The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 6, Number 13, March 30, 2003:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2003, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


  Among recent new subscribers are Dr. Michael A. Bailey.
  Welcome aboard!  We now have 537 subscribers.


  Doug Andrews of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, is a new
  member of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.  He also
  serves on the American Numismatic Association's Information
  Technology Committee.  He writes:  "Wayne, I want to share
  with you and with non-members the reasons why I recently
  decided to join the NBS.

  There are many fine numismatic organizations today. What
  separates the NBS from the rest, in my opinion -  and why I
  joined - comes down to its innovative use of technology.
  Every week for the past year I have been receiving The
  E-Sylum. Think about it: Every seven days I receive a
  comprehensive, well-written publication that provides useful,
  timely, and accurate reporting on an important aspect of
  numismatics that I enjoy. And it's FREE!

  The NBS is surely going "the extra mile," sending me valuable
  and interesting information and never asking me for anything
  in return.  The E-Sylum goes to roughly 540 recipients every
  week, plus those who receive it from those now on your
  mailing list. That means you can probably double or triple the
  actual number of readers.

  From the NBS's perspective, this is a very sensible and cost-
  effective means of communication and "outreach." Whether
  The E-Sylum goes to 5 or 5,000 readers, the cost is nearly
  constant. At the same time, the value to the organization in
  demonstrating the benefits of joining to potential members
  is fantastic!

  I digress. What better introduction to an organization, and the
  merits of joining it, could there be?  I am somewhat familiar
  with The Asylum and the NBS website. These are two more
  excellent reasons to be an NBS member.

  The E-Sylum reminds me every week what a great organization
  publishes it. I urge every other E-Sylum reader to join, and to
  tell their friends that the Numismatic Bibliomania Society is
  open, accessible, and WANTS them as members!"

  [Instructions for joining are found at the end of each issue of
  The E-Sylum.  I'll repeat them here:  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.

  Thanks, Doug, and welcome to the NBS!  -Editor]


  NBS Board member Tom Sheehan sent the following report
  about the recent regional meeting of the society at the
  American Numismatic Association convention held recently
  in Charlotte, NC:

  "At the NBS meeting in Charlotte we had about a dozen
  members and prospective members present.  We were very
  informal but we were all brought up to date on the latest
  developments at the ANA library by Nancy Green.  She now
  has an actual budget to buy books.  Nancy also told us about
  the book sale that is held each year at the ANA's Summer
  Seminar.  Since "Coin Camp" is now two sessions,  Nancy
  has made plans to have two book sales with every effort to
  make them equitable.

  Howard Daniel brought me a copy of the first edition of Fred
  Schwan's Military Payment Certificates.  This book will be
  auctioned off at our NBS meeting at the ANA Convention in
  Baltimore in August.  If other members have a book or
  pamphlet or two they would like to donate please be sure to
  bring it with you or forward it with a member who will attend.
  This meeting is always worth the trip and a lot of fun."


  An article about the late Dr. Douglas Ball in the April 2003
  issue of Bank Note Reporter quotes Ball's colleague Stephen
  Goldsmith of R. M. Smythe saying, "He was working on what
  was to have been an extraordinary book on Confederate
  currency, and his fondest wish would have been to have
  finished it before he died."

  It would be a shame for the book to go unpublished, but
  unfortunately, that is often the case when an author dies.
  Is there anyone who could pick up the reigns on the project?


  The same issue of Bank Note Reporter brings better news
  about another book relating to Confederate currency.
.  "Counterfeit Currency of the Confederate States of
  America" by George B. Tremmel has just been published.
  "Its 144 pages include a historical discussion of the people
  and events involved with CSA counterfeits, as well as steps
  taken by the Confederate Treasury to combat the plague
  of illegal notes."    The hardcovered book may be ordered
  from Hugh Shull, P.O. Box 761, Camden, SC 29020 for
  $35 plus $3 shipping.

  Another long-awaited publication is being publicized in
  ads by "Bowers and Merena Galleries" -- the long-awaited
  update to "California Pioneer Fractional Gold" by Walter
  Breen and Ronald J. Gillio.  The new revised and enlarged
  second edition was authored by Robert D. Leonard, Jr.
  In the ad, Robert J. Chandler of the California Historical
  Society writes, "It is a toss up to decide what Bob Leonard
  has done best: Coordinating iconoclastic, egocentric
  collectors, or tracking down leads on the highways and
  byways of research.  To cite one area, Leonard's revelations
  on manufacturers in the 1870s and 1880s are amazing."
  Pre-publication prices are $39.50 hardbound, $27.50
  softbound.  Orders may be made through the company's
  web site:"

  Has it only been 12 years since this book was in print?
  Secondhand copies of the earlier editions have been
  bringing up to $300 until recently.  Perhaps more people
  will support the authors and publisher this time around
  by buying their copies before it goes out of print again.
  I have a deluxe copy of the first edition in my library
  (ex-Jim Sloss), but had sold all my copies of the
  softbound version.  It will be nice to have a working copy
  of the revised edition on the shelf soon.


  I've never been flummoxed by a coin question from the general
  public, but the other day a web site visitor wrote, "I would like
  to ask a question about coins.  In history, were there any coins
  with totally identical sides?"

  Well, I was flummoxed and tongue-tied.  I'm sure there are
  tokens with identical sides, and perhaps medals as well,
  although I can't think of any specific examples.  There are
  probably some ancient coins that fit the description, but as
  for official modern coins, I'm not sure.  I have collected both
  U.S. and world coins in my day, and don't recall any where
  the obverse and reverse used identical designs.  But if anyone
  can come up with examples, you can, dear E-Sylum readers.
  So .. make me feel stupid and send in your lists.


  In response to last week's query, Kenneth Bressett, Editor of
 "A Guide Book of United States Coins", aka the "Red Book"
  writes:  "I wish that I could easily answer why the Red Book
  mintage figures for 1871 are different than the Mint's estimates.
  Unfortunately, I no longer have access to the records and input
  that went into establishing the numbers.

  Early editions of the Red Book were inconsistent about including
  Proof figures along with the regular coinage. Most of those have
  been separated over the years, but there are uncertainties about
  others, and they have been left in their original form even though
  technically they may not be entirely accurate.

  Accurate mintage figures have always been a problem for
  researchers.  The Mint has not been consistent in their method
  of reporting in the past, and the situation is not much better now.
  Mint figures are occasionally 'updated' to reflect final sales to
  collectors, disposal of coins and sets that were held back for
  any number of reasons, and perhaps even inconsistencies in

  Red Book figures do not claim to be 100% accurate, but the
  Mint has often quoted them, rather than using their own records,
  knowing that their numbers are often less reliable."


  Bruce Burton of Round Rock, Texas writes: "I've thought
  about asking this before, but have just never gotten around
  to it.  In the course of my buying/selling/collecting I have
  acquired two copies, both apparently original (1867), of
  W. Elliot Woodward's sale catalogs of the Joseph J. Mickley
  collection.  Each binding is a bit different and the books are
  slightly different sizes.  Some of the distinctions between the
  two are as follows:

 "Copy No. 1"
  This volume has a black leather spine (no lettering) and corners.
  The boards are marbled a tannish/brown. Preceding what
  would have been the title page in copy 2 (below), this one has
  two pages that announce this as Woodward's tenth semi-annual
  sale and then provide an introduction by Woodward after which
  is the text:

  "Please preserve this Catalogue for use at the sale, as it is proba-
  ble that none can be obtained at that time."

  The following title page starts "Catalogue of the Numismatic
  Collection formed by Joseph J. Mickley, Esq., ..." and toward
  the bottom states "Orders for the sale will be faithfully executed
  by the Auctioneers Edward Cogan, Esq., 100 William Street, ...."

  This volume is partially priced, presumably by a bidder at the

  "Copy No. 2"
  The slightly smaller of the two has a small, printed errata strip
  attached near the spine on the last page (196).  This volume is
  bound in black leather with gilt printing on the spine that reads
  "Mickley Collection".

  The title page of this copy starts "Priced Catalogue of the
  Numismatic Collection formed by Joseph J. Mickley, Esq., ..."
  and omits any mention of "Auctioneers Edward Cogan, Esq.,
  100 William Street, ...."

  My questions:  Can someone provide information on how many
  variants of the Mickley Sale there were/are and how many
  catalogues of each variant were likely produced?"

  [I'll take a stab at answering some of Bruce's questions, and
  I'm sure our readers will have their say as well.   In the 19th
  century, the common practice was for catalogs to be furnished
  to bidders unbound.  If desired, the bidder would take it to a
  local bookbinder and have it bound according to his personal
  preference.  Official hardbound catalogs produced by the
  publisher are a much more recent phenomenon.  So finding
  copies with different bindings is not unusual - it would be more
  of a surprise to discover two that are exactly alike.

  Since the binding was subject to the whims and tastes of each
  catalog's owner, it was similarly up to the owner as to what
  items to include or exclude from the binding.  Errata notes,
  bid sheets, plates etc. could be bound in the volume in any way
  the owner decides.   For example, one of the owners decided
  to save and bind in the prospectus (i.e. announcement flyer) for
  the sale.  The other owner either didn't have a copy of the
  prospectus, or decided not to bind it in.

  As for the "Orders for the sale" text, dealers who planned to
  attend the sale in person would send copies of the catalog to
  their customers, but only after first printing or stamping their
  name and address on it.


  Martin Purdy writes: "Two different anecdotes on the subject -
  the trader in the first story is NOT me, by the way.

  It would probably be a question of vendor's bad luck in most
  cases, depending on the purchaser's conscience.  I know of
  a case where a pair of valuable banknotes were found tucked
  in a stamp album that a trader bought, and neither parties were
  aware that the notes were there. I may be wrong, but I think
  the original vendor still doesn't know about it ...

  I was sorting through some non-numismatic books a while
  back and found I had two identical copies of one title, so
  thought I would discard whichever was in the worse condition.
  I flicked through them to check the content of the pages, and
  found an uncirculated Australian $100 bill inside one of them.
  Not treasure trove, sadly - I had put the note there myself
  when on holiday in Melbourne, as I needed somewhere to
  keep it flat, and had completely forgotten about it by the time
  I got home.  Had it gone to a book sale and sold for the 20
  cents that the book is probably worth, it would have been
  my loss and rightly so for being so careless!"

  David F. Fanning of Fanning Books and Editor-in-Chief of our
  print journal, The Asylum, writes: "I'm used to giving my opinion
  unsolicited, so the opportunity to give my two cents in response
  to an actual solicitation is too good to pass up.

  Regarding inserted items in books, the buyer owns whatever it
  is. Unequivocally. Indubitably. There may be occasions where
  ethics calls for returning found items to a prior owner (love
  letters, say), but it's up to the buyer, I think. I don't care if
  it's an 1804 dollar: the seller has to know what he or she is selling.
  If the seller hasn't flipped through the book, that's being lazy.
  It's as if I buy a rare die variety off an established coin dealer
  too lazy or dumb to attribute the thing: my gain, his loss, no

  It'd be different if I found something really good in a book I
  bought off someone who wasn't a coin or book dealer (the
  widow of a collector, say);  then I'd feel obligated to work
  something out with them."


  On a related topic, Dick Johnson writes: "Every specialist in
  the numismatic field -- and I assume this holds true with other
  fields that deal in artifacts -- faces this problem of ethics every
  day. When someone offers you an item in your specialty and it
  is mispriced, what do you do? Does it matter if this person is
  a professional dealer or a lay person?

  Many pros I know hold this view:  If a dealer prices his
  merchandise and it is undervalued (even way undervalued) you
  buy it. If it is priced at close to retail you pass, allow him to
  sell it to a collector at the fair price for both. If it is overpriced you
  obviously pass but you have a choice of mentioning it or not
  (usually I mention it to a friendly dealer, or if, say, it is a flea
  market dealer I say nothing, he has to get his education

  For years I wondered why seasoned dealers would ask me a
  question about a medallic item or two in their stock. Hans
  M.F. Schulman did this to me many times.  It was more like
  "How would you grade this?" than a blatant question like "Is
  this priced correctly?" Subtlety, I thought, they were asking
  for my appraisal.

  [Hans was a dear friend of many years.  I made him the first
  weekly columnist when I started Coin World. Later, when I
  became a dealer in medals, he guided several collections my
  way, when he could have sold them himself. By his questions
  he was, in effect, educating me, strengthening my dealer skills.]

  In regard to appraisals:  A paid professional appraisal is worth
  every penny!  This holds true for both the vest pocket dealer
  and the seasoned pro, but particularly so for someone from the

  But even a professional appraiser can overlook something.
  Example: A bachelor collector in New England had built a fine
  medal collection. He paid Henry Grunthal, a former dealer but
  then a curator at ANS, to come look at his collection and offer
  an appraisal. There was one award medal that had been
  awarded to an early American photographer, a quite valuable
  piece among the collection. Apparently Henry didn't catch it.

  Our offer was near Henry's appraisal and the collector sold the
  collection to my partner and I.  We researched the medal,
  learned of its super rarity, and described it correctly in our
  auction catalog. It was purchased by an unknown photography
  collector who sent an agent to our auction to buy it for a hefty
  four-figure amount.  It realized more than we paid for the entire

  This fine tunes the ethics. Should we have shared part of the
  proceeds with the former owner even though our deal had
  been completed to the satisfaction of both parties? Or was
  this a legitimate profit for our expertise and research?  What
  would you have done?

  Dealers have the responsibility to correctly grade and price
  the items they offer for sale.  The public, it appears, is open
  game for most dealers depending upon their level of greed.
  My advice to all is: Get a bono fide appraisal from a specialist
  knowledgeable for that item before you offer any item for sale.

  I throw up my hands, however, for the sellers on eBay. They
  range all over the place:  From the arrogant and ignorant to
  the nicest, most sophisticated dealers you'll find. But the
  misinformation on eBay is omnipresent; I won't even mention
  the mispricing or their ethics. It is not only caveat emptor on
  the internet, its: Buyer Be Educated!"


  NBS Board member John Kraljevich writes: "I will no longer
  be able to use the email
  address within the next few days, so please contact me at:"


  Bob Leonard writes: "I wrote about the Doge Domenigo
  Michieli leather money in 1989 in "The History of Leather
  Money," for the Chicago Coin Club's CICF giveaway of a
  leather token.  This article has been reprinted a couple of
  times in numismatic publications, in The Centinel v. 37, no. 2
  (summer 1989), p. 23-29, and World Coin News v. 17, no.
  5 (Mar. 5, 1990), p. 26, 28, the latter somewhat condensed
  and revised.  My source for this item, "Leather Currency,"
  by W. Charlton (British Numismatic Journal, 1906, p. 316,
  gave the date as 1122, not 1123.  Charlton cited "Italian
  history" as his source.  Einzig, Primitive Money, also mentions
  this issue on p. 268, citing Charlton, and I found another
  source (?Alexander Del Mar, History of Monetary Systems)
  that mentioned usage at the siege of Tyre in 1124.  Though
  Charlton describes the shapes of the pieces, to the best of
  my knowledge none have been preserved."


  Steve Pellegrini writes: "It was nice to read that fundraising for
  the Francis D. Campbell Library Chair is moving along
  successfully. I always have and always will donate to
  worthwhile library projects.

  Living on the West coast I have no opportunity to utilize the
  ANS Library. In effect the ANS library is only available to
  members living in or around New York City or those who
  can afford the time and money to stay in New York each
  time reference to the stacks is called for. In contrast, getting
  to the mostly US material in the ANA's catalogue is simplicity
  itself.  The easily accessible lending facilities of the ANA
  Library is a major reason I maintain membership in that
  organization.  However, most of my collecting interests revolve
  around historic European, political and satirical medals.
  Naturally the ANS library is much broader and deeper in this
  international area than is the ANA library. Anyone know the
  reasons the ANS won't allow access to 'non-rare' library
  materials through the mail?"

  On the related topic of differences between ANA and ANS,
  Kavan Ratnatunga writes: "I saw the discussion about the
  difference between ANS and ANA and thought I will
  comment that they play complementary roles which are both
  important. Research and popularization and both important to
  keep any field alive. Amateur astronomers play an useful
  support role in professional astronomical research. It is like
  philosophy and religion.  The ying and the yang."


  Chick Ambrass writes: "Reading the article about the recently-
  found copy of the Bill of Rights, prompted me to share this
  personal activity.  My daughter has lived in Raleigh, NC for
  not quite 1-1/2 yrs now. We've only visited once, before a
  couple of weeks ago, when we went for an extended week-
  end.  I asked what where we going to do with the time, I
  didn't want to spend it sitting in her apartment watching TV.
  I said that there was some sort of park in the downtown
  section when we drove by last night. I suggested we check-
  out the downtown area.

  It turns out that I was referring to the State House, the original
  building to house the North Carolina State activities. In this
  building are the two chambers for the senate, and the
  representatives, numerous offices, a "geological" room, and
  the library are the rooms we were able to visit.  A very
  attractive building, with many historical artifacts on display.
  It was a self-guided tour, and the cleaning lady explained that
  the impressive chambers are no longer used on a daily basis,
  but only for special events, such as the governor presenting an
  award or perhaps a small press conference.

  Outside, around the building the grounds include 10-12
  monuments/statues/cannons/etc. honoring the three Presidents
  that hailed from NC, and the men and women of NC from the
  revolutionary war up thru the Viet Nam conflict.

  An interesting note: there are over 80 fireplaces in the building,
  and it was stated that it required over 300 cords of wood to
  heat the building each winter season.  The back stairs, made
  of stone of some sort, were in very poor condition -- cracked,
  chipped, gouged, and just heavily worn in some areas, due to
  the fact that this staircase was used to move the 300 cords of
  wood, in "steel-wheeled" wheel barrels to the upper floors of
  the building.

  This building is where the newly acquired lost copy of the
  "Bill of Rights" will be on public display."


  Allan Davisson writes: "We delivered our next auction catalog
  to the printer on Friday. It has 67 lots of U.S. colonial coinage
  --all copper except for one silver Higley copy using Bolen dies.
  Every lot is photographed and offered separately including a
 Vermont, Ryder 13, a Bar Cent, and a choice Virginia halfpenny.
  It is a nicely representative "collector's collection."

  I am happy to send copies of the sale catalog to anyone
  requesting. Our address is just Davissons, Cold Spring, MN
  56320. Our email address:"


  Ken Berger writes; "I was rereading David Ganz's comments
  on the currency notes of denominations above $100.  He
  stated that "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." I always found this interesting, since today such large
  denominations would seem to be much more useful than they
  were in the past. I wonder if the reason stated by the Treasury
  is the real reason."


  Gar Travis,  Communications Coordinator for the ANA
  Sub-committee on Numismatics in Post Secondary
  Institutions writes: "Notre Dame is on the "list" for the ANA
  subcommittee on  Numismatics in Post Secondary Institutions,
  we did not publish all of the universities as we have many on
  the list, simply showing only a representative few.  We have
  shared many e-mails and ideas with Louis Jordan, Special
  Collections curator at Notre Dame and of course we have
  also established contacts within the American Numismatic

  There was mention to our committee chairman of two courses
  that were mentioned on the University of Michigan web site.
  Well, they are there for all to see, but the courses have not
  been offered for many years...the last time being when Ted
  Buttrey was an instructor there.

  Ray Flanigan writes: "Numismatics in Colleges and Universities
  generated more responses that we had envisioned. As many
  of your readers correctly pointed out Notre Dame does indeed
  have a world class collection and was on our list and somehow
  inadvertently omitted when the article was written.   Not only
  does this fine collection, curated by Lou Jordan, contain
  Colonial and early American coins but also Colonial Currency,
  Washington Tokens, Confederate Currency, 19th Century
  American Tokens, a complete type set of regular issue US coins,
  Conder Tokens, Franklin Mint and modern commemorative issues.
  Several readers also pointed out that Dr. Alan Stahl taught a
  course at Notre Dame this past summer.  The course was
  Medieval Coinage and Money under the aegis of the Medieval
  Institute, but the University does not offer a regularly scheduled
  course in numismatics.

  Concerning the ANS, the subcommittee has been in contact
  with the ANS and believes that there is no overlap in goals or
  objectives.  The ANS summer seminars are aimed at
  postgraduate and postdoctoral students.  The subcommittee
  is trying to promote the study of numismatics at the
  undergraduate level (thus providing students for the ANS
  program) and reader suggestions on ways to promote this
  goal would be most appreciated.  They can be sent to  Success in this area might be reflected
  in some more scholarly articles in The Numismatist or The
  Asylum.  The Aegean wine trade, we'll leave to the Oenologists."


  A correspondent emailing from an account under the name
  of "Walter Breen" submitted the following:

  Perhaps the following might be of interest to E-sylum readers.
  Yours Truly,
  S.S. Elreep, 4/1/2003

  We have the privilege of announcing the long awaited return
  of Dr. Q. Bo Dawvies to the numismatic scene.  Dr. Dawvies
  favored us with the following press release:

  My new firm, Arcane Miniaturistic Maimers, will be setting up
  at the 103rd annual National Middle States convention this
  August.  As everybody knows, I've been attending the National
  Middle States conventions for years, in fact I had a table there
  when my mother was still pregnant.  My dad had to guarantee
  it as I was not yet born.  It?s been said that, after the show, I
  was born with a 1909-SVDB in my hand.  Fortunately for my
  mother the slab had not yet been invented.  Apparently no one
  recognized the coin since Lincoln cents were not yet circulating.
  I thought it was a dandy design and exhibited the coin at my
  first birthday party.  Everyone thought it was real nifty and the
  splendiferous example was placed front row center next to the
  candle on the cake.

  Many of you have asked what we've been doing since parting
  ways with our predecessor firm, Awesome Barrelled Earnings.
  I?ve been delving into the life of one Warren B.Etel, who holds
  a unique place in the pantheon of American numismatists.  Mr.
  Etel was the fourth cousin of Augustus Sage and the seventh
  cousin (twice removed) of Edward Cogan.  Although Mr. Etel
  never met either of these esteemed luminaries, it seems that on
  several occasions he actually spent American coins.  Our six
  hundred page volume will "put you there" at the scene of each
  of these most memorable transactions.

  It?s a pleasure to be back and we look forward to meeting all
  of you at the National Middle States!"

  [I am not making that up.  It really did show up in my email.
  Happy April Fool's Day.   -Editor]


  This week's featured web site is about German Inflationary
  Notgeld 1922-1923. "After WWI, Germany was plunged
  into one of the worst inflations ever to hit a western country
  as the government struggled with the truly massive punitive
  damages demanded by the Treaty of Versailles. During this
  brief period of hyper-inflation, people who did not convert
  their savings into tangible assets lost them completely.  Many
  bank accounts were closed because even large pre-war
  sums of 100,000 Marks were longer worth even the price
  of a postage stamp. The middle class was by and large
  reduced to poverty, theft and petty crime soared, pensions
  became worthless and many people starved to death.

  However an interesting by-product of this period was the
  rich variety of banknotes churned out from each town,
  displaying values of anything up to 100,000,000,000,000
  marks.  This web site is devoted to these incredibly
  high-value banknotes.

  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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