The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 6, Number 54, December 21, 2003:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2003, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


  From the Press Release:
  "David Fanning is offering a fixed price list of numismatic
  literature, with an emphasis on numismatic periodicals,
  ephemera, and books from the nineteenth and early twentieth
  centuries. Items of particular note include a nearly complete
  run of Frossard's Numisma, important publications of early
  numismatic and antiquarian societies, significant publications
  of Ebenezer Locke Mason and W. Elliot Woodward, and
  signed correspondence and business documents of M.H.
  Bolender, Leonard Kusterer, and B. Max Mehl.  For a
  copy of the list, e-mail David Fanning at
  fanning32 at"

  [The ranks of U.S. numismatic literature dealers have thinned
  greatly in recent years with the deaths of Frank Katen, John
  Bergman and Ken Lowe, and the demise of The Money Tree
  and Remy's Bourne's literature business.  It's great to see a
  new face in the business.  David's 12-page FPL is very nicely
  done, and should be a welcome sight for collectors.  -Editor]


  [My apologies to George Kolbe for being late publishing the
  following release concerning his recent sale - his message to
  me got lost in the ether (or caught in a spam net).  -Editor]

  George Kolbe writes: "Our apologies to E-sylum members
  and other interested parties for the late posting at our web site
  ( of the prices realized list to Sale 92.  The
  sale was earlier postponed by wildfires; this past week Linda
  and I were beset by the "wild" flu but both of us are getting
  better now and parcels will begin leaving Crestline in a day or
  two. A review of the results of the sale follows:

  George Frederick Kolbe/Fine Numismatic Books reports that:
  "although postponed due to the Southern California wildfires,
  our November 29th, 2003 auction was a great success. It
  brought $180,000, and over 350 bidders participated in the
  sale." All prices cited include the 15% buyer premium.

  The auction featured many seldom offered works on a wide
  variety of topics, and competition was often intense.  Some
  sale results follow. A near complete set of The Numismatist,
  unbound, realized $2,990; the catalogue of a New York
  coin auction originally scheduled for April 27-29, 1865 but
  postponed "upon the assassination of President Lincoln,"
  brought $402 on a $175 estimate; an early April 1 supplement
  to The Numismatist, probably dating from 1894, was avidly
  sought after, finally selling for $862 though estimated at $100;
  a very nice set containing all 116 of B. Max Mehl's famous
  series of coin auction catalogues was slow to get off the mark
  until the last several days of the sale when one very strong and
  two more moderate bids were received, followed on the closing
  day of the sale by bids of $3,450 and $4,025 (it ended up
  bringing $4,312). Works on Napoleonic medals were
  particularly in demand. Though unillustrated, Bramsen's three
  volume standard work on the topic realized $431 on a $275
  estimate; two volumes on the topic from the great 19th century
  "Trésor de Numismatique" series were heavily bid upon, one
  selling for $1,265 on a $450 estimate, the other, from the family
  of Napoleon, brought $1,725 on a $750 estimate; an excellent
  set of Davenport's works on crowns and talers realized $690;
  George Miles' 1938 The Numismatic History of Rayy, headlined
  "The Most Elusive American Numismatic Society Publication?",
  brought $690; a wonderful bound collection of 175 Sotheby
  British coin auction catalogues dating from 1830 to 1900
  realized $3,220; Q. David Bowers' first numismatic publication,
  an 8 page 1955 price list, sold for $718; an extensive research
  archive on obsolete paper money formed by John Muscalus
  brought $1,035; competition for an 1879 German auction
  catalogue featuring the first foreign appearance of an 1804 silver
  dollar, estimated at $250, continued to escalate over the course
  of the sale, culminating in a winning bid of $862; the many
  important books and catalogues on ancient coins featured in the
  sale generally brought strong prices; and, though a complete set
  failed to sell, individual early editions of Yeoman's "Red Book"
  from the holdings of Garce Futerer continued to be in considerable

  A few copies of the sale catalogue are still available and may be
  obtained, along with a prices realized list, by sending $15.00 to
  Kolbe. The firm's next public auction sale, to be held in association
  with Stack's, will comprise the magnificent numismatic library of
  John J. Ford, Jr., scheduled for June 1, 2004. Details will be
  appearing in the numismatic press early next year, and some
  information and highlights are currently available at the firm's web
  site ( The firm may be contacted at P. O.
  Drawer 3100, Crestline, CA 92325; by telephone at 909-338-6527;
  or by email at GFK at"


  Len Augsberger writes: "I read with great interest about the
  Newman Library as I went to school at Washington University.
  It will be fun to go visit in a couple years after they get settled."

  Mike Hodder wrote: "As you can imagine, I was interested to
  read your communications with Eric about his book and coin
  collections. Can you email me with the exact citation to the
  paper in which the notice you found appeared? I'd like to
  obtain a hard copy for my files."

  [The URL was a mile and a half long, which is why I didn't
  publish  it.  Here goes.  -Editor]

St. Louis Today Article

  [A browse through my numismatic ephemera collection
  unearthed two pamphlets from the old Mercantile Money
  Museum in St. Louis.  They confirm my recollection:
  "The museum features two audio-visual mannequins:
  Benjamin Franklin and a counterfeiter.  Mr. Franklin
  presents some comments about money and his many
  witticisms.  The counterfeiter, dressed in prison garb,
  explains his predicament and the penalties for
  counterfeiting."   I wonder if he had his ears cropped...


  Howard A. Daniel III writes: "First, I want to thank the editor
  for identifying the Reuters' article about some Javanese coins
  being found in London because I missed seeing it in my news
  sources about Southeast Asia.   I went to the Reuters' web
  site to read the original article.  I am sorry to write that
  whomever the Reuters' editors and/or reporters talked to was
  an absolute dunce or they are being incorrectly quoted.  One
  quote was "Even in the 17th century they would have had no
  value in London."  Can you believe that?  Copper in any form
  in London was worth the value of copper, just like in Java or
  elsewhere in the world.  They are also quoted with "How they
  got to London remains a mystery.", but then followed up with
  "One possibility is that a merchant dropped them overboard
  from an East Indiaman (ship) moored in the Thames when he
  found they were worthless."  Was copper worthless in 17th
  century England?  I doubt it, so it was absolutely a mishap
  that the bag was dropped.  But the last sentence in the article
  finally grabs a little piece of reality with "Another is that they
  were being imported as curios for one of the many collectors
  keen to acquire interesting objects from the farthest corners
  of the earth."

  I am assuming they are quoting the British Museum, but from
  what was in the article, they must have been talking to a janitor
  because I do not know anyone there who would say such

  [I'd like to thank Howard for the opportunity to publish the
  word "balderdash" in The E-Sylum.  (It doesn't take much
  to amuse an editor.  -Editor]


  Dick Johnson writes: "Joe Boling's comments in last week's
  E-Sylum for the most part were right on target.  Relief on
  our coins and medals is so important.  Name one element
  that is evident at every step of a coin or medal's creation
  and life ? its relief!   This is of great concern for the designer,
  of course, relief is what the modeler creates, this is what
  forms the pattern from which the die is made.

  Relief determines the height of the rim for a circulating coin,
  it dictates a large part of how thick the blank must be, what
  pressure to set the coining press ? or the number of blows
  for an art medal.  Relief is most evident on the struck piece,
  it is what the public sees and the numismatist studies. The
  amount of wear on relief determines condition, of interest
  to the collector.

  Joe Boling called relief the 'third dimension.' This is almost
  right. Three dimensions is the equivalent of sculpture in-the-
  round (and antique dealers use the atrocious term '3D').
  Because it is attached to its background the relief on coins
  and medal is correctly called 'bas-relief' -- the 's' is silent,
  pronounced baa-relief.   (Joe: sculptors humorously, but
  more accurately, call this two-and-a-half dimensions!)

  Discussions with coin and medal artists talking about the
  concept of the rise and fall of relief ' the design ' needed a
  better term to express this.  Years ago I came up with
  MODULATED RELIEF.  Everyone understands it exactly.
  The rise and fall of the sculptural design.  This is even
  true when it is incuse, like on the Pratt U.S. quarter-eagle
  and half-eagle coins of 1908.  It is still true when this is in a
  sunken panel 'raised relief below the background' which
  is termed 'coelanaglyphic relief,' but which is better known
  as Egyptian Hollow Relief because it was so widely used by
  early Egyptian stone carvers.

  For the relief on a coin or medal ? be my guest! -- call it
  Modulated Relief.  What Joe is asking for is a higher or more
  modulated relief on coins made at the U.S. Mints."

  [coelanaglyphic - now that's a 50-cent word!   I'll have to
  work that into conversation this week.  Hmmm.  -Editor]


  David Gladfelter wrote: "The deluxe Franklin Pierce copy of
  Ormsby is in the Heritage/Currency Auctions of America FUN
  sale next month. It has a realistic $15K-up estimate.  There is
  also a nice run of Heath detectors.  These are all listed in the
  back of the catalog under "miscellaneous". Go to

  [See lot 16959.  I've taken the liberty of publishing the
  lot description below.  If memory serves, this copy was
  discovered in New England by Bob Wester.  Can anyone
  confirm that?   Where has it been in the meantime?  The
  book's pedigree is alluded to in the catalog description, but
  not published.  The description begins with the text of a
  letter which accompanies the book.  -Editor]

  New York Jan 31 1853
  Dear Sir:
  Allow me to present you with a copy of my late work on
  Bank Note Engraving which will explain the cause of the
  vast amount of counterfeiting in this country. This is the first
  publication on this subject, and it is daily growing more and
  more important to every person in the community.  I beg
  permission to call on you, at some future time, when my
  plans for constructing bank notes to prevent forgery are
  mature, that I may have an opportunity of convincing you
  of the utter insecurity of our  present paper money, and the
  necessity of Legislative action on the subject.  At present I
  will only ask your attention to the important requisites of a
  Bank Note which    constitute its value - there are but two -
  first that the Bank be good - second that the note be genuine.
  The people loose (sic) more by counterfeiting money than
  by broken banks. It is therefore of as much importance to the
  poor people to have the note genuine as it is to have the Bank
  good. It is my object and aim to instruct the people in the art
  of Bank Note Engraving to the end that our General Banking
  Laws may be amended, so that they should define no less
  particularly the manner in which a note must be engraved than
  the manner in which the bank must be organized.   Many of the
  counterfeit bills in circulation are absolutely the work of the
  original engravers. Counterfeiters obtained their work in spite
  of their utmost efforts to prevent it. This is all owing to the patch
  work system of constructing the note and the use of dies in the
  engraving of plates.   My plan is to have a Bank Note one
  design or picture, with all the lettering interwoven in it. The
  whole to be engraved on the plate by the hand of the artist with
  out the use of dies. A counterfeiter then would be obliged to do
  the work himself in stead of employing others who do not know
  for what purpose their work is to be used. On turning to page
  52 you will learn how a counterfeit plate of a five hundred dollar
  Treasury note was engraved for a counterfeiter by the very
  engraver who executed the original plates! Such things have
  frequently occurred - the matter is seriously alarming to every
  business man.   Any encouragement which I may receive from
  you will be gracefully received by

  Your most obedient humble Sevt,
  W. L. Ormsby

  The book itself is inscribed on the blank flyleaf, "Presented
  to Gen. Frank. Pierce by his humble Sevt. The author W.L.

  Elaborately gold leafed on both front and back covers, the
  100+  page master work measures thirteen-and-a-half inches
  by ten-and-a-half inches and contains a large number of
  beautifully detailed, superbly engraved plates, including a
  tri-color red, blue and brown frontispiece. The book is in
  flawless, as-issued condition, fully tight in its binding with
  only a few, very minor scuffs at the edges of the cover.
  Included with the book are some items of correspondence
  between previous owners, one of which discusses a possible
  $16,000 valuation in 1991 and another which presents a
  history of the ownership of the book since 1853. We
  auctioned this book in May of 1998 and at that time it
  realized just over $9,000. This book would be the crowing
  glory in any numismatic library or the ultimate association
  item in a collection of Obsolete Bank Notes. Est.15,000-up.


  Coincidentally, Dave Bowers mentioned Ormsby in a note
  on a completely different subject.  He writes:

  "I enjoyed the info on the BANK OF THE UNITED STATES.
  For a long time I have been gathering data on the Second Bank
  of the U.S. (1816-1836), including federal documents,
  contemporary financial accounts, etc.  The popularly published
  histories of this bank are fascinating--as few people have ever
  delved into the SOURCE material. Also, Nicholas Biddle, who
  engaged in fraud after the Bank of the United States lost its
  federal charter and was then chartered by Pennsylvania, is
  hardly ever noticed in this connection--almost an untouchable
  subject (the record is clear--he engaged in illegal practices,
  many of his associates lost large amounts of money, etc., and
  if his name had been John Doe he would have been disgraced).

  The main cause of the Panic of 1837 was rampant inflation, not
  the failure of the Second Bank of the U.S. to be rechartered. In
  the west (then Indiana, Illinois, etc.) there were great land
  speculations.   Jackson's "Specie Circular" put an end to buying
  land by "paying" for it with essentially worthless paper.

  If anyone doubts that popular histories often do not mesh with
  facts gained in numismatic and financial research, just pick up a
  copy of Schlesinger's prize-winning The Age of Jackson book,
  and read all about Hard Times tokens, bank scrip, etc. (hint:
  there is hardly anything mentioned).

  The Second Bank of the U.S. opened "subscriptions" in 1816
  at its various branches, including Portsmouth, NH.  If any
  E-Sylum subscribers have any printed currency or memorabilia
  specifically relating to the Portsmouth Branch I would be
  delighted to receive it to add to what David Sundman and I
  have (we've been gathering New Hampshire bank history, and
  if I were to print out the stuff on the Bank of the U.S.,
  Portsmouth Branch, probably 50 pages would be used -- but,
  still, there are many unanswered questions and puzzles).

  Concerning the Second Bank of the U.S. (all over, not just
  Portsmouth), it is not often realized that most everyday citizens
  in the hinterlands -- did not like the bank. The reason was that
  other banks were state-chartered, were in general loosely
  regulated, could issue lots of currency with the hope that some
  of it would become lost or never redeemed, etc. There were
  state-chartered banks everywhere, and within any given state
  they had huge political clout--as they provided loans for the
  sinews of trade and commerce. The Bank of the U.S. was
  viewed as Enemy No. 1, and all across America the various
  local and regional bankers had no difficulty enlisting political
  solons to join them in this opinion.

  The Second Bank of the U.S. in Philadelphia was a spectacular
  example of the Greek Revival style (as was the 2nd Philadelphia
  Mint) and was widely reproduced on engravings---easily enough
  found today. Later, it was used for other purposes.

  While I am at it, a particular interest of mine is the history of
  bank-note engraving and engravers, mostly pre the Bureau of
  Engraving and Printing era. This field is very rich for research,
  and somewhat resembles that of early American silversmiths
  and pewterers (another interest) in that most publications
  simply copy other publications, there are vast errors in dating,
  spelling, etc. As a sample, as part of a biographical study of
  Waterman Lily Ormsby,  I once checked all of the "standard"
  sources including numismatic publications, the Essay-Proof
  Journal (articles by Julian Blanchard), Groce & Wallace,
  Hamilton, Fielding, and others on engraving, and just about all
  say the same thing. And, all misspell his middle name as LILLY
  (probably thinking of Eli Lilly pharmaceuticals!). Again, I
  probably have 50 to 100 pages on Waterman, but, ironically,
  almost all gathered item by item, with no big help from
  numismatic sources (except from none other than Eric P.
  Newman, who loaned me an item I had never seen).

  Someday I may issue a Dictionary of  Early American Bank
  Note Engravers and Printers, simply because this is a book
  I would enjoy owning now, and nothing like it even remotely
  exists. The main problem with printed sources is that, in
  actuality, a bank note partnership that expired years earlier
  may have an imprint of, say, 1855, on a piece of currency --
  the result of an early plate being dusted off, and a later date
  entered on it. Accordingly, I have found my best sources are
  contemporary documents and newspaper records, and, a
  distant second, early town and city directories. However,
  newspapers are hard to find and tedious to read.

 Wayne, keep up the good work."


  Joel Orosz writes: "According to Frank H. Stewart, in his
  "History of the First United States Mint", "It is most unfortunate
  that [Henry] Voigt's first account book cannot now be found.
  Forty years ago [1884] it was in existence and brief quotations
  from it were made by Evans and others.  Book Number 2 has
  been located, and on October 13, 1792 we find that George
  Breining was paid $1.50 on account of cutting a screw..."
  (p. 75)

  It appears that book Number 1 would have covered the period
  from June 1, 1792, when Voigt was hired, at least through the
  summer of 1792.  Book Number 1 is not in the Mint collection
  at the National Archives branch in Philadelphia.  Taxay does
  not specifically cite it in his U.S. Mint and Coinage (1966).

  Have any of you ever heard of Voigt's first account book
  surfacing?  If you have, would you have any idea of where it
  might be, and whom I might contact about examining it?

  Many thanks, and happy holidays to all. "


  Tom DeLorey writes: "I remember the day in the Fall of 1978
  when I was still working for Coin World, when Margo Russell
  came into the Editorial Department with the official Mint
  rendering of the new Susan B. Atrocity dollar. I was less than
  impressed, but being rather technically minded I asked her
  where the mint mark was going to be placed, there being none
  shown in the rendering. Margo, ever prone to direct action,
  immediately called the Mint Director to ask her where the mint
  mark would be, only to find out that the Directrix had no idea
  herself. She said she would check, and called back within the
  hour to tell Margo that the mint mark would be behind the
  shoulder, and that the Philadelphia Mint would be using a P
  mint mark on them!

  I found it amusing that the Mint Director had not been consulted
  on either the mint mark placement or the use of the P mint mark
  before our call, and have often wondered if my innocent remark
  caused the Director to stick her nose into an area where the
  Mint's actual management did not want her direction, and if it
  was perhaps her "helpful" idea to begin using a P mint mark on
  regular issue coins. We shall never know."


  While looking for other things in my ephemera collection I
  unearthed an October 1862 U.S. mint pricelist titled "List of
  Medal  Dies of a Public Character."  It lists size and price for
 70  bronze medals in seven subject categories.  (from the 19th
  Money Tree sale Lot 252  (March, 1994)).  I remembered
  Dick Johnson's recent query for information about the sale
  of medals, so I wrote to him asking if he'd like a copy, he
  replied: "Would I?  Yes!  This sounds like the first use of
  the word "List" in relation to the medals for sale at the
  Philadelphia Mint.  Isn't it interesting they call this "Dies"
  instead of just "Medals."   Does this not imply they had
  the dies on hand and would strike for anyone who wanted
  such a specimen?

  It is not only beneficial to know what  you have but also the
  significance of the item and its importance.   This sounds like
  it is important in the numismatic scheme of things. Your
  discovery is astounding."

  So off went a photocopy to Dick.   In addition to the 70
  bronze medals, The pricelist offers seven silver medals, and
  four in gold.  In addition to the medals, proof coins were
  offered as well:  "Set of silver and cent proof coins of the
  year 1862, $3.00"  A set of gold proof coins was $43.
  Payment for gold coins was to be made in gold coin;
  payment for silver, in gold or silver coin.


  Bob Leonard  writes: "I wonder whether any E-Sylum readers
  have encountered the story of Josh Tatum and the gilded nickels
  of 1883 BEFORE 1968, when Lynn Glaser published it in
  Counterfeiting in America (pp. 224-6).  I haven't, but I haven't
  made an exhaustive search.  Eric von Klinger, in his fine article
  in Coin World, December 22, was unable to substantiate it.


  Tom DeLorey writes: "In the movie "Run Silent, Run Deep,"
  set in WW2, a submariner pays for a bar bill back in Pearl
  Harbor with a $1 Silver Certificate laid face down on the
  bar so that "IN GOD WE TRUST" plainly shows. Though
  some Series 1935 bills bear this motto, they were not issued
  until the mid-1950s.

  In the George C. Scott version of Dickens' "A Christmas
  Carol" (not sure of the name of the movie), young Ebenezer
  Scrooge's fiancee tosses a King George V gold sovereign
  onto a balance scale, though George III might have been
  more appropriate."

  Philip Mernick writes: "You asked in the latest E-Sylum if
  readers had more examples of wrong coins in movies. There
  was a good (that is bad!) example on BBC TV just a few
  weeks ago. It happened in the final episode of a very detailed
  (and apparently well researched) series on the life and loves
  of King Charles II titled "Charles II The Power and the
  Passion". Some one was handed a tray of coins that were
  clearly 20th century rather than 17th. In just the few seconds
  that the coins were in shot it was possible to distinguish a
  George VI  coin and a French Fifth Republic coin. No
  doubt a frame by frame examination of a videotape would
  have shown more but I watched it "live". The BBC web site
  encourages feedback on their programs and they received
  many comments about this. This quote is part of their reaction
  to these comments:  "Unfortunately that was a production
  error and a few people have commented on it! We will say
  that we are pleased the audience follows the programme s
  closely.....!" They seemed surprised that anyone would have
  spotted something so fleeting.  Little do they know how
  observant we collectors can be! I am sure the series will be
  shown on TV in the USA. Will they change the scene? -
  probably not - so look out for the wrong coins!"

  Joe Boling writes: "The Hindenberg (about the crash of the
  Zeppelin), in which a shot of the pursar going through some
  of the money on board shows modern Japanese Y1000 notes.

  The Time of Your Life, the William Saroyan play on film.
  Set in the 1930s, a 1953 or later $2 bill (small red seal) and
  a 1963 or later $1 FRN are visible taped to the mirror
  behind the bar.

  It should not have been so hard for the props departments
  to get this right."


  "Google has started letting people search text within books,
  following similar strides from retail behemoth

  The service, called Google Print Beta, lets Web surfers call
  up brief excerpts from books, critic reviews, bibliographic
  and author's notes and, in some cases, a picture of the book

  "The search feature works with approximately 120,000 titles
  from 190 publishers, which translates into some 33 million
  pages of searchable text."

  To read the full article, see:


  Arthur Shippee sent a link to an article about a newly
  found hoard:

  "Peter and Christine Johnson, from Sittingbourne, sparked a
  massive dig when they discovered some coins on farmland near
  Maidstone using a metal detector.

  The couple contacted Kent County Council and as a result
  more than 360 coins and coin fragments, dating from the first
  century BC, were dug up."

  "The hoard could be worth thousands of pounds, according to
  the council, which is keeping the coins in its safekeeping until
  they are sent to the British Museum for analysis."

  To read the full article, see:


  Len Augsberger writes: "Remarkable.  The world's largest book
  has been produced, and QDB did NOT write it."
  Len included a link to article about the book:

  "A 133-pound tome about the Asian country of Bhutan
  that uses enough paper to cover a football field and a
  gallon of ink has been declared the world's largest published

  Author Michael Hawley, a scientist at the Massachusetts
  Institute of Technology, said it's not a book to curl up with
  at bedtime - "unless you plan to sleep on it.''

  Each copy of "Bhutan: A Visual Odyssey Across the
  Kingdom,'' is 5-by-7 feet, 112 pages and costs about $2,000
  to produce. Hawley is charging $10,000 to be donated to a
  charity he founded, Friendly Planet, which has built schools in
  Cambodia and Bhutan.

  Guinness World Records has certified Hawley's work as the
  biggest published book, according to Stuart Claxton, a
  Guinness researcher."

  "Hawley said he's received about two dozen orders for the
  book, which includes an easel-like stand. Early customers
  include Brewster Kahle, the inventor of the Internet Archive
  project, who has known Hawley for years through his
  computer science work at MIT.

  Hawley said his research revealed that the biggest book in
  the Library of Congress was John J. Audubon's 19th century
  "Birds of America,'' which is 2-by-3 feet. "

  To read the full article, see:"


  This week's featured web page is the Roman Numismatic Gallery
  of  Emperor's Wives and Families

  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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