The E-Sylum v10#52, December 23, 2007
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Sun Dec 23 19:11:25 PST 2007
Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 10, Number 52, December 23, 2007:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2007, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
WAYNE'S WORDS: THE E-SYLUM DECEMBER 23, 2007
Among our recent subscribers is Milton Lynn, courtesy of Russ
Sears. Welcome aboard! We now have 1,100 subscribers.
This week we learn of a new catalog on Renaissance Medals, a
website offering shipwreck coin books, and discuss numismatic-
related articles in newspapers.
In follow ups from previous issues, Bill Eckberg discusses the
Brongniart correspondence on the Libertas Americana medals, and
Mike Hodder discusses the Micmac medal. In research queries,
Mike Greenspan asks about dealer Harold M. Hess.
In the news, Washington D.C. and the territories just might a
Christmas present: quarters of their own. Merry Christmas
everyone, and have a great holiday week.
Numismatic Bibliomania Society
NATIONAL GALLERY OF ART PUBLISHES RENAISANCE MEDAL CATALOG
[Marilyn Reback of the American Numismatic Association
forwarded the following item from the National Gallery
of Art announcing a lecture and new publication cataloging
Renaissance-era medals. -Editor]
The most important public collection of Renaissance-era
medals in the United States resides at the National Gallery
of Art in Washington, D.C., and is the focus of a new
publication, Renaissance Medals. The first comprehensive
catalogue of this collection is available as a two-volume
set covering 957 medals acquired through 2003. Of these,
163 are currently on view at the National Gallery of Art
in the West Building ground floor sculpture galleries.
The catalogue, compiled over more than twenty years,
offers the most detailed art historical and scientific
assessment of the collection available to date, including
technical information such as the alloy composition of
each medal. Volume one features Italian medals, including
dozens of masterworks by Pisanello, who essentially invented
the medium of portrait medals. Volume two focuses on French,
German, Netherlandish, and English medals, including works
by Guillaume Dupré, Albrecht Dürer, and Jacques Jonghelinck,
and continues through the Baroque and later periods.
The nucleus of the National Gallery of Arts medal holdings
is a 1957 gift from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. It also
contains important gifts from the Joseph E. Widener (1942),
and Leonard Baskin and Lisa Unger Baskin (19922006)
collections. In addition, the National Gallery of Art has
purchased many significant medals, especially of 15th-century
work, including one recording the Pazzi conspiracy in Florence
of 1476. A medal commemorating Lorenzo the Magnificent by
Niccolò Fiorentino represents one of the last images of
this important Italian statesman and founder of the Medici
Some 163 medals are on view in the Gallerys renovated
sculpture galleries, which reopened in 2002. Medals are
installed in classically detailed, freestanding wood and
glass cases that allow visitors to see both sides of the
This catalogue expands upon Renaissance Medals: from the
Samuel H. Kress Collection at the National Gallery of Art,
which was released in 1967. The one commonality between
the two books is John Graham Pollard, who was co-author
of both the 1967 catalogue with G.F. Hill, and the new
catalogue with the assistance of National Gallery of Art
associate curator of sculpture, Eleonora Luciano, and his
wife, researcher Maria Pollard.
After the introduction in each volume, medals are listed
by country and era, and within that by schools and specific
artists. In an appendix in volume one, Lisha Deming Glinsman
and Lee-Ann Hayek explain their use of a non-invasive process
called X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF) to determine
the elemental compositions of medals. Their work makes a
significant contribution to developing a database of
Renaissance metal alloy compositions. Each volume provides
an extensive bibliography, concordances, index of inscriptions,
and a general index.
Oxford University Press is distributing the volumes, which
contain 1120 pages, 1745 duotones, and 66 color illustrations.
The two volumes are available through the National Gallery
of Art bookstore for $99 each by phone at (202) 842-6002 or
To read the complete press release, see:
NUMISMATICS IN THE NEWS: GLEANINGS FROM CONTEMPORARY NEWSPAPERS
Pete Smith writes: "This morning I dusted a shelf that hasn't
been dusted in years. I came across my copy of "Numismatics
in the News: Gleanings from Contemporary Newspapers". I have
copy 15 of 20. [This is a draft publication I put together
in 1995, but never completed. -Editor]
"Recently I checked the microfilm newspapers at the University
of Minnesota Library. When I have some more free time I want
to go back and check Philadelphia newspapers from 1793 for
references to the Mint and early coinage. I am sure you will
agree there is a wealth of information hiding in old newspapers.
"Now that there are ways to search old newspapers online,
it would be a great project for somebody to catalog such
articles. It would probably be possible to put the index
or even the full text on a website."
[It's amazing how quickly times have changed. Back when
I compiled my manuscript, I had to type these in one at a
time, mostly from original newspapers in my collection.
Not many old papers are available online making the task
of finding such articles much easier. Is anyone working
on or considering such a project? -Editor]
CORRECTION: NO "V" ON THE REVERSE OF ANY U.S. GOLD COIN
Michael E. Marotta writes: "I will have a review of 100
Greatest American Medals in the next issue of the MichMatist.
While writing that, I came across a curious blunder that
author Katherine Jaeger made here in The E-sylum. Oddly
enough, no one caught it. In the September 3, 2006 issue,
writing on U.S. Coin Mutilation Laws Jaeger said: When
the Mint issued a nickel design which did not bear the words
FIVE CENTS on the reverse, but instead employed a Roman
numeral V just like the one on the $5 gold piece, some
miscreants plated gold on their nickels and passed them
as $5 pieces. Of course, no such V appeared on the reverse
of any US $5 half eagle gold coin.
U.S. COIN MUTILATION LAWS
SHIPWRECK BOOKS FOR SALE
While looking for other things I recently came across the
following web site offering books on shipwreck coins.
* Shipwrecks And Their Coins: Volume 1 The 1622 Spanish
* Shipwrecks And Their Coins: Volume 2 The 1654 "Capitana"
* Shipwrecks And Their Coins: Volume 3The 1715 Spanish
* Spanish Treasure Bars From New World Shipwrecks
* Galleon Alley: The 1733 Spanish Treasure Fleet
* Spanish Colonial Gold Coins In The Florida Collection
* Shipwrecked 1622: The Lost Treasure of Philip IV
FEDERAL RESERVE PUBLICATIONS ON THE PANIC OF 1907 AND OTHER TOPICS
Bob Neale writes: "For those who are interested in the Panic
of 1907 and the book you described in the 12/09/07 E-Sylum
by Brunner and Carr ("The Panic of 1907: Lessons Learned
from the Market's Perfect Storm"), I note the following:
"A great booklet on the subject (Panic of 1907, 20 pp, 7 1/2
x 11-in) may be obtained for free from the Federal Reserve
Bank of Boston. I got mine in 2002, and assume it is still
available. Simply phone (617) 973-3459 to request it. I
received mine in 10 days, and even got a phone call 4 months
later asking whether I had received it! One can also receive
a catalog of all the current publications available from the
Federal Reserve System, such as two other well done booklets:
Closed for the Holiday: The Bank Holiday of 1933, and
Historical Beginnings...The Federal Reserve, all from FRS
of Boston. While this great source of information is likely
known to many E-Sylum subscribers, it may not be to all."
NEW BOOK: THE PANIC OF 1907
ON WRIGHT, FRANKLIN, BRONGNIART, AND THE LIBERTAS AMERICANA MEDAL
Bill Eckberg writes: "It was very good to have the opportunity
to read the Brongniart correspondence in its original French
and in translation. I agree with Karl Moulton that these
are important pieces of correspondence related to early US
exonumia, and I am gratified that my review brought this
information to light. I am a firm believer that more evidence
is always better than less, and I am pleased that Moulton
turned this information up. As I indicated in the review,
I wish the original source materials had made it into the book.
"The letters do not provide a 'smoking gun' demonstrating
unequivocally who designed the Libertas Americana medal.
Nevertheless, I cannot see any way that this correspondence
implicates Wright. Brongniart clearly says that the designs
are from someone that HE, not Franklin, identified and that
he had both a sculptor and a painter work on them. (Both
are unidentified in the correspondence, though we can guess
that Dupré and Gibelin are those indicated.) Since Brongniart
claims that he engaged those who designed it, that would
point away from Wright's involvement as the designer.
"What we do not know, and probably cannot know, is whether
Wright suggested a motif to Franklin and, if so, whether
that motif was actually used. He may have, but we are left
with only tenuous, circumstantial evidence on which to base
such a conclusion. Thus, I remain unconvinced. I don't doubt
that Franklin and Wright met in France towards the end of
the American Revolution, but they were not the only Americans
living and working there. Others may have influenced Franklin.
We just don't know.
"With respect to John Adams' offer, my position was simply
that there is no hard evidence that Wright had any meaningful
involvement in the design of the medal. The new information,
while interesting, does not change that, so I have nothing
new to add.
"Finally, it was not my goal in the review to 'discount what
[was] presented' in what I considered to be a generally
favorable review of a book I'm glad I purchased."
ON THE DEMISE OF THE ANA JOURNAL
Regarding the cancellation of the ANA Journal, John Merz
writes, "What now comprises a complete set? I have five
Dick Hanscom writes: "I found it interesting that the ANA
is ceasing publication of the ANA Journal. I had a letter
to the editor in the Numismatist in June of this year,
partially on this subject. I will pose this question to
readers of this email newsletter - Why can't the ANA Journal
be incorporated into the Numismatist?"
[I put these questions to Andy Dickes of the American
Numismatic Association, since my own set is scattered
at the moment. He writes: "There were five issues total,
so John does own a complete set. As for the Journal being
incorporated into the magazine, Barbara would have to
Numismatist editor Barbara Gregory is away for the holiday,
so we'll await her word. The Numismatist seems like a
natural outlet for such material, but publishing to a wide
audience involves a tricky balancing act, and sometimes
solutions are not easy.
If I had been the Executive Director we might have just
produced the ANA Journal as an online-only publication.
There are no space constraints and little incremental
costs on the web. Make it a password-protected members-
only area if you want, but dont charge extra for it
make it a perk of membership. Selling ads could at
least partly offset the added production costs. -Editor]
THE NUMISMATIST IS THE NUMISMATIST AGAIN
Charles Davis writes: "In a press release this week,
the A.N.A. announced 'In a recent decision by the Board
of Governors, the name of the ANA magazine has been changed
back to The Numismatist, the original title used by George
Heath when he founded the publication in 1888.' Too bad
that David Sklow is no longer on the staff to catch such
errors before they are published. (I won't insult readers
by pointing out the obvious error)."
[Well, I doubt every E-Sylum reader is well versed in the
history of the ANA's publication, so I'll publish the
correction here. The ANA addressed the mistake in their
December 21 "In the Loop with the ANA" email publication:
"Thanks to members Pete Smith and David Sklow, who provided
feedback from Wednesday's Money Mail. The original title
of ANA founder George Heath's publication was The American
Numismatist. The title remained...for one issue! The word
"American" was dropped from the November-December 1888
issue to avoid a conflict with C.E. Leal's New Jersey
periodical of the same name (from Charles Davis' book,
American Numismatic Literature)." -Editor]
ON "CUTTING" A COIN FOR MAJOR JOHN STEWARD/STEWART
Last week I was puzzled by a term used in an article about
Revolutionary War hero "John Steward". It said "General
Washington had a silver coin cut by order of the Continental
Congress". The word "cut" is what had me stumped, although
if I had recalled what I'd read just a few weeks before in
the 'Comitia Americana' book the meaning would have been
obvious. The writer wasn't talking about cutting a coin,
but cutting the dies for a medal.
Gar Travis helped straighten me out, sending the following
online description of the Major John Stewart Comitia Americana
medal. (The article I'd seen spelled the name as Steward
with a "d").
On the front is an Indian Princess (representing America)
presenting a palm branch to Major Stewart. Her left hand
is resting on the American Shield. The legend reads:
"Joanni Stewart Cohortis Praefecto, Comitia Americana
The American Congress to Major John Stewart".
On the reverse side is a fortress. In the foreground an
American Officer cheering on his men who are following
him over the enemy's abatis. The inscription reads:
"Stony Point Oppugnatu, XV Jul. MDCCLXXIX Stony Point
attacked 15th of July 1779". Major Stewart was one of
the key officers in the attack on Stony Point and was
awarded this medal for said gallantry.
To read the complete reference, see:
Anne E. Bentley of the Massachusetts Historical Society
(co-author of the 'Comitia Americana book) agrees. She
writes: "I'm betting that the Annapolis reporter means
the Comitia Americana medal to John Stewart for his part
in the assault on Stony-Point, July 15, 1779...furthermore,
I'd bet the letter he refers to is the one on page 96 of
Comitia Americana and Related American Medals (not to add
a shameless plug for the book...).
"I'll take this opportunity to wish you and your readers
Seasonal greetings and a happy, healthy new year to one
QUERY: GEORGE WASHINGTON'S AWARD FOR JOHN STEWARD
MIKE HODDER ON THE MICMAC MEDAL
Mike Hodder writes: "The reverse type on the Micmac medal,
a column of independence supported by the willing hands of
13 states, is nearly identical in type and message to that
found on Gostelowe army standard No.1 (1778), which in turn
is seemingly immediately derived from the seal on the
title page of the Proceedings of the Congress September 5,
1774, printed by William and Thomas Bradford of Philadelphia.
"There are two unusual early "Indian Peace" medals that
deserve detailed study, this and the poorly executed piece
at ANS showing Columbia and an Indian exchanging a pipe and
olive branch on one side and the seal of the USA within 13
named and linked rings on the other (the significance of the
types will not escape readers). I've always been intrigued
by the fact that William Goadsby, of NJ coinage fame, denied
his one-time partner, Albion Cox, any right to the medallic
work Goadsby claimed to have done for the Congress in the
late 1780's. I've often wondered if either one (or both) of
these might have been the work alluded to?"
ON MUSEUM DISPLAYS, COLLECTOR DONATIONS AND THEFT
Alan V. Weinberg writes: "The concept of the New Zealand
Museum's (and other institutions according to the e-Sylum
Editor) withdrawal of their medals from public display and
locking them up for just scholars with advanced notice to
see is so repugnant to me. In their place, the museum says
they will exhibit replicas of the medals!
Typical, inconsiderate institutional reaction which flies
in the face of museum contributors who clearly wished their
rarities be exhibited to the public and perhaps generate new
collectors and an interest in history . Instead of creating
more advanced imaginative security measures, the museum
curators deprive the public of seeing the original medals.
All because another museum was burglarized, most likely an
inside job. Who would want to see an exhibit of replicas?
No replicas would start a "fire in the belly" of a would-be
This gut reaction by museums, who then get their collections
"in storage" pilfered away without notice, is precisely why
so many collectors decide to auction their life's work and
create a memorable catalogue and sale . Their names live on
for a hundred years or more among collectors (much as we
think of Chas Bushnell, Jos. J. Mickley or John J. Ford,
Jr. in awe) instead of being forgotten by the numismatic
community not long after they pass away. Give me a good
cataloguer and a memorable auction anytime! When I show my
coins or medals, I always mention the prior owner provenance
[Its understandable why many collectors are dead set against
leaving collections to museums. My early experience with
the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh formed my opinion for life.
After seeing the heartbreak caused when the museum decided
to sell previously donated items, I vowed never to become
a donor. I've already sold the bulk of my first collection,
and I was happy to see the pieces go into the hands of fellow
collectors who will value and enjoy them. And sure, I was
proud to have my name on my consignments and hope some of
those buyers will keep the pedigree information updated.
I set aside copies of the catalogues for each of my kids so
they'll realize someday that the money that bought their
childhood home really didn't grow on trees.
But I've softened my stance a bit. I would consider donating
selected items to a museum where I felt the material would
augment the collection and that the donation would be
appreciated and cared for. For example, I've donated archival
material to the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, and have
a few more boxes planned to go - and these include some
Pittsburgh numismatic items (paper money, checks, stock
certificates) etc. The planned donation also includes an
archive of ephemera related to local numismatists and clubs.
The history center should make a fine steward of this material.
One should be careful not to paint all museums with the same
brush. Visits to the top numismatic museums show that they
clearly can and do treat numismatic material with far more
respect than museums which don't have numismatics as a focus.
ADELAIDE CITY COUNCIL'S VICTORIA CROSS DISPLAY
[The following item touches on the issue of properly
securing items in museum displays in a discussion about
a Victoria Cross in Adelaide, Australia. -Editor]
Roy Inwoods VC was displayed in the Council Chamber from
1972 until 1989 when it was decided to place the original VC
in secure storage and display a replica of the medal in its
place in the Chamber. This was prompted by concerns for the
security of the original medal, and followed extensive
conjecture in the media about the rising value of these
Displaying a replica in place of an original is appropriate
best-practice curatorial management often employed by museums
and galleries to reduce risk to extremely valuable collection
items. The real VC was stored in the high security vault at
the Councils Archives until such time as more adequate
security could be provided for it to be permanently displayed
in the Council Chamber.
During 2005 the display of Roy Inwoods original VC medal
became the subject of considerable media and community interest
and debate. Some parties called for the medal to be sent to
the Australian War Memorial in Canberra to be displayed in
its national VCs Collection. The Council consulted extensively
with the Inwood family and other stakeholders about what should
happen to the VC. The majority believed Roy Inwoods dying
wishes must be honoured and that the medal should remain in
South Australia and be returned to the Council Chamber where
he had originally intended it be displayed.
In December 2005, therefore, Council decided to allocate funds
for the purpose of strengthening security in the Council Chamber
to permit the VC to be returned there.
To read the complete article, see:
PRINCETON UNIVERSITY ACQUIRES SARMAS COLLECTION OF MEDIEVAL GREEK COINAGE
[Alan M. Stahl, Curator of Numismatics at Princeton University
forwarded a recent announcement, excerpted below. -Editor]
The Princeton University Numismatic Collection has acquired
the Sarmas Collection of coins of medieval Greece, comprising
more than eight hundred coins minted in the eastern Mediterranean
following the fall of Constantinople to the armies of the Fourth
Crusade in 1204. Even though the Byzantine Empire was eventually
reconstituted and resumed its coinage, much of its former
territory in Greece and the Aegean islands remained in the
hands of descendents of the Crusaders and other Europeans,
who issued coins in the traditions of their homelands. The
Sarmas collection was purchased with matching funds provided
by the Program in Hellenic Studies with the support of the
Stanley J. Seeger Hellenic Fund.
The collection was assembled by Theo Sarmas, a London-based
businessman who is also a noted collector of Byzantine
polychrome ceramics. He acquired most of the coins from
English dealers, and many can be traced back to famous
collections, including that of John Slocum of Newport,
Rhode Island. While late Byzantine issues are well
represented in many public collections, until now there
been no specialized collection of the coins of the Greek
lands of the later Middle Ages available for study in a
The Sarmas collection is especially rich in coins minted
in the eastern Mediterranean that imitate the important
trade coins of Italian cities, especially those of Venice
and Naples. Some of these bear the names of rulers of
Greek territories; many are of uncertain origin. Among
those of note with certain attribution are a silver coin
of Chios minted by Martino Zaccharia in the period 13241329,
which imitates the silver grossi of Venice, and a gold coin
of Dorino Gattilusio, Lord of Lesbos and Ainos from 1400
to 1449, which imitates the popular gold ducat of Venice.
Seventeen imitation ducats in the collection bear the name
of the Venetian doge Andrea Dandolo of the mid-fourteenth
century, the most common type, but there are also imitations
in the names of five other Venetian doges, which are much rarer.
The largest part of the Sarmas collection comprises issues
of the rulers of mainland Greece in the thirteenth and
fourteenth centuries, chiefly members of the Villehardouin
family of Athens and the Angevin rulers of the Peloponnesus,
minted on the model of the pennies of Tours in France. Of
special interest among these deniers tournois are those
issued by Giovanni Orsini at Arta in Epirus, Helen Angela
at Karytaina, and John II Ducas Comnenus at Neopatras, as
well as one of Campobasso in Italy issued by Nicholas of
Monforte in the early fifteenth century.
Princeton's Curator of Numismatics, Alan Stahl, is quite
excited by the scholarly potential of the new collection.
"This makes Princeton an unrivaled resource for the study
of a coinage about which there are many unanswered questions,"
he noted. He added, "One of the former post-doctoral Fellows
of the Program in Hellenic Studies is planning a return to
Princeton from Oxford specifically to study this new material,
and a first-year graduate student in History is going to
compare the punches used on the various imitation ducats
to see if she can connect those of a known origin to those
QUERY: HAROLD M. HESS FIXED PRICE LISTS
Mike Greenspan of Houston, TX writes: "While paring my
library, I rediscovered a run of catalogs from a copper
and token dealer named Harold M. Hess from Temple Hill,
MD. I bought a number of very nice items from him in the
early 1980s. He published, I believe, eight fixed price
catalogs, some not dated. I have one complete set of the
5 1/2 x 8 1/2 catalogs, plus another set missing only
the first issue.
"I thought, and still think, his catalogs were well done
and I know the material he offered was well above the
average. I had become a regular customer of his when the
catalogs abruptly stopped. The last catalog was Spring
1985, after which I never heard from him again.
"I asked several noted token collectors about Hess.
Some recognized the name but only one, Dave Schenkman,
remembers dealing with him at shows in the late 70s and
early 80s in the Washington, DC area, although Dave had
no further information. Can any E-Sylum reader shed any
light on Harold Hess? Thanks."
[I enjoyed Hess's catalogs and bought from him as well -
mostly Civil War Tokens, but I believe he also offered
Hard Times Tokens, Conder tokens and other interesting
pieces, all in high grades. -Editor]
CRAZY CHRISTMAS GIFT FROM DOWN UNDER: TOKEN/SCREWDRIVER
Regarding the "token/screwdriver" Dick Johnson discussed
last week, Jørgen Sømod writes: "A token can always be used
for some kind of payment. Thus the screwdriver is not a
token. It may be placed in the category of medalets and
advertising pieces. What about a key? Most keys are also
diestruck, but they are as far as I know not accepted as
CRAZY CHRISTMAS GIFT FROM DOWN UNDER: TOKEN/SCREWDRIVER
LIBERTY DOLLAR FIRM REBRANDED AS LIBERTY NUMISMATICS
[The Evansville Courier Press published an article Monday
with an update on Bernard von NotHaus and his Liberty Dollar
organization. Now the firm has been named "Liberty Numismatics".
The Evansville-based headquarters of a company that produces
the Liberty Dollar is open again with a new name and a new
Liberty Numismatics, formerly Liberty Services, reopened
earlier this month to raise money for its legal defense
fund and to satisfy customers who continue to want to
purchase Liberty Dollars, said company founder Bernard
The reopening of the headquarters, at 225 N. Stockwell Road,
came less than a month after federal agents raided it and
took gold, silver and 60,000 newly minted coins featuring
Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul.
The company produced the gold-and silver-backed Liberty
Dollar as an "inflation-proof" alternative currency to
the U.S. dollar.
The Nov. 14 raid occurred a little more than a year after
a U.S. Mint warning that the alternative currency was
illegal and in the midst of a lawsuit von NotHaus filed
against the mint, arguing that the warning had no legal
Von NotHaus said the name change reflects a change in the
company's business model. It is no longer producing new
Liberty Dollars, although it is hallmarking and selling
already-produced coins with a small handcuffs icon in honor
of the raid. The value has skyrocketed since the raid at
one point $20 Ron Paul Liberty Dollars were selling for
more than $250 von NotHaus said Liberty Numismatics
better reflects the collectible nature of the offerings.
The hallmarked coins, dubbed Arrest Dollars, are available
for prices ranging from $15 to $30.
They are made from Liberty Dollars donated back to the
company, von NotHaus said, and will soon be available
only on eBay.
And before long, von NotHaus said they won't be offered at all.
"It's available between now and when I'm arrested," he said.
"So it's a very limited supply."
To read the complete article, see:
WASHINGTON D.C. AND TERRITORIES GET THEIR "STATE" QUARTERS
[Assuming the President signs the massive spending bill
into law, the "%0 States" Quarter program will be extended
after all. The following excerpts are from a Washington
Post article published this week. -Editor]
The District has no vote in Congress, its laws can be trampled
by federal legislators and even its streets can be closed by
the feds on a moment's notice.
But after nearly 10 years of fighting, the city finally won
a new mark of respect this week.
It will have its very own quarter.
The measure, tucked into a giant federal spending bill, puts
the District on the same level as the 50 states, at least
when it comes to the popular coins showcasing home-state
icons such as mountains, birds, race cars and fiddles. The
D.C. quarter is due in 2009, with a design yet to be determined.
'Can you believe it? How many years have I tried to get that?'
exulted the city's congressional delegate, Eleanor Holmes
Norton (D), who has repeatedly introduced bills to get the
District a place on the quarter's flip side.
Despite Norton's vigorous lobbying and arm-twisting, it
was not the District's quest for equality that ultimately
carried the day.
It was Puerto Rico's.
Rep. Jose E. Serrano (D-N.Y.) inserted language into the
spending bill to provide quarters for his native Puerto Rico,
as well as the District, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands,
American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands.
Serrano became chairman this year of the House Appropriations
subcommittee on financial services, which oversees important
agencies such as the U.S. Treasury. That gave him the power
of the purse, or at least the quarter.
'I said 'Ah-ha!' ' Serrano recalled. 'So I said, 'Puerto
Rico will get a quarter. But it shouldn't be just Puerto
Rico; it should be all the territories.' '
Not that the District is a territory, he quickly pointed
out. 'But it's certainly treated that way.'
The city has already used its license plates, stamped
'Taxation Without Representation,' to trumpet its lack
of voting rights. Some have speculated the city might try
to put that motto on its quarters.
To read the complete article, see:
MAGNA CARTA TO RETURN TO NATIONAL ARCHIVES
Washington D.C. got a double dose of good news this week:
"Washington business titan David Rubenstein said yesterday
he would return the only copy of the Magna Carta in the
United States to the National Archives, just hours after
paying $21.3 million for the 710-year-old document at an
auction in New York.
"Rubenstein, co-founder of the D.C.-based Carlyle Group,
bought the one-page, 2,500-word tract at Sotheby's late
Tuesday, and said he would place it on permanent loan to
the National Archives.
"The document is one of only 17 copies of the 13th-century
agreement known to be in existence. Its previous owner was
Texas billionaire H. Ross Perot, who had loaned it to the
National Archives after acquiring it from a British family
"Translation: Money changes hands. Document stays put.
"'It's still at Sotheby's at the moment, but I've been in
touch with the National Archives, and I'll leave it to their
experts to bring it back,' Rubenstein said in a telephone
interview yesterday from New York. 'I'm not going to get
in a U-Haul and drive it down there myself. . . . It was
surprising to me that something this important might leave
our country. I thought it would be a good thing if I could
play a role and keep it in the country.'
"Rubenstein said yesterday his purchase was largely due to
chance. Traveling abroad last week, he said, he spotted a
newspaper story about the impending sale. He went to look
at the document on display at the auction house Monday
evening, then returned the next night to the auction.
"'I made it by five minutes. The traffic was terrible.
The bidding started about two minutes later. It was the
kind of thing that if I had spent a lot of time thinking
about it, I might have done something different.' "
To read the complete article, see:
COINS BUY INDIANA MAN A NEW TRUCK
Dick Johnson writes: "A Frankfort, Indiana man bought himself
a new truck for Christmas. Not much of a news story in that,
but he paid for it in cash -- all coins he had saved from
pocket change over the years. He had done the same thing for
his last truck, purchased 13 years before.
"He had sheriff deputies escort him to the dealership with
the coins, stored in coffee cans, water jugs and piggy banks.
The dealership found no banks would take the coins so they
had to hire Brinks to haul away and count the coins.
"Reminds me of the story my father used to tell. A Kansas
farm couple came in to a car dealership he did accounting
work for. To purchase a new car the couple pulled out a jar
of coins to pay for it in cash. The dealer counted the coins
but told the couple they were $1,000 short.
"Oh, Pa," said the wife, "we brought the wrong jar!" "
To read the complete article, see:
SILVER SIXPENCE LOSING OUT TO GLASS OF CHAMPAGNE
Dick Johnson writes: "If you are British and reading this
the day before Christmas you will probably remove the coin
from your traditional Christmas pudding and replace it with
a glass of Champagne. At least that is the result reported
in a survey published last week in the UK.
"Of all the holiday coin traditions, hiding a silver coin
-- replaced by a copper penny in recent years -- in the
customary pudding for Christmas dinner is one of the most
charming. It is losing popularity, however, in the British
"'Only three per cent of people in their study planned to
follow the tradition of putting a coin in the Christmas
pudding this year' stated the report.
"I found the recipe for Christmas pudding on the internet
and it contains lots of raisins, currents and other goodies.
When these are mixed and boiled in a cloth bag and allowed
to drain and the flavor enhanced over time, this sounds
like a yummy mixture.
"The tradition was to hide the coin in the mixture and the
person who found the coin in their serving was allowed to
keep it. Champagne does not seem to have the same charm.
Certainly not for children who may have been the lucky
"With or without a silver sixpence at your holiday dinner
table, have a MERRY CHRISTMAS!"
FEATURED WEB SITE: SOUTH AFRICAN COINS AND BANK NOTES
This week's featured web site is on South African coins and bank notes.
"This web site carries over 100 pages of research on early South African
coins, various Griqua token and pattern coins and South African Currency all
backed up by about 200 books (1600s-2000s) owned by the Balson Holdings
Family Trust (BHFT)."
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