The E-Sylum v22n27 July 7, 2019

The E-Sylum esylum at
Sun Jul 7 18:20:30 PDT 2019

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

Volume 22, Number 27, July 7, 2019

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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: 
John Ostendorf.
Welcome aboard! We now have 5,945 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. 

Many thanks to readers who sent Fourth of July wishes.
This week is a two-fer issue: we open with two new books, two articles on careful numismatic research, two updates from the Newman Numismatic Portal, and two articles relating to numismatics in New York City.

Other topics this week include paper siege coins, Arabian silver coins found in New England, authors Theodore Venn, Matt Rothert and Dennis Tucker, benefits of the 2019-W quarter program, educational talks at the 2019 ANA World's Fair of Money, Nicaraguan banknotes, kid counterfeiters and a $100 bill toothpick trick.

To learn more about coins of Western Switzerland, British Gallantry Awards, the War Nickel King of New York, the number of 1894-S dines, Royal Mint coin designer Joseph Boehm, Jacobite banknotes, The Richmond Collection, the Parsons gold ingots, "Daddy Dollars", Barton's metal and explosion bonding, read on. Have a great week, everyone!

Wayne Homren 
Editor, The E-Sylum



This new French language publication by Charles Froidevaux covers in detail the coins of the Neuchâtel region of Switzerland. 
The title translates to  Economic and Monetary History of Western Switzerland.  Here's a Google-translated version of the book description from the publisher's web site.  An article by Ursula Kampmann in the July 4, 2019 issue of CoinsWeekly alerted me to the book - thank you.

With this three-volume work, Charles Froidevaux presents a monetary history of Western Switzerland and a catalog of Neuchâtel coins.

The first volume proposes a monetary history of Western Switzerland. This study is located at the crossroads of several fields: history, the history of economic thought, the history of currency crises and the counterfeiting of money-laundering issues that ensue in Berne, Basel, Neuchâtel and Geneva, numismatics, statistics, metrology and genealogy.
In addition to presenting a global monetary history of Western Switzerland over several centuries, the book is also a kind of encyclopedia and gives tools to understand the monetary history, currency crises, devaluations, equivalences between different currencies - notably with the Kingdom of France - as well as the relations between the currencies of the states of Western Switzerland. For the first time, an analysis of the Romagna currency (Romandie) is formulated. Currency of account, it allowed to synchronize the currencies between the French-speaking regions and those of German language of the western part of the Swiss Corps. The second volume is a key catalog of Neuchâtel coins, both for numismatic researchers and for collectors. For each Neuchâtel coin, it offers a presentation according to the current standards of numismatics.

The coins are inventoried according to the collection in which they are kept, with inventory number, provenance, size and weight if they are available. Private collections are separated from public collections to allow collectors to assess the rarity of variants and their potential for market entry. A table of correspondences between the references of the work of Wavre, Demole and Montandon published in 1939 and those of this catalog allows museums and collectors to update their inventory.

The third volume is devoted to the sources, the documentary bases and the detailed analysis of the elements presented in the first two. The essential documents mentioned in the first volume or in the catalog are transcribed or photographed. The author has compiled genealogical tables, several documents on counterfeiting (including correspondence involving members of the Neuchâtel Council of State) and on the consequences of monetary conferences, under the Ancien Regime, for the various states of France. the western part of the Helvetic Corps. The techniques of reading ancient monetary documents are developed, as well as the transcription of abbreviations and the manner of deciphering the mandates displaying the prices of species in the western part of the Swiss Corps. The reader will also find an introduction to coin-making techniques and the role of master coiners and engravers, as well as the production accounts and production volumes of the Neuchâtel workshop. Th
 e last part of the volume analyzes the relations between the counterfeiting industry and the families in power in Neuchâtel


Title: Histoire économique et monétaire en Suisse occidentale (1589-1818)

Pages: 956

ISBN: 978-2-88930-275-8

Price: 99.00 CHF, 89.00 €, 119.00 $ 

For more information (in French), or to order, see: 

Histoire économique et monétaire en Suisse occidentale (1589-1818)



To read the complete CoinsWeekly article (in English), see: 

Everything There Is To Say About the Coins of Neuchâtel 




Spink has published a new pocket guide to British Gallantry Awards.  Here's the information from their web site. 

Over the ages and in all societies, gallantry in battle has been highly regarded, with the bravery of individuals and fighting forces being officially rewarded and publically recognised in a wide variety of ways, such as gifts of jewels or money, grants of land, promotions in rank or status etc. 

In Britain, it has been the practice since at least the mid-19C to award decorations – medals specifically conferred to reward bravery in action. With the growth of the British Empire in the late 19C, the waging of two World Wars, the campaigns that mark the end of Empire and a continuing UN and NATO role, Britain has produced a wide range of medals to reflect the gallantry of its own and Imperial fighting forces. Such rewards have been conferred upon men and women, in all theatres of war and amongst the whole range of its forces on the ground, in and under the sea, in the air and even “at home”. 

This new Spink book offers an introductory guide to British and Imperial medals for gallantry which have appeared since 1854 and which continue to be awarded to this day, illustrating the type of action which has led to the award of the various medals over nearly 200 years.

A Pocket Guide to British Gallantry Awards 

by Peter Duckers


ISBN: 978-1-912667-02-4


For more information, or to order, see: 

A Pocket Guide to British Gallantry Awards by Peter Duckers





Author and publisher Dennis Tucker of Whitman Publishing makes a great case for an orientation for detail in numismatic research and writing in an article published July 1, 2019 on Coin Update.  Here's an excerpt, but be sure to see the complete article online.  It's a must-read for anyone working on a numismatic manuscript.

Coin books at the Whitman booth

In March 2019 Whitman publisher Dennis Tucker spoke about writing and research to eighth-grade students of Meadow Glen Middle School (Lexington, South Carolina). This is a transcript of that lecture.

Hello. My name is Dennis Tucker. I’m a professional writer and editor, which means I get paid to do the things you’re studying and practicing in school.

Since 2004 I’ve been the publisher at Whitman Publishing, a company that produces books mostly in the fields of history and antiques-and-Collectibles. Many of our books involve numismatics, which is the study of coins, tokens, medals, and paper money. This touches on history, art, technology, industry, mining, banking and economics, metallurgy, geography, and many related subjects.

I’ve been a coin collector since I was about seven years old. So not only do I get to help create books, which is something I love to do, but I get to work in what is essentially my lifelong hobby.

My general advice to writers is to know your subject matter; know your audience, and know your strengths and weaknesses as a communicator.

Take your research and writing seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously. By that I mean

be humble,

always be a student—in other words, always think of yourself as 
someone who is learning, and

have fun with your work.

Being a good communicator is an important skill. It always has been. It always will be. Good communication is useful, and valuable, in every field of human endeavor. I mention this not only because of the importance of sharing thoughts and ideas between people, but also because, on an individual level, being a good communicator will open up career opportunities for you.

If you’re writing nonfiction, your reputation as a researcher and author will depend on the integrity of your work. Are you accurate? Are you precise? When you go beyond reporting facts and you draw conclusions, are they based on reliable sources and careful reasoning? Can your readers trust you as an authority on your subject?

Often in research, primary sources will be your best friend. That means going to contemporary newspapers and government documents, letters and diaries, autobiographies, interviews, and the like.

Of course, keep in mind that primary sources can be colored by personal perspectives and biases, or they might contain mistakes. So don’t depend completely on any one primary source. Gather information from as many as you can. If you find discrepancies, look for reasons why.

If you ever find missing pieces in the puzzle of your research, resist the temptation to fill in the blanks with speculation. Or—if you must speculate, and you present a hypothesis or an undocumented possibility, keep these three things in mind:

base your reasoning on as much historical evidence as you can,

explain your thought process to your reader, and

make it clear that what you’re writing is speculative.

Let me give you three case studies on the importance of research. The first is about a researcher whose groundbreaking work was marred by a strange weakness; the second is about a young writer, not much older than you, who solved a 200-year-old mystery; and the third is an example of a primary-source document that had some hidden traps.

Well put.  I doubt I or anyone could frame the argument better.
The case studies are short and each clearly highlights an important point.  Be sure to read the complete article online.

To read the complete article, see: 

The importance of good research and writing




On a related topic, Pat Heller published a July 4, 2019 article about the limits of internet research.  This should be painfully obvious, but even highly rated and thoroughly written web pages might not be answering the question you're asking.

The Internet is a wonderful research tool but the content is not always accurate or complete. Therefore, one needs to temper the results of a numismatic search by confirming information from other sources or thinking about what holes may exist in what is discovered.

Here’s an example. Last week, I posted on my company’s Facebook page, and also my personal page, a question of who are the six identified (my mistake, there are actually seven) people other than Christopher Columbus who are depicted on US currency issues that were not born in what is now part of the United States of America.

These posts drew more attention and responses than usual. One respondent found a helpful website here and thought that the 53 people listed there included every specific person portrayed on US currency.

Using this website, however, only picked up four of the six people—Albert Gallatin from Geneva Switzerland, Alexander Hamilton from Charlestown, Saint Kitts and Nevis, George Meade from Cadiz Spain, and Robert Morris from Liverpool, England.

What did the site miss?  Check out the article to find out.
Who are the other three people?  Can anyone think of any more?

To read the complete article, see: 

The Limits Of Online Numismatic Research




The latest addition to the Newman Numismatic Portal is an archive of Chapman Brothers correspondence from the American Numismatic Society collection. Project Coordinator Len Augsburger provided the following report.

Chapman Brothers Correspondence at the American Numismatic Society

The ANS acquired a sizable group (19 boxes) of Chapman brothers archives, c. 2000, related to business activities of this Philadelphia rare coin firm at the turn of the 20th century. Handling some of the most important collections of the period, beginning with the Bushnell sale in 1882, the Chapmans did much to define the practice of auction cataloging. Descriptions grew less terse, and the usage of photography increased. “Deluxe” editions signaled the numismatic community that it was perfectly acceptable to collect books. Today their sale catalogs are avidly collected. The Chapman archives at the ANS include correspondence with the most advanced collectors of the day, and reveal tidbits found nowhere else.

The Newman Numismatic Portal is sponsoring the scanning of the Chapman correspondence, which is expected to take several months. Scanning will proceed alphabetically by correspondent last name and appear online as it is scanned. “A” correspondents have started to populate, with one item of interest being the Appleton file. This contains 1904 correspondence between William Sumner Appleton, Jr. and the Chapmans, discussing the estate of Appleton, Sr. (1840-1903). 

 Some thought was given to consigning the material (15,000 pieces including 3,000 medals) to the Chapmans. In the end no arrangement was concluded with the two brothers, and the material went to the Massachusetts Historical Society (MHS), and also appeared at other dealer sales (Steigerwalt 5/1907, 1/1910, Elder 5/1913, 10/1913, and finally from MHS to Stack’s 5/1973). One can only imagine that Appleton might today be more widely known had the Chapmans presented the entire collection in a unified group of sales.

Image: William Sumner Appleton, Jr. correspondence to Samuel Hudson and Henry Chapman, March 4, 1904.

Link to Chapman Brothers correspondence on Internet Archive:


I'm sure the Brothers Chapman never foresaw such a future use of their business correspondence files, but what a boon to numismatic researchers this will be!


These are selections from the David Lisot Video Library that feature news and personalities from the world of coin collecting. David has been attending coin conventions since 1972 and began videotaping in 1985. In 2017 the Newman Numismatic Portal reached an agreement to list all David’s videos on their website. Each week an excerpt of a different video is available on the CoinTelevision YouTube channel.

Here's one on two banknote collector organizations, IBNS and SPMC.

Collectors of paper money have two great organizations to choose to learn more about their hobby, the International Bank Note Society and the Society of Paper Money Collectors. Both have scholarly journals and offer a place to share research. Best of all collectors can meet other people who share the same passion for paper money.

This video is a highlight from International Paper Money Show. The IPMS has non-stop action for those who collect, investigate, buy, sell, and trade paper money and banknotes of the world. Participants can see world class competitive exhibits and attend lectures sponsored by the major bank note organizations delivered by the best researchers in the paper money industry. If you want to talk paper money you need to come to the IPMS!

The entire interview is available on the Newman Numismatic Portal at:

An excerpt of the video is available for viewing on the Coin Television YouTube Channel at:

Organizations to Benefit Bank Note Collectors Attend International Paper Money Show

VIDEO: 3:20

Robin Hill, International Bank Note Society, Mark Anderson, Society of Paper Money Collectors, David Lisot, Video Producer,




Paul Bosco writes:

Regarding the removal of 35% silver 5-cent pieces, 
I find this story about a sorting machine used at the mints to be barely believable, although why would anyone make it up?

In 1964-65, as a 9th grader, I was allowed to go to the bank at lunch-time, so I could get rolls of nickels. I removed dated buffaloes and warnicks, in roughly equal numbers, eventually sending maybe 20 rolls to someone with a buy ad in Coin World. SEVEN cents each. Postage was pretty nominal, then.

I doubt my profit approached minimum wage (then $1.25), having only about $10 capital. I also did better when babysitting, but that was hardly a hobby. In truth, at 14, I was probably a better Marxist than capitalist, but the point is, there were plenty of 1942-45-dated 35% silver "warnicks" in circulation, 20 to 23 years after their issuance. 1943 cents, too.

What the government clearly worked to remove from circulation was National Bank Notes ("brown seals"), which was done effectively.

In the 1980s I picked up a new customer, a very successful NYC tobacconist named Mark. He collected engraved and enameled coins, but his #1 and #2 collections were cigar store Indians and carousel animals. He had a couple dozen of each, IN HIS MANHATTAN APARTMENT!!!

After I knew him for years he mentioned that as a teenager he was the War Nickel King of New York. (He had much more capital than I.) This was probably 1960-64, in the heydey of the semi-monthly(!) Rosenbaum show. In the 1990s I mentioned this to Sam Sloat, who remembered "that kid." "We'd put the bags in the car trunk and drive back to Connecticut with the front bumper so high, we looked like a space ship."

This kind of coin removal has more to do with pathology than profit. People go thru rolls & bags of coins for fun, and few would tell you it pays like any day job. I was reminded of this last week, when a perfectly sane gent, with an entrepreneurial personal history, dropped 1) in at my store, and 2) nearly $1000 -- on wheat cents.

What actually did make financial sense was separating out 90% silver coins from clad coins. The increased examination of coins by the general public must have led to the effective removal of war nickels from the collective American pocket.
There are still many 40% silver halves to be found in rolls, and maybe, with keen organizational skills, you can make $3-5 an hour plucking them out.

Great story!  I hadn't heard of the War Nickel King.
Even at seven cents apiece, that's a 40% gain on investment (minus the investment of time and postage, of course).  Warren Buffet would kill for a margin that high.

As for the mint removing the coins, as Dave Lange pointed out,
while there may have been a brief attempt to remove them, the effort must have been fairly quickly abandoned when it was realized to be unnecessary from the standpoint of the usability of the coins.  Of course, this set the stage for later collectors and entrepreneurs like the War Nickel King to make that effort as silver prices advanced, making it profitable.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: 





Last week I asked "[What buildings] would be ripe for inclusion in a future numismatic tour of New York City[?] Besides the obvious places like the American Numismatic Society and major coin shops, what other interesting places might be worth seeing on such a tour?"

Max Hensley writes:

"Federal Reserve Museum, ANS holdings and library, American Bank Note Company structure (street view, company is gone), Stacks and other dealers, Museum of American Finance when they reopen." 

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: 

Mr. 880's House Today 


Most of those are the usual candidates, but the facade of the 
American Bank Note Company building might be interesting.  I'm surprised no one mentioned ANS Chief Curator Dr. Peter van Alfen's 
Numismatic Walking Tour of Lower Manhattan held July 14, 2018.  I was unable to attend, but it sounded fun: "...  as part of the ANS Summer Seminar, a walking tour that vividly illustrates the many connections between numismatic and medallic art of 20th century and the architectural and free standing sculpture found throughout lower Manhattan."

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: 



I caught up with Peter via email in Antalya, Turkey, where he's giving a seminar this week at Koç University’s AKMED center.  

Peter writes:

"Every year as part of the ANS’s seminar, I’ve given a numismatics oriented walking tour of lower Manhattan that I call Monuments, Medals, Metropolis that ends in Staten Island’s St. George historic district for a barbecue in my back yard. 

"This year’s tour on July 19th is just for the students, I’m afraid. Even so, this year we will be experimenting with creating an online version of the tour, either as a sort of virtual tour or as something that folks can self-guide if they happen to be in town."

Peter kindly forwarded a tour handout.  It's too lengthy to republish here, but we'll look forward to a future version online.  Here's an excerpt for flavor.  Stops include City Hall Park, the Telephone Building at 195 Broadway, Nassau Street offices of U.S. Mint envravers Brenner, Laubenheimer, and Paquet, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the Chamber of Commerce, Trinity Church, the New York Stock Exchange, Federal Hall, Battery Park, and the Alexander Hamilton Custom House.

This walking tour is meant primarily to highlight the art and architecture of lower Manhattan of the period between roughly 1900 and 1930, when artists and architects frequently worked in close association with one another as never before, and the connections between many of these artists and contemporary numismatic art. At the same time, we will also consider the history of New York City more broadly.

Much of what we will be looking at was created when the City Beautiful movement had captured the imagination of architects, artists, politicians, and other elites. The City Beautiful movement was a Progressive reform movement in North American architecture and urban planning that flourished in the 1890s and early 1900s with the intent of using beautification and monumental grandeur in cities to counteract the perceived moral decay of poverty-stricken urban environments. The movement did not seek beauty for its own sake, but rather as a social control device for creating moral and civic virtue among urban populations. Advocates of the movement believed that such beautification could thus provide a harmonious social order that would improve the lives of the inner-city poor.

Many of the same artists who were involved in the City Beautiful movement in New York City, producing both architectural and free standing sculpture, were also involved in President Theodore Roosevelt’s attempt to beautify US coinage. Roosevelt worked closely with Augustus Saint-Gaudens, one of the most preeminent sculptors in the US, to produce a new set of gold coins introduced in 1907, the year Saint-Gaudens died. Soon thereafter several of Saint-Gaudens’ former students and apprentices were approached to produce other coins as well, while they continued to work on larger sculptural projects in New York City. These artists include James Fraser, Herman McNeil, and Adolph Alexander Weinman. At the same time, other artists, like Daniel Chester French, Frederick Macmonies and Paul Manship, were heavily involved in the production of medallic art for the Circle of Friends of the Medallion and the Society of Medallists, as well as for various private commissions. Thus for a t
 ime, at the beginning of the 20th century, there was, in New York City, an amazing confluence of numismatic, architectural and public artistic endeavors such as had not been seen before or ever since.


5 Stuiver or ¼ Gulden Leiden Seige Coin

drs Bouke Jan van der Veen writes:

"With interest I read the correction for the description of the Leiden siege coins of 1574.

"Arent Pol and I  did an overall and complete research in all the original archives from Leiden 1573-1575 to complete the story of what is called "the first paper-money" so, it is not "paper-money"... it is coinage !! Please neglect all other "research" on this paper coins and even the silver Leiden coins !! (Even the descriptions in the new Van der Wis/Passon catalogue Catalogus van de Nederlandse munten are far from useful i.e. completely wrong). One of the reasons is not their mistake; our research is not widely published ... only in a book for sale after our presentation and lecture for the 3 october commemoration 2007.

"It's also very useful to know that the original dies 1574 are kept in Leiden museum "De Lakenhal"

"Maybe it is an idea to translate the complete text of our research results in English ; then there is a complete version in English that can be used "internationally". The reasons for this project are clear ; there is too often, to many nonsense buzzing around.
But where and how can we do this, do you have suggestions?"

Leiden emergency money 1 gulden split apart

Perhaps our readers will have suggestions, but certainly a translation into English would be a good first step - it could then be published online or in book form.  It's very interesting to learn that the coin dies still exist.

I passed this along to my friend Dr. Lawrence Korchnak who is writing a book on siege coins.

Larry Korchnak writes:

I concur with van der Veen's take on Leiden's paper coins.  And, as a serious collector of siege money, I would welcome their research in English.  In my effort to produce a comprehensive English language catalogue on siege coins, my research yielded a paucity of quality information regarding the Leiden issues.  I will certainly purchase their book.

Below are links to our previous articles on the topic.

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see: 











 Counting the 1894-S Dimes

Rich Kelly writes:

Nancy and I were the first to discover the article in the October 1895 issue of the San Francisco Bulletin which explained, directly from the weigher of the SF mint, as to the reason why the 24 pieces of said issue were struck. The weigher, Frank Berdan, said that he had also purchased 2 pieces as per family tradition. And, word also came that the ex-coiner, Charles Gorham purchased two as well. What better sources could you have to explain the coin's creation?
In addition, there were 3 pieces set for assay not 5. Two for special assay at the Philadelphia mint, and one for the annual assay. This left a total of 17 sent into circulation. Since 9 are known, 8 are still missing.
We hope this helps to clarify the history of this coveted coin.

Rich Kelly & Nancy Oliver

Numismatic Researchers & Authors

Thanks for setting the record straight.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: 



 Mystery Answer: The Sidney Daily News Building 
Last week Pete Smith 

I came across a photo that I found interesting because I thought it looked like the First United States Mint. I altered it slightly to remove an identifying sign. Can any E-Sylum reader identify the building and its numismatic significance?

We only had one response to this tough quiz, but it was spot-on.

Chriss Hoffman from Plano, Texas writes:

It appears to be the Amos Press building in Sidney, Ohio, home of Coin World.

Correct!  The unretouched photo of the Sidney Daily New building is shown above, taken from a web page on Amos Press history.  Thanks, everyone!

To read the complete article, see: 

Amos Press


To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: 

NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: JUNE 30, 2019 : Mystery Numismatic Building 


 Henning Nickel Sought for Book Photo 
Winston Zack writes:

Do any E-Sylum readers, or your numismatic friends or family, own a 1953 Henning nickel counterfeit?  I am finalizing my upcoming book, “Bad Metal. Copper and Nickel Circulating Contemporary Counterfeit United States Coins” and the 1953 Henning nickel is the only Henning variety in my ‘Nickel’ chapter which I have not yet located, studied, or photographically documented – although I know they exist.  

If you own, or know someone who does own a 1953 Henning nickel, I would very much appreciate being contacted to arrange for a professional photograph of this piece to be included in my book.  I will pay the full cost of getting the 1953 Henning nickel professionally photographed.  You can contact me, Winston Zack, at winston.s.zack at for more information. 

 The absolute deadline for this request of a 1953 Henning nickel photograph is July 31, 2019 in order to meet my tight publishing deadline. If a photo of a 1953 Henning nickel is provided to me after July 31, there is no promise that I will have time to include it in my project - this would be unfortunate, and I really do not want to have this variety missing from this project.  However c'est la vie.  Any photos of a 1953 Henning nickel published in my book will be fully cited and credited in the photo credits section at the end of the book.

As a preview of the contents of this book, the ‘Henning Nickel’ section of the ‘Nickel’ chapter promises to provide never before published information, research and analysis on Henning’s nickels, die states, and emission order which collectors will find quite valuable. In addition, it expands upon the extensive research conducted by Dwight Stuckey in his 1982 book ‘The Counterfeit 1944 Jefferson Nickel.’

The debut of this book is planned at the November 2019 Whitman Winter Baltimore Coin Expo, and an official pre-order notice will be provided in the coming weeks.

Can anyone help?  This coin is an important piece of the puzzle and it would be a shame not to have a quality photo of one.
Note that only the 1953 is needed.  Henning used coins dated 1939, 1944, 1946, 1947, and 1953 for his obverse dies.

To read earlier E-Sylum articles, see: 







 Terracotta Franklin Plaque by Nini
Howard A. Daniel III writes:

I received an email from the International Bank Note Society about an ad that was missing from its journal for Dix Noonan Webb (DNW) in the United Kingdom.  I looked through one of its auction catalogs; Coin, Tokens & Historical Medals on 18 & 19 September 2019, and saw a plaque for Ben Franklin which is new to me and thought it might be of interest to an Americana collector in the United States.

USA, Benjamin Franklin, 1777, a uniface terracotta plaque by J-B. Nini, b franklin americain, bust left wearing fur hat, 113mm (Greenslet GM-5; cf. Betts 548). Extremely fine, rare; holed on edge for suspension	£500-£700 

Thanks! This is an important item, covered by the recent book by the late Richard Margolis,  Benjamin Franklin in Terra Cotta, Portrait Medallions by Jean-Baptiste Nini at the Chateau of Chaumont. .
The sale is on September 18 & 19.

To read the complete lot description, see:

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see: 





 J R  Steuart Numismatic Library Information Sought 
Dave Hirt writes:

Sometimes I enjoy looking through auction catalogs my library. I never know what I will come across.
  Recently  while looking through the John Allan sale, held at Bangs, Merwin in May of 1864, a lot that caught my eye was #677: "Coins, catalogue of the Numismatic Library of an Eminent Collector", London,

I was quite surprised to see a numismatic library at such an early date, and decided to see if I could 
find out more about it. The lot sold to William Sumner Appleton for $2. The Appleton library was sold by Tom Elder in May of 1913, so I pulled that catalog, and  found the 1846 library sale as lot 263. Although
called Very rare by Elder, interest was lagging, and it only realized 25 cents.

 From this point I lost track of the catalog, but to try and find out more about it, I consulted Harrington 
Manville's book British Numismatic Auction Catalogues (1710-1984). I knew Mr .Manville from both of us attending Frank Katen's book auctions. He was a nice gentleman, and he wrote a dedication to me on the title page of his book. Finally Manville gives a clue who the  Eminent collector may be - he suggests one J R  Steuart.

 Since this was one of the very first numismatic libraries, I wonder if any of of our readers know anything about it.   

Great question - can anyone help?

 Royal Mint Coin designer Joseph Boehm 

David Pickup writes:

The designer of the Queen Victoria jubilee head Joseph Boehm had an alleged relationship with one of the Queen’s daughters. According to a rumour he died in the daughter’s arms!

Numismatics gets especially interesting every once in a while.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: 



 Silver Ingot Questions 
Regarding Ken Conaway's new web site on silver ingots of the U.S. government, 
Max Hensley  writes:

Thanks for including this.
 I own about a half dozen of these of various types and was delighted to see further information about them.  Unfortunately not as much info as I'd like -- what were the shear ingots made for?  Can the serial numbers be correlated with dates of issue, who were these sold to? ---but it was more than I knew!

Good questions.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: 



 Adventure and Resolution Medal Exhibit 

David Pickup writes:

I was in Vancouver recently seeing my eldest daughter and went to the Museum of British Columbia. It's about $27 dollars to get in. I appreciate free museums in the UK!  The museum had an Adventure and Resolution medallion presumably given by Capt Cook. It was so badly lit you could not see it. There was a picture of some tokens but that was it.

Thanks.  Looks like a nice exhibit otherwise.


Readers may recall Jim Bailey, the metal-detecting historian from Rhode Island who reached out to us in 2016 while writing an article for The Colonial Newsletter about  specimens of Arabian silver coins found by detectorists at Colonial Period sites in New England.  An article this week in the Providence Journal profiles Jim, his finds, and his research.  Here's an excerpt, but be sure to see the complete article online.

The first documented arrival of a ship bringing enslaved people direct from Africa to Newport, in 1696, was not a scheme by a Rhode Islander seeking his fortune in the slave trade. It was a scheme by a pirate who already had a fortune — an emperor’s fortune — that he needed to hide in plain sight while crossing the Atlantic.

An amateur historian from Warwick, James Bailey, 52, arrived at this conclusion by way of historical research and his metal detector, which helped him find Colonial buckles, pewter spoons, a 1-pound cannonball and one slim coin, about the size of a dime. It’s a dime on which a part of accepted Rhode Island history turns.

The coin, he said, is proof that the ship carrying abducted Africans to be sold in Newport was not only a Rhode Island first, but also the getaway plan for a spectacular Red Sea pirate heist.

The unusual coin is inscribed in Arabic. It lay in a Middletown field for three centuries, passed over by livestock, plows, storms and seasons at what is now Sweet Berry Farm, a pick-your-own-fruit destination with specialty foods, a gift shop and dining areas indoors and out.

The coin, dug up by Bailey in 2014, became the first dot in a line that led to the arrival in late May 1696 of a slave ship direct from Africa, and before that to the ransacking by pirates of the flagship of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, ruler of the entire Indian subcontinent. The attack jeopardized Britain’s trade relationship with India, and Rhode Island officials were suspected of hiding pirates, which they were. British trade authorities discussed revoking the colony’s charter.

The dots also connect to a mutiny in Spain, an entire ship and crew abandoned at sea, the deliberate sinking of the pirate ship that had plundered Aurangzeb’s flagship, and the escape of the most wanted man on Earth, who disguised himself, his ship and his crew as slavers. The guise got Henry Every from an island east of Madagascar, around the Cape of Good Hope in Africa, across the Atlantic, into the Bahamas, where he changed ships, and on to Newport without being captured.

Having carried off the plunder from one of the most successful, although brutal, pirate attacks in history, Every disappeared after he reached Ireland. Some say he lived out his life in luxury. Others say he was cheated and died penniless. The fates of at least five pirates, however, are known. They were hanged. Many others disappeared into Colonial landscapes, unloading their telltale coins, sometimes swapping them for land or asking silversmiths and artisans to transform them into statements of wealth.

Some of the small coins, however, entered circulation. In recent years, 12 silver coins like the one found in Middletown have turned up in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut. Hobbyists with metal detectors found most of them, but Connecticut’s state archaeologist, Brian Jones, reported that one turned up in a dig last August at the Lt. John Hollister archaeological site, in Glastonbury. As Jones wrote in the September 2018 Newsletter of the Archaeological Society of Connecticut: “Many of these pirates used Newport, Rhode Island as a safe haven, and the coins were eagerly picked up by colonists for whom currency was in very short supply.”

Bailey works in security at the Rhode Island Department of Corrections, occasionally bringing his metal detector to scan the prison yard for weapons.

His hobby is hunting for artifacts. He studies early maps to find promising sites. In 2004, he saw on a map from the late 1700s where a house once stood in Middletown. He asked the Sweet Berry Farm owners, Jan and Michelle Eckhart, for permission to hunt there with his detector. They granted it.

“He’s an amateur, but he’s really professional, if you ask me,” said Jan Eckhart, stopping by two tables where Bailey had spread out maps, photos and portable display cases to talk about his findings.

Bailey keeps his best coins in a safe deposit box. They include the comassee, an Oak Tree shilling and an Oak Tree two pence, both issued by the Massachusetts Bay Colony, as well as a Spanish half real (a crude silver coin worth about 6.25 cents), issued in 1727. He found all four on the farm.

He also brought his article, published in August 2017 by The Colonial Newsletter, a numismatics research journal, about tracing the comassee, the oldest Arabic coin found in North America, and discovering that it linked the slave ship with pirates.

“This story could never have been told 30 years ago,” Bailey said, referring to the rise of the internet and advances in metal detectors.

Bailey, who confines himself to primary source documents, painstakingly studied vital records, letters, court testimony and other digitized materials.

LEFT: George Washington inaugural button
RIGHT: Oak Tree shilling

To read the complete article, see: 

Pirate tale unearthed by amateur historian from Warwick



Jim Bailey adds:

• Four coins have been added to the initial population of nine coins detailed in the study for a total of 13 recovered coins.  One coin was discovered in 2017, and the other three were found in the second half of 2018.  The coins were recovered in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.  All coins are typical of those noted in the 2017 study:  the coins circulated in the Red Sea region; the majority came from Yemen where the Gunsway took aboard its immense cargo of gold and silver later captured by Henry Every (one coin was minted in Cairo, Egypt); and all the coins date through the 17th century but not later than 1695, i.e., the year the Gunsway was captured.  Most of the coins were recovered by metal detecting hobbyists, but one of the specimens found last summer in 2018 was recovered in an archaeological excavation in Glastonbury, CT. 

• Further research of primary source documents continues to offer evidence of pirates settling with their loot in New England after voyaging with Henry Every aboard the Fancy.  Richard Smithsend was one such pirate.  He came ashore in Connecticut after the Fancy’s company broke up in the Bahamas and went their separate ways.  Amazingly, he eventually ended up living the rest of his life in Glastonbury, CT, where one coin, a 1692 silver comassee from Yemen, was recovered last year. 

Further coin recoveries are likely as this story becomes better known.

Many thanks to Jim for bringing this story to light and sharing his research with us.  It's a fascinating chapter in American history.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: 







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


The Bank of England Museum is one of my favorite numismatic museums.  A new exhibit displays selected artifacts from their collection.  Here are a few from an article in Londonist.

The Bank of England is 325 years old. To mark the milestone, a new exhibition pulls together 325 fascinating objects from the financial institution's past. Bank of England Museum curator, Jenni Adam, singles out a handful of these objects for Londonist.

 Proof for Jacobite banknotes (1745) 

This is a design for Jacobite banknotes, made in 1745 by engraver Robert Strange. He was commissioned by Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) to produce printing plates for banknotes that would be used to pay Jacobite expenses during the rebellion. But the printing plate — and banknotes — were never used. It was abandoned after the Battle of Culloden, and only rediscovered in the 1920s.

 Hand scales for weighing and testing coins (1749) 

This is a set of hand scales for weighing gold and silver coins from other countries, which could be accepted because of their value as bullion. The weights are labelled with the name of the coins they represent, which helps
a user make sure an unfamiliar coin is genuine (forgeries would usually be lightweight, because they wouldn’t contain as much gold as a genuine coin).

 £40 banknote in the name of Elizabeth Head (1702) 

This is one of the oldest banknotes we have in the collections, from 1702. At this point the notes were only part-printed and most of the important details (value, date, number etc) were written in by hand. We picked this
one because it’s the earliest note that names a woman as a payee, Elizabeth Head. It’s for £40 which in 1702 was a huge amount of money, around £9,200 — this certainly wasn’t an everyday method of payment for most

To read the complete article, see: 

Eye Up A One Hundred Million Pound Banknote At This Museum




Dick Johnson submitted this entry from his Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Terminology.  Thanks.  

 Clad, Cladding.
Bonding together thin layers of metal of differing alloys to form a sandwich construction. Technically the outer or exposed layers are termed the clad layer, or lamina, the internal layer is the core. This is done in every instance for the physical characteristics of the outer or clad composition, as for the color, hardness, appearance, and electric sensitivity of this surface. The use of the core is generally one of lower cost than the clad metal. The line separating the core from the clad metal, called the boundry, it can be observed on the edge of U.S. coins minted after 1965 (but not those of some European coins, as Sweden, where upsetting is designed to cover the core on the edge).

Medals were first clad as early as 1789. In that year Barton's metal was used for the George III Recovery Medal by J.P. Droz (Brown 311) struck at Matthew Boulton's factory. Barton's metal was formed by rolling strips of silver (or gold) on a copper core with adhesion by fusion.

In 1964 the United States enacted a coinage law that required U.S. coins to be made of clad metal. Faced with a drastic coin shortage, a world-wide silver shortage and rising metal prices, the Treasury Department chose to turn to a copper nickel clad metal over a copper core for all former silver coins, dimes, quarters and half dollars.

This was a brilliant solution. Not only did it meet all the criteria of a circulating coin composition (including the demanding needs of the vending machine industry) but also considered the metal salvage of this composition. Skeleton scrap of this clad composition could be melted and easily reformulated back into a copper nickel formulation.

How clad strip is made. Ingots of the correct composition are rolled repeatedly to a thickness several times the thickness of the intended coin. They are metal cleaned by pickling. The layers are then placed in a rolling mill in proper sequence, the core between the two outer layers. They can be roll bonded if the metal strips are heated, then rolling is done under heat and pressure. If they are cold rolled they can be bonded by explosion bonding. The strips are then successively rolled until the required thickness is obtained.

Since January 1994 clad strips of copper nickel lamina on copper core are supplied to the United States Mints (Philadelphia and Denver) by PMX Industries, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, which uses the roll bonded method. Each strip weights between 3,000 and 7,000 pounds and are approximately 1,000 feet long. The strips have the following dimensions:

Strip                            Width                                   Thickness

50 Cent . . 12  9/16-inch (319.08mm)  .0685-inch (1.740mm)

25 Cent . . 12 13/16-inch (325.43mm)  .0545-inch (1.384mm)

10 Cent . . 12 11/16-inch (322.26mm)  .041 -inch (1.041mm)

The strip must be manufactured within a permitted tolerance of .0015-inch (.038mm) thickness for clad strip of any denomination.

The mints blank the strips and return the skeleton scrap strips to the supplier. The supplier repossesses the scrap by adding fresh nickel to the formulation to the correct formula (75% copper 25% nickel) for new copper nickel clad layers.

The mints blank about 75% of the strip (73% at Philadelphia Mint) and return the balance. The blanks are upset by upsetting machines then struck in coining presses within the mint.

More recently, the U.S. Mint has been contracting the blanking to private industry as well as the formulation and rolling. Thus economies are achieved by not having to ship the skeleton scrap for reprocessing. The mint receives blanks for upsetting and striking within the mint.

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