The E-Sylum v9#45, November 5, 2006

esylum at esylum at
Sun Nov 5 19:17:26 PST 2006

Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 9, Number 45, November 5, 2006:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2006, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers are Matt Hanne and Jim Duncan.  
Welcome aboard!  We now have 991 subscribers.

This week's issue brings disappointing news from the American 
Numismatic Association, news of the first in a planned series 
of new books on historical mints, and a reprinting of a classic 
U.S. numismatic reference book.  Peter Gaspar provides a report 
on the Newman Numismatic Museum opening, and readers chime in 
with more stories about the late Hal Dunn.

If you think your money disappears fast, check out what's happening 
to Euro notes across Germany - they are disintegrating in peoples' 
hands!  In other international news, Alan Weinberg describes his 
visits to the numismatic holdings of the Royal Copenhagen Museum 
and the East Berlin State Museum. And speaking of disappearing money, 
another story describes how older U.S. notes overseas are passing 
only at a discount to face value - John Snow's signature is worth 
more than Robert Rubin's, for example.  And finally, how can a coin 
toss elect a dead woman to office? Read on to find out.  Have a 
great week, everyone!

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


It became known this weekend that David Sklow, Library and Research 
Director of the American Numismatic Association, has been dismissed 
by the ANA's Executive Director.   David, a 30-year member of the 
ANA has also served as the organizations' Historian.

George Kolbe writes: "I cannot say I am completely surprised but 
I am nonetheless disappointed. Some queries for the American Numismatic 
Board of Governors: 

1) Why is it that the wrong person(s) seem(s) to keep on 
being terminated?; and

2)  Do you not have the fortitude to resolve the problem rather 
than the effects?"

[This is a disappointing development; just five months ago John and 
Nancy Wilson submitted a nice item to The E-Sylum about David's 
appointment to the post - see below for the link.  -Editor]



>From a press release published Thursday: "Through the generosity 
of the collector who owns the finest set of Colorado private gold 
coins in existence, the Gallery Mint Museum Foundation (GMMF) 
recently announced the sponsorship of the first in a series of 
books on historical mints.
Denver businessman and philanthropist Frederick Mayer announced 
his donation of $20,000 to the minting museum for the publication 
and promotion of a book on minters and assayers of the Colorado 
Territory. Publishing books and articles relating to the history 
of minting technologies is one of the primary missions of the GMM 
Foundation. Several manuscripts already are in the works, with the 
Colorado book the first to find a sponsor.
The book will be authored by Lawrence J. Lee, Ph.D., researcher 
and author of numerous articles on Colorado gold coins and patterns. 
Dr. Lee served for three years as curator to Mayer’s superb collection 
of Colorado gold coins, patterns and ingots, considered to be the 
finest known. The collection is now on exhibit at a private gallery 
in Denver.
The new minting book will catalog the individual coins in the 
Colorado series, beginning with the state’s earliest numismatic 
history in 1821 and continuing through 1863 with the end of private 
gold coinage in the state. In addition to recently discovered historic 
details and photographs of Colorado minters and assayers, the book 
also will include information on mintages, rarities, counterfeit 
detection and other aspects of collecting the coins in the Colorado 
Prior to announcing his donation, Mayer hosted several Mint Foundation 
board members and invited guests at his Denver residence—The RedHOUSE. 
Among the GMMF board members in attendance were Ron Landis, Tim Grat, 
John Nebel, Ed Rochette and Bob Evans, as well as gold experts Lee, 
Dwight Manley, Larry Goldberg, Don Kagin, Ken Bressett and Robert Rhue.
For more information about the Gallery Mint Museum Foundation and its 
publication program, contact Ron Landis at GMMF, PO Box 101, Eureka 
Springs, AR 72632 or call him at 479-981-3111. For additional information 
about the Colorado book, contact Dr. Lee at 402-488-2646 or write him at 
PO Box 6194, Lincoln, NE 68505."


I'm surprised none of our bibliophile readers picked up on this, 
but Whitman Publishing announced in its ad in the October 16 edition 
of Coin World that it plans to reprint the classic first edition 
"Red Book."  The reprint would be distinguishable from the original 
because of the insertion of a new full-color section which "compares 
coin collecting of 1947 with the hobby of today." In the ad the "1947
Tribute Edition Red Book" is billed as "Your First-Class Passport 
to Hobby History."  The 288-page hardcover is priced at $17.95 (with 
a 500-copy autographed, leatherbound version available at $49.95).

Dennis Tucker of Whitman forwarded the press release for the book, 
which includes some interesting facts about the book.  Here are 
some excerpts:

"The 1947 first edition of R.S. Yeoman’s Guide Book of United States 
Coins totaled 18,000 copies — a small quantity by today’s standards. 
The “Red Book” quickly grew into the world’s most popular numismatic 
reference, and one of the best-selling nonfiction books of all time. 
Today an original first edition is a rare collector’s item, eagerly 
sought, and worth hundreds of dollars.

In December Whitman will release the 1947 Tribute Edition Red Book: 
a special commemorative reissue of the first Guide Book of United 
States Coins. Every page is exactly as it appeared back then: every 
word, every photograph, every coin value. It’s like opening a time 
capsule of numismatic history.

At the back of the book you’ll find a full-color section comparing 
coin collecting of 1947 with the hobby of today. Which coins have 
skyrocketed the most in value? What significant coins have been 
discovered since then? Which coin series have seen the most activity?"
The first print run of the Guide Book of United States Coins (the 
“Red Book”), which debuted in November 1946, totaled 9,000 copies. 
These sold so quickly that another 9,000 were printed in February 1947.

By 1959 more than 100,000 copies were being printed annually. The 
1965 (18th) edition reached a peak of 1.2 million copies. That year 
the Red Book was ranked fifth on the list of best-selling nonfiction
— ahead of Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People 
(at no. 6) and John F. Kennedy’s Profiles in Courage (no. 9). 

Since then production levels have followed the ups and downs of the 
coin market. Perhaps even R.S. Yeoman, the book’s original author, 
could not imagine that, by the 60th edition, collectors would have 
purchased a total of well over 20 million copies."

[It will be interesting to see the reaction to the reprint.  It's 
probably one that I would add to my library for information purposes 
since I sold my original first edition a few years ago.  I don't often 
sell my last copy of any book, but with the high prices that these 
bring, I decided to part with it.  

What affect might the reprint have on the resale value of the originals? 
Will some scoundrel slice out the modern section and pawn the reprint 
off as an original?  Numismatic bibliophiles rarely have to deal with 
counterfeit or altered books, but we're not immune.  I'm anxious to 
see the reprint to learn what other diagnostics help us to tell it 
apart from the originals.

QUIZ QUESTION: How does one tell the difference between the first 
and second printing of the first edition Red Book?  -Editor]


A few issues ago, Craig Eberhart wrote: "I missed this summer's 
ANA convention and did not have a chance to buy John Dannreuther's 
new book on early gold varieties.  I had hoped to buy a leatherbound 
copy, but the Whitman website seemed to go directly from listing 
it as "available in September" to "no longer available".  Does 
anyone know what happened to this edition or, more importantly to 
me, where I can purchase a copy?"

Dennis Tucker of Whitman Publishing writes: "Yes, the Dannreuther 
Limited Edition is still available from retailers, or directly 
from Whitman at  
These are all signed by the author."


[My apologies for not publishing this last week - Peter's 
email to me managed to goes astray.  -Editor]

Peter Gaspar (proud E-Sylum subscriber #1) writes: "Due to the 
generosity of Eric and Evelyn Newman, 3,000 square feet of the 
beautiful new Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum are devoted to the 
Newman Money Museum.  The initial exhibits offer a cultural history 
extending from barter in ancient times to today's electronic fund 

Artifacts have been carefully chosen to illustrate every facet of 
the production, use, and even counterfeiting of money, objects 
presented in a way that will appeal to the general public as well 
as to seasoned numismatists. Eric Newman's unrivaled knowledge and 
the depth and breadth of his collections have combined to produce 
a unique educational resource that will provide pleasure as well 
as understanding to everyone who crosses the threshold of his museum.

A dramatic section of the museum presents Eric Newman's long-term 
interest in Benjamin Franklin the man and his spectrum of contributions, 
many of which relate to currency.  There is a full-size talking figure 
of Franklin that will appeal to younger visitors.  The wall behind 
Franklin features sayings about money spanning the centuries, but 
quite up to the moment.  Bob Dylan is quoted: "Money doesn't talk, 
it swears."

Every facet of the Money Museum reflects the unerring good taste 
of Evelyn and Eric Newman and their willingness to work very hard 
and very long to bring their dream to life.  There is a wonderfully 
warm and comfortable room in the museum whose tall shelves house but 
a small fraction of Eric's numismatic library.  I can't wait to come 
and spend hours, and more probably days in this idyllic setting, 
happily furthering my own pet research projects.

Numismatists will be enthusiastic about the displays - let me mention 
just one, featuring the unique gold striking, Breen 1233, of the 1792 
private patterns from dies engraved by John Gregory Hancock and 
submitted by Obediah Westwood of Birmingham.  Eric Newman regards 
this piece as the most significant single American numismatic object, 
because its long pedigree takes it back to the Washington family, and 
it is believed to have been George Washington's own pocket piece.  
How appropriate that its first public display is at Washington University 
in St. Louis, in a museum established by the city's and the country's 
foremost numismatic scholar.

The Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum housing the money museum is always 
free and will be open Monday, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, 11 to 6, 
Fridays, 11 to 8, and Saturdays and Sundays 11 to 6.  Closed Tuesdays 
and University holidays."

[I'm glad to hear all went well with the opening, and I'm sure all 
involved are as exhausted as they are happy with the outcome.  Our 
readers are encouraged to make plans to visit the new museum and 
library, a wonderful resource for the "numismatic bibliophiles, 
researchers, and just plain numismatists" who make up our E-Sylum 
readership. -Editor]


The American Numismatic Society's Stack Family Coinage of the Americas
Conference takes place Saturday, November 11, 2006 at the society's
headquarters at 140 William St. in New York.  This year's subject is Newby's
St. Patrick Coinage.   A live webcast of the event will be available on the
ANS web site.  Here's the lineup of speakers and topics:

Part I: The Mother Country
10-11 am - Overview of Circulating Coinage and Tokens 
in 17th Century Ireland
Robert Heslip
11am - 12 pm  - Denominations
Philip Mossman
12 - 1 pm Iconography
Oliver D. Hoover

2 - 3 pm - Dating the St. Patrick Coinage: Early Dating 
and the Ford Connection 
William Nipper
3 - 4 pm - Dating the St. Patrick Coinage:
Later Dating and the Ormonde/Blondeau Connection
Brian Danforth
Part II: The New World
4 pm - 5 pm - Overview of Circulating Coinage of the 
American Colonies in the 17th Century
Louis Jordan
5 pm - 6 pm Mark Newby and West Jersey
Roger Siboni and Vicken Yegparian

For more information on the 2006 COAC, see: 


According to a November 2nd Reuters report, "German banknotes 
have been falling to pieces due to a mysterious acid attack in 
recent months, a central bank spokesman said Thursday.

Police are investigating why more than 1,000, banknotes worth 
between five and 100 euros ($6.38-$128) have crumbled shortly 
after being withdrawn from cash machines, said Bundesbank spokesman 
Wolf-Ruediger Bengs.

"German mass-market newspaper Bild-Zeitung said contaminated notes 
had now surfaced in 17 German towns. It quoted a chemicals expert 
who said the notes had probably been dusted with a salt which 
turned into acid on contact with sweat.

The bank did not say whether the acid could burn the skin."

To read the complete article, see: 

Ralf W. Böpple forwarded this report from the international edition 
of Der Speigel: "Since its introduction, the euro has served as a 
remarkably solid common currency for much of Western Europe. But 
lately, euro notes have proven to be less reliable -- indeed, they 
are disintegrating right in the hands of their holders." 

"Maybe a racketeer is behind all of this, someone who wants to 
prove to us that he can destroy the euro," an unnamed European 
Central Bank source told Bild. "But so far, no one has announced 
anything in this regard."

"In the meantime, the euro bills continue to disintegrate and 
officials are baffled."

To read the complete article, see:,1518,446095,00.html 

Another article: 

Philip Mernick forwarded this BBC News video:


Steve Pellegrini writes: "I'd like E-Sylum readers to know the 
power of their newsletter.  A while back I mentioned in The E-sylum 
that I was looking for a particular rare book about WW.I Belgian 
medals. That was all I knew about the book - no author, title, or date 
- nothing. Within 24 hours after my question was published I received 
an email from one of our readers, a well-known and busy professional 
numismatist. In his message to me he listed the title, author, date, 
number of volumes, etc. of the work I was looking for. With this 
information in hand I was able to track down and purchase one of the 
only complete sets of this two-volume work available for sale anywhere. 
Now that is what I call the power of the press - and the power of the 
resource created by our organization and membership."

[Here are links to Steve's original query and our reader responses:




Tony Tumonis writes: "I was stunned to hear of the unexpected 
passing of my friend Hal Dunn.  Hal was not only an ANA District 
Delegate for Nevada, but also received the ANA Outstanding District 
Delegate Award in 2002.  Hal will be sorely missed by everyone that 
knew him."
Pete Smith writes: "My parents taught me that I should not talk to 
strangers. I think of myself as an introvert who is unlikely to 
strike up a conversation with a stranger. However, I suspect that 
extroverts meet more interesting people so I will occasionally 
make an exception.

During the 1996 ANA convention in Denver, I stood outside my hotel 
waiting for a shuttle bus to take me to the convention center. 
Standing nearby was a somewhat stern looking gentleman. Perhaps 
he looked like a county sheriff. Anyway, I asked him if he was going 
to the ANA convention and we talked until the bus came. He was Hal 
Dunn. I recognized his name as an author so our conversation became 
an interview.

I think it was later that same day that I was giving a talk at 
the Numismatic Theatre and he came to listen. He told me later that 
he came only because he had met me earlier. We had a number of 
common interests.

I met him again at other conventions. We were both ANA District 
Delegates so we attended some of the same meetings. We corresponded 
by letter about some memorabilia from the Carson City Mint. We also 
corresponded by e-mail, most recently comparing our experiences 
with the state quarter design process and ceremonies.

Despite his appearance, I found him to be quite warm and willing 
to share his information and experiences. I was sorry to learn of 
his passing."

Duane Feisel forwarded a link to Hal's obituary in the Elko Free 
Daily Press: 


Bob Julian writes: "There is some confusion in the latest E-Sylum. 
William Barber died in 1879 and was replaced by his son, Charles E. 
Barber, in 1880. The latter died in 1917."  Bob Leonard also noticed 
the problem.


Regarding the 1848 "CAL" Quarter Eagles, Ron Guth writes: "Mint 
Director Robert Maskell Patterson's January 5, 1849 letter appears 
to contradict the earlier instructions of Secretary of War William L. 
Marcy, who transmitted 228 ounces of newly mined California gold to 
the U.S. Mint to be used to strike Congressional medals for Zachary 
Taylor and Winfield Scott, with the leftover gold to be turned into 
specially marked Quarter Eagles.  Who is right: Patterson or Marcy?  
The answer may rest in the medals and coins themselves.  Assuming 
one each of the Taylor and Scott medals, and that the medals were 
of the same size, we have the following tabulation:

Taylor Medal (known weight) = 621 grams
Scott Medal (assumed weight) = 621 grams
1,389 "CAL" Quarter Eagles (4.18 grams each) = 5,806 grams 
Total weight = 7,048 grams

7,048 grams equals 226.6 troy ounces -- tantalizingly close to 
the amount of gold sent by Marcy!"


Regarding last week's mention of the Washington skull & crossbones 
funeral medal, Saul Teichman writes: "Does anyone have a plated 
Montayne catalog (Sampson, 4/1881)? I have been trying to figure 
out if the Norweb gold skull & crossbones medal really is the 
Bushnell piece or not. 

It is relatively easy to plate match the Garrett Gold Urn medal to 
the Bushnell sale even with reprint plates, thus it is likely he 
also bought his skull & crossbones there as well. 

The Montayne piece was not graded but did sell for $25, $5 more 
than the Bushnell piece. Grade wise, the Bushnell description seems 
to match the Norweb piece but I would like to verify the sources 
of these two."


Leon Worden writes: "I hope someone can help me. I have found, in 
a private party's possession, some original materials that V.D. 
Brenner used when he created his bust of Lincoln. Forgive me for 
being somewhat vague at the moment, but I'm writing a story about 
it and would like to include information on the whereabouts of 
"other stuff" Brenner used in his sculpting -- models, drawings, 
tools, etc. 

I'm aware of what the American Numismatic Society has, but I'm 
thinking there must be more, perhaps in a university or library 
collection somewhere. If any E-Sylum reader can point me in the 
right direction, would you please e-mail me at scvleon at 


In response to his earlier query, David Levy writes: "Although I 
could not locate the article in the original Numismatic Chronicle 
edition of 1966, I was very surprised to find this very article plus 
another fourteen articles of the same author in the book "Coinage 
and History of the Islamic World", Nicholas Lowick, edited by Joe 
Cribb, British Museum London, UK, 1990, 278 pg, Hardback, ISBN 0 
86078 259 X, $135 (online purchases have 15% discount at

It can be purchased in several book dealers found through or directly with the publisher (Ashgate). Below is 
a small description (from plus the articles it has. 
It is a remarkable book of a remarkable scholar.

This is the first of two selections of articles by Nicholas Lowick 
to be published by Variorum. Though he died in 1976 at the age of 
only 45, he had already established himself as the world's leading 
expert on Islamic coins, a position based on his prodigious ability 
to decipher inscriptions and to identify and classify coins, and on 
his concern with the historical contexts in which the coins were 
issued and used. The full range of his published work can be seen 
from the bibliography included with this volume. 

The second selection of articles will focus on the importance of 
coin hoards and finds as evidence for the international trade of 
the Middle Ages; the present one concentrates on the use of coins 
as primary sources for Islamic political history. The articles deal 
not only with questions of attribution and chronology, but with the 
circumstances in which the coins were minted and with their value 
in supplementing or correcting the written record. The areas covered 
are the medieval and early modern periods in the Yemen, Syria, Iraq 
and Iran from the Seljuqs to the Ayyubids, and Central Asia and 
Northern India under the Shaybanids and their early Mughul sucessors."


Regarding Howard Berlin's planned tour of numismatic museums, 
Alan V. Weinberg writes: "In my view, the second most impressive 
European numismatic display (and holdings)- after the British Museum 
- is the Royal Copenhagen Museum in downtown Copenhagen. Now, I'm 
going back to my visit in the mid-1960's, but I doubt it's changed 
Not only was the public display almost the equivalent of the then 
British Museum but the holdings in the private room off the display 
room were incredible. Without any forewarning or invitation, I asked 
to view some of the American coins and was shown a gem 1795 dollar, 
a gem Noe-1 Oak Tree shilling, proof bust quarters, etc. I held them 
raw in my fingers. From the collection I saw and the acquisition tags 
I viewed (and my memory may be fuzzy now), I believe at least one of 
the Danish monarchs was a serious numismatist who assembled much of 
this world-class collection.
During this same period, I visited the East Berlin State Museum and 
viewed significant numismatic holdings in display cases, one of 
which appeared to be a gold Baker-61 George Washington Manly medal."


John Merz writes: "The "Kicking Wife's Protest" appeared in Volume 
10, Number 3-4, March-April 1919 of Mehl's Numismatic Monthly."

Alan V. Weinberg adds: "I enjoyed the Mehl segment about the "Kicking 
Wife". The husband was clearly at fault.
I spend a fair amount of money on rare coins, tokens and medals. 
For decades, I have been laying my latest acquisition - when significant 
and aesthetically pleasing, like a gold medal or a mint Massachusetts 
silver piece - on a velvet tray and showing it to my wife, allowing 
her to lift and handle the item. And I tell her what I paid.
When I receive an auction catalogue with something special in it 
that interests me, I show her the catalogue and point out and discuss 
the item and its significance and value.
She's never complained and only brings up "How much did you just pay 
for ...?"  when I express "concern" over  what she just paid for another 
pair of shoes, a purse or a designer outfit. That shuts me up right 
away.  We've just passed our 30th Anniversary so I guess I'm doing 
something right."


A front-page article in the November 1st Wall Street Journal discusses 
a situation little known in the U.S. and Europe.  In many other parts 
of the world, older U.S. notes can be passed only at a discount, with 
only the newest notes worth face value and issues printed just a few 
years earlier worth much less.

"Americans are accustomed to the idea that the dollar -- the world's 
No. 1 reserve currency -- is good anywhere. After all, it's a point 
of principle that the U.S. never invalidates its notes. The government 
may add watermarks, insert security threads or enlarge Ben Franklin's 
face on the $100 dollar bill, but old bills are still legal tender.

Overseas, however, that guarantee carries less weight. In many 
countries, from Russia to Singapore, the dollar's value depends ... 
also on the age, condition and denomination of the bills themselves. 
Some money changers and banks worry that big U.S. notes are counterfeit. 
Some can't be bothered to deal with small bills. Some don't want to 
take the risk that they won't be able to pass old or damaged bills 
onto the next person."

"The good bills are new ones that bear Treasury Secretary John W. 
Snow's signature. The bad ones are signed by Treasury Secretary 
Robert E. Rubin."

"Robert Rubin, now chairman of the executive committee at Citigroup 
Inc., doesn't take it personally that his bills sell at a discount. 
"If people are paying 85 cents on the dollar, I'll pay them a lot 
more than that -- and I'll make the difference," the former Wall 
Street trader said."

[Current Treasury Secretary Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson's 
signature will appear on the new Series 2006 notes, pushing Snow 
and Rubin further down the value chain, and making more opportunities 
for arbitrage.  So here's a new way to pay for an overseas vacation - 
take a pile of new bills and buy up old ones at a discount.  If you're 
lucky enough to not get stuck with a counterfeit, there's money to 
be made. Of course, you might also have to deal with currency 
reporting requirements.  -Editor]

To read the complete article (subscription required), see:


According to an October 30th news report from Sweden, "Two young 
men on Gotland have found Viking treasure dating to the 10th century. 

The treasure cache consists of silver coins, weighing a total of 
around 3 kilos. They were discovered by 20-year-old Edvin Svanborg 
and his 17-year-old brother Arvid, who were working in the grounds 
of their neighbour, artist Lars Jonsson."

"I just stumbled by chance across an Arab silver coin that was around 
1,100 years old," Edvin Svanborg told news agency TT.

"Majvor Östergren at Gotland county administrative board praised 
the brothers for handing in the treasure.

"They acted in an examplary fashion."

Gotland is an archaeologist's paradise, where there have been 
discoveries of a large number of Viking treasures. Farmer Björn 
Engström found the world's largest ever haul of Viking treasure 
on the north-eastern part of the island a few years ago. 

The loot included coins, necklaces and other jewelry, which 
altogether contained 65 kilos of silver and 20 kilos of bronze. 
He was given 2.1 million kronor as a reward"

To read the complete article, see: 


According to a BBC news article, "A new £20 note featuring a 
portrait of economist Adam Smith is to be issued, the Bank of 
England has said. The new note will signal the start of a new 
series of notes which will come into circulation next spring. 

When Adam Smith replaces composer Edward Elgar on £20 notes, he 
will also make history as the first Scotsman to appear on a Bank 
of England note." 

"However, while it may be his first appearance on English currency, 
it his not his first on a bank note. He is already featured on a 
Scottish £50 note."

To read the complete article, see: 

To view an image of the new banknote, see: 

To read the Bank of England's press release about the new note, see: 


The answer to last week's quiz question is M. L. Beistle, author 
of "The Register of Half Dollar Die Varieties and Sub-Varieties"

Pete Smith writes: "Martin Luther Beistle owned the Beistle Company. 
They made paper novelties including ones for Halloween. I picture 
these as flat until they expand like an accordion into a three 
dimensional form. The Beistle Company also made an early coin board."

Dave Lange writes: "Martin Luther Beistle was awarded U.S. patent 
number 1,719,962 for the Unique brand coin album. This patent was 
later sold to Wayte Raymond, who marketed these albums through Scott 
Stamp and Coin Company as the National brand.  That brand was marketed 
into the early 1970s. I believe that this was existing stock from the 
1960s, as I've never seen a mintage figure for dates later than 1964 
or so. A few years after Raymond's death in 1956, the Raymond pages 
were amended to include the words "A. Faxon, Distributor," and the 
address was changed from New York City to Mineola, NY.  Amos Press 
later bought the Scott supply business, but sells only albums made 
by and for other companies."

We learned more about Beistle's business is earlier E-Sylum issues.  
Here are some excerpts:

Dick Johnson wrote that "Early in the 20th century Beistle purchased 
a paper product company he worked for, whose major product was fake 
trees.   In 1910 he purchased the technology to manufacture a party  
goods specialty, honeycombed tissue.  The firm prospered in World War 
I when such party goods could not be imported from Germany.  And over 
the years the firm manufactured millions of tissue pumpkins and ghosts 
and goblins and bells and hundreds of other items." 

Larry Lee added that "Aficionados of Beistle minutia may be interested 
to learn that the ANA Museum has in its collection the original metal 
plates used in printing both the 1929 and 1964 editions of Beistle's  
book.  The plates were a gift from Aubrey Bebee.  Dick Johnson's 
history of Beistle's paper company helped explain one of the questions 
about this donation: the plates are separated by pieces of cardboard 
with various Halloween cut-outs imprinted on them."  

For more on Beistle's Halloween connection, see:   


>From a recent news release: "“Clash of Empires: The British, French 
and Indian War, 1754-1763” opens at the Smithsonian’s International 
Gallery Friday, Dec. 15. The exhibition explores the three-sided 
struggle for the possession of North America by the British, French 
and American Indians and its worldwide effects. The Senator John 
Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center organized this exhibition 
in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institution and the Canadian 
War Museum/Museum of Civilization. “Clash of Empires” is on view 
through March 15, 2007. 

“Clash of Empires” opened at the Heinz History Center in May 2005 
before traveling to the Canadian War Museum/Museum of Civilization 
in Ottawa, where it closes in mid-November. The exhibit has won a 
number of national awards, including an award of merit from the 
American Association for State and Local History."

To read the complete news release, see:

[This exhibit includes a phenomenal group of early medals, detailed 
in a previous E-Sylum item (see below).  This exhibit is a once-in-a-
lifetime opportunity to see such a rare and historically important 
group of artifacts.  Oh yeah, there are also things like the original 
Fort Necessity surrender document signed by George Washington on July 



Ed Krivoniak writes: "I have to take exception to Dick Johnson's 
comment that lead does not conduct electricity. It DOES! If it did 
not, your car would not have a lead acid storage battery in it whose 
terminals are always lead. All metals conduct electricity! That is 
the definition of a metal."
Dan Demeo writes: "Dick Johnson's comments regarding electrotypes 
raised some hairs on the back of my neck.  As a retired chemist, I 
recognize electrical conductivity (or low resistivity) as a necessary 
characteristic of a metal.  Lead, as listed in my 25 year-old Handbook 
of Chemistry and Physics, has a resistivity of 20.648 microhm-cm, 
compared to copper, 1.6730 in the same units.  This makes lead some 
12-13 times more resistive (less conductive) than copper, but 
conductive nevertheless. 

Non-metallic elements have resistivities several orders of magnitude 
higher than this.  Some of the problems in using lead as a conductor 
could relate to the oxides which form on its surface, making contact

As a collector of both early U.S. and ancient coins, I have always 
heard of lead in conjunction with electrotypes, but generally as the 
meat in the sandwich, copper surfaces or shells for example, with a 
lead core. 

I have never heard whether the British Museum and others actually 
used lead to join and fill their two thin copper or silver "faces", 
but, given the relatively high melting point and low wettability by 
lead, I would think they would have used lower melting alloys, perhaps 
with lead as an ingredient, but also with tin, antimony, etc.  
Differences in the "meat" layer might be useful in telling a BM 
electrotype from others, for example.

I do know the British Museum and others developed excellent casting 
and electrotyping techniques, but I have never seen this totally 

I do know that many of the early museum and auction catalogs had 
illustrations of casts of coins, rather than the coins themselves;  
reflections and shadows are more easily controlled when photographing 
an object with a matte surface, rather than a shiny metal object.  
This must have taken a large amount of resources, especially for an 
auction catalog."

Dick Johnson writes: "I received several comments to the item in 
last week's E-Sylum on the fact electrotypes cannot be made of lead. 
One of the best replies came from Daniel Demeo, a retired chemist.  
Dan was correct in several of his statements including this one. 
You can find lead INSIDE an electrotype, or as Dan said, the meat, 
the internal composition between copper shells.
But collectors are incorrect when they often think the item was 
cast or otherwise formed in lead first with the copper coated 
afterwards. (Such a technique would be very indistinct and would 
not have sharp detail of a struck piece or an electrotype.)  It 
is just the opposite -- the copper shell electrotypes are made 
first. Then the lead is filled in to make the item solid.
Lead is used for several reasons. It makes the item solid, or for 
larger electrogalvanic casts, as galvano plaques, the lead is applied 
to the back to add strength to the thin shells (that are often only 
1/16th of an inch thick). The lead is always applied on galvanos to 
the low points on the reverse because these would be the highpoints 
on the obverse and most susceptible to damage (as a nose on a relief 
portrait). Another reason is that lead is less costly than any metal 
in which electroforms are made, copper, silver, gold.
To make a coin electrotype you must make two shells, one of each side. 
The side with the greatest cavity is placed face down on a level surface 
and molten lead is poured in minute amounts until it reaches the surface 
of the rim of this shell. A tad bid more is added but not to run over. 
It will "dome" up because of the meniscus characteristic of lead. The 
other shell is "floated" on top of the lead. No air pockets must be 
allowed between the lead and the shell. Placement of second side must 
be in correct orientation to the other side or you will have a 
"rotated reverse" mint error. Once the lead solidifies it becomes 
a solid item.
When such items are cataloged in numismatics the correct term to use 
is "lead fill-in." A diagnostic may (or may not) exist of a gray lead 
color line around the center perimeter of the edge where the two shells 
are joined. The edge is buffed and polished to eliminate the seam 
(not always successful).
Interestingly, I have come across similar items made by embossing in 
cheap imitation of electroforming. The two embossed shells were used 
with an added "fill-in," not of lead, but of sand! How cheap can you 
get?  I called this "ballast" in my catalog description."


According to an October 31st Reuters report, "A dead woman won 
re-election to a school board in rural Alaska after her opponent 
lost a coin flip meant to break an electoral tie.

Katherine Dunton, who died of cancer on October 3, the day of the 
local election, was re-elected to the Aleutian Region School District 
board after her opponent, Dona Highstone, called "heads" on a coin 
toss that landed "tails," state and local officials said."

The coin toss was held on Friday, in accordance with state law, to 
break the tie since both candidates had 19 votes.

The school district, which covers an island region stretching 600 
miles and has jurisdiction over about 50 students, has not yet decided 
how to fill Dunton's seat."

To read the complete article, see: 


Roger deWardt Lane writes: "At the flea market this past Tuesday, I 
purchased a medal from a German dealer.  How it got from the U.S. Virgin 
Islands to Germany and back to Florida is a mystery.  The producer was 
Medallic Art Co.  My cost was $3.00 and at our local Hollywood coin 
club I will use it for 'show & tell'.  More Internet research found 
the Lawrence Rockefeller story of how he donated land for the Virgin 
Isle National Park. It's a government commercial site, but most 

[There are some very interesting medals shown here, but I've never 
viewed any of these in person.  Are any of our readers familiar with 
this series?  After reviewing the web site, I don't believe it's 
actually affiliated with the government - the site is owned and run 
by Medallic Art Company itself. -Editor] 

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