The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization promoting numismatic literature. For more information please see our web site at coinbooks.org

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David M. Sundman, Secretary/TreasurerNumismatic Bibliomania Society
P. O. Box 82 Littleton, NH 03561

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BUY THE BOOK BEFORE THE COIN


You won't regret it!

WAYNE'S WORDS: THE E-SYLUM FEBRUARY 15, 2009

Wayne Homren Among our recent subscribers are Okorie Ebin, Duke Snider, and Jim Wells. Welcome aboard! We now have 1,217 subscribers.

Three numismatic book reviews lead off our issue this week, followed by notes about the ANA and ANS. Next are articles discussing the Mystery of Henry Morgan, and ANS Coinage of the Americas Conference proceedings.

Other topics include the John Steward Comitia Americana medal and an awesome Jacob Perkins Washington funeral medal in gold. To learn about the man named Silver Dollar, read on. Have a great week, everyone!

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society

BOOK REVIEW: GOLD COINS OF THE CHARLOTTE MINT: 1838-1861 THIRD EDITION

Dave Ginsburg submitted this review of Doug Winter's "Gold Coins of the Charlotte Mint: 1838-1861" (Third Edition). -Editor
Winter, Gold Coins of the  Charlotte Mint I received my copy of the hardbound third edition of Doug Winter's Gold Coins of the Charlotte Mint: 1838-1861 last week and I'm very happy with it. Unfortunately, since this is the only edition of the book I have, I can't compare it to the two previous editions. However, I can say that the book appears to be well-bound, lays flat easily when open and is printed on fairly heavy glossy paper. (The paper appears to be heavier than that used for the 2006 edition of Winter's Gold Coins of the New Orleans Mint: 1839-1909 which was also published by Zyrus Press.)

This edition features full color pictures throughout and detailed close-up pictures of each die variety, which I find a vast improvement over relying on a written description (as in the New Orleans book). This book uses the same format as the New Orleans book (and, I believe, the 2003 edition of the book on Dahlonega gold coins). In addition to a section on each coin produced by the Charlotte Mint, the book includes, for each denomination, three very useful summary tables that show: a) the estimated population in four grade ranges (VF, EF, AU and MS); b) a rarity ranking by date and major variety; and, c) a high-grade (AU + MS) rarity ranking by date and major variety.

The book includes a chapter on "How to Collect Charlotte Gold Coins", with advice on assembling a denomination set, basic and expanded type sets, sets of each of the three denominations and, finally, a complete set of Charlotte gold coins. In addition, I've contributed two short chapters to this edition, one discussing the Mint's officers and the other detailing the sources of the gold deposited at the Mint.

I'm also pleased to say that I only noticed one omission: Doug makes reference, in his Introduction, to a Bibliography that isn't there (at least in my copy). To help remedy that, allow me to point to two sources: The United States Branch Mint at Charlotte, North Carolina: Its History and Coinage by Clair M. Birdsall (Southern Historical Press, 1988) and The Establishment of the Charlotte Branch Mint, A Documented History by Anthony Joseph Stautzenberger (self-published, 1976). Overall, I think this edition is a very nice step forward in Doug's series of books on southern mint gold coins that Zyrus Press has published over the past five years, and I hope it points the way to additional improvements in future editions of the series!

BOOK REVIEW: A GUIDE BOOK OF SOUTHERN STATES CURRENCY BY HUGH SHULL

New subscriber Duke Snider submitted the following review of the Whitman book by Hugh Shull on Southern States Currency. -Editor
Hugh Shull, Guide Book of Southern States Currency The Official Red Book - A Guide Book of Southern States Currency is written on the building blocks set by Colonel Grover Criswell. Paper currency expert Hugh Shull is nearly successful in presenting an authoritative guide to the state-issued money of the South, from the pre-Civil War era through the war years, and into the late 1800's. The photos are full color, the pages are a good quality paper, the binding is spiral but neatly done within a very solid hard cover, and the information is detailed and exceptional. The book is written by Hugh Shull and features a foreword by Q. David Bowers and illustrations predominately from the collection of Gene D. Mintz.

For those who like the techno stuff about books we have provided the following:

Publisher: Whitman Publishing, LLC; Atlanta, Georgia.
ISBN: 079-482057-3
Format: Spiral
Year Published: 2007
Edition No.: First
Suggested retail price: $24.99

The book is very well done. The illustrations are large, they are in color, easy to read and the variants are listed in a manner easy to follow and understand. One of the best thing about this book I found is if the note had an illustrated back, the back of the note was photographed and included as well, unlike other books which might only describe the note the as having a "bright blue back with the denomination written in letters" or some other vague reference such as, "has a scene of a woman with water jug in the right corner and Minerva in the left" - assuming everyone knew who Minerva was this might be acceptable but reference books should always be written for the illiterate and uninformed.

Most, if not all the notes for the majority of the Southern States were covered in good detail, and I found it to be an nice piece of work with the following exclusions. Every southern state with the exception of Virginia was adequately covered. In fact, Virginia was barely covered at all. This was a BIG DISAPPOINTMENT as a great many Civil War era notes - and the majority of the most common ones were issued by Virginia. These notes were not there at all! This is MAJOR OMISSION that would have turned a "NICE" piece of Work into an IMPRESSIVE PIECE of work.

The fact this entire section was omitted made an otherwise outstanding guide fall flat on its face and turn it into just another inadequately complete reference book. For the life of me I don't know why any writer or publisher for that matter would go so far in doing so much detail work on every other state and then simply end it in a major failure unless the intent was to sell the reader a second book devoted solely to Virginia notes which, in my opinion, is a lousy marketing strategy for the publisher and plain old stupidity on the writers part. It is my personal belief if one is going to devote so much effort into writing a guide or reference book it should be made as complete as possible and not simply cut off one of the major chapters.

The only other major flaw was in the cataloging of the items themselves. The writer uses CR numbers; however, they are duplicated for each state. In other words there is no definitive currency or note that is specifically related to one single number. A note from Texas will have the same number as a note from Arkansas. For example a CR 1 note in Arkansas is for an Arkansas Treasury Warrant with an rarity rating of 10. The same CR 1 number is used in Texas as well and is for an 1862 Treasury Warrant for that state as well and has a rarity of 4.

There are no separators as to what CR 1 really means. This problem could have been solved by simply starting alphabetically by state and the assigning of consecutive reference numbers for each note that followed or by adding an abbreviation Code for each state such as " ALCR1" for Alabama or "AKCR1" for Arkansas and a "TCR1" for Texas. I believe this would have simplified the catalog process and would have provided a second meaningful descriptive number when referencing a particular note type similar to the "T series" currently used for Confederate Currency identification. In fact sequential numbering of notes could be simplified into a chronological identification reference system of "C1", "C2", C3" and so on beginning in alphabetical order by state.

I found the pages in the book to be just a little too tightly bound, making turning the pages a little difficult and I can see the potential of the pages becoming loose from stress in time. I found the pages had to be carefully turned to keep them from binding. The spiral binding is a decent system; provided it is large enough to allow for page turning. The publisher might want to consider a slightly larger spiral in future editions in order to protect the pages from accidental tearing or simply wearing through from turning. They are quite tight. This is a minor distraction at first, but as the pages start to become loose because of lack of movement room it quickly becomes an irritation and downright frustration.

Overall the appearance of the book and the information it contained was very good and it is a valuable resource for everything but Virginia notes - a real sore spot for me - and shouldn't be overlooked simply because it lacks this. However if you want it for Civil War note identification only then you might be wasting your time and money and should pass as they aren't all covered. Hopefully, the publisher and writer will see the folly of their way and include this section into future editions and put in a corrected description in current editions until it is included because this book DOES NOT COVER ALL THE SOUTHERN STATE CURRENCY AND SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED A TRUE GUIDE UNTIL IT DOES.

Duke tells me Hugh has already been in touch with him and is working to correct some of the shortcoming noted in his review. -Editor


BOOK REVIEW: THE TREASURE SHIP S. S. NEW YORK, 2008, BY Q. DAVID BOWERS

John and Nancy Wilson forwarded this nice review of Dave Bowers' recent book, The Treasure Ship S. S. New York. -Editor
Treasure Ship S.S. New York The S. S. New York was a sidewheel steamer which traveled between New Orleans and Galveston in the 1840s. It sank in 1846 with a treasure of gold coins and other valuables.

Q. David Bowers first sets the scene with a description of America in 1846 to better understand the times in which the ship sank. He then discusses the money used in America at that time to know what to expect on the ship. The ship is then described along with the history of the ship from building to the sinking.

The author then describes what it was like in New Orleans and Galveston at that time. The kinds of merchandise and commerce in general including the slave trade are described in detail. The S. S. New York left Galveston on September 5, 1846 with $30,000 to $50,000 in money on board and ran into a hurricane. The storm caused the ship to breakup and sink with a loss of 19 lives and 36 saved.

Q. David Bowers then chronicles the finding of the ship and salvaging much of the contents. He lists the coins recovered along with pictures of the pieces and condition with interesting data about each coin. The last chapter, chapter 9, lists other treasure ships and their status at the present time.

Quoting information found on the Stack’s book link regarding this book, “Close your eyes (after reading) and you will be aboard the ship as it cuts through the waves heading from Galveston, Texas to New Orleans, and then is confronted by an unexpected hurricane. Excitement, adventure, tragedy —all play a part.” After reading this book, which is well written, interesting and hard to put down, we cannot disagree with this quote. You do feel like you are part of the period and the S. S. New York.

The book is well illustrated, in color and is 94 pages long. The reference comes in a regular hardbound edition, which is available for $29.95; and also a deluxe hardbound, with a Special Bookplate signed by the author and the four treasure finders, limited to 200 copes, first-come, first-served for $89.00. For a limited time only the firm is offering free shipping if you mention code SSNYFREE. The book can be ordered from Stack’s web page at, www.stacks.com They can also be contacted at their two offices: Stack’s, 123 West 57th Street, New York, NY 10019, (800) 566-2580 or (212) 582-2580 or Fax (212) 245-5018. They also can be contacted at: Stack’s, P. O. Box 1804, Wolfeboro, NH 03894. (866) 811-1804 or (603) 569-0823 or Fax (603) 569-3875.

ANA MONEYMARKET SPRING CLEARANCE SALE

Cary B. Hardy, Enterprise Manager of the American Numismatic Association's MoneyMarket forwarded the following note about their spring sale, which is an opportunity to buy numismatic literature at discounted prices. -Editor
Beginning February 13, 2009 and throughout next week, I will add more items each day, we are discounting many of the titles, coin holders and a few of the Eschenbach magnifiers. Some items are overstocks, others we just can’t sell that last copy in stock. When some items are gone, they are gone, and will be considered sold out, no backorders. Our clearance section has many items at low-low prices but the sale will be across the board, so shoppers should look in each department.

This sale will be online only – we are not printing our usual spring clearance catalog. Visit www.money.org then enter the Shop at MoneyMarket section. The webstore is open to all collectors to shop & buy but any ANA members who don’t already have a login should send an e-mail to enterprise@money.org first and we will set them up.

A free copy of Coinage & Conflict by Henry Pollak will be sent with any orders now through the end of February.

THE BOOK BAZARRE

DAVID F. FANNING NUMISMATIC LITERATURE buys and sells significant material from all times and places. To download our latest fixed price list or get information on upcoming auctions, check out our Web site at www.fanningbooks.com



ANS LIBRARIAN WINS PRAISE FROM HOWARD DANIEL

Howard A. Daniel III writes:
Several weeks ago, I requested assistance in the E-Sylum about needing a reference written by a Frenchman about Cambodian coins. I received a response from Scott Semans about which of the many references written by that Frenchman had his study about Cambodian coins and that he saw it in the American Numismatic Society library many years ago.

I had met Elizabeth Hahn, the ANS Librarian, at the recent Baltimore ANA and she suffered with me being at the booth next to hers. When I wrote to her that I would like to have the pages in the reference about the coins plus the title and copyright/printer pages, she immediately answered my request that she would be happy to assist me and the cost. I approved the cost to her and I quickly received the pages in the mail. I responded with a check to cover the cost and additional dollars as a donation. The process and the correspondence could not have been better and I am as happy as a lark.


MORE ON THE MYSTERY OF HENRY MORGAN: A NUMISMATIC DETECTIVE STORY

Wiger Henry Morgan
Last week I asked about the 2007 book The Mystery of Henry Morgan: A Numismatic Detective Story by Andrew Wager. Here's what our readers had to say. -Editor


Jim Duncan of New Zealand writes:
For anyone familiar with the early 19th century British silver shilling and sixpence tokens the name Henry Morgan will be equally familiar. Some tokens bear his initials, some his name and some his name and street address - the notorious 12 Rathbone Place. But who he was has always been a mystery.

The most recent attempt I know of was from the masterful Peter Clayton in three articles in the Seaby Coin and Medal Bulletin of 1987. Ultimately, Clayton did not know the answer, but did make a great story. Now Andrew Wager has attacked the problem from a genealogical point of view rather than from the standard numismatic view. He presents a very convincing story built up fact by fact until an almost inevitable conclusion. He is to be complimented on his original approach, and I, a distant colonial, believe he has it right. The book is well illustrated with photographs, including 12 Rathbone Place, numerous tokens, and other relevant matter, much of which was of recurring errors passed down over the 200 years since.

Wager even found a hand-addressed, printed letter from Morgan for sale on the web, a vital clue in his search. Anyone who has a few of these tokens will find this a fascinating read which (for me at least) answered a vexing question. No, Morgan was not related to Henry Morgan the buccaneer, but one could wonder!


Philip Mernick writes:
Although I haven't acquired the book, I have heard the author speak on his ongoing researches on the subject at several UK Token Congresses. Andrew is a very well respected numismatic researcher specialising in UK tokens.

The extensive series of silver tokens issued bearing the name or initials of Henry Morgan had long intrigued UK collectors as his name could not be found in postal directories at the address quoted on the tokens. This, coupled with the fact there was a famous pirate named Henry Morgan lead most people to assume it was an alias.

Andrew's dedicated researches took him beyond those assumptions to find that he really did exist, his name really was Henry Morgan, and he did reside at the address quoted on his tokens, although he did have a piratical way of doing business (issuing underweight tokens and copying those of other issuers). The premises in question were listed by directories under the name of his father-in-law, a prominent merchant in a totally different line of business. This is an object lesson to those doing research - a quick scan of the directories is not enough.


THE ANS COINAGE OF THE AMERICAS CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS

Last week I asked if anyone could provide a list of the printed proceedings of the American Numismatic Society's Coinage of the Americas Conference (COAC) -Editor


David Gladfelter writes:
There have been 15 COACS for which the proceedings have been published. The publication schedule has lagged considerably in recent years, so that the proceedings for the 1999 conference (on Money of the Caribbean) was not published until 2006. The price of these publications has also increased, from $15 per volume for the first 6 years, then $25 per volume for years 7 through 14. Volume 15 had another price increase. Don’t know why the Mark Newby volume costs $125 or why it is being published ahead of the proceedings of the conferences held in 2000-2007.


James Higby kindly provided the following list of COAC Proceedings published to date. Thanks! -Editor


Volume Title Editor Date of Conference Copyright
1 America's Copper Coinage 1783-1857 n/a November 30-December 2, 1984 1985
2 America's Currency 1789-1866 n/a October 31-November 2, 1985 1985
3 America's Silver Coinage 1794-1891 n/a November 1-2, 1986 1987
4 The Medal in America Alan M. Stahl September 26-27, 1987 1988
5 The Coinage of El Perú William L. Bischoff October 29-30, 1988 1989
6 America's Gold Coinage William E. Metcalf November 4-5, 1989 1990
7 Money of Pre-Federal America John M. Kleeberg May 4, 1991 1992
8 Canada's Money John M. Kleeberg November 7, 1992 1994
9 America's Silver Dollar John M. Kleeberg October 30, 1993 1995
10 The Token: America's Other Money Richard G. Doty October 29, 1994 1995
11 Coinage of the American Federation Period Philip L. Mossman October 28, 1995 1996
12 America's Large Cent John M. Kleeberg November 9, 1996 1998
13 The Medal in America Volume 2 Alan M. Stahl November 8-9, 1997 1999
14 Circulating Counterfeits of the Americas John M. Kleeberg November 7, 1998 2000
15 Money of the Caribbean R. Doty, J. Kleeberg December 4, 1999 2006
16 Newby's St. Patrick Coinage Oliver D. Hoover November 11, 2006 2009


This list answers my other question from last week - the St. Patrick COAC was held in 2006, not 2007 as stated in the press release for the proceedings. -Editor


David Gladfelter adds:
As you know, ANS also publishes a bibliographic periodical, Numismatic Literature. It used to cost approximately $3.00 per issue. In recent years the price per issue has gone up to $40 and the print run has been substantially reduced. This reflects a conscious decision by ANS to discourage reliance on the printed version in favor of the on-line version.


MORE NUMISMATIC BOOK BINDER TYPOS

Julian-Keusch Assay Medals
Last week I asked who could point out the mistake on the cover of this specially-bound book on U.S. Assay Medals. Kate Pennington of Maine Antique Digest, Ray Williams, Douglas Mudd, Dave Lange, Scott Miller, Joe Boling and George Kolbe all correctly noted that author Robert Julian's surname is misspelled as Julien. -Editor


George Kolbe forwarded the following interesting description from his Sale 84 (June 16, 2001):
622 Julian, R. W. & Keusch, Ernest E. MEDALS OF THE UNITED STATES ASSAY COMMISSION, 1860-1977. Lake Mary: The Token and Medal Society, Inc., 1989. 91, (1) pages, illustrated throughout. Quarto. Original red cloth, gilt, original printed card covers bound in. Near new. (50.00)

Special Hardbound Edition. Autographed on front flyleaf by Keusch in a scarcely legible hand. Presumably quite scarce. Though attractively bound, the binder has unfortunately misspelled the first author's name (JULIEN) on both the upper cover and the spine.

In a 2001 conversation with the author, Mr. Julian related that Mr. Keusch notified him of the spelling error before the volumes were distributed but he decided, since the family name originally was de St. Julien, that the volumes should not be rebound but issued as is. Julian's recollection is that 75 or 80 copies were specially bound.


Scott Miller writes:
I bought a hard bound copy in 1990 and had it signed by Ernest Keusch. I didn't get Bob Julian to sign it until 1995 and he signed it with an A instead of an E as on the cover.


Bruce W. Smith writes:
When I first started collecting in the 1960's, I bought a book from Aaron Feldman at one of the coin shows in St. Louis (my hometown). The book, The James H. Stewart Lockhart Collection of Chinese Coins, was published in 1915 as a large size paperback (more than 12 inches tall). I had the book hardbound in a nice blue cover, but the binder got the title wrong. It reads: The Stewart Collection of Chinese Coins. I sold that book in the 1970's or 1980's, so somewhere out there, someone owns the only known copy of the Stewart Collection.


Paul Horner writes:
When these books are upright on the shelf, the titles on the spine reads from bottom to top. Distracting.
  • Early Michigan Scrip brown hardcover by Harold L. Bowen, no date.

  • Sovereigns of the British Empire, J.J. Cullimore Allen, Spink & Son, 1965. Blue hardbound. Title is up-side-down on the spine and the dust jacket.

  • Schwer Price Guide to 18th Century Tokens, 1983, Schwer Coins, card cover


It took me many years to catch on to this bookbinding custom, but in the U.S. at least, book titles typically read from top to bottom on the book's spine, while books produced in Europe typically read from bottom to top. Why that is, I don't know, nor do I know what the prevailing customs are elsewhere in the world. So while Bowen's Michigan Scrip book may be an anomaly for books made in the U.S., I wouldn't count spine text direction as an error. -Editor


Paul continues:
These have no titles on the spine:
  • United States Half CentsGilbert, Coinage of 1793 Cents and Half Centsby S.S. Crosby, Elder Numismatic Press, maroon cloth hardbound
  • The Fantastic 1804 Dollar, Newman & Bressett, Whitman 1962. Brown hardbound. Whitman should have known better!
  • United States Commemorative Coinage, Arlie Slabaugh. 2nd printing 1963. Grey hardbound
  • Confederate Currency and Stamps 1861-1865, Claud E. Fuller, 1949 Grey hardbound
  • Texas Confederate County Notes & Private Scrip, Bieciuk & Corbin, 1961. Card cover
  • 1977 Standard Catalogue of Canadian Coins, Tokens, & Paper Money, Charlton
I'll give "some" card cover booklets a pass on not putting a title on the spine. But if it is bound such that a title can be on the spine then it should be!


That's how I can find my Fantastic 1804 Dollar book from across the room, but I agree with Paul that it's very disappointing for a book to not have its title displayed on the spine. Is this an error though?.

Paul also listed some books where the title on the spine does not match the title of the book. We discussed this once before, and due to space considerations it's a fairly commonly accepted practice for publishers to shorten the spine title. The only "official" title for a book is the one found on the title page. -Editor


Paul adds:
Here's my all time favorite: I have a "special" 4th edition in black binding of Grover C. Criswell's "CONFERERATE CURRENCY" (per the spine), signed to me by the author. The title on the cover is spelled correctly.


That's a whopper of a mistake, and it's not only on the special edition. Ron Benice sent in this image of the book's spine. -Editor


Criswell Confederate 4th ed


MORE ON COL. E.H.R. GREEN AND B. G. JOHNSON QUERY



Dave Hirt writes:
I enjoyed the article on Colonel Ned Green. I had never read too much about him, except his ownership of the 1913 nickels. I have read about his mother Hetty. I don't believe she was really as evil as her reputation paints her. She just had this thing in her about not spending money, except as a tool to make more money, at which she was brilliant.

If she was on the street and saw you slip and fall, she probably would be the first to help you up and see if she could aid you, as long as she did not have to spend any money. She probably inherited these traits from her father who once refused a gift of a 10 cent cigar. He said he was happy smoking 4 cent cigars, and was afraid if he smoked the 10 cent one, he would not like the 4 cent ones any more.


Richard Margolis writes:
I found the Colonel Green/Eric Newman material utterly fascinating. Would that Eric could reminisce about his dealings with the legendary dealers' dealer, B. G. Johnson of St. Louis. I certainly would welcome learning more about Johnson and his activities.

I've seen B. G. Johnson's name referred to often enough that on more than one occasion I've wondered about his dealing activities. What was his background before becoming a dealer? Was his business in St. Louis conducted from an office or a shop (I assume the former)? When did he flourish? What was his background prior to becoming a dealer? Was he in effect a midwestern Wayte Raymond in his importance although minus Raymond's publishing and auction activities? Was he involved in other major "name" deals apart from the Colonel Green estate? Was his dealing primarily with other dealers rather than with individual collectors? Who were some of these principal dealer counterparts (I believe, for example, that Ran Zander in his early dealing days acquired a great deal of material from Johnson)? What were his specialties as a dealer?, etc., etc.

While I am generally familiar with American numismatic literature, I am not intimately familiar with it, so perhaps the answers to some of my questions concerning this eminence grise of the dealing profession already exist in print.


QUERY: EDWIN F. BITTER'S INSCRIBED BROWNING

Nathan Markowitz submitted to following query -Editor
I have a copy of an original Browning book on early U.S. Quarter Dollars and a fellow numismatist suggested I post a request on The E-Sylum for help identifying an owners inscription in the book. The book is inscribed: "Edwin F. Bitter November 3, 1930" in neat pencil. It looks original with nice script and no erasure marks.

I have contacted ANS and ANA and find no evidence of this individual as a collector. This is clearly NOT the famous Adm Bitler as some have suggested. I also searched social security records some time ago with one individual matching first and last name (not middle initial) in Essex New Jersey who could represent the same person at about that time (he would have been age 39 at time of inscription). It seems a bit odd that someone who was not a collector would have a copy of this book during the depression. Any information would be of great interest.

QUERY: EARLY USAGE OF THE TERMS SPECIMEN OR MASTER COINS

Dave Bowers (qdbarchive@metrocast.net) is immersed in The Official Red Book of Half Cents and Large Cents, to be published later this year by Whitman. Included will be information on the Philadelphia Mint and methods of manufacture. Today, what we call Proof coins, or strikings on specially prepared planchets from polished dies, were called Specimens or Master Coins before 1860, although the Proof term was in wide use by that time. Dave is seeking specific, attributable listings of half cents and large cents in catalogues prior to 1858, where such pieces were described with any of these terms. If you have information and would like to send chapter and verse to Dave, he would be delighted.

1868 MUNICIPAL BOND COMING DUE AFTER 135 YEARS

Arthur Shippee forwarded this New York Times article about a very long term municipal bond. -Editor
1868 Municipal Bond Anyone who has failed to keep track of a winning lottery ticket for all of 12 months may want to consider the efforts of 39 bondholders who have been safekeeping valuable, tissue-thin, New York City securities since shortly after the Civil War.

Next month, one of the bonds, issued in 1868 and thought to be one of the oldest active municipal bonds in the country, will come due. And the city stands ready to retire the debt incurred when Winston Churchill’s grandfather came up with the idea of building a road to one of the nation’s first racetracks, which he had opened in what is now the Bronx.

For 135 years, New York City has been dutifully paying 7 percent annual interest on the bonds, which financed construction of the road. On March 1, the owner of one of them is entitled to come forward and collect its face value: $1,000.

The other 38 bondholders have notes that will mature sometime between now and 2147, a mere 138 years away.

“It’s not the best example of municipal debt management,” said Jim Lebenthal, a bond specialist. “But 135 years of payment without missing a beat does underscore the safety record of municipal bonds.”

To read the complete article, see That’s What You Call Investing for the Long Term (www.nytimes.com/2009/02/13/nyregion/13jerome.html?_r=1)

ON DEALING WITH REPORTERS

David Lange writes:
Regarding the New York Times interview about the Lincoln Cent, I spent quite a while with the reporter on the phone. As is typical of such encounters, what was actually used was but a fraction of what we discussed. I haven't seen the printed version of the article, and it may have been more substantial than the online excerpt.

Working with the non-numismatic media is always a bit frustrating, with most remarks published entirely out of their original context, though that wasn't the case with my one brief quote. What was left out, however, seems to me to have been of greater interest to general readers, and it's regrettable that this turned out to be mostly a fluff piece.


FOR AND AGAINST NUMISMATIC MUSEUMS

In last week's discussion of the possible sale of the coin collection of the Kings of Hannover, R. G. Doty wrote, " If one numismatic museum is threatened, all numismatic museums are at risk."

One reader noted (in all caps) I HATE "SLIPPERY SLOPE" ARGUMENTS. I'd rather not debate the logic, but agree that any all-inclusive statement can be tripped up with counterexamples. Of course, when my wife tells me I "always" this or "never" that, I know enough to keep my trap shut.

The Pros and Cons of Numismatic Museums have been discussed here before. I described how the Carnegie Museum of Pittsburgh's sale of its numismatic collection turned me against the thought of ever donating numismatic material to a museum, although I certainly don't tar all museums with the same brush and have donated other material to history museums (and plan to again in the future).

Doug Mudd of the American Numismatic Association forwarded a copy of an opinion article he wrote for Coin World a few years ago on why museum collections are so important for numismatics. It was written as a counterpoint to Robert Rhue's diatribe against permanently "sequestering" coins in museums.

In Public Ownership—Everyone’s Patrimony!, Doug wrote:
The debate over whether collectible objects should be held in public institutions or kept in private hands is not a new one, particularly in the field of Numismatics. Numerous instances are cited of rare coin types that are now almost wholly unavailable to collectors because most of the known examples are held in museum collections, the most well known instance possibly being Walter Breen’s article on coins “impounded” in the Johns Hopkins University collection.

My answer to the question is “it depends.” It depends on the objects in question and the circumstances surrounding them—should a unique coin be held in a museum collection when there is no intention of ever displaying it? Or should it be held by collector for 40 years to be seen only by close friends, its whereabouts or even existence unknown to the world at large?

Is the public better served by having objects permanently held in public collections or having them circulate in the private sector as part of collections to be bought and sold?

Another way of looking at the debate is to ask the question; Would there be collectors without public collections? Or its converse; Would there be public collections without collectors? In, both cases the answer is “Yes!” But, in both cases, I would modify the answer by adding that they (either the collectors or the public collections) would be diminished by the absence of the other. To be sure, collectors would have more material to collect, but scholarship about that material, particularly in the form of comprehensive catalogs, would be much harder, if not impossible, to produce.


Thanks to Doug for sending me the text of his article, from which the above excerpts were taken. These lines may be different from the final edited Coin World version. I think the above summarizes the situation well - public and private collections serve important and complimentary purposes. -Editor


NUMISMATIC LITERATURE INVENTORY SHEETS

Last week, Ray Williams asked:
Does anyone have a numismatic literature inventory spreadsheet that works well for them?


Doug Mudd writes:
As for a good software program for numismatic literature, I use Filemaker Pro - you create the fields you want and they are all searchable and the list can be ordered by any field or sequence of fields you like. I use title, author, type (in my case, numismatic vs military history or other subject areas), category (within numismatics), period, binding (hardbound, paperbound etc.), price (the price I paid, generally), and if it is a 1st edition. If you want to get advanced with it, you can do all sorts of things - add images, create labels, etc.


Scott Semans writes:
I use MS-Excel. My own structure is not appropriate for most non-dealers, as it includes customer, and sales record data, but the basic fields are: Author, Title (including variant spellings and transliterations for foreign languages), Description (# pages, binding, print date, edition, comments), Content coding, and I would add: Date Acquired (with "wanted" or a unique symbol for want-list items not yet acquired, to generate a want-list), and Cost (to help when time for owner or heirs to sell).

Some will want to separate page count and other features into separate fields, but I've found no disadvantage to lumping them all together. The content coding is what makes the database more useful in doing detailed research than a simple word search, and it encourages the coder to think critically about contents. I assign this from a reading or in-depth skim on acquiring a book or reading a good review, using a made-up "country codes" listing which can be expanded and modified to cover either broad or minutely detailed subject matter. It is the same coding I use to abbreviate customers' collecting and research interests, organize my stock, and name web-pages.

If eBay and auction firms used something similar as prefix to standard reference numbers, it could both organize the contents of an auction, and enable bidders to locate very specific items, or broad ranges using what amounts to a numismatic universal search term. The code list is public domain and I will be glad to send out copies.


U.S. BANKNOTE PAPER MAKER CRANE & CO. PURCHASES NANOVENTIONS

Crane & Co., the exclusive supplier of bank note paper to the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing, has purchased a company which owns rights to a number of "innovative optical and non-optical microstructure mastering techniques". Crane has already been working with the company to provide new anti-counterfeiting measures on U.S. currency, including the new $100 bill scheduled for release next year. -Editor
Crane & Co. Inc., a provider of counterfeit-deterrent banknote papers, has acquired Nanoventions Holdings LLC from Visual Physics LLC.

Visual Physics, based in Alpharetta, Georgia, is a manufacturer and supplier of micro-optic security films used for anti-counterfeiting and brand protection applications. The acquisition of Visual Physics gives Crane exclusive control and management of the Unison® family of technologies. The most well-known Unison technology is MOTION®, the micro-optic security technology that Crane sells for the protection of banknotes.

Nanoventions and Crane, through its Crane Currency Division, pioneered the use of micro-optics in banknotes in 2006 with the introduction of the MOTION technology in Sweden. The central banks of the United States, Mexico, Sweden, Denmark, Paraguay, and other yet-to-be disclosed countries have selected MOTION as their primary security feature for both new banknote designs and upgraded banknotes. MOTION technology has been selected as the primary overt security feature on the new United States $100 banknote scheduled for release in 2010.

To read the complete press release, see: Crane & Co. Adds On (http://www.pehub.com/31200/crane-co-adds-on/)

MORE ON THE FAROUK SALE

Farouk Catalog
Last week's Featured Web Page on the sale of the numismatic collection of King Farouk brought forth several comments from readers. -Editor


Alan V. Weinberg writes:
At the Long Beach coin show last week, I had a long conversation with Mike Kliman, Abe Kosoff's former son-in-law and once married to Abe's daughter Sonny Kosoff Kliman (both since divorced and remarried).

Mike, now 78, and Sonny both attended the 1954 Farouk Cairo sale with Abe. To my and Mike's knowledge, there are only three living Americans who attended that sale - Mike, Sonny and Maurice Storck of Tucson Arizona and Massachusetts. Maurice, approx 90 yrs old, still has some of the auction lots he purchased in the Farouk sale!

Tony Tumonis of Tucson sat in on our conversation. Tony knows Maurice well and says he was given Maurice's annotated Farouk auction catalogue and numerous paper and photograph souvenirs of the Farouk sale saved by Maurice. Mike says he has Abe's annotated Farouk catalogue with buyer's names, lot comments and indications of who "partnered up" on what lots.

There's supposed to be an elderly Canadian numismatist still alive who attended the Farouk sale - no one could immediately recall his name. Perhaps a Canadian E-Sylum reader can tell us his name?


I put Alan's question to some of our Canadian readers. John Regitko writes:
The only person I can think of is James Charlton, who started all the Charlton Catalogues on Canadian numismatics. He was a big (and rich) coin dealer who would have gone there, along with John J. Pittman, to see what Canadian coins he could buy. We know that Pittman bought some, but I don’t know of any that Charlton bought.

I believe that Chuck Moore may have some knowledge of which coins, if any, Charlton owned that came from the Farouk sale. I know I didn’t attend. I figured that if I didn’t even have the bus fare to get to the airport terminal, I sure wouldn’t have the money to fly there and actually buy something.


GEORGE WASHINGTON FUNERAL MEDAL BY PERKINS ENCAPSUATED IN GLASS

In recent issues we've discussed early U.S. coins encapsulated in glassware. Alan V. Weinberg asked John Sallay to send the following image of a very interesting item in his collection. Wow! -Editor


John Sallay writes:
Alan Weinberg asked me to forward my photo of his gold Washington funeral medal by Jacob Perkins which is contained in a crystal bezel. I think this piece is somewhat different from the half dime blown into the stem of the piece of Sandwich glass, but a fantastic piece nevertheless. The Sandwich Glass Museum has a few of those blown pieces, and there is a longtime friend of mine in Massachusetts who has a small collection of these incredibly rare pieces.


Perkins Washington Funeral Medal in Bezel


Alan adds:
There are approximately twenty specimens known of this thin 25 mm x 31 mm uniface gold (24 kt pure ) Jacob Perkins 1799-1800 George Washington piece (Rulau-Fuld & Baker 169). The reverses are incuse reverse impressions of the obverse. The legends are in Latin.

These thin, fragile pieces were likely made to wear in lockets and or mounted as pins by Ladies of the period as a very few are known in pearl brooches or encased in crystal glass lockets as this one is. A few others are holed for suspension (the Matthew Stickney piece) or in a period frame - as with the Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall piece auctioned a few years ago. I acquired this at a Long Beach coin show perhaps 8 years ago.

I thought it might be appropriate to show as it is a numismatic piece encased in glass, perhaps the only one in a period glass locket. It'svery difficult to photograph as the locket is three dimensional, the glass surfaces convex and the gold planchet itself a bit wavy with "watery" proof surfaces.


ON THE DESTRUCTION OF U.S. MINT RECORDS

In last week's article about the national Archives and the preservation of electronic records I wondered how the situation might one day affect researchers investigating U.S. Mint activities.


Bruce W. Smith writes:
Someone told me some years ago that while Mary Brooks was Director of the US Mint, she ordered the Mint's archives destroyed. My understanding is that the older records were sent elsewhere before her time (the National Archives?). What she destroyed were the records for the late 1800's up into the 20th century. Can someone confirm this and tell me what years have been lost?


Dick Johnson writes:
Contact Bob Julian for a summary of the talk he once gave on Mary Brook's ordered destruction of U.S. Mint records. I would love to have a copy of that talk in my files!


GEORGE WASHINGTON'S MEDAL FOR JOHN STEWARD

Regarding the Major John Stewart Comitia Americana medal honoring his valor at the Battle of Stony Point, Thom Carlson writes:
I was tracking it today as I pursued my own Stewart family history, and found this mention of its location in the family 100 years ago in History of Tennessee and Tennesseans by Hale, William T. & Merritt, Dixon L. Chicago: Lewis Pub. Co, 1913. v.7, pp. 1851-5


COL. DEMETRIUS MINOR STEWARD. It is infrequent for one to meet, in a city as crowded with men impatient to reach still higher successes, whether in commercial or professional life, as Chattanooga undoubtedly is, an individual who is content with the rewards which early years have brought in respect to fortune, and is willing to devote himself to works of beneficence for the welfare of the community. Rare as this combination is, it is found exemplified in the career of Col. Demetrius Minor Steward, soldier, business man and philanthropist, a citizen than whom none have done more to advance the interests of Chattanooga and its people. Colonel Steward was born at Eaton, Preble county, Ohio, May 23, 1841, and is a son of John Beam and Anna Mary (Link) Steward.

Colonel Steward comes of a military family that traces its ancestry back to Sterling, Scotland, and to a grandson of Robert Bruce, who was high steward under Robert Bruce, and was permitted by royal decree to assume the name of Steward as his family name, the first to bear that title. There is a family tradition that the family emigrated to the Bermuda Islands and came thence to Maryland at a very early day.

The great-grandfather of Colonel Steward, John Steward, enlisted for service during the Revolutionary war as first lieutenant of the Fifth Maryland Regulars, and rose rapidly in rank until he became general in command of one wing of the American forces which captured the British guns at Stony Point. He was twice recommended by General Washington for promotion and was voted thanks by Congress, a medal being struck in his honor, and this medal is now the property of Colonel Steward.


Col. D. Minor Steward is not my ancestor, but we may share descent from Lt. Col. Steward (in spite of this report, he was only a lieutenant colonel when he fell at Charleston in December of 1782). I haven't yet found proof in the public record of Col. Steward's descent, but presumably possession of the medal would be compelling.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: QUERY: GEORGE WASHINGTON'S AWARD FOR JOHN STEWARD (www.coinbooks.org/club_nbs_esylum_v10n51.html)

SCRIP PAID 10C BOUNTY ON POCKET GOPHERS

The February 2009 issue of Bank Note Reporter has a great article by Fred Reed on the publishers of counterfeit detectors. Bibliophiles - if you don't already subscribe, you should consider it. Fred's Shades of the Blue & Grey column often discusses the numismatic literature relating to week's subject.

Another interesting article about a Kansas scrip note was penned by Steve Whitfield, and it's available online at the Numismaster web site. Thanks for Editor Bob van Ryzin for sending us the image of the note which is not available on Numismaster. -Editor
After 35 years of looking, I rarely see anything new from Kansas. But a while ago I got a message from Heritage Auctions that something had turned up on my want list, so I opened the sale to check it out. It looked like an 1880s period draft that was payable to bearer for 10 cents. The note, or warrant, was dated March 4, 1933 - the date when the deluge of small-size depression scrip was taking place.

Could this be a piece of unknown Kansas Depression scrip? I had to know. I monitored the note and bid to win. As usual, someone else wanted it pretty bad, so I had to overspend to own it, which I did.

Gopher Scrip


The Western Kansas World reported the county commissioner's proceedings for their meeting on March 6, 1932. George Glass, chairman, presided, and the county clerk was Willis S. Spitsnaugle. A petition was presented, "praying that the county commissioners pay bounties as follows: One dollar on coyotes and ten cents on pocket gophers." It was resolved that "warrants of small denomination be made up as change for the large warrants until such time as a normal means of exchange had been re-established."

So, my note was not a piece of undiscovered Depression scrip, but rather a scrip warrant for the 10-cent bounty on pocket gophers. It was a "County Bounty" if you will. Still, if there were funds appropriated to pay the bounties, as can be presumed, and since these warrants were payable to the bearer, they could have been used as money. Therefore, it fits into my definition of obsolete paper money.

Scrip Paid 10c Bounty on Pocket Gophers (www.numismaster.com/ta/numis/Article.jsp?ad=article&ArticleId=6073)

A BOY NAMED SUE, AND A MAN NAMED SILVER DOLLAR

The Morning Sun of Pittsburg, Kansas published an obituary this week for a man named Silver Dollar. Apparently there is a whole family of Dollars, and the unusual name lives on in the man's son Silver Dollar, Jr. -Editor
Silver Dollar, 82, of Frontenac, passed away at 3:38 a.m. Thursday, February 12, 2009 at his home. He was born November 8, 1926 at Yale, Kansas to Rudy and Mary (Schaub) Dollar. He attended school in Yale and Frontenac.

On October 12, 1945, he was united in marriage to Ilene Baker at Pittsburg. She survives at the family home. Mr. Dollar served in the United States Navy during World War II in the South Pacific. He worked for Mackie Clemons Coal Company for 16 years. He then went to work for Kansas Gas Service where he worked for 32 years before retiring in 1989.

He was longest serving member of the Frontenac American Legion Post #43, serving for 63 years; VFW; and Masonic Lodge of Girard. In addition to his wife, he is survived by a son, Silver “Buddy” Dollar, Jr. and his wife, Mary of Yale, KS; two daughters.

FEATURED WEB SITE: THE NEWSPAPER ARCHIVE

This week's Featured Web Page is an suggested by Dick Johnson, who writes:
While it is not a new site for numismatic research, it was new to me. This week I learned about NewsPaperArchive.com.

It is a subscription service ($72 / year $12 / month) by which you can access 2,402 American newspapers in their database (completely searchable). Over the 241 years covered in this database the names of newspapers have changed with mergers and acquisitions, resulting in 3,306 different titles in 806 cities.

The site claims some impressive parameters: over 3.24 billion names, and over 1.08 billion articles. You can search among its 100.3 million pages.

I asked a good friend and savvy internet researcher, Dan Lynch, for his opinion on this site. "Find a library that subscribes to this service and use it there. Or try Google News Archive to be sure that you can't get what you need for free."

"Also, it’s possible that a subscription to WorldVitalRecords.com may actually include a subscription to NewspaperArchive.com as part of their overall offering and be a tiny bit cheaper. I don’t recall what is or isn’t included in their service."

Dan's latest book, just published, is "Google Your Family Tree; Unlock the Hidden Power of Google" is extremely useful in researching people and a sample of his researching acumen. Dan is an authority on Ellis Island as a genealogical resource and a consultant to The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, as well as internet sources FamilyLink.com and FindMyPast.com in London. His website is www.GoogleYourFamilyTree.com. Mention my name when you contact him.

I have been writing about numismatic research in E-Sylum for six years. Since our readers are interested in numismatic literature it is a service thankfully provided by our Good Editor to include useful information for the writers of that literature. My first such article was on Accessing Original Material and appeared in the November 4, 2001 E-Sylum (vol 4, no 45, art 8). Still good advice today.

Perhaps you have uncovered a resource on the internet useful to your numismatic research. Please share that with others of us who could also find it useful as well. That is exactly what I did recently in the December 31, 2006 E-Sylum (vol 9, no 53, art 9) when I uncovered Historical Directories of the British Empire.

The number of professional numismatic researchers in the field may be small. As one of the requirements for the job as Director of Research at Medallic Art Company in 1966 I had to prepare a report for my boss, William Louth, MACO president. Titled "How To Do Numismatic Research," it was heavily annotated by lists of handbooks for students of term papers. Best I could list at the time.

We have advanced eons beyond that today. We have the most useful tool for extracting needed information from all the data has gone before us. And a lot of that data is on the internet. However, we need to keep up-to-date on how to access it. Pass on to The E-Sylum any you use.



NewspaperArchive.com

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