The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 4, Number 34, August 19, 2001: 
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 
Copyright (c) 2001, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 


   We have five new subscribers this week:  Fred Bart, courtesy 
   of Jim Halperin, Mark Rabinowitz, Alan Roy, Howard Berlin, 
   and John Merz.  Welcome aboard!   We've had one person 
   ask to be dropped.  Our subscriber count is now 416. 


   NBS Board member Tom Sheehan writes: "At the general 
   membership meeting of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society 
   in Atlanta, Georgia, the following were awarded desk 
   trophies for their articles in the Asylum for the year 2000. 

   First place to  Joel J. Orosz  for his column, 
   The Printer's Devil: Missing Masterpieces: 
   The Twilight Zone Of American Numismatic Literature 
   (No. 3, Summer 2000) 

   Second place to Carl R. Herkowitz for his article, 
   Ard W. Browning Comes Home 
   (No. 4, Fall 2000) 

   Third place to Wayne Homren for his story, 
   Checking Into the Hotel California: 
   A Visit with John Bergman and George Kolbe 
   (No. 4, Fall 2000) 

   Mr. Orosz and  Mr. Homren were unable to attend the 
   convention, but Mr. Herkowitz was present to receive his 
   award in person. 

   Q. David Bowers received the Jack Collins Award for 
   overall contribution to numismatic  literature at the general 
   membership  meeting on August 10, 2001 at the ANA 
   convention in Atlanta, Georgia.   Mr. Bowers was also the 
   featured speaker and the award was presented after he 
   addressed the members and guests at the meeting.  He 
   was very surprised and  pleased." 


   Karl Moulton's August 2001 List #3 has been published. 
   The 66-page listing offers 20th century auctions catalogs 
   from 1960 to date, prices realized lists, reference books, 
   Redbooks, and periodicals.  For more information, write 
   to Karl at 


   A note on p32 of Karl Moulton's list proclaims: 
   "Information is cheaper than coins, but has a much greater 
   value!  Why not consider joining the Numismatic Bibliomania 

   Why not, indeed?  Many E-Sylum subscribers are not yet 
   NBS members.  Only paid-up members receive our quarterly 
   print journal, The Asylum.  Many landmark articles concerning 
   numismatic literature and research are published within its 
   pages each year.   Dues are $15/year to North American 
   addresses, $20 elsewhere.   To join, send your payment to 
   David Sklow,  NBS Secretary-Treasurer,  P.O. Box 
   76192, Ocala, FL 34481.  Dave's email address is  (Don't worry about forgetting his 
   address - the NBS Secretary-Treasurer's address appears 
   at the end of each E-Sylum issue). 


   David Fanning writes; "Would anyone with a copy of 
   Frossard's 88th sale as listed in Adams (December 19, 1888 
   with 250 lots) please contact me at 
   I don't need to borrow a copy, but I do need to verify that it 
   does exist as listed in Adams's book.  Thanks." 


   Last week's announcement of the Grolier Club exhibit of 
   numismatic literature brought these responses: 

   Joe Levine writes: "Your readership may be interested to 
   know the following: The Grolier Club issued a number of 
   art plaques honoring famous American  writers.  These are 
   large, well-executed cast pieces honoring 

   Nathaniel Hawthorne by Ringel DiIllzach (1892) 
   James Russell Lowell by Charles Calverley (1895) 
   Edgar Allen Poe by Edith Woodman Burroughs (1909) 
   Henry Wadsworth Longfellow by John Flanagan (1911) 
   Ralph Waldo Emerson by Victor D. Brenner (1911)." 

   Dave Bowers writes: "It is a crying shame that the Grolier Club 
   exhibit seems to IGNORE  (or at least you don't mention it 
   in your blurb) AMERICAN numismatic literature.  The Grolier 
   Club is at once impressive and traditional, and even a "side 
   display" of American numismatic literature would have been 
   beneficial.  Perhaps it is not too late to include such, especially 
   since the AMERICAN Numismatic Society seems to be 


   Dave Bowers writes: "Concerning damp books, etc., you 
   probably know that freeze drying is very effective and was 
   used in the 1970s when Hurricane Agnes flooded much 
   of the Lower Tier area of New York State, including the 
   book collection of the Corning Glass Co. museum. 
   However, most dampness has long gone when numismatic 
   books are encountered today, and we are left with stuck- 
   together pages with traces of black and green mold." 


   Hoping to reach owners of the 1992 or 2000 editions of 
   his "Latin American Tokens" book, Russ  Rulau writes: 
   "To attempt to keep fresh all the new data constantly 
   arriving on the subject, without waiting years to publish 
   another edition, I've decided to try a new approach -- 
   publishing interesting tidbits in WORLD COIN NEWS, 
   the all-foreign monthly Krause Publications which I edited 
   years ago (1974-84) and which now is an established 
   newspaper dominating that field. 

   A two-page illustrated article, "Genealogical Information 
   Assists Collectors" appears on pp.12-14 of the Sept. 2001 
   issue, covering some infuriatingly elusive Mexican maverick 
   tlacos of the colonial and early republic periods. Owners of 
   these  catalogs will, I hope, be relieved that BUTRON Y 
   have been pinned down. 

   It's just an experiment. If too few pay attention, another 
   route may be developed.  Responses to:, 
   attention Russ Rulau" 


   The new book by Fred Schornstein devotes a one-page 
   section to the parallels between the gold and silver issue 
   of the 1890s and the L. Frank Baum novel of 1900, The 
   Wizard of Oz.  The novel was made into the popular film 
   in 1939.  Some of the parallels are: 

   OZ = ounce, abbreviated oz (of gold) 
   Yellow Brick Road = gold standard 
   Wicked Witch of the East  = eastern financial powers 
      (the witch wears silver shoes in the book, but 
       these were changed to ruby red for the movie) 
   Scarecrow = western farmer 
   Tin Man = factory worker 
   Cowardly Lion = William Jennings Bryan 
   Emerald Palace = The White House 

   In his bibliography, Schornstein cites an article titled 
   "The Wizard of Oz as A Monetary Allegory" by 
   Hugh Rockoff in The Journal of Political Economy 
   (Vol 98, #4, August 1990). 

   Was Walter Breen was the first to discuss these 
   parallels in numismatic circles?    His paper, "Metallic 
   Panaceas: Gold Bugs, Silver Crusaders, and the 
   Wizard of Oz" was published in the Proceedings of 
   the November 4-5, 1989 Coinage of the Americas 
   Conference by the American Numismatic Society. 
   Baum's book is discussed as a political allegory on 
   pages 50-51. 

   In turn, Breen cites an article titled "The Wizard of Oz: 
   Parable on Populism" by Henry M. Littlefield in 
   American Quarterly 16 (Spring 1964), pp47-58. 

   Breen wasn't mentioned in Schornstein's notes, but 
   I wonder if Rockoff cites him.  COAC Proceedings 
   are (or at least were) notorious for being published 
   long after the conference itself; it may be that Breen's 
   paper didn't go into print until after Rockoff's 1990 

   Does anyone know if the Wizard of Oz parallels 
   were written up in a numismatic context prior to 
   the 1989 COAC, by Breen or anyone else? 
   Anyone know of a reference anywhere before 
   Littlefield's 1964 article? 


   John and Nancy Wilson write: "You might want to pass on 
   the below two sites for the E-sylum subscribers.  The image 
   site found on both is great.  I looked up several important 
   celebrities from past years and was surprised at how fast I 
   was able to get the pictures and information. 

   Google Image Search 

   Google Date Range Search 

   The value to numismatic researchers is that when you look 
   up numismatic personalities such as Andrew Jackson, or 
   Washington or even Spinner,  it gives you immediate images 
   of the individual and other information.  I really don't think 
   any of the other search engines does exactly what this site does." 


   Andy Lustig writes: "Make sure you check out "Leo Mildenberg's 
   Dream Collection", a spectacular virtual guided tour of some of his 
   all-time favorite early Greek coins." 


   Recent subscriber Nick Graver of Rochester NY, seeks 
   thoughts on two issues.  He may be reached at this email 

   1. What is the earliest publication, of any sort, that contains 
       an actual numismatic photograph bound-in as an illustration? 

   2. What is the earliest genuine "book" that contains an original 
       photograph as a numismatic illustration?  This would not 
       include auction catalogs, or periodicals, journals, or magazines. 

       I am thinking of a book with text dealing with a topic, that 
       includes a photo as illustration. 

   Note, in both cases, we are not seeking engravings or other 
   artwork taken from photos, but publications with actual 
   photos mounted in the pages.  I have a slide lecture on 
   Photographic Numismatics, which includes every possible 
   example of numismatic item related to Photography, and all 
   photographic antiques that touch on the Numismatic theme. 
   Answers to # 1 & 2 will probably interest the whole group. 
   Any other suggestions  about Photographic/Numismatic items 
   will be most welcome, and may be sent directly 'off-line' to 
   spare the group." 


   Just a couple interesting tidbits from "A Mighty Fortress: 
   The Stories Behind the 2nd San Francisco Mint" by Richard 
   Kelly and Nancy Oliver: 

   [Discussing the 1st Mint] "As production continued to soar 
   in this dark, small mint, so did embezzlement.  One lesser- 
   known case involved the janitor of the building.  He had been 
   praised many times for his ability to rid the mint of rats.  But 
   one day he was found to be sewing $20 gold pieces into each 
   dead rat before throwing them into the trash.  After hours, he 
   collected the rats and retrieved the coins inside." (p14) 

   "San Francisco ... had more than its share of insanity and 
   suicides.... In 1874, 58 people committed suicide.  One of 
   the 58 included the melter and refiner of the San Francisco Mint, 
   John M. Eckfeldt while he was involved with the transfer of 
   equipment from the 1st mint to the 2nd.  A telegram dated 
   October 8, 1874, from Superintendent LaGrange, reported 
   that "Eckfeldt shot himself at 9 a.m. that day due to depression 
   of spirits caused by overwork on new mint machinery." (p18-19) 


   This week's featured web site is Mike Locke's list of 
   California gold tokens. 

  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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