The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 7, Number 35, August 29, 2004:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2004, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


  Among recent new subscribers is John Frost.  Welcome
  aboard!  We now have 685 subscribers.


  George Kolbe writes: "The American Numismatic Society
  Library Chair Endowment Benefit Auction held in Pittsburgh
  on August 19th was, by almost any measure, a great  success.
  Thanks are due John W. Adams, Chairman of the ANS
  Library  Committee, for his leadership, the donors for their
  important  contributions, and the three dozen or so sale
  attendees who, combined  with a like number of absentee
  bidders, bid often and generously.

  Estimated at around $50,000, the fifty lots in the sale brought
  nearly  $90,000. ANS Librarian Frank Campbell attended
  the sale and may have even blushed a time or two at prices
  that often were more a tribute to his long and faithful
  stewardship than a reflection of the marketplace.  The prices
  realized list and catalogue will be accessible for a short time
  at our web site: Thanks are also due
  E-sylum  editor, Wayne Homren, for his valuable help in
  planning the event."


  Fred Lake writes: "The seventy-sixth mail-bid sale of numismatic
  literature is now available for viewing on our web site at:
  Lake Books Sale #76

  Our catalog features selections from the library of Robert Doyle.
  Bob has been collecting numismatic objects for over 60 years
  and is a specialist in the token and medal field. His library
  consists of some of the hobby's finest research works and he
  now finds the time to allow others to share in the rich rewards
  that these books provide. He is presently completing a new
  book titled "An Index of Communication Tokens of the World".
  It will be the most detailed study ever undertaken in the area of
  collectible tokens of this subject.

  In addition, you will find material in all aspects of numismatic
  research...a complete original set of "Penny-Wise" handsomely
  bound in green buckram, a long run of "The American Journal
  of Numismatics" that contains over 60 issues, draft copies of
  "The Language of Numismatics" produced by PCGS, Leo
  Kadman's four-volume set of early ancient coinage, and a new
  section devoted to banking histories.

  The sale has a closing date of September 28, 2004 and bids
  will be accepted via regular mail, email, fax, and telephone
  until 5:00 PM (EDT) on that date."


  Nick Graver of Rochester, NY sends the following information
  about former Numismatic Bibliomania Society office Frank
  Van Zandt:  "Frank's name was mentioned several times in
  Pittsburgh, and I had to admit that I have not seen him much in
  recent years.  The Rochester Numismatic Association bulletin
  just arrived, mentioning that Frank broke his hip on August 17,
  and was hospitalized at Strong Memorial Hospital here.  No
  details were printed."

  [We all certainly wish Frank a speedy recovery.  If anyone
  has been in touch with him, please keep us informed. -Editor]


  The following are a few excerpts from the Associated Press'
  article on last week's discovery of a 1792 Cent at the American
  Numismatic Association convention in Pittsburgh:

 "The chocolate brown, quarter-sized coin sat in a tobacco can
  for decades, with its owners unaware of the item's history or its

  But on Saturday afternoon, appraisers at the American Numismatic
  Association's World's Fair of Money declared it was a 1792
  American copper penny worth at least $400,000. There are just
  nine coins like it in the world, said Donn Pearlman, spokesman for
  the ANA."

  "A family from New York state, who wished to remain
  anonymous, arranged to have Professional Coin Grading Service
  of Newport Beach, Calif., appraise the coin, Pearlman said."

  "The 1792 copper penny has been called a "silver cent without
  the silver" because it was an experimental coin the new country
  developed before the establishment of the U.S. Mint. Some
  such coins had a silver plug, others were made of an alloy of
  copper and silver and this coin was made of nearly pure
  copper, Bressett said.

  There are less than a dozen coins like it because the piece
  never went beyond the experimental stage, Bressett said.

  Their father found the coin 30 years ago in an old tobacco can
  where their grandfather kept about a dozen other old coins.
  From about 1976 to 1989 their father kept the coin in a small
  safe in a house that he never locked, Pearlman said. "
Full Story


  Alan V. Weinberg writes: "I'm just back from the ANA and
  read my email before retiring.  I see you mentioned the 1792
  fusible alloy pattern cent that appeared at the ANA.

  I know a bit more about it so perhaps the readers will enjoy
  further details. The coin was brought in raw  to the ANA by
  the family owners - I believe 4 people. It had been in the family
  for generations with a distant great-grandfather being a  coin
  collector around the time of the Civil War.

  It was shown to Bob Rhue and Tony Terranova, both of
  whom believed it to be genuine as it had the telltale diagonally
  reeded rim, an esoteric fact not widely known to forgers and
  Tony has handled his share of related 1792 silver center cents.
  Then someone else convinced the family to have it slabbed
  (thus obscuring the key diagnostic reeded rim!) and it was
  walked over to NGC who, at the peak of the day, was no
  longer accepting submissions and told the family to come
  back the next day! So PCGS accepted it and quickly slabbed
  the quite dirty piece as VF-30 without so much as oiling or
  brushing it...which they aren't supposed to do anyway.
  NGC's refusal to slab it got around  quickly - some employee
  really goofed! This was not a Morgan dollar !

  The family was inclined to consign it to auction and considered
  Heritage and American Numismatic Rarities' proposals before
  deciding to take it home and discuss alternatives with other
  family members. Both firms gave their best effort to claim the
  prize for auction, spending considerable time with the owners.

  The Redbook says there are 8 known, now 9. BUT in fact
  there are only 3 indisputably genuine and collectible grade
  pieces known (now 4) - an EF 40 in the Smithsonian, a nice
  VF ex-Norweb, now in my collection and a VF, weak with
  prominent planchet cutter crescent mark , ex-JHU/Garrett,
  in Don Partrick's collection. All other specimens are very
  porous, heavily worn and less than Good condition, one ex-
  Lauder collection and one in the ANA (the Lauder coin?)
  which has been questioned as to authenticity.

  The so-called "fusible alloy"  cent - from the same dies as
  the more "common" silver center cent - supposedly has the
  silver plug alloyed with the copper and thus is known as the
  fusible alloy cent.  It is a great rarity and is as difficult to
  acquire - probably more so - as the 1792 Birch cent
  pattern. Value as a VF -30? Well, the Norweb coin in
  similar condition auctioned for $32,000 plus the buyers fee
  in 1988. So all the publicity claiming it is a $400,000 coin
  may well just be ballyhoo.  Perhaps this estimate is based
  on the fact that a choice Unc 1792 silver center cent
  auctioned in Stack's January 2002  Americana auction for
  $414,000 to a  phone buyer (reputed to be a prominent
  Chicago dealer/collector  well known for his taste for high
  quality great numismatic rarities) . But that is in a condition-
  hyped market and a bimetal coin, more appealing than the
  rarer "fusible alloy" coin. At least that's my opinion.

  I'm also reliably informed a new specimen of a copper
  1792 disme appeared at the show, off the street, but that
  it is seriously marred. And an Ext Fine silver, UNholed
  76 mm Lincoln Indian Peace medal, absolutely genuine,
  also walked in off the street. The owner had no idea as
  to authenticity or value and had played with it as a child.
  Offered $10,000,  he put it back in his sock in
  astonishment and took it home.

  The annual ANA is certainly the place where great rarities
  can appear "out of the woodwork."   What a thrill!"


  Howard A. Daniel III writes: "Before the ANA Convention
   in Pittsburgh, I was not in a good mood because the forms
  were lost for our booth with IBNS and NI, but the meeting
  contractor did process the forms for the NI and IBNS meeting,
  which was in the same envelope.  Someone misplaced the
  booth form?  But Rachel Irish at the ANA came to the rescue
  and matched me up with Ray Czahor of the Philippines
  Collectors Forum and I shared a booth with him.

  [IBNS = International Bank Note Society;
   NI = Numismatic International.  -Editor]

  I arrived on Tuesday at my usual time and went to the bourse
  to help setup the exhibits area but it was already done!  The
  union labor had worked Monday night and had already put
  up all of the tables and cases!  So I went back to my vehicle in
  the   convention center parking garage and brought two loads
  of stuff to booth 15.  During the afternoon Ray and I set up
  our booth with each of us using one half of it, but after his
  forum on Friday, he packed up and departed and I had my
  usual complete booth to split it up between NBS, IBNS and

  During each convention I give away one old Standard Catalog
  of World Paper Money and one old Standard Catalog of World
  Coins to a school-age person who I think shows much more
  than normal enthusiasm for numismatics.  So when I do not have
  many children at the booth, I ask each child and/or parent about
  their ethnic background.

  After they answer, I try to find an IBNS banknote and some
  NI coins that will complement that background, and tell them
  that collecting them and mixing it in with the family history and
  photographs can prove to be more valuable time and money
  spent than just collecting anything else.  There is usually a
  positive response and I continue to talk about how they can
  collect a type set to start, while the child digs through the NI
  box of world coins for his or her ten coins.

  During this convention, a boy of about 12 with some Boy Scout
  things on him came to the table.  I mentioned to him that the
  Boy Scout Coin Collecting Merit Badge now allowed him to
  collect US paper money, world coins and paper money, and
  tokens   to acquire his badge.  He did not know this and got
  quite excited about it.  I asked him what was his ethnic
  background and he said "Jewish."  I told him there were no
  Israeli banknotes in the IBNS stack but there were some coins
  in the NI world coins box.  He really jumped into the box and
  his father assisted him.

  As I talked to them, I could see they could really be interested
  in numismatics, and now more so that the boy could assemble
  an Israeli collection for his merit badge and the father could
  use it to talk to him about their heritage.  So I presented the
  two catalogs to them, and told them why they were getting
  the references.  I also said they were two years old but they
  can still learn something about Israeli coins and paper money,
  and they could create a want list from them.

  Besides buying the general world catalogs in the future, I also
  suggested that they should find some numismatic book dealers
  and buy several specialty catalogs too.  Not only will they
  discover more to collect, but they will find much more
  background information about each piece, and some things
  they can relate to their heritage.  I was very happy to see two
  enthusiastic people leave our booth with a goal of becoming
  numismatists specializing in Israeli coins and paper money.

  During the first few days of the convention, a man come to
  the booth twice and asked me about the NBS function with
  a dinner and a book auction.  It had really slipped my mind
  as to what he was talking about so I could not answer him.
  After his second visit, I walked around and asked some
  people about it until I discovered it was an American
  Numismatic Society function for their library.  I got all of
  the information about it and had it at the booth but the
  man never returned.

  I was planning to attend some of the NBS meetings and
  functions at the convention but I missed every one of them.
  Just as I planned to leave the booth, someone would come
  to it and we would get into a conversation and I would
  remember the meeting after it was over.  I hope everyone
  had a good time at the meetings because I did not.  But I
  did find time to attend a few meetings.

  On Saturday, I was moderator for the IBNS and NI meetings.
  The IBNS meeting had about 30+ attendees and the NI had
  about 10+.  I introducing myself and NI or IBNS and then
  had a show and tell session.  Everyone introduced themselves
  and many briefly talked about a piece they own, or a particular
  project.  Then I gave a talk: You Too Can Write an Article,
  Booklet or Book.  Part of my talk was that periodicals like
  our journal can even use one page articles about one piece,
  so they did not have to start by writing a major piece.  The
  talk was very well received and several of us volunteered
  to be anyone's editor who wants to try their hand at writing.

  For the entire convention, I passed out about 3000 world
  coins for NI and about 300 world notes for IBNS to children.
  My  standard spiel is that I ask them to research them and
  use them for show and tell in one or more of their classes.
  Many of the coins came from the shipment of about 40
  pounds of coins from an NI member who lives near Chicago, '
  and the notes came from several IBNS members, to include

  If I had time, I also asked each adult if he or she was a
  veteran and each child if they had a veteran in their family.
  If yes, I gave them an Military Payment Certificate (MPC)
  or Allied Military Currency (AMC) note and asked them to
  research it, to also talk about it in a class, and show it to the
  one or more veterans in their family.  And I told them they
  could subscribe to the free MPCGram, an emailed newsletter
  about military monies to learn more about them.

  As I have already written, the Girl and Boy Scout Coin
  Collecting Merit Badge has been revised and they can use
  other than U.S. coins to earn their badge.  What I have
  not written about is that some of the work on it was done
  by George Cuhaj, of Krause Publications, who is also a
  Boy Scout advisor.  How many of you have this numismatic
  pamphlet in your library?

  My goal at every ANA is to sign up a total of six people
  for NBS, NI and IBNS.  This time I beat it by one with four (!)
  for NBS,  two for NI and one for IBNS.  And I probably
  found about a dozen more people who wrote down the
  information to subscribe to The E-Sylum!  See you at the
  next ANA Convention!"


  Ray Williams writes: "Could you ask the E-Sylum subscribers
  if anyone has a sample of Mickley's handwriting?  If so, please
  email me at njraywms at"

  [Some volumes of Mickley's diaries exist, and there may
  well be other correspondence or book inscriptions extant.


  Jane L. Colvard, Research Librarian/Archivist at the American
  Numismatic Association writes: "Are you, or any of your
  esteemed readers, aware of any commercial Mexican or
  Latin American numismatic periodicals available by subscription?
  Please advise."

  [I would imagine there are several, but this is out of my
  area of expertise.  Could some of our readers here?


  One interesting item I added to my library this week was
  the 1869 "Report of Supervising Architect of the Treasury
  Department."   The disbound volume contains wonderful
  images of the U.S. branch mints at Carson City, Nevada
  and San Francisco, California, and the Assay Office at Boise
  City, Idaho.  The Mint views are ones I don't recall seeing
  before, although they may well have appeared elsewhere.
  The text notes that construction on the San Francisco mint
  "has commenced," so perhaps this image is based on an
  architect's drawing.  The report also recommends the sale
  of the mint buildings at Charlotte, NC and Dahlonega, GA.
  Like the mint director's reports, the supervising architect's
  reports were an annual affair, so perhaps a set of images
  of all U.S. Mint building could be assembled through these
  reports.  Do any of our readers have a set of these?


  In a letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal discussing
  an earlier articled crediting  Thomas Jefferson with devising
  "the world's first decimal currency system," a reader wrote:

  "Actually, Russia's Peter the Great introduced the modern
  era's first such system when he had his coiners strike rubles
  in the first decade of the 18th century. One ruble equaled
  100 kopeks. Even authoritarian Russians can have good
  monetary ideas and can sometimes teach us Americans a
  thing or two."

   [So who gets the credit for the world's first decimal coinage
  system?  Was it Peter the Great?  Or was there an earlier
  decimal system?  -Editor]


  Having sworn off late nights for the time being now that
  the ANA convention is past, I'll only make short mention
  of a number of other interesting items to cross my desk
  this week.  Readers are welcome and encouraged to
  elaborate on any or all for next week's issue. -Editor

  The Colonial Coin Collectors Club (C4) has just published
  "An Illustrated Catalogue of The French Billon Coinage in
  the Americas" by Robert Vlack, 2004.  I purchased my
  copy at the convention from Ray Williams.

  The Heritage Currency Auctions of America September
  9-10 sale of the Lowell Horwedel Collection of California
  National Bank Notes features a rare original scrip note
  of Emperor Norton I (see lot 15446).

  The American Numismatic Rarities issue #3 of The
  Numismatic Sun (Summer/Fall 2004) includes an article
  by David Fanning, Editor-in-Chief of our print journal,
  The Asylum.  The title is "Collecting Numismatic Literature."

  Steve Carr has photographed the early american copper
  coins in the National Numismatic Collection, and is
  developing a web site devoted to images of the coins
  (per his article in the August 17, 2004 Numismatic News).
  See National Numismatic Collection Early Coppers.

  Russ Sears has published a booklet of "Pre-Civil War
  Baltimore Lotteries."  It is available from the author at
  $20.  Russ Sears, 9323 Waltham Woods Road, Baltimore,
  MD 21234.  (September 2004, Bank Note Reporter,

  Dwight Manley purchased nearly $30,000 worth of
  literature in the recent John J. Ford library sale, and
  donated it to the library of the American Numismatic
  Association. (Coin World, August 30 issue, p32)


  Regarding the New York Times issue numbering mistake
  mentioned last week, Tom DeLorey writes: "Many years
  ago, while I was living in Detroit, the Detroit Free Press
  'fessed up to a spelling error in its masthead that had been
  running, unnoticed, for 109 years!  The name of the paper
  was in a gothic-style type, and it inadvertently read "Vetroit
  Free Press." The error was discovered when a man who
  set type for church hymnals down South came to Detroit
  to visit his sister, noticed the error, and contacted the paper.
  The paper good-naturedly ran the story on the front page."


  This week's featured web site is recommended by Larry
  Mitchell.  "The Fitzwilliam Museum has recently acquired
  one of the finest collections ever formed of Norman and
  Angevin coins dating from 1066 to 1279. It was assembled
  by Dr William Conte, an American geneticist and a leading
  authority on Norman coinage. Dr Conte?s aim was to create
  a representative reference collection of coins in the best-
  possible condition, in order to illustrate the great variety of
  portraits and other designs and the mints at which they were
  struck. The 750 coins include many that are unique or great

  Featured 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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