The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 6, Number 51, November 30, 2003:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2003, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


  Among recent new subscribers are NBS member Dan
  Vollmer.  Welcome aboard!  We now have 605


  Tom Fort writes: "The latest Asylum issue was mailed last
  Thursday.  We had some problems due to my using a new
  computer (they did not have the latest version of Quark yet),
  and there were some questions regarding the member
  addresses.  All of these have been solved and everyone
  should be getting the latest issue any day."

  Dick Johnson writes: "My Summer 2003 issue of The Asylum
  arrived today with the lead article on me.  Kindly express my
  appreciation to NBS President and author Pete Smith.

  Also my appreciation to Tom Fort for running my picture on
  the cover. I like the gryphons and putti -- nice touch! -- and
  you choose the print of me wearing the ivy crown.  I think this
  print shows my hair length just about right length but I see now
  that my toga is one size too large.  Thanks!"

  [NBS members will get the joke when they see the cover of
  the issue.  The rest of you, well, we hope some of you will
  choose to become members of our organization.  Only paid-up
  members receive issues of our print journal, The Asylum.  The
  latest issue leads off with Dick Johnson's recollections (as told
  to Pete Smith) of his start in numismatics and creation of Coin
  World and other numismatic publications.  Other interesting
  articles include David Lange's essay on "Ghostwriting in
  Numismatics" (reprinted with permission from the Numismatic
  Literary Guild Newsletter), Joel Orosz' Printer's Devil column,
  "Bowers, Books, and Bloviation," George Frederick Kolbe's
  notes on "A Rare Vellum Edition of Andrea Fulvio's Illustrium
  Imagines," Pete Smith's President's Message, and editor E.
  Tomlinson Fort's "Numismatic Literature Bibliography, 2000-
  2003."  Editor]


  John and Nancy Wilson write: "We just received this from the
  Honorable David Ganz regarding James Miller from COINage:

  James L.  Miller, founding editorial director of COINage
  Magazine and a fixture in the American numismatic publication
  scene for nearly 40 years, died Saturday, November 29, after
  a year-long battle with throat cancer.  He is survived by his wife
  Jill, three daughters, and many grandchildren. Funeral
  arrangements are for Wed., December 3 at San Buena Vista
  Mission in Ventura, CA."


  Dr. Ute Wartenberg Kagan, Executive Director of the American
  Numismatic Society writes:  "Enclosed is the press release for
  Tuesday's event at the new ANS building.  The library will be
  dedicated in the name of Harry Bass Jr.   Note that all E-Sylum
  readers are welcome to attend this event, which will be held on
  Tuesday, December 2, from 11.30 onwards at 140 William
  Street in New York City."   [The press release follows. -Editor]

  On December 2, 2003, at 11:30 a.m., the official dedication of
  the Harry W. Bass, Jr. Library will be held at the new home of
  the American Numismatic Society at 140 William Street in New
  York City.  The Library, which holds the largest collection of
  numismatic literature in the world, will occupy both the 5th and
  6th floors of the new building.  During the ceremony on Tuesday,
  Doris Bass, Harry's widow, and her two sons, David and Michael
  Calhoun, will present a check of $400,000 to the American
  Numismatic Society.  With this gift the Harry Bass Foundation will
  have contributed over $4,000,000 to the Society. "We are deeply
  grateful to Doris and her sons for this generous gift.  The library in
  the new building will be a fitting tribute to Harry's extraordinary
  leadership," says Donald Partrick, President of the American
  Numismatic Society.

  Harry Bass had a significant influence on the Society, both as
  a Councillor and during his years as President, a post he held
  from 1978 until 1984.  As an accomplished businessman and
  a devoted public servant, he served as Dallas County Chairman
  and Republican State Committeeman.  Bass also administered
  two foundations, the Harry Bass Foundation and the Harry W.
  Bass, Jr. Research Foundation.  Through the former, he provided
  support to many Dallas area institutions and through the latter
  he furthered research and scholarship in certain areas of U.S
  coinage. Harry Bass assembled one of the largest and finest
  collections of U.S. gold in the world and built a comprehensive
  reference collection of U.S. gold.

  In 1997, thanks to the support and vision of Harry Bass the
  ANS set up its first website, which was one of the first museum
  websites on the internet.  It is today one of the foremost resources
  for the numismatic community. Scholars, collectors and researchers
  from all over the world can access images and information on the
  remarkable collections of coins and books at the ANS.  This year
  alone the ANS had hits from 92 different nations.  On average the
  website receives over 100,000 hits a month. To the present day
  two full-time staff members are being paid from the funds donated
  by Bass for maintaining the website and updating all technology
  at the ANS.  The ANS takes great pride in having its Library
  bear the name of Harry W. Bass, Jr.  "Harry was one of the first
  people to realize the importance of computers and information
  technology for museums. Over two decades ago he started the
  ANS on its course towards computerizing all its objects. Without
  him we would not be where we are today," says Frank Campbell,
  ANS Librarian for 30 years.

  "The ANS, founded in 1858, is the second oldest Museum in
  Manhattan and houses America's most comprehensive collections
  of coins, medals, tokens, paper currency and other items."

  [I hope many of our readers will be in hand to witness this
  historic event.  This is also a good time for all friends of
  numismatic literature to consider a donation to the Francis D.
  Campbell Library Chair fund, as discussed in previous E-Sylum
  issues.  Flyers were included with the latest Asylum mailing.
  I urge NBS members to take the time NOW to write a check.
  Others may simply send a check made out to "The American
  Numismatic Society" (with a notation that it is for the Campbell
  Library Chair Fund) to the Society's present address, 617 West
  155th Street, New York, NY 10032.  For further information,
  see the ANS web site at

  QUIZ QUESTION:  If the ANS is the SECOND oldest
  museum in Manhattan, what's the OLDEST?  -Editor]


  A front-page article in the December 8 issue of COIN
  WORLD discusses Will Mumford's discovery of a
  Chalmers threepence coin in dirt excavated from a 1770
  home at 10 Cornhill Street in Baltimore, MD.

  "It was a one-man dig, and if I hadn't volunteered, all
  the excavated dirt would have gone to the dump.  I dug
  for three weeks and discovered a brick floor about a
  foot below the surface.  Below the bricks, I found about
  five inches of pure sand, then a mixture of sand and soil.
  Another six inches down, I hit clay bottom.  In this bottom
  layer, I started finding artifacts of the 18th century."

  Mumford found 22 coins in all, including a Connecticut
  Cent, a Virginia Halfpenny, and a William III halfpenny.

  "Local legend places the Chalmers mint at 10 Cornhill,
  but land records show only that Chalmers owned 14
  Cornhill just down the street."

  "For Mumford, "It has been the time of my life.  At age
  70, it has been my greatest adventure."

  [Who wouldn't want to time-travel back to a colonial-era
  mint?  Congratulations!   The above excerpts can't do
  justice to Eric von Klinger's great article - be sure to
  find and read the whole piece.  Adventure!  Suspense!
  Surprise!  -Editor]


  Lot 528 in the December 11, 2003 sale of Holabird
  Associates is an early document related to the establishment
  of a mint in the American colonies.  From the catalog:

  "U. S. Mint Related Document from the American Colonies to
  the King of England, June, 1688. Includes the first proposal
  for the construction of a Mint on American soil. Series of three
  documents from the Edmund Andros Estate regarding a
  Proposal to His Majesty offered by the petitioners and their
  associates unto the committee appointed by His Majesty.
  These four documents trace one of the first, if not the first,
  proposal to the King for mineral rights in the American
  Colonies. The four documents are dated June to August, 1688.
  Edmund Andros was Governor of New York 1674-1681 and
  Governor of the American Colonies 1686-1689. "

  See the online catalog for more information:

  The sale also includes a Carson City mint reverse die.
  (Half Dollar Reverse Die, c.1870-78, lot 623)


  Arthur Shippee forwarded a link to an article in today's
  New York Times about salvage from the wreck of the
  steamship Republic.  Here are some excerpts:

  "It lay in darkness at the bottom of the Atlantic for more than
  a century, guarded only by the occasional shark. Now, the
  150-year-old steamship has a visitor: a robot bristling with
  lights, cameras and mechanical arms that is picking its way
  through the wreckage, hauling up a fortune in gold and silver
  coins, eventually perhaps 30,000 of them.

  The ship is the Republic, which sailed from New York in
  1865, just after the Civil War, carrying 59 passengers and
  crew and a mixed cargo meant to help New Orleans recover
  from the war. About 100 miles off Georgia, battling a hurricane,
  it sank in waters a third of a mile deep.

  Its cargo of lost coins, experts say, may now be worth up to
  $150 million..."

  "... Odyssey Marine Exploration of Tampa, Fla., announced the
  find in August and said it hoped to retrieve the coins. Today it is
  announcing that the treasure is real and is detailing its findings.
  So far, the company has retrieved more than 1,600 gold and
  silver coins. None are dated later than 1865, tending to confirm
  the wreck's identity, said Greg Stemm, the company's director
  of operations.

  "For some reason, even the silver coins are in great condition,"
  said Mr. Stemm, 46. "Part of it is surely the physical environment
  down there."  The icy deep, explorers are finding, can often
  preserve objects, even precious metals like silver that normally
  corrode easily."

  "Early this month, the team had the robot vacuum away sand
  from where the cache was believed to lie. A few coins appeared,
  then more. "They followed it like a trail of bread crumbs," Mr.
  Stemm said, "and came upon a cascade of gold coins."

  To date, the company has recovered more silver than gold.
  "That caught us by surprise," Mr. Stemm said. He said Odyssey
  expected to find gold coins because silver was scarce in the
  Republic's day. Mr. Stemm noted that most of the coins they
  are finding now are gold.

  Once numismatic experts have inspected the recovered coins,
  the company plans to release reports on their number,
  condition and value."

  For the full article, see:


  Sixty-one years ago this week, (November 26, 1942), U.S.
  President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered nationwide gasoline
  rationing as part of the war effort.  The new rules would take
  effect December 1.   The wartime Office of Price Administration
  (OPA) issued books of ration coupons and corresponding
  tokens.  Gasoline, sugar, meat, silk, nylon and other items were
  rationed.  Below are as couple web pages discussing rationing
  and the tokens.   Can anyone locate a more detailed discussion
  of the OPA tokens on the web?


  Regarding last week's item about Charleston, S.C. slave tags,
  Rich Hartzog writes: 'Not to detract from the Wake Forest
  web site, but the 5 Tags listed are those he purchased from
  me in my 1999 World Exonumia mail bid sale.  He doubled
  the price,  was unable to sell them, and ended up consigning
  them to (as I recall) B&M a few years back.  I am constantly
  fighting a battle against the fakers of Slave Tags, and maintain
  two main pages on Tags, and fakes at "

  [I'm sorry I missed Rich's page in last week's note.  The
  Wake Forest page was included because it had some good
  illustrations of the tags - we don't normally reference
  commercial pages.  -Editor]

  John Kraljevich writes: "I'd love to hear from anyone who
  has additional information or listings of Charleston slave hire
  badges. I've been compiling a database of these things for
  awhile. I might add that the B+M sales of the LaRiviere
  Collection Part II and the Flannagan/Logan Collections
  contain a number of important slave hire badges and some
  of my research up to those dates are included therein.

  Did anyone notice how horribly the Charleston Museum
  has buffed the slave badge that the curator was holding
  with cotton gloves??  Seems like misplaced priorities to me --
  dig it out of the dirt, buff the everlovin' crap out of it, then
  hold it in a gloved hand?"

  [I experienced the same sickening feeling when viewing
  a traveling blockbuster exhibit of early american silver at
  the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh many years ago.  One
  of the first cases contained coins, including a New England
  shilling, which had been buffed within an inch of its life.

  Alan V. Weinberg writes: "I was a serious collector of
  Charleston slave tags until approx. 25 years ago. I'd guess
  at the time I had the finest and most diverse "occupation"
  collection.  I decided not to continue collecting them as
  they were being offered to me "hot and heavy" and I soon
  determined they were not rare & easily acquired - all you
  needed was the funds.  There was no challenge.  So I
  disposed of my collection, the best piece being a round
  1802 Servant tag in EX F condition for the highest price
  then of $900.

  Since then my decision has been vindicated, although not
  in price appreciation.  Hundreds of Charleston slave tags
  have been excavated around the Charleston area and I'll
  wager the population had doubled in the past decade. A
  recent conversation with a foremost Americana cataloguer
  agreed with my assessment - that there were now over
  1,000 genuine Charleston slave tags extant.

  Not to speak of the huge number of diestruck Charleston
  tags that have been counterfeited since the inception of eBay.
  They are quite deceptive except to the experienced collector
  of tags.

  My definition of "rare" has always been the extreme
  difficulty in locating a piece for your collection despite having
  the necessary funds.  For example, a decent 1792 Birch cent
  which I have pursued for over 35 years."

  ["Rare" is a relative term, and slave badges are certainly more
  rare than the shiny Morgan dollars Ford was discussing as
  being offered up as "rare" coins.   But I appreciate Alan's
  definition of rarity - being unable to find a desired item for
  years on end is the type of challenge I enjoy too, and
  suspect many of our E-Sylum readers do as well.  One of my
  specialties is U.S. Encased Postage Stamps, and anytime I
  search a bourse floor for pieces I need for my collection, I
  usually come up empty-handed.   Numismatic literature can
  present the same type of challenge.  Recently I purchased a
  book relating to my EPS collection that I'd been seeking
  for nearly twenty years.  The last time I saw a copy in person
  was at the rare book room of the New York Public Library.
  "The Reminiscences of Frederick Ayer" was privately printed
  in Boston in 1923.  Frederick was the brother of J.C. Ayer.
  Together they ran the J.C. Ayer company which was such a
  prolific advertiser and issuer of encased postage stamps during
  the Civil War.  -Editor]


  The U.S. Mint just published a press release about their new
  "Artistic Infusion" program.  The following are some excerpts
  from the release.  Follow the link to read the full release.

  "The United States Mint invites American artists to participate
  in its new Artistic Infusion Program to help design U.S. coins
  and medals. The program will provide an opportunity for artists
  to be part of the rich history of artistry in United States coinage.
  The United States Mint is notifying colleges, art publications
  and art associations of its ?Call for Artists.?

  ?Coin design is a fine, ancient art,? said United States Mint
  Director Henrietta Holsman Fore.  ?Artistic Infusion will mark
  a historic change in the United States Mint?s 211 year history.
  We are looking forward to working with a group of great
  American artists, as we seek enduring images that reflect a
  great Nation?s values.?

  "Master and Associate Designers selected for the program
  will enter into one-year renewable agreements with the United
  States Mint. They will be invited to create and submit at least
  one new design annually for a coin or medal program.  Each
  Master Designer submitting a design will receive an honorarium
  of $1000.  Associate Designers will receive $500. United
  States Mint sculptor/engravers will model the designs
  submitted by the Artistic Infusion Program artists."

  [It will be interesting to follow the outcome of this program,
  but my first impression is that it hardly seems worth an artist's
  time to develop a design for a lousy $1,000.  Since the Mint
  sculptor/engravers would do the hard work of turning the
  design into workable dies, perhaps the Mint feels that's a fair
  price.   But given the level of fees,  their offer seems more likely
  to attract only amateurs, not professionals.

  And speaking of  the sculptor/engravers, how are they going to
  feel about having their own artistic freedom taken away?   If
  they could regain that freedom (and make much more money)
  in the private sector, what would keep them at the mint?   I
  worry that the law of unintended consequences could turn this
  otherwise fine-sounding idea into a big mess.  Other thoughts?


  A professional artist like Augustus Saint-Gaudens is perhaps
  what the Mint is hoping to lure this time.  David Gladfelter
  reports that "The Allentown (PA) Art Museum is showing
  "Augustus Saint-Gaudens:Master of American Sculpture"
  through January 18. For info go to
  For a review go to search
  "articles last 7 days" for "sozanski".

  [An excerpt from the review follows:

  "His influence extended even to coinage. The $20 gold
  piece he designed, a commission from President Theodore
  Roosevelt, is properly described as the most beautiful
  American coin ever minted."

  "Saint-Gaudens was a lot more than a designer of monuments.
  He was a prolific and equally imaginative portraitist who
  favored bronze reliefs of the kind found on coins and medals.
  He executed many of these as plaques,  whose delicate lines
  and poetic spirit have become his trademark.

  A sculptor of such versatility who worked so much in the
  public sphere isn't easy to define through a museum
  exhibition. However, the Saint-Gaudens survey in Allentown
  does so magnificently."

  [So, here's another QUIZ QUESTION:  how much was
  Saint-Gaudens paid for his work on U.S. coinage designs?
  How much would that be in 2003 dollars?  -Editor]


  Roger deWardt Lane writes: "A numismatic friend, Steve Shor
  and myself, both members of the Fort Lauderdale Coin Club,
  have been since the first of the year taking our exercise at a
  local flea market on "free" day, when the garage sale people
  come out.

  We started writing the stories of these trips for the Newsletter
  of the FLCC in January 2003.  A few months ago I still had
  all the stories on my computer, and since I am recently retired,
  had lots of time.   I already had a Fort Lauderdale Coin Club
  page as part of my site.  So it seemed natural to rewrite the
  stories in HTML and post them with color images to the
  FLCC page.

  Since from the first trip, we had started calling ourselves -
  Mutt and Jeff, the pages were called the Adventures of Mutt
  and Jeff.  What, you can see with the following link, is the rest
  of the story, as Paul Harvey would say.

   As time went on I got a little more colorful with the page
  designs.   Some of the more recent finds of medals have taken
  quite a lot of research which I very much enjoy.

  It is interesting you mentioned the demise of CD's, DVD, &
  VCR storage in the next few years.  The prediction is that
  on-line storage has become so inexpensive, everything will be
  saved electronically.  I still like my numismatic library of over
  1000 volumes, but their storage gets to be a problem and will
  have to pass them on to others soon.  Just as an aside, my
  600 page e-book does not sell much (2 copies on ebay, one
  recently to another collector of the series. He is the second
  small silver coin collector, I know of, after a local spat two
  years ago.) No one ever wanted to publish on paper - too

  I very much like reading your newsletter each week.  Keep
  up the great job."

  [I believe the article on the demise of CDs etc. referred to
   those particular formats only.  Digitized content of one form
   or another seems to be with us for good.    Some interesting
   items are discussed on the Mutt & Jeff pages.  -Editor]


  The 2004 ANA convention (also called the World's Fair of
  Money) will be held in Pittsburgh, PA next August 18-22.
  It's not too soon to be thinking about setting up an exhibit or
  speaking at the Numismatic Theatre.   E-Sylum readers have
  some interesting collections and lots of knowledge - I hope
  many of you will "strut your stuff" at the convention.  The
  ANA web site has all the required information and application
  forms.  Go to:

  Numismatic Theatre proposal:

  Exhibit proposal:

  Remember, the Aaron Feldman Memorial award for
  exhibits in Class 22 - Numismatic literature was funded
  by the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.  The category
  covers "Printed and manuscript (published or unpublished)
  literature dealing with any numismatic subject."   Only one
  exhibit was entered in the category in Baltimore in 2003.

  Let's not let the same thing happen in 2004.  Plan now to
  exhibit some of your great numismatic literature.   I will offer
  to assist exhibitors, if necessary, to set up or tear down a
  literature exhibit if their travel plans make it difficult to
  exhibit without such assistance.

  I spoke to ANA Education Director Gail Baker earlier
  this week, and some applications for Numismatic Theatre
  have already arrived at headquarters.   Don't just sit in the
  audience this year - participate!  We'd love to hear what
  you have to say about your numismatic specialty.


  Alison Frankel writes: "I noticed a reference to a William
  Woodin letter in the most recent E-Sylum, and wondered if
  you'd post a request for information about Woodin's papers
  on the site.  I'm writing a book about the 1933 Double Eagle,
  and plan to devote a chapter to Woodin, about him as an
  influential collector and as the Treasury Secretary during the
  100 Days. Unfortunately, the FDR Library tells me they have
  no idea where Woodin's papers are housed. I'm hoping one
  of your readers might have a clue for me."


  George Kolbe writes: "Regarding Roger Burdett's request,
  there is a file in the John J. Ford, Jr. library concerning this
  1910 pattern litigation, including John W. Haseltine's original
  affidavit, and much, much more. These materials will be
  offered in the June 1, 2004 sale of the Ford library.

  Regrettably, the items in the file are not available for research.
  Like many other items in the Ford library, we will not be able
  to share information contained in them with researchers since,
  to do so, may dilute their desirability.  This is not an easy
  decision for us to make but I hope our researcher friends will
  understand that the decision to share "unique" information
  contained in certain Ford lots rightly belongs to those who
  purchase them."


  Dick Johnson writes: "Your quotation of Chief Engraver
  Gilroy Roberts in his phone conversations with Director of
  the Mint Eva Adams in regards to selecting Kennedy?s portrait
  for the half dollar in last week?s E-Sylum included the term
  ?list medal.?  In my research I have learned that mint officials
  and numismatists had used the term ?list medal? for those
  medals struck by the Philadelphia Mint and offered for sale
  to the public for virtually the entire 20th century.

  I tried to trace the term back into the 19th century without
  much luck, however. A few U.S. branch mints struck medals
  for their opening (and some recent minimedals), but all U.S.
  government medals are struck by the Philadelphia Mint. All
  these medals are ?National Medals? (a term defined in the
  U.S. Code really making it official). But not all National
  Medals are List Medals -- not all were offered for sale to
  the public.

  Of the 573 (National) medals listed by Bob Julian in his
  monumental book, ?Medals of the United States Mint, The
  First Century, 1792-1892,? only 123 are List Medals.
  [Nota bene:  I constantly admire this book and Julian?s effort
  ? I rank it second only to ?Breen?s Encyclopedia of Colonial
  and U.S. Coins? as the most well-researched and important
  American numismatic books ? ever!]

  Some of these mint medals were award medals, as you might
  expect. However, some of these National Medals were also
  Private Medals. We believe the first medals struck by the
  fledgling Philadelphia Mint in 1792 was for Ricketts Circus;
  this was a private medal. The Philadelphia Mint struck school
  medals, expo medals and even a wedding medal.  These
  were Private Medals ? not List Medals. [Reason for these
  was that the equipment for striking large medals did not
  exist in America outside the mint. Such medals had to be
  struck at the Philadelphia Mint, or in Europe.]

  Washington medals struck by the Philadelphia Mint began
  selling prior to the Civil War, with Lincoln medals shortly after.
  Thus the mint began offering medals for sale to the public with
  a little more push. Thus the concept of list medals may exist
  back to 1861 [Julian concurs]. But the term is derived from
  offering these medals for sale ? from a List.

  I obtained my first U.S. Mint Medal Lists after World War II
  when I started buying proof sets from the mint and asked
  what else they had for sale. These were mimeographed sheets
  of short size (not 8 ½ x 11, but a half-inch shorter both ways
  ? this size saved the government money ? isn?t that a hoot?).
  I have lost these sheets over the years (as probably most
  everyone else because of their ephemeral nature).

  However, I would like to ask E-Sylum readers to search their
  files for any of these U.S. Mint sheets offering List Medals for
  sale. I would like to learn of the earliest. Does such a 19th
  century list exist? (You can date them by the last presidential
  medal offered.)  How did the Mint publicize these offerings
  back as far as the 1860s?"


  Asylum editor Tom Fort writes: "I thought the following
  article in The Independent might be of interest to readers:

  [The article describes the latest milestone in's
  quest to expand their book search capabilities  This deal doesn't
  seem to expand the searching of text WITHIN books, but it
  may make more titles available.   Here are some excerpts
  from the article.  -Editor]

  "The online retailer Amazon has stormed the fusty world of
  antiquarian booksellers by acquiring the rights to the British
  Library's unique back catalogue, dragging the buying and
  selling of rare and out-of-print books into the dotcom age."

  "The deal gives Amazon the right to use the British Library's
  bibliographic catalogue, which contains 2.55 million books.
  Crucially it includes 1.7 million produced before the
  introduction in 1970 of the International Standard Book
  Number (ISBN), a 10-character code that uniquely identifies
  any modern book.

  Amazon will open a new online market where buyers and
  sellers can strike deals for some of the world's most expensive
  literary creations.  Robert Frew, vice-president of the
  Antiquarian Book Association, whose members' stomping
  ground include the bookshops of Charing Cross Road and
  Great Russell Street in central London, said the news would
  almost certainly mean greater pressure on those with real


  ANA Education Director Gail Baker writes: "I thought you
  and the E-Sylum readers might enjoy the attached article.
  I'm running it in Your Newsletter, an email publication for
  young numismatists, but if you are interested, Amanda said
  you could put it in The E-Sylum also."

  [Amanda is "a proud Seminole at Florida State University."
  She has good taste in books, leading off her list with
  one of my own all-time favorites.  Here's her article. -Editor]

  My Selected Books
  By Amanda Rondot

  I have a confession to make.  For the last several years, I have
  slowly but surely been turning into a numismatic bibliomaniac.
  Each year, my library grows by inch after inch of shelf space.
  Why, this summer alone it grew by over a third of a foot!  Now,
  while it is wonderful to own so many books, I had to pack my
  belongings to move away to college for the very first time in
  August.  Since dorm rooms are not known for being overly
  spacious, I could not bring much of my library along with me.
  What a conundrum!  Consequently, I had to pause and think
  long and hard about which selected books would move with
  me.  Though it pained me to leave so many behind, these are
  the seven I finally chose after great deliberation, presented in
  random order.

  First, Fractional Money by Neil Carothers was a must-have
  for me.  This book explains the United States monetary system
  in its economic context, making changes in series and
  denominations easy to understand.  Since it was written by an
  economist, it provides a different view on coinage and focuses
  on other information than that given by traditional numismatic
  authors.  However, it is still comprehensible and interesting to

  Coinage Laws of the United States, 1792-1894, reprinted by
  Bowers and Merena Galleries in 1990, gives the full text of laws
  regulating the coinage (as its name suggests).  Reading an entire
  act instead of just isolated portions out of context is helpful in
  understanding the intent of the legislators.  While not designed
  to be read through in its entirety like a story, this book is good
  for looking up specific pieces of information.

  Next, Coins and Collectors by Q. David Bowers tells the tale
  of the development of American numismatics.  This book
  discusses my favorite part of the hobby, the people who formed
  the numismatic community, from its beginning in the 1800s until
  the 1960s, when this book was written.  It is well illustrated
  with reproductions of early numismatic advertisements and
  pictures of coins.

  Official ANA Grading Standards for United States Coins is
  helpful not only for those of us who doubt our grading abilities
  and wish to improve them, but also for all coin collectors.
  Since few people are familiar with the grading standards for
  series outside their collecting specialties, this book is good for
  acquainting oneself with a new series before buying unfamiliar
  coins.  I find it to be an especially useful study guide when I
  am acquiring type coins for my collection.

  What library would be complete without a copy of A Guide
  Book of United States Coins?  The standard yearly price guide
  for U.S. coins, it contains numerous facts and figures explaining
  general information and the specifications for each series.  The
  Red Book is extremely useful for showing my non-collecting
  friends, who are only familiar with the presently circulating
  coins, what the country?s coinage looked like in the past.

  Coin World Almanac by the Staff of Coin World is a great
  general reference, touching on a little of everything.  This book
  does a particularly good job of discussing modern affairs.  In
  addition to the standard written format, it contains a plethora
  of information listed in convenient tables (for example: ?paper
  money series-denominations-signatures?), making information
  easy to find when I am not sure what I am looking for.
  Consequently, it is one of my most frequently reached for

  Finally, Q. David Bowers? United States Coinage as
  Illustrated by the Garrett Collection was my final choice to
  come to my new home-away-from-home.  My reading material
  for the drive down, this book has wonderful color plates (and
  black and white ones) on glossy paper, corresponding to the
  descriptions carefully presented in the text.  As do all books
  by Bowers, this work incorporates historical background into
  the numismatic discussions.  It contains many excerpts from
  letters between early important numismatic personages,
  transporting the reader to the collecting scene as it was many
  years ago.

  All in all, I am happy with my selections.  The only book I
  greatly regret not bringing is my copy of Bowers? A California
  Gold Rush History, Featuring the Treasure from the S.S.
  Central America, my pride and joy.  However, after debating
  until the very last minute before I climbed in the car to leave
  (literally! Ask my mom!), I stuck with my painful decision to
  leave it behind; it was just too big to take along.  Currently, it
  is eagerly awaiting me at home, when I can spend several
  weeks of Christmas vacation once again lovingly caressing its
  pages, reunited with it and all my other long lost books.


  Alan Luedeking writes: "Regarding the concern over broken
  internet links mentioned in the last E-Sylum, here's a little
  search tip I've found greatly useful:  When searching on
  Google for instance, if a search result links to a dead page,
  try the "cached" link instead. This will always bring up the
  page that existed at the time the link posted into Google's
  memory banks."


  Alan continues: "I also enjoyed your piece about the
  Florida bank and the "motherstickers"... if the scene of
  this incident is in Miami (as is most likely!) I'd be happy
  to check out if the plaque is indeed there..."

  Tom DeLorey writes: "Well, I first heard a version of this
  joke about 25 years ago........"

  Ron Haller-Williams writes: "I think I can "prove" that it
  is an urban legend:

  If e.g. you try a GOOGLE search for the PAIR of
  expressions "mother-stickers" and "darwin awards", you
  will find about 569 entries.  Or, with "award" in the
  singular, about 73 entries.  Discounting duplicates, this
  leaves us with over 300 sites claiming that the robber
  won an "official Darwin award".

  However, there is NO TRACE of the story on the
  Official Darwin Awards site at
  Moreover, neither the robber nor anybody else in the story
  would qualify for such an award.  The thing is, there are
  three criteria, all of which must be met:

  1.  Great stupidity is called for.  (No problem so far!)
  2.  The whole point of the Awards is related to Darwin's
       Theory of Evolution.  The perpetrator is required
       (inadvertently!) either to die or at least  to render
        himself or herself incapable of reproduction:
        "Darwin Awards commemorate those who improve
         our gene pool by removing themselves from it."
       (Failure on this point might still lead to an "honourable
  3.  The story must be true.  Attempts ARE made to verify,
        and it is not unheard of for an award to be withdrawn
        or canceled, in which case  the story would remain on
        the site, with additional notes, such as the one at

  Surely a lot of the Bank's customers would be upset at the
  plaque's wording.  And, no matter how good a story, this
  would not be good business!  If enough people were to get
  upset over something like this, and therefore switch to some
  other bank, maybe such an event should be commemorated
  by the creation of a "banking Darwin" award?    ;-)"


  Myron Xenos sends this link to test E-Sylum readers'
  observational powers.

  No cheating. Look at the 12 cents on this page.  No getting
  any real cents to use as a guide prior to doing this.  Move
  your mouse over the one you think is the real U.S. cent, and
  click. How did you do?


  From a November 25th Reuters report:
  "Texas police say they made the state's largest seizure of cash
  during a traffic stop when troopers pulled over a truck hauling
  frozen dinner rolls -- and found $5.3 million in bills sealed in
  plastic wrap."


  This week's featured web site is recommended by Dick
  Johnson.  He writes: "There is a new website in the numismatic
  field:"   From the web site:

  "Medal Collectors of America (MCA) was founded in
  August 1998 at the Portland, Oregon, convention of the
  American Numismatic Association (ANA). Its primary
  purpose was to serve COLLECTORS of world and U.S. art
  and historical medals.  MCA would bring together those
  interested in collecting, research and publication of research
  concerning art and historical medals."

  [The site could eventually become quite a trove of information
  on medals, if the Collector's Guide section of the site continues
  to grow.  The first entry in this section is a detailed list of the
  Society of Medallists issues, with illustrations of each medal.

  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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