The E-Sylum v9#49, December 3, 2006

esylum at esylum at
Sun Dec 3 19:15:28 PST 2006

Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 9, Number 49, December 3, 2006:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2006, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers are Dave Baldwin (courtesy of Harold 
Levi), Michael Doran, Eric Leighton, Chris Freeman and Daniel B. 
Van Voorhis.  Welcome aboard!  We now have 1,009 subscribers.

This week's issue is another beefy one.  Following up on the news 
of our 1,000th subscriber is news of a new tool we've created for 
numismatic researchers - a search engine restricted to only web
sites of numismatic interest.  

Former ANA Librarian Nancy Green recommends a fascinating book on 
the history and philosophy of collecting that should ring true for 
we inmates of bibliomania-world, and David Sklow, recent holder of 
that position, speaks out in Coin World about the organization and 
his dismissal.

The most far-reaching news this week is word of a judge's ruling that 
could lead to the redesign of U.S. paper money to aid the blind.  
Other important news, of interest to the many fans of minting 
technology among us, is word about the sale of The Gallery Mint, Inc., 
with reassurances that the fascinating traveling mint exhibit and Ron 
Landis' career as an engraver will live on.  

Dick Johnson and others provide additional background on the late 
William Louth, former head of Medallic Art Co.  Other readers provide 
details on the Italian Mint Museum.  Research queries this week 
include information on the 1792 Washington cent in gold.  

Private-issue money seems to be a theme this week, with items on Labor 
Exchange Notes, Liberty Dollars, and the Linden dollars of the online 
world Second Life.  Katie Jaeger discusses the scientific value of 
unearthed coins and other ancient artifacts.  To learn what several 
thousand joules of energy and do to a hapless coin, read on.  Have a 
great week, everyone!

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


Although reaching the 1,000 subscriber mark has been grabbing 
our headlines lately, it's not the only milestone worth noting.  
Dick Johnson writes: "This is my 500th article for E-Sylum. Thanks 
to Wayne Homren for creating this Internet venue and for allowing 
me -- as well as hundreds of other numismatists -- to vent virtually 
at will and unrestrained on a mélange of numismatic subjects. 

I write these articles as the mood moves me when some item in the 
news or in The E-Sylum triggers some thoughts I wish to share with 
others (my 67 years in numismatics – since February 1939 when I was 
9 years old – has provided me with the wide range of experiences 
in the field that I feel permits me to express these thoughts).

Wayne has added a new dimension to numismatic journalism, a new 
medium, in creating The E-Sylum. It provides a freshness to the 
field and a platform for those of us who want to inquire, to advise, 
to bitch, to gossip, to inform, to report, to discourse. Every 
reader has expanded his knowledge of numismatics by the weekly 
review of this Internet newsletter. I know I have learned immensely 
from just reading this weekly missal. This is shared now by 1,000 
kindred readers.

The E-Sylum has become a valuable numismatic information resource. 
But for whatever I write, or others write, it is edited by a super 
knowledgeable numismatist. What filters through our minds is again 
filtered through Wayne’s mind (the ideal function of an editor).

The E-Sylum reader receives a distillation of valuable numismatic 
lore unlike anything else and unavailable anywhere else. What you 
read each week is timely, numismatically appropriate and usually 
accurate. (If it is not accurate you will certainly learn that it 
isn’t so the following week – I like that! -- and I have experienced 
that feedback numerous times.) 

My only hope is that readers have found interesting whatever I 
have written. But the praise goes to Wayne for his unrequited 
effort in editing and publishing this every week, EVERY WEEK! 
For nearly ten years!! 

And a "thank you" also to the 119 readers who have responded to 
something I wrote, or, who wrote something that triggered my 
response. We shared a numismatic experience 227 times in these 
columns. (Infrequently I will write something outrageous just 
to elicit response from our readers – a recent example is an 
intermingling of William and Charles Barber’s biographies! 
After all, this is an audience participation organ.) Please 
continue to respond in the future! Good or bad, I welcome 
learning something new. I welcome criticism. I learn more from 
that than I do praise. Thank you all! Wayne, stage front and 
take a bow!"

[Thanks, Dick.  I'm not one for taking bows, but it is rewarding 
to know how well this little newsletter has been received across 
the hobby.  It's hard to top, but there's always room for 
improvement.  As we approached the 1,000 subscriber milestone 
I wondered to myself how make this body of information even more 
useful.  As luck would have it, a new feature rolled out by Google 
led me to roll up my sleeves and try something new - read all 
about it in the next item.  Please give it a try, everyone!  


Wouldn't it be great if you could do a web search ONLY on sites 
that relate directly to numismatics?  Well, now you can.  Using 
the sites previously discussed in our Featured Web Site section or 
mentioned in E-Sylum articles, I've created a numismatics-only 
custom search engine using Google.  Here's how I describe it on 
the new Coin and Paper Money search engine "home page":

"Search coin and paper money web sites hand-picked for some of the 
best numismatic research information available on the web. Many have 
been highlighted as Featured Web Sites in The E-Sylum, our award-
winning weekly email newsletter for researchers, writers and collectors 
of coins, medals, tokens, banknotes and other paper money. E-Sylum 
contributors include many of the top numismatic authors and dealers 
in the U.S. and the world."

The URL for the numismatic search engine is: 

The first web site added?  Our own, of course:  
This ensures that the back issues of The E-Sylum are included.   
Next came many of the top numismatic auction house sites, since 
there is a great deal of good research information there.  After 
that came many of the "usual suspects" - the major national, state, 
and specialty organization web sites, numismatic museums, mints, 
central banks etc.  Many of these also include some good research 

Then came the Featured Web Sites.  These are the real key to making 
the customized search engine useful.  Many came recommended by our 
readership and all have been vetted by me.  Sites with little 
original material, scanty content or offerings for sale with little 
accompanying information are excluded.  A number of sites are 
unfortunately no longer available, and these had to be excluded.   
The engine description says "hand-picked", and that's very true.  
Literally true as well - my mouse-operating hand is sore from all 
the clicking.

What's not included?  Mainstream publishing sites like the New 
York Times, sites relating to non-numismatic history, and sites 
dealing with non-numismatic literature.  Including these would 
dilute the laser-focus on numismatic topics. However, where 
individual pages on mainstream sites do refer to numismatic topics, 
these are included.  For example, archives many National 
Public Radio stories, and if a particular story relates to 
numismatics, that particular page is included in the index.  

Many E-Sylum articles refer to individual news articles from 
publications around the world, and these particular web pages 
(assuming they still exist) are in the search engine as well.  
For example, the query "50 states quarter launch ceremony" 
locates contemporary articles on the launch parties for the 
Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine and Rhode Island coins.

By excluding most non-numismatic sites, searches for numismatic 
connections can be very targeted.  For example, simply entering 
"Zachary Taylor" into the numismatic search engine produces 
references to Taylor medals in the E-Sylum archive, on the Stack's, 
Coin World, and the U.S. Mint sites.  The same search on the 
full-blown Google search engine produces little numismatic 
information.  Other name searches such as "Martin Beistle" are 
also quite targeted, excluding similar "hits" on most non-numismatic 
web sites.  Personal name searches are also quite informative - 
a very quick way to get broad background on any numismatic 
personality.  I know you're dying to do it, so go ahead - do a 
vanity search on your own name.

Searching for "Plagiarism" locates articles on numismatic 
plagiarism as well as sites with information on how to check for 
it or guard against it.  Searching for "Liberty Dollar" locates 
a large number of articles on NORFED's private coin as well as 
items on Seated Liberty Dollars.  

As with any search engine, the more specific your query, the more 
specific your query, the more targeted the results.  Using "seated 
liberty dollar" as a query, the result is a bullseye - the top 
links are the CoinFacts page on Seated Liberty dollars and a 
listing of Seated Liberty dollars lots sold by Bowers and Merena.  

To make the search engine as complete and current as possible, we 
rolled up our sleeves and built a tool to help.  Many thanks to 
John Nebel for creating a program to cull all web links from our 
E-Sylum archive.  After reviewing the list John's program generated 
and trimming it appropriately, I added these links to the search 
engine, bringing the total number of indexed web sites to well 
over 3,000.  NBS webmaster Bruce Perdue added a new page for the 
search engine to our web site for easy access.   

Each week John's program will extract the web links for all web 
sites mentioned in the latest E-Sylum issue, and I'll add these 
to the search engine to keep it current.

Remember, this is a work in progress.  A search engine is like a 
big hulking machine with lots of knobs and levers to push.  We'll 
continue to fine-tune it based on your feedback.  Please give it 
a try and keep coming back whenever you want a more targeted 
search for numismatic information. 

Have a web site that ought to be included?  Let us know.  Getting 
funny results? Not seeing the search results you expect?  Let us 
know that, too.  Based on your input we'll turn the knobs and 
levers and see if we can improve the search results for everyone. 
Write to me anytime at whomren at

To use the numismatic search engine, see:  


Former ANA Librarian Nancy Green writes: "I thought E-Sylum 
readers would like to know about an interesting book I have 
been reading: "To Have and to Hold: An Intimate History of 
Collectors and Collecting", by Philipp Blom. 

There is not much mention of numismatic collections but his 
discussion of the history and philosophy of collecting is 
fascinating. The book was published in 2002. The philosophy 
and psychology of collecting anything is one of my special 
interests. One is either a collector or not. There are degrees 
of obsession but the basic tendency is like a switch, either 
on or off. 
Thanks for all your excellent work in keeping us bibliophiles 
connected and providing a meeting place for discussions."


This must be our week for former ANA librarians.  David Sklow, 
former director of the ANA’s Library and Research Center, speaks 
out in a Guest Commentary in the December 11, 2006 issue of Coin 
World.  It's a lengthy piece and readers should see that publication 
for the full text.  With permission, here are the parts relating 
to library matters of particular interest to numismatic bibliophiles 
and researchers:

Sklow writes: "My removal from the staff can be directly attributed 
to my inquiries into budgetary matters. I questioned why funds 
donated to the library for book purchases are not used for that 
purpose. I also inquired as to when the funds from the annual 
Summer Seminar book sale would be available to the library for 
book purchases and was told these funds would go into the general 
operating budget. 

"When I asked the ANA’s fund development manager and the ANA’s 
controller why a library fund for library donations did not exist 
(other than the Bass Foundation Fund), why the library budget 
included retired employees’ dispersals and why the library’s 
salary line item far exceeded that of the employees in the 
department, I was given a warning ... that I had angered the 
executive director and that I was not to discuss financial 
matters with other staff members. 

"If you cannot discuss financial matters with the fund development 
manager and the controller, whom exactly can you ask? Certainly 
not the Finance Committee. It no longer exists."

[Below are links to two previous E-Sylum articles triggered by 
news of Sklow's dismissal by the ANA's Executive Director.  The 
first article includes the email addresses of ANA Board members 
for those wishing to contact the organization regarding these 
matters. -Editor]



Regarding the second article, Bill Rosenblum writes: "In October 
employees at ANA headquarters were visited by someone who wanted 
their opinion about the Executive Director for the possibility of 
extending his contract. They were told that their answers would 
be confidential although at least some did not feel they would be. 
The question is, who hired this person? Was it the Board?"


In response to a query by E-Sylum reader Nick Graver, American 
Numismatic Association Executive Director Chris Cipoletti writes: 

"The funds raised from the library book sale go to support the 
library.  The library is not self sustaining and even with money 
coming from the library book sale and other small donations, the 
library does not generate enough income to operate without support 
from other areas of the ANA.  So the book sale funds, even if more 
than budgeted, help offset library deficits.  

There is a budget for book purchases that is a part of our annual 
budget and that allows for purchase of materials for the library 
regardless of whether revenue projections for the library book 
sale are met or exceeded.  This expense item is approved by the 
board and is adjusted only by board action.

We are also planning a sale of duplicate materials from the library 
in 2007.  The funds raised from that sale are projected to go into 
the library fund (which is a part of what we call the endowment fund 
managed by Sanford Bernstein, our investment advisors).  Unlike the 
annual book sale in conjunction with Summer Seminar, which raises 
funds to assist library operations, the rare book room sale is 
designed to raise funds to support future purchases (capital for 
example) and major initiatives of the library, not general operations.  
I hope this helps explain the issue."


Stephen Pradier forwarded this November 28 FOX News article about 
a judge's ruling that could have long-lasting effects on U.S. 
paper money:

"American paper money represents an unfair impediment to the blind, 
and the Treasury Department must come up with new U.S. currency to 
help the visually impaired use cash, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge James Robertson said keeping all U.S. currency 
the same size and texture violates the Rehabilitation Act, which 
prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in government 

"Of the more than 180 countries that issue paper currency, only 
the United States prints bills that are identical in size and color 
in all their denominations," Robertson wrote in his ruling. "More 
than 100 of the other issuers vary their bills in size according to 
denomination, and every other issuer includes at least some features 
that help the visually impaired."

"In the lawsuit, which has been in the court system for four years,
government attorneys argued that forcing the Treasury Department to 
change the size of the bills or add texture would make it harder to 
prevent counterfeiting. Robertson was not swayed.

"The fact that each of these features is currently used in other 
currencies suggests that, at least on the face of things, such 
accommodations are reasonable," he wrote."

"Robertson wouldn't say how Treasury must do it, but he gave the 
government agency 10 days to start working on new bills that the 
blind can tell apart.

The Treasury Department refused to comment on the case, saying 
that it's still pending. Paré said that his organization wasn't 
involved in the lawsuit, and he can't speak for the Treasury 
Department, but he did "get the sense that it was going to be appealed."

To read the complete article, see:,2933,232503,00.html 

Andrew W. Pollock forwarded this article from The Washington Times:

The vending machine industry has already responded in protest of 
the decision:

"If the government is mandated to change U.S. currency, there would 
be a tremendous financial impact across a number of industries, 
including the automated vending industry," said Jim Brinton, a 
director of the National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA), 
a trade association of the food and refreshment vending industry.

There are 7 million food and beverage machines in the United States, 
and 1.5 million of them accept both $1 and $5 bills, according to 
NAMA. The vending machine industry would have to spend an estimated 
$200 to $300 to retrofit each machine, Mr. Brinton said."

To read the complete article, see: 


There is (understandably) a great deal of confusion in the numismatic 
community between the nonprofit Gallery Mint Museum Foundation (GMMF) 
and the original for-profit Gallery Mint Inc.  As noted previously in 
The E-Sylum, the nonprofit GMMF recently announced the establishment 
of its numismatic publications series.  This week, the sale of the 
for-profit Gallery Mint Inc. was announced, ending speculation over 
its fate and that of Ron Landis.  A press release was published on 
Thursday, and here are some key excerpts:

"Gallery Mint Inc., the private mint founded by master engraver Ron 
Landis and his late partner Joe Rust fifteen years ago, has been sold 
to a limited partnership that includes former GMI employees. The new 
company, Striker Token and Medal Inc., will continue operating in 
the same plant in northwest Arkansas and will continue producing 
the company’s signature high-quality reproduction coinage. 

".. in addition to offering reproduction coins, Striker will also 
now accept private commissions from individuals, businesses and 
coin clubs interested in low-volume runs of tokens and medals.

"We have totally redesigned the Mini-mint demonstration that 
was so popular at coin shows for the past decade ... The new 
exhibits and demonstration is scheduled to debut at the 50th 
Annual Money Show of the Southwest in Houston in late January, 

"Rust and Landis formed Gallery Mint Museum in 1992. In 2005, 
the company split into two different organizations: Gallery Mint 
Museum Foundation (GMMF), and Gallery Mint Incorporated (GMI). 
This sale completes the separation of the business side of GMI 
from the non-profit GMMF, a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to 
the preservation of the art and technology of the minting process. 
“Now that GMI has been purchased by Striker, there should not be 
any more confusion over the Gallery Mint name,” said Foster. 
“The only Gallery Mint is the non-profit museum.”

"The sale of GMI includes all of the minting equipment, dies and 
rights of reproduction to those dies. The company mailing address 
will remain the same but there is a new telephone system and WATS 
number. Landis will continue his association with the company he 
founded as a consultant. 

"For more information about purchasing reproduction coinage or 
placing an order for tokens or medals, contact Striker at 1-888-688-3330, 
email them at info at or write Striker Token and Medal, PO 
Box 706, Eureka Springs, AR 72632. For information about Striker Inc. 
contact Will Foster at 479-695-6043. The company’s website, will allow on-line purchasing of the company 
product line and will be operational shortly."


On November 30 the Danbury, CT News-Times published a lengthy obituary 
of Bill Louth, former head of Medallic Art Company.  The reporter 
interviewed former MACo employees Hugo Greco and Dick Johnson.  Here 
are some excerpts:

"William T. Louth, a former Danbury medal manufacturer whose company's 
customers included U.S. presidents, Pulitzer Prize winners and 
championship athletes, died Nov. 17 on Cape Cod. He was 80 years old 
and lived in West Harwich, Mass.

"Louth was the president and director of Medallic Art Co. in New York 
City from 1961 to 1976, having joined the firm, which was owned by his 
uncle, in 1946 after service in the Navy."

"William T. Louth greatly influenced medallic art in America for over 
two decades," said D. Wayne Johnson, who served as the company's director 
of research from 1966 to 1977. "He supported the high artistic standards 
for the firm while introducing medallic innovations. His leadership 
dominated the field, up to and including the American Bicentennial."

"Three of the inaugural medals were created while Louth headed the 
firm, a task that took him to Washington, D.C., to work with the 
incoming presidents and their inauguration committees, and ultimately 
to the White House for the presentation of a special gold version of 
the medallion to the new president.

"He could have gone alone, but he always took the sculptor who designed 
the medal," Johnson said. "He was always concerned with giving the 
sculptor credit."

"Louth grew up in Kokomo, Ind. At 18, he entered the Navy's V-12 
education program, attending Purdue, Notre Dame and DePauw universities. 
After World War II ended in 1945, he refused an officer's commission, 
preferring instead to serve as a seaman at Camp Shoemaker in Livermore, 
Calif., until his discharge in June 1946.

"A month later, the 20-year-old Louth joined Medallic Art Co. in New 
York, run at the time by his uncle Clyde Trees. Trees had worked there 
since 1919 and shepherded the company through the lean years of the 
Depression, when commissions were few and far between, and through 
World War II, when bronze, the primary component of medals, was in 
short supply because of military needs."

To read the complete article, see: 

Dick Johnson adds: "The article on was written by E-Sylum subscriber 
John Perro, a fellow member of the Litchfield Coin Club, after he 
interviewed both Hugo Greco and myself.  The article and picture 
appeared on page one of the second (B) section with long carry-over 
to second page."

[Many thanks to John and Dick for this great article on an 
important numismatic figure.  -Editor]

Dick Johnson writes: "Good wife Shirley and I drove to Cape Cod 
Saturday (Dec 2, 2006) to attend the memorial service for William 
T. Louth who died November 17th. Bill had been a luminary in the 
numismatic field for two decades spanning the 1960s and 70s. Both 
Shirley and I had worked for Medallic Art Company under Bill's 
presidency, culminating in the great outpouring of medals for the 
American Bicentennial 1976.
We knew the Louth family and had visited Bill several times 
recently, showing up with tape recorders in hand and pestering 
him with questions, the latest visit was September 25, just 25 
days before his death. (Reported here in The E-Sylum (vol 9, no 44, 
article 4). He was kind in answering all our questions and had 
sharp recall for these personal memories.
The memorial service was religious (as was Bill). Appropriately, 
near the end of the sermon the pastor held up a gift he had received 
from Bill. It was a very famous medallic work, the Mark Twain Birth 
Centenary Plaquette by Laura Gardin Fraser. He read the inscription 
on this 1935 plaquette and noted how true this was of Bill's life: 
"Always do right, this will gratify some people and astonish the rest." 
The large galvano with Bill's portrait by Gilroy Roberts was also on 
One wonders if the service for our life's heritage would be read 
from a medallic item and what would it say."

Responding to Howard Berlin's account of his unfortunate experience 
in attempting to visit the Italian Mint's museum, Richard Margolis 
writes: "Some 5-1/2 years ago, on June 11, 2001, to be specific,  my 
wife and  I, having attended the IAPN Congress in Rome, and having 
obtained details of the opening hours (9am-11am) beforehand, from the 
Internet, went to  via XX Septembre 97, where, in an office of the 
Ministry of the Treasury,  after showing our passports we were able 
to purchase tickets admitting us to the Numismatic Museum. 

It is my vague recollection that the museum had to be opened for us, 
and I definitely recall that we were the only visitors in the museum. 
It is a major museum, however, with thousands of Italian and other 
European coins displayed in vitrines, as well as hundreds of 
Benedetto Pistrucci's beautiful wax models also on view. 

A flyer that I picked up that day gives an overview of the collection, 
which it states consists of over 20,000 pieces, including 10,000 coins 
from the middle ages to the present,  some 6,600 medals, and 404 of 
Pistrucci's waxes. (Incidentally there isa handsome two-volume boxed 
set, rather scarce,  describing and illustrating all of these Pistrucci 
A few days later, however, in Firenze, we had a more Berlin-like 
experience. Having acquired all of the specific details beforehand 
as to hours and days of opening, we took a long,  expensive taxi ride 
to the suburbs in order to visit the Museo Ricardo Ginori of the Doccia 
Porcelain Factory. (I collect 18th century ceramic portrait medallions 
from as many different European factories as I can, and knew that 
Doccia had made some, although I don't have any in my collection). 

When we arrived and got out of the taxi we found that the entire factory 
was locked up tighter than a drum. Fortunately the taxi hadn't left, so 
we were able to take another long ride back to town. A nasty letter which 
I subsequently sent to Doccia detailing our experience of course received 
no reply."


Yossi Dotan writes: "It is unfortunate for Dr. Howard Berlin that 
he was unable to visit the Italian State Mint Museum at Via XX 
Settembre, Rome. In June 2002 I spent almost three hours in the 
museum, assisted by Ms. Buccolini (my knowledge of Italian is even 
less than her knowledge of English so I was unable to find out 
whether she is the curator). She was so kind to show me her cards 
pertaining to various coins I was interested in, from which I 
copied information for my files on modern world coins depicting 

The museum is in the building of the Zecca della Stato, the Italian 
State Mint. I went there to the security personnel, who phoned Ms. 
Buccolini to find out whether she could accommodate a visitor. 
After depositing my passport with them I was taken to the museum.

Obviously, the museum has a large collection of Italian coins, 
including those of its colonies in Africa, but there were also 
many world coins – and beautiful wax models for coins and medals. 

Back home I wrote to Ms. Buccolini at SAM at to thank her for 
her assistance. It may be advisable for Dr. Berlin, or other E-Sylum 
readers, to write to that address (hoping it is still valid) to find 
out the opening hours of the museum when they plan a visit to Rome."


Georges Depeyrot writes: "The Moneta web site is now updated. It 
is possible to have a look to one plate or one page of each of the 
volumes published in 2006.

"In 2006, Moneta published 11 numismatic volumes (2.714 pages; 37 
plates of drawings; 124 plates of photos). The subjects are various:

- Greek coins of Istros, Callatis and Tomis
- Quantifications and ancient numismatics
- Late roman coin finds in Dobrodja (Romania)
- Gold coins from the Institute of archaeology and from the 
   Academy of Romania (2 vol)
- Byzantine coin finds in USSR
- Coins of Liege (Belgium) (3 vol)
- Archaeology and numismatics in Midi-Pyrenees (France)
- Russian medals from Le Louvre

"A next group of books will be published in spring 07 
(Parthian coins from Tbilisi; Third/fifth Roman hoards; etc.)."

To visit the Moneta web site, see: 


Ed Krivoniak writes: "Here is a web site that deals with counterfeit 
coins -  it has just been updated to 6000 listings."  From a 
December 1 announcement:

"We are pleased to announce that the entire series of The IBSCC 
Bulletin on Counterfeits has been incorporated into 
with permission from the copyright holder.

Included are all the coins photographed, published and condemned by 
the IBSCC - the International Bureau of the Suppression of Counterfeit 
Coins. These all have been classed as "Forgery - Published" as they 
have been condemned by a recognised institution and will be the first 
to be displayed in any search.

The database now contains almost 6000 records - 3000 of these being 
published counterfeits. The database is by far the largest public 
counterfeit coin database in the world and is now an essential tool. 
All purchases made should be checked against this database to help 
verify authenticity."

To access the web site, see:


Rick Witschonke writes: "A clarification of my clarification: Holt 
wrote a book about the silver elephant medallions; no one (as far as 
I know) doubts their authenticity.  More recently, a gold coin was 
published, featuring a head of Alexander in elephant headdress and 
an elephant.  This unique coin was the subject of Holt's ARAMCO article, 
and is the piece that is condemned by Fischer-Bossert in his ANS 
Magazine article.  Readers may have been confused based on your 
intro to my clarification."

[Thanks for clearing the mud from my introduction.  A link to the 
item is shown below.  I had seen the ANS article, but regretfully 
read neither of the articles in detail.   -Editor]



George Fuld writes: "As it is well known Dr. George Hetrich and 
Julius Guttag wrote the first definitive study of Civil War tokens.  
Both authors had very large collections.  The Hetrich collection 
was auctioned off intact by a small auction house in Pennsylvania 
(Pennypacker) to Barney Sipos of Washington, Pa.  He died a few 
years later and I have no idea what happened to the collection.  

The Guttag collection of some 4,500+ pieces went to Max Schwartz 
of New York.  He remounted the collection in large Wayte Raymond 
coin boards.  It was sold to John Zug of Bowie, MD who advertised 
it for sale in The Numismatist.  It did not sell.  Upon his death 
it went to New Netherlands Coin Co. and we acquired it in 1958.  
It was integrated into our collection and duplicates disposed of."


Last week George Fuld asked for information on the 1792 Washington 
cent in gold (see link below).  Saul Teichman writes: "Breen, under 
number 1233 in his Encyclopedia lists it as coming from Colonel Green 
via Wayte Raymond and also mentions H.P. Smith after Parmelee."

[So the Parmelee coin went to H.P. Smith and ultimately found its 
way to Col. Green.  But how?  This is the pre-1925 pedigree gap 
George and Eric Newman are hoping to plug. -Editor]

Saul adds: "H.P. Smith was the buyer at the Parmelee sale under the 
nom de plume of "Clay" or "Celay" (the latter is an error by Don 
Taxay seeing a very fancy C handwritten with a loop at the end in 
a named sale catalog)."

"I do not know who Smith bought the coin for.  Since it was not in 
his personal collection as later sold by the Chapmans, it must have 
gone to someone else.  

"If it was for Dewitt Smith, then the coin would be in the Brand 
journals as Brand did purchase his colonials among other things, 
ditto if it was purchased by Dr. Hall.

"If it was for Granberg, then it might appear in the Newcomer 
and/or Col. Green inventories."

"Hopefully someone can check the above inventories to see where 
it came from."


Last week Bob Neale wrote: "Congress amended Statute One, the 
April 1792 basic coinage act, on 14 January 1793 to lower the 
coin's weight from 208 (Birch cent weight) to 164 grains (chain 
cent weight)."

Bob Julian adds: "The original weight was 264 grains. The weight 
of the cent from the first regular coinage in 1793 (Chain) to 
December 1795 was 208 grains. The weight was again lowered in 
December 1795 to 168 grains, where it stayed until 1857."

[These statements largely agree but differ in the ultimate large 
cent weight: 164 grains vs 168.  My handy Red Book gives the weight 
as 10.89 grams (not grains).  So what's that in grains?   A 
conversion calculator I found on the Internet says 168 grains.  See


On a related note, while looking for other things I came across 
this page on the Library of Congress web site containing the text 
of the ordinance  passed Oct. 16, 1786 by the Continental Congress 
for the establishment of a mint.  

and ALLOY of COIN.

"IT IS HEREBY ORDAINED by the United States in Congress assembled, 
that a mint be established for the coinage of gold, silver and copper 
money, agreeably to the resolves of Congress of the 8th August last, 
under the direction of the following officers, viz.

"An Assay Master, whose duty it shall be to receive gold and silver 
in bullion, or foreign coin, to assay the same, and to give his 
certificates for the value thereof at the following rates:

"For every pound troy, weight of uncoined gold or foreign gold coin, 
eleven parts fine and one part alloy, two hundred and nine dollars., 
seven dimes and seven cents, money of the United States, as established 
by the resolves of Congress of the 8th of August last, and so in 
proportion to the fine gold contained in any coined or uncoined 
gold whatsoever.

"For every pound troy weight of uncoined silver, or foreign silver 
coin, eleven parts fine and one part alloy, thirteen dollars, seven 
dimes, seven cents and seven mills, money of the United States, 
established as aforesaid; and so in proportion to the fine silver 
contained in any coined or uncoined silver whatsoever."

To read the complete text, see: 


Part 9 of the Herb & Martha Schingoethe Obsolete Currency collection 
(Smythe sale #268, New York, December 12-13, 2006) offers a large 
number of Labor Exchange notes, an alternate currency developed in 
the latter part of the 18th century used in numerous regions 
around the United States (see lots 2661-2688).  An Internet search 
turned up some additional information:

"Beginning with severe agricultural reversals on the Great Plains 
and throughout the South during the late 1880's, a business panic 
in 1893 turned what bad been a "traditional" economic downswing into 
the nation's first full-fledged industrial depression. Hard times 
produced armies of unemployed workers, crippling strikes, and the 
shrill demands of the Farmers' Alliance, the Knights of Labor, and 
the People's party for relief and reform. One response to depression 
was the sudden expansion of a cooperative organization, the Labor 

"The founder of the Labor Exchange was a sensitive, articulate 
Italian immigrant, G. B. De Bernardi, who farmed near Kansas City, Mo."

"Exchange Number One" tangibly expressed his plan for uplifting the 
downtrodden. The experiment's operation revolved around De Bernardi's 
pet monetary scheme, the use of a unique form of circulating medium 
known as "labor checks." According to the De Bernardi formula, members 
deposited products of their labor (clothes, shoes, food stuffs, etc.) 
in the exchange warehouse or "depository" and in return they received 
certificates (labor checks) which equaled the wholesale value of the 
goods. These certificates, issued in various denominations, circulated 
among the local membership and the community as well. Holders of labor 
checks, whether members or non-members, could present them at the 
warehouse for any desired commodities." 

To view an image of one of the Labor Notes see:  

[De Bernardi's system wasn't the first Labor Exchange - a similar 
note-issuing organization was the brainchild of Robert Owen in 
England in 1825. -Editor]

"Labor notes, a unique monetary experiment in early nineteenth-century 
England, bore a face value equivalent to a certain number of hours 
of work. The notes were the brainchild of (1771–1858), a successful 
textile manufacturer in England who rose to fame as a utopian socialist 
reformer at the beginning of the Industrial Age. He is famous in the 
United States for involvement with New Harmony, Indiana. In 1825 Owen 
purchased 30,000 acres of land in Indiana and launched New Harmony as 
a cooperative society, a project that would cost him 80 percent of 
his fortune before he abandoned it.

In 1832 Owen was publishing a penny journal, The Crisis, in which he 
publicized his plan to form an association for the exchange of all 
commodities upon the principle of the numbers of hours of labor 
embodied in each commodity All commodities that required the same 
amount of labor to produce were to be traded evenly, and other 
commodities were to be exchanged at ratios ruled by the number of 
hours of labor required to produce each one..."

"Exchanges opened in different regions, and one of the largest was 
in Birmingham, where two series of labor notes were issued in 
denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 50, and 80 labor-hours." 


On November 29th Philadelphia Inquirer published an interview with 
Joseph Menna, designer of the portraits of George Washington and 
Thomas Jefferson on the new dollar coins.

"When studying sculpture in Russia 10 years ago, Joseph Menna found 
his muse in a George Washington quarter.

The bond came from his longing for home and a pursuit of the perfect 
relief sculpture.

Now, his portrait of Washington is set to grace the front of the 
first in a series of presidential dollar coins.

"It's a head trip," said the soft-spoken South Jersey native, now 
an employee of the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia. "Designing Washington, 
that's the signature for me."

"Menna, 36, is not worried about the coins' performance - even against 
the still-popular paper bills.

"For him, his designs symbolize arrival at a destination he began as 
a child in Blackwood. He always wanted to be an artist, he said, and 
started honing his interest and skills after a stint at a summer arts 
program during high school."

"When the agency announced the presidential dollar program, Menna 
was assigned to draw James Madison - but he worked on the Washington 
and Jefferson coins on the side.

Ironically, his Madison design never made the cut. But he does not 
mourn it.

"It's such a great honor to design the first presidential coin," he 
said. "I still can't get my mind around it."

To read the complete article, see:


Rod Charleton writes: "In reference to what Fred Reed wrote about 
the Brooklyn Daily Eagle and searching newspaper microfiche... I'm 
not sure if you or your readers are aware, there's a great online 
reference site for newspapers.  The web address is  I've been a member for quite some time 
and it's a very quick and valuable tool for looking up newspaper 

It's no way near as complete as I would like to see from a research 
point of view.  But it does give you the ability to search thousands 
of newspapers without ever putting any gas in the car and driving to 
those local libraries in their respective states.  There is so much 
information in this database that I almost always find myself 
sidetracked looking at things other than numismatic interests.  Of 
course, for someone like me that loves history, it's easy to get 

To visit the Newspaper Archive, see: 

[The site bills itself as the largest newspaper archive online: 
Search 52.1 Million Pages • 648 Cities • 238 Years • 2,385 Titles. 
A subscription costs $7.95/month; a seven-day free trial is available.  
>From the web site:

", the largest historical newspaper database 
online, contains tens of millions of newspaper pages from 1759 to 
present. Every newspaper in the archive is fully searchable by 
keyword and date, making it easy for you to quickly explore 
historical content."  -Editor]


We don't usually reference eBay offerings, but Len Augsberger writes: 
"This seems worthy of a mention in The E-Sylum."  It's a hoard of over
11,000 Red Books and Blue Books from 1949 to 2005, an inventory 
accumulated over the year by Les Roosmalen.

To view the lot listing, see: 


The answer to last week's quiz question comes from Ed Rochette's 
article in the November 21 issue of Numismatic News (page 38):

"Quite fortunately, the original plans for the design of the ANA 
headquarters building had been scrapped in the name of good taste!  
The original architectural renderings proposed a round building 
with concrete reeded edges circumscribing the building, as if it 
were a giant coin laying flat."

"By the way, if you want to see a round building that was designed 
to look like a stack of coins, visit Iola, Wis., where Numismatic 
News is located.  It was built as a restaurant in 1980 by Cliff 
Mishler and is currently a Subway, where hungry staff can still 
get something to eat."


According to a November 28 press release, "NUMISMATIST, the official 
publication of the American Numismatic Association, will be available
at a limited number of independently owned newsstands and Kroger® 
supermarkets in 23 states beginning with the December issue.

The ANA has partnered with Anderson News Company of Atlanta, Georgia, 
to test the market for NUMISMATIST magazine at public news outlets. 
Approximately 4,300 copies will hit the stands in early December. 
The magazine’s cover will differ slightly from the version received 
By members and will include a UPC code in the lower left corner.

“As the premiere magazine for collectors of coins, tokens, medals 
and paper money, NUMISMATIST has a loyal and very enthusiastic following 
in the hobby community” says Editor-in-Chief Barbara J. Gregory. “We’re 
extremely proud of our publication and excited about sharing it with 
the public.”

[This would be a great way to both promote numismatics and raise 
awareness of the organization.  The competition will be tough, though, 
with several monthly numismatic magazines such as COINage already on 
the shelves.  -Editor]


The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) recently announced a new token, 
bucking (at least temporarily) the inexorable worldwide trend toward 
electronic fare payment systems.  The story was discussed by editor 
John Regitko in the November 26th issue of the C.N.A. E-Bulletin 
(v2n34) published by the Canadian Numismatic Association.  With 
permission, we're reprinting much of the article here:

"A total of 24 million tokens were previously in use. With the 
change in the tokens today, the old ones will no longer work in 
the turnstiles.

Twenty million of the new tokens were manufactured by Osborne Coinage 
of Cincinnati, Ohio ( at a cost of $1.7 million, 
or 8.5 cents per token. Explaining the TTC’s sole-source contract, a 
spokesperson stated that the firm offered unique security features 
that have made it a well-regarded supplier of casino slot tokens. One 
TTC manager estimated it will cost the TTC no more than several 
thousand dollars to modify each token receptacle to accept the new 

On average, the TTC estimates that it loses about $7 million a year 
through fraud, including gate jumping and the use of fake tokens and 
Metropasses. That loss represents just under 1 per cent of the 
system’s total revenue. 

Members of a cross-border counterfeit ring that cost the TTC about 
$10 million were arrested earlier this year, prompting the token 
redesign. “(It is a) much more complex token. There are edge markers. 
It’s textured,” said TTC spokesperson Marilyn Bolton. “We’re not 
announcing what the metals are.”

The new tokens are the size of a dime but vaguely resemble the gold- 
and silver-colored Canadian toonie. It incorporates design features 
intended to thwart would-be counterfeiters. The swirl pattern on the 
face of the coin and ridged edges will make the new token expensive 
to fake, TTC officials say.

Asked why the TTC doesn’t move away from the old coin and paper ticket 
fare formats and towards something like the bar-coded MetroCard commuters 
swipe at turnstiles in Manhattan, TTC Chair Howard Moscoe said it costs 
too much to build a whole new fare payment system. “It will take time 
and it is a huge cost, and now the province is making sounds about 
paying for a region wide fare card. I’d rather spend on new buses. 
Smart cards are coming.”

Although the new token was available for sale and use earlier today, 
you can still use the old tokens on the TTC transit system right up 
until January 31, 2007. After January 31, 2007, the old token can no 
longer be used as TTC fare. Starting January 2, 2007, an old token 
can be exchanged for a new token at selected locations. Or you can 
simply hang onto them as traders with other vecturists."

For an illustration of the new token and further details, go to "


Len Augsburger forwarded an article about the money used in Second Life, 
a web site/game/virtual world that has attracted a loyal user base and 
lately, plenty of publicity.  He writes: "This article starts to change 
the whole notion of what money really is......."  Here are a few excerpts:

"Anshe Chung, a real-estate tycoon in the digitally simulated world known 
as Second Life, has apparently become the first virtual millionaire--i.e., 
someone whose holdings in a make-believe world are legally convertible 
into genuine U.S. currency worth more than $1 million."

"Second Life's creators and denizens do not like it to be called a game
--you don't shoot at monsters while you're there, for instance--but it 
might be categorized nonetheless as a special variety of so-called 
massively multiplayer online role-playing game (or MMORPG for relatively 
short), albeit one that is more akin to SimCity than to World of Warcraft. 

In Second Life, subscribers get a tool kit that enables them to build 
and create an avatar (a character in the world). They also get a small 
quantity of Linden dollars to start out with, enabling the participant 
to buy additional tools and objects within the world itself. Linden 
Lab converts currency at a floating rate that, at the moment, is about 
257 Linden dollars per U.S. dollar.

Though you can buy additional Linden dollars from Linden Lab by paying 
U.S. currency, Chung says she has made all her additional Linden dollars 
via in-world buying, building, trading, and selling. The lion's share of 
it, she says, has been made by buying, developing, and then renting or 
reselling "land"--i.e., control over the virtual real estate simulated 
by Linden's servers."

To read the complete article, see:

The reader comments following the article are plentiful and come at 
the issues from all sides.  They make great reading as well - here 
are a few:

"This is nothing more than a pyramid scheme. For a few to get rich, 
many more will have to give up their real money. No real wealth can 
be created in a virtual world."

"This is the future of the Internet and world wide economy. Everyone 
wondered why you would buy virtual real estate during the birth of 
the Internet. Now the domain name market has made many millionaires. 
All businesses who rely on web pages have the same risk if ever the 
servers were to shut down. There will be many more millionaires made 
in Second Life and other virtual worlds. Virtual World Real People."

"All value is virtual. A piece of land, a book, a car, a stock, a 
painting, any good or service you can name -  it doesn't matter whether 
it actually exists or not. What does matter is if people want it, and 
what they will pay for it. Where there is any demand and finite supply, 
there is value."

"Second Life is rife with casinos where one may bet, win or lose, 
Linden Dollars. Since these are, as mentioned in this article, convertible 
to US Dollars, does Second World not run afoul of the new US prohibition 
against online gambling?"

"I actually do think the time is coming when "virtual" property is given 
a legal value and therefore, a true physical presence. Remember, our 
technological laws are based mostly on telephone and telegraphs, radios 
and TV's. The time is now to re-write the law of the virtual world as 
it becomes more a part of our daily world..."

"Actually, the US Congress is in the preliminary stages of probing 
virtual economies. That should be considered a good indicator of how 
lucrative this virtual "waste of time" (as some have deemed it) can be."

[Put me in the "money is what people agree it is" camp.  As I've often 
noted when discussing private currencies such as Labor Exchange Notes 
or Liberty Dollars or Boggs bills, the "real" value of any currency 
exists only because the parties to a transaction agree on that value.  

The Linden dollars may be convertible to U.S. Dollars, but those dollars 
are just as "virtual" - they only have a value because my fellow citizens 
agree to accept them in turn for the "real" things I want - food, 
clothing, shelter, entertainment, Internet access or ... a piece of 
virtual real estate.  -Editor]


Speaking of the Liberty Dollar, its creator Bernard von NotHaus has 
published the November 2006 issue of his commentary, and the recent 
U.S. Mint position is having many repercussions.  In an opening segment 
headlined "Liberty Dollar Faces Extinction", von NotHaus writes:

"The Liberty Dollar is now under attack from
our bank. On Monday, 
November 20, the Evansville office received a certified letter from 
our bank, Old National Bank, which said: "Please be advised that if 
you do not close the Account within 15 days of the date of this letter 
(11.16.06), Old National Bank will exercise its right to close the 

Had we bounced checks? Nope, not a one. Were we a difficult customer? 
Definitely not. Had we done anything to warrant the bank to close our 
account? No, but obviously something upset the banking powers to be. 
The VP for Bank Security, who ordered the letter, told us that they 
had investigated our business and said that the "nature of our business" 
was too risky for them..." 

"The Liberty Dollar is clearly under siege. Quite simply, without a 
bank account and merchant card services, it is all but impossible to 
do business in this day and age. We face the real possibility that 
the Liberty Dollar could die... and put all the ideals it stands for 
at risk! A very sobering thought I dare say."

[The newsletter goes on to say that the organization's recently hired 
Executive Director, Mike Johnson, has resigned.  It also has an account 
of a proponent's recent Wal-Mart visit, where $60 worth of Liberty 
"coins" and certificates were "spent". -Editor]

To read the complete newsletter, see: 


Also in Bernard von NotHaus' November 2006 newsletter is announcement 
of a new version the Liberty Dollar.  He writes: "So what do I do in 
my spare time? Recently when I had a couple of days, I went to Hawaii 
for the weekend and launched a Hawaiian version of the Liberty Dollar.

Announcing the new 2007 Hawaii Dala featuring King Kamehameha on the 
obverse with a Face Value of $20 so if you are inclined, you can 
actually use it as voluntary kala because one Hawaiian Dala is equal 
to one US dollar. Check out the photos:

What is to come? A lot! The six historic mega designs I did for the 
30th anniversary for the old Royal Hawaiian Mint in 2004 will be issued 
in three sizes for a total of 18 issues. One design per size per month. 
The six designs are: Kamehameha, Liliuokalani, Kalakaua, Kaiulani, 
Warrior, and Discovers. The three sizes at the current $20 Silver Base 
will be: one ounce $20 Hawaii Dala, a half ounce $10 Hapalua Dala, and 
a quarter ounce $5 Hapaha Dala. All in .999 fine silver. 

In addition to each of these 18 silver Dala issues, a minimum of 100 
of each issue will be hallmarked with a micro hand stamp with the outline 
of the Hawaiian Island to denote First Day of Issue. And an additional 
minimum of 100 will also be hand numbered 001 to 100 with the FDI 
hallmark. Both of these Limited Issues will be available at a premium 
to Face Value and market priced."
To read the complete newsletter, see:  

[The designs seem very nicely done; the images provided appear to be of
proof examples.  -Editor]


Rick Witschonke writes: "The item on the Westchester County Coin Club 
brought back fond memories.  In the early 60s, I became interested in 
coins, and the fellow who was the counselor for the Boy Scout coin 
collecting merit badge was a member of the club.  He started taking 
me to the meetings, which opened a whole new world for a 15 year old.  

The club met at the New Rochelle YMCA, and the cigar smoke was so thick 
you couldn't see across the room.  I remember in particular Ernest 
Wiedhaus, who looked like he had stepped out of the 19th century, and 
Ed Janis, with his wonderful large cents.  Everyone was very kind and 


Regarding the British World War I Memorial Plaque (also called the 
Dead Man's Penny), Philip Mernick writes: "As already mentioned these 
are (unfortunately) still very common in the UK and frequently seen at 
antiques centres and militaria shows. I understand, however, that there 
were a small number made to commemorate the deaths of women. In those 
days women were not enrolled as soldiers but many served in medical 
positions close to the front. I believe that most or perhaps all of 
the plaques were awarded to nurses, but do not know how many were 
issued. Having never seen one illustrated, I do not know if they had 
the same design or even if they were the same size. I have, however, 
heard that they have been faked due to their rarity and consequent value."


On November 29 the Australian Broadcasting Corporation aired a story 
about the recent Bonhams & Goodman sale of the Bernard Gordon Victoria 
Cross medal.  A transcript of the piece is posted on the web.

"Like so many other young Australians, Tasmanian-born, Lance Corporal 
Bernard Gordon found himself on the other side of the world in 1918.

And it was there, in France, that he fought his way into history, 
awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery.

His medal, the rare and highest military honour for a Commonwealth 
soldier was sold at auction in Sydney last night for almost half a 
million dollars."

To read the complete transcript, see: 


Katie Jaeger writes: "Reading last week's item entitled "TEMPLE TROVE 
load of memories, especially the following: "...the Waqf dug a large 
pit, removed tons of earth and rubble that had been used as landfill 
and dumped much of it in the nearby Kidron Valley....Though Israel's 
archaeological establishment had shown no interest in the rubble, 
Zweig was sure it was important..."

Why would archaeologists have no interest in rubble removed from a 
Biblical-era archaeological site?  Because it is unstratified.  That 
is, artifacts which are no longer in situ cannot be reliably used to 
tell you much about the site from which they came.  Between 1976 and 
1981, I spent five summers on digs in Israel.  It was where I first 
heard the word "numismatist," because the first dig I participated 
in at Tel Aphek (site of Herod's mercantile capital, Antipatris) had 
a numismatist on staff, and I had to ask, "what's that?".  It was 
there that I learned the importance (and drawbacks) of using coins as 
tools for dating the structures amidst which they are found.

I have two Herodian and one Byzantine coin sitting in my jewelry box 
today, that I brought home with me in 1976. Rules for removal of 
artifacts from Israel were just as tight then as they are now, but 
I had permission to take these, because I found them in Aphek's dirt 
dump.  Moshe Kochavi, who is now head of Israel's Department of 
Antiquities, was our dig director in 1976. 

At that time, Tel Aviv University was conducting excavations all 
over the country and had limited funds, so he ordered the opening 
of some sites with a bulldozer, before the expensive-to-maintain 
hordes of American and European university volunteeers arrived. 
American archaeologists found this shocking, but it was only 
practical...the upper layers of soil above a site have been disturbed 
by wind, water, insects and worms anyway and any artifacts on the 
immediate surface are considered unstratified, and therefore 
scientifically useless.  And of course, many probes had been 
conducted prior to bringing in the heavy equipment, so they had a 
pretty good idea at which point to bring in the diggers with our 
little picks and brushes.

On lazy afternoons, when it was too hot for sane people to be out 
in the field and when the rest of the crew were napping, I and a few 
others would go to the dirt dumps with metal detectors, because we 
were allowed to keep whatever we found. Aphek was one of the most 
fascinating sites in about strata!  Due to the presence 
of an artesian spring there, it was continuously occupied from the 
Early Bronze age to the present.  

In one summer, in five different areas, we were excavating Early 
Bronze dwellings of mud brick, Iron Age four-room houses of limestone, 
the main street of Herod's Antipatris (complete with paving stones, 
curbed sidewalks and shops), and a Byzantine-era patrician villa 
floored with mosaics.  A ca. 1400 AD Turkish fort stood complete 
on the site, and the dig team of about 150 people from all over the 
world lived in pre-1948 British Army barracks.  A sift through the 
dirt dumps produced potsherds, coins, glass fragments, mosaic tesserae, 
and what have you, from all these periods.

Anywhere you go in the ancient world, Jordan, Iraq, Syria...artifacts 
like potsherds, coins, even the occasional scarab (in Egypt) can be 
found lying on the ground. Natural geological and biological processes 
sift them gradually toward the surface.  On the Mediterranean beach at 
Caesarea, I found hundreds of pottery artifacts...worn by wind and 
water to be sure, but clearly recognizable to the trained eye, as to 
what era produced them. 

Because it is unstratified, it is generally OK to keep anything you 
find on the surface as long as you are not on an active dig site, 
national historic site, or shrine.  (The same is not true in the U.S.)

Anyway, those truckloads of Jerusalem rubble are interesting, and 
should be investigated, but their scientific value is limited."


On November 29th the Associated Press reported that "A house painter 
was sentenced Tuesday to six months in jail for stealing a 4-pound 
gold bar from NBA agent Dwight Manley's home and selling it to a coin 

An Orange County Superior Court judge also sentenced Lawrence Wach to 
three years probation after he pleaded guilty to burglary, grand theft 
and petty theft of a pawn broker.

Wach was also ordered to have no contact with Manley nor the dealer 
who bought the bar in exchange for $9,500 and 40 ounces of gold."

"The bar, made during the California Gold Rush, was valued at about 
$500,000 and was stolen from Manley's home nearly a year ago while 
Wach was working there, police said."

To read the entire article, see:

[The article notes that the painter is repaying the dealer he sold 
the bar to.  Word around the hobby is that the dealer was in negotiations 
to resell it for a six-figure markup to another dealer who was expecting 
to add his own six-figure markup before placing the bar with a client.  
By "six-figure" we're not including the numbers to the right of the 
decimal point.  

If such a deal had come to pass, but one can't help but wonder who 
would be seen as the biggest thief.  Everyone has to make a living and 
in a free society there's no law against profiting to the greatest 
extent the market will bear.  Numismatic ethics isn't our purview here, 
but four-pound gold bars don't just haul themselves up from the bottom 
of the ocean and land in a painter's lunchbucket every day.  Didn't the 
deal smell just a teensy bit from the get-go?  -Editor]


"Lincoln and his memorial are taken by the penny. And E Pluribus 
Unum is already standard on U.S. coins.

But with a host of new Democrats in Congress, the District might 
finally get a chance to ponder those numismatic issues via the D.C. 
Coin Bill, which Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) has been trying 
to get passed for years.

The bill would allow the District to participate in the U.S. Mint's 
50 State Quarters Program and come up with a unique design for the 
reverse of a special-issue quarter."

"The design would have to be "emblematic," according to the law that 
authorized the program, and it could not be "frivolous or 

"Bill Krawczewicz, who designed the Maryland quarter, says you don't 
have a lot of space, so you need something iconic.

"And for a motto, how about: Potius sero quam numquam (Better late 
then never)?"

To read the complete article, see:


Relating to the new U.S. Presidential dollars discussed last week, 
which required-by-law features are nowhere to be found on the obverse 
or reverse of the coins?


Bill Rosenblum writes: "The following was in the Rocky Mountain News 
gossip column this morning, (Nov. 30)"

"EAVESDROPPING on a man talking about a store in the Aurora Town 
Center: "I was trying to buy a watch battery with Susan B. Anthony 
dollars. The clerk said, 'No, we only take American money.' " 

To read the complete article, see:


Perhaps many of you have seen this already, but it was new to me 
this week.  Coin designer Daniel Carr offers examples of an alternative 
design for the New York statehood quarter called the "Defiant Finger 
Tower"  On the not-for-family-usage design, a new building sends a 
not-so-subtle message to would-be terrorists.

To view an image of the coin, see:  


David Fanning writes: "Check this out: it hardly qualifies as 
numismatic research or of bibliomaniac note, but those E-Sylum 
subscribers who (like me) grew up trying to use their chemistry 
sets to blow stuff up will likely enjoy it."

[David forwarded a link to a Popular Science article titled 
"Making Small Change Smaller" -Editor]

"Take, for example, my friend Bert Hickman, a retired electrical 
engineer living outside Chicago: He rather enjoys using magnetic 
force to smash coins to roughly half their normal size. (He then 
sells them on eBay, of course.) 

"Bert begins the coin-shrinking process by wrapping a quarter in 
copper wire and bolting the leads to copper bus bars, which are 
connected, by way of a triggered spark gap, to a 600-pound bank 
of 12,000-volt capacitors. A bulletproof blast shield encloses 
the coin and coil, and a high-voltage power supply charges up the 
capacitors. The only thing holding back the several thousand joules 
of energy stored in the capacitors is the tiny space between the 
spark gap's two brass discs. 

"Pressing a switch triggers the spark gap, which releases the entire 
charge through the coil in 25 millionths of a second. This creates 
a huge magnetic field, which induces a current and then a magnetic 
field inside the coin, which in turn pushes back against the field 
outside. The repulsion force between these two fields crushes the 
metal, instantly taking a quarter down to the size of a dime. 

"Bert happily takes custom orders by mail... "Clad" U.S. coins, 
such as quarters, work best-they contain a conductive copper core 
sandwiched between a nickel-copper alloy-but most metal currencies 
will do the trick."

To read the complete article, see: 

To visit the coin-shrinker's web site, see: 

For some great images of shrunken coins, see:


This week's featured web site is on the WWII emergency and guerrilla 
paper money issues of the Philippines.

"The purpose of this site is to illustrate the indomitable will of 
the human spirit, and to show the many sides of conflict.  This will 
be accomplished through the use of the currency which was made for 
use during, and immediately following, WWII in the Philippines.  
The Guerrilla money, which is the main focus of this web site, was 
accepted out of both national pride as much as necessity.  To be 
caught by the Japanese with this money was often punishable by 
public execution." 

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

To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, just 
Reply to this message, or write to the Editor at this 
address: whomren at

Those wishing to become new E-Sylum subscribers 
(or wishing to Unsubscribe) can go to the following web page:

All past E-Sylum issues are archived on the NBS web site at this address:

Issues from September 2002 to date are also archived at this address:

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