The E-Sylum v11#08, February 24, 2008

esylum at esylum at
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.


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.

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. 


>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 
good one."

To view the Lockdales catalog, see: 


Andy Meadows of the American Numismatic Society writes: 
"The ANS duplicate auction catalogue lists have been 
posted on the ANS website (

"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, 
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 
credit card.

"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: 


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 Eric’s 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]


[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 
worth $66m.

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 
entertaining one. 

To read the complete article, see:


[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 
Moran.   -Editor]

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 America’s most beautiful 
coinage to rival ancient Greek coinage.  The author corrects 
many errors that have crept into prior books. 

The book tells of Saint-Gaudens’s 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 nation’s 
coinage to more reflect the high-relief coins of ancient Greece.  
With Saint-Gaudens’s 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 


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]


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."


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 


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 
and selling.

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: 


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."


[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: 

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. Schenkman’s 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 Dave’s 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


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."




[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.  

  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]

  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.  

  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 
  bibliophile.  -Editor]

  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]


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."



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: 


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 
on that.  

"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."



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!"



[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]


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 
Philadelphia suburb).  

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 
the segment.
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 I’ll 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 wasn’t 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, let’s 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, it’s 
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 
Franklin Mint.
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 
to go?
  Not formally, I’m 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!


  To view Katie's photo of Charles Andes and Joseph Segel, see: 


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:
f-87a08130c5fc  -Editor]
"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 
Kate Shelley.

"There's even been a book about her: "

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.' "




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.



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.


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 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.


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 
(linked below).

"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 


[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' 
Workbench" website:"


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: "


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."


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?' "



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.


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)." 


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 
print publication.

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 
good cataloging.

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 Lincoln’s 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 
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 
Ray Byrne.


[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: 



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."



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"


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 
TIME, Inc.)

[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.'"[6]

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: 


[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 
quarter-century ago.

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 FBI’s 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 
( 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 
by Ingram. 

To read the complete article, see:


[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 
U.S. currency." 

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:


[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. 


[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 thief’s 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 Sorowitsch’s darting eyes and spidery 
movements, is the film’s 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]



[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, 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:


[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 
College administrator.

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:


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:


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]


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:


[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:,23739,23259380-3102,00.html

To read the complete article, see:

[Queensland's Military and Colonial Museum paid $175,000 
for the medal. -Editor]


[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:


[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: 


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
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:

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