The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 10, Number 6, February 11, 2007:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2007, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers are Jarrett Briscoe, courtesy of
your Editor, Charles Mitton and Ken Kmetz.  Welcome aboard!
We now have 1,062 subscribers.

This week's issue opens with reviews of three numismatic books;
Bob Lyall discusses the new Michael Finlay book on mining tokens,
Roger Moore introduces a scarce but intriguing novel centered on a
Virginia copper coin, and I take a look a new edition of Bowers'
Buyer's Guide on U.S. dollar coins. Also, John Adams highlights two
books of special importance to collectors of early American medals.

Next, Dick Johnson puts out a call for a co-author interested in
working on a book about the future of U.S. coinage.  Dick also
responds to questions about the proposed revaluation of the U.S.

Last week's mention of Karl Moulton's call for an end to printed
numismatic auction catalogs generated numerous responses from readers
on both sides of the issue.  On a related topic, new initiatives at
the Library of Congress and Princeton University continue the trend
toward digitization, which in time could open up new vistas for
numismatic researchers.

Research questions this week involve alloys of U.S. pattern coins
and ship tokens of the French cruiser Lamotte-Picquet.  News items
of interest (and use to future researchers) include articles on the
U.S. Mint in Philadelphia, a planned redesign of Canadian banknotes,
and alternative local currencies in use in Europe.  And in news you
probably couldn't find anywhere else, learn where to obtain notes
from the loot of the infamous hijacker D.B. Cooper.

E-Sylum readers are a great bunch of folks, and several are planning
to run for positions on the Board of the American Numismatic
Association.  John Eshbach shares his platform with us, and Cliff
Mishler announces his intention to run as well.  I had the pleasure of
dining with both gentlemen at last October's awards banquet at the
Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists convention in Pittsburgh.

John is a PAN stalwart, exhibit judge, tireless ANA volunteer, super
numismatist, and one of my numismatic mentors - an all-around great
guy.  Cliff is an A-list ANA donor, known for his longtime column in
Numismatic News and his leadership of Krause Publications.  Other
E-Sylumites mentioned earlier as Board candidates include Wendell
Wolka and Joe Boling, also great numismatists, hardworking ANA
volunteers and numismatic authors as well.  If you're an ANA member,
look for their ads, review their position statements, and contact
them with any questions you have; I'll be happy to forward messages
to them.

Also within this issue are an online tribute to the late U.S. colonial
coin dealer Mike Ringo, and a note about a web site loaded with
information on bookplates, something all bibliophiles should consider
for their numismatic libraries.   And if you've ever wanted to own a
million-dollar coin, the Royal Canadian Mint may have something for
you next year.  To learn more, read on.  Have a great week, everyone.

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


Fred Lake of Lake Books writes: "The prices realized list for our
numismatic literature sale #87 which closed on Tuesday, February 6,
2007 is now available for viewing on our web site at:


Bob Lyall submitted the following review of 'The Mining and Related
Tokens of West Cumberland' by Michael Finlay.

"This is a very comprehensive study of the coal mining and lime works
tokens from the West Cumberland area of England.  Its illustrations
cover all the 143 different tokens traced with very high quality
colour photographs of both sides of every token.  In addition, there
are some 117 illustrations, again in colour, relating to the token
businesses, ranging from 19th century photographs of a mine, to the
impressive houses of the mine owners, the portraits of the owners
and to 18th century large scale maps and sketches.

"All the tokens are described in full and include a rarity rating.
There is detailed history of the businesses using them and even
heraldic coats of arms of the various mine owners.  The tokens include
several value stated pieces for the 17th century but the majority were
for tallying the mining and movement of the coal from the pits to the
ships that carried the coal.  They often have the coat of arms of the
mine’s owner or attractive depictions of coal wagons and ships used to
carry the coal, often to Ireland.  Many have 18th century dates on them
but one of the latest has a steam engine, which, to my eye, looks to
date to c1845.  A few of the tokens are less easy on the eye being more
of a “home made” style with just initials of the owners stamped on
plain flans, but the majority would seem to have been made in a very
professional environment.

"Whilst most of the book is devoted to the coal businesses, some 20
pages are about the lime kilns and the tokens used in that business.
There are 50 pages of biographical data about the issuers and a
comprehensive bibliography; a detailed and helpful index finishes
this book.

"It is hard to put into words just what a superb book this is.  I
have never read a better produced one and, although its price is more
than the average price for a numismatic book, this is not a normal

"It was published in 2006 by Plains Books at £50 (+ postage). 196
pages, A4 size.  ISBN-13; 9781872477015 and ISBN-10; 1872477011
Orders may be sent, payment (including £7 postage to USA) with
order, to:  Plains Books, PO Box 212, Carlisle, Cumbria, England
CA5 6WA"


Roger Moore writes: "My interest in William N. Veach began during
the first few years of the Twenty First Century, when I volunteered
to be the moderator for the Virginia Colonial Coin Internet Research
eSIG Group developed by Jim Spilman.  As I delved into the numismatic
history of the Virginia coinage, I was lead to a series of newsletters
devoted to this coinage, published by William Veach between August
1990 and June 1993.

"The publication was called 'The Generation Newsletter', and it was
readily apparent that the editor was one of the few people in the
world with an in-depth appreciation and knowledge of the Virginia
coinage.  By hook and crook I was able to obtain a full set of these
Newsletters and learned that Mr. Veach had also written a book called
'The Gold Frog', which he had distributed to the readership of his

"My curiosity was peaked as to why the readers of a Virginia coinage
based newsletter would have an interest in such a novel, but my primary
curiosity was “what had happened to William Veach”?  He seemed to have
disappeared in 1995 and no one knew where he was.  Google searches,
Internet investigations and telephoning all the previous subscribers
of 'The Generation Newsletter' did not solve the mystery.  However,
having feelers out finally paid off and I was able to locate the
mystery man in a peaceful Florida retirement.

"It is from him that I received a signed copy of 'The Gold Frog' (I
had also gotten a copy during my unsuccessful attempt to find him
while calling all his previous subscribers.)  I am very happy to say
that we have continued to communicate and he will be a co-author on
a paper that will be coming out in The Colonial Newsletter in August
which discusses Virginia coinage forgeries.

"Now the real reason I write this summary is for the numismatic
bibliophile who is most like unfamiliar with The Gold Frog.  This
book is not only a fantasy novel but is also a numismatic riddle.
It was written in 1991 and self-published by the author using
Business Images, Inc. with a publication run of 500 copies.

"The prose are unusual and the story line is reminiscent of Alice
in Wonderland, but with a decidedly Virginia coinage twist.  In
essence, Mr. Veach provides hints throughout the book concerning a
“hidden treasure”.  In hunting for the treasure a Virginia coin turns
up in the story line and it is actually pictured in the book.  In
fact, the Virginia colonial coin is the only photograph in the book.

"I belatedly found out from the author that his photo has major
significance.  However, to elucidate this significance you need to
be an astute student of the Virginia coinage series.  To use the
author’s own words to describe the book, 'this story is not merely
a simple work of fiction, for there is that single, irrevocable thread
of historic and romantic presence of an era gone by, a land with a
dream, a people with a destiny and rigid standards set by men who
lived “the old ways”.'

"Though there will be no Pulitzer nominations for this book, it does
nicely fit into the numismatic library for those with an eclectic, if
not very eccentric, interest in unusual literature associated with
colonial coins."

[Roger has donated copies of The Golden Frog book to the American
Numismatic Society (ANS) and the Colonial Coin Collectors Club (C4)
libraries in Mr. Veach's name.  -Editor]


Last year (2006) Zyrus Press published the third edition of Q. David
Bowers' "A Buyer's Guide to Silver Dollars and Trade Dollars of the
United States." John Dannreuther edited this edition, fully updating
pricing, mintage figures, population and photos.  The editor and
publisher did a great deal of legwork to obtain over 200 color images
(one for nearly every coin) from a number of different sources, all
credited in the book.  Also new is a chapter on Sacagawea dollars.
The book is available from the publisher at $19.95.

The "Buyer's Guide" series includes titles on the "Rare Coin Market"
and "United States Gold Coins."   Like the newer Bowers "Red Book"
series from Whitman, these "Buyer's Guides" are useful one-volume
reference works handy to carry to coin shows.

As the author correctly notes in his introduction, this 6x9 416-page
paperback is quite modest, particularly compared to his mammoth 1993
2,000+ page two-volume encyclopedia on the topic.  While not covering
the topic in depth, the book does offer a very readable overview of
the subject suitable for beginners and serious collectors alike.

While my favorite parts are the short narratives opening each section,
the meat of the book is in the coin-by-coin summaries enumerating key
facts such as mintage, estimates of quantities melted, estimate
surviving population, striking characteristics, known hoards and
"collecting commentary" - notes on the relative availability of the
coin in numismatic channels.

The book is a very sweeping treatment of the subject, beginning with
the 1794 Flowing Hair Dollars, covering the famous 1804 dollars in a
separate chapter, then advancing forward in time through to the Susan
B. Anthony and Sacagawea dollars.  The final chapters cover Trade
Dollars and the bullion silver "eagle" dollars.  While it's unlikely
that any one collector would have an interest in so many diverse coins,
it's interesting to see them together between the covers of one book.
A type collection of U.S. dollars would make for an interesting coin
show exhibit.

For more information, see the Zyrus Press web site at: More Information


Len Augsburger writes: "The Liberty Seated Collector's Club now
has an online presence at

NBSers in particular will be interested in the Gobrecht Journal
Comprehensive Index which has been recently posted ("Resources"
page).  It contains 5200 entries for issues #1-#97, articles are
cross referenced multiple times by each coin appearing in a given
article.  Bibliophiles who appear in the index as authors include
Robert Julian, Q. David Bowers, Tom DeLorey, Craig Sholley, Walter
Breen, Don Taxay, Andrew Pollack, David Lange, John Dannreuther,
Mark Van Winkle, and many others.  Long time LSCC President John
McCloskey has over one thousand entries in the index.  Many thanks
to Dick Osburn who did the bulk of the work on the creation of
the index."


The March 2007 issue of COINage Magazine has a nice article beginning
on p68 titled "The Secret of the Pratt Coins - Bela Lyon Pratt's
Granddaughter Reveals Much About the Man and His Coins."  The
granddaughter, Cynthia Kennedy Sam, wrote the article based on files
of Pratt's correspondence.  Exclusive to COINage, the article is
illustrated with family photos.  Sam is preparing a full biography
on Bela Lyon Pratt.

The ANA's Numismatist magazine for February, 2007 includes a very
practical how-to article by Gregory G. Brunk on using the Internet
for numismatic research.  It's the second of two parts, but I somehow
missed my January issue and haven't seen the first part yet.  Great
advice, very well done - I would recommend the article to any curious


John Adams writes: "Here are two more suggestions for your medal

"1) The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, edited by Julian Boyd. Volume
XVI of this magnificent series has a wealth of primary material on
the creation of the Comitia Americana medals, arguably the most
important historical medals that this country has produced;

"2) Alexandre Vattemare's Collection de monnaies et medailles de
l'Amerique du Nord...This scarce volume contains a listing of U.S.
medals which, for its time (1861) was amazingly complete. It is sad
but true that the recipient of Vattemare's largesse, the Bibliotheque
Nationale, has lost or misplaced most of the collection."


In last week's issue we noted the story out of Indianapolis about
a rare Civil War Medal of Honor that had been saved from a scrap
metal drive in World War II.  The current owner was seeking to
return it to the original family. An article published Friday in
the Indianapolis Star noted that "the nationwide search that began
at Brownsburg Public Library indicates that Dorothy Ann Carter
Hajek, Baltimore, is the great-great-granddaughter of Medal
of Honor recipient Joseph F. Carter."

"Wilkins said helping solve the mystery was made even more poignant
when he learned Hajek has been searching for the award for 20 years.
'I spoke with (Hajek) at length and I do think she's the right
person,' Grismore said.

Yet, the Indianapolis resident still wants to be cautious about
turning over the medal, so she will talk to her family and ask for
more information from Hajek and Smolenyak first.  
'I want to know her connection (to Carter) exactly,' she said."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


The recent Ford sale of Indian Peace Medals (ahem, 'Medallic
Distinctions Awarded to First Peoples') brought attention to the
long-ago practice of giving medals and other ornaments to native
peoples.  An article published this week discusses a similar item
given to friendly Aborigines in Australia in the mid 19th century.

"Six years ago, on one of their desert day treks near Innamincka in
South Australia's far north-east, Eric spotted what he first thought
was a piece of browned tin, half buried in a dune.

"Picking it up, he noticed the 20-centimetre-wide, crescent-shaped
object had an inscription: "Presented by the Exploration Committee
of Victoria for the Humanity shown to the Explorers Burke, Wills &
King 1861."

"What is now known is that the Ganzerts had stumbled on a brass
breastplate that until then had been lost to history.

"An ornament meant to be worn around the neck, it was one of three
presented at Cooper Creek in 1863 to Aborigines who had tried to
sustain Robert O'Hara Burke and William Wills and the member of
their expedition who lived to tell their tale, John King. The other
two breastplates have never been found.

"James Bruce, managing director of Adelaide auctioneers Bonhams and
Bruce, says the piece is "as significant as Ned Kelly's armour". He
estimates the breastplate could sell for up to $500,000 when it is
auctioned at sister company Bonhams and Goodman in Melbourne next

"Mr Bruce has been verifying the breastplate's origins. His staff
visited the State Library of Victoria to read the minutes of the
Exploration Committee — mentioned in the engraving — which had
bankrolled Burke and Wills in their bid to cross the continent from
south to north and back. They also read the diary of King, the
party's sole survivor.

"The Aborigines helped King survive. On his return to Melbourne, he
told the story. When Victorian anthropologist Alfred Howitt set out
for Cooper Creek to retrieve Burke and Wills's bodies, he carried
the three breastplates, bought from a Melbourne engraver named X.
Arnaldi for £4 17s.

"Mr Bruce says the item is like a king plate — a neck ornament that
European settlers used to give to Aborigines that they felt they
could befriend and negotiate with.

"The breastplate will be auctioned in Melbourne, at Bonhams and
Goodman's rooms, 540 Malvern Road, Prahran, on March 26. Viewing
is on March 23, 24 and 25 from 10am to 5pm."

To visit the Bonhams and Goodman's web site, see:

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


On Thanksgiving eve, 1971, the infamous "D. B. Cooper" parachuted
into history with his hijacker's ransom of 10,000 U.S. twenty dollar
bills.  His is still the only unsolved domestic skyjacking in U.S.
history.  In 1980 an 8-year-old boy digging a fire pit along the
north bank of the Columbia River west of Vancouver unearthed $5,800
of Cooper's loot, badly decomposed but identifiable by serial number.

On the 30th anniversary of the event, I wrote an item for The E-Sylum
asking, "Is anyone aware of a published list of serial numbers?  Have
any others been found?  And what of the notes found in 1980 - are they
still in an evidence locker somewhere?"

ANA Museum Curator Larry Lee provided this follow-up:

 "There are at least five $20 bills still in the hands of the
 family that discovered three bundles of the notes ($5,800
 face) along the Columbia River, ten years after the incident.
 The ANA was planning on having a display case at the
 New York ANA Convention this year showing the bills,
 but after 9/11, an exhibit on planes and hijacking in New
 York was inappropriate, so the idea was shelved.  The
 $20 notes are in very, very poor shape, though their serial
 numbers do correspond to the FBI's list of the $200,000
 provided to the mysterious Mr. Cooper."

The eight-year-old boy who found the money?  His name is Brian Ingram.
Today I received the following note from Trixie Ingram, who had found
our E-Sylum articles online.  She writes: "There are more than five bills
- in fact, you can see a picture of all the bills at
It is the Ingram family's plan to open the bills up to the public
for sale."




 To view the D. B. Cooper loot, see:


Dick Johnson writes: "As a numismatist, can you recognize current
trends and project how these events will effect the future, particularly
in regard to the coins of the future and all the related particulars?
How will coins of the future be designed? How manufactured? How collected?
What is the future for circulating coins and coin collecting? How
intuitive are you? Can you see into the numismatic future?

"I am looking for a co-author. I have a 22-page outline of a projected
book on the future of American coins. I am seeking a numismatic visionary
who can add additional insight, balance to some of my own ideas, and add
some of their own. I see this book could guide, perhaps, a lot of the
actions of the Treasury Department, U.S. Mint, the Mint’s Engraving
Department, the choice of numismatic items to be marketed by the Mint,
in addition to a guide for major numismatic organizations. Perhaps even
some suggestions for the U.S. Congress itself to enact creative and
innovative legislation.

"I am not looking for anyone studying price trends. The views to be
included in this book must be more basic, more to the core of any
future numismatic activity. If you lived 50 or 100 years from now,
what would you recommend to those of us living now to be done to achieve
the advances in the field that are sure to come about. Dream a little.
Think a lot. Write it down.

"Royalties from the sale of the book are to be split. Don’t worry
about getting the book published. But do contemplate what you perceive
will be the future of coins and collecting and what is your basis for
these opinions.

"Please, no employee of the Treasury Department, no member of the
Citizens Coin Advisory Committee, or the previous CCCAC (although you
would make an ideal candidate, perhaps). I am seeking an independent
thinker and writer without any official blinders, restrictions or
"group-think mentality." ("It can’t be done" should not be in our

"Write me a letter. As a test, tell me if you feel the cent coin will
be -- or should be -- eliminated. [And if you think the cent should be
eliminated, tell me when – Think like a Futurist!] Write any length,
half page, or more. For the co-author I choose, we will exchange Letters
of Intent, a formal contract will come later. Dick Johnson, 139 Thompson
Drive, Torrington, CT 06790.  Inquire by email if you wish but send
the letter by hard copy."


We've had several discussions about bookplates in the past, and I
recently came across a web site devoted to the art and collecting
of bookplates.

"The close relationship between the Ex Libris, Books and the Bibliophile
has been an established tradition over the centuries since the invention
of the movable type in the XVth century, by Guttenberg [1]. Without books
and bibliophiles who love them, there wouldn't have been ex libris, at
least till recently, as we will discuss later.

"Indeed, ex libris - Latin expression meaning «from the books of…»-,
or bookplates, as they are called in the English language, were born
out of the need to identify the book's ownership being thus a sign or
mark of ownership of books that compose one’s library.

"As a mark of possession, it begun to be a manuscript inscription with
the owner’s name or his owner's hand painted armorial. But after the
invention of the printing press, ex libris became a small printed label,
pasted into the volume’s back cover binding, bearing its owner's name
and a sign of personal identification, usually an armorial device
artistically executed through wood cut or wood engraving process
begun to be used."

To view the web site, see:


Alan V. Weinberg writes: "With respect to the surprising demise of
a "youngish" Mike Ringo, his death brings to mind the sudden and
premature cancer-related death of American colonial dealer Dave
Sonderman in the 1980's. Both Mike and Dave were very similar in
their approach to the historical and esoteric aspects of our hobby."

Dave Wnuck writes: "I saw the tribute to Mike Ringo in the most recent
issue.  His untimely death shook me up.  I put an article with my
remembrances of Mike on our website.  I wanted to educate those who
didn't have the pleasure of knowing Mike to know just what the
numismatic community has lost."

[I've reprinted Dave's tribute below in its entirety. -Editor]

"We lost a good friend and numismatic colleague this week with the
passing of Mike Ringo.

"Most coin collectors and dealers may have never heard of Mike. He
was a quiet, low key collector / dealer from upstate New York who
never sought the limelight or promoted himself.

"He is perhaps best known for forming what was known as the 'Albany
Collection' of Machin's Mills colonial coinage, one of the finest
ever assembled, which was sold as part of the C4 auction in November,
2000. But I will remember him for much more than that.

"To me he was the single most knowledgeable person when it came to
practical colonial numismatics. Period. What I mean by 'practical
colonial numismatics' is the knowledge that he gleaned from decades
of actually looking at colonial coins. But it wasn't simply his
knowledge that made him special, it was his willingness to share
what he knew and help others in this hobby that made him special.

"He was the best at detecting colonial fakes

"There are others still with us who are skilled at detecting really
deceptive counterfeits, but Mike was simply the best there was. I have
a bit of an uneasy feeling right now, now that Mike is gone. One less
expert out there to tell the good from the bad.

"He could attribute most colonials by die variety from MEMORY

"If I hadn't seen him do it, I might not have believed it. Mike
could attribute colonial coins by die variety completely from memory.
That ability showcased his amazing intellect and memory. Consider
that there are 350 die varieties of Connecticut coppers -and that is
just one colonial series. I (and most other colonial colonial coin
specialists) have to rely on books and photos to do what he did in
his head. His memory allowed him to discover several new die varieties
of colonial coins which he wrote about in various colonial coin

"He shared his knowledge freely

"Mike was always available to help a fellow collector or dealer,
anytime, anywhere. I sent Mike many coins for his opinion, and I
asked him many questions through the years. He always gave me the
straight scoop, unvarnished, exactly as he saw it. Sometimes questions
asked of Mike were sensitive, with different parties having vested
interests in a coins authenticity, and significant financial implications
based on the outcome. Mike always navigated these situations with grace,
was impartial, always honest and always maintained the respect of his

"I'll remember Mike as one of the all-time greats in colonial numismatics.
It would not be an overstatement to say that his contributions were as
significant as some who are admittedly more famous and whose names adorn
reference books and catalogs dating back to the mid 19th century. But I
don't think Mike would be too troubled by that as that wasn't what was
important to him.

"What was important to him was doing what he loved and sharing his
enjoyment with others.

"Mike Ringo made a huge, positive impression on me, and I am going
to miss him.

To view the Mike Ringo tribute in its original form, see: 
Mike Ringo Tribute


This one his a nerve - we have comments from a number of subscribers
on both sides of the issue raised by Karl Moulton about the need for
printed numismatic auction catalogs in the Internet age.

Bob Christie writes: "I totally agree with you about not eliminating
the printed auction catalog.  There have been times when I've bought
items that are unusual or I don't collect because I've had time to
glance at every lot quickly.  I wouldn't or don't have the time on
the Internet."

Alan V. Weinberg writes: "I agree completely with the concept that
"out of sight is out of mind" when it comes to computer disks of
auction contents replacing printed/mailed auction catalogues. The
sumptuousness of the cataloguing and photography is what first draws
the collector or dealer to be interested in an item and think "that's
for me (or a client)!"

"I know few serious numismatists who will search computer disks to
find items of interest.

"And the hand-annotated auction catalogue for an important sale (such
as the Ford auctions by Stack's) are almost invaluable for pedigree
and re-living the excitement of the sale years later. I still regularly
refer to my extensively annotated Garrett/JHU 4 catalogues 1979-81
including such written comments as "$5,000 jumps yelled out"."

Julian Leidman writes: "I agree with you, Wayne, about auction
catalogues.  DVD's already have been proposed by Heritage and their
thoughts were to go to those eventually.  Jim Halperin, co-chair of
Heritage is an accomplished and published futurist, and I am sure
knows what he is talking about and proposing.

"My difficulties with the DVD's are that it actually takes much longer
to browse a catalogue via that method than it does simply browsing thru
it.  It is also much more convenient to do on an airplane or even sitting
at home in your easy chair.  Eventually, I am almost certain the
auctions will some how be presented that you can clip something on to
your glasses and browse thru that like a catalogue really at your
leisure.  Only the future will tell."

Robert Rhue writes: "I am as avid a recycler, and as respectful of
our natural resources, as anyone.  However, as a buyer in auctions
I have to agree with the position that without a hard copy, viewing
an auction catalog online is so slow and cumbersome as to be
overwhelming.  Perhaps some compromise can be made to where the hard
glossy catalogs with the pretty colored pictures could be substituted
by a catalog which uses thinner, cheaper paper.  Then we potential
bidders could peruse the catalog, narrow down which lots we wanted
to view in full color, and bid from there.  But at this point in time
anyway there's no substitute for having a hard copy in order to at
least be able to preview in a quick and efficient manner the entire
contents of a given auction."

On Karl Moulton's side of this debate is Tim L. Shuck of Ames, IA,
who writes: "I, too would like to see catalogs available in DVD format.
As much as I like to look through the printed versions, I've accumulated
quite a few just in the last two years and space is already becoming
an issue; can't image where I'm going to put everything a few years
down the road.

"I returned to coin collecting a few years ago, and all but a couple
of my purchases have been through the web. I didn't initially realize
that printed catalogs were even available, because my experience in
other interests (such as photography) was not that a printed catalog
was necessary; nearly anything I needed could be researched and
ordered using the Internet.

"In the last five years I don't think I've ordered much of anything
from a printed catalog, even though I get many in the mail, because
offerings duplicate what's shown on the web. There may be more
catalogs today not because potential buyers demand them but because
past history has become the pattern for future efforts. Understanding
that some can't or won't use a desktop computer, perhaps there is
never-the-less room for a different vision and a different approach.

"The web is not a DVD, however, but for the data volumes typical of
a numismatic offering, DVDs might be better. Web searching is often
compromised by bandwidth restraints, poor search capabilities, and
slow client-side server response time. Some sites are good but some
are, well, not; a situation likely to remain until all buyers have
high-end bandwidth and all dealers have high-end server systems.
Until then, DVDs could provide very high resolution imagery, an
interactive index, all the text desired, greater longevity compared
to the web, and more.

"If properly formatted and indexed, a DVD catalog would allow fast
and efficient page-by-page browsing for those who want to do that,
but also enable customized searches to find things of specific
interest.  It is the search capabilities that give DVDs huge advantages
in my opinion, particularly for those who use catalogs for comparative
research (how one company's offerings compare to another's, what the
trends have been for this coin, provenance, etc.).

"I think there would also be huge potential for unique marketing
and promotion efforts as well. Imagine being able to watch a Stack's
expert describing selected Indian Peace Medals from the John J. Ford,
Jr., collection, or viewing an AV clip from a past auction where a
specific rare or unique coin currently offered was previously sold.

"Another advantage would be (hopefully) the ability to make available
catalogs no longer in print, something that is a recent interest of
mine (and yet another sales opportunity for the dealer).

"For marketing reasons alone it wouldn't surprise me to learn that
at least one of the major auction companies is already seriously
evaluating DVD media as a viable alternative or complement to printed
catalogs. Because some online dealers already hold successful auctions
without creating printed versions, I don't think the transition need
be that painful and that both formats can and would coexist without
compromising any one dealer's marketing efforts."

[There are few bigger fans of technology than me - I'm obviously all
for electronic publishing.  But there are limits.  Every new technology
can augment and improve upon the old ways of doing things, and in the
case of computers and the Internet, publishing numismatic information
is now far easier and cheaper than it ever has been.  But be careful
which technologies you choose to adopt and where, or you could be
taking a big step backwards.

For example, if Abraham Lincoln were giving his address at Gettysburg
today, a public address system could allow more of the assembled crowd
to hear his words, and video projectors could allow far more attendees
to see him.  Television and satellite coverage could allow him to be
heard and seen around the globe.  So far, so good.  But here's what
the address might have looked like if Abe had augmented his speech
with another modern technology:  -Editor]

The Gettysburg Address Powerpoint presentation


Dick Johnson writes: "The Library of Congress just announced that
it has received $2 million from the Alfred P. Sloan foundation to
digitize thousands of certain books in its collections. The project
is titled "Digitizing American Imprints."

The project will concentrate on brittle books, books of American
history, U.S. genealogy and regimental histories, certain photographic
books and books from six specialized collections. Some of the regional
histories include memoirs, diaries and other collections from the
Civil War period.

See the entire press release at: Full Story


"Princeton University has become the 12th major library system to
join Google's ambitious, sometimes-controversial project to scan the
world's great literary works and make them searchable over the Web.

"The Web search leader said on Monday Princeton had agreed to work
with it to digitize about 1 million public domain books -- works no
longer covered by copyright protections.

"More details can be found at Full Story."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


Regarding the question on silver coating a copper coin, Paul Schultz
writes: "One possible method is currently called "immersion" plating.
A silver salt is dissolved in water, and a piece of copper or other
metal relatively more susceptible to corrosion is immersed. In what
is called an exchange reaction, the silver ions are reduced to form
a silver coating on the metal, while the metal substrate dissolves
slightly (oxidizes) to provide the electrons for this oxidation/
reduction reaction. Thus, no electricity is needed.

"Silver salts could have been created at the time by dissolving silver
metal in an acid, and then neutralizing the acid with a base such as
lye. However, the coating obtained this way is very thin and often
poorly adherent. It would have worn off after the coin passed through
only a few people's hands. Therefore, the thickness of the silver
layer is important in determining how it was applied.

"Less than a ten thousandth of an inch implies a chemical deposition
such as immersion plating. More than 1 thousandth suggests a mechanical
method, such as possibly placing a silver foil over the clean copper
planchet before striking, or dipping the planchet in hot molten silver,
or some other mechanical method.

"Additional information can be obtained by examining the interface
between the silver and copper layers, to find if they are distinct
(cold bonding) or gradual (suggesting molten metal).  A close
technical examination of the coin is needed, and some tests might
damage the coin."


Rick Kay writes: "I’m SEM-EDX testing 1854 and 1855 large flying
eagle patterns to determine what the variations are in metallic
composition.  I am also studying die characteristics in an effort
to determine the timing of the production of the various Judd
numbers.  Finally, I am going to study the color, reflectivity and
other characteristics to figure out any trends.  I’ve tested over
20 so far and will be sending in another 30 or so in the next two
weeks.  Here are some questions I currently have:

"What is the range of compositions for oroide in 1854 and 1855?

"Is 90:10 thee same as 88:12 in C-N coins?

"For bronze, what is a reasonable variance from 95:5?  What about
percentage of Sn v. Zn?

"Information or leads on Mint or other records

"Is there any reference in Mint or other records to oreide
or oroide?"


Howard Daniel writes: "During a visit to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
several years ago, I noticed some brass-colored tokens in a junk box.
The obverses have a unit crest-like device with an anchor in the center
and Lamotte-Picquet across the top, and the reverses have 1F, 5F or 10F.
Right now, I can only find these three denominations in my "black hole"
but I thought there was also a 20F denomination.

"During this visit, I looked at the inventory of many different dealers
and shops, and I found a few more of them to purchase, but no more
after that visit.

"I started asking the dealers who was bringing them in and all of them
told me they were non-collectors who found them in the mud south of
Saigon Port where there is much construction for a new port.  They
appeared in the mud and their shine made the people think they were
gold so they jumped in to retrieve them.

"When I got home, I typed Lamotte-Picquet in an Internet search and
found their was a French cruiser (croiseur in French) by that name
docked in that vicinity during WWII and sunk by US Navy bombing in 1945.

"When I told people about it, I got one interesting response from an
old man.  He said there was a ship's store on the cruiser and the crew
and some dock workers could use it.  When the ship was sunk, many of
the crew and workers threw the tokens into the water next to the ship.
Sounds good to me.

"I have been researching the tokens and/or their ships store for
several years and I cannot find a single reference describing them.
Does a reference exist with these tokens in it?  If so, please contact
me at"


Dick Johnson writes: "To answer David F. Fanning’s question on revaluing
the cent (I still find it difficult to use the term "rebase" as in last
week’s E-Sylum), I can offer two examples:

"More than two years ago Israel discontinued the one-agora denomination,
forcing Israelis to round off cash transactions to 5 agora multiples.
This was reported here in The E-Sylum on February 20, 2005. At that time,
a drug store chain in Israel (SuperPharm) rounded DOWN all prices ending
in 1 to 4 agora and 6 to 9 agora to multiples of five agora (instead of
UP as some might expect greedy retailers would do). The pharmacy chain
publicized the new policy in their advertisements. They found this was
an inexpensive way to gain a competitive edge in a retail business –
albeit small -- at a very low cost.

"States here in America, after introducing the sales tax in the 1930s,
issued "mill" tokens (of metal, then plastic and paper) to collect the
tax of a few mills on a dollar. Ultimately they turned to rounding up
to a full cent (and still do!). I remember in the late 1940s as a teenager
being a cashier at an A&P grocery store shortly after this. Each cash
register had a pasted schedule for the sales tax charge for sales: up
to, say, 15c - no charge, from 16c to 39c -one cent, or some such charge.
After awhile I could remember the charge without reference to the cheat
sheet, and calculated the tax in my head, entering that figure, then
hitting the sales tax key. Today all sales tax is calculated by the
cash register.

"In the end, Dave, in my plan of abolishing both cent and nickel it
would all balance out. Sales up to 4c or 5c would round down, from 5c
to 9c round up to the nearest tenth of a dollar (as the dime would be
the smallest coin). Two Pennsylvania professors studied the subject of
rounding off cash transactions. They analyzed several hundred thousand
cash transactions at convenience stores and found that in the end
rounding off would have little difference. The effect to both buyer
and seller would be insignificant.

"The critic who stated it would be a loss to Americans of some $400
million a year was simply irrational. This would have required 40
billion transactions ending in exactly 5c where the seller always
rounded up. Hogwash!

"Dave asked the effect on the economy. I predict it would be a benefit
because of so many efficiencies (and we will HAVE to do it sometime in
the future, the earlier this is done, the earlier to effect these
economonies). He also surmised the banks – with their stocks of cent
coins would realize an unearned profit – correct. Best part, however,
this did not come out of anyone’s pocket!

"The secret would get out, says Dave, and cause problems. It’s no
longer a secret, I have been writing about this since last September.
I commented on this to my dentist. "The government won’t do it," he
says, "they would rather take some small step." That’s why I called
for dramatic action last September (published here in The E-Sylum)."




Dick Johnson adds: "Another reason for revaluing small coins and
rounding off is the current situation in Hong Kong. Retailers are
refusing to accept 10-cent and 20-cent coins (smallest coins in
circulation). The reason: banks are charging two percent for deposits
of 500 of these coins (and only in 500 coin quantities). Thus
retailers refuse to accept the small denomination coins.

"A recent article tells of a reporter’s experience in a local
bakery. He also recounts a shortage of small coins there in the

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


A February 11, 2007 New York Times Op-Ed piece by David Margolik is
titled 'Penny Foolish'.   The lengthy piece discusses the entire
history of the Lincoln one-cent piece from Roosevelt's goals through
the present day.  Much interesting numismatic lore is covered,
including some items I don't recall seeing in print before, such as
poems about the coin and some accounts of the public clambering to
get them when first released in 1909.

"Even rain couldn’t dampen the intensified rush in Lower Manhattan,
which by Friday saw crowds extending from Pine and Nassau Streets
east to William Street, then around the corner to Wall Street. Banks
complained that their regular customers couldn’t get through the swarms.

"Some people near the front of the lines sold their spots for a dollar.
The more impatient and ingenious hired women, who in a still chivalrous
era were not made to wait. “Within 15 minutes there were enough girls
at the door to make it look like a bargain counter sale on a busy Monday,”
The Sun reported. To The Times, the scene resembled Wall Street during
the panic two years earlier.

"Many in what The Tribune called “the penny-mad crowd” were poor children,
faces out of Jacob Riis or Lewis Hine photographs, some carrying a single
battered Indian Head penny to trade in, others far more entrepreneurial.
The resale rate hovered around three new pennies for a nickel, though it
shot up whenever supplies ran low."

"No one was more pleased with the new coins than African-Americans. A
report from Middletown, N.Y., described “a furore among the colored
residents, many of whom appear to think that the pennies were issued
for their special benefit.”

But the new coins were not always so welcome. They were too thick for
vending machines and, to the horror of the telephone company, could
pass for nickels. Their shininess gave thieves conniptions: a man
sticking up a train in Altoona, Pa., carted off a bagful, worth $50,
while leaving another bag, containing $5,000 in gold, behind."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


While it doesn't get into the details some numismatists might like
to see, it was gratifying to see a Wednesday, February 7, 2007 article
in USA Today about the new dollar coins that discusses the edge
lettering process, which hasn't been done on U.S. coins in decades.

The online version of the article links to a set of eleven great color
photos of the Philadelphia mint operation and personnel including
sculptor-engravers Don Everhart and Joe Menna.  Of particular interest
(to me, anyway) are photos of the computer screens used by the staff
to refine their designs, and a photo of a set of master dies and
reduction hubs for the new Washington dollar.

To view the Philadelphia Mint photos, see: Full Story

"In most government buildings, workers and visitors have to walk
through metal detectors on their way in.

"While that's also the case at the Philadelphia Mint, the biggest
scrutiny comes when it's time to leave the building. Highly sensitive
metal detectors scan people and their items for any coins. The smallest
amount of metal, even underwire in bras, can set off the buzzer,
leading to additional searches."

"Walking through the Mint, you'd think you were in any other factory,
surrounded by machinery, forklifts and signs encouraging workers to
wear safety goggles.

"Except for one thing: the sound, an unmistakable jingle-jangle of
millions of coins being stamped out of long sheets of metal weighing
as much as 10,000 pounds each, then rolling down conveyers. It's as
if every slot machine in a Las Vegas casino were paying out at the
same time."

"When Congress ordered the new dollar-coin program, it created several
challenges. Perhaps the biggest was that the legislation required the
phrases "E Pluribus Unum" and "In God We Trust," along with the year
and the mint location, to appear in recessed letters on the edges,
rather than the faces, of the coins. Such lettering allows for a
larger portrait, draws attention to the wording and provides something
different for coin collectors.

"That created a headache for the engineers and others trying to figure
out how to mass-produce the coins, says Richard Robidoux, plant manager
at the Philadelphia Mint. Edge lettering hasn't been used on a coin
since 1932, so Mint officials didn't have experience manufacturing
coins with that feature and didn't own machinery that inscribes on
the edges of coins.

"A real challenge was coming up with a process to produce the coins
quickly. 'It's one thing to make it work, it's another thing to make
it work 3 million times a day,' Robidoux says.

"The Mint figured out how to make it work, with an interesting
twist. Because the coins are fed through an edge-lettering machine
a thousand coins a minute at the end of the minting process, the
lettering's placement on the edges will be different from coin to

To read the complete USA Today article, see: Full Story


The Boston Bruins' newest player is a former counterfeiter, according
to an article published today in the Worcester, MA Telegram & Gazette:

"Maybe Brandon Bochenski printed counterfeit money, but there’s
nothing bogus about the 24-year-old forward’s goal-scoring skills.

"And you can take that to the bank, which is more than you can say for
the phony $5, $10 and $20 bills that the Bruins’ newest forward and a
high school chum — both just 18 years old at the time — were caught
passing after printing them on a personal computer back in Blaine,
Minn., where Bochenski grew up."

"'That usually comes up in any new city I go to,' said Bochenski,
who pleaded guilty and got off with community service. 'We were kids
and it was a mistake. Unfortunately, we had just turned 18, so it made
it a little more tricky, but we were just messing around. We were
young kids. You live and you learn.'"

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


The Bank of Canada is planning a major redesign of the country's
banknotes. Brian Zimmer writes: "I came across the following remarks
by David Longworth, Deputy Governor of the Bank of Canada to the
Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce Waterloo, Ontario,
6 February 2007:

"'To deter counterfeiting, we do three key things. First, we take
a great deal of care in designing bank notes. As I speak, my colleagues
at the Bank are hard at work designing the next generation of bank
notes, planned for introduction beginning in 2011...'"

To read the full text of Zimmer's speech: Full Story

That same day, another Bank of Canada official made a similar
announcement, which was picked up by the general press:

"'As I speak, my colleagues at the bank are hard at work designing
the next generation of banknotes, planned for introduction beginning
in 2011,' David Longworth said during a Chamber of Commerce speech
in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont., on Tuesday.

"'By 2009, we aim to reduce the level of counterfeiting to fewer
than 100 counterfeits detected annually per million notes in
circulation,' he said. That's down from 225 per million in 2006,
326 per million in 2005 and 470 per million in 2004.

"'Can we do better?' Longworth asked his audience, just before
answering his own question. 'We think we can.'"

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


The Times-Colonist of Canada reported a bizarre story this week,
far too soon for April Fool's Day:

"In a move some see as downright loonie, the federal cabinet has
authorized the Royal Canadian Mint to produce $1 million gold
coins for collectors with deep pockets.

"Not to mention a wheelbarrow to get the hefty thing home."

"Currently, the most expensive non-circulation coin offered by the
mint is the 2007 Gold Maple Leaf, a $1,900 memento with gold content
so pure its vulnerability to marks and scratches has generated
negative reviews among collectors.

"Mint spokesman Alex Reeves was coy about the scheme.

"'All we have, by way of this order in council (cabinet) from
government, is a green light to produce it. The very least I can
say is it's not something that's in the cards for 2007.'"

"Dennis Bevington said even if the once-bustling gold mines near
Yellowknife were still at peak production, it would take a week
for them to produce enough gold to make just one of the coins.

"Bevington joked at the estimated 1,200 ounces (34 kilograms) of
gold it would take to produce the coin if the mint establishes
the same level of purity it has for the Gold Maple Leaf.

"'You don't want it to roll out of your pocket when you sit down,
do you?' he said."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

John Regitko, editor of the Canadian Numismatic Association E-Bulletin
obtained a comment from the Royal Canadian Mint Manager of Communications
about the possibility of such a coin. In the latest issue of the
E-Bulletin (February 9, 2007) he writes: "Alex Reeves told me that
the Mint was receiving calls from the press from around the world and
although work on it is indeed proceeding, they still have to conduct
a feasibility study and investigate the potential market demand. “We
will let the world know when we make a decision,” he added."


Bill Snyder forwarded this article from the International Herald
Tribune.  An Associated Press article on the topic appeared this
week as well.

"Christian Gelleri, with his straightforward manner of speech, rumpled
suit and home office, hardly resembles the polished central bankers
whose every breath captivates financial markets. But just as Jean-Claude
Trichet, president of the European Central Bank, lays claim to the
title "Mr. Euro," Gelleri can plausibly call himself "Mr. Chiemgauer."

"Gelleri runs an organization that issues an alternative currency,
known as the chiemgauer, that consumers in the region southeast of
Munich use to buy everything from pizza to haircuts to rugs. Designed
to foster the production and consumption of local products and services,
the chiemgauer takes aim at the reigning central banking orthodoxy that
pumping more cash into an economy accelerates inflation and eventually
harms growth."

"Issued by private organizations, these currencies are probably better
understood as vouchers — pieces of paper that can be redeemed for goods
and services at specific regional businesses that have agreed to accept

"By having charitable organizations sell them at a profit for euros,
the organizations create an incentive for people to obtain them in the
first place — on top of harnessing an altruistic desire to buy locally
in an era of globalization — and businesses that accept can tap into
a new vein of customers.

"But they also typically include a feature aimed at jarring users into
spending them more quickly than they would euros. In the case of the
chiemgauer, the notes lose 2 percent of their value each quarter if
people do not spend them in time."

"Regiogeld, a German association for alternative currencies, currently
tracks 21 such types of money in circulation in Germany, Austria and
Switzerland, with an additional 31 in preparation. Gerhard Rösl, an
economist with the University of Applied Sciences in Regensburg, has
also located similar experiments in Denmark, Italy, Scotland, Spain
and Italy.

"Gesell, a German émigré to Argentina and socialist activist, argued
that money that sits in a bank was like dead weight on an economy,
because it was accruing interest rather than being spent to fire
consumption and production. Gesell proposed that money automatically
depreciate over time — that is, inflation should be hard-wired into
the currency — to generate an incentive to spend quickly."

"Gelleri, a 33-year-old former economics teacher, contends that the
statistics bear out the anecdotes. While the euro money supply turns
over about seven times a year, the supply of chiemgauers does so at
three times that rate.

"Orthodox economists do not dispute that the chiemgauer's velocity
outstrips the euro's, but they contend that people will logically
draw fewer chiemgauers to protect themselves against the automatic
devaluation. Rösl, the Regensburg economist, jeeringly calls the
chiemgauer "schwundgeld" — "disappearing money" — to drive home
his point.

"Yes, people spend the money more quickly," Rösl said. "But this
money is expensive, because it loses value, so people are bound to
hold less of it than they would otherwise."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

To read a related Associated Press article, see: Full Story


Regarding Katie Jaeger's question last week about U.S. encased
postage stamp denominations, Fred Reed writes: "John Gault made
5 and 10 cent EPS to CIRCULATE.   One- and three-centers were ad
pieces.  Above a dime they were simply curiosities or in many
cases fabrications."

Another subscriber writes: "The encasements are made with a brass
shell which is embossed with the advertising copy.  The stamp is
inserted into the shell and a clear round piece of mica is placed
over the stamp.  Then, the brass shell is crimped to hold the mica
in place.  Anyone wanting to replace the stamp would simply bend the
brass retainers back, remove the mica and the stamp, put the higher
value stamp in place, and fold the retainers back over the mica.

"I've also heard of cases in which the mica was cracked or the stamp
had deteriorated.  This would provide another incentive for replacement.
Is it possible to determine whether an encased postage piece has been
taken apart?  Ancient coin experts look for evidence of 'tooling'.
Can this be done with with encased postage?

"I believe there was a civil law suit on this issue years ago in
which John Ford claimed he was a victim of fraud.  As I recall, Ford
accused Len Glazer of substituting a higher denomination stamp in
order to enhance the value of an encased postage item which was
subsequently sold to Ford.  Expert witnesses were called to give
testimony during the trial.  I can't remember which side prevailed.

"I vaguely remember Coin World reporting this trial.  Isn't Coin
World available on Microfiche or Microfilm?  Do you know if an index
for news articles exists?   I hope you hear from others about this,
perhaps someone with a better memory and fact finding talent than I."

[Anyone who watches CSI or any of the popular crime-scene investigation
television shows knows that a criminal invariably leaves physical
evidence of his deed.  The problem is the time and cost involved with
ferreting out that evidence.  Some deeds are harder to trace than
others.  With encased postage stamps, there can certainly be evidence
of tooling on the encasement itself.  Other methods leave fewer marks,
and I believe Ford discussed some of these in a Numismatist article
on the subject.  One method involving heating the metal allowed for
the bending and restoration of the case without leaving tooling marks.


Dr. Kerry Rodgers writes: "I thought I could give this one a pass
but I couldn’t resist it.  Martin Purdy referred to the Concise Oxford.
Knowing the limitations of the Concise, I opted for its Big Brother,
The Oxford Dictionary of English (revised edition). Ed. Catherine Soanes
and Angus Stevenson. Oxford University Press, 2005.  I had got intrigued
by the etymology that was being quoted and particularly the comment
from David Fanning, “If the OED doesn't know, you can be sure it's a
stumper.” The OED does indeed know.

"Firstly, among its 13 definitions of “goal”, none makes reference
to incarceration.

"Secondly, it gives “jail” as an acceptable British spelling but also
accepts “gaol” as an alternative.  It cites the derivation of both
versions from Middle English, based on Latin cavea, for a cage, with
the word coming into English in two forms, jaiole from Old French and
gayole from the Anglo-Norman French gaole. It is the latter usage that
survives in the spelling gaol, pronounced with a hard g, as in goat.
Any misspelling as goal, when referring to a jail, is just that."


A number of E-Sylum readers have thrown their hats into the ring for
the upcoming American Numismatic Association Board of Governors election
for the 2007-2008 term.  The latest is Cliff Mishler, who this week
began circulating nomination papers for the 2007 ANA ballot for a
position on the board.  Mishler is the retired chairman of Krause
Publications, parent firm of Numismatic News. Also this week, candidate
John Eshbach published his position paper. The ANA election will be
conducted by mail during a roughly six-week period June 1-July 15.
Winners will be sworn in Aug. 11 at the Milwaukee, WI, summer
convention. Here are a few excerpts from Eshbach's position

* Open meetings (except for personnel, disciplinary issues and the
selection of award recipients) with a free exchange of information
or ideas between management, officers, employees and members of the
ANA without criticism or intimidation.

* Support a balanced budget without the use of restricted funds or
endowments. Such restricted moneys should be used only for the
purposes as directed by the donor(s).

*Explore the possibilities of operating satellite exhibit halls
as extensions of the ANA museum, in populated areas on the east
and west coasts.

* Make an aggressive effort to reduce the backlog of uncatalogued
donated material to the ANA library. The present library staff consists
of 1 full time and 1 part time employee.  The library staff should be
increased accordingly to assure all the donated materials are
attributed and properly catalogued.

To read John Eshbach's complete platform, see: Full Story

Mishler's position paper is still in draft form, but also includes
calls for open board meetings and the rescission of the confidentiality
agreement that ANA board members are currently required to sign.


David Fanning forwarded this item from the BBC news about a ring
of smugglers dealing in coins and other ancient artifacts:

"Spanish police have arrested 52 people and seized 300,000
archaeological artefacts they describe as 'of great historic and
economic value'.  Officers say the items were seized in 68 raids
across Spain at 31 sites of Iberian, Roman, Visigoth and Arab

"According to the police, 30 of those arrested were thieves who
would use metal detectors, maps, manuals and other tools to go on
treasure-collecting trips.

"Around 200 officers took part in the operation, which began after
an investigation uncovered a group of people smuggling historical
objects from undersea sites in the Gulf of Cadiz.

"The thieves would send small items such as coins through the post,
said the police."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


Nancy Oliver & Richard Kelly write: "We came across a funny old
newspaper article that we thought might make of few of your readers
laugh or smile.   The headline is 'A Joke on a Comedy Man', from the
Denton Journal, Denton, Maryland of July 24, 1886:

"Taking dinner the other night with John T. Raymond, the king of
good fellows and prince of comedians, he told a good story at his
own expense, which was most heartily enjoyed.  It seems that at one
time Raymond was a lunatic on the question of coin collecting.  He
had gradually gotten together a pile of old coins that fairly made
his heart glad, yet with every accession to his stock on hand came
a craving for more, until his fancy became a decided craze.

"Passing a broker's window one day, he chanced to spy among a pile of
silver coins, a silver dollar of a certain date.  Now that particular
date was a rarity, and a coin of that stamp was valued at four hundred
dollars.  So, like a boy who sees a gooseberry tart in the baker's
window, he is hollow with hunger, and has a peony lying around loose
in his pocket - what's to hinder him from buying the tart? So, he
strutted into the shop, and after a few idle questions, inquired
carelessly if the coin was for sale. "It is," said the proprietor.
"What do you want for it?" said Raymond.  "Four hundred!" says the
man, as pat as a whistle.

"Away went Raymond, but he could find no rest.  The coin must be his,
but just then four hundred dollars was worth four hundred dollars to
him.  Next day he went back and offered one hundred.  The man wouldn't
look at it.  Next day he offered two hundred.  The man was indifferent
but firm in his refusal.  So the next day he added fifty to his
previous offer, and said:  "If you will sell me the coin now is your
last chance and my highest offer.  What will you do?"

"The man consulted his wife and agreed to the transfer.  So home went
the blithe coin collector, proud of his purchase and happy as a lord.
Soon after, he sent his coin to the mint and received the following

"'Dear Sir: - The coin you enclosed, if genuine, would be worth five
hundred dollars, but as it is an altered one, it is worth no more than
its face value.'  John Raymond read no more, but he went out into the
back yard and kicked himself unconscious.  He has never added to
his collection since."

To read the Wikipedia entry on John T. Raymond, see: Full Story

[Many thanks to Nancy and Rich for taking the time to transcribe
this for us. -Editor]


This week's featured web site is the Odessa Museum of Numismatics
in Ukraine.  From the museum's web site:

"Museum collection includes over 2,5 thousand coins and other
relics belonging to different historical epochs: Antique, Medieval,
to new and newest time including the period of independent development
of the Ukrainian state.

"The core of Museum's funds form ancient coins minted by various
cities-states and Bosporus Kingdom existed in the Northern Black Sea
Region for almost one thousand years.

"There're many unpublished unique and rare coins making the special
scientific interest. The results of Museum's research activity have
been embodied in the regular periodical "Bulletin of the Odessa Museum
of Numismatics ".

  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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