The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 4, Number 43, October 21, 2001: 
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 
Copyright (c) 2001, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.   


  We have one new subscriber this week: American Numismatic   
  Association Vice President Gary Lewis, courtesy of Susan   
  Nulty.  Welcome aboard!  Our subscriber count is now  422.   


  In response to H. Douglas Owens' question of how to remove   
  dust from a book, Jørgen Sømod writes: "Why? I love to take   
  a book out of the library and then blow a little bit - and see a   
  wonderful shadow of dust.  What is an antiquarian bookstore   
  without dust? I would hate such a place."   


  Greg A. Silvis writes: "Does anyone know if Walter Breen   
  ever prepared an errata sheet for his Half Cent Encyclopedia?   
  Breen makes mention of it in Volume III, Nos. 1-2 (Jan.-   
  March, 1985) of Cal Wilson's The Repository (available at ).  Breen says "An errata   
  sheet is in preparation.  Collectors spotting real errors are   
  urgently requested to write me at Box 352, Berkeley, CA  ]   
  94701.  I thank those that have already done so."  In this   
  article, Breen is responding to a "rather critical review" of his   
  Half Cent Encyclopedia written by Bill Weber that appeared   
  in Volume II, No. 6 of The Repository.  I have already   
  checked with Cal Wilson and George Kolbe, neither of   
  whom are aware of any errata sheet being produced."   


  In response to the request in last week's E-Sylum, Adrian   
  Gonzalez Salinas of Monterrey, N.L. Mexico is ending a   
  copy of the Prices Realized of the Spink America Gerber   
  Sale Part II,  (June 3, 1996, in Los Angeles) to Ralf W.   
  Boepple of Stuttgart, Germany.  Good luck with your   
  research!  E-Sylum readers really do go out of their way   
  to help one another.   


  What would the U.S. cent and five dollar bill look like without   
  Lincoln's beard?    

  On October 15, 1860, 11-year-old Grace Bedell of Westfield,   
  NY wrote a letter to presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln,   
  suggesting he could improve his appearance by growing a   
  beard.  The text of their exchange is shown here:    

  According to the web site of the State Bank of Delphos in   
  Delphos, Kansas,   " ... she didn't know she was making   
  history.  Lincoln replied at once, started growing a beard,   
  and met his "little correspondent" four months later when his   
  inaugural train stopped in Westfield.  Eight years later Grace   
  married Civil War veteran George N. Billings.  They moved   
  to Kansas (1870),  ten years before the founding of the State   
  Bank of Delphos.  Grace Bedell Billings kept Lincoln's letter   
  in the bank, where she often did bookkeeping for her   
  husband and later served as a director.  She found it hard to   
  believe that her letter would be part of one of the more   
  fascinating human-interest stories in U.S. history.    

  Finally, these pages show photos of Grace and pre- and   
  post- beard photos of Lincoln, along with contemporary   
  newspaper accounts of their meeting.    

  A search through the Haxby volumes and Steven Whitfield's   
  "Kansas Obsolete Notes and Scrip (SPMC, 1980) did not   
  locate notes issues by the State Bank of Delphos, so maybe   
  the numismatic connection stops with Lincoln's image.    

  "Today, the original of Grace's letter to Lincoln is in the   
  Burton Historical Collection of the Detroit Public Library.   
  Lincoln's letter to Grace is owned by a private collector   
  who wishes to remain anonymous."   


  Another historic letter is being offered for sale by   
  document dealer Robert F. Batchelder of West Chester, PA.   
  As described in an article by William T. Gibbs in the October   
  29, 2001 issue of Coin World (p22), the January 29th, 1793   
  letter was written in Philadelphia by the then-Secretary of   
  State Thomas Jefferson on behalf of President Washington.   
  Written to Henry Voigt, the one-page letter conveys Voigt's   
  commission as the first Chief Coiner of the Mint of the United   
  States.  Voigt served as the mint's Chief Coiner until his death   
  in February 1814.   


  Original documents like the letters just mentioned are the   
  ideal starting points for any research effort, numismatic or   
  otherwise.  Far too many numismatic writers consult previously   
  published works in the field without taking the time to look   
  beyond these secondary materials.  Primary source materials   
  include original historical artifacts and documents created at   
  the time of the events being studied, such as letters, diaries,   
  logbook entries, newspaper and magazine articles, etc.   
  Primary numismatic source materials include the numismatic   
  objects themselves, mint records, legislation, etc.    

  Don't depend on someone else's interpretation of an object.   
  Look at it yourself and draw your own conclusions.  A   
  researcher should always go to the most original source   

  "Few people realize how inaccuracies can creep into a   
  printed book.  For example, not until 1960 was there a   
  correct printing of the Articles of Confederation.  In that   
  year, the Old South Association asked Dr. Julian Boyd,   
  a past president of the American Historical Association,   
  to edit their republication of that great document.  For the   
  first time in history, it appears, he went to the original   
  manuscript and found errors which had been made in the   
  first printing, hitherto considered authoritative.  Some were   
  minor; one, at least, was significant." -from "Methods of   
  Research for the Amateur Historian" by Richard W.Hale,   
  Jr., Technical Leaflet 21, Revised Edition, History News,   
  Vol 24, No.9, September 1969, second revision, 1969,   
  published by the American Association for State and Local   


  The same publication goes on to remind archivists that   
  "the arrangement of historical materials is a historical fact.   
  ... properly kept archives always store government records   
  in the order in which the "office of origin" kept them.  If   
  possible, manuscripts should be kept the same way. ...   
  some probably important historical information was lost   
  forever when Dr. Joseph Felt reorganized the colonial 
  papers of Massachusetts in the 1830's.  Nowadays   
  no one can tell for certain the origin of the various   
  documents which he so carefully had bound into volumes.   
  Consequently, no one can tell what official caused what   
  document to be issued or secured.    

  The well-meaning Dr. Felt was the author of one of the   
  earliest works on American numismatics, "An Historical   
  Account of Massachusetts Currency", published in 1839.   


  The October 2001 issue of the TAMS Journal (published   
  by the Token and Medal Society) consists primarily of an   
  article by Q. David Bowers titled "The Numismatic Legacy   
  of Yankee Robinson."    A chapter in his upcoming "Fifty   
  Favorite Numismatic Pearls" book, it runs thirty pages,   
  including ninety-four detailed footnotes. And that's just   
  Part One.   "Yankee Robinson" was a popular entertainer   
  of the day who issued several Civil War tokens and   
  many counterstamped Liberty Seated Half Dollars, which   
  served as "admission tickets" to his shows.    

  "My interest piqued, and loving a challenge, I turned to   
  original source material, aided immensely by ... a huge   
  file - over 100 sheets - of newspaper clippings, photographs,   
  old-time accounts ..." etc, provided by Circus World   

  "Separately, I read through a complete file of the trade   
  journal of the 1850's onward the New York Clipper and   
  enough old-time newspapers to fill a closet."    

  Now THAT'S dedication to original source materials.   


  This week's featured web site is The Money of the Mexican   
  Revolution by J. D. "Dave" Watson of Goleta, CA.         

  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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