The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 11, Number 15, April 13, 2008:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2008, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


Among our recent subscribers are Tony Hine, Steve Hayden and
Kim Ghobrial. We now have 1,144 subscribers.

This week we open with word on the latest Asylum issue and
three new books - one on a Baltimore numismatic treasure, one
on Morgan dollar varieties, and one relating to banking and
obsolete bank notes.  Next, a curator wins a great honor and
plans a new numismatic book.

In follow-ups from last week, we learn more about the 1847
Riddell pamphlet on the New Orleans Mint (and who purchased it).
Queries this week cover many topics, including former Asylum
editor Carling Gresham, the Royal Mint's new reverse designs,
getting smoke smell out of books and the Yoachum Silver dollar.

In the news, the Nevada Historical Society acquires a trove of
Comstock Lode related letters, "Public Enemy" begins filming in
Oshkosh, a rare medal relating to Lord Nelson appears, and
politicians in Wales debate the return of banknotes there.

My numismatic diary this week has a Civil War theme - who were
the first Union and Confederate casualties in the war, and where
were they killed?  I had dinner at the location Tuesday night!

To learn who got an uncirculated 1804 Half Eagle for Christmas,
read on. Have a great week, everyone.

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


David Yoon, editor of our print journal writes: "I've sent
another issue of The Asylum off to the printers. Here's the
contents list:

* Bill Bugert - The Martin Luther Beistle Book on Half Dollars
* P. Scott Rubin - A Proposed Concise Library of Sales Needed
 for All United States Coins since 1793
* David D. Gladfelter - Book Review: The Coin Collectors, by
 Pierre Bastien
* Lou Jordan - Book Review: The Hibernia Coinage of William
 Wood (1722-1724), by Sydney Martin "


Numismatic literature dealer Karl Moulton has issued his
Spring/Summer 2008 fixed price list.  In his introduction Karl
discusses the rarity of the early "white cover' Stack's auction
catalogs.  The price list features new inventory including Lyman
Low sales, early Stack's sales, a long run of The Asylum, the
John Pittman sales, and many others.  For more information contact
Karl at or visit


Len Augsburger writes: "My book on the Baltimore gold hoard of
1934, titled 'Treasure in the Cellar', will be available at the
Baltimore ANA convention.  The book will be published by the
Maryland Historical Society and is currently at press.  Further
details will be announced as the convention nears."

To view an image of the book's cover, see
image of the book's cover


[Author Michael Fey forwarded a press release for his latest
book on Morgan Dollar varieties - also known as VAMs, for Van
Allen-Mallis, authors of the first popular book on the topic.

Michael S. Fey, Ph.D., President of Rare Coin Investments (RCI)
and co-author of the Top 100 Morgan Dollar Varieties: The VAM
Keys announced today that he is now accepting pre-publication
orders for his new book, A Decade of Top 100 Insights for the
Advanced Morgan Dollar Collector.

The suggested retail price of this 192 page book is $29.95 +
shipping, but those who send a pre-publication payment of $24.95
will receive both a discount and free shipping.   The
pre-publication offer expires May 31st, 2008, when books are
expected to be delivered by the printer.

The book is a compilation of the last 10 years of RCI's Top 100
Insights and Value Guide quarterly newsletter.  It includes the
first Fall, 1997 Value Guide with prices for Top 100 Morgan
dollars as well as a current Value Guide to compare how prices
of Top 100 coins have changed over the past decade since
publication of the Top 100 book.

A Decade of Top 100 Insights offers wisdom, experience and
knowledge from the world's most recognized experts on the
subject of Morgan and Peace dollars.  According to Jeff Oxman,
Founding President of the SSDC, "Peruse the pages of this book,
and you'll get a glimpse of VAM history unfolding before
your eyes!"

Noted author Bill Fivaz states "Michael Fey has put his
considerable talents to work in assembling all the pertinent
data to make your quest for those elusive VAMs as easy as can
be".  Leroy Van Allen advises, "This book is a 'must buy' for
all silver dollar collectors and dealers".

The book offers digital images of new discoveries, ultra rare
8TF varieties, attribution guides to 1878-s B1 reverse (long
nocks), 1888-O Oval O's, 1899-O "micro o" varieties, and Hot
50 and Top 50 varieties.  Also provided are several Condition
Census (Top 6 certified coins), population reports and analyses,
reports on new record prices, and insights into the best Top
100 varieties in the most optimal grades for both collecting
and investing.

Through such guest writers as Leroy Van Allen, Jeff Oxman,
Bill Fivaz, Larry Briggs, Mark Kimpton, M.D., John Roberts,
David Wang, Ph.D., Lewis Rosenbaum, and Craig Lichenbrock,
the book provides new information, new perspectives and plenty
of good advice from experts in their silver dollar specialties
who share insights into this burgeoning area of collecting.

For further information, please contact Michael S. Fey, Ph.D.,
at  RCI,  P.O. Box C, Ironia, NJ 07845 or call (973) 252-4000;
FAX (973) 252-0481; E-Mail:,

To view an image of the book's cover, see:
image of the book's cover


Anne E. Bentley of the Massachusetts Historical Society
writes: "I'd like to recommend Jane Kamensky's recently
published biography of Andrew Dexter, Jr. to your readers.
It is truly a superb biography and anyone who collects obsolete
bank notes will really enjoy the story.  Titled 'The Exchange
Artist: A Tale of High-Flying Speculation & America's First
Banking Collapse', this is an extremely well-researched and
written account of one man's manipulation of private banks
to finance his real estate empire.

"Kamensky has a definite gift for telling a story and, once
begun, this book is almost impossible to put down.  Even her
end-notes are fascinating.  Those readers who live in the
Boston area may be able to hear her discuss her work at the
Massachusetts Historical Society - we're working to schedule
a visit. I'm hoping she'll bring the computer-aided design
drawings of the Exchange Coffee House that she commissioned
for her book -- an innovative approach to illustrate a building
that disappeared ten years after it was erected, and the only
way for modern readers to understand the scale and scope of
Dexter's project. A pre-publication interview with Ms. Kamensky
gives more details on her work."

[Many thanks to Anne for bringing this book to our attention.

To read the pre-publication interview with Ms. Kamensky, see:
interview with Ms. Kamensky,


[The Daily Princetonian published an article about the Guggenheim
Fellowship awards recently granted to six Princeton faculty members
including Alan Stahl, the University's curator of numismatics.
Congratulations! -Editor]

Only 190 recipients were chosen from a pool of 2,600 applicants.
Princeton tied with the University of California at Berkeley for
the second-highest number of fellowship recipients, after the
University of Michigan, which had seven.

The awards are given to scholars, scientists and artists who
demonstrate "stellar achievement and exceptional promise for
continued accomplishment," according to a statement from the
John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. The program seeks
to create a diverse group of recipients, both in demographics
and fields of study. One needs to look no further than the
Princeton recipients to see this diversity.

Alan Stahl is University's curator of numismatics, the study of
currency and its history. Stahl plans to use the fellowship to
work on a book titled "The Nexus of Wealth and Power in Medieval
Venice." Among other topics, Stahl's research will explore the
relationship between capitalism and republican government.

"What I'm looking at is the convergence of these two factors,"
he said. "I am trying to see if there is something significant a
bout the fact that Venice was one of the birth[places] of
capitalism and the center of republican government."

For him, this project has been a long time in the making. His
research started about seven years ago, and his database
includes information on 5,000 people based on 15,000 documents.
Stahl will return to Venice for six months to continue his

"[I use] coinage to enlighten history," Stahl said.

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


[Last week Mike Paradis forwarded photos and information
about an 1847 John Riddell pamphlet that was recently
auctioned.  Now we know who bought it - Dan Hamelberg.
His description of the sale and his prize follows. -Editor]

Dan Hamelberg writes: "I bid on the phone and paid $1,200
plus a 20% buyers fee.  I believe this was Bloomsbury's first
U.S. auction.  They are headquartered in England and now have
offices in New York.  The Riddell piece was the only U.S.
numismatic literature item in the sale.

"I looked up the Newman piece in the 1968 April Numismatist,
and it is indeed a short pamphlet with an 1845 publishing
date.  The 1847 item is more of a booklet with 10 pages.
It is contained in plain paper covers and is in generally
fine condition.  The cover page has a '3' written in pencil
in the upper left corner.  Looks like this item sold for $3
some time ago.  Numismatic literature is a great investment!

"The title information reads 'THE BRANCH MINT AT NEW ORLEANS,
With an account of the process of coinage and fac-simile
impressions of the coins manufactured.  BY J. L. RIDDELL, M. D.,
Melter and Refiner.  Second Edition.  1847.'

"The text begins on the first page with an explanation
(with a large footnote) of how a grant from the city
provided the land for the mint. Page 2 goes on to describe
the cost and construction of the mint building along with
the different mint officers appointed with their pay schedule
up until the time of this publication.  This information
matches up with the text in part one of the 1845 issue. The
basic differences are with the update to 1847 and the large
footnote regarding the city grant. Also, the year to year
summary of activity contained in part one of the 1845 issue
is now a chart on page 8 of the 1847 issue.  At the very
bottom of page 2 there is a heading 'PROCESS OF COINAGE.'
Pages 3-7 go into great detail regarding the process of
coinage at the New Orleans Mint.  The description matches
exactly the description of the process of coinage in the
1845 issue with two exceptions.

"First, the coiner who was responsible for inventing 'an
ingenious rotating apparatus heated by steam' passed on in
the two years between issues, and is referred to in the 1847
issue as 'the late coiner, P. B. Tyler.'  The other difference
in the description of the process of coinage comes at the end
of page 7 where Riddell speculates on the future of the New
Orleans Mint.  The future looks bright with 'native gold' from
Alabama. The 'acquisition of Texas' will bring an 'abundance
of silver and gold from the rich mines of San Saba.'  Also,
'we shall receive most of the produce of the numerous and
abundantly productive mines of the adjacent Mexican States,
now in our military possession.'   In addition, 'precious
metals unquestionably abound in western Arkansas..'  In short,
Riddell feels confident the New Orleans Mint will succeed.

"Page 8 has a chart of the year to year coinage figures with
the information updated to June 30, 1847.  This would suggest
that the 1847 second edition was published in late 1847.  Page
9 is headed 'Fac-Simile Impressions of the Silver Coins struck
at the Branch Mint New Orleans.  Illustrated on page 9 are the
Silver Dollars, Half Dollars, Quarter Dollars, and Dime. (Obverse
and Reverse).  Page 10 contains an illustration of the Half Dime
at the top. (Obverse and Reverse).  Under that comes the heading
'Fac-Simile Impressions of the Gold Coins struck at the Branch
Mint New Orleans.'   The Ten, Five, and 2 1/2 dollar gold coins
are illustrated.  (Obverse and Reverse).

"Such is the layout of the 1847 second edition of Riddell's
work on the New Orleans Mint.  Basically it is a refinement
of the 1845 issue with updates to 1847.  I have looked thru
my library and also contacted George Kolbe and Charlie Davis,
and I could find no references to this work.  It was not in
the Champa or Ford sales. Unless something shakes out somewhere,
it appears that Eric Newman has the only copy of the 1845 edition,
and I would have the only copy of the 1847 edition.  New
discoveries certainly make this great hobby of numismatic
literature an adventure.' "


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

on our Web site at . In stock: John Hull, the
Mint and the Economics of Massachusetts Coinage, by Lou Jordan. 4to.,
hardcover. xx, 348 pages. An important and well-done work. New.
$43 postpaid. e-mail 

KARL MOULTON is interested in purchasing 19th century American
illustrated auction catalogues.  Please email a description of what
you have available to



Pete Smith writes: "Today I received the April issue of the
Numismatist. The typeface shows 'the' in lower case letters
so it is 'the Numismatist,' formerly 'Numismatist,' formerly
'The Numismatist,' formerly 'The American Numismatist.' It is
good to see the ANA making progress backward.

"Page 93 lists an 'In Memoriam' entry for Carling Gresham.
He was at one time editor of our print journal, The Asylum.
I can't recall hearing anything of him for a few years. I
wonder if any of our E-Sylum readers can bring us up-to-date
on Gresham."

[Denis Loring also noticed the item about Gresham.  I haven't
heard anything of Carling in ages.  Here's a colorful description
of Carling's character from Joel Orosz' history of the Numismatic
Bibliomania Society. -Editor]

President Wilson finally acted to shake the Society out of
the doldrums, and found a figurative dynamo to serve as the
new editor of The Asylum. Carling Gresham, a Florida dealer
in numismatic ephemera, and an early enthusiast for the use
of the personal computer, went to work with a will, and the
first issue of The Asylum under his editorship was dated Summer,
1984. A colorful character, Gresham transformed the journal by
adopting a chatty and informal style.

He proved adept at inspiring new contributors; both Joel J.
Orosz and Wayne Homren, for example, first published in The
Asylum during Gresham's tenure. Carling also managed (with the
aid of one double issue) to get the journal on a regular
publishing schedule. His lively editorial comments skewered
everyone; even co-founder Kolbe was not immune. When George
moved from Mission Viejo to the higher elevation of Crestline,
the editor delightedly referred to him as 'Mountain Man Kolbe.'
The regular appearance of The Asylum sparked a revival in the
fortunes of the Society, and membership began to grow. The
second dawn for the NBS, however, was destined to have but
a short life.

As much a part of Gresham as his energy and wit was his pride;
and it was that pride that led him to be quick to utter and
publish decided opinions. One such opinion, expressed about
the editor of The Numismatist, caused a storm that ultimately
cost Gresham his position. In an editorial appearing in the
Summer, 1985 issue of The Asylum, Carling blasted off a salvo
at the lack of coverage the NBS had received from hobby
publications, concentrating his fire particularly on The
Numismatist, ' Where HRH [His Royal Highness] Harris [N. Neil
Harris, editor/publisher] won't print anything about NBS!'

Gresham went on: 'HRH appears to be one of a number of
employees at ANA Hq. who believe that we, collectors AND
dealers are working for them NOT the other way around.'
(Gresham, as can be seen in the passage just quoted, was
fond of capitalization for the purpose of placing emphasis
on an idea.)

To read the complete history of NBS 1980-1997, see:
History of NBS


[Angela Carter of Holabird-Kagin Americana forwarded the
following press release. -Editor]

Holabird-Kagin Americana is sponsoring the Nevada Historical
Society's celebration of the acquisition of the original Grosh
Brothers Letters. The event will be held at 1650 N. Virginia
Street in Reno, NV on April 16, 2008 at 6:00pm. Grosh family
descendents Charles Wegman and Naomi Thompson will be in
attendance. Fred Holabird was instrumental in the location
of the letters and in their acquisition by the state. These
letters have returned home after more than a century and a
half, and now will be on public display.

For more information, please call the Society at 775-688-1190
Or Fred Holabird at 775-852-8822

[The Grosh brothers were miners working in California and
what is now  Nevada, and in 1857 they discovered what later
became known as the Comstock Lode, the greatest find of silver
in history.  That silver fueled the Mints in Carson City and
San Francisco for generations. -Editor]

Former Eldorado County Museum director Denis Witcher, who was
instrumental in finding the letters, said in 1997, "The
description of life in the camps is just nonpareil. I've
never read anything like them."

Historian Eliot Lord later wrote, referencing Henry Comstock,
"The Grosh brothers died on the very threshold of fortune. .
Their years of patient and intelligent search were therefore
fruitless, and it was left for a lazy, drunken prospector to
stumble upon the prize for which the brothers had striven."

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


Yossi Dotan writes: "In The E-Sylum of April 6, 2008 you quote
The Independent's article on the new British circulation coins
that says 'The coins . are believed to be the first in the world
designed to form a unified picture when put together.'

"Two earlier examples come to mind of such 'coin jigsaw puzzles':

"In 1996 China issued four rectangular-shaped silver coins
marking the Yangtze River Dam Project (KM-966/969, until
recently Y-595/598). The four reverses together (from left to
right: KM-968, KM-966, KM-967 and KM-969) form one flowing
design of the Yangtze River-the four wide parts of the river
connected by three gorges. (The obverses depict the Bai Di
city gate, Qu Yuan Ancestral Temple, Zhang Fei Temple, and
Zhao Jun House, which were either submerged due to the
construction of the Yangtze dam or relocated prior to the

"If any reader of The E-Sylum owns these coins, could he
or she please contact me at and tell
me which obverse matches which reverse?).

"The other example relates to a map of Havana and its harbor
in colonial times that was divided crosswise to form the
four silver coins issued by Cuba in 1998 (KM-668/671). Put
together the coins show the complete map: El Morro Fortress
at left, the city at right, and between them and in the
foreground the ships in the harbor.

"Does any reader know the date of the original map?"

[I suspected that other examples of such designs would
surface.  E-Sylum readers are a knowledgeable bunch.



In the previous issue of the E-Sylum, Granvyl Hulse wrote
about the special pen used on U.S. notes to check their
authenticity and its relationship to chop marks on old 8
Reales coins.  Howard A. Daniel III writes: "Despite their
common usage by numismatists, the word 'chopmark' and phrase
'chop mark' are technically incorrect.  A chop IS a mark so
'chop mark' is like writing 'chop chop' or 'mark mark'.
The correct English is to just write 'chop' and drop 'mark.'

"Because there are so many counterfeit $100 'super notes'
in circulation, merchants and foreign money exchangers in
Southeast Asia are chopping all they consider authentic.
The practice is quite common and it's now unusual for me
to find $100 notes without them in Southeast Asia.

"After I recently retrieved some $20 U.S. notes from an ATM
in Falls Church, VA, I sat inside my vehicle and checked the
notes.  I do this with all notes received in change, which
drives my wife nuts.  On one of the notes, I saw a couple of
chops.  What were they doing on a $20?

"The chop on the far right of the back appears to be airplane
crashing into a globe or some type of round object.  The chop
on the far left of the back appears to be an upside down clenched
fist inside a circle with 'C Q S' around the top inside edge and
a 'G' to the lower right of the fist.  There is also 'Benjamin L'
near this latter chop.  Neither of these chops appear to be from
Asia and sort of remind me of gang markings or propaganda of
some kind.  Does anyone have any ideas about these chops?"

To view the image of Howard's "chopped twenty", see:
Howard's "chopped twenty"

Airplane and globe detail:
Airplane and globe detail

Benjamin L detail:
Benjamin L detail



Regarding the Royal Mint's new reverse coin designs, Dave Lange
writes: "The only problem I see with having the component parts
of the royal arms distributed among the various fractional coins
is that inflation will eventually leave this assemblage incomplete.
There has been talk for years of eliminating the UK penny, so
where will its portion of the design go? Of course, this wouldn't
be a problem in the USA, where it seems we will be coining cents
forever, even if each one costs a dollar to produce."



Mark Tomasko writes: "I was pleased to see the comments about
the transitory nature of electronic media from Nancy Green and
others. This is a crucial point which is too often ignored.
And I was surprised at your statement that 'While digitizing
books for easier access is great, the institutions should
NEVER dispose of the original source material, although of
course many do so anyway.' The logical result of that last
statement ('...of course many do so anyway') is that digitizing
books for easier access is NOT great. It is instead a significant
threat to the survival of many books, and will become even more
so as cost pressures of storage and space increase. My hope is
that the '$150,000 digitizing machine' never shows up at the
ANA library."

[I didn't have time to make further comments last week, but
this is a good follow-on topic.  I was thinking specifically
about libraries which deaccessioned their periodical holdings
after microfilming or digitizing them.  There are ephemera
dealers making a very big business out of splitting up and
selling massive archives of old newspapers, and it's a great
loss to the institutions and our collective memory.  Once
broken up these sets cannot be reassembled.  Without the
originals to return to, the information can be lost forever
if there's a problem with the new media.  -Editor]

Jorg Lueke writes: "I just wanted to share some thoughts
about digital works.  There's no doubt in my mind that at
some point in the future everything will be published digitally.
It's too powerful in terms of storage and search capability
not to become the norm once technical details and protections
are worked out.  Certainly books will also stay around, at
least until someone invents paper that behaves like a computer

"In the near term digitizing of out of print and out of
copyright works will certainly continue as well.  While
the scanner mentioned in The E-Sylum costs $150,000, for
1/10th that price a decent amount of automation can be
purchased.  As I find the time I plan on putting the first
six volumes of the Numismatist online.  I've also been
thinking about finding a way to let people share uploads
of digitized books so that collectively the information
can be much more quickly converted.

"All of this will be quite good - more knowledge at more
people's fingertips.  Some things, like my recent purchase
of the 1898 Numismatique Gazette may lose in value as the
information becomes available online but for books that are
in demand the collector base for the tactile word will
probably keep prices pretty steady."



Dave Ginsburg writes: "It looks like almost the entire
contents of a two-year old book are online!   On Google Books
I noticed an online copy of the 2006 second edition of 'Gold
Coins of the New Orleans Mint' by Douglas Winter, Greg Lambousy
and me.  I haven't tried to download anything from the site,
but I can't imagine having this much of the book on the
Internet would be good for sales.  (The book is still in
stock at the publisher and many booksellers.) I've always
been pleasantly surprised by how many 19th century books
are available in digital form, but this is not so pleasant."

[The site has "Buy this book" links to Amazon and other sellers
including the publisher, Zyrus Press.  All 237 pages of the
work plus the dust jacket were freely available online when
I received Dave's note Wednesday.  I asked Uriah Cho of Zyrus
about it.  She writes: "Google Books is a great way to promote
books. It puts the books out there, makes the book visible to
readers, and ultimately boosts sales."  I generally agree and
wish more publishers would make pages of in-copyright books
available on the web.  I can also see Dave's concern, as does
Uriah, and Zyrus will work with the authors and Google Books
on a mutually agreeable subset for online availability.

To access the online 'Gold Coins of the New Orleans Mint', see:
Gold Coins of the New Orleans Mint


Since late last year I've been meeting monthly with a group
of numismatists in Northern Virginia.  Bill Eckberg hosted
our meeting at the Jackson 20 restaurant in the new Hotel
Monaco Alexandria.  In the meeting invitation he wrote: "Any
numismatist who cannot figure out the significance of the
name of the restaurant should turn in his slabs and take up
philately or some other preversion.   All members are urged
to read the plaque installed at the western end of the building
front before entering the restaurant. I'll be explaining the
truth about it and its very significant numismatic connections
at the table."

After work I hit the highway to plow through rush hour traffic
toward Alexandria.  After getting through the bottleneck
entering the Capital Beltway, traffic flowed pretty well.
Just before 6:30 I slid into a parking spot and fed a couple
quarters into the meter.  Just down the street I spotted Roger
Burdette.  We started walking toward the restaurant when Dave
Schenkman caught up with us.

I remembered Bill's instructions about reading the plaque so
we looked for it before entering the restaurant.  I grabbed
my notebook and started scribbling the text so I could share
it in The E-Sylum.  Not surprisingly, Dave Schenkman was well
versed in the history and I listened while he and Roger talked.
Long story short, James Jackson was an ardent secessionist who
boldly hoisted a Confederate flag atop the hotel he managed,
the Mansion House.  Union soldiers invaded Alexandria and Col.
Elmer Ellsworth and eight troops entered the hotel intent on
taking down the flag.  Jackson shot Ellsworth to death, and
was in turn killed by Ellsworth's troops.

It is said that victors always write history, but in this
case the vanquished have their say.  The plaque, erected by
the Sons and Daughters of Confederate Soldiers, hails Jackson
as "the first martyr to the cause of Southern Independence."

I later found a nice article about the opening of the Jackson 20
restaurant which tells the story well.  It was published February
27, 2008 in the Alexandria Gazette Packet.

 At the corner of Pitt and King Streets ... an old plaque beckons
 passersby with a headline boasting "The Marshall House." Those
 who stay to read the rest of the plaque experience a strong
 dose of Confederate patriotism honoring James William Jackson,
 a man whom the plaque boldly tells us "the justice of history
 does not permit his name to be forgotten."

 People are still taking about James W. Jackson. He is
 considered by some to be "the first martyr in the cause of
 Southern Independence," which was the subtitle to an 1862
 biography published in Richmond the year after his death.
 Never mind that the others consider Jackson to be a cold-blooded
 killer responsible for the murder of Col. Ephraim Elmer
 Ellsworth - at least for now - until we learn from the
 unvanquished plaque author that Jackson is "an example to
 all" who "laid down his life . in defense of his home and
 the sacred soil of his native state: Virginia."

At dinner Bill described the numismatic connection for us
and passed out copies of an article he published in The
Virginia Numismatist titled "The Marshall House Token and
the Civil War" (or as he put it, "The War of Yankee Aggression").
In 1859 the Marshall House issued a trade token (Rulau 103).
One side features simply the Marshall House name and the
1859 date.  The other side?  A Liberty Cap design identical
to that on the Confederate Cent.  Both pieces were engraved
by diesinker Robert Lovett, Jr.   Bill also passed around
a lovely example of the Marshall House token.

The restaurant was quite noisy and it was difficult for us
to hear each other.  But it was a very enjoyable evening.
Besides myself, Bill Eckberg, Roger Burdette and Dave Schenkman,
attendees included regulars Tom Kays and Joe Levine and
first-timer Dick Doty, curator of the National Numismatic
Collection at the Smithsonian.

Joe had done his homework on the meeting site and passed
around a beautiful tintype photograph of Col. Ellsworth in
an ornate gilt frame. The photo was bright, sharp and clear.
Text on the reverse identified the photo as COLONEL/. ELMER

In keeping with the Civil War theme, Tom passed around display
boxes filled with nice examples of what he called "the contents
of a typical cash register in the Civil War" - Civil War tokens,
cents and other circulating coins.   Since I've greatly scaled
back my Civil War collection I brought pictures - I passed
around a copy of the American Numismatic Rarities Lake Michigan
& Springdale Collections sale of June 21-23 2006.  Beginning
at lot 812 is my consignment of U.S. Encased Postage Stamps,
Postage Stamp Envelopes, cardboard scrip and counterstamped

I also passed around my uncirculated Dolley Madison First
Spouse $5 gold coin (since I felt compelled to have an actual
coin to show).  I asked Dick Doty about the recent legislation
that directed the U.S. Mint to transfer examples of all new
coins to the national collection, and he said that coincidentally,
the latest Mint shipment had just arrived that morning.  Dick
also told us about progress on the second edition of his
"America's Money, America's Story" book which will be published
by Whitman.

Roger Burdette shared copies of a draft of a paper he's been
working on for some time: "Anna Williams: The Girl on the Silver
Dollar?"  Roger's been working to ferret out the truth in the
old story about Anna W. Williams being the model for George
Morgan's 1878 U.S. silver dollar design.  Another topic was
Monday's Press Release about the discontinuation of the PCI
grading service name and the creation of Dominion Grading
in Virginia Beach, VA.

I also had with me the Civil War album from my numismatic
ephemera collection.  Here's a partial list of the contents,
with links to a couple images:

* Pliny E. Chase, Catalogue of Tokens Circulating During
 the Rebellion of 1861, published in 1863

* Manuscript titled 'Dix Civil War Tokens of 1863'

* Varieties of Dix Civil War Tokens of the Year 1863 by D.C. Wismer

* 1957 manuscript by Thomas E. Mowery on Civil War Tokens

* D.C. Wismer price list of Necessity Coins of the United States

* Circular to Collectors dated April 2, 1874 by J. Colvin
 Randall and John W. Haseltine offering their Confederate Cent
 in gold, silver, nickel and copper
 Full Story

* Undated newspaper clipping is a reprinting from an unknown
 newspaper of a Washington Post article on the Confederate Half
 Dollar and Cent.
 Undated newspaper clipping

* "The Currency Question on the Pacific Coast During the
 Civil War", an offprint from the Mississippi Valley Historical
 Review June 1929

* October 1, 1893 Special List No. 8 by Ed Frossard of
 Unique Collection of Essays & Proofs of United States
 Fractional Currency

* Fixed price list of U.S. Fractional Currency R.W. Mercer
 of Cincinnati, OH

* Fixed price list by Lyman Low of Paper Money of the
 Confederate States

* D.W. Valentine Classification and Check List of Fractional
 Currency of the United States 1924

I also brought along my "Million Dollar Bill" and we joked
about paying the check with it.  I believe it was Roger who
suggested using my Dolley Madison $5 coin for the tip.  We
paid the check with Federal Reserve Notes - I forgot to ask
if the establishment accepted Confederate currency.  The
event ended all too soon, and we went our separate ways.
I can't wait til next month!


[Dick Johnson writes: "I came across an article on the
inventor of Cent Sorter.  I found this a charming story,
and I interviewed the inventor for more than an hour and
wrote the story below."

It is an interesting story - I doubt I would have come up
with such an efficient solution to the problem.  Thanks,
Dick!  -Editor]

There is a 39-year old coin collector in Kalamazoo Michigan
who thought there must be a better way to sort copper cents
from copper-coated zinc cents, to separate those dated 1982
and before from those dated 1982 and after made of a
different composition.

He did just that. He invented a machine to sort cents with
extreme accuracy and do this at the rate of 18,000 an hour!

By reading the tiny figures in the dates?  No.

By detecting the slight difference in weight? No.

By the different surface characteristics? No.

The answer was so simple it was pure inspiration, and
his new invention was born.  He found the answer in modern
metal detectors. They can detect pre 1982 dates from later
cents while still under ground. "Why then, can't they do
this in a machine rapidly?" he thought.

"Are you the inventor of this machine?" I asked of Andrew
Redlon who operates as Ryedale Coin of Kalamazoo. "Yes, but"
and he went on to explain he was more of an adaptor. He
took a "discriminator" from a metal detector and applied
it to an integrated component. His real invention, he claims,
was the feeding mechanism. He put all three together in a
machine he designed.

His two degrees in CAD CAM design, earned as a heating
and cooling technician, aided him immensely. While he
is an amateur machinist he had friends in a tool shop
make some of the prototype parts. He got the idea in
January 2006. By fall 2006 he had a workable machine,
his own Coin Sorter and it worked exactly as he planned!

Not only does it sort the two different cents into two
hoppers, it can do this at an amazing speed of 300 coins
a minute, 18,000 an hour!  What's more, it can be easily
altered to sort out different coins. For example it can
sort Canadian nickels, the pure nickel from the later
compositions which still circulate side-by-side. This is
done by changing the "reference coin" (also called the
"standard") by which all coins fed into the machine are

Having invented the better mousetrap, customers for his
machine have come in droves. He builds his own machines
and has modified his machine three times. He now has four
different models and already has sold hundreds. But instead
of building more machines he would much rather sort his own
coins. He has, he admits, a ton of pre 1982 cents.

Astounded, I asked "How big is a ton of cents?"  "It would
fill a 55-gallon drum," he states, "two foot wide by 40
inches tall. About the size of a small end table."  Many of
the people who have his machine have this many, even several
tons, he relates.

His customers include a lot of professional men, people
who are hedging on the rise in copper value. They had
learned that copper cents are the least costly form to
acquire and hold copper.  It cost about three-tenths of
a cent to sort out copper cents.

Andy is full of statistics. An average $25 box of cents
will yield 8 to 12 wheat cents. A $50 bag double that.
Even at four-tenths of one percent it is cost effective
to sort cents on his machine. It differs, he adds, by region.
Areas of active economy, like the Southwest, have more recent
cents in circulation. Areas with a stagnant economy have
much higher percentage. "Here in Michigan it can be as high
as seven times the national average." Older coins continue
to circulate.

How soon will we run out? I asked. "Well since 1959," he
states "270 billion cents have been issued. It would take
1,000 of my machines running 24 hours a day 2 1/2 years to
sort that many."

"How do you separate the Wheaties (pre 1959 coins) from
those dated before 1982?"  "Easy," he said, "change the
reference coin and run them through the machine again."

Andy credits his grandparents with his interest in coins. He
saw their cent collection when visiting and they allowed him
to play with the pennies as a youth. The handful they gave
him initiated his collecting interest. And this led to his
invention of the Coin Sorter.


[The May 2008 issue of COINage magazine has an interesting
article by Tom DeLorey titled "Melts and Their Aftermath:
How Coin 'Deaths' Affect Market Value".  He discusses the
various times in U.S. economic history when high specie
values have led to the melting of coins.  He notes that the
first great melting of U.S. coin occurred in 1834 when the
country's gold coins became overvalued in specie terms vs
face value.  Here are a few excerpts. -Editor]

"It is safe to say that more than 99 percent of the pre-1834
U.S. Gold coins no longer exist, there being very few collectors
at the time to preserve them ... How individual pre-melt
coins survived was mere chance.  While working as an
authenticator-grader at the American Numismatic Association
Certification Service (ANACS), I saw an uncirculated 1804
Half Eagle ($5 gold piece) wrapped in a piece of brittle paper,
that apparently had been sent to England as a present.  Written
on the paper was a message that read something to the effect
of 'To Freddie. An American Guinea. Christmas 1805.'

[In the late 1970s/1980 boom when coin shops had people
lined up around the block to sell their coins and gold, a
dealer could buy $500,000 to $1 million in bullion each day.

"My colleague says his firm would air-freight its silver
purchases to Switzerland every night because the refineries
there were not as backed up and could pay for the silver in
a more timely manner."

"I do not know if some day in the near future we will be
posting "2x" or "3X" buy prices for cents and nickels in
the coin shop where I work, but I would not rule it out."


E-Sylum subscriber Kim Ghobrial writes: "I have some coin
books which I loaned out to a person who smokes.  They were
new and he never read any of them, but now they stink of
cigarette smoke.  How does one get the smell out of the books?"

[I found one old query on smelly books, but no answers.  I
suggested baking soda and a good old-fashioned airing-out
in the sunshine.  -Editor]

Kim adds: "Unfortunately, living in Oregon, we get mostly
rain and cold, so sunshine is kind of out of the question.
Currently have them in the garage on their sides (like if
you put them onto a bookshelf, but opened up).  I did start
with baking soda in a container that has a opening at the
top and put that and the books into a Ziploc storage bag,
which did pull out some of the smell, as I sniffed the baking
soda in the container and it smelled of cigarettes.  So, I
might be going back to that, or fresh ground coffee."

[Any other suggestions, readers?  -Editor]




Dick Hanscom writes: "Does any one know anything about ceramic
copies of medals?  I have scans of the Alaska Yukon Pacific
Exposition, 1909, large award medal in blue and white ceramic,
obverse only; and both sides of the 2.5 inch Alaska statehood
medal by Medallic Art Co., possibly brown or gray and white.
They are marked 'MB' on the back.  Can anyone shed any light
on these?  Thanks very much."

To view images of Dick's ceramic medals. See:
images of Dick's ceramic medals
images of Dick's ceramic medals


Last week we discussed my 2008 April Fool's piece.  Whenever
the subject of the Yoachum Silver dollar comes up, numismatists
never quite know if someone's pulling their leg or trying to
pull the wool over their eyes.  The enigmatic coin has been
referenced a number of times in the literature but only
illustrated relatively recently.  Many suspect the examples
currently floating around the market are fantasies created
in the 1960s.

In a recent posting on the Coin Talk bulletin boards, James
F. Morris published an article about Yaochum Dollar and a
specimen in his collection:

"By a very strange twist of fate: now over 20 years ago, I
acquired a Yoachum Silver Dollar - 1822. It is one of the
eight (8) discovered by Don Webb and Bob Jones in November
1982 in southwest Missouri. One of the Webb/Jones specimens
appears in the Official Publication of The Missouri Numismatic
Society,   'Missouri Journal of Numismatics', Vol.9, July
1964, pgs. 5,6. To my knowledge this is the first published
photo of the coin.

"In W. C. Jameson's book, 'Buried Treasures of the Ozarks',
1990, reports numerous lost silver (and gold) mines throughout
the Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma Ozark uplift region. On
pgs. 89 thru 100 - The Mystery of the Yoachum Silver Dollar
is featured. My good friend Mr. J. R. Blunk (pg. 99) recounts
his remarkable discovery of the original dies discovered by
him on March 11, 1983."

The article states that Walter Breen and Q. David Bowers
examined the dies and coin at the February 1988 Long Beach
show, although I checked with Dave and he has no recollection
of the event.

Morris writes: "The only other Yoachum Silver Dollar that
I'm aware of surfaced at the Hartzog Sept. 1984 sale, lot
453., consigned by the son of Mr. William Bradley from Rockford,
Ill. (now deceased), and purchased by Mr. Paul Bosco for $400.
The notarized statement indicates the specimen was given to
him by his grandmother around 1922. She was an Indian descent
of either the Shawnee or Cherokee lineage. The Bosco specimen
was re-sold, Bosco, Nov.2000 sale, lot 905. Purchase price
$700. to an undisclosed bidder. Un-authenticated. Although
I haven't examined the coin, it appears to be a good candidate
for authentication."

"Several days later (after the Expo.) we met with Mr. Charles
Fletcher, President of A-Mark Minting Corporation located in
L.A. Ca. to contract the custom minting of the 1822 Limited
Edition Trial Re-strikes from the original dies.  Production
was scheduled for the morning of March 15th, 1988. The making
of the coins were pretty straight forward; but very time
consuming and potentially dangerous for the dies. There were
many things to consider. I think we were very lucky to get 142
coins minted before a small fissure developed at the back of
one die. In hindsight, perhaps it would have been wiser to have
to have a duplicate die made; but another cookie-cutter silver
coin does not lend itself well to authenticity, uniqueness,
value or history..

"The Laser cut edges were contracted to Mr. Hugh Mosbacher,
President of Mercury Marking Devices, L. A. Ca. Each coin
was individually marked C J. R. BLUNK & ASSOC.  INC. TRIAL
RESTRIKE NO. 001/142 THRU 142/142.  Each coin has been hand
stamped 'copy' to comply with U. S. Federal Trade Commission

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story

[I checked with Token and Medal Society Editor and former
President Dave Schenkman.  He writes: "I vaguely recalled
the piece, so I dug out Hartzog's catalog. Although it is
difficult to draw conclusions from pictures, I wouldn't buy
a piece like the one pictured in Hartzog for any price. The
die work is unlike anything from the 19th century that I've
ever seen; although not identical, it reminds me of a group
of fantasy coal scrip tokens that were 'created' in the early
1980s; I wrote an article titled 'Caveat Emptor' about them
and pictured a bunch of different ones in the October 1982
issue of the TAMS Journal. The timing of the coal fantasies
appearing on the market and the eight Yoachum pieces being
'discovered' in November 1982 is also interesting. Coincidence?
Perhaps, but I doubt it.

"Interestingly, while the one pictured in Hartzog's catalog
(which sold for $370) appears to have raised letters, on the
one Morris posted the lettering appears to be incuse.

"Hartzog offered his piece 'AS IS, no return.' He also states
that ANACS was unable to provide an opinion, and that Bruce
Smith (a well known researcher of Missouri numismatics) was
of the opinion that the piece was a modern fantasy."

[Have any E-Sylum readers seen one of the Webb/Jones specimens?
Or know anything about the discovery or whereabouts of Yoachum
dollar dies?  What about the A-Mark restrikes?  Below is a
reference I found on the web mentioning the dollars. -Editor]

Full Story


Following up on earlier discussions about the filming of
the new movie "Public Enemies", Jeff Reichenberger writes:
"For three weeks leading up to today, Main Street in Oshkosh,
WI has been transformed back in time to 1930. Pre-production
crews have put on an apt display of construction, including
changing all the signage from plastic and neon to painted
wood. Some of the buildings had entire facelifts. One corner
of Main Street had a complete fake building constructed of
wood and scaffold. Another long-time local music store has
been changed into a Walgreen Drugs. Off to the side, waiting
in the wings, is a newly built trolley car, and the STAR of
the movie - the First National Bank building - towers above
it all and watches as it is prepared to be robbed.

"Main Street was officially closed yesterday, and will remain
closed for 10 days. This weekend we are told that the final
step is to lay down a false cobblestone road. Giant rolls of
the stuff will be laid out across approximately 2 blocks
covering the intersection of Main Street and Washington Avenue.
I've attached a photo from when the FNB was being built in 1927.
In the foreground you can see that the streets were indeed

"I was told by the current owner of the FNB building that
the filming will be shot mainly around the Main Street entrance.
He mentioned that they would not film the vault rooms, since
they didn't fit the scene, the main reason being that the vault
is in the lower level, below the streets.

"In the research for my little article regarding the history
of the bank I state that, 'the vaults were said to be the
finest, most secure public depository in existence, and that
locating them in the lower level was a new and state-of-the-art
concept to foil potential criminals.' Apparently it also foiled
the movie makers. The Oshkosh Daily Northwestern reported,
'The weights and dimensions of the vaults construction is
almost bewildering. The door to the main vault weighs 30 tons.'
I was given a tour by one of the banks owners, Jim Robl. It
is an impressive thing to see the round, 8 foot diameter, 3
foot thick vault door. It looks just like the ones you see
in the movies! I was surprised they were not going to use it.

"If anyone is interested in a blow by blow description of all
that is going on with the movie, it will be well chronicled
in the Oshkosh Northwestern. Go to: -
local news.

"The movie is scheduled to be released in 2009. So look for
Johnny Depp to burst from the First National Bank building
in a mad shootout - you just might get a glimpse of the coin
sculptures behind a spray of machine gun bullets."

[Jeff provided a photo of the First National Bank building
as it was being constructed in Oshkosh in 1927.  Here's a
link to the photo, and to a couple he supplied earlier of
the interesting bas-relief coin medallion decorations on
the building.  Jeff has written a very complete and interesting
article on the history of the bank and its numismatic
connections which has been submitted to Coin World's Paper
Money Values Magazine.  -Editor]

First National Bank, Oshkosh, WI (Construction 1927)
First National Bank, Oshkosh

First National Bank front view
First National Bank front view
Walking Liberty Half Obverse
Walking Liberty Half Obverse


Larry Gaye writes: 'Movies with numismatic themes are always
targets for us purists.  I saw 'The Counterfeiters' last week.
It is an excellent movie about Operation Bernhard, the Nazi
plot to destabilize the British Pound and later the US Dollar
by counterfeiting Pounds and Dollars using mostly Jewish

'I have several Bernhard notes as well as a real five pounder
in my collection and own the book written about them.  The
key to the movie is that it provided faces and feelings to the
story.  It is well worth the trip to the theatre to see the
movie.  Are there numismatic errors?  Of course but the trip
is worth the ticket price.  Go see it!'

[We've been following the making and release of this film for
a while, but Larry's the first E-Sylum reader to report seeing
it.  Since it's in German with English subtitles, it's more
likely to be found in big city art houses than suburban
multiplexes.  I'm glad to hear it's worth making the effort
to find it.  -Editor]






[My first week in London was spent a stone's throw from
Trafalgar Square, where a towering column honors England's
greatest naval hero, Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson.  This week
a newspaper article describes a numismatic connection to Nelson,
a rare medal that showed up on eBay and is now being sought by
the Nelson Museum. -Editor]

It had languished in an attic until being put up for internet
auction in the hope of fetching a few hundred pounds.

But an unassuming looking medal turned out to be an extraordinarily
rare piece of Nelson history worth tens of thousands and now
a Norfolk museum is hoping to bring it home.

The Naval General Service Medal (NGSM) earned by Yarmouth hero
James Sharman, the man credited with carrying the fatally
ounded Nelson below deck during the battle of Trafalgar, has
surfaced - one of only three earned by the survivor.

Sharman is a particularly important figure to the museum as
he is one of only a few men whose heroic endeavours on HMS
Victory were recorded specifically.

Not only did he apparently tend to the dying Nelson but he
was so well regarded that he was chosen as the first 'keeper
of the pillar' by the Vice Admiral's best friend, Capt Masterman
Hardy, when the Nelson memorial was built in Yarmouth.

He was also the inspiration for the Charles Dickens character
Ham Peggotty in David Copperfield, forever immortalising a
Trafalgar survivor in one of the most famous pieces of English

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story

For more information on the Nelson Museum, see:
Nelson Museum


[A Welsh publication article discusses a movement to
reintroduce banknotes in Wales. -Editor]

THE reintroduction of Welsh banknotes would provide a national
morale boost and help kick-start the expansion of a home-grown
financial sector, according to a Plaid Cymru parliamentary

Steffan Lewis, who will be standing in Islwyn at the next
general election, says bringing back Welsh notes after a gap
of 100 years would provide a further reason for pride after
the rugby Grand Slam and Cardiff City's success in reaching
the FA Cup final.

The last Welsh banknotes were withdrawn in 1908 when the
North & South Wales Bank was taken over by Midland Bank
(now HSBC).

Yet Scotland still has its own notes issued by three separate
banks, while in Northern Ireland four banks, including some
with headquarters in the Republic of Ireland, put out their
own paper currency.

The Bank Charter Act 1844 prohibited the issuing of new
banknotes in England and Wales and further legislated that
any bank subject to takeover would lose its note-issuing
right. In 1908 the North & South Wales Bank was acquired by
Midland Bank, and its banknotes were consequently withdrawn
from circulation.

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


[This week the Library of Congress celebrates an
astounding feat - the recreation of Thomas Jefferson's
library. -Editor]

In Thomas Jefferson's day, the books he lovingly collected
were almost as famous as he was.

Leather-bound tomes on topics as varied as whist, beekeeping
and philosophy were gathered from across Europe and colonial
America, then brought to Monticello to help fulfill Jefferson's
vow to amass the whole of human knowledge. They eventually
became the foundation for the Library of Congress, although
two-thirds were lost in a fire in 1851.

For the past decade, a small group of rare book experts has
sought to re-create Jefferson's library, scouring antiquarian
book collections on two continents to acquire thousands of
volumes. The entire collection of more than 6,000 volumes --
some originals and some replacements -- will go on display
tomorrow at the Library of Congress, looking much as it would
have 200 years ago.

Re-creating such a famous library is a book collector's dream,
Dimunation said, and it has not been easy. The search took
Dimunation and his staff near and far, from their own stacks
to the basements of French booksellers as they hunted down
the same editions and obscure pamphlets from the early 1800s.

They have found books in France, the Netherlands, Italy and
England. Books came from private collections and universities.

The library has replicated not only Jefferson's collection
but also the manner in which he displayed it. He arranged his
bookshelves in a conch shell pattern, so that a person could
walk into the middle and be surrounded by books.

Even Jefferson's system of organizing the books reflected
an enlightened thought process, Dimunation said. Every book
fell into one of three categories: memory, reason or imagination.
An updated version of that system is used by the Library of

"You are seeing the library pretty much how Thomas Jefferson
would have seen it," Dimunation said.

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story


This week's featured web site is the Provenance Gallery
of 1794 Large Cents by Al Boka, companion to the book of
the same name.

"This book evolved as an extension of an exhibit at the
2004 Early American Coppers Club convention in San Diego.
The exhibit featured all 58 collectible varieties of 1794
Large Cents chosen by their intriguing, singular pedigrees
rather than their condition...pedigrees extending to Mickley,
Maris, Frossard, Hays, Zug, Prosky, Hines, Gilbert, Steigerwalt,
Clapp, and many other noted collectors of the past."

  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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