The E-Sylum v9#39, September 24, 2006
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Sun Sep 24 18:43:54 PDT 2006
Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 9, Number 39, September 24, 2006:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2006, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Among our recent subscribers are Donald G. Tritt, courtesy of
Dick Johnson, Mike Shofner, Brent Upchurch, Pierre Fricke,
J. Richard Becker and Robert Rightmire. Welcome aboard!
We now have 971 subscribers.
This week's issue is a big one, opening with news of an upcoming
numismatic literature auction, a new and revised numismatic literature
fixed price list, and a planned "Numismatic Conversation" on the topic
of the extensive ANS archives. In old news that some of you may not
have heard yet, lawmen seized millions of dollars worth of numismatic
items on display at the recent Long Beach coin show. "We were robbed!"
was the cry.
In the literature review department, we have items on the latest
Stack's John Ford sale and four other books, new and old. Next,
Dick Johnson announces of his dramatic concept for solving the problem
of what to do with the U.S. cent and nickel coins as the cost of the
raw materials to manufacture them rises.
In the research department, we have some information on locating the
"UFO token" images, a TV program on restoring mutilated currency,
and some background information on wooden medals. In other topics
begun last week, Dick Johnson and Tony Swicer discuss Bernard von
NotHaus and his Liberty Dollars, which have been in the news again
due the Mint's recent pronouncement. Also, Alan Luedeking reminds
us of an important numismatic research role played by counterfeit
coins. In new topics, a new subscriber asks about the Guttag
What coin did Abraham Van Der Dot design, and why did Walter Johnson
throw a coin across the Rappahannock river? To find out, read on.
Have a great week, everyone!
Numismatic Bibliomania Society
CHARLES DAVIS OCTOBER MAIL BID SALE CATALOG NOW AVAILABLE
Charles Davis writes: "Our current mail bid sale of numismatic
literature, 850 lots largely from the library of colonial and
world specialist and Massachusetts colleague Jim King, closes
October 28. The catalogue is posted at our Vcoins website and
may be accessed by clicking on the scrolling red banner at the
top of the page.
[The direct URL for the sale catalog is:
Highlights of the sale include:
Complete set of Barney Bluestone catalogues
Harry Bass Catalogues. Deluxe editions
Frossard 37 with 9 plates
H. P. Smith catalogues, 2 with plates
Strobridge Snow sale with plates
Woodward All the Kingdoms with 7 plates
Frossards Monograph of U.S. Large Cents
Original Gilbert on half Cents
Grellman Large Cents, leatherbound edition
Noyes Large Cents, 3 volumes, leatherbound edition
Newcomb Large Cents 1802-1802-1803 with both supplemental; plates
Eliasberg Collection original color photographs
American Journal of Numismatics, long run
Long runs of the Numismatist and Numismatic Scrapbook
First Official A.N.A. Journal - Plain Talk
Wayte Raymonds personal 1 edition Standard Catalogue st
Near Complete Asylum
Grose McClean Greek Coins, original edition
Batty on British Copper Coinage
Long Run of the British Numismatic Journal.
Burns on the Coins of Scotland
Medallic Illustrations, bound set
Milford Haven Naval Medals
Montagu catalogue - Patterns & Proofs
Spink Circular - complete
Le Club Medaille - 94 issues
Miles Numismatic History of Rayy
Revue Belge de Numismatique - long run
KARL MOULTON'S FALL 2006 FIXED PRICE LIST
Karl Moulton's Fall 2006 fixed price list of American Numismatic
Literature 1855 to Date is now available. I picked up my copy at
the post office last week, but I believe it's been available for
a couple weeks now. The list has been reorganized and reformatted,
and now includes color covers and a 14-page color plate section,
the most ever in any American numismatic literature publication.
I've noted before that the advent of inexpensive high-quality color
printing has greatly helped the field of currency collecting,
allowing mail bidders to see the true beauty of the banknotes
offered. Color photos may also help introduce buyers to numismatic
literature items they may not have seen in person before.
The list includes a new section where every item is available for
$5 while supplies last. This is a good way to fill in holes in your
catalog collections, and for bibliophiles there are a number of good
numismatic literature sale catalogs available here, including sales
by John Bergman, Jack Collins, Charles Davis, Sanford Durst, Orville
Grady, Frank Katen, George Kolbe, Fred Lake and The Money Tree.
(He has no Remy Bourne catalogs in stock currently). The list is
available for free at www.coincats.com, or send $10 for a hardcopy.
MOULTON'S HENRY VOIGT BOOK UPDATE
In his Fall 2006 price list Karl Moulton offers a new preview of
his upcoming book, "Henry Voigt and Others Involved With America's
Early Coinage." He writes: "In the Voigt book, the pictures alone
will be worth the price, which is expected to be about $75. Two of
the previously unseen pictures are presented on the inside covers
of this list." In the inside front cover is a copy of "The only
known photograph of the Original Cabinets of the Mint Collection
Inside the Second United States Mint - 1876." Q. David Bowers has
written the foreword and says that the book will be "one of the
most valuable in my numismatic library".
Karl adds: "The Henry Voigt book is finished, and is now waiting
to go to a printer/binder. It should be ready in about two months."
Be sure to reserve your copy. Karl can be reached by email at
numiscats at aol.com
NUMISMATIC CONVERSATIONS: TREASURES IN THE ANS ARCHIVES
According to a September 20 press release, the next ANS
"Numismatic Conversation" on October 18 will spotlight the
extensive ANS archives. This is a topic sure to be of
particular interest numismatic bibliophiles and researchers.
"The American Numismatic Society's archivist Joe Ciccone will
present "Treasures in the ANS Archives." This program will relate
intriguing stories of the early history of coin collecting and
scholarship, illustrated with rare letters, photographs, reports,
meeting minutes, and research notes from the Society's archives--
a collection of manuscripts and other materials that document the
history of the organization and the field of numismatics as far
back as the 1850's.
This presentation, the third in the series of programs titled
"Numismatic Conversations," will be held on Wednesday, October 18,
2006 at 6:00 PM at the ANS headquarters, 95 Fulton Street in New
York City, for a live audience as well as participants from
around the country who will view the program on the internet.
The ANS Archives was formally established in 2004 to preserve
the institutional records of the Society, as well as the personal
papers of former staff, such as Edward T. Newell, Howland Wood,
Agnes Baldwin Brett and Sydney P. Noe who were pioneers in the
professionalization of numismatics in the early 20th century.
Ciccone also will discuss the process the ANS undertook to set up
the archives and use selections from the archives to demonstrate
the uniqueness and depth of the collection."
"There is no charge to attend, but seating in the live audience
is limited to thirty individuals and reservations are encouraged.
To make reservations, or for information on how you can connect
and view the webcast, please contact Juliette Pelletier at 212
571-4470, extension 1311."
CENTRAL AMERICA ARTIFACTS SIEZED AT LONG BEACH
Alan V. Weinberg writes: "U.S. Marshals seized numerous Central
America-sourced large gold ingots and, perhaps, coins, on exhibit
at the Long Beach coin show on Thursday, the show's opening day.
The seizure totaled many millions of dollars in numismatic value
and left Monaco's large vertical black-lined display cases virtually
empty. The same exhibit had been prominent at the Denver ANA and was
probably featured on Denver television, news of which may have
reached litigators or the original Central America investors. It
is unknown if the Marshals went on to make seizures at Monaco's
corporate office or their bank.
The seizure may have been triggered by a lawsuit by creditors/
investors in the Central America ocean venture who had not yet
been paid despite huge sales of the recovered treasure to third
parties. The story has been addressed in Forbes Magazine and other
news media with the main topic being the current whereabouts of
Tommy Thompson who put together the Central America exploration
and recovery. Apparently, the court that ordered the seizure in
California believes that the Central America artifacts cannot
legally change hands if the original investors haven't been paid.
One interesting side note is that several dealers at the show
pulled Central America ingots and coins from their showcases
when word got out of the Monaco seizure on the bourse floor.
No reason to give the Marshals an excuse for an expanded seizure.
Ironically, today's LA Times had an article on Tommy Thompson
and I emailed the staff writer to advise her to read the Forbes
magazine piece and gave her background on the Long Beach seizure."
[The L.A. Times story was in the kids' section, playing up the
little boy grows up to find treasure angle.
To read the story, see: http://tinyurl.com/pufsl
"One wonders about the marketability and "exposure risk" of all
the Central America ingots and coins in numismatic "circulation"
until the case is resolved and that could be years down the road.
Thousands, if not tens of thousands of 1857-S, 56-S etc $20's in
gem slabbed condition have been privately sold and auctioned over
the past few years. Does that mean the court can subpoena all the
sales records and advise the owners to surrender their coins?
This was done in effect with the stolen and switched American
Numismatic Society large cents where the ANS additionally was
seeking treble damages from innocent 3rd party buyers. This
legal action subsequently resulted in the loss of dozens of
longtime ANS members. But, the ANS eventually recovered virtually
all their large cents, taken or switched decades earlier, through
contingency-based fees and thus highly motivated NYC attorneys."
[By the time this E-Sylum reaches readers, the numismatic press
will have published more details on the seizure. Here are links
to some background articles, one from Coin World and the rest
from The E-Sylum archive:
'EUREKA' BAR SELLS FOR $8 MILLION (COIN WORLD, 11/26/2001):
FORBES CENTRAL AMERICA ARTICLE FOLLOWS THE MONEY: SHIP OF FOOLS?
BOB EVANS ON THE FORBES CENTRAL AMERICA ARTICLE
WHERE ARE YOU, TOMMY THOMPSON?
Monaco Financial issued a press release on September 19th. They
say the seizure was a result of a New York lawsuit filed by a
creditor of the Columbus-America Discovery group.
"Officials of Monaco Financial of Newport Beach, California say
they will vigorously fight the seizure of six California gold
rush ingots and one gold coin from the famous sunken treasure
of the S.S. Central America. The seven items were taken from the
Monaco's showcase display at the Long Beach, California Coin,
Stamp & Collectibles Expo, September 14, 2006, forcibly under
an ex parte court order.
"This is theft of private property. Monaco is forced and prepared
to use its resources to rectify the situation, recover these items
and protect our firm's reputation and the property rights of all
collectors," said Adam Crum, Vice President of Monaco.
The items were seized as security for damages in connection with
a lawsuit filed earlier in New York City by International Deep
Survey, Inc., an underwater research company, against Columbus-America
Discovery Group, the Ohio-based exploration group that found and
retrieved the S.S. Central America treasure in the 1990's.
International Deep Sea Survey and nine current and former employees,
claim they are still owed nearly $12 million by Columbus-America and
others, for sonar work performed two decades ago.
"Among the S.S. Central America items taken by a U.S. Marshal and
private security guards were a 754 ounce, Justh & Hunter gold ingot,
and a 622 ounce, Kellogg & Humbert gold ingot, both made in the mid
1850's. The seized coin is an 1857 San Francisco Mint Double Eagle.
"Five of the ingots are privately owned by customers, who are
likewise not a party to the suit. This was not a garnishment, we
were robbed!" said Crum."
To read the complete press release, see:
STACK'S FORD XVI SALE CATALOG REVIEW
The catalog for the next in the series of Ford sales has already
been issued. Sale XVI features the first part of Ford's collection
of Indian Peace medals. The formal title of the sale, scheduled for
October 17, 2006 in New York, is "Medals Struck for Presentation to
First Peoples by Spain, France, Great Britain and the United States
of America 1680-1890." The second part, scheduled for sale in May,
2007, will include duplicates of the U.S. series in silver and the
bronzed copper medals.
The centerpiece of this first sale is Ford's collection of silver
Indian Peace medals struck by the U.S. government: "There has never
been a collection of United States Indian Peace Medals struck in
silver as large, comprehensive, significant or ground-breaking as
The one hundred and more medals that will cross the block in this
and the second sale represent a very significant percentage of the
total number of such medals that has ever been available for purchase
by private and institutional collectors. In some cases, such as
Harrison's round medals, the number present here is nearly half of
the total number believed struck at the time they were ordered from
the Mint!" (p62).
John Adams writes: "I had the great good fortune of learning from
John Ford for 25 years. We shared an interest in the early Indian
peace medals and helped each other to build our collections.
As the catalogue for Ford XVI shows, John did not hesitate to buy
duplicates. He did this not out of greed but, rather, out of a
reverence for the material that appeared to be greatly underappreciated.
His accumulation of the large undated medals of George III makes my
point more eloquently than my words. These medals are among the very
few objects of any sort that one can buy and be assured of sharing
stewardship with a native American owner. Here is a feast in which
collectors should revel.
The only weak points in John's collection are medals issued by the
French and the Spanish. These medals are exceptionally rare, to be
sure, but he did have chances to own them. I do remember a Spanish
peace medal in a Bosco sale that was brilliantly catalogued by Paul.
It was "good", in my opinion, but, lacking easy access to comparables,
John convinced himself that the piece was "Mickey Mouse" and did not
pursue it aggressively. So also on other occasions. These small holes
in the collection are overwhelmed by John's accomplishments in the
U.S. and English sections - we never have and never will again see
Cataloguer Mike Hodder writes in a one-page appreciation of Ford,
"Indian Peace Medals were Mr. Ford's most favorite collectible. He
lavished more study and spent more money on them than anything else
he collected. If there was one numismatic project he wanted to start
more than any other it was an in-depth study of the American medals
in this series."
"We worked well together, ferreting out information about coins and
medals or tokens that added to their interest and value. He could
talk about Tom Elder and Henry Chapman as if he had been brought up
at their feet. His library was unexcelled and he never begrudged
sharing the information he found in it. He was proud of his collections
and very aware of their importance."
"For almost all his career Mr. Ford was a step ahead of the rest.
He always seemed to already have a mature collection of a numismatic
area that everyone else was only just beginning to think about...
His knowledge seemed to be uncanny and his memory for detail unnerving."
The catalogue is issued with an Estimated Values insert sheet. I
believe this is the first time Stack's has published pre-sale estimates
and it's a great idea for the highly esoteric series. Estimates range
from as low as $50 (for a related Jeton) to $125,000 (for a large size
1801 Thomas Jefferson Indian Peace medal). Are the estimates too
conservative? Time will tell. The sale has only 189 total lots, one
medal per lot, which is the smallest Ford auction offered by Stack's
in the past three years. I wonder how the prices realized will stack
up to the prior fifteen Ford auctions on a per-lot basis?
Every lot is pictured in color. Included are several photos and
portraits of Indian awardees wearing their medals. In addition to
Hodder's excellent description and commentary of each lot, the
catalog includes reprints of a 1982 Coin World interview with Ford
on the Betts-Astor Peace Medal, and a 2001 Coin World article by
George Fuld titled "Where Are All the Indian Peace Medals?"
I noticed one error in the catalogue - the obverse of one of the
most important and valuable medals in the sale is not pictured -
the lot 107 plate shows the same obverse as lot 109. The obverse
of lot 107 (the large size silver shell 1801 Thomas Jefferson Indian
Peace medal) is not pictured - oops!
Although it is not an identical shot of the obverse of lot 109
(the suspension loop is in a different position), the discoloration
on some lettering and the "dot" below the letter D in President are
tell-tale diagnostics. The reverse photos are different, though -
look at the length of the extended index finger and positioning of
the thumb. It would be helpful if Stack's were to insert a plate
of the missing medal obverse in the post-sale hardbound catalogs;
it would be a shame for the omission to go unaddressed.
It will come as no surprise that the latest of the Ford sale catalogs,
like most (if not all) that have come before it is destined to be a
classic reference. The breadth and depth of Ford's numismatic holdings
are absolutely stunning. Bibliophiles who haven't been assembling a
set of these sales should be ashamed of themselves. I've purchased
every one in hardcover for my library; this set will be a cornerstone
of American numismatic libraries for decades to come.
QUERY: FORD'S MONEY OF THE AMERICAN WEST PROJECT
Fred Reed writes: "What became of Ford's opus? In the June 3, 1964,
issue of Coin World renowned paper money researcher, Illinoisan Fred
Marckhoff, mentions pending release of a John J. Ford Jr. opus titled
"Money of the American West." I don't think Ford ever published this.
Does anybody know what became of this project or the manuscript?"
BOOK REVIEW: THE LOVETT CENT A CONFEDERATE STORY
Roger Moore writes: "I have been looking forward to reading the
above mentioned book by Harold Levi and George Corell ever since
I was approached two years ago by Mr. Levi about the possible use
of my Maris medal photograph in the manuscript that he was writing.
He explained that he had recently obtained access to some private
letters and artifacts from a relative of Robert Lovett, Jr. and
he was undertaking a study of the controversial Confederate cent.
My interest in all things related to Dr. Edward Maris was immediately
stimulated, since Dr. Maris played a small but significant role in
acquiring the Confederate cents from their maker Robert Lovett, Jr.
Alas, the new discovery of the Lovett family archives did not reveal
anything new about Dr. Maris, but it did send Harold Levi and George
Corell on a wonderful fact finding trip through history in an attempt
to right some historic inaccuracies and distortions. I am very happy
to be the owner of the very first copy of the book which was sold.
The Lovett Cent A Confederate Story is a 276-page exploration of the
times and people cutting dies and dealing in coins, primarily during
the mid 1800s to the early 1900s. Whether or not one has a direct
and personal interest in the Confederate cents, the book is an easy
and fascinating read which methodically unravels the mysteries and
follows the clues in a scientific manner in order to define the truth
behind the production of these cents.
Perhaps of greater interest to me than finding out the facts behind
the production of the Confederate cents, was the way the book opened
a window upon a time that is now recognized as the origins of coin
collecting in America. The die cutters such as Lovett and the
dealers he interacted with were central to early numismatics in
the United States.
Of particular interest were the discussions of the rivalries, the
jealousies, the intrigues between key early American numismatists,
such as Edward Cogan, Thomas Elder, John Hazeltine, the Chapman
brothers, William Idler, Edward Maris and many others. I learned
that Hazeltines wife was Idlers daughter!! Also, Hazeltine
considered the Chapman brothers to be his most important find.
What about the professional jealousy of Hazeltine by Mason, being
a factor in Hazeltine leaving Philadelphia for a period? I very
much enjoyed these discussions of the people who were the founders
of our modern numismatics warts and all.
Finally there is an in-depth look at the Confederate cents that
were produced, their restrikes by Hazeltine, and the copies made
by Bashlow. Also a chapter on counterfeit Confederate cents reminds
us that the scoundrels of numismatics are still walking among us and
that we need to take care. The flow of The Lovett Cent A Confederate
Story makes the read quite enjoyable. I highly recommend it to
anyone interested in the numismatic atmosphere of Philadelphia in
[See a previous E-Sylum article for ordering information:
NEW BOOK: THE LOVETT CENT; A CONFEDERATE STORY
BOOK REVIEW: CHERRYPICKERS' GUIDE, FOURTH EDITION, VOLUME TWO
The long-anticipated new edition of the "Cherrypickers' Guide to
Rare Die Varieties of United States Coins" by Bill Fivaz and J.T.
Stanton debuted recently. The Fourth Edition, Volume II covers
Half Dimes through modern dollars, plus gold and commemoratives.
In his Foreword to the book, Dave Bowers neatly sums up where the
Cherrypickers' Guide fits in the pantheon of U.S. numismatic
literature. He writes: "For any numismatic library, some books
are interesting to have, perhaps for glancing through, setting
aside, and possible reading at a later time. Other books are a
bit more useful, with listings, prices, and historical information
that are very helpful to collecting endeavors. Then there are the
books that are essential (make that absolutely essential) - of which
this is one.... I cannot imagine collecting or understanding the
topics covered here ... without a copy of this book at hand."
For bibliophiles, the Preface covers the history of the book itself,
which began in 1989 with a suggestion by J. Woodside of Scotsman's
Coins in St. Louis. Woodside told Bill Fivaz he ought to write a
book illustrating all the neat coin varieties he collected. Working
with friend J. T. Stanton, the pair eventually chose 160 varieties
to illustrate. The initial press run of 500 copies sold out at the
FUN show in January, 1990. Eventually 3,000 copies were produced
and sold. The second edition sold 5,000 copies in six months. The
third edition went through six printings totaling 28,000 copies.
Literature dealer John Burns reports that the new Fourth edition,
Part II edition is an equally fast seller. At a recent show in
Columbus, OH Burns had just 42 copies in stock but sold every last
one. I'll bet other dealers are selling them fast as well.
The second edition of the book was offered in spiral binding format,
which J.T. Stanton believes was the first for a numismatic book.
While we bibliophiles may have a hard time with this format because
it just doesn't sit well on a shelf, this book isn't MEANT to sit on
a damn shelf - it's meant to be USED. And the spiral format is
extremely useful - it is easy to open the book flat to a particular
page to compare a coin to the illustration without having to prop
the book open.
Still, as much as I understand the utility of the spiral format,
I could never get past the problem of shelving a spiral-bound book,
because sans spine, there is nowhere to display the name of the book.
It bugs me. But with the latest volume, Whitman has neatly solved
the problem with a best-of-both-worlds solution called the "Hidden
Wiro" format - it's a spiral-bound book sandwiched within a glossy
color hard cover, complete with a labeled spine! At last, a
Cherrypickers' Guide I can store neatly on my shelf and still have
the convenience of laying flat while in use. To me it was a delight
to see the new format, and I would recommend converting the spiral-
bound "Redbook" and many other reference works to the hidden wiro
format as well. It's the bee's knees!
Time now to quit babbling about the format of the book and move on
to content. Since I've never been a variety collector, I'm afraid
there's little I can add except to say that I must agree with the
tens of thousands of buyers of the previous editions - this is a very
useful and valuable book, well worth a multiple of the cover price for
active coin show goers with an interest in ferreting out scarce
varieties in dealer stocks.
I would highly recommend that anyone new to the Cherrypickin' hobby
skip directly to page 412. Buried in the back of the book as Appendix
D is a great two-page article titled, "When Cherrypickin', Use Courtesy
and Respect!" The article discusses the social aspects of the game
and offers some excellent advice on how to conduct oneself while
poring through coin after coin in someone's stock. I would recommend
that this section be moved front and center in future editions.
Lastly, I would like to compliment the authors on their promotion
of specialty numismatic organizations throughout the book. Each
chapter lists Clubs and Educational Information about the coins
discussed, pointing readers to great organizations like the John
Reich Collectors Society and the Liberty Seated Collectors Club.
All in all, another great numismatic book, and well worth the wait.
Congratulations to the authors, their contributors, and Whitman
Publishing for their efforts in finally making the latest
Cherrypickers' Guide a reality.
LEATHERBOUND 2007-DATED REDBOOK SELLS OUT
Another Whitman production, the annual Guide Book of United States
Coins, has sold out its deluxe edition. Numismatic news reported
in the September 19 issue (p38) that the leatherbound 2007-dated
60th anniversary edition has sold out.
I asked Dennis Tucker of Whitman for some more information on the
book. He writes: "Yes, the leatherbound 2007 Limited Edition Red
Book is sold out. We printed 3,000 copies, and each was autographed
by longtime editor Kenneth Bressett. The book follows the same
format as other recent Limited Editions: larger trim, leather binding,
gilt-edged pages, gold-stamped cover. Beyond that, this year's
Limited Edition featured an exclusive illustrated history and tribute
to Ken Bressett and the Red Book's original author, R.S. Yeoman,
including a specially commissioned dual portrait by Chuck Daughtrey.
This tribute was part of our 60th-anniversary celebrations honoring
Ken and the Red Book.
Also in connection with that anniversary, Whitman is offering an
antique-finish, nickel-silver commemorative medallion --- the first
we've issued in some time. Its mintage was limited to 500 (individually
numbered), and each medal is encapsulated by ANACS in a special slab
and packaging. The medal features the Daughtrey dual portrait of Yeoman
and Bressett. About 150 of the 500 were reserved for Red Book
contributors, and the remaining 350 were offered at the World's
Fair of Money in August. We still have some left, and Red Book
collectors can order online, or, if they're still available, buy
one at the Atlanta Show in early October."
BOOK REVIEW: THE FIRST FRONTIER BY R. V. COLEMAN
Dave Perkins writes: "I recently purchased and read a book titled
The First Frontier by R. V. Coleman. It is a history of how America
began why the settlers came, what sort of people they were, how
they made their livings, and how they behaved. Many details of the
daily lives of the settlers are covered. I thoroughly enjoyed the
book and highly recommend it.
An item of interest to numismatists may be found on pages 351-352.
It discusses the establishment of the Massachusetts Mint and the
first coinage of the Pine Tree Shillings, "On October 19 
following, the Court further directed that "all pieces of mony
coined as aforesaid shall have a double ring on either side, with
this inscription, Massachusetts, and a tree in the center on one
side, and New England and the yeere of our Lord on the other side,
according to this draught here in the margent [drawing here in
the margin]" and there in the margin was the sketch shown on
page 352 [illustration in the book].
Such was the origin of the famous Pine Tree Shillings which for
many years bought mittens, went into the church contribution plates
or paid fines in all the towns of Puritan New England. [The footnote
reads this is from the Mass. Col. Record, Vol. IV, Pt. I, 84-85, 104.]
This appears to be the same source / reference that is listed on page
44 in Sylvester Crosby's The Early Coins of America. However, I did
not see this particular quote in the Crosby reference. A drawing
similar to the one in this book can be found in Crosby, also on
There is also a photo of the obverse and reverse of a Pine Tree
Shilling in the book, courtesy of The Chase National Bank Collection
of Moneys of the World, New York. This specimen is likely from
the collection of Farran Zerbe."
DICK JOHNSON'S DRAMATIC SOLUTION TO THE RISING COST OF CENTS
Dick Johnson writes: "The fact it costs more than a cent to
manufacture a cent is causing problems not only in the U.S. but
in all dollar denominated countries across the world. It calls
for a dramatic solution.
Here is that dramatic solution! At 11:59 some Saturday evening
the government should proclaim all cents and nickels are revalued
at 10 cents. We would all wake up next morning to read in our Sunday
newspapers that we are all a little richer. All cents, nickels and
dimes are to be valued at 10 cents at 12:01 that Sunday AM and for
all time in the future.
Thereafter all final cash transactions are to be priced "rounded
down" or "rounded up" to multiples of 10 cents. Prices could still
be quoted in cents, it is just the final price to be rounded off.
Complaints that goods would cost more would be unsubstantiated. It
would virtually even out in the end for everyone, buyers and sellers.
A few cents different perhaps? So what! We all made a profit on
the increased value of the cents and nickels in our possession at
the time of reevaluation.
In a few weeks everything would all straighten out. The government
would immediately stop its loss in striking these coins. And the
efficiency to the overall economy would benefit everyone in the
long term. Millions of dollars in savings!
Our economy has advanced to the point the cent coin is indeed
unnecessary. It has become obsolete like the "mill" denomination
(we havent used mills since the depression of the 1930s). Our
economy has advanced many percent since Thomas Jefferson created
our coinage system and named these denominations in 1784. Yet,
we are still using 200-year old coin denominations!
But why revalue the nickel? Well, it is inevitable the same thing
would happen shortly to the nickel that happened to the cent if
it hasnt already the cost of making these coins is more than
their face value. Lets get it over with right away! Revalue both
at the same time. All at once!
Who would it help? Coin collectors for one, savers with all those
piggy banks full of cents, regular citizens who religiously tossed
their small change on the top of the dresser every night until the
pile got so high they had to be scooped off into jars. Also retailers
who had a stock of coins on hand for their cashiers, banks with their
stock of coin rolls in their vaults, the Federal Reserve with their
vast holdings. Who else? Perhaps others.
But who would it hurt? The Japanese for one. They have two ships anchored
in the Delaware Bay anticipating that they could move in, buy up all
the U.S. cents at face for the scrap value of the zinc and copper in
all those coins returned to the Philadelphia Mint. They would have to
send those ships back to Japan empty of any coin cargo.
Who else? Well the manufacturers of the zinc strip who blank and
copper-coat those cent blanks would scream loudly the companies
themselves, their trade associations, their lobbying group, Americans
for Common Cents. But they would be crying before they were hurt. If
they would calmly sit down with mint officials and help devise a new
coinage system, they could partake in a program that could result in
far more business than they have now making cent blanks. Would you
manufacturers be happy making the blanks for a new 50-cent piece?
How about vending machine companies with their millions of vending
machines? Not too many accept cents or nickels. They are too busy
retrofitting their machines for dollar coins or worse yet paper
Cashiers could put all cents, nickels and dimes in the same compartment
in their cash drawers. That would leave a couple compartments open for
dollar and half dollar coins. There will be more demand for these coins
than before for an active commerce of the future. The Mint should
cease manufacturing cents and nickels for circulation that Sunday.
Monday morning halt striking all cents and nickels. Withdraw all
cent and nickel dies. They could take their time striking dimes since
there is already in existence three times the current need for a
The coins would continue to circulate until they wear out (as intended)
and save billions and billions of dollars recalling, shipping, scraping,
melting, recasting, rollowing, blanking and recoining those old coins
into new coins! There would be NO coin shortage at any time under this
plan. Put those idle presses that used to strike cents, nickels and
dimes back to work striking halves and dollar coins.
They could proof polish those existing cent and nickel dies and use
these to strike proof coins for collectors. They could charge up to
thirty times face value for these coins they already do that for
dollar coins anyway. The fact the dies were worn somewhat doesnt
matter either. Regular proof coins look that worn today anyway. That
should satisfy collectors and halt their complaints.
The Treasury department should immediately form a think tank of the
best experts for analyzing the future of American coins. Consider:
what denominations, what size, what compositions, what designs,
what new innovations, how to cut costs, how to speed the distribution
system from mint to retail stores, incorporate new anti-counterfeiting
devices, and put coins to new uses. Give me a call at (860) 482-1103.
I already have 20 pages of these ideas.
Meanwhile, E-Syluminaries, you read it first here on E-Sylum. Start
setting aside rolls of cents and nickels. Smart money is on the cents,
of course, since they will increase in value tenfold, nickels only
double in value.
It is inevitable. We must abolish the cent AND the nickel -- at
one-cent and five-cent value! Just dont abolish the existing coins."
UFO TOKEN ARTICLE FOUND
Regarding the "UFO" token article that was no longer at its original
web address, a subscriber writes: "Google caches many Web pages, and
one such cache exists depicting the tokens. In this case, a Google
cache was not required, since the Web site still has the images
posted. But I've found using the "cache" function very helpful in
For this search, I used the words "UFO token" and most of the
original URL. Then, I clicked on the word "cached" below the normal
Google search results. That's where I found the following link to
the original article:
TV PROGRAM ON MUTILATED CURRENCY RESTORATION
Regarding the restoration of mutilated currency, a subscriber
writes: "Michele Orzano wrote a story about it in the March 25,
1996 issue of Coin World. A companion story listed some tips to
deal with mutilated currency, noting that if the paper was in a
roll when damaged, it should not be unrolled and "flattened."
Neil Shafer writes: "Just a short comment on redemption of
mutilated currency. Recently I saw a program on TV about this
exact thing. There is a room at the BEP where highly skilled
workers take such a brick of currency and with special tools
pry the notes apart, or piece them together very painstakingly.
Of course the only thing to do is send the notes to the BEP (they
usually request that such packages be registered) and let them do
the work. I would not try any "home remedies" as one is more
likely to damage them still further, if that is possible."
[If anyone has seen this show, or can give us any more information,
let us know. What network was this on - was it a PBS documentary,
something for The Discovery Channel? What was the name of the
segment? Perhaps it is available online or as a DVD. -Editor]
SOME BACKGROUND ON WOODEN MEDALS
NBS President Pete Smith writes: "I started collecting wooden
medals earlier this year and gathered information from a couple of
articles. Although I understand the advice to buy the book before
the coin, I often do the opposite. I buy something that intrigues
me and then attempt to find the relevant literature. This past
March I bought a set of the Centennial wood medals and, with the
help of Nancy Green, searched for the literature.
The best source I have found on wooden medals is a two-part article
by Henry (Hank) Spangenberger in Numismatic Scrapbook Magazine, March
and April, 1969. He lists about 38 pieces from the Peace Jubilee
medals of 1869 to Worlds Fair items from 1939.
There are articles by H. W. Holland in the American Journal of
Numismatics beginning in 1877 that cover all Centennial medals
including the wooden ones. A couple of articles in The Numismatist
in 1927 have comments but little information.
I have heard that Arlie Slabaugh was working on an update but I
dont believe he published his results. There may be other sources
that I missed."
Regarding the 1876 wooden U.S. centennial medals, Eric von Klinger
writes: "These were written about in letters in the January and
February 1927 issues of The Numismatist. According to these letters,
the medals were die-struck by Ornamental Wood Co., Philadelphia, on
walnut or other hard wood, and were sold in decorative cardboard
boxes at the Centennial Exposition in that city. One writer said
they were struck with the grain of the wood, not against it, and
so did not warp with time.
Six medals constituted the set. The two largest (3 inches) show
the Main Building and Memorial Hall. The others, measured at
somewhat less than 2.5 inches, depict George Washington; Gen.
Joseph R. Hawley, president of the exposition; Alfred T. Goshorn,
director general of the exposition; and Independence Hall.
The common reverse reads: THE 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF AMERICAN
INDEPENDENCE. GREAT INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION. FAIRMOUNT PARK.
PHILADELPHIA. 4TH OF JULY 1876."
DICK JOHNSON, BERNARD VON NOTHAUS AND THE LIBERTY DOLLARS
Dick Johnson writes: "Saturday a week ago (Sept 16, 2006) the
U.S. Mint issued a statement that the Justice Department declared
"Liberty Dollars" illegal for commercial transactions in America.
A little late, perhaps? These have been around since 1998. And tell
me, how can something be declared illegal that was never intended
to be legal tender in the first place?"
The news spread rapidly by the Free Market News Network:
Their feedback was immediate. At last count there were over 32
responders venting their individual opinions.
E-Sylum has reported on the Liberty Dollars before (vol 8, no 51,
article 12). The following week carried a brief article "In Defense
of the Liberty Dollar" (vol 8, no 52, article 20) where one reader,
Bob Leonard, likened this coin to the Lesher Dollars of 1900.
Boy is there a story here! The Liberty Dollars were the invention of
Bernard von NotHaus. He built his own mint in Hawaii and has produced
a wide range of private coins. Believe me, Bernard is not a "nut cake,"
he is very determined man who accomplishes what he sets out to do.
He has my admiration.
Before Bernard set up his mint, he contacted me. We had a business
lunch at the Red Lion in Ridgefield, Connecticut -- the kind of lunch
that lasted for three hours -- it must have been fall 1985. He was on
a worldwide trip buying coining equipment and seeking information on
how to operate a private mint. As I recall he mentioned several
problems, one of which was who to engrave his dies. I gave him the
best advice I could.
He established the Royal Hawaiian Mint in Honolulu and struck some
very attractive private coins beginning in 1986. I suspect he sold
these to tourists who carried these away as souvenirs of the Islands.
I sold several sets of his issues in my medal auctions and corresponded
with him over the years. He found most of his coin artists here in
America, and overcame so many of his problems. There is a lack of tool
and die shops in Hawaii, for instance, he had to send his dies to the
mainland just get them "turned" to fit his press!
All the while he was issuing these private coins he was thinking about
the concept of money, its uses and the fact paper money should be backed
by precious metal. At first he issued paper money backed by silver
stored at Sunshine Mining in Idaho. He established an organization,
National Organization for the Repeal of the Federal Reserve Act
(NORFED), just for the purpose of issuing such currency.
In 1998 it was NORFED that issued the Liberty Dollar struck in fine
silver. His coins were just a tad bit over one ounce his intent was
full value. Obviously the coins traded at silver bullion value. He
was encouraged with the success of these early pieces to issued
private coins in five, ten, twenty and fifty Liberty Dollars in
These were not intended to replace U.S. coins (of token metal content),
but instead were offered to anyone at any transaction to accept them
or not, recipients choice. Supporters and detractors have been vocal
These private coins are listed in the Krause Publication "Unusual
World Coins" by Colin R. Bruce II. There are ten pages of Bernards
Hawaiian issues and three pages of his Liberty Dollar issues.
Incidentally, it is my opinion this catalog is misnamed it should
be "Private World Coins." The quantity of such issues from around
the world should scuttle the word "Unusual." You see, every private
mint wants to issue their own coins. Perhaps just like Bernard von
NotHaus did so well.
Visit the Liberty Dollar website: www.libertydollar.org You will
find illustrations of both his Liberty Dollar paper money and coins."
LIBERTY DOLLARS IN WEST PALM BEACH
Tony Swicer writes: "Regarding the Liberty Dollars, several gun
dealers here in West Palm Beach are distributors of these atrocities.
When silver was below $10 an ounce, they were passing off the $10
coins as real coinage at gas stations, restaurants, and grocery stores
as genuine legal tender. They would flat out tell the store clerk it
was real money, and they would accept it. They even came in our coin
shop trying to push them off on us. Now that their new $20 coin is
out, heaven help the ignorant store clerk. As you can see from my
story, these guys are breaking the law."
[Trying to pass off these private issues as legal tender is certainly
questionable, and I believe it's these third-party shenanigans that the
Mint is hoping to forestall. I didn't read anything to indicate that
making the Liberty Dollars was declared illegal. I tend to agree with
the view that these are a modern incarnation of the Lesher Dollar.
COUNTERFEITS AS RECORDS OF REAL COINS WHICH NO LONGER EXIST
Alan Luedeking writes: "Reid Goldsborough's interesting piece on
counterfeit collecting ended with a couple of valid justifications
for collecting fakes, but he missed one that is extremely important,
perhaps the key justification that legitimizes the collecting of
counterfeits numismatically: It is often a record of real coins that
no longer exist.
A counterfeit by definition imitates a legitimate coin, and if
contemporary (rather than modern, made just to fool a collector)
was meant to circulate and fool society at large. As such, it was
often carefully made to resemble the real thing, and when the real
thing was by happenstance rare to begin with, it may no longer exist
today. In this case, the counterfeit becomes a valuable historical
record keeper, testifying to the former existence of its real muse,
and providing a basis on which to recognize such, should it ever
appear; it is thus collectible in its own right.
A superb source of scholarship in this area is "Circulating Counterfeits
of the Americas" edited by John M. Kleeberg, Coinage of the Americas
Conference, American Numismatic Society, New York, November 7, 1998."
DAVE BOWERS ON THE ANR-STACK'S MERGER
Dave Bowers writes: "Here are some of my thoughts concerning
the American Numismatic Rarities-Stacks merger.
The new entity is operating under the Stacks banner in New York
City and as Stacks Rarities in other areas, as in Wolfeboro.
All of the American Numismatic Rarities and Stacks staff is being
merged into the new entity. Chris Karstedt and I, equity partners
in ANR, are now equity partners in Stacks. I never dreamed of
this way back in 1955 when I first went into Stacks store at 123
West 57th Street (same location as today) and bought my first coin
over the counter, a 1913 Proof Barber half dollar for $25. Those
were the days! Since that time I have done much business with
Stacks and its principals, and have been a bidder in many of their
auction sales. In the late 1950s I was a regular attendee at
almost every auction event.
Our Numismatic Sun, a collectors favorite, will continue. In fact,
I am working on the next issue. Also our new Paper Money Review,
which had a recent debut to good notices, will be continued as well.
Well be combining catalogue production as appropriate and continuing
to provide the collecting community the finest in numismatic
descriptions, historical data, and photography.
It is expected that the combination will produce even finer outreach
to the traditional numismatic community, new clients as well as old.
We will all continue our focus on promoting the traditions and joys
of numismatics. This, of course, has been a personal interest of
mine since day one. My business address will be the current ANR
address: Q. David Bowers, PO Box 1804, Wolfeboro NH 03894. My
personal private e-mail will remain the same, and numismatists
are invited to use it: qdbarchive at metrocast.net."
WHITMAN ATLANTA COIN AND COLLECTIBLES EXPO EVENTS
The Whitman Coin and Collectibles Atlanta Expo will be at the Cobb
Galleria Centre in Northwest Atlanta, Thursday-Saturday, October 57.
Dennis Tucker of Whitman Publishing forwarded a press release for the
event, and there are a number of activities that may appeal to
E-Sylum subscribers. Here are a few excerpts:
This year were fortunate to exhibit one of the worlds finest
collections of historic Southern business documents and artifacts,
said Crenshaw. The Frank O. Walsh Collection includes Southern
currency, stocks and bonds, coins, and advertising memorabilia.
This is part of a complete exhibit called Old Money, New Money:
The Rise of Southern Capitalism, on display at the Atlanta History
Center, just a few minutes from the show.
"Numismatic author Q. David Bowers, will also delve Inside the
ABNCo. Archives, telling the fascinating story of surprises and
treasures he discovered in the companys recently unveiled holdings."
"In addition to the Frank O. Walsh Collection, this years exhibits
include the famous King of Siam set of Proof copper, silver, and
gold coins, presented by President Andrew Jackson to the king of
Siam in 1836. The monarchs son, Rama IV, was the subject of the
book Anna and the King of Siam, and the famous Broadway musical,
The King and I. Paper money exhibits include Civil Warera
Montgomery notes, and selections from the ABNCo archives."
Numismatic artist Chuck Daughtrey will be on hand, working on his
latest pencil portraitthat of coin designer Adolph A. Weinman.
Noted for its detailed, photorealistic style, Daughtreys portraits
have appeared in recent Whitman books including A Guide Book of
Flying Eagle and Indian Head Cents and A Guide Book of Washington
and State Quarters.
His dual portrait of R.S. Yeoman and Kenneth Bressett was featured
in the (sold-out) 2007 Limited Edition Red Book, as well as on the
nickel-silver medal issued to commemorate the Red Books 60th year.
Collectors of Daughtreys limited-edition prints can watch the
artist in action at the show.
The Atlanta Show will also have special programs for young
collectors, and autograph sessions with Whitman authors including
the dean of American numismatics, Q. David Bowers."
LIBRARY MAP THIEF PROSECUTED
A Reuters story published September 22 provides an update on the
trial of Edward Smiley, the thief who ruined rare library books
by stealing valuable old maps.
"A dealer of antique treasures who admitted stealing more than $3
million in rare maps was resentful of the world's top libraries and
acted to finance his rich tastes and rising debt, prosecutors said
"In June, Smiley, once one of the country's most respected dealers
in rare maps, admitted to the thefts from the British Library in
London, New York and Boston public libraries, the Harvard and Yale
university libraries and a Chicago library.
He was arrested after a keen-eyed library staffer noticed a dropped
X-Acto knife blade on the floor.
"He explained that his initial thefts were acting out of resentment
toward persons at certain institutions that he believed had wronged
him, individuals who he believed had slighted him or used certain
of his research without accreditation," prosecutors wrote."
"They added that six of the maps likely never will be recovered,
while two are in the hands of identified collectors and 90 have
been or most likely will be recovered."
To read the complete article, see:
To read an earlier E-Sylum item on Smiley's thievery, see:
RARE MAPS STOLEN FROM LIBRARIES
NEW ZEALAND COIN CHANGEOVER CRAZE REACHES NEW HEIGHTS
Martin Purdy has kept us informed about the craze generated in
New Zealand as a result of that country's changeover to a new
coinage - see below for links to previous E-Sylum articles on
the topic. This week the New Zealand Herald published a story
about how wild the craze has become.
"A Rotorua coin collector says people paying thousands of dollars
for coins about to be phased out of circulation are being duped.
With just five weeks before New Zealand's old 5c, 10c, 20c and
50c coins become obsolete, there has been an upsurge in their
sale as collector's items.
But Rotorua collector Don Ion warns that most of them are worth
no more than their face value and people should do their homework
before they buy. Other coin experts share his concerns.
Mr Ion, who has been trading coins for more than 50 years, said
there had been a coin buying frenzy since a 2004 5c piece sold
on a website for $350 after the Reserve Bank introduced new coins.
Since then coins worth only their face value were being listed at
exorbitant prices, some as high as $5000, he said."
"Wellington Royal Numismatic Society vice president Alistair Robb
said people who knew little about the value of coins for which they
were bidding would be best to first check catalogues, available
from coin collector stores.
"These books only cost about $14 but they could save these people
a lot more," he said."
To read the complete article, see:
To read previous E-Sylum articles on the topic, see:
NEW ZEALAND COINAGE CHANGES
NEW ZEALAND NEW COINS CLARIFICATION
NEW ZEALAND SWITCHES COINAGE
NEW ZEALAND COINAGE SWITCHOVER CREATES DEMAND FOR 2004 5C COINS
CHARLES I GOLD COIN UP FOR AUCTION
Arthur Shippee forwarded the following item from The Explorator
newsletter: " A rare gold coin from the reign of Charles I is
expected to fetch £200,000 at auction next week. The historic
Triple Unite, which is more than 370 years old, was struck prior
to the English civil war. The £3 coin was stolen in an armed robbery
in 1974, but it was later recovered. It is believed to have been
crafted around 1630 by Abraham Van Der Dot, who was the Dutch
medallist to Charles I.
The coin will go under the hammer at Baldwin's Auctioneers,
part of Noble Investments, in London on Tuesday September 26."
To read the original article, see:
[Does anyone know the story of how the coin came to be recovered?
ARAB NEWS ARTICLE ON COLLECTOR OF MIDDLE EASTERN CURRENCY
I learned a couple things about Middle Eastern currency from a
September 23 article in the Arab News:
"How many people know that Indian currency was in use in Arabian
Gulf countries (except Saudi Arabia) in the 1950s and the beginning
of the 1960s? In fact, the use of Indian tender was so widespread
in Oman, Bahrain and Qatar that specific serial numbers were assigned
to notes to signify that they were put into circulation in the Gulf
rather than India. Sageer has a collection of such notes that have
printed on them a tiny Z to indicate they were intended for use
in the region. Sageer also has some 1,000-rupee notes that were
withdrawn from circulation in 1977."
"He has Saudi five-riyal notes from 1977 with a grammatical error
a missing dot over the Arabic script which states that the note is
worth hassa (to lessen, reduce, or diminish in value) instead
of hamsa (five). Another two-riyal note misstates the name of
the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency. He has rupees from the 1950s
with similar mistakes in Urdu."
To read the complete article, see:
IDAHO CHOOSES STATE QUARTER DESIGN BY DONNA WEAVER
According to a September 18 news report, "Governor Jim Risch and
State Treasurer Ron Crane hosted an unveiling of the new Idaho State
quarter design today, which is to enter circulation in 2007."
"The U.S. Mint developed three candidate designs that were developed
from the five original narrative concepts provided by the Governor
in late September 2005. Former Governor Kempthorne then selected the
final design that was approved by the Secretary of the Treasury in
late June 2006."
"Along with the image of the Perrigrine Falcon, the other two final
designs were a farmland tapestry, and an image depicting Idaho's
state song with the first two lines written out within the design.
The decision to move forward with the Peregrine Falcon was made by
Governor Kempthorne shortly before he left office to take the position
of US Secretary of the Interior in May.
The Idaho quarter was designed by retired United States Mint
sculptor-engraver Donna Weaver and sculpted by United States Mint
sculptor-engraver Don Everhart."
To read the complete article, see:
[Quiz question: which other U.S. coins were designed by
Donna Weaver? -Editor]
GUTTAG BROTHERS INFORMATION SOUGHT
Robert Rightmire writes: "I am doing research on the Guttag Brothers
with the hope of writing at least one article. Have you ever seen an
article about them? I just found out about the NBS; my application
will be in tomorrow's mail."
[I found a few references to Julius Guttag in the NIP index; I
believe hes the same Guttag from the Guttag Brothers.
11 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHS\ Guttag, Julius \ANA\Vol.66\1953 MAY\Pg.452
12 MISCELLANEOUS\ Guttag, Julius \ANA\Vol.70\1957 NOV\Pg.1307
13 OBITUARIES\ Guttag, Julius \ANA\Vol.75\1962 JUN\Pg.756
14 BOOK REVIEWS\ Julius Guttag Collection Of Latin American Coins
(Edgar H. Adams) \ANA\Vol.88\1975 FEB\Pg.302
This article in the Colonial Newsletter may also help:
16 GUTTAG BROTHERS\ Foreign exchange bankers of New York who
published 'New Jersey Cents' in 1925
I have some issues of the Guttag Coin Bulletin from 1928 and
made them available to Mr. Rightmire. Does anyone know where to
find more information on the Guttags? Did any of our subscribers
know either of them? -Editor]
NIP - THE NUMISMATIC INDEX OF PERIODICALS
The NIP Index, a project initiated by the late, great Harry Bass,
is a great resource for researchers seeking references to articles
in numismatic publications. I used it to find the above Guttag
references, and Pete Smith and I both used it to find the above
wooden medal references. NIP has been mentioned numerous times
in The E-Sylum, but one more time can never hurt. If you haven't
yet used it to locate some numismatic information, it's worth a try.
To access the Numismatic Index of Periodicals index, go to:
HERITAGE TOKEN AND MEDAL SALE REPORT
Alan V. Weinberg writes: "I personally attended the Heritage
exonumia auction held last Saturday Sept 16 at the Long Beach coin
show. In 2 sessions with a 10 minute break in between, it ran from
1:30 PM to 7:30 PM. Exhausting.
The auction catalogue was dedicated exclusively to tokens and medals
and was the most sophisticated and attractive exonumia auction
catalogue ever issued in my 50 year hobby memory. A first time
project by Heritage's newly formed exonumia department headed up
by Harv Gamer who hails from Los Angeles and Canada and now resides
in Dallas with his hotel magnate wife.
The in -person auction attendance was sparse , numbering perhaps
1 1/2 dozen people at its peak due to its start as the Long Beach
coin show was packing up . But the mail and internet and phone
bidders more than made up for this. Competition was vigorous with
three phone lines being occupied on the gold University of Va 1860
medal, and simply outrageous prices.
So-called dollars went through the roof with pieces that a few years
ago were essentially junk box items, now being slabbed and selling
for well over $100. A mediocre slab MS-63 Erie Canal HK-1000 so-called
dollar hammered for $8,500 and this was without the rarer wood round
box of issue. This medal, as is, was a $1,500 medal three yrs ago.
Western trade tokens went sky-high. A Tucson A.T. token , actually
1 of 5-6 known, hammered for $3,250. Two Texas tokens hammered for
$1,300 and $1,100. Civil War tokens, despite the physical presence
of major buyers Ernie Latter and Steve Tanenbaum, almost all went
to absentee bidders based on their high (and highly inaccurate)
It was plainly evident that slab grades, which were grossly unreal
(i.e VF's being slabbed as MS), and the Internet played a very active
part in the sale's success and high prices. Every single auction lot
was offered on eBay and, separately, on Heritage's website. This is,
sadly in the writer's view, the wave of the future. For me, there's
nothing like hands-on lot inspection and show & auction physical
attendance to educate and reward collectors and dealers.
It looks like this is just the beginning of a major new jump in
exonumia activity and prices if Heritage & Harv Gamer keep up their
push to excel."
To read Dick Johnson's review of the sale catalog, see:
HERITAGE AUCTION GALLERIES VENTURES INTO TOKENS AND MEDALS
IF THEY MADE SO MANY OF THEM, WHY WOULD SOMEBODY BURY IT?
The Times and Democrat of Orangeburg, SC published a story September
19th about the quest of a local man who would dearly love to prove
that his backyard find is worth a fortune.
"Nearly three years ago, using the metal detector his wife had given
him for Christmas, [a local man] discovered something curious in his
"[He] said he soon saw a little metal tube sticking up. The tube
was broken open, and in it was a document wrapped in heavy yellow
plastic and an old coin.
"Since then, the pair have been trying to discover the history
behind what they believe is an original, signed and dated version
of Abraham Lincolns Gettysburg Address and a Confederate coin
dating back to 1861."
"They have taken the document and coin to the Orangeburg County
Historical Society, a professor at the University of South Carolina,
a collector in Virginia and the Library of Congress in Washington,
D.C., receiving mixed reactions along the way.
"When a friend took the find to Virginia, the specialist said he
couldnt figure it out, but the Library of Congress said the two
pieces dont have any monetary value.
It seems that everybodys given us the run-around on it, [His
friend] said. If they made so many of them (the coins), why would
someone go through the trouble of burying it?
We just want somebody to look at it."
To read the complete article, see:
[Well, you HAD somebody look at it and they told you it was worthless.
As for the copy of the Gettysburg Address, buried in a broken tube and
wrapped in a material that didn't EXIST until decades after the Civil
War, if the Library of Congress didn't think anything of it, how many
more experts do you need to tell you it's worthless? -Editor]
WALTER JOHNSON'S SILVER DOLLAR THROW
Jeff Starck writes: "This is an interesting story about Washington
Senators pitcher Walter Johnson's attempt to throw a "silver dollar"
across the Rappahannock, a la George Washington. There were bets that
Johnson could re-create the feat, but the promoter indicated he must
throw it some 1,200 or 1,300 feet!
[This is a new story published September 22nd by the Richmond Times
Dispatch about an event that took place in 1936. As it turns out, we
did cover this event in an earlier E-Sylum - see the link below. One
joke related to the event was this:
"An Englishman wondered whether Washington had ever thrown the
dollar. "Of course he did", reported an American diplomat. "To
throw a dollar across the Rappahannock would be nothing to a
man who had pitched a Sovereign across the Atlantic!"
THROWING YOUR MONEY AWAY
MAN LEAPS FROM BRIDGE TO RETREIVE $20 BILL
While some people might throw a dollar away, others would risk their
life for a $20 bill. "How far would you go for 20 bucks? Mark
Giorgio jumped off a 50-foot bridge to retrieve a wayward 20.
Giorgio was counting his money while walking across a bridge over
the Manatee River in Florida. A 20-dollar bill blew out of his hand
and over the rail. He followed. Giorgio plunged into the water 50-feet
below, then had to swim 100 yards, but he did get his soggy 20.
He was fished from the water by a passing Florida fish-and-game
officer. Giorgio tells the Sarasota Herald-Tribune "hell, yeah" it
was worth it. He says 20 bucks is a lot of money when you're broke."
To read the complete article, see:
FEATURED WEB SITE: NAPOLEONIC MEDALS
This week's featured web site is NapoleonicMedals.org, Vern
McCrea's personal web site featuring his collection of Napoleonic
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
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