The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 10, Number 14, April 8, 2007: 
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 
Copyright (c) 2007, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers are Mikhail Istomin of Kharkov, 
Ukraine, courtesy of Howard Daniel, Ray Neff, and Dave Kranz of 
F+W Publications. Welcome aboard! We now have 1,089 subscribers.

This week's issue opens with a recap of the April Foolery in last 
week's issue. We got a few folks, at least for a while. Other 
publications had their fun as well, and we discuss a few of those 
pranks, too. 

Back on our core subject of numismatic literature, we have an update 
on the Canadian Numismatic Bibliography project, and word on the 
reprinting of a modern classic of American numismatic literature. 

In exhibit news we have word from the CNA E-Bulletin on a new display 
at the Currency Museum of the Bank of Canada, and belated news of an 
art medal exhibit in New York.

Research queries this week cover a wide range of topics, including 
Joan Miro plaques, push-out coins, medal sizes, countermarks of the 
10th Roman Legion, why a dollar is called a 'buck', and where the green 
in greenbacks comes from. Responding to an earlier inquiry, David 
Sundman proposes a candidate for the earliest mention of a U.S. error 
coin in the popular press.

And speaking of the popular press, this week we highlight new articles 
on U.S. Mint Director Ed Moy, military challenge coins, voting for 
Hawaii's new state quarter design, and three new members of the 
Citizen's Coinage Advisory Committee.

To learn what coins could be counterfeited by a crooked lumberjack, 
read on. Have a great week, everyone.

Wayne Homren 
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


Last week I wrote: "Yes, readers, it's April Fool's Day, and at 
least one of this week's items is completely fictitious. But you 
figured that out already, didn't you, smarty pants?" 

Smarty-pants-in-chief Joe Boling felt compelled to point out "Yeah, 
but you blew it - the date-time stamp on the message was: 'Date: 
4/2/2007 12:32:18 AM Eastern Daylight Time'

Well, since The E-Sylum always goes out late on a Sunday evening our 
friends across the Atlantic rarely get their email on the date of 
issue anyway. But our friends in western time zones usually do. 
One reader got his issue at 28 minutes before midnight. So I figure 
three-fourths of the U.S. still got their issue before midnight on 
April Fool's Day. Anyway, it was DATED April 1, and that's good 
enough for me.

There were in fact three bogus items in last week's issue, contributed 
by myself, Dave Bowers and Dick Johnson. But the one that got all the 
attention was my piece about a supposed merger of the American 
Numismatic Association and American Numismatic Society.


Not everyone got the joke, although some had their doubts. One 
U.K reader wrote "You won't be bothered I trust if I just observe 
the date, 1 April, of your most recent E-Sylum, and ask whether the 
ANS and ANA report is really real?"

Here's what people have said:

"Your April Fools joke was too real, too believable. I got one 
e-mail already, from an ANS and ANA (life) member, who bought it 
hook, line, and sinker."

"Very Orson Wellsish of you ;-). I received two calls by 8:30AM EST."

"Great joke!!! By the way, did I mention that flying saucers are 
landing all over New Jersey?"

"I must admit, when reading the article about the ANA/ANS merger 
in this week's E-Sylum, I actually believed it for all of one and 
a half sentences. Then, it occurred to me that this week's issue 
was published on April 1st. If you wrote this, I commend you on 
having a great imagination, but the date of publication was just 
a tad too coincidental."

"You had me going until I got to the part about Numismatist and 
the ANS magazine merging to form Coin. At that point, my sputtering 
brain remembered what day it was yesterday. Nicely done! You did 
a good job with it--it got increasingly ridiculous as the story went 
on, but you had me going until the third paragraph."

"I was transfixed by the emotional sequence: (1) Wow! (2) uh-oh, 
better check (3) shame and humiliation, with real disappointment, too. 
What a brilliant creation. The idea is great; much greater is the way 
you managed to spin it out, to keep the ball in the air with all kinds 
of illuminating and persuasive details. First-class work! 
Congratulations. I have re-read it with ever-growing pleasure."

"I've seen many an April Fools joke (which must mean I'm old), and 
this one ranks right up there with the best."

"I thought your April Fools article was hilarious! It's been making 
the rounds on the bulletin boards --- always a good sign that a piece 
of writing is resonating with its readers."

"An instant classic! Thanks for the laughs, in the great tradition 
of numismatic April Fools jokes."

Some were disappointed that it WASN'T true; "Damn. I was all set for 
Cipoletti versus Partrick, two out of three." Another reader 
predicted: "Ute wins kick boxing match hands down."

One reader wrote: "Pretty funny - in fact, classic. I even looked 
at the Baltimore location on Google's satellite maps before I checked 
further! Haa, got me!! I wonder if you know how close to true your 
story was/is? There are some details in that story ... well that's 
another story :)"

Well, the best con jobs (and April Fools jokes) do have elements of 
truth. I did try to make it sound believable, but I made it all up 
soup to nuts sitting at my keyboard last Sunday night before midnight. 
Dave Bowers is my witness - he was online and I got his OK to use his 
name, but even he didn't see the whole piece until I sent it out. 

I hadn't heard a single rumor about either organization, and when Dr. 
Ute Wartenberg Kagan, Executive Director of the ANS wrote Monday morning 
to ask me "how did you know?", I thought she was being funny and 
laughed. Then somebody clued me in to a headline on the Coin World 
web site. Fiction is stranger than truth, I guess. Here's what 
Coin World said:

"Society's current facility underused since 2003 occupation. 
The American Numismatic Society has retained an agent to explore 
sale of its headquarters, preparatory to possible leasing of new space. 
Full Story

By the time this week's E-Sylum arrives many of you will have already 
seen the article in the print edition. Ute confirmed for me that the 
ANS is indeed considering a move. The society moved into its current 
location in New York's financial district in 2003, leaving its 
longtime uptown home at 155th Street and Broadway. Traffic at the 
new site has not increased as much as hoped, and with large portions 
of the building still underused, the Trustees, staff and volunteers 
have been exploring options for another space.

Regarding the faux merger and real plans for a move, Ute writes: "The 
ANS is concerned about meeting the operating expenses of its building. 
The Trustees might want to take advantage of a very high real estate 
market by selling the building and moving to a different location. 
Many other not-for-profits in Manhattan have done that recently."

Coin World also notes that "Exhibits are also being affected by 
changing expectations of ANS members and technological improvements. 
'Most members don't want to travel to New York,' [Wartenberg Kagan] 
said. 'They want images, as Harry Bass set up. We have a huge number 
of visitors, if you call them that, to the Internet.' (The late 
collector Harry Bass helped the ANS build a computerized library 
of images.)"

As for the ANA, of course, no merger is planned nor necessary despite 
the swirl in the press over finances and governance. I hope none of 
the Board candidates choked on their Cheerios Monday morning when 
they read that the upcoming election had been cancelled. It's 
proceeding as usual.

I'm sure many of us have wondered from time to time why we in the U.S. 
are blessed with TWO great national numismatic organizations. I'm 
also sure that at various points in their long histories, someone has 
come along to suggest "Hey, wouldn't it be great if the two merged?" 
Well, if it were such a great thing, you'd think it would have happened 
at some point in the last century or so. For as much as their missions 
overlap at points, they are also quite different in a great many ways, 
and those differences are what give each organization a unique place 
in the world. 

I wish the ANS good luck in their quest for an appropriate home, and 
believe both organizations should periodically review their needs for 
office, library, collection and exhibit space. As discussed in the 
Coin World article, the nature of museum exhibit space is changing. 

Yes, there's no substitute for the thrill of viewing an original rarity 
in person, but frankly, there's only so much one can see while squinting 
at a coin through exhibit case glass. But a high-resolution image? 
That's nirvana. When I first scanned some of my obsolete banknotes I 
was stunned to see for the first time multiple details I'd never noticed 
before. A good web catalog with quality images is in multiple ways a 
far better way to display numismatic artifacts.


Dick Johnson writes: "Our intrepid editor's creative April 1st spoof 
in last week's issue had enough truths in it to give it the ring of 
validity. One was the relocation of the American Numismatic Society. 
This could actually come about as ANS officials are now considering 
selling their headquarters building (because of unused space and too 
few visitors to its lower Manhattan location).

"Acquiring the present building made sense at the time (cramped space 
at the old building, a deteriorating neighborhood location, and such). 
It was a good financial transaction with gift of a large part of the 
cost from the seller. However, unless you live in New York City (and 
can take the subway) it was difficult to get to and to utilize the 
new building.

"I recall my first visit there and the cramped streets on both sides 
of the ANS building. My Good Wife dropped me off at the entrance before 
she parked the car two blocks away. As I approached the sidewalk a 
Chinese work crew was backing up a truck. I yelled to keep from being 
crushed. (Apparently such a yell is the same in Chinese as English!)

"One factor ANS officials should consider in relocating is WHO will 
use the building. Obviously employees and members, but also researchers, 
like myself, who wish to use your library. This is a national treasure. 
No, the library is an international treasure! Scholars from Europe 
formerly came to New York to research the library in your old building 
because of its vast holdings and the ease to use it. I met Professor 
Philip Grierson from England in the ANS library once on just such a visit.

"The most ideal location of an organization's building could possibly 
be in some suburb. Once I visited the headquarters of the American 
Foundry Society in Des Plains, Illinois, outside Chicago. It was ideal. 
Their library was on the first floor and they had an ample parking lot. 
Most researchers DRIVE to visit libraries - often with heavy briefcases 
or valuable material to research.

"For long-term research it is necessary to have inexpensive hotel/motel 
accommodations nearby. The American Antiquarian Association in Worcester, 
Massachusetts, rents out rooms in a building across the street from its 
building to accommodate such researchers.

"At a coin convention in New Jersey with some medal friends prior to 
the ANS move, I mentioned that relocating to White Plains, New York, 
would be better than lower Manhattan. This was within earshot of Donald 
G. Partrick, president of ANS (and the owner/seller of the building). 
After my friends dismissed my suggestion, Mr. Partrick gave me a 
lecture on why ANS should stay in New York City.

"Now that two successive Manhattan locations have proved unsuitable, 
ANS officials should consider a location in lower Westchester County, 
NY or northern New Jersey (still half hour from NYC). And, oh yes, 
with an adjacent parking lot!"

[The ANA headquarters in Colorado Springs meets Dick's criteria, with 
an adjacent parking lot and lodging in the area. It's hard to imagine 
a large event like the ANA's Summer Seminar taking place in New York 
City. Yet it's also hard to imagine the ANS being anywhere BUT in New 
York or another major metropolitan center. I guess that's why I 
picked Baltimore over say, Grovers Mill, NJ for my faux HQ. 

If I were making the decision I'd consider a suburban airport location 
near a major city, providing ready access for locals as well as national 
and international researchers. Straying far from New York is probably 
out of the question due to consideration of the current staff, but my 
selfish personal vote would be for the Dulles airport area outside of 
Washington, DC. Lots of lodging and parking in driving distance of a 
huge population, plus direct flights from around the nation and the 
world, all within easy reach of the nation's Capital. -Editor]


Ray Williams posted a copy of the piece on the Yahoo colonial coins 
group Tuesday. Dan Friedus wrote: "A classic worthy of Martin Nathaniel 
Daycious himself (and on the 15th anniversary of M.N. Daycious' 

"The address of the alleged new home is truly inspired. The Peale 
Museum belonged to the City of Baltimore which had to shut it down 
sometime in the 1990s. They eventually transferred the museum collection 
to the Maryland Historical Society which apparently is considering 
trying to raise money to re-open it but it's the first museum in the 
country and it's now just locked up despite having both a great location 
and a great collection."

Dan's 'Martin Nathaniel Daycious' reference is to an April Fools joke 
perpetrated on a number of numismatic bibliophiles in the spring of 
1992. For more information, see the following 2002 E-Sylum item:


The Orson Welles reference is to the October 30, 1938 Halloween radio 
broadcast of "War of the Worlds" which many listeners didn't realize 
was fiction. Hearing what sounded like legitimate news reports of 
meteors, space ships landing, and tentacled Martians disposing of 
7,000 armed soldiers with heat rays, thousands hid in cellars or fled 
in panic. Where did the Martians land? Grovers Mill, NJ.

For more background on the War of the Worlds hysteria, see: 
Full Story


Regarding last week's April Fool's Day issue, one regular contributor 
writes: "In addition to the NPR 'Soylent Green' and the ANS-ANA Merger 
articles, I thought the one about the bag of 1913 nickels was possibly 
bogus. I wonder if you're compiling statistics on how many responses 
you get to these April Fool's Day items."

[Yep, the nickel article's bogus. Thank Dave Bowers for this one. I 
edited the final version, but it incorporated his original ideas. 




Collectors of Military Payment Certificates had their own April Fools 
prank. In the April 5, 2007 MPC Gram News Letter (#1544) Joe Boling 
writes: "Congratulations to Steve Swoish on engineering a spectacular 
hoax reported in the 1 April gram - the 651 $5 replacement discovery 
note. The resolution of the photo is just low enough that it's hard 
to even determine that the suffix is missing, let alone that the last 
digits of the two serials do not match (a detail I had not noticed 
until it was pointed out to me this evening - they look like a 0 and 
an 8). What I had noticed was that the SN was correct for a position 1 
note (first 8000). But getting it up on an apparently legitimate eBay 
listing is the cat's meow. Way to go, Steve."


I know, you're already sick of April Fools items, but here's just 
one more I had to share. The Canadian satire magazine The Toque 
published "A History of Wooden Money in Canada," and it's a riot. 
Here are a couple excerpts:

"Early Canadian traders, burdened with cumbersome animal pelts, 
horns, and ivories, were unable to trade efficiently because their 
sleds, canoes, and portage carts were always weighed down with their 
heavy trade items. They needed a monetary solution that would make 
their trekking slightly less harsh. 

"The first wooden coins were bulky and awkward, up to 12-inches thick 
and seven feet in diameter, made from the sawed cross-sections of 
maple trees, and etched with rough caricatures of the King of England 
on one side and a beaver on the other."

"Later on came the "hard" currency, wooden coins made of ash, oak, 
and petrified fir. These were the first coins to be embossed, using 
iron presses and coated with a basic lacquer, the same finish French 
Canadians often used as a maple syrup substitute. When traders 
purchased items at dry goods stores, the clerk would always ask "ash 
or check?". (The word "cash" actually comes from the Algonquin term 
"ka'ash" meaning chips of wood.) 

"Canada didn't introduce metal coins until 1867, after the Canadian 
Coin Treasury burned down to the ground. The story goes that a Canadian 
treasury employee accidentally started the blaze by rubbing two nickels 
together, destroying the entire wooden reserve."

To read the complete article, see:  Full Story


Speaking of Canada, responding to my query on the status of the 
Canadian Numismatic Bibliography project, Ron Greene writes: "I wrote 
to our copy editor who replied thusly:

"'I think about all I can say is that the project of completing final 
copy layout continues on a chapter by chapter basis with one chapter 
drawing to completion and one still to go. All other sections of the 
two-volume book, including editing of a comprehensive index, are 
complete. Personal problems within the copy editor's family have 
necessitated complete cessation of work several times, which has 
significantly added to the overall time taken to complete work to 
this point. Adjustments to the text in the form of corrections and 
addition of detail continue to be applied, adding to the value of the 
work. Many, if not all, of the prime contributors to the project will 
be at the CNA Convention in July in Niagara Falls, and this remains 
the venue at which unveiling of the completed work (and some 
celebration) is planned.'

"To this I add that if the above chapter and a bit are finished by 
early May there is a slim hope that we will have it back from the 
printer and bindery by C.N.A. convention time, but many factors could 
delay us, from an election call (printers get busy) to paper supply."


Dennis Tucker of Whitman Publishing forwarded the following draft 
release about an upcoming book project. You read it first in The 

"Whitman Publishing has teamed up with Dr. Cornelius Vermeule to 
release an updated second edition of his acclaimed 1971 work, 
'Numismatic Art in America: Aesthetics of the United States Coinage', 
originally published by The Belknap Press of Harvard University 

"Vermeule, past curator of classical art at the Museum of Fine Arts, 
Boston, and lecturer on fine arts, Harvard University, started 
collecting ancient coins as a boy in 1930s England. He entered Harvard 
in 1943 but then joined the Army, was sent to the Pacific Theater in 
World War II, and stayed in Japan after the war as a language expert, 
rising to the rank of captain. He finally earned his Harvard degree 
in 1947, and a Ph.D. from the University of London in 1953. He then 
embarked on an impressive academic and curatorial career, authoring 
and editing more than a dozen works on applied numismatics, 
archaeology, painting, sculpture, and other arts.

"Numismatic Art in America states as its premise that coins are an 
art form to which every American is exposed---and the only class of 
sculpture that many will ever contact---yet coinage has been the 
least respected and understood art form in the United States. Auction 
catalogs and reference books have experienced a boom of late, and U.S. 
coins see intensive study as collector items, but even among art 
historians and students of American culture the rich field of 
numismatic iconography and medallic art has been neglected. Tackling 
this injustice, Vermeule offers the first comprehensive evaluation 
of the aesthetics of the American coin and medal.

"Referring to more than 400 full-color images, Vermeule traces 
American coinage from its tentative beginnings in a rented house 
in 1792 Philadelphia, through the 1800s, and into the 1960s, with 
renowned numismatic researcher David T. Alexander carrying the study 
into the 21st century. Compelling text and illustrations demonstrate 
that the coinage of the United States has no modern rival in 
aesthetic richness. 

"It includes such masterpieces as the primitively beautiful coins 
of the struggling young republic, the dignified Neoclassic designs 
that dominated the 19th century, the magnificent gold and silver 
medals designed by the leading sculptors of the early-20th century, 
and the remarkable commemoratives of the classic and modern series. 
Vermeule explores each period, discussing the artistic heritage 
and merits of its coins. 

"He analyzes the influence of the popular arts upon coin design, 
explores the inspirations of particular compositions and styles in 
both European and American painting and statuary, and sets the coins 
in the context of the eras that produced them. Through a study of 
its numismatic art, this work provides new understanding of the 
shaping of America's past."

[This is an exciting development (I think so, anyway). 'Numismatic Art 
in America' has long been one of my favorite books, and it's a shame 
that it's been out of print so long. -Editor]

Dennis adds: "I feel honored to be working on this book. 'Numismatic 
Art in America' is a great, but in my opinion largely unsung, numismatic 
classic. Dave Bowers praises it, as does Tom DeLorey and others 'in 
the know.' It's high time the book got the hobby-wide publicity it 
richly deserves."


The March 2007 MCA Advisory (newsletter of the Medal Collectors of 
America) mentions a recent book which has a good deal of information 
on the famous Libertas Americana medals. Editor John Adams writes: 
"In 2004, Lester C. Olsen published 'Benjamin Franklin's Vision of 
American Community.' Though unnoticed in numismatic circles, the 
book contains much of interest to medal collectors, most notably its 
56 page chapter on the Libertas Americana."

"All of the central characters are introduced. Franklin, L'academie 
des Belles Lettres, Theodore Brogniart, Esprit-Antoine Gibelin, 
Augustin Dupre and the Louvre Mint."


[I've always thought that there is a hole in the numismatic literature 
field waiting to be filled with a book on the history of the coin cabinet. 
For a classic example of a collector's cabinet, see the Heritage 
Signature Coin Auction #434, being held in St. Louis, MO on May 9-12, 
2007. -Editor]

"Circa 1820 Collector's Specimen Cabinet. A fine English Regency 
veneered cabinet of elegant classical tripartite form, the upper 
section surmounted by a sweeping pediment with a secret compartment, 
above two doors with intricately designed stinging and bands inlaid 
against a burl walnut veneer, opening to an expertly crafted and 
fitted interior with 18 bowed and inlaid trays, the doors with inlaid 
geometric bands; all above a cornice and larger conforming mid-section 
with 26 trays, over a squat open storage space, all supported on bun 
feet; all sections with individual locks and keys.

"Commentary: Similar cabinets are historical reminders of early American 
and European collecting activities, predating coin boards, coin albums, 
or the certified coin holders of today. All coin collectors of stature 
had their own cabinet to house their collection, and these were popular 
until at least the late 1920s. Page 71 of Q. David Bowers' The History 
of United States Coinage As Illustrated by the Garrett Collection shows 
a photo of John Work Garrett seated in front of his magnificent cabinet, 
examining an item from his collection. A single cabinet tray is 
extended, showing the fittings that are an integral part of these 

Coin cabinets spawned a special numismatic term that is seldom heard 
today. The Coin World Almanac defines "Cabinet Friction" as "Slight 
surface wear on a coin, token, or medal caused by friction between 
it and the tray or envelope in which it is contained."

To read the complete auction listing (and view an image of the cabinet) see: 
Full Story


Howard Daniel writes: "I have been corresponding with Gerhard Shoen in 
Germany about Vietnamese numismatics and want to purchase his World 
Coin Catalogue (35th Edition, 2007) for my personal library. He told 
me it should be available from Simon and Schuster, Inc. ( 
and Amos Press, Inc. ( I went to both websites and 
cannot find it. Do any of The E-Sylum readers know a source of this 
catalogue in the USA? If so, please contact me at"


While looking for other things I came across the December 2006 issue 
of the Counterfeit Coin Newsletter by Robert Matthews. In it was a 
reference to an obscure chapter on counterfeiting that may be of use 
to researchers:

"The editor loves nothing better than browsing in second-hand bookshops. 
One of his "must do's" of every year is a visit to Hay-on-Wye. This 
small, self-styled "town of books" nestles just inside the Welsh boarder 
and is full of second-hand bookshops. Although it now has its own website, 
nothing can beat the thrill of searching the musty bookshelves and finding 
that little gem. The book may have been something that has been sought for 
years or it may be something one did not know one must have until it was 

"One of the editor's valued gems is a book titled "Forensic Chemistry" 
by A. Lucas and published by Edward Arnold in London in 1921. This is 
one of the first books to describe the details of the then very new 
discipline of forensic science. Lucas at the time he wrote this book 
was Director of the Government Analytical Laboratory and Assay Office, 

"The book contains a chapter on counterfeit coins. This was, as far 
as the editor is aware, the first to deal with counterfeit coins with 
a forensic science approach. The chapter is only small; containing 
just seven pages and has only one reference. Lucas describes two main 
types of counterfeit coin, cast and struck and mentions a third, 
electrotype. He stated: 'A large proportion of the counterfeit coins 
made in Egypt are struck and many are excellent imitations.'"

To read the complete newsletter, see: Full Story


The following item is from the April 6, 2007 C.N.A. E-Bulletin (v3n22) 
of the Canadian Numismatic Association:

"From March 29 to October 14, the Currency Museum of the Bank of Canada, 
Ottawa, will present provocative objects from the Museum of Civilization's 
exciting exhibit "Sacred Money, Damned Money."

"The Currency Museum, located at 245 Sparks Street, Ottawa, ON, is open 
Tuesday to Saturday 10:30 am to 5 pm, Sunday, 1 pm to 5 pm and Mondays 
10:30 am to 5 pm. There is no admission charge.

"This remarkable exhibit will offer a new perspective on the coins and 
notes in your wallet, while providing a greater understanding of the 
Bank of Canada's role as the country's only note-issuing authority. 
Explore the sacred nature of money. Discover the value of money as a 
symbol of authority and power. Learn about the sacrilegious nature 
of counterfeiting and the artistic manipulation of money - as acts 
that deliberately defy money's authority and power.

For information on the Currency Museum, go to"


Sam Pennington of the Maine Antique Digest ( 
writes: "Does anyone know anything about those brass plaques, rectangular, 
about 4 x 5 inches, supposedly by Spanish modern art giant Joan Miro? They 
were offered on eBay a few years ago. They have very abstract Miro-like 
designs, but I suspect they are fakes. The marking is "X X SIECLE No. 4 
1938. Thanks."


Sam Pennington adds: "I would have sworn I read it in The E-Sylum, but I 
cannot find it. It was a definition by size of medalet, medal, medallion 
and plaque. Does that ring any bells?"

[The following is the closest I could find in our archive: "a 'medalet' 
is a small medal of 25mm or less and a 'medallion' is a large medal of 
50mm or more." Comments or discussion, anyone? -Editor]



Julian Leidman writes: "I had an inquiry from the consumer unit of a 
local TV station and couldn't think of an answer. Can anyone give me 
any assistance? Why is the dollar called a buck?" 

[Well, we here at The E-Sylum are supposed to know everything numismatic, 
so I hope to hear some definitive answers from our readers. But a web 
search did turn up one explanation that I'll use here as a starting 
point. This very query came up as a request on Yahoo Answers, and 
here's the result. -Editor]

"The Indians taught the European settlers the value of a buck. In the 
eighteenth century, that meant a deerskin, used for trading in its own 
right and as a unit of value for trading anything else. So in 1748, 
while in Indian territory on a visit to the Ohio, Conrad Weiser wrote 
in his journal, "He has been robbed of the value of 300 Bucks"; and 
later, "Every cask of Whiskey shall be sold...for 5 Bucks in your town."

"In the next century, with deerskins less often serving as a medium 
of exchange, the buck passed to the dollar. A Sacramento, California, 
newspaper reported this court judgment in 1856: "Bernard, assault and 
battery upon Wm. Croft, in the sum of twenty bucks."

To view the complete Yahoo answer, see: Full Story


David Rinehart writes: "I'm researching the countermarks of the 10th 
Roman Legion (Legio Decima Fretensis). In 68 AD the Tenth Legion 
entered Galilee to suppress the Jewish Revolt. During the siege of 
Jerusalem, led by Titus (who would later become emperor of Rome), it 
was stationed on the Mount of Olives. Later, in 72 and 73 AD, under 
a commander named Silva, the Tenth Legion was the main Roman force 
in the battle of Masada. 

"I've been corresponding with Professor Jodi Magness of the University 
of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Benny Arubas of the Hebrew 
University, who were involved in the 1995 excavations in the Roman 
siege works at Masada. I'm attempting to establish a correlation 
between the known locations of the 10th Legion Fretensis in the first 
and second centuries AD and the issuance of various varieties of 
their countermarks - both from published single examples and hoards. 

"The host coins that display the countermarks will also provide 
circumstantial data for my research. I'm attempting to obtain as 
much published literature as possible to assist me. Because this 
is a rather narrow field of research, there isn't a vast amount 
of information in print available.

"I'm looking for the November, 1974 issue of The Numismatist magazine 
(Vol. 87, No. 11). It contains an article by Gregory G. Brunk titled 
'The Ancient Countermarks' The above citation is for part one of a 
three-part series. I've already located the Dec. 1974 and Jan. 1975 
issues that complete the series.

Any assistance your readers could provide me in locating the November, 
1974 issue of The Numismatist would be much appreciated. Thank you."

[If anyone could quickly put their hands on the issue or make a 
photocopy for David, let me know and I'll put you in touch. -Editor]


David Sundman writes: "In The E-Sylum of March 18 (v10n11), you 
mentioned ' seems to me that only in recent years have errors 
found their way into the popular press. While there are many articles 
to be found in newspapers of the 1800s and 1900s about public reaction 
to the new coins, I don't recall ever seeing an article about an error 
coin. Can anyone cite one?'

"Well, attached is a scan of my candidate for the earliest mention of 
an error in a popular magazine or newspaper article. About 15 years 
ago I found this article pasted into the inside cover of my copy of THE 
AMERICAN NUMISMATIC MANUAL by Montroville Wilson Dickeson, together 
with other newspaper clippings of a numismatic nature from the 1890s 
and early 1900's.

"This article is from page 442 of METROPOLITAN MAGAZINE, year unknown, 
and contains an actual photo of the error - a very nice 50% off-center 
1884-S Morgan dollar. METROPOLITAN MAGAZINE ran from 1895 to the late 
1920's, and was aimed at the theatre crowd. Some bibliophile with access 
to a set of the magazine could look at every page 442 and supply the 
missing year. The text of the article is as follows:

United States Mint officials declare that it is impossible for an 
imperfect coin to get into circulation, each piece having to pass 
through the hands of six persons, who examine and weigh the coins 
carefully. Yet imperfect coins do manage to elude the vigilance of 
the mint officials, as will be seen by the accompanying photograph 
of one of the "Dollars of our Daddies." This piece was taken from a 
sack of coin received direct from the mint at San Francisco, cashier 
of the First National Bank of Port Townsend, Wash. The mint officials 
very much chagrined when told by Mr. Hill of his find, and they desired 
that he give the coin up. This, as may be supposed, Mr. Hill refused 
to do, and he keeps it as a pocket piece. The photograph was taken by 
Jas. G. McCurdy, Port Townsend, Wash.

"I wonder where the coin is now? It looked like a nice EF from the 
photo, and even in that condition would still get Fred Weinberg excited."

To view an image of the Metropolitan Magazine article, see: 
Full Story


The Lake County News-Sun of Illinois reported this week on the 
appearance and seizure of an astronaut's Medal of Freedom, long 
thought destroyed.

"An eBay entry advertised a rare medal bearing the name of Apollo 13 
Capt. James Lovell. 

"Lovell, a North Shore resident who owns Lovell's of Lake Forest 
restaurant, had what he thought was the only Presidential Medal of 
Freedom created for him. 

"It turns out the eBay ad, which warned: 'This thing was destined 
to be destroyed,' was right on."

[The medal has been recovered by the FBI. Lovell, played by Tom Hanks 
in the 1995 movie about the doomed 1970 Apollo 13 moon mission, is 
famous for his phrase, "Houston, we have a problem." After returning 
safely to earth after their harrowing ordeal, President Richard Nixon 
presented the three Apollo 13 astronauts with the medals -- the 
nation's highest civilian award for meritorious service. But a defect 
was discovered in the medal destined for Lovell, and a new one was made. 
The first was to be destroyed, yet somehow survived. It drew a high 
bid of $5,000 before being pulled from the site. According to a Chicago 
Sun-Times article, "another Presidential Medal of Freedom recently was 
sold - legitimately, by its owner - for $50,000."

To read the complete article (and view a picture of the medal), see: 
Full Story

To read the Chicago Sun-Times article, see: Full Story


In the March 25, 2007 E-Sylum, I asked if any of our readers were aware 
that March 25 had been designated as National Medal of Honor Day to 
recognize and honor the recipients of that award.

In the April 5, 2007 MPC Gram News Letter for collectors of Military 
payment Certificates (#1544) editor Fred Schwan writes: "I certainly 
did not hear of it. That is a dreadful shame since the MPC Fest was 
in session on March 25. We certainly would have made a big deal of 
the holiday. Indeed, it is enough to make me keep it in mind for 
future Fests."


Last week, in discussing the Fonrobert Collection, William P. Houston 
wrote that "'Gelbkupfer' in English is literally 'yellow copper.' 
Fine. But what is it? It must be brass."

Arthur Shippee writes: "'Gelbkupfer' is an an old word for brass." 
He provided a link to a German-language dictionary for reference.

Full Story


Oded Paz writes: "Hi everyone. I just joined this wonderful group, 
and I hope you can assist me. I've been collecting Pop-out / Push-out 
/ Repousse Coins for a while now, and have a modest collection. If you 
are not familiar with these coins, they are the ones that have the face 
pushed out of the coin. You can see an example here: 

"My problem is that I have not been able to find any information about 
these coins anywhere at all - not how they are made (although I have a 
male/female die set for these), why they were done (profit...?), and 
most importantly - by whom, and when (there is a rumor they started at 
the 1893 Columbian Expo). Does anyone have information to share with me? 
Thanks a lot."

[I've familiar with these, and recall seeing an advertisement for them 
in an old numismatic publication. Has anyone ever written an article 
about these? -Editor]


An April 6 article in Asian Week profiles U.S. Mint Director Ed Moy:

"In September 2006, President George W. Bush, appointed Moy the 38th 
director the U.S. Mint, the first Asian American to serve in that role, 
and the maker of those shiny coins that so captured his imagination 
as a child. 

"'Isn't this country amazing,' said Moy. 'I'm the son of Chinese 
immigrants who ran a restaurant in the Midwest. Now I oversee the 
government agency that made those coins we earned and that fascinated 
me. Where else but in America can a kid like me, working in his parent's 
restaurant, get the opportunity to one day run a critical government 

"Born in Detroit, Moy is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin. 
After working at Blue Shield Health Services for a decade, he was asked 
to serve in the Department of Health and Human Services by President 
George H. Bush. Later under the current president, Moy was special 
assistant to the president in the Office of Presidential Personnel, 
an agency that oversaw applicants to some of the president's key 

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


A reader forwarded a lengthy article on military "challenge coins" 
published March 30 in The Leavenworth Lamp, a publication of the U.S. 
Army's Ft. Leavenworth base.

"When talking about military coins, challenge coins or award coins, a 
practice steeped in tradition comes to mind.

"Commanders have been handing them out for years as a way to acknowledge 
a job well done. In the 1980s, this tangible "attaboy" boomed in 

"Now, nearly every organization and Army group has a coin used to 
acknowledge the good work of its members.

"The coins vary in size (usually from 1 1/4 inches to 2 inches in 
diameter) and color (antiqued bronze, silver, gold). Some are colorful, 
some are not and some have plain edges while others have serrated or 
scalloped edges."

"Tracing the exact roots of the military challenge or award coin is 
difficult, said Jefferson Reed, who now serves as deputy curator for 
the Army in Atlanta Museum. He helped to develop an exhibit on 
challenge coins while at Fort Stewart, Ga.

"Stories surrounding the historical birth of 'challenge coins' in 
the military are as varied as the coins themselves."

"These challenges served as a precursor to "The Jolly Sixpence Club," 
a club started by Capt. Jim Harrington of the 107th Infantry, New York 
National Guard in 1954. Harrington and others in the group carried exotic 
or unusual coins and were required to produce them upon request. The 
rules were similar to the short snorter and pfennig checks.

"n 1966, Harrington was stationed in Ethiopia with the National Guard 
19th Special Forces Group (Airborne) and started a new tradition, 
building upon the groundwork laid by "The Jolly Sixpence Club." The 
"Maria Theresa Thaler" was presented to deserving Soldiers as an award 
for their hard work."

"Regardless of its origins, the military coin is here to stay. It's a 
symbol of status, travel and accomplishments. And it makes for a pretty 
nice decoration.

"'You'll notice them as you go into people's offices,' Crow said. 'There 
will be this huge rack with hundreds of coins from all over the place. 
It's sort of like collecting service stripes in a way, a way of saying, 
'Look at all the places I've been.' "

To read the complete article, see: Full Story 


Dick Johnson writes: "While it is not uncommon for a family to donate 
an ancestor's medals to a museum, this Canadian news story included 
mention of the British "death penny" mentioned recently here in E-Sylum 
(vol 9, no 46, article 16) November 12, 2006. 

Family member Chris Patterson said "It's like a piece of my great 
grandfather is coming home. He's back with his regiment." Patterson 
is a member of Winnipeg's Fort Garry Horse Regiment. The medals were 
donated to the Canadian Scottish Regimental Museum in Victoria."

The news story, "Medals Brought Home," is on the internet at: 
Full Story "



One reader notes: "It's interesting the things you run across in 
otherwise unrelated news stories. The New York Times reports in a 
story about 'eco-friendly' palms for Palm Sunday, in the very last 
sentence, that apparently some people believe American's color 
"greenbacks" green with palm juices..."

"But then he revealed what the people here had long believed to be the 
real use of the exported palms. The juices in the stems and leaves are 
extracted, he explained in a conspiratorial whisper, and then turned 
into a special mixture that is used to stain greenbacks green. 

""This is how you color your dollars," he said, waving a palm."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

[So here we go - another great question for our readers: exactly where 
DOES the green ink for U.S. greenbacks come from? Is it really derived 
from palm oil? One Internet source does mention that "In the Amazon, 
the acai palm heart is widely consumed as a vegetable, the fruit is 
prepared into a popular fruit drink and used as a natural ink or dye..." 
Full Story -Editor]


Regarding last week's query on cleaning paper money, John and Nancy 
Wilson of Ocala, FL write: "The following web page has good information 
(close to the bottom of the page) on cleaning or repairing paper money. "

Darryl Atchison writes: "Please find below a list of published references 
that I am aware of pertaining to banknote preservation and restoration as 
well as a few comments on the subject.

1. Curto, J.J. - <>. - The 
Numismatist : Vol. 58, no. 6 (June 1945). - (Note that this article 
was later off-printed in 1971). 

2. Holmes, Walter G. - <>. - Canadian Paper 
Money Journal : Vol. 2 (1966). - p. 9, 23

3. Proulx, Claude. - <>. - Canadian Numismatic Journal : Vol. 39, no. 6 (July - Aug. 
1994). - p. 288 - 290, ill.

4. Tribolet, Harold W. - <>. - Canadian Paper Money Journal : Vol. 6 (1970). - p. 30 - 
33, 49 - 50. - discusses the art of the paper conservator, paper 
conservation and restoration. Part 2 CPMJ : Vol. 6, p. 74 

5. Coin World published a four-part series on this highly controversial 
topic beginning in Sep. 2002 which was intended to blow the lid off of 
the practice whereby banknotes were being 'cleaned' / 'restored' and 
then subsequently re-presented to the collecting fraternity as 'genuine, 
original-condition' notes. 

"I remember having a discussion with a few paper money collectors 
approximately fifteen years ago in which it was claimed by at least 
one individual that the majority of banknotes in the marketplace had 
been 'processed' at one time or another. Whether this was purely 
speculation or not I can't say but I don't think anyone would have to 
look too hard to find examples of processed notes. Think of processing 
as the equivalent of dipping coins and the prevalence of the latter 
practice for a correlation. No matter how many people say that dipping 
is bad for coins the practice continues and various chemical products 
are readily and openly available in the numismatic marketplace. 

"Finally, John Ford Jr. once claimed that he was so talented at restoring 
banknotes that an untrained eye could not detect the restoration... or 
words to that effect. 

"All in all, I am in the 'don't clean' camp whenever possible. There 
are too many nefarious practitioners who later claim that these 
cleaned/restored items are in a much higher state of preservation than 
is the actual case and it is only the innocent collector who suffers 
in the end."


On Monday April 2, Ed Snible wrote about an interesting exhibit of 
art medals in his blog, 'A Gift for Polydektes':

"The show presented art and historical medals on the theme of 
industrialization. I enjoyed the show, which occupied two glass cases 
in the small gallery, as well as the permanent medal collection. My 
favorite pieces were some Japanese medals what seemed like a traditional 
style, and a Soviet space medal showing the Baikonur Cosmodrome behind 
Kazakh peasants.

"Medialia is a gallery selling fine art sculpture. All the pieces are 
small, and most are what I'd call art medals. Until last week, I was 
unaware that New York even had a medal gallery. 

"I was given a free catalog of the show. It wasn't on glossy paper but 
it was still nice - and something one doesn't get at coin shops. The 
catalog seemed like something that medal and numismatic literature 
collectors would want, but I've never seen a Medialia catalog in a coin 
book auction and the ANS library appears to lack them as well. So, the 
catalogs are a new offering or great rarities."

To read Ed's complete blog entry, see: Full Story

"INDUSTRIALIZATION Selected medallic art from: The Galst, Kakitsubo, 
Miller, Simpson, and Withington Collections

"This is a loan exhibition from several medal enthusiasts, where each 
has interpreted the theme, INDUSTRIALIZATION, as it is reflected in 
their collections. The selected medals reveal the collector's special 
interests and demonstrates historic value. This is the first time such 
exquisite and unique medals have been selected from private collections 
to be exhibited together at Medialia Gallery."

To visit the Medalia Gallery web site, see:

[Unfortunately, the exhibit closed March 31st. It's a shame we didn't 
learn of it earlier. Is anyone familiar with art medal collectors Galst, 
Kakitsubo, Miller, Simpson, or Withington? Who are they - are they known 
in the numismatic realm? -Editor]


While looking for other things this week I came across this note about 
Australia's Macquarie Bank. The Bank's logo is a stylized version of 
the 'Holey Dollar', which Lachlan Macquarie introduced as the first 
domestic coinage of the colony.

"Macquarie Bank adopted its name from Governor Lachlan Macquarie, a 
leading pioneer and the man responsible for transforming the early 
settlement in Australia from a penal colony into a dynamic economy." 

"In 1813 Governor Lachlan Macquarie overcame an acute currency shortage 
by purchasing Spanish silver dollars (then worth five shillings), 
punching out the centres and creating two new coins - the 'Holey Dollar' 
(valued at five shillings) and the Dump (valued at one shilling and 
three pence). This single move not only doubled the number of coins in 
circulation but increased their total worth by 25 per cent and prevented 
the coins from leaving the colony.

Governor Macquarie's creation of the Holey Dollar was an inspired 
solution to a difficult problem and for this reason it was chosen as 
the symbol of the Macquarie Group. "

To read the complete story, see: Full Story
Full Story 

For more information on Lachlan Macquarie, see: Lachlan Macquarie

[There is also a Macquarie University Museum which "holds a modest coin 
collection used for basic teaching within the undergraduate Ancient 
History programs and for the Education Programs of the Museum. This 
collection has been published and is available for sale. Nixon, C.E.V. 
(1996). Catalogue of the Coins in the Macquarie University Museum of 
Ancient Cultures. Macquarie University: Sydney, Australia. Price $11.00 
plus postage and handling. For orders, contact Karl Van Dyke on (02) 
9850 9263 or email:" 

To visit the Australian Centre for Ancient Numismatic Studies, see: 
Australian Centre for Ancient Numismatic Studies


This week on the Collector's Universe coin forum, user Fletcher writes: 
" ... I recently ordered a rare (1 of 50) first edition set of Charles I. 
Bushnell's "Crumbs for Antiquarians" because it contains a narrative 
written by my GGGGG Grandfather Ebenezer Fletcher about his wounding, 
capture, and escape from the British during the revolutionary war. It 
just arrived and is in excellent condition ... it looks like it has 
been sitting on a shelf since the day it was printed, only the corners 
are slightly bumped. 

"To my surprise, it also contains a complete section on the first 
Business Tokens issued in the State of New York and the Talbot, Allum 
& Lee company. It also has a census and list of related auctions from 
the 1850's with prices realized and who purchased each coin ... a very 
interesting read. On a side note, it is widely believed that Charles 
I. Bushnell was responsible for the Fugio New Haven Restrikes."

To read the complete post and view images of the book, see: 
Full Story


Also this week on the Collector's Universe coin forum, user Longacre 
writes: "I don't know how often people here buy books from Charles Davis, 
but I always enjoy his eBay listings because he always has interesting 
books to offer. Initially, I thought his listings were a little odd, 
because he ends every listing with the following blurb:

'And finally, not to insult the intelligence of the reader, please note 
that there are no coins included with this lot. Any coins illustrated 
are just that - illustrations. Please do not ask for a refund (or provide 
negative feedback) if all you receive is a printed work. That is all that 
is being offered.'

"I figured that no one could be so foolish to think that a bookseller 
that is selling books with coins pictured on the covers, etc., would 
actually be getting the coins themselves. But then, I noticed a listing 
that Davis put up today, which included the following:

"'The F. R. Alvord Collection of United States Half Cents, sale by S. H. 
Chapman, June 9, 1924, undated reprint c1975, 255 lots, 20 pages, 5 
plates of coins, prices realized list, glossy white covers. New. Adams 
"A" 'Arguably the best collection of half cents ever.' .............. 
........................ ..............Note: This is a relisting of an 
item sold several weeks ago where the boneheaded winning bidder backed 
out as he thought he was getting $2 million worth of half cents for his 
$27.00 bid. God spare me from these sorts of morons in the future.."

To read the original posting, see: Full Story


Ancient Coins in Education is referenced in this story from Virginia. 
Students in Latin class are studying coins to strengthen or expand 
the curriculum.

Full Story


"The Hawai'i Commemorative Quarter Advisory Commission announced 
... it is seeking the public's opinion on design of the special 
state quarter.

"The five designs submitted to the United States Mint were approved 
last week by Secretary of the Treasury, Henry M. Paulson, Jr. The 
commission will consider public opinion on the proposed designs before 
making its final recommendation to Gov. Linda Lingle."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

To place a vote for the Hawaii State Quarter design, see: Full Story

[Voting closes April 18th. Although intended for input from Hawaiian 
citizens, the voting is open to all. Check it out, and if you have a 
strong opinion, place your vote! 

My pick is number three, hands down. The "Diamond Head" design is 
clean and uncluttered. It features two classic icons of Hawaii - the 
famous west profile of Diamond Head and the full statue of King Kamehameha, 
along with the word "aloha." It does NOT have the outline of the state, 
or a schlocky surfer or Hula dancer. -Editor]


"Gary Marks was selected through public outreach as one of three CCAC 
members appointed to represent the interests of the General Public. 
His four-year term on the CCAC will expire in March 2011.

"Currently, the City Manager of Whitefish, Montana, Mr. Marks has worked 
in city government for nearly 20 years, and also served as a Commissioner 
of the Montana Quarter Design Selection Committee. A dedicated numismatist 
for 33 years, he also served as Executive Director of the Whitefish 
Centennial Medallion Commission. An expert collector of Washington 
Quarters, Barber Half Dollars and Walking Liberty Half-Dollars, he holds 
a B.A. in Human Resource Management from George Fox College in Newberg, 

"Mr. Michael Brown was appointed based on the recommendation of Senator 
Harry Reid in his capacity as then-Senate Minority Leader. Mr. Brown's 
four-year term on the CCAC will expire in March 2011.

"Mr. Brown is Vice President of Public Affairs for Barrick Gold Corporation.

He served as Special Assistant to former United States Mint Director Donna 
Pope from 1981 to 1989, and prior to that served as Vice President of the 
Gold and Silver Institute in Washington, D.C. Mr. Brown holds a B.S. degree 
from Ohio State University and an MBA from George Washington University.

"The Reverend Dr. Richard J. Meier was appointed based on the recommendation
of Representative Dennis Hastert in his capacity as then-Speaker of the 
House. Reverend Meier's four-year term on the CCAC will expire in December 

"Currently serving as Pastor of the Alpine Lutheran Church in Rockford, 
Illinois, Reverend Meier's 36-year career has included missionary work 
in Argentina, and church work from California to Florida. An avid collector,
Reverend Meier was introduced to the numismatic hobby as a child by his 
grandfather, who gave him an 1899 Morgan Silver Dollar. Reverend Meier holds
a B.A. from Augustana College, a Master of Divinity from the Lutheran School
of Theology in Chicago, and a Doctor of Ministry from Luther Seminary in St.
Paul, Minnesota."

To read the complete U.S. Mint Press Release, see: 
Full Story


Workers moving slot machines from the soon-to-be-demolished Sands Casino 
Hotel in Atlantic City have discovered over $17,000 worth of coins and 
chips that fell under or around slot machines over the last 26 years.

"The casino was closed last November and will be torn down later this 
year to make way for a new gambling hall. The 2,350 machines had not been 
moved in the 26 years the Sands operated, so workers removing them 
expected to find some stray cash. 

"Just how much, however, was a surprise. It was $17,193.34, to be exact." 

"Some had rolled into small spaces between machines, but most of it was 
found underneath them. The older-style machines contained buckets inside 
to hold coins that were deposited, and when they overflowed, sometimes 
coins rolled underneath the machines. 

""Some of the coins we had to pry up," Gonzalez said. "They were stuck to 
the floor, they had been there so long. They were real gunky and dirty, 
and had become like part of the cement. We had to dig them out of the 
floor with a knife." 

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


This week's featured web site is CoinTelevision, recommended by Howard 
Daniel. He writes: " is a recorded version of 
numismatic news items!"

The site notes that "Cointelevision is a 24 hour video news and programming 
service devoted to providing timely and accurate information about the coin 
and collector market. Dealer organizations, collector groups, coin traders 
and other informed sources from around the world provide programming and 
market information."

[The only original content I can see on the site at this point is a set 
of presentations from the American Numismatic Association Candidates Forum 
recorded in Charlotte, NC on March 16, 2007. Presenters include Arthur 
Fitts, Carl Schwenker, Anthony Tumonis, Ed Rochette, Joe Boling, Wendell 
Wolka, Radford Stearns, Alan Herbert, Cliff Mishler, Barry Stuppler, John 
Eshbach, Patti Jagger Finner, and Don Kagin. I would urge the ANA members 
among us to view the videos and consider their votes carefully. -Editor]

Featured Web site

  Wayne Homren
  Numismatic Bibliomania Society 

Content presented in The E-Sylum is not necessarily researched or independently fact-checked, and views expressed do not necessarily represent those of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.

The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization promoting numismatic literature.   For more information please see our web site at There is a membership application available on the web site.  To join, print the application and return it with your check to the address printed on the application.  Visit the Membership page. Those wishing to become new E-Sylum subscribers (or wishing to Unsubscribe) can go to the following web page link.

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