The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 11, Number 09, March 2, 2008:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2008, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers are Jim Hughes of the Smithsonian,
courtesy of Douglas Mudd, former Early American Coppers
president March Wells, courtesy of Alan Weinberg, J.W. Byars
of Houston, TX, courtesy of Tom Wall, also Rich Mantia and
David Dearinger. Welcome aboard!  We now have 1,122 subscribers.

This week welcome several new subscribers, thanks to the
efforts of our readers.  Although we do have an E-Sylum
announcement to make in this issue, the remainder is a good
representation of what readers get here every week - a mixture
of numismatic literature reviews and announcements, research
queries and responses, some first-person accounts of numismatic
history (this time from Alan Weinberg, Cliff Mishler and
others), numismatics in the news, and a bit of numismatic humor.

We open this issue with an update on the ANS duplicate book
and catalog sales, reviews of Rob Turner's book on 'The 1858
Cents of Provincial Canada', Donald Sundman and Janet Klug's
'100 Greatest American Stamps', and short notes on the 14th
edition of Yeoman's Modern World Coins (followed by a great
account of the Standard Catalog of World Coins numbering system).

Next, Roger S. Siboni writes about the late Michael Weller
of San Francisco, a trio of E-Sylum readers correctly answer
last week's quiz, and Anne E. Bentley of the Massachusetts
Historical Society responds to the question about deacidification
sprays.  Following some responses to earlier queries we have
a Subscriber Profile about a 15-year-old E-Sylum reader
responsible for creating a popular numismatic exhibit at
a major museum.

In a submission inspired by my numismatic diary last week,
Bob Evans writes about the J.L. Polhemus counterstamps found
on gold coins salvaged from the wreck of the S.S. Central

In the news we have reports of a panic over coinage in Cuba,
more U.S. merchants accepting Euros, and the District of
Columbia's fight with the U.S. Mint over its quarter designs.

To learn how people around the world count cash, and which
numismatic author was also an expert on Teddy Bears, read on.
Have a great week, everyone.

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


[Andy Meadows of the American Numismatic Society writes:
"Many thanks for your help so far in publicizing our sales
catalogue sale. The orders are flooding in."  He provided
the following update for E-Sylum readers. -Editor]

There are three things to convey.

(1) The Sales are selling fast.  Anyone interested should
order soon. The volume of orders has been such that we have
had to give up updating the online lists.  So we offer our
apologies to anyone who orders and is disappointed to
discover the book is already gone.  But there are multiple
copies of many items, so we hope to be able satisfy most
people to some degree.

(2) We have posted a short list of additional material
(copies of Seaby's Bulletin, Spink's Circular and The
Numsimatist and a rare chance to buy a set of Coin Hoards

(3) We have also announced the dates of the sale of
duplicate books, which will take place on the premises.
Please note: no lists of these books will be posted on the
website, and I'm afraid we don't have the resources to be
able to answer enquiries about individual books.  The
announcement is as follows:

In preparation for its move to new headquarters, the ANS
is holding a sale of duplicate books at its current premises
at 140 William Street. The dates and times of the sale are
as follows:

Saturday 8 March 10am-4pm
Wednesday 12 March 10am-4pm
Thursday 13 March 10am-4pm
Friday 14 March 10am-4pm
Monday 17 March 10am-4pm
Tuesday 18 March 10am-4pm

Visitors to the sale will also have the opportunity to
purchase any remaining journals and auction catalogues
from the lists currently posted on the ANS website.

[I expect there will be a good deal of interest in the
duplicate book sales, and like many of us, I can only wish
I were close enough to New York to take advantage of the
opportunity.  If any of our readers attend the sales,
please send us a report.  Happy hunting!  -Editor]


[Gary Trudgen, editor of The Colonial newsletter published
by the American Numismatic Society, forwarded the following
announcement of the journal's latest issue. -Editor]

The April 2008 issue of The Colonial Newsletter:
A Research Journal in Early American Numismatics (CNL) has
been published.

First up in this issue is a Letter to the Editor from Byron
Weston concerning Robert Bowser's recent paper titled
"1748-dated Counterfeit British Halfpenny Source Identified."
Byron, who is a longtime student of the counterfeit British
copper coinages, praises Bob's research and explains how
Bob's work has advanced our understanding of these coinages.

Next we present a charming submission from Dr. Philip
Mossman where he analyses a tidbit he found in a Confederation
era newspaper concerning copper coin.  Phil masterfully
dissects the archaic text explaining the several coinage
references and in the process makes this primary source
monologue a useful reference for the numismatic researcher.

Collectors of eighteenth century copper coins seem to be
drawn, like moths to a flame, to crudely executed specimens.
One of the crudest struck British halfpennies is the 1771-
dated "Baby Head."  Our next paper, authored by Byron K.
Weston, is the first in-depth examination of this curious
copper coin.  Byron not only provides a catalogue where
all known specimens are plated but he also reaches several
new conclusions about this crude halfpenny based upon his
examination of the catalogue specimens.  Byron's conclusions
regarding manufacture are exciting and well thought out
and lead to interesting speculation concerning the
provenance of this copper.

Just the mention of a Brasher gold doubloon stirs the blood
of most numismatists.  At the heart of our feature paper are
not one but two Brasher gold doubloons - a Lima style and a
New York style.  John M. Kleeberg, expertly reconstructs the
remarkable gold coin hoard that was first unearthed in
Philadelphia in 1872 from which both styles of Brasher
doubloons were recovered.  The New York style doubloon,
however, went unnoticed in 1872 but was fortuitously
discovered in dirt taken from the original site after it
had been taken to a new location and used for fill.  The
Brasher doubloons are just part of the story as John analyses
the reports of the discoveries in an effort to summarize the
various types of gold coins present in the hoard.  Finally,
John explores the historical record in an attempt to determine
who deposited the hoard, why they did so, and when it was
most likely deposited.  John's research is very well documented
and he provides transcribed key primary source documents in
an extensive appendices.

CNL is published three times a year by The American Numismatic
Society, 96 Fulton Street, New York, NY 10038.  For inquires
concerning CNL, please contact Megan Fenselau at the preceding
postal address or e-mail or telephone
(212) 571-4470 ext. 1311.


David W. Lange writes: "I finally got around to doing
something I've wanted to do for months - I've written a
review of Rob Turner's book on the Canadian cents of 1858.
I hope your readers will find this useful."

[Many thanks to Dave for penning his thoughtful review.
I've been curious about this book myself, and Dave's painted
a very detailed picture for potential buyers and readers.

Though I’m not a collector of Canadian coins, aside from
a few type pieces acquired here and there, I’ve belonged
to the Canadian Numismatic Association for the past ten
years. I joined because of a particular article in its CN
Journal that was of interest to collectors of United States
coins, but I’ve since come to enjoy the blend of serious
numismatics and chatty news reminiscent of The Numismatist
in simpler times.

One of the additional benefits of membership is learning
of new publications that might otherwise fly beneath my
radar. Such a book is Rob Turner’s recent epic, The 1858
Cents of Provincial Canada. Rob is American, and his book
was published in the USA, but it does not seem to have been
well publicized here. I was drawn to this book after seeing
a series of half-page ads in The CN Journal describing its
features. Beyond the specific subject matter of the book’s
title, these ads promised a thorough history of the inception
of Canada’s decimal coinage. This is the sort of detailed
reference that has become fairly commonplace for USA coins
in the past 20 years but which remains a rare treat for
modern world coins. I was intrigued enough to order the
book almost immediately, anticipating that a work this
detailed would someday be out of print and impossible
to find.

I was certainly not disappointed. Of general interest to
numismatists is the book’s historical background on the
monetary system of pre-decimal Canada, with its conflicting
legal tender rates between Upper Canada and Lower Canada.
Both belonged to the British Empire and utilized the UK’s
sterling coinage, but the coinage of the USA was so
prevalent that it tended to dominate commerce in Canada.

The USA’s devaluation of gold in 1834 further confused
matters by disturbing the value of American coins relative
to British coins, both of which were valued locally in terms
of a Canadian pound of account. With no coinage of their
own to represent such a pound, attempts by the Canadians
to standardize exchange rates were often resisted by the
British government, which continued to impose legal values
that resulted in very awkward conversions. In his book
Turner explains these developments fully in both narrative
and tabular forms that make it simple to understand this
seemingly complex situation.

The long evolution of the legislation that ultimately
resulted in the decimal coinage of 1858 to date is detailed
in full. This history is richly documented with quotations
from contemporary accounts and includes complete source
citations for the researcher. Also featured are excellent
photographs of the persons who played key roles in the
advocacy and creation of the decimal coinage. In this respect,
Rob Turner has done for the Canadian coinage of 1858 what
Roger Burdette has done for the USA coinage of 1905-21.
In relating some of the technical details of this historic
coinage, Turner has included data on the number of dies
utilized, as well as the dates on which they were prepared
and destroyed.

Another table relates the recoining of the obsolete 20-cent
pieces, which were discontinued when the Confederation
coinage began in 1870. These recoining figures tell in which
specific years the 20-cent pieces were destroyed and into
which denominations they were recoined during those years.
Of course, this information may be found in the Royal Mint
Reports for the various years involved, but Turner has
performed the tedious research required to obtain it and
has presented the facts in an entertaining narrative that
reads easily.

Also found in this book is a brief but quite interesting
history of the New Tower Mint in London, which began operations
in 1810 and produced the majority of Canadian decimal coins
until Canada received its own mint in 1908. This history is
accompanied by beautiful color illustrations of the historic
building, which ceased coining operations 30 years ago. Also
detailed is the Royal Mint’s subcontracting of Canadian
coinage to the privately owned Heaton Mint in Birmingham.
The book includes both numismatic and financial data relating
to this partnership.

As the main theme of Turner’s book is the bronze cent coinage
of 1858, there is much information relating to the adoption
of bronze coinage that year for use in Canada and for Britain’s
domestic coinage two years later. Technical aspects of refining
and coining bronze are provided in detail, and this will be
useful to anyone collecting and studying bronze coinage in
general. This chapter is accompanied by charming period
illustrations of the coining process from beginning to end.
Some of these engravings are already familiar, but they are
herein reproduced in greater sharpness and with an attractive
color tint lacking in some older references.

The second half of Rob Turner’s book is a dedicated study of
the dies used specifically for 1858 cent coinage. Every die
known to him is featured in large and very sharp color photos
in a catalog that covers 153 pages! There are more than 400
color photos in all. Since I’m not a collector of this series,
I found the catalog portion to be of less interest than the
historical material, but this book will be essential for
anyone cataloging or collecting 1858 Canadian cents.

At $100, ordering this hardcover book sight-unseen was a leap
of faith for me, but I was more than pleased with what I
received for my money. From beginning to end this book is a
quality production that will be a handsome addition to any
numismatic library. It is available directly from the author
at 8821 La Zana Court, Fountain Valley, CA  92708. It may
also be purchased via PayPal by directing payment to his
email address: The shipping cost to USA
addresses is $15, to Canada $20. All amounts are in USA
dollars, and California deliveries must include 8% sales tax.


Although not numismatic, I thought I'd make a few notes on
'100 Greatest American Stamps' by Donald Sundman and Janet
Klug.  Another in the great Whitman series of '100 Greatest'
books, this one, published in 2007, covers our sister hobby
of philately.  Adhering to the same format as the other books
in the series, the large coffee-table size hardbound is filled
with great glossy photos of top American stamps.  It may be a
surprise that the famous "Inverted Jenny" (the 24-cent 1918
misprint with the upside-down biplane) was NOT number one.
It came in at number three.  But as a numismatist more
interested in historical importance than flashy accidents,
I was heartened to see that the number one and two stamps
were the nation's first postage stamps, the 1847 5 cent
(Benjamin Franklin) and 10 cent (George Washington) stamps.

I enjoyed reading the text and learned more than a few useful
tidbits about U.S. postal history.  Along the way I discovered
a number of photos of U.S. coins and paper money, perhaps not
so surprising given the publisher's general focus on numismatics.
I was disappointed in the introductory text, though.   Perhaps
I was spoiled by the thorough scholarship of the introduction
to '100 Greatest American Currency Notes', but the few pages
here on the history of stamps in the U.S. are paltry, and the
"America's Story on Stamps" section seems like wasted fluff.

One tidbit worth mentioning is the discovery of another invert
error, the 1986 $1 Rush Lamp error (#66, p89).  There was a
great deal of secrecy surrounding their discovery.  As it
turned out partial sheet of the inverted stamps was purchased
by an on-duty employee of the Central Intelligence Agency near
his office in McLean, VA.  A few days passed before the error
was noticed, but a group of CIA employees sold the stamps to
a dealer and split the proceeds.  They had also kept one
error stamp each without telling the dealer.  Ultimately
some of the employees resigned over the incident.  The book
lists the stamps' value today at $22,500 each.

There are many other stories worth reading, but in deference
to the numismatic interests of our readers I'll stop there.
But for numismatists who'd like to have one book in their
library on the topic of U.S. stamps, this is not a bad one
to have.


James Higby writes: "Thanks to Scott Semans for pointing
out the inclusion of KM numbers in the 14th edition of
Yeoman's Modern World Coins, which I had neglected to do
in my recent review.  I did notice them, and find them to
be of great utility in cross-referencing the coin types
with the Krause system.  I hope my readers will forgive
this oversight by one who had not written a book review
since his grade school days, which were in progress when
the very first edition of MWC appeared, just a few short
decades ago."

[I now have a copy of the Whitman Modern World Coins catalog.
There is little I can add to what our previous reviewers have
said, except to agree that its appearance was a welcome
surprise after a quarter-century hiatus.  Regular readers
will know by now that I've rarely met a coin book I didn't
like - to me, each offers a special perspective with its
own pros and cons.

I find the MWC cataloging system a pleasant compliment to
the SCWC arrangement.  To get a feel for the thoroughness
of the arrangement I checked the U.S. section of MWC (an
area I know better than any other country), and found that
it was an excellent at-a-glance overview of the country's
coinage of that era.  As such it can be a useful coin show
companion for collectors of world coins. -Editor]




Clifford Mishler writes: "As the person who was centrally
involved, along with Chet Krause, in the design and marketing
of the “Standard Catalog of World Coins,” back in 1972, I
thought it would be appropriate for me to respond to Scott
Semans’ observations concerning the “assumption” he had that
our catalog arrangement and numbering was predicated on the
fact that they represented the “second-best choices made
to avoid copyright problems.” I can assure all readers that
that was not the case. In point of fact, when we developed
the SCWC concept we approached the late Dick Yeoman, prior
to proceeding, requesting Whitman’s consent to perpetuate
the Y-numbering system in our product. The discussion was
not entailed and permission was granted informally . . .
back in those days, prior to the focus on intellectual rights,
cross-service publishing understandings were not uncommonly
informal and non-contractual.

"For starters, I should explain, our purpose in compiling
and publishing the SCWC was to make detailed coinage
information on the world available to the collecting masses
in the United States. It was our belief that if such a
reference were readily available, the collecting of world
coins in the United States would be greatly broadened.
Our objective in fostering that growth was to develop a
collecting environment that would be receptive to the
publication of a world coin shopper publication. We were
right, and the overwhelming success of the SCWC led to
the launch of “World Coin News” in 1974.

"In developing a style for the proposed catalog, we
determined that what was needed was a “Red Book” of world
coins, a single volume that would embrace detailed coverage
of the coins of all countries from roughly the mid-1800s
to 1971. We determined that all coin issues should be
listed by date and mint. Further, that the arrangements
should be by denomination, as traditionally was the
practice with United States Coins. Finally, that all
coinage types should be illustrated for ease of reference
and identification.

"The introduction to the first edition of the SCWC stated
in part; “The listings are arranged according to the basic
American system; i.e., by denomination, rather than type
or period of issue, commencing with the smallest unit and
working up the scale. Thereafter the arrangement is by
known dates of issue. Although applicable catalog number
designations from other works (primarily Yeoman) have been
retained for the convenience of collectors who use them,
the basic system used in this work is self-cataloging,
negating the demand for numbering.” The SCWC listings of
United States, Canadian and Mexican coins were not
accompanied by catalog numbers in the early editions.

"In approaching Whitman through Dick Yeoman, we had indicated
that despite the fact that we felt the arrangement was truly
self-cataloging,” we recognized the fact that many collectors
and most dealers had their stocks arranged under the Y-number
system, and would probably prefer that a numbering system be
attached to the listings cataloged in the SCWC. We had further
indicated to Dick that we would prefer to use existing and
widely observed numbering systems, rather than introducing
a distinctive SCWC-numbering system, which would introduce
an element of complication and confusion to the collecting
community. He agreed.

"Thus, the first and second editions of the SCWC were
largely cataloged in line with the Y-number system, in
some instances injecting C-numbers, Fr-numbers and H-numbers,
along with a few country specific numbering systems.
Commencing with the third edition, as the listings became
more complex and previously un-cataloged variety types
were incorporated, KM-numbers began being introduced in
displacement of the established systems, when adapting
existing numbering systems became outdated, confusing
or impractical for the user. That was really a last resort.

"I believe it is very beneficial to the coin collecting
community that Whitman, in publishing the 14th edition of
“Modern World Coins,” opted to incorporate both Y-number
and KM-number designations in its listings. This is
definitely a most “useful feature,” as pointed out by
Scott Semans’ in his observations, with respect to the
presentation of the MWC listings. This feature will be
most welcome to those who reference that catalog, as
they search dealer offerings at shows, in advertised
offers and on the Internet, as their needs graduate to
reliance on the greater detail incorporated in SCWC

"I would like to finish by quoting something more from
the introduction to the first edition of the SCWC; “This
volume is designed to fill a need which has come into
growing evidence in recent years as the expanding interests
of the American coin collecting community has been ceaselessly
shifting into the arena of world coin issues . . . The
arrangement of this catalog is such that it will provide
the novice with a guide for the direction of his efforts,
at the same time it provides the advanced collector with
the detailed background he desire . . . This work is
basically a compilation of the digested knowledge which
students of the numismatic science have contributed to
the coin collecting hobby through the years.”

"Hopefully, this overview of the SCWC concept development
will lay to rest any “assumptions” that float around out
there concerning the approach that was taken by Chet Krause
and myself in the arrangement of its content and the
incorporation of Y-numbers and the eventual gravitation
to KM-numbers. The latter was, really, a last resort born
of necessity. The former was based, truly, on the desire
to best serve the coin collecting community, with both
the arrangement and the initial reliance on Y-numbers.
We had no intentions, nor needs, to “avoid copyright problems.” "

[Many thanks to Cliff for his background and capsule
history of the SCWC catalogs.  This is the kind of first
person account of numismatic history that makes The E-Sylum
so interesting and informative.  -Editor]



Before starting The E-Sylum I gave a lot of thought to what
the editorial policies would be.  The decisions have served
us well in the nearly ten years that have passed.  One choice
I've re-examined periodically is the ban on advertising.
As the official email journal of a non-profit organization
I wanted to steer The E-Sylum away from commercial concerns
and keep the focus on our core topics of numismatic literature
and research.

But now that our little newsletter has grown to deliver
15-30+ pages of information weekly to over 1,100 knowledgeable
numismatists, there is more than enough content to balance
some ads, and plenty of readers to make it attractive to
advertisers.  So with the approval of the NBS Board, we're
going to take the plunge.  In keeping with the bibliomania
theme, we'll name this feature The Bazaare (a Bizarre Bazaar!)

First, let me emphasize that that our editorial policies
remain unchanged.  You'll continue to get the same interesting
E-Sylum content as always, but with some additional messages
that I hope and expect will also be welcome and interesting
to many readers.

As always, numismatic literature dealers continue to be
welcome to send their sale announcements, and we’ll continue
to publish them prominently at no charge.  The same goes for
reviews – we’ll publish any and all literature reviews received
from anyone as long as they add something to the discussion.
Any ads would be in addition to our normal content.

Although The E-Sylum is open and free to all, only members
in good standing of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society may
place ads, subject to the editorial policies.  Publishing
firms are exempt, since we don't really have a "corporate"
membership category.  But it is preferred that an officer
or employee be an NBS member.  Should complaints arise
against any advertiser, the NBS board will deal with them
on a case-by-case basis.

The ads would be clearly delineated in the body of the email.
I wouldn’t push them all to the end, but would intersperse
two or three ad sections at different points, assuming we
have that many ads.  The top section (“above the fold” in
newspaper jargon) will remain ad free – this will include
all NBS news and announcements and numismatic literature
sale announcements.

Ads should reflect and augment the content and theme of
The E-Sylum.  Ideally they would be just as interesting
and useful to a subset of users as the regular E-Sylum

We will NOT accept “institutional ads” that never change
from issue to issue.  Advertisers should mix it up and
provide fresh ads.  A recommendation for dealers publicizing
auctions or price lists is to highlight a different item or
lot of interest in each promotional ad.  The ban is only on
unchanging CONSECUTIVE ads - ads which rotate weekly or
appear nonconsecutively are OK.

To avoid direct competition with auctions we will NOT accept
"price on request" or "make an offer" listings.  Advertisers
offering material for sale MUST list a price.

Don't ask me to email a preview of an issue's ad section -
everyone will get their copy the same way, once it's published
through our email list server.  Our web site posting and RSS
feed are delayed, so don't count on them for getting a first
look at an issue - email is still your best bet.

All advertisers should list a mailing address and an email
address. A phone number is optional.

I often get requests for Book Wanted ads.  Until now I've
always had to refuse, but also offered an alternative –
write up a submission saying WHY you want the item – for
what research purpose.  Nearly everyone takes me up on it,
and we’ve gotten some interesting discussion threads out
of some of these.   I will still make the same suggestion
to anyone placing a Want ad.

How might this new venue for buying and selling numismatic
literature affect our dealer members?   Well, we reviewed
our plans with regulars George Kolbe, Fred Lake, Charlie
Davis, Karl Moulton, David Fanning, and John Burns, and
they're supportive.

For one thing, the number of ad listings per issue is small,
and could never displace the volume of listings found in
dealer catalogs, fixed price lists or online listings.
If we find that we have a backlog of more ads than will
fit in one or two E-Sylum issues, we may adjust our price
upward to scale back demand.

E-Sylum ads would work best for offering one or two items
– if you have a whole library to sell you’d probably still
prefer consigning to a dealer.  Like eBay, these ads still
require WORK for a seller – you have to catalogue and price
your items, field email queries, then pack and ship the
items.  Those are all things a literature dealer does
best for you.

For sellers with just a few items to list E-Sylum ads would
be less work than eBay and faster than consigning to a
literature auction.  Unless an item is super rare, a
single-item consignment is often more trouble than not
for an auctioneer.

To keep things simple, the cost is the same to all - no
special rates for NBS members, no multiple-ad discounts,
etc. - just a flat rate per 70-character line.  We're
starting at just $1.50 per line, payable by check or PayPal.
We also offer standalone "boxed" ads of up to 10 lines at
a flat rate of $20.

To place an ad in an upcoming E-Sylum issue, simply Reply
to this message or email me directly at
and include "E-Sylum" in the subject line.

Every issue of The E-Sylum is a test run – what works stays,
what doesn’t goes.  We’ll evolve our policies on ads over
time as we gain experience.  Together we'll learn what works
best for all involved and move the craziness of The E-Sylum
to the next Bazaare level.


Roger S. Siboni writes: "Michael Weller was a preeminent
Antique Silver Dealer in San Francisco (and nationally)
having helped me frequently with American engraver's marks.
In fact, he was the one that helped establish the unique
Standish Barry countermark on an Imitation Doubloon in
The American Numismatic Rarities Eliasburg World Gold Coins
and Medals sale in April 2005 (Lot 3012). Michael was a
leading member of the San Francisco Numismatic Club and a
fairly well respected Greek and Roman collector having
sold a substantial portion of his collection several years
ago through Victor England and CNG.  See below:

"Michael Weller passed from this life on Thursday afternoon
February 21st, in his own bedroom, surrounded by his family
and friends.  Last rites were performed that same evening.

"Michael, although only 67, had been diagnosed with
metastatic cancer less than two months ago, which
progressed quickly.

"Michael, a well known and highly regarded antique silver
dealer, was active in many spheres, and had literally
hundreds of friends.   He had a classical education in
Minnesota, read and spoke Latin, and was a passionate
and knowledgeable collector of Roman & Greek coins and
Renaissance & Baroque medals.    Michael was active in
the Jackson Street Antique Dealers Association, the
American Decorative Arts Forum, the American Bach Soloists,
 the Alamo Square Association, and many others.

"Few have lived so thoughtfully, well, and with such
generosity to others.  A memorial service is being planned.
Goodbye Michael, you will always be in our hearts.
Requiescat in Pace."

[Thanks to Roger for bringing this news to our attention.
Our sympathies to Michael's family. -Editor]


R.J. Hammond of Bethlehem, Pa writes: "I'm glad to be
amongst those who have subscribed to your voluminous
newsletter, published weekly, and arriving on time...
usually Sunday.  Last week's issue mentioned a complete
bound set of the American Journal of Numismatics.  I too
enjoy a partial set of AJN bound volumes (with a few
loose issues, unbound).

"I had the privilege of finding this set at a Pennsylvania
book/paper show held in Fort Washington, Pa.  The set
starts with the first issue (1866) and continues without
interruption to 1893.  The year escapes me, but I believe
it was 2003 or '04.  The set was deaccessioned from a
library located in New York state.

"The dealer, domiciled in down-town Buffalo, N.Y., offered
the set to me for a then flabbergasting sum which was
certainly outside my reach.  ($200.00 down and over a
year to remit the difference in monthly amounts became
the pay schedule.)  Since I abhor long-term payments, I
struggled to consummate the deal within four months or so.

"My Bride and I drove to Buffalo, paid the amount owed,
placed the set of volumes in the back seat, visited Niagara
Falls for the first time, and returned home with our prize.

"I've stashed the set with my other numismatic literature,
which numbers a paltry 400 books other than catalogues.
Occasionally I find time to peer at one of the volumes therein."

[Nice find.  I'm envious of course, but I'm glad the set
found an appreciative owner.  I hate to see libraries
deaccession important journals, but it's good to see them
put back to use after perhaps decades of gathering dust.


Jim Duncan, Jeff Starck and Ginger Rapsus correctly noted
the answer to last week's quiz question.  I asked, "Who
can spot the error in the story about the gold coin dress
from Japan?"

Ginger Rapsus writes: "I believe the gold Philharmonic
coins are from Austria, not Australia.  That reminds me
of a story...I once heard of someone who walked into a
post office and tried to mail a package to Austria.  The
person behind the counter insisted Austria was an
abbreviation for Australia, and refused to mail the



Regarding Dave Kellogg's query about the Krylon "Make it
Acid-Free" spray, Anne E. Bentley of the Massachusetts
Historical Society writes: "In the 25 years I served as
paper conservator here, we made up our own 'deacidification
spray' for use on water-soluble inks.   Various types
of base salts were dissolved in alcohol solvents and
sprayed onto the surface of papers to saturate. Once
dried, the salts remained and neutralized most of the acids
present in the paper and if the paper was stored in archival
conditions (proper folders within archival boxes, etc.)
this was generally good to hold it in stasis for
approximately 20-25 years.

"There are several things to be very, very careful of if
Applying a solution to paper:  the inks must be tested
before spraying with anything, even water.  I suspect the
solvent in the Krylon is toluene or methanol (carcinogenic
as well as flammable) and might just dissolve some inks...
or at least make them bleed.

"I also saw the results of over-zealous application of the
spray by inexperienced users.  In too great a quantity,
the base salts acted like an acid, causing the manuscript
to have a gritty, crystalline surface that stained and
bleached out the whole document and rendered it brittle
beyond belief.

"I think that in general, the absolute best thing you can
do to protect your papers is to simply store them in the
best archival folders and boxes you can find, being careful
to avoid metal paper clips and staples (they rust in humid
climates) and especially rubber bands (desiccated rubber on
paper is nasty to chip away).  SOLINET (Southeastern Library
Network) has a good essay on basic archival library storage
available online at: environspecs.pdf

"If you have a very valuable document, it's worth taking to
a paper conservator for treatment.  The American Institute
for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works has a great
website to help you locate what you need in your geographic
area: American Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works.

"For archival storage solutions, there are several businesses
with online catalogs:  University Products;

Gaylord Brothers;

and Demco among them"

Anne adds: "Please pass my compliments to Dick Johnson for
his elegant exposition on medal striking.  His description is
so clear that I could picture the whole process vividly as I
read it.  If he wrote guides to computer programs, we'd all
be experts!"



Dick Johnson writes: "The Loubat Medal was indeed administered
by Columbia University. Columbia administered so many awards
they became very sophisticated in medal award programs. To
name a few:  The Pulitzer Medal, of course, (separate medals
for journalism, letters, music), the Barnard Medal (physical)
or astronomy sciences), Butler Medal (philosophy or education,
Maria Cabot Medal (journalism), Charles Frederick Chandler
Medal (chemistry), James Furman Kemp Medal (geology), Ambrose
Monell Medal (mineral technology), Columbia University Medal
(public service -- Columbia employees exempt!), the Vetlesen
Medal (earth science) and the little known K.C. Li Medal (for
new applications of tungsten).

"Columbia University was such an important client of Medallic
Art Company (when I first worked there in New York City and
before the distraction of the American bicentennial) that the
firm's vice president himself called on the Columbia Awards
Office. The firm made most of their medallic awards. Even
when the plant moved to Danbury Connecticut the vice president
maintained an office in New York City just to serve such
clients as Columbia.

"Early on when I was researching medal prospects I discovered
the somewhat dormant Loubat Medal and asked the VP about it.
As best as I recall, the dormancy was due to a lack of
recommendations for the award.

"The most recent awards of the Loubat medal I could find
were for James Randall's book 'Lincoln the President--Midstream'
published 1952 and Milford Mathews' book 'A Dictionary of
Americanisms' 1951.

"The medal bore a portrait of Joseph Florimond duc de Loubat
and was struck in France. It was created in 1910 by medallist
Frederic Charles Victor de Vernon.  Incidentally, Joseph Levine
sold one in his 66th auction sale (November 13, 1999, lot 1398)
where someone got a terrific bargain for $27 plus 10 percent
buyer's fee."

[The award is "in recognition of the best works printed in
the English language on the history, geography, archaeology,
ethnology, philology, or numismatics of North America."
Numismatics is the reason for our interest in the award.
Perhaps the Numismatic Bibliomania Society (NBS), Numismatic
Literary Guild (NLG), American Numismatic Association (ANA)
or American Numismatic Society (ANS) will consider nominating
a work on North American numismatics for a future Loubat
prize. -Editor]



Dave Schenkman writes: "Great issue; I enjoyed reading it.
The story of the lady with the $5 token from Stearns, KY was
amusing. The Stearns Coal & Lumber Co. issued several varieties
of tokens, including three different $5 denominations. They
are all fairly common, and probably would sell in the $10-$15
range.  As for coal scrip values in general, I can think of
couple of instances where rare items have brought four figure
prices, but the first number has always been a one!"

[The woman was quoted in the article as saying that she'd
been offered $5,000 for the coal scrip token.  I know coal
scrip in general is fairly common and wasn't aware of any
being worth more than a few hundred dollars.  Other readers
report seeing Stearns tokens selling on eBay in the $20 range.



In response to Jeff Starck's note on the numismatics of the
Lincoln Highway, Brad Higgins writes: "I once lived about 1/2
mile from this spot in Chicago Heights, IL and my recollection
may be a bit hazy. This 'penny' is mounted on a pole and is a
mere 5' or so from the road on the SW corner of what was once
called the 'crossroads of the nation'. It is about 9" or so
in diameter and the pole is about 3-4' in height.  Years of
widening projects have left no trace of a fountain. When time
allows, I'll drive over there for a first time close-up
inspection. In the years I lived there, I never paid this
object a bit of notice."



Douglas Mudd writes: "As a follow-up about the Library of
Congress collection of medals - the last transfer to the
Smithsonian was in 1968 of about 1,000 medals and numismatic
items...  I got this from Jim Hughes at the National Numismatic
Collection at the Smithsonian, who, by the way, would like
to receive the E-Sylum."

[Thanks for the follow-up; perhaps all (or at least most)
of the LOC's numismatic items can now be found at the
Smithsonian.  Jim is Associate Curator at the NNC, with a
focus on Federal paper currency. Welcome aboard! -Editor]



[Steve Graham provided this background information on
subscriber William Robins, an NBS member from Westchester
County, New York. -Editor]

It is probably safe to assume that there are relatively
very few, if any other, numismatic exhibits on display
today in museums throughout the United States which are
the creation of fifteen year old numismatists.  However,
there is one, “Carson City – A Numismatic El Dorado,”
which is the most recent exhibit assembled by William
Robins, and it is currently drawing crowds to the Nevada
State Museum, located in the original Carson City Mint

The seven-case exhibit is the result of more than a year
and a half of dedicated research by young Robins, who was
inspired by his desire to understand more about Nevada’s
Comstock era and the connection between Carson City, the
CC Mint, and the nearby gold and silver mining bonanzas.

William’s exhibit was initially prepared for competition
at last year’s American Numismatic Association’s, World’s
Fair of Money, in Milwaukee.  Not surprisingly, especially
for those who know him, Will’s exhibit efforts were rewarded
with first place ribbons in the Western Americana and Young
Numismatist Exhibiting Excellence categories."

[Congratulations to William on his exhibiting success.
I understand he's preparing an exhibit for this summer's
American Numismatic Association convention in Baltimore.
That reminds me that it's not too soon for bibliophiles to
start planning to exhibit in the Numismatic Literature
category in Baltimore. -Editor]


[Geologist, historian and curator Bob Evans is a longtime
E-Sylum reader, and this week he provides us with an
interesting submission on the J. L. Polhemus counterstamsps
(which I mistakenly described as "J. H. Polhemus" last week).

The E-Sylum is always fascinating, and sometimes it drifts
into subjects with which I have personal experience. Such
was the case last week when Wayne’s Numismatic Diary (February
19) covered the recent meeting of his Northern Virginia
numismatic social group. I wish I could have been at that
meeting, particularly when Dave Schenkman and Joe Levine
shared their stories of the Polhemus counterstamped double-
eagle.  According to Wayne’s Diary, “The Sacramento, CA
pharmacist stamped a number of U. S. coins, but only one
gold piece.”

Although my own numismatic experience stretches only back
to 1988, when my crewmates and I discovered the shipwreck
site of the S.S. Central America, that experience has
encompassed the discovery of three pieces with Polhemus
counterstamps. While it is true that for years the only
such counterstamp on a gold coin was the one handled by
Joe and then Dave, the shipwreck yielded two more double-
eagles so stamped, as well as one half-dollar. Collectively,
the double-eagles may be the most impressive “store cards”
ever produced.

The stamp reads, “J. L. POLHEMUS / DRUGGIST / 190 J. ST.
COR. 7th / SACRAMENTO CAL.” The lines bearing the Polhemus
name and the city name are arranged in a slight arc and an
inverse arc respectively, creating an attractive “football-
shape” for the design. Perhaps the most charming aspect is
that beneath the man’s name is a tiny mortar and pestle
figure, the universal symbol of the pharmacy trade.

As the curator of the S.S. Central America treasure it was
a great privilege and honor to handle the contents of this
accidental time-capsule for the first time, and I made many
discoveries, if not for numismatics then certainly for myself.
I found the first Polhemus counterstamp in my shipboard
laboratory in 1989 while we were still at sea. After each
dive, before locking up the treasure I performed preliminary
cataloguing, and I tried to be as detailed as the encrusting
rust and mineral deposits on the coins and ingots would allow.

When I first saw the counterstamp there was something
incongruous about it. Through the rust I could see lettering
stamped around the stars and sunburst over the eagle’s head
on the reverse of an 1855-S double-eagle, making it somewhat
resemble a Type II or III to my novice’s eye. I immediately
knew something was unusual about this coin, so I fully
conserved it over the next few days to reveal the full
details and the wonderful counterstamp. I had previously
found a “W. W. LIGHT / DENTIST” counterstamp on a Wass Molitor
1852 $10 piece, so I was already familiar with the practice
of counterstamping.

Both the Polhemus and Light counterstamps were illustrated
in Walter Breen’s July 1990 article in The Numismatist (V.
103, No. 7) “The SS Central America: Tragedy and Treasure.”

The second Polhemus discovery came many years later. After a
decade of legal wrangling over rights, wrongs, ownership versus
salvage, and other aggravations, I commenced curating
(conserving if you prefer) the bulk of the treasure, in
cooperation with Dwight Manley and the California Gold Marketing
Group. One of the last groups of coins I tackled were what I
called “clusters,” coins firmly bound together by the rust and
minerals. As I separated the double-eagles so encased, out
popped an uncirculated 1856-S with a Polhemus counterstamp
on the obverse, slapped across Liberty’s shining face like a
bizarre tattoo. Coin World (June 25, 2001) quoted me as saying,
“Wow! That’s incredible!” at the moment of discovery, although
my actual words may have been a bit more colorful and unprintable
in a family publication.

That same issue of Coin World describes the earlier known coin
discussed at the meeting in northern Virginia as “an 1857-S
double eagle that was part of the Dr. Hudson Collection for
many years.” It also reports the price at auction, $48,300
for the counterstamped 1855-S first found in the treasure:
obviously a marvelous coin with many great stories.

[As I read Bob's email I realized that I had indeed seen
references to the Polhemus counterstamped gold coins from
the S.S. Central America, so my remark of the uniqueness of
the piece is question was indeed incorrect.  I'll blame it
on the wine.  Thanks for the correction, and the great story
of how these other pieces came to light from the wonderful
time capsule of the S.S. Central America recovery.

As for the Dr. Hudson piece, it is NOT the same one handled
by Joe Levine and Dave Schenkman - that one ended up in the
collection of Ray Byrne of Pittsburgh.  The Byrne specimen
was unique in gold at the time (although many Polhemus
counterstamps were already known on silver coins).

Dave Schenkman writes: "I knew about the other gold Polhemus
from the Numismatist story, where it was illustrated. Dr.
Hudson was also from Pittsburgh, and later moved to Texas.
He had some great tokens; Van Ormer and I bought some of
his Civil War tokens, and also his sutler collection. But,
he didn’t own the Polhemus counterstamp I bought from Joe."


[His earlier piece on viewing Garrett collection treasures
at Johns Hopkins University reminded Alan V. Weinberg of
another interesting experience of his relating to the
collection.  Here it is.  Thanks again to Alan for sharing
the tale.  -Editor]

In  1978, now living in Los Angeles, I recieved a phone
call from George Fuld, then working at Bowers & Ruddy
Galleries (located in the heart of  Hollywood Blvd directly
across from Graumann's Chinese Theater and its movie star
hand/foot prints). The area was my old LAPD footbeat (and
oh, the stories I could tell!). George said, "C'mon down,
I'm unwrapping the Garrett/JHU medals".

Wow! I raced down. I was likely the first to once again
view Garrett treasures outside of the Bowers & Merena
employees. I asked George, as I sat unwrapping medals,
"What Garrett/JHU medal most impresses you?" He showed
it to me & it mesmerized me. A large, superb prooflike
toned, completely hand-engraved Abraham Lincoln silver
portrait medal awarded to Captain Thomas Cottingham "One
of the Captors of the Conspirators and Assassin of
President Lincoln.  Awarded One Thousand Dollars"

Presented by General W.S. Baker, then head of the Secret
Service - the medal, money awarded and Cottingham are
mentioned in Baker's 1865 Memoirs, an edition of which
I have. The medal had an auction pedigree back to 1884
when T. Harrison Garrett bought it for $42. "What do you
think this'll bring, George?", already planning on acquiring
it. "$5,000," he said. Well, three years later, I bought it
in Garrett IV for $26,000. Today, I'm still asked about it
and if I still own it. Yes, I do.

Prior to the four Garrett/JHU auctions, I had received
another call from a Ventura Blvd, Tarzana coin shop (near
where I live). "I've got a peculiar George Washington medal
you might be interested in". Again, I raced down. It was the
unique silver George Washington Getz half dollar with reverse
bisecting die crack and large eagle. The dealer had been
flipping it in the air like gangster actor George Raft.
"Whazzit worth? Interested?, " he asked.  I immediately
recognized it as a Garrett/JHU unique colonial and contacted
Bowers & Ruddy.  It seems a dishonest employee had stolen
the coin. It made it into Garrett IV. I didn't get this one
- John Ford did.


George Fuld writes: "I am doing an in depth study on the
1790 (and 1858 'restrike") Manly medals.  I am trying to
get an accurate census of known copies of Baker 61 and 62
in silver and white metal.  Collectors who own such pieces
would be credited for their help -- hopefully they can
supply the pedigree of their medals.  They can contact me
at or at 12134B Heneson Garth, Owings
Mills, MD 21117-1600."


Ron Abler writes: "In several issues from 1876-1877, a list
of Centennial medals was published in the Coin Collector's
Journal.  I have copies of the articles that comprise the
complete list, but none of them have an author's name or
byline.  Can I assume that the author was the editor?  If
so, do you know who the editor was at that time?

[I'm fortunate to have a complete bound set of the CCJ in
my library, so I pulled the 1876 and 1877 volumes off the
shelf to have a look.  I happened to open the latter volume
to p5 of the January 1877 issue.  On the page is an article
(noted as being "Continued from October Number") titled
"Centennial Medals" by Ed. Frossard.

The April, June, July and October 1876 issues also have
"Centennial Medals" articles, but the author is not listed.
I didn't page through all the issues, but I checked the NIP
Index which says there were Centennial Medal articles in
the Feb/Mar/Apr/May/Jun/Jul/Aug/Oct 1876 and Jan/Mar 1877

According to Charles Davis in American Numismatic Literature
(p159), Ed Frossard was the editor from December 1875 through
December 1876.  The remaining volumes were edited by David
Proskey.  So to answer your question, the author of the
Centennial Medals article series would appear to be Ed

Davis notes that "the final Volume 13 is scarce and not
known in publisher's cloth", but if my Volume 13 isn't in
publisher's cloth then it's a darn good imitation.  My set
came from the Donald Miller library and has bookplate from
the Nelson Thorson library. -Editor]

Ron Abler continues: "One significant question that I have,
which may (or may not) depend on who the author was, relates
to the question of alloys.  The CCJ list and the other
contemporary list compiled by Holland in the American Journal
of Numismatics both list their medals variously in the standard
alloys of gold, gilt copper, bronze, copper, brass, and white
metal.  The question centers around the fact that neither
seem to agree as to which ones were issued in bronze, copper,
and/or brass.

"My first thought was that the authors of both lists were
contemporary to the medals being listed, so they ought to be
able to tell the difference between bronze, (brass, and copper
from the mostly mint condition medals that they must have
observed.  However, they disagree, one saying copper when the
other says bronze, and vice versa.  And, sometimes, my own
collection is no help, because bronze and copper can be
indistinguishable after 122 years of toning.  I'd just live
with the problem as a collector, but as an author I have to
decide, and I don't want to list a medal in an alloy that
never did exist.  Any suggestions?  Thank you."

[Got me - do our readers have any suggestions?  By the way,
if you're not familiar with the Numismatic Index Project
(NIP), be sure to check it out - it's a great resource.

To access the Numismatic Index Project (NIP), see:


Dick Hanscom of Alaska Rare Coins writes: "For those who
might be interested about the progress of my gold tokens,
I have progressed up to 10 DWT (1/2 ounce), and regressed
down to 1/4 DWT and 1/2 DWT. Recently, I purchased five
ounces of gold from Eagle Creek in the Circle Mining District
and made five sets of 1/4, 1/2, 1, 5, and 10 DWT tokens.

"I find that I have now reached the limit of my 3# hammer.
If I want to do a 1 ounce (punch out the blank and strike
the token), I need to do something different. I have seen
inexpensive manual hydraulic presses, but they just are
not cool.

"Does anyone know of a used screw press (size 2 or 3)
available for sale on the west coast?  I have found several
on the east coast (oddly, all in Rhode Island), but shipping
to Alaska costs more than the press.  If I'm unable to find
an affordable press on the west coast, I think I will try
to build my own drop hammer this summer."


[Last week John and Nancy Wilson penned a tribute to
numismatic author Milton R. Friedberg.  On Sunday February
24th the Cleveland Plain Dealer published an obituary of
Friedberg noting his interest in a very different collectible
topic. -Editor]

Milton R. Friedberg, who died Feb. 8 at age 90, manufactured
antennas for citizens band radios, police dispatch centers
and mobile phones.

The Brecksville resident also wrote books, but not about
antennas. He penned catalogues about coin collecting and
teddy bears.

Friedberg held degrees in electrical and mechanical engineering
from what is now Cleveland State University. He held patents
for such items as antenna mounting supports and concealed
antenna supports.

His numismatics hobby led to his penning "The Encyclopedia
of United States Postal and Fractional Currency."

Friedberg, who became fascinated with the Hermann teddy bears
a few years ago, also wrote "Teddy Bears and Stuffed Animals:
Hermann Teddy Originals, 1913-1998."

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


[The Washington Post published an article this week about
the two-tier monetary system in Cuba, and how rumors of a
change in the system triggered a panic. -Editor]

Cubans swamped currency exchange offices Monday and early
Tuesday in a brief but intense speculative frenzy fueled by
rumors that new President Raúl Castro would end the island's
reviled dual currency system.

Hoping to make a quick profit, many Cubans traded the country's
valuable "convertible pesos" -- a currency primarily used by
tourists, foreign-owned businesses, the elite and black-market
vendors -- for the weak Cuban national peso, which is used
for the salaries and pensions of nearly all Cubans. The
speculators believed that Castro, who hinted about gradually
changing the dual money system after being named president
Sunday, would double the value of the weak national peso or
abolish the stronger convertible peso.

The money swapping became so intense that some exchange
offices ran out of national pesos, according to Cubans who
stood in line at the offices and other observers. Faced
with what amounted to a small-scale run on its banks, the
government aired a report early Tuesday on the morning news
program "Buenos Dias" emphasizing that any changes to the
money system would be gradual.

The money rumors began Sunday when Castro was named by the
National Assembly to succeed his ailing brother, Fidel, who
has not appeared in public in 19 months. In his nationally
televised acceptance speech, Raúl said his government would
"keep delving into the phenomenon of the double currency
in the economy. . . . To avoid traumatic effects or
inconsistencies, any changes related to the currency shall
be made with a comprehensive approach."

Cubans cannot use national pesos in the island's best stores,
which carry products -- such as beef, soap and cooking oil --
that are not available or are in short supply in state-run
stores. As a result, the dual monetary system has created
resentment among Cubans.

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


[A trend we've noted in the past is the move toward more
acceptance of non-U.S. currencies by U.S. merchants - see
the links below to earlier articles on the acceptance of
Mexican and Canadian coins and banknotes in several border
towns.  On Monday the Washington Post published an article
about how several new York City merchants are actively
accepting euros in payment in addition to U.S. dollars.

"Euros Only" reads a handmade sign in Billy's Antiques on
East Houston Street in Manhattan. But that's really just
an attention grabber. Actually, owner Billy Leroy explains,
the store will accept Canadian dollars and British pounds,
and U.S. dollars, too.

Leroy is one of a small but growing group of New York
merchants in tourist-favored neighborhoods such as SoHo,
the East Village and Times Square who have begun to accept
the euro and other foreign currencies.

With the dollar near its lowest rate ever against the euro
and the numbers of international tourists in New York at
all-time highs, some store owners figure accepting the euro
offers a convenience to customers and sometimes generates
a stockpile of a strong currency for themselves.

Leroy began accepting euros after a buying trip to a Paris
flea market in November, when the exchange rate meant he
couldn't afford to purchase his usual volume of dressers,
mirrors and wax figurines. This is his way to raise euros
back home.

"European customers are here, buying apartments, and when
they're buying apartments, they're here buying furniture
for the apartments," said Leroy, in his shop, smoking a
cigar. "This weekend, 50 percent of my customers were

U.S. currency is the only legal tender money in the United
States, but parties can agree to satisfy a debt by other

"We have no problem with New York City stores finding new
ways to get Europeans to spend more money here, provided
they don't get ripped off on the exchange rate and still
pay the sales tax," said Stu Loeser, chief spokesman for
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.

However, some people in the United States don't appreciate
stores here dealing in foreign currencies. "I get mail
saying I'm un-American," said Leroy, the antique shop owner.
"But it's American to adapt."

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story






[An editorial in Monday's Washington Post advocated the
District of Columbia's controversial proposal for its
"state" quarter design - the use of the defiant slogan
the district already emblazons on its license plates:
"Taxation Without Representation".  -Editor]

New Hampshire has "Live Free or Die," and Pennsylvania
goes by "Virtue, Liberty, Independence." So, it's only
fitting that the soon-to-be-minted D.C. quarter be engraved
with the slogan that declares the defining fact of life
in the nation's capital: "Taxation Without Representation."

This week D.C. officials will submit to the U.S. Mint their
ideas for the design of the new quarter. D.C. Secretary
Stephanie D. Scott, who is heading up the effort for Mayor
Adrian M. Fenty, told us that the city is allowed to submit
three concepts and that each will include "Taxation Without
Representation." The phrase, which appears on license plates
in the District, was the most requested item from residents
making suggestions about what should appear on the reverse
of the coin, which will be minted in 2009 as part of the
popular 50 State Quarters Program.

D.C. officials, accustomed as they are to federal
second-guessing, fully expect pushback to their request
and have already sent a memo to Treasury Secretary Henry M.
Paulson Jr. outlining the city's rationale and urging
acceptance. We can think of only one valid reason to reject
the District's request: Congress renders the phrase moot
by granting D.C. voting rights.

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story

[The Mint's response was swift - no dice.  Here's what the
Washington Post reported later in the week.  -Editor]

Wow, that was fast. The U.S. Mint pretty much set a government
speed record in rejecting the District government's proposal
to put the words "Taxation Without Representation" on the D.C.
quarter that will be issued as part of the 50 States coin

Mayor Adrian Fenty's in-your-face proposal "does not comply
with the law that authorizes the D.C. commemorative quarter-
dollar coin," the Mint says in a statement just issued.

"Changing how the District of Columbia (the Seat of Government
of the United States ) is represented in Congress is a
contemporary political issue on which there presently is
no national consensus and over which reasonable minds differ.

Although the United States Mint expresses no position on
the merits of this issue, we have determined that the
proposed inscription is clearly controversial and, therefore,
inappropriate as an element of design for United States

A letter to the D.C. government from Cynthia Vitelli,
assistant director of external relations for the Mint,
invites the District to submit new ideas for the coin's
design. The Mint statement says it "looks forward to
working with District officials to develop narratives that
will lead to a quarter honoring the District of Columbia
of which the entire Nation can be proud."

[I had to laugh at the scathing response from a web site
reader: "And 'in god we trust' isn't clearly controversial?"

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


[Arthur Shippee forwarded this New York Times article on
the future of the U.S. one cent coin.  -Editor]

A penny for your thoughts? Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson
thinks the answer to that question should be not much. In
fact, if he had his way, he would like to get rid of the

Asked Friday whether he thought the penny should be
eliminated, Paulson agreed that it would make sense,
saying, ''The penny is worth less than any other currency.''

[All together now: "Duh!!"  -Editor]

However, he quickly added that he didn't think it was
''politically doable'' to eliminate the one-cent coin
and it wasn't something he planned to tackle in the final
year of the Bush administration.

In the radio interview, O'Dell also asked Paulson, who
made a fortune as the head of investment giant Goldman
Sachs before joining the Bush Cabinet, how much money
he carried in his pocket.

''I walk around with very little cash in my pocket,''
he said, depending instead on credit cards ''like
everyone else.''

Paulson said he did carry a few dollar bills with him to
sign for people who ask for autographs. The signatures
of the Treasury secretary and the U.S. Treasurer are
carried on not just the dollar bill but all U.S. currency.

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story

[U.S. notes autographed by the Treasurer or Secretary of
the Treasury (whose signatures by law are printed on every
bill) make for an interesting sideline collection.  Anyone
can have the printed signatures, but far fewer have
handwritten ones.   Do any of our readers collect these?
Anyone ever gotten a signature in person?  -Editor]

Dick Johnson forwarded a link to a Wall Street Journal item
about Paulson's statement.  He writes: "We have heard now
from the two highest officials in charge of our coinage
system following the 60 Minutes interview of Mint Director
Edmund Moy February 10th (reported here vol 19, no 6, art
13).  Moy stated he had studied other countries that had
 eliminated their lowest denomination coin, but prefers to
strike U.S. cent coins in a cheaper metal, perhaps steel.

"Where is the leadership here? Why should America study
what much smaller countries have done? America should be
in the forefront of this development (and let smaller nations
imitate us).  America has the greatest minds in the world,
but we have feckless bureaucrats, and incompetent politicians,
who invariably postpone reasonable action.

"One of those great minds in America is Chicago Fed Economist,
Francois Velde, who not only studied the small change problem
in advance of Director Moy -- and wrote a book on the subject
-- but offers the most viable solution: rebase the cent. In
effect, he suggests, declare all existing cents redenominated
to 5 cents by fiat. Solves the problem of rising metal costs,
eliminates recoining billions of coins, maintains stability
in commerce, rewards penny-saving Americans and prepares the
way in the future of eliminating the cent as a circulating
coin (like the mill coin we never had and the half-cent
abolished in 1857)."

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


Dick Johnson writes: "Abolishing the cent would eliminate
a widespread irritant: payment in pennies. Most toll booth
collectors now refuse cents for toll payments. Fare hikes
invariably bring out protesters who want to pay bus fares
in cents, causing annoying delays in coin counting, whether
manually, or the fare box churning through the coppers.

"We recall one unfortunate numismatist who tried to pay his
sizable amount in a divorce settlement in thousands of cents.
The wife rejected the coins and took him back to court. The
judge made him offer a more convenient currency. In a pique
he buried the coins in his back yard only to dig them up later.

"The latest occurred this week when 29 New Jersey eighth-
graders decided to protest their shortened lunch period.
They paid their $2 lunch fee in cents. School officials
gave them all detention.

"The law used to be cents are legal tender up to 50 coins,
subsidiary coins up to $10 face (and when gold circulated
gold coins must be accepted for unlimited payment amounts).
However, in this day of hipper sensitivity, where too many
protest too much, the law is abrogated. Make your own rules
about how many -- and what -- coins you will accept."

Here's the New Jersey school article:
Full Story


[We've been following the story of the Austrian film "The
Counterfeiters", which won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language
Film at last week's Academy Awards.  The film chronicles the
story of 'Operation Bernhard", the WWII Nazi counterfeiting
scheme involving concentration camp inmates.  Here are excerpts
from some recent reviews of the film, which has been shown in
the U.S. with English subtitles.  Has anyone had the opportunity
to see it?  Let us know your thoughts. -Editor]

As far as possible, Ruzowitzky hewed close to the historical
record, adapting the script from The Devil's Workshop, a book
by Adolf Burger, one of the Sachsenhausen forgers. Burger had
been a printer in Slovakia before the war; his wife died in
Auschwitz. The character of Sally in the film is based on the
real-life Salomon Smolianof, who had been Burger's best friend.
Still alive at 90, Burger visited the film's set.

Ruzowitzky spent a month before the shoot rehearsing the cast,
but only a month on set, an abbreviated schedule that was
deliberate. "I wanted to shoot it like a documentary," he
explained, "with lots of hand-held stuff and if you have too
much time, you tend to lose some of the momentum that comes
from rushing."

None of the film's shooting was done inside either Mauthausen,
where Sorowitsch is initially incarcerated, or Sachsenhausen.
Ruzowitzky initially hoped to get inside, but eventually
concluded it would be wrong - if only because of the incongruity
between the horrors lived in those camps and the groaning
tables of catered food laid out for actors and crew.

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story

Save yourself? Or save everyone else? Perhaps one of drama’s
greatest dilemmas, the question is also an incredibly difficult
one to set up with realism, conviction, and consequence. And
that is exactly what “The Counterfeiters” does and what makes
it such great cinema.

I had the benevolent dumb luck to wander into a midnight
screening of “The Counterfeiters” on the last night of the
Telluride Film Festival without knowing anything about it.
An hour and forty minutes later, I sat there, glad to have
had the fate to wander into the best film playing that week.
After the screening, Ruzowitzky took the stage and struck
me as particularly thankful to have had the chance to make
such a film. A huge smile on his face, he had the rare look
of a man both content with his work and humble in front of it.

“The Counterfeiters” is unique in a world of multimillion-
dollar tent pole features marketed to a shrinking category
of potential product buyers. An action-comedy-romance-Nazi-
spy-art-counterfeiter-war-Holocaust-period piece, the film
has a unique blend of high production values and directorial
vision now found in fewer and fewer theaters. This is an
instance of heartfelt, talented and significant filmmaking,
compelling on a level that is seldom found.

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


Here's an interesting video showing the different ways that
people around the world count cash.  I never thought of all
the possibilities, relying on one or two favorites - not that
I have ever that much cash around to count, anyway.  But the
cultural differences are fascinating.  A number of people
have commented on the video and questioned its accuracy, but
it's probably true that there are cultural norms in various
regions of the world as well as many personal differences or
idiosyncrasies.   WARNING: the video is tame but the site
it's on includes links to some risqué material on a menu
of other videos.

To read the comments on the video, see:
Video Comments

To view the video, see:


[Lora Robins forwarded this link to a "compendium of beautiful
libraries." For bibliophiles, this is what Heaven looks like.

To view the library images, see:
Full Story


Dick Johnson writes: "What are 'coin drops' in Barre, Vermont?
Dropping coins apparently in this town is banned and the city
council made news this week by not lifting the ban.

"Gosh, in the numismatic field 'coin drops' are a good thing.
Someone, usually a coin dealer, drops a rare or scarce coin
back in circulation, he obtains a lot of publicity for doing
so. Usually he offers to buy back this coin for anyone who
finds it in their change. Or the person can keep it and become
a coin collector (that might be future business for the local
coin dealer).

"The resulting coin drop publicity -- often for a coin show
or such -- is worth the cost to the dealer for the local
interest and intense publicity it generates. Also it gets
the public to start looking at their change. "Did you check
yours today?" Budding numismatists!

"Maybe it means spilling the coins out of your pocket when
you pull your car keys out. I certainly won't do that in
Barre, drop any coin by chance. Better yet, I think I will
keep on driving, and not even stop in Barre. How active are
the coin drop police there?

"Or it could mean don't drop any coins in those containers
provided by charitable organizations. Gosh I thought that
was a good thing too.

"Are Barre city council members that up tight? Or perhaps
all the towns' charities are fully funded. No need for citizens
to deposit the loose coins they don't want to carry home and
entomb in glass jars or toss on the bureau dresser.

"If you think I made up this story, you can read the
honest-to-gosh truth right in their own Barre newspaper:

Full Story "

[I suspect "coin drops" are the roadside collections by
charity volunteers seeking donations from drivers stopped
at intersections.  They're a Good Thing, but do slow down
traffic, and I can understand why a town might want to place
limits on them.

As for coin show publicity "coin drops", I wouldn't ban them,
but would be happy to see a moratorium declared.  I've done
one of these myself with great success, but it's getting to
be overkill.  I'd be happy not to have to read the publicity
for yet another one. -Editor]


Dick Johnson writes: "Rootsweb Review, a weekly Internet
newsletter for genealogists, includes this in their
latest issue:

 John Penny's epitaph in the Wimborne, England,
 cemetery:  "Reader, if cash thou art in want of any,
 dig six feet deep and thou wilt find a Penny."


This week's featured web site is suggested by Dan Freidus.
He writes: " is a useful resource for economic
history, a field that may not interest all numismatists
but one that overlaps significantly with numismatics for
me.  The site has a review of Stephen Mihm’s “A Nation of
Counterfeiters: Capitalists, Con Men, and the Making of
the United States”, a discussion of the era of “broken
banks” and so-called “obsolete banknotes”.  Their archive
of book reviews includes a number that may be of numismatic
interest but I use the site most often for their historic
price calculator."

  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.

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