The E-Sylum v19n40 October 2, 2016

The E-Sylum esylum at
Sun Oct 2 13:27:44 PDT 2016

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

Volume 19, Number 40, October 2, 2016
BENNO LOEWY (1854-1919)
FARRAN ZERBE (1871-1949)

Click here to read this issue on the web

Click here to access the complete archive

To comment or submit articles, reply to whomren at


New subscribers this week include: 
Ron Cheek, 
Stephen Carofalo, 
Mark Ditz, and
Ginger Rapsus.
Welcome aboard! We now have 2,020 subscribers.

Welcome also to new advertisers Julian Leidman and Peter Bertram.  Also, we're beginning a new series of rotating ads for organizations partnering with the Newman Numismatic Portal.  Starting with Early American Coppers, Inc, the ads will link to the club's web site as well as their publication archive on NNP.  Have a look at both!

This week we open with a new Kolbe & Fanning numismatic literature sale, two new books and two reviews.
Other topics this week include
wooden nickels, U.S. Mint engraver Engelhardus von Hebel, collectors Benno Loewy and Jon Alan Boka, dealers Farran Zerbe, Aubrey Bebbe and John Whitmore, the Panic of 1893, and an artist's designs for new Scottish banknotes.

To learn more about  the William H. Woodin and Peter Gschwend sales, punchmarked coins of ancient India, sample slabs, COYN Press, a colonial counterstamp mystery,  Ernest Hemingway, the Eckfeldt-DuBois book with a California gold sample, powdered stearic acid, Zara siege coins, and the Beck’s Public Baths token, read on. Have a great week, everyone!

Wayne Homren 
Editor, The E-Sylum



Here is the press release for this month's numismatic literature sale from Kolbe & Fanning.  Lots of great books here!

Kolbe & Fanning are pleased to announce that our 143rd sale of important numismatic literature will be held on October 21 and 22, 2016. The two-part sale will feature the remarkable library of American numismatic auction catalogues formed by a prominent Texas collector, buttressed by a wide-ranging library on foreign and ancient coins formed by a collector in Ohio. Printed catalogues have been mailed at this time and will be arriving in the mailboxes of established clients shortly.

Part I, featuring 293 lots, will be conducted as a live online sale at 12:00 noon on Friday, October 21. Bidders may participate in this part of the sale in a variety of ways: in advance via mail, phone, fax or email--or on the day of the sale through our live bidding platform at Register in advance, browse lots and place bids at your leisure: all lots in the first part are illustrated in the online catalogue. Live bidding will commence at noon eastern time on October 21.

Part II features over 800 lots of numismatic books, periodicals and catalogues from around the world, and will be conducted as a traditional mail-bid sale (no online component). This second part of the sale will close at 9:00 PM EDT on Saturday, October 22. Bids may be placed via mail, phone, fax or email; bids will be treated as limits and reduced as competition dictates.

Some highlights include the following:

Lot 273: the exceptionally rare 1884 Adolph Weyl catalogue offering the Dexter 1804 dollar, complete with the famous photograph

Lot 146: a rare plated copy of Tom Elder’s catalogue of the William H. Woodin collection (1911); other plated Elder sales present include the Peter Gschwend sale and the 1917 Miller sale, among others

Lot 113: a beautifully bound copy of Henry Chapman’s 1912 plated catalogue of the Earle collection, from the libraries of William H. Woodin and John J. Ford, Jr.; the sale also includes plated copies of the David S. Wilson and John Story Jenks collections, among other plated catalogues of the Chapman brothers

Lots 236 and 253

Lot 236: John J. Ford’s copy of the rare plated Maris sale (H.P. Smith, 1886)

Lot 253: J.N.T. Levick’s copy of the very rare Descriptive Catalogue of the Seavey collection (Strobridge, 1873), with 5 plates

Lot 70: the 20-volume reprint edition of Victor Emmanuel III’s Corpus Nummorum Italicorum

Lot 210: a plated copy of the New York Coin & Stamp Company’s 1890 sale of the Lorin G. Parmelee collection, from the library of W.W. Hays

Lot 261: a plated copy of the United States Coin Company’s 1915 sale of the Granberg collection

Lots 4 and 7

Lot 4: the useful Forni edition of Babelon’s Traité des monnaies grecques et romaines

Lot 7: Crawford on Roman Republican coins

Lot 293: a first edition Red Book signed by R.S. Yeoman.

The sale’s offerings include hundreds of early American auction catalogues, most of which are individually catalogued, providing clients with a valuable opportunity to fill gaps in their libraries.

As mentioned above, printed catalogues are being mailed to established clients; a PDF of the catalogue has been posted to the main website for those who prefer to read online. In addition, prospective bidders are able to access the live online catalogue and register to bid in Part I of the sale through

Kolbe & Fanning Numismatic Booksellers LLC is a licensed and bonded auction firm in the State of Ohio. For more information, please see the Kolbe & Fanning website at or email David Fanning at df at We look forward to your participation.



Errors have a way of hiding no matter how hard we look for them.  Here's a correction to a photo caption in the upcoming 
Kolbe & Fanning sale.

David Fanning reports that in the process of reviewing the printed catalogue of the upcoming Kolbe & Fanning sale of Oct. 21-22, he found a significant error in the caption for lot 273, the rare 1884 Adolph Weyl catalogue featuring what is now known as the Dexter 1804 dollar. The caption claims that this is the “First Photographic Representation of an 1804 Dollar,” which is not true. The first photographic representation of an 1804 dollar was in Edward Cogan’s 1874 catalogue of the Sanford collection--which one could learn by reading the description of the copy offered as lot 133 of the same sale. The caption for lot 273 should read, “First Photographic Representation of the Dexter 1804 Dollar.” The error has been fixed in both the online catalogue and the PDF posted to the firm’s website at, but unfortunately was only discovered the day the catalogues had been mailed.

For more information about the sale, see:




As noted in earlier articles, sites like may be able to offer better deals for books published in India, but here's a new title available from Below is their overview for a new book on the Imperial punchmarked coins of ancient India.

Imperial Punchmarked Coins of Ancient India: A Case Study of Darai Dangri Hoard, Varansi

Authors (s):	Savita Sharma (Author)
Format:	Hardcover
ISBN-13:	9788173055461
Pages:	xiv+238p., B/w Illustrations 217; 22 X 28cm.
Pub. date:	31.05.2016, 1st. ed.
Publisher:	Aryan Books International
Language (s):	English
BagcheeID:	BB102124
List price:	US $ 180,00
Bagchee price:	US $ 162,00
You save:	(10.00%)
Member price:	US $ 145,80 

India's indigenous coinage is rich and varied, distinguished by regional, cultural and linguistic features and representing imperial and political associations. The class of coins that finds frequent mention in ancient Indian epigraphs and literary sources is the karsapana. Karsapana, also known as Purana or Dharana, are the punch-marked coins which were in circulation throughout ancient India. Many hoards of silver punch-marked coins have been located in sites all over the country. Its widespread availability suggests that it was a standard medium of exchange from about the 6th century BCE.

Every new discovery of a treasure-trove has something new to add to the mine of knowledge extensively compiled by scholars. An earthen pot containing 333 ancient silver punch-marked coins was found in July 1997, from Sarai Dangri village, Varanasi while digging the foundation of a primary school building. These coins were handed over to Bharat Kala Bhavan, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi in 1998 by the District Magistrate of Varanasi. The study of these coins forms the subject matter of this volume. Coins in this hoard, classified as Imperial Karsapana, are datable to circa 4th century to 2nd century BCE, comprising seventy-six varieties.

The volume is divided into four parts: Part I commences with an explanatory introduction outlining the importance of this hoard. This also serves as a comprehensive backdrop of the present study; Part II covers classification and cataloguing. Here an attempt has been made to refer to most of the published material and views, with drawings and illustrations of obverse and reverse of each variety in tabulated form; Part III incorporates the observations on the present study and includes tables of the symbols in detail, as well as a brief description on extra-marks and half-coins; Part IV comprises appendices on weights and chemical analysis based on some coins of the hoard, an EDS Report, dispersal of coins, list of hoards and a bibliography.

The volume should be of immense help to students and scholars of numismatics. They will gain a deeper insight and understanding of Indian numismatics in general and about this remarkable series of silver punch-marked coins in particular.

To read the complete article, see: 

Imperial Punchmarked Coins of Ancient India: A Case Study of Darai Dangri Hoard, Varansi



Here's another new title available from, on the early coinage of Bengal.

Early Coinage of Bengal: c. 2nd Century BC-10th Century AD: With Notes on Harikela and Akara Coins 

Authors (s):	S.K. Bose (Author) , Noman Nasir (Author)
Format:	Hardcover
ISBN-13:	9789351967408
Pages:	x+244p., Illustrations; 45 Colour Plates; 100 B/W; 25cm.
Pub. date:	23.06.2016, 1st. ed.
Publisher:	Mira Bose
Language (s):	English
Bagchee ID:	BB102520
List price:	US $ 142,00
Bagchee price:	US $ 127,80
You save:	(10.00%)
Member price:	US $ 115,02 

Foreword, Preface, Geographical and Political Formations, Life of the People Early Bengal, Communication Waterways, Trade and Commerce Inland and Sea borne Routes, Circulation of Cowrie shells as medium of exchange, Bead and Ornaments, Early Coinage of Bengal Economic Zones a) Chandraketugarh b) Wari-Bateshwar c) Mahasthangarh d) Samanta e) Harikela f) Akara g) Tamralipta h) Puri Kushana i) Sundarbans and Coastal Bengal.

To read the complete article, see: 

Early Coinage of Bengal: c. 2nd Century BC-10th Century AD: With Notes on Harikela and Akara Coins by Nicholas G. Rhodes



 Charles Morgan of CoinWeek published a review September 28, 2016 of the new field guide to numismatic archaeology of North America.  Here's an excerpt.

Numismatic Archaeology of North America: A Field Guide is a book that sought us out. Almost Literally.

In Army chow halls across the country there’s an expression: “Eat First – Taste Later”. That’s certainly a sentiment that carries weight at busy coin shows for your faithful CoinWeek editors. And while we certainly do our best to take in all of the sights and attractions at each of the major coin conventions and auctions we attend throughout the year, it isn’t until we get back to the office, process hour upon hour of footage and follow up with friends and colleagues that we truly get a sense of what we just experienced.

Yet suffice it to say, from the moment we were introduced to the book by the authors we were intrigued.

A flip through the 280+ page, lavishly illustrated book revealed not just the potential usefulness of such a volume – especially for metal detectorists – but also the book’s narrative point of view, which was immediately apparent even though we were just kicking the tires at first.

“Ok, I’m in,” I said. And $50 later, I took my handsome copy of the book and tucked it in amongst my things at the CoinWeek booth.

The book’s introductory chapters describe the origins and development of scientific approaches to numismatics in Europe and how American numismatics is different. Indeed, the United States remains a young country and our archeological history as it comes to money is much different than it is in the so-called “Old World”. But the use of money on the American continent predates European settlement and the mixture of indigenous and invasive cultures presents researchers with a complex, often surprising tapestry of monetary “stories”. And it’s the story that found numismatic material can tell archaeologists that forms the basis of this narrative.

The story of money in North America is a story of Spanish silver and cowrie shells; of wampum, achum, commodity money and money of necessity; of silver and gold coins; of base metal tokens; of paper money, coupons, and scrip. It’s also a story of the intermingling of moneys from faraway cultures and the tales these transplanted stores of value tell us about how these objects were used here, when, and by whom.

It is in the capable telling of this story–written from the perspective of discovery–where Numismatic Archaeology of North America succeeds as an anthropological narrative about money and its exonumic cousins. An unearthed Lincoln cent of recent mintage found a foot or two off of a nature trail may tell an obvious story of human activity in that given area, but what story does a trove of pre-Qing dynasty coins unearthed at a Colorado dig site have to share? Or, for that matter, a cache of Vietnamese phan, yan and dong coinage from 1740-1883?

Numismatic Archaeology of North America: A Field Guide
By Dr. Marjorie H. Akin, Dr. James C. Bard, and Kevin Akin
289 Pages, Routledge. Softback. $50; Hardback $150

Be sure to read the complete review online.
I didn't realize the authors were there or I would have talked to them, too.
It would be refreshing to speak to archaelogists with an open mind about collectors and metal detectorists.
The book sounds like a great guide for all three groups, and perhaps one thing we could all clearly agree on.

We've just heard a numismatist's take.  Do we have any archaelogists or metal detectorists reading this?  I'd love to read your review of the book.  It will be interesting to see how it is perceived in these other disciplines.

See another article elsewhere in this issue about authors Margie and Kevin Akin and their analysis of Asian coins recovered in Deadwood, SD.  


To read the complete article, see: 

First Read: Numismatic Archaeology of North America: A Field Guide




Michael Bugeja published a review on September 29, 2016 on Coin Update of the 2nd edition of David Schwager’s Sample Slabs catalog.

Numismatic writer David Schwager’s Sample Slabs catalog—a behemoth 620-page compendium of sample coin and currency holders from dozens of companies, including NGC and PCGS—is a fascinating study in “buying the holder, not the coin.” Well, maybe that’s an overstatement because the work is so well written, researched and illustrated that you may want one, as I did, for a personal numismatic library.

I have been interested in the design of holders ever since purchasing a silver dollar in a PCGS Regency holder. Earlier this month one such “sample” holder, believed to be the only one of its kind, sold on eBay for $3,449.99. Owned by numismatist Michael Kittle, who purchased the holder at the ANA World’s Fair of Money in Anaheim.

Here’s what it looks like:

Kittle saw Schwager at the Anaheim show shortly after he bought the PCGS Regency sample slab. “I showed it to him to see if he had ever seen one before and he said he couldn’t even believe what he was looking at,” Kittle said.  “He told me if one had been known before, it would have been on the cover of his book.”

Schwager’s book not only catalogs slabs but also explains how to collect them. Each entry has a designation identifying the company, coin, and other attributes, along with a narrative and estimated value. “You and I will probably never discover a VAM silver dollar variety,” he writes, “but we will discover samples unlisted in any reference.”

That is precisely what Kittle did at the ANA show, and it paid off handsomely.

Schwager explains several ways to begin collecting sample slabs. Before we get to the explanation, you should keep in mind that the word “sample” is key here. NGC “Black Slabs” and PCGS Regency and Doily slabs sell for premiums with coins inside, too; in fact, an NGC Black Slab with a 1946-D Half Dollar sold on the same day as Kittle’s Regency holder for $3,740 (realized price) in a GreatCollections sale. What made Kittle’s holder special (and some might say, a bargain) was the word “sample.” Certainly, you can collect holders without that word but you also will be paying for the coin inside. Schwager’s book is geared to the hundreds of hobbyists who collect sample slabs for the slabs themselves.

As an added bonus, Schwager’s book also includes currency holders. 

I understand the motto, “buy the coin, not the holder,” and I also understand that many readers here would never consider paying top dollar for a piece of plastic. But there is another way to look at it: These holders are part of collecting history, and the pursuit of collecting is really the fun part of what we do as hobbyists.

So what do you think? Do you collect sample holders? Would you consider doing so? If not, here’s a thought: You may just want to purchase this book and save your hobbyist dollars for coins rather than plastic.

I recommend Schwager’s catalog not only for the sharp photos of holders but also for his concise descriptions full of history and anecdotes. The work sells in softcover for $26 plus $5 shipping. You can get a PDF version for $12, or both book and PDF for $31 plus $5 shipping.

Click here for ordering information:

To read the complete article, see: 

Review: “Sample Slabs” (2nd ed.), by David Schwager


David Schwager published Sample Slab Update #14 (the newsletter for sample slab collectors) in October 1, 2016.  Here's an excerpt with more information.

A PCGS Regency sample slab, the first one known to exist,
sold for $3,449.99 in an eBay auction on September 18. This far
exceeds the previous record high price for a single sample of
$609 paid for a PCGS hand-cut doily (catalog PCGS-010-2-2)
in March of this year.

Although TPG authority Conder101 mentioned a rumored
sighting at a Long Beach Expo in 2007, this is the first
confirmed news of the existence of a PCGS Regency holder
labeled “sample.”As reported in the last Sample Slab Update,
Los Angeles-area coin dealer Mike Kittle bought the slab from
its original owner at the ANA World’s Fair of Money in August
2016. The Byron Reed Collection mentioned on the label refers
to a 19th century collector who endowed the Durham Museum
in Omaha to display his coin and other collections. The prior
owner of this holder, who worked for an auction house and
had PCGS connections, had the holder made as part of an
attempt to persuade the Durham Museum to consign its
unneeded coins for sale.

While displaying the holder at the August ANA and September
Long Beach shows, Mike received several strong offers. Rather
than accept one of the offers and risk hurting the feelings of his other customers, he decided that a public
auction was the fairest choice. The one week eBay auction started at 99 cents and grew to over $1,000 in the
first day. By the final day, the slab reached $2,000+, and last minute bidding pushed the auction to its final
total of $3,449.99. The impressive amount for this and an NGC black holder sold by Great Collections on the
same night prompted a Coin World post by Michael Bugeja highlighting the sales.

Let me congratulate the winning bidder on his acquisition. This could be the only time in many years that a
Regency sample becomes available to the sample collecting fraternity.

To read the complete newsletter, see:



The latest addition to the Newman Numismatic Portal is Bunyan’s Chips, the journal of the IOWMC.  Project Coordinator Len Augsburger provided this  report.

The Newman Portal has scanned Bunyan’s Chips, the journal of the International Organization of Wooden Money Collectors (IOWMC), for the period 1964-2016. The inaugural issue stated “there are wooden nickels being issued constantly and it is humanly impossible for any one person to get a list of all of them.” Even with the power of the Internet and billions of users, this statement rings true even today. The best that can be done is to connect wooden money collectors, publish their collections and latest findings, and let the trading commence. The IOWMC group has done precisely that for over half a century. The group’s publication can further boast of one of the best named columns in a numismatic periodical, namely the president’s remarks in each issue, which appear under the title “The Wood Pile.” Many thanks to Darrell Luedtke, Bunyan’s Chips editor, for assistance with this project.

Link to Bunyan’s Chips on NNP:



 Conder Tokens and Other Topics 

Dave Bowers writes:

Very nice issue.
I love Conder tokens! Someone should write a book about Thomas Spence!
Emery May Holden Norweb collected books with fore-edge paintings. I enjoyed several she showed me in the family NYC home in River House.
The coverage of PAN is impressive.

Dave included the images of a token and Virtuoso's Companion, an early book covering Conder tokens.

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see: 







 Caesar the Elephant 

David Pickup writes:

In 1980 (roughly) I bought a Caesar denarius with the elephant. It was found in a place called Orsett in Essex. I was interested to read that the word “caesar” in Punic means elephant so it is a Punic pun.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: 



 More on the COYN Press 
Last week George Cuhaj wrote:

In the early 1970s there was a group called the Junior Numismatic Correspondence Club of America.
When I was involved in it from 1974-77 they were publishing a mineograph type bi-monthly newsletter with YN authored articles and drawings. I met many of the group at the YN meetings during the ANA New York show. Lorry Kiessing, Larry Hample, and Paul Johnson (Now RCNA executive director) were all early members of the group.

As YNs tend to grow up and rotate out, its successor group was called the Confederation of Young Numismatists (COYN) which published COYN Press for a few issues.

George forwarded this image of John Pittman's wife holding a copy of COYN PRESS. George took the photo at the  founding COYN meeting at the London, Ontario, Canadian Numismatic Association convention.  Does anyone have a run of this periodical?
I'm guessing it's pretty rare.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: 



 Another Captain Cook Resolution and Adventure Medal 
Gene Anderson writes:

I enjoyed the brief discussion about the Resolution and Adventure medal of Captain Cook the past two weeks in the E-Sylum. I have an article that should be published in the November issue of The Numismatist about this medal. It was great fun doing the research.  

One of the best articles I came across was written by Peter Lane and published in the April 2009 issue of the Journal of the National Museum of Australia. He lists 21 recovered medals: Bruny Island (1), New Zealand (11), Tahiti (2), BoraBora (1),
Vanuatu (1), Society Islands (2) New Caledonia (2), and Canada (1). The key players in this drama, James Cook and Joseph Banks, are such interesting people. Attached are pictures of my example.

Thanks.  Nice medal!  We'll look forward to the article.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: 

NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: SEPTEMBER 25, 2016 : More on Captain Cook’s Resolution and Adventure Medal 


 Antony Macaroni and the Barter Street Bookshop
Tom Sheehan writes:

I saw this while in Edinburgh. Tony Macaroni used an image of Antony from a Roman coin in the sign.
We were there during the "Fringe Festival". 

Thanks. Coins are everywhere, when you know to look for them.
Tom also sent this image of a London bookstore on Barter Street, a perfect place to haggle with sellers.


Web site reader Gerard (Gerhardus) von Hebel writes:

I saw the web site article 
in which Dick Johnson wrote about the engraver Engelhardus von Hebel. He noted that he was born in Germany in 1892. Engelhardus (or Engelhardt) was my great-uncle (my grandfather’s brother) and he was born in the Netherlands in the city of Groningen. The surname sounds unmistakably German, but the family had been resident in the Netherlands for about three generations at the time of his birth. 

I personally never knew him, but I still own a letter he sent from the USA to my father. Engelhardus was also a sculptor who participated in the sculpting of the facades of the building of the Groningen Provincial  Authority “Provinciehuis” in the second decade of the 20th century. I include a picture of that building (where I once worked).

Thank you, and thanks also to former NBS Treasurer David SUndman for forwarding this reader note.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: 




Bill Groom submitted this question for our readers about two counterstamped copper coins.  Thanks.

I'm wanting to solicit the thoughts of our learned E-Sylum readers as regards the two counterstamped coppers, pictured below. Acquired separately, I've had them for many years now. 
The smaller piece is about the size of a British halfpenny, and the second coin is a Connecticut cent.

While Brunk does not as yet list the smaller piece, he does list the Connecticut cent; this, in addition to the same counterstamp on a 1788 Vermont cent (Brunk # P-14).  I would note that there is a slight error in the Brunk listing; this, being the addition of a second period or stop, following the letter C. The counterstamp actually appears as:  B / D.CP   The smaller piece is quite worn, and that stamp may be either: B / CVN  or  B / C.VN

Closeups: B / C.VN and B / D.CP

Dr. Brunk noted that, in marks such as these, the initial letter, B (on both coins here), typically represented a town. He logically surmised that the P-14 issues emanated from New England.

Counterstamped British Halfpenny

Counterstamped Connecticut Cent

Given the similar style of my two pieces, perhaps they were from the same town ... Boston? 

Although the P-14's are listed as merchant tokens by Brunk, these are quite different. I've long been struck by their similarity in style to the Albany Church Penny. Might these have been used as Church Pennies as well?  I long ago mused that the D.CP might stand for "Dutch Church Penny" or perhaps, something similar?

Well, having labored over this puzzle for a few decades now, I've decided to see if someone else can attribute either or both of these curiosities. Readers, have at it!

What a great numismatic mystery - can anyone help solve it?  For reference, here is an image of an Albany Church Penny.

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see: 





BENNO LOEWY (1854-1919)

John Lupia submitted the following information from his   Encyclopedic Dictionary of Numismatic Biographies for this week's installment of his series. Thanks! As always, this is an excerpt with the full article and bibliography available online. This week's subject is 
New York attorney, stamp and Masonic numismatics collector Benno Loewy.

Benno Loewy (1854-1919), was born in Berlin, Germany on 14 June, 1854, of Jewish parents, his father Adolph Loewy, a Rabbi. He moved to America with his family in 1866 and settled in New York City and lived at 296 Ninth Avenue. He attended Public School No. 19. He graduated City College (now C.U.N.Y.) B.A. 1873, and continued earning a Law degree from Columbia University, Law School, L.L.B., 1874. In 1875 he was admitted to the Bar. He was a highly respected attorney who specialized as a trial lawyer. He was active in arts and entertainment, an aficionado of the theatre and writer, active in the Freemasons and numismatics, and a bibliomaniac. According to his 1912 Passport Application description he was 5'-5" with brown and white hair.

            While a college student at City College he published, The Truth About Love : A Proposed Sexual Morality Based upon the Doctrine of Evolution, and Recent Discoveries in Medical Science. (New York, 1872)

            On 27 February 1883 he married American born of Austrian parents, Isabelle "Belle" Kohler (1859-1944), at the Hotel Brunswick, New York. As a young lawyer in the 1870's  he was a champion of equal rights for women and their right to vote, which became realized after his demise.

He was a member of B'nai B'rith, the Free Sons of Israel and various Jewish charities. He became the President of the B'nai B'rith Lodge No. 19, also the Free Sons of Israel Aryeh Lodge No. 6. From 1893 he became a Freemason at National Lodge No. 209, and was an avid collector of Masonic literature, medals, tokens, pennies, badges and insignia. He also served as High Priest at the Crescent Chapter No. 220, and served on the Adelphic Council. In 1905 was made the Grand Master being a 33 degree Master of the Scottish Rites and represented the Lodge of Hamburg, Germany in New York.

Benno Loewy was an avid collector of Masonic numismatic material and frequently corresponded with the Chapman Brothers beginning in Spring of 1903. He became a member of the ANS in 1903, and also the ANA in October 1905. With William Poillon, and Dr. W. T. R. Marvin he was the editor on Masonic Medals and Tokens for the American Journal of Numismatics. He also donated Masonic Mark Pennies and Medals to the ANS collection in 1907.

                In 1905 Loewy published a Bibliography on Masonic Medals and Badges, and included Chapter or Mark Pennies.

In October 1913 he exhibited over 100 rare postage stamps valued over $30,000 at the New York International Stamp Exhibition held from October 27-November 1, 1913 at the Engineering Societies Building, East 40th Street, New York City. Loewy and Col. E. H. R. Green were steady clients of American Philatelic Society Hall of Fame dealer, auctioneer, and specialist on postmarks, Percy Gray Doane (1877-1945) .

 He was killed on 19 August in New York City being hit by a truck near his home at 22 West 88th Street. Rabbi Joseph Silverman of Temple Emmanuel officiated at his funeral at Loewy's home. He is buried in Salem Fields Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York.

To read the complete article, see: 



 SELECTIONS FROM THE JOHN HUFFMAN LIBRARY: Browse and Shop Approximately 3,000 Numismatic Books from the Respected Library
 of John Huffman—All Books Recently Discounted 40%. Click here or go to click on “All Subjects” and select “John Huffman Collection”

FARRAN ZERBE (1871-1949)

Charles Morgan forwarded this CoinWeek article by David Alexander on the tireless numismatic promoter Farran Zerbe.  Thanks!  Here's a short excerpt.

Collecting in small towns and rural areas could only flourish after Rural Free Delivery expedited the mail and until the expansion of America’s railroads linked the hinterland to the urban centers. This was the hour of what historian John Kleeberg calls the “small-town intelligentsia”: doctors, dentists, lawyers and clergymen began to discover numismatics and spread appreciation of coin collecting across the map.

While the [American Numismatic Association] was taking shape, an up-and-coming youngster had begun his epic numismatic career as a newsboy in the small industrial city of Tyrone in south-central Pennsylvania. Joseph Farran Zerbe was born April 16, 1871 to James Albert and Bridget Mary (née McAvoy) Zerbe. The Zerbe family was reasonably prosperous though by no means wealthy, and a public school education equipped the boy for the world.

Dropping the “Joseph” early in life, Farran was soon at work as a paper carrier for the Tyrone Daily Herald in 1880-1889. One fine day in 1882 a customer fobbed off on the unsuspecting youth a French silver 50-centime piece as a dime, launching his lifelong interest in foreign coins.

According to the March 1900 issue of The Numismatist, he was soon conducting a varied retail business in his native Tyrone as “Coin” Zerbe, offering all kinds of necessaries or variety goods at his store as well as coins through the mail.

Zerbe developed an interest in numismatic writing despite an inadequate education in the English language that persisted throughout his career. In 1899 he published a slim pamphlet, “Just What You Should Know, Nut Shell Facts on Coins, Stamps & Paper Money”, that is today a major rarity. He joined the ANA in 1900 and the March 1900 issue of The Numismatist noted his business name of Coin Zerbe in Tyrone in its review of American coin dealers.

>From 1900 until the late 1920s, Zerbe played several roles on the numismatic stage: coin dealer, ANA leader and publisher, exhibitor-showman, writer, and later curator of a nationally publicized museum in New York City. Frequently these roles overlapped and generated varying degrees of controversy.

This is a lengthy article with a lot of great information about  Zerbe, the ANA, The Numismatist, and the National Numismatic Collection.  Be sure to read the rest online - there's a LOT more there.

To read the complete article, see: 

Farran Zerbe: Numismatist – Promoter – Hustler




The eminent British token and medal dealer John Whitmore passed away on August 7, 2016.  Thanks to reader Charles Farthing for letting us know.  John was involved in the Conder Token Collector's Club.  Philip Mernick also assisted, connecting me with Paul Withers and Garry Charman, who wrote an obituary of Whitmore in the UK magazine Coin News.

Paul Withers writes:

John Whitmore had been a friend for for half a century.
I compiled the following from the eulogy given at his funeral, Garry Charman's obituary in Coin News and personal knowledge.  John introduced me to Garry at a coin fair in Cheltenham in - I'm not quite sure when, but it was probably around 1970.

Thanks.  Here's Paul's remembrance of John Whitmore.   

John Whitmore passed away on the 7th of August 2016 at the age of 84, surrounded by his family, after a short illness.  He is survived by his wife and two daughters.

In 1969 John and his wife Stella turned what had been a hobby into a full time business, initially trading under the name of 'Lickey Coins'.

Most collectors will be familiar with the later Whitmore sales lists, issued from 1983 onwards after their move to Malvern.
He had extensive knowledge of both tokens and commemorative medals. His interest, especially in pub checks and unofficial farthings, led into numismatic research and the publication of several works including 'The Token Collectors Companion', which is used by many collectors.

His numismatic knowledge covered many areas including world coins and historical medals.

John, before he became a coin dealer had been a senior tax inspector, which enabled him to lead the discussions with the Treasury for the BNTA, the British Numismatic Trade Association, as he was an expert in speaking and understanding officialese and the civil service mind. 

He was influential in the development of the association, serving on its council, many of its committees and for many years was its honorary treasurer.  In 1999 he was granted honorary life membership, one of only four people to be so honoured in the forty-three year history of the organisation.
His interests, apart from coins, were varied and included classical music, cricket, sci-fi and ornithology, and woe betide anyone who rang him when the Archers programme was on the radio in the evening.  He and Stella enjoyed visiting places to see the interesting fauna and flora, both in Britain and abroad.

His general knowledge was amazing. If you asked him a question on any subject, he would come back with an answer. On the odd occasion when he could not, he would say he was not sure, but said what he thought the answer might be. On checking he was invariably correct!  He would have been the perfect ‘friend to phone’.

The numismatic world is richer because of his contribution and we are all poorer for his passing, but those who met him will remember him with pleasure.

For more information on Coin News, or to subscribe, see:



Joe Esposito writes:

Dave Harper published an article that I wrote on Hemingway and numismatics in the September 20, 2016 issue of Numismatic News under the headline “Hemingway gets his numismatic due.”  It is an interesting article.  It is not available digitally, but I posted it on my history blog. 

Here's an excerpt!

It has been 55 years since the death of Ernest Hemingway, one of the great writers of the twentieth century. On July 2, 1961, Hemingway, suffering from serious physical and mental problems, committed suicide in Ketchum, Idaho.

I have been studying Hemingway in connection with other research.  In the process, I have come across several coins and medals that honor him and well as some other numismatist connections. Cuba, where the author lived for twenty years and had ties for much longer, has issued four Hemingway coins. 

Hemingway loved Cuba and the Cuban people, and he was treated as a celebrity.  He had a grim view of Castro’s predecessor, Fulgenico Batista, and was hopeful that Fidel Castro would improve the lot of the Cubans.  Castro later seized Hemingway’s house, nine miles outside of Havana, and today it is a shrine owned by the government.

Three of the Cuban coins were issued in 1982:  a silver five-peso with Hemingway’s image on the obverse along with his life dates; a five-peso which paid tribute to his Nobel Prize and The Old Man and the Sea novel (there is an image of a fisherman, presumably “Santiago,” in the small boat on the reverse); and another five-peso coin with Hemingway’s fishing boat, Pilar, on the reverse.

The fourth, and perhaps the most interesting, coin is a 2010 Cuban five-peso copper with Hemingway and Castro on the reverse.  It commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of the only meeting between the two men.  Castro participated in Hemingway’s marlin fishing tournament, and won. 

Elsewhere in the region, Jamaica issue a seven-coin proof set in 1994, and one of the coins was a five-dollar Hemingway coin with the image of the author and the fisherman on a boat in the water.

Thanks to Joe and Dave for writing and publishing this.  
See Joe's blog online for more, including a link to an earlier discussion in The E-Sylum.
But before closing, here's one highlight.

But for me the most noteworthy numismatic item of Hemingway is an 81-mm bronze medal produced by the French-Spanish medalist Andre Belo.  It has an obverse portrait of Hemingway and an impressionistic account of Santiago, the old fisherman, struggling to reel in a marlin on the reverse.  The legend in lower-case letters:  “le vieil homme et la mer” [the old man and the sea].

A copy of this medal sits in my office, sometimes offering inspiration for writing.  Although certainly not rare, it is one of my favorite medals. It was issued in 1976 by the Monnaie de Paris (Paris Mint).

Among other works by Belo, who was born in 1908, are medals of composer Henri Sauguet, literary critic Charles Sainte-Beuve, musician Erik Satie and writer George Sand (Amantine-Lucile-Aurore Dupin)--all French--as well as “The Afternoon of a Faun.”

There are some other interesting items related to Hemingway and numismatics.  He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954 and donated his gold medal to a provincial Cuban Catholic church.  The medal was stolen in the 1980s, but was recovered and is now closely held by the Catholic Church.

Alas, I've never been to Cuba but would like to visit one day and perhaps see some of the locations connected to Hemingway.

To read the complete article, see: 

Ernest Hemingway and Numismatics



A trio of Coin World articles this week relate to numismatic literature.
A September 30, 2016 piece by Steve Roach discusses the recent sale of a copy of the Eckfeldt-DuBois book containing a sample of California gold.

An 1850 numismatic book related to the California Gold Rush sold for $10,625 on Sept. 21 as part of Bonhams’ Fine Books and Manuscripts auction in New York City. 

New Varieties of Gold and Silver Coins, Counterfeit Coins, and Bullion; with Mint Values by Jacob Reese Eckfeldt and William E. Du Bois, was published by the authors in Philadelphia and sold both in Philadelphia and through the agencies of Adams & Co. in Panama and San Francisco. It’s considered a key reference book documenting the start of gold mining in California and the Gold Rush and helped supplement an earlier book by the authors published in 1842. 

The cover is beautiful, with embossed gold-tone coins reproducing contemporary circulating U.S. gold coins including the new Coronet double eagle, which was introduced for circulation in 1850. The book includes a leaf of “California and Mormon Coins” embossed in gold. 

The lot at Bonhams was noteworthy for being in the former collection of Henry E. Huntington, the American railroad magnate and collector of rare books who today is perhaps best known through the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens on his former estate at San Marino, near Pasadena. 

The authors were assayers for the Philadelphia Mint and the book was intended as a guide to familiarize readers with new developments in the field, specifically with the discovery of gold in California. It goes beyond official U.S. Mint issues and pioneer gold issues to include various world coins including Chinese coins. 

The book is well-known for its colorful language on contemporary Chinese coins. Writing on the Chinese cash coin the authors state, “The trashy coin of this great empire deserves notice only by way of recreation,” noting, “so hard is it to fasten a value upon that which is valueless. A carpenter or tailor, we are told, receives 160 of them (say thirteen cents) for a day’s work; of which sixty are required for the daily bread. The coin is extremely convenient for alms-giving, a single piece being the usual quietus for a beggar.”

Adding to the book’s desirability is the inclusion of samples of California grain and bar gold on page 45, mounted below a mica disc. The intent of including the gold was to help readers distinguish between alloyed and unalloyed gold. 

To read the complete article, see: 

Book with special content linked to California Gold Rush brings high price


Coin World managing editor Bill Gibbs acknowledged these articles and the importance of numismatic literature in his Bill's Corner column. Here's an excerpt.

Numismatic books have been leading the news recently. In the past month, the newly released fifth edition of Q. David Bowers’ A Guide Book of Morgan Silver Dollars sold out almost immediately. Whitman publisher Dennis Tucker explained: “Part of the strong demand for this edition comes from the recently revealed discovery of hubs, dies, and models for a 1964 Morgan dollar. This exciting announcement was made in late August, and demand for the book skyrocketed in September.” The book features on its cover the photograph of a hub for the 1964 Morgan dollar, with more photographs and details of the discovery inside. Since the existence of models, hubs and dies for an 1964 Morgan dollar were unknown until the book was announced, collectors were eager to share in this exciting news by purchasing a copy. (And Dennis promises that thousands more copies of the book will be available soon.)

Numismatic literature can inspire, inform, educate and, on some occasions, give bad advice. For collectors, a good library is a vital tool in their hobby.

Read any good books lately? 


Many thanks to Coin World for focusing on what w numismatic bibliophiles so dearly love.   If you're not already a subscriber, become one, and visit their web site regularly.




In his Coin World Numismatic Bookie column, Joel Orosz discusses the track record of a 1960s numismatic market forecaster.

Last month, we discussed the first book written about speculating in — as opposed to collecting — U.S. coins, A Guide to Coin Investment (published in 1957), and its estimable author, Dr. Robert Bilinski. This month we meet the man once described as Bilinski’s “evil twin,” the author of The Profit March series on coin investment, the Barnumesque George Haylings. 

Mr. Haylings left Detroit for California during the Great Depression, and shivered through two years living in a tent until he discovered, as one of his book titles put it, 125 Ways to Make Money with Your Typewriter. Haylings turned out a series of how-to-earn-a-quick-buck books, including two with chapters advising readers to invest in coins: Hidden Dollars (1947) and Vacations Unlimited (1952). By 1960, the long postwar bull market in coins inspired Haylings to write The Profit March of Your Coins from 1935 to 1968. 

Dr. Bilinski had extensively researched the coin market and used data to make conservative projections of future price performance. Haylings’ methods combined hype, uncritical extrapolation of past results, and wildly optimistic predictions. There were a million coin collectors in 1954, 3 million in 1960, and would be 5 million in 1966. In the go-go coin market of the early 1960s, Haylings looked like a prophet.

In 1964 he wrote The Profit March of Your Coin Investment, 1935–1971, twice as long as his first Profit March, and 10 times as enthusiastic about speculating in coins: “… the most astounding investment to be found on earth today!” Now he predicted that soon there would be 20 million coin collectors!

Haylings crowed that rare coin prices had risen “… over the past 29 years, with all indications that the same relentless increase in prices will go right on for the next 29 years.” The stretch from 1964 to 1993, however, proved a roller coaster for the rare coin market, with three boom periods and three busts, starting with a market meltdown in 1966.

This explains why so many of Hayling’s 1964 profit predictions for 1971 were laughably lousy. Four examples:

1942-S Lincoln cent — Haylings’ prediction: $2,315 per roll. Actual: $125.

1937 Proof set — Haylings’ prediction: $1,390. Actual: $350.

1952-D Jefferson 5-cent coin — “The sleeper of all time, in my opinion.” Haylings’ prediction: $2,175 per roll. Actual (still sleeping): $87. 

1950-D 5-cent coin — “The king of all rolls! Number one on the ‘top’ list! Without a doubt the gilt-edged security in the coin investment field. I am predicting that the price will be $10,000 per roll … in 1971, 157 times the 1954 price!” Actual: less than $50 per roll. Did Haylings eventually feel guilty for calling it “gilt-edged”? 

He wrote another Profit March book in 1964, focusing on Indian Head 5-cent coins and small cents. Eventually, however, readers realized that profits were marching to Mr. Haylings, but not to them, and demand for his investment guides evaporated. 

The Profit March series still provides unintentionally hilarious reading. Haylings’ pie-in-the-sky predictions offer endless chuckles, but don’t overlook his coin care suggestions. In the last-named book, he recommends tumbling Uncirculated coins in powdered stearic acid and rubbing them with a chamois cloth before putting them into a plastic storage tube. Kids: DO NOT try this at home!

To read the complete article, see: 

George Haylings was a prophet who was wrong on coin investments


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