The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

PREV        NEXT        V 04 2001 INDEX        E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 4, Number 09, February 25, 2001: 
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 
Copyright (c) 2001, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 


   We have two new subscribers this week: Rick Witschonke, 
   and Peter Mosiondz, Jr., who writes: "Please reinstate me to 
   The E-Sylum. I can not leave this hobby that I love so much." 
   Welcome aboard, and Welcome Back!  Our subscriber count 
   is now 371. 

   Or is it?  Chet Dera writes: "You do a great job on The 
   E-Sylum and I enjoy every issue.  I have forwarded your 
   E-Zine to several people many times, either in part or in 
   total.  So you have more than the listed number of subscribers. 
   Keep up the good work." 


   When a couple of America Online subscribers reported that 
   they hadn't received the last issue of The E-Sylum (February 
   18th),   I sent a note to a random sample of AOL subscribers. 
   Only one said he'd received it.  There are 87 AOL folks in all. 
   To be sure I  resent the issue to all of them.  Let's hope this 
   won't become a regular occurrence. 


   Editor E. Tomlinson Fort reports that the finishing touches are 
   being put on the next issue of our Print journal, The Asylum. 
   The No. 1 issue of the 2001 volume, which boasts an extra 
   four pages, will contain the following articles and departments: 

      "President's Message" by Wayne Homren. 
      "Letters to the Editor" 
      "In Memoriam: Frank Katen (1903-2001)" 
          by His Friends and Clients. 
      "Frank Joseph Katen: Pathfinder of Numismatic Literature" 
          by Joel J. Orosz 
      "Frank Katen - An Appreciation" by George F. Kolbe 
      "Frank Katen, M.A. Powills and Frank Causey Wilson's 
           Bulletin" by Wayne Homren 
      "Frank Katen vs the ANA" by Pete Smith 
      "An Overview of Copyright Law for Numismatists" 
           by Ben Keele. 
      "The Printer's Devil: Colburn's Cogan: An Exercise in 
           Reconstructing Provenance" by Joel J. Orosz. 


   Lawrence Lee of the Durham Western Heritage Museum 
   (home of the Byron Reed collection) writes:  "The recent 
   E-Sylum discussions over the correct term for various 
   anniversary dates caused me to turn to the definitive work 
   on time in numismatics, Tempus in Nummis. 

   In Volume 2, beginning on p165 of their metacognitive 
   work, authors James Sweeny and Robert Turfboer devote 
   an entire section to the language of anniversaries. Among 
   their factoid gems: a tertiomillennial marks an anniversary of 
   333 years, while a sesquibimillennial occurs every 2,500 
   years.  Which will be about how long it will take anyone to 
   surpass Sweeny and Turfboer in covering the subject." 

   [Editor's note:  Hail to Sweeny and Turfboer!  And shame 
    on me for not going to my bookshelf before asking my 
    original question.  Of course, if I hadn't brought the subject 
    up, we'd have missed everyone's interesting replies. 
    Tempus in Nummis, published in 1992 by Numismatics 
    International, is one of my favorite numismatic books, and 
    I'm glad to see others think likewise. ] 


   Michael E. Marotta writes: "Discussing the etymology of 
   "Shrove Tuesday" I discovered "shroff" in the Merriam 
   Webster Ninth Collegiate.  (It is also in the 6th and 10th. 
   Although it is in the New World  hardcover up through 
   1969, it is not in my paperback edition from 1979.) 
   Searching the ANS Library returned  no hits on this word. 
   What is most interesting is that actually testing money is 
   explicitly one of the services of the shroff. 

   I then found other references online that point to 
   variants such as serafine (xerafin), a word for Arabic 
   gold coins well known to American colonial merchants. 
   Sir Henry Yule C.B., K.C.S.I. and A. C. Burnell Hobson 
   Jobson: The Anglo-Indian Dictionary pages 831-832 

      SHROFF, s. A money-changer, a banker. Ar. sarraf, 
      sairafi, sairaf. The word is used by Europeans in China 
      as well as in India, and is there applied to the experts 
      who are employed by banks and mercantile firms to 
      check the quality of the dollars that pass into the houses. 

      "Shroffing schools are common in Canton, where teachers 
      of the art keep bad dollars for the purpose of exercising 
      their pupils; and several works on the subject have been 
      published there, with numerous illustrations of dollars 
      and other foreign coins, the methods of scooping out 
      silver and filling up with copper or lead, comparisons 
      between genuine and counterfeit dollars, the difference 
      between native and foreign milling, etc., etc." 


   Dick Johnson. writes: "The criteria for a good numismatic 
   term is that it has a specific meaning and cannot be confused 
   with anything else. "Annular" fits this criteria and its use can be 
   encouraged in numismatic literature. It should not, however, 
   be confused with "annulet," which means "a raised circular 
   line or ring" in numismatics. 

   In medallic art annulet can be found in several uses. In fabricating 
   certain medallic items--badges are a good example--a stock 
   badge can be customized by applying a newly created center 
   emblem. The stock item contains an annulet -- raised round 
   circular line in the die and the struck piece--where the circular 
   emblem is to be affixed. 

   The same term holds true for the feet applied to the back of 
   a medallic paperweight.  Annulets will be placed in the reverse 
   die (usually at the four corners), and the separate feet -- 
   usually half balls -- are applied within these small raised circles. 
   The annulets serve as an attractive frame for the applied item. 

   A special kind of annulet, called a "limiting guide" is engraved 
   in the die where a hole is to be drilled in the struck piece. The 
   U.S. Mint did this for some early Indian Peace Medals. 
   Examples: James Madison (Julian IP-5) and John Tyler (IP-21). 
   The tiny raised circles, at the 12 o'clock position inside the rim, 
   served as the focus for the drill bit.  The existence of a limiting 
   guide meant the struck piece was intended to be holed. 

   For coins, there are annulet mintmarks (small circular rings). 
   Example: England's annulet coinage of Henry VI." 


   George Fuld wrote in with a few questions on the Horan book: 

   1:  "I have checked the Horan edition of 120 plates, and only 
         27 of the 120 contain Indian Peace Medals.  Is there this 
         much difference between the original 150 plates and the 
         Horan edition?    [Editor's note:  Fuld later wrote: "I must 
         apologize--upon further checking of the 128 Horan plates, 
         actually 41 show Peace Medals!!  Sorry for misinforming 
         Don G."] 

   2. Incidentally, I can't find Horan's reference to McKenney 
       collecting Peace medals -- only a long reference to the 
       John Q. Adams issue.  Did I miss something? 

   3.  Are the original 150 plate set available on the internet???" 

   Your Editor investigated the internet question, and found hundreds 
   of references to McKenney-Hall, but these lead mostly to dealers 
   peddling copies of the prints.  For those on a tight budget, you can 
   buy a pack of 52 playing cards featuring the prints.  One of the 
   few noncommercial web sites featuring the prints is the 
   Smithsonian Museum of American Art, which has six McKinney 
   Hall images: 

   George's first two questions are addressed in the following 
   note from Jan Monroe: 

   "I am not an expert on the original McKenney-Hall plates. 
   However,  I have looked at a set of  books produced in the 
   1930's as I recall that showed about the same percentage of 
   medals (i.e.about the 27 mentioned.)   The Horan book does 
   show many prints of indians wearing peace medals. 

   The Asylum article on the McKenney prints and books 
   published years ago should provide more information for 
   George Fuld as it was a great piece of research. 

   [Editor's note: Jan is referring to an article by Don Groves 
    in the Autumn 1995 issue of The Asylum (Vol XIII, No. 4, 
    pp19-21, titled "North American Indians -  McKenney 
    & Hall." 

   On Page 86-87 of Horan is the section on the ordering of the 
   peace medals from the US Mint by McKenney for the Indians. 
   On page 66 the book states that "McKenney toured the 
   countryside on horseback, collecting curiosities from an Indian 
   Mound for his archives and interviewing survivors of the Indian 
   and Revolutionary wars and the war of 1812." .... Before the 
   expedition was finished bales and boxes of Indian costumes, 
   bones, jewelry, beadwork, pipes, medals...had been sent back 
   to Washington." 

   It is not really clear if "his archives" is McKenneys personal 
   collection or if it was for the Federal Government.  On page 62 
   the book states that "The archives and Indian Portrait gallery 
   were now part of the Bureau of Indian Affairs..." 

   The general tone of the book is that McKenney was very 
   interested in the Peace Medals and was actually the individual 
   that convinced the War department to issue Indian Peace medals. 
   The War department thought they were too expensive. 
   McKenney reviewed the models prepared by Furst of 
   Presidents Madison, Monroe, and Adams. 

   McKenney was in a position to purchase copies of medals if he 
   wished and his employees distributed the medals to the Indians. 
   McKenney wrote to the Secretary of War in 1825 outlining the 
   history of the Indian Peace Medals. 

   Given this history and his interest I believe that it is quite 
   likely that he did have at least a few Indian Peace Medals 
   although the book does not mention a personal collection. 
   It is unclear from the Red Jacket discussion as to whether 
   he intended to purchase the Red Jacket medal for himself or 
   the war department.  After rereading the text I may have 
   assumed too much. 

   At the time of his death McKenney was impoverished and if 
   he had a collection of medals it would have been sold to help 
   pay for the publishing of his book or his living expenses. 
   McKenney was a great man and a true public servant who 
   accomplished great things but died with little recognition for 
   his accomplishments." 


   In the category of "no one asked, but here it is anyway", 
   my web search turned up a reference to a biography of 

   Viola, Herman J, "Thomas L. McKenney : Architect Of 
   America's Early Indian Policy, 1816-1830" Sage Books, 
   Chicago, 1974.  Perhaps one of our readers can track 
   down a copy and let us know what it may say about the 
   peace medals. 


   Bill Spengler writes: "I took particular pleasure from your note 
   in the last E-Sylum on the above subject because of long 
   personal association with original lithographs, large and small 
   sized, from the McKenney and Hall portfolios and other 
   contemporary series. 

   My parents began collecting these so-called "Indian prints" in 
   the 1930s and managed to assemble about sixty of them by 
   the 1970s when they divided and gifted them to me and my 
   three siblings.  We each inherited about fifteen, supplemented 
   by a few which we purchased ourselves along the way.  Most 
   of these have now been handed down to the third generation. 

   I have kept my favorite trio which happen to be among the 
   most popular of the entire portfolio: Red Jacket, 
   "MA-KA-TAI-ME-SHE-KIA-KIAH" or Black Hawk a 
   Saukie Brave", and Keokuk "Chief of the Sacs and Foxes" 
   depicted with his young son (the only father-son combo in the 
   series). All, including Keokuk's son, are shown wearing 
   presidential peace medals. 

   Red Jacket's medal is identified in your note as one of President 
   Washington dated 1792.  Black Hawk's appears to be of 
   President Andy Jackson who brought him to Washington as a 
   sort of paroled prisoner where his portrait in a red feather 
   headdress was painted by Charles Bird King in 1837.  (There 
   is a later portrait of a more mature Chief Black Hawk wearing 
   a blue coat, not in the McKenney-Hall portfolio but sometimes 
   available in original lithograph.)  The presidential portrait on the 
   peace medals worn by Keokuk and his son does not look like 
   Jackson's, as on Black Hawk's medal, though their likenesses 
   were painted by King in Washington the same year, 1837. 
   This was Jackson's last year in office and Martin Van Buren's 
   first, so perhaps their medals were awarded by the latter. 

   The details of these medals are quite unclear on the original 
   lithographs and even more so on the mediocre reproductions 
   in Horan's 1972 reprint.  Only historical research into the actual 
   presenter and date of presentation of the medals can resolve 
   such questions.  Hopefully someone will undertake this 
   identification for ALL the peace medals in this important series 
   of portraits -- of which I counted fifty-three, rather than forty-nine, 
   if you count the three medals ostentatiously sported by 
   Naw-Kaw and the three by the "Winnebago Orator". 

   I might point out that while these lithographs are attributed to 
   Thomas L. McKenney, Superintendent of Indian Affairs under 
   four presidents up to and including Jackson, and his historian 
   colleague James Hall, they only reproduced prints of paintings 
   most of which had been made by King and his pupil George 
   Cooke in Washington in the 1830s; or copied by King from 
   original paintings done earlier by James O. Lewis at the sites 
   of treaty councils with exotic French placenames such as Butte 
   des Morts ("Hill of the Dead"),  Fond du Lac ("Bottom of the 
   Lake", i.e. the southern end of Lake Winnebago) and Portage, 
   all in eastern or southern Wisconsin.  I was born and raised 
   between the first two named places, longer ago than I would 
   care to admit, and grew up in awe of the memory of many of 
   these personages. 

   More later when I find the time to comment further, as Red 
   Jacket, Black Hawk and Keokuk & Son beam down on me." 


   Still more information turned up by the web search: 
   Indian Peace Medals from the Schermer Collection are on 
   display at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. 
   January 26,  2001 through June 3, 2001.  From the museum's 
   web site: 

   "On view are 19 peace medals presented to Indian tribal 
   leaders by the United States government between 1793 and 
   1881, along with a British medal depicting George III and 
   given to Canadian allies during the War of 1812.  The U.S. 
   medals, usually made in silver and with a portrait of the 
   current President on one side, were often given to secure 
   treaties and cement political loyalties. The pipe and hatchet 
   motif appeared on the medals until 1850 and symbolized peace. 

   Also on view is a complete 3-volume set of The History of 
   Indian Tribes of North America by Thomas L. McKenney and 
   James Hall, one of the 19th century's most important works on 
   the American Indian. The series, printed in Philadelphia from 
  1837-1844, includes biographies of Native American leaders 
   and 120 hand-colored lithographic portraits that reproduce 
   painting made by Charles Bird King and other artists. 

   These objects were donated to the National Portrait Gallery 
   by Lloyd and Betty Schermer." 


   Being naturally curious, your Editor decided to assign a 
   staff reporter to follow up on the recent eBay sale of an 
   1850 Dye's Counterfeit Detector and Universal Bank Note 
   Gazetteer" (reported in the February 4, 2001 E-Sylum, 
   v4, no. 06). 

   Then I realized, "Hey, I don't have a staff!"  So playing 
   beat reporter, your Editor contacted the seller seller himself, 
   asking how he acquired the item and what he thought of the 
   bidding which took it from a $9 opening bid to a final 
   $1225 hammer price.  The gentleman wrote: 

   "I found the item while browsing an upstate NY antique 
   co-op looking for photographs to add to my collection. 
   I stopped at one booth, and the photos were terrible, so I 
   started looking at the paper items available.  The detector 
   was priced at the reasonable sum of $15. 

   After looking through it, I decided it was worth that much 
   as an interesting diversion to read, and then resell.  As to 
   its value,  I felt sure someone who collected paper money 
   would be interested in it for more then I paid for it, but to 
   be honest, I thought it likely that the amount it would resell 
   for was in the $50 to $100 range.  I was surprised by, and 
   don't pretend to understand the reason for the final bid. 
   Needless to say, if I ever see another, I've learnt something 
   useful here." 


   This week's featured web site is a maker of medals and 
   reproduction coins, The Bigbury Mint in South Devon, 

   "To satisfy the needs of Living History Groups, collectors 
    and retailers, the Bigbury Mint produce a range of semi - 
   replica hammered coins that really do look and feel authentic. 

   Weights, alloys and fineness are kept close to the original 
   remedies and coins can be supplied as new or in a gently 
   toned and aged condition. Original coins are carefully 
   analysed to determine engraving techniques and over years 
   experience is used to re-create the dies in fine detail. 

   The Bigbury Mint acts as a real period Mint with it’s 
   own mintmark, issuing coins under it’s own name. 

   There has long been a conflict of interests over those who 
   supply this type of coin with some wanting absolute 
   replication and with others worried about the whole idea 
   of copies. 

   The Bigbury Mint offers a reasonable compromise.  Apart 
   from using our own mintmark we will normally alter the 
   reverse legend to include an appropriate version of the word 

   An example of each of our replica coins are held at the 
   British Museum for reference." 

   Wayne Homren 
  Numismatic Bibliomania Society

Content presented in The E-Sylum is not necessarily researched or independently fact-checked, and views expressed do not necessarily represent those of the 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.  Visit the Membership page. Those wishing to become new E-Sylum subscribers (or wishing to Unsubscribe) can go to the following web page link.

PREV        NEXT        V 04 2001 INDEX        E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

NBS Home Page    Back to top

NBS ( Web