The E-Sylum v9#32, August 6, 2006
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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!
Numismatic Bibliomania Society
LAKE BOOKS 85TH SALE CLOSING AUGUST 8TH
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 http://www.lakebooks.com/current.html
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."
NUMISMATIC LITERATURE EXHIBITS PLANNED FOR DENVER
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
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:
RITTENHOUSE SOCIETY MEETING SCHEDULED
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 anrcoins.com. 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."
NUMIS-MYSTERY: DIX NOTES AND THE ORIGIN OF DIXIE
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 airmail.net. Thanks."
HOMAN'S MERHCANTS AND BANKERS ALMANACS SOUGHT
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."
WHITMAN PHOTOGRAPHY AND SCANNING AT THE ANA CONVENTION:
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, Worlds 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
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 Ricketts 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
Becks Public Baths token 1833 Tisdale & Richmond token Rulau
HT A335. 1834 Puech,Bein & Co. token 1835 I.M. Gibbs stage
token 1835-1838 Atwoods 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 Worlds 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 Meschutts 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 Harrahs $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
HOLABIRD COMPILING CENSUS OF HISTORIC INGOTS OF AMERICA
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 holabirdamericana.com. 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 Im 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 dont 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."
ON BRITTLE, POROUS GOLD
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
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."
AMERICAN BANKNOTE PLATE HOARD ARTICLE
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:
QUIZ ANSWER: BASIL DEMETRIADI
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."
BOOK: CYPRUS COINS BY GAR TRAVIS
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 ec.rr.com
Here is a news release that was offered in the online Greek News:
DAVID LANGE'S COIN COLLECTING BOARD WEBSITE
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
QUIZ ANSWER: NUMISMATIC USES OF CYANIDE
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.
DEATH BY MISADVENTURE
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.
BOOKPLATES AND TRACING THE OWNERSHIP OF BOOKS
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
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
WIKIPEDIA AS A RESEARCH TOOL: A DISSENTING VIEW
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
VIDEO ON NEW ZEALAND COINAGE CHANGEOVER
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:
NEW RUSSIAN FEDERATION BANKNOTES ISSUED
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
To read the complete article (and view images of the notes) see:
ELDER APRIL 1, 1937 SALE FOLLOW-UP
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."
INFORMATION ON JAMES RANDALL SOUGHT
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
G.H. Earle, Jr. Collection catalog
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)."
HARRY X BOOSEL
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]
PLATINUM AND ALUMINUM IN PATTERN COINAGE
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
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
MORE BOOKS WITH NUMISMATIC INSERTS
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."
BOOK MUTILATOR TAUNTS AUTHORITIES
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"
COINS CAN SAVE YOUR LIFE, TOO
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:
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:
HUNLEY SUB LUCKY GOLD COIN FOUND
SHREDDED EUROS PROMPT WEDDING SCUFFLE
"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:
FEATURED WEB SITE:
This week's featured web site is suggested by Larry Mitchell - the
Ottilia Buerger Collection at Lawrence University.
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