The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 3, Number 37, September 10, 2000: 
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 
Copyright (c) 2000, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 


   We have one new subscriber this week: Vincent Alones. 
   Welcome aboard!   This brings our subscriber count to 336. 


   Bill Malkmus, Asylum indexer and recipient of this year's 
   Jack Collins Award writes: "The Jack Collins Award plaque 
   was quite a surprise in today's mail.  It is certainly a very 
   impressive and dignified design. 

   It arrived in perfect condition.  Please feel free to pass 
   my appreciation for the award to the rest of the N.B.S. 


   George Frederick Kolbe/Fine Numismatic Books has just 
   released their first Fixed Price List of Rare and Important 
   Numismatic Literature since 1997.  Nearly two thousand items 
   are featured in the 96-page catalogue.  Copies of the printed 
   catalogue may be obtained by sending $5.00 [free to E-sylum 
   subscribers] to the firm or it may be viewed at their web site: 

   One fourth of the catalogue is devoted to works on ancient 
   numismatics; another fourth is devoted to American numismatic 
   works; and the remainder comprises key works on medieval 
   and modern worldwide numismatics.  Some of the more 
   important titles offered for sale include: 

   An original eleven volume set of Babelon's Traité des Monnaies 
   Grecques et Romaine; a number of great classic 16th, 17th and 
   18th century works on ancient coins;  a large paper set of Burns' 
   Coinage of Scotland; three original Medina works on Latin 
   American numismatics; S. H. Hamer's personal copy of Pye's 
   1795 Provincial Copper Coins or Tokens, and  a complete 
   twelve volume set of the monumental Count Magnaguti sale 
   catalogues.  For more information, contact George at this 


   Michael E. Marotta sends the following book review of 
   HALF DOLLARS by Glenn R. Peterson, MD. (2000. 
   Money Tree, Rocky River, Ohio): 

   "This book belongs on the shelf of every collector of 
   American coins. Brad Karoleff's "Introduction" alone, 
   explaining the history of the coin is worth the cover price. 
   Since modern collecting leans heavily to errors and varieties, 
   any collector of any series can benefit from the scientific 
   methodology for identifying die marriages. Dr. Peterson's 
   work sets the standard for the coming century. 

   Collectors of Bust Half Dollars are close on the heels of 
   Early American Copper collectors at setting the pace for 
   studious examination of numismatic materials.  This book 
   narrows that gap." 


   Kishore Jhunjhunwalla of Currencies & Coins, Mumbai, 
   India, writes: "We are pleased to announce the release of 
   our latest publication, "A Standard Reference Guide to 

   The book is a comprehensive catalog on the issue of 
   currency in India, since 1770 AD to the present times, 
   covering a history of 200 years. It contains 464 pages, 
   classifying Indian notes into 1500 categories, with 763 
   full color illustrations (including many rare specimens and 
   patterns), giving details of paper, printer, watermark, size, 
   prefix, signatories, etc." 

   For further information, see their web site at this address: 


   In his recent book, "The Rare Silver Dollars Dated 1804 
   and the Exciting Adventures of Edmund Roberts", Q. 
   David Bowers recounts Lyman Low's 1900 credo on 
   numismatic libraries, which is still relevant today (p411): 

   "The foundation of a library should always accompany 
   the collection of a cabinet of coins.  To fully enjoy your 
   treasures, books are necessary; coin study cannot be 
   conducted intelligently without them.  If we wish to 
   learn the particulars in detail of any coin, just make a 
   specialty of it for a time, and you will find much that 
   comes to your notice." 


   Some were unclear on whether last week's discussion of 
   the famed Roman citizen-soldier Lucius Quintius Cincinnatus 
   was a real person. 

   Pete Smith writes:  "It is my understanding that he was a real 
   person.  However, his accomplishments have been 
   glamorized and embellished until it is difficult to separate fact 
   from fiction." 

   Mike Hodder writes:  "He became a personification of civic 
   virtue but he was a real person first.  He was consul in 460 
   B.C. When his term expired he went back to his farm.  In 
   458 B.C. he was appointed dictator for the war against the 
   Aequians. Sixteen days later, after defeating his enemy and 
   recapturing the legionary standards, he returned to his farm 
   and plough. 

   His example of rustic virtue, civic devotion, and military skill 
   became an example for later Romans.  Here's what 
   St. Augustine (speaking of Christians of his time who boasted 
   of their righteous poverty) had to say about him: 
   "...Quintius Cincinnatus, who, possessing only four acres of 
   land, and cultivating them with his own hands, was taken from 
   the plough to be made dictator -- an office more honorable 
   even than that of consul -- and that, after having won great 
   glory by conquering the enemy, he preferred notwithstanding 
   to continue in his poverty" 


   In last week's issue of the Early American Coppers Region 8 
   newsletter, Tom Reynolds wrote:  "I thought I had seen it all. 
   I just received in the mail two "electros" of a 1793 S-1 and 
   1793 S-11.  They are not electros but are cast pieces using 
   Gallery Mint examples to make a mold for the casting.  The 
   mold uses the unmarked side of two pieces so that "Copy" 
   does not show.  After casting, they are copper plated.   The 
   pieces are crude but could easily be mistaken for electros. 

   It is bad enough that we have to watch out for fake key dates, 
   now we have watch out for fakes of the fakes!!  These pieces 
   came from the Springfield, IL area and last year I was sent 
   a damaged and "aged" Gallery Mint 1796 Half Cent from the 
   same area.  Be on guard!!!!  These fakes could easily sell in 
   the $75-$100 area." 


   Reminiscent of our recent discussions on numismatic terms 
   is a very lengthy Letter to the Editor of Bank Note Reporter 
   by E-Sylum subscriber Bob Cochran in response to a 
   columnist's statement that "obsolete currency" is a "fancy 
   term for broken bank notes". 

   Cochran states that "it is quite clear that "obsolete currency" 
   is the correct term for the entire group of banknotes issued 
   between 1781 and 1866".  He backs up his point with 
   quotes from the journal of the Society of Paper Money 
   Collectors, letters by D. C. Wismer, and a passage from 
   William Dillistin's "Bank Note Reporters and Counterfeit 
   Detectors 1826-1866". 


   Asylum editor E. Tomlinson Fort writes: " I recently purchased 
   a copy of The Numismatic Chronicle for 1901.  As some may 
   know this issue is unique in the history of that esteemed journal 
   in that  the entire volume (some 515 pages) consists a single 
   work: Joseph Andrews, "Numismatic History of the Reign of 
   Henry I, 1100-1135."  Making a long story short, Andrews' 
   principal argument was that during Henry's reign the English 
   mints were controlled by the earls, all of whom held lands and 
   titles in Normandy, and that the mints only produced coins when 
   the earls were in England.  Thus, the mint at Gloucester only 
   struck coins when the Earl of Gloucester was in England, and 
   when he was in Normandy the mint ceased  production. 

   The next volume of The Numismatic Chronicle contained a 
   five-page review of Andrews' work by two clerks at the Public 
   Record Office in London [C.G. Crump and C. Johnson, 
   "Notes on 'A Numismatic History of the Reign of Henry I," NC 
   1902, pp.372-7]. In this review the authors completely and 
   utterly demolished the arguments which Andrews spent 500 
   pages building.  The rancor caused by this was one of the 
   principle reasons for a group leaving the Royal Numismatic 
   Society and forming the British Numismatic Society in 1904. 

   More recently, there is the case of Karl F. Morrison and Henry 
   Grunthal's "Carolingian Coinage" (New York, 1967).  This 465 
   page tome was published by no less an august body than the 
   American Numismatic Society. In his review (in the Numismatic 
   Chronicle, 1969, pp.346-350), the British scholar Philip 
   Grierson at least tried to find a few good things to say (he did 
   like the plates).  However, the French numismatist does not 
   suffer fools lightly and he "nuked" the book in his review 
   [Revue Numismatique 1967, pp.291-5]. In fact these reviews 
   were so bad (as is the book) and the book so riddled with 
   errors that I am told it cost Morrison tenure at the university 
   where he was lecturing. [To the uninitiated wishing to learn 
   about the Carolingian series,  if you pay $90 for this work you 
   should receive $95 in change] 

   The fate of Morrison's monograph is rather sad, since before 
   it he published several articles on the Carolingian series which 
   are quite good.  [I particularly recommend his "Numismatics 
   and Carolingian Trade: a Critique of the Evidence," Speculum 
   38 (1963), pp.403-432.]. 

   Thinking about Andrews and Morrison has made me wonder 
   about what other great numismatic literary disasters may be out 
   there. I am not talking about articles or pamphlets - I mean 
   lengthy works which were pilloried soon after they hit the 
   street and which caused trouble and embarrassment for either 
   their author(s) and/or publishers.  I am not interested in works 
   which were only shown to be incompetent years after they 
   appeared. The published scorn must have been poured on 
   them within a year or two after they were printed and the 
   critics must be right. 

   Since my own interests are Medieval European I am particularly 
   interested in any works dealing with modern and American 
   coins. Please send all submissions to me at 


   This week's featured web page is an article on credit card 
   collecting at Business Week Online: 

  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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