The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 10, Number 2, January 14, 2007:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2007, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers are Matthew Jones, Senior Cataloger
for Bowers & Merena Auctions (courtesy of Gar Travis), Kris Lockyear,
Duane Harper, Brian Zimmer, P. J. Lanham, Jim Petroff, Paul E.
Goodspeed, Jeffrey Laplante, and Tim L. Shuck.  Welcome aboard!
We now have 1,038 subscribers.

I'm not sure where this latest surge of subscribers came from, but
I'm glad they're all here.  Our readers include numismatic bibliophiles,
researchers and writers, and anyone with an interest in learning more
historical background and lore about numismatics.  This week's issue,
while lengthy, is a good example of what The E-Sylum is all about.

The issue opens with two new items from our sponsor, the Numismatic
Bibliomania Society.  First, the latest issue of the print journal,
The Asylum, is at the printer.  This provides an appropriate opening
to review the difference between this email newsletter (The E-Sylum),
and the NBS print journal.  Secondly, NBS member Howard Daniel will
be representing the organization at a table at the upcoming ANA
convention in Charlotte.

Many E-Sylum issues include news and reviews of numismatic books old
and new, and this issue discusses a book on Dutch Manhattan and the
Founding of New York which has found many readers among collectors of
colonial U.S. coins.  We also have further discussion of 'Double Daggers',
the historical novel about the EID-MAR coin commemorating the
assassination of Julius Caesar.

Other E-Sylum fixtures are our readers' dead-on followups to queries
from previous issues, and these have generated a lot of great reading
for this issue.  Dick Johnson shares his knowledge about Loubat's
'Medallic History of the U.S.', and he and others provide a great deal
of background on the famous 'Inspecting the First Coinage' painting at
the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia.  Another very detailed item concerns
William Woodin's acquisition of a trove of pattern coins from the U.S.

We sometimes critique numismatic auction catalog descriptions, and in
this issue we look at a recent offering of the Albany Church Penny.
Rounding out the issue are items on a recent high-profile coin robbery,
spy coins in Canada, library deaccessioning policies, and Emperor Norton
of San Francisco.  Finally, wouldn't it be great if you discovered three
chests containing an immense quantity of gold and silver coin?  Well,
not if you can't keep a secret.  To learn what happened to George Kelway
and his 1786 windfall, read on.  Have a great week, everyone.

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


The latest issue of our print journal, The Asylum, is currently at
the printer.  The contents include:

* Alison Frankel - Discovering the Numismatic Bibliomania Society
* Leonard Augsburger - Woodward/Chapman Correspondence at the American
Numismatic Society
* E. Tomlinson Fort - Sir Frank Merry Stenton and the Coinage of
the Anglo-Saxons
* Leonard Augsburger - The ANS Chapman Files: Major William Boerum Wetmore

While The E-Sylum is free to everyone, only members of the Numismatic
Bibliomania Society receive The Asylum.  Membership is only $15 to
addresses in the U.S., $20 elsewhere.  There is a membership application
available on the NBS web site at this address:
NBS Application

To join, print the application and return it with your check to the
address printed on the application.  We'd love to have more of you as


Howard A. Daniel III writes: "I will be manning a club table for the
Numismatic Bibliomania Society (and IBNS, NI and PCF) at the Charlotte
American Numismatic Association convention March 16th to 18th.  If you
are attending and find someone there you think will be interested in
joining NBS or the other three organizations, please send them to the
table for an application.

If you have "extra" numismatic and related books, pamphlets, journals,
etc. (and coins, tokens, paper money, etc.), that you would like to
see in the hands of a young and/or new numismatist, please bring them
to the table or have someone who is attending the convention bring
them for you.

In the past, NBS members have also shipped or mailed packages to my
residence and to the convention.  A flyer and application form goes
with each item so they know the organization that is providing the
handouts.  Contact me at to make any special

I didn't attend the recent FUN Show in Orlando for the first time in
over a decade - I was under doctor's orders to stay close to home
because I had not completely healed from some recent surgeries.  It
was very gratifying that many people emailed, mailed and called to
say they missed me at the show and hoped I get better soon."

[Many thanks once again to Howard for carrying the torch for NBS at so
many major shows throughout the year.  We wish him the best of luck in
his continuing recovery from surgery.  Please do consider sending Howard
some of your inexpensive duplicate and unneeded numismatic literature
for handouts at the table.  -Editor]


Roger S. Siboni writes: "There is a recently published book entitled
'The Island at the Center of The World - The Untold Story of Dutch
Manhattan and the Founding of New York' by Russell Shorto which has
been making its way through the Colonial Numismatic circuit. In my view,
the book is outstanding and a fairly quick read. It is the true story
of the settling of New York by the Dutch, based upon some recently-
discovered records in The New York State Library at Albany that were
written in Old Dutch. How they were found and translated is a story
in itself, but it does cover Henry Hudson's intrepid voyages in search
of the Northwest Passage to the far East.

"Henry Hudson made several voyages in search of a more expeditious
passage to the Far East from Europe. Some were made on behalf of the
Dutch East India Company (VOC) and some were privately financed.
Virtually all the expeditions were directed at the discovery of a
NorthEAST Passage as the shortcut to the Far East, but Hudson was
convinced the secret lie in a NorthWEST passage.

"He was so convinced that he simply disobeyed the wishes of his sponsors
and crews in search of this Northwest passage. His unswerving determination
to find the Northwest passage ended when his mutinous crew lowered him,
his son and his few followers onto a small boat in the southern reaches
of what is now Hudson Bay where they froze to death.

"Ironically, the mutineers managed to limp back to England where they
were exonerated for mutiny and murder. Amazingly, they claimed that
Hudson had indeed found the Northwest passage and that they knew where
it was. Rather than being hanged, they received funding from King James
and several prominent London businessmen to start the "The Company of
the Merchant's Discoveries of the North-West Passage." From there, the
race was on."


Dick Doty, Chief Curator of the National Numismatic Collection at the
Smithsonian Institution writes: "Could you ask the Assembled Members
whether anyone's ever heard of a reference on the emergency paper money
of the Franco-Prussian War?  We've got enough French material for a
small catalogue, and I'm inclined to do it if it hain't already been


Doug Andrews writes: "I have a friend who has recently become curator
of a large numismatic collection. Although she is a museum professional,
she has no background in numismatics. Can E-Sylum readers suggest any
book titles or online resources that would be helpful to her, covering
preservation of numismatic collections, or other curatorial topics
related to coins and notes? Thank you."

I asked Dick Doty at the Smithsonian and he writes: "As for beginning
literature, the best single introductory thing ever written on
numismatics as such (according to me) is 'Numismatics', by Philip
Grierson (It's available in hardbound and paperback).  My own early
publications ('Coins of the World', 'Money of the World', 'Paper Money
of the World') would be useful in terms of the scope of numismatics,
as would Joe Cribb's 'Coin Atlas'.  But Grierson's still best for a
beginning curator.  As for conservation and registrarial issues,
however, other readers may have some good suggestions.  I don't."


Regarding Jeff Reichenberger's review of his book, "Double Daggers",
author Jamie Clifford (an E-Sylum subscriber) writes:

"In regards to Jack Weston using the denarius as a ballmark -- as a
lover of history and numismatics I would probably agree with you that
it would be almost inconceivable to use the coin in such a callous
fashion. Looking back when I wrote that chapter I think I used Jack
as a scapegoat for all the greed and stupidity that was occurring on
Wall Street and in the corporate world at the time.  The Tech bubble
had burst and the Enron, Worldcom, Tyco etc scandals were going on so
I think I took it out on Jack Weston.

"Full disclosure -- I don't want to sound hypocritical because I have
been employed in the Investing Banking Industry for 16 years so the
industry has been good to me but it still astounds me how much money is
just thrown around or wasted sometimes. Maybe, I'm just envious or mad
because it never gets thrown to me...

"Also, thank you for pointing out that it was Zsa Zsa's sister Eva on
Green Acres.  I always liked Eva better than Zsa Zsa, so I can't believe
I overlooked that! The publisher expects a third printing in March and
that fact will be corrected."

[Thanks again to Jeff for his review and congratulations to Jamie on
reaching the third printing milestone.  He's sending Jeff a signed
hardcover copy of the book. -Editor]

Leon Worden writes: "I have just begun to read "Double Daggers," James
R. Clifford's historical novel about the EID-MAR coin, discussed in the
last E-Sylum. So far, I would agree that it is a fun read that meshes
with historical accounts of the period. However, I am confused by the
author's account of the coins' manufacture.

"Clifford writes that production began at the mint in Rome on the day
Brutus and others assassinated Julius Caesar (March 15, 44 B.C.).
Clifford makes no mention of subsequent production, instead implying
that all of the EID-MAR coins were made at the mint in Rome under
Brutus' authority during the three-day period following Caesar?s
assassination -- after which time Brutus fled east and Marc Antony,
Brutus' enemy, controlled Rome.

"This does not jibe with my information. For a story that appeared in
the November 2006 edition of COINage, I discussed the manufacture of
EID-MAR coins with Greek government officials. According to the Hellenic
Ministry of Culture -- which backed up its statements with numerous
numismatic texts -- all known EID-MAR coins were struck two and a half
years later, in the late summer and fall of 42 B.C. (Brutus died in
October 42 B.C.)

"Moreover, Ministry officials said, the coins were not made in Rome;
rather, they were struck at a mobile mint that traveled with Brutus
while he was in Macedonia. Brutus issued the coins in payment to his
troops, and the coins bore the "double daggers" design to remind them
what they were fighting for.  (It was more than two years later. Can
you say 'quagmire'?)

"A spokesman for Greek Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis explained
to me: "They had an army, they were moving here and there, and while
they were moving, they were issuing these coins. At some point, they
were in the region of Dr?ma [in northern Greece] and they wanted to
settle there and build a fixed facility to make the coins. It didn't

"Clifford identifies the Roman coiner as Mettivus; however, the coins'
own inscription, L PLAET CEST, identifies the coiner as Lucius Plaetorius
Cestianus, the manager of Brutus' mobile mint. (Clifford identifies
Lucius as Mettivus' son.)

"Now, I recognize that Clifford's book is a novel, but given the fact
that his other accounts of events in 44-42 B.C. seem to ?work,? I am
assuming he intended to be accurate in his description of the manufacture
of the coins.

"Thus I ask: Does any E-Sylum reader have credible information about
the coins' manufacture that differs from (or, for that matter, validates)
the account provided to me by the Hellenic Ministry of Culture?"

Leon adds: "I suppose I should mention why it matters. If the EID-MAR
coins were made in Rome, they're Italian. If they were made in (Greek)
Macedonia, they're Greek. My COINage story dealt with the fact that the
Greek government recently used a European Union rule on cultural property
to "recover" an EID-MAR coin from a private party -- on the supposition
that the coin was Greek."


The review of "Double Daggers" prompted Ginger Rapsus to write: "I
noted with interest the comments on numismatic historical fiction.
I have outlined a novel that takes place in 1792; the hero is an
engraver at the Philadelphia Mint.  The heroine ends up being the
model for the Birch cent.  The working title is "Eagle."  I am nowhere
near finished with this story, and who knows if it will ever get

"I do have high hopes for a Civil War novel I finished last September.
I entered the manuscript in the Golden Heart competition, so we shall

[Best of luck to Ginger and her historical novel manuscript.  Perhaps
our readers could suggest some possible plotlines or subtexts, or point
out some interesting historical facts and personalities worthy of
consideration for the project. -Editor]


In response to John Adams' query last week, Dick Johnson writes: "I
have no recall of the Loubat hoard, but I do offer some suggestions
for your article.

"1)  Do not overlook mentioning the four-page flyer Loubat wrote to
promote the sale of the books.  ANS should have a copy if you do not
have one in your library.

"2)  I have owned or sold about a dozen sets of Loubat. I think I have
three sets left. I felt I never needed the Flayderman reprint since I
had such easy access to the original.

"3)  The physical book was a masterpiece of bookbinding at the time
of publication. Unfortunately, the paste used in the bookbinding
attracted varmints. I have observed copies with holes in bindings
and pages. It seems insect bookworms are as attracted to the book for
their lunch as human bookworms are attracted to its content for feeding
their intellectual hunger.

"4)  Volume two bears a different date of publication from volume one.
Elvira Clain-Stefanelli, in one of her numismatic bibliographies, listed
the set by the date in volume two - this has led to confusion. When I
first observed this I thought this was a second edition - not so.

"5)  Loubat did a fascinating job researching these medals. not just
the medals, but the data, the documents, and the dies!

"6)  Loubat, it could be said, was the 19th century Q. David Bowers,
leaving no stone or source unturned to learn everything he could about
this series of medals.

"7)  Loubat's editorial technique was what we call today "cut and paste"
-- reprpoducing entire documents whole. (A technique also employed on
occasion by QDB.)

"8)  What is missing from Loubat's massive 2-volume work was an analysis
of what he had gathered. I would have liked for him to have interpret
what he had; he had a duty to the reader to give a statement on how this
series fits in with history, with numismatics, with the concept of
awarding medals for outstanding human achievement. Instead, he left us
with the collection of the sterile documents alone, forcing the reader
to make his own judgments. Loubat, by his act of gathering all this data,
blew it by not giving us his insight, opinion, or summary. I would
have welcomed and respected such comments.

"9)  Loubat's love of these medals comes across in this book. More than
a "labor of love" Loubat did an incredible service to later generations
in researching and publishing this work.

"10)  Later researchers and writers have built on Loubat's core work by
revealing data that was unavailable to him in his time. An example of
this is the present writer's discoveries of biographical data on John
Antrobus(c1837-1907) the British-American painter, portraitist, designer
who Loubat could only identify as a Detroit artist. Antrobus designed
the U.S. Grant Congressional Medal, 1864 (Loubat 73) engraved by Anthony
C. Paquet and struck by the U.S. Mint."


Thieves have once again targeted dealers traveling from the Florida
United Numismatists (FUN) show.  The Associated Press reported on the
latest incident in a story published Wednesday.  As before, although
the story does state that the robbery occurred off the show's premises,
headlines and other text makes it seem like the theft occurred at the
show.  One headline reads "Robbers net $4M in coin convention heist."

"Robbers in surgical masks pulled off a $4 million coin heist at
knifepoint outside a coin dealers convention, getting away with gold,
silver and a rare 1843 set of currency once owned by President Tyler,
authorities said.

"It was the second time in two years that the Florida United
Numismatists' annual coin show had been hit, and this year's loss
was much larger.

"On Saturday, a Minnesota coin dealer's employee was unloading an SUV
outside a luxury hotel when a robber in a surgical mask and a hooded
sweater grabbed him from behind and held a knife to his throat,
witnesses and the victim told authorities. Two other masked men grabbed
a suitcase from the SUV, according to authorities."

To read the complete story, see: Full Story

Cindy Wibker of FUN writes: "The headlines are most irritating, since
there has not been a single incident AT the FUN show.  All of these
events occur after people have departed, and in all cases for the last
two years that I'm familiar with, the people who suffered a loss did
not follow the guidelines we gave them. They have either walked out
the front door of the convention when we had provided a secure and
private area for them, or they transported high value coins without
an armed police escort or armored car service, or they stopped to eat
a meal and left their goods unattended, etc.

"FUN's security is outstanding, and this year it was greatly enhanced
with many more uniformed off-duty sheriffs' department personnel.  They
were highly visible and patrolling the parking lot and the building
continuously.  FUN has done everything possible to maximize security
at the show, but it takes the organization and the dealers working
together to prevent these unfortunate events from occurring.  We will
continue to feed security information to all our dealers and provide
the best security available during our convention."

John Kraljevich writes: "This has a lot of folks pretty scared -- the
front curb of the nicest convention-area hotel is a pretty spectacular
location for an armed robbery. The parking lot of the convention
center, after last year's spate of off-location robberies, showed far
more visible security than usual including cruisers parked willy-nilly
all over the place. Apparently if you're desperate enough (and drove
ALL the way from Miami, where the attackers were allegedly from), this
will just drive you to a less secure but far higher profile location
to commit your crime."

[Fighting criminals is like a game of whack-a-mole.  Smack 'em down
in one place, they only pop up again somewhere else.  Be careful out

The coins stolen include a ten-piece 1843 U.S. Proof Set (Half Cent
through $10 Gold Eagle).  The coins are in PCGS slabs with the notation
"Pres. Tyler Presentation Set".  Other notable coins include an 1836
Gobrecht Dollar, also in a PCGS slab with the notation "Ex. Troy
Weisman".  Heritage has distributed a copy of the inventory to its
customer list.  To report a possible sighting or get a full copy of
the list, contact Chris Napolitano of Summit Rare Coins at (651)
227-9000.  -Editor]

The St. Paul Pioneer Press published an article on the incident
Thursday, January 11, interviewing Laura Sperber of Spectrum Numismatics.

"The attack by three masked robbers came in the lobby driveway of the
Peabody Hotel about 6 p.m. Hundreds of dealers were in Orlando for the
Florida United Numismatists' annual show, one of the largest in the

"It would be the equivalent of going to a Vikings game and robbing a
Vikings player during the game," said Sperber. "It was that brazen a

"Dealers also are worried because the thieves took off with business
records and a Rolodex of names. Sperber thinks this attack will bring
a new safety focus."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


Dan Friedus writes: "Perhaps this is a good week to provide a link
in The E-Sylum to Steve Ellsworth's web site.  He has some of his
articles there (versions of which have appeared in The Numismatist
and other numismatic periodicals). I have to admit that years ago
when I first heard Steve talk about his approach to security with
coins, I thought it was over the top, but he makes a lot of good
points that apply to both dealers and collectors.  Incidents such
as those last week make it clear how important it is to pay attention
and act deliberately when carrying or storing coins."

[Here are direct links to five articles on Ellsworth's web site,
and one to Alan Weinberg's tips in a previous E-Sylum item. -Editor]








Regarding Joel Orosz and Len Augsburger's request for information on
the oil painting by John Ward Dunsmore entitled "Inspecting the First
Coinage," Dick Johnson writes:

"There are three versions of the painting. The original is in the U.S.
Mint (or at least it was when I researched it in 1989). They are correct
in that it was commissioned by Frank Stewart in 1914. Stewart donated it
to the Mint in 1916 where it has hung ever since.

"All figures but one -- mint workers and U.S. officials -- can be
identified. Left to right are: Unknown worker (back to viewer),
Alexander Hamilton, Mrs. Hamilton, David Rittenhouse, George Washington,
Thomas Jefferson, Martha Washington (seated), Adam Eckfelt, Thomas Lear
holding out a tray of coins for Martha to inspect, and Henry Voigt at
the coin press in the background right.

"At some unknown date (1930s, 40s?) a 'New Jersian of great talent but
little morals whose previous work was copying Rembrandts and other
masterpieces (for which it is said he was jailed for his forgeries'
painted a reproduction of the Mint?s original version. The second version
is somewhat larger and the colors changed slightly, I was told.

"I was consigned one of the second versions for the New England Numismatic
Association 45th Convention auction sale, September 23, 1989, held in
Danbury, Connecticut, at a CAL Auction number 33 (lot 1364). The consignor
told me the above statement, also that he had obtained it from a
Philadelphia art gallery.

"Description of this version is as follows: '(George and Martha Washington)
Inspection of the First United States Coins Painting, 1914; 24 x 35 7/8
inches (61.0 x 91.2cm) oil on canvas. By John Ward Dunsmore (1856-1945)
painter of the original.' This reproduction bore the Dunsmore name.
Further, the second artist painted craze (tiny cracks in the print) to
give it an aged look to further the deception.

"The scene is based on the apocryphal story that the half dismes being
shown to the Washingtons were struck from silver furnished from their
household table silver.

"The painting distributed by Dayton coin dealer Jim Kelly was an entirely
different version, but based on the same theme if not the original painting.

I have one hanging above my desk now that I purchased from Jim Kelly
perhaps 50 years ago. It is just beginning to show (legitimate) craze
in the lower right.

"It bears the signature lower left of Hy (Henry) Hintermeister (born 1897)
a New York City artist. It is smaller scope with fewer figures and a
closer perspective of the mint scene. The figures: Henry Voigt in
background, David Rittenhouse, George Washington (holding up sample
coin), Martha (seated), Mrs. Hamilton (leaning over Martha?s shoulder),
Alexander Hamilton, Adam Eckfelt (partly hidden) and Thomas Jefferson.

"A coining press is on a table in the foreground of this painting
(where it was in the background on the earlier version with scales
more prominent in the foreground). The original is somewhat cluttered
with furniture, a grandfather clock and belting shown above to drive
the machinery. Composition of the third version is far more pleasing.
I still get a thrill looking up from my desk as I did just now after
I wrote this."

To view an image of the "Inspecting the First Coinage" painting
(version unknown), see:
image of painting

Dick Johnson adds: "Recalling other useful facts about Jim Kelly's
painting is a problem, however. I don't remember when I got that
painting, how much I paid for it, or even whether it was a gift.
I lived in Dayton immediately after graduating from college and
became close to Jim Kelly, attending all his auctions for example.

"He even recommended me to the Amos family when they were seeking
an editor for a coin publication. When I moved to Sidney I, of course,
renewed that friendship and we were involved with him on a weekly
basis in the creation of "coin trends" the weekly report of coin

"I should not have said he "commissioned" the painting. He had prints
for sale and I acquired one of those prints. I cannot recall any
further details than that.

"I don't believe he would have found that obscure painter, Hy
Hintermeister to commission the painting. Probably, a print publisher
offered these to him and he took on a small number to market.

"The print is lithographed on linen paper, it is not oil on canvas
(which would have been the original). It does have the rippled surface
in imitation of canvas, but it is paper.

"So there is another research project -- tracking down where the
original of this painting is. Isn't numismatic research fun?"


Through a web search I discovered that the John Ward Dunsmore
Collection at the Fraunces Tavern Museum in New York City consists
of forty-five paintings donated by the artist.  The paintings depict
key events in early U.S. history.  The collection includes a U.S.
Mint-related painting titled "Washington Inspecting First Silver
Coins."  This does NOT depict the same scene as Dunsmore's "Inspecting
the First Coinage".  In it there are five male figures, with Washington
seated at a desk viewing coins and the others standing watching.

To view "Washington Inspecting First Silver Coins," see

The museum's web site notes that "Dunsmore was a late 19th/early 20th-
century painter best known for his realistic and historically accurate
paintings. Dunsmore, the first Director of the Detroit Museum of Art
and a member of the Sons of the Revolution, donated the majority of
the collection directly to the Museum."

Fraunces Tavern is Manhattan's oldest surviving building.  On Pearl
Street in the Financial District, it was built in 1719 as an elegant
residence for the merchant Stephan Delancey.  Later it became a tavern
run by Samuel Fraunces and was noted as a gathering place for patriots
during the Revolutionary War.  The Sons of Liberty held meetings there
before the British occupation of the city and in 1783 Washington said
farewell to his Continental army officers in the tavern.

For more information on the Fraunces Tavern Museum, see:


E-Sylum subscriber (and avid Half Dime collector) Stephen A. Crain
writes: "I own a copy of the Frank Stewart version of the Dunsmore
print, which I purchased at the 1999 ANA Summer Convention in Chicago.
Since that time there has been occasional interest within the hobby
concerning the original painting, the subsequent prints, and the
historic occasion it depicts.

"I wrote an article for the John Reich Journal (official quarterly
publication of the John Reich Collectors Society) which was published
in Volume 13, Issue 1, July 2000, just prior to the 2000 ANA Summer
Convention in Philadelphia. The article was published at the back of
the Journal in order that the accompanying black and white copy of
the Dunsmore print could be published contiguously with the article,
on the heavy card stock of the cover, so that interested readers
could remove the back cover and frame the picture.

"After many long years of searching, I inquired of numismatic book
dealer Charles Davis if he knew of any prints ever made of the John
Ward Dunsmore painting "Inspection of the First Coins of the First
United States Mint". Charlie informed me that he recalled, many years
previously, seeing a print of that famous painting on display at a
coin show, somewhat appropriately in Philadelphia, but that the dealer
who owned and displayed it was vehement that it was not for sale, and
would refuse any and all offers. Not deterred, I was actually encouraged
to learn that, in fact, prints evidently had been made, which might
increase my odds of ever acquiring one. I informed Charlie that should
he ever locate one, I was extremely interested in acquiring one.

"Many years passed with no success, until Charlie called me in my hotel
room at the 1999 ANA Summer Convention in Chicago to inform me that a
copy of the print had shown up on the bourse floor, and he had purchased
it for me. I honestly do not know how Charlie even recalled that I was
looking for the print, as several years had gone by since I mentioned
it to him. Nonetheless, I literally ran back to the bourse floor to claim
my prize. It remains one of my favorite numismatically related items,
and hangs in a place of honor in my den (coin room).

"What I purchased is a twelve month calendar for the year 1916, published
by the Frank H. Stewart Electric Co., in Philadelphia. Overall it is
approximately sixteen inches (16") wide by fourteen inches (14") high.
It has the twelve month calendar attached in the center at the bottom
(along the 16" wide dimension). The calendar has individual pages for
each month (still attached), which are five inches (5") wide by three
inches (3") high, and are attached by a lime green ribbon with bow.
There is another, slightly larger lime green ribbon at the top of the

"The Dunsmore print is a separate piece, appearing in a window in the
center, and is ten inches (10") wide by seven inches (7") high. The
print is in full and vivid color, and depicts President and Martha
Washington, Alexander and Mrs. Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, David
Rittenhouse, Tobias Lear, Adam Eckfeldt, Henry Voight and another
mint workman, all inspecting the 1792 half dismes, manufactured two
blocks away in the basement of John Harper's saw manufacturing operation.
The colors are extremely vivid, particularly in Martha Washington's
lavender dress and Thomas Jefferson's red vest.

"When I acquired the calendar, it was carefully rolled up and placed
in a tube to protect it from damaging light and other harmful damage.
I subsequently had it professionally matted and framed using archival
materials and UV resistant glass. Before doing so, I had two, and only
two, professional photocopies made, reasoning that such an opportunity
would not likely occur again, once framed.

"For the color copy, I wanted to show my sincere appreciation to good
friend Russell Logan for many years of mentorship, and for his continued
kindness and generosity toward me, so I spared no expense in selecting
a simple black frame from the offerings at my local Walmart store, and
shipped the color copy off to Russ with a cover letter mentioned. (I
was delighted to learn a couple of years ago that Brenda Logan had seen
fit to offer the color copy to David Davis after Russ' passing). The
black and white copy went to Brad Karoleff at the John Reich Journal
for inclusion with my article.

"One of the decisions I needed to make when having the print framed
involved the overleaf attached to the right hand side of the calendar.
The overleaf contained a detailed description of the print, an historical
account of the first Mint at Philadelphia, and a brief description of
Frank Stewart's involvement. I knew that if I detached the overleaf it
would destroy the original value of the calendar, but if I folded it
back behind the calendar (its normal position) it would be forever out
of view once framed. I elected to leave the overleaf intact, but to
make a color copy of the overleaf (both sides), have it laminated,
and placed into a pocket on the back of the framed print.

"I would be most willing, even eager, to share what information that
I have on this calendar and print. However, it would be nearly impossible
to make another color copy of it, as it is mounted in a large wood frame,
and the print is recessed more than an inch from the front surface of
the frame. Also, to protect the aforementioned ribbons, there are spacing
beads behind the glass, spacing the calendar away from the glass to avoid
compressing the ribbons. I would not like to remove it from its frame and
protective kraft paper backing, but it should be possible to make a
quality digital photo of the calendar and forward it to interested
parties, or perhaps I can arrange to bring it to a prearranged location
for others to see and study.

"I have been in email contact with Len Augsburger within the last week
regarding this very subject, and we each shared what information we had
about the number of prints made, who might have made them, and their
90+ year provenance. I related to Len my experience meeting Frank
Greenberg at the 2000 ANA Summer Convention in Philadelphia, where
he displayed an identical copy of this calendar. We talked for quite
a time, I gave him a copy of my article in the JR Journal, and he
related to me his recollection of the history of the prints, which I
carefully wrote down at the time. This is a fascinating subject, and
one that combines my love for American history, the early Federal
coinage, the 1792 half dismes, and Thomas Jefferson, making it
especially important to me.

[Many thanks to Stephen not only for his fascinating story but for
his careful conservation and stewardship of the Stewart calendar.
Thanks also to David Davis for alerting Stephen to Joel's research
question. -Editor]

To read a Collector's Universe Coin Collectors Forum discussion
of the painting, see: Full Story


Regarding Frank Stewart, George Polizio writes: "I just wanted to
add a little information. I do not know the inventory of his coin
collection, but while researching Bust Quarters I found that he had
bought an 1823 quarter out of the Gable sale (S.H.Chapman 5/14:1044).
He used the pseudonym 'East'. The coin later appeared in the Russ Logan
sale minus the graffiti that was on the bust of Liberty."


Last week R.V. Dewey asked about William Woodin's acquisition of a
trove of pattern coins from the U.S. Mint, said to be part of a deal
he made for returning two disputed $50 Half Union patterns purchased
earlier from the Mint.


Saul Teichman writes: "The Ford library had the most interesting note
regarding Woodin's purchase and subsequent return of the two gold Half
Union patterns - the following is the excerpt I placed on the website. One of these letters from Woodin's attorney
to U.S. Attorney Henry W. Wise on June 7, 1910 is shown below courtesy
of George Kolbe.
[The URL is  -Editor]

'Col. Snowden, who had originally purchased these coins from the
Director of the Mint in Philadelphia by depositing the bullion value
and the charge for pattern pieces to save them from being melted down,
in the course of negotiations between himself and Dr. Andrew, Director
of the Mints, came to an agreement with the latter over all matters
in dispute between them, and proposed to Mr. Woodin to repay him the
$20,000 he had paid for these pieces, in order that he might carry
out his arrangement with Dr. Andrew.

'Mr. Woodin after numerous visits to Philadelphia and Washington
and conference with Dr. Andrew, both there and in this city, decided
to accept this offer, returned the 50?s to Col. Snowden, and I
thereupon notified Mr. Pratt, as did Mr. Woodin, that the incident
was closed, and we requested a letter from your office confirming
the same. In view of the trouble and expense to which Mr. Woodin was
put to facilitate Dr. Andrew in the adjustment of a very difficult
situation, your letter seems a little unfair, in that it would tend
to create the appearance of a record some time in the future that Mr.
Woodin had been compelled to give up something of which he was
improperly in possession.'

"What this letter tells us is that Col. Snowden owned the patterns,
thus they were never a part of the Idler collection as often mentioned
in the past.  It is believed that Haseltine and Nagy brokered the deal
between Snowden and Woodin for the $20,000 purchase of the two Half
Unions.  Articles in The Numismatist as the time seem to tell us that
much.  It is likely that they received a commission of some sort for
their participation.

"The letter also notes that the coins were returned to Col. Snowden
and that he was to return them to the U.S. Mint which he did.  Today
the coins reside in the National Numismatic Collection at the
Smithsonian Institution.

"As for Woodin getting his $20,000 back, it appears that instead of
cash, he got paid by receiving other pattern coins, probably from
items still in Snowden's possession - not from items taken out of the
U.S. Mint collection, although the latter is certainly possible.  If
the Mint was involved it is NOT likely that their pieces were primary
to the settlement.  It is also likely, though not provable at this
time, that Woodin received items from the Idler collection via
Haseltine & Nagy which covered their commission amount on the sale.

"With regard to what were the coins Woodin received, the easiest way
to figure it out would be to look into the gaps which exist in the
Smithsonian's pattern collection today.  I do not remember the length
of Snowden's tenure but the Mint collection has large gaps of items
struck in the mid-1870s.  Among the items received include the 1872
Amazonian gold set, the two 1874 Bickford eagles, the two sets of
1875 sailor's head gold patterns, the two silver sets of 1876 dollar
patterns and many 1877-1896 dated pieces.

"It is likely that many of the items dated in the 1870s came from Col.
Snowden directly.  Many of the patterns dated after 1872 were extremely
rare at the time, then they became more common after this deal.  For
example, only three silver (Mint, Garrett and Vicksburg), one copper
(Woodside-Brand) and one white metal schoolgirl dollar (offered in
1895 Scott auction - purchased by Brand in 1896) were known at the
time.  Today about another twenty pieces in silver and copper are
now known.

"Woodin did appear to have plenty of duplicates and offered them via
Edgar Adams in one 1911 auction sale and three fixed price lists.
Woodin also sold his regular gold collection at this time (excluding
his Half Eagles, which went to Newcomer in the mid 1920s).  One wonders
if he needed the money to cover his legal fees in this matter.

"In any event, many of the patterns he received appear to have ended
up with the great collectors of the day such as H.O. Granberg, Waldo
Newcomer, W.W.C. Wilson and Virgil Brand to name a few.  Edgar Adams
himself still had plenty of patterns by 1935 when he sold them in a
Thomas Elder auction.  Woodin is also known to have had many of the
1883 and 1896 patterns in his possession.

"I do not know if the Newcomer inventories that sold in the Ford
library mention the source of his patterns although it is obvious
that he obtained many of Woodin's pieces.  The ANA Centennial Anthology
did have an article on Newcomer's inventory - I do not know if it
specifically mentions how much Newcomer spent on his patterns and/or
how many parcels from Woodin he received.

"I am also unaware of any specific inventory existing of the Granberg
collection - his Adams & Woodin book does exist and was described as
heavily annotated.  It is important to note that at least some of
Newcomer's patterns also originated from Granberg - the 1872 Amazonian
gold set being one of them as he apparently purchased the set from
Woodin.  The Brand journal notes purchases from Adams in 1911 including
ten 1877 half dollars in silver and one of the two known sets of 1875
Sailor's Head gold patterns to name just a few.  He also later
purchased W.W.C. Wilson's Gobrecht dollars and his 1874 gold Bickford
$10 in 1919."

[R.V. Dewey's information on Woodin?s sales to Newcomer and Granberg
came from "Abe Kosoff Remembers", p378 (a June 25, 1980 Coin World
column).  Abe lunched weekly with Fred Boyd and got a lot of this
information from him.  "Abe Kosoff Remembers" and Dave Bowers' "Abe
Kosoff: Dean of Numismatics" are filled with great tales, well worth
reading and re-reading.  -Editor]


Dick Johnson writes: "To answer the question proposed by R.V. Dewey
on Flying Eagle pattern coins in last week?s E-Sylum, 'German-silver'
was found as natural alloys in, obviously, Germany. It was imported
into England in 1830. But it was famed New York City dentist, Dr.
Lewis Feuchtwanger, who, in 1837, after experimenting with alloys,
issued his own tokens in this composition.

"Feuchtwanger, it is well known, went to Scovill in Waterbury to have
his one-cent and three-cent tokens and his storecards struck in this
alloy. He tried to persuade the U.S. Mint to use his "Feuchtwanger's
composition" for a U.S. coin metal but was unsuccessful. There is no
silver in German-silver but its early use was obviously in imitation
of silver.

"Feuchtwanger could have obtained this alloy from Germany, made it
himself by adding nickel to a brass alloy, or ordered it made at
Scovill, I suspect it was the later. One of his proposed alloys was
53 copper, 29 zinc and 18 nickel. (German-silver has a range of
formulae:  55-65 copper, 5-25 nickel, 10-30 zinc.)

"German-silver is a hard alloy. It is ideal for medals to be carried
or worn (but not next to the skin -- it turns skin green). It has
been used for pocket pieces, keytags and watchfobs. The name was
changed to "nickel-silver" in America and England during World War I
for anti-German sentiment. It is still widely used by medalmakers
today for striking items that are likely to be subjected to very
hard use.

"Incidentally, the use of the word "flyers" in this article without
a capital letter is a numismatic buzz word. The word without the
capital should be shunned in formal numismatic writing. It is also
like "walkers" for Liberty Walking halves.

"Buzz words do not lead to clear numismatic writing or easy understanding
by the reader. Even after collecting U.S. coins for 67 years, this 76-year
old collector had to read the sentence containing "flyers" several times
to understand the writer was talking about Flying Eagle cents. (To me
"flyers" without a capital is printed pages.) Best to adopt a style of
capitalizing type coin names."

[Sorry for letting the 'flyers' reference slip - I did change some
others in the item, but missed this one.  The usage had confused me
at first, too. -Editor]


The Times-Union of Albany, NY picked up on the recent Heritage sale
of the Troy Wiseman Albany Church Penny and published an article on
Thursday, January 11:

"When is a penny worth more than a penny? When it is worth $64,000,
plus a 15 percent buyer premium. That is what an original Albany
church penny sold for last week after receiving international exposure
on eBay.

"The cloudy-looking 217-year-old copper coin reads "D Church Penny"
on one side and the other is smooth and blank.

"The Rev. Glenn Leupold, co-pastor of the First Presbyterian Church,
said the penny functioned as sort of a church offering gift certificate.

'It was a coin you could put on the offering plate that represented
an amount you had already given to the church in advance,' he said.
'If I said I was going to give a dollar a week, which was a lot of
money back then, I would put in one of these coins.'

"As for Leupold, he's only half joking when he says he'll scour the
State Street church to see if there are any more of the pennies around.
It would be unlikely: The church has moved at least twice since it
was founded in 1763.

'This is reminder, as I sit here worrying about what is best for this
church in the next five years, of just how long rooted this
congregation is,' Leupold said."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

To view the Heritage lot description, see: Heritqge Lot Description

[The catalog description echoes portions of the Breen Encyclopedia
entry on the Albany Church Penny, summarizing that "The purpose of
the Albany pieces remains unknown. Nothing is known, either, of the
issuer or of the manufacturer of the Albany Penny. Perhaps it is
better said that the maker is forgotten. As well, it is presumed
that these tokens were of local manufacture, for so they appear by
their texture. That they were used, however, is evident. All of the
few known pieces are quite worn..."

We bibliophiles hate to take "nothing is known" as our final answer.
The cataloger may not know anything more about the piece, and we may
not either, but we do know that surely SOMEone, SOMEwhere, SOMEtime
in the past two centuries has recorded SOMEthing of interest.

The Times-Union article was far more specific, noting that "1,000 or
so" were initially minted.  I was unable to find this mintage figure
in Breen, but did find it in a great article by Howard R. Kurth in the
April 1944 issue of The Numismatic Scrapbook Magazine (p284-9).  The
article was based on a presentation to the Albany Numismatic Society
and cites an 1850 work by Joel Munsell titled 'The Annals of Albany',
where it is recorded that "on the 4th of January 1790 the Trustees of
the First Presbyterian Church resolved that one thousand coppers be
stamped 'Church Penny' and placed in the hands of the treasurer, for
the purpose of exchanging with the congregation at the rate of twelve
for one shilling, in order to add respect to the weekly collections."
The circulating coinage of the day in Albany consisted primarily of
"coins from other states, bungtown tokens, and old British halfpennies
mostly worn smooth or counterfeit."

This background enabled me to make some sense of the coin's image
(found on both the Times-Union and Heritage web sites).  The central
portion of the design is deep, consistent with the counterstamping of
a host coin.  Around the outer edges of the host coin are the
difficult-to-read but readily apparent remnants of inscriptions.
These could be the legitimately worn inscriptions of the host coin
or the intentionally "worn-looking" devices of an evasion copper.
These heavily worn (and worn-looking) pieces were quite plentiful
in circulation at the time, making a ready supply of planchets for

The Kurth article references several Numismatist articles of 1936
and 1939, and discusses the specimens owned by leading collectors
including Mickley and Bushnell.  The Numismatic Indexes Project (NIP),
where I located the Scrapbook article reference, also lists a number
of related articles in The Colonial Newsletter.  -Editor]


In a short item last week I wrote: "Escala has been in the news
following the financial implosion of its unit in Spain."  I haven't
tried keeping up with who-owns-who in the complicated international
collectibles conglomerate that includes Teletrade, Bowers and Merena
Auctions, and Spectrum Numismatics here in the U.S., but I'm told
that the rain in Spain fell mainly on Escala's majority stock holder
(Afinsa), not the Escala Group itself.  However, on January 8 Escala
announced that it received notification that NASDAQ "has determined
to delist the Company's common stock from the NASDAQ Global Select
Market, effective at the open of business on January 10, 2007."


Len Augsburger forwarded this Associated Press story from Hancock, MI.
"Robert Nuranen handed the local librarian a book he'd checked out for
a ninth-grade assignment -- along with a check for 47 years' worth of
late fees.

"Nuranen said his mother misplaced the copy of "Prince of Egypt" while
cleaning the house. The family came across it every so often, only to
set it aside again. He found it last week while looking through a box
in the attic."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

[The book, which was due June 2, 1960, carried a $171.32 late fee.
See the following item for a related discussion on library
deaccessioning policies. -Editor]


Regarding the previous story of the library book returned after
forty-seven years, Len Augsburger writes: "This reminds me of a
story Dave Bowers told - while a student at Penn State he was
allowed to check out a certain volume for only 24 hours per the
library rules, even though no one had checked out the book for
one hundred years or so!"

[The Bowers anecdote relates to last week's item about the purpose
of libraries.  While the 24-hour limit is harsh for a book in little
demand, there's no question that the Penn State library was in the
business of collecting material for the ages.  Had they discarded
or sold the book somewhere along the way, it wouldn't have been
available century later.

I ran into a similar situation when I first discovered the four-volume
H. E. Kroos work, "A Documentary History of Banking and Currency in
the United States."  I don't think it had ever been checked out of
the library until I came along.  I pointed this out to the library
clerk and offered to buy the set to no avail.  I don't know if the
response was based on stewardship of the collection or simple
bureaucratic inertia, but the volumes remained in the library.
Eventually I found my own set. -Editor]

Coincidentally, Dick Johnson writes: "When I was a resident of
Danbury Connecticut I visited the Danbury Public Library fairly
frequently. In spring 1974, at a sale of surplus books, I picked
up a small run of the American Numismatic Society's Numismatic
Notes and Monographs. They had deaccessioned these a month or two

"The card pocket and "Date Due" sheet were pasted in the back of
each. The donor's name and 1935 date of donation were handwritten
in the front. Every one of those NN&Ms were donated to the Danbury
Library by nearby resident Anna Hyatt Huntington (she and her
husband, Archer, were major ANS benefactors).

"Not one of those monographs had been checked out since 1935! Not
one entry on the Date Due sheet - reason enough to deaccession.
[Unless your mission is to collect for the ages, of course. -Editor]
Mrs. Huntington had died October 4th the year before. The library
had kept those monographs on the shelf all those years while she
was still alive. Was the reason for deacessioning that she was
now dead?

"Incidentally, the Danbury Library's greatest deaccession occurred
years later (February 1996). Every single book was deaccessioned
for smoke damage after a fire. (A mentally disturbed person had
dropped burning rubbish in the book return slot.) The circulation
department was entirely destroyed, but they made a decision to
replace every book in the library (and moved the book return kiosk
away from the building).

"This was a tragedy for me. For research on my coin and medal
technology encyclopedia I had often used the library's 5-volume
set of Oxford's "A History of Technology" by Singer & others. I
had made marginal notes in one volume in that library set. (Okay,
not a good idea.) I'd give anything to own that set now."


The Western People newspaper of Ireland this week reported the
story of the discovery of a 1924 football medal long thought lost.

"A rare piece of football memorabilia returned to the possession
of well-known Knockmore GAA clubman Malachy Kelly recently, in the
form of a winners medal from the 1924 Ballina Town championship.

"For over 40 years Malachy had been unsure as to the whereabouts
of the medal, originally won by his father, Jim, who played on the
victorious Commercials team. However, the silverware re-emerged
during the Christmas period, though the circumstances of the find
were tinged with sadness.

"Malachy?s brother, Martin, who resided in Leeds, passed away in
late December and among the possessions returned to Malachy was the
engraved 1924 medal, in pristine condition."

"'There?s a fair bit of history and nostalgia attached to the Town
football competitions in Ballina so it?s just nice to have something
like this by which to remember my father and brother by,' concluded

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


The quiz question sparked by the U.S. Mint's First Spouse coin series
led us to a number of interesting side topics.  Doug Andrews takes us
in another direction.  He writes: "U.S. First Ladies are an interesting
study. The query about "Presidential spouses who weren't First Ladies"
can also be turned around to pose another intriguing question - Which
First Ladies, or those who served as First Ladies, weren't Presidential

"There are at least two. Chester Arthur's wife, Ellen, died in 1880
before he was elected President. Chester Arthur's sister, Mary McElroy,
served in that capacity on official, state, and social occasions.
Dolley Madison, wife of future President James Madison, served as First
Lady to the widowed Thomas Jefferson. Hence, Dolley Madison served as
First Lady before she became a Presidential spouse."

[Monica Lewinsky?s services to the President weren?t in an official
or state capacity, so she thankfully wouldn?t appear on any such list.
As Doug writes, "close, but no cigar..."]


Dick Johnson writes: "If you know two fields exceptionally well, Google
wants to hire you. One is your own field of experience, say numismatics,
and the other is what is on the Internet in that field.

"The pay is not great, only $5 to $10 per hour but you can work anywhere,
anytime, and you can keep your day job. You will answer questions and
guide people -- inquirers -- to locations on the net that will answer
their questions in a live exchange. Google has established a new feature
to direct people to a live knowledgeable person who can answer questions
in that subject area.

"Currently Google has 2,500 Guides and is looking to raise this level
to 10,000 by June. They did mention the easiest way to become a Guide
is to be recommended by another Guide. If you cannot do that it may be
a test of your internet savvy to find out how to get on board.

"Answering other people's questions strengthens your own expertise.
Maybe that is more satisfying than the coolie pay. If you sign on as
a coin expert, expect a lot of "I have this Indian head penny. What is
it worth?" kind of questions."

[The "instant online expert" service is something multiple web sites
offer.  Yahoo Answers is one, and it has been far more popular than
Google's version.  Google actually shut down their Google Answers service
last month, but they may be regrouping and planning to relaunch.  Dick
saw the news item about Google's plan on television news just this week.
He also noted the following article about one of the top experts on
Yahoo Answers: Full Story


Regarding Leon Worden's questions about the sinking of the S.S. Central
America, Jim Duncan of New Zealand writes: "It crossed my mind that part
of the ship might have been lightened by removal rather than lowered by
overloading. Is it not also possible that someone ("unscrupulous bankers
or others") unloaded a quantity of gold, and substituted something lighter,
so that the ship floated stern down?


Author Eric Leighton has agreed to share with E-Sylum readers some
excerpts from his new book "NUmiS WORTHY: Old Numismatic News 1752
to 1800', a compilation of contemporary newspaper reports published
in Nova Scotia.  This piece from the Nova-Scotia Gazette & Weekly
Chronicle, Aug. 29, 1786, copying a report from London, June 7:

"On Wednesday morning as George Kelway a labourer was filling an
old saw pit which had been dug amidst the ruins of a house at Lyme
Regis, in Dorsetshire, he discovered three small oak chests, containing
an immense quantity of gold and silver coin, to the amount, as it is
said, of 2000l. and upwards chiefly of the coinage of Charles I. and II.
and is supposed to have been buried there at the time of the Duke of
Monmouth?s invasion, who landed at or near Lyme in the year 1786*.
[*obviously an original misprint ? EL]

The poor fellow, upon discovering the treasure, immediately loaded
himself home with a part, and informing his landlord of the event,
they both went and took another loading, but unfortunately having taken
too much one of their pockets burst on the way, and the secret being
thereby discovered, all the neighbourhood flew to the spot, and such
a scene of disorder and confusion arose, that it may be litterally said,
to have rolled in money; hats, caps, and every vehicle that could be
procured, overflowed with the golden harvest, and scarce a person was
present who did not reap to the amount of sixty or seventy pounds in
value; even the gleanings were considerable.

Kelway and his partner had secured about 240 pounds weight, but the
next day Kelway, having entrusted the major part of this treasure
(secured in a strong chest) to the care of his landlord, whilst he
went to a neighbouring town to purchase cloath, &c. an artful tinker
found means to defraud the landlord of the whole; and poor Kelway, on his
return home, found himself again reduced to poverty.

The tinker, whose name is Roe, was taken into custody the same day,
and is now confined to Lyme Regis goal, whence he is to be removed to
Dorchester, to take his trial at the next assizes. A great part of the
money has been regained and secured."



Stephen Searle, Ron Thompson and several others pointed out an
Associated Press report published Wednesday that revealed that
circulating coins have been used by spies to track people's

"Can the coins jingling in your pocket trace your movements? The
Defense Department is warning its American contractor employees about
a new espionage threat seemingly straight from Hollywood: It discovered
Canadian coins with tiny radio frequency transmitters hidden inside.

"In a U.S. government report, it said the mysterious coins were found
planted on U.S. contractors with classified security clearances on at
least three separate occasions between October 2005 and January 2006
as the contractors traveled through Canada.

"What's in the report is true," said Martha Deutscher, a spokeswoman
for the security service. "This is indeed a sanitized version, which
leaves a lot of questions."

"Canada's physically largest coins include its $2 "Toonie," which is
more than 1-inch across and thick enough to hide a tiny transmitter.
The CIA has acknowledged its own spies have used hollow, U.S.
silver-dollar coins to hide messages and film."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

To view a hollow dollar coin at the CIA's web site, see:
CIA's web site image

Scott Semans writes: "The article's author misses the point that the
coin should be one likely to be saved and carried, rather than an
ordinary circulating coin which the target would pass on.  Why would
a spy put a tracking device in an ordinary coin that would be passed
from hand to hand?  To find out where a target buys his morning cup
of coffee, and which bank the coffee vendor sends the change to at
the end of the day, and so on?

"It seems to me the only point in putting a tracking device in a coin,
unless you are researching patterns of money circulation, would be to
induce the target to KEEP the coin, perhaps a target who knows better
than to accept sweaters, tote bags, or more obvious harbors of RFID
chips from strangers?  But, I'm no spy, so all is speculation."


>From January 5 through April 1, 2007, the Shelton Theater in San
Francisco will present "Emperor Norton - The Musical."  Norton is
known to numismatists for the rare scrip he issued.

"Expanded and revamped, with additional songs and a dynamic mix of
new and returning cast members, Emperor Norton, the Musical remains
a rollicking, hilarious tribute to San Francisco, its eccentric
characters and the man who refused to let it be called ?Frisco?!

"Based on a true story, businessman Joshua Norton lost a fortune,
went mad and proclaimed himself "Emperor of the United States and
Protector of Mexico" in post-Gold Rush San Francisco. Thanks to the
free-wheeling spirit of the Barbary Coast, Emperor Norton went on
to print his own money, conceive the Bay Bridge, propose to the Queen
of England, befriend Mark Twain, consort with famed performers Lola
Montez and Lotta Crabtree, and become the most beloved San Franciscan
of the 19th Century."

To learn more about Emperor Norton - The Musical, see:
Full Story

To read an American History article (with an image of Norton scrip) see:
Full Story


Dick Johnson writes: "Larry Dziubek wrote to me this week with a
biography of Canadian engraver Thomas Church. He explained he had
given this out at a coin club talk as a handout.

I replied: "Handouts are always a good idea. My files are full of
them. But I caused laughter among a group of my genealogical friends
at a field trip to the Pittsfield National Archives once when I asked
the guide if the previous speaker that day -- on early American paper
money -- had left any handouts."

"My fellow genealogical club members are always laughing at me. One
meeting the guest speaker was on handwriting. She had each of us give
her samples of our handwriting. Earlier in the business meeting I
commented that as chairman of the development committee I wanted to
create items the club could sell to raise funds.

For her analysis of my handwriting she said I would make a good
"front man," mentioning my committee duties.

"Sorry!" I blurted out. "You misread that. I'm a leg man, not a
front man." Of course I meant that I wanted to help SELL those
items. But the dear old grandmothers in the audience took my
comment in another vein."


This week's featured web site is 'The Play Money of American
Children' by Richard and Wendy Clothier.

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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