The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 3, Number 25, June 18, 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.  What is this, the summer slow season? 


   George Kolbe notes the following highlights from the recently 
   concluded sales of the Bass library: 

   * $38,500 for a large paper set of W. Elliot Woodward's eight 
      "Semi-Annual" Auction Catalogues, apparently Woodward's 
       own (last sold at auction in 1968 for $55!) 

   * $13,200 for S. H. Chapman's 1921 Henderson Auction Sale 
      with plates, the highest price ever paid for an American coin 
      auction catalogue (the last copy sold, in the 1994 Bowers & 
      Merena sale, brought $3,530) 

   * $29,700 for a Superb Leatherbound Set of The Numismatist, 
      1888-1952, including the first ANA President's run of the early 
       volumes (from our June 1990 John W. Adams auction where 
       it brought $33,000) 

   * $25,300 for the two Photographic Albums Depicting Colonel 
      Green's Collection of United States Eagles and Half Eagles 
      (first sale at auction) 

   * $11,550 for Paul Fouts' first six volumes of The Numismatist 
      (in a subsequent Bass sale, the remainder of the set, 1894 to 
      1969, brought $3,520) 

   * $7,700 for a Deluxe Leatherbound Copy of Newcomb's 1925 
      The United States Cents of the Years 1801-1802-1803 (the 
      highest price ever paid at auction - the 1994 Bowers & 
      Merena sale copy brought $4,620, and a second Bass copy 
      sold for $6,600) 

   * $9,900 for Charles Bushnell's Annotated Copy of the 1851 
      Auction of the Lewis Roper Coin Collection (the last priced 
      and  named copy brought $1,925) 

   * $13,750 for J. N. T. Levick's Annotated 1881 Andrews' 
      Varieties of U. S. Cents, 1816-57 (the 1994 Bowers & 
      Merena sale copy  brought $5,060) 

   * $20,900 for A. M. Hart's 1851 Work on American Colonial 
      Paper  Money with the rare "Historical Chart" (the only copy 
      sold at auction in the modern era - it last brought $140 in the 
      1971 Katen sale of the Fuld Library) 

   * $11,550 for Thian's 1880 Register of the Confederate Debt, 
      one of only five copies known (this same copy brought $8,525 
      at the September 1995 Bowers & Merena sale) 

   George adds the following notes: "Re Dick Johnson:  Chris 
   Schenkel was a fascinating conversationalist AND a numismatic 
   bibliophile, and Malcolm Forbes bought the complete series of 
   King Farouk art sale catalogues (including the coin sale) in a 
   Kolbe/Spink New York sale years back. 

   Re Doug Owens: The original manuscript for McKay's book on 
   colonial currency brought $1,210 in Bass 4 (estimated at $500)." 


   John Huffman writes: "I was passing thru another attorney's office 
   at work today about 11:50 and he had a radio on, tuned to ABC 
   news.  Paul Harvey was giving his take on the news (Page 2) 
   He mentioned a news item of a congressman had introduced a 
   bill to mint a commemorative coin with Reagan's portrait.  Mr. 
   Harvey said that this would be a first - a living president on a 
   US coin. (Page 3) Being a neophyte webuser/e-mail at work, I 
   tried a practice session, finding an e-mail address for Mr. 
   Harvey at ABC News and sending in a comment.  I referred to 
   the 1926 sesquicentennial half-dollar with Washington and 
   Coolidge.  Also, other commems have living persons 
   (unfortunately).  Examples: Carter Glass, and Eunice Shriver 
   That was just from memory.  But seeing the reference in the 
   E-Sylum to Mr. Harvey being into coins, I am surprised at both 
   the poor research his staff does and his mentioning the error." 


   Another email newsletter which may be of interest 
   to E-Sylum subscribers is A.Word.A.Day, available at 
   this address: 

   The newsletter's current theme is words about booklovers, 
   and for fun we'll publish some in the next few E-Sylum 
   issues.  Here's the first one: 

   "bibliophage (BIB-lee-uh-fayj), noun 

      An ardent reader; a bookworm. 

     [Biblio- book + -phage one that eats.] 

   "A thousand facts crowd the mind of the bibliophage narrator 
   who recites fragments -- proper names, book titles, writefly 
   quirks--at a dizzying clip." 
   Sybil Steinberg, et al., PW's best books, Publishers Weekly, 
   Nov 1996. 

   So many books, so little time! Do you find yourself muttering 
   these words as you browse the shelves in a library or a bookstore? 
   Rest assured, you are not alone in your love of books.  It was the 
   Dutch writer Desiderius Erasmus who once said, "When I get a 
   little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes." 

   This fondness for books subsumes a wide range. At the extreme, 
   books have been ascribed as the motive behind murders (Don 
   Vicente, a Spaniard killed as many as eight people to acquire a 
   book in 1836), and there have been thieves who steal only books 
   (Stephen Blumberg of the US, stole precious books worth 
   millions of dollars from hundreds of university libraries during the 
   1970s and 80s, all for his own pleasure, not for resale)." 


   Michael Schmidt had this to say about one of the patterns 
   mentioned in last week's issue  "lot 293 -- Copper Pattern 
   of 1/4 eagle 1803  sold to a Mr. Moses for $.10 (ten cents)" 

   "This is an interesting listing.  Pollock makes no mention of a 
   copper quarter eagle of 1803 and in Dr. Judd's book he says 
   that there is no record of a copper 1803 quarter eagle except 
   for the listing in the Adams-Woodin book." 

   The following is Andrew Pollack's take on it: "I get the impression 
   that Judd thought AW-22 was actually the 1803 $2.50 KETTLE 
   gaming token, and he seems to indicate that he was actually aware 
   of some of these receiving the AW-22 attribution in catalogues. 
   I'm not aware of any specific auction records wherein AW 
   numbers  have been assigned to KETTLE pieces. 

   Although I doubt Edgar Adams would have been deceived by a 
   KETTLE token, it's possible that a mid-19th-century cataloguer 
   might have been, especially if the token had been altered by 
   removing the letters KETTLE.  Hence, I presume Adams got his 
   listing from an auction catalogue or a dealer's FPL. 

   I list the brass and silver KETTLE $2.50 in my book as P-8001 
   and 8010, respectively. Judd also mentions "copper gilt" 
   KETTLE  tokens. 

   I guess the question to resolve is "When did KETTLE tokens first 
   appear?"  If they were produced prior to 1859, then the listing can 
   probably be safely attributed to them. Unfortunately, since my 
   numismatic library is still in storage in NH, I can't do any checking." 

   The reference to Kettle tokens sent me scurrying to my 
   library to find L. B. Fauver's 1981 book, "Exonomia Symbolism 
   & Classification":    "The Kettle firm was begun during the 1780s 
   by Henry Kettle, and his sons Thomas and William joined the 
   firm sometime probably shortly after 1800.  Thomas Kettle took 
   over responsibilities about 1812 and continued to run the business 
   until at least the late 1830's... 

   The vast majority of Kettle pieces served as counters... their 
   great similarity in both design and size to contemporary gold 
   guineas, gold half  guineas, gold one-third guineas, and to 
   American gold quarter eagle and gold half eagles." (pp v-vi) 


   Michael E. Marotta writes: "Walter Breen's "Complete 
   Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins" changed the 
   landscape of American numismatics. Before this book was 
   published, the most authoritative research appeared in 
   auction catalogs.  There, the assertions, however right they 
   might have been, were seldom backed by documentary 
   proof. Walter Breen changed that. 

   The Breen Encyclopedia brought academic scholarship 
   to American numismatics. Breen footnoted his claims with 
   supporting evidence from primary sources. This is how we 
   learned to write term papers -- and the Breen Encyclopedia 
   is nothing if not a 750-page term paper (with 4000 illustrations). 

   Breen completed a four year degree in one year at Johns 
   Hopkins University. He was brilliant.  His genius shines through 
   this work.  He does have his prejudices and quirks. He saw 
   paranoia and conspiracies in other people quite readily. However, 
   his editorial assertions are easy to cull.  The Breen Encyclopedia 
   came out in 1988. In the last 12 years, some new facts have 
   surfaced. For instance, we now believe that among the Shield 
   Nickels, Judd 417 and 419 are back-dated fantasies and Breen 
   2466 may be a mule fantasy. These little amendments cannot 
   detract from the overpowering value in the Breen Encyclopedia, 
   but instead, prove that all numismatists must continually search for 
   truth rather than relying on authority. The publication of the Breen 
   Encyclopedia deserves to be noted among the greatest events in 
   the last 100 years of American numismatics." 

   Breen's Encyclopedia is undoubtedly a landmark work.   But 
   the review raises a couple of questions that may be of interest 
   to E-Sylum subscribers: 

   1.  How "easy to cull" are Breen's "editorial assertions"? 
   2. What would you nominate as the other great 
       "events in the last 100 years of American numismatics"? 


   This week's featured web site is Canadian Bank Note Errors, 
   a collector's site illustrating Canadian paper errors and 
   replacement notes. 

  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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