The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 9, Number 07, February 12, 2006:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2006, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


WAYNE'S WORDS

Among our recent subscribers is Samuel Ernst. Welcome aboard!
We now have 856 subscribers.

This issue starts off with a reader's question about The E-Sylum
itself, and I'd be interested in hearing thoughts on the topic
from both long-time and recent subscribers.   Dick Johnson chimes
in next with a timely critique of the medals of the current winter
Olympic games, and thoughts on this topic are also most welcome.

Bob Van Ryzin, probably the only numismatic writer to have actually
met Selma Burke, discusses the controversy surrounding her claim
to have influenced the design of the Roosevelt Dime.  Among the top
news items of the week are the acquisition by the British Museum of
the rare the King Coenwulf of Mercia gold penny unearthed a few
years ago by a metal detectorist, and the sale of a very rare New
Orleans proof coin.

Research queries this week involve a 1902 catalog of engravings
of George Washington, collector extraordinaire Bryon Reed, and
the paper money and coins of World War I.  Some of the more
controversial topics may include the "Naming of Names" behind
anonymous collections, and a proposal for a new grading system
for medals.  And to learn which group of bibliophiles recent
held an "uncharacteristically raucous meeting", read on.


Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


LAKE SALE #83 PRICES REALIZED AVAILABLE

Fred Lake writes: "The Prices Realized List for our sale
of numismatic literature #83 which closed on February 7th
is now posted to our web site at: Prices Realized  "


WHAT THE E-SYLUM IS ABOUT

Rick Witschonke offers this observation:  "It seems to me
that The E-Sylum is becoming just a collection of news items
about numismatics (very loosely defined), rather than focusing
on printed materials relating to numismatics.  Is that
consistent with the charter, or just how things have evolved?
Of course, if the subscribers are happy, that's all that
really counts."

[Well, just what is The E-Sylum all about?  Its nature and
purpose have evolved over time.  It began, as Rick notes, as
a medium for the discussion of numismatic literature among
members and friends of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society (NBS).
It is still that, but the interests of our subscribers and
contributors, together with the explosion of information
available online have expended our purview over time.

Our community includes not only those who collect numismatic
literature, but also many researchers and writers who are
creating the numismatic works of today and tomorrow.  While
these people rely on the numismatic literature of the past
and present for guidance and information, they must also
seek information which lies far beyond these narrow boundaries.

This information may lie in handwritten diaries or correspondence,
mint records, contemporary newspaper accounts, laws and regulations,
etc.  It may also exist only in the memories of people who witnessed
long-ago numismatic events.  Thus many of the queries posed and
answered in The E-Sylum are of the "Does anyone know where I can
find ...?" or "Does anyone know who I should talk to about ...?"
type.

The E-Sylum has proven to be an invaluable resource for locating
information, and as Editor I find little more satisfying than
being able to help a researcher find what they are looking for,
or help like-minded researchers work together and share their
findings for the greater good of the hobby.  Like a matchmaker,
The E-Sylum has assisted a number of fruitful research relationships
and helped spawn more than a few very useful articles, catalog
entries and even books on numismatic topics.

The E-Sylum itself is also a source of first-hand numismatic
information. Often a query about some numismatic event of the
last 50 years will elicit a response from a subscriber who was
actually there when the event took place.  Their thoughts and
comments on the event become raw material for future researchers.
Although our little e-mail newsletter is ephemeral in nature,
it is not only being written for today's eyes, but for the benefit
of future researchers as well.    Quite a number of very interesting
yet often obscure topics have been explored here, and our archives
make for some interesting reading.

So how does all this affect the makeup of a typical E-Sylum issue?
Well, remaining true to our numismatic literature roots, any new
auction sales or fixed price lists of numismatic literature get
top billing, as does any article relating to our sponsor, the
Numismatic Bibliomania Society.  Announcements and reviews of new
numismatic books and catalogs also get prominent placement.  But
remember - your editor can only generate so much copy per issue -
the majority of what is published must come from you, our readers.
If there is a new book, sale or event readers ought to know about,
please drop me a line.

Research queries are another top priority for every issue, but
to avoid repetitiveness and mix up the subject matter these are
typically sprinkled throughout the issue in the order received.

That leaves the "anything else of numismatic interest" category,
the "collection of news items about numismatics" Rick mentions.
These are items which can be of marginal usefulness to specialized
readers, yet often include some of the most interesting material
each week and sometimes spark some marvelous exchanges.

First-hand accounts of numismatic events or interviews with
numismatic personalities are a major subcategory of news.
Reports of new coin and paper money issues are another.  Numismatic
"finds" are yet another, including everything from metal-detecting
treasures, to paper money hoards or long-lost stolen property
returning to the spotlight.

It is not our purpose to compete with or "scoop" traditional
numismatic publications on these stories, but it happens sometimes
due to publishing schedules.  Many of our readers look forward to
the week's issue to see what new events have taken place in
numismatics over the weekend.

As more and more news has become available online throughout
the world, we're finding more and more potentially interesting
items to publish, and over time this has affected the proportion
of each type of article we include.  Some have noted that there
is too much to read, but this is not a new event - our issues
have been quite lengthy for years.  But like traditional printed
publications, the headline format allows readers to skip over
items of little interest and focus on only those most pertinent
to the reader.    Having heard no strong complaints and a continued
series of compliments, I've made no changes to the editorial
policy.  Printed literature is still a prime focus and I welcome
submissions on the topic.  -Editor]


2006 TURIN WINTER OLYMPIC MEDAL

Dick Johnson writes: "Has anyone seen a picture of the 2006
Turin Olympic Medal? I wonder how soon before these will be
called a "donut on a rope"?  I would have expected a better
designed medal from Italy, which is known for its outstanding
medallic art.

The 2006 Winter Olympic Medal has a large aperture (that's
a hole in the middle for those of you in Rio Linda California).
The relief is extremely shallow, typical of pictographs shown
at every venue at the Olympics and in all Olympic literature.
A pictograph has no detail, it is in silhouette form only.
(On medals it is symbolic of something from the future --
it hasn't existed yet so its detail cannot be shown.
Pictographs are biplaner, of two planes, on two levels.
Medallic artists are loath to do many of these because it
doesn't require any sculptural talent to create a medallic
pictograph. The charm of a medal is, of course, it can exhibit
detail -- a lot of detial -- in a small space; but this
requires an oversize model and equipment for reducing the
model.)

The name on the Turin neck ribbon is good feature, but I
think it has been done before. The large hole is a first,
however.

Olympic medals are an opportunity for medallic recognition
of the host country because of the widespread publicity the
medals receive worldwide. It is also an opportunity to do
something really creative. My favorite is one I believe
from the 1992 Albertville France Winter Olympics. It was
a combination of crystal and metal, the clear crystal being
symbolic of ice. Multimedia is permissible in exquisite
medallic art these days.

I haven't heard yet who the designer is, or what firm made
the Turin Olympic medals. Perhaps the firm was not a traditional
medal manufacturers. The medals are always made in the country
hosting the Olympics. But lately these contracts have been
going to firms not known for previously producing medallic art.
It shows."

[I did manage to find an image of the medals on official
Olympic web site, along with a description of their design,
the designer's reasoning, and claim of " three-dimensional
characteristics." -Editor]

"The medal concept was worked upon by Ottaviani International
and the TOROC graphic team, headed by Dario Quatrini. The medal
is round with an empty space at the centre, representing the
Italian piazza. The medal will be wrapped up in its ribbon,
which, unlike in previous Games, will not be sewn to its top.
The front of the medal will include the graphic elements of the
Games, while the back of the medal will feature the pictogram
of the sports discipline in which the medal was won. To highlight
the three-dimensional characteristics of the medal, its surface
has been carefully made using full and empty spaces, with shiny
and satiny textures."

"Quatrini, who created the design for the medals, incorporated
views, ideas and models from Italian history and its tradition
of forms and manufacturing: rings, ancient coins and ornaments.
The solution of the circle with the space at the centre links
all the basic themes and motifs of the Turin Games and embodies
the leitmotiv of Torino 2006 - the piazza. The medal is also
round like the Olympic rings or a symbolic victory ring and,
with its open space at its centre, it reveals the place where
the heart beats, the symbol of life itself. The medal is only
complete, however, when it is hanging geometrically from the
athlete's neck, lying on his chest, circling and revealing the
area near his heart and focusing attention on the athlete's
vital energy and human emotions."

Full Story


VAN RYZIN ON SELMA BURKE AND THE ROOSEVELT DIME DESIGN

Bob Van Ryzin writes: "I interviewed Dr. Selma Burke at
her home/studio in July 1993 in New Hope, Pennsylvania.
At the time, I was managing editor of Numismatic News, and
her claim of designing the Roosevelt dime had been featured
in a Texas newspaper that crossed my desk.

I contacted her good friend for additional details and
support, who then arranged my interview with her.

She was a sweet lady, and I believe she honestly thought
the design on the dime was hers.

She told me of a late night call from a friend who worked
at the Recorder of Deeds office in Washington, D.C., to
inform her that her drawing of Franklin D. Roosevelt for
her Four Freedoms plaque, displayed in that building,
had been sent over for Mint engraver John Sinnock to
examine, and urging her to come to Washington, apparently
in order to stop any inappropriate use of her work.

Her statements on the topic appeared in my November 1993
article for Numismatic News and as a chapter in the now
out-of-print "Twisted Tails: Sifted Fact, Fantasy and
Fiction from U.S. Coin History" (Krause Publications,
1995). The book also has photographs of her drawing of
Roosevelt (done from life on brown butcher's paper) and
the resulting plaque.

As I wrote then, Sinnock had done his own studies of
Roosevelt from life. It seems, therefore, unlikely he
would have even needed to see Burke's work in order to
compose any part of his. However, I'm convinced, Burke
sincerely believed this happened.

She was a great American sculptor and a fine lady,
regardless of whether or not credit for the dime design
belongs with Sinnock."


SUNDMAN LECTURE SERIES

According to a press release, "The American Numismatic
Association is accepting papers on 'Money That Made History,'
from authors who would like to make presentations at the
second annual Maynard Sundman/Littleton Coin Co. Lecture
Series.

Six authors will be selected to make presentations August
17 at the ANA's World's Fair of Money in Denver. Selected
presenters will receive a $250 honorarium.

Submissions, which are due April 30, should be abstracts of
500 words or less, and include an introduction, methodology
and sources, and discussion sections. Abstracts will be
evaluated based on originality, persuasiveness and relevance
to the topic.

Lectures will focus on numismatic milestones and icons with
An important connection to history, culture and the hobby.
Priority will be given to papers that emphasize new research
and scholarship.  For more information or to submit an extract,
e-mail brunner@money.org, call 719-482-9872 or write: Lane J.
Brunner, Ph.D., Director of Numismatic Outreach, American
Numismatic Association, 818 N. Cascade Ave., Colorado Springs,
CO 80903"


VOCABULARY WORD: BONISTICS

Last week I asked if anyone was familiar with the origin of
the term "bonistics", meaning the study of paper money.

Martin Purdy offered the following guess: "Is it based on
the French word "bon", meaning a coupon or voucher, perhaps'
I don't recall ever seeing the word before, though."   He
adds: "I don't believe the word is English.  "Bonism" in
the OExford English Dictionary is a doctrine that the world
is good, which banknote collectors may share, but hardly
relevant to the rest of us!  A quick Google search for the
term brought up mainly Russian, Bulgarian, Estonian, etc.,
sites, so I wonder if it's a Russian term ("bonistik" or
some such)?  I looked in the biggest Russian dictionary I
have here and found that "boni" refers to credit documents
(probably from the French word I mentioned earlier), so
it's not completely out of the question."


REVIEW: BARKER'S HISTORICAL CASH COINS OF VIETNAM

Howard A. Daniel III writes: "I read Craig Greenbaum's
comments about Dr. Allan Barker's book, The Historical
Cash Coins of Viet Nam, with much interest.  Craig is a
fairly new friend but Allan and I are old friends who
have discussed numismatics well into the night and over
many a meal.  Not only is the color photography and the
printing excellent, but everyone can match their authentic
coins to something in his book.  And the range of values
for each coin, based on the assigned rarity, is the first
time everyone can value every Vietnamese cash coin from
the tenth century to 1945!  This book is so well done I
have a difficult time finding the right words to praise
it.  Even the Vietnamese in Viet Nam are shocked with the
excellence of it.  Please go to Craig's website at
coinsofvietnam to see what we
are writing about.  You will not be disappointed.

P.S.  Congratulations to the editor of The E-Sylum
because his Pittsburgh Steelers won the Super Bowl!!!!"

[I refrained from injecting "Go Steelers" comments in
The E-Sylum throughout the playoff season, but it was a
great team this year and I'm glad they finally got the
"One for the Thumb" that has eluded them since the dynasty
years of the 70s.  For our overseas readers, the phrase
refers to the team's Super Bowl rings. Having won four of
them (one for each finger), the rallying cry became "One
for the Thumb!"  I edited The E-Sylum in between cheers
while watching the big game last week.  -Editor]


1902 DAVIS AND HARVEY WASHINGTON CATALOG SOUGHT

Len Augsburger writes: "I am looking for an auction catalog
which included engravings of George Washington conducted on
March 14, 1902, the auction house being "Davis and Harvey"
in Philadelphia.  It does not appear in Gengerke, though
Gengerke notes "Davis and Harvey" as being an auction facility
used by the Chapmans.

An Internet search indicates that Davis and Harvey was
an auction house which frequently conducted sales containing
Washington (and other) engravings, though a listing from 1902
was not found.  Any suggestions on where to look for this?"


ON NAMING NAMES

Doug Andrews writes: "While I agree that the efforts of
numismatic researchers are frustrated somewhat by donors
and auction consignors insisting that they remain anonymous,
there are broader issues that carry significant risks and
potential penalties for anyone considering the "outing"
of such an individual.

In some jurisdictions, an individual's right of privacy
survives him or her for years following their death, and
their anonymity is enforceable in law. That privacy guarantee
may last for 20 years or longer after the person's death. In
addition, there also may be contractual barriers to an
auctioneer releasing the name of a consignor, or a museum
identifying a donor. The auction house, for example, may
have agreed in writing to protect the identity of the owner
of the rare numismatic material forever.

Many NBS members and E-Sylum readers, myself included,
are researchers. While there are often sound ethical and
legal reasons for not publishing names of anonymous consignors
and donors, consider this: Researchers may uncover the name(s)
in the course of their inquiries. There may be nothing to
prevent the writer from effectively acting on this information
in furtherance of their research, provided that the identity
of the individual is not revealed."

[These are the types of questions that are both interesting
and important to for researchers to explore.

One reader familiar with U.K. taxes asked about the situation
in the U.S.  Here we have both income and inheritance taxes
that might be triggered by the sale of a collection, but I'll
let one of our readers more familiar with these matters comment
if they choose.  -Editor]


CORRECTION: FITZWILLIAM MUSEUM

Rick Witschonke offers a slight correction to Dick Johnson's
"Why I don't collect chinese vases" item last from week.  He
writes: "The Fitzwilliam Museum is part of Cambridge
University, and has nothing to do with the British Museum
(in London)."


KING COENWULF COIN SOLD TO BRITISH MUSEUM

NBS Secretary-Treasurer David Sundman forwarded links to
new articles on the King Coenwulf of Mercia  gold coin we've
discussed in past E-Sylum issues.  The coin has been acquired
by the British Museum.

The New York Times reported: "A rare 1,200-year-old Anglo-Saxon
gold coin that was sold at auction to an American collector will
not be leaving Britain after all.

The British government blocked the export of the coin last year,
and the British Museum has raised the funds needed ' more than
$650,000 ' to buy it back. The acquisition is to be announced
today.

A treasure hunter discovered the coin in 2001 in Biggleswade,
on the banks of the river Ivel about 60 miles north of London,
using a metal detector. The gold penny, called a mancus, weighs
about an eighth of an ounce and is slightly larger than an
American penny."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

The BBC reported: "The National Heritage Memorial Fund provided
$225,000 of the $357,832 total cost.

British Museum curator Gareth Williams said they were "delighted"
to have acquired the coin for the national collection.

"The Coenwulf gold coin is tremendously significant as a new
source of information on Anglo-Saxon kingship in the early ninth
century," he said."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


An Associated Press story highlighted Allan Davisson's role:
"Coin collector Allan Davisson mortgaged his house in late 2004
so he could bid $400,000 for a 1,200-year-old British coin."

"Davisson's bid was the highest price anyone had ever paid
for a British coin, until last week when he sold it to another
American collector for $600,000.

That collector has agreed to sell the coin to the British
Museum, which is fine with Davisson. He says the important
coin should be in the museum, and he couldn't afford to keep
it anyway. "

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


PARMALEE 1844-O PROOF EAGLE TRADES HANDS

According to an article published today in The Advocate,
"A Louisiana businessman has purchased for $1.5 million
an extremely rare coin minted in New Orleans in 1844.

The coin is a Proof 65 1844-O $10 gold piece - probably
made as a gift for someone of importance - and is listed
in the "100 Greatest U.S. Coins" at No. 39."

"Even though it was created 46 years earlier, not many
people knew the $10 gold coin existed until it was listed
in an auction book in 1890, Bloomfield said.

The coin belonged to Lorin Parmelee, who had one of the
largest collections of rare coins at the time."

"In 1890, the coin sold at auction for $16. The $5 companion
piece sold for $9.50. This is the last known time that both
coins were together.

The $10 coin resurfaced in 1911, as part of the William
Woodin auction, and sold for $50."

"Like its $5 companion piece, the $10 coin had disappeared
until recently."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


LEE HEWITT'S NUMISMATIC CREDIT BUREAU

Regarding the query in last week's issue, Dave Lange writes:
"My speculation is that Hewitt provided a list of collectors
and dealers who had defaulted on debts, failed to deliver
purchases, written bad checks, etc. With the Great Depression
at its very worst in 1933, there must have been quite a few
people in the hobby who found themselves in a bind financially.
Such lists had been provided by other dealers in the past, so
there was a precedent.

If nothing else, this was a good way for Hewitt to build a
mailing list of potentional subscribers to The Numismatic
Scrapbook Magazine, which launched just two years later."


BYRON REED INFORMATION SOUGHT

Saul Teichman forwarded a note from young numismatist Samuel
Ernst, who writes: "I live in Omaha, NE and have seen the
Byron Reed collection a couple of times at the Durham Western
Heritage Museum.  He really had a great collection, and he
did it when collecting wasn't as popular as it is today.  Do
you know if anything has ever been written about him and his
collection?"

Saul noted that "A biography and discussion of Byron Reed
was in the Spink's October 96 auction catalog which sold
some of the collection a few years back.  There is also
information about him on the Durham Western Heritage Museum
website: Byron Reed

[I invited Samuel to subscribe to The E-Sylum, and did a
quick search on the Numismatic Indexes Project (NIP), which
located twenty articles relating to Reed and his collection,
mostly in the ANA's Numismatist and the ANS's American Journal
of Numismatics.  Photocopies of the articles can be obtained
by ANA members through the ANA Library.
Byron Reed Search

I'm sure there were also some great articles on Byron Reed
in Coin World and Numismatic News over the years, but these
publications aren't in the index.  Can anyone point us to
other good resources?   -Editor]


FINDER SEEKS OWNER OF LOST 1938 GOLD IRISH FOOTBALL MEDAL

The Laois Nationalist of Ireland published a report this
week on a Dublin man seeking to locate the rightful owner of
a 1938 gold medal he discovered:

"The medal in question is a Leinster senior football championship
winner's medal from 1938 when Laois beat Kildare to win their
third title in a row during a glorious period for the county.

The medal in fact is in the possession of a Dublin man, Peter
Hennessy, and the Wicklow connection came from the fact that
he found it some 20 years ago on a landfill site in the Garden
County and now all those years afterwards he is trying to find
its owner or his family.

Now there have been many instances of illegal dumping in
Wicklow but disposing of a gold piece is certainly unusual! "

'It was up in the foothills of the Wicklow Mountains and I
got down from the truck and was wearing a pair of runners
when something stuck into the sole of one of them. I reached
down to pull it out and realised that it looked like a brooch.
It was all dirty and damp so I took it home and cleaned it up
and it was shiny and gold but having no interest in football
I had no idea what it was,' he said."

'Then a while ago in the local friends of mine, PJ Browne
and Gus Keating, were talking about medals and I told them
of the one I had at home and I brought it in and they knew
straight away that it was a 1938 winners medal and that it
was pure gold and that is how you were contacted.'

'I have it sitting in a drawer for years and lads have said
to me to put it on ebay and sell it but I have no interest
in that and I would love to find out who owns it. The man
who won it is probably dead but I am sure the family would
love to have it. Croke Park would probably like to have it
for their museum now but I would rather give it back to the
family if possible or at least we will try.'

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


"NUMISMATIST" WINS SPELLING BEE

Congratulations to student Isabel Jacobson, who triumphed
at a recent Wisconsin spelling bee by correctly spelling
the name of our hobby.

"Her win at the Madison All-City Spelling Bee on Saturday
was her third straight, making her the first competitor
since at least 1968 to accomplish the feat.

It was "numismatist" - another word for a coin collector -
that allowed the 13-year-old O'Keeffe Middle School student
to walk out of the Monona Grove High School auditorium with
the Ketterer Trophy for the third time. It will be displayed
at her school.

She also won a $100 gift certificate to Borders."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

[Maybe she'll buy some numismatic literature! -Editor]


NEBRASKA PLANS STATE QUARTER LAUNCH CEREMONY FOR APRIL 7

According to a news release, "Gov. Dave Heineman announced
that the U.S. quarter-dollar commemorating Nebraska statehood
will be distributed for the first time in April. Nebraska's
quarter will feature a pioneer family traveling by covered
wagon and historic landmark Chimney Rock. The theme chosen
for the launch is 'Our Journey Continues.'

The Governor and First Lady Sally Ganem will be joined by
David Lebryk, acting director of the United States Mint for
the official launch on Friday, April 7 at a celebration
scheduled to be held at the Bob Devaney Sports Center in
Lincoln. Classrooms and school groups from across the state
are invited to the celebration, which will begin at 9:45 a.m.

In addition to the official launch ceremony on April 7, the
Governor will participate in celebrations scheduled to take
place at the University of Nebraska at Kearney's Foster Field
beginning at 12:15 p.m., and Five Rocks Amphitheatre in Gering
at 1:30 p.m. MT. A strike ceremony is being planned for March
at the United States Mint at Denver."

"John Munn, director of the Nebraska Department of Banking and
Finance and co-chair of the quarter launch committee, said,
'This is an exciting process that we hope will be inclusive,
educational and fun for all Nebraskans. It's also a great
opportunity to recognize those who worked to build a strong
foundation for our state many years ago.'

To read the full article, see: Full Story


MONEY OF WORLD WAR I INFORMATION SOUGHT

Dennis Tucker writes: "I'm looking for books, articles, and
other resources on paper money and coins of World War I. In
particular I'm trying to track down a copy of Benjamin White's
The Currency of the Great War (Waterlow, London, 1921), but
also other resources relating specifically to the war and
the money of the era.  This is for personal research; reader
replies can be sent to denmig@earthlink.net."


TERMS OF CONDITION FOR MEDALS

The January 2006 issue of Medal Collectors of America's
MCA Advisory contained an article by frequent E-Sylum
contributor Dick Johnson.  In the article he proposed that
the standard terms for coin conditions do not apply to medals.
Why? Because they do not circulate.  His position: Can you
legitimately call medals "uncirculated"?

Like terms of condition from one hundred years ago --
when there were only four such conditions -- Dick has come
up with four new terms for medals. He claims all medals
could fit within these four categories:

"Pristine -- Unblemished, perfect, fresh, new, could not
be better; no holes, no dents, no scratches. As the piece
came from the die or mold.  Formerly unc.

Mellow -- Pleasant appearance and pleasing quality. May
have a few imperfections, perhaps an edge dent or two,
but these are not severe. A satisfactory, collectible
condition. Formerly: AU. EF, XF.

Haggard -- Some attrition of surface conditions. A little
longer in the tooth. Shows its age and a little more damage.
A dent or two or a scratch or two. You would want to replace
this if a better specimen came along, but for now it can
stay in your collection.  Formerly VF, F, VG.

Eroded -- Worn away by environmental conditions. Here the
damage is quite perceptible. Not a desirable specimen.
Perhaps it is in the collection only because of its rarity.
Formerly: good or fair."

What say you, E-Sylum readers?


BIBLIOPHILES HOLD AN UNCHARACTERISTICALLY RAUCOUS MEETING

Tom Fort writes: "You may remember several years ago the
Grolier Club of New York had an exhibit of early numismatic
books.  You could not order the exhibition catalogue; you
actually had to physically walk into the club and purchase
it with cash. The frustrations I had in dealing with them,
seem to also occur in their other business dealings."

Tom forwarded an article from the New York Times about the
Club's plan to sell the air rights over its building:

"So rich was the price negotiated for some 86,000 square feet
of air over the Grolier Club and Christ Church at Park Avenue
and East 60th Street " $430 a square foot " that the magazine
Business 2.0 listed the sale as one of "the 101 dumbest moments
in business" last year.

But several members of the Grolier, an elite society of
bibliophiles, now say the price for their portion, at least "
about $6.9 million " was too low."

"Some Grolier members say their club deserves a higher price
for its ether than the church is receiving because its 16,000
feet remain pivotal to the deal. So now they want the club to
pull out. It is a dispute that has split the normally docile
precincts of the club, even bringing tears amid heated
accusations of conflicts of interest at one uncharacteristically
raucous meeting."

"The opposition from some Grolier members is unsettling to
the church, which hopes to use the $30 million from its part
of the deal on various missions to help the poor, Mr. Mermel
said.

"Their case has no merit, but I've been surprised at the
lengths to which they've gone to snatch defeat from the jaws
of victory and put at risk the opportunity for this money to
help so many needy people through the church," he said."

To read the full article, see: Full Story


FEATURED WEB PAGE: THE MINT AT NEW ORLEANS

This week's featured web page contains the text of a rare 1845
pamphlet by J. L. Riddell, M.D., titled "The Mint at New Orleans
with an account of the process of Coinage".  The pamphlet was
uncovered by Eric Newman and published in The Numismatist in 1968.

"... it is worthy of remark that the average fineness of the
gold coins issued is a trifle better than the mean standard
contemplated by law - the average value of a New Orleans eagle
being about three-fourths of a cent greater than similar coins
from the Mints of Charlotte, Dahlonega or Philadelphia."

To read the complete pamphlet, see: Complete Pamphlet


  Wayne Homren
  Numismatic Bibliomania Society 

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