The E-Sylum v21n47 November 25, 2018

The E-Sylum esylum at
Sun Nov 25 18:09:37 PST 2018

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

Volume 21, Number 47, November 25, 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 nine numismatists who learned about us through Horacio Morero following our publication of the memorial article about Arnaldo J. Cunietti-Ferrando, 
founding member of the Instituto Federal de Investigadores Numismáticos de la República Argentina, IFINRA (Federal Institute of Numismatic Researchers of the Argentine Republic):
Nora Matassi, ex director of the Museum of Casa de Moneda de la República Argentina, 
Darío Sánchez Abrego (President of IFINRA), 
Mariano Cohen (Vice President of IFINRA), 
Jorge Madonna (President of FENYMA), 
David Guevara, 
Santiago Blanco, 
Luis Laniado, 
Fernando Chao (h), 
Diego Nazarala.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: 



Welcome aboard! We now have 5,815 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 five new books, an insider story of the Garrett sale, new videos on the Newman Numismatic Portal, and several notes from E-Sylum readers.

Other topics this week include electrotypist Charles Enders, Jr., the Endwell-Union Company, dealer Joe Mitula, collector Orion Thomas Mason, the American Legion dollar, the Dickin medal's anniversary, a world cup medal, and Bitcoin.

To learn more about The Cinderella Coin, Rhode Island Civil War tokens, the coin collection of Her Majesty the Queen, ball feet, the New Jersey Numismatic 
Society Nettleship Award,  SS Central America artifacts, 
 Charles C. Rood's 1st catalog of Numismatic Literature, the lost city of Tenea, Greece, and the bathtub full of Russian coins, read on. Have a great week, everyone!

Wayne Homren 
Editor, The E-Sylum


Kin Carmody has published a book on the 1838-O half dollar.

THE CINDERELLA  COIN: A Beginner's Guide for Treasure Hunting on the Internet  is written by Kin Carmody. It is the true story behind research on the 1838-O half dollar first published in The E-Sylum in 2016 and 2017.  The book is soft cover, 6"x 9", 244 pages and is published by Outskirts Press and can be purchased on AMAZON for $17.95.        It will make the perfect Christmas gift for any "would be" treasure hunters in your family.

            In THE CINDERELLA COIN, the reader becomes a member of a real life treasure hunting team and  will follow all the twists, turns, failures and triumphs of the treasure hunt as they actually occurred. In the end, the amazing deception and illegal production of 1838-O PROOF half dollars  is exposed  that has kept this great Numismatic mystery unsolved for 180 years. THE CINDERELLA COIN  is revealed as the only surviving legally struck 1838-O half dollar and the rarest  U.S. circulation strike ever made.  The reader will also learn all the lessons needed  to start his or her own successful treasure hunt.

           The actual CINDERELLA COIN  will be featured and on display for the very first time at THE WINTER FUN CONVENTION in Orlando, Florida  January 10 -14,  2019, and the research behind the discovery will be presented in an educational forum  on Thursday January 11 at 4:30 pm.

For more information, or to order, see:

The Cinderella Coin: A Beginner's Guide for Treasure Hunting on the Internet 


To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see: 







The Civil War Token Society has published a new book by Dave Bowers on the CWTs of Rhode Island, Here's the information from their web site.

Hot off the press, The Civil War Tokens of Rhode Island by Q. David Bowers. The CWTS has published 1,000 copies and is selling it for $19.95 to non-members. Free to members with a shipping cost of $5. This is a first-come, first-served offer, so get your request into our book manager or order now.  
This is the first in a series of three books and will make a wonderful addition to your CWTS numismatic library!

To order: 

The Civil War Tokens of Rhode Island, 103pp Hardcover, Full Color (9.5 x 6.25)



For more information about the Civil War Token Society, see:



SPINK has published a new book by Jeremy Cheek on the Queen's numismatic collection.

Monarchy, Money & Medals: Coins, Banknotes and Medals From the Collection of Her Majesty The Queen by Jeremy Cheek

With foreword by HRH The Prince of Wales

Published by Spink in association with Royal Collection Trust

Hardback, jacketed  
With colour illustrations throughout
184 pages | 297 x 210mm
ISBN: 978-1-907427-91-6

The Royal Collection is famous as one of the finest art collections in the world, but less well known are its coins, medals and banknotes, which include many extremely rare pieces. This book, published by Spink in association with Royal Collection Trust, describes and illustrates the most important items in the collection, giving their historical background, how they came to be in the collection, and their importance. 

The development and dispersal of the early collections under the great royal collectors Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales, Charles I and George III are described. No monarch since then has been a devoted collector of coins or medals, but occasional important additions have been made to the Royal Collection, particularly by King George V and Queen Mary. Other major items have been received as gifts from visiting Heads of State; coin finds on Duchy of Lancaster land (e.g. the Cuerdale Hoard of 1840) have also contributed to the Collection, as well as items presented by the Royal Mint – a set of pattern coins of King Edward VIII, and gold coins for the coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II not issued to the public. 

Most of the items have never been exhibited before, and several are supported by descriptions and images of other relevant important objects from the Royal Collection. 

Jeremy Cheek, Honorary Numismatic Consultant to Royal Collection Trust since 2008, presents the fascinating background to the objects featured in the book, with the wealth of illustrations included helping to shine a spotlight on this little known but highly important part of the Royal Collection. 

For more information, or to order, see: 

Monarchy, Money and Medals: Coins Banknotes and Medals From the Collection of Her Majesty The Queen by Jeremy Cheek


NOTE: Charles Davis is the distributor of SPINK titles in the U.S.  For information on pricing and availability, contact Charlie at 

numislit at




The 2019 54th edition of Coins of England & the United Kingdom is available or preorder from SPINK.

Coins of England & the United Kingdom 54th Edition 2019 (2 Volume Set) by Howard, E (ed.)


Completely revised and updated

54th edition

Hardback and paperback, in two volumes

846 pp with colour illustrations throughout ISBN: 978-1-907427-93-0


This historic reference work for British coins is still the only catalogue to feature every major coin type from Celtic to the present day, arranged in chronological order and divided into metals under each reign, then into coinages, denominations and varieties.  Under Elizabeth II the decimal issues are separated from the pre-decimal coinages, with all decimal coinage since 1968 listed in a separate volume.

The catalogue includes up-to-date values for every coin, a beginner’s guide to coin collecting, numismatic terms explained and historical information about each British coin, from our earliest (Celtic) coins, Roman, Anglo-Saxon and Norman coins, the coins of the Plantagenet Kings, the Houses of Lancaster and York, the Tudors and Stuarts, to the more modern Milled coinage, minted for the first time in 1561 during the reign of Elizabeth I. 

>From the earliest of times, coins have been used by states or monarchs to communicate with people; Coins of England is therefore not only a reference book for collectors, but a fascinating snapshot of British history, illuminating its economics, technology, art, politics and religion. As always, the content has been updated and improved throughout by the editors, with numerous new images, entries and values based on activity in the current market.

For more information, or to order, see:

Coins of England & the United Kingdom 54th Edition 2019 (2 Volume Set) by Howard, E (ed.)



NOTE: Charles Davis is the distributor of SPINK titles in the U.S.  For information on pricing and availability, contact Charlie at 

numislit at




As reported in July, there is a new book on the Australian recipients of the Victoria Cross medal.  Author Michael Madden spent four and a half years writing it.  A launch ceremony was held this week near Sydney.  Here's an excerpt from the November 21, 2018 Wollondilly Advertiser, which includes a nice photo gallery of the event.

Edna Wheatley – widow of local war hero Kevin ‘Dasher’ Wheatley – was among the special guests at the launch of the 
new book, The Victoria Cross: Australia Remembers.

It was also an emotional moment for many other family members of VC recipients who joined NSW Governor David Hurley and a large crowd at Ingleburn RSL Memorial Garden on Tuesday.

The Victoria Cross is the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

Author Michael Madden – who met with about 60 families as part of his research – gave a fascinating speech about the history of the medal, dating back to the Crimean War of the 1850s.

He pointed out that each medal is only worth a few dollars in actual materials, but – once a war hero’s name is engraved – it is suddenly worth about $1 million.

The Governor said the book was about telling the story of “the individuals” behind the deeds of valour.

Students from St Patrick’s College, Macquarie Fields High School and Holy Family Catholic Primary School joined the ceremony.

Edna Wheatley was delighted to meet the girls from St Pat’s, led by history teacher Fran Music Rullo, and got teary-eyed as spoke about her husband, who was killed in action in 1965.

Also among the guests was 98-year-old war widow Daphne Dunne, whose special relationship with Prince Harry has made headlines around the world.

Her husband was Albert Chowne, killed in action near the end of WWII. 

Cutting a ‘slouch hat’ cake at the launch

See an article elsewhere in this issue about the acquisition of a Canadian Victoria Cross by the Canadian War Museum.

To read the complete article, see: 

Author Michael Madden launched his new book The Victoria Cross: Australia Remembers at Ingleburn RSL



To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: 





The CDN Blog published a nice article by Dave Bowers on the sale of the landmark Garrett collection from Johns Hopkins University and the publication of his classic book, The History of United States Coinage as Illustrated by the Garrett Collection.  Here's a short excerpt, but be sure to read the complete article.

Representing Bowers and Ruddy Galleries were myself and company president Bill Hawfield. Representing Christie’s was John J. Ford, Jr., who had been hired as a consultant, as Christie’s had no coin department in America (their facility was in London). For Stack’s, Norman Stack came along with John Burnham, a numismatist who worked with Stack’s and also was curator of the Yale University Collection, thought to have been a worthwhile connection concerning the academic context of the entire thing. The Sotheby’s contingent consisted of Donald Crowther, David Tripp, Peregrine Pollen (vice chairman of Sotheby’s worldwide), and Philip Wilson (publisher).

In time, Dr. Zdanis came and said to Bill Hawfield and me, “you have been selected. Please come to Garland Hall and meet with the board.” We went back, met the group, and Dr. Steven Muller, president of the university, was the spokesman. A nice discussion ensued. He said something to the effect, “I suppose you wonder why you were picked?” I replied in the affirmative. He said, “because I think Bowers and Ruddy Galleries can give some P.T. Barnum to the sale, and we need the money.”

I examined coins, made notes, and also at the Ferdinand Hamburger University Archives on the university campus and at the nearby Evergreen House, where I reviewed many thousands of invoices, letters, and other items pertaining to T. Harrison, Robert, and John Work Garrett, eventually making over 4,000 Xerox copies! These went into the creation of a book, The History of United States Coinage as Illustrated by the Garrett Collection. This volume, 592 pages, took quite a bit of time to prepare, but was finally done in the late summer. In the meantime, the first section of coins was catalogued by me and our talented staff. Dr. Zdanis suggested that The Johns Hopkins University Press publish the book, and I met with them, giving them details.

Their reply was that coins were such an obscure pursuit, that it would probably take ten years to sell as many as 1,000 copies. They might print it if forced to, but it did not sound very interesting. No problem. We decided to print it ourselves. The first order was for 4,000 copies. Announcements were made in the trade press, excitement arose, and the entire run was sold out within a few weeks! We had to have a second printing. In time about 15,000 were sold! 

To read the complete article, see: 

A Lighter Shade of Grey: Dave Bowers and the Garrett Collection




The latest addition to the Newman Numismatic Portal is the David Lisot Video Library. Project Coordinator Len Augsburger provided the following report.

The David Lisot Video Library

In 2017, David Lisot and the Newman Numismatic Portal concluded an agreement to make the David Lisot video library available via Newman Portal. This is a substantial archive, with over 1,800 videos from the mid-1980s to date. Lisot has tirelessly attended major coin shows for over 30 years and videotaped major presentations. This unique record, for many individuals in the numismatic field, likely represents the only video that exists. Newman Portal has processed 1,400 of these videos with the remainder to be delivered during the fourth quarter. These can be searched via the NNP advanced search page by entering “multimedia” as the content type and a search phrase under “search term.” 

Searching for “Breen”, for example, locates two videos from David Lisot featuring Walter Breen, from 1986 and 1990, in addition to a number of audio recordings. Or, as another example, searching on “buffalo” delivers ten results, primarily related to the Buffalo nickel series. More obscure phrases may also work – a search on “Washington Before Boston” locates a 1989 video featuring Dick Buckley, who I have never heard of, but would definitely watch if writing about this medal.

Image: Walter Breen, from the 1986 video “ANA Numismatic Personality: Walter Breen”

I've lost touch with Dick Buckley, but knew him in my Pittsburgh days.  An engineer in the Nuclear Power division of Westinghouse corporation, Dick hailed from Boston and was a member of the Western Pennsylvania Numismatic Society and The Sphinx Society.

Link to David Lisot Video Library on Newman Portal:


Link to advanced search page on Newman Portal:


This note has been lost in my inbox for a couple weeks - sorry for the delay.  Great question from Craig Sholley.

Craig Sholley writes:

The photo of the Austrian medal sign in the November 11 Numismatic Nuggets sent in by Jeff Rock caught my eye due to the name of the electrotyper - H. Enders.  One of the most prolific purveyors of electrotypes in America during the 1880's was Charles Enders, Jr. of New York.  Here's his fixed price list, found on the Newman Numismatic Portal.  You have to wonder if they were related.  

So - is anyone aware of a connection?  Here's the first page of the fixed pricelist; follow the NNP link to read the whole thing.  Also linked below is a November 2014 submission by Dave Hirt about Charles Enders ephemera and advertising.

To read the complete FPL on NNP, see: 

Price List and Catalogue of Rare Electrotype Coins and Medals, For Sale by Charles Enders, Jr. [Fixed Price List]


To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see: 







 Kudos for Lianna Spurrier 

Malcolm Johnson writes:

Ms. Spurrier's video about the Nova Constellatio series was just wonderful.   I hope she decides to pursue, at least as a sidelight, production of other numismatic themed videos.  She is very talented and her production work on the video was outstanding.

Indeed.  The industry has taken notice.  See the item under LOOSE CHANGE elsewhere in this issue by Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez of CDN Publishing. 

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: 



 Holland Wallace and Whitman Publishing 
Dennis Tucker of Whitman writes:

I read Dale Seppa's remembrance of Holland Wallace with great appreciation. There are a few Whitman "old-timers" (from the 1950s and 1960s) still with us, and it's interesting to hear their recollections and stories. It's a significant loss to the hobby when one passes away.

There's something that needs correction or clarification in Dale's commentary, though. He says that "After the sale of Whitman to Western Publishing Holland moved to California and became a dealer specialized in Latin American coins." Whitman was never sold to Western Publishing. It was a subsidiary of Western Printing & Lithographing Company (later called Western Publishing Company) since it was formed in 1916. (Western was sold to Mattel in 1982, but Dale's narrative places Holland Wallace's leaving the company at some time pre - July 1980.)

Ken Bressett writes:

Sorry to say that I have no recollection of precisely when Holland left Whitman. I'm pretty sure it was in the late 1970's, probably around 1978.

Thanks, gentlemen.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: 



 More on the End of Pitt Token 

Jeff Rock writes:

 While threatening a crank like Paine or Thomas Spence with hanging was no crime, it would have been treasonous to suggest such a thing for King, royalty in general and the high ranking government officials.  The token skirts awfully close to the edge of the law, but since it does not name Pitt there would have likely been enough wiggle room if anyone bothered to prosecute the matter.  What is interesting though is that on the obverse are conjoined faces of a demon on one side and an unnamed man on the other -- the human in the pair may well be a portrait of Pitt - a slightly later engraving is attached. 

The piece is listed by Dalton & Hamer as their Middlesex 1092.  The "Even Fellows" obverse comes with 8 different reverse dies (including one that depicts two other busts -- this time King George III and an ass, which are labelled "Odd Fellows") and was clearly something made for collectors of the day as most exist in nice condition today.

Good points.  Thanks.  Great token!

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: 

NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: NOVEMBER 18, 2018 : The End of Pitt Token 


 Visiting Block Island 
Regarding the 2018 Block Island quarter, 
ANA reader Jerry Norton writes:

I have two of the 2018-S silver ones and plan to visit Block Island. I have visited Cumberland Island (GA) by boat and it's beautiful too. I am a fisherman from Maryland...and part time numismatist.

It sounds like a great place to visit.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: 



 More on the Oklahoma State Quarter "Hidden Image"  
Bill Eckberg writes:

LOVE the Oklahoma State Quarter bit!
Almost as good as finding the devil in Queen Elizabeth’s hair.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: 

LOOSE CHANGE: NOVEMBER 18, 2018 : Oklahoma State Quarter Hidden Image 


 Howard Daniel Reports from Vietnam 

Howard A. Daniel III writes:

Here is a picture of me with some of the collectors attending the Sunday morning collectors’ meeting at the Art Museum in Ho Chi Mihn City (Saigon) on November 18, 2018.  It is good to be back with old friends for the next 45 days.

This just in from Howard tonight (November 25, 2018):

This morning's collectors’ meeting did not happen at 9AM at the Fine Arts Museum at 97A D Pho Duc Chinh, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam because of a typhoon.  The eye of the storm came within 14 miles of the city center.  We were in our Sedona Suites serviced apartment on the 32nd floor and watched it hit the city.  There was a ton of rain and it is still sprinkling this Monday morning.  If a philatelist or numismatist is visiting Ho Chi Minh City on a Sunday morning, they are very welcome to attend the meeting.  Walk through the main gate and then left about 100 feet to a café.  Just before the café are some outside tables and chairs and the collectors will be there until about noon.

 First Man on the Moon Blunders 

Regarding packaging  material for the 2019 Pobjoy Mint First Man on the Moon coin, 
Gary Greenbaum writes:

This is amusing. While the coin may or may not be based on the famous photo of Buzz Aldrin on Apollo 11, the image being used for the packaging is not from Apollo 11, but from Apollo 15! There are no mountains on the Sea of Tranquility which is why they landed 11 there.   For 15 they got more daring. But the guy saluting is Jim Irwin, eighth man on the moon; the photo was taken near the end of the second extravehicular activity (EVA) on August 1, 1972.

To view the photo on Wikipedia, see: 

Apollo 15



Dave Lange submitted these notes on a recent acquisition of numismatic ephemera.

A recent purchase on eBay for me was a very choice example of the Ticker and Treasure coin album from 1963-65. I usually avoid all-plastic items in my album collecting, but the cleverness of this gadget always intrigues me.

The lot came with a premium list catalog I'd never seen before. The name Endwell-Union Company stuck out in my mind as something associated with Dave Bowers years ago. Sure enough when I looked up his bio in Pete Smith's book I found that business listed for the years 1959-60. The catalog I have is dated 1960, and it must be a pretty rare item if it has eluded me until now.

Correct.  Those are indeed rare.  I've been fortunate to acquire three different examples over the years for my numismatic ephemera collection, all dated 1960. Dave Lange's example is in better condition than any of mine.


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

Images from Collectors Weekly.  See

Milwaukee Journal Pulitzer Prize Brass Paper Weight


Ball Feet. 
Hemisphere of metal attached to the back of a medallic item to make a paperweight of it. Most manufacturers used half spheres; called half ball feet, which they make themselves or obtained from jewelry supply houses. If the piece was struck with the hemispheres formed from such cavities in the reverse die it was called integral ball feet, but most were made by fabricating (attaching) separate ball feet. Other styles of feet appearing on paperweights are square, pylon and flat-top pyramid. This form of medallic item was popular in the first half of the 20th century.

In 1919 the Milwaukee Journal won the Pulitzer Medal and issued a plaquette to commemorate this event. The unknown maker attached two size brass ball feet – larger in back, smaller in front – to give a sloping effect to the piece lying on a flat surface. The brass spheres resemble ball bearings. A more sophisticated medal manufacturer would have used bronze half ball feet.

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 Houston dealer Joe Mitula.

Albin Joseph Mitula, Jr. (1896-1972), was born on January 16, 1896, at Galveston, Texas, son of Polish immigrant father : Albin J. Mitula (1862-1944),  and Norwegian mother, Anne Marie Holm Mitula (1861-1937).

Albin Joseph Mitula preferred to be called "Joe", and was popularly known simply as Joe Mitula.

He graduated his local high school and entered the workforce in the advertising industry.

On November 23, 1925, he married Mrs. Mary Edna Burns, nee Thompson (1892-1979). 

>From 1926-1930, he was president of Mitula Publishing Company, the publisher and manager of Houston Greeters Guide. Henry L. Doherty & Co., were his sales distributors.

In 1930, he opened and operated the Albin J. Mitula Inc., Dealer in Postage Stamps, located in the Union National Bank Building, Room 420, Houston, Texas. He 
advertised in the Houston Chronicle.

 The Houston Chronicle reported on October 7, and October 12, 1934, that  $2,000 of rare stamps, some 4,000 stamps in number, were stolen along with other articles from a car Mr. Mitula had parked in the 1100 block of Rice while visiting another stamp dealer. The thieves soon found that they could not easily sell the stamps, and a dealer they took them to refused to accept them, so they burned them. A sad remnant of social prejudice typical at this time the men were referred to simply as "Negroes". Fortunately, Mr. Mitula knew exactly what stamps had been taken and had the stamps covered by insurance. 

In the 1940s, he expanded to become the Mitula Stamp & Coin Company.

In April 1944, he was ANA Member No. 10221, and would advertise in The Numismatist.

He was somewhat famous for the rumor that he had accumulated a million 1950-D nickels during those 1950s. Q. David Bowers wrote about Mitula's having made much money off the 1950-D nickels in his Historian's Diary column in The Numismatist, February 2009.

In March 1965, he donated $1,000 to the A.N.A. Building Fund.

Mitula's ads in The Numismatist May 1956 and July 1960

He died of arterial thrombosis on July 18, 1972, at Medical Arts Hospital, Houston, Texas. He is buried in Forest Park Cemetery, Houston, Texas.

The Greater Houston Coin Club established the A.J. Mitula award in his honor for Best-in-Show exhibitors.

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



The topic of O. T. Mason came up last week when Ray Williams was searching for information on a colonial paper note pedigreed to an O. T. Mason.  John Lupia provided biographical information about anthropologist and collector Otis Tufton Mason, but it remained unclear whether THAT O.T. Mason was THE O.T. Mason that Ray sought.
Reader  Julia Casey  did some digging and submitted this information.  Thank you!

There was an Orion Thomas Mason (1865-1943) who I think could be a candidate to have been the O.T. Mason listed in connection to Ray's note.
Orion Thomas Mason lived all his life in Medway, Massachusetts.  He was a politician and civic leader.  He was the town historian and a market gardener with the firm of Hodges & Mason.
He wrote the book "Handbook of Medway History 1713-1913."

In the Springfield Republican Wednesday, December 26, 1934 there is an article (reprinted from the Lowell Courier-Citizen) entitled "Commodity Currency" which states:

"Hon Orion Mason of Medway has lent us from his fine collection of colonial and early state currency and notes a document which may help to an understanding of this subject."

I have attached this article and another (Boston Herald, June 25, 1932) as well as a photograph and brief bio which I found attached to a thread on a stamp collecting forum.  The poster there said that it is from "Who's Who in Massachusetts Politics" from 1915.

To read the complete article, see: 

US Army Postal Service 


Ray also contacted David Sklow, Director of the 
Dwight N. Manley Numismatic Library at the
American Numismatic Association, who writes:

There was an Orion T. Mason from Massachusetts who joined the 
ANA November 1930 - membership number 3832. That is all we have on him.


Harley Freeman bought a colonial paper collection from an O. T. Mason in 1935.  This evidence is no smoking gun, but documents that THIS O.T. Mason was alive in 1935 and owned a colonial paper money collection as of 1934. That makes him much more likely to be our man.  Thanks, everyone!

Intrigued by the reference to "Prof. Fisher's commodity dollar"  I did a little digging of my own to learn that Fisher was an American economist and proponent of a plan to issue a stable paper currency tied not to a fixed amount of gold but to an amount of gold sufficient to buy a standard basket of commodities.  I came up empty looking for a numismatic connection - no medals, prototype commodity notes etc.  Let us know if you find any!


To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: 





Dr Jonas Flueck is the creator of the Ex-Numis tool for searching coin auction catalogs by image.  Here's a press release about his new firm, Lugdunum GmbH.  

“A passion for history, a taste for aesthetics and ethical respect,” this is how Dr. Jonas
Emmanuel Flueck describes his work in the coin business.
As executive director of the auction house “Lugdunum GmbH”, based in Solothurn
(Switzerland), his consignors’ satisfaction is his top priority. 

The catalogs of both his public
auctions as well as his e-auctions demonstrate his strong commitment to the highest scientific
standards. He organizes online auctions several times a year. Once or twice a year, public
auctions are planned in Zurich. The first appraisal of any possible consignment is free of

In addition, Lugdunum GmbH specializes in consulting and supporting collectors,
particularly regarding auction representations. However, you can certainly also expect all of
the services good coin dealerships are known for, including the acquisition of coins and

Dedicated coin collectors certainly already know Dr. Jonas Emmanuel Flueck, who speaks
several languages fluently. The historian has been working in the coin business for more than
a decade. As a numismatist working at Spink in London and later at Hess Divo – where he
advanced to the position of managing director – he was in charge of numerous catalogs and

Dr. Emmanuel Flueck is part of the young generation of coin dealers who are generally
referred to as “digital natives”. He considers new technologies both a chance and a challenge.
As a trained archeologist, he is aware of the problems that can arise in the context of cultural
property laws. Which is why he established the Ex-Numis project in 2016. The latest image
detection software and an archive of hundreds of thousands of auction catalog images allow
him to quickly find out whether or not a coin has already been shown in an auction catalog.
Needless to say, the research of provenance of ancient coins is part of his own auction
catalogs as well.

Dr. Flueck is also an active member of numerous international associations. In 2017, he held
the office of treasurer at the IAPN (International Association of Professional Numismatists).
In 2018, he took over the position of general secretary at the Verband Schweizerischer

For more information on Lugdunum GmbH, see:

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see: 












Ray Williams of the  New Jersey Numismatic Society passed along this announcement.  Congratulations to Jeff Burke!

2017-2018 New Jersey Numismatic Society

Charles F. Nettleship Award

Presented to: Jeff Burke, NJNS Member #369

I am pleased to announce the recipient of the 2017-2018 New Jersey Numismatic Society
(NJNS) Charles F. Nettleship Award, as deemed by all past awardees to be a worthy

This individual has served the New Jersey Numismatic Society as a current officer,
providing a leadership role in society activities and business. His interests include Early
American Coppers, Tokens, Jetons and World Coins. He has shared his knowledge and
expertise in multiple areas through presentations and articles written for several
numismatic publications, including those serving the everyday collector as well as
scholarly journals.

I have personally witnessed his enthusiastic leadership at NJNS meetings and other
numismatic activities. He has demonstrated all the qualities sought by one of our
founding fathers, Charles F. Nettleship.

Charles F. Nettleship was the founding father of the NJNS in October, 1933. In 1982, he
donated $50.00 to the Society and it was decided to establish a service award in his name.
Nominations are made by past awardees at the October meeting. If a nominee is to be
named; the Nettleship Medal, suitably engraved, will be presented to the member deemed
most worthy by reason of his service to the Society.

Ray Williams, Jeff Burke, and NJNS President Pete LaConte

Nettleship Award Recipients:

1. Herbert Oechsner 1983 

2. Robert Schonwalter 1984

3. Ernest Keusch 1985 

4. James Heath 1986

5. Harold Flartey 1987

6. Harry Resigno 1988 

7. Herbert Silberman 1989 

8. Charles Davis 1991 

9. Spencer Peck 1992 251

10. Arno Safran 1994 

11. Chris Connell 1995 

12. Steve Middleton 1996 

13. Malcolm Heckman 1997 

14. Ray Williams 1999 283

15. Ernest Keusch 2000 

16. David Lange 2001 

17. Ron Thompson 2004 

18. Michael Fey 2007 

19. Arnold Miniman 2010-2011 

20. David Ginsberg 2011-2012 

21. Carl Feldman 2012-2013 

22. David Bailey 2013-2014 

23. Peter Laconte 2014-2015 

24. Walter Chinoy 2015-2016 

25. Jeff Burke 2017-2018 



This announcement got buried deep in my inbox, but there are still a few days to go before the deadline, so here goes.  Sorry for the delay!

Trask Family YN Summer Seminar Scholarship

In recognition of Susan Trask and her husband the late Frank Trask, the Civil War
Token Society has created the annual Trask Family YN Summer Seminar Scholarship
for young numismatists to apply for financial assistance, up to 75% of the cost of tuition
charged by the American Numismatic Association.

Susan and Frank Trask have been instrumental in supporting education and outreach in
the collecting of Civil War tokens; pushing the envelope and inspiring great
numismatists. Applicants should be excited about the hobby and eager to contribute to
its growth.

How to Apply:
Applicants must submit a written request to the scholarship committee chair, post
marked by the 30th of November, the calendar year prior to the upcoming Summer Seminar.

The awarded recipient must produce a self-directed project using the skills acquired
from the Summer Seminar.

Examples may include but are not limited to:

a published article in The Civil War Token Journal

publishing online research, commentary, or collecting notes on Civil War tokens

a local presentation to a historical society or school group

Fine Details:
Applicants must be Civil War Token Society members or pending membership at the
time of application.

The award is not guaranteed on an annual basis and is subject to the scholarship
committee review, composed of Civil War Token Society Board of Governors members.

In the event that a Civil War token specific course, similar course (19th century coinage,
exonumia, etc.) is not available or is cancelled by the ANA, the applicant must
demonstrate in their application an ability to use the Summer Seminar education to
apply to the study and promotion of Civil War tokens.

Submissions to:
Tom Reed (Commission Chair)
1105 Greystone Dr
Bryan, OH 43506

jbbnr67 at

For more information about the Civil War Token Society, see:



Brandon Christopher Hall published a nicely illustrated piece on Coin Update November 20, 2018 about the design of the 2019 American Legion commemorative silver dollar.  See the full article online for more pictures, including the coin's designers.

When reminiscing about classic American coin designs, it’s almost impossible not to think of the gorgeous double eagle by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, the elegant Flowing Hair Stella by Charles E. Barber, or the ubiquitous silver dollar by George T. Morgan. While it is important to honor the contributions of these legendary figures to American coinage, it’s equally important not to get stuck in a time-warp so that we do not miss the exciting things going on in U.S. coinage right now.

One such exciting development is the 2019 American Legion commemorative silver dollar, which boasts timeless designs generated from fresh minds and hands. The coin was born from the diversity of the Mint’s Artistic Infusion Program. Its obverse was designed by Paul C. Balan, a Filipino, and the reverse was designed by Patricia Lucas-Morris, a woman.

In 2017, some collectors in the hobby community cried “political correctness” when the American Liberty High-Relief $100 gold coin was released, with its portrait of Miss Liberty as a woman of non-white ethnicity.

No claims of political correctness can justly be levied at the American Legion coin that sprung from the minds of Balan and Lucas-Morris, as it relies heavily on iconography and metaphor, not unlike the coins that some collectors mention when they ask for a return to American tradition.

Balan’s obverse features a beautiful tribute: The emblem of the American Legion graced with leaves of oak and lily.

Not to be outdone, Lucas-Morris also did not disappoint.

Her reverse design features a fleur-de-lis framed by crossing U.S. and American Legion flags, continuing the theme from the obverse. The strength in her design is in its simplicity and tasteful use of negative space.

Instead of arguing against the lack of diversity in the past (among America’s coin designers) or about perceived political correctness in today’s coin design, I instead call for a celebration of a triumph for both diversity and excellent coin design. The future will likely include an increasingly diverse population, but that does not mean that the past will not be honored. The answer to the clash between past and present is not further acrimony, but timelessness, and the 2019 American Legion commemorative silver dollar is here to deliver a timeless design crafted by new hands.

To read the complete article, see: 

Timeless designs emerging from a new generation: The American Legion commemorative silver dollar




Numismatists are well familiar with the coins and other numismatic treasures recovered from the wreck of the SS Central America.  This Columbus Dispatch article excerpt notes that a warehouse full of other recovered artifacts are now for sale.

Bob Evans with SS Central America artifacts

It’s a hulk of an apparatus, a massive tangle of hoses and cords and cameras and lights and steel, complete with a large robotic arm.

Three decades ago, the custom-built, remotely operated research submersible, named the Nemo, was being guided to a storied shipwreck in the Atlantic Ocean, about a day’s boat trip off the South Carolina coast.

Online video footage shows the Nemo in action, gingerly picking up gold bars and coins and other artifacts from one of the greatest lost treasures in U.S. history.

“It’s quite a beast,” said Bob Evans, the chief scientist and historian of the expedition.

Today, the Nemo rests, long motionless, in a dark corner of a warehouse northeast of Downtown.

And it’s for sale.

So is the large bronze bell from the shipwrecked S.S. Central America, submerged in water in a case near the Nemo and among a treasure trove of cultural artifacts that are on the market.

They’re part of continued court proceedings against Thomas “Tommy” Thompson and his exploration group after lawsuits were filed by investors who say they did not share in the profits of the lucrative expedition they financed. Local auctioneer Robert Cassel is working for the court-appointed receiver responsible for selling the shipwreck findings and other items connected to the project.

He’s entertaining all offers.

“There are thousands of items,” Cassel said, adding, “There’s still cigars rolled that you could smoke. There’s jewelry that people wore that’s part of the recovery. There’s clothing. There’s shaving gear. They have tickets from the passengers.”

The ship sunk in a hurricane in September 1857, carrying tons of Gold Rush-era gold from California. Thompson and his exploration group spent years recovering items from the underwater site.

“The treasure of the S.S. Central America is just so huge and vast, it is like nothing else I expect to work on in my life,” Evans said.

Cassel said the entire lot is probably worth between $500,000 and $1 million. The aforementioned bell alone is valued at $100,000 or more.

He’s been working with some individual buyers who were considering purchasing the entire lot. The items will be sold to the highest bidder piecemeal beginning early next year if a single buyer can’t be found before then.

Evans, who devoted years to the exploration and who was on hand when the items were initially pulled from the ocean, hopes some sort of museum will be established.

“It clearly can’t be maintained like this,” Evans said. “I would love it if there could be a museum or something that would memorialize and immortalize the efforts that we put forth doing this project. it was an American dream.”


Could there be an SS Central America museum in the future?  I do hope a home can be found.
The ship's bell is an amazing artifact in itself.  I've always thought there ought to be an East Coast Treasure Museum, combining artifacts from multiple finds in a single large attraction to compete with Pirates of the Caribbean (or at least give families traveling to or from Disney World a fun and educational side trip).  Stories of real pirate treasure, warships, the Confederate 
submarine H. L. Hunley and the SS Central America?  That would be well worth a visit.

To read the complete article, see: 

Artifacts that Tommy Thompson recovered from sunken treasure ship for sale


OVER 500 NUMISMATIC TITLES: Wizard Coin Supply has over 500 numismatic titles in stock, competitively discounted, and
available for immediate shipment. See our selection at


Here is the press release for the December 3-4, 2018 sale by Archives International Auctions.   
Some great rarities here!

DECEMBER 3 & 4, 2018

The auction will be held by Archives International Auctions, in NYC and their offices in Fort Lee, N.J.

Archives International Auction’s December “50th Milestone Auction” scheduled for
Monday and Tuesday December 3rd & 4th, consists of over 1150 lots of rare and desirable banknotes,
scripophily, Presidential autographs and historic Ephemera. Featured will be an extensive collection of
Chinese banknote rarities, U.S. & Worldwide Banknotes, Scripophily, Security Printing Ephemera and
a U.S. Presidential Autograph collection as well as hundreds of other desirable banknotes, bonds and
shares and historic ephemera.

“The worldwide banknote market has been exceptionally strong this past year with dozens of price
records being set every sale. We do our best to cater to every level of collector and dealer and look
forward to celebrating our 50th Milestone Auction with the collecting community with another exciting
offering that includes hundreds of worldwide banknotes, scripophily and historic autographs,” said Dr.
Robert Schwartz, president of Archives International Auctions.

The first and second sessions scheduled on December 3rd to take place at the Collectors Club in New
York City begins with U.S. & Worldwide Scripophily with many highlights from the John E. Herzog
Collection including major rarities such as the impressive Spanish, Real Compania de San Fernando de
Seville, 1740's Share Certificate; 2 different 1917, Dominion of Canada War Loan Specimen bond
rarities as well as many 18th and 19th century rarities. Modern Scripophily is represented by numerous
stocks such as Apple Computer,, NYSE Group, Inc. and Berkshire Hathaway Specimens.

Additional Highlights include a 1778 Danish West Indies Bond; 2 different Nathan Rothschild Russian
Bonds; an 1845 Michigan, Mackinac and Lake Superior Copper Co. Stock Certificate and hundreds of
additional desirable Bonds and shares emphasizing railroads, mining and modern bonds and shares
offered over the 2-day auction.

Security Printing Ephemera is highlighted by a spectacular 1866 British American Bank Note Company,
Engravers & Printers, Proof Advertising Sheet Rarity, dozens of spectacular early advertising notes
from ABN, BW&C as well a pioneer polymer Tyvek and DuraNote banknote rarities and numerous
other desirable items. We are also privileged to offer a historic group of Presidential signed
documents including an Abraham Lincoln signed Military Appointment of N. J. Sappington, later
assigned to Elmira Prison to feed captured Confederates, as Commissary of Subsistence of Volunteers;
2 different James Madison signed documents and numerous other Presidential signed documents
from an old estate collection that has been off the market for over 30 years.

Lot 147. Farmers Bank of New Jersey, 1861 Issued Obsolete Banknote

Lot 173. Alaska. First National Bank of Fairbanks, 1902, $5 PB.

Lot 185. Central NB of Washington City, 1875, $10-20, Ch# 2382.

U.S. banknote highlights begin with impressive obsolete banknotes including a dramatic 1850-60s
Continental Bank $3 Obsolete with the well-known Polar Bear attacking men in boat image as well as
dozens of rare and attractive obsoletes, both issued and proofs; National banknotes are highlighted
by an extremely rare Uncut Pair of 1875, $10-$20, Charter #2382, The Central National Bank of
Washington City, with this being the only known uncut pair of notes from this bank; an Alaska, First
National Bank of Fairbanks, 1902, $5, Plain Back rarity; a German National Bank of Memphis, 1866
Proof $5 Banknote Rarity; an Oilfields National Bank in Brea, CA, $5 Ty.2 in CU 64; a First National
Bank in Reno, $5 Uncut Sheet of 6 notes, Ch#7038; a Nevada, 1929, First National Bank of Lovelock,
Nevada, $10, T1, Ch#7654 rarity, and dozens of other outstanding U.S. Obsolete, Type and National
notes from various collections and estates.

Lot 235. National Bank of the DWI, 1905 Proof Banknote.

Lot 319. Banco Espanol De Puerto Rico, ND (1894) Specimen Banknote.

Foreign Banknotes include many desirable rarities such as an Australia, 1941, Camp Seven Bank Hay
Internment Camp 2 Shillings note; a 1937 Bank of Canada, $100 Specimen graded PCGS 66 OPQ; a
Chile, 1878-79 Banco Nacional de Chile Specimen Banknote Quartet, all extremely rare notes; a DWI,
1905 Proof $100 National Bank of the Danish West indies rarity; an amazing Irish Republic, 1866
Issued Uncut Sheet of 3 $5 Notes; Possibly the finest known, Germany, Imperial Treasury Note -
Reichskassenschein 1906 Issued Banknote in AU 55 EPQ with no other notes listed in the PMG census
as well as dozens of additional rare and desirable notes.

Lot 430. China. Deutsch-Asiatische Bank 1907 $1 Issued Banknote.

We are ending the first day with a significant offering 128 lots of rare China and Hong Kong Banknotes
and Chinese Scripophily featuring a Hong Kong, Mercantile Bank of India, 1941, $5, Issue Banknote
Rarity; a Sin Chun Bank of China, 1908, $10 high grade Private Banknote; a 1920, 10 Tael Specimen
Commercial Bank of China Rarity and dozens of other rare and desirable Chinese banknotes. The first
day end with Chinese scripophily highlighted by a Chinese Government 5% Gold Loan of 1912, Issued
£1000 Bond

The auction features hundreds of additional rare and desirable banknotes, coins, and scripophily in
every price range, for the beginner to the advanced collector. Previews will be held at Archives
International Auctions offices Wednesday to Friday, November 28, 29 and 30 from 10 AM to 5 PM and
by appointment and on Monday, December 3rd at the Collectors Club located at 22 East 35th Street in
New York City beginning at 9:30 am until 2:00 pm EST. For an appointment call 201-944-4800 or email

info at

The Online catalog for the December 3rd and 4th sale is on Archives International Auctions’ website and
can be viewed via the ArchivesLive bidding platform. It can also be viewed as a virtual catalog or
downloadable .pdf on their website. To pre-register for live internet bidding, log on to the Archives
International Auctions website, at

Archives International Auctions is currently seeking quality consignments for 2019 Winter and Spring
auctions and is looking for U.S. and worldwide banknotes, coins, stocks, bonds, stamps, postal history,
historic ephemera, autographs, and documents to buy outright. To sell or consign one piece or an
entire collection, please call AIA at (201) 944-4800; or e-mail them at 

info at
You can also view AIA’s weekly eBay offerings at their eBay ID ArchivesOnline.

You may also write to Archives International Auctions, at 1580 Lemoine Ave., Suite #7, Fort Lee, NJ
07024 U.S.A. To learn more about Archives International Auctions and the auctions planned for 2019,
log on to


Here are some items that caught my eye in day one of the upcoming Holabird December 2018 Auction- A Sale to "Die" for.

 Lot 1281: Numismatic Literature 

Description: Lot of seven vintage auction catalogs: Thomas Elder's sale of Dr. D. W. Valentine's collection, December , 1927; Official program 1940 ANA Convention; Charles C. Rood's 1st catalog of Numismatic Literature 1930; Scott Stamp & Coin Auction, March 1937; Geoffrey Charlton Adams' auction of the Anderson Collection, June, 1905; Wayte Raymond, December, 1937; J.C. Morgenthau, Feb. 1937; B. Max Mehl's auction of William Knapp Collection, March, 1945. State: City: Date: HWAC# 85561

There are some numismatic literature lots beginning at Lot 1280.  As a bibliophile Charles C. Rood's 1st catalog of Numismatic Literature (1930) especially stood out - I don't have one in my ephemera collection.  Pete Smith has written about Rood in The Numismatist our print journal,The Asylum.

To read the complete lot description, see: 

Lot 1281: Numismatic Literature


 Lot 1323: Two Foreign Counterstamped Pieces 

Description: Lot of two: 1) Ceylon, Coffee token, Mac Kenzie & Co., counterstamped with a wagon wheel. 2) 1840 One Rupee from the East India Company, with "PM" counterstamped on Victoria's cheek. State: City: Date: HWAC# 85529

The piece stamped with the wagon wheel looks like a U.S. Large cent to me.   I reached out to our go-to Ceylon expert, my old friend Dr. Kavan Ratnatunga of Sri Lanka.

Kavan writes:

Neither piece is cataloged in Pridmore as Ceylon Coffee Tokens.
The copper piece may have been identified as Ceylon based on that 8-spoke countermark, but it is is significantly different than the documented pieces.
Some U.S. Large Cents with the "TC" countermark have been  identified with Ceylon, as Ceylon coins with the same countermark are known. 

Thanks.  Here are some images from Kavan's web site.

For more information, see:

For more information, see:

To read the complete lot description, see: 

Lot 1323: Two Foreign Counterstamped Pieces


 Lot 1338: Counterstamped U.S. Coins 

Description: Lot of four: large cent stamped: "Wells Fargo / Bonded / Gardena, Calif."; silver quarter stamped "J.E.W. / to / CFC / 86." 1827 large cent with a heart stamped in the obverse field; 1845 large cent stamped "Vote The Land Free." State: City: Date: HWAC# 84718

Some more neat counterstamps. VOTE THE LAND FREE is a famous one.  I don't believe I've ever seen heart image or the Wells Fargo one.  The quarter isn't an advertising piece but some sort of love token or other personal event souvenir.  We may never know who J.E.W. and C.F.C. were.

To read the complete lot description, see: 

Lot 1338: Counterstamped U.S. Coins




Here's a selection of interesting or unusual items I came across in the marketplace this week.  Tell us what you think of some of these.

 c1894 Iran Gold 10 Toman 

I saw this Iranian gold coin on Sixbid - it is in the recent Sincoa AG Auction 49 held last month.  Gotta love the 'stache.
I believe this is lot 52, a gold 10 Toman of Shah Naser al-Din (1848-1896).

To read the complete description, see: 

THE KIAN COLLECTION. IRAN. Collection consisting of 364 coins and medals


 Two Dollar Bill With Andy Warhol Signature 

Andy WARHOL (1928-1987)
2 DOLLAR banknote signed in the felt on the face with postage stamp and postmark, 1976
WARHOL workshop stamp on the back
Dimensions: 6.5 x 15.5 cm

These are plenty of postmarked bicentennial two dollar bills around, but how many with the signature of Andy Warhol?  Cool item. But where was it postmarked - can anyone make out the name of the town?

To read the complete item description, see: 

Andy WARHOL (1928-1987) - 2 DOLLAR banknote with dedication


We discussed a different Warhol-signed note in October.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: 

NUMISMATIC NUGGETS: OCTOBER 7, 2018 : Dollar Bill Signed by Andy Warhol


 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup Gold Medal 

A FIFA Confederations Cup 2017 Final Match Winning Player’s Original Gold Medal.  This medal was one of the actual medals that were awarded to the Germany National Team Squad members & staff in their celebration ceremony for winning the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017 Final Match against Chile National Team on July 2nd, 2017 in Krestovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg, Russia, where Germany defeated Chile (1-0) via a 20th-minute goal from Lars Stindl to claim their first FIFA Confederations Cup title.  The medal is in excellent condition.

An absolutely historic and breathtaking piece of Soccer history.  Comes directly out of the German traveling Camp to Russia from the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup; a Tournament which is held once every four years!

Not a beautiful medal, but a nice piece of sports memorabilia.  see the article elsewhere in this issue about the sale of a Croatian World Cup medal.

To read the complete lot description, see: 

FIFA Confederations Cup 2017 Final Match Winning Player’s Original Gold Medal. Germany v Chile (1-0)




Arthur Shippee forwarded this New York Times article about a great archaeological find in Greece.  Thanks!

First, the archaeologist and her team uncovered a sarcophagus from a village in southern Greece in 1984.

Thirty-four years later, an ancient road in the same village led to a Roman mausoleum.

Then, in October, a lost city called Tenea was found.

Before the discovery, no evidence of the ancient city of Tenea existed; it was found only in historical texts and myths.

Among the other items found was a collection of more than 200 coins that dated from the early Hellenistic years, a historical period that started after the death of Alexander the Great in 323 B.C., and to the Roman Empire.

“During the Roman years, Tenea cut coins,” Dr. Korka said, adding, “This shows full independence.”

The tombs showed that the area’s population had been a wealthy one. Dr. Korka’s team found a Roman mausoleum outside the city, as well as seven Roman and Hellenistic tombs, all of which had been adorned with ancient urns and gold and silver coins, among other things.

To read the complete article, see: 

Rich, Ancient City Is Unearthed in Greece





A Paradise, CA couple managed to find a cherished souvenir coin after a fire destroyed their home.

A couple whose Paradise, Calif., home burned down in the Camp Fire has found their lucky coin, and they’re going viral.

According to a Twitter post about them, their home had been destroyed but they returned hoping to uncover a coin in the ruins. This was not just any nickel or dime. This was a special coin.

The Spainhowers got married and went on their honeymoon in 2004. During their trip they made a souvenir coin to “commemorate their love,” photographer Marcus Yam wrote on his now viral Twitter post. The coin reads: “KIM & RYAN SOULMATES 4EVER.”

Silver coins and other metals are unlikely to burn or melt in a house fire, according to the National Institute of Fire and Safety Training. So, the Spainhowers had some hope. But they were basically searching for a needle in a haystack.

After some digging, they miraculously discovered the coin they’d kept for 14 years. Photographers captured the moment it was found, and the internet can’t get enough of it: Yam’s post has been shared almost 2,000 times.

We hope the coin brings them some more luck.


To read the complete article, see: 

Couple miraculously finds 14-year-old coin from their honeymoon after Camp Fire destroys their home





The Canadian War Museum has acquired its 39th Victoria Cross medal.

The Canadian War Museum announced Monday that it has acquired another Victoria Cross to add to its Hill 70 collection thanks to a donation from the Hill 70 Memorial project.

The medal, the highest honour bestowed to a combatant of a Commonwealth military organization, was awarded to Lt. Robert Hill Hanna of B Company of the 29th Infantry Battalion for “outstanding gallantry, personal courage and determined leading of his company.” The medal is the fourth that the museum has acquired. Six in total were awarded to Canadians.

The cross was acquired by the Hill 70 Memorial Project in which Cyril Woods is a founding member. Woods is a philanthropist who has worked to memorialize the battle of Hill 70 and those who served and perished in the battle, including Robert Hanna.

“It’s unbelievable and I’m very proud, ” said Cyril Woods as the medal was officially handed over to the Canadian War Museum.

Woods felt a strong connection to Hanna, which is why he came forward with an undisclosed amount of money to help purchase the medal.

The museum is currently working on plans to display the Hill 70 Victoria Cross medals to be unveiled in 2019. According to Eric Feinberg, collections specialist at the museum, there have been 99 Victoria Crosses awarded to Canadians since 1856 and the museum has acquired 39 of them.

“This is the story of our Canadian military, this is valour and heroism. It’s something that really speaks to the deep commitment of our service personnel who were fighting for Canada. (A Victoria Cross) is the one mark that stands out above all.” 

To read the complete article, see: 

Canadian War Museum now has four of the six Victoria Crosses awarded to Canadians at Hill 70




This Forces Network article notes a celebration on the 75th anniversary of the Dickin medal.

The 75th anniversary of the first animal award for bravery, the PDSA Dickin Medal, is being celebrated at London's Imperial War Museum.

Its recipients include 34 dogs, 32 pigeons, four horses and one cat.

Mali, a retired British military working dog, is the only living recipient of the award.

The Belgian Malinois was awarded the Dickin Medal after a deployment in Afghanistan. Whilst there Mali searched for explosives under direct fire on two occasions and was seriously injured by grenade blasts.

Created 75 years ago by animal charity worker, Maria Dickin, the Dickin Medal bears the inscription "We Also Serve" and is considered by some as the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross.

To read the complete article, see: 

Military Animal Heroes Lauded As Dickin Medal Turns 75




Medals awarded for accomplishments are a personal thing and inspire emotion.  Sometimes when one comes up for sale there's a public outcry, as happened in Croatia this week.  Here's an excerpt from an Art Daily article.

Croatia was abuzz on Tuesday with speculation over the identity of an unnamed World Cup bronze medal winner from 1998 who was auctioning the precious memento. 

Croatia's third place 20 years ago was the country's historic first success as an independent football nation, although they went one step better last July by reaching the final before losing to France. 

"There were only 30 copies of this medal. Absolutely rare, extra fine," says the description of the item at The Saleroom auction web portal. 

Auctioneer Agon Sports World estimated the price at 7,500 euros ($8,570) and the auction is set for December 7 and 8. 

"I don't believe that some of my players would put it on sale since they are all well-off," the team's 1998 coach Miroslav 'Ciro' Blazevic said. 

"Maybe it was stolen," the 83-year-old told the Vecernji List daily paper. "It will certainly not stay anonymous, such things are always revealed," he added. 

Contacted by AFP, the Croatian Football Federation (HNS) stressed "all medals are in the private ownership of individuals who can do with them what they deem adequate". 

"Someone is in a deep trouble when they are selling the medal," Croatian team doctor Boris Nemec said, vowing he would not sell his "for anything".

The Croatian Football Federation correctly noted that the medals are the private property of the individual recipients.  The public outcry, as always, is from people who are neither buyers nor sellers and have no real say in the transaction.  

To read the complete article, see: 

Croatia wonders who is selling 'cherished' 1998 World Cup medal




Author Jeff Wing submitted these thoughts on Bitcoin. Thanks.

My book Paper Money Messages Volume 1 discusses 21 Countries that have experienced
hyperinflation. The value of paper money was maintained by either adding zeros or
redefining the denomination. People will accept paper money if they can purchase
something else with it. However, the concept that a “piece of paper” can have significant
worth is a conundrum. There are other examples of how people will assign value to
something that does not have obvious value. An example is the use of bitcoin. Like
“paper money,” it is backed purely by the perceived value that the user has assigned to it.

Bitcoin is a digital currency created by an anonymous computer programmer or group of
programmers known as Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009. Owners of bitcoins can use various
web sites to trade them for physical currencies, such as US dollars or euros, or can
exchange them for goods and services from several vendors. The number of vendors that
accept bitcoin for some of their products is growing, and includes companies such as
Subway, Microsoft, and Dell.

As quoted by the on their website in June of 2018. “The price of a bitcoin is
determined by supply and demand. When demand for bitcoins increases, the price
increases, and when demand falls, the prices fall. “ “Bitcoins have value because they
are useful as a form of money. Bitcoin has the characteristics of money (durability, port-
ability, fungibility, scarcity, divisibility, and recognizability) based on the properties of
mathematics rather than relying on physical properties (like gold and silver) or trust in
central authorities (like flat currencies). In short, bitcoin is backed by mathematics. With
these attributes all that is required for a form of money to hold value is trust and
adoption. In the case of bitcoin, this can be measured by its growing base of users,
merchants, and startups. As with all currency, bitcoins value comes only and directly
from people willing to accept them as payment.”

1946 Hungary note for 1 Sextillion Pengo (21 zeros). 
  (Typically Trillion is the largest term that most people are familiar with, however after the trillion there is a Quadrillion, Quintilian, and then Sextillion.)

When the book Paper Money Messages Volume 1 was written the value of bitcoin was about
$7,700, which was considered an incredible valuation. However, the value of bitcoin
continued to increase after that time until it reached $19,539 in December of 2017.
 However, doubts about the value of Bitcoin and other cyber currencies (there are many of them besides bitcoin) has caused the value to drop.
Currently as of 11/23/18 it is trading for $4,249 (a decrease of 78% from the peak!)

What is the correct value? This is for the market to determine. What is the most stable
money: digital money, government issued money, collectible coins, collectible paper
money, or gold/ silver?

Therefore, as can be seen, there is a direct parallel between the “value” of the bitcoin and
the “paper money” that is shown in Paper Money Messages Volume 1. Where do we place
“value” is a great thing to consider during this holiday season.

2008 Zimbabwe 100 Trillion Dollar note.   The lowest denomination  in the series is a one dollar note.   In 2006 the lowest denomination was a one cent note!

For more information, see:



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


Here are some additional items I came across in the media this week that may be of interest.  We'll start with one for the bibliophiles.

 The Royal Portuguese Cabinet of Reading 

>From Art Daily for November 20, 2018.

Employee Jeferson Deodata da Silva climbs a ladder at the Royal Portuguese Cabinet of Reading in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on November 19, 2018. The institution was founded in 1837 by a group of forty-three Portuguese immigrants -political refugees- to promote culture among the Portuguese community in Brazil. Opened to the public since 1900, the collection receives around 6,000 new titles a year and houses many rare and valuable books which are available to view by the public on request. 

To read the complete article, see:

 Lianna Spurrier's Numismatic Star Rises 

Last week we profiled new subcriber Lianna Spurrier, who had created an excellent video about the Nova Constellatio pattern coinage.  My inbox was abuzz with compliments on her work and people reaching out to her for new projects.  Here's an article by Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez of CDN Publishing.

Before this past summer, Spurrier was sure she’d stick to writing only fiction and venture into a full-time position as a graphic designer. But her video about the Nova Constellatio has been turning heads in the coin industry and may have her reconsidering her career choices. “I had been planning to work as a graphic designer after graduation (you know, until my writing career takes off!), but now it looks like I might end up in numismatic journalism instead. Who knows?”

Indeed… So many coin collectors have turned their hobby and love of writing into successful numismatic journalism careers, and perhaps Spurrier will, too. For now, she’s happy with the numismatic attention her video skills have earned her. She also suggests numismatists who aren’t on Instagram to jump in on the fun there. “I’ve just been really impressed by the community of collectors I’ve found on Instagram, and I highly encourage others to join in – even if you’re not comfortable buying or selling on it, it’s great to just see other collections and be able to share your own with people who will understand. I’ve learned so much just from reading what others share.”

To read the complete article, see: 

Nova Constellatio Video Turning Heads, Creating New Numismatic Star?


To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: 



 Coins Added With Bennington Monument Capstone 

On November 25, 1889 the capstone of the Bennington (Vermont) Battle Monument was set in place.  Coins flew into the cement for posterity. Here's an article from the Bennington Banner

A crowd of hundreds had gathered, alerted by two gunshots at sunrise that the weather-dependent event was on. All were given the chance to see and touch the capstone before it began its trip skyward. It was made of the same material as the rest of the monument, Sandy Hill dolomite quarried in present-day Hudson Falls, N.Y., and measured 4 feet, 4 inches square at its base and 3 feet tall, topped with an 8-inch-square flat surface.

At 2:40 p.m., the capstone began its trip to the top, where a small crowd waited. At 3 p.m. precisely, the stone was set in place. "During the cementing process many of those present threw into it half and quarter dollars, and other silver coin, and none of the workmen were more active than Master 'Jack' Parsons, with his little silver trowel, procured especially for this occasion," the Banner reported. 

To read the complete article, see: 

Nov. 25: The day the architect stood atop the Monument


 Man Buys Phone With Bathtub Full Of Coins 

This story from Russia comes via the Society of Paper Money Collectors News & Notes  blog (November 20, 2018, Volume IV, Number 22).

A man in Moscow collected 100,000 Russian rubles (about $1,500) in a bathtub and used it to buy an iPhone XS. The man went to an Apple reseller in Russia with the bathtub full of coins, which weighed about 350 kilograms (770 pounds). The man took the bathtub full of coins to the Evropeisky Mall in central Moscow.

To read the complete article, see: 

A Russian Man Uses Bathtub Full Of Coins To Buy iPhone XS


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