The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 7, Number 28, July 11, 2004:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2004, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


  Among recent new subscribers is William David Coe,
  courtesy of David Phillips.  Welcome aboard!  We now
  have 668 subscribers.


  On July 9, 1896, William Jennings Bryan's  "Cross of Gold"
  speech at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago
  caused a sensation  with his denunciation of supporters of
  the gold standard. Bryan went on to win the party's nomination.
  From the George Mason University "History Matters"
  web pages:

  "The most famous speech in American political history was
  delivered by William Jennings Bryan on July 9, 1896, at the
  Democratic National Convention in Chicago. The issue was
  whether to endorse the free coinage of silver at a ratio of silver
  to gold of 16 to 1. (This inflationary measure would have
  increased the amount of money in circulation and aided
  cash-poor and debt-burdened farmers.)  After speeches on
  the subject by several U.S. Senators, Bryan rose to speak.
  The thirty-six-year-old former Congressman from Nebraska
  aspired to be the Democratic nominee for president, and he
  had been skillfully, but quietly, building support for himself
  among the delegates. His dramatic speaking style and rhetoric
  roused the crowd to a frenzy.  The response, wrote one reporter,
  "came like one great burst of artillery."  Men and women
  screamed and waved their hats and canes.  "Some," wrote
  another reporter, "like demented things, divested themselves of
  their coats and flung them high in the air." The next day the
  convention nominated Bryan for President on the fifth ballot."
  History Matters

  The political debate over Bryan's proposal led to the production
  of numismatic items now called "Bryan Money"   In the July
  1926 issue of The Numismatist Farran Zerbe published "Bryan
  Money Tokens of the Presidential Campaigns of 1896 and 1900
  Comparative and Satirical," the standard reference for Bryan
  Money for decades.  Fred Schornstein's 2001 work updated
  and replaced the Zerbe catalog.

  Is anyone aware of an online exhibit of Bryan Money?  I was
  unable to locate any. -Editor


  Richard Margolis writes: "I, too, will be giving a Numismatic
  Theatre talk in Pittsburgh.  The subject will be the famous
  French Monetary Competition of 1791, based on original
  research and on my many years of collecting this series, and
  profusely slide illustrated.  It will be concerned to a great extent
  with the medallists who entered the competition, actually two
  separate competitions in 1791, the ultimate winner being
  named Engraver-General of France. Three of the engravers
  were responsible a few years earlier for the Comitia
  Americana series of medals, which will also be illustrated.

  The talk is scheduled for Thursday, August 19 at 3:00p.m..
  The ANA, in its infinite wisdom, has scheduled my talk
  opposite the general meeting of the Medal Collectors of
  America, which will insure that those most likely to be
  interested in the subject matter will be elsewhere, so there
  should be plenty of seats."

  [E-Sylum subscribers are very well represented among
  Numismatic Theatre speakers.   For the full convention
  schedule, go to the American Numismatic Association's
  web site at: ANA Convention Schedule
  With so much going on simultaneously at the show,
  scheduling is a herculean task and I don't envy those who
  have to do it.  I do know the ANA staff does its best to
  accommodate every club and speaker's requests, but
  oftentimes it's not until the full schedule is published that
  conflicts can be seen.  -Editor]


  If you'll allow me to put on my hat as General Chairman
  of the convention for a moment, I'd like to point out a
  resource our local committee has put together for
  conventiongoers.  The show is coming up quickly, and
  those of you still finalizing your plans should find some
  of the information of use.  To supplement the American
  Numismatic Association web pages, we've developed
  a set of additional pages on the web site of PAN,
  the Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists, one of
  the three host clubs.  The web address is: PAN -ANA Info

  The web pages have additional information about parking,
  public transportation, and restaurants in the area, ordered
  by proximity to the convention center.  Of particular interest
  should be the Tours section, which has information about
  convention tours and special events, such as the two tours
  we've arranged with the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks
  Foundation to local sites of numismatic interest.  Finally, there
  are links to web sites with a wide range of information on
  other things to do and see while in the city.  The convention
  will be held August 18-22 at the new David L. Lawrence
  Convention Center in Pittsburgh, PA.  With just five weeks
  to go, it's time to finalize your plans.  I hope to see many of
  you there.

  One thing all of you can do to help our fellow conventioneers
  is to publicize these web pages so they can benefit as many
  people as possible.  There is a link from the ANA convention
  web page, but not everyone will find it or even know to look
  for it.  Please forward the link to everyone you know who is
  thinking of attending the convention.  Ask your local club
  secretary to publish it in your next newsletter, or place the
  link on your club or personal web sites.  We have some readers
  in the numismatic press, and a mention of the link in an upcoming
  newspaper or e-newsletter issue could benefit many
  readers.  Thank you for your assistance.  Again, the link is:


  Regarding last week's question about the "Barrels of Money"
  painting, Harry Waterson writes: "There is a wonderful catalog
  entitled: "Old Money: American Trompe L'Oeil Images of
  Currency", Nov. 11 - Dec. 17, 1988.  Berry-Hill Galleries,
  Inc., NY, NY.  It contains a very good essay by Bruce W.
  Chambers who notes that Victor Dubreuil did up to seven
  images of Barrels of Money. This exhibition had four of them,
  two from private collections, one from Brandywine River
  Museum and one from the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg,
  Florida.  This exhibition was a joint effort of the Berry-Hill
  Gallery and the Federal Reserve System's Fine Arts Program,
  Mary Anne Goley, Director.

  The foreword of the catalog speaks of the Federal Reserve's
  support for "...the formation and development of a distinguished
  fine arts program.".  Such was not always the case with our
  government institutions.  According to the essayist, one of the
  Barrels of Money paintings was seized and destroyed by the
  Secret Service in accordance with the provisions of the 1909
  anti-forgery act.

  Since Mary Anne Goley participated in the Berry-Hill Exhibition,
  she should know if the Feds Barrels of Money is one of the four
  exhibited there or is new to the room.

  PS. Wouldn't it be a grand conceit if the Treasury Dept. failed to
  destroy their Barrels of Money and just recycled it over to the
  Federal Reserve?"

  [If I took the time each week to consult my own library, I
  wouldn't ask so many questions.  But hearing everyone's
  responses is half the fun of editing The E-Sylum, and we usually
  learn something new that isn't already in print.   I've got the
  Berry-Hill catalog and agree that it's a wonderful resource on
  this interesting genre.  - I'll check out the essay.  -Editor]


  Ken Schultz writes: "Below is an item I happened across that
  I think our subscribers will find interesting. My correspondence
  has been with Mr. Brian Parkhill at Bauman Rare Books in
  Philadelphia.   My hope is that our illustrious readership will
  jump on board with other fascinating tidbits related to this!

  [While we generally do not publish individual for-sale items,
  when an important item worthy of discussion appears, we'll
  make an exception.  This is certainly an interesting item, so
  here goes.  We'd love to hear reader comments.  The asking
  price is $20,000.  -Editor]

  WAGNER, Richard. Autograph letter signed. Bayreuth:
  September 8, 1876.

  Leaf measures 8-1/2 inches by 11 inches, folded to form
  two leaves.

  Autograph letter signed by Wagner discussing his design for
  a medal, with drawings in pencil by Wagner of the design
  featuring the three central mythic objects of the Ring cycle.
  The letter reads:

  "Dear old friend, My wife told me that you have kindly
  agreed to design for Loharpt(?) in Vienna a drawing for a
  little medal which I want to distribute at my staged festivals
  to participants. Would you be so kind; I suggest the
  Nibelungen ring pierced by Wotan's spear and Siegfried's
  sword. On the cover some words like: To his festival
  companions Richard Wagner 1876 or something similar.
  Be so kind as to drop me a word about this if you really
  want to go to the effort. How happy I was to greet you
  again before one of my works. Hope you enjoyed it.
  Heartfelt greetings. Your old friend, Richard Wagner."

  The drawings on the recto include three renderings of the
  medal's image along with an individual image of the sword
  and various decorative flourishes. In 1876, 28 years after
  it was first conceived, Der Ring des Nibelungen was
  first performed in its entirety at the Bayreuth opera house
  built specifically to its needs. Performed in three complete
  cycles in August, the Ring's last performance preceded this
  letter by only one week. The three mythic objects that form
  Wagner's design are the central objects of the cycle: the
  quest for the ring is the motivation of the story, the God
  Wotan derives all his power from the spear, and Siegfried's
  sword is what finally destroys the spear and through it the
  powers of the gods."


  Another fascinating numismatic item up for sale is a
  letter archive of the Los Angeles Clearing House
  Association 1907-1908 containing over 100 pieces of
  correspondence relating to the financial panic of that era
  and the issuance of Clearing House Certificates as a
  currency substitute during the panic.  The archive is
  lot 2576 in the upcoming Smythe auction no. 240,
  July 24, 2004.


  Bob Fritsch writes: "As an interesting sidelight to the Million
  Pennies (OK, cents) article, there was serious discussion on
  the Elongateds discussion group about buying the hoard and
  distributing it among the members.  The hoard was entirely
  bronze cents, and those are highly desirable to the knowledgeable
  elongated collector.  Nobody had the $10K to buy the coins
  though, so the thread died.  The guy finally found a bank that
  would take them at no extra charge."

  The Daily News published a follow-up story on July 8:
  "The frustrated collector of a million pennies found a buyer to
  relieve him of his burden: Vons/Pavilions agreed to purchase
  the coins and donate half to charity.

  After a Daily News story last week about his quandary, the
  Granada Hills resident was deluged with media interview offers
  from around the world and requests for his lowly coppers."

   "When the dust settled, England agreed to an offer from
  Safeway Inc., owner of Vons/Pavilions supermarkets.

  On July 15, Safeway will send out armored cars for England's
  20,000 rolls of coins. They will then be transported to a
  Pavilions in Burbank, which will convert them into cash."

  "One guy wanted to buy a million pennies to pay off his
  lawyer. Another wanted them to pay his federal taxes. A
  woman called to say she needed them to avoid foreclosure
  on her house.

  TV, radio and print media called from as far away as
  London and Canada to cash in on the Granada Hills collection.
  England was even featured on an Iranian radio station."

  Full Article


  The June 2004 issue of Numismatic Views, edited by E-Sylum
  subscriber Nolan Mims for the Gulf Coast Numismatic
  Association, has a nice article by Nolan on associated
  collectibles of interest to bank note collectors, including
  postcard views, old checks, stock certificates, coin banks,
  and advertising and promotional items issued by the bank.
  Naturally, he also mentions bank histories, noting, "Many
  banks have books written about them, particularly if they
  have been in existence for a long time."  He goes on to list
  some of the histories written about Alabama banks.


  Dick Johnson writes: "Gary Dunaier had the greatest idea for
  the 2009 Lincoln Cent!  Return to those days of yesteryear
  with the original Wheat Reverse by VDB.  Use Victor Brenner's
  original galvano pattern dieshell!  The one in which his full name
  is signed on the lower reverse, not just the VDB initials.

  This dieshell still exists in the Philadelphia Mint die vaults. I
  held it in my hand in 1972 (centennial year Brenner's birth)
  when a group of Brenner fans held a centennial exhibit of
  Brenner's coins and medals at the Chase Bank Money Museum
  then in New York City's Rockefeller Center.  We asked Mint
  Director Eva Adams if she could send something for this
  exhibit.  She did!  She sent Frank Gasparro the original
  Brenner cent plaster models and the original copper galvano
  dieshells for both obverse and reverse made from those
  plaster models!

  Frank was most gracious. Before he let us put the items
  behind the wall of glass in the exhibit room he allowed each
  of us to have our photos taken with him, the original models
  and dieshells. Then he signed autographs all day long for the
  public. Certainly a highpoint of my life.

  Unfortunately Frank had to return them to the Mint vaults after
  this one-day Saturday showing. (The exhibit continued for
  several more weeks however.)  But Frank told us this was the
  first time the models and dieshells had been outside of Mint
  vaults since the 1910 Exhibition of the Contemporary Medal,
  also in New York City, at the American Numismatic Society.

  I also would like to see Brenner's reverse with his name signed
  in full in script like on the original model for the 2009 Cent.
  Great Idea, Gary!  Can we carry your idea one step further?
  Can only 484,000 be struck at San Francisco -- with "S"
  mintmark obviously -- this was, of course, the original 1909
  mintage.  And 27,995,000 struck at Philadelphia.  And
  unlimited striking at the Denver Mint (since it didn't strike any
  cents until 1911).

  If someone at the U.S. Mint is reading this, would you kindly
  reserve front-row seats at the Philadelphia Mint  First-Strike
  Lincoln Cent Centennial Ceremony for Gary and me?"

  [This could be fun if the Mint has any imagination. -Editor]


  Only one response to last week's quiz question about the
  famous royal numismatists of history:

  Gar Travis writes: "This question really depends on what
  Royal Society you are determining as producer of Royal
  Numismatists. Of course there are those of England, Canada,
  Australia and New Zealand, who have royal numismatic
  societies of note.    For England one the greatest of all Royal
  Numismatists would be John Lee founding president of the
  Royal Numismatic Society of London in 1838. This society
  would become the Royal Numismatic Society.  The British
  Numismatic Society has given us many numismatists of note,
  who have been acclaimed by royalty, such as Graham Dyer,
  O.B.E. , curator of the Royal Mint Museum at Llantrisant,
  Wales.    There are so many others, that I dare not name one
  lest I miss another worthy of praise."


  Jess Gaylor writes: "I thought I would confuse the issue with
  the word fecit  - why don't we just call it a fatchit and not
  confuse laymen as myself?"

  Dick Johnson writes: " I like criticism.  Thanks to Ron Ambler,
  Ken Berger and Martin Purdy for your comments in regard to
  my item on the correct pronunciation of ?fecit,? the Latin word
  found on medals in full or, more often, abbreviated in as many
  ways as you can cut up the word.

  I learn from your comments.  (Always amazed at E-Sylum
  readers? total knowledge!)  I took for my authority Webster?s
  Unabridged Third Edition (the one that weighs eleven pounds
  and is missing its spine from 50 year?s overuse).  It revealed to
  me the FEE-sit pronunciation. My Oxford Abridged and
  Cassell?s Latin dictionaries were no help whatsoever. Thus I
  thought this was the only English pronunciation.

  FAY-chit does sound better, as all three of my critics pointed
  out, than FEE-sit. I will note both in future writing. (Sorry,
  Martin, I didn?t get the joke of the British comedy skit. You
  got a better funny?)

  [I believe the mispronounced word was "alibi" -Editor]


  I guess everything *is* bigger in Texas, where a man has
  upped the ante on the million cent hoard with a four and and
  half ton pile of Eisenhower dollars.  From the man's press

  "More than twenty years ago, a Texas man's casual hobby
  of throwing aside Ike dollar coins as he ran across them,
  eventually turned into a monstrous collection that he's selling
  as one lot on eBay. The coins, legal tender though they haven't
  been produced by the U.S. mint for more than a quarter
  century, weigh an amazing 8,750 pounds ... almost four and a
  half tons."

  "Aside from the weight, he thinks the most interesting thing
  about the collection is an accumulation of facts he compiled
  about the 175,000 coins. For instance, he says that  if they
  were placed vertically in one single stack, the coins would
  soar 1,458 feet high.  "That's 472 feet taller than the Eiffel
  Tower ... more than two and a half times the height of the
  Washington Monument, and two hundred feet taller than the
  Empire State Building." He also says if they were laid side by
  side on the ground in a straight line, they would be longer
  than 73 football fields end-to-end."

  Full Story


  This week's "News of the Weird" column highlights two
  more nominees for the "Least Competent Criminal"

  "Andre Lamar Henderson, 30, was arrested after allegedly
  robbing a Madison Bank branch in Norristown, Pa., in June
  and coming away with $50; his holdup note had demanded
  "all your hundreds and fifties," and, as the teller later said,
  there was lots of money in the drawer but unfortunately for
  Henderson, no hundreds and only one fifty.
  [Associated Press, 6-15-04]

  And Knute Falk, 54, allegedly robbed a Bank of America in
  Beaverton, Ore., in June but was arrested when his getaway
  was delayed; he had demanded a bank customer's car keys,
  walked out, then returned after a minute or two, with his
  mask off, to ask the customer which key opens the door.
  [Associated Press, 6-18-04]

  Full Story


  This week's featured web site is an article by Mish Webster
  which first appeared in the June 1999 issue of Coin News,
  about Augustin Dupré and the Hercules 5 Francs Piece of

  Featured Web Site
  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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