The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 11, Number 06, February 10, 2008:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2008, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers are Roger Urce, courtesy of
David Klinger, and Dan Burleson.  Welcome aboard!  We now
have 1,122 subscribers.

This week we have a bevy of new books to discuss: Whitman's
new edition of 'A Catalog of Modern World Coins, 1850–1964',
Jeff Ambio's 'Collecting and Investing Strategies for U.S.
Gold Coins', Ron Benice's 'Florida Paper Money: An
Illustrated History 1817 – 1934', Bob Forrest's 'An
Introduction to Religious Medals' and Doug Mudd's 'Money
& Sovereignty as Expressed in Gold Coinage'.

Responses from previous queries concern 'A Catalog of NENA
Medals', and a publication predating the 'Brown & Dunn"
grading guide using the same line drawings.  Readers provide
more background on dealer "Brownie' Brown and Diane Wolf,
and we learn which numismatic author worked for the New
York State Library (and what he got in trouble for later
in his career).

New queries cover topics such as coins produced in England
for Queen Liliuocalani of Hawaii, Pismo Beach clam money,
the obsolete bank note collection of the Philadelphia National
Bank, who named the Euro, and a rare-coin-themed episode of
Amos and Andy.

In the news, from Florida we have a report on toll booth
operators refusing "sticky" coins, and from the Houston
Chronicle we have an article on a Texas Numismatic Association
exhibit of the money of the Lone Star State containing my
favorite quote of the week:  "Not every historian is a
numismatist," he said, "but every numismatist is a historian."
(James Bevill).

To learn what rare coin Mohamed and Fatima Ismail think
they found, read on. Have a great week, everyone.

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


As noted earlier, Howard A. Daniel III plans to man a club
table at the upcoming American Numismatic Association
National Money Show in Phoenix, AZ March 7-9.  He will
represent the Numismatic Bibliomania Society, Numismatics
International, International Bank Note Society and Philippine
Collectors Forum.  Howard requests that NBS members bring
any surplus numismatic publications with them so he can
give them to new and young collectors along with an NBS
application form.


[Dennis Tucker of Whitman Publishing forwarded the following
press release about the company's latest publication. -Editor]

Whitman Publishing announces the release of the 14th edition
of A Catalog of Modern World Coins, 1850–1964, known to
generations of collectors as the “Brown Book.” The new
edition is available online, and from hobby shops and
bookstores nationwide.

A Catalog of Modern World Coins builds on the classic text
by R.S. Yeoman, father of the best-selling Guide Book of
United States Coins (known to collectors as the “Red Book”).

The 14th edition has been updated with new photographs and
retail valuations by coin type, in up to four grade levels.
Editor Arthur Friedberg and his team of experts from around
the globe provide an accurate snapshot of the exciting
world-coin market.

“This handy volume is perfect for today’s world-coin
collector,” says Whitman publisher Dennis Tucker, describing
the book as “small enough to easily hold, carry, and read,
but packed with photos, data, and valuations.”

Who Should Read A Catalog of Modern World Coins?

•       Collectors looking for an accurate book on world coins
•       New hobbyists attracted to coins by the recent hot market
•       Dealers looking for a convenient type-coin guide
•       “OFEC” (One From Every Country) coin collectors
•       U.S. coin collectors looking to branch out into an
          interesting new field
•       Token and medal collectors intrigued by the connection
          to world coinage
•       Casual collectors and travelers with unidentified
          coins from other countries

What Will Readers Find Inside?

•       A complete listing of coins of all countries from 1850
     		to the mid-1960s
•       Each type and date of coin grouped in chronological order
•       High-quality images in actual size, for quick identification
•       Retail values for circulated, Uncirculated, and Proof coins
•       Individual listings of rare and significant dates,
     		with valuations
•       Bullion-value charts for all gold and silver coins
•       The official Y-number catalog system used to identify
    		 all world coin types

[The 544 page 6" x 9" softcover book retails for $19.95.
I  haven't seen a copy yet, but this sounds like a great
successor to the "Brown book" I knew as a young collector
of world coins.  -Editor]


[Uriah Cho of Zyrus Press forwarded this press release about
a new book by Jeff Ambio.  I reviewed the book for The
Numismatist - see the February 2008 issue, Bookmarks column,
p89-90).  -Editor]

Pre-order the latest release from Zyrus Press, Collecting
and Investing Strategies for U.S. Gold Coins, by Jeff Ambio,
from now until Friday, February 15th and receive FREE SHIPPING!
Call us at (888) 622-7823 or go to  Orders
will start shipping Monday, February 18th.

Collecting and Investing Strategies for U.S. Gold Coins will
be available at the end of February 2008 in bookstores nationwide,, and your local coin shop. The title is also
available from Zyrus Press, PO Box 17810, Irvine, California
92623. Phone: (888) 622-7823.  Web: Stay up-to-date!  Visit  E-mail:

Publication Date: 2008
Binding / Size: Paperback / 7” x 10”
Pages: 340
Photos / Illustrations: 150+ full color images
Suggested Retail Price: $34.95


[Steve Whitfield submitted the following review of "Florida
Paper Money: An Illustrated History 1817 – 1934" written by
Ron Benice and edited by Fred Reed.  It is published by
McFarland Publications  (, (800) 253-2187)

Ron Benice has been researching and writing about the results
of his research on Florida Obsolete Notes for many years.
This book is the culmination of those efforts to date.  It
is obviously a labor of love, as are most of these state
catalogs.  Expect Ron to continue looking for new Florida
material and answers to questions about these issues and

The book is full of historical information on the reasons
behind the issues, written in an easy to read style.  Anyone
who collects (obsoletes) by state will appreciate this book.
The detailed analysis of note varieties is excellent.  As
we learn more and more about this currency of the past, ever
more detailed studies are then made possible.  Correcting
the errors of past cataloging efforts is also important and
done well in this book.  Anyone who has ever researched this
material knows that assumptions and conclusions must be drawn
since adequate documentation is rare and often conflicting.
The author explains his thinking along the way on putting
the book together and on his research.

The book is well organized.  While Florida has few known
advertising notes, college currency and depression scrip
issues, they are separated from the main body of listings,
as they should be, since those collector categories have
their own reference catalogs.  The early territorial issues
also have a separate section. The notes of banks and merchants,
whether issued during the territorial period or after statehood,
are combined in the main body.  Included is extensive
information about the locations of each issuer and the issuer
himself.  This is the meat of the book; all that historical
information, which will be of interest to history buffs as
well as note collectors.

The book is chock full of clear, black and white illustrations
of most of the notes listed.  My only disappointment was that
some of the dynamite Florida notes were not shown in full
color.  Included are many portraits of the officials who
authorized or signed the notes.  Vignettes are also identified
where possible.  The book is sized at 7 inches by 10 inches,
somewhat smaller than the “sort of” standard catalog size
of 8+1/2 x 11 inches. But this is no problem as the book
will fit easily into any collector’s library.

The book is priced at $49.95 and is well worth the price.
An extensive bibliography is included for further research.
I highly recommend this book.


[David Gracey forwarded the following book announcement.
If any reader is willing to write a detailed review for
The E-Sylum in exchange for a review copy, contact me.

Numismatics International announces the publication of “An
Introduction to Religious Medals” by Bob Forrest; 212 pages,
hardbound with dust jacket.

Bob has written a book that attempts to provide a basic
background for some of the main types of religious medals
that the collector is likely to encounter. This book is
not a catalog of religious medals. Rather, its aim is to
break down the field of religious medals into various
recognizable types which the collector is likely to
encounter. Bob has published over 180 numismatic articles
since 1992.

The book is available from Numismatics International for
$55 plus $5 postage at or, or Numismatics International, PO Box
570842, Dallas, TX 75357


A new ebook was released a couple weeks ago: "Money &
Sovereignty as Expressed in Gold Coinage" by Douglas A.
Mudd and Michael Fagin.  Mudd is a former collection manager
for the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian
Institution and is currently curator of the American Numismatic
Association's Edward C. Rochette Money Museum.  Publisher
Chris Wasshuber of sent me a review copy, and
here are my impressions.

First, I have to admit to having relatively little experience
with electronic books, but the PDF file format is familiar
and convenient.  Because the book is short at just 79 pages,
the file loads and scrolls quickly.

The Introduction notes that "the book is a general survey
of the history of the designs and messages placed on gold
coins. Gold coins have been selected for their beauty and
for the care which was traditionally used in their design
and creation. The coins chosen have been selected on the
basis of the especially interesting stories behind their
issuance and design from around the world and through history.
The coins used are from the Western, or Greek, coinage tradition,
which has become the dominant world tradition in the modern
day."  The opening chapters consist of

The Origins of Money
  The Greek Tradition
  The Chinese Tradition
  The Indian Tradition
Coinage as a means of Communication
The Future of Money – Electronic Media

The text is well written and straightforward; these chapters
provide a concise but thorough overview of money and coinage
from ancient times through the present.  The illustrations
in the opening chapters are too small for my taste, but in
the main section of the book they are quite large, with an
obverse and reverse image spanning an entire page.  Using
the standard zoom feature of the Adobe PDF file reader I
was able to quickly enlarge the images over 400% with little
loss of clarity.  Try THAT with a printed book.

In introducing the topic of communication via coinage Mudd
writes: "Coins are an ideal method of disseminating messages
to large audiences, particularly in the absence of any other
mechanical means to reproduce messages in large numbers.
Thus coinage very quickly became an instrument of State –
conveying a huge variety of messages – those of economic
stability and prosperity common in many non-authoritarian
States, while authoritarian States used them for promotion
of the ruler or ruling class in a direct and personal way."

As a collector of U.S. coinage I was pleased to read that
"The United States led the way in the revival of an imagery
and language on coins reflecting the political ideals and
aspirations of Republican forms of government. This process
began with the conscious rejection of the notion of displaying
the portrait of the current president, or, indeed, any living
individual, on coins. Instead, it was decided to use a
personification of Liberty with associated symbols of freedom
adopted from those of the Ancient Roman Republic combined
with the new National symbols of the United States."

As something of a student of alternate currencies and
electronic money, I also enjoyed the Future of Money chapter,
although I felt it strayed from the theme of money as

The meat of the book follows these overview chapters.  Each
subsequent section (they're too short to warrant calling
them "chapters") discusses a single coin with a page or so
of text, followed by the photo page.  The opening sections
cover the Lydian stater of King Croesus, Persian Gold Stater,
and the Gold Octodrachm of Ptolemy III, 246 - 221 BC

I found the text easy to read and understand even for a
dunce like me who's never collected ancient coins.  I even
learned about some denominations I'd never head of, like
the fractions of the Roman gold solidus – the semissis (1/2
solidus) and the tremissis (1/3 solidus).

Later I learned about Hawaiian pattern coins such as the
1893 Gold 20 Dala of Queen Lilliuocalani.  While I very
much enjoyed this section I question how it supports the
theme of the book.  As patterns these coins never saw
circulation, and their messages were never conveyed to
the public.

The last coin discussed is the Gold 5 Franc Pattern of
the Democratic Republic of Congo.  While it's another
interesting and attractive coin, it's a pattern and I
question their inclusion in the book.

Overall, I was pleased with the book and my main wish
would be for some of the pictures to be of higher-grade
coins.  For example, the 1795 United States $10 Eagle was
far from uncirculated.  No, I don't have a better one in
my collection, but maybe I'm spoiled by the parade of
gorgeous specimens  of early gold pictured in auction
catalogs recently.

I was also disappointed with the complete lack of a
bibliography, footnotes/endnotes or photo credits.  To me,
it's not a book without them.  I shared a draft of this
review with the publisher and by noon the next day the
authors had already addressed two of these points - the
ebook now includes a bibliography and a photo credit in
the copyright section.  Now that's a level of service
you can't get in a hardcopy book, either.  By the way -
all coins illustrated are from the Smithsonian Institution's
National Numismatic Collection.

I'll leave the final question up to our readers.  The
list price is $19.95 - is that a reasonable pricepoint
for an electronic book when Whitman publishes a 544 page
softcover book for $19.95? (see the Catalog of Modern
World Coins announcement above).  There are pros and
cons of both formats, but I do think we'll see more
and more ebooks in the future.  I'll look forward to
subsequent titles in the series.

Chris Wasshuber adds: " is a publisher and
retailer specializing in digital publications. This is
our first 'coin ebook'. We have a lot more planned.

"The link to purchase this ebook is
purchase this ebook
Price is $19.95. The format is a PDF which can be
printed out for personal use or read on a computer."

[An Internet search found a Michael Fagin who scaled
the walls of Buckingham Palace in 1982 and waltzed in
to the Queen's bedroom, but Chris assures me it's not
the same guy.  -Editor]


While reviewing the new ebook "Money & Sovereignty as
Expressed in Gold Coinage" by Douglas A. Mudd and Michael
Fagin, I learned about Hawaiian pattern coins of 1893 such
as the Gold 20 Dala of Queen Lilliuocalani.  But I wondered
why I couldn't recall having come across these patterns
before.  I checked my copies of Metcalf-Russell's "Hawaiian
Money" and the Judd and Pollock books on U.S. Patterns,
but couldn't find anything on them.  Now Hawaii wasn't part
of the United States in 1893, but I was still surprised
not to see these listed even in an appendix.  My assumption
is that the authors didn't include these patterns because
they were not made at the U.S. Mint like the 1883 coinage
- they came from England.

"In 1893, just before the end of the Hawaiian kingdom,
several pattern coins were produced in England for Queen
Liliuocalani, Kalakaua’s sister and successor to the throne.
The 20 dala gold piece (equivalent to an American $20 Double
Eagle) featured a fine portrait of the Queen along with a
Latin inscription on the obverse (Lilliuocalani by the
grace of God) modeled on European royal coinages, and,
on the reverse, a design incorporating a crown above a
crossed scepter and a torch above a wreath of taro leaves
with the legend “Hawaiarum Regina” (Queen of Hawaii) above.
The kingdom was to last until 1893, when Queen Liliuocalani
was deposed and a pro-American provisional government was
set up, thus ending the first native attempt to adopt
European–style coinage to their own purposes." (p69)

I found only one online reference to the 1893 Gold 20 Dala
- it was included among Coin Universe's "Top 100 World and
Ancient Coins of the Millennium", an article written by
Richard Giedroyc on December 8, 1999.
Full Story

So can anyone tell us more about these patterns?  Who made
them?  How many were made?  Where can we read more about them?


David Lange writes: "Some years ago I was digging around
the American Numismatic Society library when I came across
a beginner's guide to coin collecting published in 1953.
It included the familiar line drawings seen in the Brown &
Dunn grading book, as well as the first two editions of the
ANA grading guide. I thought this was quite remarkable at
the time, since I'd never seen any mention of this book,
and I'd always assumed that the line drawings were created
a few years later specifically for the B & D book.

"Unfortunately, as I was researching something unrelated,
I didn't take a moment to write down the name of the book
or its author. I'm also a long way from New York these days,
without any immediate prospect of going there to check it
out. Does anyone else know of this book?"



In response to Dick Johnson’s inquiry, Eric von Klinger
writes: "Coin World has the "Catalogue of NENA Medals" by
Thomas B. Ross in its library. The book was published on
behalf of the New England Numismatic Association by Ross,
at Enfield, Conn., copyright 1972."  Joe Levine also came
forth with a citation.

Clifford Mishler writes: "Thomas B. Ross’ plastic comb
bound “A Catalog of NENA Medals” carries a 1972 copyright,
with the “Foreward . . .” dated October 1, 1972, in Enfield,
Conn. My copy is of the “First Printing / October, 1972.”

"That small volume was succeeded 18 years later by an
October, 1990, dated loose-leaf bound compilation titled
“N.E.N.A. Conference & Convention Medals including
Transportation Tokens & Related Exonumia: authored by
Robert R. Heath, which includes a “Foreword” by James
Ford Clapp, Jr. I have a presentation that was loose-leaf
updated through 1994, with a “1994 Edition” title page.
I do not know if update sheets were prepared for subsequent

"I have perhaps the most complete collection of NENA medal
issues outside of New England. I began collecting them in
the late 1950s, and have endeavored to keep the set current
and complete since that time. It was about 50 years ago that
I acquired examples of the early issues, pre-dating my
introduction to the series, from the late Maury Gould when
he was operating as Copley Coin in Boston."

[Cliff would also like to publish his new email address.
He writes: "Effective March 1, 2007, e-mail communications
for me should be directed to
While my old address will remain in service for an undetermined
amount of time, the new address will be my primary account
going forward. -Editor]


Regarding our earlier discussion of Bill "Brownie" Brown,
Scott Rubin writes: "Bill Brown was a coin dealer for many
years in Lambertville, NJ.  His store was on Bridge St. and
was only a couple of hundred yards from the Delaware River.
On the other side of the River is New Hope, Pa.  At the time
of Bill's shop New Hope was a thriving tourist town and
Lambertville was a poor small town.  Now Lambertville is
just as much a tourist destination as New Hope.

"There are also a few well known flea markets just outside
town.  At one time Bill was going to open his own flea market
but it never came to pass.  This was after he had closed
his store.

"If memory is correct Bill only closed his store because
the real Estate company that owned the building wanted to
use his store for themselves.  I used to deal with Bill Brown
from the early sixties until he closed, but I do not remember
when that was.  I bought many fine auction catalogues from
Bill.  Included in one group were my pristine copies of B. Max
Mehl's Dunham and Atwater sales - I believe I paid $5 each
for them.

"There is the story that Bill appraised a very large
collection of coins in Pennsylvania once and was told he
could buy the entire collection.  When he arrived with a
truck to pick it up he found out that the coins had all
been sold and he was to only get the library.  So many
of the Mehl's and other 1930-1940 auction sales I bought
from him came from that very unhappy deal.

"Bill also held monthly auctions of coins in the firehouse
in Lambertville, and I attended at least one of these in
the early 1960's. Bill also held at least one sale with
Norman Pullen in 1970.

"One last story about Bill: shortly after closing his store
I called him to see if I could buy any books he still might
have.  He gave me his address and said to stop by when I
could.  Some time shortly after the call I drove into town
looking for his street.  I had trouble finding it and stopped
to ask someone fixing their car in front of their house.  He
asked me who I was looking for, when I told him Bill Brown,
he said turn right and the next corner and then another right
and I would find Bill's house.  Not only that he finished
his comments with "He's home" - such a small town was


[Robert Leuver is an E-Sylum regular.  Former head of the
Bureau of Engraving and Printing, he is also a former
Executive Director of the American Numismatic Association.
Regarding our earlier discussions of the late coin design
change advocate Diane Wolf, Bob submitted the following
recollections. -Editor]

We got to know Diane at the 1989 ANA Summer Convention in
Pittsburgh, where I also met Wayne Homren for the first time.
Diane had a broken foot or ankle.  Ruthann asked my wife Hilda
to assist her.  Diane, Hilda and four-year-old Mary Ellen
became good friends with Diane, as Hilda pushed Diane's wheel
chair from the Hyatt to the Convention Center and back.
Maybe Hilda and Mary Ellen appreciated the return to the
Hyatt as they would pause for an afternoon "refreshment."

I toured Washington, DC, with Diane in her limo.  We stopped
in the offices of many senators and congressmen to attempt
to get a change in the design of US coinage.

At the hearing Chairman Frank Annunzio began his opening
remarks somewhat as follows:  "There is someone in this
room who knows how difficult it is to get The Congress to
address and take action regarding the change to our money."
That was me he was talking about.  I testified many times
before the Chairman's subcommittee on the changes to U.S.
currency to thwart counterfeiting.

I was one of the last members of the panel to speak.  I
knew how committee/subcommittee meetings work.  You have
to get the attention of the senator(s) or congressman(men)
if you want them to listen to you.

I opened my remarks by stating, "Mr. Chairman, I know to
whom you addressed your opening comments and I can attest
to the difficulty in changing the designs on our money."
Chairman Annunzio smiled, as did his chief of staff Curt
Prinz, and I offered my remarks for the record and spoke
for only five minutes, looking the Chairman in the eyes
the whole time.  I wonder in retrospect whether it was
the Chairman or Curt Prinz, who was so negative regarding

Fine attire was a hallmark of Diane Wolf.  But that is what
made her so effective.  You remembered her.  You knew who
she was 75 yards away in the corridors of the Senate and
House office buildings.  She took members of Congress to
dinner at very nice places.  They did not mind being seen
with a beautiful young woman.

Fond memories.  Diane, you died so young.  Too young!


Dick Johnson writes: "Alerted by the American Numismatic
Association's 'In the Loop' email, I watched the 60 Minutes
program on the current status of the cent tonight (Sunday
February 10th).  Is this the same Morley Safer that hit up
the Franklin Mint in 1983?   Twenty-five years has mellowed
Mr. Safer. It was a puff piece for the U.S. Mint.

"He took his camera to the floor of the press room of the
Philadelphia Mint to show the obligatory freshly-struck
cents pouring out of a chute. And to  the office of Mint
Director Edmund Moy. On camera, Moy was quoted as saying
in the beginning when questioned about the cent and nickel
costing twice face value he stated:  "It's unsustainable!"
And the final quote "Get rid of the penny?  Not likely!"

"Between these two comments were interviews of Art Weller,
a lobbyist for the zinc industry who, not surprisingly,
wanted to keep striking cents of the present copper-clad
zinc alloy.  Jeff Gore, a biophysicist, gave a commentary
on the value of lost time in all the transactions in a
year's time by every American. He calculated $41 billion
in lost time every year.

"David Leavitt, co-author of 'Freakonomics,' gave the most
intelligent reasons to abolish the cent. And didn't object
to rounding up or down at each transaction.

"Director Moy stated he has studied other countries which
have abolished their lowest coin denomination, and this
did not influence his decision to continue striking of the
cent. Yes, the U.S. Mint is considering other metals, steel
most likely, for cent composition. It is difficult to overcome
the sentimentality Americans hold for the cent and, to quote
Safer, 'the  love affair with Honest Abe.'

"But the answer to the problem is not attacking one
denomination and one composition.

"The answer is to study the entire American coinage system
with a view to future needs, not for past sentimentally. It
was unfortunate Morley Safer did not interview Francois Velde,
 senior economist at the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank and
co-author of "The Big Problem of Small Change." He has done
more to study the problem and came to the most intelligent
decision --  rebase the existing  cent! Call it a nickel and
let it continue in circulation. And round off the odd cents
in cash transactions."


Regarding the question about things found in old books,
Nick Graver writes: "In a large Toronto book store, I once
was browsing one of my specialty sections, and had the time
to really look at everything.  As I worked along a shelf of
old, books, I got to one with no title remaining on the worn
spine, the real "dog" of the section.  Since I was bent on
checking every book there, I had to give it a look.  It
obviously had not been handled in a long time.  It felt
strange, and automatically opened to reveal another very
small booklet "inside" it.  Someone had stuffed the big book
back on the shelf, and trapped the small book inside its pages!

"I was delighted to discover a scarce and unusual title
inside another book!  - a choice item, in good condition,
having been out of circulation for ages. It was neatly priced,
likely in the hand of someone from an earlier era.  The busy
checkout clerk looked at it, possibly shrugged, and rang it
up with my selections.   I always felt I provided the long
lost little book a good home.

"In a 'sentimental' twist, years later, that section of our
library was acquired by Toronto's Ryerson University, and
the book went back to where I had rescued it!"




Bob Rhue writes: "Like anyone would, I enjoyed the treat
of seeing Alan Weinberg's exhibit at FUN.  Like Jim Halperin,
I hope Alan treats us to a viewing of his Massachusetts Silver
one of these days!

"Of particular interest to me was Alan's comment of how
'extremely rewarding' it was to exhibit some of the treasures
he's spent so much effort & so many years searching for and
acquiring. And also how unrewarding it is to have them sitting
in a dark bank box year after year.

"He echoes my sentiments so clearly, ones that I have
Previously expressed in these pages.  Yes, it does take a
definite commitment of time, expense, effort, and even a
level of risk to exhibit the little treasures that for some
often unknown reason appeal to us, & mean so much to us
individually.  The rewards are well worth it: the satisfaction
of sharing information & letting others view our 'spoils' in
whatever area of collecting interest we have; bragging rights;
camaraderie; and pride of ownership, to name a few.   All of
these things are much harder to enjoy when our 'items' are
eternally stuck in that dark bank box.

"And by the way, thanks so much Wayne, for all your efforts
in compiling this most fun publication, which brings such
enjoyment and connection to so many of us numismatists."



Regarding the earlier discussion of the Drake Map medal by
Alan Weinberg and others, John W. Adams writes: "The best
reference on the Drake Map Medal is in Milford Haven's
British Naval Medals. His #2 has an excellent image and an
even better historical description. The Marquess rates
Drake as England's finest naval officer ever. Additional
auction records in my files include:

1) J Schulman, 4/10/05, lot 18.  This is the van Doorninck
  collection and the item is plated.
2) Samuel Freeman, 6/15/36, the Charles Jeffery collection.
  I can't locate my copy of the sale but my recollection
  is that the medal is not plated.
3) Christies, 4/4/67. The medal was sold directly to the
  Library of Congress at 12,200 pounds.
4) Christies 1971. This specimen was sold for the equivalent
  of $50,000 to a book dealer who, in turn, presented it
  to the Library of Congress;  they now have two.

"There is an additional example in private hands and thus,
Alan, hope may spring eternal."



Last week I asked "which numismatic author worked for the
New York State Library?"   To which George Kolbe adds
"... and was found guilty of nefarious activities later
in his career?"

Jim Duncan had a guess but the first and only correct answer
was provided by George Kolbe.  The answer I had in mind was
John H. Hickcox, author of 'An Historical Account of American
Coinage', published in 1858.  Only 200 copies of this work
were produced and apparently most were distributed to
historians and libraries rather than coin collecting circles.
Although extremely rare the book was the first comprehensive
work on American coinage and provided the foundation for
information that would appear in later classic works.  I
consider my original copy of Hickcox a centerpiece of my
numismatic library.

After working in the New York State Library in Albany, by
1870 Hickcox was living in Washington D.C. and working at
the Library of Congress.  Hickcox is known in library circles
as the creator of United States Government Publications: A
Monthly Catalogue, also known as Hickcox's Monthly Catalogue.

But in 1882 Hickcox's career came to an abrupt end.  He was
arrested for taking letters addressed to the Librarian of
Congress. According to Q. David Bowers in his book 'American
Numismatics Before the Civil War', his crime was 'opening
mail letters and pocketing the money'.

QUICK QUIZ: What OTHER numismatic title was authored by Hickcox?

For more information on John H. Hickcox, see:,_Sr.



While looking for other things I came across a full-page ad
in the program for the 1941 American Numismatic Association
convention in Philadelphia.  It stated "Delegates to the
A.N.A. convention are invited to inspect our collection of
old state bank notes on display at our Downtown Office, 321
Chestnut Street.  The Philadelphia National Bank / Organized

Would any of our readers know what ever became of the
bank's collection?


On occasion we've discussed numismatics in fiction, including
books, plays, movies and radio and TV shows.  While searching
for other things I came across a mention of a rare coin plot
in an episode of the old Amos and Andy show.  I'm not even
sure if this was a radio or TV episode, but it sounds like fun.
Can anyone shed more light on this?

"The Kingfish swindles Andy out of a rare coin and Andy
swindles it right back by use of a clever trick in a phone
booth coin slot."
Full Story


Regarding the removal of the Britannia symbol from British
coinage, Dave Lange writes: "I'm assuming that Britannia
is being removed solely from the circulating coinage, as
I haven't heard of any plan to discontinue the Britannia
series of bullion coins. In fact, a new image of Britannia
was recently announced for that series."



Paul Horner writes: "I have a question that perhaps a reader
of The E-Sylum can answer: Who named the 'Euro' and when?
No, I don't have the answer.  But I would like to know!"

[Great question!  The event wasn't so long ago that the
answer would be lost in the mists of time, yet it doesn't
seem to be easily found on the Internet.  One source I found
says the name 'euro' was chosen the European Council in Madrid
in 1995, but doesn't elaborate on who first proposed the
name.  Can anyone shed light on this topic?  -Editor
Full Story ]


Is there a dentist in the house?  Dick Johnson writes:
"In his monumental work, 'Medicina in Nummis,' [1,146
pages with 8343 numbered items, but with liberal use of
letter suffixes drive the total well over 9,000 items]
Horatio Robinson Storrer cataloged numismatic items of
medical interest. With that sheer volume, errors were
bound to creep in.

"But not all were factual errors. Some were just Horatio's
inability to read tiny letters of inscription or worse yet,
artist's initials. Most of these items were in his own
collection (but he did add others he found in numismatic
literature, so the entire blame may not rest with him.)

"I have a case in point. There is an artist who did seven
portrait plaques of dentists. Only one is dated 1898 (thank
goodness!). Horatio attributes these to an artist named
Hitchcock. But he uses three sets of initials among the
seven -- GS, JS or TS.  This artist was a dentist himself
and he lived in Oswego, New York.

"One of the seven had a Massachusetts connection, so
Horatio included it in his other book, 'Numismatics of
Massachusetts' [319 pages, 2317 items] -- William Thomas
Green Morton Plaque. It is Storer (Mass) #1986 and Storer
(Medical) #2543.

"I wished to resolve the gentleman's correct initials and
learn his full name (and possible dates). So I wrote to
the Oswego Historical Society. They could not help.
Apparently city directories did not exist for such a small
New York town at that time.  Since the locality lead came
up blank, let's try the dentist lead. Is anyone aware of
a directory of New York dentists of the 1898 period?  Or
does any reader have other suggestions on how to obtain
this vita?  Thanks."


Web site visitor Morton Leiter writes: "During the depression,
my father and some other merchants in Pismo Beach, California
used clam shells as barter money during the bank closure.
The ones my father issued had the Leiter's Pharmacy logo
on them and his signature. I have visited the collection
in the Smithsonian several years ago, and recently saw a
photo of one in a coin magazine.

"Since I and my son still operate Leiter's Pharmacy we
would be very grateful to obtain one or two of these original
clam shell pieces of barter from the original Leiter's
Pharmacy. Do you have any idea how or where we could obtain
these?  Thank you for your courtesy, Morton Leiter; Leiter's
Pharmacy; 1700 Park Ave, Ste 30; San Jose, CA 95126.
(408)309-4570, email: "

[These clam shells are one of the most interesting and
unusual items of private scrip to come out of the Great
Depression.  I've read about them as well, but have never
seen one in person.  I imagine they are pretty rare today,
and don't recall seeing one offered in a numismatic auction.
It would be great to reunite one with the issuing family -
can any of our readers help?  -Editor]


Arthur Shippee forwarded this paper from the Dead Sea
Discoveries (Volume 14, Number 1, 2007) by David Goldenberg
titled "Babatha, Rabbi Levi and Theodosius: Black Coins in
Late Antiquity".  The paper discusses the controversial
interpretations of the scrolls' mention of "black" coins.

"In six Greek papyri recovered ... on the western shore of
the Dead Sea the word “blacks” appears as an otherwise
unknown term of coinage. Various monetary sums are expressed
as so many “blacks,” e.g., “one black and thirty lepta” or
“710 blacks of silver.”  ... Bowersock conjectured that the
small amount of silver in these coins would have allowed for
a process of oxidation to have turned the coins black.  ...
Meshorer took issue with Bowersock’s explanation, arguing
that the papyrus documents indicate that the “blacks” were
not of low value, and anyway low quality silver would not
turn. His conclusion is precisely opposite to Bowersock:
the “blacks” are Roman denarii of high quality silver. "

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


Regarding last week's item about the old Norwegian coin
discovered in Iceland, Jurgen Sumod writes: "A Norwegian
coin from 1653 cannot have been struck at Kongsberg, but
in Christiania, present Oslo, as the Mint in Kongsberg at
that time not yet was established. Icelandic coins are
still imported, as they don't have their own Mint."



[This report from a Russian publication (citing an Egyptian
publication) seems to hint that another 1933 double eagle
has turned up.   I don't believe it, although the story
has been making the rounds as it gets picked up by other
web sites and blogs.  I've not yet heard any credible source
confirming the claim, although the tale of the 1933 Double
Eagle to date has been one full of surprises.  -Editor]

CAIRO, February 4 (RIA Novosti) - A rare U.S. double eagle
gold coin that could be worth up to $15 million has been
found by an Egyptian couple as they cleaned out their flat,
the Qatar Ar-Raya newspaper said on Monday. The precious
piece of gold was discovered in an old box that had once
belonged to Mohamed Ismail's grandfather while he and his
wife, Fatima, were throwing old clothes and broken
furniture out of a closet.

Mohamed subsequently sent the coin to experts, hoping that
he would get a few dollars for it. However, the tailor was
shocked when the experts told him that his grandfather had
left him a unique coin of historical value. Double eagle
coins were first minted in 1850 and were used to settle
accounts between banks and other financial institutions.

Specialists believe that the double eagle found in Egypt
could be part of Theodore Roosevelt's 1933 collection of
coins redesigned by famed American sculptor Augustus
Saint-Gaudens and given to King Farouk of Egypt as a

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


[E. Tomlinson Fort forwarded this article from The Economist
about a British Treasury decision that could lead to the
extinction of banknotes of Scotland.  -Editor]

One clear sign that Scotland is another country is that
its money looks different. Scottish heroes rather than
Britain's queen adorn the notes issued by the three biggest
Scottish banks. Sir Walter Scott, a novelist, is commemorated
by the Bank of Scotland (now part of HBOS but, in 1696, the
first bank in Europe to make a success of paper money)
because he fought off a dastardly attempt in 1826 by
Westminster to stop Scottish GBP1 notes from being issued.

The power of Scott's pen is needed now, rages Alex Salmond,
Scotland's nationalist first minister: the British Treasury
has launched a raid on this iconic lolly. Scottish and
Northern Irish banks (unlike their English rivals) are
still allowed to print money, which is worth exactly the
same as Bank of England cash. But a new plan would make
them back their notes more fully.

The Clydesdale Bank, a Scottish subsidiary of National
Australia Bank, fears this means that issuing notes will
no longer be worthwhile. The Treasury plan is ridiculous
anyway, Mr Salmond argues, because Scottish banks are
among the most stable in the world.

See this article with graphics and related items at
Full Story


"To celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the launch of
Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and the creation of the
euro, all euro-area countries will issue a commemorative
2-euro coin with a common design. It will be available at
the beginning of 2009.

A design competition between the mints of the euro area has
resulted in the pre-selection by the Mint Directors of 5
designs, presented here. The final winning design will be
selected exclusively by your votes via this web page.

"The selection is open to all EU citizens and residents.
Each person may only vote once. A prize of a set of
high-value euro collector coins will go to a participant
chosen at random from those who voted for the winning
design. Voting will be closed on 22 February 2008."

To see the five pre-selected designs and to vote click here:
Full Story


[The Muskogee Phoenix published an article this week
about a local bank chosen to release the first Oklahoma
state quarters.  -Editor]

Mildred Bruce, 79, was one in a long line of people waiting
for the 11 a.m. Monday release of the Oklahoma commemorative
state quarter at BancFirst.

Bruce was at BancFirst’s location at York Street and Shawnee
Bypass. The new quarters feature the official state bird
and the state wildflower: the scissor-tailed flycatcher
and the Gaillardia puchella, or Indian blanket.

The 11 a.m. release was timed to coincide with an official
kickoff in Oklahoma City featuring Gov. Brad Henry and
United States Mint Acting Deputy Director Dan Shaver.
Oklahomans have had quite a wait for their own quarter;
it is 46th of the United States Mint’s popular 50 State
Quarters Program.

The design was selected in a statewide online vote that
drew more than 148,000 votes.

Shannon George, marketing officer for BancFirst, said she
was pleased to see how many people turned out for the release.

George said the BancFirst locations in Muskogee had $4,000
in new quarters on Monday. Customers were limited to one
$10 roll of 40 quarters. The coin will be officially released
to all banks on Wednesday.

“People have been asking us for weeks and weeks when they
would be available,” George said. “They also asked about
the design; a lot of them weren’t sure what it would look
like. I like the design; I think it’s perfect.”

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


[This week the Houston Chronicle published a lengthy article
in conjunction with a Texas Numismatic Association exhibit
on the money of the Lone Star State.  Here are a few excerpts.

A worldwide financial panic fueled by tight credit and the
collapse of the real estate boom spread from country to
country. Meanwhile, the president promised to veto any
legislation he considered inflationary and damaging to
the economy.

That's the way things were 170 years ago for the fledgling
Republic of Texas.

"It was eerily similar to today," said Merrill Lynch vice
president James Bevill, who is president of the Texas
Numismatic Association.

Money printed by Texas while it was an independent country
will be on display in Houston starting Friday at the
association's winter coin and currency show.

The association also is compiling, for the Alamo, a display
of Texas money that will feature examples of every surviving
type of note, with currency on loan from 21 collectors.

"Not every historian is a numismatist," he said, "but
every numismatist is a historian."

Bevill is the author of the book A Paper Trail Across Texas
— The Epic Struggle for Money, Credit and Independence in
the Republic of Texas, to be released in December.

The republic, which had no gold or silver, never minted
coins. The coins that were in use were from the United States,
Mexico and other countries.

Ironically, during the same period, the United States
printed no paper money and only minted gold and silver coins.

During the administration of President Mirabeau B. Lamar,
Texas issued money called "red backs" because of the bright
red-orange printing on the reverse sides.

Although Texas money was officially supposed to be worth
the same as U.S. money, the red backs soon were trading for
as little as 2 cents on the dollar.

In 1842, Texas began issuing "exchequer bills," printed
in denominations ranging from 12 1/2 cents to $100.

In the final days of the republic, the government started
taking exchequer bills in payment of taxes and then burned them.

Today the remaining exchequer bills are the most valuable
Republic of Texas money, Bevill said. The last time one of
the three known 50 cent bills was sold at auction, it went
for $28,700, he said.

In all, the Republic of Texas issued more than $4 million
in paper money printed in Houston, New Orleans and New York.

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


[This morning's Washington Post had a good article on how
today's higher gold prices are encouraging more prospectors
to search for the metal.  -Editor]

Membership in gold prospecting clubs is climbing nationwide,
along with sales of pans, dredges, metal detectors and other
small-scale mining equipment. A trade show recently hosted
by the Gold Prospectors Association of America in Orange
County, Calif., typified the trend.

"I saw more people walking out with more metal detectors
and sluice boxes than I can remember in a long time," said
Ken Rucker, general manager of the 45,000-member association.
"That $900 is really getting to people."

The group has received hundreds of calls and e-mails from
interested gold seekers. New memberships are increasing,
and the number of membership renewals at the close of 2007
was twice as high as the year before, said Brandon Johnson,
the director of operations. As a result, the association
is preparing to add to its staff.

The heightened interest is nowhere near that of the famous
19th-century gold rushes in California, Alaska and Canada's
Yukon Territory. Those grizzled prospectors have long since
been replaced by recreational gold hounds -- mostly seasonal
workers and retirees.

About 150 families in Alaska live off gold they have collected,
state officials said. But longtime prospectors say small-scale
mining is generally unpredictable, tough on the body and yields
little to no profit.

"If you love ditch-digging, you'll just love gold mining,"
said Steve Herschbach, owner of Alaska Mining and Diving, a
mining-supply shop in Anchorage.

Toni Logan Goodrich, who co-owns Oxford Assaying and Refining
in Anchorage, said high prices are bringing a younger demographic
to mining. It's a shift from 10 years ago, when she wondered
whether her business of purifying and assessing gold would

Goodrich displayed the impressive amounts of gold unearthed
by her clients. In the workshop, her husband smelted 18 pounds
of gold into a brick worth $250,000. Three fistfuls of gleaming
nuggets and two quarts of gold flakes sat nearby, with a total
value of another $500,000.

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


Joseph D. McCarthy writes: "For years folks like Aaron Feldman
and Dave Bowers have been recommending "Buy the book before
the coin.  Tell Dave he has been right but he didn't know why.
In this case it took one hundred years after the book was
written before the coin was even made.  2008 is the 100th
anniversary of the publication of the book 'Anne of Green
Gables', and the Royal Canadian Mint is releasing a
Commemorative quarter.”

[The following text is from the Royal Mint's web site.

"Cherish Anne of Green Gables with this unique gift and
keepsake. In 1908, the world was captivated by Anne of
Green Gables, a wonderful story by Lucy Maud Montgomery
that recounts the childhood adventures of a spirited,
red-haired orphan named Anne Shirley. Today, people still
flock to Prince Edward Island to discover the charming
sights — and with this exclusive coin from the Royal Canadian
Mint, they can forever cherish its beloved character and
heroine.  It’s the perfect addition to your Anne of Green
Gables™ collection—or the perfect gift for your favourite
fan of Anne!

"Details of the celebrations being planned and “all things
Anne”, including the RCM’s coin, becoming available in
mid-April 2008, can be found at"

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


[The China Post reports a run on new banknotes in Taiwan.

The upcoming Chinese New Year has prompted a rushed on
freshly minted banknotes islandwide, Chinese-language media
reported yesterday, amid concerns that some banks and ATMs
had already been out of new bills earlier that afternoon.

Taiwan-based news network TVBS claimed, however, that half
of ATMs were unable to deliver cash, stressing that new
NT$1,000 bills caused the machines to malfunction as they
were thicker and stick together more easily.

"We have handled a lot of new banknotes from the Central
Bank in prevision of the Chinese New Year, but so far we
haven't had any problems with the new bills," an employee
from The Shanghai Commercial & Savings Bank, Ltd., told
The China Post.

"It's just that lots of people want to change their old
bills," she added.

Seven commercial banks islandwide started Jan. 31 to
exchange old bank notes with newly minted paper currency
to people, who wish to give out red envelopes for Chinese
New Year.

NT$100 notes are hot items before the Lunar New Year
holidays because red is considered a lucky color in
Chinese culture.

The Central Bank of China (CBC) said it has made available
nearly NT$400 billion for the public to exchange old
NT$1,000, NT$500, and NT$100 bank notes.

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


[The News-Press of southwest Florida published an article
this week about toll collectors who refuse to accept
"pennies" and "sticky" coins.  -Editor]

It was hard enough for those of us who don't carry much
cash to get over the bridges into Cape Coral when it
only cost $1.

Imagine how the cash-challenged are with the new $2
one-way toll.

Take Courtney Wright of Cape Coral, for instance, who
was trying to get home one recent evening only to discover
she was out of money.

So Wright did what any woman who carries a handbag does.
She dove to the bottom and scrounged around eventually
finding one dollar bill, three quarters, two nickels,
a dime and five pennies.

For most of us, that equals $2.

But using Cape Coral bridge collector math, Wright was
five cents short. Wright was told the new LeeWay policy
was not to accept pennies and, furthermore, her change
was "sticky."

"From now on," Wright repeated what she said the toll
collector told her, "pennies and sticky change would
result in ... three points on my license."

I found it hard to believe that LeeWay, the agency that
collects tolls, was rejecting pennies and dirty money.
So I called LeeWay manager Susan Hopwood to see if she
could shed some light on this situation.

When I told her the story about the collector not
wanting to accept Wright's change, she immediately
asked: "Was it sticky?"

Now how did she know that? Have sticky pennies been
a problem lately?

In fact, they have, Hopwood said, jamming up machines
and forcing collectors to touch coins they'd rather not.
"Pennies are OK, but we discourage them because it takes
longer to count them," Hopwood said. "But a sticky
coin is different.

"You don't know where a coin has been," Hopwood said
of the money handed over to collectors. "Sometimes
motorists take it out of their mouths and we ask them
to clean it."

I'm not the squeamish type but the thought of this has
me reaching for hand sanitizer. I really didn't want to
go there, but this begged for an explanation.

"When the toll was 50 cents rather than have the money
in a pocket motorcyclists would put two quarters in their
mouths and then hand it to the collector. That's happened
more than once," Hopwood said.

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


[Arthus Shippee forwarded this review of the new movie
"Fool's Gold" which was published February 9 in the New
York Times.  Its headline is "Tropical Pursuit of Love,
Coins and No Tan Lines".  Arthur writes: "Well, the review
mentions old Spanish coins, right near the end, so I
guess it applies ...".  -Editor]

In “Fool’s Gold” Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey, as
golden as a pair of rotisserie chickens, squabble and
cavort in a tropical paradise. How nice for them, and for
those in the audience who want nothing more from a midwinter
trip to the movies than to gaze upon the tawny limbs and
perfect bellybuttons of the stars.

Not that there isn’t a lot of other stuff going on in
“Fool’s Gold,” a hectic action-romance-comedy directed
by Andy Tennant from a script credited to him, John
Claflin and Daniel Zelman.

If only this hodgepodge offered more fun and less of
the kind of frantic creative desperation that tries to
pass itself off as giddy comic exuberance.

For a time “Fool’s Gold” holds out a vague promise of
romantic farce, since it seems possible that either Gemma
or her dad, or perhaps both, might become an obstacle to
Tess and Finn’s inevitable reconciliation. Instead the
film stages a melodrama of father-daughter estrangement
between Nigel and Gemma and abruptly shelves the dumb
bimbo jokes, though not the leering camerawork aimed at
Ms. Dziena.

And so the prospect of fireworks between Finn and Tess
is quickly dampened, and the movie turns into a dull,
noisy pursuit of old Spanish coins, aided by maps and
letters and enough pseudohistorical explanation to
round out the next episode in the “National Treasure”

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


This week's featured web site is a catalog of fantasy

"The Ultimate State of Tedivm or: “Confronting the Dire
Consequences of Boredom in the Numismatic World…”  A
Graphic Catalogue of Coins, Private Patterns, Medallic
Issues & Banknotes from

 Unrecognised States
 Alternative Communities
 Autonomy Movements
 Fantasy Locations

With an Emphasis on European issues and an extra section
for the Private Pattern Antarctic Coins minted by
F. Zinkann, esq."

Catalog of Fantasy Coins

  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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