The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 4, Number 16, April 15, 2001: 
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 
Copyright (c) 2001, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 


   We have one new subscriber this week: Steve Pellegrini of 
   Portland, OR.  Welcome aboard!  Our subscriber count is 
   now 371. 


   New subscriber Steve Pellegrini writes: "A collector buddy 
   has forwarded me the last 2 E-Sylums. I've found it totally 
   absorbing. Every time I've put my toe in the waters of 
   numismatic e-groups I've found myself immediately buried 
   in an avalanche of  commercial spam -- links to EBay, offers 
   to buy by the bushel basket, more links to more auctions. 
   You know the drill. But your zine contains the stuff  I love. 
   I'd like to sign up in my own name to get future issues." 


   Reminder:  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 member and E-Sylum 
   subscriber Daniel J. Freidus, specialist in Early American 
   Numismatics.   From the ANS Press Release: 

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

   Daniel J. Freidus, Research Specialist in Early American 
   Numismatics, will give the following lecture: "What Did They 
   Know and When Did They Know It?  Contemporary 
   References to Early American Coins and Paper Money" 

   Daniel J. Freidus is a collector and researcher specializing in 
   early American coins and currency. He has written a column 
   for Coin World since 1995.  He is a vice-president of  The 
   Colonial Coin Collectors Club and former editor of their 
   "C4 Newsletter." He presented his research on Higley 
   coppers at the 1994 COAC." 


   E-Sylum subscriber Paul Withers announces his new book: 
   "SMALL CHANGE  - I  The Halfpennies and Farthings of 
   Edward I and II  A new illustrated classification guide.  Paul 
   and Bente R Withers.  A5 Card covers  60pp.   Illustrated 
   throughout with 4 : 1 illustrations  £10 or in the USA, 19$ 
   (Including postage). 

   In the summer of 1278 much of the 'long cross' coinage, 
   which had been in circulation for 30 years, was clipped 
   and worn.  As a result, a year later a new coinage and a 
   recoinage occurred together.  It was a watershed in British 
   numismatics and economics. 

   There were changes of manufacturing technique and artistic 
   changes too, and the people were presented with a handsome 
   new coinage with a realistic portrait and although it in no way 
   resembles Edward himself, it is in strict contrast to the stylised 
   and rather ugly visage of the earlier coin which is an example 
   of the 'this is the best I can do with a few simple punches' 

   Until that time, in order to make small change for minor 
   transactions, the penny had been cut into halves, or quarters 
   to make halfpennies and farthings.  To prevent the necessity 
   of such cutting, which gave the opportunity for fraud, two 
   round coins, the farthing and the halfpenny were introduced, 
   the first-mentioned introduced immediately the reforms began 
   and the second a short while later. 

   Large hoards of the pence have provided sufficient quantities 
   of material to permit extensive study.  However, the halfpennies 
   and farthings, never hoarded, were rare until the the advent of 
   the metal detector, and even now remain scarce.  Frustrated 
   by the lack of a book that catalogued these tiny coins without 
   causing confusion we asked several people to write a guide 
   that would explain to people like ourselves with only a little 
   knowledge of the series exactly what was going on and why 
   were we finding so many pieces that did not fit into the system. 
   No one wrote anything for us, so we were forced to do the 
   job ourselves. 

   Once our study had begun it became obvious that the coins 
   could not be classified using the same system as that used 
   for the pence.  Whilst the pence are quite obviously 'related' 
   to the halfpence and the farthings and broad similarities are 
   evident, the fine details are not the same.  When isolated 
   examples are seen, things may initially seem to match, but 
   when hundreds of specimens are seen the coins develop 
   their own pattern and any system of classification must 
   reflect that natural pattern and not the system developed 
   for the pence. 

   The new classification is based principally on the David 
   Rogers collection, but others, including those of the British 
   Museum, the Fox collection, now in the Fitzwilliam Museum 
   Cambridge, the Ashmolean Museum collection and several 
   small private collections were examined." 
   Web site: 


   According to an announcement by Paul Hybert, "The April 
  11 meeting of the Chicago Coin Club featured Louis E. Jordan 
   speaking about "Recent Discoveries on John Hull and the 
   Massachusetts Mint."  In May of 1652  Massachusetts Bay 
   passed legislating authorizing the coining of silver three pence, 
   six pence and shilling coins and appointed John Hull as mint 
   master.  In some hitherto unpublished ledgers John Hull made 
   several entries concerning the mint.  This new information 
   provides insight on the location of the mint, gives information 
   on various aspects of coin production including the "turn 
   around time" to produce coins from silver, the actual weight 
   of newly minted coins and how mint charges were calculated." 


   Previous E-Sylum issues have mentioned the book 
   "Tempus in Nummis" by James Sweeny and Robert Turfboer. 
   The book is available from the publisher, Numismatics 
   International.  A list of all of their numismatic publications for 
   sale is available on their web site at this address: 


   Dave Bowers submitted the following excerpt from his research 
   notes relating to the "Vote the Land Free" counterstamp 
   discussed last week.   He links this and another counterstamp 
   ("Land Limitation") to the National Reform Association. 
   The phrase “Vote yourself a farm,” is said to have originated with 
   the association in 1844.  For more information on the National 
   Reform Association (not to be confused with the modern 
   National Reform Party of Ross Perot and Gov. Jesse Ventura), 
   see this web page: 

   LAND LIMITATION • 1844 cent • Counterstamped by: 
   National Reform Association advocates. • Location: NY, New 
   York City • Category: Political statement. • Stamped: LAND 
   and LIMITATION, each in a curved logotype punch. • F-15 
   Land Limitation 

   {Commentary} Issued by advocates of the National Reform 
   Association (NRA), formed by George Henry Evans from the 
   membership of the Locofocos, National Trades Union, and 
   the Workingmen’s Party. On March 13, 1844, a meeting of 
   working people, under the name of National Reform Party, 
   was held in New York City at Chatham and Mulberry streets. 
   A committee was appointed to investigate “a depression of 
   labor, and a social  degradation of the laborer.” 

   The committee filed a report which was accepted at the next 
   meeting. The National Reform Association resolved to use the 
   “land question” as the prime element in its political statements, 
   and laid out three objectives: 

   1. Homestead legislation by the federal government to allow 
       workers and others to acquire public lands free of charge. 

   2. Legislation to be enacted by various states to exempt land 
       such as farms from seizure in debt collection. 

   3. Land limitation (precise wording) to restrict the ownership 
       of large amounts of land by wealthy individuals and other 
       entities, so that land would become more easily available 
       to the general population. 

   In the following year, 1845, the NRG joined with advocates 
   of the Fourierist movement to schedule the first of a series 
   on annual National Industrial Congresses. • It is likely that the 
   National Reform Association was also involved in 1844 with 
   the issuance of the VOTE THE LAND / FREE counterstamps 
   (see listing, which reiterates much of the present commentary 
   and adds more). Similar to the LAND LIMITATION 
   counterstamp, it is known on at least one cent (listed below) 
   and on Spanish-American silver two-reales coins (1797 and 
   1812 in the present instance). 

   VOTE THE LAND FREE  {Commentary} 
   Per conventional wisdom as reiterated in many numismatic 
   texts, the VOTE THE LAND FREE stamp was applied in 
   1848 by advocates of the Free Soil Party, which advocated 
   free soil; that is, the admission of new states to the Union 
   under the proviso that all should be free, and no slavery 
   would be allowed. 

   However, in long-term research relating to the Free Soil 
   Party I have never been able to match the VOTE THE 
   LAND FREE  slogan with any slogan used by that group, 
   although the sentiment is correct. Also, in studying the 
   availability of coins with this counterstamp, I have never 
   personally seen any piece dated after 1844.  Russ Rulau 
   and Gregory Brunk list several stray pieces dated 1845- 
   1848, but upon queries to them, March 2001, each replied 
   that he had neither seen an actual example with a 
   post-1844 date nor a photograph of one. 

   After noticing in my own collection the large cluster of cents 
   dated 1843 and earlier, and a solitary 1844, I thought it 
   worthwhile to investigate if an issuer could be found for early 
   in the year 1844, by which time 1844 cents would not have 
   been widely distributed, but 1843 and earlier cents would be 
   in great abundance. 

   As these words are being written, the National Reform Party, 
   discussed earlier under the Land Limitation heading and 
   repeated below, seems to be a strong possibility. 

   My own cluster of 1843 and earlier coins (see inventory 
   below)  is reinforced by the latest listing supplied by Dr. 
   Brunk (including the “stray” post-1845 pieces which, as 
   noted, he has not personally verified): Cents: 1812 (2 
   examples), 1816, 1817 (2), 1818 (2), 1819, 1824, 1825, 
   1827, 1829 (2), 1833, 1834, 1835 (2), 1836 (3), 1837 
   (4), 1838 (2), 1839, 1840 (2), 1841 (8), 1842 (3), 1843 
   (8), 1844 (3), 1845, 1846, 1848, and 5 of unknown dates 
   (presumably, worn smooth); 1843 quarter dollar; 1826 
   English halfpenny; Spanish-American two-reales: 1811, 
   1813, 1819. 

   The National Reform Association (NRA), formed by 
   George Henry Evans  from the membership of the 
   Locofocos, National Trades Union, and the Workingmen’s 
   Party.  On March 13, 1844, a meeting of working people, 
   under the name of National Reform  Party, was held in New 
   York City at Chatham and Mulberry streets.  A committee 
   was appointed to investigate “a depression of labor, and a 
   social degradation of the laborer.”  The committee filed a 
   report which was accepted at the next meeting. 

   The National Reform Association resolved to use the “land 
   question” as the prime element in its political statements, and 
   laid out three objectives (quoted under “Land Limitation” 
   above).  The NRA newspaper, the Working Man’s Advocate, 
   July 6, 1844, included this (a sample from a much larger 
   amount of material in print): “In this Republic, all that the 
   Creator designed   for man’s use is ours—belongs, not to the 
   aristocracy, but to the people. The deep and interminable forest, 
   the fertile and boundless  prairie, the rich and inexhaustible mine.? 

   We regard the public lands as a capital stock, which belongs not 
   to us only, but to posterity.?  The first great object, then, is to 
   assert and establish the right of the people to the soil; to be used 
   by them in their own day, and transmitted — an inalienable 
   heritage — to their posterity.? This fundamental principle shall 
   be established as the paramount law, with the least possible 
   delay.?”   The slogan, “Vote yourself a farm,” is said to have 
   originated with Evans in 1844, after which it caught on and was 
   used by others, including in the 1860 presidential campaign. 
   However, I have not come across the specific slogan, 
   “Vote the land free,” in this or any other context of the era 
   save for the counterstamped cents. In the 1844 election, both 
   political parties included the disposition and proceeds of public 
   land in their platforms. The Whigs, who met in convention in 
   Baltimore on May 1, 1844, nominated Henry Clay as their 
   candidate.  The Democratic Party met in Baltimore on May 27, 
   and after three days of tumult and in-fighting the delegates named 
   James Knox Polk, a “dark horse,” after better-known contenders, 
   including Martin Van Buren (who was the odds-on favorite early 
   in the convention), Lewis Cass, James Buchanan, John C. 
   Calhoun, Levi Woodbury, and two others had been considered. 

    In 1845, the National Reform Association joined with advocates 
   of the Fourierist movement  to schedule the first of a series on 
   annual National Industrial Congresses. By 1848, the member 
   of the NRA had been absorbed into other political movements, 
   especially those broadly advocating abolition, including the Free 
   Soil Party and Free Democratic Party. 

   Counterstamp theory: I suggest that VOTE THE LAND / 
   FREE counterstamp was applied by members the National 
   Reform Association in spring 1844, soon after its March 
   meeting, thus accounting for the date distribution of the cents 
   involved. By the end of May 1844, other parties had come to 
   the fore in the public eye, with the November presidential 
   election in the offing. 

   A fertile area for study might be New York City newspapers 
   of the March-May 1844 period.  If any later coins can be 
   found with this stamp,  I suggest that these are stray pieces 
   either produced casually or in 1848 when someone sensed 
   that the Free Soil Party had what seemed to be similar 
   sentiments (actually, a study of the two groups reveals many 
   differences). However, one might think that if the Free Soil 
   Party had engendered these counterstamps they would not 
   have changed key words, and instead of VOTE THE LAND 
   / FREE the stamp would have read VOTE THE SOIL / 
   FREE. Moreover, the LAND / LIMITATION counterstamp 
   (described earlier) has the exact wording of a resolution of 
   the National Reform Association, uses the word land, and 
   indicates that counterstamping coins was practiced by the 
   NRA in 1844, providing a reasonable segue to the issuance 
   of VOTE THE LAND / FREE pieces at the same time." 


   Asylum Editor E. Tomlinson Fort  writes: "While researching 
   the reign of King David I of Scotland (AD 1124-1153) I was 
   reading the life of his mother St. Margaret written by a Scottish 
   monk living at Durham named Turgot.  The work was written 
   between AD 1100 and 1107 for Margaret's daughter, Queen 
   Matilda - the wife of King Henry I of England (AD 1099-1135). 
   In a passage where the author discusses Margaret's marriage to 
   King Malcolm III of Scotland (AD 1058-1093) there is the 

   "Although ignorant of letters, [King Malcolm] used to often 
   handle and gaze on the books in which [Queen Margaret] had 
   been accustomed either to pray or read; and when he had 
   heard from her which of them was most dearest to her, to 
   hold it dear too, to kiss it and fondle it often.  Sometimes he 
   called in a goldsmith and gave orders that the book should 
   be adorned with gold and jewels; and the king himself used 
   to bring it back, decorated, to the queen, as a mark of his 

   Later in the same work Turgot relates an incident about what 
   happened to one of Queen Margaret's favourite books: 
   "[Queen Margaret] had had a book of gospels, adorned with 
   jewels and gold; and in it the figures of the four evangelists 
   were decorated with painting, interspersed with gold; and also 
   every capital letter glowed all in gold. This volume she had 
   always cherished very clearly, beyond the others in which she 
   had been accustomed to read and study.  This volume she was 
   carrying, when she chanced to be crossing over a ford; and 
   the book, not being carefully wrapped up in cloths, fell into the 
   middle of the water.  The carrier, not knowing this concluded 
   unconcernedly the journey that he had begun; and he first 
   learned what he had lost when he later wanted to produce 
   the book. It was long sought without being found.  At last it was 
   found lying open at the bottom of the river, its leaves being 
   constantly kept in motion by the current of the water; and the 
   little sheets of silk that had covered the golden letters to prevent 
   their being dimmed by contact with the leaves, had been torn 
   out by the rapidity of the river. Who would have thought the 
   book worth anything any longer?  Who would have believed 
   that even one letter in it would have remained visible?  But 
   indeed it was drawn out of the middle of the river whole, 
   undecayed, unhurt, so that it appeared not to have been 
   touched by water at all. The whiteness of the leaves and the 
   unimpared beauty of the letters throughout remained as they 
   had been before it had fallen into the river; except that in parts 
   of the last leaves some marks of moisture could be seen. The 
   book was brought back and the miracle related to the queen; 
   and she returned thanks to Christ, and cherished the volume 
   much more dearly than before." 


  "If there is one thing that a book collector loves more than 
   acquiring books, it is talking about them.  Indeed, there are 
   scribes of good repute who maintain that bibliophiles prate 
   so incessantly of their books that they have no time to 
   read." [Harry B. Smith, The Sentimental Library (1914)] 


   This week's featured web page is an undated photo 
   (circa 1880) of the United States Mint building in 
   New Orleans, LA, from the New Orleans Historic 
   Photo Library. 

   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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