The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

PREV        NEXT        V7 2004 INDEX        E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 7, Number 38, September 19, 2004:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2004, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


  We had been concerned about Hurricane Ivan having an
  effect on Lake Books in Florida, but the storm skirted the
  Tampa / St. Petersburg area.  Remnants of the storm however,
  caused a lot of havoc up here in Pittsburgh this weekend.
  Those who came along on the recent tour of numismatic
  libraries of Pittsburgh know that my home and Tom Fort's
  home are perched atop hills, far from possible flooding.  But
  nearby low-lying areas were flooded Friday as the region was
  hit with an all-time high one-day accumulation of rain from
  Ivan's aftermath.  Roads our bus traveled on were inundated
  as normally docile creeks flowed many feet above their banks.
  States of emergency were declared in my township and
  county as flooding broke out in every corner of the region.
  Leaving the office early Friday afternoon in a downpour that
  hadn't let up all day, I only made it as far as my Mom's house
  in the city and had to spend the night there.  Bridges and roads
  were closed in all directions, leaving me no way to get home.
  The only direct route was under several feet of water, and
  local television showed a rescue worker riding a Jet-Ski down
  the middle of what used to be a road.   Businesses that our bus
  passed within yards of were devastated.  Driving home
  Saturday morning, what is normally a ten-minute trip took
  over an hour.  The creeks had receded, but the rivers didn't
  crest until Saturday evening, at about six feet over flood
  stage downtown, putting Point State Park (near the Hilton
  Hotel, where many ANA conventioneers stayed) under water.
  What a crazy year for weather.  Good thing this didn't happen
  during the convention - I could have had twenty-nine
  bibliophiles stranded here at the house.  At least we'd have
  had no shortage of reading material!    The roads are open
  again but the affected areas will be a mess for some time.


  Pete Smith writes: "I am surprised you didn't get more
  responses to last week's question.  The author of "Historia
  Numorum" was Barclay Vincent Head."   John Burns also
  chimed in with the correct answer.  Now who can tell us the
  next name?  This gentleman "was a 19th century French
  numismatist.  He was probably most well-known for his
  study of Spanish coinage struck in the time of the Visigoths
  and during the rise of Christianity on the Iberian peninsula.
  He is also known for his volumes on Italian Renaissance
  medals."  (No fair peeking at the page 23 article in the
  Summer 2004 issue of American Numismatic Society
  magazine, which is quoted here.  -Editor)


  John Burns, along with Charles Davis, were the two
  numismatic literature dealers set up at the recent
  American Numismatic Association convention in
  Pittsburgh.   Dave Bowers' article about the convention
  in the September 27th Coin World (p60) mistakenly
  states that "Charles Davis and John Bergman were
  the only two dealers in out-of-print books that set up
  at the show..."    John Bergman's table was a fixture at
  the Long Beach shows for years, and he was a regular
  attendee at ANA conventions as well.  Bergman died
  in October, 2000, and he is sorely missed.  "Big John"
  Burns is a regular dealer at many shows in the northeast
  these days.

  Despite the typo, Dave's article is excellent and makes
  the point that hauling cartons of books to coin shows
  is a hard way to make a living, and these dealers perform
  a great service for the hobby.  He repeated his suggestion
  that "the ANA would do well to encourage more book
  dealers to set up - perhaps by giving them free space.
  Selling out-of-print books helps us all and is every bit as
  "educational" and has all of the same lofty motives as do
  various seminars and exhibits at the show."


  In response to the Paul Bosco "terms of sale" discussion,
  Bob Metzger writes: "I don't "consistently" use minimum
  bids as a guide in auctions, but I do use them "often" for
  items that I am not terribly familiar with, or that are of
  secondary importance in my area(s) on interest. If I can
  get such items at a bargain, I'll take them, but I would not
  pay a premium for them.  And if I do get them at a bargain,
  it is a sale that would have otherwise either not happened,
  or happened at an even lower price. So, is that a Bad

  When it comes to items that I know for certain I want, I
  bid the price that I feel the item is worth to me. That
  amount may range anywhere from minimum bid to 4-5
  times minimum bid. I will typically take a look at what that
  item (or similar items) has brought in sales over the past few
  years, see how that aligns with the value the item will
  provide for me, and bid accordingly.  The perceived value
  it will provide for me varies widely.  For example, a particular
  book may be considered a classic reference an area in which
  I have only modest interest, with only a single chapter devoted
  to an area of high interest to me, in which case I will likely
  be outbid by someone with high interest in the area for
  which the book is considered indispensable. But for a book
  that I consider indispensable in my area(s) of interest, I place
  a strong bid.  The same general evaluation process also
  applies to a coin.  If it's seldom seen, has great eye appeal,
  etc., I'll place a strong bid.

  I understand to some extent the complaint about someone
  always using minimum bids as a guide, in the sense that it
  generates extra work for the seller.  But I think that is just
  part of the cost of doing ANY business that involves selling
  non-essential goods or services. Even in the best economic
  times, people look for bargains.  They look for discounts
  and "deals," and dicker when they can for food, clothing,
  cars, homes, and lots of other things, including numismatic

  Dick Johnson writes: "Last week?s item on bidding etiquette
  was, in effect, polite restrictions on the bidder. When I was
  in the auction business I compiled a list of ten items to AID
  the bidder and included this in all my Johnson & Jensen
  auctions. This list appealed to fellow medal dealer Rich
  Hartzog who asked for permission to publish in his auction
  catalogs.  As in most of all numismatics, other dealers of
  the same specialty are more like friends rather than
  competitors. Permission granted.

  Numismatic auction houses wish to encourage bidders but
  do not want problems. Every auction sale has a "Terms of
  Sale" which every bidder should read.  This will eliminate
  those pesky problems. Every auction house has the right to
  set their own terms. Bidders must accept these terms.

  But how about suggestions to aid your bidding? Here were
  my ten tips:

  1. Examine the entire catalog a minimum of three times.

  2. Mark the lots each time, or make a separate list of the
      lots which interest you.

  3. For the lots you want the most, bid the absolute highest
     amount you would pay. Do not place yourself in the position
    of having to say after the auction "If I had only bid $1 or $10
     [or $100] more I would have won that lot!" Most lots that
     are lost could have been won by one or two more advances.
      ... Note: In most instances you will receive the lot for less
     than this highest amount?depending upon competitive

  4. For less expensive lots?say under $20?you may bid in
      odd-cent amounts. [Most auction houses now demand
      only full dollar amounts.]

  5. Then go through your selected lots again and bid on those
      you would buy if the price were right.  Ask yourself if you
      would buy this lot at  low estimate or below?  [Most auction
      terms reject bids less than half estimate -- waste of time!]

  6. Finally go through the entire catalog again to see if you
      missed anything you really want.

  7. Then total your bids. Very few bidders get everything they
      bid on. But don?t bid over your budget, or your ability to
      pay for any or all on which you bid.

  8. Consider checking the "increase boxes" on the bid sheet
       ("Increase my bid by __%)?if you can afford it. This is a
       technique for advancing your mail bids as if you were
       bidding on the floor in competition with other bidders in
       the auction room. It will only be used if necessary.

  9. Fill out the bid sheet. Be careful with your figures! More
      errors are made in this step than in any other. Remember
      ? you are responsible for every bid on that sheet even if it
     is on the wrong lot, or the wrong amount!  The auctioneer
     must act on the bid sheet; if you give him wrong figures it is
     not his fault. Double check your bid sheet!

  10. Mail early! In every auction tie bids are awarded to the
        earliest received. "


  Arthur Shippee forwarded the following note from the
  Explorator newsletter:

  "One of the biggest finds of Roman coins ever discovered in
  Surrey has been unearthed on a farm at Leigh.

  Almost 60 silver denarii dating back to 30BC were located
  after Martin Adams, a metal detecting enthusiast, received a
  signal on his machine."

  "A short while later, the roofer received two more promising
   signals. He dug down and uncovered two more coins which
   turned out to be about 2,000 years old."

  "Within a few hours, 23 more Roman coins were unearthed,
   together with the scattered fragments of a pot in which the
   money had probably been contained.

  Surrey County Council archaeologist Dr David Bird was
  immediately notified of the find and an official dig of the area
 closest to the pot shards was arranged. The archaeologists
 dug out further silver coins - some at a depth of eight or nine
  inches - and the detectorists located more further afield on the
  same farm.

  The farm, the location of which is not being revealed for fear
  of unauthorised visits by treasure hunters, is owned by the
  county council and is tenanted by a farmer. The fields have
  been ploughed by generations of farmers."


  Louis Jordan has a nice article on colonial lottery tickets
  in the Summer 2004 issue of the C4 Newsletter published by
  the Colonial Coin Collectors Club.  The article is titled
  "Observations on the Massachusetts Bay Lottery of 1745."
  "Colonial lottery tickets are avidly collected.  Along with
  coinage, currency and fiscal papers they can be used to
  give us insight into the ingenuity of the colonists in addressing
  their significant and continual fiscal problems."


  Lane J. Brunner, Ph.D writes: "It is often repeated by
  those who live to quote a nickel's worth of dime-store
  advice that misery loves company. If such vapid popular
  psychology is true, then have I got a story for you. It's a
  whale of  a saga, the substance of which, I am sure, is
  familiar to many of us.  This is just one more open entry
  in the log of any numismatic researcher.

  As readers of the E-sylum I am sure we can all appreciate
  the joy of finding that one detail that helps advance a
  research project or provides that missing shred of information
  that brings together an  area of study. But what if the book
  itself is that elusive prize?  I am not speaking of a rare,
  expensive, high-demand book whose resting  time in a
  dealer's inventory can be measured with a watch, but rather
  the nearly unknown, minor publication from an all but
  forgotten author.  The kind of book that when discussed
  causes even serious  bibliophiles to garner a look not
  dissimilar to a dog tilting his head at an odd sound. The
  kind of book for whose apparent need only a  compulsive
  researcher can fathom. Such a book is my burden.

  Several years ago, far too many years to quantitate and
  not be  embarrassed, I began work on a book about
  United States twenty-cent  pieces. My fascination with
  the series actually derived from the paltry numismatic
  literature on this coin. Namely, the articles,  book,
  columns, and the like I read stated essentially the same
  facts and legends.  Albeit each author's pen was different,
  but like  yesterday's spaghetti, it was the same, nonetheless.
  I knew there  just had to be more to this ephemeral
  denomination than what was in  print at the time.

  After endless tracking, I amassed much of the literature
  on double  dimes, including many primary sources. One
  book still eluded me. Then one bright day I was paging
  through the ANA library catalog, and  there it was; the
  book. The rain stopped, birds sang, and people  began
  using their turn signals. All was right in the world.  A quick
  letter to the ANA and soon, yes, oh so soon, the book
  will on its way  and I will be reading the words.

  The ANA's letter arrived on a dark and stormy night.
  Okay, fine, it  was during the day and it was only a threat
  of clouds; but reality is  far less dramatic. I opened the
  letter only to read that the book,  once resting quietly at
  GB20.R8, was lost. My heart sank, rain poured, birds
  were mute, and people drove erratically. Oh, how can it
  be?  What a cruel twist of fate the literary gods have
  dealt me. What  kind of world do we live in where books
  are lost from libraries? Is  there no end to this suffering?
  Okay, perhaps that is a little too  dramatic. Regardless, I
  was a bit frustrated.

  That was a few years ago and despite numerous hours
  on the web,  conversations with many numismatic literature
  dealers, countless  interlibrary loan requests, and letters
  to every Robert O. Rupp I could track down, this small
  book remains a phantom. This simple,  unpaged book,
  written 37 years ago in Fort Collins, Colorado with the
  unassuming title "The Silver Twenty-cent Piece", still
  remains at  large and has become my white whale.

  [This book has eluded my grasp as well. I tend to
  accumulate every title I can find, and often these odd
  little issues find their way into my library.  Not so with this
  one.  I've never seen the book, and was unaware of its
  existence until now.  If anyone can help locate this title,
  please let us know.  -Editor]


  David Klinger writes: "Howard Daniel made a challenge to
  readers regarding the world's first coins. I thought that issue
  was long resolved by numismatic scholars, as the coins of
  Lydia (c 625 BC).   Is this issue still open for
  discussion/resolution? "

  David included the following text, taken from Eduardo De
  Resendes at the following URL: text

  "World's Oldest and Largest Piece of Currency Housed in
  Greek Museum Despinda Evgenidou, a fiscal archeologist
  and director of the Numismatic Museum in Athens says that
  a 3 foot long, 52-pound (24-kilogram) bronze ``talent'' that
  resembles a steamrolled sheep is the world's oldest known
  form of legal tender currency. It is also the largest. The heavy
  cash used in the 14th century B.C. was known as an ovelos."


  Beth Deisher, Editor of  COIN WORLD writes: "I note a major
  error in Dick Johnson's comments posted in E-Sylum v7#37 for
  September 12.

  The product catalog is  not Coin World's. It is the product
  catalog of Amos Advantage, which is managed by the New
  Products department of the Sales and Marketing Division of
  Amos Hobby Publishing. While we are owned by the same
  parent company, Coin World is a different division. It's the
  same with ANACS. Coin World does not own nor control
  ANACS.  Rather, ANACS is owned and operated by Amos
  Press Inc."


  Dick Johnson writes: "Americans are eschewing the Shoshone
  Sacagawea golden dollars - they don't use them for change,
  retailers don't want to stock them and banks claim there is too
  little demand for the quarter-size coins.

  In Cleveland, Plain Dealer reporter Christopher Montgomery
  reports that the Regional Transit Authority gets 300 to 500
  dollar coins a day, while a local toll booth on the Ohio Turnpike
  may only see five a week.  He quotes West Cuyahoga Coin
  Club president John Schmitt and coin dealer Gino Sanfilippo
  (ABC Art & Coin Exchange in Brecksville), who said "As
  long as people have a choice, they'll go with the bill."

  Sanfilippo noted Canada's success in issuing a dollar coin,
  then eliminating dollar notes.

  Full story: Full Story


  We've occasionally discussed numismatic references in film
  and fiction;  a new short play being staged in Denver, CO is
  called "The Last Gold Eagle" and tells the story of "a retired
  mint worker ... who may or may not have stolen a gold coin ]
  on his way out the door."   Here's a link to a review in the
  Denver Post which calls "The Last Gold Eagle" the best
  among eight new ten-minute plays being staged in honor of
  the tenth anniversary of a local theater company:

 Full Story


  Barbara Gregory, Editor of the American Numismatic
  Association's NUMISMATIST Magazine forwarded
  the following press release:

  "Numismatist, the American Numismatic Association's
  award-winning monthly magazine, serves as a refreshing
  review for experienced collectors and as an introduction
  to essential concepts for the less experienced.  Editor
  Barbara Gregory currently is seeking article submissions,
  particularly on U.S. coinage topics.   Authors receive $.07
  per word, with bonuses available to those who provide
  usable illustrations. Published articles also are eligible for
  ANA literary awards, which include cash prizes of $100
  to $400.    Suggested article length is 1,200 to 2,200 words.
  Send queries or manuscripts to editor at"

  [It was a pleasure working with Barbara and her staff on
  the articles I wrote for Numismatist in the months leading
  up to the August convention in Pittsburgh.  We communicated
  largely by email, making the process fairly painless.  And it
  was a pleasure and a surprise when a check arrived in my
  mailbox - I'd forgotten about the payment.  E-Sylum readers
  have a wealth of numismatic knowledge, and writing for
  Numismatist is a fine way to share that knowledge with a
  wider audience. -Editor]


  Regarding the search for information on G. W. Durfee, Ron
  Haller-Williams writes: "I can't help feeling that Dick may be
  taking too narrow an approach in his reply to the query.  It is
  perhaps unlikely that engravings on prize cups and medals, also
  plates for general printing of pictures and even for postage
  stamps would only have been done by "she_is_now at".

  There is some family tree info worth investigating at
  1. Family Tree
  "George Washington Durfee-[1896] 1 was born on 27 Apr
    1777 in Tiverton, Newport County, RI and died in 1824 in
    Belpre,  Washington County, OH.
    User ID:1896    Source [1] = Charles DURFEE"
   There are then some notes on census and other sources.
   The web page places him in context of the family he was from,
   and he is person #21 listed there.   No occupation shown there.
   May be too early, but he did have a son George ...
  2. More Information
   "In July 1893, Berryman [a cartoonist] married Kate Geddes,
   the daughter of engraver George Washington Durfee."
   3. and more proves
   my point, listing a PHOTO-engraver (Frederick J. Danis, 1904
   -1996) who had attended DURFEE High School!
   Page now missing, search-engine extract is intriguing:
    "... Took over the English mint and was chief engraver and
    master of weights and scales during the Tudor period  ...  other
    relatives did. He married a Hope Durfee. Children: Abraham
    -1715 ..."


  Answering the query about software for authoring numismatic
  texts, Arthur Shippee writes: "It's probably best to learn what
  your publisher wants first.  Prior to that, keep it simple and
  something you're comfortable with.

  If it's text that you have to send as an attachment, try RTF
  or TXT formats;  if it's graphics, send it low-res. (72 dpi for
  the screen) first, unless you know they want and expect a big
  file.  Simpler formats should do at earlier stages, and then
  you'll discuss more finished products."

  Chris Hopkins writes: "The answer to Dan Gosling's question
  is -- it depends. Is the document for submission to a journal
  or a job going to the local print shop? Regardless, I
  recommend he create his document in the word processing
  or publishing software with which he is most comfortable and
  deliver it to his editors or publishers in a format that they
  accept. You must ask in advance.

  I have done a bit of publishing including several books plus
  numerous newsletters and articles. From my experience, the
  universal solution for print shop documents is the Adobe PDF
  format. While I personally prefer to work in Microsoft Word
  2003 or Microsoft Publisher, I use Adobe's Acrobat program
  to prepare those documents for printing. Essentially, the PDF
  is an electronic image of a "printed" document and is almost
  universally accepted by professional print shops as well as
  your local quick print shop (Kinko's, Sir Speedy, etc.).
  Adobe has wisely put their PDF specification in the public
  domain and there are cheaper competing programs.

  In the PDF you can embed images and specialty fonts to
  insure the final printed document has the exact appearance
  of your original work whether your print shop has a copy
  of your fonts or not. If the exact size of an image -- a coin
  at 1:1 scale, for example -- is important, be aware that the
  print shop may zoom the page image to fit the paper and
  you must discuss that possibility before printing, and include
  a scale ruler in the document to obtain accurate reproduction.

  If you deliver your document in any other format than a
  PDF with embedded fonts, you must ensure that your
  publisher has the same fonts. This is absolutely crucial if
  you are using an unusual specialty font.

  Another advantage of the Adobe Acrobat program is that
  it can also make a version of your document suitable for
  use as web pages on the Internet. These have a lower
  resolution than the print job files, but are quite acceptable
  for display on the 72 or 96 dpi low resolution screens
  most of us use with our computers."


  Regarding last week's item about the Danish man who "was
  sentenced to 25 days in jail after trying to buy a pizza with
  fake banknotes," Morten Eske Mortensen writes:
  "I think you also ought to (much more important) report the
  Jail sentence of 30 days to a Scandinavian (Danish) coin
  professional for "capitalizing on a buyer's delusion".
  That is a jail sentence of wide repercussions for the coin,
  second hand, antique and auction businesses!"

  "The jail time was in this particularly case fixed as low as
  'only' 30 days and furthermore the sentence was 'only'
  suspended because of the fact, that the buyer had acted
  "very incautious" and also the convicted had a previous
  clean penalty list. The probation time was fixed at 1 year
  (opposed to the 2 years demanded by the Counsel for the

  "The specific deal judged was about 5 Wilcke/Rubow-books
  with pasted, special banknote-"offprints".  The sentenced
  professional person had not created the buyer's delusion -
  "only" "capitalized on the delusion"....  A Judge emphasized,
  that the convicted ought to have known better. The convicted
  had been a professional for half a year. The selling party has
  a special responsibility to ensure, that the buyer does not
  "suffer from a delusion".

Full Story

Additional Story


  From NewsScan Daily, September 16, 2004
  Newton Story

  "With the goal of eradicating the all-too-common fear of
  mathematics, British science writer Karl Sabbagh offers the
  following story:

  "The popular idea of mathematics is that it is largely concerned
  with calculations. What many people don't realize -- and
  mathematicians at parties have given up correcting them -- is
  that mathematicians are often no better calculators, and
  sometimes worse, than the average nonmathematician. An
  incident during my first meeting with the Franco-American
  mathematician Louis de Branges illustrates that nicely. We
  were discussing the idea that mathematicians did all their best
  work when they were young, and I asked him when he had
  some particular insight. 'Let's see,' he said. 'It happened in 1984
  and I was born 1932. So was I over fifty? How old was I
  then... ?' He thought for a while, wrestling with the problem as
  if it were the Riemann Hypothesis itself, and then gave up
  (because the exact figure was unimportant, not because he
  couldn't  do it). Even the giants of mathematics suffer from
  this minor disability: 'Sir Isaac Newton,' said one observer,
  'though so deep in algebra and fluxions, could not readily
  make up a common account: and, when he was Master of the
  Mint, used to get somebody else to make up his accounts
  for him.'"


  This week's featured web site is a digital version of Barclay
  Head's Historia Numorum: Barclay Head's Historia Numorum

  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.

PREV        NEXT        V7 2004 INDEX        E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

NBS Home Page    Back to top

NBS ( Web