The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 6, Number 23, June 8, 2003:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2003, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


 Among recent new subscribers is Warner Talso.
 Welcome aboard!  We now have 561 subscribers.


  The Numismatic Bibliomania Society has scheduled two
  events at upcoming convention of the American Numismatic
  Association in Baltimore.

  Thursday July 31, 2003, 1 PM
  Numismatic Bibliomania Society Symposium
  Barry Tayman and George Fuld will present a paper on the
  research methodology for their upcoming monograph on
  Blacksmith tokens

  Friday August 1, 2003, 11.30 AM
  Numismatic Bibliomania Society Annual Meeting
  Leonard Augsburger will present a paper entitled
  "132 South Eden: House of Gold"


  The latest edition of our print journal, The Asylum, contains
  ballots for members to vote on a new slate of officers as
  well as the best article of the year.  The list of articles is
  shown below.  Do NOT vote by email - only printed
  ballots will be accepted.  The eligible articles are listed here
  to illustrate the breadth and depth of the publication, which
  is free to members.  As always, I urge E-Sylum readers who
  who are not already members of the Numismatic Bibliomania
  Society to seriously consider joining.  See the end of this
  (and every) E-Sylum mailing for more information on joining

  David F. Fanning, Plagiarism or Cooperation?: Two Identical
        Premium-Paid Lists of the Late Nineteenth Century.

  Q. David Bowers, Some Notes on Archives.

  David Cassel, A Misnomer Mystery Finally Solved.

  Q. David Bowers, The Fascinating Challenge of Numismatic Research.

  William Malkmus, Bibliomania Through the Ages: Four Mini-Reviews.

  Pete Smith, Response to Fanning.

  David F. Fanning, More on Identical Premium-Paid Lists.

  David Hirt, Collecting Numismatic Literature in the 1960s.

  Frederick N. Dyer, Storer's Numismatic Roots.

  W. David Perkins, My Amazing Story by a 1795 B-10 Dollar.

  David W. Lange, The Development of the Coin Album, Part 6.

  George Kolbe, Numismatics in the Age of Grolier.

  Darryl A. Atchison, A Selection of Desirable 19th Century
     Auction Sales Containing Important Canadian Numismatic

  Michael E. Marotta,  Authoring in the Collection of Titles.

  David F. Fanning, Book Review: The Coins of Pontius Pilate.

  Myron Xenos, You Don't Say: Numismatic Gleanings from the Past

  Doug Andrews, Seven Steps to Protect Your Library Investment.

  Leonard Augsburger, Genealogical Methods in Numismatic Research
  Stephen B. Pradier, What People Will Put on eBay.

  David F. Fanning, Hidden Treasures in Old Literature.


  Michael Sullivan writes: "In spring 2002, I facilitated the transfer
  of some early NBS historical records into the NBS archives via
  the help of some anonymous organization members.  The
  material now rests in the NBS archives which are carefully
  watched over by the esteemed Joel Orosz.

  One of the more interesting documents was a list of the
  "Numismatic Bibliomania Society Charter Numbers."  The one
  page document lists member numbers one through one hundred.
  Member number one was held by the late Jack Collins followed
  by George F. Kolbe who together founded NBS as we know
  it today. Member numbers three through thirteen were "Reserved."
  Member number fourteen was prior NBS president Cal Wilson
  who, it could be assumed, assembled the membership list.

  Members fifteen (John Adams) through 86 (Randolph Zander)
  are listed in alphabetical order to include Harry Bass Jr., John
  Bergman, Walter Breen, Armand Champa, John Ford, Jr.,
  Byron Johnson, Dennis Loring, Harrington Manville, Joel
  Orosz and David Sklow,  many of whom made great
  contributions to numismatic literature.  Members eighty-seven
  through ninety-eight form yet another alphabetical listing of
  members followed by what might appear to be a more
  chronological listing.

  Questions can be sent to Michael Sullivan, PO Box 1309,
  West Chester, OH  45071 or numisbookmjs at"


  Mark Van Winkle writes: "Regarding John Ford's library, he
  gave me a brief tour when I was at his house in 1989 for the
  two-part interview Heritage published in Legacy magazine.
  We entered the library with our shoes off. (He said he had just
  had carpet laid and wanted to keep it in nice shape, but Jack
  Collins told me this was his usual practice).  I had never seen
  anything like it before and to this day haven't again.  He was
  obviously very proud of his library.

  It was a true library with rows and rows of books, all neatly
  organized and covering every conceivable subject. He had
  old auction catalogs, new auction catalogs, all the standard
  references, city directories, books on metallurgy.  And the
  condition was simply incredible.  But what was perhaps the
  most unusual aspect was how he had fireproofed the room.
  The ceiling had some sort of fire retardant powder (I forget
  now what it was called). In case of a fire, this powder would
  drop out of the ceiling and smother the flames. He said it cost
  him a thousand dollars to test the system when he had the
  room built in the house.

  I would periodically hear from John whenever we published
  a catalog he thought was worthwhile.  He had me trained to
  select a copy for him with a perfect cover and spine. If it
  arrived in less-than-perfect shape, he would call, and I would
  ship him another until he got a pristine copy.  I also would ship
  him ten copies of our ANA catalogs as soon as they were
  printed and available.  If I forgot, he would always call and
  remind me. Over the years, I must have shipped him 30-40
  copies of the Legacy interviews.

  Fortunately, we had quite a few copies on hand and I could
  always ship them out to him.  John really liked the way the
  interview came out and he gave copies to his many friends."

  [The interviews very interesting and are available on the
   Heritage web site at the following addresses.  Even if you've
   read them before, they are well worth another read.  As
   Mark wrote in the first piece: "John Ford is the most gifted
   storyteller in numismatics today. He remembers events from
   thirty-five years ago with startling clarity, and he retells the tales
   with boundless enthusiasm. This interview took place February
   27 and 28 at Ford's home in Phoenix. From the six hours of
   tape many stories and personality sketches had to be deleted,
   but even with careful editing, Ford's story won't fit in just one
   issue."   -Editor]


  Fred Lake writes: "Reading about the upcoming auction(s) of
  John J. Ford's library by Stack's/George Kolbe and the
  description of  John's insistence on acquiring material in the
  best condition possible reminded me of his appearance at the
  NBS General Meeting held in July, 1993.

  There, John held up a catalog of the Stack's, March 17, 1993
  sale of the Herman Halpern Collection of United States Paper
  Money.  This sale catalog had been mailed to him several times
  by Stack's and each time the catalog was damaged in some
  manner by the Post Office.

  John contacted Martin Gengerke at Stack's and insisted on
  receiving a pristine copy.  Martin arranged to have the catalog
  sandwiched between two pieces of Lucite and taped at the
  edges very neatly with duct tape. Thus was born the first
  "slabbed" catalog. I was fortunate enough to catch the famous
  moment with my trusty Minolta and so preserved the record
  of a catalog that could not be read, but would forever be in
  Mint 70 condition.   I believe the photo was published in
  "The Asylum" that year.

  As a postscript, I had the photo enlarged to 8 x 10 and
  enclosed in a suitable wood frame with glass covering the
  picture. Before packaging the frame for delivery to John, I
  took the wrapping paper to my driveway and ran over it
  several times with my truck, leaving some very distinct tire
  marks. Needless to say, John was amazed that a package
  could be run over by a truck and yet the contents were


  George Fuld writes:: "In the early 1960's, Pennypacker Auctions,
  I believe of Lancaster, PA, had an auction of the Dr. George
  Hettrick  collection in three large lots- His hard times tokens,
  his civil war cents, and his Pennsylvania tokens.  There was
  a printed catalog.  Do any of our readers have a copy of this
  sale that can photocopy it for me.?  George Fuld  at
  fuld1 at "


  David Fanning (fanning32 at writes: "Can
  anyone provide me with the following information?:
  Thanks much.

  1. The description of lot 375 in Frossard's 145th sale,
  April 20-21, 1897. This is a (by our terminology) 1793
  Breen 11, Sheldon NC-4 cent and brought $4.10. I
  need the exact description of the lot by Frossard.

  2. The price brought by lot 548 in Frossard's 23rd sale
  (August 3, 1882). This is a (again by our terminology)
  1794 Breen 60, Sheldon 68 cent."


  Elmore Scott sent this press release about a new book: "The
  new "Tokens of Spain" by Russ Rulau and published by
  Numismatics International is a hardbound book (174 pages
  on 8.5" x 11" glossy stock with over 500 tokens illustrated)
  is now ready for shipping.  The retail cost is $35.00 + $5.00
  shipping (USA).  Personal checks (USA banks) or money
  orders may be sent to E.B.Scott- NI Book Sales, 309 Duke
  St., Garland, TX 75043 or you may use PayPal with funds
  sent to: (ebscott at  Dealers (3 or more copies)
  receive 40% off retail plus postage. Non USA buyers check
  for shipping rates."

  The author adds: "Printed on glossy stock in large 8.5 by
  11-inch format, it contains more than 500 photographs of
  non-governmental coinage substitutes, including a large
  number of unlisted Civil War (1936-39) cardboard and
  metallic as well as other classes of exonumia.

  Included are cooperative issues, game counters, political
  counterstamps on coinage, proclamation medalets of
  homeland Spain, store cards and tokens for value. The
  listings, arranged geographically and alphabetically, include
  pricing in up to four condition degrees. An economic
  overview of Spain's troubled past which led to so many
  money substitutes is also featured.    In-depth footnotes
  common to all Rulau catalogs are present in the new volume."


  A note in the Summer 2003 issue of The Civil War Token
  Journal, published by the Civil War Token Society reports
  that "the fifth edition of the patriotic book is progressing
  nicely.  There are some three dozen new dies and well over
  100 new die combinations/materials.  In addition, all of the
  rarities have been evaluated and changed as needed.  A
  short article on blank reverses and their evolution has been
  added in the special categories chapter, as well as new insight
  into die making ala H. D. Higgins of Indiana Primitive fame."


  W. David Perkins writes: "I was in Newburyport, Mass.
  Tuesday and Wednesday, June 4th & 5th, and while there
  I visited Jacob Perkins' house and mint building!  I am a
  distant relative of Jacob Perkins, thus my interest in him is
  genealogical as well as numismatic.

  It turns out that Jacob Perkins' house in Newburyport was
  only one house away from the current location for the
  Newburyport Historical Society  building and museum.
  The house is still standing and lived in today.  The curator
  of the Historical Society and I got into a discussion on Jacob
  Perkins.  He turned out to be a knowledgeable and enthusiastic
  source of information on Jacob Perkins!.  Among other items,
  he showed me a picture of "Jacob Perkins' engraving Plant"
  on Fruit Street in Newburyport.  I had walked by the Jacob
  Perkins house earlier, and had noticed a three story brick
  building behind it.  I confirmed the building was still there and
  that it was the one that I had noticed. The Historical Society
  property backs up to this brick building, and he offered to take
  me over to it.  The first floor of this building, which likely was
  his engraving shop, is now sadly an automobile garage! (behind
  the house).   Yes, I did touch the building and the house, just
  for good measure.

  On a "non-numismatic note," the next day in Ipswich, Mass.
  while taking a tour of the Whipple House (built around 1667,
  if I remember correctly) the tour guide pointed out a walking
  stick (cane) owned by John Perkins of Ipswich, the first of
  my Perkins line to come to America (early 1630s).  Labeled
  "do not touch," an exception was made for me.

  Needless to say, a good couple of days."


  Item 105 in George Frederick Kolbe's 2003 Numismatic
  Bookseller fixed price list is an unusual piece related to the
  famous Heath's counterfeit detectors.  "Heath's Improved
  Adjustable Compound Microscope, [Patented Dec 25,
  1877]. For Examining Bank Notes, Minerals, Flowers,
  Seeds, Linen, Etc., Etc."   The device was illustrated in
  late editions of Heath's counterfeit detector.  George lists
  it as "The first we have seen."   It's the first I've even heard
  of these - time to go check my later Heath editions.


  Although we have discussed this before, I wanted to
  publish this note from Art Jacobs, a former internee
  at Crystal City, Texas.  He wrote to us correcting an
  earlier E-Sylum item that only mentioned the Japanese-
  American occupants of the facility:

  "The Crystal City Internment camp held Japanese Americans,
  German Americans and Italian Americans, as well as Latin
  Americans of these three nationalities.  Japanese Americans
  from the West Coast were among the internees--they, like all
  internees in the Crystal City Camp, used the same tokens.
  For more on internment of German Americans see"

  In a similar vein Harold Eiserloh writes: "I forwarded the
  recent E-Sylum items about the Crystal City Internment
  Camp to some distant relatives who lived there with their
  interned father.

  When their father, Mathias Eiserloh, was "arrested" for
  being a German alien (he had lived in this country for over
  15 years, and never bothered to become a citizen, but
  married and had three children, the youngest just 1 year
  old).  He was a mechanical engineer, they had built their
  own house and the mother did sewing and other things to
  add to their family income.  When the father was interned
  they lost his income, and her customers figured that if he
  was interned they must be guilty of espionage or something,
  so they had no more dealings with the mother.  The younger
  children were mistreated by other children in their

  Soon the family, without income, lost their home and had
  to  move from Cleveland to join the father in the camp at
  Crystal City, Texas.  Although there was no mistreatment
  at the camp, they felt like prisoners.  In January of 1945,
  just a few months before Germany surrendered, the family
  was sent to Germany in exchange for some American
  internees there.   The father thought that he would be
  welcomed by relatives, but they weren't given rations by the
  German government and the relatives hadn't enough for
  themselves. The Gestapo figured the father was an
  American spy and imprisoned him.

  When the war was over they immediately applied to return
  to the United States.  It was nine years before they were
  permitted to return, even though the mother and three
  children were United States citizens.  When they finally
  were able to return, the father was in sixty years old and
  couldn't find a job.    The mother supported the family
  with sewing and other odd jobs. The father died a couple
  of years later.

  Although the government has officially acknowledged the
  Japanese internees and given them some reparations, they
  haven't even officially acknowledged that Germans and
  Italians were also interred, much less offered any reparations."


  Eiserloh's relative is Ensi Bennett of Anaheim, CA, and
  she writes: "Harold Eiserloh, a subscriber to The E-Sylum
  newsletter, recently sent me a copy of your article in E-Sylum
  about the Crystal City Internee tokens.  In that article you
  wonder if the the 11,000 German American internees
  received reparations as did the Japanese.  The answer is a
  resounding  NO, and such reparation is not even on the
  radar screen.

  My family lost not only the home my engineer father built
  with his own hands,  which today is valued at a half million
  dollars, but we lost every personal possession except the
  clothes on our backs by the time we arrived in Germany,
  not to mention my father's career, life's work and business.
  My parents, who were in their forties at the time, never
  quite recovered from those painful events, either emotionally
  or financially, and my father died a very broken man at age

  In any case, the insult on top of injury, has been the fact that
  the treatment of German Americans has been ignored and
  even denied through the years.  History books do not
  mention it, schools teach our children only about the Japanese
  internment and relocation, and the media has repeatedly
  stated that "NO German Americans were interned", until just
  this last year when a few journalists brought a little scattered
  attention by mentioning the GA internment in the same
  sentence with JA internment.  The German American internees
  were commanded to never speak of the internment and had
  to sign a document agreeing not to do so when they were
  released.  And that silence has prevailed to the point that
  most of them never even told their own children who were
  born after the war.

  It was therefore refreshing to read your comments and
  question - but your mention of being "surprised" to learn that
  German Americans were also interned does serve to
  underscore the secrecy of this bit of history.  Sadly, there
  are very few of us still living who can speak of it - we are
  the children of the camps.  Our parents, for the most part,
  are no longer living.

  We have only recently, finally, succeeded in getting a bill
  (S. 1356 - WW II Treatment of European Americans)
  before congress.  It was sponsored by Sen. Feingold of
  Wisc. and proposes establishing a commission to study
  the internment, exclusions and forced relocations and
  repatriation of European Americans.

  We are not seeking reparations as did the Japanese
  Americans, but we do want our government's
  acknowledgment of this travesty, and at least some form
  of apology for the mass ruination of so many innocent lives.

  So, if you have occasion to encourage your own senators
  and congressmen to support this bill by asking them to
  co-sponsor S-1356, there are a handful of us still left who
  would be deeply grateful on behalf of ourselves and our
  deceased parents."

  [My mother's side of the family is German, and luckily,
  they did not endure such hardships that I am aware of.
  But I would encourage E-Sylum readers in the U.S. who
  are so inclined to please consider Mr. Bennett's request.
  As history buffs we know the importance of setting the
  historical record straight, and it is never too late to right
  an old wrong.  -Editor]


  Gar Travis sent in a link to an Associated Press story where
  Coin World editor Beth Deisher debunks the Nevada story
  about the missing 1913 Liberty nickel that we mentioned
  last week.

  "Beth Deisher, editor of Coin World magazine in Sidney, Ohio,
  said John Finney's tale that the nickel was lost when his
  mother's childhood home in Sparks was razed for a freeway
  overpass is implausible."

  "We know the whereabouts of the coin up until around 1945,"
  Deisher said by telephone. "It is documented through auction
  sales, private sales. ...   It goes off the radar screen in 1962."

  To read the full story, see:


  Robert Zavos writes: "I was glad to read Tom Fort's comments
  on submissions to The Asylum in the last issue of The E-Sylum.
  I was one of those whose submissions were lost. In my case, I
  mailed two submissions from Florida in December 2002. One
  was a comment on a Letter to the Editor in which I was involved.
  My letters were not published in the next Asylum, but I was not
  real surprised. As the editor of a publication in another field I am
  aware of the problems of balancing space availability with

  To my surprise the real reason surfaced about 5 months later
  when my letter was returned with a yellow USPS sticker marked
  "attempted not known".  In between I had moved from Florida
  back to Pittsburgh and the letter eventually followed the same
  route. Amazingly, my house is only about 3 miles from the original
  Post Office that failed to deliver.  I will try again, after all, its been
  12 years since my last submission to the Asylum."


  Dave Ginsburg writes: "I'm a new subscriber to the E-Sylum
  and I've been bringing myself up to speed by reading the
  archived issues on-line, which I've greatly enjoyed.

  Henry Bergos encouraged me to join the NBS a year or two
  ago, just after he sold me Lester Merkin's copy of Walter
  Breen's pamphlet on "United States Eagles" published by
  Hewitt Brothers, and I've finally gotten around to doing so.
  (Just for the record, the pamphlet has a book plate, but no

  I haven't seen anyone reply to this, so I thought I'd comment
  on Joel Orosz' note from the 12/23/01 E-Sylum in which
  he refers to Scrooge's poor opinion of the soundness of
  American financial obligations with these quotes from Chapter
  One of "The House of Morgan" by Ron Chernow:

  "When Baltimore merchant George Peabody sailed for
  London in 1835, the world was in the throes of a debt crises.
  The defaulting governments weren't obscure Balkan nations
  or South American republics but American states.  The
  United States had succumbed to a craze for building railroads,
  canals, and turnpikes, all backed by state credit.  Now
  Maryland legislators, with the bravado of the ruined, threatened
  to join other states in skipping interest payments on their
  bonds, which were largely marketed in London."

  Later, Chernow states:  "During the severe depression of the
  early 1840s - a decade dubbed the Hungry Forties - state
  debt plunged to fifty cents on the dollar.  The worst came
  when five American states - Pennsylvania, Mississippi, Indiana,
  Arkansas, and Michigan - and the Florida territory defaulted
  on their interest payments."

  "British investors cursed America as a land of cheats, rascals,
  and ingrates.  State defaults also tainted federal credit, and
  when Washington sent Treasury agents to Europe in 1842,
  James de Rothschild thundered, "Tell them you have seen
  the man who is at the head of the finances of Europe, and that
  he has told you that they cannot borrow a dollar.  Not a dollar."

  Clergyman Sydney Smith sneered at the American "mob"
  and said that whenever he met a Pennsylvanian at a London
  dinner, he felt "a disposition to seize and divide him. . . .  How
  such a man can set himself down at an English table without
  feeling that he owes two or three pounds to every man in the
  company, I am at a loss to conceive, he has no more right to
  eat with honest men than a leper has to eat with clean men."

  Even Charles Dickens couldn't resist a jab, portraying a
  nightmare in which Scrooge's solid British assets are transformed
  into "a mere United States' security.""

  As you can see, Dickens wasn't the only person at the time with
  a poor opinion of US securities, and not without good reason!

  Keep the great E-Sylums coming!"


  Pietro Valocchi of Italy writes: "I'm trying to publish an
  English version of my web site
  and I'm not able to find a reference for the English versions of
  the Italian coin names: can you suggest any URLs or books?"
  [I don't know of an online dictionary, but can anyone
  recommend a book for him? -Editor]


  Saul Teichman writes: "For those interested in the two
  recently-discovered 1792 Wright quarters, images are
  available at"


  Mark Van Winkle has a nice article in the June 16, 2003
  issue of Coin World about Doris Doscher, the model for
  Hermon MacNeil's Standing Liberty Quarter (1916-1930).
  Of interest to bibliophiles is the pictured pamphlet containing
  a great deal of biographical information on the model. The
  pamphlet is an offprint from the Nov. 1961 / Jan. 1962
  issues of "American Vegetarian-Hygienist" magazine.  It
  was part of a lot of ephemera from the Doscher estate which
  sold for $1,495 a lo 6043 in the Heritage May Long Beach


  [The following article by is Warner Talso reprinted
  with permission from the MPC Gram (Series 004 -
  Number 928,  Monday June 2, 2003), edited by
  Fred Schwan.  Use the following link if you'd like to
  subscribe to this interesting email newsletter

  Here is an interesting connection between numismatics
  and the atomic bomb.  The Manhattan Project (code name
  for the atomic weapon development project) was famous
  for its insatiable appetite for materials and the lengths to
  which the project went to get the job done.  There was a
  need for a conductor for the coils of magnets.  In the
  summer of 1942 the preliminary plans for the electromagnetic
  plant had called for five thousand tons of copper. However,
  copper was in short supply due to other war related needs
  and strikes in the industry.

  Silver was suggested as a substitute, because it has the
  highest electric conductivity of any other natural substance.
  "On August 3, 1942, Colonel Nichols visited Undersecretary
  of the Treasury Daniel W. Bell with a request for a large
  amount of silver. When Bell asked how much he needed,
  Nichols replied 'six thousand tons', to which the secretary
  replied rather indignantly, 'Young man, you may think of silver
  in tons, but the Treasury will always think of silver in troy
  ounces.'" Eventually, 14,700 tons of silver (much in the form
  of silver dollars), worth 400 million dollars at the time, was
  loaned to the Project.   A total of 940 magnets were fabricated
  using this silver. The magnets were estimated to be one hundred
  times larger than any magnets previously constructed.  They
  were so powerful that they pulled on the nails of workers shoes,
  making walking difficult. They caused tools to fly out the hands
  of workers. Special nonferrous tools and equipment had to be

 "When it came time to return the silver to the Treasury after the
  war, every ounce was scavenged.  In the final accounting, of
  the 14,700 tons borrowed, only a minuscule fraction of 1
  percent was missing."

  The majority of this information and the quotes are taken from
  the book "Racing for the Bomb" by Robert S. Norris,
  Steerforth Press, South Royalton, Vermont, 2002

  [Warner adds: "Please give the credit for the book as follows:
  An excerpt from Racing for the Bomb, by Robert S. Norris,
  published by Steerforth Press of South Royalton, Vermont.
  Copyright © 2002 by Robert S. Norris"   This is the publisher's
  preferred format.]


  Karl Moulton writes: "Here is a minor correction about
  the "Morris' Mirrors" item  in the May 25th E-Sylum.  In the
  1950 book, "Forgotten Patriot-Robert Morris" by Eleanor
  Young, the word used is "reflectors", not mirrors.   They
  were placed above and behind the cashier's cage, who
  used a series of overhead chains or belts to carry silver
  coin filled boxes back and forth to the vault.  The "mirrors"
  were not actually inside the vault.

  The Morris book contains much useful information about the
  early monetary needs of America.  It's a shame that Morris,
  who was the first person to be offered the Secretary of the
  Treasury position, eventually ended up spending three and a
  half years in the Prune Street Prison debtor's building called
  "the Wonder of the World".  It was a far cry from his beloved
  3 story brick mansion on High (Market) Street, which
  President George Washington had utilized during his 8 year

  On page 244 of the Morris book, one rather curious
  September 1798 letter, regarding the current yellow fever
  epidemic, written by Morris while in debtor's prison reads:
  "Our prisoners are gone, except the sick, Banks, Rittenhouse,
  and myself.  They all have the fever, but still I am not alarmed
  although in the house with it."

  My question is this, was Morris referring to David Rittenhouse,
  the first Director of the United States Mint?   Could he have
  ended up in debtor's prison in 1796 due to his extensive
  financial contributions to make that institution successful?  Is
  that why there was a memorial service for Rittenhouse  held
  nearly six months after his reported death?   If anyone has
  conclusive contemporary confirmation of David Rittenhouse's
  death, other than what's reported in the modern numismatic
  texts, I would certainly like to hear about it."

  [The earliest Rittenhouse reference in my library is "Memoirs
  of the Life of David Rittenhouse" by William Barton, 1813
  According to this work, Rittenhouse died at home on June 26,
  1796. -Editor]

  After passing this along to Karl, he added:  "Brooke Hindle's
  1964 book about David Rittenhouse describes a memorial
  service held on Saturday, December 17, 1796 at the First
  Presbyterian Church on High Street.  Dr. Benjamin Rush,
  perhaps Rittenhouse's most ardent admirer at the time, was
  the eulogist.

  It's just the timeframe of having Rittenhouse die in the
  Summer, and then having a memorial service in the midst
  of Winter some 6 months later, that struck me as being
  rather odd.  When combined with the Morris reference in
  1798, it becomes even more unusual.

  I don't want to rock the boat here, I merely want to have
  valid contemporary confirmation on the official timeframe
  of his death (meaning not from a later, secondary source)."

  According to Barton's 1813 work, Rittenhouse died on
  the morning of June 26, 1796.  Barton, who was
  Rittenhouse's nephew, was supposedly in the room when
  this happened.  However, according to Hindle, Barton's
  "Memoirs" book is "frustrating" because "he did select only
  the portions he liked and he deleted words and phrases" to
  located original Rittenhouse manuscripts.  Hence, the Barton
  book can't be considered as completely factual and is most
  likely biased to some degree.

  Does anyone have any mentions of Rittenhouse, other than
  the one in the 1798 Morris letter while at prison?  Considering
  the 6 month time delay, the possibility exists that Dr. Rush was
  attempting to protect the good name of David Rittenhouse
  when he had actually been sent to jail (albeit in poor health).
  The later Barton work would have naturally built upon this
  in order to achieve the same results.  I beg the question,
  did Rush and Barton collaborate on setting the "official"
  date of Rittenhouse's death?

  There have been other well-believed numismatic related stories
  handed down that are eventually found to be in error.  The
  one about Joseph J. Mickley going to the Mint in 1827 and
  getting four 1827/3/2 quarters for a dollar comes to mind.
  Could David Rittenhouse, like Robert Morris, both highly
  respected friends of George Washington, have gone to prison
  because of his benevolent contributions to our nations first

  If all of this is true, for Rittenhouse to have been reportedly
  buried beneath the floor of his observatory at his residence,
  means that when his house on Seventh St. was razed for
  making an overpass to downtown, we lost the marble slab
  and remains of one of our nation's most dedicated and
  influential citizens.  In any event, I'm proud to be the
  present owner of the original June 15, 1782 deed to David
  Rittenhouse's property."


  Regarding the item Dave Bowers submitted last week,
  John Eshbach writes: "The Portsmouth Journal coin article
  was about the first Chapman sale, I think."

  David F. Fanning agrees.  He writes: "Since I don't own a
  copy of the sale, I'm not positive, but from the description
  this sale sounds like the Chapman Brothers' first sale
 (October 9, 1879)."


  Dick JOhnson writes: "No, it's not the day of the year
  that the Medal Collectors of America promote medal
  collecting.  Instead, it is the day in New York City that
  medals are bestowed on heroic firemen.

  "Medal Day," said Newsday staff writer Bill Murphy, "is
  the most important day of the year for the people who
  fight fires for a living, and it is also one huge party day.
  The firefighters are not always on their best behavior."

  The mayor of the City personally pins the medal for
  bravery on the proper bestowee's uniform.  Ed Koch
  did this one year just after he had closed two firehouses.
  He only got one medal bepinned before he was hissed
  and booed until he left the ceremony.  This year Mayor
  Michael Bloomberg settled a dispute with the firefighters
  union the day before he was to appear on stage. (Just in
  time! Three thousand firefighters had practiced cupping
  their hands to their mouths to magnify their catcalls.)

  Now what does this have to do with numismatic books
  you ask?  For years I have noticed the pamphlets given
  out at these medal ceremonies listing all the recipients'
  names selling for $5 to $10 on eBay. Any fireman who
  has the presence of mind to bring his pamphlet home
  without getting beer glass on the cover can pick up a
  little extra money on the side.

  If you would like to know what happened Wednesday,
  click on:


  In last week's issue I asked about some of the more creative
  ways of disposing of an overage of medals.

  David Lange writes: "What to do with remaining supplies of
  medals has always been a quandary.  When I lived in California,
  I belonged (and still do) to a coin club in the San Francisco
  Bay Area called Liberty Numismatic Society. The club began
  issuing medals annually in 1987, its 30th anniversary, and my
  designs were selected for three of the first four years.  The first
  year's medal was oversubscribed, and a number of prospective
  buyers were disappointed. To avoid a repeat of this situation,
  the number minted in 1988 was greatly increased, with the
  inevitable result that not all were sold.  While the remaining
  silver pieces were simply returned for recycling into the next
  year's edition, the unsold bronze medals presented a real
  problem.  This was solved when the officers and board of
  directors held a "medal dumping" party on a pier alongside the
  San Mateo Bridge.  The 80 or so leftover medals were flung
  across the waters of SF Bay, as we matched our skills at
  skipping them over the waves. While doubtless breaking some
  law, our action did protect the integrity of the medals sold to
  collectors, and I suspect that the evidence of our crime is nearly
  unrecoverable at this point."


  Regarding the story of the unsold Scott restrikes of the
  Confederate Half Dollar, Gar Travis sends this quote from
  an item written by Q. David Bowers:

  "Scott decided to strike impressions from his die, and he sent
  out circulars offering silver restrikes at $2 each, agreeing to
  have only 500 pieces struck. It was doubtful if over 250 were
  sold, as Scott had a plentiful supply of them for over 30 years
  thereafter. He gradually raised the price to $15 each."


  Following up on last week's item about The Theatre at New
  York Token, Gar Travis sends the following link to a page on
  the subject at the Notre Dame site:


  CNN published an amusing item on May 27th about the
  curse" of the state quarter series.

  Did the Old Man of the Mountain die of natural causes, or was
  a curse the culprit?

  The distinctive rock formation had been famous since Native
  Americans roamed the White Mountains. ... When the rock's
  face crumbled to dust in early May, it was a blow for naturalists
  and numismatics alike.

  Age was cited as the official cause of the Old Man's demise.
  But conspiracy theorists take note: since the Mint inaugurated
  the coin series, a string of unfortunate events has befallen many
  of its subjects."

  [To say the least, the article's examples require quite a stretch
  of logic to believe.   For the full text of the article use the link
  below.  I wasn't aware though, of the near-tragedy that struck
  the subject of the Maryland quarter.

  "The quarter depicts the statehouse in Annapolis, America's
  oldest legislative building still in use as a capitol. Last summer,
  the historic wooden cupola was struck by lightning, starting a
  small fire, which had to be extinguished by automated sprinklers."


  David Fanning forwarded the following query: "Am trying to
  find the mint responsible for the tokens by the Savings Bank
  of Colon-1885   Field Brodie & Co., silver, reeded edge
  with a "B" mint mark-no, it is not the Bogota mint, who has
  denied authorship.   So, does anybody have the address of
  either the Bern Mint or the Lima (Peru) Mint so that I can
  write them on this?  I would appreciate any help.

  Something else I could use some help is the address of the
  American Bank Note Company- I'm seeking information on
  the Continental Bank Note Co which was absorbed by
  ABNC in the 1870/80's. Any help will be greatly appreciated.
  Many thanks Joaquin Gil del Real   gildelreal at"


  This week's featured web site is suggested by Dick Johnson.
  He writes: "Here is a brief website, but I laughed at every item.
  The Webmaster is Courtney McFarren who has another site
  of interest:  Lincoln Cents / Quantities Minted. But check out:

 [Here's an excerpt. -Editor]

  "The Spiro T. Agnew Minus-One-Cent Piece

  This trapezoidal-shaped coin was recently released into
  circulation to alleviate the "penny problem". It is the only
  known coin with a negative value. For example: instead
  of lugging around four pennies, a person would only have
  to carry two coins; a 5-cent piece and a "Spiro".

  Wayne Homren
  Numismatic Bibliomania Society 

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