  
If you have a historic ingot that you did not purchase from Holabird 
Americana, I would be pleased to include it in my book.  I would 
like to have a full description and photographs, print or digital.  
Or I can arrange to have the ingot sent to me and returned at my 
expense.  Please contact with any questions or comments.  I can be 
reached at this email address: info at Thank 
you for your time.

For more than a decade (probably two decades), I have been 
accumulating notes for a possible book on historical ingots. After 
working with them throughout my career in mining, I still find them 
fascinating, and, as my travels to museums throughout the world 
increased, so did my work on ingots worldwide, thanks to museum 
curators around the globe. Through this medium it is easy to understand 
the undeniable bridge between coinage and mining. That bridge is the 

Monaco asked me to write the book I had been waiting for. It has been 
an exhaustive effort so far, which has meant that I have spent about 
half full-time since March, and I’m still not finished. Yet along the 
way, wonderful things have happened. In example, I had inventoried some 
of the great collections, uncovering many ingots that have markings 
unknown to me, the owners, or others. 

I realized that a very serious database needed to be constructed, so 
I used a series of more than a dozen private researchers to help me 
compile a list of known assayers in all the western states from circa 
1849-1899, a process that took fully six months. This list is now some 
6000 entries strong, but is far from complete, and will never be 
complete because so many assayers were “tramp assayers”, traveling 
from mining camp to mining camp. Sometimes, but not always, these 
assayers can be found advertising in local mining camp newspapers, 
but so often out west, these newspapers, especially those from 
ghost towns, no longer exist.

This massive database helped unravel mysteries of some special 
pieces, some of which are in a current large-scale auction 
scheduled for August.

Further, detailed research has also resulted in a number of 
important discoveries. I located what I believe to be the oldest 
gold ingots in the world poured in moulds (2000-2200 BC); ingots 
clipped and used as money (1000-800BC correlative with the striking 
of the first coins); great presentation ingots from first pours of 
famous mines, and others. 

Some of these discoveries involve lengthy foot trails that I followed 
through the mother lode country, from court house to court house, 
and mine owner to mine owner. The results have allowed for the creation 
of a new category of ingot, which is termed “commemorative”. I use 
this term because some ingots fall squarely into this category, and 
these ingots are unique to the numismatic community and are not and 
were not found within the mining community, the normal source and 
makers of precious metal ingots, excepting those made by larger assay 
houses on the way to the Branch Mints. 

This research has uncovered new information that leads to a possible 
conclusion that some of these ingots date to perhaps November-December 
1968, and were sold into the numismatic marketplace in 1969. In just 
a few years, they will indeed be legitimate antiques. While their 
construction appears to date to the period mentioned, they nonetheless 
commemorate very important aspects of our colorful gold rush history, 
which, frankly, was probably completely unknown to the manufacturer(s). 
In so doing, the makers created a collectible ingot. They will be 
recognized and discussed in great detail, but, as commemoratives, will 
never approach in value the great ingots of the S.S. Central America, 
and need to be recognized, once and for all by the collecting community, 
for what they really are – a product of modern construction.

The data and information on the topic was so overwhelming, that I 
chose to cut off the first volume at 1899, and leave the rest for a 
second volume, which I hope to complete shortly too. It is just as 
exciting, though contains far fewer ingots, even though it contains 
categories such as Bullion ingots (mostly made after the 1964 silver 
rush) and mine ingots of the post-1900 mining boom that centered on 
Goldfield and Tonopah Nevada.

Some ingots will not be included, or have yet to be determined just 
how I will list them. There have been about a dozen pieces that are 
suspect to me, but this does not make them fake. I don’t know what to 
do with these yet. Testing them using the latest science is necessary, 
but I lack the personal finances to perform the tests.

Time constraints will limit the scholarly discussion in print, but I 
encourage as much of this as possible. I have always enjoyed helping 
numismatists understand the fascinating business I come from – Mining 
– and how it is an integral part of all numismatics."

Dick Johnson writes: "I blew it - I gave an incorrect answer to Dick 
Hanscomb two weeks back in The E-Sylum (vol 9, no 29, article 23). 
Dick was having trouble rolling gold. I (mistakenly) thought this could 
be solved like other coinage metals (silver, copper, bronze) with heat 
treating and I wrote a couple paragraphs about the lack of collector 
knowledge of this important coinage technology (this part was true).
I admitted up front in my remarks that working with gold was not my 
strong suit. When I worked for a medal company and we had orders to 
make gold medals we purchased the gold blanks from suppliers (who knew 
our needs and were sure to supply the most suitable gold for fabrication). 
We were not using native gold like Dick Hanscomb was working with.
The advantage of putting an item in E-Sylum is the immediate feedback. 
In addition to an apology to E-Sylum readers, I would like to thank Ken 
Douglas and Peter Gaspar for their insightful (and correct) responses 
in regards to the purity of the gold (in last week's E-Sylum). It was 
the impurities in the gold not the hardness that was causing Dick 
Hanscomb's problems. 
Truth will always come out in E-Sylum! After all, there are almost a 
thousand of the most knowledgeable critics in the world reading these 
words. Someone is bound to spot the most innocuous error."

[It's interesting to note that the two respondents (Peter Gaspar and 
Ken Douglas) were the first and the most recent subscribers to The 
E-Sylum, respectively.  This only goes to further Dick's point about 
the collective knowledge of The E-Sylum's readership. It's what I'd 
hoped to unlock with the power of the Internet, and it's proved true 
again and again.  The real power of this forum is not the newsletter 
itself, it's the readership.  -Editor]

Dick Hanscom of Fairbanks, Alaska writes: "I'm happy to report that 
I have made the gold from the Forty Mile usable (I had gold from Nome 
and Forty Mile that turned brittle and porous).  A friend provided a 
flux consisting of silica, borax, sodium nitrate and sodium bicarbonate.  
It took two melts and pours (melting the gold and pouring it into an 
ingot mold) to cure the problem.  After the first pour, there was some 
coppery looking material at the top (sort of a tail going down into 
the mold). After removing this, the gold was melted again, and the 
result was satisfactory. I was able to roll the gold to .6mm required 
for my 1 DWT tokens.  I melted the gold (the scrap after punching out 
the blanks) two more times and it continued to be solid.
Concerning the Nome gold: I will contact the miner and give him some 
of this flux to try on his gold.
I want to thank all readers who provided suggestions concerning this 
problem.  I passed all of this on to my friend who gave me the flux.  
I suspect that there was enough information there to give him some 
insight.  Either that or the simple fact that I melted this gold at 
least a half dozen times and it just decided to cooperate!
I would also like to thank those that have provided information about 
die engraving.  This will probably be a winter project for me, and I 
know just enough to be dangerous.  Worse comes to worse, I destroy 
some steel, and then pay some one to cut my die."


The Associated Press published a good article July 30 about the 
upcoming sale of the American Bank Note Company plate archive.  
Douglas Mudd of the American Numismatic Association and Dave Bowers 
of American Numismatic Rarities were quoted.

"When the federal government started printing money in quantity in 
the 1860s, ornate currency produced by banks around the country 
became obsolete virtually overnight. So did the intricate printing 
plates used to make it.

Now, thousands of the hand-engraved metal plates, many under wraps 
for more than 150 years, are going on the auction block. First, they 
are being examined and catalogued by a New Hampshire firm that 
specializes in rare currency and coins."

"The 200 tons of plates are from the archives of the American Bank 
Note Co., formed in New York in 1858 by the consolidation of seven 
major engraving and printing firms. The company inherited plates 
its predecessors had been accumulating for decades, including ones 
used to print advertisements, letterhead stationery and stock 
certificates that helped fuel the country's economic and westward 
expansion during the 1800s."

"The whole collection comprises about 900 plates for printing money 
and 10,000 to 20,000 smaller collectible engravings. Some are smaller 
than a playing card. Others are nearly a foot wide and a foot tall."

To read the complete article, see:


Last week I asked, "Just who is Basil Demetriadi?"   Gar Travis 
writes: "As an American Numismatic Society Life Member and collector 
of ancient coins of Greece I know that he is the owner of the most 
complete collection of texts on ancient Greek coins.  (shameless 
plug...) I suppose I should send him a copy of the book that I 
recently published on Cyprus Coins (ISBN:0974589136)."
In an E-Sylum review of Dennis Kroh's "Ancient Coin Reference Reviews" 
Allan Davisson wrote: "Dennis's enthusiasm is only part of this 
publication's strength. He also solicited the help of Basil Demetriadi 
who has the finest privately owned (if not the finest PERIOD) library 
on ancient Greek coins in existence. Basil also has a full-time 
librarian for his library." 


I asked Gar Travis for more information on his new book. He writes: 
"I wrote and photo illustrated the book, prior to my taking my present 
position in early 2004 as a numismatic researcher / cataloger for 
Spectrum Numismatic Auction Services with Teletrade.

The book "Cyprus Coins" highlights the holdings of the Cyprus Museum 
in Jacksonville, North Carolina. With the help of some previous 
historical research by Bob Reis of Raleigh, North Carolina and some 
text work owned by the museum which corresponds with a donated hoard 
of ancient coins, I was able to combine the materials and author a 
rather suitable museum catalog. 

Granted, it's not a masterwork, but it serves the purpose of the 
museum in its interest of preserving the cultural history of Cyprus.
8 1/2" x 12" - soft bound with card cover, 60 pages, full color. 
Published by Dr. Takey Crist and the Cyprus Museum.  Printed by J.G.
Cassoulides & Sons, LTD of Nicosia, Cyprus.
Copies can be obtained from the museum for $25.00 plus handling.
Purchase inquiries can be directed to Dr. Crist via email: 
tcrist at

Here is a news release that was offered in the online Greek News: "


Dave Lange rolled out a new web site this week: 

He writes: "It's devoted to my collecting of vintage coin boards 
and also offers my books for sale."  Here's how the home page 
describes coin boards:

"What are coin boards?  Coin boards are 11" x 14" sheets of cardboard 
with openings to hold a series of coins. The dates and mintages appear 
beneath each opening, and a colorful backing paper holds the coins in 
place. Coin boards were first produced in 1934 and they revolutionized 
the hobby. Before that time, coin cabinets and albums were simply too 
expensive to attract new converts. Priced at just 25 cents each, coin 
boards made collecting a hobby for the whole family and led to the 
folders so popular today."

To see some examples from Dave's collection, see 


Last week I asked about uses of cyanide in numismatics other than 
the printing plate creation process.  I had one particular use in 
mind, but our readers have identified three.

Bob Evans writes: "I have recently taken the plunge and joined the 
E-Sylum madness.  Anyway, I'd like to offer the following response 
to your quiz about another numismatic use of cyanide.  It's not 
exactly money or numismatics, but it's certainly related.

Cyanide is of course an important reagent in the extractive metallurgy 
of gold, being used to "win" it from various ores in a process usually 
called leaching. This is done in vats or heaps. In this process the ore 
is arranged in a vat or in piles or heaps, and an aqueous cyanide 
solution is sprayed or delivered through the ore. This dissolves the 
gold creating "pregnant" solutions, whereupon it is collected from 
the bottom of the system and processed to produce the gold."

Peter Gaspar writes: "There is a tragic story regarding the use of 
cyanide to clean coins.  Sanford Saltus, a prominent American 
numismatist, was using a glass of cyanide solution to remove corrosion 
products from coins while relaxing in his London hotel suite sometime 
in the early 1920's on the night before he was to assume the presidency 
of the British Numismatic Society.  He was the first and only American 
to be accorded that honor.  Unfortunately Saltus had a glass of 
sparkling water next to the glass of cyanide and mistakenly drank 
from the wrong glass, ending his life."

[Peter hit on the use I was thinking of - we discussed the Saltus 
incident in the December 16, 2003 issue of The E-Sylum.  Alan V. 
Weinberg also answered this correctly, as did Dick Johnson.  Here 
is a link to the original E-Sylum item, followed by a note from Dick 
Johnson identifying a third additional numismatic use for cyanide. 


Dick Johnson writes: "There is more than one answer to your question 
in last week's E-Sylum on the numismatic uses of cyanide -- a deadly 

Cyanide is most effective in cleaning gold and other coins. Another 
little known use of cyanide is in the electrolyte solution in making 
coin and medal patterns -- galvanos -- these are oversize patterns 
made from sculptors models intended to be reduced on a die-engraving 
pantograph (as a Janvier) to cut a die or hub of appropriate size. 

Cyanide is ideal component in the electroforming baths for making 
such copper galvanos. Such technology was developed by the French in 
the Paris Mint and copied by other mints. I have yet to learn how 
early it was in use in America (any E-Sylum reader know for certain?). 
But it was well intrenched by 1920 for de Francisci's Peace dollar and 
in use at the Philadelphia Mint for the next 40 years. [Copper galvanos 
were ultimately replaced by an epoxy casting method that reduced the 
time to make these patterns from days to hours.] 

The copper galvano technology was used extensively by private medal 
makers. At Medallic Art Company in New York City and Danbury this was 
accomplished in the finishing department. Tanks for making galvanos 
were similar to tanks for plating medals (silver and gold). Thus the 
foreman of the finishing department was in charge of all these. That 
foreman was Hugo Greco. 

Hugo Greco now has his own sparkling new plant in Connecticut and 
celebrated his fiftieth year in the industry last October. He still 
uses cyanide in his daily activities in producing electroforms for a 
variety of clients. On several occasions he has told me he has built 
up immunity to cyanide since he has been exposed to it for all these 
years. He claims he could take a swig of the poison and not be harmed! 

But be warned! Workers around such electrolyte tanks must be careful 
not to scratch or cut themselves, else the exposure to cyanide (or 
even its fumes) could cause a severe reaction to the human body. 
Caution: don't play around with this stuff, it is a deadly poison!"

[With generations passed since the tragic event, I'm surprised some 
wag with a macabre sense of humor hasn't begun serving glasses of 
ginger ale labeled as "Saltus Cocktails" at numismatic conventions. 


Continuing last week's discussion of identifying ownership of books, 
Katie Jaeger writes: "I inherited an 1851 copy of T.W. Gwilt Mapleson's 
A Handbook of Heraldry, published by John Wiley.  It has fabulous hand-
colored plates, and its subject is the heraldic symbols, arms etc. of 
important New York families.  On the third innerleaf is a hand-colored 
plate inscribed "to Mrs. Anson Livingston, by her very humble devoted 
servant, the author," showing the Livingston arms. Each individual copy 
was similarly personalized to the subscriber.  At the end of the book 
is a list of subscribers, all of whom were members of New York's "300," 
and it supplies the number of copies printed for each. "Dowager Mrs. 
Livingston, Manor of Livingston" ordered 12, but the maximum ordered 
by other subscribers was four.  Most ordered but one or two. 

Robert Lovett, Sr. was a stone seal engraver who catered to the 300, 
frequently cutting their arms onto personal or professional seals.  
He advertised that he had made a special study of heraldry, and had 
a large collection of heraldic books to consult.  Somehow, he acquired 
this copy of Mrs. Livingston's book, and he has autographed it in pencil 
on the second innerleaf.  When Robert Sr. died, the book passed to his 
son, Robert Jr., who autographed it in pen on the first innerleaf.  

When Jr. died, the book passed to his son, Robert Keating Lovett, who 
died shortly thereafter, willing his collection to George H. Lovett, 
his uncle (another son of Robert Sr.).  George H. Lovett left it to 
his daughter, Anna, who left it to my grandmother (her daughter), who 
left it to my mother, and now it is mine.  Though I am not a direct 
descendant of Robert Jr., I am a direct descendant of Robert Sr.  My 
question is, would it be appropriate for me to also sign one of the 
innerleaves of this book?  Or would it be better to document this 
history on a separate sheet, and keep it folded inside? Or could I 
do both?

I recently received a copy of Joseph Addison's Dialogues Upon the 
Usefulness of Ancient Medals, published in 1726. The second innerleaf 
is signed "Michael Joseph Quin, May 26, 1803."  This may or may not 
be the Michael Joseph Quin who became editor of the Dublin Review in 
the 1820s.  If so, he was nine years old at the time he signed the 
book.  The first innerleaf is signed "John Terry, 1898."  Does anyone 
know of an online autograph archive, where one could go to compare 


Last week the suggestion was made to use a Wiki web site to 
collectively compile and publish information about numismatic 
auction catalogs. Larry Mitchell sends us this "strongly dissenting 
view of Wikipedia and its progeny as research tools, for numismatics 
or anything else...."

The tract makes a good point about the lack of control in a wide-open 
web site, but they don't have to be configured to allow just anyone to 
make updates; there are forms of web sites were updates are restricted 
to certain users or are vetted by an editor.  Perhaps only a wide-open 
web site is a true "Wiki", but not all collaborative web sites are 
wide-open.  -Editor.


Martin Purdy writes: "You may have read that new, smaller 10, 20 and 
50 cent coins were issued in New Zealand on 31 July. The old and new 
coins are supposed to circulate together until 31 October, when the 
old coins will be demonetised.

This news item may amuse, though non-Antipodeans may need to play 
it through several times while you get used to the accents ...

Click on the link under the parking meter picture for the story: "


On July 31 the Siberian publication Newslab reported that 

"Central Bank of the Russian Federation issued 5000 ruble ($185) 
banknotes of 1997 sample on July, 31.'

The new banknote continues "the town series" and is devoted to 
Khabarovsk. The main color of the banknote is red and brown. N. N. 
Muravyov-Amursky's Monument erected in Khabarovsk is depicted at the 
background of the Amur embankment on the right banknote side. There 
is a sight of an automobile bridge across the Amur River on the 
back side." 

To read the complete article (and view images of the notes) see: 


Dave Perkins writes: "I received a nice reply to my Elder sale 
request from Scott Rubin.  I appreciate the information and quick 
reply!  It appears that the medals I have were likely part of Lot 
2052.  It did turn out to be a group lot.

2042 "Theodore Roosevelt.  Assay plaque in silver.  Bust to left. 
1905. Unc. Rare."

2052 " Lot of Washinton and other American medals, various subjects, 
many W M proofs included and one bronze Plaque.  30."


Dave Perkins writes: "I found the following invoice among numismatic 
correspondence that I acquired from the estate of the late Frank 
Stirling of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  The invoice is on stationery and 
is dated August 12, 1959 from a James P. Randall, Professional 
Numismatist, P.O. Box 2205, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.  Readers may 
find this of interest, especially for the pricing on these sale 
catalogs in 1959.

A.N.S. Exhibition Catalog

...   7.50 
G.H. Earle, Jr. Collection catalog

..  42.50
Dr. G.A. Lawrence Collection catalog

Did any of our readers know James P. Randall, or have any 
information on him?  It appears that Randall was a coin dealer 
and also handled at least some numismatic literature.

Frank Stirling was a numismatist and collected early dollars (among 
other items) and has been a subject of my early dollar research over 
the years.  He published a couple of articles in The Numismatist 
announcing the discovery of two different early dollar die marriages.  
One die marriage was discovered by Stirling and the other by W. G. 
Baldenhofer (but was written up and published by Stirling).  

The Chapman Earle sale had some nice early dollars, some of 
which were plated (obverse only)."


Last week I mentioned Harry X Boosel's name and asked: What was 
Harry famous for collecting, and what does the X stand for?

Tom DeLorey writes: "The Coinage of 1873, and absolutely nothing. 
When I started working for Coin World's Editorial Department back 
in 1974, the first thing they did was give me a fine steel line 
gauge, and the second thing they did was to tell me that the 
proper spelling of his name was "Harry X (no period) Boosel!"

Neil Shafer writes: "Harry X always wanted to be called "Mr. 1873" 
as he had such interest in that year's coinage.  I wonder whatever 
happened to his collection; I don't recall seeing it offered 
anyplace, but that could just be something I missed."

[I met Boosel only once - I believe it was at the Detroit ANA 
convention in 1994.  He was sitting in the refreshment area talking 
with John Pittman, and I stopped by to introduce myself.  I was also 
wondering what happened to his collection of 1873 coinage.  It is 
hiding in a bank vault somewhere?  Or did he sell it while he was 
still alive?  Anyone know? -Editor]


Regarding Andy Lustig's question concerning the price of platinum 
and aluminium in the 19th century, J. Moens of Belgium writes: "The 
price of these two metals were, of course, influenced by their 
production costs, which in both cases were influenced by the high 
temperatures that are needed in the production processes of both 
pure platinum and alumunium.  In both cases, the research done in 
the 1850s by Mr. Sainte-Claire Deville, an American scientist of 
French origin (i.a. in Paris), helped to reduce substantially 
these costs.

Platinum was valued, before 1850, at about 1,000 francs (or $ 200) 
per kilogramme, i.e. about 1/3 of the price of gold, and 5 times 
the price of silver.  After 1850, the price dropped to about 750 
francs per kilogramme until about 1885, and from then on, the price 
gradually increased so that by the turn of the century, platinum 
was about as expensive as gold.

Aluminium was very expensive to produce before about 1855, and its 
price was comparable to the one of gold (about 3.000 francs or $ 600 
per kilogramme); after the work by Mr. Sainte-Claire Deville, its 
price dropped dramatically to about 5 francs or $ 1 per kilogramme 


Neil Shafer writes: "On books with numismatic inserts, for many years 
I have had several of a series of books by J. Wilcke on Danish coins 
and paper money published in the late 1920s to early 1930s.  Two of 
those volumes have paper money inserts attached; these were prepared
especially for the volumes, as I understand it.  

Specifically, they are the books covering the periods 1788-1845 and 
1845-1914.  The latter also has two very special and great inserts 
from the Bank of St. Thomas in the Danish West Indies.  They are the 
100 and 500 Dollars of the 1837 issue printed by New England Bank Note 
Co.  Both of these pieces have no text on the plain backs (all the 
other inserts in both books do have special text on the backs) and they 
also have some small spots that I believe are characteristic of some 
reprints from old plates.

Also, I have just recently obtained a beautifully prepared book on 
the coins and banknotes of Lebanon, printed in 2005.  On the last page 
it has five modern Lebanese coins inserted.

Another item is Gene Hessler's recent book, The International Engraver's
Line, which has a number of inserts as well - it's a great work in its 
own right and these serve to heighten its stature even more."

Philip Mernick adds: "'British Metallic Coins and Tradesmen's Tokens 
with their Values from 1600-1912', G.C. Kent , Chichester, 1913 was 
originally sold with a token advertising the book."


In last week's story about the admitted numismatic literature 
mutilation incident at the American Numismatic Association, Wendell 
Wolka was implicated as an accomplice.  The other day the following 
note arrived attached to a virtual rock thrown over our electronic 
transom:  "OK Copper! (pun intended) - all ya can get me for is 
receiving mutilated goods. And Indiana won't extradite.  Think of 
them as "clippings"  WW"


As noted in the article on cyanide, numismatics can at times be 
deadly, but coins can also save your life.  According to a report 
in Britain's The Sun, "A man shot by robbers was saved when a bullet 
bounced off COINS in his pocket." 

"One bullet hit driver Donovan Prinsloo but was deflected by £1.90 
in change in his trouser pocket.

The other crashed into the seat between his legs and ricocheted 
through a window."

To read the complete article, see:,,2-2006340635,00.html 

One famous life-saving coin from the past was the special $20 
gold piece carried by Lt. George Dixon, commander of the 
Confederate submarine S. S. Hunley:



"A lavish wedding where newlyweds were sprinkled with shredded 
euro-note confetti has provoked outrage in a French town, a newspaper 
reported Tuesday. Liberation said angry locals in the southern town 
of Sete scrambled on the ground to scrape up the bits of 5, 10, 20 
and 50 euro notes scattered at the July 8 nuptials. 

"People chucking money away in the street for everyone to see, when 
there are so many struggling to get by!" said Frederic, a resident 
quoted by the newspaper."

To read the complete article, see: 


This week's featured web site is suggested by Larry Mitchell - the 
Ottilia Buerger Collection at Lawrence University. 

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