The E-Sylum v21n31 August 5, 2018

The E-Sylum esylum at
Sun Aug 5 19:04:31 PDT 2018

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

Volume 21, Number 31, August 5, 2018
MICHAEL METRAS (1943-2018)

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Content presented in The E-Sylum  is not necessarily researched or independently fact-checked, and views expressed do not necessarily represent those of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


New subscribers this week include: 
the folks at World Numismatics, courtesy of Pablo Hoffman; and
David Taylor.
Welcome aboard! We now have 5,777 subscribers.

Thank you for reading The E-Sylum. If you enjoy it, please send me the email addresses of friends you think may enjoy it as well and I'll send them a subscription (but let me know if they are located in the European Union). Contact me at whomren at anytime regarding your subscription, or questions, comments or suggestions about our content. 

This week we open with a reminder of NBS events at the 2018 ANA World's Fair of Money, two new books, three reviews, an obituary and an update from the Newman Numismatic Portal.

Other topics this week include the term "circulated cameo", U.S. Mint engraver John Sinnock, early American engraver James Smithers, J.N.T. Levick, Dr. George P. French, sculptors Heidi Wastweet and Jeanne Stevens-Sollman, and Crane paper company.

To learn more about Canadian Tire money, the coins of Vermont, Mexican paper money, egging coins, trail dies, the Nitroglycerin Corporation medal, Hodges’ New Bank Note Delineator, counterfeits, Victoria & Abdul, swinging medallic art conferences, paper money and women's underwear, read on. Have a great week, everyone!

Wayne Homren 
Editor, The E-Sylum


Here's a reminder of Numismatic Bibliomania Society events at the upcoming American Numismatic Association convention.  I plan to be at all o them, and hope to see a number of NBS members and E-Sylum readers there as well.

Schedule of NBS events at this year’s ANA Convention

Please visit us at Table 1414 on the bourse near the Kolbe & Fanning and Charles Davis Numismatic Literature tables.

11:30 to 1:00 NBS Board Meeting (open to members), Room 120C

1:00 to 2:30 NBS Symposium, Room 120C
Speaker: Roger Burdette on research at the National Archives.

11:30 to 1:30 NBS General Meeting and Fundraising Auction, Room 117
Speaker: David Fanning on current state of numismatic literature market.
The Asylum Award winners will be announced.

All events take place in the Philadelphia Convention Center.

Send your photos (JPGs with captions) of NBS members and events from the ANA to 

nbsasylum at
 by September 1 to be included in The Asylum Fall issue.

Dan Hamelberg adds:

I am going to bring my M.A. Brown sale and plates to the ANA for NBS display.  This was an SH & H Chapman sale on April 16-17, 1897 and was originally intended to be a large format plated catalog with four photographic plates of large cents.  At the time, the Treasury Department was somewhat concerned about any U.S. coins or currencies being reproduced by a photographic process.  Treasury agents gained information about the pending Chapman  M.A. Brown Sale with photographic plates (could it be that some competitor was upset?) and they seized the original glass negatives and destroyed them before the catalogue could be completed.  

However, two sets of proof prints were produced before the glass negatives were taken. One of the sets was cut horizontally through the center so it could fit into the smaller size catalogue.  The other set survived intact in its original full-size format.  I can bring both sets of plates along with the firm's bid book containing prices and names.  I also have a second copy with prices and names along with interesting notations. 

The Chapmans produced 46 total regular plated catalogs.  The M.A. Brown sale plates are unique.  Without U. S. Treasury glass negatives confiscation, the number of Chapman plated sales would have increased by one.  Perhaps more plated catalogs might have been produced as well without the expectation of possible seizures of photographic plate negatives.  In any event, the Chapman plated catalogs are considered a high point of late 19th and early 20th century plated coin auction catalogs produced in the United States, and a high point of any numismatic literature collection. 

Thanks, Dan.  We'll look forward to this!  Fascinating numismatic history.


Each year at the ANA World’s Fair of Money, the Numismatic Bibliomania Society conducts a benefit auction to raise funds for the organization. All items sold are donated to the NBS by members and 100% of the proceeds go to the NBS treasury. 

This year, we are trying to increase participation in the auction by distributing a catalogue of the sale to all NBS members so that members unable to attend in person can participate. You can 

download a PDF of the catalogue here

Absentee bids should be sent to David Fanning at 
df at
 by the end of Thursday, August 16. The sale will take place on Friday, August 17 as part of the NBS General Meeting, to be held in Room 117 of the Philadelphia Convention Center from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Please read the terms of sale before bidding.

Thank you for your support of the NBS!

As noted last time, there are some great lots in the sale at multiple pricepoints - something for everyone.   If you can't attend the sale, please do review the catalog and enter some bids.

To download the catalogue, see:



Copies of John Dannreuther's new book on United States proof coins will be shipping soon, but if you move fast you can still get the pre-publication discount announced earlier.

JD writes:

My container from China arrived Thursday and will be delivered to my storage facility on Tuesday.   The pre-pub price of $195 will be good until Wednesday August 8, 2018, when the price will become $250.

I confirmed that checks postmarked through August 7, 2018 will qualify for the prepublication price.  Purchases can also be made online at the web site.  Here's the earlier announcement with more information on the book and how to order.

Before this work the only full-length treatise on United States Proof coins was Walter Breen’s 1977 encyclopedia that later was revised in 1989. Although that seminal book moved the scholarship light years forward, its main drawback was its lack of illustrations. It was published before the digital age and was written on typewriter and laid out in the way books were done for generations. Thirty-five-millimeter photographs were cut and pasted into a layout and that layout was converted to a transparency called a “blue.” From the blues, a printed book was produced.

   This volume on Proof gold has nearly 2,000 illustrations and every Proof gold variety either has a full color photograph or a close-up illustration of its pertinent features. This is only possible because of digital photography and software for a work of this magnitude. Details that previously only could be verbally described is now illustrated with such clarity that words are now secondary. Noting the date’s position by where an imaginary vertical line aligns with the left base of the 1 digit aligns with a dentil below it is still noted in this work, but many date positions have obvious other differences. Micro photographs of date positions illustrate these differences and allow easy identification of varieties.

   After 1840, nearly all United States coins were produced from completely hubbed dies. Thus, the differences in Proof and circulation strike dies after this point often are the position of the hand-punched dates and little else. Reverse dies are even harder to differentiate, as the ones from Philadelphia (the majority of the Proof coins in this book) usually differ only in post-hubbing features. There is no mintmark in a different position for Philadelphia Proofs to distinguish varieties, as they do not have them!

   In the past, collectors wanted one example of each date and Proofs were the ultimate collector coins. Today, collectors want both Proof and Mint State examples, so Proofs have lost some of their luster, as many collectors today have concentrated on rare circulation strike issues or common issues in very high grades. Admittedly, some of this focus is deserved, as there are many rare issues and there are numerous common-date coins that are very difficult to find in ultimate states of preservation. However, the collectors of the past appreciated the “Coiner’s Caviar” as Proofs were the best coins produced by the United States Mint and those throughout the world. Today, nearly every mint in the world produces Proof coinage – the ultimate examples of their coinage. Mints are proud of their coinage and Proof coins are the ultimate examples of their output. The care in producing and preparing the dies and planchets results in nearly perfect coins. They are miniature works
  of art!

   Hopefully, these four volumes (this work on gold, followed by silver, copper, and nickel treatises) will cause a renaissance in collecting Proofs. In reality, Proof gold coins are among the most sought after and desirable issues in United States numismatics, but the other metals in the ultimate format have languished in recent years. Proof eagles and double eagles are highlights in dealer’s cases and auctions, just as one can imagine they were throughout the years past.

   These four works will systematically identify every known Proof variety issued by the United States prior to 1916. By doing this, collectors will then be able to assemble variety sets of Proofs just as they do for large cents by Sheldon and Newcomb varieties, half dollars by Overton numbers, and the other circulation series that have been extensively studied and have had their varieties enumerated.

   The author hopes that collectors, dealers, and others interested in numismatics will enjoy reading these works as much as the author enjoyed writing them. It is the culmination of a life-long fascination with the Mint’s pinnacle of their output – the best examples of the coiner’s work – Proof coins.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: 



For more information, or to order, see:


The Canadian Tire Coupon Collectors Club has published a new edition of their catalog of Canadian Tire Money and associated coupons. -

The 2018 Canadian Tire Numismatic Catalogue contains all the regular issues of notes issued by the Corporation, the Petroleum division and Simard-Montcalm. The large majority are made by Canadian Banknote Company and British American Bank Note.

All notes issued until the end of July 2018 are included.

There are nearly 1200 images describing the notes.  This catalogue is in full color and the format is 8.5” x 11” and has 148 pages.

For more information, or to order, see: 

2018 Canadian Tire Numismatic Catalogue – Printed Copy


2018 Canadian Tire Numismatic Catalogue – Downloadable



In her email Newsletter #79, Shanna Schmidt recommends the new book on coinage of Akragas by Ulla Westermark, and links to a review in Coinsweekly. 

Ulla Westermark book on the Coinage of Akragas

Ulla Westermark, a distinguished academic from Sweden, has published a comprehensive study on the coinage of Akragas. A wonderful article written by Coinsweekly discusses Ms. Westermark’s long journey in getting the two-volume set published. It is available for a reasonable amount through Uppsala University in Sweden. Here is a link for purchasing the book and also a link to the article in CoinsWeekly. I encourage you to purchase a copy for your library if you have any interest in the beautiful coinage of Akragas.


Chris McDowell, Editor of the Journal of Early American Numismatics (JEAN) published a review of Dave Bowers' new book on The Copper Coins of Vermont on CoinWeek August 1, 2018.  Be sure to read the complete article online.

Q. David Bowers’ newest book, The Copper Coins of Vermont and Interrelated Issues 1783-1788 is the culmination of over 60 years of study devoted to numismatics and the Vermont copper series. Since 1952 Bowers’ contributions to the “Hobby of Kings” have gone unabated and with the passing of Eric Newman, Dave now assumes the mantle of Elder Statesman of the hobby and is perhaps the greatest ambassador coin collecting has ever known. Fortunately for us, Dave is far from retiring as his latest book demonstrates he has much left to offer.

To read the complete article, see: 

Dave Bowers’ Newest Book on Vermont Coppers Has Something for Everyone


To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: 




Pablo Hoffman submitted this review of Mexican Paper Money, 2nd edition.  Thank you!

MEXICAN PAPER MONEY, 2017 2nd Edition

edited by Corey Frampton, Duane Douglas, Alberto Hidalgo & Elmer Powell.

World Numismatics, LLC, PO Box 5270, Carefree, AZ 85377.

Available only as digital download from Price $35.

 IBNS #224 (1960s) /#10676 (2012)

The human species enjoys peace, yet seems to irresistibly pursue conflict. We interminably wage invasion,
war, and conquest through subjugation of others. Those others, not unexpectedly, often resist. Such conflict
has been a persistent, defining force in Mexico during its 10,000 years of evolution. The wide horizons and
profound resonances of Mexican paper money, just as any deep comprehension of the vast panorama of
Mexican history, cannot be grasped except against the backdrop of these dramatic and often violent events. 

The Aztecs dominated their era, exacting tribute from their subjugated neighbors in material goods,
slaves, and sacrificial human offerings to the gods as inked in the ancient codices on amatl (paper made
from the bark of the fig tree). The victory of the conquistadores simply brought more of the same,
summoning brutal dominance and new gods, substituting the fanatic dogma of Spanish Catholicism and the
Spanish Inquisition for the ancient Aztec deities. Three of the last five centuries of Mexico’s existence were
under the iron hand of Spanish colonial despotism. The indigenous people struggled for their independence
against the stranglehold of their Iberian overlords. Whether the slash of obsidian-blade macuahuitl cudgels
wielded by Aztec warriors bedecked as eagles and jaguars, or the rumbling of post-Conquest cannons
pounding like hoofbeats of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, war, famine, death, and disease were
frequent invaders into nearly all the land.

Chaos was the color of the common man’s life.  Normal distribution of money from the mints of the
colonial masters through intermediary channels such as banks, and on into the hands of the populace, was
disrupted.   Even in Mexico City, the very heart of the empire, brigands and highwaymen so frequently
robbed the transports carrying coinage that these transfers were discontinued or became sporadic to many
locations. Gresham’s Law ensured that much of the scant dole and dribble of prized silver or gold that did
reach the people was hoarded, squirreled away buried in earthen pots or sealed into adobe walls. Time went
on, life went on, subjugation and resistance went on.  But always, even amid turmoil, daily needs went
on. Hand-to-hand commerce continued. As ever, wages had to be received and spent, services, food, and
goods bought, rent and debts paid. Barter, the ancient mechanism of exchange, was too clumsy to sustain the
complex web of everyday transactions. 

Little or none of the traditional Spanish colonial coinage of gold doblones and silver reales was
available to the public, so out of dire necessity the people did what they always do: they improvised.
Defying vice-regal prohibitions, illegal vest-pocket and back-room mints popped up. Chimneys erupted
smoke, crucibles poured out liquid metal, anvils rang under hammer blows. Crude dies to cast or stamp
devices and denominations were painstakingly, clandestinely designed. People invented what they needed,
and what they needed was money. If it wasn’t as elegantly designed or finely produced as the old Spanish
pillar dollars and pieces-of-eight, or the later republican coinage, no matter. Employers and
employees, ranchos and ranch-hands, businesses and clients, sellers and buyers, all made do with the motley
quasi-currency, and carried on. What they made do with was an unofficial medium of exchange consisting
largely of a vast variety of tokens, often in limited local circulation, usually coined in copper or
bronze. People had no option but to accept them, calling them pilones, tlacos, fichas, or fichas de hacienda.
But a new problem quickly arose: they ran out of copper. Again, they improvised. They manufactured
the fichas out of other metals at hand; they melted down and alloyed brass, iron, white metal, lead. When
metal disappeared, they used wood, leather, bone, even glass, and then even the unthinkable: paper!

And here is where the curtain rises on the story of Mexican paper money. The earliest known emission
of paper currency in Mexico was issued in 1813, printed on heavy paper, in small fractional real notes, we
are told in Mexican Paper Money. They were from San Miguel el Grande, a municipality in the State of
Guanajuato, then predominantly populated by the Chichimeca people. The town was situated at the epicenter
of the uprising against the Spanish. The struggle had already begun three years before; it consumed more
than a decade before the sneering gachupines fled, the shackles were broken, and freedom was won. The
town is famously associated with a major emblematic moment in Mexican history, el Grito de Dolores, the
rhetorical ‘first shot’ of the Mexican War of Independence, a call-to-arms by the charismatic priest Miguel
Hidalgo y Costilla. September 16, 1810, is still memorialized annually as Mexico’s Independence Day. In
fact, the first town in Mexico to achieve freedom from the Spanish yoke was San Miguel el Grande. 

Exactly 100 years after the first war for independence, revolution erupted in 1910 and during the entire
second decade of the 20th century violence rampaged throughout the country. Not until mid-century did a
well-organized and administered polity finally coalesce and function and earn recognition as a modern
nation-state. Every step of the way, paper money chronicled and depicted the events and people of the
moment. From the picturesque vignettes on the note issues of the 19th Century bancos, to the 20-plus ton
Aztec Stone of the Sun, in an exquisitely engraved image centered on the 1936 1-peso note, to Miguel
Hidalgo in a dynamic gesture on a current 200-peso note commemorating the War of Independence at its
bicentennial, Mexico is outstanding in the ubiquitous use of its circulating paper currency as a medium to
display its history. The notes picture tribal rulers, indigenous, mestizo, and criollo leaders both men and
women, battles, treaties, gems of architecture and art, industries and occupations, cultural and historical
artifacts, and much more.

There are examples from the most sophisticated security printers of the time, enhanced with vignettes,
portraits and devices in deep intaglio from engraved hard-steel plates. There are also delightfully
crude cartones, some little more than diminutive scraps of paper or cardboard, often produced with the most
ad hoc improvisations under conditions of near-impossible hardship during battles, sieges, or simply lack of
appropriate material for the purpose. And yet, here they are, surviving to testify to the indomitable fortitude
of Mexico and the will of its people.

These spacious dimensions of the entire saga of Mexico are displayed in the sweeping iconographic
panorama of its paper money. The details are the focus of this second edition, aided and abetted by more
than forty contributors. This book has been previously reviewed in glowing terms by knowledgeable
numismatists, and deservedly so. Its content, structure, scope, and numbering protocol have been perused
and analyzed and amply commented on by other reviewers. 

We see notes of the early eras, of the empires, and of the republican periods. There are sections
segregated by states and municipalities, the bancos, the military, private issues, pre-Revolution, Revolution,
and post-Revolution, ending in the 1970s with the American Bank Note Company issues of the modern
Banco de Mexico. This second edition is encyclopedic in coverage of types and yet goes deep in detailing
varieties. Building on the printed 2010 first edition, categories are amplified, date and series tables are
extended. Prices are adjusted, generally upward, sometimes radically so. New discoveries are added to
this kaleidoscope of paper money and each is a new thrill for the enthusiast. This 2nd edition is the
indispensable reference work on the subject.

For more information, or to order, see: 

Mexican Paper Money 2017 Book


To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: 



MICHAEL METRAS (1943-2018)

Chicago Coin Club Secretary Carl Wolf submitted this obituary for Mike Metras, a longtime E-Sylum reader and occasional contributor.  Thanks.
Sorry to hear the news.  I added a couple images found on his web sites.

Michael Eugene Metras, age 75, passed away June 26, 2018 in Santa Fe, NM following a heart attack.

Mike was born January 16, 1943 in Watervliet, MI, moved to Woodstock, IL in 1953, attended Marian Central Catholic High School, graduated from college with a degree in classical languages.

In April, 1992, Mike joined the Chicago Coin Club becoming member #1030. He served on the Club Board, authored and co-authored several of the Club's souvenir currency sheets issued for the Chicago's Paper Money Expo and was an active exhibitor. Some of Mike's electronic publications and essays include: "Ethiopia: Travels of a Youth," "Mike's Morgans," "Trains on Currency and Stock Certificates," "Money Meanderings: An Introduction to Numismatics," and "Axum: Coins and Places." He was a member and web-master for the Hillside Coin Club and newsletter editor for the Elgin Coin Club. He will always be remembered as a knowledgeable numismatist willing to share and friend to all.

Mike enlisted in the U.S. Army, served in Phu Bai, Vietnam, and Asmara, Ethiopia. When he was discharged in 1970, he spent six months exploring East Africa and climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro. On his return to the U.S., Mike worked as Service Manager for White Motors Co. and traveled extensively in Latin and South America. He was also employed by Computer Associates as a Technical Writer. When he retired he began to pursue a lifelong dream of traveling and writing which began with a walk around Sicily.

Over his life Mike learned Swahili, French, Spanish, Italian, Latin, Greek and German which served him well on many pilgrimages. In 2003 he walked the 588-mile Spanish Camino De Santiago De Compostela (Way of St. James). He walked segments of this pilgrimage 4 more times and met the love of his life Petra Wolf, an environmental engineer from Constance Germany. They married and embarked on a 14-year odyssey of travel and many pilgrimages, including: walks across America, walk from Germany to Rome, walk from Southern Germany to Jerusalem, and a 23-month, 5,300-mile walk from Southern California to Jerusalem which he recorded in the book "Encounters on the Road to Jerusalem." In 2013 they began an internal spiritual pilgrimage to India.

Mike is survived by his wife Petra Wolf, two brothers and three sisters. A celebration of his life was held July 15 in Santa Fe. True to the way Mike lived his life as a pilgrim, writer, traveler and wanderer, he requested his remains be cremated and, in lieu of flowers, his friends should to take someone they care about on a walk, long or short.

For information about Mike's life see his web sites

Members who contributed to his obituary include CCC members Robert Feiler and Steve Zitowsky.


The latest addition to the Newman Numismatic Portal is Eric P. Newman's inventory copy of his book, Early Paper Money of America. Project Coordinator Len Augsburger provided the following report.

The Newman Portal recently digitized a first edition copy 
of Early Paper Money of America. Published in 1967, the work was immediately the standard reference for colonial paper money. Although Newman had a longstanding interest in early American currency, the “nail in the coffin” was his acquisition of the Harley Freeman collection in 1963 – with this reference collection in hand, Newman was now virtually compelled to publish. 

Newman made careful annotations in this first edition copy, recording his personal inventory in addition to numerous clarifications. Paper money is more traceable than coinage as issued notes were assigned serial numbers, so this document serves as an important pedigree record. Purchasers of colonial currency from the Newman sales may wish to compare their notes with this recently scanned Newman inventory.

Interior page of inventory copy, listing May 10, 1775 issue of Continental currency in the Newman collection

Link to Early Paper Money of America (inventory copy) on Newman Portal:



Recently we discussed the term "Circulation cameo" (also "circulated Cameo" or "CircCam"). The earliest usage we'd found was in a 2007 Chicago Coin Club Chatter article.  But our readers unearthed earlier examples.  Thanks.

Robertson W. ("Rob") Shinnick writes:

I coined the phrase, you
might say, on the Collectors Universe forums before 2006.

September 25, 2006

Hey, I just got a Draped Bust half that resembles yours, Tom! 'Bout the same grade, as I recall. And like yours, it's what I like to refer to as a "circulated cameo", meaning the devices are lighter than the fields. Mine has really dark grey fields- almost black. But the portrait and so on are lighter, which makes 'em stand out nicely.

I think "circulated cameo" should become a quasi-official numismatic term. If somebody else didn't coin the phrase before me, let it be known henceforth, that I, Lord M. Smartypants, created it here and now.

...or maybe it should be a "circulation cameo", to avoid confusion with lightly-circulated cameo proofs.

Yeah, that's the ticket.

>From henceforth and now on, blahblahblah, Let It Be Known that I, Lord M. Smartypants, did hereby and blahblahblah, REcoin the term "Circulation Cameo", to refer to any business strike coin that has dark fields and light devices; to wit, a coin that received a cameo effect through wear (circulation), as opposed to a cameo proof coin.

So be it enacted. From now on, all such coins shall be referred to as "circulation cameos".

September 26, 2006

During a recent discussion of TomB's 1803 Draped Bust half, I coined a new numismatic phrase (I think): "circulation cameo".

This refers to a coin with darker-toned fields and light devices, like a cameo effect, but unlike a cameo proof, the circulation cameo achieved this cameo effect through wear on its high points. I have seen a number of Draped Bust silver coins with this look, and I like it. Even a silver coin that is so darkly toned it's almost black can be pleasing if the portrait and devices are a lighter color- the contrast of light and dark is pleasing to the eye.

OK, so maybe you don't like my new term, but such coins needed a short descriptor of some sort.

To read the complete thread, see:

Show us your "circulation cameos"! (CircCam)


Bill Nyberg writes:

On November 25, 2004, Andy Lustig posted this on the PCGS Forum!

November 25, 2004
Andy Lustig:

Take a look at ARCO's Barber halves. Some display a cameo effect every bit as much as gem proofs. It seems to me that it's inconsistent to designate proof cameos but not circ cameos. What do you think? 


I voted YES. Arco is one of my coin collecting heroes, and I try to build my 3 circulated Barber sets with the "circulated cameo" look that has made his set famous here. I know the Barber series best, but see the circulated cameo issue as an upcoming designation across all series of circulated U.S. coins.

As silly as it may sound, there are many other collectors who enjoy original circulated coins with light devices and darker fields. We can tell when a coin has been messed with, and so can PCGS. I am willing to pay a premium for a circulated cameo VF or XF Barber coin over the typical monochrome gray one in the same grade, so PCGS might actually consider the designation of Circulated CAM. It remains to be seen whether the circulated CAM designation carries enough of a premium to cover the grading fees on enough lower grade circulated coins (and I have some circ. CAM G-4s) 

However, I think it will be tough to write the standard between circulated CAM and circulated DCAM, but I expect this will be attempted in the next five years. If there's one thing that numismatists have in common, it's the ability to discern minute differences between coins and tell each other how to distinguish them. 

To read the complete thread, see:


Rob adds:

Now, I know I came up with the term independently of Andy (and maybe even before him), but since his 2004 thread predates my own earliest mention of the term that I can find (my 2006 thread about CircCams), it appears he should get the credit, as I have no evidence to back my claim to the term prior to 2006.

Doesn't matter so much.  I just thought that appearance needed a shorthand term, and I'm glad to see it gaining some currency in the numismatic community.  

I'm virtually certain I'm the first who abbreviated it as "CircCam", even if Andy used a conjunction of "circulated" and "cameo" before me.

So credit him, or both of us, if the historical origin of the term is important.  It's all good, and I'm flattered either way.  :-)

I've certainly promoted the use of the term since at least '06.

Andy Lustig adds:

I’ve always wanted to contribute something to numismatics. Never imagined this would be it!

Thanks to Lance Keigwin, Bill Nyberg, Rob and Andy for assistance with this article.
I'll happily recognize both Andy and Rob as the earliest known users of the term.  See Dick Johnson's VOCABULARY entry elsewhere in this issue.   “Circulated Cameo” will appear in the next revision of his Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Technology on the Newman Numismatic Portal.

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see: 





AUTHORS AND PUBLISHERS: Are your books carried by Wizard Coin Supply? If not, contact us via with details.



Last week I asked about the designer of the obverse of the 1945 Franklin Roosevelt medal I chose for the NUMISMATIC NUGGETS article.  Here's a recap of that discussion.

Description: 1945 Commemorative Medal To Honor President Roosevelt After He Died, the obverse reads For Country And Humanity ... Died April 12, 1945, In Memoriam, brass, 3 wide, 1/8 thick, crisp, hefty

The obverse is signed "J.R.G", and the reverse is signed SINNOCK.   "SINNOCK" of course is U.S. Mint engraver John R. Sinnock.  The 1945 Roosevelt Inaugural medal was done by Jo Davidson.  So who is J.R.G.?  

Joe Levine writes:

I agree that it looks like J.R.G. but I believe this "G" to be an awkward looking "S"  This medal has always been ascribed  (Both obverse and reverse) to Sinnock.   Check with Bob Julian.

Dick Grinolds writes:

The Franklin Roosevelt commemorative medal you pictured in the last E-Sylum is actually the FDR medal from the Presidential Series struck and sold by the U.S. Mint. It is listed as Mint List No. 131 in the catalog "Medals Of The United States Mint Issued For Public Sale" published by The Department Of The Treasury. My copy has a 1969 date in the Foreward. The catalog details the U.S. Mint medals and lists the engraver(s) for each piece; it lists only John R. Sinnock as the artist 
for this medal. 

I guess my first question would be "Are you sure that 
the initials are actually J.R.G.?" I don't have an example of the medal in stock currently to physically examine but the enlarged image on the auction page appears to me to be J.R.S. for John Ray Sinnock rather than J.R.G.  

The long use of the Presidential series dies by the Mint as well 
as the relatively soft striking pressure can often cloud some of the smaller details. Dick Johnson can probably confirm that the obverse die is also a work by Sinnock.

Bob Julian writes:

The initials are clearly JRS. The S has the slight appearance of a G but is not.
This time period is  a little out of my area of interest but there is no question about the initials being JRS and standing for John Ray Sinnock.

So Sinnock it is!  Thanks, everyone. 

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: 

NUMISMATIC NUGGETS: JULY 29, 2018 : 1945 Franklin Roosevelt Commemorative Medal 



Regarding the Mint Bicentennial Medal based on the Dunsmore Painting, 
Jon Radel writes:

None of the mint staff in 1992 were around in 1792, but I suspect somebody on staff had been around in 1968, or at least paying attention to coins as a child, when they moved the mintmarks on quarters.  If you look on the other side of the medal, you'll find a 1932 quarter with the mintmark on the obverse.  Oops

Well, the design was done by a then-newbie to numismatic engraving, Tom Rogers.  Here's how he describes his work on his web site.

U.S. Mint Bicentennial Medal Reverse

Pictured here is the reverse of the United States Mint Bicentennial Medal.

My first assignment as a Sculptor / Engraver at the Mint was to re-arrange the elements of the Mint’s internal competition winning entry.

When it was approved, I proceeded to carve backwards in the plaster negative, the entire fifteen coins on its face.

It was sort of a “Trial by Fire” for me, and an introduction of my style of work to the management at the U.S. Mint.

To read the complete article, see:

U.S. Mint Bicentennial Medal Reverse


To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: 

NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: JULY 29, 2018 : The Dunsmore Painting Mint Bicentennial Medal 



ANA Edition reader Joe Scarlett writes:

Walter Breen is gone and should be forgotten.

Dave Hirt writes:

The post on Water Breen, Stanley Apfelbaum, and his ads in Coin World brought back memories to me.
In 1975 I decided to sell most of my coins, and just collect numismatic literature. I chose Apfelbaum's 
firm to do that. 

For some reason, even though there were other consigners, Apfelbaum, and/or Herb Melnick decided to name the sale catalog after me. Soon full page ads started to appear in Coin World,
which was MUCH larger at that time. At first I was thrilled to see my name in such bold print but after the 
3rd or 4th week, I started to be a bit embarrassed by  all that publicity. 

 However name recognization  seems to long endure. A year or two ago my brother from California was deer hunting in Kansas.  At a dinner he started to  speak with a man next to him. The man asked his name, and he said Ralph Hirt. The man asked about his family, and was told. "I have a brother David" The man then said "Oh, the rich coin collector!!"  My brother answered, "Well, I guess Dave is doing ok, but I don't think he is rich. 

Great story.  Breen may be gone, but he and Apfelbaum were pretty unforgettable characters.  Direct memories fade and disappear as generations die off.  In the end all we'll be left with are a few physical artifacts and the written word.  

Len Augsburger of the Newman Numismatic Portal writes:

Following up on David Alexander’s note in the last E-Sylum regarding Breen’s use of “piece de merde” in Coin World - an examination of issues from 1965 indicates that Breen’s final installment in the ”Bristles and Barbs” column was in the August 18, 1965 issue, titled “Collectors Should Beware in Buying Treasure Gold.” A check of that and several columns previous did not reveal the existence of “merde,” or any other vulgar language. While there is no reason to doubt Alexander’s memory of his discussion with Coin World staffer Jay Guren, the story may be apocryphal.

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see: 






Christopher R. McDowell, Editor, Journal of Early American Numismatics (JEAN)  submitted these thoughts on early American engraver James Smithers.  Thank you!

I write to comment on the July 15, 2018 E-Sylum.
I read the following regarding James Smithers and what I believe was a plea for assistance from readers having more information:


•  The Continental Congress conducted a majority of its materials-based business in the Philadelphia area, and its paper money, from A to Z, was produced by local tradesmen. Though David Rittenhouse supplied the first 36 "cutts" 30 for the Continental Currency plates in 1775, we don't know who supplied those employed for the February 1776 fractional bills. However, other convenient options existed. Philadelphia had many of the best engravers and metalworkers in 18th-century America, like James Smithers, who made cuts for some currency issues.

 Other highly skilled mechanics, like silversmith Joseph Richardson, produced the dollar-size 1756 "Kittanning Destroyed" and the 1757 "Treaty of Easton" medals, the first such items struck in British America. Even the dies Richardson used were Philadelphia-made, from the hand of clockmaker Edward Duffield. One might wonder why the Continental Congress would turn to Gallaudet in New York City, a hundred miles and a few days' travel away, when it had a plethora of more talented craftsmen with a greater array of skills right in its backyard.


I am, coincidentally, conducting research on Pitt Tokens, which were allegedly engraved and/or struck by James Smithers. My research will be presented next year in JEAN Issue No. 3. Without getting too much into Pitt Tokens or Mr. Smithers connection to them, I wish to comment on Mr. Smithers’ suitability as a potential candidate to have worked for the Continental Congress as an engraver.  It is true that Mr. Smithers was a gifted engraver – far more gifted than your readers are perhaps aware. His skill set, in my opinion, puts him on par with Paul Revere and Abel Buell. Smithers, like these men, was a master of all forms of engraving and excelled in the rococo style popular during the period.  With this skill he engraved the plates for some Pennsylvania currency emissions; even placing his name on the 40 shilling notes of 1775 and 1776. 

The part of James Smithers’ life that has not been discussed before is that he was a notorious Tory and counterfeiter. Indeed, his loyalty to the crown was such that he was charged under a bill of attainder by the Pennsylvania legislature for high treason in June 1778 for aiding and assisting the British. This aid came in the form of counterfeiting Pennsylvania notes during the British occupation of Philadelphia. As the original artist of some of the plates for these notes, he was uniquely qualified to copy them. He escaped the hangman’s noose by fleeing Philadelphia under British military escort to New York City, then under British occupation.  

In 1779, he advertised his engraving skills in Rivington’s Royal Gazette – a New York City Tory paper. Instead of returning to Philadelphia after the war, Smithers was transported by the Royal Navy along with his entire family (wife, 9 children, and 2 servants) to Port Roseway, Nova Scotia. 

 As a high-profile Tory charged with treason, Smithers must have questioned his life in the hands of Washington’s Army after the British left New York and did not want to chance fate.  It was not until it became clear there would not be any violent retribution against Tories for their conduct during the war that he returned to Philadelphia in 1786. 

Smithers originally came to America circa 1768 from England and died circa 1799. Your readers and other researchers can make of this information what they will, but I have found no evidence that James Smithers, Sr. or Jr. were employed by the Continental Congress in 1776. Should my research uncover any connection between Smithers and the Continental Dollar or Continental paper currency, I will be sure to update everyone. If I am in error in any of my facts, I hope someone will take the time to correct me as my research is still under way.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: 




 Elias Gervais 1721-1791? 
Regarding Elias Gervais and the Continental Dollar, last week Bill Eckberg wrote:

My concern about Gervais is that he died in 1777 and the Continental Currency pieces don’t appear to have been made before 1783. My opinion on these remains consistent, but I don’t think Gervais is the smoking gun that some see him to be.

Julia Casey writes:

 I wanted to point out that there are sources that indicate his date of death was 1791 (not 1777).

Thanks.  Julia provided this translation via Google.

The audience is informed that the wine auction of Herr Geheimer Rath Hebron at Trier, which had already been announced on the 2nd of November, was set for 2 pm on the 7th of November, 1791.

 In the afternoon, Herr Elias Gervais, Geneva, and Pettscherstecher at Neuwied, died So he endeavored to have his engraving tools and instruments taken over by Geneva and Engraver by profession. He flatters all those who respect him with their courtesy

To read the original source, see:

Politische Gespräche der Todten über die Begebenheiten ..., Volume 2; Volume 6

There is also this.

Anfang 1773 – Ende Oktober 1775

Thanks, everyone, for your contributions.  It will be interesting to see what turns up next.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: 



 U.S. Mint Green Box Dollar Certificate 

Bruce Bartelt writes:

I purchased some of the silver dollars that were sold from the San Francisco Mint in November 1997.  They came with a certificate of authenticity (see attached).  I have a single Morgan dollar in the green box and a pair of a Morgan and Peace dollars in a red box.  Unfortunately, unlike the so-called "GSA" dollars they are not sealed in a special case but come in a generic plastic capsule - so it would be possible to switch coins (if anyone cared enough to do so).

Thanks - I hadn't seen these certificates before.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: 

NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: JULY 29, 2018 : Morgan Dollars and Mint Display Boxes


 More on the Alderman Gold Nugget Medal 

City of San Francisco to Morgan L Mott, Alderman - Gold Nugget Medal

Saul Teichman writes:

Here is some additional information related to the California medal presented to the Alderman.
When Stack's sold the medal in the Ford XX sale, it appears the original Brand journal number was lost over time.

Thanks.  Great documentation!

Agreeing with Rex Stark and Alan Weinberg on another topic in that article, 
Michael Wehner writes:

The 1851 "engraved" medal is a well known fake of the 1970s. These turn up on eBay with some regularity.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: 

NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: JULY 29, 2018 : Answer: San Francisco Committee of Vigilance Medal 


 Query: Windau Study of the 60 Pesos of Oaxaca Sought 

Adrián González-Salinas writes:

I read a note published in The Numismatist (April 1942, Page 333) entitled:
"Names of Owners of 60 Pesos of Oaxaca Wanted" by Edmund Hower Windau (* 22 July 1886 Watson, PA | + 26 December 1964 San Antonio, TX).

There, he commented that he had made a study of the gold 1916 60-pesos Oaxaca pieces (KM-755) and he believed the Howland Wood's (1877-1938) estimate
of 21 coins was accurate. So, he wanted to determine how many 1916 gold 60-pesos of Oaxaca, Mexico could be accounted for.

Would any  E-Sylum readers know if Edmund H. Windau published his study?

Great question.  His name doesn't sound familiar, but perhaps our readers can help.  Anyone?  Thanks.  I inserted images of the coin from the NGC World Coin Price Guide.

 Flavors of the U.S. Mint 
Gawain O'Connor writes:

Did the Family Circus cartoon remind anyone else of the Marx Brothers' 1933 film "Duck Soup" where they discuss the government of Freedonia? From the scene, Secretary of War:

Firefly (Groucho): ...How would you like a job in the mint?
Chicolini (Chico): Mint? Ah, no. I no like-a mint. Ah, what other flavor you got?

I didn't remember that line.  Old jokes never die, they just get recycled.

For more information on the scene, see:

The Marx Brothers
Duck Soup - Secretary Of War


 The Kitty Litter Method 
Regarding musty books, 
Bruce Bartelt  writes:

The late John Burns once told me he used the cat litter method to eliminate the smell; I haven't tried it myself though.

Worth a try.  It can't hurt.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: : On Treating Musty-Smelling Books 


 Egging Your Coins 
In the but-it's-not-even-Devil's-night-department, 
Craig Sholley writes:

In the April 1870 Mason's Coin and Stamp Collectors' Magazine, the term "Egged" was described as "covering the surface of a coin with the white of eggs to protect it from rust or corrosion."

Here are a few follow-up comments on this from an email exchange Craig kicked off with this observation.

Brad Karoleff writes:

I  did this to help "preserve" my neighbors car once......

Dave Bowers writes:

Hmmm. Hadn’t heard about that. Mason was perhaps the most off-the-wall of the late 19th century dealers.

Johnn Kraljevich writes:

Albumen (or "glaire") was used for a lot of different purposes in the 19th century. It's sort of hard and glossy when it dries and I could totally see someone coating coins with it. It's no stupider than thinking that dipping coins in olive oil is helpful.

Mark Borckardt writes:

AU Details, Egged NGC

 Query: U.S. Quarter Information Sought 

2001-P Kentucky State Quarter

Web site visitor Terry Toler writes:

 I am new to coin collecting after a discussion on a 20 dollar star note. I found this Quarter in my change jar when I started looking for error coins. I joined two online coin groups, United States Error Coins and Coin OPPS.  

I posted the quarter in United States Error Coins and only got a like with no feedback. Then I posted in Coin OPPS and there Pete Apple gave some insight as to what I was looking at, and spent many hours researching articles on what he said may be "Planchet Striations". The articles were very informative but still left the question unanswered after reading about the pressure of the strike between the hammer and anvil dies.

So I started looking at suggested sites like Variety Vista and  The closest I could find were what they called "rays".  Then that started another search for many hours using the key words like "rays on coins". I finally saw a video on state quarter error collections, and lo and behold the last coin was a quarter he had that looked like it had sun rays on it and he mentioned the word "Trails".  

Now the search was on again. I searched with key words like "trails on coins" with only a few hits and articles. Then after reading one article that called them "Die Trails", I used the key words "Die Trails" and that search opened up many more web sites. 

I read a article "Unravel the Mysteries of Die Trails" on Coin World then I found another article, "The Theory of Trail Formation"  published by Traildies and this I how I came to contact you.  After looking at pictures on your web page this was the closest as to what I was seeing on the quarter.

Thanks for reaching out.  That's quite a quest.  Congratulations on sticking with it.  The web is chock full of great information, but finding what you want can be a daunting task sometimes.

We've only had one article on Trail Dies, the piece linked below by Jeff LaPlante.  I'll try to put Terry in touch with Jeff.
Meanwhile, would any readers have additional thoughts, information or suggestions about Terry's quarter?  To me, those lines are too plentiful to be Trails; my own guess would be planchet striations, but I'm no expert in these things.

Trail die

Web references: 

United States Error Coins Facebook Group


Coin Opp Facebook Group


Variety Vista



Unravel the mystery of die trails: Inside Coin World


The Theory Of Trail Formation


To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: 




E-Sylum readers are simply amazing when it comes to knowing or knowing how to find numismatic information of all kinds.  Among the most prolific of these are Julia Casey and Ron Haller-Williams, whom I earlier dubbed our "Googler-in-Chief".  They both came through with a spot-on answer to David Pickup's question on the origin of this book cutting he found tipped into another book.  Thanks!!

Ron was the first to report his discovery, and Julia was close on his heels.  Their answer?  The book cutting comes from
Vetusta Monumenta, a seven-volume work on ancient buildings, sites, and artifacts published in Latin.

Left: Ron's Find; Right: Julia's Find. Click on links below for full images

For Ron's reference, see:

For Julia's references, see: 

Vetusta monumenta : quae ad rerum britannicarum memoriam conseruandam / Societas antiquariorum Londini sumptu suo edenda curavit.


They make this look easy.  So how do they DO this magic, anyway?
Bruce Bartelt had an inkling.

Bruce Bartelt writes:

I have some book cuttings that a friend in my local club gave me.  Mine have text on the back and a simple Google Books search using a phrase from the text quickly turned up an exact match with The History of England, by Rapin de Throyas (translated by N. Tindel, 3rd Edition 1743).  It also illustrates the portcullis coin that Mr. Pickup's cutting shows, but is a different engraving.  So that would be an avenue to pursue should there be any text on the back of Mr. Pickup's cutting.

Excellent idea!  Web search is an amazing tool.  That's what led Julia and Ron to nail down the culprit.
Here's Ron's detailed account.

Bob Van Arsdell seems to have been right when he ended up with 
"It’s possible the book may not have been a numismatic one", based on his earlier comment that
"the coin was well-known by the 18th Century, so it didn’t warrant the elaborate title if was included in a plate of many coins in a numismatic work."

However, he was wrong in guessing that it "could be an in-line plate in a page of text".

In fact, it is a full-page plate, see

It is/was plate lvi (56) of Volume I of "Vetusta Monumenta ..." (Society of Antiquaries of London, published 1747 though the plate is dated 1739) - and also in Volume 1 of Lord Oxford's collection (which I haven't yet tracked down, unless it's the sale catalogue).



In "NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: MARCH 26, 2017" you labelled me as "Googler-in-Chief" !!!
Well, explorations like this can be very hard work - this is how I did it.

I noticed that the caption starts with "the exportable piece of eight ...".

1: Google this, for BOOKS (WITH the quotes, which mean "exact phrase"):
"the exportable piece of eight"

2: This gives one hit - investigate!
It is referenced on page 358 of Volume 70 of the Walpole Society, (re)published/digitized 4 Nov 2008.

3. The reference-number "811" looks significant, so search the book for this number - it also appears on p.395.

4: Now Google this:
"Walpole Society" Volume 70

5: The first hit is

6: Go there (click on the heading of the "hit"): The Table of Contents shows:
GEORGE VERTUE AS AN ENGRAVER (pp. 207-517) by David Alexander

7: Go there (click on the link).

8: Click on the "Read Online (Free)" button.

9: If not already logged in, either log in or sign up (free to access up to 6 articles per month).

10: Use the "thumbnails" tab to navigate to p.358.

11: Take a good look at this reference and the preceding one (811 & 810).
Observe that there is a reference to "Lord Oxford":
This would be Edward Harley, 2nd Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer (1689-1741),

not his son, the 3rd Earl, who immediately sold off the collections!
[Do not confuse with the Earl of Orford, e.g. the 4th Earl, Horatio "Horace" Walpole (1717-1797).]

12. Note that the previous reference (810) mentions
"a gold coin of mary queen of scots"
so make a note of this.

13. See also p.394 & 395 - we see that (as expected) we want Plate 56 of Volume 1, 
originally issued at price one shilling and three pence (£0.0625 or $0.25).

14: See also the "References" tab, and scroll down to read the bits
on "Vetusta Monumenta" and "Walpole, 1762".

15: Google the phrase from step 12, and get lucky!

16. Click on the first hit, to find somebody selling the plate on eBay for $39.99, item #173129496294

17. Note the date of the engraving (1739), and use this in step 19.

18. Click on "Visit store".

19. Search that eBay store for: COINS 1739

20. One of the four hits is what we want, so click on it: item #173129489368
"Coins Struck in France and Flanders Relating to England - QUARTER FLOREN -1739"

21: See also

So: It is the lowest piece illustrated on a full-page plate is by George Vertue.
These plates were available both loose (this one was £0.0625) AND bound or gathered into a volume (for some 11.4% more than the individual total).

P.S. To find out more about this engraver, try

He was official engraver to the Society of Antiquaries.
Additionally he produced a numismatic work which deserves to be better known than it is:
Medals, coins, great seals, and other works of Thomas Simon,
engraved and described by George Vertue.
Printed by J. Nichols, printer to the Society of Antiquaries. (1780 - 27 pages),

Wow! Thanks for the detailed account, and all your hard work. This is a great example for other researchers.

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see: 

NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: JULY 22, 2018 : Query: Book Cutting Identification Sought





Pete Smith writes:

I was interested in David Gladfelter's report on the Numis-Mailrs that he has preserved. I am attaching images of two that I have because the imprinted names are people important to the collection of large cents.

I met Myles Z. Gerson in 1979 and he died in 1986. He was an important collector of large cents, most notably 1794, and Conder Tokens. Although young collectors may not be aware of him, he was noted for using these mailers back when he was alive.

I also met John D. Wright in 1979. He took the Gerson mailers and added his own imprint. I have seen John in recent years and I believe he is still living.

Here are Pete's images.  Thanks!

To read the complete article, see: 




Robert Rightmire writes:

As in the past, The E-Sylum is loaded with important information. Your service to all of us is deeply appreciated. I'm really pleased that Rex Stark stepped in with his fountain of  knowledge.

I have an inquiry for our readers: The ANACS type 8 certificate, issued in Dec. 1986 and Jan.1987, lists the grading opinions of four graders. Might anyone know the identity of the graders? It is assumed that there were several. How many coins might have been graded over this two-month period? Most examples seen are for silver dollars. Any information on minor denomination coins, with type 8 certificates, would be appreciated.

Great question.  Robert provided the below images.  Thanks.  Can anyone help?

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see: 



NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: JULY 22, 2018 : PNG Authentication Certificates





In addition to the NBS events mentioned earlier in this issue, here are some that readers have suggested.


Paul Hybert submitted this reminder about the exhibit area at this month's ANA convention.  I'm planning to visit - this is one of my favorite parts of the event.

The Collector Exhibits Area at the ANA's "World's Fair of Money" in Philadelphia has a wide range of collector exhibits for your enjoyment.   Use the online Exhibit Guide, located at

to see a list of the exhibits, arranged over 20 different exhibiting classes.  Look for a few exhibits ahead of time, or drop by and look at them all!

This online Exhibit Guide will be updated with corrections and changes so that the final version will list all exhibits that are present when the area opens to the public on Tuesday.

We are conveniently located to the left as you enter the bourse, before you get to the NBS, Charlie Davis, or Kolbe & Fanning booths.

It looks like a great lineup.
There are three exhibits in the Numismatic literature class this year.

 The Elongated Collectors 
Bob Fritsch writes:

The Elongated Collectors (TEC) will occupy Table 554 beside the Kid’s Zone at the Philadelphia 2018
World’s Fair of Money. Many items will be offered including the usual ANA and TEC coins and sets, plus
special coins for the 50th annual ANA Summer Seminar in 2018, and memorial coins for Eric P. Newman
and Ed Rochette. Badges suspended from a ribbon will also be available in both enameled and
uncolored varieties. 

The enameled badge (pictured) is rolled on a 1776-1976 Bicentennial Quarter, while
the uncolored one is on a Pennsylvania 50 States Quarter. Quantities are limited so pre-orders, closing
9 August, are recommended. Go to the TEC Store link at and click on Pre-
order in the left side. Use code ILLBETHERE18 at checkout to pick up at the show and save the
shipping cost.

You can also roll coins of your choice (up to half dollar size) at the table. Visit us and create your own
souvenir of the show. And consider joining THE FUNNEST CLUB IN NUMISMATICS. See you there!


Joseph N.T. Levick has been inducted into the American Numismatic Association's Hall of Fame.

In an effort to enshrine the most important collectors, scholars and hobby professionals of all time, the ANA maintains the Numismatic Hall of Fame at its headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Individuals are recognized annually, with “modern” numismatists named in odd years and “historic” personages in even years. In June 2018, the ANA welcomed to this elite group a notable hobbyist of days gone by—Joseph N.T. Levick (1828-1908).

Born in New Orleans, Levick began collecting coins after he moved to Philadelphia in 1855. In 1860 he relocated to New York City, where he established a numismatic store at the corner
of Broadway and 20th Street. During the Civil War, Levick was a Union soldier in the 70th regiment of New York volunteers, attaining the rank of first lieutenant. He was a founding member of both the Philadelphia Numismatic Society (1858) and the New York Numismatic Society (1864).

Levick served the American Numismatic Society (ANS) as treasurer (1867-74), and in 1866 he launched its American Journal of Numismatics, the first numismatic periodical in the United States. The October 1868 issue carried Levick’s first article, “A Table, Showing the Prices Paid for the Five Types of the 1793 Cent, Selected from Twenty of the Principal Coin Sales in the Country, from 1855 to 1868.” He found it difficult to describe the pieces adequately, which led him to present in the April 1869 ­issue the first photographic plate of coins known in American numismatics. The image showed obverse and reverse die varieties, with lines connecting die pairs. Although just 100 original copies of the well-known “Levick Plate” were produced, it has been reprinted several times.

The American Journal of Numismatics was a costly endeavor, and in 1868 Levick convinced the ANS to explore other avenues of publication. Two years later, the Boston Numismatic Society agreed to oversee the journal’s production, taking it from monthly to quarterly, and reducing its annual subscription from $3 to $2.

Levick joined the ANA in July 1906. He died in September 1908, three weeks after his 80th birthday. Levick’s contributions to numismatics will be recognized at the ANA’s Annual Banquet during the Philadelphia World’s Fair of Money.

For more information, see: 




Dick Johnson submitted these entries from his Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Terminology.  Thanks.  


  1964 Proof Red Cameo Lincoln Cent; Image courtesy PCGS 

Dick writes:

Inspired by the articles in The E-Sylum the last few weeks  on “Circulated Cameo” as a vocabulary term you will find here other cameo terms used in numismatics. “Circulated Cameo” will appear in the next revision in the Newman Portal. The term meets the criteria for use in the numismatic field; it accurately describes the status of such a coin, plus it is understandable by anyone.

Cameo.  A medallic item in raised relief similar to gem or shell cameos. Medallic cameos are almost always oval shape (usually vertical oval – see OVAL MEDAL), mostly of portraits, and often handcut. Gem cameos, cut in onyx or sardonyx, or shell cameos with layers of colors where the relief design is cut in the top layer in contrast to its background layer in a different color. Cameos – of all kinds – are always in raised relief.

Cameo engraving.  Historically cameo engraving thrived alongside coin engraving, as branches of the same glyptic art. Coin engravers, however, cut INTAGLIO (in iron dies to strike positive coins). Cameo engraving, on the other hand, cut positive RELIEF images in gemstones and shells by the engraver; there was no intent to reproduce the design, the engraved cameo was the end product.

Cutting a cameo die by engraving is easier than cutting an intaglio die. The design – in the positive – is constantly in front of the engraver; it does not require frequent proving to inspect the state of the work. Cameo engraving requires BACKGROUND CUTAWAY, removing DEAD METAL (the unwanted metal) from the diestock leaving intact the positive image. Once completed it requires HUBBING to make a working die to strike positive pieces.

The technique developed from primitive drills; early bow instruments provided power to the drill, later power was provided by a treadle, still later by water-wheel power. The drills and wheels were fed with a slurry of diamond dust and oil which aided the cutting. Today power grinders can easily remove gross metal, but it is still the hand burin that does much of the intricate detail work.

Some early cameos were of scenes, often mythical or religious, but portraits predominated nearly all cameo creations. Cameo medals, like the series illustrated, exhibit typical portraits.

Cameo engraving was often an apprenticeship for developing sculptural talent. The great Italian artist Benvenuito Cellini is noted for his cameos, his coins and medals, in addition to his renowned metalwork and sculpture. As a student Augustus Saint-Gaudens cut cameo gem portraits before attempting sculpture (and later, coins and medals), while medallist Victor D. Brenner cut cameo dies before learning the technique of modeling oversize medallic models and having these pantographically reduced.

Cameo relief.  All cameos of modern times are in relief (and only a rare ancient cameo was intaglio). Cameo relief in a sunken area – COELANGLYPTIC RELIEF – is called chevee or cuvette  in French. Thus cameo cutting always had the design in positive in front of the engraver (unlike diecutting in the negative).

Cameo portrait.  A trend among collectors in the last decade or two of the 20th century has been the use of the term “cameo” to describe the portrait device on a proof or uncirculated coin. The Franklin Mint issued a series of such cameo medals.

Cameo art illustrations.  Monochrome graphic illustrations (two-dimension) of bas-relief are often called cameos. They are shaded in such a way to indicate the rises and falls of relief. Such cameo illustrations are called camaieu. The French named the shades of gray toning of these cameo illustrations: grisailles (there is no comparable English term).



X5 {1991} MILLER.

Cameo Die.  A handcut die of raised relief (positive), opposite of intaglio die. Hand engravers find cutting a cameo die far easier because the positive image is always in front of them (then after completion, the cameo die is HUBBED to make a striking die). Cameo diecutting requires a greater amount of BACKGROUND CUTAWAY but does not have to be constantly PROVED by the engraver (in contrast to intaglio die engraving where the hand engraver likes to make quick SPLASHERS to check newly cut detail). Typically cameo diecutting would be the device only; lettering would be added by letter PUNCHES after the positive cameo die would be hubbed into a negative working die.

The term cameo die also refers to any die to strike a CAMEO, as a small medal die, usually oval shaped, and irrespective of its being hand cut or reduced from models cut on a die-engraving pantograph.  See OVAL MEDAL.

CLASS 04.1

Cameo Incrustation.  A type of glass ornamentation molded of portraits and other devices from medals.  See SULPHIDES.


Cameo Medal.  An oval medal in raised relief usually bearing a portrait, in similitude to a carved shell cameo.

CLASS 02.12

Cameo Relief.  Raised relief, particularly a small relief handcut with BACKGROUND CUTAWAY. Handcut dies are often cut in cameo relief in contrast to negative carving of INTAGLIO, because the image is constantly in positive relief before the engraver and it does not have to be proved to check the state of the work.  See RELIEF, CAMEO DIE.

CLASS 03.2


Book lovers should be word lovers as well.

Looking for the meaning of a numismatic word, or the description of a term?   Try the Newman Numismatic Portal's Numismatic Dictionary at:


Or if you would  like a printed copy of the complete Encyclopedia, it is available.
 There are 1,854 terms, on 678 pages, in The Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Technology.  Even running two a week would require more than 19 years to publish them all. 
If you would like an advance draft of this vital reference work it may be obtained from the author for your check of $50 sent postpaid. Dick Johnson, 139 Thompson Drive, Torrington, CT 06790.   


John Lupia submitted the following information from the online draft of his book 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  Dr. George P. French.

Dr. George Peter French, MD (1865-1932), was born in 1865 at Rochester, Monroe County, New York son of Irish Catholic immigrants John French (1820-), a contractor, and Bridget French (1830-1902). His parents came to America in 1850 settling at Rochester, New York. His mother was famous as a noted inventor of over 36 objects of utility including : a steam sterilizer, various patented medicines and remedies and  a burglar proof lock.

In 1872, at age seven he began collecting coins and obsolete paper money.

In 1875, he began collecting art which later on included works by Rembrandt, Raphael, Turner, Evans and Reynolds.

He graduated Rochester Public School, and the Cathedral High School.

Later on he began collecting guns including flintlocks, matchlocks, and wheel-locks. Among the flintlocks was one issued by the Committee of Safety before the Revolutionary War. He also collected many and varied  curiosities including  a valuable rare stamp collection, a Friesland hooded clock made circa 1558, Venetian blown glass, Egyptian mummies, Louis XV furniture, and the Barnum Mermaid exhibited by Phineas T. Barnum in his circus.

In 1888,  he married Mary A. Donnelly.

In 1889, he graduated Columbia Medical College, and lived at 234 Adams Street, Rochester.

He began his practice at St. Mary's Hospital, Rochester, New York.

He joined the ANA in December 1910 and is ANA member No. 1457

French amassed an extensive collection of stamps, coins, and antiques over his lifetime. His large cent collection which was broken up and sold through sales by four coin dealers : first, U. S. Coin Co. on December 5, 1917 who sold 110 large cents, second, combined with Gilette and Fred B. King of 1058 lots sold through Henry Chapman, Jr., 47th  sale on December 19, 1927  which comprised some 98 large cents, third, a group of 830 large cents were sold by B. Max Mehl in 1930 through fixed price lists, and fourth, Barney Bluestone held a sale on February 17-18, 1933, which contained 549 of his cents. 

The group held by B. Max Mehl were reported in his obituary in the Democrat and Chronicle, as having been sold to Mehl directly from Dr. French in 1929 for $50,000. Many of French’s large cents were purchased by T. James Clarke and Henry Sternberg. He also had a prized 1853-O half dollar without arrows.

He died of pneumonia on Friday, November 25, 1932.

To read the complete article, see: 



* * * * *

The entire inventory of the Lupia Numismatic Library is for sale.  Individual items will be available before the remaining archives are broken up into parcels sold at philatelic auctions in the U. S. and Hong Kong.  Check frequently as dozens of new items with estimates will be posted daily until everything is sold.

All inquiries will be given prompt and courteous attention. Write to: 

john at


E-Sylum supporter Jeremy Bostwick of Numismagram submitted these thoughts on being a young dealer in today's hobby.  Thanks!

I noticed the “New Collectors and New Dealers” article in the previous week’s E-Sylum, and thought that I would contribute my perspective on the youth movement in our graying hobby.

Like most of us in coins, I began collecting U.S. around the age of seven, with a few Morgan dollars and a Red Book from my grandfather. As my interest increased beyond my allowance, I learned the Red Book forwards and backwards, and added other books to my collection---literature being the easier buy. 

Years later, while looking for some part-time work during college, I started working at the neighborhood coin shop at which I spent many of my younger years admiring coins which I couldn’t possibly acquire. Very quickly, I fell in love with being on “the other side” of the counter, and eventually was fortunate enough to get a job with Classical Numismatic Group, where I moved from US and paper money to ancient coinage. 

My knowledge of that area grew, and I then took a job with Atlas Numismatics, switching again to a more modern world coin inventory. Finally, I attempted to control my own destiny within the hobby by focusing even more upon building my numismatic library and fostering the ability to catalog remotely from Pennsylvania (now California), which I currently do for Numismatik Naumann in Vienna.

At that time, I also decided to begin building my own inventory of numismatic items, many of which are medals owing to my growing interest in the underappreciated area of medallic art. 

“Numismagram” was started with the idea of addressing the problems presented in the aforementioned article---how does someone young start in this business? (a business which is so dependent upon cash flow and a customer base who knows who you are). Throughout my time in this business, I saw how instrumental longstanding relationships with customers were in creating connections. 

With social media, my idea was to bridge the gap between a beginning  numismatic enterprise and a potential collecting base (hence, the name, a nod to Instagram). While I’m not sure that we’re there yet, it’s definitely been a great way to reach those to whom you may otherwise have had no way of presenting your material. Also, mirroring the comment about wholsesaling, it’s definitely a decent part of my business, but I am establishing more and more of a retail side to my operation as well, and my website ( is steadily getting increased views, allowing me to turn over inventory a bit faster and acquire even more new items on a regular basis. Attending and setting up at some of the larger coin shows has also served as a great way to get my name out there to other dealers and customers alike who may have known me from working with someone else in the past to now taking a crack at it on my own.

Jeremy's recent trip to Peru provided social media fodder and  content for his email Newsletter #8, where I found this great medal illustrated.

This Swedish medal, commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the Nitroglycerin Corporation, does a pretty good job at painting the picture of how these Incan constructions were produced---human labor, and a great deal of human labor at that. 

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: 

WHAT'S NEXT FOR THE RARE COIN BUSINESS? : New collectors and New Dealers



Can any of our readers help?  The American Civil War Museum would like to borrow for display a copy of Hodges’ New Bank Note Delineator.

The American Civil War Museum in Richmond, Virginia, is seeking an original volume of Hodges’ New Bank Note Delineator (1856) for the temporary exhibition, Greenback America, that will run from March 2019 to March 2020. The volume should be in good condition and will be displayed open, and editions from other years will be acceptable. Contact Chris Graham, Guest Curator, at 

cgraham at

>From the museum web site, “The mission of The American Civil War Museum is to be the preeminent center for the exploration of the American Civil War and its legacies from multiple perspectives: Union and Confederate, enslaved and free African Americans, soldiers and civilians.”

For more information about the museum, see:



Anne E. Bentley of the Massachusetts Historical Society and Dick Hanscom forwarded this Daily Mail article about the discovery and opening of a time capsule in the base of a statue of General  Beauregard. Thanks.  See the article for many more pictures.

Turn-of-the-century tour books, lots of Confederate cash, a post-Civil War medal from a Union veterans' group, and a flag too tattered by time to tell whether it was U.S. or Confederate were among items removed Friday from a 1913 time capsule buried beneath a Confederate monument.

The statue of the Confederacy's first general, P.G.T. Beauregard, was among four Confederate monuments removed last year. Its pedestal was removed last week.

Stuck to the pedestal's bottom was a copper box — a time capsule holding some items dating back to the Civil War. 

When the box and pedestal were separated, the box was open, according to Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser. He spoke at a news conference as the box's damp, musty contents were unpacked for the first time.

Two private conservators carefully removed each artifact or piece of an artifact. A flag at the top came out in clumps too delicate to unfold.

There were Confederate $5 and $10 bills, Louisiana bills of several denominations, including an uncut sheet of a dozen $5 bills dated Oct. 10, 1862; $10 bills from Mississippi, and several bonds, including a City of New Orleans bond for $1,000 with about a dozen $30 coupons still attached.

To read the complete article, see: 

Time capsule from 1913 buried under a statue of Confederate General P.G.T Beauregard, that was torn down in New Orleans, is opened and reveals a trove of Civil War cash, medals, newspapers and coins



The new hardcover 2019 Red Book features a gold-foil portrait of Kenneth Bressett on the back cover, and a special 10-page tribute as he retires to the new position of Editor Emeritus. Get two copies for $31 postpaid—one for daily use, one to have signed by Ken Bressett, “Mr. Red Book,” for your collection. Use code RB19SPECIAL when ordering online


I gave this CoinWeek podcast a listen during my evening commute earlier this week, and I highly recommend it.    Charles Morgan does a great job interviewing Citizen Coinage Advisory Committee member and sculptor Heidi Wastweet.

Heidi Wastweet is an award-winning medallic artist.

Over the course of her 30-year career, she has designed more than 1,000 coins, medals, and tokens, mostly for private mints.

>From 2010 to 2018, Heidi sat on the CCAC, where she, along with other members of the art community and general public, deliberated on the direction of American coin and medal design.

If you have purchased a coin or medal from the U.S. Mint made within the past eight years, odds are that Heidi had a role to play in the design process.

What is the state of coin and medal design in America and what can be done to improve upon it?

We ask Heidi these questions and more, this week on the CoinWeek Podcast.

To listen to the complete podcast, see: 

CoinWeek Podcast #103: Coin Design Highs and Lows with Heidi Wastweet


In related news, a Coin Update article by Brandon Christopher Hall published July 31, 2018 reports that the CCAC has unanimously rejected the reverse designs submitted for the 2018 American Innovation $1 coin.

Today’s public meeting of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) centered on the design of a dollar coin proposed to be the first minted under the American Innovation $1 Coin Act. The program’s coins are scheduled to share a common Statue of Liberty design on the obverse. The CCAC focused more on which of the eight designs submitted for the reverse was to be recommended to the secretary of the Treasury. Round dissatisfaction with the portfolio prompted a motion to not recommend any of the reverse designs to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The motion passed unanimously, 10-0, and various committee members voiced their dissatisfaction with the reverse designs, the proposed obverse design, and the program in general.

Member Dennis Tucker, the committee’s numismatic specialist, pointed out that the legend on the reverse of the 2018 coin designs, mandated by legislation, may be misleading, since the name of the program is “American Innovation” and not “American Innovators,” the latter of which is to be inscribed on the coin. He contends that this narrowing of focus may limit designs to specific people who are innovators and not larger ideas or themes about American innovation that can be expressed on coinage. “Making the coin’s legend consistent with the language of the legislation is Copywriting 101,” said Tucker, who serves as publisher for Whitman Publishing, LLC, which releases the annual Guide Book of United States Coins. “Innovations aren’t necessarily physical. If a state or territory innovated in a non-physical way—for example, it was the first state to allow women to vote; or it innovated in religious freedom—then innovators isn’t the right word.” He poi
 nted out that innovation isn’t limited to inventions or patents, but could be philosophical, cultural, artistic, linguistic, social, creative, or otherwise intangible, and not necessarily requiring a single person as innovator.

Donald Scarinci, the senior member of the committee, voiced his disappointment toward the portfolio, saying that it was “not just a failure to the hobby community, but a failure to the greatest country on Earth.” Scarinci also drew a comparison between American coin designs and foreign coin designs, noting that the former tends to be outdone by the latter. In a bold move, he called for a collector boycott of the program.

To read the complete article, see: 

The CCAC unanimously rejects the reverse designs submitted for the 2018 American Innovation $1 coin


Here are a couple of the rejected designs.

To see the complete set of proposed designs, see: 

CCAC Meeting Images for the 2018 American Innovation $1 Coin Program


And here's CoinWeek's take on the debacle.

Please, make it stop!

Put before the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) on Thursday, July 31 was a portfolio of designs for the first coin of an ill-conceived new supposedly circulating commemorative coin series that will be produced over the course of the next decade and a half by the United States Mint.

Luckily for the hobby and the public at-large, the CCAC soundly rejected these designs with a unanimous 10-0 vote. Had the final tally been 100-0 against, the proposed designs would not have received a sufficient rebuke.

To read the complete article, see: 

Make it Stop: Perhaps Worst Conceived US Coin Design Candidates Revealed


The CCAC performs a vital role for our nation's coinage.  There are vacancies on the committee, and applicants are being sought.
One needn't be a sculptor - there are seats reserved for numismatists and the general public. 
Consider serving to lend your expertise.  For more information, see this Coin Update article.

To read the complete article, see: 

Request for applications for appointment to the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee



Another longtime member of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee is Pennsylvania artist Jeanne Stevens-Sollman, who was interviewed for a story by a reporter for the Centre Daily Times.  Here's an excerpt.  See the complete article online, and be sure to watch the accompanying video.

Jeanne Stevens-Sollman was at one of those swinging medallic art conferences that you hear so much about, where the shop talk flows like champagne and bedtime is but the faintest whisper of a suggestion.

“The dialogue can go on to 2 a.m. in the morning, just about metals, about design,” Stevens-Sollman, an artist working in Bellefonte, said.

She was doing some light grumbling about the state of the state quarters, which aside from one or two exceptions appeared to her to be entirely overwrought, a bunch of images and information smashing up against each other without much room leftover for clarity.

Now in the middle of her second four-year term, she’s might be the only person in a room full mostly of historians that looks at designing a coin in the same way that a poet might approach a haiku.

“You have a small space, you have to put a lot of information in it concisely,” Stevens-Sollman said.

To read the complete article, see:




The Fall 2018 issue of Intelligent Collector from Heritage features an article titled "George's Coin" (pp 28-22) describing the 1792 Washington Gold Eagle Pattern piece in the upcoming sale of coins from the Eric P. Newman collection.  The final page of the article has a summary of the coin's illustrious provenance, which I'm publishing here with permission.

In the 75 years Newman held this and
other numismatic treasures, he opined the
1792 Washington President gold eagle was
struck expressly for, given to, and carried
by President Washington. The provenance
is singular in its importance (see “Long
Line of Legendary Owners”), shedding
light on why Newman held this prized
possession in such high regard.

Long Line of Legendary Owners

Since 1855, only eight collectors have owned the 1792 George
Washington gold eagle. Dates following each collector’s name
indicate the time of ownership, when known.

•  Gustavus Adolphus Myers, Richmond, Va., 1855-1860: First
owner of record of the 1792 Washington gold eagle. While
prior provenance is unknown, there is a possibility that the
coin passed from grandfather to father to son.
Gustavus Myers was the son of Samuel Myers,
who was born in New York City on April 16,
1755, and the grandson of influential New
York silversmith Myer Myers, who was active
in freemasonry, and who was almost certainly
acquainted with President Washington.

•  Col. Mendes I. Cohen, Baltimore, 1860-1875:
Cohen acquired the coin apparently as a gift
from Gustavus A. Myers. The Myers family of
merchants and the Cohen family of bankers likely
had a close business relationship. There may also
have been a family relationship, as Gustavus Meyers was the
grandson of Elkaleh Cohen, who married Myer Myers.

•  Lorin G. Parmelee, Boston, 1882-unknown:
Parmelee was a Vermont-born businessman who
started the first baked bean business in Boston.
He acquired the Washington gold eagle, probably
from Ebenezer Locke Mason, who had offered it
for sale in June 1882 for $500.

•  Dewitt Sheldon Smith (unknown-1908): Smith, president of
the Smith Paper Company, formed a first-class collection of
Colonial coins and territorial issues, holding on to his coins
until his death in Lee, Mass., in 1908.

•  Virgil M. Brand (1908-1926): Brand made his mark
as the first president of the United States Brewing
Company. He then founded the Brand Brewing
Company in 1899 and became a millionaire
at an early age. He acquired Smith’s collection
intact from his estate in 1908 and listed the 1792
Washington gold eagle as journal number 46483, noting it as
“GW pocket-piece.”

•  Armin William Brand (1926-1933): Virgil never
married and did not leave a will, so his estate was
divided between brothers Horace and Armin.
Armin was awarded the Washington gold eagle as
part of his share of the estate and in 1933 sold it to New York
coin dealer Wayte Raymond, who promptly resold the coin
to his most important client, “Colonel” E.H.R. Green. Green
paid over $2,500 for it, an unheard of sum in his day.

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