The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 4, Number 14, April 1, 2001: 
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 
Copyright (c) 2001, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 


   We have no new subscribers this week.  After eliminating two 
   additional email addresses with persistent delivery problems, 
   our subscriber count drops  to 370.   If anyone is in contact 
   with Paul Landsberg or Arthur Crawmer, please ask them to 
   contact me. 


   Orville J. Grady's mail bid sale XXV of numismatic literature 
   closes April 11th.   Featuring the library of John Twente, the 
   sale includes many works on Greek and Roman coinage, 
   such a five-volume set of an Angelo Geissen catalog, 
   and a "nearly complete run of both Numismatic Auctions and 
   The Celator."  Mr. Grady may be reached at 


   Remy Bourne's 13th public auction & mail bid sale of 
   numismatic literature will be held at the Chicago International 
   Coin Fair in Rosemont, IL April 27-28, 2001.  The sale 
   features the library of Dr. Donald G. Tritt and consignments 
   from David C. Amey and others.  For more information, 
   contact Remy at 


   Antiquarian bookseller Acropolis of Athens has 
   thousands of lots of interest to numismatic bibliophiles 
   in their upcoming auction, which closes on April 20th. 
   The sale features the library of the late Dr. Diamandis 
   Simitopoulos of Kariakion.   Included are TWO 
   complete original sets of the Sylloge Nummorum 
   Graecorum, each heavily annotated with detailed notes 
   and corrections (one in English, the other in Greek). 
   Other notable lots include:  an original 1855 set of 
   "Numismatique d'Alexandre le Grande" by Ludwig 
   Mueller; an original 1858 copy of "Les monnaies 
   d'Athenes" by E. Beule; a complete run of Ars Classica 
   sales, all but ten priced and named.  For more 
   information,  see their web site: 


   In a copyrighted article, Michael E. Marotta reports: 
   "On December 13, 2000,  the United States District 
   Court Southern District of New York (500 Pearl Street, 
   10007) dismissed Civil Action No. 00CV3233 for lack 
   of personal jurisdiction. 

   The libel suit brought against Prof. Theodore V. Buttrey 
   by Stack's LLC and John Jay Ford, Jr., asked $6 million 
   in damages.  The court ruled  that it could not hear the case 
   because the law cited by the plaintiffs did not apply to the 

   Lawyers for John Ford and Harvey Stack claimed damages 
   under 28 USC 1332(a) and 28 USC 1391(b).  The court 
   agreed with Buttrey's attorney that since the defendant does 
   not buy or sell as a merchant in New York the complaint 
   lacked merit. 

   The matter goes back to the so-called "Great Debate" at the 
   ANA 1999 Anniversary Convention in Rosemont, Illinois. 
   The encounter was an argument -- not exactly an academic 
   debate, since it lacked a proper Question and other formalities 
   -- at the Numismatic Theater presentation.  The subject was 
   the authenticity of several hundred "Western Assay Bars" 
   discovered and/or sold by Ford to several collectors and 
   through several dealers including Stacks LLC of New York. 
   Prof. Buttrey claimed in publications and lectures for the 
   American Numismatic Society that these objects are modern 
   fabrications and not artifacts of America's pioneer West. 
   Buttrey also condemned several bars sold by Ford allegedly 
   from the Mexico Mint of Spain in the 1700s." 


   Perhaps one of our subscribers can assist this gentlemen, who 
   sent the following email.  His address is: 

   "I belong to a group doing living history of the middle ages 
   (600>1600AD) and I need some help with research I am 
   doing. I am trying to  document the specifics on the materials, 
   tools, and techniques used to produce the dies used in making 
   hammered coinage. 

   I already have several books on the subject but the best I can 
   find on die production is "the iron stock was stamped and 
   engraved to made the dies".  This leaves quite a few gaps and 
   unanswered technical details. I have in the past done wax 
   carvings and had bronze dies cast. While these satisfy the 
   curiosity of elementary students I do not feel they are proper to 
   present in our demonstrations to the public at large.  If you could 
   suggest any references with extensive details about die production 
   or someone knowledgeable in this area I would be grateful! 
   Thank-you, Ira Medcalf,    Ft.Worth,  Texas,  USA" 


   John W. Adams writes: "I was saddened to hear about Glenn. 
   He was the right hand man of my longtime friend, Bill Woodside. 
   Bill and Glenn really put Carnegie's numismatics on the map, 
   only to have the rug pulled out when the Museum decided to 
   de-access the collection.  This decision broke Bill's heart and 
   probably Glenn's as well.  One addition to your eloquent 
   description of the man:  his monograph on Washington Before 
   Boston was and is the definitive work on an otherwise confusing 
   succession of dies. The monograph was authored with his 
   characteristic sense of humor, so it makes good reading even 
   for non-medal-collectors. 

   [Editor's note:  at Mooney's funeral, a longtime friend and 
   coworker related this story about Glenn's impish sense of 
   humor:  The two of them had nearby offices at Westinghouse, 
   and they shared the services of a secretary.  One day she 
   brought in a nice new container to store the coffee she brewed 
   each day.  Some weeks later she came to him quite confused, 
   unable to understand why a can of coffee that used to last two 
   weeks was still unfinished six weeks later.  "Let's ask Mr. 
   Mooney," he said. 

   Glenn gave her a long story about how sometimes lightning 
   hits a mountaintop in Columbia, and it imbues the coffee with 
   special properties. "The air hits it, and it just gets rejuvenated". 
   He really had her going until it came out that each night before 
   leaving the office, he'd been spooning in more coffee from cans 
   he had hidden in his office.] 


   Adams also asks: "Can any of your web sleuths find some 
   reference to the Charles Town Social Club, which issued a 
   rare token in 1763?  The "Charles Town" in question is the 
   one in South Carolina - spelling at that time differed from 


   Mark Borckardt pointed out an Aaron Feldman ad for 
   Ron Guth, in The Numismatist  for February 1970, page 234. 

   Pete Smith writes: "Several years ago I attempted to find 
   Feldman's first use of "Buy the Book Before the Coin." 
   The earliest example I could find was his ad in the March 
   1966 issue of The Numismatist.   Of course, identifying 
   anything as the first occurrence gives Joel Orosz the 
   opportunity to find an earlier example." 


   Regarding our discussions of how libraries intrude on living 
   space, Henry Bergos writes: "I had one of the workmen in 
   my building come in and turn my five foot wide clothes closet 
   into book shelves -- 90 feet of shelving!!!  The linen closet 
   has the books on British coins.  Being clothing challenged, 
   mine all fit in the coat closet.    Has anyone considered an 
   addition to the house?  Mine can extend over a NYC street 
   as I often duck when a plane flies low." 


   In the category of "things found while looking for other things" 
   is this 1881 newspaper article about a hoarder of 
   Confederate currency.  The web site it came from isn't well 
   organized or maintained, so I've taken the liberty of copying 
   the text verbatim to preserve it in case the site goes away. 
   The address of the web page is: 

            Bushels Of Confederate Money 
                      Kinston Journal 
                    December 1, 1881 

   A Griffin, Georgia correspondent of the Atlanta Constitution 
   writes as follows concerning Mr. J.W. Corbin, a citizen of 

   Some years ago he took a peculiar notion that Confederate 
   money and bonds would some day be worth something; so 
   he  went to work and bought them up in large quantities, 
   paying cash for a considerable amount and bartering meal 
   from his mill for the balance. He gave a bushel of meal for 
   a thousand dollars, and many a wagon load of that food has 
   been hauled away from his door. 

   Many people, of course, regarded the notion as rather cranky, 
   but to those Mr. Corbin have no heed, going right along and 
   buying every dollar he could take and scrape. There is really 
   no telling how much Confederate money he has. Those who 
   know, or seem to know, say he has between seven and eight 
   million, beside several hundred thousand dollars in bonds. 

   When asked at a bank how much his bonds were worth he 
   replied: "Well, I have $125,000 in one box, and that isn't all, 
   by a lot." 

   And so he has gone right on this way for years. He has had 
   letters from all over the country, and he has bought the stuff 
   right and left, from far and near. As already stated, no one 
   knows just how far exactly his freak has extended, and he 
   may have $50,000,000 for all I know. 

   Mr. Corbin is considerably stirred up by the recent demand 
   in London, and seems satisfied he is on the right track to an 
   immense fortune. He is not considered at all shaky in the upper 
   story by his friends, though they cannot, of course, understand 
   his strange fascination about Confederate money. He has 
   always been considered a solid citizen, and is in good 
   circumstances now, but will be the wealthiest man in the South, 
   if his dream is ever realized." 


   Asylum Editor E. Tomlinson Fort writes:  "Mr. Rachtootin 
   makes an interesting point about historians taking little 
   interest in numismatics; as a sometime history lecturer at 
   Penn State’s New Kensington, PA Campus,  I think I 
   might make a couple of comments. 

   First, the interest of historians, like any other research field, 
   is ignited when material is available. The brutal fact is that 
   most numismatic publications are so obscure that few 
   academic libraries make any real effort to get them. To be 
   honest, aside from the ANA and ANS does anyone know 
   of a research institution which has The Asylum in its 

   There is also the question of the amount of evidence. The 
   reason ancient and medieval historians work with coinage 
   is that so little evidence from before the thirteenth century 
   survives.  For example, lets take the case of the Social War 
   (c.90-88 BC). This civil war between the Roman Republic 
   and a coalition of Italian city states had repercussions that 
   lasted for generations afterwards. However, no contemporary 
   account survives. Our chief sources are Plutarch (especially 
   his lives of Sulla and Marius) writing almost 300 years later 
   and a highly condensed outline of lost books of the historian 
   Livy (Livy wrote two generations after the war but the 
   epitome was probably made in the third or fourth century 
   AD). The only contemporary evidence for the government 
   of the Socii (Latin for Allies, hence "Social War) are a 
   couple of very fragmented inscriptions and the coinage. If 
   one is going to examine this conflict then one must look at 
   the coins in depth, if for no other reason than there is little else. 

   This case is true for much of the ancient and medieval world. 
   Government records and contemporary historical accounts 
   do not really begin to survive in bulk until the 13th century 
   and later. Coinage is the one historical evidence that survives 
   in appreciable quantities before this period. 

   However, if one looks at the American Civil War (1861-1865) 
   the amount of evidence is staggering.  Even if you had as much 
   money as Bill Gates and as much free time as John Burns you 
   could not even begin to go through all the primary sources in 
   your lifetime -- forget the secondary sources. If you are 
   studying this period the coinage and paper money is a very 
   small piece of a giant iceberg.  The historian must pick and 
   choose and at the moment questions regarding currency, 
   coinage and tokens have not attracted attention. 

   For historians to become interested in modern coinages you 
   need people at graduate schools to become interested.  The 
   quickest way would be to endow a chair or two in Monetary 
   History at a couple of Universities.  The holders of these chairs 
   would publish articles and books on the subject and their 
   graduate students, when they find jobs, will continue to 
   expand the research boundaries. 

   Another way to get the academic world interested in coinage 
   would be for numismatists to publish articles in historical 
   journals. However, it is time for the historian in me to bite 
   back. While numismatists often rightly claim that historians 
   take little note of them the reverse is also true.  I have read 
   many numismatic works where the author demonstrates a 
   shocking lack of the understanding of the use of historical 
   documents or the society which produced the coinage, 
   paper monies or tokens being discussed.  Numismatists 
   have to learn to quit relying on third hand works, many of 
   which are very out of date, and actually dig into the primary 
   source material. 

   A few well researched articles on American Civil War 
   tokens published in prominent journals would begin to 
   stimulate interest among historians." 


   Michael E. Marotta writes:  "Your question about Nobel 
   Laureate numismatists should have been common knowledge 
   to all E-Sylum participants.  My  "Money Talks" script has 
   appeared on rec.collecting.coins several times since 1996, 
   though not this year. 

   I found Yeats' monograph in the stacks at the MSU library 
   when I lived in central Michigan.  I shamelessly xeroxed it for 
   (ahem)  "fair use."  If there are two correct answers to the 
   question, then I would give credit to Mommsen.  He was 
   more of a numismatist.  Yeats' interest was cursory at best." 

   [Editors note: Mr. Marotta's script is #901 in the ANA 
   Money Talks series.  It is titled "Ireland's Poet Laureate"] 


   Charles J. Opitz, author of  "An Ethnographic Study of 
   Traditional Money" (covered in last week's E-Sylum), 
   may be reached at this address: 


   Mark Borckardt writes: "In response to the discussion 
   regarding three letter codes for auction, I have been using 
   such a system for several years to record data on prices 
   realized for such things as patterns, medals, Hawaiiana and 
   other items. Most of this is simply for my own use, internal 
   to my work with Bowers and Merena. 

   I have prepared a sample listing of three letter codes, 
   attached, using Martin Gengerke's "American Numismatic 
   Auctions" as a guide.  The file only includes firms beginning 
   with the letter A.  If E-Sylum subscribers would provide 
   feedback, I would be more than happy to complete this for 
   the rest of the firms, with the idea of adding additional firms 
   along the way.   This listing is certainly available for the free 
   use of any who care to access it. [Editor's note - the list is 
   short, so I've extracted it from Mark's file and appended it 

   In response to Dick Johnson's code of  B&M  for Bowers 
   and Merena,  I prefer to keep my codes to the standard 26 
   letter alphabet, thus for Bowers and Merena, I use BMG 
   (Bowers and Merena Galleries).  Certainly, ABM could also 
   be used (Auctions by Bowers and Merena).  In the special 
   case of joint sales, Bowers and Presidential, Stack's and 
   Superior, Akers and Rarcoa, etc., the easy solution would 
   be to list these with the first firm based on alphabetical order. 
   Notice also on the attached file that I use  AUC  for 
   Apostrophe Auctions." 

   Code Firm 

   ACE Ace Stamp & coin Co. 
   ADE Adams, Edgar Holmes 
   ADG Adams, Geoffrey Charlton 
   ADM Adams, Mervin W. 
   ADS Adamski, Joseph J. 
   ADK Adkins, Gary 
   ADL Adler, Jonas 
   AKR Akers, David W. 
   ALD Alderfer, Sanford A. Auction Co. 
   ALC Alexander & Co. 
   ALB Alexander, Byron T. 
   ALX Alexandria Coin Sales 
   ALL Allgire, Richard L. 
   ALM Almanzar’s 
   ALP Alpert, Stephen P. 
   ALW Alward & Cagan 
   AMK A-Mark 
   AMB Ambassador 
   AMA American Art Association 
   AMH American Heritage Coin, Inc. 
   AMR American Rose Rare Coins 
   AMW Amwest 
   ACC Ancient Coin Club 
   ACS Ancient Coin Society of NY 
   ANC Ancient Coins 
   ANG Ancient Gens 
   AND Anderson Auction Co. 
   ANA Anderson, Al 
   ANH Anderson, H.W. 
   ANW Andrews, W.P. & Co., Inc. 
   ANM Antebellum Covers 
   ANT Anthon, Charles E. 
   ATI Antietam Coin Club 
   ANI Antiquity Imports 
   APF Apfelbaum, Earl P.L. 
   AQU Aquarius Gallery 
   ARA Ar Auctions 
   ARC Arcade Stamp & Coin Co. 
   ARI Ariadne Galleries 
   ARZ Arizona Exonumist 
   ARK Ark Auctions 
   ARN Arnold Numismatic Co. 
   ARO Aron, Michael J. 
   ASC Associated Coin Auction 
   ATT Attinelli, Emmanuel Joseph 
   ACT Auction (Old Saybrook, CT.) 
   AUC Auction ‘xx (Apostrophe Auctions) 
   AUM Auction Americana 
   AOK Auction Gallery of Oakbrook 
   AUW Auctions West 


   From one of my favorite email newsletters, A Word A Day, 
   (  comes this word which I'm sure 
   numismatic bibliophiles can relate to: 

   oniomania (O-nee-uh-MAY-nee-uh, MAYN-yuh) noun 

   Excessive, uncontrollable desire to buy things. 

   [From Latin, from Greek xnios, for sale, derivative of onos, 
    price, + -mania.] 

   "Usually, oniomania leads to financial problems, such as 
   overspending on credit cards and bad credit ratings." 
   Just Ask Us, Current Health 2 (Highland Park, IL), Mar 2, 2001. 

   Oniomania is another word for the urge to shop till you drop, 
   habit of the debit, thrill of the bill. According to a pearl of 
   ancient wisdom, we don't acquire things, things acquire us. 
   In the case of oniomaniacs, it is perhaps the fun of acquiring 
   things that acquires them.  Imelda Marcos of the Philippines 
   could be one prime example of this category, also known as 
   shopaholics, though she could be better known as a shoeaholic. 

   [Editor's note;  Is that where Myron Xenos of The Money 
    Tree got his name?] 


   This week's featured web site is "Spanish Coins on American 
   Notes",  maintained by Bob Schreiner, a candidate for 
   governor of the Society of Paper Money Collectors. 

   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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