The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 4, Number 11, March 11, 2001: 
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 
Copyright (c) 2001, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 


   We have no new subscribers this week.  Our subscriber 
   count holds at 372. 


   This just in from Fred Lake: "Lake Books announces that 
   its 57th mail-bid sale of numismatic literature is available 
   for viewing on its web site. 

   The sale is highlighted by a run of 28 B. Max Mehl auctions, 
   Bowers & Merena hardbound sales including the Frederick B. 
   Taylor auction, Stack's Anderson DuPont sale of Large Cents, 
   many European sale catalogs, a signed copy of Walter Breen's 
   "U. S. and Colonial Proof Coins", Kessler's "Fugio Cents", a 
   complete set of "The Fraktur" by Courtney Coffing, books on 
   tokens and medals, Elvira Clain-Stefanelli's "Numismatic 
   Bibliography", Martin Gengerke's work on "American 
   Numismatic Auctions" plus works on lost treasures. 

   The 640-lot sale has a closing date of April 10, 2001 and 
   may be viewed by visiting and clicking 
   on the link to "Current Sale". 


   Numismatic bookseller Orville J. Grady writes: "Announcing 
   Mail Bid Sale XXV, with a closing date of April 11, 2001. 
   The sale features the Library of JOHN TWENTE, which 
   comprises a diverse and important offering of works on 
   ancient Greek and Roman coinage. Significant items include 
   KÖLN, Volumes 1-5, Margaret Thompson's THE NEW 
   complete run of both CLASSICAL NUMISMATIC 

   Also presented are a large number of auction catalogs, 
   periodicals and fixed price lists issued by the major dealers 
   in ancient coinage.  Other important consignments include 
   a complete set of UNITED STATES GOLD COINS-AN 
   works on NOTGELD by Arnold Keller, two complete sets 
   of RED BOOKS, RED and BLUE BOOKS signed by 
   R.S. YEOMAN,  as well as a 6TH and 8TH edition Blue 
   Book once the property of Charles E. Green, co-author of 
   the Blue Book. 

   Periodicals are represented by a complete bound set of 
   MEHL'S COIN CIRCULAR (1921-1933), MEHL'S 
   NUMISMATIC MONTHLY, the I.B.N.S. Journal 
   (1968-1999), and COIN MONTHLY (1966-1992). 
   There are fifty different monographs on paper money 
   authored by John A. Muscalus, the first 38 auction catalogs 
   issued by Hickman/Oakes, a large number of PRESIDENTIAL 
   COIN AND ANTIQUE COMPANY auction sales and a 
   by Rogers Ruding. 

   Copies of the catalog may be obtained by writing Orville J. 
   Grady, 6602 Military Ave., Omaha, Ne 68104, or calling 
   800-295-4846, or by visiting the website:" 


   Paul Hybert reports that he is working on a project to 
   place copies of early United States Mint Reports 
   (to 1892) on the internet.  He writes: 

   "The project is expected to run for a number of years. 
   After processing a few reports, it is obvious that the 
   smaller reports are the easiest to process. For that and 
   other reasons, the early reports will be processed first; 
   some post-Civil War reports contain over 400 pages! 

   I like reading, and proofreading is a great excuse to read 
   these reports carefully.  Obvious spelling/arithmetic errors 
   will be corrected, the original fonts and sizing will be lost, 
   and the tables will have a different look; but the content will 
   be on the web."   From the web site: 

   1816 -  A short report from mint director R. Patterson to 
    President Madison, who relayed it to Congress. A brick 
    building replaces wooden structures. A steam engine 
    replaces some horse power. 

   1850 -  A report from mint director R.M. Patterson to 
   President Fillmore, who relayed it to Congress. The gold 
   from California is reaching the mints in much larger 
   quantities than in previous years. 

   1855 - A report from mint director James Ross Snowden 
   to President Pierce, who relayed it to Congress.  Half of the 
   report consists of a descriptive listing of the dies of medals 
   in the collection of the U.S. Mint. This list is a corrected and 
   enlarged version of the listing contained in the Mint Report 
   from 1853. 

   1886 -  A report for fiscal year 1886 ended June 30, 1886. 
   The price of silver, in terms of gold, continues to fall. 
   Philadelphia mint runs out of room to store silver dollars. 
   The New York Assay Office introduces new equipment to 
   eliminate the release of noxious fumes that angered its 
   neighbors. The old carpets from the adjusting room in the 
   San Francisco mint are burned and produce 172 ounces of 
   gold, and 44 ounces of silver. Questionnaires were sent to the 
   mints of  most nations, and their responses form the bulk of 
   this report; a world wide snapshot of contemporary mint and 
   monetary practices. 

   The address of the web site is: 


   George Fuld writes: "I have spent much of the last week 
   analyzing the McKenney-Hall photos in tabular form, as 
   well as the issuance of the medals themselves.  I am 
   attaching files of two table summaries of this work.  It's too 
   long for The E-Sylum, but perhaps you can make it an 
   attachment for those of interest. 

   The identification of the medals is problematic -- 
   this is my first attempt." 

   [Editor's note:  Fuld's note arrived February 26th; the files 
    are now available for viewing on the NBS web site. 
   Click on the Research link. ] 


   Dan Freidus writes: "I'm working this month to compile a list 
   of contemporary references to coins and paper money in use 
   in the American colonies and states up to the establishment 
   of the U.S. Mint in 1792.  If you know of any such references, 
   I would greatly appreciate the citations.  You need not have 
   access to the actual object or copy.  The citation would be 

   Many of you are aware of Wayne Homren's long-term project 
   "Numismatics in the News" 
   This is somewhat similar but I'm focusing on only about one 
  century rather than three.   I'll be glad to share the compiled list 
   with contributors." 

   Dan can be reached at this email address: 


   On the topic of Gen Morelos, Bob Dunfield writes: "Thank 
   you once again for a fine installment of The E-Sylum. As 
   you might know, I am continuing my research on the coinage 
   of Gen. Morelos - I am in my ninth year of study, and hope 
   to have the work completed and published soon!  As a result 
   of your publication of my request for catalogs, etc., on 
   Morelos' coinage (in the February 18, 2001 issue, Volume 4, 
   No. 08), I have received several e-mails. 

   I was very pleased to read of Adrian Gonzales Salinas find of 
   the reprint of 'La Moneda del insurgente Morelos..."  I have 
   been searching for a copy of this publication for some time. 
   I have seen copies on some of the popular book search sites, 
   but unfortunately, I was too late, or the price was beyond 


   Last week, I reviewed Karl Moulton's new book, "United 
   States Numismatic Auction Catalogues 1990-2000", noting 
   that an index of the listed consignors would be a useful addition. 

   Karl Moulton writes: "Many thanks for the review of USNAC 
   in this week's E-Sylum.  A consignor index was thought of, 
   but I felt there were too many blanks and pseudonyms utilized 
   to make it beneficial.  The modern auction companies tend to 
   regard most of their consignors on a very low level, at least 
   according to what they publish in their catalogues.  Even when 
   a firm does properly list a majority of their consignors, they can 
   also create misleading names which serve no useful purpose. 
   One of my favorite ones was from Money Tree's 30th MBS, 
   "DOT E. COMM";  and they were among the best when it 
   came to listing consignors and their material.  It's too bad 
   other coin firms don't do as well as Money Tree did, as it 
   would certainly help the future numismatist in their pedigree 

   Many times, a consignor would be noted on the cover or title 
   page, but their material was not duly noted in the catalogue, 
   which adds further confusion for everyone involved.  At least 
   the listed consignor information from 40 auction firms for 
   1990-2000 is available in USNAC.  Nothing was added from 
   the catalogue listings or descriptions.  If there is any lack, it is 
   merely a reflection of the way in which numismatic business is 
   conducted and presented in this country.  I comment further 
   on this situation in an article appearing in the latest issue of the 
   John Reich Journal." 


   As noted above by Karl Moulton, it can be difficult, if not 
   impossible, for numismatic researchers to learn the true 
   identity of auction consignors. Often, this is at the request 
   of consignors, many of whom prefer to remain anonymous. 

   A recent article about art auctions in The Wall Street Journal 
   (March 2, 2001, pW10), notes "In the past, sellers at auction 
   have always insisted on anonymity - for tax reasons, out of 
   decorum, and just in case an artwork turns out to be of 
   dubious provenance."   The article calls seller anonymity 
   "an auction-house sacred cow", and discusses a court case 
   that may force open the veil of anonymity. 

   "In January, Christie's International sold off an American 
   mahogany card table for $149,000.  The problem is 
   Livermore, Maine, dealer Peter Cushman.  He claims the 
   table was stolen from him and is suing the auctioneer in 
   New York State Supreme Court to get the table or his 
   money back. 

   "... To prove the desk is rightfully his, Mr. Cushman 
   wants Christie's to say who the seller was... If Mr. 
   Cushman can prove that his desk was stolen, and that 
   the person Christie's sold it for was in any way aware of, 
   or involved in, that theft, auctioneers may have to start 
   giving up clients' identities" 

   Question:  what's the big deal?  Sure, sellers have 
   always wanted anonymity, but what right do auctioneers 
   have to refuse to cooperate with law enforcement 
   officials?  Why should it take a court order? 


   From The Standard, March 6, 2001 

   "As Amazon's stock zoomed yesterday, news emerged 
   of a serious security breach at one of its subsidiaries.,  based in Massachusetts, revealed that a 
   week ago it discovered that its system had been visited 
   by intruders "monthly" since last October.  The company 
   announced that personal data on 98,000 of its customers, 
   including credit-card numbers and addresses, had been 

   Amazon bought Bibliofind's parent company,, 
   in 1999.  Bibliofind lists more than 20 million rare books 
   and ephemera for sale by independent booksellers. 

   News outlets gave the break-in story scant coverage 
   yesterday and today.  InternetNews was among the first to 
   post on Monday, and its sister operation InternetNewsRadio 
   led yesterday's newscast with a story on the security breach. 
   Most of the press accounts leaned hard on a statement by 
   an spokesman that no customer data at the 
   parent company had been put at risk. 

   CNN reported that when Bibliofind reopened for business 
   on Monday, it was operating strictly as a matching service 
   for buyers and sellers of rare books, not as a broker of 
   monetary transactions." 


   Hadrien Rambach reports: "The latest book written by 
   Jean-Baptiste Giard on the Roman coinage of Lyon (France) 
   will receive the prize "Allier de Hauteroche" of the Académie 
   des Inscriptions (Paris, France).  He had already received this 
   prize for his 1976 catalogue of the Roman coins in the Cabinet 
   des Médailles in Paris (France), followed by two other 


   Chuck Shephard's News of the Weird reports: " .. a 
   64-year-old man was killed in Reno, Nev., in January, 
   found underneath several hundred pounds of old newspapers 
   that had been stacked to the ceiling throughout his house." 
   [Associated Press, 1-16-01] 


   Last week Asylum Editor E. Tomlinson Fort asked: 
   "Who is the only numismatic author ever to win 
   the Nobel Prize for Literature?" 

   The smartypants replies always get here first.  Tom DeLorey 
   answered: "John Steinbeck, who wrote "The Gripes of Wrath" 
   about the flame wars in the newsgroup" 

   Andy Lustig was the first to supply a correct answer (but not 
   the only correct answer - there are two):   "In 1926 the 
   government of the newly founded Irish Free State formed a 
   coinage committee to plan for a new Irish coinage.  The 
   chairman of the committee was the Irish poet William Butler 
   Yeats.  Nobel Laureate Yeats wrote a book on the subject." 

   Scott Miller writes: "Shame on you.  I have attached the card 
   entry from the ANS which includes an essay by William Butler 
   Yeats, laureate for 1923." 

   [Shame indeed - I should have known.  I handled a copy of 
    that book once, and asked myself, is that THE Yeats? 
    I figured, nahhhh...  -Editor] 

   George Kolbe also knew about the Yeats book, as did 
   Henk Groenendijk and Peter Gaspar, who signed his note 
   "E-Sylum proud subscriber #1"   He wrote: "Just read the 
   latest E-Sylum, and enjoyed it, as always.  I haven't had 
   time to look at the web site mentioned, but I'll be surprised 
   if the answer isn't William Butler Yeats and the book the 
   description of the origin of the first coinage of the Irish Free 
   State in 1928.  It is among the handsomest of 20th 
   century coin books and has true historical importance 
   in recording the process by which designs were solicited 
   and the winning designs by Percy Metcalfe (sp?) selected." 

   Tom Fort originally posed his question to the NBS Board. 
   As E-Sylum editor, I shamelessly appropriated it for 
   publication. Actually, Tom had a different Nobel Laureate 
   in mind.   He offered to buy a lunch for board members 
   who answered correctly.   I'm proud to say the Board 
   does not consist entirely of dummies like myself.  Tom 

   "When I sent out my trivia question last week, my 
   intended answer was Theodor Mommsen, who won the 
   Nobel Prize for literature in 1902.  Mommsen published 
   a major monograph on Roman Republican coinage in the 
   1870's along with a number of articles.  Only Bob Metzger 
   got this answer correct, for which I owe him a couple of 
   strombolis next time he is in Pittsburgh. 

   However, Pete Smith then wrote me the following: "William 
   Butler Yeats won the Nobel prize for literature in 1923. He 
   was part of the committee on coinage design and co-author 
   of "Coinage of Saurstat aEireann" (Coinage of the Irish State) 
   with McElligott, McCauley, O'Brien, Dermod, Bodkin et al. 
   He also wrote articles for periodicals including Coin World. 
   Larry Mitchell also knew about Yeats' numismatic writings, 
   though I did not.  Therefore, I now owe Bob, Pete and Larry 
   lunch next time they are in Pittsburgh." 


   We did have one reader who correctly answered Mommsen. 
   Henk Groenendijk wrote: "The Nobel Laureate is: Christian 
   Matthias Theodor Mommsen.   I found it by using the search 
   button and the word numismatic. This also turned up a second 
   quotation:   Miguel Angel Asturio used the term "numismatic 
   anguish" in his acceptance speech.  I do not know the meaning 
   of numismatic in this context." 

   [Neither do I.  Any ideas, readers? 
     The paragraph follows  -Editor] 

        This novel shares - consciously or unconsciously - the 
        characteristics of the indigenous texts; their freshness 
        and power, the numismatic anguish in the eyes of the 
        Creoles who awaited the dawn in the colonial night, 
        more luminous however than this night that threatens 
        us now. Above all, it is the affirmation of the optimism of 
        those writers that defied the Inquisition, opening a 
        breach in the conscience of the people for the march of 
        the Liberators. 


   Adrián González of Monterrey, Nuevo León, México writes: 
   "I would like to ask The E-Sylum readers the following: 
   What is the best way to store books for a long-term period 
   (2+ years), considering humidity, silverfish, etc? 

   In this period, the books would stay untouched.  Also, what 
   is the best fumigator-agent against book-bugs?   I have some 
   books which I can't touch some months." 


   NBS Board member Joel Orosz writes: "In response to Doug 
   Owens' question about the effects of direct vs. diffused 
   sunlight, you are right to say that direct sunlight is worse than 
   diffused sunlight, but both are bad for books.  Even when 
   diffused, sunlight still contains ultraviolet radiation, which will 
   fade books and jackets.  It is insidious, since it happens slowly, 
   but it still happens.  The only safe level of sunlight in a room 
   with books is zero.  Usually, a curtain is not enough, for the 
   UV radiation leaks around the fabric, and often goes right 
   through it. I have a hurricane shutter over the window in the 
   library, which blocks out all sunlight. 

   On another front, be careful when you next put a bid on a 
   "Blue Book", because you might get the following item, as 
   recently advertised in a catalogue from Oak Knoll Books: 

   Heartman, Charles.  Idem, Semper. The "Blue Book," A 
   Bibliographical Attempt to Describe the Guide Books to the 
   Houses of Ill-Fame in New Orleans as They were Published. 
   Together with Some Pertinent and Illuminating Remarks 
   Pertaining to the Establishments and Courtesans as Well as 
   Harlotry in General in New Orleans.  N.p., n.p. , 1936. 

   On the plus side, you can always say to your spouse, 
   "but dear, I thought it was a coin book"! 


   In honor of Joel's submission, this week's featured web 
   page is the Brothel Token section from The Meretrix 
   Online Virtual Prostitution Museum. (I'm not kidding!) 
   "This site is an attempt to preserve some of the history of 
   prostitution through photos of relics, brothels, prostitutes 
   and much more." 

   [The tokens are labeled "reproductions", but these are 
    more appropriately called "fantasy pieces" (in more 
    ways than one!)  -Editor] 

   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.

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