The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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You won't regret it!

Volume 11, Number 24, June 15, 2008


Wayne Homren We have no new subscribers this week. Our reader count is 1,142.

This week we have a number of new book announcements on topics including British token coinage, Panic Scrip, Canadian Historical Medals and Chinese Amulets. Next, we have remembrances of literature dealer John Bergman, author Neil MacNeil and dealer Tom Flynn.

New queries this week involve Valentine's Fractional Currency book and removing those nasty price stickers from books. Comments inspired by earlier E-Sylum articles include more background on the use of die numbers on British coinage, collector Ted Naftzger and author William Sheldon.

In the news, Scottish banknotes are saved by a new deal, Royal Mint and U.S. Mint workers are interviewed, and magnetic paper is proposed as an anti-counterfeiting measure for banknotes. To learn which U.S. Mint Director will rise from the dead and walk the earth, read on. Have a great week, everyone.

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


Regarding the Numismatic Bibliomania Society survey on the 100 Greatest Works of American Numismatic Literature, Rob Galiette mentions two of the auction catalog nominees. He writes:

I share your gratitude for the opportunity to purchase hardbound editions of the Stack's John J. Ford, Jr. auction catalogs when they started to become available. At 21 volumes they'll stand as classic reference volumes on a variety of subjects infrequently researched in such detail and with such scholarship.

R.M. Smythe will reach catalog 15, and still counting, for the Schingoethe collection next month in July. Many of us continue to hope that we may be favored with the availability of hardbound editions of these auction catalogs at some point, commensurate with their landmark status and research value. It would be a lasting and meaningful tribute to the Schingoethes, who did not live to see the disposition of their exceptional efforts and achievement.

The sale of these two collections together may exceed forty separate auction catalogs. We're fortunate in our time to benefit from and to share in such depth, quality and graphic presentation of historically important fiscal documents and numismatic material.

Regarding another important catalogue set, Neil Shafer writes:
Just a comment on what David Gladfelter wrote about the 1990-91 ABN sales by Christie's. Most of the world notes were cataloged by me, with some assistance from my son Joel. Walter Allan did the Canadian material and Russell Kaye the U.S. obsoletes. I do not believe James Lamb himself did much if any of the actual catalog work. It is certainly possible that Gene Hessler was called for help with some things, though I have no specific remembrance of that occurring.

At the time I had several discussions with Lamb about how complete the material was that we were to catalog. He insisted that as far as he knew it was the complete archive, but I strongly believed that it had been gathered in far too much haste to be anywhere near complete. Because I had such a negative attitude he was "only 70% sure" I was going to be able to work on the cataloging - but it worked out that I was there for quite a while.

It was the kind of work that you could do day in and day out, from early morning to late evening, all day every day... and never once get tired of it! Marvelous pieces kept pouring out of every envelope and file, each one better than the next, in a steady stream of delight. It was an experience I will never forget.

In a note related to top-100 lists in general, another reader writes:
The New York Times recently explored the human obsession with lists - how apropos considering the discussion among E-Sylumites about the Top 100 numismatic literature items."

To read the complete New York Times article, see: Rank and File (


George Selgin writes:
My book, Good Money, is in press at long last, and will be available in July. Here is the Independent Institute's description of the book, which shows the very nice cover they and University of Michigan Press designed for it.

Good Money GOOD MONEY: Private Enterprise and Popular Coinage: Birmingham Button Makers, the Royal Mint, and the Beginnings of Modern Coinage, 1775-1821 By George Selgin

In Good Money, George Selgin tells the story of a fascinating and important yet almost unknown episode in the history of moneyBritish manufacturers challenge to the Crowns monopoly on coinage.

In the 1780s, when the Industrial Revolution was gathering momentum, the Royal Mint failed to produce enough small-denomination coinage for factory owners to pay their workers. As the currency shortage threatened to derail industrial progress, manufacturers began to mint custom-made coins, called tradesmans tokens. Rapidly gaining wide acceptance, these tokens served as the nations most popular currency for wages and retail sales until 1821, when the Crown outlawed all moneys except its own.

Good Money not only examines the crucial role of private coinage in fueling Great Britains Industrial Revolution, but it also challenges beliefs upon which all modern government-currency monopolies rest. It thereby sheds light on contemporary private-sector alternatives to government-issued money, such as digital monies, cash cards, electronic funds transfer, and (outside of the United States) spontaneous dollarization.

400 pages
6 x 9

George Selgins story of how private enterprise solved a monetary problem that threatened seriously to retard the Industrial Revolution is a splendid piece of historical analysis. He has done an incredible job of unearthing all of the details of what went on in Britain in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. It is a fine example of historical research. Milton Friedman, Recipient of the 1976 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics

Good Money has a splendid mixture of monetary economics, numismatics and industrial historywith a particular focus on the central role of Birmingham in the United Kingdom's industrial revolution. While the main focus of the book, the private sector provision of copper coins in the UK, 1787-1817, may appear quite specialized, the lessons that may be drawn from it, for example about the roles of the public and private sectors in the provision of money, are much more general and wider in scope. George Selgin demonstrates a remarkable breadth and depth of scholarship in this multi-discipline work. I heartedly recommend it. Charles A. E. Goodhart, Norman Sosnow Professor of Banking and Finance, London School of Economics

I anxiously await the publication of Good Money. Taking a totally fresh approach to not only the examination of the British token coinage, but also the role of money as a medium of exchange, this is a work that will delight token collectors and general numismatists alike. Good Money is no stale academic textI was charmed by the author's Ramble 'Round Old Birmingham as surely as I was enlightened throughout by his meticulous research. Numismatists are readers and researchers at heart and I've no doubt that Good Money will meet with an enthusiastic response within our community." Harold Welch, Vice President, Conder Token Collector's Club

For more information, or to order the book, see: GOOD MONEY: Private Enterprise and Popular Coinage: Birmingham Button Makers, the Royal Mint, and the Beginnings of Modern Coinage, 1775-1821 (


The following excerpts are reprinted with permission from Neil Shafer's column Books, books and more books! in the June 2008 issue of Bank Note Reporter. -Editor
Of the two subject areas I would like to discuss in this column, Id first like to bring you up to date on a project I have been involved with off and on since the early 1990s. Thats why there are quotes on the word new- but we have finally come to a point of virtual readiness for public unveiling. Its title will most likely be A Catalog of Panic Scrip of 1893, 1907 and 1914.

Youve read about it before, probably in this column, though I have no specific recollection of ever having dealt with it in any depth. The exact subject has to do with those emergency issues of scrip dating from economic difficulties of 1893, 1907 and 1914. These notes were issued all over the country and are now widely scattered; it took a great deal of searching as many public and private collections as well as auction sales as we could find in order to produce a comprehensive listing. I am pleased to say that work has progressed to the point that I have been discussing the possibilities of publication with several offices, and I hope to know in the near future who will agree to tackle this job. There are three of us who have been working together on this subject area for a number of years. Douglas Corrigan has produced a census of any and all known 1907 issues, and this has been an invaluable tool in my preparation of the master listing now finished. The third member of our troika is Tom Sheehan, who has done some significant writing on the historical background of these issues and who has been a devoted collector and researcher in this area for many years.

The major parts of the book consist of separate sections dealing with the main three dates as mentioned above. But along wit these sections are several others that we thought were important enough to be included. These are titled Miscellaneous Scrip of the Approximate Periods (issues not specifically related to the major areas but still significant enough to be listed); 1907 Parody Issues (political notes relating only to 1907); and an Appendix composed of reprints of some significant earlier writings on panics and scrip issues.

1907 Panic Scrip


Joseph McCarthy forwarded the following information in response to earlier queries about Volume Two of the Charleton Press' Collectors Edition on Canadian Historical Medals. -Editor
Charleton Press is currently shipping Volume Two of the Collectors Edition on Canadian Historical Medals: Canadian Association Society Commercial Transportation Medals. The Second Volume when conceived was anticipated to contain approximately 400 pages. Currently their website shows 500 pages. But I was told that the volume being mailed contains approximately 800 pages. They anticipate resuming work on the Third volume in the series in the fall when they have finished releasing the yearly Numismatic offerings. Delivery of the Third volume is planned for Spring, 2009.

For more information, see the Charleton Press web site (


Howard a. Daniel III writes: "I received a New Books flyer from the Bibliotheque Nationale de France (National Library of France) and it lists Amulettes de Chine by Francios Thierry. The ISBN is 978-2-7177-2402-8 and it is priced at 99 Euros. You can contact the library at to order a copy. But it can probably also be ordered from Amazon in the USA or one of its European branches.

The book is based on the 500 piece collection of Henri Fontanier, who brought it back to France in 1867. Francios Thierry is the researcher-writer about the numismatic pieces of East Asia in France. Besides this book, he has produced several other excellent books about Vietnamese pieces that are in my library, and I often correspond with him about the numismatics of Viet Nam and Cambodia and Laos."

Scott Semans also lists the book on his web site as follows: "Amulettes de Chine et du Viet-Nam Catalog of 303 pieces (mostly Chinese) with description, specs, interpretation, and good photo. Essay on typology, functions, inscriptions & calligraphy, casting, dating, and coin-like charms. French text. Bibliography, index. Most informative work in a Western language." His response to my query follows. -Editor.
Scott Semans writes: "This is a new work and I have not seen it yet; his earlier work including Vietnamese charms is much more limited, and out of print. I will stock it, but anyone wanting it quickly can get it from the French Amazon site:

Thierry's scholarship is top notch and based on his other works, I would expect significant information on the symbolism and uses of particular pieces, while other works are usually just picture books, or Chinese-language works on charm collecting, which are not actually catalogs.

What I usually recommend is a two-volume set from China by Zheng Yiwei et al, Classic Chinese Charms which covers exactly 10 times the number of pieces as the Thierry work and costs a bit less. Classic is bilingual English and Chinese with essays on all aspects of Chinese charms, information which has not been available before in a Western language, BUT the cataloguing of particular pieces is sketchy, which is where I expect Thierry's French-language work to be very useful.

Alex Fang, a Chinese scholar who is quite fluent in English, will have a work in press on this subject within a year, I believe. There has been a publishing explosion in Chinese numismatics since the early 1980s, and though still a sideline, it's particularly evident in the charms because there was so little in print previously, and interest in the subject goes beyond the numismatic hobby."

Many thanks to both Howard and Scott for bringing this work to our attention. -Editor


DAVID SKLOW - FINE NUMISMATIC BOOKS now accepting consignments for our October 4th mail bid auction. Consignments in hand include a rare photograph of the 1929 ANA Convention (719) 302-5686, visit our web site


George Vanca of Santa Clarita, CA forwarded these recollections of his dealings with numismatic literature dealer John Bergman. -Editor
I began collecting Numismatic books in 1996. One of the first dealers I came in contact with was John Bergman who usually had a booth at the Long Beach Coin Show. Even though I was new to the field, he answered my questions and took the time to explain things in a straightforward and easy going manner. I remember him talking to me as other seasoned collectors entered his booth and he finished up with me first before helping the others.

I collected Bowers-related periodicals and John had a clean set of "The Bowers Review", which was the first purchase I made from him. He contacted me at a later date when he acquired a run of "The Empire Review," which I also purchased, through the mail. He had asked me to let him know which "Empire Topics" I was missing and once sent me one of the issues in the mail, gratis. Over the next few months, he helped me fill in the remaining "holes" in my blossoming collection.

John was a "Gentle Giant", who had a warm smile on his face, a wealth of information, and took the time to talk to, and answer the questions of, a young numismatic bibliophile. He is sorely missed.

"Gentle Giant" is a wonderfully apt description of Bergman. He had a heart of gold, a real Teddy Bear of a bibliophile. But he was quick to speak his mind and could be counted on for complete honesty even if it might ruffle a few feathers. I recall him talking about some of the numismatic auction catalogs that Armand Champa had rebound, using say, a cover from one copy and the text from a second. The polite bibliographic term for such books is "sophisticated". John Bergman's term was "boogered up".


Dick Johnson submitted the following item about Neil MacNeil. -Editor
MacNeil, The Presidents Medal Neil MacNeil, author of "The President's Medal" on Presidential Inaugural Medals died last week (June 7, 2008) at his home in Bethesda, MD. The numismatic field was indeed fortunate to have had such a famed author become interested in a numismatic specialty and write about it.

Neil was on the staff of Time magazine in the Washington office. His specialty was the U.S. Congress and he held the title of Chief Congressional Correspondent for Time. He was also a longtime panelist on the TV program "Washington Week In Review." An inveterate book buyer, he built the largest private collection on the U.S. Congress.

He was a close friend of Joe Levine who aided his numismatic interest of U.S. Presidential inaugural medals. Once Neil became interested in inaugural medals he wrote the book in his basement library after midnight, not to conflict with his many other duties. He was a professional writer, and had long since learned the secret every writer should have emblazoned on a sign above his computer:

Libraries and librarians exist to furnish writers with information!

Neil was a master at obtaining hidden material, often in an obscure library and having some librarian cheerfully dig out and furnish this data to him. Of course it helped if they knew we was on the staff of Time. He knew how to ask the right questions and what areas to explore. But it was this Scotsman's cheerful attitude that immediately befriended everyone. He did have a strong personality and he generally got what he wanted, be it a medal or modicum of buried information.

I acquiesced to Neil's requests many times, furnishing data on Medallic Art Company-made inaugural medals to him. Our paths crossed often. He once invited me to lunch with him in Washington. His office at Time magazine was filled with boxes of his just-published book on Everett Dirksen. I asked if he had taken his royalties in copies of the book. "No," he said. "these are to give to people who might have an interest in the Illinois Senator."

We strolled over to a famous Washington hotel dining room. This was during the Nixon inquisition, and Neil said to me, "That's John Dean seated at that table." He proceeded to point out other dignitaries in the room. "Well I guess they have to eat lunch somewhere" I said blandly.

Neil stopped off to visit us at Medallic Art Company in Danbury one Thursday. He was on his way to Boston to interview Tip O'Neil. The article was the cover story to appear in next week's issue of Time, and his deadline was Saturday morning. I asked him if he wasn't cutting his time rather close.

That wasn't all. After he interviewed Tip O'Neil, he left all his notes in O'Neil's office. He realized what he had done on his drive from Boston, telephoned back to Boston and had his notes messengered to Washington DC where he showed up Friday night and wrote the article for his Saturday AM deadline.

I read the article Monday and it was flawless. That's the kind of writer Neil was!

I will miss you, Neil, and all our conversations.

To read the New York Times obituary of MacNeil, see: Neil MacNeil, Among First of TV Reporters on Congress, Dies at 85 (

THOMAS M. FLYNN 1929 - 2008

John and Nancy Wilson forwarded this news item. Tom Flynn was well known to many E-Sylum readers. Our condolences to his family. -Editor
It was with great sadness that we heard of the passing of our good friend Thomas M. Flynn, of Scottsdale, AZ. from the June 23, 2008 Coin World. He passed away on May 29th at St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester, MN. Tom was a longtime resident of Dubuque, IA before moving to Arizona. Tom was one of the dealers who you loved to see at coin or paper money conventions. He always had a cordial greeting and was friendly with everyone who stopped at his table. We loved to talk to him about collecting. We always knew that Tom was a collector and attended many auctions around the country. At many times, we attended the same auctions.

When we received our Heritage CAA auction catalog for the Central States Numismatic Society Convention this past April, we were shocked to see the scope and breath of his collection. He had exceptional collections of U. S. Large and Small Sized Currency, Fractional Currency, National Bank Notes, Military Payment Certificates, Encased Postage, Canadian Paper Money (said to be one the finest collections ever formed) and Foreign Currency. We attended the sale of his currency collection in at the CSNS convention in Rosemont, IL. this Spring. Tom, his wife Mary and some of their children attended the sale. When the final hammer came down for the sale, the Flynn collection generated prices that in many cases were staggering. We covered some portions of the Flynn consignment, and our story can be found in the June, 2008 Bank Note Reporter.

We will miss Tom at the International Paper Money Show in Memphis later this month. He was a true gentleman, dealer, and collector who will be missed greatly by his many friends from around the United States and other countries. All of our condolences and prayers to his wife Mary, their four sons and the rest of the Thomas Flynn family.


Tim L. Shuck writes:
I'm looking for advice on how to safely remove price sticker residue from a hard-bound book (happens to be Don Taxay's U.S. Mint and Coinage) without damaging the cover. The book is new, recently purchased online, but I suspect the sticker had been on there for awhile. I was able to remove most of the sticker paper, but much of the glue remains.

My usual scheme is to use transparent tape as a sort of blotter, dabbing it repeatedly on the recalcitrant glue (glue to glue) and lifting it off, but that doesn't seem to be working this time. I didn't want to get too aggressive.

I thought about trying a soft art eraser but before doing that want to see what others recommend, as I can't imagine this being something never before encountered. I did skim through the E-Sylum table of contents archive but nothing popped out (not to say that there isn't something there, but I was going through the pages fairly quickly). Thanks in advance.

Good question. These stickers are rarely easy to remove completely. I have little patience and tend to give up or not bother trying. Can any of our readers offer advice? -Editor


Jerry Fochtman has two requests for E-Sylum readers relating to exhibit and research projects. Can anyone assist? -Editor -Editor
I've got a research project that I'm working on, and wondered if any of your readers might be able to help. First off, I'm working on gathering material on D.W. Valentine and his book on Postage/Fractional Currency. Essentially there were several editions of his 1924 book, "United States Fractional Currency".

Valentine, Fractional Currency The initial release was published by F.C.C. Boyd, and there were 2 editions if you will. Most people are aware of the red/black covered edition, for which there were 225 produced, each was individually numbered. I'm trying as best I can, to locate as many examples that still exist so as to see how many have survived. So if any of your readers have a copy, if they could simply e-mail me or call me and let me know their name, and what numbered book they have, that would help me a great deal.

I've sent Jerry the information on my copy (pictured). It's copy number 204, purchased from John Bergman at the Portland ANA convention in 1998. -Editor
In addition to the red/black covered edition, Valentine apparently had prepared a black leather edition as well. There were 25 copies make and these were customized for some of the leading dealers/collectors during that time with the individual's name stamped in gold on the leather cover. These too, were individually numbered, and also were autographed by Valentine. Of the 25 that were produced, I only know where two copies are, and the name that was stamped on the cover. I do suspect that there's at least one in the ANA library, but haven't been able to learn the number or name on the cover.

If you happen to have one of these rare books, if you too, could contact me with the name on the cover and the number Valentine wrote with his name I would appreciate it.

Before I mention the other item I'm trying to census, I still have not been able to locate a picture of Daniel Valentine to include with my research material. If you happen to know anything about finding a picture of the gentlemen, or anything else about his life or descendents, please let me know.

Finally, the other item I'm search for is the home edition of Laban Heath's Counterfeit Detector. I'm sure that Eric Newman has at least one or more copies in his personal library. But I've been unable to locate any others. I'm working on an exhibit for Memphis involving Laban Heath and would like to include a copy if someone has one they can bring or simply loan me for the purpose of this exhibit. It will be graciously returned with a debt of gratitude after the Saturday, and I'll gladly keep ownership confidential.

If you wish to reach me, my e-mail is and my cell is: 713/502-3255. I should add that I don't usually see this e-mail address on the weekends, but a quick phone message will prompt me to check it. Thanks for considering my invitation to help complete my exhibit and any help you might be able to provide on D.W. Valentine and a census of his book.


Regarding the use of die numbers at the Royal Mint, Peter Gaspar (E-Sylum subscriber number one) writes:

Sorry it has taken me so long to write in about die numbers. This was an interesting problem 40 years ago, and it took Jim Haxby and me some time to find the answer. The purpose for the use of die numbers was to allow bad work in the coining press room to be traced back to the responsible workmen.

This was not a guess on our part. We found an 1860's English publication that explained the use of die numbers, so really Jim Haxby and I simply summarized the juicy bits. Just a few weeks after our Numismatic News article, David Sealy wrote on the same subject, using the same key reference, in one of his marvelous columns on coin varieties in, I believe, Coins Monthly.

The use of die numbers required that registers be kept of the use of all numbered dies. Unfortunately those registers were destroyed after World War II, when the Mint allowed a busybody from the Public Records Office who knew nothing about numismatics to thin out the Mint Library by selecting for destruction Mint records he deemed not to be worth preserving. As a result of that piece of wanton destruction, little remains of the die sinking and die finishing records of the 19th century. I suppose one could take the view that making life too easy for scholars engaged in numismatic research takes away much of their fun. I do not subscribe to that view and have often wished that I had access to those missing records.

Interested readers can consult our publication on the subject which includes a reference to the contemporary source material:

Peter P. Gaspar and James A. Haxby, "The Use of Numbered Dies in the Royal Mint 1863-1880", Numismatic News, Vol. 20, No. 35, p. 11 (August, 1972).

Peter adds:
G. F. Ansell, in his 1871 "third edition" of The Royal Mint states on p. 80: "For the past few years the reverse die has been made to carry, in addition to its recognized device, a small number, with a view to determine at which coining press, and on what particular day, that die was used, that bad work might be traced to an individual." (The italics represent my emphasis.)

We should have found the reference in Ansell years earlier, since the Ansell book was one of the few generally accessible sources of information about the detailed workings of the Royal Mint. The reference that actually triggered our little paper (and also, coincidentally, a British paper just a few weeks later) was an article entitled "Registration of Coins" in a rather obscure English publication Intellectual Observer (1866) pp. 445-8. That article states at greater length what Ansell wrote a few years later.

I have asked Numismatic News for a photocopy of our 1972 paper. When it arrives, perhaps I will be reminded how Haxby and I found the Intellectual Observer piece.

Many thanks to Peter for the follow-up! It's a shame that those records were destroyed, but we're lucky that the publication documented the process for later researchers, and doubly lucky that the publication was rediscovered and utilized. -Editor.


In recent issues we chronicled the efforts of Douglas Chambers of the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission to extract a Carnegie Hero medal from a fire-damaged block of Lucite. Here's an update. -Editor
Doug Chambers writes:
I first tried using nail polish remover, which is largely acetone, but the work was slow and laborious. I then immersed the medal in pure acetone and the remaining Lucite eventually came off. The hardest to reach spots, indentations like the ears, proved nettlesome. We'll now send the medal to Hugo for a good cleaning and a protective finish, put it in a box and send it off to the awardee.
Hugo Greco is a former Medallic Art Company artisan who designed the new version of the Carnegie Hero Medal. Doug promised to send us a photo of the finished medal before shipping it off. -Editor


Regarding our discussion of purple gold, Jrgen Smod writes: "In a Danish book for goldsmiths (Guldsmedebogen, Copenhagen 1948), partly written by a former manager at the Royal Mint in Copenhagen H. C. Nielsen is stated, that an alloy of 65% gold and 35% aluminum will bring an alloy in a blue color. In another Danish book it is mentioned that blue gold can be made by alloying with iron."

Dick Johnson's submission initiated the discussion, including a note from Joe Boling. This week Dick replies as follows. -Editor
The following comments refute Joe Boling's statements in the last E-Sylum:
Regarding minting coins of new alloys - forget it. Any such experiments in space will involve milligrams of metal. You will never see quantities brought back sufficient to go into production - most likely never enough for even a single piece.

The year was 1983. My partner and I had contracted with an Australian businessman to sell a certain medal in America. He had purchased the unmanned space capsule that had crashed back to earth in Western Australia. A portion of this relic scrap metal he had melted, rolled into strips and turned over to the Perth Mint. They blanked the strips and struck into half-dollar size medals, whose legend noted the relic status of the metal that had been in space from which the medal was struck.

We placed an advertisement offering this medal in the New York Times. NASA had authorized a private group to study the commercial possibilities of space. One of those committee members saw our advertisement and contacted us. After several telephone conversations, he showed up at our office to talk to us in depth. The first thing he did, however, was stick a paper in front of each of us to sign, swearing us to secrecy, prohibiting us from revealing to anyone else what we would reveal to him.

The discussion from two medal dealers was exactly what Joe Boling states will never happen. And without breaching our confidentiality agreement, I will not reveal the details of what was disused that day. However, I can say both NASA and private groups are interested in alloying new metals in space (without the restrictions of gravity).

Granted the quantities may be limited at first, and the cost of lifting base metals to a space station, and returning the newly formed metal alloy to earth -- where it would be struck medals -- may be expensive. But it can be done. Joe Boling's negativity is anathema to American enterprise attitude where anything is possible. We can do it!

Sorry, Joe, never say never. We may not live long enough to witness this, but I stand behind my statement, there will be a medal made of space-made alloy some day! There is a report in NASAs archives that explores this very subject.


Arthur Shippee submitted these thoughts in response to Fred Reed's article on Salmon P. Chase's motives in placing his own portrait on U.S. paper money. -Editor
While I have no opinion on Chase's intentions, I'd like to analyze Reed's criticism of Goodwin. Before rejecting her claim, one must check both sources listed: the unchecked source may be clearer, or both together may make the matter clear. Besides this, the lines quoted are suggestive, showing Brooks' judgments that 1) the public face on the bill was better looking than the man and 2) Chase would make a good president, and further 3) these two ideas were close together in Brooks' mind.

It seems safe to say that 1) Brooks associated $1 Chase with presidential-hopeful Chase, 2) he may have believed that the bill would help Chase's cause, and 3) that he could have believed this to be Chase's doing. While not proof, this does offer support to Goodwin's claim. The missing evidence needs to be weighed before one can seriously discount Goodwin's reasoning. It should be readily available through a university's inter-library loan.

Another factor may be relevant: on whom does the burden of proof lie? The facts that Chase oversaw the office responsible for currency and that common currency with his image was circulated call out for explanation. Self-interest as a reason for this choice seems very plausible on the face of it. Given the mid-19th century context, to take such a step would seem more obvious than notorious. Why is the suggestion of an ulterior motive so troublesome?

I would argue that the burden lies with those who would deny positively that the $1 bill was partly propaganda. While we may never have enough evidence to close the case, to reject the possibility of some personal interest will take more support than Reed offers.

I look forward to someone digging out the other reference, and perhaps to other relevant evidence being produced.


CATALOGER NEEDED: If you have an extensive library covering U.S. coinage and would like to be a remote cataloger for Heritage, contact Mark Van Winkle at or Carolyn Hall at


Time flies fast - a month has slipped by already, and Tuesday night was the June meeting of my Northern Virginia numismatic social group, Nummis Nova. Our host was David Schenkman, but since he lives so far from the rest of us we held the meeting in Herndon, near my office. I ended up working until 6:30 and arrived a few minutes late.

The gang was already there. We had a private room at the Herndon Bertucci's restaurant. The attendees were me, Chris Neuzil, Roger Burdette, Traci Poole, Wayne Herndon, Bill Eckberg, Joe Levine, Julian Leidman, Dave Schenkman and Mike Packard.

Dave was soon to head to Colorado Springs to teach the Civil War Numismatics class at the American Numismatic Association's Summer Seminar. He's teaching it together with Wendell Wolka. It's his 15th straight year of teaching. Wayne Herndon also mentioned the ANA in conversation; just before the meeting he had been on the phone with ANA Convention Coordinator Brenda Bishop discussing the logistics of setting up his tables at the upcoming ANA Worlds' Fair of Money in Baltimore. I was the General Chairman for the 2004 Pittsburgh convention, and Brenda's a gem.

Dave picked "your favorite numismatic error" as the theme for the evening. He passed around a 1985 Lincoln Cent struck on a dime planchet. Mike Packard had a 1797 low head Half Cent struck over an off-center double struck Large Cent. Now that's a neat error, although apparently ALL of the known specimens are struck over Large Cent. If that's how the mint intended to manufacture them, is it really an "error"?

Its Only Money I do own a decent little set of errors on U.S. $1 bills, but was unable to find time get to my safe deposit box to get them. So I chose my usual fallback - related books from my library. I passed around the 4th edition of The Error Coin Encyclopedia by Arnold Margolis and Fred Weinberg, and It's Only Money (A Comedy or Errors) by Jess Bausher and Charles Dolan. The latter is a rarely seen 1966 publication.

Bausher Error Auction Tipped in the back of the book is a copy of the June 22, 1968 Pennypacker Auction of the Jess Bausher collection,
consisting of Early American coins and featuring his famous "Error Coin Collection" used in compiling the book "It's Only Money"

In other numismatic items, Dave passed around a beautiful medal that made a lot of us drool - a lovely bronze Libertas Americana medal. He found it at a coin dealer's shop several years ago, where it was mixed in loose with other items in a plastic bag and offered to him at $5.00 (yes, the decimal point is in the right place)! He paid a fair wholesale price at the time, though, giving the surprised dealer a four-figure sum (six if you include the .00).

As always, evening ended all too soon. It's always fun to chat numismatics with fellow collectors.


One reader writes:
I don't think you should have published Denis Loring's comments on Ted Naftzger. The American Numismatic Society knew that there were big problems, ever since a young Richard Doty did an inventory of their cents in the early 1970's, an inventory of which they sold copies, wherein many coins are noted "Not the Clapp coin." They apparently did nothing at that time, and anything more is conjecture.

There are many sides to every story, and I do my best to stay happily neutral and publish whatever interests our readers. In our ten years I can recall only two or three submissions I declined to publish. The E-Sylum is an open forum, and reader comments are always welcome. -Editor
John W. Adams writes:
The comments on Ted Naftzger - first those by Alan Weinberg and then those by Denis Loring - contrast so starkly that I feel compelled to add my two cents worth.

Denis is an honorable man and, when he said that Ted lied, I accept his word. However, Ted's actions in the cited instance have to be taken in context: Ted was locked in a take-no-prisoners contest with the ANS, with both sides believing devoutly in their respective causes. The court actions were close, with Naftzger winning Round #1 and the losing the appeals of Round #2 and Round #3.

It is a shame that a compromise settlement was never reached - the parties came close - but all can agree that the origins of the disagreement, i.e. the switching of 100 plus large cents, occurred long before Ted ended up owning many of the coins.

My experiences with Ted Naftzger were very much akin to Alan's. He sent me valuable large cents with no security. He shared his treasures openly at EAC meetings where he was known as "God" because he had by far and away the best collation of large cents ever formed. And he was fun to be with. I used to take the "red eye" back to Boston in order to have the pleasure of dinner with Ted after business meetings during the day.

I believe that the man's considerable wealth derived from cattle ranching with a twist. Ted owned large land holdings in Eastern Oregon and on an island (thousands and thousands of acres) off Santa Barbara which he combined with even larger federal leases. This diversification of pasture land gave him the ability to move cattle by rail to wherever the grass was greenest. He collected actively and intelligently for 40 years. It's a shame that his relations with the hobby did not end on a far better note.

John Kleeberg submitted the following recollections of Ted Naftzger. He writes, "I knew him quite well, although my acquaintance was acquired in an unusual manner - as one of his adversaries in ten years of litigation." -Editor

Roy Edgar (Ted) Naftzger, Jr. was born into two wealthy families of Southern California, the Naftzgers and the Vickers. Naftzger grew up surrounded 360 degrees by rules, which he rebelled against to such an extent that he got packed off to military school.

Naftzger started college at Stanford, but finished up at the University of Southern California in 1948, where he was elected president of his fraternity, Beta Theta Pi. After graduation Naftzger sold insurance.

In 1952 his father died and Naftzger inherited a huge fortune. He never needed to work for a living again, and he didnt - professional managers operated his ranches. Naftzger's life was filled with hobbies: playing tennis, growing roses, deep sea fishing, and flying his private airplane, as well as collecting coins.

Naftzger began by filling a penny board with Lincoln cents. In 1938 a maiden aunt in Freeport, Illinois sent him a box of coins, including large cents.

Naftzger was a secretive man. In March 1938 he joined the American Numismatic Association, although his name and number (6809) were concealed from the membership; the membership list in the Numismatist jumps from 6808 to 6810.

On Saturdays Naftzger worked in the coin shop of Sam M. Koeppel at Eighth Street and Broadway in downtown Los Angeles. Insofar as Naftzger had a mentor, it was Koeppel. In Koeppels shop Naftzger met Howard Rounds Newcomb. Later Naftzger would obtain, via Koeppel, Newcombs library and inventory cards, although he kept his ownership a secret. (The cover of the first Robbie Brown sale by Superior may have photographs of books from Newcombs library.) Naftzger also obtained Koeppels collection of colonial notes; he consigned this to New Netherlands in 1976.

Besides large cents, Naftzger also collected U.S. gold and New Jersey coppers the latter collection was sold to William ODonnell via Tony Terranova, and auctioned by Stacks in January 2001. Naftzger beat out Harry Bass in a competition for an 1815 half eagle. The dealer who bought the coin had obligations to both Naftzger and Bass, and the dealer chose to sell to Naftzger. This would have important consequences.

In the 1990s, when the American Numismatic Society was considering whether to embark on litigation with Naftzger, the board of trustees, dominated by collectors, was dragging its heels until Harry Bass weighed in.

Naftzgers big acquisitions in large cents occurred from 1954 onwards, when he bought the collections of T. James Clarke, James Sloss, Edward Schwartz, Emanuel Taylor, and Ray Gallo. Naftzger would combine the better pieces with his collection and sell off the duplicates under the name of the former owner.

Naftzgers own name never appeared. He concealed himself behind Abe Kosoff, and only emerged more into the open after he and Kosoff got into an argument concerning a prooflike USAOG $20 of 1853, and their friendship ruptured. (But thats a scandal for another day)

Naftzger was perplexed by a problem with the T. James Clarke collection, which he had bought for $30,000 during the 1954 Christmas week. The Clarke collection was in little coin boxes, with the pedigrees marked on the back. When matched against the plates of the auctions, the coins didnt match. Naftzger would puzzle over this question for decades.

At the end of July 1967, Robert S. Carter, a large cent collector and toy dealer, introduced Naftzger to Dr. William Herbert Sheldon, Jr. in Portland, Oregon, where Sheldon spent his summers. As Naftzger got to know Sheldon and his collection, he realized where the missing coins from the Clarke collection had ended up Sheldon had switched out the coins.

In a visit to New York, Sheldon, Dorothy Iselin Paschal and Naftzger visited the ANS and looked at its large cent collection. In the litigation, Naftzger filed affidavit after affidavit denying such a visit, until I searched through decades worth of visitors books and discovered his signature.

On April 19, 1972 Sheldon sold his collection to Naftzger for $300,000. Naftzger figured the collection was really worth $456,000. The collection was cheap because the coins were hot. Sheldon had built up his collection by theft.

Sheldon switched coins from the Williams collection (offered by Abe Kosoff), from the Anderson-Dupont consignment at Stacks, from the T. James Clarke collection, and from the Gaskill collection, as well as his large scale plundering of the ANS collection.

And when Naftzger got the coins back to California, he discovered that Sheldon had fooled him again. Six of the top coins in the collection had been switched out.

He combined the collection with his own and sold off the duplicates in the New Netherlands sale of November 14-15, 1973. Although Naftzger would later claim that this sale was made without any reserves, He bought in pieces he thought were going too cheap. Naftzger netted $281,000, but his cost basis was so low that he still showed a profit. In effect, Naftzger had substantially improved the quality of his collection for a net cost of only $19,000.

Naftzger kept his ownership secret until 1991. In that year Bill Noyes published a photo book of the finest large cents, built around Naftzgers collection. Now the ANS could plate match Naftzgers coins to its own records, and saw that Sheldon/Naftzger possessed many of the Clapp/ANS coins.

The ANS proposed to Naftzger to discuss how the matter could be resolved with fairness and dignity. Naftzger refused all overtures and did his best to squelch any attempts by the ANS to reach out to the large cent collecting fraternity, EAC, with similar offers.

Naftzger sold his frontline collection of early date large cents in February 1992 in a transaction that netted him $6.8 million, and bought another ranch with the money. Shortly after that he commenced a lawsuit against the ANS in California. Early in 1996 the California Court of Appeals ruled against Naftzger on his statute of limitations argument. With neither the facts nor the law in his favor, Naftzger should have settled then; but this was not a normal lawsuit, and Naftzger was not a normal litigant. Extensive discovery ensued, followed by a trial, followed by appeals. Litigation continued into the twenty-first century until Naftzger finally returned the cents.

Naftzger always wrote in green ink, using green Pentel pens. I dont know why he chose green perhaps a reaction to Walter Breens use of purple ink. Even his stationery was printed in green. It is true that he would send valuable coins through the regular mails. He would wrap a cent between two pieces of cardboard, put it into an envelope marked PHOTOS DO NOT BEND in green ink and drop the envelope in a mailbox. He did not send coins registered mail because that would require a trip to the Beverly Hills Post Office, where there was insufficient parking space.

Many people in EAC were referred to by nicknames invented by C. Douglas Smith Jaws East, Jaws West, the Mad Monarch. Naftzgers nickname was God; Naftzger reveled in this nickname, partly because he lived in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Mount Olympus. Occasionally Naftzger would sign letters with his nickname spelt backwards DOG.

Litigation with Naftzger was a bizarre experience. He scrawled all over the deposition transcript that was sent to him for correction, changing a number of answers that read yes to no, each time in that strange green ink. (Deposition testimony and the corrections are provided under penalty of perjury, so changing the answer yes to no can have serious legal consequences.)

His memory lapses in his deposition (which lasted three days) and in the 1997 trial (which lasted a month) were more convenient than credible. His denials on the witness stand were so bizarre that the judge put her head in her hands. But as the years went on not all his memory lapses were strategic. It was Alzheimers, or a closely related form of mental degeneration, that brought about his death.

It will be interesting to see if Naftzgers numismatic library (including the items from Newcomb) comes on the market. And Id love to see the coin boxes that originally held the T. James Clarke Collection.

Many thanks to Alan Weinberg, Pete Smith, Denis Loring, John Adams, John Kleeberg and our anonymous reader for providing such detailed information and opinion on Naftzger and his coins. The litigation between Naftzger and the ANS is on public record. It's a long, strange tale indeed. Our hobby is filled with many interesting tales, parts of which may not or cannot ever be verified. The next article is another one of them.


A bit player in the previous item about Ted Naftzger was dealer Abe Kosoff. Alan V. Weinberg submitted the following item about Kosoff. He writes: "Here's a story I was told at the recent Baltimore coin show. It truly amazed me. It was told to me by a highly respected longtime numismatist who is not prone to exaggeration or tall tales." -Editor
About 1962 California dealer Abe Kosoff, who established the Professional Numismatist Guild in 1955, bought Dr J. Hewitt Judd's U.S. coin collection including extraordinary rarities in the highest condition. The price was reportedly $280,000 and the purchase was financed by singer / numismatist Frankie Laine who was to share in the profits. Laine is famous for his "Lucky Ole Sun" classic, the Rawhide TV theme and the splendid theme that winds its way through the classic 1957 Kirk Douglas / Burt Lancaster movie, The Gunfight at OK Corral.

Kosoff, Illustrated History of U.S. Coins In 1962 Kosoff published An Illustrated History of United States Coins describing and picturing the Judd coins. But in fact it was a prospectus to sell the coins although prices were not printed as perhaps beneath "the dignity" of the collection...or maybe there was another motive.

Kosoff is reliably believed to have "sold" many of the coins to his close business associate Sol Kaplan in Cincinnati, Ohio and to have shown those invoices of sales to Laine as representing actual sales, when in fact Kaplan, at Kosoff's direction, resold the coins to selected big money collectors for prices considerably in excess of the prices shown to Laine.

Kosoff and Kaplan would then split the real proceeds between themselves. Indeed, the 1792 Wright copper quarter (unique in private hands) and the 1792 silver disme (unique as the only unimpaired specimen known) were each sold for $35,000 to a private collector in 1962 who still has them - a total of $70,000 for only two coins representing one-fourth of the total cost of the $280K collection. That same year an 1804 silver dollar sold for $28,000 in the Samuel Wolfson NYC auction which I attended.

Frankie Laine, the financier of the collection purchase, actually took a loss on his investment! This may have soured him on numismatics as I never saw him nor heard of him as being active in the hobby and I've been around quite a bit since 1962. Laine died last year, a very old and presumably much wiser man. Kosoff died in his early 70s.

As noted, one hears many stories in the numismatic hobby, and it's anyone's guess as to the true facts of the matter. Perhaps the tale is true. Or perhaps it was propagated by a jealous rival dealer and retold without verification. Regardless, the story provides a curious backdrop to Kosoff's 1962 book. I have a hardcover version in my library (pictured above), purchased from Dan Hamelberg in 1994. -Editor

Those of us of a slightly younger generation may know Frankie Laine as the singer of the title song in the 1974 Mel Brooks film "Blazing Saddles". In his obituaries it was noted that Laine was fooled by the producers of the film, who didn't tell him it was a satire. He sang his heart out in classic movie Western style, only later learning it was all a big joke. Or at least that's how the story goes.

It's kind of fitting in a film featuring an over-the-top army of thugs: "rustlers, cutthroats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperadoes, mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits, halfwits, dimwits, vipers, snipers, con men, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, muggers, buggerers, bushwhackers, hornswagglers, horse thieves, bull dykes, train robbers, bank robbers, *ss kickers, sh*t kickers and Methodists".

To learn Black Bart's reply after Lili Von Shtpp said "It's twue, it's twue!" (it was cut from the movie), see the Wikipedia Blazing Saddles entry


1919 Lincoln Highway Convoy Medal Larry Dziubek writes: "I know this isn't the Lincoln medal referred to in the last newsletter at San Francisco, but John Eshbach has been pressing me to locate one of these for him. I have had no luck, but there may be one out there. I have gotten interested because the western Pennsylvania Lincoln Highway section has been traversed by me many times in local commuting. It was always beneath my tires since I became a driver many years ago. Could there even be a second one for my own collection?"

1915-1917 Motor Magazine Transcontinental Medal

The images are courtesy of the Lincoln Highway National Museum & Archives, 102 Old Lincoln Way West, Galion, Ohio. -Editor


In last week's item about the British soldier who had the Victoria Cross medal tattooed on his back, I asked if anyone knew of anyone else with a numismatic tattoo. I've learned of at least one, and the anonymous owner writes: "I'd be happy to show anyone who asks to see it!"


We've discussed earlier the situation with Scottish banks and the possibility that they might have to stop issuing banknotes. A deal announced this week seems to have staved off that possibility. Long live Scottish banknotes! -Editor
Scotland's banknotes were saved last night after the Treasury dropped controversial plans which threatened their existence.

The UK government planned to tighten the rules on banks' collateral which would have seen Scotland's banks lose the money they use to print and distribute their banknotes.

Under the current system which dates back to 1845, Scots banks deposit 4.7 billion in sterling with the central bank over a weekend to cover the cash they have in circulation.

The three-day deposit was seen as a gesture which guaranteed the notes' value.

Under the proposed rules they would have been required to lodge the 5 billion in sterling with the Bank of England all week.

Under the deal revealed last night, the banks will have to deposit 100 per cent of the value of their notes seven days a week, but they will get interest on 40 per cent of that.

First Minister Alex Salmond hailed the change as a "victory for Scotland's financial sector".

To read the complete article, see: Alex Salmond hails Scottish banknote 'victory' (


Dick Johnson submitted the following about the new designs for Great Britain's circulating coins. -Editor
To announce their new coin designs the British Royal Mint ran ads in British newspapers headlined "Your Change is Changing." When it appeared in the Wales publication, Western Mail, June 4, it inspired one reader to respond:

"The United Kingdom coinage is the currency for all of Great Britain" wrote John Knight of Heath Cardiff. "Strange then that all the other parts are represented by this design but not Wales. It would appear we do not exist as far as the Royal Mint is concerned.

A bit of an oversight, considering they are based at Pontyclun and the designer is Welsh. Perhaps if we joined the euro we may get more recognition!"

To read the complete Letter to the Editor, see: Mints forgotten us (



Meanwhile, at the Royal Mint in Llantrissant, Wales, personnel were interviewed by a local newspaper for an article on making coins. -Editor
Royal Mint logo Our history dates back to Anglo-Saxon times making us the oldest manufacturing organisation in Britain, said Andrew Stafford, chief executive and deputy master of the Royal Mint.

This year the Royal Mint celebrates the 40th anniversary of its move from Tower Hill, London, to Llantrisant.

For hundreds of years the Mint was based in the Tower of London but moved to a magnificent Georgian building in the City in the 19th century before the decision was made to relocate here in South Wales, said Mr Stafford.

As the home of so many precious metals and the nations supply of coins, security is tight. There are on display samples of what the Mint produces and pictures that illustrate, in vivid colours, the minting processes but visitors must take this on trust. Here the guided tour has yet to be introduced.

Behind the barbed wire fencing and towering floodlight pylons is a fully integrated and self-contained operation.

Mr Stafford explained: We do our own design and development of coins here in a cradle to grave operation. We buy in the raw materials then smelt these in our furnaces before rolling, blanketing and stamping them into finished coins.

We produce approximately 1.4bn coins a year, on behalf of the Treasury for UK circulation, Mr Stafford said.

In addition we also make circulating coins for 50 countries around the world mainly in Africa, the Far East and the Caribbean as well as making blanks for some European mints.

With the coming of the London Olympics in 2012 a new production line will open.

The Royal Mint has won the contract to make all the commemorative coins for this event and for the next few years this will be an important source of income to the business.

To read the complete article, see: Masters of the art of making money (


Dick Johnson forwarded this note about a U.S. cable television show featuring the U.S. Mint. -Editor
A segment on Discovery Channel's program "Factory Made" Thursday evening (June 9, 2008) explored the Philadelphia Mint. It showed engraver Don Everhart at work on a coin model and several processes in striking coins.

The filming was excellent, good quality. However, the commentary left something to be desired. Its breezy voiceover was full of bromides by someone who had little knowledge of what was actually being done. It was followed by segments on washing machines and fishing rods.


The Canwest News Service reported a recent find of a rare gold coin in Newfoundland. -Editor
Newfoundland Gold Coin Find Call it the 17th century equivalent of losing your bank card - and then picture the owner losing his mind trying to find it. Sometime around 1627, the owner of a very valuable gold coin lost it at an early British colony on Newfoundland's Avalon Peninsula.

Archeologist Jim Tuck, who dug the rarity out of the stone footing of a house this week at the Colony of Avalon, says how it got there is anybody's guess, but the erstwhile owner - maybe the man who founded it in 1621, Lord Baltimore, himself - didn't let it go very easily.

"It's a very valuable piece of stuff. I'm amazed at the kinds of things people will lose. I believe whoever lost it spent a long time trying to get it back," he said with a laugh.

The loonie-sized Scottish coin is 22-karat gold and weighs about five grams, worth about $143 Cdn today. When originally issued, it was worth six British pounds (or 120 shillings), which represented a lot of money for its owner.

The "Sword and Sceptre" coin dated 1601 was issued during the reign of King James VI of Scotland two years before he ascended the throne of England as King James I.

It features the crowned arms of Scotland (rampant lion) on the obverse surrounded by the Latin inscription, "James VI, by the Grace of God, King of Scots."

The reverse features a crossed sword and sceptre, flanked by two thistles - all below a crown. The reverse Latin legend reads, "The safety of the people is the supreme law."

The coin is being examined and cleaned at the Colony of Avalon Conservation Laboratory.

Baltimore's colony left substantial remains... Baltimore, born George Calvert, eventually gave up the Newfoundland colony, after complaining about French raids and winters that lasted from October to May. He was granted land in Maryland in the United States where the city of Baltimore is named after the family.

To read the complete article, see: 17th century rare gold coin recovered in N.L. (


Arthur Shippee forwarded this BBC article from the Explorator newsletter about the recent auction of a hoard of coins unearthed by a metal detectorist. -Editor
Celtic Gold Coin Hoard A hoard of ancient coins discovered by a man with a metal detector in a Kent field have sold for more than 35,000.

The 41 Celtic gold coins, many in pristine condition and dating back to the 1st Century, fetched three times the expected price at auction.

They were found over a three-year period near Westerham, but the exact location is being kept secret.

The hoard comprised three staters and 38 quarter staters, mostly depicting a horse surrounded by motifs.

Morton and Eden auction house in London said one of the treasures broke records for a Celtic coin found in the UK.

To read the complete article, see: Treasure hunt coins sell for 35k (


A San Diego-area newspaper article this week mentions sheep-shearing tokens. Has anyone ever come across this particular token issue? -Editor
Two French immigrants played a significant role in the development of Ramona. The town's first store was built in the 1880s by Theophile Verlaque, at the invitation of another Frenchman, Bernard Etcheverry.

At the time, what is now known as Ramona was part of the vast Santa Maria Rancho owned by Etcheverry, who had emigrated from France as a young man in 1856 to seek his fortune in the California gold mines.

By 1881, Bernard Etcheverry was running 12,000 sheep on his 16,700-acre Santa Maria spread, Etcheverry employed up to 50 men to shear his sheep, paying them in metal scrip that he would exchange for gold coin at the end of the spring shearing season. In 1883, wool production at the Santa Maria Rancho amounted to 75,000 pounds.

To read the complete article, see: French settlers made their mark on early days of Ramona (


Here's the latest development in anti-counterfeiting technology: magnetic paper. -Editor
There is a continual battle between counterfeiters and banknote manufacturers. But Stuart Eaton and colleagues at UK military research company Qinetiq think they have designed the only technology that makes it possible for anyone to spot a fake by touch alone.

Most anti-counterfeiting techniques use visual cues such as watermarks or holograms, or machine-readable features like markings that only become visible under ultraviolet light.

Qinetiq's idea is to use spots of magnetic inks on a document such as a banknote, with alternating polarity. To check a note's authenticity, you simply fold the note and rub it to feel the alternate attraction and repulsion as the inks move past each other.

The sensation would make a smooth piece of paper feel rippled, say the group, who think the technology could work on anything from passports to legal letters. Whether the idea would make notes difficult to stack or peel apart, we can only guess.

A touch-based system would have advantages in places where lighting is poor such as pubs and clubs, as well as being a useful aid to the visually impaired. The public could be educated to learn how to recognise the particular pattern, says the patent, but no mention is made of how easy or difficult it would be for fraudsters to copy the design.

To read the complete article, see: nvention: Fraud-beating magnetic banknotes

To read the full magnetic banknotes patent application, see: MAGNETIC DOCUMENT AUTHENTICATION FEATURE TO BE DETECTED BY THE HUMAN SENSE OF TOUCH (


A U.S. Mint Director will be portrayed by an actor in an event at Oakland Cemetery in Fort Dodge, IA. -Editor
Spirits from the past will acquaint visitors with a wide range of experiences during Fort Dodges sixth annual Oakland Cemetery Walk Saturday.

From 1 to 3 p.m., visitors can listen to costumed characters relating tales that include enduring the rough and rugged life of the frontier, meeting the challenges of establishing innovative businesses, falling victim to the twists and turns of unexpected events or achieving fame through notable accomplishments.

As groups shuttle to the cemetery on the day of the walk, a host or hostess will greet them and guide them to each gravesite included on the tour. At each site, actors in period attire will introduce themselves, portraying historic characters and regaling visitors with tales of old.

Brett Lauinger will portray George E. Roberts (1857-1948), who served as an economic adviser to presidents, as vice president of a large New York bank, director of the U.S. Mint and proponent of the gold standard. Lauinger said, Its amazing that someone from Fort Dodge could have been so instrumental in the U.S. and global monetary standards and policies in the very early 1900s as director of the U.S. Mint. Since I am a gold coin collector I am fascinated by the fact he oversaw the creation of the $20 Saint-Gaudens gold coin, considered the finest coin ever produced by the U.S. Mint.

To read the complete article, see: The Oakland Cemetery Walk Journey Through the Unknown (


I did a double take when I first saw the headline for this item from Russia Today. It's not unheard of for a new leader to put their imprint on banknotes, nor for a leader to have their own pet subject featured on a note. But their own pet? It turns out that the banknote in question isn't official currency, but a souvenir note for attendees of the International Economic Forum in St Petersburg.
Medvedev's Cat Dorofey A new banknote which honours Dmitry Medvedevs cat has been issued to delegates at the International Economic Forum in St Petersburg. The new moggy money has been created to coincide with the International Day of St. Petersburgs Cats.

The Russian Presidents beloved pet, Dorofey, features on one side of the note, with a famous local feline on the other side.

The one million souvenir tishka are, of course, not a recognised currency. Nonetheless, they are expected to bring a smile to the faces of visitors to the forum.

To read the complete article, see: New money celebrates Medvedevs moggy


This week's featured web page is from the Coins of Panama web site, featuring the Palo Seco Leper Colony tokens.

Palo Seco (the name means "Dry Stick" in Spanish) was an ocean-side 500 acre fruit farm about six miles from Panama City. The fruit farm was isolated, and initially access was only by boat (even though it was part of the mainland). In order to be more homelike, the facility was built like a Panamanian village. It had a plaza with a chapel one one side and the dwelling houses on the other side of the plaza. It was surrounded by trees, which also grew among the buildings.

Below are some recollections of the daughter of the paymaster who visited Palo Seco:

"My Dad told me that the lepers would carry a string that had a button on one end and a loop on the other that they threaded through the hole in the center of the coins so they could keep them under control. Most of the lepers had horribly disfigured and missing fingers which made handling of the coins difficult for them.

There was a Catholic church at the colony and the lepers would put coins into the collection basket. The nuns that keep the church and linens clean would also clean the coins in alcohol and then present them to the paymaster for U.S. currency on the colony payday."

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