The E-Sylum v9#12, March 19, 2006
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Sun Mar 19 21:08:04 PST 2006
Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 9, Number 12, March 19, 2006:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2006, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
We now have 866 subscribers. Your Editor had nice evening
Wednesday at the American Numismatic Rarities auction in Baltimore.
At the invitation of Richard Jewell, a consignor to the sale, I
had dinner with Rich and his wife Fran, and was delighted to be
joined at our table by Q. David Bowers, John Pack and others from
the ANR staff. I also got to talk briefly with John Kraljevich
and Doug Winter, who was busily bidding on coins all evening.
I don't get out much, but it's always nice to see our E-Sylum
subscribers in person once in a while.
Another interesting issue this week. Leading off is a report
by John Kleeburg with some new information about Paul Franklin of
"Franklin Hoard" fame. Next, George Fuld fills us in on his
famous visits to the Scovill Manufacturing Company.
Also in this issue, several readers discuss the pros and cons
of the loose-leaf format for numismatic publications, and Roger
Moore reviews a book with a great deal of information on Irish
numismatics. For paper money collectors we have a few new items
relating to fancy serial numbers and fancy denominations: your
collection isn't complete without a billion dollar bill. And
if you're just dying to be falsely arrested for passing
counterfeit currency, learn how to fool the counterfeit-detecting
pens into thinking a real note is a fake. Have a great week,
Numismatic Bibliomania Society
PAUL GEROW FRANKLIN, COIN COUNTERFEITER
John Kleeberg writes: "As many of readers of the E-Sylum will
know, Professor Ted Buttrey and I have long been researching
western gold bars and related numismatic items that emerged
onto the numismatic market in the 1950s.
Recently I obtained the capacity to search the New York Times'
article database, and I decided to look for the name of Paul
Franklin, the source of the "Franklin Hoard" of U.S. Assay Office
of Gold items that led to a major contretemps in 1967. Paul Gerow
Franklin, Sr. was born on May 24, 1919, and died on March 13, 2000.
Franklin originally used Gerow as his first name, but later
reversed the order of the names.
Only one article came up as a result. Entitled, "Evader of Draft,
Long Sought, Held; Small Arsenal Found in His Room, Including 2,000
Ammunition Rounds; Fake 4F Cards also Seized; Prisoner Says He
Avoided His Board Fearing Arrest as Parole Violator," it ran in
the New York Times of July 11, 1943, on page 26.
The article states that Gerow Paul Franklin, aged 24, was arrested
at the apartment in which he had been hiding out on West 74th Street,
New York City. When arrested the FBI found in his room nine pistols,
four rifles, 2,000 rounds of ammunition, black powder, and smokeless
powder, plus knives, bayonets, and brass knuckles. One pistol had
a home made-silencer. A German luger was mounted on a stock, with
a canister of thirty rounds of ammunition. The weapons are depicted
in a photograph that accompanies the article.
The FBI also found forged draft registration and classification
cards that classified the holder as 4F.
The arresting FBI agent stated that Franklin was a gunsmith
"of no mean ability", who had been able to construct some unique
weapons. It also states that in 1941, Franklin had been arrested
for "possession of counterfeit molds which he used in the manufacture
He had been given probation because of his youth, but violated
his parole by not keeping in touch with his parole officer.
Franklin said that he had not reported for the draft because he
feared punishment as a parole violator. He said he had so many
weapons in his apartment because he liked to collect them.
This article is quite enlightening. It tells us that he was a
brilliant self taught mechanic, who knew how to do complex metal
work. It tells us that Franklin was faking coins as early as 1941.
It tells us that he had faked documents.
It was news to me that Franklin had an actual criminal record.
I look forward to tracking down more details about his criminal
[I reviewed a copy of the original article, and edited John's
summary to include verbatim quotes. Small excerpts such as these
are well within the Fair Use guidelines. The article does not
actually state that Franklin forged documents, only that he was
found to be in possession of such documents. It says he was
arrested for possession of counterfeit half dollar molds, but
also says he used them in the manufacture of fake coins.
John adds: "I have also now tracked down (on microfilm) the
same story about Franklin in the Sunday edition of the New York
Daily News, July 11, 1943, Four Star Final Edition, title,
"Draft Dodger with 'Arsenal' Seized." This article also includes
a photograph of Franklin. The New York Daily News at this period
printed about half a dozen editions a day, and the Franklin story
is only in the Four Star Final Edition (the last one)."
ACCOUNT OF THE FULD VISIT TO SCOVILL MANUFACTURING COMPANY
Per last week's request, George Fuld has submitted a wonderful
account of his visits to Scovill Manufacturing Company,
sometimes with his father Melvin:
He writes: "In the summer of 1957 (as I recall) we wrote to
Scovill in Waterbury, CT to see if they had any collections of
tokens or medals that they archived. We received a nice reply
from E. H. Davis, the acting curator of the Scovill archives.
Davis was retired, serving as a volunteer on the collections.
I quickly learned that he was also an MIT graduate from the
class of 1900. One can guess his age quite easily. I made an
appointment to go to Waterbury during the summer from my house
in Wakefield, MA.
I spent two days there, staying at Davis home. His wife had
recently passed away. His home was a sight to behold. He was
an avid book collector, and the house was full, to the rafters
with books and magazines. Even in the bathroom there were books
stacked to the ceiling.
I visited the room where the collections were housed. Perhaps
there were a 1000 pieces in all with some obvious minor holdings
that were not Scovill products. There were no Hard Times pieces
as I recall, and only about three dozen Civil War cents. Believe
me, there was nothing approaching any rumors of thousands of Hard
Times or Civil War cents.
They had about half a dozen encased postage stamps that were
obvious trials! This was perhaps the most exciting find. I
mentioned this to John Ford and a special trade was arranged.
Ford supplied me with twelve to fifteen different regular encased
postage issues and Davis was happy to trade the patterns for a
representative collection of the regular issue to complement
their collection. These patterns were sold with the Ford encased
postage section of the Ford auction.
In regard to Civil War issues, they had a small representative
group of their issues. The noteworthy thing is that had five or
six completely unlisted mules of patriotic dies. Davis allowed us
to access these mules, which are listed in our Civil War patriotic
book, but I can recall several numbers they represent. Two are
listed as patriotic combinations, Fuld 174/189 and 174/233. Both
are nonsense combinations! They are all still probably unique and
listed as R-10s. A lead hub die trial of the obverse of Fuld die
number 233 was acquired. This was sold as lot 67 of Dorges Third
Mail auction on June 1, 1972 (Civil War Token Journal, vol 6, pages
There were many fully uncirculated Adams type merchant tokens.
Most of these are what we recall as restrikes in fully gilt brass
and copper. There were no notable rarities among them with one
exception. We obtained 15 or 20 pieces from this group. The one
notable rarity which Davis allowed us to acquire was the John Low
token of Boston. This was in white metal and was eventually traded
to John Ford where it remains in his collection.
In summary we did obtain some nice material from the archives, but
it was not a stupendous lot of material in total. They had large
collections of dies, mostly button types. We did obtain one die,
the Civil War die of Washington on horseback, patriotic die 174.
We retained it for some years, but for some reason we could never
locate it after some time.
We made two trips to Waterbury and I think my father accompanied
me on one. Davis helped us write two articles that appeared in
the Numismatic Scrapbook. One was and index of Adams store card
book and the other an index of patriotic tokens by type from
Hetrich and Guttag (this was prior to our first patriotic book
published in 1959).
Davis lived for a few years into the early sixties and we had
minor correspondence with him. After his death we had no idea
what happened to the Scovill archive collection since all medals
and token production ceased in the 1920s. We did know that the
dies that they had were sold as scrap medal. What has happened
to the archive collection is unknownwe have no idea if they
were retained. To my knowledge Scovill ceased operations in
THE UP SIDE OF LOOSE-LEAF BOOKS
Last week Katie Jaeger asked about loose-leaf coin books as
another way to update numismatic books after publication.
Anne Bentley of the Massachusetts Historical Society writes:
"The late Rob Heath used that format in his Commemorative Medals
of Massachusetts Cities & Towns. Every year we'd get another set
of pages to replace when he found new data or an image for the entry.
It was extremely convenient and just took a half hour, maximum, to
update the volumes."
Leon Worden writes: "This is in response to your query about
loose-leaf numismatic book publishing. While there may be others,
I know of one person who is doing it. Lincoln cent specialist
Charles "Chuck" Daughtrey, whose artwork I featured in the March
2006 issue of COINage magazine, is publishing a loose-leaf book
of Lincoln cent varieties.
Much like Wexler, Fivaz-Stanton and other systems, Daughtrey
operates an "attribution service" where he identifies, photographs
and publishes diagnostic information about new Lincoln cent varieties
as they're discovered. He publishes the photos and information online
at coppercoins.com, and then, every few months, he mails a couple of
hundred loose-leaf pages (one coin per page, I believe) to subscribers.
While the standard, year-by-year Lincoln cent references (including
Daughtrey's own "Looking Through Lincoln Cents") probably satisfy 99
percent of all Lincoln cent collectors, those who want to delve deeper
into die varieties benefit from a flexible format, when you consider
how many new varieties are being identified all the time. Daughtrey
said that at the rate he's going (about 500 pages per year), he
expects his "Complete Attribution Guide" to live up to its name in
a few years.
The loose-leaf approach might lend itself well to the Shield nickel
project recently discussed."
THE DOWN SIDE OF LOOSE-LEAF BOOKS
Dick Johnson writes: My friend Katie Jaeger mentions loose-leaf
as a format for coin books in last weeks E-Sylum. I have had
experience with three such publications.
In the 1960s I subscribed to an Interpol (yes, that Interpol!)
publication. Intended for counterfeit currency preventions it
published all new currency issued in the world. It updated it
often by sending out new loose-leaf pages. Because it was sent
airmail it was printed on very thin light weight paper. Sometimes
it replaced a previous page, often it was new pages. Inserting
these and keeping it up to date was a hassle. Despite its
subscription cost of several hundred dollars a year (?) I ended
up just adding new pages at the end, ultimately dropping my
Second example: Robert Ray Heath, who died last December 11th,
published all his works on New England city medals by loose-leaf.
I was a great admirer of Bobs work and reported on this in the
E-Sylum (vol 5, no 20, article 11, May 12, 2002) where I listed
the number of editions of his works by state: Connecticut (5),
Maine (3), Massachusetts (8), New Hampshire (5), Rhode Island (4),
Here is what I wrote: "He devotes a page to each medal. The
shortcoming, however, is that his catalogs are looseleaf. The
pages are half lettersize (8 ½ x 5 1/2) and he punches them for
your 3-ring binders. Unfortunately I had only two binders that
size, so all the other state catalogs are in boxes." [They are
still in boxes years later!]
Third example: John J. Gabriel published a book in 1983 on the
medallic work on the Statue of Liberty by loose-leaf. He self
published this and chose this format for its low cost. He reproduced
it by photocopy but blundered the page numbering [pages 23-25 follow
202] in addition to numerous textual errors.
In summary, loose-leaf is great for compiling and organizing data.
I have some fifty plus notebooks in my office today. But NOT for
publication. How much better any of these would have been in pamphlet
format? When the amount of new material justifies updating - put
out a new bound edition. Dont make me insert random pages, its a
Howard Spindel writes: "I considered the looseleaf format for my
shield nickel reference, and discarded the idea because of a number
of limitations. Ms. Jaeger notes that updates to her Mechanical
Engineering book were distributed quarterly. I can distribute
updates daily, if needed.
There is a cost associated with mailing updates. I distribute
updates electronically, at no cost other than my time. Perhaps
most importantly, my reference contains five to eight high resolution
photos of each variety. The cost of printing photo quality pages
would be very high. There are now about 2100 high resolution photos
in the shield nickel reference!
The cost issues alone make a numismatic reference with a limited
audience infeasible unless the per copy cost is raised to some
large amount to pro-rate the costs over the size of the audience.
Producing the reference in computerized form allows me to keep the
costs down so that it is reasonable for all of world's shield nickel
variety collectors (who could probably fit in a single small hotel
It's not just distribution of updates that a computerized reference
addresses. Cost is an even greater driver. And I haven't even
mentioned the inherent advantages of a properly designed computerized
reference, such as easy searching."
RANDOM HOUSE ISSUES TRAVERS "SURVIVAL MANUAL" IN SOFTWARE
The following is excerpted from a Random House press release
on March 15:
"The Coin Collectors Survival Manual, Fifth Edition, authored
by Scott A. Travers and published by Random House, is now
available as an interactive CD-ROM software program."
But the most extraordinary aspect, aside from bringing this
landmark work to personal computer users, is the use of over
260 digital color and black & white images, Bilotta added. The
software program will allow the user to zoom in on images for
close inspection of grade-sensitive areasand to carefully
examine the surfaces of coins that are counterfeit, doctored
"The Coin Collectors Survival Manual, Fifth Edition, CD-ROM
Software is available at coin dealers, over the Internet, and
through the mail. It is priced at $34.95 and attractively packaged.
For more information, contact: Carlisle Development Corporation,
P.O. Box 291, Carlisle, MA 01741, Internet:
To read the complete press release, see:
ARMAND CHAMPA PORTRAIT PHOTO SOUGHT
Leslie Wigington, Creative Services Director of the American
Numismatic Association writes: "I am hoping you might be able
to help us track down a print-quality portrait of Armand Champa
for an upcoming academic journal we are publishing. Numerous
searches for his image have produced just a few ... the best
being one printed in an auction catalog, and not of good quality.
Our librarian Nancy Green thought you might have a lead on a
good image of Mr. Champa. We will be using it in a black-and-white
format, as a head shot ... about 1.5 x 2 inches. It will
accompany an article by Q. David Bowers discussing great
numismatic collectors in our first issue of the ANA Journal:
Advanced Studies in Numismatics."
[My own photos of Armand are mostly group shots. Does anyone
have a portrait photo? I'll look forward to ANA's new
CORRECTION: BROKEN LINK TO GREAT 1982 CENT WEIGHT ARTICLE
Steve Woodland writes: "Readers of the Article in E-Sylum v9#11
"THE GREAT 1982 CENT WEIGHT PROBLEM" may have difficulty finding
the complete original news article because the E-Sylum formatting
split the link over two lines, with only part of it functioning
as a hyperlink. Clicking on this partial hyperlink results in
an error message from IndyStar.com saying "The article link is
not valid or the article has expired from the system."
To correct this, readers must piece together the two parts of
the link and then paste it into their browser. The complete
link should read:
[Sorry for publishing such a long link. In my haste to get
the issue out, I didn't shorten it. This link should also do
the trick: http://tinyurl.com/gtvft -Editor]
ADD E-SYLUM ARCHIVE SEARCH TO YOUR WEB SITE
Leon Worden writes: "I publish Sol Taylor's weekly columns in
our daily newspaper here in northern L.A. County (The Signal
of Santa Clarita, Calif.), and I added an E-Sylum search, per
your suggestion, to the website I run for him at soltaylor.com.
[Many thanks to Leon for making The E-Sylum archive accessible
to his website visitors. It's very easy to do, and we'd be
glad to assist anyone who would like to add this feature to
their own web sites. -Editor]
Leon adds: "And that reminds me: I know Sol would like to see
his columns in more newspapers ... They're entry-level, general
interest-type stuff, geared toward the average newspaper reader.
They're free for pickup if anyone with a newspaper or magazine
or even a coin club newsletter is interested!"
TAYLOR'S STANDARD GUIDE TO THE LINCOLN CENT
Taylor's web site has information about his book, "The Standard
Guide to the Lincoln Cent".
In response to my query about the book, Dr. Taylor writes: "The
current 4th edition published in 1999 contains 300 pages and
several chapters covering:
my biography, the origins of the Lincoln Cent including newspaper
clippings from August, 1909, the pricing history of the Lincoln
cent from 1934 to the 1980s, and a date-by-date analysis of each
year of issue in Chapter 5. This chapter includes recent auction
data, die features, varieties, and stories related to the year of
issue. Later chapters deal with stories related to the cent in
I am collaborating with Lincoln Cent expert Chuck Daughtrey on
a 5th edition--which should be released by mid-year. To date, we
do not have a final page count or retail price. The cover will
remain close to the 1999 cover. Much of the content will be unchanged,
but updated information will fill out the book. Each chapter will
be reviewed and revised as needed to be as current as possible.
The photos will be digitized and all illustrations will be
considerably sharper than the 4th edition--plus many new photos
will be included. Since we are in the early stages of the new
edition, no publicity has been sent to the media. For a copy of
the current edition, send $15 to SLCC, 13515 Magnolia Blvd, Sherman
Oaks, CA 91423. We will cover the S&H cost. Any questions, please
e-mail me at slcc3 at aol.com."
HERITAGE SITE OFFERS OVER ONE MILLION IMAGES OF NUMISMATIC ITEMS
A Heritage press release states: "We're very proud to announce
that, as of March 7, 2006, HeritageAuctions.com now displays more
than 1 million results in the numismatic portion of its Permanent
Auction Archives," said Jim Halperin, Co-Chairman of Heritage
Auction Galleries. On that date, there were 841,966 coin lots, and
158,965 currency lots in the Archive, for a total of over one
million numismatic items.
"The Permanent Auction Archives is an invaluable research tool,"
Halperin explained, "that is provided free of charge to all of
Heritage's registered bidder-members. By using the archives,
collectors can research the results from all of Heritage's
previous auctions. Each lot is presented with enlargeable,
full-color photos, its complete catalog description, the date
of the auction, and, if applicable, the price realized. In short,
everything the savvy collector needs in order to make smart
bidding and buying decisions for future auctions and purchases."
"Heritage is the only auction firm in the world to make this
much information quickly and easily available to its clients,"
Halperin said. "It's part of our commitment to providing the
most information possible to our clients, in order to make them
smarter and more confident collectors."
To read the full press release, see:
[The site is a wonderful source of numismatic images and
information. Congratulations to Heritage on reaching this
MAINE ANTIQUE DIGEST REVIEWS LEVINE MEDAL SALE
An article by Samuel Pennington in the Maine Antique Digest
reviewed a recent sale of medals:
"In today's often overhyped world of collecting, where a
painted box may bring three-quarters of a million dollars,
million-dollar coins are not unheard of, and an iron escutcheon
sells for over $40,000, there seem to be few, if any, undervalued
fields. Collectible medals (sometimes called table medals), both
art and commemorative, may be one of those fields, as evidenced
by the December 10, 2005, floor and mail-bid auction held in
Baltimore, Maryland, by Presidential Coin & Antique Company of
Clifton, Virginia, whose president and chief is Joe Levine.
It was not always so. Until the end of the 19th century,
commemorative medals were preferred over coins. According to
a recent catalog issued by another company-Stack's, New York
City-dealers switched their emphasis to coins because there
were more of them and more chances for profit.
"Nineteenth-century American collectors considered medals to
be the true numismatic desideratum, relegating federal coins
to dry lists of types whose only distinctions were the superficial
ones of dates. This changed after 1893, when Augustus G. Heaton
published his Treatise on the Coinage of the United States Branch
Mints, generally referred to as 'Mint Marks.' By the time of the
First World War, and particularly in the period following the
dispersal of the W.W.C. Wilson collection in the mid 1920's,
American collectors of the 1930's and later focused on coins
and lost sight of the medals that had excited the generations
"Top price in the auction was $28,750 for an official inauguration
medal of Theodore Roosevelt by noted sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens
made by Tiffany. This same medal was bought by a collector for
$8722.03 at a MastroNet Internet auction in August 2005 and quickly
consigned to Presidential."
Second-highest price was $27,025 for a New Orleans hard times
token issued in white metal by Henderson & Gaines. These tokens
were issued by businesses during the years 1832-44 when U.S.
currency was problematic."
"Subscriptions are $10 for three catalogs with prices realized;
order from Presidential Coin & Antique Company, PO Box 277,
Clifton, VA 20124, or call (571) 321-2121."
To read the complete article, see:
FREDERICK S. W. MAYERS
Frederick S. W. Mayers "The Literature of American Numismatics"
is widely regarded as the first such article published in the U. S.
A piece by David T. Haberly of the University of Virginia includes
some interesting biographical information on Mayers. Haberly cites
Joel Orosz's 2001 article on Mayers' groundbreaking work in The
Asylum (v19n2), as well as Pete Smith's 2004 Asylum article,
"William Frederick Mayers: A Flashing Star." (v23n3):
Haberly writes: "The author of "The Gaucho" can be firmly
identified as William S. Frederick Mayers, who published two
other articles in the Atlantic:
"El Llanero," in February of 1859, and "In the Pines" in May of that
year. The first is a biography of José Antonio Páez, the hero of
Venezuelan Independence, while the secondan account of the author's
visit to the New Jersey Pine Barrensis frequently cited as the first
appearance in print of the "Jersey Devil," the legendary monster
who is said to haunt the area.
Mayers was born in Tasmania in January of 1831, the son of a
colonial chaplain, and was educated in Marseilles (Pollard); he
may have spent time in Spain. There are a few spelling errors in
his summary of Facundo, but it is obvious that Mayers read Spanish
accurately and easily. Both "The Gaucho" and "El Llanero" make it
clear that Mayer was eager to show off his Spanish.
It is unclear when Mayers arrived in New York, but by 1858, when
he was twenty-seven years old, he had formed ties to important
members of the North American establishment. Over the next months,
he placed his three articles in the Atlanticno mean feat for an
unknown young writer. Another of Mayers's interests was numismatics,
and in 1858 he was one of the founders and the first treasurer of
the American Numismatic Society (Adelson 25-30, 314; Orosz).
Mayers resigned as treasurer in February of 1859, sailing shortly
thereafter for China; the British Foreign Office had contracted
him as an interpreter of Chineseyet another of his languages.
Mayers rose quickly in the British diplomatic service in China,
and eventually became Secretary of Legation in Peking and one of
the most distinguished British sinologists of his time. In 1878,
when Mayers died of typhoid fever in Shanghai, he was only
forty-seven years old (Pollard, Smith)."
To read the complete article, see:
BOOK REVIEW: FOR WANT OF GOOD MONEY
On March 14 Roger Moore published a nice book review on the
Colonial Numismatics Yahoo group sponsored by the Colonial
Coin Collectors Club (C-4). With permission I'm reprinting
an edited version here:
Roger writes: "Well, I have spent the last week reading another
numismatic book that was suggested to this group months ago.
The book is called FOR WANT OF GOOD MONEY by Edward Colgan.
The book is a must for collectors of Irish coins and world coins.
It gives a complete accounting of coins minted in or for Ireland
dating from about 997 AD to the twentieth century.
However, unlike most numismatic books which provide long lists
of the types, varieties, denominations and years for coins, this
is a concise history of Ireland based on the coinage production
at each key turn of Irish history. To be honest, I think it is
one of the clearest and most concise histories of Ireland I have
seen with a discussion of what transpired to cause each coinage
to evolve. My main criticism is it did not go into enough detail
and left me wanting to know more about each age. Because it is
crammed full of facts, it is not an easy read. I did go cover
to cover but not with a lot of ease. I think it is better as a
quick referral book.
In regard to the Saint Patrick coinage, which is the reason I
bought the book in the first place, it turns out that a number
of the earlier Irish coinages had Saint Patrick on the coins.
Specifically, between 1185 and 1205 Lord John de Courcy, who had
a personal devotion to Saint Patrick, had a series of silver
farthings and halfpence coined with the image of Saint Patrick
on one side. Therefore, the use of Saint Patricks image on
Irish coins was not outlandish in the 1600s since it had been
done prior to that time.
Fast forward to the mid 1600s after the great rebellion, we
find that Ireland was severely restricted in the amount of
circulating coins. This lead to a huge outpouring of trade
tokens (some 800 different varieties minted in 170 cities).
It is in this environment that any coinage, even light weight
counterfeits, were welcome. A description of the Newby Saint
Patrick coinage is placed in this context without definitive
definition of the exact timing or place of its production.
I am glad I have this book in my library. I will probably
forget the huge numbers of historic facts given in the book
by early next week. However, I now have an easy reference to
all Irish coinages should I want to look something up!!"
MAO'S DAYS NUMBERED ON CHINESE NOTES
The BBC news reported on March 13 that China may remove
Mao Zedong's image from a range of banknotes to make room
for other portraits:
"Delegates to the parliament's advisory body proposed that
Deng Xiaoping, architect of China's economic reforms, should
grace the new bills.
They also want to see the inclusion of Sun Yat-sen, father
of the revolution that toppled the last emperor in 1911."
"But the banknotes proposal is a long way from becoming law
and it is also unlikely that Deng Xiaoping would have approved.
He ended the mass production of Mao badges and watches and
was strongly against any cult of personality."
To read the complete article, see:
[Shades of George Washington's modesty. George didn't want
his portrait (or any other leader's) on U.S. coins. -Editor]
FIRST REPORT OF THE NEW U.S. $10 NOTE
Larry Gaye writes: "Just a note, pun fully intended, I did
indeed find my first new $10.00 on Saturday, March 11th while
attending a modeling show (planes, trains, and that sort of
modeling) in Vancouver, Washington. I swiftly descended on
it and made it mine. Nice looking note, much better than I
expected though I too would like to see the little car at
the Treasury go round and round."
A. H. COOPER-PRICHARD REFERENCE FOUND
In response to Patrick McMahon's query Dan Freidus writes:
"Cooper-Prichard is referred to on the second page of a book
Alas, it's only to note that the book being reviewed refers
to Cooper-Prichard in a footnote but not in the bibliography
so the lead may not actually lead anywhere."
AMERICAN BRASS COMPANY'S ROLE IN CLAD COINAGE
"With reference to Dick Johnson's article on the mid 19th
century thermoplastics industry and its influence on tokens
and medals, Robert Hawes writes:
"Scovill Mfg was not the only Waterbury firm engaged in numismatic
material. My Father-in-law, Carl E. Woodward was Director of Sales
Promotion and Advertising for American Brass Company of Waterbury
Connecticut in the early 1960's. One day he handed me two pieces
of cupro-nickel metal sandwiching a solid copper core and said
"This is what our new coins will be made of". That information
was followed later by a tour of the ABC rolling mill where I
watched bars of metal prepared by Olin Mathisen of Texas be rolled
into thin coils of clad metal to be shipped to the mint for coining.
After coining, the mint returned all the scrap to be melted down
and the process repeated.
As a result of the tour I managed to acquire several specimens
of web metal in the various stages of rolling and the final
stage of scrap. To celebrate the contract with the government,
ABC had made 50 small clad metal bars serially numbered to mark
the occasion. There were 3 extra produced without numbers, one
of which was given to me by my father-in-law. I have searched for
over 40 years to find another without luck. ABC also made other
items out of the clad metal to see if it had commercial possibilities,
one of which being a wine tasting cup (which I have). Fred Weinberg
has seen these and I also have won several awards for exhibits of
this material through the years."
U.S. MINT AT DALLES, OREGON
Leon Worden writes: "You asked about references to a mint at
The Dalles, Oregaon. The one I remember -- because it's accompanied
by a photo of the Mint building under construction in 1868 -- is
in Don Kagin's "Private Gold Coins and Patterns of the United States,"
Dave Bowers writes: "There is a bunch of stuff about the Dalles Mint
in my "The Treasure Ship S.S. Brother Jonathan" book."
PRESIDENTIAL VISITS TO THE U.S. MINT
Dave Bowers adds: "As to presidential visits, Karl Moulton, in
the front line of modern researchers, wrote me that George Washington
was NOT at the cornerstone laying ceremony in 1792, and along the
way cited a couple of later presidential occasions--fodder for an
upcoming follow-up in my Coin World column."
PRESIDENTS WHO ALMOST VISITED THE MINT
Doug Andrews writes: "History records that President Bill
Clinton's planned trip to the Philadelphia Mint was suddenly
It seems he was supposed to officiate at the first striking
of the Monica Lewinsky commemorative double eagle. His visit
was cancelled when it was discovered that the ceremonial
gold-plated planchet had a stain on the obverse."
PRESIDENTS AND MINT ENGRAVERS: WHO VISITED WHO?
Tom DeLorey writes: "The discussion of Presidential visits to
the U.S. Mint makes me wonder what the protocol was when it
came time for a new president to "sit" for his inaugural medal
or any later presidential medals done by the Mint. In the days
when the President of the United States did not have a world to
run, did he journey to Philadelphia and visit the Chief Engraver,
or did the Chief Engraver journey to Washington, D.C. and make
[My money is on the artist visiting Washington or working from
other artists' sketches or drawings. Can anyone fill us in?
FRANCES TERESA STUART, BRITTANIA MODEL
Last week Martin Purdy noted that "Lady Frances Stuart was
alive when the figure of Britannia first appeared on Charles II's
copper coinage." Curious, I did an Internet search and found
this information about her:
"Her blue eyes flashed as she tossed her golden brown curls. It
was hard to sit still for her portrait. Frances' thoughts were
racing with the excitement and honour of knowing her likeness
would be engraved on a special medal. And all because she had
captured the heart of King Charles II.
Immortality would follow for Frances Teresa Stuart, a Scots
woman, whose profile was to depict Britannia, the stirring
symbol of Great Britain, on the nation's coinage. (Her portrait
appeared on British pennies until 1971 when the decimal system
Celebrated diarist Samuel Pepys, a keen observer of women,
wrote of Frances' striking looks, "But it was the finest sight
to me". . . . . .that ever I did see in all my life. . . . . .
Miss Stuart. . . . . .is now the greatest beauty I ever saw, I
think, in my life. . . . . .". She became known at court as
"La Belle Stuart".
"In 1664, England, at war with the Dutch, won several naval
victories. Charles II decided to celebrate by having several
medals struck. A figure of Britannia contemplating her victories
was to adorn the medals, and the King chose Frances for the model.
Thus she secured her place in history by posing for this
Pepys wrote in his diary, "At my goldsmith's did observe the
King's new medal, where, in little, there is Mrs. Stewart's
face as well done as ever I saw anything in my whole life, I
think: and a pretty thing it is, that he should choose her face
to represent Britannia by."
To read the complete article, see:
MORE ON LIVING PEOPLE ON COINS
Pete Smith writes: "I am a big fan of Laetitia Casta, an
indication that I have other interests besides numismatics.
However, I believe it is incorrect to refer to her as a living
person portrayed on coins. She is a professional model and is
not named on the French coins.
In America we might look to the example of RandyL Teton, the
model for the Sacagawea dollar. No one mentions her as a living
person on an American coin. I suspect there may be many other
examples of models used to create the image on coins and paper
Dr. Kerry Rodgers writes: "Dear fellow inmates - I dont think
you are really trying hard enough when it comes to living non-heads
of state (HoS) on money. I had regarded the first E-Sylum article
as a gently ironic comment, but was prompted by the second to
treat the subject for real.
Can we just stick to coins for the moment, and leave aside those
who are clearly alive and not an HoS, but are related to or married
to a one, such as Prince Charles, along with his siblings, children,
nieces and nephews? If you agree, then the name Neil Armstrong might
strike a chord. You can find him on numerous coins, as you can
Young, Crippen, Schirra, Eisele, Cunningham, Cernan, Stafford,
Kerwin, Weitz and others from the NASA team.
I dont have time to check who are still alive of this lot but
Neil certainly was when I last caught him on telly.
Living film actors proliferate as subjects and are rapidly becoming
passé. Lord of the Rings and the Big Ape were mentioned by earlier
correspondents. You can now add the cast of Narnia. But the
films-on-coins thing was kicked off some years back by Harry Potter
while most of the main officers and some of the crew of the USS
Enterprise Mk I & II have been around for many years, although one
or two have now beamed-up for the last time. Anything that will
make money for the mints is the name of the game these days.
To this end, there are numerous sports stars. I am not a
sports-jock and wouldnt recognise many faces, let alone most of
the names. However, when it comes to coins, I am aware the living
legends of tennis feature as well as Formula One stars. And I
believe a guy called Pele who once played the beautiful game may
be out there somewhere. Is Greg Louganis still alive?
He was on a couple of coins back in 1988.
And does the Dali Lama count as an HoS these days? If not,
does Christ qualify? Are we talking temporal or spiritual HoS
I have only an hour to spare and dont have the latest SCWC to
hand, but a more careful reading should produce many more
examples. I would expect this to prove to be the case among
readers who have a detailed knowledge of cultures that are not
of European origin and/or do not have an English-speaking heritage.
I have avoided citing the coins of the countries involved in my
quick survey. I prefer to challenge readers to locate these items
by way of a quiz of my own. You dont have to confine your research
to the coins of Liberia, Marshall Islands, Isle of Man, Cook
Islands, Gibraltar and Niue, Congo but they are a good place
I would respectfully suggest the author of the original Forbes
article was a little short on research. Perhaps the question
would have been better confined to paper money but even that
is beginning to lose its edge when it comes to non HOSs.
It is sad to see old traditions die."
SPECIAL AUSTRALIAN TEN SHILLING NOTE OFFERED
The Sidney Morning Herald reported on the offering of an
Australian note with a special serial number and history:
"It's a bank note that has a lot of noughts, though its face
value is a mere 10 shillings. It's Australia's first 10 bob note,
issued in 1913, bearing the serial number M000001. For that reason,
it's expected to sell for a sum with just as many noughts, perhaps
as much as $1.2 million, when it's offered at a Noble Numismatics
auction on Thursday at the Intercontinental Hotel. It's the same
note that made headlines in the Herald back in 2000 when it sold
privately for $1 million.
It seems the PM of the day, Andrew Fisher, gathered with various
dignitaries at Melbourne's King's Warehouse on May 1, 1913 to
witness the first Commonwealth of Australia notes being printed.
Judith Denman, daughter of the governor-general, Lord (Thomas)
Denman, was given the honour of pulling the lever and impressing
the red serial number on the first note, and was presented with
the note by Fisher as a souvenir.
The note returned to England with her, and was later acquired
by an Australian dealer and sold to a Sydney businessman. It is
being offered together with the Government House, Melbourne,
envelope in which it had been kept, bearing an ink inscription
To read the complete article, see:
[The article adds, interestingly, that the new notes were
feared to be a carrier of disease: "...wealthy Australians
tut-tutted over this because it would be much handled by the
lower classes, which would lead to diseases like smallpox."
MONETARY AUTHORITY OF SINGAPORE SELLS SPECIAL SERIAL NUMBER NOTES
Joe Boling writes: "You inquired about other banknote
agencies selling special numbers (following the story about
the Bank of Korea): every sale from Mavin International in
Singapore includes a section of lots consigned by the Monetary
Authority of Singapore. Their 31 March sale has 200 lots of
fancy serial number notes."
FOOLING THE ANTI-COUNTERFEITING PENS
Craig Eberhart writes: "I couldn't resist writing this week.
I am sure that many of E-Sylum readers are aware of the capability
of the "anti-counterfeiting pen" to detect starch. Any paper
containing starch, which apparently is used to size cheaper paper,
should be detected by the color change. Therefore counterfeit
currency made with high quality starch-free paper will pass as
genuine and genuine currency sprayed with Niagara spray starch
(or your other favorite currency processing starch) will appear
to be counterfeit. There are even some people that claim to
spray good notes with Niagara for their vicarious "pleasure"!"
[There are always jokers, like the folks who pull out uncut
sheets and cut them in front of their waiters... -Editor]
NUMISMATIC HEDGE FUND PREDICTED
[An article published March 15 by Investor's Business Daily
takes note of the boom in numismatics and suggests hedge fund
interest in the sector could be on the horizon. The article
cites high-profile auction prices and notes that that some fund
managers, seeing good profits from numismatic investments on
their own accounts might begin investing some of their clients
assets as well. -Editor]
"Maybe it's the fact that silver and gold prices have zoomed.
Or maybe it's the fact that the Internet provides a higher degree
of transparency so people know a market exists for them to buy
and sell. Whatever the case, coins and currency collectibles are
garnering lots of interest and seeing big sales."
"A report The Journal of Financial Planning several months ago
put the coin and collectible market (excluding gold and silver)
at $40 billion. An analysis of returns for the past 62 years
shows the market only underperformed the stock market by about
[The article mentions the Merrill Lynch and Kidder Peabody funds
set up in the heady days of the 1980s and 1990s. It touches on
Bruce McNall as well. -Editor]
"But that's all sordid past. Since then, the Internet has
come along and markets, even those considered somewhat illiquid
like coins and collectibles, have benefited from transparency."
To read the complete article, see:
[Given the high publicity around the state of Ohio's foray
into rare coin investing on top of the similar fates of the
earlier funds, I really doubt that many investment managers
would be willing to take the plunge. But history has a way
of repeating itself, so stay tuned. -Editor]
PHILADELPHIA STEAM COINING PRESSES IN BOLIVIA
This week reporter Mark Waite of the Pahrump Valley Times
(Nevada) wrote about a trip to Bolivia which included an
interesting numismatic side tour:
"I took the tour of the Casa de la Moneda, paying the 20
Bolivianos, less than $3, for the obligatory two-hour tour.
I expected a boring tour of a coin collection but found a
fascinating glimpse into Bolivian history. The mine was opened
in 1572, less than 30 years after Indian Diego Huallpa discovered
the rich silver ore on the Cerro Rico towering over Potosi. In
the late 1600s Potosi was the largest city in South America with
200,000 inhabitants and 86 churches, about double the population
today. Potosi was also declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.
Our tour guide led us into a large, cellar-like room with religious
paintings, explaining an anonymous, indigenous artist painted them,
which was a way of converting local Indians to the Christian faith.
She focused on a painting of the Virgin of the Mountain, the detail
showed Indian miners working and Spaniards relaxing nearby.
By 1773 machines were imported for flattening silver ingots to one
millimeter thick by huge grinders turned by mules on the floor below.
The early coins were 95 percent silver, she said, it didn't matter
if they weren't perfectly round.
A ship inside a glass represented the Atocha, the ship that sank off
the coast of Florida with a $400 million cargo in 1622, of which half
was silver from Potosi. There were other exhibits to occupy our two
hours: armaments from Bolivia's three wars against its neighbors in
the 19th and early 20th century; a display of 300 minerals;
steam-powered machines imported from Philadelphia to stamp coins
from 1869-1909 and a trick treasure chest to confound pirates.
Tourists were allowed to stamp their own coin, but a Taiwanese
coin collector turned down the offer when they didn't have any
silver left in the souvenir shop. Ironically, while Bolivia minted
Spain's coins for 300 years, the guide explained Bolivia's coins
are now minted in Spain."
To read the complete article, see:
BILLION-DOLLAR BILLS SIEZED
The Forbes magazine web site published an article March 15 titled "Attention
Messrs Gates, Buffett: $1B Bank Notes Discovered"
"One shouldn't scrutinize a billion-dollar bill's paper composition and ink
formula for evidence of authenticity, for common sense would tell you it's a
fake. Plus, if you were trying to pass it off as legal tender, it's pretty
unlikely your average supermarket or vending machine would be stocked up
with millions of dollars in change."
"Now U.S. authorities have seized 250 counterfeit bank notes in
billion-dollar denominations from a man who smuggled money into the country.
The 250 bogus Federal Reserve notes had dates and were stained to make them
look old, but no such currency exists, according to a U.S. Immigration and
Customs Enforcement spokeswoman."
To read the complete article, see:
The original Associated press report stated:
"The 250 bogus Federal Reserve notes had 1934 issue dates and were stained
to make them look old, but no such currency exists, said U.S. Immigration
and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Virginia Kice."
"Federal authorities warned that the sale or transfer of fake securities has
increased in recent years. Scam artists typically sell phony government bank
notes at a discounted value or use them as collateral to secure loans or
"A billion is a substantial number. We want to ensure that no one was duped
or fleeced by the passing of these documents," Kice said. "
To read the complete article, see:
To read a Reuters report, see:
FEATURED WEB SITE: ORIGINS OF THE AMERICAN NUMISMATIC SOCIETY
This week's featured web site is "The Origins of the American Numismatic
Society", excerpted from the first chapter of "The American Numismatic
Society, 1858-1958" by Howard L. Adelson, 1958.
Numismatic Bibliomania Society
The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization
promoting numismatic literature. For more information please
see our web site at
There is a membership application available on the web site
at this address:
To join, print the application and return it with your check
to the address printed on the application. Membership is only
$15 to addresses in the U.S., $20 elsewhere. For those without
web access, write to:
David M. Sundman, Secretary/Treasurer
Numismatic Bibliomania Society,
P. O. Box 82 Littleton, NH 03561
For Asylum mailing address changes and other membership
questions, contact David at this email address:
dsundman at LittletonCoin.com
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