The E-Sylum v10#49, December 2, 2007

esylum at esylum at
Mon Dec 3 04:20:10 PST 2007

Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 10, Number 49, December 2, 2007:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2007, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers are Scott Tappa of F+W Publications 
and Bill Eckberg.  Welcome aboard!  We now have 1,088 subscribers.

This week we open with word of the hospitalization of a prominent 
numismatic author, followed by book reviews beginning with Jeff 
Reichenberger's pamphlet based on the diaries of William A. Ashbrook.  
New subscriber Bill Eckberg contributed reviews of "The Macuquina 
Code" and "Henry Voigt and Others Involved With America’s Early 
Coinage".  Gene Hessler is working on his autobiography, and Dick 
Johnson provides an update on research for his directory of coin 
and medal artists. 

In responses to earlier E-Sylum items we have background 
information on Robert E. Hecht Jr. and the antiquities trade, 
and the numismatic author who wrote a book on the subject of 

In the news, digs at the London Olympic site have unearthed 
artifacts and an early Roman coin, important medals have been 
stolen from a New Zealand museum, and another "million dollar 
bill" appears.  Also, we have a story about the upcoming sale 
of Lafayette's gold Society of the Cincinnati medal. 
Coincidentally, Rich Jewell asked about a 1826 Erie Canal 
Completion Medal in gold which he speculates may also have 
come from Lafayette's collection.

In my numismatic diary for this week a coin set is 
completed and a box arrived from the U.S. Mint.  To learn 
about anthropodermic bibliopegy, read on.  Have a great week, 

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


Fred Lake writes: "Please note the time change for the 
Numismatic Bibliomania Society meeting at the FUN show. 
The new scheduled time is Saturday, January 12, 2008 at 
1:00 to 2:00 PM in room #321. Ron Benice will be the 
featured speaker introducing his new book on Florida 
Paper Money. The new time will also appear in the Program 
available at the show."


Gar Travis forwarded the following note from Jim Barry, 
President of the South Carolina Numismatic Association: 
"Bill Fivaz had a heart attack early Monday morning. He 
has two blocked arteries. Bill is at St. Joseph's Hospital 
recovering from heart angioplasty, including the implant 
of a few stents. Bill is resting comfortably and is in 
great spirits! He expects to be released from the hospital 
on Thursday. Please keep Bill, Marilyn, and their family 
in your thoughts and prayers."

Brenda Bishop forwarded a note from David Crenshaw 
Wednesday.  He wrote: "I visited Marilyn Monday evening 
at their home and she is doing fine. She is surrounded 
by her children and friends. I visited Bill today and he 
looks great! Please keep them all in your thoughts and 

[Best wishes to Bill for a full recovery. Cards may be 
sent to Bill at P. O. Box 888660, Dunwoody, GA 30356-0660 



E-Sylum reader Jeff Reichenberger of Oshkosh, WI published 
an interesting 20-page monograph earlier this year titled 
'Charter Legacy: Numismatic Chronicle from the Diaries of 
William A. Ashbrook, 1905-1920'.  He was kind enough to send 
me a copy this summer, and I read it with interest on my 
last flight back from London.

Printed on 8 1/2 x 11 inch glossy white stock, the monograph 
is nicely designed and well illustrated.  There is one photo 
for nearly every page, and each page contains two columns 
of text surrounded by a gold border.  The layout is quite 

So who was William Ashbrook, and why is he important to 
numismatics?  A coin collector from Johnstown, Ohio, Ashbrook 
was a member of the American Numismatic Association Board of 
Governors, a United States Congressman, and Chairman of the 
House Coinage Committee.  Through Ashbrook's efforts the ANA 
obtained its Federal nonprofit charter.

Ashbrook kept a diary for over fifty years; the period from 
1905 to 1920 encompasses the height of his interest in coins.  
The diaries were published in four volumes beginning in 1930. 
One of the first numismatic entries is enough to make today's 
collectors drool.  Dated December 13, 1907, Ashbrook writes: 
"The new St. Gaudens double eagles are just out and are at 
a premium.  I got ten today."  Reichenberger notes that 
these were likely the MCMVII high relief circulation issues, 
worth today between $15,000 and $25,000 apiece.  Two days 
later he writes "Collecting coins is my diversion now."  

He moved quickly in forming his collection, buying more double 
eagles and one dollar and three dollar gold coins from the U.S. 
Treasury.  On January 21, 1908 he wrote "I paid $10 today for 
a 1799 and an 1804 U.S. penny and now I have the complete series."

Ashbrook tussled with President Roosevelt over the 'In God We 
Trust' issue.  After Roosevelt ordered the motto removed from 
coins, Ashbrook began receiving letters of protest from 
constituents.  He introduced a bill to restore the motto.  

On February 11, 1908 Roosevelt appointed Ashbrook to the 
Assay Commission.  This proved to be another opportunity 
to add to his collection.  Mint Director Frank Leach "let 
each member have two of the double eagles and one of the 
rare eagles of the fifty lot... The members did not care 
for their coins and let me have them."  Reichenberger notes 
that the "rare eagles" (of which he had as many as eleven) 
are selling today for $100,000 to $250,000 apiece.

Ashbrook was dogged in his search, as this entry from 
January 21, 1913 shows: "Went through another bag of quarter 
eagles today, but in the examination of 20,000 coins, did 
not find one that I wanted."

I could go on but I'll stop here and allow readers to mine 
their own set of numismatic gems from this interesting pamphlet.  
Ashbrook rubbed elbows with many of the top dealers and 
collectors of his day, including Dr. John Henderson (ANA 
President 1910-1911), Farren Zerbe, Henry Chapman, William 
Hesslein, J.C. Mitchelson, Charles Deetz, Dr. George French 
and others.  In 1909 he went to the White House to present 
medals with President Taft to Wilbur and Orville Wright.

The back page carries key features I always look for in a 
numismatic publication - reference citations and complete 
photo credits.  All in all a very nicely done work - I only 
wish there were more monographs like it. The cost is $8 
postpaid to U.S. addresses.  For more information, contact 
Jeff Reichenberger at jkreichenberger at


[With permission from the author, below is a book review 
by Bill Eckberg originally published in the Fall, 2007 issue 
of The Virginia Numismatist, official publication of the 
Virginia Numismatic Association (VNA).  I've appended links 
to web sites of the VNA and the book's publisher.  -Editor]

Review:  The Macuquina Code: A numismatic and Spanish 
colonial translator for collectors, dealers, traders and 
shipwreck treasure enthusiasts by Agustín García-Barneche

Have you ever been intimidated by the language problem when 
trying to collect or study foreign coins? Do you stay away 
from foreign coins because of that problem? Can you reasonably 
stay away from foreign coins when the coin-of-the-realm of 
the early United States was primarily foreign? This 92-page, 
soft-cover book, written by Virginia specialist, Agustín 
García-Barneche, attempts to address those problems with 
respect to Spanish coins. The Spanish dollar, at least, 
provides the basis for our current dollar, so these coins 
are very important to United States monetary history.

The first half of the book is a dictionary of about 1,500 
Spanish numismatic terms and their English translations; 
the second half gives the corresponding English terms and 
their Spanish translations. The reader is, therefore, able 
to translate terms either way. It also identifies many of 
the terms as numismatic, auction-related, heraldic or 
obsolete from the colonial period. 

I found the book very interesting and useful. It opens 
up possible new collecting interests for me, and that is 
always a good and useful thing to do. I have only two minor 
quibbles. First, it would have been useful to give the 
mintmarks their own entries in the Spanish-English side. 
They are listed after the name of the city (e.g., Santo 
Domingo = SP – SD). However, looking from the English-Spanish 
side under “Mint Mark”, you find each city and its mint marks 
listed in alphabetical order. Second, there are some instances 
where some sense of context would have been helpful. For 
example, I suspect that the words lema, mote and divisa 
are not exactly synonymous, but each is translated as 
“motto”. A macuquina, for those who haven’t read the book, 
is a cob, a hammered coin of irregular shape.

I recommend this book for anyone who collects Spanish or 
colonial coins or who would like to know more about these 
important pieces of American history. Further information 
is available from or from Historic 
Real Treasures, PO Box 606, Great Falls, VA 22066.

To order a copy of The Macuquina Code, see: 

To visit the Virginia Numismatic Association web site, see: 


[Bill Eckberg published this review of Karl Moulton's new 
book in the November 2007 issue of Penny-Wise, the official 
publication of Early American Coppers, Inc. (page 231).  
With permission we're reprinting it here in its entirety 
with some minor corrections by the author.  -Editor]

Review: 'Henry Voigt and Others Involved With America’s 
Early Coinage' by Karl Moulton.

This book, published in 2007 by the Cardinal Collection 
Educational Foundation, Sunnyvale, CA, is not, strictly 
speaking, about early American copper coins, but rather 
addresses general issues related to the people involved 
in the establishment of the Mint and the striking of the 
earliest United States coins. To an extent, the book replows 
ground that has been earlier tilled by Frank H. Stewart in 
his book The First United States Mint, Its People and Its 
Operations (privately published in 1924 after Stewart 
purchased the first Mint building and had it demolished), 
and Don Taxay in The U.S. Mint and Coinage, an illustrated 
History from 1776 to the Present (Arco Publishing, New York, 
1966). Moulton does refer to both authors and repeats some 
of Taxay’s discussion of the politics of the early Mint. 
He dedicates the book the Stewart, though he is highly 
critical of Taxay and his work.

Moulton tells us in his Introduction that his book is really 
about people, and most of it is. Henry Voigt, the first Chief 
Coiner of the United States Mint, is the central character. 
His story ties much of the book together, and the information 
about his life and work was frequently new to me and interesting. 
Among many other nuggets, Moulton reveals that Voigt had a 
business relationship with David Rittenhouse, the first Director 
of the Mint, that dated at least to 1771, when Voigt helped 
Rittenhouse construct a mechanical model of the solar system. 
Voigt subsequently was involved in the development and promotion 
of early steamboats, though this venture was ultimately not 

He applied for a job at the Mint in 1792, claiming to be “well 
acquainted with all the different parts for Coining of Money 
– that he in his Younger days, for several Years, worked in 
the Mint of Saxe Gotha in Germany.” He was hired as Chief Coiner, 
a position he held until his death in 1814, having survived 
charges made by a former employee in 1803 that he had 
misappropriated Mint equipment for personal purposes. This 
is just a small taste of what is in the book; the reader 
will learn a lot about Voigt.

Indeed, the book’s greatest strength is the personal and 
professional information it gives about Voigt, who was in 
charge of the striking of all of the earliest coppers that 
we love so much, and all that he did to develop and support 
the fledgling Mint. He made equipment, procured copper for 
minting and was right there, supervising the striking of 
the Chain, Wreath, Liberty Cap, Draped Bust and many of 
the Classic Head coppers (and the contemporaneous gold and 
silver coins, of course). The book puts something of a 
“face” on Voigt, to the extent that this can be done for 
a person of whom there are no known portraits. The book 
also does the same for Joseph Wright, the first Chief 
Engraver of the Mint, even illustrating a portrait Wright 
painted of himself and his family during the year of his 
employment at the Mint.

Another feature that should be of great interest to EACers 
consists of 26 facsimile pages from Voigt’s daily ledger. 
This book is in the National Archives and the pages reproduced 
show who did what in the coining room from April 2, 1793 
until the Mint closed that September for the yellow fever 
epidemic. This is the time during which all of the Wreath 
and 1793 Liberty Cap and half cents were coined. Do you want 
to know who actually coined the 1793 large and half cents? 
Much of it’s in there, except for the Chains, which is an 
unfortunate omission from the perspective of a large cent 

Moulton does err a bit in claiming that this is “never 
before published information,” as that is only partly true. 
The document was found in the archives a number of years ago 
by Craig Sholley, who gave a copy of it to this reviewer at 
EAC in 2000. I, in turn, published an article in P-W that 
included a facsimile of the page identifying those who struck 
the first half cents and a report on everything related to 
half cent production during that year. Moulton can probably 
be forgiven for this error, since he is not a member of EAC; 
he is a dealer in numismatic literature. Sholley’s planned 
article on the Chain, Wreath and Liberty Cap cents has not 
materialized. In any case, Moulton’s book provides much 
more from Voigt’s ledger than has been previously shown.

There are some shortcomings to the book that should be 
mentioned. The second half of it meanders away from Voigt 
and Wright to a lengthy chapter on the history of the 1796 
quarters (which was interesting but which would have been 
much stronger had there been photos of the coins and die 
damage that he discusses), another on the 1804 dollars which 
seems to be there only as a means to criticize Taxay, and 
TWO chapters on the 1815 and 1825 quarters that are 
counterstamped with “E” and “L”. Moulton speculates that
they were counterstamped at the Mint; the “E” standing for 
“Extra” and the “L” for “Louisiana.” While that may be true, 
he provides only the most circumstantial evidence for his 
notion, and he does not address why the Mint would have 
used two different counterstamps for the same purpose at 
the same time. In my opinion, this issue remains very much 

This section of the book is highly speculative and therefore 
weak, and this weakness points up a more significant problem 
with many parts of the book. Moulton excoriates Breen and 
Taxay for stating unsubstantiated conclusions as facts (and, 
unnecessarily, for aspects of their personal lives). His 
Introduction quotes R.H. Williamson from the April 1951 
issue of The Numismatist as follows: “[g]reat care should 
be exercised in separating the facts from the probabilities, 
and the probabilities from the conjectures. In any case 
verbatim quotations from the source material are desirable, 
either in the text or in an appendix...” This is excellent 
advice, but Moulton does not take it. His book has no 
bibliography and no footnotes (there are a small number 
of citations within the text), and none of the sources of 
the photos and illustrations are given, though they are 
not original to this work. This is a major omission and 
the ad hominem personal attacks should have been omitted.

Among many points that are likely to generate controversy, 
he claims Bob Birch as the designer of the Chain cents based 
on a supposed similarity to the Birch cents of 1792, a 
similarity that is quite superficial. Worse, he attributes 
ALL of the following to Joseph Wright: the Libertas Americana 
medal, 1792 Disme, Wreath cent, 1793 half cent and 1794 dollar, 
despite the fact that Wright was not employed by the Paris 
Mint that made the Libertas medals, nor was he employed by 
the United States Mint until after the Wreath cents were made 
he was paid piece rate for producing the “quarter” pattern 
in 1792), and he died before the end of September in 1793. 

These remarkable attributions come about as the result of 
the discovery of a 1777 charcoal portrait in the British 
Museum of Wright’s mother, Patience, holding a Phrygian cap 
on a pole and a 1793 portrait Wright painted of himself, 
his wife, Sarah and their children. Moulton claims Sarah 
Wright as the model for all of these coins based on the 
portrait. Such evidence is tenuous at best, and this writer 
has seen many paintings of fashionable western European 
ladies of that period, painted by many artists, who look 
equally like the images on the coins. Ms. Liberty, as seen 
on the early U.S. coins, is an archetype, not intended to 
be a real person. 

Most importantly, this writer sees no stylistic similarity 
of any of the other designs to that of Wright’s Liberty Cap 
and 1792 “quarter” pattern that would support Moulton’s 
conclusion. Authoritative researchers have attributed the 
design of the Libertas Americana medal to its engraver, 
Augustin Dupré and the French artist, Esprit-Antoine Gibelin. 
Additionally, the 1792 Lyon Convention medal uses the same 
obverse motif as the Libertas Americana; it seems highly 
unlikely that the French would have used an American-designed 
motif to commemorate their own liberty, whereas the Americans 
routinely used the French to design their medals; indeed 
all of the Revolutionary War medals made at the Paris Mint 
are believed to have been designed and executed by Paris 
Mint professionals. 

No documentation has ever been reported to demonstrate who 
designed and engraved the first coins from the Philadelphia 
Mint, so the identities of the designers and engravers has 
been problematic and controversial for many years, but this 
does not justify putting further unsupported guesswork 
forward under the guise of information. This section of 
the book cries out for the missing supporting documentation. 
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof, but 
Moulton does not provide it.

I also have a complaint about the way the book is bound. 
The binding is unlike that of any other hard cover book I 
have ever read. It does not allow the book to lie flat, 
and it requires physical effort at all times to keep the 
book open to the page one is reading. I found this very 
annoying and a bit distracting.

Despite these criticisms, I think this is a book that most 
EACers would enjoy reading and from which they would learn 
something worthwhile. Any of us should find Voigt’s and 
Wright’s stories interesting. The maps of Philadelphia in 
the 1790s showing where people lived and worked are also 
interesting and useful. To this resident of the Washington 
DC area, it is hard to imagine how small a footprint our 
government had when it was in Philadelphia. 

You should find something rewarding in reading the facsimiles 
of Voigt’s and Mint Treasurer Tristram Dalton’s account books;
much of the latter was previously reported in Stewart, but 
not in facsimile form. You might, however, want to use your 
coin loupe to read these, as they are reproduced in rather 
small format. Finally, read this book carefully, just like 
you would read any other that purports to report facts, and 
make up your own mind as to whether Moulton has made the case 
for some of his claims. 

In his Forward to the book, Dave Bowers talks about the book 
having “gems of information” that gave him pleasure. That is 
a good description of much of what is there. When it sticks 
to the facts, Henry Voigt and Others Involved With America’s 
Early Coinage is a worthwhile addition to the library of 
anyone interested in early American coins. It takes its place 
on my bookshelf next to Stewart’s and Taxay’s books.

To access the Early American Coppers web site, see:


George Kolbe writes: "Thanks to all who ordered copies of 
Jack Collins' book on 1794 silver dollars. Copies will be 
mailed on November 29th or 30th. 99 copies were printed on 
28 lb. stock: HP Color Laser, Archival, semi-gloss. 

"Three trial copies were produced:

1 on 80 lb. "Resumé" stock (this was donated and sold at 
the 2007 ANA meeting of NBS)
1 on 24 lb. stock: HP LaserJet
1 on 28 lb. stock: HP Color Laser, Archival, semi-gloss

"An additional four copies will be printed with added 
color illustrations:

1 to the family of Jack Collins
1 to Alan Meghrig
1 to George Kolbe
1 to the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.

"Several copies in various stages of editing were also 
produced. And, of course, Jack Collins also distributed 
a number of such copies during his lifetime.

"I would like to take the opportunity to thank Alan Meghrig 
for his dedicated work in bringing this project to fruition. 
Without him, Jack Collins' groundbreaking book would remain 


Discussing Gene Hessler in his Editor's Notebook column 
in the November/December 2007 issue of Paper Money, Fred 
Reed writes: "I've been proud to call Gene a friend for 
more than 30 years, and I consider him the greatest living 
U.S. paper money scholar.  I am eagerly anticipating his 
next book venture.  After five years of work, Gene is on 
the verge of publishing his autobiography, which covers 
his years as a professional musician at Carnegie Hall and 
with touring bands, his stints as curator of the Chase 
Manhattan Bank Money Museum and Eric Newman's first money 
museum in St. Louis, as well as his internationally 
acclaimed research and publishing ventures.  This on 
should be a good read, as they say."

Dick Johnson writes: "Two boxes of books arrived the day 
before Thanksgiving. Eagerly I opened the packages to 
retrieve the books inside. I had ordered a complete set of 
Benezit, the international directory of world artists. But 
you might ask: What would they have to do with numismatics? 
"Two friends had encouraged me to return to work on my 
directory of coin and medal artists, Sam Pennington of 
Maine Antique Digest and collector Donald Scarinci, fellow 
medal enthusiasts all. Obtaining the Benezit had long been 
on my list of desiderata for this project.
"Previously, I had to travel to look up an artist in this 
work of 200,000 world artists. I had done so at the Wadsworth 
Athenaeum in Hartford Connecticut, Yale University library 
in New Haven, or Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, 
Massachusetts (my favorite art library). I had even tapped 
into the set at ANS in Manhattan. Benezit had been compiled 
and published in Paris in eight editions from 1911 through 
1999. ANS had a dusty brown binding set of an early, third 
edition. Benezit was entirely in French, but I could 
extract some desired details without knowledge of the 
French language.
"I knew where to buy a set at discount price of $800. 
But when I went to order it I found the price was now $1500. 
But that is good! It is now available entirely in English! 
It had been translated by an army of worker ants who had 
laboriously converted all 20,608 pages into English. I could 
order from the publisher's American distributor, Omnigraphics 
in Detroit, with a telephone call and a credit card.
"I did take time out for Thanksgiving dinner with family, 
but ever since placing that set on my work shelves I have 
been pouring over the tiny print in Benezit's 1462-page 
volumes. I am checking my 3,356 artists -- diesinkers, engravers, 
medallists and sculptors of known American coins and medals -- 
with those listed in Benezit. I am seeking verification of 
several items: correct name, dates and places of birth and 
death (if known), and now with English text, biographical 
details that have to do with the creation of numismatic items. 
"Foreign artists who did coins or medals of American interest 
-- like John F. Kennedy or Apollo 11 space medals -- are of 
particular interest to search for in Benezit. For me, this 
is a labor of nine parts discovery and one part drudgery.
"It is somewhat serendipitous, however, because not all my 
artists are listed in Benezit. I would sometimes go for 70 
pages without a hit. And several pages later have three 
desired artists on two pages. Thus the discovery element; 
I do emit a silent 'hooray!' every time I find a name that 
matches one in my databank.
"Benezit's criteria for inclusion, like every directory, is 
uneven. A famous American sculptor, like a Frank Eliscu, 
past president of National Sculpture Society, creator of 
America's first two-part medal and sculptor of the Heisman 
Trophy, is not listed. Yet someone who did a centennial medal 
for a small New England town is. 
"Surprisingly, not all mint engravers -- even chief engravers 
at France's own Monnaie de Paris -- are not listed. Neither 
are commercial artists, factory artists at medal plants, even 
art educators. The editors at Benezit over the years tend to 
favor highly productive artists, those who create many works 
of art. Auction sales are an important factor, as well as 
their work in museums, and artists' publicity. If an artist 
has books and articles written about him, that seems to be 
taken into consideration by the editors as well.
"Perhaps the unspoken criteria:  Is there a need for anyone 
to reference this artist or his work?
"Anyway, ten days into this checking of one set of artists 
against another I have finished four volumes. I am up to the 
initial E.  It might take me a month. But I am doing this 
so you won't have to. When it is published you can look up 
any artist in my 'American Forrer' and find the details 
on the artist of interest to you."


[The following is reprinted directly from a Krause 
Publications press release. -Editor], the online coin pricing and news resource 
from Krause Publications, signed up its 10,000th registered 
user this week. In just over six months as a fully operational 
coin collecting portal, NumisMaster has seen incredible growth 
both domestically and internationally.

“We are thrilled to pass the 10,000-user mark, it is an 
important milestone in NumisMaster’s development,” says 
NumisMaster director of online business Scott Tappa. “This 
shows that coin collectors, both serious and casual, have 
found NumisMaster to be a destination for satisfying all 
of their numismatic needs -- coin and paper money pricing, 
news and analysis from Krause Publications’ team of experts, 
and the most comprehensive calendar of coin shows in the 

NumisMaster is built around the 1.1 million-plus coin values 
culled from Krause Publications’ database, and their associated 
historical and descriptive details. News, feature stories, 
and blog commentary from the editors of Numismatic News, World 
Coin News, Coins magazine, and Bank Note Reporter are also a 
popular feature, and are updated daily.

The NumisMaster team plans on rolling out many exciting new 
features in coming weeks and months, including:

-Bank note pricing from the Standard Catalog of United States 
  Paper Money.
-A bi-weekly email newsletter featuring exclusive online 
  numismatic market updates not found in any print publication.
-Voting for Krause Publications’ acclaimed Coin of the Year program.
-Message boards for coin enthusiasts to swap stories, identify 
  coins, and more.

Visit to learn more about what the site 
has to offer.


[Arthur Shippee forwarded this New York Times article of 
the upcoming sale of Lafayette's gold Society of the 
Cincinnati medal. -Editor]

"Arnaud Meunier du Houssoy arrived in New York from Paris 
on Saturday to be celebrated at events in New York, Philadelphia, 
Boston and the nation’s capital to mark a season of Lafayette 

"It is the 250th anniversary year of the birth of the 
Revolutionary War general, and a major new exhibition — 
“French Founding Father: Lafayette’s Return to Washington’s 
America” — recently opened at the New-York Historical Society. 
Next month there will be a multimillion-dollar auction of a 
historic gold medal of the Society of the Cincinnati: an 
enameled patriotic badge created for George Washington that 
was presented to Lafayette in 1824 after Washington’s death.

"“The medal has been kept in our family for more than 180 
years,” the 48-year-old M. du Houssoy said, “but it was 
originally George Washington’s, and it belongs to America.” 
Six days before the Dec. 11 auction, it will be on display 
at Sotheby’s; on view in America for the first time since 
the World’s Columbian Exhibition of 1893 in Chicago.

"The medal was commissioned by George Washington after the 
Revolutionary War, and created to his specifications in Paris 
by Pierre Charles L’Enfant, the Continental Army commander 
who later designed the street plan for Washington, D.C.

"The insignia (variously termed a medal, badge or order), 
measures about 1 ½ inches high and is finely chased 
(ornamentally engraved) in gold in the form of an eagle 
surrounded by a laurel wreath; it is believed to be adorned 
with its original silk ribbon of sky blue and white.

"It is decorated with a medallion honoring Lucius Quinctius 
Cincinnatus, a Roman nobleman in the fifth century B.C. who 
was called away from tilling his fields to save the republic 
from invaders — then returned to his farm instead of seizing 
power. Eighteenth-century Americans often likened Washington 
to Cincinnatus.

"The Cincinnati order was formed by Washington and a few 
officers, including Lafayette, to ensure that the ideals of 
the Revolution would not die after one generation."

To read the complete article, see: 



John Kleeberg writes: "Regarding the question about published 
illustrations of the Micmac medal, my colleague, Dr. Alan M. 
Stahl, published a very fine article on Indian Peace Medals 
in a Coinage of the Americas Conference volume that came out in 
1992.  The reference is, Alan M. Stahl, "American Indian Medals 
of the Colonial Period," in Money of Pre-Federal America, 
Coinage of Americas Conference [COAC] Proceedings No. 7 (New 
York: American Numismatic Society, 1991-92) pp. 159-80.  The 
Micmac medal is discussed on pages 170-72.  The Micmac medal 
is illustrated (obverse and reverse) on page 171.  Alan Stahl 
also wrote for that volume a useful catalogue, 'American 
Indian Medals of the Colonial Period in the Collection of the 
American Numismatic Society.'  The illustration of the colonial 
Indian Peace Medals in the collection of the American Numismatic 
Society was made possible by a generous subvention by John W. Adams."


Jeff Kelley writes: "Larry Lee took over the minting and 
marketing of the Gallery Mint tokens and coin reproductions 
a year or two ago, and he is now closing down the business 
for personal reasons.  The remaining inventory is being sold 
off, and first up are the Concept Dollars (the copper and 
silver reproductions of colonial and early US coinage will 
come later).  In a recent newsletter you had mentioned the 
importance of collecting tomorrow’s collectables today, and 
there is no better opportunity than now get a pattern Concept 
Dollar; this is the last of the original supply, and 
included in the sale are some extremely rare variations."

To order Gallery Mint Concept Dollars, see: 

"There is probably no single person in America that had 
more influence on the eventual striking of a new golden 
dollar coin than Ron Landis, the Gallery Mint's chief 
engraver. The Gallery Mint began with striking 1995 dated 
golden color 'One Concept' pieces. There were 1,371 of the 
1995 'One Concept' dollars struck and sold to patrons of 
the Gallery Mint. They have a lettered edge that reads 

"After the 1995 'One Concept' pieces were struck, request 
began pouring in to the Gallery Mint to strike a piece 
that could actually have a chance of being approved by 
Congress. The first pieces struck were the Classic Lady 
Liberty head, dated 1998. These pieces were struck in 
conjunction with Ken Bressett, Past President of The 
American Numismatic Association, who was himself attempting 
to promote the use of the word 'PEACE' on coinage throughout 
the world on year 2000 dated coins. Mr. Bressett distributed 
and promoted these pieces during the 1997 ANA convention 
held in New York City. These pieces were struck in brass, 
have a plain edge, and a mintage of 110 pieces."

To more information on the Concept Dollars, see


[On Tuesday Robert Van Ryzin published a nice blog article 
about the Million Silver Dollar Exhibit at the 1962 Seattle 
World's Fair.  -Editor]

“Almost everyone dreams and talks about a million dollars, 
but how many people have ever seen that amount of cash in 
one place at one time? 

"Why not have a display featuring one million silver dollars? 
Here, all in one, would be the most money the visitors would 
ever see, coupled with an intriguing chapter of American 

“Pinkerton guards rode with the trucks, state troopers and 
local police drove guard as the semis roared westward, following 
the trail cut by free-spending miners and frontiersmen who’d 
rather get rid of their bulky silver dollars than lug them 
around in their pockets,” explained Coins.

Once at the fair, 800,000 of the coins (Morgan dollars 
apparently, as the Coins' article notes they were in bags 
sealed between 1910 and 1915) were stacked in the center 
of a Behlen corn crib enclosed in glass. “Then over and 
around the bags were poured a clinking cascade of 200,000 
Peace dollars: 1,000,000 silver dollars, just for looks, 
just sitting there gathering 167 dollars a day in interest,” 
Coins wrote. 

An advertisement on the back inside cover of the November 
1962 issue of Coins offered individual silver dollars from 
the exhibit, “mounted in an attractive World’s Fair holder,” 
for $1.95 postpaid. The limit on the bags was five bags per 
person (at $1,500 per bag of 1,000 silver dollars), to be 
shipped after the exhibit closed.

To read the complete article, see:,guid,a0465311-b180-47b1-88d

[Has anyone ever seen one of the dollars mounted in a 
1962 World's Fair holder?  -Editor]


Last week Leon Worden wrote: "I thought there might be 
an E-Sylum reader or two who would get a kick out of 
this ad I came across in the December 1953 edition of 
The Numismatist."  Leon forwarded the text of the ad 
placed by Robert E. Hecht stating that he "will attend 
the sale of the Numismatic Collection from the Palace 
Collections of Egypt" (i.e., the famous 1954 Farouk sale).  
I'll admit I was stumped - Hecht's name didn't ring a 
bell with me, but Leon was floored when he came across 
the ad.  

Leon writes: "Bob Hecht was the mastermind of the antiquities 
looting/plundering/trading cabal that has ensnared Marion 
True of the Getty and others from the Met, etc. Peter Watson's 
fast-paced, fairly new book, 'The Medici Conspiracy' (for 
Giacomo Medici) tells the whole story of the antiquities-trading 
underworld. Hecht is at the top of the ladder. (And yes, it's 
the same Bob Hecht, aka Robert E. Hecht Jr.; he's around 90 
years old now.)

"I *would* be interested in knowing if anyone has any 
memories, or stories, about Hecht in Cairo in 1954. I 
hadn't heard his name in relation to the Farouk sale(s) 
before -- but then again, prior to the publication of 
'The Medici Conspiracy,' I wouldn't have been looking for it."

Karl Moulton writes: "Robert E Hecht Jr. was a member of 
the American Numismatic Association (ANA #19854) and lived 
at Ohmstrasse 8, Munich 23, Germany.   There is no record 
of him purchasing any U. S. coinage lots at the Palace 
Collections of Eygpt (Farouk) sale in 1954, according to 
the annotated copy in my library that belonged to Gaston 

Ted Buttrey writes: "Robert E. Hecht was -- and still is, 
in his 90's -- one of the most important con-men in the 
smuggling of classical antiquites, including coins.  It 
was he who conned the Metropolitan Museum into paying 
$1,000,000 for the famous Euphronius vase, "found in Lebanon".  
It was in fact from an Italian grave, and the Museum has 
now agreed to return it to Italy.

"Your readers will be amused to note that to pay for the 
stolen vase the Met retrieved from the American Numismatic 
Society, where they had been on deposit, the wonderful Warren 
collection of Greek coins and the fabulous Durkee collection 
of Roman gold coins, and sold them at auction in Switzerland.  
So now they have neither the coins nor the vase.  
Good going, Met!

"Meanwhile, as we speak, Hecht is on trial in Italy for 
illegal acquisition of antiquities, and for smuggling, 
at long last."

Rick Witschonke writes: "He features prominently in the 
book 'The Medici Conspiracy', which details the raid on 
Giacomo Medici's Geneva Freeport warehouse, and the discovery 
of hundreds of unprovenanced antiquities and records of 
thousands more.  Most recent Italian repatriation claims 
are based on information obtained in that raid.  Because 
he is nearly 90, Hecht would not be subject to prison, 
even if found guilty.

"Hecht was a member of the Hecht department store family, 
and had a keen interest in antiquities, especially ancient 
coins.  He published several scholarly articles, and became 
a dealer, selling coins and other antiquities to many 
collectors and museums.  I have no doubt that Hecht attended 
the Farouk sale, but cannot say what he purchased."

[The full title of the book is 'The Medici Conspiracy: The 
Illicit Journey of Looted Antiquities from Italy’s Tomb 
Raiders to the World’s Greatest Museums' by Peter Watson 
and Cecilia Todeschini, 2006.   Hecht defends his role, 
saying that the looting would have occurred regardless of 
his involvement and that over the years it has been the 
laws that have changed, not the needs and wants of museums 
and private collectors.  Below are a few excepts from a 
lengthy 2006 Baltimore Sun article on Hecht.  -Editor]

The man accused of stripping Italy of precious antiquities 
and selling them on the world art market for millions of 
dollars now shuffles along East 69th Street by himself, his 
head bowed, and seems as threatening as a glass of warm milk.

He's 88 years old and can barely open a door without assistance. 
But Italian authorities say this man - Robert E. Hecht Jr., 
a Baltimore native whose great-grandfather founded the 
department store that bears his name - was for decades at the 
center of a criminal ring that dug antiquities from Italian
soil and sold them to museums and collectors around the world.

Hecht, who has pleaded innocent, has made occasional 
appearances at the courthouse in Rome, most recently last 
month, when he reportedly sang an aria from Verdi's La Traviata 
to the assembled journalists.

Meanwhile, Hecht has been splitting his time between his 
permanent home in Paris - where he has lived since he was 
barred from Italy in the 1970s - and an apartment on 
Manhattan's Upper East Side.

He meets with friends, visits museums - some of which still 
display objects of questionable provenance that he sold 
them over the years - and waves off his critics.

Hecht is a man who has seen the world pass him by. In the 
1950s, shortly after his arrival in Italy, he bought 
antiquities on the streets of Rome.

No one had a problem with it. The shops, Hecht said, would 
happily ship the ancient cups, coins and statues out of the 
country if you couldn't take them home yourself.

Now, Hecht finds himself on trial for allegedly doing the
very things that were accepted practice half a century ago.

"He lived long enough to see his livelihood not only eclipsed, 
but also impugned," said Gary Vikan, director of the Walters 
Art Museum in Baltimore, which is known for its antiquities 
collection and which bought several pieces from Hecht in the 
1950s. "This guy is sort of the personification of the sea

To read the complete article on Robert Hecht, see:

[Leon Worden forwarded this timely story on the dismissal 
of related charges against curator J. Paul Getty Museum 
Marion True.  -Editor]

"An appeals court here dismissed a criminal case on Tuesday 
against Marion True, a former curator for the J. Paul Getty 
Museum in Los Angeles who had been accused of conspiring to 
acquire an ancient gold wreath that Greece says was looted 
from its soil. 

"The unanimous decision by the three-member appeals court 
came eight months after the Getty formally handed over the 
disputed funerary wreath and a week after Ms. True’s lawyer 
filed a motion for dismissal. 

"Ms. True has been on trial since late 2005 in Italy on 
similar charges of conspiring to acquire illicitly excavated 
antiquities. She has denied the charges in both cases and 
did not attend Tuesday’s hearing here.

"The wreath is believed to have been unearthed about 15 
years ago. Greece first laid claim to it in the mid-1990s, 
although its precise site of excavation was not yet known. 
Last year, however, its government sent the Getty a dossier 
of evidence, including documents and photographs, to support 
its claim that the wreath had been illegally removed from 
northern Greece and passed on to a market through Germany 
and Switzerland before being sold to the Getty in 1993 for 
$1.1 million."

To read the complete article, see:



Last week we discussed a satirical article confusing 
philately with pederasty.  As a quiz question I asked what 
numismatic author wrote a book on the subject of pederasty.  
James Higby and Ken Bressett had incorrect guesses.  An 
anonymous reader was the first with the answer I had in mind:  
Walter Breen, who in 1964 authored 'Greek Love' under the 
pseudonym J. Z. Eglinton.  Other correct responses came 
from John Dannreuther, Denis Loring and Ken Berger.

The book covers the subject in history and literature from 
Ancient Greece to the 20th century.  Breen authored numerous 
articles and books on U.S. numismatics.  He was arrested in 
1991 on charges of child molestation and died in prison 
two years later.

The book's page on Amazon includes an unsigned comment from 
one of his family members: "J.Z. Eglinton, also known as Walter 
H. Breen, coauthored 'Greek Love' with my mother, Marion Zimmer 
Bradley. He felt deeply of the rightness of his position, and 
used arguments from the book to try to convince the judge at 
his two trials for child molesting. A few of Marion Bradley's 
books have pedophilic themes; among them 'The Catch Trap' and
it is interesting to read her works with awareness of her 
involvement in these issues."

Ken Bressett's guess was Professor T.V. Buttrey.  He writes: 
"Ted Buttrey wrote an article which appeared in The Numismatic 
Chronicle, Vol. XIII, 1973, under the title 'The Spintraie as 
a Historical Source'.  The term 'spintrea' is used to describe 
an erotic token made under the reign of Tiberius."



Leon Worden writes: "Did William H. Woodin ever run for 
Congress? If so, when, and what state? This is not a trick 
question. I've got an old campaign button, probably pre-1900, 
no backpaper, more like a collar stud but with a pin, that 
says, "FOR CONGRESS" above the portrait and "W.H. WOODIN" 
below. It looks like it could be him, but I can't tell. It's 
a much younger man than the 1933 photos we're used to seeing. 
I can't find anything that says whether 'our' Woodin ever 
ran for office."


Rich Jewell writes: "Heritage Auction Galleries, September 
27, 2007, Long Beach, Medals and Tokens Auction listed a 
very rare (if not scarce) 1826 Erie Canal Completion Medal 
in Gold (HK-1001). The last such appearance in auction was 
1932 and it was attributed to Andrew Jackson.

"John J. Ford did not even own one of these pieces of Americana, 
and yet no mention of this medal made the news, as did the 
Commodore Perry Gold Medal did when it was auctioned off this 
past summer. Could it be that this So-Called Dollar didn't 
have the importance of a mint pedigree?

"Even the renowned numismatic author Q. David Bowers missed 
the gold 1826 Erie Canal Completion Medal in his co-authored 
'100 Greatest American Medals and Tokens' book - the white 
and silver medals are listed but not the GOLD!  Is this a 
case of numismatic snobbery, proof reader error, an author's 
oversight, or an attitude of "who cares attitude since it's 
only a So-Called Dollar"?  Maybe some of our esteemed 
brotherhood would care to offer their opinions."

[Coincidentally, the lot description includes a reference 
to the August 10, 2003 edition of The E-Sylum, where Ed 
Krivoniak sent a story on the Canal Medals published in a 
contemporary newspaper (American Traveller, April 25, 1826).

The lot description notes that "11 gold versions of the 
Erie Canal Completion medals were distributed to dignitaries 
of the highest order. (Jefferson and John Adams received 
only one gold medal each, although they were both ex-Presidents 
and signers of the Declaration of Independence.) Of the 
esteemed individuals bestowed the honor of receiving a gold 
medal, only one would have taken the medal to Europe: General 
Lafayette. This is only important in that the current example 
is from a European estate and has only recently been repatriated. 
Could this be the actual gold medal belonging to General 

As for publicity, it rarely happens by accident.  Usually 
someone has to write up a press release and send it to the 
newswires and numismatic publications.  It helps if you make 
their job easy and basically write a first draft of the 
article the way you'd like to see it in print.  If Heritage 
didn't send out anything, maybe nobody noticed.  Donn Pearlman 
does a great job publicizing the ANA and PCGS - he has good 
contacts with national news organizations and frequently gets 
stuff published nationwide.  

Rich contacted Dave's coauthor Katie Jaeger and she's updated 
the entry for the medal to include the gold strikings.  If 
there is a subsequent edition of the book the gold version 
will be listed.  -Editor]

  To view the 1826 Erie Canal Completion Medal in Gold lot description see:



Harold Levi writes: "I am working on the second edition 
of my book on the Confederate cent. There are a few minor 
adjustments here and there. The primary focus is in the 
chapter on Bashlow restrikes. As I continue of try to 
unravel the restrikes, I am having a real problem with 
gold Bashlow restrikes. Most of the ones I am aware of 
are on thin (normal) thickness planchets, which create 
three problems.

"First, David Laties (Bashlow’s business partner) has 
stated, to me, that only three gold restrikes were made, 
all on thick planchets.  Mr. Laties still has his, the 
Smithsonian Institution still has theirs (confirmed by 
Dr. Richard Doty – Thank You, Sir), and Bashlow lost 
his a long time ago (no, it was not in Walter Breen’s 

"Second, Bashlow stated that he made the restrikes on 
thick planchets because he feared the Secret Service 
would confiscate the restrikes because of being in the 
likeness of U.S. coins. He wanted the restrikes to be 
noticeably different than the originals or Haseltine 
restrikes. Obviously, Bashlow did not understand that 
Confederate coins are not U.S. coins, and the Secret 
Service would not have responded. Bashlow admitted to 
making a few “experimental strikes” on thin planchets 
before settling on thick planchets (1976 letter Tom 
DeLorey made public in E-Sylum Nov-12-2006).

"Third, I have a serious problem with The Gold Confiscation 
of April 5, 1933. I doubt that newly struck gold Bashlow 
copies would have qualified as rare and unusual coins as 
defined in Section 2(b) of the act, nor would they qualify 
under any other section. However, before I put my foot in 
the proverbial “it,” would one of our attorney friends be 
willing to express an opinion on this issue? I would be 
most appreciative. Remember, this was late 1961 and early 

"My argument is that the three verified thick planchet 
gold restrikes were made clandestinely, at least as far 
as Bashlow was concerned, because of The Gold Confiscation 
of April 5, 1933. The gold copy given to the Smithsonian 
Institution was not listed in the published inventory (Coin 
World), but was donated in secrecy along with the many other 
items listed in the published inventory. Bashlow never 
offered any gold restrikes for sale, thick or thin planchet. 
Therefore, all gold Bashlow restrikes are fakes, except the 
three known and verified thick planchet copies mentioned above. 

"I would appreciate any and all comments and information 
on this subject. I can be contacted at haroldlevi at"



My son Christopher surprised me again this week.  For the 
speech he has to give to his third grade class at school, 
he picked the subject of coin collecting.  He wants to talk 
about filling his Whitman folder of Roosevelt dimes.  Twice 
this week we had the folders and piles of dimes spread on 
the living room floor.

Friday evening all three kids and I worked on the project.  
Christopher and Tyler checked for date/mintmark combinations 
we needed, and so did I when Hannah wasn't hogging my magnifier.  
We were down to just a few empty holes before bedtime.   First 
thing Saturday morning, Christopher dragged out the folders 
and coins again and Tyler and Hannah helped as before.  When 
we'd filled all but one I announced that whoever found the 
final coin would get a dollar as a reward.  It was the 1978-D 
we needed, and wouldn't you know Christopher managed to find 
one.  He ran upstairs to tell my wife, whom I'm sure would 
have rather continued sleeping in.

My only other numismatic adventure this week was receiving 
my Uncirculated Dolley Madison gold coin from the U.S. Mint.  
That was fast service!  Coin World said the issue did not 
sell out and that fewer than 8,000 sold on the first day of 
availability.  Over 10,000 Proofs were sold.

I showed the coin to Christopher and explained that the reverse 
was designed by the same artist who'd done the beautiful print 
of elephants that now hangs in a frame in our front hallway 
(Joel Iskowitz).  The print is from a stamp design Iskowitz 
created.  He gave me a copy of the print for my wife after 
learning that she collected elephants.  I had it framed and 
gave it to her the night of the PAN Banquet in October, where 
Joel gave a presentation.

I checked with Joel see if he was able to obtain an example 
of his work.  He said he was able to order a proof example, 
but the coin was backordered.  So I was able to get my coin 
before the designer did, making the Mint look like a complete 
skinflint.  For heaven's sake, there ought to be some acceptable 
way to ensure designers obtain examples of their own work.

Joel added: "I thought it was a bit odd that there was no 
ceremony for the debut of the James Madison (Father of our 
Constitution) Presidential dollar coin. All the other three 
had first day of issue debuts."  Joel makes a good point - 
is the Mint petering out on publicity for the series?  


Roger deWardt Lane, Hollywood, Florida writes: "I took note 
of what Dick Johnson was saying about advertising supported 
free publications (Like Murdoch's Wall Street Journal being 
proposed free).  It is interesting he picked up on this as 
it relates to numismatic publications.
"My free E-book has been doing much better than I ever dreamed, 
with 780 unique visitors and 2,916 page hits in the first 
twenty-five days of November 2007.  I think in was even better 
when I first released it during the second half of October.
"People have been asking me about advertising support.  I 
found a site which will handle Google ads and pay me fees, 
but I'm going to wait.  My answer to my friends, 'At least 
for the first six months, I want it completely free for the 
numismatic community.' "


John Dannreuther writes: "Kudos to David Lange on the tapered 
collar theory. I thought of it, and had dismissed it, but 
his logic seems right with the horizontal press. I wonder 
if the ejection lines on the "tapered" cents are different 
than those of the previous collars? They should be less 
intense as the collar widens."




John Dannreuther writes: "I recently was asked the question 
about the old bills (someone had started spending a hoard of 
1950 twenties at a local restaurant). The cashier had used a 
counterfeit-detecting pen on one of the bills and it registered 

"I was there and looked at the second bill he had just taken 
and told him it was genuine, and possibly the old paper did 
not work with the pens. Guess that is the case, per last 
week's E-Sylum. Does anyone know why?"

[This topic has come up before - basically, the pens are 
designed to detect certain properties in genuine U.S. currency 
paper, but they only work with relatively recent notes.  As 
noted in one of the earlier E-Sylum articles, the counterfeit 
pens come with a warning which says they don't work on money 
older than 1959.  -Editor]





Recently Robert Rightmire asked about the address of The 
Guttag Brothers, New York brokers and coin dealers.  David 
Gladfelter responded: "There's a sticker inside my copy of 
Coins of the Americas (1927) that says 'now located in our 
own building, 42 Stone St.' That suggests they had moved 
from a previous address.  I also found their earlier address 
in their ad in the Numismatist for April 1924: 16-18 Exchange 
Place, New York."  

Rich Hartzog writes: "My database puts Julius Guttag at 55 
William St. NYC, NY.  However, this may be his home address."

[Rich wasn't able to assign a timeframe to his database 
address listing. -Editor]



[The December 2007 Stack's Coin Galleries Mail & Internet 
Bid Sale closing Tuesday, December 18, 2007 has some 
interesting and attractive lots of coins and medals.  Here 
are a few that I noticed in the catalog.  -Editor]

Lot 1478: Silver Dollar, 1795 B-2, BB-20. Rarity-3. Flowing 
Hair, Two Leaves. Fine-12.

The obverse has fancy script graffiti "H. H. Warner" in 
the right field, "Rochester, N.Y." in the left. A quick 
search on Google finds that an H. H. Warner was a major 
historical figure in the Rochester, New York area in the 
1880s, and built a fine mansion. This coin is a classic 
deep gunmetal-blue with lighter gray on the devices. The 
reverse is clean and attractive. For many years such coins 
were priced at a discount, but with the power of internet 
research many of the original owners can be determined 
with relative ease and bring to life historical aspects. 
Although we can't be certain, the present coin was probably 
obtained many years after it was coined, and H. H. Warner 
kept it as a pocket piece, having it finely engraved at a 
local jeweler—perhaps it was his father's and handed down 
through the family. An intriguing example of Americana.

[Be sure to view the larger images of the following 
medals. -Editor]

Lot 2154: FRANCE. Orpheus Medal, ca. 1899.
67.6mm. By Marie Lucien Alexandre Coudray. Obv. 
Laurel-crowned Orpheus holding lyre.  

Lot 2330: VATICAN-PAPAL STATES. Pius IX, 1846-1878. 
Saint Peter's Basilica Interior Medal, 1854.  


[David Sundman forwarded this article on an interesting 
discovery in London at the site of the 2012 London Olympics.  

"Digs at the London Olympic site have unearthed evidence of 
Iron Age and Roman settlements, authorities said on Wednesday.

"Pottery and a Roman coin have been found on the site of 
the planned Aquatics Centre in Stratford, east London.

"They were buried behind a wooden river wall that may have 
been built and used by the Romans.

"The coin, which has been dated to 330-335 AD, shows two 
soldiers and their standards on one side, and emperor 
Constantine II and Caesar on the other.

"The items will go on show at the Museum of London as 
part of its collection and record of the site's dig."

To read the complete article, see:


According to a news report published today, "Charles Upham's 
Victoria Cross and bar is among prestigious military medals 
stolen from the Waiouru Army Museum.  Nine Victoria Crosses, 
two George Crosses and other medals were stolen in the theft 
early today.

"Museum staff discovered that several displays had been broken 
into, after the alarm was activated in an annex to the building 
sometime between midnight and 6am.

"Museum executive trustee Don McIver said combined the medals 
could fetch 'millions'.  Ruapehu police area commander Steve 
Mastrovich said the burglary appeared to be well-planned.

"'It was quite a stunning sort of offence really. It's quite 
amazing that anybody would target property like that, especially 
when you consider what the medals signify.'

"Medals taken include:

* Samuel Frickleton, VC -- WW1
* Leslie Andrew, VC -- WW1
* Randolph Ridling, Albert Medal -- WW1
* Reginald Judson, VC, DCM, MM -- WW1
* John Grant, VC -- WW1
* Harry Laurent, VC -- WW1
* Jack Hinton, VC -- WW2
* Clive Hulme, VC -- WW2
* Keith Elliott, VC -- WW2
* Charles Upham, VC and Bar -- WW2
* David Russell, GC -- WW2
* Ken Hudson, GC. "


[A story out of Texas this week sheds a little light on 
the behind-the-scenes workings of coin marketers.  Two 
similarly-named firms, one run by former employees of 
the other, attended a hearing on Thursday; no outcome 
has been announced.  -Editor]

"Austin-based U.S Money Reserve, Inc. is pursuing a 
permanent injunction against a band of former employees, 
who formed their own coin company by allegedly stealing 
the company's consumer accounts. 

"U.S Money Reserve, doing business as United States Rare 
Coin & Bullion Reserve (USRCB), filed its suit, USRCB vs. 
United States Money Exchange et al, earlier this month. 

"The suit names as defendants Cecil Roberts, individually 
and doing business as United States Money Exchange; Jason 
Braquet and Ed Seymour, individually and doing business 
as JTB Coins; Chad Poole, Terry Finley and Bill Truman.

"According to the plaintiff's petition, on Oct. 17, 2007, 
Braquet, a former USRCB employee, left the company to work 
with other former employees 'to divert sales of coins from 
numerous customers of plaintiff.' 

"To prove its allegations, USRCB hired local private 
investigator and political blogger Phillip Klein to probe 
the former employees who had left the company 'on suspicious 

"Faulk testified that after Braquet would make a sale while 
working for USRCB, he would write down the customer's information 
on a piece of paper, stick it in his pocket then sell it to 
United States Money Exchange. 

"'During the overview of the investigation I have found 
probable cause of both civil and criminal laws being violated 
by numerous individuals,' Klein wrote in his affidavit." 

To read the complete article, see:

To access the U.S. Money Reserve web site, see:


[Has there ever been a numismatic book bound in this 
unusual material?  -Editor]

"A 'spooky' image of a priest executed for treason over the 
Gunpowder Plot has appeared on a 17th century book thought 
to be bound in his skin, it is claimed. 

"Auctioneers said the face of Father Henry Garnet could be 
seen peering from the cover of the 'rare and macabre' book 
about the Jesuit priest's death. 

"The item will go under the hammer at Wilkinson's Auctioneers 
in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, on Sunday. 

"Garnet, was hanged in May 1606 for his involvement in the 
Gunpowder Plot. 

"Sid Wilkinson, from Wilkinson's Auctioneers, said: 'It's 
a little bit spooky because the front of the book looks 
like it has the face of a man on it, which is presumed to 
be the victim's face.' 

"The book, called A True and Perfect Relation of the Whole 
Proceedings Against the Late Most Barbarous Traitors, Garnet, 
a Jesuit and his Confederates, was published in 1606 just 
after his execution. 

"Some scholars now believe he had been trying to prevent 
the plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament rather than 
conspiring to kill the King." 

To read the complete article, see:

[Here is the auctioneer's lot description.  -Editor]

"A Rare & Macabre Early 17th Century Anthropodermic Bound 
Book in carrying box. The book entitiled; 'A True and Perfect 
Relation of The Whole Proceedings against the Late most barbarous 
Traitors, Garnet a Jesuit and his Confederats'; Printed London 
1606 by Robert Barker, printer to the King and believed to be 
bound in human skin, possibly that of the aforementioned Jesuit 
Priest; Father Henry Garnet. The box having a rectangular handle 
to the centre with the corners having clusters of brass stud 
flowers, and the front having an iron clasp and lockplate, 11 
ins x 7½ ins x 5 ins (28 cms x 19 cms x 13 cms)."

To read the original lot listing, see: 

[A Wikipedia entry provides more background on this practice.  -Editor]

Anthropodermic bibliopegy is the practice of binding books 
in human skin. Though uncommon in modern times, the technique 
dates back to at least the 17th century.  Surviving historical 
examples of this technique include anatomy texts bound with 
the skin of dissected cadavers, volumes created as a bequest 
and bound with the skin of the testator, and copies of judicial 
proceedings bound in the skin of the murderer convicted in 
those proceedings.

The libraries of many Ivy League universities include one or 
more samples of anthropodermic bibliopegy. The rare book 
collection at the Langdell Law Library at Harvard University 
holds a book, Practicarum quaestionum circa leges regias Hispaniae, 
a treaty of Spanish law. A faint inscription on the last page 
of the books states:

"The bynding of this booke is all that remains of my deare 
friende Jonas Wright, who was flayed alive by the Wavuma on 
the Fourth Day of August, 1632."

To learn more about anthropodermic bibliopegy see: 

[An Associated Press article in January 2006 discussed 
human-skin bound books in the nation's libraries. -Editor]

"The best libraries then belonged to private collectors. 
Some were doctors who had access to skin from amputated 
parts and patients whose bodies were not claimed. They found 
human leather to be relatively cheap, durable and waterproof, 
Hartman said.

"In other cases, wealthy bibliophiles may have acquired the 
skin from criminals who were executed, cadavers used in medical 
schools and people who died in the poor house, said Sam Streit, 
director of Brown's John Hay Library.

"The Boston Athenaeum, a private library, has an 1837 copy 
of George Walton's memoirs bound in his own skin. Walton was 
a highwayman -- a robber who specialized in ambushing travelers 
-- and he left the volume to one of his victims, John Fenno. 
Fenno's daughter gave it to the library.

"The Harvard Law School Library bought its copy of a 1605 
practice manual for Spanish lawyers decades ago, for $42.50 
from an antiquarian books dealer in New Orleans. It sat on a 
shelf unnoticed until the early 1990s, when curator David 
Ferris was going through the library catalogue and saw a note, 
copied from inside the cover, saying it was bound in the skin 
of a man named Jonas Wright."

To read the complete article, see:


[A damaged dime inspired a photographer to ponder what 
might have happened to cause its misshapen appearance.  
See the web page for a photo. -Editor]

"As I made my way back to the freeway, I noticed a Starbucks, 
with open street parking, smack dab in the middle of downtown 
LA. Seeing a leprechaun would have been more reasonable. To 
stave off my hallucinations, I thought I would avail myself 
of the opportunity to enjoy a pleasant and rare Starbucks 

"The lady who took my drink order mentioned when she gave 
me change that this one particular dime kept turning up in 
the store, such that it always ended up in the tip jar or 
part of the till. Thinking that our hero had some amazing 
ability to track ordinary coins, the barista cleared things 
up when she held up this dime.

"I traded one of my recently acquired, ordinary dimes for 
this oddly mangled 1972 model with the knowledge that today 
was going to take a photographic detour from my original plans.

"I want to think that this dime saved someone's life - in 
the right place at the right time, perhaps in a coat pocket, 
the humble dime catches the assassin's bullet.

"Another oddly more plausible scenario is that there is 
some dude out there that can shoot dimes out of the air with 
a little tiny gun that is capable of denting, but not piercing 
the coin. 

"I get the feeling that if I actually found out what beat up 
this dime, I would be totally underwhelmed, but I would love 
to know anyway, if for no other reason than to keep me off the 
lookout for a guy in a cape carrying a little revolver."

To read the complete article, see: 


A person in Lawrence, Kansas has a web site soliciting coins 
for single-minded collecting purpose: 1968 Lincoln cents:

"The 1968 penny collection began on September 27th, 1999 with 
just a single 1968 penny, and over the years it has steadily 
grown both in size and the number of contributors. 

"The goal of this website is to keep the collection growing 
indefinitely by soliciting 1968 pennies from as many people 
as possible. This is a group effort.

"Everybody who contributes pennies to the 1968 penny collection 
will be featured on this website.

"And for the price of just one cent (provided it's a 1968 cent) 
your name will be forever linked to this historic collection.

"Please take a moment to go through your pockets, purses, 
and piggy banks, and send your 1968 pennies to 1968 

To read the complete article, see: 


The New York Times was among many newspapers reporting this 
week on the last five designs in the U.S. Mint's 50 States 
Quarter program:

"The final five designs in the popular State Quarters series 
were announced yesterday by the United States Mint.

"The new coins will be minted and issued in 10-week intervals 
throughout 2008 with designs honoring Oklahoma, New Mexico, 
Arizona, Alaska and Hawaii. These coins wrap up the series 
that began in 1999 with a quarter honoring Delaware. Surveys 
by the Mint have found that nearly half of all Americans 
collect the state quarters, either in casual accumulations 
or as a serious numismatic pursuit. 

"Jay Johnson was director of the Mint in 2000 and 2001 in 
the early days of the program. He now works for a private 
company, the Franklin Mint, as its chief numismatist, 
supervising the production of what he calls 'enhanced' 
versions of the official coins by colorizing them or 
gold-plating them. He predicted that public interest in 
the state quarters would surge in the coming year. In other 
countries with long-running series of coins, he said, 
interest is usually strongest in the first and final years, 
as collectors realize their sets can now be completed.

"But the series may get an extra breath of life. A bill to 
issue six more coins in 2009, honoring the District of 
Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the United 
States Virgin Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands has 
been approved by the House of Representatives and is now 
awaiting action in the Senate banking committee."

To read the complete article, see:

"It costs the government around 9 to 10 cents to make a 
quarter, but the Mint sells the coins at face value. The 
increased production has amounted to an estimated $3.8 
billion in extra profits for the government.

"'It is one of those rare programs that actually made money 
for the federal government,' said Rep. Michael Castle, 
R-Delaware, the original sponsor of the state quarter 

"The quarters are scheduled to revert back to their pre-1999 
designs after next year. George Washington will remain on the 
'heads' side of the coin, but the 'tails' side where the state 
designs had been placed will once again feature an American 

To read the complete article, see: 


"Forged Iraqi banknotes worth about $1 million were seized 
in a central Baghdad raid on Tuesday, officials said, in 
what was believed to be the biggest operation of its kind 
against counterfeiters.

"Iraqi National Security Minister Shirwan al-Waeli said 
four people were arrested during the raid by Iraqi soldiers 
and security ministry officers on a ground-floor apartment 
in Baghdad's Karrada district.

"'A huge amount of money was found in the house, more than 
1 billion Iraqi dinars,' Waeli told Reuters.

"A Defence Ministry statement said the notes seized amounted 
to 1.25 billion Iraqi dinars, equivalent to roughly $1 million.

"Waeli said the forged currency was in notes of 10,000 and 
25,000 dinars. He said security ministry officials had been 
tracking the gang since Nov. 5."

To read the complete article, see:


News reports this week told of another man who attempted 
to pass a 'million-dollar bill':

"A bank teller in Clearwater had a million reasons not to 
open an account for an Augusta, Ga., man Monday, authorities 
said. Alexander D. Smith, 31, was charged with disorderly 
conduct and two counts of forgery after he walked into the 
bank and tried to open an account by depositing a fake $1 
million bill, said Aiken County Sheriff's spokesman Lt. 
Michael Frank. 

"The employee refused to open the account and called police 
while the man started to curse at bank workers, Frank said.

"The federal government has never printed a million-dollar 
bill, Frank said."

To read the complete article, see:

To view an image of the Million Dollar Bill, see:;_ylt





This week's featured web page is referred to us by John and 
Nancy Wilson.  It is a reference for the major, official 
currencies of the world and their currency codes.

"To distinguish between countries that call their currency 
the same or similar names, a country specific identifier has 
been provided for most of the currencies below. For example, 
both India and Nepal call their money the 'rupee' - therefore 
below they will be described as the Indian rupee and the 
Nepal rupee." 

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

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