The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization promoting numismatic literature. For more information please see our web site at


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There is a membership application available on the web site Membership Application

To join, print the application and return it with your check to the address printed on the application. Membership is only $15 to addresses in the U.S., $20 for First Class mail, and $25 elsewhere. For those without web access, write to:

David M. Sundman, Secretary/TreasurerNumismatic Bibliomania Society
P. O. Box 82 Littleton, NH 03561


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You won't regret it!


Wayne Homren Among our recent subscribers are Mark Schlepphorst, Andrew Crellin and Daniel Ackermann. Welcome aboard! We now have 1,146 subscribers.

This week we open with word of a new numismatic literature fixed price list and discussion of the E-Sylum editorial policy (we do have one, sort of). Next up are several new numismatic books on topics including U.S. Civil War store cards, Mexican and World coins, and Canadian historical medals.

In topics continued from prior weeks we discuss author Daniel Valentine, collector/singer Frankie Laine, and how to remove price stickers from numismatic literature.

In the news, the ANS moves its colossal numismatic collection crosstown, an important gold medal turns up in a flea market find and blind people plan to march to the unveiling of the Louis Braille commemorative design.

To learn about the three-sided Siberian Hobo nickel (and two more numismatic tattoos), read on. Have a great week, everyone.

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


David Fanning forwarded this release about his latest fixed price list, The Basement
David F. Fanning Numismatic Literature announces that we have just published a fixed price list of inexpensive numismatic literature, The Basement. Here you can find books, periodicals and auction catalogues that, as useful as they may be, are neither rare nor expensive: and that the economics of cataloguing preclude from presentation in our more formal catalogues. Cataloguing for these items has been kept to a minimum, as have the prices.

A brief perusal of the list should indicate that it includes many significant tiles. Included are long runs of Bowers, Katen, Kolbe, Merkin, Stack's and many other auction catalogues, as well as books and periodicals: over 800 items in all. This is a great opportunity to fill holes in your library at very reasonable prices.

The Basement is available through our Web site: Our Web site also includes information on our upcoming auction and our fixed price lists of rare and out-of-print material. If you have any questions or comments, please contact David Fanning at or (614) 754-1069.


Charles Davis writes: "I for one am disappointed with the editor’s airing of largely personal laundry in the pages of the E-Sylum. I think several of the recent letters have crossed the line as to what the content of the weekly newsletter should be. Little of it has to do with bibliomania, and if the editor sees fit to continue to publish this line of content, I would recommend that NBS no longer associate itself with it. Let the E-Sylum and the Asylum have their purposes, and let the tabloids cover the balance."

Charlie's submission hit my inbox late Tuesday evening. By that time I'd processed some forty-five emails from readers, none of whom expressed disappointment with Sunday's or any other recent issue. One reader wrote: "Wow, some of the most interesting and revealing numismatic reading I've seen in decades! You have simply outdone yourself as Editor."

Did I pause before publishing some obviously controversial material? You bet. But I don't let it pass unedited or unaccompanied by editorial comment. Some of the scraps that have landed on the E-Sylum cutting room floor over the years would curl your hair. But luckily, the vast majority of submissions are benign and require only minimal editing.

Do I believe everything I publish? Heck no - I don't believe everything I read or hear, and neither should my readers. Proof of decades-ago deeds, thoughts and motivations is hard enough to come by when the participants are alive, and for all practical purposes impossible when the participants are dead.

So why publish at all? There are many reasons, but foremost is the firm belief that readers have a desire and right to be informed and are quite capable of deciding on their own who and what to believe - the Jeffersonian vision of a well-informed populace.

Literature dealer John Burns called Friday to add his voice against some of the recent topics. On the other hand, two other readers asked for more information from authors of the controversial submissions. Clearly there are multiple views among our readership.

Numismatic information is what this newsletter is all about. Numismatic literature is one embodiment of that information, but it's not the only one (it just gets top billing). We bibliophiles aren’t merely book lovers, we're info-maniacs. If it concerns numismatic science, numismatic history, numismatic personalities or anything else with a connection to numismatics, we'd like to know. What people today are saying and thinking about numismatic personalities is important and often fascinating information. And that's what makes our little forum so fun.

As long as editing this newsletter continues to be fun, I'll gladly keep it up. But don't take any of this to imply that The E-Sylum is soliciting controversial content. Having it land in my lap is interesting, but rarely fun. Charlie's point is valid. We may have different opinions on where to draw the line, but we agree that a line exists. -Editor


Donald Erlenkotter submitted this discussion of John Ostendorf's new book on Civil War Store Cards of Cincinnati. -Editor
Store Cards of Cincinnati Ostendorf, John, Civil War Store Cards of Cincinnati, The Civil War Token Society, 2007, pp. 384 [available from for $35 in hardcover and $25.53 in soft cover, and from the Society in hardcover for $35 postpaid to members]

During the Civil War, Cincinnati was a major center for the production of store card tokens issued by merchants ranging from New York to Kansas and Minnesota to Alabama. Many of the issuers of tokens produced by Cincinnati die sinkers were rather arbitrarily assigned to that city in catalogs for lack of better information. This has been a long-standing source of confusion to collectors. In his new book, John Ostendorf seeks to identify which of more than 200 issuers previously assigned to Cincinnati actually belong to that city, and which belong elsewhere. He also adds some tokens to the Civil War period, and deletes some others.

This book provides a wealth of information on the tokens, their issuers, and the die sinkers and engravers who produced them. City directories are a major source of information, along with census listings, local histories, newspapers, and previously published research. Many ads from the Civil War period are reproduced in the book, and they provide the reader with the true spirit of the times.

One won’t find beautiful pictures of tokens here, since individual tokens are covered well in the second edition of U.S. Civil War Store Cards by George and Melvin Fuld. The only token illustrations included, in full color, are on the front and back covers. They display store cards from the two major Cincinnati token producers, William K. Lanphear and John Stanton. These two men also are the only members of the Civil War Token Society’s Hall of Fame who actually produced tokens.

One might well describe this book as a collection of some 200 mystery stories. Many have been solved, while others remain as a challenge for future researchers. Ostendorf has provided a model for them to follow in doing further studies of this type.

Disclosure: I chaired the Civil War Token Society committee that oversaw the production of this book, and made some contributions to it as described in the acknowledgements by the author. He will receive the Jack Detwiler Research Award from the Society this summer for his work on the book.

To view selected pages of the book or order a copy, see:


Carlos Amaya submitted the following announcement of his new book on Mexican coinage. -Editor
Portada I´m glad to present my newest work, Illustrated Price Guide Of The Modern Mexican Coins, 1905 To Date, Including Errors And Varieties, Bilingual Spanish / English by Carlos A. Amaya Guerra. 8.5 x 11.0. Hard cover. xviii, 440 pages. Monterrey, NL. Mexico

This book consists on an investigation on the coins minted for circulation in Mexico from 1905 to 2007 (without considering the revolutionary and the commemorative coins). In the first part of the book are presented each type of coin with a big picture for their clear identification and the description of the obverse, reverse, edge, composition, diameter, weight and the Mint where the coin was minted.

Mexico only uses the Mo mintmark, however the coins has been coined in three different places from 1905 (without considering the revolutionary stage) Apartado, Legaria and San Luis Potosi. In this book you will know where the coins were minted and in which years two or even the three plants minted one type coin. For example in 1989 the three plants minted the 20 pesos coin.

Next most of the major Mexican varieties are described (as the 1981/1982 20 cents coin with single ear and with doubled ear) and also many interesting minor varieties, as famous die chips (warts on nose, cold nose, pearl on the forehead, etc.). The variety coins are presented with photo, a brief description and the estimated prices in three types of conditions. Inserted between the variety coins are presented diverse articles about the description of certain classes of varieties, errors, for the first time is present an study of hiding initials in Mexican coins made by some engravers, and other articles of interest. In this chapter you will find doubled dies, small and large letters varieties, different numbers of thorns in the nopal varieties, large over/small letters varieties, hidden initials varieties, mules, rotated dies, die breaks, die chips, cuds, varieties with and without points, different mintmark varieties, snakes with and without tongue, thin and thick date varieties, etc.

At the second part of the book are present diverse errors coins (wrong planchets, clipped coins, indents, brockages, multiple strikes, offcenters, etc.) with their prices.

This book is the first one that describes most of the modern Mexican numismatic errors and varieties (some called the Mexican Cherrypickers’ book), have more than 3000 photos of many Mexican variety coins, most of them for the first time reported.

For more information, or to order the book please write to:


Krause Publications has announced the release of the 3rd edition of the Standard Catalog of World Coins 2001-Date. -Editor.
Krause SCWC 2001-Date It's finally here! This week we got the first sample copies back from the printer of KP books newest numismatic volume, the 2009 Standard Catalog of World Coins 2001-Date 3rd edition. This youngest of the SCWC Century volumes is up over 430+ pages now and has quickly become the mainstay of the modern issue coin collector.

New dates on existing types, new circulation coins, brand new commemorative issues and lot's of price changes give this new edition solid value for the enthusiast. I was very pleased with the work we were able to put into this volume, with the market as hot as it is we still managed to get the gold and silver coin values in line, while adding in nearly 50 pages of new coinage. That's about a 12.5% increase in data, plus we continued this years SCWC big bonus of an added DVD of the entire catalog, so you can now have the Standard Catalog available on your home computer or laptop in a digital form for quick searching to augment the traditional paper catalog.

Tom Michael of Krause Publications reminds readers of a discount offer on the new SCWC. -Editor
The Standard Catalog of World Coins 2001-Date 3rd edition was just released last week and I am running a special for my blog readers on Big Ideas, Little World:

It's a 20% discount off cover price and this year's edition also includes a DVD. You can find all the details, including the coupon code at Big Ideas, Little World.


Paul Petch submitted this capsule review of the new Charleton Press book on Canadian Historical Medals.
I live in Toronto, fairly close to Charleton Press, and volume II made it to me on the morning of June 12. It is a mammoth work that has grown to a total of 720 pages and is certainly far more ambitious than volume I, which appeared (by my memory at least) seven years ago. I spoke with the author/publisher, W. K. Cross, several years ago and encouraged him to ignore requests to rush it out and really go for completeness and quality -- and that is what has happened. I suggest interested readers should contact the publisher ASAP because it has a limited run of 250 copies


Al Roy published a nice article in the June 2008 issue of The CN Journal, the official publication of the Canadian Numismatic Association. It's about Alfred Sanham and his pioneering 1869 catalog of Canadian tokens. With permission, here are some excerpts. -Editor
Sandham Cover Alfred Sandham was born in Griffintown (Montreal) in 1838. After spending two years in New York, he worked for the Montreal Telegraph Company, which was later absorbed by the Grand Trunk Railroad. He then worked briefly with his father and brother as a painter before becoming the General Secretary of the Y.M.C.A.

He joined the Montreal Numismatic Society in 1865 and helped to incorporate it as the Numismatic and Antiquarian Society of Montreal. As the society's secretary, he was involved in the first attempted Canadian numismatic work in 1863 called Catalogue of the Silver and Copper Coins of Canada. It was never completed.

A few years later, Sandham created the first numismatic catalogue in Canada: Coins, Tokens, and Medals of the Dominion of Canada. He wrote and illustrated the 72-page work himself. Fellow Society member Daniel Rose printed it.

In 1992, a letter written by Sandham was discovered. It gives insights into the printing of his catalogue:

Of this work there were 300 copies printed but only 250 were bound. It was anything but a financial success. While it was offered at the absurdly low price of 75 cents, only about 100 copies were disposed of by sale. The remaining copies were given away to friends, societies and the press. The sheets remained in the hands of Mr. Rose, printer for nearly three years when they were thrown out as waste paper, by my orders.

He also discusses the methods used to create the printing blocks from his illustrations. Usually books of this period were sold in wrappers; the owner would then have it bound to match the rest of his library. But Sandham had his book bound in blue cloth.

Before the Catalogue of the Silver and Copper Coins of Canada was published, ancient and classical coin collecting was de rigueur in this country. We can thank Alfred Sandham for helping to make our hobby what it is today.


DAVID F. FANNING NUMISMATIC LITERATURE offers fixed price lists on our Web site at In stock: This just in: Numismatic Bibliography and Libraries, by Frank Campbell. 8vo., card covers. 48 pages. 1986 NI reprint. An excellent overview of the subject. New. $20 postpaid. e-mail
DAVID SKLOW - FINE NUMISMATIC BOOKS now accepting consignments for our October 4th mail bid auction. Consignments in hand include an original Crosby Early Coins of America (719) 302-5686, visit our web site


Jerry Fochtman writes:
As a part of working on a special project for the upcoming Memphis Paper Money show, I stumbled onto a bindery firm that has been in the same family for three generations. H.V. Chapman & Sons owns and still operates much of the old hand-operated equipment they've had since the 1940s, with some of the equipment itself dating back to the 1900s. One of the things they also do is restore, repair or replace bindings on individual antique books.

What impressed me is that Stan Chapman, the owner, told me that they have a three-month backlog of individual books to repair and that they do not do any advertising or promotion. Apparently people who are aware of their skills pass their name along word-of-mouth. After working with him on my little project, I can clearly understand why folks don't mind it taking several months to get their book repaired, as indeed they have a lot of pride in their work.

There certainly may be other companies that repair book bindings. But if any E-Sylum readers are in need of a service such as this, you might contact this firm as well to see if they can help you. Their information is on the following web site, where they also have an interesting video.

To visit the firm's web site, see:


A number of readers forwarded an article from the New York Times about the American Numismatic Society's hush-hush move of their collection to their new headquarters 22 blocks away in Manhattan this past Saturday.
They didn’t exactly hire two guys with a truck to secretly move one of the world’s largest and most valuable coin collections over the weekend in Manhattan. But they did use five standard-issue moving vans.

ANS Move 2008 Truck Loading No armored-car convoys. No helicopter gunships. No National Guard outriders flourishing automatic weapons. Just sweaty movers, in blue shirts with their names stitched at the front, schlepping 425 plastic packing crates that were filled with treasures trussed in humble bubble wrap and garden-variety vinyl packing tape.

Yes, the New York Police Department provided an escort, but during more than eight hours on Saturday, one of the great hoards of coins and currency on the planet, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, was utterly unalarmed as it was bumped through potholes, squeezed by double-parked cars and slowed by tunnel-bound traffic during the trip to its fortresslike new vault a mile to the north.

“The idea was to make this as inconspicuous as possible,” said Ute Wartenberg Kagan, executive director of the American Numismatic Society. “It had to resemble a totally ordinary office move.”

The collection of 800,000 coins, bank notes, medals, commemorative badges, pins, historic advertising tokens, campaign buttons and other artifacts has been amassed during the 150-year existence of the nonprofit society.

ANS Move 2008 The society’s holdings rival the comprehensiveness and rarity of those in the Smithsonian Institution and comprise “one of the world’s great collections, the equivalent of those in Berlin, Paris and the British Museum,” said Christopher S. Lightfoot, an associate curator in the department of Greek and Roman art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Of the collection’s value, Dr. Wartenberg Kagan said, “It is priceless because it has so many unique pieces,” adding with deliberate vagueness that experts had valued it in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

“It’s our first coin collection,” said a New York police detective, Gregory Welch, of Emergency Service Unit Truck One, which shadowed the move with hidden heavy weapons “just in case,” along with patrol cars from the First Precinct. He said his unit was accustomed to protecting Federal Reserve gold transfers and gem shipments in the Midtown diamond district.

“Our collection is amazing, and much of it has not been on view,” Dr. Wartenberg Kagan said. The first exhibition, celebrating the society’s 150th anniversary, is to open in October.

Finally, after the massive doors and gates of the vault slammed shut, Dr. Wartenberg Kagan expressed gratitude to the police and the heroic efforts of her staff, and gave the order for the alarm to be armed. “To say I’m relieved,” she said after the lockdown, “is putting it mildly.”

To read the complete article, see: A Treasure Travels, Inconspicuously (

Jim Hughes correctly identified curator Bob Hoge in the foreground of the second photo. It reminds me of the couple times I moved my own collection from bank to bank. One time my bank in downtown Pittsburgh sold its building and closed its classic old-style safe deposit vault, replete with bomb-shelter size vault doors. I found a box to rent in another bank several blocks away. At lunchtime one day I asked a colleague to accompany me for a walk; I loaded up two briefcases and we strolled through the crowds to the other bank. When I moved from Pittsburgh to Virginia I loaded the collection into moving boxes just as the ANS did and brought them down in my car unaccompanied - security by anonymity. Another blogger wrote on the topic of "security through obscurity", citing both everyday and high-profile moves of merchandise in the diamond industry. -Editor
To read the complete blog, see: Schneier on Security ( )


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


Steve Tompkins writes: "In response to Jerry Fochtman about Dr. Daniel W. Valentine: I believe an article about Valentine was published in the Gobrecht Journal #101 by Stephen Crain. Steve is a Half-Dime enthusiast and a collector of Valentine information. If anyone has a picture or knows where one might be of Dr. Valentine it would be Steve. The New York Numismatic Club medal of Dr. Valentine was illustrated with the article, perhaps the club would have a picture in their archives."


Gene Hessler writes: "In reference to Frankie Laine, I worked with him on numerous occasions when I was working as a musician. In 1950 when we worked together for the first time I had no idea that he was interested in numismatics, essentially because the numismatic bug did not bite me until a few years later."


Regarding the 1601 Scottish Sword and Sceptre coin described last week, Martin Purdy writes:
The S&S piece was not worth 120 shillings English, but 120 shillings Scots; at the 12-to-1 ratio that applied at the time, that equated to 10 shillings English, or only half a pound, not six pounds. Still a lot of money, but not quite as much as the article would have us believe.

The lower valued pound north of the border also explains some of the odd denominations that existed in Scotland - the Scottish 60 and 30 shillings denominations look strange until you realise that they equated to a crown and a half-crown in England, respectively. Also the Scottish "pistole" or 12-pound piece: since that equated to one pound south of the border in the recently unified kingdoms, you can see the merger process starting to take place. It wasn't entirely consistent, of course, as the Scots still kept their "merks" (13s 4d), or slightly more than an English shilling, and the humble two pence, or 1/6 of an English penny. The matching denominations between about 1600 and 1700 are fun to spot, all the same.


Last week Tim L. Shuck wrote:
I'm looking for advice on how to safely remove price sticker residue from a hard-bound book.

A number of E-Sylum readers chimed in with useful advice. Here's what they had to say:

Anne E. Bentley of the Massachusetts Historical Society writes:
Usually a rubber cement pick up eraser works for me--available at any art supply store. The trick is to gently circle the eraser around on the adhesive to allow the eraser to gradually roll up the excess into a ball, which you then manually pluck off of the eraser. Takes a steady, gentle hand and patience, but it is the least destructive mechanical means possible.

James Higby writes:
For most situations I use paint thinner (NOT lacquer thinner or acetone), available by the quart at hardware stores. I also have a little can of solvent specifically sold for sticker residue removal, also available in hardware stores. The only problem is that, the longer the sticker has been in place, the more it will resist removal.

Steve Tompkins writes:
To remove a sticker with adhesive residue from a book, the easiest way I know of is to heat the glue enough to destroy the bond. Using a hand held hair dryer works very well (who knew something of the wife's could be used for something Bibliomatical?! - I'm not sure if that is a word or not, but it sure sounds cool!)

Anyway, after the sticker is peeled off any glue residue can usually be removed by taking the sticky side of the sticker and pushing it back down and quickly pulling it back off. Care must be taken if this is being done on a non-slick surface such as normal paper or cardboard as you may rip some of a layer along with the residue.

If the removed sticker is from a slick finish, on say a dust jacket, then any residue can be removed using a small portion of paint thinner on a soft cloth (again using care). These techniques take practice and I have been removing labels from boxes as part of my business for many years.

Paul Petch writes:
I have had very good luck removing the kind of glue found as the backing on stickers with nail polish remover, which is actually acetone or acetonitrile. It works best of course on materials that will not absorb the liquid. I use a cotton swab on the glue and this causes the glue to "pill" so it can be easily picked off. I then use a second swab with water for clean up. The nice thing about using nail polish remover is that most guys will find it is already somewhere in the house... if you just ask the right people.

Pete Smith writes:
Last week I was annoyed by the build-up of gummy residue on a pair of scissors I was using to cut packing tape. I took the scissors outside, sprayed the blades with WD-40 and wiped off the gunk with a paper towel. At a former employer, we used a little WD-40 on a paper towel to remove glue residue from old price stickers on coin slabs. I suspect that WD-40 might remove price sticker glue from books. I also suspect that WD-40 might remove the ink or color on the binding of a book. Removing the glue might do more harm than good. I suggest anyone attempting to use WD-40 on a book should test it first on something that is not valuable.

Harry Cabluck writes:
A few squirts of Pam onto a corner of a paper towel and then applied to the sticker loosens it enough for removal. And then more application of the soaked paper towel will help remove the adhesive. Sometimes a few squirts of WD-40 on the corner of a paper towel works as well.

Chick Ambrass writes:
Being in the "retail" trade for the last 40 often occurs, that you have to replace the price sticker on an item for sale....whether the product is paper, plastic, or cloth.... what ever you do, you want the product to remain looking new and attractive.... the staple product to use (and I have been using it for close to 40 years, and used it just a few weeks ago....) is LIGHTER FLUID, it contains Naphtha, a petroleum distillate and just a few drops, applied to the sticker, saturates the paper, and allows easy removal of all of the paper and the majority of the adhesive...a few more drops, along with a tissue, or paper towel will remove the remainder of the adhesive....granted, I have never used it on an expensive, collectible book cover....but I would guess, used judiciously, you won't have any problem.

Kerry Rodgers of New Zealand writes:
I was taught the answer by a Dinkum Aussie Librarian of the female persuasion - who worked with rare books. I assume the cover has a gloss of some sort and is therefore not too porous. If it does not then experiment on some similar but expendable surface. Get yerself some eucalyptus oil. Touch some to a tissue or, better, a soft cloth. Keep the amount minimal. Gently rub the glue. 99.9% of glues dissolve quickly and easily. As soon as the glue has gone, wipe off any excess oil + glue quickly.

And it smells good too! Happy sniffing.

Bob Neale writes:
I should think that using a little hydrocarbon solvent, like paint thinner, would work, even isopropyl alcohol, without damaging the cover. I do this to remove adhesive remnants from photos after mounting them. Use a Q-tip at first, just to be sure no color comes up.

George M. Vanca of Santa Clarita, CA writes:
I have several suggestions that are tried and true... Liquid Lighter Fluid is effective in removing stickers, glue residue, etc., from dust jackets. I have actually seen rare book dealers using lighter fluid in their booths at Antiquarian Book Fairs.

My wife is a Registered Nurse and saw my frustration at removing stickers from paperback books, and suggested I use an adhesive remover (in packet form), similar to what she uses at the hospital to remove surgical tape from patients. I have personally found this to be the most effective and am thoroughly satisfied with the results. No more frustrating endings to those exciting numismatic literature finds!!!

In the "on the other hand" department, Jørgen Sømod writes:
Will you remove a hundred year old price sticker from a hundred year old book? Your new book will also be an old book. It takes some time and a coming owner will love that old sticker. Never remove anything.


With the Midwest floods hitting the news, Kerry Rodgers submitted the following, which might be of interest to some bibliomaniacs. -Editor
I touched base with Greg Lambousy at the New Orleans Mint Museum this week. I enquired about First Aid measures a collector might take in the event of a deluge affecting their collection or library - before they call in the experts. I was concerned as much about the things not to do as the things to do. Greg is right up with the play following the Mint Museum's experience with Katrina.

Greg as it turns out is part of the AIC-Collections Emergency Response Team and expects to be called out to Cedar Rapids this coming week. As such he is a bit pressed for time. He suggests that in the first instance collectors may like to refer to the link of the Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Recovery Committee of the American Institute for Conservation:

He suggested anyone interested can follow the links to find information on recovery of water damaged objects. Could be worth squirreling this info away for a rainy day!

So far I have poked around in >Public Info >Caring for your treasures > and then >Books and then >Documents. And note that at the bottom of the "Caring for your treasures" page is a link to books to help you. It is a start. Makes great and useful reading.

I have a personal interest in this. I came home one evening to find my next door neighbour had been using a high powered water blaster. The jet had penetrated under my back door and doused a collection of historic checks! We'll ignore the state of the carpet!

Steve Feller, ex-editor IBNS Journal reports his house - and collection - and library - are above the flood in Cedar Rapids. His college, however, has undergone total immersion!

To visit the AIC web site, see: Emergency Preparedness, Response, And Recovery Committee


Regarding our discussion sparked by the Carnegie Hero Medal encased in Lucite, Robert Neale has this advice for anyone trying to remove a coin or medal from a Lucite block. -Editor
Nail polish remover is likely more methyl ethyl ketone than acetone (dimethyl ketone) and less effective on Lucite (polymethylmethacrylate). For the nooks and crannies, how about warming the acetone bath (in good ventilation; boiling point is about 56 degrees C) or even using a jewelers ultrasound bath?

On a related note, Dick Johnson sends this correction. He writes: "Hugo Greco was not the new Carnegie Hero medal's designer -- he was the manufacturer."


The Alaskan Token collector newsletter reprinted a fascinating article by Stephen P. Alpert. It was originally published by the Original Hobo Nickel Society. With permission, I'm publishing some excerpts here. The full article is available on the OHNS web site (see link below). The title is " A Siberian 3-sided Hobo Nickel" -Editor
Sounds bizarre, doesn't it? But that is what I obtained from an ebay auction just after our January 2004 OHNS meeting in Orlando. Besides being a high-quality carving with attractive hand lettering on both sides, and on the edge (that's the seldom-altered third side of a hobo nickel, folks), the piece is just smothered and dripping with history. And military history, no less. First, a description of this totally-carved old hobo nickel. The obverse has the standard design alteration - a bearded man wearing a derby. Here we have a nice plain derby, with a pointy-ended wrap-around brim, no hat band, and a nice smoothly-dressed large dome. A nice ear, with internal detail and an earlobe, overlaps the hat brim. The hair-beard-mustache is beautifully hand engraved. The eye is altered, as are the nose and lips.

There is a simple collar with a jewel at front. The shoulder-coat area below only has the date erased, and the small letters "H.C.A." engraved below. I take this to be the signature initials of the artist. The obverse field is smoothly dressed, with Liberty removed. Around the right is engraved the name "KARASHAW" which I assume is someone's last name, possibly the person depicted on the carving.

The reverse has the buffalo nicely altered into a donkey. All the coin's wording has been removed, and the field nicely dressed for the new hand-engraved legends: "BOLSHEVIKI" around the top, "1919" in front of the donkey, and "10 KOPEKS" where Five Cents used to be.

It turns out that this piece is from what is referred to as "America's Secret War" when American forces intervened in the Russian Revolution. This was the first and only time American troops operated on Russian soil. Below, briefly, is the story of the U.S. Intervention in Siberia, 1918 to 1920, gathered from the Internet (where you can find a whole lot more information on this operation).

During the Russian Revolution, Japan was about to send 7,000 soldiers to Vladivostok. In conjunction, President Wilson also sent 5,000 to 7,000 (figures vary) U.S. soldiers, so Japan wouldn't gain a stronghold there. The purpose of deploying US forces there was threefold: 1) To guard the military supplies that we previously sent there (600,000 tons of war material and about a billion dollars worth of guns and equipment), that were just sitting around inadequately guarded. 2) To secure the eastern end of the Trans Siberia Railway. 3) To stabilize the area during the Russian Revolution.

So an American Expeditionary Force (A.E.F. on the edge of the hobo nickel) was sent to Siberia, comprised mostly of the U.S. Army's 27th and 31st Infantry Regiments (31 INF. is on the edge of the hobo nickel).

One Aug. 16, 1918, 1590 US troops from the 27th Inf. Arrived in Vladivostok, followed by 1421 troops from the 31st Inf. On Aug. 21. More arrived from the 8th Inf. Div. later. The 31st Inf. operated in the area just north of Vladivostok and in the small mining town of Suchan.

Note that the inscribed edge of the hobo nickel begins with "HDQTS. CO." which may indicate that the person who carved this hobo nickel worked in the Headquarters or Headquarters Company of this unit.

This is the best-documented or only U.S. "trench art" soldier-carved hobo nickel I know of. It is also the only three-sided hobo nickel known to me. Thus it is probably the most fascinating hobo nickel in my entire collection.

To read the complete article, see: A Siberian 3-sided Hobo Nickel (


Bob Knepper writes:
I asked back in April but I do not believe we had a response so I'll ask again: Is there a book or magazine or web site that includes pictures of the Swiss shooting medals and talers subsequent to 1960?

1960 is the last date covered in the excellent "Die Schützentaler und Schützenmedaillen der Schweiz" by Jürg Richter. Herr Richter advised me that he plans an update in 2010.


Dick Johnson forwarded the following article with this note:
Perhaps we can all relate our flea market finds, but when one hears of such a spectacular find as this we tend to think "Why couldn't it have been me!"

Indeed - a great story of a great find. David Alexander of Stack's is quoted in the article. -Editor
Penny McKim is an antiques hobbyist who considers herself a skilled treasure hunter. So when she came across a shoebox full of coins and medals at a church flea market in Montgomery County, she had an idea she'd struck gold.

Turns out that $5 box contained three ounces of gold in the form of a distinctive medal presented in 1928 to Charles M. Schwab, the man who built Bethlehem Steel into a world titan.

Exactly what that treasure is worth remains in question and probably won't be known until the day McKim sells her find. She's already heard from gold dealers offering her $1,300 for the right to simply melt down the 14-karat-gold medal and mine it for its gold value.

''Oh, good heavens, I hope she doesn't allow that,'' said David Alexander, a medals expert with Stack's, a New York auction house that specializes in rare coins and medals. ''I'm quite sure this is a one-of-a-kind piece. It should not be destroyed.''

The piece, a Bessemer Gold Medal, was awarded to Schwab by the Iron and Steel Institute of London. Now the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, the trade group has been giving the medal since 1874 to one person each year for outstanding services in the steel industry, said Hilda Kaune, library coordinator at the London institute.

The medal has also been presented to the likes of Queen Victoria and King Edward VII.

On one side, the medal features a raised profile of Sir Henry Bessemer, the British inventor who developed an innovative process for making steel. The other side of the piece, which resembles a large, thick coin and is more than 2 inches in diameter, has Schwab's name and the year 1928.

Schwab's gold medal got into McKim's hands when she bought the shoebox full of coins and medals three weeks ago at a flea market at her church, the Cornerstone Family Church in Limerick Township. It was part of a bunch of relatively worthless stuff donated by church members who had probably cleaned out their garages or attics.

McKim plans to meet with Alexander, who has thus far examined only photos of the medal, to discuss an auction. And if she turns that $5 investment into thousands of dollars?

''I'll make a large donation to my church,'' McKim said. ''I like to sleep good at night.''

To read the complete article, see: Flea market box yields Charles Schwab treasure (,0,1910960.story)


Anthony Tumonis, an Arizona State Quarter Commission Member, forwarded to following item about the recent launch ceremony for the new coin. -Editor
It was a beautiful sunny day on June 2nd and approximately 5,000 people were in attendance at the State Capital in Phoenix, Arizona. The evening before, Edmund C. Moy addressed a lively crowd for a Numismatic Forum at the historic Carnegie Center, in conjunction with the release. However, this was the day of the official release for the newest Arizona State Quarter.

Entertaining the crowd while waiting for the Wells Fargo Stage Coach to deliver the new Arizona State Quarters was the band Mariachi Aguila. After the Quarters arrived, Radio personalities, Beth McDonald and Bill Austin of 99.9 FM KEZ introduced the Southwest Association of Buffalo Soldiers of Fort Huachuca for the Presentation of Colors. The Pledge of Allegiance was then led by Roberta Crowe, Chairwoman of the Arizona State Quarter Commission.

Afterwards United States Mint Director Edmund C. Moy presented Governor Janet Napolitano with the original artwork for the Arizona State Quarter. Governor Janet Napolitano addressed the audience highlighting the events that took place from the formation of the Arizona State Quarter Commission to the release of the Newest Quarter Dollar. She then participated in handing out brand new state quarters to all the children in the crowd. Later, people lined up to purchase rolls of the States Quarters at face value, and the official Arizona State Quarter Commemorative Coin Folio. The full color Coin Folios were die cut in the outline of the State of Arizona and have a raised-relief Copper Foil Cover. 22,988 regular folios were issued and sold for $10.00. A limited edition numbered folio sold for $20.00, of which only 2,012 were produced. All proceeds benefit the 2012 Arizona Centennial. For more information please visit www.AZGOVERNOR.GOV/AZQUARTER. The people in attendance had an opportunity to explore the Capital Museum with two brand new exhibits. The Quarter Project, which detailed the process of creating the Arizona State Quarter. And 1940 ARIZONA Movie Scrip, which highlighted the currency used in the Columbia Pictures movie ARIZONA starring Jean Arthur and William Holden.

Arizona Quarter Ceremony


A press release was published June 18 by the National Federation of the Blind. Here are some excerpts. The new commemorative coin is described carefully as the "First United States Coin with Tactile Braille", to differentiate it from the Alabama Helen Keller state quarter, which was the first U.S. coin to show an inscription in Braille (but apparently not large enough or in high enough relief for the blind to actually read it. -Editor.
Over one thousand blind Americans, their friends and families, and other supporters will march from the Hilton Anatole Hotel -- headquarters for the 2008 convention of the National Federation of the Blind -- to AT&T Plaza at American Airlines Center, where a special ceremony and rally will take place.

Highlights of the rally will include addresses by NFB President Dr. Marc Maurer and Congressman Pete Sessions (TX-32), the honorary chairman of the March for Independence. The rally will close with United States Mint Director Ed Moy unveiling the design of a commemorative coin to be issued in 2009 by the Mint in honor of the two hundredth anniversary of the birth of Louis Braille.

United States Mint Director Ed Moy said, "The United States Mint is proud to present the 2009 Louis Braille Commemorative Silver Dollar coin design. It will be the first coin ever minted in the history of the United States to contain legible Braille characters. I am looking forward to presenting the design for this historic coin, and I am pleased that the United States Mint is playing a role in the cause of bringing literacy to all blind and visually impaired Americans."

In 2006, Congress passed and the President signed into law Public Law 109-247: The Louis Braille Bicentennial-Braille Literacy Commemorative Coin Act. This legislation authorized the minting of a commemorative coin in 2009 to mark the two hundredth anniversary of the birth of Louis Braille.

To read the complete article, see: Over One Thousand Blind Americans to March in Dallas (,438735.shtml)


If the Royal Canadian Mint has the record for the world's largest gold coin, the Austrian Mint now claims the title for the world's largest silver coin.
Europe Taler 2008 The world’s largest silver coin, the Europe Taler 2008, was revealed at the 2008 European Championship of Football in Austria and Switzerland and will soon be on display at the Hall of Tirol, Austria.

Weighing in at 20.08kg with a diameter of 36cm, the coin portrays important people from the last 500 years within its hexagonal patterns resembling a football.

Historical imagery on the coin includes: Martin Luther, for his translation of the bible in the 16th century, symbolising the transformation of the Middle Ages to modern times; Antonio Vivaldi, greatest composer of the 17th century and James Watt, 18th century inventor of the first steam engine.

Nobel Peace prize winner Bertha von Suttner is also featured on the coin for her development on the civilisation of wars and introduction of pacifist politics.

To read the complete article, see: Europe Taler 2008: World's Largest Silver Coin Revealed (


The recent item about the British soldier who had the Victoria Cross medal tattooed on his back inspired me to ask if anyone knew of anyone else with a numismatic tattoo. We learned of one last week, and now here are two more!

Max Spiegel writes: "I know someone (who I will allow to remain anonymous) who has a tattoo of the obverse and reverse of an Athenian tetradrachm. I thought that was awesome -- and a little crazy too."

George Cuhaj reported that Greg Ruby of the Baltimore area has a partial coin design tattoo: "The Saint-Gaudens Walking Liberty, but not in a full circle."

I confirmed this with Greg, who writes:
George is telling the truth about my tattoo. I got the St. Gaudens Walking Liberty design done on my right calf in early 1998, shortly after returning from the FUN Show. I spent about three hours in the chair having the artwork done. I can see myself becoming a sideshow attraction for the upcoming Baltimore ANA Convention.

At $5 a peek, Greg could have a lucrative concession at the convention! -Editor


Alan V. Weinberg submitted the following thoughts on "original" Love Tokens. -Editor
I very selectively collect "love tokens". That is, American coins spectacularly and skillfully hand engraved with some unusual detailed scenic (i.e a racing locomotive ) or historical inscription (i.e. this coin survived the San Francisco earthquake). Not actually "love tokens" per se but engraved coins that today are classified as "love tokens".

Over the years, to any engraved coin fancier, it has become obvious that a preponderance of them are missing their reverse soldered-on pins and clasps. How can this be, for the vast majority once had solidly affixed pins and their value would be significantly impaired when the original pin is missing?

Well, I learned from an oldtime numismatist that "back in the days" collectors and dealers used to snap off the pins so that the engraved coins would comfortably fit into coin envelopes or lay flat in the then-shallow trays of coin cabinets. No thought then was given to any possible impairment of appeal or value. Just like waxing and burnishing and whizzing and dipping and cleaning were once widely accepted practices in numismatics. And now "original skin" - the natural "dirty" look - is in with such coins bringing a premium. And so the wheel turns.


This week's featured web site is on Coin Spoons.

Coins, silver and spoons have a long intertwined history. For several hundred years silver objects were simply another form of wealth. A person who had amassed more silver coins than they needed, took the coins to a silversmith who melted them down and made a usable object out of them. If economic hardship ensued, the reverse procedure was used and the silver objects were returned to coinage form.

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