The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 4, Number 48, November 25, 2001:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2001, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


  We have no new subscribers this week.  Our subscriber count
  holds at 428.


  Several E-Sylum subscribers, as well as your Editor, have
  internet service provided by @HOME, a cable modem
  vendor now in Chapter 11 bankruptcy.  While AT&T
  Broadband now handles the billing and is negotiating to
  purchase their assets, at this time it is not clear that the
  service will continue beyond November 30th.  If
  service is interrupted, there may be a delay in the next
  E-Sylum.  The Numismatic Bibliomania Society officers
  and I will work to ensure that the E-Sylum continues
  with as little disruption as possible.


  The economy is taking its toll on the U.S. Mint, too.
  From an article in the November 21st Philadelphia Inquirer:

  "Officials at the U.S. Mint, which produces all the coins in
  circulation, said that, with the economic downturn, the
  nation will consume vastly fewer new coins. It therefore has
  begun laying off 357 workers in Philadelphia, San Francisco,
  Denver and other places to curtail coin production and protect
  its profits for the U.S. Treasury.

  Mint officials believed as recently as the summer that the nation
  would need 23 billion new pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters
  in 2002. But the Mint bean counters reduced that number to
  15 billion when it became apparent that the economy would
  not rebound quickly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

  "This all happened fairly rapidly," a Mint spokeswoman, Susan
  Valaskovic, said yesterday. "Now you understand  why we're
  reducing employees in Philadelphia."

  The decline in demand for coins from the U.S. Mint is
  "staggering," and reflects the slumping national economy and
  other factors, said James Benfield, executive director of the
  Coin Coalition, a lobbying group in Washington that supports
  the dollar coin.

  The U.S. Mint has produced too many coins in the last year,
  and now is coping with tens of millions of dollars in unexpected
  coins flowing into the economy as people scrounge through
  drawers, old suits, jars and cans for coins.

  "As the economy slows down, this stuff comes out of the closet,"
  Benfield said. "When you're out of a job, you cash in all your

  [Anthough coin output typically grows from year to year, that
   isn't always the case.  At several points in history, coin
   production has declined due to economic, political, and other
   factors.  Is anyone aware of contemporary references to earlier
   cutbacks in mint employment?  -Editor]


  George Kolbe writes: "Over 200 lots of rare and out of
  print numismatic books are currently listed on the Sotheby's
  web site in a special online auction sale closing December 11,
  2001. Many rare and desirable works are offered.  The web
  address is"   [Look for the
  "Numismatic Books" link.  -Editor]


  One sideline of several numismatic bibliophiles is collecting
  the medals and tokens issued by famous collectors, societies,
  and institutions.  The upcoming December 10, 2001 Coin
  Galleries sale features "Selections from the Druck Family
  Collection Assembled by Michael J. Druck" (lots 3113-3214).

  "The late Michael J. Druck took particular pride in his
  collection of medals issued by the American Numismatic and
  Archaeological Society, later simply known as the American
  Numismatic Society (ANS).  He assembled a nearly complete
  set in generally outstanding grade, beginning with the Society's
  1865 Abraham Lincoln medal, ending with issued in the

  The sale also contains one lot of numismatic literature.
  Interestingly, it is one of the most common items in
  American numismatic literature, B.Max Mehl's "The Star
  Rare Coin Encyclopedia and Premium Guide", 1934


  By contrast, one of the most desirable items of American
  numismatic literature was recently cherrypicked from a
  flea market.  The November 19, 2001 issue of "The Coin
  Collector" from Bowers and Merena Galleries reports:
  "On a recent trip to a flea market, reader J.L. bought for
  just $8 a copy of W. Elliot Woodward's 1864 auction of
  the McCoy collection.  Bet he could turn a 1000% profit
  in the wink of an eye." (p7, "This & That" column).


  Thirty years ago this week (Thanksgiving eve, 1971), the infamous
  "D. B. Cooper" parachuted into history with his hijacker's ransom
  of 10,000 U.S. twenty dollar bills.  The following excerpts are from
  a Seattle Times' article of November 16, 1996:

  "Cooper parachuted from 10,000 feet into the blackness of a
  Thanksgiving eve storm with a 21-pound bag of $20 bills tied
  around his waist. His is still the only unsolved domestic skyjacking
  in U.S. history and despite checking out almost 10,000 potential
  suspects and maintaining a case file 60 volumes thick, the FBI
  remains stumped.  The basic questions have never been answered:
  Who was he? Where did he land?  Is he dead or alive? What
  happened to the money?

  Even the name, "D.B. Cooper" was pure media creation. The day
  after the skyjacking, FBI agents checked out a Portland man with
  that name and quickly cleared him. But the moniker stuck.

  An 8-year-old boy digging a fire pit on a sand bar along the north
  bank of the Columbia River west of Vancouver on Feb. 10, 1980,
  unearthed $5,800 of Cooper's loot. The money, only inches below
  the surface, had eroded so badly that only Andrew Jackson and
  the serial numbers were left.

  Some believe the find showed Cooper landed in or near the
  Columbia River, but hydrologists concluded the tattered and
  still-bundled money was more likely deposited by a stream flow
  than human hands."

  All of the notes had been photocopied before being packaged
  for the hijacker.  So the serial numbers are known, and 290 of
  the bills have been recovered.   Is anyone aware of a published
  list of serial numbers?  Have any others been found?  And what
  of the notes found in 1980 - are they still in an evidence locker


  In response to Dick Johnson's query about Panamint balls of
  silver, Dave Bowers writes: "In doing research for my book on
  the California Gold Rush and its numismatic aspects I encountered
  multiple mentions of the practice of casting gold and silver into
  very large ingots to be transported by animal-back over remote
  areas. The shipments were not of California gold, but were of
  metal from South American mines.

  Mule trains with valuable bullion, crossing the Isthmus of
  Panama from the Pacific to the Atlantic side in the era before
  the Gold Rush, were often lightly guarded with only two or three
  men.  The theory was that if the trains were robbed, the thieves
  could not transport the bullion easily.  A flaw in this logic might
  be that the animals themselves might be captured along with
  their load  -- but this was not addressed in the narratives I read.

  Some later historians confused these earlier Spanish-American
  heavy gold ingots with California gold shipments, but I  have
  found no record whatever of such a procedure being used for
  California Gold Rush (1848 and later) metal."

  Jan Monroe writes: "For my friend Dick Johnson I provide the

  During the Nevada Centennial a publicity stunt was arranged
  and that was to send a Panamint Ball from Nevada to the U.S.
  Mint.  The ball weighed 629.25 pounds and was scheduled to
  be shipped from Nevada via eleven state capitols, and plaques
  were to be presented to each governor made from titanium
  and mounted on old Comstock Mine timber.  Unfortunately
  President Kennedy was assassinated when the exhibit was at
  the Utah state capitol and the rest of the events were canceled.
  The Panamint Ball did reach the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia so
  that the Nevada State Centennial Medals could be minted.

  As some know from Turner's articles, 20,000 medals were
  minted at the Philadelphia Mint but what many do not know is
  that 5,000 of these were proofs.

  This publicity event was based on historical fact.  Senators
  William Morris Stewart and John P. Jones of Nevada used
  the Panamint Ball to deter bandits.   I do not have information
  on the first reference to the Panamint ball in numismatic literature
  but the Final Report of the Nevada Centennial Commission pages
  46 and 47 contain more information on the 1964 Nevada
  Centennial publicity event.

  John P. Jones is mentioned in Wells Fargo an Illustrated History,
  (Noel Loomis, 1968) as the co-owner of the Crown Point Mine
  in 1870 which earned he and his partner $30 million. (p.214.)"


  Alan Luedeking writes: "An article in the Wall Street Journal
  of August 6, 2001 described the growing practice in the U.S.
  military of handing out "coins" as souvenirs and tokens of
  appreciation (literally) for a job well done.  This tradition is
  said to have begun in the 1960's with the 10th Special Forces
  Group, a unit of the Green Berets.

  I found it interesting that each federal entity formulates its own
  rules concerning their design and distribution, and that at Fort
  Stewart, Georgia anybody under the rank of colonel cannot use
  federal funds to pay for the making of theirs.  Some small units
  resort to flipping hamburgers and sponsoring car washes to pay
  for theirs. It's said most soldiers value receiving these more than
  a "real" medal or ribbon, and that some individuals have paid
  for theirs out of their own pockets (Defense Secretary Rumsfeld,
  for instance, who is said to hand them out "much, much more
  sparingly" than his predecessor William Cohen [according to
  Rear Adm. Craig Quigley]).

  Although the article implied that only the Army and Air Force
  practice this tradition widely, the photographs showed one
  for the Navy (for the U.S.S. Coronado) and one for the Office
  of the Director of the U. S. Secret Service.  What disturbed me
  a bit was that the value of these pieces has become so widely
  recognized that now executives of Raytheon and General
  Dynamics hand their own out to military clients, and even
  Pentagon correspondents (Jamie McIntyre of CNN, for instance)
  hand them out. This would appear to dilute the "purity" of the
  tradition. Are there any unwritten rules at all?  It was mentioned
  that these "coins" regularly trade on eBay, so clearly they've
  become a global collectible.  If Clinton's collection numbers
  over 500 different pieces, and generals like Hugh Shelton and
  Shinseki report that theirs have even been counterfeited, this
  clearly begs for more information. Is there is any comprehensive
  catalog out there?"


  Tom DeLorey writes: "Russ Rulau referred to the demise of
  the Numismatic Scrapbook Magazine as the "Crime of '74."
  It actually ceased publication with the February, 1976 issue.
  Cause of death? Cost accounting. Amos Press published
  NSM and "World Coins" using the same staff and printing
  equipment. World Coins was losing money, so the accountants
  said kill it. That, of course, shifted the entire overhead onto
  NSM, which under that circumstance would be losing money
  instead of showing a profit (for the first time in years) as it had
  done under Executive Editor David T. Alexander.  The crazy
  thing was, NSM was showing a greater net profit than World
  Coins' net loss, but the bean counters said kill them both."

  Fred Reed adds: "Actually, Amos Press announced they were
  folding the content of NSM into Coin World by offering a
  Numismatic Scrapbook Section of the newspaper once a month.
  Jay Guren and I were named co-editors and we limped along
  presenting feature material in that format for a year or so
  before the project petered out."


  Reminder: Tom Sheehan will be in New York December 4th
  and he offered to buy copies of the Grolier numismatic literature
  exhibit catalog and send them to any subscribers who want
  them.  Send $20 and an address label to Tom at P.O. Box
  1477, Edmonds, WA 98020.  Be sure to mail your label and
  money in time for Tom to receive it by Monday, December 3rd.
  Overseas subscribers, please include enough to cover the
  additional postage.  Tom reports receiving four requests so


  From an article on the November 12, 2001 issue of Fortune:

  "Is the euro really going to happen? Yes. More than 14 billion
  euro notes have been printed; 50 billion coins have been minted.
  European governments and businesses have spent billions
  getting ready for this. There is no turning back for the 300
  million people living in euroland.

  On Jan. 1, euros will begin spewing from ATMs in 12
  countries (Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece,
  Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain).
  The plan is that by Jan. 15, most currency transactions in those
  countries will be in euros and by the beginning of March, all of
  them will be.

  That doesn't mean the changeover will go smoothly. During the
  first few weeks, when the euro and existing national currencies
  circulate side by side, there will almost certainly be a few fights
  at banks and chaotic scenes at department stores -- not to mention
  attempts to slip counterfeit euros past harried cashiers."


  This week's featured web site is produced by the European Central
  Bank, and shows the designs of the new euro coins and banknotes.
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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