The E-Sylum v10#53, December 30, 2007
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Sun Dec 30 21:12:27 PST 2007
Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 10, Number 53, December 30, 2007:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2007, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
WAYNE'S WORDS: THE E-SYLUM DECEMBER 30, 2007
We have no new subscribers this week - our count holds at 1,100.
This week we open with two short book reviews by Mike Marotta and
John and Nancy Wilson. Much of the rest of this issue has an
international theme, such as Howard Berlin's note on his recent
and upcoming world travels to numismatic museums.
In the news are some interesting articles profiling numismatic
personalities including moneyer Dave Greenhalgh and Laurie Sperber
of Legend Numismatics.
I've been travelling this week and the hour is late, so I'll
stop here and wish all of my readers a Happy New Year and a
productive and prosperous 2008. While you're making your
Resolutions, don't forget your numismatic friends at The E-Sylum
- send us your thoughts and opinions on numismatic literature,
research topics, news items and any other nuggets that might
interest or amuse your fellow readers. See you next year!
Numismatic Bibliomania Society
BOOK REVIEW BY MIKE MAROTTA: WHITMAN GUIDE BOOK OF LINCOLN CENTS
Mike Marotta writes: "I just received 'A Guide Book of
Lincoln Cents' by Q. David Bowers (Whitman, 2008, 300
pages, $19.95) and this latest addition to the Whitman
product line continues to meet high standards for production,
presentation, research and writing.
"The first 125 pages deliver historical background, starting
with the pennies of the colonial era. (What was the first
American coin to use 'cent' as a denomination?) Both the
Wheat Reverse and the Memorial Reverse have separate histories.
Grading, markets and being a smart buyer also merit their own
chapters. Continuing the education there is a chapter on the
minting process and another on different themes for collecting
the Lincoln cent. The price guide includes data for the usual
circulated grades, but also uncirculated grades 63 through 70
inclusive in Red, Red Brown and Brown. For coins of the
highest state, certified populations are listed as well.
"Hard as it is to write a book for 'everyone' I was pleasantly
surprised to read the words of Charles D. Daughtery, author
of the Foreword. Regarding the 1922-D/No D error, Daughtrey
asserts that these are all due to a grease-filled die, not
some complicated restoration of a damaged die and declares,
further, that the coin is not worth collecting. The market
disagrees, of course. The book closes with a bibliography,
perhaps of greater interest to readers here. While Whitman
now publishes Vermuele's 'Numismatic Art in America,' the
bibliography of this book cites the original edition from
BOOK REVIEW BY JOHN AND NANCY WILSON: WHITMAN'S 100 GREATEST AMERICAN STAMPS
John and Nancy Wilson of Ocala, FL write: "The "100 Greatest
American Stamps," written by Donald Sundman and Janet Klug,
is a richly illustrated 144 page hard cover book showing
what many people believe are the 100 most interesting American
stamps. It covers a good cross-section of stamps from the
1918 inverted Jenny and the unique 1868 1 cent Z grill to the
1993 29 cent Elvis Presley stamp. Market values are given for
the stamps from 1920 to present in both new and used condition.
This chart allows the reader to review the historic change in
the stamp's value. Following the top 100 are four pages of
honorable mention stamps which include a 1st Issue Postage
"Additional historical information about the stamps and other
artifacts associated with the stamps is given. Coins and
paper money associated with the stamps are also shown and
described. The coffee-table-size book appeals to both the
dedicated stamps collector as well as people just casually
familiar with stamps. The authors give tips on grading and
educated buying in the current marketplace. The book retails
for $29.95 online at www.whitmanbook.com and bookstores
and hobby shops nationwide."
H.R. HARMER SALE OF M.L. BEISTLE PHILATELIC MATERIAL
Michael Sullivan writes: "I thought our E-Sylum readers
would be interested in knowing the Beistle collection of
Philatelic material was sold by H.R. Harmer in October.
The collection included an impressive array of US stamps.
I've been a long-time collector of material crossing the
boundary between numismatics and philately related to bank
note engraving, bank note engraving history, and
counterfeiting. The Beistle collection included a
number of essays, proofs, and material engraved by
specific bank note engraving companies."
FRENCH SOCIETY MEETING AT NEW YORK INTERNATIONAL
Richard Margolis writes: "Every year since the founding of
the New York International Numismatic Convention in 1972
(2001 excepted) the Societe americaine pour l'Etude de la
Numismatique francaise has held its annual meeting at the
Convention. Each year we have had a prominent speaker as
the centerpiece of our meeting, and this year's speaker
and topic should be of special interest.
"John Kraljevich, Jr. will speak on 'Hunting for Eagles:
Pierre L'Enfant and the Society of the Cincinnati'. The
recent sale at Sotheby's (for over five million dollars)
of George Washington's own, custom-made Order of the
Cincinnati, which his descendants presented to the Marquis
de Lafayette on the occasion of the latter's triumphal
return to the United States in 1834, has focused a great
deal of publicity on this famous Order and the Society
which spawned it.
"John Kraljevich, Jr. one of the most prominent individuals
in early American numismatics, known equally for his erudition
and for the enthusiasm with which he treats any subject he
turns his attention to, should be familiar to most recipients
of The E-Sylum. His illustrated talk at the upcoming SAENF
meeting promises to be unusually timely and interesting.
"The 36th Annual New York International Numismatic Convention
will take place at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, Park Avenue
between 52nd and 53rd Streets in New York City, from January
9 to 13, 2008. The SAENF meeting is scheduled for Saturday,
January 12, at 2:00pm, in the Sutton Suite, on the 18th floor.
(Although there is a ten dollar admission charge to the bourse
rooms at the Convention, I believe that there should be no
charge if you want to only attend John's talk)."
HOWARD BERLIN'S NUMISMATIC TRAVELS TO MILAN, VENICE AND MUNICH
Howard Berlin writes: "I was recently in Milan and Venice's
Correr Museum, having had a chance to photograph some of its
coin exhibit, then traveled to Monte Carlo and visited the
Pricipality's Stamp and Coin Museum with an example of
virtually every known coin minted from Monaco.
"I was in Munich for eight days and had a chance to see the
exhibit of the Bavarian State Coin Collection at the Residenz,
and extensive museum complex. Although some web sites have
described this collection as the world's largest, Dr. Dietrich
Klose, the collection's director, was a little more modest
to me -- he instead classified the 300,000 item collection
of coins, medals, banknotes, and dies as one of the world's
largest. Obviously not all the items are on display. The
permanent display of coins in the highest state of preservation
covers all periods from 2,600 years ago and all regions of
the Europe and Asia Minor on the 2nd level. There is also
a rotating exhibit that changes periodically.
"There is also a numismatic library on the ground level,
holding approximately 26,000 books, which is open to the
public from Monday to Thursday (9am-4pm); Friday (9am-2pm).
Entrance to both the Museum and the library is at 1 Residezstrasse
is via the Kapplenhof (Chapel Yard) gate.
"I will be in London again in January for 5 days (and at
least 3 more times in 2008) and Cardiff for a day trip to
the see the coin collection at the Wales National Museum.
I plan to stop by the Bank of England Museum and say hello
again to John Keyworth and see what's new at the British
Museum. Also, I will make a day trip to Paris via the
Eurostar from St Pancras through the Chunnel for the first
time as I have an appointment with the folks at the Monnaie
de Paris museum.
"All these museum visits with some photos will eventually
appear in my column in WorldWide Coins."
PITTMAN EARLY SILVER DOLLAR COLLECTION INFORMATION SOUGHT
W. David Perkins of Centennial, CO writes: "The recent November
1, 2007 George Kolbe Numismatic Literature Sale 104 offered
the John J. Pittman numismatic literature collection. Included
in this sale was Lot 117, a signed copy of the First Edition
of The United States Early Silver Dollars From 1794 To 1803
by M. H. Bolender. I placed a bid on this lot but was not
the winner. I also cannot say I was the underbidder, despite
what I thought was a strong bid. This lot realized $325,
which may be a record price for a copy of the Bolender book.
Prices in this Kolbe sale were very strong indeed!
"What was of primary interest to me as a researcher was not
the book (I have multiple copies of the book, including
one signed by Bolender) but a letter that was included with
the book. The letter was dated January 1, 1954 and was
from early dollar specialist Frank M. Stirling to John J.
Pittman. Stirling stated that the early dollar varieties
were a favorite of his, "especially the 1795s." Stirling
noted that he had located four 1795 B-13 Dollars (Stirling
owned the finest known (to me) 1795 B-13 Dollar, ex. Atwater
and the plate coin on page 211 in the Bowers silver dollar
book) and that he had not found a specimen of 1795 B-17.
Stirling asked, "Do you have any information on this one?"
[To my knowledge, no examples of 1795 B-17 have been confirmed.]
"I have a large volume of Frank Stirling's correspondence,
including a letter from Pittman to Stirling dated May 20,
1957. Interestingly, Pittman states in this 1957 letter that
he owned a brilliant proof 1803 Dollar. Pittman wrote, "I
purchased the 1803 restrike silver dollar to display at
meetings and conventions so as to point out to collectors
that it and the 1804 Dollar are all restrikes made at a later
date. They are all extremely rare, but none were made in
the year they were dated, and undoubtedly no 1804s were made
in that year." Imagine buying a rare 1803 Dollar, "just to
display." [Are there any "old time" dealers or collectors
out there who recall this 1803 Dollar being displayed?]
Note also that this letter was written prior to the
Newman-Bressett Fantastic 1804 Dollar book (which was
published in 1962).
"I wonder what happened to this specimen of the 1803 Proof
Dollar. It was not offered in the May 20-21, 1998 David Akers
sale of The John Jay Pittman Collection, Part Two? Furthermore,
a quick perusal of the Bowers book on the 1803 Proof Novodel
Dollar, pages 462-464 does not turn up Pittman's name as part
of the provenance of the known specimens listed in the book.
Perhaps Pittman owned the "Milas Specimen" at one time? Or
is this specimen "still out there" somewhere..
"Pittman also wrote in this letter, 'I do not collect early
silver dollar varieties. I have at the present time 1795-1803
in uncirculated condition, but have never actually checked
them for varieties, although I do have Bolender's book.
Quite a number of my pieces were purchased in England many
years ago..' I also wonder what happened to the early
dollars in this collection. The May 1998 Pittman sale
offered only a handful of early dollars.
"I am very interested to learn if any E-Sylum readers can
shed light on any of these questions.
CONTEMPORARY NEWSPAPER REFERENCES TO PHILADELPHIA MINT SOUGHT
Regarding Pete's Smith's plans to check Philadelphia
newspapers from 1793 for references to the Mint and early
coinage, Bob Neale writes: "This reminds me that two years
ago I attempted to find Philadelphia newspaper information
on the yellow fever epidemic of 1793 as it related to
operations of the mint. It took some doing just to find
a source of relevant microfilms. However, once borrowed
via our library, I found nothing whatsoever on the subject!
"I couldn't believe it. There was also nothing mentioned
in J.H. Powell's book 'Bring Out Your Dead', probably the
one best sources of the story of the 1793 yellow fever and
Benjamin Rush's role therein. Either the newspapers of the
day weren't interested in the Mint, or what I had to look
at was just the wrong thing. So I look forward to Pete
finding Mint information in Philadelphia's newspapers to
find out what I overlooked and where it was hiding."
[There was also a typo in last week's issue which I need
to clarify. I wrote "...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?" What
I meant to write was "... NOW many old papers are available
online..." Lou Jordan's note (below) outlines a couple
good places to access online newspapers. -Editor]
Lou Jordan writes: "Readex, which is a division of NewsBank
offers, on a subscription bases, a fully searchable database
of thousands of runs of American newspapers dating from
1690-1922. I suspect the year 1922 is used as the cutoff
date for reasons related to copyright. The full text of
the newspapers can be searched, including advertisements;
also, one can download a PDF file of any individual issue
in the collection.
"See the webpage http://www.newsbank.com/readex/ then
click on the Digital Collections link located in the left
margin. This is a subscription service. Many University
"I notice that the New England Historic Genealogical Society,
subscribes to several of the newspaper databases. There is
a link to the databases for use by NEHGS members the under
the heading Premium Databases at the bottom of their research
page, which is
CONTINUING THE TRADITION OF THE ANA JOURNAL
Peter Gaspar writes: "When The E-Sylum broke the news
that the ANA Journal had ceased publication, I was about
to write the ANA urging them to do a better job of publicizing
that journal. A hefty subscription/single issue price was
not supported by any discernible promotional material. I
recall an ad in the inside of a Numismatist wrapper that
extolled the quality of the articles and their authors and
the high standards of the editing, but without any information
to back those claims. I was going to suggest a table of
contents for each forthcoming issue appearing in the
Numismatist and a review of each issue after publication.
Offering sample copies at a price that just covered costs
would have also been helpful."
"One can only agree with your suggestion to revive publication
of the ANA journal online as a password protected perquisite
of membership, or with the other suggestion to incorporate
the material in, once again, The Numismatist. The current
format of the Numismatist makes it difficult to distinguish
ads from articles, but some serious articles might improve
Barbara J. Gregory, Editor-in-Chief of The Numismatist
writes: "Papers from the ANA's annual Maynard Sundman/Littleton
Coin Company Lecture Series, which comprised approximately 50
percent of the JOURNAL'S content, will be printed on the
ANA's website in the near future and will be reviewed for
possible publication in THE NUMISMATIST. In addition, we
will give full consideration to publishing in the magazine
any scholarly articles that come our way. In some cases, we
may present an edited, condensed version in THE NUMISMATIST,
with the complete research offered online. For example, see
"Silver Peg Leg Ikes" by Rob Ezerman et al in the January
issue and at www.money.org (select "The Numismatist" from
the "Communications" pull-down menu)."
ON THE DEMISE OF THE ANA JOURNAL
ARTICLE REVIEWS ANS SAINT-GAUDENS EXHIBIT
[This week the New York Sun published a review of the
American Numismatic Society's exhibit on Augustus Saint-Gaudens.
Here are some excerpts. -Editor]
The year that is about to close marks two noteworthy and
related centennials. In 1907, America's greatest sculptor,
Augustus Saint-Gaudens, died. Also in that year, the federal
government issued the gold coins - in $10 and $20 denominations
- that it had commissioned Saint-Gaudens to design. Most
people know of Saint-Gaudens for his large-scale public
works that ennoble certain lucky American cities, including
and especially New York. But as a fine exhibition mounted
by the American Numismatic Society at the Federal Reserve
Bank of New York attests, the master sculptor was equally
adept on a scale as small as a coin.
It should be noted that attending an exhibition at the
Federal Reserve Bank can be a daunting experience. The
first time I tried to visit, the Federal Reserve Police
(yes, they have their very own branch of the federal security
apparatus) barred my entrance for lack of proper identification.
I returned - duly equipped with my documents - the next day,
and got in - only to wait nearly half an hour while the next
line of security personnel examined my ID and pecked away at
a computer keyboard. (I almost asked if they were checking to
see if I had a police record, but you really can't make small
talk with federal security guys.) By this point, the visitor
may wonder why the American Numismatic Society would mount
their show in one of the hardest-to-enter buildings in New
York. Once I'd been cleared, I saw why. The groin-vaulted
galleries of York & Sawyer's splendid building, marked off
by wrought-iron fences by Samuel Yellin, America's greatest
artist in iron, may well be the most exhilarating exhibition
spaces in the entire city.
The idea for the new gold coins came from President Theodore
Roosevelt, who had met Saint-Gaudens and admired his work.
Which was an important connection: It took presidential
patronage to get the project through. Saint-Gaudens had
had a bad experience with the United States Mint and its
chief engraver, Charles Barber, for whom the design of coins
was a sort of personal fiefdom. The president's support
notwithstanding, the 61-year-old Saint-Gaudens struggled
doggedly to push through his designs, even as he was dying
from cancer. The exhibition relates it all in stunning
detail, with letters (including from Roosevelt), drawings,
successive relief strikings, models of Saint-Gaudens's
statuary, photographs, and ancient coins that inspired
Saint-Gaudens. In the end, the $20 "double eagle," as one
of the most beautiful coins ever minted, crowned a spectacular
career. Now that I know the drill, I will return to this
exhibition as often as possible without arousing the
Saint-Gaudens worked at small scale on the coins and at
large scale on the public monuments. But New York also
abounds in his medium-scale work, such as the domestic
commissions that paid his bills. The American Wing of
the Metropolitan Museum of Art boasts the stupendous
fireplace and mantel he designed for the mansion of
Cornelius Vanderbilt II on Fifth Avenue at 57th Street
(where Bergdorf Goodman now stands). In the lobby of
the New York Palace Hotel can be seen a fireplace with
a superb overmantel by Saint-Gaudens, done originally
for the dining room of 451 Madison Ave., the home of
Henry Villard, which now houses a restaurant called
Gilt. In that restaurant, another Saint-Gaudens fireplace,
as well as his extraordinary bronze clock with signs of
the zodiac in marble, can still be seen in situ. And
another public work merits a look: The monument to Peter
Cooper, in Cooper Square, is very fine, even as it lacks
the emotional frisson of the Farragut and Sherman monuments.
Thanks to the American Numismatic Society and the Federal
Reserve Bank of New York, now is the best time we may ever
have to enjoy in such abundance the full range of work of
our greatest sculptor.
Until March 31 (33 Liberty St., between Nassau and William
To read the complete article, see:
NEWSPAPER ARTICLE PROFILES DAVE GREENHALGH (GRUNAL MONETA)
[The Hunts Post of the U.K. profiled a gentleman speaking
at a local society January 11 about early moneyers. -Editor]
Dave Greenhalgh, also known as Grunal Moneta, from Lincolnshire
will be at St Peter's Church Hall, March, at 7.30 pm, to
talk about his passion for coins.
Richard Munns, the society's vice chairman, said: "Ever
entertaining, Dave, who has immersed himself in the life
of a moneyer of the past, is one of the few people around
the country who actually makes a full-time living pursuing
what was once, for him, just a hobby.
"Such is his reputation that he is consulted by the British
Museum on matters of numismatics and is also seen by the
'moneyers' at the Royal Mint as one of the few people
outside their closed world that they can converse with
"He spends the first few weeks of January at home, but from
then on he could appear anywhere, including regularly at the
British Museum and at other museums, castles, heritage sites,
village fetes, re-enactment events - basically at any kind
of historical public and educational event."
Mr Munns said Dave has extensive (almost encyclopaedic)
knowledge of coins from Britain and around the world and
is in fact the world expert on the medieval 'half-groat'.
"He produces for sale, authentic-style hammered coins,
starting with Greek through to Celtic (650BC), all the way
to the English Civil War (1660AD) and everything in between,"
added Mr Munns.
To read the complete article, see:
ASBURY PARK PRESS PROFILES LAURIE SPERBER OF LEGEND NUMISMATICS
Legend Numismatics, a company based in Monmouth County,
deals in the upper tier of the coin market, the top 2
percent to 5 percent in terms of rarity and quality.
The company doesn't disclose its address or do business out
of a storefront for security reasons, instead making a home
in a nondescript office building. When Legend sells at coin
shows, the coins are shipped by armored car companies.
Sperber caught the coin bug at age 10 when she found an old
penny. "I just thought it was the neatest thing, an old
Lincoln cent, just the fact it was old."
She started going to small coin shows, looking at silver
dollars from the 1800s that were shiny, and building a small
collection. "You could buy a really great coin back then for
$25," Sperber said.
Then came the visit to the American Numismatics Association
show in New York City, which brought her face-to-face with
the 1913 Liberty Head nickel. "I was blown away by all the
cool rarities I saw," Sperber said.
At age 20, she quit Monmouth College, where she was studying
business administration, to follow her dream of being a coin
dealer, investing about $9,000 in savings to get started.
She was lucky and made some good contacts, including
established coin dealers such as John Albanese, who at the
time had a coin shop in Flemington. He would give her credit
and Sperber was able to buy and sell coins.
"What I noticed immediately was she had a great eye. I showed
her inventory, she picked out the best pieces immediately.
I said, "How does this girl . . . know what coins to pick
out?' I was amazed by that," Albanese recalled. "I knew she
had a great eye for coins and she had a passion and she
wanted to absorb and she wanted to learn."
There are only a few women in the coin business, he added.
Sperber read about rare coins and looked through old auction
catalogues. "I just read and read everything I could,"
Sperber said. "I listened to what the elder statesmen had
"She is a well-known dealer, representing some very important
collectors," said Harvey Stack of Stack's. "She is usually
bringing in strong bids on greater rarities and knows exactly
what she is buying."
This year, Legend bought and sold at least seven coins for
more than $1 million each.
Sperber said Legend is profitable and has grown steadily
each year since 1997. "We haven't had any down years."
To read the complete article, see:
NEW TECHNOLOGY KEEPS WINNIPEG ROYAL CANADIAN MINT BUSY
Dick Johnson writes: "'Multi-plating' is the new buzzword
in minting technology and the Royal Canadian Mint in Winnipeg
is leading the way. As a result of implementing this new
technology countries of the world are beating a path to
this Western Canadian institution to have their coins
manufactured, some even with mints of their own.
"The innovative use of plating several layers of nickel
and zinc on steel cores -- invented inside the Winnipeg
Mint -- is reason why their base composition costs are
low. The Mint struck 1.2 billion coins in 2007 and have
multi-million dollar contracts that have booked solid
the Mint's entire production capacity for 2008.
"Winnipeg mint official Hieu Truong, executive engineer
who headed up the research team and the multi-ply process's
inventor, said the mint is clearly a world leader in minting
technology. Truong developed the multi-ply technology after
frustrating efforts with the older single-plating technology
that is still used by many countries.
Truong praises the coins for resisting tarnishing better
than others and offering heightened security because of
unique electromagnetic signatures that prevent vending
The Winnipeg facility has produced coins for more than
60 countries in the last 25 years.
Here are more details in an article published December 27, 2007:
ARTICLE HIGHLIGHTS OTTAWA ROYAL CANADIAN MINT
[The Toronto Star published a short article this week
on the upcoming Centennial of the Royal Canadian Mint
in Ottawa. -Editor]
It opened Jan. 2, 1908, as a branch of the British Mint
and has been churning out money ever since, although it
has not made circulation coinage since 1976 (that's made
The Ottawa operation concentrates on coins for collectors.
Many of the 8,000 pieces it produces daily are made by hand,
one at a time.
"Here we concentrate on quality," said Veronique.
>From an observation deck, visitors can take in almost
every step of the process.
A furnace melts silver at 1,300 C; the liquid is then
moulded into bars worth about $8,000 each. A saw shaves
those bars smooth (the scrap is recycled.) A roughing mill
presses the bars into sheets the thickness of coins, from
which blanks are punched. Those blanks are scrubbed for
three hours or more in what looks like an oversized clothes
washer, with water, soap and stainless steel balls. Then
workers hand-dry each blank before stamping it with the
design of the day. That might be a one-ounce gold maple
leaf coin (retailing at $914.35), a 2008 coin commemorating
the Chinese Year of the Rat ($508.95), or a loonie emblazoned
with the logo of a Canadian hockey team.
What strikes one about it all is the silence. Even on the
shop floor, employees usually don't wear ear protection.
You're struck, too, by the care that goes into the process.
Workers wear gloves so they don't smudge the precious
coins. Six people check each gold coin for imperfections.
To read the complete article, see:
U.K. TERROR ATTACK HEROES DENIED GEORGE CROSS MEDALS
[British newspapers are taking the government to task over
what many see as a snub to citizen heroes of the July 7,
2005 terrorist bombings who were denied George Cross medals.
Gordon Brown's pledge to honour members of the public for
heroism during terrorist attacks has been labelled a sham
after dozens of civilians who went to the rescue of the 7/7
bombing victims were snubbed for awards.
Pleas to honour ordinary civilians have been rejected as
undeserving - even though more than two dozen public sector
staff, some of whom were doing desk jobs, have been honoured
for their conduct on 7/7.
Brown made the pledge last July at the launch of a book he
wrote on heroism, titled Britain's Everyday Heroes. He said:
"It is right that we look at how our honours system can
recognise those in our emergency services and members of
the public who showed such bravery and heroism in the face
of the recent terrorist attacks."
However, Tim Coulson, a teacher who went to the aid of
the victims of the Edgware Road tube station suicide
bombing in July 2005, was snubbed after his wife Judy
applied on his behalf this year.
Coulson smashed his way into the stricken carriage from
another train adjacent to it in the tunnel and gave first
aid to the injured and dying. One man, whose body had been
severed at the waist by the blast, died in his arms.
Although her husband's case was backed by testimonies from
those he helped and witnesses to his heroism, the Cabinet
Office told Judy Coulson in a letter that "honours are awarded
to people for meritorious service over a sustained period
and not specifically for saving someone's life".
The George Cross, which can be given to either military
personnel or civilians and is equivalent to the Victoria
Cross, has been granted 159 times since its creation in
1940. Its most recent recipient is Corporal Mark Wright,
who died in Afghanistan in 2006 while leading fellow
soldiers through a minefield.
Peter Zimonjic, the author of a new book on the 7/7 bombings
called Into the Darkness, said he was aware of at least two
dozen members of the public who had performed similar acts
of bravery to Coulson yet none had been officially recognised.
The Cabinet Office declined to comment.
To read the complete article, see:
SPINK NEAR LONDON BOMB SITE, BUT UNAFFECTED
POLITICIANS CALL FOR SCOTTISH BANKNOTES TO BE HONORED IN ENGLAND
A call was made last night for Scottish banknotes to be
legally protected in England.
Alistair Carmichael, Scottish spokesman for the Liberal
Democrats, revealed he had received a letter from Mervyn
King, Governor of the Bank of England, confirming that at
present there was no requirement for shopkeepers and
businesses to accept Scottish banknotes.
"Mervyn King has confirmed that Scottish banknotes exist
in a kind of legal limbo," said Mr Carmichael. "It is ironic
that many shops and businesses in London have signs indicating
that they will accept euros but at the same time continue to
refuse Scottish banknotes."
The Orkney and Shetland MP added: "We live in a country where
both the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer
are Scottish. Scots in England have no legal recourse whatsoever
when their banknotes are refused, leading to embarrassment and
irritation. This situation is the result of historic accident
and it is now time to address it."
To read the complete article, see:
LETTER WRITER CALLS FOR U.S. MINT TO HALT DOLLAR COIN PROGRAM
Dick Johnson writes: "In a New Year's message to the officers
of the U.S. Mint, a Jacksonville Florida man wrote in his
local newspaper the following:
This is a New Year's resolution for the officials of the
We resolve that we will no longer waste the taxpayers'
money and the U.S. Mint's resources by issuing commemorative
We will realize that, like soccer and the metric system,
dollar coins will never truly catch on in America.
We agree to agree on their utter impracticality, as vending
machines don't accept them, retailers and banks loathe them,
and even fanatic coin collectors know they will always be
worth no more than their face value.
We will come to the resolution that most of these dollar
coins just end up as hokey Christmas gifts, forgotten in
the bottoms of sock drawers and children's penny jars.
Eventually, they are sold by the roll in full-page ads on
the back of the Sunday comics.
We will patriotically acknowledge that historic figures
such as Susan B. Anthony, Sacagawea and the early presidents
do deserve all the recognition grateful Americans can give
them. But now we officially resolve that putting their
faces on useless $1 coins is not the way to manifest that
The complete article in the Jacksonville Times-Union:
PRESIDENT JOHN ADAMS LIBRARY ONLINE
[No, not Numismatic Bibliomania Society President John W.
Adams - that OTHER President John Adams, the one whose face
is on the new dollar coin. -Editor]
In his wildest dreams, John Adams, the second president
of the United States, couldn't have predicted the fate of
his 3,700-volume personal library. In two years, it will
be made available for viewing online for all to see without
any commercial encumbrances.
Adams' library is just a small part of an effort by nonprofit
library and archival organizations to place the historical
record of the United States online now under way at the
Boston Public Library.
"It's full speed ahead," said Maura Marx, manager of digital
services at the Boston Public Library, in an interview Thursday.
"We have two shifts [of people working on the project] -- 8 a.m.
to 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. to midnight." Books and historical documents
from the 19-member Boston Library Consortium are being scanned
under the auspices of the project.
"Unlike corporate backed efforts by Google, Microsoft, Amazon,
et al, which all impose different, albeit understandable,
levels of restriction to protect their investment the [Boston
Library Consortium] has shown libraries all across the country
the right way to take institutional responsibility and manage
this historic transition to a universal digital archive that
serves the needs of scholars, researchers, and the general
public without compromise," said the Sloan Foundation's Doron
Weber in a recent statement.
The Boston Pubic Library's Marx noted that the library has
many documents of historical value. The Adams library, for
instance, is unique because it is complete and intact. The
libraries and writings of other U.S. founding fathers were
destroyed by fire or dispersed by succeeding family members,
"There's nothing quite like the Adams library," she said.
"We're scanning flat pages and objects. Adams made notes in
the margins of his books, and they will be available for all
To read the complete article, see:
NUMISMASTER ARTICLE ON THE "DEATH" OF HOWARD DANIEL
[E-Sylum regular Howard A. Daniel III penned an article for
Numismatic News describing his recent experiences after
being mistakenly listed as dead in a numismatic publication.
Here are a few excerpts, but be sure to read the complete
article on Numismaster. -Editor]
In late October 2007, my wife and I returned to "her" condo
in McLean after staying in "my" Bay House in Deltaville.
There was a message on her answering machine from Joe Boling
inquiring about my demise! My wife considers talking about
death as unlucky so she was not happy. Joe explained that
I was in the "In Memoriam" part of the November issue of
When we listened to his message, it was Joe's usual bedtime
so I typed an e-mail to him that I was alive! I thought
about it for awhile and determined it must be about my
reporting the passing on of Forrest Daniel to the ANA's
Membership Department because I read in The Numismatist
they were going to give him a 40-year or more membership
pin. Someone had deleted me and kept Forrest on the rolls.
My e-mail in box has had a steady flow of e-mails from people
in the United States but then they started coming from Asia.
Quoc Nguyen from the U.S. and Vietnam was on a trip in
Singapore and Bangkok and he and everyone else were talking
about my demise. I replied that I was still here in this
world and to please tell everyone over there about the mistake.
I also received an e-mail from Bruce Smith in Shanghai. Then
the e-mails started coming in from Europe and other parts of
the world. It was very gratifying to see so many people
concerned about me, but my e-mail In box, which I could
usually keep down to 20 or so unanswered e-mails, was hanging
in there with over 100 unanswered e-mails!
I returned to McLean for the coin and stamp show in Vienna
and walked onto the bourse. Three or four people came up to
me and said they were relieved to see I was still alive. When
I walked up to some of the dealers at their tables, they
looked at me in disbelief. But there were two people on the
bourse with grim looks on their faces. Sorry about that, I
was still alive. The e-mails and telephone calls kept coming
in over the next week when I was at my Bay House and I
immediately answered most of them but there were still many
in my in box. Then I returned to McLean again for the coin
show in Baltimore. One of the smokers standing outside of
the entrance pointed at me and told everyone I was supposed
to be dead. It was fun watching their disbelief.
To read the complete article, see:
TIME MAGAZINE NAMES CANADIAN DOLLAR YEAR'S NEWSMAKER
Dick Johnson writes: "Although it is more economic than
numismatic or artistic, the Canadian loonie dollar has
been named 'newsmaker of the year' by Time magazine in a
celebratory article in the magazine's Canadian edition.
The exchange value of the Canadian dollar has met -- and
for a time has surpassed -- the value of the mighty
"Canadian editorial writers are ecstatic. Without knowledge
of Krause Publication's prior rights to the term 'Coin of
the Year' some of their editorials are calling their famed
dollar coin bearing the loonie bird by that term.
"The exchange rate story also had a book connection, as
the cover prices printed on periodicals and book dust
jackets of a higher Canadian price than in American
dollars. We reported this earlier here in The E-Sylum.
"Here is one Canadian article on the Time article garnered from Google:
THE DROPPING DOLLAR GIVES RISE TO 'BOOK RAGE' IN CANADA
SPOOF ARTICLE: DOLLAR WOES CAUSED BY HAIRY EYEBALL
[The satirical web site The Spoof ascribes the reason
for the dollar's fall to the mysterious all-seeing-eye
on the Great Seal of the United States. -Editor]
Congressman Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial
Services Committee, took the Federal Reserve to task
yesterday, saying the eyeball atop the pyramid on the US
dollar was causing it to decline against other world currencies.
"Speaking frankly, as I always do, if I had a choice I
wouldn't take US dollars either," the Massachusetts Democrat
said to Benjamin Bernanke as the Fed Chairman appeared before
Congress for his quarterly scolding by grandstanding
legislators. "The hairy eyeball is a real problem in
world financial markets."
Bernanke said the Fed was only playing the hand it was
dealt by a world-wide conspiracy of Freemasons who plotted
to include the eyeball in the great seal of the United
States in the 18th century. "The all-seeing eye is the
symbol of God, the great architect of the universe"
Bernanke explained, reading from a prepared text he had
pulled off the internet shortly before entering the
hearing room. "Either that or it's an Egyptian god that
was brought to America in a UFO."
A number of the Founding Fathers including George Washington
were Freemasons and the eye and the pyramid are commonly-
used symbols in the rites and lore of that secret society.
"Like most other lodges, the Freemasons are primarily an
excuse for men to get together and drink," says William
Thain, an expert on American fraternal societies. "The eye
is often depicted inside an enclosed pyramid, which translates
rebus-style into 'I want to get out of the house'."
To read the complete article, see:
FEATURED WEB SITE: GRUNAL MONETA
This week's featured web site is Dave Greenhalgh's Grunal
"Grunal Moneta offers an entertaining and informative
look at money through the ages. Using original techniques,
he produces authentic-style coins from Celtic to Tudor
times. He provides dies for the period of the event and
strikes coins from them in pewter blanks which are hand
cut in the original fashion."
The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization
promoting numismatic literature. For more information please
see our web site at
There is a membership application available on the web site
at this address:
To join, print the application and return it with your check
to the address printed on the application. Membership is only
$15 to addresses in the U.S., $20 elsewhere. For those without
web access, write to:
David M. Sundman, Secretary/Treasurer
Numismatic Bibliomania Society,
P. O. Box 82 Littleton, NH 03561
For Asylum mailing address changes and other membership
questions, contact David at this email address:
dsundman at LittletonCoin.com
To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, just
Reply to this message, or write to the Editor at this
address: whomren at coinlibrary.com
Those wishing to become new E-Sylum subscribers
(or wishing to Unsubscribe) can go to the following web page:
All past E-Sylum issues are archived on the NBS web site at this address:
Issues from September 2002 to date are also archived at this address:
More information about the Esylum