The E-Sylum v10#26, July 1, 2007
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Sun Jul 1 16:25:27 PDT 2007
Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 10, Number 26, July 1, 2007:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2007, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
WAYNE'S WORDS: THE E-SYLUM 1 JULY, 2007
Among our recent subscribers are Ron Pope and Robert T. Manning MD,
courtesy of Dave Bowers, also Rickie Rose and Dan Burleson. Welcome
aboard! We now have 1,145 subscribers.
This week we open with good news about (and a review of) a long-awaited
numismatic publishing project - the Canadian Numismatic Bibliography.
Also of interest to bibliophiles is the SPMC Author's Forum at the
upcoming Memphis Paper Money show. In research queries this week, a
new subscriber seeks information on Wayte Raymond's Standard Catalogue.
In response to a question last week, E-Sylum readers come through with
a flood of great information on the Laura Gardin Fraser Better Babies
Medal. Also, John Meissner provides the answer to his 1960's classified
ad quiz, but not before Dick Johnson takes a crack at solving it. Dick
also provides us with insight into the creation of the classified
advertising schemes used in weekly American numismatic publications.
My London Diary is up next, with a look at life during a tense weekend
of terrorist activity. Numismatic activities continued with a visit to
Westminster Abbey and a spy-movie-style rendezvous at Heathrow airport.
In the news, the Canadian "medal detector" has been nominated for an
award for his efforts to unite Canadian war medals with families and
museums, the Indian coin shortage continues, and the Royal Canadian
Mint manages to sell a few of the Million Dollar gold coins.
To learn what the American Eugenics Movement, razor blades and the
"Pyx Chamber" have to do with numismatics, read on. Have a great
Numismatic Bibliomania Society
CANADIAN NUMISMATIC BIBLIOGRAPHY READY FOR PRINTING
Canadian Numismatic Bibliography Project chairman Ronald Greene writes:
"We are pleased to be able to report that the work is completed as follows:
i) all text is complete
ii) all photographs have been inserted
iii) the final formatting has been done
iv) the index has been checked against the entries
v) photo credits compiled
"All that remains is to compile the computerized, press-ready disc that
will go to the printer. This will be delivered to me at the Canadian
Numismatic Association convention and I will take it to the printer when
I return from the Niagara Falls.
"At the convention Darryl Atchison, Paul Petch and I will have available
photocopy quality print-outs for those interested in a preview. If the
odd error that may have slipped past the proof-readers is spotted those
will be correctable, although additional entries will not be possible as
they impact on all following work and force re-formatting... With luck
we should have books ready to ship in early September."
[Those of us who ordered the bibliography at its pre-publication price
are getting a bargain. Since then the book has grown considerably along
with printing and distribution costs. Addressing pre-publication
subscribers, Ron adds: "If you have moved in the last four years and are
not certain that you have given me your new address please do so within
the next month. I feel quite confident that you will approve of the
final product and agree that the lengthy wait has been worthwhile."
I can attest that the book has indeed been worth the wait. Darryl
Atchison passed through London's Heathrow airport yesterday on his way
from Ireland to Canada for the C.N.A. convention; we met there while he
was waiting between flights and I had the pleasure and privilege of
reviewing the page proofs, housed in an ungodly thick binder.
The manuscript will be published in two volumes. The entire CNB is
1246 pages, with 606 pages in volume one and 640 in volume two (which
includes a 96-page index section to be printed on a different coloured
paper). There are illustrations throughout, with one or more pictures
for every two pages. The illustrations are not just of numismatic
literature, but of many important numismatic items as well.
The illustrations and the inclusion of a number of exclusive essays,
special listings, and biographical compilations make this publication
far more than "just" a bibliography. To read it is to gain an education
in the whole of Canadian numismatic history. It is also a marvelous
starting point for anyone hoping to do new research in the area; in
addition to the bibliographic listings, the book includes contact
information for virtually every major research institution and archive
across Canada and the world with any connection to Canadian numismatics.
At one point the authors considered naming it the "Canadian Numismatic
Research Handbook", but it's far too massive to be a mere "Handbook".
I won't reproduce the entire table of contents here, but topics cover
the entire numismatic map from card money to modern cheques, including
coins, tokens, medals, ration books, P.O.W. currency, War of 1812 Army
promissory notes, private banknotes and everything in between.
The original essays include Peter Moogk's "Historical Introduction to
Canadian Currency and Numismatics", J. Graham Esler's "Brief History of
the Bank of Canada Numismatic Currency Collection," Moogk's essay on
"French Regime Coins, Currency and Counters" and Chris Faulkner's
volume-by-volume synopsis of Fred Bowman's unpublished Encyclopedia of
Canadian Numismatics (now at the Bank of Canada). Chapter 12,
"Collectors and Collections" consists of about 60 pages of biographies,
obituaries and photos of prominent collectors of Canadian coins.
Which brings us to the illustrations - a large number of numismatic books,
catalogues and price lists are pictured, old and new. These alone make
the book a pleasure to browse. But in addition to the images of literature
are many images of numismatic items themselves, some common (like a 2004
Poppy Quarter) but many quite rare. The authors went to great lengths to
obtain the illustrations and permissions to publish them. In the numismatic
world, among those generous in providing images were Dan Hamelberg, Stack's,
Heritage, American Numismatic Rarities and Richard Doty of the Smithsonian
A prime example of their taste and persistence in choosing and securing
images is the frontispiece: The Royal Charter of the Hudson's Bay Company.
Dated May 2, 1670, the document is the company's trademark and much
communication was required to secure the rights to publish it. Other
examples of images include:
* The only known example of a specimen banknote for Magdalen Island,
1815 (from a 2002 Morten & Eden sale)
* A leather banknote from Prince Edward Island
* A photograph of registrants attending the 1909 American Numismatic
Association convention in Montreal, Quebec, including P. N. Bretton,
Thomas Elder, Ludger Gravel, J.C. Mitchelson, Edgar Adams, Frank Higgins,
Waldo Newcomer, William Poillon, Frank Duffield and Ben Green.
* Depression scrip of the Kitchener-Waterloo Mutual Aid Association, a
"time certificate" in the denomination of one hour. (I found this quite
interesting following my recent purchase of an 1830s British co-operative
society note, also in the denomination of "one hour").
* The U.S. Congressional Gold Medal awarded to Canadian Ambassador Kenneth
Taylor March 6, 1980 for his role in spiriting six American hostages safely
out of Iran.
A final example of the team's persistence is the inclusion of a photograph
of Bert Koper, who established the first national Canadian numismatic
organization. No picture of him was known to have been published. Through
an old-time collector in Winnipeg, contact was made with Koper's family,
who provided a photograph. (Incidentally, Koper produced Whitman-style
coin boards for Canadian coins in his kitchen for sale to collectors).
OK, we get it - the book includes everything, right? Is nothing missing?
Well, with any project of this scope there are bound to be omissions.
Many items with only a marginal Canadian connection are deliberately
skipped. And while there are a couple significant inclusions from 2005,
the book effectively stops at 2004. The biggest omission is that no
articles from Canadian Coin news are included - the authors were
unsuccessful in obtaining a complete run of the publication, and decided
not to include a partial run.
The brochure for the Annual SPMC Author's Forum (see below) includes a
colorful (and insightful) quote from Benjamin Franklin, currency engraver
& printer: "If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead &
rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing."
This certainly applies to the accomplished Author's Forum speakers, but
it applies as well to Darryl Atchison, Ron Greene and all those associated
with the Canadian Numismatic Bibliography Project. This twelve-year labor
of love, like most worthwhile numismatic publishing projects, has been a
thankless task replete with late nights and long weekends of unpaid labor,
and various project setbacks and disappointments. But the finished work
will live for the ages; henceforth every numismatic researcher and
collector with an interest in Canadian numismatic history will be indebted
to this team for their Herculean efforts.
According to Ronald Greene, the retail price of the Canadian Numismatic
Bibliography is expected to be Can$225.00 (about US $212) plus postage.
Sound like a lot of money? Not for what you're getting. Luckily, many
of our readers are among those who subscribed at the much lower pre-
publication price. About 250 of the planned 300 copies are already
spoken for. For more information or to place an order, contract Ron at
ragreene at telus.net.
Please show your support for the project and help ensure that the book
is distributed widely. If you have even the slightest interest in
numismatic research in general or Canadian numismatics in particular,
purchase a copy for your library, or raise funds from your fellow club
members to add a copy to your club's library. Mention the book to your
favorite dealers. Encourage your national associations, libraries and
numismatic museums (especially outside of Canada) to acquire copies as
well - no institutional library will be complete without one.
Even those of us who are "in" at the prepublication price should consider
adding a donation for the good of the project. This was no boondoggle
funded by a grant from a wealthy benefactor. Those involved with the
project have donated not just years of toil, but buckets of hard cash
as well. I'll be sending a check, and I hope many of you do as well.
The project is an extraordinary effort, and deserves the support of
every numismatist. -Editor]
BOOK: THE GUIDE TO COINS AND BANKNOTES OF YUGOSLAVIA
In March of this year we published an announcement of a new book on the
coins and banknotes of Yugoslavia and its successor countries titled 'The
Guide to Coins and Banknotes of Yugoslavia, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and
Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia'.
Author and publisher Zlatko Viscevic writes that "The interest for the book
is very large and the book will be out of stock soon. The price of the book
is: 25 EUR (or 32 US$) + shipping. Shipping: 7,10 US$ (ordinary mail), 10,30
US$ (registered). The book can be ordered via e-mail: zviscevic at pravri.hr
or mobile: +385 91 727 5837. The necessary data about the book can be found
on my webpages."
[Zlatko has produced what looks to be a very useful reference. The web
site shows sample pages of the book and lists the contents in detail. He
also publishes a blog on Croatian numismatics:
BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT: THE GUIDE TO COINS AND BANKNOTES OF YUGOSLAVIA
JULY 6 SPMC AUTHOR'S FORUM SPEAKER LINEUP
Fred Reed, editor of Paper Money, the official journal of the Society of
Paper Money Collectors, forwarded a press release with details of the Fourth
Annual SPMC Author's Forum to be held at the Memphis Paper Money Show July
6th. Wendell Wolka will emcee the event featuring the following stellar
lineup of numismatic authors:
* R. Shawn Hewitt, author of "Minnesota Obsolete Bank Notes and Scrip"
* Doug Murray, author of "The Complete Catalog of United States Large
Size Star Notes 1910-1929)"
* Art Friedberg, "Updating Paper Money of the United States and
* Ray and Steve Feller, authors of 'Silent Witnesses: Civilian Camp
Money of World War II"
* Pierre Fricke, author of 'Collecting Confederate Paper Money -
Type Edition 2007 e-Book'
* Mary Counts and Q. David Bowers, 'An overview of paper money book
publishing, including current and future projects'
* Wendell Wolka, 'CD revised edition of Indiana Obsolete Notes and Scrip'
The event brochure notes: "This forum was conceived as a way for authors
and prospective authors of paper money books to exchange ideas, "tricks
of the trade," and form mutual support on the long road between conception
and publication of a worthwhile book. This Forum, in tandem with our
Society's George W. Wait Memorial Prize which supports research of book
length paper money projects, is part of SPMC's outreach to hobbyists by
supporting numismatic education. Our Author's Forum is unique in the
hobby. We invite all prospective authors and others interested in paper
money books to attend and participate in this event. As in the past,
this year's presenters' works cover a wide diversity of paper money
topics, so you should find something of interest to you. All presenters
are experienced and well known in the hobby, so I'm sure you will benefit
from their talks. Stick around to the close of the forum for a time to
meet & greet our illustrious panel."
PBS HISTORY DETECTIVES TO FEATURE CONTINENTAL CURRENCY
Dick Johnson writes: "U.S. readers should check their local listings
this week for an episode of PBS History Detectives, one segment of
which will be on Continental Currency."
[Dick provided a link to the show's web site, which is excerpted
AIRING: Season 5, Episode 2
THE DETECTIVE: Gwen Wright
THE PLACE: New York City
THE CASE: Between the pages of a book, a family in Omaha, Nebraska
has found a puzzling $6 bill dated February 17, 1776.
"The bill's text and designs are replete with mysteries and clues.
How could it claim to be federal currency when it's dated five months
before the colonies actually declared their independence? Why does it
say it's backed by "Spanish milled dollars"? What do the strange
images on it mean?
"Britain rightfully considered these monies sheer provocation, and
reacted by flooding the market with counterfeit bills. Is our bill
real - or perhaps real fakery?
"History Detectives investigates an artifact that could represent
America's first declaration of its independence."
For more information on the program, see:
[As noted in last week's London Diary, I recently purchased examples of
the Nazi WWII "Operation Bernhard" counterfeits of British banknotes. I
know colonial U.S. paper money was often counterfeited, and recall reading
of some British efforts to counterfeit notes of the revolting colonies,
but don't recall reading about any "flooding" of the market with British-
made counterfeits. Were the Brits more successful than the Nazis in
wartime counterfeiting? Can anyone point us to particular resources for
information on this topic? -Editor]
WAYTE RAYMOND STANDARD CATALOGUE INFORMATION SOUGHT
Dave Bowers forwarded the following query from Ron Pope, who writes:
"I read with interest a recent article in 'Coin World' wherein you
mention the old 'Standard Catalogue' by Wayte Raymond.
"I like non-traditional stuff. Therefore, instead of trying to assemble
a complete of 'Red Books,' I am trying to obtain a complete set of the
'Standard Catalogue,' a task I believe to be more difficult to achieve
than the 'Red Book.'
"Can you give me any information on the start and end (1st edition-last
edition, etc) of this book? I always thought the 18th edition (1957) was
the last edition but I believe you mentioned a 1958 edition. Also, were
the first two editions (1934 and 1935) in paperback? Thanks for any help
you may be able to give me."
[For a long time I worked on completing a set of these myself, and had
a very nice group of top-condition volumes, some of which were from the
James O. Sloss library. But with my last house move I ran out of space
and sold them in a Lake Books sale. Since I'm away from my library I
don't have access to my bibliographic references - can anyone fill us
in on what constitutes a complete set? -Editor]
LAURA GARDIN FRASER BETTER BABIES MEDAL
Regarding the Laura Gardin Fraser 'Better Babies' medal, Dick Johnson
writes: "It was stuck by Medallic Art Company in 1913 and carries the
catalog number 13-5 in MAco archives. The inquirer had only to look at
the edge of the medal to find the Medallic Art name. It did not come
from a 'foundry', of course - it was not cast, but struck in bronze
in two sizes: 2-inch (51mm) and 1 5/16-inch (33mm).
"The medal was sponsored by Woman's Home Companion magazine (they paid
for it and their name is on the reverse). However, it was prepared for
a quasi-governmental U.S. organization (which generally do not patent
or copyright their products). This is one of the few medals that was
issued such protection -- Design Patent D46,399 issued 15 September 1914.
"The application was filed by Laura Gardin Fraser herself, who,
undoubtedly, had a hunch this could have been an important creation
that deserved protection. (She took this precaution inspired by husband
James Earle Fraser's experience, who, early on, had several of his
creations commercialized by others where he earned no royalty.)
"The American Numismatic Society has two of these medals in their
collections. Anyone can go to their website and find this medal
described by clicking on 'collections' and entering the name Better
Babies. Or click on these URLs:
"The medal was exhibited the year it was created at the National Academy
of Design in New York City. It was item #51 in their Winter 1913 exhibition.
It was illustrated in a catalog of a National Sculpture Society exhibit,
also in New York City, in 1923 (page 298).
"It has been widely illustrated, appeared in articles and cataloged
several times. It is Baxter (Beaux-Art Medals) 355, it appears twice
in Storrer (Medical Medals) 4384 and 5624. It was reported and
illustrated in 'Medal In America,' edited by Alan Stahl (1988) page 212.
"While the medal is not common, an example does come on the medal market
every year or so. As for value, I sold one once in one of my auctions,
but Joe Levine has sold them at least a dozen times, the latest of which
was in his auction 73 in 2005 (lot 664) where it brought $143.75.
"You might also hear from Fred L. Reed in answer to this E-Sylum appeal.
Fred has done some fantastic research on the Frasers' medallic work and
can undoubtedly add something interesting."
[According to our next submission, at least one example struck in
gold exists. -Editor]
Harry Waterson and Donald Scarinci forwarded information from Joe Levine
sales of the medal. Harry writes: "This medal is known in two varieties,
34mm in Gold and 51mm in Bronze. The one Gold example was sold by Joe
Levine in Presidential Coin and Antiques Auction #69 Lot 384. It sold
for $759. The medal is signed Laura Gardin, Sculptor. In the auction
catalogue, Joe Levine wrote:
'This medal was executed in 1913 just before Ms. Gardin married James
Earle Fraser and changed the signature on her medals. Elaine Leotti,
in her paper, 'The American Woman Medalist', comments as follows:
"Fraser's Better Babies Medal done in 1913 for the Woman's Home Companion
is her only piece which can truly be called feminine. It is a well
balanced medal, nicely executed if a bit on the sentimental side. The
babies' bare flesh is soft, almost palpable, their curls and dimpled
elbows invite touch, thus appealing to exactly the audience the medal
was meant to impress.'
"The bronze version of this medal is fairly common. I have tracked it
since 1999 and Levine has sold 5 examples and 8 examples have sold on
eBay to date. The average price has been $166, although the eBay prices
have almost all been below the average. One medal was unawarded and
only two were awarded to males. The bronze medals are edgemarked
Crowell Pub. Co. and they are all edge dated starting in 1912, with
the bulk dated 1913 and two dated 1916. The Gold medal is dated 1913
on the edge and 1922 in the cartouche. I would conclude that the medal
was in active use for about 10 years ending in the mid twenties and
that there are probably hundreds of bronze examples extant.
"It was in the mid twenties that these Better Babies Contests were
transformed into Fitter Families for Future Firesides competitions
under the auspices of the American Eugenics Society and took on a
more racist overtone. It was no longer just looking for "A sound mind
in a sound body" I refer you to a paper by Steven Selden which
chronicles this change. And you can track this change obverse to
obverse because in 1927 Julio Kilenyi did a Fitter Families Medal
which is illustrated in Selden's paper."
To read the Steven Selden paper on the American Eugenics Movement, see:
Harry also forwarded a link to a picture of Laura Gardin working on
the obverse of her Better Babies Medal:
Roger deWardt Lane of Hollywood, Florida writes: "I was intrigued by
the reference to the Better Babies Medal. I had once written about
a Better Babies medal that I found at a flea market three or four years
ago, I and dug around to find the article. Then I went back to The
E-Sylum to read the information you had and was very surprised to see
that it is not the same medal."
[Roger's medal is a Better Babies Contest medal from 1931, and it's
a product of Whitehead & Hoag, not Medallic Art. It is NOT Fraser's
design. Roger describes it as "BETTER BABIES CONTEST - Conferred By -
THE INDIANAPOLIS NEWS, around a chubby baby. The other side - INDIANA
STATE FAIR - INDIANA - SEPTEMBER 1931, around center figures of a ball
player and a buffalo. In very small letters, below - W & H Co. Newark,
To read Roger's article on the
TOM ELDER PHOTOS - WERE THERE DINNERS IN BOTH 1908 AND 1910?
Regarding the Tom Elder banquet picture discussed recently, Dave Hirt
writes: "I am writing from Budapest, away from my library, so these
are the facts as I remember them. The banquet was not in 1910, but
rather 1908, following the ANA convention in Philadelphia, just prior
to Elder's James Wilson sale. An account of the banquet is in The
Numismatist of October/November of that year. I have a copy of the
picture, and in addition to Mr. Virgil Brand, I have identified 5
or 6 others."
[Karl Moulton's analysis of the photo in question last week seems
definitive in placing it in 1910 at Keen's Chop House in New York.
Lacking library access, Dave may be recalling a different Elder
1910 ELDER DINNER PHOTO IDENTIFIED
ABNCO HAWAIIAN BANKNOTE SOUVENIR CARD SERIES ANSWER
In response to Don Cleveland's question last week about American Bank
Note Company Hawaiian currency cards, souvenir card dealer Ken Barr
writes: "The complete ABNCo Hawaii currency set consists of eight
cards, namely (listed by Souvenir Card Collectors Society numbers):
SO 14 ANA 1981 Midyear face 1895 $5 Silver Certificate
SO 57 ANA 1987 face 1895 $10 Silver Certificate
SO 58 NWPMC 1987 face 1895 $20 Silver Certificate
SO 60 IPMS 1988 face 1895 $50 Silver Certificate
SO 61 ANA 1988 face 1895 $100 Silver Certificate
SO 62 FUN 1989 face 1895 $5 Gold Certificate
SO 67 IPMS 1989 face 1895 $10 Gold Certificate
SO 68 ANA 1988 face 1895 $20 Gold Certificate
The ABNCo representatives never offered a clear reason as to why
cards featuring the 1895 $50 and $100 Gold Certificates were not
issued to round out the set."
ABNCO HAWAIIAN BANKNOTE SOUVENIR CARD SERIES INFORMATION SOUGHT
ON NUMISMATIC EPONYMS
Dave Bowers forwarded this query from Robert T. Manning MD, who writes:
"I am a retired physician and a latecomer to numismatics. Medical
history has long been a subject of great fun and education -- particularly
in the search for stories behind eponymic disease, for example -- Who
"Interest in eponyms and coins made we wonder if there are eponymic coins.
I see that a number of collections, e.g. Eliason, are noted by the name
of the collector."
Dave replied: "The spelling is Eliasberg, as in the Eliasberg Collection.
There are no coins specifically called Eliasberg coins, unless used as a
pedigree. There are Gobrecht dollars, named for Mint engraver Christian
Gobrecht, who cut the dies, the Paquet reverse $20 gold coin (for Anthony
Paquet, Mint engraver who created the dies), etc. Hope this helps!"
[Certain high-profile coins are known by the name of the earliest known
(or most prominent) collector in its pedigree chain. One example is the
Dexter 1804 Dollar; another is the Jefferson Davis Confederate Half Dollar.
Dealers of course, have been known to coin names for merchandising purposes.
Some of these may quickly go by the wayside, but others may "stick"; only
time will tell. The "stickiness" does seem to increase with the rarity
and value of the item. The "Wayne Homren 2007 Dime" won't stick, but the
"Lee-Homren-Bowers Sand's Ale Encased Postage Stamp" might someday (and
it's not even a coin). -Editor]
NUMISMATIC NEWS QUIZ ANSWER
Last week John Meissner posed the question, "It's the early 1960's.
You have $100 to spend. Which of the following regular or semi-regular
advertisers in "Coin World" or "Numismatic News" might it be best to
1. Miczek & Co., Corry, Pennsylvania
2. Loser's Coin Store, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
3. Ned Davis Coin and Toy Shop, Reading, Pennsylvania
4. H.C. Buell, Lone Tree, Iowa
5. Buell and Son, Washington, Missouri
6. Daniel J. McBride, Atlanta, Georgia
7. Norman "Poor Ole Broke" Brock, San Antonio, Texas
8. Fred Johnson, Camden, New Jersey
9. Toivo Johnson, Brewer, Maine
10. W.E. Johnson, Santa Barbara, California
Extra-credit for details of why it might be best to avoid your choices."
Dick Johnson writes: "Please thank John Meissner for his quiz. This brought
back memories. I would spend all $100 with Norman Brock. He ran a bookstore
and dealt in coins (and tons of other stuff).
"He called himself 'Poor ole broke Brock.' But he was broke like a fox.
This was actually a brilliant marketing ploy. He often said he lost
three fortunes before he got into the book / coin business. This could
have been true (in Texas real estate? oil? other high risk ventures?).
"His San Antonio bookstore was piled to the rafters. He also said he could
never sell anything since he could not find it. True! There were piles of
everything everywhere. He kept buying and added new purchases to the piles
of old. Had he been in existence today his store would have been a delight
to browse for any eSyluminary.
"The three Johnsons (8, 9, and 10) also had to be good guys. Tovio Johnson
issued the Coin Designer Medal Series of six medals struck by Metal Arts
"The name Buell on two choices were aliases of a teenager gone bad. He
offered scarce coins at bargain prices in both Coin World and Numismatic
News and never shipped the coins. This quickly caught up with him. We had
suspicions of him when his ads came into Coin World at the time. I ran
into him at a coin show and came up behind him and called out the name
he had given us in the ads. No response. He didn't turn around nor
acknowledge my greeting, adding further suspicion. When the complaints
came in we alerted the postal inspectors.
"I don't remember his real name but the postal inspectors did arrest him
and he went to prison. Many people who wanted a coin bargain lost money.
I have often wondered what happened to him after he got out of prison.
Had he learned a lesson, or was this his first act in a life of crime?"
John Meissner writes: "The 'bad' dealers include numbers 1, 3, 5, 6, and
8. Numbers 1 and 5 were the same individual (number 5 was a shell company
set up by number 1, John Miczek. While in Corry, the teenage Miczek was
at least a somewhat honest dealer if slow, but by late 1960 he was wanted
by Corry police for passing bad checks).
Numbers 3 and 6 were also a single individual. Number 3 was an alias
used by Daniel McBride, wanted for mail fraud in Atlanta and almost
caught when members of a coin club recognized him in Reading, Pennsylvania.
Number 8, Fred Johnson (an alias) actually sued two local banks, saying
that they were hurting his business by not providing him with an unlimited
supply of mint sealed bags at face value. When he lost the case, he
disappeared, having bilked collectors and other dealers out of thousands
of dollars in undelivered Philadelphia mint rolls and bags. Federal
authorities charged him with mail fraud, and eventually turned up working
at a used book store in Hawaii, again flushed out by a savvy coin club
EARLY HISTORY OF CLASSIFIED COIN ADS
Dick Johnson (founding editor of Coin World) writes: "Here are some further
comments on John Meissner's study of classified ads. Numismatic News existed
before Coin World and their format was largely the tiny ads placed by
individual collectors to buy, sell or trade numismatic items. Strictly
speaking, these were not "classified ads" but were instead, "word ads"
as NN did not arrange them under any classification system. I believe
they had only three different headings at the top of any column: For Sale,
Wanted, For Trade. They were placed indiscriminately under one of these
"Before I started Coin World I had studied those NN ads. How could this
be improved? I had been classified ad manager on the Kansas City Kansan
so I was familiar with the concept of classified advertising pages. Also
I had created a scheme of arranging ads for numismatic items under useful
categories. Basically these were denominations that were collected by
the readers, or subjects of collector interest.
"These were spelled out in the Pilot issue of Coin World. The concept
stuck and was used right from the beginning. I chose numbers for these
categories under 100 and left room in this schedule for new categories
to be added where I thought this could occur (called "open numeric").
The ads came in from readers and the text was pasted on forms that had
the classification number in the upper right hand corner.
"The forms were arranged by this classification number. When the deadline
came, the new ads were sent to the typesetter who set the text from the
original copy. Meanwhile pages from the previous week were marked up as
to those to kill and those that would run again.
"A compositor would merge the old and new ads as he laid out the columns.
Remember this was metal type he was handling. The entire operation was
highly manual, labor intensive. Oh, what a contrast today! Today
classified ads are all handled by computer -- not only setting the
text image -- but also arranging them in the proper classification.
"It can be said I invented the classification system for coin ads as
it appeared in the first issues of Coin World. The schedule remained
in use, and was modified from time to time as new classifications were
needed over the years (like, "bullion items" when these came on the
scene). The basic scheme is still in use 46 years later.
"A requirement of classified ads is accuracy. In addition to editorial
duties in the early Coin World days, I processed all the classified ads.
I prided myself in this accuracy. When I left CW the processing of the
classified ads was turned over to someone who did not have this concept.
For months afterwards CW ran a form in the classified ad pages for an
advertiser to use to correct a missfiled or misclassified ad (or ad
with any other error).
"Later, Numismatic News followed Coin World's innovations, not only
moving up to weekly publication but also creating their own
classification system for their individual ads."
WAYNE'S LONDON DIARY 1 JULY, 2007
Last week's E-Sylum was published from Pittsburgh, where I was
visiting relatives over the weekend. I arrived back in London
Wednesday afternoon. So it's been a short week with few numismatic
events, but it's been interesting nonetheless.
On Friday morning I turned on the television during breakfast and the
big story seemed to be the Royal Mail strike - postal workers throughout
the country had walked out in a labor dispute. There was a much shorter
mention of "potentially viable" explosive device found in a car in
London overnight; the report seemed inconclusive and almost routine.
If a location was mentioned, I didn't notice.
I took my usual tube ride to the office and everything seemed quite
normal. A television monitor in the building lobby showed a news
report with more information and a more serious tone. The "potentially
viable" device was now being described as a bomb, which had been disabled
by police. The car was in Haymarket, but I didn't know just where that
was. As it turned out, it was only three or four blocks away from the
office, near Piccadilly Circus.
By coincidence, my officemates had scheduled a lunchtime outing - a
walking tour including a visit to Westminster Abbey. A phone call
confirmed that the tour was still on, and midmorning we ventured out
toward Piccadilly. Soon we encountered police crime scene tape blocking
the sidewalk and road. Police were directing crowds and traffic away
from Piccadilly Circus. Down a side street we saw more police tape
blocking out the entire area. The center of Piccadilly with its
famous fountain was empty. Normally teeming with people, the sight
was eerie and disturbing, reminiscent of the recent horror film "28
Weeks Later", which depicts a deserted London in the aftermath of a
Other than the area immediately around the crime scene, London life
went on as normal. It was cloudy and cool, as normal. With dozens
of others our guide led us through Green Park toward Buckingham Palace.
Huge crowds of tourists were on hand for the changing of the guard
ceremony. We waited at curbside to watch the uniformed guard march
down the street toward the Palace, led by a marching band.
Next we walked along St. James Park and ended up at Westminster Abbey.
By now it was pouring down rain. We gladly entered the Abbey. Site
of coronations since William the Conqueror in 1066, the magnificent
living church symbolizes the endurance and lasting power of London.
The present building was begun in 1245 by Henry III and has survived
centuries of political and economic upheaval, and the Nazi bombings
of World War II.
I was unable to take notes, but was pleased to see a number of engravers
(probably not coin engravers) honored with burials in the Abbey. The
most famous numismatic resident of Westminster Abbey is Master of the
Royal Mint Isaac Newton, whose tomb is adorned with a huge sculpture
including a globe, alluding to his non-numismatic fame as an astronomer
On the way out I noticed a sign for the "Pyx Chamber" and quickly scooted
inside. My tour was unplanned, but I recognize a numismatic term when I
see one. The chamber became a treasury in the 13th century. There are
two large rectangular chests in the Chamber dating to the 13th and 14th
centuries which were apparently built inside the room.
For numismatists, this room is "best known as the home of the wooden boxes,
called Pyxes, where a sample of the coinage of the realm was kept to await
the "Trial of the Pyx". This was a public demonstration to show that the
coinage was pure and samples of coins were "tried" by being melted down
and the silver content measured. The Trial itself was never held in the
Chamber but in the Palace of Westminster. It still takes place today in
Goldsmiths' Hall in the City of London." (text from the Westminster
We took a taxi back to the office, grabbed sandwiches and got back to
work. By now the street in front of our office was half blocked, preventing
traffic from heading toward Piccadilly. All afternoon various sirens rang
out around London, although that's not unusual. We heard reports of other
suspicious cars, but nothing yet definitive. About 6pm we grabbed a taxi
back to our hotel.
After dropping off our bags we walked to a nearby pub for a pint. All
of London seemed to proceed as usual. Our excursion was uneventful, but
historic in another way - it was the next-to-last night when smoking
would be permitted in pubs, restaurants and other enclosed public spaces
in London. As of today, 1 July 2007, London pubs are be smoke-free. As
a nonsmoker the change is a welcome one - the clothes I wore that night
still reek of cigarette smoke. I understand sales of beer kegs have
risen dramatically, though - the pubs could be in for a slow time for
Back at the hotel television and Internet reports explained that two
rigged cars had been parked near Piccadilly. The second one, illegally
parked, had been towed by police to a pound near Hyde Park, not
realizing what was inside. For a time Hyde Park was emptied by police
while the bomb was disarmed. Thankfully, neither car caused any
Saturday morning I got up and worked a bit on The E-Sylum, then went out
for lunch (the hummus and warm pita were divine). Walking to Paddington
Station, I caught the Heathrow express train to the airport and found
a table at a coffee shop. I was waiting for a plane from Cork, Ireland
carrying Darryl Atchison, editor of the Canadian Numismatic Bibliography
We'd never met in person before and it was a pleasure to finally put a
friendly face to the name. I knew I'd like him right away - he was
carrying his airline reading material - a bound copy of Out on a Limb,
the house organ of numismatic literature dealers The Money Tree.
Written and edited by the late Ken Lowe, Out on a Limb was (and still is)
a bibliophile's delight. E-Sylum readers should remain on the lookout
for back issues in literature sales.
Darryl and I talked about Ken, whom he'd never had the chance to meet.
Soon after I learned the answer to my one burning question - how did an
Irishman get hooked on Canadian numismatics? Well, it's simple - Darryl
is a Canadian who married an Irish woman.
Out of his bag Darryl pulled the real star of our meeting - a very thick
binder holding the complete Canadian Numismatic Bibliography manuscript.
We poured over it for a couple hours, with me taking notes for today's
E-Sylum issue. I just can't stop gushing over what I saw. The project
is well worth every minute of waiting, and as I said above, subscribers
and any numismatist interested in research should consider making a
cash donation to the project to help cover the increased costs.
Reversing my steps when it was time to part, I took the train back to
Paddington. The rain was pouring down outside, so I waited a bit and
browsed in the shops. Once the rain slowed I put up my umbrella and
walked back toward my hotel. It was nearly dinnertime. I browsed in
a nice little art gallery on Westbourne Grove Road and when the woman
asked if she could help, I explained that I was interested in artworks
relating to money. She referred me to the nearby Bankrobber Gallery
for one upcoming graffiti artist who has done some things on a money
theme. She hadn't heard of J.S.G. Boggs, but I left a card.
So far I haven't bumped into anyone in the numismatic or art worlds
who'd encountered Boggs in his time in London. I'd like to add one
of his Bank of England "Boggs Bills" to my collection. Simon Narbeth
knew about him but had never handled one of his bills - he said the
art world is where they tend to land. But if the art dealer directory
I picked up at the gallery is any indication, my search will be for a
needle in a haystack - the 70-page booklet was crammed with hundreds
of listings for British dealers.
I had dinner at a Brazilian Grill, but went vegetarian instead of
having beef sliced fresh by waiters at my table. Go ahead, call me
a wimp (this means YOU, John Burns!), but the sight of dripping blood
on a plate in front of your face is enough to make a vegetarian out
of anyone. The salad bar and veggie casserole were great.
Stopping in a grocery store for some bottles of water and juice I saw
a television monitor covering the latest news. At 3 pm, while I had
been talking with Darryl at Heathrow, a flaming car was driven into
the arrivals terminal at Glasgow airport in Scotland. The bollards
did their job, keeping the car at the curb. The rest of the evening
the news stations covered the unfolding story. Two people were arrested
at the scene, one with critical burns. Luckily none of the innocent
public was hurt.
So it's an interesting and uneasy time to be in London. We're nearing
the two-year anniversary of the 7 July 2005 bombings which killed 52
people and injured some 700. Below is a link to an E-Sylum article
following the attack with an account from Doug Saville. Doug was working
at Spink at the time, and one bomb was very near their location. But
life goes on. So far the 2007 score is +7.5 million Londoners and
visitors, -5 terrorist suspects (three more were arrested today in
connection with the recent attacks, but at least one suspect remains
at large). We'll see what next week brings. Last night the government
raised the security level to its highest point (Critical), meaning
further attacks "are expected".
SPINK NEAR LONDON BOMB SITE, BUT UNAFFECTED
To view images of Isaac Newton's Westminster Abbey tomb, see:
For an online tour of Westminster Abbey, see:
For more information on the modern Trial of the Pyx, see:
For a history of the London Assay Office, see:
For more on the Bankrobber Gallery, see:
MORE ON THE TYPOGRAPHIC SYMBOL FOR COIN REVERSE
Three weeks ago week Ed Snible asked: "Perhaps E-Sylum readers can
help me locate the name and origin of a typographic symbol meaning
'coin reverse'. The symbol usually looks like mismatched parenthesis:
Harry Waterson writes: "The opposing parenthesis is also used in the
film industry. Directors and editors mark their scripts with a slightly
overlapping reverse parentheses to indicate a dissolve. I have always
found that to be a very appropriate symbol to indicate a cross fade
from one picture to another. Maybe there is some linkage here with
the concept of going from an obverse to a reverse."
[The Internet is a wondrous place, with experts on just about any
topic within easy reach. But whether they will respond to you is
always a question mark. In a fit of curiosity a couple weeks ago
I fired off email queries to the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz, Germany,
The Type Museum here in London, the International Printing Museum
near Los Angeles, the Museum of Printing in North Andover, MA and the
JAARS Museum of the Alphabet in Waxhaw, NC. Only one replied, but
was unable to help. Duncan Avery of the Type Museum suggested the
St. Brides Printing Library, also in London. I haven't had time to
call (during the day work has a pesky habit of getting in the way
of numismatic fun). But today I dashed off an email. Like any
library or archive, one can't expect the staff to do one's work for
you, but it's worth a try to at least see if anyone can tell us
where to look for an answer. -Editor]
USING FLICKR AND OTHER WEB IMAGE STORAGE SITES
Dick Johnson writes: "You haven't told us enough about Flickr and the
E-Sylum Photostream. You have linked to this before -- and again last
week with photos of the Better Babies Medal by Laura Gardin Fraser --
but we need to be reminded about this valuable resource.
"It is a great idea to be able to add photos to E-Sylum text only items.
Among the ten illustrations on this site already you have color photos
and a clipping. I assume black-and-white photos are acceptable, as well
as drawings and a variety of art prints.
"But tell us how to use it. Send you the image, and you place it on
the site? How about charts? Is there any image that is NOT acceptable
(as long as it illustrates an E-Sylum article)? How about color slides
and DVD discs? How about video? Any copyright protection for photos?
Clue us in, please."
[Well, Flickr was a spur-of-the-moment experiment when I was investigating
a web-based blog publishing site. It asked for a link to a personal photo,
and I needed someplace to put one. Flickr is just one of many free web
sites that allow users to upload and host photographs. I could have
used the NBS web site, but I'd forgotten how to update it since Bruce
Perdue and John Nebel have stepped up to those tasks.
Sites like Flickr require no webmaster tools or special access - anybody
can create an account and manage their photos through an easy-to-use web
interface. It's just the right way to go in 2007. Once I had a Flickr
account in place (which took only minutes), it was easy to add new
photos when I wanted to link to them in an E-Sylum issue.
Early on I made the decision that The E-Sylum would be text-only. This
was for two reasons. Primarily, it's difficult to determine image
copyrights. While I can be confident that the text excerpts I publish
fall within the fair use provisions of the copyright laws, you can't
exactly excerpt an image - it's all or nothing. So as much as I'd love
to include images, they involve too much uncertainty. The second reason
is simply the effort involved, and this is partly due to personal
aptitude and preference. I'm a Word guy, not an Image guy. I'll
happily stay up late getting the text just right, but adjusting,
clipping, sizing, placing and captioning images just isn't my cup of tea.
When a reader emails me images for publication (such as the Fraser Better
Babies medal or President Bush's personal Challenge Coin) or when I feel
confident that the publisher wouldn't object (such as with photos in Press
Releases), AND I HAVE THE TIME, I will upload the images to Flickr. But I
do this only rarely. I don't want E-Sylum subscribers to start emailing
me images willy-nilly. It's so easy to use a site like Flickr that I would
encourage any submitter who would like to include a picture to upload it
themselves and simply include the URL in your email submission to me.
If you send me a Flickr link for publication, you have to make it a PUBLIC
link, available to anyone. If you wish to retain copyright to your image
be sure to mark it as such and be aware that anyone on the Internet could
still copy and reuse it regardless. Any appropriate image that a site
like Flickr will host (no porn or kids under 18) is fine for inclusion
in The E-Sylum.
As for videos, sites like YouTube are fair game as well; if a public
web site will host it and you send me the URL, I'll publish it. We have
included links to YouTube videos on at least one occasion in the past.
The E-Sylum Flickr Photo Archive
CANADIAN "MEDAL DETECTOR" DAVE THOMSON HONORED
A number of earlier E-Sylum articles covered the efforts of Canadian
Dave Thomson to purchase important medals for survivors' families or
various Canadian museums and institutions. Many of the medals were
purchased via eBay, and this week eBay Canada nominated Thompson for
an award of his own.
"eBay Canada has nominated Canadian military history enthusiast Dave
Thomson for the prestigious Governor General's Caring Canadian Award.
eBay Canada's nomination is in recognition of Thomson's patriotic
and altruistic efforts at preserving Canada's war heritage.
"Thomson, who has been called Canada's 'medal detector,' uses the
Online marketplace to source and retrieve Canadian war medals. He
then returns the medals to the families or communities of the fallen
soldiers. Using his eBay auction skills, Thomson has bid on and won
more than 65 medal groups that are now in the hands of the soldiers'
remaining relatives or community museums.
"'I am honoured that eBay is acknowledging me for what essentially
is a hobby,' said Thomson. 'I was already an avid eBay user for my
car parts business, but when I stumbled upon that first war medal, I
found a new purpose for the site. I believe in preserving our country's
history and respecting the soldiers who sacrificed so much to make
Canada what it is today, and I am happy to help safeguard Canadian
"In 2006, while working on a project to restore a First World War
Memorial plaque in St. George, Ontario, Thomson found his first war medal
up for sale. After researching and sourcing the town from which the
honoured soldier came, he bought the medal and donated it to the
Princeton Museum. Since then, Thomson has reunited families and
communities with lost First and Second World War Victory medals,
Memorial Crosses, and Military Crosses.
"The Governor General's Caring Canadian Award was established in 1996
To honour Canadians for their work in unpaid voluntary activities and
Recognize their extraordinary help to individuals, communities and to
the country. More information on the Caring Canadian Award can be
found at www.gg.ca/honours/awards."
To read the complete article, see:
SALE OF BLACK SOLDIER'S MEDAL CAUSES UPROAR
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS FOUNDER'S WWI MEDAL SOUGHT FOR HOCKEY MUSEUM
INDIAN COIN SHORTAGE CONTINUES; COINS BEING MADE INTO RAZOR BLADES
Stephen Pradier forwarded this BBC news article about the shortage
of small coins in India:
"Millions of Indian coins are being smuggled into neighbouring Bangladesh
and turned into razor blades. And that's creating an acute shortage of
coins in many parts of India, officials say. Police in Calcutta say that
the recent arrest of a grocer highlights the extent of the problem. They
seized what they said was a huge coin-melting unit which he was operating
in a run-down shack.
"'Our one rupee coin is in fact worth 35 rupees, because we make five
to seven blades out of them,' the grocer allegedly told the police.
'Bangladeshi smugglers take delivery of the blades at regular intervals.'
"Police say that initially the smugglers took coins into Bangladesh and
then melted them down, but as the scale of the operation has increased,
more and more criminals in India are melting them down first, and then
selling them as razor blades.
"To deal with the coin shortage, some tea gardens in the north-eastern
state of Assam have resorted to issuing cardboard coin-slips to their
workers. The denomination is marked on these slips and they are used
for buying and selling within the gardens. The cardboard coins are the
same size as the real ones and their value is marked on them.
"'We will commit an offence if these cardboard slips go out, but we have
to use them in our gardens because there are hardly any Indian coins in
circulation here,' said a manager of a tea garden in northern Assam.
"In Calcutta alone, India's central bank - the Reserve Bank of India -
has distributed coins worth nearly six million rupees ($150,000) to
overcome the shortage in the last two weeks, bank treasurer Nilanjan
"Shopkeepers ask customers to buy more to make it a round figure so
that small change does not have to be given out."
To read the complete article, see:
[So is anyone actively collecting examples of these cardboard money
substitutes for numismatic collections? How about some of the razor
blades? The time to gather these artifacts is NOW, while the event
is happening. The U.S. Civil War era cardboard scrip and postage
stamp envelopes that I collected were only available because some
astute collectors in the 1860s put them aside. If no such actions
are taken, future numismatists will only be able the read about these
items in old newspaper accounts, but will never be able to examine
the actual artifacts. -Editor]
POW-MIA LOGO STAMP INFORMATION SOUGHT
Recently we discussed and discovered the origin of the "I Am Not Terrorized"
stamp on U.S. paper money. In his blog this week David Kranz of Numismatic
News asked about another less mysterious stamp:
"The stamped design shows a person's head in silhouette with a guard tower
behind, what might be a strand of razor wire running horizontally near the
chin, and the letters POW*MIA above... Given the design elements and
familiar acronyms for "Prisoner of War" and "Missing in Action," a
military theme is clearly intended.
"I suppose it was stamped onto the note to encourage people to remember
those who have been prisoners of war or who have been categorized as
missing in action.
"But this is a Series 1999 $5 bill. Isn't it unusual that this overstamp
appears on this note?"
To read Dave's original post, see:
[The stamp looks to be identical to the official logo for the American
"POW/MIA Freedom Fighters" organization. The goal of the nonprofit
organization is "to bring all Americans home, alive or dead, from where
ever they may be held, or lay lost." Founded many years ago (following
the Vietnam War, I believe), the group is apparently still active. The
latest post on their site concerns Spc. Ahmed K. Altaie of Ann Arbor,
MI, who was declared missing-captured in Baghdad, Iraq on Dec. 11.
To view the "I AM NOT TERRORIZED" note, see:
"I AM NOT TERRORIZED" STAMP SOURCE: ARTIST DAVID GREG HARTH
HOUSTON ARTICLE DISCUSSES MILLS
Dick Johnson writes: "Leon Hale, who writes for the Houston Chronicle,
received an Oklahoma mill token in the mail from one of his readers this
week. This was the first mill he had ever seen. His June 26, 2007 column
recounted this event plus a remembered story of saving cents in his
youth, each of which his family told him was worth 10 mills.
"Leon's correspondent stated that a mill in 1940 was worth more than a
cent today. Boy, is this ever an invitation to tout my plan to abolish
the cent coin! Not only is the cost of the metal composition in each
cent coin wavering above the value of the cent denomination, but his
correspondent is correct in that the purchasing power of the cent has
"What's more important, we don't need pennies for a dynamic American
economy anymore. And that's good. Our economy has advanced so far that
a dime can be our smallest denomination coin.
"Thomas Jefferson invented our coin denominations -- cent, dime, dollar,
eagle -- and of course, the mill. But we did not need a coin valued at
one mill, even in 1792 when the first U.S. coins were struck. The mill
was a money of account then, as it still is a money of account now. Yes,
we did have a half cent then, but it was abolished in 1857 for the same
reasons the cents are destined to be abolished today -- the rising cost
of the metal in the coin and the increase in the American economy.
"As E-Sylum readers may remember I suggested the Treasury Department
abolish both the cent and five-cent nickel, and revalue all these coins
in circulation to ten cents. This would prohibit any coin shortage that
would result from inaction or any other proposed solutions. This plan
was outlined in the September 26, 2006 E-Sylum and the March 26, 2007
editorial in Coin World.
"Independently, a Federal Reserve Bank economist, Francois R. Velde (an
E-Sylum subscriber!), came to the same conclusion to revalue the coins,
but he called his plan "rebasing" and he wanted to revalue the cent only.
He based his conclusion after an exhaustive scholarly study, and published
a book with co-author Thomas J. Sargent on "The Big Problem of Small
Change" (published by Princeton University Press). He said it better than
I did. He publish his plan in the February 2007 Chicago Fed Letter "What's
A Penny (or a Nickel) Really Worth?" See:
"As for the mill that Leon Hale received in the mail, this was struck
here in Connecticut at the Scovill Manufacturing Company, in aluminum,
as were most of the metal tax tokens for other states. Sales taxes were
enacted in the Great Depression and tokens were ordered to facilitate
collecting these taxes when citizens really had to pinch their pennies.
"At first, states employed a variety of paper receipts and cardboard
tokens to collect these fractions of a cent. As a teenager I visited a
plant in Kansas City that normally made the cardboard caps that fit on
glass milk bottles. They manufactured the first Missouri Mills of
cardboard on the same machinery that made the milk bottle lids!
"State tax officials realized the sales tax would be permanent (when is
a tax ever not permanent?) they turned to metal tokens. But when aluminum
became a war metal in the early 1940s, states had to have their mills
made of something else. Plastic was an obvious answer. So decades later
sales tax tokens are a delight for numismatists to collect for their
variety of compositions, sizes, center holes, and different colors of
the plastic tokens.
"Those states that had a sales tax but did not issue mill tokens used a
tax schedule, rounding off and collecting only whole cents. In the future
when Americans abolish the cent and nickel -- which we must do at some
time! -- we will do the same, but round off to the nearest dime. To
critics who say this would be more costly need only look back to the
success of those wartime years when sales tax charges were rounded off.
That plan is still in use today, a half century later, to collect sales
tax. Today cash registers automatically round off the tax to the nearest
"That Oklahoma tax token is an artifact of the past, but a precursor
of something yet to come, a change for America's small change."
To read Leon Hale's published article, see:
DICK JOHNSON'S DRAMATIC SOLUTION TO THE RISING COST OF CENTS
ROYAL CANADIAN MINT REPORTS SALES OF NEW MILLION-DOLLAR GOLD COIN
There have been at least a few takers for the massive new Canadian
"The Royal Canadian Mint has sold five of its $1-million gold collector
coins, and at least four of them are headed where the money is - to
the West Coast.
'But as the mint and the dealers disclosed, a million bucks is just
the face value of the 100-kilogram, 99.999-per-cent-pure gold coins.
"The mint sold them for at least $2.3 million apiece based on market
"But J & M Jewellery Ltd. of Vancouver confirmed it did purchase one -
after paying the mint $175,000 down - but has already sold it to a
wealthy buyer who remains anonymous.
"An official with A-Mark Precious Metals Inc. of Santa Monica, Calif.,
confirmed his firm bought three of the coins, but he would not discuss
To read the complete article, see:
VDB? I HADN'T HEARD THAT FOR DECADES
Dick Johnson writes: "Man gets cent in change, dated 1917. Man tells
brother about cent. Brother asks if he has a VDB. 'VDB? I hadn't heard
that for decades.'
"Funny, once you have collected coins in America you never forget those
initials. And we all remember that monogram and who the initials identity.
The lore of the story of Brenner's signature being ripped off the cent in
1909 reverberates from the 9-year-old who first collects coins to the
seasoned numismatist who long since advanced to other series and coins
"Treasury officials who ordered the initials removed from the reverse
of the 1909 cent unknowingly cemented Brenner's fame. (His original
model had "Brenner" in script on bottom reverse; the famed initials were
a replacement to that.) I have studied American sculptors and medallists.
Brenner's work, while prodigious as a medallist, was not that top drawer
as a sculptor. Yet he is included in most every list I have found of
American sculptors. Included, perhaps, because of the story of that
one unthinking act of removing an artist's signature.
"And the reply to the brother's question: "Any boy worth his salt 40
or 50 years ago would recognize those initials." And they still do.
"Here's a charming story by news editor Richard Lodge for the Waltham,
Mass, Daily News Tribune. It will trigger memories perhaps of your own
early days finding an unusual cent in circulation:
PRE-1982 CENTS MASQUERADE AS QUARTERS IN DENVER PARKING METERS
Until someone let the cat out of the bag, students at Colorado State
University enjoyed a nice discount on campus parking.
"'If you put pennies from 1980 or before in the gray parking meters,
they count as quarters,' an anonymous item in the campus paper, The
Rocky Mountain Collegian, advised.
"That led the university to contact the meters' manufacturer, POM
"The Russellville, Ark.-based company agreed to replace any of the
674 meters with the glitch, a process that should be complete by the
end of summer.
"In its more than two centuries, the American penny has been made of
mostly copper - until 1982.
"It is the pre-1982 pennies - and many from 1982, as coins of both
compositions appear in that year - that are treated like quarters
on some of the meters at CSU.
"It's unclear if it's the copper-heavy composition, weight or another
factor that causes the coins to fool the meters.
"Briana Daughenbaugh, a CSU graduate student, lamented: 'I wish nobody
ever said anything.' "
To read the complete Denver Post article, see:
Dick Johnson forwarded a link to the article as well, plus an
Associated Press account of the story on the Forbes web site:
FEATURED WEB PAGE: GOOGLE ANSWERS ON MAGDALEN ISLAND HALF PENCE TOKEN
This week's featured web page is a lengthy discussion on Google
Answers initiated by an earlier item in The E-Sylum. A reader asks:
"I would like to see proof & an image (jpeg) confirming the reported
existance of a halfpence token from the Magdalen Islands (Iles de la
The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization
promoting numismatic literature. For more information please
see our web site at
There is a membership application available on the web site
at this address:
To join, print the application and return it with your check
to the address printed on the application. Membership is only
$15 to addresses in the U.S., $20 elsewhere. For those without
web access, write to:
David M. Sundman, Secretary/Treasurer
Numismatic Bibliomania Society,
P. O. Box 82 Littleton, NH 03561
For Asylum mailing address changes and other membership
questions, contact David at this email address:
dsundman at LittletonCoin.com
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