The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 10, Number 4, January 28, 2007:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2007, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers are David Kerr-Burke and John Mutch.
Welcome aboard!  We now have 1,055 subscribers.

This issue opens with two items inspired by Dave Bowers' comments
about the gaps in American medallic literature.  In another item an
author donates copies of his numismatic fiction book to U.S. troops
in Iraq.  Also, Mark Tomasko writes about the new interest in Nazi
counterfeiting in WWII, including a recent book, new movie and
front-page Wall Street Journal article.

In commemorative coin news, there is new movement to extend the U.S.
quarter program to include Washington, D.C. and the U.S. territories,
a new article profiles the designer of some recent Canadian
commemorative coins, and the Carson City Coin Press No. 1 comes to
life to strike some new commemoratives.

Dick Johnson's earlier suggestions concerning the rising cost of
materials for the U.S. one and five-cent coins get new life with
the independent endorsement of a Federal Reserve economist.

Counterfeiting (or it debasing?) is in the news this week with an
archaeological find in St. Augustine, Florida, and a shower of
counterfeit banknotes from the sky in South Africa causes quite a

In numismatic museum news we have reports on Shanghai Bank Museum,
the coin room of the National Museum in Thailand, Cambridge's
Fitzwilliam Museum and the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford. Finally, to
learn what dead men do on vacation, read on. Have a great week,

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


Fred Lake writes: "This is a reminder that Lake Books mail-bid sale
of numismatic literature #87 closes in just 10 days on Tuesday,
February 6, 2007 at 5:00 PM (EST).

The sale may be viewed on our web site at:

You may place your bids via telephone, email, or fax prior to that
time. The bidding has been quite spirited to this point and please
remember that tie bids are won by the earliest bid received.  Good
luck with your bidding!"


Dick Johnson writes: "Dave Bowers is correct (as usual!) in his
statements in last week’s E-Sylum on existing books covering U.S.
medals. The field of American medals offers the greatest opportunity
for astute numismatists to collect, catalog and publish than any
other aspect of American numismatics.

"The field of American medals is unlike those of any other country.
The field and the number of medals is so vast that no one person can
collect them all, let alone catalog it all. American collectors can
only "chip away" at this monolith. They typically do this by
collecting "topics." Each collector carves his or her own niche,
defining their own turf, their own theme, what they wish to collect.
Thus the published work on American medals is fragmented.

"Oh, if we could only have a "Medallic Illustrations" as they have
in Great Britain.

"Here are some underlying reasons for this in the U.S.:

"1) No equipment in America could strike a medal larger than say,
silver dollar size, other that the U.S. Mint. A desired large medal
had to be struck at the Mint or be struck in Europe. This forced
early American medals to be small size.

"2) This changed with one event – the Columbian Exposition of 1892-3.
It attracted engravers to America and medal companies to be established
(and larger presses acquired. The first hydraulic press arrived at the
Mint in this period, and private industry began acquiring coining
presses which could strike coin-like medals).

"3) The ease of going into business. Most 19th century American
medallists were one- and two-man shops who with their existing
equipment struck medals smaller than silver-dollar size (mostly under
one inch). Thus most 19th "medals" are called "tokens" because of
this size to further confuse the issue. (Russ Rulau’s catalogs of
tokens are filled with medals – they bear no denomination or value
-- many storecards, for example, are medals.)

"4) The rise of the number of medalmakers after 1892 -- and the large
number of 20th century medal producing firms -- bang out thousands of
medals a day, perhaps millions every week. These appear in great variety
in addition to tremendous quantity. The chore of engraving dies, or
pantographically cutting dies, is the only limitation to this
activity, otherwise, it seems, we would be up to our knees in medals.

"Thus the great quantity of American medals is impossible to catalog
in total. It has to be done in small groups. We collect, catalog and
publish by medal TOPICS. And, of course, there are hundreds of topics
that have not yet been published. The opportunity exists, moreso, for
literature on medals to be written than any other aspect of American

"What say you, medal collectors? Catalog your collection and get
it published!"


As noted earlier, Ron Abler is working to fill one gap in American
medallic literature.  He writes: "I am working on a book covering the
Centennial medals of 1876.  I started with Holland's work in 1876-1878
and the listings in Coin Collector's Journal during the same period.
I have pretty much completed my data collection and am now working on
the descriptions and photos.  I would be delighted to correspond with
anyone who has questions, suggestions, contributions, offers of help,
etc.  I may be contacted via email at"

[Ron also noted that earlier E-Sylum issues discussed the ongoing
effort to update the Hibler-Kappen book on so-called dollars.


Len Harsel writes: "Thanks for the info on the emergency money of
France by Habrekorn.  Do any of the readers know where one can get
a copy?"



Jim Barry writes: "As a follow up to the recent items on James R.
Clifford's book, "Double Daggers", he has recently donated two boxes
of his books to our troops in Iraq.  It is my understanding that,
from our friend in Iraq, these books have already been distributed.
Seems like a great way to support our troops."

I checked with Jamie Clifford and he adds "I feel the real credit
should go to Col. William Myers. He is a member of Jim's coin club
and he is a surgeon serving in Iraq. We have teamed up and I send
the books over to him and he distributes them to the soldiers."

Col. Myers writes: "Our unit is the 399th Combat Support Hospital and
I received 100 books. It was very generous and the soldiers loved the
book. Reading is one activity that soldiers can do, so any books are
appreciated. Other things the soldiers can use are telephone calling
cards, stationary items, (pens, cards, paper). Anything received is
always appreciated."

[The unit is being moved and no donations can be accepted for a couple
of weeks, but if any of our readers would like to offer donations,
please contact me and I'll forward your notes.  -Editor]


Mark Tomasko writes: "There was a front page feature story in the
Monday, Jan 22, 2007 Wall Street Journal on Adolf Burger, one of the
primary concentration camp inmates who participated in "Operation
Bernhard," the Nazi counterfeiting of English pounds during WWII. The
reason for the article seems to be a combination of the fact that an
Austrian film on the subject is coming out soon, and that Mr. Burger
actively gives talks about his experiences in order to rebut the
Holocaust deniers' claims. It's a fascinating story and when I was down
at the National Archives doing research a year and a half ago, I believe
I came across an inventory of the material seized by our troops."

[The article included an illustration of a counterfeit £5 note made
by inmates of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp and an interview
with one of the surviving forgers.  There is new attention being paid
to the topic because of a recent book and the new film called "The
Forger," to be released in Germany and Austria in March.  -Editor]

"Adolf Burger, a sprightly 89-year-old survivor of Nazi concentration
camps, held up one of the British £5 notes he helped forge for the
Germans during the war.

"'Britannia was hard' to render, he said, pointing to the female symbol
of Great Britain, a toga-wearing woman with spear and shield drawn in
the note's top left-hand corner.

"Mr. Burger was a reluctant player in one of the biggest attempts at
financial sabotage in history. The Nazis forced Mr. Burger and about
140 other Jewish prisoners -- all marked for liquidation -- to forge so
much British currency that by 1945, 12% of all pound-sterling bills in
existence, measured by face value, were fake."

"If Germany had been able to drop the fake fortune on Britain as planned,
it could have undermined trust in the currency and crippled the British
economy, according to "Krueger's Men," by American author Lawrence
Malkin, the first comprehensive account of the saga.

"Capt. Krüger and his team of SS guards spared their Jewish prisoners
the degradations they had known previously in Nazi camps, according to
Mr. Malkin's account. The inmates had decent food, civilian clothes,
cigarettes, books and board games. They even received parcels from
outside. They were allowed to grow their hair and listen to the radio.
They worked eight-hour days. They had Sundays off. Mr. Burger played
ping-pong with the SS.

"The inmates were to be killed when the project ended, and they knew
it. Those who fell ill weren't taken to see a doctor, to whom they
might reveal something; they were shot. Inmates' only hope was to
keep counterfeiting successfully until the war was over.

"We were dead men on vacation," says Mr. Burger."

To read the complete article (subscription required):
Full Story

[The article called "Krueger's Men: The Secret Nazi Counterfeit Plot
and the Prisoners of Block 19" by Lawrence Malkin (2006) "the first
comprehensive account of the saga", but that isn't true.  My shelves
hold the following earlier titles: "Operation Bernhard: The Greatest
Forgery of All Time" by Anthony Pirie (1961) and "Nazi Counterfeiting
of British Currency during World War II: Operation Andrews and
Operation Bernhard" by Bryan Burke (1987).  I've ordered a copy of
the Malkin book.  -Editor]


Leon Worden writes: "I appreciated the discussion in the January 21
E-Sylum about the spelling of the word "gaol" (an old English jail).
I recently picked up a couple of Conder tokens where the word was
spelled G-O-A-L. A quick check on the Internet suggested that the
word was often spelled that way. Does anyone know why the misspelling,
if it is a misspelling, was apparently so common?

How was it supposed to be pronounced? Where did the word come from,
anyway?  And where did it go? I thought our word "jail" came from the
Old French "jaiole." Also, my Conder tokens seem to refer to a debtors'
prison. Was a "gaol" any type of prison, or just a debtors' prison? Is
the word still in use anywhere today?

Also, I appreciated Bob Evans' thoughtful reply to my question about
the S.S. Central America. The E-Sylum is quite a place!"

Eric Leighton writes: "As it turns out, the spelling of "jail" a few
generations ago was EITHER "Gaol" or "Goal".  I found several web sites
to support that comment, some of which are from Ireland, England, Canada,
and the USA.  One of the latter includes in part: 'The Walnut Street
Jail (Goal) was built 1773-76 from designs of Robert Smith and demolished
about 1835. The prison's lot was bounded by Walnut Street, Sixth and
Prune Street (now Locust) with the main building fronting on Walnut
Street. William Penn, who did not favor capital punishment, established
the most humane penal code in the colonies. Only murder and treason
were punishable by death...' (See website at

All I did to check this was to type "Goal (Jail)" into Google.  I am
glad your reader provided me with the impetus to find out this
interesting tidbit."


Have more states been added to the union?  Not exactly.  But the U.S.
House of Representatives has passed a bill that would extend the "50
States" commemorative quarter program to include Washington, D.C. and
the U.S. territories.  If I recall my civics lessons properly, the bill
must be passed by the Senate and signed by the President to become law.
It has been approved four times previously by the House but has been
blocked in the Senate. With now Democrats in control, the bill may have
a greater chance to become law.

"The bill passed Tuesday. It would allow the district and American
Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Northern Mariana
Islands each to put a design on the reverse side of the quarter.

"D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton believes inclusion in the program
demonstrates that citizens of the nation's capital and territories have
the same rights as other Americans."

To read the complete story, see: Full Story


A Wednesday, January 24th article in the Sherwood Park news of Alberta,
Canada profiles local artist Kerri Burnett, who has been called upon by
the Royal Canadian Mint to design a number of wildlife-themed
commemorative coins.

"The mint was looking for a rendition of the trumpeter swan for its
2007 specimen coin set. While Burnett wasn’t the only artist asked to
submit a design, hers was selected by a committee at the mint in Ottawa.
The specimen set, which features the swan created by Burnett on its
dollar-piece, was released earlier this month. She said it was exciting
to see that her work would be permanently immortalized on a coin.

'Your artwork, your design is going to be pretty much there forever,'
she said. It’s not the first time one of Burnett’s designs has been
selected by the national mint either.

The local painter has previously seen her creations selected both times
the mint asked her to submit a design. Burnett was featured in the 1997
grey wolf and 2004 grizzly bear platinum proof coin sets.

There are only a few artists in Canada the mint has worked with that
have mastered the art of designing coins, said Jennifer Holmes, product
manager of numismatics (the study of collecting coins) at the mint.

'It’s definitely not run of the mill, or dime a dozen, that Kerri has
done three,' Holmes added in a telephone interview from her Ottawa
office.  The Sherwood Park artist has mastered the complexity needed
for coin design, Holmes stated."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


Stephen G. Searle, Jeff Reichenberger and others forwarded the
following Reuters article about melt value of U.S. coins and the
recent U.S. Mint prohibitions on melting.  An economist from the
Federal Reserve proposes revaluing all cent coins to a higher

"Francois Velde, senior economist at the Chicago Fed, argued in a
recent research note that prohibitions by the Mint would unlikely
deter serious speculators who already have piled up the coinage.

The best solution, Velde said, would be to "rebase" the penny by
making it worth five cents rather than one cent. Doing so would
increase the amount of five-cent coins in circulation and do away
with the almost worthless one cent coin.

"History shows that when coins are worth melting, they disappear,"
Velde wrote.

 To read the complete Reuters article, see: Full Story

 To read the original Velde February Chicago Fed Letter, see:
 February Chicago Fed Letter

[Is there an echo in here?? You read it here first in The E-Sylum
(September 25, 2006), when Dick Johnson suggested rebasing as a
solution to the melting problem.  See the link below to read his
original article.  -Editor]


Jeff Reichenberger adds: "He theorizes the Treasury standing ready
to exchange a dollar for every twenty pennies turned in. Can you
imagine the lines! All of our hoards turned in all at once! What
about that guy in Minneapolis with the giant penny mural? Hope he
didn't use epoxy."

[Not quite. The idea of revaluing the cent is to KEEP them in
circulation.  Sure, a lot of people might "cash in" their hoards,
but there would be no pressing need to.  With the Treasury willing
to accept them at the new value, banks and merchants would also accept
them at the new rate.  By fiat, everyone's old pennies would become
worth five cents apiece in commerce anywhere - no need to convert
them into anything else.  -Editor]


Dick Johnson writes: "My proposal to revalue the cent was published
in this newsletter September 25th of last year. On Monday this week
Reuters carried a news article on the same subject. The Chicago
Federal Reserve Bank’s senior economist, Francois R. Velde, has come
to the same conclusion!

"The news article was based on the "Chicago Fed Letter" for February
2007 that was written by Mr. Velde. Its title: "What’s a Penny (or
Nickel) Really Worth?" This monthly letter is published by the Research
Department of the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank, of which Mr. Velde is
a research member.

"Economist Velde has written on the subject before. He wrote a similar
Chicago Fed Letter for October 2006 on "Solving the Problem of Small
Change." He is also the author, with Thomas J. Sargent, of "The Evolution
of Small Change," published December 1997 (see recommended website below).
But even more impressive is the Princeton University Press book, "The
Big Problem of Small Change" published in 2002, also co-authored with
Thomas Sargent.

"With this extensive research -- much of it in numismatic literature! --
the authors have studied monetary systems of the past. But their clear
thinking has brought Velde to the same solution I offered for the rising
costs of minting cents – revalue existing cent coins, abolish striking
more, and round off cash transactions. He used a delightful term for
this, "rebasing" he calls it.

"I contacted Mr. Velde this week. One of my early questions was how
does 'rebase' differ from 'revalue?' 'It doesn’t,' he said. I asked
how would you answer critics who say that those who have large quantities
of cent coins would receive an unearned profit?

"His answer is important (note well if you own bags of cents!): 'Call
them capital gains. Right now, we (as taxpayers) are all making a loss
on the pennies and nickels that the mint produces. Capital gains for
some seems better than losses for everyone.'

"There is a difference between my plan and what Velde purposes. He wants
to rebase cents alone (although he stated the thought of rebasing nickels
had occurred to him). My plan is to revalue both cents and nickels at
once – all at one time – in a master plan of reconfiguring all U.S. coins.

"Velde concurred somewhat.  He said: 'It looks like the nickel is on its
way out as well.' But, he adds, his views are his own and do not reflect
the opinions of the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank or the Federal Reserve
Banking System.

"The average U.S. household has on hand about $30 worth of change, cents
and nickels. My revaluation plan would result in this automatically worth
$300. This despite, as Velde points out, "since 1982, the Mint has
produced 910 pennies for every man, woman, and child in the U.S. It
estimates that 100 billion pennies currently circulate." Those 100
billion cents would suddenly be valued at $10 billion. Interestingly,
it would be spread out over every citizen, bank and retail outlet in

  To read my original proposal:

  To read the Reuters news article: Full Story

  To read the February Chicago Fed Letter:   Full Story


Dick Johnson writes: "Here is the full text of a "working paper" titled
"The Evolution of Small Change," by Thomas J. Sargent and François R.
Velde, published December 1997. The authors studied monetary systems
in Western Europe from 14th to 19th centuries, noting coin shortages.
Interestingly, minting techniques had an influence on these, in addition
to monetary policy. This work is in the news recently because of the
authors' statements on revaluating the U.S. cent (see item above).

"Note well the bibliography.  Of the total of 111 references listed,
more than 25% of which are numismatic books! Francois Velde comments
that as a professional economist, "One of the nice things about economics
is that I am able to explore my interests in, say ... numismatics."

"After their 1997 work the authors went on to write the book "The Big
Problem of Small Change" published by Princeton University Press in
2002 on the same subject."

Full Story "


I thought Dick Johnson's more recent proposals would bring more of a
response from readers.  Regarding the one about placing microchips in
coins, Steve D'Ippolito writes: "I don't like this proposal for a number
of reasons:  First off, it wouldn't work unless you want to make it
illegal to use the coin without passing it through a reader--and not
all transactions take place in storefronts!

"Second off, it would be over the top to expect people to go through
this rigamarole just to be able to establish how many transactions a
coin has been through.

"Third, the grading services would still be primarily looking at the
coin.  If I get a $10 piece from the bank and keep it in my pocket for
ten years, the coin will be in pretty sad shape even if the chip says
it's been through one transaction (bank->me).

"This all assumes that we can come up with a chip that won't be
pulverized by the pressures in the coin press.  But my big objection is:
"It is a huge violation of privacy.  I do NOT give a flying rip whether
some collector will somehow think a coin is more valuable if he knows
where it has been.  It is fundamentally no one's business what I spend
my money on."


Len Augsburger writes: "Forget about putting microchips in coins -
what we need to do is put them in books.  Then there might be actually
a slight chance that I could inventory my library, a la 'shelfari'.

[New books have ISBN numbers, and with this systems like Shelfari and
LibraryThing look up the rest.  Other modern methods of identifying
books include bar codes and RFID tags.  But older books have none of
these.  For these, what would be really useful is electronic access to
the seller's catalogue description.

If I were to buy say, three great numismatic books from a George Kolbe
sale, two from Spink and several others from ABEbooks, it would be great
if the catalog descriptions came along with the books and could be easily
added to my personal electronic catalog of my library.  Since ABEbook
bought LibraryThing, maybe something like this is available or in the
works there. -Editor]


In the January 7, 2007 E-Sylum, subscriber R.V. Dewey asked about the
"very rare" eight-piece sets of 1855 pattern flying eagle cents, numbered
I to VIII in Roman numerals. These were referenced in the Judd pattern
book (5th edition, page 44), but not in the eighth edition of Judd
(Whitman, 2003).  It was R.V.'s other question about William Woodin's
windfall of pattern coins from the U.S. Mint that brought some
responses.  But we're still hoping to learn if anyone knows anything
about these 1855 pattern cents.  Why aren't they mentioned in Pollack
or the newer Whitman edition?  Was the note in the earlier Judd
editions incorrect?  Do these sets exist?



The Maine Antique Digest published a super article (written by Samuel
Pennington and Lita Solis-Cohen)on the Stack's sale of the John J. Ford,
Jr. Collection of Indian Peace Medals.  Here are some excerpts:

"Peace medals were issued to Indian chieftains and warriors by the
U.S. beginning in the late 1780's as the government sought peace with
the Indians. (Curiously, Stack's tried to dodge the controversy about
what to call the recipients—Indians or Native Americans—by subtitling
the catalog "Medallic Distinctions Awarded to First Peoples.") The
first peace medals were large oval silver plaques engraved by the
leading silversmiths of the day. The French, Spanish, and English had
long been issuing peace medals. The Indians wore them proudly as shown
in the portraits painted by Charles Bird King and reproduced as prints
in the volumes by McKenney and Hall.

"Who was buying? To the surprise of many regular dealers and collectors,
one major buyer was a dealer few of them knew— Philadelphia print dealer
W. Graham Arader III.

Arader was quite enthusiastic and outspoken as he explained why to M.A.D.
senior editor Lita Solis-Cohen. "Anyone who collects McKenney and Hall
prints of Indians wants them," said Arader. "They are a piece of history.
We gave the Indians smallpox, syphilis, gunpowder, Christianity, and
alcohol and gave them peace medals, then moved them off their land and
broke six hundred promises. It is a sad story that took place between
the time of Jackson and Grant. Jackson began it, and Grant ended it,
sending his two Civil War generals to massacre the Native Americans."

Arader continued, "The specialist coin dealers don't see the difference
between artifacts and coins. As artifacts the prices were low. I bought
a lot at the Stack auction. There are a lot of fakes out there, but I
felt confident buying these. Stack's is so honest, and the Ford collection
was a special one. I sold everything I bought, and the next day I bought
twice as much from a guy who beat me out on a few lots. I think these
medals are undervalued. I had been looking for them for thirty years.
Collectors keep them in drawers. I will frame them, and they will hang
on the wall next to McKenney and Halls and Catlins [prints]."

[We discussed the McKenney-Hall prints in earlier E-Sylum issues.  If
serious collectors of the medals desired the prints, it's easy to see
how collectors of the prints would take an interest in the medals.
Here are links to some of our earlier articles. -Editor]




[The article also included a great tabular summary of the sale results
by President.  "The votes are in, and the winner is Thomas Jefferson!
Chester Arthur ran a surprisingly close second."  -Editor]

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


[You can find great numismatic information in the darndest of places.
An article published this week on commemorative coins being struck
for the centennial of Yerington, NV includes a great capsule history
of the Carson City Mint's Coin Press No. 1, which is being used to strike
the coins with a "cc" mintmark.  Ya gotta love a newspaper with a
slogan like this: "Mason Valley News: The Only Newspaper in the World
that Gives a Damn about Yerington."  Apparently however, the newspaper
doesn’t give a damn about plagiarism, either - a web search revealed that
the entire history of the coining press had been lifted word-for-word
without credit from the web site of the Nevada State Museum.  -Editor]

"Manufactured by Morgan and Orr in Philadelphia, who created many of
the steam-powered coining presses then in use throughout the world, the
first six-ton press arrived at the Carson Mint in 1869. As was the custom
of the day, it was painted with a large "1" to signify the first press
located in the coiner's department.

"When the press suffered a cracked arch in 1878, it was repaired at the
local shop of the Virginia & Truckee Railroad. Proud of their handiwork,
V&T machinists replaced the original brass Morgan & Orr plate with one
bearing the name of their famous railroad.

The Carson City Mint ceased coining operations in 1893 and the presses
were removed in 1899, along with all other machinery in the coiner's
department. Press No. 1 was moved to the Philadelphia Mint, where it
was remodeled in 1930 to operate with electric power. In 1945, it was
transferred to the "new" San Francisco Mint and renumbered "5" to
correspond with its place in the coining department there. Finally,
when all coin production was temporarily halted at San Francisco in
1955, the old press was due to be scrapped."

[The subsequent history of the coin press is equally interesting.  It
was called back into service at the Denver Mint in 1964 to help address
the coin shortage, and returned to the Carson City museum in 1967.  The
press has been used on a limited basis ever since and may be one of the
last operating presses of that time period. -Editor]

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

To read the Nevada State Museum web page on Coin Press No. 1, see:
Full Story


"At an archaeological dig in St. Augustine on Marine Street, a
Victorian house has been lifted, an 1800s hearth has been found,
and an insight into colonial Spanish finances has been unearthed.

"Amidst all the artifacts found on the home site within the past month,
there was a gunky item that archaeological assistant John Powell
initially thought was an old dog tag.

"'Basically it's a two real silver coin that's been made to look silver.
It was copper in the center. It's only about the same value as a penny,'
Powell said. But he added that it was made to look like the equivalent
of a quarter in that day.

"This one-of-a-kind discovery means while the colonists were sending
solid gold and silver coins to Spain, "the Spanish were sending - I
hate to say this - junk back here," Powell said.

"'I've seen counterfeit coinage. This is not counterfeit. This is mint-
issued, deliberate funny money, manufactured by Spain for their colonists.'

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

[Does this ring true, readers?  If the debased coin is a "one-of-a-kind
discovery" as the article says, could it have really be manufactured by
one of Spain's mints?  Wouldn't there be far more of them around today?
It sounds to me more likely to be a contemporary counterfeit.  -Editor]


An article on pictures six of the eight people arrested
for trying to exchange $800,600 in counterfeit money.  It's a diverse
group, including Africans, Europeans, Asians and Arabs.

"The Dubai Police Department of Combating Economic Crimes received a
tip-off about an Asian man who possessed counterfeit money of $100 in
addition to Indian rupees and was looking for a buyer to exchange
the counterfeit money with original money.

"Investigations revealed there were two men, a Gulf national and an
Arab, who had obtained counterfeit currency from the Asian man. The
Asian had also asked two other Asians to look for buyers of
counterfeit money."

"Investigations also revealed that two African men possessed $300,000
in counterfeit cash for sale for Dh600,000."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


According to a report published January 24, a large cache of
counterfeit banknotes blowing in the wind stopped traffic and caused
quite a ruckus for nearly an hour near Johannesburg, South Africa.
The source of the fake rands was not discovered.

"Motorists in rush-hour traffic on the N3 near Germiston on Wednesday
could hardly believe their eyes when a shower of "R100 notes" rained
from the sky.

"'People thought it was real money. They jumped out of their cars
and stuffed their pockets as quickly as possible,' said Billy Rendall
of Bedfordview.

"Rendall was on his way to work about 08:00 when he nearly crashed
into a lorry in front of him.

"The lorry driver stopped in the middle of the highway, jumped out,
and went hunting for money.

"Other people drove slowly in their bakkies and tried to grab as many
R100 notes as possible."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


On January 22 Bloomberg news followed up its earlier report on the
auction of a rare Hong Kong banknote:

"An 1858 Hong Kong banknote with a face value of $25 sold for
HK$782,000 ($100,145) at a Hong Kong sale of Chinese paper currency,
said auctioneer Spink.

"The final price, including 15 percent buyer's commission, compares
with Spink's pre-sale estimate of between HK$650,000 and HK$750,000.
The unissued black-and-white banknote by Chartered Mercantile Bank of
India, London & China is one of about 600 items that fetched more than
HK$8 million combined, the London-based auction house said in a
statement. Chartered Mercantile changed its name to Mercantile Bank
in 1892 and was bought by HSBC Group in 1959.

"'The prices were surprisingly high,' said Otto Lam, a 13- year
banknote collector who wrote a doctoral thesis on Western banking
in 19th-century China and bid in absentia. 'Many people have spare
cash because of the strong stock-market performance.'"

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


Mark Tomasko writes: "I noticed in last week's piece on the rare 1858
Hong Kong bank note that mention was made of the sale in 2003 of
American Banknote (sic) Company Chinese bank note specimen albums.
Readers may be interested to know that those albums (sold in the 1990
archive sales at Christie's) were purchased in 2003 by the Industrial
and Commercial Bank of China (Shanghai Branch)'s Shanghai Bank Museum,
which, remarkably, published them, every page, in full color, in three
volumes entitled "Chinese Specimens Printed by the American Bank Note
Company," 2004, published by the Old China Hand Press (Hong Kong).

"The Shanghai Bank Museum is high up in the Industrial and Commercial
ank's tower in the Pudong area of Shanghai. (I don't think it's open
to the public, but many school groups and other groups visit it). It
is a very good museum with a wide range of bank notes and all kinds
of banking memorabilia and photos.

"When my wife and I visited the Museum in 2004 (we had previously met
the curator at the ICOMON conference in 2002), it was amusing to see
one of the albums, which I had looked at fourteen years earlier at
Christie's. The published set of books pictures everything in the
albums, but there is little information given beyond the quantities
printed and a one paragraph summary of each bank.

"The Chinese scenes appearing on the American Bank Note currency from
1909-1949 is one of the more interesting series of etchings done at
American, and I will write them up some day. The men who did this
beautiful work have never gotten credit for it, but they will."


Howard A. Daniel III writes: "I received the following from an old
friend and numismatist in Bangkok by the name of Ronachai Krisadaolarn.
CURATORS, is sure needed by the National Museum in Thailand, but it is
too late for many of the items in their collection.  But, as he
indicates, the most interesting find is that there are Bank of
Indochina notes denominated in Ticals with serial number 001!"

Ronachai Krisadaolarn writes: "Today I visited the National Museum.
The Coin Room is now open, redecorated and air conditioned. Most of
the silver coins including the Pot Duang have been polished and many
look whizzed (metal brushed).  Many Dvaravati coins now have a mirror
finish. The Krung Thep silver Fuang and the Mongkut Pra Tao transitional
coins are also polished.

"The Two-Baht gold bullets that were in the Gold Room are now in the
Coin Room. All are Rama V. All the One Baht Gold Pot Duang look like
Rama V. Many are so displayed that they cannot be easily been seen.

"Strangely there is a Siam Commercial Bank ATM machine in the coin
room, a working model, not as a museum piece. The one happy surprise
are the Banque de l'Indo Chine banknotes. Previously there are only
photocopies. Now there are three notes, 80, 20 and 5 Ticaux. All look
used. Only the reverse of the 80 is shown so I could not tell if it
was a specimen.

"The 50 and 5 Ticals (Ticaux in French) were circulation notes. Both
have the Serial Number 001 and the Prefix A1. This is a major find as
these are the first Banque de l'Indo Chine notes known with a real
serial number. All others are known only as specimens with 000 as the
serial number."


Howard Berlin writes: "I just returned from my trip to London, Oxford
and Cambridge just ahead of the snow that hit there. During my visit
to Cambridge's Fitzwilliam Museum, Dr. Mark Blackburn, the current
Keeper of the Coins who was serving as my host, introduced me to one
of E-Sylum's subscribers - Yank and ex-pat Prof. Ted Buttrey, a former
classics professor at Yale and later Ann Arbor, then three years as
Keeper of Coins at the Fitzwilliam.

"Ted was busy unpacking some recent acquisition of journals for the
Museum's library holdings and things were a bit dangerous to walk
about -- sort a bit like my own home office.

"As for Oxford, the Ashmolean Museum is now undergoing renovation and
much of the museum's exhibits are packed away until its planned
reopening in 2009. Highlights of their collection, such as the Oxford
Crown, coins from the Cronddal hoard, and the gold 1964 Chemistry Nobel
prize medal of Dorothy Hodgkin of Oxford are on display at The Sakler

"The following trips are scheduled (most having visits to museums
with numismatic exhibits):

February: Istanbul & Athens
March: Dublin (so far just vacation)
May: Dusseldor, Cologne, Frankfurt
November: Venice, Parma, Milan, Monte Carlo, London."


Last week Alan Weinberg theorized that one reason for the spate of
robberies of dealers leaving the FUN show is the show's location at
the North Concourse.  Another subscriber writes: "Although the FUN
show is probably now the largest event of its kind in the world, the
Orange County Convention Center treats FUN in a very condescending
manner.  The OCCC has two buildings with 1.1 million square feet each.
The newer building where the FUN show is held has four main exhibition
halls, each having 275,000 square feet.  FUN only uses about 180,000-
200,000 square feet.  Because FUN can't even fill one of these halls,
the OCCC people have adopted a 'take it or leave it' attitude with FUN.

"The Northeast hall is the hardest to rent because it is the furthest
from the hotels and other amenities.  The OCCC is mainly interested in
attracting huge conventions that require 500,000 to 2.2 million square
feet.  I believe the OCCC is one of only three places in the country
that can host shows requiring 2 million square feet.  The others are
McCormack Place in Chicago and Las Vegas."


Mark Tomasko writes: "A curious article published this week in the
Sunday, January 21, 2007, New York Times, Styles section is 'With
Jefferson on His Side', which helps perpetuate the "lucky" nature of
two dollar bills. The article relates the story of Cameron Sinclair,
a British-born architect living in Manhattan, who received a two dollar
bill in change - he had never gotten one before - and kept it as a good
luck charm because "Jefferson was the only president who was an

"I have some new two dollar bills and occasionally use them to make
purchases, and the reactions I get range from dismay to amusement to
great enthusiasm. But this is the first time I've heard someone use
the architecture connection to relate to two dollar bills!"

To read the complete article, see:  Full Story


This week's featured web site is suggested by Dave Lange.  He writes:
"I stumbled across an interesting German website that features numerous
images of Civil War era notes."

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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