The E-Sylum v15#46 November 4, 2012

esylum at esylum at
Sun Nov 4 18:54:42 PST 2012

The E-Sylum
  An electronic publication of
  The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

Volume , Number 46, November 4, 2012

Click here to read this issue on the web
To comment or submit articles, reply to 
whomren at


New subscribers this week include 
Greg Cohen, courtesy of Harvey Stack, and
Scott Winslow.
Welcome aboard!
We have 1,604 email subscribers, plus 195 followers on Facebook.

This week we open with news from some of our East Coast numismatic friends affected by Superstorm Sandy.  Next up are two numismatic literature auctions, two new books, and three book reviews.
Other topics include beard tokens, stolen coins recovered by the ANA, dealer Michael Annis, collector Clifford Welhman and bibliophile Gordon Frost.

To learn more about Büsten nebeneinander, the great postage currency riot, the olive oil king, sfumto gradation, haunted banks, gay bar tokens and the Coolest Thing In Coins, read on.
Have a great week, everyone!

Wayne Homren
Editor, The E-Sylum


Thanks to Bob Lyall, Dave Schenkman and several others who checked in with me as nasty weather hit the East Coast this week.  Thankfully our power never went out and we never had a leak, let alone a flood.  But the winds were something awful Monday night.   

There was a lot of numismatic chatter on the Internet as the storm approached.  On the Colonial Coins Yahoo group Jeff Rock (of California) made this friendly offer to Roger Moore (of New Jersey):

Roger, I'm concerned that your coins could get loose and turn into dangerous  projectiles. You should really consider sending them out here for safe-keeping!  Especially those varieties that I need!

Roger didn't take Jeff up on his offer.
I checked in with some of our readers and contributors to see how they fared.

>From Virginia Mike Packard writes:

I live in Virginia just south and west of DC on a nicely treed lot.  We had a few branches and lots of leaves come down, but no damage to property.  We had about 7" of rain yesterday and lots of strong gusts.  We did not lose power, although many in the region did.  It is overcast today with occasional sprinkles and light winds.  We were fortunate.  

>From Connecticut, Dick Johnson writes:

With  2 1/2-days without power after Irene last year my family insisted we grandparents get an electric generator. We noticed that the natural gas stayed on during all previous storms so we obtained one operated on natural gas. After hooking that up in January we were ready for most anything.

I use my local coin club as an employment agency. I have hired a handyman, an IT technician and a part-time researcher-writer from the coin club. So ahead of storm Sandy I had my  handyman do yard-work, fortify the garage door seal (to prevent water coming in) and clean out the gutters. Prepared and ready.

We experienced heavy wind and rain, but essentially Sandy went to the west and north of our corner of Connecticut. Never lost power, watched TV entire time. In an unprecedented move, however, Connecticut Governor closed all CT highways. That kept everyone home. Goodwife Shirley had stocked up on food last Saturday, so she had time to fix some extra ordinary meals. 

So we ate well, slept well.  What storm?

When I didn't get any other quick replies, I knew some folks were probably without power and offline.  
Late Wednesday evening this report arrived from Ray Williams in New Jersey:

My power just came on a few minutes ago, after 48 hours of being out.  I've had no Internet or heat during that time.  I consider myself very fortunate after seeing on TV what the people on the coast of NJ are going through.  So other than a backboard for a basketball hoop coming down, there was no damage for me.  Diane didn't like sleeping in the cold - I'm glad I never took her winter camping...

>From New Hampshire, Dave Bowers writes:

Tropical storm Sandy knocked out power to much of the lower part of Manhattan, depriving citizens, businesses, and other operations of electricity and, in essence, closing down that part of the city. As is known, the New York Stock Exchange was shut down on Monday and Tuesday, the first such two-day closure since the Blizzard of 1888.

My son Andrew, who is on the staff of Stack's Bowers Galleries, 123 West 57th Street, lives in the area, stayed in the dark the first night, then went to stay with a friend uptown, where he still is as of this writing. There is no firm word on when power will be restored to his district.

Not far from Stack's Bowers Galleries on West 57th Street is the now-famous dangling crane 700+ feet above the street. The street is closed off in the area, and residents and business people are not allowed access of any kind. Work on the problem is proceeding apace, and at the latest word Spectrum Group International (SPGZ) CEO Greg Roberts anticipates that the gallery will be reopened on Tuesday. Before making any plans your readers should check our website tor the latest update. 

There is high interest in our coming sale as official auctioneer for the Whitman Coins & Collectibles Exposition in Baltimore, including Rarities Night. A complete listing can be found on our website. Lot viewing is planned for New York City next week. Again, anyone planning to attend should check our website for an update.

As to the American Numismatic Society on Varick Street I have heard no news. I sent a well-wishing note to executive director Dr. Ute Wartenberg and curator Bob Hoge (herewith copied) and have not received a reply. I would imagine all is secure but is in the dark.

Several numismatic friends in New Jersey have communicated with me that they are using cell phones and the like and are without electricity. A major dealer in northern NJ messaged me on the Internet that power had just been restored.

In today's Internet world (which of course includes The E-Sylum!), we can all be aware of breaking news and the like. My hope is that NEXT WEEK you will report that all or most all is in good order. Meanwhile, I hear that there is a presidential election going on.

Here in New Hampshire we were with electricity except for one day when a renegade tree decided to fall and flatten some power lines. As one of five selectmen of the Town of Wolfeboro I will be on duty at the election polling place on Tuesday, 8 a.m. to mid-evening. I have been assigned to be at the front door to see if voters have ID, and, if not, to direct them to a station where they can fill out an affidavit. This means I will be saying hi to about 2,000 people, including a number of numismatists. Meanwhile I will be thinking/hoping that all will be in order in New York City, New Jersey, and other affected areas.

At noon on Saturday Andrew Bowers reported:

Below is a link to the latest information on the dangling 57th Street crane. It sounds like the goal is to let people back in the area Monday night, so hopefully the Stacks-Bowers store can be open again on Tuesday.  
Power was restored downtown, so I am now finally back in my apartment, which feels great! 

Work To Secure Collapsed Midtown Crane To Begin Saturday


One of the first folks I emailed was Roger Siboni of Mantoloking, NJ, one of the hardest-hit areas during the storm.  Saturday afternoon someone posted this note on his behalf to the Yahoo Colonial Coins group:

Hello All,

And thank the literally hundreds of well washers who I have heard from. 
I am sorry for not having gotten back, but I have been a bit occupied of 
late ;).

After sleeping on the floor of Newark Airport last night and the floor 
of my daughter's studio apartment in Brooklyn the night before (because 
there is not a single hotel room in New Jersey or New York to be had) I 
am pleased to report that I am writing this e mail from my suite in Palm 
Beach overlooking the ocean in wonderful 80 degree clear sky weather 
(you would think I would have had enough of looking at the ocean ;)).

So, to start with, I am safe and sound and was in San Francisco when the 
storm hit land. As many of you probably heard on the news, Mantoloking 
was one of the hardest hit towns of the storm and is currently under 
State and National Emergency. The town is inaccessible and is being 
guarded by National Guard, Coast Guard, and various teams of State and 
local Police.

Nevertheless, as some might recall from our calamitous trip report back 
from C-4 in Boston last year, when there is a will, there is a way. Thus 
by commandeering a boat, literally dodging several houses submerged in 
the Bay (really), Coast Guard Helicopters, National Guard turrets (again 
really), I was able with two friends from Mission Impossible, to get to 
my dock and sneak into the house.

The good news is that I was one of the luckier ones and my house is 
still standing and in better shape than many. Of the 500 or so homes in 
Mantoloking, roughly 150 homes were literally swept away, burned to the 
ground or completely flattened by the surge.

My outside and first floor are in pretty bad shape, but thankfully my 
library was unharmed and I have made arrangements to get all my library 
removed and stored in a climate controlled storage facility before bad 
air, mildew, etc begin to take effect. I have hired experts and they 
should be there right as the town opens. There are a few documents that 
were in my ground floor files like newspapers, bills, etc. that will 
need to be restored through freezing and dehumidifying (a technique I 
learned about at the ANS). As important and THANKFULLY, the vast 
majority of my collection was also, placed out of harms way. And for 
that I am also grateful.

So, as bad as things are, and it is a virtual war zone in Mantoloking, I 
am safe, my collection is safe and I plan to carry on with the Barbecue 
next summer and plan to be part of releasing a New Jersey Copper Book by 
the end of the year.

I truly appreciate all the well wishers, but honestly, what I need now 
is time to pull everything back together and start to rebuild. So I hope 
this will serve as "all the news" and I will get back to people as soon 
as I can. But I really just need some time. And depending on how things 
unfold, I may or may not be at C-4, at least, physically this year ;).

Best and thanks for all your good wishes and support.

Dave Bowers notes that Stacks-Bowers in NYC hopes to be organized on Tuesday and open for lot Baltimore sale viewing on Wednesday.  But be sure to check the company website before making travel plans.

Best of luck to everyone affected this week, and a speedy recovery.
Here's hoping we won't see another storm like that for a generation or more.


Howard Daniel sent in a reminder about the Künker eLive Auction 12.
He writes:

There is a huge numismatic literature auction with over 1500 lots at

Here are a few selected lots.

Lot 14 
BIZOT, P. (1630-1696). Histoire metallique de la Republique de Hollande. Paris: Daniel Horthemels, 1687. Titelkupfer, (XII), 317 S. mit zahlreichen Abb. und Tfn. Folio. Zeitgenössischer Ganzledereinband mit 7 Bünden und goldener Deckelprägung, etwas bestoßen, Rücken leicht beschädigt. Dekesel B 123, MMAG 5304. Mit Ex libris C.W.G.V.N. im Vorsatz.

Lot 58
Thesaurus Numismatum, Antiquorum & Recentiorum, ex Auro, Argento, & Aere, Ab illustri D. Petro Mauroceno, Senatore Veneto. 2. Auflage, Venedig: Io. Francisci Valuasensis, 1683. Frontispiz, 148 S. mit Abb. 8°. Ganzledereinband der Zeit, 4 Bünde, kleiner Wasserrand auf einigen Seiten, Vorsatzblatt gelockert, Einband mit mäßigen Gebrauchsspuren, Rücken beschädigt. Dekesel P. 45, Lipsius S. 308.

Lot 734 
FRIEDERICH, K. Die Münzen und Medaillen des Hauses Stolberg und die Geschichte seines Münzwesens. Dresden 1911. 425 S. mit einigen Abb., 38 Tfn. Prachtvoller Ganzledereinband mit 3-farbig geprägtem Stolberger Wappen in Schwarz-Rot-Gold, mit Schwarz/Gold/Schwarzschnitt. MMAG 4296.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:




Charlie Davis forwarded the following information about his December 1, 2012 numismatic literature sale.

Our next sale of numismatic literature will close of December 1 and the catalogue has been posted on our site at  Featuring consignments from the estate of Alfred Hoch and others, the sale offers research material on colonials, Ted Naftzger’s leatherbound Newcomb on the Cents of 1801, 1802, 1803, a complete set of Scott’s Coin Collector’s Journal in publisher’s cloth, Bushnell, Gschwend and Parmelee catalogues with plates, three deluxe leather bound Mehl publications and a never seen before Bowers & Merena catalogue. Numerous scarce works on classical coinage are present as well and are headed by a finely bound original set of SNG von Aulock. 

We have already posted 250 photographs (follow the link in the catalogue to ) and will continue to add more as time permits. Catalogues will be mailed during the week, and some lots will be displayed at the Bay State show in Marlborough Mass. Nov 8-10 and Whitman Baltimore November 15-17.

Below are a few selections from the sale.

Lot 61 

Sammlung v. Aulock, 1-18 Heft, Berlin, 1957-1968, the original
18 folios bound in four volumes, maroon cloth, black spine
labels, original printed tan card covers bound in. A pristine
set, with 304  collotype  plates illustrating 8,700 coins  and
introductory and descriptive text. Near New.     (4,000.00)

Lot 213 

B. MAX MEHL: The Celebrated Collection of United States
Large Cents 1793-1857 formed by Dr George French for sale at fixed
prices, (1930), 139 pages, occasional halftone illustrations, full
brown Morocco over flexible boards, front cover attractively
stamped in gilt, page edges speckled red, Mehl invoice and
several additional sheets laid in. Strictly Fine. (1,500.00)

With the name of Howard R. Newcomb stamped in gilt on the front board,
and a presentations inscription on the freefly “To Mr. Howard R. Newcomb
with compliments and Highest regard/ B. Max Mehl/ May 9, 1930.”  While
5-7 leatherbound copies are known, they were sent to regular Mehl clients,
and none can  approach the pedigree of Howard Newcomb. 

Lot 218 

HOWARD R. NEWCOMB: The United States Cents of the
Years 1801-1802-1803, Detroit, 1925, 85 (1) pages, erratum
slip tipped to page 73, 5 fine photographic plates of coins
with tissue guards, quarto, 31x24 cm, original full black
morocco with double gilt borders, gilt inner dentelles, spine
divided in five compartments, silk marker with cent gauge
attached, supplemental plates dated January 1928 depicting
1803 Reverse S “discovered by Elmer Sears,” and July 1931
depicting 1801 No. 13 & No. 14 laid in. A fresh and crisp
copy with only very minor wear at the spine. (5,000.00)

Davis 745.  Ted Naftzger’s copy and the one that appeared on the color
cover of  the 1986 Robinson S. Brown sale catalogue. The deluxe
leatherbound edition, and one of perhaps only five known to exist today

To view the online catalog, see:

To view the catalog photo gallery, see:


Horacio Morero kindly provided this translation of an announcement about a new book on Uruguayan coins.  Thank you!




The book has 48 pages and 35 color pictures, with comments and documents of that period of time. It presents varieties of the fake Pesos as well as some interesting anecdotes of counterfeiting occurred in the city of Salto, in the north-west region of Uruguay.  

For more information on the Uruguayan Institute of Numismatics, see:


An article in this week's CoinsWeekly by Björn Schöpe announces a new German-English numismatic dictionary by Ursula Kampmann.  
DEALERS: they are looking for distributors in the United States.

English is certainly the most important language in the numismatic world as well as in general. However, during business, coin shows or conventions or maybe studying certain catalogues or online auctions you may find it necessary to cope with German too.

As numismatics is a very specialised field it is not an easy task to find out for example what German ‘Rondenverwechslung’ means (actually it is off-metal error) or how do you want to understand what a ‘Münzregal’ is? ‘Münz-’ is coin, obviously. Checking in a common dictionary, though, you will learn that the meaning of ‘Regal’ is shelf or rack. You will probably not learn that in this case Regal is linked to Latin regalis, royal, and Münzregal is, hence, the coinage or minting right. You could find out this meaning very easily, though, by consulting Ursula Kampmann’s brand new Numismatic Dictionary.

In fact, the editor of CoinsWeekly, has drawn from her long and extensive working experience and gathered thousands of words which have a particular numismatic meaning or may be helpful to all those who are interested in numismatics and must read or write sometimes in both languages.

In the two sections, English-German and German-English, you will find many technical words like ‘Beischlag’ (imitative coin) or how to say ‘jugate bust’ in a description (Büsten nebeneinander), geographical and ethnical terms (actually the dictionary starts off with Aargau, a Swiss canton, and finishes with Zypern, Cyprus) like the Visigoths (Westgoten), and, of course, a lot of historical persons. Many words you could find in Wikipedia or the Encyclopaedia Britannica – but you cannot easily take other printed books to a coin show or on travel (and to the smarts: keep in mind that wireless LAN is not always at hand!). This one you can!

As the author herself states, it is ‘work in progress.’ Every selection is debatable and everyone will miss some term. That’s perfect: Let her know! At the end of the book you will find two pages with blank fields waiting to be filled out. Write all those words you would like to see included in a second edition and send it to the publisher. They certainly will appear the next time.
But also now this dictionary will be of great help to everybody who has to speak, write or simply understand something in the numismatic field in English and German.

To read the complete article, see:

Numismatic dictionary English German; German English


To order, see:


As noted earlier, David L. Ganz was the winner of Dennis Tucker's review copy of Whitman's new book, “American Silver Eagles”.  Here's his review.  Thanks!

Book Review “American Silver Eagles”. Full title:
John M. Mercanti, Chief Engraver U.S. Mint (Ret.) Presents ‘A Guide to the U.S. Bullion Coin Program’ with Michael (“Miles”) Standish, Senior Grader, PCGS, Foreward By Michael Reagan”. Whitman, $29,95, 154 pages, illustrated (color).

 This is a book that I wanted to write. Actually, its three different books in one, and while some would think that a detriment I think that it affords not only a great story, but a neat series that is under-collected because the data is simply too hard to find in a single convenient source. Until now.

 Michael Reagan, eldest son of the 40th president of the United States (Ronald Reagan), has a foreword to this volume, which is an appreciation of the role that his father played in organized numismatics during his term of office.  There have been only two American presidents who issued “National Coin Week” proclamations during their term in office (Nixon was the other one), that celebration conceived by Farran Zerbe and still stage managed by the American Numismatic Association, the largest educational non profit organization of coin collectors in the world. (In my capacity as legislative counsel to the ANA, I worked with the Nixon and Reagan White Houses, as well as the Mint, to get the “National Coin Week” endorsement, and to obtain several personalized Presidential letters honoring national coin week subsequently (they are almost as hard to generate).

 One thing that Michael Reagan does not mention in his Foreword, as he comments on gold and silver American bullion coinage,  is the role that the ANA had in its development. Then-president Grover C. Criswell, Jr., and I (as legislative counsel) went to Washington in the midst of the 1978 ANA convention to testify before the Senate Banking Committee in favor of the “American Arts Gold Medallions”, the predecessor to the gold American eagles.  Later, President Ronald Reagan banned importation of the South African Krugerrand and eventually got behind the American gold eagle in its place.

 The role that Ronald Reagan played in reinstituting and revitalizing American commemorative coins remains underappreciated, and Michael Reagan justifiably says with pride that the U.S. commemorative program was revised by it, “and dramatically so.” Oh how right!

 The creation in 1985 of the silver eagle (one ounce) and the gold eagle with its ounce and fractionals was a dramatic moment, and this book tells the salient facts and provides the important statistics to pull it all together.  Between Miles Standish and John Mercanti, it all pulls together nicely. As I read about the legislative component, I was reminded that I met many of the principals during my four years as Washington Correspondent for Numismatic News and Coins Magazine, but this offers analysis from a different perspective – from the Engraver inside the Mint (John Mercanti) who designed the silver eagle’s reverse. The obverse utilizes a look-alike version to the Adolph A. Weinman’s Walking Liberty half dollar.
 It also tells the story of how my dear friend, Frank Gasparro, while chief engraver, became Mercanti’s mentor.

 Miles Standish provides the statistical backdrop, the number of PCGS certified coins by condition for each date (there are actually some that are graded less than proof-65 or MS-65 – but also a lot of MS69, MS70 and proof coin counterweights.  He also shows their value.  And if you ever wondered why grading is so important, take a look at the gap in prices for some of these coins as proof-69 and the ethereal 70.  The 1999-P proof silver eagle (9 less than proof-65 were certified, 4,589 were made as proof-69 and 444 weigh in as proof-70. (That’s about 8% of the total certified grade).  The proof $69 is an $80 coin; proof $70 is $400, or five times more.

 Okay. Then consider the bullion strike of 2000, mintage 9.2 million.  26 are graded by PCGS as below MS65. At MS-68 (1,950 pieces) it’s a $35 coin, with 5,433 pieces the MS-69 makes it $53, and the single MS-70 is $3,850.

 There’s an appendix to the book which has all of the statistics, mintages and number of certified (by grade) coins in tabular form, and it is invaluable; if you collect this series, or want to, the book is a must for that alone.   But the second appendix (“B”) which lists and becomes an “Illustrated Catalog of John Mercanti’s Numismatic Work” ought to be made into its own volume. Its impressive, and so is his style of medallic art and also coins. 

 He took Jim Peed’s graphic concept of Olympic torchbearers and made it come to life on a $10 eagle planchet.   The conjugate of Eisenhower (citizen-soldier) is memorable and classy.  One of my favorites is the 1994 Vietnam Veterans Memorial silver dollar, which is almost as awe inspiring in metal as it is to see in person. 

 Sweeping vistas found on the 1991 Mount Rushmore golden anniversary $5 gold piece, with the eagle’s swoop, remain exquisite, vibrant, vital – and remind me the depth that Mercanti added to the Mint’s engraving department. 

 All this, a small glossary and an index, too. This is a book that belongs in your library. Grade it MS-66 plus.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:




I'd like to add a few thoughts to David Ganz' review of the Mercanti book American Silver Eagles  in the previous article.  First, I enjoyed very much Mercanti's descriptions of how he came to be an apprentice at the Mint under Gasparro, and his interactions with the staff there, including Ed Steever, Michael Iacocca, Sherl Winter, Philip Fowler, and Matthew Peluso.  He states (on p15), "These men were so instrumental to me in my early career that no story of me and my accomplishments is complete without them.  Some never had a design selected for a circulating coin, but nonetheless they are a vital part of numismatic history."

I also enjoyed Mercanti's discussion of the more arcane, yet vitally important technical details of producing coinage.  "In the world of minting, thousandths of an inch are mountains" (p25).   In particular, his discussion of basins is illustrative: "The basin is critical to the production of a coin.  It determines the path where metal will flow under pressure.  If the basin is too deep, the metal won't flow to the edge  and fill the cavities of the peripheral design elements (for example, the text).  If it's too shallow, or less deep, then the elements on the periphery will fill too soon and the main element in the center of the coin will not fill properly."

But Mercanti's discussion of the technical aspects of designing coins are tempered with the artistic.  From p28: "There is something in sculpture referred to as 'lost and found'.  This means that you don't have to model all the detail on a piece.  All you need to do is create the impression of an element."

"I've never personally been a proponent of going back over a classic model and sharpening the detail.  This was how and why John Flanagan's beautiful original obverse quarter dollar portrait (of George Washington) was later referred to as the 'spaghetti hair'.   Someone made the determination that they wanted to see every hair on Washington's head."

I remember the first time I noticed one of these in circulation.  I think I jumped in fright - yikes!!

As David notes, this is really three books in one, and while my favorite parts are Mercanti's reminiscences, the rest is a valuable discussion of this overlooked series of U.S. coins.    This book, with Mercanti's reminiscences and the illustrated catalog of his work only whet my appetite for Mercanti's anticipated biography.

Thanks to Dennis Tucker for providing images for this article.


To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:




Dennis Tucker kindly provided me an advance look at The Private Sketchbook of George T. Morgan, America’s Silver Dollar Artist.  The earlier E-Sylum item covered the highlights, and a recent COIN World article published a number of images and sample pages from the book.  Here are a few observations.

First, the hobby owes many thanks to the Stack Family, Jeff Garrett, and author Karen Lee for rescuing Morgan's sketchbook from obscurity and fleshing out his life story for today's readers.   These events are summarized nicely in the book's Foreword by Dick Doty, Sr. Curator of Numismatics at the Smithsonian Institution, where the sketchbook resides today.

Writing a book is never easy, but writing this one would have been much easier had the author chosen simply to reproduce Morgan's sketches along with some annotation.  But as noted in Doty's Foreword, Karen Lee used the sketchbook as a launching pad for researching the artist's entire life and career, and the result is an important contribution to the body of numismatic knowledge.

The first chapter delves into Morgan's early life and surroundings from his birth in Bilston (near Birmingham, England) in 1845.  Times were tough - Morgan's father ended up in debtor's prison.   Young George found work as a die sinker at the age of fourteen.  He attended the Birmingham School of Art at night from 1861 to 1867, then found his way to London and was mentored by Leonard Charles Wyon, whose family had designed many of Britain's important coins and medals.  From 1873 to 1875 Morgan worked for John Pinches, another prominent British envgraver and medallist.

There's a lot of great information for collectors here, especially for those who delve beyond the mere accumulation of a series by date and mintmark.   Here are found many of Morgan's early medals, which would make a fine collection by themselves and a perfect companion to an exhibit of his famous U.S. dollar coins. Examples include Morgan's 
1872 Portrait medal of Francis Fowke and his
1876 Art and Labor medal.

Following an exchange of letters and recommendations initiated by U.S. Mint Director Linderman, George Morgan arrived in Philadelphia on October 7, 1876 to begin an apprenticeship that would lead to his lifelong career at the U.S. Mint.    

Morgan's sketchbook contains designs for a number of proposed and actual coins and medals, both for the U.S. Mint and private commissions.  This paragraph provides a glimpse into the knowledgable commentary on Morgan's skills seen throughout the book (p46):

"Morgan was also expert at sfumto gradation.  This technique - when judiciously applied - allows an artist to create texture and depth on flat surfaces.  What today can be instantly accomplished with a single click on a computer, Morgan practiced years to master.  The ability to nuance and manipulate visual perception, especially on a miniature scale, is what set him apart from his U.S. Mint colleagues."

I didn't do it this time, but I generally approach a new book from back to front, for often the best parts for a researcher are found there.  A good bibliography, notes and appendices are what make a book most useful to both readers and future researchers.  The Morgan Sketchbook did not disappoint.

Appendix A is a catalog of Morgan's American numismatic works, including coins, patterns, medals, decorations, badges, galvano casts and other items. 
It's a lengthy, detailed and impressive compilation that could well serve as a blueprint for a book of its own.  

Appendix B contains selected illustrations of Morgan's American numismatic works, shown in color at actual size.  Impressive!

Appendix C is a gallery of images of selected primary source documents including correspondence between U.S. Mint Director Henry Linderman and Charles Fremantle, deputy Master of the British Royal Mint.

While I would have enjoyed seeing more comprehensive appendices that included Morgan's non-American work, that was probably beyond the intended scope of this work.   Karen Lee's first book is a masterful one, and I hope we'll see more of her numismatic writing in the future.  We'll have an opportunity in 2015 - she and her team are working on a new gallery of numismatics to open at the National Museum of American History.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:




In last week's issue I quoted Dale Seppa's announcement of his new publication on Ecuador Coins.  In it, Dale stated:

"Due to the omnipresence of The Standard Catalog of World Coins, in its many guises, all of the issues in this booklet are tied to KM numbers where possible. As the Krause series of books is now the world standard it would have been a disservice to collectors to do otherwise. The KM catalog numbers from that series of books are now used throughout the world by collectors from most countries. Those catalogs are available from the publisher, Krause Publications in Iola, WI USA or from many dealers that specialize in world coinage"

P.K. Saha writes:

would like to differ.  Schoen's Welt Munzkatalog is now a superior publication than SCWC for ultra-modern coins. In case of any difference, I prefer to base my opinion on WMK, rather than SCWC. In last few years, WMK has improved a lot under new editor, Gerhard whereas SCWC has shown a fast decline during the same period.  The opinion is based on my personal usage and I wanted to share it with my fellow numismatists who are into ultra-modern coins.

Thanks for the cover image.
I asked Dale and Pabitra for more background on their use and opinions of the respective catalogs.

Dale Seppa writes:

Your reader makes some valid points but when all is said and done most dealer price lists that I receive use KM numbers and other than a German (or at least European) price list I am not sure if I have seen a price list in recent years that has Schoen numbers.  

The comment about "ultra-modern coins" kinda destroys the reader's argument.  It is kinda like saying Seppa's 1972 coin catalog is referred to by more collectors of Ecuadorian coins than either SCWC or WMH and therefore is the leading catalog in the world.  In other words, I suspect that collectors of solely "ultra-modern coins" are few and far between when looked at as a percentage of world coin collectors. 

My understanding is that under corporate ownership SCWC and its ilk have suffered greatly in circulation and in the number of personnel used for updating, etc.  However, I think if the reader goes into five or so public libraries and checks the books on the shelves his/her opinion will change.

That said, I thank the reader because with a publication with very limited potential circulation it is great to see that someone is willing to contest my views on anything.

Pabitra Saha adds:

The old edition is the red one which I currently have.
The green one is just out and I should have it by month end.

Yes, when I say better book, I restrict myself to ultra-modern coins, which is my area of work.  As a matter of fact, neither SCWC nor WMK is directly of any real use in ultra-modern numismatics.

By definition, the coin is no longer ultra-modern since it becomes just modern, once it is catalogued and assigned a reference number.
It is in this area especially where WMK excels. 
For collectors of ultra-modern coins, SCWC may be considered good since it fails to assign a catalog number for many years, thus helping them to call their collection ultra-modern but then that certainly should not be the objective of the catalog.

This is new series of Bangladesh circulation coins.
The first of these, 1 Taka, was issued in July 2010 and became commonly available in circulation by first half of 2011.
You can see when they got listed in either of the catalogs, yourself.
For ultra-modern coins, the best site is 
which is maintained by David from Bilbao, Spain.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:




Howard A. Daniel III submitted these remembrances of NBS member F. Gordon Frost.  Thanks!

The gravestone shown in the last E-Sylum for F. Gordon Frost is fantastic, and I am sure he is looking down on it with a smile.

I cannot remember an uninteresting conversation with Gordon.  No matter what subject I picked, he had something interesting to say about it, but he often stumped me with many of the subjects he picked!  He almost got me into adding all books on treasure ship/boat discoveries in Southeast Asia but I resisted and only added those on which coins were also found.   

At one show where I had a club table, I saw him coming down the aisle pushing a cart with a box on it overflowing with books.  I helped him move the box behind my table and he sat down with me to discuss it.  He had been watching me select books from my "stash" to give out to collectors who came to the table.  Some were donated to me and some I bought but I hand them all out in the name of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.  He saw that I carefully selected the book that would be of interest to the collector and I did not just give out the top one on the stack.  

Some of the books in his donation are uncommon to scarce about Asian numismatics and I told him he could sell them for much more money than a tax deduction.  He replied that he knew I would get them into the right "hands" and that was more important to him.

One of these days, I will drive to the cemetery where his gravestone is located and put my "hands" on it and thank him for his friendship and generous donations.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:




Jay Recher writes:

Is there a book out there that has not only the dimensions for coins, but holes to put them in to check for authenticity?  Maybe as a precursor of counterfeit detection?  I know that the Redbook (among others) have these stats.  Just looking for an easier way to see if the coin fits-the-mold, so-to-speak.

Well, back in the day, coin scales incorporated a number of ways to detect counterfeits.  Some had slots to fit the coins in as a dimension check, and of course the weight had to match specifications as well.   See lots 246-258 in the Stacks-Bowers 2012 Baltimore Auction later this month.  Here's one example:

To read the complete lot description, see:

Lot #258. Circa 1882 American Rocker Style Coin Scale By Fairbanks & Co.


As for books, ones I often refer to are the Standard Catalog of United States Altered and Counterfeit Coins by Virgil Hancock and Larry Spanbauer, and Counterfeit, Mis-Struck and Unofficial U.S. Coins by Don Taxay.   Both are quite old now, but the content is still relevant.  A more recent title is Numismatic Forgery by Charles Larson, which describes how crooks make high-quality forgeries.  

The flood of Chinese copies today makes the job even harder, but many of  these are relatively easy to detect.  I would say the best guide is not a book or tool but first-hand experience seeing both genuine coins and fakes.    Go to coin shows and look at a lot of coins.  Don’t be afraid to ask dealers for help learning about counterfeits.  If they’re not busy, many would be glad to help.

Readers: What advice would you offer Jay?


While there were lots of contemporary books and periodicals for detecting counterfeit currency, physical devices are rare.  In fact, this lot from the upcoming Stacks-Bowers sale is the only such device I've seen.   Back in the days long before computer imaging, it attempts to ease the task of comparing a known genuine note with a suspected counterfeit - the grid overlays allow the viewer to methodically compare two notes section-by-section looking for discrepancies.   I don't think it's as useless as others have said, but it's certainly of zero use without a genuine note in hand for comparison.

Lot #4282. Obsolete Notes. Counterfeit Detection Ephemera. Porter Counterfeit Detector In Original Wooden Box. Very Fine.

Rare ephemeral artifact used for Counterfeit Detection and likely not very successful. Within the wooden case, sliding mechanisms and special ruled glass. This detector operated by placing a genuine note on one sliding panel and a suspected counterfeit on the other, and then by manipulating the mechanism slide panels at sides, the notes could be drawn into line on the alphanumeric grid upon the glass, and the position of various elements could be compared. 

We appreciate a cataloguer’s comment several years back summing it up well: ‘’In short, it was pretty much useless.’’ The original instructions are included and this is the first we have seen of them. The original cost was $85.00. After reading the directions and trying to figure it out ourselves, we believe the $85.00 could have been spent better elsewhere. Despite the explanation, we really do not know how it works. Overall size of the wood case is 30.0cm by 24.0cm by 7.0cm. One of the finest seen though. Excellent condition with minimal wear on the case. Eclectic counterfeit detection historical artifact that will display nicely.

To read the complete lot description, see:

Porter Counterfeit Detector In Original Wooden Box



The American Numismatic Association has recovered one of the coins stolen from its holdings by former collections manager Wyatt Yeager.   I guess I missed the press release, but Numismatic News published a story on NumisMaster Thursday.

An 1813 New South Wales Holey dollar worth over $150,000 stolen from the American Numismatic Association in 2007 has been recovered, the organization announced Oct. 31.

The Holey dollar was returned Oct. 23 by Coinworks, Ltd., an Australian numismatic firm. It had acquired the coin from an Australian auction house in July 2007.

“Coinworks is an organization that prides itself on its strong ethic and commitment to the industry. That Coinworks initiated the discussions regarding the return of the 1813 Holey dollar to its rightful owner (ANA) is a clear demonstration of the principles by which we operate,” said Belinda Downie of Coinworks.

The coin had been sold for $155,755 in July 2007 at an auction in Melbourne and was one of approximately 300 stolen from the ANA’s Edward C. Rochette Money Museum in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Wyatt Yeager, who had briefly been ANA collections manager in early 2007, pleaded guilty in January 2012 to one count of theft of major artwork, a violation of Title 18, United States, Section 668. He was sentenced in federal district court in Wilmington, Del., April 24 by Judge Leonard P. Stark.

He received 27 months in federal prison and two years supervised release He was also ordered to pay $948,505 in restitution.

“We are delighted to have the Holey dollar returned to our museum collection,” said ANA Executive Director Jeff Shevlin. “It’s great to have a success,” he added.

The Holey dollar was struck on a 1788 Spanish-American 8-reales piece of Charles III struck in Mexico City. It has a large hole punched out of it; around the hole is an added legend “NEW SOUTH WALES 1813” on the obverse and “FIVE SHILLINGS” on the reverse. It is considered Australia’s first domestic coin. Around 350 Holey dollars survive today.

The ANA has also recovered a number of other coins, including a gold pattern from The Netherlands, several Mexican pieces from the 15th to 17th centuries, a tetradrachm of Lysimachus from Thrace, and coins from Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica and Peru.

Overall, roughly 10 percent of the stolen coins have been recovered and these are worth approximately 20 percent of the stolen coins’ overall value.

To read the complete article, see:

ANA Recovers Its Stolen Holey Dollar


To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:




 More on Joel Coen 
Harvey Stack writes:

The best story this week, (other than the November Sale, again Thank you) was the  story of Joel Coen.   Joel as well as his original partner Dan Messer, Tom Wass, Max Kaplan , I.Schneiderman, Paul Witlin, and others were not mentioned in the story I wrote, was because they did not have shops or conduct auctions, and therefore were not as nationally known as those I mentioned.  I think each of the might be a story alone.
New York had many dealers, and they all, over the years worked together, provided numismatic sources for the collector while
working together to keep New York as a leader.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:



 Buying Bags of Seattle World's Fair Silver Dollars 
John Dannreuther writes:

I enjoyed reading last week's missive.
Seeing the articles (last week's and previous ones) brought back some memories!  Besides being the "discovery" of the existence of bags of 1903-O silver dollars, the million dollar display of cartwheels has a special memory for me.

After the fair, they sold bags of dollars from the display instead of sending them back to Philadelphia. My father and I decided to take a chance and ordered one. The price was $1,050 plus $15 railway freight.
We, of course, hoped for a sealed bag of 1903-O dollars or another of the previously "rare" dates.

We got a circulated bag with only a few better dates (I believe the best coin was a VF 1895-O).
We lost money on the bag, as we deposited 990 or so coins into the bank at face value!  
Oh we'll, they can't all be winners!

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:


(  and Paper Money
Joe Boling writes:

I see that does not list any paper money. I can see that contributors would not want to be posting their supernotes and euros, but what about obsolete paper currencies?

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:




Back in June dealer Beth Deisher told us about Michael Annis, who is hospitalized with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease).  Web site visitor Nelson Anderson writes:

He was my coin dealer 30 years ago. It was with great sorrow I read of his challenge with ALS. How is he?

I asked Beth for an update, and she writes:

My husband and I visited with Mike for about 2 hours last Sunday. There has been noticeable decline since we saw him in July. He cannot walk now, whereas in July he could move about using a walker. Also, although he can still use his hands somewhat,  dexterity has declined.  He lost his ability to speak last spring. 

He has a board with the alphabet and points to letters individually to spell out words in order to be able to communicate. A couple of weeks ago he was moved to a different facility, where he can get additional therapy. He says the new therapy is helping him retain limited use of his hands. Also, about a month ago, a feeding tube was inserted because he can no longer swallow.

I know he would love to hear from friends in the numismatic community. His mind is keen. Reading and watching TV is about the extent of what he is able to do. His address is:

Michael Annis
Superior Woods, Room 202
8380 Geddes Road
Ypsilanti, MI 48198

Thanks, Beth.   It's great to know Michael is coping with his difficult situation, and that he has great friends like you to visit.  I hope many E-Sylum readers take the opportunity to send him their best wishes.  I've already passed this information on to Nelson.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:




In his latest Remember When... blog post, Harvey Stack recalls collector Clifford T. Welhman.   Thanks - I was unaware of him, but as Harvey notes, he had some powerhouse coins in his collection.

Clifford T. Welhman was the “olive oil king” of America, as he imported and provided olive oil to virtually all the purveyors, including the Palmolive Company for use in their “Natural Soap.” Welhman lived in Westchester County, New York, and traveled daily to New York City to conduct his business. He became a familiar face at Stack’s.

Cliff collected world coins, attractive and historic specimens. With Stack’s acquisition of sections of the Col. E.H.R. Green Collection, sold by private treaty in the mid 1940s by Chase Bank, he was also able to form one of the great collections of U.S. half eagles and eagles ($5 and $10 gold pieces) from 1795 through the last issues.

Clifford T. Welhman sold his world coin collection at a Stack’s auction in October 1951, the catalog specially titled “Gold Coins of the World.” Among its world class rarities were a 1629 gold 100 ducats of Bohemia’s Ferdinand II along with an array of ancient Greek, Roman, and Renaissance gold coins, many multiple ducats, Spanish American gold coins and a wonderful sampling of 19th and 20th century coins.

I remember fondly Cliff Welhman and the many other collectors who helped shape my early years at Stack’s and am grateful for the many things I learned.

To read the complete article, see:

Remember When: Clifford T. Welhman



David Stone writes:

I have a question for the E-Sylum readership. Has anyone ever seen the 1868 aluminum pattern proof set that Henry Linderman supposedly sent to the Bank of England, or the set that was sent to the government of France? It would be great to know if those sets ever actually reached their destinations. Does anyone have a good e-mail contact at the Bank of England I could check with?

Good question.  Can anyone help with contacts at the BoE or in France?
Below is some text from the set, which pictures the Garrett set (shown above).

These were struck originally for presentation purposes as Pollock mentions a request by Henry Linderman to have "two sets of impressions of our coins struck in Aluminum prepared as early as they can be without an interruption to the regular business of the Mint. I desire to send one set to the Bank of England and another to France". Pollock also notes that Linderman asked for 2 more sets 2 days later.

It is likely that some of these were deliberately made for sale to collectors. The first recorded sale of one of these cased sets was lot 1381 of the 1870 Mason & Company sale of the William Fewsmith collection. This set was bought in by Mason and was offered piecemeal in his next sale but did not sell.

The Brand collection had two sets, Woodside's purchased in 1895 and Stickney's purchased in 1907. Newcomer also had a cased set.

To read the complete article, see:

1868 Cased Aluminum Trial Set



This week I came across a short item about the Russian Beard tax tokens.  These were mentioned once in an E-Sylum article on Ken Bressett's Milestone Coins book, but I we've never discussed these in any detail.  

A beard tax is one of several taxes introduced throughout history on men who wear beards. In 1705, Emperor Peter I of Russia instituted a beard tax to modernize the society of Russia following European models. Those who paid the tax were required to carry a “beard token”. This was a copper or silver token with a Russian Eagle on one side and on the other, the lower part of a face with nose, mouth, whiskers, and beard. It was inscribed with two phrases: “the beard tax has been taken” and “the beard is a superfluous burden”.

However, Peter the Great was not the first ruler to impose a beard tax upon his subjects, in 1535, King Henry VIII of England, who wore a beard himself, introduced a tax on beards. The tax was a graduated tax, varying with the wearer’s social position. His daughter, Elizabeth I of England, reintroduced the beard tax, taxing every beard of more than two weeks’ growth.
(Source: Wikipedia)

Curious about the counterstamp, I pulled out my copy of
Milestone Coins, which says that "It is possible that the counterstamp found on these pieces may have been a re-validation mark for a subsequent year, but no records remain to confirm this theory."    Does anyone have more information about the tokens and their counterstamps?  What is the best reference today?

To read the complete article, see:

Beard Tax Token, 1705


One of these sold last month on eBay.  To view the auction descriptions, see:




You can tell I had some extra time on my hands due to the storm this week.  Here's yet another item that caught my eye in the upcoming Stacks-Bowers auction.  It's a scrip note from New York City, from the Steve Tanenbaum collection.  The name of the establishment rang a bell because of something Walter Breen mentioned in correspondence many years ago.   I dug out his letter, dated January 13, 1981.  Here's an excerpt from the lot description, followed by the relevant section of Breen's letter.  I knew about the Civil War token issued by Pfaff, but was unaware of the scrip.

Lot #4311. Obsolete Notes. New York, New York City, Charles Pfaff Restaurant. NY-630-BF. 647 Broadway. 25 Cent Scrip Note With Red Overprint, Punch Canceled Remainder. Uncirculated.

Issued by the restaurateur who also issued Civil War store cards of the NY-630-BF variety. This was a famous establishment in its day. The New York Illustrated News, August 2, 1862, had a feature article on it, including this: 

‘’As so much has been said in the papers, from time to time, about Pfaff’s it may be well to state that the name is descriptive, simply, of a restaurant and lager bier saloon, kept at No. 647 Broadway, by a Teuton of that name, and which, partly from its central position, and partly from the excellence of its fare, has been such a favorite resort, for several years, for artists, litterateurs, actors, managers, editors, critics, politicians, and other public characters, as to have become quite famous. It is not, as has been often reported, the rendezvous of a particular clique or club of Bohemians (whatever they maybe), but simply a general and convenient meeting-place for cultivated men, and one where, almost any evening, you may meet representatives of nearly every branch of literature and art, assembled, not by appointment, nor from habit even, but I met by chance, the usual way. Among the literary men whom we have met, there from time to time, during the last three or four
  years, may be mentioned Walt Whitman, Aldrich, Winter, Stoddard, Bayard Taylor, W. Ross Wallace..."

Breen wrote:

Someone is going to have to publish in one of the Civil War token magazines the story behind the PFAFF'S TAVERN tokens: Pfaff's, on upper Broadway in New York, during the Civil War and in later decades, was the biggest gay bar in NY and a literary center because Walt Whitman and his crowd hung out there.  It is the only token known to be associated with a gay bar. Its jolly monk device alludes to the meaning of the name Pfaff.

I found the above (poor) images of the token on the Internet.  The 647 Broadway address matches that of the scrip note.
But does a visit by Walt Whitman a gay bar make?  Was Breen stretching here, or has Pfaff's been documented to be what we would classify today as a gay bar?

To read the complete lot description, see:

Charles Pfaff Restaurant. NY-630-BF. 647 Broadway. 25 Cent Scrip Note With Red Overprint, Punch Canceled Remainder.



James Bucki, the coins guide, wrote a short blog article this week about the American Numismatic Association's YouTube channel.  Check it out!

The American Numismatic Association is taking advantage of modern technology to promote the hobby of coin collecting. One of its more interactive ventures has been to launch a YouTube channel of different coin related videos produced by the ANA. Video topics include: the National Money Shows, The Summer Seminars, the Money Museum, the World's Fair of Money and National Coin Week. 

My favorite series of videos are the "What's the Coolest Thing In Your Booth?" This is where the ANA goes around at one of their large national coin shows and asks various dealers to talk about the "coolest thing" that they have in their booth. Dealers talk about large bullion coins, unique error coins, ancient coins, paper currency and a variety of other interesting coins and artifacts.

To read the complete article, see:

ANA YouTube Channel Is The "Coolest Thing"


To visit the ANA YouTube Channel, see:


Harvey Stack forwarded a press release by Greg Cohen about the upcoming Stack’s Bowers auctions of U.S. colonial coinage.  Here are some excerpts and images.  Many of the names will be familiar to bibliophiles.

Stack’s Bowers Galleries is very proud to offer to the collecting community this large and diverse selection of Colonial and related Early American coins, the largest offering of the year, featuring 991 lots. This special session will take place on Friday, November 16 at 6pm, and will long be remembered for the wide range of material offered. The John “Jack” Royse, the Legendary Ted L. Craige Collection, The Dan Friedus Collection of Vermont Coppers, The Rob Retz Family Collection of Fugio Coppers, the David J. Wnuck Collection of Contemporary Counterfeit and Imitation Spanish Colonial Coins, and hundreds of coins from other important consignors.

The session begins with the John “Jack” Royse Collection. Formed over the course of many years (roughly 1955 to the virtually the present time) and worked closely with members of the Stack Family, in fact, Harvey and Larry Stack visited him in his home to take possession of the coins.  His collection contains many rare interesting pieces, many with famous and important pedigrees. 

We begin the sale with a rare Sommer Island Sixpence, Ex Roper Collection in PCGS VF-20. These rare coins are the first issues of a British colony in North America. Directly following is a small selection of seven pieces of Massachusetts silver, starting with the famous and extremely rare New England Sixpence, found in a potato field on Long Island in February 1990. Lot 6003 is a Willow Tree Shilling, ex Richard Picker, in VG details. In keeping with the theme of pedigreed, rare colonials from the Royse Collection, is an AU-50+ (PCGS) Lord Baltimore Shilling, ex John Roper Collection and the Norweb INIMICA TYRANNIS AMERICA Conferderatio Copper, one of perhaps five known. 

Among other rare coppers, are a Broad Axe Higley copper, a Non Vi Virtute Vici and George Clinton Excelsior Copper, both purchased from our (Stack’s) October 1989 sale of the Gilbert Steinberg Collection. A nice selection of Fugio, New Jersey and Connecticut coppers are also offered, including several scarce types and Condition Census pieces. We end the Royse Collection with a selection of rare numismatic volumes from his library.

Following the Royse Collection is Part I of the Legendary Ted L. Craige Collection. Ted Craige is one of the most famous colonial coin collectors of the past fifty years, and a gentleman who passed away too soon in 1971. His extensive collection has since sat untouched in a bank vault, until now. The collection will be sold in several parts, with Part I offered here in November. 

Part one features his collection of St. Patrick Coinage, one of the most extensive and important collections ever offered. Many Condition Census pieces are included. A magnificent silver St. Patrick’s Farthing, graded AU-58 is offered as lot 6148 and is a wonderful example and among the finest known for the issue. Another series that we are pleased to present in this offering of the Craige Collection is his collection of Voce Populi coppers. Ranked among the finest collections ever assembled of this series and includes every variety except for the Nelson-5 and the newly discovered “Nelson-17,” which we had the honor of selling in our 2012 ANA auction. 

A rare John Chalmers sixpence is offered also offered as part of the Craige Collection. The final extensive offering of items of the Craige Collection is a wide variety of French Colonies 9 Deniers of 1721-22 and Louis D’or from the Le Chameau wreck. We are very pleased to offer the first part of what will be one of the most extensive collections of Colonial coins to cross the auction block. Stay tuned for Part II which will be offered in our January 2013 New York Americana sale. 

Anchoring section of 102 Vermont copper lots, is the Dan Freidus Collection. Dan is a well known expert in the colonial field, and his paper on Higley copper die varieties is the standard reference to the series. Dan’s collection (along with the Vermont coppers of other consignors) combine to assemble a powerful selection, featuring most of the 39 Ryder varieties, missing 8 varieties to be complete. Again there are many high grade and Condition Census coins, as well as interesting die states, coins struck over Nova Constellatio and other coppers, and well pedigreed examples. 

Lot 6720 is an extremely rare and very attractive (for the type) 1817 Texas Jola. Graded VF-20 by PCGS and housed in a Secure Holder, this coin is a different die marriage from the PCGS Fine-12 example that we proudly sold for $48,875 in our ANA sale. This coin features the name M.BA[…]RA, which matches the name Manuel Barrera, the minter named in the decree of March 29, 1817. This is a wonderful rarity that will find itself in an advanced colonial type set.

No colonial coin offering would be complete without a 1776 Continental Dollar, and lot 6765 is an acceptable EF-40 (PCGS) example for a collector grade type set. With similar design elements, the Continental dollar segues into the Rob Retz Collection of Fugio coppers, an advanced study collection that includes 63 coins. Again, as with other series offered in this sale, there are coins with wonderful pedigrees, excessively rare varieties and even a few Newman Plate Coins. Fugio coppers have a great history, and have been studied by numismatists for the better part of a century. 

Rounding out the sale is the David J. Wnuck Collection of Contemporary Counterfeit and Imitation Spanish Colonial Coins. David, a long time dealer from Connecticut, who specializes in colonial and early American coinage, elected to collect these fascinating coins over the course of many years. Recently, the reference collection of Michael K. Ringo (offered by Stack’s) provided many opportunities for Dave to fill holes in his collection. This collection is the result of diligent study and patience, and we are proud to have been selected by him to sell his personal collection.

For more information, see:


Yosef Sa'ar writes:

Do you know if this book has been reviewed in E-sylum or other NBS publications?  The Chips and Coupons in Old Shanghai, Tokens (2005)

The book has not been mentioned here before.  Yosef found it referenced in an eBay listing, quoted below.  Can anyone provide more information?

The Chips and Coupons in Old Shanghai, Tokens (2005).

Editor: Pan Junxiang.

Publisher: Shanghai Academy of Social Science, edited and printed in Shanghai in 2005.

279 pages in all. This book has nearly all local tokens, chips, coupons and tokens banknotes issued during AD 1860's to 1950's. 

Size: 295mm*220mm.
Weight: 1.45 Kilogram.

To read the complete eBay listing, see:


In his blog entry for October 29, 2012, dealer Doug Winter described an interesting item he recently added to his personal collection: a contemporary counterfeit 1842-D half eagle.

As you become a more passionate collector, “oddball” items become more appealing. I refer to these as knick-knacks and, as you can guess, this is a pretty broad term. For the coin collector, knick-knacks become more appealing as they become more relevant to your collecting specialty. As an example, a collector of Morgan Dollars will be more excited by a canvas silver dollar bag from the Philadelphia mint dated 1885 then I would. To me, this is a neat item but not one that gets my numismatic juices really flowing.

I probably shouldn’t admit this but there is one area in numismatics that I love above all else: the coinage of the Dahlonega mint. There is something about the coinage from this southern branch mint that appeals to me a little more than any of the other mints. And as someone who loves Dahlonega gold coins, I am always on the lookout for interesting Dahlonega-related knick-knacks.

The problem is that there just aren’t many interesting contemporary items from this mint. Sadly, while the Dahlonega mint has left a fascinating legacy of coins for collectors, there are very few items like patterns or mint records or drawings or items from the original mint left for collectors. Around ten years ago I was able to purchase a bullion receipt dated 1856 from the mint (a very rare item and, until a small group of these was found a few years back, one of just two that I had ever seen) but my Dahlonega knick-knack collection was pretty slim.

Until recently, that is.

At the Dallas ANA show, I purchased an item that I think is extremely cool  and probably very rare: a contemporary counterfeit 1842-D Small Date half eagle (shown below) that is the first counterfeit gold coin from this mint that I have ever seen.

The coin was made in brass and later gilt plated. It shows extremely good work, especially on the reverse. It is the proper size and weight (22 mm in diameter and a bit over 8.2 grams) and, as you can see, it appears to have seen a small amount of circulation.

If you think about it, a contemporary counterfeit Dahlonega half eagle makes sense, especially in 1842 which was just the third year in which the new Liberty Head half eagle was produced. For many people, especially those who didn’t live that close to Dahlonega, there was not much familiarity with the new coins from this mint and a reasonable facsimile stood a decent chance of entering circulation and staying there.

But, there were other reasons why a coin like this is an amazing anomaly. It was die struck, and someone with real artistic sensibility took the time to create the obverse and reverse dies. A goodly amount of artistic and technological sophistication was required and this doesn’t seem to be something that was found in excess in North Georgia in the early 1840′s. Also (and I don’t know this for sure) the penalties for counterfeiting in the South during this time period had to be excessively harsh. Someone was taking a huge risk to produce counterfeit gold coins in Georgia in the early 1840′s, and you have to wonder how many were actually made let alone how many entered circulation.

So, why is this item special to me and why does it now hold a place high in my personal collection of knick-knacks? As someone who is a major dealer in Dahlonega gold, I won’t collect the coins from this mint because I don’t want to compete against my clients. So this is the closest thing to a “real” piece of D mint gold that I can hope to own. But beyond that, I love the rarity and the history of this piece.

To read the complete article, see:

A Neat Dahlonega Knick-Knack



Web site visitor Tom Osborn submitted the following information about another type of Rats of Tobruk medal.  His note is below.  Thanks!

I've just stumbled across this website as I was doing some informal research on Rats of Tobruk medals, which led me to these E-Sylum articles:





After a quick look it seems you haven't yet heard about a completely different shaped Rats of Tobruk medal. A very small number (thought to be 12) of these were hand-made by 5 Platoon of the 2/1st Australian Pioneer Battalion, who were also part of the siege of Tobruk. They are described in a book about the Pioneers (edited by my father) as follows:

The “ribbon” was of brass with a half inch wide central stripe of copper, sweated on and made from the driving band of a shell. Suspended from this “ribbon”, by a brass ring, was a medal made to represent our triangular battalion colour patch. The grey background was represented by brass, the next triangle of white represented by aluminium, and surmounted by a third triangle of copper, representing the purple centre piece of the patch. Over the centre of the patch is mounted what represents a “rat rampant”. This is cut from brass. On the “ribbon” and “medal” there appear the words “presented by Lord Haw Haw to the Tobruk Rats, 1941.

I'm attaching a couple of photos of my father's medal and part of the book cover so you can see the "triangular battalion colour patch" referred to. As you'll see the hand-making is quite evident and I actually like this contrast to the more "mass produced" round Rats of Tobruk medal which is discussed in The E-Sylum articles. It fits the "first in & use whatever you've got to get things working" nature of the Pioneers. My dad grew up in the country and self-reliance / making-do was a necessary part of their life. So for him (and I suspect many others like him) The Pioneers was a natural extension of that sort of attitude.

Note also that The Pioneers' medal goes one step further (than the round Rats of Tobruk medal) in responding to Lord Haw-Haw's taunts and turning his expression into a badge of honour. The Pioneers' medal includes a simulated ribbon which acknowledges the source of the Rats of Tobruk description that they accepted with great pride.

"The Pioneers" book also mentions that one of these mementos was presented by Lt. Col. Arnold Brown (Commander, 2/1 Aust. Pioneer Battalion) to Brig. R. W. Tovell (Commander, 26 Aust. Infantry Brigade). In his accompanying note Lt. Col. Brown describes the medal as follows: "It is made in the unit colours, by men of the unit, from an Italian shell case, German tank and German dive bomber JU 87".

Incidentally there's nothing in "The Pioneers" book to indicate if they knew of the round Rats of Tobruk medal you have discussed previously. Both use metal from enemy sources. One group might have got the idea from the other or they could have independently thought to respond to Lord Haw-Haw's attempts to demoralise them in this way.

Two of the triangular unofficial medals are in the Army Museum at Victoria Barracks, Paddington (Sydney) and one is in the Australian War Memorial, Canberra. Note that on the AWM medal (see link below) the rat is facing in the opposite direction to the rat on my father's medal:

This is great information.  This has been an interesting and long-running topic.


Last week (October 23), William P. Houston of 
Frankfurt am Main  wrote:

It was only today that I got around to reading the E-Sylum issue of 19 Aug.
Therein you pictured and wrote a note about the Carnegie Hero medal from France which you recently purchased.  I too have one of these medals which is in an original case with a monogram on the cover.  Mine is named with "GALLOY (K)," and dated 1937, a few years before yours. 

I have researched these pieces to some extent but have not found any large amounts of specific information.  My piece is in nearly new condition but unfortunately the name of the designer is poorly struck up.  The best I have so far been able to read is that it may be DEJEAN or something similar.  There is faint evidence of a first name. 

Your piece seems to have two names struck much better but try as I might, either as small or large, I remain uncertain about the spelling.  I would indeed appreciate it if, some time when you again have the piece in hand, if you would be good enough to let me know what you read the signature as.  

Over the weekend I dug out my medal and replied:

To me the signature looks like:

“Loiris Dejeau”   It might actually be “Louis Dejeau” or “Louis Dejean”

I located a possible match for Louis Dejean online:
“Louis Dejean (1872–1954), born in Paris, was a French sculptor and engraver.” 

It says he did a “Bronze medal from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1909. Dimensions 80 x 52 mm, weight 195 grams.”

Dejean, Louis    Carnegie, Andrew          United States of America           1909     36x55   bronze  Heroes Fund     eng. To G Chaplain, 1961

I don’t know if these entries are about the same medal, but the Paul Bosco listing definitely ascribes the Hero medal to Dejean.

This was a fun little bit of detective work, although I'm sure we didn't learn anything that wasn't already known to experts in the medal field.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:




The October 29, 2012 installment of Fred Reed's long-running series of articles on Civil War numismatics in Bank Note Reporter covers an interesting episode in U.S. history - the 1862 Cincinnati postage currency riot.  Who said numismatics is dull?  Here are some excerpts from a lengthy and very interesting article. -Editor

The 300th issue of Harper’s Weekly, “A Journal of Civilization,” appeared Sept. 27, 1862. On the front page of the six-cent tabloid was an artistic rendering of the Ohio River’s big bend as seen from the hillsides opposite Cincinnati in Kentucky. Ohio’s Queen City was a metropolis, the largest west of the Allegheny Mountains. 

The broad, bustling Ohio River swept off to the artist’s right, to the north and east. The watery highway was full of the river traffic that made the City of Cincinnati thrive. 

The community itself appears idyllic, majestic church spires climbing the rolling hills stepped back from the river’s banks. But this placid view of the Queen City atmosphere as depicted in the artist’s drawing belied the truth of the difficulties and turmoil being experienced by the majority of Cincinnati’s citizens.

Just a few, short weeks later Cincinnati would experience a major mob scene as frustration gave vent to wrath. It took the United States Army to quell the disturbance.

The cause of this riot?… Something as simple as a shortage of small change. Engulfed by major economic turmoil, the masses had been circulating postage stamps for months before Congress belatedly sanctioned this expedient July 17, 1862, with an authorization to issue Postage Currency.

The premium on Postage Currency led to its hoarding and speculation. Both activities kept large amounts of this currency out of circulation. So the provisions of the unwitting and hastily framed legislation under which Postage Currency was emitted precluded Postage Currency from doing the job it was created to do: circulate and remedy the small change crisis. 

This is but one example of bureaucratic bungling in which the central government “solution” exacerbated the problem. In the exigency of the times, there were others. Today we know this phenomenon as the “theory of unintended consequences.” People in Cincinnati and elsewhere in 1862 knew it intimately in the hardships experienced in their daily lives. The sum of these effects were that things were not going very well commercially in Cincinnati in the summer of l862, despite the fact that business was booming with wartime activity. 

Adding to the problem of the central government’s bungling in monetizing stamps, which led directly to the Postage Currency, private printing contractors were slow to ramp up supplies of the emergency paper currency. Most Bank Note Reporter readers know that at the time the U.S. government did not have its own security engraving and printing capacity. It relied on outside firms. Manufacturing of the small Federal bills proceeded inexorably slowly. Both U.S. Treasury officers and those officials at the National Bank Note Co., which was contracted to supply the Postage Currency, deserve concurrent shares of this blame.

Because of the tardiness of the promised Postage Currency relief, the public continued to buy excessive amounts of regular postage stamps to pass as change. Postal officials were disconcerted as daily sales continued at unprecedented levels. Sales in Cincinnati directly attributable to stamp purchases for change were reliably estimated at $50,000 for the months of July, August and September 1862. Postal officials sought to curtail this run on their postage stamp stocks, but with little success.

So scarce were these notes that Postage Currency was being sold at 5 to 10 percent premium by the city’s bankers. “To exchange a dollar bill,” one of the local newspapers complained, “you must lay it nearly all out.” Large firms brought in large quantities of the Postage Currency from the East, but even they paid it out at 12.5 to 15 percent advances. These notes were no help to the public. 

A frustrated customs collector, Enoch Carson, who was charged with distributing the small quantities to be officially released in that city, put up a large sign: “NO MORE Postal Currency At Present. Until more comes, no use making Inquiry.”

The change-starved public in Cincinnati, as in other cities in the Northeast and Midwest, reacted like dehydrated race horses smelling water when the opportunity to acquire some of the small fractional notes presented itself. On Oct. 7 rumors circulated that another $8,000 in Postage Currency would be available for distribution. People bolted from the starting gate. 

Under the headline, “The Rush for Postal Change,” the Enquirer reported that the small notes “created an excitement with the retail dealers, who have been suffering for the lack of small change, and the rush at the commencement of business at the Customs House was overwhelming.” 

Supplies were rationed to $5 per person. Think of that, only 1,600 individuals could be accommodated in a city of 160,000 people. Even then one greedy soul boasted he had obtained five times the specified amount. The Enquirer said that the industrious fellow must have spent the entire day standing in line to amass his small treasure. 

Alas, by nightfall the entire amount was gone, but not before the small change furor had erased from memory the woes of the coal famine of the previous winter. The Postage Currency supply had failed to meet even one-tenth of the demand, the paper said. This rush for postage notes was only a prelude of what was to come.

Heavens opened and the storm broke on Nov. 4. It was a day that few who experienced it would soon forget. The electricity that had been generated by want and built up by three months of privation broke loose all at once in a savage fury.

What had happened simply put is that the crowd, numbering 5,000 to 8,000 (estimates vary), had descended on poor Carson en masse in a virtual carnival atmosphere. Expectations were high; deliverance was nigh. 

To control such a vast crowd, a special chute had been constructed to funnel people single file past teller’s cage. The early birds must have been jubilant to finally get the promised Postage Currency into their clutches. 

But after hours and hours of paying out $5 sums, apprehension overtook those still standing in line waiting their turn at the cashier’s cage. Tension mounted. The day wore long; the crowd’s mood turned ripe, then ugly. 

Collector Carson rationed out the aforementioned $15,000 in small amounts by late afternoon, and yet much less than half of the crowd had been supplied. Although three thousand applicants had received their $5 each, disappointment loomed on the horizon for many still standing in the line.

Most of the crowd had been standing in the street all day long patiently awaiting their opportunity to acquire the precious slips of paper specie. Now fears that the Postage Currency would all be gone before they got to the tellers’ cages started to sink in. 

The crowd’s mood turned ugly. They crushed forward and mobbed the Customs House. Collector Carson, who had started out the day as the public’s savior, had suddenly once again resumed the position as the object of their scorn. The din in the street grew louder and more demanding. 

Carson terminated his disbursement, closed his doors, and drew his shades. Then the mob actually turned violent, their expectations having been crushed with cruel disappointment once again. The mob shouted and railed against Carson. Then they turned upon the Customs House itself and laid siege to the federal government installation.

The Army had to be called in to quell the disturbance.   Read the whole story online at

To read the complete article, see:

Postage Currency Woes Led to Riot


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Peter Huntoon published a nice article in Bank Note Reporter  October 29, 2012 about the "Charter Period"  designation for U.S. National Bank Notes.   Here's an excerpt from the NumisMaster site.

Renowned early National Bank Note collector and dealer George H. Blake conjured up the notion of charter periods in 1908 in an attempt to classify the succession of National Bank Note series that he was observing. His system of nomenclature gave rise to first, second, third and even fourth charter notes. In time numismatists tried unsuccessfully to link the charter period notion to the stages in the corporate life of a national bank, and even attached the idea of charter periods to the various acts passed in 1863-4, 1882 and 1902 that addressed the corporate life of national banks.

A bank was said to be rechartered when it passed to a new charter period.

Unfortunately, this picture is haywire and has been sewing confusion ever since.

I think they mean "sowing", but this is a great example of how what we know as numismatists changes over time, and how one book can influence generations of future collectors in continuing to perpetrate a misconception.
Like they say, don't believe everything you read!

There are three problems.

(1) Most important is the fact that the terms first, second, third and fourth charter period have utterly no basis in law or fact. There were no such things. A bank received one charter, and that was it. No national bank ever was rechartered.

(2) A serious problem is that collectors associate these fictitious charter periods with specific series of notes. This comes out as: first charter notes = Original Series/Series of 1875 notes; second charter notes = Series of 1882 notes; third charter notes = Series of 1902 notes. This creates a misleading classification that simply warps reality.

(3) Last is the illogical leap that always is taken, a leap off the cliff fueled by our growing confusion arising from our attempt to pound square pegs into round holes. The logic goes as follows. If first charter-period notes = Original/1875 Series notes, second charter-period notes = Series of 1882 notes, etc, then certainly first charter = Act of Feb. 25, 1863 or Act of June 3, 1864; second charter = Act of July 12, 1882; and third charter = Act of April 12, 1902. Once the charter period poison has taken hold, collectors invariably contrive the following chain of associations: 

First-charter period = Act of Feb. 25, 1863 or Act of June 3, 1864 = Original/1875 series notes; 

Second-charter period = Act of July 12, 1882 = Series of 1882 notes; 

Third-charter period = Act of April 12, 1902 = Series of 1902 notes.

At this point, we have successfully arrived in the land of the lost and clueless.

To read the complete article, see:

Dispelling Charter Period Nonsense



This one's non-numismatic, but it's taking place in a numismatic locale and may well end up being of benefit for researchers.

A marathon project is under way in New Orleans to digitize thousands of time-worn 18th-century French and Spanish legal papers that historians say give the first historical accounts of slaves and free blacks in North America.

Yellowed page by yellowed page, archivists are scanning the 220,000 manuscript pages from the French Superior Council and Spanish Judiciary between 1714 and 1803 in an effort to digitize, preserve, translate and index Louisiana's colonial past and in the process help re-write American history.

"No single historian could ever live long enough to write all the books that are to be written from all these documents," said Emily Clark, a Tulane University historian who has worked in the papers.

The few historians who've pored over the unique archive say it's pivotal because it connects early America to the broader history of the Atlantic slave trade. It's at the heart of a wave of research tracing American roots beyond the English colonies and into Spain, France and Africa.

"We don't think of American society simply built from east to west, but we think of it as built from south to north," said Ira Berlin, a University of Maryland historian. "As you begin to think of a different kind of history, you're naturally looking for new kinds of sources to write that history."

This massive trove mostly describes domestic life as found in civil court papers, because the colony's administrative records were taken back to Europe when the United States took possession of Louisiana in 1803.

So they tell of shipwrecks and pirates, of thieves and murderers, of gambling debts and slave sales, of real estate deals and wills. One finds pages signed by historical figures like Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, better known as Bienville, the founder of New Orleans, and Louis XVI, the king of France. And the bizarre, as in the case of a man accused of selling dog meat to Charity Hospital.

Inside the Old United States Mint museum, where the archive is stored, the pace of work is slow and methodical. The digitization team now consists of one full time staffer and one part-timer. The Louisiana State Museum, which cares for the archive, hopes to add more staff and finish the project within three years. At the current pace, it will take more than 10 years to finish.

Melissa Stein, the full-time staffer, looks for intriguing cases, like one about exhuming the body of an unbaptized 13-year-old slave girl, baptizing her and moving her body into the cemetery.

"It's a very short document, and really, really faded," she said, studying the fragment. She slipped it back into its folder. "It was a rough life here, that's for sure."

To read the complete article, see:

Colonial La. records shed new light on US history



The Telegraph and other publications had stories this week with more detail on the Qatari Sheikh whom coin dealers say has failed to pay invoices for coins won at auction.

Sheikh Saud Bin Mohammed Al-Thani, who was once described as the world’s largest collector of antiques, is currently locked in a legal battle with three coin dealers, who claim he failed to pay up after successfully bidding over £12 million for a rare collection.

The dealers are demanding the sheikh, who is a cousin of the ruling emir of Qatar, has his assets frozen until he honours his auction debt.
The 45-year-old collector is thought to have invested billions of pounds in antiques and works of art.

But at the High Court in London, Jeffrey Gruder QC, representing the coin dealers, described the sheikh as a “serial defaulter”, who had amassed a pile of unpaid debts to some of the world’s top auction houses.

Likening him to a gambling addict, Mr Gruder said: “He bids, wins and then doesn't pay. One can only conclude that this is a person acting dishonourably and disreputably and with mala fides.

The case was brought by three coin dealers, A.H. Baldwin and Sons Ltd, Dmitry Markov Coins and Medals and N&M Numismaritcs LLC, who claim they are still owed £12.2 million for coins that were sold at auction in New York.

Described as the “finest assortment of Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic Greek coins ever assembled”, the collection attracted fierce bidding when it went under the hammer.

But the dealers said Sheikh Saud had offered “no explanation or excuse” for failing to pay for the lot once he had won the auction.

Mr Gruder alleged that Sheikh Saud had left a string of unpaid auction debts around the world including £4.3 million to Bonhams and £26 million to Sotheby’s.

However lawyers for the Sheikh vehemently denied the claims.

At one point the deadlock over payment became so entrenched that the UK ambassador to Qatar - and his opposite number in London - became involved.

Mr Rubin told the judge, Mr Justice Haddon-Cave, that his client had been trying to pay for the coins for the past nine months.
He said: “There are no doubt timing issues which go to why he cannot pay at the moment, but that's not a reason to make a freezing order against someone.”

It will be interesting to see how this turns out.   It's already gotten ugly.      How advisable is it to insult the biggest buyer in town?   That won't exactly endear him to your clients in the future.  Someday all the coins he bought will have to be sold again.  Who's going to get the consignment?

To read the complete article, see:

Royal art collector compared to 'inveterate gambler'


The Daily Mail also had an article about this.  The Sheikh has been buying more than just coins.

The sheikh rose to prominence after he spent  £1billion on art between 1996 and 2004.

In 2000, he splashed out more than £9m on 136 vintage photographs including great works by Man Ray and Alfred Stieglitz from the collection of Hamburg photographer Werner Bokelberg.

Other prominent purchases during this time include a £5m Fabergé egg bought at Christie's in New York in 2002, a £4.6m complete set of Audubon's Birds of America, and a £7.9m Roman marble statue, the Jenkins Venus.

In 2003 he beat London's V&A to purchase the £3m Clive of India flask. 'Sheikh Saud was a passionate art collector with a great eye,' said Georgina Adam, editor-at-large of The Art Newspaper.

In 2005 the Sheikh's spree came to a dramatic end when he was placed under house arrest in Qatar. He allegedly used a London dealer to fake invoices, misleading the Qatari government about the value of the items he was buying. He was sacked from the country's national culture council.

However, within a year he was spotted at auctions again. In 2008, he bought 90 per cent of the lots at a sale of Chinese art at Christie's. Last month, he was spotted at the European Fine Art Fair in Maastricht.

To read the complete article, see:

Qatari sheikh who spent more than £1billion on his art collection is accused of leaving 'extraordinary trail' of unpaid debt around world's top auction houses



A banknote honoring Nelson Mandela will soon be circulating in South Africa.

New bank notes featuring former president Nelson Mandela will enter circulation on November 6, the SA Reserve Bank said on Tuesday.

"The Reserve Bank is proud to be able to honour South Africa's struggle icon and first democratically elected president in this way," SARB governor Gill Marcus said in a statement.

"Our currency is a unique symbol of our nationhood, with many of us handling banknotes every day."

The new banknotes feature Mandela on the front and pictures of the "Big Five" animals on the back, SARB said in a statement.

The new banknotes will circulate with the existing currency and both will be legal tender.

The launch has been preceded by a public awareness campaign that includes television, radio and print advertisements as well as electronic media and social networking.

To read the complete article, see:

Mandela bank note to begin circulation next week



While Superstorm Sandy was the scariest thing in the U.S. this week, Wednesday was Halloween.  That day published an interesting article about Haunted Banks.  Here are some excerpts, but be sure to read all the stories online.  Boo!

A trip to the bank can be a nerve-wracking experience for those seeking out an auto or mortgage loan, or disputing a ghoulish checking account overdraft fee. But there are some banks that are all-out frightening for another reason: they’re haunted.

#1. Old Bank Building – Old Town Spring, Texas

Old Town Spring, which is located just north of Houston, is home to an old bank building that some people claim is haunted. In its heyday, the building was called the Spring State Bank and was the site of multiple armed robbery attempts in the 1930s.

The exterior of the bank remains intact, as are the bullet holes from violent robberies that took place at the bank, which allegedly included a stick up by the infamous Bonnie and Clyde. Many sightings have been reported of a ghostly figure that appears inside the bank’s walls, said to still be searching for his lost cash.

#5. Bank of Montreal - Montreal, Canada

Dorothy, a young woman who worked as a teller at the old Bank of Montreal (currently the Hockey Hall of Fame) was believed to have committed suicide after her then lover and bank manager ended the affair.

When the Bank of Montreal was still in operation and as it stands today as the Hockey Hall of Fame, sightings of Dorothy and reports of paranormal occurrences like lights going on and off, and doors locking themselves are still prevalent.

The story suggests that Dorothy took her life in the upstairs women’s washroom with the bank’s revolver. Female employees of the bank refused to use the restroom upstairs, saying they felt an uncomfortable energy inside.  The distress mounted so much that the bank was forced to build another women’s restroom in the building’s basement.

#7. Bank of England - London, England

England has the most famous ghosts of any country in the world, and the “Black Nun,” who is said to haunt the Bank of England’s Threadneedle Street location, is one of them.

According to rumors, in 1811 Philip Whitehead worker at the Bank of England was accused and charged with forgery; as a result, he was executed for his supposed crime. His sister, Sarah Whitehead, came looking for her brother after not hearing from him in quite some time.

When she learned of his death she lost her mind, and spent the next 25-30 years revisiting the bank daily, asking bank staff and patrons if they had seen her brother. Today, she continues to look for him in her black mourning attire, and is said to make ghostly appearances at the bank’s courtyard, where she’s buried.

That last one sounds dodgy to me - why would the woman be buried in the courtyard?  Can one of our U.K. readers confirm these stories?

To read the complete article, see:

Think Overdraft Fees Are Scary? Try These Haunted Banks



On a spooky non-numismatic topic is this pamphlet described in the American Antiquarian Society's Past is Present blog this week.

The Haunted Schoolhouse at Newburyport, a pamphlet produced by Loring publishers of Boston in 1873, tells the story of some peculiar happenings at a one room schoolhouse in Newburyport, MA. Students and teachers alike began to notice rapping, strange lights, and bells ringing when no one was around. “At times the whole school-room has been illuminated, while the school has been in session, by a strong, yellow glow, which on dark days has proceeded from the entry and entered through the partition window.”

According to the story, a student and teacher finally meet the ghost responsible, possibly a former student at the school: “The figure was that of a boy of thirteen. The visage was remarkably pale, the eyes were blue, the mouth sad, and the whole effect was that of extreme melancholy. The general picture was that of a child prepared for burial and prepared, moreover, in a poor and makeshift way.

Knowing Dick Hanscom's interest in coiner Jacob Perkins and his hometown of Newburyport, I passed it along to him.

Dick Hanscom writes:

I search Newburyport every day on eBay and have never seen this!
I looked in the index of Currier's History of Newburyport, and found this:

"This ghost story, however, was quickly exploded by the police who, having examined the school building and some of the pupils accustomed to attend school there, discovered that Amos Currier, a young lad not over eight or ten years of age, son of Nathaniel Currier, was actively engaged with two or three companions of about the same age in producing these mysterious sights and sound.

"Meanwhile reporters connected with Boston newspapers, in search of a sensation, visited Newburyport, and subsequently published exaggerated accounts of what they saw and heard, and a few weeks later two pamphlets...were printed and widely

"The Haunted School House at Newburyport"  and "Expose of Newburyport eccentricities, witches and witchcraft, the murdered boy and apparition of the Charles Street School House"

One must wonder if they were related to the author, John Currier!

To read the complete article, see:

Finding Halloween in the Archives



And here's one last spooky theme that bibliophiles should appreciate: hidden bookcase doors!

To read the complete article, see:

Everything About Secret Bookcase Doors



This happens way more often that you would think.  In the dumb-criminal department comes this story from a  Brockton, MA publication about a man who tried pawning poor counterfeits off on the police.

A 22-year-old Easton man is accused of using three counterfeit $20 bills to pay bail for himself and his friend, police said.

Christopher Ryan Voelker handed over the fake money to Brockton District Court Clerk Kevin Creedon after being arrested early Sunday morning, police said.

Officers noticed the three $20 bills all had the same serial number, police said. Officers also found more counterfeit money on Voelker: a total of five counterfeit $20s with the same serial number and two counterfeit $10 bills with the same serial number, police said.

Voelker, of Rollins Road, Easton, was charged with possession of a counterfeit note, uttering a counterfeit note, and larceny under $250. He was released on Sunday night after paying $350 bail to another clerk, said Lt. Tom Schlatz.

“He got the real stuff from somebody else. Unbelieveable,” Schlatz said Monday.

To read the complete article, see:

Easton man tries to bail himself out of jail with counterfeit money



This week's Featured Web Page is the Google Art Project page for the Numismatic Museum of Athens.  Displayed are images of 56 coins - click to see a higher resolution version.

The permanent collection presents the history of coins from the ancient Greek world until modern times, showcasing the methods of production and control, the numismatic system, the symbolism of the depictions, the market value and the coin circulation, the strong –international coins and their geopolitical expansion as well as the people’s relationship with money. The collection of medals on exhibit preserve information on important historical events, rulers, historical individuals, important buildings and cities from the Renaissance to this day. 

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