The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 6, Number 7, February 16, 2003:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2003, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


  George Kolbe writes: "Our 1200-lot auction sale, featuring
  rare and important works on many numismatic topics, closes
  this coming THURSDAY, February 20th.  Telephone bids
  will be accepted until 6 PM California time on the 20th; fax
  and email bids will be accepted until midnight.  The catalogue
  may be viewed at, along with a
  fixed price listing of over 2,000 publications currently for
  sale at special prices."


  George continues: "Kolbe & Spink are in the final throes
  of publishing an English translation of Ernest Babelon's
  landmark introduction to ancient numismatics and its
  literature. Here's a little gem found in this upcoming
  publication pertaining to recent E-sylum discussion on
  the origins of THE AMERICAN NUMISMATIST and

  In Babelon's chapter on English numismatics and its
  literature is found the following: "Maximilian Borrell
  founded a periodical which only lasted one year: 'The
  Numismatist, a monthly publication exclusively devoted to
  the familiar illustration of the science of Numismatography'.
  London, 1851, in 8°, in two parts."

  This information is hardly unknown but I doubt that it is
  widely known to American bibliophiles.  It is interesting to
  note that the sub-title adopted by Heath in 1894 is more
  than a little similar to Borrell's, i.e., "An Illustrated Monthly
  devoted to the Science of Numismatics."


  Dick Johnson writes: "The Library of Congress is facing a
  herculean task.  It is going to preserve what is on the internet.

  However, "The digital history of this nation is imperiled by
  the very technology that is used to create it," said James H.
  Billington, Librarian of Congress.  He stated Friday,
  February 14th, that the Library of Congress is taking the
  next step to preserve that digital history.

  It has established, beginning in 2000, to do for digital
  information what it does for printed matter, preserve this
  form of communication for future generations.  It had
  received $5 million from Congress that year to plan the
  National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation
  Program (NDIIPP).  Last week Congress approved $20
  million to place this plan into action (as part of a total $100
  million appropriated for this project).

  Library officials are aware of the size of this task.  Google,
  the largest search engine currently, has over three billion pages.
  Not only is this in a constant state of change, but more is
  added every hour.

  "Much of what has been created is no longer accessible,"
  Billington said. "And much of what disappears is important,
  one-of-a-kind material that can never be recovered, but
  will be desperately looked for [later]."

  In a story by Nicholas Johnston in the Washington Post
  Saturday, the author stated the Library of Congress receives
  more than 20,000 pieces each day, but saves less than half.
  "It now faces the herculean task of deciding what digital
  information should be saved for future generations."

  The full story is at:

  Dick continues:  In our own field of numismatics we have
  observed the loss of original research that has been lost (e.g.
  Carl Carlson's computer files destroyed when he went into a
  nursing home).  How many of our own files have disappeared,
  perhaps, from a crash or virus via the internet.  Is anyone in
  the field saving numismatic data files for the future?   Is it time
  for a numismatic data archive?"


  Alan Luedeking writes: "I'm very pleased to announce that
  Carlos Jara's new book "Chile's Coquimbo Mint: A
  Documented History," is finally available for sale in a limited
  edition of only 50 numbered examples. This is the first
  publication supported by the recently founded "Sociedad
  Chilena de Estudios Numismáticos," and will be followed by
  more books and monographs dealing mostly with (but not
  limited to) Chilean numismatics. Here's a little review of this
  great work:

  Although the 1 Peso Coquimbo coin is so famous that it has
  many times been labeled the most important republican Latin
  American crown, no one has undertaken a serious study of it
  since Jose Toribio Medina in the early 1900's. Medina
  presented very incomplete information on this mint and its
  coins, leaving the door open to a lot of controversy. This
  comment may seem a bit harsh, but the amount of new
  documented information contained in Jara's book will prove
  that the assertion is merited. Through painstaking research,
  Mr. Jara uncovered much new documentation that was
  heretofore unknown and is crucial to understanding the
  precise chronology of the events that took place during the
  short time the Coquimbo Mint existed: 1827-1830. Was
  there more than one emission of coins from the Coquimbo
  Mint?  Jara presents incontrovertible evidence that there
  were in fact three different emissions.

  All relevant documents are presented in the Appendix,
  along with careful translations of the most essential ones.
  This work will finally bring closure to the long-running
  controversy concerning the legitimacy of the two known
  types of Coquimbo 1 Peso coins. Another controversial point
  concerns whether or not Coquimbo coined minor
  denominations. This is also cleared up. Previously
  undocumented and unknown contemporary descriptions and
  analysis of the various emissions of coins is presented, and by
  contrasting these with the actual coins known, it is possible to
  establish that the previously enigmatic and often called
  "dubious" specimens are in fact genuine. The diagnostics to
  identify genuine coins are also presented.  Other relevant items
  such as the mint employees' identities are also revealed,
  including the mysterious "T.H." whose initials appear on the
  Coquimbo coins. Illustrations of many known specimens of
  these coins along with a record of virtually all of their auction
  appearances are presented.

  The book (ISBN 956-291-669-3) is hardcovered, 176 pages
  long, and printed on high quality "couche" paper. Those
  wishing to order it are encouraged to do so, and may contact
  the author directly at or myself at Orders will be shipped now from
  Santiago, or from within the U.S. at the end of this month."


  Eric Newman writes: "As to the meaning of the word "chits",
  I have in my library A TRIAL LISTING OF MILITARY
  CHITS (St.Louis, MO 1969) written by Ruth W. Hill.  It is
  20 pages plus a a 1969 amendment.  I cannot get to it at this
  time but she was an accurate writer and many of the foreign
  paper money group knew her well. Perhaps she commented
  on the matter there."

  Mike Metras writes: "Chuck Ambrass asks what a "chit" is.
  When I was in Asmara, Eritrea, in the late '60s in the army,
  in order to control the money flow somewhat our Enlisted
  Men's  and Non-Commissioned Officer's clubs had $5
  books of coupons, little 3/4" by 1-1/2" or so paper coupons,
  that the waiters tore out to when we bought things. They
  were in 5, 10, 25 and maybe 50 cent denominations if I
  remember correctly.  The official name on the booklet called
  them "coupons," but we called these little coupons "chits"
  and the books that held them, "chit books."  I have no idea
  if they have a more numismatic designation as I never have
  formally collected them. I just have my few. We had to buy
  the books at a special window in the club.

  If you want to see what mine look like, I have included
  them in my CD-ROM book, "Ethiopia: Travels of a Youth."
  Although the text of this book is available on my web site,
  there is only a thumbnail version of most of the pictures. But
  you can see the chits well enough. You can see them at This page
  has a lot of graphics so it takes it a while to load. But click on
  the Kagnew Station link or scroll down to that title.  The chit
  thumbnail is the 17th in the Kagnew Station chapter. (If you
  had the full version of the book, clicking here would take you
  the full size version, but the online version has no large pictures.)

  If someone wants to see a larger version of this one or of the ]
  cover (the image next to the chits). I'd be glad to put the larger
  versions somewhere on my site or to email them copies of the
  jpg files. (Of course, one is always welcome to buy the book
  too. :) )  My email addresses is""

  Ron Haller-Williams writes: "I think I can help, being in
  England and having heard the word "chitty" used many times,
  but only by people who had served in India during World War
  II (or occasionally by people from the Indian sub-continent) -
  provided we forget about Ian Fleming's story of an old,
  restored car ("Chitty Chitty Bang Bang").

  It appeared to mean "receipt", or almost any other form of
  official piece of paper that might be needed either for proof
  of entitlement to certain goods/services or for subsequent
  handling of paperwork. This might include a requisition form
  for ordering supplies from the stationery or other materials
  repository, leading to the "Catch-22" situation for newcomers
  that they cannot put in an order, even for a pad of requisition
  forms, without a "chitty";  hence the first order form used
  would need to be begged from a kindly colleague!

  Chambers' Twentieth Century Dictionary, 1952 edition,

  chit - (noun) a short informal letter;  an order or pass.
      Also "chitty".   [Hindi "chitthi"]

  Collins English Dictionary, 1994 edition, gives:

   chit - (noun)
       1. a voucher for a sum of money owed, especially for
           food or drink.
       2. Also called "chitty" (chiefly British)
           (a) a note or memorandum
           (b) a requisition or receipt

         [18th century; from earlier "chitty", from Hindi
          "cittha"  = note, from Sanskrit "citra" = brightly-coloured]

  So, depending on the usage of the actual "chitty" itself, it may
  or may not need to be signed, and may well not have a
  "redemption value" (if it is a pass, a receipt, or a requisition
  or order for supplies).

  I would only expect it to be of card or cardboard, rather than
  paper, if it is a reusable or "permanent" voucher (e.g. for
  canteen meal/s), or a "pass" of longer duration than, say, a
  week-end. And nowadays some of these might even be
  laminated with plastic."


  Dick Johnson writes: "With the arrival of the February 2003
  issue of TAMS Journal came a delightful surprise:  "Exonumia
  Journal Articles."  Compiled by Gregory G. Brunk, the 71-
  page bibliography lists articles only  -- over 2,700 articles, no
  books -- from world journals that touch on, or illustrate tokens
  and medals.

  Obviously most of the journal sources are numismatic. For
  some of these journals compiler Brunk make a page-by-page
  inspection. For others we assume he captured these from
  citations in the literature. He also included a few citations from
  journals outside our field as well. He has performed a
  herculean task for the benefit of collectors and writers in the
  field. We always welcome Finding Aids, both on the internet
  and hardcopy.

  The arrangement is essentially geographical among 101
  token-and-medal-issuing countries.  His methodology of
  indexing -- and this has been discussed in E-Sylum before
  -- was a folder within a folder within a folder, somewhat like
  the arrangement in Elvira Clain-Stefanelli's massive
  "Numismatic Bibliography." As the number of entries grow
  under a country when compiling, how can they be broken

  By bringing related items together and giving them a new
  headline, a group subject title.  Boy, the computer sure helps
  when doing this arranging. But assigning each headline its
  position in the hierarchy becomes important. (Elvira's
  differing headline type styles was somewhat annoying,
  Gregory's isn't.)

  For each entry the author's last name is listed in full, but
  only the initials for any given names. There is a subject index
  but no author index.  Also, no item is repeated.  And that is
  somewhat of a problem in using the directory when an article
  cuts across two or more subjects.  You have to search
  extensively for a specific interest of your choice, and you
  have to rely on the article title alone.

  Assigning proper subject heads is critical.  I found only two
  of my articles listed, both are under an incorrect heading. An
  article on the medals of the American Numismatic SOCIETY
  is listed under American Numismatic ASSOCIATION. (The
  proper head should have been: American Numismatic
  Organizations.)  Also an article of mine, and one by G.
  Sanfilippo, on half-dollar size medals, both titled "So-Called
  Half Dollars" is listed under So-Called Dollars, which has a
  very specific meaning in the numismatic field and incorrect for
  our two articles.

  A point I have made previously in E-Sylum:  Before anyone
  starts indexing journal articles, check out the 2-volume
  reference work "Index to 19th Century American Art
  Periodicals" by Mary Morris Schmidt. It was published by
  my publisher, Sound View Press, in 1999.  It is an expensive
  set ($200), but study the methodology of her indexing. Here
  any number of citations can be made to a single article, its all
  in one alphabet and it contains authors and all possible subjects
  in that single alphabet.   Plus it gives detail on content of the
  article! (She could, and did!, pinpoint a single fact among a
  200-page article.)

  Having said all that, do get Gregory Brunk's useful work for
  your library. It's available from TAMS, Box 76192, Ocala,
  FL 34481 (that's David Sklow's address).  Or, better yet,
  join TAMS for twenty-five bucks.


  Alan Meghrig writes: "I try to keep tabs of the American
  Memory project, where Congressional Documents and
  Debates are being placed on the Internet.

  This search can lead you to George Washington.  Go to
  and enter 'a small beginning  (coinage)' as your search
  criteria.  This can lead you to this November 6, 1792

  "In execution of the authority given by the Legislature,
  measures have been taken for engaging some artists from
  abroad to aid in the establishment of our Mint; others have
  been employed at home. Provision has been made of the
  requisite buildings, and these are now putting into proper
  condition for the purposes of the establishment.  There has
  also been a small beginning in the coinage of half-dismes;
  the want of small coins in circulation calling the first
  attention to them.

  The regulation of foreign coins, in correspondency with the
  principles of our national coinage, as being essential to their
  due operation, and to order in our money concerns, will, I
  doubt not, be resumed and completed."

  My most recent visit notes the expansion of the U.S Serial
  Set and the Addition of America State Papers.  See   for pre-civil
  war Mint reports... etc."


  In response to Gar Travis' request, R. W. Julian writes: "I
  have this book; the title page has the author's name as J. B.
  A. A. Barthelemy and it was published at Paris at "A La
  Librairie Encyclopedique de Roret."  There is no date. "

  Hadrien Rambach of Paris writes: "Anatole de Barthelemy
  (= JBAA Barthelemy)
      Nouveau manuel complet de numismatique ancienne
      1 volume of text + 1 volume of plates (i.e. the atlas)
      Fist (rare) edition : Paris 1866
      Second edition : 1890

  The author also wrote a "Manuel de numismatique du

  Your edition is from the 2nd edition, according to the mention
  "membre de l'Institut" (= member of the French Academy).

  Complete sets of two volumes are unusual, but no copy is
  really expensive (the most expensive copy I know (mine!),
  is the text-volume in the first ed. with the ex-librisses of
  Henry Chapman & John W Scott, bound in half  leather)."

  Gar Travis adds: "I came by my copy as a lining in the bottom
  of a metal box with a few coins I purchased from an old
  collection, some years ago. I have just moved into a new office
  and came across it again. I thought about removing the plates
  and having them framed, but common sense may prevail and
  the book may stay together."


  Howard A. Daniel III submitted the following book review:

  "Centenary of Thai Banknote: 1902-2002" by a Working
  Group (under the direction of Bank of Thailand Governor,
  M.R. Pridiyathorn Devakula), Bank of Thailand, Bangkok,
  Thailand, Oversized Hardbound, 448 pages,

  One of the editorial consultants working on this excellent
  reference was Ron Cristal of Bangkok International
  Associates ( in Bangkok, and he
  recently sent a copy to me.

  It starts with describing the "bullet" coins, other coins, cowrie
  shells, porcelain gaming tokens during the time of King
  Mongkut (Rama IV), who came to the throne in 1868.  The
  King decided current Thai coins were not sufficient for
  Thailand to merge into the world's economies and he started
  a modernization process.

  King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) succeeded him and foreign
  banks started issuing their own notes to satisfy the demands
  of large transactions.  King Chulalongkorn decided that
  Thailand needed its own banknotes and the first were issued
  in 1902.

  This reference describes all of the Thai banknotes issued
  from 1902 to 2002 with much of the detail information never
  before seen in English or in published form.  I believe the
  details about the World War II issues has the largest amount
  of new information about the production, shipping, and issuing
  of these banknotes.  And it includes the postwar U.S.-printed

  If you have any general questions about this reference, please
  contact me at, or Ron at, if you want to know more details about it.
  Scott Semans ( is the only U.S. dealer,
  with this book on his website at
  If there is any interest in it, he will ask the publisher for
  quantity pricing."


  A February 13th article in The Wall Street Journal discussed
  several scenarios for a post-Saddam Iraq, including changes
  to the currency.

  "In closed-door meetings around the capital, Rubar Sandi and
  his colleagues are way beyond debating whether Baghdad has
  chemical weapons.

  "Our job is to envision what will happen on Day Two," says
  Mr. Sandi, a Washington-based financier who fled the Kurdish
  north of Iraq 28 years ago. "And, of course, there are a lot of
  different opinions."

  Mr. Sandi has his cure. He wants to peg the dinar to a blend
  of the dollar and the euro, then introduce new bank notes as
  swiftly as possible. How the two dinars will merge isn't yet
  clear, and the group is skimpy on details for fear of feeding
  the speculators.

  But Mr. Sandi goes on. "I suggest that the image of the great
  Babylonian lawgiver-king Hammurabi be imprinted on the
  most widely used denomination of the new dinar," he proposes
  in one of his papers. And then, he says aloud, "we should
  burn all the Saddam dinars in one final act of celebration."

  This last pitch draws howls from Mr. Sandi's colleagues,
  who favor a more gradual approach. "We should try not to
  be emotional about this," says Mr. Al-Shabibi, sipping his
  coffee. He suggests keeping the Saddam dinar for as long
  as necessary, but with the president's face systematically
  crossed out. "At least in some ways," he says, "we may
  have to keep living with Saddam."


  This week's featured web site is recommended by Larry
  Mitchell, who writes: "It's an excellent FLASH animation
  of the history of books, put together by the BBC.  Works
  best with a high-speed connection!"

  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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