The E-Sylum v9#02, January 8, 2006

esylum at esylum at
Sun Jan 8 21:10:22 PST 2006

Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 9, Number 02, January 8, 2006:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2006, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers is Bill Bremmer.  Welcome aboard!  
We now have 834 subscribers.

I'll skip the commentary tonight, although I can think of a 
few choice words for the managers of the hotel I'm staying at 
tonight while out of town on business.  The wireless Internet 
access I was promised doesn't exactly work very well in my room.   
So here I am in the parking lot at midnight, tapping away at 
my laptop keyboard in my car, parked in a space near the office, 
where the connection actually works.  What I won't do get an 
E-Sylum out the door....  Have a great week.

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


John Isles of Hanover, Michigan writes: "Further on the 
topic of book repair, I see that remaindered copies of 
"The Booklover's Repair Kit" by Estelle Ellis et al. are 
now being sold by for only $29.95.  This 
comprises a book and a box of supplies that I've found 
very useful for small repairs, while I've used its soft 
red archival tape to hold together some of my worst cases 
until I get around to having them rebound.  Here's the 
full description:

THE BOOKLOVER'S REPAIR KIT: First Aid for Home Libraries.
By Estelle Ellis et al.  Unique kit provides step-by-step 
instructions and everything you need to clean, patch, 
preserve, repair, and restore the books you love, in your 
own home and with no previous experience. Includes guide 
book, document-cleaning pad, transparent mending tape, red 
cotton library tape, binder's board, archival mat board, 
brushes, clamps, etc. 65 photos. 117 pages. Published by 
Knopf. Hardbound . Remainder . ISBN 0375411194 . Item 
#3256774 Save $95.05.  Published at $125.00.  Your Price 

Of course I have no stake in the kit or in Hamilton Books, 
but I have to say that at this price it's worth buying a 
couple just to stock up on supplies."

[We mentioned this kit in the September 11, 2005 E-Sylum.  
Here's what we said:   
I've also seen the kit for sale in discount mall bookstores.  
Lucky me, I got one for Christmas thanks to a well-placed 
hint.  -Editor]


Bill Bremmer writes: "I recently purchased a copy of 
Photograde, the 1970 edition. It states the various 
printings as follows:
1st printing August 1970
2nd printing September 1970
3rd printing October 1970
4th printing November 1970
It would seem that the book must've caused 
quite a stir in 1970 to have that many printings 
so fast.  Would you happen to know how many books 
would have been a typical printing back then?"
[Great question - does anyone happen to know the 
answer?  How many printings did the 1970 edition go 
through in all? What's the highest printing number 
anyone has seen? -Editor]


The previous question about Photograde brings to mind 
a more general topic for discussion: landmark literature 
in numismatics.  Which books or catalogs caused such a 
stir at their issuance that they changed the hobby landscape 
forever?  Here in the U.S., each major modern grading guide 
could probably fit in that category (Brown & Dunn, Photograde, 
ANA Grading Guide).  Among U.S. titles published in the 19th 
century, Dickeson's Numismatic Manual and Heaton's book on 
Mint Marks are probably sure-fire nominees.  What do our 
readers think?  What publications would you nominate for a 
list of landmark numismatic works?


The Orlando Sentinel covered the story of a famous error 
note sold at the FUN show: "Collectors covet flaws, and 
one of the most dramatic defects in recent years fetched 
$25,300 at an Orlando auction Friday. The drab $20 note 
sports a colorful Del Monte banana sticker next to the 
solemn portrait of Andrew Jackson, one that was undoubtedly 
affixed before the bill left the printer.

"You'll never find another item like this one," said 
Michael Moczalla, consignment director with Heritage 
Galleries & Auctioneers, the agency that conducted the 
sale. "We had pretty heated bidding. The room was packed."

An unidentified Texan placed the winning bid, becoming 
the bill's third owner since an Ohio college student 
scooped it from a cash machine in 2003 and auctioned it 
for $10,100 on eBay."

"The red, green and yellow sticker -- the kind stuck on 
Del Monte bananas -- covers part of the background design 
but is itself stamped with a serial number. The 1996 series 
bill most likely was printed in the late '90s but didn't 
surface until years later.

Just how the sticker ended up on the bill is a mystery. 
Bradford said a printer might have accidentally dropped it.

"It is possible that it was done intentionally, but if 
that happened, it would seem somebody might have tried 
to profit from it," Bradford said. "These things just 
happen occasionally."

To read the full story and view an image of the note, see:


On January 3, the Ottawa Citizen reported the donation 
of another Victoria Cross medal to a local museum:  
"The price of the rare Victoria Cross medal is reaching 
extraordinary heights when it comes up for sale at 
international auction houses. But the Merrifield family 
of Sault Ste. Marie has decided its Victoria Cross will 
never be sold to the highest bidder and will never leave 

In November, the Merrifields donated the Victoria Cross 
medal set that belonged to Sgt. William Merrifield to the 
Canadian War Museum. The family was donating a military 
artifact that would be worth a lot of money on the collectors' 
market; a British Victoria Cross sold for $482,000 in 2004.

William Merrifield was an infantryman in the First World War 
who became one of only 94 Canadians to win the high honour. 
He won the medal in France for attacking German machine-gun 
posts that had trapped his platoon, then leading the platoon 
forward on the battlefield. He was wounded twice. He received 
the medal from King George V at Sandringham in January 1919."

"The family saw the rising amounts of money being sought 
for military medals, and saw the angst and controversy 
over the recent sale of Fred Topham's Victoria Cross. 
The executors of Mr. Topham's widow's estate wanted to 
auction the medal in Britain, causing a national outcry 
in 2004. The federal government eventually stepped in 
and bought the medal for $300,000.

The Merrifield family wanted to avoid all that."

"We don't want it sold and off to another country, 
just regarded as a piece of metal. We were taught as 
kids that this was a very highly respected honour and 
we should keep it that way. The museum was a good way 
to do it."

"So the family decided to hand over the medal set to 
the Canadian War Museum in a little ceremony in November."

"Families typically do a lot of thinking before donating 
such a piece, says Mr. Glenney. So far, the war museum has 
collected 29. Mr. Glenney says the medals are great for the 
museum to collect, not just because they are small and easy 
to store and display, but also because there's a story behind 
each set and it's the museum's mission to tell those stories."

To read the complete story, see:


A January 8 Associated Press story covers the story of
the end of transportation tokens in Boston:

"Transit tokens have jingled in the pockets of Bostonians 
since 1837 -- from the silver-colored coins of the 
horse-drawn Roxbury Coach, to the worn brass discs that 
have been plunked into MBTA turnstiles since 1951.

But soon, in the city that is home to America's first subway, 
where folk singers have rhapsodized about public transportation, 
tokens won't be good for a ride.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority recently 
announced that the $1.25 token will be phased out in early 
2007, making way for fare cards.

"I think there is certainly something symbolic in the 
passing of the token," said transit system general manager 
Daniel A. Grabauskas, who has already ordered his set of 
commemorative token cuff links."

"Chicago killed its token on May 31, 1999. The New York 
Times ran an obituary for its 50-year-old subway token on 
the last day it could used in turnstiles -- March 14, 2003."

"Tokens were as revolutionary a technology change in their 
day as electronic fare collection is today," said Clarke, 
who has written nine books on public transportation. "Instead 
of fishing in your pocket for two dimes and a nickel, you 
just had to find a single coin."

There been have about 12,000 different transit tokens minted 
in the United States and Canada, said Rev. John M. Coffee Jr., 
editor of The Fare Box, a monthly newsletter for transportation 
token collectors. Three hundred to 400 are still in use in 
smaller cities and towns, he said."

To read the full story, see:


"Korea's online community is up in arms at the decision 
to omit the definite article from the new 5,000-won ($5) 
bill, leaving "Bank of Korea" to stand alone.

"If the bank has omitted 'the' by mistake," read one 
online posting, "then it has not only wasted taxpayers' 
money, but caused our national shame."

The story of the new banknote, released on Monday, started 
auspiciously. With its new design, holograms and other 
anti-forgery features, demand for the new notes was such 
that local banks had to limit the number of new bills they 
will exchange for old ones to 10 per person.

But eagle-eyed netizens soon spotted that on the new notes, 
the name of the nation's central bank is printed as "Bank 
of Korea," prompting curious users to ask the bank why "the" 
has been dropped." 

"In response, the central bank said it left out "the" for 
design purposes. The bank added its official title, The 
Bank of Korea, has not changed. 

The central bank also said a number of foreign countries 
such as New Zealand, India, Israel and Hong Kong do not 
use "the" when referring to their respective central banks."


Last week Dick Johnson shared an article about New Year's 
traditions around the world that involve coins.  Jeff 
Starck forwarded this article from a Yorkshire newspaper 
about the annual "coin scramble" in the East Yorkshire 
town of Driffield:

"IT IS as much a sign of the dawning of a new year as 
the chimes of Big Ben and the quaffing of champagne. 
And yesterday, once again, the annual Driffield coin 
scramble attracted a crowd. 

For more than 200 years the children of Driffield have 
scrambled in the gutter for sweets and treats, in a 
ceremony whose origins have been lost in the mists of 
time. Yesterday saw the annual coin scramble in the East 
Yorkshire town, with dozens of children scuffling and 
laughing in the street as they tried to scoop up treats." 

"And, with all the fervour of their predecessors, they 
chanted the old rhyme:  "Here we are at our toon's end wi' 
a shoulder'a mutton and a croon ti spend Are we doon 'arted? 
- No! Shall we win? - Yes!" 

The festivity was first recorded in the 1700s, and for 
decades children up to the age of 12 have run through 
Middle Street in the scramble.  Although it is all now 
fun and games, shopkeepers added a cruel twist to the 
game in years gone by when they heated the coins on metal 
shovels before throwing them to the children."


Roger Burdette writes: "Do any E-Sylum readers know of 
the existence and whereabouts of the personal papers or 
collection notebooks of R. Coulton Davis, 19th century 
Philadelphia druggist and coin collector?  Thanks!"


Bob Fritsch writes: "My question is a simple one -- 
does anyone know about this series which appeared 
around 1830+ in Switzerland?  The medallist I am 
studying, Antoine Bovy, did a few of them, but I 
have never seen anything else in the same series 
by other medallists.

Appearing around the same time were two French series, 
wants to extrapolate to modern times, maybe a comparison 
with the Franklin Mint who issues medal series like 

In particular I am looking for the names of the medals 
in all three series, and most importantly, printed 
references about them.  Just the reference would be 
valuable to my research.   A Happy New Year to all!"


Harold Levi writes: "In a recent article I wrote for 
Coin World, I included information received from David 
Laties, Bashlow's partner at the time the so-called 
second Confederate cent restrikes were made.  Laties 
stated that a large number of coins were struck in 
platinum, but all were melted when a deal fell through 
that Bashlow was working on.

In a recent e-mail, Jesse Patrick (The Patrick Mint) 
stated that as a dealer he has handled a platinum 
Bashlow restrike.  According to his information, one 
or more of the platinum restrikes were found in Walter 
Breen's estate when he died.  Patrick believes that 
three copies escaped melting.

Can anyone shed any light on this issue?  My e-mail 
address is haroldlevi at"


Dick Johnson writes: "There is a reason we call minor 
coins "change."  Events are causing a lot of change 
in our coin change. ATMs, debit cards, and Coinstar 
coin-counting machines - products of modern technology - 
are all influencing how we make small payments thus 
affecting the very existence of our cents, nickels, 
dimes and quarters.

This was dramatically brought to mind this week by an 
excellent article in the Delaware News Journal. Writer 
Christopher Yasiejko reported some interesting facts 
including these two: about $10.5 billion in coins sits 
idle nationwide, and the average U.S. home has about $99 
in idle change [read "minor coins"].

"A stream of innovations," Yasiejko reports, "during the 
past quarter-century have made it easier to avoid coins 
altogether."  He cites credit cards, EZPass, Speedpass 
and PayPass among these innovations.

He notes that some coins are lost. "Mostly, though, change 
ends up at home, scattered atop tables and counters or 
collected in a container for later use." He cites several 
examples of people recognizing this fact, carting their 
coin stash to the local supermarket or bank and converting 
coins to cash.

Commerce Bank in seven states in his area placed coin-exchange 
machines in each of their banks and coin counted nearly $349 
million in 2005. He also quoted coin dealer Steven Hershkowitz, 
owner of the Coin Gallery of Delaware, who reported he doesn't 
much like debit cards. (Do you, E-Sylum reader?)

He mentioned Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz) introduced a bill in 2001 
to eliminate the cent. His proposed legislation, Legal Tender 
Modernization Act, died in committee.

Four pages long, this great article (he even gets penny / cent 
usage correct) can be read at:
0304/-1/NEWS01 "


According to a report published The Scotsman, 
"NATIONALISTS launched a petition today calling 
on the Treasury to leave Scottish banknotes alone."

"Bank bosses say the proposals, aimed at modernising 
the way money is issued in the UK, do not threaten 
Scottish notes. 

The SNP is demanding that the present independent 
system be left alone."

"Mr Hosie said: "The proposals hand power over to 
the Bank of England to determine what denominations 
of Scottish notes are acceptable and even the design 
of Scottish notes. 

"The Treasury proposals offer no benefit to Scottish 
banks and simply place more burdens on them. It is 
another example of London government attempting to 
eliminate Scottish traditions". 

Three Scots banks are allowed to issue their own 
notes, the Bank of Scotland, Clydesdale Bank and 
the Royal Bank of Scotland." 

To read the full story, see:


Arthur Shippee forwarded the following from The Explorator 
Newsletter: "One of two surviving golden coins stamped 
during the period of the foundation of the Kingdom of 
Pergamon is being exhibited at the Ereğli Archaeology 
Museum in Konya."

"Pergamon was an ancient city founded on the Aegean coast 
of Anatolia at the site of the present-day city of Bergama. 
Located 100 kilometers north of İzmir in the Bakırçay River 
basin, Bergama is one of Turkey's oldest civilized settlements, 
inhabited from pre-historic times through the periods of the 
Ionic, Roman and Byzantine civilizations."

"Stressing that only two golden coins remain from that time, 
Bilici said the one exhibited in the Ereğli Archaeology Museum 
was unearthed from a tomb on a hill located five kilometers 
east of Ereğli during excavations in the region in 1974. 

"This golden coin, along with some other finds from the 
same tomb, is being exhibited at our museum. It'll be worthwhile 
to put these coins and the other unearthed items under 
comprehensive technical observation, as according to the age's 
religious beliefs coins were put into tombs for the dead as a 
gift to be given to the keeper of the Sirat Bridge," he said. 
"However, it's a great secret as to how the coins came from 
Bergama to a central Anatolian settlement." 

Bilici said Ereğli will also be a place of major interest 
for archaeologists and art historians from all around the 
world if the body found in the tomb is proven to be one of 
Alexander the Great's commanders, as some archaeologists presume."  

To read the full article (registration required):


Bob Leonard writes: "Bob Knepper should consult 
the ANS on-line library catalog, which is far, far 
superior to the ANA catalog.  In it he would find:

Main Author:
  Ferrando, Philippe. 
  Les monnaies d'Arles : de Constantin le Grand 
  Romulus Augustule (313-476) / Philippe Ferrando. 
Publication Info:
  [Arles] : F. Ferrando, 1997. 
  254 p. : ill., map, tabls. ; 25 cm. 
  Includes bibliographical references (p. 238-240) 
   and indexes. 
  Roman coinage of Arelate from Constantine I through Romulus. 
Subject Info:
  Rome Mints Arelate.Arles (France) Antiquities, Roman. 

Thus we see that his suspicion is confirmed, this is 
a catalog of the Roman coins minted at Arelate (modern 
Arles) from A.D. 313 to 476, and has nothing on his 
paper notes."


Fred Reed writes: "I'll add my two cents on the Don Taxay 
thread in the recent E-Sylum.

On Dec. 26, 1991, John J. Ford (presumably, he wrote the 
introduction) renewed the copyright on Taxay's "Counterfeit, 
Mis-struck, and Unofficial U.S. Coins" (originally registered 
May 15, 1963) in favor of himself and Don Taxay.

Also, on October 14, 1998, Scott Publishing Co. (owned 
by Amos Press since 1985) renewed the copyright on Taxay's 
"Scott's Comprehensive Catalogue and Encyclopedia of U.S. 
Coins, 1971" which had originally been registered on Dec. 
3, 1970.

This is the straight poop.  It's from my significant 
numismatic date database which forms the basis of my 
"The Week That Was" weekly column in COIN WORLD, and 
is based on Copyright Office records.

As for the suggestion that Taxay sold rights to his 
"The U.S. Mint and Coinage" for some exorbitant sum 
such as $100,000, and the disposition of his other 
works, I can't add anything since I refer to the 
records on line which only go back to 1978."

[Ron Benice, using an Internet people-search service
writes that it "shows a Donald Taxay, age 72... The 
age seems about right."
I've edited out other details.  This may or may not
be the Don Taxay we're curious about, but in any case,
if he wanted to reconnect with the numismatic world 
he could have done so.  This has been an interesting
topic, and I'd still like to hear other stories from
those who knew him, but as far as our search goes, 
we'll stop here.  -Editor]


John and Nancy Wilson forwarded their review of the 
Pierre Fricke's "Collecting Confederate Paper Money:  
A Complete and Fully Illustrated Guide to All Confederate 
Note Types and Varieties".  They write:

"This hard bound fully illustrated 800 page book contains 
both full color and  enlarged black and white pictures 
of each of the Criswell Type notes and also some color 
varieties of some notes.  The book contains much original 
information from sources including the late Dr. Douglas J. 
Ball.  Many of the rare types have the known surviving 
serial numbers as well as some condition census information.  
Prices in several conditions are also included.  

When we received the new reference by Pierre we could 
hardly put it down.  We were amazed at the valuable 
information contained within the pages of this important 
reference.   We have a nice type set of CSA issues, not 
including the rare First Series, Essays, or Indian Princess 
note(s).  This reference helped us find some scarce varieties 
we never would have known about if it wasn't available.  
This CSA reference will add information greatly needed by 
the collectors of these important numismatic items.  It was 
obvious that the Author, Pierre Frick spent countless hours 
in the research and production of this Confederate States 
of America reference.   

This reference could also be "The Book of the Year" because 
of the important information contained as well as the high 
quality printing and pictures.  It will be a must for all 
collectors of Confederate States of America Issues.  It 
now takes up a prominent location in our Numismatic Library. 
Visit for more information on the book."


On Sunday, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer published an 
editorial correcting some numismatic errors in an earlier 
story.  Regret the Error, a web site devoted to "corrections, 
retractions, clarifications and trends regarding accuracy 
and honesty in the media" wrote:

"We already mentioned that the press needs to come correct 
when it writes about Star Wars, comics, and other elements 
of geek-culture. Add coin collecting to the list. The 
editorial page editor of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer 
got slapped down, numismatics style, for a column about 

I'd like to start the New Year by correcting a mistake. 
Actually two mistakes. A couple of weeks ago I wrote a 
column and suggested we get rid of paper dollars and 
instead use coins."

The following excerpts are from the Post-Intelligencer: 
"I read your editorial and found it interesting," wrote 
a reader. "I find any story about numismatics interesting, 
primarily because the information contained within is 
rarely correct. It seems that whenever the price of gold 
or silver makes any kind of significant move, or a new 
coin design is forthcoming, the newspapers throw together 
a story or editorial riddled with inaccuracies. While your 
editorial was rather tame in that respect, errors were made."

The first error was a dumb one: Nearly a billion Susan B. 
Anthony coins were produced -- not the million I said. I 
just looked at the number wrong.

The other error sits on my desk, too. I compared the Susan 
B. Anthony coin to the Sacagawea -- and said they were 
different sizes. That's not true. They are the same size 
(and weight, for that matter) but the gold-toned Sacagawea 
has a smoother edge with a wide rim. It just looks different.

The column was posted online and immediately I heard from 
folks who picked up on the misstatements... And that's 
what's best about the Internet -- there's a large body of 
knowledge out there, representing people who care deeply 
about an infinite range of topics."

To read the full article, see:


Alan Luedeking writes: "Bob's suggestion was good, but 
instead of Line breaks find Paragraph breaks instead. 
All you need is the caret-p command instead of caret-l.
To make sure you get it right, put this in the 'Replace 
What' field. To get there: Edit/Replace/More/Special and 
choose Paragraph Mark. Then put a space in the 'RepLace 
With' field.

To facilitate this every week, go to Tools/Customize/Commands/Edit 
and put the Replace button on your Word toolbar. This exercise 
is only necessary with older versions of Outlook, since 
newer versions do indeed allow automatic removal of line 
breaks: Tools/Options/Preferences/E-mail
Options: Check the "Remove Extra Line Breaks in Plain Text 
Messages" checkbox. Simply resize your mail message window 
to the desired print size and print. If you like headerless 
E-Sylums, then copy/paste to Word and do as Bob said to 


Stephen Pradier of Murfreesboro, TN writes: "I periodically 
search eBay's Coin Publications listing and have noticed 
that the US section is receiving listings for a more than 
just books.  One seller is offering a toilet seat embedded
with "U.S. and Commemorative coins".  I haven't ever taken 
my numismatic books to that area of the home. Perhaps this 
is for the very serious numismatic bibliophile."

Ralf W. Böpple of  Stuttgart also saw this one. He writes: 
"This is definitely the weirdest item I have ever seen at 
offer in the coins publications section of eBay! Somebody 
took his desire to be as close as possible to his collection 
at any time a little too far, I guess!! I leave it to you to 
decide whether it's something for the E-Sylum (I can guarantee 
that I do not have any business interest in this auction, 


This week's featured web site is the Wikipedia entry 
for the American Vecurist Association, which has some 
interesting information about the history of the standard 
workS on transportation tokens:

"In 1920, Mr. F.C. Wentworthy began cataloging his 
transportation token collection. Five years later, Mr 
Wentworthy handed his work off to Mr. R.W. Dunn. In 1932 
Mr. Dunn printed his list of U.S. and foreign transportation 
tokens. Shortly after printing, Dr. Dunn passed the task of 
cataloging transportation tokens off to Ronald C. Atwood. 
In 1948, Mr. Atwood had his National Check and Premium List 
of All U.S. Transportation Tokens published by the American 
Numismatic Company of Los Angeles.

Meanwhile, Mr. R.L. Moore began publishing the Fare Box, a 
monthly newsletter about transportation tokens. On October 
31, 1948, the American Vecturist Association was formed in 
New York City out of interest sparked from Mr. Moore's 
newsletter. Two months later, Mr. Moore turned over the Fare 
Box to the newly formed American Vecturist Association."

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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