The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 10, Number 19, May 13, 2007:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2007, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers is Karl Hoffmann. Welcome aboard!
We now have 1,113 subscribers.

This week's issue is being published early due to your editor's
travel schedule.  An assignment has me on the way to London, where
I'll be working for much of the summer.  As a result, beginning
next week the normal publication time, while still a Sunday evening
for me, will be hours earlier for readers (all the more reason to
get your submissions in early each week).  And don't be surprised
if British spellings and date formats start creeping in...

During my extended stay I hope to see some numismatic sites and
visit with some of my E-Sylum friends.  Let's make some plans!
My email address will remain

Coincidentally, we lead off this issue with a note about an
upcoming book on British tokens, which has inspired an economist
(and our own Dick Johnson) to discuss the ramifications of the
private issuance of money in the U.S. and Europe.

Next up is an item that was just too funny to hold until the end
of the issue.  If you haven't seen it already in the mainstream
press, you're about to find out what triggered the recent Canadian
"spy coin" scare.

In the news is an interview with a student member of Hawaii's
state quarter design committee, an exhibition of Australia’s most
'Kookaburra Collection', and a congregation of Congressional Medal
of Honor recipients in Green Bay. Have a great week, everyone.

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


Many thanks to Dick Johnson for reminding us about an upcoming book
of interest to numismatists and economists everywhere. An advance
look at George Selgin's book (Good Money: Birmingham Button-Makers,
The Royal Mint, and the Beginnings of Modern Coinage) is available
on the Internet in the form of the author's lengthy book proposal,
which includes an annotated table of contents and sample chapters.
The title as originally proposed was "GOOD MONEY: How some British
BUTTON MAKERS beat GRESHAM’S LAW, solved the most urgent ECONOMIC
PROBLEM of their day, and cleared the way for the INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION".

The proposal notes that "Richard G. Doty, the Curator of Numismatics
at the Smithsonian Institution has already offered this blurb:

“Good Money documents the fascinating story of the British Industrial
Revolution and its effects on the coinage of the day. In lucid,
enjoyable, often humorous language, Dr Selgin, a born story-teller,
takes us from the 'dark satanic mills' to the backstreet haunts of
the eighteenth-century counterfeiter. His cast of characters is large
and rumbustious—including Thomas Williams, James Watt, John Westwood,
and Matthew Boulton, to name just a few. His understanding of eighteenth-
century economic theory and practice is absolute, allowing him to write
with a verve and a clarity that I find enviable. Very simply, Good
Money is the most important study of its kind to appear in many years,
and I recommend it without reservation.”

To read the complete book proposal, see:
complete book proposal

[George Selgin became an E-Sylum subscriber on November 7, 2004,
when he provided us with advance word of his planned book. -Editor]



[An article by Lawrence White (see the following E-Sylum item) mentions
the book; I contacted Selgin who adds: "The title is now 'Good Money:
 Private Enterprise and the Foundation of Modern Coinage' As for
publication, alas, it is scheduled for this time next year, so there's
no need yet for people to start lining up for copies!" -Editor]


Dick Johnson writes: "Numismatists, get ready to blow your coin buying
budget if what free market economists recommend comes to pass!

"Lawrence White, F.A. Hayek professor of economic history and leading
free-banking theorist is offering such a recommendation in his writings.
He wants the institutions that use coins and currency the most to issue
their own money!

"His frequent co-author, George Selgin, is writing a book about how
private penny issuers saved the Industrial Revolution.  The book, titled
'Good Money: Birmingham Button-Makers, The Royal Mint, and the Beginnings
of Modern Coinage' will be published by the University of Michigan Press
and the Independent Institute.

"White is basing his recommendations on what he learned from fellow
author Selgin's research. White sees where banks worldwide could issue
their own coins. But imagine this in America. Not only would banks, but
this would open up an opportunity for businesses -- of every size --
to do likewise. The largest users of coins, retail chains, would be
most active in coin issuing.

"Civil War tokens of cent denomination would be small scale. Potentially
White is recommending the private sector issue currency as well as coins
in denominations most suitable to their needs."

George Selgin adds: "My book itself, which is all history, doesn't
come out and recommend that people take up private coinage today,
though White does."

[Dick submitted additional articles related to White's recommendation
- the implications are far-reaching; these appear further on in this
issue. -Editor]


Katie Jaeger, Bill Rosenblum, Nick Graver, John Nebel and others
forwarded copies of a hilarious Associate Press article exposing
the incident behind the recent Canadian "spy coin" hullabaloo.
This has NLG Bash / Saturday Night Live skit written all over it.

"An odd-looking Canadian coin with a bright red flower was the
culprit behind the U.S. Defense Department's false espionage
warning earlier this year, The Associated Press has learned.

"The odd-looking — but harmless — "poppy coin" was so unfamiliar
to suspicious U.S. Army contractors traveling in Canada that they
filed confidential espionage accounts about them. The worried
contractors described the coins as "anomalous" and "filled with
something man-made that looked like nano-technology," according
to once-classified U.S. government reports and e-mails obtained
by the AP.

"The silver-colored 25-cent piece features the red image of a poppy
— Canada's flower of remembrance — inlaid over a maple leaf. The
unorthodox quarter is identical to the coins pictured and described
as suspicious in the contractors' accounts.

"The supposed nano-technology actually was a conventional protective
coating the Royal Canadian Mint applied to prevent the poppy's red
color from rubbing off. The mint produced nearly 30 million such
quarters in 2004 commemorating Canada's 117,000 war dead."

"A numismatist consulted by the AP, Dennis Pike of Canadian Coin &
Currency near Toronto, quickly matched a grainy image and physical
descriptions of the suspect coins in the contractors' confidential
accounts to the 25-cent poppy piece.

"'It's not uncommon at all,' Pike said. He added that the coin's
protective coating glows peculiarly under ultraviolet light. "That
may have been a little bit suspicious,' he said.

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story

On May 8th The Toronto Star commented on the affair. -Editor]

"It turns out that the strange coin found in the cup holder of the
Canadian car a U.S. defence contractor rented was, well, a quarter
– with a red poppy inlay and a minting date of 2004.

"Turns out the American officials were befuddled by protective coatings
on the coin, which had been put in place to try to keep the red colour
from smudging, something that marred the early 2004 printings of the
coin, leaving on some a red blotch on the face of the Queen on the
reverse side.

"One contractor marvelled that the coin didn't seem to have a power
source, but was filled with some sort of "nano-technology."

"'And you wonder why our war effort isn't going too well,' said John
Pike, a security and military analyst at

"The Canadian embassy tried to remain diplomatic.

"'We knew loose lips sink ships, but loose change ... ?' said
spokesperson Bernard Etzinger.

"The mystery of the Canadian coins with the radio transmitters had
haunted cyberspace for four months until it was resolved by the
Associated Press yesterday."

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


David Gladfelter writes: "In the stories about the President's
House archæological dig at the southeast corner of Sixth and
Market Streets in Philadelphia, you may have overlooked a minor
numismatic discovery. This was found in the cornerstone of a
commercial building erected on top of the foundation after the
President's House was demolished in 1832.

"'Three commercial buildings then were constructed on the site,
and the excavation has uncovered their foundations as well.

"'In fact, in one of the exciting moments of the dig, archeologists
broke through the cement basement of one commercial building last
week and there, right on top of a remaining President's House
foundation wall, was an 1833 penny. It was common practice for
builders to place a properly dated coin beneath new construction
-- and the commercial building was, in fact, erected in 1833.

"'It's unbelievable that we came down right on top of that, but
it certainly dates it very accurately,' [Douglas] Mooney [,field
director of the firm conducting the dig], said. 'We couldn't believe
it when that popped up. Sometimes you imagine what would be a
really cool find, and sometimes you can't even predict.'' Article
by Stephan Salisbury, 'Dig yields some unexpected finds,' The
Philadelphia Inquirer, May 4, 2007, pages A1, A16.

"The 'penny' (read 'cent') would not have traveled far. It would
have been struck in the first year of operation of the second U. S.
Mint building at the northwest corner of Chestnut and Juniper
Streets. This site is less than a mile west of the dig site."


The Garden Island newspaper of Kauai, Hawaii interviewed a local
high school student who served on the state's quarter design

"When the United States Mint introduced the first coins of the
“50 States Commemorative Coin Program” in 1999, local student Malia
Hitch began to collect them. She had no idea that a few years later
she’d be a part of the process to design the coin that would
represent her home state.

"Now, as a 17-year-old senior at Kapa‘a High School, Hitch has
lent her two cents as a member of the Hawai‘i Commemorative Quarter
Advisory Commission. The 36-member group was convened by Gov. Linda
Lingle to select, develop and recommend designs emblematic of Hawai‘i
to the U.S. Mint for the Hawai‘i Commemorative Quarter.

"Hitch was one of five high school students on the commission and
the only one from Kaua‘i. The rest of the 36-member HCQAC was made
up of individuals from across the state representative of Hawai‘i’s
diversity, including leaders from the community, government,
business, education, labor, Native Hawaiian affairs, and culture
and the arts."

"Student representatives were selected through an essay contest
conducted by each island’s local newspaper. Hitch’s essay to The
Garden Island newspaper earned her the right to represent Kaua‘i.

"According to Hitch, ideas that didn’t make the cut for various
reasons included the depiction of Hawaiian gods and a multi-racial
group of citizens a la “It’s a Small World,” the Walt Disney Theme
Park ride.

"“I spoke up and tried to fight for things that represented the
whole state versus just O‘ahu. They wanted Diamond Head on it, but
I said I don’t feel like Diamond Head represents me. The people
from Big Island and Maui and Molokai felt the same way. You should
make it fair to everybody.”

"Hitch also said she learned how to deal with bureaucratic bumps
along the way. When the U.S. Mint originally suggested that there
wasn’t enough room on the coin to include the state motto, committee
members met with them to push the idea through.

"“They tried to tell us that it wouldn’t fit, but we got them to
put it on there. We thought it was really important.”

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


A five-day exhibition will feature of one of Australia’s most
significant coin sets - the ‘Kookaburra Collection’ of historic
square Australian coins - in Melbourne from May 21 to May 25.

"Acquired by an anonymous collector, with the assistance of Coinworks’
Belinda Downie, this is the only time this unique set of thirteen
coins will be shown to the public, before being locked in a vault
for posterity.  The exhibition will be held in Melbourne’s historic
Great Hall ('Cathedral Room') of the former Stock Exchange of Melbourne."

To read the complete article, see
Full Story

The Australian Square Penny Patterns date to the Melbourne Mint's 1919-
1921 attempts to find a lighter, more durable alternative to copper
pennies and halfpennies. "The Mint struck approximately 200 Pattern
coins, which were distributed to politicians and dignitaries for
assessment. The project died with the resignation of the then Treasurer,
but the Square Penny has lived on as one of Australia's most valuable
and highly sought after rarities."
Full Story

"The coins never went into production, but the few that were produced
as trial coins are exceptionally rare, exceedingly valuable and have
assumed an iconic prominence in the rare coin industry. This is the
only set of its kind."
Full Story


Dick Johnson forwarded the following article by free-banking theorist
Lawrence White from the Free Market news web site (published May 7,

"Rather than choose the set of note and coin denominations by arbitrary
government edict, I propose that Europe and the US should use the
mechanism we use to choose the set of other goods and services. Why
not let European commercial banks issue EUR1 and EUR2 notes at their
own expense, just as the banks in Scotland and Northern Ireland currently
issue banknotes as low as £1 at their own expense? Let members of the
public use notes or coins as they prefer. In that way the question of
currency denomination can be taken out of the public sector with its
one-size-fits-all approach. In the nineteenth century, private banknotes
prevailed everywhere. In the United States, most banks issued notes in
the usual 1-2-5 set of denominations, but some banks experimented with
$3 bills."

"In the US, some writers have been arguing that the $1 bill should
be withdrawn and replaced by the $1 coin because the coin lasts longer
(30 years vs. 1 year)... Similar arguments apply to the US penny.
Some arbitrarily call for its withdrawal; some want to keep it around.
To see which coin denominations really are worth issuing, we need to
move coin production into the market. Let commercial banks issue coins
of all denominations. There is good historical precedent for private
production not only of gold and silver coins, but also of token coins."

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


Dick Johnson further comments on what would happen in America if private
issuing of coins and currency were permitted as proposed by professor
White.  He writes:

"For coin issues:

"The U.S. Mint would become the largest custom minter in the world,
creating coins for banks and large retail chains. They would produce
custom coins for each such issuer, accepting orders directly from them
and instead of shipping all coins to the Federal Reserve System, ship
the custom coins to retail branches. This would become, in effect,
the most efficient method in the distribution of coins.

"Private mints would be established to service banks and businesses
of all sizes. As was the case for the Civil War cents even small
retail merchants would issue their own coins, possibly ordering them
in several denominations. There would be extensive competition among
private mints. Some would have round-the-clock production. Costs of
new coining presses and engraving equipment would skyrocket as mints
required more production capacity.

"Competition for the profits from seignorage would drive the purity
of coins higher. Coins would be issued both in precious metal and
token coinage in base metals.

"Large retail chains would be the most active issuer of their own
coins. They would make their own decision, for example, to have and
use low denomination coins, or to to round off to the next highest
denomination they made available.

"Owners of several private minting firms would have sellers remorse
for selling out recently, perhaps hitting their forehead like a V8
commercial --  "Oh, If I had only held out for a few more years!"
This would include Roger Williams Mint, acquired last year by Osborne
Coinage of Cincinnati. Or perhaps by Hoffman of California, which
sold much of its minting equipment to Northwest Territorial Mint,
and four coining presses acquired by Striker Tokens and Medals of
Eureka Springs, Arkansas. How fortunate for them."

"For currency issues:

"The U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing would become a large
custom banknote printer in addition to private banknote printers.
They would receive orders from banks direct instead of the Federal
Reserve System and print notes specifically for these banks with
their names (a la National Bank Notes).

"Banks would issue their own notes and encourage their use for
the float they would have access to between the time the notes
were issued and the time they were redeemed.

"Bank loan interest rates would drop for the banks that would be
most aggressive in issuing their own notes. They would have such
excess capital available for loans they could charge a lower
interest rate.

"ATM machines would proliferate. This would be the most effective way
of distributing a bank's custom notes. There would be no charge for
the use of this service. In fact some aggressive banks may offer a
premium for the use of their currency. Competition among banks would
vary the amount of the premium.

"Standards would have to be made in the design of the currency. This
would be required to insure its acceptance by everyone.

"The currency issued by a bank that defaulted would have to be accepted
by all other banks, otherwise the public would not accept any bank's
currency. Or the banks would have to form their own insurance plan
for this."


Tony Tumonis writes: "I would be shocked to see our military awarding
medals to machines.  This isn't OZ and these robots are not the Tin man.
I understand awarding a medal to a non-human comrade, as they have a
heart and feel pain.  During World War II my father fought in the
Philippines and they had a dog that would run from tent to tent
awakening the soldiers on an impending bombing run by the Japanese,
long before anyone could hear the planes.  This gave the men time to
get safely into their foxholes.  It didn't take long for everybody to
become attached to this dog.

"After the Philippines were liberated, and the time came for them to
go home, they didn't want to leave the dog behind for fear of it
becoming the natives next meal so they smuggled him aboard the troop
ship bound for Australia.  Australia had strict laws then regarding
animals coming in, so they taught the dog to lay perfectly still and
quiet inside a duffel bag.  If our military starts to give awards to
robots, does that mean that will they have to start giving awards to
their battered Humvees or risk facing a discrimination lawsuit?"



William P. Houston of Frankfurt am Main writes: "Of late there have
been a few articles in The E-Sylum regarding coins placed under ships'
masts.  Thru chance I have just noted an item offered on eBay (Nr.
2201 0901 6184) offering a "coin" placed under (or in or on, I'm
uncertain how it is done) the keel of a ship when construction begins.

It's probably another old custom which the AIDA Cruise Lines (or
whatever the official name of the company is) has discovered for
advertisement and or publicity reasons.  Bidding closes this evening
(MEST).  Strictly FYI  --  I'm not the owner and I do not plan to bid."

[I was unable to read the German text of the item description, but I
wonder if these "coins" are similar to the flags flown over the federal
and state Capitol buildings, plsced there briefly only to be packed up
and sent to a favored constituent group.  -Editor]


Regarding our earlier query about artist John William Casilear,
David Gladfelter writes: "There is a self-portrait of Casilear
and biographical info on him in Foster Wild Rice, "Antecedents
of the American Bank Note Company," 18 Essay-Proof Journal 91,
102-103 (1961) (reprinted). The portrait had been owned by his
granddaughter, Grace Casilear Burr, who died childless the
preceding year and "was the last surviving descendant of this
artistic branch of the family." Thus it may take some searching
to locate this self-portrait today.

"There is also biographical info in Hessler, Stauffer and Baker.
The last mentioned source ascribes two works to him: "The Seven
Presidents," painted and engraved for the New York Mirror, 1834,
and "The Sybil," after a painting by Daniel Huntington, published
by the American Art Union in 1847.

"I have a proof of the B plate $5.00 note of the Morris County Bank,
Morristown, N. J., with the imprint Casilear, Durand, Burton &
Edmonds, N. York. as well as the 4-subject copper plate from which
it was printed. The note has 4 vignettes, but none of them are
signed. I have not seen a signed vignette of Casilear's."



Last week, responding to Harold Levi's question about the dies used
for the Bashlow restrikes of the Confederate Cent, Dick Johnson noted
that when the stock of the August Frank company was acquired by
Medallic Art, "Unfortunately, there were no Bashlow dies amongst [them].
He must have retrieved every one of them."

Tom DeLorey writes: "This is incorrect - Robert Bashlow did not
retrieve the dies. I spoke with him shortly before his fatal trip
to Spain, and he told me that he had not been able to recover his
dies when August Frank's children had placed him in a nursing home
and sold off all his assets, but that he intended to begin legal
action to recover them after he returned from Europe. Of course,
he never did.

"At about that time, many of the dies were being advertised for sale
(I believe in Coin World, though there might have also been a mailed
circular), including many Elder dies. I had decided not to buy any
because of the questionable title, but after Bashlow's death was
contacted by a dealer who wanted to know if I would be interested
in a partnership to buy the Hudson and Fulton small-sized dollar
dies and restrike them. I did not think that this was a good idea,
so I bought the dies to keep them from being restruck."


Larry Gaye writes: "I cannot say how shocked I was to hear about
the death of Chris Connell.  I heard of Chris long before I met him.
As an avid Byzantinist I was told Chris was 'the man' and that I
should meet him.  I seemed we were almost meeting each other for years.

"In 1998 I had my chance.  I was the Assistant General Chairman of the
Portland ANA Worlds Fair of Money.  On the opening day of the convention
we were swamped with people wanting to get in.  There were so many people
in line that a call went out for volunteers to help with registration
(we ended up with 11,000 people at the convention) in all areas.  As I
was directing people to registration a fellow walked up and said 'Can I
help?'  I said sure grab a line and pass out pens and applications.
This went on for about an hour and when the hubbub passed we both passed
a sigh of relief at the same time and took a deep breath.  I introduced
my self and he said 'I'm Chris Connell.'  I finally met a man who would
become a very dear friend.

"It was at that show that the ADBC (Association of Dedicated Byzantine
Collectors) was formed by Chris, Prue Fitts, and yours truly behind a
curtain at the ANA registration booth.  As a national volunteer I knew
I would see Chris at least twice a year and emails and phone conversations
much more often.  Chris was a gentleman in all things and a true priest
to all who knew him.  He went through life affecting the lives of those
around him and I feel very lucky to have had him in my life even for a
short time.  He was a gift given to us and taken away too soon.  I will
miss him."


"This September, many of our nation's most highly-honored military
veterans will come together in Green Bay for a convention honoring
recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor. Thursday, organizers
unveiled details of the week-long event.

"In the history of the U.S. military, more than 48 million men and
women have served. Out of that, just 3,444 were awarded with the
military's highest honor.

"There are 110 Congressional Medal of Honor recipients still living,
ranging from 57 to 97 years old. Most of them will be in Green Bay
for the convention.

"Each recipient who attends will take part in a jam-packed week with
activities ranging from fishing to school visits. In all, there will
be 22 events during the week. The final event takes place on Lambeau
Field, where all the Medal of Honor recipients will be introduced
during a pre-game ceremony.

"Festivities kick off September 3rd."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


Coin dealer Mike Fuljenz was recently profiled by his alma mater,
Lamar University of Beaumont, Texas:

"Fuljenz' gifts to the athletic department total over $100,000 over
the last two years, including providing financial support for programs
like - underwriting the 2006 men's basketball tip-off dinner featuring
guest speaker John Calipari, corporate sponsorships, donations to the
men's and women's golf teams, donations to the women's soccer program,
baseball and Cardinal Club membership.

"Fuljenz looks back to his own upbringing, his children and his
personal interests as the main motivating factors for his interest
in giving back to the community through a variety of avenues. 'My
mother and grandmother both taught for 30 years, so I grew up in a
family that supported education and teaching. My father was really
involved with different charitable programs and volunteer work for
youth in need. You kind of model your father.

"'I taught and I've always been involved in education programs.
You need a hobby and my hobby is working with programs that help
kids. I like teaching and I like working with kids.

"'So, when I left teaching to get into coins, and that area blossomed,
one of the ways to stay true to some of the roots I had was to be
involved with kids, sports and other areas of education.'

"He started his professional career as a teacher and principal.
After several years, he turned to his life-long love and interest
in coins into a business. He is the president of Universal Coin
and Bullion, which specifically deals with classic rare coins.

"'I always collected coins as a hobby,' said Fuljenz.' I would cut
lawns for money during the summer. But what I quickly realized was
that when they quit making dimes out of silver in the 1960s, I could
acquire old dimes at the bank, sell them to the local dealer and
make more money doing that than I could mowing grass.'

"Through reading books and other literature, attending conventions
and seminars, and interacting with other people who shared the same
interest in coins, Fuljenz has become one of the foremost experts
in the area of rare coins."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


As a result of an earlier E-Sylum article I've recently fielded
queries about "Short Snorters."  I enlisted the help of Joe Boling,
co-author of "World War II Remembered".

Joe writes: "Short snorters were invented by airmen making hops to
various countries - it became a way to keep souvenirs of where you
had been. Frequently, the notes were signed by other members of the
crew (if a multi-engine aircraft). Eventually other servicemen became
aware of them and started keeping souvenirs also. In the case of
ground troops, it was a lot easier to have buddies sign the notes.

"Collectors value short snorters that are dated and have locations
indicated, as that gives us information about circulation patterns
for notes during the war. There have been many articles on short
snorters published over the years, but no definitive research that
I recall."

"I am now at the Central States convention. One of the competitive
exhibits is about short snorters. It says that the term originally
applied to the flyer himself, and only later came to be applied to
the notes that were being signed and retained. It also has an issue
of Paper Money (the journal of the SPMC, Soc of PM Collectors) as
part of the exhibit - whole number 216, Nov-Dec 2001. You should
see this exhibit - seven cases of fabulous short snorters."

[Many thanks to Joe for his assistance on this topic.
Did any other E-Sylum readers get to see the exhibit?


Kerry Rodgers writes: "I was interested in Ted Buttery's comment
concerning "pence" vs "penny".  I suspect we are keen observers of
a language shift happening before our eyes.

"I am very aware of the pedantic grammar that is allegedly involved,
but I noted that that bastion (on one side of the Atlantic) of
English-as-she-is-spoke, the BBC, referred to "one pence" at least
in its report.

"Try Googling "one pence".  You will get over 29,000 hits. These are
not all illiterate casual bloggers; far from it.  I suspect a shift
in usage is occurring.  I have seen the same in my lifetime in "data
is", now accepted in common parlance.  And poor old "disinterest" has
undergone a complete change in meaning over the last three decades.
This is English, an ever-growing vibrant language, not frozen Latin-like
in the past, or hide-bound by bureaucrats as is French.

"A Professor of English Language once pointed out to me that the only
correct English is that in current usage - whatever that might be."


Regarding last week's item on the acceptance of Mexican Pesos by a U.S.
business, Granvyl Hulse writes: "What has surprised me is the print
wasted on commenting about a store near the Mexican border accepting
pesos. Most businesses along the Canadian border accept Canadian money
in payment for goods. In some cases they charge an exchange fee, but
some ski areas in northern New York announced that they would accept
Canadian money at par to encourage cross-border trade. What is the
big deal with pesos? I live five miles from the Canadian border in
up-state New Hampshire and I would bet that there isn't a cash register
in this town that does not have some Canadian money in one of its slots."



Relating to the more general question of foreign coins as legal
tender, David Ganz writes: "See Feb. 21, 1857, ch. 56, 11 Stat. 163
(determines legal tender of Spanish pillar dollar (continue) and
other coins (denied).

"When the Coinage Act of 1965 was passed, it had an important clause
that ratified the legal tender status of all American coins and
currency previously produced (thus finally legalizing the trade

"In the hearing held June 4, 1965, Rep. Wright Patman, chair of the
House Banking & Currency Committee, asked Treasury secretary Henry
Fowler whether the coins being authorized 'will have the stamp of
the United States recognizing that each coin is legal tender for
all debts, public and private' to which Fowler replied in the

"On page 20-21 of the hearing, Fowler was asked 'if they have
something owing to them, they are compelled by law to accept these
coins' to which Fowler answered 'Correct'. Money becomes a commodity;
paper currency a medium of exchange.

"Chairman Patman clarifies 'two points on the record' on page 32 of
the same hearing. 'all coins, all paper money are all of equal value
as legal tender. You can pay a million dollar debt with copper cents
if you want to. That has not always been true. You can pay any debt
with 5-cent pieces or 25 cent pieces, and it makes no difference.
It is all acceptable legal tender'.

"Secretary Fowler than acknowledges that some vending machines don't
accept half dollars and that some coin-operated vending machines
are limited.

"On the floor debates, it is further clarified that this is nothing
'more than a restatement of existing law.'"


This week's featured web page is an abstract of a February 2004 article
in Journal of Evolutionary Economics: "The denominations of US coins:
a case of institutional evolution" by Adrian E. Tschoegl.

"'A great deal of small change is useful in a state, and tends to reduce
the prices of small articles.' Thomas Jefferson (1784; 1953, p. 178)

Abstract. The system of denominations of US coins, which the paper
treats as a quasi-genetic trait of the US monetary system, has not
been constant since inception but rather has evolved over time in the
sense of being subject to innovation and selection. However, all the
innovations have disappeared, as have a number of the original
denominations. Abstract theories of optimal systems of denominations
provide a good explanation of one selection factor, but other important
influences include limiting the number of separate denominations and
accommodating the requirements of decimal counting. However, even
some innovations that ultimately disappeared survived for decades."

Featured Web Site

  Wayne Homren
  Numismatic Bibliomania Society 

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