The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 4, Number 28, July 8, 2001: 
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 
Copyright (c) 2001, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 


   We have no new subscribers this week.  One person 
   unsubscribed. Our subscriber count is now 406. 


   On July 3rd, John Wilson  reported: "I  received notice 
   yesterday that Steve Taylor passed away Sunday night at 
   11:45 P.M.  As many of you know he was on chemo, 
   and I heard he got pneumonia and passed away." 

   The ANA issued a press release later that day: "Stephen 
   R. Taylor, past president of the American Numismatic 
   Association (ANA), died July 1 after a battle with cancer." 

   Taylor, 74, of Dover, Delaware, entered numismatics when 
   he tried to interest his son, Stephen Jr., in coin collecting. 
   Taylor quickly acquired a passion for the hobby, switching 
   to paper money, where he concentrated his attentions.  A 
   prolific exhibitor, Taylor set up displays at numismatic 
   events in more than 30 states and four Canadian provinces, 
   winning many awards for his exhibits, including the ANA's 
   Howland Wood Memorial Award for Best-in-Show Exhibit 
   at the Association's 87th Anniversary Convention in Houston 
   in 1978. 

   Always eager to spread the word about numismatics, Taylor 
   was a frequent speaker at ANA conventions and other coin 
   shows...   Taylor was elected to the ANA Board of 
   Governors in 1981, and served as vice president from 1985-87 
   and president from 1987-89. " 

   [Your Editor had a nice chat with Steve Taylor and John 
   Kraljevich at last year's ANA convention in Philadelphia. 
   Steve was a fixture at the conventions, and will be missed.] 


   Steve Pellegrini writes: "My membership material arrived. 
   I will return my ballot filled out to the best of my ability. 
   I really know very little of the membership, but will 
   certainly support the members who have written articles 
   for the Asylum. 

   These are the workers whose consistent efforts keep any 
   organization alive. -- I especially enjoyed the article about 
   Katens dustup with the ANA.  Judging from the personality 
   politics and double dealing in the financial end that has 
   lately come up it is obvious that little has changed in half a 
   century with the ANA.  I'm sure that a few will be upset that 
   this article exposes old insider info which many feel is better 
   off left laying with the sleeping dogs.  But I have to tell you 
   how great this stuff is to read -- and to know!  This type of 
   honesty and freshness is what first attracted me to E-Sylum 
   and to join the mother organization." 


   David F. Fanning writes: "Those of us concerned with the 
   conservation of historic manuscripts and publications will 
   be interested in the project, just completed by NIST (the 
   National Institute of Standards and Technology) to construct 
   special display cases for the originals of the Constitution, 
   Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights.  Info can be 
   found at this address, which has several links giving detailed 
   specifications and design requirements. Really fascinating stuff." 


   Alan Meghrig hints at some entries in the Breen Half Cent book, 
   hoping to ring a few bells and send some of us scurrying to our 

   Bob Lyall, author of  "The Tokens, Checks etc of the British 
   Caribbean" recalls inserting the following on p123:  "Efforts to 
   trace the issuers (of a Jamaican banana tally) have proved 
   fruitless...."    He also notes that the publisher of  "The Tokens 
   and Checks of Malta" is listed as "Lolly Barret", an anagram 
   of his full name (Robert Lyall). 

   Dave Bowers writes: "Concerning literary hoaxes, a minor 
   one occurred in the early days of COIN WORLD (which was 
   established in spring 1960). 

   Robert Bashlow (since deceased) made up a fake obituary 
   of a great Russian numismatist who had recently died, noting 
   that for years he was the secret source of rarities, etc., for the 
   Chapman brothers.  He sent the obituary to Coin World, 
   and it was published.  There never was any such person. 


   Bowers continues:  "Bob Bashlow also participated in a few 
   other hoaxes, such as under the pseudonym of  T. Wellington 
   Braithwaite, a "wealthy eastern investor" who bought heavily, 
   he said, then was puzzled when other dealers criticized the 
   grades of what he had bought elsewhere. Typical T.W.B. 
   caper (I will not name names here, but I know them): 

   T.W.B. telephones Dealer A (and records the conversation): 

   "This is T. Wellington Braithwaite. You probably don't 
   remember me, but a few years ago I bought many rare coins 
   from you. I took them to [Dealer B] and he said, 'All of these 
   coins are overgraded.' You've been taken." 

   "What does 'overgraded' mean?" 

   Thereupon Dealer A told T.W.B. what a super-jerk Dealer B 
   was, etc., etc. 

   Another hoax in numismatics was the "fake auction" in the 
   1950s conducted by R.H. Burnie, a Pascagoula, Mississippi 
   dealer and specialist in small-denomination California gold, 
   who later ran off with the proceeds." 


   On a related note, Bowers also cites some American numismatic 
   mysteries:   "A mystery, not a hoax, is the identity of the author 
   of Evans' History of the U.S. Mint. It was published by Evans, 
   but so far as I know, Evans had nothing to do with writing it.  In 
   fact, large amounts of information are the same as published 
   earlier by A.M. Smith, etc. 

   One great unexamined reserve of early American numismatic 
   information is in the Boston Evening Transcript, a.k.a. Boston 
   Transcript, circa 1857 and earlier, before the advent (in 1857) 
   of The Historical Magazine.  Apparently, Jeremiah Colburn, a 
   true scholar and genius, wrote lengthy numismatic articles in the 
   Transcript, but I have never seen them.  I have not checked with 
   either the Massachusetts Historical Society (of which I am a 
   fellow) or the American Antiquarian Society--as the pressures 
   of time have intervened--but if anyone else can find these articles, 
   I think we would all benefit. 

   Another minor mystery--perhaps the Colburn writings would 
   give clues--is who coined the terms "Booby Head" and "Silly 
   Head" for 1839 cents, such usage being in place at least by 
   the late 1850s." 


   Pete Smith's "News from the Net" column in the recent 
   issue of our print journal, The Asylum, included some 
   web site links that got mangled in the journey to the 
   printed page.   Thanks go to Paul DiMarzio, who writes: 
   "Page 54 of the Spring 2001 issue of the Asylum lists 
   several links to book preservation sites.  Two of these 
   links need minor correction: 
   should be 
   should be 


   In response to our earlier topic of movie money mixups, 
   Ron Haller-Williams reminds us that numismatic bloopers 
   have been with us for far longer than movies have been 
   around.  He writes:  "Did you know that Shakespeare was 
   as bad as any? 

   In his "Henry the Fift[h]" (1598/9), the eponymous English 
   King says, just before the battle of Agincourt (25th 
   October 1415): 

       ... He which hath no stomach for this fight, 
       Let him depart; his passport shall be made, 
       and crowns for convoy put into his purse". 
       [Act 4 scene 3] 

   Of course, English crowns were not produced until 1526, 
   though admittedly the French "écu d'or" or "écu à la 
   couronne" was introduced in the reign of Charles VI (1380- 
   1422) -  unfortunately undated, like most coins of that era! 

   But since the objective of the expedition is portrayed as 
   being Henry's attempt to gain the French throne, and some 
   coins of France were issued in his name, though in parallel 
   with coins of his now father-in-law and doubtless rival 
   Charles VI, it is unlikely that the Henry and his forces 
   would have troubled to exchange their money for French 

   Later in the same play [Act 4 scene 8] he asks his 
   "uncle Exeter, fill this glove with crowns, And give it to 
   this fellow". 

   Later in the same scene, Fluellen, captain of the Welsh 
   guard, says to this same recipient, named Will, to whom 
   he is now trying to give a further "twelve pence": 
   "... 'tis a good silling, I warrant you, or I'll change it." 
   Shillings were not produced until 1502. 

   The use of this (and a groat in act 5 scene 1) tend to 
   confirm that the English forces were almost certainly 
   not using French money, at least among themselves!" 


   Dan Gosling attended the American Numismatic Association's 
   Summer Seminar at ANA headquarters in Colorado Springs, 
   CO.  One regular feature of the event is a sale of duplicate 
   books, catalogs, and other literature from the association's 
   library.  He sends this report on the 2001 book sale, which 
   took place amid the construction work on the headquarters 

   "Can you imagine fifty (or so) impatient book collectors 
   milling around two bookshelves in a small, dimly lit basement 
   room for thirty minutes scrambling for a "hot deal"? 

   Well, I lived through it and am the proud owner of three 
   boxes full of fabulous numismatic literature.  Now all I have 
   to do is find the time to read them all. 

   The challenge was to read the titles of the books on the 
   lower shelves while someone leaned above you checking 
   out the upper shelves. The only lighting was a couple of 
   construction bulbs hung near the cash registers, which 
   created great shadows. 

   Mark Borckardt was in attendance to autograph his new 
   book "Walter Breen’s Encyclopedia of Early United States 
   Cents,1793-1814".  The other tables with magazines did 
   not find as much attention as the two bookcases of hard 
   and softcover books for $5.00 each.  A third bookcase 
   with auction catalogues did not generate much in the way 
   of sales. 

   The lineup started about 7:00 am and began to get ugly 
   when the doors did not open on time. The renovations are 
   in full swing and giprock dust is everywhere.  The library 
   staff handled the sale well and seemed in good spirits, 
   considering the noise of jackhammers going off regularly. 
   I can't wait for next year!" 


   Mark your calendars for the following  NBS events at the 
   American Numismatic Association's  110th Anniversary 
   Convention (Atlanta, Georgia, August 8-12). 

   Thursday,  August 9, 2001,  1 pm 
   NBS Numismatic Literature Symposium 
   A panel discussion with officers of the organization. 
   Host: Pete Smith 

   Friday, August 10, 2001, 11:30am 
   NBS General Membership Meeting 
   Featured speaker: Q. David Bowers: 
    "The Fascinating Challenge of Numismatic Research" 


   This week's featured web site is a virtual museum for collectors 
   of Irish paper money. 

  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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