The E-Sylum v10#47, November 18, 2007

esylum at esylum at
Mon Nov 19 03:41:21 PST 2007

Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 10, Number 47, November 18, 2007:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2007, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers are Tom Michael of F+W 
Publications and Joel Iskowitz of the U.S. Mint's Artistic 
Infusion Program.  Welcome aboard!  We now have 1,081 

This week we open with information on the next meeting of 
NBS and reviews of '100 Greatest American Medals and Tokens' 
by Katie Jaeger and Dave Bowers, and 'Money' by Joe Cribb.  
In a follow-up from last week, Coin World Editor Beth Deisher 
and Dick Johnson address the new magazine-style format of 
Coin World.

Is Bernard von NotHaus headed for the Big House?  In the 
news are multiple reports of this week's FBI raid on the 
headquarters of NORFED, the group promoting the Liberty 
Dollar alternate currency.    And in another numismatic 
legal development, the Ancient Coin Collectors Guild and two 
other organizations announced a lawsuit against the U.S. 
Government over the import restrictions on ancient coins 
from Cypress.  Also in the legal news department are articles 
relating to the Ohio firm fighting the U.S. Mint for permission 
to melt U.S. coins for profit.

Dick Johnson contributed other items this week on U.S. 
coins circulating in Canada and other numismatic topics.  
Bob Knepper contributes what might be the oddest numismatic 
assertion yet, that the reverse side of a Lincoln Cent is 
actually smaller than the obverse.  And if you'd like to 
know exactly where you just might find a complete set of 
Matthew Boulton's coins and medals, assembled by Boulton 
himself, read on.  Have a great week, everyone.

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


Fred Lake writes: "The Numismatic Bibliomania Society will 
hold an informal meeting at the FUN show in Orlando, Florida 
on Saturday, January 12, 2008. The time is set for 11:00 AM 
to 12 Noon in room #321.
There is no speaker scheduled yet, so if you would like to 
make a short (10-15 min.) presentation, please let me know 
at fredlake at  Perhaps you have a new book 
coming out that you would like to discuss or you would like 
to report on a book that has been already published.  All 
NBS members or guests who are not members are welcome to 


George Cuhaj writes: "You may know that we at KPville have 
placed the 2008 Standard Catalog, 19-20-21 Century on a 
three disc set. See Tom Michael's blog from August for 
ordering information, and an available discount. Also on 
Tom's blog is information on the new edition of the Standard 
Catalog of World Coins (SCWC) 18th Century. His blog this 
week offered a contest for a free book - one needed to 
identify the three cover coins."

The following is from Tom Michael's blog: "The Krause Books 
team and the NumisMaster team are joining forces to allow 
me to offer my readers a special contest. Here's the deal; 
take a look at the cover of our new 4th Edition SCWC 1701-
1800... identify the three coins illustrated ... and email 
me your answer at tom.michael at, along with your 
name and mailing address. Everyone who identifies these 
three coins correctly will have their name and address 
placed in a hat and ... I will draw out one lucky winner, 
who will receive a free copy of the new 4th Edition SCWC 

"To identify the three coins, I would suggest using 
NumisMaster, our online coin cataloging database. By 
registering at NumisMaster you can view all available 
coin data up to, but not including retail values... 

"... our Krause Books team has extended the following 
November Special offer: $5 off the cover price, plus free 
shipping within the continental United States. Our world-wide 
readers will have to pay their shipping costs, but can also 
take advantage of the $5 discount, plus they will receive 
a free gift. "

[We did cover the release of the SCWC DVD set on August 19 
- see the link below.  If any of our readers have ordered 
the set, I'd be curious to learn what you think.  Anyone 
care to give us a review?   

The contest closed Friday, unfortunately, although the 
discount is still in effect.  The contest was a great 
incentive to try out NumisMaster - I'd enjoy hearing from 
anyone who's experimented with using it. -Editor]

To read/subscribe to Tom Michael's "Big Ideas, Little World" blog, see 

To order the 3 DVD set of the 2008 Standard Catalog of World Coins, see:



George Kolbe writes: "Thanks to all who ordered copies of 
Jack Collins and Walter Breen's work on the United States 
1794 silver dollar. Orders were received for 99 copies and 
the edition is limited to that number. We were unable to 
fill a few orders received after the deadline. A book dealer 
or two ordered multiple copies which may be available for 
sale soon. Some difficulties have been encountered in 
producing the book but it is anticipated that copies will 
be in the mail by or before the end of the month."

[I was one of the subscribers who preordered a copy.  It 
was a chance to "put my money where my mouth was" regarding 
the aftermarket for out-of-print numismatic books.  It'll 
be interesting to see what the book will sell for once the 
other dealers exhaust their small supplies. -Editor]




My copy of the much-anticipated '100 Greatest American 
Medals and Tokens' book by Katherine Jaeger and Q. David 
Bowers arrived on Tuesday.  It's been well worth the wait.  
By necessity, the text describing each of the items is short, 
enabling each page to include a title header, value estimate 
footer, and two photos.  But just because the text is brief, 
don't dismiss it - good things come in small packages.  The 
text is well-written, short and to the point - perfect for 
highlighting the most important and interesting facts about 
each piece.   

Some good, original research went into the text, and libraries 
lacking this book will have holes in their coverage of 
American numismatics.  For example, item #95, the Washington 
/ Column Indian Peace Medal has never been illustrated before.  
Discovered in the collection of the British Museum by George 
Fuld in 1960, the only other known example is in the hands 
of the Micmac Indian tribe in Nova Scotia.

The most prominent characteristic of each entry is the 
photographs - a sumptuous feast of eye-candy for the numismatist.  
Most of the images are reproduced at a diameter of 60mm, with 
the actual sizes being described in the text.  Whitman Publishing 
and the authors deserve special recognition for their commitment 
to obtaining and reproducing the finest images available.  It 
is easy for the casual reader to take them for granted, but I'm 
willing to bet that gathering the photos was the most lengthy 
and difficult part of writing this book.

Kudos to whoever selected the photo of George Washington's 
Mount Rushmore profile to accompany the 1792 Washington 
"Born Virginia" medal (#72) - the juxtaposition is a delight.  
As the caption states, "Borglum's profile is remarkably similar 
to that on the Born in Virginia copper." 

As I mentioned in earlier E-Sylum items about the upcoming 
book, I was pleased and privileged to be one of the reviewers 
invited to vote on the "contestants".  But the most difficult 
thing for me was voting intelligently without having illustrations 
of the items in front of me. I understood however, that the 
authors and voters were in a "chicken-and-egg" situation - 
the authors couldn't gather photos of every item until the 
top 100 were selected, while many of us voting wished to have 
photos on which to base their votes.  

Several E-Sylum readers offered their assistance to the project 
and deserve recognition from bibliophiles everywhere.  Some of 
these tokens and medals are so rare that without the cooperation 
of collectors the book might never have been completely 
illustrated.  Those offering specimens for illustration include 
Remy Bourne, Ray Dillard, Dick Johnson, Chris Neuzil, Dave 
Perkins, Pete Smith, Steve Tanenbaum, Alan Weinberg and Ben Weiss.

Leafing through the book I encountered favorite after favorite.  
Call me a guy who never met a numismatic item he didn't like, 
but I didn't see a single piece that I could argue didn't belong 
in the book.  Some of my favorites are: the 1818 New Spain Jola 
(#96), the Washington / Column Indian Peace Medal (2 known, #95), 
the 1746 Annapolis Tuesday Club medal (3 known, #80), the 1824 
Washington / Lafayette counterstamps (#48), Hard Times Tokens 
(#34) and the 1714 Glouchester Court House token (#33).

Topping the list was (naturally) the 1776 Libertas Americana 
Medal, which the authors note won the top spot by a good margin.
It certainly had my vote for No. 1 - its beauty, symbolism, 
craftsmanship and place in history are unparalleled.  A close
second was I believe, also my second choice - the Washington 
Before Boston medal.

The 18-page introduction opens with a discussion of the 
book project, then describes in approximate chronological 
order the making and use of tokens and medals in America.  
At 148 pages, the hardcovered glossy dust-jacketed book 
looks somewhat thin, but the large coffee-table page format 
makes for an impressive appearance. 

The next time someone asks me for a list of books a newcomer 
to numismatics ought to read, '100 Greatest American Medals 
and Tokens' will be on it.  This is probably the first 
numismatic book that I would unquestionably recommend to 
people both inside and outside of the hobby.  When they're 
old enough, I just might give a copy to each of my kids so 
they can start to understand what Daddy finds so fascinating 
about those little round things he collects and hunches over 
the computer writing about.  

Dave Bowers writes: "The book was very stimulating to do, 
and I learned a lot in the process."

Dennis Tucker writes: "Image gathering followed the 80/20 
rule: 80% of the images were relatively easy to compile, and 
20% were like herding cats! If the hobby community weren't 
made up of so many helpful, generous collectors and researchers, 
the image gathering would have been next to impossible.

"There's been a lot of passionate debate and conversation 
about this book already. I like reading and hearing dissenting 
opinions on what should have been No. 1, what should have made 
the list and didn't, etc. From the amount of spirited discussion 
online and elsewhere, I'd say that medals and tokens have an 
energized fan base and are doing just fine!"

Katie Jaeger writes: "The Micmac medal was published in the 
British Journal 'The Medal' in the 1960s, and in the 1970s, 
photos were shown in the Maine History Journal.  But never 
in the U.S. numismatic mainstream, to be sure!

"Some who already knew the material inside and out were 
disappointed as to the rankings - nobody will ever be 
completely happy with any 100 greatest in any field; of 
course, that is impossible.  When I watch those TV countdowns 
of 100 movies, 100 comedians, etc., and wait patiently through 
all the commercials to see what No. 1 is, I usually end up 
saying to myself  'Are they nuts?' "

[The debate is where all the fun is.  As Katie notes, it's a 
pointless task to argue over whether a certain item "ought to 
be" ranked 65th instead of 66th, and since 100 is such a small 
fraction of the hundreds of thousands of possible candidates, 
there will always be legitimate candidates for inclusion in
a future edition.   I also think that now that the images 
and background are published for the 100 items chosen in the 
first edition, some of them are likely to be ranked differently 
in future editions (some higher, some lower).  -Editor]

For more information, visit the Whitman Publishing web site:

[One of the opposing opinions comes from Dick Johnson.  
He agrees that Whitman has produced a great book, but takes 
issue with some of the contents.  -Editor]
Dick Johnson writes: "Just received this week:  '100 Greatest 
American Medals and Tokens.' It is the third in Whitman's '100 
Greatest' series following 'Coins' and 'Paper Money' and it is 
outstanding. Authors Katie Jaeger and Dave Bowers are to be 
"The illustrations are stunning: full page, full color, high 
quality. The items are arranged in order and the first ten rate 
a double page spread; remaining 90 got the full page treatment. 
Each page is so attractive it could be removed from the book 
and framed. Whitman's art department and the printer in China 
outdid themselves.
"However, the book is misnamed. It should be '100 Notable American 
Medals and Tokens'. For included among the 'Greatest 100' are 
OPA Tokens (no. 81) and Sales Tax Tokens (no. 82). I have nothing 
against these items, they exist and are widely collected (as a 
teenager I formed collections of each myself). 
"But to consider an OPA token a "greatest"?  American coin 
and medal artists are screaming "How could this be?  Where 
is the artistic quality, the creativity in their design?" 
Similarly, sales tax tokens were issued for a very limited 
purpose (for a short time). They were struck from quickly 
made dies that generally lack artistic design. To consider 
them a "great" is an insult to artists, diesinkers, engravers, 
medallists, who labor for days to create attractive glyptic 
art objects with permanent meaning preserved in metal forever.
"Perhaps I am at fault. When offered to be a 'selector' for 
this project I declined. I objected to the concept of placing 
both medals AND tokens in the same book.  Each numismatic 
category has ample number of great items. Maybe if I had 
accepted I could have proved the folly of including such 
lackluster items and putting both medals and tokens in one 
"Be that as it may, I recommend buying this book.  In fact, 
buy several copies. Give them as gifts. Let's drain Whitman 
of its stock of this first printing. Then, perhaps, for a 
second edition it could be replaced by two books, each 
extolling the greatest in each class of these fascinating 
and desirable numismatic items. That would be the Greatest!"

[I differ with Dick on this point.  It's not called the "100 
Most Artistic Medals and Tokens", either.  I could see a market 
for a "Most Artistic" or "Most Beautiful" book, but when I 
read the word "Greatest", I think "Most Important".  And from 
an historical and economic standpoint, OPA and Sales tax tokens 
are just as important as many other included items.  And there 
are some highly-ranked medals which aren't too much to look at, 
like the primitive Micmac medal (and I don't care much for the 
design of the Admiral Vernon medals, either).  But they are 
all important and "great" in their own way. Still, like Dick, 
I would welcome separate token and medal volumes and perhaps 
these will come to pass in the future. -Editor]


Lots of books come across my desk, but usually I know 
they're coming.  Coming home from the office Thursday I 
found a surprise waiting for me - a copy of 'Money' written 
by Joe Cribb for the Dorling Kindersley 'Eyewitness Books' 
series.  It was #18 in the series (of over 125 titles) and 
was published originally in 1990; this copy was from the 
2000 edition.

My eight-year-old son Christopher had brought it home from 
school.  "Did you read it?", I asked.  "No - I brought it 
home for you."  OK, so much for interesting him in my hobby.  
But it was thoughtful of him and I really did enjoy the book, 
which I hadn't come across before.  The 64-page hardcover 
is a visual delight, loaded with 20-25 photographs per page, 
printed on glossy paper.  It's divided into 29 chapters; 
several illustrate the coins and banknotes of various countries 
and regions - others cover topics as diverse as counterfeiting, 
wartime currency, checks and ATM cards, and finally "Collecting 
Coins".  It may be aimed at young readers, but I found it a 
delight to read. lists a 2005 edition with 72 pages, so the book 
has been updated periodically.  One online reviewer mentioned 
an interesting factoid from the newer edition that I didn't 
see in mine:  "The name for a piggy bank comes from pygg, a 
type of clay used in Middle Ages to make pots for money and 
other things. The idea to make banks in the shape of pigs 
probably came from the similarity of the words."

The breadth of the book's coverage is stunning - this is 
obviously an author who knows numismatics from A to Z and 
beyond, no surprise given that Cribb is a Keeper of Coins 
and Medals at the British Museum.  Included are not just 
the obvious choices of Yap stone money, a 14th-century 
Chinese note and a 1794 U.S. silver dollar - the book also 
illustrates such diverse numismatic items as a Hell Bank 
note, German notgeld, a telephone token, and a plastic $1 
gambling token from Diamond Tooth Gertie's casino in 
Dawson City, Yukon.

Of interest to numismatic bibliophiles is a catalog of 
rubbings of Chinese and Japanese cash coins made by a 
Japanese collector in 1812, and a Dutch Trader's Manual, 
a cambist picturing circulating coins, published in Antwerp 
in 1580.   There are few attributions for the photos, 
although one can assume that items unlisted in the cryptic 
Acknowledgements section on the last page are from the 
British Museum collection.   As a product targeted at 
young readers I won't fault the book for not having my 
favorite components - an index, bibliography and footnotes 
or endnotes.  Still, as a curious reader it's disappointing 
not to find them.

New and used copies are available on Amazon for under $15, 
so consider this book for holiday giving - it's another one 
that I'd add to a list of books a newcomer to numismatics 
ought to read, and further justification for the fascination 
we all have for this hobby.


George Kolbe writes: "Regarding the superb work by Charpentier 
and others on the medals of the Sun King, I found Hadrien 
Rambach's notes on the copy to be sold at Christie's to be 
interesting and also startling. It is not often that a 
numismatic book belonging to a king so famous as Louis XIV 
is offered for sale, or one of any king for that matter. 

There may be an inaccuracy in Hadrien's article, albeit one 
also found in the Christie's description. I have never 
encountered a copy of the 1723 edition, nor have I heard 
of one, with the "suppressed" eight page preface. 

"Louis himself was the 'suppressor' and he had died eight 
years before the appearance of this new edition. I have 
handled a few examples of the 1702 folio edition with the 
preface over the years and, incidentally, the 1702 folio 
edition is often found bound much like the Christie's example, 
with the Royal Arms impressed in gilt on the covers. Several 
versions of the book were also published in quarto, circa 
1702-1705, in more pedestrian style, including bilingual 
editions in French and German. None of the quarto editions 
appear to have been issued with the preface. Perhaps others 
can add additional input."



Last week I wrote that Coin World's "massive 150-foot long 
press which produced the publication for over thirty years 
has finally been retired."

Tom DeLorey writes: "I read this with mixed emotions, because 
when I started my numismatic career by going to work for 
Coin World in December of 1973, they were already building 
the modern plant out on the edge of town designed around 
this 'state-of-the-art' printing press, which began operation 
in May of 1974. Now it is obsolete. Perhaps so am I."

Coin World Editor Beth Deisher writes: "I was somewhat amused 
that you describe the new format of Coin World as a surprise. 
We published a top-of-the-page story on Page 5 of our Oct. 8 
issue that contained extensive details of the coming changes, 
noting even in the headlines that the new format would makes 
its debut Nov. 19. I also wrote an editorial in that issue 
about the coming changes.

"For the record, we are using a new font, but the point 
size of the type is the same as the previous format. (In our 
testing, people thought it easier to read than the old 
body-type font.) The trim size of the publication makes it 
seem smaller, when in fact page image size really is not 
dramatically different. The old format (10 1/2 by 12-inch) 
had an inch of white space at the top and a half inch on 
each side and the bottom so that the old newspaper press 
could "grip" the paper to keep it rolling on the press. 

That gave us a live image size of 9 1/2 by 10 5/8. Virtually 
every inch of the new size 8 1/2 by 10 5/8 can be used because 
the new press allows us to bleed for the full live image. The 
big bonus is the availability of color on every page and an 
upgrade in the quality of the newsprint paper. And oh yes, 
this is a heat-seal press, so you should never experience 
ink rub from reading the new Coin World format."

[Thanks for the background.  I did write that "readers got 
a surprise" with the latest issue, but I know the change had 
been in the works for a while.  Despite the pre-change publicity, 
I'm sure a number of readers were caught by surprise nevertheless.  
It will be interesting to read the readers' reactions in 
subsequent issues.  -Editor]

Beth adds: "One other tid-bit -- for the trivia minded -- 
is that the paper is actually heavier and whiter than the 
old newsprint. Previously it was a 27-lb. newsprint, whereas 
the new is 33-lb. I was fascinated to learn that the new 
press actually shaves the paper to make the surface smooth 
before it enters the section that actually does the printing. 
The shaving is done in part to make the images crisper and 
to make the ink application more even.  Printing technology 
has changed more in the last 40 more than all of previous 
printing history! 

I count myself as extremely lucky because these changes 
have happened literally before my eyes. I began my career 
in 1969 when newspapers where still being produced on "hot 
metal" presses -- when newspapers where put together with 
linotype operators setting the type line by line on metal 
slugs and the pages where "composed" on a "turtle," which 
was formed into a zinc plate for the presses. (No computers 
involved in any stage of the process -- from writing to 
newspaper press.) Now we work in a completely digital 

Dick Johnson, founding editor of Coin World writes: "The 
first issue of Coin World in its new format arrived this 
week. It is official now. Coin World is no longer a newspaper.  
It is a magazine.
"The trend at Coin World had been headed in this direction 
for some time. Have you noticed the decline of 'hard news' 
stories and their placement?  There is a tidal wave of 
decline among all newspapers across the nation -- predominantly 
in circulation -- and a rise of 'niche' magazines. Perhaps 
this was an influential factor.  I am certain there were 
many factors that drove this decision as well.
"I am certain there were many factors that drove this decision. 
One is economic, another is newsstand appearance, a third is 
full color. Obviously a strong factor was to increase readership. 
The official company line was stated by editor Beth Deisher 
in her editorial on page 14 of the new issue.  The press that 
had been printing Coin World for 33 years had served its life 
expectancy.  It is now printed on a new press (Beth didn't 
mention whether this press was in-house or off-site).
"The shift to magazine format at Coin World was gradual in 
recent years. The most obvious decision was to put the 
contents on page 3. Traditionally this was a high readership 
page for news of somewhat lesser importance that didn't make 
page 1 (in news parlance this is called 'pee-one.') Fifty 
years ago, it seems, the news articles were ranked by their
appearance -- the closer to the front, the more important 
the story. There was news on pages 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, with 
news in that order.
"Advertisers knew this and demanded 'up front' positioning.  
Shortly a full page ad appeared on page 2. News stories were 
pushed further back in the 'book' (again news parlance, any 
printed publication is called a 'book,' whatever format).    
"In examining the first issue of the new Coin World format 
I find only two news articles on page 1. In the past -- and 
in larger newspaper format -- there were as many as eight 
with 'carry over' of stories to an inside page.  (Both page 
1 articles were carried over here.) The rest of the news 
articles appear on pages 4, 5, and 10 in the new issue.
"The continued success of Coin World will depend upon on 
Beth Deisher and her staff to keep up a high quality of 
editorial content.  Step up news gathering. When was the 
last time you received a call from anyone in the Coin World 
editorial department asking 'Hey, what's new?'
"To me there is a dearth of dealer news. Perhaps this is 
somewhat coin dealers' own fault. They don't know what is 
news, they don't know how to write it up, and they don't 
know got to get it published. This is where staff writers 
need to call and pry out the news. 'Have you bought a 
large collection lately? Have you discovered a new variety?  
What are your plans for your next sale, auction? What's 
happening in your business?'
"Likewise, numismatic organizations need to be a little 
more proactive.  Assign one person to be contact with the 
numismatic press. If he or she can write, that's excellent. 
If they have journalism experience that's even better.   
But just because someone can send news via email doesn't 
make them the best spokesperson for your organization.  
Don't necessarily make your computer guy the press contact 
- he lives in a digital world and speaks a different language.
"Beth Deisher -- I know you are overworked with three new 
publications -- put in for a raise! But you now have the 
capability to do something really outstanding with the new 
Coin World format, with new color capability and new 
printing technology. I know you can do it. And make Coin 
World something I could never have envisioned!"

Dick adds: "Tell Tom DeLorey he is obsolete only if he 
stops writing.  He compiled an excellent catalog of Tom 
Elder medals in 1980 that is still the standard work."



Last week I republished a June 8, 2003 E-Sylum article by 
Fred Lake about how he teased John J. Ford about his passion 
for pristine condition numismatic literature.  Alan Weinberg 
wrote: “Just wanted to say I roared aloud at Fred Lake's 
placing tire tracks on the wrapping paper for the 'slabbed' 
book he was sending Ford. A gem of a story!”

[It is a great story, and great stories always bear repeating.  
That’s why we have an online archive.  I guess you could say 
that the dirty little secret of The E-Sylum is that the goal 
isn’t to publish a weekly newsletter, although that's a 
driving force and lots of fun.  The real goal of The E-Sylum 
is to build up a great archive of numismatic information one 
story at a time.   And a very pleasant side effect of the 
archive is that it acts to draw in experts from many other 
fields who find out about us by locating earlier articles 
through web searches - the next item is a wonderful example 
of that.

If you're not a regular visitor to the E-Sylum archive, 
please check it out.  Every single E-Sylum item is available 
there.  The top level of the archive is a chronological table 
by year, and there is also a link for viewing the complete 
E-Sylum Table of Contents from day one to now.  Also, at the 
bottom of every individual article page is a Google search 
box. -Editor]  


  To visit the E-Sylum article archive, see:


Regarding Paul Sherry's September 23, 2007 E-Sylum 
submission, web site visitor Robert Ward writes: "I came 
across your article while Googling ‘Robert Mylne’, whose 
biography I recently wrote. It was published in April 2007 
and might interest your readers.

"It includes an account of the prize-giving ceremony in 
Rome, and of Mylne’s various deposits of medals in different 
parts of the structure of the old Blackfriars Bridge, 
uncovered when the bridge was demolished in the 1860s, 
with some relevant illustrations.

"It also relates the previously unpublished events concerning 
Nelson’s burial. Briefly Robert Mylne, who as cathedral surveyor 
of St Paul’s was responsible for constructing the tomb, agreed 
with Matthew Boulton to make a secret deposit of some of Boulton’s 
coins and medals under Nelson’s coffin."

"Surviving correspondence between Mylne and his longstanding 
friend Boulton, which had lain unnoticed among Boulton’s 
papers for two centuries, describes this extraordinary plan 
in detail.  Mylne asked for ‘a compleat Series of all you 
have ever done ... even to farthings’ and explained that his 
motive was ‘to bury your Glories for the instruction and 
admiration of future times, what was done in this Country 
in these times; along with the Glories of the Greatest Seaman 
and Warior that has ever existed...’

"Boulton in turn proposed that the coins and medals should 
be laid in the tomb in pulverized glass between sheets of 
plate glass enclosed with a frame of slate or marble, 
explaining that ‘the principle of preservation of Metals 
is perfect exclusion from air and moisture’.

"If, as seems likely, Mylne’s deposit is still in place, it 
must rank as one of the most tantalising of buried treasures. 
Under the hero’s coffin in the base of a massive granite tomb 
in St Paul’s crypt, precisely under the centre of the cathedral’s 
dome, it is safe from all interference - a time capsule awaiting 
the arrival of some archaeologist from the remote future, 
just as Mylne intended."

[Robert Ward's book, "The Man Who Buried Nelson, The Surprising 
Life of Robert Mylne" was published in paperback by Tempus in 
2007 at £14.99.  

This is indeed a tantalizing revelation.  In London this past 
summer I visited St. Paul's Cathedral.  From high in the dome 
I looked down on the center and later walked past Nelson's 
massive tomb in the crypt below.  Who knew I was also looking 
at the resting place of a complete set of Matthew Boulton's 
coins and medals, assembled by Boulton himself?  Has this time 
capsule been mentioned before in numismatic literature?  




On Thursday Tim L. Shuck of Ames, IA forwarded me the 
following email sent by Bernard von NotHaus of NORFED, 
the organization behind the Liberty Dollar:

  Date: November 15, 2007 9:34:18 AM CST
  Subject: FBI Raids Liberty Dollar – Confiscates All 
  Ron Paul Dollar

  Dear Liberty Dollar Supporters:

  I sincerely regret to inform you that about 8:00 
  this morning a dozen FBI and Secret Service agents 
  raided the Liberty Dollar office in Evansville.

  For approximately six hours they took all the gold, 
  all the silver,  all the platinum and almost two tons 
  of Ron Paul Dollars that where just delivered last 
  Friday. They also took all the files, all the computers
  and froze our bank accounts.

  We have no money. We have no products. We have no 
  records to even know what was ordered or what you are 
  owed. We have nothing but the will to push forward and 
  overcome this massive assault on our liberty and our 
  right to have real money as defined by the US Constitution. 
  We should not to be defrauded by the fake government money.

  But to make matters worse, all the gold and silver 
  that backs up the paper certificates and digital 
  currency held in the vault at Sunshine Mint has also 
  been confiscated. Even the dies for mint the Gold and 
  Silver Libertys have been taken.

  This in spite of the fact that Edmond C. Moy, the 
  Director of the Mint, acknowledged in a letter to a US 
  Senator that the paper certificates did not violate 
  Section 486 and were not illegal. But the FBI and Services 
  took all the paper currency too.

  The possibility of such action was the reason the 
  Liberty Dollar was designed so that the vast majority 
  of the money was in specie form and in the people’s 
  hands. Of the $20 million Liberty Dollars, only about 
  a million is in paper or digital form.

  I regret that if you are due an order. It may be some 
  time until it will be filled... if ever... it now all 
  depends on our actions.

  Everyone who has an unfulfilled order or has digital 
  or paper currency should band together for a class 
  action suit and demand redemption. We cannot allow the 
  government to steal our money!  Please don’t let this 
  happen!!! Many of you read the articles quoting the 
  government and Federal Reserve officials that the Liberty
  Dollar was legal. You did nothing wrong. You are legally  
  entitled to your property. Let us use this terrible 
  act to band  together and further our goal – to return 
  America to a value based currency.

  Please forward this important Alert... so everyone who 
  possess or use the Liberty Dollar is aware of the situation.

  Please click HERE to sign up for the class action 
  lawsuit and get your property back!

  If the above link does not work you can access the page 
  by copying the following into your web browser. 

  Thanks again for your support at this darkest time as the 
  damn government and their dollar sinks to a new low.

  Bernard von NotHaus
  Monetary Architect

[By Thursday afternoon I still hadn’t seen any confirmation 
of the raids on the web others than simple repostings of the 
above email.  So I picked up the phone and called Bernard Von 
Nothaus direct.  I got him on his mobile phone.  He was on 
another call but we spoke briefly.  He confirmed that he'd 
sent the email and that the raids had indeed occurred.  

Andrew W. Pollock III writes: "It looks like the 'Liberty 
dollars' have finally been shut down.  I especially liked 
following passage:

  "I am writing this to Liberty Dollar in hopes that 
  it can be used to help with support," wrote a fan, 
  M. Symonds, of Dallas, Texas, who reported using 
  the coinage for $700 expenses on a trip to Austin. 

  "My entire trip was funded with The Liberty Dollar. 
  It used it everywhere I went. 
 I am here to tell 
  you that the major chains and businesses will accept 
  them. Here is a list of some of the places I used
  them: Joe's Fina Mart, Placido, Texas; James Texaco, 
  Lolita, Texas; Jack In The Box, Austin, Texas; Chevron, 
  Schulenburg, Texas; McDonalds, Port Lavaca, Texas, 
  Wal-Mart, Port Lavaca, Texas; Reeds Grocery, Odem, Texas

To read the complete article, see:

[The Washington Post published a front-page article in the raid 
Saturday morning. -Editor]

"The ardent supporters of Rep. Ron Paul, the iconoclastic
Texas libertarian whose campaign for the presidency is 
threatening to upend the battle for the Republican nomination, 
got word yesterday of a new source of outrage and motivation: 
reports of a federal raid on a company that was selling 
thousands of coins marked with the craggy visage of their hero. 

"Federal agents on Thursday raided the Evansville, Ind., 
headquarters of the National Organization for the Repeal 
of the Federal Reserve Act and Internal Revenue Code (Norfed), 
an organization of 'sound money' advocates that for the past 
decade has been selling a private currency it calls 'Liberty 
Dollars.' The company says it has put into circulation more 
than $20 million in Liberty Dollars, coins and paper certificates 
it contends are backed by silver and gold stored in Idaho, 
are far more reliable than a U.S. dollar and are accepted for 
use by a nationwide underground economy. 

"Norfed officials said yesterday that the six-hour raid 
occurred just as its six employees were mailing out the 
first batch of 60,000 'Ron Paul Dollars,' copper coins sold 
for $1 to honor the candidate, who is a longtime advocate 
of abolishing the Federal Reserve. The group says it has 
shipped out about 10,000 silver Ron Paul Dollars that sold 
for $20 and about 3,500 of the copper $1 coins. But it said 
the agents seized more than 50,000 of the copper coins -- 
more than two tons' worth -- plus smaller amounts of the 
silver coins and gold and platinum Ron Paul Dollars, which 
sell for $1,000 and $2,000.

"'People are pretty upset about this,' said Jim Forsythe, 
head of the Paul Meetup group in New Hampshire, who said 
he recently ordered 150 of the copper coins. 'The dollar 
is going down the tubes, and this is something that can 
protect the value of their money, and the Federal Reserve 
is threatened by that. It'll definitely fire people up.' 

To read the complete article, see:

[One post siding with the government is found in an unlikely 
place - The Liberty Papers blog.  The author has read the 
government's case which cites elements of multilevel marketing 
(MLM). Below are some excerpts. -Editor]

"Is the Liberty Dollar (ALD) a competing currency? Or is 
it a scam designed to fill its creators’ pockets while 
suckering us into buying silver at inflated prices? The 
best place to understand what is happening is the full 
seizure warrant.

"Looking over the full document, I can see where there 
might be some standing for a case against the Liberty 
Dollar*. I’ve never understood the difference between the 
“face value” of their currency and the US Dollar. For 
example, they suggest buying the Liberty Dollar $20 piece 
at a discount and “spending” it as if it is worth $20, 
when the silver inside is not worth $20. The feds refer 
to it as a MLM scheme, and through reading their case, 
I can see where they may have a point there.

"As a second point, it does appear that in many ways 
the Liberty Dollar folks are violating the law against 
coining your own currency in metal. I consider it to be 
an improper law, and I don’t begrudge them for breaking 
it, but it does appear to be illegal.

"Of course, none of this in any way should be understood 
as me being a supporter of the Fed’s system**. I believe 
strongly in competing market-created currencies. 

"It does seem, though, that the Liberty Dollar was created 
to secure profit for its creators from the US Dollar, 
instead of being a true alternate currency. The “convertability” 
and desire that merchants give Liberty Dollars as change, 
as well as the “move-up” process described in the Fed’s case 
belie a desire by the Liberty Dollar folks to sell silver 
in exchange for FRN’s at a consistent profit compared with 
the market price, cloaked in the language of undermining 
the current system."

To read the complete article, see: 

To read the complete FBI Seizure Warrant, see

[In an item of possible interest to numismatic bibliophiles, 
the warrant notes that "In each Associate packet, NORFED 
sends a book entitled 'The Liberty Dollar Solution to the 
Federal Reserve', Edited by Bernard von Nothaus."    Has 
anyone ever seen one of these pamphlets?

Another writer says that NORFED's biggest misstep was 
in issuing coins rather than the certificates they issued 
initially. -Editor]

"The certificates did not look like money, did not represent 
itself as money and, thus, could not be construed by the 
government as a counterfeit form of money. 

"That changed when von Nothaus began the mass coining of 
his Libertys rather than printing them—and when he began 
to refer to them on his website as "real money" or as 
"the second most-popular currency." 

"After coming under scrutiny again from the US Treasury 
in September, 2006, which presented NORFED with a cease 
and desist order, von Nothaus dissolved NORFED as of 
January 1, 2007, announcing it would distribute Liberty 
Dollars without a political agenda. In March, 2007, von 
Nothaus filed a lawsuit against Henry M. Paulson, Secretary 
of the Treasury, then US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, 
and Edmond C. Moy, Director of the US Mint asking the 
court for a declamatory judgment against the federal 

"Von Nothaus pointed out that if the supporters of the 
Liberty Dollar don't join the class action lawsuit, they 
will not get their money back. The Federal government will 
simply keep it as they do with the ill-gotten gains of drug 
dealers and other criminals, or white collar criminals charged 
with RICO violations. But, it appears to day, that even if 
von Nothaus escapes prison, the Liberty Dollars still in 
the possession of its adherents will be nothing more than 
mementos of a failed movement to restore the United States 
to the gold standard."

To read the complete article, see:

[On Saturday, a web article reported: " 'I anticipate being 
arrested on any one or all of these charges,' von NotHaus 
said. But he continued. 'I see my arrest and trial as a golden 
opportunity to win and return our great country to a value 
based currency. ... I believe the Liberty Dollar will win and 
become one of the great institutions in America. I have devoted 
the past 10 years to the Liberty Dollar and am willing to risk 
a few years in federal prison to vindicate it.' " 

To read the complete article, see:

[Tom Michael came to von NotHaus' defense in his Saturday 
blog entry.  -Editor]

He writes: "Now we wait. Will the government act? Or will 
they just tie up NORFED's business for months, if not years, 
while they build a case they most likely will never win? 
Bernie has been up front with his dealings. He let's people 
know exactly what NORFED is trying to do with their currency. 
NORFED was not hiding out in the heartland, they were open 
with their business and it got them raided.

"Liberty Mint coins do not claim to be U.S. currency. They 
do not directly imitate U.S. coins in an attempt to defraud. 
Most of them are not even denominated like U.S. circulating 
coins. They do employ symbolic images of freedom...perhaps 
because they thought this was a free country. 

"Now we will all see just how free our country has become. 
We'll see if Bernie gets a speedy trial, or if the Federal 
Government drags their feet while holding on to all the 
NORFED company assets. We'll see if they intend on filing 
charges, or just intimidating Liberty Dollar and NORFED 
out of existence."

To read the complete article, see:,guid,1e1c92f5-4587-4faf-88d5-b

[I own a group of NORFED certificates which I purchased 
some months ago on eBay.  I bought them as collectible 
examples of a modern day currency alternative.  I haven't 
bought any of the "coins" yet because I had no interest in 
paying the group's markup over spot silver.  But I respect 
the rights of those who did wish to purchase them, and also 
respect the rights of NORFED to sell and distribute them. 
Did von NotHaus make money with his venture?  Sure, but 
making a profit is as American as apple pie.  It took a lot 
of time, effort, knowledge and investment to design, create, 
distribute and sell the "coins" and certificates.  I've seen 
no articles indicating that any NORFED follower was forced 
to buy and "spend" them at gunpoint, nor have I seen reports 
of any follower forcing an establishment to accept them.  

I read the government's warrant and don't see a case for 
multilevel marketing accusations.   What NORFED had were 
rules that allowed them to revalue their "coins" in response 
to rises in the underlying spot price of silver.  Yes, this 
both protected their investment and led to additional profits.  
So what?  

The worst one could say is that for a group which derided 
the U.S. dollar it sure knew how to make some, but why not?  
Unless and until an alternate currency overtakes the dollar 
(which the Euro seems to be doing in some circles), the 
dollar-denominated world is the one all Americans live in 
today, even NOFRED and its supporters.  At best von Nothaus' 
Liberty Dollars are just one more numismatic remnant of a 
political/economic/artistic movement such as Bryan Money, 
Lesher Dollars or J.S.G. Boggs' 'Boggs Bills'.  

Just as I've promoted buying numismatic literature from 
the publisher I'm also very much a proponent of buying 
tomorrow's numismatic collectibles TODAY.  If you collect 
things like U.S. pattern coins, Bolen tokens, Lesher Dollars 
or Bryan Money then you ought to consider accumulating Liberty 
Dollars, Gallery Mint products and the proposed coin design 
pieces of people like Ron Landis and Daniel Carr.  I haven't 
bought nearly as many as I'd like (yet), but I do have them 
in my collection.

Those who bought the NOFED Ron Paul dollars can sit back 
and smile now that their price has soared past $300 apiece 
on eBay.   They will drop back as more supplies hit the market, 
but will probably never return to their original issue price 
thanks to the publicity.  I'm sure we haven't heard the last 
of von NotHaus and wouldn't be surprise to see new "coins" 
emerge with revised slogans.  -Editor]


[This week the Ancient Coin Collectors Guild and two 
other organizations announced a lawsuit against the U.S. 
Government over the import restrictions on ancient coins 
from Cypress.  Below is the complete press release. -Editor]

The Ancient Coin Collectors Guild (ACCG), an advocacy 
group for private collectors and independent scholars, 
announced the filing today of a Freedom of Information 
Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U. S. State Department 
(DOS). According to Wayne G. Sayles, executive director 
of the guild, this action became unavoidable due to 
persistent refusal of the Bureau of Educational and 
Cultural Affairs (ECA) to provide the guild and others 
with information relating to requests for import restrictions.  
The DOS recently imposed unprecedented import restrictions 
on ancient coins from Cyprus, requiring importers of even 
a single common coin of Cypriot type to provide unfair, 
unworkable and unnecessary documentation.

The ACCG seeks information relating to requests from Cyprus, 
China and Italy. In each case, apparent irregularities in 
the way these requests were handled led to significant 
concerns.  Members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives
 also requested similar information on behalf of the ACCG and 
others.  “None of these avenues produced responsive replies,” 
said Peter K. Tompa, ACCG president.   “The reason for this 
lawsuit is that the DOS has refused to provide meaningful 
information.  We seek transparency and fairness of the  
process by which decisions affecting the American people 
are made.”   

The ACCG, joined in this suit by the International Association 
of Professional Numismatists and the Professional Numismatists 
Guild, is represented by Washington DC attorney Scott A. Hodes.  
Mr. Hodes is a former FOIA and Privacy Act attorney for the 
Department of Justice and the FBI.

The imposition of import restrictions is a remedy made 
available to DOS by the Convention on Cultural Property 
Implementation Act (CPIA) enacted in 1983.  This law, while 
providing emergency protection for endangered cultural property, 
includes detailed and comprehensive safeguards to limit 
overreaching implementation of the 1970 UNESCO accord.  The 
fair and equitable application of this law is viewed by the 
coin collector community and associated trade as essential to 
achieving any measure of protection on a broad and continuing 

The ACCG ( argues that fairness and equity can 
only be satisfied by a system that is transparent and subject 
to oversight.   They hope that this lawsuit will help encourage 
the State Department to revamp its procedures to ensure the 
fundamental fairness to all that the law demands.

To obtain information about membership in the ACCG or to make 
a donation to the ACCG legal effort, go to 
(Paypal link at bottom of home page) or contact ACCG executive 
director Wayne G. Sayles by telephone at 417-679-2142 or by 
email at director at

[Arthur Shippee forwarded the following article from The New 
York Times. Here are a few excerpts. -Editor]

"If the coin collectors were to prevail, the State Department 
might be compelled to shed more light on the way it makes 
decisions on protecting the cultural property of other nations, 
a process that many art dealers, museum directors and collectors 
argue has been unnecessarily shrouded in secrecy. Among the 
information sought from the State Department are documents 
related to a May 2004 request from China that the United States 
restrict the import of a vast array of art and artifacts, 
including coins, dating from Chinese prehistory through the 
early 20th century. The State Department has repeatedly delayed 
action on the Chinese petition in the face of strong opposition 
from museum curators, art dealers, auction houses and collectors. 

"The Chinese request is supported by archaeologists, however, 
who believe that the antiquities market and trade in ancient 
coins encourages the pillage of important ancient sites. 

"The lawsuit also follows a controversial decision by the State 
Department in July to ban imports of ancient coins from the 
island of Cyprus. It was the first time the government had barred 
trade in a broad category of ancient coins, and collectors and 
dealers were startled."

To read the complete article, see:


Last week Robert Rightmire asked about the address of The 
Guttag Brothers, New York brokers and coin dealers.  David 
Gladfelter writes: "There's a sticker inside my copy of Coins 
of the Americas (1927) that says 'now located in our own 
building, 42 Stone St.' That suggests they had moved from 
a previous address.  I also found their earlier address in 
their ad in the Numismatist for April 1924: 16-18 Exchange 
Place, New York."



Last week, Dennis Tucker wrote: "I'm looking for information 
on German medallist Friedrich Wilhelm Kullrich."

Jim Duncan of New Zealand writes: "There are 2 1/8 pages 
on Kullrich in Forrer's Biographical Dictionary of Medallists 
(vol III, pp 244-246)."

Dennis writes: "Thanks! I've contacted Amber at the ANA library 
to get a photocopy of those pages."

Joe Levine writes: "See: Die Medaillen Der Koniglich-Preussischen 
Hof-Medailleure Christoph Carl Preuffer Und Friedrich Wilhelm 
Kullrich by Klaus Sommer, copyright by Biblio-Verlag, Osnabruck 1986.



Last week David F. Fanning wrote: "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... "

Dave Ginsburg writes: "The April 15, 1818 document (15th 
Congress, 1st Session, H.Doc. 199) does appear to be the 
Mint's Annual Report for 1817, as I can find only two other 
reports from the Mint for 1818, both of which deal with assays 
of foreign coins.  It certainly does seem to be rather late,
as the same report for 1818 (15th Congress, 2nd Session, H.
Doc. 150) is dated February 25, 1819.
"On somewhat the same topic, I was delighted recently to 
'trip' over two Mint Annual Reports on - 
the 1870 Report (unfortunately, the digital file is incomplete 
- it starts on page 8 of the report) and the 1857 report, 
which is contained in the Secretary of the Treasury's Annual 
Report on the Finances.   The 1857 report marks the transition 
from calendar year to fiscal year reporting for the Mint, so 
it only covers the first six months of 1857."


  To visit Google's Book Search, see:


Joel Orosz writes: "Len Augsburger and I thoroughly enjoyed 
reading Alan V. Weinberg's submission in the last issue of 
The E-Sylum.  It was neat to learn that Alan's enterprising, 
and we believe quite accurate, detective work was spurred by 
the article that Len and I wrote about our visit to Harry 
Forman's home this past summer.  However, we do want to point 
out that our Forman article appeared in The Asylum, not in 
Numismatist as noted in Alan's submission."

[I must admit that I do get behind in my offline numismatic 
reading - I assumed I missed something in The Numismatist.  
Sorry I don't catch the misattribution, but this is a good 
time to remind E-Sylum readers that there is a great deal 
of interesting content in our print journal, The Asylum.  
While The E-Sylum is a free Internet publication, only paid 
members of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society receive copies 
of The Asylum. -Editor]



Last week Tom and Gosia Fort forwarded a fascinating YouTube 
video of coins falling like dominos.  I published the link, 
along with one of a similar video using library books as 

Nick & Marilyn Graver write: "We loved the coin dominos.  
The library books were also fun, but they quit too soon.

In response to my question, "Can anyone tell us what coin 
is being used as the dominoes?", Joe Boling writes: "British 
one-pound coins. I found the hill-climbing sequences fascinating."

Ron Abler writes: "Someone asked that question of the 
'perpetrators' on You Tube, and the answer was "£1, One 
Great Britain Pound(GBP), The official currency of the 
United Kingdom and the Crown Dependencies. The United 
Kingdom consisting of Scotland, England, Wales and Northern 



[I wasn’t going to include this Associated Press story 
because of the complete lack of specifics, but since 
several readers forwarded it, it's at least worth mentioning.  
Here are some excerpts.  -Editor]

"An anonymous buyer has paid more than $30 million for a 
collection of rare U.S. prototype coins, some from the 1700s, 
that never went into circulation, according to the dealer that 
brokered the deal.

"The collection consists of about 1,000 coins that collectors 
refer to as pattern coins — trial designs that never went into 
production because the U.S. Mint chose other designs.

"'This collection is an incredible collection. ... These were 
some of the first coins ever, ever struck by the United States 
government,' said Laura Sperber, a partner in Legend Numismatics 
of Lincroft, N.J., which brokered the deal.

"The coins span the period from 1792 to 1942. Highlights 
include test designs for the first pennies made in 1792 and 
six coins from 1872 that are often referred to as 'Amazonian' 
patterns because the female figure portraying liberty is much 
stronger and regal looking than earlier versions."

[The anonymity of the buyer and seller, and the spotty 
coverage of the contents of the collection makes this an 
article of little use to numismatists.  Hopefully the 
numismatic press will follow up on this and learn a little 
more.  -Editor]

George Fuld writes: "Someone who had such a large pattern 
collection should not be anonymous."

To read the complete article, see:

[The New York Times mentioned this sale today in an article 
about the increasing value and interest in collectibles of 
all types. -Editor]

To read the complete article, see:


Last week I wrote: "Tonight I'm taking my wife to the 
Bruce Springsteen concert at the Verizon Center in Washington, 
D.C.  ... I plan to annoy everyone around us by calling out 
the names of John Mellencamp songs."

Kerry Wetterstom writes: "Be prepared for a fight at the 
Springsteen concert! His fans are loyal and rabid (including 
myself!), and probably would not take kindly to any Mellencamp 
references! Of course, yelling 'Freebird,' even at a Springsteen 
concert is always permitted!  Actually, I was once at a 
Springsteen concert where someone yelled out 'Freebird'! 
Springsteen and the boys proceeded to sing a killer version 
of it!"

The Mellencamp reference was a joke - I didn't do it, but it 
would have been fun to watch the melee if I could do it from 
a distance.  Actually, I guess I did have the opportunity - 
our seats were in a private corporate suite on the second 
level directly across from the stage.  I'm a fan of both 
Springsteen and Mellencamp but have never been a diehard 
devotee of any particular band.  But now I'm sold on Bruce - 
the concert was a killer.  It's no wonder why tickets similar 
to ours had been bid up to the $1,500-$2,000 level on 
that afternoon.  

I may never tire of driving into Washington and seeing the 
monuments gloriously lit at night.   The Washington Monument 
obelisk was in full view from my car; the Lincoln Memorial 
was off to the right and I believe I saw the Jefferson Memorial 
in the distance.   To the left was the headquarters of the 
Federal Reserve Bank.  Washington traffic was stop and go 
as usual.  I turned left at 7th Street, where the National 
Archives building stands.  Sturdy, silent and dark for the 
night, the building houses the seminal documents of our 
nation's founding - The Declaration of Independence,
Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Appropriate to the venue, Springsteen's playlist was heavy 
with songs from 'Magic', described by a Washington Post 
reviewer as "a new album whose central figures are isolated, 
alienated and disillusioned. They've been betrayed and deceived, 
and so there's a riptide of angst tugging at those who occupy 
this wartime Americana." 

In introducing one song, "Livin' in the Future," The Boss 
talked about rendition, wiretapping and "a Constitution 
under attack." -  "The E Street Band is here tonight to do 
something about it!" he said. 

This reminded me immediately of the classic parody song by 
Tom Lehrer called "The Folk Song Army" about 1960s-era war 
protesters - "Ready, Aim, Sing!" went the chorus.  But 
Springteen immediately acknowledged his place in the world, 
following "here tonight to do something about it!" with "We're 
going to sing about it. We're musicians."  Then he added, 
"It's a start. - after that it's up to all of us, I guess."

So what does any of this have to do with numismatics?   Not 
much admittedly, but the NORFED and ACCG events this week do 
link numismatics and the nation's laws.  The U.S. Constitution 
and Federal Reserve are very much a part of what the Liberty 
Dollar folks claim they're about, and the State Department 
rules restricting imports of ancient coins are another 
connection.  It will be interesting to see how these situations 
play out.

Getting back to the concert, I can't think of a single 
numismatic item relating to Springteen or any other modern 
performer for that matter.  But how come?   You can buy a 
T-shirt for $35, but I've not heard of any tokens, medals, 
scrip, good-fors etc. featuring performers.  With the craze 
in the military for challenge coins, I wonder why the practice 
hasn't spread to fan clubs.  A T-Shirt will last only so long, 
but a medallic tribute is for the ages.  A "challenge coin" 
type medal could be manufactured and sold for far less than 
$35 yet still yield a high profit for the concert promoters.

Back in the day, long before my time, performances of top 
artists were commemorated with souvenir medals.  On the New 
York Times archive I found an image of an article discussing 
the Lyman Low sale of the Benjamin Betts collection of early 
U.S. store cards, published December 19, 1897.  In the 
collection was a medal stuck to honor "The Swedish Nightingale" 
Jenny Lind.

The medal was "struck in 1850 to commemorate Jenny Lind's 
first concert at Castle Garden.  On the face is a fine head 
of Jenny Lind, and on the reverse the inscription '12,500 
dollars given by Miss Lind to charitable institutions. First 
concert in America, at Castle Garden, N.Y. Sept. 11 1850, 
attended by 7,000 people. Proceeds, 3,500 dollars."

I could easily see today's concertgoers buying, collecting 
and trading medallic concert souvenirs.  "Dude - you got 
the Detroit 'Born in the U.S.A.' tour coin?  Cool!"   The 
bands and their labels are very protective of their copyrights, 
so any effort to strike medals or tokens would have to be 
blessed by the bands.  Does anyone know someone who knows 
someone in what's left of the recording industry?  Put a 
kind word in their ear for numismatics, and be sure to tell 
them it means "money".

For more on the art and architecture of the Federal Reserve, see: 

To read a Washington Post review of the Springsteen concert, see:

To view the 1897 New York Times article on the Betts sale, see:

  We are the Folk Song Army.
  Every one of us cares.
  We all hate poverty, war, and injustice,
  Unlike the rest of you squares.

  So join in the Folk Song Army,
  Guitars are the weapons we bring
  To the fight against poverty, war, and injustice.
  Ready! Aim! Sing!

To read the lyrics of The Folk Song Army, see:


Dick Johnson writes: "With the value of the U.S. dollar 
now less than the Canadian dollar, U.S. coins pose a 
potential problem in Canada. Most susceptible are the 
toll collections, parking meters, turnstiles and fare boxes.
"Toll collectors say they don't have time to sort coins, 
they accept U.S. coins at face. Toronto parking meters are 
not designed to tell the difference between Canadian and 
American coins. In a statement this week officials said both 
country's coins are accepted at face value. 'Retrofitting a 
single machine would cost about $450.'
"Adam Giambrone, city councilor and chair of the Toronto 
Transit Commission (TTC], said: 'if the loonie manages to 
climb to US$1.25 then the TTC would be likely to enforce 
the same protocol that was in place when the Canadian dollar 
was worth $0.63.' "
Canadian TV had interviewed Giambrone. Here is their report:

Dick Johnson writes: "The rise of the Canadian dollar vs. 
the U.S. dollar has another produced another problem, 
perhaps in a least expected place - book jackets!
"Prices of books are printed in both U.S. and Canadian 
currencies on the covers and dust jackets of books.  Well, 
the Canadians are taking umbrage at the fact the Canadian 
price is always higher - this was the case for decades when 
the Canadian dollars was worth less.  Now that the U.S. 
dollar is worth less than their currency the Canadians 
are getting upset.
Below is a blog from 'Joe' in response to a recent news item:

[My, how times have changed.  Below are some excerpts from 
a Globe and Mail article about the phenomenon. -Editor]

"Book rage, anyone? As the Canadian dollar hit the $1.10 
mark earlier this week, booksellers and publishers began 
to circulate stories of customers going beyond simply 
venting their dismay at hapless clerks and turning books 
into projectiles, sometimes to the point of drawing blood.

"Ever since our dollar achieved exchange parity with the 
United States on Sept. 20, 'books have been under the 
microscope,' notes Yvonne Hunter, director of marketing 
and publicity for Penguin Group, one of the country's 
biggest publishers. And the consumer hasn't liked what 
he's been seeing. His ire has focused on the discrepancy 
between what a Canadian pays for an imported, American-made 
book in this country and what an American consumer pays 
for that same title, with the two different prices printed 
right there on the book flap for all to see. The bookstore 
serves as the conduit for what publishing historian and 
novelist Roy MacSkimming calls "this predilection for 
feeling ripped-off. There's been an attack of sticker 
envy out there."

To read the complete article, see:

Dick Johnson writes: "Resolved:  Canada should issue a $5 
circulating coin. The debate is heating up. Editorial 
writers across the land are weighing in.
"A CanWest News Service article published November 10, 2007, 
reports the Bank of Canada prepared a report in 2005. It 
used several theoretical financial models to analyze the 
country's coin and banknote system. The models considered 
such alternatives as elimination of the cent coin, introduction 
of the $5 coin, and issuing a $200 bill.
"One model, called Boeschoten, concluded that a $5 coin 
would be needed between 2009 and 2020, 'given the price 
level and other factors would be consistent with the 
historical shift from notes to coins at other denominations.'
"In favor of the $5 coin is Francois Dupuis, vice-president 
and chief economist of economic studies with the Desjardins 
banking group. He had earlier recommended eliminating the 
cent. He called for this to happen first prior to the $5 coin 
in a strategy that must maintain the ideal number of 
circulating coins.
"The article stated: 'The decision to change any part of 
the country's currency rests with the Department of Finance, 
which would consult the Bank of Canada and the Royal 
Canadian Mint.' 
"In opposition to this was an editorial writer in the Halifax 
Daily News who wanted to maintain the status quo under the 
headline: A $5 Coin? No, thanks.' "
To read an article IN FAVOR of the $5 Canadian coin, see:

To read an article AGAINST $5 Canadian coin, see:


[Another article was published this week on the Ohio firm 
fighting the U.S. Mint's ban on cent melting.  -Editor]

"An Ohio metal company is banking on a change in federal 
law to make a pretty penny off the lowly 1-cent piece. 
Jackson Metals believes it can make a profit and save the 
U.S. Mint more than $18 million annually through a plan to 
sift through roughly 5 billion pennies a year and cull 
high-copper-content coins made before 1982 whose components 
are worth 1.7 cents. 

"The firm in Jackson County, south of Columbus, would like 
to melt those older pennies and sell the metal to companies 
that make brass products like doorknobs and plumbing fixtures.

"Melting pennies has been illegal since last year, when the 
Mint banned the practice to prevent shortages. Melting nickels 
also is illegal. Mint spokesman Michael White says it costs 
the federal government 1.67 cents to make a penny and 9.53 
cents to make a nickel. Increased worldwide demand for metals 
in recent years has caused steep increases in the value of 
the copper, zinc and nickel used to make coins, he said. 

"Luhrman's congressman, Democrat Zack Space of Dover, has 
introduced a bill to overturn the Mint's penny-melting ban. 
A hearing on the bill, which is backed by House Financial 
Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, was canceled last 
week because of a scheduling conflict. A new hearing date 
has not been set. 

"Mint Director Edmund C. Moy was scheduled to testify 
against the bill. 

"Moy said when the penny-melting ban was announced: 'We 
don't want to see our pennies and nickels melted down so 
a few individuals can take advantage of the American taxpayer. 
Replacing these coins would be an enormous cost to taxpayers.' 

"While it waits for a verdict on its plan to pinch pennies 
from pennies, Jackson Metals has kept its workers busy combing 
through Canadian nickels to find coins minted between 1946 
and 1981 that were made of pure nickel and are currently worth 
14.3 U.S. cents. 

"They've also been sorting through $14 million worth of 
half-dollar coins from throughout the country to cull silver 
coins made before 1964. 

"'I think we've recovered the last of the silver coins,' 
says Luhrman. 'Our process is very thorough.' "

To read the complete article, see: 


"'This is real money,' Beth Deisher, editor of Coin World, 
the world's largest-circulation coin publication, said of 
the businessman's idea. 'It's like going for gold on the 
ocean floor.'

"Deisher, who editorialized against Luhrman, said that 
for the past few years, 'Rome has been burning, and the 
Treasury hasn't done anything about it.'

"Indeed, over the past few months, the issue has been no 
small change in Washington, triggering two bills, a 
scheduled hearing and complaints to the Treasury Department 
about why it has taken so long to react to rising metal 

"It costs 1.67 cents to make a penny, up from .93 cents 
in 2004. This means the U.S. Mint lost $31 million in making 
6.6 billion new pennies in fiscal 2007 and another $68 million 
for more than 1 billion nickels, according to Michael White, 
a spokesman for the mint. Speculators, taxpayers, suppliers 
and coin collectors are affected, too.

"The Treasury has proposed that it be allowed to transfer 
from the Congress to itself the authority to measure and make 
changes in the composition and weight of coins, so it can head 
off future spikes in metal prices.

"This would be a historic change. Since Congress created the 
mint in 1792, it has exercised constitutional authority over 
America's pocket change. 

"Before starting his company last year, Luhrman said he checked 
with the mint to make sure it was not illegal to melt down 
pennies. He was told it wasn't, and the company operated for 
about five months before the government ban.

"He bought pennies from banks and used special equipment to 
cull the copper-heavy ones minted before 1982. He estimated 
that he could process 5 billion coins annually, separating 
out 1.2 billion copper pennies.

"The businessman said he had hired 16 people for his operation. 
He signed contracts with currency-handling companies such as 
Brink's Co. in Richmond, and Coinstar in Bellevue, Wash., 
to get intelligence on the location of penny surpluses and 
deficits. And he hired a trucking service to ship the pennies."

To read the complete article, see:

David Ganz wrote a detailed article on the situation which 
was published on NumisMaster this week.

To read the complete article, see:

Dick Johnson writes; "Ron Paul, a Representative from Texas, 
has introduced an act that gives control of the cent composition 
to the Secretary of the Treasury.  His statement on his proposed 
legislation is so on target it is reproduced here in full:
  "Mr. Chairman, I am introducing this bill in response 
  to HR 3956, which would unconstitutionally delegate 
  the authority to determine the metal content of coins 
  to the Secretary of the Treasury. While I am concerned 
  at the high cost of minting pennies, I am not entirely 
  convinced that the Mint needs to mint as many pennies 
  as it does. Over the past 30 years, over 300 billion 
  pennies have been minted, more than twice as many coins 
  as all other denominations combined. This is over 1,000 
  pennies for each man, woman, and child in this country.

  I find it hard to believe that with this many pennies 
  having been minted, we still have a shortage of pennies. 
  My bill would prohibit the minting of pennies until the 
  Treasury and Federal Reserve certify that there is no 
  surplus of pennies. If there is a surplus of pennies, 
  it makes no sense for the Mint to continue to coin them 
  if each penny costs more than one cent to produce. If 
  there really were a shortage, the onus would be on the 
  Treasury and Fed to conduct their survey in a timely 
  fashion in order to facilitate further penny production.

  In the event of a shortage I would urge my colleagues 
  to consider Mr. Roskam's HR 4036, which addresses the 
  cost issue by changing the composition of pennies while 
  maintaining the Congressional control and oversight 
  mandated by the Constitution."

He calls this the 'Make No Cents Until It Makes Sense Act.' 
Here is the statement from one of his supporters, Lew Rockwell: "

Dick Johnson writes: "While Ron Paul is complaining we 
have too many cents in circulation in America (above story) 
citizens and businesses in East Malaysia are complaining 
about a shortage of 1-sen coins.  Government officials have 
proposed merchants round off to the nearest 5-sen amount, 
a practice widely successful in Australia and New Zealand.
"However, a skepticism exists among the public that merchant 
traders are going to cheat consumers.  The government insists 
it loses money striking the low-denomination coin, a condition 
that is found world wide with advancing prices of hard metals 
used in coin compositions.
"While some of the comments of local citizens quoted in the 
news story below appear a little naive to many of us, the 
growing minor coin situation brought on by economic 
conditions is universal."
To read the complete article, see:


Bob Knepper of Anaheim, CA writes: "The last E-Sylum 
mentioned the new book "A Guide Book of Lincoln Cents" by 
Q. David Bowers.  I recently encountered some information 
about current U.S. cents was that was surprising, at least 
to me, as I collected them for many years.  Apparently the 
tails or Memorial side of a U.S. cent is about 0.002 inches 
larger in diameter than the heads side, according to the 
book 'The Heart of Mathematics' by Edward B. Burger & 
Michael Starbird.

"The proof or test is to line up a fairly large number of 
cents, all face up and tight together, against a ruler and 
measure their length.  Then alternate heads and tails and 
measure again.  The alternating tapers will nest together 
yielding a slightly smaller measurement.  With 30 cents, 
the difference is only 0.030 = 1/32 inch but I've tried it 
four times with different cents and gotten the same result 
each time.

"This only determines that there is a difference.  The book 
says spinning (not flipping) a cent on a smooth surface and 
determining how it lands indicates that the tails side is 
larger.  I got the same result but only for 30 trials.  It 
would take a lot of trials to be conclusive or to win
significant money.

"A letter from the U.S. Mint said they have no information 
about the edge details of cents."

[OK gang, who's game to put this to the test?  Few of us are 
patient enough to flip coins over and over, but the line-up 
test is fast and straightforward.  Anyone have enough new 
cents handy to give it a try?  Let us know the result.  
Anyone care to try it with other U.S. coins, or coins of 
other countries? -Editor] 


This week's featured web site, Mexican Coin Magic, "the 
Internet Magazine of Mexican Numismatics" was suggested by 
Ralf W. Böpple of Stuttgart, Germany.  He writes: "I did a 
search of E-Sylum back issues, and I could not find a 
reference to the following web site, so I figure it hasn't 
been brought to your attention yet.  They are publishing 
an online magazine on Mexican numismatics." 

The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization 
promoting numismatic literature. For more information please 
see our web site at

There is a membership application available on the web site 
at this address: 

To join, print the application and return it with your check 
to the address printed on the application. Membership is only 
$15 to addresses in the U.S., $20 elsewhere.  For those without 
web access, write to:

David M. Sundman, Secretary/Treasurer
Numismatic Bibliomania Society, 
P. O. Box 82 Littleton, NH 03561

For Asylum mailing address changes and other membership 
questions, contact David at this email address: 
dsundman at

To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, just 
Reply to this message, or write to the Editor at this 
address: whomren at

Those wishing to become new E-Sylum subscribers 
(or wishing to Unsubscribe) can go to the following web page: 

All past E-Sylum issues are archived on the NBS web site at this address:

Issues from September 2002 to date are also archived at this address:

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