The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

PREV        NEXT        V10 2007 INDEX        E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 10, Number 23, June 10, 2007: 
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 
Copyright (c) 2007, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


We now have 1,125 subscribers. This week we open with a short 
announcement for NBS members followed by reports from numismatic 
literature dealers Charles Davis and George Kolbe. Next up are 
reports of two new books by Whitman Publishing and an important 
article on Greek coinage references in a recent issue of The Celator. 

Research queries this week include topics as varied as Alexendre 
Vattamare and the name and origin of a typographic symbol meaning 
'coin reverse'. Reports of recent work by numismatic researchers 
come from Dave Ginsburg (on Southern gold) and Patrick McMahon (on 
the business and death of William von Bergen).

My London Diary resumes this week with reports on my trips to see 
Douglas Saville and the London Coin Fair. Other items with a British 
flair cover a Bristol Mint official gone bad, Thomas Simon's Petition 
Crown, and the continued controversy over the choice of Adam Smith 
for the Bank of England's new £20 note.

To learn which famous numismatist was thrown out of medical school 
because he used his abilities as a ventriloquist to make the cadavers 
"talk," read on. Have a great week, everyone.

Wayne Homren 
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


For a group of bibliophiles, we have some members who aren't reading 
instructions as carefully as they should. Dave Lange writes: "I've 
been receiving a lot of Numismatic Bibliomania Society dues checks at 
my address, along with or instead of voting ballots. Dues are supposed 
to be sent to NBS Secretary-Treasurer David Sundman at his address, 
as shown on the dues notice.

"Members shouldn't be alarmed, as I will forward all dues forms and 
checks to David, but anyone who hasn't yet paid their dues should 
direct them to his address."


Numismatic Literature dealer Charles Davis writes: "I will be mailing 
out the auction sale catalogue for the sale of American Numismatic 
Association Library duplicates next week. Included in the primarily 
American lots are an original Maris, Crosby, plated Jenks, plated 
Hunter and Bond Detector. Catalogues may also be seen on our 
Vcoins web site."


George Kolbe forwarded the following write-up on the results of 
his recent sale: 

"On June 7, 2007 George Frederick Kolbe/Fine Numismatic Books 
conducted 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. 85% of the 770 lots in the sale were sold, 
bringing a total of nearly $76,000. A few printed catalogues are 
still available and can be ordered by sending $15.00 to Kolbe at 
P. O. Drawer 3100, Crestline, CA 92325.

"Some of the sale highlights included: one of only six sets of 
superb color photographs depicting the magnificent Clifford-Kagin 
collection of Pioneer & Territorial Gold Coins, which sold for 
$8,625 on a $6,500 estimate (all sale prices cited include the 15% 
buyer premium); an annotated copy of Miller & Ryder’s 1920 “State 
Coinages of New England,” which included correspondence between 
Howard Kurth and John Richardson, was hotly sought after, eventually 
bringing $2,070 on a $500 estimate; original 1875 and 1878 editions 
of Crosby’s “Early Coins of America” sold for $920 and $1,265 

F. C. C. Boyd’s annotated copies of four of Barney Bluestone’s 
Grinnell paper money sales received multiple bids over their 
individual estimates of $100 to $150, and each sold for $475; the 
first thirteen hard-bound George Frederick Kolbe auction sale 
catalogues generally sold well, with the first February 28, 1976 
sale bringing $1,265; a unique working copy of Walter Breen’s 
“Encyclopedia of United States Half Cents,” heavily annotated in 
ink, realized $3,737; a complete, very fine set of Wayte Raymond’s 
“Coin Collector’s Journal” sold for $1,610; runs of Chapman brother, 
Barney Bluestone, Thomas Elder, Ed. Frossard, and M. H. Bolender 
auction sales generally brought good prices, and an extensive run 
of Lyman Low auction sale catalogues were hotly contested for, 
some bringing multiples of estimate."


As mentioned recently by publisher Dennis Tucker, Whitman Publishing 
is about to release a new book by Ken Bressett. The following is 
from the firm's press release:

"Whitman Publishing will debut a new book by Kenneth Bressett at the 
ANA World’s Fair of Money in Milwaukee, August 8. Milestone Coins: A 
Pageant of the World’s Most Significant and Popular Money (176 pages, 
full color, hardcover) will retail for $29.95.

"Milestone Coins shares the interesting stories behind more than 100 
famous coins and tokens, as told by the award-winning author and 
longtime editor of the Guide Book of United States Coins (the best- 
selling “Red Book”). In ten chapters Ken Bressett covers the breadth 
of civilization as seen in coinage—exploring every time period and 
geographical area from ancient Greece to modern America.

"“Each of these coins has a story that appeals to collectors,” said 
Bressett. “Some are rare ‘keys’ needed to complete a set. Others 
are desirable for their beauty or historical connection. In a sense, 
they are all classics that never go out of style.”"

[The book’s chapters include: 
The Ancient World
Biblical Coins
The Roman World
Money in Medieval Europe
The World of Islam
Merry Olde England
The Reign in Spain
Cathay and the Orient
Emerging Concepts in Coinage



Whitman also announced the July arrival of the 120-page 2nd Edition 
of Kenneth Bressett’s 'Money of the Bible'. The following is from 
the publisher's press release:

"Money and coins are mentioned many times, and in many places, in 
the Old and New Testaments. Author and historian Kenneth Bressett 
presents their stories and explores their relevance in the 2nd 
edition of Money of the Bible, a 120-page coffee-table book to be 
released by Whitman Publishing in July.

"“The 1st edition was very popular, and received glowing reviews,” 
said Whitman publisher Dennis Tucker. “It won the 2006 Best Specialized 
Book Award for World Coins from the Numismatic Literary Guild.” 

"BookIdeas reviewer John L. Ho Jr. called the 1st edition “a wonderful 
reference book for church libraries.” Noted numismatic researcher David 
L. Vagi said, “We are fortunate to have this book, which is nothing 
less than the fruit of decades of careful study by one of our field’s 
most distinguished authors.” 

"Author and scholar Dr. Paul Rynearson, who wrote the foreword to 
the 2nd edition, said, “This reference makes coins come alive, 
visually expanding Biblical texts, while the beautiful photographs 
of historical places and artifacts make the words resonate in our 
hearts. You will discover fascination on every page.” Rynearson 
continued, “Money of the Bible has established itself as a most 
valuable reference and sumptuous art book dedicated to both numismatics 
and Biblical studies.”

"The 2nd edition of Money of the Bible is updated with new photographs 
and new research. The book studies how the Bible was written, and 
its nature; commerce before coins; coins of Old Testament times; 
coins in the New Testament; first-century money and trade; coins 
mentioned in Jesus’ parables and lessons; coins and the Passion of 
Christ; the beginning of Christianity; coins with Biblical themes; 
and how to collect Biblical coins. 

"Money of the Bible, 2nd edition, will be available in July at or from hobby shops and bookstores nationwide, 
for $29.95."


While searching for other things I came across two publications 
that I hadn't yet heard of - they may not be known in numismatic 
circles, but may hold useful information. Both were offered for 
sale on

"The Robert Patterson Family -- Eminent Philadelphians, Scholars and 
Directors of the Mint: 1743-1854" is a 276-page PhD dissertation by 
Carolyn Myatt Green (University of Georgia, 1974), available as a 
print-on-demand publication.

"Look After the Pennies: Numismatics and Conservation in the 1990s" 
by Goodburn-Brown was published by Dana Archetype Books in 1998. 
A seller described it as a "useful guide to the processing of coins 
from excavations, which will be valuable reading for conservators 
and archaeologists, and museum curators."


When visiting Doug Saville this week he let me know of an important 
article in a recent issue of The Celator. E-Sylum subscriber Dan 
Koppersmith of Tiki Island, Texas authored an article titled "Important 
Auction Catalogs Offering Archaic and Classical Greek Coins". Dan 
reviewed the catalogs of forty auction houses worldwide; his concise 
article identifies the auction houses and individual catalogs he feels 
best address the topic. He was assisted in his endeavor by Basil 
Demetriadi of Athens, Greece, who offered access to his essentially 
complete library of auction catalogs covering all ancient coins. 
Also of great assistance were George Kolbe and Doug Saville. In 
the introduction Dan writes: 

"There are literally thousands of auction catalogs offering Archaic 
and Classical Greek Coins, but there is no guide to inform the 
numismatic scholar or collector as to which of these catalogs would 
be a worthwhile addition to an excellent working library. This article 
is an attempt to rectify this situation, but only as far as Archaic 
and Classical Greek Coins are concerned, that is, Greek Coins from 
their origins down to the accession of Alexander the Great in 336 B.C."


David Gladfelter writes: "I am trying to find information about a 
collection of engraved bank notes commissioned by Alexandre Vattemare 
in 1841.

"Quite a bit of information about Vattemare himself is available, 
including some that was published in E-Sylum. Vattemare was a French 
national, collector of books and all sorts of other things, and 
promoter of free public libraries. He was quite a character -- 
reportedly thrown out of medical school because he used his abilities 
as a ventriloquist to make the cadavers "talk," and the faculty 
apparently couldn't take a practical joke. 

"He assembled and published a collection of engravings circa 1837 
which he titled "Album Cosmopolite." After visits to the U.S. he 
apparently commissioned the bank note engraving firm of Rawdon, 
Wright & Hatch to put together (or the firm independently produced, 
in his honor) a collection of bank note proofs, including some very 
rare U. S. loan certificates. He called this the "American Album." 
The full title is: "American Album,/ Selections from M. Alexandre 
Vattemare's Collections/of Drawings of the Most Distinguished Artists 
of/The United States/Being a/Continuation of the Album Cosmopolite/ 
Dedicated to the/American Nation/by/A. Vattemare./Presented by/ 
Rawdon, Wright & Hatch/Bank Note Engravers/New-York/to/Mr. A. 
attemare/for his/American Album./1841."

"One of these albums was broken up and sold at auction by Robson/ 
Lowe-Christie's in September 1982. I do not have a copy of that 
catalog. It might answer most of my questions.

"Do any of our readers know where this catalog may be consulted? 
Does anyone know how many copies of the "American Album" were 
made, and to whom they were given? Or where they are now? If any 
complete copies still exist, what do they contain and where can 
they be seen? As always, thanks for your assistance."

[The June 2005 COINage article by David T. Alexander, "Alexandre 
Vattemare: Numismatic Magician and Bibliophile" is a fascinating 
account based on recently discovered materials about this "former 
soldier and ventriloquist who went on to become an acclaimed 
bibliophile, numismatist and international cultural ambassador of 
the 19th century." In 1861 Vattemare authored "Collection des 
Monnaies et des Medailles de l'Amerique du Nord 1652-1858, Offerte 
a la Biblioteque Imperiale" (My loose translation: "Collection of 
the Monies of North America 1652-1858 of the Biblioteque Nationale") 



Speaking of our friend Vattemare, I just discovered that there 
is a new 288-page book on him being published this month by the 
Boston Public Library, which is also opening a corresponding exhibit 
June 16. "The Extravagant Ambassador: The True Story of Alexandre 
Vattemare, the French Ventriloquist Who Changed the World" is 
"edited by Earle Havens, Acting Keeper of Rare Books and Manuscripts 
at the Boston Public Library, and Pierre-Alain Tilliette, Conservateur 
en chef a la Bibliotheque administrative de la Ville de Paris. The 
eventful life and multi-faceted philanthropy of Alexandre Vattemare 
(1796-1864) are celebrated in this book and the exhibition.

For more information on the Vattemare book and upcoming exhibition, see: 
Full Story


Patrick McMahon of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston writes: "I have 
only seen one copy of “The Rare Coin Encyclopedia” but it was one 
of the ones issued by William von Bergen and I am pretty sure it is 
a late issue for him (despite the fact that it says copyright 1901 
on the title page). The edition belongs to the Boston Athenaeum and 
it is pretty clear that it hasn’t been rebound, covered, or altered 
since they acquired it in 1916. 

"The book has a maroon cloth cover with “The Rare Coin Encyclopedia” 
and “C.N. Caspar Co. Milwaukee, Wis.” imprinted on it in white. My 
guess is that the Caspar Co. bound the book for von Bergen rather 
than the Athenaeum because there is a bookseller’s ticket (Hall’s 
Book Shop 388 Boylston Street Boston, Mass) tipped inside the cover 
and that is presumably where the Athenaeum bought the book. According 
to the Athenaeum’s acquisition label they purchased the book March 2, 
1916. It is very possible that it was new at the time.

"The first title page (printed in blue ink) says that the book is 
the ninth edition and von Bergen identifies it as No. 896 both on 
the inside title page and in the back matter. 

"Thinking about Jim Hirtle’s theory got me to really look at the way 
the book is put together and I wondered about the “Universal Coin 
Dealers” and what they might have represented. It seems like the 
majority of the text was a pastiche of other texts - the typeface 
varies slightly throughout the sections, most obviously where the 
dollar sign has one vertical bar in some sections and two vertical 
bars in others. The text was produced and shared by or sold to 
these coin dealers who would then add their own cover page, appendix, 
and end matter and have it bound for distribution.

"This week, Dan Hamelberg's contribution about the Agent's Circular 
makes this clear, and identifies von Bergen himself as the publisher 
behind it. But von Bergen was definitely a coin dealer as well and 
he did publish a fixed price list which is appended to the main text 
in the Athenaeum's copy of the Encyclopedia. 

"There are some strange things about the Athenaeum copy. For one, 
the first page —- printed in blue ink rather than black —- is the 
one where von Bergen’s name appears with his address and it is given 
as 196 Chestnut Avenue, Boston. This is in the Jamaica Plain 
neighborhood of Boston and von Bergen did not live/work on this 
street until 1909. Prior to 1909 von Bergen had a store at 89 Court 
Street in Boston (the address given in Dan Hamelberg's circular) 
and lived at 23 Spring Park Lane in Jamaica Plain. 

"So this “edition” must have been issued in or after 1909. But 
the main title page says "copyright 1901." The majority of the 
sections seem to be of the 1901 vintage until the first appendix 
on page 128, which includes information about the 1907 Saint-Gaudens 
coinage and mentions the Pratt 1908 coinage. At the bottom of this 
page it lists the advances in values to be added categorically to 
the prices quoted in the preceding pages (ie” “25 per cent on all 
gold dollars in fine condition”). Clearly many pages were added 
much later than the 1901 printing of the main guts of the book. 

"Pages 130 onwards focus on the coins that von Bergen himself has 
for sale and the printing quality of these pages is different again. 
It is lighter and lots of pages are mis-cut; some of them even run 
right off the page at angles. Again on the final page (also in blue 
like the first title page) he states that this is to be referred 
to as number 896 when anyone corresponds with him about buying or 
selling coins.

"So it seems that there existed the Universal Coin Dealers text 
printed in quantities for select dealers to add their own wraps, 
bindings, and price lists. That von Bergen sold them to others is 
confirmed by the circular identified by Dan Hamelberg this week. 
I think that the No. 896 in the Athenaeum copy is the number of 
von Bergen’s own price list. As prices changed the appendix could 
be replaced or modified like the one here to include new issues 
or increases in values. The whole book would not need to be 
reprinted or re-typeset. 

"On the last page before von Bergen’s own price list is a Universal 
Coin Dealer Directory and he is listed as the only one in the United 
States (the group listed is: Spink & Son and W.S. Lincoln in London; 
Rollins & Fueardent and Reymond Serrure in Paris; W. Kuenast and 
A. Weyl in Berlin; Zschiescke & Koder in Liepzig; Sally Rosenberg 
in Frankfurt; Dr. Jacob Hirsh in Munich; E. von Krakau in Hamburg; 
Bruder Egger and Max A. Wormser in Vienna; J. Knill in Rome; and 
W. von Bergen in Boston).

"Perhaps Max Mehl acquired texts or the rights to them to modify the 
way von Bergen seems to have done for himself? Could this be when von 
Bergen seems to have closed his actual shop (1909)? Or if the Universal 
Coin Dealers were a group rather than von Bergen alone, perhaps Mehl 
joined them. Are there any copies of the encyclopedia out there with 
other dealers' names or price lists attached to them besides von 
Bergen or Mehl? Do Mehl’s issues include a list of other "Universal" 
dealers in the back as this one does? All of my suppositions above 
are based solely on looking a single copy of the book. I agree with 
Dan Hamelberg that Mehl may have seen a good idea and imitated it 
rather than actually entering into a business arrangement with von 
Bergen--they clearly overlapped for quite a while.

"The rest of what I have learned about William von Bergen is that 
he was operating his shop at 89 Court Street by 1901 and living in 
Winthrop. The Agent's Circular would extend the address of that 
shop back at least to 1889/90. By 1906 his work address is still 
89 Court Street but his home was listed as 23 Spring Park Ave in 
Jamaica Plain. 

"In 1907 and 1908 he is listed as having William Jr. (a salesman) 
boarding with him. Starting in 1909 he no longer has the Court 
Street shop and his only listed address is now 196 Chestnut Avenue 
in Jamaica Plain and he seems to have several family members at 
the same address (Edwin, electrician; William Jr., salesman; Harry, 

"The 1917 Boston city directory lists Edwin, Harry, and William Jr. 
all still living at 196 Chestnut Avenue, but it includes the following 
line---“William died June 18, 1916.” His obituary in the Boston Globe 
is surprisingly graphic: 

COMMITS SUICIDE-- William von Bergen Jamaica Plain Coin Dealer, 
Despondent Because of Ill Health. 

Despondent after a long siege of ill health, William von Bergen, 
65, single, a Jamaica Plain coin dealer, went to the kitchen of 
his boarding house at 196 Chestnut av, Jamaica Plain, some time 
between 1 and 5 yesterday afternoon and committed suicide by 
attaching a tube to the gas stove and holding the other end in 
his mouth..." It is interesting that the obituary does not 
identify any surviving family despite the fact that several 
others at the boarding house share his last name."

"So the key date to focus on for the dissolution of von Bergen's 
business and any stock he may have held would likely be 1916. Perhaps 
there was an auction in Boston (or nearby) that year that mentions 
him? As Dan Hamelberg said--so many questions!"


Regarding our earlier quiz question about the phrase "Spend a Penny", 
Harry Waterson writes: "Since I lived in England for 8 years, 'spend 
a penny' was not new news. However, no one mentioned the concomitant 
phrase, 'the penny dropped'. It is cross-referenced in Brewer's 
which defines this phrase as 'The meaning or significance of something 
became clear. The illusion is to a penny-in-the-slot machine or devise, 
such as a doorlock, which cannot operate until the penny is inserted 
and drops.' It seems you first have to spend a penny and then all 
is suddenly clear."

Carl Honore writes: "As a former actor I can quote a stage source for 
"spend a penny". It occurs in the British comedy "It Runs in the 
Family" By Ray Cooney. It is a recurring gag line by one of the 
characters in the play. I appeared in the comedy locally in my 
home town."

Bob Knepper writes: In The E-Sylum v10n22 (June 3, 2007) you and 
others discussed "Spend a Penny" and subsequent inflation. Here's 
another inflation example: My wife Sue and I just came back from a 
trip to Germany with pictures of a sign in the Leipzig train station 
for "Clean, Safe and clean toilets. Pissoir 0,60 Euro, Toiletten 
1,10 Euro, Dusche 7,00 Euro." 

"Also, thanks to you and Joe Boling for identifying the W.P.C.C. 
Library stamp in my watermark appendix reprint from 
"Wertpapierwasserzeichen" (same E-Sylum). I was told that the 
appendix by Kurt Lehrke may be to a book by Keller. I have many 
of the Keller books but none have that appendix." 


The Independent of Colorado Springs published an article about the 
latest exhibit (running through November 2008) at the headquarters 
of the American Numismatic Association:

".. a new exhibit at the American Numismatic Association Money Museum 
will have people staring at a coin with reverence. Coins, Crown and 
Conflict, which opens today, will feature several genuine articles 
from Oliver Cromwell's 17th-century England. 

"A central exhibit, 'The Petition Crown,' is one of the most sought- 
after chunks of change among collectors. Worth $5 million, the coin 
contains a plea along its rim from its maker, Thomas Simon, to King 
Charles II, asking the king to reconsider his choice of a Dutch 
minter's coin design over his, in 1663. 

"The death mask of Cromwell — a major historical figure who was 
actually exhumed in order to be formally executed — will also be 
on display. Gauntlets (the gloves, not video games), penny Bibles 
and apparel will also show the public what life was like well before 
people thought of loud money as a nuisance. 

To read the complete article, see:  Full Story

[A nice photo of the coin and its edge inscription appear below. 

The edge lettering design was a new idea to combat the illegal 
profit from clipping silver or gold from the edge of the coin. 

On a related topic, E-Sylum subscriber Peter Gaspar has written 
about the numismatic content of the Max Carrados stories by author 
Ernest Braham, including a short story hinging on a Petition Crown. 

Gaspar writes: "More than a half-dozen of the Carrados stories 
feature coins. The author was on solid ground. Bramah's 1929 book 
on the copper coinage of England was the first to call attention 
to the significance of small variations in design as clues to the 
methods used to make the dies from which modern coins are struck. 
As in his short stories Bramah made a few words go a very long way, 
so that despite the lack of illustrations one can immediately 
recognize a specific coin described by Bramah. What sounds like 
a dry subject was enlivened by the wit that sparkles throughout 
Bramah's work. One of the Carrados stories, "The Mystery of the 
Vanished Petition Crown" describes an auction scam that may have 
been the model for a famous real-life 1970's coin theft from 
Glendining's in London." 
Full Story

To read Ernest Braham's "The Mystery of the Vanished Petition Crown", see: 
Full Story 


The practice of clipping coins was discussed tonight on British 
television. While editing this issue I happened to see an episode 
of the BBC's "How We Built Britain", which "looks at how England 
was transformed by the extraordinary flowering of architecture, 
ideas and exploration of the Elizabethan Renaissance." One of 
the magnificent homes profiled was built by a Bristol Mint official 
gone bad.

"Sir William Sharington was from a wealthy Norfolk family, held 
various positions at court and was knighted at the coronation of 
Edward VI. In his role as Vice Treasurer of the Bristol Mint, 
Sharington was found to be clipping the coins in collusion with 
Lord Thomas Seymour. They were arrested in 1549. Sharington 
confessed, blamed Seymour who was later beheaded..." 
Full Story

For more information on "How We Built Britain", see: 
Full Story


Dave Ginsburg writes: "I've been continuing my numismatic research 
and writing. I recently submitted an article summarizing the 
officers of the New Orleans Mint up to the Civil War to the Southern 
Gold Society Newsletter - thanks to the Senate Executive Journal 
on the Library of Congress' website.

"I'm also delighted to be able to say that, courtesy of my daughter 
the college freshman, I have some access to the US Serial Set and to 
the 'usual' 19th century sources (Hunt's Merchant Magazine, Bankers' 
Magazine and Niles' Register, etc.)!

"I forsee many, many months of happy research ahead! (It's especially 
wonderful to have access to the Congressional Committee reports and 
to the pre-Civil War Annual Reports of the Mint.)

"As an aside, I was re-reading your October 2006 review of Doug 
Winter's Gold Coins of the New Orleans Mint and noticed your comment 
that there wasn't a reference, in Greg Lambousy's chapter, to the 
article ("United States Branch Mint at New Orleans") by J.L. Riddell 
that appeared in the January 1846 issue of Hunt's Merchant Magazine.

"Now that I have access to that article, I wanted to mention that 
it is substantially similar to the 1845 pamphlet written by Riddell 
(and reprinted in The Numismatist many years ago). Also, essentially 
the same information appeared in an article in the June 1847 issue 
of DeBow's Review.

"There must have been something of a dearth of original material 
in those days - so much was reprinted from other sources! (I noticed 
that DeBow's made a particular practice of this.)"

[Best of luck to Dave in his research. I'm convinced that there 
are thousands of fascinating numismatic nuggets waiting to be 
discovered in the journals and periodical sets he's reviewing. 
His account of the personnel of the New Orleans Mint is a fine 
example. -Editor]





Last's week's travel schedule didn't leave much time for numismatic 
adventures, although I did walk several blocks at lunch one day to 
visit Knightsbridge Coins, the shop owned by Steven Fenton, the dealer 
who was central to the story of the 1933 Double Eagle which ultimately 
sold for over $7 million. He wasn't in - he was in the U.S. attending 
the Long Beach show. I should have taken that as an omen - more on 
Fenton later.

I scheduled a few numismatic adventures for this week, although a 
visit with Coin World London correspondent John Andrew had to be 
cancelled due to work conflict. My first encounter began Thursday 
afternoon when I took the tube from the office to Paddington Station 
and boarded a crowded rush hour train for a half-hour journey to 
Reading, where I soon met Douglas Saville.

The head of the book department at Spink for 38 years, Doug is now 
on his own, dealing in numismatic literature from his own office 
at Reading and on his web site, Doug 
graciously met me at the station and drove me around town for a 
short tour on the way to his office in a nice modern addition to 
a stately old mansion (now all offices). It's a lovely place with 
a lush garden and a view of the Thames - a fine setting for 
numismatic literature.

The walls of the office were (of course!) lined with tall shelves 
housing Doug's stock of numismatic literature. The bulk of the 
books were from two recent purchases - the libraries of Dr. Maly 
of the continent and John Kent, Keeper of Coins at the British 
Museum. Browsing was a delight, even though stocks of literature 
of my specialty (U.S. numismatics) were understandably slim. A 
few items I noted were: 

* Christian Dekesel's "Biblioteca Numismatica Siliciani", a 
catalogue of Deksel's own library. This copy was of the fourth 
edition, number 13 of 25 printed in 1995. Dekesel cites the 
"Axiom of Informational Relevance as the prime motivation for 

* Jacob Hirsh's 16 November 1908 auction catalogue of the 
"Greichechische Munzen" (Greek Coins) of Eduard Freidrich Weber, 
illustrated with 61 phenomenal plates. 

* Jean N. Svoronos' "Les Monnaies D'Athenes" (the coinage of 
Athens), published serially in Munich between 1923 and 1926. 
One of the heaviest numismatic books I've ever handled, it has 
114 beautiful plates. This copy came from the library of Joel 
L. Malter.

Doug next drove us to a nearby Italian restaurant where we had 
a lovely dinner and conversation about numismatics, numismatic 
literature, and dozens of other topics. It was great to have 
had a chance to meet in person, and I hope to be able to visit 
again. But soon it was time to go and we said our goodbyes 
at the Reading train station. I was weighed down with some 
new purchases:

* Jacob Henry Burn's "A Descriptive Catalogue of the London 
Traders, Tavern, and Coffee-House Tokens Current in the Seventeenth 
Century", published in 1853. A discard from the coin room at 
Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, it's a tatty spineless copy, but 
it'll do - I'm hoping to learn some of the paranumismatic history 
of London.

* W. Longman's "Tokens of the Eighteenth Century Connected with 
Booksellers and Bookmakers", published in 1916. It's a very nice 
copy with the seldom-seen dust jacket. 

* Eugene G. Courteau's "The Coins and Tokens of Nova Scotia, 1910.

I had to wait until Saturday for my next numismatic adventure. 
I took the tube into town and walked past Spink to the Holiday 
Inn London Bloomsbury, site of the London Coin Fair run by Howard 
and Frances Simmons. I paid the four quid admission and entered 
the bourse area. 

One of the first tables I encountered was loaded with numismatic 
literature. Behind the table was Phillip Mussell, marketing 
director of Token Publishing, publisher of Coin News and Medal 
News. The company also produces and distributes numismatic books. 
Here I added the following to my numismatic library:

* Edward Fletcher's "Tokens and Tallies Through the Ages" (2003) 
and "Tokens & Tallies 1850-1950" (2004). These are nicely 
illustrated general guides to the series. 

* Daniel Fearon's "The Sovereign - The World's Most Famous Coin", 
published by Bonham's in 2001. Another well-illustrated general 
guide suitable for a novice yank.

* Clara Semple's "A Silver Legend - The Story of the Maria Theresa 
Thaler" (2005). I was familiar with the book from a 2006 E-Sylum 
item. The 165-page dustjacketed hardbound book is quite handsome, 
well illustrated and well researched. It was the last copy on the 
table and Phillip told me it was the last one they had in stock. 
He had been unsuccessful in several attempts to reorder it. 
Another gentleman who came by as I was paying for my purchases 
asked about the book, so I guess I'm lucky to have found it when 
I did.


I walked around the show lugging my purchases and looking for 
literature and any interesting London tokens. At the table of 
Marcus Phillips I found some literature and picked up two little 

* Reg Holmes' "Ely Tokens" about the 16th and 17th century tokens 
issued by merchants in the town of Ely in Cambridgeshire, north 
of London.

* "A Guide to the Department of Coins and Medals in the British 
Museum" (Third edition, 1922). The 94-page pamphlet with eight 
plates is a companion to the then-current exhibit, describing 
case-by-case the items exhibited. 

At the Simmons' table I finally found an affordable token that 
interested me. It's a copper piece about the size of a U.S. half 
cent, minted in the 1820s for Isaac Earlysman Sparrow, an "Ironmonger 
of Bishopsgate, London". The reverse shows a hot air balloon with 
two occupants. Howard Simmons told me that Sparrow sponsored 
some of the earliest balloon flights in England.

An Internet search turned up some more information and a picture 
of the piece. Apparently there are five known varieties, with 
this one having been designed by T. Wyon. 

"Isaac Earlysman Sparrow ... paid the famous balloonist, Charles 
Green, £50.00 to be taken as a passenger on his well publicized 
balloon ascent in Oxford on June 23rd 1823. Despite landing in 
the top of some trees, Sparrow was so impressed that he produced 
advertising medals/tokens for his business depicting his flight." 
Full Story

It was fun to walk around the show, where I also ran into Hadrien 
Rambach, my gracious companion from a couple weeks ago. At the 
table of Knightsbridge Coins I introduced myself to Steven Fenton 
and had a short conversation. When I asked about numismatic literature 
he walked me over to meet someone who turned out to be Marcus Phillips.

I had a good chat with him, then returned to Fenton's table. I asked 
him if he'd be willing to sign the books on the 1933 Double Eagle 
that I'd schlepped to London. He declined. He said he was sorry, 
but that after signing some copies of David Tripp's book he later 
decided to no longer sign any. I was disappointed, but respected 
his wishes. So those of you who have his signature on one of the 
books may have a rarity.

Another disappointment at the show was the lack of any program for 
young numismatists. With the four pound admission (about $8) there 
were very few youngsters in attendance. I'm more used to the throngs 
we see at the Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists (PAN) shows, 
where admission is free and our Coins4Kids programs draw hundreds 
of people. Trying to do my part I approached the parents of the 
few kids I saw and offered their kids their pick of the U.S. pocket 
change I'd brought for this purpose. The kids and parents were 
very pleased and it was one of the highlights of my day. A few of 
the kids were related to the owners of Baldwin's. They snagged 
the Washington dollar coins.

After leaving the show I traipsed over to the British Museum. That 
tale will have to wait until next week. It's late here in London, 
and it's time to put this E-Sylum issue and its editor to bed.


Ed Snible writes: "Perhaps E-Sylum readers can help me locate the 
name and origin of a typographic symbol meaning 'coin reverse'. 
The symbol usually looks like mismatched parenthesis: )(

"It was used in the 18th and 19th centuries. I've mostly seen it 
in works written in Latin, but it has turned up in English and 
German language books as well. In the 18th century it sometimes 
had a decorative appearance, resembling two crescents or an 
asterisk. Pictures of these decorative forms can be seen on my blog."

Full Story
Full Story 

[Now that's an interesting question. I have seen the symbol in 
my numismatic travels, but never knew what to call it. Any ideas, 
readers? -Editor]


Julian Leidman writes: "One tiny correction to Dick Johnson's note 
about Jack Klausen -- I do not believe that Jack ever lived in 
Reno after leaving Kansas City. I do believe that he lived in 
Southern California (Indio, I think) and may have lived in other 
towns in that area."



Larry Gaye writes: "I have a question regarding copyright laws. 
I have several books published by Argonaut Publishers in the 60's. 
If a company no longer exists, does it break copyright laws by 
reprinting the information from it, while acknowledging the source 
and the authors, or is it part of the public domain? 

"I want to put a table of the Greek alphabet on our coin club 
site (Willamette Coin Club - for information 
regarding the alphabet and how it applies to ancient coinage. Any 
thoughts would be greatly appreciated."

[I believe the answer is that yes, the work remains copyright 
protected regardless of whether the publishing company still 
exists. The copyright is the author's.

Section 302: 
"Copyright in a work created on or after January 1, 1978, subsists 
from its creation and, except as provided by the following subsections, 
endures for a term consisting of the life of the author and 70 years 
after the author’s death" 
Copy Right Law

Section 303: 
"Copyright in a work created before January 1, 1978, but not theretofore 
in the public domain or copyrighted, subsists from January 1, 1978, 
and endures for the term provided by section 302. In no case, however, 
shall the term of copyright in such a work expire before December 31, 
2002; and, if the work is published on or before December 31, 2002, the 
term of copyright shall not expire before December 31, 2047." 

Reader contributions on the topic are welcome. -Editor]


Regarding John Meissner's comments on gaps in institutional holdings 
of numismatic periodicals, Michael Schmidt writes: "I can't speak 
for Numismatic News, but completing a set of Coin World should not 
be a problem. Several years ago I was checking into the possibility 
of acquiring some back years of Coin World and I contacted the company 
that does the microfilming of Coin World. They informed me that they 
have available all of the past years of Coin World on microfilm and 
most of them on microfiche. They are somewhat costly, but they are 

John Meissner writes: "This is great news about a complete run of 
"Coin World" being on microfilm. The ANA has about a seven year 
gap from 1992 to 1999. 

As far as the 9 November 1964 "Numismatic News", the entire issue is 
absent from the 1964 microfilm reel. The ANA doesn't keep hard copies 
this far back; the ANS does but they are missing the 9 November 1964 
issue. Both libraries have the identical microfilm which is missing 
this entire issue. The Numismatic News headquarters in Iola, Wisconsin 
has a bound 1964 volume in their library, essentially intact except 
that the 9 November 1964 issue is missing multiple pages.

"The microfilmed issues of Numismatic News seem to be the publisher's 
master copies. Some handwritten notes which appear on certain issues 
in their bound volumes are clearly shown on the microfilm. Numerous 
pages are missing from the issue from 9 November 1964 in the bound 
volume I was shown, and this is probably why those pages weren't 

Joe Boling writes: "The ANA should have a complete run of Bank Note 
Reporter, because I donated it to them in 2001, and every 2-3 years 
I have added the subsequent issues. I hope that they have bound them 
or in some other way ensured that they will be available for research. 
For instance, in the 1970s C.M. Nielsen wrote a long series of articles 
on Philippine guerrilla notes that I believe is still the most 
comprehensive treatment of those issues."

"If anyone needs to find something in the IBNS Journal, I have a 
complete run of that title."



Dick Johnson writes: "One of the strongest characteristics of coins 
and medals are their ability to memorialize or commemorate an event, 
or more often, an anniversary. That fact plus their inherent longevity 
make them ideal to document people and events for recorded history.

"Well-intentioned citizens here in my hometown, Torrington Connecticut, 
are burying a time capsule this Sunday (June 10, 2007). They are not 
burying it in the ground; instead they are drilling a hole in a brick 
wall, placing the metal canister inside, and covering up the hole 
with a plaque.

"They are honoring the centennial of a local park. Great community 
service act! However time capsules are notoriously inefficient as 
conveyers of cultural knowledge from one generation to another. 
All time capsules are intended to speak to future intelligent 
beings, somewhat like SETI is attempting to speak to intelligent 
beings on other planets.

"Instead of entombing documents, however -- along with photos, 
published data, coins, tokens, other artifacts, and whatever else 
-- a far more efficient method would be to honor Coe Park Centennial 
by issuing an attractive medal to honor the event.

"We have coins and medals that reveal what Julius Caesar or Cleopatra 
really looked like that are two millennia old (with prospects of 
lasting another two to ten millennia). No other artifacts survive 
the vicissitudes of time like these small metal objects. No books, 
no buildings, no paintings, no other recorded media last great periods 
of time like coins and medals do. They are the ideal media to talk to 
future generations -- at all times in the future -- despite any 
natural or manmade catastrophes along the way.

"Torrington is in the Naugatuck Valley, home of the metalworking 
industry in America for 150 years. Waterbury's Scovill, notably, 
was the area's largest such firm. It was quite active in manufacturing 
medals to commemorate anniversary events in the 19th and early 
20th centuries.

"Scovill struck more than 275 medals for such events as Ice Carnivals 
in St. Paul and Montreal, World's Fairs in Philadelphia (1876), 
Chicago (1893 and 1933), and St. Louis (1904); national events such 
as the laying of the Atlantic Cable (1856), Siege of Boston and Bunker 
Hill Revolutionary War centennials, state and city functions in 
Pennsylvania, Danbury, Detroit, Louisville, Pittsburgh and the 
Connecticut Tercentenary in 1935. The U.S. government had the firm 
strike medals for the U.S. Capitol, the Post Office and Patent 
Office centennials.

"Scovill's own 1902 Centennial Medal will speak to intelligent 
beings perhaps even 10,000 years from now. Along with, I venture 
to say, the Columbian Exposition Medal of 1893, of which the firm 
struck over 23,000 examples. The later were widely distributed 
all over the world to exhibitors of the Chicago World's Fair of 
that period.

"Future beings, even it they don't read English (could it ever be 
a dead language?), will view Columbus on the award medal, and the 
two Scovill founders on their centennial medal. Something important 
happened for citizens of that era to create these miniature art 
works that have lasted for thousands of years.

"The International Time Capsule Society estimates over half of all 
time capsules are lost or forgotten. And half of those retrieved 
often reveal the damage of time. Moisture is the greatest enemy to 
penetrate the intended casket and the contents are either a moldy, 
soggy mass or destroyed in total. It is not ironic that coins and 
medals survive any such deterioration.

"Don't hide your event in a time capsule. Instead, issue a medal. 
It will memorialize the honor you wish to bestow in a far more 
appealing and permanent way. It won't be hidden in the ground -- 
or in the case of Coe Park -- in the wall. And live beings can 
view it, appreciate it, and learn of the event at any time ... 
for a very long time."


Author Robert Kurson penned an opinion piece published for the 
New York Times on June 8. Titled 'Curators Under the Sea', his 
piece addresses critics of sea salvors such as Odyssey.

"Last month, a Florida-based treasure-hunting company made 
perhaps the richest undersea score ever. It discovered, somewhere 
in the Atlantic, a Colonial-era shipwreck containing more than 
500,000 silver coins and hundreds of gold coins. Total estimated 
value, according to one coin marketer: $500 million.

"In days of yore, pirates would have swarmed to such a bounty, 
declaring the treasure their own. Today, it attracts a new breed 
of raiders who believe just as strongly that the treasure is 
rightfully theirs — and who get just as angry when things don’t 
go their way. They are the academics — professors, curators, 
historians and others who study, archive and preserve historical 
artifacts. Many of them despise the commercial treasure hunters 
for, as they see it, rampaging through shipwrecks with little 
regard for the delicate history at hand.

"The same case was made in 1991, when two recreational scuba 
divers discovered a World War II German U-boat — complete with 
its 56-man crew — that had sunk just off New Jersey. No military 
expert or historian had known of this wreck, its sailors or its 
story, and so it fell to these two ordinary men to embark on a 
six-year, fantastically dangerous quest to solve the mystery.

"As it happened, there was no treasure aboard this U-boat, but 
academics made virtually the same accusation: the divers, they 
said, were going to trample history in their quest to put a 
name on the warship.

"Nothing could have been further from the truth. Not for the divers 
ho undertook huge risks to preserve the U-boat. And not for treasure 
hunters, who have even greater incentives to be careful with 
their finds.

"Do they know how to handle the rarities they find? The academics 
scoff at the idea. But many of the finest conservation labs, the 
most up-to-date equipment and the best-trained archaeologists can 
be found on just the kind of treasure hunting quest that discovered 
the recent Colonial-era wreck.

"The real bottom line is this: if treasure hunters didn’t do this 
kind of work, no one would. Without them and the people they work 
with — the divers, fishermen, tipsters and amateur historians — 
many of these wrecks would stay lost forever. Without the lure of 
a big and romantic payoff, no one would even look.

"Academics don’t drag magnetometers and side-scan sonar equipment 
across the seas. They don’t risk their lives, as the U-boat divers 
did, by removing their air tanks and corkscrewing through a 

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


Alan V. Weinberg writes: "Walter Husak, large cent collector 
extraordinaire of Burbank and Solvang, CA, has consigned his 
magnificent Sheldon-numbered early large cent collection to 
Heritage Auctions of Dallas for a two night auction scheduled 
for the February 2008 Long Beach, CA show. 

"It is the 3rd finest early large cent collection ever formed 
in American numismatic history, surpassed only by the R.E. "Ted" 
Naftzger collection and the Dr. William H. Sheldon collection, 
the latter of which was riddled with coins of questionable origin. 
Those two collections were dispersed by private treaty, so this 
will be the finest public auction sale of American early large cents.

"There are, in the collection, 292 of the 295 known Sheldon 
numbered varieties of large cents 1793-1814 along with a number 
of Non-Collectible varieties. The condition, across the board, is 
superb with many finest knowns or high condition census pieces. 
The collection has been, from time to time, exhibited by the outgoing 
owner, at EAC and Long Beach shows and was exhibited in its entirety 
last week at this June's Long Beach show at the Heritage bourse 
booth before Heritage wrapped up the collection and transported it 
to Dallas for cataloguing. 

"The cataloguing will be done by Heritage staff cataloguer Mark 
Borckardt and Florida's well-known large cent expert Denis Loring. 
The coins will be slabbed by PCGS before the auction, probably 
around this August. At the present, all coins are raw as this is 
the preference of Walt and most early copper connoisseurs. But, 
truthfully, slabbing protects the coins in transit, exhibition 
and lot examination and will appeal to the so-called 'Registry 
Set' collectors. 

"The catalogue, as planned, will give the PCGS 'slab grade' and 
the EAC census grade. The photography of the coins is still undecided 
- Walt is a magnificent large cent photographer and has photographed 
all his coins. There is talk that Heritage might want to photograph 
the coins after they are slabbed and these pictures would be used 
in the auction catalogue. But it seems to Walt and me that his raw 
coin photography cannot be surpassed in quality. So a decision on 
the catalogue photography is still up in the air.

"A decision also has to be made as to whether the large cents will 
be encased in the new three-pronged slab device which will allow 
examination of the early coppers' rims, often lettered or ornamented 
and so important to large cent collectors. 

"There are slightly over 300 large cents in the collection and the 
catalogue, as foreseen, will have over 400 pages with some important 
coins occupying as many as 1 1/2 to 2 pages. A special bound edition 
will be created and should be of paramount importance in any 
numismatic library.

"When asked why Walt, still young and healthy at 67, was going to 
auction his collection, he responded that he'd 'hit a wall'. There 
were only about five coins he still needed and they were unobtainable 
in long term collectors' or institutional hands. So he could no 
longer add to or markedly improve the collection.

"The coins will be on exhibit at the August Milwaukee ANA, the 
September Long Beach show and the January 2008 FUN Orlando show 
before being seen and auctioned finally at the February 2008 Long 
Beach show.

"I am very familiar with Walt's large cents and have examined them 
over time and at the Long Beach show. The quality and visual 
appearance of the coins is astounding. Surfaces, strike and color 
are uniformly superb. They are an early copper collector's dream 
and the opportunity to bid on and buy, or even just examine, these 
coppers is a distinct pleasure. You never tire of it."

[Many thanks to Alan for his write-up on the collection. It's 
appearing here a week late because of my travel last weekend. 
We'll be looking forward to the catalogue! -Editor]


Last week I asked if anyone had compiled a study of numismatic 
items associated with various American Indian tribes (other than 
the familiar Indian Peace Medals and wampum items. A reader asks: 
"Would it be appropriate to add to the list of Native American-related 
items the casino tokens and chips issued by native-owned casinos?"

I would say yes, that casino items should be included in such a 
catalog. But so far no one has indicated that such a catalog exists. 
Maybe there just aren't many items to deal with, but I would be 
surprised if there aren't a good number of unlisted token and scrip 
items in existence. 

Wouldn't you know it that the June 4th blog entry by Colin Bruce of 
Numismatic News just happens to feature numismatic items "authorized 
by the Sovereign Nation of the Shawnee Tribe"? Designed by Alex 
Shagin, the medals were struck in 0.999 fineness, and available both 
in uncirculated and proof versions. Both items will be cataloged in 
the forthcoming fifth edition of 'Unusual World Coins'.

"The dollar dated 2005 has the Shawnee Tribe's seal on the obverse, 
while the reverse has a remarkable depiction of Lewis, Clark, their 
guide, Drouillard, and Sacagawea in a moving canoe on an angle. I 
might add that this is quite an engraving feat in itself to illustrate 
depth in a flat surface. This piece commemorates the 200th anniversary 
of the 'Expedition of Discovery'.

"The second dollar of the Shawnee Tribe dated 2006 has the similar 
obverse with the Tribal Seal, while on the reverse is a very detailed 
half-length figure depicting Tenskwatawa, 'The Prophet'.

"Both coins are superb examples of a private mint's abilities - at 
least as far as I am concerned. These came in a batch of other 
denominations including gold and platinum commemoratives of the 
Shawnee Tribe submitted by Robert Mish, located in Menlo Park, Calif. 
They are struck in similar denominations, weights and sizes as the 
commemoratives issued by the U.S. Mint." 

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



The Des Moines Register reported on June 1 that "Twenty-seven rare 
1867 coins worth more than $150,000 are missing from their designated 
storage spot at the Iowa State Historical Building.

"The coins are copper trial strikes made from dies used some 140 
years ago by the U.S. Mint. Trial strikes were often made in lighter 
metals as presentation pieces; the process let the U.S. Mint show 
what the coins for the next year were going to look like. The 
collection included two examples of each coin so both sides could 
be displayed at one time.

"Four of the original 34 copper trial strike coins are still in 
the museum's permanent collection of 110,000 artifacts.

"The coins apparently came to Iowa through John Kasson, a U.S. 
representative from Iowa who was chairman of the Committee on 
Coinage, Weights and Measures. He also was first assistant 
postmaster general in President Abraham Lincoln's administration 
in 1861.

"John Holden of Garwin made a special display case for the coins 
in the shape of the state of Iowa. The collection included pennies, 
2-cent pieces, 3-cent pieces, half dimes, dimes, quarters, half 
dollars, and "gold coins" (made of copper) in all denominations. 
The $20 trial strike pieces are worth about $11,000 each today, 
according to Steve Contursi, president of Rare Coin Wholesalers 
of Dana Point, Calif. He estimated the value of a complete 
collection of cleaned trial strikes from 1867 at $176,000."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


On 6 June The Guardian published an article noting that the choice 
of Adam Smith for the Bank of England's new £20 note is still 
drawing comment:

"At a time when the public has been less than impressed by the 
governor's choice of Adam Smith to adorn the, the "Becks for 
banknotes" campaign will get a boost should the recalled winger 
help his country to a victory.

"[Soccer star David] Beckham is one of a list of modern sportsmen, 
musicians and actors put forward by the public as alternatives to 
the choices made by Threadneedle Street, which have been sometimes 
criticised for relying too heavily on dead, white males. Robbie 
Williams, The Beatles, Mick Jagger, Richard Branson, England's 
cricket captain, Michael Vaughan, and the rugby player Jonny 
Wilkinson all feature on the list with figures from history such 
as Francis Drake and Winston Churchill.

"Smith, one of three economists on the list, replaced Sir Edward 
Elgar on the £20 note in March, but the Bank said the switch had 
proved controversial.

"A spokesman said complaints about Smith had focused on his 
Scottish origins. Scotland has its own banknotes, and some people 
in England have objected to the author of the Wealth of Nations 
having pride of place on notes issued south of the border.

"The spokesman made it clear that the Bank stuck by its decision. 
"We are the central bank for the UK. We don't see why nationality 
within the UK should be an issue for us." There had also been 
complaints about Elgar being dropped in the year that marks the 
150th anniversary of his birth."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


Tom Fort forwarded a new article from the New York Times about 
the Silver Surfer quarters.

"The studio behind a coming summer movie, “Fantastic Four: Rise 
of the Silver Surfer,” has roused the ire of the United States 
Mint with its promotional gimmick for the film, in which Marvel 
Comics superheroes battle a metallic alien.

"The altered coins (which are not in fact silver) were 
distributed nationwide in the period leading up to Memorial Day. 

"Some of the Silver Surfer quarters have shown up on eBay, where 
collectors have paid as much as $149 each — a high price for a 
quarter, but modest in comparison to the $250-plus that was bid 
recently for an original copy of the first issue of the Silver 
Surfer comic book."

To read the complete article, see:  Full Story



Dick Johnson forwarded this article about an exhibit of a rare 
Anglo-Saxon penny:

"A rare silver penny of a legendary early English king is on 
display for the first time close to where it was minted 900 
years ago.

"The Anglo-Saxon King Cnut silver coin, which dates back from 
1024-30AD, has gone on display for the first time at the 
Brandon Heritage Centre.

"The penny, which was minted in Thetford - the ancient capital 
of East Anglia - has been donated on a year's loan by Brandon 
man Peter Ridgwell.

"The coin is on display at the museum, in George Street, with 
information about the history of the artefact, the Thetford 
mint and the people who worked there."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


The BBC News reported on Thursday that "The ancient remains 
of four skeletons will be buried at Highworth Cemetery in 
Wiltshire later this month. The remains were dug up during local 
building work and excavations and passed to Highworth Historical 

"They will be interred in wicker caskets in a secluded plot by 
an ancient footpath with a service performed by an elder of the 
Congregational Church. 

"'We believe this is a fitting end for these men who probably 
lived and worked in or around Highworth many centuries ago.' 

"The remains will be buried with items such as locally sourced 
mead, honey and a bread roll as 'sustenance for the journey', 
together with a 2007 copper coin from the Royal Mint. "

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


Regarding last week's item about the used book dealer who resorted 
to burning unsellable books, Harry Waterson forwarded an Associated 
Press article published June 3rd in the Springfield News-Leader.

"When Sandra Wilde decided it was time to downsize, she had no 
trouble giving away jewelry, linen and clothing. It was parting 
with her books that proved to be painful, if not impossible. 

"'I think for a lot of people, books are just really different 
from anything else,' the Portland, Ore., education professor said. 
'They're really hard to let go of.' 

"Sometimes, though, you just have to let go. 

"The question is whether the books that have sentimental value 
for you, and that you have schlepped around the country for years, 
are worth anything to anyone else. 

"'I say put it in the garbage and people get very offended,' said 
Fred Bass, who, as owner of the Strand bookstore in Manhattan, 
makes house calls to evaluate large collections. 'A lot of people 
want their books recycled. They want other people to read them. 
They want to get them into a good home.'" 

"If you do decide to haul your loot to a library or thrift shop, 
be prepared for the distinct possibility that some of them will 
end up in the trash. 

"'Please don't bring us your mildewed, smelly books,' said Leslie 
Burger, president of the American Library Association and director 
of the Princeton (N.J.) Public Library. 'If it's something you don't 
want to read, chances are no one else wants to read it either. It's 
OK to throw away a book.'"

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

Dan Barry of the New York Times talked to the owners of Prospero 
Books about their book burning.

"A few days ago, over the Memorial Day weekend, Tom Wayne and 
Will Leathem held a barbecue of sorts in front of their used-book 
store. A squirt of lighter fluid, the flick of a Bic and — whoof! 
— flames began to dance from their pyre of books.

"Books, they discovered, do not burn well. Books, it seems, tend 
to smolder.

"Books are just things, paper bricks of commerce taking up room. 
But they are also holy vessels, containing the written articulation 
of our experiences and dreams, allowing us to point to an arrangement 
of words and exclaim: “Yes! That’s it exactly!”

"With a sense of responsibility tinged by guilt, they assumed the 
inventory of other used-book stores giving up the fight, and accepted 
the books trundled in by students looking to trade or homeowners 
looking to tidy with a clean conscience. Soon they had accumulated 
nearly 50,000 books.

"The men say they tried to give away books in bulk that were either 
not selling or in overabundance — to no avail. When a friend was 
sent to state prison, for example, they tried to donate books to 
the correctional system, but were denied. When they donated books 
to a local fund-raising event, some well-meaning person bought up 
most of those books and left them at the Prospero’s doorstep."

To read the complete article (subscription required) see: 
Full Story



Numismatic bibliophiles sometimes run into curiosities such as 
"De Kuriositi Kabinet", an 1870s numismatic periodical published 
with phonetic spelling, a onetime fad. Might numismatists of 
the future encounter documents written with a color alphabet?

"Lee Freedman has waited a long time, but he thinks the moment 
is finally right to spring on the world the color alphabet he 
invented as a 19-year-old at Mardi Gras in 1972. 

"For 35 years, between stints as a doctor, a real estate agent 
and a pizza maker at the Woodstock concert in 1994, Freedman has 
been working on Kromofons--an innovative alphabet in which the 26 
English letters are represented solely by individual colors-- 
waiting for technology to catch up with him. 

"And now, thanks to the Internet, the ubiquity of color monitors, 
Microsoft Word plug-ins and his being able to launch a Kromofons- 
based e-mail system, Freedman thinks he is finally ready. 

"Imagine getting an e-mail whose text is not the familiar black 
letters on a white background, but instead a series of colored 

"It may seem confusing, but it's actually very simple, in concept 
at least. The letter "a" is represented by a bright yellow, "b" 
is a light blue, "c" a pale pink, "d" is grey, "e" is orange and 
so on. 

"That confusion would most likely plague adults, of course. Kids 
are more likely to catch on much faster. 

"Freedman pointed out that for the entire history of the written 
word, humans have been reading in black and white. Now, he argued, 
people will begin to read in color, both in static words and 
animated phrases." 

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


This week's featured web site is recommended by John and Nancy 
Wilson of Ocala, FL write: "While researching Jacob Perkins and 
his anti-counterfeiting banknotes we ran across a web page with 
wonderful information on the American Bank Note Company. Managing 
the page appears to be Terry Cox, who some years back issued 
fixed price lists on bank notes."

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.

PREV        NEXT        V10 2007 INDEX        E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

NBS Home Page    Back to top

NBS ( Web