The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 7, Number 47, November 21, 2004:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2004, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


  On November 18 the Washington Post published an article
  describing a trove of museum artifacts, including coins,
  which were inventoried recently after 25 years of hiding.

  "They were priceless artifacts, and the Kabul Museum curators
  wrapped them carefully, some of them in pink toilet paper,
  others in newspaper, and put them in metal boxes. Then
  government people, eight to 10 of them, signed pieces of
  paper that were glued to the locks. No box would be opened
  unless all the signers were there.

  That was a quarter-century ago, during the Soviet occupation.
  But the pact held through the warlordism of the late 1980s
  and 1990s, through the xenophobic rule of the Taliban and
  the American invasion.

  Many feared the treasures were lost forever, but yesterday
  archaeologist Fredrik T. Hiebert announced that a just-
  completed inventory showed that all but a handful had been
  recovered from hidden caches in Kabul's presidential palace
  complex and other "safe places."

  "The museum director said, 'Won't you look at these other
  boxes?'  " There were six of them, Hiebert said; then there
  were 20, then 80, then perhaps 120.

  In them they found more than 2,500 more objects, including
  2,000 gold and silver coins depicting Afghan royalty back to
  500 B.C., a collection long regarded as looted and missing.
  Next came plaster medallions, ivory water goddesses and
  intricately carved ivory plaques from the 2,000-year-old
  Kushan culture.

  In all, the boxes contained 5,000 years of Afghanistan's
  history.. ."

  "Beginning in 1979, the museum was shelled, lost its roof,
  its windows, its door," Hiebert said. "All the inventory
  cards were destroyed by fire, and the museum was looted."

  "The art market was waiting for stuff to start appearing,
  but it never did," said Ohio State University historian
  John Huntington, who photographed much of the Kabul Museum
  collection in 1970. "Where was it" Nobody knew."

  Full Story


  On Tuesday, November 16, The New York Times published an
  article about the efforts to recover artifacts, including
  coins, from the wreck of the S.S. Republic:

  "A seven-ton submersible robot held pride of place. Its
  flexible arm was equipped with tiny suction cups made of
  soft flexible plastic for carefully picking up rare coins
  that can fetch up to half a million dollars each. The
  robot is one example of the sophistication and technological
  precision of this salvage effort, which leaders say
  surpasses any previous shipwreck salvage."?

  "The recovery has not always been smooth. When the robot
  gingerly picked up its first gold coin, it fumbled, dropping
  it back onto the seabed instead of into the impromptu holding
  tank, an old chamber pot."

  One year and more than 52,000 coins later, the team has set
  new records in deep recovery. From the disintegrating hulk of
  the sidewheel steamer that sank in 1865 about 100 miles off
  Georgia while battling a hurricane, the robot has plucked gold
  and silver coins valued at more than $75 million. And it is
  pursuing billions more in lost treasure.

  "We've gotten really good at picking up coins," said Greg
  Stemm, director of operations for Odyssey Marine Exploration
  Inc. of Tampa, Fla."

  "Rare coins have a high priority since their sale promises to
  repay the recovery's high cost. But at first, the team had no
  idea how to gather them up carefully and expeditiously when
  even the slightest scratch could greatly reduce their value.
  Much testing ensued.

  The tiny suction cups proved safe and efficient. More
  troublesome was finding the right holding devices for
  transporting coins to the surface, despite Mr. Stemm's
  extensive hunt for solutions. Plastic colanders and ice cube
  trays proved unworkable.

  Finally, the team hit on large kitchen pots lined with carpet,
  fitted with wide funnels and filled with a dense vegetable oil
  that kept the coins snug and secure. By January, the team was
  tucking away an average of 1,700 coins a day, one every 50

  To read the full article, see:Full Article


  On November 18 The Industry Standard published an article
  about a new search service that may prove useful to numismatic

  "Google Inc. on Thursday formally launched a new search
  service aimed at scientists and academic researchers. Google
  Scholar is a free beta service that allows users to search for
  scholarly literature like peer-reviewed papers, theses, books,
  preprints, abstracts and technical reports, the Mountain View,
  California, company said.

  The new service accesses information from resources such as
  academic publishers, universities, professional societies and
  preprint repositories, it said.

  Because the service automatically analyzes and extracts citations
  and presents them as separate results, users can find references
  to older works that may only exist offline in books or other

  "Google Scholar is located at"

  To read the full article, see: Full Story

  Based on a few trial searches the indexed papers seem to be a
  relatively random and incomplete set of materials, with many
  abstracts rather than full texts.  Many of the full papers are
  only available to paid subscribers of the individual
  publishing services.  Still, the tool could be very useful,
  particularly the feature which separately itemizes citations
  within scholarly papers.  As the article mentioned, this is
  a great way to learn about useful and perhaps obscure reference
  material that may be available offline.  After locating some
  interesting citations, a researcher would then have a want list
  for searching say, the library catalogue of the American
  Numismatic Society, or offerings of online used booksellers.

  Some papers located with a simple search on the term
  "numismatic" include:

  Shachar I, The Historical and Numismatic Significance of
  Alexander Jannaeus's Later Coinage as Found in Archaeological
  Excavations, Palestine Exploration Quarterly, April 2004


  Orv Hetil, Numismatic souvenirs of the 100-year history of
  Hungarian radiology, 1997 [Article in Hungarian]

  Jarcho S., Medical numismatic notes, X: the Manchester
  Infirmary and Lunatic Hospital. 1973


  One of the full-text articles found by the Google Scholar
  search was a July 1917 article in the Bulletin of the Medical
  Library Association by Albert Allemann, M. D., titled "THE
  ON NUMISMATIC METHODS."  Here's an excerpt:

 "A collection of medical medals has considerable medico-
  historical and general artistic value and is an ornament
  to any medical library.  The Army Medical Museum at
  Washington possesses one of the finest and most complete
  collection of medical medals in this country. I have lately
  been put in charge of it and as it has never been described
  anywhere, I want to make a few remarks concerning it.

  Soon after Col. Billings began to collect books for the
  Surgeon General's Library, a number of medical medals were
  presented to it by various physicians. As the number of
  medals increased Col. Billings thought it best to make as
  complete a collection as possible aid during the 25 years
  he worked in the Library he constantly bought medals from
  numismatic dealers in this country and in Europe. As
  Billings was also in charge of the Medical Museum, both the
  Library and the Museum being in the same building, he
  considered the Museum Hall the proper place for exhibiting
  the medals and they are still there. After Billings left
  the Library in 1895, his successors continued to buy medals

  The collection now numbers well over 3000 pieces which
  Were practically all acquired by Billings. There are some
  ancient Greek and Roman medals, especially of Aesculapius
  but they are not numerous. By far the larger number belong
  to the last three centuries.  The great majority of medical
  medals are, of course, struck in honor of distinguished
  physicians and men of science and of these the collection
  at Washington has a very fine selection. An interesting
  series are the jetons of the old French Academy of Medicine
  extending from 1638 to 1793, when the Academy was
  abolished by the Revolutionary government of France."

  [Would any of our readers be aware of the status of this
  collection?  Is it still intact?  Has a catalogue ever been
  published? -Editor]


  Adrián González Salinas of Monterrey, Nuevo León, México
  writes: "Yesterday (Nov/10), I received The Asylum Summer
  2004 commemorative issue and I would like to take advantage
  of this e-mail to congratulate all of NBS officers for this
  superb publication.

  I would also like to inform The E-Sylum's readers about a
  new Mexican numismatic book titled: "Errar es de H/Num...
  ismáticos - Errores y Variedades en la Moneda Mexicana"
  (To Err is for H/Num...ismatists - Errors and Varieties in
  the Mexican Coinage)

  Author: Carlos Abel Amaya Guerra, PhD
  Paper: Glossy
  Dimensions: 21.6 (W) x 27.9 x 1.5 cms
  Pages: ix,233
  Cover: Soft
  Year: 2004 (printed October 2004)
  Photos: 344
  Drawings: 29
  Language: Spanish
  Words total: 55,454
  Edition: 500 copies
  1) Presentation
  2) Introduction to varieties and errors
  3) The coinage striking process
  4) The blanket's errors and varieties
  5) The die's errors and varieties
  6) The coinage's errors and varieties
  7) Coins aren't errors and varieties
  8) The coins errors and varieties worth
  9) The numismatist lab about coins with errors and varieties
  10) Ideas for enjoying the errors and varieties collection
  11) Epilogue
  12) Parts of the coin
  13) Abbreviations
  14) Vocabulary English-Spanish, Spanish-English
  15) Glossary,
  16) Mexican coins varieties listing
  17) Bibliography

  This book was printed by Biological Sciences Faculty
  (Nuevo León's University) and Monterrey's Numismatic Society
  (Sociedad Numismática de Monterrey, A.C.).  The book
  contains 2,819 Mexican coins varieties listed. For any
  additional information, please send me an e-mail at
  agonzalez at"


  Last week we asked if anyone could tell us the time shown on
  the back of the U.S. $100 bill, as part of a discussion of
  the upcoming film "National Treasure".

  Tom DeLorey writes; "I have no idea what time is shown on
  Independence Hall on the $100 bill, but once during the World
  Series of Numismatics I correctly answered "3 o'clock" as
  the time shown on the reverse of the Bicentennial half.
  Interlocutor Donn Pearlman later told me that he had thrown
  the question in as a gag, intending to say "Just kidding" and
  read the real question, and was shocked when I buzzed in and
  answered the question correctly.

  I just happened to have a blowup picture of the reverse in my
  mind, from an error coin I had illustrated in Collectors
  Clearinghouse years before, and when he asked the question
  the picture just popped into my head as clear as day."

  Joe Boling writes: "The clock on Independence Hall (as
  depicted on the $100 notes) has not changed in the past
  seventy years, but it shows a non-existent time. The hour
  hand points almost squarely at the II (actually often a tiny
  bit before the II), but the minute hand is midway between the
  IV and the V (in other words, at 22.5 minutes). If the hour
  hand were keeping pace, it would be one third of the way
  between the II and the III. On many notes the hands are the
  same length, and thus you could say that the time is 4:10
  if you take the hands to represent opposite functions. But
  on many notes a tiny part of the lower hand extends beyond
  the inner circle of the clock face, making it the longer
  hand, and thus the minute hand. In any event, the original
  engraver did not show a real time, and subsequent engravers
  have retained the error. Now, somebody tell me that the
  hands on the actual building are similarly out of sync."


  The film "National Treasure" opened this week and was
  roundly trashed by at least one reviewer.  In the November 19
  New York Times, Stephen Holden writes: "Maybe, just maybe,
  an 8-year-old could pick up an interest in American history from
  watching "National Treasure," that is, if the child could stay
  awake for this sluggish two-hour trudge through landmarks in
  Washington, Philadelphia and New York. It's far more likely,
  however, that a child who could stay awake through this fanciful
  reality game show (a Grade C "Amazing Race") would come
  away believing the bogus mythology that detonates it with a
  squishy thud."

  "Looking like a mangy hound dog with patches of hair missing,
  Mr. Cage skulks through a role that demands a wry Harrison
  Ford-like sense of irony.  The actor, who can't even muster a
  half-smile or a raised eyebrow, wears the numbed expression of
  a lazy star who can't be bothered to find the character inside
  his role. If "National Treasure" mattered at all, you might
  call it a national disgrace, but this piece of flotsam is so
  inconsequential that it amounts to little more than a piece
  of Hollywood accounting."

  To read the entire review, see: Review


  Len Augsberger writes: "About ten years ago, Marshall
  Field's in Chicago distributed a 15% off coupon to
  anyone who came into their store and opened a Field's
  charge card.  Knowing that gold bullion type coins
  were sold in the coin department, I stopped by one day
  and attempted to buy several American Eagles, at a 15%
  discount, of course.  The proprietor, needless to say,
  wasn't pleased.

  After a trip upstairs to the Field's customer service
  office to sort things out, the deal was indeed done at
  the 15% discount.  It's not something I would do today,
  but as a starting collector I thought the whole episode
  was great fun."

  One more story, printed in Rare Coin Review #142 (on
  the numismatic works of Fred Reinfeld), but worth
  repeating in this context---

  "Fred Reinfeld's most frequent collaborator was Burton
  Hobson, who is perhaps best remembered for Historic
  Gold Coins of the World, a lavishly photographed book
  from 1971 featuring hundreds of gold coins in color from
  the ANS collection.  Hobson, today the chief operating
  officer of Sterling Publishing, related the story of
  his introduction to the company: "I started in the
  Marshall Field's coin department when still in school
  at the University of Chicago, then continued as manager
  for five years.  I met David Boehm, president of Sterling,
  who wanted to sell me a book called Coinometry.  I
  replied that it wasn't the kind of book my customers
  wanted, to which he said, 'Why don't you write that
  book?' ".

  Last week Larry Gaye wrote about the coin department at the
  old Hudson's department store in Detroit.  Tom DeLorey writes:
  "I too used to visit the coin department at Hudson's when I
  was a student at Wayne State University in Detroit. In
  pleasant weather I would walk down Woodward Avenue after
  classes and visit used book stores along the way, drop in
  at Hudson's and Earl Shill's store behind them, and then
  catch the Plymouth Rd. express bus home.

  One day I found a pristine first edition Redbook at one of
  the used book stores for 75 cents. I think it was the original
  price it had sold for in 1946, and the used book dealer simply
  resold it at that. When I got to Hudson's I showed the guy
  behind the counter my find, and he generously offered to double
  my money. I declined."

  David Palmer writes: "With regard to Department Store Coin
  counters, I used to be dropped off at the Gimbel's Coin Dept.
  at the Roosevelt Field Mall, in Garden City, NY, by my mother
  when she went shopping, which seemed quite often. The man
  that ran the counter was named Art Diamond. When all other
  coin shops basically told me to get lost, as I was too young
  to spend enough money for them, he took the time to teach me
  about coins, and a little about life along the way. He would
  talk to me as long as a "real" customer didn't show up (this
  was our little joke.) I saw many coins that I would never
  have seen otherwise, and was able to buy things quite
  reasonably, to me anyway. He taught me how to buy Morgan
  dollars, and I picked out some real beauties, for $3 each.
  They were DMPL 80 & 81-S's mostly, but when I decided to
  sell them, I made quite alot of money, thank to him. Without
  his tutelage, I would have dropped out of the hobby, which
  constantly reminds me to be kind to the children that come
  up and ask questions at shows. I also try to have a few
  coins around to give them. I was very sad when I found out,
  upon returning from the Air Force, that he had passed away.
  I shall always remember him, and thank him for his time and
  effort on my behalf. Thanks for letting me pay tribute to a

  Dave Lange writes: "A few weeks before we got into this
  current discussion, I had posted a message on a San Francisco
  oral history forum inquiring whether anyone else from that
  area had fond memories of the coin shops I remembered from
  my youth. In my own posting I happened to mention that I had
  stopped going to one shop in a poor neighborhood after I got
  mugged coming out of it in broad daylight. The first person
  to respond with his own posting seemed to miss the theme of
  my reminiscences and proceeded to detail how he makes a point
  of carrying a gun with him wherever he goes, no one is going
  to rob him, yada yada yada . . . This may or may not have
  discouraged further submissions, but there were just a couple
  more postings after that. I'm mentioning this experience
  only as an observation of how civilized our message forum
  is in comparison to many others. It's always refreshing to
  open the E-Sylum on Monday mornings and be reminded that
  there are interesting and intelligent people out there.

  As long as I'm giving thanks, I'd like to acknowledge how
  much I've enjoyed the articles posted by Dick Johnson and
  Michael Schmidt regarding the history of coining technology.
  I've saved these and mounted them sequentially in my
  scrapbook. I'm certain I'll refer to this information time
  after time."


  Bill Rosenblum writes: "I wanted to put my two cents in
  About a blind coin dealer who I met in Texas in the 70s.
  This was when I used to do 35 or so shows a year and I ran
  into him on more than one occasion. He, with the help of a
  wife who could see, would code his coins in braille
  (actually the holders, not the coins) with cost etc., as
  well as who sold him the coins and at what grade. I know
  I bought a number of Mexican coins from him. I believe he
  was getting on in years at that time so I would doubt if
  he is still doing shows."


  Yossi Dotan writes: "I wonder whether any readers of The
  E-Sylum have experience with copyright matters and can
  give me some guidance.

  I am writing a book, Watercraft on World Coins, 1800-Present,
  and I am now considering putting on a website chapters that
  are ready for publication, with illustrations of the coins.

  My question is: When is it allowed to include on the website
  (and later in the book) images of coins that have been
  downloaded from the internet or xeroxed from books,
  catalogs and periodicals without obtaining permission from
  the owner of the website, the publisher of the periodical, or
  the author of the book, and when may images of coins be
  used only with specific permission?   Many thanks."


  In response to last week's question about the longer running
  numismatic periodical, Henry Bergos writes: "The longest I
  know of is the Royal Numismatic Society's Chronicle.  I
  think it was stated in 1837 and still puts out an annual."


  Inspired by last week's vocabulary word, Chrematophobia
  (the fear of money), Tom DeLorey writes: "In the coin shop
  today, I was talking with a distinguished gentleman visitor,
  and when I gave him my card he asked what a numismatist
  was.  I explained the Greek root nummis, and he said that
  there was a very rare dermatological condition the name of
  which began with either numis or numia (wish I could
  remember the full name) because the lesions in question are
  round like coins. Is there a doctor in the house?"

  [I had those lesions once, after my wife whacked me upside
  the head with a bag of coins I was looking through.


  Bob VanRyzin writes: "The following may be of interest to
  E-Sylum readers. I found this reference to Jacob Perkins in
  a eBay lot for an old newspaper.  The following is from lot
  description for seller Mitchell Archives." (Just the quote
  "We hear..." appears in the paper, the other comments
  about Perkins are from the seller.)

  COLUMBIAN CENTINEL, Boston, July 11, 1792. One
  of the finest and most respected of the old Boston
  newspapers, published by the newspaper legend, Benjamin
  Russell, a staunch Federalist and George Washington supporter.

  Page two, MASSACHUSETTS, "We hear that the ingenious
  Mr. Perkins, of Newburyport, has been sent for to Philadelphia
  to execute the coinage of the United States."

  Jacob Perkins was a man of many talents, he designed and
  produced the dies for Massachusetts first coinage, the 1787
  penny. He was the first to use steel plates in place of copper
  for printing, making counterfeiting more difficult.  He designed
  the first practical refrigerator and he was the printer of the

  I also ran into an interesting web site, which you may be aware
  of, on Perkins' family history. History"


  Mike Marotta writes:  "My wife and I were in Pittsburgh for
  a software developers conference hosted by Avatar Data
  Publishing Solutions. Among the other partners were Ian
  White and Mark Haden of 65-Bit Software, creators of
  EasyCatalog, a plug-in for Adobe InDesign.

  Database-driven typesetting saves time and produces an
  improved catalog.  Major corporations already use these
  tools to bring  pictures, descriptions, prices and other
  elements to print and websites.

  Avatar delivered the "Online Trends" solution for Coin
  World back in 2000. The AccuWeather map and table that
  automatically appears in 800 newspapers nationwide is
  another creation of theirs.    My role is to develop
  documentation and training for new products."


  Darryl Atchison writes: "I am looking for any information that
  anyone may have pertaining to the sale of D.T. Batty's collection.
  I believe the collection was sold around 1910.   Of course,
  Batty was the author of the following opus:

  Batty's catalogue of the copper coinage of Great Britain, Ireland,
  British Isles and colonies, local and private tokens, jettons, etc.,
  compiled from various authors, and the most celebrated collections,
  together with the author's own collection of about thirty-five
  thousand varieties. " Manchester and London, England : J.
  Forsyth, 1868 - 1898 (in four volumes).

  I just want to get some information concerning the sale of his
  collection. Ideally I need to speak with someone who can get
  direct access to a copy of the catalogue.  Anyone who can
  help me can contact me at atchisondf at  Thank


  Tom Kays writes: "In response to "Holed Cent a Slave Coin?"
  - E-Sylum v7#46, first I want to discourage anyone from
  doing "research" on old coppers by cleaning them with Brasso,
  as described in the original November 13th story "Hole in
  History" seen in the Free Lance - Star of Fredericksburg, VA.

  Two pierced large cents were donated by well-wishers to the
  planned U.S. National Slavery Museum in the belief they are
  undocumented slave coins.  One was dated in the first decade
  of the 19th century and picked up in Clarke County, and the
  other was dated 1846 coming from a family collection.  Upon
  close inspection of the picture in the newspaper the earlier cent
  was neatly pierced by a small punch near the rim at 6:00 o'
  clock seen from the reverse.  The piercing went through the last
  digit of the date.  The presence of a single piercing for suspension
  seems to be the only evidence linking the coins to possible slave
  ownership, which is tenuous at best.   Anyone could have pierced
  a large cent.  I will provide several reasons, and hope E-Sylum
  readership will add their two cents worth.

  I'm told a small, undocumented cache of Large Cents turned up
  a few years ago in Virginia. Bottle diggers working underwater
  in the James River near City Point found eight old, holed coppers
  amid Civil War artifacts believed lost during the Siege of
  Petersburg, circa 1864. City Point was a bustling wartime
  terminus for troops and supplies destined for the lengthy
  campaign as well as General Grant's Headquarters and base
  of supplies. The little hoard is now dispersed but I saw one
  of the coins, an 1852  Coronet Style, Large Cent in very fine
  condition.  It had a pleasing smooth brown, non-dug appearance,
  which is possible if it laid deep in river mud these past 135 years
  or so.

  All the coins seemed machine punched, rather than hand pierced,
  with atypically large and ragged holes if intended for personal
  adornment.  The punch was placed off-center, directly through
  Liberty's head as though deliberately (politically?) aimed, with
  the sprue pressed flat on the reverse.  Four theories come to
  mind to account for these coins, none of which is entirely

  1)   Yankee Sinkers - One of the fellows downstream of the
  find called them "Yankee Sinkers," reasoning that they would
  have been shiny 'red cents' back in 1864 and that they might
  have been used as fishing lures, doing double duty as sinkers,
  since they were found in the water. Yet, lead Minnie balls
  would have been as common as gravel at City Point if one
  needed a sinker for fishing.   The 'Yankee' part came from
  his belief that only the northern troops would have had hard
  money enough to gamble it with the catfish.  This theory does
  not quite satisfy if you have ever gone float fishing using bait
  or fly-fishing using lures, but perhaps a trawling line makes
  sense.  Imagining bored soldiers on troop transport ships,
  that it would only take one fellow with the bright idea of fish
  for supper to get every available line over the side using
  whatever was at hand for lures, hooks and bait.

  2)  Circassian Tress Adornments -  "Are there any nice
  women here?'  "It depends on what you mean by nice
  women; there are some very sharp ones."  "Oh, I don't like
  sharp ones," Florimond remarked, in a tone which made his
  aunt long to throw her sofa-cushion at his head.  "Are there
  any pretty ones?"  She looked at him a moment hesitating.
  "Rachel Torrance is pretty, in a strange, unusual way, --
  black hair and blue eyes, a serpentine figure, old coins in her
  tresses; that sort of thing."  "I have seen a good deal of
  that sort of thing," said Florimond, a little confusedly..
  She had a striking, oriental head, a beautiful smile, a manner
  of dressing which carried out her exotic type, and a great
  deal of experience and wit.  She evidently knew the world,
  as one knows it when one has to live by its help.  If she had
  an aim in life, she would draw her bow well above the
  tender breast of Florimond Daintry.  With all this, she
  certainly was an honest, obliging girl, and had a sense of
  humor which was a fortunate obstacle to her falling into a
  pose.  Her coins and amulets and seamless garments were,
  for her, a part of the general joke of one's looking like a
  Circassian or a Smyrniote, -- an accident for which Nature
  was responsible.

  -- Excerpt from 'A New England Winter' by Henry James,
  The Century, a popular quarterly, Volume 28, Issue 4,
  August 1884, Page 586, via Cornell University, The
  Making of America.

  Coins worn on ones head in antebellum times were most
  likely small, thin old silver or gold if it could be obtained,
  half dimes, picayunes, and hammered groats, or better yet,
  half escudos ducats and zecchinos. The coins would have
  been pierced near the rim for suspension and sewed or
  wired to the fringe of a veil in an array, hung like lavalieres
  amid the lace.    Large cents with larger central holes could
  have threaded onto braided tresses directly, although they
  would not hang quite right being more horizontal than vertical
  in application.  The question of how a set of such objects
  landed in the water at City Point in 1864 does not hang
  quite right as well.

  3)   Spiritual Waypoints - The slave connection may come
  about in one of two ways.  An early practice supposedly
  performed by first generation African slaves from western
  coastal tribes (circa 1750) involves collecting a centrally
  pierced copper coin along with other meaningful ceremonially
  objects and burying them in the interior corner of a house
  foundation for some special purpose.   The two examples
  I recall were a badly corroded, George II copper and a
  William Woods Halfpenny, rather than any late date U.S.
  large cents.

  Anthropologists theorized that the round shape of the coin
  was somehow in tune with the Earth Mother, or somehow
  recalls the cycle of life, but I don't think they really know.
  A much more likely African American custom in dealing with
  the dead, as I understand it, uses familiar objects used
  during life, just before death, to help anchor the spirit of
  the dearly departed in this world. A favorite hairbrush, a
  cup, or perhaps a coin if the dearly departed held them
  dear, would be placed on the grave.  As the living world
  spins on mad for change, spirits could quickly loose touch
  with their descendents unless these familiar objects, that
  the spirit had once possessed in life, and would recognize
  again to repossess in death, are strategically placed, as
  focal points for communion between the living and the
  dead.  On some 'All Saints Day' family members above
  and below ground could reunite about these spiritual
  waypoints and remember. However, the coins need not
  be pierced for this purpose.  Neither case works well
  here to explain a spirited origin of the coins of City Point,
  or the two donated 'slave coins,' lacking better provenance.

  4)  Non-sparking Washers - One 19th century spot where
  brass and copper tools and fittings congregated was in the
  powder magazine.  Iron tools dropped on a slate floor
  could raise a spark setting off the whole shebang.  Percussive
  Civil War ordinance must have been a bear to safely
  transport and arm in the field.  Brass fuses charged with gun
  cotton, or infused with fulminate of nitroglycerin, probably
  required special tools and fittings to rack, stack and store
  on supply wagons and ships.   City Point during the siege
  of Petersburg must have seen it all.  Perhaps the fact that
  eight holed large cents were found together in the water
  points to some special naval ordinance use. Congreve
  Rockets, navy torpedos, marine grenadoes, or iron-clad,
  steam engine fittings all might have presented an emergency
  need for the Union Navy, Marines, Voltigeurs, or Ordinance
  staff to requisition a set of matched copper washers, made
  Johnny-on-the-spot out of whatever ships stores they had
  on-hand.   Large cents make sense, for late war use when
  naval supplies would be running nil. For whatever reason
  they went overboard together near a busy anchorage, no
  doubt unintentionally.  This at least explains the forethought
  needed to find a machine punch.

  What say you E-Sylum readership?  Caught any catfish?"


  Last week we asked, "Who was Roscoe 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?"

  Only John M. Kleeberg, whose writing was quoted in an
  earlier E-Sylum issue on the topic, came forth with an
  answer.  He writes:

  "I am assuming that I am disqualified from this quiz about
  the owners of the finest example of the strawberry leaf
  cent.  But I would add to the above list the Estate of Virgil
  Michael Brand, Deceased, for the period from 1926 until
  around 1934 (when Horace and Armin split the Brand
  Estate), and Armin W. Brand for the period from around
  1934 to February 1941, because otherwise the title to the
  coin would be up in the air for fifteen years.  I always try
  to list decedents' estates in coin pedigrees, although other
  writers of pedigrees (notably Del Bland) don't. I was
  exposed to the Surrogate Court of New York County at
  a young and tender age, and so the probating of wills and
  the grants of letters of administration (to say nothing of
  administrations with will annexed, cum testamento
  annexato) bulk large in my consciousness.

  In New York County we have wills back to 1660 - the
  early ones are in Dutch (which continued to be used
  extensively into the eighteenth century).

  Incidentally, I've heard it said that Horace got the better
  half of the Brand Estate.  I've never thought this was so.
  As I understand the split, Horace took the gold and
  Armin most of the other coins. Occasionally, if there
  were duplicates, the brothers would each take one (or
  two).  Thus Virgil M. Brand had four (!) New Yorke in
  America tokens, and I believe that Horace took two
  and Armin took two. If you look at the coins that trace
  back to Armin, such as the strawberry leaf cent, or
  those New Yorke in America tokens - Armin did not
  do badly at all.?


  Another massive coin-hoarder has surfaced.  On Ohio man is
  cashing in over 10,000 pounds of cents, a mass so large he
  believes it attracted lightning bolts to his house.  USA Today
  published his story on November 16:

  "To describe Gene Sukie as "penny-wise and pound-foolish"
  would be seriously underestimating the man.  He has, after all,
  collected nearly 10,000 pounds of pennies in his lifetime - the
  greatest  feat of spare change collecting yet recorded.

  The retired glass-factory supervisor, 78, will cash in what
  remains of his record-setting collection of 1,407,550 pennies,
  worth $14,075.50, accumulated over 34 years."

  "Sukie inspected every penny. He separated them by year
  and mint location. He wrapped pennies of the same year and
  mint into 28,851 rolls.

  He stored the fifty-cent rolls in 559 boxes in his basement.

  He documented the contents and date of each roll in a
  loose-leaf binder that is now 3-inches thick. "He is a bit
  meticulous," Violet said.

  Her husband protests good-naturedly that he was not
  obsessed:  "Sometimes I'd go two or three weeks without
  touching a penny."  He pauses: "Then, I'd roll for two or
  three hours. It was very relaxing."

  Until lightning struck, twice.

  Electrical storms knocked out his living room television,
  directly above his penny collection. "I thought the copper in
  pennies may be attracting lightning," Sukie says."

  "Coinstar, a Bellevue, Wash., company with coin-counting
  machines in 11,000 grocery stores, set up two machines to
  count Sukie's pennies and will finish today. The old Coinstar
  record was 792,141 pennies turned in by Sylvester Neal of
  Anchorage, in 2001.

  So what's next for Sukie? He says he may finally have time to
  index his pencil collection."

  USA Story

  [So let me get this straight -- you spend years inventorying
  the exact contents of each roll, then just dump them all into
  a CoinStar machine to tally up the face value?  You don't
  even try to separate the wheatback cents for sale to a
  dealer?  -Editor]


  This week's featured web site is,
  "a Euro Coins Collector Guide":     Euro Coin Guide

  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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