The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 10, Number 41, October 14, 2007: 
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 
Copyright (c) 2007, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers is Anthony DelGrosso, courtesy 
of Thomas P. Van Zehl. Welcome aboard! We now have 1,189 

This week we open with Russ Rulau's announcement of a supplement 
to his ?Latin American Tokens? catalog, a reminder of why 
numismatists need coin books, and some commentary on the ANA's 
Numismatist magazine. Next, despite a lot of speculation on 
the whereabouts of John J. Ford's 1783 Nova Constellatio 
pattern set, no facts have been unearthed. However, Alan 
Weinberg shares his thoughts on other Ford properties not 
appearing in the twenty-one Stack's auction sales of Ford's 
collection, and John Kleeberg comments on what is (and isn't) 
in sale 21, the Western Assay bar offering.

In research requests this week, Jonathan Brecher seeks to 
locate some rare medals for inclusion in the second edition 
of the Hibler-Kappen "So-Called Dollars" book, and David Ganz 
seeks information on 1838-O U.S. half dollars.

In responses to last week's issue, Alan Weinberg, George 
Fuld, Neil Shafer and Dick Johnson offer further remembrances 
of numismatist and author Arlie Slabaugh, and Harry Waterson 
discusses an amusing unissued satirical medal designed by 
Laura Gardin Fraser. 

Among numismatic news items from around the world are reports 
that the new Bank of Scotland notes are being rejected by 
vending machines, a 1799 Irish banknote is auctioned, a 
Titanic survivor's WWI medals are offered for sale, and a 
major newspaper discovers its gold Pulitzer Prize medals 
are missing when they turn up for sale on eBay. Have a 
great week, everyone.

Wayne Homren 
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


Russell Rulau writes: "For users of my ?Latin American Tokens? 
catalog (Iola, Wis., 2000) and for others interested in new 
data on the token emissions of those countries south of the 
Rio Grande River, I've prepared a supplement which I forward 
by email on request.

"The arrangement is not alphabetical but follows the pattern 
of the catalog with Mexico first, then Central America and the 
West Indies, and finally South America. Within each segment 
the nations are alphabetized. Included is a mixture of 
newly-reported pieces, new and corrected data on listed pieces, 
and a few brief background notes. 

"Some of these pieces have previously been reported in Krause 
Publications newspapers but are gathered here to refresh 
memories after several years.The catalog numbers assigned 
fit into their proper order in the 2000 (2nd edition) 
reference, wherever feasible. Some surprisingly high prices 
are due largely to recent auctions and to Internet sales, 
the latter of which are at times scatter-shot due to novice 
collectors. Prices paid, though are the new bible!

"Some new discoveries are illustrated, others described as 
text. Readers must understand that almost all Latin American 
tokens were actually money, at least within the hacienda, 
mill, dock or mine that issued them. There was a real need 
for these base metal (usually copper or brass) pieces because 
the Spanish authorities issued no copper coins at all from 
1542 to 1814 in Mexico, and a similar situation existed in 
other Spanish viceroyalties.

"A few rare Latin America area Communion tokens are included. 
Our gratitude is extended to Messers Kooij, Ryan, Hallihan, 
Leonard and Simmons for assistance. To request a copy, 
contact me at this address:"


Morten Eske Mortensen writes: "The Roman Gold Coin Price 
Yearbook 1997/2006 is here ! I am certainly happy to be able 
to inform, that the printed 2007 edition of the RCPY GOLD 
covering the 10 full calendar years 1996 through 2005 now 
is in the hands of the editor and presently being mailed to 
those who have ordered it upfront and thus made the project 
be realized. Many thanks for your support! 

The printing run was limited to 150 copies. The 2007 edition 
includes an estimated 9,000 auction results extracted from 
around 1,100 international public auctions held world wide 
in the 10 full calendar years 1996-2005. An impressive 110+ 
major auction houses are covered. All results are converted 
to U.S. dollars. For a full listing of auction catalogues 
presently included in the Databank, see: Full Story. "

For more information, see:  Full Story


In preparation for an article on coin book recommendations 
for new collectors, longtime COIN World columnist Col. Bill 
Murray asked me and fellow NBS officers John Adams and P. 
Scott Rubin for thoughts on the subject. I contributed five 
paragraphs, which Bill edited and merged into the final 
article. With permission, I'm publishing my original three 
opening paragraphs here for comment. I think most of our 
readers will agree with the sentiment. I wrote:

Why should a beginning numismatist get some books? They 
are many good reasons, but I think that the best reason for 
adding books to one?s shelf is the same reason for adding 
coins to your collection ? because it?s fun! Many people 
spend a lifetime building a collection without finding the 
need to read books. But if you ask me, they?re missing 
half the fun. Coins are objects ? they are interesting 
and beautiful to see, but alone they?re mute ? they 
cannot speak. 

With books, your coins come to life and will speak to you 
in many ways ? you will never see your coins in the same 
way again. You will know why your coins were created, by 
whom and how. You?ll know about the statesmen who proposed 
them, the artists who crafted them, what the public first 
thought of them and how they used them. You?ll learn about 
some of the great collectors who came before you. Through 
their words they will speak to you as well, imparting their 
knowledge and wisdom across generations. You?ll draw 
connections between your coins, recognizing the puzzle pieces 
and fitting them together to form the larger picture. You?ll 
become far more than ?just? a collector ? you?ll become a 
true numismatist.

There are many rewards awaiting the knowledgeable numismatist. 
When coins speak to you, true value, importance and rarity 
become instantly recognizable. It?s like having a pair of 
magic spectacles ? wear them and suddenly the world becomes 
clear. When others look at coins they will merely see coins. 
With your improved vision you?ll see far more ? a superb 
strike, an unusual variety, a design flaw, an underpriced 
rarity or overlooked gem. Read books, have fun, and prosper. 
You?ll be glad you did.


A number of folks have commented to me about the improved 
quality of the American Numismatic Association's 'Numismatist' 
magazine. Having gone through a number of format and focus 
changes in recent years it's inevitable that some would have 
been disappointed as familiar features disappeared or morphed 
into something new. But good things come to those who wait. 
The Numismatist staff has continued to address comments and 
suggestions and the current product is quite nice.

Anyway, ANA members should be sure to check out (among other 
things) George Fuld's article on 'Waldo Newcomer: Collector 
Extraordinaire', Rich Bottles' neat piece on coins encased 
in celluloid buttons, and David Lange's opinion column on 
the state of the U.S. Mint's commemorative coin program.

Editor Barbara Gregory's 'Editor's Desk' column is illustrated 
this month with a great caricature sketch of her. I emailed 
her asking, "So who?s the artist who drew the picture for your 
column? Well done. I also loved the juxtaposition of the 
Frankenstein photos (p35)." She writes: "The artist was Bill 
Bogos (; it is definitely the best caricature 
I?ve had. Regarding the ?quarter shrinker,? we just happened 
to find the Frankenstein poster, which mimicked Hickman nicely.?

Under the heading "Stranger Than Fiction", Eric Brothers 
contributed a Halloween article titled "Frankenstein Meets 
the Quarter-Shrinker'. Subscribers may recall the December 3, 
2006 E-Sylum item about Bert Hickman, a retired electrical 
engineer who enjoys using magnetic force to smash coins to 
roughly half their normal size. Gregory's pairing of Hickman's 
photo with a Frankenstein movie poster is a delight. 

Also, page 63 sports a photo that E-Sylum readers may also 
appreciate - the mahogany coin cabinet that once stored Waldo 
Newcomer's gold coin collection was discussed in an exchange 
in April this year. Ron Guth (who contributed to the article) 
wrote: "I drooled when reading George Fuld's description of 
Waldo Newcomer's coin cabinet. I've been a big fan of all 
things Waldo for quite some time. In my humble opinion, 
he is one of the great, unsung heroes of American numismatics."

[I was been sipping a glass of Cabernet as I wrote this the 
other evening, and thought I'd share the great typo I caught 
- "good thongs come to those who wait", which I think was a 
quote from Bill Clinton when he was Governor of Arkansas. 





Last week I inquired about the whereabouts of John J. 
Ford's 1783 Nova Constellatio pattern set. I've heard 
several speculations, but there has been no word from 
anyone associated with Stack's. All the rest of us can 
do is wait and wonder. 

Alan V. Weinberg writes: "In the last E-Sylum you inferred 
from reading Larry Stack's preface to catalogue XXI (the 
ingot sale), that there'll be no further Ford collection 
auction catalogues. It may be more accurate to say that 
there are no further 'scheduled' sales."

The following segments, known to me, are still intact in 
the Ford collection and simply not scheduled for auction 
at this time:

* The reportedly finest known collection of "pseudo-Low" 
(proven, documented Hard Times Tokens but not listed by 
Lyman Low in his classic reference) 

* Hard Times tokens, allegedly a group more valuable than 
the "official" Hard Times Token Ford collection auctioned 
by Stack's in Chicago 

* one of, if not the finest, collections of DeWitt/Sullivan 
-listed political tokens and medals

* reportedly over 500 political ferrotypes (small campaign 
tintypes, usually encased for wearing during early campaigns 
from Lincoln - Garfield)

* superb selections of rare Sutler tokens, Western Indian 
and Post Trader, and territorial trade tokens 

* a collection of earlier Lincoln tokens and medals including 
many rarities

* a collection of earlier Lafayette tokens and medals including 
many rarities

"Despite numerous inquiries to Stack's concerning the above 
collections, there have been no specific explanations forthcoming. 
It is a total mystery to token and medal dealer Steve Tanenbaum, 
myself and others who have repeatedly inquired. Speculations 
range from assumptions that Stack's doesn't want to deal with 
such 'low value' material (unlikely due to the significant 
value of much of the above and the fact that Stack's is now 
auctioning single lot, common so-called dollars in their main 
sales, to speculation that taxes are already too high on the 
Ford estate, to reports that certain segments yet unsold are 
of personal interest to members of the Ford Family - quite 
likely as Ford's son-in-law Brian reportedly collects political 
campaign tokens and medals. 

"Other unsupported stories that some of these segments have 
been sold or will be sold intact privately to interested parties 
or 'farmed out' to other auction houses is baloney in my opinion. 
So there may be more Ford 'treats' down the line - 
just not now."


John Kleeberg writes: "You said you would welcome comments 
about the Ford XXI catalog, containing Western Assayers? 
Ingots. You also ask about pieces that one would have 
expected to be part of the Ford Collection, which were 
not covered in the auction catalogs. This is particularly 
true of the ingots. It is clear that the collection has 
been carefully culled.

"This can be demonstrated most clearly in the case of a 
purported Wells Fargo bar, which Ford mentioned in the 
Legacy interview:

Q: ?What are some of the great rarities that you own?? 

A: Ford: ?I have a monetary assay ingot that I think is a 
fabulous piece. It is dated 1854 and was made by Wass, Molitor 
and Company for Wells Fargo Bankers, and is so marked. In 
addition to that, there is the Internal Revenue tax stamp 
indicating that it was reassayed subsequent to June 30, 1864, 
when they put a bullion tax on ingots to help pay for the 
Civil War.? 

"A photograph of this piece is in Donald H. Kagin's 'Private 
Gold Coins and Patterns of the United States' (1981), p. 308. 
This piece has been excluded from the Ford auctions. 

"And there are a lot of other pieces, which one might have 
expected to be in Ford?s collections, which were not part of 
the auction. A few years ago Alan Herbert said that Ford 
owned the Blake & Co. $50 ingot (Kagin p. 281). That has 
not popped up. Ford is said to have formed a complete set 
of coins of the United States Assay Office of Gold of 1853 
? but no $20 coin of 900 fine has been auctioned. It was 
precisely that fineness and denomination that was produced 
in massive quantities as part of the phony ?Franklin Hoard.? 

"There have been no Mexican gold bars. There have been no 
U.S. Mint bars of 1865 with a false provenance to the Brother 
Jonathan, even though Ford stated that he received back a 
number of them after he stopped displaying some of his pieces 
at the Bank of California. There have been none of the common 
bogus gold bars such as F. G. Hoard, Star Mining Company, 
Eagle Mining Company, the gold Knight bars.

"Now this culling is, to my mind, very praiseworthy. 
Every time another fake gold bar enters the stream of 
commerce, a whole new chain of victims is created; so I do 
not want to see fake gold bars sold further. The catalog 
was put together with much research and thoughtfulness, and 
I am flattered that some of my own research is explicitly 
cited (on page 8 and in lot 3517), although by some oversight 
the website where this research may be found is not listed 
in the bibliography on page 98 - that website is 
Full Story. 

"I would, however, have gone further in culling the 
collection and would have excluded all the gold bars. 
The Wiegand gold bars are the most convincing among the 
gold bars ? there the forger did a superb job ? but a careful 
examination shows that even those cannot be genuine. There 
is one Wiegand gold bar that is clearly bogus (lot 3549), 
which has a curly top numeral seven that appears nowhere 
else in Wiegand?s work. Now inside the O of Ozs, on the 
right side, there is a raised hickey on lot 3549. This is 
visible on the photographs in the catalog, and it is very 
clear when examining the bars in person, which I did on 
October 10th. The raised hickey within the O appears on 
all the Wiegand gold bars: lots 3547, 3548, 3549, 3558 
(silver bar), and 3559. Since all these bars punchlink to 
3549, none can be genuine. Three of these bars are 
explicitly traceable to Paul Gerow Franklin, Sr. (1919-2000) 
in the provenance.

"We know from other sources that Paul Gerow Franklin,Sr., 
made fantasies. Lot 203 of Ford II (May 2004) described a 
?1962 Washington Counterstamp,? and adds in the description, 
?As struck in January, 1962 by Paul Franklin, Sr., one of 
two given to Ford and Bashlow, the third retained.? Another 
source is the New York Times of July 11, 1943, when Franklin 
was arrested for draft evasion, and it was mentioned that 
he already had a conviction for counterfeiting. A Franklin 
provenance is not one to inspire confidence.

"So it seems to be the case that a not insignificant number 
of the bars that Ford owned are not being auctioned, and they 
are not being auctioned because the catalogers do not have 
confidence in the genuineness of the pieces. This is admirable, 
but it would be more admirable still if all the cards were to 
be put on the table and we could know exactly which pieces 
the catalogers now consider to be dubious. That would help 
greatly to clean up the huge mess left behind by the 
activities of Paul Franklin?s ?Massapequa Mint.?

[When Kleeberg states that some ingots "are not being 
auctioned because the catalogers do not have confidence in 
the genuineness of the pieces.", this is only speculation. 
Everyone can read between the lines and come to their own 
conclusions, but there are many reasons for pieces not 
coming to auction. As with the unnauctioned Ford 1783 Nova 
Constellatio set and the several unauctioned Ford collections 
mentioned above by Alan Weinberg, the ingots Kleeberg 
described are likewise not currently scheduled for auction. 
But without confirmation from the Ford family or Stack's, 
the rest of us can only speculate on the reasons, which 
could be many and varied. 

In the end the marketplace may be the final arbiter of 
consensus on the authenticity of the questioned ingots. 
The sale estimates exhibit a markedly split personality - 
the ranges are wide enough to drive a convoy through. 
What are the cataloguers trying to say with estimated 
value ranges of "$700 to $9,000"? or "$1,000 to $15,000"? 
Why waste ink printing ranges so wide? They seem to be 
aimed at two different audiences - Believers and Skeptics, 
with the high end for those who believe an ingot is genuine, 
and the low end for the skeptics willing to buy what to 
them would be an interesting precious-metal paperweight 
for their desk. 

I expect the high-end estimates will prove in many cases 
to be conservative; the interesting thing to see is how 
many of the ingots realize far less than their high-end 
estimate. If any of our readers attend the sale, please 
send us a report on the action. -Editor]


David Lisot writes: "A new DVD entitled 'History of Coin 
Grading' with Ron Guth is now available from 
The program was videotaped at the recent Long Beach Coin & 
Stamp Exposition in Long Beach, California. The lecture was 
delivered in conjunction with the public display of the 
Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) Grading Set, a 
collection of every grade of several series of coins from 
AG3 through MS67. Ron is the president of PCGS and gave an 
overview of how grading has developed over the years 
culminating with third party grading in the 1980's. A 
video clip of Ron discussing the grading set is available 
free of charge on"


In a follow-up to Dick Johnson's note in E-Sylum v10#5 
(February 4, 2007), Jonathan Brecher writes: "Earlier this 
week I received first proofs of the second edition of 
"So-Called Dollars," by Hibler and Kappen, and the other 
editors and I are very pleased with what we see. It looks 
like we're on track for distribution in the first part of 
next year.

"Even as we try to get things wrapped up, there are still 
several dozen medals that we have not been able to locate 
in any form. If any E-Sylum reader is able to provide 
photographs of any of the following HK listings, we would 
be most grateful, and we would certainly provide credit 
in the printed book. You can contact us at

HK-number Date Description

7 1853 Police-All Nations Dollar 
33 1876 Siloam M. E. Church Dollar 
34 1876 Cumberland St M. E. Church Dollar 
35-36 1876 Baptist Sunday School Dollar 
62-64 1876 Centennial Fountain - Scrolls 
73 1876 Abraham Lincoln Dollar 
143-143a 1884-5 Mardi Gras Dollar 
143d 1884-5 N.O. Fire Dept. Semi-Centennial 
167a 1893 Bird's Eye View Dollar 
257 (1894) State Seal - Facts of SF 
352a 1908 US Navy World Voyage, Octagonal 
434 1915 U. S Grant Hotel Dollar 
480 1939 Lord's Prayer $ Catholic 
502 c1949 Sacramento Dollar 
521 1958 Murray Co. Dollar 
522 1958 Norman Co. Dollar 
524 1958 State Bar Assoc Dollar 
607 1886 26th Ann. Fair at St. Louis 
617a 1890 Schuylkill Co. CW Monument. 
625 1892 Buncombe Co. Centennial 
636 1896 Dayton Centennial 
657 1911 Minneapolis Civic Celebration 
660 1912 California Admission Day 
664 1915 Chicopee 25th Anniv. 
675 1930 Boston Tercentenary 
715 1960 Jackson City Hall 
727 c1959 Olivia Spring Home Show 
742a 1951 Virtue Bros. Manufacturing 
769 1901 John G. Fee 
803-804c 1908 Taft Gold Basis Dollar 
826 1933 Pedley Ryan Type V Dollar 
863d c1876 Perseverando / April 11th Dollar 
864 c1876 Eagle & Heron Dollar "


David L. Ganz writes: "I am researching the 1838-O U.S. 
half dollar and have hit a blind alley. Vintage Auctions 
had a 1989 sale in which an example of the coin (lot 202, 
probably the Anderson DuPont Specimen) was sold. I have a 
copy of the catalogue, but no prices realized list. Can 
anyone tell me what the piece sold for?

Also, the Charles Besson specimen of the 1838-O half is 
mentioned by Karl Moulton in his Fall/Winter 2007 numismatic 
literature catalogue (p33, in his description of the December 
1880 Besson sale), but I find no subsequent reference to the 
coin. Would anyone have an idea which of the dozen-odd coins 
known today is believed to be the Besson specimen? Thanks."


Alan V. Weinberg writes: "If Arlie Slabaugh contracted 
meningitis in 1941, allegedly inducing his deafness, how 
does that explain his speech being that of a child-contracted 
deafness? In 1941, Arlie would have been about 20 and his 
speech would have been long perfected. Perhaps George Fuld, 
his longtime friend, can clear up this discrepancy? Like 
Cliff Mishler, I fondly recall the 'notebook conversations' 
at shows that I had with Arlie."

George Fuld writes: "I knew Arlie for about 50 years. 
Although I never discussed it with him, I assumed his 
handicap persisted from he was an infant. Sorry I can't 
be more helpful."

Neil Shafer writes: "With regard to my dear friend for many 
years, Arlie, he and I met many times at various conventions 
where we always found a great deal to 'talk' about; he was 
always ready with note pads and we wrote page after page 
together. I became aware of his position with Numismatic 
Scrapbook shortly after joining Whitman in 1962, and it 
was clear he had a lot to do with the great success of that 
magazine. Lee Hewitt had a real numismatist working as 
typesetter and author (and often as ghost-writer) for quite 
a number of years. I wonder of Lee ever really appreciated 
what he had with Arlie. In any case I shall surely miss 
him and his very high degree of broadly based numismatic 
scholarship and knowledge." 

Dick Johnson writes: "Lee Hewitt told me this about Arlie 
Slabaugh. John and Nancy Wilson mentioned Arlie worked for 
Lee on the Numismatic Scrapbook beginning in 1954 in last 
week's E-Sylum. Lee said Arlie would write articles -- 
with maybe some notes but no typed text -- right at the 
Linotype. Setting an article in hot type! That's confidence! 

"Arlie was a crackerjack Linotype operator. But I cannot 
imagine writing an article in one shot. Pow! That's it. 
Not when I have to rewrite everything a dozen times. But 
to compose everything in your mind and set the text in 
type where it must be letter perfect the first time -- 
context, grammar, syntax, Linotype technical requirements, 
keyboard strokes -- in addition to the text you are typing 
-- all that in your mind at the same time!

"Perhaps his deafness was an asset as a Linotype operator. 
No distractions. Still, that does not detract from this 
amazing skill.

"On another occasion, when I visited Franklin Mint, I had 
an appointment with an FM vice president and when I showed 
up in person he blew me off, wouldn't see me. Not to waste 
the trip I asked the receptionist to see Arlie Slabaugh. 
'Who?' she asked, 'we don't have anyone here by that name.'

"'Arlie Slabaugh, he is deaf.' 'Oh, Arlie,' then she knew 
who I meant. Arlie had long worked for Franklin Mint. But 
this was after Joe Segal had left the firm and new owners 
had dismissed dozens of people, including Arlie. But as 
the archivist at Franklin Mint who had cataloged all Franklin 
Mint issues he returned frequently to keep the archives up 
to date, as an unpaid activity! That's dedication!

"Just as I was shifting from one foot to the other in 
front of the receptionist's desk, who should walk in but 
Arlie himself! Surprised to see me -- we had known each 
other for perhaps twenty years -- we sat in the reception 
area and 'chatted.'

"Arlie could read my lips and I could understand his 
guttural speech -- he was not mute -- but occasionally I 
could tell he did not understand what I said, so I would 
reach for the note pad and clarify my statements. Genuine 
numismatist, great writer, longtime collector, fine person, 
Arlie we will all miss you. I am glad I got some things 
from his library in Charlie Davis' March 2002 auction. 
I will long remember Arlie Slabaugh."




Larry Gaye writes: "I read with interest the news of the 
upcoming movie 'The Counterfeiters.' I have the Burke book 
which I purchased in 1987. Inside the book I keep a five 
Pound Bank of England note and a Five Pound Bernhard note 
which I purchased as a pair. For the life of me I can't 
remember whether I bought the book or the notes first. 

"While the Burke book is short it whet my interest so much 
that later when I was offered an Operation Bernhard 50 Pound 
note, I jumped on it. I cannot wait to see the movie and 
only hope it will be released in the US, the story is quite 
fascinating and I will secure a copy of the Kruegger book." 

[The Burke book Larry mentions is Bryan Burke's ?Nazi 
Counterfeiting of British Currency During World War II? 
(San Bernardino, CA, 1987). It's a short book, but very 
well illustrated and a great starting point for collectors 
interested in the story of the Operation Bernhard notes. 

The Kruegger book is ?Kruegger?s Men: The Secret Nazi 
Counterfeit Plot and the Prisoners of Block 19? by Lawrence 
Malkin (New York, 2006). It's the latest book on the topic. 
An earlier one is Anthony Pirie's ?Operation Bernhard: The 
Greatest Forgery of All Time? (London, 1961).

I definitely bought my books first, but jumped at the chance 
to acquire some examples during my time in London this summer. 
I've started preparing a small exhibit which I hope to display 
at the Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists coin show at 
the Pittsburgh Expo Mart on Saturday October 27, 2007. 



Marie Goe of the Carson City Coin Collectors of America 
(CCCCOA) writes: "We've just launched the club's blogsite 
at It's in its early stages of 
development and is still rough around the edges, but at 
least members and interested collectors can now correspond 
with one another. We'll just have to wait and see where 
it will lead."


Regarding the use of the term "fecit" among artists, Harry 
Waterson writes: "Here is a bit of corroboration of the 
cocktail talk between Dick Johnson and Joseph Noble. I was 
doing some research at the National Cowboy Museum in Oklahoma 
City last Spring. The James Earle Fraser & Laura Gardin Fraser 
Studio Papers are located there in the Dickinson Research 
Center. Among those papers, in box 6, folder 20 entitled 
'Peanuts', I found a picture of a plaster model. This model 
was a slightly altered version of the reverse of the 1929 
American Bar Association Medal by Laura Fraser. 

"This reverse depicts a seated nude hooded figure of Justice 
holding a sword and a set of scales. This model contained a 
few changes to the ABA reverse: The legend JUSTITIA at the 
top of the medal was replaced with the word PEANUTS. The 
empty scale pans of the Scales of Justice were now occupied 
by an elephant and a squirrel.

"At the bottom of the medal the full Laura Gardin Fraser 
signature had been added along with the words 'FAKE IT' 
right below the signature. I doubt if this bit of medallist 
foolery was ever produced. The ABA is not an organization 
known for its sense of humor, but I bet it amused James Fraser 
greatly. As Dick Johnson noted, this was the use of a homonym 
limited to one's peers."



Alan V. Weinberg writes: "As to the $5 million paid for 
the 1804 $10 gold concoction made in 1834 - so it sold 
$1 million in 2003 and $2.47 million in 2005, a mere two 
years ago? This 'cockamamie' or 'Mickey Mouse' (John J. Ford 
-isms) fantasy - it's not even a restrike!- has allegedly 
doubled in market value every two years? It was not too 
long ago that I attended a Superior auction in Beverly 
Hills where the entire cased King of Siam set containing 
the 1804 dollar and this 1804 $10 gold and other 1834-struck 
proof rarities could not reach the $1.8 million reserve price! 

"Two different gold 1787 Brasher doubloons, infinitely 
more desirable than the 1804 eagle fantasy, auctioned three 
years ago for a bit more than $2 million apiece and are still 
available & unsold on the market. One wonders how the 
presumably successful businessman who just paid $5 million 
for the "1804" gold eagle - after it sold for less than 
half that 2 years ago - figures it is now worth $5 million. 
Or even half of that! Where's his business sense?"



An article in The Scotsman reports that "The Bank of 
Scotland's new notes are proving a potential headache 
for anyone wanting to use them in a vending machine, 
including those at the Scottish Parliament. 

"The problems are largely due to delays in updating many 
vending machines to recognise the new notes. Some older 
and cheaper machines may never recognise the cash because 
they do not have enough memory to be reprogrammed with a 
new set of notes. 

"The striking new Bank of Scotland notes were introduced 
last month. They feature a metallic security thread, and 
the £20, £50 and £100 notes feature holograms and foil 
patches. They also have strengthened corners to help 
them last longer. 

"Nick Bate, managing director of VMC Limited, which makes 
the devices used in the Scottish Parliament, said: 'One 
of the issues for the cashless industry or any organisation 
accepting Scottish bank notes through an electronic validator, 
whether that's for car parking, ticketing, vending or catering 
functions is when new note designs are released it takes time 
for note validator manufacturers to update software. So, 
while there may have to be a short period of inconvenience, 
the onus lies with the banks to improve the awareness within 
the industry of new bank note releases.' 

"A spokesman for the Bank of Scotland said: 'We are sorry 
for any inconvenience caused. We've been working with 
manufacturers and suppliers of vending machines for about 
six months to make sure there are no problems processing 
the new banknotes. The response has been overwhelmingly 
positive. However, as with any notes launch, there will be 
isolated instances where machines aren't updated as quickly 
as we'd like. We're working with the suppliers in question 
to make sure the required software updates are installed 

To read the complete article, see:  Full Story


Andrew W. Pollock III forwarded a new web article on the 
"Amero" currency topic. It cites statements by former 
Mexican President Vicente Fox confirming a discussion with 
President Bush on creating a new regional currency in the 
Americas. The statements were made in an interview recently 
on CNN's "Larry King Live." 

"It possibly was the first time a leader of Mexico, Canada 
or the U.S. openly confirmed a plan for a regional currency. 
Fox explained the current regional trade agreement that 
encompasses the Western Hemisphere is intended to evolve 
into other previously hidden aspects of integration. 

"According to a transcript published by CNN, King, near 
the end of the broadcast, asked Fox a question e-mailed 
from a listener, a Ms. Gonzalez from Elizabeth, N.J.: 'Mr. 
Fox, I would like to know how you feel about the possibility 
of having a Latin America united with one currency?'

"Fox answered in the affirmative, indicating it was a 
long-term plan. He admitted he and President Bush had 
agreed to pursue the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas 
? a free-trade zone extending throughout the Western 
Hemisphere, suggesting part of the plan was to institute 
eventually a regional currency. 

"'Long term, very long term,' he said. 'What we proposed 
together, President Bush and myself, it's ALCA, which is 
a trade union for all the Americas.' 

"ALCA is the acronym for the Area de Libre Comercio de 
las Américas, the name of the FTAA in Spanish. 

"King, evidently startled by Fox's revelation of the 
currency, asked pointedly, 'It's going to be like the 
euro dollar (sic), you mean?' 

"'Well, that would be long, long term,' Fox repeated. 

"Coin designer Daniel Carr has issued for sale a series 
of private-issue fantasy pattern amero coins that have 
drawn attention on the Internet." 

To read the complete article, see:  Full Story

To read the CNN transcript of King's interview with Fox, see: 
CNN Full Story


The Tulsa World of Tulsa, OK published a story about a 
token created by a local couple to be distributed to people 
performing good deeds.

"Ken Grant and Melanie Hasty-Grant came up with the 
pay-it-forward-style Character Coin after Owasso city 
officials challenged business leaders to create partnerships 
to enhance the community. 

"'We were thinking about how we could reach out and touch 
people one at a time and make it infectious,' Grant said. 

"The goal behind the Character Coin is to catch someone 
doing a good act and give them the coin, tell them why 
and instruct them to do the same. 

"'You don't have to perform heroic acts to make a 
difference; you just have to be willing to recognize 
the good in others and share a coin as appreciation,' 
Grant said. 

"The couple had 30,000 coins made and hope other communities 
and businesses will join in the effort. 

"The coins have Owasso printed on them as well as the Web 
site where coin receivers can submit their stories. 

"'It would be cool if an Owasso coin ended up in Japan, 
or if we got one in our hands that had another town 
listed,' Hasty-Grant said." 

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


The Independent of Ireland published a short article on the 
sale of a rare early Irish note:

"A rare nine bob banknote that was printed more than 200 years 
ago has been sold for more than 60 times its value at an auction 
in London.

"Despite being stained and tattered, the note... is considered 
to be in good condition and sparked feverish bidding at Spink's 
auction house earlier this week. 

"It eventually sold for ?3,125, almost three times its guide 

"The banknote was issued by Newport's Bank in Waterford on 
December 1, 1799, when the city printed its own money. 

"Barnaby Faull, head of the banknotes department at Spink, 
said: 'Any Irish banknote from this period is extremely rare. 
It is also difficult to find Irish notes of this age in fine 
condition, as Irish notes tended to be handled and circulated 
much more than some others, for some reason.'"

To read the complete article, see:  Full Story


"Britain's Liverpool Echo published a story Thursday 
reporting that "A rare collection of medals which belonged 
to a Liverpool steward who helped launch lifeboats on the 
stricken Titanic is up for sale.

"The four World War I medals belonged to first class 
steward Ernest Wheelton who survived the disaster which 
claimed the lives of 1,500 passengers.

"The lot on internet auction site eBay has attracted 22 
bids. So far the winning offer stands at £4,310 The 
auction ends on Sunday.

"When the Titanic struck an iceberg late on the night 
of April 14 Mr Wheelton was sleeping in his quarters 
below deck.

"He was woken by shouting and quickly got dressed and 
rushed to the lifeboats.

"After helping three boats leave the stricken ship 
29-year-old Mr Wheelton jumped onboard boat number 
11 and was rowed to safety.

"After the sinking of the Titanic, Mr Wheelton joined 
the Merchant Navy and the Merchant Fleet Auxiliary and 
served during World War I.

The lot includes a 1914-15 Star medal, a British War 
Medal, a Victory Medal and a Mercantile Marine War Medal."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

The eBay item number is 190159640634. To view the lot, see: 
View Lot on Ebay


Dick Hanscom forwarded this article from the Newburyport 
Daily News about the case of the roofers who 'found' a stash 
of old currency alleged to have been taken a barn in Newbury, 
MA where they had been working.

"Larceny charges have been dropped against two men who 
originally claimed they found antique currency worth an 
estimated $720,000 buried in a Methuen yard two years ago.

"Barry Billcliff of Manchester, N.H., and Tim Crebase of 
Methuen were later charged with stealing the money while 
working on a barn roof owned by Sylvia Littlefield of Newbury.

"Prosecutors yesterday in Newburyport District Court said 
they will no longer pursue larceny charges against them. 
That decision comes one month after a judge in Newburyport 
said he, too, is unwilling to bring the pair to trial.

"Meanwhile, work moves forward in a civil case, where 
Littlefield claims she is the rightful owner of the antique 
bills. She has sued Billcliff, Crebase, two of their friends 
and the city of Methuen, demanding the bills be returned.

"Claiming herself in charge of the estate of her great uncle 
Newell Adams, Littlefield argues that Adams must have hidden 
the bills on his farm, where he once operated a cider press 
and sold hard cider to locals.

The civil suit is filed in Newbury Superior Court. Lawyers 
are expected to decide in February on a trial date."

To read the complete article, see:  Full Story




[Arthur Shippee forwarded a giddy New York Times article 
about how three gold Pulitzer Prize medals awarded to 
their rival Newsday were discovered up for sale on eBay 
when the publisher didn't even realize that they were missing. 
Numismatic personalities (and E-Sylum subscribers) Jim Halperin 
of Heritage Auction Galleries and Joe Levine of Presidential 
Coin and Antique Company were interviewed for the story. 
Here are some excerpts. -Editor]

"Newsday?s newsroom got an interesting tip last week: Its 
three gold medals for public service journalism had been 
listed on eBay and sold at a California auction for a total 
of $15,500.

"The online listing had photographs of three gold medals 
that certainly looked like the ones won by the paper in 1954, 
1970 and 1974, along with an extensive description of the medals 
as ?three fabulously rare and never before offered gold Pulitzer 
Prize medals,? obtained ?through an unlikely confluence of 
events? originating with a 2001 estate sale on Long Island.

"This jolted Newsday officials and staff members. Their medals, 
they believed, had long been locked away in a safe at the 
paper?s headquarters (the medals mounted on a plaque in the 
executive offices were reproductions).

"Still unsure if the medals listed on eBay were real or 
fake, company officials decided to look. The main safe was 
opened with a combination, but officials realized they no 
longer had a key to a smaller lockbox inside that held the 
prizes. A locksmith was called to drill into it, and when 
it was opened, the medals were indeed missing.

"?It?s a made-for-newspaper story ? the case of the purloined 
Pulitzers ? but it?s also very embarrassing,? said Bob Greene, 
who led the investigative reporting teams that won the 1970 
and 1974 prizes. ?This is the highest award the Pulitzer 
committee gives, one of the most precious things you have 
as an institution, and we won three of them and they go and 
lose them??

"Newsday reported in Tuesday?s paper that the medals had 
been reported sold. On Wednesday a more detailed article 
led with the delicious scene of company officials searching 
for their own Pulitzers by breaking into their own safe, 
and quoting their own building engineer and accounting 
supervisor on details about the room (protected with 
surveillance cameras) and the safe (which also contained 
petty cash and Newsday gift cards).

"?All those people around as they were drilling into the 
safe, it reminds me of Geraldo Rivera breaking into Al Capone?s 
vault ? and there?s nothing inside,? said Mr. Greene, adding 
?Couldn?t they have looked in on them every six months or so, 
to see if they were still there??

"Sig Gissler, administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes, said, ?I 
never heard of anything like this happening before.? Of the 
21 Pulitzer categories, only the public service category is 
awarded as a gold medal. Only one is awarded, and always to 
a newspaper, never an individual, he said. In other categories, 
the recipient is awarded a certificate, a crystal paperweight 
and $10,000.

"Jim Halperin, co-chairman of Heritage Auction Galleries 
in Dallas, said the consigner was a coin dealer who said 
he had purchased the medals at an estate sale on Long Island 
in 2001. He said company policy prohibited him from revealing 
the buyer?s name, except to the authorities.

"?We did not suspect anything unusual about the consigner,? 
said Mr. Halperin, adding that the verification process for 
medals does not place as much importance on pedigree and 
previous owners as other items. ?People ask, ?How do you 
miss something like this?? But there?s also the fact that 
these medals were only three lots out of a four-day auction 
of 12,000 lots: $27 million dollars worth of items.?

"The medals were put up for auction live at a coin show at 
the Long Beach Convention Center in Long Beach, Calif. and 
were simultaneously available for online bidding on eBay 
and the auction house?s Web site. The 1954 award (awarded 
to Newsday for exposing racetrack scandals) sold for $7,000. 
The 1970 award (for exposing secret land deals on Long Island) 
went for $4,500. And the 1974 medal (for a 32-article series 
about the heroin trade in Turkey and the United States) 
went for $4,000.

"?The 1954 medal was bought by a very well-known collector, 
and the other two were bought by a very well-known dealer,? 
said H. Joseph Levine, who owns Presidential Coin and Antique 
Company in Clifton, Va. He declined to give their names 
because he does business with them and said it would be a 
breach of client confidentiality.

"Mr. Halperin said, ?If they are indeed Newsday?s medals, 
I?m confident they?ll get them back.?

"Mr. Mancini said that ?in the end, the important thing is 
that they are recovered.? And where will they be kept?

"?That we?ll have to figure out.?

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

To listen to a National Public Radio piece on the medal, visit: 
Full Story


John and Nancy Wilson of Ocala, FL write: "While trying to 
find out some information regarding a certain Doctor we came 
across this very useful site on the American Revolution. The 
site is: Sons of the American Revolution
which stands for Sons of the American Revolution. We have 
many items in our collection from the American Revolution 
and this site can be very useful with all the historical 
information contained on it. Under the History Link you 
will find a find a lot of information regarding this War of 
Independence. Other links on this site can also help you 
with historical information, maps, etc. 


Leon Worden writes: "How is contributor Ron Abler able to 
keep his bathrooms free of evidence of his numismatic 
bibliomania? What's his secret?"

[In most households, numismatic literature would be used 
as toilet paper in a pinch. The bibliophile has to keep 
his stuff out of harm?s way. -Editor]



An Arizona publication reported this week on a local bank 
which has been giving away gold to new customers.

"Early in 2007, the bank gave away 3-gram (roughly 1/10-ounce) 
gold coins picturing a pig to customers who made sufficiently 
high deposits or opened Better Banking checking accounts. Now, 
through Oct. 31, Chase is offering two sizes of a smiling-pig 
collectible gold medallion.

"As with the earlier coin giveaway, the medallions are 
available only at one Valley Chase branch, at 74th Street 
and McDowell Road in Scottsdale. 

"The medallions are popular among many Asians in the Valley 
who use them to mark the Chinese autumn-moon festival, said 
John Wing, a personal banker. The holiday is a family-themed 
occasion when people bake cakes shaped like moons, said Wing, 
a 27-year Valley banker who was born in Iowa of Chinese 

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


On Tuesday the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported the latest 
incident of the attempted passing of a $1 million bill:

"The likeness of Grover Cleveland is on this fake $1 million 
bill. Cleveland's portrait is on the genuine $1,000 bill, which 
has been out of circulation since 1969. If you're going to 
spend counterfeit money, it might help to use a denomination 
that actually exists. 

"An unidentified man who asked a Giant Eagle cashier to make 
change for his $1 million bill learned that lesson the hard 
way, Pittsburgh police said Monday. 

"The man entered the store on Cedar Avenue in the North Side 
shortly before 6 p.m. Saturday. He walked to the customer 
service counter, handed over the bill containing the likeness 
of Grover Cleveland and asked for change, police Cmdr. 
Catherine McNeilly said. 

"The cashier refused and called the manager, McNeilly said. 
The manager told the man the bill was not real and the man 
asked for the bill back. When the manager refused -- telling 
the man the store had a policy of not returning counterfeit 
money -- the man became enraged and grabbed an electronic 
funds transfer machine and slammed it against the counter, 
McNeilly said. 

"The man then reached for the cashier's scanner gun, and 
the manager called police, McNeilly said. 

"The $1 million bill seized Saturday might have originated 
from a Dallas-based ministry, which last year distributed 
thousands of religious pamphlets with a picture of the 
bogus bill, police said." 

To read the complete article, see: Full Story


This week's featured web page is large denominations of 
United States currency, from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Featured Web Site

  Wayne Homren
  Numismatic Bibliomania Society 

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

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

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