The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 4, Number 52, December 23, 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 414.


  The January 15-17, 2002 sale by Stack's of New York
  features the most comprehensive collection of Massachusetts
  silver coins ever auctioned - over 180 different specimens
  of silver shillings struck in Boston by the order of the
  Massachusetts General Court.  The coins were designed
  by silversmiths John Hull (1624-83) and Robert Sanderson
  (1608-93).  Advertisements for the auction tout the catalog
  as "certain to become the definitive reference work for this
  historically important series,"  and that is probably not far
  off the mark.  It's an uncommon occurrence for such a
  specialized collection of rarities to come to market, and
  catalogues for such sales often become the defacto reference
  for the series.   Would anyone care to nominate the "top ten"
  catalogs which stand as definitive reference works for their


  Bryon Kanzinger has published "The Civil War Token
  Collectors Guide", December 2001, 236pp.  The book
  was a runaway bestseller at the recent Baltimore coin
  show, selling over 700 copies.   A price guide to the
  series cataloged by Hettrick/Guttag and the Fulds, the
  book also includes useful chapters on token collectibility,
  design themes, die rarities, errors, varieties, and grading.
  The book is available in hard and soft covers.  For more
  information, see

  The book is notable from a bibliophilic standpoint due to
  the method of designating deluxe copies. Exactly one
  hardbound copy was made for each of the towns which
  issued civil war tokens.  A pastedown in the inside front
  cover lists the name of the town.  These editions were a
  hot item among seasoned CWT collectors, with many
  people clambering to purchase the copy for "their"
  favorite town.  One collector bought three copies, one
  for each of the three towns NOT already represented in
  his collection, figuring that even if he never finds the
  needed token, "at least he'll have the book."

  Publishers have often produced numbered copies of
  books, but is this the first instance of numismatic literature
  specially dedicated to a town?


  Ralf W. Böpple writes: "Today, Monday 17, 2001, the new
  euro coins were made available to the public here in Germany.
  The money will be legal tender as of January 1, 2002, and will
  replace the national currencies of the member countries of the
  euro area. Traditional and historic currencies like the French
  franc, the Spanish peseta, the Austrian shilling, the Italian lira,
  and the German deutschmark will thus become a closed
  chapter of numismatic history!

  Of course I was among the first to enter my bank branch this
  morning to trade in 20 deutschmarks for a 'starter kit' (yes,
  the English term is used in Germany) of euro coins worth
  EUR 10.23. These kits are now made available all over the
  euro area, so that the people can get used to the new coins
  before they will be able to spend them from next year on.

  These coins are sold in little transparent plastic bags, and
  due to the different absolute exchange rates in the different
  member countries, each country has a different assortment
  of coins in its starter kit.  It is predicted that these little
  packages will soon become a collectible of its own.

  As you might be aware, the euro coins have the same
  specifications in each member country, as well as the same
  obverse. Only the reverse is different, similar to the US state
  quarters program.  Unlike in the US, where this program has
  already sparked great attention from old and new collectors,
  this has not happened yet in Germany - one will have to wait
  and see what happens when the first coins with 'foreign'
  reverses appear in circulation in Germany (and it will be
  interesting to see where they come from and how frequently
  they will ultimately be seen).

  Also, the numismatic community in Germany has been very
  busy with promoting the collecting of the soon-to-be-gone
  deutschmark. So far I am aware of only one catalog in
  German language that provides possible collectors with
  detailed information about the new euro coins (with minting
  dates, mintmarks, minting figures, etc.).  Cardboard albums
  with holes that can be filled with coins plucked from
  circulation seem to be an American specialty, since I have
  yet to see one on the market for euro coins.

  Euro banknotes are not part of the starter kits and will
  become available to the public only after January 1, 2002.

  Monetary reform usually comes at the end of years of
  economic hardship and generally bad times. With the
  introduction of the euro, this is not the case (at least I
  would not compare the present quasi-recession with,
  e.g., the hyperinflatory times of the early twenties of the
  last century). Let's hope that if I will ever live to see
  another reform, it will be an experience as positive as
  this one!

  A happy holidays season to all of you from Stuttgart,


  Could the high-denomination Euro notes be the first
  to contain semiconductor chips?   From a PC World
  article published December 20th, 2001:

  "As the clock ticks down to the official introduction of the
  single European currency, word is out that the new
  banknotes could eventually contain a high-tech security
  feature meant to foil counterfeiting.

  The European Central Bank is seeking proposals from
  semiconductor makers for radio frequency identification
  chips that would be embedded in euro notes to prevent
  counterfeiting, according to a report published online in
  Electronic Engineering Times, citing unnamed inside sources.

  A spokesperson for the ECB, which is overseeing the
  replacement of 12 national currencies with the new money,
  says he cannot immediately confirm the reports. But the
  ECB has frequently referred to "state-of-the-art" antiforgery
  measures in the new notes, including raised print, watermarks,
  and hologram strips.

  Bankers are concerned that the cross-border use of the
  money, and its likely adoption outside the European Union
  as a reserve currency, could tempt forgers and money
  launderers. In particular, 200 and 500 euro notes are
  expected to be a tempting alternative to $100 bills for


  Adrián González Salinas of  Monterrey, N.L. México
  forwards this notice from The Azteca Numismatic Society
  (T.A.N.S.) "Plus Ultra"  Vol. VI  No. 63  Page 6
  December 1968:  "Members who remit their 1969 dues
  promptly will receive a valuable reproduction of a booklet
  originally privately  printed (300 copies) in 1886...
  Authored by Lyman Low and titled: "A Sketch of the
  Coinage of Morelos".

  This bonus has been made possible through good
  management of T.A.N.S. funds; the loan of an original
  copy by a member and the "at-cost" courtesy reproduction
  by another member.  The study is well worth your annual
  dues and we believe you will find it a valuable addition to
  your library.  Remember, it will be sent without cost upon
  payment of your dues. (members who have paid 1969
  dues will of course also receive it)."

  [See The E-Sylum, volume 4, nos. 8, 10, 11 for more
  on Morelos coinage and the Low monograph and its
  various reprints.  -Editor]


  In an article in the Winter 2001 issue of The Conder Token
  Collector's Journal, Richard Doty describes his latest
  research project.  "I began wondering what would happen
  if one were to make the eighteenth-century British magazine
  a cornerstone of token research.  In other words, what
  would happen if one took every available member of the
  genre, go over it with a fine-tooth comb for every mention
  of the token phenomenon from before its beginning until well
  past its end?  What would one find, and would it have been
  worth the effort?"

  "The eighteenth-century correspondence magazine was a
  marvelous invention, the equivalent of the twenty-first century
  electronic bulletin board and chat room.   You could find
  virtually anything between is covers, month after month,
  from a curious stone which fell from the sky in Bedfordshire
  to the proper method of harvesting potatoes in Kent to a
  curious seal found on Skye - to the latest token from

  "I'm just at the beginning of this research project, but it
  does seem worth pursuing, and I'll be sharing my findings
  from time to time."

  [It sounds like an interesting and rewarding project -
  It would be marvelous if more numismatic researchers had
  the time and patience for projects of such scope.  Best of
  luck!  -Editor]


  In previous E-Sylum issues, we discussed Indian Peace
  Medals  illustrated in the 1872 McKenny-Hall book.  Jan
  Monroe writes:  "I recently received a copy of William R.
  Talbot,  Fine Art, Antique Maps & Prints 2002 Catalogue.
  This catalog reminded me that the last time I was in Santa
  Fe, New Mexico I had stopped in at their store.

  They had acquired some books and prints from the estate of
  James Horan who wrote the McKenny-Hall Portrait Gallery of
  American Indians (1972).  They were able to tell me that the
  1972 book was based on the prints in the 1872 edition of the
  McKenny-Hall History of The Indian Tribes of North America.
  William R. Talbot is selling the original 1872 prints but they are
  expensive.  Talbot also has a number of other Indian prints
  and antiquarian books about Indians.

  William R. Talbot's address in Santa Fe is P.O. Box 2757,
  Santa Fe, New Mexico 87504 -- email"


  In response to the recent comments on allergies to metals
  in coins,  Myron Xenos writes: "Several years ago, a lady
  came to my office and sold me all her gold jewelry.   She
  seriously had developed an allergy that caused her skin to
  turn black.  I thought she had some other metal plated with
  gold, but I tested all the pieces and they were karat gold."


  My one and three-year-old sons are commandeering my
  computer for their own (or so it seems many days).
  Upkeep of the NBS web site has suffered, as The E-Sylum
  has top priority.  Would any of our members be willing and
  able to help out with web site maintenance?  For more
  information, write to me at:


  Joel Orosz sends an appropriate note for the season:  "Charles
  Dickens mentions US numismatics, albeit pejoratively, in his
  classic Christmas Carol.  In Stave [chapter] one, the spirit of
  Jacob Marley tells Ebenezer Scrooge that Scrooge will be
  visited by three spirits, on three successive nights, each upon
  the stroke of 1.  Scrooge then falls asleep, and does not waken
  until the beginning of Stave 2, when he hears the clock striking
  12.  Scrooge is concerned because it is too dark to be noon,
  and yet it does not seem possible that he has slept through the
  next day until 12 midnight. He looks through the window, in
  an effort to determine the time of day.  What follows is Dickens'
  description of what happened next, found in the fifth paragraph
  of Stave 2:

  All he could make out was, that it was still very foggy and
  extremely cold, and that there was no noise of people running
  to and fro, and making a great stir, as there unquestionably
  would have been if night had beaten off bright day, and taken
  possession of the world.  This was a great relief, because
  "three days after this First of Exchange pay to Mr. Ebenezer
  Scrooge or his order" and so forth, would have become a
  mere United States' security if there were no days to count by.

  Dickens, of course, had no admiration for the United States,
  the inhabitants of which he considered coarse and buffoonish.
  Apparently, he had no better opinion of the soundness of
  American financial obligations.  Happy holidays--humbug!"


  The next issue will bring to a close the fourth calendar year
  of operation for The E-Sylum.   To be perfectly honest, at the
  outset I really wondered whether we'd have enough material
  to fill a newsletter week after week.  But I needn't have
  worried.  The field of numismatic literature and research is so
  vast, and E-Sylum subscribers are so knowledgeable, that
  the E-Sylum often writes itself with reader submissions.

  So, how are we doing?  I may not be able to acknowledge
  every reply, but if you like, please let me know your thoughts
  on the past and future of The E-Sylum.   Have any of our
  news items been especially useful or interesting (or timely)?
  What topics do you like?   What topics would you like to see
  covered?   Write to:


  If you like The E-Sylum, you should love our print journal,
  The Asylum.  Published quarterly, The Asylum is the official
  journal of record for the Numismatic Bibliomania Society,
  and contains many lengthy landmark articles on numismatic
  literature and research.  With the beginning of a new year
  approaching, now is an ideal time to sign up.  Dues are just
  $15/year in North America ($20 elsewhere).  See the end
  this and every E-Sylum issue for membership details.


  This week's featured web page is from a very valuable
  numismatic web site, the Coin and Currency Collections
  in the Department of Special Collections at the University
  of Notre Dame Libraries.  The page is a general introduction
  to the Massachusetts Bay silver coinage (1652-1682)

  Happy holidays!

 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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