The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 10, Number 39, September 30, 2007:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2007, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers are Mark Brown of Syracuse University,
and Henry Nienhuis.  Welcome aboard!  We now have 1,186 subscribers.

This week we open with a reminder about Lake Books' current sale
and a review of a new book on the 1858 Cents of Provincial Canada.
We also cover news of a major exhibition on "Numismatics in the
Renaissance" at Princeton University, and of the death of numismatic
writers Arlie Slabaugh and Joseph Noble.

Next,, the web site driven by Krause Publications'
numismatic content announced large gains in readership.  In queries
this week Philip Mernick seeks a copy of a long-lost 1697 publication
on coffee pence.  On a related topic, we have some information on
Michael Czapla's missing manuscript on Gallery Mint Museum die

In a thoughtful editorial Dan Gosling likens the destruction of
electronic files (accidentally or otherwise) to book burning.  In
his second piece on the topic, Dick Johnson evaluates medals at the
30th FIDEM Congress.  In the news this week are profiles of a U.S.
Mint Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee member, coiner Ken Hopple
of the Nevada State Museum, and a Danbury family of three generations
of coin collectors.  In a non-numismatic news item, one of the most
important documents in world history is going on the auction block
in New York.

While my London Diary series is over, this week I've penned a diary
installment about my recent visit from author Roger Burdette.
To learn how an Edward VII penny is helping put the bong back
in Big Ben, read on.  Have a great week, everyone.

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


Fred Lake of Lake Books writes: "Just a reminder that our 90th mail-bid
sale of numismatic literature closes on Tuesday, October 2, 2007 at 5:00
PM (EDT). You may view the sale at
Bids may be placed via email, fax, or telephone."


[With permission, reprinted below is a review by Henry Nienhuis of
the new book "The 1858 Cents of Provincial Canada" by Rob Turner.
It was published in the September 2007 issue of the CN Journal, a
publication of the Canadian Numismatic Association
(  -Editor]

The 1858 Cents of Provincial Canada by Rob Turner is a comprehensive
ground breaking study on the first cent issued by the Province of
Canada. The author has extensively researched the 1858 1 cent and
it shows in the 338 heavily illustrated pages. The volume is
extensively footnoted and includes over 400 full colour photographs
and many beautiful antique images.

The book is a must have for any serious numismatist or collector
of Canadian coinage.

With just the right balance between historical and technical
information Rob Turner’s book divides naturally into two main
areas: an historical account of the decisions and economic factors
leading to the mintage of the Provincial decimal coinage and a
detailed catalogue of the characteristics of each working die used
in the minting of the 1858 1 cent.

Turner examines the realities of 19th century British North America
from an economic perspective and then ties this information to the
details of the decision making process. He then moves on to an
extensive description of the minting procedures used by the Royal
Mint at the time. From here the author proceeds with a step by
step examination of the results of the mintage of this issue in

The full colour photographs used extensively in the catalogue
section support Turner’s research and illustrate the characteristics
used to identify each working die. In addition he employs the use
of sound statistics, based on a sample of 150 random examples, to
draw conclusions on the relative scarcity of each die and die
combination. The author has included a detailed statistical analysis
in the appendix for completeness.

Turner has elevated the bar in Canadian numismatic research by
providing detailed analysis of the dies used in minting the 1858
1 cent coinage. Will others take up the challenge and produce works
following on from this foundation? Let’s hope so!

The 1858 Cents of Provincial Canada is available from the author
for US$100.00 plus US$20.00 shipping and handling to Canada.
Rob Turner, 8821 La Zana Court, Fountain Valley CA USA 92708


The Armenian Daily Newspaper Asbarez published an item on September
20th about donations of numismatic books by the Armenian Numismatic

"Keeping with its tradition of promoting and encouraging the science
of Armenian numismatics, the executive board of the Armenian Numismatic
Society has decided to begin donating Armenian numismatic books to
Armenian High Schools in the United States.

"Numismatic books for Armenian high schools in the United States
are considered a luxury which is sometimes out of the question.
Armenian day-schools in the United States are subsidized by donations
from parents, benefactors and members of the Armenian community
living within the immediate vicinity of the school. Tuition fees
cover only a fraction of the total expenses and tight budgets limit
the financial allocations for Armenological books.

"For the past few decades, the Society has been shipping numismatic
books to Armenia to be distributed to Armenian schools of higher
education in order to spread the knowledge of Armenian numismatics.
While a few schools in the Los Angeles area have also received
publications from the Society or various other sources.

"The website for the Armenian Numismatic Society is  The Society's secretary may be
contacted at 562-695-0980 or by e-mail at
The Society is located at 8511 Beverly Park Place, Pico Rivera,
CA 90660-1920"

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


Regarding last week's discussion of David Lange's new book 'Coin
Collecting Boards of the 1930s & 1940s: A Complete History, Catalog
and Value Guide.', Bob Lyall writes: "So what is a coin board???
You review a book on the subject but don’t say what they are.  As
an international readership it would help if the subject was
described, please, it means nothing to this Englishman.

It sounds like an American description for something, perhaps those
Folding cards with holes in for date collectors of cents or
whatever?  Surely there is no book on this subject?"

[I apologise for the editorial lapse.  I do try to define terms
in every E-Sylum item so each can stand on its own, but I guess
I got lazy on this one since we'd discussed the book in earlier
issues.  Here's a definition from the author's web site:

"What are coin boards?  Coin boards are 11" x 14" sheets of
Cardboard with openings to hold a series of coins. The dates and
mintages appear beneath each opening, and a colorful backing paper
holds the coins in place. Coin boards were first produced in 1934
and they revolutionized the hobby. Before that time, coin cabinets
and albums were simply too expensive to attract new converts. Priced
at just 25 cents each, coin boards made collecting a hobby for the
whole family and led to the folders so popular today."  -Editor]

Bob adds: "I recall youngsters collected British pennies out of
circulation by date until we went decimal.  That was one way youngsters
started to collect coins; sadly, there is no interest in collecting like
that now as the oldest coin in circulation will be 1970's whereas
pre-decimalisation we could find Victorian coins still circulating."






[Alan Stahl, Curator of Numismatics at Princeton published the
following release via the American Numismatic Society mail list
Wednesday afternoon.  -Editor]

A major exhibition on "Numismatics in the Renaissance" will be
on view in the Main Exhibition Gallery of Firestone Library at
Princeton University from November 9, 2007, through July 20, 2008.
The exhibition will include rare fifteenth- and sixteenth-century
volumes from Princeton's Rare Books Division that discuss and
illustrate ancient coins, and a display of some of the treasures
of the Library's Numismatic Collection, featuring gold, silver,
and bronze coins of Greece and Rome, as well as coins and medals
of the Renaissance that were inspired by them. The exhibition will
also include manuscripts, prints, and drawings from Princeton
University collections and Pirro Ligorio's monumental map of
ancient Rome, made in 1561.

Although ancient coins were found throughout the Mediterranean
region in the millennium following the end of the Roman Empire,
it was only in Renaissance Europe that they began to be studied
systematically; reproductions appear in some of the earliest printed
books to carry engraved illustrations. The Princeton collection
is particularly rich in these impressive examples of early printing,
ranging from the 1517 edition of Andrea Fulvio's Images of the
Illustrious, with its highly decorated settings of each coin image,
through Hubert Goltzius's large-scale chiaroscuro reproductions of
imperial portraits of the 1550s, to Antonio Augustín's late
sixteenth-century systematic classification of ancient coinage
and guidelines for detecting counterfeits.

The role that the study of ancient coins played in Renaissance
culture will be illustrated through the display of art works of
the period that depict objects of classical antiquity, most notably
a drawing by Parmigianino in the collection of the Princeton
University Art Museum with an image of the goddess Minerva
apparently derived from one on Roman coins. Selected Renaissance
coins and medals will highlight the efforts of rulers of the period
to present themselves in the guise of ancient leaders. Coin imagery
in Renaissance literature will be shown by the pairing of Tudor coins
with early editions of Shakespeare's history plays, which are
particularly rich in puns on coin names and details.

A daylong symposium, "The Rebirth of Antiquity: Numismatics,
Archaeology, and Classical Studies in the Culture of the
Renaissance," will be held on Friday, November 9, to celebrate the
opening of the exhibition that afternoon at 4:30. The symposium is
free and open to the public; individuals who wish to attend should
pre-register by contacting Alan Stahl, Curator of Numismatics (609-

"Numismatics in the Renaissance" is free and open to the public.
Gallery hours are weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., plus Wednesday
evenings until 7:45 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5
p.m. Exhibition tours will be offered to the public at 3:00 p.m.
on Sundays: November 18, 2007, and March 16 and June 1, 2008.


John Eshbach forwarded word via Bob Lenz and Robert Ruby that author
and researcher Arlie Slabaugh passed away this past Monday (September
24).   He had been in a hospice unit for several months.  No other
details were available at the time.

I was introduced to Arlie Slabaugh's writings when I began researching
U.S. encased postage stamps.  His short monograph on the subject
published by Numismatic Scrapbook magazine was the only comprehensive
publication on the topic at the time.   I later acquired a group of
issues of The Emergency Money Collector, a publication Slabaugh edited.
Wondering what constituted a complete set, I wrote to him on May 7,
1990.  Slabaugh replied that I was in possession of a complete set
(only seven issues: Vol 1, Nos 1-4, Vol 2, Nos 1-3.  He wrote: "I had
the copy ready for Vol 2 No. 4 but never published it. (I printed it
myself, by the way)."

Slabaugh added: "By the way, you may not know that in 1941-44 (or is
it 1943), I published The Hobby Spotlite, a general hobby magazine of
24 or more pages 6x9 size.  I later sold the publication -- I just had
too many health problems that disrupted the schedule at the time.
Had I been able to continue, it might have become a major hobby
publication--had such advertisers as Pittsburgh Coin Exchange
(William Gaede), etc."

"In 1954 I began work at The Numismatic Scrapbook in Chicago and
was there until 1967 -- both as a printer and associate editor,
although for some reason, Lee Hewitt liked to list just himself
as editor although I did much of the writing, including pen names,
and took over when he was on vacation.  It was long hours, and not
great pay, bus I miss those years.  Coin collecting was still
coin collecting then, we only had rolls and proof sets to get
mad at."

I don't know what Slabaugh's health problems were (and never met
him in person), but I recall learning that he was deaf.  I believe
Charles Davis auctioned his numismatic library several years ago.

If any of our readers have recollections about Arlie Slabaugh,
please send them to me for the next E-Sylum issue - we'd love to
hear from you.  Does anyone else have a set of The Emergency
Money Collector?  The Hobby Spotlite?


Sam Pennington writes: "Joseph Veach Noble died September 22 in
West Orange NJ. He was 87. The NY Times printed his long history
as an expert in antiquities but not a word about his numismatic
achievements.  Mr. Noble wrote the chapter on the Society of
Medalists for the 1988 'The Medal in America' book."

['The Medal in America' was the title of compiled papers presented
to the Coinage of the Americas Conference at The American Numismatic
Society, New York, September 26-27, 1987, edited by Alan Stahl.
Some excerpts from Noble's obituary appear below. Can any of our
readers provide more information on his numismatic endeavors?

"During World War II, Mr. Noble served in the camera branch of the
Signal Corps in Long Island City, Queens. After the war, he worked
as the executive vice president of Film Counselors in New York.

"Around this time he started collecting ancient Greek vases and
other antiquities, and in 1966, he owned the largest private
collection of Athenian vases in the United States.

"Mr. Noble was the Met’s vice director of operations from 1967 to
1970. He started at the museum in 1956 as an operating administrator,
a newly created position mostly concerned with business supervision.

"In a 1972 interview, he said: “I feel we should keep one foot
in the past. The past is only prologue, but unless you know what
the prologue is, you can’t really know the present.”"

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


According to a September 28 press release, Krause Publications' is fast becoming one of the hobby's top web

"'The traffic growth we have seen is very exciting,' said NumisMaster
director of online business Scott Tappa. 'We believe that when coin
and paper money collectors see what we have put together on the site
-- Krause Publications’ 50-plus years of pricing data and expertise,
presented in a Web 2.0 package -- they will make NumisMaster their
collecting home page.'

"September has been the most active month yet for the site, located
at, with visits up over 1,200 percent since May,
and page views up 570 percent. New visits to the site are also up
32 percent.

"This growth is expected to continue as producers expand the site
to include video coverage of all aspects of coin collecting, audio
podcasts, and the ability for the public to vote online for the
World Coin of the Year award, to be presented in February. This
will add to NumisMaster’s core content: more than 1 million coin
values taken from the respected Standard Catalog line of coin
pricing books, and news and commentary from the producers of
magazines like Numismatic News, World Coin News, and Bank Note

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


Sam Pennington, Publisher of the Maine Antique Digest writes: "I'm
trying to research a medal which is listed in One Hundred Years of
American Medallic Art 1845-1945 the John E. Marqusee Collection:

18. Edward Bailey Wickes, Jr. Medal, 1917 bronze uniface, 3 1/4
inches, 84.7 mm, maker unknown Obv: Right profile bust of Edward
Wickes, a baby, with his name above and the inscription "Born Sept
16 1917" below. Comments: Initialed 'W.A.P.'

The edge is marked 'P.P.B. u Co. Munchen Made in Germany.'
My questions: Who was Wickes and who is the sculptor? I'll be glad
to send a composite picture showing all the features to anyone
requesting it. My E-mail is"


[There is always some great numismatic reading in the pages of the
CN Journal, a publication of the Canadian Numismatic Association
( Editor Dan Gosling's Closing
Comments column is always worth a look, and the June 2007 issue
(Vol. 52, no. 5, page 254) had a column of particular relevance
to E-Sylum readers.  With permission I'm republishing 'Book Burning'
here.  -Editor]

Over the centuries people and societies have burned books. Books
have been burned because of ignorance, a desire to restrict exposure
to certain ideas and ideals or to restrict people from learning.
Burning a book is the ultimate form of censorship as you cannot
read what no longer exists. Whatever the reason, burning books
is bad.

Over the centuries people have destroyed letters and correspondence.
Letters and correspondence have been destroyed out of ignorance or
a lack of appreciation for the information and ideas that letters
and correspondence contain, to prevent learning, to restrict exposure
to information and ideas, or to censor the thoughts of others. You
cannot read letters and correspondence that do not exist. Whatever
the reason, destroying letters and correspondence is bad.

Over the centuries people have disposed of, or trashed, newspapers,
magazines, journals and newsletters. These publications have been
disposed of and destroyed without consideration for the needs of
future researchers, because of a lack of space, an appreciation
of the contents or a desire to share the printed information with
others. Whatever the reason, trashing newspapers, magazines,
magazines, journals and newsletters is bad.

Over the decades people have deleted computer files. Files are
deleted that are no longer needed or to free up room for other
files. Files are deleted because of ignorance or to restrict
exposure to others or a lack of appreciation for the information
within the files and the needs of future researchers or once the
information in the file has been printed. Files are deleted without
appreciation for the speed and power of software search tools.
Files can be lost when hardware fails, operating systems crash
and viruses infect computers. Files are lost that are not transferred
to a new computer because of a lack the knowledge, skills or desire
to do so. Whatever the reason, deleting files is bad.

Those that prepare publications and articles for print and
electronic distribution have an obligation to preserve the
information for future use. The act of deleting computer files
is detrimental to the success of our hobby and the needs of
future numismatists and researchers. Don’t allow complacency
or bad habits to cause the destruction of electronic information
you are the custodian of. You are responsible for the preservation
of this knowledge. Stop the practice of electronic book burning.

There is an archive of past CN Closing Comments columns at:
CN Closing Comments

[Dan also forwarded a copy of another great article of his (published
in the January/February 2006 issue) on the initial volume of The CN
Journal. Titled "The First Year", the article is a very interesting
account of the debut of the journal in 1955.  It's too long to
republish, and taking excerpts wouldn't do it justice.  But look
for it if you're a CNA member or have access to the 2006 volume.


Philip Mernick writes: "Robert Thompson who, with Michael Dickinson,
is cataloguing the massive Norweb Collection of British & Irish 17th
century tokens is looking for a copy of this extremely rare
publication:  'The Downfall of Coffee-Pence...', London: Phil.
Brooksby, 1672.

(Philip Brooksby, free of the Stationers' Company 1670, flourished
until 1697). Quarto, described from the Harleian library [1747?],
and not seen since. Probably sold by the bookseller Thomas Osborne
between 1742 and 1748).

It is not recorded by Wing in any library! It is possible that the
Harleian copy has found its way to the USA. If anyone knows of the
whereabouts of this, or any other copy, Robert would very much like
to hear."

[A search on Google Books returned just one reference to this title,
an entry in 'A Bibliography of Finance' edited by Mitsuzo Masui
(vol 1).  Originally published in Kobe in 1935, the bibliography was
reprinted by Burt Franklin in 1969.

"The Downfall of coffee-pence: or, a true and perfect account of
the short life, deserved death, and desired burial of coffee-pence
and half-pence: with the sad lamentation of their owners, on their
changing them for silver: in pursuance of his majesties gracious
proclamation, published the 19th of this instant August, 1672."

What a marvelous find this would be!  Can anyone help locate this
title, or tell us where else to look?  -Editor]

Philip adds: "I wonder if E-sylum readers can suggest other examples
of numismatic publications known to have been printed but have no
copies recorded, even in museums and national libraries."

[My thoughts exactly - I'm sure there are other such titles.
Could we compile a "most wanted" list of missing numismatic
titles?  -Editor]


Edwin Johnson writes: "In 'Gleanings From Recent Numismatic Periodicals
and Catalogues' in last week's E-Sylum, in the last paragraph on the
Timothy Benford article in Coin Values (where I just so happen to have
been an interviewee), the question was posed as to the whereabouts
of Michael Czapla's manuscript on Gallery Mint Museum die varieties.
There is some information on that at Verne Walrafen's Gallery Mint
Museum ScrapBook."

[Many thanks for pointing this out.  Below are excerpts from the
web page, which was published in 2000. -Editor]

"I knew that Mr. Czapla had done extensive research into the GMM
creations but due to his untimely death I never could lay my hands
on a copy. At this writing I have momentary custody of Ron Landis'
only copy of the Czapla first edition publication.

"This reference work, was created to provide collectors with the
necessary information to determine and identify the various die
varieties, die combinations and mintage of reproductions and modern
issues struck by the Gallery Mint Museum. Michael L. Czapla, III...
circa 1997

"The publication is an 84 page loose leaf, punched for a three ring
binder, study broken into 12 subjects; 1) Half Cents, 2) Large Cents,
3) Half Dimes, 4) Dimes, 5) Quarter Dollars, 6) Half Dollars, 7)
Silver Dollars, 8) Modern Dollars, 9) Colonials, 10) Early American,
11) Gold Reproductions and 12) Mintage Summary. It was originally
available through Mr. Czapla for $17.95 postpaid."

To read the original article, see: Full Story



Dick Johnson writes: "And the Grand Prix, the top award of the 30th
FIDEM Congress, goes to ... drum roll please maestro ... Helder Batista
of Portugal. (Applause and cheers!)

"Batista had medals in both the main exhibit and 'FIDEM at 70'
parallel exhibition. The difference between the two is that the
main exhibit were medals created in the last two years, since the
2005 Congress. The parallel exhibit was composed of medallic items
created in the past, a retrospective of past FIDEM exhibits.

"A rumor circulated that the decision had been made before the
delegates even arrived in Colorado Springs.   Did the current
exhibitors even have a chance at the prize? Do I detect a touch
of cronyism here between artist and judges? The winning artist's
medallic creations in the present exhibition were rather lackluster
in this critic's opinion.

"Had the officials wanted to honor Batista, they should have given
him a 'Lifetime Achievement Award.' But then give the Grand Prix --
as it should have been -- to the best medallic piece in the show.

"Long before the awards banquet, I examined every medal in the
exhibition. I ranked every medal from zero to ten based on what I
considered its desirability, its potential popularity. I had done
this at the last FIDEM held in America in 1987, also in Colorado
Springs sponsored by the ANA. I based this ranking on my intuition
as a medal dealer at the time.

"How would each medal appeal to an American medal collector? I
analyzed every medal on display by many factors: design, innovation,
creativity, beauty, technical perfection, topical interest, theme
development and appropriate inscription. It took seven hours across
two days to do my inspections and ratings this time.

"So here are Dick Johnson's awards. A tie for Grand Prix. Only two
artists got two tens. I would give the Grand Prix to both Daniel
Taton of France and Magdalena Dobruccka of Poland. Taton did one
medal for the chosen theme of the Exhibition 'Passages To
Reconstruction' with the Twin Towers in flames, titled 'September
11, 2001.' The theme of the artist's other ten was the 'Concord,'
certainly a candidate for an aviation and space topic collector.

"For Madame Dobruccka's twin tens she choose Mozart and Rembrandt,
not only in artistic format but choose a universally popular topic,
music. Another of her creations, 'Kite'  was illustrated on the
cover of the 'Numismatist' September 2007 issue handed out to
everyone who registered to attend the exhibition. It contained my
article, 'Objects of Desire' illustrated with ten medals all shown
in the exhibition.

"Now for the nations that won the highest rank in the Olympics of
Medallic Art. The Gold goes to Italy (with a 6.47 average for 45
medals), the Silver to France (despite a low turnout, a 6.4 for
17 medals) -- no surprise for either of these nations -- both
long established in the art medal field.

"The surprise -- and this may be considered an upset -- the
Olympic Bronze goes to Canada (with a 6.1 for 46 medals)!

"The United States ranked below a mediocre average, 20th among 32
nations (4.4 for 65 medals). In conversation with a sculptor-painter
artist visiting from Santa Fe, he told me, "I wasn't going to say
anything, but is this the best we can do?"  U.S. medals earned:
six 0s, four 1s, five 2s, ten 3s, seven 4s, nine 5s, ten 6s, eight
7s, no 8s, five 9s, one 10. Total 286 points across 65 medals. I
gave a 10 to Jeanne Stephens-Sollman's 'ICFAD,' for the International
Council of Fine Art Deans -- a stunning milieu of themes --
literature, theater, painting, all the arts. Obviously a highly
artistic medal was required for an art organization.

"Last place in my accounting fell to Portugal. In a striking
contrast, Portugal had the greatest number of artists, 43, and
the greatest number of medals exhibited, 79. But this critic gave
this nation the lowest ranking of medal desirability of all nations,
2.49 (with only 189 points out of a possible 790). I felt this
country's art medallists are moving too far afield from traditional
or popular art medal desirability. These artists have every right
to do this but can be considered creating small sculptural objects
rather than reproducible medallic objects as struck or cast medals.

"Next week:  A report for E-Sylum readers on the FIDEM Exhibition



A University of Cincinnati publication profiled history professor
John K. Alexander and his position on the U.S. Mint's Citizens
Coinage Advisory Committee:

"The 11-member CCAC's most recent charge? Making recommendations
for the redesign of the 'tails' side of the Lincoln penny, to
coincide with the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's 1809
birth and the 100th anniversary of the 1909 introduction of the
Lincoln coin.

"The redesign, recently covered by the Associated Press in a story
quoting Alexander, is sparking a national buzz. But amidst constant
rumors of the 1-cent coins disappearing due to the high cost of
making them, Alexander thinks you can take this to the bank: As
long as pennies are around, the famous profile of the 16th U.S.
president will most likely adorn the 'heads' side of them.

"'It's fair to say the penny is one of the most beloved of
American coins,' says Alexander, a distinguished teaching
professor who came to UC in 1969. 'In part, that's because
it's such a striking portrait of Lincoln … and I think that's
why we're not likely to see that image disappear.'

"'I just love being on this committee,' says Alexander – who
laughingly admits he'll still pick up a penny he spots on the
street. 'People listen to each other. Minds have been changed …
We can only recommend, but we can perhaps have an influence
on coins that will be here forever.'"

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


David F. Fanning writes: "David Lange wrote in the last E-Sylum
that 'The USPS doesn't want anyone sending material that weighs
more than 13 ounces by first class or priority mail, because the
package may contain a bomb!'

"I don't know where he got this information, but it's not true.
I send heavy books on a regular basis via priority rate. In fact,
since the introduction of the flat rate priority boxes, I use
priority mailing much more often. You do have to bring heavier
packages to a person to have them processed, though--you can't
just put them in a mail box. That is for security reasons and
that rule has been in place for a few years now."


Granvyl Hulse writes: "As a genealogist I would say that both
names are correct. Her maiden name was Cornelia de Zeng, and
she married Gard Foster."



Dick Johnson was the last numismatic visitor to my library in Pittsburgh.
Dick and his wife Shirley were in town for the Carnegie Hero Medal
Centenary celebration.  On October 15, 2004 they joined my whole
family for dinner at a nearby restaurant, then came back to the house.
We had a fun evening discussing numismatics, numismatists, The E-Sylum
and countless other topics.

I spent much of the next summer commuting to a new job in northern
Virginia, and in August of last year we sold the Pittsburgh house
and bought a new one in Virginia.  This summer I "commuted" even
farther for my assignment in London.  Now that that's over things
are settling down into a more normal routine.  Since we moved here
I'd been wanting to get together with Roger Burdette who lives just
a few miles away.  The publication of his latest book provided an
ideal opportunity, and Wednesday night he stopped by, becoming
the first numismatic visitor to my library in its new Virginia home.

Arriving about 8:30 after our kids were in bed, I introduced Roger
to my wife Dee, and we had a nice hallway chat about the neighborhood
and surrounding area.  When Dee headed upstairs for the night, Roger
and I sat down at the kitchen table to review a copy of his latest
book, 'Renaissance of American Coinage 1909-1915'.  I leafed through
the book page-by-page, questioning Roger on various topics and
illustrations.  He filled me in on the background of his research
and decisions about leaving certain things in or out of the book.
When I was done Roger kindly signed the book for me.

Next we walked into my office for a tour of my numismatic library.
It was a fun stroll down memory lane for me as I recounted how I'd
acquired and organized it over the years.  The bound Numismatist
set came from the library of Richard Foley of Pittsburgh; many other
periodicals such as the bound sets of Coin Collector's Journal and
Essay-Proof Journal came from the Donald Miller library.  My
incomplete American Journal of Numismatic set came from my purchase
of the publisher's backstock of the AJN.  My plated catalogs
(Chapman and others) came from the Miller library and one at a
time from many other sources.

I showed Roger a listing of my 50+ numismatic ephemera binders and
as an example pulled out the "Coinage Proposals" binder.  It holds
various pamphlets and other items relating to Universal Decimal
Coinage, Bimetallic Coinage, Robert Noxon Toppan's proposed
International Unit, and Nicholas Veeder's Cometallic Eutopia coins.
Also in the binder is a hardbound copy of Veeder's 1885 Cometallism
pamphlet, which I purchased in the John J. Ford library sale.

Looking at the binder list Roger asked about "M. N. Daycious" and
I recounted the story of the great numismatic bibliophile April Fool's
joke of 1992.

Like most collectors I can't resist showing off my collection, but
everything was in a bank safe deposit box except the last purchase
from my London trips; I pulled out two 1833 Robert Owen Labour
Exchange notes purchased from Simon Narberth to show Roger.

Before ending the evening I pulled out a copy of my library guest
book and asked Roger to sign it, which he gladly did.  The beautifully
bound blank book with my name in gilt on the spine was a gift from
E-Sylum reader Stephen Pradier in June 2004.  It was made by his
binder, Long's Roullet Bookbinders, Inc of Norfolk, VA.

I bid Roger goodbye sometime before 11pm.  One of the last things
I showed him was my E-Sylum "To-Do" pile, a foot-high stack of books
to be reviewed.  His new book only made the stack higher.  It includes
a copy of Karl Moulton's and Rusty Goe's new books, some that I
bought from London, plus some newer auction catalogs.  I'd tried
to whittle down the stack last week with my "Gleanings from Recent
Numismatic Periodicals and Catalogues" item.  It didn't help much
- the pile now looms larger than ever.   But it's all part of the
hobby fun.    We'd had a great evening visiting and chatting
numismatics, and that makes all the work worthwhile.







It's non-numismatic, but bibliophiles may be interested to know
that an original of one of the world's most famous documents is
heading to the auction block.  Readers John and Nancy Wilson also
noticed this announcement.  They write: "The Magna Carta will be
sold by Sotheby's.  We collect ephemera and historical documents,
but this item is way out of our league (estimates $20 to 30 Million)."

[Below are excerpts from the New York Times article forwarded by
the Wilsons, followed by excerpts from a piece in the Art Daily
newsletter.  -Editor]

"It is the document that laid the foundation for fundamental
principles of English law. Angry colonists complained long before
the Boston Tea Party that King George III had violated it. The men
who drafted the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights
borrowed from it.

"It is Magna Carta, agreed to by King John of England in 1215 and
revised and reaffirmed through the 13th century. The tail dangling
off the page is a royal seal."

"Until last week, this copy was on display in the National Archives
in Washington, steps from the Declaration of Independence and the
Constitution. But it was only on loan from a foundation controlled
by the Texas billionaire Ross Perot, who bought it in 1984 for
$1.5 million.

"The foundation told the archives this month that it had decided
to end the loan and take back Magna Carta. Its departure came so
suddenly that the archives did not have time to remodel the display
case or fill it with some of the nine billion documents from the
archives' own collection."

"Mr. Redden arranged the Magna Carta auction quietly, so quietly
that Sotheby’s did not tell its own employees why it was changing
arrangements for other auctions. James Zemaitis, the director of
Sotheby’s 20th-century design department, said he was asked to
give up a room at Sotheby’s headquarters on York Avenue at East
72nd Street that he had reserved for a pre-auction exhibition
of his own.

"“All they told me was: ‘David Redden is selling this really
important document, the most important document of all. Can you
give up this room for us?’ ” he recalled. “And I’m like, ‘Sure,
but what is he selling, the Magna Carta?’ ”"

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

"David Redden, Vice Chairman of Sotheby’s, said, “The Magna Carta
is the first rung on the ladder to freedom, followed by the great
American charters of freedom - the Declaration of Independence,
the Bill of Rights and The Gettysburg Address. This document
symbolizes mankind’s eternal quest for freedom; it is a talisman
of liberty.”

" is a law which is above the King and which even he must
not break. This reaffirmation of a supreme law and its expression
in a general charter is the great work of Magna Carta; and this
alone justifies the respect in which men have held it. --Winston
Churchill, 1956."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


"Not many children these days like to do the same things as their
fathers, particularly when it comes to hobbies.  So the chances of
finding three generations of a family pursuing the same pastime are
probably pretty slim.

"But the Danbury Coin Club has three generations of the Ventrella
family -- Michael, 86, of Bethel; son Frank, 46; and grandson,
Nicholas, 12, both of Danbury -- among its members.

"'I didn't do it because he did it,' Frank Ventrella said of the
hobby he picked up from his father as a child. 'I did it because
I enjoyed it, and I still enjoy it.'

"Frank Ventrella inherited his interest from his father, who said
he's 'been looking at coins ever since I could remember.'

"Michael Ventrella, a retired butcher and a longtime area dealer,
began saving coins in the late 1930s, when he worked as a
short-order cook.

"The eldest Ventrella was particularly intrigued by 'Barber'
dimes, which were made between 1892 and 1916. Flying Eagle cents
and Indian Head pennies, minted from 1857 to 1909, were also
still plentiful at the time, he said.

"'Whenever I got one as a tip, I would put it away,' he said.

"Ventrella's collecting was interrupted by his service as an
infantryman during World War II. When he was reported missing
after bloody fighting near Anzio, Italy, in 1944, his
heartbroken father took the coins to the bank and cashed them in.

"By the time his family learned he was safe, the coins were
long gone. So he started again after the war."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


"The first medallion Ken Hopple pressed at the Nevada State Museum
was a commemorative medallion for former Nevada Speaker of the
Assembly Joe Dini in the fall of 2002.

"He's also pressed medallions for most Nevada towns, the Nevada
Legislature, and requests from special-interest groups.

"'We use different metals to press the medallions,' Hopple said.
'Brass, copper, silver - I have done gold for the Nevada
Legislature - silver clad and nickel.'

"Hopple, 61, was pressing a brass medallion recently for Nevada's
74th State Legislature - 2007. The front of the coin shows a tule
duck decoy, and the Nevada State Seal on the back.

"'I'm a tool and die maker by trade,' said Hopple, a senior tool
maker for the Hamilton Co. in Reno. His profession is called a

"Ken's wife, Karen, 53, does research work at home on the computer
and helps design medallions.

"'I make my own hours and do my own thing,' Karen said, as she
cleaned the plastic medallion cases while wearing white gloves.

"The Hopples have been volunteers at the Nevada State Museum for
about five years. Married 29 years, they have lived in Golden
Valley for 27.

"'Imagine meeting this guy and listening to what he does and
had done,' Karen Hopple said. 'He took me to see the King Tut
exhibit on our honeymoon.'

"Ken started out as a volunteer in the anthropology department.
He made a part for the coin press and, according to Karen, 'he
was stolen from the anthropology department to be a volunteer
on the coin press.'

"Now, the Hopples are at the museum the fourth Friday of each
month operating the press and talking with visitors to the
museum about the history of the press, coins and medallions."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


"When it costs two nickels to make one nickel, which it does
in 2007, one has to wonder about the prudence of current currency

"So U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard is trying to change it.

"He is sponsoring a Senate measure to allow the treasury secretary
to more easily change the composition of coins, Allard said in a
recent interview.

"Allard had the mint in mind when he crafted the bill, he said.
But the mint isn't the only Colorado connection to currency.

"Colorado has always been very much involved in metal issues,
as far as coins are concerned," Allard said. "You know Henry
Moore Teller?"

"Teller, for whom a Colorado county is named, was secretary of
the Interior under President Chester A. Arthur and then a Republican,
Silver Republican and Democratic senator from Colorado.

"Teller advocated "bimetallism," a monetary standard in which
the value of money can be expressed with gold or silver. Being
from a silver-laden state with towns such as Silverton and
Silverthorne, Teller thought silver should have equal heft with gold.

"In 1892, Teller helped secure a declaration in support of
bimetallism at the Republican National Convention. Four years
later, he helped lead a revolt from the Republican platform and
withdrew from the party, taking thousands of votes with him. He
became a Silver Republican and briefly mounted a run for president
on that ticket. Ultimately, he threw his support behind the
Democrats, and he later switched parties. He never returned to
the GOP, unlike other Silver Republicans.

"We haven't had a silver nor a gold standard for currency since
the end of the Great Depression, when President Franklin Roosevelt
severed ties between paper money and gold bullion.

"Maybe that's too bad -- since nickels are worth more because
of their contents than for their stated value, perhaps it would
be nice to have a silver or gold standard against which our
currency could be measured. Maybe one day it would again be
worth more than the euro."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


Dick Hanscom writes: "This article is about the area around
the Jacob Perkins workshop and the Historical Society of Olde
Newbury. Thought it might be of interest although no mention
is made of Perkins."

[The Fruit Street Historic District would be the first in
Newburyport. -Editor]

"Most of the houses on the street are Federalist style,
something Newburyport is known for among architectural

"The oldest home on Fruit Street is a 1799 Federalist home
called the Jonathan Dalton House, at 3 Fruit St. Another house,
at 24 Prospect St., but still included in the district, dates
back to 1790 and is a Georgian-style home called the Young
Foster House."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


A Viking cache of silver coins recently discovered in Sweden
included an extremely rare coin... minted for Olof Skötkonung,
an ancient Swedish king. The hoard also included coins from
present-day Iraq and Uzbekistan, demonstrating the breadth of
the Vikings' trade networks.

"A thousand-year-old Viking treasure trove has been dug up in
a garden in Sweden, archaeologists report. The hoard of silver
coins from Europe, central Asia, and the Middle East was unearthed
earlier this month by a gardener tending his vegetable patch on
the Baltic island of Gotland (see Sweden map).So far 69 coins
dating from the late 900s and early 1000s have been found, said
archaeologist Dan Carlsson of Gotland University.The find
contains rare early Viking money and foreign currency from
present-day England, Germany, Ireland, Iraq, and Uzbekistan.

"Gareth Williams, curator of early medieval coinage at the
British Museum in London, said the concentration of early
medieval coins in Gotland is 'remarkable.' 'We've got more
surviving late Anglo-Saxon coins from Gotland than we have
from Britain, despite the fact it's not a very big island
and quite a way away,' he added.

"The newfound hoard, buried some 1,300 feet (400 meters) from
the site of an ancient Viking settlement, also includes highly
unusual coins minted for Olof Skötkonung, a regional Swedish
king, Carlsson said. 'He was the first king that minted coins
in Sweden,' he said. 'He obviously learned [coin-making] from
England,' he added. 'Many of the coins are copies of English
coins, most of all Ethelred coins.' Ethelred II was England's
monarch from 978 to 1016."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


[While I was in London this summer I wondered why I hadn't heard
the sound of Big Ben and just assumed I'd not been standing close
enough at the right times.  But the bell has been silent while
undergoing maintenance.  And according to an article this week in
the Daily Mail, a coin will play a key part in getting the great
bell and its clock back on duty. -Editor]

"Big Ben - which is not the tower which dominates the Houses of
Parliament, but the great bell at its summit which strikes the hours
- has been silent all summer.

"For the first time in almost half a century, it was stopped and
its complicated mechanism stripped down for repairs and maintenance.
Now the work is almost done.

"Next Monday, Big Ben will ring out again over London and across
the world.

"The work has not been easy. The Great Clock's massive mechanism
is driven by pulleys and weights like the pendulum of a grandfather
clock, a fraction of its size.

"It is housed in a chamber 292 stone steps above ground level. And
before the renovation could begin, much of the mechanism - including
the three weights which are two-and-a-half-tonnes in total - had
to be lowered to the ground through the narrow shaft that runs down
the middle of the spiral staircase. Cracks have been welded, driving
shafts replaced and fly wheels adjusted.

"A couple of weeks ago everything was hauled back into position and
'the three specialist' engineers - more properly called horologists
- who are employed to work on Parliament clocks, big and small,
are making sure that nothing goes wrong on the day of Big Ben's return.

"The staircase inside the tower is being repainted. So climbing
up to meet the horologists was a sticky as well as an exhausting
experience. Fortunately there were places to rest on the way.

"The door to the room in which miscreant Members of Parliament
were once imprisoned was locked. But on one landing a showcase
displayed an Edward VII penny. Michael McCann - an ex-marine
engineer and Keeper of the Great Clock as well as Parliament's
maintenance manager - explained why.

"When the clock is found to be gaining or losing time, the weight
of the pendulum is fractionally adjusted by the addition or removal
of an old-fashioned penny piece.

"Asked if the time would soon come when Big Ben's reputation
for accuracy depended on metric currency, McCann reacted with
horror. A copper coin, representing one 240th of a pound sterling,
did the job in 1859 when the clock was set in motion. If it was
good enough for then, it is good enough for now.

"During the final stages of the renovation, the giant hands have
rotated round the Roman numerals under the power of an electric
motor. McCann and his clock engineers are counting off the hours
until the real clock is working again.

"It seemed that they had only one regret. The three horologists
maintain and service all the clocks in Parliament, and - with
the coming of the digital age - the Westminster collection is
not what it used to be.

"'There's a good one in the Members' entrance said Smith. 'And
another in the Royal Robing Room,' added Westwood. 'But that
belongs to the Queen.' Roberson could not disguise his longing.
'They have some wonderful clocks in Buckingham Palace.'

"Yet, high above the traffic on Westminster Bridge, the clock
enthusiasts had one indisputable consolation. On October 1,
Big Ben will chime again. And when they hear what has become
the sound of England, they will know that the bell tolls loud
and clear because of them."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


Dave Bowers forwarded the following story of 'The Twenty and
the One':

"A well-worn one-dollar bill and a similarly distressed
twenty-dollar bill arrived at a Federal Reserve Bank to be
retired. As they moved along the conveyor belt to be burned,
they struck up a conversation. The twenty-dollar bill reminisced
about its travels all over the country. 'I've had a pretty good
life,' the twenty proclaimed. 'Why, I've been to Las Vegas and
Atlantic City, the finest restaurants in New York, performances
on Broadway, and even a cruise to the Caribbean'

"'Wow!' said the one-dollar bill. 'You've really had an exciting
life!''So tell me,' says the twenty, 'where have you been throughout
your lifetime?'

"The one dollar bill replies, 'Oh, I've been to the Methodist
Church, the Baptist Church, the Lutheran Church ...'

"The twenty-dollar bill interrupts, "What's a church?"


This week's featured web page is on Bryan Money, from the web site.

"At the time of the financial panic of 1893, the US money supply
was backed by gold.  The Populist party wanted more money minted
and turned to the concept of a dual money standard -- gold and
silver -- as a way of increasing the available money supply.  The
US had vast silver deposits.  Generally, the "working man" and
the West favored the dual standard, while the industrialists and
easterners favored the single gold standard.   William Jennings
Bryan chose the dual standard as a principal platform issue for
both the 1896 and 1900 elections.  Most Bryan Money was produced
for the 1896 election.  Bryan, a Democrat from Nebraska, ran
unsuccessfully against William McKinley of Ohio in both elections."


  Wayne Homren
  Numismatic Bibliomania Society 

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

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

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