The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 2, Number 35:  August 27, 1999: 
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 


   While this newsletter is normally sent out Sunday evenings, 
   we've had some slight deviations recently while yours truly 
   works around travel constraints.  This week's letter is a bit 
   early as I'm leaving for a week's vacation with my family. 
   The normal publishing schedule should resume in September. 
   While I won't be able to answer until I return, keep your email 
   coming in the meantime - your input is a key to the success of 
   this newsletter. 


   Our newest subscribers are literature dealers John Bergman 
   and NBS Vice President David Sklow.  Welcome aboard! 
   We've lost Adam Sterling, whose email address is no longer 
   active.  It's been a short week, with no other new subscribers, 
   so our subscriber count is now 204. 


   At the NBS meeting at the ANA convention, John Huffman 
   reported that retired numismatic literature dealer Frank Katen 
   was living in a nursing home.  Now John offers the following 
   update:  "I saw Laurese last Tuesday, and she told me Frank 
   was much improved, is eating well, walking around the nursing 
   home with the help of a cane, and is complaining about too 
   many bosses.  She was hopeful he would come home in a 
   week or two." 


   Richard Stockley's latest numismatic literature pricelist is 
   available via email  - he may be reached at this email 

   Karl Moulton of Great American Sales reports that his "new 
   fixed price list of 20th century US auction catalogues is now 
   ready.  Any E-sylum subscriber can get one free if they are not 
   already customers.  Will be shipped out the first of next week." 
   Contact Karl via email at 


   Earlier this month, on the Numislit mailing list, subscriber 
   Michael Berkman posted the following note:  

   "I had the pleasure of going to the Garretts' beautiful residence 
   in Baltimore, the Evergreen house (pictured on covers of 
   B&R Garrett I-IV).  Housed therein are the Garretts' 
   correspondence with all the dealers and organizations of the 
   time. I had the privilege of examining these, which are all 
   housed in file folders in the basement of the house. The letters 
   are simply fascinating. One can truly learn much about the 
   numismatic scene from the 1870s through 1940s from those 
   letters. Among the personalities represented in the 
   correspondence files were the Chapman brothers, W. Elliot 
   Woodward, Wayte Raymond, B. Max Mehl, David Proskey, 
   Burdette G. Johnson, Thomas Elder,  J. Colvin Randall, 
   Harold P. Newlin and even Anthony C. Paquet.  

   Although Bowers copied some key letters into The History of 
   U.S. Coinage as Illustrated by the Garrett Collection, some 
   terrific letters were omitted.  The book is no replacement for 
   viewing the files in person, which brings me to my next point. 
   Since only half a dozen people (per the museum's estimate) 
   have viewed the letters in the last 20 years, should they be sold? 
   In their current space, they are kept in a dark dungeon-like 
   room in old rusty file cabinets. In my opinion, they should either 
   be transcribed into a book or sold.  The numismatic community 
   should have access to items such as these, as no comparable 
   series of numismatic letters and telegrams exists."  

   Dan Freidus responded, in part: "A half dozen scholars viewing 
   material over a 20 year period doesn't sound like such light 
   usage that an archive would want to discard the letters. 
   Remember that when Walter Breen started his work for Wayte 
   Raymond in the National Archives in the 1950s, he worked 
   with documents that hadn't been looked at by ANYONE in 
   150 years."  

   Other people commenting generally agreed that the archive should 
   not be dispersed, and suggested indexing, transcribing, publishing, 
   and/or donating them to a numismatic library such as ANS. 


   Michael Marotta of Coin World quickly corrected my note 
   on David Vagi's upcoming book on The History and Coinage 
   of the Roman Empire:  "I do not understand how Sam Kazmi 
   can "announce" the publication of David Vagi's new book on 
   Roman Coins. The book is being published by Coin World."  

   I quickly apologized for the misrepresentation - I had taken 
   much of the text from Kazmi's electronic press release, which 
   was the  first place I'd seen a reference to the book.  Suellen 
   Ruttkay,  Product Manager for the book, notes that Coin 
   World won't  begin promoting it until closer to the time the 
   book is available,   "... the end of September at the earliest. 
   I think, due to the excitement about the book, some people 
   [i.e., non-Coin World people]  have jumped the gun."  

   Upon rereading Kazmi's announcement, it does say "taking 
   advance orders",  but doesn't mention a publisher.  So, our 
   apologies to Coin World;  we'll patiently await the book's 


   The following new sections on modern coinages have been 
   added to the NBS online numismatic bibliography by Larry 
   Mitchell.  The bibliography resides on our web site:  

      70. New Zealand, The Philippines, Australasia & Oceana 
      71. Japan, Korea & Southeast Asia 
      72. India 
      73. China 


   Subscriber Alan Luedeking of Florida writes: "Don't keep us 
   on tenterhooks with these tantalizing tidbits! Tell us the real 
   story for crying out loud!  Since when has NBS ever been shy? 
   Don't pull any punches -- name names and recount the verbal 
   battles-- heck, some of us had to work and couldn't be 
   there!! ;-)"  

   Well, it was quite a show, but would take far more space than 
   we have in this newsletter to tell.   Fortunately, Joel Orosz took 
   copious notes, and he plans to write an article for The Asylum. 
   Also, this week's Coin World (September 6, 1999 issue) has 
   a front-page article on the event, plus another article based on 
   John Ford's talk the following day.  Both articles were written 
   by Coin World Editor Beth Deisher.  

   Meanwhile,  J. C. Spillman offers the following observations on 
   the topic:  "I attended the original Hodder presentation of his 
   material at the ANS Groves symposium last April and, in my 
   opinion, Mike’s presentation was exemplary - detailed, cautious, 
   professional and was presented with great finesse and with 
   considerable technical backup by analytical testing conducted by 
   Dr. John Chervinsky at Harvard using a technique known as 
   PIXE - - (P)roton (I)nduced (X)ray (E)mission spectography..  

   I must agree with Mike’s observations in E-Sylum Vol 2, No.34 
   as well as my own conclusions that “grave charges were made 
   (by Buttrey) on superficial research” to quote John W. Adams 
   from his Coin World guest commentary.  I guess that I totally 
   agree with John, as well." 


   Several E-Sylum subscribers brought exhibit awards home from 
   the ANA. (My apologies if I've left anyone out).   Of special 
   note is one of our newest subscribers, young numismatist Eric Li 
   Cheung  who bagged a 1st place award in the most highly 
   contested category, Class 1: United States Coins, for his exhibit 
   on "The Circulating Irish Coppers in Colonial America." 
   Congratulations, Eric!    Other winners:  

   Class 4; Tokens:  Second-Place - Pete Smith for 
   "Personification on Conder Tokens"  

   Class 12: Latin American Numismatics: Second-Place - 
   Tom DeLorey for "Honduras Coinage from 1610 to 6188"  

   Class 14: General or Specialized:   Second-Place - 
   Robert F. Fritsch for "Numismatica Sherlockiana"  

   Class 15: Private Mint Issues since 1960:  First-Place - 
   Sam Deep for "The Story of the Pitt Bicentennial Medal"  

   Class 22: Numismatic Literature:  First-Place - 
   Lawrence Sekulich for "A Bibliographic Introduction 
   to Collecting Ancient Greek Coins"  

   Congratulations to all!  (and please consider planning an 
   exhibit for the Numismatic Literature category next year!  ) 


   The E-Sylum received high marks from survey respondents. 
   34 surveys were returned, about 20% of the subscriber base 
   at that time.  Features were ranked by respondents on a 1 to 
   5 scale, with 1 = "great!", 5 = "hate it".    The average score 
   was about a 2.  

   The higher-scoring features were nearly universally liked. The 
   lower-scoring features got mixed marks, and the associated 
   comments indicate that differences are generally due to differing 
   needs of the readers.   With favorite features listed first, here 
   are the results -  (average score), feature name:  

   (1.87)  Literature Sale announcements 
   (1.97)  Asylum Updates 
   (1.97)  Subscriber Profiles 
   (2.03)  Research Requests 
   (2.03)  Bibliography Updates 
   (2.05)  Featured Web Site 
   (2.10)  Subscriber Profiles  

   Some respondents didn't care for the Featured Web site, 
   but many others gave it top grades and raved in their comments. 
   Similarly, some are indifferent to the Subscriber Updates, but 
   others said they enjoy seeing who's coming into the fold. 
   Generally, it seems The E-Sylum ain't broke, so we won't fiddle 
   with it much at this time.   Your comments and suggestions are 
   always welcome, though.   Thanks to all our survey respondents 
   for taking the time to complete the survey, and thanks to all our 
   contributors for helping to make this work. 


   This week's feature is an online article about a previously 
   featured web site, Where's George, the site which tracks 
   the journey of dollar bills via the efforts of volunteers who 
   record serial numbers of the bills passing through their hands. 
   And your friends think collecting coin books is weird... 

  Wayne Homren 
  Numismatic Bibliomania Society  

  The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a 
  non-profit organization promoting numismatic 
  literature.   For more information please see 
  our web site at 
  There is a membership application available on 
  the web site.  To join, print the application and 
  return it with your check to the address printed 
  on the application.   For those without web access, 
  contact Dave Hirt, NBS Secretary-Treasurer, 
  5911 Quinn Orchard Road, Frederick, MD 21701  

  (To be removed from this mailing list 
   write to me at   

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