The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

PREV        NEXT        V6 2003 INDEX        E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 6, Number 28, July 13, 2003:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2003, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


  Among recent new subscribers is Dr. Scott Rottinghaus,
  courtesy of  John and Nancy Wilson.  Welcome aboard!
  We now have 575 subscribers.


  Reminder: the Numismatic Bibliomania Society has scheduled
  two events at upcoming convention of the American Numismatic
  Association in Baltimore.  I may not arrive at the convention in
  time for the Symposium, but hope to see many of you at the
  annual meeting.

  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"


  A semi-regular feature of the NBS Annual Meeting is a
  short fund-raising auction to augment the society's
  coffers.   Sometimes the auction is all that keeps us from
  going into the red, so it's important that members and
  friends of NBS participate by bidding or donating. If
  you have an item of numismatic literature (or something
  interesting related to numismatic literature or research,
  or just something fun), please bring it to the meeting or
  send it to one of the NBS Board members.  Their email
  addresses are on the NBS web site.  Plain old cash
  donations are welcomed as well.  Every dollar helps.
  Be creative!

  Many of our readers are authors.  Why not donate a
  copy of your latest book with an appropriate inscription
  to NBS (or the lucky bidder)?   How about an old
  manuscript?  Or a box of photos used in the book?
  A file of correspondence from researching the book?

  Some of you old-timers have some great numismatic
  yarns to tell.   Sell some of your time to the highest bidder
  for lunch or a coffee or beer break during the show.

  Some of you are photographers.  Why not offer to take
  a group photo at the meeting and sell prints for the benefit
  of NBS?

  Some of you are veteran ANA Exhibitors or Judges.
  Why not sell an hour of free advice or assistance to a new
  exhibitor of numismatic literature?

  What am I bid for the right to be E-Sylum editor for
  a week?  8-)


  Using text from our print journal The Asylum,
  provided by past president Michael Sullivan, webmaster
  Bruce Perdue has added a number of useful pages to the
  NBS web site (

  Linked to the Officers page is a page listing past officers
  from our founding through 1997.  NBS Historian Joel
  Orosz is working to bring the list up to the present.
  The direct link is

  Linked from the Publications page are Author and Subject
  indexes for first 15 volumes of The Asylum.  The index was
  compiled by Bill Malkmus.


  Chief Judge Joe Boling reports that there is one exhibit in
  Class 22, Numismatic Literature, titled "Researching the
  Sestroretsk Ruble."   In New York last year there were a
  number of exhibits outside Class 22 which included a
  significant amount of numismatic literature and ephemera.


  Those who recall the "Great Debate" controversy over the
  authenticity of western U.S. ingots should plan to attend the
  1pm Saturday August 2nd session of the Numismatic Theatre
  at the ANA convention.  "The Good, The Bad & The Ugly:
  Western Precious Metal Ingots" will be presented by Bob
  Evans, Fred Holabird and Dave Fitch.


  Michael Schmidt writes: "The Franklin half dollar has the same
  small o in oF.  Again just artistic license as far as I know."
  [This coin was designed by John Sinnock. -Editor]

  Arthur Shippee writes: "The lowercase "o" on the cent
  probably reflects the standard practice of how one capitalizes
  phrases (like book or hymn titles), where "of" is one of the
  words not given an initial cap.  I gather US coins tend to all
  caps, but one sees this initial cap. practice on the Ohio Quarter,
  where the phrase, "Birthplace of Aviation Pioneers" is in upper
  case and small caps, instead of upper case and lower case,
  and where the "of" is in small caps.

  At a guess, it seems that the Lincoln Memorial cent is an
  artistic extension of this principle."

  [Now why didn't I think of that?    Thanks for the great
  submission.  Sounds like a fine explanation.  Too bad the
  designer Frank Gasparro died recently - we could have just
  asked him!   Perhaps the answer will turn up in his
  correspondence someday.  -Editor]


  Speaking of Gasparro, another convention event should be
  of interest to anyone who collects artwork by U.S. Mint
  engravers.  At 6pm Friday the "Frank Gasparro Memorial
  Fund Scholarship Event" will take place.   The event is a
  fundraiser for the Fleischer Art Institute in Philadelphia.
  Specifically, funds raised will go toward a scholarship fund
  in the name of the late Frank Gasparro, former Chief
  Engraver of the U.S. Mint.  Gasparro was so grateful for
  the art education he received at Fleischer that he taught
  courses there for free for the rest of his life, until just
  months before his death.  I understand several donated
  original works of art by present and past mint engravers
  will be auctioned at the event.  How often do numismatists
  get a chance like that?


  Gary Trudgen writes: "The August 2003 issue of The Colonial
  Newsletter (CNL) has been published.   This issue consists of
  two feature-length papers and one technical note.

  The historical context of "Hogge Money" is studied in the
  first paper written by Dr. Louis Jordan.  This coinage was the
  first to be struck for the English colonies in America, specifically
  Bermuda which was also known as the Somer Islands.  Hogge
  money is known in four denominations: shilling, sixpence,
  threepence, and twopence.  Struck on lightly silvered copper
  planchets, the obverse depicts a hog with the legend SOMMER
  ISLANDS.  The reverse shows a fully rigged ship.

  The second paper investigates the Maris plates of New Jersey
  coppers.   Authored by Dr. Roger Moore and Dennis Wierzba
  they document the three known zinc plates, explaining the
  differences between them and their sequence of issue.  Dr.
  Maris, the father of the New Jersey copper series, assembled
  zinc plates in the 1800s containing actual coins, electrotypes
  of coin and possible photographs of individual coins.  He used
  the plates to record the known die varieties and their marriages.

  A technical note from Leo Shane presents evidence that a St.
  Patrick farthing was stuck with a segmented collar. This
  discovery is significant because in the December 2002 issue
  of CNL Dr. Brian Danforth concluded that the St. Patrick
  coinage was manufactured by Peter Blondeau using his newly
  invented one-step single collar technology.

  CNL is published three times a year by The American
  Numismatic Society, Broadway at 155th Street, New York,
  NY 10032.  For inquires concerning CNL, please contact
  Juliette Pelletier at the preceding postal address or e-mail
  pelletier at or telephone (212) 234-3130
  ext. 243."


  The Reuters news service reported that actor Buddy Ebsen
  died Sunday, July 6, 2003, at Torrance Memorial Medical
  Center in Torrance, CA.  Ebsen was discussed in earlier
  E-Sylum issues as one of a number of celebrity coin collectors.


  Neil Shafer writes: "In response to Chris Hoelzle and his
  question about dating of Mehl's Star Encyclopedias - I have
  one example, Copyright 1925 by the Numismatic Company
  of Texas, and it's the 28th edition.  I have no idea if this was
  on a yearly basis or what, just this piece of information which
  may help him."


  While on the subject of Mehl, I'm surprised no one mentioned
  the June 17, 2003 Numismatic News article by David Lange
  on his recent visit with Stewart Huckaby to the old B. Max
  Mehl building at 1204 Magnolia Avenue in Fort Worth, TX
  (see p20).   The structure has been vacant for years.  A faded
  sign painted on the building proclaims "STAR BUILDING,"
  perhaps a reference to Mehl's signature publication.  The article
  includes some good photos and is a must for the files of
  collectors of Mehl memorabilia.


  Gar Travis sends this link to a web site about Robertson
  Davies, in response to the quote Ron Guth submitted the
  last E-Sylum.  The site has several more of his quotes, and
  one relating to bibliomania follows.

  "She herself was a victim of that lust for books which rages in
  the breast like a demon, and which cannot be stilled save by
  the frequent and  plentiful acquisition of books. This passion
  is more common, and more powerful, than most people
  suppose. Book lovers are thought by unbookish people to
  be gentle and unworldly, and perhaps a few of them are so.
  But there are others who will lie and scheme and steal to get
  books as wildly and unconscionably as the dope-taker in
  pursuit of his drug. They may not want the books to read
  immediately, or at all; they  want them to possess, to range
  on their shelves, to have at command.  They want books as
  a Turk is thought to want concubines -- not to be  hastily
  deflowered, but to be kept at their master's call, and enjoyed
  more often in thought than in reality. "

  A second quote reminds me a bit of The E-Sylum - a dustbin
  of worthless but fascinating curiosities.  And dirt.

  "Well, allow me to introduce myself to you as an advocate of
  Ornamental Knowledge. You like the mind to be a neat
  machine, equipped to work efficiently, if narrowly, and with
  no extra bits or useless parts.  I like the mind to be a dustbin
  of scraps of brilliant fabric, odd gems, worthless but
  fascinating curiosities, tinsel, quaint bits of carving, and a
  reasonable amount of healthy dirt. Shake the machine and it
  goes out of order; shake the dustbin and it adjusts itself
  beautifully to its new position."


  I recently picked up an item I had been looking for
  for a number of years. It's a non-numismatic publication
  by Philadelphia collector Joseph J. Mickley.  A printing
  from the papers of the Historical Society of Delaware,
  it is titled "Some Account of William Usselinx and Peter
  Minuit: Two Individuals Who Were Instrumental in
  Establishing the First Permanent Colony in Delaware."
  The paper was originally read before the society at its
  annual meeting December 10, 1874, four years before
  Mickley's death.  The paper was published in 1881.
  The pamphlet includes a two-page obituary notice for
  Mickley which was extracted from a Philadelphia
  newspaper, and contains much fodder for the dustbin.
  The obituary notes:

  "Ole Bull was his intimate friend, and his house was
  for may year the resort of antiquarians, musicians, and
  historians from all parts of the world. It was he who
  discovered that the violin which Ole Bull bought for a
  Gaspar Desala was a counterfeit."

  So who was Ole Bull?  A web search found some
  information.  Ole Bull (1810-1880) of Norway was
  one of the greatest violin virtuosos of his time.
 The last link is to a book on Bull's life.  Perhaps it
  contains some references to his friend Mickley.
  "Bull counted among his friends the great names of his era:
  Schumann and Lizst, Emerson and Wagner. Longfellow
  and Hans Christian Andersen modeled characters on him,
  and he was in part the inspiration for Ibsen's Peer Gynt."


  Hal V. Dunn writes: "Documents from the various U.S. Mints
  should be added to "Coin Bag Collecting and Other Strange
  Afflictions."  There is a wide variety of these interesting and
  often overlooked items.  There are bullion deposit  receipts,
  internal receipts (for example, from the superintendent to the
  coiner), assay reports, letterhead stationery for each
  department within the mint, etc.  All of these have a number
  of printing varieties -- at least for those from the Carson City
  Mint.  And within such a collection one can build a collection
  of autographs of mint  officers.  And another odd-ball: souvenir
  plates depicting a mint building (have three in my collection)."

  [Actually, none of this seems odd to me.  I have some of
  these myself with the exception of the souvenir plates.


  Has anyone seen the new book published by Heritage /
  Currency Auctions of America?  It's "American History as
  Seen Through Currency" by Joanne and Edward Dauer.
  The 400-page, 9" x 12" full color hardbound book was
  advertised recently on one of the company's mailings, but
  the ad forgot to list the price!   A check of their web site
  shows a retail price of $79.95.  See


  Gar Travis reports that the URL given last week for online
  U.S. Mint reports didn't work.   It's a problem with the Mint
  web site - for some reason you can't get there by directly
  entering that address.  Instead, go to and click on the Annual
  Report link at the left.  Reports for 1998, 1999. 2000 and 2001
  are available.


  Some readers asked how to subscribe to COINage magazine.
  See    The site's "Current Issue"
  isn't up to date, but clicking on the Subscribe link at the left
  will take you a page where you can get an introductory
  subscription for just $9.00.

  The August issue of COINage has a great article on Augustus
  G. Heaton (author of Mint Marks) by David Alexander as well
  as the one by John Iddings on the John J. Ford collection.

  As for an index, Chris Fuccione contacted  COINage and
  Managing Editor Marcy Gibbel wrote:  "COINage includes a
  index of the year's stories in every January issue, going back to
  about 1980.  At one time, I believe there was one available
  that chronicled the magazine's articles until 1980 or so, but it's
  out of print. For locating things from the more recent past,
  though, the January issues will be the way to go."

  The earlier index Gibbel refers to is "Index to Coinage Magazine,
  Vols. 1-16: 1965-1980" by Paul Andersen.  Chris found it
  referenced on the Internet, but was unable to come up with one
  for sale.  Does anyone out there have this?


  Upon reading about the publication of the new Canadian
  Numismatic Bibliography edited by Darryl A. Atchison a
  month ago, I immediately dropped my order in the mail.
  This week an email arrived from Ron Greene stating:

  "Your cheque arrived today, but only after doing a bit of
  "a walk-about" as the Aussies might say.  It was endorsed
  "Not Carlsbad, N.M." and postmarked at Roswell, NM!
  If you collect postal covers let me know and I will send it to
  you.  It will probably go via S. Dakota on the return trip."

  Last I looked at a map, the most direct route to Canada
  from Pittsburgh, PA  did not go through New Mexico.
  Perhaps the postal carrier was abducted by space aliens.
  At any rate, I'm glad my order at last arrived.  For ordering
  information, see the June 15, 2003 issue of The E-Sylum
  (v6n24).  Back issues are archived on our web site at


  This week's featured web page is Greg Burns' 1994
  presentation to the Glendale Coin Club on Canadian
  Colonial Tokens.

  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.

PREV        NEXT        V6 2003 INDEX        E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

NBS Home Page    Back to top

NBS ( Web