The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 5, Number 14, March 31, 2002:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2002, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


  We have twelve new subscribers this week:  Sr. Marcos
  Silvera of Montevideo, Uruguay, referred to us by Jose
  Luis Rubio, Karl Shea, Jeff Shelton, Stan Radino, Jeff
  Gresser, and seven new members of NBS who provided
  their email addresses to our Secretary-Treasurer, David
  Sklow:  Hedley Betts, Jane Colvard, Chris Connell,
  Barbara Gregory, Len Harsel, Dr. Ira Rezak, David
  Sundman.  What an all-star team of subscribers!
  Welcome aboard, everyone.  Our subscriber count is
  now 455.

  While on the subject of subscribers, can anyone help
  us find some lost sheep?  The following folks subscribed
  at one time, but we no longer have a working email
  address for them:  Jack Dempsey, Mark Ferguson,
  Gordon Frost, Neil Rothschild, and Harold Thomas.


  Excerpted from the post-sale press release:  "The March
  22, 2002  auction sale of "Important Numismatic Books"
  conducted by George Frederick Kolbe/Fine Numismatic
  Books brought a total of nearly $248,000.   Over 350
  bidders combined to purchase nearly 90% of the lots
  offered in the sale... a few highlights follow (prices quoted
  include the 10% buyers' premium):

  The rare 1855 edition of John S. Dye's Bank Note Plate
  Delineator brought $2,640; a unique notebook on Vermont
  coppers, compiled by Edward Barnsley, was actively pursued,
  selling for $6,600 on a $2,500 estimate; a complete set of the
  Numismatic Chronicle, 158 volumes from 1836 to 1996,
  realized $13,750;

  Antiquarian works on coins and medals were in great
  demand, and a 1636 numismatically-illustrated work on
  the lives of the Caesars brought $4,950 on a $1,500
  estimate; a set of Koehler's 729-1765 Münz-Belustigung
  (Historical Coin Amusement), an early numismatic periodical,
  garnered a winning bid of $3,575; the magnificent 1694-1727
  ten volume catalogue of ancient Roman coins in the Farnese
  Museum by Father Pedrusi was estimated to bring $2,500
  but sold for $4,400;

  One of the highlights of the sale, Adolfo Herrera's 56 volume
  1899-1910 Medallas Españolas, comprising over 2,900
  rubbings of medals in a edition limited to only twelve sets,
  brought $12,650 on a $7,500 estimate; a very rare sample
  book, circa 1911, of medals available from the Lauer
  manufacturing firm of Germany realized $687 in heavy bidding;
  the John Davenport numismatic archives, offered in two lots,
  realized $4,950;   the extensive collection of coin rubbings of
  British and British colonial coins prepared by W. W. Woodside
  was avidly pursued and finally sold for $2,640 on a $1,000; a
  special interleaved copy of John Ford's re-issue of Browning's
  famous 1925 work on U. S. quarter dollars brought $715;
  Edward Maris' famous 1869 work on 1794 large cents went
  for $1,100.

  Those who wish to learn more about the sale may view the
  catalogue for the next few weeks at the firm's web site: and can also review a complete prices
  realized list there. A limited number of copies of the illustrated
  catalogue with a printed prices realized list may be obtained
  by sending $20.00 to George Frederick Kolbe/Fine
  Numismatic Books, P. O. Drawer 3100, Crestline, CA 92325.

  Part two of the John Bergman library and important American
  numismatic works from the library of Jeff Hosford will be
  featured in the firm's June 14, 2002 sale."


  David Gladfelter writes: "The market for numismatic
  ephemera is truly strange. Fred Lake and Charlie Davis
  recently sold sets of Barney Bluestone's Grinnell sales
  catalogs with PRLs.  The former realized $300 & juice,
  the latter $130 & same. The only appreciable difference
  was that the former set, also included the original mailing

  Don't look for dust jacket ephemera on Sanford Durst
  publications. On the printer's imprint and copyright page
  he stated:  "This book has been produced with an
  attractive, quality, durable cover. It is the opinion of the
  publisher that paper dust jackets are ecologically wasteful
  and for that reason are not provided."


  Speaking of...  One Durst product sits at the ready on my
  desk - the "Standard Catalog of Counterfeit and Altered
  United States Coins" by Virgil Hancock and Larry
  Spanbauer, 1979.    The local museum sometimes refers to
  me callers with questions about numismatic items, and these
  people inevitably have a "rare" coin that quickly turns out to
  be a copy.  The Hancock/Spanbauer book is very valuable
  for identifying the characteristics of reproductions.  Has this
  title ever been updated?  I know of books and courses on
  counterfeits, but don't know of another single-volume
  reference on copies.


  Herb Friedman writes: "My good friend Murray Teigh
  Bloom (The Man Who Stole Portugal, etc.) has asked
  me to inquire about two reports on the Operation
  Bernhard WWII forgeries.  They are the Reeves Report
  and the Amstein Report. Apparently they were in the
  U.S. Archives and the Bank of England collection at one
  time, but no longer can be found. Might any of our
  members have one or both of these reports so that Murray
  can do a bit of research?

  I gave Murray the ANA and ANS librarian email addresses
  already.   I do not believe he will find the reports there, and
  that is why I thought our readers might be a better choice.

  I have been working on propaganda notes and forgeries
  myself.  I have two small articles in the current IBNS
  Journal, have another coming up in the next one, and am
  working on one for two issues away.  After a long drought,
  the government has once again taken to using propaganda
  in the form of currency."

  [Mr. Friedman's email address is
  I've been a fan of Mr. Bloom's writings on counterfeiters for
  many years.  I've read them all cover to cover, and especially
  enjoyed The Man Who Stole Portugal.  It's an unbelievable
  true story which I always hoped would be made into a film
  someday.  -Editor]


  Born this day were composer Franz Joseph Haydn (1732)
  and labor advocate César Chávez (1927).   There are a
  number of medallic works featuring Haydn.  Is anyone aware
  of numismatic tributes to Chávez?


  New subscriber Karl Shea writes: "My interests lie towards
  early (pre 1900) references to Australian/New Zealand
  Numismatics and I came to hear about the Numismatic
  Bibliomania Society when doing a search of the web looking
  for such references."


  In response to the question about reeded-edge cents made by
  dealer Ira Reed,  David Lange writes: "These coins were
  reportedly given away or sold in matching sets of cent and
  nickel, but I've never actually seen a reeded cent."

  Andy Lustig writes: "Yes, the coins were issued in two
  piece sets, including a cent and nickel.  I've handled three or
  four of the sets, which are more commonly encountered
  than individual cents or nickels.

  This information was confirmed by Tom DeLorey, P. Scott
  Rubin, and Ken Bressett, who writes: "Yes, these were sold
  as a set with both the nickel and cent.  They were supposed
  to be just a novelty, but were so well done that some people
  thought they were an official issue.

  They were written up in Numismatic Scrapbook Magazine
  in November 1953, page 1153. I don't have a copy of that
  handy, so can not give more details, but I believe that the
  material you have published is accurate and complete."


  Alan Luedeking writes: "Can anyone tell me the price realized
  for lots 8, 103 and 104 in Lester Merkin's sale of December
  7-8, 1973?  Thanks very much!"   [Send me the information
  and I'll forward it.  -Editor]


  While searching the web for more information on
  Operation Bernhard,  the following tidbit about
  earlier books on the subject turned up. The information
  is recorded as part of testimony by Dr. Wilhelm Hoettl
  at the trial of Nazi official Adolf Eichmann in 1961.
  He wrote The Secret Front and Operation Bernhard
  (not to be confused with the Anthony Pirie book
  titled Operation Bernhard):

  "The book was originally published under my pseudonym,
  Walter Hagen, but later in my own name, Dr. Wilhelm
  Hoettl, particularly for the English and American editions.

  In reply to the question as to whether I wrote the book
  primarily as an historian or more as literature, I would
  state the following:

  As a responsible historian, I maintain to this day that Die
  Geheime Front (The Secret Front) is historically sound as
  far as all the essentials are concerned; it was of course
  necessary to add minor literary embellishments, since that
  is the only way to sell enough copies, purely historical
  works not being known as commercial successes.  Just at
  the time when this book was published I had to depend
  on it for my income.

  Asked in this connection about the nature of the book,
  Unternehmen Bernhard (Operation Bernhard), my reply
  is as follows:

  Unlike my first book, The Secret Front, Operation Bernhard
  is to a large extent a piece of journalism, which can best
  be compared with the so-called documentary reports which
  are common today.  Although the background to this book
  - the counterfeiting of Sterling during the Second World War
  - is historically genuine, and some details I give in the report
  are based on actual events, the literary make-up is far
  stronger than in The Secret Front."



  Gregg Silvis writes: I am seeking information from the catalog
  of the Charles M. Williams collection that appeared in the
  November 14, 1950 Numismatic Gallery (Abe Kosoff and
  Abner Kreisberg) catalog.  In particular, I am very interested
  in  lot 678, which should be a 1794 Gilbert 6 U.S. half cent.
  What I am really looking for are any annotations as to the
  purchaser of lot 678.  If anyone has any information on this
  lot, would you please contact me at
  Thanks for your assistance."


  Rich Kelly and Nancy Oliver write: "We are searching for
  information concerning the letter that accompanied the
  1870-S $3.00 gold piece that was supposedly written by
  coiner J.B. Harmstead.  We have contacted the Harry Bass
  Foundation, Bowers and Merena and the curator at the ANA
  Museum for any information they might have concerning this
  letter.  The curator didn't even know of the letter's existence,
  whereas Bowers and the Bass Foundation knew of the letter
  but knew nothing of its present location.

  We feel, with our present knowledge of coiner J.B. Harmstead,
  we would be able to authenticate the signature of Mr.
  Harmstead and we are very anxious to do so.  It would answer
  many questions we have concerning the mysterious coiner and
  the rare coins created during his tenure.

  Does anyone out there know if the letter still exists and if so,
  where it is?  Also, if the letter no longer exists, does anyone
  know why it was destroyed or discarded?   We would
  appreciate any input, no matter how insignificant you might
  think it to be, concerning this matter."   [Write to:  -Editor]


  In response to Stephen Pradier's comment about the small
  print runs of most numismatic books,  longtime NBS
  member Morten Eske Mortensen writes: "Being a
  philanthropic [that means: each time I PAY THE LOSS
  for the specific book published] numismatic book publisher
  for more than 20 years, this subject has my special interest.

  This narrows down to the essential key factor: Coin
  collectors do not want to buy LITERATURE on coins
  if they at all cost can avoid it.  The collectors prefer to just
  buy COINS !

  Thus book publishers ought to only print 10% fewer copies
  than can be sold in one year, meaning the title goes out of
  print in one year.  Some collectors then want to buy the
  book when it is no longer available, and these people have
  to go to the antiquarian market where the price (hopefully)
  now is HIGHER than when the book was available at the
  publisher, and then (as some sort of punishment) have to
  pay a price-PENALTY for not supporting the publisher by
  buying in due time.

  I have practised this PRINT RUN policy for all 20 years.

  The last title of mine, "Bibliography of Danish/Norwegian
  auction catalogues 1684-1998", where printed in just
  those 194 copies ordered BEFORE the publication date.
  Thus this book went antiquarian counting from day one!
  Now the antiquarian price is DKK 500 [the various pre-
  orderers got it from me at individually levels DKK 150-

  I have published a Danish language article in this matter
  printed 1999 in a Swedish magazine: oplagspolitik.htm

  You can see print run information 1881-1999 as well as
  information on HOW MANY YEARS (or 10s of years)
  went by before the titles were sold out from the publishers
  finally by putting the titles on sale or outright giving them


  In response to the item about Enrico Caruso's coin
  collection, Carl Honore writes: "I am aware of the great
  tenor's collection and also of King Victor Immanuel.
  Both of these figures in history and numismatics show up
  in my soon to be published book,  " The Life and Times
  of the Liberty Nickel".  Hoagy Carmichael was another
  collector whose catalog was extensive.  It was too bad
  that Kern's collection was handled by Max Mehl.
  Mehl's catalogs tended to come out like shopping lists
  and NOT like catalogs as we know them today.

  I would have liked to have seen coins in today's auctions
  pedigreed to Kern or Carmichael or some of the other
  famous people you wouldn't expect to find in the hobby
  of kings."


  A visitor to our web site asks, "A web search turned up
  several references to a Joseph Mickley on your site, which
  I read with interest.   I'm an amateur historian and collector
  of original 19th century American source material such as
  old photographs, letters, ledgers, and diaries.  I was on the
  web researching three volumes I picked up a few weeks
  ago. The seller said they came from an estate in Texas.

  They appear to be handwritten diaries of a gentleman named
  J. Mickley.   Some of the entries relate to coin collecting and
  visits to the Philadelphia Mint, which led me to your web site.
  I'd like to learn if this "Joseph Mickley" is the same person
  who kept these diaries.  Where can I  locate a copy of the
  "26-page biography of Joseph Mickley written by his close
  friend, J. Bunting.",  which was mentioned in the vol 4,
  number 21 issue of your newsletter?  Anthony. J. Esterman,
  Cleveland, OH    (


  This week's featured web site is Randy Holder's
  1892 - 1915 Barber Half Collection.   The "Grading
  Midgrade (F to VF) Barber Halves" page is very
  nicely done.

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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