The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 7, Number 43, October 24, 2004:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2004, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


  Last week I asked, "Do any of our readers have recollections
  about Mr. Mildenberg?"   In response, Dave Kellogg writes:
  "I only met him once but knew immediately that he was a
  person deserving respect and admiration.  The occasion was
  a small numismatic convention in Boston several years ago.
  He gave a presentation about ancient coinage in which he
  showed many photographs.  Two in particular made an
  impression on me.  They were photos of two ancient coins,
  both from the same issue, but different strikes or examples.
  One coin had no visible sign of wear; the other had obviously
  seen many hands in its lifetime but was still in noteworthy
  condition and had a sense of "character".  He mentioned that
  a collector might immediately opt for the coin in better
  condition (the sterile one), but then made a persuasive case
  for the other coin.  It has no defects, he said, has nothing
  missing, and "it sings to me".  That simple advice has helped
  me immensely in appreciating ancient coins."


  Time to wrap up our quiz about the names of famous
  numismatists inscribed on the walls of the former American
  Numismatic Society building in New York.

  Bruce Burton of Round Rock, Texas writes: "I believe that
  the Russian numismatist's name you've been seeking is Ivan
  Georgievich Spasskii."

  Not correct.  Dave Lange writes: "I'm puzzled by the lack of
  replies to the contest regarding names on the ANS building,
  since the entire roster is given in the most recent issue of the
  ANS magazine. I received this perhaps three weeks ago.
  Doesn't anyone read it?  The Russian numismatist is
  Christian Martin Fraehn (1782-1851)."

  [Actually, since I'm using the ANS article as my source for
  the quiz, our readers weren't supposed to peek.  But no one
  came up with the answer, so it's time to go back to the article
  and publish the complete list.   The honorees are:

  Joseph Hilarius Eckhel (1737-1798)
  Vincent Barclay head (1844-1914)
  Aloiss Heiss (1820-1893)
  Joachim Lelewel (1786-1861)
  Christian Martin Fraehn (1782-1851)
  Sylvester Crosby (1831-1914)

  Thanks for your participation - this has been an interesting
  and enlightening exercise.  -Editor]


  Excerpts from the press release:

  BULGARIA"  by Ilya Prokopov and Eugeni Paunov.
  (='Coin Collections and Coin Hoards from Bulgaria' no. 3),
  wholly in English, format 16°, 88 pp., glossy black paperback,
  112 coins in bronze, silver and gold, 27 casts, 14 pages in
  full color.  Sofia, SP&P Publishing, October 2004.
  ISBN 954-91396-4-6. Publisher's Price: US $24.00."

  "This is the third book on the counterfeits of ancient coins
  from present-day Bulgaria. In 1997, a team of three co-authors
  lead by Dr Prokopov prepared and edited a first small book
  of fake coins, which was subsequently published in Sofia. The
  present catalogue is a result of that continuing initiative and

  In this format (22.5x14.5 cm) a large group of modern and
  ancient cast forgeries of Greek and Roman coins coming from
  Bulgaria is published. 112 coins in gold, silver, copper and
  bronze are catalogued and illustrated with nice black & white
  photos in chronological and geographic principle. For the
  first time a group of 15 coins and details are presented in full
  color. In the beginning, authors show 11 Roman contemporary
  cast coins from Moesia - 5 asses and 11 denarii. Next a
  pseudo-hoard of fake and genuine Roman Imperial coins -
  consisting of 2 aurei and 74 denarii, is shown. The Bulgarian
  police authorities at the customs deprived it in the fall of 2003.
  From the total number of coins, 6 specimens are Greek and
  Macedonian (4 in silver, 2 in bronze); 83 Roman (Republican
  - 1 denarius; Imperial: - 82 (3 in gold, 80 in silver, 11 in bronze,
  1 in lead). A special section of the catalogue is devoted to a
  modern rubber/plastic negative matrix for making imprints of
  cast models of Roman Imperial denarii. All are illustrated in
  detail and commented."

  For contacts and direct orders:

  SP & P Publications Ltd.
 Mr Stoyan POPOV
  SP & P Publications Ltd.
  email: ;
   or .
  Direct online orders: Direct online orders


  Arthur Shippee forwarded a very short item from The New
  York Times about a new numismatic display in Berlin:

  "After six years and $6.9 million in renovations, the coin collection

  of the Bode Museum will be redisplayed today on Berlin's historic
  Museum Island. More than 500,000 coins, from Greece in 600
  B.C. to the present, will be on view. The entire renovation of the
  Bode Museum, with its sculpture collection, Byzantine art and
  children's gallery, is scheduled for completion by 2006 at an
  estimated cost of $131 million.

  Bode Museum Article

  Another note on the same subject came from Chris Hoelzle of
  Laguna Niguel, CA.  He writes: "My wife who is always looking
  out for me on topics of coins and numismatic literature spotted the
  following short article in the Los Angeles Times Travel section -
  from the Associated Press:

 "The coin collection of the Bodemuseum will reopen to the public
  after a six-year, $6.9-million renovation, giving visitors a look at
  "Germany's greatest treasure chest of old money," said city
  museum director Peter Klaus Schuster. The collection includes
  Greek Coins from 600 BC."

  I found the following website which announces the opening (in


  Gregg Silvis writes; "In a recent Penny-Wise article, I
  proposed some possible purchasers of  the William Colgate
  Eaton Collection of Half Cents.  Bob Yuell has  proposed
  "Colonel" Edward Howland Robinson Green as a possible
  candidate.  Bob writes,  "He [Green] died of heart disease
  in Lake  Placid, NY on June 8, 1936. This means he was
  alive in June 1928 to  purchase the collection and owned a
  home in Massachusetts -- close enough to receive the June
  1928 Guttag's Coin Bulletin within 24 hours.

  In the John Ford Reference Library Part I auction on
  6/1/2004 by Kolbe, there is an inventory of the Green
  Collection. That would be lot #518.  It sold for $37,000.
  In this lot it says 'His numismatic holdings were  amassed
  on a scale exceeded by few, and the truly remarkable
  inventory present here confirms it.'  It also says '..... which
  are arranged by  date of acquisition'."

  Would the purchaser of this lot be willing to contact me
  (gregg at to further pursue this idea?"

  [Penny-Wise is the journal of the Early American Coppers
  club.  -Editor]


  Last week, I asked about a book by J. Chitty concerning bank
  note laws.  A little more digging turned up 49 different entries for
  editions of the book as recent as 1983.

  The full title is: "Treatise On The Law Of Bills Of Exchange
  Checks On Bankers Promissory Notes Bankers Cash Notes
  And Bank Notes", by Joseph Chitty

  Three editions were published between 1803 and 1965 in
  English.    The initial edition was about British check and note

  A later edition published between 1839 and 1880 adds
  "... With References To The Law Of Scotland France And
  America" to the title.

  So where did I find these entries?  See the next item about


  "Founded as the Research Libraries Group in 1974, RLG is
  a nonprofit membership corporation of universities, national
  libraries, archives, and other memory institutions with
  remarkable collections for research and learning. We
  collaborate on projects that bring these collections online,
  help deliver them around the world, and support their
  preservation in digital form.

  RedLightGreen is one of our newest projects. It is designed
  specifically for undergraduates using the Web-and the
  libraries that support them. delivers
  information from RLG members about more than 130 million
  books for education and research; and it links students back
  to their campus libraries for the books they select."



  Dave Bowers writes: "Concerning Dick Johnson, in 1957 his
  numismatic dealer directory was very well done and well
  received.  It was easy to read, nice typography, and, now,
  over 45 years later it provides a nice window on numismatic life,
  dealer-wise, in 1957.  That seems so long ago, but in other
  ways it was like yesterday. The ANA convention that year was
  in Philadelphia, and both Jim Ruddy and I had long LINES of
  people at our bourse table waiting for turns to see us!"


  Bill Spengler of Colorado Springs writes: "Too bad that Pete
  Smith narrowed his "quest to identify the thickest numismatic
  book" with the parenthetical qualifier "by page count" for I
  may have in my library literally the thickest numismatic tome
  by linear measurement.  However, if page count is the basic
  criterion for "thickness", then my book falls well short of many
  cited by others, especially the Krause SCWCs.  But if Pete
  should accept bound manuscripts as a category of numismatic
  books separate from printed ones, mine would certainly rate
  high in both thickness and page count.

  Because my book is so unusual -- in fact unique by definition
  -- I think it merits reporting to Numismatic Bibliomaniacs
  anyway.  It is a manuscript of 890 pages entitled simply
  "ORIENTAL COINS" written in black ink in a very legible,
  even elegant hand, on heavy paper measuring 8"x10"
  watermarked variously "A Pirie & Sons/1905" (sometimes
  1908) or "POLTON/AIR-DRIED/VELLUM".  It is bound
  in red leather and weighs seven pounds.  Its thickness cover-
  to-cover is 4 inches, the pages alone being 3 1/2 inches thick.
  It contains 1683 coin types and sixteen amulets.  In style it
  comprises actual-size photographs of obverse and reverse
  of each type pasted onto the even (lefthand) pages with full
  attributions written on the odd (righthand) pages, from one
  to as many as twenty coins per pair of pages.  A few pages
  are blank, apparently to allow insertion of additional coin types.

  In content the manuscript covers, in a more or less West-to-
  East geographical orientation, "Oriental" coins of the Umayyad
  ("Amawi" per Lane-Poole) and Abbasid Arabs, Samanids/
  Ghaznavids/Seljuqs, various Turkish dynasties through the
  Ottomans, Ilkhans ("Mongols of Persia"), ancient and Islamic
  dynasties of India and Afghanistan, then Indo-Greeks, Indo-
  Scythians, Sassanians, Ceylon, Siam, Burmah. Tibet and
  Japan, ending with 230 pages on China.  It manages to
  present in passing quite a few unusual and well-preserved
  coin types.

  Unfortunately, the author/scribe is not identified and the
  manuscript offers little evidence as to whom he might have
  been.  It does bear an attractive bookplate of the FREDERICK
  ESSEX INSTITUTE of Massachusetts with a facing portrait,
  presumably of Mr. Ward, above a Chinese-style building
  flanked by five Chinese characters meaning "Ever Victorious
  Army of China"..  This bookplate also contains a minuscule
  notation "S.L.S. Feb. 1910" which probably indicates the
  book's acquisition and possibly even the donor.  There is
  also a letter from the Department of Coins and Medals,
  British Museum, to Messrs. Spink & Son Ltd., dated 24/7/11,
  signed by the famed British Museum keeper J(ohn) Allan,
  attributing an Arabic coin in the book, bound into the
  pertinent page!

  As for its provenance after the Essex Institute (which I believe
  disposed of its numismatic holdings some years ago), it was
  sold in Kolbe Auction No. 9 at the 1981 COIN convention in
  California, bringing a reported $2,600; and again in the second
  Kolbe-Spink USA sale at the NYINC in December 1983 --
  where I acquired it surprisingly for a mere fraction of the
  earlier PR.  I loaned it to the ANA Library for study for a few
  years after 1984.

  Can anyone top this for a bound manuscript in thickness, weight
  and rarity?  And if anyone can shed further light on the possible
  author of this manuscript, on "S.L.S." or on the manuscript itself,
  I would be grateful."


  As suggested by one of our readers, let's now consider
  the topic of thinnest numismatic book.

  Pete Smith, who kicked off this line of discussion in the first
  place, writes: "Over the weekend I bought Weimer White's
  book on coin chemistry. The book is hardbound but the
  thickness of the covers appears to equal the thickness of the
  pages. Perhaps not the thinnest numismatic book but still
  quite thin."

  Bruce Burton writes: "Regarding thinnest "books", I nominate
  the Numismatist reprint of Copper Coins of Norway by O.P.
  Eklund, which has only five printed pages and two of those
  are "plates".  It seems like one of the Frank Lapa books was
  also quite thin, and another of his, on Vatican Coins is among
  the thinnest I've seen that is hardbound. "

  Mark Borchardt's nomination is: "Any single sheet broadside."

  [Can't get much thinner than that, can we?  I have a November
  9th, 1866 broadside of a sale of "Coins, Book, &C." in a
  frame on the wall above my desk.  QUICK QUIZ:  Can anyone
  tell us the name of the consignor or auctioneer?  How about the
  description of lot number 1?  (I didn't say it would be an easy
  quiz, but we'll find out if anyone else out there has this one...


  Mike Marotta writes: "The presentations on coining technology
  are always interesting.  On the matter of roller presses, I
  happen  to have several coins from the Malcontents Revolt.
  (My maternal grandparents were Hungarian.)  The smaller
  coins and the larger seem to be struck in the usual way.  The
  ten poltura, however, is obviously the result of being rolled.
  As noted, it does have flash from being cut after striking.
  Now, I have a question about what this says about "reverse"
  and "obverse." The cut is clearly from the side with the shield
  and date, and toward the side with the crest and legend."


  Mike Marotta writes: "On the question of software, editing the
  Michigan State Numismatic Society Mich-Matist, I chose
  Microsoft Publisher because that is what is on this machine.
  Having been with Word since 2.0, I should have chosen that,
  but I thought I would learn something new. Publisher is not
  half bad and having completed two issues with it, I am more
  satisfied than I expected to be.  One problem with Publisher,
  very basic for what we do, is that there is no such thing as a
  "round box."  So, pictures of coins always have square

  I used QuarkXpress for a year at Coin World.  I learned
  PageMaker in a community college class.  Both are more
  powerful than Publisher, and QuarkXpress would be my
  preference.  However, that would be overkill for most club
  newsletters, even the 30-page MichMatist.  Now, I am
  getting ready for a project with Adobe InDesign, the new


  Earlier, we published items about how governments have
  worked with makers of copiers and scanners to embed
  anti-counterfeiting mechanisms in their products.    The
  BBC published an article this week about how scientists
  are learning how to match up documents with the particular
  printer that produced them.

  "That staple of crime novels - solving a case by identifying the
  typewriter used to write a ransom note - is being updated for
  the modern day.

  US scientists have discovered that every desktop printer has
  a signature style that it invisibly leaves on all the documents
  it produces.

  They have now found a way to use this to identify individual
  laser printers.  The work will help track down printers used to
  make bogus bank notes, fake passports and other important

  "In 11 out of 12 tests, the team's methods identified which
  model of desktop laser printer was used to print particular

  "We also believe that we will be able to identify not only
  which model of printer was used but specifically which printer
  was used," Professor Delp said."

  "For a company to make printers all behave exactly the same
  way would require tightening the manufacturing tolerances to
  the point where each printer would be too expensive for
  consumers," he said.

  "We extract mathematical features, or measurements, from
  printed letters, then we use image analysis and pattern-
  recognition techniques to identify the printer," said Professor

  The team is also working on ways to manipulate printers so
  they lay down ink with more easily identifiable signatures."

  To read the full article, see: Full Article


  Dick Johnson writes: "Seldom do I criticize the design of a
  foreign coin. One of the strangest coin designs was announced
  recently, October 4, 2004.  It is an eight-Euro coin from
  Portugal. I understand people in Europe love soccer. Pardon
  me, football! They issued a new coin, struck by the
  Portuguese Mint, they call it "The Passion for Football."

  The obverse looks like Lawrence Welk?s bubble machine
  gone wild below an inverted pyramid.

  The reverse is, well, half a hundred hearts and flowers --
  without the flowers ? and with the hearts in as many misshapen
  ways to bend a heart as the designer could make.

  Pray tell me where is the symbolism for football? I get the
  symbols for passion, if bubbles and rubber hearts idealize

  The coin was exhibited at the "Vicenza Numismatica" coin
  show in Italy this week. The "Passion for Football" eight-Euro
  coin design was up for a prize to have been awarded October
  16th. The vice president of the Portuguese Football
  Federation was ecstatic about the coin. "We feel this is another
  proof of the dimension of the success of EURO 2004 beyond
  the football pitch," said Angelo Brou. "This coin represents
  exactly the love and passion of this country about football."

  Kick this one into the net. Click on: Kick


  On a different topic, Dick Johnson writes: "We have all seen
  their ads. Full pages wanting to buy gems, jewelry, gold, silver
  and coins! My mouth popped open this Sunday morning at
  who is sponsoring the latest buying action ? J.C. Penny!

  "We are buying; 3 days only!" screamed the headlines. The
  desiderata was illustrated. Diamonds, jewelry, silver, watches
  all had small pictures. Coins were pictured twice the size of all
  others. Silver dollars, gold, even subsidiary silver were shown.
  "We want U.S. gold & silver coins & currency" reads the

  The pitch is aimed at senior citizens. "Quit insuring it, dusting it,

  hiding it or worrying how your kids will dispose of it." Another:
  "I certainly couldn't expect to wear this to the mall or take it
  to the nursing home!" Easy targets!

  Formerly these itinerant buyers would set up in a suite of
  motel rooms for a couple days, then move on.  If mainstream
  retailers are now involved ? they are undoubtedly receiving a
  piece of the buying action. But don?t expect to buy the
  acquired silver dollars and gold coins at the jewelry counter
  of your nearest J.C. Penny store."

  [When I was a wee lad just starting to collect coins, the major
  downtown Pittsburgh department stores (Gimbel's, Kaufmann's)
  had coin departments.  At the time, many major department
  stores had such departments.  So maybe it's time to revive the
  concept, but just why did the practice die out in the first place?
  People still shop in department stores and malls, but few coin
  stores are seen.  It is just that the rent became too expensive
  to allow a coin business to thrive?  Were the stories worried
  about liability issues?  Also, does anyone have recollections
  of the Golden Age of department store coin shops?  -Editor]


  The BBC News also reported on confusion caused by a
  signature change on the new Euro notes:

  "Berlin police have reassured citizens worried about an
  unfamiliar signature on their new euro notes that the money
  is genuine, news agencies report.

  The police issued a statement pointing out that the signature
  is that of European Central Bank president Jean-Claude

  Mr Trichet's name has replaced that of his predecessor,
  Wim Duisenberg, on recently-issued Euro notes.

  Many Berliners had approached police believing the money
  to be counterfeit."

  [People do look at their money, I guess.  We don't seem to
  have this problem in the U.S - perhaps it's because signature
  changes here are a frequent occurrence.  How often have the
  signatures on Euro currency changed?  Is this the first time?


  Nick Graver writes: "I just heard that a librarian friend is
  giving coins to children on Halloween!

  Nickels to the smaller children, and a plastic bag of five
  foreign coins to those old enough to read and possibly take
  an interest in history, geography, and coinage!

  Now isn't that a neat way to avoid problems with candy,
  and to start children as coin collectors, with no dental or
  dietary concerns!  He bought foreign coins in bulk and
  leftovers will keep till next year.

  Even though this great history buff seeks no recognition for
  his idea, here is  A Big Thanks to "Mr. S." who is not even
  a coin collector!"


  There seems no end to the stories of incompetent bank robbers
  and counterfeiters.  This week, Reuters published an article
  about how "Two clumsy German thieves bungled their bank
  robbery after one dropped his gun which fell apart when it hit
  the floor and a customer shouted "it's a fake," prompting them
  to flee the scene empty handed."

  "On their way out of the bank they dropped another gun," the
  police spokesman said. The gun left behind was real enough
  but did not function and could not be fired."

  To read the full story: Full Story

  Reuters also published the following story datelined Zagreb:
  "A Croatian armed robber abandoned a bank hold up after
  the cashier laughed at his order to stick 'em up, state news
  agency Hina reported on Thursday."

  "Knowing she was behind a bulletproof glass, the clerk
  laughed  heartily, rang her boss to say she was being robbed
  and asked him to call the police," Zagreb police spokeswoman
  Gordana Vulama told the agency.

  The humiliated robber turned and took to his heels, she added."

  To read the full story: Full Story


  This week's featured web site is recommended by Kavan
  Ratnatunga, who writes:

  "Looking for information on US coins I found an interesting
   online resource which I had not seen any reference to,
   although the US Mint Freedom of Information Act
   Electronic Reading Room seems to have been online
   since Sept 2001."

   Electronic Reading Room

  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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