The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 4, Number 24, June 10, 2001: 
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 
Copyright (c) 2001, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 


   We have one new subscriber this week: Ron Volpe of 
   Brooklyn Gallery Coins and Stamps.  Welcome aboard! 
   Ron is our 400th subscriber. 


   David Cassel reports: "I, for one, saw the bit on The History 
   Channel, a sad but interesting piece of romantic history." 

   David Gladfelter writes: "Yes, I did see the History Channel 
   segment on the Dixon-Hunley coin.  They resisted the 
   temptation to make it sappy, and best of all, they had excellent 
   photos of the coin including a close-up of the engraving.  They 
   also had archival illustrations to go with the story." 

   Photos of the famous "lucky coin" recovered from the 
   Confederate submarine Hunley are available on the salvage 
   organization's  web site (  Go to 
   "Excavation", then "May 25, 2001".  The photos also 
   appeared this week in a cover article by William T. Gibbs 
   in the June 18th issue of COIN World.  From the web 

   "The long-awaited treasure of the H. L. Hunley, Lt. George 
   Dixon’s gold coin was found inside the submarine.  Dr. Robert 
   Neyland, Project Director says, “the coin was found by Dixon’s 
   remains and in the middle of some textiles, possibly he kept it in 
   his pants pocket.” 

   The coin is bent, true to the story that a bullet hit the coin and 
   saved Lt. Dixon’s leg and life.  The story goes  that his 
   sweetheart, Queenie Bennett gave him a 20-dollar United 
   States gold piece for luck, he kept it with him in his pants 
   pocket.  On April 6, 1862, in the Battle of Shiloh, Lt. Dixon 
   was shot in the leg.  Luckily when he was shot, the bullet hit 
   the gold piece, in essence saving his life.  It was told that 
   Dixon always kept that lucky coin with him and it now appears 
   that he truly did. 

   The coin was minted in 1860 and one side has lady liberty, it 
   was the side the bullet hit.  The other side has the Federal 
   shield and eagle symbol.  That side appears to be sanded and 
   has an inscription in cursive script that reads in four lines: 
   Shiloh April 6, 1862 My life Preserver G. E. D. (Lt. Dixon’s 

   The coin has been removed from the Warren Lasch 
   Conservation Center and is now in a secured location." 


   Jean Elsen of Belgium reports: "We have the pleasure to 
   inform you that the catalogue of our auction 66 of June 
   16th-17th, 2001, is presented on our site with many illustrations. 

   Presented are a nice collection of Celtic coins, ancient 
   Greek and Roman coins, medieval and modern coins, 
   tokens, medals and finally an important section of books" 


   Michael Malter of Malter Galleries reports: "Thought you 
   might be interested in our Ancient and World coins auction, 
   June 23rd. Also artifacts and related literature." 

   Lots 870-906 are numismatic literature.  See 


   From an American Numismatic Association press release: 
   "To help the ANA in its fund-raising effort, St. Martin's 
   Press has donated 500 copies of its 2002 edition of  A 
   Guide Book of United States Coins (popularly known as 
   the "Red Book") to the Association.  These special-issue 
   reference books, signed by Editor Kenneth Bressett and 
   bearing the "Target 2001" building renovation fund logo, 
   will be sold by the ANA for $100 each.  The $50,000 
   raised from the sale of the books will go to the "ANA Target 
   2001" building fund.  Previous special-issue "Red Books" 
   have become collector items, with values far exceeding their 
   original issue price." 


   In response to last week's mention of the Pennypacker auction 
   of the Leonard M. Holland Large Copper Cent Collection", 
   George Fuld writes:  "There was another "famous" or infamous, 
   as the case may be, of an auction by Pennypacker in 1959. 
   They somehow came into possession of the Dr. George Hetrick 
   collection of  tokens which they auctioned off in THREE lots. 

   One was a collection of over 5,000 different civil war tokens, 
   which went up for sale as a lot--only two bidders were involved, 
   a consortium of Thomas Warfield-Melvin Fuld and Ben Douglas 
   and collector Don Miller of Indiana, PA.  The lot went to Miller, 
   who  bought it for about $2,500 for a photography store owner 
   in Pittsburgh (his name escapes me at present).  He did lend us 
   the inventory list of the collection, which was used for new 
   varieties of pieces, plus estimates of rarity.  The new owner died 
   several years later and the collection is still held, to my 
   knowledge, by his family.  There was an amazing lot of Hard 
   Times (some 150 or so by Low numbers) which went for a 
   Similar price to Miller.  The third lot was a collection of 
   Pennsylvania tokens only, which included the excessively rare 
   Goodyear piece and most other known issues, which went in 
   the $1,500 range. 

   Today the 3 lots would bring way over $150,000 I would 
   assume.   I hope this is of interest--I do not have a copy of the 
   printed auction,  so this is from 40 some year memory." 


   Dick Hanscom of  Alaska Rare Coins writes:  I have really 
   enjoyed the two issues of E-Sylum.  I thought that writing to 
   you could provide us with some assistance. 

   About 12 years ago, we purchased a massive collection 
   of books (about 15,000), dating from the 1500s (only 2) 
   to the 1940s.  A couple of years later, we purchased the 
   remaining books of the collection, about another 10,000. 

   The older books were mostly in that first purchase.  I was 
   thumbing through a book from 1663, and was surprised 
   that all the illustrations were "cuts" of Roman coins.  I 
   returned to the title page, and the Latin title translated to 
   "the families of Rome", and then in smaller printing "IN 
   ANTIQVIS NVMISMATIBVS".   The book is by 
   Charles Patin, published in 1663 in Paris. The only coin 
   book out of 25,000 books! 

   Now, my reason for writing is not to boast of our good 
   fortune, but to ask if any readers would know a 
   conservator.  The book is really in good shape but for 
   one thing.  The leather (vellum??) cover is shrinking and 
   warping the boards. My fear is that it will shrink to the point 
   of splitting.   Any assistance you or your readers can provide 
   would be appreciated.  Thanks very much." 


   Henry Bergos writes: " I personally hate bound volumes of 
   journals. The paper most journals are made from is not 
   good and very are usually brittle.  When I use books like this 
   I  usually prop them up underneath so as to take pressure off 
   the bindings. With a set of unbound journals each issue can 
   be laid down separately thus lessening tension on the set. 
   Keep enjoying the best part of the hobby." 


   Michael E. Marotta  <> writes: "Anyone 
   who subscribes to The E-sylum should take the time to dive 
   into the numismatic newsgroup archives, for instance at (the former Deja News).  The 
   groups rec.collecting.coins and rec.collecting.paper-money 
   are to our cyberspace matrix what the learned society meetings 
   were to the literary milieu of 1900. 

   As news media, the greatest strength in these Usenet newsgroups 
   is also their most grievous flaw:  there is no editorial control. 
   Anyone can claim anything.  Differences of opinion often 
   degenerate into name-calling with facts soon abandoned. As a 
   result, the reader is left to their own resources when it comes 
   to evaluating the veracity of any assertion -- which is perhaps 
   how life really works. 

   As archives, however, these newsgroups provide a massive 
   repository of numismatic information. While the reader must 
   be careful, the truth of any contentious assertion is eventually 
   obtained, and most of what is placed there is not putative. 
   For the numismatic bibliomaniac, the pleasures may be much 
   different: watching persons, personalities, and personas come 
   and go -- act, react, and interact.   I predict that in 50 years, 
   having a complete archive of these numismatic newsgroups 
   will be as valuable as a full set Woodward or Chapman 
   catalogs. " 


   Carl Honore writes: "Regards Franchot Tone...I am also a 
   Musician and sing Irish Rebel songs whenever I can get away 
   without getting thrown out...wonder if one of those he sang was 
   "Roddy McCauley"... 


   Dave Bowers reports: "I think there is a picture of Chen 
   Cho-Wei in a Bowers and Ruddy Galleries catalogue in 1961. 
   He was a "trader" in Hong Kong with whom Jim Ruddy spent 
   some time. " 

   Mike Hodder adds: "Here's some additional information 
   regarding Chen Cho-Wei that  most readers will not know. 
   This comes from Harvey Stack, who asked me to transmit it 
   on to E-Sylum subscribers. 

   In the early 60's, Stack's received some unsolicited packages 
   mailed from Hong Kong by Chen Cho-Wei.  Inside were 
   common date Indian Head Quarter Eagles, as well as Liberty 
   Head types from the end of the series, dated around 1899- 
   1907.  These packages were declared for U..S. Customs as 
   American gold coins and so were not subject to duties at the 
   time. When the first package was opened it was immediately 
   obvious to all that the Quarter Eagles were fakes.  Harvey 
   Stack contacted the Secret Service, who put Agent Al Wong 
   onto the case.  Each new package that was sent from Hong 
   Kong was intercepted by Agent Wong, who slowly built up 
   a case against Chen Cho-Wei. As a reward for his work in 
   breaking the counterfeiting ring, Agent Wong was promoted to 
   the Secret Service's White House detail. 

   Harvey Stack remembers that the Hong Kong Chinese 
   preferred Liberty Head Quarter Eagles for marriage gifts and 
   usually paid a  premium that priced them higher than Liberty 
   Head $5's.   These gifts usually took the form of 13 Quarter 
   Eagles (in the Caribbean such gifts were usually 13 Gold 
   Dollars but only Type 1's, not 3's). Harvey thinks that this 
   preference may account for why the counterfeiters chose to 
   make Quarter Eagles rather than 5's or 10's.  Harvey 
   remembers that he thought the counterstamps on the Trade 
   Dollars Chen Cho-Wei sold were also fake but he didn't pay 
   much attention to them at the time." 


   Dick Hanscom writes: "I am looking to borrow a copy of 
   Presidential Coin & Antiques catalogue number 63, 1997. 
   Lot 194 (or maybe 6397) is a medal from the U.S. Exploring 
   Expedition, and I need to scan the illustration. 

   I will pay postage both ways, and the catalogue will be 
   returned within a couple of days. Anyone that can help can 
   email me at   Thanks" 


   Dave Bowers writes: "Concerning indexes, to be REALLY 
   USEFUL an index has to be by SUBJECT and CONTENT, 
   not by title. In my opinion, a proper index should be 
   constructed as follows--easy enough to do in today's computer 

   Fictitious example:  Article titled "Outstanding Exhibits at 
   Chicago Show," by William Gibbs, Coin World, April 10, 
  1991, page 8.   In brief, it tells that John Smith exhibited a 
   $500 Confederate  Montgomery note, that John Doe 
   showed an 1884 trade dollar,  and that Sam Jones won a 
   prize with his exhibit of Clark, Gruber & Co. gold coinage. 

   The article should be cross-indexed as follows:  Gibbs, 
   William. 1991, April 10, Coin World: "Outstanding Exhibits 
   at Chicago Show," discussed that John Smith exhibited a 
   $500 Confederate Montgomery note, that John Doe 
   showed an 1884 trade dollar, and that Sam Jones won a 
   prize with his exhibit of Clark, Gruber & Co. gold coinage. 

   Clark, Gruber & Co. 1991, April 10, Coin World: 
   "Outstanding Exhibits at Chicago Show," by William Gibbs. 
   Sam Jones won a prize with his exhibit of Clark, Gruber & 
   Co. gold coinage. Etc., etc. 

   As an avid and constant user of out-of-print numismatic 
   articles  I find that the indexes published in various issues of 
   The Numismatist, Numismatic Scrapbook, etc., are more or 
   less  useless, as they are by titles only." 


   David Gladfelter writes: "The ANA's moveable shelves are 
   apparently the same kind as are now in use at ANS, courtesy 
   of Harry Bass, and have been in use for some time for the 
   stacks at the New Jersey State Library.   I realize these things 
   have safety devices but nevertheless,  I always look and listen 
   carefully for any sudden shelf movements.   Probably some 
   phobia left over from the trash compactor scene in Star Wars." 


   Bill Spengler writes: "I have greatly enjoyed your latest 
   E-Sylum which has prompted the following observations. 

   "Dan Gosling wrote: "It might be a fun topic to find out if your 
   readers know of other comic strips that deal with our hobby..." 
   This reminded me of one.  A syndicated strip of "Hagar the 
   Horrible" by Dik Browne, run in the nation's newspapers on 
   November 29, 1978, featured the lovable Viking Hagar 
   flipping a coin high into the air in the presence of his sidekick 
   Eddie only to have it fail to return to earth.  In the last frame 
   Hagar looks upward and exclaims "#@!!& SEAGULL!". 
   Obviously a gull had snatched the coin in midair and made off 
   with it. 

   Coincidentally, this strip appeared just after the much respected 
   British numismatist Peter Seaby had announced to the numismatic 
   press that the medieval silver coin found in a shell heap on the 
   coast of Maine U.S.A. in 1961 had been identified as a silver 
   penny of the Norse king Olaf Kyrre (1067-1093 AD).  While 
   numismatists around the world speculated over how this post- 
   Leif Erikson Norse coin could have found its way to the rocky 
   coast of North America, I put the two stories together and wrote 
   a satirical article for "World Coin News", published on page 3 
   of its January 9, 1979 edition and headlined "Aviary Theory 
   Advanced for Penobscot Bay Find",  hypothesizing that the 
   coin could have been transported from Norway to Maine in the 
   entrails of a waterfowl and "deposited" in a shell "bank" there. 


   (1) Some years ago I happened to acquire from a California 
   dealer a stack of about 25 U.S. dimes which had been fused 
   together in a small column, evidently by fire.  The heat had not 
   been enough to melt the coins as the obverse and reverse of 
   the two respective end coins were quite visible and the number 
   of coins could be counted.   The item came with an affidavit 
   certifying that it had gone through the 1906 San Francisco 
   earthquake and fire and had been recovered from the rubble 
   of a bank or store.  Eventually I decided that the proper home 
   for this oddment was the San Francisco Mint Museum, so I 
   donated it to them along with the affidavit. 

   In considering what its value might be as a charitable donation, 
   the curator and I mused about whether it might contain one or 
   more of the high-value Barber dimes without mintmark -- or 
   even a precious 1894S!  But we settled on a nominal valuation. 

   (2) One of the numismatic consequences of the devastating 
   earthquake which hit the northwestern Indian state of Gujarat 
   three months ago has been to impoverish one of India's oldest 
   and most respected professional numismatists, Mr. V. K. Thacker, 
   a nonagenarian resident of Bhuj, a city at the very epicenter of 
   the quake in Kutch district. 

   Shri Thacker is well and favorably known to a generation of 
   American collectors and dealers interested in modern coins, 
   paper money, medals and tokens of India and has been a 
   regular contributor to Krause Publications catalogs for over 30 
   years.  He wrote recently: "The disastrous earthquake has made 
   Bhuj a graveyard ... My house has so many cracks that it has to 
   be demolished soon, at a cost of a minimum of (U.S.) $5,000... 
   The residents of Bhuj are either victims of the quake or have left 
   Cutch to live with friends or relatives."  He is hoping for financial 

   assistance from friends in the U.S. and other countries, either as 
   donations or small loans to be repaid in installments, and has 
   offered to present donors with a copy of his monograph "Cutch: 
   Its Coins and Heritage" along with some silver coins and revenue 
   stamps of the former princely state of Kutch-Bhuj. 


   From an Associated Press story datelined Los Angeles, 
   June 6:  "Bills with phony face values totaling about $1 billion 
   were blown up during recent filming of the action movie "Rush 
   Hour 2'' in Las Vegas.  Some of the bills fluttered into the 
   hands of people who later went to businesses and spent them, 
   authorities said. 

   "The product they were producing was just too close to 
   genuine,''  said Assistant Special Agent Chuck Ortman. 
   "Notes were successfully passed.'' 

   The Secret Service ordered Sun Valley-based Independent 
   Studio Services Inc. to stop making the fake money and sent 
   a recall letter to every movie production company that 
   ordered the prop cash." 

   Can any of our readers point us to a web page illustrating 
   movie prop cash (also known as stage money)?  Has anyone 
   ever written a reference book?  It could make for an 
   interesting study. 


   This week's featured web site is Paul Baker's African 
   Coins web site. 

  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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