The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 4, Number 41, October 7, 2001: 
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 
Copyright (c) 2001, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.   


  We have one new subscriber this week: NBS member Damon   
  D. Ramsey.  Welcome aboard!   Our subscriber count is now   


  ANS Executive Director Ute Wartenburg reported that   
  Elvira Eliza Clain-Stefanelli died Oct. 1, 2001 of cardiac   
  arrest.   Mrs. Stefanelli retired in 2000 as the Senior   
  Curator of the National Numismatic Collection in the   
  Numismatics Division of the National Museum of   
  American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington,   

  She was at the Smithsonian for forty years, and was   
  responsible with her husband Vladimir for organizing and   
  building up the National Numismatic Collection.  She   
  survived a Nazi concentration camp in WWII Europe,   
  moved to Rome, and learned numismatics there.  In New   
  York she and her husband worked for Stack's and started   
  the Coin Galleries division there.    

  Her most recent publication was "Life In Republican Rome   
  On its Coinage", a lavishly illustrated discussion of the   
  themes which appear on the coinage of the Roman Republic,   
  published in 1999.  Her major contribution to the science of   
  numismatic literature was her classic "Numismatic Bibliography",   
  published  in 1985.   


  Andy Lusting writes:  "Many of us would like to recruit new   
  members, but don't know where to start because we don't   
  know who is already a member.  Maybe you should   
  periodically send out a list of E-Sylum subscribers in your   

  Well, 400+ names is an awful lot to publish, and some   
  people prefer to remain anonymous.   So publishing the   
  names isn't practical.  The easiest thing to do may be to   
  simply send me the email address of any friends you'd   
  like to recommend subscribe to The E-Sylum.  If they're  
   not already on the list, they'll get a "gift subscription" in your   
  name.   Another option several people have used is to just   
  forward copies of the E-Sylum to prospective subscribers.   
  If they're not already subscribers they can sign up for their   
  own copy, and many do.  "Word of mouth"  (or is it   
  "keyboard"? )  has been a great source of new subscribers.   


  Your editor begs forgiveness for two typos which crept into   
  last week's piece about the Grolier Club exhibit and symposium   
  on  "Numismatics in the Age of Grolier"    Thanks go to   
  Peter Gaspar for pointing out the error in the date of the   
  symposium, which is OCTOBER 27th, 2001.   For up-to-date   
  information, always check the Grolier Club web site at this   


  And of course, George Kolbe "would urge NBS members  
  to attend.   No one will be disappointed."    

  From this week's press release, the speakers will include:    

  Professor Henri Zerner, Professor of History of Art and   
  Architecture, Harvard University, moderator.    

  Mr. Luke Syson, Curator of Medals, The British Museum,   
  London, commentator.    

  Professor John Cunnally, co-curator of the exhibition and   
  author of Images of the Illustrious, the Numismatic Presence   
  in the Renaissance (Princeton, 1999).    

  Dr. C. E. Dekesel, author of monographs on Hubert   
  Goltzius and Charles Patin and the new standard bibliography   
  of 16th century numismatic books, Bibliotheca Nummaria   
  (Crestline 1997).    

  Mr. Jean-Baptiste Giard, Conservateur émerité of the Cabinet   
  des Médailles of the Bibliothèque nationale (Paris), author of   
  the standard catalogues of the Roman coins in the Bibliothèque   
  nationale and of the mint of Lyons as well as numerous articles   
  on the history of numismatics.    

  Dr. Stephen K. Scher, co-curator of the exhibition, former   
  chairman of the Art Department of Brown University, organizer   
  of the Frick exhibition and editor of the catalogue The Currency   
  of Fame, Portrait Medals of the Renaissance (New York,   


  In previous E-Sylum issues, we discussed numismatist Col.   
  E.H.R. Green, son of Hetty Green, the famous "Witch of Wall   
  Street" (see E-Sylum v3n54, v4n1-2, December 31, 2000,   
  January 7-14, 2001).    

  Edith Nichols, actress and Hetty Howland Green historian   
  writes: I came across your web page during a search...   
  Please visit for photos of  how  
  Hetty's son, Colonel Green spent some of his $50,000,000   
  inheritance.   There is a portrait of " Ned" , and his Round   
  Hill mansion at South Dartmouth, MA.    

  I have been researching Hetty and her son for nine years. I   
  entertain as Hetty all over New England.   If anyone is   
  interested I have 10 to 15 articles on the "Colonel" (an   
  honorary southern title from a Texas Governor ) and his coin   
  collecting habits."   


  Saul Teichman writes: "Your readers might be interested in   
  the following dollar trial piece made at the U.S. mint to test   
  the new "Brass" planchets in 1999 before the Sacagawea   
  dies were ready.    

  It is regrettable that the coin was not given to the mint   
  collection, but was instead only photographed there."   


  Asylum Editor E. Tomlinson Fort and his wife Gosia write:   
  "Recently, Larry Dziubek brought to our attention an interesting   
  tidbit.  There is a book entitled "Communion Tokens of the   
  Presbyterian Churches in Ireland" by A.A. Milne (published   
  1920). Apparently there are a number of people, of whom   
  Larry is not one, who think that this person is the same   
  gentleman who created Winnie-the-Pooh.    

  After some checking it was quickly confirmed that they are   
  two very different people.  The creator of Winnie-the-Pooh   
  was Alan Alexander Milne (1882-1956) who lived most of   
  his life, and set his famous characters in, southern England.   
  The author of the communion token book is Reverend   
  Alexander Allan Milne (born 1857) who seems to have   
  resided in Scotland.  We have not been able to ascertain if   
  the two gentlemen were related. Thus, sadly, numismatic   
  literature does not seem to have been one of the things that   
  Tiggers do best."   


  Our print journal, The Asylum,  is looking for a qualified   
  reviewer for the following book:  "The Coins of Pontius Pilate"   
  by Jean-Philippe Fontanille and Sheldon Lee Gosline.  The   
  text is bilingual (in English and French) but knowledge of   
  English is the only one necessary. Contact David Fanning at if interested.   


  Regarding Hiram Deats, Dave Bowers writes: "He renounced   
  numismatics for philatelics and left the hobby of rare coins --  
  only to return later and stay for a long time!"   


  Karl Moulton writes; "Hiram Deats' "act of conspicuous   
  excess" in 1892 which lead him to the forefront of American   
  philately was not unplanned.  Deats had purchased many   
  nice coins the previous 12-15 years.  Among his numismatic   
  treasures was an example of the 1822 half eagle, which was   
  sold June 9, 1892, in a sale catalogued by Edouard Frossard.   
  This provided Deats with the funds necessary to acquire the   
  P.M. Wolsieffer philatelic material in October that year.    

  The earliest provenance of these truly rare coins (3 known)   
  has never been presented in any printed numismatic publication.   
  Based on my research, I believe an example of this coin was   
  sold privately by W.E. Woodward to Deats in early 1883,   
  after Woodward ended up with all of the Joseph J. Mickley/   
  William S. Appleton U.S. Gold coins, which Appleton had   
  received for financing the purchase of the Mickley collection   
  in April 1867.    

  I further believe Mickley owned two examples.  Both of these   
  1822 half eagles were off the market completely until 1883.   
  One quietly went to Deats, and one went to coin dealer H.P.   
  Smith, who made up a promotional story the following year   
  about obtaining it for $6 from an unnamed broker on the corner   
  of Ann and Nassau streets in New York city.   The third   
  genuine piece was in the Mint cabinet, while a fourth counterfeit   
  example was then owned by Lorin Parmelee, who had obtained   
  it when he purchased the George Seavey collection.   

  When Mickley's collection of U.S. gold was acquired by   
  Appleton in 1867,  there was no general awareness that the   
  date was considered rare.  This can be confirmed by   
  correspondence to Baltimore collector T. Harrison Garrett   
  in December 1884 from Philadelphia attorney Harold Newlin   
  discussing this date (ref. History of United States Coinage   
  by Bowers, p.451).    

  Although the 1822 half eagle was listed as being "Very Rare"   
  in Joseph Mickley's 1858 publication "Dates of United States   
  Coins and their Degrees of Rarity", it appears this date was   
  overlooked by Woodward when he sold it to Deats by private   
  treaty.  This brings up the question of just how well Mickley's   
  pioneering pamphlet circulated among the early coin collectors.   
  Based on the fact that Woodward did not think highly of this   
  date, it is possible he never read Mickley's publication when   
  it came out; after all, he was not even in the coin business until   
  two years later.  From all other indicators, no one else active   
  in American numismatics at the time was aware of the extreme   
  rarity either.  Of course, this same thing happened as late as   
  1955 when the unique 16 star Heraldic Eagle 1797 Half Eagle   
  was sold in the Farish Baldenhofer sale.    

  For whatever it may be worth, the Mickley legacy to   
  American numismatics should include the ownership of an   
  outstanding U.S. Gold coin collection.  This has been too long   
  overlooked by nearly all numismatists as there were no such   
  pieces listed in the October 1867 Mickley sale when it was   
  catalogued by Woodward.  Since Mickley knew of the high   
  rarity of this date in 1858, I suggest that Joseph Mickley should   
  be listed as the first person in the pedigree lineages.  He would   
  have been the only one to accurately know about the 1822   
  half eagles at the time, based solely on his ownership, since   
  none had ever appeared at auction or had been listed   
  anywhere, at any time, by anyone else."   


  Early issues of The E-Sylum often included mentions of the   
  numismatic writings and other activities of subscribers.  But   
  our subscriber list has grown so much that such mentions   
  would be tantamount to an index of the week's published   
  works.  So often many weeks go by between such mentions.   
  But the recent issue of the American Numismatic Association's   
  journal has a number of noteworthy items, so here goes:    

  Foremost is the cover article by NBS Secretary-Treasurer   
  David Sklow on the rare ANA memorial medals of founder   
  Dr. George Heath.   Sklow is the ANA's Historian, and with   
  good reason - with his database of ANA members from 1891   
  to 1941 he has at his fingertips more information than anyone,   
  including most ANA staffers.    

  Dave Bowers' "Coin and Collectors" column features a history   
  of the Dahlonega Mint, including the text of a letter about the   
  mint dated April 30, 1848 and published in the National   
  Intelligencer - a great example of the use of primary source   

  ANA President Pete Smith's "Names in Numismatics" column   
  highlights the Pioneer Family Memorial in Elgin, IL, sculpted   
  by Trygve Rovelstad, designer of the Elgin commemorative   
  half dollar  (see E-Sylum v4n30 and v4n31, July 22 & 29,   

  ANA museum curator Lawrence J. Lee, in his "Outside the   
  Vault"  column, writes about Charles Willson Peale, "The    
  Father of the American Museum".   Lee reveals the   
  interesting tidbit that his predecessor in the curator position,   
  Robert Hoge, is a distant relative of Peale's.    

  And finally, while not related to numismatic research, and   
  since E-Sylum readers love a good prank, here's a great tale   
  from Donn Pearlman's "Pearlman's People" column:   
  "Paul Whitnah revealed that years ago while managing the   
  American Airlines office in Shreveport, Louisiana, he   
  substituted the contents of a BEP bag of shredded currency   
  for the office's petty cash.  Later, the staff member in charge   
  of petty cash opened the safe, saw the minced paper money,   
  and with a horrified expression, informed Whitnah, "We've   
  got rats!"   


  This week's featured web site is the National Numismatic   
  Collection at the Smithsonian's National Museum of   
  American History.       

  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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