The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

PREV        NEXT        V 04 2001 INDEX        E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 4, Number 13, March 25, 2001: 
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 
Copyright (c) 2001, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 


   We have one new subscriber this week:  Tom Tumonis, 
   courtesy of John and Nancy Wilson.  Welcome aboard! 
   Our subscriber count is now 372. 

GLENN A. MOONEY (1918-2001) 

   Glenn A. Mooney, a longtime fixture in Pittsburgh 
   numismatics, passed away at age 82 on March 17th 
   (St. Patrick's Day).  For many years he was a 
   volunteer curator of numismatics at Carnegie Museum, 
   working closely with William W. Woodside. 

   While his interests spanned numismatics from ancient 
   to modern, most of his writings were on the topic of 
   medals and tokens.  His 1976 monograph on the 
   Washington Before Boston medal traced the history 
   of the medal and its restrikes, and provided a detailed 
   reference guide to the various strikings and varieties. 

   His March, 1969 article in The Numismatist is the 
   earliest reference to Play Money found in NIP (the 
   Numismatic Indexes project of the Harry Bass Research 
   Foundation), predating Richard Clothier's 1985 
   reference by 16 years. 

   As a volunteer curator, he devoted many a Saturday 
   to working with the collection, cataloging specimens, 
   and assisting researchers and the general public until 
   1978, when the museum decided to sell the collection. 
   With other local numismatists, Mooney fought the 
   planned sale, and although ultimately the bulk of the 
   collection was sold in succeeding years, a court decree 
   kept the George H. Clapp reference collection of U.S. 
   large cents intact, along  with a representative U.S. type 
   collection, and items with a local or regional connection. 

   Of interest to bibliophiles is the museum's numismatic 
   reference library, which, as part of the decree, was 
   transferred to The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, where 
   it still resides today.  The library includes a complete set 
   of The Numismatist, including the rare original first 
   six volumes. 

   Born in Denison, TX, Mr. Mooney served as a Captain 
   in the Army Signal Corp in the South Pacific in WWII. 
   A graduate of  Texas A&M, he became a manager at 
   Westinghouse Electric Corporation in Pittsburgh, where 
   he met Nikola Tesla and worked with Admiral Rickover 
   building the USS Nautilus, the world's first nuclear 
   powered submarine (launched in 1955).  He is survived 
   by his wife Jeanne, six children, twelve grandchildren, 
   and five great-grandchildren. 

   [Editor's note:  Mooney became my numismatic mentor 
   and role model in 1978.  I had called him after reading an 
   interview with him in the local paper about the museum's 
   planned sale.  I was a college student, and an interested 
   coin collector, but was only peripherally aware of 
   organized numismatics. 

   He invited this stranger into his home for an hours-long 
   discussion of numismatics.  Later that year he sponsored 
   my membership in the Western Pennsylvania Numismatic 
   Society. Only later did I realize what an honor it was to 
   be invited to join, as the youngest member since George 
   Clapp himself, who cofounded the club at the same age 
   exactly a century earlier. 

   It was an eye-opening experience to meet and learn 
   from such advanced collectors, and I have Glenn 
   and the members of WPNS to thank for drawing me 
   headlong into the realm of numismatic research.  It's 
   become a lifetime hobby.  Were it not for Glenn Mooney, 
   I wouldn't be here working on The E-Sylum week after 
   week.   This one's for you, Glenn.] 


   Sharp-eyed former Asylum editor Marilyn Reback wrote: 
   "In your report on the COAC on error coins, you created 
   your own error in spelling Alan Herbert's name ALLEN 
   Herbert. Just thought you'd like to know for future reference. 
   I always enjoy reading the E-sylum.  There's so much 
   information in each week's installment, and it's great to see 
   such great participation!" 

   Actually, I cut and pasted that text from the ANS' email 
   announcement.  That's no excuse for perpetuating an 
   error, though.  I noticed and fixed the spelling of Tom 
   Delorey's name, but missed the problem with Alan 
   Herbert's.  Sorry! 


   An article by Sterling A. Rachootin, "Points to Ponder", in 
   the Spring 2001 issue of the Civil War Token Society Journal, 
   laments that "history books fail to give Civil War tokens due 
   credit and their rightful place in history". 

   You can say that again, replacing "Civil War Tokens" with 
   the more general "numismatic items."  While there have been 
   some historians who were aware of numismatics, very few 
   history books (except perhaps those on the ancient world) 
   really address coins, paper money, or tokens in any meaningful 
   way.  How can we numismatic researchers help ignite interest 
   in our subject among general historians? 


   On behalf of a friend who wanted to know what type of glue 
   to use on bookplates, I checked with George Kolbe, and 
   here's his response: 

   "Wheat paste is what I used to apply the Bass bookplates, 
   and it is what I use for my own ex libris (es). It was a gift 
   years ago from a friend who is also a commercial bookbinder 
   (I still have a little left - I keep it refrigerated). Reversible and 

   non-reactive are the reasons, I believe, why it is prefered, 
   though there may be better modern products. It used to be 
   available from TALAS, though my bookbinder friend makes 
   his own from the supermarket variety. To apply it right, you 
   need a book press (or a heavy weight-a stack of books will 
   do) and, until you become proficient and learn to apply 
   enough glue but leave no residue, you need to lay in wax 
   paper sheets. 

   A few, admittedly biased, caveats: pre-printed labels are 
   tacky, as are pressure-sensitive labels (pun intended); round, 
   notary-like, blindstamps damage not only the paper but a 
   booklover's sensibilities (ink name and address stamps are 
   perhaps even worse); smaller is generally better; use good 
   taste and spend a few bucks-it's how you will be remembered 
   by future bibliophiles." 


   Numismatic bookseller Fred Lake writes: "Having received 
   books from consignors for over twelve years now, I have 
   seen just about every method used for trying to protect a 

   Experience has shown that books stored in small plastic bags 
   are most apt to have started to mildew or show some "foxing." 
   Any moisture trapped in these bags is deadly to a book. 

   One way to kill silverfish is to place the book in a microwave 
   and "nuke" it on high setting for three or four seconds.  Do 
   NOT do this for a longer period of time or you will melt the 
   glue in the binding. Experiment with a book that you really 
   don't care much about. When I was a younger and braver lad, 
   I tried formaldehyde and Thymol, but I wouldn't touch the 
   stuff  now." 


   Ron Guth, President of, Inc, writes: "Can 
   any of the E-Sylum subscribers steer me to one of Aaron 
   Feldman's advertisements?   You know, the one where he 
   included his famous slogan:  "Buy the Book Before You 
   Buy The Coin."   Ron may be reached at this address: 


   Alan Luedeking writes: "I very much enjoyed Ben Keele's 
   article on copyright in The Asylum just received.  How do I 
   reconcile his statement on page 19  "In the case of an author 
   contributing to a larger work, such as this paper to The Asylum, 
   the author retains copyright over his contribution, while the 
   producer of the collection owns copyright over the formatting 
   and presentation made in the total work" with the statement on 
   Page 1 of The Asylum, "All accepted manuscripts become the 
   property of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society."   Could you 
   as our President clarify whether NBS's position on this issue is 
   in accord with Mr. Keele's statement?" 

  [I don't believe the NBS policy statement is in conflict with 
   Ben's article.   The manuscript is only the physical medium of 
   submission - traditionally a paper copy, or more recently, disk 
   or email.  The policy is meant to notify authors that unless prior 
   arrangements are made, we cannot be responsible for returning 
   their physical submissions.  They become the property of the 
   Society, and can be placed in our archives or perhaps sold 
   someday to raise funds.  The author still retains copyright to their 
   article.   -Wayne Homren, President, NBS] 


   Asylum Editor E. Tomlinson Fort pointed out a book that 
   may be of interest to our subscribers.  "Libraries in the 
   Ancient World" by Lionel Casson "is the only one to cover 
   the vast range of the history of libraries in the Western 
   world from the time of the first civilizations in the near east 
   to the late Roman empire" (from a review by Thomas 

   From the Publisher: "This delightful book tells the story of 
   ancient libraries from their very beginnings, when "books" 
   were clay tablets and writing was a new phenomenon. 
   Renowned classicist Lionel Casson takes us on a lively tour, 
   from the royal libraries of the most ancient Near East, through 
   the private and public libraries of Greece and Rome, down 
   to the first Christian monastic libraries. To the founders of the 
   first public libraries of the Greek world goes the credit for 
   creating the prototype of today's library buildings and the 
   science of organizing books in them. 

   Casson recounts the development of ancient library buildings, 
   systems, holdings, and patrons, addressing questions on a 
   wide variety of topics,  such as: 

    • What was the connection between the rise in education and 
       literacy and the growth of libraries? 
    • Who contributed to the early development of public libraries, 
        especially the great library at Alexandria? 
    • What did ancient libraries include in their holdings? 
    • How did ancient libraries acquire books? 
    • What was the nature of publishing in the Greek and Roman 
    • How did different types of users (royalty, scholars, religious 
       figures) and different kinds of "books" (tablets, scrolls, 
       codices) affect library arrangements? 
    • How did Christianity transform the nature of library holdings? 

   Just as a library yields unexpected treasures to a meandering 
   browser, this entertaining book offers to its perusers the 
   surprising history of the rise and development of ancient libraries 
   — a fascinating story never told before." 

   The book is scheduled to be published on April 1, 2001 
   by Yale University Press; ISBN: 0300088094 
   Hardcover - 192 pages (April 1, 2001) 


   In the October 25, 1999 issue of The E-Sylum (v2#43), 
   we reviewed a book by Henry Petroski on the history and 
   evolution of the bookshelf - "The Book on the Bookshelf". 
   Another of Petrowski's books is "The Evolution of Useful 
   Things: How Everyday Artifacts - from Forks and Pins to 
   Paper Clips and Zippers - Came to Be As They Are." 

   The following passage may be of some interest to collectors 
   and researchers of colonial-era numismatics.  ".. the fork 
   was a rare item in colonial America.  According to one 
   description of everyday life in the Massachusetts Bay 
   Colony, the first and only fork in the earliest days, carefully 
   preserved in its case, had been brought over in 1630 by 
   Governor Winthrop.  In seventeenth century America, 
   "knives, spoons, and fingers, with plenty of napery, met the 
   demands of table manners."  (p16, First Vintage Books 
   Edition, 1994, taken from Dow, George, "Every Day Life 
   in the Massachusets Bay Colony", 1935) 


   Dick Johnson writes: "My discussion of auction house 
   symbols with Karl Moulton grew from the need to record 
   a large quantity of auction lot references in a databank 
   I am building on the engravers, diesinkers and medalists of 
   American coins and medals.  At present I have entered these 
   citations for only a handful of auction houses, coding these 
   with a three-letter symbol. 

   I was suggesting (even hoping!) Karl would set an industry- 
   wide standard for this in his new directory of numismatic 
   auction sales (USNAC), the continuation of Martin Gengerke's 
   earlier directory. Obviously Bowers & Merena auction sales 
   would bear the symbol B&M.  But what do you do when 
   B&M joins forces with a Stack's or with Presidential Coin & 
   Antique as they did in the Julian Liedman and David Dreyfus 
   sales? (And how would you identify the Apostrophe sales?) 

   Joe Levine is very conscientious in identifying artists in his lot 
   descriptions in his Presidential C&A auctions. I have resolved 
   to cite all his auction sales as far back as practical.  I asked 
   him what symbol he preferred.  He chose "PCA" and I have 
   used this. 

   So maybe each auction house would like to pick their own 
   symbol. And (hopefully) Karl would be the clearing house 
   for these and publish these in his (USNAC) directory. 
   Karl would have to resolve any conflicts. But he could be 
   like the New York Stock Exchange in selecting the 
  symbols for each company's stock listed on the exchange. 

   Incidentally, the citation for the first lot in LaRiviere's Betts 
   medal section in Bowers & Merena's recent catalog reads: 
   B&M 181:2001" 


   While it's on a non-numismatic subject, the acts two prominent 
   antique dealers are accused of could easily happen in our 
   hobby.  ABC News reported on March 16: 

   "A pair of antiques dealers looking to gain a bit of exposure 
   by going on a public television program got more than they 
   bargained for. 

   The pair were indicted Thursday on federal mail and wire fraud 
   charges, accused of staging phony appraisals on the program 
   Antiques Roadshow to enhance their reputations as experts in 
   Civil War-era weapons and military artifacts. 

   Russ Pritchard III, 37, and George Juno, 40, allegedly cashed 
   in on the reputation they developed on the program to make 
   hundreds of thousands of dollars by defrauding the descendants 
   of Civil War veterans to acquire artifacts at a fraction of their 

   If convicted, Pritchard, 37, could face up to 60 years in prison 
   and $2.75 million in fines.  Juno could face as much as 45 years 
   in prison and fines of $2.25 million if found guilty. 

   "Mr. Pritchard maintains his innocence of these charges and we 
   will vigorously defend them," Pritchard's attorney, Kirk 
   Karaszkiewicz, told The Associated Press. 

   Among those allegedly victimized by the two men and their 
   company, American Ordnance Preservation Association, were 
   the descendants of Gen. George Pickett,  who led "Picket's 
   Charge" at the Battle of  Gettysburg, and a Union officer named 
   Maj. Samuel Wilson. 

   According to the indictment, Pritchard convinced Pickett's 
   descendants to sell off family memorabilia for approximately 
   $88,000, claiming to be representing the Harrisburg National 
   Civil War Museum. 

   However, Pritchard did not have any relationship with the 
   museum, and according to the indictment, he turned around 
   and sold Pickett letters, photographs and artifacts to the 
   museum for $880,000." 

   For the full text of the story, see 

   Another version of the story is found at the Charlotte Observer: 


   This week's featured web page is from the University of Notre 
   Dame, containing information about the Washington Before 
   Boston Medal.  As a bonus we have links to related information 
   from Stack's. 

   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