The E-Sylum v10#37, September 16, 2007

esylum at esylum at
Mon Sep 17 10:15:24 PDT 2007

Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 10, Number 37, September 16, 2007:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2007, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers are Jonah Parsons of F+W Publications, 
courtesy of Howard Daniel, and James Andel.  Welcome aboard!  We 
now have 1,181 subscribers.

The publication of this issue was delayed until Monday afternoon 
due to server maintenance work at, the firm that handles 
our mailings -sorry!  

This week we open with news of a numismatic book sale from Scott 
Semens, a book on eighteenth-Century European Medallists, and the 
2007 FIDEM Congress exhibit catalogue.  Regarding previous topics 
we have a number of interesting responses relating to high relief 
U.S. coins and more information on Daniel Carr's "Amero" patterns.  

In the news, the unique gold medal presented to Commodore Matthew C. 
Perry sells in a Maine estate sale, a couple is arrested while 
attempting to "spend" Liberty dollars, and a motorist is jailed 
for attempting to use obsolete highway toll tokens.   

Longtime Pittsburgh numismatist Charles N. "Chuck" Erb passed away 
last week.  According to Dave Bowers, also passing away recently was 
Robert Batchelder, a well-liked coin dealer in and around Ambler, PA 
in the 1950s and 1960s.  Batchelder later became a leading dealer in 
autographs.  I have no other information on Batchelder and would 
appreciate hearing from anyone who knew him.

In other news, a run on a British banking institution evokes fearsome 
memories of the Great Depression, British banknotes are studied for 
drug contamination, and eight tons of stolen original Euro banknote 
paper has been recovered from counterfeiters.

To read what may be the world's first ribald limerick about 
King Farouk, read on.  Have a great week, everyone.

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


Scott Semans is reducing his stock of numismatic literature.  He 
writes: "I have hundreds of hard to find titles on (mostly) Asian 
and unusual world coin series.  Many are imports, old stock, highly 
specialized, or out of print.  I will be devoting more time to coins 
and other merchandise, so only the major titles will be restocked 
as they sell."

[Below are direct links to pages on Scott's web site.  -Editor]



Ian Stevens, Vice President of the David Brown Book Company writes: 
"I'd like to announce that we now have William Eisler's monumental 
"The Dassiers of Geneva: Eighteenth-Century European Medallists"
volumes in stock here and for sale to all in North America.  The 
books got a very complimentary review in the Summer 2006 issue of 
the ANS Magazine.

This link takes any who are interested to further information on 
our website and to secure online ordering: 

[The following text is taken from the firm's web site. -Editor]

"The first volume, Jean Dassier, Medal Engraver: Geneva, Paris 
and London, 1700-1733, traces the career of Jean Dassier (1676-1763) 
and presents his famed series of illustrious men and women from 
France and England, as well as the decorative works executed by 
the Fabrique de Genève.

"The second volume, Dassier and Sons: An Artistic Enterprise in 
Geneva, Switzerland and Europe, 1733-1759, presents an annotated 
catalogue of the remarkable historic medals made for Geneva, Berne 
and other partner cities in Europe, as well as the superb tokens 
depicting the history of the Roman Republic. Much of the book is 
also devoted to Jean Dassier's son, Jacques-Antoine (1715-1759) 
and his work in England and at the imperial Russian court. 758p, 
2 volumes, many illustrations."


Cary Hardy, Enterprise Manager of the American Numismatic Association, 
forwarded details on the exhibit catalog for the FIDEM Congress taking 
place at ANA headquarters in Colorado Springs.

He writes: "The catalog, representing more than 500 artists and 
over 1,400 medallic creations, is organized alphabetically by 
country and artist. Included for most medalists is his or her 
year of birth, mailing address, and brief biography or personal 
statement, followed by a list of works in the exhibition. Also 
featured is a special, four-color supplement, FIDEM at 70', 
celebrating the organization's 70th year and the groundbreaking 
work of 14 renowned medallic artists, all of whom are 70 years 
of age or older.

"Catalogs can be purchased for $39.95 each plus $6.95 shipping 
and handling (item # BKFI4). Order from the ANA online at 
then 'Shop at MoneyMarket' or by phone by calling 1-800-467-5725. 
To order by mail: American Numismatic Association MoneyMarket Store, 
818 N. Cascade Ave., Colorado Springs, CO 80903-3279."

Cary adds: "We won't have the actual catalogs until the 19th but 
they are available to everyone (not just the FIDEM attendees) and 
will be sold through MoneyMarket and the ANA Museum Store.  The 
exhibit is awesome! It is an extraordinary display for anyone 
interested in medallic art, definitely worth the trip here to 
Colorado Springs to see it."


Jere Bacharach of the Department of History at the University of 
Washington in Seattle forwarded the following information from 
Haim Gitler, Curator of Numismatics at The Israel Museum in Jerusalem 
about a new journal, Israel Numismatic Research. 

Volume 1 was published February 11 2007.  Members of the Israel 
Numismatic Society will automatically receive a copy each year.  
For more information, see: 

[The following text is from the journal's web page. -Editor]

"The first numismatic journal published in Israel was sponsored 
by the Israel Medals and Coins Society, which published a Bulletin 
in Hebrew in February-March 1962. The editor was the energetic Leo 
Kadman, then president of the Israel Numismatic Society. Kadman 
produced four fascicles of the Bulletin. Upon Kadman’s untimely 
death on December 27, 1963, the Bulletin faltered, and its last 
fascicle was published in November 1964.

"The Israel Numismatic Society (founded 1945) first published its 
Israel Numismatic Journal as a quarterly, in April 1963. Its first 
editorial board was headed by Michael Avi-Yonah. This Journal appeared 
for three years. After a hiatus of fifteen years, the Israel Numismatic 
Journal reappeared, in 1980, ostensibly as an annual. All edited by 
Prof. Dan Barag, this and nine subsequent volumes of the INJ have 
appeared since then. 

"During the hiatus, the Israel Numismatic Society published an 
internal quarterly in Hebrew, entitled Alon (עלון) and edited by 
Arie Kindler, which produced five numbers, between 1966 and 1974.

"Research of the ancient, medieval and modern coinage of this region 
has become increasingly relevant to multi-disciplinary studies in 
fields such as archaeology, history and iconography. In inaugurating 
Israel Numismatic Research the INS national board wishes to stress 
the importance of having a high level numismatic journal which 
appears regularly, at the end of each calendar year. The ability 
to publish a true annual reflects the advances in the field of 
numismatics in Israel over the past decade. The title of the journal 
signals the Society’s wish to encourage comprehensive and innovative 
research in the field.

"The focus of Israel Numismatic Research will be on coinages circulating 
in the southern Levant, from antiquity through to the modern era. 
Articles on medals, tokens, metrology, sealings and minor arts related 
to numismatics will also be considered for inclusion, as will book 


Howard Daniel writes: "My recent visit to the F&W Publications 
(Krause Publications) Library was an event planned many months in 
advance because the Numismatic and Library staffs are not usually 
readily available to watch and guide me, or anyone else.  From the 
response to my item in The E-Sylum, I might have implied to some 
people that they can just show up and start researching the library.  
This is not the case, and their library is not open to the public.  
Some long term planning is required by everyone to ensure there is 
staff available and not away on company business and/or conventions, 
shows, etc.  And it is only available to those known to the staff 
and willing to make last minute adjustments to their schedules to 
meet the staff's ever changing business requirements."



A unique and very important medal was sold recently in a Rockland, 
Maine estate sale, as reported by Sam Pennington of The Maine 
Antique Digest:

"The gold medal presented to Commodore Matthew C. Perry by merchants 
of Boston “…in token of their appreciation of his services in 
negotiating the treaty with Japan signed at Yoku-Hama, March 31, 
and with Lew Chew at Napa, July 11, 1854…” sold with its raggedy 
original case for $165,000 (including buyer’s premium) to one of 
ten phone bidders at Bruce Gamage’s auction in Rockland, Maine, 
on Monday, August 27.

"The medal was struck in 1856 at the U.S. Mint on request and paid 
for by the Boston merchants. There was this one gold medal struck 
along with 20 silver medals and 104 bronze medals.

"The price far exceeded the most ambitious presale estimate of 
$30,000/40,000 posited by serious buyers. According to auctioneer 
Gamage, the buyer was a collector from New York City who wishes to 
remain anonymous. The underbidder on the floor was New York City 
coin and medals dealer Anthony Terranova.

"Not that it mattered in the end, but Gamage said he had weighed 
the medal on a gram scale and gave that weight and the size to one 
of the phone bidders who determined that it “contained at least 
five thousand dollars worth of gold.” Gamage also took the medal 
to a local jeweler, but did not do any potentially destructive 
testing using acid."

To read the complete article, see: 

Antiques and the Arts interviewed the auctioneer about the piece:

"A gold medal presented to Commodore Matthew C. Perry in 1854 for 
his efforts in Japan was a glittering draw for collectors at Bruce 
Gamage Jr's annual Maine summer auction on August 27. Marking what 
the auctioneer characterized as a 'career high' sale, the medal 
sold for $165,000 to an anonymous New York City buyer on the phone. 

"The medal came from a local summer family, according to Gamage. 

"'I knew it was gold and I knew it was good, but I decided to estimate 
it on the value of the gold rather than historical considerations,' 
said Gamage of the lot's $4/6,000 initial presale estimate. After the 
week went by, however, 'I was getting all of these calls [about the 
medal], and that's when I began thinking it might bring $30/40,000.' 

"The annual estate auction was, as Gamage said by telephone afterwards, 
'A fun sale,' grossing close to a half million dollars, which is about 
as good as it has been in Gamage's 39-year career." 

To read the complete article and view images of the medal, see:

[Ads published in Sam Pennington's Maine Antique Digest and website 
alerted collectors to the offering.  Sam is working on a longer piece 
for the MCA Advisory.  Were any of our readers among those bidding 
on the piece?  -Editor]

To view the Maine Antique Digest web ad for the sale, see: 


Regarding Carl Honore's item on high-relief coinage in the last 
issue, Richard Doty of the National Numismatic Collection at the 
Smithsonian writes: "I'd like to observe that Carl Honore and I 
have been talking about matters technological, industrial, metallurgical, 
and numismatic for the better part of fifteen years.  I think he's 
right in his comments about curved fields, strikes, die wear, and 
American twentieth-century coinage.  The ancestor of the buffalo nickel 
and the Walking Liberty half dollar was indeed Conrad Kuchler's 
halfpence and farthings of 1799.  Take a close look at one in any 
condition above fine, and you'll see a very clever use of depth, a 
balancing act between fields, designs, and relief that the Americans 
would rediscover a century and a quarter later."

John Dannreuther writes: "Our first high relief coinage was for 
our most diminutive gold coin - the gold dollar. 

"In 1849, Longacre used concave fields (convex dies) for the obverse 
for the first gold dollars (the reverse dies were normal, flat field 
types). (The 1849 gold dollar is also the first US regular issue coin 
to have the date in the master die.) The original high relief, concave 
fields 1849 gold dollars (the No "L" and the first "L" variety had 
concave fields) were abandoned because of reverse die breakage. The 
stress on the reverse (anvil) dies required a change to flat fields 
for both sides. The double eagle prepared later in the year was also 
first prepared with slightly concave obverse fields, which were changed 
for the 1850 regular issue. The complaint that the double eagle would 
not stack was false, but the lesson Longacre learned with the breaking 
of the reverse dies for the gold dollars undoubtedly resulted in his 
changing the double eagle dies.

"In regards to the early twentieth century high relief coinage, I was 
in the Smithsonian last week and was shown some of the Charles Barber 
papers (mainly letters) that may, or may not, be familiar to your 

"Although I would not really consider the Mercury dime (yes, it really 
is the Winged Liberty Head) and Walking Liberty half dollar high relief 
coinage, they do have slightly concave fields. Striking problems were 
encountered and the half dollar design was modified.  

"Among the Barber letters was a July 18, 1916 handwritten letter from 
Adolph Alexander Weinman to Barber. This letter may be published 
elsewhere, but I am sure some of the subscribers (me included) have 
not seen it. The content is interesting, as it relates to the design 
and the ultimate change from brilliant Proofs to Satin/Roman/Matte 

"In it, Weinman states:

  I am sending you today by parcel post the bronze cast of the reverse 
  of the Dime. I have strengthened the lettering and have slightly 
  simplified the foliage of the olive branch. The obverse for the Dime 
  is now being cast in bronze and should be in your hands within a few 
  days, if the bronze cast turns out satisfactory. I shall also make 
  the lettering stronger in this model.

  The obverse for the Half Dollar is now being reduced, after I had 
  made certain modifications with Mr. Woolley's consent and I am now 
  busy with the reverse.

  I am much troubled about the polished background of the two coins 
  shown here. The reflection from the polished surface is so intense 
  that one cannot get a calm impression of the design at all. Mr. 
  Woolley agrees with me that the background of these coins should 
  not be polished and I would greatly appreciate an expression of 
  opinion from you in the matter.

  Will you also kindly inform me when both dies for the Dime have 
  been completed and a sample coin struck, with dull surface, and 
  I will come over to see them.

"(Thanks to Jim Hughes of the Smithsonian for the copy of this letter.)

"Of course, the dime and half dollar do not have the deep concave 
fields of the Saint-Gaudens coinage, but as collectors of these two 
series know, fully struck coins are difficult for many of the dates, 
especially the branch mint issues.

"The convex nature of the dies for high relief coinage not only make 
striking difficult, but makes polishing the dies for brilliant Proof 
coinage nearly impossible. (This is discussed in detail in Roger 
Burdette's book on the 1905-08 coinage.)

"There are just too many technical difficulties to strike regular 
coinage with deeply high relief dies. Any clashing would be difficult 
to remove without removing some detail, as noted by Carl Honore. We 
are lucky that Teddy was so adamant in insisting that the High Relief 
double eagles be struck, as the Mint certainly knew that a regular 
issue high relief coinage was impractical."


John Dannreuther also offers the following numismatic trivia 
question for this week.  He writes: "What are the three U.S. 
coins that have the designer's name on them?

"Hints: One of them is an early pattern (considered a regular 
issue by some), one is a regular issue (considered a pattern by 
some), and the last one is a pattern (no controversy for this 
one, but it was issued to honor a recently departed Chief Engraver)."  


Dick Johnson writes: "Carl Honore brings forth some interesting 
comments in regard to high relief on coins and medals in last week’s 
E-Sylum. ‘High relief’ in numismatics is not difficult to define, 
but it is a sloppy and inexact term. It comes from sculpture where 
it means relief projecting more than half from its background with 
extensive undercutting.

"Such sculptural high relief is impossible to reproduce by die 
striking. Coins and medals cannot be struck from relief models 
with undercuts.  Period.  In fact, coin relief requires a bevel 
on the sides of all detail and lettering of at least 5 degrees. 
Anything less than 2½ degrees will always ‘hang up’ in the die 
and not eject, less than 5 degrees it will sometimes hang up.

"What ‘high relief’ in coin making means is the highest possible 
form of ‘coin relief.’ Coin relief is VERY LOW modulated relief 
that forms the design that can be struck in a coining press with 
one blow, and has a name in Italian, ‘stiacciato.’ Why Italian? 
Because Italians named all forms of sculptural relief:

High relief (Italian ‘alto-rilievo’).
Medium relief (‘mezzo-rilievo’).
Low relief (‘basso-rilievo’).
Very low relief or coin relief (‘stiacciato’).
Hollow relief (‘cavo-rilievo’).
Intaglio or incuse relief (‘intaglio rilievo’).

"For medals any of the last four kinds of relief can be reproduced 
and the term ‘bas-relief’ is a term used for all such medallic relief. 
(The ‘s’ is silent, it is pronounced BAA-relief).

"For the high relief on coins (that Carl talks about) this has to 
be in the original model. Most mints prepare their models on a 
‘basin’ – an oversize plaster base preformed with a slight basin 
shape, upon which designs are made by building and shaping with 
modeling clay or plasteline. Carl mentioned “concave fields.” The 
base upon which models are prepared – with a basin shape ultimately 
forming the coin’s background – give opportunity for this high relief.

"The Franklin Mint demanded all models be prepared on such ‘basins’ 
and would often furnish these to their modelers (because all their 
work was struck on coining presses). But they demanded no relief 
higher than 3/16-inch and whipped out a ‘depth gauge’ to test this 
height on all incoming models. All artists creating models for a 
series of medals were required to use the ‘basin’ required for that 
series (for uniformity).

"Medallic companies do not have this requirement. They could prepare 
their dies from any reasonable size or kind of bas-relief models. 
Their models were prepared on ‘background plates’ – bases not 
necessarily basin shaped. The background plate for medals can be 
concave, flat, or even convex in contrast to the concave shape of 
a basin. [In my video ‘The Medal Maker’ it shows Laura Gardin Fraser 
making her own background plate of wood and shellacking it to give 
it a nonporous surface.] 

"Metal workers call this slight curve in a basin shape a ‘camber’ 
and I have written about this previously in E-Sylum. If a camber is 
not in the model a slight basin can be created, or increased, on a 
modern die-engraving pantograph (like the Janvier). See

"Carl’s mention of Adolph A. Weinman’s knowledge of coin and medal 
making technology is absolutely correct. In addition to being a 
highly creative designer he had been preparing bas-relief medallic 
models – for medals, plaques, reliefs -- for two decades prior to 
his 1916 Mercury dime and Liberty Walking half dollar. In fact, the 
U.S. Mint actually struck his 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition 
Award Medals in four varieties. 

"Weinman was well versed in the technology involved. He had been a 
friend of the Weils, Henri & Felix, founders of Medallic Art Company, 
even attended classes at the National Academy of Design with Felix 
years prior. He had access to their plant in New York City and, of 
course, to their medallic knowledge. Imagine their conversations 
exchanging technological knowledge together!

"Carl also mentions the problems of striking the Buffalo nickel. The 
problem is known as ‘congruent mass’ where high relief exists on both 
sides of a coin opposite each other. There is just not enough mass 
in the blank for metal to flow into – and fill -- all cavities in the 
die in one strike. This can be solved by a pressman increasing the 
striking pressure slightly. If not, it may mean remodeling the design 
and cutting new dies (but I have no knowledge of this occurring in 
recent years).

"Frankly, I believe what Carl is asking for in his request for high 
relief coins is not high relief, as such, but rather, greater detail. 
The remarkable advantage of coin and medal technology is its ability 
to reproduce abundant detail in very small space. This is what gives 
a coin or medal design its ‘charm.’ 

"This detail is obtained by modeling oversize models with a simple 
design that has extensive texture and detail. It is then reduced on 
a die-engraving pantograph for dies to reproduce such minute detail 
on all pieces struck from that die. Too many present day coin and 
medal models lack this luxuriant detail."


Sam Pennington writes: "We bought a medal from the latest fixed price 
catalog of Rex Stark, the Gardiner, Massachusetts, dealer in Americana. 
It's a 3.5 inch cast uniface medal "New York State Woman Suffrage Party 
Harvest Week 1916," which is signed AMW.   That's Alice Morgan Wright 
(1881-1975), a sculptor and suffragette. The question is what was 
Harvest Week, 1916?"


As we noted in last week's E-Sylum (September 10), talk show host 
Hal Turner has been misrepresenting Daniel Carr's Amero coin patterns.  
Jeff Starck of Coin World was already on the trail of this story, which 
was published in the Coin World issue of the same date.  I read the 
article when I returned from London.

Starck noted that Hal Turner is branded an Anti-semite/racist/bigot by 
the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center, which 
called him 'the host of hate.'    Starck contacted Daniel Carr and 
learned that he tried to contact Turner to correct the record but his 
e-mails were ignored (and he couldn't get through via the telephone 
number listed).

The Dallas Morning News picked up on this too and presented the 
truth in a September 11 article:

"There's a phony story going around about a mythical currency 
that's supposed to replace the dollar called the 'amero.'

"New Jersey blogger Hal Turner says a friend in the U.S. Treasury 
smuggled him a 20-amero coin made at the U.S. Mint in Denver – 
evidence, he writes, of a conspiracy to unite the United States, 
Canada and Mexico in a North American Union.

"Well, you can get as many of these 20-amero coins as you want for 
$9 apiece – which would be a steal if it were a real currency. 
Just check with Daniel Carr at"

"Mr. Carr said he decided to make amero coins to be provocative 
and get people thinking about the issue. 

"He said he was not asked by the U.S. Mint to design the coin 
(and Mint spokesman Greg Hernandez agrees).

"Meanwhile, Mr. Turner stands by his story and says he has now 
heard from an anonymous ATM maker that the government is starting 
to provide specifications for amero paper bills.

"What will this guy sell next? Mexican shares in the Brooklyn Bridge?"


On Thursday, The Week of Walworth County, WI published an article 
noting that "A Rockford couple was arrested this spring for using 
and trying to use "Liberty Dollars" at three Walworth businesses.

"The suspects, Shaun A. Kranish, 22, and Svetlana V. Dudnik, 24, 
may be the first to try and use the 'private barter currency' in 
Walworth County, District Attorney Phil Koss said.

"The couple is also the first to post their story on a new blog 
site,, which started Sept. 7. 

"On it, the couple tells their story of how they were allegedly 
harassed by police, booked in jail and thrust into the court system 
for, as they say, not doing anything wrong. 

"On May 6, Kranish was getting something to eat at the Dari-Ripple 
in Walworth and attempted to pay for his meal with a $20 'fine silver 
Liberty Dollar.' Shortly after he gave it to the clerk, a police 
officer arrived and started asking him questions. 

"'I tried to explain that it was not against the law, that I was 
offering silver for trade...,' a writer claiming to be Shaun wrote, 
on the blog site. The article also appears on another blog site,

"Kranish and Dudnik, who according to the postings are now married, 
were arrested and taken to jail. Both are charged with four counts 
of misdemeanor theft. 

"Kranish also was arrested for carrying a concealed weapon. He had 
a .45 caliber handgun in a CD case in his car on May 6, and he was 
wearing an empty holster, according to the complaint.

"Walworth police were notified of Liberty Dollars being used at the 
Walworth Landing gas station, Daniels Sentry in Walworth and again 
at Dari-Ripple in late April, according to the criminal complaint. 
Change was given back in at least one of the instances.

"Using the Liberty Dollars as circulating currency could actually 
be a federal crime, according to the United States Mint. 

"'They are not genuine United States Mint bullion coins and are not 
legal tender,' according to the Mint's Web site. 'These medallions 
are privately produced products that are neither backed by, nor 
affiliated with, the United States Government.'"

To read the complete article, see: 


Dennis Tucker and Dave Bowers forwarded the following item about 
a man jailed for attempting to use invalid highway toll tokens.

"A Massachusetts man who insists his New Hampshire highway tokens 
are still valid just spent three days in jail because he insisted 
on using two tokens to pay a 50-cent toll.

"Thomas Jensen, 68, of Braintree, said the state broke a contract 
with him and everyone else who bought tokens by refusing to accept 
them after January of last year. He was convicted of theft of 
services for continuing to use tokens after they were phased out.

"‘‘I gave the state of New Hampshire money for the tokens, and I 
expect to be able to use them,’’ Jensen told The Patriot Ledger.

"Jensen was driving to his New Hampshire summer home when he tried 
to pay the 50-cent toll with tokens, as he had always done.

"The toll worker refused to take them and a state trooper at the 
plaza gave Jensen a citation.

"‘‘(The trooper) said, ‘Just give him the 50 cents.’ I said, ‘I 
did, I gave him two tokens,’’’ Jensen told the newspaper.

"Monday, a judge told Jensen he could pay a $150 fine, do community 
service or go to jail for three days. He choose jail.

"‘‘Over my dead body was I going to give the state another dollar 
for the tolls,’’ Jensen said."

To read the complete article, see:


[I learned last week that a good friend and numismatic mentor had 
passed away - Chuck Erb of Pittsburgh.  Chuck was one of the senior 
members of the Western Pennsylvania Numismatic Society and became 
one of my numismatic role models.  Chuck took his hobby seriously, 
and his passion and sense of detail impressed me immediately.  
Chuck's specialty was Bust Halves, and he quietly assembled one of 
the best collections in the country. But he had other interests as 
well, in very diverse areas such as Swiss Shooting Talers.  His 
talks at local clubs were a wealth of information.

When Chuck began selling his collections I purchased his Confederate 
Half Dollar restrikes and related New Orleans pieces.  These were 
auctioned last year by American Numismatic Rarities when I sold my 
Civil War collections.  I saw Chuck last winter when I visited his 
home to pick up his numismatic library, which I packed and shipped 
on his behalf to Fred Lake who sold it in a recent sale.  Below are 
excerpts from Chuck's obituary in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.  
He was a solid man of a solid generation if WWII vets.  Like my 
late friends Glenn Mooney and Jules Reiver, they are of a disappearing 
generation whose knowledge and courage will be sorely missed.  

Charles "Chuck" N. Erb approached everything he did with passion, 
devotion and attention to detail.  Whether building and inspecting 
bridges, studying rare coins, volunteering with the Boy Scouts or 
caring for his family, he was fully involved. 

Mr. Erb, of McCandless, died Sunday, Sept. 9, 2007, of complications 
from diabetes. He was 89. 

"Anything that he was involved with, he seemed to jump in with both 
feet," said his son, Thomas Erb. "He was quiet but quite firm (and) 
assertive. He was very much a straight arrow in the sense of duty 
to country, family and job. He really took that stuff very seriously."

Mr. Erb served in the Army Corps of Engineers during World War II, 
first as an instructor at the Engineering School in Fort Belvoir, Va. 

As company commander and captain, he led the 538th Light Pontoon 
Company, a floating bridge unit, in Europe. His unit was responsible 
for maintaining and guarding three floating bridges on the Rhine River 
in Germany and maintaining the bridge at Remagen, the region's only 
intact bridge. 

"We were world travelers," said his wife of 25 years, Frances Erb. 
"He liked Switzerland best, because he's of Swiss descent." 

He was an avid numismatist, serving as an expert to other collectors 
who sought his help identifying rare coins, Frances Erb said. He sold 
his large collection a year ago and invested the money for his four 
children, she said. 

Mr. Erb focused his collection on half dollars from the late 1800s. 
He approached his hobby like a scholar and sometimes found rare coins 
in dealers' collections that the dealers had failed to recognize, 
Thomas Erb said. 

He also enjoyed deer hunting, Civil War history, performing Swiss 
folk dances, Swiss sculpture, music and the opera. 

To read the complete obituary, see:   


John Dannreuther (whose email was signed 'In Books We Trust'), 
writes: "The latest E-Sylum brought back memories of my two visits 
to the British Museum's study room.   It's a very nice atmosphere 
to examine coins (except the lighting). The coin exhibit also is 
among the best, if not the best, in world."

John Adams writes: "Another numismatic attraction in London is the 
exhibit at the V&A showing how a medal is cast, from start to finish, 
accompanied by a film clip that further amplifies.  No doubt, the 
inspiration for this exhibit was the museum's director, Mark (The 
Art of the Medal) Jones."

Nick Graver writes: "Please tell me someone is going to print out all 
your London Diaries and bind them as a book!   They are so special, at 
least one set should be bound and exist as a genuine book. Has it been 
proposed, or done?"

Actually, I've been thinking of doing just that to have something 
to give to my kids.  John Adams also suggested "How about doing an 
offprint of all of your Notes from London, 20 numbered copies signed 
by the author, proceeds to NBS?"   That's a good idea as well.  I 
still haven't quite unpacked from the trip, but I'll work on something. 
I wonder how many pages it will be - I've never actually printed out 
an E-Sylum issue.

Looking back on my London assignment, I thought I'd offer the following 
observations.  For numismatists planning a visit, my top recommendations 
would be the British Museum and the Bank of England Museum.  Both can 
be enjoyed by numismatists and non-numismatists alike, so bring the 
whole family.  Better yet, both museums are FREE to the public (but 
be sure to drop something in the donation boxes).

If you have time to travel outside of London, consider the Fitzwilliam 
in Cambridge.  The medieval armor display is stunning and the exhibits 
are close enough to touch (although you're not supposed to, I'm sure).  
I found the armor displays at the Tower of London must less interesting, 
mainly because the items are farther from the viewer or behind glass.  
I got bored marching through and I wasn't the only visitor to jump the 
lines to get out quickly.  The temporary numismatic exhibit in the Tower 
was the biggest disappointment of my visit.  The recent Coin World 
article on the exhibit was clearly written from a press release.  
Having seen it in person I wouldn't bother walking up the steps to 
get to it.

But don't let me be a sourpuss and turn you off of the Tower of London.  
It remains a must-see on my list, but for the power of place and the 
masterful interpretations of the Yeoman Guards.  The guards-turned-
tour-guides do an absolutely marvelous job of bringing history to life, 
and to hear their tales while standing in on the very grounds where 
the centuries-ago events took place borders on the magical.  As 
Disneyfied as the place has become, it's no Disney, at least not in 
the everything-is-fake-but-fun sense of the word.  Despite the thousands 
of years of changes, this place is undeniably REAL, from the Roman wall 
to the execution grounds to the White Tower itself.  

Back to numismatics, serious collectors should kick themselves if they 
don't plan at least one visit to the Student Room at the British Museum.  
I procrastinated until late in my visit and wish I had found the time 
to visit more often.  The ease of access is unbelievable - I guess I 
just didn't expect it would be so easy to just waltz in off the street 
and gain access to the collection.  As I noted, security is heavy - 
coins are logged carefully and visitors are watched closely, but with 
no questions asked visitors can see and handle many of the items in 
the museum's extensive collection.

Access to collections is much more limited elsewhere, but one should 
never be afraid to contact curators in advance to request a visit.  
For example, my visit to the coin rooms at the Fitzwilliam was 
enchanting, and serious scholars can be given research access to 
parts of the collections on an as-needed basis. 

The same can be said of the major London coin dealers.  These are 
businesses after all, not tourist attractions, but if my experience 
is any indication most of the dealers are quite welcoming to visitors 
and happy to take a few moments to visit.  I did not make the rounds 
of all the dealers, but Baldwin's, Spink and Dix Noonan Webb were 
especially gracious and accommodating to my presumptuous last-minute 
visits as my schedule allowed.  

Simon Narbeth was equally welcoming and willing to spend a good deal 
of time chatting with an interested collector.  In the end I did 
purchase several items but I could tell that I was welcome 
regardless.  This same spirit was evident in Pam West, who was quite 
forthcoming with information during my visit to her coin fair table.  
My hat is off to all the dealers for their openness and welcoming 

Although non-numismatic I will add the staff at Sotheby's of London 
to that list.  I would highly recommend to everyone visiting London 
to stop by Sotheby's to view auction lots.  In some ways this was 
the highlight of my visit, and I'm very glad I took the initiative 
to stop by.  Viewing multimillion-dollar paintings first-hand before 
an auction was a true thrill.  It's true that some of the best things 
in life are free.   Seeing a painting on a wall in a museum is one 
thing, but seeing pieces that have been in private collections for 
decades (and likely to return to another private collection) is a 
rare treat.  And it would be a fun way for family members to learn 
a little bit about collecting.  They’ll remember that painting if 
they read in the paper that it sold the next night for $55 million.

Lastly, try to find time for some of the idiosyncratic London sights 
that are a bit off the beaten path.  Other highlights of my visit 
turned out to be the Sir John Soane museum, the pedestrian tunnel 
under the Thames and the Royal Observatory - all free as well, I 
might add.

As E-Sylum editor I am blessed with many friends, but as E-Sylum 
readers we're all friends.  Readers like Ted Buttrey, Christopher 
Eimer, Harry and Phil Mernick, Hadrien Rambach, Douglas Saville, 
John Andrew, Caroline Holmes and others all went to extra lengths 
to brighten my stay, and to them I'm eternally grateful.  I would 
also like to acknowledge Chris Riley of Oxford who graciously 
offered to meet with me, but our schedules never quite synced up.

My main regret is only that I only had a certain amount of time 
available to visit with everyone.  I also regret my mental lapses 
in having people sign my copy of the Comitia Americana book.  
Sometimes I had forgotten to bring it with me, sometimes people 
were busy with customers at a coin fair, and in Darryl Atchison's 
case, I was so enthralled with his manuscript that I completely 
forgot to pull out my book to have him sign.  Nevertheless I'm 
glad I thought to take it with me and very happy to have a number 
of signatures and inscriptions to remind me of my visits in addition 
to these electronic jottings.

Thanks also to all of you, my E-Sylum readers - your comments 
and complements were quite encouraging, and although I stayed up 
later than I should have some nights completing my diary entries, 
I'm glad I did.  It was a fun episode in my collecting life, and 
I'm glad to have had your vicarious companionship.  Happy collecting!


In an article published by England's Telegraph describes a frightening 
scene not encountered in decades: "At first, it was a very British kind 
of panic: calm, polite, reserved. Armed with folding stools and flasks, 
battalions of savers descended on high streets across Britain to lay 
siege - quietly - to Northern Rock branches.

"Up and down the country, from Newcastle to Brighton and Bristol to 
Bromley, pensioners lined up with young mums, and lawyers stood alongside 
labourers.  Susan Ogley, at Northern Rock in Brigate, was ‘a little 
worried’ and planned to take out some savings.

"Customers, many of whom had been queuing from 6am, swapped tales of 
jammed websites and unanswered phone calls.  By mid-morning, however, 
when the besieged staff began turning away customers, the genteel 
atmosphere had turned to anger as customers began to clash with 
Northern Rock staff, its management and even the Government.

"Orderly queues descended into scrums as customers feared for their 
life savings.

"Northern Rock's management supplied no extra cashiers at any of its 
branches, and branch managers were left to decide whether to stay 
open for longer or not.

"In the London suburb of Golders Green, there were scenes of pandemonium 
when staff started to hand out a limited number of tickets for customers 
who would be seen.

"Fighting her way to get past the queue outside the Golders Green 
branch, wheelchair-bound pensioner Mary Davies, 86, was livid - but 
not with Northern Rock or the Bank of England.

"'I think these people are bloody stupid,' said Miss Davies, gesturing 
at the throng stretching up the street. The pensioner had come to her 
local branch as she does every Saturday to pay £25 into her savings 
account and to deposit a cheque.

"'If the Bank of England is willing to stand by Northern Rock, why are 
these people worrying about their measly savings,' she railed. 'If 
there is a crisis, it is people like these that will have caused it.

"'It's like panic buying in the war - it just makes things 10 times 
worse. Having lived through the war, I think this is madness.'"

To read the complete article, see:


The Times-Call of Longmont, CO published an article Tuesday about 
local artists whose work appears in the ANA's FIDEM congress exhibit:

"Two local artists’ medals will be part of the International Medal 
Federation’s 30th Art Medal World Congress later this month in 
Colorado Springs.

"Camille Rendal, an art instructor at Front Range Community College’s 
Boulder County campus, and student Elaine Swenson are the only Colorado 
artists whose medals were accepted for the congress. In all, 31 U.S. 
artists will have 66 medals on display at the exhibition, Sept. 19-22 
at the American Numismatic Association’s Money Museum in Colorado 

"Rendal said she wanted to create a medal that symbolized human 
intervention following the devastation of hurricanes Katrina and 
Rita in 2005 and the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004.

"One of her two bronze medals portrays a hand extending a ladder upward 
to a house, symbolizing the 'individual hand helping people resettle 
from tragedy,' she said.

"Swenson, who has a degree in graphic design, also had two medals 
accepted for the exhibition. One is a bronze cube that symbolizes 
peace through a depiction of Christianity and Islam’s connections 
and a dove of peace with an olive branch.

"'A lot of people don’t speak the same language, and using symbolism 
gets the message across to different cultures and languages,' she 
said of her medals.

"The exhibit will feature about 1,400 medals created by 500 artists 
from more than 32 countries."

To read the complete article, see: 


The Jackson Hole Star-Tribune published an article recently commenting 
on the unusual design of the Wyoming state quarter.

"When it comes to matters of public policy and personal taste, Wyoming 
and its citizens aren't afraid to buck a trend.

"A recent example of that independent streak is the design of the new 
state quarter, which includes a unique feature among the 50 state 
quarters, and possibly among all U.S. currency ever made.

"Rather than adorn its 25-cent piece with a clutter of images like 
Arkansas (diamond, duck, wetlands), the scenic outdoors like Colorado 
(Rocky Mountains) or an intricately cut symbol like Georgia (charter 
oak), Wyoming opted for a uniquely simple image to represent itself 
to the nation.

"In fact, the clean depiction of a cowboy trying to tame a bucking 
horse stands out as the only silhouetted design in the 50 state quarter 
series; all others include detailed etching.

"What's more, Wyoming's quarter design may be the only silhouetted 
design ever produced on a U.S. coin, said Dwight Brockman, who has 
been a coin dealer in Cheyenne for 25 years and is a lifetime collector.

"After selecting the plain silhouetted design in May 2006, Gov. Dave 
Freudenthal explained that it represented “our proud Western heritage 
and our historical role in establishing voting rights for women.”

"His official news release on the subject made no mention of his 
decision to pick the silhouetted design over the more detailed versions.

"The simplicity of Wyoming's quarter has drawn complaints, and praise, 
from coin collectors, artists and state residents.

"The design has been called “simple,” “elegant” and “clean.” It has 
also been panned as downright “boring.”

"Brockman said comments about the quarter at his shop have ranged 
from satisfaction to utter disappointment.

"“I think that was the biggest disappointment with the real numismatists, 
is there's no detail in this thing,” Brockman said. “But the average 
person is probably pretty excited about it.”

"Beverly Paddleford, a bronze artist and co-owner of the Eagle Bronze 
foundry in Lander, said the design is simplistic and beautiful.

"And while she is glad the quarter won't be crowded with too many 
images and symbols, she would have preferred more detail in the 
final design."

To read the complete article, see:

To view the Wyoming design, see: 


According to a BBC News report published Thursday, "Almost every UK 
banknote in circulation is tinged with drugs such as cocaine and heroin... 
But the residue levels are on average the same throughout the UK - even 
if the note hails from an area where drug use is rife. 

"The findings are now being used to link money that has an unusually 
high drug contamination to drug crime. 

"The Bristol-based scientists analysed tens of thousands of banknotes 
from general circulation to work out the average drug profile of the 
UK's banknotes. 

"Karl Ebejer, from Mass Spec Analytical, who worked on the study, 
said: 'We are pretty much talking about all banknotes being contaminated 
with cocaine; one in 20 are contaminated with heroin or cannabis; and 
on average less than half are contaminated with ecstasy and amphetamines. 

"'We are talking traces - these are amounts we cannot see or feel, these 
are amounts that require sensitive instrumentation to detect. They are 
in the order of nanograms (billionths of a gram).' 

"They looked at £10 and £20 notes taken from eight different locations: 
Oxford, Folkestone, Grangemouth, Cardiff, Troon, Dunfermline, 
Burntisland and Pontyclun. 

"These were chosen to represent places that were urban, rural, rich, 
poor, ports of entry and those that had high and low crime rates, to 
see if any of these factors had an influence on the amount of drug 
residues found. 

"Gavin Lloyd, from Bristol University who carried out the experiment, 
said: 'We found that none of the factors were significant, the 
contamination was exactly the same.' 

"The researchers believe note contamination is caused by drug use 
but also as notes brush up against each other in cash sorting 

To read the complete article, see: 


"Hungarian police have confiscated eight tons of original banknote 
paper from suspected counterfeiters, police chief Jozsef Bencze 
confirmed Monday, according to Hungarian news agency MTI. 

"Two of six suspected accomplices of the counterfeiters were arrested, 
according to police, who believe an international gang to be behind 
the operation. Police believe the suspects are Hungarian. 

"The banknote paper was found last Thursday in the west Hungarian 
town of Gyoer. Police found the 735 packages, each with 500 sheets 
of banknote paper in two garages, Bencze said. 

"The paper is part of a 15-ton package of banknote paper that was 
stolen in Germany in 1995, the German newspaper Frankfurter 
Allgemeine Zeitung reported. 

"The paper could have been used to print false 50 and 200 euro notes, 
with 50-euro fabrications worth 150 million euros (220,5 million 
dollars)and 200-euro fabrication worth 440 million euros." 

To read the complete article, see: 


Regarding the sale of foreign coins by the German subway system, 
Bob Fritsch writes: "I remember one such sale done by the City of 
Los Angeles in 1987.  They had a few tons of foreign coins left over 
from the 1984 Olympics and were planning to auction them off.  I 
saw the announcement somewhere and sent for their literature.  

"Well, the rules for the auction were so draconian that it was 
impossible for me to bid them.  They wanted a huge deposit up front 
($10K sticks in my mind), a bid by the pound, with a minimum of xyz 
pounds, and no clear rules on how the winners would be decided.  
Needless to say, I passed on the opportunity.  They must have liked 
me however, because I received announcements of new sales for about 
15 years after that!"



Web site visitor Karie Naquin of Rockville, MD writes: "I am so excited!  
I was handed change for a ten dollar bill last month in upstate NY, and 
one of the dollars is a 1935A silver certificate with many signatures, 
among them G H Van Dusen, and none other than General J H Doolittle.  
It is hand-dated "1942" and on the other side someone wrote "1492".  
I wonder if it is a misprint on someone's part.
"I had no idea what a short snorter was, but as a navy wife of 
twenty-seven years, something told me that it was part of a military 
"I am in the process of trying to research the other names on the 
bill.  Some of them are illegible.  I am fascinated by the historical 
aspect of this short snorter, and I want to find out more about the 


The Huron Daily Tribune of Michigan reports that "In efforts to honor 
those who have served in the armed forces, the county’s Veteran’s 
Affairs Office has designed a military funeral honors challenge coin 
— quite possibly the first of its kind in the state.
"'We took it upon ourselves to design a coin specifically for Huron 
County,' said Veteran’s Affairs Director Sharon K. McLeod. '... As 
far as I know, Huron County is the only one in the state to do this.'

"McLeod said the project was just undertaken this year.

"'Commissioner (Curt) Haag came to me and asked me if there was a 
military funeral honors challenge coin in Michigan because Wisconsin 
has one,' she said. 'I made contacts and found there’s no such thing 
in the state.'

"The coins will be given to the family at a veteran’s funeral, much 
like when a family is given an American flag and three empty shell 
casings during a veteran’s funeral.

"McLeod said the front side of the coin bears a county seal with 
the saying, 'Huron County Your Welcoming Neighbor.'

"McLeod said the county ordered 500 coins which will be distributed 
to the various service organizations — such as the Am Vets, American 
Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars. Those service organizations will 
reimburse the county for the cost of the coins and then distribute 
the coins to the family at a veteran’s funeral service.

"She said so far, there has been a good reaction from the local 
service organizations."

To read the complete article, see: 


An article in Tuesday's Toledo Blade profiles an Ohio man and his 
hoard of cents.  Check out the steel and bullet-proof glass bank:

"There's no 'penny candy' anymore. The term penny arcade is a misnomer. 
Gum-ball machines that decades ago took pennies have long since graduated 
to nickels, then quarters.

"So, what's a penny good for these days? By itself, a one-cent piece 
surely isn't worth much - they actually cost about 1.7 cents each to 
manufacture, according to the U.S. Mint. Some economists and lawmakers 
believe we'd be better off without the penny or that pennies should 
be made of cheaper metal than zinc and copper.

"But a whole bunch of pennies, now that's a different story.

"Toledoan Ted Grandowicz has an estimated 400,000 of them, weighing 
2,700 pounds or so, encased in a bank made of stainless steel and 
bullet-proof glass. The longtime tavern owner said the collection 
represents a future contribution toward the college education of 
two grandchildren, now 15 and 13."

To read the complete article, see:


Roger deWardt Lane of Hollywood, Florida writes: "The other day I 
found something new on the Internet as it relates to Numismatics - You should add a new item to the end of your weekly
E-Sylum - the web video of the week."

[Roger forwarded a link to a video montage of coins and paper money 
- it's the first in the list below.  YouTube has actually been around 
for some time, but this was the first I'd come across a reference to 
a YouTube numismatic video.  I did a keyword search and located a few 
more.  It may be premature to institute a new E-Sylum feature, but 
I'll include a Featured Web Video on occasion.  Please send these to 
me for inclusion if you discover one of interest.  

The "Ever Wonder How Cash Used to Be Made?" and "U.S. Mint News" 
videos were posted by Scott Tappa, an online editor with F+W 
Publications.  They were posted just a week ago and were created 
at the ANA convention in Milwaukee, WI.  F+W continues to pioneer 
in creating online numismatic content.  -Editor]
Colecciones de todo tipo

EROS - CUPID on coins by Gregory Zorzos 

5000 years of Iraqi coins and currency 

Ever Wonder How Cash Used to Be Made?

U.S. Mint News 

Moneda Republicana 5 pesetas 1870 

Moneda China Antigua


In his item last week Dick Johnson wrote: "'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 stared in disbelief."

Arthur Shippee writes: "I too would have stared in disbelief at 
the discovery that Farouk was transsexual!  Regina is feminine, 
and if the cabinet had known, they'd all be emotional wrecks.  
Making use of one pronunciation of the Latin, I offer:

There was a Farouk titled Rex,
Till questions arose, in re sex.
   'The R's for Regina?
   So really you mean a...?'
And left them emotional wrecks."



This week's featured web page is the coin and medal collection 
of England's National Maritime Museum, suggested by John W. Adams.

"There are approximately 5000 coins and medals with a maritime or 
Greenwich association in the National Maritime Museum’s collection. 
The collection owes its existence to a group of private medal 
collectors with an interest in naval history."

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: 

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