The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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


Among our recent subscribers are Douglas Whenry, courtesy of John
Eshbach, Len Bailey and Mike Hegarty.  Welcome aboard!  We now have
1,082 subscribers.

My ISP must be having some problems today - I haven't been able to
get incoming email.  My apologies for any late-arriving submissions
that didn’t make it into this issue.

This week's issue covers a typical mix of topics, beginning with
Chris Hoelzle's new auction catalog list, Whitman Publishing's activities
at the upcoming ANA convention in Charlotte, and a new book on the
numismatics of the former Yugoslavian states.   Research queries this
week involve the Fonrobert sale, numismatics of the Virgin Mary and
the deluxe leatherbound edition of Beistle on U.S. Half Dollar

Also of interest to numismatic bibliophiles and researchers is the new
PCGS Research Archive, which holds online versions of some important
numismatic publications.  Our own numismatic archive of past E-Sylum
issues has been found this week by descendants of numismatic personalities
Donald Miller and Adam and Jacob Eckfeldt, generating some interesting

In international news, Howard Berlin reports on his recent visits to
numismatic museums in Athens, and Ralf Boepple forwards a great article
on the recent regional currencies of Germany.  And to learn what silver
coins have to do with Jamaican birth rituals, read on.  Have a great
week, everyone.

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


Chris Hoelzle of Laguna Niguel, CA writes: "I have been working on a
multi-year project of organizing and cataloging my duplicate Numismatic
Auction Catalogs and Fixed Price Lists, and I would like to announce
that the project is now complete. Getting these catalogs organized was
quite a chore as I had to move and put them into storage for a while.

"I now have nearly 8,000 auction catalogs in my database and on the
shelves for trade or sale.

"I am an active collector of catalogs and price lists and would prefer
to trade rather than sell, but I am making these items available first
to our E-Sylum friends before any website or other auction announcements.

"The catalogs and fixed price lists cover US and world firms with an
emphasis on Ancient Coins. Contained are firms from A-Mark through
Harriet Wynter, with dates ranging from 1862 through 2007.

"I invite anyone interested in this numismatic literature to contact
me and I will be pleased to forward an MS-Excel spreadsheet of the
items that are available.  My email address is"

[Chris also describes the database format he developed for representing
auction dates.  I've done something similar to this in the past when
itemizing auction catalogs - this may be of use of interest to others.

Chris writes: "I thought for a long time to develop a scheme that was
auto sorting by any database. I came up with the following scheme -
yes, it is a bit odd, but it works well for me.

"1994 06 - means June of 1994
1994 06 14 means June 14, 1994
1994 06 14,15 means a sale that happened on the 14th and 15th
  of June in 1994
1994 06 14-18 means a sale that happened from the 14th thru
  the 18th of 1994
1994 06 30,01 means a sale that happened on the 30th of June
  and the 1st of July of 1994 (I know it's clunky)
1994 06 30-03 means a sale that happened from the 30th of
  June thru the 3rd of July of 1994 (I know it's clunky)

"So this scheme, although having weaknesses, allows a database
to sort right off the bat by date"


Dennis Tucker of Whitman Publishing writes: "Here's a quick update
on Whitmanalia in regards to next week's National Money Show:

"- The 61st edition of the Red Book will debut, with a Ken Bressett
autograph session. The 416-page Red Book features thousands of coin
prices, fresh photographs, and new research data--and it now comes in
the handy and popular "spiralbound hardcover" format. I know a lot of
collectors get a new Red Book every 2 to 5 years. I've been telling
people, if it's been a while since you upgraded your numismatic library
with a current edition, this is a good year to fill the gap. Lots of
new coins, data, and research, including Mint-updated mintages for

"- There will be a Saturday autograph session and author meet-and-greet
for Money of the World: Coins That Made History (which had a sneak preview
at the NYINC in January and is making its big debut in Charlotte). Editors
Ira and Larry Goldberg will be on hand, in addition to several of the
book's chapter authors.*

"- Four new editions of our giant Auction Record books await the
dedicated researcher: one on small cents through silver dollars,
covering auctions from 2004 through 2006; one on U.S. gold auctions
from 2000 to 2006; one on colonials, early copper, commemoratives,
territorials, California gold, and miscellaneous, 2001 to 2006; and
one on U.S. pattern coins, 2000 to 2006.

"- Paper currency collectors will find our line of recent books on
obsolete paper money, Southern currency, and federal series.

"- Money of the World is a 320-page exploration of the history of
Western Civilization as told through coins of the realm. I predict
it will appeal to both world-coin collectors (which includes me!)
as well as aficionados of the American series.

"Of course, the Whitman shelves will be full of other new and recent
books waiting to enlighten and inform the most savvy collector."


In the March 7, 2007 issue of the MPC GRAM noted that: "'Silent
Witnesses' by Ray and Steve Feller is progressing routinely through
the manufacturing process according to reports from the printer. The
proofs were approved last week.

"Some of the details have been finalized. The book will sell for $35.
Prepublication estimates had been as high as $65, but the publisher
stated that the support of advertisers Mel Steinberg, David Seelye,
Bill Rosenblum, Ian Marshall, Krause Publications and others allowed
this bargain pricing.

The book will be unveiled at MPC Fest on the morning of March 24 and
a book signing will follow immediately."


According to a press release issued this week, a new guide book on
the coins and banknotes of Yugoslavia and its successor countries
will be published in April 2007: "The Guide to Coins and Banknotes
of Yugoslavia, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia,
Montenegro and Macedonia."

>From the Foreword: "The interest of the collectors for ex-Yugoslavian
numismatics is very high today, but there are no proper catalogs.
There are no catalog which contains “all at one place”, all what’s
interesting for collectors...

"This catalog (The Guide) at more than 500 pages (A5), through images
and texts presents all important areas of modern numismatics of
Yugoslavia ad successor countries since 1868 until present. All coins
and banknotes are presented with images and most important technical
data which are interesting for collectors. This catalog is simple
and in practical (pocket) size. It’s written on English language."

"Price of the book is: 25,00 EUR
If you want to reserve your copy in advance, please contact:  "


Karl Moulton writes: "In last week's E-Sylum, Bob Leonard mentioned
the Jules Fonrobert sale conducted by Berlin coin dealer Adolph Weyl
in 1878.  Does anyone have access to a named copy of the North American
portion of that sale?  Any help on this would be most welcomed.  Thanks!
My email address is"


Bill Bugert, Editor of The E-Gobrecht newsletter writes in the latest
issue (Volume 3, Issue 3, March 2007):

"I am conducting extensive research on the life and interests of
Martin Luther Beistle, the author of the 1929 reference on the half
dollar book entitled 'A Register of Half Dollar Die Varieties and Sub–
Varieties'. I have determined that, along with hard green cloth editions,
he printed 135 special edition copies of his book. These were individually
numbered with a special soft leather binding with gold edge pages.

"I am trying to account for the special leather bound editions. I do
know that Copy #1 was given to Col E. H. Green and that copy #4 currently
resides with MLB’s family. Does any reader have a copy or know who has
a copy of his special leather bound book? Please email me at Thanks!"

[My copy of the deluxe leatherbound Beistle is right next to me on
a shelf.  It is copy #122 of the edition of 135.  -Editor]


Former American Numismatic Association Executive Director Ed Rochette
writes: "I am researching for a book on "The Coins, Tokens and Medals
of the Virgin Mary", and I would appreciate any leads.  Thanks."


The PCGS Research Archive debuted recently and should be of great
interest to bibliophiles and researchers.  From the web site:

"In the coming months, PCGS will be offering a rare opportunity
for numismatists to access some truly unique and unusual archival
documents relating to numismatics. Some of these have not been
available for many years; others have never been publicly released.

"While at this point, we don't know everything we'll be posting to
the archive, we can tell you that the original printed inventory
sheets of the Waldo Newcomer Inventory are on tap, as well as the
Eliasberg Sale Catalogs and other landmark 20th century sales such
as Dunham, Atwater, Ten Eyck, Jenks, Chapman and Garrett.

"These take considerable time to scan and prepare, so please be patient.
We hope that in the coming months and years to be able to build an
unparalleled research archive for serious numismatists everywhere."

The currently available documents are:

 The Earliest Known Pricelist for U.S. Coins

 The Dexter Specimen of the 1804 Silver Dollar

 1946 - William Cutler Atwater collection (sold by B. Max Mehl)

To read the PCGS Research Archive, see:

[QUICK QUIZ: So who issued the earlier known pricelist for U.S.
coins?  And where and when was it issued? (No fair peeking at the
archive!  And no, I didn't know the answer myself. -Editor]


Donna Miller Marschalk writes: "During a lull at work, I decided to
look up information on my father, Donald Maxwell Miller, and was
delighted to find information on him.  Having heard many stories from
him about his life and adventures, this is one that he never mentioned.
No doubt it was a martini or two that he had been drinking!  Thank you
for giving me more insight into my Dad."

[Below is a link to our earlier article relating to Don Miller -
Russ Rulau's obituary of John Ford, which includes his fisticuffs
with Miller over bidding on a Hard Times Token. -Editor]


[It's nice to know our newsletter is interesting and useful to folks
outside the hobby - that's one of the reasons why we post our archive
online.  Below is an interesting quote I came across recently, and it
summarizes well what we do with The E-Sylum.  -Editor]

"The Net is a giant zero. It puts everybody zero distance from everybody
and everything else. And it supports publishing and broadcasting at
costs that round to zero as well. It is essential for the mainstream
media to understand that the larger information ecosystem is one that
grows wild on the Net and supports everybody who wants to inform
anybody else. ...

"We don't just 'deliver information' like it's a Fedex package. We
inform each other. That is, we literally form what other people know.
If you tell me something I didn't know before, I'm changed by that. I
am not merely in receipt of a box of facts. I am enlarged by knowing
more than I did before. Enlarging each other is the deepest calling
of journalism, whether it's done by bloggers, anchors or editors."

-- Doc Searls on "Giant Zero journalism"
Full Story


Saul Teichman writes: "I see that the Heritage book on St Gauden's
coinage is coming out. With regard to the 1907 Arabic proofs with
different edge devices, nothing in Roger Burdette's researches, or
any prior research to my knowledge shows that these are experimental
in any way. Until something concrete comes to pass, they will still
not be placed into any future editions of Judd."

Roger Burdette adds: "Saul is correct. My research has thus far
uncovered nothing relating to the 1907 low relief varieties.

The only references to low relief edge varieties comes in 1908 where
there are a few documents mentioning experimentation with larger
lettering. The documents end with a comment from the coiner that the
proposed stars were larger than the thickness of the coin and all
examples had been destroyed. This occurred at about the same time
that an experimental double eagle with "In God We Trust" was struck,
and also when half eagles of the Saint-Gaudens design were struck.
All of the experimental pieces were ordered destroyed."


Marian LaReno writes: "My great - - - - -  grandfather was Adam Eckfeldt.
I have two Eckfeldt U.S. mint retirement medals, one from Adam (silver,
dated 1839) and one from Jacob (bronze, dated 1930). I am interested in
learning more about the historical significance of these medals.  If any
of your readers would be interested in contacting me regarding these
medals I would be very appreciative.

"The Adam Eckfeldt retirement medal is 2", silver, in original two
piece slide coin case - red with gold filagree, velvet inside, 1839.
It has his portrait on one side and words of farewell on the other side.

"Jacob's medal is bronze, shaped like a tombstone, and has a portrait
on one side and farewell words on the other, 1930."

[Naturally, I asked about other Eckfeldt or Mint-related documentation
or artifacts in the family's possession.  Her reply follows. -Editor]

"I personally do not have any correspondence or photos, but I am certain
that other family members have some additional items pertaining to the
Eckfeldts. I do have an old wooden chair that belonged to Adam, and
family history tells that it came from the Mint. In the painting "The
Inspection of the First Coin", this chair is in the foreground on the
right, the smaller  chair. I have learned from the Philadelphia Mint
that there probably were several of those chairs in the Mint (as they
have one on display exactly like the one I have) and that the one in
the painting is representative of what would have been in the room at
the time."

[Unable to wait for Sunday to start learning more about these medals,
I contacted some of our regular contributors. -Editor]

Katie Jaeger writes: "The 1839 medal is described by Robert Julian as
MT-18, in 'Medals of the U.S. Mint, The First Century, 1792-1892':

"51 mm, engraved by Moritz Furst, struck in gold, silver and bronze.
Adam Eckfeldt was born in 1769 and entered the mint service in 1792.
In 1814 he was appointed chief coiner, a post he held for 25 years.
Even after his official retirement, Eckfeldt continued coming to the
mint daily and actually superintended the coining department for his
successor, Franklin Peale.  He died in 1852.

"The chief coiner was given a gold medal from these dies; others
received silver or bronze medals.  The dies, which are in the mint
collection, are known to have been used in this century for restriking
because the Smithsonian collection contains an Eckfeldt medal that
appears to date from the 1920s.  Furst was paid $100 to cut the obverse
die.  The reverse was probably done by Peale."

Katie adds: "Furst made over 100 U.S. medals, and many of them are
portrait pieces because that was his long suit.  As noted by Chris Neuzil
in 'A Reckoning of Moritz Furst's American Medals' ANS Coinage of the
Americas Concerence Proceedings No. 13, 1997:  'It is ironic that one
of the last dies Furst made in America honors an officer of the U.S.
Mint, where Furst sought unsuccessfully for three decades to obtain
the position of chief engraver.'"

Karl Moulton writes: "Unfortunately, most people who have these
Eckfeldt medals do not know exactly what they have.  There was only
one Adam Eckfeldt retirement medal struck in gold on March 15, 1839.
The reverse inscription read "for a suitable testimonial of our regard
on the occasion of his retiring from our body".  It was paid for by a
subscription of mint employees and officers, who got together $180 for
that sole purpose.

"At the same time, there were two silver farewell medals struck from
a different reverse die that read 'A / farewell tribute / of / affectionate
regard / to / Adam Eckfeldt / from his / fellow officers / of the / U.S.
Mint / 1839'.  One went to Levi Woodbury, the Secretary of the Treasury,
while the other went to Martin Van Buren, the President of the United

"The farewell medals were later restruck in unknown quantities by coiner
Franklin Peale in both silver and bronze.  Peale had been personally
chosen by Eckfeldt to succeed him as coiner.  I know of no way to tell
the restrikes from the originals, as the two originals haven't been
traced for well over 100 years.

"However, one of these silver farewell medals (a probable restrike) ended
up with Dr. Charles Winfield Perkins, of New York, whose great-grandfather
was Adam Eckfeldt.  In 1926, this example was donated by Dr. Perkins to
the Delaware County Historical Society (ref. The Numismatist, April 1926,
p191).  Unfortunately, there are several undocumented and invalid claims
about how much Adam Eckfeldt did while he was employed at the United
States Mint from 1795 to 1839.

"The original gold retirement medal has not been seen or heard of
since Eckfeldt's death in 1852.

"This information, and much more can be found in my soon-to-be-released
book titled 'Henry Voigt and Others Involved with America's Early Coinage'."

Joe Levine writes: "I have run both of these medals in my sales.
The descriptions and results are below."

[There are multiple sale records of these medals; Joe or I
can forward the details to anyone interested.  I've added links to
some recent sales. -Editor]

"Original Silver Eckfeldt Medal. MT-18. 51.8mm Silver. Mortiz Furst,
Sc. Very Fine with the rims badly nicked and scraped and with numerous
nicks on the bust and in the fields. The obverse bears Eckfeldt's bust
facing right, ADAM ECKFELDT CHIEF COINER U.S. MINT 1814-1839 around.
The reverse bears an eleven line tribute to him from “His fellow officers
of the U.S. Mint, 1839.”

"When this medal was offered in the 1981 Kessler-Spangenberger Sale
as #1811, Carl Carlson commented that he could locate references to
only three silver Eckfeldt medals. Since that time, only one other medal
has surfaced, a silver proof presentation piece housed in the red leather
slip case box.

"7304. #576. Copper, AU.  $230.00
Stack's John J. Ford Sale 10/04. #213. Silver. Choice PL Unc.
Red leather book style case. $3220.00

"Stack's John J. Ford Sale 10/04. #214. Silver. Unc. $1380.00

"Jacob Eckfeldt Retirement Plaque, 1930.  58 x 42.6mm. with rounded
corners at top. Bronze. Adam Pietz, Sc. About Uncirculated with
scattered dark spots on the reverse. . Obverse with bearded bust of
Eckfeldt to the left. In exergue: JACOB B. ECKFELDT/ ASSAYER U.S. MINT
1881 - 1930.  The reverse is inscribed: FROM YOUR/ ASSOCIATES IN THE/
SERVICE/ ASSAY DEPT./ APR. 15, 1865/ DEC. 31, 1929.

"This medal commemorates an extraordinary period of government service.
Jacob Eckfeldt was the fourth member of his family to serve as a Mint
official in an unbroken period dating from Jan. 1, 1796, when Adam
Eckfeldt was appointed Assistant Coiner. Jacob B. Eckfeldt began work
under his father in 1865 and retired as Assayer of the U.S. Mint in 1929.

"In our 35th Sale in 1983, re offered a uniface example of this piece
showing the reverse only. At the time we commented that, “Since the
legend on this small plaque does not mention Eckfeldt's name, our
suspicion is that there is an obverse (perhaps with his portrait on it)
which makes the connection secure. Perhaps, then this specimen is a
uniface trial. “ Now, 21 years later,,  this connection is indeed

7304. #579. Bronze. Au.  $747.50"

Pete Smith writes: "I sent her about twenty pages of my genealogy of
the Eckfeldt family. I hope she will give me more on the current


A concerned reader writes: "I was wondering if anyone out there has
had experience with this.  I recently published something on a very
obscure topic and was soon contacted by an individual claiming to
have related ephemera for sale at a price.

"The coincidence struck me as a bit odd.  With the Internet being what
it is, it would be a rather easy thing to demonstrate some related
knowledge quickly and to generate fake documents.  We are all familiar
with the work of M. N. Daycious and are somewhat sensitive to our own
gullibilities in this regard.  The seller here must be aware that I am
pretty much the only person in the whole world with an interest in the
topic in question.  I'm just curious if any other researchers out there
have been approached on similar terms."


Dr. Howard Berlin writes: "I'm now back from Istanbul and Athens. I
had the pleasure of visiting the Numismatic Museum of Athens during my
stay there. The museum is located at 12 Panepistimiou Street in Athens'
Attica district, just a few minutes walk northwest of Syntagma Square
from the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Its hours are from 8:30 am to
3:00 pm, Tuesday through Sunday (closed Monday). The admission for adults
is three euros, but is free on Sundays in February as are many sites
under the control of the Ministry of Culture, such as the Acropolis.

"The museum has a library of about 60,000 books and periodicals which
is available to researchers. The museum's web site is:

"Besides the Numismatic Museum of Athens, the city has one another
excellent museum venue of note – the Alpha Bank Numismatic Collection.
Although I was originally scheduled to visit the bank, Dr. Dimitra
Tsangari, the collection’s curator e-mailed me that the collection
would be closed in preparation for a Summer exhibition.

"However, if you are in Athens, you can visit the bank’s collection on
the fifth floor at 41 Panepistimiou (aka, Stoa Nikoloudi) Monday through
Friday from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm. This is just up the street from the
Numismatic Museum of Athens. Additional information about the Alpha
Bank Numismatic Collection can be found at their web site,

"I'm off for Ireland next week and will be in Dublin during St. Patrick's
Day. I will be visiting the National Museum of Ireland, which according to
a recent e-mail from its Marketing Department, has a coin exhibit, "Airgead,
A Thousand Years of Irish Coins and Currency."


According to a press report, "A unique coin has been donated to
Chard Museum, striking a strong link to Chard and its trading history.

The coin was donated by a Norfolk coin collector and has caused a stir
among the museum's council.

Micheal Mussel, museum press officer, said: "Strictly speaking it is
not a coin but a trade token'.

"During the years between 1648 and 1672 there was a serious shortage
of small denomination copper coins as Oliver Cromwell's commonwealth
had failed to mint any.

"He added: "The striking feature of the design is one of the earliest
uses of the Chard Town Seal."

"As far as the museum is aware, this is the first token of its type
to reappear in the town."

"Anyone knowing of other examples is asked to contact Roger Carter
at the Museum."

To read the complete article (an view an image of the token), see:
Full Story


Regarding several articles about regional money in past E-Sylum's,
Ralf W. Boepple of Stuttgart, Germany forwarded the following lengthy
March 6th article from Spiegel Online:

"How many currencies does Germany have? More than one, it turns out.
In an effort to boost their local economies, 22 regions in the country
have introduced their own alternative tender -- but are they worth the
paper they're printed on?

"At some point in the spring of 2004, the money ran out in the village
of Güsen in the eastern German state of Saxony-Anhalt. At least, Frank
Jansky wasn't receiving any. 'People couldn't pay their bills anymore,'
says Jansky, who runs a lawyer's office in Güsen, where he represents
mainly tradesmen and small construction firms.

"The 'Carlo' is just one of Germany's many regional currencies.
Around that time, Jansky heard about regional currencies and thought:
'That's it.' His idea: Instead of using euros, eastern Germany's
increasingly pauperized population ought to be able to pay in goods
and services. The regional currency would be known as the 'Urstromtaler'
(the name is a play on words, combining 'Urstromtal,' the name of a
Saxony-Anhalt valley, with 'taler,' the name of an old German currency
-- which incidentally also inspired the name 'dollar').

"A network of tradesmen, fortune tellers, herbal experts and ecological
specialists had formed in and around Madgeburg by early October, 2004
-- and they were ready for currency reform. Jansky's co-operative opted
out of the euro on the anniversary of Germany's reunification, October 3.

"Annika Pietsch, who had been up until then just an employee in Jansky's
office, became the director of the new central bank -- which takes the
form of a small blue cash box she carries around with her. She prints
the bills, which feature an ocher-colored map of Saxony-Anhalt, in her
apartment. They can't be counterfeited, she says -- she's tried it
herself to be sure.

"Twenty-two such regional currencies are already in use in Germany,
and 31 more are in preparation. They're called 'Kann Was' ('Can Do'),
'Nahgold' ('Near Gold'), 'Carlo' or 'Volmetaler' -- and their
transactions are eligible for tax just like euros. Frank Jansky --
who also directs Regiogeld, the umbrella association for the currencies
-- was even recently visited by a BBC reporter who asked him to
explain Germany's wondrous proliferation of currencies.

"The 'Chiemgauer' currency (named for the Bavarian region of Chiemgau)
is the most successful to date. The project was started by Christian
Gelleri, a Waldorf school teacher, and six of his students in Bavaria
in 2002. The regional currency's annual turnover climbed to an impressive
€1.5 million ($2 million) last year. About 90,000 Chiemgauers are
currently in circulation. Unlike the Urstromtalers, they can be converted
back into euro for a fee. "Our currency circulates three times more
rapidly than the euro," says Gelleri. But in order to achieve this,
the system puts pressures on currency holders to spend: The Chiemgauer
loses two percent of its value every three months and has to be "topped
up" by purchasing a coupon.

"The idea for a so-called 'depreciative currency' was pioneered by
Silvio Gesell, a German merchant and social reformer. Gesell witnessed
a serious economic crisis in Argentina at the end of the 19th century.
He explained it in terms of excessive hoarding and insufficient
monetary circulation. His solution was to make money perishable like
other commodities -- bank notes, he believed, should 'rust.'"

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


According to a news release issued this week by the University of
California at Berkeley, "The Nobel medal belonging to the late Ernest
O. Lawrence, winner of the 1939 Nobel Prize is Physics, is missing from
its display case at the Lawrence Hall of Science (LHS), according to
campus police. The hall is offering a $2,500 reward for its safe return
and for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the thief.

"After Lawrence's widow, Molly Lawrence, died in 2003, the family chose
the LHS to house many of his highest awards, including his gold Nobel
medal. These awards became part of the E. O. Lawrence Memorial Room, a
space of 1,750 square feet that has displayed artifacts of his life and
work for nearly 40 years.

"On Thursday, March 1, a member of the LHS Exhibits staff reported that
the medal, which was housed in a locked case, was missing. The UC Police
Department was notified immediately and is investigating the disappearance
of this important symbol of UC Berkeley's Nobel tradition. Rare coin,
bullion and art collectors nationally and internationally have been
notified and an all-points bulletin has been released.

"Persons with information on the missing medal should contact
Detective Bruce Bauer at the UC Police Department at (510) 642-4090

To read the complete Berkeley press release, see:
Full Story

For another article in the San Jose Mercury News, see:
Full Story


"For more than four decades, Mr. Driega has collected Olympic coins.
He started in 1953, when he bought a coin minted to support the costs
of the Helsinki Games in 1952. And then he caught the bug.

"He now has roughly 850 items in his collection, which he calls 'A
Tribute to Champions.' Every official Olympic coin produced by host
countries between 1952 is 1996 is there. He even has many coins produced
by countries that weren't hosting the Olympics. And then he has coins
from the World Games, the Pan Am Games, the Commonwealth Games and
the Caribbean Games, among others.

"Three of his coins date back to the Greek Olympics in the fifth
century BC.

"'I don't know of any individual collector in the world that has
a collection comparable to mine, and I would certainly know about
anyone as avid as I am,' Mr. Driega says. 'Maybe it's just that no
one's crazy enough to do the same thing.'

"There is perhaps one similar collection in the Olympic Museum in
Lausanne, Switzerland, but that's an institution, not a private
collector, he points out.

"Mr. Driega says his first priority is getting the collection declared
a heritage item by Heritage Canada... If the collection is declared a
heritage item, Mr. Driega will have to find an interested museum, and
the government would then negotiate an agreement with that museum to
bring the collection up to date and keep it that way."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


Citizens in Rochester, NY responded to a reporter's questions this
week about the new Presidential dollar coin:

"The new $1 Presidential coin is creating some controversy. It's not
over the design, although some people say the artwork of George Washington
could be better. It's about the words "In God We Trust." Where did they
go? That famous inscription is on the side or edge of the new coin.
The phrase is so small that you may have to use a magnifying glass to
see it.

"'I'm offended by where it is,' said Sylvia Pollard of Webster. The
86-year-old great-grandmother is starting a petition drive to get
the words 'In God We Trust' back on the face of America's new dollar coin.

"The nation's first coin to bear the words 'In God We Trust' was the
now obsolete two-cent coin first issued in 1864. There was such public
outcry after the carnage during the early battles of the Civil War that
the Secretary of the Treasury agreed. 'The trust of people in God should
be declared on the nation's coins.'

"Dick Austin owns the Gallery of Coins in Henrietta, 'It makes it very
difficult for the average collector to see what the date of the coin is
and the mint mark is of the coin. I really believe they should have put
the date and legend on the front or the back of the coin so it would
make it much easier.'

"Sylvia Pollard has even written a protest letter to the director of
the U.S. Mint and in the corner of her letter she wrote the words 'In
God We Trust.'

"What is even more shocking to some is the one word that is missing
from this new coin. It's the word that's been on all U.S. coins since
the very beginning. Liberty."

[The coin's reverse features the Statue of Liberty, which was deemed
by the sponsors of the enabling legislation to satisfy the requirement
without the actual word "Liberty".  -Editor]

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


The Associated Press published a widely-reprinted article this week
about the missing edge designs on some of the new dollar coins:

"An unknown number of new George Washington dollar coins were
mistakenly struck without their edge inscriptions, including 'In God
We Trust,' and made it past inspectors and into circulation, the U.S.
Mint said Wednesday.

"The properly struck dollar coins, bearing the likeness of George
Washington, are inscribed along the edge with 'In God We Trust,'
'E Pluribus Unum' and the year and mint mark. They went into
circulation Feb. 15.

"About half were made in Philadelphia and the rest in Denver. So
far the mint has only received reports of error coins coming from
Philadelphia, mint spokeswoman Becky Bailey said.

"Bailey said it was unknown how many coins didn't have the inscriptions.
Ron Guth, president of Professional Coin Grading Service, one of the
world's largest coin authentication companies, said he believes that
at least 50,000 error coins were put in circulation.

"'The first one sold for $600 before everyone knew how common they
actually were,' he said. 'They're going for around $40 to $60 on eBay
now, and they'll probably settle in the $50 range.'

"'We are adjusting the manufacturing process to try to eliminate
the problems,' she said."

To read the complete Associated Press article, see:
Full Story

[Reuters published an article Thursday quoting Bob Hoge
Interestingly, the article misspells "die" as "dye".

"'In God We Trust. In machines? Not so much.

"An unknown number of new U.S. $1 coins bearing the image of George
Washington are missing the words 'In God We Trust' and other lettering
along the edges, the U.S. Mint said on Wednesday.

"'The United States Mint understands the importance of the inscriptions
'In God We Trust' and 'E Pluribus Unum' as well as the mint mark and
year on U.S. coinage. We take this matter seriously,' the statement said.

"Robert Hoge, curator of North American coins and currency for the
American Numismatic Society, said that collectors find coins with a
mistake like this, known as a Mint error, desirable when a relatively
small number are in circulation."

To read the complete Reuters article, see:
Full Story


A reader asks: "I noticed in the last issue of The E-Sylum there was a
reference to the CPI in one of the articles.  Henk Groenendijk said that
the CPI defines the price structure for 1967 as 100.0.  The writer then
stated that the current CPI was a number in the high five hundreds
(approaching 600.0).

"This is a subject that interests me for some research I'm doing.  I
checked the Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics site:  Unfortunately, this site appears to only enable
access to statistics back to 1913, not earlier.  I believe Henk
mentioned the CPI for one of the years in the 1860's.  I'd love to
know where that information is obtainable.  If you can help me in
any way, I'd appreciate it."

Henk Groenendijk writes: "Unfortunately, I cannot relocate the site
I used for the calculation. However, I did find a site with much more
data about price levels which goes back to the 1600s:

Full Story


Found recently on the web - another folk use for coins, this time
from Jamaica:

"Following delivery, the mother and child were often isolated for
eight days, during, which time the nana took control of the house.
It was considered very important to protect mother and child from
spiritual harm and any physical dangers that came with childbirth.
A special broom was used to sweep out the room and the sweepings were
kept, perhaps to prevent others from getting hold of them.

"The child was marked with blue, and the scissors or knife used to cut
the umbilical cord was watched carefully. Some sort of charm or 'guzu'
(often a strong-smelling substance) was used to protect the child. The
child was also washed in cold water that contained rum and a silver
coin given by the father. The water and coin were later buried in the
yard along with the afterbirth. The nana counted the knots on the
umbilical cord to determine how many children the mother was destined
to have."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


"Have you ever had one of those days when you wished you could have
given a rats ass, but didn't? Well, those days are over, as we here
at the Armoury DO give a rats ass! (Well, to be honest, we sell them...)
These handy pewter coins are about the size of a U.S. .25 cent piece,
but meatier and will help you show friends, loved ones and irritants
alike just exactly how much you really care."

Full Story


If you don't give a rat's ass, perhaps you'll give a dam.  Lot 2331
in the upcoming Stack's Brooklyn sale is a piece of Bryan Money with
the denomination "one dam".

"(1896) United Snakes. One Dam. Aluminum, Sch.356, Z.56. Extremely
Fine.  44.1mm. Obv. Legend BILLY BRYAN'S FREE SILVER surrounds ONE/
DAM. Rev. Donkey-headed goose with twined serpents, UNITED SNAKES

To view the full image and lot description, see:
Full Story


This week's featured web site is the coin and medal section of Museum
Victoria of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

"This timeline of more than 180 coins and medals tells many stories
about people, places and events in Victoria's history. The subjects
and designs reflect the social and political events that were
considered important at the time.

"The coins and medals are organised chronologically within eight
key themes in Victoria's history."

  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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