The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 10, Number 34, August 26, 2007:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2007, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers is Ian Stevens.  Welcome aboard!
We now have 1,175 subscribers.   My apologies to anyone who
Submitted material over the weekend; I've had limited access to
my email and the web, but expect to be fully online again soon.

This week we open with information from George Kolbe on the
publication of Jack Collins' 1794 dollar manuscript, and an
interesting honor for David Lange's U.S. Mint book.   Queries
this week include coin photography, dealing with sticky book
covers, and Sacagawea dollars circulating in Ecuador.

In the news, the BEP plans to reveal its new five dollar bill
designs in an Internet event, the exhibit of highlights of the
National Numismatic Collection has been extended again, and an
investor in Baldwins plans to branch out into additional areas
of numismatics as well as stamps.

In this week's abbreviated London diary I retrace some earlier
steps, revisiting Colin Narbeth & Son and dining with John Andrew.
To learn why the "Toronto Coffee Nazi" hates small change, read
on.  Have a great week, everyone.

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


Last week Alan Weinberg wrote: "... George Kolbe will be this
year publishing Jack Collins' 1794 dollar manuscript 'as is'
with pictures missing, etc..."

George Kolbe writes: "Alan Weinberg's description of the upcoming
publication of Jack Collins' manuscript on 1794 dollars may be
technically correct but could be misleading to some. Jack's book
WILL BE ILLUSTRATED with good quality enlargements of all but a
few of the 1794 dollars described therein. The price will probably
be $65.00 postpaid and the edition will be limited to the number
of orders received. An order form will be sent out with our
November 1 auction catalogue featuring the John J. Pittman library
and other notable consignments. Information will also be posted
on our web site: and we will be happy to send
an order form to anyone requesting same."


[My apologies to George for not having a chance to confirm the
details before publishing the reference to Jack's book.  I've
fined myself half of my last week's E-Sylum editor's salary.
But I'm delighted to hear that Jack's manuscript will at long
last see the light of day, and look forward to adding a copy
to my library.

I remember very well the first time I met Jack in the company
of numismatic literature dealer John Bergman.  John and his wife
Mary were wonderful hosts to me on a visit to Los Angeles.
John showed me his library and when Jack joined us we all went
out to dinner at a nearby Mexican restaurant.  Later we toured
the Queen Mary docked in Long Beach harbor.  Jack and John have
both passed on, and are dearly missed by the bibliophile
community.  -Editor]


I learned recently that David Lange's book "History of the
United States Mint and Its Coinage" was included as one of
the books considered essential reading for college-bound
students by Amazon booksellers.

Their "Outstanding Books for the College Bound" list, published
earlier this year, consists of 195 titles.   Lange’s book comes
in at #182, just after "An Empire of Wealth" by John Steele Gordon,
which I've recently read and would also highly recommend.
Topping the list are

1) The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
2) Silas Marner by George Eliot
3) Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
4) Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
5) To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Notable titles that Lange's Mint book edged out include

185) How to Solve It by George Polya
186) As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
191) Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
193) The Year of the Great Crash, 1929 by William K. Klingman

To read the complete the complete list, see:
Complete List

[This is an outstanding achievement for a numismatic book, and
I applaud the booksellers for spotting it and considering it in
the voting.  Like any popularity contest, it does seem to skew
toward including a number of fairly recently published titles in
addition to the great classics.  It remains to be seen if a recent
title such as Freakonomics (which I've also read and recommend)
will appear on such lists 50 years hence.  But a classic treatment
of a classic topic of American history such as David's book on
the early Mint could well endure.  Congratulations!

I understand Lange's book was commissioned by the American Numismatic
Association's Education department around 1995 and was written as
a volunteer effort to create classroom materials for the ANA's
Summer Seminar.  But after cancelling those plans, the ANA struck
a deal with Whitman to publish Dave's material commercially.   From
what I understand, the book's royalties have all gone to the ANA
and nothing to David.  It's an unfortunate situation; although the
new ANA board has a lot to deal with right now, it would good to
review the situation and at least acknowledge the financial
contribution of Dave's efforts to the ANA coffers.  -Editor]


Regarding last week's review of 'Comitia Americana', coauthor John
W. Adams writes: "At the end of the day, I am proudest of 1) catching
Jefferson in flagrante, thereby solving a longstanding mystery; 2)
introducing the quality of stochastic screening to numismatic
publications and 3) legitimatizing the presence of copies in a
serious collection. There are many who would dispute this, but,
in the case of the Comitia Americanas, there is no alternative."

Coauthor Anne Bentley writes: "Many thanks for the kind words and
gentle corrections. No book is ever perfect or finished--especially
not a history tome.  I know that I, for one, look forward to any
new information that comes to light: we know that there is more out
there somewhere, and hope that our research provides a sound base
for those to follow."



Ray Williams writes: "I have a situation where there are a number
of hardbound catalogs on my bookshelf, and after a while, the covers
stick to each other.  Specifically, they are the hardbound catalogs
published by the Colonial Coin Collectors Club for their annual
auction.  Sometimes they are so stuck that I'm afraid I might damage
them by pulling apart.  The covers are a type of simulated leather
(leatherette?).  Are there any recommendations of what I can do to
prevent the sticking?  I was toying with the idea of wiping the
covers with baby powder, but thought I'd inquire here first.  I guess
if all else fails, I could make jackets for them, but then they don't
look as nice on my bookshelf..."

[This is indeed a sticky situation, one that many bibliophiles
had found themselves in at one time or another.  Suggestions,
anyone?  -Editor]


Tim L. Shuck of Ames, IA writes: "Just a brief note on the pricing
of the Krause World Coin Standard Catalogs on DVD, which wasn't
mentioned in your article last week. Following the link in your
article shows the DVD set price to normally be $100, but until
October 1st the company is offering an "ANA Show - Blog Extension"
price of $80 (plus $3.95 shipping U.S., $11.00 global). Cover
price for the three volumes is about $150, but even at a place
like Amazon the total is over $95; so for someone like me for whom
this will be an occasionally used reference, the special DVD price
was too good to pass up. I look forward to using these, and if
they are as good as expected that will be three books off my
'to buy' list."


[Actually, I was aware of the "blog special" but wasn't sure it
I would be letting a cat out of the bag.  But if it's freely
advertised on the web, jump right in.  It's a book purchase that
that one's spouse never has to know about - a DVD is far easier
to sneak into the house than a pile of telephone-book style
catalogs.  I'm tempted to get a set myself even though I don't
regularly look up world coins.  I may be wrong, but I would
predict a runaway bestseller for Krause - what dealer or collector
wouldn't want to have the whole three-volume set at their fingertips?
I'd be interested in hearing from readers who have the DVD - what
do you think of the product?  How easy is it to use?  -Editor]


Regarding the recent ANA convention, numismatic bookseller Douglas
Saville writes: "I had a hectic three days in Milwaukee.  I found
it to be a really worthwhile trip, selling (and buying) some books,
and I met up with some (very) old and new friends and clients, and
met some people who I had been doing business with recently and
who I had not previously had the chance to meet. I especially
enjoyed the two NBS meetings that I attended and by chance met a
few fellow members who I had not been in touch with for a number
of years."

[So here I sat in London while Doug crossed the Atlantic to attend
the convention.  Such is life.  Sorry I missed it - the Numismatic
Bibliomania Society events are always a worth a trip to the
annual convention. -Editor]


An article by David Ganz published online by Numismatic News August
23 reviews the background of the lawsuit by the American Numismatic
Association against former employees and consultants.  Unless
withdrawn or thrown out by the court, the case is heading for a
September 25th trial.   I'll publish a few excerpts here, but I
encourage ANA members and interested readers to study the article
for background information on the suit.  Many of the defendants
are E-Sylum readers, and I'd be happy to forward queries to them.

“‘The plaintiffs' law firm of Davis, Graham & Stubbs, LLP, claim
the suit was brought ‘to protect the security of its Internet site
and the privacy of membership and other confidential information.’

“Named as defendants are ANA life member and former computer
consultant John Nebel and his consulting firm, Computer Systems
Design Company of Colorado Springs. The other defendants are Wayne
Abraham, a former ANA controller and former interim executive
director; Barbara ‘Susie’ Nulty, a former ANA Internet technology
director, and Larry Lee, former ANA curator.’

“‘The first claim is for intentional infliction of emotional distress
by outrageous conduct, and pits Cipoletti against Nebel, Nulty,
Abraham and Lee. The second claim is for intentional interference
with prospective business relation and economic advantage, and pits
the ANA against Nebel, Nulty, Abraham and Lee.

“Third is a routine breach of contract claim (ANA against Computer
Design Systems), fourth is a claim of breach of settlement agreement
between ANA and Abraham, fifth is a civil theft claim against all
defendants, sixth is a breach of fiduciary claim against Abraham,
Nulty and Lee, and finally a civil conspiracy claim against all
defendants is lodged.’

“‘Ultimately, a conspiracy was alleged. ‘In or around November
or December, 2003 ANA employees witnessed Lee, Nebel and Nulty
having lunch together. ANA believes that Nebel, Nulty, Abraham
and Lee continued to meet for the purposes of harassing and
conspiring against ANA and Cipoletti.’

“‘Evidently dissatisfied with Cipoletti's leadership as ANA
executive director, Nebel claims in his papers to have set up
an alternative Web site that was password protected and which
had limited access to 26 people... The Nebel Web site was
visited by 23 of the 26 people who were given passwords.’”

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story

[Prior to the 2004 ANA convention where I was General Chairman,
I visited ANA headquarters in Colorado Springs and went out for
lunch with a group of ANA employees.  Later, I had a nice dinner
with John Nebel.  If having a meal in public is tantamount to
conspiracy, then I suppose I could be sued, too.   And if publishing
one's opinion is cause for legal action, then I suppose I flout the
law weekly.  Stating one's opinion is a constitutionally protected
right.  Publicly revealing confidential information is another
matter, and that aspect of the suit may have to be resolved by the
court.  But free speech is protected, and I'm surprised that at
least some of the ANA's complaints haven’t been tossed out of court
yet.  If this indeed goes to trial it will prove interesting to
watch on many levels.  Every single ANA member has a vested interest
in its actions and success, and is entitled to their opinion, and
to sharing it with any member who cares to listen.  -Editor]


Dick Johnson writes: "I was reminded by something Alan Weinberg
said in his ANA and Heritage Auction report last week when he
mentioned the photography work of Walt Husak. Alan said "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."

"The ‘slight angle’ triggered memories of two professional
photographers I had hired over the years. Larry Stevens, whose
work appeared in COINage, and Robert J. Myers, longtime photographer
of Stack's, both photographed round coins and medals slightly

"They processed their own prints so they knew how much to tilt
back in the printing process to compensate for this so the end
result -- the final prints -- would be perfectly round coins
and medals. Other photographers I had hired over the years did
not do this. Coin photography is a subject I admit a lack of
knowledge so I am curious.

"I am wondering if this technique is used by other coin photographers,
or is this just something a handful of professional coin photographers
would do.

"I would like for someone like John Nebel, a stellar coin photographer,
to express his opinion. I have one of his photographs of a silver
dollar blown up 18 times original size as an example. If you saw it
you would understand why I call him a "stellar" coin photographer.”

[Dick copied John in his note to me, and here's his reply. -Editor]

John Nebel writes: "There are images of my photo apparatus on - see the About page.  The lighting is axial
with a half-silvered mirror adjustable with 3 degrees of freedom.
The mirror can be seen better in the first photo which is of an
earlier setup, then at ANA.  The second photo is the current setup
except the constant-intensity xenon source has now been replaced
with a precise strobe with a digital 1/10 stop luminance adjustment.
The coin is not tilted; the adjustment on the stage holding the coin
is useful for ancient coins which were not made to neatly stack in

[John photographed some of my Pittsburgh medals for a couple of
Numismatist articles I wrote the year of the Pittsburgh ANA convention.
The photography was indeed stunning.   The resolution was so high,
and the photos so detailed, that I saw parts of the designs I'd never
noticed in all the years I'd owned the pieces.  -Editor]


Dick Johnson forwarded an article on the upcoming new designs for
the U.S five dollar note:

"The world will get its first look at a more colorful Abraham
Lincoln next month and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing is
planning for it to be a high-tech event.

"Bureau Director Larry Felix said for the first time the bureau
was staging a digital unveiling for one of its redesigned currency
notes. The new $5 bill, which features the 16th president, will be
shown to the world by way of an Internet broadcast on Sept. 20
which the government has dubbed a "Wi-5" event.

"'We wanted to make the most of the digital environment so that
U.S. currency users will have worldwide access to all of the
information we can give them,' Felix said in an interview with
The Associated Press.

"The event will be hosted at the bureau's web site, which will
offer a variety of materials on the new $5 bill including the
new design starting on Sept. 20. In addition, there will be an
online question and answer session for reporters with officials
from the bureau and other government agencies participating.

"Originally, the government was going to exempt the $5 bill from
the design makeovers introduced in recent years for the $50, $20
and $10 bills.

"But officials changed their minds after counterfeiters began
bleaching the ink off the current $5 bills and printing fake
$100 bills on the bleached paper because certain security features
including the watermark were in basically the same place on both

"The new $5 bill will have similar design changes as have been
added to the other notes in an effort to thwart counterfeiters
armed with more sophisticated computers and printers."

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story

To read the original BEP press release, see:
Full Story


The exhibit of highlights of the National Numismatic Collection
has been extended again, this time through January 2008.

"An exhibition by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American
History which explores rare and historically significant artifacts
from its National Numismatic Collection—more than half of which
have never been on view or have not been displayed for many years.
“Legendary Coins & Currency” draws 56 objects from this
internationally acclaimed collection.

"The display, unique in its interpretive approach, is organized
under five themes: Legendary Firsts, Legendary Beauties, Unexpected
Legends, Golden Legends and Legends of the Human Spirit. Visitors
can examine some of the NNC’s rarest and most prized pieces to
learn why history has elevated these artifacts to legendary status.
Of particular interest is the 1913 Liberty Head nickel, one of the
most celebrated 20th-century coins; the 1877 U.S. $50 (“Half Union”)
pattern, the largest U.S. coin ever struck; and the 1849 Double
Eagle ($20), a significant reminder of the California gold rush.
Other objects include a 1652 Massachusetts Pine Tree Shilling;
the 1906 Barber pattern Double Eagle; and the 1907 Saint-Gaudens
Ultra High Relief Double Eagle, often considered to be among
America’s most beautiful coins."

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story

For more information on the exhibit, see:

[I recall a visit I made to the National Numismatic Collection
many years ago with a small group from the Western Pennsylvania
Numismatic Society.   At that time many of these same collection
highlights were housed together in a single holder, which was
taken from the vault for us to view first hand.  These included
the Half Union patterns.  The new display really does justice
to this small but important group of collection gems.  –Editor]


On August 20 a newspaper in Wales reports that "the greatest hoard
of Civil War coins ever found in Wales have gone on display for
the first time in the county in which they were discovered.

"Gold and silver coins dating back to the 1640s are the centrepiece
of an exhibition at Scolton Manor Museum near Haverfordwest,

"The exhibition, entitled The Tregwynt Hoard: Coins, Cromwell
and Cavaliers, highlights the importance of the hoard as well
as explaining the impact on Wales and Pembrokeshire of the Civil War.

"In total 500 coins were recovered from the site at Tregwynt,
along with shards of pottery and a piece of lead thought to make
up the container and lid of the vessel housing the coins. A fine
gold posy ring, engraved with the words, 'Rather death then falce
of fayth,' was also found.

"The coins cover the reigns of Henry VIII (1509-1547), Edward VI
(1547-1553); Philip & Mary (1554-1558), Elizabeth I (1558-1603),
James I (1603-1625) and Charles I (1625-1649).

"It is thought the collection was most likely to have been
buried in 1648, the year of rebellion in Pembrokeshire, one
of a number of uprisings known as the 'Second Civil War'.

"The hoard was bought for the nation with the help of Heritage
Lottery Fund and housed at the National Museum Wales in Cardiff.
The Pembrokeshire exhibition runs until October 31st."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


A coin hoard of a different sort was uncovered in San Antonio,
Texas recently.  According to an August 21 article, "Jack Suneson
bought a downtown property on Commerce Street thinking it was a
good spot for tourists to part with their money.  But someone had
already parted with a stockpile of coins at the site — nearly 130
years ago.

"Suneson is a businessman from Nuevo Laredo who owns Marti's, a
Mexican arts and crafts store. On Monday, a construction crew
was digging up dirt to lay a foundation for Suneson's new store
at 310 W. Commerce St.

"A backhoe uncovered about 200 U.S. quarters, half dollars and
silver dollars dating between 1852 and 1880. The crew also found
a gold coin from that era.

"The hoarder might have lived around 1880 because the most
recent coin was a Morgan Silver Dollar dated that year.

"Suneson said he plans to clean the coins that can be saved
and display them in his new store. "

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

{Wash the coins, maybe; but clean them?   Them's fighting words
to many a numismatist.  Let's hope a gentle washing is all the owner has in
mind. -Editor]


According to The Telegraph August 21, a new investor in the
Baldwin's and Noble numismatic firms plans to branch out into
other collectible areas.

"The Iranian-born Tchenguiz has ploughed £2.5m into Noble Investments,
which sells antique coins out of a shop it owns on the Strand in

"The company has raised an extra £300,000 from a placing with
institutional investors such as Allianz Cornhill. Collins Stewart
placed a total of 1.5m shares at 185p a share.

"Noble plans to use the funds to expand into stamps, in collaboration
with expert philatelists Andrew Claridge and Andrew Lajer.

“The deal will give Mr Tchenguiz an 8pc stake in the enlarged
group. It is the latest in a string of investments he has made
this summer, including a £40m stake in an alternative investment
fund launched by Nicola Horlick and a £900,000 bet on £45m
energy fund Sigma alongside Sir Tom Hunter.

"Noble ... bought 135-year-old coin dealer Baldwins at the end
of 2005, and has since moved into profit. In the first half of
the year, turnover almost doubled to £5.2m, while pre-tax
profits quintupled to more than £1m. It has a stock market
value of £30m.

"Baldwins traces its origins back to the Victorian era when
founder Alfred Baldwin began trading coins. Among the treasures
handled by the company is an Edward III double florin that
fetched £460,000 at auction, a record sum for a British gold coin.

"Mr Goldbart, a former stockbroker, also wants to move into
areas such as military medals and bank notes. But he said:
"We won't move into paintings or furniture as we don't have
the room."

"He declined to comment on whether Noble would buy rival
Stanley Gibbons, which operates from a neighbouring store."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


Last week Ron Abler inquired about locating a copy of "The First
Dictionary of Paranumismatica" by Brian Edge.  Bob Lyall helped
me put Ron in touch with the author.  Many thanks!



While searching for other things I stumbled across a reference
to U.S. Sacagawea dollars circulating in Ecuador.  I don’t
recall reading about this before – can anyone shed some light
on this?

"Somebody at the mint, perhaps tired of stubbing their toes on
bags of Sac dollars in the vaults, had a brain storm and
commencing on April 15, 2002 the U.S. began sending some $500
million of the unwanted dollar coins to Ecuador for use as
circulating currency. And, wow, did they circulate! So much
so that in less than a year they became the most popular
currency item in the country."

"Many uninformed Ecuadorians believe the central device on
the obverse is that of an Ecuadorian woman from the mountains.
They know nothing of Sacagawea or the exaggerated role the
politically correct U.S. Mint spin doctors gave to her being
part of the Lewis & Clark expedition."

To read the original articles, see:  Full Story
Full Story


According to a press release issued in The Netherlands August 21,
“Industrial Automation Integrators (IAI) B.V. in Veldhoven, a
subsidiary of DOCdata N.V. in Waalwijk, will supply a Laser-
Perforation-System for the application of the patented security
feature MicroPerf(R) to a banknote printing company. The delivery
of this system is planned by mid-2008. This system will replace
a MicroPerf(R) system that is operational since 1997.

“Main contractor for this project is KBA-Giori S.A. in Lausanne,
Switzerland, the marketing and sales subsidiary of König & Bauer
(KBA) in Würzburg ( for the banknote-
printing market. KBA-Giori is by far the leading supplier of
equipment to banknote printers.

“The MicroPerf(R) security feature, an invention of the Swiss
security printer Orell Füssli (, is now
applied in Swiss, Latvian and Russian banknotes. It consists
of a pattern of minute, laser-applied holes, which become
visible when the note is held to the light.”

To read the complete press release, see: Full Story


It was another busy week at the office, and with travel home
to the U.S this weekend there wasn't much time for numismatic
adventures, all of which had to wait until after an important
Wednesday deadline.  At lunchtime Thursday I paid another
short visit to Simon Narbeth, whose shop is just five minutes
from our office.

I stopped in to ask "What's New" and the ever-gracious Simon
pulled out a number of tempting items.  I passed on not one,
but two nice examples of the Jacob Perkins siderographic sample
note.  Of most interest to me was an item I had to pass on due
to the price, but it would have been an interesting addition
to my collection of books related to counterfeiting.

Bound in green cloth, it was a nicely preserved copy of an
1819 London publication titled "Report of the Committee of the
Society of Arts &c. together with the approved communications
and evidence upon the same relative to the mode of Preventing
the Forgery of Bank Notes. Simon explained that members of the
Society (and many of the general public as well) were growing
uncomfortable with the high incidence of prosecutions against
people for the crime of merely possessing a counterfeit banknote.
On my first visit I'd seen a satirical note on the same subject
by illustrator George Cruikshank.

The purpose of the Society's report was to encourage the government
to require higher standards in producing banknotes, making them
much harder to counterfeit.  Pictured in the book was a sample
note produced by engraver Thomas Ranson who at the time was serving
a prison sentence for possessing a counterfeit.  Simon pulled out
a copy of the book 'Promises to Pay' - the book was published
by Spink and covers the Bank of England banknotes.  The note
in the book was illustrated on page 63.

I noted that the Society's publication was printed in the same
year as Jacob Perkins' rare book - 1819.  Perkins' book was in
a similar vein, calling for more sophisticated anti-counterfeiting
measures and putting forth a system for remedying the problem.
Simon said that Britons at the time were loathe to consider an
invention by some upstart Yankee; this wasn't long after the
War of 1812.

Simon noted the Perkins book's rarity and said he had a customer
who'd been asking for one for years, telling Simon to call day
and night to reach him should he ever locate a copy.  I’d love
to have the book too, but I guess I’ll have to settle for my
Fuld reprint.

It was a delight to talk with someone who was familiar with
such rare and interesting numismatic items. Simon was the only
dealer I’d talked to who was familiar with the work of J.S.G.
Boggs.  When I asked if he had any notes of Emperor Norton of
San Francisco, he not only knew about Norton but he was very
familiar with the notes’ rarity.  While there may be some
bargains to be found in his stock, don’t expect any great
rarities to sell too cheaply.   While I’d walked away empty-
handed this time, I truly enjoyed our conversation.  I’ll
miss having his shop so close by.

Thursday evening was my first chance in weeks to get out of
the office as a decent hour.  At 6:15 I met John Andrew in
the building lobby. John is COIN World’s London correspondent,
and he’s a managing editor and regular columnist for Britain’s
Coin News magazine.  We walked a block to Kettner’s for dinner.

Coincidentally, we both ordered the Kettner’s salad, a specialty
with chicken, aubergine and almonds. We talked of many things,
only some numismatic.  John gave me a copy of the September 2007
issue of Coin News, which has some nice articles by John including
his regular Market Scene column commenting on recent auction
results, one on Inhuman Traffic, an exhibit on the slave trade
at the British Museum which incorporates related banknotes,
coins and tokens; and finally a profile of Richard Beale of
the Warwick & Warwick auction house.

It was a wonderful, civilized dinner, greatly beating the Subway
sandwiches which served as meals while working late the previous
three nights.  We went our separate ways sometime after eight o’clock.
I made my way back to my hotel and stayed up late dealing with laundry,
receipts, email and packing.  On Friday at the office we put some
finishing touches on work to be used be our client over the next
two weeks.  At mid-afternoon I left the office wheeling my suitcase
behind me.  Not finding an available taxi, I walked to Piccadilly
Circus and took the tube to Paddington Station.  Reversing my steps
from a couple weeks ago, I took the Heathrow Express to the airport.
While waiting for my plane I read that celebrity rocker Amy Winehouse
and her husband had argued in an expensive hotel on Regent Street,
spilling onto the streets at 3:30 in the morning.  I’d walked the
same street late Wednesday night catching a bus to my own hotel
after a long night at the office.

Offering my boarding pass at the gate I had a start when the machine
rejected it with a loud beep and a bold red light.  What was the
problem?  Was I flagged by the authorities for some infraction?  I
swear, I just forgot to turn off my cell phone on the last flight –
it wasn’t my fault!  And that mass of metal in my checked luggage
is four pounds worth of pennies and two pence coins destined for
the Coins4Kids program run by the Pennsylvania Association of
Numismatists.  Was a body cavity search in the cards?  As it turned
out, I’d been upgraded to Upper Class.  How’d they know it was my
birthday (August 24)?

It was a nice comfy seat, and of course now I’ll be too spoiled
to ever be comfortable in steerage (I mean, “Economy Class”) again.
The comfy private reclining seat was convertible into a bed.  The
tray was large and a power source was available for my laptop.
The wine flowed.  At 38,000 feet I worked for a while on The E-Sylum,
getting caught up with a week’s worth of editing chores.  The meal
was top-notch, opening with a great carrot soup.  For my main course
I chose a potato and cheese pie, which was very tasty, followed by
a strawberry tart.  No candles or singing, but it sure hit the spot.
And did I mention the wine?  God bless the flight attendant, who
guessed me to be well over ten years younger than I am. Thanks to
John Andrew as well, who also thought I was younger.  But grey hairs
are starting to appear, so I won’t get away with the act much longer.

Anyway, for a nearly eight-hour flight, first class has a lot going
for it.  But I’m still puzzled why the Heathrow Express train has a
First Class car.  Exactly how does one enjoy a comfier seat on a
fifteen minute train ride?  Lap dancers?   Unless I get upgraded
sometime I’ll never know.  When I got tired I put away my computer,
watched a bit of a movie, then rested.  The last two weeks were
exhausting.  I looked forward to getting home to my wife and family
and celebrating my son Tyler’s seventh birthday (August 20).

I couldn’t sleep and ended up reading my copy of the Clara Semple
book ‘A Silver Legend: The Story of the Maria Theresa Thaler’.  It
was a nicely illustrated book that does a great job of presenting
centuries of history around this interesting trade coin.  Eventually
our flight landed at Dulles Airport and I stepped out into the hot
and humid summer night to grab a taxi, a welcome change from the
cold and rainy London weather.  My son Tyler greeted me at the door
with a Happy Birthday message and a handmade birthday card.
Home, Sweet Home – it was great to be back.


Dave Harper reported August 23 that as we predicted, there were
no takers for the Canadian coin that Teletrade spun up their
publicity machine for.  He wrote:

“It wouldn't fit in anyone's pocket.

“Nobody took home the big Canadian $1 million gold coin offered
in Teletrade's Aug. 16 auction.

"‘While the big Canadian coin did not sell it came very
close to the reserve was $2 million, and the bid was up to
$1,950,000,’ reported Teletrade President Ian Russell.

"The 100-kilogram coin, created by the Royal Canadian Mint
in part to highlight availability of .99999 fine gold in
its Maple Leaf bullion coin offerings, contains more than
$2 million in gold.

"Another example of the 220-pound (3,215 troy ounces) coin
was displayed at the American Numismatic Association convention
in Milwaukee, Wis., Aug. 8-12.

"The piece was put up for bids Aug. 16 to promote a new service,
Teletrade Direct, a way for collectors and investors to purchase
gold, silver or platinum bullion items. Among offerings are
Canadian Maple Leaf and U.S. American Eagle and Buffalo
bullion coins."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


"A 1923 buffalo nickel, an old Army uniform and a crumbly wallet
with faded photographs might help investigators figure out exactly
which missing World War II airman's remains are lying in the
county morgue in Fresno.

"But it will probably come down to something more modern and
foolproof -- DNA matching.

"The remains of what is believed to be the second of four crewmen
who died on a 1942 training flight were found by hikers last week
on a remote Sierra mountainside in Kings Canyon National Park. The
body was brought by helicopter and coroner's van to the morgue Monday.

"A coroner's deputy took a quick peek inside the wallet, to see
if there might be identification. All she found were faded
photographs, the images not recognizable, Hadden said. Deputies
also found the nickel and an 87-year-old dime.

"The remains were found less than 100 feet from where climbers
found the ice-covered body of airman Leo Mustonen in 2005.

"Mustonen was one of four men aboard the AT-7 navigational plane
that disappeared in a blizzard Nov. 18, 1942, after taking off
from Mather Air Force Base near Sacramento on an Army Air Force
training flight. The others were pilot William Gamber, 23, of
Fayette, Ohio, and cadets John Mortenson, 25, of Moscow, Idaho,
and Ernest Munn, 23, of St. Clairsville, Ohio."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


Dick Johnson writes: "There is a trendy coffee bar in Toronto whose
proprietor refuses to accept payment in cents, nickels, and dimes.
All his prices are rounded off in full dollar amounts and quarters
are the smallest coin he will accept. He has been called the 'coffee
nazi' by his regular customers after Seinfeld's 'soup nazi.'

"'I don't deal with that stuff. See,' says Stuart Ross of cents,
nickels and dimes in his Bulldog Coffee bar. A journalist put him
to the test and offered him a stack of ten dimes for his dollar
purchase.  ''Just take it,' he scoffs, pushing a cup of steaming
gourmet java towards me before turning to the next woman in line,
his thin bearded face immediately flipping from a sneer to a smile'
wrote the journalist.

"He has even removed his tip jar. 'So one day I take the huge jug
down to Dominion [bank] to the coin machine. Put it all in and get
$27,' he scoffs. 'When I got back to my car, there was a $30
parking ticket.'

"For sheer pleasure, read the article. There is also mention of
the Royal Canadian Mint's pending report on abolishing the cent,
and a sidebar of cent trivia 'Making Cents.'"

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


This week's featured web page is Michael J. Sullivan's article
on the NBS web site titled 'The Foote Counterfeit Detector and
Armand Champa'.

'The Foote Counterfeit Detector and
Armand Champa'

  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.

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