The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 10, Number 47, November 18, 2007:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2007, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers are Tom Michael of F+W
Publications and Joel Iskowitz of the U.S. Mint's Artistic
Infusion Program.  Welcome aboard!  We now have 1,081

This week we open with information on the next meeting of
NBS and reviews of '100 Greatest American Medals and Tokens'
by Katie Jaeger and Dave Bowers, and 'Money' by Joe Cribb.
In a follow-up from last week, Coin World Editor Beth Deisher
and Dick Johnson address the new magazine-style format of
Coin World.

Is Bernard von NotHaus headed for the Big House?  In the
news are multiple reports of this week's FBI raid on the
headquarters of NORFED, the group promoting the Liberty
Dollar alternate currency.    And in another numismatic
legal development, the Ancient Coin Collectors Guild and two
other organizations announced a lawsuit against the U.S.
Government over the import restrictions on ancient coins
from Cypress.  Also in the legal news department are articles
relating to the Ohio firm fighting the U.S. Mint for permission
to melt U.S. coins for profit.

Dick Johnson contributed other items this week on U.S.
coins circulating in Canada and other numismatic topics.
Bob Knepper contributes what might be the oddest numismatic
assertion yet, that the reverse side of a Lincoln Cent is
actually smaller than the obverse.  And if you'd like to
know exactly where you just might find a complete set of
Matthew Boulton's coins and medals, assembled by Boulton
himself, read on.  Have a great week, everyone.

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


Fred Lake writes: "The Numismatic Bibliomania Society will
hold an informal meeting at the FUN show in Orlando, Florida
on Saturday, January 12, 2008. The time is set for 11:00 AM
to 12 Noon in room #321.

There is no speaker scheduled yet, so if you would like to
make a short (10-15 min.) presentation, please let me know
at  Perhaps you have a new book
coming out that you would like to discuss or you would like
to report on a book that has been already published.  All
NBS members or guests who are not members are welcome to


George Cuhaj writes: "You may know that we at KPville have
placed the 2008 Standard Catalog, 19-20-21 Century on a
three disc set. See Tom Michael's blog from August for
ordering information, and an available discount. Also on
Tom's blog is information on the new edition of the Standard
Catalog of World Coins (SCWC) 18th Century. His blog this
week offered a contest for a free book - one needed to
identify the three cover coins."

The following is from Tom Michael's blog: "The Krause Books
team and the NumisMaster team are joining forces to allow
me to offer my readers a special contest. Here's the deal;
take a look at the cover of our new 4th Edition SCWC 1701-
1800... identify the three coins illustrated ... and email
me your answer at, along with your
name and mailing address. Everyone who identifies these
three coins correctly will have their name and address
placed in a hat and ... I will draw out one lucky winner,
who will receive a free copy of the new 4th Edition SCWC

"To identify the three coins, I would suggest using
NumisMaster, our online coin cataloging database. By
registering at NumisMaster you can view all available
coin data up to, but not including retail values...

"... our Krause Books team has extended the following
November Special offer: $5 off the cover price, plus free
shipping within the continental United States. Our world-wide
readers will have to pay their shipping costs, but can also
take advantage of the $5 discount, plus they will receive
a free gift. "

[We did cover the release of the SCWC DVD set on August 19
- see the link below.  If any of our readers have ordered
the set, I'd be curious to learn what you think.  Anyone
care to give us a review?

The contest closed Friday, unfortunately, although the
discount is still in effect.  The contest was a great
incentive to try out NumisMaster - I'd enjoy hearing from
anyone who's experimented with using it. -Editor]

To read/subscribe to Tom Michael's "Big Ideas, Little World" blog, see
Full Story

To order the 3 DVD set of the 2008 Standard Catalog of World Coins, see:
Order 2008 Standard Catalog of World Coins



George Kolbe writes: "Thanks to all who ordered copies of
Jack Collins and Walter Breen's work on the United States
1794 silver dollar. Orders were received for 99 copies and
the edition is limited to that number. We were unable to
fill a few orders received after the deadline. A book dealer
or two ordered multiple copies which may be available for
sale soon. Some difficulties have been encountered in
producing the book but it is anticipated that copies will
be in the mail by or before the end of the month."

[I was one of the subscribers who preordered a copy.  It
was a chance to "put my money where my mouth was" regarding
the aftermarket for out-of-print numismatic books.  It'll
be interesting to see what the book will sell for once the
other dealers exhaust their small supplies. -Editor]




My copy of the much-anticipated '100 Greatest American
Medals and Tokens' book by Katherine Jaeger and Q. David
Bowers arrived on Tuesday.  It's been well worth the wait.
By necessity, the text describing each of the items is short,
enabling each page to include a title header, value estimate
footer, and two photos.  But just because the text is brief,
don't dismiss it - good things come in small packages.  The
text is well-written, short and to the point - perfect for
highlighting the most important and interesting facts about
each piece.

Some good, original research went into the text, and libraries
lacking this book will have holes in their coverage of
American numismatics.  For example, item #95, the Washington
/ Column Indian Peace Medal has never been illustrated before.
Discovered in the collection of the British Museum by George
Fuld in 1960, the only other known example is in the hands
of the Micmac Indian tribe in Nova Scotia.

The most prominent characteristic of each entry is the
photographs - a sumptuous feast of eye-candy for the numismatist.
Most of the images are reproduced at a diameter of 60mm, with
the actual sizes being described in the text.  Whitman Publishing
and the authors deserve special recognition for their commitment
to obtaining and reproducing the finest images available.  It
is easy for the casual reader to take them for granted, but I'm
willing to bet that gathering the photos was the most lengthy
and difficult part of writing this book.

Kudos to whoever selected the photo of George Washington's
Mount Rushmore profile to accompany the 1792 Washington
"Born Virginia" medal (#72) - the juxtaposition is a delight.
As the caption states, "Borglum's profile is remarkably similar
to that on the Born in Virginia copper."

As I mentioned in earlier E-Sylum items about the upcoming
book, I was pleased and privileged to be one of the reviewers
invited to vote on the "contestants".  But the most difficult
thing for me was voting intelligently without having illustrations
of the items in front of me. I understood however, that the
authors and voters were in a "chicken-and-egg" situation -
the authors couldn't gather photos of every item until the
top 100 were selected, while many of us voting wished to have
photos on which to base their votes.

Several E-Sylum readers offered their assistance to the project
and deserve recognition from bibliophiles everywhere.  Some of
these tokens and medals are so rare that without the cooperation
of collectors the book might never have been completely
illustrated.  Those offering specimens for illustration include
Remy Bourne, Ray Dillard, Dick Johnson, Chris Neuzil, Dave
Perkins, Pete Smith, Steve Tanenbaum, Alan Weinberg and Ben Weiss.

Leafing through the book I encountered favorite after favorite.
Call me a guy who never met a numismatic item he didn't like,
but I didn't see a single piece that I could argue didn't belong
in the book.  Some of my favorites are: the 1818 New Spain Jola
(#96), the Washington / Column Indian Peace Medal (2 known, #95),
the 1746 Annapolis Tuesday Club medal (3 known, #80), the 1824
Washington / Lafayette counterstamps (#48), Hard Times Tokens
(#34) and the 1714 Glouchester Court House token (#33).

Topping the list was (naturally) the 1776 Libertas Americana
Medal, which the authors note won the top spot by a good margin.
It certainly had my vote for No. 1 - its beauty, symbolism,
craftsmanship and place in history are unparalleled.  A close
second was I believe, also my second choice - the Washington
Before Boston medal.

The 18-page introduction opens with a discussion of the
book project, then describes in approximate chronological
order the making and use of tokens and medals in America.
At 148 pages, the hardcovered glossy dust-jacketed book
looks somewhat thin, but the large coffee-table page format
makes for an impressive appearance.

The next time someone asks me for a list of books a newcomer
to numismatics ought to read, '100 Greatest American Medals
and Tokens' will be on it.  This is probably the first
numismatic book that I would unquestionably recommend to
people both inside and outside of the hobby.  When they're
old enough, I just might give a copy to each of my kids so
they can start to understand what Daddy finds so fascinating
about those little round things he collects and hunches over
the computer writing about.

Dave Bowers writes: "The book was very stimulating to do,
and I learned a lot in the process."

Dennis Tucker writes: "Image gathering followed the 80/20
rule: 80% of the images were relatively easy to compile, and
20% were like herding cats! If the hobby community weren't
made up of so many helpful, generous collectors and researchers,
the image gathering would have been next to impossible.

"There's been a lot of passionate debate and conversation
about this book already. I like reading and hearing dissenting
opinions on what should have been No. 1, what should have made
the list and didn't, etc. From the amount of spirited discussion
online and elsewhere, I'd say that medals and tokens have an
energized fan base and are doing just fine!"

Katie Jaeger writes: "The Micmac medal was published in the
British Journal 'The Medal' in the 1960s, and in the 1970s,
photos were shown in the Maine History Journal.  But never
in the U.S. numismatic mainstream, to be sure!

"Some who already knew the material inside and out were
disappointed as to the rankings - nobody will ever be
completely happy with any 100 greatest in any field; of
course, that is impossible.  When I watch those TV countdowns
of 100 movies, 100 comedians, etc., and wait patiently through
all the commercials to see what No. 1 is, I usually end up
saying to myself  'Are they nuts?' "

[The debate is where all the fun is.  As Katie notes, it's a
pointless task to argue over whether a certain item "ought to
be" ranked 65th instead of 66th, and since 100 is such a small
fraction of the hundreds of thousands of possible candidates,
there will always be legitimate candidates for inclusion in
a future edition.   I also think that now that the images
and background are published for the 100 items chosen in the
first edition, some of them are likely to be ranked differently
in future editions (some higher, some lower).  -Editor]

For more information, visit the Whitman Publishing web site:
Full Story

[One of the opposing opinions comes from Dick Johnson.
He agrees that Whitman has produced a great book, but takes
issue with some of the contents.  -Editor]

Dick Johnson writes: "Just received this week:  '100 Greatest
American Medals and Tokens.' It is the third in Whitman's '100
Greatest' series following 'Coins' and 'Paper Money' and it is
outstanding. Authors Katie Jaeger and Dave Bowers are to be

"The illustrations are stunning: full page, full color, high
quality. The items are arranged in order and the first ten rate
a double page spread; remaining 90 got the full page treatment.
Each page is so attractive it could be removed from the book
and framed. Whitman's art department and the printer in China
outdid themselves.

"However, the book is misnamed. It should be '100 Notable American
Medals and Tokens'. For included among the 'Greatest 100' are
OPA Tokens (no. 81) and Sales Tax Tokens (no. 82). I have nothing
against these items, they exist and are widely collected (as a
teenager I formed collections of each myself).

"But to consider an OPA token a "greatest"?  American coin
and medal artists are screaming "How could this be?  Where
is the artistic quality, the creativity in their design?"
Similarly, sales tax tokens were issued for a very limited
purpose (for a short time). They were struck from quickly
made dies that generally lack artistic design. To consider
them a "great" is an insult to artists, diesinkers, engravers,
medallists, who labor for days to create attractive glyptic
art objects with permanent meaning preserved in metal forever.

"Perhaps I am at fault. When offered to be a 'selector' for
this project I declined. I objected to the concept of placing
both medals AND tokens in the same book.  Each numismatic
category has ample number of great items. Maybe if I had
accepted I could have proved the folly of including such
lackluster items and putting both medals and tokens in one

"Be that as it may, I recommend buying this book.  In fact,
buy several copies. Give them as gifts. Let's drain Whitman
of its stock of this first printing. Then, perhaps, for a
second edition it could be replaced by two books, each
extolling the greatest in each class of these fascinating
and desirable numismatic items. That would be the Greatest!"

[I differ with Dick on this point.  It's not called the "100
Most Artistic Medals and Tokens", either.  I could see a market
for a "Most Artistic" or "Most Beautiful" book, but when I
read the word "Greatest", I think "Most Important".  And from
an historical and economic standpoint, OPA and Sales tax tokens
are just as important as many other included items.  And there
are some highly-ranked medals which aren't too much to look at,
like the primitive Micmac medal (and I don't care much for the
design of the Admiral Vernon medals, either).  But they are
all important and "great" in their own way. Still, like Dick,
I would welcome separate token and medal volumes and perhaps
these will come to pass in the future. -Editor]


Lots of books come across my desk, but usually I know
they're coming.  Coming home from the office Thursday I
found a surprise waiting for me - a copy of 'Money' written
by Joe Cribb for the Dorling Kindersley 'Eyewitness Books'
series.  It was #18 in the series (of over 125 titles) and
was published originally in 1990; this copy was from the
2000 edition.

My eight-year-old son Christopher had brought it home from
school.  "Did you read it?", I asked.  "No - I brought it
home for you."  OK, so much for interesting him in my hobby.
But it was thoughtful of him and I really did enjoy the book,
which I hadn't come across before.  The 64-page hardcover
is a visual delight, loaded with 20-25 photographs per page,
printed on glossy paper.  It's divided into 29 chapters;
several illustrate the coins and banknotes of various countries
and regions - others cover topics as diverse as counterfeiting,
wartime currency, checks and ATM cards, and finally "Collecting
Coins".  It may be aimed at young readers, but I found it a
delight to read. lists a 2005 edition with 72 pages, so the book
has been updated periodically.  One online reviewer mentioned
an interesting factoid from the newer edition that I didn't
see in mine:  "The name for a piggy bank comes from pygg, a
type of clay used in Middle Ages to make pots for money and
other things. The idea to make banks in the shape of pigs
probably came from the similarity of the words."

The breadth of the book's coverage is stunning - this is
obviously an author who knows numismatics from A to Z and
beyond, no surprise given that Cribb is a Keeper of Coins
and Medals at the British Museum.  Included are not just
the obvious choices of Yap stone money, a 14th-century
Chinese note and a 1794 U.S. silver dollar - the book also
illustrates such diverse numismatic items as a Hell Bank
note, German notgeld, a telephone token, and a plastic $1
gambling token from Diamond Tooth Gertie's casino in
Dawson City, Yukon.

Of interest to numismatic bibliophiles is a catalog of
rubbings of Chinese and Japanese cash coins made by a
Japanese collector in 1812, and a Dutch Trader's Manual,
a cambist picturing circulating coins, published in Antwerp
in 1580.   There are few attributions for the photos,
although one can assume that items unlisted in the cryptic
Acknowledgements section on the last page are from the
British Museum collection.   As a product targeted at
young readers I won't fault the book for not having my
favorite components - an index, bibliography and footnotes
or endnotes.  Still, as a curious reader it's disappointing
not to find them.

New and used copies are available on Amazon for under $15,
so consider this book for holiday giving - it's another one
that I'd add to a list of books a newcomer to numismatics
ought to read, and further justification for the fascination
we all have for this hobby.


George Kolbe writes: "Regarding the superb work by Charpentier
and others on the medals of the Sun King, I found Hadrien
Rambach's notes on the copy to be sold at Christie's to be
interesting and also startling. It is not often that a
numismatic book belonging to a king so famous as Louis XIV
is offered for sale, or one of any king for that matter.

There may be an inaccuracy in Hadrien's article, albeit one
also found in the Christie's description. I have never
encountered a copy of the 1723 edition, nor have I heard
of one, with the "suppressed" eight page preface.

"Louis himself was the 'suppressor' and he had died eight
years before the appearance of this new edition. I have
handled a few examples of the 1702 folio edition with the
preface over the years and, incidentally, the 1702 folio
edition is often found bound much like the Christie's example,
with the Royal Arms impressed in gilt on the covers. Several
versions of the book were also published in quarto, circa
1702-1705, in more pedestrian style, including bilingual
editions in French and German. None of the quarto editions
appear to have been issued with the preface. Perhaps others
can add additional input."



Last week I wrote that Coin World's "massive 150-foot long
press which produced the publication for over thirty years
has finally been retired."

Tom DeLorey writes: "I read this with mixed emotions, because
when I started my numismatic career by going to work for
Coin World in December of 1973, they were already building
the modern plant out on the edge of town designed around
this 'state-of-the-art' printing press, which began operation
in May of 1974. Now it is obsolete. Perhaps so am I."

Coin World Editor Beth Deisher writes: "I was somewhat amused
that you describe the new format of Coin World as a surprise.
We published a top-of-the-page story on Page 5 of our Oct. 8
issue that contained extensive details of the coming changes,
noting even in the headlines that the new format would makes
its debut Nov. 19. I also wrote an editorial in that issue
about the coming changes.

"For the record, we are using a new font, but the point
size of the type is the same as the previous format. (In our
testing, people thought it easier to read than the old
body-type font.) The trim size of the publication makes it
seem smaller, when in fact page image size really is not
dramatically different. The old format (10 1/2 by 12-inch)
had an inch of white space at the top and a half inch on
each side and the bottom so that the old newspaper press
could "grip" the paper to keep it rolling on the press.

That gave us a live image size of 9 1/2 by 10 5/8. Virtually
every inch of the new size 8 1/2 by 10 5/8 can be used because
the new press allows us to bleed for the full live image. The
big bonus is the availability of color on every page and an
upgrade in the quality of the newsprint paper. And oh yes,
this is a heat-seal press, so you should never experience
ink rub from reading the new Coin World format."

[Thanks for the background.  I did write that "readers got
a surprise" with the latest issue, but I know the change had
been in the works for a while.  Despite the pre-change publicity,
I'm sure a number of readers were caught by surprise nevertheless.
It will be interesting to read the readers' reactions in
subsequent issues.  -Editor]

Beth adds: "One other tid-bit -- for the trivia minded --
is that the paper is actually heavier and whiter than the
old newsprint. Previously it was a 27-lb. newsprint, whereas
the new is 33-lb. I was fascinated to learn that the new
press actually shaves the paper to make the surface smooth
before it enters the section that actually does the printing.
The shaving is done in part to make the images crisper and
to make the ink application more even.  Printing technology
has changed more in the last 40 more than all of previous
printing history!

I count myself as extremely lucky because these changes
have happened literally before my eyes. I began my career
in 1969 when newspapers where still being produced on "hot
metal" presses -- when newspapers where put together with
linotype operators setting the type line by line on metal
slugs and the pages where "composed" on a "turtle," which
was formed into a zinc plate for the presses. (No computers
involved in any stage of the process -- from writing to
newspaper press.) Now we work in a completely digital

Dick Johnson, founding editor of Coin World writes: "The
first issue of Coin World in its new format arrived this
week. It is official now. Coin World is no longer a newspaper.
It is a magazine.

"The trend at Coin World had been headed in this direction
for some time. Have you noticed the decline of 'hard news'
stories and their placement?  There is a tidal wave of
decline among all newspapers across the nation -- predominantly
in circulation -- and a rise of 'niche' magazines. Perhaps
this was an influential factor.  I am certain there were
many factors that drove this decision as well.

"I am certain there were many factors that drove this decision.
One is economic, another is newsstand appearance, a third is
full color. Obviously a strong factor was to increase readership.
The official company line was stated by editor Beth Deisher
in her editorial on page 14 of the new issue.  The press that
had been printing Coin World for 33 years had served its life
expectancy.  It is now printed on a new press (Beth didn't
mention whether this press was in-house or off-site).

"The shift to magazine format at Coin World was gradual in
recent years. The most obvious decision was to put the
contents on page 3. Traditionally this was a high readership
page for news of somewhat lesser importance that didn't make
page 1 (in news parlance this is called 'pee-one.') Fifty
years ago, it seems, the news articles were ranked by their
appearance -- the closer to the front, the more important
the story. There was news on pages 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, with
news in that order.

"Advertisers knew this and demanded 'up front' positioning.
Shortly a full page ad appeared on page 2. News stories were
pushed further back in the 'book' (again news parlance, any
printed publication is called a 'book,' whatever format).

"In examining the first issue of the new Coin World format
I find only two news articles on page 1. In the past -- and
in larger newspaper format -- there were as many as eight
with 'carry over' of stories to an inside page.  (Both page
1 articles were carried over here.) The rest of the news
articles appear on pages 4, 5, and 10 in the new issue.

"The continued success of Coin World will depend upon on
Beth Deisher and her staff to keep up a high quality of
editorial content.  Step up news gathering. When was the
last time you received a call from anyone in the Coin World
editorial department asking 'Hey, what's new?'

"To me there is a dearth of dealer news. Perhaps this is
somewhat coin dealers' own fault. They don't know what is
news, they don't know how to write it up, and they don't
know got to get it published. This is where staff writers
need to call and pry out the news. 'Have you bought a
large collection lately? Have you discovered a new variety?
What are your plans for your next sale, auction? What's
happening in your business?'

"Likewise, numismatic organizations need to be a little
more proactive.  Assign one person to be contact with the
numismatic press. If he or she can write, that's excellent.
If they have journalism experience that's even better.
But just because someone can send news via email doesn't
make them the best spokesperson for your organization.
Don't necessarily make your computer guy the press contact
- he lives in a digital world and speaks a different language.

"Beth Deisher -- I know you are overworked with three new
publications -- put in for a raise! But you now have the
capability to do something really outstanding with the new
Coin World format, with new color capability and new
printing technology. I know you can do it. And make Coin
World something I could never have envisioned!"

Dick adds: "Tell Tom DeLorey he is obsolete only if he
stops writing.  He compiled an excellent catalog of Tom
Elder medals in 1980 that is still the standard work."



Last week I republished a June 8, 2003 E-Sylum article by
Fred Lake about how he teased John J. Ford about his passion
for pristine condition numismatic literature.  Alan Weinberg
wrote: “Just wanted to say I roared aloud at Fred Lake's
placing tire tracks on the wrapping paper for the 'slabbed'
book he was sending Ford. A gem of a story!”

[It is a great story, and great stories always bear repeating.
That’s why we have an online archive.  I guess you could say
that the dirty little secret of The E-Sylum is that the goal
isn’t to publish a weekly newsletter, although that's a
driving force and lots of fun.  The real goal of The E-Sylum
is to build up a great archive of numismatic information one
story at a time.   And a very pleasant side effect of the
archive is that it acts to draw in experts from many other
fields who find out about us by locating earlier articles
through web searches - the next item is a wonderful example
of that.

If you're not a regular visitor to the E-Sylum archive,
please check it out.  Every single E-Sylum item is available
there.  The top level of the archive is a chronological table
by year, and there is also a link for viewing the complete
E-Sylum Table of Contents from day one to now.  Also, at the
bottom of every individual article page is a Google search
box. -Editor]


 To visit the E-Sylum article archive, see:
 Esylum Archive


Regarding Paul Sherry's September 23, 2007 E-Sylum
submission, web site visitor Robert Ward writes: "I came
across your article while Googling ‘Robert Mylne’, whose
biography I recently wrote. It was published in April 2007
and might interest your readers.

"It includes an account of the prize-giving ceremony in
Rome, and of Mylne’s various deposits of medals in different
parts of the structure of the old Blackfriars Bridge,
uncovered when the bridge was demolished in the 1860s,
with some relevant illustrations.

"It also relates the previously unpublished events concerning
Nelson’s burial. Briefly Robert Mylne, who as cathedral surveyor
of St Paul’s was responsible for constructing the tomb, agreed
with Matthew Boulton to make a secret deposit of some of Boulton’s
coins and medals under Nelson’s coffin."

"Surviving correspondence between Mylne and his longstanding
friend Boulton, which had lain unnoticed among Boulton’s
papers for two centuries, describes this extraordinary plan
in detail.  Mylne asked for ‘a compleat Series of all you
have ever done ... even to farthings’ and explained that his
motive was ‘to bury your Glories for the instruction and
admiration of future times, what was done in this Country
in these times; along with the Glories of the Greatest Seaman
and Warior that has ever existed...’

"Boulton in turn proposed that the coins and medals should
be laid in the tomb in pulverized glass between sheets of
plate glass enclosed with a frame of slate or marble,
explaining that ‘the principle of preservation of Metals
is perfect exclusion from air and moisture’.

"If, as seems likely, Mylne’s deposit is still in place, it
must rank as one of the most tantalising of buried treasures.
Under the hero’s coffin in the base of a massive granite tomb
in St Paul’s crypt, precisely under the centre of the cathedral’s
dome, it is safe from all interference - a time capsule awaiting
the arrival of some archaeologist from the remote future,
just as Mylne intended."

[Robert Ward's book, "The Man Who Buried Nelson, The Surprising
Life of Robert Mylne" was published in paperback by Tempus in
2007 at £14.99.

This is indeed a tantalizing revelation.  In London this past
summer I visited St. Paul's Cathedral.  From high in the dome
I looked down on the center and later walked past Nelson's
massive tomb in the crypt below.  Who knew I was also looking
at the resting place of a complete set of Matthew Boulton's
coins and medals, assembled by Boulton himself?  Has this time
capsule been mentioned before in numismatic literature?




On Thursday Tim L. Shuck of Ames, IA forwarded me the
following email sent by Bernard von NotHaus of NORFED,
the organization behind the Liberty Dollar:

 Date: November 15, 2007 9:34:18 AM CST
 Subject: FBI Raids Liberty Dollar – Confiscates All
 Ron Paul Dollar

 Dear Liberty Dollar Supporters:

 I sincerely regret to inform you that about 8:00
 this morning a dozen FBI and Secret Service agents
 raided the Liberty Dollar office in Evansville.

 For approximately six hours they took all the gold,
 all the silver,  all the platinum and almost two tons
 of Ron Paul Dollars that where just delivered last
 Friday. They also took all the files, all the computers
 and froze our bank accounts.

 We have no money. We have no products. We have no
 records to even know what was ordered or what you are
 owed. We have nothing but the will to push forward and
 overcome this massive assault on our liberty and our
 right to have real money as defined by the US Constitution.
 We should not to be defrauded by the fake government money.

 But to make matters worse, all the gold and silver
 that backs up the paper certificates and digital
 currency held in the vault at Sunshine Mint has also
 been confiscated. Even the dies for mint the Gold and
 Silver Libertys have been taken.

 This in spite of the fact that Edmond C. Moy, the
 Director of the Mint, acknowledged in a letter to a US
 Senator that the paper certificates did not violate
 Section 486 and were not illegal. But the FBI and Services
 took all the paper currency too.

 The possibility of such action was the reason the
 Liberty Dollar was designed so that the vast majority
 of the money was in specie form and in the people’s
 hands. Of the $20 million Liberty Dollars, only about
 a million is in paper or digital form.

 I regret that if you are due an order. It may be some
 time until it will be filled... if ever... it now all
 depends on our actions.

 Everyone who has an unfulfilled order or has digital
 or paper currency should band together for a class
 action suit and demand redemption. We cannot allow the
 government to steal our money!  Please don’t let this
 happen!!! Many of you read the articles quoting the
 government and Federal Reserve officials that the Liberty
 Dollar was legal. You did nothing wrong. You are legally
 entitled to your property. Let us use this terrible
 act to band  together and further our goal – to return
 America to a value based currency.

 Please forward this important Alert... so everyone who
 possess or use the Liberty Dollar is aware of the situation.

 Please click HERE to sign up for the class action
 lawsuit and get your property back!

 If the above link does not work you can access the page
 by copying the following into your web browser.

 Thanks again for your support at this darkest time as the
 damn government and their dollar sinks to a new low.

 Bernard von NotHaus
 Monetary Architect

[By Thursday afternoon I still hadn’t seen any confirmation
of the raids on the web others than simple repostings of the
above email.  So I picked up the phone and called Bernard Von
Nothaus direct.  I got him on his mobile phone.  He was on
another call but we spoke briefly.  He confirmed that he'd
sent the email and that the raids had indeed occurred.

Andrew W. Pollock III writes: "It looks like the 'Liberty
dollars' have finally been shut down.  I especially liked
following passage:

 "I am writing this to Liberty Dollar in hopes that
 it can be used to help with support," wrote a fan,
 M. Symonds, of Dallas, Texas, who reported using
 the coinage for $700 expenses on a trip to Austin.

 "My entire trip was funded with The Liberty Dollar.
 It used it everywhere I went. - I am here to tell
 you that the major chains and businesses will accept
 them. Here is a list of some of the places I used
 them: Joe's Fina Mart, Placido, Texas; James Texaco,
 Lolita, Texas; Jack In The Box, Austin, Texas; Chevron,
 Schulenburg, Texas; McDonalds, Port Lavaca, Texas,
 Wal-Mart, Port Lavaca, Texas; Reeds Grocery, Odem, Texas…"

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story

[The Washington Post published a front-page article in the raid
Saturday morning. -Editor]

"The ardent supporters of Rep. Ron Paul, the iconoclastic
Texas libertarian whose campaign for the presidency is
threatening to upend the battle for the Republican nomination,
got word yesterday of a new source of outrage and motivation:
reports of a federal raid on a company that was selling
thousands of coins marked with the craggy visage of their hero.

"Federal agents on Thursday raided the Evansville, Ind.,
headquarters of the National Organization for the Repeal
of the Federal Reserve Act and Internal Revenue Code (Norfed),
an organization of 'sound money' advocates that for the past
decade has been selling a private currency it calls 'Liberty
Dollars.' The company says it has put into circulation more
than $20 million in Liberty Dollars, coins and paper certificates
it contends are backed by silver and gold stored in Idaho,
are far more reliable than a U.S. dollar and are accepted for
use by a nationwide underground economy.

"Norfed officials said yesterday that the six-hour raid
occurred just as its six employees were mailing out the
first batch of 60,000 'Ron Paul Dollars,' copper coins sold
for $1 to honor the candidate, who is a longtime advocate
of abolishing the Federal Reserve. The group says it has
shipped out about 10,000 silver Ron Paul Dollars that sold
for $20 and about 3,500 of the copper $1 coins. But it said
the agents seized more than 50,000 of the copper coins --
more than two tons' worth -- plus smaller amounts of the
silver coins and gold and platinum Ron Paul Dollars, which
sell for $1,000 and $2,000.

"'People are pretty upset about this,' said Jim Forsythe,
head of the Paul Meetup group in New Hampshire, who said
he recently ordered 150 of the copper coins. 'The dollar
is going down the tubes, and this is something that can
protect the value of their money, and the Federal Reserve
is threatened by that. It'll definitely fire people up.'

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story

[One post siding with the government is found in an unlikely
place - The Liberty Papers blog.  The author has read the
government's case which cites elements of multilevel marketing
(MLM). Below are some excerpts. -Editor]

"Is the Liberty Dollar (ALD) a competing currency? Or is
it a scam designed to fill its creators’ pockets while
suckering us into buying silver at inflated prices? The
best place to understand what is happening is the full
seizure warrant."

"Looking over the full document, I can see where there
might be some standing for a case against the Liberty
Dollar*. I’ve never understood the difference between the
"face value" of their currency and the US Dollar. For
example, they suggest buying the Liberty Dollar $20 piece
at a discount and “spending” it as if it is worth $20,
when the silver inside is not worth $20. The feds refer
to it as a MLM scheme, and through reading their case,
I can see where they may have a point there."

"As a second point, it does appear that in many ways
the Liberty Dollar folks are violating the law against
coining your own currency in metal. I consider it to be
an improper law, and I don’t begrudge them for breaking
it, but it does appear to be illegal."

"Of course, none of this in any way should be understood
as me being a supporter of the Fed’s system**. I believe
strongly in competing market-created currencies."

"It does seem, though, that the Liberty Dollar was created
to secure profit for its creators from the US Dollar,
instead of being a true alternate currency. The “convertability”
and desire that merchants give Liberty Dollars as change,
as well as the “move-up” process described in the Fed’s case
belie a desire by the Liberty Dollar folks to sell silver
in exchange for FRN’s at a consistent profit compared with
the market price, cloaked in the language of undermining
the current system."

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story

To read the complete FBI Seizure Warrant, see
Full Story

[In an item of possible interest to numismatic bibliophiles,
the warrant notes that "In each Associate packet, NORFED
sends a book entitled 'The Liberty Dollar Solution to the
Federal Reserve', Edited by Bernard von Nothaus."    Has
anyone ever seen one of these pamphlets?

Another writer says that NORFED's biggest misstep was
in issuing coins rather than the certificates they issued
initially. -Editor]

"The certificates did not look like money, did not represent
itself as money and, thus, could not be construed by the
government as a counterfeit form of money."

"That changed when von Nothaus began the mass coining of
his Libertys rather than printing them—and when he began
to refer to them on his website as "real money" or as
"the second most-popular currency."

"After coming under scrutiny again from the US Treasury
in September, 2006, which presented NORFED with a cease
and desist order, von Nothaus dissolved NORFED as of
January 1, 2007, announcing it would distribute Liberty
Dollars without a political agenda. In March, 2007, von
Nothaus filed a lawsuit against Henry M. Paulson, Secretary
of the Treasury, then US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales,
and Edmond C. Moy, Director of the US Mint asking the
court for a declamatory judgment against the federal

"Von Nothaus pointed out that if the supporters of the
Liberty Dollar don't join the class action lawsuit, they
will not get their money back. The Federal government will
simply keep it as they do with the ill-gotten gains of drug
dealers and other criminals, or white collar criminals charged
with RICO violations. But, it appears to day, that even if
von Nothaus escapes prison, the Liberty Dollars still in
the possession of its adherents will be nothing more than
mementos of a failed movement to restore the United States
to the gold standard."

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story

[On Saturday, a web article reported: " 'I anticipate being
arrested on any one or all of these charges,' von NotHaus
said. But he continued. 'I see my arrest and trial as a golden
opportunity to win and return our great country to a value
based currency. ... I believe the Liberty Dollar will win and
become one of the great institutions in America. I have devoted
the past 10 years to the Liberty Dollar and am willing to risk
a few years in federal prison to vindicate it.' "

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story

[Tom Michael came to von NotHaus' defense in his Saturday
blog entry.  -Editor]

He writes: "Now we wait. Will the government act? Or will
they just tie up NORFED's business for months, if not years,
while they build a case they most likely will never win?
Bernie has been up front with his dealings. He let's people
know exactly what NORFED is trying to do with their currency.
NORFED was not hiding out in the heartland, they were open
with their business and it got them raided.

"Liberty Mint coins do not claim to be U.S. currency. They
do not directly imitate U.S. coins in an attempt to defraud.
Most of them are not even denominated like U.S. circulating
coins. They do employ symbolic images of freedom...perhaps
because they thought this was a free country.

"Now we will all see just how free our country has become.
We'll see if Bernie gets a speedy trial, or if the Federal
Government drags their feet while holding on to all the
NORFED company assets. We'll see if they intend on filing
charges, or just intimidating Liberty Dollar and NORFED
out of existence."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

[I own a group of NORFED certificates which I purchased
some months ago on eBay.  I bought them as collectible
examples of a modern day currency alternative.  I haven't
bought any of the "coins" yet because I had no interest in
paying the group's markup over spot silver.  But I respect
the rights of those who did wish to purchase them, and also
respect the rights of NORFED to sell and distribute them.

Did von NotHaus make money with his venture?  Sure, but
making a profit is as American as apple pie.  It took a lot
of time, effort, knowledge and investment to design, create,
distribute and sell the "coins" and certificates.  I've seen
no articles indicating that any NORFED follower was forced
to buy and "spend" them at gunpoint, nor have I seen reports
of any follower forcing an establishment to accept them.

I read the government's warrant and don't see a case for
multilevel marketing accusations.   What NORFED had were
rules that allowed them to revalue their "coins" in response
to rises in the underlying spot price of silver.  Yes, this
both protected their investment and led to additional profits.
So what?

The worst one could say is that for a group which derided
the U.S. dollar it sure knew how to make some, but why not?
Unless and until an alternate currency overtakes the dollar
(which the Euro seems to be doing in some circles), the
dollar-denominated world is the one all Americans live in
today, even NOFRED and its supporters.  At best von Nothaus'
Liberty Dollars are just one more numismatic remnant of a
political/economic/artistic movement such as Bryan Money,
Lesher Dollars or J.S.G. Boggs' 'Boggs Bills'.

Just as I've promoted buying numismatic literature from
the publisher I'm also very much a proponent of buying
tomorrow's numismatic collectibles TODAY.  If you collect
things like U.S. pattern coins, Bolen tokens, Lesher Dollars
or Bryan Money then you ought to consider accumulating Liberty
Dollars, Gallery Mint products and the proposed coin design
pieces of people like Ron Landis and Daniel Carr.  I haven't
bought nearly as many as I'd like (yet), but I do have them
in my collection.

Those who bought the NOFED Ron Paul dollars can sit back
and smile now that their price has soared past $300 apiece
on eBay.   They will drop back as more supplies hit the market,
but will probably never return to their original issue price
thanks to the publicity.  I'm sure we haven't heard the last
of von NotHaus and wouldn't be surprise to see new "coins"
emerge with revised slogans.  -Editor]


[This week the Ancient Coin Collectors Guild and two
other organizations announced a lawsuit against the U.S.
Government over the import restrictions on ancient coins
from Cypress.  Below is the complete press release. -Editor]

The Ancient Coin Collectors Guild (ACCG), an advocacy
group for private collectors and independent scholars,
announced the filing today of a Freedom of Information
Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U. S. State Department
(DOS). According to Wayne G. Sayles, executive director
of the guild, this action became unavoidable due to
persistent refusal of the Bureau of Educational and
Cultural Affairs (ECA) to provide the guild and others
with information relating to requests for import restrictions.
The DOS recently imposed unprecedented import restrictions
on ancient coins from Cyprus, requiring importers of even
a single common coin of Cypriot type to provide unfair,
unworkable and unnecessary documentation.

The ACCG seeks information relating to requests from Cyprus,
China and Italy. In each case, apparent irregularities in
the way these requests were handled led to significant
concerns.  Members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives
 also requested similar information on behalf of the ACCG and
others.  “None of these avenues produced responsive replies,”
said Peter K. Tompa, ACCG president.   “The reason for this
lawsuit is that the DOS has refused to provide meaningful
information.  We seek transparency and fairness of the
process by which decisions affecting the American people
are made.”

The ACCG, joined in this suit by the International Association
of Professional Numismatists and the Professional Numismatists
Guild, is represented by Washington DC attorney Scott A. Hodes.
Mr. Hodes is a former FOIA and Privacy Act attorney for the
Department of Justice and the FBI.

The imposition of import restrictions is a remedy made
available to DOS by the Convention on Cultural Property
Implementation Act (CPIA) enacted in 1983.  This law, while
providing emergency protection for endangered cultural property,
includes detailed and comprehensive safeguards to limit
overreaching implementation of the 1970 UNESCO accord.  The
fair and equitable application of this law is viewed by the
coin collector community and associated trade as essential to
achieving any measure of protection on a broad and continuing

The ACCG (ACCG) argues that fairness and equity can
only be satisfied by a system that is transparent and subject
to oversight.   They hope that this lawsuit will help encourage
the State Department to revamp its procedures to ensure the
fundamental fairness to all that the law demands.

To obtain information about membership in the ACCG or to make
a donation to the ACCG legal effort, go to
(Paypal link at bottom of home page) or contact ACCG executive
director Wayne G. Sayles by telephone at 417-679-2142 or by
email at

[Arthur Shippee forwarded the following article from The New
York Times. Here are a few excerpts. -Editor]

"If the coin collectors were to prevail, the State Department
might be compelled to shed more light on the way it makes
decisions on protecting the cultural property of other nations,
a process that many art dealers, museum directors and collectors
argue has been unnecessarily shrouded in secrecy. Among the
information sought from the State Department are documents
related to a May 2004 request from China that the United States
restrict the import of a vast array of art and artifacts,
including coins, dating from Chinese prehistory through the
early 20th century. The State Department has repeatedly delayed
action on the Chinese petition in the face of strong opposition
from museum curators, art dealers, auction houses and collectors.

"The Chinese request is supported by archaeologists, however,
who believe that the antiquities market and trade in ancient
coins encourages the pillage of important ancient sites.

"The lawsuit also follows a controversial decision by the State
Department in July to ban imports of ancient coins from the
island of Cyprus. It was the first time the government had barred
trade in a broad category of ancient coins, and collectors and
dealers were startled."

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


Last week Robert Rightmire asked about the address of The
Guttag Brothers, New York brokers and coin dealers.  David
Gladfelter writes: "There's a sticker inside my copy of Coins
of the Americas (1927) that says 'now located in our own
building, 42 Stone St.' That suggests they had moved from
a previous address.  I also found their earlier address in
their ad in the Numismatist for April 1924: 16-18 Exchange
Place, New York."



Last week, Dennis Tucker wrote: "I'm looking for information
on German medallist Friedrich Wilhelm Kullrich."

Jim Duncan of New Zealand writes: "There are 2 1/8 pages
on Kullrich in Forrer's Biographical Dictionary of Medallists
(vol III, pp 244-246)."

Dennis writes: "Thanks! I've contacted Amber at the ANA library
to get a photocopy of those pages."

Joe Levine writes: "See: Die Medaillen Der Koniglich-Preussischen
Hof-Medailleure Christoph Carl Preuffer Und Friedrich Wilhelm
Kullrich by Klaus Sommer, copyright by Biblio-Verlag, Osnabruck 1986.



Last week David F. Fanning wrote: "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... "

Dave Ginsburg writes: "The April 15, 1818 document (15th
Congress, 1st Session, H.Doc. 199) does appear to be the
Mint's Annual Report for 1817, as I can find only two other
reports from the Mint for 1818, both of which deal with assays
of foreign coins.  It certainly does seem to be rather late,
as the same report for 1818 (15th Congress, 2nd Session, H.
Doc. 150) is dated February 25, 1819.

"On somewhat the same topic, I was delighted recently to
'trip' over two Mint Annual Reports on -
the 1870 Report (unfortunately, the digital file is incomplete
- it starts on page 8 of the report) and the 1857 report,
which is contained in the Secretary of the Treasury's Annual
Report on the Finances.   The 1857 report marks the transition
from calendar year to fiscal year reporting for the Mint, so
it only covers the first six months of 1857."


 To visit Google's Book Search, see:
 Google's Book Search


Joel Orosz writes: "Len Augsburger and I thoroughly enjoyed
reading Alan V. Weinberg's submission in the last issue of
The E-Sylum.  It was neat to learn that Alan's enterprising,
and we believe quite accurate, detective work was spurred by
the article that Len and I wrote about our visit to Harry
Forman's home this past summer.  However, we do want to point
out that our Forman article appeared in The Asylum, not in
Numismatist as noted in Alan's submission."

[I must admit that I do get behind in my offline numismatic
reading - I assumed I missed something in The Numismatist.
Sorry I don't catch the misattribution, but this is a good
time to remind E-Sylum readers that there is a great deal
of interesting content in our print journal, The Asylum.
While The E-Sylum is a free Internet publication, only paid
members of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society receive copies
of The Asylum. -Editor]



Last week Tom and Gosia Fort forwarded a fascinating YouTube
video of coins falling like dominos.  I published the link,
along with one of a similar video using library books as

Nick & Marilyn Graver write: "We loved the coin dominos.
The library books were also fun, but they quit too soon.

In response to my question, "Can anyone tell us what coin
is being used as the dominoes?", Joe Boling writes: "British
one-pound coins. I found the hill-climbing sequences fascinating."

Ron Abler writes: "Someone asked that question of the
'perpetrators' on You Tube, and the answer was "£1, One
Great Britain Pound(GBP), The official currency of the
United Kingdom and the Crown Dependencies. The United
Kingdom consisting of Scotland, England, Wales and Northern



[I wasn’t going to include this Associated Press story
because of the complete lack of specifics, but since
several readers forwarded it, it's at least worth mentioning.
Here are some excerpts.  -Editor]

"An anonymous buyer has paid more than $30 million for a
collection of rare U.S. prototype coins, some from the 1700s,
that never went into circulation, according to the dealer that
brokered the deal.

"The collection consists of about 1,000 coins that collectors
refer to as pattern coins — trial designs that never went into
production because the U.S. Mint chose other designs.

"'This collection is an incredible collection. ... These were
some of the first coins ever, ever struck by the United States
government,' said Laura Sperber, a partner in Legend Numismatics
of Lincroft, N.J., which brokered the deal.

"The coins span the period from 1792 to 1942. Highlights
include test designs for the first pennies made in 1792 and
six coins from 1872 that are often referred to as 'Amazonian'
patterns because the female figure portraying liberty is much
stronger and regal looking than earlier versions."

[The anonymity of the buyer and seller, and the spotty
coverage of the contents of the collection makes this an
article of little use to numismatists.  Hopefully the
numismatic press will follow up on this and learn a little
more.  -Editor]

George Fuld writes: "Someone who had such a large pattern
collection should not be anonymous."

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story

[The New York Times mentioned this sale today in an article
about the increasing value and interest in collectibles of
all types. -Editor]

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


Last week I wrote: "Tonight I'm taking my wife to the
Bruce Springsteen concert at the Verizon Center in Washington,
D.C.  ... I plan to annoy everyone around us by calling out
the names of John Mellencamp songs."

Kerry Wetterstom writes: "Be prepared for a fight at the
Springsteen concert! His fans are loyal and rabid (including
myself!), and probably would not take kindly to any Mellencamp
references! Of course, yelling 'Freebird,' even at a Springsteen
concert is always permitted!  Actually, I was once at a
Springsteen concert where someone yelled out 'Freebird'!
Springsteen and the boys proceeded to sing a killer version
of it!"

The Mellencamp reference was a joke - I didn't do it, but it
would have been fun to watch the melee if I could do it from
a distance.  Actually, I guess I did have the opportunity -
our seats were in a private corporate suite on the second
level directly across from the stage.  I'm a fan of both
Springsteen and Mellencamp but have never been a diehard
devotee of any particular band.  But now I'm sold on Bruce -
the concert was a killer.  It's no wonder why tickets similar
to ours had been bid up to the $1,500-$2,000 level on
that afternoon.

I may never tire of driving into Washington and seeing the
monuments gloriously lit at night.   The Washington Monument
obelisk was in full view from my car; the Lincoln Memorial
was off to the right and I believe I saw the Jefferson Memorial
in the distance.   To the left was the headquarters of the
Federal Reserve Bank.  Washington traffic was stop and go
as usual.  I turned left at 7th Street, where the National
Archives building stands.  Sturdy, silent and dark for the
night, the building houses the seminal documents of our
nation's founding - The Declaration of Independence,
Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Appropriate to the venue, Springsteen's playlist was heavy
with songs from 'Magic', described by a Washington Post
reviewer as "a new album whose central figures are isolated,
alienated and disillusioned. They've been betrayed and deceived,
and so there's a riptide of angst tugging at those who occupy
this wartime Americana."

In introducing one song, "Livin' in the Future," The Boss
talked about rendition, wiretapping and "a Constitution
under attack." -  "The E Street Band is here tonight to do
something about it!" he said.

This reminded me immediately of the classic parody song by
Tom Lehrer called "The Folk Song Army" about 1960s-era war
protesters - "Ready, Aim, Sing!" went the chorus.  But
Springteen immediately acknowledged his place in the world,
following "here tonight to do something about it!" with "We're
going to sing about it. We're musicians."  Then he added,
"It's a start. - after that it's up to all of us, I guess."

So what does any of this have to do with numismatics?   Not
much admittedly, but the NORFED and ACCG events this week do
link numismatics and the nation's laws.  The U.S. Constitution
and Federal Reserve are very much a part of what the Liberty
Dollar folks claim they're about, and the State Department
rules restricting imports of ancient coins are another
connection.  It will be interesting to see how these situations
play out.

Getting back to the concert, I can't think of a single
numismatic item relating to Springteen or any other modern
performer for that matter.  But how come?   You can buy a
T-shirt for $35, but I've not heard of any tokens, medals,
scrip, good-fors etc. featuring performers.  With the craze
in the military for challenge coins, I wonder why the practice
hasn't spread to fan clubs.  A T-Shirt will last only so long,
but a medallic tribute is for the ages.  A "challenge coin"
type medal could be manufactured and sold for far less than
$35 yet still yield a high profit for the concert promoters.

Back in the day, long before my time, performances of top
artists were commemorated with souvenir medals.  On the New
York Times archive I found an image of an article discussing
the Lyman Low sale of the Benjamin Betts collection of early
U.S. store cards, published December 19, 1897.  In the
collection was a medal stuck to honor "The Swedish Nightingale"
Jenny Lind.

The medal was "struck in 1850 to commemorate Jenny Lind's
first concert at Castle Garden.  On the face is a fine head
of Jenny Lind, and on the reverse the inscription '12,500
dollars given by Miss Lind to charitable institutions. First
concert in America, at Castle Garden, N.Y. Sept. 11 1850,
attended by 7,000 people. Proceeds, 3,500 dollars."

I could easily see today's concertgoers buying, collecting
and trading medallic concert souvenirs.  "Dude - you got
the Detroit 'Born in the U.S.A.' tour coin?  Cool!"   The
bands and their labels are very protective of their copyrights,
so any effort to strike medals or tokens would have to be
blessed by the bands.  Does anyone know someone who knows
someone in what's left of the recording industry?  Put a
kind word in their ear for numismatics, and be sure to tell
them it means "money".

For more on the art and architecture of the Federal Reserve, see:

To read a Washington Post review of the Springsteen concert, see:
Full Story

To view the 1897 New York Times article on the Betts sale, see:
Full Story

 We are the Folk Song Army.
 Every one of us cares.
 We all hate poverty, war, and injustice,
 Unlike the rest of you squares.

 So join in the Folk Song Army,
 Guitars are the weapons we bring
 To the fight against poverty, war, and injustice.
 Ready! Aim! Sing!

To read the lyrics of The Folk Song Army, see:
The Folk Song Army



Dick Johnson writes: "With the value of the U.S. dollar
now less than the Canadian dollar, U.S. coins pose a
potential problem in Canada. Most susceptible are the
toll collections, parking meters, turnstiles and fare boxes.

"Toll collectors say they don't have time to sort coins,
they accept U.S. coins at face. Toronto parking meters are
not designed to tell the difference between Canadian and
American coins. In a statement this week officials said both
country's coins are accepted at face value. 'Retrofitting a
single machine would cost about $450.'

"Adam Giambrone, city councilor and chair of the Toronto
Transit Commission (TTC], said: 'if the loonie manages to
climb to US$1.25 then the TTC would be likely to enforce
the same protocol that was in place when the Canadian dollar
was worth $0.63.' "

Canadian TV had interviewed Giambrone. Here is their report:
Full Story


Dick Johnson writes: "The rise of the Canadian dollar vs.
the U.S. dollar has another produced another problem,
perhaps in a least expected place - book jackets!

"Prices of books are printed in both U.S. and Canadian
currencies on the covers and dust jackets of books.  Well,
the Canadians are taking umbrage at the fact the Canadian
price is always higher - this was the case for decades when
the Canadian dollars was worth less.  Now that the U.S.
dollar is worth less than their currency the Canadians
are getting upset.

Below is a blog from 'Joe' in response to a recent news item:
Full Story

[My, how times have changed.  Below are some excerpts from
a Globe and Mail article about the phenomenon. -Editor]

"Book rage, anyone? As the Canadian dollar hit the $1.10
mark earlier this week, booksellers and publishers began
to circulate stories of customers going beyond simply
venting their dismay at hapless clerks and turning books
into projectiles, sometimes to the point of drawing blood.

"Ever since our dollar achieved exchange parity with the
United States on Sept. 20, 'books have been under the
microscope,' notes Yvonne Hunter, director of marketing
and publicity for Penguin Group, one of the country's
biggest publishers. And the consumer hasn't liked what
he's been seeing. His ire has focused on the discrepancy
between what a Canadian pays for an imported, American-made
book in this country and what an American consumer pays
for that same title, with the two different prices printed
right there on the book flap for all to see. The bookstore
serves as the conduit for what publishing historian and
novelist Roy MacSkimming calls "this predilection for
feeling ripped-off. There's been an attack of sticker
envy out there."

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


Dick Johnson writes: "Resolved:  Canada should issue a $5
circulating coin. The debate is heating up. Editorial
writers across the land are weighing in.

"A CanWest News Service article published November 10, 2007,
reports the Bank of Canada prepared a report in 2005. It
used several theoretical financial models to analyze the
country's coin and banknote system. The models considered
such alternatives as elimination of the cent coin, introduction
of the $5 coin, and issuing a $200 bill.

"One model, called Boeschoten, concluded that a $5 coin
would be needed between 2009 and 2020, 'given the price
level and other factors would be consistent with the
historical shift from notes to coins at other denominations.'

"In favor of the $5 coin is Francois Dupuis, vice-president
and chief economist of economic studies with the Desjardins
banking group. He had earlier recommended eliminating the
cent. He called for this to happen first prior to the $5 coin
in a strategy that must maintain the ideal number of
circulating coins.

"The article stated: 'The decision to change any part of
the country's currency rests with the Department of Finance,
which would consult the Bank of Canada and the Royal
Canadian Mint.'

"In opposition to this was an editorial writer in the Halifax
Daily News who wanted to maintain the status quo under the
headline: A $5 Coin? No, thanks.' "

To read an article IN FAVOR of the $5 Canadian coin, see:
Full Story

To read an article AGAINST $5 Canadian coin, see:
Full Story


[Another article was published this week on the Ohio firm
fighting the U.S. Mint's ban on cent melting.  -Editor]

"An Ohio metal company is banking on a change in federal
law to make a pretty penny off the lowly 1-cent piece.
Jackson Metals believes it can make a profit and save the
U.S. Mint more than $18 million annually through a plan to
sift through roughly 5 billion pennies a year and cull
high-copper-content coins made before 1982 whose components
are worth 1.7 cents.

"The firm in Jackson County, south of Columbus, would like
to melt those older pennies and sell the metal to companies
that make brass products like doorknobs and plumbing fixtures.

"Melting pennies has been illegal since last year, when the
Mint banned the practice to prevent shortages. Melting nickels
also is illegal. Mint spokesman Michael White says it costs
the federal government 1.67 cents to make a penny and 9.53
cents to make a nickel. Increased worldwide demand for metals
in recent years has caused steep increases in the value of
the copper, zinc and nickel used to make coins, he said.

"Luhrman's congressman, Democrat Zack Space of Dover, has
introduced a bill to overturn the Mint's penny-melting ban.
A hearing on the bill, which is backed by House Financial
Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, was canceled last
week because of a scheduling conflict. A new hearing date
has not been set.

"Mint Director Edmund C. Moy was scheduled to testify
against the bill.

"Moy said when the penny-melting ban was announced: 'We
don't want to see our pennies and nickels melted down so
a few individuals can take advantage of the American taxpayer.
Replacing these coins would be an enormous cost to taxpayers.'

"While it waits for a verdict on its plan to pinch pennies
from pennies, Jackson Metals has kept its workers busy combing
through Canadian nickels to find coins minted between 1946
and 1981 that were made of pure nickel and are currently worth
14.3 U.S. cents.

"They've also been sorting through $14 million worth of
half-dollar coins from throughout the country to cull silver
coins made before 1964.

"'I think we've recovered the last of the silver coins,'
says Luhrman. 'Our process is very thorough.' "

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


"'This is real money,' Beth Deisher, editor of Coin World,
the world's largest-circulation coin publication, said of
the businessman's idea. 'It's like going for gold on the
ocean floor.'

"Deisher, who editorialized against Luhrman, said that
for the past few years, 'Rome has been burning, and the
Treasury hasn't done anything about it.'

"Indeed, over the past few months, the issue has been no
small change in Washington, triggering two bills, a
scheduled hearing and complaints to the Treasury Department
about why it has taken so long to react to rising metal

"It costs 1.67 cents to make a penny, up from .93 cents
in 2004. This means the U.S. Mint lost $31 million in making
6.6 billion new pennies in fiscal 2007 and another $68 million
for more than 1 billion nickels, according to Michael White,
a spokesman for the mint. Speculators, taxpayers, suppliers
and coin collectors are affected, too.

"The Treasury has proposed that it be allowed to transfer
from the Congress to itself the authority to measure and make
changes in the composition and weight of coins, so it can head
off future spikes in metal prices.

"This would be a historic change. Since Congress created the
mint in 1792, it has exercised constitutional authority over
America's pocket change.

"Before starting his company last year, Luhrman said he checked
with the mint to make sure it was not illegal to melt down
pennies. He was told it wasn't, and the company operated for
about five months before the government ban.

"He bought pennies from banks and used special equipment to
cull the copper-heavy ones minted before 1982. He estimated
that he could process 5 billion coins annually, separating
out 1.2 billion copper pennies.

"The businessman said he had hired 16 people for his operation.
He signed contracts with currency-handling companies such as
Brink's Co. in Richmond, and Coinstar in Bellevue, Wash.,
to get intelligence on the location of penny surpluses and
deficits. And he hired a trucking service to ship the pennies."

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story

David Ganz wrote a detailed article on the situation which
was published on NumisMaster this week.

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


Dick Johnson writes; "Ron Paul, a Representative from Texas,
has introduced an act that gives control of the cent composition
to the Secretary of the Treasury.  His statement on his proposed
legislation is so on target it is reproduced here in full:

 "Mr. Chairman, I am introducing this bill in response
 to HR 3956, which would unconstitutionally delegate
 the authority to determine the metal content of coins
 to the Secretary of the Treasury. While I am concerned
 at the high cost of minting pennies, I am not entirely
 convinced that the Mint needs to mint as many pennies
 as it does. Over the past 30 years, over 300 billion
 pennies have been minted, more than twice as many coins
 as all other denominations combined. This is over 1,000
 pennies for each man, woman, and child in this country.

 I find it hard to believe that with this many pennies
 having been minted, we still have a shortage of pennies.
 My bill would prohibit the minting of pennies until the
 Treasury and Federal Reserve certify that there is no
 surplus of pennies. If there is a surplus of pennies,
 it makes no sense for the Mint to continue to coin them
 if each penny costs more than one cent to produce. If
 there really were a shortage, the onus would be on the
 Treasury and Fed to conduct their survey in a timely
 fashion in order to facilitate further penny production.

 In the event of a shortage I would urge my colleagues
 to consider Mr. Roskam's HR 4036, which addresses the
 cost issue by changing the composition of pennies while
 maintaining the Congressional control and oversight
 mandated by the Constitution."

He calls this the 'Make No Cents Until It Makes Sense Act.'
Here is the statement from one of his supporters, Lew Rockwell:
Full Story "


Dick Johnson writes: "While Ron Paul is complaining we
have too many cents in circulation in America (above story)
citizens and businesses in East Malaysia are complaining
about a shortage of 1-sen coins.  Government officials have
proposed merchants round off to the nearest 5-sen amount,
a practice widely successful in Australia and New Zealand.

"However, a skepticism exists among the public that merchant
traders are going to cheat consumers.  The government insists
it loses money striking the low-denomination coin, a condition
that is found world wide with advancing prices of hard metals
used in coin compositions.

"While some of the comments of local citizens quoted in the
news story below appear a little naive to many of us, the
growing minor coin situation brought on by economic
conditions is universal."

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


Bob Knepper of Anaheim, CA writes: "The last E-Sylum
mentioned the new book "A Guide Book of Lincoln Cents" by
Q. David Bowers.  I recently encountered some information
about current U.S. cents that was surprising, at least
to me, as I collected them for many years.  Apparently the
tails or Memorial side of a U.S. cent is about 0.002 inches
larger in diameter than the heads side, according to the
book 'The Heart of Mathematics' by Edward B. Burger &
Michael Starbird.

"The proof or test is to line up a fairly large number of
cents, all face up and tight together, against a ruler and
measure their length.  Then alternate heads and tails and
measure again.  The alternating tapers will nest together
yielding a slightly smaller measurement.  With 30 cents,
the difference is only 0.030 = 1/32 inch but I've tried it
four times with different cents and gotten the same result
each time.

"This only determines that there is a difference.  The book
says spinning (not flipping) a cent on a smooth surface and
determining how it lands indicates that the tails side is
larger.  I got the same result but only for 30 trials.  It
would take a lot of trials to be conclusive or to win
significant money.

"A letter from the U.S. Mint said they have no information
about the edge details of cents."

[OK gang, who's game to put this to the test?  Few of us are
patient enough to flip coins over and over, but the line-up
test is fast and straightforward.  Anyone have enough new
cents handy to give it a try?  Let us know the result.
Anyone care to try it with other U.S. coins, or coins of
other countries? -Editor]


This week's featured web site, Mexican Coin Magic, "the
Internet Magazine of Mexican Numismatics" was suggested by
Ralf W. Böpple of Stuttgart, Germany.  He writes: "I did a
search of E-Sylum back issues, and I could not find a
reference to the following web site, so I figure it hasn't
been brought to your attention yet.  They are publishing
an online magazine on Mexican numismatics."

  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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