The E-Sylum v10#46, November 11, 2007

esylum at esylum at
Sun Nov 11 08:58:43 PST 2007

Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 10, Number 46, November 11, 2007:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2007, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


We have no new subscribers this week - we currently have 
1,075 subscribers. Today's issue is being published early.  
This afternoon we have a family outing and tonight I'm 
taking my wife to the Bruce Springsteen concert at the 
Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.  I lucked into a pair of 
free tickets at the office Friday.  I plan to annoy everyone 
around us by calling out the names of John Mellencamp songs.  
But first, numismatics.

This week we open with information on two numismatic literature 
sales (one past, one future), and the offering of a remarkable 
book on medals by Christie’s in Paris.  Next I review a new 
book on Roman quinarii, and publish announcements of new books 
on coins of the Seleucid Empire and Lincoln Cents.

Queries this week involve German medallist Friedrich Wilhelm 
Kullrich and Reverend Thomas Rackett, and in follow-ups from 
last week's issue, Alan Weinberg discusses a connection 
between Philadelphia dealers Izzy Switt and Harry Forman. 
Have a great week, everyone.

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


Fred Lake writes: "Lake Books announces that its 91st 
mail-bid sale of numismatic literature is now available 
for viewing on its web site at:  

Selections from the library of Stan Henneman are contained 
in the 390-lot catalogue including reference material from 
around the world. Featured are auction sales produced by 
McCawley & Grellman, Pine Tree, Stack's and Superior.
"Books by Dave Bowers, Walter Breen, Tony Carlotto, 
Roger Cohen, Hibler & Kappen, David Lange, Bill Noyes 
and Paul Taglione are included in the extensive selection 
of United States coinage references.
"Special Edition 'Redbooks' and guidebooks of world 
coinage are offered and of special note is the original 
framed color photograph of John J. Ford, Jr. proudly 
displaying the first 'slabbed' auction catalog at an NBS 
meeting. This was produced by Martin Gengerke in order 
to make sure that Ford's copy of the Stack's Herman Halpern 
sale would be in pristine condition. Ford inscribed the 
photo to: 'Fred Lake-a man who recognizes a pioneer effort 
when he sees one.' Beth Deisher's editorial regarding this 
event accompanies the photo.
"The sale has a closing date of December 11, 2007 and 
bids may be placed via US Mail, email, fax, or telephone 
until that date."

[I understand that Mrs. Ford said that it was the best 
she had ever seen of her husband.   Fred told the complete 
story behind this photo in a June 8, 2003 E-Sylum article.  
The complete text is reprinted below. Enjoy! -Editor]

  Fred Lake writes: "Reading about the upcoming auction(s) of
  John J. Ford's library by Stack's/George Kolbe and the
  description of  John's insistence on acquiring material in the
  best condition possible reminded me of his appearance at the
  NBS General Meeting held in July, 1993.

  There, John held up a catalog of the Stack's, March 17, 1993
  sale of the Herman Halpern Collection of United States Paper
  Money.  This sale catalog had been mailed to him several times
  by Stack's and each time the catalog was damaged in some
  manner by the Post Office.

  John contacted Martin Gengerke at Stack's and insisted on
  receiving a pristine copy.  Martin arranged to have the catalog
  sandwiched between two pieces of Lucite and taped at the
  edges very neatly with duct tape. Thus was born the first
  "slabbed" catalog. I was fortunate enough to catch the famous
  moment with my trusty Minolta and so preserved the record
  of a catalog that could not be read, but would forever be in
  Mint 70 condition.   I believe the photo was published in
  "The Asylum" that year.

  As a postscript, I had the photo enlarged to 8 x 10 and
  enclosed in a suitable wood frame with glass covering the
  picture. Before packaging the frame for delivery to John, I
  took the wrapping paper to my driveway and ran over it
  several times with my truck, leaving some very distinct tire
  marks. Needless to say, John was amazed that a package
  could be run over by a truck and yet the contents were



[George Kolbe forwarded the following press release on 
the results of his firm's 104th numismatic literature sale.  
Bibliophiles can breathe a sigh of relief that the recent 
California wildfires spared this inventory of rare works, 
which will now be dispersed to collectors worldwide. -Editor]
Classic American coin auction sale catalogues were in great 
demand in George Frederick Kolbe's 104th auction of important 
numismatic literature, closing on November 1, 2007. The 
sale featured the library of John Jay Pittman, Jr., and 
nearly fifty other consignors. The highest price achieved 
in the sale was $27,600, for a handsomely bound, very 
fine set of the American Journal of Numismatics, estimated 
at $20,000 [selling prices cited include the 15% buyer 
premium; estimates do not]. 

One of the biggest surprises in the sale was a nearly 
complete set of 153 Chapman brother auction sales, formed 
mostly catalogue-by-catalogue over the past 25 years by 
a dedicated numismatist. Estimated at a seemingly realistic 
$8,500, five bidders competed for it strongly and it ended 
up realizing $21,850, well over double estimate. Classic 
plated auction catalogues set records, often selling for 
double estimate or more. This reflects the entrance into 
the market of a new generation of numismatic bibliophiles, 
along with a renewed realization that the surviving 
numbers of many nineteenth and early twentieth century 
catalogues issued with photographic plates, especially 
those of the Chapman brothers, are quite small.

A selection of sale results follows: a complete set of 
the Numismatic Chronicle, 1836-1996, sold for $17,250; 
Fulvio's 1517 Illustrium Imagines, the first illustrated 
numismatic book, brought $8,050 on a $4,500 estimate; a 
complete set of Sotheby's classic 1903-1904 Murdoch sales 
realized $3,162; John Jay Pittman's very fine first edition 
Red Book brought $2,587 on a $2,000 estimate; Howland 
Wood's set of volumes 3-6 of The Numismatist, estimated 
at $4,500, sold for $6,325; Elder's 1921 Gehring sale 
with photographic plates realized $5,750 on a $5,000 
estimate; George Fuld's plated 1890 Parmelee sale caught 
the attention of many bibliophiles, five of them bidding 
over the $1,750 estimate, eventually bringing $3,795; 
Frank Van Zandt's unparalleled collection of 158 copies 
of Evans' Illustrated History of the United States Mint, 
1885-1901, sold for $6,900; and a complete set of B. Max 
Mehl catalogues, formed by the same collector who assembled 
the 153 Chapman sale catalogues, brought an impressive $8,050.

Kolbe's next sale is scheduled for March 2008 and will 
feature a remarkable, virtually complete library of books 
and catalogues on classical Greek coins, including all 
volumes published thus far of the international Sylloge 
Nummorum Graecorum. Other consignments are still being 
accepted. Kolbe may be contacted at P. O. Box 3100, 
Crestline CA 92325, telephone: (909) 338-6527, email: 
GFK at

[If I'm reading the prices realized list correctly, I had 
some successful bids in this sale.  I'll write up some of 
my purchases in The E-Sylum.  -Editor]


Hadrien Rambach writes: "I thought your readers may be 
interested to know of a book for sale at Christie’s in 
Paris on 20 November 2007 (lot 255), as this is indeed a 
rather exceptional numismatic publication. I have been 
lucky to handle this copy myself in the past.  I described 
and commented on it last year for the Royal Numismatic 
Society in London.

" 'Médailles sur les principaux évènements du règne entier 
de Louis le Grand avec des explications historiques' is 
the work of several renowned numismatists such as Francois 
Charpentier and Claude Gros de Boze. This copy was printed 
in Paris by the Imprimerie Royale in 1723. This is the 
second edition, which Brunet described as even more beautiful 
than the first one - very much enlarged to include medals 
up to 1723, and printed in an edition of only 500 copies. 
The 1702 edition had been published both in folio and in 
quarto; in 1723, the Duc d'Antin ordered the reprinting 
of the work in folio and it was completely redesigned, 
with 318 plates instead of 286. Original archive documents 
were discovered about this 1723 edition, and published by 
J.-J. Guiffrey in 1885.

"This book is interesting in many aspects. One is that 
Philippe Grandjean's Romain du Roy typographical font had 
first been used in the original 1702 edition of this book; 
designed by order of King Louis XIV (1638-1715) for the 
exclusive use of the royal printing press, the celebrated 
fonts were constructed on scientific principles and exercised 
the greatest influence on the development of French types. 
The Academie had been established by Colbert in 1663 in 
order to ensure that all the arts were used in harmony to 
glorify King Louis XIV, and therefore to supervise the 
engraving of a revised and extended series of medals 
devoted to the Sun King, later published as these Médailles 
sur les Principaux Evènements du Règne de Louis le Grand. 

  "The book was projected regardless of time and expense. 
  Medals were specially cut and cast; line engravings from 
  them were made by Gerard Edelinck; special frontispieces 
  were commissioned from Coypel and Rigaud; superb borders 
  were contributed by Berrain and rich tailpieces by le Clerc. 
  An entirely new face of type, Louis XIV's "Roman du Roi", 
  as it was called, was a part of the conception. The enterprise 
  was conceived as an expression of academic respect for the 
  typographic arts" (Stanley Morrison, The Typographic Arts)

"The specimen for sale is a superb copy on nice paper, in 
contemporary full red morocco binding, with a triple line 
filet on sides, enclosing the Royal Arms, inner dentelles 
gilt, panels of spine fully gilt, with tools of the French 
fleur de lys, and the Royal Cipher, gilt edges. Most importantly, 
this specimen is King Louis XV’s copy, later sold as part of 
King Louis Philippe's library!  This copy, bound for the King, 
does not contain the exceptionally rare eight page preface, 
which had been suppressed by Royal order. I doubt that a 
more interesting copy of this celebrated book will ever 
be offered!"

To view the Christie's lot description (in French), see:


In late September the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford published 
"Roman Quinarii From the Republic to Diocletian and the 
Tetrarchy" by Cathy E. King.  King worked in the Ashmolean's 
Heberden Coin Room for over thirty years, specializing in 
Roman coinage of the third to fifth centuries.  The 
460-page hardbound volume is distributed by Douglas Saville.  
It features 37 plates of actual-size photographs, and 17 
plates of enlargements.

It's a very fine production centering on a detailed 
catalogue of these interesting little coins.  The silver 
Roman quinarius was equivalent to half a denarius.  The 
author notes in her Acknowledgements that the genesis of 
the book was an article she wrote nearly thirty years ago 
for a Festschrift in honor of Humphrey Sutherland.  It 
was Carl Subak who suggested a book on the topic, and 
King's work opens with a two-page Appreciation of Subak 
by Michael Metcalf.  Born in Austria in 1919, Karl (later 
changed to Carl) emigrated to the United States where he 
ultimately became a leading midwest coin and stamp dealer. 
Quinarii became a personal favorite of Carl's and he 
assembled a fine collection of them, which now forms 
the basis of King's book.

According to Metcalf, "Quinarii tend to be very scarce 
coins.  They are not to be had just for the asking and 
imperial quinarii do not occur in hoards but tend to come 
to light one by one. Much patience and persistence were 
required, therefore, to build a reasonably complete, 
rounded collection.  In the Heberden Coin Room Carl found 
an experienced Roman numismatist, Dr Cathy King whom he 
invited to write about quinarii based on his collection.  
In the vast literature on Roman coinage, no book devoted 
specifically to the history of this denomination had 
been written."

The following notes are from the distributor's web site: 
"The text has been divided into three chronological sections: 
the Republic to Domitian; the second century ending with 
Commodus; and the third century from AD 192 to Diocletian’s 
reform. Within each, the focus is on explaining when and 
where quinarii were minted, the way in which they operated 
within the coinage, and how their function evolved over time. 

Detailed analysis of the sequence of issues, mint attribution, 
dating, and circulation also form a critical part of the 
discussion supported by tables, graphs, and drawings. Two 
bibliographies are also included; one general and one of 
find spots."

It's easy to see why the project took thirty years to 
complete.  Although the core of the work is based on the 
Subak collection, the author cites examples of the denomination 
from collections around the world and from catalogues published 
over the last century.  Forty collections are specifically 
cited, and the book has a six-page list of cited hoards and 
a six-page bibliography.  It's an impressive yet very readable 
publication making an important and pioneering contribution 
to the literature on Roman coinage.  The price is £75 plus 
postage (Within the UK £7.00 Europe £14.00 USA £22.00).

For more information (and to order the book) see: 

[As a collector of primarily U.S. numismatics, I was not 
familiar with Carl Subak.  Can any of our readers fill us 
in with more information or stories about him as a numismatist 
and coin dealer?  -Editor]


[Below are excerpts from the text of an ANS press release 
issued earlier this week.  -Editor]

The American Numismatic Society is pleased to announce the 
release of Coins of the Seleucid Empire in the Collection 
of Arthur Houghton, Part II (ACNAC 9) by Oliver Hoover.  
After more than two decades of assiduous study and the 
collection of new material comes the sequel to Arthur 
Houghton's Coins of the Seleucid Empire in the Collection 
of Arthur Houghton (ACNAC 4).  

This new work publishes for the first time in one place 
all 900 coins and related objects in Houghton's New Series 
collection.  The bulk of the material reflects new types, 
control variants, and historical-economic interpretations 
that have been discovered in the years since CSE was first 
published. Coins of the Seleucid Empire in the Collection 
of Arthur Houghton, Part II (ACNAC 9) follows the same 
easy-to-use organizational principles as Arthur Houghton 
and Catharine Lorber's Seleucid Coins, Part 1 and includes 
brief historical introductions for each ruler, commentary 
on remarkable coins, new attributions, and type, ruler, 
and mint indices. The book is simultaneously an expansion 
of Houghton's 1983 catalogue and a foretaste of the 
long-awaited second part of Seleucid Coins.

This volume is part of The American Numismatic Society’s 
publication series, Ancient Coins in North American Collections 
(ACNAC), which systematically describes and illustrates 
ancient coins in significant private and institutional 
collections and is intended to record collections of numismatic 
value which are not readily accessible or are likely to be 
dispersed.  For further information contact Megan Fenselau 
at (212)-571-4470 ext. 1331, fenselau at  

Coins of the Seleucid Empire in the Collection of Arthur 
Houghton, Part II (Ancient Coins in North American 
Collections, American Numismatic Society 2007) by Oliver 
Hoover.  247p  ISBN-13: 978-0-89722-299-0  ISBN-10: 
089722-299-7  Price: USD $75.00

Call or e-mail the ANS to order – (212) 571-4470 ext 1311, 
orders at


[Publisher Dennis Tucker forwarded a press release on 
the latest Bowers book - this one on Lincoln Cents.  
See excerpts below.  -Editor]

Whitman Publishing announces the release of A Guide Book 
of Lincoln Cents, the ninth entry in its Bowers Series of 
numismatic titles. The book continues in the tradition of 
the Guide Book of Morgan Silver Dollars and other best-selling 
“Official Red Book” guides. The 304-page full-color volume 
will be available online and in bookstores nationwide 
in December.

Lincoln cents from 1909 to date are illustrated in full 
color, with high-resolution enlargements for important 
doubled dies and other varieties. Mintages, specifications, 
market values in multiple grades (including Brown, Red/Brown, 
and Red Mint State), and certified and surviving field 
populations add to the book’s reference value.

On the technical and production side, A Guide Book of 
Lincoln Cents covers patterns, die preparation, design 
modifications, the coining process, distribution, Proofs, 
mintmarks, doubled dies, and more. An appendix by specialist 
Fred Weinberg discusses errors and misstruck cents.

304 pages. Full color. Paperback. $19.95 retail.
By Q. David Bowers. Foreword by Charles Daughtrey.

[I told Dennis that I'm looking forward to the book to 
compare and contrast it against the other Lincoln Cent 
titles on my shelf.  He adds: "It's definitely a rich field! 
Dave Bowers told me that the deeper he got into this book, 
the more intriguing and complex he found the subject. In 
his introduction he ends up calling Lincoln cents "among 
the most fascinating coins in the entire American series" 
and declares that they offer some of the greatest challenges." 


Darryl Atchison writes: "Just a quick note concerning the 
very kind review of the Canadian Numismatic Bibliography 
which David Gladfelter submitted for this week's ESylum - 
I think it would be remiss of us not to acknowledge the 
tremendous effort put forth by our ex-officio sixth member, 
Paul Petch.
"Paul not only helped to proofread the text, but without 
Paul we wouldn't have a finished book at all.  Paul brought 
his considerable technical know-how to bear in presenting 
the research itself and he did the actual graphic design 
work for us as well.  For the record, I want to publicly 
thank Paul for designing the magnificent books that 
everyone so far has been extremely happy with receiving.
"More than any other book I know about, this project 
really has taken a tremendous team effort and I believe 
the end product reflects the love that everyone involved 
has for this wonderful hobby... even though there were 
undoubtedly times when our wives wanted to kill each of 
us for devoting so much of our 'free' time on that 
(insert expletive of choice) 'book'." 


TAMS President Bob Leonard writes: "The Token and Medal 
Society, thanks to the generosity of Dave Schenkman, is 
offering free hard cover, standard token catalogs to 
anyone who joins and prepays for a period of three or 
five years." 
[Below are excerpts from the TAMS press release. -Editor]

Copies of the standard catalogs of bimetallic trade 
tokens or hard rubber tokens will be given free to persons 
joining the Token and Medal Society (TAMS) for three or 
five years, TAMS announced. Founded in 1960, the Token and 
Medal Society is now approaching its golden anniversary of 
service to collectors and students of exonumia, or medals 
and tokens of public and private manufacture.

Bimetallic Trade Tokens of the United States is a large 
format, 163 page hard cover catalog by David E. Schenkman, 
which retails for $40 plus shipping. Beginning with George 
G. Greenburg’s patent for bimetallic checks, it gives the 
history of bimetallic tokens over their life span of less 
than 40 years. Following is an exhaustive catalog listed 
alphabetically by issuer, an index by state, a price guide 
and numerous illustrations. 

David E. Schenkman’s catalog of Merchant Tokens of Hard 
Rubber and Similar Compositions is also a large format, 
hard cover catalog with many historical notes. With a length 
of 208 page, it retails for $57.50 plus shipping. This book 
provides the history of hard rubber tokens and their collecting 
(the first listing was published in 1884!), a list of known 
makers, and a catalog by state with an index by maker’s name. 
A guide to value is provided for every token. The book is 
profusely illustrated.

Annual dues of the Token and Medal Society are $25 ($35 
non-U.S.A.). Member benefits include the bimonthly TAMS 
Journal, access to the Society’s outstanding library of 
token and medal literature, assistance in identification 
of “maverick” (missing place name) tokens, and free classified 
ads in each issue of the TAMS Journal. 

To view the TAMS web site, see:


The two major weekly U.S. numismatic newspapers reached 
significant milestones this week.  Numismatic News published 
a special 55th anniversary issue October 13th.  The issue is 
chock full of photos and articles on the history of the 
publication, begun by Chester Krause on October 13, 1952.  
This one's a real keeper. 

Earlier this year the publication made a significant change 
by increasing the size of its print font, making it easier 
for older folks to read.  OK, for *us* older folks to read.  
I used to think I was young and that used to be true, but I 
guess having kids ages you fast.  I just can't read the fine 
print like I used to, and I appreciated the change even 
though it meant having less room for articles each week.

And over at Coin World, readers got a surprise this week 
when the November 5th issue arrived in a completely new format 
- a trim magazine-style, approximately 8 1/2 by 11 inches.  
The massive 150-foot long press which produced the publication 
for over thirty years has finally been retired.  I had the 
pleasure of touring the printing operation while visiting 
Coin World offices in 2006.  Now printed on modern equipment, 
the new Coin World will have color throughout.  The same great 
columns and content, but in a new package.  It'll take some 
getting used to.  I'd be interested in hearing what our 
readers think of the changes in these two prominent 


Pete Smith writes: "I got up about 3:00am Monday morning 
to read the latest E-Sylum.  I am frequently awake around 
this time and occasionally get up to do something on the 
computer. Then today I received the November Numismatist 
with the memoriam notice for Howard Daniel III.
"I would have been very disturbed to learn of his death 
this way and very happy that I read the E-Sylum before I 
read Numismatist. It was probably not your original intent, 
but the E-Sylum has become a great way to keep us informed 
about our friends in the hobby when they are threatened 
by fires or premature death notifications.  I hope the 
ANA will continue to allow Howard to have his table at 
ANA conventions."

Regarding Joe Boling's note that reports of the demise 
of Howard A. Daniel III were greatly exaggerated, Doug 
Andrews writes: "Now that Joe Boling's words have given 
Howard Daniel a measure of immortality, he will have plenty 
of time for his numismatic writing to emulate the lofty 
literary legacy of Mark Twain."

[During my last week in London I saw a production of 
Monty Python's Spamalot, the musical based on the Monty 
Python and the Holy Grail film.  There's a classic number 
where morgue workers are collecting bodies of the dead, 
but one "corpse" turns out to not be quite yet dead.  

  I am not dead yet
  No need to go to bed
  No need to call the doctor 
  Cause I'm not yet dead.

  He is not yet dead
  That's what the geezer said
  No, he's not yet dead
  That man is off his head

  He is not yet dead
  So put him back in bed
  Keep him off the cart because he's not yet dead.

  To read the complete lyrics, see:



Alan V. Weinberg writes: "I recall visiting Harry Forman 
at his home in Philadelphia some 25 years ago. He showed 
me an extraordinary .900 fine gold 76mm or so 1892-93 World's 
Columbian Exposition medal, with a prominent flat rim dent. 
I asked what happened to it as it had appealed enormously 
to me but for the rim dent (I hate rim dents!) Harry told 
me he'd previously removed it from his waist high safe on 
the basement's cement floor and dropped it. As I recall, 
Harry wanted $5,000 for it at the time. I passed, due to 
the rim dent. 

"Perhaps three years ago I bought an extraordinary large 
size .900 fine gold World's Columbian Exposition medal out 
of an ANR auction. I'd never seen it before. Immediate 
underbidders on the phone were dealer/collector Tony 
Terranova and New York City collector Gil Steinberg. 

"At the time I asked ANR for the provenance of their medal 
as it had no pedigree and had not appeared before. All they 
would say was what was in the catalogue description - that 
it was found in the back of an old Philadelphia safe.   I 
began to wonder if the medal came out of a safe belonging 
to Philadelphia's legendary Israel Switt, the deceased 
jeweler /coin dealer who owned the disputed ten 1933 
Saint-Gaudens $20's.  Some three years later a reliable 
source indicated that my guess was on target.  I now believe 
that medal did pass through the hands of 'Izzy' Switt.

"Reading last month's Numismatist article on Harry Forman 
and his office in his home's basement, everything suddenly 
came together. Harry was close with Switt and almost certainly 
obtained his large gold WCE medal, now badly bruised, from 
Switt.  It's interesting how pieces of the puzzle slowly 

"Both medals (the ANR auction medal and Forman's) were 
excellent quality medals of heavy deep yellow gold, definitely 
at least .900 fine. They were both from dies for which no 
other medal in another metal exists.  In fact, knowing Switt's 
Philadelphia Mint connections, I would surmise they might 
have been struck there."


Regarding our recent jottings on the dynamics of the 
aftermarket for numismatic books, Leon Worden writes: "I 
have some anecdotal evidence to suggest that your conspiracy 
is working. You know the one I mean -- the conspiracy you 
joined a couple of weeks ago with the current book authors 
to move their inventories out of their garages. Looking over 
receipts from the last two weeks, when you launched your 
'buy the damn book while it's still in print' campaign, I 
see I've spent more money on books-in-print than I usually 
do. So, congrats, and I hope you're getting a kickback. :) "
[Well, Roger Burdette did buy me dinner last month.  I 
should've ordered that dessert.  -Editor]


Dennis Tucker writes: "I'm looking for information on German 
medallist Friedrich Wilhelm Kullrich. He worked in England 
with William Wyon (late in the latter's life), and eventually 
became chief medallist in Berlin, did work for the Russians, 
Romanians, and other national mints, contracted for private 
medal commissions, etc. I'm familiar with the abstract written 
by Constanta Stirbu for the National History Museum of Romania 
('Some Remarks about the Activity of the German Engraver W. 
Kullrich'). I wonder if E-Sylum readers might point me toward 
more in-depth published information. Thanks!"


David F. Fanning writes: "While doing some research, I came across a
quotation attributed to the 1817 Mint Report in The E-Sylum edition of
January 16, 2000. It turned out, however, that the quotation is from the
1816 Mint Report, as published on January 7, 1817. 

"Rather than writing to correct old errors, however, I have 
a question: can anybody tell me if a Mint Report for the year 
1817 was published? I am not finding anything in the American 
State Papers besides an April 15, 1818 report on the Mint that 
includes much the same information as would be included in the 
usual report, but under a slightly different title and at an 
odd time of year (most of these really early Mint Reports come 
out right after the new year). I'm thinking that the April 15, 
1818 is the only report on mint operations during 1817 that 
was published, but would be very interested in being shown 
otherwise. Thanks."



Dave Bowers writes: "Sometimes what is supposed to be common 
to be elusive. Such is the case for two modern commemorative 
$5 gold coins for which high-resolution color photographs are 
needed by Whitman Publishing LLC, for Dave Bowers’ forthcoming 
The Official Red Book of United States Commemorative Coins. 
If you can furnish one or both, Whitman and I will be very 
appreciative, and  you’ll be among the first to get a 
complimentary copy when the title is released in early 2008. 
The coins are:

1995-W Olympic $5 Torch design, obverse and reverse.
1995-W Olympic $5 Flag design, obverse and reverse.

"The contact person at Whitman is: Diana Plattner, senior 
editor, diana.plattner at

Alternatively, Tom Mulvaney will be at the Baltimore Coin & 
Currency Show this coming Thursday and Friday, at the Baltimore 
Convention Center, and will be taking photographs for Whitman. 
Thank you very much."


[This week the New York Times published an article on the 
late Maynard Sundman of Littleton Coin Company.  Here are 
some excerpts.  -Editor]

F. Maynard Sundman, a stamp and coin dealer whose innovative 
mail-order marketing, using everything from comic books to 
matchbook covers, introduced millions to the once exclusive 
worlds of philately and numismatics, died Oct. 31 in Littleton, 
N.H. He was 92.

Mr. Sundman’s breakthrough came in 1952, when a nationwide 
ad in Sunday supplements offered a free set of 10 stamps 
from Bohemia and Moravia depicting Adolf Hitler.

“The mail just flooded in,” recalled Mr. Sundman’s oldest 
son, David — a total of half a million orders, exhausting 
the world’s supply of the stamps.

Mr. Sundman has had “a huge impact in the stamp industry, 
primarily with the marketing to nonestablished collectors,” 
said Ken Martin, deputy executive director of the American 
Philatelic Society. “Most people aren’t going to start off 
paying a thousand dollars for a postage stamp. A collector 
starting out at $5 a month may become a customer for $50, 
$100 a month in a year or two.”

Frederick Maynard Sundman was born on Oct. 17, 1915, in New 
Britain, Conn., the only child of Frederick William Sundman 
and Floy Rae Maynard. He graduated from Bristol High School 
in 1935; that year, operating out of his parents’ house with 
$400 and a small line of credit from a prominent stamp dealer 
in Boston, he started the Maynard Sundman Stamp Company.

He shut the company a few years later and, from 1941 to 1945, 
served in North Africa and Italy with the Fifth Army, earning 
a Bronze Star.

After the war, Mr. Sundman moved to Littleton and started 
the Littleton Stamp Company with his first wife, Fannie 
Kasper of Terryville, Conn., whom he married in April 1941. 
The company started in a one-room office on Main Street in 
Littleton; the couple lived down the street, over an A.&P. 
store. Today the company employs about 350 people and 
occupies 85,000 square feet.

Mr. Sundman’s first wife died in 1993. He remarried in 1994 
and is survived by his wife, Dorothy; his sons from his first 
marriage, David and Frederick, both of Littleton, and Donald, 
of Skaneateles, N.Y.; his stepdaughter, Jeanne Joslin of 
Canterbury, N.H.; his stepson, Richard Joslin of Littleton; 
eight grandchildren; and four stepgrandchildren.

His sons David, president of the Littleton Coin Company, and 
Donald, president of the Mystic Stamp Company, have endowed 
a lecture series in his name at the Smithsonian National Postal
Museum and another at the World’s Fair of Money, the American 
Numismatic Association’s annual convention. 

To read the complete article, see:


[On Saturday the Colorado Springs Gazette published another 
article about the ANA and its former Executive Director. 
Here are some excerpts. -Editor]

"Three weeks after the board of the American Numismatic 
Association dismissed its executive director, Christopher 
Cipoletti, the federally chartered group for 32,000 collectors 
of coins and paper money still is stinging from the aftermath 
of concentrated executive power. 

"Before being terminated, Cipoletti, an employment attorney, 
had two jobs at the Colorado Springs-based nonprofit 
organization. He was executive director since 2003 and had 
served as general counsel since 1998, advising the board 
and the organization on legal matters. He also retained 
outside clients. Until Dec. 31, 2006, he was general counsel 
for the Pikes Peak Library District, spokeswoman Danielle 
Oller said. 

"More than two years ago, he persuaded the board to join 
him in filing a lawsuit in 4th Judicial District Court 
against three former employees and a computer consultant 
and his company. Among the complaints are civil theft of 
business property, breach of loyalty to the association, 
conspiracy and “intentional infliction of emotional distress 
by outrageous conduct.” The association hired a Denver law 
firm, Davis Graham & Stubbs, to represent the co-plaintiffs. 

"A jury trail has been postponed four times and now is 
set for Aug. 18 — more than three years after the lawsuit 
was filed in July 2005. 

"Litigants are awaiting a judge’s decision on the defendants’ 
call for partial dismissal of charges. This week, Sears asked 
for an extension on additional response to the defense motions 
for summary judgment. The association’s response to the summary 
judgment motion already is 109 pages and contains 123 exhibits, 
according to court documents. Lawyers for the defendants 
requested a denial. 

"Arbitration to settle Cipoletti’s employment contract with 
the numismatic association has begun, Sirna said. He would 
not disclose details of the negotiations. Tax statements show 
Cipoletti was paid $338,134 in wages, benefits and expenses 
for fiscal year 2006. 

"Meanwhile, the association is trying to get back to business, 
and a committee is setting criteria before posting the executive 
director job opening."

To read the complete article, see:


[Dick Johnson forwarded this article about Chinese coins 
and banknotes by foreign correspondent James Fallows in 
The Atlantic magazine.  -Editor]

"In Shanghai, the smallest currency bill I routinely saw 
was the 5 kuai (RMB) note.  In Beijing I very rarely get 
coins and instead wind up with pockets full of amazingly 
penny-ante notes. The 1 kuai note (13.5 cents) is omnipresent. 
What I still can't quite believe are the 1/2, 1/5th, and 
1/10th kuai notes, the latter worth just over one cent, 
that I virtually never saw in Shanghai and frequently get 
in change at stores in Beijing, as I have in rural China. 

"No master theory here, but the difference is striking. 
It may help explain why Shanghai thinks it is more moderne -- 
and why there are so many more coin-operated vending machines 
there. And I suppose the use of 1 jiao notes is no odder 
than the continued existence of the U.S. penny, which costs 
more to produce than it is worth." 

To read the complete article, see:


[The NumisMaster site has a nice article by Michael "Stan" 
Turrini on the California State Numismatic Association's 
recent Eighth Annual Northern California Educational Symposium.  
Over 60 people attended.  Below are some excerpts from the 
article. -Editor]

The symposium's theme was "The Golden West: Gold Rush, Gold 
Coinages, and the Golden Gate Bridge." This year's presenters 
were Alton Pryor, California historian and author; Dr. Donald 
H. Kagin, former American Numismatic Association governor and 
numismatic expert; Robert R. Van Ryzin, Coins editor; and Dr. 
Michael F. Wehner, scholar of San Francisco numismatics.

Pryor, author of more than 10 California history and Western 
lore books, presented "Those Lusty, Dusty Gold Camps of 
California." Pryor explained that gold camps were famous for 
their names, many of which had no relationship to the locale 
or gold mining. "Bed Bug" was one example he gave. "Dry Town" 
had 26 saloons. "Nevada City" earned its name before Nevada 
became a state.

Kagin's presentation was titled "California Gold Coinages." 
Using slides of rare pieces from his private collection, he 
talked about the patterns in Pioneer gold coinages and classed 
them into patterns, counter strikes, restrikes, fantasies and 

Van Ryzin's presentation revolved around his book, Crime of 
1873: The Comstock Connection. His talk was titled, "A Tale 
of Mines plus Trade and Morgan Dollars." He had access to the 
long-hidden correspondence of William C. Ralston, the historic 
founder of the once-mighty Bank of California and original 
California entrepreneur. Van Ryzin established that Ralston 
was the real influence for the numismatically provocative 
Coinage Act of 1873.

Wehner's presentation was titled, "The Golden Gate Bridge 
on Medals and Tokens." May marked the bridge's 70th anniversary. 
Over the years medals and tokens have used the Golden Gate as 
design themes. A complete roster of these has yet to be compiled. 
Many times after finding medals, tokens and woods at various 
tourist sites near the bridge, Wehner said he should have 
purchased the cheap mementos since they were not available 
at his next visit.

To visit the California State Numismatic Association's web site, see: 

To read the complete article, see: 


[Another interesting NumisMaster article published this 
week is by Michael Fazzari on computerized coin grading.  
Here are a few excerpts. -Editor]

It's almost 2008 and there is still no "little black box" 
to grade coins, but some have tried. This weekend, while 
looking through some old clippings, I came across an article 
about "The Expert." 

About 20 years ago, one of the grading services developed 
an expensive gadget to grade coins called "The Expert." 
Apparently, it was a video camera surrounded by a bank of 
high intensity lights set up to record the surface of a 
coin. The coin's image was digitalized as each light 
flashed in sequence and the resulting image was stored 
in a computer. 

This was one of the first attempts to develop a computer 
to grade coins. There were several other parties working 
to develop a computer grading system at the same time. 
I recall that Charlie Hoskins, director of The International 
Numismatic Society Authentication Bureau, was a consultant 
to one of these firms that eventually produced a product 
under the name "CompuGrade." Since I was not involved with 
this project, I have no idea how that system worked. That 
grading service lasted a few years; yet, I cannot be sure 
if a computer ever generated any of the grades on their slabs.

One thing I did know for sure, at that time, computers 
could not grade coins. 

To read the complete article, see: 

[I recall a front-page Coin World article about this computer 
system, and remember thinking, "what, are they nuts? - What 
do they know that I don't know?"   I was working in the field 
of artificial intelligence software and although I wasn't 
directly involved in computer vision projects, I understood 
how difficult the problem was with the technologies and 
techniques available at the time.  I wouldn't be surprised 
if computer grading does become possible someday, but back 
then it was a true pipe dream.  -Editor]


Responding to an earlier Saul Teichman note on proof gold 
coins purchased by Virgil Brand at Thomas Elder's 1911 
Woodin Sale, Dave Hirt noted that in Dave Bowers' book on 
Virgil Brand the coins were "incorrectly identified as coming 
from dealer Lyman H. Low. The cantankerous Tom Elder must be 
turning over in his grave over that one."

Saul Teichman writes: "Lyman Low acted as Brand's agent at 
the Woodin sale. The key point is that Woodin-Newcomer pedigrees 
are only accurate for half eagles and not for the other gold 
denominations - thus much of Breen's proof encyclopedia with 
regard to many of the gold pedigrees he supplied with 
Woodin-Newcomer pedigrees may be suspect."


Last week I asked, "Which numismatic book opens with the 

François Velde of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago 
was the first to respond, providing this translation: 
"What is true, however it be hidden, will at length 
become apparent"

No one guessed the book the quote came from: "The Fantastic 
1804 Dollar" by Eric P. Newman and Kenneth E. Bressett.  
The authors translate the expression slightly differently:  
"That which is the Truth. However well it may be concealed, 
will at some time come to light." 


Robert Rightmire writes: "A stamp dealer told me that he 
had seen a postcard from the Guttag Bros. that showed their 
building at either 95 Broad Street or 42 Stone Street, New 
York City. Can anyone confirm the dealer's comment? 

"A word of thanks to the many subscribers who have sent 
copies of requested works related to the Guttag Bros. or 
who have provided me with leads to sources. The gaps in 
my research are slowly closing."


An article about a lecture on artworks at the Dorset County 
Museum mentioned the numismatic interests of the Reverend 
Thomas Rackett.  

"As Rector of Spetisbury for almost 60 years, Thomas Rackett 
cared for his parishioners but also kept a house in London 
which he often visited.

"There he attended meetings of the many learned societies 
to which he belonged. He was a distinguished antiquary, 
natural historian, geologist, artist, numismatist and empiricist 
and is of immense importance to Dorset and to Dorset County 

"The museum already has a range of material relating to Rackett 
including a collection of coins, drawings, domestic items, 
archive material and his own field research notes.

"A museum spokesman said: 'Thomas Rackett was an enlightenment 
figure and Gwen's talk will show how much he influenced 
collectors in the county and provided a benchmark for the 
development of museums such as ours during the 19th century.' "

To read the complete article, see:

Dick Johnson writes: "Two famous British newspapers have 
gone digital and are now searchable via the internet. Numismatic 
researchers can now seek data as far back as 1821 from these 
major English news sources. Both are available with articles 
up to 1975, but by early 2008 will be completely digital up 
to the present.
"The newspapers are the 'Guardian' which is archived 1821 
to 1975. The other is the 'Observer' which is available from 
1900 to 1975 at present. By early 2008 it will be digitized 
back to 1791.
"Both newspaper files are searchable. The searching is free, 
but a timed access pass must be purchased to view entire articles."

Visit the "Guardian" website for more information:


Larry Gaye writes: "Regarding the article on the 'Odyssey 
Situation' it is interesting to note the comment by the 
archeology community calling the undersea explorer's skills 
in question and condemning their activities.  Underwater 
archeologists are not able to conduct deep water exploration; 
they stick to the shallow coastal regions.

"They are however the first to condemn that which they are 
not able to do. The fact that money is being made is their 
main concern; they fail to understand that we as a community 
are learning more because of the activities of the Odyssey 
Group because they are able to explore these areas of the 
ocean.  The Odyssey Group and the others that explored the 
SS Republic and Central America gave us a wealth of information.  
Had the exploration been done by the archeologists, we would 
still be waiting for information as 95% of digs done by the 
archeological community are never published and the materials 
taken from sites by them never see the light of day.

"Balance and cooperation could lead to some very different 

[Last Sunday (November 4) the New York Post published an 
article of its own on the Odyssey Marine situation, and it 
addresses some of the technology and cost issues Larry 
mentions.  Several numismatic personalities were interviewed 
for the article headlined "Booty Call".  Here are some excerpts. 

"An estimated $3 billion worth of treasure lurks in the 
deep, according to marine archeologists. And each time a 
famous shipwreck is found, waves of excitement wash over 
the industry. 

"'The sky is the limit,' says Dan Sedwick, a professional 
numismatist. 'Something was lost nearly every year in history.' 

"'It's all about the hunt,' says Sean Fisher, 29, whose 
grandfather, Mel Fisher, made history in 1985 when he 
discovered the Nuestra Senora de Atocha, with its $400 
million haul of coins and artifacts. 'We could have retired 
the year we found the Atocha, but what's the fun of that?' 

"Shipwreck recovery goes back as far as ancient Greece, 
and the industry got a huge boost in the 1940s with the 
popularity of scuba diving. But the last 10 years has 
seen a dizzying advance in technology, from the improvement 
of remotely operated vehicles that can plunge deeper and 
search larger areas, to digital side-scanners that reveal 
clear images in thousands of feet of water. 

"Most of the prized ships that explorers are currently 
hunting, including Odyssey's 'Black Swan,' would have been 
impossible to pursue without these advances. Technology is 
turning what was once unfathomable fathoms into a reachable, 
if incredibly expensive and dangerous, treasure chest. 

"'People are going into deeper waters, and that takes money,' 
says James Delgado, executive director of the Institute of 
Nautical Archaeology at Texas A&M University. 'Titanic 
submersibles run about $35,000 to $50,000 a dive. What are 
you going to find that makes it worth that?' 

"Well, tons of ancient gold bars, for one thing. Along with 
emeralds, silver and other pretty prizes. Even if the overhead 
is ridiculously high, the promise of a dead man's chest stirs 
something potent in treasure seekers - including the land 
lubbing, stock-holding kind: Odyssey began trading on NASDAQ 
in July, a sign that hunting gold is a growth industry. 

"Marine archeologists like Delgado tend to loathe treasure 
hunting, saying the practice destroys archeological sites 
and keeps valuable historical artifacts out of the hands of 
scholars. Plus, they say, indulging in childhood pirate 
fantasies is no way for anyone to get rich. 

"'People think that every shipwreck has treasure, and that's 
not the case. The majority of wrecks may have artifacts, but 
there is not a lot of real treasure, Delgado said. 'Very people 
actually hit the motherload.' 

"But when they do, it's spectacular. 

"Mel Fisher was a scuba shop owner drowning in bills, when 
a friend asked for help trying to locate the sunken Atocha. 
He decided to give treasure hunting one year. Day after day, 
the family's expensive endeavors yielded nothing. Then, on 
the 363rd day, Fisher dug a hole and pulled up 1,300 gold 
coins, Sean Fisher says. 

"Odyssey's 'Black Swan,' might eclipse Fisher's find as the 
largest shipwreck of all time. But critics are skeptical. 

"'You have to wonder what's going on there,' says Robert W. 
Hoge, curator of North American coins and currency at the 
American Numismatic Society. 'This company has found important 
numismatic finds in the past, but instead of publishing the 
information about them, they've hidden in hopes of making 
more money for their finds.' 

"Other historians and collectors say they doubt the Black 
Swan's booty will be as grand as Odyssey predicts. 

"'I'm having a real hard time (believing) that value of 
$500 million,' says coin dealer Rick Ponterio, who has sold 
Mexican coins from the early 1700s for as much as $97,750 
each - and some shipwreck coins for as low as $5. 'Rarity, 
quality and demand are the three factors in determining what 
a shipwreck coin is worth. If they have that big a cargo of
coins, they're no longer worth that much. What was one of 
the criteria? Rarity.' 

"Regardless of the eventual yield, Odyssey and other 
treasure-seekers will likely keep looking for bigger and 
bigger finds. They can't help it. Like eight-year-olds who 
never stopped playing pirate, shipwreck explorers say the 
allure of finding something that was 'lost forever' never 
lets them go. 

"'When you discover something, and the last time it was 
touched by human hands was in a hurricane in 1692, it send 
tingles from the tips of your toes to the top of your head,' 
Fisher says. 'You never want to do anything else.' "

To read the complete article, see:


Tom and Gosia Fort write: "Watch this on YouTube and you'll 
see what people do when they have nothing to do..."

[I think we may have mentioned this video before, but 
it's worth repeating.  And can anyone tell us what coin 
is being used as the dominoes?  And which country the coin 
is from?  Watch closely! -Editor]

To watch the video, see: 

To watch the "Library Dominos" video with books, see:


This week's featured web page is on coin denominations 
of the Roman Empire, from the Romanorum site.

The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization 
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To join, print the application and return it with your check 
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David M. Sundman, Secretary/Treasurer
Numismatic Bibliomania Society, 
P. O. Box 82 Littleton, NH 03561

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