The E-Sylum v11#08, February 24, 2008
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Sun Feb 24 20:49:25 PST 2008
Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 11, Number 08, February 24, 2008:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2008, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
WAYNE'S WORDS: THE E-SYLUM FEBRUARY 24, 2008
No new subscribers this week - our count holds at 1,113. Our
number grows primarily by word of mouth. If you know a
numismatist who might enjoy reading The E-Sylum, please send
me their email address and we'll enter a subscription for them
on your behalf.
For better or worse, this week's issue is another whopper.
Lots of interesting stuff. This week John and Nancy Wilson
review "Striking Change" by Michael Moran, and we have
announcements of the ANS' duplicate catalog sale, a new book
on the Fugio coppers, a "Biography of the Dollar" and a new
book about Joseph Florimond Loubat. In responses to items
in last week's issue, several readers set us straight about
the "Lombat Prize" - it's the "Loubat Prize"!
Other responses cover topics such as the late Sam Pennington,
Things Found in Books, numismatic holdings of the Library of
Congress, the Tompkins "Counterfeit House" and the numismatics
of the Lincoln Highway. New queries this week include porcelain
copies of medals, the 1943 ANA business session / convention,
and WWII "Torpedo Club" bills.
Also in this issue we have Katie Jaeger's 2005 interviews
with executives of The Franklin Mint, Alan Weinberg's recollection
of his visit to Evergreen House, the Johns Hopkins University
home of the legendary Garrett coin collection, and Dick Johnson's
discussion of the striking of large medals. My numismatic diary
includes a great story from David Schenkman on the provenance
of the famous J.H. Polhemus counterstamped $20 gold piece.
In the news, numismatic author Milton R. Friedberg has passed
on, ransom notes from the infamous 1971 D.B. Cooper skyjacking
have been certified by PCGS Currency, a gang leader involved
in negotiating the return of New Zealand's stolen war medals
has been released from prison and 'The Counterfeiters' won the
Best Foreign Language Film Oscar at tonight's Academy Awards
QUICK QUIZ: Who can spot the error in the story about the gold
coin dress from Japan?
To learn about Bois Durci and Torpedo Peggy's Short Snorter,
read on. Have a great week, everyone.
Numismatic Bibliomania Society
HOWARD DANIEL TO MAN NBS TABLE AT PHOENIX ANA
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
NUMISMATIC LITERATURE IN THE LOCKDALE MARCH 16TH SALE
>From Viet Nam, Howard A. Daniel III writes: "I received
an email from Lockdales in England about their March 16
auction. Lot 2389 has some 19th century books that could
be interest to some NBSers. There are other lots that
might be of interest as well, but 2389 seemed like a
To view the Lockdales catalog, see:
FIXED PRICE LISTS: AMERICAN NUMISMATIC SOCIETY DUPLICATE CATALOG SALE
Andy Meadows of the American Numismatic Society writes:
"The ANS duplicate auction catalogue lists have been
posted on the ANS website (www.numismatics.org).
"In preparation for the move to new premises, the ANS is
disposing of quantities of duplicate auction catalogues,
accumulated over a number of years. The aim of this is both
to find good homes for unneeded catalogues, as well as to
raise funds for the ANS library acquisitions budget.
"Two lists of duplicate sales catalogues have been created.
One contains details of sales catalogues produced by US-based
dealers, the other those of dealers based outside the US.
While we have made every effort to ensure that the lists are
accurate at time of issue, this has been a substantial task
and we ask for patience with any errors that may emerge.
Likewise, we will do our best to maintain an accurate list of
available volumes on the website, but there will inevitably
be cases where sales listed are no longer available. We
apologize in advance, and suggest that if there is something
you really want, then you send in your order early.
"Orders should be addressed by email only to orders at numismatics.org,
as should any enquiries. There is one price for all catalogues:
$2 per volume, with a minimum order value of $20. Shipping
will be added at cost. Payment is accepted by check or
"Please bear in mind when ordering that you are not just
acquiring books for your own library; you are also contributing
to the future of the ANS.
"A separate list of numismatic and non-numismatic journals
will be posted shortly."
To view the ANS fixed price lists, see:
NEW BOOK: UNITED STATES FUGIO COPPER COINAGE OF 1787 BY ERIC NEWMAN
The latest new title on early U.S. coinage comes from the
quill pen of nonagenarian Eric P. Newman of St. Louis.
'United States Fugio Copper Coinage Of 1787' is a 176-page
expansion of his original article on the subject published
by Wayte Raymond in the Coin Collectors Journal of January
1949. This is perhaps the longest period between a published
numismatic research study and its revision by the same author
(nearly 60 years)!
Eric writes: "Major important cooperating contributors to
the book are Bill Noyes for the images; John Kraljevich for
the refinement of the 18th century history; Kenneth Bressett
for the clue to John Curtis as the Horatio Rust collaborationist
in the distribution of the 19th century Fugio copper, silver
and gold copies (falsely called New Haven "restrikes"); and
Jon Lusk, the publisher and a stimulator for the project.
Charles Davis is the distributor and promoter of the book."
Charlie Davis writes: "In 1869 Sylvester Crosby put together
a committee to write the "Early Coins of America." Within
several years the committee had done little to move the project
along, and Crosby found himself alone with the project,
substantiating the maxim that when work is assigned to a
committee, either no work is done or one person does it all.
"With the 'United States Copper Fugio Coinage of 1787,'
a committee of Newman, Noyes, Kraljevich, Lusk, and myself
began the work at the 2007 EAC convention in St Louis.
Dispelling the above theory, the work progressed rapidly,
and drawing on the superb photo file of Bill Noyes, and the
able assistance of specialists like Brian Greer, and Tony
Terranova, the book was on press eight months later. The
group was so pro-active we were even able to include the
new variety discovered by Stack's in December 2007 and sold
in their January 2008 sale.
"Those who have seen the book will immediately recognize
the Noyes/Lusk format with 3x color photographs of obverses
and reverses with diagnostic pointers placed around the
circumference, with rarity levels and commentary for each
variety. Eric has even written sections dealing with errors
and patterns, areas not covered before. A final touch is the
inclusion of a reprint of Erics 1949 work from the Coin
Collector's Journal. The book is available in two versions:
blue cloth at $125.00 (plus $7.00 shipping to U.S. addresses),
and half Morocco with a signed bookplate at $550.00 (plus $15
shipping). Each may be ordered from us at Box 547,
Wenham MA 01984."
[Eric was born May 25, 1911, and he's an inspiration to us
all. Congratulations on the latest publication! I'll look
forward to getting my copy, and invite other readers to
contribute their reviews. -Editor]
NEW BOOK: BIOGRAPHY OF THE DOLLAR BY CRAIG KARMIN
[Tom Fort forwarded this review of a new book from The
Economist. Written by Craig Karmin, the book is "Biography
of the Dollar: How the Mighty Buck Conquered the World and
Why It's Under Siege." The review opens with an anecdote
about the BEP's Mutilated Currency Division. -Editor]
A man's angry wife once ran $30,000 of his life savings
though a paper shredder. Fortunately the nest-egg was in
dollars and help was at hand in a little-known corner of
America's federal bureaucracy. Since 1862 the Mutilated
Currency Division of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing
has pieced together partially destroyed American currency.
So long as 51% of a bill remains and can be proved genuine,
Uncle Sam will refund its full value.
With magnifying glasses, tweezers, scalpels and many gallons
of disinfectant, the mutilated-currency specialists can spend
up to two years analysing a single bill. "We don't care if
it was in a fire, buried underground or water-damaged," says
one. "Maybe your dog ate it. Came out the other end. Clean it
up a bit. We'll take care of it." In 2006 the currency
forensics handled about 20,000 cases and sent out cheques
This tale is one of the many fascinating titbits that
Craig Karmin, a reporter for the WALL STREET JOURNAL,
has compiled in his "biography" of the dollar, a book that
tells the story of America's national currency. The approach
is partly historical. Mr Karmin describes the dollar's wild
youth. In the era of free banking between 1837 and 1863, for
instance, more than 700 banks could issue their own notes,
and as many as one-third of all bills were fake. He documents
the greenback's gradual rise as an international currency
after the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913, and its
global dominance after the second world war.
It is a series of lively stories, full of first-hand reporting,
deftly woven together. You meet the hedge-fund honcho whose
firm is one of the world's biggest currency-trading specialists;
the Ecuadorean hotelier who had to change everything after his
country dollarised; the president of an online bank that offers
Americans foreign-currency accounts. Mr Karmin has not written
an important book about the dollar but he has written a jolly
To read the complete article, see:
BOOK REVIEW: STRIKING CHANGE BY MICHAEL MORAN
[John and Nancy Wilson, NLG, submitted the following review
of 'Striking Change: The Great Artistic Collaborations of
Theodore Roosevelt and Augustus Saint-Gaudens by Michael
The recently released 480-page hardcover book by Michael
Moran tells about the life of Augustus Saint-Gaudens from
his birth in Ireland through his partnership with President
Theodore Roosevelt to produce some of Americas most beautiful
coinage to rival ancient Greek coinage. The author corrects
many errors that have crept into prior books.
The book tells of Saint-Gaudenss early struggles to develop
his artistic genius. His working with the 1893 Colombian
Exposition, followed by his rise to national prominence as
well as his growing close to the Roosevelts were well documented.
On January 12, 1905, at the Annual Diplomatic Reception, President
Roosevelt asked Saint-Gaudens to help him redesign the nations
coinage to more reflect the high-relief coins of ancient Greece.
With Saint-Gaudenss 1905 unofficial Roosevelt inaugural medal
the stage was set for him to design the gold-coin series and the
one-cent piece. The actual designs as well as the events leading
up to the minting of the gold coins and subsequent events are
well documented by the author.
The book has a cover price of $24.95 and was published by
Whitman Publishing. The book is available bookstores, numismatic
literature dealers and online at www.whitmanbooks.com.
NEW BOOK: THE MAGNUM OPUS OF JOSEPH FLORIMOND LOUBAT ... A LEAF BOOK
George Kolbe writes: "The Amos 'n Andy 'nickelectomy' mentioned
in last week's E-Sylum brings to mind what I consider a very
funny line in a new book printed by Henry Morris/Bird & Bull
Press entitled 'The Magnum Opus of Joseph Florimond Loubat ...
A Leaf Book.' It reproduces articles originally appearing in
The Asylum and, yes, I am currently offering copies for sale
(they can also be ordered directly from the printer/publisher).
"Two original leaves of illustrations taken from an original
1878 edition of Loubat are included in the book, for which
Morris offers a 'mea culpa' to librarians and curators who
generally decry the practice. Although he makes a spirited
defense, Morris observes: 'This I know will be regarded by
some as bibliophilic sacrilege, and for what it's worth I did
feel I was committing a barbaric act.*'
The footnote reads: "*In bibliophilic language, this would
be called a Loubatomy."
[The new book is priced at $200. George will distribute a
photocopy of the flyer with his March 20 numismatic literature
sale catalogue. -Editor]
ON COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY'S LOUBAT PRIZE
Regarding Dave Lange's query, Douglas Mudd writes: "I believe
that the 'Lombat' prize is actually the 'Loubat' prize - I
wonder when/where it was first misspelled - it is identified
in Wikipedia as:
The Loubat Prize was a pair of prizes awarded by Columbia
University every five years between 1913 and 1958 for the
best social science works in the English language about
North America. The awards were established and endowed
by Joseph Florimond, Duc de Loubat. The awards were given
"in recognition of the best works printed in the English
language on the history, geography, archaeology, ethnology,
philology, or numismatics of North America."
Pete Smith, Ron Abler, Dan Demeo and Dr. Ute Wartenberg Kagan
of the American Numismatic Society also spotted the error. Pete
Smith was among the first to report the mistake. He writes: "I
don't know who made the spelling error but that should obviously
be the Loubat Prize. I found that when I was doing research for
my article on Loubat in The Asylum. I found several references
to it being awarded but I could not confirm why awards stopped."
Dave Lange writes: "The article in Naval History did spell it
'Lombat,' and this may have been a scanning error. These are
becoming increasingly common in this age of electronic media
and spell-checking programs run amok."
IN MEMORIAM: MILTON R. FRIEDBERG
John and Nancy Wilson of Ocala, FL write: "We were saddened
to hear from Benny Bolin of the passing of our friend Milton
R. Friedberg. He passed away on February 8th, with his wife
JoAnne at his side. Milton R. Friedberg was one of the greatest
collectors of U. S. Postage and Fractional Currency that ever
lived. He was a founding member of the Fractional Currency
Collectors Board and author of 'The Encyclopedia of United States
Fractional & Postal Currency' published in 1978.
"He wrote many articles not only on fractional currency but
also related items. He was a prolific exhibitor, winning many
awards with his fractional currency exhibits. Milt's complete
collection of U. S. Postage and Fractional Currency and many
other related rarities were sold by Currency Auctions of America,
Inc. on January 10, 1997.
"Before becoming ill some years back, Milt and his wife JoAnne
rarely missed a paper money show. His enthusiasm and love of
fractional currency inspired many dealers and collectors
including ourselves. He will be missed by his many friends
throughout the hobby, and his memory will live on forever.
Our deepest sympathies to his wife JoAnne and the Friedberg
THOUGHTS ON SAM PENNINGTON
Ben Weiss writes: "I note with great sadness the death of
Samuel Pennington. Sam was a tireless supporter of numismatics,
running his own feature, Medals Collector Page of the Maine
Antique Digest, as well a being a regular contributor to
several other numismatic ventures on the web and in print.
Although I have known him only for a couple of years, I feel
we had developed a personal friendship and I greatly appreciate
that. Sam never failed to provide help in any request made
of him. He gave unstintingly of his time and effort and never
asked for anything in return. Such generosity! I feel not
only a great personal loss but a professional one as well
as he was of enormous help in contributing his expertise
to the Medal Collectors of America website. He will be sorely
[Gar Travis forwarded the following articles on
Sam Pennington. -Editor]
Samuel Pennington III, who launched Maine Antique Digest
from his kitchen table and grew it into a national
publication, has died at the age of 78.
In 1973 Pennington and his wife, Sally, wrote the 28-page
first issue on a typewriter and distributed it to five
people. It now averages more than 250 pages and is
distributed nationally to about 20,000 subscribers.
Pennington was born in Baltimore and joined the Air Force
after graduating from Johns Hopkins University. While
stationed at Dow Air Force Base in Bangor in the 1960s, he
and his wife ran an antiques shop on the side, but grew
frustrated when they couldn't find reliable information
about the early American furniture pieces they were buying
For years, Pennington searched antique shops and attended
auctions throughout New England, writing about items that
were for sale and how much dealers paid for them.
"Some dealers didn't like that because they couldn't jack
up their prices," his wife said. "But the readers liked it."
To read the complete article, see:
In an article in Johns Hopkins Magazine, Wendell D. Garrett,
senior vice president of Americana at Sotheby's and
editor-at-large for The Magazine Antiques, said of Sam,
"The brilliance of Sam Pennington is that this was a market
that wasn't being taken care of before M.A.D... What Sam
created is like the People magazine of the business." "There
are people who adore him," Lita Solis-Cohen, senior editor
of M.A.D., said of Pennington, in the same article, "There
are people who are furious at him because he's so honest.
And there are people who are afraid of him because of the
power of his pen."
In spite of poor health in the last few months, Pennington
faithfully went daily to his office at the Maine Antique
Digest to oversee its' operation and work on his ongoing
projects, television show and philanthropies.
To read the complete article, see:
ON THE RETIREMENT OF ANS LIBRARIAN FRANK CAMPBELL
Granvyl Hulse writes: "With the retirement of Frank Campbell
from the American Numismatic Society the numismatic world
has lost another outstanding and dedicated librarian. I hope
that his replacement will be as prepared to offer the same
thoughtful service to numismatic club librarians as he did.
In my 25 odd years as librarian to Numismatics International
I found his help invaluable and he will be missed."
ED SNIBLE ON LITERATURE CATALOG ORDERING FORMATS AND KOLBE 105
[In his blog this week Ed Snible commented on the catalog
of George Kolbe's 105th numismatic literature sale. Here
are a couple excerpts. -Editor]
Lot 29 was a surprise to me. It's a CD-ROM of the Library
catalogue of British and Royal Numismatic Societies. I wasn't
aware of this title, although The ANS library has a copy (in
the multi-media section also new to me). The ANS entry
implies the disks were a supplement to the 2003 Numismatic
[I don't recall hearing about this bibliographic resource
before either. Has anyone made use of it in research?
Catalog 105 follows the usual Kolbe format of being first
divided into consigners, then arranged alphabetically by
author within each consignment. I don't understand the
arrangement; I'd prefer to see it first arranged by subject.
So ancient coin books can be found in lots 1-447, and also
582-623. Perhaps this is a good arrangement for future scholars
tracing back ownership of books?
[George's catalogs (and those of other numismatic literature
dealers) adhere to various arrangement schemes. The consignor
orientation makes a lot of sense for both the auctioneer and
consignor. It would be much harder to track a consignment
if it were split up and mixed with other books scattered
throughout a catalog. While this has a benefit of enabling
the tracing to a consignor, I suspect it's a secondary
I also recall a discussion on lot ordering I had with Ken
Lowe of The Money Tree, and he told me there was another
method to this madness. If all the lots on a given topic
were grouped neatly into sections, bidders would tend to
read only a few sections of the catalog and not look at the
rest. But by plowing thru the catalog in search of material
of interest, bidders often discover other useful items that
they might have missed otherwise. So again we have the catalog
order (or lack thereof) being driven more by the practical
concerns of marketing the material rather than the ease of
later use of the catalog by researchers. -Editor]
To read Ed Snible's original blog post on Kilbe sale 105, see:
TAMS OFFERS SCHENKMAN TOKEN BOOKS AS MEMBERSHIP PREMIUM
I thought I'd remind our readers that the Token and Medal
Society (TAMS) has a special promotional offer for new or
renewing members. Members who renew for three years (or new
members joining for the same period) may receive a copy of
David E. Schenkmans standard catalog, Bimetallic Trade
Tokens of the United States. This is a large format, 163
page, profusely illustrated catalog, with price guide,
which retails for $40 plus shipping. Those paying for five
years are eligible for a copy of Daves Merchant Tokens of
Hard Rubber and Similar Compositions, another heavily
illustrated standard hard cover catalog with value guide,
which retails for $57.50 plus shipping. This is an excellent
way to support a great organization and at the same time
add a book to your library.
To obtain a membership application or request additional
information, contact David E. Schenkman at
dave at turtlehillbanjo.com.
SCOTT SEMANS ON WHITMAN'S CATALOG OF MODERN WORLD COINS, 14TH EDITION
Scott Semans writes: "I recently got my contributor's copy
of the "Brownbook,", 'A Catalog of Modern World Coins' by
R. S. Yeoman (Whitman Publishing). The E-Sylum published
Whitman's promotional copy and a review by James Higby.
Neither piece mentions one very useful feature of this 14th
edition: the inclusion of KM numbers from the rival Krause/
F&W "Standard Catalog" series. These are given in a second
column after the Y number, providing a complete concordance
up to 1964.
"Yeoman's Brownbook was my first love among numismatic books,
and I still prefer its clear formatting, chronological listings,
and logical numbering system over the Standard catalog of
World Coins approach. I've always assumed that the infelicities
in the SCWC format represented second-best choices made to
avoid copyright problems or to appear distinctive from the
Whitman series. There is no quicker way to get a clear sense
of a nation's coinage, or to look up basic information on a
particular coin, than the Brownbook, and with the ubiquitous
KM numbers cross-referenced, it's even easier."
NEW BOOK: 'A CATALOG OF MODERN WORLD COINS, 18501964', 14TH EDITION
REVIEW: 'A CATALOG OF MODERN WORLD COINS, 18501964', 14TH EDITION
INTERESTING ITEMS IN THE STACKS RICH UHRICH SALE
[The February 26-27, 2008 Stack's auction of the Rich Uhrich
collection includes a number of interesting numismatic items.
I thought I'd mention a few which caught my eye. Bibliophiles
should be sure to note that the sale include some items of
numismatic literature, two of which I highlight here.
LOT 3694: MCKINLEY-HOBART MECHANICAL GOLD BUG, 1896
Hake MAC 189. Pressing the lever on the back releases
wings which display photographic images of McKinley on
the left and Hobart on the right. The images show some
wear but are relatively complete. A decent example of
this colorful campaign curio.
[Related to Bryan Money and other political items from
the 1896 election, this "gold bug" pin is among the most
unique and interesting. It may not be strictly numismatic,
but it's sure a great conversation piece. -Editor]
LOT 3750: PILGRIM LANDING TERCENTENNIAL MEDAL, 1920
Bronze, 69.7mm. By G.L. Turner. Uncirculated. Obv. Landing
boat grounding on Plymouth Rock, first Pilgrim debarking,
21 December 1620. Rev. Mayflower at sea. Deep red patina.
[This one is listed here simply because I like it - I was
impressed by the image of this medal and think it's
beautifully designed and executed. Check it out.
LOT 3758: AMERICAN JOURNAL OF NUMISMATICS 1866-1924
Bound in 17 half-leather octavo volumes (with gold-stamped
spines showing five raised bands, each inscribed AMERICAN/
JOURNAL OF/ NUMISMATICS, VOLUME X-X, dates and place of
publication below, NEW YORK, BOSTON, BOSTON-NEW YORK, NEW
YORK. Side boards are maroon cloth of great distinction.
The earliest issues are printed on a lighter-weight paper
than the glossy stock adopted later and the first issues
show the expected but virtually imperceptible aging.
Nearly all covers were well preserved and free of careless
handling or damage.
AJN is a basic research tool for anyone working in the
field of American numismatics or seeking insights into
American understanding of ancient and world coins, medals,
tokens and paper money over some 80 years. The present
set offers in addition sumptuous bindings that have been
conserved in virtually pristine condition. Bibliophiles
estimate that not more than 20 sets exist today, and
finding a finer set might well prove impossible. Extremely
Fine, what in the world of coins would be called About
Uncirculated. (Total: 17 volumes) (15,000-17,500)
[Complete sets of the AJN rarely come up for sale, and
even more rarely in nice bindings. The lot is not pictured,
so potential buyers should arrange for a viewing, but this
is a great opportunity for a serious and deep-pocketed
LOT 3767: ZABRISKIE CATALOGUE OF LINCOLN POLITICAL AND MEMORIAL MEDALS
A Descriptive Catalogue of the Political and Memorial
Medals Struck in Honor of Abraham Lincoln, Sixteenth
President of the United States. New York, Printed for
the author, 1873. Octavo lavender paper covers, 32 pages.
Very Fine. This is one of only 75 copies printed by this
future American Numismatic Society President and Lincoln
pioneer of Lincolniana, a rare seminal work sought by many
collectors but seldom seen on the numismatic market. The
cover shows light fading near the top. Ex 14th Kolbe-Spink
Auction, December 1995, lot 376.
[As we approach the Lincoln birth bicentennial, collectors
should be reminder of the debt owed to early collectors
like Zabriskie who cataloged and published their holdings
of Lincoln material. I'm very fortunate to have a copy
of this very rare monograph in my library. -Editor]
MORE (BAD) THINGS FOUND IN BOOKS
Last week George Kolbe wrote: "A cautionary note - I have
learned not to inhale when first opening a book. Once or
twice I have become ill after breathing in mold, mildew,
or who knows what other noxious airborne pollutants, some
perhaps lurking in old books for ages."
David Lange writes: "This is so very true. You can imagine
the hazards I face collecting old coin albums. One particular
group did make me very sick. Last fall I purchased a hoard
of 80+ coin boards that had been in idle storage since about
1940. These were still in original wrapped bundles of ten
boards apiece, and I preserved one such bundle intact to
show how they were delivered by the publisher. The other
wrappings were in pieces, exposing the topmost boards to
decades of filth.
"In my eagerness to start exploring, I simply dusted them
off within an enclosed room. The particles flew off in clouds,
and in less than an hour I realized my mistake. My throat
burned for days, and my sinuses locked up for nearly two
weeks. I had to air out my coin album room every weekend
for months, and it's still a rather musty place into which
my wife (and other sane persons) rarely venture."
Harry Waterson writes: "I knew a writer in New York in
the late 60s by the name of Pat McCormick. Pat was 6'8"
and not adverse to occasionally dropping his pants while
crossing Park Avenue. I recall an incident when he and
three others were writing a script and Pat could not leave
the writer's room. So he asked the Associate Producer to
run around the corner to his apartment and write down a
reference that was bookmarked in a volume on the kitchen
table. He duly did as asked only to discover when he
opened the book that Pat had used a rasher of raw bacon
as a bookmark. The reference was a greasy smudge. And the
Associate Producer had been had. I repeat this story as
a tribute to Pat who could always make me laugh."
GEORGE KOLBE ON THINGS FOUND IN BOOKS
EDWIN JOHNSTON'S GALLERY MINT MUSEUM COIN CABINET
Edwin Johnston of Houston, Texas writes: "I've recently
completed a collection of small pewter medalets issued
by the Gallery Mint Museum. They were created on the mobile
mint screw press that was transported around to various
coin shows and other events over the years from 1996-2006.
They are all hand engraved original designs and many depict
versions of historically significant coin designs.
"The online cabinet itself features small scans of 42
different types, chronologically arranged. And each piece
is linked to a larger and higher resolution scan with
additional information about it, as well as related links
of interest. Some of the links lead to scans of similar
pieces that are off-metal strikes and other curiosities.
"I began my collection of these in 1997 when the Gallery
Mint Museum participated at the Money Show of the Southwest
in Houston. I added to the collection in a piecemeal fashion
when I could find them. In late 2004 I began the online
collection with a couple of dozen pieces. Through patience
and persistence I was able to find all the rest of the
known types during the ensuing years.
"I have intended this collection to be an educational
reference of a single aspect of the Gallery Mint Museum's
vast output. It encompasses many areas of interest to
students of numismatics. The designs are fantastic, mostly
created by noted engraver Ron Landis, with occasional
collaborations. The subject matter is historical, referencing
numerous coins, both popular and rare. The pieces themselves
are often lighthearted and humorous. They also serve as a
record of events around the country during a period of
just over a decade.
"In my opinion, this collection represents a legacy of
numismatic fellowship and goodwill, captured in the
combined use of art and technology."
To visit Edwin's Coin Cabinet, see:
NUMISMATIC COLLECTIONS OF THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
Douglas Mudd writes: "Another great issue - and you were
right - a whopper! I am glad I persevered in reading
In answer to Alan Weinberg's question about the Library of
Congress, I know that some parts of the original Smithsonian
collection came from the Library of Congress - including
numismatic objects - this would have been at the time of
the foundation of the Smithsonian. After that, I believe
some items were transferred during the 19th century, but
I do not know (or remember) of any transfers in the 20th
century. I will see if I can find any further information
"As for what the LOC currently has, unfortunately, I never
had the privilege to visit their collections - and I was
not aware that they had very much. Most of my contact with
the library was via the web - they have fantastic resources
available online and have had for over a decade."
COINS AND MEDALS AT THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
MORE ON THE OHIO TOMPKINS 'COUNTERFEIT HOUSE'
Regarding last week's items about the Ohio 'Counterfeit
House', Steve Tompkins writes: "I have always been intrigued
about the story behind this house, as my last name happens
to be Tompkins. Whether I am related to this family is
something I have not been able to determine, but wouldn't
that be interesting!
"I first learned of the counterfeiter house due to my
collecting of Capped Bust Half Dollars. I collect more
than just the main series of coins and have for many years
gravitated to the extraneous or odd items related to the
bust half series. These items include Love Token or
engraved pieces, errors of all types, counterstamped
examples and contemporary counterfeits.
"I, along with many other bust half collectors, was delighted
when a book was published specifically about the counterfeit
pieces. Money Tree Press published Contemporary Counterfeit
Capped Bust Half Dollars by Keith R. Davignon, in 1996.
This was a first attempt to document and catalog the many
examples found by collectors over the years and explore
some of the history surrounding these enigmatic pieces of
" 'The Legend of The Counterfeit House' begins on page 29
and includes a picture of the house itself as well as a
picture of Oliver and Ann Tompkins. While this section is
somewhat brief, it refers the reader to an original story
by John W. Hansford printed in the Wonderful World of Ohio
magazine that was reprinted in Hearthstone Collection of
Folklore, Nostalgia, and History published by Infinity
Press and publications, Ironton, Ohio.
"While this may not be the authoritative publication about
the house, it is the only reference in a numismatic publication
that I am aware of.
"On a side note, Keith has been working towards a second
edition, hopefully to be published soon, and perhaps there
will be an expansion of the counterfeit house story!"
STORM DAMAGE HITS LANDMARK OHIO 'COUNTERFEIT HOUSE'
EXCERPT: THE COUNTERFEIT HOUSE FROM BRIAN STARK'S 'GETTING TO THE POINT'
[You people know too much! You expose me as One Who Doesn't
Remember All the Great Stuff In His Own Numismatic Books. A
hardbound copy of the Davignon book was sitting on a shelf
beside me. Mocking me! Mocking me, I say! I pulled it down
and read the brief story. Nice pictures, although I'd love to
see more. -Editor]
INTERVIEWS WITH JOE SEGEL AND CHARLES ANDES OF THE FRANKLIN MINT
Katie Jaeger writes: "The last two E-Sylums reminded me of
my conversations with two Franklin Mint executives while
researching my upcoming 'Guide Book of U.S. Tokens and Medals.'
I have my transcripts of that conversation, which I did not
get to put in the book, and thought I'd share them here with
readers of The E-Sylum.]
Franklin Mint founder and CEO Joe Segel and his successor,
Charles Andes, agreed to meet me for interviews in September
2005. They took me to a very nice lunch, and after that
we went to Segel's home to finish the conversation (he and
Andes lived a few blocks from each other in a very nice
Before our meeting, I'd requested a transcript of the 1978
60 Minutes show from Burelles. I had asked the men if they'd
like copies and Segel, who is amassing an archive of articles
about his former company, said yes, and was excited to have
it, but Andes said, "No, I remember it quite well, thank you."
That is because he was the one interviewed on camera for
I found both of these men to be gracious, frank and open
about their mint and its history, and I asked them some
fairly searching questions. One of them was directed at Andes:
Were you part of the decision to stop minting your own medals?
If so, can you recall the reasons for it?
No, it was after my time. (He left the firm in 1985.) Andes
and Segel both felt it was a mistake to quit making ANY
numismatic products. They agreed that public interest in
medal series had begun to decline after 1976, the bicentennial
year. Andes said, it was such a huge year for historical
commemoratives, for Franklin Mint medals and across the
board, and it was difficult to follow that with more of
the same thing. 1977 was the first year the company ever
showed a down quarter, and it prompted us to branch out into
other lines of collectibles, which brought a rapid recovery.
Segel and Andes felt it was not necessary to give up the
medal business altogether the best few series should have
been retained, along with the minting of coins of the realm
for various countries.
Tell me about the fallout from, and your reaction to,
that fateful 60 Minutes news segment (1978).
First let me tell you about the show, then Ill tell you
about the fallout. You know, they write a book a script
of how each segment will go, before they even do their first
interview. Content is decided beforehand, and scenes are
orchestrated to fit. We knew this, and we knew 60 Minutes
wanted an interview with us, so we kept refusing. No one
has ever had a successful 60 Minutes interview! But they
started coming to the coin shows, setting up their cameras
in front of our booth at the ANA convention and so forth,
quizzing our collectors as they walked by and generally
hassling our staff.
This went on for quite some time and I knew I had to do
something, so we collected all the data assembled by
Numismatic News for their valuation guide [the annual
Guidebook of Franklin Mint Issues by Chet Krause and
Virginia Culver, the final issue of which was published
in 1981], dealers reports of asking prices, etc. for the
past few years, and furnished this to 60 Minutes. These
data were not manipulated by us in any way, they just
represented established industry research. They showed
that about 1/3 of dealers were selling FM medals below
original subscriber cost, 1/3 selling at cost, and 1/3
selling above cost. 60 Minutes excerpted the part that
showed dealers selling below cost.
They based their entire story on the gripes of a New York
City dealer who detested us (and there were others who did
too, but not that many). By the way, 60 Minutes tapes all
their interviews first, with just one camera aimed at the
interviewee - then they shoot the interviewer posing
questions and reacting to the answers, in the studio at
home afterwards. This way they can script better reactions
from the commentator, as to facial movements, expressions
of surprise, etc.
Of course the show did have an impact on orders, but as I
said, we had already had a down quarter in 1977 and this
show wasnt until November 1978.
It has been said that most Franklin Mint coin medal
collectors began losing interest as the market became
saturated not only with FM issues, but issues of copycat
companies like the Lincoln Mint and the Danbury Mint.
Was there an abrupt ending, or did it taper off?
Well, lets say it tapered off abruptly. What amazes me
still to this day, is the number of subscriptions to our
many series that were completed that 200-medal History
of the U.S. Series, issued over 100 months, was completed
by more than 50% of the original subscribers. That is an
amazing statistic. Most of our series shared that success
or did better.
There was a nice moment when Andes said, you know, if
you want to write the history of the Franklin Mint, its
him (jerking a thumb toward Segel). The company Andes
took over from Segel in 1972 and operated for 14 years
was a monstrous huge operation, with fingers in pies all
over the world. It owned mints in Canada, Japan, Britain
and France. Andes built a book bindery and eventually
kicked off dozens of other lines of handmade, home produced
collectibles like repro period furniture, ceramic plates,
crystal cameos, die-struck pewter spoons, die-cast cars,
you name it. He either bought the companies who made these
things or built the production facilities from the ground
up. But Andes handed all the credit to Segel, in a quick
sentence. I thought that was classy.
To Andes: Tell me about your career after leaving the
He handed me two versions of his biography one in resume
format and one a feature/profile in Business Philadelphia.
He went on to become Pro Bono CEO of the Franklin Institute,
and had a lot to do with its renaissance. His resume listed
directorships of 17 companies besides the Franklin Mint,
and 21 nonprofit directorships. Among those, he served as
chairman of PICA (PA Intergovernmental Corporation Authority)
which pulled the City of Philadelphia out of bankruptcy,
and PAFA, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.
To Andes: What would you most like to be remembered for?
Trying. Expanding on that, I mean "really trying. If
it doesn't work the first, second or third time-- try again.
I don't mean do the same thing over again each time, that's
just foolish making the same mistake. But change something,
do something different but keep working at it. Most things
in life that WORK are different than they started out, but
they are the result of persistence. I've found this is true
in all the big adventures in my life - The Franklin Mint,
The Franklin Institute, Venture Capital and PICA .
I asked Segel the same question. He said:
"Creating thousands of jobs. Paying people well, encouraging
them to do their best, getting them to reach beyond themselves."
(Every company Segel has led, has been characterized by this.
He went on to found QVC and then an international conference
center in Switzerland, and several others. He has come to
be known as "the King of the Startups.")
I asked both: Have you designated where your papers are
Not formally, Im thinking about it.
Neither Segel nor Andes could believe there would be any
interest in their papers. I told them to reconsider, and at
least designate what should happen to them.
Charles Andes passed away in August of 2006, and I feel so
lucky to have met and talked with both of those men. It
was a memorable day!
MORE ON 60 MINUTES AND THE FRANKLIN MINT
To view Katie's photo of Charles Andes and Joseph Segel, see:
NUMISMATICS OF THE LINCOLN HIGHWAY
Jeff Starck writes: "I was reading 'The Lincoln Highway'
by Michael Wallis, with photographs by Michael S. Williamson,
and numismatics popped up several times. The highway,
named for President Lincoln, spans the nation, from New
York to San Francisco. It's an interesting read, and though
I'm only halfway finished, I've found three items related
to numismatics that I thought I'd share with E-Sylum readers.
"In Jersey City, N.J., appears a statue of Lincoln by James
Earl Fraser 'the artist who designed the nickel with a buffalo
head on one side and an Indian head on the other,' as the
author writes. (page 27)
"Later, the book mentions a park near Chicago where visitors
can 'rub for luck the big Lincoln penny mounted on top of
the fountain.' This is the Arche Memorial Fountain in Arche
Memorial Park in Chicago Heights, at the intersection of U.S.
30 and Illinois Route 1 (the Lincoln and Dixie highways,
respectively). Has anyone been there and seen this? How large
is this 'big Lincoln penny?'
[I found one image of the Arche Memorial Fountain on the
Internet showing Fraser's Lincoln:
"Finally, the third mention comes in Boone, Iowa, where young
Kate Shelley, a 15-year-old Irish immigrant saved a train
filled with passengers in 1881. When a bridge went out one
rainy July night, she fled to the nearest depot to warn the
express passenger train due to pass over the washed out trestle
within the hour to stop. 'Hundreds of articles about the young
heroine appeared around the world, and the state of Iowa presented
Kate with a gold medal made by Tiffany's.' Shelley died at 46
in 1912. I wonder where the medal is today.
"This article talks about her money woes, as she couldn't
make her house mortgage. Given her money troubles, maybe she
had to sell the medal?"
"This site even mentions the medal:
"I just did a search and there are many sites that mention
"There's even been a book about her:
THOUGHTS ON FRED REED'S NEW LINCOLN BOOK
Regarding Fred Reed's upcoming book on images of President
Lincoln, Ginger Rapsus writes (from the Land of Lincoln!):
"I am delighted to hear about the new Lincoln book! I have
a collection of Lincoln coins, medals and tokens (which I
have exhibited at the FUN show) and this reference has been
needed for quite a while. When was the last update of
Lincoln in Numismatics--1966 or so?"
[As I noted last week, the last reprint of the King reference
on Lincoln in Numismatics was the 1966 TAMS publication.
But that was simply a reprint of the earlier Numismatist
articles, and not an updated listing. -Editor]
Dick Johnson writes: "How creative of Fred Reed to come up
with the title for his forthcoming book, 'Abraham Lincoln,
the Image of His Greatness: Ideal, Idol & Icon.' I love
the alliteration of the repeated 'I' initials. I'll bet in
print, however, in the future this will be shortened to:
"Lincoln IIII," and perhaps in conversation to 'Lincoln
eye four.' "
BOOK IN PROGRESS: ABRAHAM LINCOLN, THE IMAGE OF HIS GREATNESS BY FRED REED
LINCOLN IN NUMISMATICS
NPR COMMENTATOR'S 'GETTYBURG ADDRESS' TAKE ON ELIMINATING THE CENT
Regarding our recent discussion of the '60 Minutes' segment
on the cost of making cents and nickels at the U.S. Mint,
Chick Ambrass forwarded a link to a video snippet of the
segment. Mint Director Ed Moy is interviewed.
To see the video, go to:
[Perhaps inspired by the 60 Minutes publicity of the cent
problem, National Public Radio Commentator Dan Drezner says
inflation and high zinc and copper prices have made the penny
too expensive for the U.S. to produce. The text of his segment,
forwarded by Arthur Shippee, is a marvelous takeoff on Lincoln's
Gettysburg Address. Here it is. -Editor]
Four score and nineteen years ago, our national mint brought
forth on this country a new coin, conceived to honor Abraham
Lincoln, dedicated to the proposition that all coins bearing
his image would be worth exactly one penny.
Now we are engaged in a great spike in the price of zinc and
copper, testing whether this nation, frankly, can afford the
penny any longer. In 2006 it cost more money to produce a
penny than its face value; the U.S. Mint had to issue new
regulations designed to prevent the melting down of coins.
With inflation on the rise, the penny cannot long endure
its diminished status. Today, a single penny can't buy anything.
It is altogether fitting and proper that we question whether
the penny deserves a final resting place. Perhaps it should
go the way of other outdated concepts, like the half-cent coin,
which was abolished in 1857. Economists across the political
spectrum think this is a promising idea.
In a larger sense, however, we cannot determine - we cannot
divine - we cannot decide - this question. The historians,
who have struggled to burnish Abraham Lincoln's legacy with,
well, Lincolnesque properties, have unintentionally consecrated
the penny far above our poor power to debate this issue
rationally. Public radio listeners will little note, nor
long remember what I say here, but you should never forget
the massive amount of change jingling in my pocket. It is
for us the living, rather, to be dedicated now to the
unfinished work of bettering the country that Lincoln so
nobly advanced. We must be dedicated to the great task
remaining before us - the preservation of sensible and
sound money. Switching Lincoln's iconic image to, say, the
nickel would ensure that the penny would not have died in
vain - that change jars across this nation shall have a new
birth of freedom - and that meaningful coins manufactured
by a government of the people, by the people, for the people,
shall not perish from the earth.
CBS 60 MINUTES ON ABOLISHING THE CENT
CORRECTION: DWIGHT MANLEY ATTENDED THE WALT HUSAK SALE
Alan Weinberg writes: "Due to my 'advanced age' (64) and
the rush to get my Husak report into Sunday's E-Sylum, I
inadvertently mentioned John Manley (a Pueblo, CO coin
dealer I know) instead of Dwight Manley. Sorry - John was
not there, but Dwight was, sitting next to Larry Goldberg
and Tony Terranova.
ALAN WEINBERG ON THE HERITAGE WALT HUSAK EARLY LARGE CENT SALE
Katie Jaeger adds: "I was driving my kid to school and
heard the National Public Radio news report on the Husak
sale. They closed their brief report with a jazz piano
rendition of 'Pennies from Heaven,' which I am sure will
jingle through my head for the rest of the day." Arthur
Shippee also pointed out the NPR report.
To listen to the NPR report on the Walt Husak early
large cent sale, see:
ALAN WEINBERG ON THE GARRETT COLLECTION AT EVERGREEN HOUSE
[Alan V. Weinberg notes that his mixup of John and Dwight
Manley in his write-up of the Husak sale reminded him of a
time he did a double take over a different Dwight. The
event took place in Evergreen House, the Johns Hopkins
University home of the legendary Garrett coin collection,
later dispersed in a number of landmark sales in the late
1970s / early 1980s. His story follows. -Editor]
In 1967 I was attending George Washington University law
school in D.C. and on a Saturday I traveled to Baltimore
and Johns Hopkins University to visit Evergreen House and
hopefully view the Garrett Collection there.
As I walked in, uninvited, I saw someone looking amazingly
like Dwight D. Eisenhower looking at books in the Evergreen
Library. It was Dwight's brother Milton Eisenhower, then
President of Johns Hopkins University. I introduced myself.
I then requested to view the Garrett coins and medal
collection and was escorted to a massive desk in a large,
dark, somber room where curator/author Sarah Freeman brought
me tray after tray after tray of the most incredible American
rarities - this was well before certain numismatic luminaries
convinced later JHU Garrett curator Carl Carlson to "trade"
pieces out of the collection but that's a story another
E-Sylum reader will have to write.
The coins and medals were unprotected in little wooden
squares of much larger trays which you reached into and
just manually lifted out. No gloves, nothing to lay the
pieces on, no supervision whatsoever. Who was I? Just an
anonymous person come in off the street! I was there for
several hours and, to this day, I wonder about the total
lack of any supervision or security over priceless rarities
that in 1979-81 appeared in four auctions - which I attended.
I remembered many of the coins and medals, having held them
in 1967. It reflected what I experienced in the summer of
1966 when I first visited the British Museum numismatic vault
rooms and, for five days, handled the rarest of the rare
without any supervision, discovering along the way the many
U.S. rarities that had been switched and were missing - like
a Gem Uncirculated 1792 half disme gifted in 1800 by world
traveler Sir Joseph Banks and replaced with a circulated
1829 half dime. But that's another story, too.
GALLERY MINT MUSEUM DIES AND MOFFATT & CO. STRIKINGS
Edwin Johnston writes: "You posted a query this week in
your reference to the Moffatt & Co. press release on whether
limited edition Gallery Mint Museum products could be
jeopardized due to restrikes by Moffatt & Company. It
would be my opinion that they would not restrike limited
edition GMM products, since Tim Grat, now with M&C, has
previously stated (when with Striker Token & Medal, M&C's
previous incarnation), that he would honor the limitation
"What is noteworthy in the press release is the aspect
of using 'design elements' to create custom coins and
medals. (see quote from press release linked below) I
have a couple of pewter show tokens struck by Greg Franck-
Weiby for the Pacific Northwest Numismatic Association's
2007 coin shows. (see link below) These were made from
patrix hubs of elements from Ron Landis' half dime designs."
"This agreement will also allow Moffatt & Co. to utilize
design elements of these classic US coin replicas so that
professional numismatists, and numismatic clubs and
organizations can also create custom coins and medals with
these original Gallery Mint classic US coin designs."
If it was a limited edition coin made by Gallery Mint,
we will honor that limitation and not produce any more
of those specific reproductions. - Timothy Grat, Dec. '06
Elements of Ron Landis dies on newly minted items by
Greg Franck-Weiby http://www.gmmnut.com/gmm/rl84.html#greg
MOFFATT & CO. REACHES AGREEMENT TO PRODUCE GALLERY MINT PRODUCTS
[I hadn't heard the term "patrix hubs" before, so I asked
Edwin for further explanation. -Editor]
Edwin Johnston adds: "A matrix hub would be like a regular
coin die, with the design elements incuse, and the patrix
hub is the impression from that (when they are "married")
where the elements are in relief, or as they would appear
on the coin. Sculptor/engravers work on either type hub
to refine their designs.
"A die engraver could use a patrix hub of a design element,
like a bust profile, and sink that into a blank hub, then
individually sink the letters surrounding the bust to create
either a matrix hub or even a working die.
"The first time I saw the term referenced was by Greg
Frank-Weiby, which he relates specifically in the fourth
paragraph of his Subject topic concerning using Gallery
Mint Museum hubs at Verne Walrafen's "Ron Landis'
QUERY: KRYLON MAKE IT ACID-FREE SPRAY OPINIONS SOUGHT
Dave Kellogg writes: "The subject of preserving or even
conserving paper products, whether book pages, prints or
documents, is frequently of concern to bibliophiles.
Professional conservation can be quite expensive. Recently,
the product described in the following link was suggested
by a local church group trying to preserve some old documents.
"Does anyone have experience with this Krylon acid-free
spray? I'd like be a responsible collector but, at the
same time, not do anything harmful.
"If anyone is interested in a top notch conservator,
try these people: http://www.westlakeconservators.com/ "
QUERY: INFORMATION ON PORCELAIN COPIES OF MEDALS SOUGHT
Dick Hanscom writes: "Does anyone out there know anything
about porcelain copies of medals? I have seen scans of
one for the large Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition of 1909
and one for Alaska Statehood 1959."
MORE ON THE DANGERS OF TALKING TO REPORTERS
Responding to Gar Travis' item on talking to reporters,
Tom DeLorey writes: "In one of his books, Jack Parr complained
about a piece that the New York Times had done on him. The
reporter had visited his home up in Connecticut, made from
a wonderfully remodeled barn, only to say in the story that
Parr 'lived in a barn.' When he complained to the paper,
Parr was told that the description of the property had been
shortened due to lack of space. In the book he said that his
response to the Times was something to the effect of: 'So
what you are saying is, All The News That Fits You Print?' "
ON THE DANGERS OF TALKING TO REPORTERS
MORE ON GOING PAPERLESS
Regarding the New York Times article on going paperless,
Les Citrome writes: "I have gone paperless and scan as
much as I can all things numismatic. The Krause DVDs were
a godsend. Attached is what I do in my professional life
as a research psychiatrist."
[Les attached a copy of his paper, "Creating a more
productive, clutter-free, paperless office: a primer
on scanning, storage and searching of PDF documents on
personal computers". Below is an excerpt from the
article's introduction. -Editor]
Clinicians and researchers typically amass large quantities
of documents over time. These journal articles
and other written educational resources must be filed
in some manner, allowing easy retrieval. All too
often this consumes many linear feet of shelf space
or several file cabinets. Invariably, important journal
articles or other educational resources are misplaced,
leading the individual to either mourn their loss or
proceed to replace them, wasting valuable time. At
times the burden is shifted to the librarian who has
to re-request an obscure work from another library.
NEW YORK TIMES ARTICLE ON GOING PAPERLESS
DICK JOHNSON ON MULTIPLE STRIKING FOR LARGE MEDALS
Dick Johnson writes: "Collector Tony Lopez had acquired a
double struck Edward Preble Medal (Julian NA-3) and was
asking questions about it. Every collector should do this
-- learn as much as possible about items in their collections.
Tony wants to prepare an article on this medal. This week
he asked 'I am curious as to the minimum number of strikes
which can be attributed to creating this medal.'
Here was my reply:
There is no fixed rule on the number of strikes for any
medal. There are so many factors involved --pressure of
the press, hardness of the metal blank, height of relief
in the die, thickness of the blank -- are the most
important factors in order. A pressman will keep striking
a medal until he brings up all the relief in the die. (He
examines the high points like a collector does for condition.)
"But you must realize with each blow it WORK HARDENS the
struck metal. After perhaps one or two blows any further
striking would not move any more surface metal. Striking
freezes the molecules in a fixed position. The partially
struck medal must be RELIEVED by HEAT TREATING -- this
allows the molecules in the metal to break that fixed
position, to be able to move around again. This is called
"Iron has the amazing property that when heated and with
slow cooling, it REDUCES the hardness. Heating and rapid
cooling (like quick immersion into water, oil or molten
salt) HARDENS the iron. For this reason dies are always
made of iron. Items struck in metal have similar but their
own properties. Medals in bronze or silver, the most
common medal composition, are RELIEVED in a similar
heating and slow cooling manner.
"The relieved medal must be placed back on the press.
It must SEAT in the exact position of the previous blows,
the surface relief must line up exactly. For this reason
a pressman will usually place the die with the side of
greatest relief -- usually the obverse with a portrait
-- in the lower position in the press to aid in seating
the medal back in the press to be struck again.
"When a pressman is sloppy and does not seat the medal
exactly he will get a DOUBLE STRIKE with a double image.
You can easily observe both the relief from the latest
strike, and the UNDER RELIEF of the previous strike. If
he is really sloppy and places the partially-struck medal
back with the wrong side down, he will get the opposite
side's under relief. What you are calling a flip-over
strike. (When this happens in a coining press it is
called a flip-over double strike).
"In modern times large medals from one-eighth to one-fourth
inch thick (metalworkers measure thickness by GAUGE, in this
case gauge 3 to gauge 8) can usually be struck up in from
four to eight blows in a KNUCKLE-JOINT press of 1000-ton
pressure capacity. There are presses with lesser and greater
capacity and this will effect the number of blows. With
modern HYDRAULIC presses the pressure can be regulated and
this relief can be achieved with fewer impressions, say two
or three. Again, medals must be annealed between strikes
for either press.
"What press the medal maker will use depends upon what press
he has, or what press is available when the medal needs to
be struck. Once a medal die is made it can be used for either
press. You cannot tell by inspecting a struck piece whether
it was struck on a knuckle-joint press or a hydraulic press.
"Medal presses use only OPEN FACE DIES, called BOX DIES in
England. They are more suitable for large medals. (Dies for
coining presses are different -- not only does a coin die
have to be made to fit within its collar it must be compatible
with the housing of the press where the die is locked in
position.) Generally, open face medal dies can strike any
size up to 6-inch diameter. Generally, coining dies can
strike up to 2-inch diameter. However, in recent times the
industry has been pushing these limits upwards for both
"Your medal, made in 1806, was struck on a screw press.
All the conditions described above apply to items struck
on a screw press. The major difference: the screw press
was powered by man (horse, or water power). Modern presses
are powered by electric motors of course (since 1890)."
WAYNE'S NUMISMATIC DIARY FEBRUARY 19, 2008
The regularly scheduled meeting of my Northern Virginia
numismatic social group was to be held Tuesday the 12th,
but due to weather and road conditions we decided to cancel.
An ice storm reduced traffic to a crawl. I reached Roger
Burdette on his cell phone and he was stuck in gridlocked
traffic just blocks from his office. Joe Levine, our host
for the evening couldn't get out of his own driveway because
of the ice. Tom Kays made it home and stayed there. Dave
Schenkman, who was already on the road from Maryland,
pulled off and went back home. Chris Neuzil was the only
one who actually reached the restaurant, but he headed home,
too. I ended up staying in my office until 8pm before
heading home myself.
The weather on the 19th was beautiful and we reconvened.
As I drove to the restaurant I had a nice conversation with
Tom Fort on my cell phone. Tom's a good friend from
Pittsburgh who lived within blocks of me at one time. For
several years he served as editor of The Asylum, our quarterly
The restaurant had been picked by our host, Joe Levine.
Vespucci's was a great choice - their Italian food and
desserts were marvelous. Fueled with wine and other drinks
me, Roger, Joe, Dave and Tom had a great evening sharing
numismatic jokes and stories.
Dave and Joe go way back in the coin business, and you can
tell by listening to their banter. Dave loves to "rub it
in" with the story of one of the most famous counterstamped
U.S. coins, the J.H. Polhemus stamp on a $20 gold piece.
The Sacramento, CA pharmacist stamped a number of U.S. coins,
but only one gold piece. Counterstamps on gold coins are
rare. The numismatic trail of this piece began when Joe
Levine purchased it decades ago from another dealer for a
little over the spot price of gold at the time.
Joe sold it to Dave at a small profit. Dave and Joe were
starting a column on exonumia for The Numismatist and they
decided to write up this piece in the very first column.
Dave liked the piece quite a bit and had no plans to sell
it. At a coin show one day a gentleman walked up to Dave's
table and asked if he still had the coin. It was Ray Byrne
of Pittsburgh, a regular customer, and he wanted to buy the
piece. Dave kept insisting it wasn't for sale, but Byrne
persisted. Overhearing the conversation Joe leaned over
and told Dave, "put a price on the damn thing, will you!?"
So Dave looked at Ray and said "$15,000". Ray said "OK."
Joe nearly spit out his dentures, and I don't think he had any.
Long story short, Dave sold the coin to Ray. Ray's
counterstamp collection was later bought by Dave and Roy H.
Van Ormer of Washington, PA. So the coin returned once
again to Dave's hands. The better pieces, including the
Polhemus gold piece, were consigned to a Bowers auction.
The Polhemus brought $11,200.
Dave Schenkman later got a phone call from a man asking
about the Polhemus piece. It turned out to be the buyer
of the coin. Dave learned that the man didn't collect
counterstamps and didn't collect gold coins. He had nothing
else like the Polhemus gold piece in his collection. So why
did he buy it? He thought the catalog description (written
by Q. David Bowers) was interesting, and said he had been
willing to bid as high as $20,000 - such is the power of
By now I was into my second glass of wine and my memory of
stories is fuzzy. But in keeping with the theme of Lincoln's
birthday from our originally scheduled date, everyone
passed around something numismatically related to Lincoln.
Tom Kays, the class act of our group, pulled a Lincolnesque
black top hat from a bag and put it on, offering a toast to
our 16th President. Our glassed clinked. Tom passed around
a small display of Lincoln tokens. He also asked if any of
us had seen a 'Torpedo Club' bill, but none of us had even
heard of one. I encouraged Tom to submit a query for The
E-Sylum, and a very interesting submission appears below.
Roger passed around a sheet with an image and description
of James Fraser's Lincoln pattern, designed in the 1940s
and struck and dated in 1952. Nothing came of the proposal,
although 150 patterns were struck. Joe had with him a
large-size Brenner plaque of Lincoln and several other
Lincoln tokens and medals including a choice 1860 Rail
Splitter token, an 1860 Lincoln-Hamlin "Donut" Ferrotype
campaign portrait, and an undated 115mm Bois Durci plaque
of Abraham Lincoln. Joe provided a link to a nice set of
web pages on Bois Durci maintained by E-Sylum regular
Harold Mernick of London:
David Schenkman passed around an inscribed Civil War dog
tag with Lincolns bust on reverse, a Lincoln token by
Merriam made from copper taken from the ruins of the
Turpentine Works, Newbern, NC, a Lincoln relic piece by
Bolen which says, on the reverse, A PIECE OF COPPER TAKEN
FROM THE WRECK OF THE REBEL RAM MERRIMAC. IN 1862 BY J. F.
PRATT A.A. SURG. U.S.A. ONLY TEN STRUCK, and a mint medal
from the Northwest Sanitary Fair, 1865, with Lincoln on the
reverse. I hadn't seen any of these pieces before. All
were impressive, but I found the Bolen Merrimac relic by
far the most significant, for both the connection to the
Union ship and its rarity. Dave told us the piece was
struck in 1868.
When my turn came I passed around my copy of the 1966 King
book on Lincoln and Numismatics, a copy of the book "The
Lincoln Centennial Medal" (published in 1908 by Robert Hewitt
and containing a bronze Lincoln medal by Jules Edouard Roine)
and a binder of pamphlets on political items including the
rare 1873 Andrew Zabriskie monograph.
It was a lovely evening but all too soon it was time to
break up and head home. Numismatics is huge in terms of
the diversity of material, but a small world in terms of
people - I've had meals with Harry Mernick and visited his
home in London. I knew Roy Van Ormer in Pittsburgh; it was
one of his talks at a meeting of the Western Pennsylvania
Numismatic Society that inspired me to collect counterstamps,
and I later purchased some from that Bowers sale. And although
I never met Ray Byrne I own his set of WPNS medals. Although
they didn't realize it, all of us present that night owe a
debt to Ray Byrne, for the inspiration for our monthly
gathering was The Sphinx Society (of which I am also a member),
which was started in Pittsburgh in 1960 by none other than
F&W / KRAUSE PUBLICATIONS LIBRARY PHOTOS
[In September 2007 Howard Daniel visited the library of F&W
Publication (the former Krause Publications library). He
forwarded some photos, but I only now got around to uploading
them for viewing - sorry for the delay. The library is on
about ten movable units of about 20 foot long shelves, back
to back. -Editor]
To view Howard's photos of the F&W Publications library, see:
HOWARD DANIEL VISITS THE F&W PUBLICATIONS LIBRARY
USING COINS AS TIRE GAUGE RARELY ACCURATE
Regarding last week's item from Consumer Reports on using
a coin to gauge tire wear, Dave Lange writes: "Such advice
is so harmful, because no one takes into account how much
the distance from a coin's edge to the top of the president's
head has varied in recent years. Since the 1980s the U. S.
Mint has steadily moved alllegends and devices further from
each coin's borders to reduce die erosion. Using a 1968 cent
to measure a tire's wear will produce a very different result
than using a 2008 cent. The same is true for other
denominations and, as you pointed out, the state quarters
will produce a radically different result, since the head
of Washington was so reduced in size to accommodate text
formerly included on the reverse."
UPDATE ON USING COINS AS TIRE GAUGE
DOCUMENTATION OF THE 1943 ANA BUSINESS SESSION SOUGHT
Darryl Atchison writes: "I have recently been doing
research on J.D. Ferguson's term as President of the
American Numismatic Association (1941 - 1943) and have
been in touch with numerous collectors to compile information.
"Thanks to David Sklow, I now know that the 1943 (Chicago)
convention was cancelled due to the pressures and demands
of World War II. However, a three-day business session
was still held and there was even an auction conducted by
William Rayson - although this is considered by some to
be an "unofficial" ANA sale.
"I would like to know, if anyone can tell me, is whether
there an 'official' photograph of the delegates who did
show up for the business sessions and also, was there a
convention program that year - or at least a document
that outlined the itinerary for those in attendance? I
am sure that there was nothing as elaborate as the 1941
and 1942 programs due to wartime constraints... but I
can't believe that there was nothing at all. How would
the executives have known when each of the meetings was
supposed to start otherwise?
"If anyone has any information on these questions, I
would appreciate if they would contact me at
atchisondf at gmail.com"
INFORMATION ON WWII 'TORPEDO CLUB' BILLS SOUGHT
Tom Kays writes: Are any E-Sylum readers familiar with
'Torpedo Club' bills? Margaret Bourke-White, a photographer
and survivor of a torpedo attack during World War II was
rescued near the coast of Africa after fourteen days in a
life boat. As she first walks the deck of a destroyer
after rescue she recounts:
Then everyone began fishing in his pockets...I found I
still had my Short-Snorter bill. Anyone who has flown
across an ocean is entitled to carry a signed dollar bill
indicating membership in the Short-Snorters.
When a Short-Snorter can catch another member without his
bill he is entitled to collect a dollar fine. In the six
months since my initiation, my bill has been signed by
Generals Spaatz, Clark and Doolittle, Prince Bernhard and
Eddie Rickenbacker. I looked up to see WAAC Ruth Briggs
from Westerly, R.I., one of the first five WAACS sent on
overseas service. I knew these five WAACs were members,
having been sent over by Clipper. "Do you have your
Short-Snorter bill?" I shouted. "Bet your sweet life,"
said Lieutenant [now Captain] Briggs. So on the deck of
the destroyer we signed each other's bills. Most of us
carried the special currency issued on board the troopship
by the British military authorities, to be used in North
Africa where regular British and American currency is kept
out of circulation so it can't find its way into enemy hands.
We decided that a new organization, even more exclusive
than the Short-Snorters, should be formed - the Torpedo Club.
Membership bills would consist of ten-shilling notes of
the military currency. Only people who had been torpedoed
would be permitted to join. One of the WAACs started my
bill by lettering on the top, "Property of Torpedo Peggy,"
meaning me, and we went around exchanging signatures."
- from The 100 Best True Stories of World War II, New York,
Wm. H. Wise & Co, Inc., 1945, Acknowledgements: Women in
Lifeboats by Margaret Bourke-White, (LIFE, Copyright by
[Bourke-White was an amazing person, as shown by the below
excerpts from her Wikipedia biography. -Editor]
Bourke-White was the first female war correspondent and
the first woman to be allowed to work in combat zones
during World War II. In 1941, she traveled to the Soviet
Union just as Germany broke its pact of non-aggression.
She was the only foreign photographer in Moscow when German
forces invaded. Taking refuge in the U.S. Embassy, she
then captured the ensuing firestorms on camera.
As the war progressed, she was attached to the U.S. army
air force in North Africa, then to the U.S. Army in Italy
and later Germany. She repeatedly came under fire in Italy
in areas of fierce fighting.
"The woman who had been torpedoed in the Mediterranean,
strafed by the Luftwaffe, stranded on an Arctic island,
bombarded in Moscow, and pulled out of the Chesapeake
when her chopper crashed, was known to the Life staff as
'Maggie the Indestructible.'"
In the spring of 1945, she traveled through a collapsing
Germany with General George S. Patton. In this period,
she arrived at Buchenwald, the notorious concentration
camp. She is quoted as saying, "Using a camera was almost
a relief. It interposed a slight barrier between myself
and the horror in front of me." After the war, she produced
a book entitled Dear Fatherland, Rest Quietly, a project
that helped her come to grips with the brutality she had
witnessed during and after the war.
To read the complete article, see:
[Her papers are archived at Syracuse University. I submitted
an information request to see if her Torpedo Club note
resides in their archive. Their reply is below. -Editor]
"Thank you for contacting the Special Collections Research
Center at Syracuse University Library regarding your inquiry.
We have Margaret Bourke-White's Short Snorter dollar bill,
but not the Torpedo Club bill. If you wish to come to Syracuse
to see this item, you are welcome to do so."
[The library will make photocopies or digital scans for
researchers and authors. -Editor]
For an inventory of the Bourke-White Papers at Syracuse University, see:
PCGS CERTIFIES BRIAN INGRAM'S D.B. COOPER LOOT
[One popular E-Sylum topic (with your Editor, anyway) is
the mystery of the ransom loot of airline hijacker "D.B.
Cooper". The serial numbers of Cooper's ransom cash are
known but to date only a few have been found. The finder
of these notes, Brian Ingram, had them certified by PCGS
and they were on display at the recent Long Beach show.
I stumbled upon the PCGS press release too late to publish
it in time for the show but wanted to reprint it here.
Did anyone view the exhibit? Does anyone know how and
where the certified notes will be sold? What do you think
they're worth in today's market? -Editor]
Nearly two dozen $20 denomination notes from the infamous
1971 D.B. Cooper skyjacking have been certified by PCGS
Currency on behalf of the owner who found them a
The bills belong to Brian Ingram, 36, of Mena, Arkansas
who was eight years old in 1980 when he found the only
ransom cash ever recovered from the infamous skyjacking.
Even though the notes were damaged from apparently being
in the Columbia River for years, we were able to match
serial numbers with those on the FBIs list of the $200,000
in $20 bills the skyjacker had when he jumped from the
jetliner. There was even a Series 1963A star note, said
Laura A. Kessler, Vice President of PCGS Currency
(www.PCGSCurrency.com) of Newport Beach, California,
who headed the certification team.
Ingram personally brought the notes to California for
certification and will attend the opening of the Long
Beach Expo on Thursday, February 14.
I was eight years old and on vacation with my parents
on February 10, 1980, when I found about $5,800 of the
ransom money along the banks of the Columbia River near
Vancouver, Washington, Ingram recalled.
We were going to make a fire along the river bank. I was
on my hands and knees smoothing out the sand with my right
arm, and I uncovered three bundles of money just below the
surface. My uncle thought we should throw it in the fire.
His family turned the money over to the Federal Bureau
of Investigation. Eventually, the FBI returned 25 bills
to them along with dozens of fragments that contained
little or no trace of serial numbers. Most of the notes
have lightly written initials of FBI agents who inventoried
and examined the items soon after they were discovered
To read the complete article, see:
BLACK HISTORY MONTH TOPIC: BLACK HISTORY ON MONEY
[This item was published this week in a publication
of the University of Southern California. -Editor]
In celebration of Black History Month, Black Alumni
Programs, in collaboration with USC Libraries Special
Collections and the Center for Black Cultural and
Student Affairs, hosted "Black History on the Money"
on Tuesday night.
The event featured a presentation of currency-related
historical artifacts and a discussion with the original
collector of these materials, John E. Collins, in an
effort to raise awareness about blacks' role in designing
and producing U.S. currency.
"Even though this has been information that's been
suppressed and excluded, all of us have held dollar
bills and coins in our hands," said Susan Anderson,
managing director of L.A. as Subject at USC Libraries.
"This collection gives us a sense of the history of the
United States, the history of slavery, and how the
history of African Americans has been reflected in
The collection showcases several notable artifacts,
including Confederate currency, a cancelled check from
the Freedman's Savings and Trust Company and silver
dollars adorned with the reliefs of famous black people.
Collins, a numismatic historian, first became interested
in collecting currency as a teenager, when his friend
and mentor showed him a piece of Confederate money that
featured vignettes of slaves.
He has shared his knowledge on the subject in various
ways, most notably by convincing the ANA to officially
recognize Isaac Scott Hathaway as the first black American
to design and sculpt an American coin, a silver dollar.
"I encourage everybody: Get in those libraries. I've been
to the Library of Congress, the National Archives, because
I wanna know," he said. "If there's something out there,
I wanna know it and verify it and be able to talk about
it with authority."
USC Libraries Special Collections is in the midst of talks
with Brian Turner, the collection's current owner, about
acquiring the collection for USC's archives, Anderson said.
To read the complete article, see:
COIN DESIGNER ISAAC SCOTT HATHAWAY
[The previous article mentioned Isaac Scott Hathaway as a
designer of two U.S. coins. Which two? His first coin was
the Booker T. Washington commemorative half in 1946, and
his second was the George Washington Carver half in 1951.
Below are some links with more information on Hathaway.
NEW YORK TIMES MOVIE REVIEW: THE COUNTERFEITERS
[We're been following the making and release of the film
'The Counterfeiters", based on the true story of talented
Nazi concentration camp prisoners forced to counterfeit
British and American currency during WWII. Arthur Shippee
forwarded this review of the film from The New York Times.
In exchange for their labor Sally and his colleagues are
given extraordinary privileges: civilian clothing, weekly
showers, sheets and pillows on their beds. And this fragile
good fortune provides The Counterfeiters with its ethical
center of gravity. The questions Mr. Ruzowitzky poses are
both stark and complicated. How much cooperation with evil
is justified in the name of survival? How can the imperative
to stay alive compete with the obligations to help others,
and to oppose injustice?
Sally, played by a remarkable, hatchet-faced actor with the
striking name Karl Markovics, approaches these conundrums
not with the discipline of a philosopher, but rather with
the self-protective instincts of an outlaw. He does, nonetheless,
adhere to the rudiments of a thiefs code of honor, surveying
every new situation for possible risks and advantages and
refusing, under any circumstances, to squeal on a comrade.
Burger, whose wide brow and upright carriage stand in
Pronounced contrast to Sorowitschs darting eyes and spidery
movements, is the films designated man of principle. A
left-wing activist, he was imprisoned for printing anti-Nazi
leaflets, and he struggles to maintain a clear view of the
political implications of his and the others actions. He
decides to slow down Operation Bernhard by sabotaging the
counterfeiting process, a delay that threatens the lives
of his co-workers and brings him into conflict with Sorowitsch,
who sometimes seems to view their assignment as a
professional challenge more than anything else.
To read the complete article, see:
[The Counterfeiters won the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar
at tonight's Academy Awards ceremony! -Editor]
OPERATION BERNHARD FILM RELEASE: THE COUNTERFEITERS
VICTORIA CROSS RECORDS NOW AVALIABLE FOR RESEARCHERS ONLINE
[For researchers of military medals, a gold mine of new
information in now available on the Internet. -Editor]
The heroism of millions of Britain's First World War
servicemen, from ordinary foot-soldiers to actors and
future prime ministers, is disclosed on the internet for
the first time from today.
The records of 5.5 million troops awarded medals between
1914 and 1922 - the most comprehensive Great War collection
in existence - are being released by the website,
It will give people an unprecedented opportunity to trace
the wartime achievements of their ancestors as most of the
official service records from the First World War were
destroyed during a German air raid in 1941.
Fifteen different medals were awarded, from the Victoria
Cross to campaign honours such as the Victory Medal, to
British and Commonwealth troops. The online files are based
mainly on index cards recording each serviceman's medals,
reason for decoration and corps, unit and regiment.
"This collection will be relevant to just about anyone
with ancestors living in the UK during World War One and
is both a rich source of military information and a means
of ensuring that the exploits of these brave soldiers are
remembered for generations to come."
To read the complete article, see:
"Quite simply, this is the most complete first world war
collection of what we are calling heroes' exploits," said
Simon Harper, managing director of the genealogy website
Ancestry.co.uk, which has digitised the archive. "There
are other records already online which capture parts of
the service record, but unfortunately a lot of records no
longer survive, so to have a collection this complete is
extremely important." Though other organisations, notably
the National Archives at Kew, allow users to order specific
microfiched records for a fee, this is the first time
they can be browsed online.
The records take the form of colour scans of handwritten
cards, on which details of the medals awarded are recorded,
along with soldiers' addresses, rank, regiment and details
of their service history. The cards carry references to
mentions in dispatches, where appropriate. More than 50,000
records include details of covert operations.
Alongside the ordinary Tommies are a large number of
medal-winners who were or would go on to be well known -
among them Oswald Mosley, AA Milne, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
and Lord Louis Mountbatten. Ernest Shackleton, newly
returned from the South Pole in 1917, was considered too
old for the western front but sent to South America on a
propaganda mission, for which he was awarded the 1914
Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. The
young Noel Coward was awarded the Silver War Badge,
having served briefly before being discharged for ill
health. Britain's last surviving western front veteran,
Harry Patch, is also represented.
The website, which operates commercially and requires
users to pay a subscription, also allows users to search
first world war pension records, held at the National
Archives, and the remaining military service records.
To read the complete article, see:
STOLEN SENTIMENTAL COAL SCRIP TOKEN RETURNED TO ILLINOIS WOMAN
[A newspaper in Benton, IL published a story this week
about a woman who was reunited with a coal scrip token
that had been stolen along with her purse. The article
refers to the token as "script" rather than scrip, but
correctly (and amazingly to me) uses the term "exonomia".
I'm not familiar with values of coal scrip tokens but know
many or not most are common. Can anyone tell us if the
$5,000 value quoted in the article is on the money?
A Benton woman was reunited with her unique and cherished
keepsake Friday, thanks to the goodwill of a Rend Lake
According to 72-year-old Jean Bishop, her purse was
allegedly stolen from her shopping cart at the Benton-West
City Wal-Mart SuperCenter. It ended up on a Highway 37
shoulder about five miles south of RLC where it was
apparently thrown from a moving vehicle by the alleged
When she went to the Ina campus Friday afternoon, she
explained that inside the purse was one of her most
prized possessions. Tucked in a velvet jewelry box was
a $5 piece of script, more than 100 years old, issued
by the Coal and Lumber Company of Stearns, Ky.
Scripts were used to pay coal miners. The coal employer
would issue scripts as wages to miners and they would
trade them for goods and services in a mining community.
This particular coin-like keepsake was given to her in
1972 by her late husband. She plans to pass it down to
her daughter, a mine inspector in Kentucky.
The script - once worth a mere $5 - is now much more
valuable, particularly to collectors of exonumia.
I've already been offered $5,000, Bishop explained.
I cannot believe its still in there. They could have
taken anything else, I don't care.
In the meantime, Bishop is going to work on a finding
a safer place for her sentimental script.
It's going on a chain around my neck, she said. The
next person who wants to take my keepsake from me is
going to have to pry it from my dead body.
To read the complete article, see:
GOLD COIN DRESS UNVEILED IN TOKYO
The biggest bullion house in Japan, Tanaka Kikinzoku
Jewellery K.K., presented on Thursday a shimmering gown
enriched with hundreds of gold coins. The total weight
of gold coins is 8 kilograms. The gown is valued at 30
million yen or about $275,000.
The Japanese bullion house has made the dress using 325
Australian gold coins issued to honor the Vienna
Philharmonic, which it will feature for a whole week
at its shop in Ginza, a district in Tokyo.
"It's not exactly created to float gracefully around,"
mentioned Tomoko Ishibashi, a Tanaka Kikinzoku spokeswoman.
To answer the question about the appropriate occasion
where the gown could be shown off, the Tanaka Kikinzoku
spokeswoman answered: "You might want to wear it when you
have been invited to meet the emperor, such as to the
annual garden party."
The Japanese model, Mayuka, having a height of 178-cm
and a weight over 50 kg, outlined that the dress seemed
quite heavy and that she had serious doubts linked with
dancing in it.
Besides gold coins, there is also a wide range of goods
made of gold. For instance, Tanaka Kikinzoku offers an
18 carat gold bathtub, created for a Japanese hotel. It
is worth mentioning that the bathtub made it to newspapers
headlines twice, the first time when it was presented and
the second time when the bathtub was stolen from the
seaside hot springs.
To read the complete article, see:
JAPAN'S FINANCE MINISTRY AUCTIONS COINS
An 1880 Japanese gold coin, 16.97 mm in diameter and
weighing 3.33 grams, is expected to fetch a record high
price of around ¥20 million when the debt-ridden Finance
Ministry puts it on the auction block this Sunday.
"The coin is quite rare. Only 87 of them were produced
in that year and probably less than 10 of them still exist,"
said Toshio Takeuchi, chairman of Ginza Coins Co., a noted
dealer based in Tokyo's Ginza district.
The ministry started auctioning its old coins which are
still considered modern in 2005 as part of efforts to
reduce the government's snowballing debt.
In the 12 auctions held so far, 24,500 coins have been
sold for a combined ¥4 billion.
The 1880 coin is well-known among collectors. When Ginza
Coins auctioned one of the same coins in November, it sold
for ¥27 million.
To read the complete article, see:
To read the complete article, see:
[The coin brought ¥32.1 million. -Editor]
NEW ZEALAND GANG LEADER RELEASED AFTER BROKERING RETURN OF STOLEN MEDALS
A leading gang figure was released from jail after
negotiating the return of New Zealand's stolen war medals.
The Herald can reveal Daniel Crichton was granted bail on
serious drugs charges after acting as the "conduit" with
the thieves of the 96 medals.
His release is another part of the deal that saw the
thieves paid an undisclosed amount of the $300,000 reward.
Crichton is a former Black Power member now linked to the
feared Headhunters gang. Crichton and others still face
trial on the drugs charges.
Amanda Upham, daughter of Charles Upham whose VC and Bar
were among the stolen medals, last night described the deal
with Crichton as "disgraceful".
"This deal is becoming more farcical by the day. We can
just be happy we got the medals back," she said.
The medals stolen included nine Victoria Crosses, as well
as two rare George Crosses, an Albert Medal and a
Distinguished Conduct Medal.
Police say the return of the medals does not mean there
will be immunity from prosecution.
To read the complete article, see:
BALI BOMBING HERO TO SELL RARE CROSS OF VALOUR MEDAL
[The market in certain medals is so hot right now
that not even living recipients can resist the urge
to sell. -Editor]
Bali bombing courage will go on sale in Brisbane today
with the auction of a Cross of Valour, Australia's
highest peacetime award.
It was awarded to Tim Britten, who acted heroically
after the Sari Club attack in which 202 people, including
88 Australians, died in 2002.
Constable Britten has put the medal up for sale because
it brings back too many painful memories of the time he
spent pulling a victim out of the wrecked nightclub.
He refuses to comment on the reason for selling the
award that will be auctioned by CJ Medals along with
his West Australian Police Award for Bravery that he
received for disarming a man.
Clive Johnson, whose firm is auctioning the medals, said
he understood Constable Britten wanted to put the Bali
episode behind him by selling them.
Mr Johnson said only five Crosses of Valour had been
awarded since 1975 when the medal replaced the imperial
honour, the George Cross.
This made it rarer than the military Victoria Cross and
therefore it appealed to private rather than institutional
"This is the Ferrari of metal crosses," Mr Johnson said.
To read the complete article, see:
To read the complete article, see:
[Queensland's Military and Colonial Museum paid $175,000
for the medal. -Editor]
LINCOLN'S PORTRAIT IN 2,400 PENNIES
[Tom Fort forwarded this item from The New York Times.
Finally, a way to get rid of some of those pennies!
Jeff Haber and his teen son Danny used $24 worth to
make a portrait of -- who else? -- Abraham Lincoln.
Inspired by a similar portrait that Jeff Haber had
seen in a Florida museum, the effort took nearly two
months of gluing pennies in the right positions to
make the image.
They used pennies both for the obvious symbolism and
because pennies can be found in different shades,
thanks to wear and tear.
The portrait, the third one they've done, is being
donated to Danny Haber's high school.
To read the complete article, see:
LIBRARIES BUILT INTO STAIRCASES AND BEDS
[We bibliophiles struggle to find enough space to store
our literary treasures. Here are two examples of
creative use of space for shelving books. -Editor]
The stairs going up to the attic room of a Victorian
row house in London have been fitted with books that
line each riser and wrap around the edges. As someone
who lives in small places with lots of books (and no
matter what I do, no matter how ruthless I am, I always
seem to have lots more books that I have room for) this
kind of thing is sheer aspirational porn for me.
The flat occupies part of the shared top floor of an
existing Victorian mansion block. Our proposal extended
the flat into the unused loft space above, creating a
new bedroom level and increasing the floor area of the
flat by approximately one third. We created a 'secret'
staircase, hidden from the main reception room, to access
a new loft bedroom lit by roof lights. Limited by space,
we melded the idea of a staircase with our client's desire
for a library to form a 'library staircase' in which
English oak stair treads and shelves are both completely
lined with books. With a skylight above lighting the
staircase, it becomes the perfect place to stop and
browse a tome.
To read the complete article, see:
Bruce Perdue also came across the story and forwarded
this link to more photos:
And here's another interesting way to store books - a
Tokyo bed turned into a book igloo!
To read the complete article, see:
FEATURED WEB SITE: LINKS FOR COIN COLLECTING BEGINNERS
This week's featured web page is suggested by John and
Nancy Wilson. It is a page of links to useful numismatic
sites from the "Coin Collecting for Beginners" site. It's
a mix of commercial and non-commercial sites. Even
advanced collectors may find something of interest.
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
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