The E-Sylum v9#04, January 22, 2006

esylum at esylum at
Sun Jan 22 22:50:37 PST 2006

Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 9, Number 04, January 22, 2006:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2006, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers is Chuck Armstrong.  
Welcome aboard!  We now have 851 subscribers.   No time for
comments this week, but I think everyone will find something of
interest in this issue.  Enjoy!

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


Paul Withers writes: "There is sad news, Professor Philip 
Grierson died on Sunday afternoon."  Paul Forwarded the 
following note.  Mark Blackburn writes "that Philip suffered 
a heart attack while eating his lunch in the dining room at 
Cottenham Court, the nursing home where he had being staying, 
and probably died instantaneously.  He was taken to Addenbrookes 
Hospital by ambulance, and pronounced dead shortly after his 
arrival there at 1.40pm.

Although he had been deteriorating physically in recent weeks 
(he found it a struggle to walk even along the corridor), 
he was reasonably content and peaceful staying in the nursing 
home.  The staff, who are extremely friendly, liked him and 
he appreciated all they did for him.  He was still hoping to 
return to College, but recognised that he needed to gather 
more strength.

As his sister Janet (aged 93) said this evening, this is 
as he would have wished it, to go before he had to endure 
too much pain and suffering.

The last that we saw of him was a few months back, when 
he was still bright and sprightly, supervising the latest 
volumes of Medieval European Coinage that are in course of 
preparation. He was a remarkable man and was working, 
undiminished almost to the very end."

The Guardian published an obituary on January 18:
"Professor Philip Grierson, who has died aged 95, was 
that very rare combination - a world-class collector and 
a world-class scholar of coins. With his death, the 
Fitzwilliam Museum has lost one of its leading benefactors 
and Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, has lost one of 
the last surviving ornaments of the great and dying tradition 
of the bachelor fellow resident in college."

"From his austere set of rooms overlooking the market 
place, into which he moved in the mid-1930s, he produced 
an unrivalled flow of numismatic scholarship and entertained 
more undergraduates than almost any other member of his 
college. Scholars revered him for his learning and research; 
colleagues liked him for his encyclopaedic knowledge and 
sense of fun; and students, who were in awe of his longevity 
and his academic reputation, loved him because he shared their 
taste in food, films, music and literature."

"There was much more in his life to intrigue the young. He 
had been a communist sympathiser in the 1930s, although he 
never joined the party. He had flown to Germany to help 
Jewish scholars escape nazism in the 1930s. A great admirer 
of the Soviet Union, he refused to visit Spain while Franco 
was alive. He had rejected the offer of a CBE because he could 
not be bothered to dress up to go the palace. He could fly a 
plane but could not drive a car. He possessed a racing bike 
on which he swished round Cambridge like a teenager."

"Yet this was the man who formed the finest representative 
collection of medieval European coins in the world, some 
20,000 specimens, which he has bequeathed to the Fitzwilliam. 
Estimates of their value vary but "between £5m and £10m" was 
Grierson's own, formed by prudent buying over 60 years, 
essentially from his salary as a university teacher."

To read the complete article, see:,,1688576,00.html 

A London Times article focused more on his numismatic 
bibliomania and scholarship:  "Grierson also collected books 
about coins. The books, like the coins, are already mostly 
in the Grierson Room in the Fitzwilliam. In 1949 he became 
honorary Keeper of Coins at the Fitzwilliam, promoted to 
Reader in Numismatics in 1960, and Professor of Numismatics 
from 1971 to his retirement in 1978. 

In 1958 he also inaugurated the Sylloge of Coins of the 
British Isles under the auspices of the British Academy. 
He sat on its management committee until his death, by when 
more than 50 volumes had been added to his initial publication. 

By the 1950s Grierson was sending off articles every six 
weeks or so, and his rate of writing diminished only in 
the 1980s. In all he wrote well over 250 articles besides 
his numerous books. In 1979 he reprinted 51 articles in 
Dark Age Numismatics and Later Medieval Numismatics. Soon 
afterwards he formulated his grand design to collect his 
own work in a single multivolume corpus. 

In 1982 he announced his plan of publishing a 14-volume 
standard work on medieval European coinage to match his 
multivolume work on Byzantine coins. In 1976 he had already 
done a preliminary sketch, his 300-page Monnaies du moyen âge 
/ Münzen des Mittelalters. 

This large series was still in progress at the time of his 
death, by which time there was a team of eminent historians 
working with him and the plan had expanded to 17 volumes. 
Grierson himself wrote the volume on the Low Countries. The 
first part goes to press this year and the second early 
next year."

To read the complete article, see:,,60-2000352,00.html 

The Independent published an obituary January 19: 


George Kolbe writes: "On March 9, 2006, George Frederick 
Kolbe/Fine Numismatic Books will conduct their 99th sale 
of rare and out of print numismatic literature. Featured 
are 705 lots on a great variety of topics. Catalogues may 
be ordered by sending $15.00 [$5.00 for NBS members] to 
Kolbe at P. O. Drawer 3100, Crestline, CA 92325 or the 
catalogue is accessible free of charge at the firm’s web 
site (

Some sale highlights include: American business directories, 
among them Disturnell’s 1881 Arizona Directory, Hawes’ 1859 
Ohio State Gazetteer, and Campbell’s 1854 Southern Directory; 
a fine original set of Gnecchi’s monumental I Medaglioni 
Romani, from the Adolph Hess Library; Voetter’s rare 1903 
Sammlung Bachofen von Echt; an interleaved 1913 Adams-Woodin 
on U. S. pattern coins; Dr. Beckwith’s photographic Würtzbach 
Album of Massachusetts Colonial Silver; William Butler 
Yeats’ elusive work on Irish Free State coins; a complete 
set of printed Münzen und Medaillen fixed price lists; the 
first Toronto coin auction sale; Q. David Bowers’ first 
numismatic publication; a large selection of Chapman brother 
and B. Max Mehl auction sales, including two unique Chapman 
bid books; a collection of rarely seen publications on “The 
Silver Question”; a complete set of Davenport works on crowns 
and talers; the monumental 1913 Tolstoi collection of Russian 
coins; plated Thomas Elder catalogues of the 1908 Gschwend 
and Wilson sales; a very fine first edition/first issue Red 
Book and three very fine fifth editions; Zelada’s 1778 
catalogue of Aes Grave in the Cardinal de Zelada collection; 
A. C. Kline’s rare 1869 Simms Catalogue; fascinating nineteenth 
& twentieth century original American numismatic correspondence; 
a special leather-bound edition of C. Wyllys Betts’ landmark 
1894 American Colonial History Illustrated by Contemporary 
Medals; George Marshall’s Elusive 1837 work on British silver 
coins, annotated throughout by Richard Hoblyn and presented 
to George Wakeford; and many other interesting and important 


George Kolbe writes: "In June 2006, George Frederick 
Kolbe/Fine Numismatic Books will conduct their one 
hundredth auction sale and plans are being formulated 
to make it a memorable event. Consignments of exceptional 
quality are currently being accepted for the sale. The firm 
may be contacted at P. O. Drawer 3100, Crestline, CA 92325; 
by telephone at 909-338-6527; or by email at 
GFK at Those interested are also invited to 
visit Kolbe’s web site ("


In the MPCGram #1416 this week, Fred Schwan of BNR Press 
commented on the problem of unfinished manuscripts.  I had 
raised the topic here in the last issue of The E-Sylum.  
He writes: "Unfortunately, I have a few unpublished 
manuscripts.  Of the three that I am thinking of (there 
might be more), there is a continuum of likelihood that 
they will ever be published. In order from most likely to 
(eventually) be published they are (titles approximate): 
United States Defense and War Bonds, World War II Allied 
Military Currency, and Military Vignettes.

All three of these were near publication at one time or 
another. The most interesting story here is about Military 
Vignettes. In the 1970s and 80s I wrote a monthly column 
called Military Vignettes for the Bank Note Reporter. 
Eventually, I decided to publish an anthology of these 
many columns. The special hook was that I would publish 
the articles as they originally appeared with annotations.

This was in about 1984. Word processors were not what they 
are now, but still I had one and worked real hard on the 
project. I got most or all of the articles typed. I also 
wrote most of the annotations. In many cases the annotations 
were as long or even longer than the original articles. I 
must say that the articles and annotations included some 
really good information.

As mentioned in The E-Sylum, the last 10% causes a lot of 
trouble and often means the difference between publishing 
and not. In this case I never got the last 10% done. However, 
I did make up a mock-up of the cover. I also photographed it
and included it on a price list somewhere along the line. 
I am pretty sure that I never accepted any money for copies 
because I think that (among other things) I never decided 
on a price. Some other project got in the way.

Unfortunately, Grover Criswell lifted the notice with picture 
of the cover from some sales literature and included it on a 
price list of his. He must have put a price on it because I 
believe that he took a few orders. Grover was infamous for 
taking orders for vaporbooks and this was one of his worst 

Now for the really good part. You can go to today 
and look for this title with author Schwan and find that it 
is out of print. I would say that that is an understatement!"


Related to the topic of unpublished research 
manuscripts, Roger Burdette writes: "Seneca Mill Press LLC 
is interested in publishing works of original research 
into American numismatics. The work must be carefully 
cited to primary sources and represent new, or highly 
revised information. Date/mint and variety lists, or 
highly speculative material is respectfully declined. 
Authors may write to Seneca Mill Press LLC, PO Box 1423, 
Great Falls, VA 22066 or via email at SenecaMillPress at 
for more information."


Bob Hurst, Vice President, Florida United Numismatists, Inc 
wrote to take exception my introductory text to last week's 
item about the Hobo nickel theft in Florida.  I wrote: "It 
wasn't all fun and games at FUN.  Readers are urged to be 
aware of coin show security and be on the lookout for 
stolen material in the numismatic marketplace."   These 
sentiments seem straightforward, but apparently require 
some explanation.

Bob writes: "I take exception to the first sentence as 
I am sure that it was fun at FUN for that writer as he 
mentioned meeting friends and purchasing HOBO Nickels at 
the auction.  I am positive that it was fun."  [So let 
the record show that yes, most people had fun at FUN. 
I'm positive.  Absolutely.  We have photos of smiling 
faces from the NBS meeting to prove it. -Editor] 

On the second sentence, Bob writes: "It makes an 
implication that FUN's security was not sufficient.  
The writer goes on to state that during a specific time 
a lot of coins were stolen out of the car that they were 
riding in.  That car was in Kissimmee at a restaurant 
13.5 miles from the convention center.  That is far beyond 
the security requirements of FUN and falls squarely on the 
shoulders of who ever owned the coins.  Why weren't the 
coins checked into Security while they went out to eat?    
That would have taken about 5 minutes of their time and 
saved them lots of money!!!

It is always sad when someone has items stolen from them 
and this is no exception.  Dealers who attend shows, must 
realize that they are a potential target.  Utilizing 
Security should not be an afterthought.  Arrangement can 
be made if someone has to leave early in the morning or 
late at night to pick up their valuables."

[Bob and I are in total agreement on this point, too, of 
course. I can't imagine how anyone might think otherwise 
- what happens miles from a show couldn't possibly be a 
reflection on show organizers or show security.  By "coin 
show security" (uncapitalized) I meant what individuals 
themselves can do to ensure their day is a pleasant one.  
So please, do as Bob suggests an avail yourself of Show 
Security (capitalized) whenever possible, and be very 
careful not to leave valuables unattended when traveling 
away from a show. -Editor]

John and Nancy Wilson write: "It just breaks our hearts 
with the information contained in The E-Sylum v9#03, 
January 15, 2006 regarding the theft of collections of 
Hobo Nickels from the carvers and collector.  The theft 
took place at a restaurant in the vicinity of the FUN 06 
Convention.  So much has been written regarding security 
at coin shows and we're sure that most who attend 
conventions take heed to it.  

To the best of our knowledge (and we were at the show 
from Wednesday to Sunday) no one was robbed at the FUN 
Coin Convention held at the Orange County Convention Center.  
Collectors, dealers and visitors should know that FUN has 
outstanding security at the convention.  They also have 
security room for the entire convention.  

When you leave a convention you should always stop at the 
side of the road or go around a block to see if someone 
is following you.  If you are hungry, use a drive-through 
at a restaurant.    It just doesn't make sense to have your 
collectibles in a car and out of sight while you enter any 
business.  Your numismatic items should be in your sight 
all the time wherever you are.  We sincerely hope that the 
hobo nickel collections can be found and returned to the 

[This targeting of people leaving coin shows is a big problem,
and one can't be careful enough.  Thieves are becoming more
brazen and aren't above armed robbery.  An Associated Press 
story published January 20th noted that: "Thieves stole 
$450,000 worth of rare coins after trailing collectors from 
a convention, breaking into their cars while they ate dinner 
and robbing one at gunpoint more than 100 miles away.

"We haven't seen anything of this scale or this violent in 
years," Coin World editor Beth Deisher said of the thefts 
and robbery linked to the Jan. 5-7 gathering at the Orange 
County Convention Center.

The biggest haul happened two hours from Orlando after the 
coin show closed, when at least three men with a shotgun 
followed a dealer to Florida's west coast."

William Dominick had stopped at a Waffle House in Bradenton, 
where armed robbers smashed out the windows of his silver 
Mercedes sedan while he sat in the driver's seat, according 
to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.

Popping open the trunk, the robbers grabbed two steel cases 
plus a briefcase and ran toward a black luxury car with tinted 
windows. An intervening homeless man hit one of the robbers, 
who dropped and left behind the largest case, reports show.

"It had $700,000 to $800,000 inside," Dominick said Thursday 
of the recovered case. The contents included an 1879 U.S. 
gold coin worth $150,000 and a $10,000 bill valued at $75,000, 
he said.

"The blessing is that that homeless guy was there," said 
Dominick, who gave the man a $100 bill."

"The thieves also struck while three collectors ate dinner 
Jan. 5 near the convention, Orange County sheriff's reports 
show. Dinner guest Daniel Bandish lost $35,000 in Morgan 
silver dollars and $10,000 cash in the burglary. Dealer 
and collector Charles Hager lost $66,000 worth."

"Crime reports list nine victims in five cases. Dealers 
and Coin World said there may be a 10th victim, a coin 
dealer from Branson, Mo."  

To read the complete story, see:


Nancy Oliver & Richard Kelly write: "After reading the 
latest issue of the Esylum, we felt the urge to write and 
explain an issue concerning the 1894-S dime.  We had an 
article published in Coin World on February 5th of 2001 
which displayed the same documents (San Francisco Mint 
Telegrams Sent - ledger reprints) from the archives as Mr. 
Flynn had in his article in Coin World in the January 16th, 
2006 issue.  We too stated in our 2001 article that five 
dimes were sent for assay, but after further investigation, 
we know that to be incorrect.  After viewing the June 1894 
Bullion Accounts ledger in San Bruno, CA, we were able to 
determine that only 3 1894-S dimes were sent for assay.  
One of the telegrams, dated June 25th, was a confirmation 
of two having been sent on June 9th (noted in an earlier 
telegram) for special assay. The June 25th telegram states 
that Cashier Jesse S. Wall received $250.70 for the gold 
and silver coinage that had been sent for special assay 
for the month of June, 1894 (which included the two dimes 
sent earlier). Thus, with one sent for regular annual assay 
on June 28th, that makes three in all.  We have the bullion 
accounts reprints to show that fact. We have also developed 
a theory about the purpose behind the making of the dime 
that we believe to be more plausible than any others we 
have seen so far. We will be presenting it in our upcoming 
book on John Daggett, Mint and Mining Superintendent and 
former Lieutenant Governor of California." 


Steve Woodland writes: "Whenever I am looking for a book 
I need, I check two places on the internet:
1) Abebooks and 
2) the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB) 

Many times I can find the book I need at a great price and 
have it in my hands within a week or two."

Rich Hartzog writes: "While there are many book search sites, 
I have the only site I know of that lists all the book search 
sites! , titled: "The 
ULTIMATE Listing of BOOK SEARCH sites. A comprehensive listing 
of sites to search multiple listings of books for sale, not 
including individual book seller sites."  Happy Collecting!"


Kevin Flynn writes: "As many of your readers are aware, 
I have been working on a series of four books on the Barber 
series.  The Barber dime and quarter books were completed 
last year.  I have a few of each left.  The Barber Half 
Dollar book is being done now, at the same time the 1894-S 
book.  Titled “The Authoritative Reference on Barber Half 
Dollars”, it is being published by Brooklyn Gallery in NY, 
and is 200 pages, 8 ½ by 11, and contains hundreds of 
photographs.  Retail is $49.95.  I am selling the books 
for $40.  The barber dime and quarter books are $32.95

The primary purpose of the Barber Half book was to list 
as many die varieties for the series as possible.  There 
are many new doubled dies, misplaced dates, repunched 
mintmarks, and repunched dates which have never been 
published in any other book.

Kevin Flynn, P.O. Box 538, Rancocas, NJ 08073. Email:
kevinj50 at"


Last week's story of the discovery of the tomb of a person 
thought to be a collector of coins came up on an American 
Numismatic Society email list as well.  There, Peter K. 
Tompa writes: "Although this is an interesting story, my 
guess this is a bit of wishful thinking or hype.  The extreme 
range of dates can easily be explained by the long period of 
circulation of Chinese cash coins.  The excellent new book 
on Silk Road coinage published by the British Museum notes 
that cash coins are often of limited use in dating archaeological 
sites just for this reason.  Evidently, 1000 year old cash 
coins could be found in circulation in the early 20th Century 

He adds: "The book I referenced is Helen Wang, Money on 
the Silk Road (BM 2004)." 


On January 20 USA Today published an article about the
Wisconsin quarter "extra leaf" varieties following the
release of an investigative report on the subject:

"The release of thousands of flawed Wisconsin state quarters 
that set off a buying frenzy, and speculations of foul play, 
was a mistake stemming from an ill-timed meal break, a 
government investigation has found.
As many as 50,000 of the faulty coins, 50 times the amount 
earlier thought, entered circulation in 2004 after the coins 
were produced and bagged during an operator's break, according 
to the Treasury Department's Office of Inspector General. The 
flawed Wisconsin coins, which have sold for thousands of 
dollars, appear to have an extra leaf on the left side of 
an ear of corn.

The quarters "were most likely produced as a result of 
machine or product deficiencies, not as a result of an 
intentional act," according to the report, obtained by 
USA TODAY through a Freedom of Information Act request."

"No one was fired as a result of the incident. Mint 
spokeswoman Becky Bailey says by the time the final error 
was realized, the quarters were bagged and ready to be shipped. 
It would have been too costly to separate the blemished 
quarters from the good quarters by hand or to destroy them, 
Bailey says."

To read the complete story, see:

To read another story, in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, see:


A story from KUTV in Salt Lake City discusses the 
finalists in the competition for the Utah State Quarter 
design: "Pigtails flying as she catches big air, a girl 
snowboarder is taking on Utah's traditional symbols of a 
beehive and golden spike in the competition for a design 
on the state's commemorative quarter. 

The three designs, unveiled Thursday morning, were selected 
from more than 5,000 entries. The U.S. Mint will now review 
the options before sending them back to Utah for public 
comment and a decision by Gov. Jon Huntsman."

"The snowboarder appears to jump off the quarter as she 
catches big air with rugged, snowcapped mountains in the 
background. With a beaming smile, she joyfully stretches 
her right arm overhead and bends to clutch her snowboard 
with her left hand in a high-flying maneuver called a 
``front grab.'' Next to her are the words, ``The World 
is Welcome.'' 

"The commission did make a concession to safety, however. 
In the first version, the snowboarder was wearing a knit 
cap. That changed in the second. 

``She had a stocking cap on, and I thought, 'If that were 
my daughter, she'd be wearing a helmet,''' said Hunt, whose 
own daughter snowboards."

A more staid design shows a beehive, Utah's official emblem, 
representing industry and community."

"The golden spike design depicts the meeting of two steam 
locomotives at Promontory, Utah, in 1896, where the nation's 
first transcontinental railroad was linked."

To read the complete article, see: 


In the "I'm not making this up, I'm not that creative" 
department is this article from the Cincinnati, OH area:

"Pat O'Connell never knows what's going to walk through 
the door of his Mason store.

Two weeks ago it was Pope John Paul II on the face of a 
2005 Minnesota state quarter.

The Mason resident's business, QuikDrop, is an eBay 
drop off store where people can bring items they want 
to sell online."

"The quarter was brought in by a very religious Florence, 
Ky., man because he believes it shows the pope praying 
over the state of Minnesota, O'Connell said.

The man, who did not want to be identified, collects state 
quarters, he said. His wife brought the coin home from her 
job at a Pilot gas station in Richwood, Ky., because it 
was the first Minnesota quarter she had seen.

O'Connell said the man believes that because the image 
appears to be praying over the state whose capital is St. 
Paul this is a sign that the late pope will be canonized 
in the near future.

The quarter has been in circulation and appears to have 
been minted with the image, he said.

QuikDrop posted the listing for $2,500 on eBay, but 
received no bids by close of auction at 5 p.m. Thursday."

"O'Connell said he has received phone calls and e-mails 
from people that said they too believed the image to be 
the late pope.

He has also heard from people who think the image looks
more like an arrowhead."

"However, O'Connell does believe there is a flaw in the 
coin's minting and knows that in itself can make the 
quarter valuable."


Tom DeLorey writes: "May I be the first to inquire if 
the Nevada quarter's design featuring wild horses running 
free is intended to be a tribute to Nevada's Mustang Ranch?"
[And perhaps the last, as well.  -Editor]


David Gladfelter writes: "How about Steadfast Book Bindery 
(Henry and Jeff Van Dyke) in Pittsburgh?  For an example of 
their work (not their best -- it's side sewn, not signature 
sewn) see the Asylum's 25th anniversary issue. They do decent 
repairs and restorations too.  Their address is 938 Penn Ave., 
Lower Level, Pittsburgh, PA. 15222 phone (412) 281-1149."

Ray Flanigan writes: "Here's an outstanding book binder.  
I've had several leather books bound or rebound by Lo Gatto.
Lo Gatto Bookbinding, Inc.  
Medo Lo Gatto  
390 Paterson Ave.
East Rutherford, NJ 07073 
(201)438-4344 "

Harold Eiserloh writes: "My neighbor, a retired minister, 
had a bookbinding shop for several years before it became 
too much for him. He now has a limited operation in his 
double garage, binding Bibles, repairing bindings, even 
making boxed bindings, with gold embossing using various 
hard type or blindstamping. He can bind or repair with 
leather with raised bands or cloth, replace endpapers, 
rebind using stitches, etc. He loves his craft and has 
taught bookbinding. He has shown me volumes of "The 
Numismatist" which he had bound for a local collector. 
He has repaired generations old Bibles which looked almost 
new, repaired torn leather, replaced missing areas of 
leather, etc. His name is 

Rollin Polk
207 Veda Mae Dr.
San Antonio, TX 78216. 
His e-mail address is  rpolk1 at"

Anne Bentley of the Massachusetts Historical Society 
Writes: "The American Institute for Conservation of 
Historic and Artistic Works maintains a database of 
conservators that includes bookbinders at 
If your readers check into the website, they'll be 
able to access conservators by specialty and by region, 
which should make their search much easier."


Passing on articles referenced in The Explorator newsletter,
Arthur Shippee writes: "A handful of Roman coins were found 
near London:

... leading to this op-ed piece:,,10653-2002201,00.html


The Korea Times writes: "The Bank of Korea (BOK) Tuesday 
unveiled the design of a new 1,000-won banknote with new 
features designed to stem forgery. 

The color of the new note will change from the current 
reddish violet to blue and its size will be smaller than 
the old one. The new bill is 13.6 centimeters long and 6.8 
centimeters wide; 6 millimeters smaller than the new 
5,000-won bill in width and exactly the same in length." 

"On Friday, the BOK said it is considering issuing new 
10-won coins, using different material to the old ones, 
following reports that some people melt 10-won coins to 
extract the cooper and zinc to produce accessories for 
sale. It said manufacturing costs for the 10-won coin 
have soared 15 times since its first release in 1966 
because of surging copper and zinc prices."

To read the complete story, see:


We've mentioned this trend in earlier E-Sylums.  An article
published January 21 in Korea notes the high popularity of
banknotes with unusual serial numbers:

"As new 5,000 won bills with unique serial numbers gain 
popularity among banknote collectors, their prices on the 
collector’s market have skyrocketed."

The Bank of Korea and “Auction,” an Internet auction company, 
said yesterday that the Bank of Korea began an auction for 
new 5,000 won bills with serial numbers from 6,701 to 10,000 
at 5:00 p.m. on January 19, and that hundreds of bidders 

The hottest bills at the auction were a batch of 10 bills 
with serial numbers from 7,771 to 7,780, which included a 
banknote with the unique serial number: “AA0007777A.” 

"At 3:00 p.m. on that day, 36 people attended the auction, 
and the price of the lot went up to 4.1 million won, about 
80 times the face value of the bills. In other words, 5,000 
won bills were being sold for 410,000 won apiece."

To read the complete article, see:


"Before the euro came along, facilitating transactions 
and symbolizing the idea of a unified Europe, a country’s 
banknotes reflected the economy of the country while also 
portraying its history and traditions. This multifaceted 
aspect of European banknotes from the past is one of the 
thoughts likely to occur to someone visiting the Banknote 
Museum of the Ionian Bank of Corfu.

The museum, which opened to the public in a fully 
renovated state a few months ago, traces the history of 
the Greek drachma beginning from the first treasury bonds 
of the newly liberated country in 1822 until the drachma’s 
replacement by the euro in 2002."

"Displayed in chronological order, the collection in the 
Banknote Museum includes some rare specimens in the history 
of Greek banknotes.

The first banknotes were issued under the rule of Ioannis 
Kapodistrias, the first governor of Greece in the newly 
liberated country. They are rather plain banknotes showing 
a phoenix and printed in a rose color on a white background. 
Before Kapodistrias became governor and at a time when the 
Greek economy was still at a rudimentary state, the provisional 
government in Greece issued treasury bonds in pisters (or 
grosia) to facilitate transactions."

"One of the rarest and most unusual Greek banknotes dates 
from the period when the American Banknote Company was 
printing Greece’s banknotes. A reflection of the “Megali 
Idea” (the dream of reconquering Greece’s former territory 
in Asia Minor), this Greek banknote depicts the Byzantine 
church of Hagia Sofia in Constantinople, but without the 
minarets. The banknote was designed in 1920, but by the time 
it was ready for circulation several years later, the Asia 
Minor disaster had already taken place. It was therefore 
never used."

"The so-called “Kivernisi tou Vounou” (the provisional 
mountain government) had its own banknote whose value was 
measured against the kilos of wheat that it equaled. One 
of the most unusual holdings of the Ionian Bank collection, 
the banknote shows a guerrilla fighter on one side and lists 
the conditions and terms of the mountain government on the 

Another unusual holding of the collection is 100-billion-drachma 
banknote dating from 1944. This is the biggest face value that 
a Greek banknote ever carried. After the period of hyper-inflation 
ended, its value went down to 2 drachmas."

"The museum is located on Aghios Spyridonas Square in Corfu’s 
main town. (Tel. 26610.41552; opening hours: Wednesdays-Sundays 
8 a.m. - 3 p.m.; extended hours as of April 1.)"

To read the complete story, see:


A January 19 Bloomberg article describes a new British 
Museum exhibit:  "Michelangelo, who painted the ceiling 
of the Sistine Chapel, made more money than his rivals, 
Titian and Da Vinci, according to an exhibition at the 
British Museum. 

"Michelangelo: Money and Medals," which runs through 
June 25 in London, is a rare move by a museum to talk 
about the market value of art in history."

"By the time he died in 1564, Michelangelo had an estate 
worth more than 24,000 florins. Beside his deathbed was 
a chest filled with gold coins weighing nearly 30 kilograms 
(66 pounds). He liked to have money at hand. 

The show assembles rare coins and medals from across Italy, 
including a lead-medal profile from 1560 of the artist -- 
angular, bearded, with a deep-set eye -- by a contemporary, 
Leone Leoni. In gold, silver and bronze, the coins and medals 
tell the story of Michelangelo's patrons, and sharply rising 
rewards as he worked for the Medicis in Florence and then 
for the popes in Rome. 

Six shiny gold florins clustered in a display case represent 
Michelangelo's wages when he started work as an apprentice 
in 1488, at age 13. A servant at the time would have earned 
10 florins a year, according to the British Museum.

By 1497, he was being paid 133 1/3 florins just as a first 
installment, to carve his ``Pieta'' sculpture in Rome. In 
1501, he got 400 florins for the three-year job of carving 
the statue, ``David,'' perhaps his most famous sculpture. 
In 1505, Pope Julius II gave him 100 florins just to move 
from Florence back to Rome, equivalent to a university 
professor's salary for a year."

To read the complete article, see: 

For more information on the exhibit, go to:


Roger Burdette writes: "What the DuPont guy meant was 
"glacial acetic acid." "Glacial acetic acid is called 
"glacial" because its freezing point (16.7 C) is only 
slightly below room temperature. In the (generally unheated) 
laboratories in which the pure material was first prepared, 
the acid was often found to have frozen into ice-like crystals. 
The term "glacial acetic acid" is now taken to refer to pure 
acetic acid (ethanoic acid) in any physical state." (Source: 
Physical and Theoretical Chemistry Laboratory, Oxford 

Peter Gaspar (E-Sylum subscriber #1 and professor of chemistry) 
writes: "The message mentioning "galactic" acetic acid as 
a solvent for Lucite was the victim of a misunderstanding.  
It was presumably "glacial" acetic acid that was intended - 
pure acetic acid, called "glacial" because its melting point 
is near room temperature, so it often partially freezes making 
little glaciers of solid acetic acid floating in the liquid.  
While acetic acid is a relatively week acid - think vinegar - 
I doubt that it would be a good thing to expose the surfaces 
of coins to it.

I would recommend trying nail polish remover - we chemists 
call it ethyl acetate - as a solvent for Lucite.  I haven't 
tried it, but the structures of Lucite and ethyl acetate are 
related, so it should be a good solvent for Lucite.  Warning 
- ethyl acetate/nail polish remover is extremely flammable, 
so its use in the quantities required would best be outdoors, 
or in another very well ventilated location."

[Marc McDonald also suggested glacial acetic acid as the 
proper term.  -Editor]

Dick Johnson writes: "I received an immediate reply after 
publication last week of my erroneous spelling "Galactic"
in the item of removing coins from Lucite. The reply came 
from lontime correspondent Benjamin Weiss Ph.D who is 
Emeritus Professor of Pharmacology and Physiology at 
Drexel University College of Medicine.
Ben wrote "you likely meant GLACIAL (not galactic) ACETIC 
ACID." Ben's right. And this is dramatic evidence a writer 
should always refer back to the original documents whenever 
possible. I didn't have access to the original letter from 
DuPont so I referred to something else I had written on 
the same subject. Somewhere between these versions the 
spelling error occurred. My apologizes.
And thanks to Ben, who, incidently has one of the best 
websites in numismatics.  Not only is Ben an avid collector, 
his writings on his chosen medallic topics are excellent. 
His website has been mentioned in ESylum before (vol 7, no 
51, article 18), it deserves a revisit:"

Mike Ellis of the Gallery Mint writes: "I came across 
this problem not too long ago. In addition to coins I 
also collect Indian artifacts that I find myself. When 
I was much younger I also had fun embedding things in 
Lucite. Of course, when I got older, I had several artifacts 
in Lucite that I wanted out. Just as the DuPont representative 
suggested I cut as close to the artifact as I could. I then 
placed the remainder in a closed jar with acetone. Once in 
a while I would take it out and whittle away the soft outer 
core. It took weeks all told but it worked and my artifacts 
were not harmed in the least. However, I strongly suspect 
that any coin, especially copper, given this removal treatment 
would result in an unnatural color. I would use it on less 
valuable coins but would advise caution on more valuable 
coins. Additionally, be advised, use acetone in a well 
ventilated area and avoid exposure to the skin. Though I am 
alive and well I highly suspect that acetone has taken 
years off my life! Please be very careful with acetone."

Alan V. Weinberg writes: "Following advice I received some 
years ago from an  unknown numismatist, I have had complete 
success extracting coins & medals from paperweight-size 
Lucite  by placing the Lucite object overnight in the 
freezer, then taking it to the garage cement floor , placing 
it down on top of a blanket and hitting the uncovered Lucite  
directly &  sharply once or twice with a hammer . The frozen 
cold Lucite shatters and you can extract the coin. I emphasize 
use a blanket because sometimes the coin will go flying when 
you hit the Lucite and you don't want the coin to hit the 
cement and dent. Also wear some sort of glasses so Lucite 
shards don't fly into your eyes.  It works!"


Following the previous discussion on removing coins 
embedded in Lucite, Alan Luedeking writes: "I'd like to 
take advantage of this inquiry to ask the readership how 
to remove a rare bank note from a heat-applied plasticized 
tomb, such as you would use on a driver's license or ID 
card. Some fool plasticized a note that I would dearly 
like to recover, yet no amount of research on my part 
thus far has revealed how to dissolve or vaporize the 
plastic without harming the paper or inks embedded within. 


Harold Eiserloh writes: "I edit the Alamo Coin Club's monthly 
newsletter "Alamo Coin Clips". Occasionally I find an article 
in The E-Sylum which I think would be of particular interest 
to our club members, that is, not only of interest to numismatic
bibliophiles, and include it when space is available. In some 
cases I have shortened a longer article to accommodate the 
available space.

When I include anything from another publication I always give 
full credit to the source. About six months ago I forwarded 
an issue of E-Sylum to all of our club members who have e-mail, 
suggesting that they might want to subscribe. I have not asked 
how many followed up on that suggestion, but at least one member 

Keep up the good work. Although I am not a serious bibliophile 
I do have a small numismatic library. Much of the material in 
The E-Sylum is way beyond my interests, but I can see how 
important it is, especially to those who are compiling numismatic
research for programs, articles and books. It seems to be a 
great clearing house of hard to find information. Some of the 
websites mentioned are fabulous!"

[Readers are free to quote The E-Sylum, as long as credit is 
given.  Be sure to reference the Numismatic Bibliomania Society 
web site,  If you have an electronic newsletter,
you may also include links to E-Sylum articles, all of which are
archived on the web site.  For example, here are links to the
articles Harold quoted:

Featured Web Site: Depression Scrip 

American Banknote Company Printing Plate Archive 


Mike Metras writes: "I just got around to reading the January 1 E-Sylum
(sometimes I get a little behind). I read the bit about reformatting the
text for different margins. Here's a method that works easily for me:
1. Copy all the text to the clipboard as you stated.
2. Open a new document in Word.
3. Paste the text into Word.
To preserve the paragraph breaks, you first replace them (two paragraph
markers in a row - ^p^p) with something odd (I use <<<>>>). 
4. Open Find and Replace (Ctrl-H usually) and enter ^p^p (lower case) in the
Find Field and <<<>>> in the Replace field.
5. Click on Replace All.
6. Now enter ^p in the Find field and remove everything from the Replace
field. (Your emails seem to have a space at the end of each line so you do
not have to change the paragraph to a space.)
7. Click Replace All.
Now you change marked paragraph ends back to paragraph ends.
8. Enter <<<>>> in the Find field and ^p^p in the Replace Field.
9. Click on Replace All.
You should now have the original format without the hard returns on all the
lines. Reformat to your pleasure. Once you do this procedure a couple times,
you should be able to reformat an E-Sylum in less than a minute.

By the way, though I get behind sometimes, I really enjoy every copy."


Regarding Chick Ambrass' query about what looks like a
Display of coins or medals on the set of the TV show
"Commander in Chief", Steve Woodland writes: "On this one 
I am really guessing, but the Franklin Mint issued a 
12-coin set in a wooden frame called "Norman Rockwell's 
Spirit of Scouting". It featured twelve silver proof-quality 
medals about 1.5 inches in diameter.  To me, this sounds 
more like something a president would have on the walls 
of the oval office, rather than Morgan dollars (What is
more American than Norman Rockwell and the Boy Scouts? 
But what do I know about US presidents, I'm a Canadian)." 

[I wouldn't mind contacting the producers of the show
to ask them, but was stymied by the show's official web
site.  An old-fashioned phone call might do the trick,
if anyone's curious enough to try. -Editor]


Greg Heim writes: "Our family was watching the movie 
"Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" starring Johnny Depp. 
It's a remake of the 1971 film "Willy Wonka and the 
Chocolate Factory."  In the latter movie, one of Charlie's 
relatives gives Charlie a silver dollar to purchase a 
chocolate bar which will conceivably have the coveted 
"Golden Ticket."  A close up of that coin reveals that 
it is a Peace Dollar.  BTW, if you have not seen the movie 
it is very good (even if you do not have small children 
such as me)."


Kavan Ratnatunga writes: "I knew this was coming but 
didn't know it was online.  I didn't find it referenced 
at so I am submitting it."

[Kavan is referring to the Google book search initiative.
We have discussed this, but Kavan forwarded the project's
vision statement, which I'm not sure we've touched on.

"In May 1961, JFK said that he was going to put a man 
on the moon. The idea was unthinkable at the time, but 
within the decade, the goal was achieved.

Google Book Search ( is our man on the 
moon initiative.  We see a world where all books are online 
and searchable*. How exactly will this be done? How long 
exactly will it take? We aren't sure, but we're committed 
to making it happen." "


Dick Johnson writes: "Two coin collectors walk into a bar. 
The first orders a beer. The second orders a "Saint-Gaudens."

"I’ve been tending bar for twenty years, fella," said the 
bartender, "I’ve never heard of a ‘Saint Gaudens.’ What 
is it?"

"It’s my favorite. It’s a gold coin. It’s not like the 
coins today," said the second coin collector. "It’s a 
true coin!"

"You mean Cointreau?" asked the bartender.

"That’s it," said the coin collector. "Pour me a 
double eagle."


Eric Newman writes: "I wrote a poem which was read at the
Q. David Bowers tribute dinner given by the American 
Numismatic Society at the Waldorf - Astoria Hotel in New 
York City on January 12, 2006. It was read at the event by 
Christine Karstadt at my request.  The poem has much 
numismatic literary content and so you might wish to 
publish it.
Quentin D. Bowers was his original name
But Q. David Bowers was the name it became.
Dave is the author of a library - not just some books.
When doing research, in his own books he looks.
His prolific writings belong on one's shelf -
In their many footnotes he cites himself.
If a picture is worth a thousand words
Then his quantity of pictures would be absurd.
He wrote a huge book on gold for the coffee table;
Its weight caused that furniture to become unstable.
After Bowers and Merena developed auction fame,
Some think it's a shame he sold that name.
Dave is an American numismatic rarity, you see,
Thus he works for American Numismatic Rarities LLC
As a numismatic friend and colleague for over 50 years
I am proud to join you in giving him cheers."


This week's featured web page is The Eagle on Coins,
An online exhibit of the Fitzwilliam Museum: 

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

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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