The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 2, Number 38:  September 19, 1999: 
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 


   New subscribers this week are: Victor Holden, Paul 
   Landsberg, Jeff Oxman, Jeff Widman, Dave Surber, 
   Mark Watson, Ron Haller-Williams, of Surbiton, Surrey, 
   England, and Gian Angelo Sozzi of Italy.  Welcome, all! 
   This brings our subscriber count to 235. 


   James C. Spilman writes: "I  have just received a copy of 
   John W. Adams' new book “Indian Peace Medals” or 
   “His Majesties Sometimes Allies.” This book is an absolute 
   gem in both content and as an example of excellence in the 
   bookmaker’s craft and represents a stellar addition to the 
   numismatic resources now available on early American 

   Adams has departed from the current habits of modern 
   numismatic writers by presenting in-depth historical 
   backgrounds to accompany each of the medallic types of 
   Indian Peace Medals produced during the American “colonial” 
   era as well as the War of 1812 era.  A substantive number 
   of historical inaccuracies of earlier researchers and 
   writers have been corrected in his book.  

   For those of us with an interest in the Indian Peace Medals 
   in America - we have a new “bible”."  

   500 copies were printed by George Frederick Kolbe. 
   For more information, write to George at 


   Oops:  I forgot to include David J. Davis' email address 
   when we reported his research request last week.  He's 
   looking  for 1802 half dime information in the publications 
   of Charles Steigerwalt.   His address:  

   I misquoted Ed Krivoniak.  He writes: "Thanks for the credit, 
   however it is the Lampard book which lists both Andrews and 
   Rennik numbers.  The Renniks catalogue only lists the 
   Andrews numbers." 


   In a previous E-Sylum, David Cassel asked for help 
   confirming a handwriting sample attributed to early U.S. 
   Mint office William Du Bois.  In a letter to NBS Board 
   member Joel Orosz (and copied to The E-Sylum), David writes:  

   "You are a great detective to notice so many matches of 
   handwriting samples.  ... If this isn’t a case of the 
   old adage, “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours,” 
   then I don't know what is. We both proved each other’s query.  

   I am not sure how valuable the proof of your documents is to 
   you, but the proof of my documents used in the writing of my 
   yet to be released book, United States Pattern Postage 
   Currency Coins, validates much of my research, study, and  
   theories, and disproves some of what was offered by the  
   “experts” before me.  I am grateful that you responded to my 
   query for samples of the handwriting of William E. Du Bois." 


   Regarding Mike Molnar's book on a numismatic connection 
   to the mystery of the Star of Bethlehem, Granvyl G. Hulse, 
   Jr., writes:  "Scientists may not have had success, but 
   any high school with a first rate planetarium can reproduce 
   it. Ask one to program the conjunction of three planets 
   (I think that they were Mars, Venus, and Saturn, but I can't 
   remember) lined up one behind the other over Bethlehem. 
   This occurs every 700 years if I recall. Programs nicely to 
   3 or 4 BC, to the day and month.  Explains why the "Star" 
   lasted very briefly. They did it for my son and I at the 
   high school in Herndon, Virginia, back before we went off to 
   Ethiopia in 1973."  

   Mike Molnar notes: "As an astronomer I also thought that 
   this planetary conjunction was the answer until I saw the 
   coins of Antioch. They showed me that my colleagues were 
   not only looking in the wrong part of the sky, but that 
   they also did not know what signified a king's birth during 
   ancient times. Those splendid planetarium programs show 
   conjunctions, not omens.  And I had to do a lot of research 
   to understand the difference. I thank Ray Williams for his 
   kind words about my book. If anyone is interested 
   in learning how an ancient coin revealed the clue 
   to understanding the Star of Bethlehem, see my web 
   page, which also has information about the book: 


   Michael E. Marotta offers the following perspective 
   on our recent discussions of "The Great Debate":  

   "I was not at the debate, but I heard a lot about it," 
   said the colonial collectors. Angel Pietri and Jim 
   Spilman, cheering their champ, Michael Hodder, in 
   E-Sylum v2#36.  

   I gave Buttrey's claims merit because I collected 
   ancients and I respect Buttrey.  I knew Michael Hodder's 
   name but not much about him. I never heard of John J. 
   Ford or Eric P. Newman.  So, I did some research.  This 
   has been going on for over 30 years.  The March 13, 1993 
   sale of literature offered by The Money Tree included a 
   copy of John J. Ford's "The Franklin Hoard of United States 
   Assay Office of Gold Coins: an Answer to Eric P. Newman". 
   The 40-page book, written in 1967, one of 14 known, sold 
   for $2500 on an estimate of $250. The copy was owned by 
   Lester Merkin who was one of the PNG arbitrators involved 
   in the dispute over a $20 gold proof essai sold by Ford and 
   denounced by Newman.  Michael Hodder praised John J. Ford in 
   the Spring 1992 Asylum and Buttrey handed an RNS award to 
   Newman on June 18, 1991. 


   Well, none of you even had a guess as to who was the 
   famous bibliophile who topped his bookcases with busts of 
   Roman emperors.  It was Sir Robert Cotton, whose collections 
   became the nucleus of the British Library.   Cotton assembled 
   his library in the 1550-1650 time period, and accumulated 
   a magnificent manuscript collection, including the original 
   Beowulf manuscript.   Cotton was also a numismatist, and 
   some of his coins are now in the British Museum.  

   Much information about Cotton appears in Nicholas Basbane's 
   book, "A Gentle Madness : Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes, and the 
   Eternal Passion for Books", a volume I've read and know I  
   have, but just can't seem to put my hands on at the moment. 
   Cotton  would have had it neatly filed under "Vespatian",  
   shelf 4..."   Here are a couple useful links to The  
   British Library: 


   Past NBS President Michael J. Sullivan writes:  "I've 
   been studying Woodward catalogues for the last few 
   months. I would enjoy corresponding with others who 
   share an interest in this pursuit.  I thought the 
   following may be suited for the E-Sylum as printed on 
   the rear wrapper of WEW's sale #35, 1881:  


   An interest is felt by many persons in collecting the 
   Catalogues of American Coin Sales, second only to their 
   interest in the coins themselves.  Many years ago I 
   purchased the stocks and remainders in the hands of the 
   principal dealers, and have recently bought a great 
   number, including some of the early and rare issues, 
   together with illustrated and extra paper copies, so that 
   I am now able to furnish to order, priced or plain, the 
   Catalogue of almost any Coin Sale that has taken place in 
   the United States within the last twenty-five years.  

   My collection comprises some not mentioned by Attinelli, 
   and several prior to the Watkins Sale, which he supposed 
   was the first made here. Of Catalogues of my own sales I 
   am unable to furnish complete sets, but can supply all but 
   two or three.  For copies of my Catalogues of June 27, 1860, 
   Sale at Boston; Dec. 23, 1863, Sale in Providence; and Oct. 
   28, to Nov. 2, 1877, the Mickley Sale in New York; I will 
   pay a liberal price in cash.  A list of my Coin Sales, a 
   pamphlet of 8 pages, giving an account of thirty-four sales, 
   time, place, amount, etc., will be mailed to any address on 
   receipt of twenty-five Cents.  A copy of Attinelli's work, 
   giving particulars of nearly every sale ever held in the 
   United States prior to 1876, for sale in sheets, price $5. 
   Probably not more than twenty-five copies of this book are 
   in the hands of collectors, and none are on sale.  It is 
   invaluable to the collector of Coin Catalogues.  Prices of 
   Catalogues quoted on application.  

     W. Elliot Woodward, 258 Dudley St., Roxbury, Mass. 


   Vedams Books International announces the publication of 
   "A Macro Study of Early Indian Coins",  edited by C. Mani. 
   1999, xi, 154 p., plates,  For more information, write to: 


   Speaking of Indian Coins, Andy Lustig submitted this week's 
   featured web site on Indian coins, maintained by Dr. Nupam 
   Mahajan of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC. 

  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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