The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 4, Number 23, June 3, 2001: 
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 
Copyright (c) 2001, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 


   We have two new subscribers this week: NBS members 
   Thomas Kays of Virginia and Albert Rodland of New York. 
   Welcome aboard!  We've also had a few more losses due 
   to bad email addresses, so the net effect brings our current 
   subscriber count to 399, just one short of 400.  Let's reach 
   that milestone in the next couple weeks.  Who do you know 
   who would enjoy reading The E-Sylum? 


   My apologies to Ben Keele, whose name was accidentally left 
   off of the list of candidates for the NBS Board of Trustees in 
   last week's E-Sylum.    His name is indeed on the ballot 
   and his statement will appear in the Spring 2001 issue of The 

   Thanks again to all of our candidates; there has been a great 
   level of support for our society.  I've received notes from 
   several folks who believe we have a wonderful slate of 
   candidates, and that our Society will be in good hands with 
   the next administration regardless of the election outcome. 


   Subscriber Marc Melcher of Texas writes: "I don't get 
   the Asylum.  Nor do I get the B, C, or Dsylum.   Just the 
   E-Sylum.  Would you please send me info on how to 
   join/subscribe?   Thanks." 

   Glad to hear you'd like to join NBS.   Here's how.  Go to 
   our web site (   Click on the 
   Membership Application link.  Print out the page and mail it 
   along with your check (made out to NBS) to Dave Hirt, 
   NBS Secretary-Treasurer, 5911 Quinn Orchard Road, 
   Frederick, MD 21704.  (NOTE: the zip code on the web 
   site is incorrect.  It should be 21704).   Dues are $15/year 
   in North America, $20 elsewhere.  A bargain!   Welcome 
   to the Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 

   Those who have paid their 2001 dues by this week will 
   receive the next Asylum issue.  Several folks have sent in 
   their checks just recently - thanks for renewing! 


   In response to last week's story about the finding of  Lt. 
   George Dixon's lucky gold coin,  Steve Pellegrini writes: 
   "This is the first time I've seen this story. How truly wonderful. 
   It gave me chills reading it.  Now, this is what numismatics is 
   about.  I hope Queenie's great-granddaughter is just given 
   the coin and doesn't have to sue to get it back in the family. 
   So much history in one small object - amazing." 

   [I heard there was a segment about the coin on The 
   History Channel this week - did anyone see it? - Editor] 


   According to a May 24th Press Release from the 
   American Numismatic Association: 

   "New rolling bookshelves have been installed in the 
   American Numismatic Association's (ANA) Library in 
   Colorado Springs, Colorado, as work continues on the 
   $3 million renovation of the ANA Library and Money 

   "The mechanical bookshelves, which were installed in the 
   lower level of the ANA's library, will increase exponentially 
   the amount of material that can be stored on conventional 
   library shelving," says Librarian Nancy Green. 

   The nine new bookshelves from Spacesaver roll on tracks 
   built into the floor.  At first glance, the shelves look like an 
   extension of the wall because they slide right up against one 
   another.  However, the shelves can be moved as a unit, or 
   separated by cranking what looks like a spin opener on a 
   safe.  A stack can be moved away from the others to reveal 
   a temporary four-foot aisle, instead of a permanent aisle 
   between each stack. 

   This aisle provides plenty of room for any browser to locate 
   materials.  The stacks also are equipped with safety devices, 
   to protect users and enhance usability. 

   The moveable shelving offers access to the frequently used 
   valuable auction catalogs, according to Green.  The first books 
   that were placed on these shelves were catalogs from ANA 

   The ANA is conducting a fund drive to raise donations for 
   the mechanical bookshelves as well as the rest of the 
   remodeling project. " 


   Dan Gosling writes: "In 1999 I had an opportunity to purchase 
   a bound set of early Canadian Coin News from Paul Fiocca 
   at Trajan Press.  I have really enjoyed reading the back issues 
   of this fine publication.  How do your readers feel about 
   binding newspapers?  Do many find it difficult to store them 
   on their bookshelves? 

   I wish Harry Bass could come back and index all of our 
   hobby's newspapers.   Have any been started or completed? 

   While reading Cale's Comments in the Nov 14, 1964 edition 
   of the Canadian Coin News he referred to the comic strip 
   "Blondie", that appeared in the Globe and Mail (Toronto) 
   on Oct 15, 1964, "which depicted Dagwood and his son 
   Elmer hornswoggling each other in a coin collecting deal". 
   It might be a fun topic to find out if your readers know of 
   other comic strips that deal with our hobby.  Love your 
   weekly E-Sylum." 

   [Editor's note:  Harold Thomas is working on an extensive 
    bibliography of U.S. numismatics, and he does include 
   many articles from hobby newspapers such as Coin 
   World and Numismatic News] 


   Saul Teichman writes:  "I would like to thank those who 
   responded regarding the Wolfe Tone trial.   I have forwarded 
   the information to Douglas Mudd at the Smithsonian and 
   placed the responses at the bottom of the original webpage. 

   On the pattern front, I have added color images of all the die 
   and hub trials in the Library Company of Philadelphia to the website.   I think your subscribers, especially 
   those interested in Gobrecht dollars, will find some of these 
   especially interesting. Thanks again. 

   Nine new or misdescribed issues were discovered which 
   are summarized on the page below. " 

   Steve Pellegrini  adds: "Does Harold know that the actor 
   Franchot Tone was a direct descendant of Wolfe Tone? 
   Or that one day in 1959 Franchot Tone and some friends 
   walked into McSorley's Bar in New York City for a couple 
   of 'pops.' Inside they found Irish playwright Brendan Behan 
   holding court at the bar. Behan was in town with the cast of 
   his play 'The Quare Fella' which was running off  Broadway 
   at the time. 

   Tone, in the casual American way, greeted Behan with, 
   "Well, hello Brendan, you old S.O.B." Having never made the 
   actor's acquaintance Behan took this as a maternal slight and 
   walloped Tone with a haymaker - knocking him right on his 
   ass.  Of course, he was told who he'd decked and his 
   connection to the great Wolfe Tone.  Contrite, Behan helped 
   Tone up, brushed him off and threw an arm around him. For 
   the rest of the afternoon Behan serenaded his new friends 
   with Rebel Songs and bottomless pints of Stout." 


   In the March 4th and March 18th, 2001 issues of The 
   E-Sylum (Volume 4, Numbers 10 & 12), we reported on 
   how the recent earthquake affected numismatists in the 
   northwestern U.S.   A June, 1979 article in the New 
   Zealand Numismatic Journal (Vol 15, No.1) discusses 
   "Earthquakes in Numismatics." 

   Drawing on an article by Nicholas Ambraseys in the 
   UNESCO Courier titled "Earthquakes in History", which 
   includes several references to the value of coins and 
   coinage in earthquake studies. 

   "In these studies archaeological evidence is very important 
   where written evidence is either inconclusive or scarce. 
   Numismatics also plays a significant role in assessing the 
   destructiveness of early earthquakes.  The issue of new 
   coinage and the establishment of new mints were often 
   measures taken by the authorities to relieve regions after 
   disastrous earthquakes. 

   The earthquakes of 21 July 365 A.D. affected an area of 
   about two million square kilometres in the Eastern 
   Mediterranean. ... Hoards of coins found on the floors of 
   public buildings trapped by the tumbled-down masses of 
   masonry pre-date the disaster and testify to the 
   abandonment of sites." 

   Another instance cited was the "25 A.D. earthquake which 
   destroyed  Taxila in northern Pakistan.  This quake destroyed 
   the mint and apparently killed the engravers.  Similar cases 
   have been found for Rhodes, Cyprus, and Western Anatolia." 

   In the U.S., the major numismatic earthquake connection is 
   the 1906 San Francisco earthquake in which the mint building 
   was not destroyed, but was in fact one of the few government 
   buildings left standing and became a center for relief efforts. 


   Andrew W. Pollock III writes: "Pursuant to information on 
   the destruction of mint records mentioned in the last two 
   issues of E-Sylum is the following: 

   Perhaps the most important article to be published in Coin 
   World in the last 20 years was titled:  "Dealer retrieves 700 
   volumes of Treasury records," by William T. Gibbs.  The 
   article appeared in the May 18, 1983 issue, and reports on 
   the purchase of important historical documents by coin 
   dealers from a scrap paper dealer who had been contracted 
   by the Treasury Department to recycle the records. 

   I have not seen any information on this subject in many years, 
   except for that which just appeared in your e-journal." 

   Michael Schmidt, commenting on the Coin World article, 
   adds: "To the best of my recollection the story went that the 
   Mint sent a large number of old records and correspondence 
   files to the landfill.  At the landfill they were found and diverted 
   to a paper recycler.   The recycler recognized the documents 
   as being valuable and potentially having historical significance. 
   (It was probably the correspondence files that tipped him off, 
   letters signed by people such as George Washington, John 
   Adams, Thomas Jefferson, etc.)  The paper recycler took the 
   records to a coin dealer who bought them. 

   When the dealer traced the records back to their source, the 
   government tried to force the dealer to give the records back. 
   It was determined though that he held good title to the records 
   since the governments claim was relinquished when they sent 
   the records to the landfill for disposal.  The final outcome was 
   the dealer got to keep the records and the government issued 
   new directives that all records were to be shredded before 
   being sent to the landfill." 


   While rooting through my numismatic "archive" I came across 
   a 1961 mail auction sale by Chen Cho-Wei of Hong Kong. 
   The back cover of the sale pictures a U.S. Trade Dollar and 
   proclaims, "U.S. Trade Dollar is my specialty".  The ad further 
   notes that he is "The Biggest Coin and Paper Money Dealer 
   in the Orient Since 1945."   Are any of our readers familiar 
   with this dealer?  Did he ever publish research on U.S. 
   Trade Dollars? 


   Another interesting piece of ephemera I stumbled across 
   recently is a copy of the May 8, 1959 auction of  "The 
   Famous Leonard M. Holland Large Copper Cent 
   Collection" sold at the aptly-named Pennypacker Auction 
   Centre in Reading, PA.  According to a number of 
   accounts, the sale was little publicized and only a small 
   number of  knowledgeable copper collectors were on 
   hand.  Reportedly, they formed a consortium to buy 
   the cents, then re-auction them among themselves. 
   One account appears in the October 17th, 1992 
   Kolbe sale of the Dennis Mendelson Library (lot 133). 


   Money artist J.S.G. Boggs is in Berlin, living in the gallery where 
   his "Making Money" exhibit opened on May 19.  In an email 
   newsletter he reports:  "I'm spending my B-M (Boggs Mark, 
   all puns intended!) instead of DM (Deutsche Mark).  So far 
   I've managed to spend one B-M 1000 Boggsnote (about 
   $500.oo U.S.) for dinner with a little over DM 500 in change. 

   Five POLIZEI (police) came the other night around midnight, 
   banging on the door, shouting, and forcefully trying to twist the 
   door handle.  The lights were on, and they could see both 
   money and boggs-bills in the window, and my  sculpture/ 
   performance work " 1 B € " (an attaché case with ONE 
   BILLION EURO).  They wanted in! 

   I couldn't find the key to the door so I opened a window and 
   started answering their questions. 

   "Who is making this false money?", they demanded. 

   I told them I am an artist, and my work is not "falsgeld" but 
   "KunstGeld".  I showed them a sheet prepared by the gallery 
   with an explanation in German.  That didn't seem to help too 
   much, so I resorted to the "ace-in-the-hole", a letter from the 
   German Senate giving me permission to do my work in 
   Germany.  Well....... 

   That seemed to calm them down a bit, but they still weren't so 
   convinced, and thought that maybe they should take me and 
   my work down to the station for  further discussion. SCHISSE! 
   (as the Germans would say). 

   Then I grabbed one of my B-M 10 notes with a picture of 
   STEFFI (who works at the gallery) on it.  Its modeled after the 
   DM 100 note, so it isn't the same colour, and the guy on the 
   DM 10 isn't looking too happy. They smiled, and seemed to 
   like it." 

   "Do you think this is worth ten D-Mark?", I asked. 

   They started to bob their heads back and forth as they 
   considered. Each raising one eyebrow, they seemed to be 
   conceding the point. But, well...there still might be a problem... 
   The EURO! 

   My ONE BILLION EURO sculpture is made using 1,000 
   of Naples Bank Note Company's €1,000,000 Euro Notes. 

   Since people are not used to the Euro, perhaps they 
   wouldn't realize it was art.  I grabbed one of the 
   €1,000,000.oo Euro notes. 

   Got WechselGeld? 

   They all burst out laughing. 

   WechselGeld means "the change" in German. 

   I paid them a €1.000.000 Euro Note and off they went 
   into the night." 


   According to a recent account on the Associated Press 
   newswire, "Two elderly Filipina sisters who tried to cash 
   a forged $25 billion U.S. Federal Reserve Bond at a 
   London bank were arrested and charged with fraud, 
   British police said." 


   In Volume 3, Number 41 (October 8, 2000)  we 
   featured The Celtic Coin Index - "a collection of 
   more than 31000 images of Celtic coins found in 

   Carin Perron writes: "I noticed you have featured the 
   Oxford site of the Celtic Coin Index on your page.  We 
   are now  putting the actual coin records on-line.  Currently, 
   we have all the coins of the Atrebatian king, Epaticcus, up, 
   and will be adding records for all tribes, starting with the 
   first year of the catalogue, 1961. The URL is: 


   This week's featured web page addresses one of your 
   Editor's favorite areas of numismatics, coinage 
   replacements of the U.S. Civil War. 
  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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