The E-Sylum v9#28, July 9, 2006

esylum at esylum at
Sun Jul 9 21:19:42 PDT 2006

Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 9, Number 28, July 9, 2006:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2006, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers are Diana Plattner of Whitman 
Publishing, George Huber and Frank G. Cornish.  Welcome aboard!  
We now have 937 subscribers.

There are a couple "new" books to report this week (new to me, 
but maybe not to some of you).  One is a fiction work about an 
ancient coin in the news recently, and the other is by a pair 
of economists on the historical problem of keeping specie 
coinage in circulation.

In the news we have another nominee for director of the U.S. 
Mint and a call for speakers on the literature of medals for 
next year's FIDEM congress.  And speaking of speakers, the ANA 
has released a great schedule of educational talks for this 
summer's World's Fair of Money.  Another numismatic get-together 
of interest is October's Comstock/Carson Mint Seminar sponsored 
by the CCCCOA.

In response to a question I review the differences between The 
E-Sylum and our print journal, The Asylum, and ask for thoughts 
on a possible addition to The E-Sylum format.

On the topic of coin dealer libraries we have a report on the 
Chicago Coin Company library and some background information on 
the Superior library from Julian Liedman.  

In the research query department we have a question about the 
Naramore counterfeit detector photograph sheets, and a pair of 
questions on metallurgy and engraving from Dick Hanscom, who has 
been using raw Alaska gold to make gold tokens recently.

To learn which one of our subscribers bought an AU Libertas 
Americana medal in silver for $50, read on. Have a great week, 

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


Fred Lake writes: "The 85th mail-bid sale of numismatic literature 
by Lake Books is now available for viewing on their web site at:
The sale features selections from the library of Joseph E. Dinardo 
and has 483 lots in the 20-page catalog. In the United States auction 
catalogs section of the sale is a copy of the "Taylor Collection 
Limited Edition Photographic Plates." In addition, a complete run 
of Stack's John J. Ford, Jr. sales from number one through number 
fourteen can be found in that section.
There are autographed copies of books relating to United States 
coinage and also paper money.  Volume One of the American Bank 
Note Company's "Archive Series" has 96 vignettes on its 12-page 
Other sections of the catalog feature books on ancient coinage, 
European coins, fixed price lists from early dealers, etc.
Bids may be sent by email, fax, or regular post. Telephone bids 
may also be made prior to the closing time of 5:00 PM (EDT) on 
Tuesday, August 8, 2006."


With the recent news about the return of a rare Ides of March 
denarius to Greece, it's timely that a novel incorporating the 
coin is going into its second printing.  The 204-page book was 
published in hardcover and paperback in February 2006.  According 
to the publisher, the first printing sold out due to a targeted 
sales campaign geared toward coin dealers and collectors.  Have 
any of our readers seen the book?  Here is a review distributed 
by the publisher:

"Double Daggers by James R. Clifford is about four men separated 
in time but united in their ambitions to possess the Ides of March 
coin minted by Brutus in celebration of Julius Caesar's death: 
Marcus Brutus himself, a crusading knight of medieval Europe, an 
SS lieutenant of Hitler's, and a modern day Wall Street trader. 
Creatively presenting the devilish intentions and pursuits of the 
four lead characters and their intertwining fates of the four books, 
Double Daggers is a riveting historical interpretation of the great 
mythical powers of the legendary Roman coin. Benefitting from the 
author's historical research and vividly acute concepts drawn from 
the rule of the Roman, Crusading, Nazi, and modern eras, Double 
Daggers is very strongly recommended as a complex, superbly 
crafted, thoroughly entertaining novel from beginning to end."

Here are links to the author's web site and a page on the 
history of the coin: 


On Friday July 7 USA Today published another article on the 
problem of the U.S. cent, but what caught my eye was the mention 
of a book on the historical problems of small change:

"When the government loses money on making a coin that for many 
people holds little value, it's time to turn off the presses, 
argue some prominent economists.

"It's really becoming completely pointless," says Francois Velde, 
senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and co-author 
of The Big Problem of Small Change. He argues that the metal in money 
must be worth less than a coin's face value, because otherwise people 
will hoard coins, melt them down and sell them for cash, which 
happened in the 1960s when quarters were made partly of silver."

To read the complete USA Today article, see: 

"The Big Problem of Small Change" is a 2002 book by Thomas J. Sargent 
and François R. Velde.  Published by the Princeton University Press, 
a paperback version came out in 2003.

"The Big Problem of Small Change offers the first credible and 
analytically sound explanation of how a problem that dogged monetary 
authorities for hundreds of years was finally solved... -- the 
recurring scarcity and depreciation of small change. Through 
penetrating and clearly worded analysis, they tell the story of how 
monetary technologies, doctrines, and practices evolved from 1300 to 
1850; of how the "standard formula" was devised to address an age-old 
dilemma without causing inflation."

"This fascinating new history of money shows that the key ingredients 
of a sound currency were identified in Europe hundreds of years ago. 
The mystery is why, even today, so many governments fail to put this 
knowledge to work."--The Economist"

To read more on the book at the Princeton University Press site: 

To view the table of contents on Google Book Search:

George Fuld adds: "Nationally syndicated columnist Jay Hancock 
(in the Baltimore Sun for Sunday, July 9th) makes a very good case 
for the abolition of the penny.  He's undoubtedly right, but odds 
are we'll see the 2009 Lincoln and then penny abolition."

To read the complete article, see:,0,2161576.column


Lane J. Brunner, the ANA's Director of Numismatic Outreach writes: 
"The American Numismatic Association is excited to host the 2007 
FIDEM Congress on September 19-22, 2007 in Colorado Springs, CO. 
FIDEM, the International Medal Federation, is dedicated to promoting 
the art, history and technology of medals. 

The programming of the 2007 FIDEM Congress will focus on educating 
artists, collectors and the public about the evolution of medals 
as art and stewards of history. The organizers are looking for 
speakers interested in delivering a lecture on the role of literature,
 numismatic or otherwise, on the history of medals. Concurrent with 
the educational programming will be an extensive medallic exhibit at 
the Money Museum. If interested in speaking or for more information, 
contact Lane Brunner at the American Numismatic Association 
(brunner at or 719-482-9872)."

Lane adds: "I don’t believe in any prior FIDEM Congress there has 
been a focus on literature and the medal and I thought it would be 
a nice addition to the educational programming at the Congress."

[With a year's lead time for preparation, this is a wonderful 
opportunity for bibliophiles and medal aficionados to plan a meeting 
of the minds on the topic.  Please contact Lane with your suggestions 
for speakers and topics, and offers of assistance.  Can any of our 
readers provide more background on the organization and its 
publications?  Below is some information taken from the group's 
web site. -Editor]

"F.I.D.E.M., the International Medal Federation, was established 
in 1937. Its aims are to promote and diffuse the art of medals at
 international level, to make the art known and to guarantee 
recognition of its place among other arts by increasing awareness 
of the art, history and technology or medals, mainly through 
publications and the organisation of international events."

"F.I.D.E.M. publishes the magazine Medailles, which contains 
information on F.I.D.E.M. activities and the minutes of each 
congress. Members receive this free of charge.  F.I.D.E.M. members 
also receive The Medal magazine, which is normally published twice 
a year." 


Last Friday, President George W. Bush nominated Waukesha, WI 
native Edmund C. Moy for a five-year term as director of the 
United States Mint. 

"He currently serves as Special Assistant to the President for 
Presidential Personnel at the White House. Prior to this, he 
served as Senior Advisor at Welsh, Carson, Anderson and Stowe. 
Earlier in his career, he served as the Director of the Office 
of Managed Care for the Federal Health Care Financing Administration 
at the Department of Health and Human Services. Mr. Moy received 
his bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin."

To read the full White House Press Release, see: 

[So here we go again - another politically-connected nominee.  
That's how it's been done for centuries, but I still have to ask, 
just what else qualifies Mr. Moy for leadership of such a sprawling 
manufacturing and retail sales organization?   It's been nearly a 
year since Bush nominated the prior candidate, a politically-connected
Oklahoman with no manufacturing or management experience.  Her 
nomination was quietly withdrawn a month later, before the Senate 
could grill her on her qualifications.  How will this nomination 
play out?  Mr. Moy at least seems to have some management experience. 
Do any of our subscribers know of him?  Here are links to our earlier 
E-Sylum articles on the prior nominee:




Last week a newspaper item noted that "Congress has authorized the 
U.S. Mint to produce a silver dollar commemorating the 200th 
anniversary of the birth of Louis Braille, the creator of the 
Braille alphabet for the blind."

David Ganz writes: "Not correct. The Senate passed S.811, a bill that 
would commemorate the bicentennial of the life of Louis Braille, who 
invented the raised-dot alphabet used by the blind the world over 
as an alternate means of reading.  A similar measure, H.R. 2872, 
passed the House of Representatives earlier this year.

Under the established rules, both houses of Congress must pass the 
identical bill, right down to the number; the bills are identical, 
except for numbering devices.  The Washington Post erroneously 
reported that the dual passage meant the measure would become law.  
Action by one house, or the other, and signature by the President 
is still required."

Regarding my quiz question about the first U.S. coin featuring 
Braille lettering, Ken Berger writes: "If I'm not mistaken the 
Alabama quarter featuring Helen Keller has some Braille writing 
on it."  Correct!  Tom DeLorey was the second to chime in with a 
correct answer.  On a different topic, Tom adds: "If a tree falls 
at the White House and it has no political affiliation, does it 
fall to the right or to the left?"


Ron Abler noticed that the web address reported last week for the 
Medal Collectors of America was incorrect.  The correct address is: 


Ted Buttrey writes: "Just to clear up something I've never 
understood: are the Asylum and the E-Sylum the same, the one 
printing out the other?  Or do their contents differ?  If they 
differ is there an archive of E-Sylum if one wished to print out 
a thousand pages of it? or does this stuff just get taken down 
and lost after a while?"

[The two publications are quite different, even though both are 
published by the Numismatic Bibliomania Society and both have a 
focus on numismatic literature and research.  The Asylum is the 
organization's official journal, printed quarterly and mailed 
to all NBS members.  It has been published since 1980.  The 
E-Sylum is our weekly email newsletter - it is free to all 
(no NBS membership required).  

The print journal is the home for more in-depth, edited and 
illustrated articles.  This newsletter (call it an e-zine or 
blog if you like) is for short queries and responses, timely 
news and other information not appropriate for the print journal.
What began in 1998 as a simple information channel for NBS members 
and friends has grown over time into cover the wider range of 
topics of interest to our readers, but the emphasis remains on 
numismatic literature and research.  

Literature sales, book announcements and reviews take precedence 
in The E-Sylum, as do research queries and related discussions.  
Numismatic news items are a growing part of The E-Sylum as more 
information becomes available on the Internet, but these are included 
in the context of numismatic research - these contemporary articles
sometimes lead to new research discussions, and all are potential 
fodder for future researchers.

The E-Sylum online archive is stored on the NBS web site: 

ALL E-Sylum issues from the very beginning are stored there, and 
new issues are added weekly, usually within a few days of initial 
publication.  We have programs which automatically split each new 
issue into individual web pages and create a table of contents.  
This allows anyone to reference past E-Sylum articles using a simple 
URL.  There are now THOUSANDS of individual E-Sylum articles in the
Archive.  Here's an example from last week's issue:


Links to the NBS web site and E-Sylum archive are included at the 
bottom of each issue.  I encourage all E-Sylum readers to consider 
becoming members of NBS - at just $20/year membership is a true 
bargain and is the only way to receive the great content found in 
the printed pages of The Asylum.  For example, last week an E-Sylum 
subscriber submitted a great well-researched item as a result of 
some of our discussions.  I've forwarded it for consideration for 
The Asylum.  With illustrations it could be a great article for 
the print journal, but would only be available to paid NBS members. 


Regarding the Superior Coin Company numismatic library, Julian 
Leidman writes: "It was built primarily by Ira and Larry Goldberg 
who founded the firm.  I remember bidding for them at some Frank 
Katen auctions to acquire books for the library.  

When I last saw the library, it was on movable steel shelves and 
clearly numbered in the hundreds, if not thousands of titles, all 
related to numismatics, but there may have been some books on 
autographs, as well, as Ira got quite involved with that.  I am 
pretty sure that the library should have grown, but the cornerstone 
was certainly laid by the Goldberg cousins."

[I hadn't yet seen my copy of Coin World when I wrote up last 
week's item about the library. There was a nice illustrated article 
with more information than the short Numismatic News piece I quoted.  
It is indeed stored on compact, moveable metal shelves, as is the 
National Numismatic Collection library.  -Editor]


Bill Burd writes: "I have a fairly extensive numismatic library 
which is housed at Chicago Coin Company, Inc.  It consists of 
thousands of books, catalogs, pamphlets, ephemera, coin club 
medals, etc.  Its main purpose is for research.  

It is not open to the public and not available for browsing, but 
anyone seriously interested in seeing a particular book or researching 
a particular item can call for an appointment.  Several E-Sylum 
subscribers have used it and there have been several occasions where 
I have answered questions in this forum after referencing the library.
There have also been a couple occasions where we shipped out books 
for important projects.  We are currently inventorying the library 
on When complete, anyone can reference the inventory 
online to see if we have a particular book."

Dick Johnson writes: "Editor Wayne Homren set a record last week 
with 51 articles in The E-Sylum. Readers may be surprised to learn 
he did this after a week in which he and his family bought a new 
house and took a father-in-law to the hospital.
Wayne, how do you accomplish all this?  I get tired just getting 
out of bed in the morning. Ahh! The vitality of youth!  If you can 
package that, I'm a buyer.
But when you set a record you really hit a new mark! Last week's 
issue of 51 articles can only be compared with your previous records 
of 40 articles (issue 24, June 11 this year) and 38 (issue 11, March 
12th). You only hit 34 as tops the previous year (volume 8, issues 6 
and 12).
And to think: You do all this for FREE!  Maybe we appreciative 
readers can throw a house party for you and your family."

[My father-in-law is fine now, fortunately. The hospital trip is 
what kept me from publishing the June 25 issue on schedule.  I 
knew the July 2 issue was a whopper, but hadn't counted the articles.  

As for how I do it, besides not wasting time watching television, 
I set aside some time each day, usually at bedtime, to edit and 
format the issue.  I also cut and paste text into the draft 
continually through the day as email arrives.  I try to acknowledge 
each submission, even if it has to be with a terse "Thanks" reply. 

My constant goal is to keep the in-box empty.  Falling behind can 
be a nightmare - it took a few hours to get through the backlog on 
the 26th.  Here's the table of contents for that monster issue: 

Cut and paste is the key - the vast majority of E-Sylum content 
comes from our readers or web sites.  I just stitch it together.  
It doesn't take a tremendous amount of time at any one sitting, 
but it does take some practice and experience.  

On a good day, I feel like a sculptor.  Instead of starting with 
a big block of marble, I start with a big block of raw text for 
each article.  Then I hack away at it, first with a chainsaw, 
then with a chisel, cutting away everything that doesn't seem at 
least somewhat useful or interesting.  What's left is hopefully of 
interest to enough of our readers to make it worthwhile. -Editor]


Bill Burd writes: "I can relate to Pete Smith's problem with 
auction catalogs.  I just threw out two large boxes full of 
foreign auction catalogs that seemed to have less reference value 
than the value of the space they were taking up.  I have about 500 
more foreign catalogs and over 2,000 US auction catalogs that I 
have to seriously look at and make some hard decisions.  I will 
keep any known name auctions and any with pedigreed coins like 
the 1804 dollar, etc.  The problem is with the catalogs that fall 
in between - the ones I would rate from a 4 to a 7 on a scale of 
1 to 10."  

Mike Greenspan writes: "Relative to Pete Smith's query about what 
to do with unneeded catalogs, I always take a short stack of them 
to my local and regional coin club meetings and leave them for 
anyone who wants them -- gratis.  Invariably, they are all gone 
by the end of the meeting."

Paul Landsberg writes: "One way that I have used very successfully 
is to arbitrarily lot them up into boxes (sometimes the fix rate 
priority boxes at the PO work) and then announce to lists of 
interest that anyone interested in X catalogs can have them for 
$10 apiece.  That covers media or priority fixed rate shipping 
and I've gotten rid of 60 pounds at one point." 

Richard Goodman Schaefer writes: "I'm running a project which 
is producing die studies for all Roman Republican (RR) struck 
issues.   This comprises all the issues in Crawford less the 
Aes Grave and about 5 others which already have die studies 
(BVRSIO, L. PISO FRVGI, et al.), plus the two Antonivs 
cistophorus issues.  The results are available to all.

As you can imagine, there are still quite a few catalogs I need.   
Most are European, but some are American.  The condition is 
unimportant as long the plates containing photos of RR coins 
are intact.

I must state that, due to the great labor in this project, I 
cut out the RR photos and tape them on pages in binders.  Some 
people prefer not to have the catalogs cut, but since die studies 
are the proper research end of catalogs, however, I've been able 
to convince most that this project is a good use of them.  I don't 
cut rare or pre-WWII catalogs since they aren't necessary and I 
don't wish to harm the numismatic literature business.

To be complete, let me mention that Ted Buttrey at the Fitzwilliam 
Museum in Cambridge, England, loves all catalogs and has built up 
a formidable collection.  His list of auction catalogs on the 
Fitzwilliam website is the best known to me-- an invaluable 
research tool.  He would welcome your catalogs."

[Ted Buttrey and other readers have expressed interest in Pete's 
catalogue hoard, and I've forwarded their inquiries to him.  

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: No catalogues or Internet pages have been 
harmed in the cutting and pasting of this issue of The E-Sylum.  


I'm glad to see one of our subscribers is trying out 
(see Bill Burd's article in this issue about the Chicago Coin Company 
library).  It's the type of tool I would love to see for numismatic 
bibliophiles to catalog their libraries.  Wouldn't it be great to 
have a set of links to catalogs of our personal libraries?  And as 
long as we're wishing, how about a linkage to an e-commerce site for 
buying and selling books?  Abebooks and eBay come to mind - why 
reinvent the wheel just for numismatic books?

Anyway, items ensconced in our libraries would be filed in 
Librarything (or some other tool) under "not for sale" but with 
the click of a mouse could be made available for trade or purchase. 
Similarly, entries representing holes in our libraries could become 

The problem is always how such a mechanism could pay for itself 
given the relatively low value of many items of numismatic literature, 
such as the surplus auction catalogs discussed in the previous article 
in this issue.  In response to Pete Smith's original query, Bill 
Hunter responded with thoughts on setting up a searchable database 
of items submitted by dealers and individuals, allowing interested 
parties to hook up via email.  

He writes: "I am sure that an individual taking on the task of 
maintaining the database could come up with an appropriate method 
of reimbursement for his services. I can see the database containing 
priced and unpriced listings. It would then be available for book 
dealer use and also for individuals like myself who cannot price 
items, but are happy to email interested individuals to come up with 
a mutually satisfactory exchange."

This of course, is an age-old idea in new clothing; most collector
publications through the ages have had an advertising section (a 
low-tech database) enabling buyers and sellers to get together. 
One of the founding principles of The E-Sylum, however, was to never 
carry for sale or want listings.  This was mainly to keep the focus 
on numismatic literature and research, partly to not step on the toes 
of the dealers who make it their business, but mostly because as an 
unpaid editor I had no desire to get in the middle of these exchanges 
- I spend too much unpaid time on this already.   

I've been hearing recommendations that I should branch out with a 
for-profit newsletter that would carry paid advertising and classified-
style for-sale/wanted ads relating to numismatic literature.  What do 
our readers think?  Would you pay to have your classified ad published 
in The E-Sylum or a similar email newsletter? 


A gentleman from London writes: "I have a sheet of photographs of 
National Currency notes, nine in total ($1,2,5,10,20.50,100,500,& 
1000 denominations) that I beleive are discussed in the Narramore 
forgeries book.  Are you familiar with the book enough to know 
if my group is a full set? I bought these as photographic rarities 
but would be most interested to find out more about the whole 
concept and how these came about.  Many thanks for your time and 
attention regarding this request."

[I am only somewhat familiar with these – Naramore produced the 
photos in several formats – individual cards, sheets, etc.  In 
2005 we had a short E-Sylum item about a boxed set of the photos 
offered by Stacks:


The item noted Ralph Ellenbogen's article "The Celebrated Naramore
Bank Note Detector Cards" in the Jan/Feb 1997 issue of Paper Money, 
the official publication of the Society of Paper Money Collectors.  
Can anyone tell us more about the Naramore sheets?  

NOTE: I didn't have a ready answer when I first responded, and 
offered to write his query up for The E-Sylum.  Apparently he wasn't 
quite so interested in its history as he's already resold the sheet.
But it's an interesting topic nevertheless.  -Editor]


Adrián González Salinas writes: "I saw the following book on eBay: 
This is the first time I've seen a numismatic book with inserted 
gold samples. Do you know if there exists any other book such as 

[The buyer got a real bargain - from the illustrations it appears 
to be a copy of the 1849 second edition of Jacob Eckfeldt and William 
Du Bois' "A Manual of Gold and Silver Coins of All Nations Struck 
Within the Past Century."  The spine is lettered "Supplement to 1850" 
referring to pages 221-240 which include samples of California gold 
behind mica windows pasted to page 235.  

The Mormon plate was also added that year and is illustrated by the 
seller.  Printed in metallic inks on a bold blue background, the 
sheet is the earliest known use of embossed coin illustrations in 
the U.S.  Below are some discussions of the book from earlier 
E-Sylum issues:




I know of no other book to come with actual gold samples, 
but there may be others outside the numismatic realm.  Do 
our readers know of any?  

I made an educated guess as to the identity of the buyer and wrote 
to ask, politely, "Did you buy this, you lucky bastard?"   The buyer, 
a knowledgeable bibliophile, answered affirmatively.  They did not 
want their name used, but did forward the following for publication:

"I believe this is the Henry Clifford example of the 1849 "Mint 
Manual" with the gold samples on p. 235, last sold in 1982, as it 
is the only one seen that has marble boards and 3/4 leather.  The 
seller did not offer anything about the background when asked, 
except that it came from a "flea market" coin dealer (yeah, right...)
There've been four examples sold at auction since 1980.  The one 
in the 2004 Ford I sale by George Kolbe, lot 432, realized $8,000 
to a phone bidder.  
There are numerous examples of the 1850 Eckfeldt/DuBois "New Varieties" 
book with the gold samples on p45, as these were sold at the Mint 
as souvenirs.  The last one sold, again through George Kolbe in part 
3 of his 100th sale, lot 172, this past month, brought $3,200, again 
to a phone bidder, who was sitting in a car using his cell phone after 
the power went out at his house during a thunderstorm."   -Editor]


Serge Pelletier writes: "To answer Kerry Rodgers' question: 
"How many other countries have allowed [or would be big enough 
to allow] one community to produce and circulate such coinage for 
such an anniversary?", I need  to first say that these are not 
coins but what is referred to as Municipal Trade Tokens (MTTs for 
short).  A Municipal Trade Token is defined as a community "coin", 
sponsored by a local non-profit organization and given legal 
monetary value in a specific area for a limited time by the 
appropriate local authority.

MTTs have been issued in The Netherlands since 1935 and have been 
issued in other countries such as: Australia, Belgium, Canada, 
France, Italy, Sweden and United States.  Canadian MTTs are the 
most prevalent these days.  Their tradition go back to 1958 when 
the concept was imported from the neighbouring United States.  
According to some Secret Service agent, it is illegal to issue 
MTTs in the U.S., but I believe it could easily be challenged if 
certain rules are followed.  Maui have been issuing their "Trade 
Dollars" for years now, without any problems.

The Gazette of Municipal Numismatics covers MTTs as well as medals 
issued by various municipalities, mainly in Canada and the U.S. 
and sometimes even around the world. (for more info/sample copy:
gazette at

The Royal Dutch Mint has issued a circulating 5 euro coin to 
commemorate the Rembrandt anniversary as well as a gold 10 euro 
and a series of silver medals.  An article on all these issues 
will be published in the December issue of the ANA's Numismatist."

[We'll look forward to Serge's article. -Editor]


Dick Hanscom of Alaska Rare Coins writes: "For a year or so, I 
have been using raw Alaska gold to make gold tokens. I have had 
no problems until recently. Perhaps one of your readers with 
metallurgical background can help.
Two recent batches of gold (one from the beaches at Nome and one 
from the 40 Mile district) when melted and poured into an ingot 
will not roll out in my rolling mill. They are brittle and porous. 
As I put them through the mill, they crack, or actually split and 
comes out of the mill in a "V" (actually quite cool, but useless).  
Both of these sources have a fineness in the high .870s to .900.  

I am doing nothing different than with previous gold samples. In 
fact, the first batch of Nome gold, from the same miner rolled out 
fine, down to .6mm with no problem.  Let me add that local jewelers 
will not work with raw gold because of this problem, but cannot 
explain why it happens.  Also, I have made over 70 - 1 DWT tokens 
in this manner before coming upon this problem.
My second question is this:  Does anyone know of a website that 
might have some basic information on engraving dies?  My tokens 
are crude enough so that I think even I could engrave a die, with 
no artistic talent, if had had some basic info on where to start.  
My email address is akcoins at"


As announced in the March 2006 issue of Curry’s Chronicle, the 
Carson City Coin Collectors of America (CCCCOA) is sponsoring what 
they hope to be the first of many Comstock/Carson Mint Seminars on 
October 5-7, 2006.  Coordinating the effort is Dave Jaeger. The 
following update is from the June 2006 issue:

"In order to insure that our first seminar runs smoothly we have 
decided to limit the number of participants to 25 members: As this 
issue of Curry’s Chronicle goes to press, Dave informed us that 
there are still a handful of spaces available.  If you wish to 
participate, please don’t procrastinate.  If successful, we will 
plan future seminars, opening them up to larger group participation."

Events include tours of the Carson City Museum and talks on the 
Carson City Mint (including a movie), a lecture on the Museum's 
coin collection, a walking tour of historic Carson City, a lecture 
on Comstock and Virginia City history, and a ride on the V & T 
train to Gold Hill.  

The cost is approximately $300 per person excluding hotel and 
lunches).  A $150 deposit is required no later than July 30, 2006.  
Contact Dave Jaeger for more information.  His email address is 
davejaeg at   This sounds like a wonderful event for 
numismatists, and we wish CCCCOA all the best.


According to the company's press release, the August 11 auction
by American Numismatic Rarities will include "a pair of previously 
unpublished dies for territorial coins struck in Colorado. The 
obverse die for the J.J. Conway $5, Kagin-2a, has been discovered 
and will be offered for the very first time. Coins from this die 
are known and recorded, and while the matching reverse die is in 
the collection of the Colorado Historical Society, this die has 
remained in private hands and has never before been seen by most

Perhaps even more exciting is a previously unknown die for a $5 
coin to be struck by “P. & R.R. Smith & Co, Col. Ter.,” a reference 
to the Colorado Territory. It apparently matches a maverick 1862-dated 
Liberty Head obverse die now in the collection of the Colorado 
Historical Society. This unique artifact represents the sole 
connection to the apparently ill-fated Smith coining plan and is 
one of the most important discoveries ever made in the field of 
Colorado numismatics or territorial gold in general"


The August ANR auction also includes the first part of the 
American Bank Note archive consignment:  "Comprising a special 
section of the Denver auction catalogue by American Numismatic 
Rarities will be a presentation of unique items from the archives 
of the American Bank Note Company (ABNCo). These date as far back 
as the early 19th century and include original printing plates 
for bank notes, steel vignette dies with ornate illustrations, 
and more." 

"Each item will be illustrated, described in detail, and presented 
for sale. “This is the tip of the iceberg,” commented Christine 
Karstedt, president of ANR. “Later this year and next year we will 
be showcasing other treasures. In the entire history of American 
numismatics there has never been such an offering. Collectors, 
dealers, museums, and historical societies will have a once in a 
lifetime opportunity.”

"In addition, there are steel vignette dies, most of sizes ranging 
from a playing card to a post card, with engraved scenes, gods and 
goddesses, ornate numbers, and other elements that went into bank 
note printing. Cylinder dies used to transfer will also be offered, 
these being so rare that most numismatists have never even seen one."


Gail Baker of the American Numismatic Association has published 
a tentative schedule of educational programs planned for the 
ANA's World's Fair of Money® Aug. 16-19 at the Colorado Convention 
Center in Denver. Here's a subset to whet your appetites.  See 
the convention schedule-at-a-glance for more information: 

Wednesday, Aug. 16
1 p.m. The ANA Library as Your Resource (David Sklow)
3:00 p.m. The 124 Patriots of Ireland Medal (Tom Sebring)
4:00 p.m. Coins of Crisis during the Reign of George III (1760-1820) 
   (Arthur Fitts)

Thursday, August 17
10 a.m. The Pythagorean Coins of Magna Graecia (John Francisco)
3 p.m. Pioneer Gold Coins of Denver, Clark, Gruber & Co. Bank & Mint 
   (Jim Atkinson)

Friday, August 18
10 a.m. Central American Cobs: A Reappraisal (Carlos Jara)
2 p.m. Augustus Saint-Gaudens & the World¹s Columbian Exposition Medal    
    (Michael Moran)
3 p.m. Strange & Unusual Engravings on Colonial Paper Money 
    (Gerald Kochel)
4 p.m. My 34 Years at the Denver Mint (Michael Lantz)

Saturday, August 19
10 a.m. The Effects of the Fourth Crusade on European Gold Coinage 
    (Robert Leonard)
10 a.m. Harry W. Bass Jr. Numismatic Collection (Jordan Bell)
1 p.m. From Mint to Museum: Transforming the San Francisco Old Mint 
    (Charles A. Fracchia)
2:30 p.m. Double Eagle: The Epic Story of the World’s Most Valuable 
    Coin (talk and book signing by Alison Frankel)

On Thursday, August 17, beginning at 10 a.m., ANA presents the 
annual Maynard Sundman/Littleton Coin Company Lecture Series. 
At 1 p.m., Keynote speaker Robert Hoge will present Coins That 
Made History: Power, Abundance & Longevity. Other speakers include:

10 a.m. Visual Rhetoric in the U.S. Bicentennial Quarter 
    (James Benjamin)
11 a.m. American Advocates: Changing the Course of National 
     Coin Design (Roger Burdette)
12 p.m. Silent Participants in D-Day (Carlton F. Schwan)
2 p.m. Dexter¹s 1804 Rara Avis (Mark Ferguson)
3 p.m. The Coinage of Alexander the Great & Alexander’s Image 
     on Currency (Joaquin Montero)


Jim writes: "I recently moved to Pittsburgh from Portland, OR 
(actually Vancouver, WA) and my wife and I will be settling into 
our new house July 8th. I collect cigar tokens, metallic seasonal 
sports/baseball passes, Colonial/Pre-Federal American coinage and 
am completing a family birth year set from 1698 - 1971.  I also 
have a modest collection of Conder Tokens, Byzantine pieces and 
have been phasing out of Roman and Greek over the past several 

Larry Gaye writes: "I want to personally welcome Jim Urbaniak as 
a new subscriber to The E-Sylum.  He is a good guy and we are sorry 
to lose him from the West Coast.  Please join me in welcoming him."

[We're glad to have Jim on board, and for me it was a curious 
coincidence that he's moving to Pittsburgh.  Jim emailed me about 
joining the Western Pennsylvania Numismatic Society (WPNS).  As 
most of you know, I'm a Pittsburgh native and longtime member of 
WPNS, a small group of great numismatists with a tradition dating 
back to 1878.  

What most of you didn't know is that I'm now in the process of 
relocating to Northern Virginia.  I'll miss spending time with all 
my Pittsburgh-area coin buddies but it's nice to know that some new 
folks are coming in to the area.  Keep my seat warm!   The recent 
sales of parts of my collection will seed the kids' college fund as 
well as help us get into a house big enough for the family AND my 

Once I get settled I hope to get to know some of my fellow numismatists 
in the greater Washington, D.C. area.  It was great fun to have a bunch 
of folks over for a visit during the 2004 ANA convention.  Maybe we 
could have a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newly relocated Homren 
Numismatic Library. -Editor]


Last week I wrote that the son of numismatist King Victor Emmanuel III 
was in the news.  Martin Purdy writes: "That should be grandson, as I 
understand it.  When people say that VE is the son of the last king, 
they are referring to Umberto II, who "reigned" for about a month in 


Leon Worden writes: "Interesting to see the reference to Victor Emmanuel 
III in the last eSylum.  Emmanuel was the cover boy of the March 1909 
edition of The Numismatist, in which publisher Farran Zerbe announced 
the Italian monarch's acceptance of an honorary membership in the 
American Numismatic Association, calling him "the most distinguished 
figure in the numismatic world."

Zerbe, ANA president, had extended the invitation to the king by 
letter dated Dec. 15, 1908. Victor Emmanuel "was unable to give it 
his immediate attention," Zerbe writes, because the king had his 
hands full: On Dec. 28, a 7.2-magnitude earthquake killed at least 
100,000 of his subjects. But within weeks, on Jan. 17, a royal 
minister dispatched a letter stating that the king "has learned 
with lively satisfaction" of Zerbe's invitation and "has accepted 
to become an Honorary Member of the American Numismatic Association."

The news trumped what might otherwise have been the lead story of 
the March edition, a feature on a Russian immigrant named Victor 
David Brenner. Under the headline, "A New Type Cent Soon to be 
Issued -- Will Bear Lincoln's Head," the accomplished sculptor was 
asked why he chose to submit a design for the nation's (then) 
lowest-denominated coin.

"You see the life of a coin is twenty-five years, according to the 
law," Brenner replied, "and the time for the cent and the five-cent 
piece has expired. It seemed to me that the nickel already had a 
very practical design" -- this was the Liberty head -- "and so I 
turned my attention to what would be the most fitting for the one-cent 
coin. Naturally, the portrait of Lincoln suggested itself, this being 
his centennial, and besides, I was going to make an anniversary medal 
for my friends and my mind was full of Lincoln."

Brenner had worked for a year on a popular medal of Lincoln's bust 
that he modified for the coin. Asked to compare the two, Brenner said, 
"The [medal], yes, it is good, but this one [the coin] is more intimate,
deeper, more kind and personal. It is closer to the man; it makes you 
feel that you are sitting with him in his library. When it is finished 
I shall be nearly satisfied with it."


Regarding last week's submission on the Count Ferrari collection by 
Richard Margolis, George Fuld writes: "The mention of Mme Nadia 
Kapamadji brought to mind my one meeting with her in 1960.  I bought 
from her an About Uncirculated SILVER Libertas Americana medal for 
250 NF ($50.00!!) at that time - a bit removed from the $100,000 
plus in recent weeks!  I sold my specimen to the late Ted Craige."


Harry Waterson writes: "In addition to Luther Tuthill, there is 
another gentleman who made every effort to simplify spelling, 
including changing his first name from Melville to Melvil. And for 
a short time even changed his last name to Dui. He is acknowledged 
to have shortened "catalogue" to "catalog", a boon for this audience. 

Fortunately, he was far more successful with his Dewey Decimal 
Classification System. So when I go to the library, I may not 
be able to spell the title of the book but I can probably find it."

[The extra vowels removed from "catalog" have been airlifted to 
Eastern Europe.  For more on Melville Dewey, "the father of 
librarianship" see his Wikipedia entry:  -Editor]


"Courage cannot be measured in money, says the family of late 
Captain Umrao Singh who earned the highest military honour of 
pre-independence India - the Victoria Cross. A rare medal in 
the country now, Umrao Singh's family has just shrugged off a 
50 lakh rupee offer for the cross." 

"Prakash's family is used to receiving offers for this Victoria 
Cross - an art collector's delight - and the latest is an offer 
of 50 lakh rupees which is by no means a small amount for a 
family of modest means. But as a proud son clarifies, there is 
no price for extreme gallantry. 

"For most of the country, India's 2 century long connection with 
colonial Britain is a relationship that has only negative 
connotations. But for Umrao Singh's family and his village, it 
is a strong relationship of pride and valour - one that they are 
not willing to give up at any price." 


Dennis M. Gregg writes: "I was wondering if our readers know of 
a "Can you ID" forum, where an unknown coin can be identified by 
members of the board?  I ask, as I recently picked up an ancient 
coin, and have absolutely zero, zip, nadda knowledge on the subject.  
As always, thanks for your time.  I've shared many an article with 
my friends."

[I keep my nose stuck in The E-Sylum and "don't get out much" 
to other Internet coin forums.  Can any of our readers make a 
recommendation? -Editor]


Regarding last week's topics of numismatists who got their start 
delivering newspapers, Dick Gaetano writes: "I started coin 
collecting in 1948,as a paper boy delivering the Pittsburgh Press 
in Dormont, PA. I found most of my collection in collecting for 
the paper each week and I even introduced a woman customer to 
collecting.  What a great time coin collecting has been for me 
these last 58 years."

Pete Smith writes: "In my younger days I delivered the local 
paper, the New Ulm Daily Journal.  I believe I started collecting 
coins before I started my paper route. I recall getting a Barber 
half as payment from one of my customers.

I don’t recall getting any interesting foreign coins. I also 
never got a Kennedy half or a SBA dollar. (This was the late 50’s.) 
All the dimes, quarters and halves were 90% silver. Buffalo nickels 
were mixed in with the Jeffersons and a lot of war nickels.

I think in those days I had Whitman folders for cents and nickels. 
I didn’t collect the higher denominations because I couldn’t afford 
to set aside those coins at face value."

Bill Burd writes: "I started helping my dad in the early 1950s 
with a large paper route he did with his van.  By 1956 I had my 
own route around the Syracuse University area with over 125 
customers.  It was one of the largest routes in New York.  

In 1958 or 1959 I won a trip to Italy from Parade Magazine.  
They picked a newsboy from each State based on recommendations 
from the local newspaper company; customers; points for new 
customers; etc.  We went in a 4 engine prop job and one engine 
caught fire over the Atlantic. We made an emergency landing on 
the Azores. The next day we continued to Italy flying over the 
Matterhorn which was the first big mountain I ever saw.  

I went through the money I collected each week and filled holes 
in albums.  I didn't get too far with it.  Most of my earnings 
went to my Mom to help with bills. In 1961 I went in the service 
and didn't come back to coins until 1976 when I started selling 
at the local flea markets.  Now I own Chicago Coin Co., Inc., 
and collect numismatic books and related material."


This week's featured web page is on "The Coins and Currency of 
Newfoundland", an article by C.F. Rowe, from The Book of 
Newfoundland, 1967.

"In the late 1700's, with the increase in population, coin became 
more common. It consisted mainly of British currency, but coins of 
other countries were also in circulation. As well, Notes valued 
from five pounds to five shillings were available. Large transactions 
between firms were usually covered by Bills of Exchange, transferred 
from one firm to another in much the same way as bank Notes are 
exchanged today."

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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