The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 6, Number 11, March 16, 2003:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2002, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


  Among recent new subscribers are Aaron East, who read
  about us on the PCGS Coin Universe Forum
  (  Welcome aboard!  We now have
  536 subscribers.


  On Thursday, March 13th, John and Nancy Wilson Ocala, FL
  wrote: "We have just received some very sad news.  Dr.
  Douglas Ball, who was employed by R. M. Smythe & Co., Inc.
  passed away today.  Very few numismatists were as
  knowledgeable as Douglas in the area of Confederate States
  of America, Virginia paper money, and many other areas of our
  hobby. He could talk for hours on many different numismatic
  subjects.  His lectures were always in-depth and done in a way
  that made them very interesting.

  We are deeply saddened by this tremendous loss in our
  numismatic hobby. We want to wish his family our deepest
  condolences.  Douglas, you will live in our memories forever."

  Dave Bowers writes: "No doubt you've received the news of
  the unfortunate passing of Douglas Ball, a true gentleman, a
  credit to the highest standards of numismatic professionalism,
  and a person who will be missed by all.

  The hobby of numismatics can be grateful that although
  Douglas was in the commercial sector through connections
  with NASCA and  R.M. Smythe, and helped turn out some
  marvelous catalogues for them, he generously shared his
  talents and research expertise in many arcane pursuits and
  byways that have been scarcely explored in depth by others,
  especially with regard to federal and Confederate paper money
  and its connection to the economics and finances of those

  By the time of his PhD dissertation in 1974, Confederate War
  Finance 1861-1865: Economic Policy Making in the South
  During the American Civil War, he had already taken home
  two Heath Literary Awards given by the ANA.

  In 1991, when his Financial Failure and Confederate Defeat
  was about to be published by the University of Illinois Press,
  I received a call from Doug asking if I would write a "blurb"
  for the book, which I gladly did.  My reference library is still
  largely packed away in boxes, and thus I don't have my copy
  at hand as I write this and am not sure whether my comment
  was used in the book or in some of the publicity for it.

  On my "to do list" is (now was), asking Doug what he could
  tell me about the infamous "Floyd acceptances," by which
  certain banks in the North were stricken in the Civil War when
  John B. Floyd, former Secretary of War for the U.S.
  government, placed paper with these financial institutions,
  then along with many other government officials, decamped
  to the Confederacy in 1861, leaving his creditors hanging
  (Floyd was later memorialized on the famous "traitors medal"
  by George H. Lovett). My question was this, which he
  cannot now answer: 'What do you know about the Floyd
  acceptances, and why were they considered to be personal
  notes from him?  How was he able to connect to multiple
  state-chartered banks and place these acceptances?" Claims
  were pressed to the U.S. Congress, then transferred to the
  Court of Claims for adjudication, but I would like to learn
  the intricacies and details.

  I last saw Douglas Ball a few months ago when I was with
  Bowers and Merena Galleries and was on the podium during
  an auction session of paper money. He was seated in the
  front row at my right, quietly studying his catalogue and
  bidding, presumably for some clients. As I was sometimes
  inclined to do, I singled out for mention a few professional
  luminaries in the audience, and mentioned some of Doug's
  accomplishments, as I had done a few times before when
  he honored our sales with his presence.

  I shall always remember with great fondness this kind, modest,
  and truly wonderful man and numismatist."


  Ray Flanigan writes: "We need your help!  Early last year
  John Wilson, President of the ANA and Arthur Fitts,
  Governor and Chairman of the Education Committee
  appointed a Subcommittee on Numismatics in College and
  Universities.  The primary goal was to have the American
  Numismatic Association (ANA) seen by post-secondary
  institutions and their faculties as a primary and credible
  source of knowledge and resource for use in the education
  of their students.

  The subcommittee was to identify/develop/recommend ways
  and means for the ANA to become preeminent in promoting,
  fostering, facilitating, and advancing the offering of courses in
  Numismatics leading to a broadening of our base of knowledge.
  The study of Numismatics itself is important, but equally
  important, is the study of numismatics as part of art, history,
  archeology, museology, or economics.

  The subcommittee decided to start by identifying numismatic
  holdings by U.S. colleges and universities and courses in
  numismatics currently being offered at the college level.  To
  date the subcommittee has identified approximately 2-dozen
  collections and more than 18 courses.  We know we have
  not identified them all and that E-Sylum readers probably
  know of some that we would like to contact and add to our

  Anyone knowing of a U.S. college or university with a coin
  collection or offering a course in numismatics can contact
  Ray Flanigan at JacquieandRayF@Netscape.Net
  Your help would be greatly appreciated.

  So far, we know of the following universities with numismatic
  collections:  Ashland, Bowdoin, CA-Berkeley, Colorado,
  Cornell, Dartmouth, Duke, Harvard, Iowa, Michigan,
  Mississippi, North Carolina, Princeton, Washington,
  Wisconsin and Yale.

  Those colleges that currently/have offered courses in
  numismatics include: Bowdoin, CA - Berkeley, Lawrence,
  Mary Washington, Moravian, Pepperdine, Tulane, Colorado,
  Illinois, Maryland, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia,
  Washington and Yale."

  [The ANA's request is timely, coming on the heels of
   E. Tomlinson Fort's recent article in our print journal, The
   Asylum.  "De Historia et Numismatica" (Winter 2003,
   p36-40).  Tom's article points out some of the reasons
   why there isn't already more interest in numismatics among
   historians and other scholars, and recommends some
   possible actions to remedy the situation.  The ANA's
   outreach program is another step in the right direction.

   For my part, I would like very much to gain additional
   E-Sylum subscribers among the halls of academia.
   Their expertise could be quite valuable in settling open
   questions and helping to steer numismatic researchers
   toward new sources of information.  Likewise, readers
   from other fields could come to learn a lot about our
   specialty.  If you know any such potential subscribers,
   please invite them to join in.  -Editor]


  From the Press Release: "We inform you that the XIII
  International Numismatics Congress will be held in Madrid
  (Palacio de Congresos, Castellana 99), Spain, between the
  15th and 18th September, 2003. ... You can find all the
  information related to the Congress in the webpage"

  "In the Congress headquarters some shops will be available for
  those booksellers who are interested in exhibit or sell their
  books about Numismatics. In case you have publications
  about Numismatics and you are interested in taking part in
  this event, you can get in touch with the Congress Technical
  Secretariy, where you can get informed about the details:


  Paul Withers writes: "Readers may like to know that a new
  book, "Small Change III" is now available.  This deals with the
  halfpennies and farthings of Henry IV, V and VI (1399 - 1461).

  We had hoped that we should have finished the book in time
  for Christmas - but for various reasons we didn't manage it,
  things kept turning up right until the very last moment and we
  also needed to track down an illustration of the Henry VI
  annulet issue farthing struck at York  - of which only one
  example is known.  We eventually traced it to a collector in
  the USA, and he, nice guy that he is, photographed it and
  sent us the negatives, along with information about several
  other interesting pieces from his collection.

  Like the two already published parts of the series, it is based
  on the collection of the late David Rogers. It has a new
  classification based on research done over the last three years,
  revising the works of Potter, Whitton and North, and even
  adding a few new types to those listed in Coins of England.

  The compilation of this work has meant that we have traveled
  far and wide : to Cambridge, Cardiff, Dublin, Glasgow,
  Edinburgh, Llantrisant, London, Manchester, and Oxford, to
  view museum collections, some of them several times.  We've
  also been to nearly two dozen other places to view private
  collections, including some of the finest in the country.  Dealers
  and auction houses have helped too, and this time we have
  had contact, via the Internet, with collectors and dealers as far
  away as America, Australia and New Zealand, who have
  provided valuable information and or images of coins in their
  collections or stock.

  C A Whitton, back in the late 1930s recorded 133 halfpennies
  and farthings of Henry VI.  Alas, some of these we have
  found to be errors - it is very easy to make mistakes with such
  tiny coins that are struck on small flans and clipped and worn
  afterwards.  We were unable to confirm quite a few others that
  Whitton recorded, but listed in the book are no fewer than 90
  that we have seen that were not recorded by him.

  As with the last two parts, the illustrations are about 4 times
  natural size so that details can be seen as clearly as possible.
  To help the beginner, we have provided line drawings to show
  and name features, such as saltires, broken annulets, and the
  like that appear on the coins with which the new collector may
  be unfamiliar.  At the other end of the scale, for the really
  serious enthusiast, we have provided concordances with our
  book to Potter, for the coins of Henry V, and to Whitton,
  North, and Spink  for coins of Henry VI.  There are several
  that are not in the current issue of the Spink 'Coins of England',
  but will be in the next!

  The price, including postage in the UK is £12 or 23 USD
  including airmail postage to the US

  For this small price it is too good to miss, and as you are
  buying directly from the authors/publisher, all the profit goes
  back to finance further research.

  Paul Withers


  A February 20th article in The Washington Post featured the
  Bureau of Engraving and Printing's engravers, who have been
  toiling to create the updated designs for U.S. paper money,
  to be revealed later this month.   Information about the
  engravers can be hard to come by - a few have been well-
  known, but most labor in obscurity.

  "Computers still can't match Dixie March's hands."

  As one of only 13 engravers who create the nation's currency
  -- which will soon sport new colors -- March carves thousands
  of teensy dots and lines onto steel plates while peering through
  her 139-year-old brass magnifier and wielding her hand-made
  engraving tools.

  "We're kind of dinosaurs," said March, who works for the
  Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

  "It's a dying craft," March said. "Technology is going to take
  over  . . . . The technology just hasn't gotten there yet."

  March and her three fellow letter engravers, five picture
  engravers and a single sculpture engraver toil away in relative
  obscurity on the top floor of the BEP's vault-like annex at 14th
  and C streets NW. Three letter engravers work at the bureau's
  Fort Worth plant."

  [Numismatic author Gene Hessler was quoted in the article.
   Can you tell he's a musician? -Editor]

  "This is the first time the United States has used color to
  differentiate between denominations, something other countries
  have been doing for decades," said Gene Hessler, author of
  several books on engraving and currency."

  "Today, there are fewer than 100 security engravers worldwide,
  because of the dwindling number of private bank-note firms and
  because governments are replacing much hand engraving with
  technology, engraving expert Hessler said. He predicts that one
  day "there could be a handful of freelance engravers" serving the
  entire world. Many countries already use computer-imaged and
  photo-etched notes."

  "It's like the difference between a synthesizer and a live
  performance by a 100-piece orchestra," he said.

  "It sounds similar, but it's not the same."


  Dr. Arthur Tobias of Los Angeles writes: "I have a query for
  your readers.  I have two questions relating to W. L. Ormsby
  and ship images.  Did Ormsby engrave any ship images on
  paper money?  And in the late 1830s - 40s what access
  would he have had to ship images when he had an assignment
  to do a specific naval scene?

  I am working on a second article for publication on the 3
  engravings that Ormsby did for Samuel Colt's revolver cylinders
  in the 1840s.  The first article was on the Stagecoach Holdup
  Scene and described the context of the image and aspects of
  the grammagraph process.  The Autry Museum in Los Angeles
  provided me with a photo of a proof plate in their collection.
  The article was published in the 11.01 The Gun Report.

  I am now working with an image from the proof plate of the
  Naval Engagement Scene (commemorating the 16 May 1843
  fight between ships of the Texas Republic and the Mexican
  Navy) and am writing about the historical events behind the
  scene.  Ormsby would have received the commission for the
  Naval Scene circa 1849.

  I have consulted Muscalus' Early Ships ... On Paper Money.
  I find no notes by either Continental Bank Note or New York
  Bank Note Companies.  Ormsby was connected with both
  these firms in the 1850s.  He worked for Carter, Andrews & Co.
  prior to that time.

  I have found a handful of images, mostly in the Newberry
  Library or UTexas Archives, of journal sketches of Texas and
  Mexican ships in harbor, etc. from the period of the Texas
  Republic.  But these would not have been published at that time
  and so not available to Ormsby.  They do confirm that his
  depiction of the ships Austin, Wharton, Guadalupe and
  Moctezuma are relatively accurate.  Any help will be

  [Dr. Tobias' email address is


  Ken Berger and David Ganz spotted a typo in last's week's
  item by Ron Haller Williams, who noted that "The highest
  denomination issued for public circulation was $10,000 (with
  the portrait of 19th-century U S Supreme Court Judge
  Salmon P Close)."

  The gentleman's name is of course, Salmon P. CHASE,
  whom Ganz notes "... was also Treasury Secretary in
  Lincoln's first term."

  David Ganz continues: "Currency notes of denominations
  above $100 are not available from the Department of the
  Treasury, the Federal Reserve System, or the Bureau of
  Engraving and Printing. On July 14, 1969, the Department
  of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve System announced
  that currency notes in denominations of $500, $1,000,
  $5,000, and $10,000 would be discontinued immediately
  due to lack of use. Although they were issued until 1969,
  they were last printed in 1945.

  The $100,000 Gold Certificate was never released into
  general circulation and was only used in fiscal channels.
  This note cannot be legally held by currency note collectors."

  Kavan Ratnatunga writes: "Promotional $million notes may
  get mistaken for real overseas.  I met the officer in the
  Central Bank of Sri Lanka who had to testify in this fraud
  case few years ago, and gifted him one as a souvenir.

  [The link points to a page on Kavan's website containing a
  copy of a newspaper article describing the incident.  Some
  excerpts follow.  -Editor]

  "Police arrested a woman who attempted to encash US
  dollar one million currency note."

  "The suspect had returned from India recently and had
  unsuccessfully attempted to encash it in Chilaw, Negombo,
  Seeduwa and Wattala areas. Chilaw Police, on information
  received, sent a posse of policemen in mufti, posed as rich
  businessmen ..."

  "The broker who mistook the policemen in mufti as genuine
  businessmen, brought forth the woman with the currency
  (Rs.65 million) note to a place in Wattala on Friday afternoon.
  From there she was driven to the Chilaw Police.  The broker
  too was arrested."

  "Sources added that the currency bill looked genuine and is
  expected to be sent to the Central Bank for verification. But
  Police sources further added that even if it is genuine, the
  suspect should have made a declaration with the Customs
  on her arrival."


  A note in the March/April 2003 issue of Paper Money, the
  official journal of the Society of Paper Money Collectors

  "Newer reference books on a variety of paper money
  subjects are missing from the SPMC Library, which has
  been neglected for much of the past decade.  Authors or
  publishers of reference books/catalogs published during this
  period are encouraged to donate examples of their volumes
  to update our revitalized library.  Donations to this worthy
  project are tax deductible for the cover price of the work,
  and books may be shipped directly to the SPMC
  librarian.  Write first.  Donors will be acknowledged in
  a future issue of Paper Money."

  [E-Sylum readers are encouraged to assist in this effort.
   Librarian Bob Schreiner may be contacted at  -Editor]


  The Spring 2003 issue of The C4 Newsletter, published by
  the Colonial Coin Collectors Club notes (on p37):

  "Heard on the grapevine: Bob Vlack's book dealing with
  French Colonial coins that circulated in North America is
  finally at the printer.  We await it with baited breath!"

  Does anyone have any further information on this book?
  Meanwhile, your Editor shall await with BATED breath...
  What BAIT would one use for a book, anyway?
  Library Paste...?

  Actually, by some accounts, "baited" is becoming a more
  accepted spelling in this context, so maybe your Editor is
  becoming a fossil himself.   From Michael Quinion's
  "World Wide Words" web site:

  "The correct and original form is bated breath, but the first
  word is now so rare that it only appears in this phrase.
  Because bated is archaic, the phrase bated breath is a
  linguistic fossil. As a result, people have begun to respell
  it as a word they do know (a process that linguists call folk

  Bated is an abbreviation of abated through loss of the first
  vowel, and which has the meaning ?reduced, lessened,
  lowered in force?.  So bated breath means that you almost
  stop breathing through terror, or awe, or extreme anticipation
  or anxiety."
  The item goes on to quote uses of the phrase in the works of
  Shakespeare and Mark Twain.

  For more information on C4, see their web site at


  Ron Haller-Williams writes: "Although I do not regard the
  Guinness Book of Records as an unimpeachable source, it
  has its uses, but where practical the information should be
  verified from other sources  -  which I have not yet done!
  And there are some interesting variations.

  Bank of England £1000 notes  -  unpredictable variation in
  the number "unretired" and the number in the hands of
  1974:  As of May 1973 (the latest date for which statistics are
      available), 62 of these £1000 notes are unretired, but
      only 3 of these are in the hands of collectors."
  1977:  As of May 1973 (the latest date for which statistics are
      available), 62 of these £1000 notes are unretired, but
      only 4 of these are in the hands of collectors."
   1985:  At least 16 [of these £1000 notes] were unretired
       through November 1979, of which 10 are in the hands of
  1995:  Just over 100 [of these £1000 notes] were unretired
       through April 1993.  [No mention of "hands of collectors"!]

  Treasury £1,000,000 notes  -  another has subsequently
  1977/1985: In November 1977 the existence of a Treasury
     £1,000,000 note dated 30th August 1948 came to light,
     and it was sold by private treaty for $A18,500, then the
     equivalent of £11,300 in Australia.
  1995: Two Treasury notes for £1,000,000 exist, dated 1948.
      One was sold to dealer Brian Dawson for £23,000 at
      Christie's London on 9th October 1990.


  This week's theme at the A Word A Day is words about
  collecting and study of things.  Tuesday's selection relates
  to Pete Smith's article in the Winter 2003 issue of The
  Asylum - "Postcards As Numismatic Literature."

  "deltiology (del-tee-OL-uh-jee) noun
  The study or collecting of postcards.

  [From Greek deltion, diminutive of deltos (writing tablet)
   + -logy.]

 "Floyd Jerdon is one of those people who would never
  confuse deltiology with scrutinizing college Greek week or
  studying deposits at the mouth of a river."
  Barbara Dempsey; Postcards Send Him Back to Another
  Time; South Bend Tribune (Indiana); Feb 2, 2003."

  See for more information on
  A Word A Day.

  The item on deltiology mentions that "(David) Brown, founder
  of the Institute of Deltiology ... has one of the largest postcard
  collections in North America."   A web search located this
  address.  Perhaps the collection includes more postcards
  picturing minting facilities.

  Institute of American Deltiology
  300 West Main Avenue
  Myerstown, PA 17067.
  Voice 717-866-7747


  From 'A Moment in Time', Dan Roberts' radio series about
  historical events and figures, comes this item: "Gilbert Stuart's
  portrait of George Washington that appears on the one-dollar
  bill was, ironically, an unfinished portrait, but through numerous
  reproductions it has become an American icon.... Since 1869,
  Stuart's Athenaeum portrait of the first American president has
  appeared on the one-dollar bill."


  A March 12th article in The Hartford Courant describes
  a local couple who received an unusual item in the mail
  recently - the mint set they ordered in 1968.

  "It's amazing that we're still alive to get it," marveled Janice
  Sargent, 85, laughing over the inch-thick, envelope-sized
  package as she and her husband, Warren, sat in their
  apartment in Avon.

  The contents? Four plastic sheets containing freshly minted
  1968 quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies from the
  numismatic division of the U.S. Treasury.,0,2140967.story?coll=hc-headlines-local


  This week's featured web page is a chapter on the United
  States Mints from "The History of Gold" by A.B.J. Hammett,

  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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