The E-Sylum v10#30, July 29, 2007
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Sun Jul 29 18:38:48 PDT 2007
Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 10, Number 30, July 29, 2007:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2007, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
WAYNE'S WORDS: THE E-SYLUM 29 JULY, 2007
Among our recent subscribers are Peter Mosiondz, Jr. (a returning
subscriber) and Richard O. Thomas. Welcome aboard! We now have
This week we open with a reminder of the NBS activities at the
upcoming ANA convention, and news of the results of the ANA Board
of Governors election. On a sad note, a longtime officer of the
Civil War Token Society has passed away.
In new books this week we have the release of Ken Bressett's
'Milestone Coins" book, a revised edition of 'United States Pattern
Postage Currency Coins' by David Cassel, and a new publication by
Pierre Fricke on Collecting Confederate Paper Money.
In the research question department we have a query from Dick Johnson
on how obsolete U.S. coin denominations are retired, and a call for
information on an emergency currency prepared for the continental
United States in World War II.
Other topics this week include glass coin weights, numismatic trading
cards, and U.S. coins in worldwide numismatic collections. My London
Diary focuses on the devastating flooding in England this past week.
In the news are a number of interesting reports, including the return
of a family's long-lost 1907 High Relief double eagle, the cross-country
transport of the 1894-S dime, and a profile of Canadian coin designer
Chris Jordison. Have a great week, everyone.
Numismatic Bibliomania Society
NBS ACTIVITIES AT THE MILWAUKEE ANA CONVENTION
Outgoing Numismatic Bibliomania Society President Pete Smith writes:
"This is a reminder for NBS members who will be attending the American
Numismatic Association convention in Milwaukee. Our numismatic literature
symposium is scheduled for Thursday, August 9, at 11:30 A.M. Speakers
will be John Adams and Harold Welch.
"Adams will be speaking on "How Comitia Americana Came To Be - A New
Way to Make a Book." Welch will talk about "British Token Literature
- Putting Together the Pieces of the Puzzle."
"The NBS general meeting is the following day, Friday August 10, at
11:30 A.M. Our speakers will be Len Augsburger and Joel Orosz talking
about "Frank Stewart and Artwork of the Furst U.S. Mint." We will have
out annual benefit auction during the NBS meeting. Items for the auction
may be left with Howard Daniel at the NBS table. Howard will be
promoting our club throughout the show."
[I've forwarded something to Pete for this year's auction - a set of
my notes for various E-Sylum London Diary items. Those with genuine
English beer stains may cost extra. -Editor]
2007 ANA ELECTION RESULTS
As many of you may have heard by now, the results of the American
Numismatic Association election are in. New officers will be
installed during the annual ANA Awards Banquet Saturday, Aug. 11,
at the World’s Fair of Money in Milwaukee.
In his Wednesday blog, Dave Harper of Numismatic News commented on
the results which had just been released by the ANA:
"It was a clean sweep for the anti-incumbent slate in a tension-filled
election campaign to select the 2007-2009 American Numismatic
Association board of governors.
"Voted into office were seven newcomers led by veteran hobby
publisher Clifford Mishler, with 4,609 votes; followed by Chester
L. Krause, 4,518 votes; Edward C. Rochette, 3,541 votes; Joseph E.
Boling, 3,442 votes; Radford Stearns, 3,073 votes; Walter Ostromecki
2,882 votes, and Wendell Wolka, 2,850."
[The new board, like every new board, has a lot of work ahead of it.
Best of luck to everyone, particularly the E-Sylum subscribers! One
reader (not a candidate) forwarded the following quote - "As Bette
Davis said in 'All About Eve', 'Fasten your seat-belts, it's going
to be a bumpy night'." -Editor]
To read Dave Harper's blog item on the ANA results, see:
DALE CADE, CIVIL WAR TOKEN SOCIETY
Larry Dziubek forwarded an announcement made Thursday by Civil War
Token Society (CWTS) Treasurer Susan Trask. She writes: "It is with
great sadness that I report the death of our colleague and friend,
Dale Cade this afternoon. He was indeed a major part of the
foundation of our group and a mentor to many of us."
[I remember Dale from a long-ago ANA convention meeting of the
CWTS. He lived in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA and dutifully handled
the CWTS token auction year after year. Stalwarts like Dale are
the backbone of our hobby organizations, leaving behind big shoes
to fill. Our condolences to Dale's wife Ruth and their family.
Larry forwarded the following note from Sterling A. Rachootin,
another longtime CWTS stalwart. -Editor]
Sterling A. Rachootin writes: "I have to go outside of the English
language to find a word to describe Dale Cade and that word is
“mentsh”, a yiddish word meaning an upright honorable, decent
person - someone of consequence, someone to emulate; of noble
character. A personification of worth and dignity, requiring the
highest respect and approbation; totally trustworthy.
"Those of us in the “know” realize the many hats Dale wore while
serving the Civil War Token Society. He will be sorely missed.
Thanks for your excellent service, Dale.
“D” Devoted - Whatever needed doing, Dale was Johnny on the spot
and whatever it was to be done, it was done!
“A” Able - And whatever he did, it was done in the best way possible.
“L” Loyal - Making the Society run well was Dale’s concern and
it came to pass.
“E” Efficient - Dale took on the major jobs and they were done
in the best way possible and on time, all the time.
"Take any letter in the alphabet, and there are positive words that
apply to Dale Cade and the many roles he managed for the Society and
its members. It will take many volunteers to step into the shoes
Dale worked for the Society to make it function as it should, and
to think one person, Dale did it all in the way it had to be done!
For example, it might be manning the table at an ANA convention for
the CWTS, or running the auction, or collecting dues, or aiding
the publication of the many books, we published, or giving reports
to our group at the Long Beach coin shows, or writing articles for
our Journal, or serving on the board of the CWTS, etc.
"A million thanks for being there for us these many years. We
memorialized Dale in our CWTS HALL OF FAME MEDAL PROGRAM when he
was an honoree. We knew a good thing when we had it!"
LAKE BOOKS SALE #89 PRICES REALIZED AVAILABLE
Fred Lake of Lake Books writes: "The prices realized list for our
sale #89 which closed on July 24, 2007 is now available for viewing
on our web site. Please go to http://www.lakebooks.com/archive.html
"Many thanks to our bidders and consignors in making this an
enjoyable sale and our next mail-bid sale of numismatic literature
will be held on October 2, 2007."
NEW BOOK: MILESTONE COINS BY KEN BRESSETT
Dennis Tucker of Whitman Publishing writes: "I'm pleased to announce
that Kenneth Bressett's new book, 'Milestone Coins: A Pageant of the
World's Most Significant and Popular Money', has arrived from the
printer." Dennis attached the press release, which I've excerpted below:
"Whitman Publishing will debut a new book by Kenneth Bressett at the
ANA World’s Fair of Money in Milwaukee, August 8. Milestone Coins: A
Pageant of the World’s Most Significant and Popular Money (176 pages,
full color, hardcover) will retail for $29.95.
"Milestone Coins shares the interesting stories behind more than 100
famous coins and tokens, as told by the award-winning author and
longtime editor of the Guide Book of United States Coins (the
best-selling “Red Book”). In ten chapters Ken Bressett covers the
breadth of civilization as seen in coinage—exploring every time period
and geographical area from ancient Greece to modern America.
"“Each of these coins has a story that appeals to collectors,”
said Bressett. “Some are rare ‘keys’ needed to complete a set.
Others are desirable for their beauty or historical connection.
In a sense, they are all classics that never go out of style.”
"The book’s chapters include:
The Ancient World — owls of Athens, Aeginean turtles, ancient
dekadrachms, and other artifacts of antiquity
Biblical Coins — the Widow’s Mite, coins of the Jewish revolts,
and others from the Old and New Testaments
The Roman World — coins of Julius Caesar, Brutus, Nero, and
other famous Romans
Money in Medieval Europe — early Christian coins, Byzantine copper,
coins of Genghis Khan and Richard the Lionhearted, and more
The World of Islam — coins of Saladin, glass money of Egypt, coins
of the Mamluk slave kings, and others
Merry Olde England — Celtic gold and tin coins, William the
Conqueror, Henry VIII and his wives, and more from “across the pond”
The Reign in Spain — gold coins of Ferdinand and Isabella, pieces
of eight, pirate coins, gold doubloons, and other Spanish treasures
Cathay and the Orient — knife money, square - hole cash, Automobile
dollars, and more from the mystical East
Emerging Concepts in Coinage—beard - tax tokens of Russia, Britain’s
giant cartwheel twopence, and other unique coins
Money in America — Pine Tree shillings, Civil War tokens, pioneer
gold of the Old West, Morgan dollars, and other classics."
NEW REVISED EDITION: U.S. POSTAGE CURRENCY COINS BY DAVID CASSEL
David Cassel authored 'United States Pattern Postage Currency Coins'
in 2000. This month he has updated and improved his publication
with a revised July 2007 edition. He writes:
"The new hardbound 262 page edition with 30 mostly color plate
pages of Postage Currency coins includes several coin pictures not
present in the previous edition. Additionally, the new edition
includes eleven more SEM-EDX coin elemental analyses (67 in all).
"The Concordance of catalog number entries includes the updated
8th and 9th Judd numbering system as found in United States Patterns.
I was a contributor to those editions. My discoveries were the basis
of several changes to the previously believed entries. For example,
I disproved the existence of J-325a. Judd-326 as it stood in the
7th Edition of Judd was disproved and modified in the Judd 8th and
9th Editions. Judd-326b was discovered by me and included in the
updated version, never before known in the Judd 1st thru 7th
Editions. Judd-331 was modified as was J-332. Judd-640 and J-643
were declassified. Judd-714 was modified. I also discovered that
the name associated with J-716, Koulz’s Alloy was in fact incorrectly
attributed for more than 130 years. The actual metallurgist was
Montchal Ruolz. This is explored in depth.
"The revised edition includes in full Douglas Winter’s 1985 Coin
World article which is the most historically significant study of
the Postage Currency coins as it related to the Civil War period.
"The book’s presentation of the coins’ progressive die cracks portrays
the actual striking of these coins. Remarkably, it turns out that
the coins J-644 thru J-646 dated 1868 were actually struck in 1863.
This is demonstrated visually by obverse die’s cracks’ progression
as well as knowing from original Mint records that the striking of
these Dies 1-A (J-325 thru J-330) coins, over just a nine day
period, occurred on May 19, 1863, May 20, 1863, and May 27, 1863.
"A valuable resource is the Bibliography of roughly 700 numismatic
auction catalogue entries of Postage Currency coins in chronological
order, many with provenance. Each coin variety is categorized unto
itself chronologically by auction appearances. The groups of
varieties are then grouped by type.
"United States Pattern Postage Currency Coins in 2000 was limited
to just 110 numbered and signed copies. The new numbered and signed
edition will be similarly limited. Individuals may request a copy
at the pre-publication price of $245, ppd. (to US address) thru
August 17th. Availability is anticipated in September 2007.
Please send your check to David Cassel at 5995 S.W. 97th Street,
Miami, FL 33156 if you are interested in receiving a copy. Please
furnish your name and mailing address."
NEW E-BOOK: COLLECTING CONFEDERATE PAPER MONEY - TYPE EDITION 2007
Pierre Fricke forwarded the following press release for his
"Building on the success of the award-winning Collecting Confederate
Paper Money - Comprehensive Edition 2005, Pierre Fricke and R.M.
Smythe have collaborated to bring to collectors of Confederate paper
money Collecting Confederate Paper Money - Type Edition 2007 (called
Type Edition subsequently) which includes a getting started guide, a
full color grading guide, and a full color type identification and
value catalog. The Type Edition enables an easy on-ramp into the
world of collecting Confederate Paper Money in the 21st century.
With an introduction to collecting Confederate paper money, types
of collecting, and some financial history of the Confederacy that
drove the creation of these notes, the Type Edition provides a
foundation to understand the Confederate collecting world."
The Type Edition, like the Comprehensive Edition before it, delivers
critical real-world grading and pricing guidance based on real
transactions to help collectors make informed purchase and sales
decisions on the 21st century bourse, on-line and dealer price list
market places. This is a book written from a collector's view point,
but one who also has sat behind the table as a dealer. Bringing his
experience to others, he helps people get started, and now is
helping type and variety collectors build large scale or more
focused historically significant Confederate paper money collections.
Additionally, working with R.M. Smythe, he is publishing the Collecting
Confederate Paper Money family of books and tools including the web
site - www.csaquotes.com ."
Pierre adds: "The Type Edition 2007 is contained in two Adobe Acrobat
files for download or on a DVD. Download is Adobe PDF - 13 MB . 1 to
3 minute download time on typical Cable or DSL.
For the download, people pay $10 through Paypal or by Check/M.O. in
the mail. I send them a link to a private page to download. The
private page URL will change frequently for security reasons.
Nevertheless, the honor system on the copyright is employed as I
want to make it easy to get this e-book.
The DVD is $20 and is created and mailed upon payment as a simple
DVD in a plastic or paper case with the two files containing the
front-end and the catalog sections of the eBook.
Pierre Fricke, P.O. Box 52514, Atlanta, GA 30355;
pfricke at attglobal.net ; www.csaquotes.com. "
PRODUCTION DELAY FOR LANGE'S COIN COLLECTING BOARDS BOOK
Dave Lange writes: "My coin board book is finally at the printing
stage. The first color proofs were not accurate, and I insisted that
they be tweaked to get the colors correct. This cost me yet another
week, but the importance of color in identifying the various coin
board varieties made it necessary.
"It's certain now that I won't have the printed books in time for
the Milwaukee American Numismatic Association convention, which is
very disappointing to me, but I will bring along a laser print of
the book for anyone who wants to see it at the NGC booth."
[As the old advertisement used to say, "The quality goes in before
the name goes on!" The book will be well worth waiting a bit
longer for, I'm sure. Many thanks for Dave for his attention to
BURN'S CATALOGUE OF THE LONDON TRADERS, TAVERN, AND COFFEE-HOUSE TOKENS
When I noted that I'd purchased a copy of Burn's 1853 work on London
tokens, David Gladfelter wrote: "Have you gotten to pages lxxix-lxxx?
No fair skipping ahead."
Well, I resisted temptation and didn't skip ahead. On my previous
flight home to the U.S. I took the book along and did some reading.
Here are a few notes.
My copy is a spineless reading copy that coincidentally, had been
discarded by the coin room of the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.
The full title is "A Descriptive Catalogue of the London Traders,
Tavern, and Coffee-House Tokens Current in the Seventeenth Century;
Presented to the Corporation Library by Henry Benjamin Hanbury
Beaufoy, Citizen and Distiller, Fellow of the Royal and Linnaean
Societies, and Corresponding Member of Numerous Continental Literary
and Scientific Associations.
The book makes marvelous reading; no mere catalogue, it provides
an extensive overview of the history and use of tokens in the period,
highlighted with many interesting anecdotes. I'll publish a few from
the extensive preface here.
(page iv) "In 1279, King Edward the First determined on a reformation
of the coin, and the Jews being found delinquents as clippers, two
hundred and sixty-seven of them, declared guilty of that offence,
(page v) "Leaden tokens are noticed early in the reign of King Henry
the Fourth ... at the beginning of the fifteenth century. In 1402,
the extreme scarcity of small coins among the poorer people induced
the Commons to petition King Henry the Fourth in parliament, for
some remedy for the pressing mischief amongst the poor people,
occasioned by the want of half-pennies and farthings of silver..."
(page xvii) "... the mint-house, well stored, was locked up until
his returne. The sickness being then in London, and poore people
wanting their coine, some knave or other, in the night, clapped a
redde crosse upon the dore, and underwritt it thus - 'Lord have
mercy upon us, for this house is full of tokens.'"
"The mint-house, or office for the issue and change of these
farthings, was on the north side of Lothbury; hence the name yet
retained of Tokenhouse yard." [The name Tokenhouse Yard lives on
today - the small street, just off Lothbury Street, is in the
financial district of London. Page 192 of Burn lists a token struck
for a merchant in Tokenhouse Yard. -Editor]
(page xix) "... to suppresse these farthing tokens that so they may
advance their owne tokens, stamps, seals, names, signes, and
superscriptions, if not images, as now appears, though they be
far inferior to Caesar's."
(page xxi) "... every tavern and tipling-house, in the days of
late anarchy among us, presumed to stamp and utter for immediate
exchange, as they were passable thorough the neighbourhood, which,
though seldom reaching farther than the next street or two, may
happily, in after times, come to exercise and busie the learned
critic what they should signifie."
So what about pages lxxix-lxxx? In my copy, the preface stops
at page lxvii. It’s the 1853 first edition. I wrote to David,
who responded: "I have the second edition of 1855. I came across
a reference to it doing a literature search for an article on the
Carolina Elephant token and others linked to it, for the Colonial
Newsletter some years ago. That was prompted by having acquired a
flip-over double strike specimen. Burn discusses these tokens on
the pages cited and concludes that 'nothing has yet been
discovered to afford any elucidation' of them. That's still
true today, by the way."
JOE BOLING'S PAPER DOLLAR BOYCOTT
Inspired by last week's item on spending two dollar bills, incoming
ANA Governor Joe Boling writes: "For several years I have declined
to carry or use paper dollars. I believe the paper single should
have been retired twenty-five years ago. I carry $2 notes (and higher
denominations), metallic dollars (now up to four types, with a fifth
coming shortly), and half dollars. I tailor my tenders so that I
don't get paper singles in change. (For instance, if I owe $23 and
change, I hand over a twenty and two deuces; a bill for $18 has me
paying $20+$2+$1 and getting a fiver back.) All the theaters in town
know when I've been at a performance - they have weird money in the
concessions till. I have never had a metallic dollar refused, and
the new presidential dollars are quite popular."
[In England the smallest paper denomination is 5 GBP. My pockets
fill with small change and one-pound coins. Less often I receive
two-pound coins in change. The pound coins are thick and easily
identifiable by touch. As I've mentioned before, these are the
workhorses of daily commerce and are typically found very well worn.
What does amaze me though is that the one pence coin also circulates.
It's not that often that I get one in change. I've not been paying
close attention, but a number of items I regularly purchase for cash
are often priced in multiples of ten pence. At current exchange
rates the one pence coin is worth less than half a U.S. cent.
A WALLETFUL OF TWO-DOLLAR BILLS
THE 99 PENCE COIN
Related to all our recent discussions on coin and paper money
denominations is this item I came across while looking for other
things. According to a 2005 BBC article, a man named Mark Wilkinson
"invented the 99p coin":
"A Leicestershire man has come up with a novel way to get rid of
loose change. Mark Wilkinson has invented the 99p coin, saying it
could help to solve a growing problem.
"It mirrors an election pledge of the Official Monster Raving Loony
Party, which included a 99p coin 'to save on change' in its manifesto.
"Mr Wilkinson has contacted chancellor Gordon Brown and the Royal
Mint asking them to adopt his new coin - or "the cornet" - as he
"He said: "Hopefully it will solve a lot of problems with all
"Mr Wilkinson said people cannot buy a lot with a penny, but so
many were given out in change."
To read the complete article, see:
HOW WERE OBSOLETE-DENOMINATION AMERICAN COINS RETIRED?
Dick Johnson writes: "In a communiqué received last week from
Tim L. Shuck in response to my reply in the previous week's E-Sylum,
he comments on eliminating small denomination coins in America and
asks a question I cannot answer. But I would propose the collective
intelligence of E-Sylum readers would know the correct response.
"Tim writes 'I wouldn’t however revalue the ‘penny,’ but let it
continue to circulate in commerce at face value until gradually
withdrawn as returned to banks or put away by the public (is this
how half, two, and three-cent coins disappeared once the Mint
stopped producing them?).'
"Good question. I don't know the answer. Too often a non-numismatic
public (and news account writers) would respond 'the coins were
recalled.' Recalling is a serious act ordering the public to turn
in to a proper authority certain coins. This has happened so
infrequently in U.S. history, that I wonder why the term 'recall'
is so widely used. Even the pre-1964 silver coins were not 'recalled.'
Neither were the gold coins in response to president Roosevelt's
order 6260 to close the banks in March 1933 and the April 19, 1933
law to go off the gold standard. The only recall I can think of was
for the 1933 $20 gold piece.
"But you hear unknowing statements from the public like 'Joseph
Stalin's initials are on all the Kennedy half dollars and the
government is going to recall them.'
"Okay, so America's obsolete-denominations coins were not recalled.
But tell us, E-Syluminaries, how did these coins retire?"
RESEARCHER SEEKS RECORDS OF 1943 U.S. FEDERAL RESERVE BANK NOTE ISSUES
Writing in the Friday July 20, 2007 MPC GRAM, Jim Downey discusses
some interesting new information on U.S. WW II emergency paper
money issues. With permission I'm republishing his article here:
"Most military paper money collectors are familiar with the North
Africa and Hawaii notes that were printed during WWII. The North
Africa notes are Federal Reserve Notes and Silver Certificates with
yellow seals; the Hawaii notes have brown seals and were overprinted
on face and back with the word Hawaii. The purpose of these notes
was to create a currency that would be used in the areas of conflict
that could be segregated from the domestic US currency in case it
should fall into the hands of the enemy.
"Information from the Bureau of Engraving suggests the United States
may have issued an emergency currency in the continental United States.
"A Bureau report from 1946 indicates that in fiscal year 1943 (July 1,
1942-June 30, 1943) $450,800,000.00 in Federal Reserve Bank Notes was
delivered to the Federal Reserve for circulation. Federal Reserve
Bank Notes (FRBN) are different from Federal Reserve Notes (FRN).
FRBN were first issued as large size notes in 1914. The small size
FRBN were printed in 1933 and 1934. These were printed and issued
as a result of the Bank Holiday of 1933. The Federal Reserve needed
to get currency into the banking system quickly. FRBN were printed
on unfinished stock of sheets for National Currency Notes and are
titled "National Currency" at the top.
"They have brown seals like Nationals but carry the identification
of the Federal Reserve Banks and signatures of officers of the
branches of the Federal Reserve Banks.
"The FRBN notes that were released in 1943 were notes that had been
printed for the 1933 banking emergency but were unissued during this
time because the crisis passed and these notes were excess. They
remained at the BEP awaiting further order for their disposition.
"The BEP documents indicate that these notes were delivered to the
Federal Reserve because of the urgent need for new currency and to
conserve labor and materials. This suggests that they would not
have been otherwise issued except for the exigency of the wartime
"This information on these notes is only now coming to light. At
this point it is unknown whether there are records of the serial
numbers for the FRBN that were issued in 1943. It is very probable
that these records exist. If so, it would be possible to distinguish
between the notes issued for the 1933 banking crisis and those
issued because of the wartime necessity."
Editor Fred Schwan added: "I knew about this issue of FRBNs. That
may or may not be a surprise. What I think is surprising (or at
least interesting) is how I knew about it.
"For many years the Treasury issued a pamphlet titled Know Your
Money (or something VERY close). It is possible that this same
pamphlet is still published.
"Anyway, I collect these pamphlets for the war years (no surprise
there, I am sure). I became interested when I learned that the 1943
(or was it 1942) version included HAWAII notes. I thought that that
was wonderful, important, and even interesting so I started looking
for all of the war years' pamphlets. In doing that I found mention
of the FRBN use described by Jim. Researching it further was on my
(growing) list of things to do. Thank you, Jim, for doing it for me!"
[Can any of our readers provide additional information on these
emergency notes? -Editor]
INFORMATION ON ROMAN MONEYER PUBLIUS CREPUSIUS SOUGHT
Aldor Balazs writes: "I am currently writing an article for the
local museum about a coin of roman moneyer Publius Crepusius, and
I was surprised to see that it is very difficult to find any
information about him or his family, Gens Crepusia. If anybody has
some old articles, or could point me to the right direction where
to search for any kind of information about him or his family, I
would appreciate any help."
GLASS COIN WEIGHTS AND THE CORNING MUSEUM OF GLASS
Chick Ambrass writes: "On the way home from our recent annual
family vacation we stopped and visited the Corning Museum of
Glass in Corning, NY. I was anticipating spending an hour or so
there. We left four hours later, having still not seen everything.
It was very impressive. They had a chronological history of glass,
starting about 6000 BC. Many items reminded me of my ancient
coin collection, including ancient Greece, the Egyptian, including
the Ptolemy eras, Roman, Byzantine, and Medieval glass styles.
Many pieces resembled medals - again, reminding me of coins.
"I saw something that I never knew existed....glass coin weights.
These are molded pieces of glass, with inscriptions denoting the
correct weights of various coins. The comment was made that the
glass coin weights may have been more reliable than their metal
counterparts, because it would be easier to see if someone had
made an alteration to a glass coin weight.
"I have several coin weights, by far not an extensive collection,
and I have only one reference, and that is PONDERA MEDICINALIA by
Daniel Vangroenweghe and Tillo Geldof. Looking thru their work
I see no mention of glass coin weights. Can anyone add to the
story of glass coin weights, and suggest further reading?
"Getting back to the visit to the Corning Museum of Glass, if you
are in the Finger Lakes region of New York, the time would be a
great investment, the history, and the experience was well worth
the $12 admission price."
UPPER DECK NUMISMATIC TRADING CARDS DEBUT
Dick Johnson writes: "Announcement was made Wednesday this week
of the latest innovation that unites two collectables: coin
collecting and trading cards. This is destined to be a sure winner.
"Sharp, color illustrations of prominent coins, often in top condition,
are illustrated in the card format similar to sports cards. Since many
coin collectors -- and coin dealers too -- have an interest in both
collectables this is a natural marriage. The idea is the creation
of Les Fox, who partnered with Upper Deck, leading trading card producer.
"The cards will be packaged in foil wrapped packets of ten, randomly
inserted. In addition each packet will be a BU Lincoln cent (in a
die-cut card), plus a bonus card where more than 10,000 coins are
offered in a vast sweepstakes. A handful of the top prizes are PCGS
coins encapsulated and autographed by past presidents Gerald Ford
or George Bush, or the American Bicentennial coin artists.
"The first series will contain cards of 500 different coins. Included
among these will be all U.S. type coins and every gold and silver
commemorative coin. The remainder are spread across all American
coin denominations and periods. We can envision collectors assembling
the cards much like they do their own coins -- in sets, by artists,
by composition, by denomination, or by any topic that whets a
"The cards show the coin obverse on the front of the card, and
obviously, the reverse on the back. The cards will be available
in coin, hobby, and some mass marketers, as Wal-Mart or CVS.
Retail price will be $5 to $6. Rollout date is November 1, 2007.
"I talked with Les Fox this week. He told me the startup cost for
this project is approaching two million dollars. I mentioned he
should keep the high quality of cards and illustrations, and stress
the educational aspect. He assured both are high on his list of
priorities. The first with possible gold printing. For the second
he has offered half a million cards to the ANA if they would
oversee the distribution to American school children.
"The cards are reminiscent of the German cigarette cards a century
ago that depicted world coins, or perhaps the A.J. Blumel postcards
discussed here in E-Sylum before. [See link below. -Editor] Will
sets or albums of the coin trading cards find their way into
future numismatic libraries? Perhaps so.
"I asked Les about numismatic books. He said he and wife Sue have
authored six books, the one most known in numismatics is "The U.S.
Rare Coin Handbook for Collectors and Investors" which hit the New
York Times best seller list. His name for the card series is
"Eagles of America Rare Coin Trading Cards." His corporate name
is West Highland Fine Art & Publishing LLC.
"Do visit his website for more information on the coin trading cards,
a dozen or more of which are illustrated (but you will not be able
to download illustrations of the coin cards, I get the point! --
you will have to buy those!). Web site:
"I first read about this on the PRWeb Newswire.
Here is that article:
[This is certainly a commendable project that I hope will go a
long way toward educating the general public and casual collectors
alike in new aspects of numismatics. But I wouldn't go so far as
Dick in calling it innovative or "groundbreaking" as the press
release describes. There have been similar projects in the past,
although probably not marketed to the same extent. Readers can tell
us if they know of others, but I can point to two in Pennsylvania
The Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists introduced "PAN Decks"
in the 1990s, sets of printed cards picturing various coins that
were given to young numismatists. They were a hit with the kids,
who often wrote in to ask for more. But this was a non-profit
educational item, not a commercial venture.
But Wayne J. Decroo of Pittsburgh, PA currently produces and
sells sets of numismatic trading cards in a similar format, and
has been doing so for several years. He provided a large number
of packs gratis to PAN for distribution to attendees of the
club's Coins4Kids events. I forwarded to him the Eagles of
America Rare Coin Trading Cards press release.
Wayne Decroo writes: "Thank you for sending the release. It is
surprisingly similar to my idea that I spent a substantial amount
of money developing, producing and attempting to legally protect.
"My Coin Trading Cards were intended to educate young collectors
in the field of Numismatics. This so-called groundbreaking product
is extremely similar to my product. The biggest difference is
they enlisted Upper Deck who has the marketing capabilities and
a great reputation. It is somewhat upsetting to me that this
happened. They appear to be producing a great product on a
much grander scale than my cards.
"Our cards have been around since the year 2000 and are still
available in packs, and beginner sets. Anyone interested can
still call 724-335-8264 as we still run it as a family operated
business from my home.
"Our web page is cointradingcards.net for any dealer interested.
My thoughts are that once the upper Deck cards hit the market,
mine will look inferior. They are also offering a chance to win
some nice coins which will attract customers. I hope they help
To view the Numismaticards, Inc. Coin Trading Cards web page, see:
HARMER ROOKE MILLION DOLLAR SALE PRL FOLLOW-UP
Regarding his quest for a copy of the November 17, 1969 'Million
Dollar Sale', Steve Butler writes: "Mr. Rau not only sent me the
price's realized photocopied, but on a CD as well. He took the
time to scan the pages, then burned the CD. Thanks to Mr. Rau!"
HARMER ROOKE MILLION DOLLAR SALE CIVIL WAR TOKEN SESSION PRL FOUND
RESEARCH QUERY FOLLOW-UPS FROM JOHN KLEEBERG
John Kleeberg writes: "About two months ago you forwarded an inquiry
I had to Dave Ginsburg. I just want to tell you that I got some
marvelous data from him in response, and also from Len Augsburger.
Their responses came very promptly, in only a week - I've just taken
my own time telling you about it.
"I have also had some very good data sent me from Howard A. Daniel
III and Merle Pribbenow - I inquired about a hoard of US currency
($50s) discovered in the Vinh Thanh Mountains of Vietnam in July
1968 by a platoon, and Pribbenow sent me some translations of
terrific articles from the Vietnamese press, discussing how US
currency was smuggled by the Vietcong into the south in order to
buy weapons and other war materiel. The Vietcong used some South
Vietnamese currency, but normally avoided it, preferring US currency
- they didn't trust the stability of the South Vietnamese government
and its currency."
A NOTE ON THE AUTHORITATIVE REFERENCE ON BUFFALO NICKELS, SECOND EDITION
In my review of "The Authoritative Reference on Buffalo Nickels"
last week I wrote: "The second edition has a 2007 copyright date,
but population totals provided by grading services PCGS and NGC are
copyrighted 2005 and may be outdated. Red Book values are shown
in the date-by-date section. The copyright date is not mentioned
and perhaps these are outdated as well.
Uriah Cho of Zyrus Press writes: "Actually, Kevin did this on purpose.
He wanted to draw attention away from prices, and focus more on
varieties and date-by-date analysis."
BOOK REVIEW: THE AUTHORITATIVE REFERENCE ON BUFFALO NICKELS, SECOND EDITION
ALAN WEINBERG ON U.S. COINAGE IN WORLD NUMISMATIC MUSEUMS
Regarding Howard Berlin's notes on his travels to worldwide
numismatic collections, Alan V. Weinberg writes: "In 1966 I
crossed over into East Berlin and visited a numismatic exhibit
in a then-Communist museum. It was extensive and I distinctly
recall being shocked to find a seemingly gold George Washington
Baker 61 Manly medal on display.
"Also, with respect to the Royal numismatic collection on display
in Copenhagen...there was in 1966 an extensive public display of
coinage there, perhaps the most extensive numismatic display of
any museum I've ever visited. I was invited into the back offices
to see some US coinage and was shocked to be able to examine 'in
hand' dozens of utterly exquisite early US coins including a Gem
Unc 1652 Noe 1 Oak Tree shilling (even then specializing in Mass
silver, I distinctly recall the variety and condition), a splendid
Unc 1795 bust dollar, a proof (yes, proof) early Bust quarter,
most with accompanying tickets revealing very early source donations.
"It very much reminded me of the Sir Joseph Banks donations and
tickets in the British Museum where, that summer, I'd spent five
days in the vault rooms, discovering among other things a circulated
1829 half dime replacing a Jos. Banks-donated presumably Gem Unc
1792 half disme."
AN E-SYLUM FAN LETTER
Jim Wiley of McMurray, PA writes: "First off, I want to thank you
for providing the E-Sylum to us "ordinary" folks. I can appreciate
in a very small way the amount of time, patience and ---mostly--
love that it takes to produce it EVERY WEEK. Yikes!! The more I
read, the more I realize what I don't know. There are some subjects
into which I want to delve further; others have only a passing
interest. Just like everyone else in the world, I guess.
"Secondly, I want to provide a compliment that I am certain that
many others would like to provide as well. You are fantastic with
words. The stories of your various adventures are so well described
and so very well written that I just can't wait to get to that
particular part of the E-Sylum to see what you have been investigating,
where you have been and who you have seen. You are very gifted and
thank you for sharing your adventures."
[Thanks, Jim. I've gotten a number of great compliments on the
London Diaries. Once I get back home from this assignment, it
will be a little less interesting to write things like, "Today I
had a burrito for lunch and read this week's Coin World". But we'll
never run out of interesting topics in numismatics. That's what
really drives The E-Sylum - the endless connections between coins,
money, history, politics, economics, ordinary people and collectors.
WAYNE'S LONDON DIARY 29 JULY, 2007
Dave Lange writes: "I enjoyed your London journal, as always. It
must be nice to be in town long enough to actually see all the many
hidden places of historic and collector interest. The few times
I've been there were always mad dashes to hit just the highlights."
Yes, it's been a very enjoyable several weeks. I've been in London
long enough to give good directions to strangers, and be unafraid
to walk for many blocks along unknown streets with only a general
sense of "it's over this way somewhere." Navigating the tube and
rail system has become almost second nature. But I miss my family
very much, and will be glad when the project and my long commute is
over. I'm looking forward to this week, when I go to Virginia Beach
with the whole crew for a beach vacation. This issue is being
published from U.S. soil.
Regarding last week's visit to the Fitzwilliam, Howard Berlin sent
the following link to a web page with four pictures he took while
visiting there in January: http://www.drberlin.com/fitz.htm
1. outside of the museum
2. the Roman temple coin cabinet
3. a group of coin cabinets atop a bookcase
4. an unusual coin cabinet shaped like a Greek amphora vase
Look for Howard's future WorldWide Coins article about his visits.
Last week I mentioned the Friday downpour in London. All weekend
waters rose throughout England, flooding a number of areas, particularly
in the west and south. Although the areas I visited were unaffected,
the disaster continued to spread. It had already been an inconvenience
for Doug Saville, who was unable to go into town to buy needed packing
supplies to ship books to a client.
By Monday morning hundreds of thousands of people were affected.
Many were without power and in some areas water treatment plants had
been inundated. The armed forces moved in to evacuate people, some
by helicopter. As I left the office Monday evening reports stated
that the Thames could soon overflow its banks - the flooding had
become the worst in half a century.
By Tuesday morning newspapers were predicting that at many as one
million people could be affected. The Thames was "perilously high"
but had not yet overrun its banks. One of the areas worst hit was
the medieval town of Tewkesbury, 110 miles northwest of London,
where the cathedral and a few blocks of nearby houses where the few
parts NOT under water - the town was completely cut off. The flooding
had now exceeded the previous benchmark, a snowmelt-fueled flood in
1947; that flood had been the worst in 200 years.
I emailed some of my local numismatic contacts to see how they were
faring. Fortunately, all were well. John Andrew wrote: "It is the
worst flooding I have known in this country."
Doug Saville wrote: "We are above any risk (office and home), but if
the Thames at Caversham breaches its banks, then Reading will in parts
be under water as well as lower Caversham. The last time Caversham
was affected was in 2003. In 1947 it was a disaster area like much
of the rest of the country, I am told. Locally, we are being told
that it will be about as bad as 2003… Apparently the high risk is
between midday and late this evening when water from the hills
between Oxford and Reading seeps through the granite into the Thames..."
Phil Mernick wrote: "We have no problems with flooding as we only
live about three miles due east from the very centre of London (at
Bow) and anyway we are about 50 feet above river level!"
Christopher Eimer wrote: "Mercifully, we live on a hill in north
London and have thus been saved the misery endured by many over
these very wet summer days."
Caroline Holmes of Baldwin's wrote: "Fortunately nobody here has
been directly affected, although some relatives have had to be
relocated. It does look now as though the water levels are
receding so hopefully the worst is now over."
By Wednesday morning about 100 houses had become flooded in Oxford
as rivers peaked. In areas hit earlier, the water seemed to be
receding. Although many were thankfully unaffected, our good
wishes go out to all of the people and business owners in the
That's all to report from London this week, although I did pick up
two more Robert Owen notes from Simon Narbeth and began reading
John Adams' new book on the Comitia Americana medals on Thursday's
flight back to the U.S. - more in a subsequent issue. The London
Diary will go on hiatus for a week while I hit the beach with my
family on the U.S. side of the Atlantic.
WHAT'S THE IDEA? LONDON DIARY TYPOS
I don't know how they slipped in - perhaps a combination of a wayward
spell-checker and too much beer and wine on Sunday. But Ken Berger
pointed out a glaring typo in last week's E-Sylum - the "Ides of March"
coin was referenced twice as "Ideas of March" Sorry! We've fixed
this in our online archive.
ROYAL MINT EXHIBIT AT THE TOWER OF LONDON
John P Andrew forwarded the following press release on the Royal
Mint's new display as part of the Tower of London's 'Hands on History'
exhibition. Situated in the Arms and Armouries section of the
exhibition, the Royal Mint display will celebrate its connection
to the Tower and the role coin design has played in reflecting
British military life throughout the ages.
"A fascinating new exhibition, 'Hands on History', celebrating ten
centuries of the Tower's history and the Royal Armouries' collection,
which will incorporate a key display on the Royal Mint, its history,
and the manufacture and symbolism of selected coins.
"Coin collectors may want to make a point of visiting the Tower
of London this summer. Starting from 26 July, the Tower plays host
to a fascinating new exhibition, 'Hands on History' a celebration
of ten centuries of the Tower's history and the Royal Armouries'
collection, which will incorporate a key display on the Royal Mint,
its history, and the manufacture and symbolism of selected coins.
"'Hands on History' encourages visitors to go beyond the usual static
museum experience by allowing them to touch and feel items including
bows, swords, muskets and helmets. Visitors will also have the
chance to handle enlarged coinage portraits of William I, Edward III,
Edward VI, Charles I and George II, and also view replicas of the
coins, while being guided through a 500 year history of the Royal Mint.
"In addition, the Royal Mint's section of the exhibition will
demonstrate the role that coin design has played in British military
history by explaining the symbolism of several coinage designs through
the ages. Visitors will also learn about the skills and methods
involved in the manufacture of coins, from the hammer-struck
techniques of Norman times to the screw presses of the eighteenth
"Kevin Clancy, Royal Mint Museum Curator, said: 'Over the centuries
the Tower of London has enjoyed many different roles ranging from
record office to observatory, and from a place of execution to a
zoo. Having spent 500 years at the Tower of London, the Royal Mint
is very much part of its history. We are delighted to be involved
in such an innovative and engaging exhibition which highlights
the Royal Mint's strong links with the Tower.
"The longevity of the Tower of London's role as home to the Royal
Mint is only surpassed by its relationship with the Royal Armouries.
The histories of the Royal Mint, the Royal Armouries and the Tower
of London are inextricably linked which helps to explain why these
organisations have come together through Hands on History.'"
"The Royal Mint has a history dating back over 1000 years. By the
late thirteenth century the organisation was based in the Tower of
London, and remained there for over 500 years. In 1810 the Royal
Mint moved out of the Tower to premises on London's Tower Hill.
In 1967 the building of a new Mint began on its current site in
Llantrisant, South Wales."
[Sometimes procrastination is a good thing. I was at the Tower of
London in my first week in town, but didn't go in for the tour.
I'm frantically trying to schedule activities for my final weeks in
London, and I hope to get into the Tower to see and report on this
new exhibit. -Editor]
ROOSEVELT DOUBLE EAGLE RETURNED TO PANAMA HEIR
According to news reports, "A rare gold coin once thought to be lost
was reunited Thursday with the family of Panama's first president,
who is believed to have received the $20 piece from former U.S.
President Theodore Roosevelt.
"Florida state officials returned the 1907 St. Gaudens Double Eagle,
which found its way into the state's unclaimed property program, to
Phyllis Childers. Her mother, Terri Claiborne, inherited the
heirloom valued between $25,000 (€18,218) and $90,000 (€65,588).
"Items abandoned in safe deposit boxes are turned over to Florida's
unclaimed property program after three years. State officials spend
up to two years searching for the rightful owners or heirs.
"Childers finally found the missing coin on the state's
unclaimed property Web site."
To read the complete article, see:
"Phyllis Childers believed the 1907 rare $20 gold coin that has
been in her family for nearly a century was gone for good after
her mother died seven years ago without telling anyone where it was.
"It took nearly a year for Childers to track down the coin, a
beautiful ``high relief" piece designed by famed sculptor Augustus
Saint-Gaudens at the request of Teddy Roosevelt.
"Childers, a petite woman who drove to the Capital with her son on
Wednesday and planned to head back to Lake Worth as soon as the
transaction was completed, grew tearful and trembled as Rick Sweet,
a bureau chief in the Department of Financial Services Bureau of
Unclaimed Property, placed the heavy coin in her hand.
"'Oh gosh. Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness. Excuse me. I'm speechless.
That's it,' said Childers."
To read the complete article, see:
NEWSPAPER RECOUNTS 1894-S DIME'S CROSS-COUNTRY JOURNEY
Other news reports recounted the journey of another rare coin:
"John Feigenbaum flew out of San Jose this week in first class,
with flip-flops on his feet, a T-shirt on his back and a dime
worth $1.9 million in his pocket.
'All the way across the country I didn't sleep,'' Feigenbaum said.
'I didn't eat and I didn't sleep. You wouldn't, either.''
Feigenbaum is a rare coin dealer, and the dime he was carrying
across the country, from San Jose to New York, is an 1894-S dime,
one of only nine known to exist, and one of only 24 known to be
coined that year in San Francisco.
It was his job to pick up the dime from the seller's vault, in
Oakland, and deliver the dime to the buyer's vault, in midtown
But the dime's cross-country trip was the stuff of intrigue, of
that there is no mistake. The logistics of moving a $1.9 million
dime across the country turn out to be at least as staggering as
the notion of paying $1.9 million for a dime.
It was on Monday afternoon that Feigenbaum, a 38-year-old coin
dealer from Virginia Beach, donned his best grubby clothes to
meet the seller's representative at an Oakland bank vault.
Feigenbaum was slumming it so as not to attract attention, he said.
He was too nervous to sleep, he said. He did not watch the
in-flight movie, which was 'Firehouse Dog.'' He turned down a
Reuben sandwich and sensibly declined all offers of alcoholic
At Newark airport, he was met by another security guard in another
ordinary sedan. The two men drove to Manhattan, arriving an hour
before the opening of the buyer's bank vault.
The buyer was waiting at the curb for Feigenbaum, however. With
an hour to kill, the two men went into a nearby Starbucks. Neither
man dared to take out the dime and look at it. They sipped their
beverages and stared at their watches.
At 9 a.m., the vault opened. The two men and the guard went inside
and, for the first time, the buyer got to hold his dime."
To read the complete article, see:
Arthur Shippee forwarded a link to a National Public Radio interview
with Feigenbaum about the dime. It aired on 'All Things Considered'
July 28, 2007: "Rare coin dealer John Feigenbaum just sold a dime
for nearly two million dollars. Host Jacki Lyden talks to Feigenbaum
about why coin collectors are so excited by this particular dime."
To listen to the NPR interview with Feigenbaum, see:
PHILADELPHIA MINT 1798 DOLLAR DIE TRIAL
According to firm publicity, "Stack’s August Milwaukee sale will
include two pieces recently discovered in the soil of Center City
Philadelphia, including a previously unknown copper die trial for
a 1798 dollar. Two metal detectorists, working with permission on
a construction site whose location abutted that of the First
Philadelphia Mint, discovered the 1798 dollar struck on copper
scrap along with a 1793 half cent in the spring of 2006. Now, a
year later, the coins have been authenticated by American Numismatic
Society curator Robert W. Hoge, among others, and will be offered
for public sale for the very first time. The pieces will be sold as
separate lots, slated for sale on August 5 at the Hotel Metro in
"Hoge called the piece “one of the most exciting items to have been
brought to my attention” in his column in the Spring 2007 issue of
ANS Magazine. The cataloguers of the piece described it as “incredible”
and termed the condition of the piece “sharpness as struck, condition
as found,” while noting some of the sedimentary buildup the trial
acquired during 200 years in the Philadelphia soil."
The following is from the lot description:
"This remarkable and unique trial is a discovery of impressive
historical importance and dramatic interest. It was found with a
metal detector on a privately owned lot that adjoined the site of
the First United States Mint in Center City, Philadelphia, along
with a 1793 half cent, found on the same site on the same day,
that is offered elsewhere in the present catalogue.
"The reason this scrap of copper was struck is clearly subject
to speculation—as dollars exist from this marriage in an earlier
state, it is not a "trial" in the proper sense, but is perhaps
better referred to as an off-metal strike. Of course, these largest
productions of the First Mint were struck on the largest press
and apparently fed by hand, thus it is not an error either. Its
unusual nature and ability to provoke conversation, to our mind,
add to the attraction of this piece, which must be included among
the great rarities in both the Bust dollar and U.S. pattern
To view the complete lot description, see:
HALF DOLLAR SAVED MAN'S LIFE
An article about a donation to a local museum describes how a
coin saved the life of a WW II soldier:
"A single coin may have saved a local soldier's life. Now, more
than 60 years later, the World War II veteran finds a way to
"Fay Anderson turns 85 next week. To mark the occasion he's
donating his war memorabilia to the Pecatonica Historical Society.
His Army dog tags and purple heart medal will be on display at the
library there, as will what he says was the simplest, yet most
important thing he carried with him while on duty.
"What sounds like the start of another common war tale is anything
but for Fay Anderson. His great nephew Jeff Eckburg knows the rest
of the story by heart. "He was shot in the eyes and at the same
time was shot in the heart."
"Fay lost his sight that day in 1944, but one thing kept him from
losing his life. "I don't know how many days I was in the hospital
and the orderly brought my billfold and personal stuff. I said
that's not my billfold. It wasn't ripped like that."
"But the wallet had his initials on it. And a bent half-dollar
coin inside was what blocked Fay's heart from the bullet. "By
that time I forgot that half dollar was even in that side, but
it was and I guess it might have saved my life." Jeff says, "It's
quite amazing to think he was saved you know with that half dollar
in his chest pocket and to go on and live with this disability.
To me that's a superhero."
To read the complete article, see:
PROTEST AGAINST CANADIAN COIN INUIT IMAGE
The Globe and Mail and other Canadian newspapers are reporting
on a fuss over the image of a native Inuit on a new $20 coin.
"It was a dark moment in Canadian history: English explorer Martin
Frobisher lured an Inuit kayaker onto his ship during his 16th-century
Arctic expedition and abducted him for display back home in England,
where the unnamed man eventually died of disease.
"Today, a new Canadian silver coin that is an eerie reminder of
that infamous episode has raised eyebrows among the country's
"The Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami in Ottawa is asking that the Royal
Canadian Mint consult it about any future coins that depict
"'We do appreciate the fact that the Mint does depict Inuit in
coins,' spokesman Stephen Hendrie said in an interview yesterday.
'But we think the Mint should consult with ITK in the future
when it depicts Inuit.'
"On one side of the coin is a portrait of the Queen. The other side
features Frobisher, who in 1576 was the first to attempt to discover
the Northwest Passage, aboard the Gabriel. A ship appears on the
coin alongside a 16th-century compass and an Inuit paddling a kayak.
"A Mint spokesman said yesterday that the kayaker on the coin is
meant to recognize the Inuit people as the first explorers of the
North, and is in no way meant to represent the unnamed man
abducted by Frobisher.
"It's about polar exploration and nothing else," Alex Reeves said.
"It's not about Sir Martin Frobisher's first meeting with Inuit people."
To read the complete article, see:
[John Regitko, Editor of the C.N.A. E-Bulletin of the Canadian
Numismatic Association discussed this item in the July 27 issue.
His comments are excerpted below. -Editor]
John Regitko writes: "I personally cannot see any relationship
between any kidnapping and the design depicted on the coin, and
I find it quite attractive. I am sorry to hear about some Inuit’s
reaction, but the Mint did consult various groups, including
archeologists and polar experts.
"I wonder how they would have felt if the Inuit and the kayak
were completely ignored and only Frobisher and his ship surrounded
by water and ice floes were shown?"
CANADIAN COIN DESIGNER CHRIS JORDISON PROFILED
The Regina Leader-Post published an article Saturday July 21st
about a local artist and coin designer.
"Regina artist Chris Jordison is making a big splash with his
design on the colour photographic hologram which graces the
Royal Canadian Mint's latest series of collector coins.
"Jordison was commissioned by the mint to create a collector
series coin design for a $30 sterling silver coin and a $300
14-karat gold version. This is the second time the Regina-based
illustrator and graphic designer's work has graced the backs of
mint-issued coins. In 2005 his design of the Western Red Lily
was selected in competition for use on a limited edition pure
"'I didn't come up with the hologram to tell you the truth. It
was the Royal Canadian Mint that had the plan for doing that.
They came to me with a design problem,'' Jordison said.
"The mint knew it wanted to put the Canadian Rockies on the gold
coin and the Niagara Falls on the silver coin and then put the
hologram on, he said.
"'The problem they had is how do you cast a carved coin and then
put the hologram on it. Generally you look up at the Rockies and
you usually look down on the Niagara Falls. They had a problem
with the horizon line,'' Jordison said.
"What he came up with was a pair of hands with a modern panoramic
camera which allowed for a floating horizon. Looking at the design
one can't tell whether the hands are pointing up or down.
"The Rocky Mountain Panoramic Camera gold coin will be produced
in a limited mintage of 1,000, while the Niagara Falls Panoramic
Camera sterling silver coin has a limited mintage of 15,000. Both
coins were released for sale earlier this week.
"When asked whether he was paid for his labour in silver and
gold coins, Jordison laughs and confesses that he had to buy his
own copies of the collector coins."
To read the complete article, see:
MONSTER CANADIAN GOLD COIN TO BE AUCTIONED
"Teletrade, an Irvine company is selling the world's largest
gold coin, a sale that could enter the record books in several
•At 100 kilograms or about 220 pounds of gold, the coin – the
first of at least five planned by the Royal Canadian Mint –
holds a world record for weight. The previous record was 31
kilos set by the Austrian mint in 1994.
Teletrade will take a 12 percent commission above the hammer
"'It will set a record for Teletrade and, to our knowledge, be
the most expensive coin offered at online auction,' said Ian
Russell, president of the Irvine-based online coin auction
house. 'Obviously, this takes things to a new level.'
"A-Mark Precious Metals, a Teletrade affiliate that specializes
in coin wholesaling, bought three of the five 100-kilo coins
from the Royal Canadian Mint.
"The 100-kilo coin is stored at an undisclosed location guarded
by shotgun-armed Brinks security guards. Earlier this week, a
group of guards unpacked the coin from a foam-lined strong box
to display it for photographers. None of the guards, who are
used to handling lots of money, dared touch the gold, which is
tough to tarnish but easy to dent.
"'It won't be getting dented,' Roberts said."
To read the complete article, see:
[Dick Johnson echoed my own sentiment on this. He writes: "Don't
you think anyone who has that kind of money is smart enough to know
you can buy this from the Canadian Mint direct and pay $970,000 U.S.
instead of the bid price plus 12 percent vigorish?" -Editor]
WELSH METAL DETECTORIST AWAITS WORD OF HIS AWARD
John Andrew forwarded the latest article about the recent Welsh coin
hoard find, noting that the finders are waiting to learn how much
their discovery will be worth.
"A metal detector enthusiast who discovered a treasure trove of
nearly 600 Roman coins in a field is waiting to hear how much he
will receive. After four hours' digging near Newport, Brian Stephens
found 587 silver denarii dating back some 2,000 years.
"At the treasure trove hearing, Gwent coroner David Bowen described
it as "a particularly significant find," and the small coins were
showing little wear.
"Edward Besly, a numismatist at the museum, said: 'Llanvaches lies
between the fortress of the second Augustan legion at Caerleon and
the local tribal capital, Venta Silurum, at Caerwent.
"'At the time, these coins would have represented about two years'
wages for a legionary soldier - and would have taken much longer to save.'
But Mr Stephens will have to wait to discover the value of the coins.
They will be assessed by experts before he finds out how much reward
he will receive.
To read the complete article, see:
MALTA'S EURO COINS INCORPORATE MALTESE CROSS DESIGN MOTIF
The Malta Independent published an article on Monday headlined "Wily
Malta leaves unique mark on euro coins." Here are some excerpts:
"As Malta’s first euro coins rolled off the production lines on
Friday – with images of the Maltese cross, Malta’s coat of arms
and the Mnajdra Temple gracing their obverse sides – one minute
and barely discernable detail of Malta’s EUR2 coin spoke volumes.
"The outside edge around the circumference of the EUR2 coins, 10
million of which are being produced at the Monnaie De Paris, bears
small images of the Maltese cross instead of euro stars. Under the
strict European Central Bank coin design rules, euro coins have
one common face while only the design of the obverse side of the
coins minted by individual countries is at the individual
"Wily Malta, however, found another way to leave Malta’s unique
stamp on Europe’s coinage, by replacing the euro stars on the
coins’ outside edge with a succession of Maltese crosses – the
only country to have deviated from the norms in this respect.
"The otherwise discerning ECB specifications had only stipulated
that stars could be placed on the outside edge, without furnishing
the exact specifications of the stars themselves."
To read the complete article, see:
FRENCH PROTESTORS CROSS OUT TURKEY ON EURO NOTES
"A recent propaganda campaign started by a French group against
Turkish membership in the EU has begun to raise eyebrows in Ankara.
The campaign has targeted Euro banknotes, calling on those in
opposition to Turkish EU membership to cross out the depiction of
Turkey that exists as a part of the map in the lower right hand
side of the banknote.
"The crossing out of Turkey is meant to underscore Turkey's
different geographical, sociological, historical, cultural and
religious status from the rest of Europe, according to this group.
Located at the internet site www.rayezlaturquie.com, the group is
broadcasting its call for the crossing out of Turkey in 8
To read the complete article, see:
[The web site referenced within the article (www.rayezlaturquie.com)
seems to be no longer active. But have any of our readers seen
these defaced Euro notes, or heard of this protest? -Editor]
THE E-SYLUM MENTIONED IN FRENCH PUBLICATION
Hadrien Rambach wrote (last Sunday): "I just arrived in Paris
and I'm going to Sicily in a few days. There is a small (8 lines)
article on The E-Sylum in the latest issue of "Numismatique &
Change", a French monthly numismatic magazine. Hope it brings
some new subscribers!"
[It's always nice to learn we've getting some publicity. We do
have a few subscribers in France, and I’d love to pick up some more.
Perhaps some of them could tell us more about the campaign to use
Euro notes for anti-Turkey propaganda mentioned in the previous
HUDSON INSTITUTE WRITER SEES LITTLE HOPE FOR DOLLAR COIN
Dick Johnson writes: "A fellow of the Hudson Institute, Richard
Miniter, in an editorial in a Buffalo newspaper this week relates
that Americans are too intrenched with using the dollar bill that
the use of a dollar coin circulating widely has little chance.
"He sites, of course, the failure of the Sacagawea dollar coin
between 1998 and 2001 when the Treasury department spent $67
million in promoting it. The public just did not accept it.
"He also sites an interesting point. Americans tend to toss coins
aside and not return them to circulation immediately. "This may
sound innocuous until you consider that the money in your piggy bank
doesn’t accrue interest. Some argue that switching to coins could
allow Uncle Sam to “find” an extra $8 billion while avoiding around
$400 million worth of interest. When the government borrows money,
it pays 5 percent interest. So wouldn’t it be better to just create
money [read coins] without that interest expense? Well, not really.
"He gives three reasons why the taxpayer always gets it in the end.
In this case it is the cost of striking dollar coins, promoting
them and lost interest."
To read this editorial in the Buffalo News:
ON BOILER-ROOM MARKETING TACTICS
Regarding last week's item on numismatic boiler-room sales tactics,
Ginger Rapsus writes: "I had a bad time with a certain firm, a few
years back. I filled out a coupon from a numismatic publication to
receive a free catalog. Under the space for phone number, I
carefully printed "unlisted--do not phone." You guessed it... over
the next five months, they called me and called me, no matter how
many times I asked them to stop. I never did get the free catalog.
"One guy from this firm wouldn't give up. When he called one day,
I hung up. He called right back. This went on a few times, till
I finally asked him, "What do I have to do to get you to stop calling?"
He growled at me, "Pay your bills! Trying paying your bills!" And
hung up. After some doing on my part, they did stop calling me.
I still don't get the "pay your bills" part. Someone told me they
may have checked my credit rating, for ordering a free catalog,
but I have never had any problem with bills. I wonder if they
looked up the credit rating for a person who does not exist...my
last name is constantly misspelled, and Ginger is a nickname
(not a nickname for Virginia)."
HOUSTON PRESS ARTICLE RECOUNTS BOILER-ROOM COIN SALES TACTICS
COPPER CENTS AS AN INVESTMENT
On July 22 MarketWatch.com published an article about the case for
investing in U.S. cents as production costs rise.
"A penny saved may still be a penny earned, but the real question
for investors is whether a penny purchased is actually worth a
nickel when it comes time to figure their return on investment.
"Plenty of small-time investors are betting that the penny will
someday be valued like its larger cousin, and so they are snapping
up pennies. Taking pennies out of circulation and collecting them
is one thing, but paying a premium to buy pre-1982 pennies for
their copper value is another and, for most investors, it would
be a Stupid Investment of the Week.
"The case of the penny is compelling, because everyone has pennies
and can relate to the most common of coins. Moreover, the math
behind the move to buy pennies looks compelling. The real question
is one of practicality.
The case for buying pennies goes like this:
"The rising price of copper has made it so that the metal content
of pre-1982 one-cent pieces is now worth more than the one cent
the coin represents, falling somewhere around 1.2 cents. You need
roughly 155 of the pre-1982 coins to make a pound of copper. And
with copper trading for more than $2 a pound -- and as much as $4
a pound a little over a year ago -- there's definitely some
economic merit in hoarding the coins if every $1.55 is worth $2
"But there's a difference between taking pre-1982 pennies out of
circulation and putting them in a special place -- the way some
people, myself included, have saved the so-called "wheat ear"
pennies from the early 1900s for decades -- and plunking down
investment dollars to buy pennies at a premium in order to cash
in on their value as a commodity.
"Then there's the problem of storing all of those pennies. A $50
bag of pennies weighs a bit more than 30 pounds. So a $10,000
investment in pennies -- even if it buys just $5,000 worth of
coins -- weighs north of 1.5 tons.
"Having four or five shoeboxes of 'wheaties' is one thing, but
the cumbersome nature of really investing in pennies for their
melt value makes this idea just insane on any larger scale,"
says Bret Leifer of Bret Leifer Numismatics in Wayland, Mass.
To read the complete article, see:
THE REAL GOLD 'GOLDEN DOLLARS' GO ON DISPLAY
Dick Johnson forwarded this new item about the specially struck
gold Sacagawea dollars to be exhibited at the upcoming ANA
"Six months before the U.S. Mint issued the first Sacagawea dollar
coins on January 27, 2000, 12 specially-minted 22 karat gold
Sacagaweas made a launch of a very different type.
"The dozen dollars were carried in to orbit aboard the space
shuttle Columbia to commemorate the flight of Eileen Collins,
the first female U.S. astronaut to command a spaceflight.
"Originally, the Mint had planned to exhibit the gold coins
at museums to promote the release of the Sacagawea dollar and
potentially the sale of similar gold versions to the public.
The gold coins' creation however, hadn't been to regulation,
and the marketing program was canceled.
"Instead, the 12 space flown coins were moved to the Fort Knox
Bullion Depository in 2001, where they have been in storage since.
"That is, until August 10, 2007, when the U.S. Mint plans to
publicly display the dozen doubloons for the first time. The
12 gold versions of the circulating golden dollars will be
unveiled at the American Numismatic Association's World's Fair
of Money in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the largest coin show in the
"Unlike the 12 gold coins, which were minted from 9167 (half-ounce)
fine gold, the Sacagawea circulating dollars are only golden-color.
The issued coins are comprised of a three-layer clad construction:
pure copper sandwiched between and bonded to outer layers of
To read the complete article, see:
[I thought the whole gold striking from the beginning was too much
of a gimmick. The Mint should have known the striking was illegal,
but I wonder what makes it OK to exhibit them now? If they’re
illegal why were they kept and not destroyed? If the Mint sent
the Secret Service to fetch the ‘illegal’ 1933 Double Eagles, why
shouldn’t the Secret Service seize and destroy these fantasies?
FEATURED WEB PAGE: COMBATING COUNTERFEITING
This week's featured web page is recommended by John and Nancy
Wilson of Ocala, FL. They write: "While doing research on
counterfeiting in America we came across an excellent University
of Utah web page. It is somehow connected to the Hinckley Journal
of Politics. The story is in the Utah University Autumn 1998, Vol 1,
No. 1, pp. 13-20 issue. The author of the article is: Anissa
Beecroft, and the title is 'Combating Counterfeiting: The Treasury's
Perpetual Partnership with the Public'. Though the copyright is
1999, we think the information is still useful and informative."
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