The E-Sylum v10#35, September 2, 2007

esylum at esylum at
Sun Sep 2 17:13:32 PDT 2007

Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 10, Number 35, September 2, 2007:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2007, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers are Dwight Brown, courtesy of John 
and Nancy Wilson, Leon Saryan courtesy of Karen Jach and Tom Valentine. 
Welcome aboard!  We now have 1,177 subscribers.

On September 4, 1998, the first issue of The E-Sylum was published.
The ninth anniversary of that date is coming up Tuesday.  Our son 
Christopher was born that December, and this year he'll be nine, too.  
Next came our son Tyler in 2000.  In 2004 our daughter Hannah came 
along and later that year I was General Chairman of the Pittsburgh 
ANA convention. Last year we moved our family to Northern Virginia 
and since mid-May I've been working in London.  That assignment and 
my London Diaries will end soon, but life and The E-Sylum will go on.

In the course of publishing this newsletter we've grown from 49 
subscribers to nearly 1,200.  It's become so popular that I don't 
think I'd be allowed to stop even if I wanted to.  But I don't - 
despite the work it's always fun for the same reason all of us love 
this hobby.  For the curious, there is always something new to 
learn about numismatics and its connection to history, economics, 
politics, people, collectors and the world at large.

This week we open with the latest Lake Books numismatic literature 
sale, which includes a number of interesting items.  Next, Howard 
Daniel gives us a report on his visit to the former Krause Publications' 
numismatic library, the ANS announces a new Saint-Gaudens exhibit, 
and Dave Lange provides some background on the ANA and his U.S. 
Mint book.

We have a number of responses to items published last week on 
topics such as stuck book covers, Sacagawea dollars in Ecuador 
and coin photography.  We have one new research query relating 
to the Katen numismatic library. 

My London Diary has relatively little on numismatic topics this 
week, but readers may find something of interest in my visits to 
Kensington Palace, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Imperial 
War Museum in Duxford and the Greenwich Observatory.  Hey, it's 
my last full weekend and I had to cram in a lot.

In the news an archeologist claims a coin find could prove Captain 
Cook wasn't the first explorer to discover Australia, the BEP 
adopts a new high-tech security thread, and interesting new coin 
hoards are discovered in China and England.  To learn what the 
ditch-digger found, read on. Have a great week, everyone.

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


Fred Lake of Lake Books writes: "Our sale #90 which has a closing 
date of October 2, 2007 is now available for viewing at
"The sale features numismatic reference literature on a wide 
variety of subjects including a copy of Sylvester S. Crosby's 
1875 work on 'Early Coins of America' with the scarce Maris 
Woodburytype plate, Hibler & Kappen's 'So-Called Dollars', 
Bowers & Ruddy's 'Empire Topics' in hardbound, Folke's 1890 
opus on 'English Coinage' containing 67 plates, 86 issues of 
'El Boletin Numismatico', a fine set of Haxby's 'Obsolete Bank 
Notes 1782-1866', Pinkerton's 'Medallic History of England' 
written in 1790, a complete run of the Numismatic Bibliomania 
Society's 'Asylum' including the scarce early issues, and many 
other fine books and catalogs.  Bids are accepted by email, 
telephone, fax, or regular mail until the closing time."

[E-Sylum readers and newer members of NBS should consider 
acquiring a set of back issues of our print journal, The Asylum.  
Great stuff for bibliophiles and general collectors alike, and 
it's not available in any other format.  -Editor]


Howard Daniel recently visited the F&W Publications Library 
(the former Krause Publications Library).  He writes: "I had 
five full days (Monday-Friday) inside the Krause library and 
two half days on Saturday and Sunday.  Everyone in the numismatic 
department was very helpful to me during my stay. I was lucky 
to have the weekends because Colin Bruce and George Cuhaj 
came in to do some overtime work. 

"The library is on about ten movable units of about 20 foot 
long shelves, back to back.  The first unit has a roof leak 
and is covered in plastic!  There is legal action holding up 
the repairs because the firm which was to have fixed the leak 
long ago did not and has not correctly re-repaired it.  One of 
the building maintenance men looks in on the leak on a frequent 
basis and checks the plastic to make sure the unit is covered.  

"Many of the below listed journals, newsletters, periodicals, 
auction catalogs and prices lists have been bound in nice 
hardbound covers with gold lettering on the spines.  There 
are many small groups stacked on different shelves.  There are 
also MANY references and other materials scattered throughout 
the Numismatic Department cubicles that need to be brought to 
the library and properly bound/preserved and shelved.

"A new librarian has been hired and his name is Jonah M. Parsons.  
His title is Corporate Resources Administrator.  He has been 
told he will be given an assistant (full or part-time?).  His 
address is c/o F&W Publications, Inc., 700 East State Street, 
Iola, WI 54990-0001.  His telephone is 800-726-9966 x427 and 
his fax is 715-445-2294.  His email is Jonah.Parsons at 
and the website is at  His plans include 
barcoding everything in the library, and I told him I would 
respond to his requests for assistance in any way I can.  

"I also showed him some rare references that should have chips 
in them that will set off the exit alarms.  I am hoping that the 
inventory of the library is placed online and is available to 
all employees and those of us on the outside.  This will allow 
many of us to see what is in the library and what we can send 
to them to complete their collection, especially in my 
specialized areas.

"I have estimated that I have looked through about one-third 
of the library during my one week there, so I have two more 
weeks more of researching it with its current contents.  I was 
given an empty desk next to the library.  I set up my laptop and 
printer/scanner/ copier on the desk and used them to record my 
research.  My plans are to return again in 2009 when the Central 
States Numismatic Society has its convention in Milwaukee."

[Below is a list Howard provided of the major Numismatic 
sections of the Krause library. -Editor]

Antiques & Collectibles
Foreign Coins (and World Coins?)
  Foreign Paper Money
  Foreign Tokens & Medals
  Military Tokens

United States Coins	
United States Paper Money & Coins
  World Coins (and Foreign Coins?)

Society Journals/Auction Catalogs
  Asylum, The (Numismatic Bibliomania Society)
  Essay Proof Journal (Essay Proof Society), Vol I 1944 to 1993
  IBNS Journal (International Bank Note Society)
  Military Medals (Orders & Decorations Society)
  NI Bulletin (Numismatics International)
  Numismatist, The (American Numismatic Association), 1896-2002
  Oriental Numismatic Society Newsletter
  Proof Collectors Corner (World Proof Collectors Society)
  Philippine Numismatic & Antiquarian Society Journal

  Bank Note Reporter
  Coin World
  INTERPOL Counterfeits & New Issues
  Money Trend, to 2006
  Muenzen Revue
  Numismatic News
  Spink’s Circular
  World Coin News
  World Coins

Dealer Auction Catalogs/Price Lists
  Christensen, Henry
  Currency Auctions of America
  Elsen, Jean
  Heritage (huge numbers!)
  Ivy, Steve
  Knight, Lyn
  Kolbe, George
  Muenzen und Medallian
  Peters, Jess
  Ponterio & Associates
  Rosenblum, William
  Stack’s (huge numbers!)
  Whitford, Craig


The Nevada Appreal, in an article publicizing the 2007 Carson 
City Mint Coin Show interviewed Rusty Goe, author of 'James 
Crawford, Master of the Mint at Carson City - A Short, Full Life' 
about the Mint and his new book.

"The mint began operations in January 1870. During its short 
lifespan of 23 years, the mint produced nearly $50 million face 
value in gold and silver coins.

"By the time the coin presses shut down for good in 1893, it had 
produced 111 different date/ denomination varieties including 
three different kinds of silver dollars - for which the mint 
later became famous.

"'It has really come into prominence over the last 35 to 40 
years,' said Reno-based coin dealer Rusty Goe who operates 
Southgate Coins with his wife, Marie. 'The government had 
stockpiled silver dollars in the '70s and when they started 
to release them, people immediately began to identify Carson 
City with the coins.'

"For Goe, the hobby, which became his passion - turned into 
a new livelihood, as author.

"From 1-2 p.m. Saturday, he will sign copies of his new release: 
'James Crawford, Master of the Mint at Carson City - A Short, 
Full Life'.

"'There were times they thought about tearing down that building, 
what a terrible loss that would've been,' he said. 'Carson City 
was so honored to have a mint. There have only been nine U.S. 
mints - you look at the others, Philadelphia, San Francisco, 
New Orleans, Denver ... it shows you what a special time and 
place it was.'"

To read the complete article, see:


According to a press release issued August 24, "The American 
Numismatic Society, in conjunction with the Saint-Gaudens 
National Historic Site and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, 
takes great pleasure in announcing the opening of an important 
and unprecedented new exhibition: “I suppose I shall be impeached 
for it
” Theodore Roosevelt, Augustus Saint-Gaudens and America’s 
Most Beautiful Coin.  This exhibit, held at the Federal Reserve 
Bank of New York at 33 Liberty St., will be on view from 
September 20, 2007 through March 31, 2008.  

"2007 marks not only the centenary year of both the death of 
Augustus Saint-Gaudens, America’s greatest sculptor of the late 
19th and early 20th centuries, but also the release of his 
revolutionary and controversial designs for the twenty- and 
ten-dollar gold pieces.  Today these are hailed as the most 
beautiful coins ever produced by the United States. At a White 
House diplomatic supper in January 1905, President Theodore 
Roosevelt approached Augustus Saint-Gaudens with his hopes to 
improve upon the “atrocious hideousness” of America’s coins.  
Although the artist was reluctant to agree to the President’s 
wishes due to ill health and prior unpleasant experiences 
with the United States Mint, Saint-Gaudens took on the task.  
This partnership of artist and president to create new 
designs for coinage remains unparalleled in American history.  

"Saint-Gaudens approached the commission as he did any other, 
making rapid-fire pencil sketches and rough clay models cast 
in plaster.  Guiding the younger and steadier hands of his chief 
assistant, Henry Hering, the designs metamorphosed from concept 
to reality.  It was an arduous process which saw Saint-Gaudens 
fine tuning the design elements as he met resistance every step 
of the way from the United States Mint - most particularly from 
its contentious and intensely jealous chief engraver, Charles 

"In February 1907, Saint-Gaudens held the first examples of 
his concept struck in gold.  More than mere coins, they were 
fully realized sculptures on a miniature scale.  The President 
was overjoyed, but the high-relief of the coins rendered them 
useless for everyday commerce. For the next half year (the last 
few months of his life) Saint-Gaudens worked with his assistant 
in an effort to retain the coin’s majesty while making it 
suitable for the rigors of circulation.  

"At the time of Saint-Gaudens’s death in August 1907 the job 
was not yet done, but Roosevelt kept the flame alive, insisting 
that a second mintage of reduced high-relief “double eagles” be 
struck.  Although approximately 12,000 of these were made, they 
too failed the test and ultimately Charles Barber’s flattened 
relief prevailed.

"The exhibition at the New York Federal Reserve Bank will, for 
the first time, draw together elements of all phases of this 
remarkable partnership and commission.  The collections of the 
Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site and the American Numismatic 
Society contain an incomparable array of material charting 
virtually all phases of the commission as well as Saint-Gaudens’ 
career as a cameo-cutter, sculptor and medalist.  

"Examples of early cameos will be displayed along with some of 
the classical numismatic prototypes that Saint-Gaudens is known 
to have used as inspiration.  Examples of his medallic work 
ranging from private commissions for friends to the 1889 Washington 
Inaugural Centennial to examples of the Columbian Exposition 
Award medal will be included. 

"The centerpiece of the exhibition will be the progression of 
the design process for the new coinage and will concentrate on 
the “double eagle”.  Correspondence with the president, examples 
of Saint-Gaudens’ original pencil sketches, plaster models, and 
the massive 12-inch plaster of the famed Ultra High Relief will 
be on view.  Included will be the series of electrotypes for 
the ultra high relief coin, showing the progression of the 
multiple strikes needed to fully bring up the detail.  

"Augustus Saint-Gaudens quite literally gave some of his 
very last thoughts to bettering his fellow Americans’ coinage.  
The depth of his impact can be still be felt in our pockets 
today, for the inventiveness and artistic integrity that Saint-
Gaudens brought to American coin design was continued by his 
students’ work: James Earle Fraser’s buffalo nickel, Adolf 
Weinman’s mercury dime and walking Liberty half dollar, and 
finally James Flanagan’s Washington quarter which is still 
circulating today.

“I suppose I shall be impeached for it
” Theodore Roosevelt, 
Augustus Saint-Gaudens and America’s Most Beautiful Coin will 
be on view at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York at 33 Liberty 
Street, New York, NY from September 20, 2007 through March 31, 
2008.  Exhibition hours are 10:00am to 4:00pm Monday through 
Friday.  Those interested in attending the press preview on 
September 19, 2007 should contact Megan Fenselau of the 
American Numismatic Society at (212) 571-4470 ext. 1311 or 
fenselau at"    


Author David Lange writes: "I want to clarify a couple of 
misunderstandings in your story last week about my mint history 
book and the ANA. The book was indeed commissioned by the ANA 
in 1995, but the plan was to publish it in-house as part of 
the ANA's series of correspondence courses. The manuscript 
was completed early in 1996, but then it sort of languished 
within the Education Department for the next several years. 

"When the manuscript was finally laid out and illustrated by 
Mary Jo Meade (who has performed the same work for my current 
book), the resulting product was good enough that the ANA's 
Money Market head Rudy Bahr desired to have it produced as a 
commercial book, with the proceeds going to the ANA. I had 
already signed away any rights to it a few years beforehand, 
on the assumption that it would remain simply a correspondence 
course for educational purposes. 

"Still, I didn't object to the change of plans, and Rudy even 
attempted to get me some sort of royalty as an honorarium. 
Everything was set to go, and Mary Jo had already prepared a 
beautiful cover design, which was shown to a few people during 
the 2003 Summer Seminar to much approval.

"Things began to unravel when Rudy was let go by the ANA in the 
fall of 2003 as part of a widespread purge of the then-current 
staff. Mary Jo and I were left in the dark as to what, if anything, 
was happening with the book. I wrote several emails to Chris 
Cipoletti in an attempt to get an answer, but nothing was 
forthcoming until early in 2005, when I found out that the ANA 
had turned over the book to Whitman. Despite my repeated emails, 
I was unable to affect the remaining changes I needed to make 
to it before I learned second-hand that the book was already 
in print. 

"Nevertheless, I'm pleased with the finished product, though 
I still prefer the original cover design, which featured the 
familiar painting of the first mint's buildings. The cover 
design actually used was prepared by Whitman's art department 
without any input from Mary Jo or me, but it seems pleasing 
enough to the public.

"I don't know what sort of deal was struck between the ANA and 
Whitman, and my attempts to find out what the ANA received for 
the book have been unsuccessful. As I stated before, I 
understood years prior its publication that I would not be 
paid or receive royalties. That's not where the injury lies, 
but rather it is in the ANA's failure to acknowledge that 
this was a commissioned work and that it was an outright 
donation from the very beginning. 

"I suspect that the ANA may have lost money on this project, 
since it had to pay Mary Jo for her professional services, 
and the book's very low list price suggests that Whitman 
acquired it quite reasonably. If it was indeed a loss to the 
ANA, the previous board of governors did not, to the best of 
my knowledge, investigate, though I did raise this issue 
with it.

"I'm not seeking money for the work I did on behalf of the 
ANA, only a truthful acknowledgment of the facts to the 
current board and the membership. While I'm pleased with the 
recognition that the book has brought me, the ANA management's 
handling of the project has left me feeling somewhat injured 
by the whole experience."

[My note last week was based on my incomplete recollections 
of what I'd heard about the project from various people. Many 
thanks to Dave for clarifying his side of the story for us.  

Roger Burdette writes: "The E-Sylum article about David Lange's 
donation to the ANA of his book, and the work's subsequent 
addition to a nationally recognized reading list touched a nerve. 
I had seen nothing in the ANA's publications about this and am 
concerned that the ANA has not been very appreciative of Mr. 
Lange's efforts.

"I've written to ANA President Barry Stuppler and copied the 
Board of Governors suggesting that some sort of immediate 
recognition be provided. I hope they will understand how much 
the ANA could benefit from the positive publicity, and how 
much they owe the author for his research and work."

"This would be a great opportunity for the Board to show 
they are not only in control but prepared to turn the ship 
around and head back on course in a positive and productive 

[As I noted last week, I think the ANA Board has many important 
issues to deal with right now, but several board members are 
regular E-Sylum readers.  Roger's notes and these E-Sylum items 
have made the board aware of the issue, and I trust that in due 
course the board will review the situation and act appropriately.  
Meanwhile, I would recommend to everyone to get a copy of the 
book and enjoy reading it. Great job, Dave, and congratulations 
again on the book's honors.  -Editor]


Dave adds: "By the way, the latest date on delivery of my 
Coin Board books is September 10, yet another two weeks later 
than I was told by the printer. The books are already printed, 
but there seems to be a delay at the bindery. I apologize 
to anyone who has ordered the book, and I ask for their 
continued patience."


Dick Johnson writes: "The lead article in the September Numismatist 
is my piece on 'medallic objects.' This was chosen by editor 
Barbara Gregory as a prelude to the FIDEM Congress in Colorado 
Springs September 19-22.
"I had hoped this article would have run as the introduction 
in the catalog of the medals from 540 artists on exhibition 
at this Congress of world medal enthusiasts, artists and 
publishers of medals from 32 countries. She choose, instead, 
to run it in the Numismatist, where it would get a wider 
readership among ANA members (and hopefully attract more 
visitors to the medal exhibition!).
"What these visitors will see are medals in all possible 
forms, what many call 'art medals.' However, the subject 
of the article is 'medallic objects'  the modern art of the 
medallic field. The article points out the first ever of 
these were created in America in December 1965. But the French 
began creating medallic objects the following summer, and 
virtually adopted this new art form as their own.
"The Paris Mint Director at the time, Piere deHaye, was the 
greatest proponent of these and was producing one new medallic 
object a day during his heyday in office! A decade later the 
Paris Mint  published a catalog of the first ten years of 
these and fixed the term in numismatics by calling these, 
the title of the catalog, la Medaille-Object."

[It's a nicely illustrated article. The opening paragraph 
sets the scene well, and a tag line appropriately describes 
how one can best appreciate these interesting works of the 
medallists' art. -Editor]

"In just a few weeks, scores of medallic artists from around 
the globe will converge on the American Numismatic Association 
in Colorado Springs for the 30th Congress of the Fédération 
Internationale de la Médaille (FIDEM), September 19-22. The 
focus of their often imaginative work is as removed from medals 
as medals are from coins, which are overburdened with restrictions, 
such as size, weight and nationalistic propriety. “Medallic objects” 
break the rules of coin and medal design, transcend technical 
restraints and overcome medallic bias, all the while remaining 
interesting, aesthetic pieces of art for the eye to behold . . . 
and the hand to hold."

"Medals should never be hidden in a drawer or, heaven forbid, 
a safedeposit box. They must be seen, appreciated, venerated, 
enjoyed and loved."


Michael Sullivan, past president of the Numismatic Bibliomania 
Society writes: "Thanks for mentioning the article I previously 
wrote for The Asylum on the Foote Counterfeit detector.   
Subsequent to publishing the article, I purchased an original 
1850 manuscript letter Foote.  The manuscript is a four page 
folio size document on light blue paper.  While a line by line 
comparison of the text has not been completed, the majority of 
the content appears to be a draft of the Foote Counterfeit 
detector.  The manuscript has been deacidified, encased in a 
Mylar sleeve, and scored in an oversized acid free folder for 
protection.   The majority of my counterfeit detector collection 
has also been archivally preserved via the hands of my trusted 



Regarding Ray Williams' query about stuck-together book covers, 
Carl Honore' writes: "These 'leatherette' book covers are most 
likely a polymer material.  Polymers can be lightly bonded by 
weak bonds between the polymer molecules.  The best way to 
separate the book covers may be to try to break the bonds between 
them.  I might suggest perhaps rubbing them with silk to create 
a static charge to break the bonds much like rubbing a glass 
rod with silk to store electrons at one end.  This might work 
if in fact it is this kind of thing holding the covers together."



Regarding last week's question on the use of Sacagawea dollars 
in Ecuador, Roberto Jovel writes: "I am sure you and your 
readers will recall that Ecuador dollarized its economy many 
years ago, and that since then U.S. coins and notes have been 
used for daily transactions, including the Dollar coin. 
Another Latin American country that dollarized its economy 
recently is El Salvador, and U.S. coins and notes are used 
as well, except for the one-dollar coin denomination."

Eric von Klinger writes: "Coin World has reported several 
times on Ecuador's "dollarization" program involving circulation 
of Sac dollars. We reported Feb. 11, 2002, that the U.S. 
Treasury Dept. had supplied $5 million in Sacs to Ecuador; 
the same article reported a large export of the coins to El 
Salvador, where a similar program was in place. Other articles 
followed in the July 25 and Oct. 21, 2002 issues of CW, and 
in the April 19, 2004, issue. The article in October 2002 
concerned a problem of widespread use of counterfeits of 
the coin in Ecuador."

Eric sent along the text of a May 31, 2004 report on the 
success of the program; here's one excerpt:

"U.S. currency officially became legal tender throughout 
Ecuador in September 2000. The extraordinary action was an 
effort to stabilize the South American nation's shaky economy 
and to deal with rampant inflation of the up-till-then monetary 
unit, the sucre. By New Year's Day 2003, the U.S. government 
had shipped more than 500 million of the dollar coins to 
Ecuador for use as circulating currency."



Timothy Cook writes: "I am writing to ask about a book I 
recently acquired. The book is "The Coinage of the Heptarchy, 
etc." by John Lindsay, published 1847 in Cork. It was a great 
bargain from for around $30. When I received it 
there was a nice surprise in that it was inscribed by the 
author. There was also a library stamp from the Katen 
Numismatic Library and a small sticker from Frank Katen. 

One of my favourite coin dealers, Allan Davisson, was kind 
enough to give a bit of background information on Katen. 
Allan also mentioned that Katen's library was auctioned off 
some time ago. So now to my questions. Do you or any other 
subscriber to the E-Sylum have a copy of the auction catalogue 
of Katen's library and if so is my little book one of the 
lots? If my book is one of the lots does anyone know the price 
it went for? Lastly if anyone has any additional information 
on Katen that would be helpful as well."

[The "Katen Numismatic Library" stamp is actually something 
the Katens applied to most books and catalogs in their general 
stock, and by itself is not a true indicator of whether a book 
was actually part of the private Katen numismatic library the 
couple dispersed in their final sales.  But such a scarce 
title isn't likely to have been offered in many Katen sales 
and could well have been in the private Katen library sales.  
I don't have my own library handy and can't look it up myself.  
Could someone check for us?  Thanks.  -Editor]


Dick Johnson writes: "Here is a London joke from Reader's Digest 
website: 'When I was in London, I went to buy some chocolates. 
The cashier was like, “That will be ten pounds.” I’m like, “Rub 
it in, why don’t you?”'"   Well, I really did stay away from the 
beer most of the time, but I think this stint in London has added 
at least eight pounds to my frame despite all the walking I'm 
doing.  Time for a fresh diet when I get home.

Timothy Cook writes: "I am really enjoying your London exploits. 
However, being a collector of English hammered coins and books 
about them I am usually very jealous after I am done reading them."

Well, I wish you all could be here with me almost as much 
as I wish my family were here.  I'll be heading home soon, 
but I hope my London Diaries have given you a taste of what 
it's like here; perhaps some of you will have an opportunity 
to follow in my footsteps someday.  The British are a very 
welcoming people, and London is, well, just awesome.  As 
Samuel Johnson once said, "If you're tired of London, you're 
tired of life", and it's just as true today as it was in the 
eighteenth century.  I'm tired of being so far from home, but 
I doubt I would ever get tired of being in London.  Anyone 
with half an opportunity to visit owes it to themselves and 
their family to see it at least once.

Thursday morning I found myself on a train to Milton Keynes, 
forty-five miles northwest of London.  We were heading to another 
important meeting with our clients.  I had been in the office 
until 11:30 Wednesday night preparing and didn't get to my hotel 
until after midnight.  But dammit, we were ready.

Later I read up on the town and learned that it was formed as 
a planned community in the 1960s to relieve housing congestion 
in London.  The area had been mostly farmland and a few scattered 
villages.  Street plans were laid out and a train station, modern 
office buildings and housing popped up.  But the town must remain 
close to its rural heritage; stepping off the train we could smell 
only manure, reminding me of the time I stepped out of a plane in 
Davenport IA.  At our meeting one of our British colleagues said 
that Milton Keynes "must be the most boring place in England."

Our meeting went so well we got a round of applause at the end.  
Great!  Now leave me alone so I can get some rest.  I got back to 
the hotel at the ungodly decent hour of 5pm and didn't quite know 
what to do.  I got out of my suit and dress shoes, showered and 
changed, then went out for a nice Indian dinner at Maharaja.  
Wanting to get some exercise I headed up Queensway, crossed the 
street and entered Hyde Park.  I spoke to my wife on my cell phone 
while walking aimlessly along the Broad Walk.  I came across a 
phalanx of media vans with satellite dishes pointed skyward.  
So what's going on now?

I looked around and saw some people gathered by the gates of 
Kensington Palace, the former home of Prince Charles, Princess 
Diana and their sons Princes William and Harry.  It was August 
30th, ten years after the Paris car crash that killed Diana.  
People were coming from all over, like they did in 1997, to lay 
flowers and candles and post pictures, cards, notes and letters 
to the palace gates.   People stood reading the notes and looking 
at the pictures and flowers.

I called my wife back, since she'd always been a big fan of Diana, 
Princess of Wales.  I told her where I was and what I was seeing.  
I read a couple of the notes and poems, but kept choking up.  It 
was such a tragic loss, particularly because of the two young 
sons she left behind.  The pictures of D,PoW with William and Harry 
looked for all the world to me like pictures of my own sons with 
their mother, whose name is also Diana (although she goes by Dee).

As I walked away I passed an older black woman who touched a 
Diana photo with her hand.  In what sounded to me to be a 
Caribbean accent, I heard her say, "I bid you goodnight, Diana ... 
until tomorrow." 

By now it was dark.  Rather than retrace my steps back to my hotel, 
I turned onto Kensington Palace Gardens, a street I'd discovered 
by accident while walking around the neighborhood when I first 
arrived in London.  The half-mile long tree-lined avenue is among 
the most exclusive addresses in London, long known as Billionaires 
Row.  My favorite house is number 18 (actually 18-19 Kensington 
Palace Gardens).  

I guess I have Good Taste.  When I looked up information on 
the street, I discovered that the house is owned by Lakshmi 
Mittal of Arcelor Mittal, the world's largest steel company.  
Mittal is one of the richest men in the world.  He bought the 
house for 57 million GBP (over $100 million), making it the 
world's most expensive home.  It has twelve bedrooms, a 20-car 
garage, Turkish baths, a ballroom, an oak-paneled picture 
gallery and an ornate basement pool.  It's decorated with 
marble taken from the same quarry that supplied the Taj Mahal; 
people have nicknamed the place the "Taj Mittal."

I crossed the street and made my way back to my one-room 
hotel "suite".  I wonder if Mittal collects coins?

For an account of events at Kensington Palace at the time of Diana's death,

To read a New York Times article on the 10th anniversary of Diana's death,

To view some images of the Kensington Palace gate memorials, see:

For a picture and more information about the Taj Mittal, see: 


Friday came for me like the movie Groundhog Day - the alarm 
rang at the same time, met my colleagues in the lobby (again) 
and took a cab to Euston station (again).  The only difference 
was that we went to Leavesden this time.  Once we arrived, 
while the others had breakfast I started working on The E-Sylum 
- better all around than having another sausage sandwich.

It was a busy and productive day, and I was back at my hotel 
at the very decent hour of 5:30.  Some of the others were 
going boozing, but I passed on the chance to go along.  I 
stopped in my room briefly to shed my jacket, tie and computer.  
Out I went into the nice London evening.  I walked past one 
of the neighborhood churches, where I see weddings taking place 
regularly.  One time there was a white Rolls Royce parked out 
front.  I made my way across the main road into Hyde Park. 
Tonight's destination: the Victoria & Albert Museum, among 
the world's greatest museums of art and design. 

But I was sidetracked a bit while passing Kensington Palace.  
The crowds at the gates were much larger than the night before.  
Princes William and Harry had held a memorial service for their 
mother earlier in the day elsewhere in London.  There were 500 
attendees, but I understand the event was televised.  I mingled 
with the crowd and saw that many more people had added cards, 
photos and flower bouquets to the palace gates.  It was very 
touching, yet on a smaller scale than the spontaneous outpouring 
of ten years ago, when the walk where I stood had been 
literally knee-deep in flowers.

I noticed that the palace gates were open tonight, and I walked 
onto the grounds and stood about ten feet from the building.  
A short local man dressed in a wild Union Jack outfit with the 
word "DIANA" written across his forehead came over to ask me 
about the flowers.  It was an awkward-looking, but pleasant 
conversation.  Later I caught up with him and he let me take 
his picture.  I told my wife about the encounter, and she 
later told me that she'd seen the same man on television.

I kept walking and stopped at an Italian restaurant for dinner.  
I'd had a cold since Wednesday and had run out of tissues.  I 
asked my waitress for some paper napkins. She looked puzzled 
and asked "Paper?" in an Eastern-European accent. "Yes", I 
said - "paper".  She came back with a pepper mill and put 
pepper on my spaghetti.  I finally got some paper napkins 
from my Italian-accented (but English-speaking) waiter.

Wnet I got to the V&A the place was rockin'.  A DJ was playing 
loud Reggae music in the cavernous lobby.  A bar was serving 
drinks.  What would Queen Victoria think?  I walked through 
to the gift shop and took a look at the books for sale.  Topics 
included 70's fashion, camouflage, sculpture, and ceramics.  
Nothing on coins or medals.  

I began walking through the galleries and came across a beautiful, 
lifelike, serene sculpture.  It was a monument to Emily Georgiana 
by Lawrence MacDonald, 1850.  The hall was filled with great 
sculptural works on British and classical subjects.  I continued 
on through several galleries and did encounter some numismatic 
items interspersed through the exhibits.  

In the Northern Europe gallery I saw portrait medallions of George 
Frederick Handel and Dr Conyers Middleton by Louis Francois Roubilic 
(1702-62).  Nearby I saw boxwood medallions from around 1550 
representing the seasons, and large silver medals by Hans Krafft 
the Elder dated 1521, 1537 and 1539.

I passed a doorway that would make any bibliophile drool - the 
National Art Library.  Closed for the evening, I could see 
through the huge glass doors a tantalizing glimpse of a classic 
two-story library of tens of thousands of volumes - a bibliophile's 

In the Sacred Stained Glass and Silver room I spotted three 
communion tokens of Birmingham or London dated 1803, ~1850 and 
1871 (in silver, nickel and nickel, respectively).  In the 
Renaissance 1400-1600 Europe room I saw three coins of Emperor 
Trajan (98-117AD).  The text read: "ancient Roman coins were 
very popular with Renaissance collectors.  By owning them, and 
copying aspects of them in their own commissions, patrons could 
acquire some of the glory of the classical world."

In another hall I saw what looked to be cemetery monuments of 
dead medieval knights in chain mail.  I imagined the questions 
I’d be asked if my kids were with me.  “Daddy, why are their 
legs crossed like that?”   I would thoughtfully reply, “Because 
eternity is a long to go without getting up to use a toilet.”

Before leaving the museum I stepped out into the courtyard, 
which was delightfully lit.  Another bar was set up and crowds 
of people stood around drinking and talking.  It was a really 
lovely night.  My work friends had gone out drinking, but I'd 
had my own fun this evening (and two glasses of wine with 
dinner to ease into the weekend).  The V&A was very enjoyable, 
and I'd recommend it to anyone visiting London.


Saturday morning I joined a couple of my coworkers for an excursion 
to the Imperial War Museum at the former Duxford air field.  We
traveled by train to Cambridge then took a taxi to Duxford.  The 
air field, which was the headquarters of the American air force 
through much of WWII, houses a marvelous museum of flight.  We 
saw some early biplanes, complete commercial aircraft, B25 and 
B52 bombers, a Japanese Zero, an a prototype Concorde.  There 
is also a museum of land warfare including working tanks.  I 
only came across two numismatic displays, both consisting (not 
surprisingly) of military medals.  One case housed about 50 medals 
"presented by Colonel R.G. Wilkes CBE TD DL".  The collection 
included miniature Victoria Cross and George Cross medals, the 
British Empire Medal, a Queen's Gallantry Medal, and Gulf and 
Iraq medals.

Sunday morning brought a 9:30 phone call from Phil Mernick.  
Were we still on for our planned trip to the Greenwich Observatory?  
Absolutely.  We agreed to meet at half ten in front of the Mansion 
House steps near the Bank station.  Bless him, Phil had emailed 
me a picture of the Mansion House with an X marking the meeting 
spot.  I knew that a meeting spot outside the station was a good 
idea the minute he suggested it.  Meeting up inside would be a 
dicey proposition even for locals.  Bank is a rambling junction 
of underground lines connected by an interminable number of 
walkways and passages, making you wish you had just gone up to 
the street and taken a taxi to the other side.  

As I stepped onto the street I recognized immediately where I 
was - just down the way was the Bank of England on Threadneedle 
Street, which I'd walked past a couple weeks earlier on my way 
to St. Paul's Cathedral.  I was right next to Mansion House, 
which I'd learned from my guidebook on the tube ride was the 
official residence of the Lord Mayors of the City of London.  
Built in 1753, the palatial mansion is still in use today.  
I took a walk around the outside of the huge building while 
waiting for Phil and Harry to arrive.

Once we met up, the Mernicks walked me over to a nearby Roman 
ruin, the Temple of Mithras.  Discovered in 1954 during the 
construction of a nearby office tower, the ruin (primarily a 
foundation) was disassembled and reconstructed at modern street 
level (the Roman layer is about 18 feet below modern London 
street level).  Clearly visible are the bases of seven columns 
along each side and a well next to the altar for ritual baths.  
Also found at the site were third-century white marble likenesses 
of Minerva, Mercury the guide of the souls of the dead, and the 
gods Mithras and Serapis.  These are on display in the Museum 
of London.

We walked back to the station and got on a train heading toward 
Greenwich, but Harry suggested a sightseeing detour. We would 
get off at Canary Wharf Station and walk from there.  Canary 
Wharf is a huge real estate development project begun about 1981 
and now home to England's three tallest buildings.  Canary Wharf 
is built on the site of what were once the busiest docks in the 
world. Heavily bombed in WWII, the area never fully recovered.  
A huge influx of private and public money in the 1980s started 
the area toward recovery. A new train line and stations were 
built and incorporated into plans for the office towers.  As 
the newest line in London's system, our train was fully automated 
and driverless.  We sat in the first car facing forward, getting 
a rare view of London's tunnels and elevated railways.  It was 
like being on a slower version of a Disneyland ride.

While on the subject of the bombings, I asked Harry about his 
family's experience during the war.  Their father was a bookkeeper 
for a small company and in his off hours was stationed on rooftops 
as a fire watchman.  One day at home a German doodlebug bomb 
destroyed a pub and row of houses just 50 yards from their house, 
and their father's eye was injured by shattered glass.

Their mother had co-owned and managed a drugstore before having 
children and becoming a housewife.  But during the war she had a 
job as secretary to an Air Raid Precaution warden.  Her office 
was in a series of tenements called the Hughes Mansions.  One day 
she took off to attend to young Philip - Tuesday 27th March 1945.  
That day Hughes Mansions was hit by a German V2 rocket, killing 
over 130 people including her boss.  It was the last day V2 
rockets hit London.

Canary Wharf was quite nice, but rather deserted since it was a 
Sunday.  We walked through the lobby of the main tower and visited 
a massive underground station, the largest in the world.  Eventually 
we found ourselves in a nice park next to the river Thames.  The 
Mernicks pointed out our destination across the river - the 
Greenwich Observatory and the nearby Queen's House and the Old 
Royal Naval College. 
We weren't going to take a train or bus to the other side of 
the river - we were going to walk - UNDER it.   On opposite banks 
of the river stood two cylindrical domed structures.  These were 
the entrances of a pedestrian tunnel (the Greenwich Foot Tunnel), 
built beneath the Thames in 1902.  Each of the structures houses 
a spiral staircase and a lift (elevator).  We walked down the 
stairs on the north bank and rode the lift up on the south bank, 
emerging near the Greenwich dock and the Cutty Sark.

Arguably the most famous ship in the world, the Cutty Sark was 
launched in 1869 and is the world’s sole surviving tea clipper 
ship, with the majority of her original hull fabric intact.  On 
display in Greenwich, the ship was undergoing a major restoration 
effort when struck by a devastating fire on 21st May this year. 
I remember the anguished headlines and TV reports that week, 
shortly after I first came to London.  

Luckily, many of her major features had been removed for conservation.  
Although damaged heavily, the restoration effort continues.  We 
were unable to view the charred ship which was covered by a huge 
tent, but visited the temporary display and gift shop set up in 
a small tent next to the Cutty.  The tent's roof was pocked with 
repaired holes where embers from the flaming ship burned had 
through.  Phil bought a souvenir Spanish piece-of-eight for his 
reference collection of coin copies.  I emptied all my pocket 
change into the collection box.  

After visiting the Cutty Sark we walked onto the grounds of the 
Old Royal Naval College.  The grounds are quite historic, like 
everywhere else in London, it seems.  It was here that the 
royal residence stood for over two centuries.  Henry VIII lived 
and jousted here, and it was here that his daughter Queen 
Elizabeth I was born and raised.  

The "new" buildings of the Old Royal Naval College were designed 
by Christoper Wren and begun in 1696.  First we visited the 
Painted Hall. Planned to be the hospital's dining hall, it 
turned out to be the finest dining hall in the Western world, 
decorated with stunning paintings throughout.  Too beautiful 
to be used for its original purpose, the room was a little-used 
showpiece until the body of Admiral Lord Nelson was brought 
there to lie in state in 1802.

The Mernicks knew of another secret little passage - I followed 
them down to the basement of the building and we walked through 
an underground tunnel to the Chapel on the opposite side of the 
courtyard.  I thought the Painted Hall was wonderful, but the 
Chapel was simply stunning.  I'd never seen anything like it and 
felt it was probably the most beautiful indoor space I'd ever 
seen.  The bright light, bright pastel colors and elegantly simple 
ornamentation were a wonder. 

We weren't done yet - next we visited The Queen's House.  Begun 
in 1616 as a private house for James I's queen, Anne of Denmark, 
it was completed in 1638.  The design was a radical departure 
from the Tudor period and quite controversial in its day.  The 
building is said to have been a model for The White House in 
Washington, DC., and it's easy to see the resemblance.  You gotta 
love the name of the daring architect - Inigo Jones.

We took a break for lunch at a noodle place in the nearby streets 
- the original Greenwich Village.  The first shop we came across 
proclaimed itself "the first shop in the world" because it stands 
next to the primary meridian line - zero degrees longitude.  Next 
we visited a local flea market looking for treasures.  Phil picked 
up a book called The Collector, a compilation of articles and 
illustrations from The Queen newspaper on various collecting topics 
including numismatics.  It was published in 1905.  Harry found a 
1961 medal with portraits of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.  
He collects these medals, but hadn't seen this particular one before.

We hoofed it up the long hill to get to the Royal Observatory, 
another Christopher Wren design commissioned in 1675 by King Charles II.  
It was here in 1851 that astronomers established the basis of longitude, 
the Prime Meridian.  Marked by a long steel strip in the courtyard 
(and highlight by laser light at night), it's the spot where tourists 
queue up for photos standing with one foot in the western hemisphere 
and the other in the east.

The exhibits inside are simply wonderful for anyone with an 
appreciation for the history of science.  As I'd learned weeks
earlier when Harry discussed a Royal Mint medal honoring John 
Harrison, the Observatory collection includes Harrison's prize-
winning longitude marine chronometer (called H4) and its three 
predecessors.  Essential for safe and accurate maritime navigation, 
Harrison's invention, which took decades to perfect, is probably 
one of the most important machines ever constructed by man. 

While at the observatory we also took in a view of London produced 
by a camera obscura, where light from a small slit is directed onto 
a surface to show a faint outline of an outside scene.   You have 
to wait for your eyes to adjust, but an image does appear.  

We'd had a fun day but it wasn't over yet.  We walked away from 
the Observatory, across a park and caught a bus to the Mernick's 
neighborhood in East London.  We passed the Millennium Dome.  
After getting off the bus we took a shortcut through a housing 
project.  Once in their flat the brothers showed me some of 
their literature.

First came a 1623 book by John Speed titled "The Historie of 
Great Britaine" - part I, History & Geography.  The book consistently 
uses coins as illustrations, and many chapters also include an 
illustration of the monarch's official seal.

Next came a four-volume set of Ruding's "Annals of the Coinage 
of Britain &c.", 1817 (the plate volume is from 1819).

Finally, we viewed a two-volume 1769 work, "The History and 
Antiquities of the Exchequer of the Kings of England".

It was time to call it a day, and Phil walked me to the nearby 
tube stop.  I headed back to my hotel and after dinner worked 
on completing The E-Sylum.  Many thanks to the Mernick brothers 
for their kind tour and company - it was a great experience 
having two knowledgeable local guides for an experience above 
and beyond the usual tourist routine.

By this time next week my stint in London will be over.  But I 
do hope and expect to cram in some more numismatic experiences, 
so look for one last London Diary in next week's issue.

To learn the difference between the Mayor of London and the Lord Mayor, see:

For more information on the Temple of Mithras, see:,_London

For more information on Canary Wharf, see:

For more on the Hughes Mansions V2 rocket attack, see:
For more information on the Greenwich Foot Tunnel, see

For more information on the Cutty Sark, see:

For more information on the Old Royal Naval College Greenwich, see:

For more information on the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, see:,_Greenwich 

For more information on John Harrison, see:'s_timepiece1.htm 

For more on the Camera Obscura, see:

To view the web sites of Philip and Harold Mernick, see:


An article in The Telegraph reports that "An archeologist 
claims to have found a 16th century European coin in a swamp 
on Australia’s east coast, raising new questions about whether 
Captain James Cook was beaten to the continent by the Spanish 
or Portuguese.

"The silver coin, which is inscribed with the date 1597, was 
discovered by a group led by amateur archeologist Greg Jefferys.

"It was buried a few inches below the ground in the middle of 
snake-infested Eighteen Mile Swamp on North Stradbroke Island, 

"If proved to be authentic it will lend weight to the theory 
that Spanish or Portuguese navigators ‘discovered’ Australia’s 
eastern seaboard centuries before Capt Cook claimed it for 
Britain when he landed at Botany Bay in 1770.

"Mr Jefferys hopes the coin may lead him to the wreck of a 16th 
or 17th century ship rumoured to be lying beneath the swamp — 
the so-called ‘Stradbroke Galleon’.

"But other experts were skeptical. Andrew Viduka, a shipwreck 
expert from the Museum of Tropical Queensland, said: 'It’s what 
we call a loose find — it’s an object that could have been 
put there by anyone at any time.'

"There’s no archeological context to it.

"'If it could be proven, it would be hugely exciting but at the 
moment you can’t infer anything from it.' It has long been 
accepted that Dutch navigators sailed up Australia’s west coast 
in the 1600s, preceding Capt Cook on the eastern seaboard by 
nearly 200 years."

To read the complete article, see:


This week The Associated Press published a lengthy article on the 
new security thread technology to be used by the Bureau of Engraving 
and Printing on the next version of the U.S. $100 bill.

"After six decades in which the venerable greenback never changed 
its look, the U.S. currency has undergone a slew of makeovers. 
The most amazing is yet to come.

"A new security thread has been approved for the $100 bill, The 
Associated Press has learned, and the change will cause double-takes.

"The operation of the new security thread looks like something 
straight out of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. 
This magic, however, relies on innovations produced from 
decades of development.

"It combines micro-printing with tiny lenses - 650,000 for a 
single $100 bill. The lenses magnify the micro-printing in a 
truly remarkable way.

"Move the bill side to side and the image appears to move up 
and down. Move the bill up and down and the image appears to 
move from side to side.

"'It is a really complex optical structure on a microscopic 
scale. It makes for a very compelling high security device,' 
said Douglas Crane, a vice president at Crane & Co. The Dalton, 
Mass-based company has a $46 million contract to produce 
the new security threads.

"Holograms, used extensively on credit cards, were considered 
for the $100. They were rejected because they did not offer 
the strong visual signal the government wanted.

"The new security thread is used on the Swedish 1,000 kroner 
note and has been selected by the government of Mexico for 
some higher denomination notes.

"In addition to redesigning the money, the bureau is putting 
in new printing presses with more capabilities to handle the 
increasingly sophisticated security features.

"The new presses can vary the size of the bills being printed. 
That is something the American Council for the Blind is urging 
the government to consider as a way of helping the visually 
impaired distinguish between different denominations of currency.

"Felix says no decision has been made on such a change. The 
government is appealing a federal court ruling that could 
force such a redesign."

To read the complete article, see:


Wallace Baine of the Santa Cruz Sentinel published an article 
August 31st calling for new faces on U.S. paper money.  It reads 
like more of a fluff piece than a real editorial, but we could 
see more calls for change like this in the future.  Many other 
countries have far more variety in the personalities honored on 
their banknotes, and Baine correctly points out that the U.S. Mint 
has paved the way for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing via 
the great variety of subjects honored in the State Quarter and 
commemorative coin programs.

"There are roughly 5 billion handsomely engraved pictures of 
former president Andrew Jackson floating around the U.S. today, 
most of those exchanged from one person to another for goods 
and services. Reach into your pocket, wallet or purse right now 
and there's a good chance you have a portrait — or two or more 
— of Old Hickory, as Jackson was known in his day.

"We're talking, of course, about the $20 bill, the second most 
circulated paper currency in America behind only George 
Washington's picture on the $1 bill. The twenty owes much of 
its popularity to the ATM, of which it is the favorite 
denomination. And since the ATM is how most of us procure 
cash these days, the twenty reigns supreme.

"But only the slightest minority of Americans have even 
the foggiest idea of who Andrew Jackson was. Which raises 
this obvious but never-addressed question: Why exactly is 
he on our money?

"I'm not making the argument that Jackson doesn't belong 
on the twenty ... I'm saying that it's about time to give 
someone else that privileged position. It's time to put a 
little rotation in the faces on our currency." 

[Baine suggests James Madison, Thomas Edison, Jackie Robinson, 
Mark Twain, Thomas Paine and Albert Einstein.  His "Sexy 
pick with no chance of being seriously considered: Walt Whitman".  
His other "sexy picks" are Eleanor Roosevelt, Paul Robeson, P.T. 
Barnum, Bob Dylan, Hank Williams and Rachel Carson. -Editor]

To read the complete article, see:

Dick Johnson writes: "Surfing the internet this week brought 
a rare discovery. I didn't pick it up when it was announced 
March 27th this year, but it has great numismatic significance.
"Five hundred days before the opening of the 2008 Olympic 
Games in Beijing China, illustrations of the Olympic medals 
were released to the press. The medals will bear genuine 
jade ring inserts on their reverse. White jade on the gold 
medals, light green jade on the silver medals, dark green 
jade on the bronze medals. More than 1500 medals are to 
be awarded!
"The host country has the obligation and privilege to design 
and produce the Olympic award medals. Seldom are they 
announced this far in advance. And seldom are they this 
distinctive. The medal bears a simple motif with the Beijing 
Games logo and the five-ring Olympic symbol as the center 
emblem. The medals are struck with a wide rim and a recessed 
area between. Here is where a thin circular ring of genuine 
jade will be inserted.
"Brilliant. Stunning. Attractive. Distinctive. Appropriate. 
I may run out of superlatives. The Chinese designers have 
outdone themselves! 
"The obverse design is modified from previous Olympic medal 
designs. The medal bears an ornate wide loop for the red neck 
ribbon inscribed "Beijing 2008" and the 5-ring Olympic logo. 
"Medals are numismatics' contribution to the world of art, 
where a creative designer can do most anything with a piece 
of metal to give it permanent meaning and beauty, ideal for 
an award honor or memorable event. My hat is off to the 
Chinese who have done this with their Olympic medal. The 
winning athletes will be proud to take these medals home 
from Beijing.
"I found a web site generated by Richard R. Wertz who 
documented all this in one of his Special Reports. It is 
in English, illustrated in color, and very enlightening." 

For more information and images of the 2008 Beijing Olympic medals, see:

[Be sure to take a look at the images.  The medals seem nicely 
done and I'm willing to bet they'll look even better when seen 
in person. -Editor]


The People's Daily of China reports that "A cellar containing 
1.5 tons of ancient coins, including some 2,000-year-old ones, 
have been discovered by a villager in Changzi County, north 
China's Shanxi Province.

"The man in Qianwanhu village discovered the cellar with some 
10,000 coins, ranging from 3 cm to 1 cm in diameter, on Aug. 23 
when he was digging a channel to place pipes for tap water, 
said Li Lin, an official of the Changzi Center of Cultural 
Heritage and Tourism.

"The 'money cellar' was 1.5 meters under the earth, with coins 
being piled orderly into a cuboid of 1.3 meters long, 0.65 meter 
wide and one meter high, Li said.

"Most of the coins were made during the Northern Song Dynasty 
(960-1127) with the remainders made during Han Dynasty (206 
BC-220 AD) and Tang Dynasty (618-907), Li said.

"Many coins were in good condition, and characters on the 
surface were still legible, while some others were rusty. 
The largest coin is 3 cm in diameter and the smallest is 
one cm, Li said."

To read the complete article, see:


John Andrew forwarded this article from The Sun after Jeff Starck 
from Coin World brought it to his attention. It concerns the 
discovery of a hoard of gold angel and half-angel coins.  He 
was working to confirm details of the find with British authorities 
including the Treasure Liaison Officer at Bristol Museum. John 
will write up the story after the legal process has been complete, 
by which time accurate information about the coins will be available.  
Here's what The Sun said:

"A labourer will soon be quids in after finding a hoard of 500-year-old 
gold coins. Lucky Jason Clarke, 19, helped uncover 204 Angel and 
half-Angel coins while digging a drainage ditch.  The coins were in 
circulation in 1510 — and experts at top auction house Sotheby’s 
say the collection is worth at least £160,000.

"“We were using a mechanical digger and the boss was controlling 
it while I was on the ground. Then we both spotted a glint of gold. 
The hole was full of coins. 

"“I scrabbled around and kept finding more and more. I ended up 
filling a bag full of them.”"

To read the complete article, see:,,2-2007390909,00.html

[OK, that's enough.  I quit my job and bought a metal detector.  
I told my family I'm staying here in England to make our fortune.  
The next London Diary will be uploaded from a ditch at an 
undisclosed location.  -Editor]


Larry Gaye writes: "Regarding the question on tilting coins 
and medals for photography I have found a slight tilt to be 
quite effective on high lustre copper and silver.  Coins that 
are worn and with nice earthen or other highlights do better on 
a "flat" surface, these in my case are always ancients.

"I still like to experiment when I shoot as you never know 
what will happen.  I use a digital camera and always experiment 
with the lighting source as well as the camera's ability to adapt 
to different sources such as daylight, cloudy, fluorescent, and 
normal incandescent sources.  Try it yourself and see what it 
looks like."



Tom Caldwell writes: "The article on the San Antonio coin hoard 
really got my attention as it did yours for the same reasons.   
Without a doubt the "cleaning" that has no doubt already been 
done has already pretty much destroyed a large percentage of 
the value.   A shame the local dealer could not have given the 
owner better advise, unless it was already too late at that 



The Sun Times of Owen Sound, Ontario published an article on 
the latest find of Dave Thomson, the eBay medal hunter:

"When soldiers returned home from the First World War, some 
communities bestowed special welcome-home medals like the one 
Sydenham Township gave Robert Charles Fraser. 

"Eighty-nine years after the War to End All Wars ended, 
Fraser’s medals have surfaced on EBay. 

"His Sydenham medal, British War Medal and Victory Medal 
were purchased by Dave Thomson, the war medal enthusiast from 
St. George, Ont., who has helped return medals he’s found at 
online auction site EBay about 70 times in the past year. 

"He hopes Good Samaritans or family who hear of the find 
will offer to purchase the medals and possibly donate them 
to a local museum. 

"Thomson’s interventions have returned three war medals to 
Grey-Bruce, most recently to a Port Elgin widow of a Second 
World War soldier. In that case the woman’s son bought them. 
The other times interested citizens have bought them. “The 
people of your county, they obviously haven’t forgotten,” 
Thomson said. Thomson said he finds it unusual to have found 
so many medals with ties to Grey-Bruce."

To read the complete article, see:



This week's featured web page is suggested by John and 
Nancy Wilson. They write: "We found another terrific site 
for researchers and historians.  NNDB does indeed track 
the entire world.  Put in almost anyone famous and you will 
get a detailed history of that person."

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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