The E-Sylum v9#23, April 4, 2006

esylum at esylum at
Sun Jun 4 20:59:12 PDT 2006

Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 9, Number 23, April 4, 2006:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2006, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers are G. R. Tremblay, Wayne K. Schroll, 
Sandra E. Marxen, Bob Leuver, courtesy of David Ganz and George 
Kimmich, courtesy of Nick Graver.  Welcome aboard!  We now have 
918 subscribers.

This week we have a number of interesting reader queries on topics 
including an 1876 numismatic periodical, the best wood for library 
shelving, sources for archival bookplates, and Civil War 
identification discs. 

Closer to home we have a new E-Sylum archive feature that should 
make it easier to locate past articles on the NBS web site.  And 
speaking of Internet resources, we have excerpts from a great New 
York Times article on the rapidly increasing body of online texts 
and the future of books.

Even closer to your Editor's heart is an upcoming auction including 
items from my own collection. (Yes, I collect more than just books...)
And finally, do you suffer from "collectile dysfunction"?  Read on 
to find out.  Have a great week, everyone!

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


Bryce Brown writes: "I invite all E-Sylum readers to browse through 
my newly-updated numismatic literature price list.  Many new items 
have been added this week.  

June special for E-Sylum readers:  10% off all items PLUS 
free shipping with your $100 order.  Contact me via email at 
numismatics at or visit "


Dave Ginsburg writes: "On behalf of Doug Winter, I want to let 
everyone know that his latest book, "Gold Coins of the New Orleans 
Mint: 1839-1909" has just gone to press.  The publisher, Zyrus 
Press ( expects that it will be available in 
late June or early July.  This volume represents an updated edition 
of the author's "New Orleans Mint Gold Coins: 1839-1909", which 
appeared in 1992.  

This edition includes color photographs of each plate coin (over 
100 in total), updated population estimates, comments on each 
coin's typical appearance (strike, surfaces, luster, coloration 
and eye appeal), and a discussion of die characteristics, major 
varieties, significant examples and auction record prices.  

As a "special treat", this edition includes a history of the New 
Orleans Mint and an illustrated overview of its operations by Greg 
Lambousy, Director of Collections of the Louisiana State Museum 
(a copy of Mr. Lambousy's article on the history of the New Orleans 
Mint that appeared in the March 2003 issue of Numismatist is available 
at, and my essay discussing 
"How Gold Coins Circulated in 19th Century America", both written 
especially for this book.  The press run for this edition is 
expected to be between 1500 and 2500 copies."


Beth Deisher writes: "Thanks for the mention of Roger Burdette's 
article on the proposed 1942 half dime in the current issue of Coin 
World's Coin Values. Please note the name of the publication is NOT 
Coin Prices. (Coin Prices is a magazine published by Krause.)  For 
those who do not receive Coin Values as a supplement to Coin World, 
it is also available on newsstands throughout the nation (Borders, 
Barnes & Noble, BooksAMillion and Wal-Mart -- to name a few) and 
is in the September 2006 issue."

Mark Ferguson adds: "I am the U.S. Values Analyst for "Coin Values," 
meaning I do all the valuations for the magazine.  We really 
appreciate the wonderful acceptance of this publication by the 
market since its introduction in 2003 and let me say that it's 
been an overwhelming challenge trying to keep up with this 
unprecedented bull market we've been experiencing during these 
past few years.  Most dealers and advanced collectors have really 
been gracious and helpful to me.  Thank you all very much!"

[I'm sorry for the oversight - I had the issue right in front 
of me and still got the title wrong.  Anyway, be sure to check 
out the articles in each issue - there are gems within.  -Editor]


John Nebel has created a new master index of E-Sylum articles 
on the NBS web site.   It’s one big huge page listing ALL individual 
E-Sylum articles in chronological order.  This lets people scan the 
entire list or use their browser’s FIND feature to locate articles 
of interest.  The page will be updated automatically as new issues 
are posted to the archive.  Because of its size the page takes a 
few seconds to load even on a broadband connection, but once loaded 
it can be scrolled or searched very quickly.  

Many thanks to John for his volunteer efforts on our behalf.  NBS 
webmaster Bruce Purdue contributed as well, with his suggestion to 
add some navigation links to the page.  This new master table of 
contents should be a very useful tool for anyone searching for 
articles on particular topics.  Be aware that some (OK, many) 
article headlines may not be terribly informative, and remember 
that the contents of the articles should be fully indexed in search 
engines like Google.  So if you can't find what you're looking for 
in the table of contents, try a web search.

Here's the direct URL for the master table of contents:  

As examples of how the master table of contents can be used, two 
later items in this issue list E-Sylum articles on specific topics 
- the 1913 Liberty Head Nickels, and Bolen medals.


In a note to the ANS Yahoo mailing list Thursday, Sebastian Heath 
of the American Numismatic Society writes: "In preparation for the 
start of the Graduate Seminar, the public versions of the ANS 
library catalog and object database have been updated with 
information current as of yesterday (Wednesday, May 31st). These 
can be searched via the page: "

To subscribe to the ANS mailing list, go to: 


Edith Willey writes: "I am trying to find out some information 
about a flyer-type of numismatic ephemera: "Numismatic Pilot to 
Ancient Coins and Their Uses".  It also says "La Grange, Kentucky 
Vol. 1 No. 1 1876".  It refers to Robert Morris L.L.D. of 
La Grange, KY.

There are two pages, front and back, 1-4.  On page four it talks 
about the American Association of Numismatists.  Have you any 
knowledge of this?  It is about the size of a newspaper."

[I'm away from my library.  "Numismatic Pilot" sounds very 
familiar, but I don’t think I have any issues. Can anyone fill 
us in?  -Editor]


Regarding Steve Pellegrini's question about his copy of "Coins 
of the Popes", David Gladfelter writes: "I believe that the Coffin 
book was in Nathan Eglit's library and that the number had to do 
with Mr. Eglit's shelving system. I have a different book from his 
library (a catalog) with his signature and the number 34. Nathan 
Eglit is one of Pete Smith's 1400. He is best known as the author 
of "Columbiana, The Medallic History of Christopher Columbus and 
the Columbian Exposition of 1893" published in the 1960s. He was 
a charter member of the Token and Medal Society (TAMS) and an 
associate editor of its journal."


Ed Perkin writes: "A while back there was much discussion on what 
everybody thought was the ideal home library.  It was very interesting.  
My question is similiar in that nature yet still different.  I plan 
on building my own shelves for my home library and am curious to know 
two things.  First, is there a type of wood that is better for 
library shelves?  I do not like metal and besides, working with 
metal is quite difficult and frankly I do not really know how to 
do it.  The second is, what type of wood do others favor?"


Fred Reed writes: "I, like many members of the Numismatic 
Bibliomania Society and readers of The E-Sylum (probably) would 
like to find a source for numismatic or historically-oriented 
bookplates for the volumes in our libraries.  If any reader knows 
of a source for archivally safe, custom designed bookplates (in 
other words, unique designs submitted by the individual collector), 
please let us know"


The May 29, 2006 issue of Coin World has a nice article by 
Jeff Starck (p112) on the upcoming sale of the Joel Malter 
numismatic library.  Starck interviewed the 75-year-old Malter 
at length.  Here are some quotes:

"The end of my life is close and I thought, 'I don't want to be 
six feet under when my library is disposed of," Malter said,  
"What makes a collection so holy you can't disassemble it and 
let other guys collect it?"

Malter began buying numismatic literature before World War II, 
when he was 10 or 11 years old.  "I never passed by a bookstore 
that I didn't go in.  I never passed up a coin book as long as 
it was adding to my library..."

To view the auction catalog, see: 


Regarding Alan Weinberg's commentary on the most recent Stack's 
sale of the John Ford collection, George Fuld writes: "Alan's 
comments were most enlightening.  I had the privilege of cataloging 
Ford's tokens and medals.  I cataloged over 5,000 pieces (or lots).  
So far, the only parts sold have been the Hard Times Tokens and 
the struck copies.  His merchant tokens are amazing and his 
political medals and tokens are probably the best ever sold.  
The four Nova Constellatio patterns remain to be sold.  It is 
easy to picture seven more sales!!  This is truly the Americana 
sale of the century."

Tom DeLorey slyly writes: "Which one will contain the 
Western Assay Bars?"
Bob Lyall writes: "I think it should be put on record that 
John Ford's first sale (to my knowledge) was his West Indian 
coins (plus some world countermarked coins) which were sold 
in London by Glendining on 16th October 1989 and expertly 
catalogued by Peter Mitchell of Baldwins.  

The evening after the sale, Baldwins invited buyers to a dinner 
party at Rules Restaurant just off the Strand in London, which 
was a quite delightful evening in the oldest restaurant in London. 
Indeed, Rules has another reason for fame.  The Prince of Wales, 
later Edward VII, entertained Lily Langtree there frequently.  
Again, for the record, those collectors of plugged and countermarked 
"joes" might like to know there were some 34 West Indian and North 
American pieces in this sale."

[Ford consigned important material to various sales throughout 
his lifetime, but I think the Glendining sale was the first 
where he was identified by name as a consignor.  Has anyone 
compiled a listing of earlier consignments of Ford material?  


John Kraljevich of American Numismatic Rarities writes: "ANR's 
next auction catalogue is online now at This sale 
is one of our semi-annual sales that gets into some more obscure 
material, including an extensive group of counterstamps, a 
collection of colonial currency, a group of Naval medals including 
a Henry Lee obverse cliche I'd never see before, some important
Washingtonia, Conder tokens and other world coins, a pedigreed 
collection of encased postage, and some very neat related material 
like Civil War-era postage stamp envelopes and significant 
collection of Civil War-era cardboard money. 

QDB, Frank Van Valen, John Pack, and myself all worked on the 
exonumia -- we all enjoy it, know something about it, and like 
the break it provides from box after box of type coins that 
sometimes run together. It's hardly cost effective, but it lets 
our geek-factor get a chance to play.

Of course, we all had fun U.S. coins to work on, too. The Springdale
Collection of Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles is a beautiful group. 
There is a MCMVII $20 from the collection of Mrs. F.C.C. Boyd from 
another private consignor. Over 100 lots of half cents are included,
including some from leading collectors. Gobrecht dollars and Pan-Pac 
$50s are represented by multiple pieces. It's a neat sale.

The auction will be held in Rosemont in conjunction with the 
Mid-American Coin Expo June 21-23."

[The counterstamps and Civil War numismatica were consigned by 
yours truly, so bid early, often and high.  These collections 
were formed over 25 years, but I made the decision that it's 
time to set them free and move on to other areas of numismatics.   
The encased postage stamps are the highlight of the consignment, 
including many of the scarcer merchants.  Here are a couple of 
my favorites:  

I began forming the collection in the early 1980s while working 
with Bob Kincaid and Fred Reed on the research that became Fred's 
landmark book on the subject.  Access to Bob's population estimates 
allowed me to purchase some overlooked rarities with as few as 2 
or 3 examples known. Besides the Civil War history connection, it 
was their rarity that attracted me to the series.  Many of these 
are rarer than 1804 Silver Dollars or 1913 Liberty Nickels, yet 
are far more affordable.  Less comprehensive as a collection but 
equally rare are the related postage stamp envelopes and cardboard 

The consignment also includes a Confederate Half Dollar Restrike, 
the accompanying Scott token, and a 1861-O U.S. Half Dollar with 
the famous obverse die break that led some to speculate that they 
may have been among the last coins struck by the Confederate States 
of America before they closed the captured New Orleans Mint.  
These I purchased from the legendary Bust Half collector, Chuck 
Erb of Pittsburgh.  

Merchant counterstamps were another field I got into, this time 
as a result of a presentation by Roy Van Ormer at a meeting of 
the Western Pennsylvania Numismatic Society.  When Dave Bowers 
auctioned Roy's counterstamps in 1987 I purchased several from 
the sale and subsequently added more by purchasing from dealers 
and private collectors.  Like encased postage stamps, these coins 
are also teeming with history and many are rarer than hen's teeth. 

For fun I pursued a set by undertype, collecting one of every 
different U.S. coin type I could find.  At the time this was a 
way of putting together a poor man's type set, for a counterstamped 
Bust Dollar could then be had for less than a comparable 
circulated coin without such a mark!  Here are a few examples:  

I hope my old friends find good homes, and look forward to 
adding the catalog to my library (and getting extra copies 
for my kids, so someday they'll know where the seed money for 
their college fund came from).  -Editor]


One of the pieces John Kraljevich had fun cataloguing for the 
June ANR sale is an 1802 large cent nearly beaten to death with 
counterstamps.  It was one of my favorite coins as well.  With 
permission I'll quote the catalog description:

"One of the most interesting countermarked large cents we've 
ever encountered, marked by three different Boston area silversmiths 
with a total of 16 stamps! The rims have been hammered or "spooned" 
in to create a high rim, but abundant detail remains on the large 
cent. The Davis and Brown mark, Brunk D-174, was the hallmark of a 
silversmithing partnership based in Boston ca. 1802-1820. Their 
mark is listed in Brunk only on an 1801 cent also stamped with the 
Bradbury mark and four eagle marks, identical to the piece seen 
here. That Bradbury mark, Brunk B-1003, and the eagle "pseudohallmarks" 
used to imitate more expensive English silver, were used by Theophilus 
Bradbury, active as a silversmith in Newburyport, Massachusetts until 
his death in 1803. 

An oval mark incorporating an eagle and Bradbury's name is seen on 
the reverse. His marks are known only on large cents dated 1802 and 
earlier. The final mark is the most enigmatic, unlisted by Brunk, 
but seemingly the mark of Boston silversmith John MacFarlane, active 
ca. 1796. Perhaps these Boston silversmiths knew each other, or 
perhaps their businesses and effects were purchased by one of the 
three, but this coin draws them together in a most appealing way."   

[This is about as far away as you can get from a high-grade type 
coin, but it sure has character.  -Editor]


E-Sylum reader Kavan Ratnatunga in Sri Lanka was the first to 
locate the web page for the U.S. Mint's Citizens Coinage Advisory 
Committee.  The members are:

John K. Alexander 
Leon G. Billings 
Bill Fivaz 
Dr. Rita Laws 
Dr. Mitchell Sanders 
Donald Scarinci 
Kenneth Thomasma 
Dr. Ute Wartenberg Kagan 
Sherl Joseph Winter 

David Ganz adds: "It's not the Mint, but an independent entity."

[Dave's correct - the committee was set up by Congress as an 
independent advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury on the themes 
and designs of all U.S. coins and medals.  According to the web 
site, "The CCAC serves as an informed, experienced and impartial 
resource to the Secretary of the Treasury and represents the 
interests of American citizens and collectors."

Dave ought to know - he was a member of the CCAC from 1993 to 1996.  
There are short biographies of each of the current members on the 
web site.  The committee's next scheduled meeting is June 21.   
The web site is very sparse however, and does not (that I can find 
anyway) state which committee member fills which role as defined 
by the enacting legislation.  

As I suspected, we do have some E-Sylum subscribers on the current
committee, including Dr. Ute Wartenberg Kagan of the American 
Numismatic Society. -Editor]


Dick Johnson writes: "The leading proponent of abolishing the 
cent is Representative Jim Kolbe, R-Arizona. He has introduced 
legislation in the House in past sessions and plans to do so again 
in coming weeks.

Despite the rising costs of the cent’s metal components – zinc and 
copper – no one gives much hope for the passage of Kolbe’s bill. 
It will cost the U.S. Mint more to strike billions of the lowest 
denomination coins each year than their face value. 

Americans, according to numerous polls, do not want the cent 
eliminated. This despite the fact they cart cents home in change 
and pile them up on top of the dresser, or place them in jars, 
mostly without returning them to circulation and agreeing this 
is somewhat of a nuisance.

Also there is a strong lobby, backed by the zinc industry, Americans 
for Common Cents, which supports continued striking of the cent. 
Congress, apparently, is nonplused about the cent crisis. It does 
not see the $13-14 million shortfall as serious, as long as the 
total seigniorage of U.S. coins is on the positive side.

Congress cannot continue to stick its head in the sand for long, 
however. It will have to face up to the problem in the future. 
The answer, in this writer’s opinion, is to overhaul the entire 
U.S. coin structure at one time (a la the European euro), plan 
ahead, and incorporate some new coinmaking technology. Even the 
successful New Zealand recoinage plan took over twenty years. 
America is already behind in this planning., which is the internet home of Fortune, Money and 
other business magazines, released an article June 2, 2006, 
which covered this situation in depth. It includes comments by 
Congressman Kolbe, Mark Weller, head of Americans for Common 
Cents, and others. It’s worth the visit: "


Larry B. Maier, Esq. writes: "I am doing research on Civil War 
identification discs and in the process I am trying to identify 
die-sinkers and manufacturers of same.  I have read a number of 
your on-line articles dealing with the dispersal of Scovill dies 
to 18 museums by Bruce Bazelon.  Several Civil War identification 
discs bear a striking resemblance to Scovill products, especially 
the eagle style on certain merchant's tokens.  I would greatly 
appreciate any information you could provide on these subjects, 
or any leads that might help my research such as how to contact 
Mr. Bazelon or the names of any museums that might have received 
id disc dies."


Dave Ginsburg writes: "My thanks to those who have written about 
the Kerens, TX hoard of gold coins that I asked about a few weeks 
ago.  I've discussed the hoard with members of the Navarro County 
(Texas) Historical Society and it is generally believed that the 
hoard represents the accumulated savings of the owners of a large 
cotton plantation - so it looks like I can forget any colorful 
bank robbery stories!  

However, the presence of so many San Francisco double eagles is 
intriguing, especially in light of John Kleeberg's 1999 article 
in American Journal of Numismatics #11 about the mint-marked coins 
found in 1936 in the Hull, TX hoard.  I'm still in the midst of my 
research, so I'd welcome any additional information."


Howard A. Daniel III writes: "I read Don Cleveland's item with 
much interest because polymer is becoming VERY popular in 
Southeast Asia.  Here is how I see it.

The Standard Catalog of World Paper Money (SCWPM) has mostly 
"paper" pieces in it but there are also other products like 
leather, cardboard, etc.  The idea to re-title it as the Standard 
Catalog of World Printed Money (SCWPM) is not a bad idea and more 
closely identifies ALL of the pieces in the three volumes produced 
by Krause Publications.  And as new products are developed, will 
they still be printed?


The Times of London published an article Wednesday about a 
new high-denomination note needed as a result of high inflation:

"A New $100,000 banknote will be issued in Zimbabwe today. With 
a value of about 67p, it is worth only the price of a loaf of 
bread. Its introduction comes as the economy buckles under the 
highest rate of inflation in the world, currently at 1,042 per 
cent. The note makes its debut barely four months after the 
Reserve Bank introduced the $50,000 note, the highest denomination 
at the time. In only two weeks the Zimbabwe dollar has lost 
half of its value." 

“Last week I filled a single trolley with $30 million of 
groceries, and I had to count out 600 notes of $20,000 at 
the checkout counter,” John Robertson, an economist, said." 

To read the complete story, see:,,3-2205477,00.html 


According to a report published this week, "A British collector 
has paid £3624 ($NZ10,800) for a rare medal a New Zealand woman 
has been keeping in her button jar. 

Daniel Parker, of Gawber, in Yorkshire, bought the Barnsley 
Football Club FA Cup winners' medal on the Internet from an 
elderly woman who inherited it when her brother died two 
decades ago." 

"Mr Parker said he had used savings he had earmarked for his 
new home to pay for the medal, but had since been offered up 
to £10,000 ($NZ29,800) by other collectors. 

"I did some research and saw that other FA Cup winners medals 
from the 1940s and 1950s had sold for £5000 and £6000 so I knew 
it was worth it. I also thought it was important it came back 
to Barnsley."

To read the complete story, see:,2106,3687102a4560,00.html 


E-Sylum subscribers Harry Waterson and Dick Johnson pointed 
out a great article in the May 14, 2006 issue of the New York 
Times Magazine titled "What Will Happen to Books?"  It's a long 
and detailed article, a fascinating read.  As someone who’s been 
around the Internet since before it was even called that, the 
possibilities of digital publishing are something I've been 
aware of for years, but the implications aren't obvious.  This 
article does a great job of painting a picture of the future 
of books, and how the interconnection of online knowledge will 
change our world.  

The article mentions CMU Professor Raj Reddy and his "Million 
Book" project, which we've discussed here before.  I used to 
work for Raj and he's an amazing individual.

"In 2004, he borrowed 30,000 volumes from the storage rooms of 
the Carnegie Mellon library and the Carnegie Library and packed 
them off to China in a single shipping container to be scanned 
by an assembly line of workers paid by the Chinese. His project, 
which he calls the Million Book Project, is churning out 100,000 
pages per day at 20 scanning stations in India and China. Reddy 
hopes to reach a million digitized books in two years.

The idea is to seed the bookless developing world with easily 
available texts."

"In several dozen nondescript office buildings around the world, 
thousands of hourly workers bend over table-top scanners and haul 
dusty books into high-tech scanning booths. They are assembling 
the universal library page by page.

The dream is an old one: to have in one place all knowledge, 
past and present. All books, all documents, all conceptual works, 
in all languages. It is a familiar hope, in part because long ago 
we briefly built such a library. The great library at Alexandria, 
constructed around 300 B.C., was designed to hold all the scrolls 
circulating in the known world... 

Since then, the constant expansion of information has overwhelmed 
our capacity to contain it. For 2,000 years, the universal library, 
together with other perennial longings like invisibility cloaks, 
antigravity shoes and paperless offices, has been a mythical dream 
that kept receding further into the infinite future.

Until now."

"Corporations and libraries around the world are now scanning about 
a million books per year. Amazon has digitized several hundred 
thousand contemporary books. In the heart of Silicon Valley, 
Stanford University (one of the five libraries collaborating with 
Google) is scanning its eight-million-book collection using a 
state-of-the art robot from the Swiss company 4DigitalBooks. 

This machine, the size of a small S.U.V., automatically turns 
the pages of each book as it scans it, at the rate of 1,000 pages 
per hour. A human operator places a book in a flat carriage, and 
then pneumatic robot fingers flip the pages — delicately enough 
to handle rare volumes — under the scanning eyes of digital cameras." 

"The least important, but most discussed, aspects of digital 
reading have been these contentious questions: Will we give up 
the highly evolved technology of ink on paper and instead read on 
cumbersome machines? Or will we keep reading our paperbacks on 
the beach? For now, the answer is yes to both."

"Once a book has been integrated into the new expanded library by 
means of this linking, its text will no longer be separate from 
the text in other books. For instance, today a serious nonfiction 
book will usually have a bibliography and some kind of footnotes. 
When books are deeply linked, you'll be able to click on the title 
in any bibliography or any footnote and find the actual book 
referred to in the footnote."

"The static world of book knowledge is about to be transformed 
by the same elevation of relationships, as each page in a book 
discovers other pages and other books. Once text is digital, 
books seep out of their bindings and weave themselves together. 
The collective intelligence of a library allows us to see things 
we can't see in a single, isolated book." 

To read the complete article, see:


The following is a list of twelve E-Sylum articles on the topic 
of the 1913 Liberty Nickels compiled by hand from the new master 
table of contents on the NBS web site: 














The following is a list of three E-Sylum articles on the topic 
of Bolen medals compiled by hand from the new master 
table of contents on the NBS web site:





Arthur Shippee writes: "In the Sunday May 30 New York Times is 
an article by Matthew Healey, "Stamp Exhibit shows complete 1800's 
set" on the Washington 2006 World Philatelic Exhibition.  It 
highlights the collection of William H. Gross."

Bill Gross is the famous bond investor mentioned in the November 
6, 2005 E-Sylum when he completed his collection with a high-profile 
trade with Donald Sundman, brother of NBS Secretary-Treasurer David 


"Some of the rarest and most valuable American and foreign 
postage stamps are being displayed in a once-in-a-decade event, 
the Washington 2006 World Philatelic Exhibition."

"Mr. Gross said in a telephone interview on Friday that he 
collected stamps as a child and resumed the hobby in the early 
1990's as a way to "reconnect with my childhood." He said he 
was determined not to "get clipped"; his mother had once tried 
to invest by buying sheets of new stamps from the post office, 
only to find later that they were worth nothing more than 
their face value.

Mr. Gross, 62, said he decided to bring his investment 
experience to bear and researched the historical trends 
in the auction prices of rare older stamps before immersing 
himself in the hobby again. He found that over the long term, 
scarce and high-quality specimens appreciated at least as 
well as the economy in general and provided a sound way to 
put serious money into collectibles.

At first, Mr. Gross pursued collecting out of the public eye, 
exhibiting his stamps under the pseudonym Monte Carlo at 
national philatelic gatherings. He later went public and 
continued to develop his collection under his own name." 

To read the complete article, see: 


Regarding Dennis M. Gregg's search for a great world coins 
web site, Larry Gaye writes: "Try, a 
wonderful data base of incredible depth that keeps growing."

[This is the Oriental Coins Database, featuring photos of 
over 31,000 coins.  -Editor]


Dr K.A. Rodgers of Auckland, New Zealand writes: "The observation 
in the last issue on 'microphotographs'  vs 'photomicrographs" in 
the last issue brought back fond memories.  This was a matter that 
had come up frequently in one of my former incarnations.  I published 
a lot of such images and learned early on that usage all depended 
on editor and publisher's style manual.  It had little to do with 
the venerable Webster or any other dictionary, but everything to 
do with who was paying for publication. Indeed it was from a US 
publishing house that I learned the words of an American arguably 
even more famous than Webster: "A foolish consistency is the 
hobgoblin of little minds."


Last week, responding to Martin Purdy in their discussion of 
New Zealand coinage reform, Dick Johnson wrote: "He states 
"Final bills will be made out to the last cent, as above[before], 
but if you pay in cash, the final total will be rounded up or 
down to the nearest ten cents, as appropriate, just as they 
are to the nearest 5 cents at the moment." THAT is the 
definition of "transaction price" - after rounding up or 

Martin Purdy writes: "I stand by what I said.  Here is Dick's 
original paragraph for reference, with a further comment from 
me to follow:

"The dime is now the lowest coin in circulation. All prices 
are now quoted in multiples of 10 cents while the cent remains 
a "money of account." Contracts and quantity sales and purchases 
can be quoted in the old cents ­ or even fractions parts of a 
cent! ­ but the "transaction price," when the final check is 
written, it is in a multiple of a dime."

Once again, no.  The only time you will pay in multiples of 
10c is if you pay in cash.  If you use a credit or debit card, 
or write a cheque, you pay to the last cent, not the last ten 
cents.  In exactly the same way as we have been paying down to 
the last cent by all means other than cash since 1990, even 
though there have been no circulating coins smaller than 5c 
during this time.  And the reference to "fractions of a cent" 
is about 35 years out of date, as I noted."


Regarding last week's item on the penalties for coin melting 
in Taiwan, Ken Berger writes: "Doesn't "... not over one year 
but less than seven years" just mean less than one year?"

Bob Lyall caught this as well.  He writes: "I somehow think 
the penalty for defacing coin in China is not likely to be 
"not over 1 year or less than 7"!!  A lot of negatives, but 
I suspect a typo for between 1 and 7 years."

[Many thanks to our sharp-eyed readers for all of their 
corrections.  -Editor]


The Telegraph of India sponsored a writing contest, and one 
of the submissions is "The Mystery of the Stolen Coins."

"The next day Raj Mukherjee could be seen driving his green 
Ambassador down the posh Mandalay Road. He drove up to a mansion 
of red bricks and ivy. On the left hand side of the gate there 
was a faded plate that read “Richard Davidson: Numismatist” As 
he walked into the grounds there was an old world charm to the 
place — the house looked a century old. There was also a sad 
neglect to the place."

“I collect old coins as you may have figured out. There are in 
my collection both valuable and invaluable coins...but they are 
all my treasured pieces. Recently I made a bargain ..a fantastic 
one if you ask me! You must have read of the Gangarampur unearthing..."

To read the complete article, see: 


So why do we collect?  Every one of us could articulate a different 
set of reasons for why we've been attracted to our hobby.  A new 
book by a New York University art professor explores the collecting 
impulse.  Below are excerpts from the book's promotional web pages, 
but my favorite description appeared in a review by W.O. Goggins 
in the June 2006 issue of Wired magazine:  "In Flagrante Collecto 
can help anyone survive, ahem, 'collectile dysfunction'  Part 
cultural anthropology, part memoir, this encyclopedia of obsession 
does for collecting what Darwin did for natural selection.  
Visually, it's The Origin of the Species by way of Andy Warhol."

"In Flagrante Collecto explores and catalogues our impulse to 
acquire the incidental miscellanea of the past. From author Marilynn 
Gelfman Karp’s perspective, collecting is a calling, not a choice, 
and in this book she examines the impulse to acquire and its modus 
operandi, describing the essential reasons why anyone collects 
anything from gold coins to fingernail parings." 

"According to author Marilynn Gelfman Karp, collecting is a calling; 
and those who are driven to collect unloved objects are the purest 
collectors of all. In this literary and sophisticated celebration 
of humble objects, Karp shares her passionate insights on what she 
calls the "rapture of the capture." 

In Flagrante Collecto is a vividly illustrated book that is equal 
parts cultural history, personal memoir, and coffee table objet 
d'art. The 1000 color photographs that fill this book tell stories 
of lost and found objects. Ignored by many, these figural matchbooks,
 buttons, erasers, cigar rings, pictorial seed packets, and other 
items are hunted and gathered with Ahab-like tenacity at flea 
markets, antique shops, and collectible shows worldwide."  

Dick Johnson adds: "Novelist Anatole France once said: "It is good 
to collect things, but it is better to go on walks."  So walk on 
over to the coin shop and buy something!"


According to a Reuters report, "A would-be Japanese bank robber 
asked staff how he should carry out the crime before meekly obeying 
a request to leave and then accidentally stabbing himself in the 
leg with a knife he was carrying."

To read the complete story, see:


This week's featured web site is suggested by Ron Benice.  He 
writes: "I'd like to nominate an online exhibition at the Harvard 
Business school entitled "Coin and Conscience: Popular Views of 
Money, Credit and Speculation."  It contains seventy works of art 
from the last five centuries depicting coins or paper money in 
various guises ranging from wheels on a chariot pulling the world 
to something being dispensed by the devil." 

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society

The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization 
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Numismatic Bibliomania Society, 
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