The E-Sylum v9#50, December 10, 2006

esylum at esylum at
Sun Dec 10 20:14:53 PST 2006

Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 9, Number 50, December 10, 2006:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2006, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers is Tom Hoffman. We now have 1,011 
subscribers.  Welcome aboard!

This week's issue opens with news from the top numismatic literature 
dealers of our day, Doug Saville and George Kolbe.  On a sad note, 
David Ganz notes the passing at age 91 of a U.S. Mint Sculptor-Engraver.
Our numismatic search engine gets rave reviews, but the Newspaper Archive 
gets a thumbs down from one reader.

It's been a great week for new books - this issue includes reviews or 
announcements of no less than five new titles, including the Santiago 
Mint book by Carlos Jara and Alan Luedeking, Whitman's new book on U.S. 
Civil War numismatics, and the new book on Minnesota Obsolete Bank 
Notes & Scrip.

In numismatic museum news, Howard Berlin reports from Berlin, Germany, 
and the American Numismatic Association announces a new head of Museum, 
Library and Research Services and a new Deputy Executive Director for 

In a move widely anticipated for some time, the family of Izzy Switt 
has sued for return of the ten 1933 double eagles confiscated by the 
U.S. Mint.

And finally, which medals designed by Gustav Vigeland were awarded 
today?  And what eye-popping rare coin was (probably not) deposited 
in a Salvation Army donation kettle recently?  Read on to find out. 
Have a great week, everyone!

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


Douglas Saville writes: "At the end of August I left Spink and have 
started my own business.  The web site is only just taking shape so 
there are not that many books up there for the time being, but I hope 
there will be soon."

[Best wishes to Douglas for the success of his new enterprise.  Our 
lives as bibliophiles would not be the same without numismatic 
literature dealers to feed our habits.  Please support Douglas and 
check back frequently for new stock.  The following excerpts are taken 
from his web site, where he kindly promotes NBS and The E-Sylum. 

"Douglas Saville Numismatic Books specialises in buying and selling 
numismatic books of all periods, and in all languages...  Our stock 
includes books, manuscripts, periodicals and ephemera relating to 
coins, medallions, tokens, orders, decorations and medals."

"After 38 years with Spink, London, I have decided to start my own 
business. During my long career with Spink I have dealt with a very 
large number of collectors, dealers, libraries, museums, and the 
academic community in all parts of the world. I have travelled 
extensively in Europe and in the United States and elsewhere, and 
have met a vast number of interesting people, who share an interest 
in numismatics. I have always believed in the fundamental importance 
of personal contact, trust and good faith in conducting my business. 
I fully intend to continue to deal with my customers on that basis.
"Over the past 38 years I have been instrumental in helping to form 
many exceptional private libraries of numismatic material. I have 
also have been involved in the dispersal of many major libraries, 
including that of Sir Edward Robinson (Stanley Robinson, Keeper of 
Coins, British Museum) (Spink Coin Auction 13, 1981)."

Much more recently, we purchased outright the fine library of Professor 
Georges Le Rider, Director of the Cabinet des Medailles at the 
Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris. I catalogued and offered for sale almost 
1000 items in a fixed price retail catalogue (Numismata Graeca. A large 
selection of Numismatic Books from the library of Georges Le Rider. 2005)
"We have handled many fascinating and important volumes including, 
most recently, perhaps one of the greatest of the numismatic portrait 
books – Johann Huttich's Imperatorum Romanorum Libellus, 1525. The 
importance of this particular volume was that it had been owned by 
perhaps the most famous of all the humanist bibliophiles, Jean Grolier. 
We paid, at auction, in excess of 102,000 euros for it."

To visit Doug's web site, see:  


Numismatic literature dealer and NBS co-founder George Kolbe writes: 
"A potpourri of things are going on in GFK land:

Nearing publication is John W. Adams' landmark reference work on 
Comitia Americana and other related early American medals, including 
the Libertas Americana pieces. Brim full of historical and technical 
information never published before, it is destined to become an 
instant classic. The illustrations may be the finest ever appearing 
in a modern American numismatic work, utilizing the stochastic printing 
process which, like photography and classic photographic printing 
processes, allows for enhanced detail under magnification.

Numismatic Bookseller No. 48 "Moving Sale" is now accessible at our
website: We thank the nearly 200 persons who ordered 
items from the printed version of this fixed price list of bargain 
books. Because of them, the revised version of the list now online 
has shrunk from 32 pages to 16. Lots of good things are still available 
and even those on our mailing list may wish to take a second look at 
items "currently" unsold.

Auction sale 102 has been rescheduled to March 15, 2007; auction 103, 
slated to feature the second part of the Alan Meghrig Library, is 
scheduled for June 7, 2006.

Lastly, construction is moving apace and we hope to be in our new 
facilities in early Spring 2007. Our thanks to all of those who have 
wished us well.

On another front, I urge all members of the American Numismatic 
Association to become involved in the upcoming elections. The future 
of the organization is in peril. Without assigning blame, in my 
opinion it is time for wholesale change and a recommitment to core 
principles upon which the association was founded. Recent and 
upcoming editorials in Coin World and elsewhere provide a variety 
of views and it appears that there will be a wealth of new candidates 
running for the board. 

We should remember that founder Dr. George Heath was both a coin dealer 
and a coin collector; that ANA was meant to serve both; and that the 
humble beginnings of ANA should remind us that grandiose schemes to 
raise cash in an effort to broaden the base of the organization may 
be having an opposite effect. At the least, it is alienating many 
longtime supporters. John Ford often reminisced about the "days when 
coin collecting was fun." I believe that it still can be and for many 
it is. 

I will be voting for members of the Board of Governors of the 
American Numismatic Association whose views best further that 


David Ganz forwarded this obituary from the Philadelphia Inquirer:

"Edgar Zell Steever 4th, 91, formerly of Devon, a sculptor-engraver 
at the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia for 38 years, died of kidney failure 
Nov. 26 at Mystic Academy, an assisted-living facility in New London, 

"Mr. Steever's design projects at the Mint included commemorative pieces, 
such as a gold coin honoring Frank Lloyd Wright and a medal honoring 
George and Ira Gershwin; currency for foreign countries; half-dollar 
coins for the Atlanta Summer Olympics and the centennial of the Statue 
of Liberty; and the reverse side of the Virginia state quarter. He was 
proud to have so much of his art find its way into people's pockets, his 
son Stanford said. Mr. Steever won an art award in 1996 from the 
American Numismatic Association. He retired from the Mint in 2002.

"Mr. Steever earned bachelor's and master's degrees in fine arts from 
Yale University, where he met Emily Barringer, a painter. After they 
married in 1941, they lived in Talmadge Hill, Conn., where Mr. Steever 
taught sculpture and executed numerous commissions, including a life-size 
bronze of a leopard, the mascot of Lafayette College in Easton, his 
hometown. He joined the Mint in 1964."

To read the complete article, see:


Regarding our new numismatic search engine, Dave Bowers writes: "I've 
just added new website to my "favorites" list." Anne Bentley of the 
Massachusetts Historical Society adds "BRAVO!  And I add my thanks 
for the incredible job you do on this publication!!"

Roger deWardt Lane of Hollywood, Florida writes: "The new numismatic 
search engine a real winner! You hit another 'Homren' out of the 
ballpark.  I tested the search engine a couple of times, with good 
results and if you can not find what you are looking for, you can 
'search the web' as available near the top of the page.
"One thing I'd like to suggest to users: after you test the 'numismatic 
search' link, take a second to bookmark the URL as a 'favorite'.  Then 
do as I do, move it up to near the top of your list, right after 'Google', 
'Yahoo', and now' Numismatic Search'.  Another real service to the hobby!"
[Thanks for your comments.  Please keep us posted on your experiences 
with the search engine, both good and bad.  Here's the URL again, and as 
long as you're adding to your Favorites list, I'd suggest also including 
the link to the comprehensive E-Sylum table of contents page.  It's 
updated weekly and contains links to EVERY E-Sylum item ever published, 
over 6,000 in all.  It takes a few seconds to load, but you can then use 
your browser's "Find" feature to search headlines for articles of interest. 
Or just scroll through the list and browse.  For longtime subscribers, 
it'll be a trip down Memory Lane.

Numismatic Search Engine 

E-Sylum Complete Table of Contents 


Don Cleveland writes: "I tried out and after a 
couple of hours playing with it, found it a bit disappointing.  "No 
problem", I thought, "I can just cancel, since they had offered a 
seven days free trial."  Well, you cannot imagine the red tape 
involved!  The process could not be more difficult. 

You cannot cancel on line.  First, you have to tell them you want to 
cancel. Then, you MUST answer a long list of questions about why you 
wish to cancel. After working to the end of the questions, you MUST 
download and print a form, which MUST be filled out, including repeating 
why you wish to cancel, signed, dated, and, last, FAXED back to the 
Newspaper Archive people. 

Further, they offer 7 days free trial, but you will be charged if you 
do not give them 72 hours advance notification of your cancelling.  
I did not get a warm and fuzzy feeling dealing with them."

[We're sorry to hear about Don's problem with the service.  It may 
or may not be right for each individual's research needs, but at 
least now others who might venture into trying it know what they 
could be getting into.  Thanks for the feedback.  -Editor]


Carlos Jara writes: "The Santiago Mint book is finally available, 
and ready to ship. Here is a review by Adolfo Cayon:

"Carlos Jara's and Alan Luedeking's latest book, "Las primeras 
acuñaciones de la Casa de Moneda de Santiago de Chile: 1744-1772" 
is published and ready to ship from Miami. This work, a bilingual 
book in both Spanish and English, book covers all the early issues 
of the Santiago Mint from 1744 to 1772: with the help of previously 
unpublished documentation, the authors were able to construct the 
previously unknown mintage figures for this period. 

"Much historical information is also provided, along with a complete 
catalog with pictures and rarity rating for all the coins. It is 
printed in luxury glossy paper, with hardcovers, and is 692 pages 
long. Price is 200 U$ postpaid (the book weighs about 7 pounds). 
Here is a review of this work by noted Spanish numismatist, 
Adolfo Cayon:
"Carlos Jara and Alan Luedeking have written, or, better still, 
gathered -since their work provides precise information directly 
obtained from the original documentary sources related to the 
Spanish Colonial Santiago Mint of Chile- an extraordinary book, 
a superb work. Being a member of the academic world, I obtain 
utmost satisfaction in reading a work of such scientific rigueur 
which abounds in data, historical accounts and even anecdotes 
related to the studied period. 

"If we add to this rigorous scientific and researching methodology 
the pure numismatic knowledge of someone who has seen coins (a fact 
scandalously absent from the numismatic academic world) in public 
and private collections, dealers and conventions from all over the 
world, we obtain a result which is extraordinary in its quality and
magnitude, since the work is almost 700 pages long and yet quite 
agreeable to read. 

"In my opinion, in the field of contemporary and modern coinage, 
there has been no comparable book since the superb work of Tomas 
Dasi (Estudio de los Reales de a ocho). There is really little to 
add, other than to mention that this bilingual work includes 
reproductions and transcriptions of all the relevant contemporary 
documentation, along with images of every coin studied with its 
corresponding rarity rating.

"I sincerely congratulate the authors for their work, the like 
of which are so necessary for our numismatic community."


Don Cleveland writes: "My nephew, who is in China, sent me a 
seventeen volume set of soft-cover books forming a complete catalog 
of Chinese banknotes.  Each volume is about a half-inch thick, 6 
inches deep and 8.5 inches high.  Unfortunately, the books are completely 
in Chinese.  However, between the numbers and dates, which are western, 
and the illustrations, plus a little cross referencing with my Standard 
Catalog of World Paper Money, it was not too difficult to work out most 
of the presentations.  

The features that make the extra effort worthwhile are the illustrations.  
As near as I can make out, every banknote type issued by China (including 
Taiwan) is illustrated with clear, sharp, color photographs -- front and 
back.  This includes separate pictures of each signature variety; serial 
number fonts, colors and layouts; validity stamps, specimens, and even 
blow-ups and illustrations of "secret" marks on some issues.  Values are 
provided in current Chinese currency.  Many of the banknotes are not in 
the SCWPM series.  
As I said, the books are completely in Chinese, to the point that I 
cannot even tell you the name, author, or publisher.  There is, however, 
a sticker on the back of each volume listing the "ISBN" number: 
7-207-06466-7G.  I did a web search on the ISBN and found some 
information -- all in Chinese.  

The site provided illustrations of one of the volumes, along with a 
sample page.  Although I do not collect coins, the site also had 
references to similar, fully illustrated, color catalogs on Chinese 
coins.  Despite the clarity of the illustrations, while looking 
through the pages of my catalogs, I came up with a hundred questions.  
Now, all I have to do is find a Chinese/English speaker who can read
selected passages for me."

[Many thanks for Don for bringing these books on Chinese banknotes 
and coins to our attention.  When it comes to new numismatic literature, 
our readers are like kids in a candy store.  Despite the language issue, 
these could be valuable references for dealers and collectors. -Editor]


Dennis Tucker of Whitman Publishing forwarded a new press release 
announcing sets of replicas the company will be marketing in 
conjunction with a new book on U.S. Civil War numismatics:

"Whitman Publishing announces two collector sets commemorating money 
of the American Civil War, one for Confederate coins and the other 
for federal. These colorful and educational packages include high-
quality replicas of coins from the 1860s. Set 1 features the 
Confederate cent and half dollar. Set 2 showcases the Indian Head 
cent and a Civil War token.

"The replicas are encapsulated in see-through holders that allow 
both sides to be viewed. The cards open up to reveal historical 
information, photographs, and artwork from the era.

"These sets will be joined in early 2007 by a new Whitman Publishing 
book, Money of the American Civil War, by Eve MacMaster. The book 
tells the story of the war and the money of the day, including gold 
and silver coins, federal and Confederate paper money, Civil War 
tokens, Indian Head cents, encased postage stamps, Confederate and 
Southern state issues, and more."

[I'm eagerly looking forward to the new book - it's on one of my 
favorite topics.  Historian Eve MacMaster is Dave Bowers' sister.  
Her husband, Dr. Richard MacMaster, is an E-Sylum subscriber and 
also an historian and published author.  History and writing runs 
deep in the Bowers family!

As for the replicas, Dennis notes that they do comply with the 
Hobby Protection Act and feature the word COPY. -Editor]


Also announced this week is "... the release of A Guide Book of 
Buffalo and Jefferson Nickels, the eighth entry in Whitman’s 
Bowers Series of numismatic titles. 

"Each coin is illustrated in full color, with high-resolution 
enlargements for important overdates and other varieties. 
Mintages, specifications, market values in multiple grades 
(including Full Steps for Jefferson nickels), and certified 
and surviving field populations add to the book’s reference value. 

“This book is a real treat for the nickel collector,” said Whitman 
publisher Dennis Tucker. “In addition to in-depth history, grading 
standards, and market information, it includes ‘extras’ like 
appendices on error nickels and pattern coins.”

“There’s also a fascinating five-page gallery of ‘what might have 
been’—proposed Artistic Infusion Program designs for the 2005 
nickel,” said Tucker. “And numismatic artist Chuck Daughtrey has 
contributed a portrait of Buffalo nickel designer James Earle Fraser.”

[The 288-page paperback by Q. David Bowers will retail for $19.95.


John and Nancy Wilson, Ocala, FL write: “A History & Catalog of 
Minnesota Obsolete Bank Notes & Scrip,” is a hard cover 600 page 
book that gives complete information on Minnesota obsoletes along 
with a detailed census on all recorded Minnesota issues.  This 
comprehensive reference covers obsoletes, U. S. Postal Notes, and 
all the different fiscal issues from the state.  

"The authors, Shawn Hewitt with Charles C. Parrish, Steve Schroeder 
& Gilmore J. Sem have done a wonderful job.  We especially like the 
rarity ratings and prices in several different grades along with 
pricing for proofs, issued notes and remainders.   
"The book contains 14 full color pages of notes, along with hundreds 
of black and white copies.  The 14 major categories of obsolete are 
described by experts in the fields.  This book sets a new standard 
for paper money books that cover the state issues.  We highly recommend 
it for your library and it is a must for all paper money collectors. 
The book sells for $69.95 plus $5.00 shipping & handling from R. M. 
Smythe & Co., Inc., 2 Rector St. 12th Floor, New York, NY 10006-1844."  


Dave Bowers writes: "In e-mailing back and forth with Diana Plattner, 
senior editor at Whitman Publishing LLC in Atlanta, we both often use 
“printage” to refer to the quantity printed of a given issue of paper 
money, a logical mate to the familiar “mintage” we all know for coins.

In looking in Google (where else!) I found no listing for “printage 
figure,” but in just searching for “printage” there are lots of entries,
including company names and the somewhat related PrintAge. There was 
mention of a stamp with “a small printage run,” which fits in with 
the use of Diana and myself.

Might “printage” be more widely employed as a useful numismatic name?"

[I like it!  It's more compact than "print run" and has a great 
numismatic connection.  Why not discuss the printage of numismatic 
books?  -Editor]


As noted in previous E-Sylum issues, George Fuld and Eric Newman 
are seeking to update the history of the 1792 Washington cent in 
gold.  The coin was once in the Lorin Parmelee sale where it was 
bought by H.P. Smith and ultimately found its way to Col. Green 
in 1925.  In trying to plug the gap between Smith and Green, Saul 
eichman asked who Smith bought the coin for.  He wrote: "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.""

Professional Coin Grading Service President Ron Guth writes: "I just 
checked the Waldo Newcomer inventory (PCGS owns the original version 
once held by B. Max Mehl) and the 1792 Gold Washington "Cent" was not 
listed therein."

[Thanks!  That rules out one possibility.  So ... does anyone have 
access to the Brand, Hall or Green inventories?  Where are they today?  



Anne Bentley of the Massachusetts Historical Society writes: "I'd 
like to alert your readers that our website features items from our 
numismatic collections in its online series "Object of the Month." 

"Unfortunately it's not generally searchable at the moment (but we're 
planning to fix that), so the only way to see them is to search 
specifically ("Order of the Rising Sun," "Columbia and Washington medal") 
or use Wayne's new numismatic search engine to find "Massachusetts 
Historical Society," which brings up the current "Object of the Month." 
Go from there to Object Archives and you'll see thumbnails of every 
previous item.

"The predecessor site, "From our Collections" is also archived online, 
and you'll find our Santa Claus Bank note there, among other numismatic 

[Here are direct links to some of the MHS' featured numismatic items. 

The Massachusetts Pine Tree penny
(Copper pattern coin designed and engraved by Paul Revere, 1776) 

The Columbia and Washington Medal
(commemorating "the first American Adventure on the Pacific Ocean." 

John Paul Jones Comitia Americana medal
(Copper medal by Augustin Dupré, circa 1787)


E-mailing from Berlin on Monday, Howard Berlin writes: "Today I had a 
tour of the renovated DHM (German Historical Museum) by Dr. Michael 
Kunzel. Some of their collection of coins, medals, and banknotes are 
integrated into the displays -- in this case, the permanent exhibit 
of German history.

"Also, the recently reopened Bodemuseum is fantastic. There is a library 
of approximately 20,000 volumes open to the public in the lower level. 
The director of the "Muenzkabinett," Prof. Dr. Bern Kluge was a gracious 
host and showed me around the museum's permanent exhibit of coins 
covering about 72 cases in four rooms. About 4,000 coins of the museum's 
approximately half million are on display. Some are on loan to the 
Pergamon Museum next door on Museum Island. There is also a temporary 
exhibit of holdings received since 1990.

"Most of the legends and texts are in German, which I have don't have 
much of a problem with, but I think there is a multi-lingual audio tape 
guide for rent. There are other things of art besides coins at the Bode, 
but my interests were obviously the coins."


According to an ANA press release, "Lane Brunner, Director of Numismatic 
Outreach at the American Numismatic Association, has been promoted to 
Deputy Executive Director of Museum, Library and Research Services, 
Executive Director Chris Cipoletti has announced. His promotion is 
effective Dec. 1.

"In his new role, Brunner will be responsible for directing library 
and museum operations in Colorado Springs, developing the museum and 
library at the proposed American Money and Gold Rush Museum in the 
San Francisco Old Mint, and for organizing the effort to place a 
numismatic museum in Washington D.C."

A separate press release adds that "Sharon Thomas, former Colorado 
Springs School District 11 Superintendent of Schools, has been named 
Deputy Executive Director for Education at the American Numismatic
Association, Executive Director Chris Cipoletti has announced. 
Her appointment is effective Dec. 1.

"In her new role, Thomas will be responsible for educational programming 
for the 32,000-member association.  ANA education and outreach programs 
include a broad array of workshops and seminars offered to numismatic 
students throughout the country as well as a two-week Summer Seminar 
held annually at Colorado College. Thomas will be charged with expanding 
educational programs including public school curriculum which uses coins 
as teaching tools in a variety of subjects, ranging from math and 
economics to art and history."


According to a December 5th Associated press report, the family of Izzy 
Switt is suing for return of the 1933 double eagles seized by the U.S. 

"A family claims in a federal lawsuit that the U.S. Mint illegally seized 
10 gold coins, among the rarest and most valuable in the world, that the 
family had found among a dead relative's possessions.

"The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia, 
alleges that the Mint violated the Constitution and broke federal 
forfeiture laws by refusing to return the 1933 coins to the family 
after confirming their authenticity.

"The plaintiffs are seeking immediate return of the "double eagle" 
coins, said their attorney, Barry H. Berke."

"Defendants named in the suit include the Mint, the Treasury Department, 
and officials in those agencies.

"The Mint's lawless position is that by merely claiming the coins 
were somehow removed from the Mint unlawfully in the 1930s, they can 
take the Langbords' property without proving it in a court of law," 
Berke said.

To read the complete article, see:  


David Ganz forwarded a note from Peter K. Tompa, who writes: "The 
UK has launched a new web site containing advice about cultural 
property issues.  Many thanks to Eric McFadden for bringing it to 
my attention."

The web site notes that "Cultural Property Advice is a comprehensive 
on-line advisory service to help you to collect, buy and sell art, 
antiques and antiquities legitimately and with confidence. It provides 
a reliable, accurate and practical source of information and guidance 
on cultural property including: exporting and importing cultural 
objects; current legislation; news on stolen and illicitly traded 
objects; and lots of checklists and factsheets to support what you 
are doing."

To view the web site, see: 

[Ancient coins are getting increasingly caught up in the battles 
over the trade in cultural artifacts, which many fear will lead to 
the cut off of supplies of newly discovered hoards. -Editor]

Dick Johnson writes: "The Royal Canadian Mint is doing some very 
innovative things lately. I like that. The latest is embedding 
crystal chips in the surface of a gold coin. Introduced just last 
month (November 2006), the 2-inch 14-karat coin bears six oval 
Swarovski crystal chips in a snowflake design. It is a bullion coin 
with a $300 denomination that is selling for more than $1300. Only 
1000 were made.
"The RCM is market driven and they have learned their market very 
well. The low mintage is something collectors like, in addition to 
the coinage innovation. Canadian technicians are pushing the envelope 
in a technology that began 2,600 years ago. Yet they have learned 
you can still do something new in a minting industy with such a 
seasoned heritage.
"The Canadians, it appears, are even speeding up the process. In 
the past, innovations first appeared on medals first. If it was 
satisfactory on a medal it could then be applied to a coin. We have 
proof coins today because a proof surface was first applied to a 
medal (Pitt Club Medal, London, 1762). The first hologram in a work 
of art appeared first in a medal (Yaacov Agam's "And There Was Light 
Medal" Israel, circa 1967) before holograms were applied to coins.
"The Canadians, the Australians, British, French and Italian mints 
are all doing some new and creative things in their pressrooms. I 
like that. Unfortunately the Americans can only recycle presidential
portraits as their contribution to minting innovation.
"One must be careful, however, with new technology. Unless it has 
a purpose, it remains a gimmick. At first I thought this was the 
case for the Canadian crystal snowflake bullion coin. On further 
reading, I find it was created for a purpose. It was issued for 
the Queen's birthday.  Happy birthday, your majesty.
"Your subjects toiling in the Royal Canadian Mint have created 
something really new for the occasion. One thousand collectors 
can share that experience with you. Plus I hope numismatists 
recognize the fact coin and medal technology has taken one more 
step forward."


"A former Marine ... told a congressional panel Wednesday 
that too few who risk or lose their lives in this country's battles 
get the Medal of Honor these days, and it takes way too long.

"Joseph A. Kinney testified before the Military Personnel Subcommittee
of the House Armed Services Committee on the Medal of Honor."

"I know the Department of Defense (DOD) is currently conducting a 
comprehensive review of military awards," said Rep. John McHugh of 
New York, chairman of the subcommittee. "I have been told that it 
often takes over two years for a valor award to be approved."

All recent awards of the medal have been posthumous, he said, noting 
that during World War II, 43 percent of the persons awarded the Medal 
of Honor survived their actions. 

"Kinney told the subcommittee he wanted to make three points to 
start with.

"One, medals are integral to success on the battlefield, resolve in 
war and purpose as a nation," he said. "Two, recipients are not being 
recognized in a timely fashion or are being overlooked. And three, 
marginal modifications in the awards process are required and this 
process should be supervised by periodic congressional oversight."

"That medal is now given rarely, and he asked whether anybody on 
the committee really believed it was because the selfless, 
self-sacrificing valor for which it has always stood is now rare 
as well.

"Have we no heroes?" Kinney asked."

To read the complete article, see: 


Today is the day a number of heroes of a different sort stand to 
receive their medals:

"In the Swedish capital of Stockholm December 10 means Nobel Day. 
For the prizewinners this is the high point of a stressful but glorious 
week of speeches, conferences and receptions. Years of hard work are 
rewarded with a medal from the Swedish king, followed by a gala banquet 
– for 1,300 people.

"They have rehearsed the ceremony the day before, so they know exactly 
how many steps they should move back after having shaken hands with the 
king and received their medal and diploma. They receive a generous 
prize amount, too. In the first several years of the 21st century, 
each prize totaled SEK 10 million (USD 1.47 million)."

"The stories about participants’ frantic search for white tie and tails 
are numerous and hilarious. Some foreign guests ask a theater in their 
hometown to dig up such attire from their inventory of props. Others 
contact the Swedish Embassy for help."

[Below is some information about the medals themselves.  Do any exist 
in numismatic circles?  Or have the all remained in museums or the 
families of the recipients?  -Editor]

"According to the Statutes of the Nobel Foundation, given by the King 
in Council on June 29, 1900, "the prize-awarding bodies shall present 
to each prize-winner an assignment for the amount of the prize, a 
diploma, and a gold medal bearing the image of the testator and an 
appropriate inscription."

The medals for Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine and 
Literature were modeled by the Swedish sculptor and engraver Erik 
Lindberg and the Peace medal by the Norwegian sculptor Gustav Vigeland. 
The medal for The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in 
Memory of Alfred Nobel (established in 1968 in connection with the 
300th anniversary of the Sveriges Riksbank), was designed by Gunvor 

For images and more information on the Nobel medals, see:


Eric Leighton writes: "It appears some people are encountering road 
blocks when they try to log onto, and order a book (mine ...?) from I helped one fellow over the phone, but to get to the 
wider audience, I will run through the process step by step.
Once you type in th web site address you will get the Homepage.  
Across the top are blue tabs (Browse, Publish, My Account, Help, etc.)  
When the page is loading, the "search for" box is craftily hidden 
behind the "Help" tab.  Either wait, or click on any of the tabs, it 
should jump all the tabs up a bit and the "Search For" box will be 
in plain sight.  (In any case, this is where the too-little search 
feature is.)
For my book, type in either my name, as I have only one book in 
there, or the title, in two words: "numis worthy" (case is not 
important.)  You will go to a screen that has a thumbnail picture 
of the front cover of the book to the left, with the option to 
download, or to buy the hardcover print.  

By clicking on the thumbnail, you go to a slightly different page, 
with all of the things found on the last one, except you are able 
to see the back cover, and/or preview the book (10 pages.)
If, after either of these last two steps, you decide you want to 
buy the book or the download (of course you do!) all you do is 
check the little tick box in front of the correct one.  This page 
will default to the book unless you change it.  At this point you 
have to click the "Add to Cart" button at the bottom right.
This page is your virtual shopping cart.  Make sure the quantity 
box says "one" unless you want more, in which case you simply 
click the mouse in that box and change the number (and make me 
very happy.) You will see the price at the bottom.  This is only 
the cost of the product.  Click on "Save & Continue."
You will be asked to set up an account on the next page.  Enter 
your email address.  This is necessary as they send you a confirmation 
of order, and also a notice that the book was shipped on such and such 
a day.  Passwords are for your own protection, you need to think of 
one and type it in twice.  Click "Save & Continue."
This next page is where you put in your name and address, etc.  
Pretty standard, especially if you are in the US, as this page 
defaults to United States as the country.  I found that in Canada, 
and I expect other countries, I can not fill in the province before 
I change the country.  And, once I change the country, there is a 
pause while the thing resets and then only can I put in province 
and postal code.  Your phone number on the bottom is required, as 
the book ships by UPS, and they may need to call you. Click the 
"Save Address" button.
This next page is where you enter credit card info.  I see they 
accept Paypal, and debit cards. Click "Save & Continue."
Next, a page where you can check all the info you have provided, 
and make sure your address is in the right country, etc.  This is 
where you decide on shipping costs. The page is defaulted to 
"Express" shipping.  To the right of the line with big letters 
saying "CHANGE YOUR SHIPPING METHOD" I suggest you do to have it 
read "Standard" - it's quite a bit less expensive.
Once you feel everything is OK, click on "Place Order.'  It takes 
about three weeks to print a hardcover, and a few days to ship.  
It will come in a sturdy cardboard box, with bubble wrap around 
the book.  It is very well packed."

[We featured Eric's book in a recent E-Sylum issue (see below).  
To make ordering easier I included the direct link to the book's 
ordering page.  I ordered one myself (a hardcover) and I'm looking 
forward to receiving it.  Previously I had ordered a hardcover 
color copy of Harold Levi's book on the Confederate Cent, and 
was very pleased.  -Editor]



Last week I posed this quiz question: "Relating to the new U.S. 
Presidential dollars ... which required-by-law features are 
nowhere to be found on the obverse or reverse of the coins?"

Gar Travis writes: "The Eagle, the National motto, In God We 
Trust and mintmark."  Joe Boling and Anne Bentley also noted 
the inscriptions, which have been moved to the edge of the coins.

This was an easy one. What prompted the question was this item 
that popped up on the Internet last week:

"The mandatory “In God We Trust” that must appear on all United States 
currency has been excluded from the face of a new U.S. dollar in an 
effort to appease atheists who have legally fought to eliminate the 
word God from public life, including the Pledge of Allegiance."

To read the complete article, see

According to the U.S. Mint Press release, "The designs of the coins 
are bold and dramatic, with traditional inscriptions moved to the 
edge to allow for larger images of the Presidents. These include "E 
Pluribus Unum" and "In God We Trust," the year of minting or issuance, 
and the mint mark, making these coins unique among today’s U.S. 
circulating coins." 

The article does note the Mint's stated reason for moving the 
inscriptions, but seems to imply this is just a pretext.  As I 
wrote previously, the designs do seem bold and uncluttered, and 
this is made possible by sidelining the inscriptions.  The novel 
(to most people today) edge lettering could actually cause more 
people to notice, read and discuss the mottos.

Has anyone ever compiled a comprehensive list of U.S. coin edge 
descriptions?  I've seen many articles on bust half edge lettering, 
but few comprehensive illustrated articles.  With the new dollar 
coins coming, this would make for a nice article or coin show exhibit.

To read the complete U.S. Mint Press Release, see:

[Gar Travis' response raises an interesting question - just where 
IS the Eagle?  I'll admit I've not followed the new dollar story 
closely, but the presence of the Eagle has been required by law on 
silver and gold coins since the Mint act of 1792.  Did lawmakers 
pass an exemption for the Presidential dollars, as they did with 
the Fifty States Quarters?  

The tiny eagle dwarfed by the Liberty Bell on the reverse of the 
Franklin Half Dollar is there only to satisfy the letter of the law.  
If an eagle were squeezed onto the edge of the new dollar coins, it 
would surely be the smallest one to appear on a U.S. coin.  Does ANY 
coin (perhaps German or Russian) have a tiny eagle on its edge, 
perhaps as a separator between text phrases?  -Editor]


Ron Abler writes: "Nancy Green's statement, "One is either a collector 
or not," reminded me of an article I once wrote in a collecting column 
for my local newspaper in Southern Maryland."

[Ron's article is also available on the Heritage web site.  Here are 
a couple excerpts.  -Editor]

"First Law: There are only two categories of people in the world - 
those who collect and those who don't.

"This law is so basic that it requires no explanation.

"Second Law: You cannot explain collecting to a non-collector.
This law can save collectors a lot of frustration. Non-collectors 
might possibly enjoy looking at your collection. They might even 
appreciate its breathtaking beauty and exquisite order, but only a 
fellow collector will ever appreciate the effort that went into your 
collection or understand the special satisfaction that your collection 
gives you. Don't bother trying to get a non-collector to understand."

To read the complete article, see: 

See also:


Pete Smith writes: "During recent research, I studied a map of 18th 
century Philadelphia and noted the location of Du Simitiere’s American 
Museum from 1782. The story of this early numismatist, Pierre Eugene 
Du Simitiere, was told by EAC Board member Joel Orosz in his book “The 
Eagle That is Forgotten.” 

I offer this question for readers of The E-Sylum: If a traveler wished 
to visit the location of the American Museum today, what would they 
find occupying the site?"


This is the time of year when media reports of interesting coins 
dropped into Salvation Army donation kettles pop up.  Here's one 
from the December 7th USA Today:

"Anonymous Santas have been dropping gold in Salvation Army kettles 
across the country, delighting the bell ringers who come out every 
Christmastime to take in spare change for the poor.

"Whoever does this is very clever about putting the money in the 
kettle because we never know what he's doing," says Sue Hennings, 
spokeswoman for the Waterloo, Iowa, chapter of the Salvation Army. 
"It truly makes it Christmas."

A 1978 South African Krugerrand was found in a kettle in Iowa on 
Saturday, and two gold American Eagles were discovered in Vermont 
and Florida last week."

"The tradition appears to have started in the Midwest.

The first gold coin was donated in Crystal Lake, Ill., a Chicago 
suburb in 1982, says Melissa Temme, spokeswoman for the Salvation 
Army. Since then more than 300 gold coins have been donated. 

"It was the actual thud that caught my attention," says Capt. David 
Worthy, who heads the Salvation Army in Panama City, Fla. "As soon 
as I picked it up I knew what it was."

The coin was a 1993 American Eagle with an estimated value of $600 
to $900, he says."

"In Denver the Salvation Army was visited by the Grinch, however.

Someone dropped an 1804 silver dollar into the kettle, or so it was 
thought, according to Rod Gillis, a numismatic educator at the 
American Numismatist Association.

Gillis had to explain to the excited Salvation Army worker who called 
him "that there is a very, very slim chance that that was real." He 
said all 15 1804 silver dollars minted are accounted for. Had it been 
real, it would've been worth up to $4 million."

To read the complete article, see:


This week's featured web site is the Nickle coin collection (and no, 
it's not a collection of nickels...): 

"The Nickle Coin Collection is one of the most important collections 
in Canada. It was donated to the University of Calgary in 1980 by Carl 
O. Nickle, and has since been enlarged through subsequent gifts by 
The Nickle Family Foundation and others.

"The collection now consists of over 16,000 items, primarily ancient 
Greek, Roman and Byzantine coins, but also includes a smaller collection 
of "primitive" or token money, European coins, medals of the 18th and 
19th century, and Canadian Paper money.

"The collection is housed in The Nickle Arts Museum and there is 
a continuing display in the Numismatics Gallery on the main floor."

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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