The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 6, Number 4, January 26, 2003:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2003, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


  Among recent new subscribers are Charles "Chick"
  Ambrass, courtesy of Wayne Homren, and Don Scarinci,
  courtesy of Dick Johnson.   Welcome aboard!  We now
  have 516 subscribers.


  NBS Board Member Tom Sheehan writes:  "I would like
  to publish a call for nominations for officers for NBS.  I
  would like to hear from anyone interested in running for
  office or proposing another member for office.  People
  should reply to me directly.  Your help in this is appreciated."
  Tom's email address is


  Tom Fort, editor of our print journal, writes: "The Winter 2003
  issue of The Asylum is now in the final proofing stage and it
  should be on its way to the printer during the week of
  January 26-February 1.  Readers will immediately see that the
  journal has a somewhat new look and I welcome comments
  either in The E-Sylum or sent to me directly  []
  The Table of Contents is as follows:

  "A Dissertation on the Allegorical Beings Found on the
   Reverses of Medals,"  by Edward Gibbon [A rare essay by
   the famous historian regarding a numismatic book he read in
   1764. Unlike its only other publication, in 1815, our edition
   is fully annotated with modern references and illustrated with
   the coins Gibbon discusses.]

  "A Thirty-Year Retrospective of Krause and Mishler:
   Standard Catalog of World Coins," by William Malkmus

  "A Few Notes On Translations," by Robert F. Fritsch

  "Postcards  as Numismatic Literature," by Pete Smith

  "Changing Perspectives on American Numismatic Literature,"
      by David F. Fanning

  "David Block," by his friends and colleagues

  "News from the Net." [with remembrances of the John W.
    Adams sale]

  "President's Message," by Pete Smith

  "Letters to the Editor" (by Leonard Augsburger and Pete
   Smith concerning Augsberger's article in the last issue)

   "Editorial: De Historia et Numismatica," by E. Tomlinson
  Fort [in which the editor opens his big mouth]

  Also, we need material for the next issue. Those who would
  like to submit something should try to have it to me by April 1
  at the latest."

  [I feel compelled at this point to interject an invitation for
   those of you who aren't yet NBS members to consider
   joining.  The Asylum is sent only to paid-up members of
   NBS.  As this table of contents illustrates, there is a
   world of great information contained within its pages.


  Dave Bowers reports that "All is fine in the numismatic
  research category and I look forward to creating a bunch
  of new writing projects!  My good wishes to all!  My life
  is all the richer for the many experiences and friendships
  I have had in numismatics, including with many members
  of the NBS, and I hope to be a vital part of  'the world's
  greatest hobby' for many years to come."

  He is no longer an employee of Bowers and Merena
  Galleries or of Collectors Universe. He can be contacted
  at the following addresses:"

  Q. David Bowers
  P.O. Box 539
  Wolfeboro Falls, NH 03896-0539


  Fred Lake writes: "The 67th mail-bid sale of numismatic
  literature from Lake Books is now available for viewing
  on their web site at
  The 546-lot catalog contains a wide variety of numismatic
  material, including a long run of Ponterio auction catalogs,
  many issues of the "Essay-Proof Journal", early "Redbooks",
  Morgenthau auction catalogs, reference material on Tokens
  and Medals, and many other subjects.  The sale has a closing
  date of February 11, 2003."


  Karl Moulton's latest fixed price list has been published.
  Covering American numismatic auction catalogs from
  1860 to date, the list is the most comprehensive of its
  kind.   Karl's annotations are great references in themselves.
  One good example is the 12/16/1880 Charles A. Besson
  sale by John W. Haseltine.  Karl writes: "this sale .. contains
  an 1838-O Half Dollar.  You will not find this offering of
  an 1838-O Half Dollar mentioned in anyone's pedigrees
  in any references because no one has taken the time to
  check.  According to Haseltine's information, at this
  juncture, there were six examples known."   For more
  information, see Karl's web site:


  John W. Adams writes: "Great News!!  The American
  Numismatic Society has accelerated its building schedule.
  We now plan to complete renovations of our new
  downtown location by September 30th and move in by year
  end.  What this means, in practical terms, is that the world's
  greatest Numismatic Library will soon become easily
  accessible.  For bibliophiles everywhere, the move represents
  a major milestone.

  In celebration of this event, the Library Committee has
  launched a drive to fund the Francis D. Campbell Library Chair.
  Frank, as many of you know, is our all-star librarian these past
  27 years; he combines encyclopedic knowledge with a rare
  service ethic.  We have two objectives:  1) to raise $2,000,000
  to endow the Librarian's position and 2) to reach out to a broad
  constituency to be symbolized by a minimum of 500 contributors.

  Where do the readers of E-Sylum fit in?  We want your money,
  of course, in large or in small amounts.  The 516 readers of The
  E-Sylum could by themselves fulfill our breadth objective.
  However, we also seek your support in spreading the gospel far
  and wide.  The A.N.S. Library is (or should be) to bibliophiles
  what the World Cup is to soccer fans.  We need your help
  in raising awareness of numismatic literature to a new level.

  Checks should be made payable to the American Numismatic
  Society and designated for the Francis D. Campbell Library
  Chair either on the check or in an accompanying note.

  Send to The American Numismatic Society, Broadway at
  155th St., New York, NY  10032.  For those who have an
  interest in playing a more active role, contact me at or contact anyone you know on our

  Catherine E. Bullowa-Moore
  Frank Campbell
  Dan Hamelberg
  George F. Kolbe
  Joseph R. Lasser
  Harrington E. Manville
  Richard Margolis
  David & Susan Tripp
  Anthony Terranova
  Randolph Zander"


  Readers may recall last year's April Fools item in the
  March 31, 2002 E-Sylum (v5n14) titled "MICKLEY
  MYSTERY".    The item implied that diaries of the
  great American collector Joseph Mickley had been
  found.  For years, only one volume of Mickley's diaries
  was known - the 1866-69 volume found by George Kolbe
  and sold to Armand Champa.  Your editor spent a wonderful
  afternoon during a visit to Louisville reading through the
  diary (and other great numismatic rarities) in Armand's
  library.   It now resides in the ANS Library, courtesy of
  Harry Bass.   One of the great mysteries of American
  numismatic literature is the fate of the remaining volumes
  of Mickley's diaries.

  NBS Board member Joel J. Orosz  got the joke.  His
  article on Jacob Giles Morris in The Numismatist had
  contained what was for me a real bombshell -  Joel had
  managed to locate another volume of Mickley's diaries!
  No joke!   Joel shared the story of his discovery of the
  volume in the April 28, 2002 E-Sylum (v5n18).

  While the rest of us were having fun at the 2000 Philadelphia
  ANA Convention, Joel slipped away to the manuscript
  repository of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, where
  he discovered the 1852 volume.  Now that's MY kind
  of fun.

  The latest issue of the American Numismatic Society's
  American Journal of Numismatics [Second Series 13
  (2001)], just published, contains Joel's newest article titled
  "Joseph J. Mickley's Diary for 1852: An Annotated
  Transcription."    From Joel's preface:

  "William Du Bois's observation that Mickley had kept a
  journal "nearly all his life" suggests that there was once an
  unbroken string of such volumes, stretching backward from
  his death in 1878 to the 1830's or even the 1820's.  Because
  our knowledge of numismatic history in the United States
  prior to the widespread popularization of the hobby in the
  late 1850s is sketchy at best, the Mickley diaries from the
  early years would comprise the numismatic analogue of the
  Dead Sea scrolls.  The first-hand testimony to be found within
  could settle many arguments and illuminate dark corners.  The
  only problem is that, even with the discovery of the 1852
  diary, the vast majority of Mickley's volumes are still "missing

  It seems probable that other volumes of the Mickley diaries
  may still exist, if for no other reason than that a systematic
  search has never been mounted for them."

  Here's one excerpt from the diary:
  "Friday, May 28, 1852 Went to see Mr. Peale at the Mint
  who gave me two Proof Half Dollars of the year 1838, on
  the obverse is a beautiful Head by the late C. Gobrecht
  (then Dyesinker [sic] of the Mint) on [the] Reverse on [sic]
  has a Flying Eagle & the other an eagle without the Shield."

  Joel's annotations make the article a delight for numismatic
  bibliophiles and researchers.   Thanks, Joel!


  Dick Johnson writes: "Marcel Jovine, who raised the bar
  for American medallic art by his highly creative and detailed
  medallic designs, died Monday, January 20, 2003 in
  Greenwich, Connecticut.  He was 81.

  Jovine was born in Italy, captured in World War II and
  brought to America as a prisoner-of-war.  Repatriated to
  Italy, he returned to America in 1946, determined to make
  a career of his sculptural talents. He is noted for his coin
  designs -- the earliest of which for the 1987 U.S.
  Constitution $5 gold commemorative -- he was allowed
  to do both sides.

  For the half dozen other commemorative coins he was
  only allowed to do one side. But it was his medallic art
  where he truly excelled. He did two regular issues for The
  Society of Medalists including an oversized concave-convex
  "Creation" and the American Bicentennial tribute, "Yankee
  Doodle." No other artist made three medals for The Society.

  His 15-year series for the Medallic Art Company Calendar
  Medal Series was noted for extremely detailed designs, often
  running around the edge of the medal in an unbroken circle.
  These always had strong visual themes:  American Bicentennial,
  Old Glory, Zodiac, Sailing Ships, Olympic Winter Games,
  Flight, American Automobile, Statue of Liberty, Pegasus
  and the American Circus.

  He will also be long remembered for his space medals, a
  twin medal set for the Viking I and II Mars Landing
  achievement, and the U.S. Russian Apollo-Soyuz Space
  Medal. The later was so creative the legend was in English
  on one side and in Russian on the other. He even signed his
  name on both sides, once in English, once in Russian.

  He did two medals for the United States Capitol Historical
  Society, and a string of medals for other American medal
  series. One of those was seven medals of Charles Lindbergh,
  and six for the Pasadena California Centennial.

  Among numismatists, however, his memory will exist for
  centuries for perhaps the most notable numismatic medallic
  work of the 20th century. This was the American Numismatic
  Society's 125th Anniversary Plaquette in which he replicated
  dozens of the most famous coins and medals from the
  Society's collections. I have chosen this work as the
  frontispiece of my upcoming directory of American Artists.
  This piece projects the essence of numismatics and vivifies the
  field we all hold dear in a stunning work of medallic art!
  Thank you, Marcel, I will miss your jolly, convivial friendship."


  Joel Orosz writes: "Regarding Nick Graver's query about
  whether the Garrett numismatic library is still in Evergreen
  House, I can authoritatively state that it was in residence as
  of March of 1995, when I paid the house a visit.  The
  collection was mainly a working library of catalogues and
  the standard references of the 1880s--I don't recall seeing
  any special editions or sumptuous bindings.  The numismatic
  books were not in the large library addition (below which
  the coin vault is located), but rather in the original portion
  of the house, on bookshelves in two large parlor rooms.
  Whether they are still there, I cannot say.  I wrote up my
  visit, under the title of "John Work Garrett, Evergreen House,
  and Me," which was published in Bowers and Merena's Rare
  Coin Review No. 110 (March/April 1996)."


  Dale Krueger writes: "Does anyone know what ever happened
  to Gunter Kienast, author of the two books on Karl Goetz and
  his medals?  Is he still alive?  I've heard rumors that he may
  have passed on, and other rumors that he's down in Florida
  playing shuffleboard with some Guido medals.  Someone's got
  to know.   Thanks."


  Mike Greenspan writes: "Two quick items:  Relative to the
  book review of "Greenback:...":  As a former "insider,"  I
  recall that, in the recent past (not more than ten years ago or
  so), the IRS seized the Mustang Ranch, Nevada's notorious
  brothel, in a tax case, and allowed it to continue to operate
  (legally in Nevada). Strange things happen in government.

  Relative to Dick Johnson's comments on NYC subway
  tokens and the early ten-cent fare, let me say that he is obviously
  younger than I.  I clearly remember using a nickel in the
  subway turnstile in the late 1940's and perhaps as late as 1952,
  prior to the use of any tokens. Now, if can remember where
  I put my car keys............"


  David Fanning writes:  "My article on nondestructive testing
  of the Hunley posted to my employer's Web site. It's a PDF,
  which people can download (we stripped the ads out, so if it
  looks a little weird, that's why). The article is posted at
  with a link also from
  The article contains a few cool photos, including one right after
  Maria Jacobsen found Dixon's lucky double eagle."


  Dick Johnson writes:  "I sold the NAACP's Spingarn Medal
  twice. Once in my Johnson & Jensen auction number 11 on
  August 17, 1981 lot 277 where it realized $95 (against a
  $50-60 estimate) and again in a double auction 15-16 on
  March 28, 1982 lot 1309 where it sold for $71.50 against
  the same estimate.  It was illustrated in both auction catalogs.

  Obverse bore a blind Justice holding aloft scales in her right
  hand with left hand holding the hilt of a sword point down;
  with sun and rays behind.  Reverse is the medal name
  superimposed on a wreath with four lines of lettering divided
  by a fairly large reserve (the blank area on a medal intended
  for inscribing recipient's name and award details), with wings
  below.  In both instances the medal was unsigned, unawarded
  and the maker was unknown to me then (and now!).  I would
  be delighted to learn who, indeed, was the artist and who
  struck it (and would gladly add this data to my upcoming
  directory of American Artists, Diesinkers, Engravers,
  Medalists and Sculptors).

  The design is quite good and the striking exhibits an
  experienced maker.   If I had to guess (and I shouldn't) it is in
  the style of Julio Kilenyi (and possibly struck by Whitehead &
  Hoag). Both are gone with no records surviving, so any
  documented data will have to come from the NAACP itself.

  The fact the highest award for black Americans was probably
  modeled by a white person is evidence of the scarcity of black
  medalists. In my databank of 3,350 American artists I have
  listed only eight black Americans that I can identify. The most
  famous of all was Richmond Barthe (1901-1989). Medallic
  Art Company struck three of his medals before World War II.
  (I remember our art department contacting him in the 1960s to
  do additional medals but to no avail.)

  My list also includes Selma Hortense Burke (1907-1995)
  who claimed John R. Sinnock stole her relief of Franklin D.
  Roosevelt for the design of the Roosevelt Dime. I have
  examined a photograph of her Roosevelt relief and it no
  way aligns with Sinnock's dime model. His work is entirely
  original. Walter Breen mentions Selma Burke in his
  Encyclopedia, and she must have repeated this story often,
  because it is mentioned in every one of her biographies.
  Robert Van Ryzin wrote an article on her and her relief in
  Numismatic News 30 November 1973."

  Joe Levine of Presidential Coin & Antique Company writes:
  "This appeared in our Auction #70, #711.  I believe the correct
  spelling in Spingarn, nor Springard."

  "NAACP SPINGARN AWARD MEDAL, (1914)  62.8mm.
  Gilt Bronze. Unsigned. XF/AU, with a suspension loop applied
  at top. There is a bit of darkening on the medal immediately
  below where the loop was applied.  The obverse features a
  standing figure of Justice holding balance scales aloft with her
  right hand and a sword in her left. A radiant sun is in the
  background. Inscribed at lower left is, FOR/ MERIT. On the
  reverse, a cartouche inscribed SPINGARN MEDAL is
  superimposed over a wreath enclosing the lamp of learning.
  Below: AWARDED TO with an empty space for engraving
  the name of the awardee.  At bottom is a three line inscription:
  of wings to either side of a flame.

  The National Association for the Advancement of Colored
  People (NAACP) awards the Spingarn Medal annually to a
  black American who has achieved career excellence.  This
  award was established in 1914 by Joel Elias Spingarn
  (1875-1939), who was then chairman of the NAACP board
  of directors. He was a literary critic who was one of the first
  white members of the NAACP. Spingarn taught literature at
  Columbia University and encouraged the development of
  black writers during the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s.

  As the medal is awarded in gold, we presume that this is a
  specimen strike. This is one of the more important medals
  relating to African-American history.  The winners of the
  award read like a Who's Who of twentieth century black
  America. A rare medal - it is the first we have seen. (G)

   7001.  #711. Gilt Bronze. XF/AU looped.   $219.00"

  Gar Travis located several web references for us, including
  some background on Spingarn from the online Worldbook
  Encyclopedia (

  Gar provided links to some pictures of the medal.
  Unfortunately, none is a close-up of the medal itself.

  "Marian Anderson with Springarn Medal and Eleanor Roosevelt"

  "A later image of Marian Anderson with the medal"

  "Bad image, but an image nevertheless and an unmentioned recipient."


  Speaking of encyclopedias, a Boston Globe article
  on December 30, 2002 reported that despite the
  pounding they took from electronic media, the good
  old-fashioned hardcopy encyclopedia is enjoying a
  revival of sorts.  Long live the book!

  "In its knotty-pine bookcase, the encyclopedia remained a
  kind of home intellectual center for decades. A thousand
  times we heard ''Look it up in the Britannica'' when we had
  a question or homework assignment, even after the battered
  row of brown volumes was long outdated.

  That story is legion in America, though the brand might be
  Compton's, World Book, or Americana.  In today's online
  world, however, one might reasonably consider the row of
  dignified volumes a quaint relic, like glass milk bottles or the
  slide rule.

  But the surprising fact is that printed encyclopedias are not
  only still around, they seem to be enjoying a modest revival.
  Publishers are rediscovering how to reach the customer who
  thinks a printed book is still the best source of knowledge.
  After a four-year hiatus, Encyclopaedia Britannica, based in
  Chicago, has almost sold out the new edition it released this
  year and is planning a revision for next year. Libraries remain
  the best customers, but there is still a core of people who
  want that row of books at home."

  "But just as radio survived television and records didn't kill
  off live performances, the printed encyclopedia stuck around.

  ''People were still asking about the print set,'' says Patti Ginnis,
  Britannica's sales director. Schools and libraries still wanted
  encyclopedias, and individuals like Schiebler continued to
  order them. ''It wasn't huge,'' Ginnis says, ''but it did make us
  sit up and take notice. It made us realize that people were
  still interested.''

  Britannica began to showcase the print set on its Web site
  and to sell it in booths at state fairs and all kinds of
  professional trade shows with surprising success."

  "A 2002 study of research habits by Outsell Inc., a market
  research company based in San Francisco, found that while
  people will use the Internet for a fast information search,
  they tend to place more trust in a book."

  ''One significant finding was that print is the preferred format
  for using content, though not the preferred format for finding it,''


  In response to Paul Withers' note on "the Italian Telephone
  Token which bears the inscription "Gettone",  Martin Purdy
  writes: "This is probably also a good example of a "false friend":
  "gettone" is the standard Italian word for a token or a counter,
  not (or not necessarily) a jeton per se.   The word has spread
  to other countries and cultures with the meaning "token", too:
  just today I saw a Russian 1975 mint set that had, on the case,
  the words "Leningrad mint's [sic] token" in English; the parallel
  Russian text used the word "Zheton", quite clearly derived
  from French "jeton", for "token"."


  Peter Mosiondz, Jr. writes: "I thought some of our bibliophiles
  might be interested in the following closeouts from Edward R.
  Hamilton, Bookseller (

  #2255243 Medallic Portraits of Washington, 2nd ed, $1.95
  #2223961 Hard Times Tokens, 6th edition $1.95
  #2218496 Latin American Tokens $1.95
  #216633X Standard Guide to Paper Money, 2nd ed $2.95

  Apparently Krause is cleaning (ware)house. I am told that
  my own book "Successful Stamp Dealing" will soon be
  remaindered as well. I am planning to work on a revised
  edition of it along with "Successful Coin Dealing" that I
  plan to publish through J.T. Stanton in the not too distant


  Medal Maven Dick Johnson writes: "Wow!  Terry Trantow,
  may I repeat your quote (from last week's E-Sylum)?

  "It would not surprise me [in the future] to see continued
  works on tokens/medals and its fraternity overshadow that of
  coin collecting."

  Somehow I have felt this for a long time. Terry, are you


  The Canadian National Library in Ottowa seems to have a
  little problem with flooding -- not a good thing for a library.
  On the web site of the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. is an
  article about the problem.  Here's a excerpt.  Follow the
  link for the complete article.

  "A flood cleanup wasn't on the National Library's list of 50th
  anniversary preparations. But the extreme cold burst a pipe
  Tuesday, sending staff into a salvage mode that is all too

  Staff at the library say they're getting good at drying out
  books, but it's not a skill they're proud of

  As staff dealt with the rogue water, retired librarians
  gathered for pictures to mark the library's half-century of

  In the last decade there have been about 70 floods in the
  building on Wellington Street..."


  Document and autograph dealer Kenneth Rendell
  published some thoughts a couple years ago on the effect that
  the internet is having on bibliophiles.  The article appeared
  in Business 2.0 (September 26, 2000).  The full text is
  available at this address:,1640,14038,FF.html

  "The major libraries of the future are being formed right
  now, and the Internet in particular and technology in
  general are important ingredients. "

  "Few of these libraries are even slightly known to the public...
  While the sources of historical letters and manuscripts have
  always been relatively few, and collectors of original writings
  have been more individual in their approach, collecting books
  has always been greatly influenced by the supply system. If
  you were interested in people or subjects out of the
  mainstream, and there was no dealer specializing in the area,
  you would have a very difficult time collecting. Dealers
  wouldn't buy non-mainstream books for their stocks and
  certainly couldn't afford to risk catalog space on books of
  unproven interest.

  The Internet has revolutionized this. The books that you want
  to put together on a particular subject may be scattered among
  several hundred dealers throughout the world, and they may
  not be expensive enough to appear in printed catalogs, but by
  using the Net, you can find them in the most efficient way. "


  This week's featured web site is the International Olympic
  Numismatic Federation.   "The "Fédération Internationale
  de Numismatique Olympique", better known as FINO, is
  an official Olympic Federation founded by the president of
  the IOC on 24 March, 1993.  Headquartered in Lausanne,
  Switzerland, its purpose is to bring together people and
  organisations with an interest in Olympism, pursuing this
  interest through the collection and study of coins, bank notes,
  medals and tokens."

  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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