The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 10, Number 33, August 19, 2007:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2007, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers are Kierstin Egan of Littleton
Coin Company, and Marc Mayhugh.  Welcome aboard!  We now have
1,173 subscribers.

After reading last week's issue Alan Luedeking asked, "What's a
Library Nickel"?  In my Wayne's Words item there was a reference
to "an original 1913 Library Nickel".  It's either a spell-check
error or a special issue struck for numismatic bibliophiles.

Regarding Dick Johnson's note about The E-Sylum and the tenth
anniversary of the web log (or 'blog') Roger deWardt Lane writes:
"Congratulations on the ten years of this blog. I think like
Clinton's Vice-President, who invented the Internet, we should
give you credit for inventing the blog."  Actually, The E-Sylum's
10th anniversary is still a year away.  Our first issue entered
the email ether on September 4, 1998.

This week we open with several items of news relating to activities
and awards at the recent ANA convention in Milwaukee, including
reports from Pete Smith and others on numismatic literature exhibits,
and a report from Alan Weinberg on some superb coins and medals and
new and upcoming numismatic literature.

In the "comings and goings department" are items on career moves
at the ANA and Stack's, and in the "what's new in online numismatics"
department we discuss some of the new electronic offerings from
Krause Publications.

Getting back to the world of paper pages, spines and bindings, I
review the new Adams-Bentley book on Comitia Americana medals and
Patrick McMahon reviews the Boston Public Library exhibit and
catalog on Alexandre Vattemare, ventriloquist/numismatist/diplomat
extraordinaire. In my London Diary I visit the Churchill Museum
and Cabinet War Rooms.

In research queries this week, Leon Worden seeks information on
the author of The Official Black Book of United States Coins.
Follow-ups on topics discussed last week include an important web
site publishing technical specifications of world coins, and
information on Royal Mint engraver Nathaniel Marchant.  Other
topics this week include pattern Amero coins, a protégé of U.S.
Mint Chief Engraver frank Gasparro, and numismatist Julius Guttag.

To learn the history of the E&T Kointainer Company, read on.
Have a great week, everyone.

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


NBS webmaster Bruce Perdue created pages for Dan Gosling's photos
of NBS events at the recent American Numismatic Association convention.
Click on an image to see a large version.  Pete Smith and I reviewed
the labels, but we could use some help identifying others in the crowd.
We spotted Pete Smith of course, speakers John W. Adams, Harold Welch,
Len Augsburger, Joel Orosz, and P. Scott Rubin, David Davis, Gene
Hessler, Ken Bressett and David T. Alexander in the audience.  Were
you there?

To view Dan Gosling's photos of the 2007 NBS events, see:
NBS ANA 2007 Photo's


The Numismatic Bibliomania Society raised and donated funds to endow
the American Numismatic Association's Class 22: Numismatic Literature
exhibit category, the Aaron Feldman Memorial award for printed and
manuscript (published or unpublished) literature dealing with any
numismatic subject.

Chief Judge Joe Boling reports that the following exhibits were
on display this year:

* Leon A. Saryan, Ph.D.Seminal Works of 19th Century Armenian
 Numismatic Literature
* Emmett McDonald Metric Coinage
* Lawrence Sekulich The Provenance of Tudeer 99a

A list of all past exhibits can be found on the NBS web site at:

"Former NBS President Pete Smith reports: Competition was strong
in all areas of exhibits at this year's ANA convention in Milwaukee.
Exhibits in the class of numismatic literature stood up very well
against this competition.

"Third place winner in the class was "Metric Coinage" placed by
Emmett McDonald. His one-case exhibit showed a government pamphlet
with a proposal for metric coinage along with two pattern metric

"Second place went to Larry Sekulich for "The Provenance of Tudeer
99a." I was very impressed with this exhibit when I saw it earlier
at a Michigan State show. As explained in the exhibit, Tudeer 99a
is a choice example of a Syracusian tetradrachm showing the head
of Arethusa. Sekulich previously won the Howland Wood Best-of-Show
award for his exhibit on the nymph Arethusa.

"Leon Saryan, Phd. served as Co-chairman for exhibits in Milwaukee.
His exhibit was "Seminal Works of 19th Century Armenian Numismatic
Literature." As I began to read the text in the first case, it was
clear this exhibit deserved the first place award it received.
Shown were the classic monographs on Armenian literature in the
finest condition one would expect to find.  The Armenian literature
exhibit also received the Rodger E. Hershey Memorial People's Choice

"Finally, Saryan placed third in the competition for Best-of-Show.
He was up against a three-time winner for Best-of-Show and the winner
from the Charlotte convention. These are the best results for a
literature exhibit since 1996."

[Pete's too modest, but I have to mention that in 1996 the Best-of-Show
award was won by Pete himself with "The Challenging Literature of A. M.
Smith".  An online version of his winning exhibit is displayed on the
NBS web site. -Editor]

To view Pete's exhibit on The Challenging Literature of A. M. Smith, see:

Steve D'Ippolito writes: "The second runner up exhibit for best of
show (a/k/a the Bronze Howland Wood medal) was Leon Saryan for
'Seminal Works of 19th Century Armenian Numismatic Literature' in
the Numismatic Literature class.  Dr. Saryan ALSO won the People's
Choice award, and this is the first time someone has done that and
been one of the three top in show, according to the judges.  I was
really happy to see that happen.

"My own winning exhibit has a more tenuous connection to literature
-- it dawned on me about two months ago that I had at least one coin
from almost every section of the back chapters of Uzdenikov's 'Russian
Coins' and that if I could come up with a common theme better than
'Coins from the back of Uzdenikov' I could make an exhibit of it.
I did, naming it 'Russian Coins of Conquest' and it took best in
show a/k/a the Gold Howland Wood medal, which makes three in a row
for me."

[Congratulations to all this year's exhibitors, and thanks to the
ANA and the judges for making it all happen.  Time to start planning
for next year in Baltimore!  -Editor]


Regarding the winners of the Numismatic Literary Guild awards at
last week's American Numismatic Association convention, Leon Worden
writes: "The rumor you heard about Roger Burdette winning the Numismatic
Literary Guild award for Book of the Year is correct. For Roger, it was
a reprise of his success in 2006 when he shared the honor with Scott
Travers.  This year, Roger stands alone. The complete list of winners
can now be found on the NLG Web site."

Congratulations, Roger!  Whitman Publishing was also a big winner
with  seven NLG awards.  The company summarized them in a press release
this week.  We've reviewed a number of these in earlier E-Sylum issues:

Best Specialized Book, United States Coins
Early U.S. Gold Coin Varieties, A Study of Die States, 1795–1834,
by John W. Dannreuther and Harry W. Bass Jr.

Best Specialized Book, World Coins
Money of the World: Coins That Made History,
Ira Goldberg and Larry Goldberg, editors

Best Specialized Book, United States Paper Money
Obsolete Paper Money Issued by Banks in the United States, 1782–1866,
by Q. David Bowers

Extraordinary Merit Award
A Guide Book of Southern States Currency,
by Hugh Shull

Extraordinary Merit Award
Cherrypickers’ Guide to Rare Die Varieties, Fourth Edition, Volume II,
by Bill Fivaz and J.T. Stanton

Extraordinary Merit Award
1947 Tribute Edition Red Book

Best Dealer Web Site (The Whitman Review)

“Whitman is dedicated to creating high-quality books for the
numismatic hobby community,” said publisher Dennis Tucker. “We’re
committed to careful research, strong writing, and professional
book design. These prestigious awards reflect that commitment.”

Whitman president Mary Counts said, “The secret to successful
numismatic publishing is to start with the best authors, combine
them with an experienced publishing team, and produce attractive
books with valuable information.”

To access the full award list on the NLG site, see:


Regarding the Rittenhouse Society, John Kraljevich writes: "The
Society is pleased to announce the election of TWO new members this
year, a break with the tradition of one member per year based on
the strength of the nominations.

"Roger Burdette and Erik Goldstein have been elected to membership.
Congratulations to both of them! Roger is well known as the author
of ground-breaking new works on U.S. coinage of the late 19th and
early 20th centuries, including the recent NLG Book of the Year
Renaissance of American Coinage, 1905-1908. Erik is the curator
of numismatics and mechanical arts at Colonial Williamsburg, a
specialist in the coins, medals, and paper of the 17th and 18th
centuries (and a well known military historian)."

John adds: "Thanks again to Whitman Publishing for sponsoring this
year's breakfast, which was described by one window passer-by as
a "numismatic Last Supper."

[So who was the numismatic Jesus?  "Bible Coins" Bressett?  And
who's Judas? - the guy with thirty pieces of silver in his pocket?
Probably one of those bloody coin dealers...  -Editor]


Alan V. Weinberg forwarded the following observations from the
recent Milwaukee American Numismatic Association convention, with
notes on some great coins, medals and numismatic literature:

"The ANA bourse was on the 3rd floor of the convention center with
registration on the 2nd floor. Access to the bourse was via three
escalator levels, somewhat like the setup for the San Francisco ANA.
This arrangement is certainly a discouragement to the unwelcome
homeless or the grab-it-and-run thief. The downtown area around
the hotels and convention center was remarkably clean of undesirables,
even at night, unlike San Francisco. However, the streets around at
least half of the convention center were torn up by construction
which may have dampened the general public's desire to park and
attend the free-entry show.

"The Walt Husak early large cents, to be auctioned by Heritage in
Long Beach next February, 2008 were on display for the first time
in slabs. The coins were in first time, entirely clear, see-through
PCGS slabs and those cents with lettered or decorated rims were in
3 'pronged' entirely clear slabs so their rims are visible and easily
readable. I'm reliably informed that PCGS developed four slab dies
before they came up with exactly what was needed for the Husak coppers.
The result is superb. Hopefully, this type of slab will be adopted
for all future encapsulations - with no more opaque white centers or
unreadable rims.  It's almost like holding the coin in your fingertips.
With this type of slab, I can be persuaded.

"I also had the privilege of seeing part of the Husak catalogue
manuscript largely written by Mark Borckardt with some additional
assistance from Denis Loring. I was impressed. Aside from extensive
pedigree information, most of the large cents are graded four ways
- that is, the PCGS slab grade, the Del Bland grade, the Bill Noyes
grade and the EAC standard grade with both Mark and Denis concurring
on this final grade. Four grades for each coin, a first in any
numismatic catalogue!

"If it sounds confusing having each cent graded four different ways,
it is not. I found the EAC grade with the Borckardt-Loring concurrence
to be almost always 'right on' in my 'hobby oldtimer's' opinion.
Additionally, there was a sale 'prospectus' catalogue with condensed
lot descriptions and a magnificent blue cover picturing in color
some of the cents (Walt Husak's own photography) available at the
Heritage bourse alongside the coppers themselves. This certainly
whetted the appetite.

"I'm informed the lot by lot photography will be Heritage's own. I
frankly prefer Walt's coin photography which is more vivid but taken
at a very slight angle with a shadow at the bottom of each early
copper. The coins look more 'real' in my opinion with the lustre
and surfaces more alive.

"Walt is thinking of a novel proposal: Heritage photographs lot by
lot - straight on images, and Walt's photography in full page plates
of dozens of pennies at one time - two different full color views
of the each large cent in the catalogue. Hopefully, this may fly.

"I was contemplating buying the Martin Logies 1794 Dollar book with
each then-known dollar pictured, characteristics and pedigrees. An
impressive reference ... until I learned from the author himself
that a 2nd edition is planned for November release with additional
dollars since discovered and a more extensive narrative. Dave Perkins
tells me that George Kolbe will be this year publishing Jack Collins'
1794 dollar manuscript 'as is' with pictures missing, etc. So this
will compete with Logies' 2nd edition.

"Martin (former owner of the Cardinal bust dollar collection
auctioned by American Numismatic Rarities) was at the show with his
magnificent 1792 half disme on display and at the same booth, Karl
Moulton's new reference on Henry Voigt's classic Early American
coinage for sale at $79. I inquired of the seemingly high price,
considering the forthcoming much larger & more pictorial "100
Greatest Medals and Tokens" Bowers-Jaeger book will be sold for
$29.95. Author Moulton explained that his book was printed in the
U.S. whereas the Whitman Bowers book is being printed in much
larger numbers in China.

"I also examined a slabbed MS66 1799 dollar which until the 1980's
was in a private family's hands. What a magnificent, originally toned,
full cartwheel early dollar! There is reportedly no finer condition
early bust dollar, although Dr. Robert Hesselgesser reports this exact
dollar was once in an MS-63 slab." [Hesselgesser, with whom I flew
home to Los Angeles, is a renowned early bust dollar collector].

"A magnificent silver Libertas Americana silver medal found in Europe
within the past year and among the three or four finest known hammered
for $130K in the Heritage auction to a Wnuck-Agre-Labstain buying
partnership.  With the 15% buyer's fee, this comes to approximately
$150K, a record for this medal.  The medal was found with an MS65
bronze version which was recently auctioned by Heritage for over $40K.

"The Harry Bass-Cardinal Collection silver Libertas Americana medal
is the cover medal in the soon-to-be-released Dave Bowers-Katie Jaeger
authored  Whitman Publishing Company '100 Greatest Medals and Tokens'
book, to be released this Fall. The Heritage medal, new to the hobby,
is superior to the Bass-Cardinal Collection medal, both examined by
me.  No doubt the anticipation of the Bowers-Jaeger book and its cover
image (and anticipation that the medal is #1 or #2 in the '100 Greatest')
as well as the picturing of the medal in the latest Redbook has lead
to the hugely increased market demand and value of this silver Comitia
Americana medal proposed by Benjamin Franklin. There are at least
25-30 silvers known. 2-3 years ago, a really choice silver Libertas
Americana medal was worth $35K.

"I enjoyed the show immensely, with the most valuable thing coming
home with me - increased knowledge. After 50 years in this hobby,
I still learn an awful lot by attending these shows."


By now most readers are aware that Christopher Cipoletti, executive
director of the American Numismatic Association, was put on paid
'administrative leave' by a unanimous vote of the new ANA board
of governors in its first meeting last Sunday.  Among the first
reports to circulate on the Internet was Numismatic News editor
Dave Harper's article:

"The action was announced following an executive session to a
packed public session of hobbyists including members and ANA

"Replacing Cipoletti on an interim basis is former ANA president
Ken Hallenbeck, who will serve as acting executive director for
an indefinite period."

"A special audit committee, headed by Camden, S.C., CPA Austin Sheheen,
was appointed to determine whether a full forensic audit of the ANA
would be required. He has 60 days to make his determination and report
back to the board."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

As it turns out, the action was taken exactly one year ago after
a muckraking article was published in the Colorado Springs Gazette
about the organization "beset by questions over its finances and
complaints that its leadership fosters a culture of excessive secrecy
and demands loyalty oaths. Some of the group’s 32,000-plus members
blame the turmoil on Christopher Cipoletti, a lawyer who took the
helm as executive director in 2003."

To read the August 13, 2006 Colorado Springs Gazette article, see:
Full Story

That week in The E-Sylum we discussed the article and the ANA's
ongoing employee turnover problem and its lawsuit against former


The Colorado Springs Gazette this week published another article
noting that "Cipoletti has been removed from his daily duties of
the 32,000-member federally chartered nonprofit organization,
which promotes studying and collecting money. Cipoletti now will
focus on [the] lawsuit scheduled to go to trial in 4th Judicial
District Court on Sept. 25..."

"In the lawsuit, Cipoletti accuses four former association
employees of conspiracy, defamation of character and theft of
business property, among other claims. Cipoletti is a coplaintiff
with the numismatic association in the civil lawsuit, and the
association is paying legal fees. Cipoletti said he is unsure
how much money has been spent on legal fees to date."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

The legal fees have added to the organization's operating deficit
at a time when many members felt that its priorities should be
focused on its core educational mission.  I understand that at
an open meeting of the old board, it was revealed that for the
quarter ending June 30, the ANA spent more than $151,000 on legal
fees, and spent $35 on buying books for the library.

Library matters are near and dear to the hearts of we bibliophiles,
and NBS stalwart Joel Orosz began writing a series of scathing
opinion pieces for Coin World.


The last chapter in this story has yet to be written as the ANA's
lawsuit and Cipoletti's tenure draws to a close.  There are many
possible outcomes, but unfortunately I think most are bad for the
organization, resulting in further expenditures in areas far from
its core mission.

But thankfully the hobby and the ANA's membership are strong, and
I believe the organization will survive and thrive in the future,
just as it has managed to do for over one hundred years.  The new
Board, many of whom are E-Sylum regulars (and most of whom were
endorsed in my commentaries) has a big job ahead - healing the
wounds of the recent turmoil and moving on to the next chapter.

Some have asked my thoughts on the organization's direction.  As
one who's only followed events from afar it's difficult to have
an informed opinion, but I trust the legal system and the new board
to come to a just conclusion of the matter.   I can only offer the
following observations, which are only one opinion among many.
Again, I have trust in the new board to consider the thoughts and
opinions of all members and interested parties in formulating
policies going forward.

1. Reconnect with local members.  Relations have been strained
with local and regional club representatives.  A number of regional
representatives have resigned their positions or even their ANA
memberships.  Reach out to these hardworking volunteers and try
to repair the relationship.

2. Repair employee relations.  The massive turnover in headquarters
staff has created a huge strain on the organization.  Institutional
knowledge has been lost.  Work to stem the tide and retain, recruit
or even rehire key personnel.

3. Review employee salaries.  While a time of deficit is not the
best time to consider raising salaries, this is one way to help
retain the best employees.  I and many others have been mystified
at the large salaries we heard were being paid to a number of new
"revolving door" hires while longtime key employees were overlooked.
One absolutely key position is that of Convention Director and
another is that of the Publications Editor.  Thankfully we still
have experienced pros in these positions, but parties and press
releases shouldn't be their only form of recognition.

4. Train recent hires in the ways of numismatics.  While many
talented new people have been brought on board, not all have a
numismatic background.  While that is not necessary in all new
employees, this knowledge should be developed over time.
Encourage and assist new employees in their acquisition of
hobby knowledge.

5. Continue outreach initiatives.  The ANA's announced plans to
fund new exhibits are admirable, and hopefully some way will be
found to continue them despite the recent turmoil.  But focus
first on exhibits rather than museums - setting up an exhibit
within someone else’s museum is a good form of outreach and
far more economical and sustainable than building a museum of
one’s own.

6. Build a world-class online museum.  The costs of building
and hosting massive web sites have fallen dramatically and an
online money museum would be accessible to far more people than
any physical museum (or museums) anywhere in the country.

7. Restore the core!  Finally, ensure that the ANA's core
educational departments receive their fair share of funding
to continue their mission.  Restore library acquisition funds,
and find a way to catch up on acquisitions of new items that
may have been passed over recently due to lack of spending.

Again, the best of luck to acting executive director Ken Hallenbeck,

the organization, its employees and members as the coming year unfolds.


Another numismatic figure moving on to new adventures is John Kraljevich,
who this week parted ways with Stack's to found a new firm.  In an August
14 press release, John writes: "I am pleased to announce that today marks
the formation of my first independent firm after a dozen years as a
numismatic cataloguer. The firm, to be known as John Kraljevich
Americana and Numismatics, will be based here in New York City and
specialize in the types of early American historical items for in
which my interest has become widely known: colonial, pre-Federal,
and early Mint coins up to the introduction of steam; early American
paper money; American historical medals; and unusual paper and metallic
Americana. Consulting, research, and auction representation – tasks
for which my professional background have prepared me well – will
also be offered to my new clientele.

"Though this new beginning is exciting for me, I will miss the
collegiality and knowledge of my long-time associates in Wolfeboro,
New Hampshire. Though three different company names (Bowers and
Merena, American Numismatic Rarities, Stack's), a core group persisted
of which I remain proud to have been a part. Eighteen years ago this
week, I met Q. David Bowers. As a wide-eyed boy of eleven years, I
resolved that by the age of 30 I'd be either the Phillies starting
third baseman or an independent professional numismatist. Dave was
my numismatic Mike Schmidt: a man to be emulated. After a high-school
era stint with McCawley and Grellman Auctions – the first brave souls
to hire me as a cataloguer – and a short career in radio, Dave Bowers
and Chris Karstedt wooed me to the small town of Wolfeboro to begin
to realize my dream.

"Now, seven full years later, I feel prepared to depart the New York
offices of Stack's and ready to offer what I've learned to collectors
and fellow professionals. I will continue to consult with Stack's
on special projects and will maintain a warm relationship with those
on staff.

"Details of my new business are still being composed. Email will be
the easiest way to reach me for the time being at
A website at is being built and will, in the
future, include listings of interesting objects for sale, research
articles, and commentary. My new mailing address will be John Kraljevich
Americana, Ansonia Station, PO Box 237188, New York, NY 10023-7188. I
invite correspondence, and I would be grateful for new friends to
introduce themselves at an upcoming show."

[John is well known to most U.S. E-Sylum readers.  His numismatic
research, writing and cataloging skills are top-notch.  I've had
the pleasure of knowing John since he was but a wee lad destined for
Great Things.  He handled last year's sale of my Civil War numismatic
collection at American Numismatic Rarities, picking up the collection
and cataloging many of the lots.  Best of luck, John, and keep us
posted as your business evolves.  -Editor]


In his Thursday blog entry Tom Michael of Numismatic News discussed
Krause Publications' recent publication of its Standard Catalogs on
computer discs.

"At the ANA this year Krause Publications released a special three
volume set of the 19th, 20th and 21st Century volumes of the Standard
Catalog of World Coins as a three disc DVD set. This caused a good
deal of excitement, as one might have expected.

"There have been plenty of people asking for the Standard Catalog on
Disc over the years, but it was some recent developments regarding
database development which finally led us to be able to provide
this long awaited product.

"The set features the most recent editions of the three catalogs,
each of which was produced within the past eight months or less.
The book covers can be seen on the right front of the DVD case shown
here. Each disc presents one volume in it's original page format, so
it's just like scanning the pages of the catalog, but without the
girth of a heavy book in your lap or on your desk.

"Total page count is about 3,760 and total images are roughly 82,750.
You can enlarge the images pretty well also, as these are direct
from our files, without any second generation degrading."

Full Story


Numismatic News has created a digital edition of their August 21
issue.   In an email sent out last Friday week along with a reader
input survey, David Harper wrote: "You can page through the
easy-to-navigate digital magazine just as you would a paper version
(minus the ink on your fingertips). You can also take advantage
of the special features the digital format offers:

* Quickly find articles and ads with easy keyword searches
* Link directly to web sites and email addresses mentioned in
  the magazine
* Email articles to friends with a click of a button

"If you're a subscriber, you'll still get your hard copy of this
issue in about a week, but we know that the earlier you get
Numismatic News, the sooner you can scoop up the great deals in
our classified ads section and learn about the latest products
and news important to coin and paper money collectors."

To view the sample online Numismatic News issue and take the survey, see:

Under their new owner, F+W publications, Krause Publications, has
taken several strides toward bringing numismatic content to electronic
media.  The online version of the weekly Numismatic News is the latest
move; others were the daily weblogs (or blogs) by Numismatic News
staff, the development of the Numismaster web site and the recent
announcement of the availability of the Standard Catalog of World
Coins on CD described this week in the previous item.

Online venues offer new ways for publishers to offer their material
to the public.  For example, the September 2007 issue of COINS Magazine
has a nice article by Tom LaMarre on the 1844 "Orphan Annie" dime.
In the past, once published, the article would only be available
again to librarians and bibliophiles bothering to accumulate and
index piles of back issues of the publication.  But now Tom's article
can also be viewed on the new Numismaster web site, enabling the
publisher to sell new ads all over again when presenting the article
to a new audience - a win/win for all parties involved.

These are all great moves, and all part of the natural evolution of
the connection between physical and electronic publishing.  The lines
are being blurred.  The next step will be finding a way to bring all
the electronic products under one roof somehow, so there is a common
starting point.  Today we have four different starting points for
electronic Krause content - the new digital Numismatic News site,,, and the CDs.

This situation is an artifact of history - each publication has its
own internal tools for creating and managing content that are geared
for a different publishing goal.  Except for the new Numismaster,
all are more rooted in the world of physical publishing, with the
new electronic versions coming as an add-on.

I believe that over time publishers will discover the value of
turning today's model on its head - eventually all internal tools
for creating and managing content will be geared toward electronic
publication first, while retaining the ability to generate physical
editions (perhaps as a print-on-demand feature).

Forwarding an article this week on the decline of local newspapers,
Dick Johnson asked, "Are we -- in a very small way -- helping to kill
off newspapers?"  The article noted that "News audiences are ditching
television and newspapers and using the Internet as their main source
of information, in a trend that could eventually see the demise of
local papers, according to a new study Wednesday. 'As online use
has increased, the audiences of older media have declined...' "

I would say that it's simply the march of technology that's affecting
publishers.  The Internet is just another of many different forms of
media.  News is news and information is information regardless of how
it is published.  Writers, editors, publishers and their work will
continue to be as important and valuable as they have been for
centuries; the medium changes but the work goes on.  Only those who
don't adapt to the new media will be left behind.  Congratulations
to Krause for taking active steps toward the brave new world of
electronic numismatic publishing.

To read The Mysterious 1844 Dime by Tom LaMarre, see:
Full Story
To read Bob Van Ryzin's blog on Doty's Numismatic Theatre presentation, see:
Full Story

To read the article on the decline of local newspapers, see:
Full Story



Earlier this year George Frederick Kolbe Publications issued "Comitia
Americana and Related Medals: Underappreciated Monuments to Our Heritage"
by John W. Adams and Anne E. Bentley.  True to Kolbe's high standards
of quality, the 304 page hardbound volume is bound in full linen with
a leather spine label, lettered in gilt.  The full color photos are of
the highest quality.  The book was printed by Meridian Printing using
offset.  Henry Morris of Bird & Bull Press, the modern master of the
craft, will do a very special edition using letterpress printing.

The press release for the book accurately describes it as follows:
"Extremely well-written by two highly respected, published scholars,
this work covers in great detail the "Comitia Americana" medals approved
by Congress to commemorate significant victories during the American
Revolutionary War and the officers who achieved them. Also covered
are the "Diplomatic Medals" created by Thomas Jefferson and the
celebrated "Libertas Americana" medal, the brainchild of Benjamin
Franklin. The volume is brim full of original research and documentary
evidence, and is written in an engaging manner."

The book is available directly from George Frederick Kolbe Publications
for $135.00 plus $10.00 shipping in the United States and $25.00
elsewhere.  Christopher Eimer reviewed the book in the Spring 2007
issue of our print journal, The Asylum.  I finally had the opportunity
to read the book on a recent transatlantic flight, and thought I'd
share some observations.

The Acknowledgements (p. vii) list an impressive array of individuals
and institutions.  Of particular note are Michael Hodder and Stack's;
Hodder's cataloging of the John J. Ford Comitia Americana medals make
this book and the recent Stack's sales of those medals ideal companions.

Fellow bibliophiles will appreciate the book's Introduction (p. xi)
which includes a review of the literature relating to these medals.
 Loubat's work provided the first published assemblage of original
documents relating to the medals, and Betts' work, while more
accessible and comprehensive is so large that the Comitia Americana
medals are somewhat lost within it.  In 1976 Vladimir and Elvira
Clain-Stefanelli published 'Medals Commemorating Battles of the
American Revolution', which provided excellent photos and some
related material, but "relatively little [new] numismatic substance.
Alan Stahl's 1995 COAC paper on the Comitia American series "provided
much of what was lacking in the Clain-Stefanelli's book."

One largely unrecognized source that the authors drew on for this
book is Volume 16 of 'The Papers of Thomas Jefferson' which "adds
rich details regarding the personalities and process involved in
the procurement of the medals."

For those like myself who aren't well versed in Latin, "Comitia
Americana' means "American Congress".  The medals are those authorized
by the American Congress, the first of the Congressional Gold Medals.
The very first one was awarded to George Washington, the famous
Washington Before Boston medal.  The original medal in gold,
presented to Washington himself, resides at the Boston Public
Library today.

Congress authorized a series of these medals and directed that 350
sets of them be produced.  Yet only two such (partial) sets exist
today.  The authors conclude that the will of Congress was not
carried out.  They believe that for many reasons, particularly the
inaction of Thomas Jefferson, most were never made.  This rarity
contributes to the relative obscurity of these important medals
over the centuries.  The Adams-Bentley book attempts to correct
this historical oversight and bring new attention to the once
nearly-forgotten series.  Combining previous scholarship with
surveys of collections, a review of sale catalogs and new research,
the authors have created a new and important work.

Chapter 1 dives directly into 'The Mystery of the Missing Sets'
and provides a great starting point for understanding the overall
series.  But here at the beginning of the book is where I fear its
greatest shortcoming lies, although it lies not with what is on
the pages but rather with what is left out.  As students of American
history the authors dive directly into their subject but without
providing much context for those less familiar with the era and
the personalities which populate it.

For example, references are made to John Jay and David Humphries
without explaining to the readers just who they were (Jay was
President of the Continental Congress and the first Chief Justice
of the Supreme Court, and Humphries was Washington's aide).  When
the authors note that "Jefferson purchased wooden boxes from Upton,
a local cabinetmaker" to house the sets no mention is made of where
Jefferson was located.  Philadelphia?  Virginia? No - a later
entry notes that the boxes were paid for in Livres; at the time
Jefferson was living in France.

Another welcome addition, I think, would be a short, gentle
introduction to the world of medals for the non-numismatist.
On p19 the authors discuss "R-8" and "R-7" without ever introducing
a numismatic rarity scale.  They also mention elsewhere the "Dreyfus
sale", but I could not find this catalog defined in the index,
bibliography or list of catalogs consulted.  I know what it is and
have a copy of the sale on my library shelf, but even many
numismatists would have trouble placing such a cryptic reference.

Together, these additions would make this wonderful book a bit
more accessible to those not already steeped in the realm of
numismatics and early American history.  But those are small nits
to pick and easily remedied by readers willing to look up those
things elsewhere.

The first three photos alone are staggering to view for anyone
aware of their historical and numismatic importance.  The frontispiece
is a color photo of a terra-cotta model for the reverse of Dupre's
Libertas Americana medal; facing the introduction is a color photo
of the original gold Washington Before Boston medal; on p12 is a photo
of the Washington-Webster set in the original Upton box at the
Massachusetts Historical Society.

Other absolutely fabulous images include Dupre's sketch for the
reverse of the Daniel Morgan medal (p133), the obverse die for
the John Eager Howard medal (p147), more Dupre sketches for the
Benjamin Franklin medal of 1784 (p176-177), and the die for the
Benjamin Franklin medal of 1776 (p181).

The authors correctly lament that many of the events commemorated
by these medals are little known today, despite the fact that they
were of such monumental importance to the new nation at the time:
"Few Americans have heard of the battle of the Cowpens.  Fewer
still appreciate its strategic significance and the intensity with
which it was fought." (p145)  Yet Congress awarded no fewer than
three medals for the battle. I'm grateful to have learned (or
relearned) a good bit of American history just by reading the
Adams-Bentley book.

Chapter 14, 'Benjamin Franklin, American' is the first of three
chapters on the 'Related Medals' of the book's title.  While these
medals were not authorized by Congress, they are very closely
intertwined with the Comitia Americana series.  Chapter 14 covers
three different Benjamin Franklin medals of 1777, 1784 and 1786.
Chapter 15 covers the legendary Libertas Americana medal, conceived
and financed by Franklin.  Chapter 16 addresses the Diplomatic Medal
of the United States.  A second nitpick would be to suggest dividing
the book onto two explicit sections to make this distinction more
clear - section one for the true Comitia Americana medals, section
two for the related medals.

As many of you know by now, I tend not to judge a book by its cover
but by the sources consulted by the authors. The Adams-Bentley book
does not disappoint.  There are 377 individual notes to the chapters,
and the nine page bibliography lists hundreds of books, articles,
auction catalogs, newspapers, magazines, manuscripts and published
correspondence. There is also an eight-page index.  Comitia Americana
and Related Medals is a wonderful book and highly recommended reading
for anyone with an interest in early U.S. medals and history.

For more information on the Comitia Americana book, see:
Full Story

[The story of the replacement of Morgan's gold medal (p138) reminded
me of a presentation John Kraljevich gave on the topic at a banquet
of the Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists.  He already knows
so much about the medals of this era - when he gets married will the
union be called "You, Me and Dupre"? -Editor]


[Patrick McMahon recently visited the Boston Public Library
and submitted this report on the current exhibit "The Extravagant
Ambassador: The True Story of Alexandre Vattemare, the French
Ventriloquist Who Changed the World." -Editor]

This small but dense exhibition at the Boston Public Library on
the life of Alexandre Vattemare is certainly worthy of a visit
and has lots to reward bibliophiles and numismatists alike. It
is organized into a number of short (mostly) chronological sections
such as "The Early Years and the Stage," "System of Exchanges"
(which includes the Album Cosmopolite published 1837-39), and
"Collector" (chiefly autographs). These give a basic background
on his development and early career.

Beginning with the section "The Bridge Between Two Worlds" the
installation of objects becomes quite dense and though most of
the items here are books, it does include the  Caunois medal for
the monument to Moliere which he sent to the Boston Public Library
in 1844 and medallion portraits of Clementine and Celeste Moreau
(by Barre, I think--I forgot to note the artist). This section and
the next one (The Exchange System's Cabinet of Curiosities) are
where I spent most of my time. If you have a chance to see the
exhibition before it closes and are only interested in the
numismatic material you can head right for the Cabinet of

The Exchange System's Cabinet of Curiosities is a wide-ranging
mixture of material, including Audubon prints, medals, mineral
specimens, photographs, material from the 1855 Universal Exposition
and Vattemare's numismatic works. The first case in this section
focusing on Vattemare himself includes the plaster medallion by
Barre from 1831 and a bronze medal of Sir Walter Scott by Bain
ca. 1824.

Another case focuses solely on historical medals given to the museum
in St.-Malo. Some of them are hard to view in the case but they
include a bronze medal of Louis XIV by Mauger, another commemorating
the birth of the Dauphin in 1781 by Duvivier, one by Tiolier of
Kaiser Friedrich Wilhelm III, another by Andrieu and Gayrard called
"Gallia et America Foederata" (commemorating a commercial treaty
between the U.S. and France in 1822), a Pingret medal commemorating
the accession of Czar Nicholas I, and a satirical 18th century medal
by J.-C. Roettiers entitled "Ridere Regnare Est" (this one is very
hard to see). Two large medals, one commemorating Bibiliotheque
Sainte Genevieive in Paris and another by Bovy for the Chemin de
Fer de l'Ouest (Western French Rail Road) in 1854 are a powerful
presence in this case because of their condition--twisted and rent
by bombings during World War II.

A later case in this section focuses on Vattemare as a numismatist
and includes a copy of 'Souvenirs Numismatiques de la Revolution
de 1848' (which he sent to the BPL in 1862) and the manuscript 'Du
Systeme Monetaire aux Etats Unis from 1851', and the BPL's copy of
the famous 'Collection de Monnaies et Medailles de L'Amerique du

This is supplemented with a number of numismatic items from the BPL
collection as examples of the subject of that work. They include a
plaster Libertas Americana medal with painted gold highlights by
Dupre and Esprit-Antoine Geblein, and a number of bronze Comitia
Americana medals (Washington, Jones, Morgan, and Green). Also included
is an 1806 Peace Medal from the Madison administration and a hub for
the central design of the Morgan medal (this is identified as a die
on the label but I don't see how it can be--the design is raised).

The rest of the Cabinet section of the exhibition gathers up a number
of objects that represented the United States at the 1855 World's Fair
in Paris where Vattemare acted as the agent for a number of States.
These range from mineral specimens to standards for weights and measures,
stuffed birds, an alcohol heated iron, iron mooring toggles, and other
industrial items. There are also ship models and an 1845 Springfield
carbine rifle. Most of this material remained in Paris after the
fair and entered various museum collections there.

The next section of the exhibition focuses on Vattemare's trips to
North America and includes a case of material related to his trip to
Canada, a case focusing on George Caitlin's illustrations of American
Indians, some of whom became his friends (as did the artist). There
is a also a large panel displaying various commissions and commendations
from the Federal and State governments that recognized him as an
official agent for cultural exchange.

The final sections focus on the history of the BPL and the
Administrative Library of the City of Paris, where Vattemare
was instrumental and include large selections of books from the
library exchanges. Many of these are open to their inscriptions
but the bindings are also beautifully embossed with their cities
and states of both origin and destination.

This is a wonderful little exhibition and so dense with material
to see and read that it could have stopped here and been very
satisfying. But there is one more section focusing on the growth
of the French collections at the BPL after Vattemare's death to
show that his legacy continued. This includes a small case of
Frankliniana that has some numismatic elements in it. There is
a ceramic portrait medallion circa 1782 (very similar to ones
usually attributed to Nini but the label does not identify the
artist) and a sketch by Dupre for his Franklin medal of 1783.
There is also a pair of obverse and reverse die trials for a
small medal of Franklin which includes one of the dies. This
is identified on the French label but not the English one.

Because this exhibition opened first in Paris at the Bibliotheque
Forney in January and was organized with the Paris Bibliotheques,
there are two labels for each object and section of the exhibition
(one in English and one in French). Interestingly, they are often
not the same. My French is pretty weak, but it was obvious with
the Franklin case mentioned above and areas where the length of
texts varied a great deal. Given that this is an exhibition of
largely archival materials there is a lot to read on the objects
themselves as well as the walls!

There are also two catalogues for the exhibition, one in French
and the other in English, and they are only available in paperback
(for $38). I haven't spent much time with my copy yet but I do think
it was worth the buy. Obviously it goes into greater depth than
the exhibition and it is generously illustrated.

Since the book does not appear on Amazon or anywhere else that it
can be "browsed", here is a short list of the contents. It is divided
into two sections, the first covering Vattemare's biography (Alexandre's
Adventure) and then a series of essays by a dozen or so different
authors, including a short essay (five pages) on Vattemare and
Numismatics by Alan Stahl.

Other essays include:
* Alexandre Vattemare-- Ventriloquist by Stephen Connor;
* Vattemare's Album cosmopolite by Suzanne Nash;
* At the Heart of Vattemare's System: the Central Agency for
   International Exchanges by Martine Deschamps;
* Vattemare and the Smithsonian Institution by Nancy Gwinn;
* The Paris Exposition Universelle of 1855 by Helene Harter;
* Vattemare and the Transatlantic Dissemination of Photographic
  Practices by Claude Baillergeon;
* Alexandre Vattemare and Reciprocal Knowledge by Alain le Pichon;
* The American Library of the City of Paris by Pierre-Alain Tilliette;
*  Public Libraries: Origins of a Definition by Cecile Oulhen;
* Free to All: the Boston Public Library and the Beginnings of
  the Public Library Movement in America by Earle Havens;
* a postface called Composite Portrait of my Cosmopolitan Double
  Ancestor by Yann le Pichon.

A big part of what makes the book interesting (beyond the subject)
is that it includes so many contributions by French scholars that
give perspectives that might be otherwise hard to find in English.
Different perspectives on history are always interesting although
so far I have had one cringe when one of the essays says that the
"Indian cultures of North America have virtually disappeared
without a trace"...

If anyone is interested in the book it can be obtained from the
business office of the Boston Public Library (payment by check
only) for $38 plus $5 for shipping (in the US). The English version
is catalogue number 449 on their list. They can be reached by phone
at (617) 536-5400 x 2346.

[Many thanks to Patrick for being our eyes and ears at the exhibit,
which remains open through September 29, 2007. I was curious about
the exhibit catalogue and now I hope to add a copy to my library.
It's a shame it's not available in hardcover format.  I had called
earlier and was told to send my check to Boston Public Library,
Attention Denise, Business Office, P.O. Box 286, Boston, MA 02117.


This week was a grueling one at the office, leaving little free
time for numismatic pursuits.  After putting in a 58-hour workweek,
Friday evening was a welcome chance for a break.  Figuring correctly
that everyone in their right mind would be out at the pubs, I got
my weekly laundry done without a hitch.  While the washers were
spinning I popped down the street to Whiteleys for dinner.

Entrepreneur William Whitely had come from Yorkshire in 1845 and
opened a small shop in a then unfashionable part of London called
Bayswater.  By 1885 the area was booming and Whiteley's business
employed thousands - his was the first and largest department store
in the country, earning an unsolicited Royal Warrant from Queen
Victoria in 1896.  When George Bernard Shaw wrote his play Pygmalion
(My Fair Lady), he sent Eliza Dolittle "to Whiteleys to be attired"

Today Whiteleys is a modern indoor shopping mall housed in the
former Whiteleys department store building.  This building was
erected in 1911 after a fire destroyed the previous building in
1897. It was the height of luxury at the time, including a theatre
and even a golf course on the roof.

By a twist of fate the beautiful Edwardian building survived the
World War II bombing raids.  It is said that Adolf Hitler ordered
the Luftwaffe not to bomb Whiteleys as he wanted it as his
headquarters once he'd invaded Britain.

Although the building closed in 1981 after a business decline,
it was fully renovated and reopened in 1989.  Just a five minute
walk from Kensington Palace, Diana, Princess of Wales, used to
shop there and made her children stand in line for the cinema.
The theatre is on the third floor along with some nice restaurants
- this is where I had dinner Friday.   After finishing my laundry
I returned to treat myself to a mindless movie - The Simpsons.
It was an expensive treat - $9.25 GBP, or about $18.50. Doh!!

Saturday was a lazy day.  I didn't leave the hotel until about
3pm when I set out for the Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms.
Several people had recommended the museum to me, and the cold
rainy day seemed like a fine time to visit.  For the first time
my tube journey became a nightmare.  After getting off at an
intermediate station the announcer noted that there were severe
delays on the train I was planning to take.  Long story short,
after much confusion and train-changing I got to the Westminster
station nearly half an hour later than planned.

I emerged near the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben.  Tourists
snapped photos and I did the same despite the rain.  After getting
my bearings I followed my map to the Clive Steps on King Charles
Street.  Below the steps was a small door and sign.  After entering
and paying the admission, I was given an "audio stick", a portable
audio tour guide that looks like a long remote control on a loop
of string.  Visitors hang the stick around their necks and press
numbers into the keypad to hear narrations and other recordings
associated with the displays.

One of the first exhibits is the Cabinet Room.  "Shortly after
becoming Prime Minister in May 1940, Winston Churchill visited
the Cabinet War Rooms to see for himself what preparations had
been made to allow him and his War Cabinet to continue working
throughout the expected air raids on London. It was there, in
the underground Cabinet Room, he announced 'This is the room
from which I will direct the war'."

At the end of the war the occupants of the bunker basically turned
off the lights and went home for a well-deserved rest.  Although
valuable equipment and other fittings were moved elsewhere, much
of the cramped office space was left just as it was and sealed
off for decades, perhaps in cold storage for future use which
never became necessary.

The rooms have been refitted based on old photographs and memories
of those who worked there during the dark days of the war.  Huge
world maps cover the walls; banks of telephones, typewriters and
radio equipment show how the command center communicated with the
outside world, even during air raids.  Mannequins dressed in
period uniforms and attire simulate workers in action.

It's a very well done museum despite the naturally cramped quarters.
One can only stand in awe of the responsibility carried on the
shoulders of those who worked there.  Thousands of lives and the
fate of the nation hung on every decision and piece of communication
- there was no room for mistakes or even clerical error; there was
no waiting for tomorrow, for if the war effort were unsuccessful
there would be no tomorrow for Britain.

In such a light numismatics is naturally only a bit player.
Although the war completely transformed daily commerce, coins and
currency worldwide, there is little evidence in the Churchill Museum
and Cabinet War Rooms.  The first numismatic item I came across was
a bronze medallion (over 3 inches in diameter) presented by Churchill
to Lord Swinton, "wartime Minister Resident in West Africa: after
his election defeat, Churchill had these medallions made to thank
people who served in his wartime administration, as well as senior
commanders, Commonwealth leaders, and the King."

The medallion has a very simple design - a wreath around the outside
with simple text in the center.  This example reads "TO / SWINTON /
FROM /WINSTON CHURCHILL"   The name "SWINTON" is engraved.  Although
mounted near a mirror to show the reverse side, the case was so
dark I could not make out much of the reverse, although it seems
to display the same wreath as the obverse.    Have any of our
readers seen one of these medals?  Have any appeared in the
numismatic marketplace?

A nearby exhibit case housed all of Churchill's orders, decorations
and medals, nearly sixty in all, including his WWI Star and Victory
medals, a 1901 King George V coronation medals and a 1937 George VI
coronation medal.

Another case addresses Churchill's hobby of painting, displaying his
smock, brush, palette, and framed and unframed painted canvases.
Churchill was also a voracious reader and prolific author, winning
the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953.  His Nobel award is displayed,
but rather than a medal it takes the form of a copy of his 1937 book
'Great Contemporaries', bound in silver.  It's a very beautiful item,
 although I wonder if houses a medal inside.

Reflecting Churchill's love for literature, The Museum's gift shop
has the greatest book selection I recall seeing in any museum.  One
book which stood out was Gavin Mortimer's 'The Longest Night 10-11
May 1941 Voices from the London Blitz' which makes use of survivors'
accounts of one harrowing night to describe the horrors of the
Blitz on London.  The haunting cover photo shows a uniformed woman
holding and comforting a distraught young girl, making me miss my
own family all the more.

There was nothing much numismatic in the gift shop unless you count
miniature reproductions of the Victoria Cross and George Cross medals
or a large chocolate coin of the Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms.

I stepped outside into the grey drizzle.  Not wanting to repeat my
earlier tube debacle, I began walking toward my familiar Tottenham
Court station on the Central Line.  I walked along Whitehall Street,
passing Downing Street and the Prime Minister's residence at No. 10.
Up ahead I could see Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square, near where
I first stayed in London.  A school of black London taxis swam in
unison through the rain as I waited to cross the circle.

Trudging up Charing Cross through the thickening pre-theatre crowd,
I stepped onto a quiet side street to phone my wife and mother back
in the states.  After taking the tube back toward my hotel I bought
some groceries and had dinner, reading the two books I'd bought for
my kids at the Churchill gift shop - one about the Cabinet War Rooms
and the other a biography of Churchill.  Saturday evening I ended up
watching on television the 1964 film 'Becket' starring Richard Burton
as Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury and Peter O'Toole as King
Henry II.  I just can't escape the bloody English these days.

On Sunday, I rested and worked on personal chores and The E-Sylum.
Around 9:30pm I went out for a walk.  The Price Alfred was still open
and I stopped in.  It's heresy, but I didn't feel like having a beer.
I ordered a glass of French Cabernet.  The barmaid asked, "small or
large?"  "What time do you close?  Fifteen minutes?  Make it a large."

I found a table outside under an awning. I watched the crowds pass
by while the rain came down and made a couple phone calls.  Soon
someone came out to fold up the chairs and tables.  Maybe that's
why people here start drinking at noon - the pubs close too early.
I stood up and finished my drink, then I started walking while
continuing my conversation with my wife.  I gave her a running
commentary on the sights - some nice homes, hotels, youth hostels,
offices, and more hotels.

On one street the trees were so large they nearly blocked the sidewalk
 - at three feet wide there was barely enough room left to walk.  I
passed a hotel with a pub still open.  I was tempted to have another
drink, but I kept walking.  Back on Queensway people sat in front of
the middle eastern restaurants smoking hookahs, large water pipes
burning a mixture of tobacco and treacle, honey or sugar, with fruit-
flavored distilled water.  The convenience stores and many of the
restaurants were still open.  The fancy new bowling alley in the
basement of Whiteley's was closed.  Time to call it a night.

For more information on Whiteleys, see:
Full Story
Full Story

For more information on the Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms, see:
Full Story


Regarding Werner Press's query about ordering a recent book by L.B.
Fauver titled 'Nuremberg and Nuremberg Style Jetons', David E.
Schenkman writes: "Benj Fauver's address is P.O. Box 521, Menlo
Park, CA 94026-0521. As I recall, Benj publishes under the name
Oak Grove Publications.



Myron Xenos writes: "The second edition, second printing of Bust
Half Fever by Ed Souders has arrived from the printer. Copies are
available from the author by e-mailing him at
Dealer inquiries may be made at"


Ron Abler writes: "I have spent quite a bit of time trying to
chase down a copy of The First Dictionary of Paranumismatica by
Brian Edge, to no avail.  Do you (or perhaps one of the E-Sylum's
subscribers) have any suggestions as to where I might find a
copy for purchase?

"I learned about Brian's book while following up on the
Paranumismatic thread resulting from the answers to my question
about exonumismatic adjectives.  Brian's book popped up in a
past E-Sylum.

"I would like to review Brian's book just to make sure that my
grasp and use of paranumismatic terms squares with those who are
much more knowledgeable than I.  I suspect I can borrow it from
the ANA Library, which I will do while I search for my own copy."


Leon Worden writes: "I'd love to hear from anyone with information
about Milton Dinkin, author of "The Official Black Book of United
States Coins" (1976 et al.).  Specifically, I'm looking for
corroboration that he personally knew Lincoln Cent designer
Victor D. Brenner. My email address is
Thank you."


Last week we reprinted a web posting by Donn Perlman where he wrote
"Thank goodness for 'Cointains.'"

Tom DeLorey writes: "The correct name is "Kointains," from the E&T
Kointainer Co., P.O. Box 103, Sidney, OH 45365.   I know because I
have been using Kointains for over 35 years, with great success,
and once had the opportunity to buy the company. It seemed that the
founder of the firm had sold it about four years earlier, and it
had been bought by a collector who gave it to his son as a means
for the son to work himself through college. The son had done so,
but now wanted to pursue his chosen career. As I was a long-term
customer, he wrote me and asked if I wanted to buy the company.

"Unfortunately I am not mechanically inclined, but had a friend
in the Shelby County Coin Club named Bern Nagengast who was an
applications engineer at a local company. I contacted him and
said that he should buy the company and keep it in business,
because I did not want the product to disappear. He contacted
the owner, bought the company and moved it to Sidney. I just
placed an order with him last week for use at the coin shop."

[Thanks for the great background information on this important
coin supply firm.  I met Bernard Nagengast once when he came to
a meeting of the Western Pennsylvania Numismatic Society.  He's
been quietly serving the hobby for decades.  -Editor]



Responding to last week's item about British coins being used
as slugs in a German subway system, Tony Hine forwarded a copy
of an article he wrote about world coins being used on the
Toronto, Canada subway system.  It was published by the
Canadian Ethnic Media Association.

"Just as thrifty Canadian tourists may try to tip an unwary
third-world bellhop with Sandy McTire’s Canadian Tire bills,
so too some Caribbean immigrants know that some nickel coins
from the West Indies, especially bearing a likeness of Queen
Elizabeth, may pass as Canadian if added quickly to a TTC
(Toronto Transit Commission) fare box.

"Aluminum coins from Russia, Japan or even China looked
suspiciously like TTC tokens before the switch to bimetallic
versions in October 2006.

"TTC spokesperson Marilyn Bolton mentions the zloty of Poland
as an aluminum coin which regularly impersonated as an aluminum
token, prior to the changeover to the bimetallic token. But
spokesman Dave Hughes in Revenue at TTC says the foreign coin
taken in at TTC fare boxes is less than people think at only
$700 or $800 per year."

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story



On the topic of subway slugs I wrote: "Using cheaper coins
from another country to fool vending machines is an age-old
pastime.  I wouldn't be surprised if someone maintains a web
page with a table listing what coins or tokens are known to
be effective substitutes for other, higher-valued coins or
tokens.  Can anyone locate such a chart for us?"

Alan Roy writes: "Their site doesn't have the information
available yet to the public, but while researching the Mint
Directors' Conference (or MDC), the trade association for
national mints, I found the website for the Coin Registration
Office.  Currently handled by the Monnaie de Paris, the CRO
maintains a database of technical specifications of the
coins of 43 countries.

"According to the website, the purpose of the CRO 'was to
allow members to consider whether a new coin would have any
consequent problems for the coinage systems of their own
country, or other member countries, and to identify potential
misuse in vending machines.'  I can only assume that the
German subway system mentioned hadn't checked the database."

To access the Coin Registration Office database, see:

[I'm curious - do our friends at Krause Publications and other
guidebook publishers make use of this database in compiling
catalog entries for new coins?  It sounds like a very useful tool.

Once word gets out that a certain coin can be used to cheat
vending machines, some people will go to great lengths to
lay in a supply. Tom Delorey has a special way of dealing
with them.  -Editor]

Tom writes: "About ten years ago, people in Chicago discovered
that German one pfennig pieces would usually work in the Chicago
subway turnstiles. We got many calls at the coin shop from people
asking if they could buy a quantity of the pfennigs. Since we
knew what they wanted them for, we would usually ask them as
innocently as possible why they wanted the coins. The most common
answer was for an 'art project' of some unspecified kind. We
always declined the sale.

"One day a caller said that his daughter was taking German in
school, and that he wanted one hundred of the pfennigs for her
to give out to her classmates. I said to come on down, and that
we'd be happy to take care of him. He came in all excited, and
I smiled and presented him with one hundred German two pfennig
coins to give out, at the same cost as one hundred one pfennigs
(i.e., one dollar U.S.). He sputtered and kept saying that he
needed one pfennigs, but couldn't bring himself to explain the
real reason why. I just kept smiling and telling him that
these were better because they were bigger. He left without
the coins."



In May 2007 Andrew Pollock alerted us to an interesting article
about a proposal for a common North American currency modeled
after the Euro, nicknamed the "Amero'.  This week Andrew notes
that coin designer Daniel Carr has created imaginary North
American Union currency pattern coins.  Andrew also forwarded
a link to an article about Carr's designs; see below for excerpts.

"Carr notes on his website that, 'These 'private-issue fantasy
pattern' ameros will be struck as an annual series (until such
time as it is no longer legal to do so), starting in the later
part of 2007.'

"'I think of myself as a sculptor,' Carr told WND. 'I am a
professional coin designer and I specialize in the design and
the engraving of the coin. The goal is to make a coin that is
interesting and attractive.'

"'Like any artist I have to survive by selling my work,' Carr
said. 'I have been reading about the amero and I started asking
myself what I would come up with if I was in charge of minting
the amero coin for the North American Union.'

"In 1999, Carr was the designer of the 2001 New York and Rhode
Island commemorative statehood quarters for the U.S. Mint.

"His designs were selected as the winners in a competition with
14 state designers from outside the mint and 10 from within the
mint that were asked to create the five statehood quarters minted
in 1999.

"'Truthfully, I prefer the Union of North America,' he explained,
'because then you end up with U.N.A. and you can say 'UNA,'
whereas you can't really say 'NAU' in a word.'

"Carr's 2007 issue amero coins are available for order until
Dec. 31, 2007, after which no more of the 2007 series will be
minted or available for sale.

"Carr's 2007 design features various Seated Liberty obverses
and a similar Eagle and Globe reverse.

"His '100 ameros' silver coin features a Pocahontas obverse
with a Jamestown background and a standing Eagle on a North
American globe on the reverse."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

To read and comment on Amero currency ideas, see:



The article quoted in the previous item about Daniel Carr's
prototype Amero coins also mentions Carr's parody "Godless

"The Coin Collecting Insider gives Carr credit for designing
the Rhode Island and New York statehood quarters, but it also
notes that his skill at forging edge lettering on coins
threatens to create confusion among collectors who buy and
sell non-certified error coins on sites such as eBay.

"Earlier this year, the U.S. mint [issued] a large quantity
of Washington dollars with smooth edges that failed to say
'In God We Trust.'

"These coins were being named the 'Godless Dollar.'

"As a joke, Carr took some Sacagawea dollars and engraved
on the edge 'Darwin Rules,' to draw contrast with the 'In
God We Trust' that is printed on the face of that dollar and
to harass the U.S. Mint for their omission.

"Carr sold about five of the 'Darwin Rules' dollars on eBay
for about $5.00 each.

"He is also known among collectors of privately minted coins
for his parody state quarters.

"His two most collected parody state quarters are the New
York 'Defiant Finger Tower' quarter which show a rebuilt World
Trade Center in a five finger design, with the middle finger

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


"Sculptor Steven F. Kilpatrick of Woodbury [New Jersey]
launched a campaign last year to put a bronze monument in
every town honoring all firefighters, police, emergency and
military personnel.

"'Some of these people put their lives on the line every
single day for other people. They have become some of the
most unappreciated people in our society. It is my goal to
help change that,' said Kilpatrick, 48.

"In spring 2005, Kilpatrick was one of three featured sculptors
picked from a two-year worldwide search to exhibit his works in
Washington, D.C., alongside works by Michelangelo."

"Kilpatrick wasn't always a sculptor. He graduated from Pennsylvania
State University in 1980 with a bachelor's degree in psychology and
business administration.

"After college, he joined the staff at the Lankenau Hospital
Psychiatric Unit in Wynnewood, Pa., and later became the director
of the Employee Assistance Program for Underwood-Memorial Hospital
in Woodbury.

"Shortly after starting work at Underwood, he began attending
Samuel S. Fleisher Art Memorial school in Philadelphia part time.

"There was an opening in a class conducted by world-renowned
master sculptor Frank Gasparro, Kilpatrick said.

"Gasparro, who died in 2001, was the tenth chief engraver of
the United States Mint, from 1965 to 1981.

"'I am a firm believer in divine intervention or providence.
I am sure that it was meant to be,' said Kilpatrick of his
studies under Gasparro."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


In my London Diary last week I mentioned seeing a collection
of gems by Nathaniel Marchant.  I'm not the only traveler around
here.  Hadrien Rembach writes: "I always love reading your diary!
I came back last night from Sicily, where I was able to see some
amazing Roman mosaics.  As for Marchant, the engraver, I attach
here an article in which you can see a gem he engraved, and find
several references to him."

[The article is "Eighteenth and Nineteenth-Century Engraved Gems
in the British Museum; Collectors and Collections from Sir Hans
Sloane to Anne Hull Grundy" by Judy Rudoe, published in 1996 in
'Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte', pp. 198-213.  The article is
a nice introduction to gems and their makers and collectors.
There are a number of numismatic ties to these items, which
straddle the line between medallic and sculptural arts  as
indicated by this short excerpt:   "Many late 18th and early
19th gem engravers were also medallists; Mrs Hull Grundy gave
medals by gem engravers with her gems because she wanted them
to be shown together. In the second half of the 19th century
the links were more with sculpture..."  Hadrien also forwarded
a short biography of Marchant he'd found on

"Nathaniel Marchant (b Sussex, 1739; d London, 24 March 1816).
English gem-engraver and medallist. He first came to notice as
the main prizewinner of the London Society of Arts' premiums
for intaglio-engraving between 1762 and 1766... he created
remarkable gems after ancient reliefs and statues ... In time
he became recognized as the only rival to Giovanni Pichler,
then considered the foremost engraver in Rome."

To read the complete entry on Marchant, see:
Full Story

Jim Duncan writes: "Marchant rates a five-page illustrated
entry in Forrer's Biographical Dictionary of Medallists, and
yes, he was an engraver at the Royal Mint from about 1782, to
make models for engravers L Pingo and T Wyon, to copy.
He was also Engraver of His Majesty's Seals.

"He did a bust of George III which appears on the Bank tokens
of c1804, England and Ireland; and the Military Guinea of 1813
which is by Thomas Wyon.  Half Guineas of 1804-06, 1808-11
and 1813, and seven shilling pieces of the same dates.   It
was copied by William Wyon on his pattern crown of 1817.
And on, and on.   He does the work - someone else gets the glory!

"Forrer includes an almost two-page listing of his known works
(pages 560-565 of volume III)."

Gar Travis forwarded several links to small items relating to
Marchant, including the following page on the web site of
Christopher Eimer.  It pictures a c.1790 East India College
Reward of Merit medal attributed to Marchant.

Another of Gar's links referenced an article mentioning an
interesting connection between Marchant and Royal Mint engraver
William Wyon.  An article published in The Gentleman's Magazine,
"William Wyon and his Works" states that in 1811 "William Wyon
engraved a head of Hercules, which was shown to Nathaniel Marchant,
R.A. then the best English gem-engraver, and elicited from that
gentleman an earnest recommendation that the youth should be
employed upon objects of higher art than those which his father
was accustomed to receive from the tradesmen of Birmingham."

To read the William Wyon article on Google Books, see:
Full Story

[Finally, Gar included this information: "He was appointed
assistant engraver at the Royal Mint in 1797 and held the office
till 1815 when he was superannuated (Ruding, Annals, i. 45;
Numismatic Journal, ii. 18)"  Gar adds: "superannuated = retired
due to age".

Many thanks to everyone who responded.  This goes to show you
just never know where a line of numismatic inquiry can lead.


Web site visitor Mark Guttag discovered our earlier discussions
about numismatist Julius Guttag of the firm Guttag Brothers,
inspired by Bob Rightmire's request for information.  Guttag
was the founder of National Coin Week and coauthor of a book
on U.S. Civil War Tokens.

He writes: "Julius Guttag is my grandfather and I was born
shortly after he died, which resulted in my being named after
him - my full name is Mark Julius Guttag. Two of Julius' children
are still living: my aunt, Evelyn Guttag, and my father, Alvin
Guttag. My aunt Erma, his oldest child, passed away a few years ago."

[Mark put me in touch with his father Alvin and I gave him a call
from London Thursday evening.  He was very helpful and it turns
out he wrote an article about Julius Guttag for the Bowers and
Merena Rare Coin Review #66 (Autumn 1987, p48-49).  He also
remembers "Joey Lasser" from the old neighborhood.  Last year
Joe wrote to us with his recollections of Julius Guttag, his
numismatic mentor.   I'm having trouble locating Bob Rightmire's
contact information - email me Bob, and I'll put you in touch
with Alvin to assist your research on the Guttags. -Editor]




Dick Johnson writes: "An August 16, 2007 appeal was made in a
Washington, DC publication for opinions on the cent from the
public. The page won't stay up for a long time, but for a day
or two you can express your opinion.

"The article lists two links. One is to an article on the zinc
supplier to the U.S. Mint and their lobbying efforts. The other
is to results of this poll. By the following day there were more
than two dozen comments. You are invited to add yours. Try to
make your comments distinctive.

"Vote to keep or abolish the cent. Add any comments you wish.
Go to this URL, scroll down to fill out their form:
Full Story

[The poll is very localized - it asks respondents to choose
their nearest Metro Station.  Still, the results and comments
should be interesting.  -Editor]

"The nation's sole supplier of zinc 'penny blanks,' Jarden Zinc
Products, is lobbying the federal government to protect its interests.

"The subsidiary of Rye, N.Y.-based Jarden Corp., paid Baker &
Daniels LLP $180,000 in 2006 to fight legislation that would have
allowed retailers to round off cash transactions to the nearest
nickel, effectively creating a penniless society. Fortunately
for Jarden, the House legislation did not gain traction.  In the
past two weeks, however, bills in the House and Senate were
proposed that would give the Treasury Department the power to
decide - without congressional approval - the type of metals
used for all coins."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


David Ganz writes: "I'd like to add one comment on the two mint
bills, S1986 and HR3303, from my Under the Glass column for next
week's Numismatic News:  'There's only one problem with the Mint's
proposed solution, and the two bills introduced in the Senate and
House.  They are likely unconstitutional.'

"The reason: an unconstitutional delegation of powers by Congress
which under article I section 8 of the Constitution, 'The Congress
shall have Power ... To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof,
and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures....'"



On Tuesday the Sun-Star of The Philippines published an article
about a new numismatic exhibit:

"The Heritage Museum of Philippine Coins and Paper Money launched
an exhibit at the NCCC Mall, showcasing Philippine currencies used
from the Spanish colonial period up to the present.

"Rene Adapon, numismatist for more than 20 years now, told Sun-Star
Davao Monday that the exhibit aims to raise awareness among Filipinos
regarding the currencies of the country during the Spanish colonial
period, the revolutionary period, American regime, Japanese, and
Philippine Republic.

"'Yesterday (On Sunday), a lot of (pupils) were here with their
parents. We understand that the exhibit is part of their lessons.
Their parents were also educated because they were the ones taking
down notes for their children,' Adapon said.

"'For the past few days, a lot of visitors who came from as far as
Cotabato City, General Santos City, and Tagum City were amazed at
what they saw here, Adapon said.

"The exhibit, which opened August 7, will last until August 15, at
the ground level of NCCC Mall.

"The exhibit showcases about 56 frames of Philippine currencies.
Adapon said his Philippine collection is part of his total
collections of more than 200 currencies."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


This week an Associated Press story noted that "Most folks can correctly
name George Washington as the nation's first president. After that,
things get tricky.  The U.S. Mint is hoping its new dollar coin series
will help refresh some hazy memories of Adams, Jefferson and all the

"That could be a tall order, however, given the results of a poll the
Mint commissioned to find out just how much knowledge Americans have
about their presidents.

"According to the telephone poll, conducted by the Gallup Organization
last month, nearly all those questioned knew that Washington was the
first president. However, only 30 percent could name Thomas Jefferson
as the nation's third president, and memories of the other presidents
and where they fit in was even more limited.

"Mint Director Edmund Moy believes the new dollar coin series will be
an antidote for that. And he can cite a good precedent. The Mint's
50-state quarter program, the most popular coin series in history,
has gotten 150 million Americans involved in collecting the quarters
that are honoring the states in the order they were admitted to the

"Moy released the survey results at the Jefferson Memorial on
Wednesday at an event staged to publicize the release of the new
$1 Jefferson coin. That coin will go into circulation nationwide
on Thursday, the day that people will be able to visit their banks
to purchase it."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


Last week Ralf W. Böpple wrote: “The effect of people NOT wanting
the new dollars should be increased circulation, because people
would try to get rid of the unwanted coins as quickly as possible!”

Ron Thompson writes: "While the logic is correct, the reality is,
of course, quite different.  The reason for that is that in order
for people to have the coins to reject them, many, many entities,
such as banks and major stores, need to give them out as change.
The half dollar and dollar coins, as well as the two dollar bill
are almost never given out as change.

"The only exceptions I am aware of are when I am at the Post Office
and use their machine or at a parking garage paying my parking.
Those machines give dollar coins as change.  Banks do have the half
dollar and dollar coins as well as two dollar bills, but you have
to ask for them.  I doubt if a million numismatists demanding these
coins and two dollars bills from their banks and using them daily
would have any discernable effect on the coins and dollars in



On May 22 The Paris News of Paris, Texas published a story about
a couple who made an interesting discovery along an old railroad
track - an unopened box containing 500 one-ounce silver bullion
pieces dated 1996.  They reported their find to the local Sheriff's
Office.  This week they got word that no owner could be found.

"Russell and Rennie Herron got the windfall they had long been
wanting Thursday.  Five hundred pure silver dollars they found
while searching for firewood in May were returned to them in a
Lamar County Justice of the Peace Court."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story



This week's featured web page is the Guernsey & Sark Tokens page
by Steven Gibbs, including spurious tokens of the Channel Islands
occupation 1940-45.

Featured Web Site

  Wayne Homren
  Numismatic Bibliomania Society 

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