The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 4, Number 37, September 9, 2001: 
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 
Copyright (c) 2001, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 


   We have one new subscriber this week: Corleen Chesonis. 
   Welcome aboard!  This brings our subscriber count to 420. 


   As first mentioned in the August 13, 2001 issue of The E-Sylum 
   (Volume 4, Number 33), an upcoming exhibition at the Grolier 
   Club (47 East 60th Street, New York, NY) will feature 
   numismatic literature.  "Numismatics in the Age of Grolier" will 
   open this Wednesday, September 12, 2001.  For more 
   information, see 

   From the exhibition press release:  "Numismatic literature was 
   among the most elegant and fascinating expressions of the 
   printer’s art during the European Renaissance.  A wide selection 
   of these works, as well as Renaissance medals and the Greek 
   and Roman coins which inspired them, will be on view at the 
   Grolier Club September 12 through November 17, 2001. 

    "Jean Grolier, the famous French book collector for whom 
   the Club is named, was recognized by contemporaries for his 
   collection of ancient coins as well as for his numismatic books, 
   which formed a significant portion of his library."   One featured 
   item from Grolier’s collection will be on view in the show - 
   The first numismatic book – the 1514 Paris edition of Budé’s 
   De Asse et partibus, published by Josse Bude. 


   Denis Loring writes: "I'm in London, getting ready to testify 
   as a witness in an arbitration hearing.   Whenever I'm over here 
   I try to find a little time for antique browsing, but haven't yet 
   found anything of interest in numismatic literature.  Hope springs 
   eternal, though..." 


   The September 17, 2001 issue of Coin World mentions 
   NBS activities at the recent American Numismatic 
   Association convention in Atlanta (see p68). 

   "Pete Smith, president of the NBS, introduced outgoing 
   President Wayne Homren, editor of the society's online 
   publication, The Esylum." 

   Well,  I don't know who it was that Pete introduced, 
   but it wasn't me - I was attending a wedding in Virginia 
   with my family.  But I was in Atlanta in spirit, y'all. 


   The same issue of Coin World contains not one, but 
   TWO mentions of electronic numismatic books introduced 
   at the ANA convention.   We've discussed the first 
   electronic auction catalogs in the E-Sylum before, but these 
   may be among the first electronic books. 

   John Baumgartner introduced a CD book he compiled on 
   the "Hot 50" Morgan dollars at the August 11th meeting of 
   the Society of Silver Dollar Collectors' meeting.  "The 'book' 
   is really a software program that allows users to learn die 
   characteristics or diagnostics to facilitate identification of the 
   "Hot 50" VAM [Van Allen-Mallis] variety coins..." (p70) 

   Earlier, at the August 9th meeting of the Liberty Seated 
   Collectors Club, "Gerry Fortin spoke to an enthusiastic 
   audience about the status of his CD 'book' on the 
   Liberty Seated Dime series.... He said he believes that 
   electronic books are the future in numismatic research 
   publications" (p88). 


   Mark Rabinowitz writes: "I stumbled upon an interesting 
   web site today which E-Sylum readers might be interested 
   in, if it's not already generally known.  The site is for the 
   Fitzwilliam Museum at the University of Cambridge and 
   includes on-line listings of numismatic books, periodicals 
   and over 26,000 sale catalogues.   The URL is 

   [The Fitzwilliam was a Featured Web Site back in the 
   June 11, 2000 issue (v3#24), but good sites are always 
   worthy of fresh coverage.   It was revisited by Bill 
   Malkmus on May 6, 2001 (v4n19), highlighting the 
   listings of sale catalogs.  From the Featured Web site 

   "Of special interest to bibliophiles is "The Departmental 
   library, together with the personal library of the Honorary 
   Keeper, Professor Philip Grierson, which is partly on 
   deposit in the Museum, has a very good coverage of 
   numismatics in general, and is especially strong in Ancient 
   Greek, Roman, Oriental, medieval European and British 
   numismatics, historical medals and tokens." -Editor] 


   In response to last week's question about a catalog of 
   Bureau of Engraving and Printing Souvenir Cards by 
   "Brookman and Mellone",  Tom DeLorey writes: 
   "There is a popular U.S. stamp catalog published by 
   Brookman. Perhaps this is it, or perhaps a stamp dealer 
   could provide a more precise reference..." 

   By way of Pete Smith, Lee Quast writes: "Brookman 
   is a publication for stamp collectors.  Souvenir cards 
   have a connection with stamp collectors, so they list 
   the BEP and ABNC [American Bank Note Company] 
   souvenir cards in their catalog of U. S. Stamps. 

   Mellone's is a Photo Encyclopedia of Souvenir Cards 
   published in 1997. It lists BEP cards, ABNC cards, 
   Postal and UN [United Nations] cards as well as some 
   of the forerunner cards.  It is the only souvenir card 
   catalog published that has pictures of the cards listed. " 

   John Muchow gave us the bibliographic details: "The 
   book is titled "(Mellone's) Photo Encyclopedia of 
   Souvenir Cards" by Howard C. Tiffner, F.D.C. 
   Publishing Co., 1997, 104 pages.  It's the only book 
   of its kind that I've seen for souvenir card collectors 
   and has become the bible for helping me to complete 
   my collection of souvenir cards." 

   Jan Monroe adds: "The Souvenir Card Collectors 
   Society produced a catalog entitled "The Souvenir Card 
   Collectors Society Numbering System For Forerunner and 
   Modern Day Souvenir Cards"  It was published in 1989 by 
   the society.  The book is 234 + pages and I recommend it 
   not only because of the info on current cards but because 
   of the historical info on BEP presidential engravings.  The 
   society usually has a booth at the ANA show and the FUN 
   show.  This work is now out of print and Mellone's book is 
   smaller but more recent." 

   Several other E-Sylum readers chimed in with assistance 
   and/or copies of the book for sale.  I've forward the 
   information to Mr. Rennick.  Thanks, everyone! 


   NBS President Pete Smith writes: "I would like to respond 
   to the question from H. Douglas Owens about numismatic 
   authors who were prominent in other fields.  There are many. 

   The first that comes to mind is Dr. William Sheldon, who 
   wrote the classic reference on early large cents.  He wrote 
   four books on topics related to Sociology.  His theories were 
   taught back when I went to college but have been discredited 
   by the current generation of educators. 

   When I was researching my book, "American Numismatic 
   Biographies",  I found that many numismatic authors were 
   prominent in some other field such as business, education, 
   law or medicine.   I will suggest that past authors fall into 
   three groups. (A) numismatic dealers; (B) numismatic collectors 
   who write about their areas of interest; and (C) numismatic 
   scholars.  The people in group C are also likely to be 
   prominent in some other field." 


   E. Tomlinson Fort writes:  "In reply to H. Douglas Owens' 
   question about Edward Gibbon as a numismatic writer: 
   Most people may not know this, but Gibbon was well 
   acquainted with ancient numismatics. His letters, journals and 
   autobiography record that he studied the coins in a number 
   of great collections in France, Italy and Switzerland.  Around 
   1765 he began work on an essay entitled: "Principes de Poids, 
   des Monnoies, et des Mesures des Anciens,"  ["Principles of 
   the weights, coins and measures of the Ancients."  Gibbon 
   was bilingual and equally at home in French as he was in 

   For a number of reasons, the work was never finished and 
   never progressed beyond the stage of some notes and a very 
   rough and uncompleted draft.  The original manuscripts are 
   now in the collection of the British Library.  It was eventually 
   edited and published under the guidance of Gibbon's friend 
   and literary executor Lord Sheffield in 1815.   Numismatic 
   discussions also appear in Gibbon's most famous work, 
   "The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" 
   (London, 1776-1788).  If you are using a modern edition, 
   be sure that it is unabridged since most of his numismatic 
   comments are in the extensive footnotes  [I recommend the 
   three volume edition edited by David Womersely recently 
   published by Penguin Books]. 

   I will quickly admit that Gibbon's numismatic work was not 
   of the volume or level of many scholars but he was well read 
   in the subject and had a firm grasp (by the standards of his 
   day) on the use of coinage as historical evidence." 


   No one has been able to come up with an attribution for 
   the quote "Having a coin without studying it is the same as 
   having a book without reading it." 

   David Ganz writes: "The short version of that is "buy the 
   book before the coin" and sounds like something Aaron 
   Feldman had posited for many years." 

   [It's a similar sentiment, no doubt, but not quite the same 
   Perhaps one possibility is that something was changed in 
   a translation of Feldman's remarks into Spanish. -Editor] 


   The September 3, 2001 issue of  "The Coin Collector" 
   by Bowers and Merena Galleries (Issue #116),  notes 
   that "a special commemorative edition" of the "Redbook" 
   (A Guide Book of United States Coins) will be given to 
   purchasers of the new restrikes of the 1855 Kellogg 
   fifty dollar gold piece.  The cover of the book is pictured 
   with an imprint of the ship and the words, "S. S. Central 
   American Special Edition" 

   By the way, a two-page section on California Gold Ingot 
   bars has been added to the 2002 edition of the Guide 
   Book (p306-307). 


   An article by David Alexander on "Numismatic Laureate" 
   Wayte Raymond was published in the October 2001 
   issue of Coinage magazine (p80-86).   The article tells the 
   story of Raymond's life and numismatic career, drawing 
   much from John J. Ford's obituary in the February 1957 
   Numismatist, which he notes, interestingly, was "the only 
   obituary ever to win the ANA's Heath Literary Award." 

   "Through Ford, Raymond was introduced to an already 
   eccentric young numismatic genius, Walter Henry Breen, 
   then about 22 years of age.  Raymond took the historic 
   step of hiring Breen to go to the National Archives in 
   Washington, D.C., and there research the total scope of 
   U.S. coinage from the original documents.  Breen was 
   surprised to find that no one had taken this direction 
   before, recalling later that he had to unseal bundles of 
   papers which had not been touched since being deposited 
   in the archives." 

   "The Raymond-financed investigation of he archives was 
   a revolutionary approach, and the results transformed the 
   face of American numismatics." 


   This week's featured web site is recommended by John and 
   Nancy Wilson of Ocala, FL: "The below is a great site for 
   accessing all of the Federal Reserve Banks.  Go to Minneapolis 
   branch.  On the right will be Federal Reserve System and below 
   that Fed History.  All of the Fed's have wonderful information 
   on banking and histories.  Some even send free brochures 
   that deal with historical facts regarding 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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