The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 10, Number 15, April 15, 2007:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2007, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers are Peter Tillou, courtesy of Sam
Pennington, Robert Zornes, Jamie Yakes and Wayne Herndon.
Welcome aboard!  We now have 1,095 subscribers.

It's been a busy week, and I'm all out of Words for this evening,
other than to wish my daughter Hannah a happy birthday - she turned
three yesterday, April 14th.  Have a great week, everyone.

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


April 15-21 is the 84th National Coin Week sponsored by the American
Numismatic Association.  The ANA web site notes that "Each year during
the third week of April, the American Numismatic Association celebrates
National Coin Week with exhibits, presentations and other activities
at civic centers, libraries, and schools to let the world know about
the joys of collecting and studying coins, paper notes, and other forms
of money."

Coincidentally, the American Library Association observes National
Library Week during the same period.  For numismatic bibliophiles,
it's a match made in heaven.  So as George Heath might have said,
'What is the matter with having a National Coin Book Week?'

What events might we bibliophiles arrange to help spread the word
about our little corner of the numismatic hobby, while also boosting
numismatics and literacy in general?  Let's hear your thoughts, readers,
and perhaps by this time next year The E-Sylum will be reporting on
activities of the first National Coin Book Week.

National Coin Week
National Coin Week

National Library Week
National Library Week


Independent numismatic literature dealer Douglas Saville (formerly
of Spink) writes: "My website now has 100 or so books listed. Another
300+ will go on very soon."

To visit the Douglas Saville Numismatic Books web site, see:
Douglas Saville Numismatic Books


New subscriber Mikhail Istomin of Kharkov, Eastern Ukraine writes:
"Recently I published Volume I of a catalogue on paper money during
the Civil War in Russia.   Roughly, the catalogue covers the notes
listed in Pick under #101-244. It is in Russian/English with
parallel texts.

Volume I

"This catalogue considers the paper money of government and
municipal issues during the Civil War in such regions of the
former Russian Empire:

Chapter I    –  Northern region of Russia;
Chapter II   –  Northwestern region of Russia;
Chapter III  – Russian Baltic provinces (Baltic states);
Chapter IV –  Central region of Russia;
Chapter V  –  Russian  Northwest provinces (Byelorussia);
Chapter VI -  Stamping and overprints on bonds.

"Before each issue there is brief information on the government /
region /province. The notes are priced in US dollars, usually for
three grades. The majority of the issues are illustrated.  The
differences between the varieties are explained in words and when
possible, shown visually.  Many notes are illustrated for the
first time.

"248 pages, hardbound with colorful cover (280x205mm).  Russian &
English language with parallel texts. 195 black and white
illustrations of banknotes, 20 colored illustrations in the end
sheets (face + back – one illustration).

"The price of the catalogue is 40 dollars with slow registered
mail and 42 dollars with quick registered mail. For all other
details please contact me at: "

To view the front and back covers of the book, see:
View Covers


Jørgen Sømod writes: "On May 24 2007 will be published the 5th
volume of 13 planned in my big project:

Jørgen Sømod, Danske & norske medailler & jetoner siden jernalderen
og indtil 1788 (Danish & Norwegian medals & jetons since the iron
age and until 1788), 2006, 252 pages, hardbound, ISBN 87-85103-36-5.

Jørgen Sømod
Hollændervej 20
DK 1855 Frederiksberg C
Telefon X 45 - 33212484
See also "


This week Ed Snible writes in his blog, 'A Gift for Polydektes':
"Google recently added a bunch more full-view and downloadable
issues of the Numismatic Chronicle. Most of the 1850s issues
are now available."

To read the complete blog entry, see:
Full Story

To view Ed Snible's Numismatic Chronicle online guide, see:
Numismatic Chronicle

For issues of Numismatic Chronicle scanned by the Million Book Project, see:

For issues of Numismatic Chronicle scanned by Google, see:


Sam Pennington writes: "Ben Weiss and I have been tasked to update
the Medal Collectors of America web site. We have just posted many
back issues of the MCA Advisory, the monthly newsletter of MCA.
They are in .pdf form.  There is lots of good writing by experts
and even some novices like myself. Pictures, too!"

To access the MCA Advisory archive, see:
MCA Advisory archive


Ray Williams writes: "I received a book as a gift from a friend
yesterday - it is a reprint of Swift's Drapier's Letters.  Many
of the pages have not been cut and I was hoping to get a recommendation
as to the best way to cut them open.  My initial thoughts were to
use a razor knife but I thought I'd check here first."

[You've got a great friend there, and you've come to the right place
for advice.  We had a discussion on this topic a couple years ago,
and here are links to the items in our archive.  The definitive answer
came from George Kolbe:  do NOT use a sharp knife, as it can easily
cut things you don't want to.  It is far better to use a DULL knife
(and an ordinary table knife will do). See the E-Sylum excerpt below.

  Alan Luedeking writes: "I was intrigued by Steve Woodland's
  success story in opening his "virgin" book. I have often been
  faced with this dilemma with Latin American numismatic
  literature (a classic example being Burzio's "Diccionario", an
  essential read, often encountered unopened.) The first time,
  I did what Steve did: I took a "very sharp knife" and failed
  dismally. Careful as I was, nothing could change the fact that
  I'm basically a clumsy oaf, so of course I slipped and slit a
  page away from its natural fold. Belatedly recognizing my
  shortcomings, I stopped and did what I should have done
  from the start: ask George Kolbe for his advice! To my
  great surprise, George said to use a very dull knife (an
  ordinary table knife), and voilá!-- this has worked
  successfully every time.




Rich Hartzog writes: "William Swoger of Michigan is finishing his
book on Heraldic Art Medals and requests the following information.
He is seeking the original issue price for the gold issues (#1 to 7,
1959-61), and the silver Special Issues of the Heraldic Art Medals,

Dag Hammarsksjold
John Glenn
John Fitzgerald
Herbert Hoover
Adlai Stevenson
Dwight Eisenhower
American Bicentennial

"Anyone with any original literature, or contemporary articles
should contact me at, as Swoger does not
currently have email access."

[A web page on Rich's web site has a good deal of
information about the Heraldic Art medals series. A short excerpt
appears below. -Editor]

"In 1954 the U.S. ceased making commemorative coins because of
abuses perpetrated by Congress and the sponsors of these coins.
Commemorative coins would not be struck again until the U.S.
bicentennial, and then not again until 1982.  Robert McNamara
recognized the dilemma that this policy produced as there were
many events in our history that were worthy of being recognized
and celebrated within the scope of our national commemorative
coin program.

"In 1959, Robert  began the issuance of commemorative medals, the
size and weight of our half-dollar and with reeded edges and exact
weight (192 grains) but a higher fineness (.925 silver as opposed
to .900 fine), to replicate as close as possible, the U.S. half-dollar.
The U.S. treasury was alerted to this effort and informed Bob that
he would have to make some change to his medals so that they would
not pass as half dollars in machines.  His answer was to add 70
extra grains of sterling silver to the weight of each medal.

"Now, without the encumbrances of Congressional legislation, (he
did not have to include a denomination, “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA”,
“IN GOD WE TRUST”, “LIBERTY” or “E PLURIBUS UNUM” on any of his medals),
he proceeded to strike three different medals each year and continued
the program through 1978, making 60 different lovely medals over
the 20-year period"

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


Jim Hirtle writes: "What -- if anything -- is known about a business
relationship between Boston coin dealer William Von Bergen and B. Max
Mehl?  I am interested in writing a paper about the two.  Does anyone
have any information?  Thanks!"


Larry Dziubek writes: "I wonder if one of your readers can help -
we are trying to determine the location of a maverick token / spinner
issued around 1960 based on the style of the phone number.  It reads:
'CORNER  SHOP / 2528  E.  11TH   /   WE 6-8168 /  COINS - ANTIQUES
/  RAY WHEELER'.  Thank you."

[The E. 11th Street address could be in any number of cities or
towns.  Perhaps Wheeler was a member of the American Numismatic
Association.  David Sklow has an ANA member database through 1955,
but no Wheeler is listed.  Perhaps a later membership directory
lists him.  Can anyone help?  I no longer have my handy stash of
old directories.  -Editor]


Dick Johnson writes: "To answer Oded Paz's E-Sylum: Pop-out coins
are made with a die and force. On September 15, 1972 Medallic Art
Company purchased the August Frank Company's medal division and
obtained all their dies. Among perhaps 7,000 dies was one that
created just such pop-out coins. It was a lady's head intended for
a half dollar coin.

"I tried it manually - attempting to hammer the reverse to force
the coin into the die's cavities like repoussé - without much success.
I concluded it had to be done on a press with a FORCE, a die with
the positive image that drove the proper mass of the coin into the
negative design of the die at hand. I believe I still have that
mangled half dollar (I couldn't return it to circulation since I
was the one who mutilated it)."

[August Frank!  That does seem to ring a bell now.  Can anyone
locate an August Frank advertisement listing pop-out coins for
sale?  -Editor]


Jørgen Sømod forwarded a copy of the April 2007 issue of
'International Numismatic e-News (INeN), the Electronic Newsletter
of the International Numismatic Commission.   Published in English,
French, German, Italian, and Spanish, back issues of the INeN can
be downloaded from the organization's website.

"The International Numismatic Commission was founded in 1934 to
facilitate cooperation between scholars and between institutions
in the field of numismatics and related disciplines. The Commission
has now about 150 members from 36 countries. These include museums,
university institutes, numismatic societies and mints."

To visit the International Numismatic Commission web site, see:
International Numismatic Commission


Regarding David Rinehart query about Roman legion counterstamps,
Dan Demeo writes: "I do know something of the Legion X Fretensis,
due to a fellow who was doing exactly what David seems to be doing;
he gave several talks at our local ancient coin club, illustrated
with coins, bricks, etc.  He has moved away from Southern California
to the north; his name is Richard Baker.  He was quite accomplished
in counterstamps and their use, especially Legion X -- there were
two tenth legions, and one must discern counterstamps of one from
the other, based on the location of the legion and the date and
location of the coin that was counterstamped.

"Richard has part of his collection on the net at
Richard Baker Collection

"At one point, Richard was writing something on legionary
counterstamps -- it may have ended up in a publication of the
Society of Ancient Numismatics (SAN) or a similar organization."


Dan Demeo adds: "We really shouldn't get in the habit of copying
and sending articles from a copyrighted publication like the Numismatist
to someone -- David could ask the ANA Librarian--they would be the
proper people to forward copies of their publication."

[I usually do just what Dan suggests – encourage people to join the
American Numismatic Association to get the article from their library.
I just don’t have or take the time to do that explicitly for every
query.   David in fact first wrote to me asking about dealers who
may have the issue in stock for purchase.  Unfortunately, modern
periodicals like The Numismatist are so common I'm not aware of any
dealer who actively stocks them.  Many thanks to Joe Boling and Bill
Malkmus who both offered to send David a copy of the article he
needed for his research.  -Editor]


According to a press release issued by the ANA this week, "The
American Numismatic Association held a luncheon Monday at the
Money Museum to recognize six staff members, each observing more
than 15 years of service and celebrating a combined 140 years of
service to the association.

"Pictured from left to right are Barbara Gregory, 26 years; Joyce
Wohlfert, 15 years; Sandy Hill, 17 years; Kimberly Kiick, 25 years;
Marilyn Reback, 22 years; and, Brenda Bishop, 27 years.

"In 1980, Meeting Services Director and Certified Meeting Planner
Brenda Bishop began work at the ANA as a receptionist and accounting
assistant and has held a number of related positions, including
personnel and business manager, before accepting the challenge of
managing the Association's meetings and conventions in 1998.

"Numismatist Editor Barbara Gregory joined the Association in 1981
as a part-time editorial assistant, new to the hobby of coin
collecting. Since then, she has become an advanced numismatist and
credits a previous Numismatist Editor, Neil Harris, with instilling
the importance of quality and attention to detail.

"'I have enjoyed spending over half my life with the ANA - and can't
imagine being anywhere else,' Gregory said.

"Gregory worked for 22 of her 25 years alongside Marilyn Reback,
who began work at the ANA as a temporary employee in 1985. Reback
cites her degree in math with preparing her for the exacting detail
and concentration that is necessary as senior editor of publications."

[Congratulations to all of the honored ANA staffers.  Marilyn Reback
was the Editor of our print journal, The Asylum for a number of years,
so I've worked with her in that capacity as well as in her role at
the ANA.  As General Chairman of the 2004 Pittsburgh convention I had
the pleasure of working closely with Barbara Gregory and Brenda Bishop
as well.  All are top-notch folks who get the job done day in and day
out at ANA headquarters.  Hip hip, hooray!  -Editor]


According to a press release issued by the ANA on Monday, "Eighteen
members of the American Numismatic Association have accepted their
nominations for positions on the 2007-2009 ANA Board of Governors.

"The Board consists of a president, vice president and seven governors.
All serve two-year terms, and all are elected by the ANA membership
on an at-large basis. Candidates were required to receive a minimum
of five club and five individual nominations. Nominations closed on
March 31 and candidates had until April 7 to accept or decline their

"Barry S. Stuppler of Woodland Hills, CA and Patricia Jagger-Finner
of Iola, WI are running unopposed for the offices of president and

"ANA Governor Brian E. Fanton of Hiawatha, IA, has resigned from the
Board to attend to family matters, and has elected not to accept
his nomination for office.

"Candidates for governor are (listed alphabetically):
• Joseph E. Boling of Indianapolis, IN
• M. Remy Bourne of Vadnais Heights, MN
• Donald H. Dool of Crystal Lake, IL
• Michael B. Doran of Greenup, IL
• John R. Eshbach of Smoketown, PA
• Arthur M. Fitts III of Framingham, MA
• Alan Herbert of Belle Fourche, SD
• Donald H. Kagin of Tiburon, CA
• Chester L. Krause of Iola, WI
• Clifford Mishler of Iola, WI
• Walter A. Ostromecki of Panorama City, CA
• Edward C. Rochette of Colorado Springs, CO
• Carl Schwenker III of Houston, TX
• Radford Stearns of Stone Mountain, GA
• Anthony A. Tumonis of Tucson, AZ
• Wendell A. Wolka of Greenwood, IN

"Election ballots, as well as a photograph and a biography/platform
supplied by each candidate, will be sent by the independent auditing
firm of BiggsKofford, P.C., to eligible voting ANA members. Mailed
in late May, the envelope will indicate that a ballot is enclosed.

"Candidate photographs and biographies/platforms also will be
published in the June issue of the ANA's Numismatist magazine.

"Ballots must be returned to the auditing firm by July 19. Election
results will be announced on or before July 29, and the new Board of
Governors will be sworn in at the ANA's World’s Fair of Money
convention banquet in Milwaukee on August 11."


In his ad in the April 2007 Bank Note Reporter, paper money dealer
Tom Denly writes: "This past weekend, I had the chance to speak with
a member of the ANA Board at a show... He did not read BNR, but then
said he did not read Coin World or Numismatic News - I wrote him off
my [list of] preferred vote getters.  How can a person represent me
if he does not know how the industry feels?

"You will be asked to vote on the members of the board this coming
June or July.  The ANA has been losing money and it truly needs a
turn-around with new board members who know how to run a business
and how to make money.  This is my opinion and you will hear more
in coming months."

[A Board member could be forgiven for not reading a specialty
publication like Bank Note Reporter.  It would also be hard to
find fault with a member for not reading BOTH of the weekly hobby
newspapers.  But to not read either?  That seems downright bizarre.

I'm not familiar with many of the current board members, and not
all are running for reelection.  But you can't accuse the regular
E-Sylum contributors among the board candidates of not reading
the numismatic literature - they wrote much of it.  Folks like
Joe Boling, John Eshbach, Ed Rochette and Wendell Wolka need
little introduction to those in the know among ANA membership
and hobby leadership.  To Tom Denly's point about business leadership,
Chet Krause and Cliff Mishler are successful businessmen known
throughout the hobby for their achievements with Krause Publications.
Please consider their position statements carefully, along with
those of all the candidates when it comes time to cast your ballot.


April Fools articles aren’t the only made-up items in numismatic
periodicals (and no, I'm not talking about ad copy).  Fred Reed
in his 'Shades of the Blue & Grey' column in the April 2007 Bank
Note Reporter discusses a bogus item inserted into a Coin World
column that appeared in the paper in February 1969.  Reed's article
discusses the "Romain" copies of U.S. Encased Postage Stamps that
appeared in the 1960s and have vexed collectors ever since.

"Alerted to the fakes by John J. Ford, Coin World Editor Margo
Russell, working with U.S. postal authorities, used the fake item
to help identify and alert collectors who may have been taken in
by the scam.

"In Jim Johnson's 'Collector's Clearinghouse' column, Russell
inserted a fake letter asking for collectors to contribute to a
census of encased postage for an upcoming book.  The purported
author and letter writer was a "Margaret Wallace Graham" of New
York.  The name was invented by Russell using "a contrived combination
of my mother's maiden name and mine..."

"The article noted "Encased Postage has a history but not too much
has been published numismatically, and we have a request for assistance
from a reader who is hoping to remedy that."

"Unfortunately, there was apparently little response to the request
and ultimately the trail grew cold.  Reed is interested in learning
if any of our readers has further information on the copies or their
mysterious maker."


Bob Leuver forwarded the following extract from 'The History of Money',
by Jack Weatherford, Crown Publishers, New York (Random House), 1997.
He writes: "Jack's book is a great read."

"BUCK.  Settlers used the skin of the North American deer for trade.
Each skin was known as a buck, a word that has survived as a slang
term for a dollar.  (pg. 23)  President Harry S. Truman declared
“The Buck stops here.”  At the Bureau of Engraving and Printing,
machines have signs that read “The buck starts here.”   “Today the
electronic buck neither starts nor stops; it is in constant motion.”
(pg 249)"

Eric P. Newman writes: "In your April 8, 2007 E-Sylum there is an
answer about the word "buck" meaning dollar. Before Julian Liedman
answers his inquirer I believe more study should me made. In the
late 18th century and early 19th century deerskin exchange for
commercial transactions was commonly used in the Mississippi Valley
(including its Missouri and Ohio tributaries) at fluctuating values
around 2 1/2 to 3 deerskins to the French piastre or the Spanish
dollar. It was called in French "peaux de chevreuille" (variously
spelled). It should be researched further as to when one deerskin
became worth as much as a US Dollar. Whiskey at 5 bucks per keg in
the early 18th century was not $5, but 5 shaved deer skins."

[My daughter Hannah illustrated that usage of the word "buck" is
still much in vogue after two hundred years.  Playing in her toy
kitchen this evening she made Daddy a hamburger and said, "thirty
bucks, please!"   This is one kid that should have no trouble
paying her own way through college.  And she'll have to if I buy
too many thirty-buck hamburgers between now and then. -Editor]


George Fuld writes: "The discussion about coin cabinets in the
April 8th E-Sylum brings to mind a cabinet that my father and I
acquired about 1970.

"When George Williams died in the early 70’s, we found out some
history about him.  His major interest was collecting Maryland
tokens — a subject in which we were most interested.   Tom Warfield,
of Mason-Dixon Coin Co., acquired from his estate the collection of
Maryland tokens and a wonderful pure mahogany coin cabinet.

"Williams worked for about twenty years for Waldo Newcomer as his
special assistant for his numismatic interests.  Williams did all
the mundane things involved with building a first rate collection
for Newcomer.  (Of interest is that Louis Eliasberg, Sr. also had
a full time numismatic assistant, a lady whose name I cannot recall.
She also did all the mundane things required to build a fine
collection for her boss).  When Newcomer committed suicide in 1933,
in his will, Newcomer gave only one thing to Williams, his mahogany
coin cabinet.

"This cabinet housed Newcomer’s U.S. gold collection.  It stands on
its own legs with three tiers of about 15 trays, all made of mahogany.
Each tray (or drawer) had small wooden dowels to make divided space
for each coin.  There is also a large drawer above with two large
trays with dividers that would hold larger coins — those greater than
about 40mm.  The cabinet was housed in my father’s coin room until
his death in 1987.  We had our Maryland token collection housed in it.

"The cabinet (about 3 ½ feet wide, 15 inches deep and standing about
5 feet high) stayed at my mother’s apartment until she moved to Santa
Barbara in 1990.  I considered selling the cabinet (a local coin
dealer, Milton Lynn had been trying to buy it for years and even
asked about it at the Baltimore show last week.)

"When my son Robert heard that we wanted to sell it, he had an
inspiration.  “I will keep the cabinet in our living room as a
major addition to our furnishings.”  The cabinet has sat in my
son’s living room since 1990 — completely empty.  My son has no
interest whatsoever in coins or anything to do with them!  Thus,
Waldo Newcomer’s coin cabinet remains in our family — empty but
not forgotten."


Smithsonian Networks' has issued a press release about its upcoming
programming schedule, which includes an episode on the 1933 Double
Eagle.  But numismatists will do a double take when they view the
image of the fabled coin included with the press release - it is NOT
of an example of the coin (two of which are in the Smithsonian's
National Numismatic Collection. Rather, it is an image of a clearly
labeled COPY of the REVERSE of the Saint-Gaudens twenty, not even
showing the 1933 date.  This is bizarre - how accurate can the
production be if they can't even illustrate the right coin?

To view the image of the ersatz 1933 Double Eagle, see:

To read the complete press release, see:
Press Release



Sam Pennington writes that he has just posted to his Maine Antique
Digest web site a copy of his third column on medals.  He writes:
"It's on the Society of Medalists. Again, not much new but there
are color pictures of many medals."

To reads the complete article, see:
Full Story

[The images are marvelous, as are the medals themselves. It's hard
to choose a single favorite. Among mine are:
SOM#45: "Pony Express and Prairie Schooner" by James Earle Fraser
SOM#31: "For Conquer We Must" by Rene P. Chambellan
SOM#1:  "Hunter and Dog" by Laura Gardin Fraser


Regarding last week's question from Sam Pennington about the
definition of medal sizes, Ron Abler writes: "I pursued an answer
to Sam's question, initially by asking Joe Levine, whose expertise
I trust implicitly.  Sam had already asked him, and he had referred
Sam to Dick Johnson.  I hope Dick has all the answers (he usually
does), but I'd like to add more to the question:

1) what is the official distinction between a plaque and a plaquette?
2) Are there other types or shapes within exonumia that would be
included in a definitive list such as this?

"My two cents' worth:

Medalet -- less than 25mm.
Medallion -- variously, over 2, 2.5, or 3 inches, depending on source.
Medal -- whatever lies between the two.
Plaque -- rectangular, more than 8 inches at its longer dimension.
Plaquette -- less than 8 inches."

[Thanks also to Bill Murray who snail-mailed me photocopies of medal
size definitions from the Coin World, Macmillan and Frey dictionaries
of numismatic terms.  In these, 'medalet' is typically defined as
less than 35mm. -Editor]

Henry Scott Goodman writes: "I think Sam was thinking about the FAQ
page of the Medal Collectors of America website.  Our own Dick Johnson
wrote many of the answers for these FAQ's.

[The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page is lengthy, so I've
excerpted answer to "What is the difference between medal and
medallion?" here. It was indeed written by Dick Johnson.  -Editor]

"It is a matter of size, medallions are large medals. Numismatists
in Europe say medallions have a diameter of 80 millimeters or larger;
this equivalent in inches (3 - 3/16-inch) is the dividing line
between medals and medallions in America. But "medal" and "medallion"
are used so indiscriminately by the public that these definitions
are blurred in most people's minds (who may not even be aware that
the concept of size is the distinction).

"Another term for medals, “medalet” is a small medal, under one inch
(25.4mm). Two other terms you should know: “Plaque” and “plaquette.”
Generally square or rectangular medals. The dividing line between the
two – eight inches (20.3 cm). If a plaque gets too big it's called a
tablet (these are measured in feet and are rarely collected). I cut
off medallic items at 18 inches or less as collectable (at least in
my directory of American Artists)."

To read the complete medal FAQ, see: medal FAQ

Dick Johnson adds:  "The medal dimensions in that FAQ are still

"When I cataloged Medallic Art Company's medals I took the diameters
from the files and only occasionally did a measurement. But I learned
these could be off somewhat. The answer was that medals struck in
collar dies do not vary in diameter. Round medals struck with Open
Face dies (which caused excess flash to extrude between the dies) have
to be trimmed on a lathe. This is a manual operation and depends on
the operator. A 3-inch medal could vary up to 2mm smaller or 1mm larger
than exactly 3-inch.

"When I was a medal dealer I measured every medal - perhaps 50,000
such measurements in all. All that time I wished there were some kind
of ruler or calipers or something that would give me both millimeters
and inches (aliquot). I like millimeters since they are more accurate.
Inches have to be rounded off. I ended up measuring only in millimeters
and looked that up on a chart I prepared for the rounded off inch
measurement. I put both in my catalog descriptions.

"Why?  You can see in your mind the width of a millimeter, and even
a tenth of a millimeter (.1mm). Can you imagine in your mind 1/64th
of an inch, let alone 1/128th or smaller. I rounded off to the
nearest 1/32th of an inch.

"When compiling that FAQ I devised what I call an "M-Chart." It is
an expanded version of that old chart that answers all the questions
about medallic sizes, and gives a lot of tips like 'don't include the
loop in the measurement', 'give height first then width' (the opposite
of postage stamps in philately). It would be handy for medal
collectors, curators and such.

"The board of the Medal Collectors of America learned of my project
and offered me a grant to publish it. I learned, however, it would
cost three to four times the amount of that grant to produce it. I
did not accept the grant, and set the project aside. Perhaps now is
the time to revive it."

Harry Waterson writes: "Here is a little glossary I put together
after the discussion of tondo last fall. This grid represents my
understanding of the terms as I use them but are certainly subject
to correction and/or emendation by the wider readership of
The E-Sylum.

"Medallic Size Words Glossary

Medalet - Round - up to 25mm
Medal - Round - 26mm to 80mm
Medallion- Round - 81mm to 30.5cm (usually two-sided)
Circular Relief - Round - over 30.5cm (usually one-sided)
Tondo   - Round - over 30.5cm (used architecturally)

Plaquette - Square or Rectangular - Longest side under 30.5cm
(may be two-sided)

Plaque - Square or Rectangular - Longest side between 30.5cm
and 61cm (usually one-sided)

Tablet - Square or Rectangular - Longest side over 61 cm
(usually one-sided)"

Katie Jaeger writes: "I spent a great deal of time and consultation
on my definition of these items, written for my Whitman Guide to
American Tokens and Medals. All of my manuscript reviewers had
something to say about it, and it was revised and reworded many
times.  Sam Pennington may have read his size definition in Q. David
Bower's and my 100 Greatest American Medals and Tokens; he was invited
to review the manuscript for us, and that text is comparable to this.

Dick Johnson has been trying to establish a standard terminology that
everyone will use.  I hoped to take that approach in my Guide as well,
but my manuscript reviewers took exception and I came to agree with
them.  There were just too many medal and token makers doing their
own thing in the 19th century, to create definitions that cover

[In the next item we reprint the text of Katie's section on the
definitions of medals, tokens and coins. -Editor]


With permission (via a letter from publisher Dennis Tucker), we're
reprinting Katie Jaeger's discussion of the definitions of medals,
tokens and coins from her upcoming Whitman book, "A Guide Book of
American Tokens and Medals"

"Many of the items Russell Rulau lists in his indispensable Standard
Catalog of United States Tokens, 1700–1900, were called medals by
their makers. For example, he includes a great many store cards,
struck as advertising pieces for businesses to hand out like today’s
business cards. Other pre-1900 items (e.g., membership, souvenir,
and political campaign pieces) had no monetary or exchange value,
yet were small, inexpensive, and the same size as the tokens of their
era. These items might be collected along with tokens, but should be
termed medalets.

"Throughout history, the uses of coins, tokens, and medals have
overlapped somewhat, as this book will show. Most collectors agree
with Ken Bressett’s terminology: “I always use token to mean something
that has a value, or is a substitute for some other form of money.
A medal (in all its various sizes and forms) is a commemorative,
artistic, or instructive piece, with no intended monetary value.
A coin must be authorized by a governing body for use as money.”

"Factors of quality and size also come into play when defining objects
as tokens or medals. Generally, if a great deal of care and expense
went into producing the item, if it has high relief and a thick
planchet (that is, the blank disc of metal on which the designs are
struck), and if it is made of precious metal, it is a medal. Medals
almost always featured a high level of workmanship. If the item is
thin, lightweight, made of an inexpensive metal or alloy, and bears
a simple, single-struck design, it is probably a token.

"In his token catalogs, Rulau includes items 33 millimeters in
diameter and smaller, and most tokens do fall below that size.
American medals expert D. Wayne Johnson and political exonumia
specialist Edmund Sullivan set the cutoff between medal and medalet
at 25.4 mm (one inch). Broadly speaking, medals are bigger than
tokens, and as longtime numismatic writer Cliff Mishler says,
“Collectors tend to be expansive of size within their specialty
to embrace the issues they favor.”

"Very large medals—round medallions and square or rectangular
plaquettes (up to eight inches in diameter)—are easy to distinguish
from tokens. Some medal dealers stock sculpted bas-relief plaques
(greater than eight inches in diameter), especially if a smaller
version has been struck and sold as a plaquette, but such large items
really do not fall into the category of exonumia. They present
storage problems for people set up for collecting tokens and medals,
and they are too large to have been struck from dies. Exonumists
generally take greatest interest in die-struck objects."


The technology publisher C|Net had a nice interview this week with
Robert Schafrik, Chairman of the National Research Council committee
on currency counterfeiting.  The committee recently published a
report on the state of counterfeiting made a number of proposals
for anti-counterfeiting measure.  Here are some excerpts:

"Let's look at some of the specific suggestions. One suggestion was
the use of plastic in the currency.

"Schafrik: There is a security thread in there, which actually is a
strip of plastic, and so one could extend that idea--you know, embed
more plastic things or even a plastic window in the currency. There
are a lot of neat things that we thought of doing. Of course, the
Achilles heel that you've to look at is...the durability."

"Counterfeiters don't have to do something exactly right--all they
have to do is emulate it or make it good enough to pass once. So the
other trick is to design some of these new features like using plastic
(so that) if they did try to emulate that feature, it would still be
obvious that it was a counterfeit.

"I read that one possibility might even be to make currency uncuttable
--if you can cut (a banknote), it's counterfeit; if you can't cut it,
it's real.

"Schafrik: Right. You could embed something on one of the edges that
would be made from a very durable type of polymer, and you could twist
it, cut it or whatever and that would be proof positive."

"The report also talked about the Internet being a threat. How so?

"Schafrik: We said the Internet could be, and in fact it is being
exploited now by counterfeiters. In fact, a few of our committee
members went on to the Internet to see what they could learn about
counterfeiting. And it was amazing, all the information that's out
there, almost a recipe for how to do x, y and z, and where to buy
supplies, and what's the best kind of equipment to use, and all
this sort of thing.

To read the complete interview, see: Full Story


Ron Abler writes: "The entry in last week's E-Sylum discussing the
practice of cleaning and otherwise processing currency prompts me
to ask a question of your subscribers, whom I have found to be
thoughtful, knowledgeable, and reasonable.  There are quite a few
1876 centennial medals and plaquettes struck/pressed in wood,
usually in black walnut and one that I know of in cherry.  Over
time, these wooden objects dry out and often exhibit severe cracks
as a result.  I am wondering if it would not be appropriate to treat
these wooden objects just as we do fine furniture made from the same
woods (and for the same reason); namely, oiling them to prevent
drying, checking, and cracking.  I know this could darken the wood,
but it seems to me that it would be a reasonable form of conservation.
I would be very interested in the opinions of your readers.
Thank you."


Regarding Howard Daniel's question about purchasing the Schön World
Coin Catalogues, Martin Purdy writes: "I bought my last Schön catalogues
(in German) from (the German site for, in case
that's any help.  The English versions, if they exist, may be available
there or at, assuming the main site in the US doesn't
stock them."

Howard Daniel adds: "I went to and they only had older
editions and not the current one.  Several other people have sent
emails to me and most have German sources, but again, older editions.
I am contacting Gerhard Schoen and will ask him to send a copy to me."


Regarding Arthur Shippee's feedback on the question about a term
in the Fonrobert sale catalogue, Bob Leonard writes: "I accept this
correction to my translation of a couple of weeks ago, but I was
merely copying the late Randolph Zander's translation in the Foreword
to the Quarterman Publications reprint of 1974 of the Central-Amerika
and Sued-Amerika sections of the.  E-Sylum readers with this reprint
in their libraries might wish to note that "GelbK = gilt copper"
should be corrected to "GelbK = brass."


Regarding last week's item on Military Challenge Coins, Roger deWardt
Lane of Hollywood, Florida writes: "Back in 2004, I put up a page on
my site showing a 'Challenge Coin' I had picked up at the fleamarket.
As a numismatist of over 40 years, I had never heard of this category.
So, I got on the Internet and found a lot of information.  I talked to
an eBay seller, who was selling his 'coins' after several decades in
the military.  He pointed out to me that there are a lot of copies
made in Korea, which sell for $5 or so on eBay.  Real 'Challenge Coins'
he said, sell for $25 to $100 and you must get them from a Military Man.

"Later I did more research on the subject and added another page to
my site.  The link to the history is by clicking on the 'Coin picture'
as noted on the page here: Full Story

"The history goes back to the British, then the Great War, WWII,
and Korea War before they became widespread as now."


Dick Johnson writes: "Thursday this week coins were included among
paper items and DVDs reinterred in a cornerstone at the Chattanooga
City Hall. It is hoped these will be recovered in 100 years.

"Don't count on it. In hundreds of similar instances of recovered
cornerstone items have proved that water had infiltrated any "sealed
container" and all paper was moist pulp. Also will Chattanooga
residents of 2107 be able to read the DVDs?

"Only metal coins survive intact.  But this proves a point. Coins
can outlast all other artifacts as 2000-year-old ancient coins

"Since coins and medals have such extreme longevity, how much better
it would have been for Chattanooga to have issued a medal for any
such memorable event. Medals document and commemorate the event,
plus it gives pleasure to the owners of these medallic items for
the next 100 -- perhaps 1,000 -- years.

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


"The Alaska Commemorative Coin Commission submitted five narrative
designs to the United States Mint. Final designs were selected based
on aesthetic beauty, historical accuracy, appropriateness and
coinability. The four final designs are:

* A polar bear with the midnight sun
* Denali National Park with a dog sled musher and the Big Dipper
with the North Star
* A brown bear with salmon and the Big Dipper with the North Star
* Denali National Park with a gold panner

"Governor Palin is asking for comments from the public before
she selects the final design later this month. Public comments
are welcomed through April 22, 2007."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


Inspired by our discussion of why a dollar is called a buck, Dick
Johnson forwarded this story: "The waiting room was full of people,
but my doctor and I were yucking it up in the examining room (he
supports the 'laughter is good medicine' philosophy). He knew of
my interest in numismatics and told this joke:

"'What is the difference between beer nuts and deer nuts?  Beer
nuts cost $1.98. Deer nuts are under a buck.'"


This week's featured web site is about errors on the new U.S.
Washington dollar coins.

"Washington Dollar Errors was designed to bring awareness and
information to the public about the different errors being produced.
There are lots of rumors floating around right now about the 2007
George Washington Presidential $1 coins and hopefully the information
on this website will answer some of your questions."

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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