The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 7, Number 44, October 31, 2004:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2004, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


  Among recent new subscribers is Isabelo Toledo.
  Welcome aboard!  We now have 696 subscribers.


  George Kolbe writes: "I just learned that Frank Van Zandt
  passed away Saturday morning, October 30th, after long
  being ill. In a field filled with unusual and remarkable people,
  Frank stood out from his peers. A collector all his life, Frank
  was past president of the Rochester Numismatic Association
  and also served the Numismatic Bibliomania Society as

  Over the past fifteen years, Frank formed an outstanding
  numismatic library.  Coming from an old-time numismatic
  family, Frank was deeply engrossed in American numismatics
  but his interests ranged far wider than that and he sought and
  obtained key numismatic works in an impressive number of
  other areas. At heart, Frank was a historian, and perhaps his
  first love was his extensive library centering on New York
  and early American history, particularly as it relates to native

  In some ways Frank was like Jack Collins. Opinionated and
  pugnacious at times, Frank, like Jack, had a heart of gold and
  was a valued friend.  He truly loved his family. His wife of 31
  years, Barbara, was his treasure. He was devoted to her and
  often commented to me that she was the brains of the family,
  though those who knew him are well aware that this "simple
  farmer" from upstate New York was certainly not lacking in
  that department. He likewise doted on his only son Bill.

  Bill Coe forwarded an following obituary notice from the
  from the Sunday, October 31, 2004  Democrat and Chronicle
  newspaper, of Rochester, NY:

  October 30, 2004  Livonia, NY, Age 55

  Friends may call Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2-4, 7-9 p.m. at Kevin
  W. Dougherty Funeral Home, Inc., Route 15, Livonia, NY,
  where services will be held Wednesday, Nov. 3 at 10:00 a.m.
  Burial, Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, Geneseo, NY.   Friends
  wishing may make memorial contributions to the Geneseo
  Dialysis Center, C/O Noyes Memorial Hospital, Dansville,
  NY 14437.

  Visitation hours are on Tuesday, from 2:00 to 4:00 and 7:00
  to 9:00 PM. Funeral services will be held at 10:00 AM on
  Wednesday, November 3rd, at the Kevin Dougherty Funeral
  Home, 21 Big Tree Street, Livonia, New York, 14487.
  Tel: (585) 346-5401."


  E. Tomlinson Fort, Editor of our print journal, The Asylum,
  writes: "After numerous delays, most involving changes to the
  cover or my "real" job, the 25th anniversary issue of The
  Asylum was mailed to members on Friday.  With luck,
  NBS members should start receiving their issue by the end
  of the week. Those who purchased our limited edition
  hardcover will have to wait a few weeks longer. The copies
  were shipped to the bindery at the same time and it will take
  them two or three weeks to complete the work.

  Finally, as always, I need material for the Fall issue and
  beyond. Several people talked to me about possible
  submissions at the ANA and none of these have yet to
  reach my mail box (either in cyberspace [etfort at]
  or P.O. Box 77131, Pittsburgh, PA  15215)."


  David Fanning of Fanning Books (also the Editor-in-Chief
  of The Asylum) writes: "My third fixed price list of numismatic
  literature will be published in the next week. The 32-page
  catalogue features important 19th- and 20th-century U.S.
  material, including items from the libraries of Joel Orosz and
  Wayne Homren. Rarities include a copy of the first article on
  a numismatic subject ever published in the United States
  (James Mease, 1821); runs of the Historical Magazine and
  Frossard's Numisma; early works by John K. Curtis and
  sales by Bangs; and interesting and scarce publications by
  the various firms headed by Q. David Bowers. The free
  catalogue is available in hard copy (limited quantities) or in
  PDF format and can be requested from David Fanning at
  fanning32 at

  David F. Fanning
  Fanning Books
  P.O. Box 6153
  Columbus, OH 43206 "


  Tom Sheehan writes: "I am meeting this weekend with Neil
  Shafer and Doug Corrigan in Santa Barbara to coordinate
  our efforts in researching and publishing a catalogue of the
  Panic scrip of 1893, 1907 and 1914.  Could you again ask
  the esylum readers for assistance. We could use listings of
  scrip in their collections, photos and contemporaneous
  articles on the subject.

  The last time we did this several people responded and I
  hope more will come forward this time.  I have keep the
  names of the people who replied and will be sure to
  acknowledge them.

  Reply to ThomasSheehan at or write to me at
  P. O. Box 1477, Edmonds, WA  98020-1477
  Thanks, Tom."


  Tom's request for information on Panic scrip is timely.
  A few weeks ago I acquired an interesting pair of volumes
  for my library.  They are bound volumes of Sound Money,
  a periodical produced by the Sound Currency Committee
  of the Reform Club (Vol II/III, 1895/1896, Vols VI/VII,

  The Reform Club was an organization formed during the
  great "currency question" debates of the William Jennings
  Bryan presidential candidacies.  Although I generally shy
  away from the literature of this era for fear that the politics
  distorts the writing, I was delighted to find a number of
  straightforward articles relating to the history of money and
  currency.  The one which first caught my eye is in the
  February 15, 1895 issue (Vol. II, No. 6), titled "The
  Currency Famine of 1893" by John Dewitt Warner.  The
  20-page article illustrates 48 specimens of the 1893 panic
  scrip.  I've never seen this many 1893 notes illustrated in
  one place - this may be the most comprehensive listing
  ever compiled prior to the work now underway.

  Other articles in the volume discuss the bank currency of
  various states, Canada and Scotland, as well as compilations
  of coinage laws.  The March 15, 1896 issue  (Vol. III, No. 8)
  has an 8-page page article by Simon W. Rosendale on
  "Wampum Currency: The Story Told by the Colonial
  Ordinances of New Netherlands."


  Joe Ciccone, American Numismatic Society Archivist writes:
  "I am happy to announce the launch of a new website on the
  history of ANS publishing.  Located at History of ANS Publishing
  the site is designed to serve as a quick reference resource for
  all the monograph series and periodicals published by the
  ANS since its inception in 1858.   (Please note that
  monographs not published as part of a series are not included,
  but will be added shortly.)

  Visitors to the site can find, for each series or periodical, a
  brief paragraph describing the series or periodical and, for
  series, a list of all titles.  In addition, an image of the first issue
  of each series or periodical is included."


  John W. Adams writes: "In his 1957 paper on the Dupre
  material at the American Philosophical Society, Carl Zigrosser
  mentions a four page pamphlet, published in 1783, describing
  the Libertas Americana medal. .Zigrosser also mentions an
  engraved broadsheet explaining the medal, illustrating the copy
  belonging to the APS. Have your readers ever seen copies of
  the pamphlet or other copies of the broadsheet?"


  Mike Marotta writes: "On the Usenet newsgroup
  rec.collecting.coins,  Roger DeWardt Lane asked about a
  medal designed by Victor D. Brenner.  (Lane is the author of
  "Modern Dime Size Coins of the World", a CD which won
  the 2003 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for for Best
  Software.)  Lane found the medal at a swap meet.  The
  obverse shows a woman reading a manuscript;  in the exergue
  is "For Fine Craftsmanship." The reverse says "Haney Medal
  Awarded 1940 by the School Art League of New York City"
  with "Medallic Art Co." below.  Brenner's name is vertical
  along the left side of the obverse.  Lane asked, "Who was

  Searching the Worldwide Web via Google, I put together a
  long reply and posted it to RCC in the thread "Does anyone
  know who HANEY was?"   Here is a synopsis:

  James Parton Haney was an art educator.  He is associated
  with the School Art League of New York City. He had at
  least one exhibition of his own drawings in Chicago  March
  15 thru April 2, 1917.  He edited a book in 1908 titled: "Art
  Education in the Public Schools of the United States." You
  can see Haney's work at the John H. Vanderpoel Art
  Association in Chicago. Dr. Mary Ann Stankiewicz (Penn
  State) said in the Caucus on Social Theory and Art Education
  maillist newsletter: "...Frank Alvah Parsons and Henry Turner
  Bailey and James Parton Haney who believed they had
  qualifications that insured their superiority over female
  teachers of art and art amateurs..."
  (More Info)

  While I was uploading that, Bust coin enthusiast, Byron L.
  Reed, posted this: "It might be James Parton Haney, a

  The medal can be seen at Medal Image "


  K. Bestwick of the U.K. writes: "I have been really
  interested in your comments about the Duval-Janvier
  reducing machine and have tried to do a little research
  myself but Janvier is proving to be very elusive and
  Duval impossible. I would like to know how Janvier
  started his company and whether he was related to the
  clockmaker Antide Janvier.   I have discovered that his
  premises at 64 rue du Faubourg St Denis in Paris are
  now used as a mosque but little else as yet."


  Bill Bischoff writes: "People are best advised to go to the
  German site concerning the Bode exhibition, as given by
  Chris Hoelzle.  When I saw the figure of 500,000 coins on
  display in an earlier entry I knew that something was very
  wrong: even in its new headquarters, the ANS would have
  to take over a dozen blocks or more to exhibit half a
  million coins!  The correct figure, given on the German
  website, is ca. 2000  coins.  The rest of the text details the
  holdings of the collection (which, in toto, come to ca.
  500,000).  Anyway, who can absorb 2000 coins at one
  viewing, not to mention 25 times that many?
  Ars longa, vita brevis est."

  Alan V. Weinberg writes: "Regarding the segment on Berlin's
  Bode Museum exhibition of coins:

  In the summer of 1966 I toured Europe extensively and
  wound up in  communist East Berlin. I'd heard of a numismatic
  display at a museum there and went to see it - the name of the
  museum now escapes me. As I walked in, I was astonished
  to see displayed on a wall case a gold Joseph Manly 1790
  George Washington medal, an original (Born Virginia) Baker
  61. If they had that, what else in classic American coins &
  medals did they have?

  I wonder if the Bode Museum, Berlin having since been united,
  is that museum I visited?

  Also, the same summer at the Royal Museum in Copenhagen
  Denmark, I asked to see some of their American coins kept
  in the vaults. I examined a Gem Uncirculated Noe 1 Oak Tree
  shilling, a gem proof early Bust 1820's quarter, a choice Unc
  1795 flowing hair dollar,  and other superb early American
  coins that escape me now. The  tickets accompanying the
  coins all indicated acquisition in the very early 1800's."


  Bruce Burton writes: "The times I saw a coin department
  within a department store were at Macy's (Kansas City, ca.
  1963-ish), Houston (downtown ca. 1977, I don't recall
  what store) and Sear's (I think) in Lisbon, Portugal in
  about 1979."

  Myron Xenos writes: "Back in 1956, I was a high school
  senior, and did my shopping, so to speak, at Halle Bros.
  Dept. Store,  the building which now houses the Drew
  Carey TV show's Winfred Lauder Store.

  48 years ago, the stamp & coin dept. was operated
  by Carl DiFalco, who was my mentor in the coin hobby.
  One day I was looking at some coins and also bought
  some stamps from the King Farouk collection. Carl
  looked at me and said, much like a father would,"You
  can't collect both stamps & coins successfully. You
  have to divorce one or the other." Not wanting to be
  thought a bigamist, I chose coins.

 Several years later, I became his accountant and
  tax advisor when he opened his own shop.From one
  decade to the next, I became his mentor regarding
  his finances. His eyesight began to fail, and I then
  had a coin dealer who was legally blind. We were
  friends till he died, but we spent many hours sharing
  our opinions about numismatics, politics, and taxes."

  David Lange writes: "My first coin purchase was from a
  Woolworth store. Until that time (c.1967) I had always
  wondered how collectors found all the old coins I saw listed
  in the Blue Book (my entire library at the time). I knew they
  certainly couldn't be found in circulation, and it hadn't
  occurred to me that old coins were actually for sale until I
  saw them at the dime store. The coins were mounted in
  2x2s and displayed within swinging, glass and metal frames
  of the sort used by libraries to display historic newspapers
  and photographs. My first purchase was of a 1914 cent in
  Good condition, priced at 75 cents. It was a high price at
  the time, and it remains above retail even today. Mom was
  a bit skeptical of paying 75 cents for a penny, but I had to
  have it.

  A couple years later I began buying from the coin and
  stamp department at The Emporium department store,
  downtown San Francisco's largest retailer at the time.
  Dad would drive me down there on Saturday mornings so
  I could relieve myself of whatever money I had managed to
  acquire from doing work around the house and other odd
  sources. I bought BU Roosevelt Dimes to fill the few holes
  remaining in my set, along with Buffalo Nickels that actually
  had readable dates. I also acquired 1892 and 1893
  Columbian Halves for $3 apiece, along with a few heavily
  worn Barber coins. I lusted after the sandwich bags filled
  with dozens of Walking Liberty Halves and Indian Head
  Cents, all different dates. These were priced way beyond
  my budget, but I was surprised for my birthday one year
  with a bag containing almost an entire set of Mercury
  Dimes. Such coins seem so ordinary and worthless now,
  but to a kid who daily searched in vain for anything dated
  before 1940 this was absolutely magical.

  Both store chains gave up their coin and stamp franchises
  in the early 1980s, about the same time that neighborhood
  coin shops likewise disappeared at a high rate. Now,
  twenty years later, both Woolworth and The Emporium
  are history. Buying coins from eBay may be more efficient
  and cost effective (if done correctly), but somehow the
  magic just isn't there anymore. Old coins and stamps,
  attractively presented, were a powerful lure to bored kids
  being dragged around by Mom while she shopped for
  clothes and other uninteresting stuff."

  Ken Berger writes: "Regarding the Golden Age of
  department store coin shops, I have an item of interest.
  Growing up in New York City, we had two major
  department stores next to each other in Manhattan:
  Macy's on 34th Street & Gimbel's on 33rd Street.
  Periodically, my family would go into the City (this is the
  way residents of the other four boroughs of NYC refer to
  Manhattan) to go shopping.  Macy's didn't have a coin
  (or stamp) department but Gimbel's did.  I seem to recall
  that both the coin & stamp departments were next to each
  other on the ground floor, with the stamp department being
  bigger than the coin department.  At that time, they
  emphasized the fact that they were selling stamps from
  President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's collection. This was
  in the late 50s & early 60s.

  To make a long story short, I have a copy of Gimbel's "1961
  Coin Price List No. 1." Some prices are as follow:

  4-Piece Gold Set (2 1/2, 5, 10 & 20). "The coins ... are in
  choice and brilliant condition ... Each set is mounted for
  presentation & display in a sparkling lucite holder." --- $145.00

  1798-1803 Silver Dollars in VF (choice of date by Gimbel's)
  --- $65.00

  1933-1934 Vatican Jubilee 100 lire gold coin --- $50.00

  1893 Columbian Half Dollar in Unc. --- $2.50

  Those were the days."

  Denis Loring writes: "Many years ago I went into Rich's
  department store, I think it was in Denver.  I asked to look at
  their large cents.  They had an "1800 Fair" for sale for $6.00.
  It was indeed a Fair, clean and very well worn. Only the top
  half of the date was visible, but that was enough to tell that
  they had missed it by a year -- it was a 1799. Needless to
  say, I bought it-- even paid the sales tax."

  An anonymous reader writes: "In your piece on coin
  departments in department stores, you posed the question:
  "Why did the practice die out in the first place?" (see below).
  Many of these coin departments and stamp departments
  were actually owned by independent companies who leased
  space from the department stores, much in the same fashion
  as stores currently lease space from shopping malls.  What
  killed these retailers was probably the percentage of gross
  sales demanded by the department store.  This would also
  account for why few coin stores are located in shopping malls.

  To be successful as an independent leaser of space in a
  department store (or a mall), you have to sell high markup
  goods.  That's why shoe stores and women's fashions are
  leading retail categories in malls.

   I'm hardly an expert on this subject, but I know someone
  who can probably give you the definitive answer.  I'm
  referring to Arthur Friedberg of Capital Coin Company in
  Clifton, NJ.  I believe his firm was the largest owner of
  these coin departments in department stores across the
  country.  As I recall, Capital abandoned these coin
  departments during the early to mid-1980's.  I remember
  Art posing the question:  "How can you agree to a lease
  that requires you to pay a percentage of the gross on your
  Krugerrand sales?"

  Dick Johnson writes: "In response to our editor's inquiry about
  the Golden Age of department stores' coin shops: The giant of
  this field was Robert Friedberg. At the height of his empire in
  the 1960s and 1970s he operated 35 of these coin departments
  in Gimbel"s stores across America. This is the same Robert
  Friedberg who wrote the early standard works on U.S. paper
  money and world gold coins. He published these in addition to
  Hibler and Kappen's "So-Called Dollars." the standard work
  on dollar-size medals.

  He taught himself numismatics in the reading room of the New
  York Public Library, went on to create Coin and Currency
  Institute for his numismatic firm. He ran this empire from a
  building across the street from Gimbel's flagship store in New
  York City. It was a family firm. He brought in his brother, his
  wife, and ultimately his two sons to help manage this giant firm.

  Can you imagine the buying they must have done to keep
  these departments supplied with material? The customers were
  primarily women, buying gifts for family members. So there
  were a lot of sales of coin supplies, but they had to stock
  numismatic material as well. It was natural for Bob Friedberg
  to join forces with Medallic Art Company when the Hall of
  Fame medal series was inaugurated; Coin and Currency
  Institute was the exclusive distributor. Friedberg's buying of
  numismatic material extended worldwide. It was so extensive
  he was even the owner of an 1804 dollar.

  His sons, Arthur and Ira, are still active in the numismatic
  field. Perhaps they will read this and respond with some
  reminiscences of their numismatically famous father and the
  perils and profits of the coin departments empire."

  [If any of our readers are in touch with the Friedbergs,
  please forward this item to them and ask if they'd care
  to share some memories with us.  -Editor]


  Roger deWardt Lane of Hollywood, Florida writes: "You
  made me think back to when I started collecting coins with
  my young children.  The SEARS near where I lived had a
  "Coin counter" and we nearly bought them out at twenty-five
  cents each for world coins.

  It was 1966, I was in Dayton, Ohio at NCR computer
  school studying programming in COBOL. Two weeks had
  almost ended; soon it would be time to return home to

  Like a good husband and father, I thought of gifts to take
  home, so when the class let out early one afternoon, I
  walked from the Sheridan Hotel, where the classes were
  being held and where I was staying with about twenty-five
  other hotel industry people, down the street to the local
  large department store. Rikes was the name, and after
  making a jewelry purchase, adding a new gold charm for
  my wife's bracelet, I looked around for a gift for my
  10-year-old daughter. I found a very nice orange off the
  shoulder leather handbag for Andria.

  What should I get my six-year-old son?  The store had a
  rather large stamp and coin department. Andria and I had
  both done stamps, she collecting Israel stamps and I, as a
  teenager years earlier, remounting and adding to my father's
  stamp album. But none of us had ever looked at coins,
  except the usual penny boards that most young boys start
  with, out of pocket change.

  So, I made a six-dollar investment in six modern mint sets
  for my son.  I can now tell you, that this started a hobby
  and lifetime pursuit to become a numismatist.

  My interest in Modern Dime Size Silver Coins of the World
  began over twenty-five years ago, quite by accident best
  told by this little story once used for an exhibit at a coin show.

  "Once upon a time, there was a very busy executive far far
  away on a business trip.  Thoughtfully, before returning to his
  native land he visited a local emporium in search of gifts.
  Gold for his Fair Lady, leather goods for the beautiful
  daughter and foreign mint sets for his young son.

  Now as time went on, this bright young man of seven years
  became an enthusiastic collector with weekly trips to centers
  of knowledge; the local coin stores in search of souvenirs of
  far-a-way lands - all from the junk bowl.

  Dear Old Dad soon started calling himself a numismatist
  and proudly showed off to his friends and neighbors his new
  Crown collection and with his Fair Lady they joined the
  local Council of Collectors.

  Now the beautiful little Daughter wished to join the clan with
  specialization mirroring her father, but being of limited budget,
  spotted the shiny little coins of Dime Size Silver that true to
  the cataloguers adjustment for size were like her Dad's in all
  respects except size and cost.

  Thus the Collection of Dime Size Silver Coins of the World
  came into being.  True to their young ages other interests soon
  replaced the learned endeavors, leaving Dear Old Dad to carry
  on the new pursuit; to study and catalogue Modern Dime Size
  Silver Coins of the World, and they all lived happily ever after".


  In an earlier E-Sylum issue, we mentioned the traveling
  exhibit of concentration camp money currently making
  the rounds.   An article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram
  describes the collection's latest stop. [Sorry we're late
  publishing this - it just missed last week's issue. -Editor]

  "A traveling exhibit of one of the world's larger collections
  of paper money issued in Nazi-imposed ghettos and
  concentration camps is on display through Oct. 29 at
  Frost Bank, 4200 S. Hulen St.

  The currency -- issued at 13 concentration camps including
  Auschwitz in Poland, Dachau and Buchenwald in Germany,
  and the Warsaw, Poland,ghetto -- is on loan from the
  Holocaust Museum Houston."

  "Livia Levine of Fort Worth, a survivor of the camps at
  Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen, Germany, said it was
  something she had never seen.

  "Not only did I not see it, I never heard about it," Levine,
  80, said as she visited the display.

  She said there was nothing to buy or sell in the camps.

  "Sometimes we traded a little piece of bread for a little
  piece of potato. That was it," she said."

  The artifacts are part of a 400-piece collection donated to
  the museum by Charleton Meyer, a money and coin
  collector from Shreveport, La., who collected it to help
  document the Holocaust."

  To read the full story, see: Full Story


  Rick Witschonke writes: "Dave Kellog's note in response
  to your request for recollections of Dr. Leo Mildenberg
  reminds me that I also attended Leo's talk in Boston.  I
  subsequently had the opportunity to sit next to Leo at an
  ANS-sponsered dinner that evening, and I asked him about
  the "eye" for great style in an ancient coin.  He allowed that
  it was a rather rare gift.  When I pressed him as to who he
  thought had the gift, he singled out Sylvia Hurter (his assistant
  and eventual successor as the head of the Numismatic
  Department at Bank Leu), and Bruce McNall (former head
  of Numismatic Fine Arts, and sometime prison inmate; I
  recommend his recent autobiography)."


  Arthur Shippee writes: "Yale Art Gallery has new
  web site up:  
  Yale Art Gallery
  Yale Art Gallery Coins "


  Bob Yuell writes: "I have reread the entry for lot #518 of
  the Green collection.    There is a quote that says ".....which
  are arranged by date of acquisition".    But that refers to Virgil
  Brands ledgers.  If my guess is correct that Green was the
  purchaser, the citation for the Eaton Collection could be


  NBS Board members Joel J. Orosz and John J. Kralkevich,
  Jr. have published a very interesting article in the Fall/Winter
  issue of The Numismatic Sun (issue #4), published by American
  Numismatic Rarities.  The title is "Continental Paper Money
  From the Dawn of U.S. Numismatics: The Newly Discovered
  Jacob Giles Morris Volume, The Oldest Intact American
  Numismatic Collection in Existence."

  The article discusses a volume recently donated to the
  Colonial Williamsburg Museum by descendants of Morris.


  Dick Johnson writes: "I collect numismatic books for one
  reason -- to learn something new in the field.  After sixty-five
  years in the field -- my father gave me a Whitman penny
  board in February 1939, not the fold up kind, the flat board
  kind -- I am still learning.  It have read something about
  every aspect of numismatics.  I have studied selected topics
  -- like medallic art, coin and medal technology and coin and
  medal artists, and have  written on these subjects. But I can
  still learn more.

  What are your reasons?

  You might find this midwestern college professor's reasons
  interesting in an article "My Own Private Library."  He gives
  lots of reasons: Convenience. Pedagogy. Economics.
  Preservation. Community.Aesthetics. Hope.

  You will enjoy reading this: Reasons"


  The Buttrey-Kleeberg web site housing their writings on
  gold bars has been moved:

  "Professor T. V. Buttrey, Jr., of Cambridge, and Dr. John
  M. Kleeberg, of New York City, have moved their website
  about the false western gold bars and false Mexican gold
  bars (a controversy that some have called "the Great Debate")
  to a new website.  The new address is: New Site Location"


  The Denver Journal-Sentinel published an article October
  24 about the workings of the Denver Mint.  Here are some

  "The Mint contracts with companies that supply 13-inch-wide
  flat metal coils - from which nickels, dimes, quarters and half
  dollars are stamped - or penny planchets, which are purchased

  The planchets are fed into stamping machines, where they
  inch their way down tiny chutes and are imprinted with
  Lincoln's head and his monument."

  "The 4-ton metal coils are about 41/2 feet high. They are put
  on rollers and fed into a blanking machine, where they're
  stamped up to 700 times, creating the blanks that will
  eventually become a quarter or nickel.

  On a recent tour of the Denver Mint, plant manager Tim Riley
  plunged his hands into a tub and scooped up what looked like
  little metal bow ties - what's left over from the stamped metal
  - which is sent back to the coil manufacturer to be melted
  down and recycled."

  "Planchets are washed in a mixture of soap, cream of tartar
  and water and then dried. They're checked for imperfections
  - wrong size or shape - and the good ones go through an
  upsetting mill, which raises a rim around their edges. Riley
  said this makes it easier to center the blanks when they're
  struck by dies."

  "Above each striking machine is a large photo of the coin,
  which shows spots where cracks or chips are most often
  found. On the nickels, Thomas Jefferson's eyebrow, mouth
  and chin are marked as trouble spots.

  "There's different places where they'll start to chip out,
  depending on the coin," Riley said. "That's what makes it
  difficult for the quarter, because we have a different design
  every 10 weeks."

  "On this day, the first day the Wisconsin quarter is being
  struck, inspectors peering through magnifying loupes have
  already discovered that a spot below the cow's neck chips

  "A mint worker showed visitors two dies used to stamp
  the Wisconsin quarter.

  They looked fine, but under a magnifying glass, part of
  Washington's head can be seen among the cow, cheese
  and corn - the result of the dies striking each other without
  a blank coin between them. The bad dies will be defaced
  further so they can't be used again. The Mint sells used
  dies to collectors."

  "Riley, who collects each year's proof sets, knows the plant
  he oversees isn't just another factory turning out widgets.

  "When you're around it day in, day out, you're aware it's
  not just a product. It's part of our nation's history and our
  nation's commerce," Riley said in an interview inside his
  Denver office, the same office used by mint managers since
  the building opened a century ago when double eagles and
  half eagles - $20 and $5 gold pieces - were rolling off the
  assembly line.

  "They're not just stamping out little discs. They're stamping
  out coins that will be held by millions of people."

  More Info


  An Australian publication "The Age"  recently published a
  very lengthy and interesting article about Andor Meszaros
  and his son Michael, medallists of Melbourne, Australia.
  The following are a few excerpts.  Those interested in
  learning more are encouraged to follow the link and read
  the article in its entirety.

  "Monuments stand on the streets and shout to all, while medals
  whisper to individuals. The two are flip sides of the same
  philosophical coin. But on the Meszaros medallions, which
  appear in the British Museum and national galleries here,
  experts are unanimously kind."

  "Australian medallion art would be a very different scene
  without Michael and Andor, says John Sharples, curator
  emeritus of Museum Victoria. Andor's medals are
  "astonishingly good", says another curator, and if you are
  talking about Michael being in the same league as his father
  "stick to the medals".

  MICHAEL'S studio is a cave-like room enveloped by shadow
  and grey dust. When I visited, Michael's niece, Daniel's
  daughter Anna, was waiting upstairs. She is tentatively carving
  out a career of her own, and a few years ago landed a $90,000
  commission from a coalition of churches in Melbourne's CBD
  for 14 bronze sculptures depicting the Stations of the Cross.
  Hanging over her, a constant thorn in her side, was Andor's
  masterstroke; the Canterbury Stations of the Cross medallion
  series, completed only days before his death.

  Michael displays some of his medals. Manhattan, an aerial
  view of the city's skyscrapers has jagged edges, creating a
  vertiginous effect of gazing down through chasms. The Escape,
  an idea conceived during the Prague spring of 1968, shows a
  person at the coin's bottom flattened under looped barbed

  Some medals are self-referential in-jokes. The Gospel
  According to the Medal is a book/medal where even the
  pages are circular."

  "It began when 38-year-old Andor Meszaros disembarked at
  Port Melbourne's Station Pier in June 1939, leaving behind
  fascist Hungary and ominous Europe. He knew little about
  Australia (other than hearing a few anecdotes from a
  Hungarian anthropologist who had visited briefly to "study the
  Aborigines"), but it was the only option on offer at the British
  embassy in Budapest. His wife, Elizabeth, and their son
  Daniel, Michael's elder brother, were soon to join."

  "Andor knocked on the doors of notables and offered to do
  portrait medallions on a "no obligation" basis. The portrait
  medallion belonged more to Paris or Vienna than to
  Melbourne, but Andor understood the power of flattery. The
  people liked what they saw, spread the word and slowly the
  commissions trickled in. At Glamorgan primary school in
  Toorak, where Daniel studied, his portrait medallions of
  teachers were accepted in lieu of fees when money was short."

  The work has rolled in since Andor's death more than 30
  years ago when, swallowing hard, Michael rang clients with
  outstanding commissions and offered to finish them. Among
  his current jobs is a large sculpture for a major Melbourne

  Michael is a solid 59-year-old man with glasses and a
  Groucho Marx moustache similar to Andor's in his later
  years. Bald on top, with wiry frizz flying out to the sides, the
  look is more mad scientist than bohemian artist."

  Complete Article


  Bruce Burton writes: "Regarding Bill Spengler's questions on
  the thickest book, I also have one four inches thick, cover to
  cover, that is a custom bound, "one volume" set of Michael
  Mitchniner's Indo-Greek and Indo-Scythian Coinage, which
  previously existed as nine separate volumes."


  Rich Mantia writes: "I just read an issue of The E-Sylum while
  jumping around on the internet and one of the articles caught
  my attention.  The question was posed as to the thickest
  numismatic book and I'm reasonably sure that I own it. I
  realize that pages and paper thickness matter, but for shear
  thickness it would have to be my copy of the "Redbook".
  Yes, The Guide Book of United States Coins by R. S.
  Yeoman. I own the 1969 edition which was typed in braille
  and is to the best of my knowledge unique. The book is
  slightly thicker than 12 inches. It was so thick when typed
  that it couldn't be bound in one volume. It takes nine volumes
  to create the single book. Page counts vary from volume to
  volume while the cover size remains at 11 1/2 by 12. It is
  considered to be one book because it is fully transcripted
  from the regular 1969 edition. This was done in 1969, not
  recently. I also believe that it is the only numismatic book
  that was ever written in braille. On the lighter side, it is not
  this thick from ever having been water logged."

  [If the date were April first I'd be certain this was a joke.
  Blind numismatists?   This sounded to me like something
  cooked up after drinking one too many steins of German
  beer after a Milwaukee Central States coin convention.

  Of course, one needn't collect or even see coins to
  appreciate their history.   When I asked for more information
  about the edition, Rich sent pictures along with the following
  note.  -Editor]

  Rich Mantia writes: "I don't mind giving more information
  about my "Redbook". I first became interested in "Redbooks"
  when I read an article by Ginger Rapsus in the September
  1988 issue of "The Numismatist". I didn't start to collect
  "Redbooks" actively until several years later, but I'm blessed
  with a good memory and I referred back to the issue when
  I wanted to collect on a serious level. I'm aware that the value
  in any collection is in its completeness as well as condition
  and I decided to start with the rare copies first. I used the
  article as the basis for my collection and I've collected every
  item listed in it as well as some items that aren't listed.

  I purchased the braille "Redbook" some years back in a
  private transaction for a substantial price that I shall keep to
  myself. I have sent along some photos of it which help verify
  its existence. In the photos one can see that the book was
  transcribed for Davyd Pepito who was a member of the
  Covina Coin Club. It was done by Ms. Lois Kelly of the
  San Gabriel Valley Transcibers in Covina, California over
  a period of 3 months in 1969. The page counts vary from
  volume to volume, but on average it took 4 braille pages to
  equal 1 printed page. My guess is that there are about 1000
  pages in the 9 volumes total.

  The 9 volumes combined weigh more than 26 pounds. The
  book has only been displayed a few times at some regional
  shows over the years and I have no desire to bring it out for
  more displays because it doesn't look as impressive as a
  showcase full of rare coins. It is rather bland in its appearance,
  because after all it is page after page of impressed bumps
  with no inked words to accompany. To my knowledge it is
  unique in that it is the only "Redbook" to be in braille and also
  the only numismatic book ever written in braille.

  More than anything else the greatness of Mr. Richard Yeo
  stands out because it is his book that stands out as being the
  one that reached into the darkness of a blind childs' life and
  helped him enjoy a hobby that we take for granted. Perhaps
  Davyd Pepito can be known as a pioneer coin collector
  who loved coins without ever seeing them and his name
  should be chiseled in stone on the new A.N. S. building as
  prominently as the scholars of the past.   I hope this helps
  answer your questions."


  Dick Johnson writes: "In West Milford, Passaic County,
  New Jersey, if you travel on a scary road -- Clinton Road
  -- at night you might see KKK sightings, Nazi meetings,
  haunted dogs, a creepy castle and an old lady who walks
  on the same side as you are driving.

  You will cross over a little bridge. Years ago a little boy
  was walking on this road one night and a car sped fast
  around a sharp turn and hit him and the boy fell over the
  little bridge and died. They say if you throw a penny over
  the bridge at exactly midnight, he throws it back to you.

  Creepy huh? You can read more on"


  This week's featured web site is recommended by Larry
  Mitchell - the Money Museum of the Deutsche Bundesbank.

     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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