The E-Sylum v9#48, November 26, 2006
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Sun Nov 26 20:21:32 PST 2006
Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 9, Number 48, November 26, 2006:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2006, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
This week's issue brings a typical smorgasbord of numismatic
topics, beginning with reviews of two new books - one on U.S.
Southern States currency, the other a compilation of contemporary
newspaper articles relating to numismatics published in 18th
century Nova Scotia newspapers.
Proving that a good numismatic bibliophile can connect virtually
any topic to numismatics, Harry Waterson reveals an interesting
personal friendship linking basketball founder James Naismith to
a leading medal sculptor of the 20th century.
In research queries this week, George Fuld seeks information about
the 1792 Washington Cent in gold. Other queries include a reminder
for collectors to support the funding of the old San Francisco
Mint numismatic museum by purchasing the commemorative coins from
the U.S. Mint. The Mint this week officially launched another
series of coins - the Presidential dollar coins were unveiled to
the mainstream press this week, generating multiple articles and
And finally, proving that politics is never far from numismatics,
we have one short follow-up on last week's discussion of the American
Numismatic Association, and we close with two articles on numismatics,
politics and religion, one on the ongoing "In God We Trust" battle,
and the other on coins and archeology in Jerusalem.
To learn the name of our 1,000th subscriber, read on. Have a
great week, everyone!
Numismatic Bibliomania Society
ON CELEBRATING OUR 1000TH SUBSCRIBER
Ken Berger writes: "I see no reason to give the 1000th subscriber
any special gift or book or whatever. It is purely by the luck of
the draw that that individual is the 1000th subscriber. Simple
recognition should be sufficient.
If anybody is to receive a book or medal or special gift or whatever,
it should be you. Also, you say you have 1000 subscribers, are they
all active? Are they all still living? If not, then you only have a
list of 1000 individuals who at one time or the other are (or were)
receiving The E-Sylum."
[It is indeed luck of the draw. And there is no cumulative list of
subscribers, just a snapshot of the mailing list as it stands today.
People subscribe randomly, and some subscribe under multiple email
addresses. Sometimes they unsubscribe. More often, they switch
email addresses and later resubscribe under a new address. Their
old address eventually goes away when our email list provider gets
bounced messages from the obsolete address. So what we're celebrating
is the symbolic milestone of the mailing list growing to 1,000
current addresses. -Editor]
Bob Rightmire writes: "I tend not to get caught up with a single
number; numbers 999 or even 299 are important too. After publishing
subscriber 1000's name, the spotlight should then turn to the very
"publication" that we are reading. Might this be a time to honor
all those, with you leading the way, who have made this wonderful
source of information available? I indeed feel fortunate to be part
of this circle."
Jerry Roschwalb writes: "To all who are involved in producing this
interesting and informative publication, congratulations and thank
you for all your successful efforts and results. My best wishes to
you for wonderful and joyful holidays and a productive and healthful
[As noted last week, knowing that the effort is appreciated by such
a great group of readers is what keeps me going each week. Thanks!!
NEPAL'S DROOLING DOLLAR DRAWS OUR 1000TH SUBSCRIBER
Way back on November 16, 2003, a web site visitor wrote to pose a
question about a "drooling dollar" He had read (but later discarded)
a Numismatist article on the unusual banknote. He recalled: "The
article said that this dollar was released but corrected immediately
and if anyone got a hold of one of the drooling dollars it could
fetch a dandy price. At an antique shop I found one of each, the
drooling and non drooling dollar featuring this prince's portrait,
and a stunning leopard or tiger on the back. I am wondering if I
can find out what country it is from."
THE DROOLING DOLLAR
The banknote turned out to be from Nepal. I had forgotten to follow
up with the writer, but posted his query and subsequent responses
in the E-Sylum issues. As with all issues, these were archived on
the web. Just this week he happened across the web page and writes:
"Thank you for posting my question. The answers were greatly
appreciated. E-Sylum readers Joe Boling and Neil Shafer were able
to answer my question."
In his message, he also asked to become a subscriber, so bringing
the E-Sylum subscriber list to the 1000 mark is Jim Driscoll!
Congratulations on helping us reach this milestone. Other new
subscribers this week include Howard Wheeler and John Dembinski.
Welcome aboard, all. We now have 1003 subscribers!
By coincidence, the circumstances of our 1,000th subscriber are
fairly representative of what The E-Sylum is all about - sharing
numismatic information not just among ourselves, but with the greater
community. By publishing our back issues on the web we are making a
large body of information available to a general public that had
little ability to access top numismatic experts in the past. By
connecting people across many miles (and many years) we contribute
to raising the global numismatic I.Q. while at the same time making
more people aware of the precious trove of knowledge to be found in
numismatic literature. Thank you all for being a part of this.
NEW BOOK: SOUTHERN STATES CURRENCY BY HUGH SHULL
Whitman Publishing is releasing a new book by Hugh Shull titled
"A Guide Book of Southern States Currency." Illustrated mainly
from the collection of Gene D. Mintz, the book should be a welcome
addition in an area where most of the key references have long been
out of print. From the company's press release:
"Building on the classic foundation laid by Colonel Grover Criswell,
Whitman Publishing presents an authoritative 448-page guide to the
state-issued money of the South, from the pre-Civil War era through
the war years, and into the late 1800s. Paper currency expert Hugh
Shull's first-hand knowledge of today's market is combined with
historical text by researcher Wendell Wolka. Detailed descriptions,
hundreds of full-color images, and valuations in multiple grade
levels make this book required reading for both the historian and
"Hugh Shull goes beyond Criswell, with more useful information,
values, and other features than Grover ever dreamed of," says
numismatic historian Q. David Bowers in the foreword. "This great
new book is absolutely essential to anyone interested in Southern
The book offers an in-depth study of the paper money of Alabama,
Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, the Indian Territory, Louisiana,
Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee,
Texas, and Virginia.
"Southern States Currency is more than an update of old work,"
says Whitman publisher Dennis Tucker. "Hugh Shull has gathered
new information on the notes issued by these states, and he's
corrected erroneous research published by other authors. For the
collector, dealer, or investor, Hugh's numismatic expertise is
especially seen in the rarity listings and market valuations.
For the historian, Wendell Wolka's research provides a solid
foundation and background."
The book includes notes published in full color for the first time
(such as the 1861 $500 Virginia Treasury Note), as well as images
of notes that have never been made public before.
A Guide Book of Southern States Currency will be available in
January 2007. Pre-orders are now being taken at www.whitmanbooks.com.
448 pages. Full color.
$24.95 in paperback; $29.95 in hardcover spiral."
NEW BOOK: NUMISWORTHY: OLD NUMISMATIC NEWS FROM NOVA SCOTIA
Ray Williams of Trenton, NJ writes: "A Canadian author contacted
me a while ago about a project he was working on. It consisted
of extracting newspaper articles of numismatic interest in
chronological order from 1750 to 1800. His name is Eric Leighton.
Eric has published his book with Lulu, an on-demand publisher.
You can download the book or order a hard copy. The web page is
[The complete title, in full-blown 18th century fashion, is:
"NUmiS WORTHY or Old Numismatic News Volume I, Being a Compilation
of Articles, Advertisements, Letters, Editorials, Notices, &c. &c.
Having Reference to, or a Bearing on: the Coins, Currency, Banking,
Exchange And Other Day to Day Numismatic News Arising Therefrom,
Found in the Newspapers of Nova Scotia for the Years 1752 to 1800."
Besides being of use to historians and researchers, the book is just
something nice to have on the coffee table. You can pick it up and
read a few newspaper articles while waiting for the wife to finish
getting ready to go out... Then you can leave it for a few weeks...
or get totally enthralled and finish it in a couple nights!"
I have a hardcover edition of Eric's book, "NUmiS WORTHY" and it
is a nice product. I'm sure that print-on-demand publishing has a
future for our hobby. Where a wonderful research book might not be
published because of very limited interest in the topic, it can now
be published for a very limited (or very large) distribution.
With respect to the contents of the book, here's what I wrote for
Eric to use in his book:
"In the pages of this book, one will get lost in 18th century America.
The author has compiled contemporary articles from Nova Scotia
newspapers covering a period of 48 years. These articles relate to
numismatically important events from 1752 thru 1800. From this
description, you would think that the book is about events centered
in the British Canadian colonies. This is not the case as the
articles cover news from all across the British Empire and the
countries that she traded with.
The books topics are far too numerous to list, but those with an
interest in counterfeit coins, the counterfeiters, colonial commerce,
pirate escapades, governmental economic legislation, colonial paper
money, circulating coins and the day to day history of the 1700s,
should find this work invaluable. Each article is a snapshot from
a distant time, placed in chronological order, important to the
researcher, historian, numismatist and student.
Sit down, take the phone off the hook, brew a cup of coffee and
drift back to a time where men wore buckles on their shoes and
three cornered hats, criminals were punished in the town square
pillory, highway men and pirates made travel a concern and news
from around the world came by masted vessels instead of satellites."
NUMISMATIST ARTICLE FEATURES SIX HONORED EDUCATIONAL WEB SITES
According to an article on Aruba.com, the circulation of the American
Numismatic Association's flagship publication has zoomed. The article
states that "The magazine, The Numismatist, is a well-known world wide
magazine with more than a million copies per month and is the official
voice of the American Numismatic Association, the largest entity in
A million is a tad high, but Numismatist is a terrific magazine
The author also erred in stating that the specific Numismatist
article discussed is available on the ANA's web site - it is not,
unless I just couldn't manage to find it. However, the site does
archive selected Numismatist articles from 2003 to date. The .pdf
files are beautiful, exact reproductions of the printed pages of
the magazine, but be aware that they take a while to download.
What attracted the author's attention to the article is the inclusion
of Aruba's numismatic museum web site in a list of top educational
web sites, as declared by Educational Technology Journal:
1. The Federal Reserve Bank di Richmond, U.S.A.
2. Kreissparkkasse Köln, the bank with the largest reserve in Germany
3. The German Central Bank,
4. The Central Bank of Costa Rica,
5. Monnaie de Paris, Mint of Paris,
6. Numismatic Museum Aruba, Oranjestad Aruba,
To read the complete article, see:
SCULPTOR R. TAIT MCKENZIE AND BASKETBALL FOUNDER JAMES NAISMITH
Harry Waterson writes: "Yesterday I got a postcard from Heritage
Auction Galleries touting their Naismith Collection. However, for
a numismatic sales organization I was surprised that there was not
any mention of the incredibly strong links between Naismith and R.
Tait McKenzie a well renowned sculptor and medallist of the early
part of the last century. Maybe the catalog mentions McKenzie.
Below is a review of a book about the two of them that I thought
I would bring to your attention."
[Aha! So it turns out there is a numismatic connection to James
Naismith, after all. The inventor of basketball was discussed in
last week's issue. The book Harry references is "Almonte's Brothers
of the Wind: R. Tait McKenzie and James Naismith" by Frank Cosentino.
See below for more information. -Editor]
"Almonte's Brothers of the Wind is a biography of R. Tait McKenzie
and James Naismith, two Canadians prominent in the development of
sports and sports education. Naismith is best known as the creator
of the game of basketball. McKenzie became a sculptor of international
renown famous for his creations of athletes from various sports and
James Naismith and Tait McKenzie were outstanding Canadians who
outgrew the bounds of rural, eastern Ontario where they were born
and left their mark on the world stage."
"Fewer Canadians are likely to be aware of the work of R. Tait
McKenzie. Six years younger than Naismith, he idolized the older
boy, followed a similar career path, and became his life-long friend.
Both men went from Almonte Township in the Ottawa Valley to McGill
University. Both became McGill Directors of Gymnastics and medical
doctors. Both were also interested in sports as part of the complete
development of the person, believing that a sound mind and sound
body must go together. However, while Naismith left his mark by
creating basketball, McKenzie left his by creating widely acclaimed
sculptures in Canada, the United States, and Europe. The book
contains illustrations of his work."
To view the book's web page on the University of Manitoba web site, see:
AMERICAN SESQUICENTENNIAL MEDALS
RUSSIAN WINNER SNUBS FIELDS MEDAL
1792 WASHINGTON CENT IN GOLD INFORMATION SOUGHT
George Fuld writes: "Eric Newman and I are trying to update the 1792
Washington cent in GOLD. Breen mentioned an appearance in the W. H.
Smith sale -- is this a Chapman sale about 1900? -- did one sell there?
-- what is the lot number? Above all, does anyone have a named Smith
We are also trying to track the coin's disposition to 1925 when it
was sold to Colonel Green. Eric suspects that it might have been
in a dealers stock (perhaps Scott or Proskey). Any help would be
[I'm familiar with the Chapman H. P. Smith sale, but could not find
a reference to a W. H. Smith sale by the Chapmans. In Martin
Gengerke's "American Numismatic Auctions, 1990 (Limited Deluxe
Edition), the only W. H. Smith listed as a consignor is William H.
Smith, in John W. Haseltine's 83rd sale (January 19th, 1885).
1793 LARGE CENT WEIGHT CHANGE
Last week I wrote that "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."
Bob Neale writes: "True enough, but don't forget that the first
cost decision was made before any cents were ever minted. Congress
amended Statute One, the April 1792 basic coinage act, on 14 January
1793 to lower the coin's weight from 208 (Birch cent weight) to 164
grains (chain cent weight)."
RIGHTMIRE GUTTAG RESEARCH FOLLOW-UP
Bob Rightmire writes: "Joe Lasser called me. Our conversation was
very beneficial to my research on Julius Guttag. In particular, he
was able to shed some light on the question of why the Guttag
business closed in 1938. My research continues with some major
hurdles yet to be passed. Your help as a conduit for information
is much appreciated."
ANA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR CONTRACT EXTENSION UPDATE
Although no one from the American Numismatic Association has
submitted a comment on our earlier discussions, I understand
that some readers who've contacted the Board have been told that
discussions about extension or termination of the Executive
Director's employment contract (which ends December 2008) will
not take place until May or June of 2008.
As a volunteer publication, our only team of fact-checkers is you,
the readers. If one of our correspondents is misinformed our
readers usually set things straight quickly, and I'm happy to
publish clarifications. See submissions from Bob Neale and Rick
Witschonke in this issue for typical examples.
Concerning the ANA situation, it's always a good thing for members
and officers to have a dialog on topics of concern to the organization.
I'll look forward to further word from the officers, staff, and board
candidates about the matters nearest to the hearts of we numismatic
bibliophiles and researchers, namely the status of the librarian
position in particular and numismatic publication and education news
in general. Two ANA press releases this week do relate to numismatic
education - see the following items.
ANA MONEY SHOW EDUCATIONAL SPEAKERS SOUGHT
In a press release issued this week, Gail Baker of the American
Numismatic Association writes: "All ANA members are invited to
share their research, creativity and knowledge with fellow collectors
and enthusiasts by delivering a Numismatic Theatre presentation at
the National Money Show in Charlotte, NC, March 16-18.
Numismatic Theatre is an educational highlight of every ANA Convention.
Consisting of hourly presentations on a variety of subjects and issues,
the program gives members a chance to offer and discuss their research
and ideas with the numismatic community. Theatre talks already scheduled
for Charlotte include Silver, Gold & The Wizard of Oz and The Coinage
of Christianity: From Babylon to Ethiopia.
Anyone interested in giving a Numismatic Theatre presentation may
submit a proposal form online at www.money.org (Select Education
from the Explore the World of Money drop-down menu, and then select
Numismatic Theatre and Sundman Lecture Series at Conventions).
Theatre program videos and DVDs from past conventions are available
for members to check out from the ANA Library (library at money.org).
For questions about Numismatic Theatre at the Charlotte National
Money Show, please contact the ANA Outreach Department by calling
719-482-9869 or by email outreach at money.org."
[E-Sylum subscribers are the smartest bunch of folks I know in
numismatics (or anywhere else, for that matter). Please consider
sharing your knowledge at this or other upcoming conventions.
MINT EXTENDS DEADLINE FOR OLD SAN FRANCISCO MINT COMMEMORATIVE COINS
Via a press release issued November 22nd, Chris Cipoletti,
Executive Director of the American Numismatic Association writes:
"We've just received exciting news from the U.S. Mint. Sales of the
San Francisco Old Mint commemorative coins will be extended two
weeks until Dec. 15, and from Dec. 1-20, dealers may purchase the
coins in bulk at pre-issue prices as well as unpackaged (coin will
come in a capsule) at a discounted rate.
To date, the Mint has sold about one-half of the 500,000 $1 silver
coins and 100,000 of the $5 gold coins that were minted to help
raise funds to renovate the San Francisco Old Mint. We hope to raise
up to $8.5 million for the $86 million project to restore the Granite
Lady. When complete in 2010, the Old Mint will house both the American
Money and Gold Rush Museum and the San Francisco Museum of History.
We expect hundreds of thousands of people will visit this museum
every year and learn more about culture, art, science and history
through the exciting exhibits on display in our West Coast money
By purchasing one of these commemorative coins, not only will you
get a truly beautiful numismatic item, but you'll also help introduce
the world of money to millions of future numismatists."
[As the press release notes, funds raised by the sale of these
commemoratives help support the re-establishment of a numismatic
museum in the old San Francisco Mint building. The Granite Lady
didn't survive the 1906 earthquake and fire only to be forgotten a
century later. Let's all do our part. I've ordered mine (gold and
silver) - how about you? To order online, simply visit the U.S.
Mint web site at: http://www.usmint.gov/. -Editor]
MINT PUBLICITY MACHINE PROMOTES PRESIDENTIAL DOLLAR COINS
Gar Travis forwarded this article from the November 20th USA Today,
noting that former ANA librarian David Sklow is alive and well:
"While the presidential coins are expected to be popular with
collectors, it's doubtful they will be used by consumers and
businesses on a daily basis, some experts argue. Instead, with
dollar bills still an easy alternative, they likely are doomed
as a means of commerce, as Susan B. Anthony and Sacagawea before
them, says David Sklow, a numismatic expert and former director
of the library and research center at the American Numismatic
A sidebar article quotes Coin World's Beth Deisher noting that
the continued Sacagawea dollar production (with 200 million coins
gathering dust in Treasury vaults) is "another example of a
"dysfunctional" U.S. coin system."
"But many people, including Mint Director Edmund Moy and the
lawmakers who sponsored the legislation to create the presidential
dollar coins, beg to differ. They argue that the state quarter
program has set the stage for acceptance and use of a dollar coin."
To read the complete article, see:
[Count me in the Sklow/Deisher camp - I think history shows that
these will be little accepted in commerce. But stranger things
have happened. Maybe the public will take a liking to the
Presidential series. The design seems uncluttered, classic and
attractive. The USA Today article illustrates the proposed design
and also highlights the lettered edge, a neat feature that could
catch the eye of numismatists and the general public alike. Mint
Director Moy seems to think the coins' beauty will be enough to
propel them into circulation (see the other press articles below).
It would be unfortunate if the coins don't get a circulation boost
from a withdrawal of the dollar bill. By that time we could all
be feeding vending machines and toll booths with electronic
substitutes for coins.
When the State Quarter series became such a hit, dealers and
collectors both scrambled to lay in supplies of the earlier pieces
in the series, causing big jumps later in the price of the Delaware
and Pennsylvania coins. I wouldn't be surprised if the opposite
happens this time. I'll bet lots of people will lay in supplies
of the initial Washington coin hoping to make a killing, but if
prices stay flat the speculators will be gone long before the
Millard Filmore coin arrives; later issues could end up being
the ones hardest to find. -Editor]
In an Associated Press article November 20th, Mint Director Edmund
C. Moy said: "These designs are beautiful and so eye-catching that
a lot of Americans are going to do a double take when they get them
in their change the first time..."
To read the complete article, see:
The Washington Post covered the story on November 21: "U.S. Mint
Director Edmund C. Moy gave runway treatment yesterday to a new series
of $1 coins bearing the faces of U.S. presidents.
"Having lettering on the edge gives each coin a very modern, kind of
hip and cool look," he said. [As if edge lettering were something
new under the sun. -Editor]
To read the complete article, see:
Dick Johnson writes: "The November 25th Los Angeles Times weighs in
on the announcement of the new dollar coins with presidential
portraits featured. In an editorial titled "Change For A Dollar,"
their viewpoint is that the U.S. Mint is overtly trying to affect
the outcome of dollar coins over paper dollar bills.
Granted, the U.S. Mint is basking in the success of the statehood
quarters. Perhaps it is attempting to repeat the same success for
the dollar coin because it has struck out with the Susan B. Anthony
and the Sacagawea dollars issued over the last two decades. The Times
stated these "flopped."
The writer quoted a Mint spokeswoman for the new dollars, Becky Bailey.
"We see this as offering consumers choice," she told The Times. "In
some situations the dollar bill works better, and in some situations
coins work better. With these coins, it's just a wonderful history
So now the dollar coins are a subliminal history lesson. I prefer
to think of them as a program to honor our presidents. My only hope
is that the portraits are artistic enough to sustain that honor.
The editorial noted that "if they catch on, it will be easier to
retire the dollar bill," and ended with the statement "inflation
long ago sealed the demise of the dollar bill. Once the new coin
replaces paper, the Mint can turn its attention to abolishing an
even more anachronistic denomination: the penny."
There is more about the vending machine and sports connection if
you wish to read the entire editorial."
To read the complete article, see:
BERLIN DISAPPOINTED IN ATTEMPT TO VISIT ITALIAN NUMISMATIC MUSEUMS
Dr. Howard Berlin writes: "I just returned from my trip to Rome and
the Vatican. I'm sorry to say that, from a numismatic view, it was
a bust. I had planned to visit the Vaticans Coin and Stamp Museum
and the Numismatic Museum of the Italian Mint. I had received a
letter from the Papal Nuncio (Ambassador) to the United States
giving me the name of the director of the Vaticans museums. I had
e-mailed him, and he had returned with a message saying that the
museum was closed at this time.
I was at the Vatican twice, roaming around in St. Peters Basilica
a fantastic building no matter what your religion is. Once outside
I tried to get to see the building, which is in part of the Vaticans
railway station (so Im told), but I was told by police in their
limited English and my limited Italian that either (1) I was not
allowed in that area (behind St. Peters Basilica), or (2) I since
I was currently at the Southern entrance to the Vatican, I had
to go to the entrance for the Vatican museum and join the mile-long
line that extended around the block for a building that was closed.
The Numismatic Museum of the Italian Mint was a slightly different
story. A web site gives the address as Via 20 September 97 which is
a few blocks from Republic Square and its metro station. The building
(i.e., 97) is the Banca dItalia. I asked the guard at the bank about
the museum and he said that there was none. Since my simple Italian
is confined to ordering in restaurants, getting metro tickets, and
getting my face slapped, there was a person there who spoke English
well enough to ask the security personnel again if there was a
numismatic museum. However the answer was the same No. Is there
is an E-Sylum reader familiar with either of these two museums?
My bags are being packed again as Im off to Berlin this week to
revisit the German Historical Museum and Bodesmuseum after their
multi-year renovations. Ciao and wiederhoeren."
FRED REED VISITS NEWMAN MONEY MUSEUM
Fred Reed writes: "Last Saturday during the recent St. Louis paper
money show, Dave Kranz of Bank Note Reporter and I were fortunate to
visit the new Eric Newman Money Museum, fortunate not only for the
chance to view the wonderful displays but because Eric, his wife
Evelyn, and Ed Rochette were present. Eric was a gracious host, and
his years of scholarship infuse the highly literate displays. The
thing that most struck me was Eric's catholic (i.e. universal)
perspective on money and things numismatic. Eric is able to focus
a great variety of items across eras and geography. The topical
displays were interesting, splendidly presented, and wonderfully
crafted to appeal to the scholar, the novice, and the general
It was wonderful to watch Eric take a personal interest in visitors
as they came and went and wryly expound on the various topics
presented. I highly recommend that any E-Sylum reader avail himself
of this wonderful FREE facility, even if he/she isn't so fortunate
to have the namesakes of the two newest money museums on hand as a
bonus. And call ahead to arrange research in Eric's formidable
library. You will be glad that you did!"
ROCHETTE ARTICLE ON ANA MUSEUM AND HEADQUARTERS CREATION
Speaking of museums, there's a short article by former ANA
Executive Director Ed Rochette in the November 21 issue of
Numismatic News (page 38) on the creation of the ANA headquarters
and museum. Ground had been broken in 1966 in Colorado Springs.
Several old homes had been demolished to make way for the new
building on the campus of Colorado College.
QUIZ QUIZ: The final design for the ANA building was not the
original choice. What shape was first proposed for the building,
HOLT'S ARTICLE ON ALEXENDER'S ELEPHANT MEDALLIONS QUESTIONED
Last week we mentioned the article by Frank L. Holt on Alexander
the Great and his elephant medallions. Rick Witschonke writes:
"Readers might like to know that the coin is probably false, as
demonstrated by Wolfgang Fischer-Bossert in his article in the
last American Numismatic Society Magazine. Thus Holt is probably
building on sand."
MORE ON DYE VS DIE TERMINOLOGY
Nick Graver writes: "In the spirit of keeping published information
as accurate as possible, please consider these thoughts on Dick's
interesting account of the "Dye/Die" terminology as misused in
In the daguerreotype (first practical photographic) process, there
is no "print," the image is recorded directly on a sensitized highly
polished silvered plate. Dick's term "strip" of metal might better
be described as rectangular sheet of metal, usually silver-plated
Cases for daguerreotype images were made of many materials, frequently
wood covered with leather or papier-mache. Dick was describing the
fanciest type: "Union" cases which were Thermoplastic, one of the
first commercial uses of plastic. They are often mistakenly called
'gutta-percha', which is a rubbery substance derived from tropical
These two clarifications are only intended to strengthen Dick's
fine account of the misuse of numismatic terms in the mainstream
Dick Johnson writes: "I stand by the use of the term "strip"
(instead of "sheet") in the dauguerreotype process. Even when it
is silverplated it is still a strip. Reason: it is rolled to form
the thin metal in the early part of the process.
Perhaps I should have used the term "thermoplastic" for their
composition, instead of gutta-percha. So Nick was correct in
DICK HANSCOM'S ALASKA NATIVE GOLD TOKEN
Dick Hanscom writes: "Because of my previous postings on brittle
gold, engraving dies and minting tokens, I thought your readers
might like to see the final result. These are hand struck without
collar, about 20mm. These are "native gold," meaning unrefined
raw gold (usually dust) that has just been melted. The gold in
these tokens was mined on the beach at Nome, Alaska, hence the
small "N" counterstamp. Not a work of art by any means, but
acceptable for someone with no artistic talent."
To view an image of Dick Hansom's gold token, see:
[The obverse reads "NATIVE GOLD / 1 DWT". On the reverse is
"ALASKA / DENALI / N" -Editor]
USING THE BROOKLYN DAILY EAGLE WEBSITE
Fred Reed writes: "As somebody who spent more than 3,000 hours
reading Civil War-era newspaper microfilm during his graduate
student days, I concur with Editor Homren's glee over searchable
newspaper archives. As someone who has also done hundreds of
searches on the Brooklyn Daily Eagle archive, here are some tips
to help E-Sylum readers get the biggest bang from their research
(1) long files do not always load properly on this web site,
so if you notice blank spaces in your article, reload it until
it all loads properly, otherwise you may miss the very item you
(2) not all words are searchable, for example if you search for
"state bank" the site will discard "state" telling you it is too
omnipresent and all you will get is "bank" references.
(3) extraneous hits are somewhat frequent, especially if you
don't turn off "ads" as a part of the search.
(4) tighten your search by using " " (quote marks), date
Ranges and content delimiting.
(5) for my purposes ordering by date ascending made
researching chronological events easier.
(6) remember, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle is not the New York Times;
it's coverage is somewhat parochial.
(7) finally, blind or even directed word searches in an archives
like this can be misleading, since one can pull up isolated events
and miss the context that one could find by actually searching
newspaper columns--so beware of drawing false conclusions that
subsequent data could clear up, since newspaper accounts are often
fragmentary; you may have to cast a wider net to follow up bits
and pieces gleaned piecemeal. Happy hunting!"
ANOTHER BALMANNO CATALOG LOCATED
Mike Paradis writes: "Lot 357 in Kolbe sale #77 (6/5/1999) appears
to hold a consignment from Alexander Balmanno's son:
357 Keeler Art Galleries. [CHARLES G. BALMANNO]. CATALOGUE OF THE
FAMOUS COLLECTION OF STAMPS AND COINS FORMED BY THE LATE CHARLES
G. BALMANNO. FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE MECHANIC'S BANK OF BROOKLYN,
N.Y. (WHO WAS ONE OF THE APPRAISERS OF THE J. P. MORGAN COLLECTION.).
TO BE SOLD BY UNRESTRICTED AUCTION BY ORDER OF MRS. MARTHA BALMANNO,
EXECUTRIX. New York: Mr. George W. Keeler, May 8-9, 1916. 16 pages,
145 (philatelic) + 340 (numismatic) lots"
"Not in Gengerke. Apparently quite rare. The numismatic lots are
poorly described. According to annotations in this copy, a lot of
"1840 and 1856 Silver Dollars" selling for $11 actually contained
an "1836 Eagle" (!); a lot of "1871 and 1883 Silver Dollars"
contained a copper pattern 1871, "A-W 1124;" a lot of half dollars
also contained a copper pattern 1871, "A-W 1131;" a "collection of
quarters, 1796 to 1883. 8 pieces." brought all of $4.75 though the
annotator notes that the 1796 alone was worth $10 at the time; etc.
One can only wonder what treats were present in three lots offered
at the end of the philatelic section, namely a "Portfolio of bank
bills" @ $10, a Scrap book of paper money" @ $7.00 or $7.50, and a
"Scrapbook of Confederate notes" @ $6.30, termed "shinplasters" by
the annotator. Thomas Elder appears to have attended the sale and
it is recorded herein that he bought several of the medal lots at
WESTCHESTER COUNTY COIN CLUB
WCCC President Jonathan Lerner writes: "Regarding the recent request
about information on the Westchester County Coin Club, I thought I
would share a few bits and pieces....
We are alive and well and continue to enjoy monthly meetings that
are held at St. Pius X School in Scarsdale, NY on the 3rd Wednesday
of each month. For additional information on Directions and Meetings
This past year we have had some wonderful guest speakers and I would
encourage any and all to please join us in the future. The December
meeting will include a short presentation from our 1st YN Will Robbins
and our holiday party! I hope some of you can make it!"
He adds: "There are several old timers from the early days, but they
are not using computers..."
[Should any of our readers have a chance to visit WCCC or any of the
other longstanding local coin clubs, please collect a story or two
from the elders to share with us online. Stories unwritten (in any
format, electronic or otherwise) are stories lost forever. It's
these stories which make the written word so valuable to bibliophiles
- not the mere paper (or bits) they're written on. -Editor]
MARLBORO QUIZ SUGGESTIONS
Last week's item about the Marlboro contest included this cryptic
"Once the Headquarters to everyone, now
heads and hindquarters abound. Tell us its name."
Bob Neale writes: "That could just be a simple 25-cent piece.
Since the 50 states edition, that is."
Jerry Haggerty writes: "Philadelphia was the capitol of the
United States, now the Philadelphia mint abounds in heads and
[I think Jerry may be on to something - Philadelphia seems to
make sense in this context. -Editor]
IN GOD WE TRUST COURT BATTLES CONTINUE
Dick Johnson forwarded an article about the latest in the ongoing
legal battles over the use of the motto "In God We Trust" on U.S.
coins and Federal Reserve notes.
"Liberty Counsel has filed a legal brief in an effort to preserve
"In God We Trust" as America's national motto.
Atheist Michael Newdow has filed suit claiming that the motto
violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. He lost
at the District Court level and the case is now on appeal before
the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco.
In 1865, Congress passed an act placing "In God We Trust" on all
coins. The motto has been used on paper money since 1957."
"Mathew Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, said:
"Permitting a citizen to sue merely because the person is offended
by religious words goes far beyond the intent of the First Amendment.
Passive words cannot establish a religion. If Michael Newdow is
permitted to proceed with his claim, then the court would become a
'bully pulpit' for any malcontent."
Liberty Counsel, which is affiliated with Liberty University School
of Law in Lynchburg, Va., is a nonprofit litigation, education and
policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom and
the traditional family."
To read the complete article, see:
TEMPLE TROVE DISCOVERY BARES THE POLITICS OF ARCHEOLOGY IN ISRAEL
On Friday, November 17th the Associated Press published an
interesting account of an archeology project in Israel that has
unearthed ancient coins as well as local political rivalries:
"Off an East Jerusalem side street, between an olive orchard and
an abandoned hotel, sit a few piles of stones and dirt that are
yielding important insights into Jerusalem's history.
They come from one of the world's most disputed holy places the
square in the heart of Jerusalem that is known to Jews as the
Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary.
The story behind the rubble includes an underground crypt, a
maverick college student, a white-bearded archaeologist, thousands
of relics spanning millennia and a feud between Israelis and
Palestinians which is heavily shaped by ancient history.
Among finds that have emerged are a coin struck during the Jewish
revolt against the Romans..."
"The site has been the frequent arena of Israeli-Palestinian fighting,
and its volatility has prevented archaeologists from ever touching it."
"Ignoring fierce protest from Israeli archaeologists who said priceless
artifacts were being destroyed to erase traces of Jewish history, the
Waqf dug a large pit, removed tons of earth and rubble that had been
used as landfill and dumped much of it in the nearby Kidron Valley.
The Waqf's position was, and remains, that the rubble was of recent
vintage and without archaeological value.
Zachi Zweig, a 27-year-old archaeology undergraduate at Bar Ilan
University near Tel Aviv, showed up at the dump a few days later.
Though Israel's archaeological establishment had shown no interest
in the rubble, Zweig was sure it was important, especially after a
Waqf representative told him to leave."
"In 2004, after five years spent getting a dig license and raising
funds, they had 75 truckloads of rubble moved to a lot on the slopes
of Jerusalem's Mount Scopus.
The first coin they found, Barkay said, was one issued during the
Jewish revolt that preceded the Roman destruction of the temple in
Jerusalem in 70 A.D., imprinted with the Hebrew words "Freedom of Zion."
The most valuable find so far, Barkay believes, is a clay seal
impression discovered last year. Its incomplete Hebrew lettering
appears to name Ge'aliyahu, son of Immer. Immer is the name of a
family of temple officials mentioned in Jeremiah 20:1."
"Archaeology here, however, is rarely just about providing insight
into the past."
"Dig a centimeter beneath the debate over antiquities," he said,
"and you hit the debate over whom the Mount belongs to, and a
centimeter beneath that is the war over whom the entire country
To read the complete article, see:
FEATURED WEB SITE: ATLANTIC PROVINCES NUMISMATIC ASSOCIATION
This week's featured web site is Atlantic Provinces Numismatic
Association of Canada.
"The Canadian Numismatic Association Convention held in Halifax
(1964) brought together collectors from all over the Atlantic
Provinces for the first time. A group of dedicated collectors in
the Halifax area, hoping to keep this atlantic region spirit a
continuing thing, suggested a regional organization of numismatists.
Their dream came true May 8, 1965 when delegates from various clubs
met in Halifax and formed the Atlantic Provinces Numismatic
Association, more commonly known as the APNA. The Association's
main link between its members is The Atlantic Numismatist"
The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization
promoting numismatic literature. For more information please
see our web site at
There is a membership application available on the web site
at this address:
To join, print the application and return it with your check
to the address printed on the application. Membership is only
$15 to addresses in the U.S., $20 elsewhere. For those without
web access, write to:
David M. Sundman, Secretary/Treasurer
Numismatic Bibliomania Society,
P. O. Box 82 Littleton, NH 03561
For Asylum mailing address changes and other membership
questions, contact David at this email address:
dsundman at LittletonCoin.com
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