The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 4, Number 22, May 27, 2001: 
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 
Copyright (c) 2001, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 


   We have two new subscribers this week:  Dick Hanscom of 
   Alaska Rare Coins (courtesy of Bill Murray), and  Jim Halperin 
   of Heritage Rare Coin Galleries.   Welcome aboard!  Our 
   subscriber count is now 398. 


   Editor E. Tomlinson Fort is putting the finishing touches on 
   the next issue of our print journal, The Asylum.  The Spring 
   2001 issue (Vol XIX, No. 2) will feature the following articles: 

   The Roman Imperial Coinage: History of a Remarkable 
   Series, by Douglas Saville (reprinted from The Celator, 1993) 

   The Printer's Devil: Frederick S. W. Mayers'  The Literature 
   of American Numismatics: The First Such Article Published 
   in the U.S., by Joel J. Orosz 

   News From the Net (an E-Sylum summary) by Pete Smith 


   While a majority of NBS members have paid their 2001 dues, 
   there are always stragglers.  A remittance envelope was included 
   with the last Asylum.   If you have not yet sent in your dues 
   check,  please do so quickly or you will miss out on the next 
   issue (as well as your opportunity to vote in the upcoming 
   election). Our Secretary-Treasurer's address appears at the 
   end of the E-Sylum.  Dues are $15/year in North America, 
   $20 elsewhere. 


   The balance of the Spring 2001 issue contains statements 
   by candidates for Numismatic Bibliomania Society offices. 
   From Article IV, Section 2 of our Constitution and By-Laws: 

   "Election of officers and trustees will occur in odd calendar 
   years for a term of two years. Nominations will be accepted 
   during the first calendar quarter of the election year by written 
   request of the President to the membership.... Elected officers 
   and trustees will assume responsibility 30 days after the close 
   of the ballot." 

   Nomination forms were distributed with the last issue of 
   The Asylum, and there was also a call for nominations 
   in The E-Sylum.   The officers were quite pleased at the high 
   level of interest shown in the election; in many collector 
   societies such as ours, it is a difficult task to find a slate of 
   candidates.  We did not have that problem - we in fact have 
   a surfeit of candidates willing and able to serve our Society, 
   and unlike the current ANA election, there is little apparent 
   discord among them.  The candidates who accepted their 
   nominations are: 

   For President:  Pete Smith 
   For Vice President: John W. Adams, Michael E. Marrotta 
   For Secretary-Treasurer:  David Sklow 
   For Board of Trustees (Six positions): 
      Bill Burd, David Fanning, David Hirt, John Kraljevich 
      Bob Metzger, Pete Mosiondz, Jr., Joel J. Orosz, 
      P. Scott Rubin, and Tom Sheehan. 

   An election ballot will be included with the Spring 
   2001 issue. Please give the election due consideration 
   and return your ballots promptly. 


   Civil War history buffs have been following for some time 
   the story of the Hunley, the Confederate submarine which 
   sank in Charleston harbor on February 17, 1864 after 
   first sinking the Union ship Housatonic.   The Hunley made 
   history by becoming the first submarine to sink a ship in battle. 
   Unfortunately for her crew of eight men, they would share the 
   same fate as the five men aboard the Union ship. 

   "Since the Civil War, treasure seekers scoured the depths 
   around the Housatonic, hoping to discover the Hunley and her 
   crew.  $100,000  was even offered to the discoverer by the 
   great showman, P.T. Barnum. But the Hunley remained a 
   mystery until new technologies were developed." 

   "Best selling author Clive Cussler established the National 
   Underwater Marine Agency and spent fifteen years searching 
    for Hunley.  The world’s first sub to sink a ship in battle was 
    finally discovered on May 4th, 1995" 

   There is a numismatic connection:  Lt. George Dixon, the 
   sub's commander, carried with him a special $20 gold piece. 
   "Early in the war, in Mobile, Ala., Queenie Bennett (Dixon’s 
   fiancée) gave him a $20 gold piece.  While at Shiloh, a Union 
   bullet penetrated his trouser pocket and struck the coin.  The 
   impact left the gold piece shaped like a bell,  with the bullet 
   embedded in it. If it wasn’t for that coin, he probably would 
   have died on the battlefield–and the Hunley might never have 
   made history. He would carry that coin the rest of  his life..." 

   The above quotes are taken from 
   Other web pages of interest are listed below.  The final one 
   is an interview with a descendant of Queenie Bennett who 
   was present for the raising of the Hunley. 

   A May 25, 2001 article in The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer 
   reports that "Archaeologists digging mud and human remains 
   from the Confederate submarine Hunley have found the 
   commander's lucky gold coin, still sparkling from a century-old 
   love that will not tarnish. 

   Historians thought that Lt. George Dixon might have carried 
   the coin, a gift from his fiancee, on the night the Hunley became 
   the first submarine in history to sink an enemy ship.  But not 
   until 9:30 Wednesday night, four months into the excavation 
   of the sub, did they confirm that the coin was on board. 

   The coin that senior archaeologist Maria Jacobsen pulled out 
   of the muck of the Hunley Wednesday bears the cursive 
   engraving: "Shiloh / April 6, 1862 / My life Preserver / G.E.D." 

   "Artifacts are very important, but as archaeologists we want to 
   know the story behind the artifacts,"  Jacobsen said Thursday 
   in Charleston, where she and other archaeologists are 
   painstakingly excavating the sub's interior.  "As soon as I 
   touched it through the mud I knew it was the coin....  That was 
   a rare, teary moment for me.  It was that message from the past 
   we're always looking for." 

   The message reached Queenie Bennett's great-granddaughter, 
   Sally Necessary of Midlothian, Va.,  on Thursday. 

   "I'm just so very happy they found it," said Necessary, who made 
   the trip to Charleston when scientists pulled the cigar-shaped sub 
   from the Atlantic last August. 

   "In my heart, I knew it was there," she said. "I knew that if my 
   great-grandmother had given him the coin, and he hadn't lost it, 
   then it would be there. People back then took these things 
   seriously.  If  someone gave you a token of love for safe 
   passage, you held on to it." 

   State Sen. Glenn McConnell, R-Charleston, said finding the 
   coin was a milestone in the five-year recovery effort because 
   it helps  turn "fable into fact" about the legendary ship.  "The 
   discovery of the coin and its inscription is like discovering 
   Cinderella's glass slipper," he said." 

   [The Observer published photos of the coin, but these 
   are not available online ( 
   Perhaps some intrepid members of the numismatic press will 
   track them down for publication.  And perhaps among our 
   readers is a Civil War history buff who can tell us the source 
   for the original story of the coin - was it a contemporary 
   newspaper account?  How did historians know that Dixon 
   carried the coin?  -Editor] 


   Fred Lake writes: "Our mail-bid sale #58 of numismatic 
   literature closes on June 5, 2001.  You may view the sale 
   by going to our web site at the link below:" 


   Longtime NBS member Morten Eske Mortensen of 
   Copenhagen writes: "Photos of 150 antiquarian coin books 
   1670-1999 can now be viewed at the updated webpage  Some can even BE 


   [E-Sylum subscribers can be counted on to know just 
   about anything.  Saul Tiechman's question regarding the 
   "Wolfe Tone"  pattern impression found in the Charles 
   Barber papers triggered several great responses, plus 
   a possible lead for more information. Me, I thought 
   "Wolfe Tone" was a rap singer...  -Editor] 

   Harold Welch  writes: "Wolfe Tone (1763-1798) was 
   an Irish lawyer who was an original founder of the United 
   Irishmen, a group dedicated to leading an Irish uprising 
   against the British.  Tone was a disciple of Thomas Paine 
   and a friend of James Madison (who was serving as 
   American Minister to France).  Tone was in France trying 
   to persuade the French Government to invade Ireland, 
   assuring them that an invasion would be accompanied by 
   a general uprising of the Irish people against the hated English. 

   Eventually, an invasion fleet of 143 sail and 15,000 men was 
   dispatched accompanied by Tone as "Adjutant-general Smith." 
   Bad weather and poor seamanship led to the dispersal of the 
   fleet before it ever landed.  Despite Tone's efforts, the French 
   would never commit to anything further than a few minor raids. 
   Tone was captured on one of these raids and sentenced to 
   hanging.  On the day before he was scheduled to be executed 
   he cut his throat with a penknife and died of the wound a few 
   days later, November 19, 1798. 

   I have no knowledge of the medal in question or what interest 
   Charles Barber may have had in Wolfe Tone." 

   David Fanning writes: "Theobald Wolfe Tone is the founder 
   of modern Irish Republicanism.  He led the United Irishmen, a 
   non-sectarian movement which was devoted to driving the 
   British out of Ireland.  He was a Protestant, as were a number 
   of other leaders of the movement, giving the lie to the British 
   notion that the conflict is all about religion.  The Uprising they 
   led in 1798 was unsuccessful, and Tone and the other leaders 
   were condemned to death.  Tone took his own life in prison 
   under very weird circumstances--some believe he was 
   murdered.  All that said, I don't know anything about the 
   pattern trial." 

   David Lange writes: "Stylistically, the piece illustrated does 
   appear to be the work of Charles Barber.  The proportional 
   size of the busts to the borders indicate that it was a pattern 
   gold dollar or a token of similar size. The date 1798 suggests 
   that it may have been intended as a commemorative piece to 
   be issued in 1898. A check of the Congressional Record for 
   1897-98 might turn up some clues." 

   Finally, NBS Board member Bob Metzger adds these 
   web references:   "There's  some background info on 
   Wolfe Tone at 

   You can buy a miniature of him at: 

   He also appears on an Irish postage stamp:" 


   In response to Bob Cochran's note about selling numismatic 
   literature at the Memphis Paper Money Show (June 15-17), 
   Ken Barr writes: "Sorry, Bob, but George Kolbe had an 
   all-numislit table at Memphis ten to fifteen years ago, a year 
   or two after the show moved from the Rivermont to the 
   Convention Center. 

   My inbound flight was delayed that year, and I arrived at 
   dealer setup an hour or two after it started.  One of the 
   first people I encountered walking the aisles was George, 
   who had an empty Thian "Confederate Note Album" he had 
   just cherrypicked off the floor tucked under his arm ... I have 
   since changed my schedule and now arrive in Memphis the 
   day BEFORE dealer setup each year ..." 

   [Editor's Note:  For those who wish to contact Bob 
   Cochran, his email address is: 

   The June 2001 issue of Bank Note Reporter carries an 
   an by Roger H. Durand noting that he will have "a large 
   collection of bank note history books" for sale at Memphis, 
   as well as copies of his marvelous books in the "Interesting 
   Notes" series. 

   My first, last, and only Memphis paper show in 1994 was 
   quite memorable.  I also bagged a Thian note album.  This 
   one had a few low-condition common notes left in it.   I 
   was very happy to buy it - I've not come across 
   another one since. 

   Even more memorable was the night of June 17. 
   Myself, paper collector Andrew Shiva, money artist 
   J.S.G Boggs and a couple members of his family piled 
   in a vehicle for an excursion to a riverboat casino in 
   Mississippi.  Meeting in Boggs' hotel lobby, everyone's 
   eyes were glued to the television sets watching 
   O.J. Simpson's surreal ride in his white Ford Bronco, 
   driven by his friend A.C. Cowlings.  We listened to the 
   goings-on on radio the whole trip there, debating Simpson's 
   guilt or innocence in the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson 
   and Ronald Goldman.   As a souvenir of the evening, I 
   have a ten-dollar bill (the extent of my evening's winnings) 
   signed by Boggs and others.  We made the bill into a 
   work of art titled "Wayne's Winnings" while seated at a 
   casino bar having a nightcap.] 


   In response to the question about Mint Director Stella Hackel's 
   destruction of early U.S. Mint records, R. W. Julian writes: 
   "The facts of the matter are as follows: 

   1)  In 1984 I was planning a trip to Washington to do research 
   in the Archives but thought a visit to the GSA record center in 
   Philadelphia might be of value. I asked Eleonora Hayden, then 
   Mint Historian, to obtain for me the necessary written 
   permission from the Bureau. 

   2) There was some delay in obtaining permission (for technical 
   reasons) but while I was in Washington permission was 

   3) I then went up to Philadelphia where I planned to read 
   Philadelphia Mint letters and ledgers for various years through 
   about 1935. 

   4) When I arrived at the Records Center I was informed that 
   Stella Hackel had destroyed the records in 1978 and I was 
   shown a thick sheaf of destruct orders that had been kept on 
   file.  Hackel used one of her office staff to sign off on the 
   destruction and then went to an Archives employee to get 
   the necessary authorization from that quarter.  No effort was 
   made by Hackel to consult with Miss Hayden or the people 
   in the Archives who actually dealt with such records.  It was 
   done in secret and those who should have been informed 
   were deliberately kept in the dark. 

   5) I then returned to Washington on other matters.  I informed 
   Miss Hayden of the destruction; it was all  news to her.  I 
   found out later that Donna Pope had reversed the policy but 
   Hackel seems to have destroyed most of the working mint 
   records from 1900 through at least 1960 and perhaps as late 
   as 1970.   I also informed the proper people in the Archives, 
   who were equally in the dark; they had been expecting this 
   material to be sent down in due course. 

   6) About two years ago a friend asked Hackel why she had 
   destroyed the records.  She claimed that she could not 
   remember the matter at all. 

   7) Eva Adams also destroyed records but not to as great an 
   extent.  One record that she trashed, for example, was a die 
   record book which listed every  die made from 1844 to 1925. 
   Her assistant, speaking for her, said that collectors had no 
   legitimate interest in such matters and that I must be a front 
   for a counterfeiting gang.  I filed an Freedom of Information 
   Act request but Adams replied, a year later, that it was an 
   internal memo and thus off-limits. 

   When Mary Brooks became director she had, at my request, 
   a search made for this book but it could not be found;  she did 
   find many other records of value which were made available to 


   On a related note, Julian Liedman sends this tantalizing tidbit: 
   "I have a colleague that purchased from a junk dealer a number 
   of volumes of copies of mint correspondence.  I do not know 
   why he is keeping them.  Several people have tried to purchase 
   them to give to one of the libraries.  He is probably trying to get 
   a large amount of money for them and has not been offered 


   This week's featured web page is from Irene Stuber's 
   "Women of Achievement" site.  It features Sacagawea, 
   the "Indian Guide Who Accompanied Lewis and Clark". 
   Sacagawea is depicted on the new U.S. dollar coin. 
   The coin's designer, Glenna Goodacre is also profiled. 

   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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