The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 10, Number 18, May 6, 2007:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2007, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers are Mike Meranda of New Jersey,
courtesy of Sam Deep, Richard Bottles, courtesy of your Editor,
and Roger Anderson, courtesy of John and Nancy Wilson.  Welcome
aboard!  We now have 1,111 subscribers.

Sadly, this week's issue opens with news of the death of another
prominent numismatist and numismatic bibliophile.  Next, George
Kolbe provides a preview of his upcoming 103rd sale of numismatic

We have two book reviews this week, starting with my lengthy
discussion of "Treasure Ship - The Legend and Legacy of the S. S.
Brother Jonathan."  Following the review are a number of news notes
relating to the ANA and ANS.

In research queries, this week we have requests involving engraver/
painter John William Casilear (1811-1893), buyer's names for the 1949
ANA sale, the legal tender status of peso pizza payments, the Dutch
Peace of Breda and how wooden medals are made.  In a follow-up from
last week, we discuss the personal challenge coin of Commander-in-Chief
George W. Bush.

In the news, engraver Ron Landis issues five new coin reproductions
(his first in two years), Ghana, South Korea and Slovakia plan new
coins and banknotes, certain coins are getting scarce in Sri Lanka,
and a Washington Post article foreshadows the coming of medals awarded
to military robots.

Dave Harper, Colin Bruce, George Cuhaj, Tom Michael, Fred Borgmann and
David Kranz are among the Numismatic News staffers now publishing free
electronic newsletters.  Sign up at - I did.
It's great to see the mainstream numismatic press getting into the
online swing of things.  Welcome to the party!

So what medal is said to have started a war?  What currency museum
has been giving "free samples"?  And how do you tell the numismatic men
from the boys?  Read on to find out!  Have a great week, everyone.

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society

DR. JACK M. VORHIES 1923-2007

John and Nancy Wilson, Ocala, FL write: "It was with great sadness
that we recently heard of the passing of longtime numismatist and
friend Dr. Jack M. Vorhies of Greenwood, Indiana.   Dr. Vorhies, a
retired Dentist, passed away on March 12th at the age of 84.  Dr.
Vorhies was a collector since 1970 and had great interest in Indiana,
Kentucky and Ohio proof notes.  He also avidly collected Federal
proofs, die proof vignettes, engraved checks and documents, artwork
of engravers, and other paper money related items including Revenue
Stamped Paper and Stamps.

"We visited Dr. Vorhies about 15 years ago and were able to see his
great numismatic library.  He was very proud of his terrific library
which included mostly books on Syngraphics. We could see that he took
tender loving care of every book he owned and treasured it as he would
a family member.  Dr. Vorhies also leather bound the publications he
received from the Society of Paper Money Collectors (Paper Money) and
Essay Proof Society (EPS is no longer in existence).  He also took
other references that were soft bound or had damaged covers and had
them leather bound.

"We talked to Dr. Vorhies in 2003 and convinced him that his 'Syngraphic
Library' would add greatly to the American Numismatic Association library.
Dr. Vorhies donated this important library to the ANA in 2004.  ANA
Librarian Nancy Green along with Numismatic Literature Specialist Charles
Davis were amazed at the tremendous references that were donated by Dr.
Vorhies, and were now part of the ANA Library.  Many, if not most of
these references currently reside in the ANA Dwight Manley Library,
and Frank Katen Rare Book Room.   This great donation helped to make
the ANA Dwight Manley Library one of the best in the world in the area
of Syngraphics.

"Dr. Vorhies was also a co-author of the Indiana Obsolete Notes and
Scrip reference along with Wendell A. Wolka and Donald A. Schramm,
which was published by Krause Publication in 1978.

"Dr. Vorhies participated in many of the paper money conventions held
annually in Memphis, Chicago and St. Louis.  For the past several years
he shared a table at the IPMS Memphis convention with J. Roy Pennell.
It was always fun to stop and visit with Dr. Vorhies and talk about
paper money.  He had exceptional knowledge of banknotes, engraving
companies and their engravers.  He helped us at times with information
and notes for our collection.

"Dr. Vorhies was born in Indianapolis in 1923.  As a young man he was
drafted, went to Officer Candidate School, and served in the 102
Infantry - WW ll European Theatre.  He served for 18 months.  From
the Military, he entered Dental School and later became a DDS, MSD,
specializing as an Orthodonist. He met his future wife Georgia when
he was 15.  They were married three years later and had seven children.

"We can remember many times Dr. Vorhies telling us how proud and happy
he was with his wife Georgia and their children.  Many times Georgia
would accompany her husband to the conventions.  It was always nice to
see Georgia and Dr. Vorhies at conventions. This was a wonderful and
loving couple who were always smiling and had kind words to say to
everyone who stopped to say hello.

"Dr. Jack Vorhies was a kind and gentle person who will be missed by
his hundreds of friends in the numismatic community.  We want to wish
Georgia and her family our sincere condolences and prayers on this sad
loss.  Dr. Jack Vorhies will live in the memories of everyone who
crossed his path."

To read Vorhies' obituary in the March 14, 2005 Indianapolis Star, see:
Full Story


Bill Rosenblum writes: "I heard about his death last week and am still
in shock. He was one of the real 'good guys' in numismatics and gave so
much to the hobby.

"One of the reasons Chris left the ministry and took the job at the ANA
was that he had been very involved in working with members of the NYFD
after 9/11 and as one can well imagine it took its toll on him."



George Kolbe forwarded the following information about his upcoming
sale: "On June 7, 2007 George Frederick Kolbe/Fine Numismatic Books
will conduct their 103rd auction of rare and out of print numismatic
literature, featuring the second part of the Alan M. Meghrig Library
and a large selection of classic 19th and early 20th century American
coin auction catalogues, many from the library of John J. Ford, Jr.
Printed catalogues will be available in early May and can be ordered
by sending $15.00 to Kolbe at P. O. Drawer 3100, Crestline, CA 92325.
The 770 lot catalogue is also currently accessible free of charge at
the firm’s web site (

"Some sale highlights follow: one of only six sets of superb color
photographs depicting the magnificent Clifford-Kagin collection of
Pioneer & Territorial Gold Coins; an annotated copy of Miller & Ryder’s
1920 “State Coinages of New England,” including correspondence between
Howard Kurth and John Richardson; an exceptionally fine set of
Davenport’s classic works on crowns and talers; original 1875 and
1878 editions of Crosby’s “Early Coins of America”; Dr. George P.
French’s annotated copy of Doughty’s 1890 “Cents of the United States”;
David Proskey’s “Sales Room” copy of the ill-fated 1887 Linderman sale
of patterns; preliminary proofs of Gilbert’s 1910 plates of 1794 large
cents; F. C. C. Boyd’s annotated copies of four Grinnell paper money
sales; the first thirteen hard-bound George Frederick Kolbe auction
sale catalogues; an original 1869 edition of Dr. Maris’s classic work
on 1794 large cents; a complete, very fine set of Wayte Raymond’s
“Coin Collector’s Journal”; runs of Chapman brother, Barney Bluestone,
Thomas Elder, Ed. Frossard, and M. H. Bolender auction sales; over a
dozen hardbound Kagin’s auction catalogues presented to John J. Ford,
Jr.; some 165 different Lyman Low auction sales; etc."


This week I take a look at 'Treasure Ship - The Legend and Legacy of
the S. S. Brother Jonathan' by Dennis M. Powers (Citadel, 2006, 416pp.
List Price: $21.95, but now available from the publisher at 30% off
($15.37)).    Powers is an E-Sylum subscriber and was kind enough to
send me a copy of his book earlier this year.  The book is in the form
of an historical nonfiction novel.  Arranged chronologically, the book
opens with the Brother Jonathan leaving San Francisco on its last,
fatal voyage on July 28, 1865, and ends with the last exploration of
the wreck in 2000 and a discussion of the status of the artifacts.

Comparisons are inevitable to two earlier books:  Gary Kinder's 1998
"Ship of Gold" about the recovery of the S.S. Central America, and Dave
Bowers' 1999 book on the S.S. Brother Jonathan itself.  Frankly, although
I was looking forward to the Powers book, I was wary of finding
significantly new content.  For me the Kinder book was a mind-opening
view into the world of deep sea recovery, and with Dave's typical
multilayered coverage of the numismatic and historical aspects of
whatever subject he tackles, I doubted that another author could add
much to my knowledge of the subject.  But I was wrong.  Powers' book
has a lot to offer and E-Sylum readers should be pleased to know that
numismatics plays a central role in key sections of the book.  It's
a keeper, particularly for anyone with an interest in The "Great Debate"
over the authenticity of disputed western assay bars.

E-Sylum subscriber Alison Frankel (author of Double Eagle: The Epic Story
of the World’s Most Valuable Coin) had this to say: “In recounting the
disastrous sinking and miraculous recovery of the S.S. Brother Jonathan,
Dennis M. Powers shows his prodigious research abilities. Every time you
think this story couldn’t possibly take another strange turn, Powers
proves that it can, and he does so in highly entertaining fashion.”

The following description is from the publisher's web page for the book:

"Caught in tumultuous seas off the coast of northern California in 1865,
the 220-foot sidewheeler S.S. Brother Jonathan skidded down the face of
a massive wave and slammed into an uncharted reef. Her nine-story mast
crashed through the bottom of the ship and within forty-five minutes she
went under, taking with her 225 souls and millions of dollars’ worth of
newly minted gold bars and coins. Only 19 people in a battered lifeboat
made it to shore, and over the next several weeks, bodies and pieces of
the ship washed up along a 125-mile stretch of the coast. For more than
a hundred years the ship’s treasure would remain one of the Pacific’s
great secrets."

"Based on ten years of exhaustive research into previously untapped
sources, Treasure Ship tells the harrowing tale of the last voyage of
the Brother Jonathan and her passengers, which included prospectors,
dignitaries, card sharks, young families and even a notorious madam
with seven of her “soiled doves.” The final moments as the ship went
down were filled with acts of steadfast courage and quiet dignity, and
just weeks later expeditions began to hunt for the ship and her golden

In the numismatic community there will be inevitable comparisons to Q.
David Bowers' 1999 work, "The Treasure Ship S. S. Brother Jonathan: Her
Life and Loss, 1850-1865".  Like most of Dave's books, his work has a 
combined historical-numismatic orientation, with chapters on coins and
currency in America at the time, money in California, coins and coiners
in California and the San Francisco Mint.  An appendix enumerates the
coins recovered in the 1996-97 salvage efforts.

The new book by Dennis Powers focuses much more on the ship's history
and recovery, but also covers a topic of keen interest to numismatists,
the "Great Debate" over the authenticity of many western assay bars,
including those said to be from an earlier salvage of the Brother
Jonathan wreck.

Dennis Powers writes: "Owing to my writing this book later than Dave,
and I have great respect for his works, I could cover in detail the
last exploration of the Brother Jonathan in 2000 when Dwight Manley
invested money in what became the last exploration to date of the sunken

"Thanks to the American Numismatic Association, I was able to review
the complete videotapes of "The Great Debate" that took place between
Michael Hodder and Professor Buttrey on August 12, 1999, at the ANA's
annual convention.  Thus, I could go into detail as to the history and
arguments on both sides as to the validity of the Jonathan's gold bars
that became the focal point of The Great Debate.

"I watched the videotaped Great Debate for hours on end and became totally
fascinated by the players, reactions, and statements.  In the end, I
decided to write a near statement-by-statement synopsis of that time
and delve into the gold bullion issues in greater detail."

"Owing to my being able to interview Don Knight and David Flohr, among
other lead salvors, I could go into the specifics of the issues from
both points of view that ended up in the massive litigation between the
salvagers--and their observations.  Being an attorney and with review
from the salvors’ lead counsel, I also set down the specific arguments
and issues that confronted the salvagers and the State of California
in their litigation that eventually was decided by the U.S. Supreme

The fruits of Powers' efforts are in Chapter 17, "The Bars and the
'Great Debate'".  The chapter opens with a recounting of the odyssey
of the infamous bars numbered 2184 and 2186 first sold publicly at NASCA
and Stack's auctions.   It goes on to summarize the papers and lectures
by Buttrey and Hodder leading up to the legendary "Great Debate" between
the two at the 1999 Chicago ANA Convention.  It was a little jarring to
read in the book an E-Sylum quote I'd long forgotten writing just prior
to the debate that "spectators will be asked to check their six-shooters
at the door."

As one of 150 or so numismatists present at the occasion, I can attest
that the chapter fairly accurately recounts the setting, events,
personalities, tensions and undercurrents of the two and a half hour
session.  What Powers adds is the detached viewpoint of an independent
observer with access to additional sources of information, albeit ones
just as sketchy and incomplete as the original numismatic auction 
descriptions of the Brother Jonathan bars.

Powers ends the chapter with an interesting speculation by the salvage
team's researcher and long-time head Don Knight based on (among other
things), statements of a man who claimed to have witnessed the recovery
of an S.S. Jonathan lifeboat following a storm in the 1930s.  This and
other arguments convinced no less a body than the U.S. Supreme Court
that "the only recovery of cargo (prior to 1933) from the shipwreck may
have occurred in the 1930s, when a fisherman found twenty-two pounds of
gold bars minted in 1865 and believed to have come from the Brother
Jonathan.  The fisherman died, however, without revealing the source
of his treasure."  This opinion came down in 1998, prior to the Great
Debate, but I was unaware of it until now.

Lest anyone falsely hope that the book holds a conclusion on the topic,
Powers writes: "The court's statement on the gold bars can be accepted
as being as good as any other explanation given.  However, we may never
know conclusively who was right: John J. Ford, Jr. or Professor Ted
Buttrey.  Or what brought about the discovery of the gold bars.  Yet
this is what legends are made of."

I made another statement in The E-Sylum that I'd long forgotten until
now:  I said that "This may take longer than the Gold Rush itself to
completely play out..." (August 15, 1999).  I was wrong there, too.
It's already been nearly eight years, although proponents of each side
are probably convinced that the matter has been settled already (in
their favor, of course).

Chapter 18 should also be of interest to numismatists.  Titled "The
Super Agent", it recounts the life of Dwight Manley and his involvement
in financing part of the recovery effort and marketing the recovered
items.  "Not only was Manley a multi-millionaire gold-coin dealer and
marketer, he was also a high-profile sports agent.  Born in 1966,
Manley began collecting coins at the age of six...   Manley is also
the most unlikely person to be a player agent.  He isn't a lawyer,
never went to college, and the only sport he ever seriously played
is golf.  Until he agreed to represent his friend, Dennis Rodman, he
never even thought about being an agent."

I will not pretend to have read "Treasure Ship" from cover-to-cover
(yet), although I'm looking forward to doing just that on an upcoming
airline flight.  Neither would I profess that it's without flaws.  One
nit I'll pick is found on page 330, where Buttrey is described as the
former "Keeper of the Department of Coins at the Fitzweiler Museum"
(it's the Fitzwilliam).  Another is that the long Supreme Court opinion
is quoted factually but modified slightly for style and readability
(see p2 of the opinion).

Finally, let me just say that the production quality of this glossy
dust-jacketed hardback edition makes it a true bargain at the $15.37
price - why bother waiting for the softcover?  Included are 16 pages
of color photos on quality paper picturing the ship, its owner and
captain, rescuers, relics, modern treasure hunters and their equipment,
as well as recovered gold bars and coins.  I would recommend that
anyone with the slightest interest in the book order a copy of the

To order the hardcover (paperback available August 28, 2007), see:
Order Info

To read the 1998 Supreme Court opinion on the Brother Jonathan case, see:
1998 Supreme Court opinion

To read T.V. Buttrey's notes on Brother Jonathan gold bars, see:
T.V. Buttrey's notes
T.V. Buttrey's notes








Howard Daniel writes: "During my current Southeast Asia trip, I was
in Singapore twice.  During my first stay at the Marriott hotel, I
walked across the street and checked out the large Borders bookstore.
I always find something to buy. This time it was Special Agent, Vietnam,
A Naval Intelligence Memoir, by Douglass H. Hubbard Jr.  It was printed
by Potomac Books in Dulles, VA (ISBN 1-57488-970-2).

"The book perked my interest because I have been looking for a Commander
or Lt. Commander Van Hook or Van Horn.  He was the poor soul assigned by
MG McChristian, the MACV J-2, in January 1966 assigning me the task of
creating an intelligence unit from scratch, in less than 90 days, without
authorized funds or personnel.  During my encounter with him, I could see
he was doubtful I could do it.  I did accomplish the mission in half the
time and I have always wanted to tell him, but I never saw or heard from
him again.  I am hoping that some names in this book will lead me to him.

"But the bonus is that there are also some numismatic tidbits in it!
The first is describing some military clubs that could be unknown to
the military club token community that might match some unidentified
tokens.  Besides intelligence, the agents described in it were also
involved in counter-intelligence and criminal investigations.  For the
latter activity, there are several incidents in it where MPC (military
payment certificates), U.S. currency, postal money orders, post
exchange ration cards, etc., are described.

"There is also the apprehension of a Chinese gang with "counterfeit"
printing plates, but it is not clear if they are for MPC or U.S.
currency.  But the Treasury Fraud Repression Unit is identified to me
for the first time and a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request
might reveal more information about the plates and other numismatic
related information, but I will also be contacting the author."


In the May 2007 issues of The E-Gobrecht (Volume 3, Issue 5), Len
Augsburger noted that "An interesting item recently appeared on

 Manuscript Notebook and Sketchbook.
 GOBRECHT, Christian.
 Bookseller: BOOKPRESS LTD. (Williamsburg, VA, U.S.A.)
 Price: US$ 9350.00 [Convert Currency]
 Quantity: 1, Shipping within U.S.A.:US$ 3.50
 Book Description:

(Baltimore and Philadelphia: 1806, 1806. Manuscript Notebook and
Sketchbook. - 1823). Small 4to. (8 x 6 1/2 inches). Shee spine,
decorated paperboards. 72 leaves, of which 2/3 are used. Christian
Gobrecht (1785-1844) was a noted American engraver, punch cutter an
inventor. This notebook can be divided into three sections. The first
has nineteen pen and graphite sketches of an organ he invented between
1816 and 1821, "a reed organ made of an assemblage of metallic tongues
placed in a case and operate with a bellows and keys." The second
section concerns itself with punch cutt and type founding machinery
from the early 1820s when Gobrecht worked for Murray, Draper, Fairman
& Company, Philadelphia, where he was noted for his designs and
models for the United States Mint. Manuscript material on American
engraving of the period is especially rare. The third section is
fifty-three pages of recipes and receipts, many of which deal with
gilding and faux-gild using brass, cast steel and silver, along with
great details on aquatinting, soldering for organ pipes, and other
craft functions. At the beginning are early drawings and later a
proof of an engraved calling card for 'Capt. Isaac Hull, U.S.N. The
ook contains the engraved bookplate of Chr. Gobrecht. The book remained
in the Gobrecht family until 1928 when it was presented to the Franklin
Institute and sold by them in October 2006.

"I inquired about this item yesterday and was told that it had already
sold. A pity. The second section would be the most interesting - Gobrecht
is thought to have created date and letter punches for the US mint during
this period - perhaps this sketchbook had further information on this?"

Len adds: "I have since talked with Dan Hamelberg, who saw the sketchbook
in person and reported that there was no numismatic content in there."

[Despite the lack of numismatic content, this is still a very significant
source for information on a key early U.S. Mint engraver.  Interesting!


Jane Colvard, Director of Educational Programs for the American Numismatic
Association writes: "I would just like to pass along that while it may seem
like there is still plenty of time to register for the ANA Summer Seminar,
many classes are already beginning to fill up.

"Of the 38 courses offered this year, one class should be of particular
interest to the readers of The E-Sylum:  "Numismatic Literature and
Research," taught by Charles Davis, numismatic literature specialist,
author and dealer, will be held in Session II - June 30 to July 6.  This
course is truly fundamental to the study of numismatics and one that
every collector should take at some point in their "hobby-career."
Throughout the course of the week, students will learn to evaluate the
usefulness of standard references, auction catalogs and periodicals in
tracing pedigrees or substantiating rarity claims, as well as compare
the works as sources of enjoyable, historical perspectives on numismatics.

"More information on Summer Seminar is available on the ANA website at (just click on "Summer Seminar" under the "Numismatic
Events" drop down menu) or by calling 719-482-9869."


Also coming up this summer is the August 8-12, 2007 ANA convention in
Milwaukee, WI.  I'd like to encourage numismatic bibliophiles and all
E-Sylum readers planning to attend the convention to consider placing
an exhibit.  July 2 is the deadline for exhibit applications, but it’s
never too soon to start planning.

Remember, the Numismatic Bibliomania Society (sponsor of The E-Sylum)
raised funds several years ago to create and endow the Aaron Feldman
Award, given each year to the top exhibit in Class 22 - Numismatic
Literature.   Past exhibits in the category are listed on the NBS
web site: club_nbs_exhibits.html


In its April 2007 ANS E-News, the American Numismatic Society reports
that its current exhibition has been extended and that coins from its
collection are also going on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art:

"We are pleased to announce that our exhibition 'Drachmas, Doubloons,
and Dollars: The History of Money' in conjunction with The Federal
Reserve Bank of New York, has been extended through March 2012. Located
at 33 Liberty Street in Lower Manhattan, the exhibition is open to the
public Monday - Friday 10-4 except bank holidays. For more information
on the exhibition, visit our website at: 
Drachmas, Doubloons, and Dollars .

"Visitors to New York can now find additional ANS coins on display at
the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which has just completed a multi-year
reinstallation of its Greek and Roman Galleries. The most recent loans
make available a spectacular selection of Hellenistic and Roman coins,
which in turn join a superb group of Greek, Cypriot and Byzantine
pieces already at the museum. For further information, please see More Info ."

"The American Numismatic Society sends out its E-News to members and
interested individuals. To subscribe or unsubscribe, please send
e-mail to ."


Also in its April 2007 ANS E-News, the American Numismatic Society
reports that its next "Numismatic Conversations" event will take
place Wednesday, May 30 at 6:00 pm.

"'Numismatic Imaging': Coins present their own unique set of problems
for photography. ANS photographer, Alan Roche, will take you through
all aspects of digital workflow, from lighting to capture to image adjustment in 
Photoshop and finally to image archiving (To reserve
a seat at the table, please call (212) 571-4470 Ext. 1306, or email"


Georges Depeyrot writer: "The new section of the website Moneta is
now in construction (a part is visible).  It will receive scholarly
texts that are not to be published on paper, or useful documentation
concerning coins, coin finds or concerning our cooperation programs
in Europe. It will be updated each month. Everyone can send text to
be included in the "E-paper" section.  The main languages are accepted
(actually the texts are in French, English, German and Romanian)."

To access the Moneta web site, see:


Alan Luedeking writes: "It is my understanding that a translated text
is a derivative work, and as such is subject to the original work's
copyright. Translations in general are subject to copyright, the exception
being the same as that for original works, namely that a translation made
by an author who died more than 70 years ago will generally be in the
public domain. But what are the modern translator's copyright rights for
a recent translation of a work already in the public domain whose original
author has died over 70 years ago? Any feedback would be much appreciated."


Roger Anderson writes: "I have been in communication with John and Nancy
Wilson about a long term project (started 2003) on the engraver/painter
John William Casilear (1811-1893) that I am putting together. They suggested
that The E-Sylum might be helpful in getting word out to collectors of
obsolete bank notes, other engravings, who might have some knowledge of
Casilear's bank note/other engraving career, which ran from roughly 1827
to 1854. I am trying to put together a list of bank notes/other engravings
that firms' he partnered with and/or engraved for did for clients.

"The firms that I know of are: Peter Maverick; Durand, Perkins & Co.;
Casilear, Durand & Co.; Casilear, Durand, Burton & Edmonds; Casilear,
Capewell, and Kimmel; and Toppan, Carpenter, Casilear, & Co. I am
particularly interested in any Specimen Sheets, signed Casilear
vignettes, other known Casilear vignettes, bank or other client
correspondence to and from his firms, and any miscellaneous material.

"I am just beginning the engraving part of his career (have the painting
part significantly advanced), and as yet, have not yet consulted Haxby,
nor collections at the several private and public numismatic holdings,
because it appears to involve sorting through thousands of notes, stock
certificates, etc. and I hope to somehow shortcut this process via leads
as to states, banks, and companies he is known to have engraved for (I
have started by looking at on-line auction catalogues, old literature,

"I am not a collector, rather a researcher interested in bringing
Casilear's talents to light via a monograph and/or exhibition to
commemorate his 200th birthday in June, 2011. I recently have been in
contact with other well known numismatic experts, e.g. Q. David Bowers,
David Sundman, Gene Hessler, Mark Tomasko, Stephen Goldsmith, and the
Wilsons, who have been helpful in suggesting various venues to
follow-up on.

"Therefore, would appreciate your putting me on the list and any
other feedback/assistance you would be willing to provide."

[Welcome aboard!   Congratulations and good luck on your research
project.  Perhaps some of our readers can assist.  -Editor]

To read the Wikipedia entry on Casilear, see: Casilear


Harold Levi writes: "In recent months some thin planchet gold Bashlow
Confederate cent restrikes have shown up.  One was even graded,
authenticated, and encapsulated by NGC, which had belonged to Art
Kagin.  Based on information received from David Laties (Bashlow’s
business partner), only three gold restrikes were made.

"Laties has confirmed that his copy is double thick (piedfort) and
weighs 14.5 grams.  Dr. Richard Doty checked the Smithsonian Institution’s
copy, donated by Bashlow and Laties.  It is piedfort and weighs 14.475 grams.  
All of this information has come to me over the last week.

"The only confirmed thin Bashlow restrikes are mentioned in a letter
written by Bashlow to Tom DeLorey in 1976.  The confirmed thin planchet
restrikes are only in bronze and silver, as far as is known.  This
letter was published in E-Sylum: Volume 9, Number 46, November 12, 2006.

"I believe that only the three piedfort gold Bashlow restrikes were made,
as confirmed by David Laties and Walter Breen.  However, does anyone have
any information of any kind about gold Bashlow restrikes. My e-mail
address is"

Per Harold's request I forwarded his query to Dick Johnson.  Dick writes:
"I was involved with the Bashlow Confederate restrikes at the beginning
and at the end of his project.  I remember it well, as well as Robert
Bashlow personally. (I had visited him at his New York City apartment
and at his one-room storage vault deep within a Manhattan storage
company - where the floor was literally covered with bags of foreign
coins - you had to walk on top of the bags - he was actively dealing
in foreign coins at the time).

"I had just started Coin World in 1960 when Bashlow first had the
August Frank company make copy dies from the original dies he acquired.
He advertised these in early Coin World issues and we publicized these
rather widely. For a special Civil War issue of Coin World I believe
we ran a special feature article on his project.

"At the end of this is when Medallic Art Company purchased the August
Frank company assets, including the dies, in November 1972. I was
charged with cataloging these. We hired an August Frank employee,
William Neithercott, to assist in this cataloging. He remembered
Bashlow, and he was still proud of what the firm had done in sinking
new copy dies and striking these replicas for Bashlow a dozen years

"Unfortunately, there were no Bashlow dies amongst the 7,000 dies
acquired from August Frank in 1972. He must have retrieved every
one of them.

"As for the gold restrikes, I have no memory of these.  My only
suggestion is to search the early issues of Coin World, they may
have been mentioned in one of the Bashlow articles or advertisements.

"Shortly after this Bashlow crossed Coin World publisher John Amos,
who prohibited his further advertising. I don't remember what caused
this but he became persona non grata in the pages of Coin World
afterwards. (This was long before the same thing happened to Walter
Breen, who had also been embargoed from Coin World pages, under the
editorship of Margo Russell.)

"I know of no other documentation on these Bashlow replicas."


Dick Johnson writes: "There is a bibliophile's footnote to that
Bashlow item above. On my visit to Bob Bashlow's appartment I
gravitated to his bookcase (as I often do when visiting numismatists
- invite me to your home and point me to your numismatic books)!

"I found a book that I once owned! It was from the library of Howard
. Gibbs and quite distinctive. It was bound in red cloth. Gibbs had
rebound ALL the books in his library in red cloth. I have written of
this before in E-Sylum (vol 5, no 7, article 6). Imagine a wall of
numismatic books of different sizes but all of the same color!

"The book was a 1930 numismatic dictionary in German, "Worterbuch
der Munzkunde" by Friedrich von Schrotter. I had purchased this in
a Hans M.F. Schulman auction. Once when Walter Breen visited me he
saw it and said he could translate German. I said, "Here, translate
this book," and I gave him the red-bound book. (I had another copy,
unbound; I still have it and it is still unbound. I just picked it
up and the front cover fell off.) Breen must have given that copy
to Bashlow.

"If the present owner of this book would like a provenance it would
be Howard D. Gibbs, to Schulman auction, to Dick Johnson, to Walter
Breen, to Robert Bashlow, to?. Does it still have the red binding
and perhaps the Howard D. Gibbs bookplate?"



Dave Perkins writes: "Can anyone help me with this?  I am still
looking for the following information, and asked Wayne to publish
this again.  I am hoping to learn that Emanuel Taylor and / or the
Kagins (Art and / or Paul) were buyers of selected lots in the 1949
ANA sale.  These buyer's names will answer some key questions in
my research.  The following was published previously in The E-Sylum:

 W. David Perkins of Littleton, Colorado, writes: "For my
 research on the early United States silver dollars 1794-1803,
 I am looking for a copy of the 1949 A.N.A. 58th Annual
 Convention Sale, Numismatic Gallery, August 21-24, 1949
 with buyer's names (or initials) for the early silver dollar lots,
 or the bid book (which I believe exists) with the same

 I am most interested in buyers names for Lots 140-212 and
 Lots 718-725.  The majority of these lots were consigned to
 this sale by Adolph Friedman, who acquired them in the 1945
 sale of The World's Greatest Collection of United States Silver
 Coins.  Friedman bought the majority of the early silver dollar
 1794-1803 lots in The WGC sale.  (Source, Bid Book for
 The WGC Sale of Silver Coins).  Thus buyer's names for the
 1949 A.N.A. sale will provide an important pedigree link,
 and one I have been looking for over a long period of time.
 I can be contacted at WDPERKI@ATTGLOBAL.NET
 Thank you."


Larry Lee of Striker Token and Medal, Eureka Springs, AR forwarded
a press release with word of the latest work of engraver Ron Landis,
first new coins he's engraved in over two years:

"Striker Token and Medal announces the release of five new reproduction
coins in the company’s growing line of numismatic rarities. The museum-
quality coins include a Ron Landis reproduction of the 1794 pattern half
disme (Judd-14) and a fantasy Large Cent dated 1815, the only year
between 1793-1857 the U.S. Mint did not strike the popular denomination.

"The hubs for the new half-disme were engraved by former Gallery Mint
owner Ron Landis and represented the first collaboration between Landis
and Striker, the company he sold Gallery Mint to in January. “We are
thrilled to continue our association with one of America’s premier
coin engravers,” said Lee.

"The other new issues include 1794 pattern coins that finish out the
series started by Landis and his partner Joe Rust several years ago.
They include the half-dime (Judd-15), the half-dollar (Judd-17), and
the 1794 dollar with stars (Judd-19), all in copper. All pattern coins
are exact reproductions in design, size, alloy and method of
manufacturing as the original specimens issued by the Federal Mint
over two-hundred years ago.

"The 1815 Large Cent mimics the size and alloy of the original Large
Cent series but the design was a matter of some debate. Striker’s Mint-
master Timothy Grat noted there was discussion on whether to issue the
mythical 1815 penny with a classic Capped-bust design as on Large Cents
dated 1808-1814, or to use a Coronet-head like that on the coin from
1816-1836. “Most of the other denominations issued in 1815 used the
Capped-bust motif,” explained Grat. “But the Large Cent itself was in
transition: a better design and a higher quality planchets demonstrated
that the Mint was moving to improve the coin. For those reasons we
decided to go with the design as in 1816.”

"Grat reminds the Large Cent purists that the 1815 is, after all, a
fantasy, and as such “it fills a hole that never existed.” He explained
that the new coin will still carry the word COPY on either the obverse
or reverse, even though no such coin actually exists. “The copy stamp
forestalls any question if a discovery 1815 cent is ever made,” said

"Coins may also be ordered by calling 888-688-3330 or by mailing
Striker Manufacturing, PO Box 6194, Lincoln, NE 68506. All sales are
by check or money order—no credit card sales."


In a previous article about electronic auction catalog formats I
wrote: "Perhaps someday instead of asking a numismatic researcher
'what's in your library' we'll ask, 'what's on your hard drive?'"

Joe Boling adds: "And the next question is - 'How often do you
back up your files?'"


Kerry Rodgers writes: "I was amused by the tale "ROYAL MINT'S ONE
PENCE PIECE OBSOLETE?" in E-Sylum v10#17. In fact I experienced
quite a sense of deja vu.

"I checked my records and there the story was in 2000 and yet again
in 2004. In the latter case the BBC were again leading the charge
and trotting out the same reasons the coin had to go. Again it was
being denied by the Royal Mint. Again a spokeswoman from the British
Museum had been sought out and quoted. Only the names had been changed
to protect the not-so-innocent. And the date was not even April 1.

"I guess if they keep at it long enough the mainstream media will
get it right one day. Perhaps the numismatic fraternity need to treat
this same mainstream media with a grain or two of salt."


Regarding the headline of last week's item on the usefulness of the
British penny coin, Ted Buttrey writes: "'Pence' is plural: one penny,
two pence.Some Brits make this mistake too, and I have to chivvy them
about it."


[Got me.  I know better, but somehow that slipped through.  I try to
write the headlines as I put each item in the draft for the week's
issue, and I typed too quickly on that one. -Editor]

Regarding the headline of last week's item about a soldier's Purple
Heart medal, William P. Houston of Frankfurt am Main writes: "I'm sorry
but I really must protest, both for factual errors and for the appearance
of editorializing.

"I have always understood a rebuff as a sharp refusal or rebuke. A headline
such as above immediately calls to mind a member of the military berating
the President for political or philosophical reasons, probably regarding
ongoing overseas military actions.   This picture is far from the facts
related in the story.

"It seems to me that an objective and impartial reporter should strive
for an impartial headline.  Perhaps something along the line of: Soldier
wants medal from Commander - Not from President."


[Turning down the President's visit, regardless of the reason or manner,
is certainly a rebuff in my mind, but I think of a 'rebuff' as something
less harsh than a 'rebuke', which I see as more active and lecturing;
that wasn't the case here at all.  I apologize if readers took this more
harshly than intended.

It's hard to imagine any citizen of the country turning down an invitation
from the President and Commander in Chief regardless of their political
views.  When has that ever happened?  That's what made the event newsworthy.
My headline was meant to draw attention to the "Man Bites Dog" nature of the
uncommon event, not as a political statement; the excerpts I chose from the
article made the situation clear - it was not buried in the linked article.

Houston adds: "My major concern with the piece was the article's use of
the term "Medal of Honor."  I see no reason to use this term and felt it
was perhaps a misunderstanding.  The (Congressional) Medal of Honor is a
single, specific decoration / medal  --  the highest military award of
the USA.  The Purple Heart and all other decorations / medals are entirely
something different, awarded for various reasons.  Probably all these
decorations are awarded to recognize or honor an individual but to use
the term 'Medal of Honor' for the whole group only leads to confusion,
I believe."

[In my haste to edit the piece (which I discovered only late Sunday while
finalizing The E-Sylum), I failed to notice the inconsistent descriptions.
Sorry!  But I'm very glad I was able to include the piece and my question
about the 'coin" the President gave the soldier.   See Jim Downey's
response in the following item, and be sure to check out the pictures.


Jim Downey writes: "In last week's E-Sylum you asked an editorial question
about the president's "Commemorative Coin".  It is a challenge coin similar
to those given out by military commanders.  Attached are pictures of the
coin received by my sister whose son was killed in Iraq in 2004.  When
President Bush travels around the country he makes time to meet with the
families of military personnel who have died overseas."

George W. Bush Challenge Coin (Obverse)
George W. Bush Challenge Coin (Obverse)

George W. Bush Challenge Coin (Reverse)
George W. Bush Challenge Coin (Reverse)

[I'd like to express our collective condolences on the loss of Jim's
nephew.  Many thanks also for providing the photos of this beautifully
done piece.  Has anyone else seen one of these?  Was this a U.S. Mint
product?  -Editor]

Jim adds: "Some of your readers will be familiar with my nephew's story.
It was covered in an article that I did for Bank Note Reporter in 2005.
It won the NLG award for Best Token and Medal Article for 2005.  The
irony of the award is that of all the pieces I have written for numismatic
publications this one was mostly based on personal recollection and was
the least scholarly item I have written.

The article was in the March 2005 issue.  It was titled:  'Family Ties
Add Meaning, History to Items'.  It told a couple of stories about items
that related to my family including my nephew (Sgt. Benjamin Edinger,
USMC) and his experience with the Army Air Force Exchange Service pogs,
a National Bank Note that belonged to my grandparents and chits issued
by a lumber company that my grandfather worked for.  It was written shortly
after he and my grandmother died.  He died at the end of November 2004.
My grandmother died, believe it or not, while we were attending his
funeral.  (She was not there.)  She was 94 and it was no surprise,
just awkward timing.

"A truncated version of my nephew's story also appeared in the MPCGram
around the same time.  Here is the link to the MPCGram article:
Full Story"


Ron Thompson writes: "I recently heard on National Public Radio about
a new COIN Academy in Baghdad.  Numismatic scholars shouldn’t rush to
sign up for their Islamic Coin studies though, since COIN is a military
abbreviation for Counter Intelligence."


A very interesting question was raised by an article in today's Washington
Post.  It discussed the growing importance of robots in the U.S military
and notes how many soldiers have come to feel like the machines are comrades
in arms.  Will the day come when the military awards an official medal to
a valiantly-performing machine?  You read it here first - troops are already
awarding unofficial "purple hearts" to their valiant helpers.

"The most effective way to find and destroy a land mine is to step on it.

"This has bad results, of course, if you're a human. But not so much if
you're a robot and have as many legs as a centipede sticking out from your
body. That's why Mark Tilden, a robotics physicist at the Los Alamos
National Laboratory, built something like that. At the Yuma Test Grounds
in Arizona, the autonomous robot, 5 feet long and modeled on a stick-insect,
strutted out for a live-fire test and worked beautifully, he says. Every
time it found a mine, blew it up and lost a limb, it picked itself up and 
readjusted to move forward on its remaining legs, continuing to clear 
a path through the minefield.

"Finally it was down to one leg. Still, it pulled itself forward. Tilden
was ecstatic. The machine was working splendidly.

"The human in command of the exercise, however -- an Army colonel --
blew a fuse.

"The colonel ordered the test stopped.

"Why? asked Tilden. What's wrong?

"The colonel just could not stand the pathos of watching the burned,
scarred and crippled machine drag itself forward on its last leg.

"This test, he charged, was inhumane."

"The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have become an unprecedented field
study in human relationships with intelligent machines. These conflicts
are the first in history to see widespread deployment of thousands of
battle bots.

"Even more startling than these machines' capabilities, however, are
the effects they have on their friendly keepers who, for example, award
their bots 'battlefield promotions' and 'purple hearts.' 'Ours was
called Sgt. Talon,' says Sgt. Michael Maxson of the 737th Ordnance
Company (EOD). 'We always wanted him as our main robot. Every time he
was working, nothing bad ever happened. He always got the job done. He
took a couple of detonations in front of his face and didn't stop working.
One time, he actually did break down in a mission, and we sent another
robot in and it got blown to pieces. It's like he shut down because he
knew something bad would happen.' The troops promoted the robot to
staff sergeant -- a high honor, since that usually means a squad leader.
They also awarded it three 'purple hearts.'"

"When we first got there, our robot, his name was Frankenstein" says
Sgt. Orlando Nieves, an EOD from Brooklyn. "He'd been in a couple of
explosions and he was made of pieces and parts from other robots." Not
only did the troops promote him to private first class, they awarded
him an EOD badge -- a coveted honor. "It was a big deal. He was part
of our team, one of us. He did feel like family."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

[There is precedent for awarding medals to non-human soldiers - the
Dickin Medal, created in 1943 to honor acts of outstanding animal bravery.
Pigeons, dogs, horses and a cat have received the honor, which is still
given today.  Is a medal for a robot so far-fetched?  Mark my words, the
day will come. -Editor]



Tim L. Shuck of Ames, IA writes: "Every time I see an article about
this Dallas, TX, restaurant accepting pesos it reminds me of a question
I've had, as yet unanswered. I thought that legal tender status of foreign
coins was removed in 1857. But since this is and has been happening, I
assume that there is more to this issue than I understand. Can you or
other E-Sylum readers clarify why or how pesos can be accepted as
legitimate payment for transactions in the U.S. in 2007? Thanks."


[Our wiser E-Sylum colleagues will correct me if needed I'm sure, but
I believe legal tender status means that citizens are compelled to accept
legal tender in transactions, subject to the limitations of the law.
Removing legal tender status merely makes acceptance optional.  Before
1857 citizens were compelled to accept foreign coins in payment; after
1857 there was no such requirement.  So the acceptance today of pesos
(or any other country's money) is optional and quite legal between
consenting parties. -Editor]


Jeff Reichenberger writes: "I would also like to thank Anne Bentley for
her instruction on conserving wooden medals, and to pose the question of
how wooden medals were made in 1876? The detail is quite excellent.
Perhaps a transfer reducing machine tooled for wood?"

According to a 1927 Numismatist article cited in an earlier E-Sylum item,
"the medals were die-struck by Ornamental Wood Co., Philadelphia, on
walnut or other hard wood."  Perhaps an upcoming book will answer the
question in more detail.






According to an article in the Washington Post, "The principal owners
of E-Gold Ltd., an online payment system where users convert currency
assets into equivalent amounts of precious metals, were indicted last
week for allegedly allowing the service to be used by criminals engaged
in financial scams and child pornography.

"The indictment names the company's co-founders -- Douglas L. Jackson,
of Satellite Beach, Fla., and Barry K. Downey, of Woodbine, Md., as well
as Reid A. Jackson, of Melbourne, Fla. They are charged with conspiracy,
money laundering and operating an unlicensed money transfer business.
The company has offices in Melbourne, Fla., but is incorporated in the
Caribbean island of Nevis.

"'The advent of new electronic currency systems increases the risk that
criminals, and possibly terrorists, will exploit these systems to launder
money and transfer funds globally to avoid law enforcement scrutiny and
circumvent banking regulations and reporting,' said James E. Finch, of
the FBI's Cyber Division."

"At the heart of the government's case are allegations that E-Gold
executives turned a blind eye to illegal activity on its networks,
activity that allegedly ranged from the transfer of proceeds garnered
from pyramid and investment scams to credit-card fraud and payments for
child pornography materials."

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


Sam Pennington writes: "I'm doing research for an article for the MCA
Advisory on a favorite medal, the Dutch Peace of Breda by Christoffel
Adolfszoon, 1667, commemorating the settling of the second Anglo-Dutch
War, which some claimed started a third war because it was so
uncomplimentary to the English.

"The ANA librarian is sending me a copy of an article by Marjan Scharloo
(with additional comment by Peter Barber) 'A Peace Medal That Caused A
War?,' The Medal, no. 18, Spring 1991, 10 22.  If anyone has more info
on this medal, please contact me at Thank

[The medal was mentioned in an earlier MCA Advisory article (August 2004).
A complete copy of the issue is available online.  See page 8 for the
reference, excepted below.  -Editor]

"The reverse shows an allegorical scene of Peace trampling arms. However,
the imagery and legends of the obverse were found offensive by the British
and were cited among the grievances in the declaration of war precipitating
the Third Anglo-Dutch War in 1672. The medal depicts a woman representing
the United Provinces trampling the prone figure of Discord, with the
allegorical lion and lamb behind. However, in the distance are burning
ships, thought to refer to the Dutch attack on the English fleet in the
Medway. The legend ”PROCUL HINC MALA BESTIA REGNIS” (Hence from these
kingdoms, evil beast) referring to the prostrate figure of Discord, was
felt to be a reference to Charles, whose features appear to be parodied
by the face of the lion. At the insistence of the English, the dies were
destroyed and a formal apology and denial were offered by the Dutch..."

To view the complete August 2004 MCA Advisory issue, see:
Full Story


Dave Perkins writes: "I noted a typo in last week's E-Sylum, as follows,
"Ephemera dealer Marty Weil published a nice, lengthy entry on his
'ephemera' blog this week interviewing Alan Bleviss on the collecting of
U.S. Civil War Tokens.  Last week Alan stated, "There exists a merchant
from Detroit, Dr. I.C. Rose whose token reads TREATS ALL CHRONIC FEMALE
& VENEREAL DISEASES, DETROIT, it had to be advertising!""

"This Detroit Store Card token was issued by Dr. L. C. Rose, not Dr. I. C.
Rose.  The 'L' stands for Levi per multiple sources, including Detroit
City Directories, the Michigan Gazetteer and Silas Farmer's History of
Detroit and Michigan.  The Dr. Rose token is popular and relatively
expensive Detroit Civil War Store Card, with circulated examples selling
in the $500-1,000 range, and higher depending upon condition.

"Page 50 in the Farmer book has a page on "Doctors," including our Levi
Rose.  E-Sylum readers may find a couple of the entries interesting:

"The earlier physicians carried medicines and little scales, weighing
out their prescriptions at the houses of their patients, and their long
cures, powdered hair, and ruffled shirt-fronts enforced the respect
which their profession commanded.  In his relation to their personal
well-being, the doctor often comes to be esteemed and reverenced among
men as much as the pastor.  His touch and his tread become known and
loved, and his questions and his quassia even are longed for.  The names
of some of the physicians of the past are 'as ointment poured forth,'
and their memory lingers like the perfume of cedars; strength and grace
were theirs.  Among the most widely known of the physicians of former
days were the following: […L. C. Rose… was included among quite a few
names listed.]

The physicians now resident in Detroit are located conveniently all over
the city.  Many of them are established on and near Lafayette Avenue,
and those desiring treatment by any of the popular "pathies" of the day
can be accommodated."

"I have submitted an article that will be published in the next issue of
the Civil War Token Journal on another Detroit Civil War Store Card issuer.
Per my research, this token issuer was located in Fisher's Block, Detroit
as was Dr. L. C. Rose.  (Fisher’s Block was located at the NE Corner of
Campus Martius and Woodward Avenue). This token issuer married Dr. Rose's
first daughter! This information came from the great-grandson of the
token issuer and will remain a secret for a little longer, unless you
can guess which merchant it is prior to the article being published.

"I enjoyed reading the interview with Alan in the blog.  Thanks for
including the link to the article last week."

To read the complete blog entry, see:
Full Story


As hinted in a previous E-Sylum article, the million-dollar gold coin
is now a reality.  According to news reports, "The Royal Canadian Mint
unveiled a welcome addition to any piggy bank on Thursday -- a monster
gold coin with a face value of C$1 million (455,000 pounds) that it
says is the world's biggest, purest and highest denomination coin.

"Weighing in at 100 kilograms (220.5 pounds), the limited edition coin
easily dwarfs its closest rival, the 31 kg (68 pound) "Big Phil", which
was made to honour the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and has a face
value of a mere 100,000 euros (C$150,000).

"The Canadian mint introduced the mega-coin, which is the size of an
extra-large pizza, alongside the one-ounce gold bullion coins it is
mass producing at its Ottawa plant.

"Originally designed to promote the new one-ounce coins, the colossal
100 kg coins will be produced in a very limited quantity. A U.S. precious
metals distributor has ordered three and there is interest in Asia and
Europe, the mint said."

"While it has a C$1 million face value, the coin is worth more than
twice that amount given the current gold price of $683.30 an ounce.

"The new coins are both adorned with a maple leaf and boast 99.999
percent purity, a notch above previous purity peaks of 99.99 percent."

[I'm ordering two, so I can exhibit an obverse and reverse.  -Editor]

To read the complete article, see: Full Story



"The Bank of Ghana has unveiled five new bank notes and six coins
to be circulated from 1st July 2007.

"he introduction of the new currency has become necessary as a result
of re-denomination of the Ghanaian currency the Cedi, which takes effect
on July 1, 2007.

"The new Ghana Cedi notes have been designed to pay tribute to the
“Big Six” in the nation's history, who contributed immensely to the
social, political and economic development of Ghana. Their pictures
have been embossed on the front view of all the notes.

"The Ghana Cedi notes come in One Ghana cedi (GH¢1), Five Ghana cedi
(GH¢5), Ten Ghana cedi (GH¢10), Twenty Ghana Cedi (GH¢20) and Fifty
Ghana cedi (GH¢50).

"The Ghana Cedi coins range from one Ghana pesewas (1Gp), five Ghana
pesewas (5Gp), ten Ghana pesewas (10Gp), twenty Ghana pesewas (20Gp),
and fifty Ghana pesewas (50Gp).

"The new notes have colourful pictures depicting the country’s
prominent monuments and key figures. For instance, the GH¢50 depicts
the Christianborg Castle, the seat of government at the back and the
GH¢20 shows the Supreme Court Building representing the rule of law
also at the back."

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


Dick Johnson writes: "A shortage of small denomination coins in the
island nation of Sri Lanka is causing all kinds of repercussions.

"A low-cost purchase, a bus ride for example, cost the lowest coin a
rider has irrespective of denomination because the driver has no change.
School children, for another example, are bribed with colored pencils,
felt pens and exercise books to raid the family piggy banks to bring in
loose coins. Gift coupons are employed to entice adults to do likewise.
They are given the equivalent amount in paper currency plus the items
often amounting to a 20 percent premium.

"In effect, the coins have risen in value due to inflation. Minting
cheaper steel coins plated with copper or nickel has not helped,
according to the Central Bank of Sri Lanka. The events follow the
difficult classic inflation trend to keep coins in circulation as
costs of services and products rise.

"'The Central Bank got wiser in July 2004 and briefly withdrew issuing
the coins before repricing them at the market value of the precious
metals. Yet, the 5,000 gold coins and 25,000 silver tokens had been a
sell out,' according to an internet article on The Raw Story from
Cambridge, Mass.

"Jewelers were melting gold coins for converting the metal into jewelry.
They said it made good business sense to melt the coins for the gold
metal, albeit illegally, although no one would admit to doing so.

"Five and 10 cent copper coins are almost extinct in circulation with
only the cheaper aluminum replacements found occasionally. Copper coins
have been melted to make screws. Nickel coins have been holed to make
washers. Both used in the construction industry.

"Sri Lankan coins are struck at the Royal Mint of Britain, the Royal
Canadian Mint or the Paris Mint.

"An excellent article and a textbook example of what happens to coins
in early stages of inflation and the worldwide rise of coinage metal

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

For a firsthand account I turned to my old friend and E-Sylum subscriber
Kavan Ratnatunga who writes from Sri Lanka: "It is costing the CBSL lot
more than face value to mint new coins and therefore getting them back
from accumulations with a 20% incentive is cheaper.

"CBSL still mints a 25cent and 50cent coin which I rarely see in
circulation since they are worthless. The highest denomination coin
in circulation is a Rs5/- which was similar to the British pound worth
Rs220/- and in 2005 converted from Brass to Brass plated Steel.
Full Story

"Average Inflation over the last 66 years has been 11%, i.e. a rupee
in 1941 is same as about Rs1000/- in 2007, a factor of 10 each 22 years.
The US$ is now worth Rs110/. The currency system just needs to keep up
with the change, but politics of not wanting to admit to inflation does
not allow it."


Dick Johnson writes: "If you are a magician and develop a spectacular
coin trick, don't go on Japanese television.  Forty-nine magicians are
suing two television networks in Tokyo for exposing a trick on their
news programs last November.

"A hole had to be drilled in a coin to pass a cigarette through it and
it is against the law to mutilate Japanese coins. 52-year-old
professional magician Shintaro Fujiyama was arrested as a result of
the TV exposure."

Here is the story published this week:,23663,21658069-10229,00.html


Tony Tumonis forwarded a press release about the new Arizona state
quarter design.  Here are excerpts from a newspaper article:

"And the winners are: the Grand Canyon and a saguaro.
"Gov. Janet Napolitano will announce today that she has chosen the
design for the new state quarter that includes perhaps the two most
recognizable features of Arizona.

"The design, also the winner in a public vote, will include a rising
or setting sun; not even members of the special commission that picked
the design were sure which it was.

"And should anyone be unclear about whose coin it is, it will include
the name of the state, the 1912 date it was admitted to the union, and
the motto 'The Grand Canyon State' emblazoned on a banner.

"Napolitano's choice also happens to be the top choice of the nearly
113,000 people who weighed in on the Internet and, to a lesser extent,
by phone, fax and mail, and through a Capitol suggestion box.

"The design gathered 49,516 first-place votes. Coin designs featuring
just the saguaro and just the Grand Canyon were far back at 24,262 and
23,526 first-place votes, respectively.

"And some ideas were rejected for political or other reasons. For
example, one commission member suggested a Hopi kachina might be an
effective way to represent something unique to Arizona. But that idea
was jettisoned, not only because it meant singling out one tribe but also
because of the belief that there were still a lot of raw feelings about
the partition of Navajo and Hopi lands and the forced relocations.

"And a suggestion to use Mission San Xavier del Bac, south of Tucson,
was dismissed because it remains an active Catholic church.

"Even the decision to select Powell making his way down the Colorado
River was fraught with concerns over political correctness. Committee
members insisted the inscription should say that Powell was 'exploring'
the Grand Canyon, because American Indians might take offense at the
suggestion he 'discovered' what they knew was there all along."

To read the complete article, see:


Station KGMB in Hawaii reports on the latest counterfeiting scam.

"To the untrained eye, they look authentic. But some $100 bills being
passed off at stores and nightclubs are as phony as a $3 bill.

"'The counterfeiter is taking a genuine $5 note, cleaning off the ink
front and back, and reprinting it as a $100 bill,' said Rick Walkinshaw
of the U.S. Secret Service.

"The counterfeiting method is called "bleaching."  The bogus bills bear
the portrait of Benjamin Franklin, just like the real $100. And they're
printed on real currency. That's what makes them hard to spot.

"Law enforcement says fancy computers and printers make counterfeiting
easier. The bleached bill is the latest example."

To read the complete article (and view an image of a bleached note) see:


Bernadette Noe is shocked, SHOCKED to learn that prison life is no
bed of roses for her husband.

According to a Toledo Blade reporter's blog, Mrs. Noe said: “I know
that many in Toledo are shocked to find out that a guy who simply
gave too much money to George Bush is sitting in solitary confinement
and [has shared] bunk beds with convicted murderers.”

"Since Noe entered the federal prison system, Bernadette has been
watchful and, often, suspicious. As the feds move Noe from one to
another facility – from Lucas County to Milan, to Oklahoma, to
Atlanta, and now to South Carolina -- she worries.

"It’s incomprehensible to her that a white-collar criminal like
her husband should have to be behind bars with “drug lords and
bank robbers.”

"“In Oklahoma, his bunkmate was in for murder. He hit someone in
the head with a shovel … [That] really threw us for a loop.”

"Given the political overtones of Noe’s criminal charges, Bernadette
wonders every now and then how, or if, any of that factors in.

"As I’ve listened to her concerns over the last few months, I have
to admit she hasn’t said too much that differs from what other
prisoners’ families say.

"More than once, I’ve gently suggested to her that what she and
Noe are simply coming to terms with is nothing more (or less) than
… prison. Hey, it’s prison. There are no official favors here, no
special considerations, no agreement that this or that inmate is
somehow entitled to anything beyond ... prison.

"For people like Tom and Bernadette Noe -- who spent most of the
last 20 years in the world of Privilege with a Capital P -- that
must be one helluva tough reality."

To read the complete article, see:


Last week, after talking with ANA Research Librarian Amber Thompson,
I wrote that we had located 1960s-era coin dealer Ray Wheeler in Avon,
Missouri.  Amber writes: "I was glancing over the newest issue of The
E-Sylum and I noticed a little mistake. You had called me about locating
the address for Ray Wheeler and it looks like you misunderstood the name
of the town. He was listed as residing in Ava, Missouri, not Avon."

My wife calls me hard of hearing, so maybe she's right.  Ava, Missouri
it is.  Sorry for the confusion.  Rich Hartzog did some checking for us,
and my mistake led him astray.  He wrote: "Mapquest reveals two Avon, MO
locations, but neither appear to be more than a wide spot in the road,
neither listing an 11th St."

Returning to the original token we're researching, Wheeler's address
was "2528 E. 11TH".  I tend to use Google Maps rather than Mapquest, so
I went there first.  Entering Ava, Missouri I was taken to a map clearly
showing a promising grid of numbered avenues and streets, and like the
Nigel Tufnel character in 'This Is Spinal Tap', I thought "It's got an

Entering the complete address though, led to a problem - there's no
"E 11th" today, but there are "NE 11th" and "NW 11th".  I chose "NE 11th",
guessing that perhaps over the years addresses were changed to
differentiate between the east and west quadrants of the town.
But how to confirm that?

Back to The Internet.  I found the web site for the City of Ava,
Missouri: "Nestled here in the middle of Ozark Mountains, Ava is truly
a treasure with forest, fields, and streams, friendly and kind-hearted
residents, fascinating historical and cultural heritage and diverse
educational opportunities."

Now for some human engineering.  I called city hall and explained my
quest.  I learned that the street numbering system had not changed;
when the grid was adopted, it was divided into quadrants from the get-go.
Also, the "WE" telephone exchange did not ring a bell with the woman I
spoke to.  Hmmmm. She (and the Mayor Himself) recalled a Ray Wheeler,
but could not confirm that he was a coin and antique dealer or that he
had a shop on 11th Street.  There is a Ray Wheeler buried in the town
cemetery.  But are we on the right trail or barking up the wrong tree?
It bugs me that the address quadrant and phone exchange don't seem to
match up with the locals' knowledge.

Rich Hartzog writes: "A check in with the AERIAL view shows
the area to apparently be residential, vs. commercial, and with the NE
vs E. 11th St. problem, I suspect Ava is still the wrong city."

Rich performed some other useful searches using Wheeler's name.  He
writes: "The Social Security death index lists two Ray Wheelers from MO,
but neither match up with a birth date of 1918.  Better yet is a probably
unknown-to-most reference, the TENproject, located at , which provides matches
for phone number prefixes.  For MO it shows:

93 WE WE (?) Meadville MO
93 WE WEbster St Louis MO
93 WE WEbster Webster Groves MO
93 WE WEllington Harwood MO
93 WE WElls Mountain View MO
93 WE WEstmore Seymour MO
93 WE WEstport Kansas City MO

"While the TENproject is useful, please note there are inconsistencies
in the tables.  Another search reveals three different Ray Wheelers
probably currently alive, each with a birth date around 1918, none in
MO.  If his middle initial was known, that would help.

"Contacting MO researchers might solve the mystery more quickly, as
they might already be familiar with the piece.  While hardly complete,
my web page does list some sources
to track down maverick tokens.  In addition, there is a database on CD
of all known mavericks listed in most every state trade token book,
the TAMS, ATCO and NATCA mavericks and more."

[So here we are, still flummoxed over the identification of the token.
Is it really from the same Ray Wheeler who ran for ANA governor?  If
not, then where the heck is it from?  Brooklyn, NY, Chicago, IL,
Baltimore, MD and several other cities with WE telephone exchanges also
have E 11th addresses.  -Editor]

Rich Hartzog wrote to Bruce Smith, who responded: "I don't know anything
about the Ray Wheeler piece. The address is not in Ava, MO however. There
was such an address in Joplin, which was nearby. Also, if you add a 417
area code to the phone number, you get Mountain View, MO, which is also
in the area. The address is also possible for Kansas City, MO.  I wonder
if the telephone company ever published a national list of telephone
exchanges? Such a list would be very useful for attributing modern
tokens and souvenir items."

Rich Hartzog adds: "With this info on Mountain View, and the previous
phone exchange info which gave that town as a possibility, it seems
that would be the next choice for research."

Bruce Smith adds: "The numbered streets in St. Louis run north and south,
so we can eliminate St. Louis. Since Joplin doesn't have that exchange,
my money would be on Kansas City, if the piece is indeed from Missouri."

To watch Nigel Tufnel explaining "eleven" to Rob Reiner, see:



"Someone has helped themselves to a few choice specimens from the
Bank of Canada's currency museum, newly released documents show.
Red-faced bank officials are short about $16,700 following the
unsolved theft at the central bank's popular tourist attraction.
The missing money came not from the display cases, but disappeared
from a stash of cash the museum uses to help teach visitors about
counterfeit currency. The so-called note exchange program allowed
patrons to swap their old-style bills for new-series money with
special security features designed to thwart counterfeiters. The
popular program, created in 2001, has been abruptly canceled in
the wake of the currency caper."

To read the complete Associated Press article, see:


"The Bank of Korea said it plans to issue bills with larger
denominations, as the need for larger bills has increased with
the expansion of the economy.

"The highest-denomination bank-note, for 10,000 won, is valued
at only $10.74. The central bank will issue notes of 50,000 won
and 100,000 won possibly by the first half of 2009.

"Since the 10,000-won note was introduced in 1973, prices have
risen by a factor of 12, while the nation's income has increased
more than 150 times, the central bank said."

To read the complete article (subscription required), see:


"Aiming to change its national currency to the euro in 2009,
Slovakia has revived old ideas on issuing €1 and €2 banknotes,
but the European Central Bank says the idea won't fly.

"'We are trying to open up debate,' Slovak prime minister Robert
Fico said in an April meeting with the European Central Bank president
Jean-Claude Trichet, underlining the move was driven by public dismay.

"'The banknote – unlike the coin - is a subjective symbol of value,'
Mr Fico argued. He was referring to the fact that in his country a €1
coin may replace two banknotes of 20 and 50 Slovak koruna, which
could eventually lead to the feeling of having less money.

"In fellow new EU state Slovenia, adoption of the euro has already
made people feel poorer, after the country bid farewell to its national
currency in January 2007. The €1 coin has a value of 254 Slovenian
tolars, something that has prompted a citizens' petition."

To read the complete article, see:


Dick Johnson writes: "Astrology columnist Rob Brezsny reports the
following for the week of May 3 for readers whose date of birth is
March 21 to April 19 (Aries):

'To manufacture one penny, the U.S. Treasury spends 1.4 cents. To
process petroleum for use in operating a car, the oil industry expends
20 per cent more energy than the gasoline yields. These are the kinds
of situations you've urgently got to avoid in the coming week, Aries.
You need to get substantially more out of any project than you put into
it. So choose your fuel wisely. Be resourceful in your push for greater

To read the original article, see:


Regarding last week's jokes about deer and bucks, Bob Neale writes: "I
think that one showed up on a Prairie Home Companion Joke Show some years
ago. But it brings up the thought: How about a numismatic jokes edition
of The E-Sylum, or maybe a part of one, once a year or so? There has to
be a lot of humor out there, just knowing how numismatists really are,
and some of it ought to be printable. You might ask for contributions."

[Sure, why not?  If you've got a numismatic funny to share, please send
it in.  Below is a report of a numismatic joke from the recent EAC
convention.  -Editor]


The following reports from the recent convention of the Early American
Coppers Society in St. Louis are borrowed from the JR Newsletter # 86,
April 29, 2007, published by the John Reich Collectors Society (JRCS).

Nathan Markowitz wrote: "The true meeting highlight was the tour of the
new Eric Newman money museum and a presentation by an energetic Mr.
Newman himself.  The exhibit highlights for me were the 1792 gold "pocket
piece" carried by a gentleman named Washington and a display of early
cash machines and scales.  Yet, I must confess I was equally awed by
the extensive library on my first visit to the museum... The stories
told that night by our host Eric Newman will reverberate through my mind
for years to come..."

W. David Perkins wrote: "I just got back from a very enjoyable three
days at the EAC Convention in St. Louis, this year with JRCS members
also in attendance. I was told by many EAC'ers that it may be one of
the best EAC shows ever!  For me it was my first EAC Convention despite
almost 25 years of membership.  I am very glad I attended.  We also
signed up a number of new JRCS members at the show!

"One personal highlight for me was a private viewing of Eric P. Newman's
early U.S. silver dollars 1794-1803, all displayed in three Waite Raymond
holders.  Imagine picking your early dollar date and major type set from
a whole bunch of Col. Green's collection of early dollars.  And yes,
early dollars do come with full cartwheel lustre!

"For me, my favorite coin in this collection was probably the Mint State
1797 B-2, BB-72 Small Letters Reverse Dollar.  Actually, to be precise,
it is still marked as 1797 "H-2" on the 2X2 envelope….  This specimen is
the plate coin in the Bowers silver dollar book (if you'd like to get an
idea of what it looks like).  It is also the finest example known to me….
by far.  There also was a 1799 Dollar that would likely grade MS-67 or 68
by either major grading service!  It was something to behold.  Eric, if
you are reading this thank you again for sharing these special coins
with me.

"Other highlights include: For starters, how about my good friend Jim
Matthews' case, full of half dimes and dimes with cuds (one of his favorite
things to collect).  Cuds are a great fun to view and study – how can you
not like late die states and cuds???  Jim sure has some great ones!   This
caused me to buy on Saturday three Conder tokens with cuds from dealer and
friend Jerry Bobbe.  John Kraljevich and I added these three tokens to
Jim's display case (cuds) when he wasn't looking..."

Jim Matthews wrote: "Dave Perkins ... fails to mention a little joke
played on me by himself and John Kraljevich. While I was over trying to
figure out a fascinating 1807 Draped Bust Half dollar that John Dannreuther
had brought along (it appeared to have two massive opposing cuds--neither
seen on any other known coins--it likely was some sort of damage, rats!),
Dave Perkins purchased two beautiful Conder Tokens from Jerry Bobbe, both
with massive cuds. Dave placed these two large coins in my display case
with cuds and die cracks while John Kraljevich added in two signs--one by
Dave's large Conder tokens which read 'MAN CUDS' with another sign by my
tiny half dimes reading 'BOY CUDS'."


This week's featured web site is - an international
website of art medals.

  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.

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