The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 11, Number 01, January 6, 2008:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2008, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers is Richard Giles. Welcome aboard!
We now have 1,106 subscribers.

This week we open with news from no less than three active
numismatic literature dealers and one retiring numismatic
librarian.  Next, we have an obituary for Graham Pollard,
author of the new Renaissance Medals catalog.  Myron Xenos
provides a review of the Canadian Numismatic Bibliography
and the Wilsons offer their review of the new Whitman 'Guide
Book of Lincoln Cents'.

In follow-ups to previous articles, Pete Smith and Craig
McDonald comment on dealer Harold M. Hess, Karl Moulton
discusses 1793 Philadelphia newspapers, Tom DeLorey provides
information on varieties of the 1922 "No D" Lincoln Cent,
and Martin Purdy comments on the legal tender status of
Scottish banknotes.

In the news, word of a robbery of London dealers Dix, Noonan
Webb has just been released, a Forbes article advocates the
private printing of paper money, Venezuela revives the locha
denomination and Zimbabwe reverses its decision to phase out
a banknote denomination.

To learn which world mint is 100 years old this week, read on.
Have a great week, everyone.

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


Numismatic Literature dealer John H. Burns writes: "I will
have a two table booth (1245 & 1247) at the F.U.N. Convention
in Orlando, FL January 10-13, 2008.  I will have approximately
two tons (4000 pounds!!) of new, out of print and antiquarian
books for sale."

[If you're attending the show, please stop by and say hello
to Big John.  You'd be hard pressed to find a bigger display
of numismatic literature anywhere, so stop, browse, and add
to your library.  -Editor]


Numismatic Literature dealer Charles Davis writes: "My next
auction sale catalogue consists of duplicates from the American
Numismatic Society and has a closing date of February 2. Highlights
include complete original sets of SNG Copenhagen, SNG Lockett,
SNG Lloyd, SNG ANS and some 50 odd parts of the above and other
Sylloges, plus a uniformly bound early set of The Numismatist,
a complete set of Mason's Magazine, two original Crosby Early
Coins, Red Books including three first editions, and runs of
the American Journal of Numismatics. Catalogues will be mailed
next week and will be available at the Spink/Davis booth at the
New York International."


[Numismatic Literature dealer George Kolbe forwarded the
following press release for his upcoming sale of the core
numismatic library of Dr. Daniel Leonce Koppersmith, featuring
key works on archaic & classical greek coins and kindred topics.

On March 20, 2008 George Frederick Kolbe/Fine Numismatic Books
will sell at auction the core numismatic library of Dr. Dan
Koppersmith. Beyond the dazzling array of standard references
and often rare specialized die-studies in the library, perhaps
the most remarkable thing about it is the uniformly superb
condition of the contents. The library is perhaps best described
by the collector, who writes in the introduction to the sale:

"My library has been carefully and thoughtfully assembled
over the past fifteen years. In my opinion, it contains all
the important references for Archaic and Classical Greek Coins,
including every Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum produced to recent
date. Condition is generally exceptional, as worn copies have
been replaced. Most of the books are bound, as described in
the catalog. The library was much larger, but less important
works were removed, leaving an extremely important, concise
core, if over one hundred feet of literature can be described
as concise. In my opinion, the auction catalogs are all the
essential ones for Archaic and Classical Greek Coins, again
with less important catalogs culled to minimize space. I wrote
an article published in The Celator to this end (Volume 21,
Number 5, May 2007), which is reproduced here through the
kindness of the Publisher/Editor, Kerry K. Wetterstrom."

Among the sale highlights are a complete set of the Numismatic
Chronicle, complete from 1838 to date; as previously mentioned,
a complete run of the Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, including
exceptionally fine original sets of SNG Danish and SNG von
Aulock, along with all of the recent volumes published in
various countries; superb sets of the original editions,
mainly leather-bound, of the great series of multi-volume
ancient coin collection catalogues, including Forrer's Weber
collection, Grose's McClean collection, the Jameson collection,
and Macdonald's Hunterian collection. Also featured are Leonard
Forrer's complete, unusually fine, 29 volume set of Greek Coins
in the British Museum, all in the original blue cloth bindings;
Edward T. Newell's superb original set of Babelon's Traité des
Monnaies Grecques et Romaines; Dr. J. Hewitt Judd's original
Die Münzen von Syrakus by Erich Boehringer; a complete, very
fine original set of von Fritze & Gaebler's Nomisma; Georges
Le Rider's very fine leather-bound set of Die Antiken Münzen
Nord-Griechenlands; Oscar Ravel's own set of his rare, still
important two volume work on Corinthian staters; and a pristine
original example of Svoronos' Les Monnaies d'Athènes.

Other consignments following the Koppersmith library will feature
important numismatic works on a wide variety of topics covering
the numismatic spectrum.

Copies of the printed catalogue may be obtained by sending $15.00
to George Frederick Kolbe, P. O. Box 3100, Crestline, CA 92325.
Telephone: (909) 338-6527; Fax: (909) 338-6980; Email:
The catalogue will also be accessible free of charge, several
weeks before the sale, at the firm's web site:


American Numismatic Society Librarian Francis D. Campbell writes:
"On March 31, 2008, I will retire from my position as Librarian
of the American Numismatic Society. I have been with the Society
since 1958 and have been its Librarian since 1975 and, as such,
have come to know many of those in the numismatic community who
you also count among your readers. Therefore, I thought the E-Sylum
would be the best way to inform them of my retirement and to let
them know it has been a pleasure to share the resources of this
Library with them over the years.

[Frank's ubiquitous presence will be sorely missed.  We wish the
best of luck to him in retirement, and I look forward to inviting
his successor(s) to also participate in the E-Sylum forum. -Editor]


Charles Davis writes: "In the December 23 E-Sylum, you
published a notice on the new work by Graham Pollard on
Renaissance Medals in the National Gallery. Regrettably
I received the below note that he passed away two weeks ago.

 Graham Pollard died Monday December 17 after a relatively
 short illness - a malignant brain tumour was diagnosed
 in September.  His wife Maria died three weeks earlier
 (25 Nov) after a long battle with cancer.  There will be
 a joint funeral sometime in mid-January. An obituary of
 him appears in The Independent"

[Here are some excerpts from Pollard's obituary, written
by Dr. Mark Blackburn, Head of the Department of Coins and
Medals at the Fitzwilliam Museum. -Editor]

John Graham Pollard, numismatist, museum curator and civic
campaigner: born Gillingham, Kent 25 December 1929; Keeper
of Coins and Medals, Fitzwilliam Museum 1966-88, Deputy Director
1969-88; Fellow, Wolfson College, Cambridge 1967-97 (Emeritus),
Librarian 1980-95; married 1963 Maria Seri (died 2007; one son);
died Cambridge 17 December 2007.

Graham Pollard was the leading authority on Italian Renaissance
medals in the post-war period. He will be best remembered as
the author of the multi-volume catalogues of two of the greatest
collections in the world, those of the Bargello Museum in
Florence and the National Gallery of Art in Washington. But
as a curator of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge – whose coin
and medal collection he did much to enhance – his influence
was far wider, as he shared his knowledge and judgement with
students, scholars, collectors and dealers.

He registered for a London University external degree in
Geography, but had to abandon it in 1948 when he was called
up for National Service. On his return in 1950, he was appointed
a Museum Assistant and assigned to the Coin Room to work under
Harold Shrubbs. With encouragement from the museum's director,
Carl Winter, he decided to apply to Cambridge University to
read History, and rapidly taught himself sufficient Latin to
pass the entrance exam, entering Pembroke College in 1951.
He continued to work part-time for the Fitzwilliam during
the first two years of his degree, and was given leave for
the third. On graduating in 1954 he was appointed Junior
Assistant Keeper, and promoted to Keeper of Coins and Medals
in 1966 and Deputy Director in 1969.

Pollard's interest in medals had been fired by chance soon
after arriving in Cambridge. In a fire-sale at an antique shop
he saw a tin bath containing several hundred medals, and hastened
home to borrow money from his father to buy them. The Italian
connection came somewhat later and for a different reason. His
first trip, in 1957, was with a group of friends wanting to
look at Italian architecture, and he was bowled over by the
experience. On a subsequent trip, in 1961, he went with Jack
Trevor in search of fossils at the mine of Bacinello in southern
Tuscany. In the nearby town of Grosseto he met a young
schoolteacher, Maria Seri, who two years later would become
his wife.

Renaissance Medals was due to be published in January 2008 and
launched in Washington with an international symposium, but
when last September Pollard was diagnosed with terminal cancer,
the production was accelerated, so that in October an advance
copy was couriered to Cambridge in time for him to appreciate
it. This massive catalogue of two volumes, running to more than
1,100 pages, is truly the crown to a distinguished numismatic career.

He and Maria were a devoted couple, and his final illness,
though short, was heart-rending, as she herself was battling
with the terminal stages of a cancer, which took her just three
weeks before him.

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


Myron Xenos writes: "Back in the early nineties, a fellow from
County Cork, Ireland struck up an e-mail exchange with me. His
name is Darryl Atchison, and he was putting together a bibliography
of Canadian numismatic literature, no easy task considering the
Atlantic Ocean would slow down anyone without a computer. As
the years rolled by, I would send him some items, and, considering
the enormity of such a project, figured that this might fizzle
out somewhere along the way.

"Oh, me of little faith - what should arrive at my office in
December but a monstrous two-volume work of art titled Canadian
Numismatic Bibliography.  This beautiful set contains 1,114 pages
of great information laced with hundreds of photos and illustrations
of coins, books, people, and items of ephemera, many seldom seen.
There are 95 pages of index to make life easier as we all look
to see if our names were mentioned or to actually make our
research a bit easier.

"Three hundred signed and numbered sets were printed on
acid-free paper. A list of 125 original subscribers is present
on the page before the index. The work was published by the
Numismatic Education Society of Canada, with a grant from the
J. Douglas Ferguson Research Foundation.

"The two volume work is neatly organized, and after 23 pages
of introductions, acknowledgements, and historical background,
begins with general numismatics, pre-Confederation coins,
medals & tokens and continues for another 1000 pages covering
a wealth of written material from all sorts of Canadian resources.

"I believe many of Darryl's bibliographies will end up on
library shelves where future numismatic writers can go to
get a jump-start on their research. Darryl's efforts equal
the size of Dave Bowers' two volumes on U.S. silver dollars.
Congratulations to all involved in the project."

[I had the opportunity to meet Darryl and review the CNB
manuscript at Heathrow airport in London last summer.   I'm
proud to have been one of the charter subscribers to the
project and agree with Myron that it's an "instant" classic
- a monumental effort that will pave the way for numismatic
researchers of the future.

Being across the pond in Ireland, Darryl was actually among
the last to get his copy of the final printed books.  His
comments follow. -Editor]

Darryl Atchison writes: "I received my copies of the CNB about
two and half weeks ago and spent some time looking through the
books over the holidays. I was very pleased with both the overall
quality and presentation of the books, but I was disappointed
with the quality of some of the photos in Chapter 12 - like my
own for example (and a few others like it).

"However, I was quite surprised at the very high quality of
many of the other photos.  For example, if you look at a lot
of the images (such as the coins, medals and banknotes) under
reasonably good magnification, the images don't break apart
into dots.  I showed the book to my father-in-law yesterday
and he spent two hours just going through volume two.  He used
a magnifying glass which is how I found this out.  He has no
interest in Canadian numismatics but was still quite impressed,
I believe.  Anyhow, try out a magnifier for yourself and I
think you'll be amazed at what you can see."




[This week John and Nancy Wilson offer their review of the
new Whitman 'Guide Book of Lincoln Cents' by Q. David Bowers.

"A Guide Book of Lincoln Cents" by Q. David Bowers continues
the series of “Guide Book” and other “Official Red Book” guides
published by Whitman Publishing.  This full-color, 304 page
paperback covers Lincoln Cents from the speculation about the
design before its release in 1909 to a sneak preview of possible
designs for 2009.  Bowers gives a detailed analysis by year of
all information the advanced collector needs to know about
that coin.  For each year general information about that year
as well as numismatic information specific to that year is also
given. Detailed prices for all grades as well as certified
populations by grade are given by coin.  Detailed striking and
sharpness are given by date and mint.  Full color pictures of
the coins show additional details described in the text.

The book gives advice on analyzing color and strike as well
as information on being a smart buyer.  Market realities and
establishing fair market prices are detailed.  There is
information on errors, patterns, and varieties in the series.
The book is a must for all advanced collectors of Lincoln Cents.
The book may be purchased online from the publisher at as well as from book sellers, coin
dealers and hobby retailers for $19.95."



[The Royal Canadian Mint issued the following press release
on January 2, 2008.  Happy birthday!  -Editor]

One hundred years ago today, Governor General Earl Grey activated
the press to strike a fifty-cent piece, Canada's first domestically
produced coin. What would become known as the Royal Canadian Mint
was officially open for business.

"To celebrate the centennial of the Mint is to celebrate the
history of Canada," said Mr. Ian E. Bennett, President and CEO
of the Royal Canadian Mint. "Over the past century, the Mint has
played an important role in the economic and social fabric of our
nation, by creating circulation and commemorative collector coins
which are a true testament to Canada's rich heritage and values."

The Mint's Ottawa facility, which occupies the same premises
on which the Mint was founded, produces hand-crafted collector
and commemorative coins, gold bullion coins, medals and medallions.
Established in 1976, the Winnipeg Mint is a high-tech, high-volume
manufacturing facility where Canada's circulation coinage is
produced, as well as coins for countries around the world.

"Throughout 2008, the Mint is celebrating its employees who,
both past and present, have contributed to its remarkable success,"
added Mr. Bennett. "Their combined efforts and overwhelming
dedication have made the Mint one of the most innovative and
respected in the world."

To commemorate its centennial, the Mint is producing a
high-quality limited edition book which will describe the
corporation's rich history in both text and photography.
Numismatic coins marking this special anniversary will also
be issued mid-year. In addition, Canada Post has announced that,
in June, it will recognize the occasion by issuing a
commemorative stamp in the Mint's honour.

This year, the Mint is inviting visitors to stop by its
Ottawa and Winnipeg facilities, to take a tour, browse the
boutique and be a part of its anniversary celebrations. To
mark the occasion, the 100th visitor every day will receive
a special commemorative gift. The Mint will also be taking an
opportunity on Canada Day to open its doors and celebrate its
centennial with fun-filled family activities.

To read the complete press release, see:
Full Story

[We'll look forward to the new book on the history of the
Royal Canadian Mint.  Is anyone familiar with the project?
I was unable to locate a listing for any books on the mint's
web site.  -Editor]

To visit the Royal Canadian Mint web site, see:
Royal Canadian Mint


Darryl Atchison asked me: "Do you know anything about the
Gorham Company - particularly anything on medals they made?
I noticed a few pieces in the Stack's December sale but had
never heard of this firm before.  There is a published history
on the company which I found on Abebooks but I don't think
it covers anything on their medals."

[I had heard of the firm but was unfamiliar with their medals,
although later I recalled the Bryan Money medals made by the
company.  I had forwarded Darryl's query to Dick Johnson, and
his response appears below. -Editor]

Dick Johnson writes: "Like their life-long competitor,
Tiffany & Company, Gorham issued medals as well - but not
as many. I have listed just over 100 medals that I can
document Gorham made, in contrast to 943 Tiffany medals.

"You must be aware there was just no firm in America which
could strike large important medals in the later part of
the 19th century. If you wanted such a medal you had to
have it struck at the U.S. Mint or order it overseas,
usually in France or England. There were diesinking firms
-- in Boston and New York City -- and a flourishing handful
of medal makers in Philadelphia. For the most part, however,
these firms did not have a press large enough that could
strike a 2-inch or larger medal.

"Thus the jewelry companies of Tiffany and Gorham filled
the niche for large and important medals. You could order
a medal from either of these -- in any size to any
specifications -- and they would solve the problem of
design, obtaining a qualified artist to create the models
and have the medals produced and finished.

"Often when the artist received such an order for a medal,
he would design and model this, then bring the models to
one or the other for production.  Some of America's
greatest artists did this. Saint-Gaudens used both firms.

"Both firms had major sales offices in New York City. But
the medals were produced elsewhere, Gorham in their Providence
Rhode Island plant, Tiffany in their Newark New Jersey
silverware plant. You could think of both firms as
'manufacturing jewelers' but often they would subcontract
actual production, in whole or in part, to other manufacturers.

"This was to the benefit to all. The customer got the best
America could produce, with the prestige of a Tiffany or
Gorham name. The jewelry firm found the best artist, the
best manufacturer, and could negotiate the best price with
these for their continued business. The jewelry firm earned
a decent profit, which they certainly deserved for either
making or administrating the making of the item, at a decent
price for the customer.

"That is how Tiffany came to use the services of a tiny
medal-maker, Deitsch Brothers and the talents of Henri Weil,
in less that a year after this medal maker was established.
Notably for Saint-Gauden's Franklin Bicentennial Medal of
1906 (Saint-Gaudens delayed its issuance to 1908 however).
Henri Weil went on to purchase the medal business from the
Deitschs and build the Medallic Art Company, along with
his brother, Felix Weil. The firm began to thrive after
World War I.

"In the 1920s medal customers began going direct to Medallic
Art Company for their important medals.  In early 1930s
Tiffany gave up any direct manufacturing of medals and
sent all their medal jobs to be made by this firm, even
though the name Tiffany & Co would appear on the medal.

"Gorham did less subcontracting and more production of
medals by casting for which they were so proficient. Thus
Saint-Gaudens sent them his 1906 Massachusetts Civil
Service Reform Association Womens Medallion to be cast.

"Among Gorham's first medals were for two New York City
theaters (1876), they did medals for five American
Expositions (from 1895 Cotton States to 1909 Alaska-Yukon-
Pacific), a large number of anniversary medals. But were
extremely active in producing municipal war service medals
for returning WWI servicemen, as was Tiffany.

"An interesting medal history is the William Henry Nichols
Medal for the American Chemical Society New York Section.
It was first produced by Marcus & Co (a minor jewelry firm)
from 1896-1901, then by Gorham from 1902-1937, and finally
by Medallic Art Company after 1938.

"Gorham employed their own factory artists who created
models, Florent Antoine Haller (late 1880s) and Edwin E.
Codeman two decades later. Most medal work was by outside
artists for the most part."

For more images of Tiffany, Gorham Bryan Money medals, see:
More Images


[Every now and then I plow through my stack of recent
numismatic periodicals and catalogs and note some of the
items that catch my eye.  As always, your questions and
comments are appreciated.  What have YOU seen lately that
deserves a mention? -Editor]

 The January 7, 2008 issue of Coin World has an article (p4)
 about material relating to former U.S. Mint Sculptor-Engraver
 Elizabeth Jones in the upcoming Heritage auction (Sale 454,
 Lot 3430). The "Archive of Elizabeth Jones Appointment
 Documents and Production Artwork" includes her Senate
 Resolution (dated September 29, 1981), Presidential Appointment
 Certificate, Three Sketches for Medals, and a Production
 Plaster for 1982 the George Washington Half Dollar Obverse.

 Jones' Washington Half is a groundbreaking coin which opened
 the door for the torrent of modern commemorative issues to
 follow.  A production plaster pedigreed to Jones would be a
 centerpiece of any modern commemorative collection.  And
 where else can you get a Chief Engraver's Presidential
 Appointment Certificate?  It will be interesting to see
 what the lot sells for.
 Full Story

 The Fall/Winter 2007 issue (#14) of The Numismatic Sun
 from Stack's has a nice article (p14-16) by Q. David Bowers
 on "Civil War Money Issued by S. Steinfeld".  Simon Steinfeld
 of New York first caught my eye as an issuer of Encased Postage
 Stamps, but he also issued Civil War Tokens.  I collected both.
 Dave has always been interested in Encased Postage Stamps, and
 his articles on the topic in The Sun and its forerunner Rare
 Coin Review helped spark and maintain my own interest in the
 series.  As always, the publication also features a very extensive
 fixed price list of numismatic literature - a great source for
 important and hard-to-find books.

 My vote for the best Christmas-themed ad from a coin firm goes
 to Coin Rarities Online, run by Dave Wnuck and John Agre.  See
 the December 17, 2007 issue of Coin World (p66) for an example.
 It features a Massachusetts Pine Tree Shilling with the tree
 cleverly decorated for the holiday with colored ornaments and
 presents below.  The copy notes that "no coins were harmed in
 the making of this ad".  The firm's web site features some neat
 coins and medals.  Can anyone tell us more about the 1815 50mm
 white metal map medal? It has a map of the Western Hemisphere
 on one side, and the Eastern Hemisphere on the other.
Full Story

 The catalog for the January 15, 2008 Stack's sale of the
 Lawrence R. Stack Collection of numismatic images on American
 paper currencies.  Paper money picturing coins is an interesting
 topic that has attracted a number of collectors in the past,
 including former American Numismatic Association President
 George Hatie.  While I never collected them myself, I always
 appreciated these curious notes.  This 189-page color catalog
 is the most comprehensive treatment ever written on the topic,
 and it's sure to be a valuable reference work for future

 The catalog for the January 14, 2008 Stack's sale of the
 Lawrence R. Stack Collection of Ancient Greek Coins is a
 stunningly beautiful record of an important collection of
 numismatic masterpieces.  The photography and presentation
 are absolutely gorgeous.  While there's been much discussion
 of whether computer technologies are making printed catalogs
 obsolete, technology is also reducing the cost and increasing
 the quality of printed catalogs.  Long live the catalog!

 Numismatic News has a section called Meet the Industry.
 It's unclear to me as a reader if the articles contained
 within are independently written and edited, or if they're
 just full-page advertisements in the form of articles. The
 fine print at the bottom of the page does say "Special
 Advertisement Section."  Perhaps the layout is intentionally
 ambiguous, although I think the end result is a win-win all
 around.  It's interesting to learn more about the background
 and history of the firms in our industry, something that
 ordinary ads don’t always provide.  Two of the better ones
 I've read recently were in the December 25, 2007 issue -
 Northwest Territorial Mint (p40-41) and Modern Coin Mart

 The cover article of The Numismatist's January 2008 issue is
 "In His Shoes: The True Story of Sailor Jean and Colonial
 Jack" by William D. Hyder.  "On a bet ... a Boston newspaperman
 ... set out in April 1903 to walk to every U.S. state capital
 under the pseudonym 'Sailor Jean' while pushing a 'trolleyette,'
 a wheelbarrow made from galvanized iron, wood and a bicycle

 As part of the bet his sponsor would publish a book about
 the journey.  To defray expenses, aluminum souvenir tokens
 were struck and sold along the route.  A book never materialized,
 but the man, John Krohn, made the journey not once but twice,
 walking thousands of miles each time.  Only his tokens live
 on to tell the tale.  A great story and a great article - a
 perfect example of what makes numismatics such an interesting
 hobby.   See below for a note from Terry Trantow about this


Terry Trantow writes: "I find it refreshing that the
January 2008 issue of The Numismatist features an exonumia
story as their feature item on their cover, while the Token
and Medal Society (TAMS) continues to struggle from a lack
of such articles and support.

"ANA member William D. Hyder has produced a wonderful
work about a portion of the life of John Krohn, who had
issued two storecards as ‘Colonial Jack’ and ‘Sailor Jean’,
circa 1908, to finance his travels across the United States.
I see this American Numismatic Association issue as a
milestone in its direction of the future of their magazine

"As a longtime member of both ANA and TAMS, I have to
think we may be approaching the time where it may become
desirable for these two organizations to combine for the
benefit of both numismatists and exonumists. While I would
abhor seeing TAMS dissolve as an entity, perhaps becoming
part of the ANA may the only way for it to survive [with
this most recent ANA issue, perhaps it should become part
of TAMS!].

"Coin collecting for the most part today is dull: there
is much talk about record coin prices which are beyond
the budget of most ANA members, or of mint errors or new
US Mint editions, which seem to wish to produce new designs
for coin varieties to the Public.

"Exonumia offers a far more interesting venue, requiring
one to delve into the past to recapture the history of a
particular piece. In my opinion, the production of new US
coin designs won’t begin to offer competition to the
current collector market that exonumia provides."


Regarding Mike Greenspan's query about dealer Harold M.
Hess, Pete Smith writes: "I wrote a series of articles
for Penny-Wise on people important to our hobby. The
January 15, 1991, issue had this on Harold Hess: 'Dealer
in choice early copper around 1982 to 1984. Stopped dealing
abruptly in 1984 because of personal problems.' "

Craig McDonald writes: "I too remember Harold's catalogs.
At one time I had a full run, but sold them several years
ago when by necessity, I had to thin out my holdings of
publications.  I only bought one coin from him that I
remember, my Ryder 16 Vermont.  His catalogs were printed
on stock with backgrounds that depicted early 20th century
newspaper ads, if I recall correctly.  I also seem to recall
that his last catalog simply stated that for "serious personal
reasons" (possible paraphrase) it would be his final catalog."



Regarding Bob Neale's item about Federal Reserve publications
on the Panic of 1907 Len Bailey of Littleton Coin Company writes:
"Thanks for the great article. Bob is correct - these publications
(along with many others) are still available from the Federal
Reserve Bank of Boston. Many of these pubs are available online
to view or download at:



Regarding our earlier discussion, Karl Moulton writes: "The
1793 Philadelphia newspapers weren't really interested in the
new Mint.  They normally printed acts of Congress which pertained
to the start up and legal weights of the denominations that were
to be issued, but that's about all that was ever seen.

"The daily operations were left to the Officers - Mint Director
David Rittenhouse & Chief Coiner Henry Voigt, who had there
hands full taking care of business within the new establishment.

"During the 1793 Yellow Fever epidemic (mid-August through
October), the newspapers ceased for the most part.  There was
only one that continued to print something throughout the ordeal.
One must understand the severity of the tragedy and the panic
that took hold within the city.  There was nobody who could even
keep up with the names of the dead - only the number buried at
the end of the day.

"More about this, and Dr. Rush's involvement can be found in my
'Henry Voigt and Others Involved with America's Early Coinage'
book; which includes a March 31, 1792 newspaper citation regarding
the establishment of the United States Mint."



Last week Mike Marotta mentioned Chuck Daughtrey's assertion
that the 1922 "No D" Lincoln Cent varieties "are all due to a
grease-filled die, not some complicated restoration of a
damaged die..."

Tom DeLorey, former Senior Authenticator of the American
Numismatic Association writes: "Two of the 1922 'No D' cent
varieties are indeed caused by grease filling the mint mark
in the die, but the third (Die Variety 2) was most definitely
caused by the overenthusiastic polishing down of a damaged die."


Regarding last week's item about the call to legalize Scottish
banknotes for use in England, Martin Purdy writes: "I understand
that Scottish notes are technically not even 'legal tender' in
Scotland, so it would be a hard task to afford them that status
in England!

Martin adds: "Here's a reference from Wikipedia, under
'Legal tender':

 Scottish notes are not legal tender anywhere
 in the UK, including Scotland where only the
 coins are officially legal tender. Although
 this is the case, Scottish notes are widely
 accepted in return for goods throughout the UK;
 they have a similar legal standing to cheques
 or debit cards, in that their acceptability as
 a means of payment is essentially a matter for
 agreement between the parties involved.

To read the complete Wikipedia entry, see:
Full Story

[Actually, the article did discuss some of these details, but
I cut those parts for brevity.  It's an interesting topic.
In all the months I spent in London this summer, I only came
across one Scottish note in change.  If it had been a nicer
specimen I would have just kept it as a souvenir for my collection.
But it was pretty beat up and to see what would happen, I asked
the merchant to exchange it for a Bank of England note.  No
problem - he gave me another note immediately.  -Editor]



[As the 2008 FUN show and the anniversary of last year's
robberies of dealers following that show approaches, this
article about a similar robbery in the U.K. is a timely
reminder for attendees of all coin shows to be on their
guard at all times.  -Editor]

A chest of antique coins worth up to £300,000 was stolen by
a gang in a sting on two auctioneers as they drove away from
a exhibition centre.

Experts fear that the collection, which featured two gold
coins of priceless historical value, could have been melted
down. One of the coins can be dated back to 1826 and was
worth up to £35,000.

The gang of about six men and two women targeted two men
from Dix Noonan Webb, the auctioneer, in South Kensington,
London, when the coins had been displayed at Earl’s Court
Exhibition Centre. It is believed that the gang sabotaged
the men’s car and followed them from the centre.

Details of the elaborate sting have only just been released
by the police as they continue to hunt for the gang.

Detective Sergeant Neil Phillpot, from Notting Hill CID,
said: “We believe this was an organised crime involving at
least seven suspects. We are keen to trace them and believe
they may be from Central or South America.”

Piers Noonan, of the auctioneers, said: “One five pound coin
made in 1826 during the reign of George IV was worth £30,000
to £35,000 alone.

“We can trace its history from a Sotheby’s sale in 1854. It
has always been rare and always been appreciated. It’s so
rare it’s recognisable to collectors and almost unsellable
in the public domain.

“The people who stole it got it for nothing and may just
melt it down for a scrap dealer for about £500.” A mint
condition £2 coin worth £15,000 to £18,000 and smelted in
1820 was also among the collection, which also included
rare coins from Tibet, Austria, France, Australia and Burma.

Mr Noonan added: “It’s a huge loss. What we are talking
about are several items which are unique and have been
cherished for 200 years which could now be in a melting
pot. It’s very disrespectful.

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story



[In the past we've discussed various kinds of currency
associated with crimes, such as the ransom money from
the Lindbergh Baby kidnapping and airplane hijacker D.B.
Cooper.  This week there was a story on National Public Radio
noting that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is reopening
the D.B. Cooper case.  The NPR was site has the text of the
article and images of some of the recovered notes paid to
this enigmatic criminal.  -Editor]

Last month, the agency reopened the case of the airline
hijacker known as Dan "D.B." Cooper, who bailed out of a
Northwest Orient airplane with $200,000 in extortion
money in 1971.

Cooper vanished after the jump, and his true identity has
never been discovered. Now, the FBI is releasing sketches
of the legendary hijacker, a map of the area where he could
have landed and a handful of photos from the case. They've
also unveiled a Web site dedicated to solving the crime.

"Help us solve the enduring mystery," the Web site entreats.
"Who was Cooper? Did he survive the jump? And what happened
to the loot, only a small part of which has ever surfaced?"

FBI agent Larry Carr said he hopes the clues will jog
someone's memory.

The mystery unfolded the night before Thanksgiving in 1971
when a man calling himself Dan Cooper used cash to buy a
one-way ticket to Seattle at the Northwest Orient Airlines
(now Northwest) counter in Portland, Ore.

During the flight, Cooper handed the flight attendant a note
saying he had a bomb in his briefcase and wanted $200,000 in
$20 bills and four parachutes.

When the flight landed in Seattle, Cooper took the money and
parachutes and let the 36 passengers go. He then directed
the pilot to take him to Mexico City.

At about 8 p.m. — somewhere between Seattle and Reno, Nev. —
Cooper went to the back of the plane and jumped into the pitch
black night in the midst of a driving rainstorm. The plane
landed safely, but no trace of Cooper was ever found.

Nine years later, 8-year-old Brian Ingram found $5,800 of
the extortion money when he was vacationing with his family.

Ingram, who is now 36 and lives in Mena, Ark., said he found
three bundles of deteriorated $20 bills while looking for
firewood on the sandy banks of the Columbia River near the
Washington-Oregon border.

Ingram said he got to keep only half of the money — the other
half was turned over to Northwest's insurance carrier, which
had paid the $200,000 extortion.

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story

To view the FBI D.B. Cooper case page, see:
Full Story


Michael Sullivan writes: "I thought your E-Sylum readers
would be interested in this article from the New Straits
Times, Aug. 20, 2007:

 “Paying More for ‘Hell’ Currency” by Sim Bak Heng

 Johor Baru (Malaysia):  Currency appreciation is not
 restricted to this world.  It happens in the netherworld
 as well.

 Since July 1, the value of “hell” currency has gone up.
 And people have had to fork out up to 20 percent more to
 buy the paper money commonly burned as an offering to the
 dead during the Hungry Ghost Festival which began last

 But this is not all.  The prices of joss sticks, candles
 and the paper items such as cards, planes, houses and
 servants traditionally offered, have also gone up by 10
 to 25 percent.

 The Malaysia Worship Items Dealers Association said the
 higher prices for these items, mostly imported from China,
 was inevitable because of the appreciation of the yuan
 and the withdrawal of subsidies for the manufacturing
 in China.


[On New Year's Eve David Kranz of Numismatic News posted
a blog entry discussing an article from Forbes magazine
suggesting that the same scanners that read prices in stores
could process "home-printed money" as well. Nick Graver also
noticed the article.  He writes: "Two authors (Ian Ayres &
Barry Nalebuff) advocate printing 'money' at home on the
computer, which then is used for 'one-time' payment of a
purchase."  Here are some excerpts from the Forbes article.

The U.S. Treasury makes money the old-fashioned way, by
printing it. While greenbacks have lots of positives, we
think the Treasury should let others get into the business
of issuing money. If people could do it themselves, the
result would be an even better currency. That's right. Why
not print money at home on your laser printer rather than
go to the ATM? Today, we can do this with stamps; the
illustration shows postage produced by Security
doesn't have to come from the Crane paper stock, the engraving
or a metal strip inside the note. It could come from a
two-dimensional bar code.

When you give your money to the merchant, the merchant would
scan it to ensure that the note is valid. After the scan
the merchant can then just throw your cash away. No need
for Brink's trucks and security. The scan could accomplish
the transfer of balance. In essence, you would have single-use
money or a single-use debit card.

There are several ways in which bar-code money beats
dead-president money. For starters, if you lose your
wallet, you could cancel the notes and get a refund. In
addition, your cash could be earning interest. When you
go to print cash, money would be taken out of your bank
account and cached in an escrow account. Until the money
is spent, you could be credited with interest.

Just as people buy custom ringtones for their phones, you
would be able to buy custom images for your cash. Indeed,
you could even spend money with your picture in place of
Andrew Jackson's. Citibank puts your picture on credit
cards. Why not have your picture on cash?

We are already close to making this work. Most stores have
scanners to read price tags. The same scanners could read
your notes. You might still need old-fashioned currency to
pay taxis or newsstands, so our proposal makes more sense
for eliminating $20, $50 and $100 bills. Telephone calling
cards are essentially cash in the form of a PIN code. Here
the PIN would be printed on the note. Single-use credit
card numbers are essentially a way of printing your own

It is worth emphasizing that what we propose is not a return
to the free-currency chaos of the 19th century, when banks
issued notes backed sometimes by gold and sometimes by nothing
but hopes. The bar-code notes would be backed by genuine U.S.
Treasury dollars. When you print your note, your money is put
aside until the note is cashed.

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story

To read "We can do it with stamps, why not currency?" by David Kranz', see:
Full Story


"A ceremony commemorating the striking of the Oklahoma quarter
is next week in Denver.

"Gov. Brad Henry and first lady Kim Henry are scheduled to
attend the ceremony set for Wednesday at the U.S. Mint's
plant in Denver.

"The tail side of the Oklahoma quarter is a design depicting
Oklahoma's state bird — the scissortail flycatcher — in flight
with its tail feathers spread. The bird is in the center of
the coin, with a field of Indian blanket wildflowers around
the bottom half. At the top is the word Oklahoma and just
below that is the year of statehood, 1907.

"Henry asked Oklahomans to come up with suggestions for the
state's quarter. Nearly 1,000 submitted written ideas.
Oklahomans were given the chance to vote online for their
favorite designs; the top five choices were sent to the mint.
The U.S. Commission on Fine Arts selected the design.

"The other four final designs depicted the Pioneer Woman
statue in Ponca City, which is of a woman and child that is
meant to honor the courage of the homesteaders who came to
Oklahoma. The designs featured other elements meant to convey
the state's history and character, including oil derricks, a
peace pipe, a windmill and the state's shape."

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


[Nick Graver forwarded this article about an interesting
archeological find at the bottom of a Russian lake.  Among
the artifacts discovered were what the article called "a
faceted gold bar, which was a monetary unit of the time" and
"gold wire rings used as small change".  Is anyone familiar
with such numismatic items?  -Editor]

"An international archeological expedition to Lake Issyk Kul,
high in the Kyrgyz mountains, proves the existence of an
advanced civilization 25 centuries ago, equal in development
to the Hellenic civilizations of the northern coast of the
Pontus Euxinus (Black Sea) and the Mediterranean coast of

"The expedition resulted in sensational finds, including
the discovery of major settlements, presently buried
underwater. The data and artefacts obtained, which are
currently under study, apply the finishing touches to the
many years of exploration in the lake, made by seven
previous expeditions. The addition of a previously unknown
culture to the treasury of history extends the idea of the
patterns and regularities of human development.

"Last year, we worked near the north coast at depths of
5-10 metres to discover formidable walls, some stretching
for 500 meters-traces of a large city with an area of several
square kilometers. In other words, it was a metropolis in
its time. We also found Scythian burial mounds, eroded by
waves over the centuries, and numerous well preserved
artifacts-bronze battleaxes, arrowheads, self-sharpening
daggers, objects discarded by smiths, casting molds, and
a faceted gold bar, which was a monetary unit of the time.

"Some artifacts are stunning. A 2,500 year-old ritual bronze
cauldron was found on the bottom of the lake. The subtlety
of its craftsmanship is amazing. Such excellent quality of
joining details together can be presently obtained by
metalwork in an inert gas. How did ancient people achieve
their high-tech perfection? Also of superb workmanship are
bronze mirrors, festive horse harnesses and many other
objects. Articles identified as the world's oldest extant
coins were also found underwater-gold wire rings used as
small change and a large hexahedral goldpiece."

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


[An article published New Year's Day on
discusses the revival of an old Spanish-based coin
denomination in Venezuela - the locha.  Here are some
excerpts.  -Editor]

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's latest effort to reduce
Latin America's highest inflation rate revives a coin rooted
in Venezuela's colonial past: the ``locha,'' based on the
old Spanish ``piece of eight.''

The locha is worth 12.5 cents, or an eighth of a new ``strong
bolivar,'' a currency that debuted today with seven new coins
and six new bills. Chavez says the new bolivar, created by
lopping three zeros off the old currency, will simplify
pricing and help slow consumer price increases.

``During the 1940s and through the 1960s, the locha was one
of the most popular coins,'' Armando Leon, a director of the
central bank, said in an interview in Caracas. ``It circulated
during a very long period of stability.''

Chavez may be bringing back the locha to restore confidence
in the economy amid the fastest inflation in almost five
years and shortages of milk, eggs and sugar.

The locha was an adaptation of a 19th-century coin called
the ochava, Leon said. Both were derived from the ``piece
of eight'' monetary system imposed by Spanish colonial rulers.

The locha used to cover the cost of a bus ride and a loaf
of bread, said Enrique Bernal, a professor at the Universidad
Central de Venezuela, who has published a magazine on coin
collecting for the Venezuelan Numismatic Society since 1980.

It was so common that people used it to measure food,
ordering cheese by the locha, he said.

Some shoppers insist the locha will mean higher, rather
than lower, prices.

``The store is always going to round up,'' said William
Vivera, 34, an electrician in Caracas. ``The locha's
going to be hard to manage for consumers and for stores.''

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


According to news reports, "Zimbabwe's central bank on Monday
reversed its decision to phase out a ZIM$200 000 banknote and
pumped ZIM$33-trillion into markets to try ease a severe cash
shortage that has left thousands of shoppers stranded.

"Banknotes have recently joined the growing list of items in
short supply, with thousands of desperate consumers besieging
banks in the run-up to the Christmas and New Year holidays.

"Central bank governor Gideon Gono, who said the bulk of
the country's currency was outside the banking system, blames
the banknote shortage on a rampant black market and foreign
currency trade.

"Earlier this month, Gono introduced ZIM$750 000, ZIM$500 000
and ZIM$250 000 notes and announced that the ZIM$200 000 bill
- which he says is mostly used by foreign currency traders -
would be put out of circulation on January 1.

"All banks in Harare's central business district were flooded
with customers hoping to withdraw money ahead of the New Year
holiday on Tuesday.

"Gono said the cash crisis is a sign of an ailing economy,
which critics blame on Mugabe's controversial policies such
as the seizure of white-owned farms to resettle landless blacks."

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


[An E-Sylum reader forwarded this story about a county in
the state of George which honors civilian heroes with
commemorative medals (called "coins" in the article.

The Placer County Board of Supervisors honored eight people
this month for outstanding community service, presenting them
with commemorative coins created for a county citizen-recognition

The board created the program in December 2002 to recognize
outstanding citizens who have long track records of community
service, have performed heroic acts or participated in
little-known, but commendable feats.  Supervisors choose
recipients from their districts.

The commemorative coins feature the county seal on one side.

On the other side are the word "hero" and the image of an
eagle with a star and sun rays in the background.

That second side of the coin was designed by J. Randal Smith,
an Auburn native who is a nationally known artist. His design
won a competition coordinated by the Arts Council of Placer

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


The rumor-squashing web site recently followed
up on a story involving New York's mayor Fiorello La Guardia.
There's no numismatic content to the story, unless you count
collecting 50 cents from every person in a 1935 courtroom as
numismatic.  But the account of the researcher's steps in
verifying the source of the story is enlightening and
inspirational for numismatic researchers.

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


Speaking of unverified stories, E-Sylum readers know one
should always be wary of tales told by sellers of numismatic
items.  One recent eBay lot is a case in point.  I won't
publish the specifics, but someone in the know clued me in
to the real story.   The seller wrote a tale about how the
lot was an old time collection of large cents found in his
family home, full of "Old Stuff from the 1920's to the early
1990's".   Included was a family tree and pictures of the
coins displayed in a Whitman album.  There are no close ups
of the coins, which look like brown blobs in the photo.

The real story?  One of our subscribers sold this very same
Whitman album (empty) to the seller a few weeks ago.  The
album bears a Whitman logo that was used only in 1972, yet
the seller talks about the collection's owner passing in 1965!


Dick Johnson writes: "Thanks to Mona Ridder of the Cumberland
Times-News who found this on the Internet:

 A guy took his blonde girlfriend to her first football game.
 After the game, he asked her how she liked it. “Oh, it was
 great.” she replied, “especially the tight pants and all the
 big muscles. But I just couldn’t understand why they were
 killing each other over 25 cents.”

 Dumbfounded, her date asked, “What do you mean?” “Well, they
 flipped a coin, one team got it and then for the rest of the
 game, all they kept screaming was: ‘Get the quarterback! Get
 the quarterback!’ I’m like ... Helloooooo? It’s only 25 cents!”


This week's featured web page is from the Birmingham Museum
& Art Gallery, featuring a calendar medal designed by Peter

"This calendar medal for 1799 was designed to be carried in
the pocket or purse and is a kind of forerunner of the modern
pocket diary. The obverse gives the date of every Sunday in
the year, plus some key dates from the Christian calendar.
On the reverse are the dates of the new and full moons, the
law terms and certain important anniversaries."

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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