The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 6, Number 12, March 23, 2003:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2002, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


  Bob Shippee (NBS Life Member #6) writes: "In the March 16
  edition of The E-Sylum, you said that you would welcome new
  subscribers from the halls of academia.  Well, my brother
  qualifies as an academic, and so I invited him to join.  He has
  gone a step further and sent my invitation on to several of his
  colleagues.  So, if you get small flood of new subscribers from
  outside the world of numismatics, this "mailing" may be the

  [We certainly welcome all new subscribers.  This week we
  don't happen to have many research questions, but it would
  be useful to get feedback from the academic community about
  any of the varied topics that come up in The E-Sylum.


  Dick Doty, Curator of Numismatics, Smithsonian Institution
  writes: "I just got your message about Douglas Ball's death.
  He was a friend and mentor of twenty years' standing, a true
  gentleman in an increasingly-impolite age.  I last saw him at
  the Baltimore show last autumn, and he appeared to be in
  remission, looked fit.  Then he matter-of-factly observed that
  the doctors had told him that he had two, perhaps three,
  years left.  I wish he had at least been granted that time.
  As it is, I can only mourn the passing of a friend, the research
  opportunities and possibilities left unexplored by the absence
  of a very special person."


  John W. Adams writes: "Our drive to raise $2,000,000 to
  fund the Francis D. Campbell Library is proceeding apace.
  We have received encouragement from the National
  Endowment for the Humanities that they will provide us with
  a 25% match.  This is our alpha, whereas our omega will be
  a Kolbe auction in August 2004 at which donated items will
  be sold.  Of this, more later as well as more on the "in

  Most exciting, the renovation of 140 William Street remains
  on a schedule that would have us moved in by year end.  The
  library has been allocated two full floors, which will provide
  us ample space for future growth.  Those interested in naming
  opportunities in the new library should e-mail me at
   and I can provide you with layouts.

  We warmly invite any and all contributions.  Make your
  checks payable to the American Numismatic Society,
  Broadway at 155th Street, New York, NY 10032,
  referencing the Francis D. Campbell Library Chair."

  [Although I don't often have a chance to visit the ANS library
  in person, I had a very pleasant experience several years ago,
  when Mr. Campbell furnished me with a photocopy of my
  local club's 1878 Constitution and Bylaws pamphlet.   It is
  gratifying to know that over a century later this publication
  was still safe and sound under the stewardship of the ANS -
  our club did not have a copy, and despite years of searching
  I have never found another.  The ANS copy may be the
  only one left on the planet.  Thank heaven for the ANS library.
  Contributing to this fund is the best way I know how to show
  my gratitude and ensure that collectors of future centuries have
  similar pleasant experiences.  Please consider making a
  contribution.  -Editor]


  David Klinger writes: "I recently acquired an interesting used
  book from an online bookseller (B&N): "Money and Conquest -
  Allied Occupation Currencies in World War II", by Vladimir
  Petrov (1966 - The Johns Hopkins Press).  This is from Petrov's

  "During the prolonged siege of Tyre in the year 1123, the Doge
  Domenigo Michieli exhausted his treasury chest. Because his
  brave Venetians clamored for pay and some reportedly
  contemplated desertion, the resourceful Doge had leather
  coins struck and issued them to pay his troops. The issue
  of this "money of necessity" was accompanied by a solemn
  promise that it would be redeemed at full face value upon
  the return of the fleet to Venice. Historians did not record
  the reaction of the crusaders to this early substitute for good
  gold, or indeed whether Domenigo Michieli, noted for his
  shrewdness as well as his ferocity, actually honored his
  pledge. But in all probability these leather coins were the first
  issue of what has eventually come to be called military currency.
  Although the evidence is meager, it seems that throughout the
  Middle Ages and on into the modern period, such currencies
  were used from time to time, serving a single limited purpose,
  that of paying troops when supplies of regular money were
  inadequate or non-existent; they bore no relation to the
  currencies of the occupied enemy territories.

  In the nineteenth century military currencies assumed a new
  and important role: they were used not only to pay troops but
  also as a means of paying the people of an occupied territory
  for supplies requisitioned by the occupying army.

  During World War II military currencies were used by all the
  major powers and to a much greater extent than ever before.
  In addition to paying the troops and compensating the owners
  of requisitioned property, military currencies also served as a
  major means of manipulating the economies of occupied

  I wondered if any of these leather "coins" still exist?  I never
  heard of them before this."


  The following is non-numismatic, but we have covered some
  related topics in previous issues.   Apparently the FBI has
  recovered an original copy of the Bill of Rights, the first set
  of amendments to the U.S. constitution.  Said to be stolen
  from the North Carolina Statehouse by a Union soldier
  during the Civil War, the document has been missing for
  138 years.  The following excerpts are quoted from two
  different press accounts.  Follow the links to read the full

  "The document, one of 14 copies of the Bill of Rights
  commissioned by President George Washington, is worth
  an estimated $30 million, the FBI said.

  "A carpetbagger took it in 1865," said one official.
  "It's really priceless."

  "Signed in 1789 by the 13 original U.S. colonies, the Bill of
  Rights contains the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution
  and guarantees such rights as freedom of speech, freedom of
  religion and the right to a speedy public trial.

  At the signing, President George Washington provided each
  signatory state an original handwritten copy, and kept a 14th
  copy for the federal government.

  North Carolina's copy was stolen in 1865 by soldiers in General
  William Tecumseh Sherman's army while the Union army
  occupied the Southern state during the Civil War, Easley said."

  "An agent posed as a philanthropist financing the purchase and
  the FBI seized it when the unidentified seller sent it by courier
  for him to examine."

  "The document will be returned to a federal courthouse in
  Raleigh and exhibited to the public."


  Regarding the seized Bill of Rights, "Pennsylvania Gov. Edward
  Rendell said any decision to file charges would depend on
  whether the would-be seller knew the document was stolen."

  What if you were the holder of that document?   And you
  didn't know it had been stolen?   I wonder what proof the
  officials have that the document was indeed stolen in the first
  place, and that this copy is that very same one.  If these facts
  can be proven then the document should indeed be returned
  to its rightful owner, for valid title has not passed despite the
  138-year gap.   But what a disappointment!

  This talk of ownership brings to mind another topic I've been
  wanting our readers' thoughts on.   Say you buy a numismatic
  book or periodical from a dealer, and later, while reading it,
  you find a piece of interesting numismatic correspondence
  tipped in.  It may be worth at least as much as you paid for
  the book. You didn't know if was there when you bought the
  book, and the seller probably didn't, either.  Who owns it?
  Should you return it to the seller?  Or keep it?

  Suppose the correspondence is worth 10 times what you
  paid for the book.  Still feel the same way?

  Suppose instead of correspondence, you find a piece of
  rare paper money.  Now what do you think about the
  situation?  What if the paper money were worth 100 times
  what you paid for the book?   Does any of this matter?


  George Fitzgerald and others quickly noted a glaring
  omission from the draft list of University numismatic
  collections published last week.

  David F. Fanning writes: "The University of Notre Dame has
  an important numismatic collection which I was surprised to
  not see mentioned on your list. Information on the collection
  can be found at the following Web site:


  Bob Leonard writes: "To this list should be added the University
  of Notre Dame.  Their collection of U.S. Colonial coins and
  currency and Washington tokens is largely on-line.   Dr. Alan
  Stahl taught a course on medieval numismatics there last summer.

  The ANA subcommittee would do well to contact the American
  Numismatic Society, as they provide postgraduate training in
  numismatics at a seminar every summer, and, as a member of
  the Council of Learned Societies, are already viewed by
  post-secondary institutions around the world as "as a primary
  and credible source of knowledge and resource" in this area.
  The ANS publishes an annual peer-reviewed journal (The
  American Journal of Numismatics), which is pretty much the
  opposite of the way the ANA is currently going with Numismatist,
  plus other scholarly works.  Frankly, I do not see how the ANA
  can expect to be taken seriously by academia interested in, say,
  the Aegean wine trade, with its current publication format (no
  bibliography or footnotes), which seems to be intended to
  attract buyers of proof sets, savers of state quarters, and junior
  coin collectors."


  Responding to the lengthy discussion about ultra-large
  denomination notes (started by the item about Mark Twain's
  "Million Pound Note" story), Joe Boling writes: "I have fielded
  several inquiries from India, as an International Bank Note
  Society officer, about how the various souvenir $1,000,000
  notes could be negotiated."


  Rusty Goe writes: "Does anyone know why the Redbook's
  mintage figures for 1871 & 1872 are different than Official
  Mint records?

  1871 - Redbook is 52,072 less than Mint records
  1872 - Redbook is 13,750 higher

  1871 - Redbook is 154,100 higher than Mint records
  1872 - Redbook is 11,480 higher

  Also, have anyone ever heard why the Redbook lists the
  proof mintages with the business strikes most of the time,
  but occasionally it doesn't include it.  The proof mintages
  are always in parentheses, regardless.  Any help would
  be appreciated."


  Speaking of the Mint, Joel Orosz adds: "Several weeks ago,
  I recall an E-Sylum reader raising a question about the source
  of James Pollock's A Brief Account of the Processes Employed
  in the Assay of Gold and Silver Coins at the Mint of the United
  States.  I can't recall if the question was subsequently answered.
  If not, I have found the source.

  Pollock's article was published in the Annual Report of the
  Smithsonian Institution for 1869.  I do not know the context, but
  I just saw a citation, so I pass it along to you.  Keep up the great
  work on the E-Sylum!"

  [See The E-Sylum, volume 5, numbers 44 & 45 (November
  3-10, 2002.   Our readers found the monograph in the 1894
  and 1896 editions of the Report of the Director of the Mint.
  The initial question was answered, but Joel's note adds a new
  twist. We were not aware of the 1869 Smithsonian publication.

  After forwarding this information to Joel, he responded as
  follows:  "The source was an online bookseller, although by the
  time I got to it, the book was gone.  The listed author was
  James Pollock, which would make the 1869 date correct,
  since Pollock directed the Mint from 1869-1873.  Could
  there have been two items by this title, one published in 1869,
  and the other in the 1890s?   The only caution I have is that I
  have not seen the actual 1869 Smithsonian report--just the
  citation to it."

  [The longer I collect numismatic literature, the less I feel I
  know.  There could well have been an earlier version of this
  report, which later Mint Directors updated.  If this 1869
  version could be located, perhaps a side-by-side comparison
  would yield some clues.  Was one of our E-Sylum readers
  the lucky buyer?  -Editor]


  With web logs (or BLOGS) being all the rage now, I
  wonder if there are any numismatists out there chronicling
  their travels in a web log.   What would pioneer collectors
  such as Joseph Mickley have written if they had had access
  to such a tool?

  In the days long before The E-Sylum, your editor wrote
  up some "mini-diaries" which later found their way onto
  one of the world's first numismatic web sites, Lloyd Lim's
  Numismatica.  The diaries are still there.  One is about a
  trip to the Long Beach show in February 1995.
  Here's an excerpt:

  "I stopped at Paul Koppenhaver's table to see the group of
  1792 patterns on display. Gorgeous pieces, most with
  pedigrees as long as your arm. The 1792 "fusible alloy"
  cent was ex- Virgil Brand, Lorin Parmelee, and the Norweb
  family. There was a silver-center cent, half disme, disme,
  and three Washington pieces, a silver half dollar and two
  pattern cents in copper."

  John Bergman had a display of numismatic literature in the
  back of the hall. Nearby was Art Rubino with an even larger
  display. I bought a number of items from each dealer. John
  had an advance copy of the Champa II sale catalog, and I
  spent a good hour reviewing it, making a list of items for bid
  on at the sale next month.

  Jack Collins stopped by the table and showed me part of the
  manuscript for his upcoming book on the 1794 dollar. Later
  I found a dealer with a beautiful 1-cent White the Hatter
  encased postage stamp for sale. I need one for my collection,
  and made a deal to purchase it in installments. My tastes have
  long outgrown my budget, but this will help."

  I'm glad I wrote this up, for I had long forgotten most of
  what I did at that show.  It's sad to think that John Bergman,
  Jack Collins and Armanda Champa are all gone now.  But
  it was a pleasure to have known them all.


  This week's featured web page is suggested by Chris Fuccione,
  who writes: "I found this on building and maintaining a numismatic

  The page is from the web site of the Chicago Coin Club (scroll
  down to view the article).  The paper was presented by Phil
  Carrigan and Carl Wolf at the club's February 12, 2003 meeting.

  "Phil started the program with a 1951 quote from P.O. Sigler
  concluding "... that a collector may dispose of all or a major part
  of his collection during his lifetime, but that his coin books are
  sold by his executor." That is a great way to summarize the
  transition from just acquiring numismatic items to studying those
  items and the conditions that produced them. One result of the
  search for more information is a stack of books, pamphlets,
  articles, and other material; the start of a numismatic library. "

  Coincidentally, the page also includes a paper titled "The Role
  of State Bonds on the Economic Development of the United
  States, 1800-1900", presented by the late Douglas Ball at the
  club's February 22, 2003 meeting.

  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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