The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 3, Number 24, June 11, 2000: 
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 
Copyright (c) 2000, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 


   We have no new subscribers this week.  Our subscriber count 
   holds at 296. 


   Your editor's email address ( 
   was accidentally out of commission for a couple days this 
   week.  I hope we didn't miss any subscription requests as 
   a result.   The problem has been corrected.  If any messages 
   were returned to you, please send me a new copy. 


   After a lengthy delay at the printer, The 2000 No. 1 issue 
   of The Asylum was finally mailed last week.   This issue 
   includes a dues notice;  if you're among the few who already 
   sent in your dues for the year 2000, please ignore the notice - 
   it was included with every issue mailed.   Institutions and 
   hobby publications which receive a complimentary copy 
   needn't send dues either.  We're putting the finishing touches 
   on the No 2. issue, and it should go to the printer at the end 
   of the month. 

   E-Sylum subscribers who are not yet members of NBS 
   should consider signing on - you will receive all four issues of 
   the year 2000 volume.  If you like The E-Sylum, you'll love 
   the in-depth articles in our print journal.  There is a membership 
   application on our web site. 


   In response to last week's E-Sylum, "Red Book" editor Ken 
   Bressett writes:  "Thanks for another great issue of E-Sylum. It 
   just keeps getting better each week and is always something to 
   look forward to each Monday. Your dedication and work is 
   very much appreciated. 

   Peter and Donna Jones were two of the nicest people in all of 
   the numismatic world.  The comments about her hospitality and 
   entertaining were not exaggerated.  Unfortunately I lost contact 
   with them some years ago, but I would like to send Donna a 
   note of sympathy. Can you or anyone supply an address? 
   (Editor's note: Paul Withers has received several such requests; 
   Donna Jones has recently moved, and Paul is working to find 
   her new address). 

   To Tom DeLorey's request for info on an early auction of 
   patterns,  I can offer the following:  There was an auction on 
   Wednesday,  May 30th, 1860 by Leonard & Co, of Boston, 
   Mass. that contained several lots of patterns all described as 
   such.  Many were 1859 varieties, others went back to Gobrecht 
   dollars of 1838. It is interesting to note that Feuchtwanger pieces 
   were included.  One lot is described as "full set of 1858 Pattern 
   Cents,  proofs, 12 varieties." 

   Thanks for your kind words about "The Fantastic 1804 Dollar" 
   book. Somehow the coin continues to get more fantastic with 
   each passing year." 


   Charlie Horning writes: "In reply to Tom DeLorey's inquiry on 
   the earliest known sale of "identified" patterns,  I have a bit of 
   information that may be helpful to him. I am a collector of Bangs 
   auction literature ... on a quick perusal of my collection, I was 
   able to identify an earlier catalogue containing patterns: 
   Bangs, Merwin & Co. sale of June 21st, 22nd and 23rd, 1859 
   The term "proof patterns" is even listed on  the cover's 
   description of the sale. 

   There are several lots of patterns:  i.e. lot 293 -- Copper Pattern 
   of 1/4 eagle 1803  sold to a Mr. Moses for $.10 (ten cents).  In 
   the addenda, several patterns appear:  Lots 127-130 Pattern 
   cents from 1858  -- all proofs.  Lot 131 a "Nickle Flying Eagle 
   Cent, very Rare in that  metal --1855". 

   My catalogue is priced and named in pencil for all the U.S. coins 
   Attenelli attributes the collection to John K. Curtis and E.M.Camp. 
   Hope this is of some value." 


   A new survey has been published on Islamic Numismatics in 
   Germany.  Edited by Stefan Heidemann, and written in German, 
   "Islamische Numismatik in Deutschland - eine Bestandsaufnahme" 
   had its genesis in 1996, when "all interested directors and 
   researchers of Oriental collections in Germany met in Jena in 
   order to review the history of Islamic numismatics and to 
   coordinate the future research." 

   "In the past Islamic numismatics did not belong either to the 
   core of  Oriental studies nor to the classical numismatics. Its 
   history is marked by frequent ruptures, each standing for a loss 
   of knowledge. The history and their research potential of the 
   collections of the 19th century were hardly known." 
   (from the publisher's press release)    For more information: 

      The Harrassowitz Publishing House 
      Taunusstrasse 14, 65183 Wiesbaden, Germany 
      Mail Address: 65174 Wiesbaden, Germany 


   Dick Johnson writes: "I'm sure every major dealer can list one 
   or more celebrities that he knows has purchased numismatic 
   items. Here is what I have learned in dealing with celebrities: 

   1) Honor their privacy (Bill Rosenblum in last week's E-Sylum 
       was 100% right). 

   2) Learn to schmooze with them (they enjoy conversing with 
       knowledgeable people on mutual interests). 

   3) Never, never, never take them off your mailing list.  Often 
       they have shifting interests, which may be numismatics this 
       week, rare books next week, and something else next month. 
       But I found after one large purchase, and then a long dry spell, 
       they may come back even three or four years later and, with 
       rekindled numismatic interest, would make another major 

   Malcolm Forbes bought medals from our auction catalogs. 
   The bids would often come in telephone calls from secretaries. 
   While his secretaries were more sophisticated than most, I dealt 
   with some who did not understand reduced bidding and wondered 
   why their boss won the item at less than the bid the secretary had 

   I will mention three celebrity coin collectors from radio 
   broadcasting:  Chris Schenkel (Bowers and Merena sold his 
   collection),  Paul Harvey (still on the air) and Robert Elliott 
   (of Bob and Ray) fame." 


   Doug Owens writes: "I enjoyed your recommendations, and will 
   begin an effort to obtain the three books you mentioned.  I 
   wonder if you can recommend any books on the paper money of 
   the colonial and revolutionary war era?  Thanks."  Well, here are 
   three favorites in that area: 

      McKay, George L, "Early American Currency", 1944. 
      This short, 85-page, illustrated book is a great one-stop 
      starting point for information on colonial currency and 
      economics, and particularly on the printing of the bills. 
      It was also produced as an ANS Monograph. 

      Brock, Leslie V., "The Currency of the American Colonies 
      1700-1764: A Study in Colonial Finance and Imperial 
      Relations."   Like Carothers, this work was written as a 
      PhD thesis in economics (University of Michigan, 1941). 
      It took me years to find my copy, but it's not necessarily 
      a scarce book, just scarce in numismatic circles.  My 
      copy is a 1975 reprint in book form.   Professor Brock 
      has a web page at the University of Virginia with links to 
      many online documents relating to Colonial money: 

      Scott, Kenneth, "Counterfeiting in Colonial America", 
      Oxford University Press, 1957.  I agree with the Preface 
      that "This book might have been a dull and pedantic 
      recital of counterfeiting in Colonial America.  Instead, 
      it is a lively combination of true detective and adventure 
      stories told in terms of real people of the past ..." 

   One unfortunate real person was Willet Larabe, who was 
   convicted in November 1751 "at the superior court of King's 
   County, Rhode Island, for passing several counterfeit 
   twenty shilling new tenor bills of New Hampshire.  He was 
   sentenced to stand in the pillory for half an hour, to have 
   both ears cropped, to be branded with R on each cheek 
   with a hot iron, to be imprisoned for one month, to pay 
   double damages to the persons injured by his counterfeit 
   bills and the costs of prosecution, and to forfeit the remainder 
   of his estate, both real and personal, for the use of the colony." 
   (p178).   And sent to bed without his supper, too, no doubt. 
   So what was the penalty for selling overgraded coins? 

   While on the subject of favorite books, we should note the 
   column by longtime NBS member and E-Sylum subscriber 
   Brad Karoleff in the June 19th issue of COIN World.  In 
   addition to Carothers' book (and several others), he mentions 
   one book on U.S. coinage that I regretted not including in last 
   week's list:  Don Taxay's "The U. S. Mint and Coinage", 1966. 
   I like this one so much that last week I bought two copies on 
   behalf of a local numismatic organization; the books will be 
   given to local school and community libraries. 


   The following note is from "A Treasury of White House Tales" by 
   Webb Garrison (Rutledge Hill Press, Nashville, TN, 1996)  It 
   mentions a purchase in what seems like a very odd amount today. 
   But at a time when use of Spanish silver coins was not uncommon, 
   these odd denominations were commonplace.  The Spanish Milled 
   Dollar was valued at 8 reales; two reales equaled one-fourth of a 
   dollar, thus the nickname "two bits" for a quarter.  The following 
   denominations were seen frequently:  6 1/4 cents (half bit),  12 
   1/2 cents (one bit), 25 cents (two bits), 37 1/2 cents (three bits). 

      "Abraham Lincoln, who often complained about severe 
       headaches after reading for three or four hours, purchased 
       eyeglasses in Bloomington, Illinois, for 37 1/2 cents.  Years 
       later, examination showed that they were at least three times 
       more powerful than needed." 

   All the better for reading fine print in bills from Congress, 
   I suppose.  Perhaps that's why the Gettysburg address was 
   so short... 


   This week's featured web site is the Department of Coins 
   and Medals at the Fitzwilliam Museum at the University of 
   Cambridge.  Of special interest to bibliophiles is "The 
   Departmental library, together with the personal library of the 
   Honorary Keeper, Professor Philip Grierson, which is partly 
   on deposit in the Museum, has a very good coverage of 
   numismatics in general, and is especially strong in Ancient 
   Greek, Roman, Oriental, medieval European and British 
   numismatics, historical medals and tokens." 

  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 21704 

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

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