The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 11, Number 03, January 20, 2008:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2008, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers are Joseph D. McCarthy and
Tom Mulvaney.  Welcome aboard!  We now have 1,110 subscribers.

This week we open with three items of NBS news - a report
on the recent meeting at FUN, the latest issue of The Asylum,
and a survey on the greatest works of American numismatic
literature.   Next we have news of the death of numismatic
literature dealer Jerry Walker and 1980s coinage reform
advocate Diane Wolf.

Students of the numismatic products of Matthew Boulton will
learn about an upcoming conference in honor of bicentennial
of the coiner's death, and E-Sylum subscribers report on
the recent FUN convention and Stack's Americana sale.  Also,
an E-Sylum subscriber describes his amazing eBay find of
the previously unseen Adams Academy U.S. Mint medal.

Also this week we reprint a great article about the Cleveland
Fed's concentration camp money exhibit.  In responses to
last week's issue, we have more tributes to retiring ANS
librarian Frank Campbell, and further complaints about
overlapping images in numismatic publications.

In the news there is a new (yes, NEW) Moffat & Co. mint.
And in numismatic crime news, there have thankfully been NO
reports of dealer robberies following this year's FUN show,
not that I've heard anyway.   Also, a theft may have been
averted at the Dahlonega Gold Museum, and in New Zealand,
police are offering a record cash reward for information on
the recently stolen medals.

No numismatic diary this week, although I did receive in the
mail a nice 1959 Gold Celeston I bought on eBay January 3rd.
After dinner this evening I was my three-year-old daughter
Hannah's play toy, as she sat me down in her room, put a blanket
over me and pretended to give me a haircut and a makeover - a
real Norman Rockwell scene.  Then it was time to play doctor.
Remember the coin magnifiers my kids got for Christmas?  Well,
Hannah pulled one out, examined my chin and declared "You got
a bad boo-boo".  But wouldn't you know it, next she plucked
three cents, a nickel, a dime and a dollar bill from her Minnie
Mouse coin bank and proceeded to examine them under the glass.

To learn about another redheaded young lady (a famous actress)
who collects ancient Judean coins, read on. Have a great week,

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


Fred Lake writes: "The Numismatic Bibliomania Society (NBS)
held a meeting at the Florida United Numismatists coin show
in Orlando, Florida on Saturday, January 12, 2008.

"Ron Benice was the scheduled speaker and he presented
his talk, 'Florida Paper Money, an Illustrated History,
1817-1934', to an audience that included Ken Barr, Bill
Bierly, Craig Eberhardt, George Fitzgerald, Fred Lake,
John Roberts and Bill Youngerman.

"Ron's presentation included his showing copies of the
finished book to individual attendees and a discussion
of the different segments of commercial publishing followed.
Many thanks to Ron for bringing his interesting talk to
the meeting."


David Yoon, editor of our print journal The Asylum writes:
"I've sent another issue of The Asylum (vol. 25 no. 4) to
the printers. Here are the contents:

* D. Wayne Johnson: A Wall of Medal Records
* John W. Adams: The Story Behind the Castorland Jeton
* Leonard Augsburger (compiler): One Hundred Greatest
 Works of United States Numismatic Literature: A Survey"

[While The E-Sylum is an electronic publication free to
all, the Asylum is mailed free only to paid members of
the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.  While the $15 U.S.
membership fee is unchanged for 2008, due to increased
postage costs NBS Secretary-Treasurer David Sundman writes:
"We will be switching to Standard Third Class postage but
are giving members the option to upgrade to first class
mailings at $20.  Memberships outside of the U.S. are
now $25."

There is a membership application available on the NBS
web site at this address:
Membership Application



As editor David Yoon noted, the next issue of The Asylum
will contain a member survey for the Numismatic Bibliomania
Society's “One Hundred Greatest Works of United States
Numismatic Literature” project.  Len Augsburger is leading
the effort.

He writes: "As discussed at the NBS general meeting at
the Milwaukee 2007 ANA, we are conducting a membership
survey to identify the “One Hundred Greatest Works of
United States Numismatic Literature”.  Our goal is to
form a collective appraisal of the most important United
States literature and to present a new collecting framework
for experienced and novice bibliophiles alike.

"As a first step, the NBS Board has identified a candidate
list of several hundred items which will be published in
the next Asylum issue.  We invite readers to suggest
additional candidates; these will be reviewed and a ballot
will be sent to the NBS membership for voting.

"We purposefully leave the definition of “greatest” open
to each individual member.  This may be the most scholarly,
most influential, most ubiquitous, or even most notorious.
The survey and will reflect the overall opinion of the NBS
membership and results will appear in a future issue of
the Asylum.

"Additionally, an offprint may be prepared illustrating
the One Hundred Greatest works, along with additional
commentary, and future surveys may similarly cover other
numismatic arenas.  Please forward comments and suggestions
on this candidate list to me at"

[If you have strong opinions about American numismatic
literature, this survey is all the more reason to become
an NBS member.  -Editor]


Charles Davis writes: "I heard that Jerry Walker passed
away on January 13.  Jerry was a dealer in numismatic
literature both on Vcoins and eBay having moved from
California to Florida several years ago. I think his
reputation can be summed up by pointing out that he had
a 100% positive feedback on eBay. My sympathies go out
to his wife Brenda and his family."

[Let me extend sympathies as well on behalf of the
Numismatic Bibliomania Society and our E-Sylum readers.


[New York Sun this week published an obituary for Diane
Wolf, a leading advocate for redesigning U.S. coinage in
the 1980s.  Did any of our readers know her?  Tell us
your stories.  -Editor]

Diane Wolf, who died January 10, was a philanthropist based
in Manhattan and Washington, D.C., who once made headlines
for masterminding a plan to redesign America's currency.

Wolf died at 53 during a medical procedure at NewYork-
Presbyterian Hospital, her family said.

While serving as a presidential appointee of the U.S.
Commission of Fine Arts in the 1980s, Wolf became an
advocate for redesigning the nation's coinage. "The designs
are nice, but they're dull and outdated," she told the Los
Angeles Times at the time.

Wolf, who was a graduate of the Georgetown University Law
Center but never practiced, treated her job on the Fine
Arts commission as a full-time job, her father said.

She also sat on the boards of the National Archives, the
Kennedy Center, and National Public Radio. In New York,
she was a benefactor of the Metropolitan Museum of Art,
the Frick, and the Whitney.

Born March 16, 1954, in Cheyenne, Wyo., Wolf was raised
in Denver. Her father was an oil executive. She got a
bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania and
a master's degree in early childhood education. She taught
briefly at an East Side private school before studying law.
Wolf is survived by her parents, Erving and Joyce Wolf of
Manhattan, and two brothers, Daniel and Matthew.

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story

To read Dave Harper's tribute to Wolf on Numismaster, see
Full Story


[Uriah Cho of Zyrus Press Publishing forwarded the press
release for the firm's new book catalog. -Editor]

Now available from Zyrus Press: the new 2008 Hobbies and
Collectibles Catalog featuring nine new book releases
from a team of experienced and seasoned authors.

The catalog presents a diverse array of titles, including
the long anticipated Numismatic Photography, by Mark Goodman,
and Collecting Sports Legends: The Ultimate Hobby Guide
from Professional Sports Authenticators, a division of
Collectors Universe.

The 2008 catalog also introduces an entirely new line of
books – The Official Strategy Guide Series – by numismatic
expert and professional auction cataloger Jeff Ambio.
Collecting and Investing Strategies for U.S. Gold Coins,
set to release in February, will be followed in May by
the second release, Collecting and Investing Strategies
for Walking Liberty Half Dollars. Strategy Guide books on
Barber Coinage and the Seated Liberty series are scheduled
to release in late 2008.

All backlisted numismatic favorites are listed by category.
A few of our best sellers are:  Photograde, The Authoritative
Reference on Buffalo Nickels, A Buyer’s Guide to Silver &
Trade Dollars, and Gold Coins of the New Orleans Mint.

Copies of the Zyrus Press Hobbies and Collectibles Catalog
are available for FREE to the retail public and can be ordered
by calling (888) 622-7823. Fax or e-mail requests may be sent
to (800) 215-9694 or


David F. Fanning writes: "I've known of Frank Campbell's
pending retirement for some time, but it is still sad to
see the official announcement. Frank has been a tremendous
asset to the American Numismatic Society, and I have always
found him a pleasure to work with. Some numismatists tend
to criticize the ANS for appearing to focus all their
attention on the relatively few with serious money. As
someone who does not fall into the moneyed camp, I can
say that Frank single-handedly dispelled any notion I
might have that this was the case.

"I frequently e-mailed him about ANS Library holdings for
use in my research, and he was always prompt and courteous
in his responses and would photocopy what I needed and pop
it in the mail at no charge. While I am an ANS member, I
did appreciate his willingness to help me out when many
would have seen me as simply pestering him for free
information. He will be missed."

Dan Hamelberg writes: "The ANS library really took form
under Frank's watch.  50 years at it. Unbelievable.  Those
familiar with the vast resources contained in the library
of the ANS know that it has been Frank's stewardship along
the way that brought the library to prominence. During the
first 50 years of the ANS, the great numismatic literature
was maintained by some of the more involved members of the
ANS.  Since the ANS really had no permanent home until
Broadway and 155th, the library started a serious climb
to significance during the next 50 years.  During the last
50 years, the library has seen tremendous growth and
refinement.  Thank you, Frank.

"Personally, Frank has been most helpful in assisting me
with refining my own library of U.S. numismatic literature.
More recently, he was instrumental in the discovery of the
Watkins broadside sale of 1828 within the confines of the
ANS library; the first numismatic auction sale listed in
Attinelli. When I had the idea of creating facsimile copies
of the sale and making them available to collectors, Frank
was most helpful in making the Watkins broadside available
to me.  The complete story of the Watkins sale will appear
soon in the Asylum, and the facsimile of the broadside
will soon be available to collectors."


Paul Sherry writes: "I managed to order a copy of Robert
Ward’s book on Robert Mylne. It’s been a great read and
I can highly recommend it.  I tell everyone I come across
about the secret Boulton collection.

"While we are talking about Matthew Boulton I thought
E-Sylum readers would be interested a planned conference
in England on Matthew Boulton.  I know it only occurs in
2009 but it’s always nice to get plenty of notice. I would
be interested to know if any of our readers will be attending
-  please take plenty of pictures for the rest of us!

Dick Johnson once wrote (speaking of Boulton) ”Every numismatist
should build a shrine to this one man” (E-Sylum vol. 7, no. 26,
art. 22).  With a little editing in Photoshop I was able to
print a great copy of the Lemuel Francis Abbott portrait of
Matthew Boulton in the conference announcement. Just have to
get it framed and it will become part of my Boulton shrine.

[Below are excerpts from the Boulton conference announcement. -Editor]

 The year 2009 will mark the bicentenary of
 the death of the Birmingham entrepreneur
 Matthew Boulton (1728–1809). A major international
 conference is being planned to explore the historical
 significance of Boulton in his several roles as
 pioneering industrialist, natural philosopher and
 patron of the arts. The event will be hosted by the
 University of Birmingham in association with the
 University of Central England in Birmingham on Friday,
 Saturday and Sunday, 3–5 July 2009.

 Call for Papers will not be issued
 until the autumn of 2008. However, the
 organisers invite expressions of interest
 in the conference project as described
 below, together with suggestions for
 future planning and possible sponsorship.

 A number of other events are scheduled
 to take place in venues around the city of
 Birmingham during the bicentenary year.
 The main attraction will be a display of the
 products of the famous Soho Manufactory
 which Matthew Boulton opened around
 1765 on a green-field site just outside the
 city. This exhibition is being organised by
 Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery and
 will run from June until September 2009.

 In addition, the Barber Institute of Fine Arts
 (situated on the campus of the University of
 Birmingham) is planning an exhibition of the
 tokens, medals and coins struck between
 1787 and 1813 at the Soho Mint. This
 display will be open for public viewing for
 12 months from April 2009.
 Delegates will therefore have the opportunity
 to combine the academic activities of the
 colloquium with the major civic events designed
 to celebrate the remarkable life of Matthew

 The organisers will also be arranging
 visits to his private residence Soho House,
 to the Birmingham Assay Office (established
 in 1773 at Boulton’s instigation), and to the
 Birmingham Central Library which holds the
 Archives of Soho. This manuscript collection
 contains the family and business papers of
 Matthew Boulton and his principal partner,
 the steam engineer James Watt. It is generally
 regarded as the biggest and most illuminating
 business and industrial archive to survive for
 the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

To read the complete conference announcement, see:
Full Story



Alan V. Weinberg writes: "I've just returned from the
annual Orlando January FUN show and continue, after all
these years, to be impressed with the entire production by
an attentive show staff of orange-jacketed FUN officials.
For me, this has always been the 2nd "best" show in the USA
to the summer ANA conventions and, in some respects, like
bourse table fees, surpasses the ANA. Third now are the
Baltimore shows where once stood the Long Beach shows.

"Although the FUN January show continues to be isolated
to the North Side Hall B - a long walk from the hotels and
seemingly out in the middle of nowhere, whereas until three
years ago shows were in the more accessible halls facing
International Drive - this has not noticeably impacted
dealer, public and collector attendance. And this despite
this year's simultaneous NYC International Show with
attendant multiple auctions.

"The bourse room was full, apparently sold out and the
aisles crowded with attendees. The Heritage Platinum Night
auction was something to behold, the attendance overflowing.
A newly re-discovered Harold Bareford-pedigreed 1793 S-11c
Mint State large cent sold for $240K hammer. The 1792 fusible
alloy cent, not at all aesthetically attractive with
unremovable black hard crust still adhering, sold for $525K
plus the 15% commission or $603,750. The special one night
session of premium coins lasted 'til 1:30 AM, exhausting
some dealers who went through the previous setup day and
the first open bourse day.

"I roomed with Sequim, Wash collector/researcher Steve
Tompkins, long an early draped and capped bust quarter
connoisseur. He allowed me to read his manuscript with
plates of his forthcoming 400+ page tome on the varieties
of early quarters 1796-1838. The book is in its final form
with just a few additions, plates and editing to be done.
I was very much impressed by the quality, coverage and
"readability" of the manuscript and the extensive enlarged
plates, which often sell a book, were magnificent.

"This book will have the same effect on the series as
large cents' Penny Whimsy and Overton's half dollar book
had on their respective series.  Although my interest in
this series is quite marginal, after seeing the manuscript
I fully intend to order a copy.

"Steve will have his book printed in the U.S., bypassing
China (where Whitman Publishing's books are printed at much
lower cost but with high quality), as Steve wants hands-on
control and the printing will not be nearly as massive as
Whitman's books. Thus, the 1796-1838 quarter book will
retail for approx $89.50, pre-publication orders projected
for $75 instead of the presumed China publication cost of
perhaps $35. Publication will be probably mid-summer 2008
as Steve adds the last touches with extensive cooperation
among collectors and dealers. At FUN alone, Steve (who
brought his photography equipment and set up at 'Babe'
Binette's bourse table) photographed several 1827 original
quarters and an 1827 copper restrike brought to the show
especially for his project. Definitely a reference to be

"I exhibited non-competitively in two FUN cases my 1792
patterns and 1793 chain and wreath cents and a superb
silver Libertas Americana medal. It was the first time
these coins have left the bank. Previously I'd exhibited
rare medals and tokens at FUN but never before coins. I
was a bit wary of hand-carrying these coins to and from
the show - what if the plane crashed?

"By exhibiting non-competitively I could exhibit the coins
and accompanying commentary the way I wanted to, not having
to abide by the strict labeling rules for competitive exhibits.
And that also allowed me to disassemble the exhibit late
Saturday for flying home rather than be compelled to exhibit
'til mid-Sunday. I have found that it is extremely rewarding
to exhibit at a major show. So many "jaded" longtime dealers
and collectors were in seeming awe of these seldom -seen
rarities and thanked me profusely. I'd tired of keeping these
in a dark bank vault and wanted to share with others in the
hobby what can be accomplished in 50 years of serious collecting.

"The exhibit also had an "odd twist" - two superb electrotypes
of the 1792 Wright quarter and the 1792 Birch cent (the only
two copies exhibited and so-labeled), both of which have eluded
me all these years. The commentary on these two electrotypes
reflected that there are certain rare coins that are
"opportunity-only" rarities - regardless of the decades
collecting, the money and the contacts you may have, you
literally have to wait through generations before the coin
becomes available. That is true rarity.

"Exhibit chairman Dick Wells told me of an advanced collector
sauntering over to the exhibit area, leaning over to look at
my exhibit, leaning more closely in disbelief, removing his
glasses and placing his nose tip on the case glass, incredulous
at what he was seeing. It was a genuinely funny story as Dick
re-enacted what he saw. Throughout the show, I saw groups of
experienced collectors gathering and talking at my exhibit as
if that was "Mecca". I have to admit that as I set up the
display, I couldn't believe I owned such coins."

[I sure wish I could have been there to see Alan's exhibit.
I told him how it reminded me of the time I was setting up
an exhibit at an ANA summer convention.  John Pittman had
an exhibit nearby.  I told "Big John" Burns – “you'd better
not look at that exhibit over there”, pointing to Pittman’s.
He couldn't resist the temptation and came back drooling and
hyperventilating over the ultra rarities he saw in the case.
Not coincidentally, Alan replied that it was John J. Pittman's
legendary exhibits that inspired him to show his coins,
tokens and medals over the past few years.

I also wish I could have been a fly on the wall the year I
set up an exhibit of rare numismatic ephemera from my collection.
Ken Lowe of The Money Tree later told me how he accompanied John
J. Ford to look at the exhibit, and at every turn Ford said
things like - "I've never seen THAT" - "Never seen THAT either!"
"Now where in the hell did he get THAT?"   When you can stump
someone like Ford, you know you've got something.

What good is having a great collection if you don't show it
off?   More collectors should follow Alan's example - c'mon,
share once in a while, and show off your stuff!   If you find
it difficult to comply with the official show rules, like Alan
you can display your prize possessions at most major shows
Non-Competitively and have more freedom, setting up late or
tearing down early for travel reasons.

Non-competitive exhibits also needn't follow the exhibit
judging guidelines, although I would encourage non-competitive
exhibitors to at least keep them in mind, for the guidelines
are geared toward making exhibits a better experience for the
viewer.  -Editor]

Jim Halperin writes: "Anyone who didn’t check out Alan
Weinberg’s pre-1793 U.S. Mint exhibit at FUN missed the
highlight of the show - at least it was for me. The 1792
Fusible Alloy cent (J-2) is the finest in private hands,
and his Half Disme is a screaming gem. The Silver Center
cent (J-1) and copper disme are no slouches either, and his
Libertas Americana medals are gorgeous.

"Alas, Alan’s Birch cent is an electro, but there’s no
visible edge seam so it might well have fooled me had it
not been noted as such. The best part was that Alan, who
is a walking numismatic encyclopedia, was there to answer
all my questions, and tell me the history of each coin and
just about everything else about them that any numismatist
would want to know. What a treat!  Now if only I could’ve
talked him into showing me his Massachusetts silver..."


Speaking of Heritage's Platinum night, here are a few lots
I thought worth highlighting:

1818 1/2RL New Spain (Texas) Jola Half Real:  "The Texas
jolas were made by José Antonio de la Garza of San Fernando
de Bexar. While that locale may not ring a bell, its current
name surely will: San Antonio.  San Fernando de Bexar was
the capital of Texas (then a province of New Spain) during
the 1810-1821 War of Independence. Apparently, community
leaders prevailed upon the governor of the province, Lt.
Col. Manuel Prado, to authorize Manuel Barrera to coin 8,000
copper coins to facilitate commerce in March 1817.

"In 1959, a group of approximately 60 specimens was
discovered during excavation work along the San Antonio
River. The area of the find was once a 19th century
campground used by cowboys. A few others have been
discovered since, virtually all of which have been dug.
Apparently they did not circulate long, so most are not
greatly worn but, having been buried, most do show corrosion."
Full Story

1865 Seven-Piece Silver and Nickel Proof Set With Original
Box: "Just five months after the surrender of General Lee
and the Army of North Virginia and the subsequent cessation
of hostilities of the Civil War, Mr. and Mrs. G.R. Oat
celebrated their silver wedding anniversary. An event that
would otherwise be lost to history is commemorated by this
proof set of seven silver and nickel coins, its custom-made
holder, and presentation card.

"The case does not appear to be from the Mint, but was
probably made by a local jeweler. The dark brown leather
case is in remarkably fine condition with only slight
rubbing on the corners and next to the clasps. And the
hook-shaped clasps are still fully functional. An ornate
gold stamp is centered on the top and reads: Oat. /
September 8, 1865. Inside, a blue velvet board held the
coins with raised protective rims around each hole. The
presentation card is pinned to the blue silk inner liner
of the lid. It is written on a calling card with the name
Mrs. Henry C. Howell below a handwritten note that reads:
Presented to Mr. & Mrs. G.R. Oat / at their silver wedding
/ Sept 8th 1865
Full Story

1792 1C Washington Getz Pattern Cent: "Robert Morris
wanted examples of the proposed coinage to help passage
of his bill, and apparently conscripted silversmith Peter
Getz of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Morris was earlier
responsible for the production of the extremely rare 1783
quints and marks, from a prior attempt at a national coinage.
For the 1792 pieces, Getz based his design on John Gregory
Hancock's Baker-16 1791 Small Eagle cent, since the devices
matched the bill's specification of a head of Washington
and an eagle. Baker-16 was made to secure a Federal coinage
contract, and it was ironic that Getz would copy the design
in his own attempt at securing Mint employment.

"All efforts by Morris and Getz were for naught, because
the House of Representatives (and President Washington)
opposed presidential portraits on coinage on the grounds
they were too monarchial. Congress instead eventually
enacted legislation on April 2, 1792, designating "an
impression emblematic of liberty" as the obverse device."
Full Story

To read the complete press release on the sale, see:
Full Story


Regarding this week's Stack's Americana sale, Ray Williams
writes: "From the point of view of someone who was trying
to obtain several specific notes, the colonial paper seemed
to go for a strong price.  The French Colonials were vast
and varied.  There were many affordable pieces along with
some great rarities.  Bidding on the French colonials was
dominated by one specialist in the field, but all who wanted
to obtain some economical examples (myself included) were
able to easily do so.

"There was then a short run of colonial type coins where the
nice pieces brought a good sum.  The two Higley Coppers both
went to the book, the first for the opening bid of $90K and
the second for $135K (opened at $115K).  The Continental
Dollar sold for $30K to the floor.  Then came the section
I most anticipated - The Lorenzo collection of NJ Coppers.
I was anxiously awaiting the catalog where I thought I'd be
seeing about 95 varieties but the collection had 86.  There
were still several varieties I needed and I was able to
pick up one.

"The cataloging of NJs was very unusual in that after the
lot description by the Stack's cataloger, there were often
notes by the consignor which were taken from the flips.  I
can see both positive and negative aspects to this type of
cataloging, but I haven't come to any personal conclusions
about it yet.

"The highlight of the Sale for many of those present was
the Mike Ringo Collection of counterfeit British and Irish
Halfpennies.  There was a wonderful two page introduction
written by Vicken Yegparian and over 250 lots beautifully
cataloged by John Kraljevich.  This is only the first part
to be auctioned of a rather large collection Ringo assembled
over the years.  Mike Ringo was well respected and liked
within the colonial collecting community.  He'll be sorely
missed by all.

"This is the first daytime auction I've attended by Stack's.
My past experiences were all evening auctions.  The auction
moved along smoothly and efficiently.  There were refreshments
before, during and after the auction, and "refreshments" might
be an understatement.  Telephone and computer bidding did
slow things down a little, but I didn't mind the occasional
delay - it gave a chance to breathe.  Although Stack's rotated
the auctioneers, the bidders didn't get a break.  I was in
the room from 12:15 until after 7:00.  I had an interest in
everything except the French Jetons, so I used that time
period to check the hotel plumbing.  It was just long enough
for me to make it back when that first Massachusetts Silver
piece was hammered.

"This auction was like a mini-convention of the Colonial Coin
Collector's Club.  Many of those present were also in attendance
at the C4 Convention in Boston this past December.  It's always
a fun time when collectors of like interest get together, talk
coins and compete at auction.  That's friendly competition for
the moment...  If (or when) the Anton or Groves collections
come to auction, I believe history will be made through "full
contact" floor bidding.  I need to start working out now!"


Coin World had a great article about the U.S. Mint Adams
Academy medal found on eBay by anonymous collector "jonathanb",
who happens to be an E-Sylum subscriber.  Here's how he
described his find in a post on the Collector's Universe
forum December 19, 2007.  -Editor]

A medal for the Adams Academy is the alphabetically-first
school medal listed by Julian as struck at the US Mint prior
to 1892. He describes it as follows:

 Adams Academy
 Starting in 1876, the mint usually struck one gold
 Adams Academy medal each year for Henry Mitchell.
 The last was produced in 1892. A letter from
 Superintendent James Pollock to Mitchell, of
 September 11, 1876, mentioned that the relief was
 very bold on the obverse die. In the second quarter
 of 1889 four bronze medals were struck but not
 reported in the annual list of medals struck.

...and that's it. Most of the other medals described by
Julian were actually described, with obverse and reverse
designs and full legends, diameter, and so on. Many of
them are pictured. This has nothing.

The 1986 Price Guide to Julian, produced by Rich Hartzog,
has pictures for many of the medals that were unpictured
in the original book. There is no picture for SC-1 in the
price guide either. For selected medals, the price guide
also lists a count of auction appearances located by Carl
Carlson. There are no auction records listed.

As far as I can tell, the mint records say that some medals
were struck, but nobody had found one even to know what they
looked like. The paper money folks have a term for this, SENC
(Surviving Example Not Confirmed), for cases where they know
that a note was issued by a particular bank but where nobody
has located a copy.

I'm very happy (very happy! very happy!) to report that
Julian SC-1 is now CONFIRMED!

To read the original post at Collector's Universe, see:
Full Story
 ), and Jonathanb adds: "It's a neat piece.  There could be 15 more,
but do they still exist?  Stuff gets lost permanently over
time, and gold stuff gets melted.  I sort of expected that
someone would pop up and say "What's the big deal?  I have
three of them!" but I haven't heard anything.

"It's too bad that there haven't been any updates to the
Julian reference since it was published 30 years ago.  It
seems that there's no update planned.  I've been going through
auction records for U.S. Mint medals trying to figure out
which ones are truly rare and which ones aren't.  It's difficult
to figure out what's known and what isn't.  I thought that this
was a new discovery when I bid on it, but it could just as
easily have turned out not to be.  I was lucky in several
different directions."

And speaking of eBay bargains, jonathanb adds this note about
the deluxe leatherbound copy of Dave Bowers' 'A California
Gold Rush History' in the Stack's Americana sale that I mentioned
last week:  "Based on the timing I suspect that this copy is
one that was snagged on eBay last year for a grand total of
$150 (plus shipping, darn).  The last copy that Stack's sold
went for nearly $6,000, including premium.  It'll be interesting
to see what this one brings.  Could be a tidy profit for the
consigner, if I'm right."


[The Tuesday, January 15th, 2008 issue of the MPC GRAM
(#1584) had a great article by on Ronna A. Novello a new
Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland exhibit of Holocaust
currency.  It is reprinted below with permission under a
standing agreement with MPC Gram.  -Editor]

Through December 27, the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland
is displaying a special exhibit, “Questionable Issue: Currency
of the Holocaust,” at its Learning Center and Money Museum.
The exhibit is presented with the support of the Maltz Museum
of Jewish Heritage.

Once they were deported to the ghettos or concentration
camps, Holocaust victims were issued scrip (pieces of
essentially useless pieces of paper) by the Nazis in exchange
for their confiscated valuable currency. Each ghetto and camp
had its own distinct scrip and coins, often with hundreds of
different issues. Compared with the more pressing issues of
life and death during the Holocaust, the existence of scrip
didn’t seem to matter much to historians. Until now.

Steve Feller, a physics professor at Coe College in Cedar
Rapids, Iowa, wrote the catalog for the exhibit and co-authored,
with his daughter Ray, the book Silent Witnesses: Civilian Camp
Money of World War II.

Feller was a graduate student at Brown University in the
’70s when he went to a coin show that changed his life. A
collector since he was a kid, he stopped at a dealer’s table
displaying money used at the Theresienstadt (Terezin)
concentration camp. He bought a set of seven notes for $10.
A week later, at a coin shop in Providence, R.I., he learned
even more about this little-known aspect of concentration
camp and ghetto life.

“It represents what happened from a different viewpoint,”
explains themustachioed, silver-haired Brooklyn, N.Y. native.
Feller spoke with the CJN while in town for the exhibit’s
opening. “You can talk about the camps and six million
murdered, but when we see the money they had, it becomes
personal. They speak through that money; they used it everyday.”

The idea for camp scrip developed early in the Third Reich.
In 1933, political prisoners at Oranienberg, a camp near
Berlin, were allowed to receive money from relatives. They
were escorted into town to buy things they needed, then
taken back to camp. Realizing they were losing money with
this arrangement, the Nazis created a camp canteen, with
prisoners forced to exchange the circulating currency of
Germany for scrip from the camp. “The money they gave the
prisoners was virtually worthless, since there was nothing
backing it up,” Feller explains.

As the Reich’s tentacles spread across Europe, ghettos
were established, and the use of scrip burgeoned.
“Warsaw, Krakow, Lodz, they all had ration coupons and
scrip money,” Feller notes. “The scrip was designed by
ghetto residents and printed or minted there.”

In the Warsaw Ghetto,, where 500,000 people, mainly Jews,
were imprisoned, a secret underground currency developed,
separate from the Nazi occupation currency used in daily
transactions. Hand-drawn designs in the secret currency
relied heavily on symbolism. Strong Zionist feelings
influenced the designs, thought to be printed from linoleum

When the Nazis used a Star of David on their official
currency and armbands for the Jews, their objective was
to humiliate and dehumanize their victims. But in the
underground, those symbols were a badge of pride, explains
Feller. On the 50 groszny-note in the Warsaw Ghetto
underground, for example, 18 Stars of David stand defiantly
on one side of a barbed wire fence. On the other side, facing
the stars is a flame, enveloping the hated SS symbol.

These secret currencies, created and used only by the
underground, could express the true feelings of the artist,
since the designs didn’t face Nazi scrutiny.

Official ghetto and camp scrip distributed to the Jews
by the Nazis was governed by different rules. The Nazis
applied stringent guidelines to the designs for these

In Theresienstadt, official scrip notes were designed by
Jewish inmate Petr Kien. The notes featured a portrait of
Moses holding the Ten Commandments.

Although the camp commandant approved the initial design,
his superior, the infamous Reinhard Heydrich deemed the
image “too normal.” The image was revised to make the hair
curlier, the nose more hooked, and the fingers gnarled and
twisted, explains Feller. The grotesque visage was more in
line with the Nazi image of the Jews.

“In 1943, the camps had official scrip issues from Berlin,
and regulations still exist about what they were used for,”
Feller continues. Premium notes were given as rewards for
work, as incentives. They were not designed as a circulating
currency. In some cases, they were given as payment for
slave labor and could be bartered for food or other items.

Evidence of the scrip is found in numerous writings.

In Silent Witnesses, Feller quotes a passage from Auschwitz
survivor Viktor Frankl, a psychiatrist and author of Man’s
Search for Meaning. "Just before Christmas, 1944, I was
presented with a gift of so-called gift premiums issued by
the construction firm, to which we were practically sold
as slaves. The firm paid the camp authorities a fixed price
per day per prisoner. The coupons cost the firm 50 pfennigs
each and could be exchanged for six cigarettes, although
they often lost their validity. I became the proud owner
of 12 cigarettes. But more important, the cigarettes could
be traded for 12 soups, and 12 soups were often a very real
respite from starvation.”

In concentration camps, scrip was used only intermittently,
and examples of those notes are rarer than those from the
ghetto. Following a speech on the exhibit to Federal Reserve
employees, Feller heard a surprising story from one woman.
“She told me she got chills when she saw the Auschwitz money,”
he recalls in a subdued tone. “Her childhood neighbor was a
survivor, and she said as a child, she (and the neighbor’s
child) had played with that money. The neighbor had about
40 notes, which today would be a substantial amount of the
known notes still existing from Auschwitz. Amazing.”


Paul Sherry writes: "A friend of mine, Bruce Mansfield, met
a young man who was on leave in Australia from his security
company in Iraq. He gave Bruce some tokens that personnel in
Iraq, who have access to the US Canteen Service are given
to use instead of coins.

"Here are pictures of the tokens he was given.  They are by
no means the complete set.  It would be good to find out how
many different types there are. They are made of thin, heavy
cardboard type material approx 0.5mm thick and approximately
40mm diameter."

Full Story


Regarding last week's review of Krause Publication's 'Coins
and Currency of the Middle East', Bill Malkmus writes: "You
have touched on one of my pet peeves (of overlapping images),
which I have somehow managed to refrain from expounding upon
until the present moment.  The question here is in regard to
the matter of form overcoming practicality and usefulness,
in the name of "style" (or "cuteness").

"My special interest is in ancients, which are notable for
production irregularities, as compared with modern coinage.
Every published image (whether in print or on the web) is a
valuable resource for the study of coinage (or paper money).
In particular, the trailing-off of the design at the edges
of ancient coins is of extreme importance in the study of
production methods, as well as for judging authenticity.

"I don’t know how many coin images have been published (in
The Numismatist, in particular, but also elsewhere) which
have been compromised by this practice of overlapping images
(which I believe is esteemed enough to be known in the trade
as "eclipsing").  If anyone can convince publishers that
this practice is destructive of valuable information, that
person will receive my eternal blessing."



Before the holidays I set aside a five dollar bill I'd
received in change with a few red stamps on it.  I didn't
look closely at it until today.  The stamp says TRUSTREASON.COM.
I took the bait and visited the web site.  Atop the home page
is an image of the back of a dollar bill with the word "God"
in the motto "In God We Trust" blacked out and replaced with
the word REASON.  My five dollar bill has a similar marking,
although the word REASON on mine is an inkstamp rather than
being handwritten in ink. Has anyone else come across one
of these?  From the web site:

"So, what is this website about? Why so much effort just
because of the word God on paper currency? After all, the
money spends the same, right?

"That's not the issue. Yes, if it was only an innocuous
phrase on money, I wouldn't object to it. However, that
phrase represents a trend in the US of bigotry towards
those citizens who don't have any belief in gods. It is
even offensive to many that do. In short, there is about
14.1% of the population who "In God We Trust" does NOT
represent. That little phrase is far from innocuous. It
is divisive, and it is meant to be divisive.

"... Please join me in restoring the United States to a
country that accepts all of its citizens as equals. Modify
your bills in protest, replacing "God", which is divisive,
to "Reason", which is sorely needed in this country. If
you've found such a bill, comment here in the blog or by
e-mail. I look forward to hearing from you."

[The web site doesn't say who the "me" is, although one
page of the site quotes Paul Rasor, Director of the Center
for the Study of Religious Freedom at Virginia Wesleyan
College.  -Editor]


[Last year we learned that the TV show "Wife Swap" was
seeking a family of coin collectors for an upcoming episode.
I was curious to learn if the episode ever came about.
Casting Director Heather Teta responded, letting me know
that the idea is still on the table if the right family
comes along.  Why not give it a try?  Below is a copy of
the official casting call.  For more information, contact
Heather at  -Editor]

ABC's hit family show, Wife Swap, seeks coin collecting
families!  The premise of Wife Swap is simple: for two weeks,
two wives from two different families exchange husbands,
children and lives (but not bedrooms) to discover what it’s
like to live a different woman’s life. The show airs Wednesday
nights on ABC at 8pm – the family hour! It offers families
the opportunity not only to teach, but to learn about different
family values.

We are casting for our exciting 4th season of the show and
look forward to finding fun and outgoing families with
interesting hobbies and outlooks on life. We would love to
feature a family that is involved in the Hobby of Kings –
coin collecting!

We're hoping to find a family of Numismatists where
everyone – Mom, dad and kids – are all passionate about
the hobby and participate together.  We often feature sports
families on our show, but rarely have an opportunity to
focus on more academic ways to spend family time together.
This could be a step in the right direction so we hope you
are willing to spread the word!

Families featured on the show receive a financial honorarium
as a thank-you for their ten day filming commitment.  If you
nominate a family who appears on the show we offer a finder's
fee.  Please feel free to contact us with any questions or



Philip Mernick writes: "I would like to call on the
assistance of E-Sylum readers with a cross over between
my ceramics and coins collecting interests.  The two
attached images are mouldings that appear beneath the
handles of two jugs made in Derbyshire, presumably for
export to the USA and it has been suggested that I write
them up for the journal Ceramics in America.

"I would, however, like to confirm the iconography (they
both date from the middle of the 19th century by the way).
The first one is clearly based on the Great Seal of the
United States but seems closest to the design used on US
silver and gold coins designed by Robert Scott and used
only during the first decade of the 19th century (the
wreath and arrows are the wrong way round on my example!).
Is it known where Scott got his design from because it
does not seem to exactly match the great seal dies of
1782 and 1841?

Derbyshire Jug Eagle Moulding #1
Moulding #1

Derbyshire Jug Eagle Moulding #2
Moulding #2

Official Dies of the Great Seal of the United States
Great Seal of the United States

In addition, if you have any thoughts on the other
(almost sleeping) eagle I would be very interested to hear."

[I'll forward any questions or comments to Philip.


[An alert reader pointed me to another example of the
Drake voyage map medal. -Editor]

by Halliday, T.?: USA,  c.1820, White Metal, 74 mm

Obv: Western hemisphere showing North and South America
with continents and other land masses and bodies of water
labeled as they were known in the early 19th century.
These include New Albion (anachronistic) in the Western
United States, New Saledonia (now New Caledonia), Jugo
(much of the southern portion of South America), and the
Sandwich Islands (now Hawaii)

Rev: Eastern Hemisphere with continents and other land
masses and bodies of water labeled as they were known in
the early 19th century. These include, among others, New
Holland (Australia), Van Dieman’s Land (Tasmania), and
Barbary in North Africa (now Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia
and Libya) Ref: Rulau E9;  Eimer 141/1139

The projection system used on this medal was originally
created by the Dutch cartographer Gerard Mercator, the
man best known for the Mercator Projection. Gerard Mercator
was born in Rupelmonde, Flanders, in 1512, and in his 80
years of life, he fundamentally changed the way people
looked at maps and at the world. In 1569, Mercator unveiled
his famous projection, a new way of making a map that was
designed to show accurate distances between various points.

To read the complete web page, see:
Full Story



In the past we've discussed a number of celebrities who share
our numismatic hobby.  An item in the U.K. magazine The People
describes Nicole Kidman as a coin collector:

"Actress Nicole is a numismatist, and is said to have a rare
collection of ancient Judean coins."

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


David F. Fanning writes: "A friend of mine from graduate
school, Rick Ring, of the Providence Public Library, has
started a new blog that may be of interest to some E-Sylum
readers. Called "Notes for Bibliophiles," it is a place
for his casual musings on books and book collecting, and
draws heavily on his experiences as a special collections
librarian. While not numismatic, it is certainly of interest
to book collectors. It can be found at
Full Story "


An old colleague of mine works on the Google interface,
and here’s one of the formats they’re experimenting with.
It's a timeline view of search results.  For example, here's
a search on Impressionists, ordered chronologically:
Time Line Search

I played with it a bit and discovered that it works for
general search strings as well, and this could help numismatic
researchers sort through the muck of too many search results.
Just add "view:timeline" to your search query.  I tried a
"specie panic view:timeline" search - here are the results:
Full Story

The results came back in neat chronological order beginning
in the 1830's.  One item the search uncovered was an account
of the panic of 1837 from the perspective of the Mormons in
Kirtland, OH.  However, the date the system picked up on wasn't
1837 but February 19, 1880.  So there are lots of kinks to be
worked out before this tool is ready for prime time, it can still
be a useful way to filter and organize results in ways not
otherwise available.
Full Story

I'd be interested to hear what others things of this
experimental service.  There is also a Map View to order
search results geographically with an accompanying map display.


A emailed press release from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing
noted that "The first redesigned $5 bill, which will continue
to feature the portrait of President Abraham Lincoln, will
enter circulation on March 13 and will be spent at the gift
shop of President Lincoln's Cottage at the Soldiers' Home
in Washington, D.C."

Full Story
Full Story


Jim Duncan writes: "The New Zealand Police have offered
a reward of NZ$300,000 for information leading to the return
of the stolen Victoria Crosses and other medals from the
Waiouru Army Museum in December '07.

"This is the largest reward ever offered in New Zealand,
and is made up of offers from prominent British collector
Lord Ashcroft and an anonymous New Zealand businessman.
It is reportedly three times larger than any previous
reward offered!

"It is hoped this will reinvigorate the investigation.
Border controls have been installed, and have already
picked up a single medal being legally taken out, so it
looks as if the controls work.   We all hope so."

[Below are excerpts from a New Zealand newspaper article
on the reward offer.  -Editor]

One of the benefactors funding a reward offer for rare
medals stolen from the Waiouru Army Museum believes they
are still in New Zealand.

About 100 medals, including nine Victoria Crosses and
two George Crosses, were taken from the museum on 2
December. Captain Charles Upham's Victoria Cross and
Bar were among those stolen.

Police have announced a $300,000 reward for information
that leads to a prosecution or recovery of the medals.

The money has been fronted by British Victoria Cross
collector Lord Michael Ashcroft and an anonymous New
Zealand businessman. It is the biggest reward offered
in New Zealand's history.

He says the concern is that the medals will simply
disappear, and he hopes the reward will flush out
someone with knowledge about the theft.

He says there is no reason to believe the medals have
already gone overseas. "We see the reward as being a
tool that compliments the investigation at this time."

The previous highest reward offered was $100,000 for
an investigation into a series of rapes in South Auckland.

He says the theft of the medal sets is a theft from
all New Zealanders, and the public's help is needed
for their recovery.

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


According to news reports, "The Lumpkin County Sheriff's
Office has thwarted a possible conspiracy to steal coins
from the Dahlonega Gold Museum. On Christmas Eve, an
anonymous caller alerted the museum of the potential

"Officials contacted one of the alleged co-conspirators,
who had recently visited the museum and researched the
value of the coins. 'We put them on notice that we knew
about the conspiracy and none of the coins would be stolen,'
Lumpkin County Sheriff Mark McClure said. And, 'We would
be definitely looking to charge individuals if that did

The man, who is from out of state, denied having any
involvement in the plot. McClure said residential
burglaries of coins and coin collections are fairly
common in the community, but to steal coins of such
value as the ones in the museum is a 'rarity.'

"'We take these treasures of our county very seriously
because they are very valuable,' McClure said. 'But
they're also of great historical significance to the
citizens of Lumpkin County.'

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


[E-Sylum reader Timothy Grat is a partner in a new minting
operation with a very old name: Moffatt & Co.  The following
description of the firm's name is taken from the new firm's
web site.  -Editor]

Our company name is derived from two sources. First off
the President's surname is Moffatt. Secondly the company
draws inspiration from the original Moffat and Co., the
private gold coin mint and assay company established in
California c. 1850. We feel that the original Moffat and
Company is a type of minting mentor. Their coins and ingots
were of such fine quality, and their reputation for honest
dealings was so high that it allowed their coins and ingots
to trade at par (face value) with the US mint coin issues.
So renowned was the good reputation of Moffat and Company
that when it came time for the US government to establish
a branch mint in San Francisco, California, the US government
called upon the surviving Moffat and Company partners to
take on this task.

[The following are excerpts from a Numismaster article
on the new mint. -Editor]

Moffatt & Co., a newly formed custom minting company,
announced Jan. 4 that it has begun operations at its
plant near Eureka Springs, Ark.

Moffatt & Co. was formed in October 2007 with the intent
to provide high-quality custom tokens and medallions
at low prices.

The company has acquired and installed several high-speed
coining presses with an initial capacity of more than one
million pieces per week. It has also acquired an automatic
multi-stroke coining press with a capacity of up to 1.75
inch diameter in proof-like finishes.

A limited product line including silver rounds, club medals
and other small runs are available immediately. Full
production will begin in early February. Initial token
offerings are for .900-, .984- and 1.125-inch sizes in
golden brass alloy. Other sizes and alloys will be added.
The company is now accepting pre-orders for tokens. Delivery
will begin mid-February.

Operating partners Sean Moffatt and Timothy Grat have much
experience in the minting trade. Moffatt was operations
manager of a large private mint for 19 years until the
company was sold. He has been involved in numismatics for
more than 35 years.

Grat was chief coiner for Gallery Mint for 10 years. He
has been involved in numismatics for about 10 years.

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story

To view the Moffatt & Co. web site, see:


[Stephen Pradier noticed a lengthy Kansas City Star
article on the counterfeit $100 "Supernotes".  Here are
some excerpts.  -Editor]

The currency changer, brazenly plying his illegal trade in
the Bank of China lobby, pulled out a thick wad of cash
from around the world and carefully removed a bill.

The 2003 series U.S. $100 bill was a fake, but not just
any fake. It was a “supernote,” a counterfeit so perfect
it’s an international whodunit.

It had come from a North Korean businessman, the changer
said, getting angry looks from his confederates. He stank
of alcohol, but his story was plausible. The impoverished
hermit nation sat just across the Yalu River from Dandong.

Whatever the origin of the bills, “it’s by far the most
sophisticated counterfeiting operation in the world,” said
James Kolbe, a former congressman from Arizona who oversaw
funding for the Secret Service. “We are not certain as to
how this is being done or how it’s happening.”

•At least 19 different versions have been printed, each
corresponding to a tiny change in U.S. engraving plates —
an odd thing for any counterfeiter to do. Also, they show
practically invisible but intriguing additions.

•Stranger yet, the number of supernotes found indicates
that whoever is printing them isn’t doing so in large
quantities. Only $50 million worth of them have been seized
since 1989, an average of $2.8 million per year and not even
enough to pay for the sophisticated equipment and supplies
needed to make them.

Industry experts such as Thomas Ferguson, former director
of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, said the supernotes
are so good that they appear to have been made by someone
with access to some government’s printing equipment.

Some experts think North Korea does not have the sophistication
to make the bills; others suspect Iran and others speak of
criminal gangs in Russia or China.

Klaus Bender, the author of Moneymakers: The Secret World
of Banknote Printing, said the phony $100 bill is “not a
fake anymore. It’s an illegal parallel print of a genuine
note.” He claims that the supernotes are of such high quality
and are updated so frequently that they could be produced
only by a U.S. government agency such as the CIA.

As unsubstantiated as the allegation is, there is a
precedent. An expert on the CIA, journalist Tim Weiner,
has written how the agency tried to undermine the Soviet
Union’s economy by counterfeiting its currency.

Banks around the world are still seizing supernotes. The
first one was spotted by a sharp-eyed banker in the
Philippines in 1989.

Whoever is making them seemed to deliberately add minuscule
extra strokes, as if trying to flag the phony bills, the
Swiss noted. For example, at the very tip of the steeple
of Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, the counterfeit bills
have a line along the left vertical edge that is not on
the real bills.

The supernotes incorporate at least 19 running changes that
the United States has made to its engraving plates since
1989, from the names of Treasury secretaries and treasurers
to blowing up the image of Ben Franklin on the $100 —
something that most counterfeiters can’t or don’t bother
to do.

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


[On January 15, 2008 the Times of Trenton (NJ) published
a nice article on Princeton University's acquisition of
the Sarmas collection of Greek coins.  Thanks to John N.
Lupia III and Tom Fort for pointing it out. -Editor]

Princeton made the purchase of the more than 800 medieval
Greek coins to help researchers deepen their knowledge about
a period of Middle Age history that has been little understood
by scholars be cause of a dearth of primary historical
accounts from that time, Stahl said.

Until now, there has been no specialized collection of
the coins of the Greek lands of the later Middle Ages --
the 13th and 14th centuries -- available for study in a
public institution anywhere, he said.

The seller, London businessman Theo Sarmas, had assembled
the collection gradually as a hobby over the past 20 years
or so -- acquiring them mainly from English dealers and
through auctions, Stahl said. Most of the coins are silver
or a silver-copper alloy called billon.

The collection is rich in currency that imitates important
trade coins of Italian cities, especially those of Venice
and Naples.

Princeton's numismatic collection bought the coins with
matching funds from the university's program in Hellenic
studies, which contributed with money from the Stanley J.
Seeger Hellenic Fund, established at Princeton to promote
the understanding of Greek culture.

Princeton's numismatic collection was started in 1849 when
friends of the university bought and donated plaster casts
of Greek and Roman coins. Today, it has vast holdings of
ancient Chinese, Greek and Roman coins and includes others
from the Byzantine, Western medieval and U.S. Colonial eras.

Part of the collection is on display in the university's
Firestone Library as its "Numismatics in the Renaissance"
exhibition, which is on view for free to the public through
July 20 in the library's main exhibition hall. The Sarmas
coins are not part of that showcase because they are being
catalogued for the university.

But Princeton's numismatic collection is available for
research to the public and scholars at the university. To
view the online data base, visit .

To make an appointment for viewing specific items from
the collection, including the Sarmas coins, contact Stahl

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


[Dick Johnson forwarded the latest news on inflation
currency in Zimbabwe. -Editor]

What happens when you have 50,000% inflation? The 200,000
note in Zimbabwe, pictured below, is worth only 3 cents,
and you need new 10,000,000 notes.

President Robert Mugabe's government, stricken by chronic
hyperinflation, announced today it will introduce a 10
million Zimbabwe dollar note (along with 1 million and 5
million notes). Economists said it was the highest
denomination of any currency in the world.

Zimbabwe is in its 10th year of economic crisis, marked
by the world's highest rate of inflation, the fastest
shrinking gross domestic product in a country not in a
state of war, the most rapidly collapsing currency and
unemployment of over 80%.

A year ago, the highest denomination was 10,000 Zimbabwe
dollars, then worth about $7, now worth about 1/3 of 1 cent
(US). The new 10 million Zimbabwe dollar note is worth $3
(US). During the year there were three separate new issues
of notes as inflation continued to soar, including the
200,000 note pictured above, which is worth worth only 6
cents (US).

Full Story


[A friend of three victims of a helicopter crash is
honoring them and remembering them with challenge
"coins." -Editor]

A friend of one of the three Air Evac Lifeteam crew members
killed Dec. 30 in a helicopter crash in Colbert County has
found a unique way to honor the victims and assure they
are always remembered by their peers.

Michael Sheedy will have challenge coins printed in honor
of Michael Baker, Tiffany Miles and Allan Bragwell.

Sheedy got to know Baker when Baker was a U.S. Coast Guard
pilot, through Sheedy’s work in the Law Enforcement Aviation
Coalition. The coalition is a Winthrop Harbor, Ill.-based
organization that helps provide air support for law
enforcement and rescue agencies at no cost.

“I thought this would be a perfect tribute, one that I
can carry with me every day,” Sheedy said.

A challenge coin helps signify membership in an organization
to help promote unity and morale. It has long been used by
members of military units, but the tradition has expanded
those in civilian emergency fields, as well as other

An image of the coin can be found at

“Right now, I just have my e-mail up there,” Sheedy said.
 “I’m trying to gauge what the interest will be so I’ll
know how many to order. The more that are ordered, the
less expensive the coin. All the money will go to the
families, and I’ll cover any additional cost if needed.”

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


[A Los Gatos, CA man called in a local television station
consumer reporter to help him get a correct "Certificate of
Authenticity" for the commemorative coin set he'd purchased
from the U.S. Mint.  -Editor]

Here's a case where solid gold and silver coins might have
lost value because of a piece of paper, as a local coin
collector found out that can be quite an ordeal.  Homer
Leonard of Los Gatos began buying commemorative coins
years ago

He was pretty happy with his investments, until the day
this commemorative coin set arrived. It had the "wrong"
certificate of authenticity.

"Without the certificate of authenticity it doesn't mean
anything because the person you're selling to can't verify
exactly what it is," said Leonard.

What Homer actually bought was the American Eagle 20th
anniversary gold and silver coin set worth about $850
dollars. What the certificate said he bought was an
American Eagle gold coin set. All gold -- worth about
$2,600 dollars.

"When you have the certificate with the proper set it
means a lot," said Leonard.

So Homer called the U.S. Mint and asked for the correct
document.  "They're out of stock and when we get them
we'll get back to you," said Leonard.

A whole year went by, and no document. Homer worried his
coins might lose value without that piece of paper.

So we contacted the U.S. Mint and folks there said this
was a rare mistake. They did send Homer another certificate
and again, it was wrong. On the third try, Homer did get
the correct paperwork.

The U.S. Mint says it's tracing how those mistakes happened,
and it said the certificates are only good if they come
with the right coin set, so no one should be able to misuse

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


Ginger Rapsus writes: "Talk about finding things in books...
I frequent a used bookstore near my house.  I bought a book
on retirement, finances, something like that...I found within
the pages a small brown envelope.  Inside was a dollar bill
with the serial number all eights!  What a bookmark!  That
was my best find."



Dick Johnson writes: "Malaysia one-sen coins are soon to
be abolished (reported here in E-Sylum (November 18, 2007,
vol 10, no 47, art 26).

One writer is alerting craft-minded citizens in that country
to make a coin receptacle box sprouting a tree and use 25
coins to hang from raised relief leaves. Writer Teresa Wong
gives instructions to take a facial tissue box, cut apart
and paint it with salt paint to give it texture resembling
leaves on the tree at the back of the box.

She does this to save a handful of the obsolete coins to
show grandchildren of the future to prove they actually
used such a low-value coin.

Shown at this website -- materials list, diagrams,
instructions, color photo:

Full Story



This week's featured web page is recommended by Paul Sherry.
It features Boulton & Watt Family Death Medals from the
collection of Bill McKivor.  Paul writes: "Here’s a great
Matthew Boulton Medal page that's so great I almost feel
reluctant to share simply because I want to keep it to myself!

[The page has marvelous photography by Eric Holcomb - be
sure to click on them to view enlargements.  Wow! -Editor]

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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