The E-Sylum v11#01, January 6, 2008

esylum at esylum at
Sun Jan 6 18:32:34 PST 2008

Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 11, Number 01, January 6, 2008:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2008, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers is Richard Giles. Welcome aboard!  
We now have 1,106 subscribers.

This week we open with news from no less than three active 
numismatic literature dealers and one retiring numismatic 
librarian.  Next, we have an obituary for Graham Pollard, 
author of the new Renaissance Medals catalog.  Myron Xenos 
provides a review of the Canadian Numismatic Bibliography 
and the Wilsons offer their review of the new Whitman 'Guide 
Book of Lincoln Cents'.   

In follow-ups to previous articles, Pete Smith and Craig 
McDonald comment on dealer Harold M. Hess, Karl Moulton 
discusses 1793 Philadelphia newspapers, Tom DeLorey provides 
information on varieties of the 1922 "No D" Lincoln Cent, 
and Martin Purdy comments on the legal tender status of 
Scottish banknotes. 

In the news, word of a robbery of London dealers Dix, Noonan 
Webb has just been released, a Forbes article advocates the 
private printing of paper money, Venezuela revives the locha 
denomination and Zimbabwe reverses its decision to phase out 
a banknote denomination.

To learn which world mint is 100 years old this week, read on. 
Have a great week, everyone.

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


Numismatic Literature dealer John H. Burns writes: "I will 
have a two table booth (1245 & 1247) at the F.U.N. Convention 
in Orlando, FL January 10-13, 2008.  I will have approximately 
two tons (4000 pounds!!) of new, out of print and antiquarian 
books for sale."

[If you're attending the show, please stop by and say hello 
to Big John.  You'd be hard pressed to find a bigger display 
of numismatic literature anywhere, so stop, browse, and add 
to your library.  -Editor]


Numismatic Literature dealer Charles Davis writes: "My next 
auction sale catalogue consists of duplicates from the American 
Numismatic Society and has a closing date of February 2. Highlights 
include complete original sets of SNG Copenhagen, SNG Lockett, 
SNG Lloyd, SNG ANS and some 50 odd parts of the above and other 
Sylloges, plus a uniformly bound early set of The Numismatist, 
a complete set of Mason's Magazine, two original Crosby Early 
Coins, Red Books including three first editions, and runs of 
the American Journal of Numismatics. Catalogues will be mailed 
next week and will be available at the Spink/Davis booth at the 
New York International."


[Numismatic Literature dealer George Kolbe forwarded the 
following press release for his upcoming sale of the core 
numismatic library of Dr. Daniel Leonce Koppersmith, featuring 
key works on archaic & classical greek coins and kindred topics.  

On March 20, 2008 George Frederick Kolbe/Fine Numismatic Books 
will sell at auction the core numismatic library of Dr. Dan 
Koppersmith. Beyond the dazzling array of standard references 
and often rare specialized die-studies in the library, perhaps 
the most remarkable thing about it is the uniformly superb 
condition of the contents. The library is perhaps best described 
by the collector, who writes in the introduction to the sale:

"My library has been carefully and thoughtfully assembled 
over the past fifteen years. In my opinion, it contains all 
the important references for Archaic and Classical Greek Coins, 
including every Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum produced to recent 
date. Condition is generally exceptional, as worn copies have 
been replaced. Most of the books are bound, as described in 
the catalog. The library was much larger, but less important 
works were removed, leaving an extremely important, concise 
core, if over one hundred feet of literature can be described 
as concise. In my opinion, the auction catalogs are all the 
essential ones for Archaic and Classical Greek Coins, again 
with less important catalogs culled to minimize space. I wrote 
an article published in The Celator to this end (Volume 21, 
Number 5, May 2007), which is reproduced here through the 
kindness of the Publisher/Editor, Kerry K. Wetterstrom."

Among the sale highlights are a complete set of the Numismatic 
Chronicle, complete from 1838 to date; as previously mentioned, 
a complete run of the Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, including 
exceptionally fine original sets of SNG Danish and SNG von 
Aulock, along with all of the recent volumes published in 
various countries; superb sets of the original editions, 
mainly leather-bound, of the great series of multi-volume 
ancient coin collection catalogues, including Forrer's Weber 
collection, Grose's McClean collection, the Jameson collection, 
and Macdonald's Hunterian collection. Also featured are Leonard 
Forrer's complete, unusually fine, 29 volume set of Greek Coins 
in the British Museum, all in the original blue cloth bindings; 
Edward T. Newell's superb original set of Babelon's Traité des 
Monnaies Grecques et Romaines; Dr. J. Hewitt Judd's original 
Die Münzen von Syrakus by Erich Boehringer; a complete, very 
fine original set of von Fritze & Gaebler's Nomisma; Georges 
Le Rider's very fine leather-bound set of Die Antiken Münzen 
Nord-Griechenlands; Oscar Ravel's own set of his rare, still 
important two volume work on Corinthian staters; and a pristine 
original example of Svoronos' Les Monnaies d'Athènes.

Other consignments following the Koppersmith library will feature 
important numismatic works on a wide variety of topics covering 
the numismatic spectrum.

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


American Numismatic Society Librarian Francis D. Campbell writes: 
"On March 31, 2008, I will retire from my position as Librarian 
of the American Numismatic Society. I have been with the Society 
since 1958 and have been its Librarian since 1975 and, as such, 
have come to know many of those in the numismatic community who 
you also count among your readers. Therefore, I thought the E-Sylum 
would be the best way to inform them of my retirement and to let 
them know it has been a pleasure to share the resources of this 
Library with them over the years.

[Frank's ubiquitous presence will be sorely missed.  We wish the 
best of luck to him in retirement, and I look forward to inviting 
his successor(s) to also participate in the E-Sylum forum. -Editor]


Charles Davis writes: "In the December 23 E-Sylum, you 
published a notice on the new work by Graham Pollard on 
Renaissance Medals in the National Gallery. Regrettably 
I received the below note that he passed away two weeks ago.
  Graham Pollard died Monday December 17 after a relatively 
  short illness - a malignant brain tumour was diagnosed 
  in September.  His wife Maria died three weeks earlier 
  (25 Nov) after a long battle with cancer.  There will be 
  a joint funeral sometime in mid-January. An obituary of 
  him appears in The Independent"

[Here are some excerpts from Pollard's obituary, written 
by Dr. Mark Blackburn, Head of the Department of Coins and 
Medals at the Fitzwilliam Museum. -Editor]

John Graham Pollard, numismatist, museum curator and civic 
campaigner: born Gillingham, Kent 25 December 1929; Keeper 
of Coins and Medals, Fitzwilliam Museum 1966-88, Deputy Director 
1969-88; Fellow, Wolfson College, Cambridge 1967-97 (Emeritus), 
Librarian 1980-95; married 1963 Maria Seri (died 2007; one son); 
died Cambridge 17 December 2007.

Graham Pollard was the leading authority on Italian Renaissance 
medals in the post-war period. He will be best remembered as 
the author of the multi-volume catalogues of two of the greatest 
collections in the world, those of the Bargello Museum in 
Florence and the National Gallery of Art in Washington. But 
as a curator of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge – whose coin 
and medal collection he did much to enhance – his influence 
was far wider, as he shared his knowledge and judgement with 
students, scholars, collectors and dealers.

He registered for a London University external degree in 
Geography, but had to abandon it in 1948 when he was called 
up for National Service. On his return in 1950, he was appointed 
a Museum Assistant and assigned to the Coin Room to work under 
Harold Shrubbs. With encouragement from the museum's director, 
Carl Winter, he decided to apply to Cambridge University to 
read History, and rapidly taught himself sufficient Latin to 
pass the entrance exam, entering Pembroke College in 1951. 
He continued to work part-time for the Fitzwilliam during 
the first two years of his degree, and was given leave for 
the third. On graduating in 1954 he was appointed Junior 
Assistant Keeper, and promoted to Keeper of Coins and Medals 
in 1966 and Deputy Director in 1969.

Pollard's interest in medals had been fired by chance soon 
after arriving in Cambridge. In a fire-sale at an antique shop 
he saw a tin bath containing several hundred medals, and hastened 
home to borrow money from his father to buy them. The Italian 
connection came somewhat later and for a different reason. His 
first trip, in 1957, was with a group of friends wanting to 
look at Italian architecture, and he was bowled over by the 
experience. On a subsequent trip, in 1961, he went with Jack 
Trevor in search of fossils at the mine of Bacinello in southern 
Tuscany. In the nearby town of Grosseto he met a young 
schoolteacher, Maria Seri, who two years later would become 
his wife.

Renaissance Medals was due to be published in January 2008 and 
launched in Washington with an international symposium, but 
when last September Pollard was diagnosed with terminal cancer, 
the production was accelerated, so that in October an advance 
copy was couriered to Cambridge in time for him to appreciate 
it. This massive catalogue of two volumes, running to more than 
1,100 pages, is truly the crown to a distinguished numismatic career.

He and Maria were a devoted couple, and his final illness, 
though short, was heart-rending, as she herself was battling 
with the terminal stages of a cancer, which took her just three 
weeks before him.

To read the complete article, see: 


Myron Xenos writes: "Back in the early nineties, a fellow from 
County Cork, Ireland struck up an e-mail exchange with me. His 
name is Darryl Atchison, and he was putting together a bibliography 
of Canadian numismatic literature, no easy task considering the 
Atlantic Ocean would slow down anyone without a computer. As 
the years rolled by, I would send him some items, and, considering 
the enormity of such a project, figured that this might fizzle 
out somewhere along the way. 

"Oh, me of little faith - what should arrive at my office in 
December but a monstrous two-volume work of art titled Canadian 
Numismatic Bibliography.  This beautiful set contains 1,114 pages 
of great information laced with hundreds of photos and illustrations 
of coins, books, people, and items of ephemera, many seldom seen. 
There are 95 pages of index to make life easier as we all look 
to see if our names were mentioned or to actually make our 
research a bit easier.

"Three hundred signed and numbered sets were printed on 
acid-free paper. A list of 125 original subscribers is present 
on the page before the index. The work was published by the 
Numismatic Education Society of Canada, with a grant from the 
J. Douglas Ferguson Research Foundation.

"The two volume work is neatly organized, and after 23 pages 
of introductions, acknowledgements, and historical background, 
begins with general numismatics, pre-Confederation coins, 
medals & tokens and continues for another 1000 pages covering 
a wealth of written material from all sorts of Canadian resources. 

"I believe many of Darryl's bibliographies will end up on 
library shelves where future numismatic writers can go to 
get a jump-start on their research. Darryl's efforts equal 
the size of Dave Bowers' two volumes on U.S. silver dollars. 
Congratulations to all involved in the project."

[I had the opportunity to meet Darryl and review the CNB 
manuscript at Heathrow airport in London last summer.   I'm 
proud to have been one of the charter subscribers to the 
project and agree with Myron that it's an "instant" classic 
- a monumental effort that will pave the way for numismatic 
researchers of the future.  

Being across the pond in Ireland, Darryl was actually among 
the last to get his copy of the final printed books.  His 
comments follow. -Editor]

Darryl Atchison writes: "I received my copies of the CNB about 
two and half weeks ago and spent some time looking through the 
books over the holidays. I was very pleased with both the overall 
quality and presentation of the books, but I was disappointed 
with the quality of some of the photos in Chapter 12 - like my 
own for example (and a few others like it).  

"However, I was quite surprised at the very high quality of 
many of the other photos.  For example, if you look at a lot 
of the images (such as the coins, medals and banknotes) under 
reasonably good magnification, the images don't break apart 
into dots.  I showed the book to my father-in-law yesterday 
and he spent two hours just going through volume two.  He used 
a magnifying glass which is how I found this out.  He has no 
interest in Canadian numismatics but was still quite impressed, 
I believe.  Anyhow, try out a magnifier for yourself and I 
think you'll be amazed at what you can see."




[This week John and Nancy Wilson offer their review of the 
new Whitman 'Guide Book of Lincoln Cents' by Q. David Bowers.  

"A Guide Book of Lincoln Cents" by Q. David Bowers continues 
the series of “Guide Book” and other “Official Red Book” guides 
published by Whitman Publishing.  This full-color, 304 page 
paperback covers Lincoln Cents from the speculation about the 
design before its release in 1909 to a sneak preview of possible 
designs for 2009.  Bowers gives a detailed analysis by year of 
all information the advanced collector needs to know about 
that coin.  For each year general information about that year 
as well as numismatic information specific to that year is also 
given. Detailed prices for all grades as well as certified 
populations by grade are given by coin.  Detailed striking and 
sharpness are given by date and mint.  Full color pictures of 
the coins show additional details described in the text. 

The book gives advice on analyzing color and strike as well 
as information on being a smart buyer.  Market realities and 
establishing fair market prices are detailed.  There is 
information on errors, patterns, and varieties in the series.  
The book is a must for all advanced collectors of Lincoln Cents.  
The book may be purchased online from the publisher at as well as from book sellers, coin 
dealers and hobby retailers for $19.95."



[The Royal Canadian Mint issued the following press release 
on January 2, 2008.  Happy birthday!  -Editor]

One hundred years ago today, Governor General Earl Grey activated 
the press to strike a fifty-cent piece, Canada's first domestically 
produced coin. What would become known as the Royal Canadian Mint 
was officially open for business.

"To celebrate the centennial of the Mint is to celebrate the 
history of Canada," said Mr. Ian E. Bennett, President and CEO 
of the Royal Canadian Mint. "Over the past century, the Mint has 
played an important role in the economic and social fabric of our 
nation, by creating circulation and commemorative collector coins 
which are a true testament to Canada's rich heritage and values."

The Mint's Ottawa facility, which occupies the same premises 
on which the Mint was founded, produces hand-crafted collector 
and commemorative coins, gold bullion coins, medals and medallions. 
Established in 1976, the Winnipeg Mint is a high-tech, high-volume 
manufacturing facility where Canada's circulation coinage is 
produced, as well as coins for countries around the world.

"Throughout 2008, the Mint is celebrating its employees who, 
both past and present, have contributed to its remarkable success," 
added Mr. Bennett. "Their combined efforts and overwhelming 
dedication have made the Mint one of the most innovative and 
respected in the world."

To commemorate its centennial, the Mint is producing a 
high-quality limited edition book which will describe the 
corporation's rich history in both text and photography. 
Numismatic coins marking this special anniversary will also 
be issued mid-year. In addition, Canada Post has announced that, 
in June, it will recognize the occasion by issuing a 
commemorative stamp in the Mint's honour.

This year, the Mint is inviting visitors to stop by its 
Ottawa and Winnipeg facilities, to take a tour, browse the 
boutique and be a part of its anniversary celebrations. To 
mark the occasion, the 100th visitor every day will receive 
a special commemorative gift. The Mint will also be taking an 
opportunity on Canada Day to open its doors and celebrate its 
centennial with fun-filled family activities.

To read the complete press release, see:

[We'll look forward to the new book on the history of the 
Royal Canadian Mint.  Is anyone familiar with the project?  
I was unable to locate a listing for any books on the mint's 
web site.  -Editor]

To visit the Royal Canadian Mint web site, see:


Darryl Atchison asked me: "Do you know anything about the 
Gorham Company - particularly anything on medals they made?  
I noticed a few pieces in the Stack's December sale but had 
never heard of this firm before.  There is a published history 
on the company which I found on Abebooks but I don't think 
it covers anything on their medals."

[I had heard of the firm but was unfamiliar with their medals, 
although later I recalled the Bryan Money medals made by the 
company.  I had forwarded Darryl's query to Dick Johnson, and 
his response appears below. -Editor]

Dick Johnson writes: "Like their life-long competitor, 
Tiffany & Company, Gorham issued medals as well - but not 
as many. I have listed just over 100 medals that I can 
document Gorham made, in contrast to 943 Tiffany medals.

"You must be aware there was just no firm in America which 
could strike large important medals in the later part of 
the 19th century. If you wanted such a medal you had to 
have it struck at the U.S. Mint or order it overseas, 
usually in France or England. There were diesinking firms 
-- in Boston and New York City -- and a flourishing handful 
of medal makers in Philadelphia. For the most part, however, 
these firms did not have a press large enough that could 
strike a 2-inch or larger medal.

"Thus the jewelry companies of Tiffany and Gorham filled 
the niche for large and important medals. You could order 
a medal from either of these -- in any size to any 
specifications -- and they would solve the problem of 
design, obtaining a qualified artist to create the models 
and have the medals produced and finished.

"Often when the artist received such an order for a medal, 
he would design and model this, then bring the models to 
one or the other for production.  Some of America's 
greatest artists did this. Saint-Gaudens used both firms.

"Both firms had major sales offices in New York City. But 
the medals were produced elsewhere, Gorham in their Providence 
Rhode Island plant, Tiffany in their Newark New Jersey 
silverware plant. You could think of both firms as 
'manufacturing jewelers' but often they would subcontract 
actual production, in whole or in part, to other manufacturers.

"This was to the benefit to all. The customer got the best 
America could produce, with the prestige of a Tiffany or 
Gorham name. The jewelry firm found the best artist, the 
best manufacturer, and could negotiate the best price with 
these for their continued business. The jewelry firm earned 
a decent profit, which they certainly deserved for either 
making or administrating the making of the item, at a decent 
price for the customer.

"That is how Tiffany came to use the services of a tiny 
medal-maker, Deitsch Brothers and the talents of Henri Weil, 
in less that a year after this medal maker was established. 
Notably for Saint-Gauden's Franklin Bicentennial Medal of 
1906 (Saint-Gaudens delayed its issuance to 1908 however). 
Henri Weil went on to purchase the medal business from the 
Deitschs and build the Medallic Art Company, along with 
his brother, Felix Weil. The firm began to thrive after 
World War I.

"In the 1920s medal customers began going direct to Medallic 
Art Company for their important medals.  In early 1930s 
Tiffany gave up any direct manufacturing of medals and 
sent all their medal jobs to be made by this firm, even 
though the name Tiffany & Co would appear on the medal.

"Gorham did less subcontracting and more production of 
medals by casting for which they were so proficient. Thus 
Saint-Gaudens sent them his 1906 Massachusetts Civil 
Service Reform Association Womens Medallion to be cast.

"Among Gorham's first medals were for two New York City 
theaters (1876), they did medals for five American 
Expositions (from 1895 Cotton States to 1909 Alaska-Yukon-
Pacific), a large number of anniversary medals. But were 
extremely active in producing municipal war service medals 
for returning WWI servicemen, as was Tiffany.

"An interesting medal history is the William Henry Nichols 
Medal for the American Chemical Society New York Section. 
It was first produced by Marcus & Co (a minor jewelry firm) 
from 1896-1901, then by Gorham from 1902-1937, and finally 
by Medallic Art Company after 1938.

"Gorham employed their own factory artists who created 
models, Florent Antoine Haller (late 1880s) and Edwin E. 
Codeman two decades later. Most medal work was by outside 
artists for the most part."

For more images of Tiffany, Gorham Bryan Money medals, see:


[Every now and then I plow through my stack of recent 
numismatic periodicals and catalogs and note some of the 
items that catch my eye.  As always, your questions and 
comments are appreciated.  What have YOU seen lately that 
deserves a mention? -Editor]

  The January 7, 2008 issue of Coin World has an article (p4) 
  about material relating to former U.S. Mint Sculptor-Engraver 
  Elizabeth Jones in the upcoming Heritage auction (Sale 454, 
  Lot 3430). The "Archive of Elizabeth Jones Appointment 
  Documents and Production Artwork" includes her Senate 
  Resolution (dated September 29, 1981), Presidential Appointment 
  Certificate, Three Sketches for Medals, and a Production 
  Plaster for 1982 the George Washington Half Dollar Obverse.

  Jones' Washington Half is a groundbreaking coin which opened 
  the door for the torrent of modern commemorative issues to 
  follow.  A production plaster pedigreed to Jones would be a 
  centerpiece of any modern commemorative collection.  And 
  where else can you get a Chief Engraver's Presidential 
  Appointment Certificate?  It will be interesting to see 
  what the lot sells for.

  The Fall/Winter 2007 issue (#14) of The Numismatic Sun 
  from Stack's has a nice article (p14-16) by Q. David Bowers 
  on "Civil War Money Issued by S. Steinfeld".  Simon Steinfeld 
  of New York first caught my eye as an issuer of Encased Postage 
  Stamps, but he also issued Civil War Tokens.  I collected both. 
  Dave has always been interested in Encased Postage Stamps, and 
  his articles on the topic in The Sun and its forerunner Rare 
  Coin Review helped spark and maintain my own interest in the 
  series.  As always, the publication also features a very extensive 
  fixed price list of numismatic literature - a great source for 
  important and hard-to-find books.

  My vote for the best Christmas-themed ad from a coin firm goes 
  to Coin Rarities Online, run by Dave Wnuck and John Agre.  See 
  the December 17, 2007 issue of Coin World (p66) for an example.  
  It features a Massachusetts Pine Tree Shilling with the tree 
  cleverly decorated for the holiday with colored ornaments and 
  presents below.  The copy notes that "no coins were harmed in 
  the making of this ad".  The firm's web site features some neat 
  coins and medals.  Can anyone tell us more about the 1815 50mm 
  white metal map medal? It has a map of the Western Hemisphere 
  on one side, and the Eastern Hemisphere on the other.

  The catalog for the January 15, 2008 Stack's sale of the 
  Lawrence R. Stack Collection of numismatic images on American 
  paper currencies.  Paper money picturing coins is an interesting 
  topic that has attracted a number of collectors in the past, 
  including former American Numismatic Association President 
  George Hatie.  While I never collected them myself, I always 
  appreciated these curious notes.  This 189-page color catalog 
  is the most comprehensive treatment ever written on the topic, 
  and it's sure to be a valuable reference work for future 

  The catalog for the January 14, 2008 Stack's sale of the 
  Lawrence R. Stack Collection of Ancient Greek Coins is a 
  stunningly beautiful record of an important collection of 
  numismatic masterpieces.  The photography and presentation 
  are absolutely gorgeous.  While there's been much discussion 
  of whether computer technologies are making printed catalogs 
  obsolete, technology is also reducing the cost and increasing 
  the quality of printed catalogs.  Long live the catalog!

  Numismatic News has a section called Meet the Industry.  
  It's unclear to me as a reader if the articles contained 
  within are independently written and edited, or if they're 
  just full-page advertisements in the form of articles. The 
  fine print at the bottom of the page does say "Special 
  Advertisement Section."  Perhaps the layout is intentionally 
  ambiguous, although I think the end result is a win-win all 
  around.  It's interesting to learn more about the background 
  and history of the firms in our industry, something that 
  ordinary ads don’t always provide.  Two of the better ones 
  I've read recently were in the December 25, 2007 issue - 
  Northwest Territorial Mint (p40-41) and Modern Coin Mart 

  The cover article of The Numismatist's January 2008 issue is 
  "In His Shoes: The True Story of Sailor Jean and Colonial 
  Jack" by William D. Hyder.  "On a bet ... a Boston newspaperman 
  ... set out in April 1903 to walk to every U.S. state capital 
  under the pseudonym 'Sailor Jean' while pushing a 'trolleyette,' 
  a wheelbarrow made from galvanized iron, wood and a bicycle 

  As part of the bet his sponsor would publish a book about 
  the journey.  To defray expenses, aluminum souvenir tokens 
  were struck and sold along the route.  A book never materialized, 
  but the man, John Krohn, made the journey not once but twice, 
  walking thousands of miles each time.  Only his tokens live 
  on to tell the tale.  A great story and a great article - a 
  perfect example of what makes numismatics such an interesting 
  hobby.   See below for a note from Terry Trantow about this 


Terry Trantow writes: "I find it refreshing that the 
January 2008 issue of The Numismatist features an exonumia 
story as their feature item on their cover, while the Token 
and Medal Society (TAMS) continues to struggle from a lack 
of such articles and support. 

"ANA member William D. Hyder has produced a wonderful 
work about a portion of the life of John Krohn, who had 
issued two storecards as ‘Colonial Jack’ and ‘Sailor Jean’, 
circa 1908, to finance his travels across the United States. 
I see this American Numismatic Association issue as a 
milestone in its direction of the future of their magazine 

"As a longtime member of both ANA and TAMS, I have to 
think we may be approaching the time where it may become 
desirable for these two organizations to combine for the 
benefit of both numismatists and exonumists. While I would 
abhor seeing TAMS dissolve as an entity, perhaps becoming 
part of the ANA may the only way for it to survive [with 
this most recent ANA issue, perhaps it should become part 
of TAMS!].

"Coin collecting for the most part today is dull: there 
is much talk about record coin prices which are beyond 
the budget of most ANA members, or of mint errors or new 
US Mint editions, which seem to wish to produce new designs 
for coin varieties to the Public.

"Exonumia offers a far more interesting venue, requiring 
one to delve into the past to recapture the history of a 
particular piece. In my opinion, the production of new US 
coin designs won’t begin to offer competition to the 
current collector market that exonumia provides."


Regarding Mike Greenspan's query about dealer Harold M. 
Hess, Pete Smith writes: "I wrote a series of articles 
for Penny-Wise on people important to our hobby. The 
January 15, 1991, issue had this on Harold Hess: 'Dealer 
in choice early copper around 1982 to 1984. Stopped dealing 
abruptly in 1984 because of personal problems.' "

Craig McDonald writes: "I too remember Harold's catalogs.  
At one time I had a full run, but sold them several years 
ago when by necessity, I had to thin out my holdings of 
publications.  I only bought one coin from him that I 
remember, my Ryder 16 Vermont.  His catalogs were printed 
on stock with backgrounds that depicted early 20th century 
newspaper ads, if I recall correctly.  I also seem to recall 
that his last catalog simply stated that for "serious personal 
reasons" (possible paraphrase) it would be his final catalog."  



Regarding Bob Neale's item about Federal Reserve publications 
on the Panic of 1907 Len Bailey of Littleton Coin Company writes: 
"Thanks for the great article. Bob is correct - these publications 
(along with many others) are still available from the Federal 
Reserve Bank of Boston. Many of these pubs are available online 
to view or download at:



Regarding our earlier discussion, Karl Moulton writes: "The 
1793 Philadelphia newspapers weren't really interested in the 
new Mint.  They normally printed acts of Congress which pertained 
to the start up and legal weights of the denominations that were 
to be issued, but that's about all that was ever seen.  
"The daily operations were left to the Officers - Mint Director 
David Rittenhouse & Chief Coiner Henry Voigt, who had there 
hands full taking care of business within the new establishment.
"During the 1793 Yellow Fever epidemic (mid-August through 
October), the newspapers ceased for the most part.  There was 
only one that continued to print something throughout the ordeal.  
One must understand the severity of the tragedy and the panic 
that took hold within the city.  There was nobody who could even 
keep up with the names of the dead - only the number buried at 
the end of the day.
"More about this, and Dr. Rush's involvement can be found in my 
'Henry Voigt and Others Involved with America's Early Coinage' 
book; which includes a March 31, 1792 newspaper citation regarding 
the establishment of the United States Mint."



Last week Mike Marotta mentioned Chuck Daughtrey's assertion 
that the 1922 "No D" Lincoln Cent varieties "are all due to a 
grease-filled die, not some complicated restoration of a 
damaged die..."

Tom DeLorey, former Senior Authenticator of the American 
Numismatic Association writes: "Two of the 1922 'No D' cent 
varieties are indeed caused by grease filling the mint mark 
in the die, but the third (Die Variety 2) was most definitely 
caused by the overenthusiastic polishing down of a damaged die."


Regarding last week's item about the call to legalize Scottish 
banknotes for use in England, Martin Purdy writes: "I understand 
that Scottish notes are technically not even 'legal tender' in 
Scotland, so it would be a hard task to afford them that status 
in England!

Martin adds: "Here's a reference from Wikipedia, under 
'Legal tender':

  Scottish notes are not legal tender anywhere 
  in the UK, including Scotland where only the 
  coins are officially legal tender. Although 
  this is the case, Scottish notes are widely 
  accepted in return for goods throughout the UK; 
  they have a similar legal standing to cheques 
  or debit cards, in that their acceptability as 
  a means of payment is essentially a matter for 
  agreement between the parties involved.

To read the complete Wikipedia entry, see:

[Actually, the article did discuss some of these details, but 
I cut those parts for brevity.  It's an interesting topic.  
In all the months I spent in London this summer, I only came 
across one Scottish note in change.  If it had been a nicer 
specimen I would have just kept it as a souvenir for my collection.  
But it was pretty beat up and to see what would happen, I asked 
the merchant to exchange it for a Bank of England note.  No 
problem - he gave me another note immediately.  -Editor]



[As the 2008 FUN show and the anniversary of last year's 
robberies of dealers following that show approaches, this 
article about a similar robbery in the U.K. is a timely 
reminder for attendees of all coin shows to be on their 
guard at all times.  -Editor]

A chest of antique coins worth up to £300,000 was stolen by 
a gang in a sting on two auctioneers as they drove away from 
a exhibition centre.

Experts fear that the collection, which featured two gold 
coins of priceless historical value, could have been melted 
down. One of the coins can be dated back to 1826 and was 
worth up to £35,000.

The gang of about six men and two women targeted two men 
from Dix Noonan Webb, the auctioneer, in South Kensington, 
London, when the coins had been displayed at Earl’s Court 
Exhibition Centre. It is believed that the gang sabotaged 
the men’s car and followed them from the centre.

Details of the elaborate sting have only just been released 
by the police as they continue to hunt for the gang.

Detective Sergeant Neil Phillpot, from Notting Hill CID, 
said: “We believe this was an organised crime involving at 
least seven suspects. We are keen to trace them and believe 
they may be from Central or South America.”

Piers Noonan, of the auctioneers, said: “One five pound coin 
made in 1826 during the reign of George IV was worth £30,000 
to £35,000 alone.

“We can trace its history from a Sotheby’s sale in 1854. It 
has always been rare and always been appreciated. It’s so 
rare it’s recognisable to collectors and almost unsellable 
in the public domain.

“The people who stole it got it for nothing and may just 
melt it down for a scrap dealer for about £500.” A mint 
condition £2 coin worth £15,000 to £18,000 and smelted in 
1820 was also among the collection, which also included 
rare coins from Tibet, Austria, France, Australia and Burma.

Mr Noonan added: “It’s a huge loss. What we are talking 
about are several items which are unique and have been 
cherished for 200 years which could now be in a melting 
pot. It’s very disrespectful.

To read the complete article, see:



[In the past we've discussed various kinds of currency 
associated with crimes, such as the ransom money from 
the Lindbergh Baby kidnapping and airplane hijacker D.B. 
Cooper.  This week there was a story on National Public Radio 
noting that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is reopening 
the D.B. Cooper case.  The NPR was site has the text of the 
article and images of some of the recovered notes paid to 
this enigmatic criminal.  -Editor]

Last month, the agency reopened the case of the airline 
hijacker known as Dan "D.B." Cooper, who bailed out of a 
Northwest Orient airplane with $200,000 in extortion 
money in 1971.

Cooper vanished after the jump, and his true identity has 
never been discovered. Now, the FBI is releasing sketches 
of the legendary hijacker, a map of the area where he could 
have landed and a handful of photos from the case. They've 
also unveiled a Web site dedicated to solving the crime.

"Help us solve the enduring mystery," the Web site entreats. 
"Who was Cooper? Did he survive the jump? And what happened 
to the loot, only a small part of which has ever surfaced?"

FBI agent Larry Carr said he hopes the clues will jog 
someone's memory. 

The mystery unfolded the night before Thanksgiving in 1971 
when a man calling himself Dan Cooper used cash to buy a 
one-way ticket to Seattle at the Northwest Orient Airlines 
(now Northwest) counter in Portland, Ore.

During the flight, Cooper handed the flight attendant a note 
saying he had a bomb in his briefcase and wanted $200,000 in 
$20 bills and four parachutes.

When the flight landed in Seattle, Cooper took the money and 
parachutes and let the 36 passengers go. He then directed 
the pilot to take him to Mexico City.

At about 8 p.m. — somewhere between Seattle and Reno, Nev. — 
Cooper went to the back of the plane and jumped into the pitch 
black night in the midst of a driving rainstorm. The plane 
landed safely, but no trace of Cooper was ever found.

Nine years later, 8-year-old Brian Ingram found $5,800 of 
the extortion money when he was vacationing with his family.

Ingram, who is now 36 and lives in Mena, Ark., said he found 
three bundles of deteriorated $20 bills while looking for 
firewood on the sandy banks of the Columbia River near the 
Washington-Oregon border.

Ingram said he got to keep only half of the money — the other 
half was turned over to Northwest's insurance carrier, which 
had paid the $200,000 extortion.

To read the complete article, see:

To view the FBI D.B. Cooper case page, see:


Michael Sullivan writes: "I thought your E-Sylum readers 
would be interested in this article from the New Straits 
Times, Aug. 20, 2007:

  “Paying More for ‘Hell’ Currency” by Sim Bak Heng

  Johor Baru (Malaysia):  Currency appreciation is not 
  restricted to this world.  It happens in the netherworld 
  as well.

  Since July 1, the value of “hell” currency has gone up.  
  And people have had to fork out up to 20 percent more to 
  buy the paper money commonly burned as an offering to the 
  dead during the Hungry Ghost Festival which began last 

  But this is not all.  The prices of joss sticks, candles 
  and the paper items such as cards, planes, houses and 
  servants traditionally offered, have also gone up by 10 
  to 25 percent.

  The Malaysia Worship Items Dealers Association said the 
  higher prices for these items, mostly imported from China, 
  was inevitable because of the appreciation of the yuan 
  and the withdrawal of subsidies for the manufacturing 
  in China.


[On New Year's Eve David Kranz of Numismatic News posted 
a blog entry discussing an article from Forbes magazine 
suggesting that the same scanners that read prices in stores 
could process "home-printed money" as well. Nick Graver also 
noticed the article.  He writes: "Two authors (Ian Ayres & 
Barry Nalebuff) advocate printing 'money' at home on the 
computer, which then is used for 'one-time' payment of a 
purchase."  Here are some excerpts from the Forbes article. 

The U.S. Treasury makes money the old-fashioned way, by 
printing it. While greenbacks have lots of positives, we 
think the Treasury should let others get into the business 
of issuing money. If people could do it themselves, the 
result would be an even better currency. That's right. Why 
not print money at home on your laser printer rather than 
go to the ATM? Today, we can do this with stamps; the 
illustration shows postage produced by Security 
doesn't have to come from the Crane paper stock, the engraving 
or a metal strip inside the note. It could come from a 
two-dimensional bar code.

When you give your money to the merchant, the merchant would 
scan it to ensure that the note is valid. After the scan 
the merchant can then just throw your cash away. No need 
for Brink's trucks and security. The scan could accomplish 
the transfer of balance. In essence, you would have single-use 
money or a single-use debit card.

There are several ways in which bar-code money beats 
dead-president money. For starters, if you lose your 
wallet, you could cancel the notes and get a refund. In 
addition, your cash could be earning interest. When you 
go to print cash, money would be taken out of your bank 
account and cached in an escrow account. Until the money 
is spent, you could be credited with interest.

Just as people buy custom ringtones for their phones, you 
would be able to buy custom images for your cash. Indeed, 
you could even spend money with your picture in place of 
Andrew Jackson's. Citibank puts your picture on credit 
cards. Why not have your picture on cash?

We are already close to making this work. Most stores have 
scanners to read price tags. The same scanners could read 
your notes. You might still need old-fashioned currency to 
pay taxis or newsstands, so our proposal makes more sense 
for eliminating $20, $50 and $100 bills. Telephone calling 
cards are essentially cash in the form of a PIN code. Here 
the PIN would be printed on the note. Single-use credit 
card numbers are essentially a way of printing your own 

It is worth emphasizing that what we propose is not a return 
to the free-currency chaos of the 19th century, when banks 
issued notes backed sometimes by gold and sometimes by nothing 
but hopes. The bar-code notes would be backed by genuine U.S. 
Treasury dollars. When you print your note, your money is put 
aside until the note is cashed.

To read the complete article, see:

To read "We can do it with stamps, why not currency?" by David Kranz', see:,guid,31c0af7a-a29f-461d-b8


"A ceremony commemorating the striking of the Oklahoma quarter 
is next week in Denver.

"Gov. Brad Henry and first lady Kim Henry are scheduled to 
attend the ceremony set for Wednesday at the U.S. Mint's 
plant in Denver.

"The tail side of the Oklahoma quarter is a design depicting 
Oklahoma's state bird — the scissortail flycatcher — in flight 
with its tail feathers spread. The bird is in the center of 
the coin, with a field of Indian blanket wildflowers around 
the bottom half. At the top is the word Oklahoma and just 
below that is the year of statehood, 1907.

"Henry asked Oklahomans to come up with suggestions for the 
state's quarter. Nearly 1,000 submitted written ideas. 
Oklahomans were given the chance to vote online for their 
favorite designs; the top five choices were sent to the mint. 
The U.S. Commission on Fine Arts selected the design.

"The other four final designs depicted the Pioneer Woman 
statue in Ponca City, which is of a woman and child that is 
meant to honor the courage of the homesteaders who came to 
Oklahoma. The designs featured other elements meant to convey 
the state's history and character, including oil derricks, a 
peace pipe, a windmill and the state's shape."

To read the complete article, see:


[Nick Graver forwarded this article about an interesting 
archeological find at the bottom of a Russian lake.  Among 
the artifacts discovered were what the article called "a 
faceted gold bar, which was a monetary unit of the time" and 
"gold wire rings used as small change".  Is anyone familiar 
with such numismatic items?  -Editor]

"An international archeological expedition to Lake Issyk Kul, 
high in the Kyrgyz mountains, proves the existence of an 
advanced civilization 25 centuries ago, equal in development 
to the Hellenic civilizations of the northern coast of the 
Pontus Euxinus (Black Sea) and the Mediterranean coast of 

"The expedition resulted in sensational finds, including 
the discovery of major settlements, presently buried 
underwater. The data and artefacts obtained, which are 
currently under study, apply the finishing touches to the 
many years of exploration in the lake, made by seven 
previous expeditions. The addition of a previously unknown 
culture to the treasury of history extends the idea of the 
patterns and regularities of human development. 

"Last year, we worked near the north coast at depths of 
5-10 metres to discover formidable walls, some stretching 
for 500 meters-traces of a large city with an area of several 
square kilometers. In other words, it was a metropolis in 
its time. We also found Scythian burial mounds, eroded by 
waves over the centuries, and numerous well preserved 
artifacts-bronze battleaxes, arrowheads, self-sharpening 
daggers, objects discarded by smiths, casting molds, and 
a faceted gold bar, which was a monetary unit of the time. 

"Some artifacts are stunning. A 2,500 year-old ritual bronze 
cauldron was found on the bottom of the lake. The subtlety 
of its craftsmanship is amazing. Such excellent quality of 
joining details together can be presently obtained by 
metalwork in an inert gas. How did ancient people achieve 
their high-tech perfection? Also of superb workmanship are 
bronze mirrors, festive horse harnesses and many other 
objects. Articles identified as the world's oldest extant 
coins were also found underwater-gold wire rings used as 
small change and a large hexahedral goldpiece." 

To read the complete article, see:


[An article published New Year's Day on 
discusses the revival of an old Spanish-based coin 
denomination in Venezuela - the locha.  Here are some 
excerpts.  -Editor]

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's latest effort to reduce 
Latin America's highest inflation rate revives a coin rooted 
in Venezuela's colonial past: the ``locha,'' based on the 
old Spanish ``piece of eight.'' 

The locha is worth 12.5 cents, or an eighth of a new ``strong 
bolivar,'' a currency that debuted today with seven new coins 
and six new bills. Chavez says the new bolivar, created by 
lopping three zeros off the old currency, will simplify 
pricing and help slow consumer price increases. 

``During the 1940s and through the 1960s, the locha was one 
of the most popular coins,'' Armando Leon, a director of the 
central bank, said in an interview in Caracas. ``It circulated 
during a very long period of stability.'' 

Chavez may be bringing back the locha to restore confidence 
in the economy amid the fastest inflation in almost five 
years and shortages of milk, eggs and sugar. 

The locha was an adaptation of a 19th-century coin called 
the ochava, Leon said. Both were derived from the ``piece 
of eight'' monetary system imposed by Spanish colonial rulers. 

The locha used to cover the cost of a bus ride and a loaf 
of bread, said Enrique Bernal, a professor at the Universidad 
Central de Venezuela, who has published a magazine on coin 
collecting for the Venezuelan Numismatic Society since 1980. 

It was so common that people used it to measure food, 
ordering cheese by the locha, he said. 

Some shoppers insist the locha will mean higher, rather 
than lower, prices. 

``The store is always going to round up,'' said William 
Vivera, 34, an electrician in Caracas. ``The locha's 
going to be hard to manage for consumers and for stores.'' 

To read the complete article, see:


According to news reports, "Zimbabwe's central bank on Monday 
reversed its decision to phase out a ZIM$200 000 banknote and 
pumped ZIM$33-trillion into markets to try ease a severe cash 
shortage that has left thousands of shoppers stranded.

"Banknotes have recently joined the growing list of items in 
short supply, with thousands of desperate consumers besieging 
banks in the run-up to the Christmas and New Year holidays.

"Central bank governor Gideon Gono, who said the bulk of 
the country's currency was outside the banking system, blames 
the banknote shortage on a rampant black market and foreign 
currency trade.

"Earlier this month, Gono introduced ZIM$750 000, ZIM$500 000 
and ZIM$250 000 notes and announced that the ZIM$200 000 bill 
- which he says is mostly used by foreign currency traders - 
would be put out of circulation on January 1.

"All banks in Harare's central business district were flooded 
with customers hoping to withdraw money ahead of the New Year 
holiday on Tuesday.

"Gono said the cash crisis is a sign of an ailing economy, 
which critics blame on Mugabe's controversial policies such 
as the seizure of white-owned farms to resettle landless blacks."

To read the complete article, see:


[An E-Sylum reader forwarded this story about a county in 
the state of George which honors civilian heroes with 
commemorative medals (called "coins" in the article.  

The Placer County Board of Supervisors honored eight people 
this month for outstanding community service, presenting them 
with commemorative coins created for a county citizen-recognition 

The board created the program in December 2002 to recognize
outstanding citizens who have long track records of community 
service, have performed heroic acts or participated in 
little-known, but commendable feats.  Supervisors choose 
recipients from their districts.

The commemorative coins feature the county seal on one side.

On the other side are the word "hero" and the image of an 
eagle with a star and sun rays in the background.

That second side of the coin was designed by J. Randal Smith, 
an Auburn native who is a nationally known artist. His design 
won a competition coordinated by the Arts Council of Placer 

To read the complete article, see:


The rumor-squashing web site recently followed 
up on a story involving New York's mayor Fiorello La Guardia.  
There's no numismatic content to the story, unless you count 
collecting 50 cents from every person in a 1935 courtroom as 
numismatic.  But the account of the researcher's steps in 
verifying the source of the story is enlightening and 
inspirational for numismatic researchers.  

To read the complete article, see:


Speaking of unverified stories, E-Sylum readers know one 
should always be wary of tales told by sellers of numismatic 
items.  One recent eBay lot is a case in point.  I won't 
publish the specifics, but someone in the know clued me in 
to the real story.   The seller wrote a tale about how the 
lot was an old time collection of large cents found in his 
family home, full of "Old Stuff from the 1920's to the early 
1990's".   Included was a family tree and pictures of the 
coins displayed in a Whitman album.  There are no close ups 
of the coins, which look like brown blobs in the photo.

The real story?  One of our subscribers sold this very same 
Whitman album (empty) to the seller a few weeks ago.  The 
album bears a Whitman logo that was used only in 1972, yet 
the seller talks about the collection's owner passing in 1965!

Dick Johnson writes: "Thanks to Mona Ridder of the Cumberland 
Times-News who found this on the Internet:
  A guy took his blonde girlfriend to her first football game. 
  After the game, he asked her how she liked it. “Oh, it was 
  great.” she replied, “especially the tight pants and all the 
  big muscles. But I just couldn’t understand why they were 
  killing each other over 25 cents.” 

  Dumbfounded, her date asked, “What do you mean?” “Well, they 
  flipped a coin, one team got it and then for the rest of the 
  game, all they kept screaming was: ‘Get the quarterback! Get 
  the quarterback!’ I’m like ... Helloooooo? It’s only 25 cents!”


This week's featured web page is from the Birmingham Museum 
& Art Gallery, featuring a calendar medal designed by Peter 

"This calendar medal for 1799 was designed to be carried in 
the pocket or purse and is a kind of forerunner of the modern 
pocket diary. The obverse gives the date of every Sunday in 
the year, plus some key dates from the Christian calendar. 
On the reverse are the dates of the new and full moons, the 
law terms and certain important anniversaries."

The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization 
promoting numismatic literature. For more information please 
see our web site at

There is a membership application available on the web site 
at this address: 

To join, print the application and return it with your check 
to the address printed on the application. Membership is only 
$15 to addresses in the U.S., $20 elsewhere.  For those without 
web access, write to:

David M. Sundman, Secretary/Treasurer
Numismatic Bibliomania Society, 
P. O. Box 82 Littleton, NH 03561

For Asylum mailing address changes and other membership 
questions, contact David at this email address: 
dsundman at

To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, just 
Reply to this message, or write to the Editor at this 
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Those wishing to become new E-Sylum subscribers 
(or wishing to Unsubscribe) can go to the following web page: 

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