The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 4, Number 10, March 4, 2001: 
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 
Copyright (c) 2001, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 


   We have one  new subscriber this week, NBS member 
   Dave Petrashek.   Welcome aboard!   Our subscriber 
   count is now 372. 


   Seattle-area resident and NBS Vice President Tom Sheehan 
   filed this report on Wednesday's earthquake:  "I was at the 
   kitchen counter when the quake hit.  Then just like the prepared 
   person I am, did everything wrong.   Just as I thought the quake 
   was over I decided to check on a neighbor and went to the front 
   door under our skylight, which is about eight feet wide and fifteen 
   feet long.  Not too smart. 

   Anyway, I just read an e-mail from my sister in San Francisco. 
   If I would take what she read in the newspaper down there the 
   quake must have been "The Big One"  If you look at a map you 
   will see that Renton is south of Seattle and Edmonds where I live 
   is north of Seattle. Her paper had Renton north of Seattle.  I 
   will have to go outside and see just how close I am now to the 
   Boeing Renton plant.  Moving an entire city 30 or 40 miles would 
   have to qualify as a major earthquake. 

   In my own situation I don't think anything has moved.  It would 
   have been great if a few numismatic books could have moved into 
   my shelves, say some from George Kolbe or maybe from that 
   collector DH. 

   Overall though, parts of the state have been declared a disaster 
   area and the estimate for damage is now running at 2 billion. 
   Only one fatality, due to a heart attack.  We are very lucky." 

   Tom's daughter Erika provided a link to this moving account of 
   the earthquake: 

   Another Seattle-area resident, Large Cent researcher Del 
   Bland, reported by phone that his home suffered only 
   minor damage, such as some new hairline cracks in 
   ceilings.  When the quake hit, his wife wisely moved under 
   a doorjamb.  But not Del - "I had to hold up my 
   bookshelves to make sure they didn't fall over..." 
   We bibliophiles really ARE nuts, aren't we? 


   Longtime NBS member and E-Sylum subscriber 
   Morten Eske Mortensen of Copenhagen, Denmark 
   has unveiled a new web site devoted to literature on 
   Roman coins, ancient coins, Islamic coins, World coins, 
   Scandinavian coins, Viking age coins, Medieval coins, 
   and coin hoards. 

   The site offers new books, used books, old books, 
   out-of-print books, antiquarian books, and book 
   reviews.  Mortensen is the publisher of Coin Price 
   Yearbooks, a compilation of auction prices realized. 


   Karl Moulton has compiled "A Listing of Sales by the 
   Major American Auction Companies" of the last decade. 
   Picking up where Martin Gengerke's listing ended, 
   Moulton's "United States Numismatic Auction Catalogues 
   1990-2000" is available from the author at $29.95 plus 
   $4 shipping & handling. 

   The 60-page spiral-bound softcover reference lists 
   all catalogues issued during the period by forty major 
   firms, including Stack's, Bowers & Merena, Classical 
   Numismatic Group, and Currency Auctions of America. 
   Numismatic literature dealers are listed as well, including 
   Remy Bourne, Charles Davis, Function Associates / 
   Lake Books, Orville Grady, George Kolbe, and The 
   Money Tree. 

   For each catalogue, the date and name of the sale are 
   listed, along with the number of pages and lots, and 
   the names of the listed consignors.  Where appropriate, 
   there is an indication of the type of material offered for sale. 
.  Unfortunately, there is no index of consignors - this would 
   be a useful addition for a future update.  Karl has done a 
   great service to our hobby;  numismatics doesn't stand 
   still, and even the greatest references need to be brought 
   up to date periodically.  He can be reached at this email 


   The full-text search service now available on the NBS 
   web site will be discontinued on or before April 15, 
   2001., which provided the service 
   for free in return for displaying ads on the search results 
   page, will no longer offer the search to sites like ours 
   (and we can't afford the $5000  "corporate service" 
   they're trying to sell us). 

   This is unfortunate, for the search service was a great way 
   to locate information in past issues of The E-Sylum. 
   Have any of our readers tried compiling an E-Sylum index? 
   Anyone care to try?   It would be time-consuming to create, 
   but would be a very useful tool to have. 

CRIME OF 1873 

   Bob Van Ryzin provided the following information on his new 
   book.  "This  is the book I long wanted to have published and, 
   with 25 chapters, it covers a lot of territory. 

  'Crime of 1873: The Comstock Connection', just released by 
   Krause Publications, culminates research I have been doing 
   into the history of the Coinage Act of 1873 since the 1970s. 
   Along the way, I had the good fortune to uncover a series of 
   previously unpublished letters that show conclusively that not 
   all was above board with the passage of this important act. 

   The book begins with William C. Ralston’s death under 
   mysterious circumstances one day after the collapse of the 
   Bank of California, of which he was a founder and president. 
   By the late 1860s much of the Comstock Lode was 
   controlled by Ralston and his “bank ring.” 

   Early chapters cover the discovery of the lode and the dire fate 
   of its locators, the beginning of deep mining, hazards of mining 
   the lode, the great Gold Hill fire of 1869, the building of the 
   bank-controlled Virginia and Truckee Railroad, and Adolph 
   Sutro’s tunnel. The book then moves into the heart of my 
   research, detailing Ralston’s early career in Panama and as a 
   San Francisco shipping agent (he was on hand for the departure 
   of the ill-fated treasure ship the Yankee Blade),  followed by 
   his involvement in early California banking, the formation of the 
   Bank of California, and his rise to power on the lode. 

   By the late 1860s Ralston had come in contact with Dr. Henry 
   R. Linderman.  This relationship was first observed by John M. 
   Willem Jr. in The United States Trade Dollar, but Willem could 
   find no evidence of Ralston’s involvement in anything related to 
   coinage.  Willem also concluded, logically (considering the 
   known source material at that time), that Linderman had little 
   to do with the mint bill until shortly before its passage. 

   This proves, however, to be incorrect. In some very candid 
   letters written by Linderman to Ralston from 1871-1873 
   (including one signed under the alias “Guyescutes”), the 
   Treasury agent reveals not only his behind-the-scenes role in 
   key provisions of the mint bill that would benefit the silver 
   interests but also that he was taking payments from Ralston 
   in return for his efforts. 

   I was able to obtain a photograph of a $3,500 bill of 
   exchange made out to Linderman, the supporting letter in 
   which Linderman requested that sum, and Ralston’s 
   response, agreeing to pay an additional $5,000 for 
   Linderman’s continued vigilance. The letters and Bank of 
   California sight draft are reproduced in the book with 
   complete documentation as to source. 

   Additional letters show that Linderman and Ralston were 
   aware of the coming decline in silver nearly a year prior to 
   the bill’s final passage and worked to place the nation on a 
   gold standard (through passage of the mint bill) before it 
   could be flooded with silver, while securing provision for the 
   Trade dollar and making plans to replace fractional currency 
   with subsidiary silver coins to support silver prices. 

   Linderman would continue to act on Ralston’s behalf after 
   taking over as Mint director in 1873, though evidence of any 
   additional payments is lacking. Through his “Old Man” letters 
   of 1874 and early 1875, it is clear he helped Ralston to secure 
   some previously blocked provisions as part of the Specie 
   Resumption Act. 

   Just prior to his death, Linderman was under investigation in 
   Congress for, among other things, taking stock payments from 
   the lode’s Bonanza Kings. The book includes what is known 
   of the investigation, the story of Linderman’s coin collection, 
   and his estate records. 

   Later chapters focus on Ralston’s fall from power on the lode, 
   the discovery of the Big Bonanza, the collapse of the Bank of 
   California, and Ralston’s death in San Francisco Bay. The rise 
   of the Free Silver Movement is also detailed as are the myths 
   of foreign intrigue surrounding the Crime of 1873 developed 
   by free silver writers. 

   Sandwiched in and around this story are chapters dealing with 
   collecting Morgan and Trade dollars (including current pricing 
   and a timeline for each date), the Carson City Mint, the GSA 
   silver dollar sales, and William Jennings Bryan’s 1896 
   presidential bid and the Bryan Money it spawned. 

   The book is hard cover, 304 pages, 8.5” x 11.” It includes 
   more than 300 photos (many Comstock or coin related), and is 
   priced at $34.95. It is available directly from the publisher or 
   at major bookstores." 


   Tony Carlotto of Sheffield, MA writes: "I look forward to 
   The E-Sylum every week.  This week was especially 
   enlightening and educational.  There is always some new bit 
   of trivia or plain old solid information to be had.  I know this 
   takes a great deal of your time each week and I appreciate it. 
   I am sure all recipients feel the same as I do. 

   I collect primarily literature on early copper and anything 
   relating to the manufacture of coins. In the coin department 
   Vermonts are my favorite followed by Nova Constellatios 
   and Nova Eboracs. Newspapers and documents of 
   1770-1800 are high on the list too.  I also dabble in British 
   with a George III main focus and some ancients." 

   Carlotto's book on "The Copper Coins of Vermont' was 
   published in 1998 by C-4, the Colonial Coin Collectors Club. 


   Former NBS President Michael J. Sullivan chimes in about 
   the Dye's Counterfeit Detector discussed in recent issues 
   of The E-Sylum.  He writes: "Regarding the Dye item sold 
   on E-Bay for which I was the underbidder, the reckless 
   bidding relates to the absolute rarity of the item.  The only 
   source listed in OCLC for the item is the Western Reserve 
   Historical Society.  I contacted the WRHS and they are 
   unable to locate it; sometimes impounded items just die and 
   get buried! 

   Despite being produced in Cincinnati, no local library nor 
   historical society owns a copy despite two Ormsby's being 
   in town!  Go Figure!   Well, to make it real simple - I was 
   attempting to take it back home to Cincinnati.  In reality, 
   the item is worth $200 or so." 


   Doug Owens writes: "I am aware that books should be 
   kept out of direct sunlight.   How bad is it to keep books 
   in a room that it brightly lit by sunlight, but with no direct 
   light hitting the books?  I want to keep the spines from 

   Can any of our readers supply an answer?  Obviously, 
   direct sunlight is much harsher than indirect, but just 
   how much of a problem can indirect sunlight cause? 


   Adrián González Salinas of  Monterrey, N.L. México writes: 
   "I would like to congratulate you for your extraordinary effort 
   to structure The E-Sylum week after week and very punctually 
   ...with a lot of valuable information for all of us.  Every Monday 
   morning I enjoy reading it with a good coffee cup.  It has a lot 
   of  information unknown to me. In my case, I have a very 
   humble library of  Mexican numismatic books, plus the latest 
   books of Mr. Q. David Bowers. 

   According to your very interesting article titled "A Chronology 
   of Lyman Low's Treatise on Mexican Revolutionary Coinage" 
   (The Asylum - Volume XIV, Nos. 2-4 - Fall, 1996),  I would 
   like to inform you that in December 2000 I obtained a copy 
   titled: "La Moneda del General Insurgente Don José María 
   Morelos"  Ensayo Numismático - Lyman Haynes Low y Dr. 
   Nicolás León - Tipografía del Gobierno de Morelos - Dirigida 
   por Luis G. Miranda - Cuernavaca - Año 1897. 

   This is a facsimile publication printed in Morelia, Michoacán, 
   México on December 21, 1981 by Ediciones Casa de San 
   Nicolás (Morelia, Michoacán).  This edition is totally in Spanish. 

   Until now, I couldn't find any better reference of this treatise. 
   At very recent numismatic auctions (in USA, Spain and Mexico) 
   I remember some of the Morelos coinage has appeared, and in 
   many cases, some of them uncataloged.". 


   Leonard D. Augsberger published "The Numismatic Works 
   of Fred Reinfeld: A Biography and Bibliography" in the 
   November-December 2000 issue of Rare Coin Review 

   "Although the name of Fred Reinfeld is not in the forefront 
   of American numismatics today, decades ago he played a 
   very important part in the popularization of the hobby. 
   His books about rare coins were sold widely and received 
   a very appreciative audience." 

   Numismatic bibliophiles may not be aware that Reinfeld 
   is also "considered the most prolific author of American 
   chess books, with over 200 titles to his credit.... 
   Reinfeld's strength as a chess author was his ability to 
   explain abstract ideas in layman's terms." 

   Augsberger's article details information on all of Reinfeld's 
   nineteen numismatic works, including population data 
   derived from numismatic literature auctions and fixed 
   price lists. 


  Asylum Editor Tom Fort writes; "Here is a trivia question for 
   your readers: Who is the only numismatic author ever to win 
   the Nobel Prize for Literature?" 

   Your editor is stumped, but to help the rest of you, here's 
   a link to a comprehensive list of past prizewinners: 


   [The following story is taken from this week's Featured 
    Web Site] 

   "An 80-year-old man in Frankfurt-on-Main protected himself 
    from thieves in an amazingly simple way by attaching his 
   wallet to his jacket with 2 metres of string. This safety measure 
   worked excellently. Immediately after a pickpocket's attack 
   the thief tried to flee but was captured by the crowd, since the 
   clever old pensioner had attached a little bell to the string to 
   draw attention to his situation." 


   This week's featured web site is maintained by 
   Zurich-based coin collector Jorg Conzett.  It was 
   recommended to us by E-Sylum subscriber Ralf W. 
   Boepple.  Below is the URL for the English version. 

   The site holds many pages of interesting stories about 
   money and coinage, including "Silver In A Dung Heap" 
   (about Silver Coins artificially aged in a manure pile). 

  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, 
  Terry White, Treasurer Numismatic Bibliomania Society 
  P. O. Box 634, Canal Winchester, Ohio 43110 

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

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