The E-Sylum v23n38 September 20, 2020

The E-Sylum esylum at
Sun Sep 20 18:04:27 PDT 2020

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

Volume 23, Number 38, September 20, 2020
** MORE ON POGS <#a11>
** LOOSE CHANGE: SEPTEMBER 20, 2020 <#a31>

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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: 
Randy Moore courtesy of Bern Nagengast;
Allen S. Brown, 
Glenn Douglas, 
Greg Hunt, and
Michael Vollbrecht.
Welcome aboard! We now have 6,560 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. Contact me at whomren at anytime regarding your subscription, or questions, comments or suggestions about our content. 

This week we open with
seven new books and
updates from the Newman Numismatic Portal.

Other topics this week include Persis coinage, St. Kitts banknotes, coin boards, Mint Director James Ross Snowden, POGs, muling, dealer Willian Sexton, coin shows big and small, the Larry Miller collection, chopmarked coins, a braille pattern dollar, a Commodore Perry medal, auction selections, fake mint errors, and a losng-lost Purple Heart.

To learn more about the elusive 4 reales coin of Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon, Snowden's Coins of the Bible, a Lindbergh medallion by Julio Kilenyi with a remarkable engraving, the Koinpanel, the General Motors Ocean Operations medal, die-link charts, the "R" and "S" experimental Silver Certificates, the Salvatore Vigano medal, the 1959 wheat cent, 
 and the numismatic connection of
passion fruit, orange and guava, read on. Have a great week, everyone!

Wayne Homren 
Editor, The E-Sylum




David F. Fanning's new book on ancient coins in early American auctions is now available.  Here's the announcement.

Ancient Coins in Early American Auctions by David F. Fanning Available October 1, 2020

Kolbe & Fanning Numismatic Booksellers are pleased to announce the publication of a new book by David F. Fanning. Ancient Coins in Early American Auctions, 1869–1939 is a well-illustrated bibliography and analysis of American auction catalogues issued before the Second World War that feature photographically printed illustrations of ancient coins.

Photographically illustrated numismatic auction catalogues made their first appearance in the United States in 1869. These plated catalogues have become vital tools in conducting provenance research. However, while many collectors and dealers in the ancient coin field are familiar with classic European auction catalogues, this level of familiarity is rarely extended to older American catalogues.

Ancient Coins in Early American Auctions provides a detailed listing of 96 catalogues, illustrating at least one plate from each of them, and providing historical and biographical context to allow a fuller understanding of the world of ancient coin collecting as it existed in the United States during this period. A statistical analysis of these catalogues follows, together with supplementary information relevant to provenance research. Fanning demonstrates throughout that these early American catalogues have more to offer the student of ancient coins than may be expected.

Ancient Coins in Early Americans Auctions, 1869–1939

by David F. Fanning

Gahanna: Kolbe & Fanning, 2020

288 pages; well-illustrated in color

Bound in blue cloth with dust-jacket

$75 retail, plus shipping

Order at Kolbe & Fanning Numismatic Booksellers at

Praise for Ancient Coins in Early American Auctions, 1869–1939

“indispensable for both the researcher and the serious collector”

“a classic in every sense of the word”

“an outstanding example of in-depth research on a subject that was in serious need of attention”

Basil C. Demetriadi

Collector and Researcher

“Ancient Coins in Early American Auctions, 1869–1939 belongs in the library of all ancient coin collectors. The bios, the many plate photos, the tables and lists have a broad appeal and will be of major interest to all early American auction catalogue collectors as well.” 

Dan Hamelberg


“Collectors of ancient coins will find this well-illustrated volume essential for provenance research, and numismatists in general will enjoy a guided tour through the world of 19th-century American coin dealers.”

Joel J. Orosz

Numismatic Author and Historian

“fills an immediate need for the serious collector and dealer of ancient coinage”

Kerry K. Wetterstrom

Senior Numismatist, Classical Numismatic Group

“brings to light an area of American numismatic history that has long been forgotten”

Q. David Bowers

Founder, Stack’s Bowers Galleries

“a welcome addition to the study of pedigrees on ancient coins as well as an important chapter in the history of collecting”

Ed Waddell

Edward J. Waddell, Ltd.

David F. Fanning is a principal of Kolbe & Fanning Numismatic Booksellers, an auction house and retail firm located in the Columbus, Ohio area. A student of numismatic literature since childhood, he is an elected Fellow of the American Numismatic Society and belongs to many specialized and regional numismatic organizations. He holds a Ph.D. in English from the Ohio State University and has published widely on numismatic literature, North American colonial coins, medals, U.S. federal coins, Islamic coins and other topics.

Dr. Fanning has given presentations on the book's topic at the New York Numismatic Club and the Newman Numismatic Portal Symposium and is available to speak to coin clubs and other organizations via Zoom. Contact 

orders at to schedule a virtual appearance or for more information.

Video of the NNP Symposium presentation is available here.


Patrick Pasmans, 
Secretary of the Oriental Numismatic Society – Europe, submitted this announcement of a new book on Persis Coinage by Pieter
Anne van’t Haaff. published online by Classical Numismatic Group.  Thank you.

After his marvelous “Catalogue of Elymaean Coinage”, published in 2007, Pieter
Anne van’t Haaff started working on a catalogue of the Persis Coinage.

After Susan Tyler-Smith’s article “A parcel of Persis drachms, half drachms and
obols,” in the Numismatic Chronicle (2004), and Statthalter Rebellen Könige – Die
Münzen aus Persepolis von Alexander dem Großen zu den Sasaniden (Munich:
Staatliche Münzsammlung, 2008) by Dietrich O. Klose and Wilhelm Müseler,
everyone was anticipating the book on Persis coinage by Pieter Anne van’t Haaff.

In 2010, his book with the title “Catalogue of Persis Coinage, Ca. 280 B.C. – A.D.
228 and with the subtitle “34 Kings of 5 dynasties that ruled in Iran for 500 years”,
was submitted to CNG.

In the first part of the book, the author deals with the characteristics of the coinage
and in the second part offers an impressive catalog of 660 coin types. The coinage is
treated chronologically: (1) the Frataraka dynasty, (2) the rulers under Seleucid and
(3) afterwards Parthian sovereignty to end with the (4) Vadfradad IV and the (5)
Shapur dynasty. This corpus became his magnum opus!

Unfortunately the publication date repeatedly slipped, then the author passed away in
December, 2018. CNG has now released the original manuscript and plans to
publish an updated second edition with Scott VanHorn as co-author.

You can download the book from these links:

or, go to the home page of CNG ( and on the right sidebar click
"Digital Publications Archive" in the "Products and Services" category.



In his September 14, 2020 Coin Collectors Blog article
Scott Barman announced the publication of two new books

Today I am announcing the Coin Collector’s Handbook release and the Coin Collectors Handbook Series of Guides.

Since writing the first article on the Coin Collectors Blog in October 2005, I shared my collecting experiences and collected knowledge with his worldwide audience. After 15 years, it was time to give back to the hobby by creating a guide book based on my experience.

The Coin Collector’s Handbook is by a collector from the perspective of a collector. The book takes the most popular posts and pages from the blog and republished them in book form for the average collector regardless of what you collect. I want to see people enjoy collecting coins or anything else they like without being told that they must create a specific set.

The Coin Collector’s Handbook can be ordered online at the introductory price of $17.95 with free shipping. That is $2.00 off the list price! 

Coin Collector’s Handbook Guides

During the recent quarantine, collectors have been using their available time to learn more about their collections. In the last several months, the most popular posts have been about the American Eagle Bullion Program.

Using my previous posts about the American Eagle Bullion Program, posts from the blog are now available in e-book form. The book opens with an essay about the American Eagle Program’s start, followed by chapters that expand on the original posts with coin specifications, design details, and mintage statistics. It includes a glossary of terms used in the book.

Coin Collectors Handbook: American Eagle Coins is available to download as a PDF  from the blog’s new Buy Me A Coffee Shop for $9.00, just three cups of coffee!

Based on what the blog readers are clicking on, there will be more guides to come. Stay tuned!

To read the complete article, see: 

Announcing the Coin Collectors Handbook and Guides




Allan Behul writes:

"I just wanted to reach out and say "Hello" from Mexico City. I am a Canadian that has been living here for more than twenty years, and will actually be returning to my home country, once things calm down a bit in terms of the present contingency.

"The E-Sylum was mentioned in a numismatic conference that I participated in this week, and I went through the page, and subscribed. Congrats on the first issue, that was emailed on September 4th, 1998!!!

"I was wondering whether I could announce my new book.  It was published in Spanish this past July 2020, and officially launched with the Mexican Numismatic Society on July 4th. It is an investigative, numismatic work that demystifies more than two-hundred years concerning the enigma of Jose Maria Morelos' 4 Reales coin; specifically, whether the coin existed or not. I also present documental, historical evidence never before seen, including illustrations."

"Here is the book trailer (in Spanish, but I am sure readers can get the gist of it):

"I am currently working on the English translation of the book. Hopefully, it will be published sometime next year.

Absolutely.  Welcome aboard.  In English, the book's title translates to
The Missing Link of José María Morelos y Pavón: In Search of the Elusive 4 Real Coin.   Here's the announcement.


The present investigative work is the first book of its
kind, ever to be written about a numismatic enigma,
embedded in the history of Mexico. It is a coin that is
supposed to have been part of the insurgent coins
known as SUD-type, minted between 1811 and 1814;
a coin that has inspired countless searches, and
inadvertently converted itself into a numismatic
missing link of sorts...

The elusive 4 reales coin of Jose Maria Morelos y


A.J. Behul is the author of The Guardian
of Aurum and Inmortalis. Member of the
Numismatic Society of Mexico, the
American Numismatic Association, and
the U.S. Mexican Numismatic
Association, A.J. has an Executive MBA
from the Universidad de las Americas
Puebla and a Bachelor of Arts in Political
Science from the University of Toronto.

He is a certified numismatic scholar that
has published various investigative
works, including an article in the
magazine ‘The Numismatist’ in the
United States, in addition to being a
keynote speaker in numismatic forums.
A.J. is a professional numismatic advisor
and an avid coin-hunter in real life.
Native of Canada, he has lived in
Mexico, his adoptive home, for more
than twenty years.


Mexico City

+52 55 3488 8632

allan.behul at

STANDARD EDITION - $ 400 MN plus shipping

Paperback: 182 pages

Publisher: Hola Publishing Internacional (June 29, 2020)

Language: Spanish

ISBN-13: 978-1-61244-848-0

Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1 x 22.9 cm

LIMITED EDITION (color) - $ 850 MN plus shipping

The book includes an inserted copy of the original Morelos side.
Limited to only 50 copies hand-numbered and signed by the author.

Hardcover: 182 pages

Publisher: Hola Publishing Internacional (June 29, 2020)

Language: Spanish

ISBN-13: 978-1-61244-866-4

Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 1.9 x 23.6 cm

For more information, or to order, see:


William Bierly’s outstanding in-depth exploration shows how the Civil War changed not just the face of American coins and paper money, but the very foundations of modern banking and finance. Get your copy of In God We Trust: The American Civil War, Money, Banking, and Religion (352 pages, hardcover) for $29.95
, or call 1-800-546-2995.



Owen Linzmayer publishes The Banknote Book, a useful, constantly updated electronic reference. The chapter on the banknotes of Saint Kitts is now available for $4.99. 

This week we're proud to publish the Saint Kitts chapter, the first part of the British West Indies to be completed. Thanks to access to official bank records, this coverage is definitive, and corrects the mistakes and omissions in the SCWPM for these issues, several of which remain unconfirmed and unillustrated due to their extreme rarity.

Saint Kitts (Caribbean)

This 7-page catalog covers notes issued by the Colonial Bank from pre-1896 to 1925, the Royal Bank of Canada from 1913 to 1938, and Barclays Bank (Dominion, Colonial and Overseas) from 1926 to 1941. Published 15.09.2020.

Currently 293 chapters of The Banknote Book have been published as individual high-resolution PDF files. This represents a total of 6,942 pages covering 65,548 types and varieties.

For more information, or to order, see:



Back in March a notice in Dave Lange's Coin Board News alerted us to a new book on the topic by Donald Kocken.  There were only a few copies left at that point, but a new, expanded edition is now available.

The title is
Collecting Vintage Coin Boards, Albums, and Folders 1930's to 1960's. It has 89 pages vs the 1st edition's  49 pages.  Like the first edition it is spiral bound and illustrated in full color.
The book is priced at $17, plus $4.40 for shipping and handling. Contact him at 920-337-6509.

I didn't have time this week to write up a full review, but since a picture is worth 1,000 words, here are several sample pages.  It's interesting and very well done; I learned a lot about the topic and enjoyed the photos of many products I'd never seen before.  Definitely recommended. 

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: 






The latest additions to the Newman Numismatic Portal include works of U.S. Mint Director James Ross Snowden. Project Coordinator Len Augsburger provided the following report. Thanks.

Works of James Ross Snowden on Newman Portal

James Ross Snowden, U.S. Mint Director from 1853 to 1861, oversaw the large growth of silver coinage following the Coinage Act of 1853, the opening of the San Francisco Mint in 1855, and the 1860 creation of the Washington collection in the Mint Cabinet. The Newman Portal “Books by Author” view (accessible under “Library” from the home page) provides an “at a glance” overview of Snowden’s biography (contributed by Pete Smith) and written works. The evolution is easy to see – Snowden, beginning in 1857, sought to document the operations of the Mint and the holdings of the Mint Cabinet. Clearly, he intended to leave the office more organized than he found it.

The pamphlets published from 1857-1859 (digital copies recently provided courtesy of Craig Sholley) documented internal Mint procedures, along with the related legislation from the U.S. code. The works published in 1860-1861, much more known to numismatists today, were the first comprehensive views of the Mint Cabinet (today the National Numismatic Collection). The file concludes with a little-known work from 1864, published after Snowden left office, The Coins of the Bible, and its Money Terms. Although not stated, Snowden likely drew upon the Mint Cabinet as a resource for this final work.

Image: Medal ruling of the Washington Mint Cabinet medal (Julian MT-23) from Snowden’s A Description of the Medals of Washington

Link to the Snowden “Books by Author” page on Newman Portal:



 David Lisot has been attending coin conventions since 1972 and began videotaping in 1985. The Newman Numismatic Portal lists David’s videos on their website at:

Here's one with David himself at the beginning of his career.

David Lisot launched his career on national television with an interview in the Financial News Network in 1983. He is interviewed by Bill Griffeth as a collectibles expert. They talk about coins, antique advertising, cigar labels, matchbooks,and more. David takes questions from a national audience about different collectibles. Enjoy this very first video production in the life of numismatist David Lisot.

The video is available for viewing on the NewmanNumismatic Portal at:


Harry Waterson submitted this response to
Steve Bishop's query about engraved Charles Lindbergh Medals.  Thanks.

This may not be exactly on point but there is a Lindbergh medallion by Julio Kilenyi with a remarkable engraving.

2000 bronze medallions were struck and 300 were given out at the Lindbergh Reception Dinner in St. Louis June 18, 1927.

This turned up in a Presidential Coin and Antique Auction Catalog #58 - Lot 482. 7/29/1995 It is engraved. TO / MAJOR EDWARD BOWES / FROM ST. LOUIS / THE HONOR CITY / OCTOBER 22, 1936. 

Joe Levine noted in his lot description, "Major Bowes was a well-known radio personality who conducted a popular Amateur Hour program. Obviously the St. Louis officials had a number of these Lindbergh banquet medals remaining and issued them to VIP visitors"

Joe Levine did not illustrate either lot. The medallion looks like this:

>From a story in the St. Louis Globe Democrat of 10/18/1936 I was able to deduce that during Major Bowes' live broadcast of his Amateur Hour on 10/22/1936 between 8 and 9 PM on CBS Major Bowes would turn a key live 'on air' in New York that would open the front doors of the new KMOX studios in St. Louis. 

I believe the Lindbergh Medallion engraved to Major Bowes and dated with the opening of the new studio was sent to Bowes to commemorate that event. Definitely a "second use" of the Lindbergh medallion.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: 

NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: SEPTEMBER 13, 2020 : Query: Engraved Charles Lindbergh Medals




Lev Messick writes: "I'll bite! What are POGS?"  Last week's article by Bill Myers about Lloyd Jorgenson's new book on the AAFES (Army and Air Force Exchange Systems) gift certificates called POGs didn't address where the name "POG" itself came from.  Bill kindly forwarded another article of his addressing the topic.  Thanks!  Read closely and you'll learn the unusual origin of the name.

The events of 11 September 2001 led to increased U.S. military operations
and thus military deployments. Military Payment Certificates (MPC) were not
issued for these operations but there is a collectable numismatic issue available
from this period.

Army Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) provides multiple services to
the military deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation
Iraqi Freedom initially and then Operation New Dawn, Operation Enduring
Freedom, Operation Inherent Resolve, and others as the conflict evolved. Post
Exchanges (PX), barber shops, beauty shops, gift shops, movie theaters and food
courts are among some of the facilities available. There is a significant cost in
transporting goods from the United States to Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan and
other overseas theaters. AAFES wanted to make maximal use of the available
shipping weight for goods for the soldiers, and not use up part of that weight to
ship coins for use in its facilities. They therefore instituted the use of lighter weight
plastic discs (polystyrene, 1.5816 in (40 mm) in diameter) in the values of 5 cents,
10 cents and 25 cents as a substitute for change. They are “Gift Certificates”, as
only the U.S. government can manufacture money, and are known as POGs. No 1
cent POGs were issued so prices were rounded off to the nearest 5 cents. They are
printed on 29 by 40 inch sheets with 24 horizontal rows and 15 vertical rows. They
are punched out of the sheet and shipped in trays with 500 POGs in a tray for the 5
and 10 cents and 400 POGs in a tray of 25 cents. They are shipped in boxes that
contain 10 trays.

“POGs” originally were a children’s toy which is modeled after the milk
bottle caps that children collected and used to play a game in the 1920s to the
1950s. The Haleakala Dairy in Maui produced juice with paper caps on the bottles.
One of these juices was a mixture of passion fruit, orange and guava. The first
letter of each juice is the source of the name POG. POGs were then manufactured
as toys. Since the equipment and material to manufacture POGs already existed the
decision was made by AAFES to use POGs for change.

There are 16 series of AAFES POGs, but there were no 5 cents POGs issued
for the 8th, 12th and 13th series as there were enough already in circulation.
“Printing” and “issue” are used instead of series in describing POGs in some
references, but series is used here, as that is how MPC are listed. The first POGS
were a simple design and has “Gift Certificate” across the top, “AAFES” across
the bottom and the denomination (5¢, 10¢, 25¢) in the center on one side of the
POG. On the other side, the denomination (5¢, 10¢, 25¢) is located at the top,
“AAFES” on the bottom and three lines of text in the middle which state: “This
gift certificate has a retail (line 1) value of (5¢, 10¢, 25¢) cents and is redeemable
(line 2) only at your BX/PX” (line 3). The background is white/grey on the 5 cents,
brown on the 10 cents and red/brown on the 25 cents. For the 2nd to the 14th series
the denomination side has AAFES at the top, the denomination (5¢, 10¢, 25¢) in
the middle and GIFT CERTIFICATE at the bottom. 

There are exceptions which
include the 5th series 10 cents POG that has Bassett  under 10¢ and two of the 11th
series 25 cents POGs that have the Pizza Hut Express and Taco Bell Express logo
in the center with “This gift certificate has a retail value of 25¢ and is redeemable
at any AAFES facility.” proceeding along the edge from upper left to upper right in
a counterclockwise direction with 2008 at the top. For the 15th and 16th series
AAFES was replaced with EXCHANGE at the top. For the 2nd to the 16th series the
background color of the POGs is blue for the 5 cents POG and is a photograph of
water, green-brown for the 10 cents POG which is a picture of rust on a vehicle
and red for the 25 cents POG which is a photograph of fire made by battleship

For the 2nd to the 16th series the side opposite the denomination has a picture
as the background. Curving along the edge from upper left to upper right in a
counterclockwise direction is “This gift certificate has a retail value of (5¢, 10¢,
25¢) and is redeemable only at your BX/PX.” Starting with the 4th series “only at
your BX/PX” was replaced by “at any AAFES facility”. The 15th series “AAFES
facility” was replaced with “Army & Air Force Exchange facility”. For the 16th
series “Army & Air Force Exchange facility” was replaced by Exchange facility”.

There were a variety of images used but some themes were military aircraft and
equipment, classic photos, the Greatest Generation (noted as GG on the POG),
Elvis Presley (6th series), NASCAR, images from series 681 MPC (face of $1, $5,
$10), Marvel comics, photo contest (9th & 11th series), U.S. presidents and
company logos (Red Bull, Coke, Sprite, Coca Cola, AT&T). There were also POG
with a metallic coating, three-dimensional image, and lenticular images (different
images when tilted). It needs to be noted that the use of a company logo on POGs
was to show appreciation for the company’s support of military family support
programs. Starting with the 5th series there were POGs with and without the
FREEDOM for the 15th series.

There are 3 classification systems. The system used most often was an alpha
numeric system created by Doug Bell and Steve Swoish. The series is designated
by a number followed by a letter for the POG (A-M with no I), then the
denomination (5, 10, 25) and then 1 (for one each, later this was dropped). If it
comes with and without an overprint, then it is followed by W (with) or WO
(without). For example, 14D251WO is the 14th series, POG D, 25 cents without

The Standard Catalog of World Paper Money Specialized Issues has them
listed after MPC from M121 to M591. The POGs with and without overprints are
subcategorized as (a) for POGs with the overprint and (b) for the POGs without the

The Concise Catalog of U.S. Military Payment Certificates list the POGs as
number 1-502. The POGs with and without overprints have separate numbers.

Each series of POGs was only printed once and issued. The last series of
POGs is the 16th , dated 2017. The POGs can be obtained only at the facilities where
they are issued. POGs that are turned in to AAFES/Exchange in the U.S. are

Thanks for the great numismatic cataloging background.  Now we're all a little smarter about these.  Thanks again, Bill.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:





 Anton and Weinberg at the Taylor Sale 
Alan V. Weinberg writes:

"That’s me standing with Bill Anton in the extreme upper right corner of the Taylor group photo.
Surprisingly, well over 50% of those pictured are still alive and still collectors/ dealers. That speaks wonders for the health benefits of this numismatic hobby."

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: 



 Celestial Space Checks
Tom DeLorey writes:

"Apropos the Nation of Celestial Space, the foremost authority on it in the world is our very own Robert Rhue. He prepared a fabulous exhibit on it for an ANA convention some years ago.

"I own a few pieces of the Celestia ephemera myself, if only because my late first wife, Jean, grew up in Evergreen Park, IL, and had her bank account at the FNB of Evergreen Park when we met. Magnan, a clever marketing man and by no means a crackpot like the Emperor Norton I, issued "currency" for Celestia which were actually colorfully printed checks for One Dollar drawn upon the FNB of Evergreen Park.

"Now as to Magnan's claim that he had registered? his "deed" to all of space with the office of the Cook County Recorder of Deeds, that office was literally one block away from where I worked for Harlan J. Berk, so over a few lunch hours I looked up the registry site he had printed on his "Passport to Space" novelties. The site so cited did not have anything to do with him, so either it was printed wrong or he made the whole thing up."

Thanks.  I'd only heard of the coins, not the checks.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: 

NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: SEPTEMBER 13, 2020 : The Nation of Celestial Space


 An Odd 2008-D Hawaii State Quarter 

James Evans writes:

"I am hoping that other readers of The E-Sylum can help me make sense of this Hawaii D quarter.
I received this coin in a roll of machine wrapped quarters from my credit union shortly before the COVID lockdowns began, probably January 2019.  There were 39 other normal quarters in the roll.

"At first I thought this one had been “smashed” or “hammered” by someone for whatever unknown reason.  We’ve all seen damaged coins that give us pause and make us wonder “how did that happen?.”  However, this one caught my interest as being different than what I typically find or see photos of what are “damaged” coins.  Other than the damaged spots there are no markings or damage to the coin.  I can’t make sense in my mind of how the damage happened while all other parts of the coin look untouched.  Could it have gotten caught in the machinery used in sorting and roll wrapping facilities?

"Could this be a mint error or an error caused by the coin press equipment either during striking or after striking?
Of secondary interest is that this is a “D” mint which I see very few of here in north central Massachusetts of any denomination.
I would appreciate any information and expertise readers could offer that could explain what happened with this coin."

Strange beast.
Thoughts, anyone?

 Query: Familie Penningen 
Bernard Olij of Malang Indonesia writes:

"In The Netherlands we have "Familie Penningen" as part of numismatics.
What is the correct translation in English:  Family Token, Family Badge or Familie Medal? I am a little confused about this."

I'm afraid I'm not familiar with the term at all.  Can any of our readers help?   I found this page in Dutch on the Schulman B.V. website.  Here's the Google translation.

In numismatics, the theme of love and marriage also plays a major role. As a memento of important family events such as birth, marriage, baptism and death, bourgeois families had tokens made from the end of the 16th century.

Marriage tokens

In the seventeenth-century Netherlands, the (Calvinist) family occupied a central place. On wedding tokens, the prevailing seventeenth-century norms, values ​​and morals regarding marriage and love can often be found in images and texts. Christian symbolism often plays a major role in this.

The 'anniversary wedding tokens' reflect the length of the marital union and were often used to emphasize the couple's social or personal success. It is therefore not surprising that the "wealthy class" in particular had these made in gold and silver. The gold copies were usually for the couple, the silver copies for the wedding guests.

This token was the first in a long line of wedding tokens in this family. In their descendants no fewer than 7 golden weddings were celebrated between 1621 and 1722, which were immortalized with commemorative medals. For the seventh Golden Jubilee, the wedding of Pieter van Loon & Agenta Graswinckel, a copper engraving was made by Jan Goeree.

To read the complete article, see: 




Tom DeLorey writes:

"I am glad to see that the E & T Kointainer Co. is continuing in business. They are a great product that provides great protection for your coins, AND they allow you to take them out of the holder for study when necessary. The curse that is slabbing does not allow for this. Just last year I tried to determine the precise weight of the unique 1873-CC No Arrows Dime to compare it to the individual coin weights recorded in the 1874 Assay Commission Report, and nobody had bothered to weigh the damn thing before entombing it.

"As it so happens I had been using Kointains for my collection since about 1970, after seeing them be recommended by Jim Johnson of Coin World's Collectors Clearinghouse. At the time they were being manufactured and distributed by a young gentleman in Michigan, who had been set up in the business by his father as a means of earning money for his college tuition.

"In the late 1970's I received a letter from the owner saying that he was no longer going to be able to operate the business, and asking me if I, as a regular customer, would be interested in purchasing the company including the manufacturing equipment. (I assume that he sent this letter to all repeat customers.) My mechanical aptitude bordering upon the dangerous, I referred the letter to Bern Nagengast, an applications engineer whom I knew as a fellow officer in the Shelby County Coin Club.He bought the company, and the rest as they say is history. Give them a try."

John Kamensky writes:

"My experience with E&T Kointainers was disappointing.  I re-holdered most of my Lincoln cents from the traditional 2x2 paper holders into these coin holders and 25 years later when I went to sell them, most had turned from red to red-brown or brown. Proof coins turned cloudy and also darkened. Those that had been left in the traditional 2x2 holders or PCGS holders retained their bright red condition. Based on my experience, I would never recommend putting copper coins in the E&T Kointainer holders for long term storage."

Dave Lange writes:

"I read of Bern Nagengast selling the E & T Kointainer Company, and I want to congratulate him on so many years of success. It's also nice to know that these products will continue to be available.

Awhile back I corresponded with Bern about one the line's products that was discontinued some years ago. Called the Koinpanel, it was a wooden coin board made to hold the individual Kointain capsules. Bern sent me a few samples of this forgotten series of boards, and I wrote them up in my quarterly newsletter."

Dave kindly provided text and images from his Coin Board News newsletter.  Here's an excerpt.  Thanks!-

The new Koinpanel line debuted in 1982, but it was destined to last only a year or so. Production was labor
intensive, sales were disappointing, and collectors sometimes complained that the Kointains were difficult to insert
into the openings. Indeed, I found this to be true of my Kennedy Half Dollar panel, and I declined to order any
more Koinpanels. Bern Nagengast estimates that only 100 or so of the new Koinpanels were sold in that time.
Obviously, this is a very rare entry in coin board history, and I sorely regret not having saved for posterity my one
and only purchase. Bern discarded most of the company's inventory years ago, but he graciously sent me a few of
the original Epps Koinpanels for my collection along with associated literature.

Bern Nagengast writes:

"It is indeed Tom DeLorey's fault that I purchased E&T Kointainer - he pestered me, telling me it would be a numismatic disaster if Kointain holders were no longer available.  I never dreamed I would still be providing coin storage products 41 years later!  Turned out to be a happy dream.  Thanks Tom.

"Tom mentioned Jim Johnson and Dave Lange mentioned Koinpanels.  Few folks know that Jim Johnson had assembled one of the most complete US non-gold coin collections.  His goal was to obtain every US coin made for regular circulation half cents through silver dollars.  He purchased the lowest useable grade he could find to save money.  Shortly before he passed away he told me his collection was missing only three coins: 1823 quarter and 1796 and 1797 half.  He said they had become too expensive to buy!  But the kicker in the story - Jim had his entire collection in Kointains mounted in Koinpanels! Oh yes, and Jim owned the only circulated 1894-S dime for a time.  He told me he later sold it because it was "too expensive to keep"!

"As for John Kamensky's experience with bronze Lincoln cents in Kointains, I have no clue as to why his coins toned.  Over the years we have had many customers report the opposite, and my own bronze coins have not shown any problems.  Chemist Weimar White conducted some experiments with coin holders and toning that showed that Kointains provided superior protection against toning.  However coins can be victims of the vagaries of surface contaminants, environmental conditions and time.  One thing that can be controlled is the quality of the coin holder being used.  That's why E&T Kointainer has always had the goal of providing numismatic storage supplies that will preserve a collection to the best of our ability."

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: 





Bill Groom submitted these notes on a silver conder slave token.  Thanks.

I'm wondering if any E-Sylum folks can provide me with some insight on a silver conder token? I purchased it many years ago, accompanied by a copper Low-54 Hard Times token, from a Florida antique dealer. Balanced on my finger, the conder token then pinged like silver. Their modest cost was thus a no-brainer.

Some years later, Larry Briggs of SEGS performed three specific gravity tests and certified it as silver, a DH-1039-A. While I personally prefer SEGS holders and attribution, I sadly realize that it is not as well respected in the marketplace as the so-called top three. Last year, I had the token tested for alloy content by a Bruker XRF metal analyzer. It tested at 80% silver and 16% copper. (Interestingly, I possess a Civil War era campaign token that tests with identical percentages.)

I recently submitted the silver conder token to NGC. I provided them with the metal analysis results that I obtained, assuming they would confirm same, if need be.  It was returned, marked "plated." Without intending to be snide, I'm wondering what readers think of an 80% silver token being called "plated?"

I've spotted some apparently plated (silver/zinc?) conders in the marketplace. I've yet to see one for which any metal content has been determined by analysis. Do any other such Dalton-Hamer provincial token varieties, comparable to my piece in metal content, exist? 

This token is fairly well-worn, and I suspect it may have been an abolitionist's pocket piece, perhaps? I'm hard-pressed to think of a more logical reason for its existence and condition .... Readers?

Interesting piece.  What do readers think?



Frank Pugliese of
High Point, NC submitted these notes on a Medallic Arts medal.
Does anyone have more information on this?  It's uniface and marked MACO on the edge.   Anyone have one of these?  I also pointed him to Dr. Jesse Kraft of the American Numismatic Society, who is cataloging the ANS holdings of MACO material.

A number of years ago, my wife and I were set up at a coin show held in Baltimore each year. A customer
stopped by our table and, seeing that we featured medals and tokens, asked if I was interested in two that
he wanted to sell. The first was a MACO Medal for the General Motors 50,000th car. The second was a
MACO medal I had never see either before or since. I bought both. I've attached a photograph of the

The medal pictured was in a flip marked “General Motors Ocean Operations” and “Science and
Technology Society.” Since the topic fit my automotive collection, it “fell off the cart.”

Now in my late 80s, it is time to pass on some of my treasures. Never having seen this medal before or
during the intervening years since its purchase, I sought more information on it. My IT Department ( my
somewhat tech savvy wife), looked online but had no success in locating information on it. She did find
that, under GMOO, the acronym was identified as General Motors Overseas Operations, a ill-fated
venture in Europe in the 1930s. She found nothing on the Society or the medal itself.

The medal is bronze and 35mm in diameter. The reverse is a plain incuse with a 2 mm rim. It is quite
heavy. Unfortunately I do not have access to the MACO records.

I am hoping your readers might have some information in your data bank
which might shed some light on this medal.



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

 Mule, Muling.  
An obverse die mated with a reverse not originally intended. Also called hybrid. Muling takes place usually where a number of similar items are made at the same place and time. Obviously the diameters of both dies must be the same, and both dies suitable for the same press. Coins, medals and tokens have all been muled, some by accident (where the wrong die was inadvertently used). More often, however, it is done by later intent. In some instances a stock die, say the obverse, is used and a custom reverse die is made to mate with this obverse. (Two dies with original intent to be used together are called mated dies).

The reasons for muling are several: (1) to create a new variety for collector demand, (2) a new variety for sale to public, (3) to lower cost by using a stock die instead of preparing a new die, and (4) by capricious action or accident.

In the history of most mints and medal makers, examples of mules and muling are legion. Private mints are more apt to do muling than national mints, where more constraints are in force on their activity. Muling was rampant in England in the 1790s for halfpenny tokens produced by private mints; likewise muling was prevalent in the United States in the mid 19th century particularly for Civil War tokens and storecards. The medals of engravers of this period, John Adams Bolen and Joseph H. Merriam in particular, were widely muled.

Cataloging mules.  Numismatists usually need to examine a large number of specimens, or to have intimate knowledge of a series to recognize a mule. By studying the die varieties and die wear the astute cataloger can gain insight into the sequence of use of dies with different mates. Then it will be the cataloger’s duty to chart the relationships between the dies. The chart would identity pieces which are die-linked. In fact such a chart is called a die-link chart, or simply a die chart.

A small number of die-linked specimens would form a simple chart. (An example of such simple chart is shown in the entry cabinet medal). Illustrated here is an example of a chart that is quite complex as numerous obverse and reverse dies are mated more indiscriminately. When photographs are used to illustrate mated die specimens and mule specimens, it is not necessary to obtain new photos of the same design again and again. A composite may be used of an existing photo of that variety with another existing photo to indicate the mule example.

NE42 {1992} Doty, p 222.

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 
coin dealer William J. Sexton.

William J. Sexton was a member of the Board of Directors of the California State Numismatic Association.

His 1939 advertisement in Hobbies, The Magazine For Collectors says it all "WILL SWAP 42 different Lincoln cents for each 1909S VDB, or 16 different Lincoln cents for each 1914D, good to uncirculated. Please include postage. Offer limited."  One wonders how many innocent good natured hobbyists got taken in by this claptrap?

Fig. Sexton correspondence with Calvin F. Clarke postmarked June 16, 1946, Santa Maria, California. 

William J. Sexton was the first president of the American Coin Dealers' Association,  with Harold L. Bowen, vice-president, Frank J. Katen,  secretary (q.v.), and Carl Curcio, treasurer, having a board of directors including : James Kelly, John H. Hanson, George B. Rogers, and Early C. Schille. The ACDA  was innovative in that it offered members its very own credit card advertising : "Credit card service is an unusual service in numismatics. It is not new in other business deals, having been used successfully by gasoline companies, department stores, more recently by railroad and air transport companies ... To obtain a credit card simply write to the ACDA secretary. Within a few days you will receive an application blank. .. Over 700 collectors now possess an ACDA credit card." The organization went defunct and notices were published in the Numismatic Scrapbook 1952 on page 314, where readers who had a complaint should file it with the Postmaster, M. H. Storment, Postal Inspe
 ctor, Santa Maria, California.

Sexton was a Life Member of the ANA.

To read the complete article, see: 





Here's this week's media release on the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Expos.

Whitman Coin & Collectibles Expo Will Reconvene in March 2021

Stack’s Bowers Galleries Auction Will Still Be Held in November 2020

The Whitman Coin & Collectibles Expo was prohibited from being held November 12–14, 2020, due to Maryland’s ongoing mitigation of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The full Expo, one of the largest numismatic events of the year, will next be held at the Baltimore Convention Center March 25–27, 2021.

“After the Convention Center was shut down, we polled our dealers as we worked to coordinate an alternate bourse venue for November,” said Whitman Expo manager Lori Kraft. “More than 60 percent were in favor of holding the Expo elsewhere. We discussed many ideas for potential locations. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough consensus to guarantee an excellent, productive show for everyone involved.”

Kraft said the Expo is now focusing on making its March 25–27, 2021, show its grandest ever.

“We’re lining up some of the most popular authors in the hobby, and scheduling celebrations for our return to business as usual,” said Kraft. “2021 marks the 75th anniversary of the Red Book, and also the centennial of the last Morgan dollar and the first Peace dollar. There will be a lot of excitement around the new American Silver Eagle reverse design. We’ll have a lineup of great new Whitman books available, and educational events and exhibits. The energy of the March Baltimore Expo will herald a turnaround for the hobby community.”

Updates and news will be posted at

Stack’s Bowers Galleries will provide details of its still scheduled November 2020 auction on their web site,

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:







In an email to customers this week, dealer David Kahn of David Kahn Rare Coins wrote about his perspective on today's coin market, and it's pretty encouraging.  I haven't been to any shows recently myself, but it's nice to hear some smaller ones are springing to life.

Melissa and I are just back from
an actual coin show!  We set up at the show in Gettysburg, PA this past weekend, and it went quite well.  Virtually everyone in attendance followed the specific rules in place, and business was say the least.  Collector traffic was down significantly, but that was actually a good thing - the room wasn't nearly as crowded as it would have otherwise been.  Such a concept would have been truly lousy in pre-COVID times, but it is a comforting thing these days (it is indeed amazing how perspective can change).  It was therefore important that the folks who were there were active.  And they were.  Collectors of all sorts descended on the dealers and swept the room pretty much clean.  And that was after all the dealers in attendance swept the room clean before them, at dealer set-up. 

I continue to be struck by how many collectors we once knew - both through our online channels and at shows - have returned to collecting.  We've picked up lots of retail customers that are truly new to us, but those returning to collecting are numerous, and returning in a serious way, in our experience.  That is perhaps the best news I've heard on the coin front...ever!  It is really great to be able to renew old relationships, and even better to be able to form new ones.  And this we did at Gettysburg as well.  Several times we heard, "this is my first coin show", and those folks were buying.  One of those guys bought a 1916-D dime in NGC G4 CAC from us, and was like a kid in a candy store.  It was a coin he'd wanted for his whole collecting life, which may have been just a few months!  Yes, we sold lots of gold and silver too, but we didn't sell anything that was truly bullion (we don't even have anything that is truly bullion, except on rare occasion).  Mostly, we sold th
 e kind of coins that are listed on our website...excellent quality type, better date material, early coins by die variety, beautifully toned coins - generally the coins you don't find everywhere.  It is my considered opinion that the retail, collector-coin market is very much alive and well.  And, improving as we speak.

I don't know what the future looks like generally, but I do now have a pretty good idea of what coin shows will or should look like over the next several months (at least).   I've been to a few small-ish shows over the past couple months (almost all as a buyer...we only had a table at Gettysburg), and they've all been good, productive shows, run within the confines of what we have to work with.  Rob Brunner's show in Knoxville, TN has been great for me, but more than that, it has been good for the dealers and collectors in that area.  I've been twice - the first Saturday in July and September - and have been comfortable both times.  Almost everyone followed protocols, and with decreased density in the room, both dealers and collectors, it was easy enough to maintain proper distance.  Likewise with Paul Padget's show in Cincinnati in July.  They used a room that was twice the normal size, had fewer dealers, and much less public.  I felt comfortable there the whole time.  Same 
 for the Ohio State show near Columbus over Labor Day weekend.  The spacing in the room wasn't quite as generous as some of the others, but it was good enough for me to feel comfortable there.  I'm not suggesting that we simply get back to "business as usual", and I'm absolutely not suggesting that high-risk people should run to the nearest coin show, but I do think we can put on smaller shows in very reasonable and realistic ways...and that you can go if you decide that it's the right thing for you.

Next up on our show schedule is Ernie Botte's New Hampshire Coin and Currency Expo, to be held in Manchester, New Hampshire in early October. 

To visit the DKRC website, see:




Despite the cancellation of major coin shows the numismatic auction market continues unabated, with multiple blockbuster collections coming to the block.  The latest announcement comes from Stack's Bowers, who will be offering the Larry H. Miller collection of U.S. rarities.

Stack's Bowers Galleries is thrilled to present the spectacular collection built by Utah businessman Larry H. Miller across two sales to be held in November and December 2020. Larry H. Miller was an entrepreneur and philanthropist most famous as the owner of the National Basketball Association's Utah Jazz from 1985 up to his death in 2009. He also founded the Megaplex chain of movie theaters and owned over 60 car dealerships throughout the Western United States, among many other successful ventures.  A lifelong resident of Salt Lake City and a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, he grew his business empire over 30 years with the help of his wife, Gail. Born into a modest middle-class family, Larry's story of self-made success embodies the very essence of the American Dream.

Assembled quietly over many decades, the Larry H. Miller Collection comprises an astounding array of rarities that are found only in the most legendary cabinets in U.S. numismatics. Now being offered publicly for the first time by Stack's Bowers Galleries, the Miller Collection is sure to join the ranks of such revered names as Garrett, Norweb, Eliasberg, Pogue, and other luminaries. In keeping with Larry and Gail Miller's commitment to helping others, the proceeds realized by the sale of Larry's coins will be donated to Intermountain Health to build one of the finest children's hospitals west of the Mississippi in Lehi, Utah.

1794 Dollar

Highlights from the Larry H. Miller Collection include such  rarities as the Eliasberg 1894-S Barber Dime (Proof-65 NGC CAC), a condition census 1794 Flowing Hair dollar (MS-62 NGC), the Stickney-Eliasberg 1804 Draped Bust dollar (Proof-65 PCGS), a Gem Proof 1879 Flowing Hair $4 Stella (Proof-65 NGC), a high condition census 1849 Mormon $10 (AU-53 PCGS CAC), and many other iconic issues.

Accompanying these world-class rarities is a complete set of circulation-strike Morgan silver dollars that rivals the very finest ever assembled. The set showcases an incredible proportion of condition census examples, many with provenance to the famous sets assembled by Louis Eliasberg and Jack Lee. Highlights from the Miller set include the incredible 1884-S (MS-68 PCGS CAC) and 1886-O (MS-67 DMPL PCGS CAC) from the Jack Lee Collection, a Superb Prooflike 1895-S (MS-67 DMPL PCGS CAC), and a virtually perfect 1896-S (MS-69 PCGS CAC), all of which rank as the finest known for the issue.

Stickney-Eliasberg 1804 Dollar

Comprising nearly 1,600 coins, the Larry H. Miller Collection will be presented in two separate sales scheduled for November 12 and December 17. The earlier offering will be featured as part of the Stack's Bowers Galleries November 2020 Showcase Auction, while the second selection will be presented in a December 2020 Showcase Auction, newly added to the firm's auction schedule. Printed catalogs will be produced for each offering and are sure to become treasured references for generations of future collectors. The Stack's Bowers Galleries sale of the Larry H. Miller Collection will attract advanced collectors across all categories of U.S. numismatics and will be among the most significant numismatic happenings of 2020.

1849 Mormon $10

To read the complete article, see: 

Stack's Bowers Galleries to Sell Collection of Larry H. Miller, Utah Jazz Owner for Nearly 25 Years




Here's some more on Larry Miller and the hospital to be built in part with proceeds from his collection.  From The Salt Lake Tribune.

The late Larry H. Miller’s coin collection will be auctioned off to benefit the second Primary Children’s Hospital, planned for Lehi, and it’s a lot more than a few nickels and dimes.

The estimated value of the nearly 1,600 coins is more than $25 million, according to Stack’s Bowers Galleries in Santa Ana, Calif., which will conduct the auction. The donation will be part of the $50 million the Miller family announced it is giving to the project in January.

According to the company, when Miller — who built a business empire that includes 65 car dealerships in seven states, the Megaplex Theatres chain and the Utah Jazz — died in 2009, he left instructions that his coin collection be sold. But his widow, Gail Miller, “knowing how much they meant to him ... could not bear to part with them.” But she has now decided “it was time to do something else with the value invested in the collection,” according to a press release, with the proceeds from the sale going to the new hospital.

Intermountain Healthcare’s Primary Children’s Hospital campus in Lehi is scheduled to open in 2023. Built on 38 acres near 3300 West and 2100 North, it will include a five-story, 468,000-square-foot hospital and a three-story medical office building.

To read the complete article, see: 

Larry H. Miller’s coin collection, valued at more than $25 million, will be sold to benefit new Primary Children’s Hospital


This article interviews Brian Kendrella, president of Stack’s Bowers Galleries.  See the complete article online for more.

The donation was reportedly the largest in the family’s history that includes many philanthropic efforts. The hospital, which is a part of Intermountain Healthcare's $500 million plan for a national model health system for children, is expected to open in 2023.

It’s rare but not heard of for rare coins and coin collections to go solely toward charity. In 2015, and on the heels of the viral "ice bucket challenge," the Stack’s Bowers Galleries facilitated a coin collection auction for ALS research from a collector who had been diagnosed with the disease, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

Sometimes it’s not known where the proceeds go toward, but many clients are also involved in philanthropic efforts, Kendrella said.

"I think this one’s unique in terms of the size, the value and notoriety of Mr. Miller in general," he said. "I think the collection is incredible (and) obviously what they’re using the proceeds for is — I’m not even sure I can find the right words. It’s very admirable and honorable."

It’s not the only community commitment announced by the Miller family and the company this year. In August, the company announced it would turn Vivint Arena and a few of its Megaplex theaters in Salt Lake County into polling centers for the November election. It was announced Aug. 28, along with other NBA teams as a joint agreement from the league and the NBA Players Association to address social reform.

To read the complete article, see: 




Howard A. Daniel III is selling a group of chopmarked coins in the upcoming Stephen Album sale 38.  I reached out to Howard for some background.

Howard writes:

"My collecting of chopped Spanish colonial coins, silver Reals and gold Escudos, started after I learned that foreign traders were entering Vietnamese ports and using them to purchase Vietnamese goods starting as early as the 1500s.  Part of the process was making sure the coins were authentic and then hammering a chop mark into the coin to show it was authentic.  I started looking for chops which appeared to look like Vietnamese-Chinese style characters.  I started to find a few but could not really verify them as Vietnamese, which was very disappointing.

"But then I found some chops on Vietnamese, Cambodian and Siamese coins and ingots and looked for them on the Spanish colonial coins.  I did find some chops and countermarks on both the local coins and ingots and on the Spanish colonial coins!  This was becoming more interesting!  I started buying a lot of Spanish colonial coins on speculation but most turned out to not be on the local coins and ingots.  It was a rare find to find what I was looking for and my collection of chopped Spanish colonial coins started growing with coins I could not trace to Southeast Asia.

"So I talked with Joe Lang and others in Steve Album Rare Coins about my situation and I decided to start consigning them to their firm’s auctions.  This was also a way to thank Steve for his assisting me a long time ago when he was at Oxford in England when he found some museum curators in Europe for me who had Vietnamese coins and ingots in their collections. 

"There are no reserves or minimum bids for any of my lots because I do want all of them to find a new home and reduce the size of my holdings.  So have fun bidding on my lots and other interesting lots in this and future auctions at Steve Album Rare Coins."

Here are some lots that caught my eye.

 1749 Counterstamped Pillar Dollar 

CHOPMARKED COINS: MEXICO: Fernando VI, 1746-1759, AR 8 reales, 1749-Mo, KM-104.1, "pillar dollar" or "columnario" type, assayer MF, with several large Chinese merchant chopmarks, EF.

Nice coin!

To read the complete lot description, see: 

CHOPMARKED COINS: MEXICO: Fernando VI, 1746-1759, AR 8 reales, 1749-Mo. EF


 1903 Chopmarked Thailand Coin 

THAILAND: Rama V, 1868-1910, AE att, RS122 (1903), Y-22, countermarked with DGE and 7/17/09 on reverse, which was about the time several Siamese provinces were ceded to British Malaya, About Unc.

To read the complete lot description, see: 

 THAILAND: Rama V, 1868-1910, AE att, RS122 (1903)


 1911 Chopmarked British Trade Dollar 

CHOPMARKED COINS: GREAT BRITAIN AR trade dollar, 1911-B, KM-Tn5, with two large Chinese merchant chopmarks, VF.

To read the complete lot description, see: 



 1883 Chopmarked Mexico Republic 8 reales 

CHOPMARKED COINS: MEXICO: Republic, AR 8 reales, 1883-Go, KM-377.8, assayer BR, with so many large Chinese merchant chopmarks that the flan is now scyphated, EF. These 'cup-shaped' chopmarked coins were said to be used for gambling because they did not roll off the table easily.

To read the complete lot description, see: 

CHOPMARKED COINS: MEXICO: Republic, AR 8 reales, 1883-Go. EF


Other Howard Daniel lots include
1040, 1095, 1099-1101, 1479, 1532, 1802, 1914, 2901, 2904, 2906-2916, 3009, 3175, 3282, 3754, 2982 & 3996.

See the complete auction online at:



Here are some notes that caught my eye in the upcoming Archives International Auction 61.

 Lot 458: Iran 500 Tomans Scrip Note 

Persia (Iran), 500 Tomans, unissued "I owe you" scrip note, un-numbered, no signatures of cashier or manager, and date left blank apart from first 2 digits of the year, "12__" which is most likely the Hijri calendar. Faint undertint reads H.M. NERAGHI AND SONS, and also on the left side text in Farsi reads "Haji Mohammad Neraghi and Sons". UNC. Unusual.

Unusual, interesting item.

To read the complete lot description, see: 

 Persia. 1900s. Scrip Note for 5000 Karan = 500 Tooman.


 Lot 501: 1954 National Bank of Scotland One Pound Note 

Scotland. Lot includes an Edinburgh issue 1 Pound dated June 1 1954. P-258c. PMG graded Choice Extremely Fine EPQ.

Colorful piece.

To read the complete lot description, see: 

National Bank of Scotland Limited. 1954. Issued Note.


 Lot 509: 1959 South African Reserve Bank Specimen Note 

South Africa. Lot includes a 2 Rand note, sign. 3, perforated SPECIMEN, range s/n B55 000001-1000000, printer's annotations in top margin. P-105as. PMG graded Choice Uncirculated 64 EPQ.

To read the complete lot description, see: 

 South African Reserve Bank. ND (1959). Specimen Note.


 Lot 523: 1940 Banque de l'Indochine Provisional Note 

Tahiti, ND 1940, 100 Francs, P-16A, Issued note, overprinted "PAPEETE" on "NOUMEA", P-14, for use in Tahiti. Choice Fine to VF

To read the complete lot description, see: 

Banque de l'Indochine. 1940 ND Provisional Issue


 Lot 555: 1964 Bank of Zambia Five Pound Note 

Zambia, ND (1964), £5 Pounds, P-3a, Issued banknote, blue on m/c with wildebeest on right, back blue with Victoria Falls, Signature of R.C. Hallet, S/N C/3 291731, PCGS Banknote graded "Superb Gem Unc 67 PPQ". TDLR. The highest graded one offered at auction was a PMG graded Gem Unc 65 EPQ which sold at Spink for $9557 in 2017. Only 2 notes previously graded at PMG at Gem 65, none higher. This dazzling note should command serious attention from the collecting community.

Great note!

To read the complete lot description, see: 

Bank of Zambia, 1964 ND Issue, £5 Finest Known PCGS Superb Gem Unc 67 PPQ.




The Wall Street Journal reported this week that employees at the U.S. Mint have raised allegations of racial harassment and discrimination.

The Treasury Department said it has opened an investigation into allegations of racial harassment and discrimination raised by Black employees at the U.S. Mint, the government entity responsible for circulating coins in the country.

A group of Black employees at the Mint wrote a letter in June asking Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to intervene and address what they say is “rampant racism” at the bureau, according to the letter, which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

The letter cited several workplace incidents from recent years that the authors said have contributed to mistrust of Mint leadership by many Black workers. These included a white worker who received a settlement after being dismissed for allegedly displaying a noose in the Philadelphia facility, graffiti of the N-word in a Mint restroom and a white Mint executive using the term “zoo keeper” to refer to a Black colleague.

“Mint employees have tried both anonymously and openly to address the racial tension and disparities, but Mint management has historically worked in tandem with Mint legal counsel to railroad and punish those who oppose racism,” the letter states. The letter was signed by six employees saying they represented other staff afraid of reprisals for signing.

Mint spokesman Todd Martin said, “The United States Mint takes any claims of racism and retaliation seriously and is committed to ensuring that the Mint is a workplace free from harassment and discrimination.” He said that although some of the incidents occurred years ago, the Mint was reviewing how it handles such complaints.

The Mint’s director, David Ryder, who was appointed in April 2018, is reviewing the bureau’s Equal Employment Opportunity process and has hired a new executive to oversee the Mint’s EEO programs, Mr. Martin said. He said the Mint is scheduling a third meeting with Black employees.

To read the complete article, see: 

Treasury Probes Claims of Racial Discrimination at U.S. Mint




Tuesday September 15, 2020 was the meeting night of my northern Virginia numismatic social group Nummis Nova.
We met virtually on Zoom, as we have been doing for a few months now.  Many thanks to our meeting host Aaron Packard.

Here's a screenshot from the early part of the meeting.  In the upper left is Bill Eckberg dialing in from West Palm Beach, FL.  That's me top center, followed by Jon Radel, Mike Packard, Aaron and a shot from Tom Kays' new digital microscope.  Other participants included Eric Schena and Robert Hoppensteadt.

It was good to see and talk with everyone.  We discussed a number of topics including auctions and coin shows (and the lack thereof), Tom's new microscope, Robert's new book, and a possible hybrid in-person/online model for our next meeting.

The previous week I'd sold some additional lots from my collection through Stack's Bowers Galleries.  This time it was paper money.  One lot was a group of postal and fractional currency notes I'd dabbled in before settling on U.S. Encased Postage Stamps as my main specialty.

I also sold a number of U.S. dollar notes I'd collected for the express purpose of exhibiting at coin shows.  One exhibit was a selection of one dollar type notes, and another featured errors on dollar notes.

Also included was a group of stock certificates and assay forms I'd accumulated over the years for no particular purpose.  The sales will help pay some college tuition bills for our kids, so thank you to anyone who may have been bidding on my consignment lots.  In Marie Kondo fashion I thanked them for their service to my collection and sent them on their way.


Postal and Fractional Currency

To read the complete lot description, see: 

Lot of (11) Mixed Fractional Currency. 3 to 50 Cents. Very Fine to Choice Uncirculated.


1917 $1 Legal Tender Note

To read the complete lot description, see: 

Fr. 36. 1917 $1 Legal Tender Note. Choice Uncirculated.


1981 $1 FRN Third Printing on Reverse

To read the complete lot description, see: 

Fr. 1911-K. 1981 $1 Federal Reserve Note. Dallas. Choice Uncirculated. Third Printing on Reverse.


$1 Mismatched Serial Numbers

To read the complete lot description, see: 

Lot of (2) Fr. 1621 & 1903-F. 1957B & 1969 $1 Silver Certificate & Federal Reserve Note. Extremely Fine & Choice Uncirculated. Mismatched Serial Numbers.


"R" and "S" Experimental Silver Certificates

To read the complete lot description, see: 

90068	Lot of (2) Fr. 1609 & 1610. 1935A $1 (R) & (S) Experimental Silver Certificates. Choice Uncirculated.


Magma Copper Company 100 shares

To read the complete lot description, see: 

Lot of (8) Stocks and Assay Forms. Fine to Very Fine.




In a blog article published on their website, Stack’s Bowers announced their offering of a rare bimetallic pattern dollar made for the U.S. Mint.

Stack’s Bowers Galleries is excited to present a rare bimetallic pattern dollar featuring Braille text in their November 2020 Showcase Auction. Struck by the German company Schuler for exhibition at United States Congressional hearings and the U.S. Mint, this pattern was intended to demonstrate the implementation of Braille elements in response to concerns from the Alliance for the Blind. It has a copper-nickel outer ring with a brass insert at the center, and the Braille characters REV on one side of the copper-nickel ring to identify the reverse for the vision-impaired. Research by modern dollar specialist Phillip Barnhart indicates that these were struck by Shuler in their Michigan offices in 1997 or 1998 and approximately 20 pieces were produced.

The final years of the 20th century represented an era of innovation at the U.S. Mint and its suppliers. The Susan B. Anthony dollar was the first of the small-size modern dollars, but caused considerable controversy upon release in 1979 due to its similarity to the quarter in size, format and color. As frustration with this coin continued to grow in ensuing decades, Mint and Treasury officials announced plans for a new small-size dollar coin with a plain edge and golden color. Considerable experimentation took place in the years leading up to the new millennium, including various combinations of metallic composition, format, and design that would ultimately result in the Sacagawea dollar that was released for circulation in 2000.

Of the patterns or prototypes from this era, the Martha Washington pieces are the most frequently encountered. This Bimetallic Braille specimen is one of only two examples of the issue to be offered publicly. Stack’s Bowers Galleries sold the only other example, graded MS-60 (Uncertified), in their February 2015 sale. This new specimen, the sole piece to be certified by PCGS or NGC, has been graded MS-64 by PCGS. It is likely the finest specimen available on the market, and will be a significant prize for advanced collectors of U.S. patterns or modern dollar coins.

This MS-64 (PCGS) Bimetallic pattern dollar will be offered in the Stack’s Bowers Galleries November 2020 Showcase Auction.

To read the complete article, see: 

Bimetallic Braille Pattern Dollar Offered by Stack’s Bowers Galleries in November Auction



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


At my request book dealer Gil Parsons kindly provided this medal description from the anniversary catalog of his firm Parsons Books.  Thanks.  The full text is available from him - I had to cut out a good bit of interesting material due to space constraints.   In earlier articles we looked at rare works by banknote maker Waterman Lilly Ormsby.  This week we look at a medal relating to the composer Beethoven. 
The portait of  Salvatore Vigano is courtesy Oesterreichische Nationalbibliothek Bildarchiv.

In 1801 in Imperial Vienna, under the direct patronage of Maria-Theresa, the renowned choreographer Salvatore Vigano (whose first ballet was in Venice 1791 and who had been a celebrity in Vienna since 1793) undertook to write a full-length ballet based upon the myth of Prometheus.  Vigano commissioned the young Beethoven, whom he knew through his uncle Luigi Boccherini, to  compose the score.  This work, Die Geschoepfe des Prometheus (Op 43), was Beethoven’s first work for the stage, and would prove to be his only ballet score.  

 Act six begins with the scene depicted on the medal, a scene which conformed in type to that of virtually all of Vigano’s ballets.  At this point, there was a solo turn for a featured performer, always of the “tragic-mime” sort.  Both Noverre and Angiolotti had stressed the need for “heroic” or “tragic” performers to fashion their performances based upon detailed knowledge of poses and gestures from painting and  sculpture, and it is assumed that the audience would respond to “sculptural” poses and “hieratic” gestures.  Vigano himself had undertaken a detailed study of antique sculpture.   But, be this as it may, the ballet presents the rescue of Prometheus by Hercules, the recognition by Humanity of the hero’s greatness, the pardon by Jupiter of Prometheus’ transgression, and the crowning of Prometheus by Immortality, all amidst a massive ensemble of Muses, Genii, and mortals.

The ballet, in its Milan presentation of 1813-1814, was a huge success, even though the spectacle must have been daunting.  It is the run in 1814 which is mentioned in the text of the medal and a performance of which Shelley attended, thereby planting in his consciousness the idea that Prometheus Unbound might be suitable for performance.  Vigano’s extreme contrasts of civilization and savagery made for great theater and served a didactic point. 

But 1817 marked a year of triumph, to which the medal calls explicit attention.  First came Mirra, o sia la vendetta di Venere, a coreotragedia  based upon a recent play by Vittorio Alfieri and Psammi, re d’Egitto, both of which brought Vigano’s ideas to fruition and both of which achieved great popular success. The medal, therefore, commemorates Vigano’s annus mirabilis, while calling to memory his greatest early triumph,  an epitome as it were of his achievement.  As Gianandrea Poesio put it “Vigano, like George Balanchine, created a unique and unrepeatable genre deriving it from a radical rethinking of the existing formulae.” (Historical Dance vol 3 #5 1998)

  But what of the medal itself?  It is remarkable that such a fine piece should be utterly anonymous, for there seems to be no document directly linked to its authorship, and it does not conform in style to the work of any known major Italian medallist.  The work was well known, and is recorded in numerous accounts (for the provision of which we wish especially to thank Arnaldo Turricchia of Rome)  But yet, detail is thin, and we invite you, faithful reader, to join us as we “pull back the curtain” to reveal miscellaneous apercus of research in progress, presented without order or reason, perhaps as Prometheus’ own creatures might find themselves at an incompletely evolved state…

  The medallic history of the punishment of Prometheus is not extensive, and two only early depictions spring readily to mind: the first, by Giovanni dei Bernardi (1494-1553), and dated only vaguely to the last half of his life, need not concern us overmuch, insofar as the composition seems to be merely a reworking of the subject from Michelangelo.  The second, rather more similar to the example at hand, by Pier Paolo Galeotti (1524-1611) and dated fairly precisely to the 1550s, comprises the reverse of a medal commemorating Johannes Baptista Grimaldus (British Museum 1880-8-1-4) and interestingly gives far greater prominence to the eagle.  This, too, seems to have but an oblique relationship to our example.

The medal circulated widely; even today the piece is not especially scarce, and comes to market every ten years or so.  Two separate evidences of its reception may be cited. The first emerges from an unlikely place: there is in the Netherlands Music Institute in  the Hague a collection of personal artifacts of Marie Taglioni (1804-84), one of the most celebrated ballerinas of the nineteenth century (she created the role of La Sylphide, for example).  Amidst her mementos is a copy of this medal, significant by virtue of the fact that her father Filippo (1777-1871) danced the role of Mars in Vigano’s Prometeo at La Scala in 1813: we may therefore infer that the medal circulated through the Company.

Martini & Turricchia (Catalogo delle Medaglie delle Civiche Raccolte Numismatiche Di Milano V. Secoli XVIII-XIX-- number 1916) record an example of the medal in silver.

  The Vigano medal is a most fitting tribute to a man whom such as Stendhal, Rossini, and Verri considered one of the reigning geniuses of the age, standing at the transition from Classical to Romantic modes.  It is wonderful to be able to present it in a stellar example.

For more information on this and other medals and numismatic literature in his inventory, contact Gil Parsons at 

parsonsb at

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see: 







In a blog article published on the Stack's Bowers website,
Senior Numismatist and Cataloger Jeremy Bostwick writes about a rare silver medal 

The rapid industrialization of the western world in the 19th century led to an ongoing need to open new markets, with the Far East providing a prime opportunity for both selling and buying. To this end, the United States under President Millard Fillmore sent Commodore Matthew Perry of the U.S. Navy to Japan in 1853. In July of that year, he arrived in Tokyo harbor with the intent of engaging in "battleship diplomacy," a type of negotiation which actually involved no real negotiating but instead entailed an ultimatum through threats of hostile aggression.

Japan at the time was ruled by the Tokugawa shogun (great general), as the Tokugawa family had seized power by defeating other feudal families around the empire two centuries prior. Though still technically governed by the emperor, Japan was under the de facto control of the shogun. This decentralized power structure relied heavily upon a lack of outside influence, meaning that the arrival of western powers could spell the end for the shogunate. Given Japan's lack of maritime might, one of the only lines of defense was a stealth operation involving ninjas—one of their last military missions—whereby the ninja Sawamura Yasusuke secretly boarded Perry's ship with the intention of gathering intelligence. Though documents were indeed gathered, the language barrier prevented any strategic value. What's more, what was gathered presented little more than the crew's exploits during their voyage. With no other means to rebuff their western visitors, the shogun finally acquiesced, s
 eeing that change was inevitable and signing a trade treaty with the United States in 1854. This "opening up" of Japan would eventually cause the dissolution of the shogunate and the emergence of the Meiji imperial period little over a decade later.

In honor of Commodore Perry's successful mission, the United States struck a commemorative medal conveying the accomplishments. While one was struck in gold and presented to Perry himself, another 20 were issued in silver—several of which were awarded to some of Perry's higher ranking officers. One of these incredibly rare and difficult silver strikings is featured in our October Hong Kong auction (lot 40370), and represents a great link to a very historic period in the relations of the two countries as well as a close to the feudal period of Japan.

Here's a larger view of the medal.  It's a wordy but impressive and important piece.

To read the complete article, see: 

Commodore Perry and the Opening of Japan



To read the complete lot description, see:

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Commodore Matthew C. Perry Treaty with Japan Silver Medal, 1854 (1856). Philadelphia Mint. PCGS SPECIMEN-62.



Here's an amazing story of the return of a long-lost Purple Heart.
There's much more online in the complete article, but here's an excerpt.

There are plenty of battlefield relics inside the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6859 on Forest Avenue. In the lounge, behind a couple tables, a lighted display case shows off combat-captured bayonets. A Nazi flag and a Japanese sword sit silent, behind glass, in a trophy case near the seldom-used front door. Someone recently donated a foot-thick scrapbook with World War II-era newspaper clippings pasted, edge-to-edge, on both sides of each yellowed page.

Looking through some of these wartime artifacts in 2014, Post Commander Joel Demers stumbled on a mystery that would take six years to unravel. In seeing it through, Demers reunited a long-lost Purple Heart with a family that had spent decades searching for the medal. He also helped that family honor and remember a man they knew was a hero -- and still grieved for -- but never knew.

His name was Royce Gibson and he was one of the 156,000 D-Day soldiers who stormed the beaches at Normandy, France, starting the Allied liberation of Europe on June 6, 1944. Gibson died three days later, during a bayonet charge near the town of St. Mere Eglise.

While giving the last full measure of devotion to the cause of freedom that foggy morning, Gibson earned the Purple Heart. Over the next 70-odd years, the medal vanished, was found and was lost again, before finally making its way back home.

The story of how Gibson's medal ended up in a Portland VFW hall lounge is an unlikely one. It's so random and coincidence-laden, some involved think there must have been a higher power at work. While that cannot be proven, the verifiable facts make for a yarn worth spinning.

Gibson's brother Archibald, a captain in the tank corps, survived WWII. Sometime after the war, he moved to York Harbor. It's believed he brought Gibson's papers and Purple Heart with him. Archibald died in 1980, with no heirs, and the medal vanished for 20 years.

In 2000, York Harbor restaurateur and designer Denise Rubin found it at an auction preview in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Rubin had gone to the affair looking for antique decor for her eatery, On the Marsh.

"There was this cardboard box. I walked over and rifled through it," she said, "and there was this Purple Heart."

As Rubin held it in her hand, her mind turned to her father, a WWII veteran, now buried in Arlington National Cemetery. He'd earned his own Purple Heart, fighting in Italy. Rubin knew how much the medal meant to her family and her heart broke. She imagined the orphaned laurel ending up on a flea market table -- or worse. Rubin knew she had to have it, to save it. Winning the medal turned out to be easy.

"Nobody wanted it. I bought the whole box for two dollars," Rubin said. "I just welled up and cried. I thought there was a whole story, somewhere. Who was he? But I had no way to get it to his family."

She checked with veterans organizations all over southern Maine and seacoast New Hampshire. Nobody had ever heard of Gibson. At a dead end in 2003, Rubin donated Gibson's Purple Heart to a war medal display at the Dover, New Hampshire, VFW hall.

That post closed in 2006. Again, the medal disappeared. How it showed up, eight years later, in Portland is unknown.

But it did -- and Demers eventually found Gibson's family through the website Find a Grave.

Dan Drag of  New Jersey  grew up hearing stories about Gibson from his grandmother.   He named his newborn son Royce, after Gibson.

For decades, Drag has searched for any information he could find about Gibson. In 2005 he visited Utah Beach in France, walking the sand where Gibson fought in 1944. Later, while watching the 2010 WWII documentary "Mother of Normandy: The Story of Simone Renaud," Drag caught a glimpse of Gibson's name clearly painted on a graveyard cross in a vintage photograph taken in France.

But what he really wanted to find was the Purple Heart. Drag knew it was out there and flipped over countless medals at memorabilia shows, looking for Gibson's name. Drag trolled online auction sites, too, but never found anything.

Now he has it and Rubin -- who found the medal 20 years ago -- doesn't think it found its way to baby Royce by chance alone.

"I feel like we've completed the cycle," she said. "There was definitely a force at work here. It was meant to get back."

To read the complete article, see: 

After 76 Years, a D-Day Hero's Long-Lost Purple Heart Returns to His Family




The latest issue of ErrorScope from CONECA (The Combined Organizations of Numismatic Error Collectors of America)  
includes a nice article by Joe Cronin on fake mint errors.
With permission, we're publishing an excerpt here.  Thanks to Editor 
Allan Anderson for his assistance.

There’s no doubt that fake and altered coins are a major headache in the collector marketplace and that the
problem is getting worse. Better and cheaper technology to make more convincing fakes is improving
almost faster than the average collector can scrutinize them. And except for people looking for an
opportunity to scam someone, nobody really wants to knowingly buy counterfeit or altered coins, right? Not

Though I certainly do not want to promote this dark side of numismatics or to reward those who counterfeit
and alter coins, I do feel there is value in acquiring some fakes to study and compare them to known
genuine coins, and more importantly to use that knowledge to educate others. In my area of expertise
which includes U.S. Mint error coins, I feel the need to do so is even more vital. Very few people collect
Mint errors, and even fewer know how they are made to know the difference between a genuine and non-genuine error. I find there are many coin dealers and collectors who go on about how many years of
experience they have in the business and they “know an error when they see it.” Sadly, many of them are
wrong and can be quite arrogant, obstinate, and even hostile, and their seasoned longevity in numismatics
means nothing if their knowledge is lacking. 

If you can acquire some fakes and altered coins cheaply or at
no cost, I highly recommend collecting some (especially errors if you collect them) because not only can
you start to teach yourself what is genuine and what isn’t, it will also help you better understand the minting
processes of past and present. Understanding how coins are/were made – from planchet metal and die
preparation to the striking and ejection processes – can be your greatest tool in learning how errors can
occur and if they are likely genuine. So, yes, there is educational value in owning and studying some fake
and altered coins.

1. The 1959 “Hofmann Mule” Lincoln Cent with Wheat Reverse

This is one of the most expensive “authenticity-in-question” coins I can recall. It is reported that Mark
Hofmann, a Salt Lake City rare document collector and dealer, was going to be called out as a fraud by
people in the Mormon Church who suspected he was trying to sell – and had already sold – forged historic
Mormon Church artifacts (among other documents). He attempted to delay and deflect suspicion by making
and sending pipe bombs to those pressuring him to see documents he claimed to have. Not having enough
time to forge them, he upped his resume from a forger to a murderer of two people in 1985. Police
suspected his involvement when he became injured by one of his own bombs (which he was attempting to
deliver to a third person), but his statements didn’t add up to the evidence; he was convicted on multiple
counts including murder and is still in prison.

However, from his prison cell Hofmann claimed responsibility for the forging of this 1959 Lincoln cent mule
after news of its discovery was made public. It erroneously has a “Wheat” reverse when it should have the
“Lincoln Memorial” which was switched in 1959, thus the mismatched dies make it a “mule” error. Hofmann
claims the police seized it from his house after his arrest and stole it, only to be found years later in the
hands of a collector. If anyone had the IQ and means of making forgeries, it was Hofmann – the best
known forger in American history whose documents even fooled national document examiners. 

The Secret
Service states his claims have no merit and asserted on two occasions the 1959 mule cent is real. Grading
companies and error experts disagree. If it is not genuine, I am not sure if it would be a counterfeit or
altered coin. Some say the copper planchet is real but the die strikes are fake, which means it’s an altered
coin; others believe the planchet and dies are both fake which would classify this as 100% counterfeit.
What is certain is that it sold for $50,000 at a Goldberg auction in 2019. What will this disputed coin go for
next time? (Photos used with permission from Glenn Onishi, COO of Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins &
Collectibles, Inc.)

2. The 1964 “Piacentile/Sheiner” Lincoln Cent: Double-struck, Rotated in Collar (Obverse Only)

Sometime in the mid-1960s in NY City, a man named Victor Piacentile (a.k.a. Victor Pease) approached
William Sheiner, the owner of Bronx Coins, to help him market some double-struck, rotated-in-collar 1964
Lincoln cents. Interestingly, they are only double-struck on one side – the obverse side – which immediately
drew suspicion from knowledgeable collectors. (There are a couple genuine proof cents which have this
error type, but the process of minting proofs is different.) Even more fantastic is that several more were
claimed to have been discovered in sealed Mint bags. On top of that, they were all struck the same
proportion of rotation (about 40 degrees counter clockwise)! How incredible! The pair even staged a public
demonstration at a NY hotel where they opened “sealed” Mint bags and “found” a few more identical errors!

Where it really got problematic for them was that they advertised in The New York Times and other
publications that were mailed to various dealers and collectors. Over 100 were sold, with several sent
through the mail. Of course, committing a crime (altering coins with a fake obverse die to scam buyers) and
then using the mail is a federal offense, and each time it is done is another charge; it also involves
conspiracy to commit a crime. After being tipped off to the U.S. Secret Service, the two wound up charged
with various federal crimes and each got sentenced to 3 months in prison and 2 years probation. These are
considered altered because the planchet and first strike is genuine, but the second strike was hit with a
fake obverse die.

1964 Piacentile/Sheiner cents still pop up online and at shows once in a while with many sellers insisting
they are genuine. (The mid-1960s, including 1964, were banner years for altered coins with fake die
strikes. Though not every 1964 altered cent was made by this duo, ones that fit the description above very
likely were.)

Other coins discussed include

the gold-plated 1883 “No CENTS” Liberty “Racketeer” Nickel; 

the 1944 “No P” Jefferson “Henning” Nickel;

one of the “Charles Silverstone” errors, a 2000 Virginia State Quarter Struck on a 1 Cent

and fantastic examples like foldover
strikes, half dollars on nickel and dime planchets, wild elliptical clips, and even double denominations.

For more information about the Combined Organizations of Numismatic Error Collectors of America (CONECA), see:


Here are some additional items in the media this week that may be of interest.

 Interview: Coin Designer Chris Costello 

Over a CoinWeek Lou Golino published an excellent article and interview with coin designer Chris Costello

Chris Costello is a Boston-based artist, graphic designer, illustrator and typographer, and an award-winning coin designer who is always involved in many projects for different clients.

He has been a coin collector since childhood and dreamed for many years of designing his own U.S. coin. Thirty years ago, he entered his first coin design competition and won the grand prize. But when he first applied to design coins for the United States Mint in 2004, he was not accepted, so he kept refining his craft.

In 2010 he was accepted to join the prestigious Artistic Infusion Program (AIP) of the U.S. Mint. The AIP was created in 2003 to contract talented artists from diverse backgrounds to work with the Mint’s designing and engraving staff to create designs for U.S. coins and medals. AIP artists have created and sculpted many such designs over the years.

Since he began working for the Mint, Chris has created 24 different designs for U.S. coins and medals and prepared drawings for more than 50-coin programs.

I've been very impressed with Costello's work.  Be sure to read the complete article online.

To read the complete article, see: 

The Coin Analyst: Coin Designer Chris Costello Documents History and Culture With Numismatic Ar


 Stolen Books Found in Romania 

Good news for bibliophiles - rare books stolen in a 2017 heist have been recovered.

Rare books worth more than £2.5m that were stolen from a warehouse in west London in a daring Mission Impossible-style heist have been found buried under the floor of a house in rural Romania.

The recovery of the 200 books, which include first editions of significant works by Galileo and Sir Isaac Newton, is the culmination of a three-year police operation that involved raids on 45 addresses across three countries and led to charges against 13 people.

The books were stolen from a postal transit warehouse in Feltham in January 2017 en route to a specialist book auction in Las Vegas. Two men, Daniel David and Victor Opariuc, broke in by cutting holes into the warehouse roof before abseiling into the building, perching on shelving inside to avoid sensors that would have set off alarms.

The Metropolitan police said the discovery was “a perfect end to this operation” and a tribute to the cooperation between British, Romanian and Italian police.

DI Andy Durham said: “These books are extremely valuable, but more importantly they are irreplaceable and are of great importance to international cultural heritage.”

To read the complete article, see: 

Rare books stolen in London heist found under floor in Romania


 Guardian Article Questions Fenn's Treasure Hunt

The Guardian published an article questioning the late Forrest Fenn's story about his buried treasure box.

Treasure hunter Reed Randall made one such trip between his home in Houston and Maybell, Colorado, 10 times between 2019 and 2020. He was certain Fenn’s clues led to a spot outside of town, but pinpointing the exact location proved difficult.

One evening in late May, he finally saw a tree glowing at sunset which matched the final clue in one of Fenn’s poems. The sandy patch was just big enough to hold the treasure chest. Randall began to shovel dirt ferociously, anticipating the plink of steel hitting bronze. But it never came.

After a few hours, Randall eventually realised his hole was too deep for an old man to have dug. And if the treasure wasn’t here, he decided, it couldn’t be anywhere. He emailed a photo of the scene to Fenn. “I know your secret,” he wrote, implying the hunt had been a scam all along.

Then, on 6 June, Fenn announced that “a man from the east” had found the chest. In a short statement posted on a fan’s website, Fenn wrote that it had been buried “under a canopy of stars in the lush, forested vegetation of the Rocky Mountains”. Ten days later, he posted pictures allegedly sent to him by the man who had found it. Fenn said he would not reveal his name to protect the finder.

Randall found the timing of this announcement – just a week after his email to Fenn – extremely suspicious. Like a substantial number of other searchers, he now believes the hunt may have been a hoax. Another faction believes the treasure is real, but not found – either it’s still out there, they argue, or Fenn retrieved it himself. Still, many remain true believers. They accept Fenn’s account of events, but feel abandoned, because without more details, they don’t know how close they came to striking gold.

To read the complete article, see: 

He buried a treasure in the mountains, and someone found it. Or did they?



Bob Leuver passed along this New York Times story about how state and local governments are forcing businesses to retain cash as a payment option.  Thanks.

Cash doesn’t have the status it used to.

In fact, some state and local governments are forcing businesses like restaurants and retail shops to continue accepting cash — concerned that cashless businesses effectively discriminate against consumers who do not have bank accounts or credit cards.

New York City will require most stores and restaurants to accept cash as of Nov. 19, joining cities including San Francisco; Berkeley, Calif.; and Philadelphia, all of which mandated acceptance of cash last year. New Jersey required acceptance of cash statewide in 2019, and it has been illegal for businesses to refuse cash in Massachusetts for decades. Many other cities and states are considering similar steps.

But as digital payments become more widespread, “we’re concerned that people aren’t going to be able to pay for necessities,” said Linda Sherry, director of national priorities at Consumer Action, an advocacy group.

Businesses that refuse cash put at a disadvantage people who lack traditional bank accounts or can’t qualify for credit cards, consumer advocates say. About one-fourth of American adults were unbanked or underbanked in 2019 — meaning they lacked a bank account or had one but also used alternatives like check-cashing services, the Federal Reserve found. Those consumers are more likely to be in a racial or ethnic minority group, have lower incomes and be less educated.

Some may like cash because it helps them budget their money or teach their children about spending. Others may be wary of a loss of privacy and vulnerability to hacking with electronic payments, or simply prefer cash, Ms. Grant said. “The decision should be the consumer’s.”

The federation and dozens of other advocacy and privacy rights groups are backing federal legislation that would prohibit brick-and-mortar retailers from refusing to accept cash. (It’s unclear if the bill will be considered this year, given the menu of pandemic-related issues before Congress.)

To read the complete article, see: 


On a related note, David Pickup passed along this National Audit Office report stating that the Royal Mint  had no plans to produce new 2p or £2 coins for at least ten years due to reduced demand for coinage.

Ten years ago, cash was used in six out of 10 transactions but by 2019 it was used in less than three in 10 transactions. The outbreak of COVID-19 may have accelerated this trend, as data suggests that market demand for notes and coins declined by 71% between early March and mid-April during the lockdown, although demand has since been recovering.

The decline in the use of cash in transactions is putting pressure on the cash system. Commercial operators who distribute cash rely on high demand to maintain the attractiveness of their business models, and cover large fixed costs, such as bank branches and ATMs. In March 2020 the government announced that it would be bringing forward legislation to protect access to cash and address the sustainability of the cash infrastructure.

According to the NAO, the pressures on the cash system could mean that people who rely on cash find it more difficult to use cash in transactions. Published research shows that older people and those on a low income are more likely to make cash transactions.

David adds:

"I think covid has definitely contributed to a decline in the use of cash. A cashless society is heavily dependent on technology which is vulnerable to security breaches and outages. If banks get a monopoly of transactions could they start charging for use of cards."

To read the complete article, see: 

The production and distribution of cash



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