The E-Sylum v9#04, January 22, 2006
esylum at binhost.com
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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!
Numismatic Bibliomania Society
OBITUARY: PHILIP GRIERSON 1910-2006
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
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:
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
To read the complete article, see:
The Independent published an obituary January 19:
KOLBE LITERATURE SALE #99 MARCH 9TH
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 firms web
Some sale highlights include: American business directories,
among them Disturnells 1881 Arizona Directory, Hawes 1859
Ohio State Gazetteer, and Campbells 1854 Southern Directory;
a fine original set of Gnecchis monumental I Medaglioni
Romani, from the Adolph Hess Library; Voetters rare 1903
Sammlung Bachofen von Echt; an interleaved 1913 Adams-Woodin
on U. S. pattern coins; Dr. Beckwiths 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; Zeladas 1778
catalogue of Aes Grave in the Cardinal de Zelada collection;
A. C. Klines 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 Marshalls Elusive 1837 work on British silver
coins, annotated throughout by Richard Hoblyn and presented
to George Wakeford; and many other interesting and important
KOLBE 100TH LITERATURE SALE JUNE 2006
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 numislit.com. Those interested are also invited to
visit Kolbes web site (www.numislit.com)."
ON UNPUBLISHED MANUSCRIPTS
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 Amazon.com 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!"
SENECA MILL PRESS SEEKS NUMISMATIC MANUSCRIPTS
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 aol.com
for more information."
ON COIN SHOW SECURITY
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
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,
"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:
RESEARCHERS COMMENT ON 1894-S DIME
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."
WHERE TO LOOK FOR NUMISMATIC BOOKS
Steve Woodland writes: "Whenever I am looking for a book
I need, I check two places on the internet:
1) Abebooks http://www.abebooks.com 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! http://www.exonumia.com/bookfind.htm , 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!"
BARBER COIN BOOK SERIES UPDATE
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 comcast.net."
COIN COLLECTORS TOMB QUESTIONED
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)."
WISCONSIN QUARTER VARIETY EXPLAINED
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,
To read the complete story, see:
To read another story, in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, see:
UTAH QUARTER DESIGNS UNVEILED
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
"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:
POPE MAKES CAMEO APPEARANCE ON MINNESOTA QUARTER?
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
NEVADA QUARTER QUIP
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
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
207 Veda Mae Dr.
San Antonio, TX 78216.
His e-mail address is rpolk1 at grandecom.net"
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."
ROMAN COINS FOUND
Passing on articles referenced in The Explorator newsletter,
Arthur Shippee writes: "A handful of Roman coins were found
... leading to this op-ed piece:
KOREAN BANKNOTE AND COINAGE CHANGES
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:
KOREAN FANCY SERIAL NUMBERS IN DEMAND
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
collectors 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:
MUSEUM EXHIBITS GREEK BANKNOTES
"Before the euro came along, facilitating transactions
and symbolizing the idea of a unified Europe, a countrys
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 drachmas
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 Greeces banknotes. A reflection of the Megali
Idea (the dream of reconquering Greeces 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
"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 Corfus
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:
EXHIBIT: MICHELANGELO, MONEY AND MEDALS
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
"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:
EXTRACTING COINS EMBEDDED IN LUCITE
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!"
EXTRACTING ENTOMBED PAPER MONEY
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.
QUOTING THE E-SYLUM
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
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, www.coinbooks.org. 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
REFORMATING THE E-SYLUM
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."
COINS ON TV: OVAL OFFICE NUMISMATIC DISPLAY
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]
COINS IN MOVIES: WILLY WONKA
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)."
GOOGLE BOOKS INITIATIVE
Kavan Ratnatunga writes: "I knew this was coming but
didn't know it was online. I didn't find it referenced
at coinbooks.org 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 (books.google.com) 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."
TWO COIN COLLECTORS WALK INTO A BAR
Dick Johnson writes: "Two coin collectors walk into a bar.
The first orders a beer. The second orders a "Saint-Gaudens."
"Ive been tending bar for twenty years, fella," said the
bartender, "Ive never heard of a Saint Gaudens. What
"Its my favorite. Its a gold coin. Its not like the
coins today," said the second coin collector. "Its a
"You mean Cointreau?" asked the bartender.
"Thats it," said the coin collector. "Pour me a
A TRIBUTE TO Q. DAVID BOWERS
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
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."
FEATURED WEB PAGE:
This week's featured web page is The Eagle on Coins,
An online exhibit of the Fitzwilliam Museum:
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 LittletonCoin.com
To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, just
Reply to this message, or write to the Editor at this
address: whomren at coinlibrary.com
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