The E-Sylum v11#03, January 20, 2008

esylum at esylum at
Sun Jan 20 18:56:30 PST 2008

Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 11, Number 03, January 20, 2008:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2008, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers are Joseph D. McCarthy and 
Tom Mulvaney.  Welcome aboard!  We now have 1,110 subscribers.

This week we open with three items of NBS news - a report 
on the recent meeting at FUN, the latest issue of The Asylum, 
and a survey on the greatest works of American numismatic 
literature.   Next we have news of the death of numismatic 
literature dealer Jerry Walker and 1980s coinage reform 
advocate Diane Wolf. 

Students of the numismatic products of Matthew Boulton will 
learn about an upcoming conference in honor of bicentennial 
of the coiner's death, and E-Sylum subscribers report on 
the recent FUN convention and Stack's Americana sale.  Also, 
an E-Sylum subscriber describes his amazing eBay find of 
the previously unseen Adams Academy U.S. Mint medal.

Also this week we reprint a great article about the Cleveland 
Fed's concentration camp money exhibit.  In responses to 
last week's issue, we have more tributes to retiring ANS 
librarian Frank Campbell, and further complaints about 
overlapping images in numismatic publications.

In the news there is a new (yes, NEW) Moffat & Co. mint.  
And in numismatic crime news, there have thankfully been NO 
reports of dealer robberies following this year's FUN show, 
not that I've heard anyway.   Also, a theft may have been 
averted at the Dahlonega Gold Museum, and in New Zealand, 
police are offering a record cash reward for information on 
the recently stolen medals. 

No numismatic diary this week, although I did receive in the 
mail a nice 1959 Gold Celeston I bought on eBay January 3rd.  
After dinner this evening I was my three-year-old daughter 
Hannah's play toy, as she sat me down in her room, put a blanket 
over me and pretended to give me a haircut and a makeover - a 
real Norman Rockwell scene.  Then it was time to play doctor.  
Remember the coin magnifiers my kids got for Christmas?  Well, 
Hannah pulled one out, examined my chin and declared "You got 
a bad boo-boo".  But wouldn't you know it, next she plucked 
three cents, a nickel, a dime and a dollar bill from her Minnie 
Mouse coin bank and proceeded to examine them under the glass.  

To learn about another redheaded young lady (a famous actress) 
who collects ancient Judean coins, read on. Have a great week,

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


Fred Lake writes: "The Numismatic Bibliomania Society (NBS) 
held a meeting at the Florida United Numismatists coin show 
in Orlando, Florida on Saturday, January 12, 2008.
"Ron Benice was the scheduled speaker and he presented 
his talk, 'Florida Paper Money, an Illustrated History, 
1817-1934', to an audience that included Ken Barr, Bill 
Bierly, Craig Eberhardt, George Fitzgerald, Fred Lake, 
John Roberts and Bill Youngerman.
"Ron's presentation included his showing copies of the 
finished book to individual attendees and a discussion 
of the different segments of commercial publishing followed. 
Many thanks to Ron for bringing his interesting talk to 
the meeting."


David Yoon, editor of our print journal The Asylum writes: 
"I've sent another issue of The Asylum (vol. 25 no. 4) to 
the printers. Here are the contents: 

* D. Wayne Johnson: A Wall of Medal Records 
* John W. Adams: The Story Behind the Castorland Jeton 
* Leonard Augsburger (compiler): One Hundred Greatest 
  Works of United States Numismatic Literature: A Survey"

[While The E-Sylum is an electronic publication free to 
all, the Asylum is mailed free only to paid members of 
the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.  While the $15 U.S. 
membership fee is unchanged for 2008, due to increased 
postage costs NBS Secretary-Treasurer David Sundman writes: 
"We will be switching to Standard Third Class postage but 
are giving members the option to upgrade to first class 
mailings at $20.  Memberships outside of the U.S. are 
now $25."

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



As editor David Yoon noted, the next issue of The Asylum 
will contain a member survey for the Numismatic Bibliomania 
Society's “One Hundred Greatest Works of United States 
Numismatic Literature” project.  Len Augsburger is leading 
the effort.

He writes: "As discussed at the NBS general meeting at 
the Milwaukee 2007 ANA, we are conducting a membership 
survey to identify the “One Hundred Greatest Works of 
United States Numismatic Literature”.  Our goal is to 
form a collective appraisal of the most important United 
States literature and to present a new collecting framework 
for experienced and novice bibliophiles alike.  

"As a first step, the NBS Board has identified a candidate 
list of several hundred items which will be published in 
the next Asylum issue.  We invite readers to suggest 
additional candidates; these will be reviewed and a ballot 
will be sent to the NBS membership for voting.  

"We purposefully leave the definition of “greatest” open 
to each individual member.  This may be the most scholarly, 
most influential, most ubiquitous, or even most notorious.  
The survey and will reflect the overall opinion of the NBS 
membership and results will appear in a future issue of 
the Asylum.  

"Additionally, an offprint may be prepared illustrating 
the One Hundred Greatest works, along with additional 
commentary, and future surveys may similarly cover other 
numismatic arenas.  Please forward comments and suggestions 
on this candidate list to me at leonard_augsburger at"

[If you have strong opinions about American numismatic 
literature, this survey is all the more reason to become 
an NBS member.  -Editor]


Charles Davis writes: "I heard that Jerry Walker passed 
away on January 13.  Jerry was a dealer in numismatic 
literature both on Vcoins and eBay having moved from 
California to Florida several years ago. I think his 
reputation can be summed up by pointing out that he had 
a 100% positive feedback on eBay. My sympathies go out 
to his wife Brenda and his family."
[Let me extend sympathies as well on behalf of the 
Numismatic Bibliomania Society and our E-Sylum readers.  


[New York Sun this week published an obituary for Diane 
Wolf, a leading advocate for redesigning U.S. coinage in 
the 1980s.  Did any of our readers know her?  Tell us 
your stories.  -Editor]

Diane Wolf, who died January 10, was a philanthropist based 
in Manhattan and Washington, D.C., who once made headlines 
for masterminding a plan to redesign America's currency.

Wolf died at 53 during a medical procedure at NewYork-
Presbyterian Hospital, her family said.

While serving as a presidential appointee of the U.S. 
Commission of Fine Arts in the 1980s, Wolf became an 
advocate for redesigning the nation's coinage. "The designs 
are nice, but they're dull and outdated," she told the Los 
Angeles Times at the time.

Wolf, who was a graduate of the Georgetown University Law 
Center but never practiced, treated her job on the Fine 
Arts commission as a full-time job, her father said.

She also sat on the boards of the National Archives, the 
Kennedy Center, and National Public Radio. In New York, 
she was a benefactor of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 
the Frick, and the Whitney.

Born March 16, 1954, in Cheyenne, Wyo., Wolf was raised 
in Denver. Her father was an oil executive. She got a 
bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania and 
a master's degree in early childhood education. She taught 
briefly at an East Side private school before studying law. 
Wolf is survived by her parents, Erving and Joyce Wolf of 
Manhattan, and two brothers, Daniel and Matthew.

To read the complete article, see: 

To read Dave Harper's tribute to Wolf on Numismaster, see


[Uriah Cho of Zyrus Press Publishing forwarded the press 
release for the firm's new book catalog. -Editor]

Now available from Zyrus Press: the new 2008 Hobbies and 
Collectibles Catalog featuring nine new book releases 
from a team of experienced and seasoned authors.

The catalog presents a diverse array of titles, including 
the long anticipated Numismatic Photography, by Mark Goodman, 
and Collecting Sports Legends: The Ultimate Hobby Guide 
from Professional Sports Authenticators, a division of 
Collectors Universe.

The 2008 catalog also introduces an entirely new line of 
books – The Official Strategy Guide Series – by numismatic 
expert and professional auction cataloger Jeff Ambio. 
Collecting and Investing Strategies for U.S. Gold Coins, 
set to release in February, will be followed in May by 
the second release, Collecting and Investing Strategies 
for Walking Liberty Half Dollars. Strategy Guide books on 
Barber Coinage and the Seated Liberty series are scheduled 
to release in late 2008.

All backlisted numismatic favorites are listed by category. 
A few of our best sellers are:  Photograde, The Authoritative 
Reference on Buffalo Nickels, A Buyer’s Guide to Silver & 
Trade Dollars, and Gold Coins of the New Orleans Mint. 

Copies of the Zyrus Press Hobbies and Collectibles Catalog 
are available for FREE to the retail public and can be ordered 
by calling (888) 622-7823. Fax or e-mail requests may be sent 
to (800) 215-9694 or info at


David F. Fanning writes: "I've known of Frank Campbell's 
pending retirement for some time, but it is still sad to 
see the official announcement. Frank has been a tremendous 
asset to the American Numismatic Society, and I have always 
found him a pleasure to work with. Some numismatists tend 
to criticize the ANS for appearing to focus all their 
attention on the relatively few with serious money. As 
someone who does not fall into the moneyed camp, I can 
say that Frank single-handedly dispelled any notion I 
might have that this was the case. 

"I frequently e-mailed him about ANS Library holdings for 
use in my research, and he was always prompt and courteous 
in his responses and would photocopy what I needed and pop 
it in the mail at no charge. While I am an ANS member, I 
did appreciate his willingness to help me out when many 
would have seen me as simply pestering him for free 
information. He will be missed."

Dan Hamelberg writes: "The ANS library really took form 
under Frank's watch.  50 years at it. Unbelievable.  Those 
familiar with the vast resources contained in the library 
of the ANS know that it has been Frank's stewardship along 
the way that brought the library to prominence. During the 
first 50 years of the ANS, the great numismatic literature 
was maintained by some of the more involved members of the 
ANS.  Since the ANS really had no permanent home until 
Broadway and 155th, the library started a serious climb 
to significance during the next 50 years.  During the last 
50 years, the library has seen tremendous growth and 
refinement.  Thank you, Frank.  
"Personally, Frank has been most helpful in assisting me 
with refining my own library of U.S. numismatic literature. 
More recently, he was instrumental in the discovery of the 
Watkins broadside sale of 1828 within the confines of the 
ANS library; the first numismatic auction sale listed in 
Attinelli. When I had the idea of creating facsimile copies 
of the sale and making them available to collectors, Frank 
was most helpful in making the Watkins broadside available 
to me.  The complete story of the Watkins sale will appear 
soon in the Asylum, and the facsimile of the broadside 
will soon be available to collectors."


Paul Sherry writes: "I managed to order a copy of Robert 
Ward’s book on Robert Mylne. It’s been a great read and 
I can highly recommend it.  I tell everyone I come across 
about the secret Boulton collection.  

"While we are talking about Matthew Boulton I thought 
E-Sylum readers would be interested a planned conference 
in England on Matthew Boulton.  I know it only occurs in 
2009 but it’s always nice to get plenty of notice. I would 
be interested to know if any of our readers will be attending
-  please take plenty of pictures for the rest of us!

Dick Johnson once wrote (speaking of Boulton) ”Every numismatist 
should build a shrine to this one man” (E-Sylum vol. 7, no. 26, 
art. 22).  With a little editing in Photoshop I was able to 
print a great copy of the Lemuel Francis Abbott portrait of 
Matthew Boulton in the conference announcement. Just have to 
get it framed and it will become part of my Boulton shrine.  

[Below are excerpts from the Boulton conference announcement. -Editor]

  The year 2009 will mark the bicentenary of 
  the death of the Birmingham entrepreneur 
  Matthew Boulton (1728–1809). A major international 
  conference is being planned to explore the historical 
  significance of Boulton in his several roles as 
  pioneering industrialist, natural philosopher and 
  patron of the arts. The event will be hosted by the 
  University of Birmingham in association with the 
  University of Central England in Birmingham on Friday, 
  Saturday and Sunday, 3–5 July 2009.

  Call for Papers will not be issued
  until the autumn of 2008. However, the
  organisers invite expressions of interest
  in the conference project as described
  below, together with suggestions for
  future planning and possible sponsorship.

  A number of other events are scheduled
  to take place in venues around the city of
  Birmingham during the bicentenary year.
  The main attraction will be a display of the
  products of the famous Soho Manufactory
  which Matthew Boulton opened around
  1765 on a green-field site just outside the
  city. This exhibition is being organised by
  Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery and
  will run from June until September 2009.

  In addition, the Barber Institute of Fine Arts
  (situated on the campus of the University of
  Birmingham) is planning an exhibition of the
  tokens, medals and coins struck between
  1787 and 1813 at the Soho Mint. This
  display will be open for public viewing for
  12 months from April 2009.
  Delegates will therefore have the opportunity
  to combine the academic activities of the
  colloquium with the major civic events designed
  to celebrate the remarkable life of Matthew

  The organisers will also be arranging
  visits to his private residence Soho House,
  to the Birmingham Assay Office (established
  in 1773 at Boulton’s instigation), and to the
  Birmingham Central Library which holds the
  Archives of Soho. This manuscript collection
  contains the family and business papers of
  Matthew Boulton and his principal partner,
  the steam engineer James Watt. It is generally
  regarded as the biggest and most illuminating
  business and industrial archive to survive for
  the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

To read the complete conference announcement, see: 



Alan V. Weinberg writes: "I've just returned from the 
annual Orlando January FUN show and continue, after all 
these years, to be impressed with the entire production by 
an attentive show staff of orange-jacketed FUN officials. 
For me, this has always been the 2nd "best" show in the USA 
to the summer ANA conventions and, in some respects, like 
bourse table fees, surpasses the ANA. Third now are the 
Baltimore shows where once stood the Long Beach shows. 
"Although the FUN January show continues to be isolated 
to the North Side Hall B - a long walk from the hotels and 
seemingly out in the middle of nowhere, whereas until three 
years ago shows were in the more accessible halls facing 
International Drive - this has not noticeably impacted 
dealer, public and collector attendance. And this despite 
this year's simultaneous NYC International Show with 
attendant multiple auctions. 
"The bourse room was full, apparently sold out and the 
aisles crowded with attendees. The Heritage Platinum Night 
auction was something to behold, the attendance overflowing. 
A newly re-discovered Harold Bareford-pedigreed 1793 S-11c 
Mint State large cent sold for $240K hammer. The 1792 fusible 
alloy cent, not at all aesthetically attractive with 
unremovable black hard crust still adhering, sold for $525K 
plus the 15% commission or $603,750. The special one night 
session of premium coins lasted 'til 1:30 AM, exhausting 
some dealers who went through the previous setup day and 
the first open bourse day.
"I roomed with Sequim, Wash collector/researcher Steve 
Tompkins, long an early draped and capped bust quarter 
connoisseur. He allowed me to read his manuscript with 
plates of his forthcoming 400+ page tome on the varieties 
of early quarters 1796-1838. The book is in its final form 
with just a few additions, plates and editing to be done. 
I was very much impressed by the quality, coverage and 
"readability" of the manuscript and the extensive enlarged 
plates, which often sell a book, were magnificent. 

"This book will have the same effect on the series as 
large cents' Penny Whimsy and Overton's half dollar book 
had on their respective series.  Although my interest in 
this series is quite marginal, after seeing the manuscript 
I fully intend to order a copy. 

"Steve will have his book printed in the U.S., bypassing 
China (where Whitman Publishing's books are printed at much 
lower cost but with high quality), as Steve wants hands-on 
control and the printing will not be nearly as massive as 
Whitman's books. Thus, the 1796-1838 quarter book will 
retail for approx $89.50, pre-publication orders projected 
for $75 instead of the presumed China publication cost of 
perhaps $35. Publication will be probably mid-summer 2008 
as Steve adds the last touches with extensive cooperation 
among collectors and dealers. At FUN alone, Steve (who 
brought his photography equipment and set up at 'Babe' 
Binette's bourse table) photographed several 1827 original 
quarters and an 1827 copper restrike brought to the show 
especially for his project. Definitely a reference to be 
"I exhibited non-competitively in two FUN cases my 1792 
patterns and 1793 chain and wreath cents and a superb 
silver Libertas Americana medal. It was the first time 
these coins have left the bank. Previously I'd exhibited 
rare medals and tokens at FUN but never before coins. I 
was a bit wary of hand-carrying these coins to and from 
the show - what if the plane crashed? 

"By exhibiting non-competitively I could exhibit the coins 
and accompanying commentary the way I wanted to, not having 
to abide by the strict labeling rules for competitive exhibits. 
And that also allowed me to disassemble the exhibit late 
Saturday for flying home rather than be compelled to exhibit 
'til mid-Sunday. I have found that it is extremely rewarding 
to exhibit at a major show. So many "jaded" longtime dealers 
and collectors were in seeming awe of these seldom -seen 
rarities and thanked me profusely. I'd tired of keeping these 
in a dark bank vault and wanted to share with others in the 
hobby what can be accomplished in 50 years of serious collecting. 

"The exhibit also had an "odd twist" - two superb electrotypes 
of the 1792 Wright quarter and the 1792 Birch cent (the only 
two copies exhibited and so-labeled), both of which have eluded 
me all these years. The commentary on these two electrotypes 
reflected that there are certain rare coins that are 
"opportunity-only" rarities - regardless of the decades 
collecting, the money and the contacts you may have, you 
literally have to wait through generations before the coin 
becomes available. That is true rarity.
"Exhibit chairman Dick Wells told me of an advanced collector 
sauntering over to the exhibit area, leaning over to look at 
my exhibit, leaning more closely in disbelief, removing his 
glasses and placing his nose tip on the case glass, incredulous 
at what he was seeing. It was a genuinely funny story as Dick 
re-enacted what he saw. Throughout the show, I saw groups of 
experienced collectors gathering and talking at my exhibit as 
if that was "Mecca". I have to admit that as I set up the 
display, I couldn't believe I owned such coins."

[I sure wish I could have been there to see Alan's exhibit.  
I told him how it reminded me of the time I was setting up 
an exhibit at an ANA summer convention.  John Pittman had 
an exhibit nearby.  I told "Big John" Burns – “you'd better 
not look at that exhibit over there”, pointing to Pittman’s.  
He couldn't resist the temptation and came back drooling and 
hyperventilating over the ultra rarities he saw in the case. 
Not coincidentally, Alan replied that it was John J. Pittman's 
legendary exhibits that inspired him to show his coins, 
tokens and medals over the past few years.

I also wish I could have been a fly on the wall the year I 
set up an exhibit of rare numismatic ephemera from my collection.  
Ken Lowe of The Money Tree later told me how he accompanied John 
J. Ford to look at the exhibit, and at every turn Ford said 
things like - "I've never seen THAT" - "Never seen THAT either!" 
"Now where in the hell did he get THAT?"   When you can stump 
someone like Ford, you know you've got something.  

What good is having a great collection if you don't show it 
off?   More collectors should follow Alan's example - c'mon, 
share once in a while, and show off your stuff!   If you find 
it difficult to comply with the official show rules, like Alan 
you can display your prize possessions at most major shows 
Non-Competitively and have more freedom, setting up late or 
tearing down early for travel reasons.

Non-competitive exhibits also needn't follow the exhibit 
judging guidelines, although I would encourage non-competitive 
exhibitors to at least keep them in mind, for the guidelines 
are geared toward making exhibits a better experience for the 
viewer.  -Editor]

Jim Halperin writes: "Anyone who didn’t check out Alan 
Weinberg’s pre-1793 U.S. Mint exhibit at FUN missed the 
highlight of the show - at least it was for me. The 1792 
Fusible Alloy cent (J-2) is the finest in private hands, 
and his Half Disme is a screaming gem. The Silver Center 
cent (J-1) and copper disme are no slouches either, and his 
Libertas Americana medals are gorgeous. 

"Alas, Alan’s Birch cent is an electro, but there’s no 
visible edge seam so it might well have fooled me had it 
not been noted as such. The best part was that Alan, who 
is a walking numismatic encyclopedia, was there to answer 
all my questions, and tell me the history of each coin and 
just about everything else about them that any numismatist 
would want to know. What a treat!  Now if only I could’ve 
talked him into showing me his Massachusetts silver..."


Speaking of Heritage's Platinum night, here are a few lots 
I thought worth highlighting: 

1818 1/2RL New Spain (Texas) Jola Half Real:  "The Texas 
jolas were made by José Antonio de la Garza of San Fernando 
de Bexar. While that locale may not ring a bell, its current 
name surely will: San Antonio.  San Fernando de Bexar was 
the capital of Texas (then a province of New Spain) during 
the 1810-1821 War of Independence. Apparently, community 
leaders prevailed upon the governor of the province, Lt. 
Col. Manuel Prado, to authorize Manuel Barrera to coin 8,000 
copper coins to facilitate commerce in March 1817.

"In 1959, a group of approximately 60 specimens was 
discovered during excavation work along the San Antonio 
River. The area of the find was once a 19th century 
campground used by cowboys. A few others have been 
discovered since, virtually all of which have been dug. 
Apparently they did not circulate long, so most are not 
greatly worn but, having been buried, most do show corrosion."  

1865 Seven-Piece Silver and Nickel Proof Set With Original 
Box: "Just five months after the surrender of General Lee 
and the Army of North Virginia and the subsequent cessation 
of hostilities of the Civil War, Mr. and Mrs. G.R. Oat 
celebrated their silver wedding anniversary. An event that 
would otherwise be lost to history is commemorated by this 
proof set of seven silver and nickel coins, its custom-made 
holder, and presentation card. 

"The case does not appear to be from the Mint, but was 
probably made by a local jeweler. The dark brown leather 
case is in remarkably fine condition with only slight 
rubbing on the corners and next to the clasps. And the 
hook-shaped clasps are still fully functional. An ornate 
gold stamp is centered on the top and reads: Oat. / 
September 8, 1865. Inside, a blue velvet board held the 
coins with raised protective rims around each hole. The 
presentation card is pinned to the blue silk inner liner 
of the lid. It is written on a calling card with the name 
Mrs. Henry C. Howell below a handwritten note that reads: 
Presented to Mr. & Mrs. G.R. Oat / at their silver wedding
/ Sept 8th 1865 

1792 1C Washington Getz Pattern Cent: "Robert Morris 
wanted examples of the proposed coinage to help passage 
of his bill, and apparently conscripted silversmith Peter 
Getz of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Morris was earlier 
responsible for the production of the extremely rare 1783 
quints and marks, from a prior attempt at a national coinage. 
For the 1792 pieces, Getz based his design on John Gregory 
Hancock's Baker-16 1791 Small Eagle cent, since the devices 
matched the bill's specification of a head of Washington 
and an eagle. Baker-16 was made to secure a Federal coinage 
contract, and it was ironic that Getz would copy the design 
in his own attempt at securing Mint employment.

"All efforts by Morris and Getz were for naught, because 
the House of Representatives (and President Washington) 
opposed presidential portraits on coinage on the grounds 
they were too monarchial. Congress instead eventually 
enacted legislation on April 2, 1792, designating "an 
impression emblematic of liberty" as the obverse device."  

To read the complete press release on the sale, see:  


Regarding this week's Stack's Americana sale, Ray Williams 
writes: "From the point of view of someone who was trying 
to obtain several specific notes, the colonial paper seemed 
to go for a strong price.  The French Colonials were vast 
and varied.  There were many affordable pieces along with 
some great rarities.  Bidding on the French colonials was 
dominated by one specialist in the field, but all who wanted 
to obtain some economical examples (myself included) were 
able to easily do so.  

"There was then a short run of colonial type coins where the 
nice pieces brought a good sum.  The two Higley Coppers both 
went to the book, the first for the opening bid of $90K and 
the second for $135K (opened at $115K).  The Continental 
Dollar sold for $30K to the floor.  Then came the section 
I most anticipated - The Lorenzo collection of NJ Coppers.  
I was anxiously awaiting the catalog where I thought I'd be 
seeing about 95 varieties but the collection had 86.  There 
were still several varieties I needed and I was able to 
pick up one.
"The cataloging of NJs was very unusual in that after the 
lot description by the Stack's cataloger, there were often 
notes by the consignor which were taken from the flips.  I 
can see both positive and negative aspects to this type of 
cataloging, but I haven't come to any personal conclusions 
about it yet.

"The highlight of the Sale for many of those present was 
the Mike Ringo Collection of counterfeit British and Irish 
Halfpennies.  There was a wonderful two page introduction 
written by Vicken Yegparian and over 250 lots beautifully 
cataloged by John Kraljevich.  This is only the first part 
to be auctioned of a rather large collection Ringo assembled 
over the years.  Mike Ringo was well respected and liked 
within the colonial collecting community.  He'll be sorely 
missed by all.

"This is the first daytime auction I've attended by Stack's.  
My past experiences were all evening auctions.  The auction 
moved along smoothly and efficiently.  There were refreshments 
before, during and after the auction, and "refreshments" might 
be an understatement.  Telephone and computer bidding did 
slow things down a little, but I didn't mind the occasional 
delay - it gave a chance to breathe.  Although Stack's rotated 
the auctioneers, the bidders didn't get a break.  I was in 
the room from 12:15 until after 7:00.  I had an interest in 
everything except the French Jetons, so I used that time 
period to check the hotel plumbing.  It was just long enough 
for me to make it back when that first Massachusetts Silver 
piece was hammered. 
"This auction was like a mini-convention of the Colonial Coin 
Collector's Club.  Many of those present were also in attendance 
at the C4 Convention in Boston this past December.  It's always 
a fun time when collectors of like interest get together, talk 
coins and compete at auction.  That's friendly competition for 
the moment...  If (or when) the Anton or Groves collections 
come to auction, I believe history will be made through "full 
contact" floor bidding.  I need to start working out now!"


Coin World had a great article about the U.S. Mint Adams 
Academy medal found on eBay by anonymous collector "jonathanb", 
who happens to be an E-Sylum subscriber.  Here's how he 
described his find in a post on the Collector's Universe 
forum December 19, 2007.  -Editor]

A medal for the Adams Academy is the alphabetically-first 
school medal listed by Julian as struck at the US Mint prior 
to 1892. He describes it as follows:

  Adams Academy
  Starting in 1876, the mint usually struck one gold 
  Adams Academy medal each year for Henry Mitchell. 
  The last was produced in 1892. A letter from 
  Superintendent James Pollock to Mitchell, of 
  September 11, 1876, mentioned that the relief was 
  very bold on the obverse die. In the second quarter 
  of 1889 four bronze medals were struck but not 
  reported in the annual list of medals struck.

...and that's it. Most of the other medals described by 
Julian were actually described, with obverse and reverse 
designs and full legends, diameter, and so on. Many of 
them are pictured. This has nothing.

The 1986 Price Guide to Julian, produced by Rich Hartzog, 
has pictures for many of the medals that were unpictured 
in the original book. There is no picture for SC-1 in the 
price guide either. For selected medals, the price guide 
also lists a count of auction appearances located by Carl 
Carlson. There are no auction records listed.

As far as I can tell, the mint records say that some medals 
were struck, but nobody had found one even to know what they 
looked like. The paper money folks have a term for this, SENC 
(Surviving Example Not Confirmed), for cases where they know 
that a note was issued by a particular bank but where nobody 
has located a copy.

I'm very happy (very happy! very happy!) to report that 
Julian SC-1 is now CONFIRMED!

To read the original post at Collector's Universe, see: ), and

Jonathanb adds: "It's a neat piece.  There could be 15 more, 
but do they still exist?  Stuff gets lost permanently over 
time, and gold stuff gets melted.  I sort of expected that 
someone would pop up and say "What's the big deal?  I have 
three of them!" but I haven't heard anything.

"It's too bad that there haven't been any updates to the 
Julian reference since it was published 30 years ago.  It 
seems that there's no update planned.  I've been going through 
auction records for U.S. Mint medals trying to figure out 
which ones are truly rare and which ones aren't.  It's difficult 
to figure out what's known and what isn't.  I thought that this 
was a new discovery when I bid on it, but it could just as 
easily have turned out not to be.  I was lucky in several 
different directions."

And speaking of eBay bargains, jonathanb adds this note about 
the deluxe leatherbound copy of Dave Bowers' 'A California 
Gold Rush History' in the Stack's Americana sale that I mentioned 
last week:  "Based on the timing I suspect that this copy is 
one that was snagged on eBay last year for a grand total of 
$150 (plus shipping, darn).  The last copy that Stack's sold 
went for nearly $6,000, including premium.  It'll be interesting 
to see what this one brings.  Could be a tidy profit for the 
consigner, if I'm right."


[The Tuesday, January 15th, 2008 issue of the MPC GRAM 
(#1584) had a great article by on Ronna A. Novello a new 
Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland exhibit of Holocaust 
currency.  It is reprinted below with permission under a 
standing agreement with MPC Gram.  -Editor]

Through December 27, the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland 
is displaying a special exhibit, “Questionable Issue: Currency 
of the Holocaust,” at its Learning Center and Money Museum. 
The exhibit is presented with the support of the Maltz Museum 
of Jewish Heritage.

Once they were deported to the ghettos or concentration 
camps, Holocaust victims were issued scrip (pieces of 
essentially useless pieces of paper) by the Nazis in exchange 
for their confiscated valuable currency. Each ghetto and camp 
had its own distinct scrip and coins, often with hundreds of 
different issues. Compared with the more pressing issues of 
life and death during the Holocaust, the existence of scrip 
didn’t seem to matter much to historians. Until now.

Steve Feller, a physics professor at Coe College in Cedar 
Rapids, Iowa, wrote the catalog for the exhibit and co-authored, 
with his daughter Ray, the book Silent Witnesses: Civilian Camp 
Money of World War II.

Feller was a graduate student at Brown University in the 
’70s when he went to a coin show that changed his life. A 
collector since he was a kid, he stopped at a dealer’s table 
displaying money used at the Theresienstadt (Terezin) 
concentration camp. He bought a set of seven notes for $10. 
A week later, at a coin shop in Providence, R.I., he learned 
even more about this little-known aspect of concentration 
camp and ghetto life.

“It represents what happened from a different viewpoint,” 
explains themustachioed, silver-haired Brooklyn, N.Y. native. 
Feller spoke with the CJN while in town for the exhibit’s 
opening. “You can talk about the camps and six million 
murdered, but when we see the money they had, it becomes 
personal. They speak through that money; they used it everyday.”

The idea for camp scrip developed early in the Third Reich. 
In 1933, political prisoners at Oranienberg, a camp near 
Berlin, were allowed to receive money from relatives. They 
were escorted into town to buy things they needed, then 
taken back to camp. Realizing they were losing money with 
this arrangement, the Nazis created a camp canteen, with 
prisoners forced to exchange the circulating currency of 
Germany for scrip from the camp. “The money they gave the 
prisoners was virtually worthless, since there was nothing 
backing it up,” Feller explains.

As the Reich’s tentacles spread across Europe, ghettos 
were established, and the use of scrip burgeoned.
“Warsaw, Krakow, Lodz, they all had ration coupons and 
scrip money,” Feller notes. “The scrip was designed by 
ghetto residents and printed or minted there.”

In the Warsaw Ghetto,, where 500,000 people, mainly Jews, 
were imprisoned, a secret underground currency developed, 
separate from the Nazi occupation currency used in daily 
transactions. Hand-drawn designs in the secret currency 
relied heavily on symbolism. Strong Zionist feelings 
influenced the designs, thought to be printed from linoleum 

When the Nazis used a Star of David on their official 
currency and armbands for the Jews, their objective was 
to humiliate and dehumanize their victims. But in the 
underground, those symbols were a badge of pride, explains 
Feller. On the 50 groszny-note in the Warsaw Ghetto 
underground, for example, 18 Stars of David stand defiantly 
on one side of a barbed wire fence. On the other side, facing 
the stars is a flame, enveloping the hated SS symbol.

These secret currencies, created and used only by the 
underground, could express the true feelings of the artist, 
since the designs didn’t face Nazi scrutiny.

Official ghetto and camp scrip distributed to the Jews 
by the Nazis was governed by different rules. The Nazis 
applied stringent guidelines to the designs for these 

In Theresienstadt, official scrip notes were designed by 
Jewish inmate Petr Kien. The notes featured a portrait of 
Moses holding the Ten Commandments.

Although the camp commandant approved the initial design, 
his superior, the infamous Reinhard Heydrich deemed the 
image “too normal.” The image was revised to make the hair 
curlier, the nose more hooked, and the fingers gnarled and 
twisted, explains Feller. The grotesque visage was more in 
line with the Nazi image of the Jews.

“In 1943, the camps had official scrip issues from Berlin, 
and regulations still exist about what they were used for,” 
Feller continues. Premium notes were given as rewards for 
work, as incentives. They were not designed as a circulating 
currency. In some cases, they were given as payment for 
slave labor and could be bartered for food or other items.

Evidence of the scrip is found in numerous writings.

In Silent Witnesses, Feller quotes a passage from Auschwitz 
survivor Viktor Frankl, a psychiatrist and author of Man’s 
Search for Meaning. "Just before Christmas, 1944, I was 
presented with a gift of so-called gift premiums issued by 
the construction firm, to which we were practically sold 
as slaves. The firm paid the camp authorities a fixed price 
per day per prisoner. The coupons cost the firm 50 pfennigs 
each and could be exchanged for six cigarettes, although 
they often lost their validity. I became the proud owner 
of 12 cigarettes. But more important, the cigarettes could 
be traded for 12 soups, and 12 soups were often a very real 
respite from starvation.”

In concentration camps, scrip was used only intermittently, 
and examples of those notes are rarer than those from the 
ghetto. Following a speech on the exhibit to Federal Reserve 
employees, Feller heard a surprising story from one woman. 
“She told me she got chills when she saw the Auschwitz money,” 
he recalls in a subdued tone. “Her childhood neighbor was a 
survivor, and she said as a child, she (and the neighbor’s 
child) had played with that money. The neighbor had about 
40 notes, which today would be a substantial amount of the 
known notes still existing from Auschwitz. Amazing.”


Paul Sherry writes: "A friend of mine, Bruce Mansfield, met 
a young man who was on leave in Australia from his security 
company in Iraq. He gave Bruce some tokens that personnel in 
Iraq, who have access to the US Canteen Service are given 
to use instead of coins.

"Here are pictures of the tokens he was given.  They are by 
no means the complete set.  It would be good to find out how 
many different types there are. They are made of thin, heavy 
cardboard type material approx 0.5mm thick and approximately 
40mm diameter." 


Regarding last week's review of Krause Publication's 'Coins 
and Currency of the Middle East', Bill Malkmus writes: "You 
have touched on one of my pet peeves (of overlapping images), 
which I have somehow managed to refrain from expounding upon 
until the present moment.  The question here is in regard to 
the matter of form overcoming practicality and usefulness, 
in the name of "style" (or "cuteness").  

"My special interest is in ancients, which are notable for 
production irregularities, as compared with modern coinage.  
Every published image (whether in print or on the web) is a 
valuable resource for the study of coinage (or paper money).  
In particular, the trailing-off of the design at the edges 
of ancient coins is of extreme importance in the study of 
production methods, as well as for judging authenticity.
"I don’t know how many coin images have been published (in 
The Numismatist, in particular, but also elsewhere) which 
have been compromised by this practice of overlapping images 
(which I believe is esteemed enough to be known in the trade 
as "eclipsing").  If anyone can convince publishers that 
this practice is destructive of valuable information, that 
person will receive my eternal blessing."



Before the holidays I set aside a five dollar bill I'd 
received in change with a few red stamps on it.  I didn't 
look closely at it until today.  The stamp says TRUSTREASON.COM.   
I took the bait and visited the web site.  Atop the home page 
is an image of the back of a dollar bill with the word "God" 
in the motto "In God We Trust" blacked out and replaced with 
the word REASON.  My five dollar bill has a similar marking, 
although the word REASON on mine is an inkstamp rather than 
being handwritten in ink. Has anyone else come across one 
of these?  From the web site:

"So, what is this website about? Why so much effort just 
because of the word God on paper currency? After all, the 
money spends the same, right?

"That's not the issue. Yes, if it was only an innocuous 
phrase on money, I wouldn't object to it. However, that 
phrase represents a trend in the US of bigotry towards 
those citizens who don't have any belief in gods. It is 
even offensive to many that do. In short, there is about 
14.1% of the population who "In God We Trust" does NOT 
represent. That little phrase is far from innocuous. It 
is divisive, and it is meant to be divisive.

"... Please join me in restoring the United States to a 
country that accepts all of its citizens as equals. Modify 
your bills in protest, replacing "God", which is divisive, 
to "Reason", which is sorely needed in this country. If 
you've found such a bill, comment here in the blog or by 
e-mail. I look forward to hearing from you."

[The web site doesn't say who the "me" is, although one 
page of the site quotes Paul Rasor, Director of the Center 
for the Study of Religious Freedom at Virginia Wesleyan 
College.  -Editor]


[Last year we learned that the TV show "Wife Swap" was 
seeking a family of coin collectors for an upcoming episode.  
I was curious to learn if the episode ever came about.  
Casting Director Heather Teta responded, letting me know 
that the idea is still on the table if the right family 
comes along.  Why not give it a try?  Below is a copy of 
the official casting call.  For more information, contact 
Heather at Heather.Teta at  -Editor]

ABC's hit family show, Wife Swap, seeks coin collecting 
families!  The premise of Wife Swap is simple: for two weeks, 
two wives from two different families exchange husbands, 
children and lives (but not bedrooms) to discover what it’s 
like to live a different woman’s life. The show airs Wednesday 
nights on ABC at 8pm – the family hour! It offers families 
the opportunity not only to teach, but to learn about different 
family values.

We are casting for our exciting 4th season of the show and 
look forward to finding fun and outgoing families with 
interesting hobbies and outlooks on life. We would love to 
feature a family that is involved in the Hobby of Kings – 
coin collecting!

We're hoping to find a family of Numismatists where 
everyone – Mom, dad and kids – are all passionate about 
the hobby and participate together.  We often feature sports 
families on our show, but rarely have an opportunity to 
focus on more academic ways to spend family time together.
This could be a step in the right direction so we hope you 
are willing to spread the word! 

Families featured on the show receive a financial honorarium 
as a thank-you for their ten day filming commitment.  If you 
nominate a family who appears on the show we offer a finder's 
fee.  Please feel free to contact us with any questions or 



Philip Mernick writes: "I would like to call on the 
assistance of E-Sylum readers with a cross over between 
my ceramics and coins collecting interests.  The two 
attached images are mouldings that appear beneath the 
handles of two jugs made in Derbyshire, presumably for 
export to the USA and it has been suggested that I write 
them up for the journal Ceramics in America. 

"I would, however, like to confirm the iconography (they 
both date from the middle of the 19th century by the way). 
The first one is clearly based on the Great Seal of the 
United States but seems closest to the design used on US 
silver and gold coins designed by Robert Scott and used 
only during the first decade of the 19th century (the 
wreath and arrows are the wrong way round on my example!). 
Is it known where Scott got his design from because it 
does not seem to exactly match the great seal dies of 
1782 and 1841?

Derbyshire Jug Eagle Moulding #1

Derbyshire Jug Eagle Moulding #2

Official Dies of the Great Seal of the United States 
In addition, if you have any thoughts on the other 
(almost sleeping) eagle I would be very interested to hear."
[I'll forward any questions or comments to Philip.  


[An alert reader pointed me to another example of the 
Drake voyage map medal. -Editor]

by Halliday, T.?: USA,  c.1820, White Metal, 74 mm 

Obv: Western hemisphere showing North and South America 
with continents and other land masses and bodies of water 
labeled as they were known in the early 19th century. 
These include New Albion (anachronistic) in the Western 
United States, New Saledonia (now New Caledonia), Jugo 
(much of the southern portion of South America), and the 
Sandwich Islands (now Hawaii)

Rev: Eastern Hemisphere with continents and other land 
masses and bodies of water labeled as they were known in 
the early 19th century. These include, among others, New 
Holland (Australia), Van Dieman’s Land (Tasmania), and 
Barbary in North Africa (now Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia 
and Libya) Ref: Rulau E9;  Eimer 141/1139

The projection system used on this medal was originally 
created by the Dutch cartographer Gerard Mercator, the 
man best known for the Mercator Projection. Gerard Mercator 
was born in Rupelmonde, Flanders, in 1512, and in his 80 
years of life, he fundamentally changed the way people 
looked at maps and at the world. In 1569, Mercator unveiled 
his famous projection, a new way of making a map that was 
designed to show accurate distances between various points. 

To read the complete web page, see:



In the past we've discussed a number of celebrities who share 
our numismatic hobby.  An item in the U.K. magazine The People 
describes Nicole Kidman as a coin collector: 

"Actress Nicole is a numismatist, and is said to have a rare 
collection of ancient Judean coins." 

To read the complete article, see:


David F. Fanning writes: "A friend of mine from graduate 
school, Rick Ring, of the Providence Public Library, has 
started a new blog that may be of interest to some E-Sylum 
readers. Called "Notes for Bibliophiles," it is a place 
for his casual musings on books and book collecting, and 
draws heavily on his experiences as a special collections 
librarian. While not numismatic, it is certainly of interest 
to book collectors. It can be found at "


An old colleague of mine works on the Google interface, 
and here’s one of the formats they’re experimenting with.  
It's a timeline view of search results.  For example, here's 
a search on Impressionists, ordered chronologically:

I played with it a bit and discovered that it works for
general search strings as well, and this could help numismatic 
researchers sort through the muck of too many search results.  
Just add "view:timeline" to your search query.  I tried a 
"specie panic view:timeline" search - here are the results: 

The results came back in neat chronological order beginning 
in the 1830's.  One item the search uncovered was an account 
of the panic of 1837 from the perspective of the Mormons in 
Kirtland, OH.  However, the date the system picked up on wasn't 
1837 but February 19, 1880.  So there are lots of kinks to be 
worked out before this tool is ready for prime time, it can still 
be a useful way to filter and organize results in ways not 
otherwise available. 

I'd be interested to hear what others things of this 
experimental service.  There is also a Map View to order 
search results geographically with an accompanying map display.


A emailed press release from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing 
noted that "The first redesigned $5 bill, which will continue 
to feature the portrait of President Abraham Lincoln, will 
enter circulation on March 13 and will be spent at the gift 
shop of President Lincoln's Cottage at the Soldiers' Home 
in Washington, D.C." 


Jim Duncan writes: "The New Zealand Police have offered 
a reward of NZ$300,000 for information leading to the return 
of the stolen Victoria Crosses and other medals from the 
Waiouru Army Museum in December '07.
"This is the largest reward ever offered in New Zealand, 
and is made up of offers from prominent British collector 
Lord Ashcroft and an anonymous New Zealand businessman.   
It is reportedly three times larger than any previous 
reward offered!
"It is hoped this will reinvigorate the investigation.   
Border controls have been installed, and have already 
picked up a single medal being legally taken out, so it 
looks as if the controls work.   We all hope so."
[Below are excerpts from a New Zealand newspaper article 
on the reward offer.  -Editor]

One of the benefactors funding a reward offer for rare 
medals stolen from the Waiouru Army Museum believes they 
are still in New Zealand.

About 100 medals, including nine Victoria Crosses and 
two George Crosses, were taken from the museum on 2 
December. Captain Charles Upham's Victoria Cross and 
Bar were among those stolen.

Police have announced a $300,000 reward for information 
that leads to a prosecution or recovery of the medals.

The money has been fronted by British Victoria Cross 
collector Lord Michael Ashcroft and an anonymous New 
Zealand businessman. It is the biggest reward offered 
in New Zealand's history.

He says the concern is that the medals will simply 
disappear, and he hopes the reward will flush out 
someone with knowledge about the theft.

He says there is no reason to believe the medals have 
already gone overseas. "We see the reward as being a 
tool that compliments the investigation at this time."

The previous highest reward offered was $100,000 for 
an investigation into a series of rapes in South Auckland.

He says the theft of the medal sets is a theft from 
all New Zealanders, and the public's help is needed 
for their recovery.

To read the complete article, see:


According to news reports, "The Lumpkin County Sheriff's
Office has thwarted a possible conspiracy to steal coins 
from the Dahlonega Gold Museum. On Christmas Eve, an 
anonymous caller alerted the museum of the potential 

"Officials contacted one of the alleged co-conspirators, 
who had recently visited the museum and researched the 
value of the coins. 'We put them on notice that we knew 
about the conspiracy and none of the coins would be stolen,' 
Lumpkin County Sheriff Mark McClure said. And, 'We would 
be definitely looking to charge individuals if that did 

The man, who is from out of state, denied having any 
involvement in the plot. McClure said residential 
burglaries of coins and coin collections are fairly 
common in the community, but to steal coins of such 
value as the ones in the museum is a 'rarity.'

"'We take these treasures of our county very seriously 
because they are very valuable,' McClure said. 'But 
they're also of great historical significance to the 
citizens of Lumpkin County.'

To read the complete article, see: 


[E-Sylum reader Timothy Grat is a partner in a new minting 
operation with a very old name: Moffatt & Co.  The following 
description of the firm's name is taken from the new firm's 
web site.  -Editor]

Our company name is derived from two sources. First off 
the President's surname is Moffatt. Secondly the company 
draws inspiration from the original Moffat and Co., the 
private gold coin mint and assay company established in 
California c. 1850. We feel that the original Moffat and 
Company is a type of minting mentor. Their coins and ingots 
were of such fine quality, and their reputation for honest 
dealings was so high that it allowed their coins and ingots 
to trade at par (face value) with the US mint coin issues. 
So renowned was the good reputation of Moffat and Company 
that when it came time for the US government to establish 
a branch mint in San Francisco, California, the US government 
called upon the surviving Moffat and Company partners to 
take on this task.

[The following are excerpts from a Numismaster article 
on the new mint. -Editor]

Moffatt & Co., a newly formed custom minting company, 
announced Jan. 4 that it has begun operations at its 
plant near Eureka Springs, Ark.

Moffatt & Co. was formed in October 2007 with the intent 
to provide high-quality custom tokens and medallions 
at low prices.

The company has acquired and installed several high-speed 
coining presses with an initial capacity of more than one 
million pieces per week. It has also acquired an automatic 
multi-stroke coining press with a capacity of up to 1.75 
inch diameter in proof-like finishes.

A limited product line including silver rounds, club medals 
and other small runs are available immediately. Full 
production will begin in early February. Initial token 
offerings are for .900-, .984- and 1.125-inch sizes in 
golden brass alloy. Other sizes and alloys will be added. 
The company is now accepting pre-orders for tokens. Delivery 
will begin mid-February.

Operating partners Sean Moffatt and Timothy Grat have much 
experience in the minting trade. Moffatt was operations 
manager of a large private mint for 19 years until the 
company was sold. He has been involved in numismatics for 
more than 35 years. 

Grat was chief coiner for Gallery Mint for 10 years. He 
has been involved in numismatics for about 10 years. 

To read the complete article, see:

To view the Moffatt & Co. web site, see: 


[Stephen Pradier noticed a lengthy Kansas City Star 
article on the counterfeit $100 "Supernotes".  Here are 
some excerpts.  -Editor]

The currency changer, brazenly plying his illegal trade in 
the Bank of China lobby, pulled out a thick wad of cash 
from around the world and carefully removed a bill.

The 2003 series U.S. $100 bill was a fake, but not just 
any fake. It was a “supernote,” a counterfeit so perfect 
it’s an international whodunit.

It had come from a North Korean businessman, the changer 
said, getting angry looks from his confederates. He stank 
of alcohol, but his story was plausible. The impoverished 
hermit nation sat just across the Yalu River from Dandong.

Whatever the origin of the bills, “it’s by far the most 
sophisticated counterfeiting operation in the world,” said 
James Kolbe, a former congressman from Arizona who oversaw 
funding for the Secret Service. “We are not certain as to 
how this is being done or how it’s happening.”

•At least 19 different versions have been printed, each 
corresponding to a tiny change in U.S. engraving plates — 
an odd thing for any counterfeiter to do. Also, they show 
practically invisible but intriguing additions.

•Stranger yet, the number of supernotes found indicates 
that whoever is printing them isn’t doing so in large 
quantities. Only $50 million worth of them have been seized 
since 1989, an average of $2.8 million per year and not even 
enough to pay for the sophisticated equipment and supplies 
needed to make them.

Industry experts such as Thomas Ferguson, former director 
of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, said the supernotes 
are so good that they appear to have been made by someone 
with access to some government’s printing equipment.

Some experts think North Korea does not have the sophistication 
to make the bills; others suspect Iran and others speak of 
criminal gangs in Russia or China.

Klaus Bender, the author of Moneymakers: The Secret World 
of Banknote Printing, said the phony $100 bill is “not a 
fake anymore. It’s an illegal parallel print of a genuine 
note.” He claims that the supernotes are of such high quality 
and are updated so frequently that they could be produced 
only by a U.S. government agency such as the CIA.

As unsubstantiated as the allegation is, there is a 
precedent. An expert on the CIA, journalist Tim Weiner, 
has written how the agency tried to undermine the Soviet 
Union’s economy by counterfeiting its currency.

Banks around the world are still seizing supernotes. The 
first one was spotted by a sharp-eyed banker in the 
Philippines in 1989.

Whoever is making them seemed to deliberately add minuscule 
extra strokes, as if trying to flag the phony bills, the 
Swiss noted. For example, at the very tip of the steeple 
of Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, the counterfeit bills 
have a line along the left vertical edge that is not on 
the real bills.

The supernotes incorporate at least 19 running changes that 
the United States has made to its engraving plates since 
1989, from the names of Treasury secretaries and treasurers 
to blowing up the image of Ben Franklin on the $100 — 
something that most counterfeiters can’t or don’t bother 
to do.

To read the complete article, see:


[On January 15, 2008 the Times of Trenton (NJ) published 
a nice article on Princeton University's acquisition of 
the Sarmas collection of Greek coins.  Thanks to John N. 
Lupia III and Tom Fort for pointing it out. -Editor]

Princeton made the purchase of the more than 800 medieval 
Greek coins to help researchers deepen their knowledge about 
a period of Middle Age history that has been little understood 
by scholars be cause of a dearth of primary historical 
accounts from that time, Stahl said. 

Until now, there has been no specialized collection of 
the coins of the Greek lands of the later Middle Ages -- 
the 13th and 14th centuries -- available for study in a 
public institution anywhere, he said. 

The seller, London businessman Theo Sarmas, had assembled 
the collection gradually as a hobby over the past 20 years 
or so -- acquiring them mainly from English dealers and 
through auctions, Stahl said. Most of the coins are silver 
or a silver-copper alloy called billon. 

The collection is rich in currency that imitates important 
trade coins of Italian cities, especially those of Venice 
and Naples. 

Princeton's numismatic collection bought the coins with 
matching funds from the university's program in Hellenic 
studies, which contributed with money from the Stanley J. 
Seeger Hellenic Fund, established at Princeton to promote 
the understanding of Greek culture. 

Princeton's numismatic collection was started in 1849 when 
friends of the university bought and donated plaster casts 
of Greek and Roman coins. Today, it has vast holdings of 
ancient Chinese, Greek and Roman coins and includes others 
from the Byzantine, Western medieval and U.S. Colonial eras. 

Part of the collection is on display in the university's 
Firestone Library as its "Numismatics in the Renaissance" 
exhibition, which is on view for free to the public through 
July 20 in the library's main exhibition hall. The Sarmas 
coins are not part of that showcase because they are being 
catalogued for the university. 

But Princeton's numismatic collection is available for 
research to the public and scholars at the university. To 
view the online data base, visit . 

To make an appointment for viewing specific items from 
the collection, including the Sarmas coins, contact Stahl 
at astahl at 

To read the complete article, see:


[Dick Johnson forwarded the latest news on inflation 
currency in Zimbabwe. -Editor]

What happens when you have 50,000% inflation? The 200,000 
note in Zimbabwe, pictured below, is worth only 3 cents, 
and you need new 10,000,000 notes.

President Robert Mugabe's government, stricken by chronic 
hyperinflation, announced today it will introduce a 10 
million Zimbabwe dollar note (along with 1 million and 5 
million notes). Economists said it was the highest 
denomination of any currency in the world.

Zimbabwe is in its 10th year of economic crisis, marked 
by the world's highest rate of inflation, the fastest 
shrinking gross domestic product in a country not in a 
state of war, the most rapidly collapsing currency and 
unemployment of over 80%.

A year ago, the highest denomination was 10,000 Zimbabwe 
dollars, then worth about $7, now worth about 1/3 of 1 cent 
(US). The new 10 million Zimbabwe dollar note is worth $3 
(US). During the year there were three separate new issues 
of notes as inflation continued to soar, including the 
200,000 note pictured above, which is worth worth only 6 
cents (US).


[A friend of three victims of a helicopter crash is 
honoring them and remembering them with challenge 
"coins." -Editor]

A friend of one of the three Air Evac Lifeteam crew members 
killed Dec. 30 in a helicopter crash in Colbert County has 
found a unique way to honor the victims and assure they 
are always remembered by their peers.

Michael Sheedy will have challenge coins printed in honor 
of Michael Baker, Tiffany Miles and Allan Bragwell.

Sheedy got to know Baker when Baker was a U.S. Coast Guard 
pilot, through Sheedy’s work in the Law Enforcement Aviation 
Coalition. The coalition is a Winthrop Harbor, Ill.-based 
organization that helps provide air support for law 
enforcement and rescue agencies at no cost. 

“I thought this would be a perfect tribute, one that I 
can carry with me every day,” Sheedy said.

A challenge coin helps signify membership in an organization 
to help promote unity and morale. It has long been used by 
members of military units, but the tradition has expanded 
those in civilian emergency fields, as well as other 

An image of the coin can be found at 

“Right now, I just have my e-mail up there,” Sheedy said.
 “I’m trying to gauge what the interest will be so I’ll 
know how many to order. The more that are ordered, the 
less expensive the coin. All the money will go to the 
families, and I’ll cover any additional cost if needed.”

To read the complete article, see: 


[A Los Gatos, CA man called in a local television station 
consumer reporter to help him get a correct "Certificate of 
Authenticity" for the commemorative coin set he'd purchased 
from the U.S. Mint.  -Editor]

Here's a case where solid gold and silver coins might have 
lost value because of a piece of paper, as a local coin 
collector found out that can be quite an ordeal.  Homer 
Leonard of Los Gatos began buying commemorative coins 
years ago

He was pretty happy with his investments, until the day 
this commemorative coin set arrived. It had the "wrong" 
certificate of authenticity. 

"Without the certificate of authenticity it doesn't mean 
anything because the person you're selling to can't verify 
exactly what it is," said Leonard. 

What Homer actually bought was the American Eagle 20th 
anniversary gold and silver coin set worth about $850 
dollars. What the certificate said he bought was an 
American Eagle gold coin set. All gold -- worth about 
$2,600 dollars. 

"When you have the certificate with the proper set it 
means a lot," said Leonard. 

So Homer called the U.S. Mint and asked for the correct 
document.  "They're out of stock and when we get them 
we'll get back to you," said Leonard. 

A whole year went by, and no document. Homer worried his 
coins might lose value without that piece of paper. 

So we contacted the U.S. Mint and folks there said this 
was a rare mistake. They did send Homer another certificate 
and again, it was wrong. On the third try, Homer did get 
the correct paperwork. 

The U.S. Mint says it's tracing how those mistakes happened, 
and it said the certificates are only good if they come 
with the right coin set, so no one should be able to misuse 

To read the complete article, see: 


Ginger Rapsus writes: "Talk about finding things in books...
I frequent a used bookstore near my house.  I bought a book 
on retirement, finances, something like that...I found within 
the pages a small brown envelope.  Inside was a dollar bill 
with the serial number all eights!  What a bookmark!  That 
was my best find."


Dick Johnson writes: "Malaysia one-sen coins are soon to 
be abolished (reported here in E-Sylum (November 18, 2007, 
vol 10, no 47, art 26).
One writer is alerting craft-minded citizens in that country 
to make a coin receptacle box sprouting a tree and use 25 
coins to hang from raised relief leaves. Writer Teresa Wong 
gives instructions to take a facial tissue box, cut apart 
and paint it with salt paint to give it texture resembling 
leaves on the tree at the back of the box.
She does this to save a handful of the obsolete coins to 
show grandchildren of the future to prove they actually 
used such a low-value coin. 
Shown at this website -- materials list, diagrams, 
instructions, color photo:



This week's featured web page is recommended by Paul Sherry.  
It features Boulton & Watt Family Death Medals from the 
collection of Bill McKivor.  Paul writes: "Here’s a great 
Matthew Boulton Medal page that's so great I almost feel 
reluctant to share simply because I want to keep it to myself!

[The page has marvelous photography by Eric Holcomb - be 
sure to click on them to view enlargements.  Wow! -Editor] 

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Numismatic Bibliomania Society, 
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