The E-Sylum v9#47, November 19, 2006

esylum at esylum at
Sun Nov 19 21:24:14 PST 2006

Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 9, Number 47, November 19, 2006:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2006, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers are Don Hartman and Steve Bobbitt.  
Many of us know Steve as the former public relations director at 
the ANA (and husband of Numismatist editor Barbara Gregory). 
Welcome aboard!  We now have 999 subscribers.  

This week's issue brings us to the brink of the 1,000 subscriber 
mark, and several readers have offered suggestions and assistance 
for marking the occasion.  The issue opens with sad news, however 
- former Medallic Art Company president William Louth has passed away.

Several new books are discussed in this issue.  John and Nancy 
Wilson and David Gladfelter review Dave Bowers' new book on obsolete 
paper money, readers comment on the Tribute Edition Red Book, Krause 
Publications plans a new series of portable guides, and Jane Colvard 
reviews Douglas Mudd's new book, "All the Money in the World" 
(reprinted with permission from the ANA's Numismatist magazine).

I couldn't resist following up a bit on a short query from John 
Kraljevich, and managed to uncover some good information on an early 
ANS officer, Alexander Balmanno, and along the way discover a great 
online resource for numismatic research in the Brooklyn Eagle 
newspaper archive.  Other Internet resources mentioned this week 
include the Digital Librarian (a librarian's choice of the best of 
the Web), the Roman Provincial Coinage Online project at the 
Ashmolean Museum, and an online copy of Toda's classic work on 
Vietnamese cash coins.

In a rare event, we have a submission which arrived via the U.S. 
Postal Service from Joseph Lasser, whose numismatic mentor as a 
boy was none other than Julius Guttag!  Another rare event occurred 
this week when subscriber R.V. Dewey tracked me down by telephone 
to thank me for answering his earlier query on a lot in the 1954 
Farouk sale.  We bibliophiles are an odd bunch, taking pride in 
having obscure data close at hand.  Glad to help!

>From the numismatic museum desk we have a report on the Money Museum 
of the Central Bank of the Philippines, and discuss the great Coin 
World article on the opening of the Newman Money Museum.  Speaking 
of Coin World, the November 13 Coin World offers a new numismatic 
term (new to me, anyway).  Don Kagin's ad for "an offering of rare 
and unique assay & presentation ingots and bars from the Robert 
Bass collection" credits research by E-Sylum subscriber "Fred N. 
Holabird, Leading Ingotologist."

It's a whopper of an issue with other articles covering a new chapter 
to the story of Alexander the Great and his elephant medallions, the 
donation to a British museum of an extensive collection of war medals, 
and several other interesting subjects.  Read on to learn how coin 
tricks landed three Japanese magicians in jail, and why poor-quality 
banknotes are inciting fistfights in Kampala.  Have a great week, 

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


Bill Gassman writes: "Bill Louth's system gave up and he passed 
away on Friday, November 17. A memorial service will be held at 
the Brewster (MA) Baptist Church on Saturday, December 2 at 11 AM."

Just a few weeks ago Dick Johnson interviewed his old boss Bill 
Louth of Medallic Art Company and summarized the experience in an 
E-Sylum submission.  Louth had been on a first-name basis with most 
of the top sculptors and medalists of his day, several of whom 
designed U.S. coins, including James and Laura Fraser, Anthony 
DeFrancisci, John R. Sinnock and Gilroy Roberts.  We're very sorry 
to learn the news, yet quite grateful to Dick for making the effort 
to visit Louth and record his numismatic reminiscences.



Harry Waterson writes: "This is a response to the acquisition of 
subscriber #1000 and a suitable testimonial for the event. Attached 
is a picture of the Edward Grove medal for the Society of Medallists. 
It is #88 struck in 1973. It is called The Alphabet and I have always 
thought it appropriate for The E-Sylum and its readers and 

The reverse depicts a montage of the 26 letters of the alphabet 
with the size of each letter determined by its frequency of use in 
the English language. This is the springboard for a complicated yet 
elegant idea:

Determine the top 26 contributors to The E-Sylum from subscriber #1 
to #1000, size each name to reflect the amount of submissions published 
(the more submissions the larger the name) and then create a wallpaper 
of these different sized names. Here a clever graphic artist would 
be helpful. Then use this wallpaper as the background or watermark 
for all future editions of The E-Sylum. 

This background would need to be subdued enough so as not to distract 
from the legibility of the publication. When #2000 comes along, adjust 
the background appropriately or delete it completely for a better idea."

[This is an interesting concept.  I do like the Grove medal, and 
located a copy online for our readers to view. It's on the Medal 
Collectors of America (MCA) web site: 

Unfortunately, we don't have an accurate count of E-Sylum authors, 
although we all know who our current regular contributors are, 
starting with Dick Johnson.  A bigger problem is that The E-Sylum 
is a plain-text newsletter without graphics of any kind.  That was 
a conscious decision in the beginning, to keep the newsletter simple 
and the size small.  But at some point we could upgrade to an HTML 
format and incorporate some small graphics.  In any event, we could 
certainly do something at some point with the design and layout of 
the NBS web site.  I built it by hand years ago and it's never been 
given a real facelift.  -Editor]

Warner Talso writes: "Recognition is mandatory.  I suggest a FREE 
lifetime subscription to E-Sylum"   [I thought that was my joke.  
E-Sylum subscriptions are already free to all. -Editor]

Dick Johnson writes: "Subscriber #1000 should be rewarded with ... 
a numismatic book (or books) - after all, this is a newsletter for 
numismatic book lovers.  If enough subscribers donated a buck they 
could pick and choose the book they want the most.  Or donate a 
duplicate book.
I'll start the ball rolling. I'll donate both.  How about it, 
E-Sylum subscribers! Haven't you learned at least a dollar's worth 
of numismatic information from reading this weekly newsletter?  

While we are at it, why not donate something to Wayne himself? After 
all, he has earned it -- putting out The E-Sylum weekly for all these 
years! He has done a lot of work for our pleasure, and not made a cent 
from this ongoing project. We have all gotten a free ride all these 
years.  Wayne deserves a little "thank you" gift.  Send a buck, a 
couple books, or both!

[Well, I did make my first 74 cents last month, when Google made a 
test deposit in my checking account for the revenues from Google 
ads on our web site.  By prior arrangement NBS and I will each get 
a cut, and if he'll let us we'll also reimburse John Nebel for web 
site hosting, which he's been doing for free in addition to his 
volunteer programming.   In November Google revenues were between 
two and six dollars a day, so no one is likely to get rich on this.  
If anyone cares to contribute, please email me first.  -Editor]

Canadian Numismatic Association E-Bulletin editor John Regitko writes: 
"When the C.N.A. reached milestones in its sale of correspondence 
courses, we gave the individuals an honorary one-year membership in 
the CNA, as well as publicity in the CNA Journal, CNA E-Bulletin and 
Canadian Coin News.

As a believer that you should always put your money where your mouth 
is, Chuck Moore (C.N.A. President) and Paul Johnson (C.N.A. Executive 
Secretary) have agreed that we should do something for the 1000th 
subscriber to the E-Sylum.

We are pleased to offer a one-year membership in the C.N.A. (a US$35 
value) as well as a copy of the “bible” on Canadian coin grading (a 
CDN$29.95 value), including shipping charges.

We are also issuing a challenge to have the national groups (i.e. ANA) 
and regional groups (i.e. FUN, Michigan State, Ohio State, etc.) and 
everybody else to match our offer.

I hope that you and the existing recipients of the bulletin understand 
that it is not just the prizes, but I think that if it is “worthwhile”
enough we can get publicity for the E-Sylum and the Numismatic 
Bibliomania Society in every bulletin issued by those that contribute 
a prize. I will certainly ”play it up” in the C.N.A. E-Bulletin."

Bob Neale writes: "At the least, get the milestone event featured in 
the other numismatic press, Coin World, Numismatic News, Numismatist, 
Ban Note Reporter, etc. Maybe those pubs will offer subscriptions to 
the holder of #1000! Congratulations on maintaining a terrific emag. 
I really don't know how you manage, but I sure hope you'll be able to 
keep it up."
[It'll be up to the editors of those publications if they choose to 
cover the event.  It may not be deemed newsworthy, but we can still 
break out the hats and hooters and have our own little party.  I do 
know the ANA plans to publish a short item on us in an upcoming 
Numismatist issue.  -Editor]

Dave Kellogg writes: "Subscriber #1,000 probably won't care to have 
his or her name emblazoned in caps or any other special treatment. 
Their reward is receiving the E-Sylum - again and again!   What is 
really important is to recognize our editor who has produced so many 
fine editions for so long, with such consistency and in such an 
upbeat fashion.

All of us should be thinking, "What can we do for YOU?" Here's a 
start: We could all send a note of congratulations to Wayne.  A 
thousand notes of praise would be a wonderful legacy to show his 
grandchildren (at some distant time)."

[I get nice notes all the time from our readers, and all are greatly 
appreciated.  Knowing how well this newsletter is received helps keep 
me going each week.  It's past midnight here, and I should have 
called it a night long ago.  One thing readers could do is write an 
occasional letter to the editors of their favorite numismatic periodicals 
or club journals to acknowledge and promote the benefits of E-Sylum 
subscriptions and NBS membership.  -Editor]

Howard A. Daniel III writes: "One of the primary factors for me in 
numismatics is the brotherhood and sisterhood that is prevalent in it.  
It used to be the same in the American Numismatic Association 
headquarters but I am seeing less and less of it on almost a monthly 
basis.  I still have a couple of "brothers" and "sisters" at the 
headquarters but the ranks are quickly thinning out.  Why?

I went to the ANA Representative Program meeting at the recent Denver 
ANA to pick up an award for the editor of The E-Sylum, if someone else 
did not show up.  The other person showed up to accept the award and 
he passed it on to me to bring back to Virginia.  But I stayed at the 
meeting and listened to the head table at the meeting telling the 
audience how they misunderstood or did not correctly interpret the 
changes in the program.  Person after person spoke to the head table 
that they completely understand but the head table over and over again 
said that they did not.  The disconnect was VERY profound!!

It was so bad that I also spoke, even though I am not part of the 
program.  I went into my standard talk about my finding the great 
majority of numismatists to be great people.  Not good, but great!  
And that I volunteer at the conventions and shows because I want to 
find young and new numismatists to bring into our ranks.  And that 
the people in the program know what is going right and wrong and did 
not need a lawyer and lawyer-written forms to define it for them.  
And if the brotherhood and sisterhood in numismatics is replaced 
with legal relationships, we have lost the ANA to the lawyers.

I think the ANA Board of Directors should privately interview all 
of the staffers, one by one, to find the source(s) of the problems 
plaguing the headquarters.  I believe ALL employees, including the 
Executive Director, should be numismatists, historians, librarians 
or related fields, or show a strong interest in the fields BEFORE 
they are hired, like the recently dismissed librarian and historian, 
David Sklow.

I will strongly support and campaign for anyone who will run for 
any ANA office who will bring the ANA back into the brotherhood and 
sisterhood of numismatics.  Maybe I should run myself.  Hmmmmm."

NBS Board member Joel Orosz writes: “I'm utterly appalled by the 
implosion of the ANA.  I don't know what is more ghastly, the 
Nixonian paranoia and utter flouting of nonprofit good practice of 
the Executive Director, or the Board of Governors' inaction in 
response.  If DeLorey is right, and the Board is contemplating a 
five year contract extension, there may be little left before that 
time is up.  It’s sad -- I can hear the shade of George Heath 
weeping all the way over on the other side of the state, in Monroe.”

[We embarked on this topic with the news of the ANA Librarian's 
dismissal.  To keep our focus on numismatics itself, we should 
veer away from organization politics, keeping in mind our many 
readers beyond the U.S. borders and others with little interest 
in the organization. 

However, our common interest in numismatics, history and research 
can and probably should color the votes of the ANA members among 
our number.  While I wouldn't go as far as Howard in requiring a 
hobby interest or background for all employees, I do think his 
proposal will resonate with many of us here, and would encourage 
E-Sylum readers with strong convictions to consider running for 
a board position or applying for an open headquarters position.  

I do know of at least two E-Sylumites planning to run: Wendell 
Wolka and John Eshbach.  Both are solid numismatists and hard 
workers for the hobby, as is Howard. 

ANA members who wish to contact the present board can do so 
directly via email - their addresses (and some phone numbers) 
are listed on the ANA web site:

William H. Horton Jr.   williamhortonjr at
Barry Stuppler		barry at 
M. Remy Bourne		remybourne at 
Brian E. Fanton		brianfanton_govana at 
Michael Fey			Feyms at 
Patricia Jagger Finner	pfinner at 
Prue Morgan Fitts		WINPRUE at 
Alan Herbert		Answerman2 at
Donald H. Kagin 		Don at         

Now back to our regular programming. -Editor]


Fred Lake writes: "The prices realized list for sale #86 which 
closed on November 14, 2006 is now available for viewing on our 
web site at:
The sale was very active with strong prices in many areas.  
Click on the link marked "2006" and you will find sale #86 at 
the end of that year."

In today's issue of the JR Newsletter (edited by William Luebke), 
W. David Perkins writes: "As mentioned in a previous issue of JR News, 
a large run of back issues of the John Reich Journal was being offered 
in Fred Lake’s Eighty-Sixth Mail Bid Sale of Numismatic Literature.  
The sale closed November 14, 2006.  I spoke with Fred on the phone 
after the sale was closed.  Quoting Fred, “bidders were tripping all 
over themselves to bid on the Journal issues.  There were a couple 
of dozen bidders in all for these issues!”  In particular, JRJ Volume I 
/ Number 1 had many bidders “going crazy on the phone” before it 
finally hammered for $99.00!    

Interestingly, I mentioned this price realized to Brad Karoleff, 
Editor of the Journal.  Brad did not display the same surprise that 
I did upon seeing the price realized for the first issue; he mentioned 
that he has paid around $100 on two occasions for a copy of this first 
issue of the Journal!  I hope this doesn’t mean that we all have to 
now keep our copy of Volume I / Number 1 in our safe deposit boxes!  
Personally, I refer to my set of the Journal regularly.   

Realizing $83.00 each were Volume 3 / Number 2/3; Volume 4 / Number 2; 
Volume 4 / Number 3; and Volume 7 / Number 2.   Three issues realized 
$43.00 each:  Volume 1 / Number 2; Volume 2 / Number 3; and Volume 3 / 
Number 1.  Three issues realized $27.00 each and one other issue 
realized $25.00." 


John and Nancy Wilson submitted the following review of the new book 
"Obsolete Paper Money Issued by Banks in the United States 1872-1866" 
by Q. David Bowers: 

"Obsolete American paper money is covered accurately and intensively 
from the first note in 1690 through the end of the Civil War. It also 
manages to touch on items such as wampum, encased postage stamps, 
Confederate currency and others. Q. David Bowers has again authored 
a comprehensive and fascinating account of an interesting, but until 
recently neglected area of numismatics. 

Many interesting facets of paper money are covered in detail with 
the complete story behind the event. In the 608 pages people like 
Jacob Perkins and Abner Reed have their numismatic stories told in 
detail. Periods in time such as the age of elegance, Hard Times, 
the golden era of the 1859s, and others are explained in detail. 

Mr. Bowers in his unique fascinating writing style discusses how to 
collect obsolete notes and gives a short explanation on the elements 
of bank notes and how to read and understand the standard reference 
works on the subject. Extensive general information about collecting 
obsolete bank notes is also provided. 

We recommend this book for all numismatists, both beginning and 
advanced and believe all will learn much about paper money.  This 
interesting and fascinating reference is available in a hard bound 
and special leather bound edition.  The publisher of the book can 
be reached at:  Whitman Publishing, LLC, 3101 Clairmont Road, Suite C,
Atlanta, GA 30329, Phone No. (800) 546-2995 Email 
info at"

To purchase the book via Whitman's web site,

David Gladfelter adds: "Q. David Bowers's new book on obsolete paper 
money came out this week. It's a delight to browse, thoroughly 
researched, well illustrated in color and black & white, and with 
an introduction by Eric P. Newman that sets the scene for the huge 
quantities and varieties of notes placed in the stream of commerce 
by our state-chartered banking institutions during the 85-year 
period of their circulation. 

The chapters proceed chronologically and historically, with a 
concluding chapter on the recently released American Bank Note 
Company archive of printing plates and transfer dies that is coming 
onto the numismatic market through a series of auctions by his firm, 
beginning last August and likely continuing for several more years. 
Look for this book, it is one of his best if not the best. He 
generously credits the many who helped him do it."


Gary Dunaier writes: "As a follow-up to my comments in last week's 
E-Sylum, someone at Whitman must be spying on my outgoing e-mail!  
A few days after I sent my note to you, I received an e-mail from 
Whitman (I'm on their mailing list) announcing the Tribute Edition.  
A couple of points of interest:

As shown in the e-mail (and on the website - yes, it's now listed), 
there's a sunburst sticker with the text, "Exact replica of the very 
first RED BOOK!  The hobby's best selling guide," which leads me to 
believe this will be sold in retail stores as well (Borders, Barnes 
and Noble, &c.).  I was presuming this would be a hobby-only product, 
because I couldn't see it appealing to the mass market, but you never 

To view the Whitman web page for the Red Book reprint, see: 



[The image of the "exact replica" book on the Whitman page looks so 
much like an original edition was hard to believe.  The image is of 
a typical lightly worn and used copy with some fading of the gilt 
lettering, light marks, and a slightly wavy spine.  The sticker looks 
one-dimensional, as if it were added in Photoshop to an image of an 
actual first edition rather than applied physically to a book before 
photographing. So I contacted Whitman and their reply is below. 

Dennis Tucker of Whitman Publishing writes: "Yes, the 1947 Tribute 
Edition Red Book will be marketed as broadly as the regular Red Book 
--- at Borders, Barnes and Noble, Books-a-Million, Amazon, etc., 
basically anywhere you might find the regular annual edition.
The dustjacket art of the Tribute Edition recreates an actual copy 
of the 1947 book. That's what you see on the web site and in our 
advertisements. When the dustjacket is removed, the book's cover 
also reproduces the original, as does the interior paper, and the 

It's interesting... of all our recent books, I think only the 
Cherrypickers' Guide has created more advance buzz than this 
Tribute Edition Red Book! Advance sales have been very strong."

[Aha!  Another first - a Red Book with a dust jacket!  Great idea 
for the cover art!  The folks at Whitman have put a lot of thought 
into this - the book should be a popular holiday gift item for 
collectors.  -Editor]

Kenneth Bressett (current editor of the Red Book) writes: "I was 
another one of the old timers who got a copy of the first edition 
Red Book the year it was published. My wife-to-be gave it to me as 
a gift because she knew I had an interest in coins. Over the past 
60 years I never lost my interest in the hobby, or in her.

The publisher of the commemorative edition asked me to autograph 
them because it was too challenging to bring Dick Yeoman back to 
do it."

To purchase the book via Whitman's web site, see: 

[When I suggested that my club buy some copies of the new first 
edition Red Book Tribute Edition to give away at our meetings for 
kids, our President promptly declared the book "stupid."   I thought 
it would be a good way to teach the kids some hobby history and 
introduce the investment potential.  But republishing a fifty-year 
old book had no appeal whatsoever to a dealer concerned with the 
here and now.  Oh, well - we bibliophiles are used to being out 
of step with the rest of the world.

However, I did hear extensive praise for Whitman's Red Book series 
of new guides on specialized topics.  The compact, affordable volumes 
pack a tremendous amount of information into an easily portable 
package.  The dealer said that all except the guide to Proof Sets 
have been big sellers for them.

The trend toward a larger number of smaller inexpensive references 
continues with Krause Publications' new series.  I think these will 
be a welcome addition to the bourse room floor.  Who wants to 
carry a telephone book around all day?  

(Of course, our younger readers may not even know what a telephone 
book is, any more than they understand what "sounding like a broken 
record" means). -Editor]


According to the company's press release, "Krause Publications 
introduces the KP Official Guide series, a new 6 x 9-inch, $24.99 
reference series offering more than 5,000 photos, 600 pages and 
up-to-date price listings in each book. The first book in the series 
will be published in the Fall 2006 book season, “KP Official Guide 
to Coins of Northern Europe & Russia” edited by George S. Cuhaj and 
Thomas Michael. They will also edit the second book in the series 
available Fall 2007, “KP Official Guide to Coins of Asia, Australia 
and the Pacific Rim.”

The KP Official Guide series offers a highly illustrated, affordable, 
portable package for those collectors on-the-go. Most of the information 
is pulled from the much larger and in-depth full-size desk references 
and updated. Listings offer common dates for circulating and collector 
coins of the region, as well as current pricing. The pieces found in 
the books are those most commonly seen at auctions and other selling 

“KP Official Guide to Coins of Northern Europe & Russia” will be 
available in Nov. from major bookstores, online sellers and from 
Krause Publications (800-258-0929 or"


Jane L. Colvard's Bookmarks column in the latest Numismatist reviews 
a new book by ANA Money Museum Curator Douglas Mudd: All the Money 
in the World: The Art and History of Paper Money and Coins from 
Antiquity to the 21st Century.  With permission, here are some 
excerpts from the review. (Many thanks to Marilyn Reback for 
forwarding the text):

"Beginning with the origins of money, the book moves forward through 
time and geography, encompassing monetary issues from all major 
societies. While the book’s images (photographed by Mudd) are 
spectacular, the most captivating aspect of the work, and what 
places it above many numismatic publications, is that Mudd does not 
simply describe the money pictured, but explores each item as a medium 
of propaganda; and examines the meaning of symbols, legends and mottos 
and what these visuals relay, whether purposeful or not, about a 
particular society at the time the money was produced. 

That Mudd is able to effectively carry this thesis from ancient times 
to the present and from empire to nation speaks highly of his knowledge 
and deep understanding of world history, global society and the role 
of money far beyond the transactional norm. The 175-page, hardbound 
book, which was published in collaboration with the Smithsonian 
Institution, is available through the ANA MoneyMarket at 
for the member price of $22.95, plus shipping and handling." 


Brian Koller writes: "I am a Heritage cataloger researching a 
consigned Gem proof 1852/1 $20 Humbert for the 2007 FUN auction. 
John J. Ford, Jr. apparently had Superior catalog the piece in two 
sales (10/1990 and 10/1992) as originating from the John Grover 
Kellogg estate, appearing in a Thomas L. Elder auction of 10/27-28/1916, 
lot 742. This auction is described by John W. Adams as "Gem territorial 
gold from the Kellogg collection." In its Ford auction appearance 
(Stack's, 5/2004, lot 363), the cataloger didn't reference the 
Kellogg-Elder pedigree.

My question is, is lot 742 plated in the 10/27/1916 Elder catalog? 
And if it is, does it match the images for the piece I am researching? 
Any help your readers can give would be appreciated. The images are 
found at: 


John Kraljevich writes: "I bought a very cool catalog in Charlie 
Davis' last sale -- a priced and named copy of the Fewsmith sale 
that belonged to Alexander Balmanno. Balmanno was apparently a 
pretty important collector (I believe there are four or so 
Attinelli-listed sales with his name on them), but little seems 
to be known about him today. I wonder if more of his library survives 
or if this is a singleton?"

[Do any of our readers have ex-Balmanno items in their numismatic 
libraries?  Or know of such items offered in earlier literature 
sales?  I asked George Kolbe, who found but one reference to Balmanno 
in his sales - lot 284 in sale #91.  Balmanno's 1884 pencil autograph 
is on a leaf preceding the title of a 1746 work by Thomas, Earl of 
Pembrooke, ex libris American Numismatic Society.

A quick web search turned up a number of facts on Balmanno.  The 
American Numismatic Society web site notes that he served as First 
Vice President of the ANS 1879-80, but the real trove of data lies 
in his obituary from the Brooklyn Eagle, January 20, 1902:

"Alexander Balmanno, one of the best known antiquarians in Brooklyn, 
died yesterday at his late home, 184 Fourteenth street, in the 
seventy-second year of his age. He was born in Geneva, this state, 
but spent the greater part of his life in Brooklyn and being a 
builder and contractor was largely instrumental in developing the 
section of South Brooklyn which he always made his home. 

He was of distinguished Scottish descent, his father, Robert Balmanno, 
being a noted Scottish historian and the friend of Lamb and Hood, 
while his mother, Mary Balmanno, was a gifted Scottish writer, the 
author of “Shakespeare’s Heroines” and “Evenings With Lamb and Hood.” 

Mr. Balmanno was one of the founders and long an honorary member of 
the American Numismatic and Archaeological Society and it is said 
that his collection of Greek and Roman coins was the most valuable 
ever gotten together in this country. It was purchased by the British 
Museum. He was also a studious collector of Long Island Indian relics 
and curiosities and his opinions in the general field of numismatics 
and archaeology were regarded as of the highest authority. 

At the outbreak of the Civil War Mr. Balmanno enlisted in the 
Seventy-first Regiment and served with distinguished bravery. He 
was also in his younger days assistant foreman of Engine No. 22 in 
the Volunteer Fire Department. 

His social affiliations were mainly with his Scottish compatriots 
and he was chief of the Caledonian Club and a member of the Clan 
MacDonald of the Scottish clans. 

Mr. Balmanno was a remarkably well preserved man and up to recently 
was very fond of outdoor sports, having just completed a fine yacht. 
He leaves a widow and seven grown children, four sons and three 
daughters. The funeral will be private." 

Although the obituary states Balmanno was a founder of the ANAS, his 
name does not appear in the index of Howard Adelson's centennial 
history, "The American Numismatic Society 1858-1958", and in reviewing 
the first few chapters I could not locate his name.  I contacted the 
ANS for more information - see below. Balmanno was not a founder of 
the ANS as his obituary states, but was indeed quite involved in the 
early days. -Editor]

ANS Archivist Joe Ciccone writes: "I’ve had a chance to check the 
records here in the Archives. While we do not have additional 
biographical information, such as is contained in Balmanno’s obituary, 
we do have a good bit of information on his role with the ANS. 
In brief:

Balmanno joined the ANS in December 1874 and remained a member until 
his death in 1902. From 1876-1880 he served as an ANS vice president, 
initially  as Third Vice President from 1876-1879 and then as First 
Vice President from 1879-1880. (At the time, one’s ranking as either 
First, Second or Third Vice President was determined based on the 
number of votes one received, with the person who received the most 
votes being named First Vice President, and so forth.) 

While serving as a vice president from 1876-1880, Balmanno also 
served on the ANS Executive Committee, which was the forerunner to 
the ANS Council and today’s Board of Trustees. 

Balmanno read a number of papers at membership meetings. The first 
such paper appears to be “The Coins in the Castillani Collection.” 
This actually became one of the first such papers that the ANS 
published. (This was before the ANS began publishing its Annual 


As a side note to the above article, Joe Ciccone writes: The 
Brooklyn Eagle you reference is actually a great resource for 
more than just information on Balmanno. An archivist colleague 
of mine at the Brooklyn Public Library developed the system, 
which now contains text-searchable copies of the Brooklyn Eagle 
from 1850-1900. The Eagle was Brooklyn’s most widely circulated 
paper at the time.  I’ve found it to be a terrific resource when 
I want to get certain types of information, such as biographical 
information on someone who living and/or worked in Brooklyn. 
Just as important — it’s free!  The URL to the Brooklyn Eagle 
Online is:"

[I entered a few queries into the site and found it very useful. 
"Specie Panic" located the full text of a July 10, 1862 article 
on the Civil War coin shortage.  "John Gault" found several 
references to the inventor of U.S. Encased Postage Stamps, such 
as an article which listed him as a mourner at the 1882 funeral 
of Cornelius J. Vanderbilt, inheritor of part of his father's 
vast fortune.  They just don't write newspapers like they used to.  
The article opens: "Hundreds of women bestirred and fully toileted 
themselves earlier than usual this morning and hastened from all 
parts of the city to the Church of the Strangers..."

The Brooklyn Eagle archive is useful not just for New York-area 
information but for national topics as well.  For example, "United 
States Mint" generates quite a number of articles, including a July 
2, 1885 report about a missing $1 million in bullion at the New 
Orleans Mint, and an August 11, 1901 report on the arrest of Walter 
Dimmick, former chief clerk of the San Francisco Mint for the theft 
of $30,000 in gold.  

In other crime news, a September 21, 1858 article tells the story 
of the "desperate attempt of a robber of the U.S. Mint to escape."  
James Moore, under arrest for sealing several slugs of gold, was 
being transported by train when he asked to go to the water closet, 
where he crawled through the window and leapt from the train.  He 
didn't land gracefully and was soon picked up by the authorities.

A brief item from December 2, 1852 notes: "A few days since a 
deposite was made at the United States Mint, of gold dust from 
Australia, the first, we believe, that has been convered there 

A June 1, 1867 article notes that "Nickel cents are being 
purchased at the United States Mint. Only those from 1857 to 1864 
will be received.  The purpose is the reduction of the excessive 
circulation of nickels, and the distribution of three and five cent 
pieces, in which coins payment will be made."

On March 11, 1896, an article began "The Goddess of Liberty is going 
to enter the holy bonds of matrimony.  Not the ideal goddess, but the 
one whose face adorns the silver dollars turned out by the United 
States Mint.  In private life she is Miss Anna Willeas Williams, and 
she is a Philadelphia school teacher."

This is a marvelous online tool for research on U.S. numismatics.  
As I've pointed out before, there is a huge amount of numismatic 
information waiting to be uncovered in historical newspapers.  The 
era of painstakingly hand-searching through bound volumes or 
scrolling through microfilms is gradually coming to an end as more 
and more institutions digitize collections such as these.  (Gawd, 
technology makes me feel older every day!)  Check out the site and 
enter your own favorite queries!


Regarding last week's featured website (, 
Dave Kellogg writes: "I know of a related website that I could not 
reach through the link above.  It is an on-line copy of Ed Toda's book 
(1882) on ancient Annamese (Vietnamese) cash coins.  It contains an 
interesting coin identifier feature which is a huge help for those of 
us who are marginally illiterate with Chinese characters.  Here it is:" 
[The book is titled ANNAM AND ITS MINOR CURRENCY.  From the web page: 
"This book written over 100 years ago still remains the main reference 
for all collectors of Vietnamese cash coins."  -Editor]

Dave adds: "That web page statement, "remains the main reference", is 
a bit of an exaggeration.  That would have been true a couple of years 
ago if it said, "in English".  There are some French references with 
an excellent reputation.  Then, in 2004 Barker published Part 1 of 
what will undoubtedly become the definitive English reference.  
Nevertheless, Toda's on-line copy is still really helpful, and readers 
should know of it.  Perhaps, it is still the main reference in that 
more people have access to it."


The Ashmolean Museum at Oxford University recently launched Roman 
Provincial Coinage Online, one of the largest collections of ancient 
coin images and related inscriptions.

"The aim of the Roman Provincial Coinage series is to produce a 
standard typology of the provincial coinage of the Roman Empire 
from its beginning in 44 BC to its end in AD 296/7. The current 
Roman Provincial Coinage Online project is confined to the Antonine 
period (AD 138–192), but it is intended that it will form a model 
for putting other periods online in the future.

The database is based on the ten most important and accessible 
collections in the world, and on all published material. It comprises 
one of the largest collections of images and related inscriptions 
from the ancient world which is searchable by iconography, place, 
and time.

The database contains information on 13,730 coin types, based on 
46,725 specimens (9,061 of which have images)." 


In response to Robert Rightmire's quest for information on the Guttag 
Brothers, Joseph R. Lasser of White Plains, NY wrote to me via "snail 
mail" in a letter dated October 7, 2006.   Sorry for the delay - the 
letter was forwarded by the post office from my old address and 
arrived shortly before our recent vacation.  I forwarded a copy of 
the letter to Robert and will publish some excerpts here.  Joe grew 
up near Julius Guttag's home in New Rochelle, NY.  He writes:

"Julius was the numismatist and he was my first teacher in the field 
of coins... If I had been a 'satisfactory' child during the week, I 
was privileged to visit Julius at his home on Sunday and carry the 
trays of coins Julius was studying from the second floor tower and 
safe to Julius' first floor study. It necessarily was a slow and 
precise trip.

Notes would be taken; coins would be described and I, the 11-12 
year old student, would be enriched by Mr. Guttag's knowledge.  
He was extremely strong in Latin American material and the catalogue 
of his collection still is a worthwhile resource."

"I bought American commemorative halves and Latin American cobs 
from them in forming my first collection (which was liquidated to 
partially cover my college tuition)."

"Julius was very active in the Westchester Coin Club which included 
Bill Dewey, Harry Stein, Martin Kortjohn, Otto Sghia and other 
significant numismatists of the 1920s and 1930s.  I was too young 
to join, so my father became a member."

[Many thanks to Joe for sharing his reminiscences.  Joe also responded 
to Phil Mernick's earlier request for data on coins found on the British 
navy ship Feversham, which sunk off the coast of Nova Scotia in 1711.  
I've put the two in touch. 

We've discussed former ANA librarian Bill Dewey before; can any of 
our readers provide more background on the Westchester club and its 
other members? -Editor]


Churchill!  Steve Woodland forwarded an email message sent by the 
Royal Canadian Mint to those who voted on names for the bear on the 
Canadian $2 coin (or "toonie").  Links to previous E-Sylum articles 
on the topic are below.

"Well, the polls are closed and the results are in! It's been an 
exciting few weeks, hasn't it? Now, after ten years of being ‘that 
handsome polar bear on Canada's Toonie,' I finally have a name – 
thanks to you! Churchill is really cool and I am so proud to share 
the name with such an amazing Canadian city. It's the best birthday 
present ever! 

Did you know you were one of 166,635 people who voted to give me a 
name? It was a pretty close race between Churchill and Wilbert. In 
fact, near the end, I wasn't sure who I was going to be!"




According to news reports this week, "Canadians begin seeing a 
new-look $5 bill in their wallets on Wednesday — the latest Bank 
of Canada note to thwart counterfeiters.

The revamped $5 bill is the last in the series of bank notes to 
get a security upgrade."

As with Canada's larger denominations, the new $5 bill has several 
features meant to discourage forgeries, including: a holographic 
stripe, watermarked portrait, windowed color-shifting thread and 
a see-through number. 
To read the complete article, see: 


In his Paper Profiles column in the January 2007 Coins magazine, 
Fred Reed offers a suggestion for the U.S. Treasury department 
in their coming redesign of the $5 bill.  He writes: "As collectors 
we should want the BEST designs for our nation's currency.  So 
instead of just recreating the present Lincoln $5 image in a more 
animated format (larger, unbounded portrait), let's choose the model 
that most viewers, including Lincoln's associates, consider THE 
outstanding Lincoln image.

This is the so-called "Gettysburg Lincoln" taken by photographic 
artist Alexander Gardner Sunday, Nov. 8, 1863, a few days before 
Lincoln's famous speech at the battlefield cemetery dedication.  
Many consider Lincoln's brief remarks to be his most famous oration.  
And its sober "dedicated to the proposition that all men are created 
equal" message is certainly one of the most quoted refrains of all 

[Hear, hear!  This is a fine idea, but I wonder how best to communicate 
it to the powers that be?  With no Bureau of Engraving and Printing 
counterpart of the U.S. Mint's Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee, 
how best can this thought be communicated?

The cemetery was dedicated on November 19, 1863. The main speaker 
for the event was Edward Everett, one of the nation’s foremost orators. 
Everett spoke for more than two hours; Lincoln spoke for two minutes. 
Although Lincoln initially expressed disappointment in his speech, it 
has come to be regarded as one of the most elegant and eloquent 
speeches in U.S. history.

Library of Congress Gettysburg Address page: 

To read the full text of Lincoln's address, see: 

To subscribe to Coins, see 



A November 12th article in the Asian Journal describes a recent 
coin shortage in the Philippines, but notes that coins seem to be 
returning to circulation.  The article also mentions the counterfeit 
coins we discussed last month in The E-Sylum:

"The recent call of the Central Bank of the Philippines for the 
public to still circulate the coins seems to have worked. Previously, 
store-owners round the purchases to the nearest peso, not giving 25 
to 50 centavo change. Now, I have an abundance of coins, not just the 
25 or 50 centavo coins, but also 1, 5 and 10 peso coins as well. Yes, 
Apolinario Mabini (the hero on the 10-peso bill) has retired and is 
now a coin.

For the past weeks prior to my travel to Manila, news about fake 
coins took the limelight. Apparently, millions of pesos worth of 
coins were produced (officials are not sure how much of this amount 
was circulated to the public) and some found their way to the pockets 
of the working public.

Apparently, one needs a magnet to check if coins being given as loose 
change are fake. If they are real, they won't get magnetized, but if 
that shiny 10-peso coin gets stuck with your magnet, that's a hundred 
percent chance that it's fake."

To read the complete article, see: 



The Asian Journal article goes on to describe a numismatic museum in 
that country:  "How appropriate then that our tour guides from the 
Department of Tourism brought us to the Money Museum of the Central 
Bank of the Philippines. The museum, now called the Mueso ng Bangko 
Sentral ng Pilipinas, is a numismatist's haven."

"The Money Museum was established in 1974 and showcases the Central 
Bank's collection of currencies, among other things. It also traces 
the history of the currency, from the lowly cowry shells to what we 
now know was our Philippine coins.

The museum is a repository and custodian of the country's numismatic 
heritage, with a vast collection of coins, paper notes, medals, 
artifacts and monetary items found in the Philippines during its 
different historical periods." 

To read the complete article, see:  

To view the bank's online museum, see: 


The November 13 issue of Coin World featured a nice front-page article 
by Jeff Starck on the new Newman Money Museum in St. Louis.  The 
article includes some references to earlier E-Sylum submissions by 
Eric.  I was pleased to learn in the article that the Museum has its 
own informational web site with visiting hours and background on the 
various exhibits.  The "Story Behind the Stories Inside" page recounts 
the beginning of the collection in 1918, when Eric was seven years 
old.  Check out the photo of Eric with his father, Samuel.

As we enter the holiday season, the Coin World photo of the 95-year-old 
bow-tied Eric in the Museum's library brings to mind Clarence the Angel 
in Frank Capra's classic Christmas film, "It's a Wonderful Life."  Did
I just hear a bell ring?  Take a bow, Eric - you've earned your wings.

To visit the Newman Money Museum web site, see: 


Any numismatic museum covering the span of money through history 
wouldn't be up to date without a section on credit cards.  A number 
of numismatic collections include these as a sideline, and obsolete 
credit cards are fast becoming a mainstream collectible in their own 
right.  A November 15th Wall Street Journal article discusses a number 
of new credit card styles and formats designed to "jazz up" their 
appeal with consumers.  These newfangled cards will make interesting 
collectibles in the future (and hasten the obsolescence of the "dowdy" 
cards we take for granted today.  Some are coated with a new type of 
plastic which mimics the feltlike feel of a tennis ball or the seam 
of a football.  One maker even offers a scratch-and-sniff model that 
smells like coffee!

"American Express Co. is testing a "Butterfly" card that folds in 
half and pops out of a silver case attached to a key ring. Other 
issuers and card makers are experimenting with cards that feature 
various textures, light and sound, as well as high-tech security 
"There is a lot of conversation about how to introduce innovation 
into the credit-card market and design is part of that," says Peter 
Vaughn, vice president of brand management at American Express."

"The card-design boom recently got a boost when American Express 
licensed the technology used to create its popular transparent credit 
card, Blue. The clear card's unusual look received a wave of attention 
when it was first issued in 2001."

"American Express is replacing its high-end Centurion plastic cards 
with hand-crafted versions made of titanium. The new cards weigh 0.53 
ounce compared with 0.17 ounce for a typical plastic card, prompting 
company executives to describe the heft as providing "plunk factor" 
when tossed onto a table." 

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

[The titanium card is bound to be a rarity in the future.  I know 
there won't be one in my collection.  My wife does a lot of shopping, 
but alas, falls a tad short of the $250,000 minimum in annual charges 
required for the Centurion account.  -Editor]


Regarding last week's item on a new "Green" ink, Bob Leuver, former 
head of the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing writes: "The BEP 
would study the eco-friendly ink very carefully prior to using it, 
if it is promoted by a senator or congressperson.  
The last time BEP changed the intrinsic properties of ink, to my 
knowledge, was in 1977, or, at least 1975-1978.  At that time, the 
lead base was taken out of ink (and paint) by a Federal law.  
Much of the counterfeiting of U.S. banknotes today is a result of 
the aforementioned legislation--not that the legislation was wrong!  
Lead allowed the green and black ink to leach into the cotton and 
linen fibers of the banknote substrate.  Once leached into the 
substrate, they do not wash out.
Current counterfeiters can bleach post-1977 banknotes in a solution 
of Clorox and water for, perhaps, twenty minutes, and the substrate 
is "clean" with only the watermark and plastic fibers intact within 
the substrate.  After drying, a new banknote can be printed by offset.  
It may be tedious work, but highly profitable, when one considers that 
for an investment of a dollar banknote and pennies for the Clorox, 
water, offset inks and printing, one can have legitimate feeling 
$100 U.S. banknotes.
I was in Chicago recently, and the Chicago Tribune had an article 
about such counterfeits being passed in large quantities in the 
darkened confines of night clubs and bars."


Myron Xenos writes: "The article on counterfeits in the October 22nd 
E-Sylum fueled up my assumption that all one needs to do anymore to 
pass bad money is figure out what chemical or substance to soak the 
bill in to make the pen react as real. This counterfeit-detecting 
pen routine causes clerks to not observe the actual bill itself. I 
believe that most of us who have collected currency for a while can 
spot a bad bill at ten paces.

Our bank had a roving exhibit from the Secret Service a few years 
ago, and it was easy to score 100%. I think that "looking" is the 
real way to keep from accepting bad paper."


A recent article in The Monitor of Kampala, Uganda notes that 
genuine banknotes of poor quality are leading to fistfights and 
brawls between citizens there:

"Mr Patrick Ssekitoleko of the National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) 
drew money from the Automated Teller Machine (ATM) operated by Stanbic 
Bank located at Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA) showground at 
Lugogo in Kampala.

But before he could tack away the notes into his wallet he noticed 
that the silver security strip on two 20,000 shilling notes (BJ 776042 
and BD 369144) had largely pealed off like old paint off a wall.

Given recent experience, it was feared that the notes would be 
automatically rejected. However, an appeal lodged at the Lugogo 
Branch of the bank led to testing of the currency which revealed 
that the notes were genuine."

"Many users of local currency are not that lucky. Arguments over 
whether currency notes are genuine or fake often result into heated 
quarrels, fist fights and arrests.

The theatres of these conflicts are the trading places around the 
country; from markets, public transport vehicles, corner-side dukas 
and office/ business premises."

To read the complete article, see: 


An E-Sylum subscriber writes: "This was the 'Featured Site of the 
Day' in Yahoo's Daily Newsletter for Monday November 13th."

[The site is a collection of 43 close-up images of messages written 
on U.S. paper money, including lottery numbers, doodles, grocery lists, 
love notes and conspiracy theories.  I've come across quite a number 
of these over the years but never thought to collect them.  A larger 
collection of these would provide interesting material for a study.  

To view a set of thumbnail images, see: 

To view a full-size slideshow, see:


Kavan Ratnatunga forwarded this item from a November 16th Indian 
newspaper.  He writes: "I wonder what the Guinness uses for definition 
of a Country?"

"When Justin Gilbert Lopez was a kid, his family decided to renovate 
the old thatched hut they were living in.

They dismantled the back portion where the kitchen was and little 
Justin found to his amazement that some of the bamboo poles were 

Justin broke open the bamboo pole and hidden inside were 10 -12 
Travancore coins of denominations like ‘oru kasu’ and ‘randu kasu’.

"Justin might not have got anything more from bamboo poles, but 
he did manage to get many more from all over the world.

So much so that he has managed to set a new Guinness World Record 
for the largest collection of coins with a total of 255 coins 
representing 255 countries.

He broke the record of Sanjay Relan from Hong Kong who had collected 

a total of 235 coins from 235 countries."

To read the complete article, see:

[Has anyone heard of this "record" before?  I went to the official 
web site at and was unable to 
find any records relating to "coin" or "numismatics".  In the 
"collection" category I didn't find coins, but DID find records 
for the largest collections of Aeroplane Sick Bags, Bar Towels, 
Traffic Cones, Keychains, Model Cars and Penguins. Perhaps the online 
list is only a subset of what's covered in the hardcopy book.  Anyone 
have a copy handy?  -Editor]


Coin mutilation laws are fairly lax in most countries - people are 
free to do whatever they want with their own coins as long as they 
don't try spending them.  But the laws are tough in Japan - keep 
your paws off the government's coins!  According to a November 15 
news report from Tokyo, "Three magicians and another man have been 
arrested for punching holes in coins..."

"The four punched holes in or shaved the edges of 400 coins including 
10- and 500-yen coins for use in magic, Metropolitan Police Department 
investigators said."

Police have confiscated about 1,200 coins they altered. Under the 
law, those who damage coins could face up to one year in prison or 
a fine up to 200,000 yen."

To read the complete article, see: 


Dick Johnson writes: "My local newspaper does not know the difference 
between "die" and "dye." It is a newspaper from Waterbury, the largest 
city between Danbury and Hartford, and the closest to us here in the 
gentle rolling hills in the northwest corner of Connecticut. I mention 
Waterbury because it is important to the "die" versus "dye" spelling 

It was in Waterbury that the two words had to be distinguished from 
each other. It probably occurred at Scovill Manufacturing Company after 
the Civil War. This firm was active in the early manufacturing of 
photographic equipment and supplies (even predating Kodak). One of 
those supplies was daguerreotype cases to house the prints with an 
image deposited on thin strip of metal the firm also supplied. 

Daguerreotype cases are made of a composition material (gutta-percha) 
that had to be colored and shaped into a fancy design form. With both 
processes going on in the same plant at the same time they needed to 
distinguish the "dye" -- meaning to color the material -- from the 
"die" the tool to form the design.

The first time I read in the Waterbury paper the misuse of "dye" for 
"die" I wrote a letter to the editor and it was published. I said it 
is easy for your writers and proofreaders to remember: "A dye changes 
the color of something, a die changes the form."

It didn’t do any good. Months later the same "dye" misspelling 
occurred. They will never learn.

Now, in the Sunday, November 19, 2006 Waterbury paper there is an 
article about unearthing artifacts in Vatican City. The illustration 
accompanying the article showed one of the artifacts. It called it 
an "engraving." It was not. It was a relief, or what sculptors call 
"bas-relief." If it was cut to shape, this is called "carving," 
not "engraving." If it was made in a mold this was made by "modeling" 
not engraving.

Engraving is the cutting of incised lines or cavities, incised lines 
on a metal plate like for printing paper money, or cavities in a piece 
of metal like dies for striking coins and medals.

I bring these terms to notice for numismatic readers because we should 
use the correct terms (notwithstanding what we may read elsewhere). 
Fuzzy spelling leads to fuzzy words leads to fuzzy thinking. There is 
an elation in using a correct term in speech and writing. I for one 
endorse purity in the words numismatists use. Will you join me in 
this endorsement?"


Although off-topic, numismatic researchers and writers can appreciate 
the joy of uncovering a long-lost trove of documentary evidence.  
The auction firm Heritage, which does a brisk business in coins and 
collectibles of all types, will be handling a stunning consignment 
of material documenting the founding of the sport of basketball.  A 
November 13 Associated Press article notes:

"It's settled. Basketball really did evolve from a childhood game 
called "Duck on a Rock."

Such are the revelations contained in a newly unearthed trove of 
personal documents, photographs and mementos from basketball's 
founder, James Naismith.

The items, including handwritten diaries and typed notes, were 
discovered last spring, when Naismith's granddaughter, Hellen 
Carpenter, went down to her basement to find an old family photograph.

Instead, Carpenter found journals, keepsakes and typewritten rule 
sheets that open a new window on the birth of one of the world's 
most popular sports.

Carpenter is auctioning off the documents in December. She said 
they settle details about her grandfather's invention, such as the 
"Eureka" moment when he remembered rules from Duck on a Rock, a 
Canadian game he played as a child, and applied them to his new game.

The items include the first rules of basketball; photos of the 
first basketball team and basketball court, as well as Naismith's 
description of the very first game; a whistle Naismith used as the 
first basketball coach in University of Kansas history; and the 
passport he used to attend the 1936 Berlin Summer Olympics, the 
first to feature basketball as a medal sport.

The five boxes of documents, photos and items were handed down to 
Carpenter from her mother, Hellen Naismith Dodd, Carpenter said. 
She kept them around for decades without looking through them.

"My mother told me for years that there was nothing of real value 
there," said Carpenter, 74."

To read the complete article, see:  


Dan Freidus recommended this web site for numismatic bibliophiles: 
"Digital Librarian: a librarian's choice of the best of the Web", 
maintained by Margaret Vail Anderson, a librarian in Cortland, NY.


According to a November 14 report, "The rare medals of New Zealand's 
most decorated soldier, Captain Charles Upham, have been bought by 
an overseas museum but will stay in this country. 

Captain Upham's Victoria Cross and bar, the only double VC ever won 
by a combat soldier, have been bought by Britain's Imperial War Museum 
and will be lent to New Zealand for 999 years. 

The move ended a nationwide controversy when his daughters, Amanda 
Upham and Virginia McKenzie, said earlier this year they wanted to 
sell the medals and would take no less than the $3.3 million they had 
already been offered. The Government had offered the family $1m. It 
is believed an English collector of Victoria Cross medals was prepared 
to pay $9m. 

The medal and bar will be displayed at the Army Museum in Waiouru."

"This is a VC and Bar and only one of three sets in the world." 

"I am delighted they are staying in New Zealand because that is where 
they belong. I am even more delighted they are staying at the museum 
in Waiouru which despite its location is still accessible and has the 
largest collection of New Zealand Victoria Crosses."

To read the complete article, see:,2106,3860959a11,00.html


"A Black Watch hero has left his entire collection of rare war medals 
worth £200,000 to his old regiment.

Sid Lunn spent every penny of his busman's wages buying up awards won 
by Black Watch soldiers."

His collection includes medals awarded for gallantry in the Peninsular 
War worth as much as £5000.

There are also medals from the Boer War, the Crimea, the Indian Mutiny,
First World War, Second World War and more recent campaigns. The oldest 
is from the Black Watch campaign against Napoleon's troops in Egypt in 

Sid was a private with the regiment and fought the Nazis in North 
Africa, Italy, France and Germany. He was wounded at the Battle of El 

His medal collection will now go on public display at the regimental 
museum at Balhousie Castle, Perth.

Black Watch Major Ronnie Proctor said: "His collection has got to be 
one of the finest in Britain."

To read the complete article, see: 


This week's Explorator newsletter linked to an interesting article 
on when "Ptolemy replaced the portrait of Herakles on Alexander’s 
posthumous coinage with a stunning image of another god — Alexander 

"In his article “Stealing Zeus’s Thunder,” published in the May/June 
2005 issue of Saudi Aramco World, historian Frank L. Holt reported 
that a fresh discovery might add another chapter to the story of 
Alexander the Great and his elephant medallions — and indeed, it has."

To read the complete article, see:


Dave Bowers was stumped by this query from Mike Frederick of Stone 
Mountain, GA, but he thought E-Sylum readers might want to take a 
stab at it.  Mike writes: "My team is in a contest sponsored by 
Marlboro. One clue reads: "Once the Headquarters to everyone, now 
heads and hindquarters abound. Tell us its name." The "heads and 
hindquarters" part leads us to believe that this refers to a coin 
collection or somewhere that a large number of coins are stored. 
We're a little stumped on the "Headquarters to everyone" part of 
the clue. Also - as this contest goes, the fact that "Headquarters" 
is capitalized generally suggests that it is/was used in the proper 
tense. Any ideas? Any help would be greatly appreciated."

[I have no idea if this clue actual refers to a numismatic topic.  
Any guesses?  -Editor]


Dick Johnson writes: "Wouldn’t you know the Wall Street Journal 
would have an excellent article on the possible elimination of the 
U.S. cent coin? It published an exchange between two economics 
professors on Friday (November 17, 2006) entitled "Making Change: 
Is The Penny Worth Keeping?"

The professors the Journal commissioned – Ray Lombra from Penn 
State University and Robert Whaples of Wake Forest University – 
retained an open mind and did their homework. The papers they turned 
in were well stated and researched, some of which was from their 
own studies.

They both agreed the U.S. Mint should explore issuing the cent coin 
in a different composition (because of rising metal costs, notably 
zinc); aluminum was mentioned. But this is not a viable option as 
prices of whatever metal chosen will tend to rise and only postpones 
the inevitable elimination to a later date.

[Postpone yes - but there can be multiple postponements in the march 
of history and technology.  The U.S. large cent was introduced in 1793, 
but the next production cost decision was postponed for 64 years to 
1857 when the size and composition were changed.  That postponed the 
next decision only til 1864 when the composition changed to bronze.  
But that move postponed the next decision 118 years until 1982, when 
the composition of the cent changed to copper-plated zinc.  -Editor]

Bob Whaples writes "I think eliminating the penny would be a good idea 
even if the Mint could make pennies at ZERO COST. The main problem is 
that pennies waste our valuable time." It takes more time to spend one 
cent than it takes to earn it (considering average American wage is 
$18 an hour and fishing for a cent coin adds several seconds for every 
purchase at the cash register).

They quote extensively on the practice of rounding up or down at each 
transaction if the cent were eliminated. Ray Lombra called the 
inevitable rounding up – to the vender’s advantage – a "rounding tax" 
for the consumer. However, more studies tend to show it would come out 
about even or such a minor amount hardly worth speaking about.

I did learn one new term in this article – "rightmost digits" – for 
the figures in the two positions east of the decimal point. And I 
appreciated the seventeen references, all on the Internet, that 
support their statements.

Plan to spend more than two cents worth of your time (four seconds!) 
reading this article."

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


Charles Riley writes: "Regarding your item on the 'Dead Man's Penny', 
these are generally known as Death Plaques here in the UK (or 
colloquially as Dead Man's Pennies). In the early 1990s these were 
worth £10 to £15, but are now worth £40 to £50. I have one marked 
Charles Riley: my wife finds this rather ghoulish.  It was offered 
to me by Phil Mussel. Phil is a director of a numismatic magazine 
company (Token Publishing) responsible for magazines called 'Coin 
News' and 'Medal News'."


This week's featured web site is the Cuban Numismatic Association. 

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

To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, just 
Reply to this message, or write to the Editor at this 
address: whomren at

Those wishing to become new E-Sylum subscribers 
(or wishing to Unsubscribe) can go to the following web page:

All past E-Sylum issues are archived on the NBS web site at this address:

Issues from September 2002 to date are also archived at this address:

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