The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 6, Number 27, July 6, 2003:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2003, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


  Among recent new subscribers is Bob Hearn.  Welcome
  aboard!  We now have 573 subscribers.


  Fred Lake writes: "A reminder that Lake Books' sale #69 of
  numismatic literature closes in just over a week on July 15,
  2003.   Email and telephone bids are welcome.  The sale
  can be viewed at:"


  A July 1, 2003 article in the San Francisco Chronicle
  reported on a fundraising event held at the old San
  Francisco Mint.

  "The rats have been poisoned, the scale model has been built,
  and the dreamers have done their dreaming.  Now, all that's
  needed for the old U.S. Mint to open as a museum is for
  someone to cough up $46 million.

  The latest effort to save the mint kicked off on Monday night
  with a fundraiser, the gala kind. It raised about $90,000. That
  means, said project director Jim Lazaraus, there's only
  $45,910,000 to go.

 "This time," Lazarus said in his most optimistic voice, "I'd say
 it may happen."

  "In the courtyard, a black rope kept visitors from venturing
  outside. Were there to be an earthquake, the unreinforced
  brick chimneys could come down and bonk donors on the
  head, which would not be good for the museum's future.

  Small pieces of granite that had fallen from the wall littered
  the courtyard. Some well-wishers picked up the pieces for

  If all goes well, Lazarus said, renovation of the building will
  begin next year, and the glorious new museum of San
  Francisco will open in 2006, complete with atrium, skylights,
  a theater, elevators, a tony restaurant and souvenir shops."

  To read the full article, see:
  The article's tone is not very hopeful for the success of the
  venture of the San Francisco Museum and Historical Society.
  It was created in 2002 as an umbrella organization for "The
  management of the City history collections of the San Francisco
  Museums and Historical Society, the Fine Arts Museums of
  San Francisco, the San Francisco Public Library and other
  City departments.  See

  Question: if the courtyard was off limits how did souvenir hunters
  grab the granite?   The project director's name was spelled two
  different ways in the article, so we can all be puzzled by that.

  Further background on the project is available at the San
  Francisco Historical Society web site:
  Click on "more information" under the item titled "Keep up on
  the news of the Old Mint."  Readers can make a donation to
  the project via a link on that page.


  Chris Hoelzle of Laguna Niguel, CA writes: "Perhaps your
  readers can help me figure one thing out - The numbering of
  the Editions vs. the year of publication of The Star Coin Book
  published by dealer B. Max Mehl..

  It appears that first there was The Star Coin Book, and I
  believe from what I read that this began in 1906 (first edition)
  and then there was the Star Rare Coin Encyclopedia.

  I have an Eighth edition which has the date of 1913.
  I have a Thirteenth edition which has no date but another
  owner has written it up as 1920.
  I have a Twentieth edition which I bought from a fellow who
  thought it was 1917.
  I have just bought a Twenty-Seventh Edition with no date.
  Lastly, I have a Thirty-Seventh Edition that states "In the same
  place, same business, same ownership for over 38 years" with
  no date.

  Then there is the series of The Star Rare Coin Encyclopedia
  and Premium Catalog. These seem to be very good at having
  a printed date of publication along with their Edition number.
  My Earliest is 1926 (29th Edition) and my latest is 1959
  (61st Edition).

  One edition of note is 1938 the 45th Edition which has the
  same phrase on the title page "In the same place, same
  business, same ownership for over 38 years" .

  So it appears that the books were published concurrently,
  but the frequency of the release of the Editions may not
  have been on a purely annual basis.  Does anyone happen
  to have any information that might help me crack the
  "Edition / Year" code on The Star Coin Book?"


  From the American Numismatic Association's Summer
  Seminar in Colorado Springs, Dan Gosling writes:
  "During our last class on Numismatics of the American
  Revolution Period, with instructors John Kraljevich Jr. and
  Ken Bressett, a slide was shown of a November 1709
  New York Colonial 16 dollar note. Ken mentioned that
  when he was a typesetter he lived by the motto "mind your
  p's and q's".

  Because type is backwards a typesetter can easily make a
  mistake by inserting a "p" where a "q" belongs, hence the
  expression.  Ken then pointed out a typesetting error on the
  note being discussed. The wording on the note contained the
  phrase "shall be in value equal to".  The "q" in equal was
  actually an upside down "b".  It would seem that the
  typesetter of the New York note forgot to mind his b's
  and q's."


  Dan also reports that "the American Numismatic Association
  held their annual Library Spares Sale on Sunday morning
  June 29th. The first person lined up at 7 am.  At 8 o'clock
  ANA Research Librarian Jane Colvard handed out numbered
  tickets to everyone that was lined up. The tickets provided an
  opportunity to tour the fabulous exhibits in the museum,
  including the Harry Bass collection of gold coins.

  Everyone lined up again at 8:50 outside the conference room
  where all of the goodies awaited the lovers of numismatic
  literature bargains. Within moments of ANA Librarian Nancy
  Green opening the door at 9 am sharp the main table in the
  center of the room was surrounded three deep with the most
  aggressive shoppers you ever met outside a department store
  sale. At least this is one description of the mob scene that a
  visiting curator shared with me. The many books on the center
  table were being offered for from $2 to $10 and included a
  wide range of topics including many monographs from the

  The side table contained many periodicals including a long
  run of the World Coin monthly journal that I managed to
  grab.  The back two tables were absolutely stacked high
  with auction catalogues from well known and obscure auction
  houses. The quantity of auction catalogues was overwhelming.

  It was not until the second day that more buyers were able
  to begin to get a feel for what was there. On day two the
  prices were reduced by 75% on all remaining stock and set
  off another busy scene. One numismatist is reported to have
  purchased 10 boxes of books and auction catalogues. ;-)
  All in all another fabulous Library Spares Sale. Nancy has
  indicated that additional fresh material will be added this
  Sunday for students of the second session of the Summer


  Steven Wolf, a web site visitor, writes: "The U.S.Mint
  Customer Care Center has had no idea how to answer
  the following question:

  On the back (tails side) of the penny, there is a lower
  case "o" in The United States oF America.  Why is that
  letter lower case?  Is it just a language mechanics thing
  or is there any significance?"

  My reply was: "It has no significance whatsoever that I
  am aware of. It is simply artistic license - that is the way
  the designer chose to create that letter."

  I've noticed that element of the cent design before, but
  this is the first time I've heard the topic come up.  Am I
  correct in saying there is no particular significance to the
  size of this letter?  Is anyone aware of other coins (U.S.
  or otherwise)  with a similar odd mixture of letter sizes?


  Rich Hartzog writes: "I seem to recall an article semi-recently
  about the few 'century' medals that exist.  That is, medals to
  commemorate the turning of the century (which was really
  1901, 2001, but that is another story).  In going over the
  massive consignment of exonumia from Greg Brunk, I found
  one of interest:

  A neat piece, with Germany and Egypt connections.  And, yes,
  the Brunk collection of counterstamps, medals and tokens is
  still not ready.  But I've made progress!   I'll be again offering
  free custom web pages of items matching your interests, upon


  Regarding Gar Travis' question on American Numismatic &
  Archeological Society membership, Fred Reed writes:  "A
  "resident member" was one residing in the local community of
  the group, as contrasted to a "corresponding member" who
  resided at some distance and generally did not attend meetings."


  In response to Alan Roy's query about H.C. Taylor and
  Somer James last week, Gar Travis writes: "Somer James
  established the Canadian Numismatic Publishing Institute in
  1958. The web site is here: An
  e-mail address can be found on the web site.  I would
  guess since this institute published all of the works of James
  & Taylor, that some of the answers to your questions may
  be found here.

  Also I found a reference which shows a photograph of a
  "Somer James" a Canadian who was invested with the
  British Empire medal (WWII)....the only photograph on
  the page.... and I'm betting it's the same fellow."

  Alan Roy replied: "I already knew about Patrick Glassford's
  site, but not about the other.   I did find a searchable website of
  Winnipeg cemeteries which listed H. C. Taylor, and managed
  to confirm it in the Canadian Numismatic Journal."


  Inspired by last week's item about the U.S. Government Printing
  Office, Tom DeLorey writes: "When I worked for Coin World
  back in the 70s, fellow staffer Ed Fleischmann showed me his
  collection of GPO refund coupons which you received back in
  lieu of a check when you ordered two or more publications
  from the GPO and one or more of them was unavailable. Back
  then publication prices were very cheap, often under a dollar,
  and if an eighty cent publication was out of print you would
  receive a 50 cent coupon, a 25 cent coupon and a 5 cent
  coupon along with your order. These could be used when
  sending in future orders. I don't know if anybody other than
  Ed cared about them and/or collected them, but they could
  be considered an obscure form of United States "money."
  Also while at Coin World, I once saw an item, in print, that
  referred to the "Government Painting Office." As they say,
  "Typos Fugit."


  Herb Freidman writes: "The readers might be interested in
  an article I have placed on the Internet on the subject of
  American propaganda currency used in Korea. This story
  was originally three different in-depth articles published in
  the International Bank Note Society journal.  This is a much
  lighter version with no Pick Nos., numismatic data, etc.,
  meant for the casual reader or military student.  Still, if you
  have never read my "official" articles, you might find this
  story interesting."


  For viewing old stereo slides, Alan Meghrig suggested

  Fred Reed admonished me for not already having a viewer,
  for "it was perfected by Joseph L. Bates."  Several years
  ago I contributed some research to Fred's book on Encased
  Postage Stamps, and Joseph Bates was one of the issuers.


  Paul Horner and Jerry Roughton produce a very nice occasional
  periodical called The North Carolina Numismatic Scrapbook.
  I ordered a set of back issues and they arrived this week.  It is
  a quality publication, well illustrated and researched.  It is
  focused on, but not limited to, paper money history.  It is an
  outlet for the pair's research, and is not affiliated with any
  numismatic organization.   Articles in the first four issues include:

     A Commemorative Banknote -
     The History Behind the Vignettes

     Madison Toll Bridges

     C.C. Sanford Sons Co. Mocksville, North Carolina
     Cardboard Store Scrip

     A Rare North Carolina Counterstamp of Fayetteville

  Of special interest to bibliophiles is "A. B. Andrews, Jr.
  Cataloguer of North Carolina State Treasury Notes."
  An article on the notes by Andrews was published in the
  Charlotte Daily Observer in 1908.  Andrews' catalogue
  was later published in The Numismatist, but his pioneering
  work was not acknowledged in Bradbeer's 1915 book,
  "Confederate and Southern State Currency".

  When I first wrote to Paul Horner about the Scrapbook,
  he replied:  "It is a small journal devoted primarily to the
  obsolete paper money and scrip of North Carolina.  Each
  issue typically contains 12 pages of new material that will
  not be found elsewhere, say 3 - 6 articles.  All the research,
  writing and printing is done by my coeditor, Jerry Roughton,
  and myself.

  When a printing run is made of the SCRAPBOOK no extra
  copies per se are included, only issues for those who are
  subscribers.  To do another original printing of back issues
  would require too much time and expense.  However we can
  offer you all the back issues (Nos. 1 - 5), but they must be
  copies of the originals.  If this would suit you, the price for a
  set is $25.

  We have started our second year of publication, and have
  recently mailed out issue #6.  The cost is $15 per year.
  We anticipate at least 4 issues a year, on an "infrequent"
  basis, last year we put together 5 issues that included about
  65 pages of material, extra pages beyond 12 being added
  as needed.

  If you care to get a set of back issues  at 25, a subscription
   at 15 or both for $40, please send a check for the appropriate
  amount, with your mailing address to:

       PO Box 793
       Kenansville, NC  28349

  Both the back issues and new issues will be mailed via first
  class mail.  The back issues and new subscription will be
  mailed from different places, and will not be sent together."

  [By the way, another good place to find articles on obsolete
  paper is Numismatic Views, the journal of the Gulf Coast
  Numismatic Association, edited by subscriber Nolan Mims.
  The May 2003 issue features an article by Nolan on "The
  Bank of Mobile 1820-ca.1866."


  Ron Guth writes: "I found the following item in a recent
  Internet surf session and thought your readers might enjoy
  reading the "behind-the-scenes" story of the Trompeter

  [The description of the collection of 400 high-grade U.S.
  gold coins begins on page 5 of the document.  The collection
  was the subject of a dispute over grading involving the estate,
  Superior Stamp & Coin, and the PCGS and NGC grading
  services.  The estate was unhappy with grades being assigned
  to coins in Superior's catalog of the second part of the
  Trompeter collections (190 coins), but that is only one of the
  disputes, which involve divorce, a fiancee, sons of
  acquaintances, hidden assets, and a million dollar "reward"
  request.  The document was filed in 1998.  Interesting, though
  one-sided, reading.  Every party to the dispute I'm sure, has
  their own opinion of the circumstances. -Editor]


  Ronald Thompson writes: "I have trouble understanding how
  John Kleeberg could say "Yes, some of their American
  spouses and children joined them, but that was voluntary."
  It could only be construed as "voluntary" if the spouse had
  independent means of support to survive while their German
  or Italy citizen/spouse was interned.  That was the day of one
  bread winner per family.  My guess is that most of German
  or Italy citizen/internees were men.  That meant that their
  housewife/homemaker had to feed the family and pay the
  bills without any income.  This was before the welfare system
  of the last half of the 20th century.  Certainly the housewife/
  homemaker could conceivably get a job if she had the skills,
  however, most didn't.  Yes, there were Rosie the riveters
  etc., but those individuals worked in the defense industry.
  How many spouses of interned aliens do you think could
  get a job with the defense industry?  And if they lived in a
  small town who would hire them for anything when they
  knew the husband was an interned alien?

  No, this wasn't voluntary.  It was the only alternative to being
  homeless that was forced on them due to the government's
  policy.  It is somewhat like the choice the cow has in the
  slaughter yards - go down the chute or get zapped with the
  cattle prod.  If the cow had a real choice, it would be anywhere
  but in the slaughter yards, but circumstances and, in this case,
  the government's actions, dictated this "voluntary" choice."

  Russ Rulau writes: "Dear Friends, I guess I should enter the
  discussion about Germans being interned in the U.S. during
  WWII, as I covered this in a small way in one of my books,
  "Latin American Tokens" (2nd edition, 2000, page 220).

  Beginning 1873 Guatemalan president Justo Rufino Barrios
  invited Germans  to immigrate, and Chancellor Bismarck gave
  a boost to the arrangement.  A special agreement permitted
  the Germans to reside, own property and every other right
  (except the vote) as resident aliens, keeping German citizenship.
  In the next 25 years these Germans and their offspring became
  wealthy, controlling coffee estates, railroads, banks, etc. In
  1918 Guatemala declared war on Germany and seized all
  German-owned property controlled from Germany, but did
  not disturb the resident aliens or their lands, etc.

  In 1941 strongman Jorge Ubico declared war on Germany
  and "intervened" all property of those Germans of the third
  or fourth generation who had never taken Guatemalan
  citizenship, and interned all the Germans themselves (many
  of whom had never seen Germany). The internees, full
  families, were locked up at a U.S. Army base in Texas by
  arrangement with the U.S. government. In all, Ubico seized
  130 German-owned coffee plantations of more than
  600,000 acres, employing 80,000 persons.

  Ref: "Area Handbook for Guatemala," John Dombrowski et
  al, American University, Washington, D.C., 1970.  Good
  input recently from John Kleeberg on this subject. Under
  international law, enemy aliens do have some rights, but as
  the above shows, they are slim."


  A number of people have lamented the changes to the
  American Numismatic Association's publication,
  "Numismatist", citing a "dumbing down" of the level of
  scholarship to cater to newer collectors.  One response
  is to note that the more scholarly articles have long ago
  migrated to specialty publications.  Dick Johnson pointed
  out to me that not all collectors have ready access to these
  other publications, and it's a point well taken.  I'm a goof
  for numismatic information, and shell out a ton of money
  each year in order to receive a wealth of U.S. numismatic
  periodicals.  Few collectors are as voracious, and a
  general publication with high-quality articles would be
  attractive.   But there is a publication which I believe already
  exhibits a high degree of scholarship, and it may be
  unfairly overlooked by serious  numismatists - COINage
  magazine.  Once one gets past the breathless "How Much
  Is Your Coin Worth?" cover blurbs, the articles inside are
  the equal of any U.S. numismatic periodical published today.
  I find myself reading COINage first when it arrives in my
  P.O. Box.  I always learn something new from the articles.
  The August 2003 issue, for example, has great articles by
  Tom DeLorey, R. W. Julian and David T. Alexander, all
  of whom are regular contributors.   John Iddings' articles
  on the John J. Ford collection and 1787 coinage are very
  interesting.  Other articles cover the new $20 paper money
  designs, the numismatics of Napoleon and the American
  Numismatic Association library.   The articles do not have
  end notes or footnotes, unfortunately, so COINage will
  never be a true journal of record, and it will never be the
  place to find information on newly discovered varieties.
  But the information is great, and many articles are well worth
  saving for future reference.  Researchers of the future will
  find some real gems in the magazine's index.  [Speaking of
  which, does an index to COINage exist anywhere?]


  Now that slabs enable collectors to own a coin without
  having to bother touching or looking at it directly, perhaps
  the next step is owning coins without the bother of actually
  possessing them.  The sports card world shows how the
  third-party trend can be taken to extremes.  A recent
  article in Wired magazine (known for publishing spoofs,
  by the way) describes an online trading site for cards
  designed by the Topps card company.

  "Mike Clark owns $30,000 worth of special-edition baseball
  and football cards. And he's never seen a single one of them.
  That's because these cards aren't the kind you can pick up in
  foil packs at a hobby shop. They're sold like stocks, more or
  less, on an online trading floor designed by the Topps card
  company and run by eBay. And while Clark and his fellow
  collectors are willing to pay hundreds of dollars for the right
  to call the rarest of these specimens their own, the cards
  themselves remain, for the most part, sealed in a climate-
  controlled warehouse in Delaware.",1284,59393,00.html


  Chris Fuccione sends the following link to online U.S.
  Mint reports.


  Bill Spengler writes: "I enjoyed your anecdote in the last
  E-Sylum about the Vietnamese man being paid off in
  counterfeit bills and, again, it reminded me of an analogous
  incident in my own experience.

  While I was serving in the 1960's as American Consul in
  Peshawar, in the wild and woolly Pushtun country of Pakistan's
  North-West Frontier Province, a tribal leader and friend of
  mine (call him Yaqub Shah) was engaged in a close electoral
  contest for a seat in the National Assembly.  It was an "indirect
  election" in which only locally chosen electors voted.  To clinch
  his victory, Yaqub went around to electors in his constituency
  -- many of them "maliks" or local tribal leaders -- the night
  before the election and purchased their votes for 500 rupees
  each in crisp, new 100 rupee notes.  It was not until the
  election was over the next day that the recipients discovered
  that their bills were bogus, skillfully counterfeited in
  unadministered tribal territory in the mountains outside
  Peshawar -- where tribesmen also replicate foreign firearms
  complete with the original manufacturers' marks and serial

  Needless to say, Yaqub won the election by a solid margin.
  And the bilked Pushtun tribesmen, inherently capable of
  taking a joke, just laughed it off.  I reported the incident
  back to Washington in a tongue-in-cheek dispatch entitled
  "The Present Price of Maliks".  As I recall, 500 rupees at
  the time were worth about US $25, a princely sum to a
  malik.  What a bogus bill would have cost I have no idea.
  Such was fun in the Foreign Service."


  Regarding last week's mention of collecting coin bags, Dan
  Hamelberg writes: "It looks like I have company on my U.S.
  Mint coin bag collection.   I am not as serious about the bags
  as I am on other items, but when I find them I usually buy them.
  One more thing to crowd into my library.

  If you think collecting Mint bags is nuts, try some other
  "exonumia" items such as:

    coin changers
    coin paperweights ( the clear lucite items with coins)
    coin glass
    U.S. Mint postcards
    coin clocks
    book press units (have 4)
    coin coasters
    "large coins" - - display items
    coin scales"

  R.K.'Bob' Lusch adds: "File this under you-do-not-have-to
  -be-nuts-but-it-helps.   Joe Luek collects mint bags.  I have
  a collection of "Bank Bags' as well as Federal Reserve bags.
  NOT ONLY THAT,  but the Bell System used to have their
  own bank bags sewn up just like the mints. Each 'operating
  company'  had their own.  So I guess there is more than one
  "squirrel' in the "NUT" pile."


  Ron Guth writes: "I'm not sure who Robertson Davies is, but
  he seems to have us pegged.  He said, "To be a book collector
  is to combine the worst characteristics of a dope fiend with
  those of a miser."


  This week's featured web site is recommended by Andy
  Lustig.  La Casa de Moneda de México (The Mexican Mint)
  "was the first in America, established by "Cédula Real (Royal
  Decree)" in 1535."

  "... in 1908, the Mexican Mint acquired the Ulex Collection
  to begin the organization of its numismatic values which include
  pieces that narrate, by themselves, the history of Mexico."

  Numismatics International, on their web site
  ( offers a copy of the 1908
  Ulex auction sale catalog published by Adolph Hess Nachfolger.

  "An outstanding German auction of Western Hemisphere
  numismatics material.... Medals, tokens. and jetons amassed
  over forty years by Georg F Utes. a Hamburg pharmacist. ...
  George Ulex attributed his collection meticulously with reference
  to the principal standard works .."

  [So... did the Mexican Mint acquire the Mexican portion
  of the Ulex collection intact at the sale?    -Editor]

  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.

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