The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

PREV        NEXT        V10 2007 INDEX        E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 10, Number 5, February 4, 2007:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2007, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers are François Velde and Pascal Brock.
Welcome aboard!  We now have 1,060 subscribers.

This issue opens with an announcement of George Kolbe's 102nd sale
of numismatic literature, and a note from Myron Xenos about his
consignment of antiquarian numismatic literature.  Next up is word
from Karl Moulton that pre-publication orders are now being taken
for his new book on Henry Voigt.

Karl also takes a position you might not expect for a dealer in
printed numismatic literature, advocating that auction houses switch
to digital media. Speaking of media, we learn that a new television
program is in the works on the topic of the 1933 Double Eagle.

Our discussions on U.S. medallic literature continue, including an
announcement on a planned update to the classic Hibler-Kappen
'So-Called Dollars' book.  Other topics include tampered-with U.S.
encased postage stamps, research material on Nazi counterfeiting in
WWII, notes on recent numismatic periodicals, and an 1865 Medal of
Honor saved years ago from a scrap metal drive.

A little birdie told me that former American Numismatic Association
Executive Director Ed Rochette will be 80 years old on February 17
- Happy Birthday!

To learn which numismatic author has a connection to 'Tubby the Tuba'
and Meredith Vieira, read on.  Have a great week, everyone.

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


George Kolbe writes: "On March 15, 2007, George Frederick Kolbe/Fine
Numismatic Books will conduct their 102nd sale of rare and out of
print numismatic literature. Featured are 707 lots on a great variety
of topics, written in many different languages and dating from the
middle of the sixteenth century to the present. The sale is particularly
rich in rare and unusual books, periodicals, and catalogues on American
numismatics, along with standard works on ancient numismatics, and a
fine collection of numismatic books printed before 1800 from the library
of Myron Xenos. Catalogues may be ordered by sending $15.00 to Kolbe at
P. O. Drawer 3100, Crestline, CA 92325 or the catalogue is accessible
free of charge at the firm’s web site (

Some sale highlights include: a delightfully illustrated early nineteenth
century manuscript on the Coinage of England; a mint example of the first
Stack’s sale, issued in 1935; near mint copies of several early American
Numismatic Association auction sale catalogues; two extensive runs of the
American Journal of Numismatics; a heavily illustrated 1913 Cuban guide
to the coins and paper money of all nations; a very fine example of
Charles Pye’s 1795 work on Conder tokens; the 1559 first edition of
Erizzo’s Medaglie Antiche, with over 500 woodcut illustrations of ancient
coins; rare United States Coin Company catalogues; a good selection of
Heath counterfeit detectors; a set of The Shekel; the “revised” edition
of Newlin’s rare work on United States half dimes; Nunn’s Numismatic
Magazine, the inspiration for The Numismatist and the American Numismatic
Publication; the 1864 first American auction catalogue accompanied by a
printed list of buyers’ names; a complete set of Davenport works on
crowns, along with allied publications; Q. David Bowers’ now elusive
work on silver dollars; and many other interesting and important works."


When I learned that Myron Xenos was selling part of his library in the
102th Kolbe numismatic literature sale, I asked him to tell us more about
his books and his decision to sell.  He writes: "I started a library in
the early 1980's, and by 1986, due to a chance meeting with Ken Lowe, we
became partners in the numismatic literature business. I found the really
old tomes fascinating in the context of their drawings of coins and medals,
not that I was ever able to read gothic German, Latin, Dutch, French,  or
one other language I couldn't identify.

"I tried to visualize someone in Saxony or elsewhere setting type and
doing woodblock drawings with meticulous accuracy, not as easy as today's
digital printing. I was surprised at just how many books were actually
printed since the 1500's, many of them extra-large to huge.

"I have two favorites.  One was handwritten and hand-drawn in England in
the 1800's, but only partially finished, presumably because the author
died. The other, which I once sold and later bought back, but am keeping
for now, is a small economics book signed by John Locke in 1692.

"I will be 69 this year and it just seemed like time to thin out my
library. I am keeping the books I need for research and those from which
I might glean some information in the English language. My love of bust
half dollars is taking much attention, as I am 348/450ths complete with
dates and die marriages. I guess everyone has to be obsessive about
something. I hope the new owners enjoy my books as much as I have."


Karl Moulton's Winter 2007 fixed price list of American Numismatic
Literature 1855 to Date is now available.  I've had my copy for a week
or so, but haven't had a chance to write about it until now.  The
50-page list presents American Numismatic Literature from 1862 to date,
and announces the availability of his long-awaited new book on early
U.S. Mint personnel.

In his welcome message, Karl writes: "My 228 page hardbound book,
'Henry Voigt and Others Involved With America's Early Coinage' will
be ready to ship this spring.  Pre-publication orders are now being
accepted. The price is $79 postpaid.  If you have any interest at all
about the first 25 years of American coinage, you must have this book
in your library.  Q. David Bowers has written a wonderful foreword. It
will definitely 'change' your thinking about what you now know.  The
pictures and Mint document alone (most never before seen) are worth
the price.  Further information can be found on our website at"

[I've already written my check.  Please support Karl's efforts. This
indeed sounds like a must-have book and I look forward to its arrival.


In his Winter 2007 fixed price list Karl Moulton also comments on the
accelerated state of the rare coin market today and its effect on the
collecting of auction catalogs.  He writes: "It used to be 'buy the
book before the coin', now, it's 'buy a bookcase before the books or
catalogues that will come pouring in to entice you to buy the coins.'
Just one year's catalogues from the various auction companies can
equal 15 feet of shelf space if you keep them all."

"In the age of CDs and DVDs it remains an expensive and silly concept
for these companies to spend huge amounts on production costs for
temporary sales and pay the continuous postage expenses.  A 3x5
bookshelf would easily hold all the CDs and DVDs of all the coin
auctions for the next 50 years; and each company's bottom line profits
would actually increase! Why don't they get realistic?

"I, for one, believe it's time to make a change in the coin marketing
business, and do away with the printed auction catalogues that often
weigh several pounds each... Who agrees?"

[Not me, at least not yet.  In time I do believe the world Karl
envisions may come to pass, but I would argue that he's already
pinpointed the reason for the existence of so many beefy color
catalogs - to entice people to buy the coins.  Yes, images and
text are available online, yet it's having that glossy catalog in
hand that often entices people to bid.  Flipping thru the pages of
a catalog takes just seconds, and the human eye is drawn immediately,
almost subconsciously, to items of possible interest.  Online, it's
out of sight, out of mind.  Few buyers would sit for hours poking
thru online catalogs in the hopes of finding something they might
want to bid on.

The catalogs are, have always been, and shall always be a marketing
tool for the sellers.  And unless all competing firms make the same
change at once, the first firm to do so would be cutting their own
throat - without a catalog, interest would drop, or perhaps plummet.

The computer age has not led to the demise of the printed catalog in
other merchandising fields. The effect there has been the same as
in numismatics - the flow of catalogs has INCREASED and shows little
sign of slowing.  -Editor]


Numismatic Bibliomania Society Secretary-Treasurer David M. Sundman
writes: "This week I received our first order from the price list of
back issues of The Asylum that was inserted in the latest mailing of
the publication.  It was for $96.00 from a Life Member.  Hopefully,
this is the first of many orders.

The pricelist is also available on our NBS website at


Scott Miller writes: "With regard to Dave Bowers and Dick Johnson's
remarks regarding the need for catalogues of US medals, there are
two books that should be mentioned as worthwhile and easily available.
'One Hundred Years of American Medallic Art 1845-1945, the John E.
Marqusee Collection' lists over 400 medals.  'The Beaux-Arts Medal
in America' by Barbara Baxter, published by the American Numismatic
Society discusses American medals of that period, as well as French
and other European influences.

"I would also be interested in any update on Dick's planned
Biographical Dictionary of American Medalists."

[I have both of Scott's recommendations in my library.  Agreed - these
are both great books.  As for Dick Johnson’s BDAM, it's not quite ready
for publication.  But he writes: “In the meantime I offer a service to
numismatic researchers to do a lookup and answer most questions about
American medallists, or medals by known artists. If inquirer wants a
listing of all the works by one artist, I do make a small charge for
these. Long entries, like Victor D. Brenner of 50-page length, for
example, would be $10 or less. Contact:"


Dick Johnson writes: "The authors of a long-needed revision of a
standard work for medal collectors announced this week they should
have a book ready for publication by mid-year. The book is a revision
of "So-Called Dollars," by Hibler and Kappen, originally published by
Coin & Currency Institute in 1963. C&C will also publish the revision.

"The authors are Tom Hoffman of Crystal Lake, Illinois and Jonathan
Brecher of Cambridge, Massachusetts, both enthusiastic so-called dollar
collectors. I talked to both authors this week to learn the status of
their venture. Collectors who want a major comprehensive revision will
have to wait a while longer, however.

"'We are setting realistic goals,' said Jonathan Brecher, 'this will
not be a carbon copy of the original, things obviously need changing
and updating without expanding the existing book.' 'It's a stepping
stone,' said Tom Hoffman. They will concentrate on adding new
compositions of existing medals, listing known mules, and correcting
some of the original authors' errors (like the misspelling of Greenduck,
a Chicago medalmaker).

"They plan to essentially keep Hibler-Kappen's original numbering
system while recognizing it needs to be changed in the future, but
will change designations of sizes from HK's sixteenths of an inch to
millimeters. For this edition they do not plan to add additional items
that meet the criteria of a so-called dollar, nor carry forward medals
issued after 1961 that was the cutoff date in the original book. The
book will carry new illustrations, however, and they hope to have a
color illustration section. No decision yet to carry prices.

"Recent activity in the numismatic field indicates accelerated interest
in this medal collecting specialty. In March 2004 a group of collectors
met at the suggestion of Jeffrey L. Shevlin, of Carmichael California
to organize a new club (reported here in E-Sylum, vol 7, no 23, art 9).
Jeff Shevlin is working on a major revision with new listings and
carrying forward from 1961. He will assist in this present revision
while working on his book of greater comprehensive scope.

"In June 2006 NGC announced they added so-called dollars to their
grading service and began a Census Report of these medals. They noted
off-metal strikes not listed in HK and other varieties. These will be
included in the new revision according to Hoffman and Brecher. Other
collector interest has been reported by auction houses when they sell
these items, notably Heritage's September 2006 sale of the Troy Wiseman
collection and Joseph Levine's yearly Presidential auctions.

"The pair of authors have created a website,,
basically a dump of all the current content with new color illustrations.
Already, the authors state, ten collectors have assisted them by
contributing to the website. They seek other collectors' input for
this and the bound book. They can be contacted through the website."

To view the So-Called Dollars book web site, see:




Michel Taillard of France writes: "I am creating the new Gadoury
catalogue for "essais", "pieforts", "concours", "pré-séries"... for
the Edition Gadoury in Monaco (France).  I am looking for good
information to complete my research.

I would like to contact all collectors who can help me in order to
have new coins not reported in the last edition or older catalogues
like those of J. Mazard and V. Guilloteau. (For example, I know there
is a famous collector of french "essai" in Texas).

I am also looking for the catalogue of the Ferrari's sale in 1934
which has an enormous stock of rare French coins. Does anyone know
where I can find it?  Thank you."

[Please assist Michel if you can.  His email address is -Editor]


Howard Daniel writes: "This week I received a booklet titled 'Oeang
Republik Indonesia' (ORI) by Penerbitan Naskah Sumber, Arsip Nasional
Republik Indonesia, Jakarta, 2003, 138 pages.  It is entirely in
Indonesian with no illustrations, so I had to use a dictionary to
see what it is about.  It appears to be a history of all of the
banknotes issued from 1945 to date.  Now I need to find a translator
who can translate it for me and others who collect this country.

"The booklet was sent by Will and Anita Tuchrello in Jakarta, which
they found in a bookstore in Bali while on vacation.  They are very
old friends and Will is the Director of the Library of Congress office
for Southeast Asia.  We met in the Library of Congress in 1981 when I
started my research there on Southeast Asia.  He saw that I was serious
and greatly assisted me in searching the entire library for numismatic
information of interest to me.  I cannot remember how many years of
weekends I was researching there but it was probably most of the 1980s."


Jim Spilman announced in the Yahoo Colonial Coins group this week the
revival of the Colonial Newsletter Foundation eSIGs (Special Interest
Groups).  He writes: "The first of the restructured CNLF eSIGs is now
back online. This is the NonRegal British 1/2d and 1/4d British
Counterfeits eSIG.  The name of the eSIG is NonRegalBritish and the
URL is:

"A major feature of the restructured eSIGs is the inclusion -- within
the LINKS section -- of an FTP link to the CNLF-Harvest FTP images and
other documents that have been harvested during the past several years.
The name of the LINK is NonRegalBritish and at the moment contains over
2000 images and is a total size of about 312 Meg.

"You must be a member of the eSIG to access these new features. It
was necessary to totally delete the membership to accomplish the
restructuring.  SO -- please rejoin if you are interested in this
series, just go to the Homepage and request membership."


Also in the Yahoo Colonial Coins group this week was a flurry of
messages on the declining health and death of colonial coin expert
and dealer Mike Ringo.  Mike's brother Peter Ringo wrote: "I've
asked my brother Tim to forward this message to the Colonial
Numismatics list because I want you all to know how grateful I feel
that Dan Freidus drove all the way from Michigan to be with Mike in
what turned out to be his final moments. Whether Dan was a chosen
or self-chosen representative of Mike's coin community, you couldn't
have had a better one, in my opinion. He was very personable,
sensitive, and helpful, and I am very thankful for his presence
and for the presence he lent to Mike's friends and acquaintances.

"For me, it was at once touching and surreal to see Dan sit by Mike's
bedside, hear him tell Mike how well-regarded he was, and have him list,
by name, the many, many people who sent their best wishes. Dan was there
for Mike in whatever way he could--even feeding him ice cream at a time
he could no longer verbally express his desire for it -- and I like to
think he was there for me as well. I continue to be deeply appreciative
of his ready conversation and good ear on a day that I had expected to
be the only attendant from Mike's personal sphere.

"I hope Dan considers his time in Burlington well-spent and his many
long hours on the road rewarded. Certainly, I think all those who knew
Mike can."

[Our best wishes go out to Mike's family; all of us in numismatics
know how deep and longlasting hobby friendships can be.  I'm reminded
every week of how special our numismatic friends are, and Dan's efforts
are a wonderful example to us all.  -Editor]


Some of our readers have asked where to find a copy of the 1976
Raymond Habrekorn reference on the emergency paper money of the
Franco-Prussian War that Bob Leonard told us about.

Bob Leonard writes: "As I recall, I bought my copy from Spink at
the time it came out.  It is not for sale.  Surely this book can
be located through European dealers.  The Bibliotheque Nationale
may have a copy (it wouldn't circulate, though)."


As noted in earlier E-Sylum issues, R.V. Dewey has been compiling
information on the 1855 flying eagle cent pattern he purchased from
Abe Kosoff. Subscriber Rick Kay writes: "I am doing comprehensive
research on the 1854-1855 flying eagle cent patterns and would like
to get the word out that I’d like any information or other leads
they may have as to Mint or other records."

[Rick's email address is - his phone number
is 310-804-9346.  -Editor]


Dave Lange writes: "As part of my ongoing research into the people
who published coin boards, I'm attempting to identify the owner of
Gramercy Stamp Company, which operated 1936-43 in New York City at
323 W. 16th Street. I've tried the city directories, but no name was
given other than that of the business. Perhaps one of the readers
can help."


Smithsonian Networks, a joint enterprise of the Smithsonian
Institution and Showtime Networks, will debut in the spring.

"A signature series will be "Stories From the Vault," a 30-minute
program hosted by Cavanagh. It will explore the artifacts and people
that have made the Smithsonian one of the most recognized museums in
the world; on one episode, a curator will examine a Stradivarius
using a CT scan.

"Another of the new shows is "The Hunt for the Double Eagle," about
the extremely rare 1933 solid gold coin, of which only a handful are
in existence.

"The programs will be shown on an entity called Smithsonian on Demand.
Officials are still negotiating with cable carriers and satellite TV
providers to make the programming available, but Royle said Showtime
and Smithsonian officials are also considering a regular, 24-hour

To read the complete Washington Post article, see: Full Story

To visit the Smithsonian Networks home page, see: Smithsonian Networks
[Here's the summary of the episode taken from the press release.

"The story of the 1933 solid gold Double Eagle is a mystery story
about the intrigue and greed stirred by the world's most valuable coin.
Two examples of this coin, which last sold for $7 million, exist in
the Smithsonian's coin collection, and our film will draw upon
Smithsonian experts to tell this tale. Commissioned by President
Theodore Roosevelt to reflect the growing glory of America in the
early 20th century, the 1933 Double Eagle never entered legal
circulation and was thought destroyed, except for the two at the

"Mysteriously, a handful of the coins escaped the US Mint and led
authorities on a decades-long chase. Both beautiful and unattainable,
the coin has been on the United States Secret Service's Most Wanted
list for over 70 years. This film will retrace the Secret Service
investigation of the 1933 Double Eagle through nearly three-quarters
of a century of American history. It's a dramatic story that crosses
continents and includes corruption at the US mint, illuminates the
decadence and avarice of King Farouk of Egypt until it is finally
recovered in a sting at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York."

To read the complete press release, see: Full Story

[I've been unsuccessful in trying to contact the producers for
more information on the show.  But I did learn that one of our
subscribers (an author of a book on the subject) was involved.

David Tripp writes: "I've known about the program for some time,
was interviewed for it, and I assume I will be appearing on it as
a talking head.  I also did give the producers permission to borrow
from my book 'Illegal Tender', but to what extent they did I don't
know. I don't know when it is scheduled to be aired."


David Tripp's been busy in other areas this past year.  He writes:
"I'm working on a couple of other projects.  But last year was
largely consumed by a very non-numismatic (but close-to-the-heart)
project: 'Tubby the Tuba' which my father wrote (and which put me
through college! [it sold some 13 million records]).

"My sister and I have longed to get it to a new generation of kids,
and last October Dutton published it in book-form (with a CD in the
back of one of my father's narrations).  The new illustrations (by
Henry Cole) are wonderful, and we hope it will get parents to
educate their kids about classical music!

"Tubby was originally conceived by my father as an orchestral story
(my dad created it and wrote the story) and the music was composed
by George Kleinsinger.  And so, in addition to the Dutton book, we
wanted to get a new CD out there as well.

"We were very lucky in this regard, and Meredith Vieira (of the TODAY
show) narrated the original Tubby and also one of Tubby's other
adventures (Tubby Meets a Jazz Band).  She did wonderful work.  (I
ended up as co-producer on the album...there's a new one!), and it
also came out in October (Koch Records).

"So if any of our numismatic brethren have children, they can also
go to, for more information.

"(As it happens I also performed Tubby late last year in Boston,
and was accompanied by [among others] the Tuba player for the
Boston Symphony!...He is brilliant!)."

[The following in from the 'Tubby the Tuba' Web site. -Editor]

"In 1941, one week after the attack on Pearl Harbor, following the
performance of Paul Tripp and George Kleinsinger’s first musical
piece, Tripp and Kleinsinger thanked the musicians, including the
tuba player, who said: 'You know, tubas can sing too.' That very
night Paul Tripp wrote a story about how a tuba found a melody to
play, and later he and George Kleinsinger translated the story into
music. But it wasn’t until after World War II that Tubby was finally
shared with the world and BECAME an instant hit!

"Tubby has been translated into more than 30 languages, played by
every major orchestra in the world, used as a clue in The New York
Times crosswords, made into two films, and narrated by a galaxy of
stars, including Meredith Vieira of the Today Show. In 2006 Tubby
the Tuba was enshrined in the Library of Congress’ National
Recording Registry as one of the landmarks in American audio


Laura Cortner, Executive Producer at Hieronimus & Co. writes: "I
stumbled on your website last night while trying to find more
information about Andy Burr and Iconologia (not your topic, I do
realize).  I was pleased to read your review of the History Channel's
'Secrets of the Dollar Bill', since we had a lot to do with that
production.  I'm writing to ask you to correct the spelling of one
of the participants you listed in that review.  It's in the 8th
paragraph, and his name is Robert Hieronimus.

"We've seen some interesting misspellings of his last name over the
years, but inserting a "g" in the middle is a new one!"

[Our web site holds an historical archive of past issues, warts and
all.  While we don't go back and rewrite history, we do publish errors
and corrections in subsequent issues, so here it is.  A bigger error
in the item is that it was actually written by Dick Johnson, and in
my haste to publish that week's issue I forgot to mark it as such.
That rarely happens, but shame on me - sorry!  Thanks again to Dick,
and thanks to Laura for her comments and correction.  If you haven’t
seen the program, be sure to read Dick's review and keep an eye out
for any scheduled re-airings.  -Editor]



Katie Jaeger writes: "I'd like to sample expert opinion on a statement
of John J. Ford's about Civil War encased postage.  In his inimitable
style in an August 1991 ANA presentation entitled "Frontiers in
Numismatics" Ford stated:

"People tamper with values in this philatelic/numismatic series by
substituting higher-denomination stamps for 1-cent and 2-cent
denominations.  Go ahead and buy these 'rarities' for an arm and a
leg if you want a complete denomination set, but don't delude yourself;
all the higher denominations are concoctions."

"Your own 1994 COAC presentation on the subject ("J.C Ayer and John
Gault") stated, "Eight denominations of stamps were used in Gault's
encasements: 1 cent, 3 cents, 5 cents, 10 cents, 12 cents, 24 cents,
30 cents, and 90 cents. The four smallest denominations corresponded
to circulating coins and are the most common.

"The larger odd-value denominations were used only for postage and
would have been more difficult to use in circulation.  The 24-cent,
30-cent, and 90-cent encasements are very rare."

"You published a photograph of a ten-cent stamp in an encasement
taken directly from Gault's patent model, so that belies Ford's
opinion that only 1- and 2-cent varieties circulated.  I'd be interested
to hear viewpoints on Ford's statement about the highest three
denominations, especially if they can furnish primary source proof
of their circulation."

[1991 was the Chicago ANA Centennial convention.  I was there and
probably attended Ford's talk, but don't recall him saying or implying
that only the 1- and 2-cent varieties circulated.  By "higher
denominations" I believe Ford meant anything above 10 cents.  The 12,
24, 30, and 90 cent denominations are scarce to rare and have always
been worth more in the numismatic market than the 10 cents and lower

"Scoundrels could buy a legitimate encased postage stamp of the lower
denomination and substitute a genuine stamp of a higher denomination
and create an instant rarity worth much more than the sum of the parts.
I've never bought a denomination higher than 10 cents, unless you
include the one and only 12-cent piece I bought then fought to return
to the dealer after further inspection and consultation revealed that
it could have been tampered with.  -Editor]

Katie adds: "I transcribed Ford's ANA presentation myself, having
borrowed the video from the ANA Library.  He also said, "People who
catalog these things will tell you, "There are no fake encased postage'.
Lemme tell you, there are fake everything!"

"I did write down "one and two-cent" so I guess that could be a mis-
transcription...maybe Ford said "one and three-cent."  According to
the Friedbergs, who list these things in A Guide Book of U.S. Paper
Money, there is only one two-cent specimen known - maybe it's a
fabrication too!"


Regarding the latest edition of Maine Antique Digest, Alan V. Weinberg
writes: "Check out the William Appleton cameo sold to the Museum of Fine
Arts, Boston (page 23E) - is this the famed numismatist William Sumner
Appleton or his father?  The Appleton cameo is pictured and mentioned
as to sale at auction to the Museum of fine Arts but I think it might
be Appleton's dad as I think "our" Appleton lived decades later when
his fine numismatic collection went to Boston."

Maine Antique Digest editor Sam Pennington writes: "Appleton's
Cyclopaedia of American Biography (published 1888 by D. Appleton and
Co., New York) says about William: APPLETON, William, merchant, b. in
Brookfield, Mass., 16 Nov., 1786; d. in Longwood, near Boston,
20 Feb., 1862."

[The William Appleton of numismatic fame was born in 1840 and died
in 1903, according to an entry in Pete Smith's 'American Numismatic
Biographies'.  Alan is correct - the Appleton of the cameo is much
older. -Editor]


David F. Fanning writes: "Regarding Dick Johnson's proposal (echoed
by Stephen Searle) to rebase the one-cent piece, I'm curious what
effects this would have, at least in the short run. In particular,
I'm wondering what effects rebasing just one denomination would have
on inflation. I have no knowledge of economics, but it seems to me
that there would be a short-term spike in prices as retailers and
others tried to take advantage of everyone's sudden (if small) increase
in pocket money. How would it affect the use of other small-denomination

"Another concern: although I see how everyone would stand to gain from
such an act, it goes without saying that banks would be the real winners.
What possible effect could that have on the economy? Plus, I find it
hard to believe that, were the government to suggest such an action,
the secret would be kept. Word would get out, spread along with other
gossip, and who knows what kind of events could take place. Maybe I
simply take a dim view of human nature, but I don't see this turning
out well."


Howard Daniel writes: "Last week's item 'Archaeologists Find
Contemporary Debased Spanish Coin in St. Augustine', reminded me
of my attending the last ANA show or convention in Jacksonville,
Florida, just north of St. Augustine.

"A few months before that ANA, I read an article somewhere about the
University of North Florida discovering some coins in digging in the
old waterfront of Jacksonville.  It has been awhile and I cannot
remember the exact pieces they found.  I wrote to the department head
at the university and said I would be glad to speak to him and his
students about coins found in other archaeological digs.  He immediately
replied in the affirmative and we set up a two-hour session from 11AM
to 1PM on the day before the ANA.

"I arrived about an hour early and was shown to a "lab" room where I
set up.  They were all archaeological and anthropology students working
on their masters and/or doctorates, and a couple of professors.  I had
bought several references and photocopied many articles that I gave to
them.  Then I started telling them about the digs I knew about in
Southeast Asia where coins were found and how important they were to
deciphering what was being found.

"The audience was mostly unknowledgeable about numismatics and they
were quite pleased that the coins they had found could be of a great
help to them.  It was a most enjoyable two hours for me and I think I
probably got five or six of the twenty-four plus people in the audience
strongly interested in numismatics.  I would highly recommend your
readers to contact these departments (plus history and economics) in
their nearby colleges and universities and volunteer to speak to them
about numismatics.  It will be a great time!"

[I'll wholeheartedly endorse Howard's suggestion.  Interdisciplinary
encounters can have remarkable consequences on all sides.  We numismatic
bibliophiles have at our fingertips volume after volume of great
information about coinage (and history, economics and other topics),
yet people in those fields may only be aware of a small portion of
that body of work.  Similarly, archaeologists, historians and economists
may well be quite familiar with information sources that numismatic
authors have yet to find and tap into.

As one example, in the notes to Chapter 1 of "Krueger's Men", author
Lawrence Malkin cites "World War II Remembered: History in Your Hands,
A Numismatic Study" by Fred Schwan and Joe Boling.  He writes: "This
study is known to specialists; when I began my researches, it was the
first publication cited to me by William Bischoff, former curator of
the Newark (New Jersey) museum." (p214).  -Editor]


Regarding last week's mention of Lawrence Malkin's new book "Kreuger's
Men", Jeff Reichenberger writes: "To follow up on the Nazi's Operation
Bernhard. The story is one of many covered in the book 'Money of Their
Own, The Stories of the World's Greatest Counterfeiters', by Murray
Teigh Bloom (1957). It is fascinating, taken from what Bloom describes
as "a detailed and secret account of the operation.

"Between 1947 and 1949, Dr. Andre' Amstein made what is unquestionably
the most thorough study extent of Operation Bernhard. Dr. Amstein, one
of the world's leading authorities on counterfeiting, had access to the
secret reports of American, British, French and German agencies; he
interviewed some of the men who helped engrave, print, check, and
distribute the false pound notes. His final report, which runs more
than two hundred type written pages, is easily one of the more
fascinating reports to emerge out of WWII."

"Bloom says he gained access to the Amstein report in Paris through
a friend's 'measured indiscretion.' Amstein calls Operation Bernhard,
"the greatest forgery and counterfeiting enterprise of all time."

"Bloom expounds; "He does not exaggerate. It was the biggest; it
delivered the most bogus money over the longest period of safety; it
turned out the finest counterfeit notes ever seen; it had the world's
largest distribution network; it operated with the lowest overhead
even though it had the greatest number of conspirators and prisoner
'employees' - probably more than three hundred at it's peak - and had
the finest equipment ever assembled for a counterfeiting operation.

"The story details Captain Bernhard Krueger's rise in the ranks and
also that of his main artisan engraver, a Jewish prisoner by the name
of Solomon Smolianoff. 'Bernie and Solly' they were known. According
to Solly's diary, in late 1944 there was great pressure from Himmler,
to complete plates for U.S. one hundred dollar notes. At the end of the
war Krueger fled. Russian and American secret service looked for him
for ten years fearing he was still in possession of counterfeit plates.

"He was found in 1955 during a routine census, on the outskirts of
Hanover, Germany. He was charged with no crime so the West German
authorities left him alone. He has refused to talk to eager journalists
and is working slowly on his own account of the Barracks 19
counterfeiting operation. In 1956 he moved to Brunswick and sells
stamps to collectors.

"Perhaps some of the research is dated, but I wonder if this account
is cited in the Malkin book or the others you suggested, or if Kruger
was ever interviewed. I think it would make a nice companion next to
these other books."

[In the notes to Chapter 5, author Malkin writes that "Bloom, an
experienced reporter and World War II counterintelligence agent, met
with Krueger more than a decade after the war, having already made
himself an expert on counterfeiting and published a minor classic on
the subject, 'Money of Their Own.'  He interviewed Krueger and chose
to turn his notes into a first-person account under Krueger's name
for greater impact (and tabloid sales).  Later Bloom posed more
difficult questions, to which Krueger replied in German.  They were
never cast into narrative form, but the two kept up an t extensive
correspondence in the hope of making a film.  Bloom has kindly allowed
me to view and quote from the surviving fragments, which cover
Operation Bernhard only the first year of Krueger's involvement."

The Amstein Report unfortunately, was unavailable to Malkin. It was
missing from the U.S. Secret Service Archives.  Malkin says Bloom had
been allowed to view it privately at the U.S. Treasury.  Amsteim, who
was still alive in 2002 refused an interview "on the grounds that he
was an old man, remembered little, and had no documents from the
period.  This made is necessary to reconstruct the contents through
archival research." (p272).

Malkin does note that another prisoner's memoir, published in Oslo in
1949, was very useful.  He writes: "None was more valuable than
'Falskmynter I block 19', by Moritz Nachtstern and Ragnar Arntzen.
This virtually forgotten book was discovered on the Internet by
Margaret Shannon with the remnants of the Norwegian language she
picked during her childhood years in Oslo."  -Editor]


E-Sylum subscribers are a busy bunch - in reviewing recent periodicals
a number of articles caught my eye, and it turns out (not surprisingly)
that all were authored by E-Sylum subscribers and contributors:

The February 2007 issue of Bank Note Reporter has an illustrated
article by Fred Reed on Civil War scrip notes payable in U.S. Postage
Currency.  Kerry Rodgers, has an article in the same issue on
Jonathan Swift's numismatic connections.

Paul Gilkes' article on p5 of the January 29, 2007 Coin World
discusses ephemera from the estate of numismatist William Cutler
Atwater.  Saved from the landfill by Atwater's grandson, the files
include catalogs, invoices and correspondence relating to the famed
Atwater collection, sold by B. Max Mehl in 1946.  The collection
had an example of every U.S. coin from 1793 to 1920, including two
1804 dollars.

Daniel Gosling has an article in the January/February CN Journal
(published by the Canadian Numismatic Association) about his trip
to the United Kingdom with visits to Soho House, The Birmingham Mint,
the Birmingham City Archives and the Birminham Museum & Art Gallery,
the Royal Mint in Llantrisant, South Wales, The National Archives,
the British Museum and Spink in London.   The Birmingham City Archives
are the home of the papers of coiners Matthew Boulton and James Watt.
The Soho House was the home of Boulton from 1766 until his death in
1809.  Gosling calls it "a numismatic must-see."

Tom DeLorey has an article on "The Coins of Celestia" in the February
2007 COINage Magazine (p70), about the wonderfully whimsical yet half-
serious coins issued by James Mangan in the 1960s for the "Nation of
Celestial Space".


Martin Purdy writes: "The modern French spelling "geôle" might help
to clarify both the origin and the "correct" spelling a little.  "Goal"
in English with this particular meaning would nowadays be considered
an error, pure and simple.  My Concise Oxford says that "Gaol" is in
official UK use, while both Gaol and Jail are in colloquial use, and
Jail is the standard US form."

David F. Fanning writes: "Regarding the question of the spelling of
"gaol" as "goal" on some Conder tokens, here is what the Oxford
English Dictionary says:

'It is difficult to say whether the form goal(e), common, alike in
official and general use, from the 16th to the 18th c., was merely
an erroneous spelling of gaol, after this had itself become an
archaism, or was phonetic.'

If the OED doesn't know, you can be sure it's a stumper."


Regarding last week's item on the St. Augustine discovery of a
silvered Spanish 2-Reale piece with a copper core, Dick Johnson
writes: "I would be interested in learning how they coated a copper
coin in the 1700s to look like silver. Silverplating had not been
invented yet and firesilvering (like fire gliding for gold) would
be a lot of work for such a small denomination coins.  Any thoughts


Dave Kellogg writes: "You may know that Cyprus is the most recent
country to add coins to its cultural property list, and the U.S.
Cultural Property Advisory Committee is currently reviewing their
request.  Obviously, coins present a completely different situation
from antiquities and do not belong in the same Agreement.

"Any readers interested in collecting ancient coins are encouraged
to write the Committee expressing their views.  The Ancient Coin
Collectors Guild (ACCG) has led the efforts to represent coin collectors
and have prepared sample letters to help individuals get started.
The following link provides an easy to use online fax service.

"However, replies must be received by the Committee by Monday, Feb. 6.
That doesn't give us much time!  I wish we could put this note in BOLD
print; this topic is crucial to the continuance of our hobby as it
relates to ancient coins.  See "


An article published Friday in the Indianapolis Star told the story
of a rare Medal of Honor, one of 1,520 awarded during the Civil War.
The medal reappeared recently after being saved from a scrap metal
drive collection in World War II.  The current owner is seeking to
return it to the original family.

"Wrapped in a plain cloth bag, a rare piece of Civil War history
passed through Brownsburg Public Library last weekend. Marjorie
Grismore, 78, carefully unwrapped her treasure before the astonished
eyes of Ron Wilkins, a member of the 19th Indiana, Company K,
volunteer re-enactors.

"'Oh my god, that's a Medal of Honor,' he said.

"As he admired the star-shaped medal with the tattered royal blue
ribbon, he read the inscription on the back. In elegant script, it
reads: 'The Congress to Private Major Joseph F. Carter, third
Maryland Volunteers, distinguished gallantry in action at Fort Stedman
March 25, 1865.'

"Grismore wanted more than to just share her antique. She asked Wilkins
if he could help her find out more about Carter, not to fill in the
blanks of her family tree but to return the medal to Carter's heirs.

"Grismore said her father-in-law, Paul Stitt, acquired the medal, along
with a few others from the same family, while collecting scrap metal
during World War II."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


Just as many people have turned to collecting credit cards, those
ubiquitous gift cards sold by retail stores are now also receiving
attention as a collectible.  Someday, these may take their place in
numismatic collections alongside credit cards, charge coins and other
money substitutes.

The Victoria Times Colonist of Canada published an article noting that
"A brisk collectibles market has sprung up online for retail gift cards
that are worthless in terms of buying a latte or a DVD, but prized by
aficionados for their design and rarity.

", a website devoted to collectors of Starbucks gift
cards -- by far the most popular and lucrative on the market -- reports
that two anonymous collectors recently paid more than $2,000 each for
cards that carried no balance but were produced in limited quantities
for employees or contest winners.

"'Gift cards are like stamp collectibles or coin collectibles -- just
a modern version,' says Margaret Li, a collector from Vancouver who
uses EBay to sell off duplicates or unwanted cards.

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


The Helena Independent Record published a story on Tuesday, January
30th about the previous day's launch ceremony for the Montana state

"Montana’s quarter, the 41st in the Mint’s popular series, was
formally introduced in a ceremony that included several local and
state dignitaries as well as hundreds of elementary school children
from across the city, each of whom got a free quarter.

"The first Montana quarters were minted on Dec. 26, and Sam Gane,
branch manager of the Helena Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of
Minneapolis, said they’ve been in the branch’s Neill Avenue vault
since last week, awaiting distribution to banks across the state.

"The ceremony included performances by the Capital High Jazz Band,
the Helena High Ambiance Choir and Blackfeet singer and songwriter
Jack Gladstone.

"Moy, who called Montana’s bison skull “an evocative image of the
American West,” became director of the U.S. Mint in September, so
this was just his second commemorative quarter release ceremony.

“There’s a lot of state pride with each of these,” he said. “There’s
also a lot of pride involved for the U.S. Mint. Our sculptors and
engravers take a lot of pride in the art they do on these quarters.”

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


I don't think George Washington ever slept there, but the U.S. Mint
is traveling to Tampa, FL to publicize the new Presidential Dollar

"The Mint is planning to inform residents of the Tampa area about
the new coins with stops at Gorrie Elementary School and Citrus Park
Town Center Mall. A George Washington historian will educate Gorrie
Elementary School students about the life of President Washington.

"At Citrus Park Town Center Mall, local residents can see the new
dollar coin up close and personal, get a free picture of themselves
on a Presidential $1 Coin rendering and pick up educational materials
from the U.S. Mint.

To read the complete story, see: Full Story

[This isn't an official launch ceremony, but part of the Mint's larger
publicity program to raise awareness of the new coins.  The traveling
troupe rolled through Pittsburgh, PA on Thursday.  The event was covered
in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.  The inside joke in the article is that
the 40th Street Bridge leading to the Bloomfield neighborhood is also
known as Washington's Crossing, where the real first President nearly
died crossing the icy Allegheny River on December 29, 1753.  -Editor]

"The man portraying the father of our country was late for yesterday
morning's appearance at Woolslair Elementary School in Bloomfield.
Apparently George Washington's crossing was delayed by traffic on
the 40th Street Bridge.

"He didn't seem to mind.

"George Washington, played by living interpreter Carl Closs, of
Philadelphia, visited Woolslair Elementary School in Bloomfield
yesterday to talk to students about history and the new $1 coins that
will depict presidents. He spent time with some students and taught
Bennie Murphy, 10, a fourth-grader, some fencing basics.

"The Mint's latest money-making scheme is a 10-city road show
introducing people to the golden coins that will be placed into
circulation Feb. 15. The goal is to give the coins a more successful
launch than the Sacagawea dollars experienced in 2000."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

To learn more about Washington's Crossing, see: Full Story


In other new-coin news, West Virginia lawmakers are promoting the
idea of a commemorative coin honoring the 100th anniversary of
Mother's Day.

"The holiday was founded in 1908 by Anna Jarvis in Grafton.

"In honor of the anniversary, several West Virginia legislators have
drafted a resolution to ask the United States Mint to issue a
commemorative coin.

"The resolution asks that the coin carry an image of Anna Jarvis
and the reverse bear an image of the International Mother's Day Shrine."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

To visit the web site, International Mother's Day Shrine see: Full Story

[From the small image on the web site, no inscriptions are visible.
What immortal motherly words are worthy of enshrinement?  In our
household, phrases like "Say EXCUSE me!," "don't step on your
brother's head!" and "why in the world would you teach them to pull
your finger?" are commonplace.  -Editor]


"Former Green Bay TV news anchor Jay Johnson, who served one term
in Congress in the late 1990s, has been named chief numismatist of
the Franklin Mint, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported today.

"The Pennsylvania-based Franklin Mint is a private company that
sells collectibles that include commemorative coins.

"Johnson, who is in his early 60s, was director of the U.S. Mint,
the federal agency that makes and sells the nation's coins, from May
2000 to mid-2001. He was appointed to the job by former President

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


The American Numismatic Association issued a press release last
week summarizing the results of an independent performance evaluation
of the Executive Director.  The survey was commissioned by the ANA
Board of Governors and conducted by human resources consultant
Personal Management Systems.  The press release only gave high-level
summaries with numeric scores such as:  "... a cumulative average of
2.93; ratings of 2.50 and above reflect positive results in this

This apparently answers the question Bill Rosenblum raised in The
E-Sylum in December, when he wrote wondering who had ordered the survey:
"In October employees at ANA headquarters were visited by someone who
wanted their opinion about the Executive Director for the possibility
of extending his contract. They were told that their answers would
be confidential although at least some did not feel they would be."



According to the press release, "As part of the assessment, PMS
interviewed 12 ANA employees, some of whom were selected by the
Board and others at random. The identities of those selected were
not released to Cipoletti, and employees were assured that the
information they provided would not be disclosed in any identifying
way to Cipoletti or the Board. Interviews were conducted by PMS
staff, and additional anonymous feedback was accepted afterward."

Former ANA Library and Research Center Director David Sklow writes:
"I was one of the employees interviewed - you can only imagine what
I said!"

As discussed earlier in The E-Sylum, Sklow and Joel Orosz have
disputed the ANA's position on a number of these issues.  E-Sylum
subscriber Howard Daniel had called for a more exhaustive set of
interviews.  He wrote: "I think the ANA Board of Directors should
privately interview all of the staffers, one by one, to find the
source(s) of the problems plaguing the headquarters."

In my own experience in industry, interviews with people LEAVING
the organization are often much more informative.   Joel Orosz adds:
"You bet--you learn more from exit interviews than from ten times
that many in-house interviews."

This give and take over the ANA's problems is likely to continue
for some time.  It will make for interesting reading for future
students of the history of the organization, but these are difficult
times today for members and staff alike.  The latest volley is a
Guest Commentary by Orosz in the February 5th issue of Coin World
(p14).  Orosz offers to serve as an unpaid consultant to an IRS
audit of the organization's finances, although it is unclear that
any such audit is forthcoming.  -Editor]


Alan V. Weinberg writes: "With respect to the Orange County Convention
Center treating FUN with "a condescending attitude" due to its smaller

"I took the shuttle from the Orlando airport to the OCCC and we stopped
at the huge, newly constructed Marriott Hotel nearby. If I'm not mistaken,
I saw a huge Marriott convention center, with adjacent multi-level parking,
being built adjacent to the Marriott Hotel,  appearing to be ready by

"Perhaps FUN should look into this for future conventions. True, the
Marriott is more isolated than International Drive (although not the
North Concourse) but may be worth consideration."

FUN issued a press release on Monday, January 29th, noting "'The robbery
of a coin dealer after he left the recent FUN convention was preventable,'
said Robert Brueggeman, President of Positive Protection, Inc. (PPI) of
Fallbrook, California.

"PPI provides on-site security for the annual Florida United Numismatists
and American Numismatic Association conventions, as well as security for
gem and jewelry trade shows for the past 31 years.

"Security on premises at FUN was ‘tight.’ But in all the years my teams
have worked at shows with valuable merchandise I’ve learned that you
can’t protect dealers against themselves. You can’t load or unload your
merchandise in plain view in the front of a building and not create a
potentially vulnerable situation," said Brueggeman.

"Wibker said a vast majority of dealers surveyed after the 2005
convention in Fort Lauderdale said they wanted to keep the show in

"I received quite a few positive comments from dealers who followed
FUN’s guidelines for exiting the building at January’s show in Orlando.
Those dealers reported that they felt safe and secure, and thanked FUN
for making these security options available to them," said Wibker.
For additional information, contact Cindy Wibker, Convention Coordinator,
Florida United Numismatists. Phone: (407) 321-8747..."

A second press release the same day addressed many of the topics brought
up by Alan Weinberg in his previous E-Sylum post.

"The robbery of a coin dealer outside the Peabody Hotel in Orlando,
Florida on January 6, 2007 generated national headlines.  It also
produced inaccurate information regarding the annual Florida United
Numismatists (FUN) convention.

"“Some of the subsequent news stories, letters to the editor and hobby
grapevine comments contain incorrect statements, false assumptions and
erroneous speculation about safety and security at the convention.  FUN
wants to set the record straight, and separate facts from rumors,” said
Cindy Wibker, convention coordinator for FUN."

To read the complete FUN press releases, see:
Full Story


Dick Johnson writes: "Right off I wish to thank Steve D'Ippolito for
his comments on placing microchips in coins (in last week's E-Sylum).
I have said it before in this newsletter, I appreciate criticism. I
welcome your thinking, Steve.

"First no law would be necessary to encode each transaction, or to
place a serial number on a microchip embedded in a high value coin.
It would be done automatically. Steve mentioned not all transactions
take place in stores. True. Many transactions are made person to person
– these would not, of course, be recorded. It would only be done by
institutions that have the proper encoding equipment, as banks, retail
outlets, and such. Future cash registers would have this capability
built in. As a coin enters the cash drawer it would be so recorded
automatically. Banks’ equipment would be more sophisticated so it
could encode a single coin, a roll, or an entire bag of coins at one

"Second, individuals would do nothing different from what they do now.
The encoding would be so innocuous a person would not know it happened.
Everyone would be unaware of any encoding

"Third, it would not identify individuals. The encoding would be by
number (of bank, retail outlet or such). This number would be encoded,
until the next transaction with an encoder. There is no invasion of
privacy, Steve.

"Fourth, the microchip would be embedded after the coin is struck (or,
perhaps, during). It is not going to be smashed during striking. I have
the greatest admiration for American engineering – that is something
we do best in the world – I am certain the great engineering minds in
America can solve this problem. Hey, Americans invented the microchip
and integrated circuits in the first place!"


Dave Kellogg writes: "With reference to recent discussions of hollow
coins used for spying, the following link may be of interest:
Full Story

"The story goes back to 1953 and describes a nickel that a newspaper
boy received in change.  When he dropped it on the floor, it fell
apart revealing a hollowed compartment.  Inside was a message that
led to the discovery of a Soviet Union spy ring."

To read the complete web page, see:
Full Story

[We did cover this story in 2002, but it's fascinating and high
time we revisited it.

 "The face of the coin was a 1948 Jefferson nickel. In the "R"
 of the word "TRUST", there was a tiny hole -- obviously
 drilled there so that a fine needle or other small instrument
 could be inserted to force the nickel open.

 "An investigation which had started with a newsboy's hollow
 nickel ultimately resulted in the smashing of a Soviet spy ring.
 On February 10, 1962, Rudolf Ivanovich Abel was
 exchanged for the American U-2 pilot, Francis Gary Powers,
 who was a prisoner of the Soviet Union."

The web page Dave referenced is new, and is the first place where
I've seen a transcription of the actual coded message from the spy
nickel.  -Editor]

To read the earlier E-Sylum item, see:


David Sundman writes: "I think our readers will enjoy this comment
about a roman coin they found in the UK:  “"It's quite an uncommon
one, because they were unable to say which particular emperor was
on it.”

"A Roman coin buried in the depths of Malmesbury's Athelstan Museum
has been unearthed.

"Volunteers auditing the museum's collection discovered the small,
corroded piece of metal last week.

"Unsure of what it was, they sent it to Wiltshire County Council's
conservation department, where it was identified as a Roman Denarius

"It was almost a case of throwing it away, it was that unpromising.

"But we sent it to the county council's conservation department
and they worked on it and found it's a Roman Denarius.

"It's quite an uncommon one, because they were unable to say which
particular emperor was on it.

"They have taken photos of it, which will be sent to the British
Museum, to get it positively identified.

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


This week's featured web site is the Canadian Numismatic Association,
the national numismatic organization of Canada. The C.N.A. is a
non-profit educational organization formed in 1950 and incorporated
by Canada Charter in 1963.

  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.

PREV        NEXT        V10 2007 INDEX        E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

NBS Home Page    Back to top

NBS ( Web