The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 11, Number 05, February 3, 2008:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2008, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


We now have 1,118 subscribers.  This week we open with a feast
of numismatic literature offerings, including David Fanning's
latest fixed price list, a duplicate sale by the American
Numismatic Society, and George Kolbe's 105th sale.

In the new books category we have Whitman's announcement of
their new Guide Book of U.S. Commemorative Coins and Alan
Weinberg's review of the Heritage Walt Husak large cent sale
catalog.  Also, the ANS E-News provides hints of 'Pictures of
the First United States Mint:  The Numismatic Legacy of Frank
H. Stewart' by Leonard Augsburger and Joel J. Orosz, and
Augsburger's solo work, 'Treasure in the Cellar', the story
of the 1934 Baltimore gold hoard. Also in this issue I review
Spinks' Coins of England and the United Kingdom.

Responses to earlier issues cover topics such as the late
Diane Wolf, San Francisco Assay Office deposit records,
answers to the questions about dealer 'Brownie' and Bobby
Fischer's gold coins, and retiring ANS librarian Frank Campbell.
We also have word from a prominent numismatic literature dealer
that he is NOT retiring, thank you very much.

Numismatic news from around the world opens with word that
the Royal Mint is planning to remove a centuries-old tradition,
the use of the image of Britannia on British coinage.  Included
is a great article about the designer of the last coin to
feature Britannia.

To learn about Christian Decimus Ironside's connection to
numismatics and three reasons for a coin designer NOT to
sign his work, read on. Have a great week, everyone.

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


[David Fanning forwarded the following press release about
his latest fixed price list of numismatic literature, a 48-page
catalogue including material from the libraries of John W.
Adams and Joel J. Orosz.  The list also includes a selection
of numismatic memorabilia, including tokens, badges and other
souvenirs of numismatic events and mementos of the people
involved. -Editor]

David F. Fanning Numismatic Literature has announced the
publication of our February 2008 Fixed Price List, featuring
rare and out-of-print numismatic literature, historical
documents and numismatic memorabilia. The illustrated list
is available in PDF form on our Web site at
and includes some rarely encountered titles as well as a
selection of current and standard references. Items range
from $10 to $1,000, and from 1778 to 2008. Some highlights
of this listing include:

* Several early Mint Reports from the first two decades of
 the 19th century.
* An 1861 Confederate States of America document regulating
 the circulation of foreign coins.
* A run of Mason’s Coin Collectors’ Herald, an exceptionally
 rare periodical, including the entire second volume.
* The final set of page proofs for Walter Breen’s Encyclopedia
 of United States Half Cents.
* A 1791 document acknowledging receipt of money on account
 of Declaration of Independence signer Lewis Morris, signed
 by his son, Richard Valentine Morris.
* A 1799 New York almanac, with handwritten, dated notations
 of household expenses illustrating the transition from British
 to American monetary units over time.

David Fanning can be reached at
Check out our Web site: while it’s still under development,
we have plans to expand it into a resource for collectors of
numismatic literature and those who use such literature in
their research.


[The following announcement was made in the February 2008
American Numismatic Society E-news. -Editor]

In preparation for the move to new premises later this year,
the ANS will be holding a sale of duplicate books, sales
catalogues and periodicals.  Lists of available catalogues
and periodicals will shortly appear on the ANS website,
with prices and instructions for ordering. Shipping and
handling will be charged to purchasers.

Duplicate books, together with unsold catalogues and
periodicals will be offered for sale on the ANS premises
from Saturday, March 8th, 2008. Opening hours will be posted
on the ANS website.

Only duplicates of items in the library are being sold.
No books or duplicates from the Rare Book Room are included.
All proceeds from sales will benefit the ANS library.  Any
inquires may be addressed to Andrew Meadows,


[George Kolbe forwarded the following press release for
his 105th sale. -Editor]

On March 20, 2008 George Frederick Kolbe/Fine Numismatic
Books will sell at auction the Numismatic Library of Dr.
Dan Koppersmith, part three of the Alan M. Meghrig Library,
further selections from the library of Bob Vail, and other
notable properties.

Leading off the sale is the superb Koppersmith library,
which includes a complete set of the Numismatic Chronicle,
a complete run of the Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, standard
works on ancient Greek coins in outstanding condition, and
important auction sale catalogues featuring archaic and
classical Greek coins. A nice consignment of works on British
and American numismatics follows. It features a fine original
set of Dalton and Hamer's Provincial Token-Coinage of the
18th Century, heavily annotated by a knowledgeable collector.

Complete sets of Barney Bluestone, New York Coin & Stamp Co.,
and J. C. Morgenthau sale catalogues are featured in the Bob
Vail consignment, which also includes an extensive run of
elusive United States Coin Company sales, among them a fine
1913 Malcolm Jackson sale with photographic plates. A consignment
of rare and obscure nineteenth century tracts on American paper
money and banking follows, including works by William Gouge,
Oliver Wolcott, Matthew Carey, Albert Gallatin, Martin Van
Buren, William Fessenden, and others. The sale concludes with
the third part of the Alan M. Meghrig library, featuring many
unusual works on American numismatics.

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:

On a related front, George adds: "In the past month or so I
have been asked by a number of people if I was actually
retiring. Apparently, such a rumor is making the rounds,
despite zero factual basis. I am as busy as ever and hope
to continue to be so well into the future. 2008 promises to
be a banner year and we are already making plans for 2009!
Stay tuned for further details."


[Dennis Tucker forwarded this press release for the latest
numismatic book from Whitman Publishing.  -Editor]

Whitman Publishing announces the release of A Guide Book of
U.S. Commemorative Coins, the tenth entry in its Bowers Series
of numismatic titles, available in early 2008. The book
continues in the tradition of the Guide Book of Morgan Silver
Dollars and other best-selling “Official Red Book” guides.
The 288-page full-color volume will be available in March,
online and in bookstores nationwide.

Every commemorative coin from 1892 to date is illustrated
in full color. Mintages, specifications, market values in
multiple grades, and certified and surviving field populations
add to the book’s reference value.

“Q. David Bowers is a recognized expert on America’s
commemorative coinage,” said Whitman publisher Dennis Tucker.
“His new book brings history to life by connecting these
coins to the people, places, and events they honored, and
to the artists, promoters, and politicians who brought them
from raw concept to finished coin.”

The book explains how to build a collection of commemoratives,
determining authenticity, analyzing strike and eye appeal,
being a smart buyer, realities of the marketplace, comparative
rarities, Full Details, certification, establishing fair market
prices, and more.

A Guide Book of U.S. Commemorative Coins will be available
online at, and from hobby retailers,
booksellers, and coin dealers nationwide.

288 pages. Full color. Paperback.
$19.95 retail.


[Alan V. Weinberg submitted the following review of the
catalogue for Heritage's February 14-16, 2008 sale of the
Walt Husak large cent collection.  -Editor]

I've known Walt for a decade or more and often visited his
Burbank, CA aviation parts mfg firm (co-owned by fellow
numismatist Terry Brenner who caught the numismatic "fever"
while looking over our shoulders) to examine his cents "raw"
and photograph both his and my numismatic treasures. Walt's
enthusiasm for the hobby never waned and his office was always
strewn with numismatic publications with framed large cent
pictures on the walls.

It was with some surprise that last June Walt told me his
large cent collection was going up for Heritage auction. Why?
Well, Walt admitted he'd "hit a wall", could not add the three
early large cents he still needed (one of which I owned, the
1795 Jefferson Head cent), and had just bought an expensive
multi-acre ranch in Santa Ynez, Ca (near where Michael Jackson
lives, for you "foreigners"). Walt had chosen Heritage over
McCawley Grellman/Goldbergs and Stack's. An interesting choice
of auction house and not one based solely on financial persuasion.

The choice was apparently wise. Not only did Heritage get
PCGS to design and develop a new type of clear slab just for
the Husak coppers but one with 3 prongs holding the cent steady
so that the rims and edge legends, so important to copper
collectors, could be easily seen. As with most early copper
collectors, Walt preferred his cents "raw" and examined on the
tips on one's fingers but the wisdom of slabbing them prior to
public auction cannot be disputed. I will do the same when the
time comes.

Aside from that, Heritage took the entire coppers collection
early on to publicly exhibit and make available for examination
at several major U.S. shows since last summer. And, best of all,
Heritage chose perhaps the two most qualified large cent people
to catalogue the collection - their own Mark Borckardt and Denis
Loring, who personally knew Dr. William H. Sheldon, the large
cent "godfather".

The two of them have succeeded in producing a large cent
catalogue for the ages, one that may well win the award in
2008 for the finest numismatic auction catalogue, a field
previously dominated by Stack's. It is a catalogue dedicated
solely to Walt's large cents 1793-1814 with each and every
coin having at least its own full page, often two pages or
more, with obverse and reverse greatly enlarged - my sole
criticism is that I feel the plates are a bit dark and could
have been done better as I have Walt's own photos of the same
coins on disk and they are bright and reflective.

Each cent is meticulously described as to condition - there
are four conditions given : the slab grade, Del Bland's opinion,
Bill Noyes' opinion, and the two cataloguers'  joint opinion
of EAC grade. Surprisingly, given the propensity for the
slabbers to grossly overgrade early coppers often by 10 or
15 points, the differences in opinion are not substantial. I
n this catalogue, the slab grade almost always exceeds the
other three grades by 3 - 5 points ( although there is one
lot with a 20 point grade difference! ) and Bland -Noyes and
Borckardt/Loring's opinions are most often very close, within
3 to  5 grading points - a very surprising and welcome

Descriptions of surfaces, color, and defects/problems are
given without any "soft-soaping" or use of euphemisms so
often seen in auction catalogues - another delightful feature.
The latest condition census (6 finest known pieces) for each
cent is given along with a detailed, often lengthy but
all-so-important pedigree list of prior collector ownership.
Pedigree is so important to early copper collectors, not
because the coin's legitimacy might be questioned but because
condition census is so important and the fact that a copper
once belonged to Beckwith,  Mickley,  Bushnell, Sheldon,
Naftzger, etc. actually adds to a coin's appeal and value.

And for the first time in any numismatic catalogue I've ever
seen, at the end of each cent's narrative, the cataloguers
give a historical background for one of the cent's early owners,
making the pedigree information "come alive" for the reader.
Here we learn of obscure decades-ago cent collectors unknown
to the general numismatic public. And, the catalogue has a
first for a picture of a consignor - Walt and his wife sitting
atop a trumpeting Indian elephant in the middle of an Asian
jungle! Not your standard back-lighted studio consignor

So it would appear Walt Husak chose his auctioneer wisely
as Heritage has apparently recognized the opportunity to
make large cent history and perhaps lure away future copper
collectors from the standard auctioneers they'd previously
chosen. One can argue that the "wrong" Coast was chosen to
sell such a large cent collection. Or the wrong coin show
- Long Beach. Perhaps even the wrong time - with recession
bearing down on us.

But the catalogue quality, the offering of the finest early
large cent collection ever sold at public auction (yes,
this is true) and the 300,000 plus bidding customer book
of Heritage will likely combine to produce a record-setting
sale with astonishing prices. And, yes, the Registry
Collection bidders and their reps will be there, plaguing
the serious copper collectors. But whether you buy anything
or just attend, this will be one heck of an experience.


Better late than never, I suppose.  One of the books at the
top of my review queue was acquired this summer in London on
my visit to Spink.  During my visit there Catherine
Gathercole presented me with a copy of the previous year's
"Coins of England and the United Kingdom", edited by Philip
Skingley, head of Spink's Publications Department.  First
published in 1929, the book is now in its 43rd edition.  It
also goes by the title of "Standard Catalogue of British Coins".

So the book that was one year out of date when I received
it is now two years outdated.  I understand that many improvements
have been made in the last two years, including the addition
of color photos and some 45 additional pages of text.  My
apologies for not having the current edition in front of me,
but my most of comments are likely applicable to the newer
editions as well, because I'm looking through the eyes of
a Yankee with limited familiarity with the coins themselves.
I'll also be making the inevitable comparisons to the "Red
Book", the corresponding one-volume guide we Yanks use as
a reference to U.S. coinage - "A Guide Book of United States

The book's preface includes a short commercial message for
Spink.  The Red Book's publisher does not deal in U.S. coins,
so this is one immediate difference.  But I won't begrudge
the publisher - other than this single paragraph the book
is devoid of promotional text.

Another difference I noted from Red Book practice is that
while the preface acknowledges the assistance of many
individuals, they are not named.  The Red Book has an
extensive list of contributors, and I was surprised not
to see a list of names.

I found the introductory text very useful and well written.
As with the Red Book, collectors are cheating themselves if
they read only the price guide sections and pass up the early
text.  "A Beginner's Guide to Coin Collecting" notes that
"This catalogue is solely concerned with British coinage
from the earliest times right up to date.  From the start
the beginning collector should appreciate that the coinage
of our own nation may be seen as a small but very important
part of the whole story of world currency."   This is quite
true and the statement holds for the U.S. as well.  The
section also acknowledges the vast token series "issued
by merchants, innkeepers and manufacturers in many towns
and villages in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries..."
Other sections of the "Beginner's Guide" cover Minting
Processes, Condition, Cleaning Coins, and other important

There is also a Market Trends section, a five-page essay
on coin values and recent auction results highlighted by
the unique Coenwulf gold penny.  Of interest to bibliophiles
is the discussion on the value of good cataloging.  As an
example the authors cite two separate offerings of a
specimen of the Charles I Oxford silver crown of 1642.
In September 2004 a "sketchily catalogued" example sold
for £1,870 in a well-attended London auction.  “Six months
later, the same coin realized £6,300 when resold in
Davissons Ltd. Auction 22 with a fuller description…”
The section also discusses the very important differences
between U.S. and U.K. grading systems, a must for
collectors making purchases in both markets.

A peek at the back of the book reveals several useful
appendices.  Appendix I is a Select Numismatic Bibliography,
listing primarily modern works from the 1970s to date.
Appendix II is a useful listing of “Latin or Foreign Legends
on English Coins”. Appendix III lists Numismatic Clubs and
Societies.  I couldn’t help but notice the apt name of the
British Numismatic Society’s Secretary – C.R.S. Farthing.

The bulk of the book is of course devoted to coin listings,
and I have to say my hat is off to the editors for managing
to neatly distill 2,000 years of numismatic history into one
volume the same size as the U.S. Red Book, which covers a
mere 200+ years.  One thing left out of the book, however,
which I found an awkward omission were mintage figures for
regular issue coins.  While records from centuries ago may
not be available, modern figures have surely been published

I found a number of interesting coins and tidbits while
perusing the catalog – here are some of note.

Victoria (1837-1901) - "In 1849, as a first step toward
decimalization, a silver Florin (1/10th pound) was introduced,
but the coins of 1849 omitted usual Dei Gratia and these
so-called 'Godless' Florins were replaced in 1851 by the
'Gothic' issue.

William IV (1830-1837) - "While Duke of Clarence, he was
cohabiting with the actress Dorothea Jordan (1762-1816)
who bore him ten illegitimate children."

#4261 - there's nothing special about this coin, a Two
Pound gold piece, but I thought it worth noting the very
low mintages of some of the proof versions - 1990, 716
struck; 1993, only 414 struck.

#4570 - this complete Two Pound design (which I often saw
in circulation) shows four concentric circles representing
the Iron Age, 18th century industrial development, the
silicon chip and the Internet.  I never would have figured
that out without the help of the book, and I doubt if anyone
on the London streets could have told me that, either.
Here I believe the book has a typo.  It states that the
should say "STANDING ON..." after the words made famous by
Sir Isaac Newton: "If I can see further than anyone else,
it is only because I am standing on the shoulders of giants".

#4577 - this Two Pound commemorative features what I'll bet
is the longest word ever placed on the edge of a coin (Outside
of Wales, anyway)...   Honoring the 1953 discovery of the
structure of DNA, the edge has the phrase "DEOXYRIBONUCLEIC ACID"

#4616 – the last coin pictured in this book is one of my
favorites – the 50 pence commemorative of the 250th anniversary
of Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language.
While “wordy” coins are typically a waste I found this
one delightful.  Featuring the definitions of the words
“Fifty” and “Pence” from Johnson’s dictionary in the original
1755 typeface, I just had to smile when I first encountered
one in change.   Every bibliophile should have one!

[See also the related news item below - the image of Britannia,
which has graced British coins for 300 years, is set to be
removed from the 50 pence piece as part of a redesign by
the Royal Mint. -Editor]



Regarding last week's discussion of the most expensive
works of numismatic literatures, Douglas Saville writes:
"When I was at Spinks, in October 2005, we purchased the
most expensive numismatic book at auction in Paris: Johann
Huttich’s Imperatorum romanorum (Strasbourg, 1526) in a
most superb French mid-16th century binding done especially
for Jean Grolier. The price was Euro 102,935, or around
£74,000 or now $145,000."

[Larry Mitchell pointed out that we did discuss this
particular book in November 2005.  Below is a link to
the original article.  Thanks also to Howard Cohen who
writes: "I enjoyed your topic  on 'World's Most Valuable
Books'. I came across an article in "Coin World" dated
January 9th, 2006. The heading reads 'Book sells for record
price'."  The article was about the Spink purchase of the
Huttich 'Imperatorum romanorum' book.  -Editor]




Michael S. Fey, Ph.D. writes: "In my opinion, Dave Lange's
coin boards ( are one
of the most undervalued areas in numismatic collecting
today.  At the prices he currently asks for his stock, he
will never be able to maintain an inventory.  There's just
not enough of these around."

[Michael also forwarded a copy of his Letter to the Editor
of Numismatic News, Dave Harper.  The text is below.

I noted in the February 5th, 2008 issue of Numismatic News
where Dave Lange talked about my acquiring a rare 1935 Kent
"Liberty Head Nickel" coin board.  I thought it important
to follow-up with my rationale for acquiring this board to
your readers.

My intention for this rare coin board is to have it
attractively framed in an acid free mount with a UV
protective glass.  I am going to hang it in my office to
remind visitors just how collectors collected coins in the
past.  It should make a great conversation piece.   It is
my intention to preserve and treasure this piece of our
numismatic history as if it were one of my most prized
numismatic rarities.  In this manner, this coin board can
be passed down to future generations for their enjoyment
much in the same manner as numismatic literature, exonumia,
medals, tokens, coins and paper money currently pass.  I
would encourage both dealers and collectors in the numismatic
community to do the same, while this area of numismatic
history is still affordable.  Thank you Dave for a wonderful
coin board, and for a great book about coin collecting boards.


[The following announcement is from the February 2008 American
Numismatic Society's E-news newsletter.  Authors Augsburger
and Orosz are E-Sylum regulars, and we've been following some
of their research efforts.  Readers able to attend the Groves
Forum will be treated to a preview of information from their
upcoming book.  -Editor]

The American Numismatic Society's Groves Forum Lecture will
be held, Wednesday, March 12th, 2008 at 7:00pm.  Authors
Leonard Augsburger and Joel J. Orosz will present a report
on research results from their book-in-progress, Pictures
of the First United States Mint: The Numismatic Legacy of
Frank H. Stewart.  For more information visit
Those interested in attending must RSVP by Monday, March
10th to Megan Fenselau in the Membership Department
(212-571-4470 ext 1311,

[The following details are taken from the ANS web page
announcing the Groves Forum Lecture. -Editor]

Much of what we know about the first United States Mint
(1792-1832) in Philadelphia we know because of one man:
Frank H. Stewart. He bought the former Mint property in
1907, unsuccessfully sought to preserve at least one of
its buildings, and then worked hard to commemorate it
after the buildings were demolished. Despite this debt
owed to Stewart by all numismatists, we know very little
about him, or the impact his efforts have had upon the hobby.

In the American Numismatic Society’s Groves Forum Lecture
authors Leonard Augsburger and Joel J. Orosz will present
a report on research results from their book-in-progress,
Pictures of the First United States Mint:  The Numismatic
Legacy of Frank H. Stewart.  The authors will present an
illustrated discussion of Stewart's biography, a selection
of the Mint artifacts he donated to the Congress Hall
collection (and the fate of those relics), images of the
early Mint and, especially, the rich artistic legacy of
the paintings Stewart commissioned artists Edwin Lamasure
and John Ward Dunsmore to create.  Most of the images
will be unfamiliar even to advanced numismatists, and
several have never been seen outside of the repositories
which own them. How these paintings came to be, and how
they have defined the image of the first Mint for
generations of numismatists, will be examined for the
first time.

[The ANS Groves Forum description also describes another
numismatic book in the works by Len Augsburger.  I'm looking
forward to reading and reviewing both works. -Editor]

Leonard Augsburger is a frequent speaker and author specializing
in United States numismatics.  His work emphasizes the integration
of new bibliographic and archival resources into the current
literature.  His first book, Treasure in the Cellar, the story
of the Baltimore gold hoard (1934), will be published by the
Maryland Historical Society in summer 2008.



Kenneth Bressett writes: "The E-Sylum newsletter keeps
getting better with each issue. It makes Monday morning
worth starting the week. Below is a sketchy response to
the inquiry for information on the Brown and Dunn book.

"I found a number of early editions of Brown and Dunn on my
bookshelf. I am sure I must have more packed away elsewhere
but can't locate them at the moment. These notations may be
of some help in figuring out what was printed:

All with soft brown covers, various sizes. Published by
Brown and Dunn:

First printing, February 1958
Second printing, August 1958
Third printing, January 1959
Fourth printing, April 1959
Fifth printing, September 1959
Sixth printing, October 1959
Ninth printing, April 1960
Thirteenth printing, April 1961
Revised edition 1961. 112 pages, halftone pictures.

Printed by Whitman Publishing with hard cover and line drawings beginning in
1964 (probably through 1977):

Fourth Edition, 1964

Published by Brown and Dunn through General Distributors, Inc, Denison, TX.
Hard cover and line drawings:

Seventh Edition 1980.

Various copyright dates noted are 1958, 1961, 1963, 1964, 1966, 1969, and

James Higby writes: "I have all seven editions here.

The first is copyright 1958 and has no pictures.
5" x 7 1/2"

The next is called "revised", is copyright 1961, and
has photos of the coin types.  111 numbered pages.

The next is also called "revised", is copyright 1963,
and has photos of the coin types.  101 numbered pages.
A difference in pagination accounts for the anomaly
between these last 2 editions.

All three of the above are perfectbound in textured,
tan covers and are identical in height and width.

The fourth edition, so designated, is copyright 1964 by
Whitman and has 206 numbered pages.  For the first time
it includes line drawings of the different grades described.
It is hardbound in wrinkle-textured tan cloth, 5 1/4"
x 7 3/4"

The fifth edition, so designated, is copyright 1969,
but mentions a 1966 copyright on the verso of the title
page as well.  It has a linen-textured, pictorial
hardcover with a red, white, and blue motif.  206 pages.

The sixth edition is similar to the last.
Copyright 1975.

The seventh edition shows a 1980 copyright on the verso,
but omits 1975 from the list.  Published by General
Distributors, 260 pages, in glossy brown pictorial

All four of the above are identical in height and width. "


ANS Fellow Richard Margolis writes: "As a member of the
American Numismatic Society since 1952 I keenly appreciate
what a loss it will be when Frank Campbell, who has been
practically a part of the scenery for half a century, retires.

"Change is often unpleasant, and it will probably be
especially so in Frank's case. Others have commented on
Frank's qualities, and I can only echo them: Frank is modest,
competent, extremely accommodating, an expert on library
science, and an unusually nice human being to boot.

"I would add that the contributions of the two previous ANS
librarians of my acquaintance, Dick Breadon, and Geoff North,
should not be forgotten. To quote the ANS in 2002, when Geoff
died, "Together with Breadon, Geoff undertook a program of
reorganization and upgrading that did much to render the
library the great resource that it is today". Like Frank,
Dick and Geoff were quietly modest, particularly amiable
and capable individuals.

"I am hopeful that Frank's replacement will be able to
adequately fill his oversize shoes, and that he or she will
be selected in time to receive the benefit of some of Frank's
matchless knowledge and decades of experience of the ANS
library, before he departs on his well earned retirement.
One also hopes that as the ANS continues its peregrinations,
due diligence will be paid to insure that the library will
have more than adequate facilities in its latest location."



Ed Reiter writes: "I was taken aback by Dick Johnson’s
comments on Diane Wolf in the Jan. 27 edition of the E-Sylum.
I, too, have personal memories of Diane and, like just about
everyone who knew her, was startled to learn of her death
at the far too young age of 53.

"After reading Dick’s remarks, I can only conclude that he
never really got to know Diane as well as some of us did.
She was wealthy, to be sure, and the trappings of her wealth
were evident, as Dick notes, in her designer clothes, perfect
makeup and coiffure, and ample jewelry. I won’t even dispute
that she may have “appeared overdressed” to those more
focused on her clothes than on her cause.

"I take exception, however, to the suggestion that coinage
redesign was some kind of “harmless cause” that Diane latched
onto in an effort to relieve the boredom of being “a rich
girl with lots of free time.” I can vouch from many conversations
with her that she took this cause very seriously and worked
tirelessly in an effort to bring about meaningful change
in Americans’ pocket change.

"Diane contacted me shortly after being appointed in 1985
to the federal Commission of Fine Arts. I was then writing
the Numismatics column in the Sunday New York Times and had
devoted several of my weekly articles to the bland artwork
on regular U.S. coins and the dreadful designs on some modern
commemoratives. She invited me to lunch at a private club
in midtown Manhattan, where we spent several hours discussing
U.S. coinage, past, present and potential.

"Coinage is not the only subject – or even the primary
subject – that falls under the purview of the Fine Arts
Commission. It deals far more extensively with architecture
in Washington, D.C. But coinage was the subject that intrigued
Diane Wolf the most, and she chose to make coin redesign her
special cause, much as Teddy Roosevelt made it his “pet crime”
a century ago.

"Over the next half-decade, Diane worked ceaselessly – and
passionately – to win support for this cause, making personal
visits to anyone in Congress and any congressional staffers
who would listen. She participated in coin conventions,
contacted journalists, buttonholed influential friends and
acquaintances – and even came calling on Dick Johnson – to
get out the word that Americans’ coinage art needed to be
updated and upgraded.

"Dick says that as a lobbyist, Diane was “more show and
less substance.” What a mischaracterization! Yes, her glitzy
appearance may have seemed out of place in his workroom office.
But when it came to fighting for what she believed in, she
rolled up her sleeves with the best of them.

"The U.S. Senate passed legislation several times calling
for coinage redesign, but action was blocked in the House
by Illinois Congressman Frank Annunzio, chairman of the House
Subcommittee on Consumer Affairs and Coinage. As Diane confided
to me, Annunzio’s opposition “wasn’t really about design
change. I think the whole thing was about the new guard
coming in and rocking the boat against the old guard.
Annunzio hadn’t started it. It was somebody else who had
started it – and it was a female and it was a young female.”

"As I wrote in an article in the June 2000 issue of COINage,
Diane felt vindicated when the 50 States Quarter Program
was approved and became enormously popular. She believed –
correctly, I think – that her years of effort promoting
redesign had helped pave the way for this breakthrough
(though she shared my opinion that the quarters’ designs
“could be better”).

"“In the end,” she said, “the bad guys lost and the good
guys won. And that’s really how I look at this whole thing.
In retrospect, I was blessed with a controversy. The more
controversial coin redesign became, and the more the
subject made the national papers, the better off it was
for getting new designs – because people actually looked
at the old designs and realized how much we needed new ones.”

"Diane said she was “proud of the job” she did.

"“I did such a good job that down the road a piece, people
still remember me even now. And I’m really delighted to
see the change in attitude toward coinage redesign – in
Congress and especially at the Mint. The government is
recognizing the revenue enhancement that we said it would
receive through redesign. The government is recognizing
that people are clamoring for a change. Kids are getting
involved in coin designs again. Everything we predicted
is coming true.”

"“We had a good thing; we had the right idea,” she
remarked. “We were just a little ahead of our time.” "

[Gar Travis forwarded this New York Post item on the
late Diane Wolf.  -Editor]

The New York philanthropic set was in shock yesterday
with news that socialite Diane Wolf - a large donor to
cultural institutions around the country - died following
a routine medical procedure.

Wolf, 53, died early Thursday at New York Hospital following
"an unexpected medical reaction to a minor procedure,"
said her art-dealer brother, Daniel Wolf.

The Fifth Avenue society woman gave generously to several
museums, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The
Whitney and The Frick.

In 1985, President Reagan appointed her to the
U.S. Commission of Fine Arts.

Born in Cheyenne, Wyo., in 1954, Wolf was raised in Denver.
She got her bachelor's degree from the University of
Pennsylvania, a master's degree from Columbia and a law
degree from Georgetown.

With her passion for arts and politics, she split time
between New York and Washington, but always considered
the Big Apple her home.

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story



Dick Johnson writes: "I came across an incomplete citation
to a medal catalog this week.  Does anyone have a copy of
"NENA Medals" by Thomas B. Ross Jr.?   (It is not in ANS
or ANA libraries and I need date and place of publication
to complete my reference.)

"The name brought back a flood of memories. I met Tom in
high school (Maine Township High School, which served both
Park Ridge and Des Plains, Illinois). We shared the same
interests so became friends. He had a printing press in
his basement and also collected coins.

"Tom Ross spurred my interest in printing -- these were
the days of letterpress printing with handset type -- as
I spent hundreds of hours in his basement. He taught me
printing, setting type, locking up forms, running the press.
Two years later after my family moved back to Kansas City
after World War II I bought my own press, thousands of
pounds of type, and started printing in my high school
senior year (play tickets, programs, stationery, even
coin club membership cards).

"Tom moved to Connecticut, became active in New England
Numismatic Association, compiled and printed that NENA
Medal catalog, married, worked for a newspaper (another
shared interest) and ultimately moved to Enfield. I went
off to the Air Force, college, and worked for a newspaper
in Kansas City. Then came Coin World. Tom was one of my
first advertisers. He had a part-time business in rubber
stamps and sold these in his Coin World ads.

"After I moved east to work for Medallic Art Co, my family
visited his family once in Enfield. We exchanged Christmas
cards (he printed his own). But here my memory ends. Does
anyone know if Tom Ross is still active in numismatics?
Oh yes, can anyone tell me where I put my copy of Tom's
NENA Medals catalog?"

[I used to have a copy of the "NENA Medals" publication,
but it was part of a group I sold before my last move.
These are out there, so please let us know if you have one.


In response to last week's query from David Ginsburg, Fred
Holabird writes: "The US Assay Office records, like those
of the other assay offices, are held at the regional branches
of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).
There is no written summary of the USAO business anywhere
that I know of. NARA did not retain all of the records. They
retained samples over the years, which do show how business
was conducted, generally. Other USAO records are found at
the main NARA in College Park, MD within the Treasury records.

"There will be a fairly lengthy section in my upcoming book
on precious metal ingots on the assay offices and their
records, particularly New York, the source of 95% of all
the gold USAO ingots known today. I have spent a considerable
amount of time researching this subject in detail and can
entertain questions, but it is a complicated system,
particularly around 1933 when FDR emplaced the New Deal
and the Gold Reserve Act.

"The San Francisco USAO had similar complications around
1964 when silver was formally demonetized. One of the USAO
SF bullion punches with the eagle vignette still exists
today, and two fake ingots have been seen by me of bright
silver plated lead. I recently found the punch, and it is
in "safe" hands, but is for sale at a price too rich for
my pocket."



[Bill Snyder and Dick Johnson forwarded this story about
an archivist gone bad.  Bill writes: "I suspect that many
of us will be hoping that they 'throw the key away' on this
guy!"  Here are excerpts from a Reuters article. -Editor]

A New York state employee who had access to government-owned
archives has been arrested on suspicion of stealing hundreds
of historic documents, many of which he sold on eBay,
authorities said on Monday.

Among the missing documents were an 1823 letter by Vice
President John C. Calhoun and copies of the Davy Crockett
Almanacs, pamphlets written by the frontiersman who died
at the Alamo in Texas.

In 2007 alone, Lorello stated he took 300 to 400 items,
including the four-page Calhoun letter, which drew bids
of more than $1,700 while investigators were monitoring
the sale.

The state library's extensive collection includes an original
first draft of Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation
and complete set of autographs from the signers of the
Declaration of Independence.

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story

[An Associated Press article credited the tipster who
notified the authorities.  Bravo!  -Editor]

Joseph Romito, a lawyer and history buff in Richmond, Va.,
tipped authorities off after he spotted one of the items
for sale on eBay and realized it was supposed to belong
to New York state.

After searching the suspect's home this past weekend,
officials found hundreds of documents and artifacts belonging
to the state. Officials believe the theft goes back to 2002,
Cuomo spokesman John Milgram said.

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story

[QUICK QUIZ: which numismatic author worked for the
New York State Library?  -Editor]


[Dick Hanscom of Alaska Rare Coins forwarded this article
from the Newburyport Daily News of Newburyport, MA, home
of colonial inventor and coiner Jacob Perkins.  While
there is nothing new on the Perkins museum there, the
article does feature a great image of a George Washington
Funerary Medal created by Perkins.

I'd be curious to know what people make of the image.
Is that a circular wicker frame surrounding the medal?
Is it some sort of bowl or plate?  What does the "Lot N"
notation signify?  -Editor]

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story

To view the image of Perkins' Washington Funerary medal, see:
Full Story


Last week Alan V. Weinberg wrote: "The Adams Academy medal
bought by jonathanb is .900 fine gold as are all gold medals
struck at the U.S. Mint.”

Jonathanb writes: “Actually, Julian says that most gold
medals produced at the US Mint were .999 fine:

 "All gold medals struck at the mint, with a few minor
 exceptions, were of pure gold. Alloyed gold was harder
 on the dies than pure metal. On rare occasion, and listed
 as such in the text, medals were struck of coin gold, or
 900/1000 fine." -- p. XXXIII of Julian's book.

“I don't plan on having mine tested.  The difference in
fineness isn't going to affect the numismatic value.  On
the other hand, the high intrinsic value of US Mint gold
medals makes it an open question how many have fallen prey
to melting pots over the last century or two...”


Regarding my earlier question about gold coins given to
chess legend Bobby Fischer, it looks like the answer was
right in front of my nose all the time, something my wife
delights in telling me whenever I search for something in
the kitchen.  David Klinger writes: "It looks to me like
the gold in question is described in the original article
you cited:

 120 US $20 Liberty coins
 112 US $20 St. Gaudens coins, and
 191 ounces gold [bullion]

"Of course, some, or all, of these coins may not have
been a part of the prize paid to Fisher. But, given the
context of the correspondence they are likely the same

Here is all of the correspondence on this subject which
I could find.
Full Story "

[David also set me straight on the spelling of Fischer's
last name, which I've corrected here.  Sorry!  -Editor]

To read the original article on Fischer's gold coins, see:
Full Story



Regarding the number of known specimens of the silver Drake
map medal, Katie Jaeger writes: "Seven of the nine silver
medals I referred to under No. 99 in the 100 Greatest American
Medals and Tokens are in museums in the U.K.  I took this
figure from a census by a curator at the National Maritime
Museum (London). Our featured piece for 100G No. 99 is the
American Numismatic Society's specimen (thanks to Elena
Stolyarik for providing the photos).

"There are silver reproductions of this original design out
there too: the National Maritime Museum owns some and you
can see them in their online collections catalog.

"The Library of Congress Kraus Collection of Sir Francis
Drake has a link to their nice photos of their specimen,
which they claim to be original:
Full Story

"Interestingly, in the Scottish Historical Review for 1908,
Vol. 5, p. 135, Sir John Evans, K.C.B. contended that "three
or at most four" examples were then known to exist, "and the
best of these is in his collection."   He states that Michael
Mercator was the designer (upon which everyone but Forrer
seems to agree), but states the engraver was "F.G.," who also
made a famous print engraving of a world map in Peter Martyr's
De Orbe Novo.  I am making inquiries in hopes of identifying F.G."


On a non-numismatic tangent Dick Hanscom writes: "Seeing
the piece about Drake's Voyage Map Medal made me think
that perhaps readers could help me on a "quest."

"When in elementary school, I remember a large world map
that was on the wall (or unrolled like a window shade).
It was not a rectangular map like most, with distorted
images as one approached the poles, but it was sliced,
like it was peeled from a globe.  This is "Goode's

"I have been hunting for one of these for years for a
wood working project.  I have a favorite search on eBay,
and it has only found one of these in 10 years, grouped
with other maps which made it too expensive for my project.
Internet searches have turned up nothing.

"Condition of the map is unimportant. It can even be in
pieces as this will be used as a template to rout out the
map on wood.  Size is important, and it should be a minimum
of 4 feet wide, preferably larger. Maybe one of our readers
has one in the back shed, salvaged from a 1950s era school!
Thanks for your help."


Regarding last week's query from Joe McCarthy about
a dealer named  'Brownie' whom he met in New Jersey
along the Delaware, an E-Sylum reader writes: "Years
ago there was a  dealer whose last name was Brown.  I
believe his first name was Bill, but some people called
him 'Brownie'.  He had a shop in Lambertville, NJ, which
is on the Delaware River across from New Hope, PA.

"We met at his shop during the 1970's.  He collected currency
items local to that area, which is why I wanted to see him.
Since he was probably in his 60's at the time, I would assume
he's probably deceased by now.

"Today, affluent couples from the suburbs of NY or Philadelphia
take weekend trips to Lambertville and New Hope to go antiquing,
stay in a Bed and Breakfast, and eat at one of the many fine
restaurants in the area.  In the old days, the area didn't have
the lodging and dining infrastructure it has today, but I believe
it has been a focal point for antiques for many years."



I haven't much to report this week in my numismatic diary,
but wanted to mention two events.  The first was my first
spotting of a "Million Dollar Bill".  I came across it after
work Friday while meeting my family at the Dulles Towne Center
mall in Northern Virginia.  It was sitting atop a refuse
container at the food court, and I picked it up and gave it
to my seven-year-old son Tyler.  He had fun with it and
wondered if it was real.  Later that evening I put it in a
currency holder for him.  This morning he tried to tell his
older brother that it was real, but Christopher wasn't buying
it.  He correctly told him that the largest note made today
is the $100.  He also pulled out a $1 note and showed Tyler
how the paper felt different.  I don't remember teaching
Christopher either of those points, but he caught on like
a real pro.

The other item is about a numismatic experience I *didn't*
have.  On a family outing this afternoon we travelled to
Fredericksburg, VA, a focal point of Civil War history.
We stopped at the visitor center and strolled along the
streets of the quaint little town under beautiful blue skies.
Reading a guide book I noticed that I'd missed my chance to
visit the town's National Bank Museum on Princess Anne St,
which is open only during the week.

Located in one of the oldest buildings in America continuously
serving as a bank, the museum "houses objects reflecting the
history of the city's prosperity and challenges. Erected about
1819 as the Farmer's Bank of Virginia, this fine Federal
structure served as Union headquarters during the Civil War
occupation of Fredericksburg. President Abraham Lincoln
addressed soldiers and civilians from its steps in April 1862."

Have any of our readers visited this museum?


[The last British coin to feature the Britannia design is
the current 50 pence coin.  But a planned redesign would
eliminate Britannia, bringing a halt to a centuries-old
tradition.  -Editor]

The image of Britannia, which has graced British coins for
centuries, is to be removed from the 50 pence piece as part
of a redesign by the Royal Mint.

The overhaul of all coinage in April is set to be the biggest
change to British currency since the introduction of
decimalisation more than 35 years ago.

It will be the first time in more than 300 years that
Britannia is not featured on a British coin.

The redesign is the culmination of a competition launched by
the Royal Mint in August 2005 to find new reverse designs.

More than 4,000 designs were received from 526 designers.
After extensive consultation by the Royal Mint's Advisory
Committee, seven designs were chosen that will replace the
traditional designs on seven UK coins.

A Treasury spokesman said: "The new coins will be launched
in the spring in accordance with the end of a long process.
The Queen personally approved the designs, in accordance
with the Royal Mint, and there's a lot of excitement about
the project, for which I'm sure the nation will be equally
proud once they see the product."

The figure of Britannia, created by the Romans as a
personification of the British Isles, which they called
Britanniae, first made her appearance on a British coin
during the reign of Charles II on the copper farthing in 1672.

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story

[The plan to remove Britannia triggered a storm of protests.
Below are excerpts from a story in The Daily Mail, which
sponsored a petition drive against the change. -Editor]

Gordon Brown was under massive pressure last night to reverse
his decision to remove Britannia from the country's coins.

More than 30,000 Mail on Sunday readers and dozens of MPs
have joined our campaign to save the centuries-old symbol
of Britishness.

We have received letters, emails and other messages from
all corners of the UK, as well as the US, Australia, New
Zealand, Thailand, France and Spain.

Yesterday, accompanied by our own "Britannia," we delivered
thousands of them to Downing Street so that Mr Brown could
see for himself the strength of feeling his decision has generated.

The fate of Britannia has struck a chord with people of
all ages and from all walks of life, dismayed at losing
such a potent British symbol.

Liberal Democrat MP Ed Davey said: "Ripping up 300 years
of British history is simply not acceptable. I can't understand
why he's doing it and I find it quite depressing. Hasn't he
got anything better to do?"

However, Downing Street and the Royal Mint both insisted
last night that the design overhaul of seven coins, from
the 1p to the £1 coin, would go ahead as planned.

The Britannia for the 50p was designed in the Sixties by
artist Charles Ironside – father of agony aunt Virginia
Ironside. His second wife Jean inspired him by spending
hours posing in their living room clutching a ruler
instead of a trident.

She said: "It was an incredible honour to pose as Britannia.
Britannia and the designs meant everything to Christopher.
When you do a job like that you become part of the history
of the country."

The campaign to save Britannia is set to become one of
the most popular causes in The Mail on Sunday's history.

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


[The Daily Mail ran a GREAT article about the artist
responsible for the current 50p Britannia design, and the
model who posed for him.  See "My mother posed as Britannia,
with a ruler for a trident".  Here are some excerpts.

What I most remember about my father designing the decimal
coins in 1962 was the secrecy surrounding it all.

As an artist – he was a painter and taught life-drawing at
the Royal College of Art – he'd been chosen as one of many
designers to submit designs to a Royal Mint Committee, but
decimalisation had not been announced and it was essential
that no one knew anything about it.

I was a bolshie teenager living upstairs in our house in
South Kensington, my grandmother lived in the basement and
my stepmother was looking after two tiny daughters.

One of the girls got up early one the morning and was found
merrily digging a sculpture tool into one of the plasters
my father had been painstakingly working on.

Eventually, one day two friends saw the casts. "You're
designing decimals!" they said. "You haven't seen a thing,"
growled my father. "If you say anything, they'll put me in
the Tower!"

My 39-year-old half-brother's name is Christian Decimus
Ironside, in tribute to the coins.

I remember my father explaining why he never signed his
coins. "There are three reasons really," he said.

"The first is that it would spoil the design of the coin.
The second is that it's arrogant."

And the third, he said fixing a small cigar into a long
black holder, "is that it is even more arrogant not to
sign them."

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


Dick Johnson writes: "As Cyprus converts to the euro --
officially January 1, 2008, with the last day of circulation
of the old coins and paper money this last Thursday -- the
Financial Mirror reflects on Cyprus prior money systems,
coins and currency.

"Commenting on the old money the article stated: 'The CYP
paper notes will be destroyed and the coins sold as scrap
metal, ending an era that saw the adoption of the British
currency in Colonial times that later became the national
currency and saw the introduction of the decimal system
with the thousand-unit mils in 1960 and the cents in 1983.'

"Central Bank Governor Athanasios Orphanides said on Tuesday
they were satisfied with the successful transition from the
outgoing currency to the new one. “We have done very well.
It is remarkable how fast we made the transition and how
fast the people of Cyprus became accustomed to the euro,”
Orphanides said, adding that “we did not need to take
contingency plans out of our drawers,”

"The pound was first introduced in 1879, a year after
Britain took the island as its colony. It was equal in
value to the pound sterling until independence in 1960
and was initially divided into 20 shillings. However,
unlike sterling, the shilling was divided into 9 piastres
and the piastre into 40 para (like the Turkish kurush).

"In 1955, Cyprus decimalized with 1000 mils to the pound,
but the 5 mil coin was known as a "piastre" and the 50 mil
coin as a "shilling". The subdivision was changed to 100
cents to the pound in 1983 when the smallest coin of 5 mils
was renamed as ½ cent, but abolished soon after.

"The Cyprus national currency was replaced by the euro on
January 1, 2008. The currency entered the Exchange Rate
Mechanism II on May 2, 2005 and it was limited within the
band of CYP 0.585274 ±15% per euro. A formal application
to adopt the euro was submitted on February 13, 2007 and
on May 16, 2007, Cyprus and Malta won the European
Commission's approval, a decision which was confirmed
by the European Parliament on June 20, 2007 and the EU
leaders on June 21, 2007.

"Note to U.S. Treasury officials: Cyprus abolished their
smallest coin soon after 1983. Does that give you a hint?"

Read the full story:
Full Story


[According to an online report from The Tico Times, Costa Rica
is planning to revamp its currency.  -Editor]

New higher-denomination bills are on the menu for a currency
overhaul scheduled to go into effect in 2010.

The printing of ¢20,000 and ¢50,000 bills is only part of a
paper money revamp that will also include an art redesign, a
change in size and possibly change in material, from cotton
paper to plastic, said Ricardo Rodríguez, treasury director
for the Central Bank.

Rodríguez said the bank has decided to release the higher
denomination bills to achieve a “more equal distribution”
of money. Right now, 70% of cash circulating is in ¢10,000

In addition to including beefier nominations, Rodríguez said
the new series of bills will vary in length to make them
recognizable to the blind.

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


[This week a publication in Iceland mentioned a coin find
in that country.  -Editor]

An old coin was discovered between floor panels in a building
from 1840 in Djúpivogur, southeast Iceland, currently under
renovation. It has a picture of a lion hanging from an ax,
which is Norway’s coat of arms, and dates back to 1653.

“It was made in Kongsberg in Norway out of Norwegian silver,”
numismatist Anton Holt told Morgunbladid. “Every coin found
in Iceland is significant because we didn’t have any coins

Until 1922, when the first Icelandic coin was made, coins
were imported to Iceland. According to Holt, every year an
old foreign coin is discovered in Iceland. Norwegian coins
are rarer than Danish coins; 80 percent of imported coins
were Danish, 15 percent Norwegian and five percent Swedish.

Holt said the fact that a coin from 1653 was discovered in
a house built in 1840 shows that it was common for Icelanders
to use 100 to 200-year-old coins on a daily basis before they
had their own money.

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


This article appeared in the Newport News, Va., Daily Press
this week.  It's about students learning about Latin and
ancient numismatics using coins supplied by the Ancient
Coins for Education (ACE) program.  -Editor]

Each student in class received one of the small bronze coins,
which were donated by coin dealers through a nonprofit,
nationwide program called Ancient Coins of Education.

The ancient pocket change, which dates from about 300 to 400
A.D, offers students a chance to practice not only language
and detective skills, but also to study history, mythology,
economics and civics.

They must prepare a Power Point presentation of their
findings, adding technology skills to the lesson mix.

"I don't think they're doing stuff with coins in Spanish
or French," Blackwood said. "We do other things. It's more
than just language. That adds to the fun factor."

"Latin isn't just Virgil anymore," Auanger added.

That's the reason 16-year-old Siedah Holmes decided
to enroll.

She said she now can figure out English word definitions
and origins based on her Latin lessons.

Students cleaned the Roman coins with old toothbrushes
and used microscopes to study mint marks and other details.

Holmes said students also spent time on the Internet,
looking up empires and campaigns.

"We did a lot of research," she said.

Auanger said the coin detective work helps sharpen other
skills students will need for college and work.

"They have to think about things they don't know and
not jump to conclusions," she said, watching Holmes try
to match her coin to the examples on the poster.

"It's got to be one of them," Holmes said.

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story

For more information on Ancient Coins for Education, see:


[While not numismatic, this is a story of a frugal librarian
is something many collectors can relate to (and fantasize
about). -Editor]

>From the outside it's an ordinary, red-brick house in a
terraced row, not unlike tens of thousands of others
scattered across Britain.

But on the inside, Jean Preston's spartan Oxford home
contained works of art of international significance,
carefully acquired over a lifetime and haphazardly displayed.

Preston, a thrifty 77-year-old spinster who rode the bus
and ate frozen meals, died in 2006. But art experts and
auctioneers have now completed the sale of the exceptional
works hoarded in her modest home.

The auctions have raised an estimated 4 million pounds
($7.95 million), according to valuers, about 20 times the
price of the house they were kept in, stunning experts and
Preston's relatives alike.

Among the treasures were two paintings by Fra Angelico,
the 15th century Italian Renaissance master, that were
the missing pieces of an eight-part altar decoration.

They were sold together for $3.4 million and are expected
to be returned to the Uffizi Gallery, Florence's famed
art museum.

"We knew we were going to a house that contained some
important works," Guy Schwinge of Dukes art auctioneers
in Dorchester, which helped with the sale, told Reuters.

"But I was amazed to see quite how many treasures there
were ... The Fra Angelicos were behind the bedroom door
and we only spotted them on the way out."

Hanging in the kitchen was a 19th century watercolor by
pre-Raphaelite artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and in the
sitting room, above an electric fire, a work by
Sir Edward Burne-Jones.

Those two, estimated to be worth $2 million, have been
saved for Britain and are expected to go on display at
Oxford's Ashmolean Museum, Schwinge said.

Another hidden treasure was a rare edition of the works
of Chaucer that was too big to fit on Preston's bookshelf
and was found buried in a wardrobe. It sold for nearly

Preston, who worked as a librarian for much of her life,
inherited many of the works from her father, a keen collector.
Her relatives were stunned by the artworks she had tucked away.

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


This week's featured web site is the McMaster Museum of Art Online Roman
Coin Collection.

"The goal of the McMaster Museum of Art Online Roman Coin Collection is to
contribute to the growing collection of primary historical and numismatic
sources on the world wide web. By giving researchers and students access to
the primary source materials in the museum's collection, we hope to
encourage the use of modern information technology in the pursuit of
classical scholarship. By displaying the collection online, we hope to
create more visibility for the collection at the McMaster Museum of Art."

McMaster Museum of Art

  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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