The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 7, Number 02, January 11, 2004:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2004, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


  Among recent new subscribers is Anthony Jack Carlisle,
  Ph.D.   Welcome aboard!  We now  have 619  subscribers.


  Happy Birthday to Dutch historian and numismatist
  Gerard van Loon, who was born January 17, 1683.
  Quick Quiz:  what were Van Loon's numismatic


  Dave Hirt writes: "Greetings from Budapest.  We are having a
  good time here.  I always go to used book stores here and
  usually find something, but this time nothing numismatic so far.
  I sort of winced when I read of the man trapped under his
  books, and the Collyer brothers.  I saw myself, because it
  breaks my heart to throw away anything printed on


  Regarding the Ancient Coin educational project discussed in
  the last issues, Arthur Shippee writes: "The following is an
  interesting request from the Explorator editor, from whom
  I've given you some of the ancient coin news.  One hopes
  that your readership will have definite news one way or the

  Explorator editor David Meadows writes: "Speaking of ACE
  coins, they were giving a presentation at a symposium
  somewhere in Pennsylvania and after their talk, some classicist
  guy got up and gave a paper on why things like ACE coins
  were wrong (the usual AIA anti collector thing).  So ACE
  asked me what *my* view was and if I had heard of any
  cases of museums actually throwing away the sorts of coins
  they use in their program. They've heard 'anecdotal evidence'
  but even that was sketchy. Do you or your coin friends know


  Bill Murray writes: "I thought our readers might find the
  following item amusing - it is from Jeffery Kacirk's Forgotten
  English -- All the italics in the quoted passages are Kacirk's.

  "England's most famous bibliomaniac, Richard Heber (1771-
  1833) (was) an obsessive collector" On hearing of a curious
  book, he was known to have put himself in a mail coach and
  traveled three or four hundred miles to obtain it.  Heber's
  family inheritance allowed him to indulge his desire and spend
  immense sums to purchase books, which he did, through
  local booksellers called, bibliopolists"

  When asked about his habit of collecting multiple copies of
  the same works, he replied, "Why you see, sir, no man can
  do comfortably without three copies of a work.  One he must
  have for a show copy, and he will probably keep it at his
  country-house.  Another he will require for his own use and
  reference; and unless he is inclined to part with this, which is
  very inconvenient, or risk the injury of his best copy, he must
  needs have a third at the service of his friends.?"

  "His house at Hodnet" was nearly all library.  His house in
  Pimlico, was filled with books from top to bottom, every
  chair, table and passage containing "piles of erudition." A
  house in York Street, Westminster, was similarly filled.  He
  had immense collections of books in houses rented merely
  to contain them at Oxford, Paris, Antwerp, Brussels and

  "Amazingly, when Heber died his will did not even
  acknowledge his books.  His bibliolatry had driven him to
  acquire, by one estimate, half a million books, but in their
  disposal after his death they were treated simply as so much
  property in the hands of an auctioneer.  Sotheby's sale of a
  portion of the books required two hundred and two working
  days spanning more than two years.  It was reckoned that
  the proceeds of his books amounted to only about two thirds
  of the books, original cost."

  Now there was real bibliomaniac!
  Happy New Year to all!"


  Paul Withers writes: "For those who have an interest in such
  things, the first few days of the new year have brought a new
  book.  Those who know us well know that we have an
  interest in the slightly off-beat areas of numismatics, sometimes
  termed 'paranumismatics' and to further knowledge of the
  subject we have just published 'British Cardboard Coins from
  1860'.  This has a secondary title of 'Card Toy Coins and their
  related Paper Money'.  It has been written by David Evans,
  a didact and collector of these pieces.  Whilst those of us far
  from childhood might be tempted to think that these pieces are
  no longer made, I have to report that they are very much alive
  and kicking and still being produced - even if the author laments
  that the quality of some of them is so lamentably poor that it
  almost makes one consider taking up the collecting of stamps,
  matchbox labels, or 'possibly even the bottle'.

  The author has collected these pieces for some considerable
  time, inspired perhaps by 'Toy Coins' by David Rogers, the
  pioneering work on the subject. There is little doubt this
  monograph will become the standard reference work on the
  subject, because, as far as we know, and to the best of the
  author's and our abilities, it is complete and apart from
  'Toy Coins' is the only thing of its kind.  Full details are as
  follows :

  "British Cardboard Coins from 1860.  Card Toy Coins and
  their related Paper Money." A4 71 pages.  Illustrated. Card
  covers.  ISBN 0-9543162-1-5  Available from the publishers,
  Galata Print Ltd., The Old White Lion, Market Street,
  Llanfyllin, Powys, SY22 5BX UK. Price £15 plus postage.

  The book, within its body, reproduces 'Toy Money for
  Arithmetic Teaching in the Transition Class and in Primary
  Schools - A Series of Exercises, and a few suggested Games'
  by Margaret A Wroe which came with boxes of toy money
  sold to schools in the first decade of the last century.

  As far as has been possible, details of the companies
  producing these 'coins' have been carefully researched.

  All known types, embossed or printed, dated and undated,
  are listed.  Also listed and illustrated where possible are
  ancillary items such as banknotes, work cards and teachers'
  booklets.  Where possible, boxes and their contents are
  described and illustrated.  There is an illustrated and
  identification key to printed issues.  Grading guide and
  estimated values. The work is cross-referenced to 'Toy Coins'
  by David Rogers."

  [PAul may be contacted online via email at Paul at
  The web site is -Editor]


  Tom DeLorey writes: "Let me be the 37th person to ask
  how this 1688 proposal could have resulted in "the first mint
  to strike coins on American soil," unless it also declares the
  Massachusetts Bay Colony to be Canadian soil."

  Well, Tom was actually the first to ask, but I wondered
  about this statement, too.   For more information, see the
  extensive lot description on the Holabird Associates catalog.
  The web address is

  The description begins "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."

  [So the description is qualified as "ONE of the first" and
  emphasizes mineral rights rather than coining, which is
  discussed later in the description. -Editor]

  "The need for milling, smelting, and refining facilities was made
  apparent in the petitioners proposal to build a mint, thereby
  guaranteeing immediate marketability of metals produced: "to
  help the company defray costs, his Majesty would be gratiously
  pleased to erect a mint in new England for the coyning of small
  mony for change of...blankets or fine copper also of mony of
  gold and silver when by their means and industry it shall be
  provided out of any such mine or mines..." [note- the spelling
  here is as it appears on the original document.  Note the early
  spelling of these important words]"


  David Fanning writes: "I'm afraid I made a small mistake in
  my E-Sylum account of our trip to Frossard's grave.
  Frossard's daughter was not named Edith. She was named
  Edna Marie.  I may be the only person who cares, but I'd
  appreciate it if you'd run the erratum. Thanks much."


  A recent report in The New Scientist said: "If the gambling
  industry reaps the benefits of electronically tagging its chips,
  the world's central banks could follow with their banknotes."

  A gambling industry publication got the story all bollixed up
  when it reported: "In a new research report published by the
  New Scientist, casino chips which have embedded radio
  frequency identification tags (RFID) could eventually replace
  traditional paper currency or bank notes and cut down fraud."

  Plenty of currency substitutes have found their way into
  general circulation over the years, but casino chips aren't likely
  to appear any time soon.  The gist of the report is that the
  SAME TECHNOLOGY (i.e. radio frequency ID tags) that
  could soon see use in casino chips might also one day be used
  in paper currency.  Later in the article the reporter seemed to
  figure this out.  The article correctly notes that "casinos and
  companies are expected to face opposition from privacy
  advocates and customers who don't want to be tracked for
  everything they buy or do."

  Another article in the U.K.'s Independent  gave a balanced
  treatment to the subject in its 8 January issue:

  "Technology that has been used to monitor the shopping habits
  of supermarket customers is about to be introduced to casinos.

  An American company is making playing chips that will beam
  an identification code to sensors in gaming houses. Although
  they will be more expensive than other chips, they should
  allow casino owners to reduce counterfeiting and theft and to
  monitor gamblers more closely. Known as "RFID", Radio
  Frequency Identification, the technology has already been used
  in the UK by supermarkets, including Tesco and Marks &
  Spencer, for tracking items such as razor blades and men's
  suits from the warehouse to the store."

  "The new generation of chips is being made by Chipco
  International in Raymond, Maine. The RFID system adds
  about 20p to the price of each chip. But that cost could pale
  in comparison with the potential savings ..."

  "The tagged chips could also be a forerunner of new banknotes
  being considered by the European Central Bank, which wants
  to use RFID technology for high-denomination notes to reduce

  For the complete article, see:


  David Gladfelter writes: "I mentioned the fact that plates
  cannibalized from broken-up Ormsbys were circulating among
  us.  If you will turn to lot 17236 of the current Heritage-CAA
  auction, or look it up on line, you will see an example of this.
  It is a supposed "progress proof of an unadopted design for the
  Erie & Kalamazoo Rail Road Bank" and is about to become
  enshrined as such in our literature (Dr. Wallace Lee's
  forthcoming book on Michigan obsoletes).  It is nothing of
  the sort.

  What it is, is a clipping from plate 7 of Ormsby, specifically the
  image with check letter C. This plate, Ormsby tells us, was
  made by his 17 year old son as an example of how easy it is
  for an untrained person to counterfeit bank notes (Ormsby's
  book is an elaborate polemic against counterfeiting and for
  wall-to-wall intaglio engraving as the best protection against
  counterfeiting). The plate is superficially impressive except
  that the central vignette is a ludicrous alteration of a railroad
  scene used on several legitimate bank notes. The perspective
  is all wrong on the alteration, and gives you the feeling that
  the sea is about to wash over the train, carrying the
  not-so-distant steamship with it!

  Ormsby's kid remembered to put check letters A, B & C on
  three of the images on his creation but somehow overlooked
  letter D on the 4th!

  The description by Heritage-CAA is certainly not an intentional
  misrepresentation, but it is wrong nevertheless.  I hope Dr. Lee
  catches the error in time to correct his listing.  Collectors
  with Ormsby should watch for other fugitive notes finding their
  way onto the market undetected.  The same thing happens with
  fugitive plates from Heath counterfeit detectors."


  Michael J. Sullivan writes: "In response to the dialogue on Bank
  Note Engraving Histories, I've collected this material for years.
  What I have found useful is to study both British bank note
  engraving and American bank note engraving firms.  There were
  a number of firms and individuals involved in the trade on both
  sides of the Atlantic.   Some great related titles:

  - Hewitt & Keyworth:  As Good As Gold: 300 Years of British
     Bank note Design (1987)

  - Byatt:  Promises to Pay: the First Three Hundred Years of
     Bank of England Notes (Spink, 1994)

  A bit more esoteric:

  - Story of British American Bank Note Company Limited,
     1866-1956 (Canada)

  - Smith:  James Heath Engraver to Kings and Tutor to Many
     (England, 1989)

  - Symes: Kirkwood & Sons Copper-Plate Engravers
     (Edinburgh, 1999)

  A variety of other titles are on my shelves as well."


  Regarding Neil Shafer's note about the article on Josh Tatum
  and the gold-plated 1883 "racketeer nickels" in the defunct
  New England Journal of Numismatics, Bob Leonard writes:
  "Very interesting, and I have this issue too.  Unless Lynn Glaser
  came across this story in some obscure periodical (and no one
  has come forward yet to identify an earlier appearance), my
  increasingly strong suspicion is that he made the whole thing up
  to enliven his 1968 book.  (Glaser's career after numismatics is
  extremely interesting -- including time in prison.)  It is amazing
  how his brief account of "Joshua Tatum" turned into the
  elaborate later accounts being quoted here."


  In reference to the New England Journal of Numismatics,
  Bob Leonard writes: "I subscribed to it, and received a small
  payment years later to satisfy the balance of my subscription
  when New England went bankrupt."

  [I got one of these checks, too, and believe I set aside the
  paperwork for my numismatic ephemera collection.  I can't
  recall if I bothered cashing the check, though.  -Editor]


  Regarding last week's reference to Becker the Counterfeiter,
  Bob Leonard writes: "Oops!  Here you have confused Carl
  Wilhelm Becker, 1772-1830, the German counterfeiter of
  ancient, medieval, and German coins, and the subject of Sir
  George Hill's Becker the Counterfeiter, with Peter Rosa,
  operator of the Becker Manufacturing Company 1955-1990,
  covered in some detail in Wayne Sayles' Classical Deception.
  Pieces marked BECKER were signed by Rosa, not Becker
  (Sayles, p. 86), though Sayles says he always marked them
  on the edge, not the face.  (The catalog description is unclear
  as to whether the markings are on the edge or not.)  But
  possibly there was another counterfeiter appropriating the
  Becker name."

  [It doesn't take much to confuse your Editor.  The 1804 date
  of the replica U.S. cent overlapped the timeframe of the
  German Becker, so I didn't question it.  But Bob's Leonard's
  attribution to the 1955-1990 period makes more sense for
  a copy of this coin, which may have had a collector
  premium before 1830, but probably not enough of one to
  justify the effort of making a replica. -Editor]


  Gene Anderson writes: "As a bibliophile newbie with a modest
  library there are lots of things I have missed over the years.
  Hopefully, some of you more seasoned collectors can help
  me out. I am looking for auction appearances of Bay Area
  counterfeit coins. These are spark-erosion die struck pieces
  that are very deceptive. I am aware of the two coins plated
  in Superior's Pre-Long Beach catalog dated 5-7 June 2000.
  Can anyone refer me to other appearances?"


  On  January 6, 2004 The Associated Press reported that
  a Vancouver, Washington man pulled over for a traffic
  violation  "got his mother to try to post bail with $500 in
  poorly made counterfeit bills from his wallet..."

  "At 5:30 a.m. Ludwig asked his mother to bail him out with
  money in his wallet.  She handed $500 to a clerk, who saw
  the money was phony, told her to wait and called police."

  The police report, made available Monday, described the
  counterfeit bills as bad copies that were the wrong size."

  The mother refused to post bail in genuine currency and
  the son remained in jail.   To read the full story, see:


  A January 9th article in the Moscow Times reported upcoming
  changes in currency:

  "The ruble will start sporting a new look later this year in an
  effort to outwit counterfeiters, the Central Bank announced
  this week.  There is no need for a run on the bank, First
  Deputy Chairman Arnold Voilukov said at a press conference
  Tuesday. "There will be no exchange," he said.  Anyone finding
  a stash of old rubles in years to come will be able to use them
  "at any time," he said.

  "Voilukov said the Central Bank had decided against a
  fundamental redesign. "The Americans took the path of
  modifying [the $20 bill] and we too ... decided not to change
  the look of the notes but to modify those that already exist."

  Indeed, the changes will be so subtle that some might not
  realize the bill in their hands is a new one, he said.  The new
  bills will incorporate a color-changing foil stripe as well as a
  security thread stitched through the bill rather than embedded
  inside. Bills of 100 rubles and above would come with 126
  laser perforations showing the bill's denomination when held
  up to the light.  This latter innovation has proved itself in
  Switzerland, where the technique has never been successfully
  copied, Voilukov said."

  To read the full article, see:


  Steve Huber writes: "Thanks for obtaining the lead. The book
  is on its way to me, as we speak: Georg Zetzmann,  'Deutsche
  Silbermedaillen des I. Weltkriegs' (German Silver Medals of
  WW.I, 1914-1919)."


  In response to a question about backgrounds to line
  exhibit cases for numismatic literature exhibits, I wrote:

  "What I did when I started exhibiting was get a length of
  fabric (I chose a satiny black cloth) from a fabric store
  and cut pieces into the approximate size of an exhibit case.
  I've been using them over and over ever since.  It takes a
  few minutes to lay them neatly in the empty cases, but
  they fold up neatly for transport.   I've never even bothered
  washing or ironing them and they still look OK.  When
  you're exhibiting books and ephemera  they tend to cover
  up most of the background anyway.

  Since most men wouldn't know a fabric store if one landed
  on them like Dorothy's house hit the witch in The Wizard of
  Oz, do what I did: send a woman to buy it for you  (I was
  single at the time and sent my sister)."


  Speaking of the common problem of accumulating too much
  material, David Lange writes: "I'm fairly careful about piling up
  too much numismatic literature at home.  For the most part my
  wife doesn't want to see anything of the kind outside of my den,
  so I periodically thin out the herd. That which won't fit at home
  and is still of value to me gets taken down to my workplace
  office. There's plenty of room for it there, and it adds to the
  overall atmosphere of numismatic study.

  The biggest problem I have with things piling up concerns my
  collecting of coin boards, folders and albums. I often come
  back from coin shows with a new load of items that were
  either purchased by me or donated by dealer friends, and it
  may take a few months to catalog these and place them on
  the proper shelves.  A lot of what I acquire turns out to be
  duplicated, despite my ongoing cataloging efforts, and such
  items end up in sealed plastic tubs in the garage.  The better
  items are retained, while the lesser duplicates get donated to
  coin club book sales.

  I'm currently in the process of cataloging my collection of
  Raymond binders and pages, as well as the Meghrig clones
  of the Raymond line. This has proved to be the most difficult
  cataloging job to date, because these items were in production
  for some forty years, with seemingly countless subtle
  variations in titles, date sequences, copyright information and
  fonts. I've already determined that it would be foolhardy to
  collect every title in all its manifestations, but just sorting out
  and recording what I have on hand is a daunting task. There
  are presently several piles of pages and binders on the floor
  of my den in various stages of documentation, with the fully
  recorded items already isolated in a big tub in our bedroom.
  I do hope to get those items on a shelf at some point, but
  with the FUN show stealing yet another weekend I can't
  make my wife any promises."


  Arthur Shippee sends the following link from the Explorator
  6.36 newsletter:  Indian authorities recovered a pile of ancient


  On January 8th Reuters reported that "Archaeologists were
  excited to find what they thought was the first evidence of
  ninth century Viking settlement in Scotland.

  They had spent days painstakingly excavating the site after
  50-year old Marion Garry said she had uncovered an unusual
  arrangement of smooth, flat stones a few feet below the surface
  of her garden in Fife.

  "We thought we'd hit the jackpot," Scottish archaeologist
  Douglas Speirs told newspapers."

  "Only when the area was completely excavated and materials
  analyzed did the horrible truth dawn -- the stones were nothing
  more significant than a 1940s sunken patio."

  To read the full story, see:


  This week's featured web page is The Royal Mint's page
  about Isaac Newton's tenure at the mint.

  "The Mint was then in the Tower of London and it was
  accordingly to the Tower that Newton came in April 1696
  to take up his new duties. It was a time of great activity.
  The Mint was grappling with the recoinage of old silver
  coins that dated back to the reign of Elizabeth and even
  to earlier reigns.

  In 1699 the post of Master of the Mint fell vacant.. The
  post was offered to Newton and he took up his duties
  with effect from Christmas Day 1699, his fifty-seventh
  birthday. Surviving the political upheavals of the early
  eighteenth century, he remained as Master until his death
  in March 1727 and for the last thirty years of his life he
  therefore occupied high position in the Mint.

  Even after the completion of the recoinage of the 1690s
  there was much to do. Coins and coronation medals had
  to be prepared following the accession of Queen Anne in
  1702, and then came the coining of the booty from Vigo
  Bay in 1703. In 1707 the Union of the Kingdoms of
  England and Scotland required the assimilation of the
  old Scottish coinage to that of England as well as the
  methods of the Edinburgh mint to those of the mint in
  the Tower.
  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.

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