The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 4, Number 12, March 18, 2001: 
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 
Copyright (c) 2001, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 


   We have four new subscribers this week:  ANA Librarian 
   Nancy Green, Mark Sommer, and Ron Benice & Charles 
   Opitz, both courtesy of John and Nancy Wilson.  Welcome 

   After eliminating some email addresses with persistent 
   delivery problems, our subscriber count drops by one 
   to 371.  Keep those referrals coming, folks - if you 
   know someone who would enjoy the E-Sylum, please 
   pass the word.   How soon can we reach the 400 mark? 


   The latest issue of our print journal, The Asylum, has been 
   mailed to active NBS members.  Included is a membership 
   remittance envelope;  only paid-up members will receive the 
   remaining issues for the year 2001. 

   Also included are a ballot for the Best Asylum Article of 
   the year 2000 volume, and forms for Nominations and the 
   NBS Membership Roster.  Election ballots will be 
   included in the next issue. 


   Once-and-again ANA Librarian Nancy Green joins us 
   this week.   Nancy was the ANA Librarian for several 
   years, and now steps in as interim Librarian, just as 
   construction is beginning on the ANA Headquarters 
   expansion.  She writes: "It's good to be back, if a little 
   strange.  The library is progressing.  We have a temporary 
   hole in one wall.  We will be moving materials into the next 
   room until the library offices are constructed.  Then they 
   will cut a large hole for our new stairway and work on the 
   "garden level."  The Library must be ready for the Summer 
   Seminar which starts on June 30.  Any students who come 
   early or other collectors "passing through" are welcome to 
   volunteer in the library during June to help get everything 
   back in order.  I'm assuming, of course, that the library is 
   ready to be put back in order by then." 


   The Lake Books sale #57 of numismatic literature, closing 
   April 10, 2001, is available for viewing at the firm's 
   web site: 

   Fred Lake writes: "The 640 lots cover the full arena of 
   numismatic reference books. United States auction catalogs, 
   World auction sales, U.S. Books and Fixed Price Lists, 
   World Books, Paper Money, Tokens and Medals, etc." 

   Fred may be reached at this email address: 


   New subscriber Charles J. Opitz has just published a new 
   book titled "An Ethnographic Study of Traditional Money" 
   From the press release: 

   "Everywhere among the peoples of the world we see 
   examples of traditional money.  From the wampum of the 
   American Indians used in the past, to the mamulis still being 
   used by  villagers for bride price on the Island of Sumba, 
   we have always been fascinated by the relationship between 
   culture and money. 

   Traditional money has always been used for important events 
   in life such as buying land, bride price, death, the birth of a child 

   and the coming of age.  Even when coins or paper money are 
   used for everyday activities, traditional money may still be used 
   for the most important occasions. 

   Because the definition of money is subjective at best, this book 
   also includes items that do not meet all of the criteria of money 
   but are at some times considered as such.   Included are 
   explanations of the usage of the traditional money in the culture, 
   history and references. 

   This book is the result of more than 26 years of research and 
   the review of 600 books containing ethnographic information 
   on traditional money. It is a fascinating journey through the 
   history of the intermingling of culture and money. 

      * Hard-bound, 8 1/2" x 11" 
      * More than 410 pages long 
      * Contains more than 1,200 pictures, 150 of which in full color 
      * Most of the photographs in the book were taken by the 
         author of items in his personal collection of traditional money. 
      * A separate price list included which gives the current 
         estimated value for hundreds of the items listed. 

   The book price is $80.00 plus insured shipping. Order from your 
   favorite numismatic book seller or send a check or money order to: 

   Charles Opitz 
   2471 SW 37 St. 
   Ocala, FL 34474" 


   William Malkmus reports: "A forwarded message from: 
   Jérôme Mairat and Stéphan Sombart on the mailing 
   list NUMISM-L states that they now have the first volume 
   of Henry Cohen's masterpiece eight-volume work, 
   "Description historique des monnaies frappées sous 
   l'Empire Romain" (Paris, 1880) online at: 

   Volume I goes from Pompeius to Domitianus (544 pages), 
   with many illustrations of the rarest types, beautifully engraved. 
   The following seven volumes will be on line in the coming 
   months. A complete version on CD-Rom will be available 
   when publication is completed." 

   Jérôme Mairat may be contacted at this email address: 


   American Numismatic Society's 2001 Coinage of the 
   Americas Conference was held yesterday, March 17, 2001, 
   at the Baltimore Convention Center.  The subject was 
   Error Coins.   Speakers included a number of prominent 
   NBS members and E-Sylum subscribers.  Perhaps some 
   of them can give us a report on the event. 

       P. Scott Rubin, Conference Chairman 
       "A History of Error Collecting in the U.S." 

       Dr. Philip Mossman 
       "Colonial Coinage Errors" 

       Tom Delorey 
       "1943 Copper Cents" 

       J.T. Stanton 
       "Pocket Change Varieties" 

       Allen Herbert 
       "Are Errors Really Minting Varieties?" 


   The American Numismatic Society will present The Groves 
   Forum in American Numismatics on Saturday, April 28, 
   2001 at 3:00 p.m. at the society headquarters in New York. 
   The speaker is  NBS members and E-Sylum subscriber 
   Daniel J. Freidus, specialist in Early American Numismatics. 
   His topic is:  "What Did They Know and When Did They 
   Know It?  Contemporary References to Early American 
   Coins and Paper Money" 

   For information, please contact Anne Reidy at 
   (212) 234-3130 ext. 231  or 


   Like I said, the smartypants answers are always the first 
   to arrive.  In response to the usage of the term "numismatic 
   anguish", one anonymous wag writes: "Perhaps the term 
   "numismatic anguish" refers to the underbidder on a 1953-S 
   Franklin half dollar selling for $69,000. ... or maybe it refers 
   to the successful bidder." 

   Bill Bischoff writes: "The current E-Sylum devotes considerable 
   space to the topic of Nobel Prize-Winning numismatic authors. 
   I would say T. Mommsen is the best answer, because he was 
   a practicing numismatist as well as an historian, whereas Yeats 
   was a poet who had an incidental, short-term encounter with 

   As for Miguel Angel Asturias (not Asturio), who is quoted as 
   saying, "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 

   The word "numismatic" is used incorrectly here, due either to 
   the Nobel author's or the translator's inadequate command 
   of English. The word "numismatic" in the quotation  may be 
   intended for "numinous" -- meaning that the Creoles in 
   question feared for their very Being.  But hey, at least the term 
   wasn't "philatelic!" 

   [Editor's note:  this is the best explanation I've heard yet 
    (it's also the only one).  But it seems to make sense. You 
   know, the word "philatelist" sounds to me like it ought to 
   mean "one who has gas"...  as in "too many philatelists in a 
   room make me feel numinous"] 


   Bob Korver of Heritage writes: "Your question re anonymity 
   ("what's the big deal?") is embarrassingly simplistic. An 
   auctioneer is a legal agent of the consignor, and must fulfill 
   his legal requirements scrupulously. This is exactly why it 
   MUST take a court order." 

   Another take on the subject is provided by Mark Borckardt 
   of Bowers & Merena Galleries, who writes: "In response to 
   Karl Moulton's discussion of consignors to numismatic auctions, 
   there are many times when consignors request to remain 
   anonymous:  In fact, probably 90% of all consignors specifically 
   request to remain anonymous. 

   A case in point is the "Pennsylvania Cabinet" which we sold 
   over the last several years. We felt it was important to provide 
   some reference to this particular collection, and in fact identified 
   all of the coins in the various sales from this collection.  The 
   consignor was the widow of a very well known collector from 
   the state, and she specifically requested to remain anonymous. 

   Her reason was primarily that her late husband would not have 
   wanted any specific notoriety from the sale of this collection. 
   She did pay taxes on all proceeds and there was never any 
   question of title.  Some consignors, however, are delighted 
   with the thought of seeing their name on the cover of an 
   auction catalog. 

   The question of title is certainly interesting:  Our standard 
   auction contract has a specific clause in which the consignor 
   warrants good title to all items being sold. Thus, cooperation 
   with law enforcement would be a given should any question 
   arise. This is particularly important with the on-going ANS 
   vs. Sheldon/Naftzger situation." 


   Joel Orosz writes; "In answer to the question from Adrian 
   Gonzalez, back when I was in graduate school, studying to be 
   a museum curator, the optimal conditions for book storage 
   were considered to be a constant environment of 65 degrees 
   Fahrenheit, with a relative humidity of 50%.  If the humidity is 
   lower than 45%, books dry out, if it is higher than 55%, mold 
   and mildew begin to grow on the paper. 

   I'm not well versed with the best current recommendations for 
   killing bookworms and silverfish.  In the old days, we used to 
   encase books in boxes suffused with a high concentration of 
   thymol, and leave them there for a week.  This killed mold, 
   mildew, bookworms and silverfish that were inside of  the 
   book.  On the down side, if used carelessly, thymol could also 
   kill the librarian! 

   It was also necessary, of course, to fumigate the entire library 
   room itself, since silverfish could be lurking outside of the books. 
   It would probably make sense to consult a professional 
   exterminator to see what pesticide is currently considered most 
   effective against silverfish." 

   Bob Knepper writes: "In E-Sylum, Vol. 4, No. 11, Joel Orosz 
   comments about the bad effects of sunlight on books.  To try 
   to minimize fading of carpets and furniture, I experimented with 
   UV filter glass and films for windows.  They yield some 
   improvement - but only a little.  Thus the solution given of 
   blocking all sunlight is still valid." 


   Bob Dunfield writes; "Perhaps I can offer some tips for 
   Adrian Gonzales regarding his request for information on 
   book storage. ('E-Sylum v4#11, March 11. 2001. 

   If a book has a dust jacket, particular care should be taken 
   to preserve it.  Often, the dust jacket is the most valuable 
   part of a rare book, sometimes as much as 80% of the book's 
   value.  There are two dust jacket protectors that I can 
   recommend, those made by Brodart and Demco. In my 
   opinion, the Brodart product is of better quality, and easier 
   to use. Brodart Co. may be reached toll free at 
   (800) 233-8467. 

   They come in many sizes, clear harder plastic on one side, 
   and acid-free white paper on the other. Many booksellers 
   offer them, particularly dealers of used and rare books. A 
   standard size dust jacket protector that will fit most new 
   novels should cost about 60 cents.  After adding this, the 
   book may be placed in a plastic bag, and taped tight. These 
   bags are often sold in several sizes by many comic book 

   For the better books, there are several individuals that will 
   make a custom slipcase for the book. They can be made in 
   a "slip-in",  or "clamshell"  design.  Cost for these vary from 
   $40 to $120,  depending on the size, material, gold leaf 
   lettering for the title, etc.   I was fortunate to acquire a first 
   edition of  'Early American Cents'  by Dr. William H. Sheldon. 
   I do not refer to this book, using a reprinted edition instead. 
   This is an excellent example of a book that would be stored 
   for years. The plastic bag will keep out most of the moisture, 
   and the slipcase will protect the cover from fading if 
   exposed to sunlight." 


   Karl Moulton writes: "In an email to fellow NBS'er 
   Dick Johnson, I offered my thoughts on a three digit 
   standard code for auction companies, which could 
   be used as a common shorthand in bibliographic 
   citations.  Dick took the idea further, to suggest a 
   standard scheme for representing cataloguer, sale, 
   and lot references in a compact code. 

   Based on what I went through with the recent USNAC 
   compilation, it would be a very remote possibility that 
   anything could be ever agreed upon by the cataloguers. 
   Perhaps the NBS'ers  could come up with such a listing 
   for their own use, if something like this would be useful. 

   Cataloguers have very little regard for such projects, as 
   there is no profit in doing so.  The response rates to 
   requests for a complete listing of their own publications 
   for the past 10 years was less than 1 in 10!!   Even then, 
   some lists were not complete and  contained incorrect 


   Dick Johnson writes: 
     "Question:  Do you know how to tell a book collector? 
      Answer:  He has bookcases in his garage. 

   How many other numismatic book collectors are like me? 
   I have books in every room in the house (except the kitchen 
   and bathroom).  They overflow everywhere.  I even have 
   book cases on both sides of the garage.  It is like driving 
   into a library when I park my car." 

   [Editor's note:  You know, I just knew I was at the right 
    house when I pulled into John Bergman's driveway and 
    there were curtains on the garage door windows.   The 
    bulk of his library was in the former garage, and the cars 
    were parked in the driveway.] 

   Coincidentally, in response to last week's "Death of a 
   Bibliophile" item, George Kolbe writes: "This reminded me 
   of the first time I visited Jack Collins.  To gain entry to his 
   bedroom cum library one had to turn sideways and navigate 
   carefully between two six foot stacks of bound Coin Worlds 
   that Jack had recently purchased at a local library sale. 

   Once through the eye of the needle, one was surrounded by 
   lawyers bookcases filled to brimming; the bed was covered 
   with boxes full of the overflow.  Imagine having to move book 
   boxes every evening before retiring for the night.  The head of 
   the bed was fortunately away from the Coin Worlds,  but the 
   lawyers bookcases were probably close enough to cause 
   serious injury should an earthquake occur.  Perhaps Jack, as 
   Del Bland recently related, was intentionally close at hand to 
   protect his library from any peril - natural or manmade." 


   In another coincidence (I'm detecting a pattern here...) 
   Q. David Bowers sings the bibliophile's lament in 
   an article in the Spring 2001 issue of The Civil War 
   Token Society Journal.  In an article titled "Some 
   Personal Notes and Observations Concerning 
   Civil War Tokens", he writes: 

   "I am a pack rat. Especially when it comes to books and 
   catalogues.  I have been squirreling books and other printed 
   material away - if it has something to do with coins.  In fact, 
   my favorite things are not numismatic texts at all, but, instead, 
   are other things - preferably printed in the 18th or 19th 
   century - that mention coins in passing" 

   "I have also acquired a lot of other things, such as bound 
   runs of daily papers from New York and Cincinnati for the 
   Civil War.  The 'problem'  with such things is that if I were 
   blessed with 100 hours per day and 100 days per month, 
   it would take two lifetimes to look through them all.  I've 
   loaned the Cincinnati papers to Steve Tanenbaum, but at 
   last word he has not had the time to look at them either." 

   [Editor's note: there are probably few among us to whom 
   that first sentence does not apply.  In fact, I'm sure our 
   spouses would all love to enroll us in a "Packrats 
   Anonymous" program, where we would stand  up and state 
   (ashamedly), "My name is John Doe, and I am a pack rat". 
   Instead, we go to NBS meetings, damn proud to proclaim 
   ourselves as numismatic pack rats.] 


   This week's featured web site is recommended to us by 
   Bob Fritsch, who writes: "Here is an interesting site about 
   US Cents, commonly called "Pennies". 

   The site is non-numismatic (which you can tell from the 
   get-go by the use of the term "penny"), but it uses cents to 
   illustrate large numbers through one quintillion.   One 
   (fractured) numismatic tidbit is: "Current estimates by the 
   U.S. Mint place the number of pennies in circulation at 
   around 140 billion.   Others have estimated as many as 
   200 billion currently circulating.  Since the first penny was 
   minted in 1787, until present-day, over 300 billion pennies 
   have been minted in the United States.  So that leaves about 
   100 billion pennies that have been retired by the Mint, 
   lost down sewer drains, stored in jars, smashed by trains, 
   or collected by numismatists in the past 200 years."  

   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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