The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 5, Number 18, April 28, 2002:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2002, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


  We have one new subscriber this week: Dick McLennand.
  Welcome aboard!  Our subscriber count is now 469.


  Astarte S.A. of Lugano, Switzerland deals in classical, medieval,
  modern and contemporary coins, medals and books on
  numismatics.  Their Mail Bid Sale X, closing on May 15, 2002,
  "features a large Numismatic Library including more than 1400
  titles from XV to XVII century."  The sale is available on line at
  the firm's web site:   Lots are
  grouped by the following subject areas:

  Celtic-Greek Coinage
  Roman Coinage
  Byzantine Coinage
  Medieval and Modern Coinage
  Medals and Plaquets

  The web site also features an extensive selection of numismatic
  literature at fixed prices.


  From the Astarte terms of sale: "The opening bids will be the
  estimate, unless there are higher offers.  Bids below estimate
  will not be accepted"    Perhaps something was lost in the
  translation to English, but that sounds more like a minimum
  bid than an estimate.  Is this practice common in European


  From the press release:  "The June 14, 2002 88th auction
  sale by George Frederick Kolbe / Fine Numismatic Books
  will feature Part Two of the John F. Bergman library,
  comprising 873 lots of notable works on ancient, foreign and
  American numismatic topics.  Rare works on American
  numismatics from the Jeff Hosford library are also featured,
  as well as an important consignment of classic sale catalogues
  and works on ancient coins, and works on American paper
  money from the library of J. Roy Pennell, Jr.

  Many standard works on a wide range of numismatic subjects
  will be found in the 1242 lot sale catalogue, which ... is
  accessible at the firm's web site: or
  illustrated catalogues may be obtained by sending $20.00 to

  Sale highlights include a handsome set of the first 103 volumes
  of  The Numismatist, 1888-1990, uniformly hardbound
  throughout (volumes 1-6 are in reprint); two handsomely
  illustrated sixteenth century works on coins (Panvinio's 1557
  Fasti et triumphi Romanorum and Strada's 1553 Epitome);
  1849 and 1850 Eckfeldt & Du Bois works featuring actual
  samples of California '49er gold; a very fine five volume set
  of Mazzini's Monete Imperiale Romane; a superb set of
  George Hill's 1930 Corpus of Italian Medals of the Renaissance;
  a handsome set of the preferred 1832-1737 French edition of
  Van Loon's Medallic History of the Netherlands; a handsome,
  inscribed set of the classic 1892 catalogue of the collection of
  Manual Vidal Quadras y Ramón; John Bergman's numismatic
  literature research files...."


  The recent E-Sylum April Fools joke was oddly prescient --
  the item in the March 31st issue hinted at the discovery of
  the long-lost personal diaries of 19th-century Philadelphia
  numismatist Joseph Mickley.  Readers of the May 2002
  issue of The Numismatist will find that NBS Board member
  and long-running Asylum columnist Joel Orosz has indeed
  unearthed one of these celebrated volumes.  See the
  following item for details.


  Joel Orosz writes: "In 1980, George Frederick Kolbe
  excited numismatic bibliophiles by announcing he had found
  Joseph Mickley's diary, covering a span from August 1866
  to June 1869.   William Dubois had written in 1871 that
  Mickley kept a journal for most of his adult life.  Clearly there
  had been other volumes of the Mickley diary, but had they

  During the 2000 ANA Anniversary Convention in
  Philadelphia,  I spent a couple of days at the Historical
  Society of Pennsylvania,  in search of numismatic source
  material.   I had last been there in 1983, doing research for
  my dissertation;  during that visit, I found materials on Pierre
  Eugene Du Simitiere that I used for my first numismatic book,
  The Eagle That Is Forgotten.  A few hours spent with the
  Society's old-fashioned card catalogue yielded some
  interesting tidbits, but I hit the jackpot when I looked up
  Joseph J. Mickley, and discovered that, under catalogue
  # AM1039, the Society owned the great collector's diary
  for 1852.

  The diary contains nothing that will change the course of
  numismatic history, but it does add a couple of names to the
  list of people who owned silver center cents (James Hall and
  Jacob Giles Morris), asserts that Christian Gobrecht, not
  James Kneass, designed the obverse of the 1838 pattern
  half (Pollock 77), and it sheds some light on Mickley's
  collecting habits and compatriots.

  I used some information from the diary in the article I wrote
  for the current issue of The Numismatist, "Jacob Giles Morris,
  Patrician Pioneer of Coin Collecting," and I will be sharing
  an annotated version of the diary with fellow numismatists in
  the future.  The next number of The American Journal of
  Numismatics will contain an article I have written containing
  a transcription of every numismatic reference from the diary
  and an explanatory annotation for most of the entries.  This
  experience makes me wonder -- how many other volumes of
  Mickley's diaries may be safely tucked away in archives and
  historical societies just waiting to be found? "

  [Joel's article is a must-read for all students of American
  numismatics and anyone with an interest in history.   One
  word:  Wow!  -Editor]


  Another possible numismatic revelation was highlighted
  on the cover of the May 6th, 2002 issue of Coin World.
  The article article is about one of the lots in the George T.
  Morgan consignment  mentioned last week.

  "... the long-held belief that [Anna] Williams was Morgan's
  inspiration for the silver dollar is questioned by the content
  of an undated letter in Whitford's upcoming auction.  The
  letter is from one of Morgan's two daughters..."  The letter
  states, "Father always said no matter how many models
  posed for him, that he never bid any & that he just made
  up the obverse himself..."

  The letter is lot 1130 in the May 10-11 Craig A. Whitford
  Numismatic Auctions sale.


  Alan Luedeking  writes: "In defense of dust jackets (and slip
  cases), besides protecting the book, they often contain a
  short bio of the author, synopsis of the work, photograph
  of the author, catalog of the author's other works, or even
  more important, superb enlarged color photographs of coins
  not to be found in the book.

  See Alberto Gomes' monumental work on Portuguese coins,
  Adolfo Modesti's "Numismata in Libris", R.I.C. Vol. X, or
  Dr. Alan K. Craig's series of books on the Spanish colonial
  coins in the State of Florida collection.  In these cases, the
  dust jacket is an integral part of the book, and its absence
  would be a detraction almost as bad as having the title page
  torn out.  As such, a price difference for its presence or
  absence is justified, although what that difference should be
  is of course a personal matter that can only be determined
  on a case-by-case basis."


  NBS Board member Joel Orosz writes: "Regarding Chet
  Dera's mention of "Archival Mist", I cannot vouch for this
  specific product, having never used it or even seen it, but the
  basic chemistry described has been used in archives and by
  conservators for more than three decades.  I have personally
  used two such products, Wei To and Bookkeeper, with
  excellent results.

  It is true that the paper does not buckle, and if you apply the
  spray carefully, no excess precipitate appears on the paper.
  In fact, it is visually impossible to determine whether or not
  the paper has been deacidified.  The only way to tell is by feel
  -- paper deacidified by this method is noticeably dry to the

  As veteran bibliophiles know, the woodpulp paper that
  began to be used about 1860 is highly acidic, and unless
  sealed in an airtight environment, turns yellow and brittle
  over time.  The wrappers on pamphlets and journals are
  particularly a problem.  Deacidification with Bookkeeper
  (which is available from University Products) will not
  reverse damage that has already been done, will not restore
  the flexibility of the original paper, nor will it completely
  protect against further damage from acidic reactions, but
  its buffering action does slow such reactions to a crawl.
  I highly recommend it to preserve brittle acidic paper.


  Dick Johnson writes: "Your item on Mint Director Henrietta
  Fore working with her staff on how to protect Mint facilities
  following September 11th in last week's E-Sylum triggered a
  memory.  I read an account that mentioned two employees
  from the U.S. Mint and two employees from the Bureau of
  Engraving and Printing were among the 400 selected
  employees from all government agencies in President Bush's
  Shadow Government.

  They cannot tell anyone, not even a spouse, where they went
  or what they were doing   So if you live in the Washington
  area and your spouse disappears for a couple days at a time
  they are either having an affair or in the Shadow Government.

  Did someone open the bunker in the basement of the
  Greenbrier again?"


  In response to Bob Leonard's question about the publication
  date of the August 1881 issue of Scott's Coin Collector's
  Journal, Asylum Editor-in-Chief David Fanning writes:
  "There are a few references in that issue (August 1881) of the
  CCJ to events of June 1881 and one reference to July 1881.
  The CCJ being a monthly, I suspect that the August 1881
  issue would have been published very near August 1881 if
  not in that exact month."


  Jan Monroe writes: "In response to John Merz's question
  concerning the "Official Souvenir Medal' dated 1921 from the
  Plymouth (Mass.) Tercentenary Committee, commemorating
  the three hundredth anniversary of the landing of the Pilgrims,
  I provide the following, (in addition to Dick Johnson's

  The medalet was struck by Whitehead & Hoag and has an
  integral loop at the top.  This medal is 31mm in diameter and
  was issued with a red, white and blue ribbon on a a buff card
  that states "Official Souvenir Medal / Plymouth Tercentenary /
  Committee".  The medal weighs 8.8 grams and was struck in
  bronze.  Some of the medals were silver plated. This medal
  was catalogued as  Storer number 1561 and Heath number
  MA239 9a & 9b.   I do not have any mintage figures for the
  medal but it was apparently still available from one of the
  historical agencies in Plymouth a few years ago on the original

  Obv.  Mayflower sailing to the right entering harbor at
  Plymouth.  Below is the town seal with laurel branches
  to either side.

  Rev.  Wreath, torch and ribbon with 1620 and 1920 to
  either side.  below are the works PILGRIM /


  Stephen Pradier writes: "Perhaps a month or so ago I and
  others commented on the limited run of numismatic literature
  publications.  Statistics and numbers are a funny thing and
  most times leave one to wonder.

  We know that there are 400 plus NBS members thanks to
  Wayne's weekly updates on Sunday's release of the E-Sylum.
  [Actually, since NBS membership isn't required for subscribing
  to The E-Sylum, the number of members is different; over
  300 I believe, but less than 469.   So what are you guys
  waiting for?   We'd love to have you all as members.  -Editor]

  We also know that 500 is a generally accepted number for a
  limited run on a book covering some specialized area of
  numismatics. This would leave the publisher with perhaps 150
  plus copies after the  book goes on sale.  Perhaps later on
  down the road someone else will need a copy.  Then again,
  there is eBay.

  To cause a book to become antiquarian overnight a printing
  of less than 50 copies seems to be a good number.  George
  F. Kolbe's press release of his March 22, 2002 Auction 87
  mentions that there were 350 plus auction participants.  Not
  400 or 500, but 350 plus.   I wonder if that was just the
  number of winning bidders, or did it include the losers, too?
  [See George's explanation below. -Editor]

  Realizing that there are sometime three or four Numismatic
  Literature auctions going on at the same time, some of those
  same 350 plus bidders surely participated in those other
  auctions as well.  We may or never know their numbers.
  George seems to be the only one at present to provide the
  numbers at the end, along with a PRL.

  Then you have as an example this writer, who owns three
  copies of a limited run of 500, two copies of a run of 1000
  and so on.  I tend to get a working copy of a book that is
  in my area of interest . It is not that I am hard on a book
  by any means.  It's just that "Book Thing".

  The other reasons for the multiple copies is, winning bids
  on books I already own, since I lack a convenient way to
  check what I have versus what I bid on in an upcoming
  auction.  What's more, I don't have Alzheimer's -- yet.

  I can only imagine how many others of the 300-400 have
  the same problem.  Another fact of worth is that some of
  the same 350 plus bidders in GFK's last auction are selling
  and buying the same books  that they just won or lost
  from each other. It might be said that those of us with this
  strange interest are incestuous to say the least when it comes
  to acquiring the book of their dreams.

  Are there other auctions going on that I don't know about?
  Out of all of the billions of people in the world, the professed
  10,000,000 to 100,000,000 coin collectors in the world,
  are there only 350 to 400 plus individuals who have an
  intense interest in numismatic literature?

  It boggles the mind to come to grips with realization that
  there are seemingly so few who know that the book is much
  rarer than the coin.  Show me the numbers!"


  About his recent sale #87, George Kolbe writes: "We
  ended up with 374 invoices (unsuccessful bidders are sent
  an invoice with a note to that effect, and a prices realized
  list). Probably about 300-325 of the bidders were successful.
  The sale comprised some 250 linear feet of books and it took
  20 days from the sale date to complete shipping and invoicing.

  Parcels were shipped to most states in the U. S., including
  Hawaii, and to the following countries: Israel, Spain, Canada,
  Mexico, Germany, United Arab Emirates, England, Italy,
  Russia, Morocco, Greece, Switzerland, Belgium, Norway,
  Ireland, Japan, Sweden, Australia, France, Lebanon,
  Venezuela, Haiti and Taiwan (I've probably missed a few).
  Postage and UPS costs were in the $8000-$10,000 area.


  The NBS web site has had a hand in fulfilling a number of
  research requests.  Curtis P. Schuh of Tucson, Arizona wrote:
  "Browsing the web, I came across an entry from one Dave
  Bowers who is building a database on Lewis Feuchtwanger.
  I currently am preparing an article on Feuchtwanger's
  mineralogical and gemological contributions.  Could you
  perhaps forward this message to Mr. Bowers so that perhaps
  we can share information?"

  Dave Bowers replied: "I have created a rather lengthy essay
  on Dr. F., which goes into his gem books (the first state of
  the first printing has his name spelled FEUCHTWANGRR,
  as you may know) but more concentrates on his tokens.

  This will be published this summer in a book, MORE
  ADVENTURES WITH RARE COINS.  Perhaps if you could
  bring me up to speed on what you have, etc., and what your
  publishing plans are, I would then take it from there.

  Feuchtwanger, German born, was a man of many talents.
  In mineralogy he published a treatise in 1838 that was well
  written, followed by later works on gems and minerals (of
  which I have copies). He also compounded "Feuchtwanger's
  Composition," a variation of packfong or argentan, popularly
  called "German silver," but at first called by him "American
  silver."  He also had a drugstore and display ("museum")
  with preserved reptiles and natural curiosities on display.

  Numismatically, he is remembered for a series of tokens
  circa 1834-1837, in particular his 1837-dated Feuchtwanger's
  Composition one-cent (as it was denominated on the reverse).
  published among its illustrations will be a little leaflet L.F.
  distributed to congressmen in 1837 urging them to adopt his
  Composition for regular cent coinage.  In 1864 he issued a
  three-cent piece in limited numbers; these pieces are fairly
  elusive today, are usually seen in Mint State, and exist the
  extent of perhaps fewer than 30 specimens."


  As coincidence would have it, your Editor just so happens
  to have on his desk a printed copy of a January 4, 1838
  letter about Dr. Feuchtwanger's coinage proposal
  written by Robert Patterson, Director of the U.S.Mint.
  The letter was addressed to Senator Thomas H. Benton,
  who had forwarded a copy of Feuchtwanger's proposal
  to replace the copper coinage of the United States.
  The letter lays out seven points of objection.

  "On the whole, it is my decided opinion that it would not
  be proper to abandon our copper coinage in favor of the
  proposed substitute; and you will observe that, in
  presenting this opinion, I have not thought it necessary to
  bring to your view the many advantages belonging to the
  copper coinage; its profit to the Government, ... the hold
  which it has on the habits of the people; and the loss that
  would be sustained by its suppression, or the confusion
  which would arise from a double circulation of the same


  In response to last week's question, Bob Merchant writes:
  Robert Turfboer's translation of Van Loon's 'Contemporary
  Numismatics' is one of the best numismatic books I've ever
  read.  And I've read it at least three times.  I once
  corresponded with Mr. Turfboer, as I was hoping that
  Van Loon's magnum opus was also going to be translated
  into English, but no such luck.  This is a book that every
  numismatist should read."

  [Historian Van Loon also wrote multi-volume works on
   Netherlands medals and obsidional coinage (the coinage
  of sieges).

  An entry for 'Contemporary Numismatics' in the
  American Numismatic Association's library catalog is
  as follows:

  Loon, Gerard Van, 1683-1758.
  Hedendaagsche penningkunde = Contemporary numismatics.
  Leiden, Brill, 1995 303p. Line drawings. 34cm. Originally
  written in Dutch, first published in Amsterdam in 1717. The
  translation is from the 1732 printing. 2c. Hard cover.

  The entry doesn't mention Turfboer, whose translation was
  published in the U.S. in 1993.  So who published this 1995
  version in Leiden?  -Editor]

  About Van Loon's other works, Ron Haller-Williams writes:
  "Clain-Steffanelli says this:   14855*  Loon, Gerard van.
  "Histoire métallique des XVII provinces des Pays-Bas
  depuis l?abdication de Charles-Quint jusq?à la paix de Bade
  en MDCCXVI".  5vols.  The Hague, 1732-1737.  Dutch
  version: 4 vols. The Hague, 1723-1731.  Reprint: Leipzig,
  Hamburg: Humanitas, 1969. 2044 pp., ill."

  I would add: Dutch title (vols publ 1723 / 1726 / ???? / 1731)
  is:  "Beschryving der Nederlandsche Historipenningen:  Of
  beknopt Verhaal van ?t gene sedert de Overdracht der
  Heerschappye Keyzer Karel den Vyfden op Koning Philips
  Zynen Zoon, tot het sluyten van den Uytrechtschen Vreede,
  in de zeventien Nederlandsche Gewesten is voorgevallen".
  The volumes are big - some 18.5" x 12" x 2.4"
  If I had to, I'd settle for the 1969 reprint ..."


  In response to last week's note about the book with the
  "perfectly preserved Spider",  David Lange writes:
  "Several thoughts come to mind:  Was this book printed
  on the BEP's famous spider press?   Was it ever featured
  on the author's website?   Is this why so many of us get
  stuck on books?

  Actually, I suspect the spider remains were not of the spider
  itself but of its shed exoskeleton.  The only way spiders can
  grow is by casting off their old armor.  Of course, that could
  mean that there's an even larger spider lurking somewhere
  else in the book.

  When Cal Wilson was doing numismatic literature auctions
  in the '80s he told me of one particularly disturbing encounter
  with nature. He took a consignment from the Southwest that
  included about fifteen years' worth of Coin World newspapers.
  When he opened one of the cartons he was assailed by a
  legion of tiny black widow spiders, there evidently being a
  nursery inside that box.

  What followed was the first staged production of the musical
  "Stomp," sans the music.  Needless to say, that consignment
  never made it to auction. I believe Cal just refunded the
  consignor's postage cost and gave him some nominal amount
  over that to conclude the deal. In the meantime, his rented
  space (you couldn't really call it an office) had to be fumigated
  and carefully swept.

  I seem to recall that he was not alone when it happened.
  He had a fellow bibliophile with him at the time of the assault,
  perhaps Ken Barr or the late John Bergman."


  This week's featured web site is the Money Museum of the
  Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, VA.  Sections include:

  Primitive Money
  Coins of Early Origin
  Barter in Colonial America
  Yap Stone
  Colonial Coin and Currency
  Continental Currency
  The New Nation
  The First United States Mint
  The First Bank of the US
  Early Banking Systems, 1811-1860
  19th Century Coinage
  US Currency, 1861-1865
  Postwar Problems and Progress, 1865-1912
  The Federal Reserve System
  Small-sized Currency
  20th Century Coinage
  Grains Balance
  The Making of Currency and Coin
  Paper Money of Virginia
  Currency of the Confederacy
  US Commemorative Coins
  Large-Denomination Currency
  Gold Bar
  Precious Metals

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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