The E-Sylum v9#25, June 18, 2006
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Sun Jun 18 20:36:19 PDT 2006
Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 9, Number 25, June 18, 2006:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2006, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Among our recent subscribers is Gerald Buckmaster. Welcome aboard!
We now have 928 subscribers.
Jeff Reichenberger writes: "Happy Father's Day to all E-Sylum
fathers. I wanted to relate one of the favorite gifts I received
this year from my 5 year old daughter. It's a card actually, a
five inch embossed replica of the obverse of a Washington Quarter.
However the motto reads "In DAD We Trust". On the inside it says,
"Don't ever change". Apparently the designer of the card assumes
the obverse of the Washington Quarter will never change. My first
numismatic Father's Day gift!"
This week brings news of some more new numismatic publications.
2006 should be a great year for bibliophiles. But don't think
we're ever likely to run out of good ideas for numismatic books -
Dick Johnson provides a list of ten titles that have yet to be
written, and they aren't all in jest.
In the feedback category, Dave Perkins chimes in with a response
to George Fuld's query on collecting city directories, and Bob
Evans discusses the recent Forbes article on the Central America
>From the popular press we have some nice articles on topics as
diverse as the U.S. Institute of Heraldry, the private manufacture
of U.S. cent planchets, and coins found in New York City parking
meters. To learn the numismatic connections to Ball jar lids and
Zamboni machines, read on. Have a great week, everyone!
Numismatic Bibliomania Society
DAVID SKLOW, NEW ANA LIBRARY DIRECTOR
John and Nancy Wilson, Ocala, FL write: "While looking for various
things on the ANA www.money.org and while looking at the Staff
page we found that David J. Sklow has evidently replaced Nancy Green
as the Director, Library and Research for the ANA.
David is a very skilled and competent researcher in the numismatic
field. Back in the 1980's David owned a company in Michigan that
sold numismatic references through mail bid auctions and fixed price
lists. In the early 1990's David had a company in Florida that held
auctions via mail bid sales. On a few occasions he also took tables
at coin shows and sold numismatic literature. We purchased books
from David and were always treated very fairly. Some of these
references are still in our library. David worked for the Money
Tree for their last few auctions and currently serves on the Board
of Directors of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Several years ago he went to work for the ANA as a Numismatic Researcher.
We have known David for many years and find him very knowledgeable
and competent as a numismatic researcher and bibliophile. We want
to congratulate David and wish him the very best in what appears to
be his new job with ANA as the Director of the Library.
We want to commend the ANA Executive Director Chris Cipoletti for
making this appointment. We are sure he will do an excellent job
for ANA in this very important position. It will be nice to
congratulate David in person at the Denver ANA this coming August.
Please go to the ANA web site (www.money.org) to see a listing of
all the Staff at ANA, which includes David as the ANA Library
Director. You can E-mail David at and congratulate him on his
new position. His ANA E-mail is sklow at money.org"
HISTORY CHANNEL: MODERN MARVELS MONEY EPISODE
Karl Moulton writes: "I wanted to let all E-Sylum readers know
about a new Modern Marvels show on the History Channel about
American Money. It is scheduled to air for the first time on
Monday, June 19 at 11pm EST. I was fortunate to be able to
contribute some information and images from my post card and
stereoview collection. The producer told me that it will re-air
throughout the summer, so please check your local listings."
The following description is from the History Channel's web site:
"How does America make money--literally? We visit the United
States Mint and the Bureau of Printing and Engraving to see the
secretive government facilities where our legal tender is generated.
With a storied past as tantalizing as the wealth they create,
these mints can spit out fortunes in an hour and keep our economy
For a schedule of upcoming episodes, see:
NEW BOOK: FIFTH EDITION PATRIOTIC CIVIL WAR TOKENS
George Fuld writes: "The fifth edition of Patriotic Civil War
Tokens by George and Melvin Fuld has now been released. The
64-page 1960 pamphlet has grown to 433 pages and a fold out
plate. Just shows what can be accomplished when a committee
(not yours truly) revises something!! Cost is $35 and can be
ordered from Jud Petrie, P O Box 10553, Portland, ME 04104 or
exonumist at aol.com."
Jud Petrie, CWTS Book Manager adds: "All prices include shipping,
handling and insurance. The retail price is $35.00, member price
$30.00 but members may obtain it for $25.00 for orders received
by July 31. Also, any new member joining the CWTS at the ANA
convention in Denver may also get it for $25.00. A dealer/volume
discount is also available.
To reduce the inventory of the 4th Edition of the Patriotic book
a steep dealer discount has been offered - a case of 12 books
for $120, while supplies last.
We have also just received the latest reprinting of the Storecard
book. There are a number of 'cosmetic' changes to the book, the
text remains the same. This time it will have a dust jacket
(printed in copper ink), the highest quality cloth cover, gold
ink over black background on the spine, and a 'round' binding...
and according to Al Hoch, it is the highest quality book Quarterman
has ever produced. The retail cost is $100, CWTS member price
remains $85. However due to the limited quantity, there will be
no dealer/volume discount this time.
Hamm's book on the issuers of Indiana Merchant Civil War tokens
is now out of print with no plans on reprinting it. I have 16
unbound copies that will be offered for free to CWTS members at
the ANA convention. These have the front and back covers, and
all pages, but no spine or binding. First come, first served,
and again, only while supplies last."
ADAMS WORK ON JOHN LAW AVAILABLE
George Fuld adds: "ANS Notes and Monographs 167 on John Law by
John Adams has been released. I don't know the cost, but whatever
it is, it's well worth it. Truly an amazing research job on a
little known series. Simply subperb!!"
NEW BOOK: RESERVE BANK OF NEW ZEALAND 1973-2004
Kerry Rodgers and Martin Purdy note that a new history of The
Reserve Bank of New Zealand has just been published. "Innovation
and Independence: The Reserve Bank of New Zealand 1973-2004" was
authored by Dr John Singleton with Arthur Grimes, Gary Hawke,
and Sir Frank Holmes, published by the Auckland University Press.
For more information, see:
THE E-SYLUM ON CD-ROM
Last week we broached the topic of making back issues of The
E-Sylum available on CD-ROM. Martin Purdy writes: "Count me in!"
Dan Breen writes: "I would be interested in a CD of the E-Sylum
archive. Since I subscribed, I have been reading the past issues
starting from the beginning and I've just completed volume five.
Thank you for all your efforts on The E-Sylum, I enjoy reading it
every Monday morning."
Kerry Rodgers writes: "I would love the whole of Bibliomania on
CD but ONLY if it had a decent searchable index by author, topic
and date. Not too familiar with this stuff but life it too short
to scroll through page upon page."
[At least Google does a fair job of making content findable, but
that would be lost on a CD. I'd love a good E-Sylum index myself,
but I'm too busy creating it to have time to index it. Kerry
adds: "I note that editors NEVER index their own creations.
Some dedicated soul pops out of the woodwork and tells you they
have been working away at it for the past ten years and do you
think anyone would like it?"
ON COLLECTING CITY DIRECTORIES
Dave Perkins writes: "This is in reply to George Fuld's posting
in last week's E-Sylum "Does anyone collect city directories of
the Nineteenth Century?"
I collect Detroit, Michigan City Directories which I use for
researching the Detroit Civil War Store Card tokens, other tokens
and counterstamped coins. They are a great source to "discover
the issuer behind the token." In addition, quite a few of the
merchants and businesses that issued the tokens placed advertisements
in these same city directories. This often yields additional
information about their business. I have published numerous
articles in the Civil War Token Journal and the TAMS Journal
using this information (and with information from other sources
I have acquired).
Despite advertising to buy Detroit city directories for many years
it took me almost 10 years to acquire my first ones. If I remember
correctly, I eventually got the following years: 1837 (reprint);
1856-57; 1861; 1872-73; 1875-76; 1876-77; 1882; 1884 and about one
per decade through the 1940s. My favorite and the best for my Civil
War Token research was the 1861 directory. I was never able to
locate original copies of the 1862-64 directories, key directories
for the tokens issued during the Civil War.
My great-great grandfather, Wm. Perkins, Jr. issued two Detroit Civil
War Tokens. One was for the Perkins Hotel and the other the Perkins
Grocery & Provision Store. I once went through the 1861 city directory
line by line and located many employees of the two businesses. Later
while doing genealogical research on my family it turned out that two
of these employees were relatives, having married daughters of Wm.
About a year ago I purchased a CD on E-Bay with directories from the
1860s and eventually acquired many other years from the same source.
I printed the 1862-1866 Directories on archive type paper and had
them nicely bound. I now have a pretty complete library of Nineteenth
Century Detroit city directories."
DICK JOHNSON: TEN NUMISMATIC BOOKS ID LOVE TO READ
Dick Johnson writes: "Here is a list of ten numismatic books
I would purchase and love to read if they existed:
10. Confessions of an Illicit Coin Slabber.
9. How To Design a Modern Coin.
8. The Western Gold Bar Controversy The 24 Karat Truth.
7. Coin Grading By Ouija Board: A More Accurate System.
6. Coin Con Catalog A Comprehensive List of Criminals in Numismatics.
5. The Secret History of Walter H. Breen.
4. The Red Book of Numismatic Literature.
3. ANA Politics, Scandal and Rumor The Truth Revealed.
2. The Official History of the United States Mint.
1. Coin Engraving Through The Ages."
[Number 6 is a topic I've been curious about for some time. We've
discussed some "Numismatic Ne'er-Do-Well's" in the past - murderers,
thieves, adulterers, pedophiles, plagiarists, etc. It would make
for an interesting read.
[Number 4 is another interesting one, and right on target for
bibliophiles. Charlie Davis' book on American Numismatic Literature
is a great reference, but long outdated as far as pricing goes.
Denis Kroh's book on ancient coin literature is also long out of print.
A compact, up-to-date reference to numismatic literature would
be most welcome. As with any such book, the hard part would be
deciding what to include in the limited available space, and by what
What are your thoughts, readers? Are any such books already in
the works? Anyone willing to tackle a new project? Other ideas
(serious or otherwise) for books that aren't but ought to be?
IN GOD WE TRUST RULING UPHELD
According to press reports, "A Sacramento federal judge on Monday
tossed out atheist Michael Newdow's challenge to the phrase "In God
We Trust" as the national motto and its inscription on coins and
currency. Newdow argued that the slogan violates the establishment
clause of the U.S. Constitution, which keeps government out of religion.
But U.S. District Judge Frank C. Damrell Jr. points out in an 18-page
order that the federal appellate court with jurisdiction over California
held in a 1970 opinion that the motto "has nothing whatsoever to do
with the establishment of religion."
"The same appellate opinion disposes of Newdow's claim that the use
of the motto on coins and currency amounts to government coercion to
proselytize or evangelize on behalf of monotheism, Damrell wrote.
Newdow said Monday he is optimistic about his chances on appeal to
the 9th Circuit."
To read the complete article, see:
BOB EVANS ON THE FORBES CENTRAL AMERICA ARTICLE
Last week we published a link to a Forbes magazine article about
the investors who backed the recovery of the S.S. Central America
Treasure. The gist of the article was that the investors hadn't
yet recovered their money. Bob Evans was a key member of the
project team, and he was interviewed for the article. He writes:
"I would like to respond to this article, but it is hard to know
where to begin. It is such a slanted piece, and one where I believe
the writers had the conclusions in their minds before they even
began the research. I was interviewed at length, but I notice that
my commentary was completely absent from the article, probably
because I had mostly flattering things to say about our accomplishments,
and about Tommy Thompson: stuff that did not fit their pre-conceived
notions. Such is journalism."
GERMAN CARNEGIE HERO FUND RESURRECTED
According to the June 2006 newsletter of the Carnegie Hero Fund
Commission, "After 72 years of inactivity, Andrew Carnegies German
hero fund, which was taken over by the Nazis in 1934, has been
resurrected, thanks to the efforts of a private citizen in Mannheim.
The Carnegie Stiftung fuer Lebensretter (CSL), or Carnegie
Foundation for Rescuers, was re-established April 15 on receiving
recognition from the German courts as the only heir of the
original fund. Andreas Huber, 36, the visionary behind the effort,
said the reconstruction of CSL was a painful process and that it
took hard work to get permission from the authorities to rebuild."
[The article pictures a prewar German Carnegie Hero Fund medal.
With the resurrection of the German Fund, perhaps a new medal is
in the offing. Walter Rutkowski of the U.S. commission will be
going to Germany in July to participate in a ceremony for the new
German fund. -Editor]
To read the newsletter, see:
TARGETED AUCTION SEARCH FOR 1876 MEDAL PROJECT SOUGHT
Ron Abler writes; "I've run into a snag gathering data for my
book on 1876 Centennial medals. Published literature on the
subject is scarce, with relevant medals mostly being included
piecemeal under other categories, such as Washingtonia, so-called
dollars, and Mint medals. I recognize that a treasure trove of
information lies hidden in auction catalogs, especially those
from the late 19th and early 20th century, but I am at a loss
as to how to proceed.
Simply collecting catalogs willy-nilly seems wasteful of money,
time, and shelving space, and older catalogs can be unaffordable.
Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I might conduct a
targeted search for auction catalogs that actually contain
offerings of 1876 medals and ways to collect the information
without going broke in the process? My collection strains the
budget too much as it is."
DENVER QUARTER LAUNCHED
On June 15 the Denver Post reported on the rollout of the new
Colorado quarter: "The new Colorado commemorative quarter received
rock-star treatment Wednesday during a launch ceremony at the state
More than a thousand people - mostly coin collectors, children and
their parents - braved the heat to be among the first in the country
to palm shiny "Colorful Colorado" coins, some delivered by a
horse-drawn Wells Fargo coach to the west steps of the Capitol."
"Country music blared, two F-16 fighter jets from the Colorado Air
National Guard buzzed the crowd, and volunteers with the Colorado
Historical Society, in period costume, handed out bottles of water
to folks sweltering in the heat."
"The Colorado quarters feature a mountain scene, trees and the
phrase "Colorful Colorado." They should start turning up as change
in regular transactions sometime in July. Some 650 million Colorado
quarters will be minted over a 10-week period in Denver and
To read the complete Denver Post article, see:
More color on the event was provided by the Durango Herald:
"As the opening chords of Pink Floyd's "Money" played over
loudspeakers, Gov. Bill Owens pasted a replica of the quarter on
a large map of the 50 states, joining 37 other quarters that have
been released since 1999. Treasury Department officials say 140
million people are collecting the quarters.
"There has been an enormous surge of interest in coin collecting
in the United States the last few years, and much of the credit
goes to the 50 State Quarters program," said Sandra Pack,
assistant secretary of the treasury.
Despite temperatures in the upper 90s, people queued up to trade
$10 for a roll of some of the first Colorado quarters, while
volunteers from the Colorado Historical Society handed out free
coins to children in the crowd."
To read the complete article, see:
FERRARI COLLECTION INFORMATION SOUGHT
Bruce Perdue forwarded the following query from Karel Langenaken
about the coin collection of Philippe de Ferrari:
"For more than 30 years I have researched the all-time greatest
philatelist: Philippe de Ferrari or Ferrary or Ferrari-La Renotière.
His stamp collections were sold by the French government from 1921
to 1925. He was also a major numismatic collector. I believe this
collection was also to be auctioned, but I can not find anything
about these sales. I was told that in Clain-Stefanelli's Numismatic
bibliography there are some references to Ferrari. Would you be
so kind to provide me some more information in this regard?"
JOHN J. FORD SIGNATURE
Last week Leon Worden asked for a copy of John J. Ford's signature
to verify an inscription in a book he owns. Jim Spilman writes:
"JJF and I did a considerable amount of cooperative numismatic
research together in the late 1960s through mid-1970s era and I
have a considerable correspondence file with numerous examples of
John normally signed his letters and notes with only his initials
JJF. When he used his "full" signature it was JJFordJr - a
continuous but legible scrawl."
Jim attached scans of two letters with examples of John's signature.
I forwarded them to Leon. He writes: "What great service -- thanks
to which I can say that the name written inside the cover of my
book is absolutely NOT the signature of J.J. Ford!"
ON THE CASE OF THE 1913 NICKEL CASES
Michael Schmidt writes: "If there was a second case for the 1913
Liberty nickels it must have come before the coins were purchased
by Col. Green. Eric Newman does own the case that came with the
nickels from the Green estate and it has slots for eight nickels
not six. It held the five nickels, two pattern buffaloes (one in
copper and one with out the designer's initial.) The eighth coin
was also a buffalo but I don't remember if it was a pattern or a
Eric was involved with the break up of the Green collection and
he acquired the set directly from the estate so that was the holder
that Green had. So the only other possibility for a second holder
would have to be if Samuel Brown had one made. I have never heard
of Brown displaying the set in a case."
FEDERAL OFFICE OF HERALDRY AND THE GREAT SEAL OF THE UNITED STATES
Arthur Shippee alerted us to a great article published Tuesday
in the New York Times about the Institute of Heraldry, the U.S.
government's "chief guardian of insignia and heraldic tradition."
"According to legend, the eagle in the seal faced the arrow-holding
talon in times of war and switched its stern gaze toward the olive
branch in times of peace.
The eagle's glare did indeed get reversed just once, by President
Harry S. Truman in 1945. But only, it turns out, to correct the
grievous heraldic error that President Rutherford B. Hayes had made
65 years before, when he designed the first seal to adorn White House
"In point of fact, the viewer's left is the dexter side, the honorable
side on any shield," said Joe Spollen, head sculptor at the heraldry
institute, which among its other duties nurtures rules and terminology
from the Middle Ages. "The sinister side, on the viewer's right, is
the less honorable."
And so Truman, after learning the truth from the director of the
heraldry office at the time, switched the gaze from sinister to
dexter, where it remains today."
"The institute, conjoining modern images with ancient traditions,
designs the shoulder insignia unique to every military unit and
supervises their production. It designs military medals, with the
Iraq Campaign Medal being one of the latest. It also, together with
the captains, designs a custom coat of arms for every new ship in
"The founding fathers wasted no time in devising a distinctly
American seal. In 1782, years before the Constitution, Congress
adopted the same two-sided Great Seal visible on every dollar bill
today, describing it in full-fledged heraldic argot. On the front
side is the familiar eagle, "holding in its dexter talon an olive
branch, and in his sinister a bundle of 13 arrows," and in his beak
a scroll inscribed "E pluribus unum." On the reverse side, "a pyramid
unfinished" and "in the zenith an eye in a triangle, surrounded by
a glory, proper."
>From the beginning, the Great Seal's eagle faced the dexter talon;
why President Hayes switched directions for his similar-looking
presidential emblem is lost to the ages."
To read the complete article, see:
ART UNION OF LONDON MEDALS
Regarding the Art Union of London, Scott Miller writes: "A total
of 30 different medals were issued, the last being by Alfred Gilbert
for Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee in 1887. For more information,
see "The Medals of the Art Union of London" by G. K. Beaulah, BNJ
HUEY LONG WASHROOM WARRIOR MEDAL: HOW MANY WERE STRUCK?
Web site visitor Alexa Foreman of Atlanta, GA writes: "I was
researching the Washroom Medal since I have one that belonged
to my great great Uncle, and found the E-Sylum mention of it.
Can you give me a basic history of the medal?"
I knew there was some basic information on the American Numismatic
Rarities web site (because my example of the medal is in their
upcoming sale), so I directed her to the lot listing:
She wrote back asking, "How many medals do you think exist?"
The auction listing and earlier E-Sylum articles have a good bit
of information on the medal and list sources for more, but do
not cite the number of bronze examples struck. Anyone know?
WASHROOM WARRIOR MEDAL
WASHROOM WARRIOR MEDAL INFO SOURCES
ODD DENOMINATION OBSOLETE NOTES IN SMYTHES JULY AUCTION
Dick Johnson writes: "If you collect odd denominations you must
get R. M. Smythes catalog of their July auction sale. Their
major consignor had the specialty of this fascinating numismatic
challenge how many different denominations can you acquire? The
New York auction house, specializing in financial history, is
claiming that number is over one hundred!
There are some gems in this sale: Notes of British penny and
multiples, even of mills that was Thomas Jeffersons creation
of one tenth of a cent and of cent multiples and fractions galore.
I had seen 12 ½ cent before, but never 12 1/4 cent theres one
in this sale. Pick any odd number, 16, 87, 90, for instance, or
odd amount ($1.25) and you are likely to find an obsolete notes
of that denomination represented.
Colorful cover, some great material from a great auction house.
All lots, nearly 2,500, are on line at the firms website,
www.smytheonline.com or you can order the printed catalog for $25.
I found this sale's pre-auction publicity notice on the web. It
is one of the worst I have ever seen. Part of the first paragraph
is missing. The rest is crammed into a box of gray text that is
very poorly written and very difficult to read! The culprit is
news-antique.com. Click on this only if you insist:
JAR LIDS TO COINS: MANUFACTURING CENT PLANCHETS IN EASTERN TENNESSEE
The Appalachian Journal published a nice article on June 13
about the manufacture of cent planchets in Eastern Tennessee:
"Jarden Zinc Products has produced in the neighborhood of 4 billion
(yes, that is a B) copper-plated penny blanks this year, which the
U.S. Mint then casts into pennies."
"Since 1982, every penny in your pocket, gathered in jars, chest
of drawers, on the floor of your car, beneath the couch cushions,
has been produced by Jarden.
Jarden is a division of the Rye, N.Y.-based Jarden Corp. Originally,
Jarden was the Ball Zinc Products Co., which arrived in Greene County
in 1968. The 350,000-square-foot plant opened in 1970.
About 24 years ago, Jarden morphed from producing Ball jar lids to
the penny blank when Congress decided that manufacturing a penny
that was 97 percent copper was too expensive. That year, Congress
switched the penny from copper to zinc."
"Jarden is North America's largest zinc user."
"Jarden makes coin blanks for 20 diverse nations, reaching from
New Guinea to Malawi, from Lebanon to the Fiji Islands. And our
north-of-the-border friends, Canada.
Published reports say Jarden just signed a multi-million-dollar
contract with Canada and the Royal Canadian Mint to turn out
nickel-plated blank coins for that nation to transform into its
own denominations and jingle."
To read the complete article, see:
MILLION, BILLION, TRILLION - WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?
Last's week's item about the archives of Riggs Bank stated: "The
records show how Riggs collected $7.2 billion in gold for the
federal government's purchase of Alaska..."
Bob Leonard writes: "Little mistake in the original source here
--that was million, not "billion" as given in the Post-Gazette."
BARRY JABLON ON THE FUTURE OF COIN COLLECTING
Barry Jablon writes: "What I have been thinking about lately was
the impact which people like Ernie Kraus and others had on me.
After all, my coin career lasted for only five years. By the time
I was twenty years old, I was already in the air force heading for
a new career in signals intelligence in England. At twenty-four I
was at Temple University on the G.I. bill and at twenty-eight, I
was teaching in a Bucks County suburb of Philadelphia, and was
What I think about often is how the young kids of today are going
to get started in coin collecting. If a parent or another relative
doesn't give an already started collection to a child, how else
will they know the fun of coin collecting? It didn't take a lot
of money to get started in coin collecting in the "olden days".
Rolls of dimes were about half Mercuries and half Roosevelts with
a couple of Morgans thrown in every now and then. There were plenty
of early S and D cents in most rolls. And, if you didn't want to
be a "hole filler" as Ernie Kraus used to call them, then you could
always obtain quantities of foreign coins for a small amount of
money and start trying to complete a coin from every country in
I recall with great pleasure the memories of Saturday afternoons,
walking up and down the back streets of old Philadelphia near the
old Reading Terminal, stopping in the coin stores or the antique
stores and asking to look through their accumulations of coins
trying to find that special coin which you could buy for the price
of the $5.00 which you had in you pocket.
Today, everything is encapsulated or priced so high that only the
very wealthy can afford the hobby. Where are the young collectors
of tomorrow going to come from? I'm almost sixty-five now and
still dream about the days, fifty years ago, when numismatics was
truly a hobby for everyone."
[While it's true that the days of finding Barber coins in circulation
or uncovering hoards of Flying Eagle cents are over, I'm not so sure
the outlook for the hobby is so bleak. Things are different to be
sure, but the hobby marches on.
One of the most satisfying things I do with my hobby today (aside
from editing The E-Sylum, of course) is organizing the Coins4Kids
meetings for the Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists. Looking
out over a room filled with 100 or more interested and appreciative
kids and parents, one can't help but feel that there is promise for
The Fifty States Quarter program and other modern commemoratives
have certainly driven a resurgence in interest in coinage, and the
Internet and cheap color imaging have done a lot to spread awareness
and knowledge of numismatics far beyond the pre-Internet realm. But
I wouldn't despair that nothing affordable is left to collect.
I remember getting the same sort of feeling two decades ago when I
first got seriously interested numismatics. I had read a lot and
researched coin prices, and concluded that yes, I had indeed been
born too late. The Lou Eliasbergs, John Fords and John Pittmans
of the world had already bought everything up. Pity poor me who
had nothing affordable left to collect.
But after I thought about it for a while and put things in historical
perspective, I realized that when those collectors were my age, they
probably thought the same about the generation that preceded THEM.
Damn, the Byron Reeds and Col. Greens of the world had gotten there
first and bought everything up. And prices were so high, how could
anyone afford to collect real coins anymore?
Well, I found the right way to look at things is like this: I may
have been born too late, but I'm twenty or forty years ahead of
everyone who comes along after me. And regardless of how much money
I have to spend, there are bargains to be had that will only become
obvious in hindsight. When Pittman was buying rare early proof
coinage, and Ford was buying rare tokens, medals and Colonial coins
and paper money, few other collectors were interested in doing so.
But collecting isn't all about rarity or price - it's about just
having some fun collecting. And there is no shortage of affordable
numismatic items to collect, from circulating and non-circulating
commemorative coins, paper money, tokens, medals, world coins and
paper, etc. Those kids leave the Coins4Kids meetings and hit the
bourse floor, adding to their collections without spending a ton
of money. -Editor]
NEW YORK SELLING PARKING METER COINS
"Ever since the first New York City parking meter was installed,
on Sept. 19, 1951, there have been those who have grumbled about it."
"There have also been those who have tried to avoid paying,
inserting razor blades, metal slugs, paper clips and other
materials into the slot in an attempt to trick the meter.
And finally there have been those who, whether because they were
confused, curious, mischievous or cheap, have dropped foreign coins
into the meters.
So numerous are the foreign coins that the city, for the past decade
or so, has taken to selling them annually to the highest bidder. The
latest batch 700 pounds of foreign coins is now on sale by the
city's Department of Transportation, which is accepting bids until
11 a.m. on Wednesday."
"Although Canadian quarters, Dominican pesos and Greek drachmas
have traditionally been quite common, a quick survey of coins from
a 50-pound canvas bag that is part of the sale revealed money from
at least 50 countries, with both current and obsolete coins of many
sizes, metals and even shapes."
To read the complete article, see:
HERITAGE FEATURED IN ASSOCIATED PRESS ARTICLE
This week the Houston Chronicle published an article about Heritage,
the Texas coin and collectible behemoth:
"Employees at Heritage Auction Galleries search out treasures
forgotten in attics or secreted away in bank vaults. They have sold
the very first G.I. Joe action figure, the watch Buddy Holly wore
when he died and letters from Abraham Lincoln.
The Dallas company, which bills itself as the world's largest
collectibles auction house, built its success on the pop culture
of coins, comics and memorabilia, carving out a populist niche in
a field dominated by lofty institutions like Sotheby's and Christie's.
"Every piece has a story," said John Petty, a Heritage collectibles
and comics expert. "That is what makes them so valuable. You are
buying a piece of history, whether it is a big important piece
like JFK's rocking chair or a smaller piece."
"The risks have paid off for Heritage, which was founded in 1983
as a specialty coin dealer with several dozen staffers. The company
has since grown to about 300 employees and $500 million in yearly
"... Doug Norwine examined James Dean's pants from "Rebel Without
a Cause" a consignment he finagled from the shuttered Dean museum
in Fairmount, Ind.
Another find were original Duke Ellington scores that no one knew
existed. A New York trombone-player called Norwine, hoping for a
few hundred dollars to cure his sick dog. The jazz musician got
about $4,000 each for the scores at auction."
To read the complete article, see:
ON THE EURO COIN ALLERGY HOGWASH
Tom Govers writes: "I just noted (somewhat late..) your September
2002 article concerning the "euro allergy hogwash". You may wish
to draw your readers' attention to the following article published
in the journal of the European Physical Society:
Related information can be found on this "euro coins" page
of this website:
Kerry Rodgers writes: "Indeed it was Ralph Waldo on hobgoblins.
I feel flattered that someone was intrigued enough to research
the author and full quote. For 20+ years I offended colleagues
at my University by having it on the wall above my desk."
QUIZ ANSWER: TV MEDAL OF HONOR WINNER
Last week I asked about fictional winners of the Medal of Honor,
specifically a TV series character. The series? F-Troop.
"The quirky show, which originally aired on ABC from 1965-67,
stars Ken Berry as Capt. Wilton Parmenter, a gallant yet completely
incompetent officer who won the Medal of Honor by accidentally
ordering a charge during the final battle at Appomattox. For his
"heroism," he is awarded command of Fort Courage, an infamously
dangerous frontier fort in Kansas. What he doesn't know is that
the battles between the local soldiers and the hostile Hekawi
tribe (derived from "where the heck are we") are staged, a mere
simulation intended to help the Indians sell cheap souvenirs
To read the complete review of the series, see:
JAMESTOWN COIN DESIGNS UNVEILED
According to a Press Release issued Friday: "The United States
Mint today unveiled the designs that will be featured on two
commemorative coins that will be issued in 2007 to commemorate
the 400th anniversary of the first permanent English settlement
in America, at Jamestown, Virginia.
The unveiling was part of a ceremony, hosted by Jamestown 2007,
which saw the arrival in Philadelphia of a full-sized replica
of the ship, Godspeed, one of the three vessels which carried
the original Jamestown settlers from England to the mouth of the
Chesapeake Bay in 1607.
The obverse of the $5 gold coin, designed by United States Mint
Sculptor-Engraver John Mercanti, depicts Captain John Smith conversing
with an American Indian; and the $5 gold reverse, by United States
Mint Artistic Infusion Program Master Designer Susan Gamble, pictures
the Jamestown Memorial Church the only remaining structure from the
The obverse of the silver dollar, designed by recently retired
United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Donna Weaver, depicts Three
Faces of Diversity, representing the three cultures that came
together in Jamestown, and the reverse of the silver dollar, also
by Susan Gamble, depicts the three ships that brought the first
settlers to Jamestown: the Godspeed, the Susan Constant and the
U.S. COLLECTOR DONATES RARE SENIOR CUP MEDALS
The UK's Romford Recorder reports that "The Essex County FA
have a fantastic piece of historical football memorabilia for
the Association archive after a donation from an American coin
Howard Strong's two 19th century Senior Cup medals from 1889
and 1892 feature in the latest edition of ECFA Magazine and
the Washington State resident was so pleased to make contact
with the Essex County FA recently that he has asked for the
oldest medal to be put on display in the county's trophy cabinet."
"Both of Strong's medals feature Vaughtons of Birmingham on the
box and the famous Midland silverware company later replaced the
old FA Cup after it was stolen from Aston Villa in 1895.
Vaughtons sold the new trophy to The FA for £25 and Birmingham
City owner, David Gold, bought it at auction for £475,000 last
To read the complete article, see:
HOCKEY RINK COIN KARMA
John Kraljevich forwarded this June 14 article from ESPN about
lucky coins, hockey rinks and Zamboni operators:
"Hours before Wednesday's Game 5, a do-or-die game for the Edmonton
Oilers, there was a bit of intrigue after the team's morning skate.
Forward Ryan Smyth started chipping away at center ice and removed
something from the ice.
"I don't know what it was, obviously it was a coin," Smyth told
reporters after practice. "I guess it was an American loonie or
an American dollar. I don't know if it was good luck for them or
what, but it wasn't in very deep so I was scared the boys were
going to trip over it. So
got it out."
"But when word got out that the coin was removed from the ice,
RBC equipment workers went out to center ice, drilled a hole
and placed the coin back into the ice."
"The coin karma began at the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics, where
Canadian icemaker Trent Evans planted a one-dollar coin at center
ice of the E-Center. Both the men's and women's Canadian hockey
teams went on to win the gold medal. The loonie is now displayed
at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.
The Tampa Bay Lightning created their own version of the good luck
charm as then-Zamboni operator Ryan Welty took a miniature pewter
Zamboni key chain charm and buried it at center ice in the St.
Pete Times Forum in January 2004. The Lightning went on to win
the Stanley Cup."
To read the complete article, see:
FEATURED WEB PAGE: POLITICIANS ON PAPER MONEY
John and Nancy Wilson of Ocala, FL write: "Here is a great site from
Political Graveyard that has information on all politicians portrayed on
paper money. This is very valuable information for researchers."
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