The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 10, Number 25, June 24, 2007:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2007, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers are Dick Wells, courtesy of John and
Nancy Wilson, Auctori Connec (great pseudonym!), Harrison Knowlton,
Craig McDonald, Rickie Rose, Mark Varney, Byron Weston and Juan
Carlos Harris.  Welcome aboard!  We now have 1,141 subscribers.

This week we open with a preview of the next issue of The Asylum, and
updates from literature dealers Fred Lake and David Fanning.  In the
"mystery solved" category are a resolution to the mystery of the "I am
not terrorized" stamp on U.S. paper money, the real name of author S. Q.
Lapius, and a definitive identification of the origin of a 1910 photo
of prominent U.S. numismatists.  Many thanks to Karl Moulton who
contributed on several topics this week.

Offering a new numismatic quiz this week is reader John Meissner, who
poses questions based on his research into old Numismatic news classified
ads. Also on tap is the newest installment of my London Diary.  Have a
great week, everyone.

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


David Yoon, Editor of our print journal The Asylum writes:
"I've sent another issue of The Asylum to the printers (v25n2).
Here are the contents:

* Joel Orosz - Ezekiel I. Barra and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:
   "Something About Coins" - and Provenance
* W. David Perkins - Who Was Farish Baldenhofer?
* Christopher Eimer - Book Review: Comitia Americana and Related
   Medals, by John W. Adams and Anne E. Bentley"

[Remember, only paid-up members of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society
receive The Asylum.  Membership is only $15 to addresses in the U.S.,
$20 elsewhere.  For a membership application, see the links at the end
of each issue of The E-Sylum. -Editor]


Fred Lake of Lake books writes: "Our 89th mail-bid sale of numismatic
literature is now available for viewing on our web site at:

"There are 413 lots in the sale covering all facets of the numismatic
experience including U. S. auction catalogs, World catalogs and fixed
-price lists, reference books on United States and Ancient coinage
plus material dealing with Paper Money, Tokens and literature dealer

"You will find over thirty years of 'The Numismatist' that have been
hardbound in black cloth with gilt titles."


David Fanning writes: "It has come to my attention that some people
encountered difficulties downloading the PDF of my sixth Fixed Price List
of numismatic literature. I have made some changes that I am hoping make
things easier for people using the site, and the list is still available
at . Thank you to all who let me know
that they had trouble with the site."


Sam Pennington of the Maine Antique Digest writes: "I just posted
an article titled 'Books You Should Own' for the new collector of
American medals. We found some real bargains in the out-of-print
books. As always, we welcome suggestions for additions."

[Sam is going great guns with his writing on medals - The Maine Antique
Digest is helping spread the word about these often-overlooked artistic
gems.  Thanks for also promoting the literature as well.  Here are some
excerpts from the article.  His advice is right on the money - I have
many of these books in my own library, and they're wonderful to read
whether you collect the medals or not. -Editor]

"In most collecting fields there is at least one standard reference
work and a number of price guides. Not so with art and commemorative
medals. While there are a number of books, there just is no one-size-
fits-all work.

"Many if not most of these books are out of print. Where we can, we
have listed the best sources based on price and availability.

"As a starter, one of the best survey books comes to us from the
British Museum. It is The Art of the Medal by Mark Jones (1979)...

"For a survey of American medals, the best we have found is One
Hundred Years of American Medallic Art, 1845-1945: The John E.
Marqusee Collection, a 1995 catalog by Susan Luftschein...

"I wrote at the beginning of this article that there is no reliable
price guide for medals. That’s true for American medals, but there
is an excellent one for medals by our friends across the ocean, British
Commemorative Medals and Their Values by Christopher Eimer. Published
in 1987, it’s long out of print, but it occasionally turns up in rare
or used booksellers’ listings."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


Ralf W. Boepple writes: "I was automatically informed by the leading
Internet bookstore about the availability in paperback of the following
book: Mary Ellen Snodgrass: Coins and Currency: An Historical
Encyclopedia (McFarland, 572 pp).

"The book was originally published in 2003. I haven't found any mention
of it in the E-Sylum. By the reviews I see on the Internet, it sounds very
interesting, but I couldn't quite establish how useful this work might be
for a numismatist.

"Does any E-Sylum reader know this book, and if so, what does he or
she think of it?"

To view the book's page on, see:


Whitman Publishing issued a press release this week announcing an
upcoming event in Dahlonega, Georgia of interest to bibliophiles.

"The Dahlonega Gold Museum will be hosting a special authors’ signing
day, “A Tribute To Historic Authors,” on July 28, 2007. Visitors are
invited to the museum—in Georgia’s oldest existing courthouse—to meet
state and national authors who will be on hand with their books and prints.

"Coin collectors know Dahlonega as the scene of an early American gold rush,
and the site of one of the United States Mint’s branches in the late 1830s
to early 1860s. Gold coins were struck there from 1838 to 1861.

"Some of the Gold Museum bookstore’s most popular offerings include The
Georgia Gold Rush, by David Williams; John Kollock’s beautiful books and
prints of some of Georgia’s special places and people, including a new
print of the Lumpkin County Historic Courthouse; Lumpkin County Schools Of
Yesteryear, by Larry Scott; Waterfalls Of North Georgia, by Jack Anthony;
Dahlonega: A Brief History, by prolific local author Anne Dismukes Amerson;
and History of the United States Mint and Its Coinage, by David W. Lange.

"Numismatic authors at this year’s event include Doug Winters, author of
Gold Coins of the Dahlonega Mint; and Bill Fivaz, author of the United
States Gold Counterfeit Detection Guide. Whitman Publishing (based in
Atlanta, Georgia) will provide door prizes throughout the day.

"“This is a great opportunity to meet and talk with some great authors in
the heart of historic Dahlonega,” says Whitman publisher Dennis Tucker. “If
you’ve never visited the mountains of North Georgia, you’re in for a treat.”

"Admission $2.50 to $4.00. For more information, please contact Angie
Johnson at the Dahlonega Gold Museum at (706) 864-2257 or visit"


Dave Lange writes: "Thanks for publishing the announcement about my new
book on Coin Boards, but you forgot to include the website link:  [Sorry! -Editor]

"Regarding out-of-print Whitman folders for English coins, these are not
rare. They turn up periodically on eBay, though most listings are from
sellers in Britain or Australia.  Several U.S. sellers have them too.
I've sold many duplicates myself, though I don't have any right now.

"The folders for pennies and halfpennies are the scarcest, since they
are the ones least likely to have remained unsold and most likely to be
snapped up now. The 8000 series can be hard to find, since these were
custom printed for the British market and sold there exclusively. Most
other titles survive unused and sell for reasonable prices.

"The store owner with whom you spoke is correct about there being nothing
current for British coins. The folders printed there during the late 1960s
and early '70s appear to have been just a fad that coincided with the
decimal conversion. I have a few of these folders, but they are rare.
When found, they typically still contain coins and are from overseas
sellers, both of which make their purchase for my collection all but


The American Numismatic Association published the following release
about the latest issue of the ANA Journal (Spring 2007, v2n1):

"From 'Wildman to True Native American,' by Austrian professor Heinz
Tschachler, headlines the current issue of ANA Journal: Advanced Studies
in Numismatics. The paper focuses on different depictions of Native
Americans on U.S. paper currency, and follows the progression of this
imagery from European roots to a uniquely American world view.

"Other featured authors include former ANA President Kenneth Bressett,
who discusses "The Nature & Use of Electrotype Reproductions"; and
William Hyder, who examines medals celebrating the 1894 California
Midwinter International Exposition in "Midwinter Bird's-Eye View."

"ANA Journal is seeking articles displaying original numismatic research.
For submission guidelines or more information, e-mail or
visit (select "ANA Journal" from the "Communications"
dropdown menu)."


Timothy Grat writes: "Thank you again for another fascinating installment
of The E-Sylum. I wanted to comment and pass on information about a recent
article.  I first saw the "I Am Not Terrorized" bills displayed at the
booth of J.S.G. Boggs (who, I can imagine, several of your readers are
familiar with) at the F.U.N. show in 2002. I may have unknowingly believed
these to be the work of Boggs for years now.  When I searched the pieces,
I came across an article published back in 2001, which details the artist,
and a show he did with J.S.G. Boggs, which would explain the mix up. Here
is a link to that article."

[Here are a couple excerpts from the article in the St. Petersburg
Times. -Editor]

"New York artist David Greg Harth, 26, really knows the value of a
dollar. Since the events of Sept. 11, Harth has used money and rubber
stamps to print his messages to the world: "I am not afraid." "I am
not terrorized."

"Several of these specialized dollar bills will be on display in "Life
and Liberty: To Honor the Victims of September 11th." As a venue in St.
Petersburg's annual First Night celebration, the art show is open to
the public from 6 p.m. to midnight on Monday, New Year's Eve.

"Organized at the request of the Tampa Bay art community, gallery owner
Tiffani Szilage and actor/producer Megan Brown have focused the show on
artists' reactions to the events of 9/11.

"Harth, who lives 20 blocks from the Twin Towers, was inspired by
first-hand experience.

"Money seemed a natural medium (and one Harth has used in the past),
since it moves quickly among so many people. Messages are printed in
red or black ink on bills with denominations ranging from $1 to $100.
With $80,000 in marked bills already in circulation, the artist is
well on his way to his goal of $100,000."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

To view David Greg Harth's web site, see:


In response to Dick Johnson's article on archival research last week,
Roger Burdette writes: "

1. Wear old clothes. Old documents are dusty and contaminated by dead
insects, dust, dirt, paper fragments, etc. Many of the old leather
journals are in poor condition and will shed orange dust over you and
your work area.

2. Most numismatic-related archives are not digitized and probably
will not be before they turn to dust. Keep careful notes of the contents
of each box or volume and the various series you examine. This will
become your master index to the archive and help you find documents
when you want them.

3. If you are permitted to make photocopies, copy anything that seems
of even remote interest - you can study it in detail after the archive
has closed its doors for the day.

4. Enter the series, box/volume, folder and other identifying information
on every photocopy. That way you will not have to check for the location
of any item. This also makes assembling footnotes and references easy.

5. Be patient with the staff. Most of these folks are not professional
archivists - they're students and part-time employees earning low wages.
They have to put up with a lot of complaints from researchers who think
their own project is the most important in the world."


Regarding reproductions of Hawaiian banknotes, Don Cleveland writes:
"In 1988 and 1989, the American Bank Note Company printed color
reproductions of the faces of 1895 Hawaiian banknotes in the form of
souvenir cards for various numismatic conventions at that time.  I
don't know if I have a complete set, but I have the following from
that period:

$5 Hawaiian Gov. Gold Certificate, 1895, issued for the Florida
United Numismatists' 34th Convention, Orlando, FL, 5-8 Jan. 1989.

$10, Same description, 13th Annual International Paper Money Show,
Memphis, TN, 23-25 June 1989.

$20, Same description, ANA 98th Anniversary Convention, Pittsburgh,
PA, 9-13 Aug. 1989

$50, Silver Certif.,  12th Annual International Paper Money Show,
Memphis, TN, 24-26 June 1988.

$100, Silver Certif., ANA 97th Anniversary Convention, Cincinnati,
OH, 9-13 Aug. 1989.

"I do not collect Souvenir cards per se, but figure this as close
as I will ever come to owning these rare, beautiful banknotes.
Are there other cards in this series?"


Regarding the items in last week's issue relating to anti-counterfeiting
tools and techniques, Joe Boling writes: "I have a Spuriscope. R. M. Smythe
auctioned two of them in their Memphis 2005 sale - I bought one. It depends
on the relationship of face check letters to the position of the note on the
sheet and the concomitant serial number that is printed on the note in that
position. It no longer works, as the required correlations no longer exist.

"Regarding security features in Japanese notes, they may be pushing only
the watermark for the general public, but the notes are loaded with security
features, including: microprinting, iridescent and luminescent inks, two
kinds of latent image, a second watermark, and a hologram on the two
high-denomination notes."



Regarding a photo offered in David Fanning's price list, Karl Moulton
writes: "The picture of the several dozen notable numismatists sitting
around a large table, was not taken at a Tom Elder sale.  It was taken
right after the "Old English Dinner" that was presented by the New York
Numismatic Club at Keens Chop House, 70 West 36th St., in New York City
on September 9th, 1910.  This was during the joint 1910 ANA / ANS

"Being in NYC, Tom Elder apparently hosted the dinner.  The caption,
written in ink on the image, is incorrect about it being taken at an
early Elder auction sale.  Daniel Kennedy was the cataloguer and
auctioneer for this event and is so noted on the image, which is
displayed in Q. David Bowers book titled 'Virgil Brand: The Man and
His Era', pgs. 166-167.

"Interestingly, one important person that is not identified by the
unknown captioner, is Virgil Brand, who is seated between Joseph
Mitchelson and Farran Zerbe."



Regarding the book 'Wertpapierwasserzeichen', Nancy Green writes:
"The American Numismatic Association library has two books on paper
money water marks by Keller and Lehrke. The call numbers are UC30.L4
and UC40.K4wa."

Bob Knepper writes: "Thank you again for printing my question about
the German book on watermarks.  Thanks also to Herr Boepple for the
helpful information.

"I found that "Deutsches Notgeld", Book 1, by Grabowski & Mehl has a
good section on watermarks so my need for the apparently tough-to-find
"Deutsche Wertpapierwasserzeichen" by Keller/Lehrke has decreased -
although I would still be glad to find it.

"Herr Boepple's comment that "Wertpapierwasserzeichen" was self-published
raised a question: were the other Keller books originally self-published?
My copies of later reprints show Battenburg as the publisher."



Web site visitor Lynn Tice writes: "I thought you might want to see
the Laura Gardin Fraser Better Babies Medal that's been in our family.
It was awarded to my dad's brother.  He died at the age of 2 1/2 I think
and is buried next to our grandparents.  His name is engraved on the medal.

"I'd love to know which foundry made the medals, how many were struck,
and over what period of time.  I have found some scholarly research about
the health and eugenics interest in the time period.  I became more and
more interested in the sculptor as we live in South Carolina.   Our
great- grandfather fought in the Stonewall Jackson brigade.  We all
love the sculpture at Brookgreen Gardens.

"I have written the Cleveland Art Museum and the Cowboy Museum in Oklahoma.
I have not seen one in any collection so far.  I don't know if that is
because they aren't common, or there is no interest, or no value, or all
of the above.  We'd be interested in knowing the value of similar medals
but haven't found one. My cousins in Atlanta are coming soon and we're
going to clean up the burial site in Spartanburg.  We are all interested
in this story.  I'd appreciate any information your readers might be able
to offer.  Thank you."

Laura Gardin Fraser Better Babies Medal (Obverse)
Laura Gardin Fraser Better Babies Medal (Obverse) Image

Laura Gardin Fraser Better Babies Medal (Reverse)
Laura Gardin Fraser Better Babies Medal (Reverse) Image

[The obverse inscription reads "BETTER BABIES".  The reverse reads ".
' TO [space for name] /  LAURA GARDIN / SCULPTOR".   I don't think I've
seen this one before; are any of our readers familiar with it?  -Editor]


Karl Moulton writes: "I can make a minor correction to the Freeman's
lot description about the second U.S. Mint.  It was demolished in 1902,
not 1907.  The watercolor painting they sold is indeed an early image,
as there were no trees planted in the front corners, however, it needs
to be noted that it can't be positively attributed to William Strickland,
the designer of the building, especially with the horses and wagon being
so far out of proportion when compared with the ladies standing several
feet away on the other side of the street.



John Meissner writes: "Part of the reason to have a complete set of
early 'Numismatic News' is because of the treasure trove of classified
ads, which subscribers could place free once a month until late 1959,
and which were only crudely indexed until mid-1960.  None of these have
ever been looked at in any detail, and none of which will be until the
entire thing is digitized, because it is just too hard on the eyes to
go through all of them.  Still, because I am doing a version of that,
going through page by page looking for particular ads in the late 1950's
and early 1960's, I come across some classics.  There is one from a
gentleman from Washington, D.C., for example, who wants to trade proof
sets for whiskey, and quickly.

"I also find some that would likely be of interest to E-Sylum readers,
for example, someone from Kansas selling a J.C. von Soothe 1784 gold
coin sale catalog, hand priced and with purchaser's names.

"There are also ads placed by people now prominent in the publishing
field (Cliff Mishler, still a teenager, requesting back issues of
CalCoin News) and Boston coin club meeting summaries where individuals
like Ken Bressett from Keane, New Hampshire make an appearance to talk
about the exciting new field of error coins."


Based on his reading of old Numismatic News issues, John Meissner
offers the following quiz question for our readers:

"It's the early 1960's.  You have $100 to spend.  Which of the following
regular or semi-regular advertisers in "Coin World" or "Numismatic News"
might it be best to avoid:

1.  Miczek & Co., Corry, Pennsylvania
2.  Loser's Coin Store, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
3.  Ned Davis Coin and Toy Shop, Reading, Pennsylvania
4.  H.C. Buell, Lone Tree, Iowa
5.  Buell and Son, Washington, Missouri
6.  Daniel J. McBride, Atlanta, Georgia
7.  Norman "Poor Ole Broke" Brock, San Antonio, Texas
8.  Fred Johnson, Camden, New Jersey
9.  Toivo Johnson, Brewer, Maine
10.  W.E. Johnson, Santa Barbara, California

Extra-credit for details of why it might be best to
avoid your choices."


Regarding the Newburyport newspaper article quoted last week, Karl
Moulton writes: "As for the Jacob Perkins so-called 'Mint' on Fruit St.
in Newburyport, I have commented before that this was not officially a
Mint, but served as his engraving facility beginning around 1808 after
he moved his first engraving operation from Market Square.  It needs
to be clarified that there were two different buildings at the No.18
location.  His brother Abraham operated the new "set back" building
in question, on Fruit St. after that building at No.18 was erected in
1816, which was deeded right before Jacob moved to Philadelphia in
1816.  The brick building slated for the museum in which the banks
bills were printed, not Jacob's engraving facility building, was
probably erected after September 1815.

"Jacob Perkins was not there, or involved with the actual contracted
printing of notes, even though he had made considerable improvements
against the counterfeiting of bank notes.  Hopefully, those involved
with the museum renovation will get the proper story told.  It's been
described in John J Currier's "History of Newburyport, Mass 1764-1909
Vol. II", pgs.363-371."



Two weeks ago week Ed Snible asked: "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: )("

Alan Luedeking writes: "I may be wrong, but I believe I have seen
the typographical symbol Rx that is normally used for pharmaceutical
prescriptions used to denote the reverse of a coin. This interlinked
Rx symbol can be obtained by holding down the ALT key on your keyboard
while typing the numbers 8478. When you release the ALT key, the
character ? appears."

Karl Moulton writes: "So as not to have E-Sylum readers ever having
been stumped, the )( symbol for the reverse used in the 1880 Yale coin
collection periodical comes from Professor Fisk P. Brewer, an early
collector who helped establish the Yale coin collection in the late
1850's.  He was born to missionary parents in 1832 in what is now
called Izmir, Turkey, and grew up seeing ancient coins all the time.
When his family returned to the U.S., he eventually enrolled and
graduated with distinction from Yale in 1852.

"He served as a tutor at that institution from 1855 through 1858.
He wrote several publications about the foreign coins in the Yale
collection in the mid 1860's, using the same publisher in New Haven,
Conn. as was listed for his 1880 periodical.  Early on, he was interested
in coin collecting, as this writer has Prof. Brewer's personal annotated
copy of an early Bangs Brother's broadside listing a foreign coin sale
held in October 1856 in NYC.

"Brewer was also instrumental in helping to establish the American
Association of Numismatist's, along with Robert Morris in the 1870's.
Brewer was, at the time, the Professor of Ancient Languages and Literature
at the University of South Carolina.  That AAN organization, which Dr.
George Heath later used as a model for the ANA, was dedicated to the
study and collecting of Ancient Greek and Roman coinage.  Apparently,
the symbol that Brewer used for the reverse - )( - had been seen in
earlier foreign coin sales prior to 1850.  As with the AAN, it never
caught on with American cataloguers.  Brewer eventually moved to Iowa
in 1877 and taught at Grinnell College until 1883."

[Many thanks to Karl for this background on Brewer and his use of the
symbol, but we still don't know if it has a name.  We could also use
information on its origins or specific references to any earlier coin
books or catalogs using the symbol.  -Editor]



You know what they say about all work and no play.  So on Monday I
led my team on a lunchtime excursion to the London headquarters of
Sotheby's, several blocks from our office.  In the pouring rain.
Arriving dripping, I expected we'd either be turned away like street
urchins or forced to run a gauntlet of identification checks.  Instead,
we were welcomed in and directed to our destination: lot viewing for
Tuesday night's sale of Impressionist and Modern Masters.

I guess I don't know what I expected, but soon we were in a beautiful
upstairs gallery lined with, well, Impressionist and Modern Master
paintings by Degas, Matisse, Modigliani, Monet, Pissaro, Renoir, Sisley,
and others.  My thinking was that, where and when would we ever get a
chance to view most of these paintings again?  While some might find
their way to museums, most could end up back in private collections or
held by some faceless hedge fund.

One of my favorites was an 1899 portrait of Madame Poupoule by Henri
Toulouse-Latrec (lot 10).  Estimate?  2,000,000 – 3,000,000 GBP ($4-6
million).  Call me jaded, or just someone who's seen too many of his
Water Lilies paintings, but I wasn't impressed by the highlight of the
sale, a 1904 Monet (lot 7) estimated at 16,500,000 GBP ($33 million).
The Monet brought $37 million but the Toulouse-Latrec was apparently
unsold.  Maybe I should have bid (yeah, right...)

Sotheby's 19 June London Sale Lot 10 (registration required)
Full Story

Sotheby's 19 June London Sale Lot 7 (registration required)
Full Story

Lunchtime Tuesday was reserved for another visit to Baldwin's and a
lovely lunch at a nearby Italian restaurant with Caroline Holmes.
Caroline was born in Australia and worked at Spink for a time before
coming to Baldwin's.  She faces the daunting task of cataloging and
organizing the firm's numismatic library in addition to selling their
stock of numismatic literature.

We had a nice chat on a number of topics including the rare coin
business, and the aging membership of many clubs.  This led to a
discussion of the great things organizations in the U.S. are doing
to attract and encourage young numismatists.  I explained the various
events I've helped arrange with the Pennsylvania Association of
Numismatists (PAN), where we've had hundreds of young collectors attend.
We agreed to promote the topic in the U.K. with coin fair organizers
and publishers.  I am pleased to see that Spink is planning "Young
Coin Collector Open Days" 16th-18th July 2007 - the event was 
advertised with a flyer at the London Coin Fair.

Following lunch we took a different route back to the Baldwin office
through Victoria Embankment Park.  This is the lovely secluded park I'd
stumbled on a few weeks earlier before I visited the Benjamin Franklin
house, also in Covent Garden. We passed the 1626 Water Gate marking
the former bank of the Thames, before it had been filled in to create
the Embankment in the 19th century.

Back at Baldwin's we took a quick look at their numismatic library,
shelved floor to ceiling in a downstairs room.  The shelving obscured
the interesting vaulted ceiling of the room which was once the restaurant
and dance floor of the Australian Visitor’s Club (quite appropriate
considering where Caroline is from!)  Topics covered the whole range
of world numismatics from ancient to modern times.  I saw full runs of
all the key references one would expect, including a set of the ANS
Numismatic Notes & Monographs.  A couple of shelves were filled with
rare bound and plated catalogues, and other catalogs were stored in
multiple boxes and shelves.   There were a few shelves of books on
U.S. numismatics, including an original Crosby's Early Coins of America.

They have a lot of work in front of them to organize and reshelve the
material, but it's a marvelous working library.  Caroline and Edward
Baldwin hope to write an illustrated article for a future issue of The
Asylum about the past, present and future of the Baldwin's numismatic

Wednesday's lunchtime excursion was to Cecil Court, a quaint little
pedestrian street off Charing Cross Road near Leicester Square.
Filled with tiny book and antique shops, it's a browser's dream.  I
enjoyed looking through stocks of engravings in a few different shops.
I didn't come across anything numismatic, but was on the lookout for
old coin sale broadsides or plates from numismatic books.  In one
tiny basement shop I purchased a holed 1830 U.S Dime as a souvenir.

My primary objective though, we to visit the upstairs street-level shop
of bank note specialists Colin Narbeth & Son.  I talked with Simon Narbeth,
who was very friendly and quick to share information.  At first I asked
for London merchant paper scrip, which I hadn't recalled ever seeing.
Having recently purchased an 1820s token, I was curious to learn if
there were scrip notes as well.  Simon's response was very helpful.
Basically, there were no London merchant scrip notes of the period
because they had been outlawed in the city.  Plenty of tokens, but no
notes.  He said the closest thing to what I asked for were London
goldsmith notes, and he pulled an album off the shelf behind him
containing several examples.

Turning the pages I soon encountered an original Cruikshank 'hanging
note'.  George Cruikshank (1792-1878) was one of the finest illustrators
of his time. For example, he drew the illustrations for the 1838 first
edition of Charles Dickens' 'Oliver Twist'. Cruikshank produced this
satirical 'Bank Restriction Note' in 1819 to protest Britain's harsh
punishments for counterfeiting, after he saw a woman hanged for passing
a forged note.

When I showed an interest in the note, Simon pulled out a book, an 1878
'Memoir of George Cruikshank Artist and Humourist with Numerous
Illustrations and a £1 Bank Note' by Walter Hamilton.  The 64-page
softbound pamphlet included a copy of the famous 1819 note, which is
sometimes sold as an original by unknowledgeable or unscrupulous

One book prominently displayed in the shop is the new work "Silent
Witness — World War II Civilian Camp Money" by Ray and Steve Feller.
This was the first chance I'd had to see a copy, and it's a beautifully
done book.  Printing the illustrations in color was a wise decision.

Another book I spotted was "Krueger's Men: The Secret Nazi Counterfeit
Plot and the Prisoners of Block 19" by Lawrence Malkin.  The 2006 book
details the history of Operation Bernhard, the Nazi WWII counterfeiting
scheme.  Simon provided illustrations of the Operation Bernhard notes
pictured in the book.  Pulling out another album, Simon showed me several
of the notes, pointing out the various denominations, signatures and
branches.  Seeking to avoid calling attention to the distribution of
large numbers on one particular issue, the Nazis counterfeited multiple
types of notes in circulation in Britain at the time.  He also taught
me how to tell the difference between a genuine and counterfeit.  I
ended up purchasing the Cruikshank book and one of the Operation Bernhard
notes, which I'd known about for many years but had never before

The shop that day was packed with customers, including one woman looking
for paper money picturing ships.  I stopped by the next day (Thursday)
and asked to have another look at the Cruikshank note.  It turned out
that the ship lady had bought it because it contained a small ship
vignette; she's an artist and collects the images for inspiration in
her work.

Flipping through Narbeth's stock again I saw a note denominated in
"hours".  It was used to pay workers at 1830s co-operative society
organized by Robert Owen, the "father of English Socialism".  Alterative
currencies have always been an interest of mine, and I bought one of the
notes.  That's all for this week. Cheerio from London!

Colin Narbeth & Son web site:

To view images of Cecil Court and the Narbeth shop, see:
Cecil Court and the Narbeth shop

For more on Robert Owen's Co-operative moevement
Full Story





News reports this week note that some of the new Adams dollar coins
are also missing the edge lettering, an error noted with the Washington
dollars, the first in the series.  Because the edge carries the "In God
We Trust" motto, these have been called the "Godless Dollars":

"It looks like the U.S. Mint has struck again -- or actually, not
struck again.

"New dollar coins featuring John Adams are missing edge inscriptions
including "In God We Trust," according to the Professional Coin
Grading Service, a rare coin authentication company.

"The company said hundreds of Adams dollar coins have been found without
the edge lettering, repeating a mistake the U.S. Mint had aimed to fix
after it marred an earlier batch of presidential dollars.

"But a Detroit collector received smooth-edged Adams dollars in sealed
containers from the Philadelphia Mint. There also are reports of the
opposite problem -- Adams coins with edge lettering that has been
double-struck, said Ron Guth, president of the Newport Beach, Calif.
-based coin service."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


A June 20 article by Robert Samuelson notes that the long-discussed
"Cashless Society" is closer than ever to reality.  Will coins and
paper money be completely obsolete someday?

"It's one of those vast social upheavals that everyone understands but
that hardly anyone notices, because it seems too ordinary: the long-
predicted "cashless society" has quietly arrived, or nearly so; currency,
coins and checks are receding as ways of doing everyday business; we've
become Plastic Nation. In the tangled history of American money--from
tobacco receipts to gold and silver coins to paper money and checks--
this is a seismic shift. Time to pay attention.

"If you visit the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing (one operation
in Washington, the other in Ft. Worth, Texas), you can still see greenbacks
being made. They come off the presses in sheets of 32. In fiscal 2007,
the government will print about 9.1 billion individual bills. But 95
percent is to replace worn currency, not to expand the supply. THE BUCK
STARTS HERE, say signs on some printing presses. In reality, today's
buck usually begins (and ends) as a mere data entry.

"You can use a card almost anywhere. From 1999 to 2005, the number of
card-swiping terminals nearly tripled to 6.8 million, says the consulting
firm Frost & Sullivan. Habits and mind-sets change. In 1990, most Americans
regarded paying for groceries by credit card as unnatural. Now cards cover
about 65 percent of food sales, says the Food Marketing Institute. There's
electronic banking (83 percent of Social Security beneficiaries receive
their monthly payments by automatic deposit), Internet buying, prepaid
cards and automatic identity tags for toll booths.

"U.S. currency (dollar bills of all amounts) totaled $784 billion in 2006,
but probably half or more is held outside the United States by foreigners
who prize dollars--especially $100 bills--as a store of value. That
suggests that less than $400 billion in currency supports a $13 trillion
economy. In 1970, the economy's relative need for cash was almost twice
as high."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


Dick Johnson writes: "With most coin clubs facing falling attendance and
membership -- some even going out of business -- it is good to observe
new coin clubs coming into existence. Such is the case of a new club in
New York's Lower Hudson Valley.

"Two collectors, Joe Carpenter and Mike Lord, didn't like the one-hour
drive to the nearest coin club in Carmel, New York, so they decided to
form their own closer to home, in Stony Point, New York (Rockland County).
Let's wish them good luck."

Here's their publicity in the White Plains Journal News:
Full Story


This week I found the following book offered for sale on the web.
the citation: "The Family of John Perkins of Ipswich, Massachusetts,
Complete in Three Parts. Part I. Quartermaster John Perkins. Part II.
Deacon Jhomas Perkins. Part III. Sergeant Jacob Perkins., Perkins, Geo.
A.  The Apple Manor Press,  , GENEALOGY, HISTORY, Brand new softcover
reprint of a classic work originally published in 1889."

I wondered if “Sergeant Jacob Perkins” is 'our' Jacob Perkins of
numismatic fame.  I contacted Jim Spilman, Dick Hanson and Dave Perkins
to find out.

Dick Hanscom writes: "Ipswich is only a twenty minute drive from
Newburyport. It is likely these families were related, but I am
guessing that this book is for the Ipswish branch of the family."

Jim Spilman and Dave Perkins both consulted the Bathe book on Jacob
Perkins. Dave writes: "I have Jacob Perkins in my family genealogy as
late as my ggg grandfather, Wm. Perkins.  I also have John's and
Williams going way back.

"I descend directly from John Perkins of Ipswich, the subject of the
book you reference.  I have a copy of this book in my library."


Responding to an earlier E-Sylum article, web site visitor Terry Flaherty
writes: "Periodically I do a search on S. Q. Lapius because it is the pen
name of James Ball Naylor and I am currently completing my research to do
a biography of the man.  He was a medical doctor and he got the name from
Esculapius, the Greek God of Medicine.  To answer some of your questions,
he was not the author of 'A Ship at Sea and other Rhymes', and the book 
"Current Coins" is NOT about coins.  Rather he uses the word 'coin' like
you would the word 'pearl' or 'gem'.  The people he wrote about that he
met at the railway station are the 'coins' he is talking about.  It is a
book of poetry."

[Our web archive is a great way to expose our numismatic queries to a
wider audience.  Any every so often, someone outside of our little sphere
comes along with an answer.  Terry's note confirms John Kleeberg's
suspicion that S. Q. Lapius could not be the pen name of Justin Allis
Garvin.  Below are links to our previous discussions on the topic.  We
had pretty much concluded that the lead was a dead end numismatically,
and again Terry's note confirms this - the book does not actually refer
to coins.  Many thanks to Terry for taking the time to write and set us
straight.  -Editor]






Stephen Pradier and Susie Nulty forwarded the latest article (this time
from  Reuters) about Berkshares, an alternative currency in use in

"A walk down Main Street in this New England town calls to mind the
pictures of Norman Rockwell, who lived nearby and chronicled small-town
American life in the mid-20th Century.

"So it is fitting that the artist's face adorns the 50 BerkShares note,
one of five denominations in a currency adopted by towns in western
Massachusetts to support locally owned businesses over national chains.

"'I just love the feel of using a local currency,' said Trice Atchison,
43, a teacher who used BerkShares to buy a snack at a cafe in Great
Barrington, a town of about 7,400 people. 'It keeps the profit within
the community.'

"There are about 844,000 BerkShares in circulation, worth $759,600 at
the fixed exchange rate of 1 BerkShare to 90 U.S. cents, according to
program organizers. The paper scrip is available in denominations of
one, five, 10, 20 and 50.

"In their 10 months of circulation, they've become a regular feature of
the local economy. Businesses that accept BerkShares treat them
interchangeably with dollars: a $1 cup of coffee sells for 1 BerkShare,
a 10 percent discount for people paying in BerkShares.

"Named for the local Berkshire Hills, BerkShares are accepted in about
280 cafes, coffee shops, grocery stores and other businesses in Great
Barrington and neighboring towns, including Stockbridge, the town where
Rockwell lived for a quarter century.

"Meanwhile, Berkshire Hills Bancorp Inc., a western Massachusetts bank
that exchanges BerkShares for dollars, is considering BerkShares-denominated
checks and debit cards.

"'Businesses aren't comfortable walking around with wads of BerkShares to
pay for their supplies or their advertising,' said Melissa Joyce, a branch
officer with the bank, which has 25 branches, six of which exchange
BerkShares. 'I do hope that we're able to develop the checking account
and debit card, because it will make it easier for everyone.'"

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

[Stephen Pradier also forwarded a link to a CBS news article and video
on the topic. He notes that "The video is on the same page as the CBS
news article. The link is to the right hand side of the web page and the
title is Local Money Stays Local." -Editor]

To view a CBS News article on BerkShares, see: Full Story

To visit the Berkshares web site, see:


Dick Johnson notes that: "A professor from Saint Cloud State University
(St. Cloud, central Minnesota) discusses Berkshares.  The professor, who
is not named in the article but is posted by "King," concludes the users
are liberals and the transactions are costly.  It's a fascinating article
if you are interested in alternate currency used in limited localities:

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

To read an Ethan Allen Institute on the same subject, see:
Full Story


A British news report notes that "Banks must do their bit to help replace
the 'scruffy' old five-pound notes with brand new ones, Bank of England
Governor Mervyn King says.

"Addressing bankers and city luminaries at the annual Mansion House dinner
on Wednesday, King bemoaned the sorry state of the "fiver" -- a note that
is rarely seen in its crisp, freshly minted state because banks hardly ever
dispense it in their cash machines.

"Instead, the pale turquoise notes are often creased and oily with use,
their image of 19th century prison reformer Elizabeth Fry barely visible
under layers of grime.

"King said that was because the notes remain in the banking system for
twice as long as they should, as circulation of the notes has not increased
in 15 years.

"King blamed High Street banks for the shortage and poor condition of the
notes, saying it was cheaper for them to stock their ATMS with 10 and 20
pound notes."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


According to a news report, the "Bank of Scotland will begin issuing a
new series of banknotes in the Autumn. The series - the first new complete
set of notes issued by Bank of Scotland since 1995 - will feature the
common theme of Scottish bridges, including the magnificent Falkirk Wheel.

"The notes not only celebrate some of Scotland's major and most recognisable
engineering achievements, but also symbolise solidity, stability and
continuity. Bridges provide strong links to Scottish heritage and culture.
They are the means by which people can unite and highlight strong
connections between the modern and historical.

"The bridges for the new series notes have been selected because they are
all easily recognisable and are from areas across Scotland. The new notes
have been designed by De La Rue in partnership with Bank of Scotland.

"The Falkirk Wheel is the spectacular centrepiece of the £84.5 million
‘Millennium Link', the UK’s largest canal restoration project, developed
by British Waterways. The wheel is a bridge connecting two canals - the
Union Canal with the Forth & Clyde Canal - re-establishing east to west
coast access for boats.

"The full notes family features the following bridges: £5 - Brig o'Doon,
£10 - Glenfinnan Viaduct, £20 - Forth Rail Bridge, £50 - The Falkirk Wheel,
£100 – Kessock Bridge."

"It will take at least three years for the 1995 issue of Bank of Scotland
notes to be phased out of circulation. The average lifespan for a banknote
is two to three years."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


"Police investigating the mysterious crumbling of euro banknotes in
Germany have raided the homes of three Berlin artists after learning that
they were exhibiting "tranformed money.  Banks have intercepted thousands
of brittle bills with holes in them since last year. The money flakes
away when touched. German police said the money had come in contact with
sulphuric acid, but could not say how.

"Under the slogan "We make more out of your money," the trio offer
"optically altered" euro notes at a Berlin dealer gallery.

"Grunwald said there were no suspects yet in the case of the crumbling
money discovered in ordinary circulation. The artists had given police
the concentrated acid they used for their art."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


As a follow-up to last week's story about the Oklahoma time capsule, news
reports notes that "A car buried half a century ago in a time capsule had
been transformed into a hunk of junk by the time it was unveiled on Friday
as part of Oklahoma's Centennial.

"The concrete vault, built in 1957 and meant to be opened this year to
celebrate Oklahoma's Centennial as a state, has leaked in the intervening
50 years and most of its contents were ruined, to the dismay of those hoping
to find a pristine, gold '57 Plymouth Belvedere.

"Would-be auto restorers unwrapped 1950s-era protective covering from the
mud-caked relic onstage Friday evening at the Tulsa Convention Center,
revealing a ruined hulk with rotting upholstery, collapsed suspension,
flat tires and an engine that appeared to be a solid chunk of rust.

"The capsule was buried on the lawn of the Tulsa County Courthouse in
1957 to be opened in 2007.

"A sealed steel capsule buried with the car, however, opened to reveal
a pristine 48-star American Flag, letters from various state and city
officials and documentation for a savings account valued at $100 in
1957, which has now appreciated to a little over a thousand dollars."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

[I can hear a loud "I told you so" from the mouth of Dick Johnson,
who advocates medals as a much less risky and more informative means
of commemorating events for future generations.  -Editor]


Dick Johnson writes: "An article on Mark Schiffer's monthly coin shows
in the Northern New Jersey Herald News includes an interview with three
blind collectors, including a father and son.

"Edwin Cooney collects currency. 'I collect by feel,' said the blind
collector. 'They are like photographs of people I can't see. It's just
another way of seeing historical figures I'm interested in.'

"Glen Campbell also likes paper money because it appreciates in value.
Son Aiden is quoted: 'My whole room -- except my bed -- it's all coins,'
said Aiden, 12. They're worth a lot of money.'.

"To read the entire article, see: Full Story


Barbara Gregory, editor of the ANA's Numismatist magazine writes: "I
thought E-Sylum readers might enjoy the following in the June 25, 2007
issue of THE NEW YORKER in Anthony Lane's column, "The Current Cinema":

'Angelina Jolie is so famous that when she looks in the mirror her
reflection asks for an autograph. The only publication in this country
yet to feature her on its cover is THE AMERICAN NUMISMATIC MAGAZINE [a
publication of the American Numismatic Society], and even that will
change the moment she bends down to pick up a nickel.'

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


This week's featured web site is recommended by Dick Johnson:  'Canada:
National Symbols on Stamps and Coins'

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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