The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 11, Number 11, March 16, 2008:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2008, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers are Paul Herrick, courtesy of Russ
Sears, Don Bailey and Joe Falater, courtesy of John and Nancy
Wilson, Mike Packard and Peter Huntoon.  Welcome aboard!  We now
have 1,130 subscribers.

This week we open with reviews of three books: Eric Newman's
"United States Fugio Copper Coinage Of 1787", Bob Forrest's "An
Introduction to Religious Medals" and Humberto Costa's "The Notes
of the Island of Puerto Rico".  Also, Mike Paradis has made
available some photos from the ANS duplicate book sale.

In a response to a query, Pete Smith, Dick Johnson and George
Kolbe provide background information on Charles Johnson.  New
queries this week include coin motifs on building architecture,
particularly banks.

In the news this week, one of the world's largest collections
of Lincoln numismatic items has been closed to the public, the
BEP issues a redesigned five dollar bill and advertises for
apprentice bank note designers.  My numismatic diary this week
covers the March meeting of my northern Virginia numismatic
social group (which is still searching for a snappy name).

On behalf of myself and NBS I'd like to thank David Fanning
for being The E-Sylum's first advertiser.  Readers and dealers
alike are encouraged to take advantage of this new forum to
publicize their numismatic literature wants and for-sale items.

To learn which numismatic author thought variety collecting
was a worthless endeavor, where to find a group of 1906 Morgan
Dollars and how an important coin collection was saved from
destruction in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, read on.
Have a great week, everyone.

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


Fred Lake of Lake Books writes: "The prices realized list
for our sale #92 which ended on March 11, 2008 is now
available for viewing on our web site at:

"The sale featured some very spirited bidding with strong
prices noted in many areas.

"Our next sale will be held in May and will feature selections
from the library of Dr. Garth R. Drewry. Early Greek and Roman
coin reference materials, including a set of the BMC Greek,
Copenhagen, von Aulock, Lindgren, Cohen, etc., will be
highlighted. Also, as usual, there will be material covering
the entire numismatic spectrum."


Eric Newman's 'United States Fugio Copper Coinage Of 1787'
is a long-awaited and welcome addition to the literature of
U.S. numismatics.  I'm no expert in the Fugio coinage, but
the color photographs and diagnostic text seem quite useful.
The text is well-written and eminently readable.  I'm glad
to have it in my library, and recommend it to all collectors
of U.S. coinage, colonial or Federal.  The Fugio coppers were
the first coinage officially authorized by the new nation,
and every collector should know about them.  The following
paragraph from Newman's text aptly sums up the series:

"From the awarding of the contract to Jarvis over the superior
proposal of Matthias Ogden, to the illegal distribution of
government copper stock, to Jarvis' failed European sojourn,
to his mumble-mouthed apologies to Congress, to Flint's rise
and fall, the Fugio coppers seemed a cursed coinage, a study
in failure, a comedy of repeated accidents and errors.  Has
the Fugio contract coinage experiment succeeded, American
numismatic history may have turned out far different - perhaps
contract coinages would have been the rule, precluding the
founding of a Federal mint.  The most powerful men in government
watched the after effects of the Fugio debacle, including
Alexander Hamilton, as a hard-charging attorney on behalf of
the government and Congressional inquisitor, and Thomas
Jefferson, as a commentator against speculators like Duer
and Flint. Both became powerful defenders of the Federal Mint
through many trials and inquiries during its first decade,
suggesting they learned from the embarrassing experiment that
was contract coinage."

I'd reference a page number for the above quote, but there's
a problem - the pages aren't numbered (it's page 16 by my count).
That's an unfortunate omission, although distributor Charles
Davis notes that "None of the Noyes books has page numbers.
The only people I have heard complain about that are book
cataloguers who want to put down the number of pages."  Well,
you can add book reviewers to that list, as well as any
researcher wishing to quote or otherwise reference the book's
excellent text.

But that's a minor point - the book is very well done.  The
glossy paper stock is great printing the 3x color photographs
of the obverses and reverses of the coins.   The images are
supplemented with diagnostic pointers and notes.

Everything I expect in a numismatic book is there in fine form
- footnotes, bibliography, supporting material, and complete
direct quotes from relevant source material.  I enjoyed the
sections on errors, 19th century copies, and numismatist
Horatio N. Rust and the Fugio dies.  Any bibliophile worth
his salt would love to have discovered Rust's handwritten
"Mem(oramdum) of Fugio cent" in Rust's personal copy of
Crosby's "Early Coins of America." (transcribed on p22 or

There are one or more pages for each of the die varieties,
which are shown with rarity levels and commentary for each.
The varieties are assigned Newman numbers, such as "Newman
- 12 KK".

Repeating the full Newman name on every page seemed a waste
of ink to me, but Charlie Davis made a good case for reinforcing
the use of the complete attribution over an abbreviation. He
writes: "Ink is cheap, and that's the way the coins will be
attributed. How many New Jersey collectors say they have a
M35-J. rather than Maris 35-J. or an R-16 instead of Ryder 16?
The use of the full Newman will eliminate confusion with other
series. How many N's are there? Let's see, we have a Newcomb,
a Noe and now a Newman designation. It is less confusing to
use the full name."

Contributors to this fine volume include photographer Bill
Noyes, John Kraljevich and Ken Bressett.  It was published
by Jon Lusk and is distributed by Charles Davis, and has 176
unnumbered pages.

The book is available in two versions: blue cloth at $125.00
(plus $7.00 shipping to U.S. addresses), and half Morocco
with a signed bookplate at $550.00 (plus $15 shipping). Each
may be ordered from Charles Davis at Box 547, Wenham MA 01984."

Davis adds: "I sold the Rust copy of Crosby in my May 2005
mail bid sale where it was described as follows:

"287 Sylvester Crosby: The Early Coins of America and the Laws
Governing Their Issue ..., 1875, 381 pages, 10 heliotype plates,
2 folding manuscript plates, 110 wood engravings in the text,
contemporary half morocco lightly worn at the spine and corners
but binding tight, internally clean and fine, printed leaf from
Crosby dated October 1874 stating that an 11th part will be
necessary tipped to rear blank leaf, bookplate of Horatio Rust
on the front pastedown. (1,500.00)

"Horatio Rust’s copy with the story of the “New Haven” restrike
of the Fugio cent contained in a manuscript note “Mem of Fugio
Cent” in his hand tipped to page 296. “In 1859 I called in New
Haven and hunted the city all day trying to find the dies in
which the Fugio cent was struck ... I was at West Haven with a
coin collector who directed me to a store in Chapel Street which
had descended from Brown and Platt who did the coinage. I there
found the dies, bought two pairs and one odd die for $20.00. I
took them to Waterbury and had 500 coins struck in copper, 50
in silver and one in gold. I sold one pair and the odd die to a
coin dealer in New York I think it was Curtis. Later I sold the
remaining die to Randall of Penna. (Signed) Horatio N. Rust.”. "



[George Cuhaj submitted the following review of "An Introduction
to Religious Medals" by Bob Forrest.  I've added some comments
of my own.  The book was published by Numismatics International
in 2007.  It has 211 numbered pages.  Our review copies were
8-1/2 x 11 spiral bound softcopies, but we believe the book
itself is hardbound.  -Editor]

Wow, what a topic to get a handle on!

I have been a Numismatic International member for about 15
years now, and have enjoyed reading Mr. Forrest’s articles
in the NI Bulletin for much of that time. This book is a
compilation and expansion of those articles.

This book is not a catalog of every saint, location, venerable
relic, or devotional commemorative issued. That is a good
thing, because there are far too many! The medals which are
discussed were chosen by the author, and those select medals
are grouped by person (saint) or place. Short descriptions
of the lives of the saint, or the place of pilgrimage and
what makes that place is important is included to give the
reader a base as to why the medals and the particular devotion
has come to be. Catholic saints and locations of devotion
are the scope of the book.

The religious medal is that one inexpensive trinket that a
visitor to a shrine could buy and keep as a remembrance, or
pass along to a friend who was not able to visit. Perhaps
even help with a devotion. As far as the Miraculous Medal
is concerned, it has a great story – the design was revealed
in a vision by Mary herself! (She should be the patron of
medal manufacturers) as thousands of varieties have been
produced since 1832. I’m sure every mint in the world has
done a miraculous medal!

Illustrations, as with his articles in the NI Bulletin are
hand lettered freehand line drawing giving the viewer a good
general idea of what is being discussed. However, in this
age of technology, I do not understand why clear scans of
photos were not used. I would expect clear photos and not
line drawings in a $55 book.

This is an amazing field, and this book has treated it on
the surface, which is probably only as deep as one should
to go on the subject.

As a former Chief Usher at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New
York City, I come into this review with too much baggage.
The gift shop at the cathedral probably offered over 250
different devotional items to buy. I remember once having
the pleasure to view a collection of over 5,000 such
religious medals (Thanks fellow reader D.W. Johnson). St.
George, St. Benedict, St. Joan of Arc and hundreds of others
in eight different sizes and three different metals. There
is a limit to the stuff one could collect. I passed at the
time. I am still glad that I did.

The book is available directly by check or M/O from
Numismatics International at: P.O.Box 570842, Dallas, TX
75357-0842 or

Special postpaid sale price for this new publication until
June 1, 2008 for $55.00 (USA) or $65 (Int'l).  PayPal
( Dealers write for special discounts
and drop ship pricing. After June 1, 2008, retail price is
$59.95 plus S/H ($4 USA) & ($12 Int'l).

[I concur with George's disappointment at the dearth of photo
illustrations, but think his assessment of the book's line
drawing illustrations is overly harsh.  While I too was
disappointed in not seeing photographic images, I found that
the line drawings grew on me after spending some time with
the book.  In this computer age they do seem out of place if
not jarring, yet lend the book a unique flavor.  For
identifying basic types of religious medals, I think they
work just fine.

I'm wholly unfamiliar with the subject matter outside of
visiting St. Patrick's cathedral as a tourist once.  But
the book would have come in handy a few years ago when I
disposed of the coin collection of Glenn Mooney of Pittsburgh.
His collection included box after box of material, and one
large box had nothing but religious medals.  I knew nothing
about them and in the end sold the box as a single lot.  It
would have been enlightening to read the book while pawing
through that box.

The book is dense with text - this is not a fluff catalog.
Its 36 main chapters cover in detail all the major categories
of religious medals including the Virgin Mary, Jesus, Sacred
Hearts, the Eucharist, the Passion, Icons and Paintings,
Images and Shrines, Pilgrimages, Relics of the Saints, medals
of the Saints, etc.  Each chapter has a set of endnotes.
The author has clearly done a great deal of research and his
book is a great service to the hobby.

The story of the Miraculous Medal should be of particular
interest to numismatists, for the design of the medal didn't
come about in the usual way:  "In a Paris convent in 1830 a
young nun - later to become known to the world as St. Catherine
Laboure - had a vision in which the Virgin Mary appeared to
her with specific instructions for the design of a medal.
According to St. Catherine, a voice actually told her to
'have a medal struck after this model' ".

I did have one minor question - if the book was published
in 2007, why does it have a 2004 copyright date?  I asked
David Gracey of Numismatics International and he told me
that the book has been in the works for several years and
was delayed due to deaths in the families of the author
and local coordinator.  He writes: "It may be a small miracle
that it ever got published. I assume the copyright date was
the hoped-for publication date and no one noticed when the
publication date kept slipping."

But that's a minor nit - I found the book very readable
and informative, and would encourage medal collectors and
churchgoers alike to obtain a copy and read it.  -Editor]


[The following review of Humberto Costa's "The Notes of
the Island of Puerto Rico" was written by Peter Huntoon
and published in the March 2008 issue of Bank Note Reporter.
With permission of the author and BNR Editor Dave Kranz,
I'm reprinting it here.  Thanks, guys!  A well known and
respected researcher in the paper money field, Peter is
also a new subscriber - welcome aboard!  -Editor]

"The Notes of the Island of Puerto Rico" just landed on my
desk.  WOW, it features a comprehensive assemblage of high
resolution color photos of every class of Puerto Rican
paper ever issued.

The nucleus of illustrations are actual notes collected by
Humberto Costa during the past 60 years.  What he was unable
to obtain is fleshed out with photos of available pieces
from other collections, or proofs from the American Bank
Note Company.

The 210 page book was published by Westernbank, el Banco del
Pueblo, Puerto Rico.  It measures 11 x 8 2 inches, and utilized
coated paper allowing for high quality color illustrations.
The scans that accompany this announcement are scans from the
photos in the book, not the actual notes, that's how good the
illustrations are!

Humberto tells the story of his passion for collecting.  He
is Puerto Rican which gives the book an added dimension of
sincerity and authenticity. The history of the use of paper
money on the island is related by Eduardo Rodriguez-Vazquez.
Vazquez-Rodriguez begins this tour with the Spanish colonial
era in 1766, and carries you through the national bank note
era under U. S. colonial rule.

The authors walk you through each series and denomination in
a very usefully, highly organized fashion.  If it was made
between 1812 and 1909, you're going to see a great illustration
of it.

Available data on manufacturer, printings, and other useful
tidbits are provided where available.

The layout work couples photos of the notes with historic
island scenes, people and vignettes.  The presentation is a
visual feast, far more elegant than the vast majority of
numismatic books.

What is significant is that there are both Spanish and English
language editions of the book.  Don't procrastinate; this is
a limited edition work. Ordering information is through:

Humberto Costa
1026 Vigereaux Ave, Apto. 23-E
Guaynabo, PR 00966-2504


Last week Bob Knepper asked, "What, if any, book or website
covers Danish pattern coins and includes pictures?  I have
"Danske Provemonter" by Gert Posselt but that covers only
1983 to 1989."

Jørgen Sømod writes: "The book Bob Knepper is asking for is
a part of my 13 volume numismatic project. It will be the
10th volume, scheduled for publication May 24, 2011.  Until
now has been published:

* Danish and Norwegian medals and jetons before 1788
* Danish tokens from the oldest times and until 1960, 3 Vols.
* Encased postage stamps part 1.
* (2008) Encased postage stamps part 2
* (2009) Danish medieval coins (two volumes)

The first six books have in total 1,452 pages and 6,500+



Alan M. Stahl, Curator of Numismatics at Princeton University's
Firestone Library writes: "I am in charge of writing up the
bibliography of books and articles concerning USA and Canada
medals, decorations and tokens for the Survey of Numismatic
Literature to be published in conjunction with the International
Numismatic Congress in Glasgow in 2009; the bibliography is to
cover works that appeared in the years 2002 through 2007. I
would be very grateful for references to books and articles
that I might otherwise miss. Please send this information to
me by the end of May at or to:

Alan M. Stahl
Curator of Numismatics
Rare Books and Special Collections
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544 "

Alan adds: "I've put in an order for the Canadian Numismatic
Bibliography, but have not received it yet. John Adams has
very graciously sent me copies of the few issues of the MCA
Advisory that I lack and that are not online."


J. Moens, secretary of the Royal Numismatic Society of
Belgium writes: "The Royal Numismatic Society of Belgium,
founded in 1841, has launched its own website (
last week.  It has been developed with limited means, but we
have endeavored to offer as much information as possible
that could be of help to numismatists in their research.

"The site contains a complete set of all the tables of contents
of the Revue Belge de Numismatique since 1841 (with the
possibility to order photocopies of articles), and also a
bibliography of all the articles published on Belgian
numismatics since 1987.  You can also consult the list of
publications of each of our members.  And finally, there is
also a complete file on the history of the Latin Monetary
Union (of which Belgium was a member), with online access to
publications concerning its history (e.g. proceedings of the
monetary conferences, texts of the agreements, contemporary
articles in economic reviews, etc.)."

To access the Society's web site, see:
Royal Numismatic Society of Belgium

To access the English version directly, see:
English version


Mike Paradis forwarded some photos taken in New York last
weekend at the American Numismatic Society's duplicate
literature sale.  I've uploaded them here for viewing.
American Numismatic Society's duplicate
literature sale
Click here to view the photos as a slideshow:


Another set of photos recently uploaded for viewing comes
from Rich Mantia. The photos are of some highlights from his
collection of "Redbooks" - "A Guide Book of United States Coins"
by R.S. Yeoman. Included is the unique Braille Redbook, which
may be the only numismatic book in Braille, the unique 1963
"Greybook" from Ken Bressett to James Ruddy, a 1947 first
edition Interleaved contributors copy (presumed to be Stuart
Mosher's), and a 1991 Chicago ANA Centennial convention
"Friendship Luncheon Cruise" special edition with its
associated program.

Click here to view the photos as a slideshow:
Rich Mantia's Redbooks (SlideShow)


Regarding Michael Knight's query about Charles Johnson,
Pete Smith writes: "I collect clippings with obituaries of
numismatists. An obituary for Charles M. Johnson was
published in the February 21, 1979, issue of Coin World.

"Johnson was born on January 8, 1908, in Butte, Montana. He
died on February 1, 1979. At the time he was a resident of
Long Beach, California.  Johnson earned a law degree from
the University of Montana, Missoula, and practiced law with
an oil company in Long Beach. He joined the ANA in 1950
and received the Farran Zerbe award in 1970."

[Pete attached scans of the Johnson obituary, but I'm unable
to post them for our readers because the copyright is owned
by Coin World.  -Editor]

Dick Johnson writes: "On a buying trip once to Southern
California I spent a day with Charles Johnson (no relation)
at his home in Long Beach California. We spent the morning
sightseeing and the afternoon in his library. We headed
first toward the ocean front and stopped at a large multi-
story nondescript building, a tuna packing factory. We
climbed iron stairs on the outside like a fire escape to
a second-floor door. It was unlocked. Charlie walked in
like he owned the place (maybe he did!), I followed. The
second floor balcony looked down on an assembly line of
women carving up tuna carcasses. Somehow the fish sections
got placed in those round flat tins, a lid sealed the can
shut and the tins formed a long row on a conveyer line right
into the ovens. The tuna is cooked in the sealed cans. On
the other side of the building was a dock where the fishing
ships disgorged their spiny cargo.

"Next was a visit to the headquarters of a local fraternal
organization, the Lions, I believe. It boasted the longest
bar in California.  I believe it. That bar must have been
thousands of feet long. The building must have been a block
long, and the bar was the full length of the building.
(Maybe my mind exaggerates the dimensions 40 years later,
but it was quite long.)

"And what sightseeing in Long Beach would be complete without
a trip to the Queen Mary. We walked up the gangplank into the
bowels of the magnificent ocean liner. And walked, and walked
all over the ship. I even stopped at the gift shop and bought
a Queen Mary medal. (I mentioned I was on a buying trip!)

"After lunch we headed back to his home.  He led me into the
back yard. Off to the right was a small building, formerly a
tool shed I believe. Inside was his office and library.  His
library had been banned from the house. But he had created a
cozy enclave with comfortable chairs and lots of numismatic books.

"I am frequently amazed at successful and powerful men who
placate wives by bending to their will against their collecting
interests.  How much better it would have been to have kept that
library inside the house. As I recall Charlie's study had a
musty smell. I don't recall how far his home was from the ocean,
but there was moisture in the area.

"The conversation, of course, was on numismatics, collecting
specialties and such. At the time Charlie was on the committee
to select the city where ANA headquarters would be located.
It seems California collectors were miffed that everything
numismatic was on the East Coast. They would have liked ANA
on the West Coast.  A compromise was accomplished with
examinations of cities in the Midwest.  Omaha, Nebraska and
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma were two candidates.  It finally
located in Colorado.

"But Charlie Johnson was very kind, very knowledgeable about
numismatics and liked by everyone who knew him. I'm glad I
knew him and fondly remember our one day together."

George Kolbe writes: "I purchased the American portion of
Charles M. Johnson's library; Douglas Saville, then of Spink,
purchased the works on foreign and ancient numismatics. There
is quite a story to this – someday I will write an article.
A teaser: I visited Charles M. Johnson at his longtime home
in Long Beach and made an offer to purchase his entire
numismatic library, which he accepted. Later that day he died."


[I guess for bibliophiles, life's not worth living without
a numismatic library.  -Editor]

<************************** BOOK BAZARRE **************************>

on our Web site at . From our latest list:
The 1815 Mint Report. 8vo., self-covered. 8 pages. Ex the War
Department Library. Disbound, a bit browned with age; very good.
$165 e-mail 



Dick Johnson writes: "It couldn't come at a worse time. With
the approach of the 2009 Bicentennial of Lincoln's Birth (and
the centennial of the Lincoln Cent) the Lincoln Financial Group
has opted to close the Lincoln National Foundation's Lincoln
Museum in Fort Wayne, Indiana as of June 30 this year.

"The Lincoln Museum has one of the world's largest collections
of Lincoln numismatic items, with perhaps a greater number of
Lincoln items than even the J. Doyle DeWitt collection of
Political Americana at the University of West Hartford or the
Robert Hewitt collection (which was donated to the Smithsonian
in Washington, D.C.).  Robert King based his 1924 catalog on
Hewitt's collection and it has remained the standard work for
80 years.

"In addition to coins and medals, the Fort Wayne collection
contains an extensive library of books on Lincoln and vast
holdings of related material. If an object was associated with
Lincoln in any phase of his life, and was an artifact worth
having, it ended up in the Foundation's museum. Its holdings
are valued at $20 million.

"Among what the Museum calls its 79 key artifacts are one
of Lincoln's canes and his rocking chair. It also holds a
copy of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by Lincoln,
and one of 13 known copies of the 13th Amendment.

"The collection began with a few shelves of Lincoln books in
the basement of the Lincoln National Life Insurance Company
in the late 1920s. Under the directorship of three Lincoln
scholars, beginning with Louis Austin Warren, who took the
reins in 1928, the collection grew. Robert Gerald McCurtry
became director on Dr. Warren's retirement in 1956. Mark E.
Neely Jr. served for two decades from 1972 until 1992. Joan
Flinspack was named director in 1993.

"The Lincoln Museum was closed for six months in 1995 when
it moved from Clinton Street in Fort Wayne to its present
location at 200 E. Berry Street. It is housed in a landmark
location in Renaissance Square Building.

"The Lincoln Foundation was created in 1928 and was first
called the Lincoln Historical Research Foundation. It was
entirely supported by the Lincoln National Life Insurance
Company. Recently the insurance company reorganized and
changed its name to the Lincoln Financial Group.

"The reason for the closing of the museum, in the words of
Priscilla Brown, vice president of the Lincoln Financial
Group, 'This is not at all in the interest of saving money.
We will not be in the business of managing a museum.'  This
is PR Speak for 'it IS about money.' The news story then
goes on to relate the museum's income was $458,000 last
year and its expenses were $1.6 million. Yes, it is about
the money.

"Lincoln National Life Insurance Company renamed itself
Lincoln Financial Group and within the last 20 years has
been divesting divisions, such as property casualty and
reinsurance operations, and acquiring other insurance
companies and financial services companies. The museum
apparently did not fit into this mold so it must go.

"The closing announcement has caused one museum official,
Marilyn Moran-Townsend, a board member of Friends of the
Lincoln Museum, to resign and to speak out rather strongly.
In a guest column in the Ford Wayne News-Sentinel she states
the closing would 'leave a hole in our community's heart.'

"In 1963 the Lincoln National Life Insurance Company issued
its own Lincoln medal. It had among its collections a bronze
bas-relief of Lincoln, reputedly one of the most lifelike
reliefs of the 16th president. It was signed 'Pickett 1873'
but despite research no one had identified the artist.

"Because William Louth, then president of Medallic Art Company,
was a board member of the New York City Group of Lincoln National
Life Insurance, he suggested that the relief could be rendered
into an attractive art medal. The Museum shipped their bronze
relief to Medallic Art, and this served as a pattern whose image
was reduced to a 3-inch oval size die and art medals struck. The
insurance company reproduced an illustration of the medal on
its calendars the following year.

"While I was researching in the New York Public Library a
decade later I came across an entry to a 'Byron M. Pickett'
in an 1873 auction catalog. Further checking ascertained this
was indeed the artist who had created the enigmatic 'Pickett
Head of Lincoln' relief in the Lincoln Museum's collection
and replicated on that 1963 medal. Director McMurtry was
delighted to learn Pickett's full identity. 'You have made
an important discovery,' he wrote.

"I fondly remember visiting the Lincoln Museum and was
escorted to it by Kenneth Hallenbeck, now interim director
of the American Numismatic Association. He was living in
Fort Wayne at the time and employed by Lincoln National Life
Insurance Company. After dinner at the Hallenbeck home, my
family slept in their driveway (well, actually in a motor
home). The anticipation was great for the trip to the museum
the next day. Ken introduced me to Director Mark Neely then
he crossed the street to his office in the Company's main

"My notes tell me I did see in the museum that bas-relief
by Byron Pickett. It was displayed with a plaque that stated
this image was also the model for a United States postal
card. It was engraved and issued in red ink on a cream card
(philatelists call it UX23), although the image is flipped.
Lincoln faces right on the original relief, left on the
postal card. It was reissued in the same design in 1913 in
green ink (UX26).

"Over the years the museum has published 'Lincoln Lore' a
periodical that the Chicago Tribune has called one of the
top 50 in the nation. Future status of the magazine remains
unknown. About forty American museums have a strong interest
in Abraham Lincoln memorabilia. It is likewise unknown if
the museum's holdings will pass to one or more of these museums.

"To read one of five related articles (they are all linked
herewith) see: Full Story"


Regarding notes autographed by the Treasurer or Secretary
of the Treasury (called "courtesy signatures"), George Cuhaj
writes: "What collectors need to worry about are 'autopen'
signatures. This device has been in use by government
officials for many years.  Their use started late in the
Eisenhower administration; Kennedy used them nearly all
the time, and in the 1960s their usage spilled over to
nearly all elected officials and even astronauts.

"How to tell? Well, if you have two such notes, place them
over each other. Autopen signatures will be exactly the same.
In five signatures of yours personally, you would never sign
two exactly the same way. Look at the start and stops of the
words - often there is a dot of ink where the pen sat on the
paper longer than usual (certainly longer than one would have
if signed by hand).

"My general thoughts are that if you have a Secretary of the
Treasury signature, and it was not signed in person, then it
is very probably autopen. If you have a Treasurer of the U.S.
and it was not signed in person, it could be either. Of the
recent ladies in that job, Mary Ellen Withrow loved to sign,
in person and by mail, she even signed a photo I sent of her
that I took talking to a group of scouts. If you have the
green Rosario Marin, that is her autopen. Also, there is an
often a subtle waviness to autopen signature lines.

"Some time ago, in the bankruptcy proceeding of John Connally,
the press did make mention of several mint packs of signed
bills from his tenure as Secretary.

"As a general rule, fountain pens were in use through the
end of WWI, then in the late 40s and very early 50s the
wealthy had access to ball point pens.

"The best bet is to get these notes signed in person, have
MINT condition bills, and to try to take a photo of the

[George posted a nice photo comparing two courtesy signatures
of Treasurer Mary Ellen Withrow on his Wednesday blog. -Editor]




[Every now and then I find a little time to mention some
interesting articles and tidbits appearing in recent numismatic
periodicals.  Readers are invited to do the same - there's far
more great stuff out there these days than any one of us can
read, let alone comment on.  Bob Rhue did just that this week
- many thanks for the head's up the Starred Reverse cent
Article, which is discussed in the next item. -Editor]

Alan Herbert's Coin Clinic column in the March 11, 2008
Numismatic News (p38) has a neat bit of numismatic trivia
about the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake.  Farran Zerbe
(mis-spelled "Faran" in the article) "was in San Francisco
the day before the earthquake of April 18, 1906, and wanted
to see the J.D. Lighthouse collection of Roman and Greek
coins.  Lighthouse reluctantly agreed and removed the coins
from the Palace of Art and took it to his home for Zerbe to
view.  By the time Zerbe was finished it was too late to
return the collection to the Palace of Art.  The next morning
the earthquake destroyed the Palace along with the safe and
all its contents."

The April 2008 issue of The Colonial Newsletter has a number
of good articles, but I especially enjoyed John M. Kleeberg's
piece on "The Philadelphia Gold Hoard of 1872" (p3235-3263).
The article recounts and analyzes the discovery of the hoard
which was reported at the time in the Philadelphia Inquirer,
The New York Times, and the American Journal of Numismatics.
Two of the finders of the hoard took pieces to William DuBois
of the U.S. Mint, who reported that the dates of the coins
ranges from 1660 to 1749, consisting of "gold coins of Spain
and Spanish America, France and Portugal."  Kleeberg discusses
the known contents of the hoard of about 50 coins, which
included two Brasher doubloons (Lima style, 1786 and New York
style, 1787).   He also makes a good case that the hoard had
been assembled by a man named Peter Kurtz who lived at the
location during the period when the coins freely circulated.


Bob Rhue writes: "I just finished reading the feature article:
“Seeing Stars:  The Secret of the Starred Reverse Cent,” by
Dave McCarthy in the March edition of PCGS’s Rare Coin Market

"Dave’s keen observations and his analytical skills come together
to create a fascinating factual answer as to how the Starred
Reverse Cent came about.  Totally fascinating was his discovery
of the direct connection to the 1792 Wright Quarter Pattern
Reverse.  I urge anyone who is interested in learning a scientific
answer to a long-held mystery of an important coin to enjoy the
reading of this article."

[I asked Pete Smith (who wrote a monograph on the subject) if
he'd seen the McCarthy article.  He had, and his response is
below.  -Editor]

Pete Smith writes: For his article, Dave McCarthy looked at
enlarged photos and concluded that the same punch was used to
put the stars on the Wright quarter (eagle-on-globe) pattern
and the Starred Reverse cent.  In 1986 I studied the pattern
at the Smithsonian and in the next two days, high grade examples
of the Starred Reverse cent. I reached the exact opposite
conclusion, that different punches were used. For the past 22
years no one who read my book disagreed with my conclusion.
McCarthy admitted that he did not read my book, "The Story of
the Starred Reverse Cent."  Even today when I look at the same
photos, I reach the opposite conclusion."

For images of the coin and more information, see the site:


Joseph McCarthy has been compiling information on the Brown
& Dunn U.S. coin grading guide for an upcoming Asylum article.
He's making great progress, and E-Sylum readers have been a
big help.  He still needs to confirm some information about
the second and eighth printings - the printing date (month
and year), pages (as numbered), width and height in inches
(32nds for fractions).  He's also willing to purchase
reasonably priced copies of the second printing, sixth
printing, or eighth printing.



Jeff Reichenberger writes: "For several months I've been
working on a study of the old First National Bank building
in my town, Oshkosh, WI. The reason I found it interesting
is because one day last fall I noticed that on the front
of the building above the entry arches there are four bas-relief
medallions depicting the obverse and reverse of the Standing
Liberty Quarter and Walking Liberty Half Dollar.

"The architects were Hoggson Brothers of New York, who were
prominent bank designers of the time - 1910's, 20's, 30's -
I wonder if any E-Sylum readers have heard of them? I'd like
to confirm if any of their other buildings use the same or
similar coin decorations. My web searches have come up empty.
I'd appreciate any information about the Hoggson banks, or
in general, the use of coin images in architecture.

"An interesting side note to the story - in the midst of
working on this, Oshkosh has been visited by advance location
scouts for a big budget movie about notorious gangsters of
the 20' and 30's, starring Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, and
that French woman who won the Best Actress Oscar this year
[Marion Cotillard - Editor], and in fact it's been confirmed
they will use the First National building for a bank robbery
shootout scene with Depp playing John Dillinger. They will
shoot (no pun intended) in mid-April. The working title of
the film is 'Public Enemies', based on a book of the same
title, and is supposed to be released sometime in '09."

[Jeff provided some great close-up photos of the architectural
reliefs. He adds: "The bank was built in 1926 - the rendition
of the Standing Liberty Quarter appears to be from the original
1916 design (bare breast)." -Editor]

First National Bank front view
First National Bank front view

Standing Liberty Quarter Obverse and Reverse

Walking Liberty Half Obverse and Reverse

[In 2004 I was the General Chairman for the American Numismatic
Association convention in Pittsburgh.  I wrote an article for
The Numismatist and hosted a companion walking tour of downtown
Pittsburgh buildings with a numismatic connection.   The highlight
of the tour was a visit to the Dollar Savings Bank building,
which sports motifs of a gold dollar coin and the obverse and
reverse of an 1870 silver dollar.  The architects were Hobbs &
Son of Philadelphia.  At first I thought "Hoggson" could be a
verbal mangling of "Hobbs & Son", but it's not - Jeff got the
Hoggson name straight from the bank's blueprints.  Here are
some pictures of Pittsburgh's Dollar Bank building:

Pittsburgh's Dollar Bank building
Pittsburgh's Dollar Bank building
Pittsburgh's Dollar Bank building

The old Union National bank building in Pittsburgh, PA was
built in 1906, and the lobby features plaster ceiling medallions
of 1906 Morgan dollars (which were never made by the Mint).
The building was under construction that summer and we were
unable to enter during our tour.  I led a similar walking tour
during the 1989 ANA convention, and we were able to enter the
building then.  It's now a residential condominium.
Union National bank building in Pittsburgh, PA

Below are some excepts from an article about the design and
construction of the Dollar Bank building, which is one of
the oldest continually functioning bank building in the
country. -Editor]

On September 4, 1868, after lengthy discussion, the building
design submitted by Isaac H. Hobbs & Son, architects,
Philadelphia, was adopted. Next month the taking of bids
for the excavation and foundation began.

Architect Hobbs (to whom the building owes its general
stylistic concept) oversaw all construction personally,
with the building committee carefully double-checking
every step.

In March, 1871, came the proud hour when the officials could
occupy the new structure, consisting of the great central
section of the present, expanded building.

"The doorway, is 21 ft. 6 inches high by 10 ft. 10 inches
wide, and the pilaster jambs terminate in two finely
sculptured caryatides on whose heads rest foliated caps
supporting the entablature....In the center is a gigantic
gold type dollar....


Nick Graver writes: "In connection with the December 1840
Cherokee steamboat sinking, what kind of paper money would
the U.S. Government have employed to settle the obligations
with the Indian tribes?"

[Great question.  Greenbacks didn't come along until the
Civil War.  There were plenty of private issue banknotes
in circulation in the 1840s, but which notes would the U.S.
have used for payments?  I put the question to a couple of
our resident paper money students. -Editor]

Dave Bowers writes: "As a long-time 'collector' of shipwreck
and treasure stories I have learned not to take newspaper
accounts and try to directly convert them to numismatic facts.
It would be interesting to see contemporary records of the
loss. If federal funds were involved, there should be some
paperwork. I had not heard of 'kegs' being used to transport
paper, but sealed waterproof packets and boxes sometimes
were.  Kegs were often used for coins, nails, hardware, and
heavy items, as they could be rolled easily.  If a local
museum or historical society retained any examples, these
would provide tangible evidence. Also, the Bureau of Indian
Affairs (or its counterpart at the time) would have had
record as to the type of payment made that could be exchanged
at par for goods or services.  I would rather imagine that
if currency was involved, it would have been determined to
have been "sound" by the government.  No doubt there is
historical info available about Fort Gibson, too.

"In 1840, federal silver and gold coins were both readily
available at par (gold coins having been out of circulation
from 1821 until August 1834). However, Spanish-American coins
were also widely used in commerce. As to paper money, there
were no federal bills in general circulation. Many state-
chartered banks issued bills.  It could be researched to
find what specific type of paper was considered "good" in
the region in 1840.  Shipping them to the West (as the prairie
states were then called) was very popular, and this was done
by brokers and speculators in New York, Cincinnati, Chicago,
and elsewhere. I am not aware, however, that they would have
been of much use to Indians, unless they could be readily
used in commerce at their end. In 1840 the Panic of 1837 was
still being felt, the value of paper money was uncertain.
(For example, NEARLY ALL of the banks in Michigan had failed
by that time). In summary, more research is needed."

Wendell Wolka adds: "There are numerous references to notes
being shipped from the bank note companies to banks in 'boxes'
which were sealed.  I have always assumed these were wooden
due to the weight of, say, a thousand four-subject sheets.
Wood would also provide some minimal security and protection
for the notes."



Richard Mantia writes: "I recently attended the Baltimore
show which was full of activity and profits. Although I wasn't
a buyer or a seller purposely I had a fantastic show and for
no other reason than I had the pleasure of meeting for the
first time and getting to know Mr. Alan Weinberg and Mr. Tony
Terranova. Among our discussions on the topics of "colonials"
was the Washington Born Virginia acquired by Mr. Terranova,
being the coin.

"Mr. Weinberg made a point of taking me over to Mr. Terranova
for the experience and appreciation of viewing this coin and
his assertion of 'Wow!' is accurate if not a bit understated.
As impressive as the coin is, the hospitality and warmth by
both of these gentlemen was more so. Without hesitation I was
given the opportunity to view this gem up close and have an
intellectual conversation concerning it and other colonials.
Making friends of these two fine men denoted a great show for
me and gaining more imparted knowledge from them only added
to it. The coin, yes the coin, it was and is "The Magnifi-CENT"
and is the finest colonial coin that could possibly exist by
strike and appearance. How appropriate that George Washington
is depicted on it - what an astute purchase by Mr. Terranova."



[Dick Johnson submitted the following open letter to Congress,
Treasury and Mint officials with his thoughts on why steel
cents won't work.  -Editor]

Gresham's Law is still in force. Steel cents will drive out
all existing copper and copper-coated zinc cents from
circulation. Speculators will quickly recognize why you
changed composition: all existing cents are worth nearly two
cents now, and the value of their metal content may only
increase in value in the future. The Treasury ban on melting
coins is only in force in this country. Chinese will pay a
premium for those coins to take them to China to melt them

With all existing cents removed from circulation you won't
be able to strike steel cents fast enough to replace, what,
100 billion cents in circulation. It will take years.
Meanwhile you will have only made the problem worse. And
the problem is twofold: the rising costs of coinage metals
-- which you are addressing in this proposed law -- and the
lowering economic value of the cent. You are attacking the
symptom, not the sickness. You are being reactive, not

The proactive, reasonable solution is to listen to Francois
Velde, chief economist at the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank.
His solution: revalue all existing cent coins to five cents.
You can do this by fiat overnight. Then round off the final
price at every transaction to the nearest five cents. Canadians
call this rounding off the "tally price" as they are
considering abolishing their cent coin.

Velde calls this action "rebasing." It has already worked in
a half dozen countries that have abolished their lowest
denomination coins. Australia and New Zealand were the first
to do this with great success, both in the cost savings of
not striking and handling low denomination coins, and the
public's acceptance of rounding off to the nearest five or
ten cents.

A hearing was held in the House of Representatives last
Tuesday, March 11, 2008. chaired by Rep Luis Gutierrza
(D-Ill). It was considering the proposed law "Coin
Modernization and Taxpayer Savings Act of 2008." This act
calls for cents to be struck in steel, a position favored
by Mint Director Edmund Moy, and calls for this to begin
180 days after signed into law. This would be a mistake.
" target="_blank">Full Story
Here is one of dozens of news stories on this hearing:
Full Story

[Arthur Shippee forwarded this link to a national public radio story. On the
same topic. Full Story-Editor]


[The Palm Beach Post of Florida was one of the first
newspapers to mention the newly designed U.S. five dollar
bill.  Here are some excerpts from their March 13th article.

America's greenbacks have gone technicolor.

Beginning today, the color of money is purple. At least,
the color of Abe's money.

The $5 bill joins the list of American money makeovers as
the Federal Reserve issues the first of about 1.5 billion
redesigned $5 bills that will make their way into general
circulation, replacing older bills as they wear out.

Ever-stoic Abraham Lincoln will gaze seriously from a pale
purple background that fades to gray on the edges. On the
back side, a fat purple 5 in the bottom right-hand corner
will distinguish the new bill from its predecessors.

"We wanted the new bill to scream, 'I am a five, I am a five,'"
Larry Felix, director of the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and
Printing, said last fall when the redesign was announced.

The funny-looking money with the larger and off-center
portraits is part of the effort to stop real funny money.

"We want to stay ahead of the counterfeiters," said
Federal Reserve Board spokesman Jeff Smith.

The $5 bill wasn't scheduled for a re-do, but counterfeiters
began bleaching $5 notes and printing fake $100s because
some security features of the two bills were in the same
locations. A new design for Benjamin Franklin's $100 bill
will be announced later this year.

Don't rush to your local bank branch looking for the new
notes today.

The new $5 bills likely will appear locally in a week to
10 days, after the branches put in orders for money.

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


[David Kranz posted a note on his blog this week highlighting
a new job description posted by the U.S. Bureau of Engraving
and Printing.  Here's what he had to say, followed by an excerpt
from the job description. -Editor]

An apprentice bank note designer is sought by the U.S. Bureau
of Engraving and Printing.

More and more people are combining freehand drawing and
painting with digital design. It's required for this work.
And an ability to collaborate. And, I would presume, humility.
Unlike some coin designers, you don't get to sign your work.

We can expect ongoing redesign of U.S. paper money, though,
and here's an entry point to that exciting future.

May BEP get the best. Good luck to any hobby-related persons
who try!

To read Dave's original blog post, see:
Full Story

LOCATION: Washington, DC (Relocation Expenses Will Not Be Paid)

POSITION SENSITIVITY: High Risk: Selectee subject to a full
filed background investigation.

SUMMARY OF DUTIES: The incumbent serves as an apprentice in
training for the job of Banknote Designer. The length of the
apprenticeship is seven (7) years. On-the-job training,
practical exercises, productive work and formal instruction
will be provided as needed from the Journeyman Designers and
Engravers, Journeyman banknote Printers, Bookbinders and
Supervisors. The incumbent develops designs in whole or in
part; assisting and preparing models of various designs for
use in determining approved and adopted designs for the
production of United States currency and miscellaneous
security items produced at the Bureau.

The incumbent will be responsible for coordinating with
design, prepress, and manufacturing personnel, conducting
historical research on design concepts, operating a networked
computer with specialized proprietary graphics design software
applications and peripheral equipment including drawing tablet,
scanners and printers. The incumbent will be working in a
digital environment using the Bureau’s digital design system.
The incumbent will learn to employ a style and manner of
design to prevent counterfeiting called bank note design and
engraving that can be translated to a digital format compatible
with specialized printing equipment.

[Talk about job security!  Where else in today's job market
can you enter a position with an expected seven-year
apprenticeship?  And once your employer has invested seven
years in your training, how bad would you have to screw up
to get fired?  Seriously, though, this is a rare opportunity
for a career-minded artist.  Where else would the fruits of
your labor and talents be put in front of millions of people
on a daily basis?  -Editor]

To read the complete BEP job description, see:
Full Story


On Tuesday evening I attended the March dinner meeting of
our Northern Virginia numismatic social group.  We're still
searching for a name, but I was having so much fun I forgot
to propose my latest suggestion: "Nova Nummis".  The "Nova"
is short for "Northern Virginia".  I thought "Nova Nummis"
had a nice alliteration and the feel of a classic Latin
inscription like colonial U.S. coins.  Or should it be
"Nummis Nova"... ?

We had a nice turnout.  Roger Burdette had a family conflict
but the regulars were all there with the addition of Mike
Packard as a guest of Bill Eckberg.  Mike's a longtime
collector of half cents and Massachusetts coppers. The
regulars included myself, Wayne Herndon, Joe Levine, Dave
Schenkman, Tom Kays, Chris Neuzil and Bill Eckberg.

Tom was our host, and he picked a nice upscale restaurant
called The Lamplighter.  We were serenaded by a piano player
who should have stuck to playing rather than singing.  But
the food was great (as was the company).  The table was
decorated numismatically - Tom had brought two large round
potmetal trivets with images of the obverse and reverse of
the Morgan Dollar.  Tom pointed out that the date of March
11 was 130th anniversary of the first striking of the coin
in 1878.   Tom also passed around two Morgan silver dollars
in plastic display cases distributed in the 1960s by American
Savings Bank.  The coins had toned beautifully over the years.
Someone remarked that these were in a way the "first
slabbed coins."

The talk of slabbing led to a discussion of the strange turn
of events with the rotating staffs of coin grading companies
ANACS and ICG.   Dealer Wayne Herndon reported on the recent
Baltimore show, which was a huge success.  On Saturday he had
eight employees selling coins as fast as he could buy them,
and no one had downtime long enough to eat or use the restrooms.
What a market!

Bill Eckberg showed off highlights of his half cent collection
in the form of nice images on his iPhone.  It's a great way
to share your coins with people without actually having to
take them out of secure storage, especially when some are much
too valuable to carry around.

I passed around some numismatic literature, starting with my
copy of Eric Newman's new book on Fugio coppers, which had
just arrived the day before.  No one had seen a copy yet.
I also had on hand the 1877 volume of the Coin Collector's
Journal, which I had taken off the shelf to make an image of
an article Ron Abler needed for his research on Centennial
medals.  Other literature included recent club periodicals -
The Token and Medal Society (TAMS) Journal, the Society of
Paper Money (SPMC)'s Paper Money, and the Brasher Bulletin
from the Society for Private and Pioneer Numismatics (SPPN).

Tom brought copies of a March 1860 Harper's Magazine article
on coin collecting written by W.C. Prime.  Of interest to
bibliophiles are Prime's mention of recently-published numismatic
books and pamphlets, including Dickeson's "Manual of American
Numismatics", Humphrey's "Coin Collector's Manual", and Bushnell's
"Arrangement of Tradesmen's Cards, Political Tokens, Etc."  Tom
highlighted an interesting passage in the article where Prime
pooh-poohs the fad of variety collecting: "The recent mania for
coin collecting had led to the demand and payment of enormous
prices for some pieces of copper which will, in a few years'
time, be regarded as worthless.  Of this class are all coins
whose value depends on errors in the dies, such as the E Pluribs
Unum of New Jersey, or an Auctobi of Connecticut."  Tom also
passed around a display case with a number of St. Patrick's
coins, in honor of the upcoming St. Patrick's Day.

While some people had to hit the road, others lingered for
some time, continuing the numismatic conversation and fellowship.
It was exactly the kind of relaxed gathering of fellow coin
geeks I'd hoped for when starting the group.  We're already
looking forward to next month, where Bill Eckberg will host
a meeting in Old Town Alexandria.

[While we were having our meeting down in Virginia, up in New
York E-Sylum regulars Joel Orosz and Len Augsburger were giving
their presentation at the American Numismatic Society on
paintings of the first Philadelphia Mint.  Len writes: "Everything
went really well.  They taped the presentation and will be making
a DVD which, I assume, will be available to order in a few weeks.
Afterwards we had a delightful dinner with Ute and Bob Hoge."


The first banknote printed in Australia has become the nation's
most expensive money, selling for a record $1.909 million.

The 10 shilling note was the showpiece item of the International
Auction Galleries Australian and World Rare Coin and Banknote
Auction at the Sofitel in Broadbreach, Queensland.

The note was bought by Sydney trader John Pettit for a client
with an extensive private collection.

"He's got one of the best Australian banknote collections and
he wants this as the iconic piece in his collection," said Mr
Pettit, of John Pettit Rare Banknotes.

The banknote was printed on May 1, 1913, and presented to
Governor-General Thomas Denman's daughter Judith by Labor
prime minister Andrew Fisher.

"It's a note that all collectors know because of the photograph
of the Governor-General's daughter holding it up when it was
being printed."

Mr Pettit said the whereabouts of the piece had been unknown
until it turned up in a letter file in a drawer in England
in 1999.

The historic banknote, with the serial number M000001,
returned to its homeland when it was bought by an Australian
collector eight years ago.

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story

[E-Sylum subscriber Kerry Rodgers had a nice a article about
the note in the March 2008 issue of bank Note Reporter (p71).


[An alert reader spotted this reference to Australian artist
Fiona Hall, who incorporates world banknotes into her work.

Paper money is another one of her favourite motifs: In Leaf
Litter she illustrated a series of 183 sheets with meticulously
painted leaves over banknotes from the plant's country of origin.
When My Boat Comes In (2002), in the trade room, is an extended
meditation on the interaction of plants and human activity.
Here she has painted leaves on to banknotes from their country
of origin, but only those with ships on them.

She is concerned about the preservation of the natural environment
and the loss of genetic diversity. She is an expert in the origin
of useful plants, such as sugarcane and oil palms, and the
interaction of trade and colonialism from slavery to the present.
"Everyone is interested in profiting from natural sources," she
says. "Even now multinational pharmaceutical companies are
searching rainforests and around the world for plants that have
the cure to all our ills."

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) announced today that new
Bahrain banknotes in all denominations will come into
circulation from 17th March 2008.

The new banknotes are being issued in the existing
denominations of BD20, BD10, BD5, BD1 and BD1/2. No change
is being made to the coins in circulation.

The new family of Bahrain banknotes feature brand new designs
as well as new and improved security features. All five
denominations of banknotes are of uniform size (measuring
154mm x 74mm), which is slightly larger than the existing

'People do not need to rush out and exchange existing
currency for the new. The existing banknotes will continue
to be accepted as money for at least one year, and they
will remain redeemable by the CBB for a further period of
time after being withdrawn from circulation,' he said.

Most of the existing banknotes have been in circulation for
over a decade. The full set of banknotes was last changed
in 1993, although the BD20 banknote underwent some changes
in 1998.

In addition to the security features, the new banknotes
also incorporate, for the first time, a feature to enable
the visually-impaired to easily recognize the value of each
note. The feature comprises a series of short, raised lines,
which appear at the top right on the front face of the note.
The BD1/2 has one line; BD1 has two lines and so on, up to
BD20, with five lines.

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


[According to a report in The Scotsman, a reward is being
offered for a rare medal given to scientist Humphry Davy
that his widow is said to have tossed into the ocean.

A rare medal given by Napoleon to pioneering British
scientist Humphry Davy was thrown into the sea by his widow,
one of his family descendants has claimed after a reward
was offered for its discovery.

The Royal Society of Chemistry appealed for help in finding
the medal after discovering a letter shedding new light on
Napoleon's decision to honour the chemist, despite being
locked in combat with Britain at the time.

But Davy's fourth great-niece Margaret Tottle-Smith said
memories of the difficult journey to collect the honour
may have influenced his widow Jane's decision to hurl it
from the Cornwall's Mounts Bay.

"It's a very sad story," she said. "Humphry married a young
widow. She was a socialite – she loved parties, she loved
balls and when he died suddenly and the money was cut off,
Jane was a widow again with no children.

"She had had a very bad experience going to collect that
medal. It was a shocking memory for her.

"A lot of his possessions she gave to the Society because
he was president there, but not the medal. I have a feeling
that Jane was very ashamed of the medal and hated it.

"The medal she took one day, apparently… and threw it into
the sea. She got rid of the memories."

For two centuries, until the discovery of the letter by the
RSC, mystery surrounded Davy's perilous wartime journey to
France to collect a medal awarded by Napoleon Bonaparte.

The letter, dated March 14 1808 – 200 years ago last Friday
– was sent by a French navy officer to Jean-Baptiste Delambre,
an astronomer and general secretary of the Institut de France.

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


Last week I reprinted an amusing earlier item relating to
numismatic literature dealer John Burns and book dealing
as a profession.  John writes: "Look Ma, me strong as an ox
and almost as bright!! But seriously, to be an ACTUAL
numismatic literature dealer is like being a coroner - you
have to know something about all the other specialties.

"If somebody walks up and asks for a book on bonk pieces
you can't stand there like a deer in the headlights and go
"ahh... what's a bonk??"  If you DON'T know what a bonk is
you probably haven't bought the book from me!!  At times coin
dealing seems quite a bit easier to me; some days I'd rather
be reading numbers off a slab and checking whatever color
sheet I happen to have."



This week's featured web site on Short Snorters was located
by Kerry Rodgers, who publicized it in an article in the March
2008 issue of Bank Note Reporter (p75-76).

"A short snorter is a banknote which circulated during World
War II and the Korean War upon which signatures were exchanged
between those travelling together or meeting up at different
events. Short snorters are frequently found on one dollar U. S.
Silver Certificates and foreign banknotes of lower denominations.
Specific information about the individuals signing these notes
add to the interest of the artifact (i.e., bomber group,
fighter squadron, etc.)."

  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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