The E-Sylum v9#07, February 12, 2006

esylum at esylum at
Sun Feb 12 21:34:22 PST 2006

Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 9, Number 07, February 12, 2006:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2006, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers is Samuel Ernst. Welcome aboard!  
We now have 856 subscribers.

This issue starts off with a reader's question about The E-Sylum 
itself, and I'd be interested in hearing thoughts on the topic 
from both long-time and recent subscribers.   Dick Johnson chimes 
in next with a timely critique of the medals of the current winter 
Olympic games, and thoughts on this topic are also most welcome.  

Bob Van Ryzin, probably the only numismatic writer to have actually 
met Selma Burke, discusses the controversy surrounding her claim 
to have influenced the design of the Roosevelt Dime.  Among the top 
news items of the week are the acquisition by the British Museum of 
the rare the King Coenwulf of Mercia gold penny unearthed a few 
years ago by a metal detectorist, and the sale of a very rare New 
Orleans proof coin.  

Research queries this week involve a 1902 catalog of engravings 
of George Washington, collector extraordinaire Bryon Reed, and 
the paper money and coins of World War I.  Some of the more 
controversial topics may include the "Naming of Names" behind 
anonymous collections, and a proposal for a new grading system 
for medals.  And to learn which group of bibliophiles recent 
held an "uncharacteristically raucous meeting", read on.

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


Fred Lake writes: "The Prices Realized List for our sale 
of numismatic literature #83 which closed on February 7th 
is now posted to our web site at:  "


Rick Witschonke offers this observation:  "It seems to me 
that The E-Sylum is becoming just a collection of news items 
about numismatics (very loosely defined), rather than focusing 
on printed materials relating to numismatics.  Is that 
consistent with the charter, or just how things have evolved?  
Of course, if the subscribers are happy, that's all that 
really counts."

[Well, just what is The E-Sylum all about?  Its nature and 
purpose have evolved over time.  It began, as Rick notes, as 
a medium for the discussion of numismatic literature among 
members and friends of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society (NBS).  
It is still that, but the interests of our subscribers and 
contributors, together with the explosion of information 
available online have expended our purview over time.

Our community includes not only those who collect numismatic 
literature, but also many researchers and writers who are 
creating the numismatic works of today and tomorrow.  While 
these people rely on the numismatic literature of the past 
and present for guidance and information, they must also 
seek information which lies far beyond these narrow boundaries.  

This information may lie in handwritten diaries or correspondence, 
mint records, contemporary newspaper accounts, laws and regulations, 
etc.  It may also exist only in the memories of people who witnessed 
long-ago numismatic events.  Thus many of the queries posed and 
answered in The E-Sylum are of the "Does anyone know where I can 
find ...?" or "Does anyone know who I should talk to about ...?"

The E-Sylum has proven to be an invaluable resource for locating
information, and as Editor I find little more satisfying than 
being able to help a researcher find what they are looking for, 
or help like-minded researchers work together and share their 
findings for the greater good of the hobby.  Like a matchmaker, 
The E-Sylum has assisted a number of fruitful research relationships 
and helped spawn more than a few very useful articles, catalog 
entries and even books on numismatic topics.

The E-Sylum itself is also a source of first-hand numismatic 
information. Often a query about some numismatic event of the 
last 50 years will elicit a response from a subscriber who was 
actually there when the event took place.  Their thoughts and 
comments on the event become raw material for future researchers.  
Although our little e-mail newsletter is ephemeral in nature, 
it is not only being written for today's eyes, but for the benefit 
of future researchers as well.    Quite a number of very interesting 
yet often obscure topics have been explored here, and our archives 
make for some interesting reading.

So how does all this affect the makeup of a typical E-Sylum issue?  
Well, remaining true to our numismatic literature roots, any new 
auction sales or fixed price lists of numismatic literature get 
top billing, as does any article relating to our sponsor, the 
Numismatic Bibliomania Society.  Announcements and reviews of new 
numismatic books and catalogs also get prominent placement.  But 
remember - your editor can only generate so much copy per issue - 
the majority of what is published must come from you, our readers.  
If there is a new book, sale or event readers ought to know about, 
please drop me a line.

Research queries are another top priority for every issue, but 
to avoid repetitiveness and mix up the subject matter these are 
typically sprinkled throughout the issue in the order received.

That leaves the "anything else of numismatic interest" category, 
the "collection of news items about numismatics" Rick mentions.  
These are items which can be of marginal usefulness to specialized 
readers, yet often include some of the most interesting material 
each week and sometimes spark some marvelous exchanges.  

First-hand accounts of numismatic events or interviews with 
numismatic personalities are a major subcategory of news.  
Reports of new coin and paper money issues are another.  Numismatic 
"finds" are yet another, including everything from metal-detecting
treasures, to paper money hoards or long-lost stolen property 
returning to the spotlight.

It is not our purpose to compete with or "scoop" traditional 
numismatic publications on these stories, but it happens sometimes 
due to publishing schedules.  Many of our readers look forward to 
the week's issue to see what new events have taken place in 
numismatics over the weekend.

As more and more news has become available online throughout 
the world, we're finding more and more potentially interesting 
items to publish, and over time this has affected the proportion 
of each type of article we include.  Some have noted that there 
is too much to read, but this is not a new event - our issues 
have been quite lengthy for years.  But like traditional printed
publications, the headline format allows readers to skip over 
items of little interest and focus on only those most pertinent 
to the reader.    Having heard no strong complaints and a continued 
series of compliments, I've made no changes to the editorial 
policy.  Printed literature is still a prime focus and I welcome 
submissions on the topic.  -Editor]


Dick Johnson writes: "Has anyone seen a picture of the 2006 
Turin Olympic Medal? I wonder how soon before these will be 
called a "donut on a rope"?  I would have expected a better 
designed medal from Italy, which is known for its outstanding 
medallic art. 

The 2006 Winter Olympic Medal has a large aperture (that's 
a hole in the middle for those of you in Rio Linda California). 
The relief is extremely shallow, typical of pictographs shown 
at every venue at the Olympics and in all Olympic literature. 
A pictograph has no detail, it is in silhouette form only. 
(On medals it is symbolic of something from the future -- 
it hasn't existed yet so its detail cannot be shown. 
Pictographs are biplaner, of two planes, on two levels. 
Medallic artists are loath to do many of these because it 
doesn't require any sculptural talent to create a medallic 
pictograph. The charm of a medal is, of course, it can exhibit 
detail -- a lot of detial -- in a small space; but this 
requires an oversize model and equipment for reducing the 

The name on the Turin neck ribbon is good feature, but I 
think it has been done before. The large hole is a first, 

Olympic medals are an opportunity for medallic recognition 
of the host country because of the widespread publicity the 
medals receive worldwide. It is also an opportunity to do 
something really creative. My favorite is one I believe 
from the 1992 Albertville France Winter Olympics. It was 
a combination of crystal and metal, the clear crystal being 
symbolic of ice. Multimedia is permissible in exquisite 
medallic art these days. 

I haven't heard yet who the designer is, or what firm made 
the Turin Olympic medals. Perhaps the firm was not a traditional 
medal manufacturers. The medals are always made in the country 
hosting the Olympics. But lately these contracts have been 
going to firms not known for previously producing medallic art. 
It shows."

[I did manage to find an image of the medals on official 
Olympic web site, along with a description of their design,
the designer's reasoning, and claim of " three-dimensional 
characteristics." -Editor]
"The medal concept was worked upon by Ottaviani International 
and the TOROC graphic team, headed by Dario Quatrini. The medal 
is round with an empty space at the centre, representing the 
Italian piazza. The medal will be wrapped up in its ribbon, 
which, unlike in previous Games, will not be sewn to its top. 
The front of the medal will include the graphic elements of the 
Games, while the back of the medal will feature the pictogram 
of the sports discipline in which the medal was won. To highlight 
the three-dimensional characteristics of the medal, its surface 
has been carefully made using full and empty spaces, with shiny 
and satiny textures."

"Quatrini, who created the design for the medals, incorporated 
views, ideas and models from Italian history and its tradition 
of forms and manufacturing: rings, ancient coins and ornaments. 
The solution of the circle with the space at the centre links 
all the basic themes and motifs of the Turin Games and embodies 
the leitmotiv of Torino 2006 – the piazza. The medal is also 
round like the Olympic rings or a symbolic victory ring and, 
with its open space at its centre, it reveals the place where 
the heart beats, the symbol of life itself. The medal is only 
complete, however, when it is hanging geometrically from the 
athlete’s neck, lying on his chest, circling and revealing the 
area near his heart and focusing attention on the athlete’s 
vital energy and human emotions."


Bob Van Ryzin writes: "I interviewed Dr. Selma Burke at 
her home/studio in July 1993 in New Hope, Pennsylvania. 
At the time, I was managing editor of Numismatic News, and 
her claim of designing the Roosevelt dime had been featured 
in a Texas newspaper that crossed my desk.

I contacted her good friend for additional details and 
support, who then arranged my interview with her.

She was a sweet lady, and I believe she honestly thought 
the design on the dime was hers. 

She told me of a late night call from a friend who worked 
at the Recorder of Deeds office in Washington, D.C., to 
inform her that her drawing of Franklin D. Roosevelt for 
her Four Freedoms plaque, displayed in that building, 
had been sent over for Mint engraver John Sinnock to 
examine, and urging her to come to Washington, apparently 
in order to stop any inappropriate use of her work.

Her statements on the topic appeared in my November 1993 
article for Numismatic News and as a chapter in the now 
out-of-print "Twisted Tails: Sifted Fact, Fantasy and 
Fiction from U.S. Coin History" (Krause Publications, 
1995). The book also has photographs of her drawing of 
Roosevelt (done from life on brown butcher's paper) and 
the resulting plaque.

As I wrote then, Sinnock had done his own studies of 
Roosevelt from life. It seems, therefore, unlikely he 
would have even needed to see Burke's work in order to 
compose any part of his. However, I'm convinced, Burke 
sincerely believed this happened.

She was a great American sculptor and a fine lady, 
regardless of whether or not credit for the dime design 
belongs with Sinnock."


According to a press release, "The American Numismatic 
Association is accepting papers on “Money That Made History,” 
from authors who would like to make presentations at the 
second annual Maynard Sundman/Littleton Coin Co. Lecture 

Six authors will be selected to make presentations August 
17 at the ANA’s World’s Fair of Money in Denver. Selected 
presenters will receive a $250 honorarium.

Submissions, which are due April 30, should be abstracts of 
500 words or less, and include an introduction, methodology 
and sources, and discussion sections. Abstracts will be 
evaluated based on originality, persuasiveness and relevance 
to the topic.

Lectures will focus on numismatic milestones and icons with 
An important connection to history, culture and the hobby. 
Priority will be given to papers that emphasize new research 
and scholarship.  For more information or to submit an extract, 
e-mail brunner at, call 719-482-9872 or write: Lane J. 
Brunner, Ph.D., Director of Numismatic Outreach, American 
Numismatic Association, 818 N. Cascade Ave., Colorado Springs, 
CO 80903"


Last week I asked if anyone was familiar with the origin of 
the term "bonistics", meaning the study of paper money.

Martin Purdy offered the following guess: "Is it based on 
the French word "bon", meaning a coupon or voucher, perhaps?  
I don't recall ever seeing the word before, though."   He 
adds: "I don't believe the word is English.  "Bonism" in 
the OExford English Dictionary is a doctrine that the world 
is good, which banknote collectors may share, but hardly 
relevant to the rest of us!  A quick Google search for the 
term brought up mainly Russian, Bulgarian, Estonian, etc., 
sites, so I wonder if it's a Russian term ("bonistik" or 
some such)?  I looked in the biggest Russian dictionary I 
have here and found that "boni" refers to credit documents 
(probably from the French word I mentioned earlier), so 
it's not completely out of the question."


Howard A. Daniel III writes: "I read Craig Greenbaum's 
comments about Dr. Allan Barker's book, The Historical 
Cash Coins of Viet Nam, with much interest.  Craig is a 
fairly new friend but Allan and I are old friends who 
have discussed numismatics well into the night and over 
many a meal.  Not only is the color photography and the 
printing excellent, but everyone can match their authentic 
coins to something in his book.  And the range of values 
for each coin, based on the assigned rarity, is the first 
time everyone can value every Vietnamese cash coin from 
the tenth century to 1945!  This book is so well done I 
have a difficult time finding the right words to praise 
it.  Even the Vietnamese in Viet Nam are shocked with the 
excellence of it.  Please go to Craig's website at to see what we 
are writing about.  You will not be disappointed.
P.S.  Congratulations to the editor of The E-Sylum 
because his Pittsburgh Steelers won the Super Bowl!!!!"

[I refrained from injecting "Go Steelers" comments in 
The E-Sylum throughout the playoff season, but it was a
great team this year and I'm glad they finally got the 
"One for the Thumb" that has eluded them since the dynasty 
years of the 70s.  For our overseas readers, the phrase 
refers to the team's Super Bowl rings. Having won four of 
them (one for each finger), the rallying cry became "One 
for the Thumb!"  I edited The E-Sylum in between cheers
while watching the big game last week.  -Editor]


Len Augsburger writes: "I am looking for an auction catalog 
which included engravings of George Washington conducted on 
March 14, 1902, the auction house being "Davis and Harvey" 
in Philadelphia.  It does not appear in Gengerke, though 
Gengerke notes "Davis and Harvey" as being an auction facility 
used by the Chapmans.  

An Internet search indicates that Davis and Harvey was 
an auction house which frequently conducted sales containing 
Washington (and other) engravings, though a listing from 1902 
was not found.  Any suggestions on where to look for this?"


Doug Andrews writes: "While I agree that the efforts of 
numismatic researchers are frustrated somewhat by donors 
and auction consignors insisting that they remain anonymous, 
there are broader issues that carry significant risks and 
potential penalties for anyone considering the "outing" 
of such an individual. 

In some jurisdictions, an individual's right of privacy 
survives him or her for years following their death, and 
their anonymity is enforceable in law. That privacy guarantee 
may last for 20 years or longer after the person's death. In 
addition, there also may be contractual barriers to an 
auctioneer releasing the name of a consignor, or a museum 
identifying a donor. The auction house, for example, may 
have agreed in writing to protect the identity of the owner 
of the rare numismatic material forever. 

Many NBS members and E-Sylum readers, myself included, 
are researchers. While there are often sound ethical and 
legal reasons for not publishing names of anonymous consignors 
and donors, consider this: Researchers may uncover the name(s) 
in the course of their inquiries. There may be nothing to 
prevent the writer from effectively acting on this information 
in furtherance of their research, provided that the identity 
of the individual is not revealed."

[These are the types of questions that are both interesting 
and important to for researchers to explore.

One reader familiar with U.K. taxes asked about the situation 
in the U.S.  Here we have both income and inheritance taxes 
that might be triggered by the sale of a collection, but I'll 
let one of our readers more familiar with these matters comment 
if they choose.  -Editor]


Rick Witschonke offers a slight correction to Dick Johnson's 
"Why I don't collect chinese vases" item last from week.  He
writes: "The Fitzwilliam Museum is part of Cambridge 
University, and has nothing to do with the British Museum 
(in London)."


NBS Secretary-Treasurer David Sundman forwarded links to 
new articles on the King Coenwulf of Mercia  gold coin we've 
discussed in past E-Sylum issues.  The coin has been acquired 
by the British Museum.

The New York Times reported: "A rare 1,200-year-old Anglo-Saxon 
gold coin that was sold at auction to an American collector will 
not be leaving Britain after all. 

The British government blocked the export of the coin last year, 
and the British Museum has raised the funds needed — more than 
$650,000 — to buy it back. The acquisition is to be announced 

A treasure hunter discovered the coin in 2001 in Biggleswade, 
on the banks of the river Ivel about 60 miles north of London, 
using a metal detector. The gold penny, called a mancus, weighs 
about an eighth of an ounce and is slightly larger than an 
American penny."

To read the complete article, see: 

The BBC reported: "The National Heritage Memorial Fund provided 
£225,000 of the £357,832 total cost. 

British Museum curator Gareth Williams said they were "delighted" 
to have acquired the coin for the national collection. 

"The Coenwulf gold coin is tremendously significant as a new 
source of information on Anglo-Saxon kingship in the early ninth 
century," he said."

To read the complete article, see:  

An Associated Press story highlighted Allan Davisson's role: 
"Coin collector Allan Davisson mortgaged his house in late 2004 
so he could bid $400,000 for a 1,200-year-old British coin." 

"Davisson's bid was the highest price anyone had ever paid 
for a British coin, until last week when he sold it to another 
American collector for $600,000.

That collector has agreed to sell the coin to the British 
Museum, which is fine with Davisson. He says the important 
coin should be in the museum, and he couldn't afford to keep 
it anyway. "

To read the complete article, see:


According to an article published today in The Advocate, 
"A Louisiana businessman has purchased for $1.5 million 
an extremely rare coin minted in New Orleans in 1844.

The coin is a Proof 65 1844-O $10 gold piece — probably 
made as a gift for someone of importance — and is listed 
in the “100 Greatest U.S. Coins” at No. 39."

"Even though it was created 46 years earlier, not many 
people knew the $10 gold coin existed until it was listed 
in an auction book in 1890, Bloomfield said.

The coin belonged to Lorin Parmelee, who had one of the 
largest collections of rare coins at the time."

"In 1890, the coin sold at auction for $16. The $5 companion 
piece sold for $9.50. This is the last known time that both 
coins were together.

The $10 coin resurfaced in 1911, as part of the William 
Woodin auction, and sold for $50." 

"Like its $5 companion piece, the $10 coin had disappeared 
until recently."

To read the complete article, see: 


Regarding the query in last week's issue, Dave Lange writes: 
"My speculation is that Hewitt provided a list of collectors 
and dealers who had defaulted on debts, failed to deliver 
purchases, written bad checks, etc. With the Great Depression 
at its very worst in 1933, there must have been quite a few 
people in the hobby who found themselves in a bind financially. 
Such lists had been provided by other dealers in the past, so 
there was a precedent.

If nothing else, this was a good way for Hewitt to build a 
mailing list of potentional subscribers to The Numismatic 
Scrapbook Magazine, which launched just two years later."


Saul Teichman forwarded a note from young numismatist Samuel 
Ernst, who writes: "I live in Omaha, NE and have seen the 
Byron Reed collection a couple of times at the Durham Western 
Heritage Museum.  He really had a great collection, and he 
did it when collecting wasn't as popular as it is today.  Do 
you know if anything has ever been written about him and his 

Saul noted that "A biography and discussion of Byron Reed 
was in the Spink's October 96 auction catalog which sold 
some of the collection a few years back.  There is also 
information about him on the Durham Western Heritage Museum 
website: "

[I invited Samuel to subscribe to The E-Sylum, and did a 
quick search on the Numismatic Indexes Project (NIP), which 
located twenty articles relating to Reed and his collection, 
mostly in the ANA's Numismatist and the ANS's American Journal 
of Numismatics.  Photocopies of the articles can be obtained 
by ANA members through the ANA Library. 

I'm sure there were also some great articles on Byron Reed 
in Coin World and Numismatic News over the years, but these 
publications aren't in the index.  Can anyone point us to 
other good resources?   -Editor]


The Laois Nationalist of Ireland published a report this 
week on a Dublin man seeking to locate the rightful owner of 
a 1938 gold medal he discovered:

"The medal in question is a Leinster senior football championship 
winner’s medal from 1938 when Laois beat Kildare to win their 
third title in a row during a glorious period for the county. 

The medal in fact is in the possession of a Dublin man, Peter 
Hennessy, and the Wicklow connection came from the fact that 
he found it some 20 years ago on a landfill site in the Garden 
County and now all those years afterwards he is trying to find 
its owner or his family. 

Now there have been many instances of illegal dumping in 
Wicklow but disposing of a gold piece is certainly unusual! "

“It was up in the foothills of the Wicklow Mountains and I 
got down from the truck and was wearing a pair of runners 
when something stuck into the sole of one of them. I reached 
down to pull it out and realised that it looked like a brooch. 
It was all dirty and damp so I took it home and cleaned it up 
and it was shiny and gold but having no interest in football 
I had no idea what it was,” he said."

“Then a while ago in the local friends of mine, PJ Browne 
and Gus Keating, were talking about medals and I told them 
of the one I had at home and I brought it in and they knew 
straight away that it was a 1938 winners medal and that it 
was pure gold and that is how you were contacted.” 

“I have it sitting in a drawer for years and lads have said 
to me to put it on ebay and sell it but I have no interest 
in that and I would love to find out who owns it. The man 
who won it is probably dead but I am sure the family would 
love to have it. Croke Park would probably like to have it 
for their museum now but I would rather give it back to the 
family if possible or at least we will try.” 

To read the complete article, see: 


Congratulations to student Isabel Jacobson, who triumphed 
at a recent Wisconsin spelling bee by correctly spelling 
the name of our hobby.

"Her win at the Madison All-City Spelling Bee on Saturday 
was her third straight, making her the first competitor 
since at least 1968 to accomplish the feat.

It was "numismatist" - another word for a coin collector - 
that allowed the 13-year-old O'Keeffe Middle School student 
to walk out of the Monona Grove High School auditorium with 
the Ketterer Trophy for the third time. It will be displayed 
at her school.

She also won a $100 gift certificate to Borders."

To read the complete article, see: 

[Maybe she'll buy some numismatic literature! -Editor]


According to a news release, "Gov. Dave Heineman announced 
that the U.S. quarter-dollar commemorating Nebraska statehood 
will be distributed for the first time in April. Nebraska’s 
quarter will feature a pioneer family traveling by covered 
wagon and historic landmark Chimney Rock. The theme chosen 
for the launch is “Our Journey Continues.” 

The Governor and First Lady Sally Ganem will be joined by 
David Lebryk, acting director of the United States Mint for 
the official launch on Friday, April 7 at a celebration 
scheduled to be held at the Bob Devaney Sports Center in 
Lincoln. Classrooms and school groups from across the state 
are invited to the celebration, which will begin at 9:45 a.m. 

In addition to the official launch ceremony on April 7, the 
Governor will participate in celebrations scheduled to take 
place at the University of Nebraska at Kearney’s Foster Field 
beginning at 12:15 p.m., and Five Rocks Amphitheatre in Gering 
at 1:30 p.m. MT. A strike ceremony is being planned for March 
at the United States Mint at Denver."

"John Munn, director of the Nebraska Department of Banking and 
Finance and co-chair of the quarter launch committee, said, 
“This is an exciting process that we hope will be inclusive, 
educational and fun for all Nebraskans. It’s also a great 
opportunity to recognize those who worked to build a strong 
foundation for our state many years ago.” 

To read the full article, see: 


Dennis Tucker writes: "I'm looking for books, articles, and 
other resources on paper money and coins of World War I. In 
particular I'm trying to track down a copy of Benjamin White's 
The Currency of the Great War (Waterlow, London, 1921), but 
also other resources relating specifically to the war and 
the money of the era.  This is for personal research; reader 
replies can be sent to denmig at"

The January 2006 issue of Medal Collectors of America's 
MCA Advisory contained an article by frequent E-Sylum 
contributor Dick Johnson.  In the article he proposed that 
the standard terms for coin conditions do not apply to medals. 
Why? Because they do not circulate.  His position: Can you 
legitimately call medals "uncirculated"? 

Like terms of condition from one hundred years ago -- 
when there were only four such conditions -- Dick has come 
up with four new terms for medals. He claims all medals
could fit within these four categories: 

"Pristine -- Unblemished, perfect, fresh, new, could not 
be better; no holes, no dents, no scratches. As the piece 
came from the die or mold.  Formerly unc.

Mellow -- Pleasant appearance and pleasing quality. May 
have a few imperfections, perhaps an edge dent or two, 
but these are not severe. A satisfactory, collectible 
condition. Formerly: AU. EF, XF.

Haggard -- Some attrition of surface conditions. A little 
longer in the tooth. Shows its age and a little more damage. 
A dent or two or a scratch or two. You would want to replace 
this if a better specimen came along, but for now it can 
stay in your collection.  Formerly VF, F, VG.

Eroded -- Worn away by environmental conditions. Here the 
damage is quite perceptible. Not a desirable specimen. 
Perhaps it is in the collection only because of its rarity.  
Formerly: good or fair."

What say you, E-Sylum readers?


Tom Fort writes: "You may remember several years ago the 
Grolier Club of New York had an exhibit of early numismatic 
books.  You could not order the exhibition catalogue; you 
actually had to physically walk into the club and purchase 
it with cash. The frustrations I had in dealing with them, 
seem to also occur in their other business dealings."

Tom forwarded an article from the New York Times about the 
Club's plan to sell the air rights over its building:

"So rich was the price negotiated for some 86,000 square feet 
of air over the Grolier Club and Christ Church at Park Avenue 
and East 60th Street — $430 a square foot — that the magazine 
Business 2.0 listed the sale as one of "the 101 dumbest moments 
in business" last year.

But several members of the Grolier, an elite society of 
bibliophiles, now say the price for their portion, at least — 
about $6.9 million — was too low." 

"Some Grolier members say their club deserves a higher price 
for its ether than the church is receiving because its 16,000 
feet remain pivotal to the deal. So now they want the club to 
pull out. It is a dispute that has split the normally docile 
precincts of the club, even bringing tears amid heated 
accusations of conflicts of interest at one uncharacteristically 
raucous meeting."

"The opposition from some Grolier members is unsettling to 
the church, which hopes to use the $30 million from its part 
of the deal on various missions to help the poor, Mr. Mermel 

"Their case has no merit, but I've been surprised at the 
lengths to which they've gone to snatch defeat from the jaws 
of victory and put at risk the opportunity for this money to 
help so many needy people through the church," he said."

To read the full article, see: 


This week's featured web page contains the text of a rare 1845 
pamphlet by J. L. Riddell, M.D., titled "The Mint at New Orleans
with an account of the process of Coinage".  The pamphlet was 
uncovered by Eric Newman and published in The Numismatist in 1968.   

"... it is worthy of remark that the average fineness of the 
gold coins issued is a trifle better than the mean standard 
contemplated by law - the average value of a New Orleans eagle 
being about three-fourths of a cent greater than similar coins 
from the Mints of Charlotte, Dahlonega or Philadelphia."

To read the complete pamphlet, see:

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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

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