The E-Sylum v11#05, February 3, 2008

esylum at esylum at
Sun Feb 3 19:50:55 PST 2008

Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 11, Number 05, February 3, 2008:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2008, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


We now have 1,118 subscribers.  This week we open with a feast 
of numismatic literature offerings, including David Fanning's 
latest fixed price list, a duplicate sale by the American 
Numismatic Society, and George Kolbe's 105th sale.  

In the new books category we have Whitman's announcement of 
their new Guide Book of U.S. Commemorative Coins and Alan 
Weinberg's review of the Heritage Walt Husak large cent sale 
catalog.  Also, the ANS E-News provides hints of 'Pictures of 
the First United States Mint:  The Numismatic Legacy of Frank 
H. Stewart' by Leonard Augsburger and Joel J. Orosz, and 
Augsburger's solo work, 'Treasure in the Cellar', the story 
of the 1934 Baltimore gold hoard. Also in this issue I review 
Spinks' Coins of England and the United Kingdom.

Responses to earlier issues cover topics such as the late 
Diane Wolf, San Francisco Assay Office deposit records, 
answers to the questions about dealer 'Brownie' and Bobby 
Fischer's gold coins, and retiring ANS librarian Frank Campbell.  
We also have word from a prominent numismatic literature dealer 
that he is NOT retiring, thank you very much.

Numismatic news from around the world opens with word that 
the Royal Mint is planning to remove a centuries-old tradition, 
the use of the image of Britannia on British coinage.  Included 
is a great article about the designer of the last coin to 
feature Britannia.

To learn about Christian Decimus Ironside's connection to 
numismatics and three reasons for a coin designer NOT to 
sign his work, read on. Have a great week, everyone.

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


[David Fanning forwarded the following press release about 
his latest fixed price list of numismatic literature, a 48-page 
catalogue including material from the libraries of John W. 
Adams and Joel J. Orosz.  The list also includes a selection 
of numismatic memorabilia, including tokens, badges and other 
souvenirs of numismatic events and mementos of the people 
involved. -Editor]

David F. Fanning Numismatic Literature has announced the 
publication of our February 2008 Fixed Price List, featuring 
rare and out-of-print numismatic literature, historical 
documents and numismatic memorabilia. The illustrated list 
is available in PDF form on our Web site at 
and includes some rarely encountered titles as well as a 
selection of current and standard references. Items range 
from $10 to $1,000, and from 1778 to 2008. Some highlights 
of this listing include: 

* Several early Mint Reports from the first two decades of 
  the 19th century.
* An 1861 Confederate States of America document regulating 
  the circulation of foreign coins.
* A run of Mason’s Coin Collectors’ Herald, an exceptionally 
  rare periodical, including the entire second volume.
* The final set of page proofs for Walter Breen’s Encyclopedia 
  of United States Half Cents.
* A 1791 document acknowledging receipt of money on account 
  of Declaration of Independence signer Lewis Morris, signed 
  by his son, Richard Valentine Morris.
* A 1799 New York almanac, with handwritten, dated notations 
  of household expenses illustrating the transition from British 
  to American monetary units over time.

David Fanning can be reached at dfanning at 
Check out our Web site: while it’s still under development, 
we have plans to expand it into a resource for collectors of 
numismatic literature and those who use such literature in 
their research.  


[The following announcement was made in the February 2008 
American Numismatic Society E-news. -Editor]

In preparation for the move to new premises later this year, 
the ANS will be holding a sale of duplicate books, sales 
catalogues and periodicals.  Lists of available catalogues 
and periodicals will shortly appear on the ANS website, 
with prices and instructions for ordering. Shipping and 
handling will be charged to purchasers.

Duplicate books, together with unsold catalogues and 
periodicals will be offered for sale on the ANS premises 
from Saturday, March 8th, 2008. Opening hours will be posted 
on the ANS website.

Only duplicates of items in the library are being sold.  
No books or duplicates from the Rare Book Room are included. 
All proceeds from sales will benefit the ANS library.  Any 
inquires may be addressed to Andrew Meadows, 
meadows at


[George Kolbe forwarded the following press release for 
his 105th sale. -Editor]

On March 20, 2008 George Frederick Kolbe/Fine Numismatic 
Books will sell at auction the Numismatic Library of Dr. 
Dan Koppersmith, part three of the Alan M. Meghrig Library, 
further selections from the library of Bob Vail, and other 
notable properties.

Leading off the sale is the superb Koppersmith library, 
which includes a complete set of the Numismatic Chronicle, 
a complete run of the Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, standard 
works on ancient Greek coins in outstanding condition, and 
important auction sale catalogues featuring archaic and 
classical Greek coins. A nice consignment of works on British 
and American numismatics follows. It features a fine original 
set of Dalton and Hamer's Provincial Token-Coinage of the 
18th Century, heavily annotated by a knowledgeable collector. 

Complete sets of Barney Bluestone, New York Coin & Stamp Co., 
and J. C. Morgenthau sale catalogues are featured in the Bob 
Vail consignment, which also includes an extensive run of 
elusive United States Coin Company sales, among them a fine 
1913 Malcolm Jackson sale with photographic plates. A consignment 
of rare and obscure nineteenth century tracts on American paper
money and banking follows, including works by William Gouge, 
Oliver Wolcott, Matthew Carey, Albert Gallatin, Martin Van 
Buren, William Fessenden, and others. The sale concludes with 
the third part of the Alan M. Meghrig library, featuring many 
unusual works on American numismatics.

Copies of the printed catalogue may be obtained by sending 
$15.00 to George Frederick Kolbe, P. O. Box 3100, Crestline, 
CA 92325. Telephone: (909) 338-6527; Fax: (909) 338-6980; 
Email: GFK at The catalogue will also be accessible 
free of charge, several weeks before the sale, at the firm's 
web site:

On a related front, George adds: "In the past month or so I 
have been asked by a number of people if I was actually 
retiring. Apparently, such a rumor is making the rounds, 
despite zero factual basis. I am as busy as ever and hope 
to continue to be so well into the future. 2008 promises to 
be a banner year and we are already making plans for 2009! 
Stay tuned for further details."

[Dennis Tucker forwarded this press release for the latest 
numismatic book from Whitman Publishing.  -Editor]

Whitman Publishing announces the release of A Guide Book of 
U.S. Commemorative Coins, the tenth entry in its Bowers Series 
of numismatic titles, available in early 2008. The book 
continues in the tradition of the Guide Book of Morgan Silver 
Dollars and other best-selling “Official Red Book” guides. 
The 288-page full-color volume will be available in March, 
online and in bookstores nationwide.

Every commemorative coin from 1892 to date is illustrated 
in full color. Mintages, specifications, market values in 
multiple grades, and certified and surviving field populations 
add to the book’s reference value.

“Q. David Bowers is a recognized expert on America’s 
commemorative coinage,” said Whitman publisher Dennis Tucker. 
“His new book brings history to life by connecting these 
coins to the people, places, and events they honored, and 
to the artists, promoters, and politicians who brought them 
from raw concept to finished coin.”

The book explains how to build a collection of commemoratives, 
determining authenticity, analyzing strike and eye appeal, 
being a smart buyer, realities of the marketplace, comparative 
rarities, Full Details, certification, establishing fair market 
prices, and more.

A Guide Book of U.S. Commemorative Coins will be available 
online at, and from hobby retailers, 
booksellers, and coin dealers nationwide.

288 pages. Full color. Paperback.
$19.95 retail.


[Alan V. Weinberg submitted the following review of the 
catalogue for Heritage's February 14-16, 2008 sale of the 
Walt Husak large cent collection.  -Editor]

I've known Walt for a decade or more and often visited his 
Burbank, CA aviation parts mfg firm (co-owned by fellow 
numismatist Terry Brenner who caught the numismatic "fever" 
while looking over our shoulders) to examine his cents "raw"  
and photograph both his and my numismatic treasures. Walt's 
enthusiasm for the hobby never waned and his office was always 
strewn with numismatic publications with framed large cent 
pictures on the walls. 

It was with some surprise that last June Walt told me his 
large cent collection was going up for Heritage auction. Why? 
Well, Walt admitted he'd "hit a wall", could not add the three 
early large cents he still needed (one of which I owned, the 
1795 Jefferson Head cent), and had just bought an expensive 
multi-acre ranch in Santa Ynez, Ca (near where Michael Jackson 
lives, for you "foreigners"). Walt had chosen Heritage over 
McCawley Grellman/Goldbergs and Stack's. An interesting choice 
of auction house and not one based solely on financial persuasion. 

The choice was apparently wise. Not only did Heritage get 
PCGS to design and develop a new type of clear slab just for 
the Husak coppers but one with 3 prongs holding the cent steady 
so that the rims and edge legends, so important to copper 
collectors, could be easily seen. As with most early copper 
collectors, Walt preferred his cents "raw" and examined on the 
tips on one's fingers but the wisdom of slabbing them prior to 
public auction cannot be disputed. I will do the same when the 
time comes.
Aside from that, Heritage took the entire coppers collection 
early on to publicly exhibit and make available for examination 
at several major U.S. shows since last summer. And, best of all, 
Heritage chose perhaps the two most qualified large cent people 
to catalogue the collection - their own Mark Borckardt and Denis 
Loring, who personally knew Dr. William H. Sheldon, the large 
cent "godfather". 

The two of them have succeeded in producing a large cent 
catalogue for the ages, one that may well win the award in 
2008 for the finest numismatic auction catalogue, a field 
previously dominated by Stack's. It is a catalogue dedicated 
solely to Walt's large cents 1793-1814 with each and every 
coin having at least its own full page, often two pages or 
more, with obverse and reverse greatly enlarged - my sole 
criticism is that I feel the plates are a bit dark and could 
have been done better as I have Walt's own photos of the same 
coins on disk and they are bright and reflective.
Each cent is meticulously described as to condition - there 
are four conditions given : the slab grade, Del Bland's opinion, 
Bill Noyes' opinion, and the two cataloguers'  joint opinion 
of EAC grade. Surprisingly, given the propensity for the 
slabbers to grossly overgrade early coppers often by 10 or 
15 points, the differences in opinion are not substantial. I
n this catalogue, the slab grade almost always exceeds the 
other three grades by 3 - 5 points ( although there is one 
lot with a 20 point grade difference! ) and Bland -Noyes and 
Borckardt/Loring's opinions are most often very close, within 
3 to  5 grading points - a very surprising and welcome 

Descriptions of surfaces, color, and defects/problems are 
given without any "soft-soaping" or use of euphemisms so 
often seen in auction catalogues - another delightful feature. 
The latest condition census (6 finest known pieces) for each 
cent is given along with a detailed, often lengthy but 
all-so-important pedigree list of prior collector ownership. 
Pedigree is so important to early copper collectors, not 
because the coin's legitimacy might be questioned but because 
condition census is so important and the fact that a copper 
once belonged to Beckwith,  Mickley,  Bushnell, Sheldon,  
Naftzger, etc. actually adds to a coin's appeal and value.
And for the first time in any numismatic catalogue I've ever 
seen, at the end of each cent's narrative, the cataloguers 
give a historical background for one of the cent's early owners, 
making the pedigree information "come alive" for the reader. 
Here we learn of obscure decades-ago cent collectors unknown 
to the general numismatic public. And, the catalogue has a 
first for a picture of a consignor - Walt and his wife sitting 
atop a trumpeting Indian elephant in the middle of an Asian 
jungle! Not your standard back-lighted studio consignor 
So it would appear Walt Husak chose his auctioneer wisely 
as Heritage has apparently recognized the opportunity to 
make large cent history and perhaps lure away future copper 
collectors from the standard auctioneers they'd previously 
chosen. One can argue that the "wrong" Coast was chosen to 
sell such a large cent collection. Or the wrong coin show 
- Long Beach. Perhaps even the wrong time - with recession 
bearing down on us.

But the catalogue quality, the offering of the finest early 
large cent collection ever sold at public auction (yes, 
this is true) and the 300,000 plus bidding customer book 
of Heritage will likely combine to produce a record-setting 
sale with astonishing prices. And, yes, the Registry 
Collection bidders and their reps will be there, plaguing 
the serious copper collectors. But whether you buy anything 
or just attend, this will be one heck of an experience.


Better late than never, I suppose.  One of the books at the 
top of my review queue was acquired this summer in London on 
my visit to Spink.  During my visit there Catherine 
Gathercole presented me with a copy of the previous year's 
"Coins of England and the United Kingdom", edited by Philip 
Skingley, head of Spink's Publications Department.  First 
published in 1929, the book is now in its 43rd edition.  It 
also goes by the title of "Standard Catalogue of British Coins".   

So the book that was one year out of date when I received 
it is now two years outdated.  I understand that many improvements 
have been made in the last two years, including the addition 
of color photos and some 45 additional pages of text.  My 
apologies for not having the current edition in front of me, 
but my most of comments are likely applicable to the newer 
editions as well, because I'm looking through the eyes of 
a Yankee with limited familiarity with the coins themselves.  
I'll also be making the inevitable comparisons to the "Red 
Book", the corresponding one-volume guide we Yanks use as 
a reference to U.S. coinage - "A Guide Book of United States 

The book's preface includes a short commercial message for 
Spink.  The Red Book's publisher does not deal in U.S. coins, 
so this is one immediate difference.  But I won't begrudge 
the publisher - other than this single paragraph the book 
is devoid of promotional text.

Another difference I noted from Red Book practice is that 
while the preface acknowledges the assistance of many 
individuals, they are not named.  The Red Book has an 
extensive list of contributors, and I was surprised not 
to see a list of names.  

I found the introductory text very useful and well written.  
As with the Red Book, collectors are cheating themselves if 
they read only the price guide sections and pass up the early 
text.  "A Beginner's Guide to Coin Collecting" notes that 
"This catalogue is solely concerned with British coinage 
from the earliest times right up to date.  From the start 
the beginning collector should appreciate that the coinage 
of our own nation may be seen as a small but very important 
part of the whole story of world currency."   This is quite 
true and the statement holds for the U.S. as well.  The 
section also acknowledges the vast token series "issued 
by merchants, innkeepers and manufacturers in many towns 
and villages in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries..."  
Other sections of the "Beginner's Guide" cover Minting 
Processes, Condition, Cleaning Coins, and other important 

There is also a Market Trends section, a five-page essay 
on coin values and recent auction results highlighted by 
the unique Coenwulf gold penny.  Of interest to bibliophiles 
is the discussion on the value of good cataloging.  As an 
example the authors cite two separate offerings of a 
specimen of the Charles I Oxford silver crown of 1642.  
In September 2004 a "sketchily catalogued" example sold 
for £1,870 in a well-attended London auction.  “Six months 
later, the same coin realized £6,300 when resold in 
Davissons Ltd. Auction 22 with a fuller description
The section also discusses the very important differences 
between U.S. and U.K. grading systems, a must for 
collectors making purchases in both markets.

A peek at the back of the book reveals several useful 
appendices.  Appendix I is a Select Numismatic Bibliography, 
listing primarily modern works from the 1970s to date.  
Appendix II is a useful listing of “Latin or Foreign Legends 
on English Coins”. Appendix III lists Numismatic Clubs and 
Societies.  I couldn’t help but notice the apt name of the 
British Numismatic Society’s Secretary – C.R.S. Farthing.

The bulk of the book is of course devoted to coin listings, 
and I have to say my hat is off to the editors for managing 
to neatly distill 2,000 years of numismatic history into one 
volume the same size as the U.S. Red Book, which covers a 
mere 200+ years.  One thing left out of the book, however, 
which I found an awkward omission were mintage figures for 
regular issue coins.  While records from centuries ago may 
not be available, modern figures have surely been published 

I found a number of interesting coins and tidbits while 
perusing the catalog – here are some of note.

Victoria (1837-1901) - "In 1849, as a first step toward 
decimalization, a silver Florin (1/10th pound) was introduced, 
but the coins of 1849 omitted usual Dei Gratia and these 
so-called 'Godless' Florins were replaced in 1851 by the 
'Gothic' issue.

William IV (1830-1837) - "While Duke of Clarence, he was 
cohabiting with the actress Dorothea Jordan (1762-1816) 
who bore him ten illegitimate children."

#4261 - there's nothing special about this coin, a Two 
Pound gold piece, but I thought it worth noting the very 
low mintages of some of the proof versions - 1990, 716 
struck; 1993, only 414 struck.

#4570 - this complete Two Pound design (which I often saw 
in circulation) shows four concentric circles representing 
the Iron Age, 18th century industrial development, the 
silicon chip and the Internet.  I never would have figured 
that out without the help of the book, and I doubt if anyone 
on the London streets could have told me that, either.  
Here I believe the book has a typo.  It states that the 
should say "STANDING ON..." after the words made famous by 
Sir Isaac Newton: "If I can see further than anyone else, 
it is only because I am standing on the shoulders of giants".

#4577 - this Two Pound commemorative features what I'll bet 
is the longest word ever placed on the edge of a coin (Outside 
of Wales, anyway)...   Honoring the 1953 discovery of the 
structure of DNA, the edge has the phrase "DEOXYRIBONUCLEIC ACID"

#4616 – the last coin pictured in this book is one of my 
favorites – the 50 pence commemorative of the 250th anniversary 
of Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language.  
While “wordy” coins are typically a waste I found this 
one delightful.  Featuring the definitions of the words 
“Fifty” and “Pence” from Johnson’s dictionary in the original 
1755 typeface, I just had to smile when I first encountered 
one in change.   Every bibliophile should have one!

[See also the related news item below - the image of Britannia, 
which has graced British coins for 300 years, is set to be 
removed from the 50 pence piece as part of a redesign by 
the Royal Mint. -Editor]



Regarding last week's discussion of the most expensive 
works of numismatic literatures, Douglas Saville writes: 
"When I was at Spinks, in October 2005, we purchased the 
most expensive numismatic book at auction in Paris: Johann 
Huttich’s Imperatorum romanorum (Strasbourg, 1526) in a 
most superb French mid-16th century binding done especially 
for Jean Grolier. The price was Euro 102,935, or around 
£74,000 or now $145,000."

[Larry Mitchell pointed out that we did discuss this 
particular book in November 2005.  Below is a link to 
the original article.  Thanks also to Howard Cohen who 
writes: "I enjoyed your topic  on 'World's Most Valuable 
Books'. I came across an article in "Coin World" dated 
January 9th, 2006. The heading reads 'Book sells for record 
price'."  The article was about the Spink purchase of the 
Huttich 'Imperatorum romanorum' book.  -Editor]




Michael S. Fey, Ph.D. writes: "In my opinion, Dave Lange's 
coin boards ( are one 
of the most undervalued areas in numismatic collecting 
today.  At the prices he currently asks for his stock, he 
will never be able to maintain an inventory.  There's just 
not enough of these around."

[Michael also forwarded a copy of his Letter to the Editor 
of Numismatic News, Dave Harper.  The text is below.  

I noted in the February 5th, 2008 issue of Numismatic News 
where Dave Lange talked about my acquiring a rare 1935 Kent 
"Liberty Head Nickel" coin board.  I thought it important 
to follow-up with my rationale for acquiring this board to 
your readers.
My intention for this rare coin board is to have it 
attractively framed in an acid free mount with a UV 
protective glass.  I am going to hang it in my office to 
remind visitors just how collectors collected coins in the 
past.  It should make a great conversation piece.   It is 
my intention to preserve and treasure this piece of our 
numismatic history as if it were one of my most prized 
numismatic rarities.  In this manner, this coin board can 
be passed down to future generations for their enjoyment 
much in the same manner as numismatic literature, exonumia, 
medals, tokens, coins and paper money currently pass.  I 
would encourage both dealers and collectors in the numismatic 
community to do the same, while this area of numismatic 
history is still affordable.  Thank you Dave for a wonderful 
coin board, and for a great book about coin collecting boards.  


[The following announcement is from the February 2008 American 
Numismatic Society's E-news newsletter.  Authors Augsburger 
and Orosz are E-Sylum regulars, and we've been following some 
of their research efforts.  Readers able to attend the Groves 
Forum will be treated to a preview of information from their 
upcoming book.  -Editor]

The American Numismatic Society's Groves Forum Lecture will 
be held, Wednesday, March 12th, 2008 at 7:00pm.  Authors 
Leonard Augsburger and Joel J. Orosz will present a report 
on research results from their book-in-progress, Pictures 
of the First United States Mint: The Numismatic Legacy of 
Frank H. Stewart.  For more information visit 

Those interested in attending must RSVP by Monday, March 
10th to Megan Fenselau in the Membership Department 
(212-571-4470 ext 1311, membership at

[The following details are taken from the ANS web page 
announcing the Groves Forum Lecture. -Editor]

Much of what we know about the first United States Mint 
(1792-1832) in Philadelphia we know because of one man: 
Frank H. Stewart. He bought the former Mint property in 
1907, unsuccessfully sought to preserve at least one of 
its buildings, and then worked hard to commemorate it 
after the buildings were demolished. Despite this debt 
owed to Stewart by all numismatists, we know very little 
about him, or the impact his efforts have had upon the hobby.

In the American Numismatic Society’s Groves Forum Lecture 
authors Leonard Augsburger and Joel J. Orosz will present 
a report on research results from their book-in-progress, 
Pictures of the First United States Mint:  The Numismatic 
Legacy of Frank H. Stewart.  The authors will present an 
illustrated discussion of Stewart's biography, a selection 
of the Mint artifacts he donated to the Congress Hall 
collection (and the fate of those relics), images of the 
early Mint and, especially, the rich artistic legacy of 
the paintings Stewart commissioned artists Edwin Lamasure 
and John Ward Dunsmore to create.  Most of the images 
will be unfamiliar even to advanced numismatists, and 
several have never been seen outside of the repositories 
which own them. How these paintings came to be, and how 
they have defined the image of the first Mint for 
generations of numismatists, will be examined for the 
first time. 

[The ANS Groves Forum description also describes another 
numismatic book in the works by Len Augsburger.  I'm looking 
forward to reading and reviewing both works. -Editor]

Leonard Augsburger is a frequent speaker and author specializing 
in United States numismatics.  His work emphasizes the integration 
of new bibliographic and archival resources into the current 
literature.  His first book, Treasure in the Cellar, the story 
of the Baltimore gold hoard (1934), will be published by the 
Maryland Historical Society in summer 2008.



Kenneth Bressett writes: "The E-Sylum newsletter keeps 
getting better with each issue. It makes Monday morning 
worth starting the week. Below is a sketchy response to 
the inquiry for information on the Brown and Dunn book.

"I found a number of early editions of Brown and Dunn on my 
bookshelf. I am sure I must have more packed away elsewhere 
but can't locate them at the moment. These notations may be 
of some help in figuring out what was printed:

All with soft brown covers, various sizes. Published by 
Brown and Dunn:

First printing, February 1958
Second printing, August 1958
Third printing, January 1959
Fourth printing, April 1959
Fifth printing, September 1959
Sixth printing, October 1959
Ninth printing, April 1960
Thirteenth printing, April 1961
Revised edition 1961. 112 pages, halftone pictures.

Printed by Whitman Publishing with hard cover and line drawings beginning in
1964 (probably through 1977):

Fourth Edition, 1964

Published by Brown and Dunn through General Distributors, Inc, Denison, TX.
Hard cover and line drawings:

Seventh Edition 1980.

Various copyright dates noted are 1958, 1961, 1963, 1964, 1966, 1969, and

James Higby writes: "I have all seven editions here.
The first is copyright 1958 and has no pictures.  
5" x 7 1/2"

The next is called "revised", is copyright 1961, and 
has photos of the coin types.  111 numbered pages.

The next is also called "revised", is copyright 1963, 
and has photos of the coin types.  101 numbered pages.  
A difference in pagination accounts for the anomaly 
between these last 2 editions.
All three of the above are perfectbound in textured, 
tan covers and are identical in height and width.
The fourth edition, so designated, is copyright 1964 by 
Whitman and has 206 numbered pages.  For the first time 
it includes line drawings of the different grades described.  
It is hardbound in wrinkle-textured tan cloth, 5 1/4" 
x 7 3/4"

The fifth edition, so designated, is copyright 1969, 
but mentions a 1966 copyright on the verso of the title 
page as well.  It has a linen-textured, pictorial 
hardcover with a red, white, and blue motif.  206 pages.

The sixth edition is similar to the last.  
Copyright 1975.

The seventh edition shows a 1980 copyright on the verso, 
but omits 1975 from the list.  Published by General 
Distributors, 260 pages, in glossy brown pictorial 
All four of the above are identical in height and width. "


ANS Fellow Richard Margolis writes: "As a member of the 
American Numismatic Society since 1952 I keenly appreciate 
what a loss it will be when Frank Campbell, who has been 
practically a part of the scenery for half a century, retires.

"Change is often unpleasant, and it will probably be 
especially so in Frank's case. Others have commented on 
Frank's qualities, and I can only echo them: Frank is modest, 
competent, extremely accommodating, an expert on library 
science, and an unusually nice human being to boot.

"I would add that the contributions of the two previous ANS 
librarians of my acquaintance, Dick Breadon, and Geoff North, 
should not be forgotten. To quote the ANS in 2002, when Geoff 
died, "Together with Breadon, Geoff undertook a program of 
reorganization and upgrading that did much to render the 
library the great resource that it is today". Like Frank, 
Dick and Geoff were quietly modest, particularly amiable 
and capable individuals.

"I am hopeful that Frank's replacement will be able to 
adequately fill his oversize shoes, and that he or she will 
be selected in time to receive the benefit of some of Frank's 
matchless knowledge and decades of experience of the ANS 
library, before he departs on his well earned retirement. 
One also hopes that as the ANS continues its peregrinations, 
due diligence will be paid to insure that the library will 
have more than adequate facilities in its latest location."



Ed Reiter writes: "I was taken aback by Dick Johnson’s 
comments on Diane Wolf in the Jan. 27 edition of the E-Sylum. 
I, too, have personal memories of Diane and, like just about 
everyone who knew her, was startled to learn of her death 
at the far too young age of 53.

"After reading Dick’s remarks, I can only conclude that he 
never really got to know Diane as well as some of us did. 
She was wealthy, to be sure, and the trappings of her wealth 
were evident, as Dick notes, in her designer clothes, perfect 
makeup and coiffure, and ample jewelry. I won’t even dispute 
that she may have “appeared overdressed” to those more 
focused on her clothes than on her cause.

"I take exception, however, to the suggestion that coinage 
redesign was some kind of “harmless cause” that Diane latched 
onto in an effort to relieve the boredom of being “a rich 
girl with lots of free time.” I can vouch from many conversations 
with her that she took this cause very seriously and worked 
tirelessly in an effort to bring about meaningful change 
in Americans’ pocket change.

"Diane contacted me shortly after being appointed in 1985 
to the federal Commission of Fine Arts. I was then writing 
the Numismatics column in the Sunday New York Times and had 
devoted several of my weekly articles to the bland artwork 
on regular U.S. coins and the dreadful designs on some modern 
commemoratives. She invited me to lunch at a private club 
in midtown Manhattan, where we spent several hours discussing 
U.S. coinage, past, present and potential.

"Coinage is not the only subject – or even the primary 
subject – that falls under the purview of the Fine Arts 
Commission. It deals far more extensively with architecture 
in Washington, D.C. But coinage was the subject that intrigued 
Diane Wolf the most, and she chose to make coin redesign her 
special cause, much as Teddy Roosevelt made it his “pet crime” 
a century ago.

"Over the next half-decade, Diane worked ceaselessly – and 
passionately – to win support for this cause, making personal 
visits to anyone in Congress and any congressional staffers 
who would listen. She participated in coin conventions, 
contacted journalists, buttonholed influential friends and 
acquaintances – and even came calling on Dick Johnson – to 
get out the word that Americans’ coinage art needed to be 
updated and upgraded.
"Dick says that as a lobbyist, Diane was “more show and 
less substance.” What a mischaracterization! Yes, her glitzy 
appearance may have seemed out of place in his workroom office. 
But when it came to fighting for what she believed in, she 
rolled up her sleeves with the best of them.

"The U.S. Senate passed legislation several times calling 
for coinage redesign, but action was blocked in the House 
by Illinois Congressman Frank Annunzio, chairman of the House 
Subcommittee on Consumer Affairs and Coinage. As Diane confided 
to me, Annunzio’s opposition “wasn’t really about design 
change. I think the whole thing was about the new guard 
coming in and rocking the boat against the old guard. 
Annunzio hadn’t started it. It was somebody else who had 
started it – and it was a female and it was a young female.”

"As I wrote in an article in the June 2000 issue of COINage, 
Diane felt vindicated when the 50 States Quarter Program 
was approved and became enormously popular. She believed – 
correctly, I think – that her years of effort promoting 
redesign had helped pave the way for this breakthrough 
(though she shared my opinion that the quarters’ designs 
“could be better”).

"“In the end,” she said, “the bad guys lost and the good 
guys won. And that’s really how I look at this whole thing. 
In retrospect, I was blessed with a controversy. The more 
controversial coin redesign became, and the more the 
subject made the national papers, the better off it was 
for getting new designs – because people actually looked 
at the old designs and realized how much we needed new ones.”

"Diane said she was “proud of the job” she did. 

"“I did such a good job that down the road a piece, people 
still remember me even now. And I’m really delighted to 
see the change in attitude toward coinage redesign – in 
Congress and especially at the Mint. The government is 
recognizing the revenue enhancement that we said it would 
receive through redesign. The government is recognizing 
that people are clamoring for a change. Kids are getting 
involved in coin designs again. Everything we predicted 
is coming true.”

"“We had a good thing; we had the right idea,” she 
remarked. “We were just a little ahead of our time.” "

[Gar Travis forwarded this New York Post item on the 
late Diane Wolf.  -Editor]

The New York philanthropic set was in shock yesterday 
with news that socialite Diane Wolf - a large donor to 
cultural institutions around the country - died following 
a routine medical procedure. 

Wolf, 53, died early Thursday at New York Hospital following 
"an unexpected medical reaction to a minor procedure," 
said her art-dealer brother, Daniel Wolf. 

The Fifth Avenue society woman gave generously to several 
museums, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The 
Whitney and The Frick. 

In 1985, President Reagan appointed her to the 
U.S. Commission of Fine Arts. 

Born in Cheyenne, Wyo., in 1954, Wolf was raised in Denver. 
She got her bachelor's degree from the University of 
Pennsylvania, a master's degree from Columbia and a law 
degree from Georgetown. 

With her passion for arts and politics, she split time 
between New York and Washington, but always considered 
the Big Apple her home. 

To read the complete article, see:


Dick Johnson writes: "I came across an incomplete citation 
to a medal catalog this week.  Does anyone have a copy of 
"NENA Medals" by Thomas B. Ross Jr.?   (It is not in ANS 
or ANA libraries and I need date and place of publication 
to complete my reference.)
"The name brought back a flood of memories. I met Tom in 
high school (Maine Township High School, which served both 
Park Ridge and Des Plains, Illinois). We shared the same 
interests so became friends. He had a printing press in 
his basement and also collected coins.
"Tom Ross spurred my interest in printing -- these were 
the days of letterpress printing with handset type -- as 
I spent hundreds of hours in his basement. He taught me 
printing, setting type, locking up forms, running the press. 
Two years later after my family moved back to Kansas City 
after World War II I bought my own press, thousands of 
pounds of type, and started printing in my high school 
senior year (play tickets, programs, stationery, even 
coin club membership cards).
"Tom moved to Connecticut, became active in New England 
Numismatic Association, compiled and printed that NENA 
Medal catalog, married, worked for a newspaper (another 
shared interest) and ultimately moved to Enfield. I went 
off to the Air Force, college, and worked for a newspaper 
in Kansas City. Then came Coin World. Tom was one of my 
first advertisers. He had a part-time business in rubber 
stamps and sold these in his Coin World ads.
"After I moved east to work for Medallic Art Co, my family 
visited his family once in Enfield. We exchanged Christmas 
cards (he printed his own). But here my memory ends. Does 
anyone know if Tom Ross is still active in numismatics? 
Oh yes, can anyone tell me where I put my copy of Tom's 
NENA Medals catalog?"

[I used to have a copy of the "NENA Medals" publication, 
but it was part of a group I sold before my last move.  
These are out there, so please let us know if you have one. 


In response to last week's query from David Ginsburg, Fred 
Holabird writes: "The US Assay Office records, like those 
of the other assay offices, are held at the regional branches 
of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). 
There is no written summary of the USAO business anywhere 
that I know of. NARA did not retain all of the records. They 
retained samples over the years, which do show how business 
was conducted, generally. Other USAO records are found at 
the main NARA in College Park, MD within the Treasury records. 

"There will be a fairly lengthy section in my upcoming book 
on precious metal ingots on the assay offices and their 
records, particularly New York, the source of 95% of all 
the gold USAO ingots known today. I have spent a considerable 
amount of time researching this subject in detail and can 
entertain questions, but it is a complicated system, 
particularly around 1933 when FDR emplaced the New Deal 
and the Gold Reserve Act. 

"The San Francisco USAO had similar complications around 
1964 when silver was formally demonetized. One of the USAO 
SF bullion punches with the eagle vignette still exists 
today, and two fake ingots have been seen by me of bright 
silver plated lead. I recently found the punch, and it is 
in "safe" hands, but is for sale at a price too rich for 
my pocket."



[Bill Snyder and Dick Johnson forwarded this story about 
an archivist gone bad.  Bill writes: "I suspect that many 
of us will be hoping that they 'throw the key away' on this 
guy!"  Here are excerpts from a Reuters article. -Editor]

A New York state employee who had access to government-owned 
archives has been arrested on suspicion of stealing hundreds 
of historic documents, many of which he sold on eBay, 
authorities said on Monday.

Among the missing documents were an 1823 letter by Vice 
President John C. Calhoun and copies of the Davy Crockett 
Almanacs, pamphlets written by the frontiersman who died 
at the Alamo in Texas.

In 2007 alone, Lorello stated he took 300 to 400 items, 
including the four-page Calhoun letter, which drew bids 
of more than $1,700 while investigators were monitoring 
the sale.

The state library's extensive collection includes an original 
first draft of Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation 
and complete set of autographs from the signers of the 
Declaration of Independence.

To read the complete article, see:

[An Associated Press article credited the tipster who 
notified the authorities.  Bravo!  -Editor]

Joseph Romito, a lawyer and history buff in Richmond, Va., 
tipped authorities off after he spotted one of the items 
for sale on eBay and realized it was supposed to belong 
to New York state.

After searching the suspect's home this past weekend, 
officials found hundreds of documents and artifacts belonging 
to the state. Officials believe the theft goes back to 2002, 
Cuomo spokesman John Milgram said.

To read the complete article, see:

[QUICK QUIZ: which numismatic author worked for the 
New York State Library?  -Editor]


[Dick Hanscom of Alaska Rare Coins forwarded this article 
from the Newburyport Daily News of Newburyport, MA, home 
of colonial inventor and coiner Jacob Perkins.  While 
there is nothing new on the Perkins museum there, the 
article does feature a great image of a George Washington 
Funerary Medal created by Perkins.

I'd be curious to know what people make of the image.  
Is that a circular wicker frame surrounding the medal?  
Is it some sort of bowl or plate?  What does the "Lot N" 
notation signify?  -Editor]

To read the complete article, see:

To view the image of Perkins' Washington Funerary medal, see:


Last week Alan V. Weinberg wrote: "The Adams Academy medal 
bought by jonathanb is .900 fine gold as are all gold medals 
struck at the U.S. Mint.”

Jonathanb writes: “Actually, Julian says that most gold 
medals produced at the US Mint were .999 fine:

  "All gold medals struck at the mint, with a few minor 
  exceptions, were of pure gold. Alloyed gold was harder 
  on the dies than pure metal. On rare occasion, and listed 
  as such in the text, medals were struck of coin gold, or 
  900/1000 fine." -- p. XXXIII of Julian's book.

“I don't plan on having mine tested.  The difference in 
fineness isn't going to affect the numismatic value.  On 
the other hand, the high intrinsic value of US Mint gold 
medals makes it an open question how many have fallen prey 
to melting pots over the last century or two...”


Regarding my earlier question about gold coins given to 
chess legend Bobby Fischer, it looks like the answer was 
right in front of my nose all the time, something my wife 
delights in telling me whenever I search for something in 
the kitchen.  David Klinger writes: "It looks to me like 
the gold in question is described in the original article 
you cited:
  120 US $20 Liberty coins
  112 US $20 St. Gaudens coins, and
  191 ounces gold [bullion]

"Of course, some, or all, of these coins may not have 
been a part of the prize paid to Fisher. But, given the 
context of the correspondence they are likely the same 

Here is all of the correspondence on this subject which 
I could find. "

[David also set me straight on the spelling of Fischer's 
last name, which I've corrected here.  Sorry!  -Editor]
To read the original article on Fischer's gold coins, see:



Regarding the number of known specimens of the silver Drake 
map medal, Katie Jaeger writes: "Seven of the nine silver 
medals I referred to under No. 99 in the 100 Greatest American 
Medals and Tokens are in museums in the U.K.  I took this 
figure from a census by a curator at the National Maritime 
Museum (London). Our featured piece for 100G No. 99 is the 
American Numismatic Society's specimen (thanks to Elena 
Stolyarik for providing the photos).  

"There are silver reproductions of this original design out 
there too: the National Maritime Museum owns some and you 
can see them in their online collections catalog.
"The Library of Congress Kraus Collection of Sir Francis 
Drake has a link to their nice photos of their specimen, 
which they claim to be original:
"Interestingly, in the Scottish Historical Review for 1908, 
Vol. 5, p. 135, Sir John Evans, K.C.B. contended that "three 
or at most four" examples were then known to exist, "and the 
best of these is in his collection."   He states that Michael 
Mercator was the designer (upon which everyone but Forrer 
seems to agree), but states the engraver was "F.G.," who also 
made a famous print engraving of a world map in Peter Martyr's 
De Orbe Novo.  I am making inquiries in hopes of identifying F.G."


On a non-numismatic tangent Dick Hanscom writes: "Seeing 
the piece about Drake's Voyage Map Medal made me think 
that perhaps readers could help me on a "quest."
"When in elementary school, I remember a large world map 
that was on the wall (or unrolled like a window shade).  
It was not a rectangular map like most, with distorted 
images as one approached the poles, but it was sliced, 
like it was peeled from a globe.  This is "Goode's 
"I have been hunting for one of these for years for a 
wood working project.  I have a favorite search on eBay, 
and it has only found one of these in 10 years, grouped 
with other maps which made it too expensive for my project.  
Internet searches have turned up nothing.
"Condition of the map is unimportant. It can even be in 
pieces as this will be used as a template to rout out the 
map on wood.  Size is important, and it should be a minimum 
of 4 feet wide, preferably larger. Maybe one of our readers 
has one in the back shed, salvaged from a 1950s era school!  
Thanks for your help."


Regarding last week's query from Joe McCarthy about 
a dealer named  'Brownie' whom he met in New Jersey 
along the Delaware, an E-Sylum reader writes: "Years 
ago there was a  dealer whose last name was Brown.  I 
believe his first name was Bill, but some people called 
him 'Brownie'.  He had a shop in Lambertville, NJ, which 
is on the Delaware River across from New Hope, PA.  

"We met at his shop during the 1970's.  He collected currency 
items local to that area, which is why I wanted to see him.  
Since he was probably in his 60's at the time, I would assume 
he's probably deceased by now.    
"Today, affluent couples from the suburbs of NY or Philadelphia 
take weekend trips to Lambertville and New Hope to go antiquing, 
stay in a Bed and Breakfast, and eat at one of the many fine 
restaurants in the area.  In the old days, the area didn't have 
the lodging and dining infrastructure it has today, but I believe 
it has been a focal point for antiques for many years."



I haven't much to report this week in my numismatic diary, 
but wanted to mention two events.  The first was my first 
spotting of a "Million Dollar Bill".  I came across it after 
work Friday while meeting my family at the Dulles Towne Center 
mall in Northern Virginia.  It was sitting atop a refuse 
container at the food court, and I picked it up and gave it 
to my seven-year-old son Tyler.  He had fun with it and 
wondered if it was real.  Later that evening I put it in a 
currency holder for him.  This morning he tried to tell his 
older brother that it was real, but Christopher wasn't buying 
it.  He correctly told him that the largest note made today 
is the $100.  He also pulled out a $1 note and showed Tyler 
how the paper felt different.  I don't remember teaching 
Christopher either of those points, but he caught on like 
a real pro.

The other item is about a numismatic experience I *didn't* 
have.  On a family outing this afternoon we travelled to 
Fredericksburg, VA, a focal point of Civil War history.  
We stopped at the visitor center and strolled along the 
streets of the quaint little town under beautiful blue skies. 
Reading a guide book I noticed that I'd missed my chance to 
visit the town's National Bank Museum on Princess Anne St, 
which is open only during the week.

Located in one of the oldest buildings in America continuously 
serving as a bank, the museum "houses objects reflecting the 
history of the city's prosperity and challenges. Erected about 
1819 as the Farmer's Bank of Virginia, this fine Federal 
structure served as Union headquarters during the Civil War 
occupation of Fredericksburg. President Abraham Lincoln 
addressed soldiers and civilians from its steps in April 1862."

Have any of our readers visited this museum?


[The last British coin to feature the Britannia design is 
the current 50 pence coin.  But a planned redesign would 
eliminate Britannia, bringing a halt to a centuries-old 
tradition.  -Editor]

The image of Britannia, which has graced British coins for 
centuries, is to be removed from the 50 pence piece as part 
of a redesign by the Royal Mint.

The overhaul of all coinage in April is set to be the biggest 
change to British currency since the introduction of 
decimalisation more than 35 years ago.
It will be the first time in more than 300 years that 
Britannia is not featured on a British coin.

The redesign is the culmination of a competition launched by 
the Royal Mint in August 2005 to find new reverse designs.

More than 4,000 designs were received from 526 designers. 
After extensive consultation by the Royal Mint's Advisory 
Committee, seven designs were chosen that will replace the 
traditional designs on seven UK coins.

A Treasury spokesman said: "The new coins will be launched 
in the spring in accordance with the end of a long process. 
The Queen personally approved the designs, in accordance 
with the Royal Mint, and there's a lot of excitement about 
the project, for which I'm sure the nation will be equally 
proud once they see the product."

The figure of Britannia, created by the Romans as a 
personification of the British Isles, which they called 
Britanniae, first made her appearance on a British coin 
during the reign of Charles II on the copper farthing in 1672.
To read the complete article, see:

[The plan to remove Britannia triggered a storm of protests.  
Below are excerpts from a story in The Daily Mail, which 
sponsored a petition drive against the change. -Editor]

Gordon Brown was under massive pressure last night to reverse 
his decision to remove Britannia from the country's coins.

More than 30,000 Mail on Sunday readers and dozens of MPs 
have joined our campaign to save the centuries-old symbol 
of Britishness. 

We have received letters, emails and other messages from 
all corners of the UK, as well as the US, Australia, New 
Zealand, Thailand, France and Spain. 

Yesterday, accompanied by our own "Britannia," we delivered 
thousands of them to Downing Street so that Mr Brown could 
see for himself the strength of feeling his decision has generated. 

The fate of Britannia has struck a chord with people of 
all ages and from all walks of life, dismayed at losing 
such a potent British symbol. 

Liberal Democrat MP Ed Davey said: "Ripping up 300 years 
of British history is simply not acceptable. I can't understand 
why he's doing it and I find it quite depressing. Hasn't he 
got anything better to do?" 

However, Downing Street and the Royal Mint both insisted 
last night that the design overhaul of seven coins, from 
the 1p to the £1 coin, would go ahead as planned. 

The Britannia for the 50p was designed in the Sixties by 
artist Charles Ironside – father of agony aunt Virginia 
Ironside. His second wife Jean inspired him by spending 
hours posing in their living room clutching a ruler 
instead of a trident. 

She said: "It was an incredible honour to pose as Britannia. 
Britannia and the designs meant everything to Christopher. 
When you do a job like that you become part of the history 
of the country." 

The campaign to save Britannia is set to become one of 
the most popular causes in The Mail on Sunday's history. 

To read the complete article, see:


[The Daily Mail ran a GREAT article about the artist 
responsible for the current 50p Britannia design, and the 
model who posed for him.  See "My mother posed as Britannia, 
with a ruler for a trident".  Here are some excerpts.  

What I most remember about my father designing the decimal 
coins in 1962 was the secrecy surrounding it all.

As an artist – he was a painter and taught life-drawing at 
the Royal College of Art – he'd been chosen as one of many 
designers to submit designs to a Royal Mint Committee, but 
decimalisation had not been announced and it was essential 
that no one knew anything about it. 

I was a bolshie teenager living upstairs in our house in 
South Kensington, my grandmother lived in the basement and 
my stepmother was looking after two tiny daughters. 

One of the girls got up early one the morning and was found 
merrily digging a sculpture tool into one of the plasters 
my father had been painstakingly working on. 

Eventually, one day two friends saw the casts. "You're 
designing decimals!" they said. "You haven't seen a thing," 
growled my father. "If you say anything, they'll put me in 
the Tower!" 

My 39-year-old half-brother's name is Christian Decimus 
Ironside, in tribute to the coins. 

I remember my father explaining why he never signed his 
coins. "There are three reasons really," he said. 

"The first is that it would spoil the design of the coin. 
The second is that it's arrogant." 

And the third, he said fixing a small cigar into a long 
black holder, "is that it is even more arrogant not to 
sign them." 

To read the complete article, see:

Dick Johnson writes: "As Cyprus converts to the euro -- 
officially January 1, 2008, with the last day of circulation 
of the old coins and paper money this last Thursday -- the 
Financial Mirror reflects on Cyprus prior money systems, 
coins and currency. 
"Commenting on the old money the article stated: 'The CYP 
paper notes will be destroyed and the coins sold as scrap 
metal, ending an era that saw the adoption of the British 
currency in Colonial times that later became the national 
currency and saw the introduction of the decimal system 
with the thousand-unit mils in 1960 and the cents in 1983.' 

"Central Bank Governor Athanasios Orphanides said on Tuesday 
they were satisfied with the successful transition from the 
outgoing currency to the new one. “We have done very well. 
It is remarkable how fast we made the transition and how 
fast the people of Cyprus became accustomed to the euro,” 
Orphanides said, adding that “we did not need to take 
contingency plans out of our drawers,” 

"The pound was first introduced in 1879, a year after 
Britain took the island as its colony. It was equal in 
value to the pound sterling until independence in 1960 
and was initially divided into 20 shillings. However, 
unlike sterling, the shilling was divided into 9 piastres 
and the piastre into 40 para (like the Turkish kurush). 

"In 1955, Cyprus decimalized with 1000 mils to the pound, 
but the 5 mil coin was known as a "piastre" and the 50 mil 
coin as a "shilling". The subdivision was changed to 100 
cents to the pound in 1983 when the smallest coin of 5 mils 
was renamed as ½ cent, but abolished soon after. 

"The Cyprus national currency was replaced by the euro on 
January 1, 2008. The currency entered the Exchange Rate 
Mechanism II on May 2, 2005 and it was limited within the 
band of CYP 0.585274 ±15% per euro. A formal application 
to adopt the euro was submitted on February 13, 2007 and 
on May 16, 2007, Cyprus and Malta won the European 
Commission's approval, a decision which was confirmed 
by the European Parliament on June 20, 2007 and the EU 
leaders on June 21, 2007. 

"Note to U.S. Treasury officials: Cyprus abolished their 
smallest coin soon after 1983. Does that give you a hint?"

Read the full story:


[According to an online report from The Tico Times, Costa Rica 
is planning to revamp its currency.  -Editor]

New higher-denomination bills are on the menu for a currency 
overhaul scheduled to go into effect in 2010.

The printing of ¢20,000 and ¢50,000 bills is only part of a 
paper money revamp that will also include an art redesign, a 
change in size and possibly change in material, from cotton 
paper to plastic, said Ricardo Rodríguez, treasury director 
for the Central Bank.

Rodríguez said the bank has decided to release the higher 
denomination bills to achieve a “more equal distribution” 
of money. Right now, 70% of cash circulating is in ¢10,000 

In addition to including beefier nominations, Rodríguez said 
the new series of bills will vary in length to make them 
recognizable to the blind.

To read the complete article, see:


[This week a publication in Iceland mentioned a coin find 
in that country.  -Editor]

An old coin was discovered between floor panels in a building 
from 1840 in Djúpivogur, southeast Iceland, currently under 
renovation. It has a picture of a lion hanging from an ax, 
which is Norway’s coat of arms, and dates back to 1653. 

“It was made in Kongsberg in Norway out of Norwegian silver,” 
numismatist Anton Holt told Morgunbladid. “Every coin found 
in Iceland is significant because we didn’t have any coins 

Until 1922, when the first Icelandic coin was made, coins 
were imported to Iceland. According to Holt, every year an 
old foreign coin is discovered in Iceland. Norwegian coins 
are rarer than Danish coins; 80 percent of imported coins 
were Danish, 15 percent Norwegian and five percent Swedish. 

Holt said the fact that a coin from 1653 was discovered in 
a house built in 1840 shows that it was common for Icelanders 
to use 100 to 200-year-old coins on a daily basis before they 
had their own money. 

To read the complete article, see:


This article appeared in the Newport News, Va., Daily Press 
this week.  It's about students learning about Latin and 
ancient numismatics using coins supplied by the Ancient 
Coins for Education (ACE) program.  -Editor]

Each student in class received one of the small bronze coins, 
which were donated by coin dealers through a nonprofit, 
nationwide program called Ancient Coins of Education.

The ancient pocket change, which dates from about 300 to 400 
A.D, offers students a chance to practice not only language 
and detective skills, but also to study history, mythology, 
economics and civics.

They must prepare a Power Point presentation of their 
findings, adding technology skills to the lesson mix.

"I don't think they're doing stuff with coins in Spanish 
or French," Blackwood said. "We do other things. It's more 
than just language. That adds to the fun factor."

"Latin isn't just Virgil anymore," Auanger added.

That's the reason 16-year-old Siedah Holmes decided 
to enroll.

She said she now can figure out English word definitions 
and origins based on her Latin lessons.

Students cleaned the Roman coins with old toothbrushes 
and used microscopes to study mint marks and other details.

Holmes said students also spent time on the Internet, 
looking up empires and campaigns.

"We did a lot of research," she said.

Auanger said the coin detective work helps sharpen other 
skills students will need for college and work.

"They have to think about things they don't know and 
not jump to conclusions," she said, watching Holmes try 
to match her coin to the examples on the poster.

"It's got to be one of them," Holmes said.

To read the complete article, see:,0,2164785.story

For more information on Ancient Coins for Education, see:


[While not numismatic, this is a story of a frugal librarian 
is something many collectors can relate to (and fantasize 
about). -Editor]

>From the outside it's an ordinary, red-brick house in a 
terraced row, not unlike tens of thousands of others 
scattered across Britain.

But on the inside, Jean Preston's spartan Oxford home 
contained works of art of international significance, 
carefully acquired over a lifetime and haphazardly displayed.

Preston, a thrifty 77-year-old spinster who rode the bus 
and ate frozen meals, died in 2006. But art experts and 
auctioneers have now completed the sale of the exceptional 
works hoarded in her modest home.

The auctions have raised an estimated 4 million pounds 
($7.95 million), according to valuers, about 20 times the 
price of the house they were kept in, stunning experts and 
Preston's relatives alike.

Among the treasures were two paintings by Fra Angelico, 
the 15th century Italian Renaissance master, that were 
the missing pieces of an eight-part altar decoration.

They were sold together for $3.4 million and are expected 
to be returned to the Uffizi Gallery, Florence's famed 
art museum.

"We knew we were going to a house that contained some 
important works," Guy Schwinge of Dukes art auctioneers 
in Dorchester, which helped with the sale, told Reuters.

"But I was amazed to see quite how many treasures there 
were ... The Fra Angelicos were behind the bedroom door 
and we only spotted them on the way out."

Hanging in the kitchen was a 19th century watercolor by 
pre-Raphaelite artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and in the 
sitting room, above an electric fire, a work by 
Sir Edward Burne-Jones.

Those two, estimated to be worth $2 million, have been 
saved for Britain and are expected to go on display at 
Oxford's Ashmolean Museum, Schwinge said.

Another hidden treasure was a rare edition of the works 
of Chaucer that was too big to fit on Preston's bookshelf 
and was found buried in a wardrobe. It sold for nearly 

Preston, who worked as a librarian for much of her life, 
inherited many of the works from her father, a keen collector. 
Her relatives were stunned by the artworks she had tucked away.

To read the complete article, see:


This week's featured web site is the McMaster Museum of Art Online Roman
Coin Collection.

"The goal of the McMaster Museum of Art Online Roman Coin Collection is to
contribute to the growing collection of primary historical and numismatic
sources on the world wide web. By giving researchers and students access to
the primary source materials in the museum's collection, we hope to
encourage the use of modern information technology in the pursuit of
classical scholarship. By displaying the collection online, we hope to
create more visibility for the collection at the McMaster Museum of Art."   

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 for First Class mail, and 
$25 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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