The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 10, Number 52, December 23, 2007: 
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 
Copyright (c) 2007, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers is Milton Lynn, courtesy of Russ 
Sears. Welcome aboard! We now have 1,100 subscribers.

This week we learn of a new catalog on Renaissance Medals, a 
website offering shipwreck coin books, and discuss numismatic- 
related articles in newspapers. 

In follow ups from previous issues, Bill Eckberg discusses the 
Brongniart correspondence on the Libertas Americana medals, and 
Mike Hodder discusses the Micmac medal. In research queries, 
Mike Greenspan asks about dealer Harold M. Hess.

In the news, Washington D.C. and the territories just might a 
Christmas present: quarters of their own. Merry Christmas 
everyone, and have a great holiday week.

Wayne Homren 
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


[Marilyn Reback of the American Numismatic Association 
forwarded the following item from the National Gallery 
of Art announcing a lecture and new publication cataloging 
Renaissance-era medals. -Editor]

The most important public collection of Renaissance-era 
medals in the United States resides at the National Gallery 
of Art in Washington, D.C., and is the focus of a new 
publication, Renaissance Medals. The first comprehensive 
catalogue of this collection is available as a two-volume 
set covering 957 medals acquired through 2003. Of these, 
163 are currently on view at the National Gallery of Art 
in the West Building ground floor sculpture galleries. 

The catalogue, compiled over more than twenty years, 
offers the most detailed art historical and scientific 
assessment of the collection available to date, including 
technical information such as the alloy composition of 
each medal. Volume one features Italian medals, including 
dozens of masterworks by Pisanello, who essentially invented 
the medium of portrait medals. Volume two focuses on French, 
German, Netherlandish, and English medals, including works 
by Guillaume Dupré, Albrecht Dürer, and Jacques Jonghelinck, 
and continues through the Baroque and later periods. 

The nucleus of the National Gallery of Art’s medal holdings 
is a 1957 gift from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. It also 
contains important gifts from the Joseph E. Widener (1942), 
and Leonard Baskin and Lisa Unger Baskin (1992–2006) 
collections. In addition, the National Gallery of Art has 
purchased many significant medals, especially of 15th-century 
work, including one recording the Pazzi conspiracy in Florence 
of 1476. A medal commemorating Lorenzo the Magnificent by 
Niccolò Fiorentino represents one of the last images of 
this important Italian statesman and founder of the Medici 

Some 163 medals are on view in the Gallery’s renovated 
sculpture galleries, which reopened in 2002. Medals are 
installed in classically detailed, freestanding wood and 
glass cases that allow visitors to see both sides of the 

This catalogue expands upon Renaissance Medals: from the 
Samuel H. Kress Collection at the National Gallery of Art, 
which was released in 1967. The one commonality between 
the two books is John Graham Pollard, who was co-author 
of both the 1967 catalogue with G.F. Hill, and the new 
catalogue with the assistance of National Gallery of Art 
associate curator of sculpture, Eleonora Luciano, and his 
wife, researcher Maria Pollard. 

After the introduction in each volume, medals are listed 
by country and era, and within that by schools and specific 
artists. In an appendix in volume one, Lisha Deming Glinsman 
and Lee-Ann Hayek explain their use of a non-invasive process 
called X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF) to determine 
the elemental compositions of medals. Their work makes a 
significant contribution to developing a database of 
Renaissance metal alloy compositions. Each volume provides 
an extensive bibliography, concordances, index of inscriptions, 
and a general index. 

Oxford University Press is distributing the volumes, which 
contain 1120 pages, 1745 duotones, and 66 color illustrations. 
The two volumes are available through the National Gallery 
of Art bookstore for $99 each by phone at (202) 842-6002 or 
(800) 697-9350.

To read the complete press release, see: 
Full Story 


Pete Smith writes: "This morning I dusted a shelf that hasn't 
been dusted in years. I came across my copy of "Numismatics 
in the News: Gleanings from Contemporary Newspapers". I have 
copy 15 of 20. [This is a draft publication I put together 
in 1995, but never completed. -Editor]

"Recently I checked the microfilm newspapers at the University 
of Minnesota Library. When I have some more free time I want 
to go back and check Philadelphia newspapers from 1793 for 
references to the Mint and early coinage. I am sure you will 
agree there is a wealth of information hiding in old newspapers.

"Now that there are ways to search old newspapers online, 
it would be a great project for somebody to catalog such 
articles. It would probably be possible to put the index 
or even the full text on a website."

[It's amazing how quickly times have changed. Back when 
I compiled my manuscript, I had to type these in one at a 
time, mostly from original newspapers in my collection. 
Not many old papers are available online making the task 
of finding such articles much easier. Is anyone working 
on or considering such a project? -Editor]


Michael E. Marotta writes: "I will have a review of “100 
Greatest American Medals” in the next issue of the MichMatist. 
While writing that, I came across a curious blunder that 
author Katherine Jaeger made here in The E-sylum. Oddly 
enough, no one caught it. In the September 3, 2006 issue, 
writing on “U.S. Coin Mutilation Laws” Jaeger said: “When 
the Mint issued a nickel design which did not bear the words 
FIVE CENTS on the reverse, but instead employed a Roman 
numeral V just like the one on the $5 gold piece, some 
miscreants plated gold on their nickels and passed them 
as $5 pieces.” Of course, no such V appeared on the reverse 
of any US $5 half eagle gold coin.



While looking for other things I recently came across the 
following web site offering books on shipwreck coins. 
Titles include:

* Shipwrecks And Their Coins: Volume 1 — The 1622 Spanish 
Treasure Fleet, 
* Shipwrecks And Their Coins: Volume 2 — The 1654 "Capitana" 
& 1655 
* Shipwrecks And Their Coins: Volume 3—The 1715 Spanish 
Treasure Fleet 
* Spanish Treasure Bars From New World Shipwrecks 
* Galleon Alley: The 1733 Spanish Treasure Fleet 
* Spanish Colonial Gold Coins In The Florida Collection 
* Shipwrecked 1622: The Lost Treasure of Philip IV

Ship Wreck Books For Sale


Bob Neale writes: "For those who are interested in the Panic 
of 1907 and the book you described in the 12/09/07 E-Sylum 
by Brunner and Carr ("The Panic of 1907: Lessons Learned 
from the Market's Perfect Storm"), I note the following:

"A great booklet on the subject (Panic of 1907, 20 pp, 7 1/2 
x 11-in) may be obtained for free from the Federal Reserve 
Bank of Boston. I got mine in 2002, and assume it is still 
available. Simply phone (617) 973-3459 to request it. I 
received mine in 10 days, and even got a phone call 4 months 
later asking whether I had received it! One can also receive 
a catalog of all the current publications available from the 
Federal Reserve System, such as two other well done booklets: 
Closed for the Holiday: The Bank Holiday of 1933, and 
Historical Beginnings...The Federal Reserve, all from FRS 
of Boston. While this great source of information is likely 
known to many E-Sylum subscribers, it may not be to all."



Bill Eckberg writes: "It was very good to have the opportunity 
to read the Brongniart correspondence in its original French 
and in translation. I agree with Karl Moulton that these 
are important pieces of correspondence related to early US 
exonumia, and I am gratified that my review brought this 
information to light. I am a firm believer that more evidence 
is always better than less, and I am pleased that Moulton 
turned this information up. As I indicated in the review, 
I wish the original source materials had made it into the book. 

"The letters do not provide a 'smoking gun' demonstrating 
unequivocally who designed the Libertas Americana medal. 
Nevertheless, I cannot see any way that this correspondence 
implicates Wright. Brongniart clearly says that the designs 
are from someone that HE, not Franklin, identified and that 
he had both a sculptor and a painter work on them. (Both 
are unidentified in the correspondence, though we can guess 
that Dupré and Gibelin are those indicated.) Since Brongniart 
claims that he engaged those who designed it, that would 
point away from Wright's involvement as the designer.

"What we do not know, and probably cannot know, is whether 
Wright suggested a motif to Franklin and, if so, whether 
that motif was actually used. He may have, but we are left 
with only tenuous, circumstantial evidence on which to base 
such a conclusion. Thus, I remain unconvinced. I don't doubt 
that Franklin and Wright met in France towards the end of 
the American Revolution, but they were not the only Americans 
living and working there. Others may have influenced Franklin. 
We just don't know.

"With respect to John Adams' offer, my position was simply 
that there is no hard evidence that Wright had any meaningful 
involvement in the design of the medal. The new information, 
while interesting, does not change that, so I have nothing 
new to add.

"Finally, it was not my goal in the review to 'discount what 
[was] presented' in what I considered to be a generally 
favorable review of a book I'm glad I purchased."


Regarding the cancellation of the ANA Journal, John Merz 
writes, "What now comprises a complete set? I have five 
of them."

Dick Hanscom writes: "I found it interesting that the ANA 
is ceasing publication of the ANA Journal. I had a letter 
to the editor in the Numismatist in June of this year, 
partially on this subject. I will pose this question to 
readers of this email newsletter - Why can't the ANA Journal 
be incorporated into the Numismatist?"

[I put these questions to Andy Dickes of the American 
Numismatic Association, since my own set is scattered 
at the moment. He writes: "There were five issues total, 
so John does own a complete set. As for the Journal being 
incorporated into the magazine, Barbara would have to 
answer that.

Numismatist editor Barbara Gregory is away for the holiday, 
so we'll await her word. The Numismatist seems like a 
natural outlet for such material, but publishing to a wide 
audience involves a tricky balancing act, and sometimes 
solutions are not easy.

If I had been the Executive Director we might have just 
produced the ANA Journal as an online-only publication. 
There are no space constraints and little incremental 
costs on the web. Make it a password-protected members- 
only area if you want, but don’t charge extra for it – 
make it a perk of membership. Selling ads could at 
least partly offset the added production costs. -Editor]


Charles Davis writes: "In a press release this week, 
the A.N.A. announced 'In a recent decision by the Board 
of Governors, the name of the ANA magazine has been changed 
back to The Numismatist, the original title used by George 
Heath when he founded the publication in 1888.' Too bad 
that David Sklow is no longer on the staff to catch such 
errors before they are published. (I won't insult readers 
by pointing out the obvious error)."

[Well, I doubt every E-Sylum reader is well versed in the 
history of the ANA's publication, so I'll publish the 
correction here. The ANA addressed the mistake in their 
December 21 "In the Loop with the ANA" email publication:

"Thanks to members Pete Smith and David Sklow, who provided 
feedback from Wednesday's Money Mail. The original title 
of ANA founder George Heath's publication was The American 
Numismatist. The title remained...for one issue! The word 
"American" was dropped from the November-December 1888 
issue to avoid a conflict with C.E. Leal's New Jersey 
periodical of the same name (from Charles Davis' book, 
American Numismatic Literature)." -Editor]


Last week I was puzzled by a term used in an article about 
Revolutionary War hero "John Steward". It said "General 
Washington had a silver coin cut by order of the Continental 
Congress". The word "cut" is what had me stumped, although 
if I had recalled what I'd read just a few weeks before in 
the 'Comitia Americana' book the meaning would have been 
obvious. The writer wasn't talking about cutting a coin, 
but cutting the dies for a medal.

Gar Travis helped straighten me out, sending the following 
online description of the Major John Stewart Comitia Americana 
medal. (The article I'd seen spelled the name as Steward 
with a "d").

On the front is an Indian Princess (representing America) 
presenting a palm branch to Major Stewart. Her left hand 
is resting on the American Shield. The legend reads: 
"Joanni Stewart Cohortis Praefecto, Comitia Americana 
The American Congress to Major John Stewart".

On the reverse side is a fortress. In the foreground an 
American Officer cheering on his men who are following 
him over the enemy's abatis. The inscription reads: 
"Stony Point Oppugnatu, XV Jul. MDCCLXXIX Stony Point 
attacked 15th of July 1779". Major Stewart was one of 
the key officers in the attack on Stony Point and was 
awarded this medal for said gallantry.

To read the complete reference, see: 
Full Story

Anne E. Bentley of the Massachusetts Historical Society 
(co-author of the 'Comitia Americana book) agrees. She 
writes: "I'm betting that the Annapolis reporter means 
the Comitia Americana medal to John Stewart for his part 
in the assault on Stony-Point, July 15, 1779...furthermore, 
I'd bet the letter he refers to is the one on page 96 of 
Comitia Americana and Related American Medals (not to add 
a shameless plug for the book...).

"I'll take this opportunity to wish you and your readers 
Seasonal greetings and a happy, healthy new year to one 
and all."



Mike Hodder writes: "The reverse type on the Micmac medal, 
a column of independence supported by the willing hands of 
13 states, is nearly identical in type and message to that 
found on Gostelowe army standard No.1 (1778), which in turn 
is seemingly immediately derived from the seal on the 
title page of the Proceedings of the Congress September 5, 
1774, printed by William and Thomas Bradford of Philadelphia.

"There are two unusual early "Indian Peace" medals that 
deserve detailed study, this and the poorly executed piece 
at ANS showing Columbia and an Indian exchanging a pipe and 
olive branch on one side and the seal of the USA within 13 
named and linked rings on the other (the significance of the 
types will not escape readers). I've always been intrigued 
by the fact that William Goadsby, of NJ coinage fame, denied 
his one-time partner, Albion Cox, any right to the medallic 
work Goadsby claimed to have done for the Congress in the 
late 1780's. I've often wondered if either one (or both) of 
these might have been the work alluded to?"


Alan V. Weinberg writes: "The concept of the New Zealand 
Museum's (and other institutions according to the e-Sylum 
Editor) withdrawal of their medals from public display and 
locking them up for just scholars with advanced notice to 
see is so repugnant to me. In their place, the museum says 
they will exhibit replicas of the medals!

Typical, inconsiderate institutional reaction which flies 
in the face of museum contributors who clearly wished their 
rarities be exhibited to the public and perhaps generate new 
collectors and an interest in history . Instead of creating 
more advanced imaginative security measures, the museum 
curators deprive the public of seeing the original medals. 
All because another museum was burglarized, most likely an 
inside job. Who would want to see an exhibit of replicas? 
No replicas would start a "fire in the belly" of a would-be 

This gut reaction by museums, who then get their collections 
"in storage" pilfered away without notice, is precisely why 
so many collectors decide to auction their life's work and 
create a memorable catalogue and sale . Their names live on 
for a hundred years or more among collectors (much as we 
think of Chas Bushnell, Jos. J. Mickley or John J. Ford, 
Jr. in awe) instead of being forgotten by the numismatic 
community not long after they pass away. Give me a good 
cataloguer and a memorable auction anytime! When I show my 
coins or medals, I always mention the prior owner provenance 
with pride. 

[It’s understandable why many collectors are dead set against 
leaving collections to museums. My early experience with 
the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh formed my opinion for life. 
After seeing the heartbreak caused when the museum decided 
to sell previously donated items, I vowed never to become 
a donor. I've already sold the bulk of my first collection, 
and I was happy to see the pieces go into the hands of fellow 
collectors who will value and enjoy them. And sure, I was 
proud to have my name on my consignments and hope some of 
those buyers will keep the pedigree information updated. 
I set aside copies of the catalogues for each of my kids so 
they'll realize someday that the money that bought their 
childhood home really didn't grow on trees.

But I've softened my stance a bit. I would consider donating 
selected items to a museum where I felt the material would 
augment the collection and that the donation would be 
appreciated and cared for. For example, I've donated archival 
material to the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, and have 
a few more boxes planned to go - and these include some 
Pittsburgh numismatic items (paper money, checks, stock 
certificates) etc. The planned donation also includes an 
archive of ephemera related to local numismatists and clubs. 
The history center should make a fine steward of this material.

One should be careful not to paint all museums with the same 
brush. Visits to the top numismatic museums show that they 
clearly can and do treat numismatic material with far more 
respect than museums which don't have numismatics as a focus. 


[The following item touches on the issue of properly 
securing items in museum displays in a discussion about 
a Victoria Cross in Adelaide, Australia. -Editor]

Roy Inwood’s VC was displayed in the Council Chamber from 
1972 until 1989 when it was decided to place the original VC 
in secure storage and display a replica of the medal in its 
place in the Chamber. This was prompted by concerns for the 
security of the original medal, and followed extensive 
conjecture in the media about the rising value of these 
precious medals.

Displaying a replica in place of an original is appropriate 
best-practice curatorial management often employed by museums 
and galleries to reduce risk to extremely valuable collection 
items. The real VC was stored in the high security vault at 
the Council’s Archives until such time as more adequate 
security could be provided for it to be permanently displayed 
in the Council Chamber.

During 2005 the display of Roy Inwood’s original VC medal 
became the subject of considerable media and community interest 
and debate. Some parties called for the medal to be sent to 
the Australian War Memorial in Canberra to be displayed in 
its national VC’s Collection. The Council consulted extensively 
with the Inwood family and other stakeholders about what should 
happen to the VC. The majority believed Roy Inwood’s dying 
wishes must be honoured and that the medal should remain in 
South Australia and be returned to the Council Chamber where 
he had originally intended it be displayed.

In December 2005, therefore, Council decided to allocate funds 
for the purpose of strengthening security in the Council Chamber 
to permit the VC to be returned there.

To read the complete article, see: 
Full Story


[Alan M. Stahl, Curator of Numismatics at Princeton University 
forwarded a recent announcement, excerpted below. -Editor]

The Princeton University Numismatic Collection has acquired 
the Sarmas Collection of coins of medieval Greece, comprising 
more than eight hundred coins minted in the eastern Mediterranean 
following the fall of Constantinople to the armies of the Fourth 
Crusade in 1204. Even though the Byzantine Empire was eventually 
reconstituted and resumed its coinage, much of its former 
territory in Greece and the Aegean islands remained in the 
hands of descendents of the Crusaders and other Europeans, 
who issued coins in the traditions of their homelands. The 
Sarmas collection was purchased with matching funds provided 
by the Program in Hellenic Studies with the support of the 
Stanley J. Seeger Hellenic Fund.

The collection was assembled by Theo Sarmas, a London-based 
businessman who is also a noted collector of Byzantine 
polychrome ceramics. He acquired most of the coins from 
English dealers, and many can be traced back to famous 
collections, including that of John Slocum of Newport, 
Rhode Island. While late Byzantine issues are well 
represented in many public collections, until now there 
been no specialized collection of the coins of the Greek 
lands of the later Middle Ages available for study in a 
public institution.

The Sarmas collection is especially rich in coins minted 
in the eastern Mediterranean that imitate the important 
trade coins of Italian cities, especially those of Venice 
and Naples. Some of these bear the names of rulers of 
Greek territories; many are of uncertain origin. Among 
those of note with certain attribution are a silver coin 
of Chios minted by Martino Zaccharia in the period 1324–1329, 
which imitates the silver grossi of Venice, and a gold coin 
of Dorino Gattilusio, Lord of Lesbos and Ainos from 1400 
to 1449, which imitates the popular gold ducat of Venice. 
Seventeen imitation ducats in the collection bear the name 
of the Venetian doge Andrea Dandolo of the mid-fourteenth 
century, the most common type, but there are also imitations 
in the names of five other Venetian doges, which are much rarer.

The largest part of the Sarmas collection comprises issues 
of the rulers of mainland Greece in the thirteenth and 
fourteenth centuries, chiefly members of the Villehardouin 
family of Athens and the Angevin rulers of the Peloponnesus, 
minted on the model of the pennies of Tours in France. Of 
special interest among these deniers tournois are those 
issued by Giovanni Orsini at Arta in Epirus, Helen Angela 
at Karytaina, and John II Ducas Comnenus at Neopatras, as 
well as one of Campobasso in Italy issued by Nicholas of 
Monforte in the early fifteenth century.

Princeton's Curator of Numismatics, Alan Stahl, is quite 
excited by the scholarly potential of the new collection. 
"This makes Princeton an unrivaled resource for the study 
of a coinage about which there are many unanswered questions," 
he noted. He added, "One of the former post-doctoral Fellows 
of the Program in Hellenic Studies is planning a return to 
Princeton from Oxford specifically to study this new material, 
and a first-year graduate student in History is going to 
compare the punches used on the various imitation ducats 
to see if she can connect those of a known origin to those 
still unattributed."


Mike Greenspan of Houston, TX writes: "While paring my 
library, I rediscovered a run of catalogs from a copper 
and token dealer named Harold M. Hess from Temple Hill, 
MD. I bought a number of very nice items from him in the 
early 1980s. He published, I believe, eight fixed price 
catalogs, some not dated. I have one complete set of the 
5 1/2 x 8 1/2 catalogs, plus another set missing only 
the first issue. 

"I thought, and still think, his catalogs were well done 
and I know the material he offered was well above the 
average. I had become a regular customer of his when the 
catalogs abruptly stopped. The last catalog was Spring 
1985, after which I never heard from him again. 

"I asked several noted token collectors about Hess. 
Some recognized the name but only one, Dave Schenkman, 
remembers dealing with him at shows in the late 70s and 
early 80s in the Washington, DC area, although Dave had 
no further information. Can any E-Sylum reader shed any 
light on Harold Hess? Thanks."

[I enjoyed Hess's catalogs and bought from him as well - 
mostly Civil War Tokens, but I believe he also offered 
Hard Times Tokens, Conder tokens and other interesting 
pieces, all in high grades. -Editor]


Regarding the "token/screwdriver" Dick Johnson discussed 
last week, Jørgen Sømod writes: "A token can always be used 
for some kind of payment. Thus the screwdriver is not a 
token. It may be placed in the category of medalets and 
advertising pieces. What about a key? Most keys are also 
diestruck, but they are as far as I know not accepted as 
numismatic items." 



[The Evansville Courier Press published an article Monday 
with an update on Bernard von NotHaus and his Liberty Dollar 
organization. Now the firm has been named "Liberty Numismatics". 

The Evansville-based headquarters of a company that produces 
the Liberty Dollar is open again with a new name and a new 

Liberty Numismatics, formerly Liberty Services, reopened 
earlier this month to raise money for its legal defense 
fund and to satisfy customers who continue to want to 
purchase Liberty Dollars, said company founder Bernard 
von NotHaus.

The reopening of the headquarters, at 225 N. Stockwell Road, 
came less than a month after federal agents raided it and 
took gold, silver and 60,000 newly minted coins featuring 
Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul.

The company produced the gold-and silver-backed Liberty 
Dollar as an "inflation-proof" alternative currency to 
the U.S. dollar.

The Nov. 14 raid occurred a little more than a year after 
a U.S. Mint warning that the alternative currency was 
illegal and in the midst of a lawsuit von NotHaus filed 
against the mint, arguing that the warning had no legal 

Von NotHaus said the name change reflects a change in the 
company's business model. It is no longer producing new 
Liberty Dollars, although it is hallmarking and selling 
already-produced coins with a small handcuffs icon in honor 
of the raid. The value has skyrocketed since the raid — at 
one point $20 Ron Paul Liberty Dollars were selling for 
more than $250 — von NotHaus said Liberty Numismatics 
better reflects the collectible nature of the offerings.

The hallmarked coins, dubbed Arrest Dollars, are available 
for prices ranging from $15 to $30.

They are made from Liberty Dollars donated back to the 
company, von NotHaus said, and will soon be available 
only on eBay.

And before long, von NotHaus said they won't be offered at all.

"It's available between now and when I'm arrested," he said.

"So it's a very limited supply."

To read the complete article, see: 
Full Story


[Assuming the President signs the massive spending bill 
into law, the "%0 States" Quarter program will be extended 
after all. The following excerpts are from a Washington 
Post article published this week. -Editor]

The District has no vote in Congress, its laws can be trampled 
by federal legislators and even its streets can be closed by 
the feds on a moment's notice.

But after nearly 10 years of fighting, the city finally won 
a new mark of respect this week.

It will have its very own quarter.

The measure, tucked into a giant federal spending bill, puts 
the District on the same level as the 50 states, at least 
when it comes to the popular coins showcasing home-state 
icons such as mountains, birds, race cars and fiddles. The 
D.C. quarter is due in 2009, with a design yet to be determined.

'Can you believe it? How many years have I tried to get that?' 
exulted the city's congressional delegate, Eleanor Holmes 
Norton (D), who has repeatedly introduced bills to get the 
District a place on the quarter's flip side.

Despite Norton's vigorous lobbying and arm-twisting, it 
was not the District's quest for equality that ultimately 
carried the day.

It was Puerto Rico's.

Rep. Jose E. Serrano (D-N.Y.) inserted language into the 
spending bill to provide quarters for his native Puerto Rico, 
as well as the District, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, 
American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands.

Serrano became chairman this year of the House Appropriations 
subcommittee on financial services, which oversees important 
agencies such as the U.S. Treasury. That gave him the power 
of the purse, or at least the quarter.

'I said 'Ah-ha!' ' Serrano recalled. 'So I said, 'Puerto 
Rico will get a quarter. But it shouldn't be just Puerto 
Rico; it should be all the territories.' '

Not that the District is a territory, he quickly pointed 
out. 'But it's certainly treated that way.'

The city has already used its license plates, stamped 
'Taxation Without Representation,' to trumpet its lack 
of voting rights. Some have speculated the city might try 
to put that motto on its quarters.

To read the complete article, see: 
Full Story


Washington D.C. got a double dose of good news this week: 
"Washington business titan David Rubenstein said yesterday 
he would return the only copy of the Magna Carta in the 
United States to the National Archives, just hours after 
paying $21.3 million for the 710-year-old document at an 
auction in New York.

"Rubenstein, co-founder of the D.C.-based Carlyle Group, 
bought the one-page, 2,500-word tract at Sotheby's late 
Tuesday, and said he would place it on permanent loan to 
the National Archives.

"The document is one of only 17 copies of the 13th-century 
agreement known to be in existence. Its previous owner was 
Texas billionaire H. Ross Perot, who had loaned it to the 
National Archives after acquiring it from a British family 
in 1984.

"Translation: Money changes hands. Document stays put.

"'It's still at Sotheby's at the moment, but I've been in 
touch with the National Archives, and I'll leave it to their 
experts to bring it back,' Rubenstein said in a telephone 
interview yesterday from New York. 'I'm not going to get 
in a U-Haul and drive it down there myself. . . . It was 
surprising to me that something this important might leave 
our country. I thought it would be a good thing if I could 
play a role and keep it in the country.'

"Rubenstein said yesterday his purchase was largely due to 
chance. Traveling abroad last week, he said, he spotted a 
newspaper story about the impending sale. He went to look 
at the document on display at the auction house Monday 
evening, then returned the next night to the auction.

"'I made it by five minutes. The traffic was terrible. 
The bidding started about two minutes later. It was the 
kind of thing that if I had spent a lot of time thinking 
about it, I might have done something different.' "

To read the complete article, see: 
Full Story


Dick Johnson writes: "A Frankfort, Indiana man bought himself 
a new truck for Christmas. Not much of a news story in that, 
but he paid for it in cash -- all coins he had saved from 
pocket change over the years. He had done the same thing for 
his last truck, purchased 13 years before.

"He had sheriff deputies escort him to the dealership with 
the coins, stored in coffee cans, water jugs and piggy banks. 
The dealership found no banks would take the coins so they 
had to hire Brinks to haul away and count the coins.

"Reminds me of the story my father used to tell. A Kansas 
farm couple came in to a car dealership he did accounting 
work for. To purchase a new car the couple pulled out a jar 
of coins to pay for it in cash. The dealer counted the coins 
but told the couple they were $1,000 short.

"Oh, Pa," said the wife, "we brought the wrong jar!" "

To read the complete article, see: 
Full Story


Dick Johnson writes: "If you are British and reading this 
the day before Christmas you will probably remove the coin 
from your traditional Christmas pudding and replace it with 
a glass of Champagne. At least that is the result reported 
in a survey published last week in the UK.

"Of all the holiday coin traditions, hiding a silver coin 
-- replaced by a copper penny in recent years -- in the 
customary pudding for Christmas dinner is one of the most 
charming. It is losing popularity, however, in the British 
Isles recently.

"'Only three per cent of people in their study planned to 
follow the tradition of putting a coin in the Christmas 
pudding this year' stated the report.

"I found the recipe for Christmas pudding on the internet 
and it contains lots of raisins, currents and other goodies. 
When these are mixed and boiled in a cloth bag and allowed 
to drain and the flavor enhanced over time, this sounds 
like a yummy mixture.

"The tradition was to hide the coin in the mixture and the 
person who found the coin in their serving was allowed to 
keep it. Champagne does not seem to have the same charm. 
Certainly not for children who may have been the lucky 

"With or without a silver sixpence at your holiday dinner 
table, have a MERRY CHRISTMAS!"

Full Story


This week's featured web site is on South African coins and bank notes. 
"This web site carries over 100 pages of research on early South African 
coins, various Griqua token and pattern coins and South African Currency all 
backed up by about 200 books (1600s-2000s) owned by the Balson Holdings 
Family Trust (BHFT)."

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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