The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 7, Number 49, December 5, 2004:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2004, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


This issue of The E-Sylum has been published early to
accommodate your editor's travel schedule and a very
sick home computer. Have a great weekend, and keep your
submissions coming.


John Isles of Hanover, Michigan writes: "Thank you!
Great newsletter, as always. The best things in life
Are free. Well, at least, that saying fits this fact!

Please excuse me for reporting a small misgiving about
your section "Subscriber Update". Why don't you mention
_all_ the new arrivals? If one is singled out, the
others will feel excluded; and maybe some readers will 
know other arrivals better.

Just a thought; please forgive, and keep up the good work."

[In the old days, I processed every subscription change
by hand, updating a mailing list on my own computer.  
When we moved to the mailing list service provided by, those duties were partially automated.  
Although people do still email me with requests 
(which I process via binhost), a number of people go through
Binhost independently, so people can come and go from the 
list without my involvement. As an administrator of the mailing 
I can of course see the list and do notice new email addresses,
but I don't have the time to follow-up to learn subscriber names 
(lack of time was a big reason for automating it in the first place.
I do acknowledge subscribers that I'm aware of.

While on the topic, we should also note that the subscriber
count number Binhost gives us is probably inflated, because 
I don't think it takes into account email addresses that no 
longer work. We could review and purge the list on occasion, 
but just haven't bothered to do so yet. So 700 is a maximum 
number; the reality the number is probably smaller. -Editor]


Fred Lake writes: "There will be a meeting of all 
interested Numismatic Bibliomania Society members at 
the Florida United Numismatists 50th Anniversary Coin 
Show being held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on Saturday, 
January 15, 2005 at 11:30 AM in the convention center. 
Our scheduled speaker has unfortunately had to withdraw 
due to another commitment and if you would like to give
a short (20 minutes, or so) talk at the meeting, please
let me know (fredlake at and your name 
will appear in the convention program. Audio/Visual
aids are available. The meeting is usually quite 
informal and we hope to see many of our members and 
potential members there."


Fred Lake writes: "Lake Books reminds everyone that 
their mail-bid sale of numismatic literature #77 closes 
on Tuesday, December 7, 2004 at 5:00 PM (EST). The sale
may be viewed at Lake Books Current
Bids may be placed by telephone, email, or FAX prior to
the closing time. The sale features selections from the
libraries of John M. Ward, Jr. (EAC #74) and Robert 
Doyle (Part II)."


Last week we discusses the Dickin medal, and the following 
article recounts the latest specimen to be sold, where we
learn of an unnamed collector seeking to acquire all the Dickin 
medals issued to pigeons. Four down, 28 to go:

"A prized bravery medal awarded to a spy pigeon which flew 
vital intelligence out of occupied France during the Second 
World War was sold at auction today for £39,200.

The rare PDSA Dickin Medal was awarded to Commando the 
pigeon for his heroics helping British secret agents unearth 
Nazi military tactics.

The medal is the equivalent of the Victoria Cross for animals 
and is one of only 60 awarded to the true beasts of war.

It was auctioned by Spink of London today on behalf of the 
grandson of the pigeon's owner and bought by a British 
collector who already has three such medals awarded to 
pigeons and is aiming to get all 32 issued.

A spokeswoman for the auction house said: "It was a good 
sale and a crowded room so we're very happy."

To read the full article, see: Full Article


The Associated press published a story this week
About the upcoming Eliasberg auction:

"When rare coin expert John Kraljevich holds a 2,400-
year-old gold coin in his hand, visions of centuries of 
drama, even intrigue and mystery fill his head.

Kraljevich and colleagues at a Wolfeboro company
are getting plenty of those visions lately, as they 
examine a treasure expected to fetch at least
several million dollars at auction next spring.

"We've got piles and piles of them around here," 
he said of the coins being examined at American 
Numismatic Rarities.

Kraljevich, the company's director of numismatic 
research, said the 2,800 coins from fabled collector
Louis Eliasberg are drawing so much interest because 
they include a huge variety from around the world and 
have been hidden away in a bank vault in Baltimore 
for more than 40 years.

Usually, he said, someone assembles a collection, 
holds it for 10 or 20 years, then puts it up for sale or 
auction. Parts of this collection were on display in the 
1960s, but much of it was put away and essentially forgotten.

It includes gold coins from ancient Greece and Rome,  
an extensive collection of gold from Latin America and 
rare items from Japan.

[Now referring to Dave Bowers...]
" He said the current generation of collectors had no
idea such a vast amount of rare items existed, let alone 
that it was going to come on the market

"It's just a fantastic collection, sort of like King Tut's Tomb 
or Ali Baba's cave," he said."

"It's dramatic," he said. "There's a reason why hidden gold 
treasure is a theme in so many movies. The idea of a golden 
treasure is one of those evocative images that anyone can identify with."

Eliasberg, a prominent Baltimore banker and philanthropist 
who died in 1976, bought most of the collection in the 1940s, 
and added to it into the mid-1970s. Part of it drew tens of 
thousands of spectators when on display at the Smithsonian Museum
in 1960. Elisasberg's family recently decided to put the collection up for auction.

Several dozen of the coins will be displayed at the Baltimore Coin & Currency 
Convention, this week and during the New York City International Numismatic 
Convention, in mid-January. All 2,800 coins will be auctioned in New York 
City on April 18 and 19."

To read the full article, see: Full Article


Regarding our recent mention of a new numismatic literature sale by Spink, 
Douglas Saville writes:

"Many thanks for mentioning the sale of this major library. We have received 
many requests for the Catalogue. This will be mailed out in February.
With all best wishes and we reckon you do a great job in keeping us all in touch 
with what goes on in numismatic literature.


The following is an excerpt from Joe Boling's
account of his numismatic adventures, reprinted
from the Tuesday November 30, 2004 issue of the
MPC Gram (Number 1217):

"Shortly after arriving in Germany I had an
opportunity to buy the complete eleven-volume set of 
the Zuroku Nihon no Kahei, lavish silk-bound
large-format books that had been published one at
a time in Japan for the past several years. Charlie
Warner in Tokyo had a set for $750. I did not have
$750. I had to go to the Chase Manhattan branch in
Heidelberg and take out a loan (it probably ran 8-10
months) to get the funds to pay for the books, but
they were worth every dime. I used them a lot over 
the next 25+ years, taking care to always handle them 
with clean hands and to repack then in their original 
glassine wrappers and cardboard cases before every 
change of station. They were still like new when I 
transferred them to the ANA two years ago. ANA had 
one set in the rare book room already - from Rev Coole. 
Rare book room books do not circulate - you have to go 
to Colorado to look at them. Nancy Green agreed that if 
she got my set, then she would allow one set to be 
loaned by mail, so if you are looking for something
exotic in Japanese numismatics, there is a resource 
that not many collectors have at their fingertips.

[Nancy Green showed me the Coole set when I 
visited American Numismatic Association headquarters last
year. Many thanks for Joe for making his set available 
to researchers. Few bibliophiles are so
dedicated as to take out a loan for book purchases,
and not nearly enough of us make significant donations
to our hobby's key libraries. -Editor]


Rich Jewell writes: " Some of your readers may have missed 
this article in the Wall Street Journal:
"Investors Flock to Coins Amid Rising Metal Prices"

"Rare coins are starting to attract investors more at
home with stock brokers than coin dealers.

The interest in coins comes as sophisticated investors
are increasingly looking for assets outside of the U.S.
stock market, which many market observers expect to 
post only modest gains during the coming year. In buying
rare coins, individuals not only acquire a collectible asset, 
but they are also getting exposure to precious metals."

[Like locusts, periodic hordes of outside investors
descend on the numismatic hobby in search of outsized
returns. Once enough of them get burned, the horde
retreats. The article seemed well-balanced, pointing
out the pitfalls as well as the potential benefits of
investing in numismatics. -Editor]


Last week Nick Graver asked: " Since average homes 
are built for typical room occupancy, most book collections
place a much heavier strain on them, long term. Have
homes sustained cracks or damage due to the weight of

Alan Luedeking writes: "My advice to Mr. Graver: Choose
not to locate your numismatic library, your waterbed and 
your grand piano on the second floor.

David Davis writes: " I am not sure if I have ever seen anything 
either written or discussed on the subject. It would seem 
prudent to anyone designing a new home to let their architect 
know about the size of their library and method of storing 
books. As I keep almost all of my books in barrister bookcases 
that are relocatable and of different heights due to the ability
to stack same, I designed my bonus room (soon to be my
library, I hope) over the garage to carry 125 lbs. square foot 
instead of the typical 50 to 60 used for conventional homes. 
I used barn trusses instead of residential trusses. The fact that 
most bookcases are located on the periphery of a room which 
are more likely to be over weight bearing walls or beams probably 
saves most floors. Such problems are the reason most remodellers 
have to be very cautious when asked to remove walls in older houses."

Granvyl Hulse writes: "My house is a 130 year old fifteen room 
two and a half story wooden building. It was in the attic that I 
stored the Numismatic International library until recently. 
About ten years after I took on the job as NI Librarian, and 
before I had my cataract operations, my late wife called me 
into the living room on the first floor, and pointing to the ceiling, 
asked me if I saw anything unusual. One look with my glasses 
off and I headed to the lumber yard and picked up two eight by 
eight inch eight foot long beams. One was placed in the
basement, and after jacking up the cross beam on the
living room ceiling the second was placed directly above
the basement beam.

The weight of the books in the attic was literally
forcing the house to sag inward. I am happy to say that
I have had no further problems, but if my wife had not 
spotted the living room ceiling sagging we, and the l
ibrary, would have eventually descended into the basement.

Joe Boling writes: "When Fred Schwan built his (then-new) 
house in Port Clinton, he had a full wall (floor to high ceiling 
with ladder) book case installed. As he loaded it, the wall 
began to sag and crack. The solution was to go under the 
house and install wedges on the foundation pilings that 
were supporting that wall.

Books are not the only load-creator. Safes also create
massive floor loads. One reason I could never live in
a condo is that there are none that will support my
two-ton safe (that was the weight before it was filled) 
not to mention the problem of getting it to any floor 
above the ground level - it has to come in through a 
garage with no steps)."  


Darryl Atchison writes: " Here is a response I received 
from Michael Knight on my query concerning D.T. Batty's 
collection. I thought I would share this with our other
readers since Batty was such an important and 
interesting cataloguer."

Michael writes,  "The report of sale of his collection in 
1910 comes from Manville & Robertson 'British Numismatic 
Auction Catalogues 1710-1984' (1986) on page 375. Where it 
states "Collection reportedly dispersed c1910; Canadian 
material formerly in the collection of DT Batty, 
the numismatic compiler included in sale 1902-29"

When you look under sale 29 in 1902 section, it is not the 
correct sale. Correct sale reference is 1902-31 for
Glendining 11-13 June "originally collected by the 
late DT Batty..1131 Canadian coins and tokens..".

I suspect that collection was sold way before 1910, and
the 1902 sale was by original purchaser of Canadian Group.

Batty was touting his collection for sale as early as 1895. 
In that year WJ Davis published 'The Token Coinage of 
Warwickshire'. In the adverts at the back is one from Batty, 
announcing that he is distributing his private collection, 
mostly in mint condition, each numbered as described in 
volumes 1 and 2 of his work. He would be glad to have 
enquiries for specialities, series or counties. He mentions 
he also wants to sell his Canadian tokens (interestingly he 
says it contains nearly 2,000 tokens). His West Indian and 
Rosa Americanas will be offered shortly in one lot.

So I guess that there is no sale catalogue for the other
elements of his collection, as Batty was using his book 
as the sale catalogue and it was sold in parts.
Hope this helps"


Michael Marotta writes: " In The E-Sylum, Vol.7, Nu. 48,
November 28, 2004, William Bischoff wrote: To clinch
the argument [about Afghan kings], consider the fact 
that even the portraits of Alexander were initially 
understood (if that is the right word) as pictures of
a god in his [Alexander's] image: up to that time the
Greeks had not pictured mortals on their coinage."

That depends on what we mean by "Greek" and what 
we mean by "mortal." The Greek National Museum has a coin
of the Persian satrap Tissaphernes that is an obvious portrait 
in the style of an Athenian "Owl." That coin comes from 400 BC. 
Other Carian and Lycian governors asserted their independence 
about 350 BC and struck coins carrying their own images, 
among them Perikle and Mithrapata. (For these and others, see Sear
" Greek Coins and Their Values=94, for instance.) Contact
between these "eastern" peoples and the Greeks went back 
to the time of the Illiad. Herodotus came from Halicarnassus, 
the site of the tomb of Mausallos.  About 350 BC Artabazus of 
Phrygia hired Athenian mercenaries in his quest for independence -
- if not the Persian crown. When defeated, he found refuge at
the court of Philip of Macedon. Philip betrothed his
"other" son, Arrhidaeus to the daughter of Pixodoros, the 
younger brother of Mausallos. So, there was attested
contact between the Macedonians and the Carians.  
Therefore, Alexander must have known that some men on
the rise put their own portraits on coins. In parallel
with all of that, Macedonian coins also carried portraits,
representations, and portrayals of the kings as Herakles 
(Amyntas II and Perkkidas III) and as Zeus (Philip II).  
Much of this hinges on the distinctions between Macedonian
and Hellenic traditions, a subject of intense debate today 
just as it was 2500 years ago.

Bischoff's point is both subtle and ponderous. In the instances 
of the satraps, they simply put their own faces
on coins. The Macedonian kings took the perhaps expedient 
route of allowing their images to be used as the models for 
gods. Whether Alexander considered himself divine is
 often questioned. The fact is that he hosted symposia
to rationally discuss his divinity four years before
the priests at Siwah declared him to be the son of Amon. 
All of that was laid out in "Portraits and Representations 
of Alexander the Great" which I co-authored with Ann M. Zakelj, 
for the July 2002 issue of The Celator. More recently, I 
delivered an update to that work at the recent conference 
"Coinage and Identities in the Ancient World" sponsored by 
the Nickle Arts Museum of Calgary (Nov. 4-6, 2004). This was 
a judged, peer reviewed paper. Also speaking at that conference 
were Andrew Meadows of the British Museum, Shailendra Bhandare of
the Ashmolean Museum, Haim Gitler (Israel Museum) and Edinburgh 
University's emeritus, Keith Rutter. Until The middle of the 20th century, 
our thesis, that Alexander purposely portrayed himself as Herakles, was
assumed to be true. Even in our age of doubt, it is
not dismissed out of hand by all serious scholars."


Chris Faulkner writes: " While sorting through a box of 
numismatic literature this Sunday morning that had
been sitting in my basement for longer than my wife 
likes to remember, I came across an interesting little 
booklet. It belongs with the ongoing reminiscences that 
people have been offering about coin shops in department 
stores. The booklet is entitled "Catalogue and Price List of 
Gold Coins" and it was put out by the Coin Department of 
the J.L. Hudson Company store in Detroit, at 1206 Woodward
Avenue. The date of publication is 1957 and the booklet 
cost 50 cents. It is 6" x 9" with yellow card covers and 
black lettering. There are 31 pages and four plates 
(an inset on the front cover, the inside and outside back 
cover, and the next to last page). A
total of 890 gold coins from Afghanistan to Venezuela, 
ancients to moderns, are given numbered entries, while 
United States gold is listed separately by denomination. 
The terms and conditions of this fixed price catalogue 
State that "All coins in this list are offered subject
to prior sale." 

What strikes me today is what a remarkable inventory 
of world wide gold coins this catalogue represents, i
ncluding some extremely rare items: a Belgian 1912 
100 franc piece; an 1824 Great Britain 2 pounds (the 
Murdoch specimen); an 1825 Great Britain set of plain
edge proofs of the 2, 1 and =BD pound coins; a Great 
Britain proof half sovereign of 1821; an 1871 5 peso
(pattern?) for Honduras struck at Philadelphia; a five 
denomination Japanese set struck for exhibition
at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial; a similar set
for 1877; the Hawaii 1883 =BD, =BC and 1/8 of a dollar 
struck in platinum and the 1884 =BD and =BC struck in 
gold; a U.S. 1861S $20.00 with Paquet reverse.

All of the foregoing rarities list at over $1000. 
On the other hand, one could get an aureus of 
Nero in AU for $200.; a 1795 U.S. $10.00 gold in 
AU for $375.; a 1796 in UNC for $400. Needless to 
say, none of this was pocket change even in 1957, 
whether at the high or the low end. Dazzling, actually.

I'm not sure how I ended up with this little price
list, since I'm not from Detroit, have never been to 
this store, and don't collect gold. An interesting item, though.


Ken Berger writes: " The article about paper preservation
was interesting. I found an even more interesting one, 
although it is not related to numismatics. In the 28 November 2004 
issue of PARADE, there's an article about Madame Curie. 
The article stated that " ... Madame Curie's workbooks, letters 
and personal diary - which had been banned for more than 
half a century -were being released. Some of these documents 
had been sealed because they still bore traces of radioactivity. Until
the recent past, when Marie Curie's physicist granddaughter 
decontaminated most of these papers, anyone who wanted to read 
a Curie document at the Biblioteque Nationale had to sign a 
medical release."  Besides the still available neutron-irradiated dimes of
the 1950s & 1960s, does anyone know of any numismatic-
related items which are unavailable because of radioactivity?"

[There was a recent news story about an Asian banknote
confiscated because it was found to be radioactive.
I had trouble getting to the web site a search engine referred 
me to, and didn't publish the piece. Perhaps one of our readers 
and locate the reference for us.


On December 2, Reuters published a story about an incident 
at an automated teller machine owned by Toronto's
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce:

"Instead of distributing C$20 bills, the machine, located
in the Maritime province of New Brunswick, spat out colorful 
bills used as incentives at Canadian Tire Corp. hardware stores. 
"The Canadian Tire money was contained within a bulk of regular 
currency, and it was apparently loaded into one of our bank machines," 
said CIBC spokesman Rob MacLeod. 

The bank has refunded the money, issued apologies and
started an investigation into how the incident, on Monday, 
occurred, MacLeod said. 

To read the full story, see: Full Story


Dick Johnson writes: "No! They built a metal house. But this is a 
doozie for my numismatic bloopers in
print collection. 

From the November 17, 2004 Victoria Texas Advocate:

"Ranchers Jon and Mary Jo Poole moved into their "metallic" 
home in May. Jon explains that the decision to build a house 
entirely of medal [sic] was for economy and efficiency. While 
Mary Jo jokes that the house has no "curb appeal," the 
Pooles say they are very pleased
with their new quarters."

Full Story


Dick Johnson writes: " It has long been known to use a 
Lincoln Cent in a way never imagined by its creator 
Victor D. Brenner 95 years ago. That is: to measure the 
remaining depth of tread on auto tires while still
mounted on the car. California law specifies the minimum. 
Auto club executives still recommend using the cent 
to test this. A December 1, 2004 article states how: 

"Place a U.S. penny, Lincoln's head first, into several 
tread grooves. If part of Lincoln's head is covered by 
tread, then more than 2/32-inch tread depth remains. 
When taken care of, tires can last a long time -- often 
40,000 to 80,000 miles, depending on the application, 
said Steve Mazor [California auto club engineer]."

Full story: FullStory


Joel Orosz writes: " I am sure that you are familiar with
the ever-changing ways in which spam artists attempt to 
evade spam filtering programs. Recently, I have noticed
that one way that seems to be somewhat effective for the
spammers is to employ a pair of somewhat esoteric words
in the subject line. A quick check of my spam filter reveals 
subject lines of "dank bravado," profane brine," and one 
I find enticing and unfortunate all at once, "decolletage delay."  
In late November, a subject line turned up in the spam filter 
that caught my eye: "numismatic euphoria." Having experienced 
such an emotion from time to time, I suspended my disbelief 
and released it from the spam quarantine. Naturally, the 
message had nothing to do with numismatics--or for that 
matter, euphoria--but rather ocused on the possibility of 
securing a 2.9% mortgage.  I did get a chuckle, however, 
about "numismatic" turning up on the spammers' list of 
exotic words. And now I'll know not to release messages 
with a numismatic subject from quarantine--with the possible 
exception of any with the subject of "numismatic decolletage"


This week's featured web page is an article by Mike
Marotta on the Neutron Irradiated dimes produced by the
Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

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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