The E-Sylum v10#36, September 9, 2007
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Sun Sep 9 21:35:14 PDT 2007
Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 10, Number 36, September 9, 2007:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2007, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
WAYNE'S WORDS: THE E-SYLUM 9 SEPTEMBER, 2007
Among our recent subscribers are Steve Hodges and Gary Overton,
courtesy of Bob Hurst, and Marc C. Ricard. Welcome aboard! We
now have 1,181 subscribers.
Adrián González Salinas of Monterrey, México writes: "I would
like to sincerely congratulate for your extraordinary work being
The E-Sylum editor for NINE YEARS! Every day I receive several
e-publications but The E-Sylum is one of the best...by far!
Please keep up the great work! I know that you could receive
congratulations from The E-Sylum's readers in several languages
(I guess at minimum 10) therefore I would like to say to you
'Muchas Felicidades y Muchos Éxitos'."
Bob Hurst, President of Florida United Numismatists, Inc. writes:
"I really enjoy reading The E-Sylum and I applaud your efforts
week after week. I would greatly appreciate it if you would
add two of my friends and fellow FUN Board members as new
subscribers. They are Steve Hodges and Gary Overton. Thank
you very much again for all of your efforts to keep the numismatic
community connected and informed."
Ive added Steve and Gary to the E-Sylum mailing list. We get
many of our new subscribers one at a time through referrals
from happy readers. Thanks and welcome!
This week we open with word of a new edition of Sedwick's 'The
Practical Book of Cobs' and a response from Acting ANA Executive
Director Ken Hallenbeck about David Lange's U.S. Mint book. In
the research department, new information had been gleaned from
the Robert M. Patterson personal papers and Dick Johnson unearths
a small archive of Hans Schulman papers.
My London Diary arrives in multiple installments this week
including visits to the British Museum, the Bank of England
Museum and Saturday's Coin Fair. Although my London assignment
is now over the diary baton is being taken up at least for one
week by Pete Smith, writing of his recent visit to Omaha and
the Byron Reed exhibit.
In the news is the consignment to auction of the Marquis de
Lafayette's Society of the Cincinnati medal, and Dwight Manley's
departure from the Jockeys' Guild. To learn why Knights cross
their legs and what super-secret coin the Denver Mint is said
to be making, read on. Have a great week, everyone.
Numismatic Bibliomania Society
THE PRACTICAL BOOK OF COBS BY DAN SEDWICK, FOURTH EDITION
Joe Lasser writes: "Dan Sedwick has produced a fourth edition
of "The Practical Book of Cobs". In it he has carefully revised
and enlarged assayer descriptions and very importantly for any
and all researchers, he explains the rationale for his conclusions.
He's added a new section giving a list of fifty five treasure
ships and their cargoes and has compressed virtually every
important fact known about cobs today into this well structured
volume. It is well written -- lucid and logical-- and is a
meaningful addition to cob coin literature that should be
included in everyone's library. I wish that I could do as good
a job as Dan has done."
HALLENBECK ON LANGE'S 'U.S. MINT AND ITS COINAGE' BOOK
Regarding our discussion of the American Numismatic Association's
sponsorship of David Lange's 'U.S. Mint and Its Coinage' book,
the ANA's acting Executive Director Ken Hallenbeck writes:
"I avidly read The E-Sylum and was disturbed to read how Dave Lange
has been treated. As you realize, I'm now in a position to help
(hopefully). If there isn't some kind of a confidentiality
agreement, and if our attorney doesn't have a problem, and if
I can even find out the information, I'll sure as heck let you
"With our new board now in action, we have a much more open
approach. I'm impressed with the new board and the leadership
Barry Stuppler is showing. If I can find it, and no roadblock
presents itself, you'll get it. My management approach is to
not keep secrets, just do what is right. Our new attorney to
the president has a saying: "It's not who's right, but what's
right," The new board and I agree to this. Well, enough of
this preaching, I'm just excited to be in a position to help
the ANA and numismatics."
ON THE ANA'S SPONSORSHIP OF LANGE'S 'U.S. MINT AND ITS COINAGE' BOOK
ANA'S FIDEM CONGRESS EXHIBIT SHAPING UP
Regarding Dick Johnson's article on the ANA's upcoming 30th
Congress of FIDEM (the Fédération Internationale de la Médaille),
acting Executive Director Ken Hallenbeck writes:
"Daily I see the FIDEM exhibit taking shape. It's a tremendous
amount of work, but it will be well worth it for those coming.
'Hand held sculptures' describes the exhibit to a T. There are
some fabulous items. It's difficult to describe these wonderful
hand held sculptures. A large catalog will have pictures of
all (or almost all) of the sculptures. Unfortunately, I'll be
out of the country (in Russia) for the grand opening."
JOHNSON'S MEDALLIC OBJECTS ARTICLE FEATURED IN SEPTEMBER NUMISMATIST
PATTERSON LETTERS YIELD INFORMATION ON ENGRAVER GOBRECHT
In the August 2007 issue of The E-Gobrecht (The Electronic Newsletter
of the Liberty Seated Collectors Club) Len Augsburger writes: "During
a recent research trip to the American Philosophical Society in
Philadelphia, my research partner, Joel Orosz, had the excellent
idea to call for the Robert M. Patterson personal papers. Three
letters from Samuel Moore to Robert M. Patterson dated June, 1835
were located. At this time Moore was the outgoing director of the
mint; Patterson assumed the Mint directorship in July, 1835.
Pattersons father had also been the Mint director, serving from
1806 to 1824. Tying the family knot even further, the incoming
director Robert M. Patterson was the brother-in-law of the outgoing
director Moore. The first letter is dated June 16, 1835 and deals
with the issue of hiring Christian Gobrecht as an engraver."
[Congratulations to Len and Joel on the fruits of their research.
Len's 1 1/2 page article is titled 'The Samuel Moore Letters: Part 1
- The Hiring of Christian Gobrecht'. We'll look forward to the
You do not have to be a LSCC member to enjoy the newsletter;
subscription to the E-Gobrecht is available to anyone. To be
added to the E-Gobrecht mailing list, send an email message
with the words "Subscribe/Unsubscribe" in the subject line of
the message to: wb8cpy at arrl.net. -Editor]
DICK JOHNSON'S SCHULMAN-FAROUK ARCHIVE
Dick Johnson writes: "The president of my local coin club,
Mark Sartori, was helping me unpack some boxes that hadn't
seen the light of day for a number of years. Mark was handy
with a hammer and paint brush, and had just built a wall of
shelving for me. We were unpacking boxes in no particular
order to fill empty shelves.
"I opened a box and found an envelope stuffed with documents.
'I'll bet you will recognize this name,' I said to Mark. He
leaned over my shoulder and saw a Christmas card. I flipped
it open. 'Read the name.'
"'Farouk' he said. 'But note the 'R' under the name. R. Regina.
King. That is a Christmas card from King Farouk to Hans Schulman.'
Mark starred in disbelief.
"With the Christmas card was 72 pages of invoices of all the
coins Hans M. F. Schulman had purchased at the Palace auctions
of King Farouk's coin collection sold by the government of Egypt
in February 1954 after the forced abdication of Farouk as monarch
in July 1952. And two of Hans' hand written notes conveying the
material to me. He had originally included the catalogs of the
sale, but had asked for their return, which I had dutifully done.
"Also there are two color photographs taken while the auction
was in progress at the Egyptian palace. I pointed out to Mark
those I recognized. "That's Hans. That's David Spink. That was
a dealer from Spain." Apparently the photos were taken by
Gaston Di Bello of Buffalo, NY. There was an envelope enclosed
addressed to me. I don't remember asking Di Bello to send me
the photos but here they are.
"Further down was a page of notes identifying most of the
individuals in the photos. At some point I must have asked
Hans to tell me who these people were. It included two Baldwin's,
two Calicos, two Santa Mario's -- all European dealers, and
four more individuals who were also named.
"The auction was bittersweet for Hans. King Farouk was Hans'
biggest customer. And he ended up owing Hans millions of
dollars before the abdication. He tried to collect or to
retrieve the coins not paid for prior to the auction. The only
way he could recoup his money was to buy back as many of the
coins as possible and settle with the government of Egypt. I
don't remember the final outcome or the settlement details.
"But I do remember Hans telling me when Farouk was alive and
king of Egypt they would come to work every day in New York
City, receive the coin orders from Farouk, ship the coins, and
that was their day's work. It wasn't until the end when King
Farouk's payments were slow in coming. It is not good for any
business to have only one customer. What happens when you
lose that one customer? That's what happened to Hans.
"Hans was a dear friend to me. When I was in the medal auction
business he guided consignments my way. He included me in a
coin deal or two. At a coin show once he handed me a cased set
of gold coins. 'Here, go sell that to so-and-so. Sell it for
anything over X amount and make yourself a fat fee.' Hans was
my first weekly columnist at Coin World. His text came in
written on all kinds of paper as he traveled all over the world.
"And here is a mini archive of Schulman documents. Perhaps I
should have it appraised and offer it to some numismatic writer
who wants to do research or an article on Schulman or Farouk
as a coin collector."
CARL HONORE ON HIGH RELIEF COINAGE
Carl Honore writes: "This is written in comment to the recent
item on the upcoming display of High Relief Saint-Gaudens Double
"For quite a few years I have been attempting to wrap my mind
around the fact that high relief (ie concave fields) coinage
just wouldn't work for U.S. coinage. I have come to the
conclusion that this is absolute garbage. What may not have
worked for U.S. coinage is the actual designs viz high relief.
"The coins of Conrad Heinrich Kuchler, chief designer for the
Boulton and Watt mint in England had some fabulous designs
that struck up quite nicely. Much of the detail in these pieces
are still visible even in circulated condition. If one defines
a feature of high relief as including concave fields (re: the
ultra high and high relief double eagles of St. Gaudens) one
can easily find excellent examples of this form in Kuchler's
1806 copper designs for Boulton. These pieces also have
"Other designs including Intaglio are readily seen in the 8
sol pieces Boulton struck for the French. The deep oval
intaglio design is a masterwork of detail.
"Bearing in mind that copper is quite a soft material, and
also bearing in mind that many of these British designs are
still quite detailed even in worn conedition of the coins,
the excuse that people gave for flattening the relief of
the 1913 buffalo nickels and other pieces because of "potential
design wear" and striking problems just doesn't hold water.
"First, the dies might show considerable wear sooner as the
die faces for 'high relief' coin art would be convex to give
the concave impressions on the coins. Die polishing would
normally be a flat operation for flat dies. If the convex
die faces were polished "flat" then some of the design would
be worn away making the convex die faces somewhat flat after
a while and thus losing design detail.
"Therefore I think a more reasonable excuse for not doing high
relief would be die maintenance, or even die production methods,
not coin wear. What might have been never was due to lack of
insight on how to maintain convex dies. These dies would be
used to strike medals, but then remember that considerably
fewer medals were struck then a production run of coins, and
therefore less die maintenance would be required, preserving
the original art over a lot fewer strikes.
"By the way, the high relief on buffalo nickels would have
preserved the designs not worn them away because the designs
are BELOW the rims of the coin. The rims would have worn
first. Even so, Cupro nickel wears slower than the plain
copper used in 1913 so there was no reasonable excuse to
change the original design other than perhaps petty jealousy.
"I have never seen arguments in print about the technological
aspects of high relief coin art and die making. The sculptors
and artists who allegedly did not know the mechanics of coining
and allegedly produced designs too complicated to strike up
decently obverse to reverse is hogwash. Weinman's walking
liberty half-dollar for example is seen with almost perfect
strike. Such pieces are scarce, but they are available
showing that the designs were in fact feasible.
"Any opinions or feedback? I may be out on a limb and up
the estuary without a means of propulsion here, but I think
my arguments are valid. Perhaps we should get back to high
relief even if only for a limited commemorative run."
ANS OPENS SAINT-GAUDENS EXHIBIT: I SUPPOSE I SHALL BE IMPEACHED FOR IT
Q DAVID BOWERS ON J. COLVIN RANDALL
Dave Bowers forwarded a copy of a piece he's just completed
on J. Colvin Randall, and here are a few excerpts:
"The writer (Q. David Bowers) and John Dannreuther are putting
the finishing touches on The Official Red Book of Gold Dollars
1849-1889, scheduled to be published by Whitman in 2008. The
book will cover many different aspects of this interesting
series, ranging from the obvious considerations of rarity and
market value, to tradition, history, and romance.
"In the 19th century J. Colvin Randall was one of Americas
leading scholars with regard to die varieties of American
coins. A biographical sketch is given below, created by the
writer some years ago in connection with a book on the 1804
silver dollar and Randalls connection with it.
"Relevant to the current Focus on People, wed like to herewith
send out an all points bulletin to see if any readers have a
basic listing of varieties of gold dollars compiled by Randall.
Tantalizing mention of his study appears here and there in early
auction catalogues, such as in this sale by George W. Cogan
titled Property of J. Colvin Randall, sold in March 1882:
"Lot 592: 1849 Star not directly under front of bust. Rev. Open
wreath. 12 berries. Fine. (R. 1.) Realized $1.20.
Lot 593: 1849 Star not directly under front of bust. Rev. Same
as No. 1. Fine. (R. 2.) Realized $1.20.
Lot 594: 1849 Star off from and not directly under the bust.
Large planchet. Rev. Same as No. 1. Very Good. (R.3.)
"The R numbers were Randall numbers and were used for a
short time. This is a very early effort to sort out the obverse
varieties of the 1849 Open Wreath, part of Randalls wider
studies of this denomination.
If any readers have more information on Randalls study,
wed be delighted to hear from you!
"In the 1860s J. Colvin Randall was a dealer in Philadelphia.
Rather than conduct his own sales, typically he consigned to
others, such as to E.L. Mason, Jr., of the same city, who put
Randalls name as consignor on the front of an auction catalogue
dated October 28-29, 1868. The venue was the sale room of
Thomas Birch & Son, with the elder Birch wielding the gavel.
Bidders each held a copy of Masons text, and many if not
most had viewed the coins beforehand, as they were spread
out on tables in the auction room.
"In January 1895 in The Numismatist, Augustus G. Heaton
described a visit to Randall: Not far from the Chapman
brothers office in Philadelphia was the residence of J.
Colvin Randall, an old-timer who was reported to be comfortably
situated from a financial viewpoint, and who dabbled in coins
simply as a pastime. His lair was to be found in a second story
back room crammed with cabinets, bookshelves, prints and curios.
He has a shrewd genial face fringed with short gray hair and
beard, talks fluently in clear-cut Saxon, enjoys storytelling
and with special gusto, when someones blundering in coins is
the subject of merriment. From May to November, however, he
annually sheds his numismatic shell on the Jersey shore, and
then collectors may bait their hooks for him in vain."
WAYNE'S LONDON DIARY 6 SEPTEMBER, 2007
My final week in London could have been quite an ordeal -
transit workers announced a three-day strike that would shut
most of the underground train network. Millions of people,
myself included, ride the tube every day, and closing it would
be a mess. On Monday I was out in Leavesden again for a
meeting and prayed that the strike would be called off. It
wasn't. At 5pm much of the tube system shut down. When our
train arrived in London around 6:30 we weren't sure if we
would be able to find a taxi or have to walk.
At first it looked grim. Usually, there are dozens of taxis
lined up waiting to whisk passengers away from the station.
We saw dozens of passengers in a very long queue and not a
single taxi in sight. But they did continue to appear at
regular intervals, and after a 15+ minute wait, we hopped
into a taxi. The streets were crowded with taxis, cars and
pedestrians, but eventually we made it back to our hotels.
Tuesday morning my coworker Saravana Palaniswamy and I walked
to a bus stop. There was already a big crowd of people. The
few buses that came by were very full and some passed by without
even stopping. With a text message another colleague let us
know he'd been able to reserve a taxi from our hotel. We
walked back to the hotel and took the taxi to our office. We
saw a large number of people walking on the streets. Many
others were on bicycles, and a few were rollerblading to work.
Nothing much can stop London.
That evening I had to miss a meeting of the London Numismatic
Club. The topic was 'Having Fun with Junk Boxes 2', by Tony
Holmes. I understand there was a good turnout despite the tube
strike. I was unable to get away from the office early enough.
We had clients in the office for meetings lasting until 7:30,
and then they wanted to go out for a pint. We also had a
mission to accomplish. Every time one of our team members was
late for a meeting or otherwise infringed on the rules we made
them throw a pound into the beer kitty. We had a big pile of
coins. And this being the last week of the project, it was
time to cash them in for beer. Off we went to the nearest pub.
The bartender didn't know what to make of us, but he was a good
sport. We dumped our pile of coins on the bar and me, one of
our clients, the bartender and a woman sitting at the bar sorted
and counted. It took a while. I told them "We have to put
money in every time we do something stupid, and we're pretty
dumb." It added up to about 45 pounds.
Here's an office video illustrating how we fed the beer kitty:
It was close to 9 o'clock when we went to a nearby Indian
restaurant for dinner (and more beer). Eventually we tumbled
out and managed to get a taxi back to our hotel. The tube
strike was still on, and I worked from my hotel room Wednesday.
Midmorning the strike was called off and gradually the trains
came back on line.
Thursday was another busy day as we ramped down our project.
When I realised it wouldn't have to be a late night, I thought
about doing something I'd been wanted to do ever since I got to
London - see a show. Although I'd been to New York many times
and saw many shows there, I was amazed at the plethora of
theatres in London - the London theatre scene seems even
bigger than New York.
Saravana suggested Spamalot, the musical based on the old Monty
Python and the Holy Grail movie. It wasn't my first choice but
it was a close second. A plus was that the theatre was right
across the street from our office - the Palace Theatre in
Cambridge Circus. We walked across the street to the box
office and bought tickets, then went for dinner at the Greek
restaurant near the British Museum that Hadrien Rambach had
taken me to - Konaki. We made it back to the theatre just
in time. It was an enjoyable show, but a little disappointing
since I already knew most of the gags from having seen the film.
But it was still fun.
So far, no numismatic events to report so far this week unless
you count getting a 2006 Victoria Cross commemorative 50 pence
coin in circulation, or being given a Scottish five pound note
in change. I eagerly set aside the VC coin - how many other
coins are there that have a medal as their subject? I turned
up my nose at the latter and refused to accept it. The Scottish
notes are not legal tender in England, and merchants are not
obligated to accept them. The note wasn't in nice enough
condition for me to want to save it in my collection, so I
turned it down. No problem - the cashier took it back and
gave me a Bank of England five pound note.
I was planning to take Friday off and took some time Thursday
afternoon to prepare for my final numismatic outings. Peter
Preston-Morley of Dix Noonan Webb was out of the office, and
I was unable to schedule a visit to their numismatic library.
Philip Skingley of Spink was also out, although I did speak
with Catherine Gathercole and made plans to stop by to say
hello. I was successful, however, in getting through to the
British Museum and the curator of the Bank of England Museum.
These would be my primary destinations on Friday.
WAYNE'S LONDON DIARY 7 SEPTEMBER, 2007: THE BRITISH MUSEUM
On Friday morning I took the tube to my usual stop on Tottenham
Court Road, but turned a different direction toward the British
Museum. I went through the main entrance on Great Russell Street,
walked up the stairs to the first floor and through the money
gallery. A small room off to the side of the next room held the
"Illegal Tender" exhibit, and at the back of the room was what
looked like a giant steel safe door with a small window beside
it. A young oriental woman came to the window; I told her who
I was and that I had called yesterday about seeing some coins
today. She ushered me in and instructed me to leave my backpack
in the nearby cloakroom. After making sure they were allowed,
I removed my notebook, books, laptop computer, magnifier and
laptop computer. Within a minute I was allowed in to the
Set up like a library reading room, there were a set of eight
tables and chairs arranged in a rectangle at the center of the
room. Four security cameras stared down from above. The
attendant had a desk at the front with video monitors. His
name was Philip, and he was quite pleasant and helpful. I
filled out a form with my name and address, and he took my
driver's license to record my identification.
I was quite unprepared other than having my copy of the Comitia
Americana book and a copy of the old 1922 guide to the exhibit
(A Guide to the Department of Coins and Medals in the British
Museum, Third Edition). My primary goal was to see if they had
some of the Franklin medals described in the Adams-Bentley book.
I guess I don't know what I expected, but had assumed the museum
would have some sort of collection catalog handy, if not online
then some old printed index. No such luck. I had no way of
knowing for sure that the items I'd like to see were even in
the museum's collection. But I asked for the 1777 and 1786
Franklin Medals and Libertas Americana medals to start.
While waiting I looked at the books shelved around the room.
Most were behind locked glass doors. What caught my eye first
were bound volumes of "Marked Catalogues". The earliest I
noticed were for the years 1770-75, 1776-79 and 1780-85. Four
of the later volumes were labeled "Sale Catalogues Marked by
Young". The first contained sales to 1818. Subsequent volumes
were for 1822-1824, 1825-1833 and 1834-1838. There were many
shelves of these, all bound in brown cloth.
Also on the shelves were bound catalogues of the Montague Collection
1895-97. Other sale catalogues included firms such as Sotheby's,
Spink, Christie's, Baldwin's and Galata. While I waited another
gentleman arrived. He asked to see "William III and George I
Ha'pennies" A third gentleman arrived later in the morning.
Two trays were brought out for me and set on my table. Both were
filled with medals. The first tray held a 1777 Benjamin Franklin
of Philadelphia medal (p167 in Adams-Bentley). I read the description
of the medal and viewed the photos to ensure I was looking at the
right piece (I was). I also viewed the 1786 Benjamin Franklin medal
by Dupre (p179) and three different Libertas Americanas. One stood
out for its great condition.
I leafed through Adams-Bentley and made a couple more medal requests.
I also asked for some early U.S. copper coins. The next tray they
brought out held a gorgeous John Paul Jones Comitia Americana medal.
Although it had some very minor rubbing to high points on the reverse,
the medal was stunning - an absolutely beautiful medal with amazing
detail not only in the obverse bust of Jones but in the naval
scene on the reverse.
The Anthony Wayne medal was also quite beautiful with fabulous
detail in the battle scene. Just like I always read a book's
bibliography, I always look at the tags stored with museum specimens.
This one included a note reading "mf't from the original die,
according to John W. Adams 20/1/2004". Small world - it's no
coincidence, but it was interesting to see that I was treading
in John's footsteps.
The U.S. large cent tray held a number of early dates. There
were three 1793 Wreath Cents, three 1794s and many others through
1829. The 1793s included Sheldon numbers 9 and 11c. The first
was a great red uncirculated piece. The tray of Half Cents had
a high grade circulated 1793 example and a lovely red-brown 1794.
Interestingly, the tray also included eight red uncirculated
Lincoln cents from 1998-2001.
Before leaving I asked to see Jennifer Adam. I had spoken to her
on the phone after learning of her interest in J.S.G. Boggs. We
talked for a while about Boggs, and NBS and The E-Sylum. I asked
if I would be able to visit the museum's numismatic library, but
she told me that although they'd bring out any book I requested,
no one is allowed to browse because the books are stored together
with the coins. I was getting short on time, and wouldnt be
able to usefully request any books. I had to get back to the
office to help fulfill our client's request for some additional
work. I returned the remaining trays, packed my bags and left
the building. What a joy it would be to be able to have more
time to view coins and medals from the collection. I thanked
everyone, repacked my bag and headed for the door.
WAYNE'S LONDON DIARY 7 SEPTEMBER, 2007: THE BANK OF ENGLAND MUSEUM
Finally leaving our office around 2pm, I walked up Charing Cross
and stopped at EAT to grab a tuna and onion sandwich. Shops like
EAT and Pret A Manger abound in London, offering fast prepared
food often healthier than typical fast-food restaurant fare.
After wolfing it down I hit the tube station again and rode to
the Bank station. This time my destination was the Bank of England
Museum. Following the signs to the exit closest to the Bank, I
emerged on the street right where I expected. On Sunday the
Mernicks had told me the museum had a separate entrance was
around the corner, so off I went.
Once inside the cavernous domed lobby, I had to empty my pockets
and place my things and backpack on a tray for the X-ray machine.
I walked through a metal detector and was given the all-clear. I
put myself back together and stopped at the reception desk. The
woman handed me a pamphlet describing the exhibits.
The first hall is a reconstruction of the original late 1700s
Bank Stock Office designed by Sir John Soane. This was interesting
to see - while at Sir John Soane's Museum a few weeks earlier I
learned that much of his original Bank of England building had
been demolished. It was good to know the Bank had seen fit to
pay tribute to Soane's work with a faithful full-scale reproduction.
Along one wall were cases and prints on the subject of the Bank's
architecture, from the rented premises it operated from for its
first 40 years, through the various buildings, expansions and
renovations on the present site.
Most of the first hall was devoted the Security by Design exhibit,
covering the history and use of anti-counterfeiting devices on Bank
of England notes. At the front of the hall is an exhibit on the
newest Bank of England note, the 20 pound note featuring Adam Smith.
The case included a three-volume fifth edition of Smith's 'Wealth
of Nations' book.
Another case was titled 'Bank of England Notes - First 200 Years'.
Displayed were three early banknotes - a handwritten 1697 note for
107 pounds, an 1811 one pound note and others. Artifacts displayed
included the Minute Book of the Court of Directors (open to Tuesday,
30 July 1694), a Copper Plate record book containing proofs of
banknote designs from 1694 to 1809, and the 'Twelve Brittanias'.
These last were examples of twelve minutely-different versions of
the 'Brittania' image. "These have been annotated in ink to indicate
the 'Secret Marks' in the foliations which identify the particular
Brittania for each denomination."
A second case included an example of the 1819 Cruikshank Bank
Restriction note, a copy of an 1856 book "How to Detect Forged
Bank Notes", a master die of Brittania for the 1855 note, and a
wooden box open to show a pair of plates for printing 5 pound
notes, last used in 1926.
Other cases held items such as a plate for the intaglio portion
of the Elgar 20 pound note (1999) along with a holographic strip
for the note, a master plate for the intaglio portion of the
Stevenson 'fiver', and a cylindrical master die for the 1970-1980
one pound notes.
Along the opposite wall I noted a set of eight cases of coins.
According to the exhibit text "The Bank's coin collection was
begun in 1932 with the aim of compiling a representative collection
of British regal coins (i.e those having a representation of the
monarch) since 1694, the year of the bank's foundation."
The first case included ten coins of William and Mary 1688-1694
including gold one, two and five guineas. There are nice high-grade
examples throughout the exhibit, which ends with the coins of 1994.
The next room was small, but held many treasures - it was probably
my favorite part of the museum. As a bibliophile I was pleased to
see a 1694 pamphlet by William Paterson titled "A Brief Account of
the Intended Bank of England". Nearby was a "book containing the
names of the subscribers and the amounts they invested in the new
project, the Bank of England."
But it gets even better - also displayed were the first cash book
of 1694 showing the names and accounts of depositors, and the
original 1694 Charter of the bank, a HUGE, beautifully decorated
and handwritten document with an equally huge wax seal.
For me though, the best was yet to come in a group five quite
ordinary-looking strips of plain wood. Why? Because these were
tally sticks, something I'd read about but had never seen. These
were very primitive early methods of keeping track of sums of money
- see the earlier E-Sylum article (link below). One of the tally
sticks, a 4 foot 3/4 inch example from 1694 "is a receipt for
£18,812:13s:11 1/2p (£18,812.70), part of the original subscription
paid to the government."
[From the Tally Stick web page: "Tally sticks came into use in
England after the Norman invasion. Tax assessments were made for
areas of the country and the relevant sheriff was required to
collect the taxes and remit them to the king. To ensure that both
the sheriff and the king knew where they stood, the tax assessment
was recorded by cutting notches in a wooden twig and then splitting
the twig in two, so that each of them had a durable record of the
assessment. When it was time to pay up, the sheriff would show up
with the cash and his half of the tally to be reckoned against
the King's half." -Editor]
FEATURED WEB SITE: TALLY STICKS
The next room covered The Early Years 1694-1734. Displayed is
a large iron chest circa 1700, the oldest piece of furniture
owned by the Bank. The text notes that "chests like these were
the precursors of modern safes." Set into one wall is a scale
model of the Bank's first premises on Threadneedle Street circa
1734. The diorama includes scale models of people, horses,
carriages and chairs - very well done.
In the next room (Growth & Expansion 1734-1797) there was a
freestanding case displaying a Million Pound note. Although
undated, it is from the early 19th century. These were used
since the 18th century for internal accounting purposes only
- the largest banknote issued for circulation was 1,000 pounds.
An exhibit case titled "The Restriction Period 1797-1821 centers
on forgery and the severe penalties meted out to forgers and
utterers - anyone caught passing or merely possessing a
counterfeit note. The case included another Cruikshank note,
the third one I've seen while in London. Just how rare are they?
The case showed four forged notes - three one pound notes and
one two pounder. "Inimitable Notes" was a "book containing notes
submitted by the public and claimed to be 'unforgeable'. Some
400 suggestions were received but most were unpractical."
Also in the case were two copper printing plates for one and two
pound notes forged by William Badger, and a wood and leather
"Forger's Box" c1800. "This box was used by the forger Charles
Hibbert to contain his forging tools. Hibbert was hanged in 1819".
One case included two Roman gold bars, another item I'd never
seen before (and didn't even realise still existed). Both were
circa 375-378 AD. The larger of the two weighed 16.85 troy
ounces and held the stamp of "Lucianus, Master of the Mint".
Some of the next exhibits were nice but held less interest for
me as a numismatist. They included examples of "The Bank's Silver",
a collection of silver "of considerable artistic and historical
interest". Many of the pieces date from the Bank's founding in
1694. Other cases included a large scale for weighing gold bars
and a set of weights ranging from 1/2 ounce to 200 ounces. An
exhibit of special interest to the general public is a gold bar
weighing "2 stones, 28 pounds, 13 kg". In a specially-constructed
case, visitors can reach in and attempt to lift the bar from
its perch. It's not easy. A counter (updated daily) noted
that at current gold prices the bar was worth 137,651 pounds
today (over $275,000).
I wondered if the bar was sealed with some sort of clear protective
layer - gold is soft, so what would prevent a visitor from scratching
off some gold with their fingernails? It sure wouldn't be easy to
walk off with the whole thing - a security camera sends a video stream
to a screen in the museum lobby where every visitor hefting the bar
is seen by security guards and the general public. So if you're a
90-pound weakling trying to heft the bar, remember you're on Candid
Camera. (Yeah, I did it, but I'd be lying if I said it was easy.
It's been a while since lifted more than the weight of a pint of beer).
Around the room were a set of cases continuing the chronological
theme. The World War II case displayed a letter to the Bank signed
by General Eisenhower "expressing appreciation for the Bank's service
in handling the invasion currency", intended for the use of the
Allied Forces invading Europe. I was pleased to see the case
included an Operation Bernhard Nazi counterfeit of a 1936 five
pound note. It was stamped twice with the word "FORGED".
At the very back of the museum was a small room called The Banknote
Gallery. It began with a 24 January 1699 note for £150 8s 8d, a
1770 note for ten pounds and an 1809 two pound note. I thought it
interesting to read that "Notes were often cut in half and sent
separately to ensure safety in the post." The exhibit contained
three more Operation Bernhard notes. Interestingly, it also
included a set of small tools labeled "Dies subsequently captured
from the Germans." I hadn't been aware that any of the forgers'
tools had survived the war.
Regular readers will know I tend to judge the worth of a museum
gift shop by the number and quality of the books it offers. The
Bank of England Museum shop was a little disappointing in this
regard. While there were some good books they were few in number.
The most substantive was a three-volume work by Sayers on The Bank
of England 1891-1944. There were some good current references on
British banknotes, including English Paper Money, 7th edition, and
the Banknote Yearbook, 5th edition (2007). I bought two small
card-covered pamphlets: "Sir John Soane: Architect & Surveyor
to the Bank of England" and "Forgery: The Artful Crime - A Brief
History of the Forgery of Bank of England Notes".
The Bank of England Museum is a must-see for numismatic visitors
to London, and is more than suitable for non-numismatists as well
- the whole family would enjoy the experience, and admission is
free. I saw quite a number of visitors in my time there.
Next I went back to the building lobby and asked for curator
John Keyworth. Howard Berlin had suggested I contact him, and
I'd spoken with him on the phone the day before. He was with
another visitor (also a U.S. tourist), so I waited. I had to
call Catherine Gathercole at Spink to let her know I'd be
unable to stop by today for a second visit.
When John became free he came out to greet me and we had a
nice talk in the lobby. I told him I thought the museum was
stunning, but he modestly said that there were several areas
he was hoping to update or improve. I asked how long he'd
been the curator and he joked, "Too long!"
I learned that he wasn't keen on the coin collection, and I
told him that I was somewhat surprised to see it there. His
focus is naturally on the Bank of England products, which do
not include coins. Still, they nicely round out the exhibits
for a general public unknowing and uncaring about the difference
between the Bank of England and the Royal Mint. In the U.S.
there is similar confusion between the Bureau of the Mint
and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.
John gave me his email address and I promised to send him a
copy of my London Diary. I went back into the exhibit area
for a bit, but was soon shooed out with all the other visitors
(there had been many) as the closing time of 5pm approached.
>From the exhibits I remembered that the Bank originally set
up shop in Mercer's Hall on a street nearby. This being London,
I wouldn't be surprised if the building from 1694 were still
there. I pulled out my handy map and behold - there was a
Mercer's Hall clearly displayed on the map. I oriented myself
and walked up Poultry Street to the corner of Ironmonger's
Lane (don't you just love London place names?)
I found a large building called Mercer's Hall, but it looked
nothing like the images I'd seen at the Bank museum. It was
an old building, but not THAT old. An historical marker noted
that part of the building was on the "site of St. Mary's Church,
destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666". At the other end of the
building a sign noted that "Thomas Becket, Chancellor, Archbishop
and Martyr was born here c1120".
I kept walking, making my way back to the tube. I passed a pub
on Fetter's Lane that would have been a fine place to stop for
a pint with Joel Orosz. It was called "The Printer's Devil",
the name of Joel's column in our print journal, The Asylum. I
passed more shops and restaurants, but not seeing any to my
liking I entered the Chancery Lane station. It was rush hour,
and the tube was as packed and hot as ever. I squeezed onto
the next train and held on tight. The train rocketed away.
I climbed out at my usual Queensway stop. After having dinner
at a Chinese restaurant I headed back to my hotel. It would
be my last night in London, and it was time to do some final
laundry and pack my bags.
For more information on the Bank of England Museum, see:
WAYNE'S LONDON DIARY 8 SEPTEMBER, 2007: JURY'S COIN FAIR
I'd been up late packing the night before but rolled out
of bed around 7:30 to get ready for the day and complete my
packing. Mercifully, everything fit into my bags, but it sure
was a tight squeeze. My laptop computer was the last to go.
I put a few final touches on yesterday's London Diary and
emailed a copy to John Keyworth at the Bank of England Museum.
By the time my hotel room was squared away I was nearly half an
hour late for my planned departure. Today's destination was a
morning visit to the Coin Fair at Jury's hotel, just down the
street from the British Museum. I hustled out the door and as
I walked toward the tube I gave Chris Eimer a call. We had
planned to meet at the beginning of the show, and I was going
to be late.
Chris had a morning appointment and unless I hustled I'd miss
him. The tube would get me there in 15 minutes, but first I
had to get on it. I waved my card at the turnstile and got
a disheartening beep and flashing red light. My card was
empty. I'd been running low intentionally, knowing that any
prepaid fare left on the card would be wasted. I thought I'd
get at least one last day before running out, but no such
luck. I anxiously stood in the queue to "top up" my card.
I'd lost precious minutes, but I burst thru the turnstile and
bypassed the lifts. While others waited, I ran down the 122
spiral steps to the tracks, beating the crowd. Within minutes
I was walking on Charing Cross Road. I turned onto Great
Russell Street and entered the lobby of Jury's Hotel, a grand
old high-ceilinged building. I followed signs to the coin
fair and gave Chris a call from my cell phone. He'd just left,
but said he'd turn around to meet me. Whew - I'd made it just
in time. The show was small, with about 25-30 dealers in
one rectangular room.
While I paid the two pound admission fee and waited for Chris,
in walked Hadrien Rambach, and we chatted for a bit. It was
good to see him. When Chris arrived Hadrien went off to hunt
for bargains while Chris and I sat down for a chat at an
unoccupied table. We talked of a number of things - the
updates to his 1987 medal book, my visit to the British Museum,
and the new Adams-Bentley Comitia Americana book. I had my
copy with me - I've been dragging it around London having people
I meet sign it as a souvenir of my trip. Chris graciously wrote
an inscription. While talking about the book we both noted that
it was interesting how the most famous (and expensive) medal
in the book, the Libertas Americana, is actually the most common.
When Chris had to leave for his appointment I walked over to the
Simmons' table, where Howard and Frances Simmons were talking with
David Powell. David hadn't yet been to the Bank of England Museum
and the Simmons' scolded him. It's a worldwide phenomenon that
people often don't get around to seeing many of the treasures in
their own backyard unless they're escorting out-of-town visitors.
I'm no different - I'd visited the Imperial War Museum in Duxford
last week but have not yet been to the Smithsonian's Air and Space
museum a few miles from my house. Chris Eimer had told me that
reading my London Diaries had let him see some familiar London
sights in a new light. Hopefully I've encouraged some of our
readers to plan on visiting a few of these London sights on their
One event that I'm afraid I'll miss is London's Open House Day,
which the Simmons' said was coming up next weekend, 15-16 September.
Some 600 buildings in the city are open to the public for free tours,
including the Bank of England. Often these tours include behind-
the-scenes looks off-limits to the public the rest of the year.
The Simmons' visited the Custom House last year and greatly enjoyed
their visit. Long queues of people appear in front of the most
popular places. They noted that the line at the Bank of England
stretched around the block (but moved quickly). So if you're a
London native next week's your chance for an interesting outing.
For the rest of us, check for the Open House dates you plan your
next visit to London. It's a marvelous idea and sounds like
When a customer came to their table I left the Simmons' behind
to walk around the show. A piece of paper money in one dealer's
case caught my eye - it was a Bank of England "Trial Note". The
note read as follows: "Bank Note Specimen / I promise to Manufacture
Bank Note Specimens which it was Impossible to Counterfeit / 17
October 1858. Made R.D. 1858 October 17th / For the Gov. and Comp.
of the / BANK OF ENGLAND" The five pound note had a watermark
including "R. A. SPARRE'S PATENT".
I struck up a conversation with the woman behind the table and
was quite impressed with her knowledge of British banknotes and
the 18th century counterfeiting era. She was familiar with the
Cruikshank notes and book, and the 1819 Royal Society of the Arts
book on counterfeiting. She told me the only two modern books
discussing the trial notes at any length were "Promises to Pay"
(which I'd seen at Simon Narbeth's shop) and "As Good As Gold".
I hadn't heard of the latter, but (not surprisingly) one of
the coauthors is John Keyworth of the Bank of England, whom I'd
met the day before. The other was Virginia Hewitt - I believe
she is (or was) with the British Museum.
So who was the mystery woman who knew her banknote history
inside and out? She introduced herself as Pam West and gave
me her card. She is a banknote dealer, book publisher and head
of the London chapter of the International Bank Note Society
(IBNS). We had a nice conversation and exchanged email addresses.
Just yesterday I'd seen one of her publications at the Bank of
England Museum gift shop, 'English Paper Money' by Vincent Duggleby.
I'd decided to hold off purchasing it knowing that I'd be at the
coin fair the next day. I'm glad I waited - I bought a copy of
the book and Pam autographed it for me. She also signed my copy
of the Comitia Americana book.
She gave me a card listing the London meetings of IBNS and I was
disappointed to realise that I had missed them all - I knew about
IBNS but hadn't known there was a London chapter. It would have
been fun to visit some of the meetings. Oh, well - IBNS and Open
House day will have to wait for another trip.
I walked around the fair some more but it was getting near time
to leave. I had to grab lunch and get back to my hotel before
heading to the airport. I was going to miss the Mernicks, who
hadn't arrived yet. I sent them a note of apology later. Out
I went into the cool London Saturday afternoon, carrying a copy
of The Phoenix, a newspaper-style advertising publication given to
me at the coin fair registration desk. It was produced by Coincraft,
the dealer shop just a few doors down Great Russell Street. I'd
not had a chance to visit the store, so I walked by on the off
chance it would be open. It was, and in I walked.
A few customers milled about and I looked at the diverse displays
of coins ancient and modern, and ancient archeological artifacts.
An older gentleman behind the counter greeted me. Knowing from
the Phoenix that the shop handles a lot of modern British coins,
I asked if they sold sets of the 50 pence commemorative coins.
He didn't know. The younger man busily working at a desk behind
him told us that the Mint never sold sets like that, but they
should, since they often get requests for just such sets.
I really didn't have much time left, so I left the shop and grabbed
some lunch, my last meal in London. I went Greek again - Dionysus
on Oxford Street. On my way there I came across two workers
struggling to carry a piece of heavy restaurant equipment down the
sidewalk. I stepped aside to given them room and one said,
"Thanks, mate - cheers!"
To stretch my legs before a long flight I walked several blocks
down Oxford Street, the London shopping equivalent of New York's
Fifth Avenue. The sidewalks were packed with people. I took
one last gaze at the beautiful buildings surrounding Oxford Circus
before descending into the dim tube station.
Back at my hotel I called the front desk and asked for a taxi.
I grabbed my heavy bags and waddled to the lift. I had to wait
outside a good while and complained that I could have walked to
Paddington and back faster. I was only taking the taxi because
of my luggage. But my luggage and I would leave London in style
- eventually a stretch Mercedes limo pulled up. At the station
I wheeled my luggage onto the First Class car of the Heathrow
Express. My airline had given me a free upgrade coupon, so here
was my chance to see what I'd been missing. Not much, as I
suspected. First class has a higher grade of worn-out seats,
free newspapers and, well, that's about it. Fifteen minutes
later I was at Heathrow. Going through security the guard noticed
my passport and Washington D.C. destination. He said "Give the
President my love!" I laughed and promised I would.
It's been a long summer away from my family, but a seemingly
short time to experience all there is to see and do in London.
I've had some numismatic fun in my off-hours as well as managing
to see many of the tourist highlights. I've enjoyed sharing
my adventures with my numismatic friends through The E-Sylum,
but more than that I'll treasure the memories of meeting my
London numismatic friends new and old. Thank you all for helping
make this time as pleasurable as possible. Thanks mates - cheers!
WHY KNIGHTS CROSS THEIR LEGS
In my London Diary last week I mentioned noticing that the
effigies of English knights I saw at the Victoria & Albert museum
all had crossed legs. I wondered why this was and could only
come up with the smart aleck answer, "because eternity is a long
to go without getting up to use a toilet."
Gar Travis writes: "In the second quarter of the 13th century
effigies of were first presented with crossed legs, it became a
'fashion' which continued throughout Europe until the demise of
the chivalric period of the knights. It is often thought that
the crossing was particular to knights of the Knights Templar,
though there is no fact to support this. It has been discussed
over time as to why the legs of knights were crossed and it
seems to now be of thought that it was a decision made by an
early sculptor / artist that it made, the knights in death
appear more comfortable or serene.
"I know these facts from previous readings and visits to
England and questions answered by guides."
[A web search located the following entry on the InfoPlease.com
web site, which provides a more specific answer. -Editor]
"Cross-legged Knights indicate that the person so represented
died in the Christian faith. As crusaders were supposed so to do,
they were generally represented on their tombs with crossed legs.
"'Sometimes the figure on the tomb of a knight has his legs crossed
at the ankles, this meant that the knight went one crusade. If the
legs are crossed at the knees, he went twice; if at the thighs he
went three times.' Ditchfield: Our Villages, 1889.
To read the original InfoPlease entry on cross-legged knights, see:
WAYNE'S LONDON DIARY 31 AUGUST, 2007
PETE SMITHS OMAHA DIARY
Pete Smith writes: "The Omaha Coin Club hosted the NTCA National
Token and Medal Show over Labor Day weekend. I attended with
another collector from Minnesota. With the show opening at noon
on Friday, we had nothing scheduled that morning.
"As we reviewed a local guide for tourists, I recognized the
Durham Western Heritage Museum. With my few remaining brain
cells, I recalled this as the location of the Byron Reed collection.
We decided to visit.
"On the way we stopped at the birthplace of President Gerald R.
Ford. It is a nice park but missing an essential feature. The
house there was destroyed by fire in 1971.
"The museum is in the old Union Station with a great Art Deco
interior. The main lobby is on the upper level with the museum
on the lower level. Near the elevator is a coin rolling machine.
I am a member of TEC (The Elongated Collector) but not one of
those who spend their vacations hopping from one coin rolling
machine to another. I had little interest until I noticed that
one of four images on the roller is of Byron Reed. I turned a
handle to select the image, inserted two quarters and one cent.
After a few more turns the elongated cent dropped out of the
machine. This is now a treasured addition to my collection of
"Another of my collections includes badges from Worlds Fairs
and Expositions. Several nice badges were included in an exhibit
for the Trans-Mississippi Industrial Exposition. This is next to
the Byron Reed exhibit.
"The first panel inside the Reed gallery mentions the depth and
quality of his library. In the case was an example of Dyes Coin
Encyclopedia. The next case discusses auction catalogs and the
auction process. For me it was great to see an appreciation for
numismatic literature shown in the museum.
"The museum has panels for Hard Times Tokens, Civil War Tokens,
Suttler Tokens and Merchant Tokens. Among great rarities was an
1804 dollar. It was prominently displayed but poorly lighted. It
was also at a low level more suitable for viewing by a child than
by a senior citizen.
"I was impressed by the way the exhibits managed to explain numismatic
items to the public while showing great rarities that would be
appreciated by serious collectors. As I read the exhibits I wondered
who had written the text. I thought of Dr. Larry Lee who was a
curator of the collection in the past.
"For dinner Friday evening, my roommate insisted that we visit
Runza, a chain found only around Nebraska. Their specialty is a
dough filled with seasoned ground beef, onion and cabbage. I dont
think I will make a special trip to Nebraska to try it again.
"At the show I chatted briefly with Orville Grady who attended
the show as a visitor. I had seen him recently in Milwaukee.
The only large groups of books for sale were at the table of
California token author Duane Feisel.
"I enjoyed a discussion with R. W. Chadwick who recently published
a book on Oklahoma Exonumia. It is only a slight exaggeration to
suggest that half the people in the room either had written a book
or were working on writing a book.
"I was unable to exceed my budget buying tokens so I bought an
advertising mirror for Grinnell Brothers, Michigans Leading Music
House. In 1910 their president was numismatic author Albert Avery
Grinnell. This is a nice addition to my small collection of
"Late on Sunday a customer came by asking for Communion Tokens.
It took a moment for me to realize this was Dr. Larry Lee. He
confirmed that he had created the Byron Reed exhibit and the Trans-
Mississippi exhibit. We also had a brief discussion of his legal
battle with the ANA.
"I recently learned that the trial was postponed because the
plaintiffs attorneys withdrew from the case. I look forward
to a settlement and accounting for the legal fees spent by both sides."
LAFAYETTE'S GOLD CINCINNATI SOCIETY MEDAL TO BE SOLD
An Associated Press article published September 6th notes that
Sotheby's plans to auction Lafayette's gold medal of the Society
of the Cincinnati.
"An ornate gold medal depicting an eagle, commissioned by George
Washington as a symbol of the ideals of the Revolutionary War
and later presented to the Marquis de Lafayette, is to be sold
at auction later this year.
"Sotheby's auction house made the announcement Thursday, on
the 250th anniversary of the birth of Lafayette. The gold and
enamel medal - showing an eagle surrounded by a laurel wreath
- is estimated to bring up to $10 million at the Dec. 11 sale,
"After Washington's death, the medal was presented to Lafayette
by Washington's family; it was consigned to the auction by
Lafayette's great-great granddaughter, Baronne Meunier du Houssoy,
"Washington, Lafayette and several other commanders formed The
Society of the Cincinnati in 1793 to uphold the values of the
"Sotheby's said Lafayette treasured the medal from his hero,
even wearing it while having his portrait taken during a trip
to Charleston, S.C. The portrait now hangs in the Gibbes Museum
of Art in Charleston.
"The medal, which contains the Latin inscription 'he left everything
to serve the republic,' was last seen publicly at the Chicago World's
Fair in 1893. It is being offered for sale in what is believed to
be its original red leather presentation box bearing the label,
Washington's Cincinnati Badge."
To read the complete article, see:
For more information on the Society of the Cincinnati, see:
To visit to Society of the Cincinnati web site, see
PHILADELPHIA: THE HALL, THE MALL AND THE MINT
Dick Johnson writes: "It was a magic headline - a really grabber.
It caught me and made me read the article. I wish I had written
What is such a captivating headline? "The Hall, The Mall and The
Mint." It was published in the Courier-Post, Cherry Hill, NJ. If
you plan to visit Philadelphia read the article first."
[The article describes a number of Philadelphia landmarks,
including Independence Hall, Independence Mall and the Philadelphia
Mint. Below is an excerpt about the Mint. -Editor]
"Closed to tours after the 2001 terrorist attacks, the U.S. Mint
reopened in 2005 to public same-day, self-guided tours.
"The first was built in 1792 across the street on Independence
Mall, shortly after authorization by Congress. The current building
opened in 1969 and is the fourth in Philadelphia to house the mint.
"Tours start in the mint's lobby, decorated with Tiffany mosaics
that came from the third mint building and show the coinage process
from about 100 AD. There's also a stuffed and mounted 'Peter the
Eagle,' who more than a century ago lived in a nest outside the
mint. The five staff sculptors-engravers often visit Peter to look
at the bird's details for their engraving.
"Then it's upstairs to view the coin-making process, which starts
with one of the sculptors-engravers making the design.
"From a large epoxy model, the dies, which are used on the coin
presses, are cut into steel.
"Sheets of metal for nickels, dimes and quarters are cut by huge
machines on one side of the building and moved by conveyor to the
other side, where the coins are stamped under 60 tons of pressure.
Penny blanks come in from the outside and are stamped.
"While visitors can't see the coins actually being pressed, they
can watch workers inspect the shiny new coins and lust after bins
of money getting pushed around by forklifts.
"The Philadelphia mint, which runs for three shifts five days a
week and employs more than 500 people, also makes Congressional
and Presidential medals. Until the late 1800s, it made Indian
"After viewing the coins, it's down to the museum section, which
includes the hand-operated coin press used to strike the first
coins in 1792. There are also relics from the first mint."
To read the complete article, see:
NEPAL TO REMOVE LAST VESTIGES OF KING FROM COINS
Dick Johnson forwarded this article about changes to the coinage
"With most of his palaces nationalised and his executive powers
slashed, King Gyanendra's name and his royal symbols have now
been erased from Nepal's new coins. In an unprecedented move, the
Nepal Rastra Bank released new coins of two rupees denomination
yesterday without the King's name and royal symbols.
"'The coin can be regarded as the new coin of the new Nepal,' a
central bank official said. Altogether 100 million units of the
coins have been circulated in the market. Similarly, the central
bank has also completed the design of coins of one rupee
denomination. Nepal's map and Mt Everest are depicted on the
front side and flip side of the coin respectively. The new one
rupee coins would be circulated in the market in the next few
months, the bank official was quoted as saying by the Kantipur
To read the complete article, see:
NEW YORK TIMES ON NEW ELECTRONIC BOOK FORMATS
Joel Orosz forwarded a recent New Your Times article. He writes:
Heres another premature obituary for the printed book.
"Technology evangelists have predicted the emergence of electronic
ooks for as long as they have envisioned flying cars and video phones.
It is an idea that has never caught on with mainstream book buyers.
"Two new offerings this fall are set to test whether consumers
really want to replace a technology that has reliably served
humankind for hundreds of years: the paper book.
"In October, the online retailer Amazon.com will unveil the
Kindle, an electronic book reader that has been the subject of
industry speculation for a year, according to several people who
have tried the device and are familiar with Amazons plans. The
Kindle will be priced at $400 to $500 and will wirelessly connect
to an e-book store on Amazons site.
"That is a significant advance over older e-book devices, which
must be connected to a computer to download books or articles.
"Also this fall, Google plans to start charging users for full
online access to the digital copies of some books in its database,
according to people with knowledge of its plans. Publishers will
set the prices for their own books and share the revenue with Google.
So far, Google has made only limited excerpts of copyrighted books
available to its users."
To read the complete article, see:
GOEVERT'S LINCOLN CENT PRICE STUDY
Dick Johnson writes: "My radar screen picked up a price study
of Lincoln cents on the Internet this week. It covers the advancing
price for key date Lincoln cents. It calls itself 'Long Term Value
Trend Study of Lincoln Cent Dates.'
High quality images illustrate a well-written intro. I found only
one booboo: the dreaded redundancy 'reverse side' (reverse means
back side, thus the redundancy). The charts trace yearly prices back
to 1950 and cover 13 conditions where the compiler found them
The compiler hid his identity, but with some digging I learned the
author is Daniel Joseph Goevert of Wichita, Kansas. I got in touch
with Dan this week and learned a little more about his website and
his credentials. He's an aviation industrial engineer by profession
and works for a private aircraft manufacturer in the massive
aircraft industry centered around Wichita.
His initial foray into coin price analysis dates back to 1986 when
he published "Value Trends of United States Coins" containing, as
he stated, "virtually every collectible U.S. coin, in conditions
ranging from Good to Proof."
"This exposure," he adds, "helped me establish a consulting
relationship as Coin Editor with Edmund Publications from 1989 to
Five of his articles on other numismatic subjects are on his
web site, which he established in 2002. These include Mercury
dimes, Coinage and the War of 1812, New Orleans Mint after
Katrina, and one on coin telemarketing fraud.
These articles can be found at these URLs:
Dan's study of Lincoln cents is well worth the look. Price studies
aid potential buyers and are often useful for beginning collectors
until they feel confident to trust their own judgment in purchasing
To read the complete study, see:
AIR CRASH VICTIM'S DAUGHTER CREATES MEDAL FOR EMERGENCY RESPONDERS
"The daughter of a victim in the crash of Comair Flight 5191 said
she hopes commemorative coins she designed will honor emergency
responders and the love and support the whole community has shown.
"Bronze coins about the size of a quarter, inscribed With Gratitude,
are expected to be delivered soon to 550 public safety officers,
coroners officials and others who responded to the crash site.
"The coin was conceived and designed by Amy Turner, 23. Her father
was Larry Turner, dean of the University of Kentuckys College of
Agriculture, who perished in the crash.
"The Comair jet crashed while attempting to take off from Blue
Grass Airport the morning of Aug. 27, 2006. Of the 50 people on
board, 49 were killed.
"Amy Turner sketched the designs by hand. Drawing is something
she used to with her father, she said. About 600 coins with the
word Remembering were distributed on Monday to victims family
"Turner intends to keep hers in her billfold. I think its a
pretty sweet reminder of the good thats come from this,
To read the complete article, see:
MANLEY PARTS WAYS WITH JOCKEY'S ASSOCIATION
A September 5th article in the Courier-Journal of Louisville, KY
reports than sports agent and coin dealer Dwight Manley (sponsor
of the American Numismatic Association's Dwight N. Manley Numismatic
Library) has parted ways with the Jockeys' Guild.
"After a little more than a year as the national manager of The
Jockeys Guild, Dwight Manley is resigning. In an announcement
today, Manley cited family reasons.
"Manley took the job after an extended period of turmoil involving
finances and personnel for the guild, which is an association that
works on behalf of jockeys, who are independent contractors.
"In the statement, jockey John Velazquez, the chairman of the board,
said Manley 'saved the guild. Under his leadership, we have now
stabilized our finances.'"
To read the complete article, see:
MANLEY BRANCHES OUT INTO HORSERACING
MORE ON DWIGHT MANLEY AND THE JOCKEY'S ASSOCIATION
NUMISMATISTS MANLEY AND MARSHALL IN A MOVIE DEAL?
MORE ON THE NNDB NAME DATABASE
Last week's Featured Web Site was suggested by John and Nancy Wilson
who wrote: "Put in almost anyone famous and you will get a detailed
history of that person."
Arthur Shippee writes: "If by 'detailed' one means 'cribbed from
old and out of date sources', well, maybe. It would be interesting
to compare these articles against Wikipedia."
[I'd agree that this site doesn't necessarily offer new information.
There are many, many sites that repackage information from other
sources. Sometimes the repackaging adds a useful level of organization,
and sometimes it just gets in the way. I didn't spend much time
investigating this one, but wasn't able to find out just what "NNDB"
stands for. Still, like any other site it's worth a try, just keep
in mind that there could always be a better site just around the
FEATURED WEB PAGE: NNDB NAME DATABASE
CONSPIRACY THEORISTS HOME IN ON AMERO FANTASY COINS
[Daniel Carr's fantasy Amero coins have been picked up on by
conspiracy theorists as "proof" that "they" are planning to do an
end-run around the U.S. Constitution and create a European Union
style North American unity government. They cite unnamed Treasury
officials "leaking" word that the U.S. Mint in Denver is secretly
minting Amero coins. They show images of the Carr fantasies as
proof. Follow the links and compare the coins yourself.
"What prompted my interest in the issue was money: I was sent
professional images of actual AMERO coins by someone in the US
Treasury! The person included a note saying they like my radio
show and are frightened by what's been going on in secret within
"This Treasury Department person was outraged that our country was
beginning to coin money as part of a merger that would do away with
our country, via a merger the American public knew nothing about!
"I reached out to the person in the Treasury who first alerted me
to the coins. That person told me "The shit hit the fan around here
when your story ran." The person went on to say "They told everyone
in all the Mints that anyone revealing information about the AMERO
would be fired and perhaps even criminally prosecuted for
endangering national security."
"Today, I received a single 20 AMERO coin in the mail. A real coin.
Real metal, really MINTED by the US Mint in Denver, CO. The proof
that it is being Minted in Denver is that the coin is stamped with
the Mint Identity letter "D" on the bottom right of the side with
the eagle just like regular US coins already in circulation today!"
To read the complete article, see:
THE AMERO: A EURO-STYLE CURRENCY FOR NORTH AMERICA?
DANIEL CARR CREATES PARODY "GODLESS DOLLARS"
FEATURED WEB PAGE: THE COIN COLLECTOR'S WIFE
This week's featured web page is a poem dedicated to all
Coin Collectors' Wives:
Money, money everywhere, but not a dime to spend,
If this keeps up, our marriage is coming to an end.
Money in every dresser drawer and money on the shelf,
But there isn't one thin dime to spend upon myself.
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