The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 7, Number 20, May 16, 2004:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2004, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


No new subscribers this week. Incoming email hasn't been
working today, so late-arriving submissions may not appear
in this issue.


Tom Fort, Editor of our print journal, The Asylum, writes:
"The latest issue of The Asylum should be in the post by the
time your read this. Unlike most of our earlier issues this one
is devoted to one work: Ken Lowe's "American Numismatic
Periodicals from 1860 to 1960." This is an expanded and
updated version of the work that Ken published more than
15 years ago.

More important than this will be the Summer 2004 issue of
The Asylum which will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the
founding of our organization. This will be the largest issue we
have ever published, over 150 pages, with a spectacular wrap
around cover. The issue will contain works covering numismatic
literature from the Renaissance to the late 20th century. The
specially commissioned works that I have in hand include
substantial studies by Prof. John Cunnally of the Art History
Department at Iowa State University; Q. David Bowers of
American Numismatic Rarities; Christian Dekesel of Bibliotheca
Numismastica Siciliana in Ghent, Belgium; and Douglas Saville
at Spink in London. I expect the remaining works, all on
American literary topics, very soon. This special issue will only
be sent to those members who have renewed their membership
by June 30th. Non-members who want this issue will need to
join by this date. "


Tom Fort adds: "I would also like to mention The Great
Numismatic Libraries of Pittsburgh Tour. Friday August 20,
2004. Tour Bus Departs from the ANA Convention at the
David Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh at 1:00 PM.
The price is $20 per person. Two "institutions" will be visited:

1. The Wayne K. Homren Library. Featuring an extensive
collection of monographs, pamphlets, journals, sales catalogues
and manuscripts relating to American Numismatics. Highlights
include: William E. Du Bois? 1846 Pledges of History (the first
published account of the US Mint Cabinet); Mark Collet?s copy
of the 1851 Roper sale; Interleaved 1865 J. N. T. Levick /
Lincoln assassination date sale; Western Pennsylvania
Numismatic Society Archives 1878-1889
[The WPNS archives belong to the society. -Editor]

2. The E. Tomlinson Fort ?Memorial? Library. Featuring works
dealing with the coinage and history of Europe up to the
Fifteenth Century. Highlights include: Edward Gibbon's copy
of Renier Budel, De monetis et re numaria (Cologne, 1591); an
original edition of Otto Posse?s Die Siegel der Deutschen Kaiser
und Könige von 751 bis 1913 (Dresden, 1909-1913); David C.
Douglas? annotated copy of the Regesta Regum Anglo-
Normannorum (Oxford 1913-1968); R. W. Cochran-Patrick?s
Records of the Coinage of Scotland (Edinburgh, 1876) ? the
first British numismatic book with photographic plates.

All proceeds will benefit the Numismatic Bibliomania Society. The
tour is open to NBS members only, so if you want to see our
stuff you must join or renew your membership. Send payment to
NBS Treasurer W. David Perkins, PO Box 212, Mequon, WI
53092. Space is limited so book NOW.

For further information contact either Wayne Homren
(whomren at or Tom Fort (etfort at"


On May 11, 2004, a reporter for KSL-TV in Utah reported
that "...An Orem man is about to publish a book revealing the
secrets of one of the dark arts: coin forgery. And he says he
learned much of what he knows as a prison guard, watching
over one of Utah's most notorious criminals.

In his backyard workshop Chuck Larsen has spent years
learning to make very convincing fake coins. Now he's written
a book on the subject: "Numismatic Forgery". He's taught
himself to make everything from Greek tetradrachms to Mormon
Pioneer 10-dollar-gold-pieces."

"He makes hand-cut dies and special punches that embed words
and images in metal. He designed a machine to "mint" coins. He
hauls on a rope to raise a heavy weight. It stamps out a coin
that's possibly good enough to trick a collector into thinking it
was minted by pioneers in 1849.

Which brings us to a man famous in the 1980's --
Mark Hofman, bomber, murderer, master forger of documents.

Chuck Larson: ?Oh I learned all kinds of scary techniques that
he had. ... he also had a hunger. Mark craved attention and
he liked to go ahead and boast of the things he'd done. And
he liked to be appreciated for it."

"Larson's book will be released Saturday. In manuscript form
it's already being used as a teaching aid for rare-coin collectors."

To read the full story, see: Full Story

[Have any of our readers seen the manuscript? Does anyone
know where to order the book? The article didn't say, and
a web search came up empty, as did a search of Amazon,
which often lists titles prior to publication.

This is only the latest of several books that have been written
about Hofmann, a master forger who created convincing fakes
of rare coins and currency, and invented out of whole cloth
fantasy documents related to the early Mormon church. He
resorted to building pipe bombs to kill witnesses and cover
his tracks, but was caught nonetheless.

Hofmann was the subject of American Numismatic Association
convention Numismatic Theatre talks by Eric Newman and
Al Rust, a Utah coin and currency dealer who was duped by
Hofmann. As General Chairman of the 2004 convention, I'd
love to have a new talk or panel session about Hofmann and
his works. Would any of our readers be game? Who knows,
perhaps we could get Mr. Larson to speak. -Editor]


"The acquisition of a collection of 4,100 coins of Greek and
Roman origin by the Yale University Art Gallery has been
announced by Jock Reynolds, the Henry J. Heinz II Director,
who stated ?This collection, formed over a lifetime by one of
Europe's most eminent numismatic scholars, will significantly
enhance Yale's holdings of ancient coins and medals, already
one of the largest of any university collection in the country.?

The collection was formed over a period of forty years by
Peter R.Franke, formerly Professor of Ancient History and
Numismatics and head of the Institute for Ancient History at
the University of Saarbrucken, Germany. Franke was mentor
to many of the numismatists on staff at various collections
throughout Europe, and taught until recently at the Institut für
Numismatik in Vienna."

"The collection of coins at Yale goes back to the early nineteenth
century and as long ago as 1863 there was a publication of the
numismatic holdings. Over the years the collection has grown to
approximately 100,000 objects of all periods, of which roughly
25,000 are of the ancient world. These include not only coins
from Yale?s excavations at Dura-Europos, Syria, and elsewhere,
but donations from friends of Yale. The collection may be
consulted by appointment."

To read the full press release, see:
Press Release

[So does anyone know just where the Yale collection was
documented in 1863? Was it part of a University publication,
or a stand-alone catalog? -Editor]


The June 1 sale of Part 1 of the John J. Ford, Jr. numismatic
library is approaching. The catalog is stunning, and will no
doubt prompt many of us collectors of American numismatic
literature to stock up on lottery tickets in the coming weeks.
How else to buy everything one covets?

Brad Karoleff writes: 'I am going to the Kolbe sale of the
Ford library. I would like to remind our readers that I will
be representing collectors on the floor of the sale. Anyone
interested in having floor representation can contact me at
karoleffs4 at"


Considering exhibiting at the upcoming American Numismatic
Association convention? It's not to late to apply, but there are
only weeks left. The deadline is June 21. I'd like to
encourage all E-Sylum readers who are planning to attend to
please consider creating an exhibit for the numismatic
literature category. For application forms, see Application


Terry Stahurski writes: "David Fanning asked about Walter
Breen's involvement with earlier editions of Wayte Raymond's
The Standard Catalogue of United States Coins. In my copy
of the 16th edition (1953) on the page with the copyright is
the following: "Associate editor of this edition John J. Ford, Jr./
Research by Walter Breen". I didn't see Breen mentioned in
the earlier editions I have.

Breen writes about "a historic meeting" between himself and
Raymond on Dec. 2, 1950 in his 1983 book Walter Breen's
Encyclopedia of United States Half Cents 1793-1857. This
might shed some light on Breen's earlier work with Raymond.

I always enjoy reading the E-Sylum -- keep up the good


Earlier this week, Roger Moore posted the following on
the Colonial Numismatics newsletter. It is reprinted here
with permission.

"I bought a book on eBay the other day which I just
finished reading. It is called, "Journal & Letters of Philip
Vickers Fithian 1773-1774: A Plantation Tutor of the
Old Dominion". It is an actual diary of a young Princeton
graduate who travels to Virginia to tutor the children of a
plantation owner. I bought the book, hoping to find some
mention of the Virginia coinage which was released in
1774. Though I found no such reference, the book
supplies a wonderful insight into the daily life in Virginia
during the colonial period. Of interest I have extracted
a few coin related items:

December 7, 1773 - "The expence of an Orange, half a

December 25, 1773 - "So the sum of my Donations to
the Servants for this Christmas appears to be five Bits,
a Bit is a pisterene bisected; or an English sixpence,
and passes here for seven pence Halfpenny..."

January 10, 1774 - "I have plenty of Money with me,
but it is in Bills of Philidelphia currency & will not
passs at all here."

There is a lot of mention of what he paid for
various services and things as well as an accounting
of the cost of his travel from NJ to VA. and back.
Interesting reading."


Joe Boling writes: "In response to Dick Johnson's report on
Salvador Dail as a medallist, he also designed a sterling silver
Easter plate for the Lincoln Mint, in the mid-'70s if memory
serves. It had an abstract crucifix and an egg near the bottom
edge. The crucifix design was also struck as a stand-alone
piece of jewelry, one of which I gave to my wife. She left it
in a motel room about 1984, and I have been searching for a
replacement ever since. Anyone know where one is?"


Myron Xenos writes: "In regard to dye-stained edges on U.S.
notes, bank employees often use this method of separating
notes into stacks of 100, marking each 100th bill as they place
them in ATM machines. Twenty dollar bills are most commonly
used in the machines. This is just one more way people are
messing up currency for the rest of us who collect, similar to the
pen marks seen on 50s and 100s."


Howard A. Daniel III writes: "I know only one General
MacArthur specialist for Steve Pellegrini to contact. He is
Gaal Long at GHQ1951 at Gaal is an ardent
collector and dealer in this general's material and if he does not
have one of the Julian medals for sale, he will probably know
who does have one. Awhile ago, I found a large poster of
General MacArthur in a Virginia "antique" store with the general
wearing only two stars and it was in Spanish. The poster was
apparently a VERY EARLY WWII propaganda piece used
by the US to convince the Central and Latin American countries
to join our side in the war. Gaal was ecstatic when he received
the poster!"


Brad Karoleff writes: "In a previous issue of the E-Sylum
someone wanted information on Benjamin C. True, a diesinker
from Cincinnati. I have had a local token collector send me
some information on Mr. True and will be willing to pass along
the Xerox copies he sent me to the interested party. Please
contact me at karoleffs4 at to arrange delivery of the


Roger deWardt Lane of Hollywood, Florida writes: "I keep
going through items I purchased 35 years ago. For a year
now, I have been selling a medal at my local coin show. No
interest. Then last month a member of our club decided to
purchase the medal. He asked me to put it on lay-away.
The next time I had to say to him I had forgotten the medal.
Then at the last show, I did not see him. So I still had the
medal and decided to do a little research. The result is a new
page on my site. Medal

If my friend still wants the medal, will sell it to him for the
agreed price of $100.

Not bad for a one-dollar flea market purchase. But the best
part was to put up the story."


Bill Rosenblum writes: "As usual another great issue of The
E-Sylum. I had intended to write last week concerning two
questions that were brought up by readers. Unfortunately,
I had returned from the CHicago International Coin Fair on
Monday night, dead tired and didn't get caught up in my
correspondence until late in the week.

I was going to mention the coins depicted on the tiny coins
of Samaria which depict five Athenian owls as Dave
Menchell wrote this week. It may very well be the first coins
depicted on coins, but it is no doubt the first coin to depict
the Jewish ceremony of Pidyon Haben. I offered an obol
in my fall 2003 mailbid sale. See Ronn Berroll?s article in
the December 2002 edition of The Celator for more
information about the ceremony and ancient coins. The short
lived modern series of Pidyon Haben coins issued by Israel
(1970-77) contained at least three coins which depicted five
coins on it's obverse. And yes, many people collect coins with
coins on them. I had a collector stop by my bourse table in
Chicago asking for the same thing.

A medal with the same thing is the Israel series of Judaea
Capta/Israel Liberata issued periodically since 1958. The
obverse depicts a copy of the famous (or infamous) Roman
Judaea Capta Sestertius with the Roman emperor on one
side of a palm tree and a weeping representation of Judaea
on the other side. Sometimes this is done with an actual
coin motif, other times it takes over virtually the entire side
of the medal. The reverse shows the Israel Liberated side
with a farmer sowing a field on one side of the palm tree
while his wife holds their baby up to the sky.

I was also going to mention the medal Steve Pelligrini noted.
That medal is listed in Dan Friedenberg's Jewish Medals
from the Renaissance to the Fall of Napoleon as well as
BHM. In addition there is at least one other medal referring
to the OP (Old Prices) riots which Jim Elmen is offering in
his mailbid sale this week."


Joe Boling writes: "In response to Steve Pellegrini's inquiry
about Bob Julian's satirical medals, the following information is
gleaned from my correspondence with Bob during the years
he was producing these medals.

The MacArthur medal is not the last, but the fourth in a series
of the following titles:

1977 Media - Nixon
1978 Panama Canal - Theodore Roosevelt
1979 Energy - (Lincoln?)
1980 Defense - MacArthur
1981 Justice - Washington

I believe the only composition of the Media medal was bronze.
He added Cu-Ni (not Cu-Ag) at the second medal, for which
production figures were: bronze 1100; Cu-Ni 45. Cu-Ni was
offered each year thereafter until the end of the series (at the
fifth medal). Prices were $9.95 each, either composition, until
the Justice medal, when the price had to be raised to $12.50.
Even so, he lost money that year. His report of sales for that
piece showed sales of "Somewhat over 800" against a
purchase of 1000 (to get a pricing break at that level). I don't
know what happened to the unsold 180+ pieces - perhaps
they are still hanging over the market. He did not specify the
compositions of the 800+ medals sold. I bought one Media
medal, two bronze examples each subsequent year (one as a
gift for my Dad), and in the last three years I also bought the
Cu-Ni composition. I bought a bronze process set of the
Defense medal, and in some way that I cannot account for I
have two plasters of the Media medal."

[When I wrote that I didn't think I'd ever seen these medals,
Joe replied: "They were not widely advertised - Bob Julian
did not have lots of bucks to put into that, at the prices he
was charging. It was a labor of love for him, and when it
started losing money he had to quit. One year he complained
that the press releases he sent out were edited so that
ordering information was omitted." -Editor]


An article posted on a central Illinois web site describes an
exhibit of medals opening May 20 in MAckinaw, IL:

"In a Peoria pawn shop one day, Cathy Grubar was
saddened to see military medals for sale.

She just didn't think that was right, so bought them.

"It bothers me to see them there," she said.

Over the years she has collected about 60 medals in all,
researched their stories and mounted them in display cases.

Now she has seven or eight display cases which she is going
to share with the public in a display at Mackinaw District
Public Library opening May 20.

The medals are from World Wars I and II and the Korean
and Vietnam wars. She also has a Victoria Cross, the highest
military honor for valor in Great Britain, in addition to medals
from China and Germany.

Special in her collection are her grandfather's World War II
medals, her father's Korean War medals and a Purple Heart
that belongs to her father-in-law.

As veterans age, sometimes the younger generation doesn't
care about the medals and just throws them away or sells them
at garage sales, she said. So, she visits such sales and buys

Grubar, 45, has enlisted the help of her daughter, Julie, in
rescuing and preserving medals.

"She taught me eBay," said Grubar who was surprised to see
that some Nazi German medals -- those with swastikas -- are
banned for sale on eBay.

She doesn't agree with that. "We can't change history, but we
can learn from it," she said."

Medals Collection


Although non-numismatic, a May 13, 2004 in The New
York Times discusses the phenomenon of kid collectors:
"Curators From the Cradle: Marbles, Bugs and Warhols"

"PICASSO'S "Boy With a Pipe (The Young Apprentice)"
sold at Sotheby's last week for $104.1 million, setting a
record for a painting purchased at auction. But another
notable development came with the first lot of the sale,
when a 13-year-old boy waged a spirited bidding war for
a Degas horse drawing.

The teenager, whose parents asked that his name not be
used, eventually lost out - the drawing sold to another bidder
for $300,000 - but his participation nonetheless
demonstrates his precocious grasp of the market. He is so
familiar with the art market, in fact, that his parents (who are
also his backers) found it unnecessary to attend: they were
at the ballet that night, leaving him in the care of a Sotheby's
employee. "He might as well have been an adult next to me,"
said Peggy Race, Sotheby's director of protocol. "He didn't
need my guidance."

"These days, the stamp and coin collections of the baby boom
childhood seem as quaint as Norman Rockwell. But the
acquisitive urge burns as strongly as ever among young
collectors, thanks in part to the advent of eBay and to television
shows like "Antiques Roadshow," which has 600,000
weekly viewers under age 18. The Internet has many appeals,
of course, but few of them compare with the thrill of buying low
and selling high.

"We're seeing today that kids are more educated about
collecting," said Dan Neary, eBay's director of collectibles."

To read the full article, see: Full Article


This week's featured web site is Court TV's Crime Library
section on Mark Hofmann and what came to be known as
the Mormon Forgery Murders. From Chapter 14:

"Once Mark Hofmann began to talk, he spoke freely of his
many deals. As a kid, he had loved explosives and magic.
He also liked to enrich himself and had shown a streak of
dishonesty. He learned quickly how to fool people and he
enjoyed that sense of power. Then he turned to outright
fraud. By age 12, he had acquired an electroplate machine
and learned to build up the mintmark--a 'D'--on a Denver
dime, because it made the otherwise ordinary coin worth
thousands of dollars. Then he located a coin dealer to
authenticate it through the U.S. Treasury..."

"When he was 13, Hofmann began to collect Mormon
memorabilia, and then to manufacture them on his own.
As he learned how to trade these items, he grew obsessed
with the church's history and he went on to become a
dealer in rare documents. At first he created and sold only
fragments, but then he worked on longer pieces and invited
investors into Ponzi schemes, borrowing from one to pay

crime Library

  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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