The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 10, Number 46, November 11, 2007:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2007, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


We have no new subscribers this week - we currently have
1,075 subscribers. Today's issue is being published early.
This afternoon we have a family outing and tonight I'm
taking my wife to the Bruce Springsteen concert at the
Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.  I lucked into a pair of
free tickets at the office Friday.  I plan to annoy everyone
around us by calling out the names of John Mellencamp songs.
But first, numismatics.

This week we open with information on two numismatic literature
sales (one past, one future), and the offering of a remarkable
book on medals by Christie’s in Paris.  Next I review a new
book on Roman quinarii, and publish announcements of new books
on coins of the Seleucid Empire and Lincoln Cents.

Queries this week involve German medallist Friedrich Wilhelm
Kullrich and Reverend Thomas Rackett, and in follow-ups from
last week's issue, Alan Weinberg discusses a connection
between Philadelphia dealers Izzy Switt and Harry Forman.
Have a great week, everyone.

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


Fred Lake writes: "Lake Books announces that its 91st
mail-bid sale of numismatic literature is now available
for viewing on its web site at:

Selections from the library of Stan Henneman are contained
in the 390-lot catalogue including reference material from
around the world. Featured are auction sales produced by
McCawley &Grellman, Pine Tree, Stack's and Superior.

"Books by Dave Bowers, Walter Breen, Tony Carlotto,
Roger Cohen, Hibler &Kappen, David Lange, Bill Noyes
and Paul Taglione are included in the extensive selection
of United States coinage references.

"Special Edition 'Redbooks' and guidebooks of world
coinage are offered and of special note is the original
framed color photograph of John J. Ford, Jr. proudly
displaying the first 'slabbed' auction catalog at an NBS
meeting. This was produced by Martin Gengerke in order
to make sure that Ford's copy of the Stack's Herman Halpern
sale would be in pristine condition. Ford inscribed the
photo to: 'Fred Lake-a man who recognizes a pioneer effort
when he sees one.' Beth Deisher's editorial regarding this
event accompanies the photo.

"The sale has a closing date of December 11, 2007 and
bids may be placed via US Mail, email, fax, or telephone
until that date."

[I understand that Mrs. Ford said that it was the best
she had ever seen of her husband.   Fred told the complete
story behind this photo in a June 8, 2003 E-Sylum article.
The complete text is reprinted below. Enjoy! -Editor]

 Fred Lake writes: "Reading about the upcoming auction(s) of
 John J. Ford's library by Stack's/George Kolbe and the
 description of  John's insistence on acquiring material in the
 best condition possible reminded me of his appearance at the
 NBS General Meeting held in July, 1993.

 There, John held up a catalog of the Stack's, March 17, 1993
 sale of the Herman Halpern Collection of United States Paper
 Money.  This sale catalog had been mailed to him several times
 by Stack's and each time the catalog was damaged in some
 manner by the Post Office.

 John contacted Martin Gengerke at Stack's and insisted on
 receiving a pristine copy.  Martin arranged to have the catalog
 sandwiched between two pieces of Lucite and taped at the
 edges very neatly with duct tape. Thus was born the first
 "slabbed" catalog. I was fortunate enough to catch the famous
 moment with my trusty Minolta and so preserved the record
 of a catalog that could not be read, but would forever be in
 Mint 70 condition.   I believe the photo was published in
 "The Asylum" that year.

 As a postscript, I had the photo enlarged to 8 x 10 and
 enclosed in a suitable wood frame with glass covering the
 picture. Before packaging the frame for delivery to John, I
 took the wrapping paper to my driveway and ran over it
 several times with my truck, leaving some very distinct tire
 marks. Needless to say, John was amazed that a package
 could be run over by a truck and yet the contents were



[George Kolbe forwarded the following press release on
the results of his firm's 104th numismatic literature sale.
Bibliophiles can breathe a sigh of relief that the recent
California wildfires spared this inventory of rare works,
which will now be dispersed to collectors worldwide. -Editor]

Classic American coin auction sale catalogues were in great
demand in George Frederick Kolbe's 104th auction of important
numismatic literature, closing on November 1, 2007. The
sale featured the library of John Jay Pittman, Jr., and
nearly fifty other consignors. The highest price achieved
in the sale was $27,600, for a handsomely bound, very
fine set of the American Journal of Numismatics, estimated
at $20,000 [selling prices cited include the 15% buyer
premium; estimates do not].

One of the biggest surprises in the sale was a nearly
complete set of 153 Chapman brother auction sales, formed
mostly catalogue-by-catalogue over the past 25 years by
a dedicated numismatist. Estimated at a seemingly realistic
$8,500, five bidders competed for it strongly and it ended
up realizing $21,850, well over double estimate. Classic
plated auction catalogues set records, often selling for
double estimate or more. This reflects the entrance into
the market of a new generation of numismatic bibliophiles,
along with a renewed realization that the surviving
numbers of many nineteenth and early twentieth century
catalogues issued with photographic plates, especially
those of the Chapman brothers, are quite small.

A selection of sale results follows: a complete set of
the Numismatic Chronicle, 1836-1996, sold for $17,250;
Fulvio's 1517 Illustrium Imagines, the first illustrated
numismatic book, brought $8,050 on a $4,500 estimate; a
complete set of Sotheby's classic 1903-1904 Murdoch sales
realized $3,162; John Jay Pittman's very fine first edition
Red Book brought $2,587 on a $2,000 estimate; Howland
Wood's set of volumes 3-6 of The Numismatist, estimated
at $4,500, sold for $6,325; Elder's 1921 Gehring sale
with photographic plates realized $5,750 on a $5,000
estimate; George Fuld's plated 1890 Parmelee sale caught
the attention of many bibliophiles, five of them bidding
over the $1,750 estimate, eventually bringing $3,795;
Frank Van Zandt's unparalleled collection of 158 copies
of Evans' Illustrated History of the United States Mint,
1885-1901, sold for $6,900; and a complete set of B. Max
Mehl catalogues, formed by the same collector who assembled
the 153 Chapman sale catalogues, brought an impressive $8,050.

Kolbe's next sale is scheduled for March 2008 and will
feature a remarkable, virtually complete library of books
and catalogues on classical Greek coins, including all
volumes published thus far of the international Sylloge
Nummorum Graecorum. Other consignments are still being
accepted. Kolbe may be contacted at P. O. Box 3100,
Crestline CA 92325, telephone: (909) 338-6527, email:

[If I'm reading the prices realized list correctly, I had
some successful bids in this sale.  I'll write up some of
my purchases in The E-Sylum.  -Editor]


Hadrien Rambach writes: "I thought your readers may be
interested to know of a book for sale at Christie’s in
Paris on 20 November 2007 (lot 255), as this is indeed a
rather exceptional numismatic publication. I have been
lucky to handle this copy myself in the past.  I described
and commented on it last year for the Royal Numismatic
Society in London.

" 'Médailles sur les principaux évènements du règne entier
de Louis le Grand avec des explications historiques' is
the work of several renowned numismatists such as Francois
Charpentier and Claude Gros de Boze. This copy was printed
in Paris by the Imprimerie Royale in 1723. This is the
second edition, which Brunet described as even more beautiful
than the first one - very much enlarged to include medals
up to 1723, and printed in an edition of only 500 copies.
The 1702 edition had been published both in folio and in
quarto; in 1723, the Duc d'Antin ordered the reprinting
of the work in folio and it was completely redesigned,
with 318 plates instead of 286. Original archive documents
were discovered about this 1723 edition, and published by
J.-J. Guiffrey in 1885.

"This book is interesting in many aspects. One is that
Philippe Grandjean's Romain du Roy typographical font had
first been used in the original 1702 edition of this book;
designed by order of King Louis XIV (1638-1715) for the
exclusive use of the royal printing press, the celebrated
fonts were constructed on scientific principles and exercised
the greatest influence on the development of French types.
The Academie had been established by Colbert in 1663 in
order to ensure that all the arts were used in harmony to
glorify King Louis XIV, and therefore to supervise the
engraving of a revised and extended series of medals
devoted to the Sun King, later published as these Médailles
sur les Principaux Evènements du Règne de Louis le Grand.

 "The book was projected regardless of time and expense.
 Medals were specially cut and cast; line engravings from
 them were made by Gerard Edelinck; special frontispieces
 were commissioned from Coypel and Rigaud; superb borders
 were contributed by Berrain and rich tailpieces by le Clerc.
 An entirely new face of type, Louis XIV's "Roman du Roi",
 as it was called, was a part of the conception. The enterprise
 was conceived as an expression of academic respect for the
 typographic arts" (Stanley Morrison, The Typographic Arts)

"The specimen for sale is a superb copy on nice paper, in
contemporary full red morocco binding, with a triple line
filet on sides, enclosing the Royal Arms, inner dentelles
gilt, panels of spine fully gilt, with tools of the French
fleur de lys, and the Royal Cipher, gilt edges. Most importantly,
this specimen is King Louis XV’s copy, later sold as part of
King Louis Philippe's library!  This copy, bound for the King,
does not contain the exceptionally rare eight page preface,
which had been suppressed by Royal order. I doubt that a
more interesting copy of this celebrated book will ever
be offered!"

To view the Christie's lot description (in French), see:
Christie's lot description


In late September the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford published
"Roman Quinarii From the Republic to Diocletian and the
Tetrarchy" by Cathy E. King.  King worked in the Ashmolean's
Heberden Coin Room for over thirty years, specializing in
Roman coinage of the third to fifth centuries.  The
460-page hardbound volume is distributed by Douglas Saville.
It features 37 plates of actual-size photographs, and 17
plates of enlargements.

It's a very fine production centering on a detailed
catalogue of these interesting little coins.  The silver
Roman quinarius was equivalent to half a denarius.  The
author notes in her Acknowledgements that the genesis of
the book was an article she wrote nearly thirty years ago
for a Festschrift in honor of Humphrey Sutherland.  It
was Carl Subak who suggested a book on the topic, and
King's work opens with a two-page Appreciation of Subak
by Michael Metcalf.  Born in Austria in 1919, Karl (later
changed to Carl) emigrated to the United States where he
ultimately became a leading midwest coin and stamp dealer.
Quinarii became a personal favorite of Carl's and he
assembled a fine collection of them, which now forms
the basis of King's book.

According to Metcalf, "Quinarii tend to be very scarce
coins.  They are not to be had just for the asking and
imperial quinarii do not occur in hoards but tend to come
to light one by one. Much patience and persistence were
required, therefore, to build a reasonably complete,
rounded collection.  In the Heberden Coin Room Carl found
an experienced Roman numismatist, Dr Cathy King whom he
invited to write about quinarii based on his collection.
In the vast literature on Roman coinage, no book devoted
specifically to the history of this denomination had
been written."

The following notes are from the distributor's web site:
"The text has been divided into three chronological sections:
the Republic to Domitian; the second century ending with
Commodus; and the third century from AD 192 to Diocletian’s
reform. Within each, the focus is on explaining when and
where quinarii were minted, the way in which they operated
within the coinage, and how their function evolved over time.

Detailed analysis of the sequence of issues, mint attribution,
dating, and circulation also form a critical part of the
discussion supported by tables, graphs, and drawings. Two
bibliographies are also included; one general and one of
find spots."

It's easy to see why the project took thirty years to
complete.  Although the core of the work is based on the
Subak collection, the author cites examples of the denomination
from collections around the world and from catalogues published
over the last century.  Forty collections are specifically
cited, and the book has a six-page list of cited hoards and
a six-page bibliography.  It's an impressive yet very readable
publication making an important and pioneering contribution
to the literature on Roman coinage.  The price is £75 plus
postage (Within the UK £7.00 Europe £14.00 USA £22.00).

For more information (and to order the book) see:
More Info

[As a collector of primarily U.S. numismatics, I was not
familiar with Carl Subak.  Can any of our readers fill us
in with more information or stories about him as a numismatist
and coin dealer?  -Editor]


[Below are excerpts from the text of an ANS press release
issued earlier this week.  -Editor]

The American Numismatic Society is pleased to announce the
release of Coins of the Seleucid Empire in the Collection
of Arthur Houghton, Part II (ACNAC 9) by Oliver Hoover.
After more than two decades of assiduous study and the
collection of new material comes the sequel to Arthur
Houghton's Coins of the Seleucid Empire in the Collection
of Arthur Houghton (ACNAC 4).

This new work publishes for the first time in one place
all 900 coins and related objects in Houghton's New Series
collection.  The bulk of the material reflects new types,
control variants, and historical-economic interpretations
that have been discovered in the years since CSE was first
published. Coins of the Seleucid Empire in the Collection
of Arthur Houghton, Part II (ACNAC 9) follows the same
easy-to-use organizational principles as Arthur Houghton
and Catharine Lorber's Seleucid Coins, Part 1 and includes
brief historical introductions for each ruler, commentary
on remarkable coins, new attributions, and type, ruler,
and mint indices. The book is simultaneously an expansion
of Houghton's 1983 catalogue and a foretaste of the
long-awaited second part of Seleucid Coins.

This volume is part of The American Numismatic Society’s
publication series, Ancient Coins in North American Collections
(ACNAC), which systematically describes and illustrates
ancient coins in significant private and institutional
collections and is intended to record collections of numismatic
value which are not readily accessible or are likely to be
dispersed.  For further information contact Megan Fenselau
at (212)-571-4470 ext. 1331,

Coins of the Seleucid Empire in the Collection of Arthur
Houghton, Part II (Ancient Coins in North American
Collections, American Numismatic Society 2007) by Oliver
Hoover.  247p  ISBN-13: 978-0-89722-299-0  ISBN-10:
089722-299-7  Price: USD $75.00

Call or e-mail the ANS to order – (212) 571-4470 ext 1311,


[Publisher Dennis Tucker forwarded a press release on
the latest Bowers book - this one on Lincoln Cents.
See excerpts below.  -Editor]

Whitman Publishing announces the release of A Guide Book
of Lincoln Cents, the ninth entry in its Bowers Series of
numismatic titles. The book continues in the tradition of
the Guide Book of Morgan Silver Dollars and other best-selling
“Official Red Book” guides. The 304-page full-color volume
will be available online and in bookstores nationwide
in December.

Lincoln cents from 1909 to date are illustrated in full
color, with high-resolution enlargements for important
doubled dies and other varieties. Mintages, specifications,
market values in multiple grades (including Brown, Red/Brown,
and Red Mint State), and certified and surviving field
populations add to the book’s reference value.

On the technical and production side, A Guide Book of
Lincoln Cents covers patterns, die preparation, design
modifications, the coining process, distribution, Proofs,
mintmarks, doubled dies, and more. An appendix by specialist
Fred Weinberg discusses errors and misstruck cents.

304 pages. Full color. Paperback. $19.95 retail.
By Q. David Bowers. Foreword by Charles Daughtrey.

[I told Dennis that I'm looking forward to the book to
compare and contrast it against the other Lincoln Cent
titles on my shelf.  He adds: "It's definitely a rich field!
Dave Bowers told me that the deeper he got into this book,
the more intriguing and complex he found the subject. In
his introduction he ends up calling Lincoln cents "among
the most fascinating coins in the entire American series"
and declares that they offer some of the greatest challenges."


Darryl Atchison writes: "Just a quick note concerning the
very kind review of the Canadian Numismatic Bibliography
which David Gladfelter submitted for this week's ESylum -
I think it would be remiss of us not to acknowledge the
tremendous effort put forth by our ex-officio sixth member,
Paul Petch.

"Paul not only helped to proofread the text, but without
Paul we wouldn't have a finished book at all.  Paul brought
his considerable technical know-how to bear in presenting
the research itself and he did the actual graphic design
work for us as well.  For the record, I want to publicly
thank Paul for designing the magnificent books that
everyone so far has been extremely happy with receiving.

"More than any other book I know about, this project
really has taken a tremendous team effort and I believe
the end product reflects the love that everyone involved
has for this wonderful hobby... even though there were
undoubtedly times when our wives wanted to kill each of
us for devoting so much of our 'free' time on that
(insert expletive of choice) 'book'."


TAMS President Bob Leonard writes: "The Token and Medal
Society, thanks to the generosity of Dave Schenkman, is
offering free hard cover, standard token catalogs to
anyone who joins and prepays for a period of three or
five years."

[Below are excerpts from the TAMS press release. -Editor]

Copies of the standard catalogs of bimetallic trade
tokens or hard rubber tokens will be given free to persons
joining the Token and Medal Society (TAMS) for three or
five years, TAMS announced. Founded in 1960, the Token and
Medal Society is now approaching its golden anniversary of
service to collectors and students of exonumia, or medals
and tokens of public and private manufacture.

Bimetallic Trade Tokens of the United States is a large
format, 163 page hard cover catalog by David E. Schenkman,
which retails for $40 plus shipping. Beginning with George
G. Greenburg’s patent for bimetallic checks, it gives the
history of bimetallic tokens over their life span of less
than 40 years. Following is an exhaustive catalog listed
alphabetically by issuer, an index by state, a price guide
and numerous illustrations.

David E. Schenkman’s catalog of Merchant Tokens of Hard
Rubber and Similar Compositions is also a large format,
hard cover catalog with many historical notes. With a length
of 208 page, it retails for $57.50 plus shipping. This book
provides the history of hard rubber tokens and their collecting
(the first listing was published in 1884!), a list of known
makers, and a catalog by state with an index by maker’s name.
A guide to value is provided for every token. The book is
profusely illustrated.

Annual dues of the Token and Medal Society are $25 ($35
non-U.S.A.). Member benefits include the bimonthly TAMS
Journal, access to the Society’s outstanding library of
token and medal literature, assistance in identification
of “maverick” (missing place name) tokens, and free classified
ads in each issue of the TAMS Journal.

To view the TAMS web site, see:
TAMS web site


The two major weekly U.S. numismatic newspapers reached
significant milestones this week.  Numismatic News published
a special 55th anniversary issue October 13th.  The issue is
chock full of photos and articles on the history of the
publication, begun by Chester Krause on October 13, 1952.
This one's a real keeper.

Earlier this year the publication made a significant change
by increasing the size of its print font, making it easier
for older folks to read.  OK, for *us* older folks to read.
I used to think I was young and that used to be true, but I
guess having kids ages you fast.  I just can't read the fine
print like I used to, and I appreciated the change even
though it meant having less room for articles each week.

And over at Coin World, readers got a surprise this week
when the November 5th issue arrived in a completely new format
- a trim magazine-style, approximately 8 1/2 by 11 inches.
The massive 150-foot long press which produced the publication
for over thirty years has finally been retired.  I had the
pleasure of touring the printing operation while visiting
Coin World offices in 2006.  Now printed on modern equipment,
the new Coin World will have color throughout.  The same great
columns and content, but in a new package.  It'll take some
getting used to.  I'd be interested in hearing what our
readers think of the changes in these two prominent


Pete Smith writes: "I got up about 3:00am Monday morning
to read the latest E-Sylum.  I am frequently awake around
this time and occasionally get up to do something on the
computer. Then today I received the November Numismatist
with the memoriam notice for Howard Daniel III.

"I would have been very disturbed to learn of his death
this way and very happy that I read the E-Sylum before I
read Numismatist. It was probably not your original intent,
but the E-Sylum has become a great way to keep us informed
about our friends in the hobby when they are threatened
by fires or premature death notifications.  I hope the
ANA will continue to allow Howard to have his table at
ANA conventions."

Regarding Joe Boling's note that reports of the demise
of Howard A. Daniel III were greatly exaggerated, Doug
Andrews writes: "Now that Joe Boling's words have given
Howard Daniel a measure of immortality, he will have plenty
of time for his numismatic writing to emulate the lofty
literary legacy of Mark Twain."

[During my last week in London I saw a production of
Monty Python's Spamalot, the musical based on the Monty
Python and the Holy Grail film.  There's a classic number
where morgue workers are collecting bodies of the dead,
but one "corpse" turns out to not be quite yet dead.

 I am not dead yet
 No need to go to bed
 No need to call the doctor
 Cause I'm not yet dead.

 He is not yet dead
 That's what the geezer said
 No, he's not yet dead
 That man is off his head

 He is not yet dead
 So put him back in bed
 Keep him off the cart because he's not yet dead.

 To read the complete lyrics, see:
 Full Lyrics



Alan V. Weinberg writes: "I recall visiting Harry Forman
at his home in Philadelphia some 25 years ago. He showed
me an extraordinary .900 fine gold 76mm or so 1892-93 World's
Columbian Exposition medal, with a prominent flat rim dent.
I asked what happened to it as it had appealed enormously
to me but for the rim dent (I hate rim dents!) Harry told
me he'd previously removed it from his waist high safe on
the basement's cement floor and dropped it. As I recall,
Harry wanted $5,000 for it at the time. I passed, due to
the rim dent.

"Perhaps three years ago I bought an extraordinary large
size .900 fine gold World's Columbian Exposition medal out
of an ANR auction. I'd never seen it before. Immediate
underbidders on the phone were dealer/collector Tony
Terranova and New York City collector Gil Steinberg.

"At the time I asked ANR for the provenance of their medal
as it had no pedigree and had not appeared before. All they
would say was what was in the catalogue description - that
it was found in the back of an old Philadelphia safe.   I
began to wonder if the medal came out of a safe belonging
to Philadelphia's legendary Israel Switt, the deceased
jeweler /coin dealer who owned the disputed ten 1933
Saint-Gaudens $20's.  Some three years later a reliable
source indicated that my guess was on target.  I now believe
that medal did pass through the hands of 'Izzy' Switt.

"Reading last month's Numismatist article on Harry Forman
and his office in his home's basement, everything suddenly
came together. Harry was close with Switt and almost certainly
obtained his large gold WCE medal, now badly bruised, from
Switt.  It's interesting how pieces of the puzzle slowly

"Both medals (the ANR auction medal and Forman's) were
excellent quality medals of heavy deep yellow gold, definitely
at least .900 fine. They were both from dies for which no
other medal in another metal exists.  In fact, knowing Switt's
Philadelphia Mint connections, I would surmise they might
have been struck there."


Regarding our recent jottings on the dynamics of the
aftermarket for numismatic books, Leon Worden writes: "I
have some anecdotal evidence to suggest that your conspiracy
is working. You know the one I mean -- the conspiracy you
joined a couple of weeks ago with the current book authors
to move their inventories out of their garages. Looking over
receipts from the last two weeks, when you launched your
'buy the damn book while it's still in print' campaign, I
see I've spent more money on books-in-print than I usually
do. So, congrats, and I hope you're getting a kickback. :) "

[Well, Roger Burdette did buy me dinner last month.  I
should've ordered that dessert.  -Editor]


Dennis Tucker writes: "I'm looking for information on German
medallist Friedrich Wilhelm Kullrich. He worked in England
with William Wyon (late in the latter's life), and eventually
became chief medallist in Berlin, did work for the Russians,
Romanians, and other national mints, contracted for private
medal commissions, etc. I'm familiar with the abstract written
by Constanta Stirbu for the National History Museum of Romania
('Some Remarks about the Activity of the German Engraver W.
Kullrich'). I wonder if E-Sylum readers might point me toward
more in-depth published information. Thanks!"


David F. Fanning writes: "While doing some research, I came across a
quotation attributed to the 1817 Mint Report in The E-Sylum edition of
January 16, 2000. It turned out, however, that the quotation is from the
1816 Mint Report, as published on January 7, 1817.

"Rather than writing to correct old errors, however, I have
a question: can anybody tell me if a Mint Report for the year
1817 was published? I am not finding anything in the American
State Papers besides an April 15, 1818 report on the Mint that
includes much the same information as would be included in the
usual report, but under a slightly different title and at an
odd time of year (most of these really early Mint Reports come
out right after the new year). I'm thinking that the April 15,
1818 is the only report on mint operations during 1817 that
was published, but would be very interested in being shown
otherwise. Thanks."



Dave Bowers writes: "Sometimes what is supposed to be common
to be elusive. Such is the case for two modern commemorative
$5 gold coins for which high-resolution color photographs are
needed by Whitman Publishing LLC, for Dave Bowers’ forthcoming
The Official Red Book of United States Commemorative Coins.
If you can furnish one or both, Whitman and I will be very
appreciative, and  you’ll be among the first to get a
complimentary copy when the title is released in early 2008.
The coins are:

1995-W Olympic $5 Torch design, obverse and reverse.
1995-W Olympic $5 Flag design, obverse and reverse.

"The contact person at Whitman is: Diana Plattner, senior

Alternatively, Tom Mulvaney will be at the Baltimore Coin &
Currency Show this coming Thursday and Friday, at the Baltimore
Convention Center, and will be taking photographs for Whitman.
Thank you very much."


[This week the New York Times published an article on the
late Maynard Sundman of Littleton Coin Company.  Here are
some excerpts.  -Editor]

F. Maynard Sundman, a stamp and coin dealer whose innovative
mail-order marketing, using everything from comic books to
matchbook covers, introduced millions to the once exclusive
worlds of philately and numismatics, died Oct. 31 in Littleton,
N.H. He was 92.

Mr. Sundman’s breakthrough came in 1952, when a nationwide
ad in Sunday supplements offered a free set of 10 stamps
from Bohemia and Moravia depicting Adolf Hitler.

“The mail just flooded in,” recalled Mr. Sundman’s oldest
son, David — a total of half a million orders, exhausting
the world’s supply of the stamps.

Mr. Sundman has had “a huge impact in the stamp industry,
primarily with the marketing to nonestablished collectors,”
said Ken Martin, deputy executive director of the American
Philatelic Society. “Most people aren’t going to start off
paying a thousand dollars for a postage stamp. A collector
starting out at $5 a month may become a customer for $50,
$100 a month in a year or two.”

Frederick Maynard Sundman was born on Oct. 17, 1915, in New
Britain, Conn., the only child of Frederick William Sundman
and Floy Rae Maynard. He graduated from Bristol High School
in 1935; that year, operating out of his parents’ house with
$400 and a small line of credit from a prominent stamp dealer
in Boston, he started the Maynard Sundman Stamp Company.

He shut the company a few years later and, from 1941 to 1945,
served in North Africa and Italy with the Fifth Army, earning
a Bronze Star.

After the war, Mr. Sundman moved to Littleton and started
the Littleton Stamp Company with his first wife, Fannie
Kasper of Terryville, Conn., whom he married in April 1941.
The company started in a one-room office on Main Street in
Littleton; the couple lived down the street, over an A.&P.
store. Today the company employs about 350 people and
occupies 85,000 square feet.

Mr. Sundman’s first wife died in 1993. He remarried in 1994
and is survived by his wife, Dorothy; his sons from his first
marriage, David and Frederick, both of Littleton, and Donald,
of Skaneateles, N.Y.; his stepdaughter, Jeanne Joslin of
Canterbury, N.H.; his stepson, Richard Joslin of Littleton;
eight grandchildren; and four stepgrandchildren.

His sons David, president of the Littleton Coin Company, and
Donald, president of the Mystic Stamp Company, have endowed
a lecture series in his name at the Smithsonian National Postal
Museum and another at the World’s Fair of Money, the American
Numismatic Association’s annual convention.

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


[On Saturday the Colorado Springs Gazette published another
article about the ANA and its former Executive Director.
Here are some excerpts. -Editor]

"Three weeks after the board of the American Numismatic
Association dismissed its executive director, Christopher
Cipoletti, the federally chartered group for 32,000 collectors
of coins and paper money still is stinging from the aftermath
of concentrated executive power.

"Before being terminated, Cipoletti, an employment attorney,
had two jobs at the Colorado Springs-based nonprofit
organization. He was executive director since 2003 and had
served as general counsel since 1998, advising the board
and the organization on legal matters. He also retained
outside clients. Until Dec. 31, 2006, he was general counsel
for the Pikes Peak Library District, spokeswoman Danielle
Oller said.

"More than two years ago, he persuaded the board to join
him in filing a lawsuit in 4th Judicial District Court
against three former employees and a computer consultant
and his company. Among the complaints are civil theft of
business property, breach of loyalty to the association,
conspiracy and “intentional infliction of emotional distress
by outrageous conduct.” The association hired a Denver law
firm, Davis Graham &Stubbs, to represent the co-plaintiffs.

"A jury trail has been postponed four times and now is
set for Aug. 18 — more than three years after the lawsuit
was filed in July 2005.

"Litigants are awaiting a judge’s decision on the defendants’
call for partial dismissal of charges. This week, Sears asked
for an extension on additional response to the defense motions
for summary judgment. The association’s response to the summary
judgment motion already is 109 pages and contains 123 exhibits,
according to court documents. Lawyers for the defendants
requested a denial.

"Arbitration to settle Cipoletti’s employment contract with
the numismatic association has begun, Sirna said. He would
not disclose details of the negotiations. Tax statements show
Cipoletti was paid $338,134 in wages, benefits and expenses
for fiscal year 2006.

"Meanwhile, the association is trying to get back to business,
and a committee is setting criteria before posting the executive
director job opening."

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


[Dick Johnson forwarded this article about Chinese coins
and banknotes by foreign correspondent James Fallows in
The Atlantic magazine.  -Editor]

"In Shanghai, the smallest currency bill I routinely saw
was the 5 kuai (RMB) note.  In Beijing I very rarely get
coins and instead wind up with pockets full of amazingly
penny-ante notes. The 1 kuai note (13.5 cents) is omnipresent.
What I still can't quite believe are the 1/2, 1/5th, and
1/10th kuai notes, the latter worth just over one cent,
that I virtually never saw in Shanghai and frequently get
in change at stores in Beijing, as I have in rural China.

"No master theory here, but the difference is striking.
It may help explain why Shanghai thinks it is more moderne --
and why there are so many more coin-operated vending machines
there. And I suppose the use of 1 jiao notes is no odder
than the continued existence of the U.S. penny, which costs
more to produce than it is worth."

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


[The NumisMaster site has a nice article by Michael "Stan"
Turrini on the California State Numismatic Association's
recent Eighth Annual Northern California Educational Symposium.
Over 60 people attended.  Below are some excerpts from the
article. -Editor]

The symposium's theme was "The Golden West: Gold Rush, Gold
Coinages, and the Golden Gate Bridge." This year's presenters
were Alton Pryor, California historian and author; Dr. Donald
H. Kagin, former American Numismatic Association governor and
numismatic expert; Robert R. Van Ryzin, Coins editor; and Dr.
Michael F. Wehner, scholar of San Francisco numismatics.

Pryor, author of more than 10 California history and Western
lore books, presented "Those Lusty, Dusty Gold Camps of
California." Pryor explained that gold camps were famous for
their names, many of which had no relationship to the locale
or gold mining. "Bed Bug" was one example he gave. "Dry Town"
had 26 saloons. "Nevada City" earned its name before Nevada
became a state.

Kagin's presentation was titled "California Gold Coinages."
Using slides of rare pieces from his private collection, he
talked about the patterns in Pioneer gold coinages and classed
them into patterns, counter strikes, restrikes, fantasies and

Van Ryzin's presentation revolved around his book, Crime of
1873: The Comstock Connection. His talk was titled, "A Tale
of Mines plus Trade and Morgan Dollars." He had access to the
long-hidden correspondence of William C. Ralston, the historic
founder of the once-mighty Bank of California and original
California entrepreneur. Van Ryzin established that Ralston
was the real influence for the numismatically provocative
Coinage Act of 1873.

Wehner's presentation was titled, "The Golden Gate Bridge
on Medals and Tokens." May marked the bridge's 70th anniversary.
Over the years medals and tokens have used the Golden Gate as
design themes. A complete roster of these has yet to be compiled.
Many times after finding medals, tokens and woods at various
tourist sites near the bridge, Wehner said he should have
purchased the cheap mementos since they were not available
at his next visit.

To visit the California State Numismatic Association's web site, see:

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


[Another interesting NumisMaster article published this
week is by Michael Fazzari on computerized coin grading.
Here are a few excerpts. -Editor]

It's almost 2008 and there is still no "little black box"
to grade coins, but some have tried. This weekend, while
looking through some old clippings, I came across an article
about "The Expert."

About 20 years ago, one of the grading services developed
an expensive gadget to grade coins called "The Expert."
Apparently, it was a video camera surrounded by a bank of
high intensity lights set up to record the surface of a
coin. The coin's image was digitalized as each light
flashed in sequence and the resulting image was stored
in a computer.

This was one of the first attempts to develop a computer
to grade coins. There were several other parties working
to develop a computer grading system at the same time.
I recall that Charlie Hoskins, director of The International
Numismatic Society Authentication Bureau, was a consultant
to one of these firms that eventually produced a product
under the name "CompuGrade." Since I was not involved with
this project, I have no idea how that system worked. That
grading service lasted a few years; yet, I cannot be sure
if a computer ever generated any of the grades on their slabs.

One thing I did know for sure, at that time, computers
could not grade coins.

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story

[I recall a front-page Coin World article about this computer
system, and remember thinking, "what, are they nuts? - What
do they know that I don't know?"   I was working in the field
of artificial intelligence software and although I wasn't
directly involved in computer vision projects, I understood
how difficult the problem was with the technologies and
techniques available at the time.  I wouldn't be surprised
if computer grading does become possible someday, but back
then it was a true pipe dream.  -Editor]


Responding to an earlier Saul Teichman note on proof gold
coins purchased by Virgil Brand at Thomas Elder's 1911
Woodin Sale, Dave Hirt noted that in Dave Bowers' book on
Virgil Brand the coins were "incorrectly identified as coming
from dealer Lyman H. Low. The cantankerous Tom Elder must be
turning over in his grave over that one."

Saul Teichman writes: "Lyman Low acted as Brand's agent at
the Woodin sale. The key point is that Woodin-Newcomer pedigrees
are only accurate for half eagles and not for the other gold
denominations - thus much of Breen's proof encyclopedia with
regard to many of the gold pedigrees he supplied with
Woodin-Newcomer pedigrees may be suspect."


Last week I asked, "Which numismatic book opens with the

François Velde of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
was the first to respond, providing this translation:
"What is true, however it be hidden, will at length
become apparent"

No one guessed the book the quote came from: "The Fantastic
1804 Dollar" by Eric P. Newman and Kenneth E. Bressett.
The authors translate the expression slightly differently:
"That which is the Truth. However well it may be concealed,
will at some time come to light."


Robert Rightmire writes: "A stamp dealer told me that he
had seen a postcard from the Guttag Bros. that showed their
building at either 95 Broad Street or 42 Stone Street, New
York City. Can anyone confirm the dealer's comment?

"A word of thanks to the many subscribers who have sent
copies of requested works related to the Guttag Bros. or
who have provided me with leads to sources. The gaps in
my research are slowly closing."


An article about a lecture on artworks at the Dorset County
Museum mentioned the numismatic interests of the Reverend
Thomas Rackett.

"As Rector of Spetisbury for almost 60 years, Thomas Rackett
cared for his parishioners but also kept a house in London
which he often visited.

"There he attended meetings of the many learned societies
to which he belonged. He was a distinguished antiquary,
natural historian, geologist, artist, numismatist and empiricist
and is of immense importance to Dorset and to Dorset County

"The museum already has a range of material relating to Rackett
including a collection of coins, drawings, domestic items,
archive material and his own field research notes.

"A museum spokesman said: 'Thomas Rackett was an enlightenment
figure and Gwen's talk will show how much he influenced
collectors in the county and provided a benchmark for the
development of museums such as ours during the 19th century.' "

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


Dick Johnson writes: "Two famous British newspapers have
gone digital and are now searchable via the internet. Numismatic
researchers can now seek data as far back as 1821 from these
major English news sources. Both are available with articles
up to 1975, but by early 2008 will be completely digital up
to the present.

"The newspapers are the 'Guardian' which is archived 1821
to 1975. The other is the 'Observer' which is available from
1900 to 1975 at present. By early 2008 it will be digitized
back to 1791.

"Both newspaper files are searchable. The searching is free,
but a timed access pass must be purchased to view entire articles."

Visit the "Guardian" website for more information:
Full Story


Larry Gaye writes: "Regarding the article on the 'Odyssey
Situation' it is interesting to note the comment by the
archeology community calling the undersea explorer's skills
in question and condemning their activities.  Underwater
archeologists are not able to conduct deep water exploration;
they stick to the shallow coastal regions.

"They are however the first to condemn that which they are
not able to do. The fact that money is being made is their
main concern; they fail to understand that we as a community
are learning more because of the activities of the Odyssey
Group because they are able to explore these areas of the
ocean.  The Odyssey Group and the others that explored the
SS Republic and Central America gave us a wealth of information.
Had the exploration been done by the archeologists, we would
still be waiting for information as 95% of digs done by the
archeological community are never published and the materials
taken from sites by them never see the light of day.

"Balance and cooperation could lead to some very different

[Last Sunday (November 4) the New York Post published an
article of its own on the Odyssey Marine situation, and it
addresses some of the technology and cost issues Larry
mentions.  Several numismatic personalities were interviewed
for the article headlined "Booty Call".  Here are some excerpts.

"An estimated $3 billion worth of treasure lurks in the
deep, according to marine archeologists. And each time a
famous shipwreck is found, waves of excitement wash over
the industry.

"'The sky is the limit,' says Dan Sedwick, a professional
numismatist. 'Something was lost nearly every year in history.'

"'It's all about the hunt,' says Sean Fisher, 29, whose
grandfather, Mel Fisher, made history in 1985 when he
discovered the Nuestra Senora de Atocha, with its $400
million haul of coins and artifacts. 'We could have retired
the year we found the Atocha, but what's the fun of that?'

"Shipwreck recovery goes back as far as ancient Greece,
and the industry got a huge boost in the 1940s with the
popularity of scuba diving. But the last 10 years has
seen a dizzying advance in technology, from the improvement
of remotely operated vehicles that can plunge deeper and
search larger areas, to digital side-scanners that reveal
clear images in thousands of feet of water.

"Most of the prized ships that explorers are currently
hunting, including Odyssey's 'Black Swan,' would have been
impossible to pursue without these advances. Technology is
turning what was once unfathomable fathoms into a reachable,
if incredibly expensive and dangerous, treasure chest.

"'People are going into deeper waters, and that takes money,'
says James Delgado, executive director of the Institute of
Nautical Archaeology at Texas A&M University. 'Titanic
submersibles run about $35,000 to $50,000 a dive. What are
you going to find that makes it worth that?'

"Well, tons of ancient gold bars, for one thing. Along with
emeralds, silver and other pretty prizes. Even if the overhead
is ridiculously high, the promise of a dead man's chest stirs
something potent in treasure seekers - including the land
lubbing, stock-holding kind: Odyssey began trading on NASDAQ
in July, a sign that hunting gold is a growth industry.

"Marine archeologists like Delgado tend to loathe treasure
hunting, saying the practice destroys archeological sites
and keeps valuable historical artifacts out of the hands of
scholars. Plus, they say, indulging in childhood pirate
fantasies is no way for anyone to get rich.

"'People think that every shipwreck has treasure, and that's
not the case. The majority of wrecks may have artifacts, but
there is not a lot of real treasure, Delgado said. 'Very people
actually hit the motherload.'

"But when they do, it's spectacular.

"Mel Fisher was a scuba shop owner drowning in bills, when
a friend asked for help trying to locate the sunken Atocha.
He decided to give treasure hunting one year. Day after day,
the family's expensive endeavors yielded nothing. Then, on
the 363rd day, Fisher dug a hole and pulled up 1,300 gold
coins, Sean Fisher says.

"Odyssey's 'Black Swan,' might eclipse Fisher's find as the
largest shipwreck of all time. But critics are skeptical.

"'You have to wonder what's going on there,' says Robert W.
Hoge, curator of North American coins and currency at the
American Numismatic Society. 'This company has found important
numismatic finds in the past, but instead of publishing the
information about them, they've hidden in hopes of making
more money for their finds.'

"Other historians and collectors say they doubt the Black
Swan's booty will be as grand as Odyssey predicts.

"'I'm having a real hard time (believing) that value of
$500 million,' says coin dealer Rick Ponterio, who has sold
Mexican coins from the early 1700s for as much as $97,750
each - and some shipwreck coins for as low as $5. 'Rarity,
quality and demand are the three factors in determining what
a shipwreck coin is worth. If they have that big a cargo of
coins, they're no longer worth that much. What was one of
the criteria? Rarity.'

"Regardless of the eventual yield, Odyssey and other
treasure-seekers will likely keep looking for bigger and
bigger finds. They can't help it. Like eight-year-olds who
never stopped playing pirate, shipwreck explorers say the
allure of finding something that was 'lost forever' never
lets them go.

"'When you discover something, and the last time it was
touched by human hands was in a hurricane in 1692, it send
tingles from the tips of your toes to the top of your head,'
Fisher says. 'You never want to do anything else.' "

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


Tom and Gosia Fort write: "Watch this on YouTube and you'll
see what people do when they have nothing to do..."

[I think we may have mentioned this video before, but
it's worth repeating.  And can anyone tell us what coin
is being used as the dominoes?  And which country the coin
is from?  Watch closely! -Editor]

To watch the video, see:
Video "Coin Dominos"

To watch the "Library Dominos" video with books, see:
Video "Library Dominos"


This week's featured web page is on coin denominations
of the Roman Empire, from the Romanorum site.

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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