The E-Sylum v9#33, August 13, 2006
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Sun Aug 13 20:49:24 PDT 2006
Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 9, Number 33, August 13, 2006:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2006, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
We have no new subscribers this week - boo hoo! While you folks
are at the American Numismatic Association this week, collect the
email addresses of potential subscribers and send them to me. I'll
be happy to send them a complimentary subscription.
This week's issue includes a number of interesting items. We begin
with a preview of the next Asylum issue, and review proposed changes
in American Numismatic Association exhibit categories. In the news
we have an article about the ongoing controversy and lawsuit involving
the ANA and a resolution to the tale of the funny $100 bills that
were turning up earlier this summer - and someone's going to jail.
We also have a resolution to the question of the disposition of Harry
X Boosel's coin collection, and learn a thing or two (some hearsay)
about dealer James Randall. On the trail of numismatic knowledge,
I chronicle my search for information on a prominent numismatic work
seen by thousands of commuters daily.
Speaking of this week's ANA convention, be sure to visit and patronize
the numismatic literature dealers setting up there. John Burns and
Charles Davis will both at the show(at tables 249-250 and 332,
respectively). These gents are providing a great service for collectors,
bibliophiles and researchers attending the show. It is very expensive,
time consuming and downright tiring to haul a display of numismatic
literature to a show. It's also hard to get away from your table at a
big show, so ask if you could bring them lunch or refreshments. Browse
their stock, buy some books and place some orders! Or bring a few
choice duplicates to sell!
Next week's E-Sylum may be a bit off-schedule, so hold your fire if
it doesn't arrive in the usual time window. I'll be in the middle of
a house move and may not be able to wrap things up as usual Sunday
evening - there could be a delay until Monday evening. If you'd like
to submit something for the next issue, it would be best to send it by
Wednesday the 16th. But as always, I'll do my best to accommodate
late arrivals if possible.
To learn about the numismatic connection to "heap bad medicine" and
tondo (and no, it's not the Lone Ranger's sidekick), read on. Have
a great week, everyone!
Numismatic Bibliomania Society
NEXT ASYLUM ISSUE PREVIEWED
NBS President Pete Smith writes: "The second 2006 issue of The
Asylum is in production and should be in members' mailboxes soon.
While readers of The E-Sylum enjoy getting their electronic news
every week, the quarterly Asylum is for those who still like to
read ink on paper.
The cover story is about "Sir Frank Merry Stenton and the Coinage
of the Anglo-Saxons." His writing took a more historical perspective
than just numismatic. This article is written by The Asylum editor,
E. Tomlinson Fort.
A look at numismatic literature by a newcomer to the field is
presented by Alison Frankel. Her article on "Discovering the
Numismatic Bibliomania Society" discusses her attendance at the
2004 Kolbe auction of the Ford library and related areas that
The American Numismatic Society recently received a donation of
correspondence sent to the Chapman brothers. In two articles,
Len Augsburger discusses some of what he found in this valuable
The first article, "Woodward/Chapman Correspondence at the
American Numismatic Society" mentions contact between the
established Woodward and the upstart Chapman brothers around
the time of their first sale in 1878. Correspondence continued
into 1881 as Woodward expressed admiration for the Chapman plates
and discussed production of his catalogs.
Augsburger's second article, "The ANS Chapman Files: Major William
Boerum Wetmore" provides biographical information on Wetmore, a
previously little-known collector. While there were times when
Wetmore could acquire great rarities like the 1804 dollar, there
were other times when his wife did not want him buying anything.
Perhaps some of our modern collectors can relate to that."
[Remember, these articles are ONLY available in the printed Asylum.
To join NBS, see the informant at the bottom of every E-Sylum issue,
which I'll repeat here.
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.
ANA EXHIBIT POLICY CHANGES PROPOSED
American Numismatic Association chief judge Joe Boling writes:
"There are several documents of interest to exhibitors and judges
posted on the ANA web site as materials for use by the board at
its meetings in Denver. See particularly the ANA exhibit committee
[The Numismatic Bibliomania Society sponsored the Numismatic
Literature exhibit category, Class 22. The exhibit history document
shows that over the past ten summer conventions the average number
of exhibits entered in class 22 is 2.5, with a range of 1 to 4
exhibits. The number of cases per exhibit ranges from 1 to 20 with
an average of 11.1 cases.
The report notes that "The Committee spent a significant amount of
time and effort ... attempting to understand if the present twenty-five
exhibit classifications could or should be condensed to a more manageable
number." The committee is recommending consolidating down to 17 classes.
The numismatic literature classification would be unaffected and become
the new class 15.
The committee also makes recommendations regarding exhibit endowments.
NBS raised thousands of dollars to endow the exhibit category and the
committee recommends that "Endowments should be treated as restricted
use gifts, with all interest from endowments being used exclusively for
the funding of annual awards." Luckily, because the literature category
would be untouched, NBS needn't sort out with the ANA how to reallocate
its endowment fund.
If bibliophiles have any questions or comments on the proposed changes,
send them to me for publication in The E-Sylum (many of the exhibit
committee members are readers) or see them in person if you're at the
convention in Denver. The Exhibits Chair is Wendell Wolka, and other
members are Joe Boling, Sam Deep, John Eshbach, Katie Heinrich, Gene
Hynds, Jerry Kochel, and Fred Schwan. -Editor]
E-SYLUM WINS OUTSTANDING CLUB PUBLICATION AWARD
Marilyn Reback, Senior Editor of the American Numismatic Association's
NUMISMATIST Magazine writes: "It is with great pleasure that I inform
you that "The E-Sylum," published by the Numismatic Bibliomania Society,
has been selected by a panel of judges to receive the second-place
Outstanding Electronic Club Publication Award.
The Outstanding Club Publications Awards will be presented during the
ANA's 115th Anniversary Convention in Denver, Colorado, at the ANA
Representative Program Breakfast on Saturday, August 19, at 8 a.m.
in Room 601 of the Colorado Convention Center. Congratulations!"
[Many thanks to the ANA for this recognition. I will be unable to
attend the convention, and NBS President Pete Smith has a schedule
conflict. If any other NBS officer or member will be attending the
breakfast, please let us know if you're willing to accept the award
on our behalf. Thanks. -Editor]
LAKE BOOKS SALE #85 PRICES REALIZED POSTED
Fred Lake writes: "The prices realized list for our sale #85 which
closed on Tuesday, August 8, 2006 is now posted to the Lake Books web
site. You may view the list at: http://www.lakebooks.com/archive.html
When you reach that page, scroll down (or click on "2006") to sale #85
and you will find the two options for viewing the list.
The sale was very active and last-minute bidding was heavy. Our next
sale will be held in October of this year and will again feature some
very fine numismatic reference material."
Fred adds: "There were many new bidders and some mentioned the
E-Sylum as the source for their interest."
NOYES U.S. LARGE CENTS 1793-1794 AVAILABLE
Charlie Davis writes: "Bill Noyes' new book "United States Large Cents
1793-1794" has been received from the printer. It contains over 400
pages with all known die states and the top twelve condition census
coins illustrated in color enlargements. It is similar in size and
format to the 1991 volumes.
Those who have already placed an order will be receiving their copy
shortly. Others may order from me at $195.00 + $10.00 shipping. The
deluxe leatherbound edition is at the bindery and we will have a sample
copy at the A.N.A. Convention (Table 332). The cost is $425.00 + $10.00
shipping, and the number produced, probably 25, will be limited to
those orders received by October 15."
CANADIAN HISTORICAL MEDAL SERIES PUBLICATION STATUS SOUGHT
Bob Gilbert writes: "I wonder if anyone knows about the continuing
delays in publishing of Volumes Two and Three of Canadian Historical
Medal Series. To date, only Volume One, Canadian Exhibition Fair
Carnival Medals, has been printed. I, as I'm sure all others, paid
for the entire three volume series back in 2001, but have not heard
anything about the other two volumes which were supposed to be printed
years ago. I used to get updates about delays. However, for the past
two years or so I can't get any response from the publisher on what is
going on. I don't mind waiting as long as I know I will eventually
get what I paid for and that they are actively working on this."
BRITISH NUMISMATIC LITERATURE HISTORY AUTHOR SOUGHT
Tom Fort, editor of our print journal, The Asylum, writes: "I am trying
to find contact information for James Hartley Nichols, who received a
Masters Degree from Florida Atlantic University in 1978. His master's
thesis was entitled: "Ancient Greek Coins: A History of British
This might be a great work to serialize in The Asylum, since it does
not seem to have been published elsewhere, but we obviously need the
permission of the author. I have already tried a Google search and
found nothing. Perhaps one of our readers in Florida know of this
WHITMAN PHOTOGRAPHY RESPONSES AND A CRESCENT CITY CLAMSHELL
Regarding his request for needed items to be photographed for upcoming
Whitman book projects, Dave Bowers writes: "It is really wonderful how
The E-Sylum compresses weeks into hours and eliminates distance for
numismatic researchers! I've received a bunch of offers."
Several volunteers contacted Dave directly, including Alan Weinberg
and Rod Charleton II. Rod writes: "I too am impressed with the power
of using The E-Sylum and the Internet. I received answers to my
questions in no time. It's one heck of a research tool if you ask
me." Dave was looking for a piece of Crescent City Depression Scrip
clam money to photograph, and Rod put an image of his example on his
web site. Take a look:
BEP EMPLOYEE CHARGED WITH STEALING UNCUT $100 SHEETS
Remember those funny $100 bills that turned up in Delaware
earlier this summer? Here's our previous E-Sylum article:
$100 BILL ERRORS FOUND IN DELAWARE - AUTHENTICITY DISPUTED
Well, "Feds said Monday they've solved at least part of the
mystery of the so-called "Delaware Hundreds."
"A Dover coin dealer, who bought three from customers who got
them at Harrington Raceway's Midway Slots, asked federal officials
to investigate whether they were printing errors worth thousands
or merely stolen goods filched at a mint.
A mint worker was arrested Friday and more arrests are possible,
the Office of the Inspector General said today. Details were not
To read the complete article, see:
"An employee at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing appeared in
federal court Monday on charges he stole ten sheets of $100 bills.
David Faison, of Largo, waived a preliminary hearing and was
released from jail on his own recognizance. A date hasn't been
set for his next court appearance."
"According to court documents, Faison distributed paper stock at
the bureau's printing facility and had access to the area where
$100 bills are printed.
Most of the sheets he is accused of stealing contained 32 uncut,
partially printed bills. The money appeared normal, but it was
missing serial numbers and Treasury seals."
To read the complete story, see:
To see a local D.C. news video:
On Tuesday August 8th the Associated Press picked up the story:
"For a two-month period beginning in late May, 145 partially printed
bills passed through the Midway Slots, Dover Downs Slots and Delaware
Park casinos in Delaware; Bally's and Trump Plaza in Atlantic City,
N.J.; and the Charles Town Races and Slots in Charles Town, W.Va.
The bills appeared to have been cut with scissors.
In July, surveillance videos show Faison sitting at slot machines,
and records show that the stolen bills were inserted into the
machines during those times, according to the affidavit. At one
point, three of the $100 bills were inserted within 19 seconds.
A search of Faison's home Thursday resulted in the recovery of
some of the stolen bills, which were hidden in wrapping paper in
Faison's bedroom closet, the affidavit said."
To read the complete article, see:
On Wednesday the Washington Post had a more in-depth article:
"Peter Bradley, the general manager of slot operations at Dover Downs,
said the casino received a tip from the Treasury Department that
Faison might show up at the casino.
"They gave us a description, and one day one of our surveillance
folks picked him up," Bradley said.
The casino made certain that the surveillance videotape of Faison was
enough of a close-up to show that one of the $100 bills that Faison
inserted into a slot machine did not have serial numbers or the
Treasury seal, officials said. Dover Downs security later verified
that Faison gambled with $400 that day and that all of the bills
were partially printed."
To read the complete article, see:
[So Raymond Gesualdo, owner of First State Coin Co. in Dover was
right - he didn't want anything to do with the bills, believing
them to be stolen. Has anyone gotten a look at these notes? No
doubt many have already been confiscated by the Secret Service,
but there are certainly still some out there in circulation or
being held by people who think they have a valuable error.
I wonder how long it will take to round them all up? And what
will become of them - will they all be destroyed? Will some be
held in the Secret Service files? Will any find their way to the
National Numismatic Collection?
A theft of any kind from the BEP is a very rare and historic event,
and it would be good to see a piece of the evidence preserved at
the Smithsonian. But regulations probably prohibit a counterfeit
being anywhere, even in the NNC - I've never heard of counterfeits
being part of the collection. -Editor]
WOODROW WILSON BRIDGE MEDALLION INFORMATION QUEST
I caught a glimpse of the new Woodrow Wilson bridge on TV the other
night and saw what looked like a very large medallion showing Wilson's
profile embedded in one of the bridge's pylons. The bridge carries
the Capitol Beltway across the Potomac river outside of Washington,
D.C. The new bridge (actually TWO spans) is now open for traffic and
the old bridge is scheduled for demolition August 24th (My birthday!
Can I push the button?).
Anyway, curious about the medallions, I found the construction project
web site and emailed the public affairs director about it. I had been
unable to find anything on the site about the medallions.
The next morning Alex Lee, Community Relations Manager for the Woodrow
Wilson Bridge Project replied: "The medallions were located on the
old bridge. They were integrated as part of the design of the new
bridges (pylon/obelisk at the approach in Virginia and Maryland).
The "coins" were removed and then attached to the pylons. I am not
sure who the artist was - these were originally installed in 1961."
Alex included pictures of one of the medallions as mounted on the old
and new bridges. It appears to feature a large neck-up bust of Wilson
facing left, flanked by his birth and death dates of 1856 and 1924.
It appears silver/grey in color and may be aluminum. If you squint a
little it looks like a giant Mercury dime.
I checked with a few E-Sylum regulars and here's what they had
Rodger Burdette writes: "I don't know much about the medallions or
who designed them. At present one of the pylons is covered in plastic,
but the other is exposed. The one medallion that can be seen traveling
from Virginia into Maryland appears discolored. However, I presume it
will be restored before the 2nd span of the 12-lane bridge is opened
Dick Johnson agrees. He writes: "It looks like the weather has been
unkind to those medallions. They should be refinished. Medallions
are Joe Levine's specialty. He lives nearby and I'll bet he can tell
you more than you want to know about these."
Joe Levine writes: "I've seen these for years, but have no idea of
their history or who did them. Perhaps you might want to call the
curator at the Woodrow Wilson House. Another source might be the
National Sculpture Society."
So I took Joe's advice and wrote to both organizations. I didn't
exactly hit a mother lode of information, but here's what I learned
from Frank J. Aucella, Executive Director of the Woodrow Wilson House:
"They were indeed aluminum - state of the art for 1961. The artist
was J. Paul Junewine."
An Internet search turned up nothing under that spelling, but I did
find an artist named C. Paul Jennewein. The Smithsonian Institution
Research Information System (SRIS) returned a reference to the "Carl
Paul Jennewein papers, 1910-1977". The collection consists of 13
linear feet of material on 20 microfilm reels containing "Drawings,
sketches, renderings, and designs, 1916-1976, for the following
commissions: Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Service, Brooklyn Central
Library, the Finance Building of Harrisburg, Pa., and the Jefferson
Memorial in St. Louis, Missouri." Also "Biographical material; writings
and notes; correspondence, 1920-1978, , including letters from Daniel
Chester French, Walker Hancock, Anna Hyatt Huntington.." and others.
Here's an excerpt from an online biography: "Jennewein was born in
Stuttgart, Germany, in 1890... The father was a die engraver and
permitted Paul to watch him work, which soon led to the son developing
a love of drawing, engraving and etching... After moving to Hoboken,
New Jersey-he became an U.S. citizen in 1915-Jennewein worked for the
firm of architectural sculptors and commercial modelers, Buhler and
Lauter, which was often used by McKim, Mead & White."
"Later in his career, Jennewein designed numerous commemorative medals,
for which he won many design awards. Jennewein used a number of foundries,
including the American Art Foundry, Bedford Foundry (later Modern Art
Foundry), Gargani Foundry, Gorham Company Founders, Kunst Foundry and
Roman Bronze Artworks. His most active gallery association was with
Grand Central Galleries in Manhattan. He died in Larchmont, New York
in 1978. In his will over 2000 works were bequeathed to the Tampa
Museum of Art.
Among Jennewein's best known works are: the main entrance of the
British Empire Building at Rockefeller Center; four stone pylons for
the 1939 World's Fair representing the Four Elements; two pylons,
painted in the Egyptian style that flank the entrance to the Brooklyn
Public Library; allegorical relief panels in the White House Executive
Mansion; marble sculptures at the entrance to the Rayburn House of
Representatives Office Building; and thirteen sculptures of Greek
deity in the central pediment of the Philadelphia Museum of Art."
I followed up with Dick Johnson. He writes: "I knew Paul Jennewein.
Strict German-American sculptor. He was the only sculptor I knew who
had a full time secretary (Mrs. Muzzy). He was also chairman of the
committee which chose the artists for all the Hall of Fame medals."
Other 'net searches found references to Jennewein's work on a number
of other monuments and traffic pylons in the Washington, D.C. area,
but nothing specifically noting the Woodrow Wilson bridge. I'll stop
my search here - no smoking gun, but plenty of evidence to confirm the
artist was most likely C. Paul Jennewein. Whew! Now can anyone tell
us about some of his numismatic work?
To read the complete bio of C. Paul Jennewein:
To visit the Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge project web site:
To read the White House biography of Wilson, see:
To visit the Woodrow Wilson House web site:
To visit the National Sculpture Society:
VOCABULARY WORD: TONDO
Dick Johnson writes: "The circular relief mounted on the Woodrow Wilson
Bridge, despite its portrait and lettering, is not a "medallion."
Instead, the correct term for such use, particularly in architecture,
is a "tondo."
While the definition of "medallion" is not set in stone, a medallion
in numismatics ranges from 3 1/8-inch (or more exactly, 80mm) to about
12 inches (30.5 cm). Thus numismatic medallions often have two sides.
Circular reliefs larger than 12 inches USUALLY have only one side --
they must be mounted on a flat surface.
Obviously, these medallions are not die struck, but must be made by
other means, casting or electroforming. Casting is virtually unlimited.
Electroforming is limited only to the size of the tanks in which they
A relief item larger than 12 inches is usually called a "circular
relief" or "plaque" if square or rectangular (above 24 inches the
latter is more of a "tablet").
The above terms do not apply to the oversize models or patterns
from which dies are cut. A 14-inch pattern (as a galvano) ideally
reduces down to a 4-inch medallion or a 3-inch medal. Its 14-inch
size is not a "circular relief," it is the end product that
determines the precise term."
[Many thanks for keeping me honest - I wasn't quite sure of the
"medallion" term, but didn't know what the correct term was. Now
we all do! -Editor]
HANS SCHULMAN AND SOMER JAMES
Katie Jaeger writes: "Back in 2005, there was an E-Sylum string
on Hans Schulman. I just bought a copy of the 1964 Canadian Betts
reprint from Abebooks, delivered from an antiquarian bookstore in
Madrid. It is inscribed: "To Hans Schulman with best wishes,
Somer James, 2/22/65."
Then I Googled "Somer James" and found he was a Canadian numismatist
discussed on The E-Sylum in 2003! Neat."
ORDERS AND MEDALS SOCIETY OF AMERICA MEETS
According to an August 10 story in the Arizona Republic, "The
ballroom at the Doubletree Paradise Valley Resort held the
history of thousands of soldiers, each of their stories encased
in a bit of metal, with some ribbon and tiny engravings almost
too small to read.
More than 200 dealers and collectors converged on the resort Saturday
and Sunday for the annual convention of the Orders and Medals Society
of America. They came equipped with rare collections, some worth
hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Richard McDonald, a full-time dealer from Seattle, presided over a
display of medals awarded to Thomas M. Watt, an American who flew
for the Royal Canadian Air Force in World War II. Watt is best known
to a certain generation (and lovers of classic movies) as "the
Scrounger," a character played by James Garner in the 1963 film The
"Dealers represented nations from around the world, from Finland to
Japan. Some cases held glittering, bejeweled medals from France and
czarist Russia, but the gems do not necessarily mean they are the
James Morton, who co-owns a London agency, reached past the enameled
flourishes of Russian awards to the seemingly plainer Naval General
Service Medal issued in 1848 for actions related to HMS Indefatigable
in 1797. Engraved with the tiniest of words, the medal would sell for
[Do we have any members of the Orders and Medals Society among us?
Was anyone at the convention? -Editor]
To read the complete article, see:
To visit the Orders and Medals Society of America web site:
CSNS NATIONAL BANK NOTE EDUCATIONAL SEMINAR REPORT
Cliff Mishler writes: "The Central States Numismatic Society on
Thursday, August 3, sponsored its first ever free-standing one-day
educational seminar, the subject of which was the development and
collecting of the National Bank Note currency series, which was
hosted at the Higgins Museum of National Bank Notes in Okoboji,
Iowa. The event commanded the participation of roughly 25 collectors
and dealers from around the country, with 13 states represented.
The featured speakers were Peter Huntoon from Boulder, Nevada; Mark
Hotz from Baltimore, Maryland; and Wendell Wolka from Indianapolis,
Indiana, who served as moderator for the event.
In his several presentations, Huntoon explored the political and
economic development of National Bank Note issuance, with a focus
on simplifying the many complex and overlapping ingredients involved.
Keying his presentations to collecting options, Hotz offered up a
variety of approaches to "what you can do" in pursuit of National
Bank Notes, including a presentation devoted to the intrigue of a
City National Bank of Taylor, Texas, series 1929 $10 note, a blood
stained note believed to have been among the roll of currency carried
by Clyde Barrow at the time of the famous Bonnie & Clyde ambush of
March, 1934. In his pair of presentations, Wolka explored the 60
years of state chartered and independent banking history in Ohio
preceding and transitioning into the National Bank Note era.
This event was organized under the direction of Ray Lockwood of
Marion, Indiana, chairman of the CSNS Educational Committee, with
on-site coordination handled by board member Jim Moores of Liberty,
Missouri, who stood in for Lockwood, who was recovering from surgery
and unable to be in attendance. The participants were welcomed to
the event by CSNS president Bill Brandimore from Wausau, Wisconsin,
and Higgins Museum treasurer Rick Hickman, son of the late National
Bank Note collecting enthusiast and authority John Hickman, who
offered an overview of the founding and growth of the museum.
Future CSNS sponsored one-day free-standing seminars are in the
planning stages. The second such event is projected for this coming
June in Indianapolis, with the program still under development.
Information concerning this and other future events may be obtained
by writing to Lockwood at 2075 East Bocock Road, Marion, IN 46952-8799.
Phone; 765-664-6520. E-mail; sunrayofmarion at aol.com."
ANA LAWSUIT HEADS TO COURT
The Colorado Springs Gazette published a story today about the
American Numismatic Association, its current troubles, and the
lawsuit scheduled for a hearing September 26th:
"The American Numismatic Association, a nonprofit group that
educates hobbyists about coin collecting and money, certainly
knows how to lose it.
For the past four years, the Colorado Springs-based organization
has operated at a loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.
But that's just one of its problems.
The 115-year-old group, federally chartered as an educational,
historical and scientific organization, is beset by questions
over its finances and complaints that its leadership fosters a
culture of excessive secrecy and demands loyalty oaths."
""It's unfortunate to have such dissension and turmoil in this
organization," said Beth Deisher, editor of industry publications
Coin World and Coin Values. "That makes it difficult to move
"Deisher said the ANA is expected to be forthcoming about its
dealings, but she said she and others have noticed a "shroud of
secrecy" they say began when Cipoletti took charge three years ago."
"Cipoletti chalked up the turnover to his goals of streamlining
operations and reaching younger members with new programs, and
normal adjustments that occur with a new leader.
"Anytime you start something new or take something away, you're
going to have disagreement," he said. "People see change as
The feud within the ANA is now headed to court. A civil lawsuit
filed on behalf of the ANA and Cipoletti is scheduled for a jury
trial Sept. 26. It alleges that three former employees and a
computer services contractor and his company conspired against
Cipoletti and the ANA by posting false statements about Cipoletti
on several Web sites."
To read the complete article, see:
ANS NUMISMATIC CONVERSATIONS SERIES CONTINUES
As Ray Williams recently reported, the ANS broke some new ground
recently with an educational program made available to remote
attendees. The following is taken from a recent ANS press release:
"The American Numismatic Society has inaugurated a new program,
"Numismatic Conversations," to bring together experts on various
numismatic topics with collectors, dealers and scholars, who can
take part from different locations.
This July, the Society presented "Connecticut Coppers" as a first
in this series and to try out the experimental elements of the program.
ANS Curator of North American Coins and Currency Robert Hoge showed
an extensive selection of late 18th century Connecticut coinage to a
live audience of thirty-four amateur and professional numismatists
assembled at the ANS headquarters in New York City.
In addition, other enthusiasts and experts interested in Connecticut
Coppers viewed the program live via Internet connection. Six members
of this remote audience--who were taking part from locations ranging
from Delaware to California--were connected to the event by
teleconference as well as Internet. These remote participants were
able to view a video feed of the presentation and directly contribute
comments or questions to the conversation.
Despite some technical issues that will be corrected in future programs,
the experiment was successful and well received by those who took part.
The audience particularly enjoyed the close-up video views of the coins
themselves, which were shown both on a screen in the room and on the
webcast. As the program was videotaped, the Society plans to make
these sessions available to an even wider audience by offering an
edited version on DVD and/or as a download from the ASN web site.
The artifacts featured in the discussion mostly represented new
acquisitions by the ANS, or rare and exceptional examples that had
been in the collection, but which had not been on public exhibition
in recent years. With the success of this first experiment, the ANS
intends to continue presenting sessions of "Numismatic Conversations"
for audiences that will include participants at the Society's New
York headquarters and online through the webcast. The Society hopes
that many of its members and other interested individuals who cannot
attend in person will participate through this technology.
The next in the series will be a presentation at 6:30 PM on September
13, 2006, dealing with the evolution of American war medals and
decorations during the era when the United States became a world power.
Military historian (and ANS Development Director) Geoff Giglierano will
be showing and discussing examples from the Society's collections
including Medal Honor awards from the Civil War through the Philippine
Insurrection, and seldom-encountered medals that originated during
historic events such as the Spanish American War and the Boxer Rebellion.
There is no charge to attend, but seating in the live audience is
limited to thirty individuals and reservations are encouraged. To
make reservations, or for information on how you can connect and view
the webcast, please contact Juliette Pelletier at 212 571-4470,
NEW ZEALAND COINAGE SWITCHOVER CREATES DEMAND FOR 2004 5C COINS
Martin Purdy of New Zealand writes: "NZ is withdrawing its 5c coins
at the moment. The bulk of the mintage for the last "circulating"
year, 2004, was melted without being issued, only 32,000 being released
for circulation. One was put up on the Internet for auction recently,
and finally sold for NZ$360, or about US$220.
Since the item aired, quite a number of 2004 5c coins have been listed
on TradeMe (the NZ equivalent of eBay). This will doubtless bring the
price down, but will at least save more from the melting pot later in
Here's a link to a TV news item on it:
CENTENNIAL MEDALS AND TOKENS SALE CATALOGS SOUGHT
Ron Abler writes: "The Henry W. Holland collection was sold at auction
by Woodward in his sale #19 held on November 11, 1878. Between 1876
and 1878, Holland published his list of Centennial medals in the
American Journal of Numismatics, and he had one of the most extensive
collections of the time.
I would very much like to find a copy of Woodward's auction catalog
to further my research on Centennial medals, which I would one day
like to publish. If anyone has the catalog or knows where one might
exist, please let me know. I would be willing to purchase a copy
(if I can afford it) or pay for photocopying, if that can be arranged.
Also, in Ed Frossard's Numisma, Vol. 4, No. 5, September, 1880,
there appeared the following notice:
"The editor of Numisma [Frossard] has just completed the revision
of his list of Centennial Medals, which may or may not be published
in catalogue or book form. The list embraces probably from 450 to
600 different medals and tokens, and the descriptions are in all
cases from original specimens mostly in the cabinets of Messrs. Wm.
Sheldon, John W. Haseltine, or the author.
The list embraces quite a number of pieces, the existence of which
is unknown to collectors, and the medals will be numbered by size,
beginning with the original Commission Medal, size 64, and ending
with "the Pigmy"
The ANA Library can find no reference to Frossard's list having
ever been published. Can anyone out there shed any light on this
subject? If such a list does exist, I would appreciate finding out
about it. If anyone has a copy, I would be grateful for the
opportunity to borrow it or to photocopy it.
Based on the Numisma citation, I would obviously also be interested
in any references to or lists of the Centennial collections of Sheldon
and Hazeltine. Thank you very much."
DISPOSITION OF THE HARRY X BOOSEL COLLECTION OF 1873 COINAGE
Tom DeLorey writes: "Harry's coins were sold at auction long before
he died. I advised Tillie as to what of his exonumia to consign to
Joe Levine for auction, and purchased the rest outright. I still have
some of it in my exonumia box."
Bill Burd writes: "Harry's work on the 1873 coinage was published in
a series of articles in the Numismatic Scrapbook Magazine from March
1957 through December 1958. In 1960 he published a revised limited
edition of 500 copies in a booklet form titled "1873-1873". I have
number 500 with a special hardbound cover and autographed.
In 1972 Harry sold much of his collection in auction. Roy Harte had
an interest in 1873 and purchased many of the coins. In November 1977
Harte sold many of his 1873 dated foreign coins in a Bowers & Ruddy
Auction and Harry purchased many of them. His paddle number at the
auction was "73". (I have it in my library along with his notated
Harte had another auction in 1983 and Harry purchased the Morgan &
Orr Medal and donated it the ANA. They were the manufacturer of the
San Francisco coin press that was on display at the ANA at the time.
I also have Harry's Florida license plate. It is "HXB-1873"."
Karl Moulton writes: "Harry X Boosel's entire collection was sold in
the April 28, 1972 Central States sale by Rarcoa. The U.S. coins were
sold in lots 577-778; The foreign portion goes all the way to Lot 964.
There's even a short bio and picture on the inside cover." Mark
Borckardt and Julian Leidman also knew of this sale.
Fred Reed writes: "My numismatic date database of nearly 15,000
significant numismatic events that I use to write my weekly Coin
World column "The Week That Was" has these references to Harry:
Aug. 17, 1912: Mr. 1873 collector Harry X Boosel born
May 1 1937: Numismatic Scrapbook correspondent Harry X Boosel
reports 69 commem coin bills pending
Sept. 18 1968: Lester Merkin sells Harry X Boosel's
first "1873" collection
Apr. 28 1972: RARCOA sells Harry X Boosel's
second "1873" collection
I, like Tom DeLorey, had run-ins with Harry's middle initial at
Coin World in the 1970s. I don't have his death date, but if an
E-Sylum reader knows it, I'd be obliged to enter that too. My
contact point is freed3 at airmail.net."
Dave Perkins writes: "In the Lester Merkin Public Auction Sale -
September 18, 1968 catalog, Lots 96-117 were "SELECTIONS FROM THE
HARRY X BOOSEL SPECIALIZED 1873 COLLECTION." The introductory page
to this sale noted "BOOSEL'S 1873 COINS" under the general sale title
"EXTRAORDINARY UNITED STATES COINS." This was quite an auction sale
overall, and is one of my favorite sale catalogs. The cataloger wrote
the following which preceded Lot 96: "The following are all dated 1873.
All remarks in quotation marks are supplied by Harry X Boosel and
should be accorded the attention and respect they merit as coming
from a bonafide expert. Many of these coins are of great rarity."
Given it was termed "Selections from." I would venture to say these
were duplicates from his collection. Only four or so of the lots
here were plate coins from his book.
I met "Mr. 1873" once briefly in 1983 or '84 (?) at the Central States
Convention show in Minneapolis. John McCloskey (President of the
Liberty Seated Collector's Club) asked me if I wanted to meet "Mr.
1873" and of course I said sure!
[Based on these facts, it seems to me that Dave Perkins has probably
best summarized the disposition of Boosel's collection - duplicates
sold in 1968 with the main collection sold in 1972. This could be
confirmed if most of the plate coins in Boosel's book could be traced
to the 1972 sale.
Cataloging style and certainly the entire coin market have changed
quite a bit in the 35 years or so since Boosel's collection was sold.
It would be interesting to see how the collections would be presented
for sale today, and what the total hammer price might be. -Editor]
Roger deWardt Lane of Hollywood, Florida writes: "Back in the eighties,
as a member of the Gold Coast Coin Club, I spent several meeting nights
talking to Harry X Boosel. He lived in the Chicago area and was a member
of the Chicago Coin Club. At that time Harry X and his wife spent the
winters in Ft.Lauderdale. When in town he would visit our meetings. He
was known as Mr. 1873.
In 1983 the Diplomat Resort on Hollywood Beach hosted the AINA American
Israel Numismatic Association, national convention. We had the convention
at the hotel more than one year, but this one stands out as I set up an
exhibit of my Modern Dime Size Silver Coins of The World. I won the
"Best of Show" award which was a fancy clock with a AINA medal and name
plate on it. I just checked it to see the date of the convention.
Harry came to me, after he said he spent a lot of time looking at the
hundreds of "world dimes" in my exhibit, and said "you do not have a
single '1873' coin in it". He told me he would send me one when he
got back to Chicago. This he did and I have a 1873 Russian 10 Kopec
as part of my date collection with the provenance of Harry X Boosel.
I talked again with Harry X at another local meeting, probably at a
later year. If I remember correctly, he told me he had disposed of
his collection, but had a double headed U.S. dime, not 1873 but a more
current year silver dime, which he sold to me at this meeting as an
I think members of the Chicano Coin Club could tell our readers more
about Harry. He was a great guy and always had a story to tell."
HARRY X BOOSEL AND THE ARAMCO SAUDI ARABIAN GOLD DISCS
John Eshbach writes: "As was noted in this week's E-Sylum, Harry
Boosel was Mr. 1873. He also researched the gold discs struck at
the U.S. Mint in the 1940s. His article in the July 1959 issue of
The Numismatist, "Why Those Saudi Arabian Gold Discs" is the sole
source for subsequence articles on this little known bit of American
Talking about the gold discs with John J. Pittman years ago, he
recalled being at the Philadelphia Mint at the time the discs were
being struck. He said a single press located behind secure green
curtains was used. The area was off limits but of course, John took
a peek behind the curtains to see what was being struck. Harry X
Boosel was from Chicago and was the Industrial Security Administrator
of the Navy Material Inspection Service for the central United States.
He later moved to Florida and he or his wife Tilly occasionally
exhibited the two Saudi gold discs at ANA conventions."
[A web search found the following item from the September/October
1981 print edition of Saudi Aramco World:
"To collectors, however, the most interesting Saudi gold coins
weren't coins at all; they were "gold discs" Similar to coins, they
were minted by the Philadelphia Mint in the 1940's for Aramco, and
bore, on one side, the U. S. Eagle and the legend "U. S. Mint,
Philadelphia, USA" and, on the other side, three lines on the fineness
and weight. They looked like coins, they were used as coins, but,
technically, they weren't coins.
In the 1950's, numismatists were puzzled by these "discs" until-in
1957 - the story emerged in The Numismatist. Aramco, required to
pay royalties and other payments in gold to the Saudi government,
could not obtain the gold at the monetary price fixed by the United
States so the U. S. government specifically began to mint the "discs"
- actually bullion in coin form for these payments. In 1945, for
example, the mint turned out 91,210 large discs worth $20, and, in
1947,121,364 small discs worth $5, according to The Numismatist."
To read the complete article, see:
To see one of the 1945 coins recently auctioned by Heritage:
ON THE WIKIPEDIA
Regarding the Wikipedia as a research tool, Tom DeLorey writes: "I
consider Wikipedia to be a lot of fun, but then, so is a "Magic 8 Ball"
and only slightly less reliable. Recently I had occasion to Wiki the
word "hobo" as to its origin, and the results were both absolutely
delightful and absolutely contradictory."
A NUMISMATIC BOOKPLATE AND INSERT
Gene Hessler writes: "I know that you don't illustrate anything in
the E-Sylum. But I thought you might be interested in knowing about
an ex libris that was also a book insert, two recent topics in The
Martin Srb, one of the security and postage stamp engravers in Prague
etched and engraved the ex libris for me in 1991, one year after I met
him on a trip to Prague. Martin surprised me with the finished image;
I had no idea what he would do. When I saw the finished ex libris I
was pleased; Martin combined my musical and numismatic lives. I
recently asked him to make 20 additional prints and sign and number
them. These were sent to the 20 purchasers of the deluxe edition of
The International Engraver's Line."
THE RITTENHOUSE SOCIETY FOUNDERS
Dick Johnson writes: "Thank you for mentioning the founders of the
Rittenhouse Society in last week's E-Sylum: Q. David Bowers, Walter
Breen, Eric Newman, Ken Bressett, Grover Criswell, Ken Rendell and
myself. Add George Fuld's name to that list. All of us -- save Eric
-- were the approximate same age (slightly out of our teens at the time).
We considered ourselves the "Young Turks" of numismatics in those early
years. We were dedicated to helping each other in our chosen numismatic
endeavors and careers.
Each of us remained in numismatics and were to make our marks in the
field in our separate ways, except for Ken Rendell who switched over
to autographs and became a shining star in that field, (but I bet he's
got a secret numismatic collection hidden in his vaults!) The coin bug
bit every one of us pretty hard! Eric Newman, however, being slightly
older, we considered our ballast to reign in or encourage, on occasion,
our youthful unbridled passions for numismatics often times in the
Two of us have died (Criswell, Breen), but I have frequently wondered
what further accomplishments they could have achieved had they lived.
But throughout the fifty years of the Rittenhouse Society's existence
to every one of us, and the dozens of new members brought in later years
(of all ages!), it was our dedication to numismatic literature that fed
our burning interest in the field. We created it, collected it, but
more often, researched it for the knowledge we passed on to others.
Thus Rittenhouse members have all had a fondness for books and our
sister organization, the Numismatic Bibliomania Society, and I am certain
I speak for all members, in wishing it -- its internet offspring, the
E-Sylum, and its inveterate editor, Wayne Homren -- continued good luck
and long life. The same holds true for the Rittenhouse Society. Little
did we founders dream it would have been embraced by so many dedicated
numismatists in the intervening years."
THE NUMISMATIC MISADVENTURE OF JACOB WEIGEL OF NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ
Last week David Gladfelter asked if anyone had access to Homans's
Merchants and Bankers Almanacs for 1865 and 1866, to look up the names
of the president and cashier of the State Bank at New Brunswick, New
Jersey at a certain point in time.
In response Dave Bowers provided some raw research data about the bank,
but unfortunately it did not encompass the particular date David sought.
But Dave's note did include an interesting story related to the bank
from the 1901 volume of The Numismatist which might interest collectors
and researchers of New Jersey, San Francisco and Canada paper money:
"The best part of three pages of space was devoted to the curious case
of Jacob Weigel, a New Brunswick, New Jersey numismatist who was arrested
for fraud in the connection with the passing of obsolete currency issued
years earlier by the State Bank of New Brunswick.
Although a "most convincing and binding chain of circumstantial evidence
had been forged around Mr. Weigel," it developed that all he was doing
was selling to collectors and other interested people these notes as
souvenirs. All of this was explained in due course to Secret Service
agents, and item by item all of the damning evidence points were wiped
The problem came to light when some sharpies in California, who had
purchased the notes from Weigel, were passing them at face value in
San Francisco. It was stated that the idea was not a new one, and
other purchasers from Weigel had passed notes at face value in Montreal,
Canada (where Canadians mistook the notation New Brunswick as a
Canadian province, overlooking the words "New Jersey" in small letters).
After much embarrassment, Weigel's innocence was shown, but not until
after a Secret Service man unfairly seized many uncut sheets."
NOTES ON JAMES P. RANDALL
Dave Bowers writes: "I knew J.P. Randall and used to buy patterns
from him." Dave provided some raw biographical notes on Randall, which
I've edited as follows:
"James P. Randall offered a two-page spread of coins for sale, noting:
"My mail order sales for the month of April 1949 set a new high monthly
record for a period of 17 years." Randall was among the group of
American numismatists (Abe Kosoff, Sol Kaplan, Ambassador and Mrs. R.
Henry Norweb, Hans M.F. Schulman, John J. Pittman, James P. Randall,
Robert Schermerhorn, Paul Wittlin, Gaston DiBello, and Maurice Storck)
who attended the King Farouk "Palace Collections" auction in Cairo,
[Question: how complete is Dave's list of American Farouk sale
attendees? I believe Howard D. Gibbs was there as well, getting in
trouble with the local gendarmes for arriving with a weapon. Can
anyone confirm this, or add others to the list? -Editor]
Neil Shafer writes: "My collecting began as a youngster in Chicago.
I used to take the streetcar downtown after my violin lesson and go
around to the various coin shops. James P. Randall had such a shop
for a number of years in the 300 South block on Dearborn, near Leif
Ronning's shop. I went into Randall's shop a couple of times, but
he was not attuned to young collectors who did not want to buy rare
gold and the like. Randall handled high-quality pieces. I remember
one I wished I could have, an 1825 $2-1/2 gold piece in beautiful
condition. But what kid could afford to pay a hundred dollars? I
had a much better time at Ronning's who had a tray of low-value world
coins that I liked to go through. I have no idea when Randall moved
Bob Leonard writes: "James P. Randall was one of the more unsavory
coin dealers of the last century. Originally from Chicago, he joined
the Chicago Coin Club about 1940 as member no. 345. From 1943-47 he
was listed in the club directory as a dealer at 341 S. Dearborn St.,
Chicago. (A note in my copy of the 1947 Bulletin indicates that he
was single at that time.) No Bulletin was published in 1948, but the
1949 Bulletin gives his address as 116 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, still
a dealer. In 1950 he is listed at P.O. Box 361, Coral Gables, Fla.
Randall was ANA Life Member 170. (Unfortunately, the membership
directories are silent on the dates life memberships were granted.)
The 1957 ANA Membership Directory has him at P.O. Box 2205, Ft.
Lauderdale, Fla., while the 1964 directory (the last) shows him at
2300 Commonwealth Ave., Chicago. Randall advertised in The Numismatist
about 1960 and issued price lists of world coins (his specialty) in
the early 1960s and probably earlier. Trenchant editorials were
included in some of his lists.
Don Keefer (Aug. 24, 1899-July 4, 1954), a wealthy Chicago abortionist,
was an active member of the Chicago Coin Club in the late '30s and early
'40's, exhibiting rare and valuable Oriental coins at club meetings.
(The late Kurt Eckstein told me on August 2, 1999, that Keefer was
hunchbacked and had a speech impediment. He is pictured on p. 738 of
the October 1942 Numismatist.) His wife was Oriental, though no one
seems to know much about her. In the mid-1940's Keefer began collecting
Pioneer gold coins and bars; his name appears in Breen's Encyclopedia in
important pedigrees, and he purchased the "1860" Parsons bar from John
Ford in 1952.
According to Charles Opitz, citing Walter Boyer of Milwaukee, August
2, 2002, James P. Randall married Don Keefer's widow to gain possession
of his Oriental coin collection (John Ford had already purchased the
Pioneer gold coins and bars). Certainly Randall offered such material
in his later price lists. After the last coins were sold, Randall
divorced Mrs. Keefer.
Randall was also said to have been an outspoken anti-Semite, and to
have been expelled from one of the Florida coin clubs he joined."
PUNCTUATION STYLE ADVICE SOUGHT
Yossi Dotan writes: "I have a question concerning style in writing
narratives for my book "Watercraft on World Coins." I shall appreciate
to get help from readers of The E-Sylum to know the proper style for
spacing in connection with numbers and for hyphenation. My e-mail
address is yosdotan at bezeqint.net. Thank you very much!
>From the style guide which I follow I digested the following rule:
"Hyphenate if in adjective compound with a numerical first: 48-inch
floorboard; 6-sided polygon; 19th-century history; 60-odd. Don't
hyphenate (1) if the noun is possessive: 35 hours' work, and (2) if
the numerical relates to a lower-case abbreviation: a 24mm coin, a
3m-high mast, 5km.)."
Application of this guidance results in sentences like these:
-- The 11-mile (17km)-long Vasco da Gama bridge was opened in 1998.
[ Hyphen between number and the unabbreviated word "mile"; no hyphen
and no space between number and the lower-case abbreviated "km";
hyphen between the length and the word "long." ]
-- The reverse depicts a 14th-century Venetian galley. [ Hyphen in
adjective compound. ] In the 14th century Venice had become one of
the most powerful trading states in the world. [ No hyphen. ]
A friend was so kind to read the draft of my nearly finished book.
He suggested to add always spacing after the numbers and not to
hyphenate so often."
[Perhaps some of the professional journalists among our readership
could offer some advice on the topic. I'm just a hack. -Editor]
HEAP BAD MEDICINE: UTE CHIEF'S LIFE-SAVING LINCOLN PEACE MEDAL
Dan Freidus writes: "It's not quite a "life-saving coin" but there's
a medal with an interesting story. The ANS owns a silver Lincoln
peace medal which was supposedly worn by a Ute chief when he was shot.
Rather than seeing the medal as the reason for his survival, he saw
it as being responsible for his being shot.
The ANS record of this item is at
and you can see it in the ANS' exhibit at the NY Federal Reserve
Bank. This section of the exhibit has an online version, too (though
the photo of this specific medal seems to have been omitted):
The ANS has owned the medal since 1917, a gift from J. Sanford Saltus.
The online record indicates that the box has an article about this
specimen, though when I worked on the exhibit I believe this medal
was already in a tray separate from the box so I have not seen the
article. Perhaps that gives some info on the provenance between the
chief (around 1862, presumably) and Saltus."
[The ANS record notes that the medal was "sold by a Ute Indian in
Colorado who, in 1873, was in a skirmish with another tribe when a
bullet struck the medal which saved his life. He sold the medal calling
it "heap bad medicine" because it should have kept the bullet away from
him altogether." -Editor]
VOCABULARY WORD: BIBLIOMANCY
Bob Johnson forwarded the following item from the A Word A Day mailing
list, which I've mentioned a few times before in The E-Sylum. This
week's theme is words related to forecasting and divination.
"bibliomancy (BIB-lee-o-man-see) noun
Divination by interpreting a passage picked at random from a book,
especially from a religious book such as the Bible."
"If you are having a hard time deciding between turning groupie and
following your favorite band around or to stay put in your accounting
job, help is at hand. Try bibliomancy. Here's the step-by-step method:
1. Pick a book you trust a lot.
2. Put it on its spine, and let it fall open.
3. With your eyes closed, trace your finger to a passage.
4. Interpret the passage as your lifemap to the future."
[So, here's how numismatists can practice bibliomancy: take your
favorite numismatic reference off the shelf and let it fall open
as described above. Now point to a random passage. Whatever
numismatic item that passage pertains to, make it your lifelong
collecting passion, be it the U.S. Large Cents of 1793, the U.S.
coinage of 1873, Canadian Exhibition Fair Carnival Medals, Depression
Scrip clam money, National Bank notes, Connecticut Coppers, U.S.
Centennial Medals, Aramco gold discs, New Brunswick, New Jersey
paper money, watercraft on world coins, Lincoln peace medals or die
varieties of Lithuanian subway tokens. Or save the wear and tear
on your library and scroll to a random point in your weekly E-Sylum.
You never know what may catch your fancy. Live long and prosper!
FEATURED WEB SITE: CURRENCY GALLERY - LEBANON
This week's featured web site is the Lebanese currency gallery on
Banknotes.com, "one of the largest web sites for a world banknote
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 LittletonCoin.com
To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, just
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