The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 7, Number 46, November 14, 2004:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2004, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


  Some subscribers reported not receiving their issue.
  It was originally mailed about Noon EST Monday, November


  The computer's feeling a little better, but unfortunately
  this issue was delayed as well.  We may need to switch to
  a Monday morning publishing schedule for a while.  Just keep
  those submissions coming!  -Editor


  Among recent new subscribers is Neil McCormick, courtesy of
  Darryl Atchison.  Welcome aboard!  We now have 698


  Dick Johnson writes: "The 25th Anniversary Issue of The
  Asylum arrived last week and it has provided me perhaps
  the best four hours of perusing, reading, viewing,
  scanning, underlining, and note-taking I have enjoyed in
  a long time. It is amazing how a modicum of ink can
  transform paper into numismatic knowledge. This is, indeed,
  a most useful reference work in our beloved field of
  numismatic books.

  Congratulations to all -- contributors, editors and to the
  officers of the NBS.  Gentlemen -- join hands, step forward
  at stage center and take a collective bow. Please accept
  the acclamation of the hundreds of NBS members who
  undoubtedly join me in applauding your signal achievement
  in issuing this special anniversary edition!"

  [Absolutely a great issue, and Asylum Editor Tom Fort
  deserves most of the credit for originating the concept,
  recruiting articles, and seeing the project through to

  Of particular interest to E-Sylum readers may be my own
  contribution to the issue, an article documenting the
  early days of The E-Sylum.  Editor]


 Numismatic literature dealer John H. Burns writes: "I
 will have a table at the following upcoming shows:

 Nov 19-21, Cleveland, OH
 Nov 26-28, Michigan State show, Dearborn, MI
 Dec 3-5, Baltimore, MD

 I will be offering numismatic books, auction catalogs,
 pamphlets etc. and other works spanning from
 17th-century antiquarian works to in-print Krause,
 Bowers, Spinks and other titles. I can be contacted at
 johnh.burns at ."


  In the U.S., the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) will
  air a documentary on the S.S. Republic November 17th.
  Titled "Civil War Gold," the show discusses the final hours,
  discovery and recovery of the Civil War era steamship,
  from which a hoard of gold coins has been recovered.
  The National Geographic special airs at 8pm ET/PT.


  Regarding John Adams' quest for a four page pamphlet,
  published in 1783, describing the Libertas Americana
  medal, Larry Lee writes: "The Bryon Reed Coin and
  Manuscript Collection at the Durham Western Heritage
  Museum in Omaha has a copy of the Dupre pamphlet. I
  placed a reproduction of the pamphlet along with Reed's
  Libertas Americana medal in the "Medals" display case
  when I designed the gallery several years ago, and I
  believe it is still on display."


  On November 13 the Free Lance-Star of Fredericksburg,
  VA published an article about a holed large cent, which,
  according to curators of the U.S. National Slavery Museum
  scheduled to open in Fredericksburg in 2007, is a "slave

  The article states that "masters gave the coins to slaves as
  a reward for some small act of loyalty. Slaves apparently
  made holes in the coins to wear them around their necks.

  Damron said the museum is in the process of doing research
  to learn more about the coins and the people linked to them.
  The topic is one that is also of interest to archaeologists, who
  have varying theories about their meaning and significance."

  The cent, discovered some time ago near a creek bank,
  is being donated to the museum.  It will be the second one
  in the museum's collection.

  The first came from Gerald Foster, a volunteer scholar in
  residence with the museum and husband of the executive
  director. He said the 1846 coin was passed down through
  the family from his great-grandfather Elijah Chisolm.

  Foster found the coin about five years ago as he was looking
  through a box of coins saved by his family. He asked family
  members and acquaintances about the piece to learn about
  its history.

  He presumes Chisolm--who was born about 1858 or 1860
  -- was a slave, but he has not yet been able to document
  that as fact."

  [We've discussed slave badges before, but is anyone aware
   of references to the wearing of holed coins by slaves in
   numismatic literature or elsewhere?  -Editor]

  Slave Coins


  Regarding last week's item about the discovery of
  early paper money printing plates, Michael Bailey
  writes: "Not to nitpick, but that was Charleston
  *SOUTH* Carolina.  Although I am but a recently-
  relocated resident here, I can tell you that the
  denizens of this fine place exhibit a fierce local

  [OOPS.  Sorry for the confusion.  Often in our rush
  to get an issue out we miss errors that might
  otherwise get caught.  I can't call it a typo, but
  an old colleague had a name for it - a "brain-o".


  Writing in response to our excerpts from a November 2
  New York Times article, Joe Boling writes:
  "The New York Times is showing its ignorance again,
  parroting the statement that has also appeared in other
  sources that the new Japanese banknotes feature the
  "first formal portrait of a woman on a Japanese bank
  note." Few numismatists are unaware of the so-called
  "princess" notes of the 1880s, which bore a VERY formal
  portrait of the Empress Regent Jingu (170-269). That
  same resolute woman appears in warrior garb on the
  back of the ten yen note of 1873.

  In addition, there have been scattered women in scenes
  on other notes. More recently, on the back of the
  current 2000 yen note is a small portrait of Murasaki
  Shikibu (978-1015?), most famously known as the author
  of the Genji Monogatari (and many other prominent


  The Advocate of Southern Connecticut reported on
  November 10 that "A judge yesterday found the National
  Collector's Mint engaged in deceptive advertising while
  trying to sell coins allegedly made of pure silver
  recovered from the World Trade Center site, New York
  Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said.

  New York state Supreme Court Justice Joseph Cannizzaro
  f Albany County ruled that the coin company, based in
  Port Chester, N.Y., and operated by Avram Freedberg of
  Stamford, engaged in fraud, false advertising and
  deceptive business practices in the marketing of the
  2004 Freedom Tower Silver Dollar.

  The coin is ostensibly designed to commemorate the Sept.
  11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.
  Spitzer had obtained a temporary court order last month
  prohibiting the sales and marketing of the coin during
  the lawsuit.

  Yesterday, Cannizzaro permanently enjoined National
  Collector's Mint from engaging in the fraudulent and
  deceptive practices it was accused of. Penalties and
  refunds to consumers will be decided in court next month."

  To read the full story, which is based in part on an
  Associated Press report, see: Full Story


  In previous issues we have discussed sales of the
  rare Victoria Cross medal (see The E-Sylum v7n17,
  for example, which discusses the medal awarded to
  Cpl. Filip Konowal, a Ukrainian immigrant to Canada.

  On November 8 the Canadian Press published a story
  about the upcoming auction of the Victoria Cross
  awarded to another Canadian, Cpl. Fred Topham, "a
  former hard-rock miner from Toronto."

  "Topham earned the Commonwealth's highest military
  award for valour when he dashed headlong into enemy
  fire to save the lives of dozens of wounded soldiers
  in Germany on March 24, 1945."

  "Topham's Victoria Cross is one of only 16 awarded
  to Canadians in the Second World War and the only
  one earned by the 6th Airborne Division, despite
  its record of heavy fighting. It's billed as the
  second-last Victoria Cross awarded to a Canadian
  in the Second World War.

  The medal has attracted the attention of a wealthy
  collector who's offered $319,000, but the family has
  agreed to sell it to the 1st Canadian Parachute
  Battalion Association if it can raise $275,000 by
  the end of the year.

  Those involved in the campaign say the medal,
  appraised at $250,000, must not be lost.

  "This is a piece of Canadiana which is never going
  to be replicated," says Capt. Charles (Chick)

  To read the full story, see: Full Story


  On November 11, 2004 the Des Moines Register published
  an article about a native son who received the Silver
  Star medal for valor under fire in Iraq.

  "With bullets and rocket-propelled grenades zinging
  around him, Patrick Jordan, 24, helped rescue 20 soldiers
  pinned down in a Baghdad alley last spring and then, by
  thinking fast, saved six soldiers after their Humvee
  broke down under heavy fire.

  Six years earlier, both Valley High School and North
  High School had kicked Jordan out of school for having
  "no personal drive," he said. He got his diploma from
  Walnut Creek alternative high school in 1998 and joined
  the Army 17 days later "to try to do something with my
  life."  Last month, the Army awarded Jordan the Silver
  Star, the nation's third-highest wartime award.

  "It's rare," said an Army spokesman, Lt. Col. Kevin Arata,
  adding that only 160 soldiers received the medal between
  Sept. 11, 2001, and this summer. "It's something that
  says a lot about an individual."

  During the four-hour journey, Jordan stuck his head out
  the tank hatch, firing more than 400 rounds, hitting
  20 to 30 rebels. He doesn't remember feeling fear, even
  when his tank was hit six times by rocket-propelled
  grenades.  "You get mad and you get frustrated and you
  turn around and make sure the guy next to you is OK. I
  was more worried about making a mistake and putting my
  tank in the wrong position."

  "I might've got the Silver Star, but we're all heroes,"
  said Jordan, who has since been promoted to staff

  "Everyone who served. They're all heroes. No matter
  what war they fought in or if it was peacetime. They
  took time out of their lives to serve. Not everybody
  does that."

Full Story


  It should be noted that an earlier Silver Star awardee
  was numismatist Roscoe E. Staples, who was killed in
  action in the South Pacific August 2, 1943.

  QUICK QUIZ:  Who was  Staples, and what does he
  have in common with numismatists David Proskey,
  H.G. Sampson, Lorin Parmelee, Charles Steigerwalt,
  Dr. Thomas Hall, Virgil Brand, B. G. Johnson and
  James Kelly?


  Regarding last week's item about the upcoming film
  "National Treasure," Dave Lange writes: "I suppose
  there's nothing profound in noting that the entire
  premise of this movie is ridiculous. Anyone who has
  done some reading about the Founding Fathers' struggle
  to finance the revolution, repay America's resulting
  debts and establish the nation's credit will laugh
  at the notion that this wealth would have been
  squirreled away. Any such treasure would have been
  drawn upon immediately."

  [I am shocked, SHOCKED! to learn that a Hollywood
  film plays loosely with historical facts.  One can
  only cringe at the forthcoming garbled explanations
  of the symbolism on our currency in the name of
  entertainment.  Still, any publicity to the general
  public that makes more people actually LOOK at their
  money is probably a good thing.  Thursday evening I
  learned another plot detail from a television promo -
  that the time shown on the clock atop Philadelphia's
  Independence Hall is significant.   So, can any of our
  sharp-eyed readers tell us the time"  More importantly,
  has the time changed as the design evolved over the
  years"  One of the numerous holes in the film's plot
  is undoubtedly the fact that many subtle changes are
  made over the years to the engraved images on our
  currency, such as the "disappearing fingers" of Andrew
  Jackson on the $20 bill.  Any clues placed there by
  government employees could well be obliterated in the
  march of time. "Editor]


  Regarding our earlier discussions of coin shops in
  Department stores, Henry Bergos writes: "Gimbels
  Coin stores used to be owned by Friedberg. When we
  were friends he told me that when he closed them he
  reduced his gross income by about 90% and increased
  his net by about 50%. Overhead ate him alive. I used
  to go to the one in downtown Brooklyn with a friend
  of mine when I was a kid. They didn't do enough
  business to make it worth while."

  Larry Gaye writes: "The wonderful old Hudson's
  department store (all thirteen stories) on Woodward
  Ave. in Detroit had a superb coin department in their
  mezzanine.  This store was where everyone went to shop
  for everything because there was no place else to shop
  except downtown as there were no malls.  People still
  lived in the city and the suburbs were just starting.
  You had to take the bus downtown as most people only
  had one car.  The reason for this is that only the
  father worked and you did your shopping on Saturday.
  It was a major treat to go downtown and you had to
  dress for the occasion even if traveling by city bus.

  I can remember early in my numismatic career seeing
  coins and other numismatic material there that other
  coin shops didn't carry. Purchases there included
  uncirculated 100 Ruble Notes of Nicholas II for .50
  each, and you could get consecutive serial numbers to
  boot.  Another purchase was my first commemorative half,
  a Colombian Half dollar in AU for .75, I should have
  sprung for the UNC, it was only a buck; at age 7 or 8
  a dollar was hard to come by.

  I will never forget the place.  The entire building was
  demolished a few years ago and with it a lot of dreams.
  Incidentally, Hudson's was the place for the Thanksgiving
  Parade every year and going to that parade was a real

  The second department store is here in Portland, Meier
  and Frank.  They had a coin shop in their downtown store.
  It was quite a good shop though I wasn't in Portland soon
  enough to take advantage of it.  I believe the coin shop
  closed around ten years ago. The store is going strong."

  Pete Smith writes: "Please allow me to participate in the
  discussion of department store coin shops. Although I
  believe some of this is "common knowledge" among
  bibliophiles, some may learn from it.

  Robert Friedberg (1912-1963) established a coin department
  at Gimbels in New York. Gradually he expanded to shops in
  other Gimbels branches plus other department stores until
  his network covered 38 states. He also established the
  Coins and Currency Institute. At the time of his death he
  employed 125 people. Thus many of the leased department
  shops were related.

  There is a literature connection. It is my understanding
  that generic price lists were produced and then overprinted
  with the name of the local department store. I have not
  seen enough on the secondary market to confirm this. I
  don't know if most were discarded or if there is not
  enough interest to list them in literature sales.

  On to Mark Borckardt's comments on Howard Newcomb. Newcomb
  retired in 1927 which I believe is too early for department
  store coin shops.  Newcomb, Endicott & Co. was absorbed
  into Hudson's Store in Detroit. Hudson's later merged with
  Dayton's in Minneapolis. Dayton's spun off a discount chain
  called Target. After Target outgrew Dayton's, the company
  name was changed to Target Corporation and the department
  stores became Marshall-Fields branches. Then Target sold
  off the non-productive department store subsidiary. In
  effect the child divorced the parent.

  Dayton's had a coin department that I visited in the 1960s.
  I think the shop remained there quite a while. I may have
  bought supplies there but couldn't afford their coins."


  Regarding blind collectors, Larry Gaye writes: "There is
  a very active blind coin dealer (be nice, I know what you
  are all thinking) here in Oregon.  Monte Mensing has
  been an active collector and dealer for many years and is
  a major dealer in the mid Willamette Valley here in Oregon.
  Monte didn't lose his sight till around age thirteen.  He
  suffers from macular degeneration and has a lot of help
  in his shop from sighted folk.  He can see some up close
  and is passionate about coins. His memory is fantastic."


  J. C. Spilman writes: "I see that the thickest/thinnest
  contest is still alive and well and thought I would
  add my tuppence worth regarding The Colonial Newsletter
 (CNL) which currently requires about eight volumes for
  binding and has a total of 3096 printed pages including
  various inserts and the cumulative index. The current
  cumulative page number is 2773 but that does not include
  several issues that had their own integral page
  numbering system such as the review edition of Dr. Phil
  Mossman's book "Money . . . "  (CNL-74) which contains
  196 pages plus xii but is indexed in the cumulative
  index as a single page number 964,  and several others
  of like ilk."

  [Were we to make this a formal contest, periodicals
  would doubtless be given separate categories of their
  own, such as maximum number of pages per year and
  cumulative number of pages since inception.  In my own
  library, that award would go to the American Numismatic
  Associations" Numismatist magazine, which spans over
  eighteen shelf feet.  Worldwide there are likely several
  periodicals which best the Numismatists" cumulative
  total.  What is the longest continually published
  numismatic periodical, and the one with the most
  cumulative pages published since inception"  -Editor]


  Darryl Atchison writes: "Could you please ask our readers
  for some help on my behalf"  I am trying to confirm the
  existence of several Canadian numismatic auction sale
  catalogues.  These were all listed by Ray Malone in 1995
  but I have not seen them.

  Charlton Auctions or Charlton International Inc.
  or Charlton Numismatics
  May 25, 1984

  Frank Rose
  September 13, 1975
  September 20, 1975
  May 1, 1976

  Chuck Moore Auctions
  February 18, 1977
  January 13, 1978
  June 3, 1978
  January 8, 1979
  March 11, 1983
  January 25, 1985

  If any of our readers have any of these sales, please let
  me know at atchisondf at  Thank you very much."


  E-Sylum readers love words, and we occasionally feature
  unusual numismatically-related words.  In the November/
  December issue of PAPER MONEY, the official journal of the
  Society of Paper Money Collectors, editor Fred L. Reed III
  writes: "I thought I knew it all, but I learned a new word
  recently: Chrematophobia (fear of money).  It seems
  futurists are the principal sufferers of this malady.
  Their phobic crystal balls forsee imminent demise of money
 (as we knew it and collected it in our lifetimes).
  Electronic blips will replace cash, checks, credits and
  the other stuff of which our collections are comprised.
  Since it's hard to collect blips, I for one am glad I'm
  inoculated against Chrematophobia, aren't you"?


  David Fanning, Editor-in-Chief of our print journal, The
  Asylum, has a nice article in the November 2004 issue of
  the American Numismatic Association's Numismatist magazine
  on "Collectors Who Served in the Civil War".  The article
  discusses the military service of several early U.S. coin
  dealers and collectors, including John Haseltine, Edouard
  Frossard, Lyman Low, Ebenezer Locke Mason, Joseph N.T.
  Levick, George Massamore, Richard Davids, Mark Collet &
  William Bramhall.  Philadelphia physician Mark Collet was
  killed in 1863 at the Battle of Chancellorsville; Davids
  died the same year on the second day of the Battle of


  Dick Johnson writes: "I accept Chris Faulkner's request
  for information on the upsetting machine. We cannot say
  it was invented, it was more like "developed." But we
  do know who should receive credit - Matthew Boulton!
  If there is one person who was responsible for modern
  coins and coining technology it was Matthew Boulton.

  Every numismatist should build a shrine to this one man
  -- we would not have modern coins, or perhaps, modern
  numismatics -- without this manufacturing genius. (I will
  put his picture on my wall next to Leonard Forrer who is
  my hero for compiling a directory of world coin and medal
  artists, what I am trying to do for American artists).
  [And a thank you also, to Dick Doty for his fantastic 1998
  book on Matthew Boulton "The Soho Mint" - Dick, send me
  your picture, I'll put it next to the others!]

  Before Matthew Boulton, coins were essentially struck on
  the manual screw presses. Blanks were fed by hand one at
  a time. I won't say it was a slow process, I was amazed
  to learn they could strike as many as 20 to 30 a minute!,
  as several men swung the arms of the screw press around
  and back while the "coin setter" retrieved the struck coin
  and inserted the next blank. They had great rhythm!

  Boulton took his partner James Watt's invention, the
  steam engine, eliminated the men swinging the arms and
  applied steam power to the screw press. Boulton learned
  of Jean Pierre Droz's (and Gengembre's) invention at the
  Paris Mint of an automatic feed and delivery system which
  could be attached to the screw press. Boulton hired Droz
  in 1790 for his Soho Mint in Birmingham (Droz makes
  improvements, engraved some dies, but returns to France
  nine years later).

  Existing blanks at first jammed the press (imagine those,
  mint error collectors!) They needed blanks in quantity
  that were uniform and perfectly round for automatic feed.
  Cause of the trouble were the burrs around the trailing
  edge of the blank from the blanking die shearing through
  the metal strip.

  At first they hired young Birmingham boys, even 8 to 10
  years old, to put a handful of blanks in a leather bag
  and shake the hell out of the bag. The blanks knocked
  against each other and "deburred" the edges. Remember
  this is the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, so
  they had to find a better IR way. They did this by
  putting more blanks in a barrel and rotated the barrel
  a process similar today called "barrel tumbling"
  which is speeded up by adding steel balls smaller than
  the blanks so they can be sieved out later]. This action
  also deburrs the blanks.

  By 1797 Boulton's team had developed a machine he called
  a "rimmer" " still called that in England today " here in
  the colonies we call it an "upsetting machine." [I like the
   British term better, but rimmer sounds too much like an
  erotic toy for Americans to widely accept the term.]
  Boulton's rimmer did five things: removed the burrs,
  smoothes the edge, rounds the edge, made the blanks
  perfectly round, and thicken the edge.

  Modern upsetting machines still do these five things. Mint
  error collectors call blanks before upsetting "type 1" after
  upsetting "type 2." Type 1 blanks are fed into an upsetting
  machine and they travel in a channel on a spiral track
  through ever smaller and smaller walls which forces the
  blank's diameter to become less and less. The metal at the
  edge builds up on both surfaces, thus making the blank
  thicker around the circumference (ideal for raised rim

  To answer your second question, Chris, who else uses
  upsetting machines? I live near the Naugutuck Valley of
  Connecticut where machine shops and metalworking plants are
  on every block in every industrial area. I should ask some
  of these. But the obvious answers are anything that is
  "coined," that is stuck between dies at room temperature:
  Buttons, small parts, washers, rings, the list is lengthy.
  Some odd shaped parts are coined from round blanks because
  of the ease and speed of striking these, then trimmed to
  shape afterwards.

  I learned of the upsetting machine close up when Medallic
  Art Company bought its first coining press in 1967. We
  bought the press in Germany, but upsetting machines are made
  in England (okay, rimmers!) and we couldn't get one right
  away. My boss, Bill Louth, happened to mention this to Eva
  Adams, then Director of the U.S. Mint. "We got some we're
  not using," she said, "I'll lend you one." Sure enough,
  until a new one came from England, we used a U.S. Mint
  upsetting machine for upsetting blanks to strike medals!
  The first of these were the Illinois Sesquicentennial
  Medal of 1968 in silver dollar size."


  Arthur Shippee forwarded a link to an article about two
  Indiana high school seniors bringing together Roman
  numismatics and science for a science fair project:

  "Clay High School seniors Andrew Betson, left, and Christo
  Sevov hold ancient Roman coins Thursday morning. The two
  are regional finalists for the Siemens Westinghouse Math,
  Science and Technology competition. They will travel to
  Austin, Texas, next weekend to present their project.
  Betson and Sevov determined the element composition of
  Roman coins and correlated the results with the decline
  of the empire."

  "What we did," Betson explained, "was determine the
  composition of the coins as a way of tracking the fluency
  of Roman society."

  "Betson and Sevov said they were able to observe a
  correlation between good and bad Roman times based on the
  elemental composition and date of each coin.

  Using X-ray fluorescence technology at the University of
  Notre Dame, Betson and Sevov discovered that the earlier
  coins made during a strong Roman economy were minted with
  pure silver.

  As the economy and empire began to decline about A.D. 300,
  cheaper materials such as copper and zinc were being used
  to mint money. The two even found the poisonous element of
  arsenic in some of the later coins."

  "I have always loved history," said Betson, who is
  considering attending either Bowdoin College in Maine or
  Brown University in Rhode Island next year. "I wanted to
  combine history with physics."

  To read the full article in the South Bend Tribune, see: Complete Article


  Usually it's the activities of dumb bank robbers we
  read about.  Now the police are losing a few I.Q.
  points, too.

  This week Reuters reported that "An Albany man turned
  himself into police after seeing himself on TV news
  robbing a bank but was turned away by officers who
  told him to come back the next day, police said on
  Tuesday.   Albany resident Darrell Lewis, 40,
  surrendered to police hours after his Nov. 1 holdup
  of a downtown bank but was told to come back the next
  day to be arrested.

  Lewis went to a different station the following day
  and was charged with robbery..."

  To read the full article, see:  Full Article


  This week's featured web site is suggested by Larry
  Mitchell.  "The Artistry of African Currency" is an
  online catalogue of an exhibit displayed at the
  Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
  March 12, July 23, 2000:

  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.

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