The E-Sylum v9#46, November 12, 2006

esylum at esylum at
Sun Nov 12 19:17:31 PST 2006

Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 9, Number 46, November 12, 2006:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2006, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers are Russ Gordon, courtesy of Dave 
Bowers, and Joe Wolfe. Welcome aboard!  We now have 995 subscribers.

This week's issue brings commentary on a number of items from last 
week, including the dismissal of the ANA's librarian, and the Whitman 
reprint of first edition Red Book.  The popular press has a number of
articles this week on numismatics topics, and several of these are 
excerpted here, including items on recent auctions.  In addition, Alan 
Weinberg reviews action at the latest Norwab sale.  Although 
non-numismatic, we have a couple of interesting items from the stamp 
world this week as well.  What was the "Dead Man's Penny?"   Read on 
to find out.  Have a great week, everyone!

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


Nick Graver writes: "The honor of being subscriber #1000 should
have some significance, or be awarded in some ceremonial way to 
recognize an especially deserving individual or institution.  It 
just seems like too good an opportunity to pass up.    Perhaps we 
might solicit suggestions from present subscribers for the best 
way to "make the most" of this landmark achievement?"

[Anne Bentley, Eric Newman and others have also noted the upcoming 
milestone, and I'm at a loss for ideas.  What could I do - give out 
a free subscription?  Put their name in ALL CAPS!? 

What do our readers think?  I've been too busy recently with a house 
move and family vacation to think much about it, although I agree 
it's a special event deserving of some recognition.  If our friends 
in the numismatic print world consider it equally newsworthy, we 
could develop an article or two relating our special online niche.  
Send me your thoughts and I'll compile some reader material.  

What important numismatic facts did you learn here?  How have we 
helped initiate or further a numismatic research project?  What 
E-Sylum article or topic is most memorable?  Some of our readers 
are quite addicted - how far out of your way have you gone to get 
your weekly E-Sylum "fix"?  Write to me at whomren at  


According to the American Numismatic Association press release: 
"Research published for the first time in the Fall 2006 ANA Journal 
concludes that common, proof reverse dies were used for all 
denominations of proof coinage in the mid-1800s.

The landmark study, "An Era of Change: Proof-Only Reverse Dies of 
the 1840s Used for All Denominations," by noted numismatist John 
W. Dannreuther, is the result of more than 20 years of research 
after Dannreuther first formulated his hypothesis.

"As early as the 1970s, I was almost certain that the Mint changed 
its practice in 1840 and began to holdover proof-only reverse dies 
for all denominations," said Dannreuther.  "Proving it, of course, 
was a different story.  The rarity of nearly all the proof coins of 
the 1840s made this a daunting task. Piece by piece, the puzzle begin 
to fit together. As the sales of several great collections appeared 
during the ensuing years, more denominations were confirmed."

The fall issue of ANA Journal also features papers delivered at the 
Maynard Sundman/Littleton Coin Company Lecture Series in Denver on 
Aug. 17.  Joaquín Montero, Ph.D. discusses "The Coinage of Alexander
the Great and His Image on Currency"; James Benjamin, Ph.D. and 
Barbaranne Benjamin, Ph.D. address "Visual Rhetoric in the U.S. 
Bicentennial Quarter"; and Roger W. Burdette considers "American 
Advocates: Changing the Course of National Coinage Design."

ANA Journal currently is seeking articles displaying original 
numismatic research.  Submissions are evaluated by a peer review 
panel on the basis of scholarship, presentation and suitability 
of illustrations.  For inquiries and writer guidelines, please 
contact Managing Editor Andrew Dickes at 719-482-9814, or by 
email anaj at  

Individual copies of the Fall 2006 ANA Journal are $21.95 (postpaid), 
with an annual subscription to the quarterly publication priced at 
$65.95.  To order, call the ANA MoneyMarket toll-free at 800-467-5725."


This week has brought many comments regarding the ANA's dismissal 
of librarian and former historian David Sklow.  A representative 
sample is shown below.

Gar Travis writes: "I am profoundly saddened by David's dismissal. 
Collectors have lost their last true "hobby knowledge numismatist" 
on the ANA staff. The jobs which he has held since joining the staff 
of the Association have been performed with professionalism and 
dedication.  As others before him who were dismissed, it was done 
seemingly without cause."

David Lange writes: "The organization seems to be doing everything 
it can to drive away those who care about it.  How does the ANA expect 
people to feel generous toward it when the leaders keep finding 
evermore ways of alienating us?"

Tom DeLorey writes: "Twenty-two years ago I quit the ANA to protest 
ANACS Office Manager Mary Thompson being fired unjustly. I am sorry 
to see that nothing has changed out there. 

I understand that Mr. Cipoletti is asking the Board for a five-year 
extension to his current contract, which does not expire until 
December, 2007.  If anybody thinks that this action might not be in 
the best interests of the ANA, please contact the current Board members 
and give them your input. If you think that he should stay, please 
express that as well."


George Fuld writes: "When I noted the reprint of the Red Book first 
edition, it reminded me of my early days.  I sold a complete set of 
Red Books in my 1971 numismatic library auction.  However, my first 
edition was purchased around 1946 when I was at the ripe old age of 
14 and heavily involved in saving U.S. coins.  This was before I made 
the venture to the 1947 ANA convention in Buffalo, where I got the 
Civil War bug!!  

How many of our old timers (except for Eric Newman) are still around 
who purchased the Red Book when it first came out?"
Gary Dunaier writes: "I was also surprised to see that no one else 
commented on the "Tribute Edition" reprint of the first Redbook.  
I've been looking forward to it ever since the ad appeared in the 
October 16 Coin World.  But I've also been surprised that there hasn't 
been any follow-up anywhere... either in the coin press, in the E-Sylum 
(until last week) or on Whitman's very own website, which doesn't list 
the Tribute Edition.

I'm also interested in the signed edition... whose signature will it 
bear?  [I assume this would be Ken Bressett, the current Red Book 
editor.  -Editor]

I can't say what effect the reprint will have on the original...  
I do know that its current price of $1,000 in VF (as per the 2007 
Redbook) is waaaay out of my price range, so in my case it's not like 
I would have bought an original had the Tribute Edition not come along.

Perhaps there might be one or two who, having bought the reprint, 
are intrigued enough to start collecting the originals.

And, having quoted the Redbook as a source for the price of an 
original first edition, I can also quote it in answering your quiz: 
the first printing at the bottom of page 135 reads "the scarcity of 
this date," while the second printing has "the scarcity of 1903 O."  

Now I've got a question for YOU: which version will appear in the 
Tribute Edition?"  

[Gary's answer is correct.  As for the reprint, I assume this will 
be of the first printing.  To get in the proper spirit of things, 
perhaps copies of BOTH printings could be produced!  -Editor]


Last week's item about the opening of the Newman Money Museum in 
the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum failed to highlight that the 
museum is located at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.  
Fred Holabird and Ken Berger were among those confused about the 
location, which was buried deep in the article.

Regarding David Levy's item last week about Nicholas Lowick, author 
of "Coinage and History of the Islamic World", Bob Leonard offers 
this minor correction: "Nicholas Lowick died in 1986."
Regarding our Featured Web Site on New Jersey Paper Money Currency 
1709-1786, David Gladfelter writes: "The original article was published 
by the New Jersey Historical Society in the Proceedings for 1923, and 
is cited as a bibliographical reference by Eric Newman in Early Paper 
Money of America, 4th edition."

Dave Bowers writes: "If you are a New York Times crossword puzzle fan, 
and are a numismatist with even a passing knowledge of commemoratives, 
you’ll instantly score on one of the longer words for which a clue is 
given in the November 5th version!"   [Sorry I missed getting this 
into last week's issue. -Editor]

Tom DeLorey writes: "Speaking of electroforming, if you electroplate 
a coin or medallion with gold, is it gilty as charged?"


Roger Burdette writes: "I am searching for a photo of Farran Zerbe 
at his 1915 San Francisco Pan Pacific International Exhibition Coin 
and Medals Department booth, or just a photo of the booth. If anyone 
has such a photo, please contact me at accurateye at"


According to a November 11 Reuters article, "A mystery substance that 
caused some euro banknotes in Germany to fall to pieces may be linked 
to the party drug crystal speed, Der Spiegel magazine reported on 
Saturday, quoting regional police. Users of crystal speed inhale it 
through the nose using rolled-up banknotes and chemists think 
impurities such as sulphates, mingled with sweat, could have created 
an acid that ate away at the notes, the magazine quoted police as 

Around 1,500 banknotes worth between 5 euros and 100 euros 
($6.44-$129) crumbled shortly after being withdrawn from cash 
machines, the Bundesbank said earlier this month."

To read the complete article, see: 

Last week's E-Sylum item:


In reference to the following item on eco-friendly ink, Howard 
Daniel writes: "I am wondering if this will cause any problems 
for collectors!"

"In a push to go green, a Seattle-based large-scale printing shop 
has become the first in the country to try out a new type of 
eco-friendly corn-based ink.  The Big Print signed on as the only 
test site for a new, biodegradable corn-based ink made with ethyl 

To read the complete article, see: 


Dick Johnson writes: "Tim Iacono writes a column on precious metals 
for the internet site Seeking Alpha. His November 9th column was 
titled "Who's Minding the Mint?" He offers some strong comments on 
the U.S. Mint's current TV advertisement and the cost of zinc as a 
coinage metal -- both pertinent points.

I, too, have seen the Mint's TV ad. While I did not fall for the 
seductive female voice (which Tim likens to Mary Alice Young, the 
housewife who died on the first episode of "Desperate Housewives"), 
I did object to the lines which stated the U.S. Mint products are 
"polished, radiant, irresistible." I know it is a technical point 
but the coins are not POLISHED. We assume they are talking about 
proof coins. The DIES are polished for proof surface, not the coins. 

"Polished" is a taboo word in modern numismatics when applied to U.S. 
Mint's coins. It implies the coins were polished by some unsavory 
character to create a "whizzed" coin, a false proof -- one of the 
most despicable acts in numismatics, to make a coin what it isn't.  

As an avid coin collector I also take umbrage at the sandal-wearing 
boob looking at his coins in the back yard unaware of the events 
around him. Thus I object to both the misstatement of fact and this 
atrocious portrayal of what is supposed to be a typical coin collector.  

Tim notes the awkward sights and sounds in this 15 second TV spot. 
He attributes this to the Mint's ad agency. I say "Shame" on both 
the Mint and its agency.

Do not go to the next E-Sylum item until you click on and read this 
column (it is that important)."

To read "Who's Minding the Mint?", see:


According to the Rapid City Journal, "Edmund C. Moy will experience 
three firsts on Monday. It will be his first trip to South Dakota and 
his first visit to Mount Rushmore National Memorial. It will also be 
Moy’s first state-quarter launch ceremony. He was sworn in as director 
of the U.S. Mint on Sept. 5.

“I think I hit the jackpot as a mint director — my first 50-state 
quarter launch, and I get to do it at Mount Rushmore. It’s really 
an honor for me to be doing this particular coin at this time,” he said.

The ceremony, open to the public, will be 10 a.m. Monday, Nov. 13, 
in the Mount Rushmore amphitheater. If the weather is bad, the event 
will be moved to the Central High School gym in Rapid City."

"At the ceremony, the Mount Rushmore History association will be 
selling commemorative packages featuring two uncirculated coins. 
Great Western Bank, chosen as the official bank for the South Dakota 
quarter launch, will sell $10 rolls of the new quarters and give away 
1,000 vouchers for two-coin sets available at its St. Joseph Street 

On the eve of the event, Moy will appear Sunday at the Dahl Arts 
Center, 713 Seventh St., at a forum for coin collectors and anyone 
else interested in coins. It is from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Moy and 
Gloria Eskridge, associate director for sales and marketing at the 
U.S. Mint, will host the forum."

To read the complete article, see:

To read a related article from the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, see:


A November 8 article in the Baltimore Sun interviews Tony Terranova 
and other top dealers about the recent Stack's sale of American Bank 
Note Co. printing plates:

"Tony Terranova, a professional coin collector from New York City, 
will have a chance to diversify his collection when more than 100 
hand-engraved steel plates go on the auction block today.

The plates belonged to the American Bank Note Co. and were used to 
print stock certificates, bank notes and engravings of presidents. 
Private and professional collectors began gathering at the Pier 5 
Hotel at the Inner Harbor yesterday for the two-day auction."

"Usually, coins are Terranova's primary interest, but he is after 
the plates this time. "They're very beautiful," he said. "It's a 
beautiful example of crafting art." The pricier plates are expected 
to sell for $6,000 apiece, said Bruce Hagan, an American currency 
specialist who works for Stack's Rarities LLC, the company running 
the auction."

"Christine Karstedt, president of Stack's, said the plates have 
become popular auction items. Many of the plates, including one from 
Valley Bank of Maryland, in Hagerstown, hold a great deal of regional 
significance, which draws collectors of all backgrounds, she said."

"I like allegorical visages of Miss Liberty," Terranova said. 
"America personifies Miss Liberty as a woman. And that's what I 
like. But there is a whole section of people that want those currency 
plates. ... It's a ground-floor opportunity. They're going to be 
selling these things for the next five, six years.""

To read the complete article, see:,0,2507709.story


According to an article in the November 2006 Maine Antiques Digest, 
"In spite of a strong medals and tokens auction on July 15, Presidential 
Coin and Antique Company president H. Joseph Levine said he still 
thinks the medals market is way undervalued. 

"Some of these medals, there were only one hundred struck. If they 
were coins, they'd bring one hundred thousand dollars. As medals, 
some sell for one thousand dollars or less. Our top hard times store 
token in this sale is one of only two known. It brought twenty-six 
thousand four hundred fifty dollars [includes buyer's premium], a 
good price, but not up to coin standards. One of two known in a coin 
would be in the millions." 

An example is the 1861 South Carolina medal awarded to Brigadier 
General Nathan George Evans. It is one of four known (and one of the 
four is only rumored to exist) and brought $4370." 

[The article also discusses the two major series of American art 
medals, the Circle of Friends of the Medallion series and the Society 
of Medalists series.  The article also touches on the military and 
naval medals issued by the United States Mint, mostly for exploits 
in the War of 1812. -Editor]

"At this sale, Scarborough, Maine, dealer (and medals collector) 
Marvin Sadik, formerly director of the National Portrait Gallery 
in Washington, D.C., said he bought four historical military medals 
(War of 1812) and would give three to the gallery. "I'm giving a 
Major General Edmund Gaines [$471.50], a Major General Eleazar W. 
Ripley [$759 and top military medal price], and a Governor Isaac 
Shelby [$345]. I'm giving them because I think they are the best 
likenesses around. The Portrait Gallery takes them only reluctantly. 
They think the medals are too small," he said." 

"Presidential's catalogs contain a wealth of information. They are 
available by subscription at $10 for three from Presidential Coin & 
Antique Co., PO Box 277, Clifton, VA 20124, phone (571) 321-2121, 
e-mail <JLevine968 at>."

To read the complete article, see:


Alan V. Weinberg writes: "For this week's Baltimore Norweb sale, 
I had anticipated the same uneven response seen in the Ford Indian 
Peace Medal sale in New York City on November 17. 
In that sale, there were prices all over the map such as silly-high 
prices like $16K hammer for a VF Grant silver Indian Peace Medal and 
$5,500 hammer for the 1911 EK Elder silver novelty peace medal. And 
silly-low prices like $22K hammer for the finest known Geo III Lion 
& Wolf peace medal (congrats to a New Jersey E-Sylum reader) and 
$30K hammer for the 2nd VF Geo II Quaker Duffield medal (superior 
to LaRiviere's at $53K in 2001).
The factors that contributed to the mixed success of the Ford IPM 
sale should apply to Norweb, no? Well, NO!
The Norweb lot viewing was crowded, the auction room atmosphere 
electric with a strong attendance from collectors and dealers and 
a very active phone bank manned competitively by Larry Stack & 
John Kraljevich, among others.  Those two represented some very 
strong phone competitors.
Norweb prices were literally jaw-dropping, making many Ford 
Washingtonia prices of May 2004 seriously obsolete. 
American medals have set three successively higher records in 
the past three weeks - first, the $165K hammer for Ford's 4" 
Thomas Jefferson shell IPM, and now Norweb's 1889 Centennial of 
George Washington's Inauguration St Gaudens gold medal, anticipated 
to bring perhaps $75K, sold at an astonishing $340K hammer (plus 15%) 
to phone bidder # 572, reportedly a New York collector who specializes 
in St. Gaudens and owns seven ULTRA hi-relief $20's, with Jeff Garrett, 
Tony Terranova and Larry Hanks in the running. Applause. But this new 
U.S. medallic record didn't last for long. The Zachary Taylor 
Congressional gold medal hammered for $400K plus 15% - totaling 
(gasp)  $460,000 - to a phone bidder ably handled by John Kraljevich 
for a world American medal record. Dave Bowers spoke from the podium 
introducing the medal. Both he and I had anticipated $250K but there 
were eight hands up at that level! 
The no-longer really rare (quite an number have come on the auction 
block in the past few yrs) 1783 CCAUS Baker 57 silver George Washington 
medal sold for an astonishing $74,750 to Whitman's Anderson Bros. - 
Ford's two had sold for $19.5K and $35.6K total just a few years ago, 
Norweb's being equal to the lesser Ford specimen.  Norweb's 1792 Roman 
Head pattern sold for $132,250 total to dealer John Gervasoni where 
Ford's Unc (with a spot) sold for $32.2K in 2004. Norweb's Unc slabbed 
MS-64 1792 copper pattern "Getz" sold for $299K to Tony Terrranova  
whereas a similarly slabbed Ford Getz 1792 copper v. recently 
resold at auction by ANR for a bit over $100K. 

Norweb's copper 1792 Hancock pattern reached an astonishing $253K 
to dealer Stu Levine - Ford's silver had sold for $115K in 2004. 
And the Norweb George Washington gold skull & crossbones, 1 of 2 
known and the earliest (1882) documented Norweb Family numismatic 
possession, sold for $253K to  Stu Levine. 

Norweb's 1818 GW silver Chowder Club sold at $48.3K  where a 
markedly superior Ford Chowder Club in 2004 sold for only $12.65K 
in 2004. Somebody explain this to me! And there were downright silly 
results like a 20th Century matte finish GW Baker 91 mint gold 
restrike for $4,830! 
Finally, perhaps the most intriguing Norweb item - a copper "1794" 
GW "dollar" in the fashion of a legit 1794 silver dollar, 
optimistically anticipated to bring  $10K as a "cute toy" - sold 
with considerable floor bidding for a mind-numbing $46K - for a 
handmade fantasy!.
A comment about the Baltimore coin show following the Norweb auction: 
I've noticed this at previous Baltimore shows but as I entered the 
bourse room Friday and Saturday morning I noticed the huge volume 
of public attendance by collectors. I mean the show was busy! The 
aisles were crowded and collectors were there buying and selling. 
And, to boot, the bourse has expanded to the size of a FUN or ANA 
so it's not as if the attending crowd was in a small hall. Baltimore 
is clearly now the 3rd largest & busiest numismatic event in the U.S. 
I was thinking this hobby of ours has a good future!"


Speaking of the health of the hobby, today's issue of the Asbury 
Park Press profiles New Jersey numismatist Jim Majoros and his 
efforts with young numismatists:

"To Jim Majoros, coin collecting isn't just about the money. For 
more than a decade, the Toms River resident has made it his mission 
to bolster the ranks of the Ocean County Coin Club by introducing 
hundreds of youngsters to the hobby.

"I always say if we can get one of 100 kids to continue in the hobby, 
that's a good percentage," he said. "Hopefully the seed is planted, 
and they might come back to us when they get older."

"After spending 40 years in the Air Force and Air National Guard, 
Majoros retired in 1988. The last five years before his retirement 
he served as state executive officer for the Air National Guard."

"Majoros said he became interested in coin collecting after his 
uncle brought home coins he received while working at Monmouth 
Park Racetrack in Oceanport."

"It's a rewarding hobby," Majoros said. "A great bunch of people 
are involved, and there is camaraderie among them. Coin collecting 
is a great family activity."

To read the complete article, see:


The Hamilton Spectator of Hamilton, Ontario published a very 
interesting piece on November 6th about a British World War I 
medallion nicknamed "the Dead Man's Penny".

"The plaque, known as a dead man's penny, is propped up among 
military medals and black and white photos. But unlike the other 
mementoes, which represent bravery and honour, the heavy plaque 
-- made from gun metal -- represents loss.

It was even seen by some as an insult.

Evans' grandmother got the coaster-sized medal from the British 
government when her husband was killed during the First World War. 
Evans' grandfather was coming home to visit his family in December 
1916 when the ship he was on was torpedoed by the Germans, killing 
200 on board.

The plaque was meant as a token of gratitude for the sacrifice made 
by Evans' grandmother."

"But the plaques weren't appreciated by everyone because they 
resembled a British penny.

"It made it seem as though the British government saw a soldier's 
life as only worth a penny," Evans said.

Some families even returned the plaques to the king."

Evans only learned about the plaque's history recently when another 
one was found stuck to the face of a tombstone at the Hamilton 
Cemetery. It was found by the cemetery's tour guide, Robin McKee, 
who was thrilled because he knew how rare they were."

To read the complete article, see: 

Dick Johnson writes: "This is not a rare item. It is common in the 
British Empire as one was made for every military person who died 
in World War I. It is properly called a medallion even though it 
is uniface. It was made in 1919 and I cataloged it as "War Dead 
Memorial Medallion" in my auction sales but it may be called by 
other names in England.
I handled more than a dozen of them when I was an active medal 
dealer. They are 4 3/4-inch (12cm) and cast bronze. Interesting, 
they used an "insert die" to add the name in raised lettering of 
the military person who died in service. 
The insert die technology has been a subject among token and 
medal collectors here in the colonies recently. David Bowers had 
an article on the front page of Sept 28, 2006 Coin World and 
called this technology a "modular die." Token dealer Dick Grinolds 
replied October 2 that they were called "compound dies" or "slip 
dies" among token collectors. I wrote an editorial in the October 
23, 2006 Coin World stating these terms were incorrect. Medal 
manufacturers call this technology "insert dies" as an individual 
die (that fits in a cavity in the base die) has to be made for 
every piece made to effect the raised lettering of the names. 
(This is the same technology used for the Carnegie Hero Medals, 
subject of an article in the October 2006 Numismatist, p 50-53.) 
[Here again, the British may have yet another name for this 
technology; perhaps our English readers can enlighten us.]
The medallions display Britannia with trident offering a wreath 
with the British lion at her feet. The piece was designed by 
British sculptor E. Carter Preston. There are different numbers 
appearing on the pieces - I assumed this identified the mold 
number or the foundry which cast the piece.
They were indeed distributed to the families of the war dead 
(908,371 died in WWI) who undoubtedly kept these in their family 
until perhaps the third or later generation when they came on 
the market in increasing numbers. It was a $20-25 item two 
decades ago."


According for a November 11 article in the Belfast Telegraph, 
"The owner of the only Victoria Cross awarded to an Ulsterman in 
WW2 has paid tribute to the hero to whom it was awarded.

The rare medal of courage was awarded to Leading Seaman James 
Magennis for bravery in a submarine mission towards the end of 
the WW2.

Conservative Party deputy chairman Lord Michael Ashcroft bought 
the medal as the first part of his coveted collection of honours. 
In the past 20 years, he has collected 145 of the rare medals."

"It is understood the medal was sold by Magennis to Belfast 
dealer Joe Kavanagh for £75 in the 1950s when needed the cash.

It was later returned to him but, years later, the family put 
it up for auction."

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Lord Ashcroft ... said: 
"It started as a lifelong fascination. I was in awe of people who 
had performed heroic acts in the face of terrifying threats. What 
motivated them? Was most people's bravery premeditated or a spur 
of the moment response to the heat of battle? Then I discovered 
that VCs sometimes come up for sale."

To read the complete article, see:


A November 6th article in the New Zealand Herald describes the 
recent discovery of a rare error coin:  "It's not often paying 
$2170 for a little 20c coin is considered a bargain - except when 
it's one of about 15 of its kind in the world.
Peter Eccles, owner of the Downtown Coin Centre, said the 20c 
piece was minted on to the shape of a Hong Kong $2 coin by mistake 
in 1975, making it one of the rarest New Zealand coins in existence.
The coin was struck when the Royal Mint was making five million 
20c coins for New Zealand before it went on to strike 60 million 
of Hong Kong's new $2 coin, introduced that year.
It has the face of the New Zealand coin but the shape and 
distinctive scalloped edges of the Hong Kong one."
"The 1935 Waitangi Crown is NZ's most famous coin, Mr Eccles 
"They are worth about $6000 now. But this [$2170] would be a 
record price for a decimal coin that was introduced for 
circulation, rather than being a special collector's coin.
"So for a 20c coin, that is about 10,000 times its face value. 
But I'd say there are maybe only 10 to 15 of them around."

To read the complete article, see: 


While looking for other things I serendipitously stumbled across 
a numismatic reference to Horace Walpole (coiner of the word 
"serendipity"!).  An item about Walpole on the Twickenham Museum 
web site indicates that he adapted one of his most celebrated 
passages from Alexander Pope’s 1720 "Epistle To Mr Addison, 
occasioned by his Dialogues on Medals."

"Horace Walpole wrote to his cousin Henry Conway on 8 June 1747, 
shortly after he had taken possession of Strawberry Hill still 
known then as ’Chopped Straw Hall’. He described the place and 
the stream which ran through it in some detail as:

A small Euphrates through the piece is rold
And little finches wave their wings in gold.

(Note: Sometimes written as of gold when quoted by later writers.)

This romantic description, with its arcadian undertones, is often 
taken as an example of Walpole’s facility for elegant description. 
It is actually no more than an example of his tendency to plagiarise. 
Walpole did not write the lines himself: they were adapted from 
Alexander Pope’s Epistle To Mr Addison, occasioned by his Dialogues 
on Medals and first published in 1720. This poem is about the images 
of the departed Roman empire as depicted on ancient medals and coins: 

Con vinc’d, she now contracts her vast design
And all her triumphs shrink into a coin:

The lines used by Walpole were extracted from a passage commemorating
the conquests of various Caesars in the region of the Rhine, the 
Nile and the Euphrates Rivers: 

The Medal, faithful to its charge of fame,
Thro' climes and ages bears each form and name:

Although set in the letter in a fashion suggesting that they 
were a quotation, Walpole did not acknowledge that the lines 
were Pope’s, on a totally different subject. He needed, too, 
to alter what Pope had written, which was:

A small Euphrates through the piece is roll’d
And little Eagles wave their wings in gold.

without appreciating, or possibly caring, that Pope was 
describing military victories struck (roll’d) on a gold coin 
(piece), rather than a piece of land with its bird-life. Walpole 
then had to convert imperial Roman eagles into finches.

Later in the same letter Walpole wrote that Pope's ghost is just 
now skimming under the window by a most poetical moonlight.” Well 
he might!"

To read the complete web page, see:


Tom DeLorey writes: "On numismatic reproductions, let me present 
the following letter sent to me by Robert Bashlow back in 1976 to 
illustrate how the making of reproductions can get out of hand. He 
had visited the Coin World offices that Summer, and we had discussed 
the Confederate Cent restrikes. I just found this while looking 
for something else.
Dear Tom:
I can offer the following Confederate cent restrike items:
1. Large, heavy copper ingot into which the obv. & rev. dies were 
stamped. Out of the original issue of 100 numbered ingot (reverse 
stamped with the Aug. C. Frank name and emblem) I have 2 left -- 
nos. 34 and 99. They have minor spotting and no. 34 has some green 
corrosion on the side, which doesn't affect the obverse. Price 
is $85 each.
2. Set of trialpieces in original plastic holders. Only 50 pieces 
of each were struck. Red fibre, tin, zinc, lead, nickel-silver and 
aluminum. One set of 6 pcs.:  $240.
3. Experimental piece struck in 90-10 alloy. (The common "bronze" 
pieces were 95-5 and the "goldine" 85-15.) I believe that no more 
than 2 or 3 were ever made. This is the only one I have. Price: $75.
4. Experimental piece in single thickness, 90-10. I first intended 
to strike the regular production run at standard 1 cent thickness 
(approximately 50 thousandths of an inch). Due to fear that the 
Secret Service would seize the restrikes under the statutes 
forbidding "likenesses" of US coins to be passed, I decided to 
strike the production run on planchets 100/1000 inch thick. I have 
5 pcs. in single thickness in 90-10 alloy, priced at $75 each. I 
have one piece in single thickness in silver (I think only 2 or 
3 were struck), priced at $150.00.
5. Hub trialpieces, uniface. 50 obverses and 50 reverses were 
struck in bronze, and 50 and 50 in goldine, making a total of 
200 pcs. I have a set of 4 diff. for $160.00.  (= $40 per coin.)
Let me know if any of the above are interesting.
Yours sincerely,
Robert Bashlow"


New subscriber Russ Gordon of South Orange, NJ writes: "I was born 
and raised in South Africa, and in the late 80’s, my wife and I chose 
to emigrate to the USA. Up until that point, I’d not yet been infected 
by “Numismonia”. I had, however dabbled a little in Kruger Rands and 
South Africa Long Proof Sets, more from a need to counter rampant 
inflation in South Africa than from a numismatic standpoint.

We settled in Massachusetts, and were introduced to the concept of 
“Sunday Flea Markets” by a neighbor. There were many coin dealers 
present at this particular Flea Market, and what immediately grabbed 
my attention and made the penny drop (excuse the pun), was the ability 
to buy a piece of history and hold it in the palm of my hand for a 
very moderate price. 

I developed an immediate, smoldering and lasting love affair with 
Flying Eagles and Indian Head Cents, a love affair which prevails 
to this day. Some might even call it an obsession, but I am blessed 
with a very understanding wife! As my life has progressed, so has 
the size and quality of my accumulation, which is still limited to 
mainly Flying Eagles and Indian Head Cents. 

I have always prescribed to the belief that one should “read the 
book before buying the coin”. One of the many books I have bought 
and read is Rick Snow’s Red Book, “A Guide Book of Flying Eagle and 
Indian Head Cents”. On page x of the introduction to this book, 
Rick makes references David Bowers' book, “The Buyer’s and Enthusiasts 
Guide to Flying Eagle and Indian Cents”. In order to quench my thirst, 
and to drink from the fountain of knowledge, what better resource 
could there be? Try as I might, I just cannot locate a copy of this 
elusive book. Kind of like a search for the Holy Grail." 

[I did a quick search of some of my usual online book haunts and 
came up empty - I thought for sure I'd find several copies available 
for sale - thousands of copies were printed and sold.   Perhaps these 
just aren’t turning up in the secondary market yet.  If anyone can 
help Russ locate a copy, please let us know.  -Editor]


Dick Johnson writes: "The invitation came from my former instructor 
at a college course on genealogy. Now we see each other at a genealogy 
club formed from members of his classes on the subject. He knew of my 
interest in numismatics and I knew of his interest in the historical 
society in his city of Middlebury Connecticut. He is also the town 

Well, Middlebury is celebrating its bicentennial next year and of 
course Bob Rafford is on the bicentennial committee. He invited me 
to come speak before his committee on why they should issue a 
bicentennial medal. I arrived early and sat in on the committee 
meeting, hearing all the reports on their planned activities. 

Here was a group of stoic New Englanders having fun with their 
bicentennial celebrations. These ranged from a Winter Festival 
next month – where the major discussion was whether or not to 
rent a snowmaking machine – to a pageant on the history of the 
city scheduled for next September, then wind up the festivities 
for the actual October anniversary date.

I didn’t have a planned speech. When it was my turn to speak I 
commented on the long heritage that New England towns and cities 
have for issuing medals for their municipal anniversaries. I 
mentioned these were widely collected by numismatists and that 
there were even books on the subject, recalling the catalogs 
compiled by Robert Heath. (He compiled one for each of the six 
New England states with numerous revision editions.) 

I guess I warmed up to my subject answering committee members 
questions. Maybe I became passionate about the subject. Of course, 
they asked questions about costs. I answered "I am not a salesman." 
Whereby one lady committee member, commenting on my passion for 
the subject, blurted out, "Well you should be!"

Previous to the meeting I had learned that one of their members 
was a coin collector and his family had lived on their "farm" for 
the two hundred years they were celebrating. "Fenn’s Pond" is a 
Middlebury landmark on that property. I had asked him for a picture.

So I left the meeting with the trademark design they had created 
for their celebratory year and a picture of Fenn’s Pond. I’ll turn 
these over to one of the medalmakers in the area. So if you see a 
notice in the numismatic press of a bicentennial medal from 
Middlebury Connecticut next year you will know that it came from 
a group that was having a lot of fun celebrating their city's 
bicentennial. It may even show the pond on the family farm of a 
prominent local coin collector. Hey, people in New England 
celebrate things like that!"


According to a November 11 Associated Press report, "An absentee 
ballot was mailed with what may have been a rare stamp worth as 
much as $200,000 -- the famous Inverted Jenny -- but the envelope 
is in a box that by law can't be opened.

Broward County Commissioner John Rodstrom discovered the stamp 
while reviewing absentee ballots. There was no name on the envelope, 
so the vote didn't count.

What looked like a small stamp collection on one envelope caught 
Rodstrom's eye about 8 p.m. Tuesday. At least one was from 1936, 
Rodstrom said. Then he noticed one had an upside-down World War 
I-era airplane -- the hallmark of an Inverted Jenny."

"Elections officials will retain the ballot for 22 months, Jenny 
Nash, a spokeswoman for the Florida secretary of state's office, 
told The Associated Press. After that, any action is up to the 
county elections supervisor."

The 24-cent Jenny stamps were printed in 1918. Sheets were run 
through presses twice to process all the colors and on one pass, 
four went through backward. Inspectors caught the errors on three 
sheets and destroyed them, but somehow, a sheet of 100 stamps got 
through. Stamp collectors have spent 88 years trying to find them all."

To read the complete article, see: 


Gary Dunaier writes: "The "Kicking Wife's Protest" story reminded me 
of the tale of a poor soul cursed with a wife who carried out her 
disapproval of his stamp collecting to an extreme. As related by 
the legendary stamp dealer Herman Herst, Jr., it went something like 

>>>>> quoted material begins here
The customer was a doctor in Brooklyn. He needed a used single of 
[a very rare and expensive stamp] and asked me to send him one on 
approval. Since he was a good buyer over the years, always paying 
promptly and never complaining, I did not hesitate to submit one.

Back it came, promptly, torn in half, with a brief note from his 

"My husband has received strict orders from me. He is not going 
to buy any more stamps. I hope this teaches you a lesson."

Fortunately, his original letter had an office telephone number 
on it, and I was not long in calling him on the phone.

He thought that I was calling for not having sent the stamp. 
He said:

"My wife said that if she saw any more letters from stamp dealers 
she would open them and tear any stamps in the letter in half. 
I did not think she meant it."

He continued, "It has taught me a lesson. I am going to take a 
Post Office Box. I will give you the address as soon as I have it."

He did not stop buying stamps, and was decent enough to pay for 
the torn stamp. I asked if I might have it to keep as a souvenir 
of the stupid act of a wife jealous of her husband's hobby.

It does not happen often that one spouse denies the other the 
pleasure of a hobby. But when that couple finally breaks up, 
her forcing him to sneak additions to his collection via a Post 
Office Box will have been the start of it all. Happily, few of 
us are that dumb.
>>>>> end of quoted material


This week's featured web site is on the coins and banknotes of Vietnam and
French Indochina

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