The E-Sylum v11#06, February 10, 2008

esylum at esylum at
Sun Feb 10 18:47:08 PST 2008

Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 11, Number 06, February 10, 2008:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2008, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers are Roger Urce, courtesy of 
David Klinger, and Dan Burleson.  Welcome aboard!  We now 
have 1,122 subscribers.

This week we have a bevy of new books to discuss: Whitman's 
new edition of 'A Catalog of Modern World Coins, 1850–1964', 
Jeff Ambio's 'Collecting and Investing Strategies for U.S. 
Gold Coins', Ron Benice's 'Florida Paper Money: An 
Illustrated History 1817 – 1934', Bob Forrest's 'An 
Introduction to Religious Medals' and Doug Mudd's 'Money 
& Sovereignty as Expressed in Gold Coinage'.

Responses from previous queries concern 'A Catalog of NENA 
Medals', and a publication predating the 'Brown & Dunn" 
grading guide using the same line drawings.  Readers provide 
more background on dealer "Brownie' Brown and Diane Wolf, 
and we learn which numismatic author worked for the New 
York State Library (and what he got in trouble for later 
in his career).

New queries cover topics such as coins produced in England 
for Queen Liliuocalani of Hawaii, Pismo Beach clam money, 
the obsolete bank note collection of the Philadelphia National 
Bank, who named the Euro, and a rare-coin-themed episode of 
Amos and Andy.

In the news, from Florida we have a report on toll booth 
operators refusing "sticky" coins, and from the Houston 
Chronicle we have an article on a Texas Numismatic Association 
exhibit of the money of the Lone Star State containing my 
favorite quote of the week:  "Not every historian is a 
numismatist," he said, "but every numismatist is a historian." 
(James Bevill).  

To learn what rare coin Mohamed and Fatima Ismail think 
they found, read on. Have a great week, everyone.

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


As noted earlier, Howard A. Daniel III plans to man a club 
table at the upcoming American Numismatic Association 
National Money Show in Phoenix, AZ March 7-9.  He will 
represent the Numismatic Bibliomania Society, Numismatics 
International, International Bank Note Society and Philippine 
Collectors Forum.  Howard requests that NBS members bring 
any surplus numismatic publications with them so he can 
give them to new and young collectors along with an NBS 
application form.


[Dennis Tucker of Whitman Publishing forwarded the following 
press release about the company's latest publication. -Editor]

Whitman Publishing announces the release of the 14th edition 
of A Catalog of Modern World Coins, 1850–1964, known to 
generations of collectors as the “Brown Book.” The new 
edition is available online, and from hobby shops and 
bookstores nationwide.

A Catalog of Modern World Coins builds on the classic text 
by R.S. Yeoman, father of the best-selling Guide Book of 
United States Coins (known to collectors as the “Red Book”).

The 14th edition has been updated with new photographs and 
retail valuations by coin type, in up to four grade levels. 
Editor Arthur Friedberg and his team of experts from around
the globe provide an accurate snapshot of the exciting 
world-coin market.

“This handy volume is perfect for today’s world-coin 
collector,” says Whitman publisher Dennis Tucker, describing 
the book as “small enough to easily hold, carry, and read, 
but packed with photos, data, and valuations.”

Who Should Read A Catalog of Modern World Coins?

•	Collectors looking for an accurate book on world coins
•	New hobbyists attracted to coins by the recent hot market
•	Dealers looking for a convenient type-coin guide
•	“OFEC” (One From Every Country) coin collectors 
•	U.S. coin collectors looking to branch out into an 
      interesting new field
•	Token and medal collectors intrigued by the connection 
       to world coinage
•	Casual collectors and travelers with unidentified 
      coins from other countries

What Will Readers Find Inside?

•	A complete listing of coins of all countries from 1850 
      to the mid-1960s
•	Each type and date of coin grouped in chronological order
•	High-quality images in actual size, for quick identification 
•	Retail values for circulated, Uncirculated, and Proof coins
•	Individual listings of rare and significant dates, 
      with valuations
•	Bullion-value charts for all gold and silver coins
•	The official Y-number catalog system used to identify 
      all world coin types

[The 544 page 6" x 9" softcover book retails for $19.95.  
I  haven't seen a copy yet, but this sounds like a great 
successor to the "Brown book" I knew as a young collector 
of world coins.  -Editor]


[Uriah Cho of Zyrus Press forwarded this press release about 
a new book by Jeff Ambio.  I reviewed the book for The 
Numismatist - see the February 2008 issue, Bookmarks column, 
p89-90).  -Editor]

Pre-order the latest release from Zyrus Press, Collecting 
and Investing Strategies for U.S. Gold Coins, by Jeff Ambio, 
from now until Friday, February 15th and receive FREE SHIPPING! 
Call us at (888) 622-7823 or go to  Orders 
will start shipping Monday, February 18th. 

Collecting and Investing Strategies for U.S. Gold Coins will 
be available at the end of February 2008 in bookstores nationwide,, and your local coin shop. The title is also 
available from Zyrus Press, PO Box 17810, Irvine, California 
92623. Phone: (888) 622-7823.  Web: Stay up-to-date!  Visit  E-mail: info at

Publication Date: 2008
Binding / Size: Paperback / 7” x 10”
Pages: 340
Photos / Illustrations: 150+ full color images
Suggested Retail Price: $34.95


[Steve Whitfield submitted the following review of "Florida 
Paper Money: An Illustrated History 1817 – 1934" written by 
Ron Benice and edited by Fred Reed.  It is published by 
McFarland Publications  (, (800) 253-2187)  

Ron Benice has been researching and writing about the results 
of his research on Florida Obsolete Notes for many years.  
This book is the culmination of those efforts to date.  It 
is obviously a labor of love, as are most of these state 
catalogs.  Expect Ron to continue looking for new Florida 
material and answers to questions about these issues and 

The book is full of historical information on the reasons 
behind the issues, written in an easy to read style.  Anyone 
who collects (obsoletes) by state will appreciate this book.  
The detailed analysis of note varieties is excellent.  As 
we learn more and more about this currency of the past, ever 
more detailed studies are then made possible.  Correcting 
the errors of past cataloging efforts is also important and 
done well in this book.  Anyone who has ever researched this 
material knows that assumptions and conclusions must be drawn 
since adequate documentation is rare and often conflicting.  
The author explains his thinking along the way on putting 
the book together and on his research. 

The book is well organized.  While Florida has few known 
advertising notes, college currency and depression scrip 
issues, they are separated from the main body of listings, 
as they should be, since those collector categories have 
their own reference catalogs.  The early territorial issues 
also have a separate section. The notes of banks and merchants, 
whether issued during the territorial period or after statehood, 
are combined in the main body.  Included is extensive 
information about the locations of each issuer and the issuer 
himself.  This is the meat of the book; all that historical 
information, which will be of interest to history buffs as 
well as note collectors.

The book is chock full of clear, black and white illustrations 
of most of the notes listed.  My only disappointment was that
some of the dynamite Florida notes were not shown in full 
color.  Included are many portraits of the officials who 
authorized or signed the notes.  Vignettes are also identified 
where possible.  The book is sized at 7 inches by 10 inches, 
somewhat smaller than the “sort of” standard catalog size 
of 8+1/2 x 11 inches. But this is no problem as the book 
will fit easily into any collector’s library.

The book is priced at $49.95 and is well worth the price.  
An extensive bibliography is included for further research.  
I highly recommend this book.


[David Gracey forwarded the following book announcement.  
If any reader is willing to write a detailed review for 
The E-Sylum in exchange for a review copy, contact me. 

Numismatics International announces the publication of “An 
Introduction to Religious Medals” by Bob Forrest; 212 pages, 
hardbound with dust jacket.

Bob has written a book that attempts to provide a basic 
background for some of the main types of religious medals 
that the collector is likely to encounter. This book is 
not a catalog of religious medals. Rather, its aim is to 
break down the field of religious medals into various 
recognizable types which the collector is likely to 
encounter. Bob has published over 180 numismatic articles 
since 1992.

The book is available from Numismatics International for 
$55 plus $5 postage at elmorescott at or 
NIBooks at, or Numismatics International, PO Box 
570842, Dallas, TX 75357


A new ebook was released a couple weeks ago: "Money & 
Sovereignty as Expressed in Gold Coinage" by Douglas A. 
Mudd and Michael Fagin.  Mudd is a former collection manager 
for the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian 
Institution and is currently curator of the American Numismatic 
Association's Edward C. Rochette Money Museum.  Publisher 
Chris Wasshuber of sent me a review copy, and 
here are my impressions.

First, I have to admit to having relatively little experience 
with electronic books, but the PDF file format is familiar 
and convenient.  Because the book is short at just 79 pages, 
the file loads and scrolls quickly.  

The Introduction notes that "the book is a general survey 
of the history of the designs and messages placed on gold 
coins. Gold coins have been selected for their beauty and 
for the care which was traditionally used in their design 
and creation. The coins chosen have been selected on the 
basis of the especially interesting stories behind their 
issuance and design from around the world and through history. 
The coins used are from the Western, or Greek, coinage tradition, 
which has become the dominant world tradition in the modern 
day."  The opening chapters consist of 

The Origins of Money
   The Greek Tradition
   The Chinese Tradition
   The Indian Tradition
Coinage as a means of Communication
The Future of Money – Electronic Media

The text is well written and straightforward; these chapters 
provide a concise but thorough overview of money and coinage 
from ancient times through the present.  The illustrations 
in the opening chapters are too small for my taste, but in 
the main section of the book they are quite large, with an 
obverse and reverse image spanning an entire page.  Using 
the standard zoom feature of the Adobe PDF file reader I 
was able to quickly enlarge the images over 400% with little 
loss of clarity.  Try THAT with a printed book.

In introducing the topic of communication via coinage Mudd 
writes: "Coins are an ideal method of disseminating messages 
to large audiences, particularly in the absence of any other 
mechanical means to reproduce messages in large numbers. 
Thus coinage very quickly became an instrument of State – 
conveying a huge variety of messages – those of economic 
stability and prosperity common in many non-authoritarian 
States, while authoritarian States used them for promotion 
of the ruler or ruling class in a direct and personal way."

As a collector of U.S. coinage I was pleased to read that 
"The United States led the way in the revival of an imagery 
and language on coins reflecting the political ideals and 
aspirations of Republican forms of government. This process 
began with the conscious rejection of the notion of displaying 
the portrait of the current president, or, indeed, any living 
individual, on coins. Instead, it was decided to use a 
personification of Liberty with associated symbols of freedom 
adopted from those of the Ancient Roman Republic combined 
with the new National symbols of the United States."

As something of a student of alternate currencies and 
electronic money, I also enjoyed the Future of Money chapter, 
although I felt it strayed from the theme of money as 

The meat of the book follows these overview chapters.  Each 
subsequent section (they're too short to warrant calling 
them "chapters") discusses a single coin with a page or so 
of text, followed by the photo page.  The opening sections 
cover the Lydian stater of King Croesus, Persian Gold Stater, 
and the Gold Octodrachm of Ptolemy III, 246 - 221 BC

I found the text easy to read and understand even for a 
dunce like me who's never collected ancient coins.  I even 
learned about some denominations I'd never head of, like 
the fractions of the Roman gold solidus – the semissis (1/2 
solidus) and the tremissis (1/3 solidus). 

Later I learned about Hawaiian pattern coins such as the 
1893 Gold 20 Dala of Queen Lilliuocalani.  While I very 
much enjoyed this section I question how it supports the 
theme of the book.  As patterns these coins never saw 
circulation, and their messages were never conveyed to 
the public.  

The last coin discussed is the Gold 5 Franc Pattern of 
the Democratic Republic of Congo.  While it's another 
interesting and attractive coin, it's a pattern and I 
question their inclusion in the book.

Overall, I was pleased with the book and my main wish 
would be for some of the pictures to be of higher-grade 
coins.  For example, the 1795 United States $10 Eagle was 
far from uncirculated.  No, I don't have a better one in 
my collection, but maybe I'm spoiled by the parade of 
gorgeous specimens  of early gold pictured in auction 
catalogs recently.

I was also disappointed with the complete lack of a 
bibliography, footnotes/endnotes or photo credits.  To me, 
it's not a book without them.  I shared a draft of this 
review with the publisher and by noon the next day the 
authors had already addressed two of these points - the 
ebook now includes a bibliography and a photo credit in 
the copyright section.  Now that's a level of service 
you can't get in a hardcopy book, either.  By the way - 
all coins illustrated are from the Smithsonian Institution's 
National Numismatic Collection.

I'll leave the final question up to our readers.  The 
list price is $19.95 - is that a reasonable pricepoint 
for an electronic book when Whitman publishes a 544 page 
softcover book for $19.95? (see the Catalog of Modern 
World Coins announcement above).  There are pros and 
cons of both formats, but I do think we'll see more 
and more ebooks in the future.  I'll look forward to
subsequent titles in the series.

Chris Wasshuber adds: " is a publisher and 
retailer specializing in digital publications. This is 
our first 'coin ebook'. We have a lot more planned.

"The link to purchase this ebook is
Price is $19.95. The format is a PDF which can be 
printed out for personal use or read on a computer."

[An Internet search found a Michael Fagin who scaled 
the walls of Buckingham Palace in 1982 and waltzed in 
to the Queen's bedroom, but Chris assures me it's not 
the same guy.  -Editor]


While reviewing the new ebook "Money & Sovereignty as 
Expressed in Gold Coinage" by Douglas A. Mudd and Michael 
Fagin, I learned about Hawaiian pattern coins of 1893 such 
as the Gold 20 Dala of Queen Lilliuocalani.  But I wondered 
why I couldn't recall having come across these patterns 
before.  I checked my copies of Metcalf-Russell's "Hawaiian 
Money" and the Judd and Pollock books on U.S. Patterns, 
but couldn't find anything on them.  Now Hawaii wasn't part 
of the United States in 1893, but I was still surprised 
not to see these listed even in an appendix.  My assumption 
is that the authors didn't include these patterns because 
they were not made at the U.S. Mint like the 1883 coinage 
- they came from England.

"In 1893, just before the end of the Hawaiian kingdom, 
several pattern coins were produced in England for Queen 
Liliuocalani, Kalakaua’s sister and successor to the throne. 
The 20 dala gold piece (equivalent to an American $20 Double 
Eagle) featured a fine portrait of the Queen along with a 
Latin inscription on the obverse (Lilliuocalani by the 
grace of God) modeled on European royal coinages, and, 
on the reverse, a design incorporating a crown above a 
crossed scepter and a torch above a wreath of taro leaves 
with the legend “Hawaiarum Regina” (Queen of Hawaii) above. 
The kingdom was to last until 1893, when Queen Liliuocalani 
was deposed and a pro-American provisional government was 
set up, thus ending the first native attempt to adopt 
European–style coinage to their own purposes." (p69)

I found only one online reference to the 1893 Gold 20 Dala 
- it was included among Coin Universe's "Top 100 World and 
Ancient Coins of the Millennium", an article written by 
Richard Giedroyc on December 8, 1999. 

So can anyone tell us more about these patterns?  Who made 
them?  How many were made?  Where can we read more about them?


David Lange writes: "Some years ago I was digging around 
the American Numismatic Society library when I came across 
a beginner's guide to coin collecting published in 1953. 
It included the familiar line drawings seen in the Brown & 
Dunn grading book, as well as the first two editions of the 
ANA grading guide. I thought this was quite remarkable at 
the time, since I'd never seen any mention of this book, 
and I'd always assumed that the line drawings were created 
a few years later specifically for the B & D book. 

"Unfortunately, as I was researching something unrelated, 
I didn't take a moment to write down the name of the book 
or its author. I'm also a long way from New York these days, 
without any immediate prospect of going there to check it 
out. Does anyone else know of this book?"



In response to Dick Johnson’s inquiry, Eric von Klinger 
writes: "Coin World has the "Catalogue of NENA Medals" by 
Thomas B. Ross in its library. The book was published on 
behalf of the New England Numismatic Association by Ross, 
at Enfield, Conn., copyright 1972."  Joe Levine also came 
forth with a citation.

Clifford Mishler writes: "Thomas B. Ross’ plastic comb 
bound “A Catalog of NENA Medals” carries a 1972 copyright, 
with the “Foreward . . .” dated October 1, 1972, in Enfield, 
Conn. My copy is of the “First Printing / October, 1972.” 

"That small volume was succeeded 18 years later by an 
October, 1990, dated loose-leaf bound compilation titled 
“N.E.N.A. Conference & Convention Medals including 
Transportation Tokens & Related Exonumia: authored by 
Robert R. Heath, which includes a “Foreword” by James 
Ford Clapp, Jr. I have a presentation that was loose-leaf 
updated through 1994, with a “1994 Edition” title page. 
I do not know if update sheets were prepared for subsequent 

"I have perhaps the most complete collection of NENA medal 
issues outside of New England. I began collecting them in 
the late 1950s, and have endeavored to keep the set current 
and complete since that time. It was about 50 years ago that 
I acquired examples of the early issues, pre-dating my 
introduction to the series, from the late Maury Gould when 
he was operating as Copley Coin in Boston."

[Cliff would also like to publish his new email address. 
He writes: "Effective March 1, 2007, e-mail communications 
for me should be directed to mish at 
While my old address will remain in service for an undetermined 
amount of time, the new address will be my primary account 
going forward. -Editor]


Regarding our earlier discussion of Bill "Brownie" Brown, 
Scott Rubin writes: "Bill Brown was a coin dealer for many 
years in Lambertville, NJ.  His store was on Bridge St. and 
was only a couple of hundred yards from the Delaware River.  
On the other side of the River is New Hope, Pa.  At the time 
of Bill's shop New Hope was a thriving tourist town and 
Lambertville was a poor small town.  Now Lambertville is 
just as much a tourist destination as New Hope.

"There are also a few well known flea markets just outside 
town.  At one time Bill was going to open his own flea market 
but it never came to pass.  This was after he had closed 
his store.

"If memory is correct Bill only closed his store because 
the real Estate company that owned the building wanted to 
use his store for themselves.  I used to deal with Bill Brown 
from the early sixties until he closed, but I do not remember 
when that was.  I bought many fine auction catalogues from 
Bill.  Included in one group were my pristine copies of B. Max 
Mehl's Dunham and Atwater sales - I believe I paid $5 each 
for them.  

"There is the story that Bill appraised a very large 
collection of coins in Pennsylvania once and was told he 
could buy the entire collection.  When he arrived with a 
truck to pick it up he found out that the coins had all 
been sold and he was to only get the library.  So many 
of the Mehl's and other 1930-1940 auction sales I bought 
from him came from that very unhappy deal.

"Bill also held monthly auctions of coins in the firehouse 
in Lambertville, and I attended at least one of these in 
the early 1960's. Bill also held at least one sale with 
Norman Pullen in 1970.

"One last story about Bill: shortly after closing his store 
I called him to see if I could buy any books he still might 
have.  He gave me his address and said to stop by when I 
could.  Some time shortly after the call I drove into town 
looking for his street.  I had trouble finding it and stopped 
to ask someone fixing their car in front of their house.  He 
asked me who I was looking for, when I told him Bill Brown, 
he said turn right and the next corner and then another right 
and I would find Bill's house.  Not only that he finished 
his comments with "He's home" - such a small town was 


[Robert Leuver is an E-Sylum regular.  Former head of the 
Bureau of Engraving and Printing, he is also a former 
Executive Director of the American Numismatic Association.  
Regarding our earlier discussions of the late coin design 
change advocate Diane Wolf, Bob submitted the following 
recollections. -Editor]

We got to know Diane at the 1989 ANA Summer Convention in 
Pittsburgh, where I also met Wayne Homren for the first time.  
Diane had a broken foot or ankle.  Ruthann asked my wife Hilda 
to assist her.  Diane, Hilda and four-year-old Mary Ellen 
became good friends with Diane, as Hilda pushed Diane's wheel 
chair from the Hyatt to the Convention Center and back.  
Maybe Hilda and Mary Ellen appreciated the return to the 
Hyatt as they would pause for an afternoon "refreshment."
I toured Washington, DC, with Diane in her limo.  We stopped 
in the offices of many senators and congressmen to attempt 
to get a change in the design of US coinage.   

At the hearing Chairman Frank Annunzio began his opening 
remarks somewhat as follows:  "There is someone in this 
room who knows how difficult it is to get The Congress to 
address and take action regarding the change to our money."  
That was me he was talking about.  I testified many times 
before the Chairman's subcommittee on the changes to U.S. 
currency to thwart counterfeiting.  
I was one of the last members of the panel to speak.  I 
knew how committee/subcommittee meetings work.  You have 
to get the attention of the senator(s) or congressman(men) 
if you want them to listen to you.  
I opened my remarks by stating, "Mr. Chairman, I know to 
whom you addressed your opening comments and I can attest 
to the difficulty in changing the designs on our money."  
Chairman Annunzio smiled, as did his chief of staff Curt 
Prinz, and I offered my remarks for the record and spoke 
for only five minutes, looking the Chairman in the eyes 
the whole time.  I wonder in retrospect whether it was 
the Chairman or Curt Prinz, who was so negative regarding 
Fine attire was a hallmark of Diane Wolf.  But that is what 
made her so effective.  You remembered her.  You knew who 
she was 75 yards away in the corridors of the Senate and 
House office buildings.  She took members of Congress to 
dinner at very nice places.  They did not mind being seen 
with a beautiful young woman.
Fond memories.  Diane, you died so young.  Too young!

Dick Johnson writes: "Alerted by the American Numismatic 
Association's 'In the Loop' email, I watched the 60 Minutes 
program on the current status of the cent tonight (Sunday 
February 10th).  Is this the same Morley Safer that hit up 
the Franklin Mint in 1983?   Twenty-five years has mellowed 
Mr. Safer. It was a puff piece for the U.S. Mint.
"He took his camera to the floor of the press room of the 
Philadelphia Mint to show the obligatory freshly-struck 
cents pouring out of a chute. And to  the office of Mint 
Director Edmund Moy. On camera, Moy was quoted as saying 
in the beginning when questioned about the cent and nickel 
costing twice face value he stated:  "It's unsustainable!"  
And the final quote "Get rid of the penny?  Not likely!"
"Between these two comments were interviews of Art Weller, 
a lobbyist for the zinc industry who, not surprisingly, 
wanted to keep striking cents of the present copper-clad 
zinc alloy.  Jeff Gore, a biophysicist, gave a commentary 
on the value of lost time in all the transactions in a 
year's time by every American. He calculated $41 billion 
in lost time every year.
"David Leavitt, co-author of 'Freakonomics,' gave the most 
intelligent reasons to abolish the cent. And didn't object 
to rounding up or down at each transaction. 
"Director Moy stated he has studied other countries which 
have abolished their lowest coin denomination, and this 
did not influence his decision to continue striking of the 
cent. Yes, the U.S. Mint is considering other metals, steel 
most likely, for cent composition. It is difficult to overcome 
the sentimentality Americans hold for the cent and, to quote 
Safer, 'the  love affair with Honest Abe.'
"But the answer to the problem is not attacking one 
denomination and one composition.
"The answer is to study the entire American coinage system 
with a view to future needs, not for past sentimentally. It 
was unfortunate Morley Safer did not interview Francois Velde,
 senior economist at the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank and 
co-author of "The Big Problem of Small Change." He has done 
more to study the problem and came to the most intelligent 
decision --  rebase the existing  cent! Call it a nickel and 
let it continue in circulation. And round off the odd cents 
in cash transactions."

Regarding the question about things found in old books, 
Nick Graver writes: "In a large Toronto book store, I once 
was browsing one of my specialty sections, and had the time 
to really look at everything.  As I worked along a shelf of 
old, books, I got to one with no title remaining on the worn 
spine, the real "dog" of the section.  Since I was bent on 
checking every book there, I had to give it a look.  It 
obviously had not been handled in a long time.  It felt 
strange, and automatically opened to reveal another very 
small booklet "inside" it.  Someone had stuffed the big book 
back on the shelf, and trapped the small book inside its pages!   

"I was delighted to discover a scarce and unusual title 
inside another book!  - a choice item, in good condition, 
having been out of circulation for ages. It was neatly priced, 
likely in the hand of someone from an earlier era.  The busy 
checkout clerk looked at it, possibly shrugged, and rang it 
up with my selections.   I always felt I provided the long 
lost little book a good home.  
"In a 'sentimental' twist, years later, that section of our 
library was acquired by Toronto's Ryerson University, and 
the book went back to where I had rescued it!"



Bob Rhue writes: "Like anyone would, I enjoyed the treat 
of seeing Alan Weinberg's exhibit at FUN.  Like Jim Halperin, 
I hope Alan treats us to a viewing of his Massachusetts Silver 
one of these days!

"Of particular interest to me was Alan's comment of how 
'extremely rewarding' it was to exhibit some of the treasures 
he's spent so much effort & so many years searching for and 
acquiring. And also how unrewarding it is to have them sitting 
in a dark bank box year after year.

"He echoes my sentiments so clearly, ones that I have 
Previously expressed in these pages.  Yes, it does take a 
definite commitment of time, expense, effort, and even a 
level of risk to exhibit the little treasures that for some 
often unknown reason appeal to us, & mean so much to us 
individually.  The rewards are well worth it: the satisfaction 
of sharing information & letting others view our 'spoils' in 
whatever area of collecting interest we have; bragging rights; 
camaraderie; and pride of ownership, to name a few.   All of 
these things are much harder to enjoy when our 'items' are 
eternally stuck in that dark bank box.

"And by the way, thanks so much Wayne, for all your efforts 
in compiling this most fun publication, which brings such 
enjoyment and connection to so many of us numismatists."  



Regarding the earlier discussion of the Drake Map medal by 
Alan Weinberg and others, John W. Adams writes: "The best
reference on the Drake Map Medal is in Milford Haven's 
British Naval Medals. His #2 has an excellent image and an 
even better historical description. The Marquess rates 
Drake as England's finest naval officer ever. Additional 
auction records in my files include:

1) J Schulman, 4/10/05, lot 18.  This is the van Doorninck 
   collection and the item is plated.
2) Samuel Freeman, 6/15/36, the Charles Jeffery collection. 
   I can't locate my copy of the sale but my recollection 
   is that the medal is not plated.   
3) Christies, 4/4/67. The medal was sold directly to the 
   Library of Congress at 12,200 pounds.
4) Christies 1971. This specimen was sold for the equivalent 
   of $50,000 to a book dealer who, in turn, presented it 
   to the Library of Congress;  they now have two.

"There is an additional example in private hands and thus, 
Alan, hope may spring eternal."



Last week I asked "which numismatic author worked for the 
New York State Library?"   To which George Kolbe adds 
"... and was found guilty of nefarious activities later 
in his career?"

Jim Duncan had a guess but the first and only correct answer 
was provided by George Kolbe.  The answer I had in mind was 
John H. Hickcox, author of 'An Historical Account of American 
Coinage', published in 1858.  Only 200 copies of this work 
were produced and apparently most were distributed to 
historians and libraries rather than coin collecting circles.  
Although extremely rare the book was the first comprehensive 
work on American coinage and provided the foundation for 
information that would appear in later classic works.  I 
consider my original copy of Hickcox a centerpiece of my 
numismatic library.

After working in the New York State Library in Albany, by 
1870 Hickcox was living in Washington D.C. and working at 
the Library of Congress.  Hickcox is known in library circles 
as the creator of United States Government Publications: A 
Monthly Catalogue, also known as Hickcox's Monthly Catalogue.   

But in 1882 Hickcox's career came to an abrupt end.  He was 
arrested for taking letters addressed to the Librarian of 
Congress. According to Q. David Bowers in his book 'American 
Numismatics Before the Civil War', his crime was 'opening 
mail letters and pocketing the money'.

QUICK QUIZ: What OTHER numismatic title was authored by Hickcox?

For more information on John H. Hickcox, see:,_Sr.



While looking for other things I came across a full-page ad 
in the program for the 1941 American Numismatic Association 
convention in Philadelphia.  It stated "Delegates to the 
A.N.A. convention are invited to inspect our collection of 
old state bank notes on display at our Downtown Office, 321 
Chestnut Street.  The Philadelphia National Bank / Organized 

Would any of our readers know what ever became of the 
bank's collection?


On occasion we've discussed numismatics in fiction, including 
books, plays, movies and radio and TV shows.  While searching 
for other things I came across a mention of a rare coin plot 
in an episode of the old Amos and Andy show.  I'm not even 
sure if this was a radio or TV episode, but it sounds like fun.  
Can anyone shed more light on this?  

"The Kingfish swindles Andy out of a rare coin and Andy 
swindles it right back by use of a clever trick in a phone 
booth coin slot."


Regarding the removal of the Britannia symbol from British 
coinage, Dave Lange writes: "I'm assuming that Britannia 
is being removed solely from the circulating coinage, as 
I haven't heard of any plan to discontinue the Britannia 
series of bullion coins. In fact, a new image of Britannia 
was recently announced for that series."



Paul Horner writes: "I have a question that perhaps a reader 
of The E-Sylum can answer: Who named the 'Euro' and when?  
No, I don't have the answer.  But I would like to know!"

[Great question!  The event wasn't so long ago that the 
answer would be lost in the mists of time, yet it doesn't 
seem to be easily found on the Internet.  One source I found 
says the name 'euro' was chosen the European Council in Madrid 
in 1995, but doesn't elaborate on who first proposed the 
name.  Can anyone shed light on this topic?  -Editor ]

Is there a dentist in the house?  Dick Johnson writes: 
"In his monumental work, 'Medicina in Nummis,' [1,146 
pages with 8343 numbered items, but with liberal use of 
letter suffixes drive the total well over 9,000 items] 
Horatio Robinson Storrer cataloged numismatic items of 
medical interest. With that sheer volume, errors were 
bound to creep in.
"But not all were factual errors. Some were just Horatio's 
inability to read tiny letters of inscription or worse yet, 
artist's initials. Most of these items were in his own 
collection (but he did add others he found in numismatic 
literature, so the entire blame may not rest with him.)
"I have a case in point. There is an artist who did seven 
portrait plaques of dentists. Only one is dated 1898 (thank 
goodness!). Horatio attributes these to an artist named 
Hitchcock. But he uses three sets of initials among the 
seven -- GS, JS or TS.  This artist was a dentist himself 
and he lived in Oswego, New York.
"One of the seven had a Massachusetts connection, so 
Horatio included it in his other book, 'Numismatics of 
Massachusetts' [319 pages, 2317 items] -- William Thomas 
Green Morton Plaque. It is Storer (Mass) #1986 and Storer 
(Medical) #2543.
"I wished to resolve the gentleman's correct initials and 
learn his full name (and possible dates). So I wrote to 
the Oswego Historical Society. They could not help. 
Apparently city directories did not exist for such a small 
New York town at that time.  Since the locality lead came 
up blank, let's try the dentist lead. Is anyone aware of 
a directory of New York dentists of the 1898 period?  Or 
does any reader have other suggestions on how to obtain 
this vita?  Thanks."


Web site visitor Morton Leiter writes: "During the depression, 
my father and some other merchants in Pismo Beach, California
used clam shells as barter money during the bank closure. 
The ones my father issued had the Leiter's Pharmacy logo 
on them and his signature. I have visited the collection 
in the Smithsonian several years ago, and recently saw a 
photo of one in a coin magazine. 

"Since I and my son still operate Leiter's Pharmacy we 
would be very grateful to obtain one or two of these original 
clam shell pieces of barter from the original Leiter's 
Pharmacy. Do you have any idea how or where we could obtain 
these?  Thank you for your courtesy, Morton Leiter; Leiter's 
Pharmacy; 1700 Park Ave, Ste 30; San Jose, CA 95126. 
(408)309-4570, email: mleiter at "

[These clam shells are one of the most interesting and 
unusual items of private scrip to come out of the Great 
Depression.  I've read about them as well, but have never 
seen one in person.  I imagine they are pretty rare today, 
and don't recall seeing one offered in a numismatic auction.  
It would be great to reunite one with the issuing family - 
can any of our readers help?  -Editor]


Arthur Shippee forwarded this paper from the Dead Sea 
Discoveries (Volume 14, Number 1, 2007) by David Goldenberg 
titled "Babatha, Rabbi Levi and Theodosius: Black Coins in 
Late Antiquity".  The paper discusses the controversial 
interpretations of the scrolls' mention of "black" coins.

"In six Greek papyri recovered ... on the western shore of 
the Dead Sea the word “blacks” appears as an otherwise 
unknown term of coinage. Various monetary sums are expressed 
as so many “blacks,” e.g., “one black and thirty lepta” or 
“710 blacks of silver.”  ... Bowersock conjectured that the 
small amount of silver in these coins would have allowed for 
a process of oxidation to have turned the coins black.  ... 
Meshorer took issue with Bowersock’s explanation, arguing 
that the papyrus documents indicate that the “blacks” were 
not of low value, and anyway low quality silver would not 
turn. His conclusion is precisely opposite to Bowersock: 
the “blacks” are Roman denarii of high quality silver. "

To read the complete article, see:


Regarding last week's item about the old Norwegian coin 
discovered in Iceland, Jørgen Sømod writes: "A Norwegian 
coin from 1653 cannot have been struck at Kongsberg, but 
in Christiania, present Oslo, as the Mint in Kongsberg at 
that time not yet was established. Icelandic coins are 
still imported, as they don't have their own Mint."



[This report from a Russian publication (citing an Egyptian 
publication) seems to hint that another 1933 double eagle 
has turned up.   I don't believe it, although the story 
has been making the rounds as it gets picked up by other 
web sites and blogs.  I've not yet heard any credible source 
confirming the claim, although the tale of the 1933 Double 
Eagle to date has been one full of surprises.  -Editor]

CAIRO, February 4 (RIA Novosti) - A rare U.S. double eagle 
gold coin that could be worth up to $15 million has been 
found by an Egyptian couple as they cleaned out their flat, 
the Qatar Ar-Raya newspaper said on Monday. The precious 
piece of gold was discovered in an old box that had once 
belonged to Mohamed Ismail's grandfather while he and his 
wife, Fatima, were throwing old clothes and broken 
furniture out of a closet. 

Mohamed subsequently sent the coin to experts, hoping that 
he would get a few dollars for it. However, the tailor was 
shocked when the experts told him that his grandfather had 
left him a unique coin of historical value. Double eagle 
coins were first minted in 1850 and were used to settle 
accounts between banks and other financial institutions. 

Specialists believe that the double eagle found in Egypt 
could be part of Theodore Roosevelt's 1933 collection of 
coins redesigned by famed American sculptor Augustus 
Saint-Gaudens and given to King Farouk of Egypt as a 

To read the complete article, see:


[E. Tomlinson Fort forwarded this article from The Economist 
about a British Treasury decision that could lead to the 
extinction of banknotes of Scotland.  -Editor]

One clear sign that Scotland is another country is that 
its money looks different. Scottish heroes rather than 
Britain's queen adorn the notes issued by the three biggest 
Scottish banks. Sir Walter Scott, a novelist, is commemorated 
by the Bank of Scotland (now part of HBOS but, in 1696, the 
first bank in Europe to make a success of paper money) 
because he fought off a dastardly attempt in 1826 by 
Westminster to stop Scottish GBP1 notes from being issued.

The power of Scott's pen is needed now, rages Alex Salmond, 
Scotland's nationalist first minister: the British Treasury 
has launched a raid on this iconic lolly. Scottish and 
Northern Irish banks (unlike their English rivals) are 
still allowed to print money, which is worth exactly the 
same as Bank of England cash. But a new plan would make 
them back their notes more fully.

The Clydesdale Bank, a Scottish subsidiary of National 
Australia Bank, fears this means that issuing notes will 
no longer be worthwhile. The Treasury plan is ridiculous 
anyway, Mr Salmond argues, because Scottish banks are 
among the most stable in the world.

See this article with graphics and related items at


"To celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the launch of 
Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and the creation of the 
euro, all euro-area countries will issue a commemorative 
2-euro coin with a common design. It will be available at 
the beginning of 2009.

A design competition between the mints of the euro area has 
resulted in the pre-selection by the Mint Directors of 5 
designs, presented here. The final winning design will be 
selected exclusively by your votes via this web page.

"The selection is open to all EU citizens and residents. 
Each person may only vote once. A prize of a set of 
high-value euro collector coins will go to a participant 
chosen at random from those who voted for the winning 
design. Voting will be closed on 22 February 2008."

To see the five pre-selected designs and to vote click here:  


[The Muskogee Phoenix published an article this week 
about a local bank chosen to release the first Oklahoma 
state quarters.  -Editor]

Mildred Bruce, 79, was one in a long line of people waiting 
for the 11 a.m. Monday release of the Oklahoma commemorative 
state quarter at BancFirst.
Bruce was at BancFirst’s location at York Street and Shawnee 
Bypass. The new quarters feature the official state bird 
and the state wildflower: the scissor-tailed flycatcher 
and the Gaillardia puchella, or Indian blanket.

The 11 a.m. release was timed to coincide with an official 
kickoff in Oklahoma City featuring Gov. Brad Henry and 
United States Mint Acting Deputy Director Dan Shaver. 
Oklahomans have had quite a wait for their own quarter; 
it is 46th of the United States Mint’s popular 50 State 
Quarters Program.

The design was selected in a statewide online vote that 
drew more than 148,000 votes.

Shannon George, marketing officer for BancFirst, said she 
was pleased to see how many people turned out for the release.

George said the BancFirst locations in Muskogee had $4,000 
in new quarters on Monday. Customers were limited to one 
$10 roll of 40 quarters. The coin will be officially released 
to all banks on Wednesday.

“People have been asking us for weeks and weeks when they 
would be available,” George said. “They also asked about 
the design; a lot of them weren’t sure what it would look 
like. I like the design; I think it’s perfect.”

To read the complete article, see:


[This week the Houston Chronicle published a lengthy article 
in conjunction with a Texas Numismatic Association exhibit 
on the money of the Lone Star State.  Here are a few excerpts.  

A worldwide financial panic fueled by tight credit and the 
collapse of the real estate boom spread from country to 
country. Meanwhile, the president promised to veto any 
legislation he considered inflationary and damaging to 
the economy.

That's the way things were 170 years ago for the fledgling 
Republic of Texas.

"It was eerily similar to today," said Merrill Lynch vice 
president James Bevill, who is president of the Texas 
Numismatic Association.

Money printed by Texas while it was an independent country 
will be on display in Houston starting Friday at the 
association's winter coin and currency show.

The association also is compiling, for the Alamo, a display 
of Texas money that will feature examples of every surviving 
type of note, with currency on loan from 21 collectors.

"Not every historian is a numismatist," he said, "but 
every numismatist is a historian."

Bevill is the author of the book A Paper Trail Across Texas 
— The Epic Struggle for Money, Credit and Independence in 
the Republic of Texas, to be released in December.

The republic, which had no gold or silver, never minted 
coins. The coins that were in use were from the United States, 
Mexico and other countries.

Ironically, during the same period, the United States 
printed no paper money and only minted gold and silver coins.

During the administration of President Mirabeau B. Lamar, 
Texas issued money called "red backs" because of the bright 
red-orange printing on the reverse sides.

Although Texas money was officially supposed to be worth 
the same as U.S. money, the red backs soon were trading for 
as little as 2 cents on the dollar.

In 1842, Texas began issuing "exchequer bills," printed 
in denominations ranging from 12 1/2 cents to $100.

In the final days of the republic, the government started 
taking exchequer bills in payment of taxes and then burned them.

Today the remaining exchequer bills are the most valuable 
Republic of Texas money, Bevill said. The last time one of 
the three known 50 cent bills was sold at auction, it went 
for $28,700, he said.

In all, the Republic of Texas issued more than $4 million 
in paper money printed in Houston, New Orleans and New York.

To read the complete article, see:


[This morning's Washington Post had a good article on how 
today's higher gold prices are encouraging more prospectors 
to search for the metal.  -Editor]

Membership in gold prospecting clubs is climbing nationwide, 
along with sales of pans, dredges, metal detectors and other 
small-scale mining equipment. A trade show recently hosted 
by the Gold Prospectors Association of America in Orange 
County, Calif., typified the trend. 

"I saw more people walking out with more metal detectors 
and sluice boxes than I can remember in a long time," said 
Ken Rucker, general manager of the 45,000-member association. 
"That $900 is really getting to people." 

The group has received hundreds of calls and e-mails from 
interested gold seekers. New memberships are increasing, 
and the number of membership renewals at the close of 2007 
was twice as high as the year before, said Brandon Johnson, 
the director of operations. As a result, the association 
is preparing to add to its staff. 

The heightened interest is nowhere near that of the famous 
19th-century gold rushes in California, Alaska and Canada's 
Yukon Territory. Those grizzled prospectors have long since 
been replaced by recreational gold hounds -- mostly seasonal 
workers and retirees. 

About 150 families in Alaska live off gold they have collected, 
state officials said. But longtime prospectors say small-scale 
mining is generally unpredictable, tough on the body and yields 
little to no profit. 

"If you love ditch-digging, you'll just love gold mining," 
said Steve Herschbach, owner of Alaska Mining and Diving, a 
mining-supply shop in Anchorage. 

Toni Logan Goodrich, who co-owns Oxford Assaying and Refining 
in Anchorage, said high prices are bringing a younger demographic 
to mining. It's a shift from 10 years ago, when she wondered 
whether her business of purifying and assessing gold would 

Goodrich displayed the impressive amounts of gold unearthed 
by her clients. In the workshop, her husband smelted 18 pounds 
of gold into a brick worth $250,000. Three fistfuls of gleaming 
nuggets and two quarts of gold flakes sat nearby, with a total 
value of another $500,000. 

To read the complete article, see:


Joseph D. McCarthy writes: "For years folks like Aaron Feldman 
and Dave Bowers have been recommending "Buy the book before 
the coin.  Tell Dave he has been right but he didn't know why.  
In this case it took one hundred years after the book was 
written before the coin was even made.  2008 is the 100th 
anniversary of the publication of the book 'Anne of Green 
Gables', and the Royal Canadian Mint is releasing a 
Commemorative quarter.”

[The following text is from the Royal Mint's web site. 

"Cherish Anne of Green Gables with this unique gift and 
keepsake. In 1908, the world was captivated by Anne of 
Green Gables, a wonderful story by Lucy Maud Montgomery 
that recounts the childhood adventures of a spirited, 
red-haired orphan named Anne Shirley. Today, people still 
flock to Prince Edward Island to discover the charming 
sights — and with this exclusive coin from the Royal Canadian 
Mint, they can forever cherish its beloved character and 
heroine.  It’s the perfect addition to your Anne of Green 
Gables™ collection—or the perfect gift for your favourite 
fan of Anne!

"Details of the celebrations being planned and “all things 
Anne”, including the RCM’s coin, becoming available in 
mid-April 2008, can be found at"

To visit the Royal Canadian Mint web site, see:  


[The China Post reports a run on new banknotes in Taiwan. 

The upcoming Chinese New Year has prompted a rushed on 
freshly minted banknotes islandwide, Chinese-language media 
reported yesterday, amid concerns that some banks and ATMs 
had already been out of new bills earlier that afternoon.

Taiwan-based news network TVBS claimed, however, that half 
of ATMs were unable to deliver cash, stressing that new 
NT$1,000 bills caused the machines to malfunction as they 
were thicker and stick together more easily.

"We have handled a lot of new banknotes from the Central 
Bank in prevision of the Chinese New Year, but so far we 
haven't had any problems with the new bills," an employee 
from The Shanghai Commercial & Savings Bank, Ltd., told 
The China Post.

"It's just that lots of people want to change their old 
bills," she added.

Seven commercial banks islandwide started Jan. 31 to 
exchange old bank notes with newly minted paper currency 
to people, who wish to give out red envelopes for Chinese 
New Year.

NT$100 notes are hot items before the Lunar New Year 
holidays because red is considered a lucky color in 
Chinese culture. 

The Central Bank of China (CBC) said it has made available 
nearly NT$400 billion for the public to exchange old 
NT$1,000, NT$500, and NT$100 bank notes.

To read the complete article, see:


[The News-Press of southwest Florida published an article 
this week about toll collectors who refuse to accept 
"pennies" and "sticky" coins.  -Editor]

It was hard enough for those of us who don't carry much 
cash to get over the bridges into Cape Coral when it 
only cost $1. 

Imagine how the cash-challenged are with the new $2 
one-way toll. 

Take Courtney Wright of Cape Coral, for instance, who 
was trying to get home one recent evening only to discover 
she was out of money. 

So Wright did what any woman who carries a handbag does. 
She dove to the bottom and scrounged around eventually 
finding one dollar bill, three quarters, two nickels, 
a dime and five pennies. 

For most of us, that equals $2. 

But using Cape Coral bridge collector math, Wright was 
five cents short. Wright was told the new LeeWay policy 
was not to accept pennies and, furthermore, her change 
was "sticky." 

"From now on," Wright repeated what she said the toll 
collector told her, "pennies and sticky change would 
result in ... three points on my license." 

I found it hard to believe that LeeWay, the agency that 
collects tolls, was rejecting pennies and dirty money. 
So I called LeeWay manager Susan Hopwood to see if she 
could shed some light on this situation. 

When I told her the story about the collector not 
wanting to accept Wright's change, she immediately 
asked: "Was it sticky?" 

Now how did she know that? Have sticky pennies been 
a problem lately? 

In fact, they have, Hopwood said, jamming up machines 
and forcing collectors to touch coins they'd rather not. 
"Pennies are OK, but we discourage them because it takes 
longer to count them," Hopwood said. "But a sticky 
coin is different. 

"You don't know where a coin has been," Hopwood said 
of the money handed over to collectors. "Sometimes 
motorists take it out of their mouths and we ask them 
to clean it." 

I'm not the squeamish type but the thought of this has 
me reaching for hand sanitizer. I really didn't want to 
go there, but this begged for an explanation. 

"When the toll was 50 cents rather than have the money 
in a pocket motorcyclists would put two quarters in their 
mouths and then hand it to the collector. That's happened 
more than once," Hopwood said. 

To read the complete article, see:


[Arthus Shippee forwarded this review of the new movie 
"Fool's Gold" which was published February 9 in the New 
York Times.  Its headline is "Tropical Pursuit of Love, 
Coins and No Tan Lines".  Arthur writes: "Well, the review 
mentions old Spanish coins, right near the end, so I 
guess it applies ...".  -Editor]

In “Fool’s Gold” Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey, as 
golden as a pair of rotisserie chickens, squabble and 
cavort in a tropical paradise. How nice for them, and for 
those in the audience who want nothing more from a midwinter 
trip to the movies than to gaze upon the tawny limbs and 
perfect bellybuttons of the stars.

Not that there isn’t a lot of other stuff going on in 
“Fool’s Gold,” a hectic action-romance-comedy directed 
by Andy Tennant from a script credited to him, John 
Claflin and Daniel Zelman. 

If only this hodgepodge offered more fun and less of 
the kind of frantic creative desperation that tries to 
pass itself off as giddy comic exuberance. 

For a time “Fool’s Gold” holds out a vague promise of 
romantic farce, since it seems possible that either Gemma 
or her dad, or perhaps both, might become an obstacle to 
Tess and Finn’s inevitable reconciliation. Instead the 
film stages a melodrama of father-daughter estrangement 
between Nigel and Gemma and abruptly shelves the dumb 
bimbo jokes, though not the leering camerawork aimed at 
Ms. Dziena.

And so the prospect of fireworks between Finn and Tess 
is quickly dampened, and the movie turns into a dull, 
noisy pursuit of old Spanish coins, aided by maps and 
letters and enough pseudohistorical explanation to 
round out the next episode in the “National Treasure” 

To read the complete article, see:


This week's featured web site is a catalog of fantasy 

"The Ultimate State of Tædivm or: “Confronting the Dire 
Consequences of Boredom in the Numismatic World
”  A 
Graphic Catalogue of Coins, Private Patterns, Medallic 
Issues & Banknotes from  

  Unrecognised States 
  Alternative Communities
  Autonomy Movements
  Fantasy Locations

With an Emphasis on European issues and an extra section 
for the Private Pattern Antarctic Coins minted by 
F. Zinkann, esq." 

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: 

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

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

More information about the Esylum mailing list