The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 10, Number 20, May 20, 2007:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2007, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers is F. Carl Braun.  Welcome aboard!
We now have 1,113 subscribers.

As noted last week, this issue is being published early due to your
editor's relocation to London, England.  So get used to it, and be
prepared for occasional deviations due to travel.   I'm settled here
quite well now.  Many thanks to all the locals who have come forth
with offers of visits.  I'll be in touch soon and apologize to them
and anyone else if I haven't replied to email in the past few days.
My ISP back in the states is having some difficulties (again), and
I haven’t been getting incoming mail to
Once the floodgates open I may discover some additional E-Sylum

I hope to see some numismatic sites on my visit, although so far
about all I've seen is the outside of the Tower Mint and Spink's.
I'm getting used to using the local coins and paper money, and
naturally I'm setting some aside for my kids as souvenirs of my
trip.  Finding nice examples of some denominations has been difficult
so far; my first impression of the coins here is that they seem
shopworn compared to the coins in the U.S.  The one pound coin in
particular seems well worn.  Without a comparable banknote the pound
coin is a real workhorse.

This week we open with a look at the contents of the next issue of
our print journal, The Asylum.  Next up is word of a new book on
images of slavery in Confederate and Southern States Currency, and
a limited edition of the Roman Gold Coin Price Yearbook.

In the news this week, a bomb scare empties a U.S. Mint facility,
and the B.E.P. announces a new anticounterfeiting technology.  In
the numismatic research department, Hugh Shull is looking for images
of rare varieties and errors of Confederate currency, and readers
come forth with information on  artist and engraver John Casilear.
To learn how to order Canada's new million-dollar gold coin, read
on. Have a great week, everyone.

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


David Yoon, Editor of our print journal, The Asylum, reports that
the next issue (volume 25, number 1) is at the printers and should
be arriving in member mailboxes soon.  The contents include:

* Joel Orosz - William Byrd II and the First Numismatic Library
  in North America
* George Kolbe - Joseph Florimond Loubat: A Bibliographical Addendum
* W. David Perkins - The de Coppet Hoard of Early Silver Dollars
* John Adams - Book Review: The Medallic History of the United States
  of America, by J. F. Loubat
* Candidates for the 2007 Election of Officers for the Numismatic
  Bibliomania Society

[While The E-Sylum is free to all, The Asylum is available only to
members of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.  To join, see the
information at the end of each E-Sylum issue.  There is a membership
application available on our web site.  To join, print the application
and return it with your check to the address printed on the
application. Membership is only $15 to addresses in the U.S., $20
elsewhere. -Editor]

To print the NBS membership application, go to:
NBS Membership Application


Larry Gaye writes: "At the recent ANA National Money Show in Charlotte
I walked by the table of Gresham's Coins, Stamps & Medals owned by
Sherrod Gresham of Nightdale, North Carolina and noticed an excellent
patch of color in the form of the book 'Confederate Currency The Color
of Money, Images of Slavery in Confederate and Southern States Currency'.

"It is a book about the images of slaves that graced Confederate
Currency.  The artist is John W. Jones and this is his work of love.
Mr. Jones has painted full color images of the subjects of each note.
The book illustrates each note with his work in juxtaposition for
comparison.  The Color of Money is truly colorful and full of life,
a must-have for every numismatic bibliophile or for that matter
anyone interested in this period of history.

"Sherrod Gresham can be reached at and their
web site is  I did not see anything about the
book on their site, however I can just about guarantee he will happily
sell you the book."

[In the 20 August 2006 issue of The E-Sylum we profiled Jones in an
item about an exhibit of his artwork at the Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon
B. Chapin Art Museum in Myrtle Beach.  -Editor]

To view a description of the Jones exhibit, see:
Jones exhibit


Editor Morten Eske Mortensen writes: "Following a number of enquiries
from professional market players the owners of the publishing rights
have agreed to produce an extremely strictly distributed minor number
of the 'Roman GOLD Coin Price Yearbook 1997/2006'.  The printing run
will not be allowed to exceed 150 copies.  The planned release date
is around August 2007.

"The 2006 edition includes an estimated 9.000 auction results extracted
from around 1.100 international public auctions held world wide in the
10 full calendar years 1996 through 2005. An impressive 75+ major
auction houses are covered. All results converted to USD. 

To view a sample page of the RCPY 2006 GOLD coin edition, see:
RCPY 2006 GOLD Sample

For exact listing of auction catalogues presently included, see:
Catalog List


Sam Pennington writes: "We have just added an article on ashtray
medals to the Maine Antique Digest web site. We describe the medals,
list all known and illustrate twenty-four of them in big pictures.
Thanks to those who responded to our E-Sylum request. If anyone knows
of a medal we missed, please let us know. We have limited the definition
to ashtray medals signed by known sculptors. So far we have found
medals by Paul Manship, Sidney Waugh, and Chester Beach."

[For those who missed our earlier discussion, here's the article's
opening paragraph: "A little-known category in the medals collecting
field is the ashtray medal. Ranging from three and a half inches in
diameter up to 8 inches, they look like oversized art medals. They
are now sometimes called "deep dishes" because smoking is so out of

Be sure to check out the article - it's very well done and the
illustrations are marvelous.  What great medals!  -Editor]

To read the complete article, see: Full Story



Larry Gaye writes: "As president of the Pacific Northwest Numismatic
Association (PNNA) and immediate past president of the Willamette Coin
Club (WCC) I recently received a letter with an offer from Whitman
Publishing offering clubs ' association with John Albanese...a
complimentary copy of this book (Q.David Bowers) Obsolete Paper Money
Issued by Banks in the United States, 1782-1866.'  The books were
sent out POST PAID and our clubs (PNNA and WCC) received this great gift.

"I want to thank, John Albanese, Q. David Bowers and Mary Counts,
President of Whitman Publishing for this extraordinary gift.  The book
is well done and a pleasure to look at, the reading will come later.
As soon as I received the WCC's copy I had to open it and peruse; it
is a joy to the eye.  Printed in high quality full color you cannot put
it down until viewing every page, I can't wait to read it.

"The offer was made for a 'limited time' I strongly urge every club to
contact Whitman if they haven't received the offer and order the book
for their club libraries.  It is a truly magnificent gift."


According to a Denver Post report published 15 May, "Denver police
bomb technicians rushed to the U.S. Mint [Tuesday] when a man passing
the building left a walkie-talkie that security guards mistook for

"The unidentified man and a friend were handcuffed and detained while
a bomb technician in a green protective suit and helmet approached
the walkie-talkie.

"'The bomb squad disrupted it. It was not a bomb. It was not an
explosive device,' said U.S. Mint spokeswoman Ellen Casey.

"The bomb technicians finished their work within about 30 minutes,
and Mint officials returned to a staff meeting."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


In his Tuesday blog George Cuhaj of Bank Note Reporter revealed
the latest counterfeiting measure being adopted by the Crane Paper
Company, supplier to the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing.
He wrote: "The BEP has told us long ago that the $1 and $2 will
not be redesigned. It has already been announced that 2008 will
see a new design for the $5. matching the 10-20-50 with color and
a off-center, larger head. That just left the $100 for a make-over.
Well, slowly, information on that makeover is coming to light.

"The new security feature that Crane has developed is called Motion™
and this has recently been introduced on the new Swedish 1000 Krone
note issued this year. You may view it at the Rigsbank website:

"The Motion™ technology can be found at the Crane AB website:
Crane AB

"We think that the Benjamin Franklin and Independence Hall designs
will remain on the 100, but what will be the emblem of freedom, or
the object in the Motion™ security device…that is not public
information yet..."

To read George's complete blog post, see:
George's complete blog post


In his Thursday blog, Dave Kranz writes: "Something new with the
June issue of Bank Note Reporter, which should reach most subscribers
within the next week, is a stepped-up effort to point out that we're
also putting information online.

"For example, George Cuhaj blogged Tuesday that a new holographic
technology called Motion™ will be used in the next U.S. $100 bill.
That news is in BNR. But we learned of it too close to deadline to
include a long story.

"Rather than waiting a month for the next BNR, though, you can read
a story on the topic by former Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Director Robert J. Leuver. It's available right now at the BNR Web site."

To read Dave's complete blog post, see: Dave's complete blog

To read the article, see: Full Story


Dennis Tucker of Whitman Publishing forwarded this press release on
Hugh Shull's request for information for his planned book on
Confederate paper money:

"A Guide Book of Confederate Currency is scheduled to be released
in 2008, and author Hugh Shull is seeking information and images
from collectors.

"“I have scans of the finest known set of Confederate States notes
ever put together,” said Shull. “What I’m looking for now is images
of rare varieties, errors such as mismatched serial numbers and
inverted backs, rare watermarks, and any other unusual CSA notes.”

"Collectors and numismatists who have access to such pieces may
contact Shull by telephone (803-996-3660) or by mail (PO Box 2522,
Lexington, SC 29071). Contributors will be acknowledged in the book.

"A Guide Book of Confederate Currency will be the authoritative
guide to paper money issued by the Confederate States of America,
from the early days of secession into the war years. Following the
formula of Whitman Publishing’s Southern States Currency (2007),
also by Shull, it will combine the author’s first-hand knowledge
of today’s market with historical text by researcher Wendell Wolka.
Features include detailed descriptions, hundreds of full-color
images, and valuations in multiple grade levels. A mid-2008
release is scheduled."


George Selgin writes: "I thought I might make a couple observations
in regard to Dick Johnson's very interesting remarks concerning
implications of private coins and banknotes.

"Although historical experience support's most of Dick's claims,
in two cases it appears to contradict them.

"First, while Dick writes that allowing coins to be issued by
private persons would cause the U.S. Mint to 'become the largest
custom minter in the world,' my own reading of experience (and of
British experience in particular) suggests that private mints might
well prove more efficient than their more bureaucratic rival, and
so might drive it out of business unless the government props it
up with subsidies.

"Dick also writes that '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.'

"While it is true that past note-issuing banks generally agreed to
accept their rivals' notes, they typically did so only so long as
the issuers were in good standing.  Notes of banks in default were
occasionally accepted as a courtesy--and as a low-cost way to capture
a piece of the currency market that was up-for-grabs.  But for banks
to have had a standing policy of accepting notes of failed rivals
would have been suicidal, as it would have exposed them, and the
entire banking and currency system, to individual bank failures.
So note holders did bear some risk.  But this did not prevent
competitively-supplied banknotes from gaining the public's trust.
In some places, indeed (Canada and Scotland come most to mind),
banknotes were generally much preferred to pesky silver or gold

Jørgen Sømod writes: "Yes and all this extra money would lead to
hyperinflation and your government would either have to ask for
more taxes or to introduce a total planned economy as in the
German Third Reich.

"In my opinion numismatists in general have misunderstood Gresham's
Law, which students and newcomers so often refer to. Gresham, who
lived in England, had not the problem with bad coins from neighbor
countries. Even if much better coins with a higher value were
introduced, it would always be worse than before, because the public
has to pay an agio to use the new coins. There is only one to pay.
And it is never the state."

[Agio is a word describing the premium or discount associated with
money exchange.  I'm living this day-to-day now as I watch the dollar/
pound exchange rate fluctuate. -Editor]

 To read the Wikipedia entry for Agio, see: Wikipedia


"Dick Johnson writes: "Great idea. Wrong name. The U.S. Congress 
is considering creating a new medal for honoring organ donors or 
their families. They might even place the portrait of a former 
Congressman, William Frist, on the medal. Excellent. In private 
practice Dr. Frist is a heart and lung transplant surgeon in Tennessee 
and observes first hand the benefits of organ donations.

"Just don't call the new award a 'Congressional Medal.'

"Why? Congress already has two classes of 'Congressional medals' and
this has led to confusion ever since 1862 when the Congressional Medal
of Honor law was enacted. It is a military decoration for exception
valor. The other is a class of medals that dates back to 1790 when
Congress authorized Benjamin Franklin to obtain a medal for George
Washington from the Paris Mint. These Congressional medals --  and
the term -- have been confused ever since.

"Congress has the right, privilege and duty to issue medals. It has
done this over 300 times (although some of these are automatic as
in series, like medals for presidents, secretaries of the treasury,
directors of the mint, and such). Some individual medals required
special Congressional legislation to honor such recipients as the
Wright Brothers, Charles Lindberg, Jonas Salk, even Bob Hope. These
are true 'Congressional medals.'

"It would be unwieldy for Congress to administer such a medal program.
Imagine passing a new law for each such recipient. Let some prominent
organization administer it, perhaps the National Kidney Foundation.
Congress could, however, name the medal for organ donors the 'Frist
Medal' after Dr. Frist. Then it would be a double honor to receive
the First Frist Medal."

To read the article, see: Full Story


Roger Anderson writes: "Regarding the information posted by David
Gladfelter in vol.10, #19 on John Casilear, the self-portrait he
mentions coming from the Foster Wild Rice article "Antecedents of
the American Bank Note Company of 1859" is one I have been searching
for a good while. From information I obtained at the Frick Art
Reference Library in New York City, I believe this painting along
with portraits of the artist's father, John Casilear, and wife, Helen
Howard Casilear, were all owned by Dr. Glenn Jackson, a well known
numismatist and Watertown, CT dentist. Dr. Jackson died in 1989,
and I have been unable to date to determine if this painting(s)
were sold prior to this or bequeathed as part of his estate to
family members.

"As far as the Casilear 'A Sybyl' engraving goes, I own two versions
of it: one from the originally published American Art-Union litho of
it given to AAU subscribers in 1847, and a second reprinted version
from the 1880's. Please thank Mr. Gladfelter for his additional
reference to the bank note and for the other information sent along.
Thanks for everyone's continued assistance."

Anne Bentley adds: "Regarding John Casilear's self portrait, that
one seems to have disappeared into private hands, but Thomas Prichard
Rossiter's 1851 portrait of Casilear was part of the National Academy
of Design Collection in 1971, and likely still is.  The Smithsonian
also lists their own uncataloged collection (size unspecified) of
papers relating to him.

The New-York Historical Society owns a cameo portrait of Asher B.
Durand made when he and Casilear were wintering with friends in
Italy in 1840.

In the art world, Casilear is known as a very talented member of
the Hudson River School, so is included in innumerable exhibits
and catalogs on the subject.  A simple Google search will net all
kinds of color images of his paintings in permanent collections.
It would be interesting to see if Casilear used his painting/
watercolor sketches as fodder for his banknote vignettes."

For the Smithsonian inventory of Rossiter's portrait of Casilear, see:
Smithsonian inventory of Rossiter's portrait of Casilear

For the Smithsonian inventory of uncataloged Casilear papers, see:
Smithsonian inventory of uncataloged Casilear papers

For the New-York Historical Society's Durand cameo, see
New-York Historical Society's Durand cameo

[Many thanks to David Gladfelter and Anne Bentley for their
assistance with Roger Anderson's research on John Casilear.
Uncovering new information from previously untapped resources is
what the best numismatic research is all about.  The Internet and
forums like The E-Sylum are making this task far easier than ever
before. -Editor]


In more news from the recent Central States Numismatic Society
convention, congratulations to E-Sylum subscriber Samuel Ernst who
was a co-winner of the CSNS Daniel J. Parker Junior Literary award
for his article about the Cheerios Sacagawea dollar.

He writes: "I also got to meet Eric Newman.  He was great!  And it
was a real honor to meet someone like him.  I think numismatics is
about the coolest thing a person could do."

Here's a link to a picture that Rick Snow took at the awards breakfast:
Rick Snow CSNS Pics

[I'm sure most E-Sylum readers will concur with Samuel's observation
on numismatics.  It's great fun indeed, and one of the most rewarding
things about it is the opportunity to meet fellow collectors and
researchers.  Like Samuel, I was quite pleased to meet Eric Newman
and enjoy his company. My meeting took place a number of years ago
in St. Louis, where Eric was so kind as to provide me and some friends
visiting the Early American Coppers convention a tour of his earlier
Money Museum and numismatic library. -Editor]


Numismatic Bibliomania Society President Pete Smith was also at the
Central States show in St. Louis.  He writes: "While I was there I
got a quick look at the exhibit of short snorters. I also spoke briefly
with Neil Shafer, who placed the exhibit."

"The exhibit that should be most interesting to members of the NBS
was on Frank Dewette Andrews and placed by Steve Carr."

[Andrews authored "An Arrangement of United States Copper Cents,
1816-1857", first published in 1883. -Editor]


Yesterday the BBC News reported on Odyssey Marine Exploration's
latest announcement:

"A record haul of half a million silver and gold coins from a 17th
Century shipwreck may have been found just 40 miles from Land's End,
an expert said. US treasure hunters said the coins, worth an estimated
$500m (£253m), were recovered in the Atlantic Ocean.

"In 1641, an English ship called the Merchant Royal sank off the
Scilly Islands, laden with bullion from Mexico. There is speculation
that this is the wreck salvaged by Odyssey.

"'The gold coins are almost all dazzling mint state specimens,'
Odyssey co-founder Greg Stemm said.

"The artefacts, including more than 17 tonnes of silver coins plus
a few hundred gold coins, have been shipped to the US and are being
examined by experts at an undisclosed location.

"The mammoth haul was salvaged using a tethered underwater robot."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

[The article quoted Lane Brunner of the American Numismatic Association
on the location of the wreck.  Although Odyssey did not disclose the
location in this latest release, Lane pointed out that in a statement
given to a US federal court last autumn,

"They told a judge at that point that they had found the wreck of
a seventeenth-century merchant ship in the Atlantic Ocean, just outside
the English Channel - about 40 miles off Lands' End.

"So all we can do is add two and two together. It would seem logical
given the timing and everything that could be the site."  -Editor]


An article in the Saturday Providence Journal illustrates the uphill battle
the U.S. Mint has in getting the public to accept the new dollar coins.

"After at least four previous failed introductions, the coin dollar is back.
And it’s just as popular as ever.

"“I don’t want the stupid thing,” said Ed Mullen of Warwick, who wrote a
letter to the editor of the Providence Journal when he recently received a
coin dollar as change."

"Coin dollars are heavier and bulkier than paper dollars. As long as paper
dollars are used, according to Ken Podrat, owner of Podrat Coin Exchange, a
coin shop on Providence’s East Side, the coin dollar won’t be. “Every other
country in the world has figured that out: France, Canada and England,” he

"Apparently the average, non-coin-collecting American isn’t excited about
the dollar coins.

"Mullen, for example, wants no part. A couple of weeks ago he conducted a
cash transaction in a post office and a received a dollar coin as change.

"“I rejected it. I said, ‘No, give me a dollar bill. Take this thing back.’
The clerk said, ‘Oh, you, too.’ ”"

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


When Malta adopts the euro on 1 January 2008, the tiny Mediterranean
island will get an unexpected boost.

"New euro coins and notes show Malta to be much bigger than it actually
is, The Times newspaper reported Monday, because the island is too small
for the minting machines to show it on the same scale as other euro
zone countries.

"As a result Malta, which is only 27 km (17 miles) long, is shown to
be as large as Corsica, which is 183 km (114 miles) long."

To read the complete Reuters article, see: Full Story


In the 15 May edition of the C.N.A. E-Bulletin of the Canadian
Numismatic Association, editor John Regitko discussed his test of
the Royal Canadian Mint's ordering department.  He wrote:

"You’ll never guess what I did…and I kid you not! I called the Royal
Canadian Mint’s order desk and asked the lady that answered the phone,
Vicky, if I could order one of the $1 million gold coins over the
telephone. I thought she would either turn me down flat, hang up the
phone, or refer me to another department that handles gold bullion.
“Sure,” she answered. It would be two-point-something million and that
she would have to check the price. Obviously, pricing is not specified
on her price list. Neither is it on the Mint’s Website. I stated that
I would, no doubt, have to charge it on a Platinum Visa credit card.
“No problem” for Vicky. I wondered if they worked on commission or
some bonus incentive, but didn’t bother asking (that’s a column for
another day)."


This week's featured web page discusses currency units mentioned in
the 17th century London diary of Samuel Pepys.  A commentary by Glyn
Thomas discusses the usage of tavern tokens in Pepys' day:

"For many decades and through much of Pepys’ life there was a severe
shortage of small change in England - it wasn’t worth the government’s
efforts to make these low-value coins in sufficient quantities. As a
result, many of the taverns and coffee houses made their own tokens
which they handed out in small change (usually worth a 1/4 penny (a
farthing) or a 1/2 penny). Technically this was illegal but
successive governments let it go.

"The tokens could be used in the places where they were made, and
usually in the shops in the immediate neighbourhood because they could
take them back to the tavern; but the farther away you were, the less
likely they were to be accepted as being good money.

"On the back of the coins are usually a combination of the value (e.g.
1/2 penny), the street the tavern is in, perhaps the landlords name,
and the date.

"But most people still couldn’t read, so on the front was usually a
depiction of the symbol on the pub sign - so illiterate people could
find the pub that made that particular token.

"I understand Pepys never mentioned these little almost worthless
tokens in his diaries although he probably had some in his pocket
on most days: it makes you wonder what things that are obvious to
us in our own time will be mysterious to people 300 years from now."

Featured Web Site

  Wayne Homren
  Numismatic Bibliomania Society 

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

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

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