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


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Wayne Homren Among our recent subscribers are Ralph Langham, courtesy of John and Nancy Wilson, Joseph A. Barton and Tony James. Welcome aboard! We now have 1,223 subscribers.

We're publishing later than usual this week because of the holiday weekend, and time is short, so I'll be brief. To learn why one ornithologist is having a bird over Bermuda's new banknote designs, read on. Enjoy the issue, and have a great week, everyone!

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


Dave Ginsburg submitted the following observations on the availability of U.S. Mint reports online. -Editor
I write to once again sing the praises of Google Books. I've recently become interested in the post-Civil War operations of the New Orleans Mint and, since I had already found a few of the late-19th century Mint Annual Reports on Google Books, I decided to make a concerted effort to see how many I could find.

I'm very pleased to say that of the 33 mint reports issued from 1878 through 1910, I found 23 complete copies and seven partial copies! The only reports that I couldn't find at all were 1889, 1898 and 1905.

Interestingly, most of the reports were not available in "freestanding" volumes, but were part of the Annual Report of the Secretary of the Treasury, which also included copies of the annual reports of the Treasurer and Comptroller of the Currency. As a result, you get a lot of information about currency circulation, specie exports and imports and general economic conditions.

Unfortunately, the only problem with the version of the Mint Annual Report that was included in the Treasury edition is that, for the larger Mint reports, they saved a little space by excluding some of the tables at the back of the report (hence, the partial copies). Since I was primarily looking for the information that was contained in those tables, I was a little annoyed, but, still, the price was definitely right!

Fortunately, I also discovered that the Chamber of Commerce of New York published rather exhaustive annual reports around the turn of the 20th century, so I was able to find the gold deposit information I was looking for, after all.

One more nice thing about Google Books - the books are available in two forms: as .html or as .pdf files. You can search for specific words in the .html versions and you can download your very own .pdf copy (assuming you have a high-speed Internet connection and a big hard drive).

All-in-all, I estimate that I've saved about $1,000 in cash, a bookshelf's worth of space in my library and a lot of time (since it would take a while to acquire that many Mint reports).

One more thing, I also did a few quick searches outside of my parameters and found earlier and later Mint reports. Who knows how many more are waiting to be found?

The bibliophiles among us will have opinions on the pros and cons of paper vs. electronic versions, but for researchers there's little doubt that the online versions can be convenient. I have a shelf of the freestanding bound Mint reports, and I find those convenient too, even though I'm online quite a bit. The versions found within U.S. Treasury reports are more difficult to store for reference in hardcopy since they take up more room on the shelf.

While it's good to have this information online, it would be very dangerous to allow most of the paper copies to end up in landfills. My take is that each of us should keep on hand what we can in hardcopy format, and rely on the Internet to fill in the gaps.

My set's far from complete, but it does include the 1889 and 1905 reports. I'll lend these to Dave gratis for his research (with a $500 each shipping and handling fee, of course 8-) -Editor


Former Numismatic Bibliomania Society Secretary-Treasurer Dave Hirt is heading to Budapest soon for the holidays, but he's leaving us with this query - perhaps one of our readers can help. Dave writes:
I have a question that I hope the E-Sylum readers can give me some information on. Recently I bought a small 4 X 6 inch auction catalog. I thought it was cute because of its small size. It was an auction by W.H. Livingston of Ebensburg, PA on January 28,1939.

I did not expect it to have too much content, but was quite surprised at the rather amazing quality of the material offered - Flying Eagle and Indian cents, each date in proof. Two cents complete in proof except small motto. Three cent nickels complete in proof. Three cent silver Uncirculated until 1856, after that in proof. Five cent nickels 1866-1912 complete in proof except 1867 with rays. The rest of the sale was also top quality.

My question is, do any of our readers have information on this dealer, and were all his catalogs this small size?

Martin Genkerke's American Numismatic Auctions lists twelve sales by Livingston. All but one are found in the American Numismatic Society library. Most of the sales have 20-29 pages and 500-1000 lots. The listing does not indicate the physical size of the pages. Can anyone provide measurements and/or images of Livingston catalogs? Thanks. -Editor


Former ANA Librarian and regular E-Sylum reader Nancy Green forwarded these thoughts on items from last week's issue. -Editor
What would we do without Dick Johnson? Surely he is the "King" of obscure information related to numismatics and all things "coin". Tom Kays' question about a "formal name for the premium placed on precious metal possession" prompted Dick to supply the answer and he went further with the definition of "agio", WOW! Dick, may you never grow old and may you always be here to educate us about all that obscure information that we didn't know we didn't know.

Also, thank you to Cliff Mishler for his support of the ANA's Dwight Manley Library. Of course, I agree with his assessment of the Library as a vital part of the ANA, but we must remember that today the library is more than books and other printed materials, although that may be the core.

The library is information whatever the form and more and more we need to be aware of databases and other sources. Further, we need to think about creating new databases which can be useful to researchers. The researchers who write to The E-sylum with information about web sites or physical collections are contributing to the advance of knowledge by sharing their sources. Thank you to all of you. (Of course we wouldn't do it if it wasn't so much fun!)

Amen on all counts. Thanks, Nancy.

Another former ANA employee, Executive Director Bob Leuver adds the following about Cliff and the late Adna Wilde. -Editor

If Cliff becomes president of the ANA, Numismatic News will have to run a special every month just to keep us informed of Cliff's travels. Both Cliff's and David Ganz' travel accounts are always enjoyable reading in Num News. However, Cliff's is salted with many names of people we all have met in person over the years at various conventions and shows. David's journeys are to places we only dream about.

ADNA WILDE, A POSTSCRIPT. Adna's father was a recognized eye doctor. He too was a military man and the Army sent him to Vienna to study ophthalmology and eye operation procedures. In those days, Vienna was the center of medical training and technology. After WWII, Adna considered a medical career, having passed entry exams.

Adna was stationed in Colorado Springs upon receiving his Army commission and was trained as an officer in the 10th Mountain Division. Adna also trained near Aspen. During his training, Adna took leave to return to Joan's home to marry the lovely young lady. As honeymooners, they returned to Colorado Springs. Adna was driving towards Aspen, when he encountered the first vehicles of a convoy of the 10th Mountain Division as they were returning to Ft. Carson in Colorado Springs. The officers told Adna they were being deployed to Europe and Adna and his wife should return to Ft. Carson and await orders.

Adna was wounded during the battle for Monte Casino in Italy. Somewhat apropos for the 10th Mountain division, sans snow. Adna was out of the line for two weeks. Adna never recounted where he was injured (shot).


Dick Johnson submitted these thoughts on a rather expensive (non-numismatic) book. -Editor
We are concerned as numismatic book prices are rising to $100 and more. Our field is no contest to art books, where a book on Michelangelo sells for $100,000 -- not as a rare antique -- but a newly published, necessarily limited edition.

Twenty have been sold and it takes six months to hand-produce a single copy. It is filled with photographs and commentary from credible authorities. The subject is Italian, the authorities are Italian, the publisher is Italian. The 62-pound book is a masterpiece of Italian craftsmanship, from the photography, to the special silk and velvet binding.

Of numismatic interest is the bas-relief front cover -- it could be the model for a plaquette by the Renaissance master. The bas-relief is in marble, Carrara marble, that's Italy's best, as is every stitch in the binding. It seems a buyer really gets his money's worth at a hundred grand. The New York Public Library bought a copy. Publicity pictures show the rare book curator holding the Library's copy. In white gloves, of course.

The title is Una Dotta Mono or "The learned hand." Michelangelo would have liked being called that.
Michelangelo $100K book

My local paper ran a picture of the bas-relief cover, but here is the picture from the New York Public Library: Would you pay $100,000 for a book? (


DAVID SKLOW - FINE NUMISMATIC BOOKS Sale #6 is set for February 7th 2009. Consignments include: Raymond, Wayte and Macallister, J{ames}.G.{cataloguers}. THE NUMISMATIC AUCTION CATALOGUES OF J.C. MORGENTHAU & CO. New York, N.Y. 1932-1945. Adams Sale Numbers One through Fifty-three complete. We are accepting consignments for all future sales. PH: (719) 302-5686, FAX: (719) 302-4933. Visit our web site for sale highlights


Last week David Powell asked about unlikely numismatic items readers have found in ordinary circulation. -Editor
Joe Boling writes:
XF-AU $10 series 1929 national bank note on the Chase National Bank of New York, found in a military payroll in Grafenwoehr, Germany in 1965 or 1966. Naturally I did not pay it out, but bought it with a $10 that I fortunately had in my wallet that day.


Last week we had some questions about a reference to one of William Sheldon's non-numismatic books in Will Nipper's book In Yankee Doodle's Pocket.
Will Nipper writes:
Please refer to the article referenced below. I first heard about this on National Public Radio, though I can't find that particular report on their site.

To read the complete article, see: THE GREAT IVY LEAGUE NUDE POSTURE PHOTO SCANDAL (

Pete Smith writes:
In January of 1995 I learned of the article in The New York Times Magazine on .The Posture Photo Scandal. by Ron Rosenbaum. At the time I was working in records management for a large international law firm that had a New York office. I contacted the records manager in New York to see if he could provide a copy of that issue. It came a few days later through our inter-office mail. I hope the New York staff accepted my explanation about why I was interested in an article about nude photos.

Since I have copies of the referenced publications, I can offer a few comments.

1. Sheldon's The Varieties of Human Physique, published in 1940, has only photos of nude men. Their faces and genitals are obscured.

2. Sheldon published his Atlas of Men in 1954. His proposed Atlas of Women was never published.

3. The cover of The New York Times Magazine does include a head shot of Hillary Rodham and she is mentioned in the article. Of note is this from page 40: .By the time Hillary Rodham arrived on the Wellesley campus, women were allowed to have their pictures taken only partially nude..

4. The article by Rosenbaum indicates that others besides Sheldon cooperated in several Ivy League schools. Sheldon would not have taken the Wellesley pictures.

My conclusion from this: Although Hillary was at Wellesley at the right time to participate, her picture was not nude and was never published. I don.t have Will Nipper.s book to read his exact language. The comment about Hillary Clinton is either incorrect or misinterpreted.

Thanks for helping to shed light on this matter, which I'd been curious about, too. The New York Times article gives a pretty thorough overview of this line of research by William Sheldon, author of the classic numismatic references, Early American Cents. -Editor

Kolbe 2008 Jan 11


Last week Dennis Schafluetzel submitted a query about a maverick piece of scrip. He wrote:
Tom Carson and I are working on at book on Tennessee scrip book because most of it has not been cataloged. We identified a maverick - a piece of scrip from Lafayette; no state is printed on the note. It's a ten cent scrip for Frank's Restaurant (printed), signed Rueben H. Frank(?) Oct 27. 1862 "Secured by Money in Safe" Pay bearer 10 cents when presented in sums of one dollar or more. No vignettes. Printers design across left side.

The piece was sold by R. M. Smythe auction (#272 lot 3647 in Memphis 7/7/2007) from the Schingoethe collection as was cataloged in Tennessee. There is Lafayette, TN in Macon County but the local historian cannot find a record of Frank's Restaurant or the signature Reuben H. Frank during the period. Signature is weak.

I checked the obsolete books I have (SC, TN, AL, AK, MS, FL) and the GA obsolete website and did not find it. If you recognize it let me know. My email address is

At my request Dennis provided an image of the scrip note. -Editor

Lafayette - Franks Restaurant $0.10 Smythe272 lot 3647


Dave Lange, Research Director at Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) writes:
Regarding the counterfeit one-pound coins circulating in the UK, the image of the 2002 example illustrated in the article as genuine likewise appears to be a fake. Perhaps, it's just a bad photo, but it doesn't look good to me.

Fake Pound Coins

While spending last summer working in London, I could see that the one pound coin was the workhorse of the economy. Virtually every example that came through my hands was well worn, and many of them looked dodgy to me. But without higher grade specimens to compare against, discerning counterfeits was difficult for me. The article's points are well taken and do provide diagnostics for determining fakes. But that doesn't mean that if a coin passes those tests it's necessarily real. I think Dave's right to be suspect. -Editor


R.V. Dewey notes that the Snopes web site I cited in my earlier piece on the British artist who creates tiny sculptures misspelled the gentleman's name, and I perpetuated the error. It's Willard Wigan, not Wigen. He confirmed this with Wigan's personal assistant. Sorry!

R.V. also forwarded these images. The first is a model of the Titanic on the point of a needle, and the second is of the artist and his patron, David Lloyd. He writes: "The man in the orange shirt is the $20,000,000.00 buyer of Willard.s micro-art." -Editor

Wigan titanic Wigan with Patron

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: WILLARD WIGAN: THE WORLD'S TINIEST SCULPTURES (corrected) (


Chick Ambrass writes:
Here are images of the reverse of a $100 2003 series A note. This is the first time I've seen something like this....has this note possibly been across the water? These stamps remind me of chopmarks on coins.

2008 chopmark

Chick is correct - these are the modern equivalent of chopmarks. We did cover the topic earlier. -Editor
Tom DeLorey wrote:
Here at Harlan Berk's coin store in downtown Chicago, it is not unusual to see $50 and $100 bills with small rubber stamps on them. They are presumably bankers' and money exchangers' marks from overseas, indicating that the bank or exchanger in question has examined the note and found it to be genuine. It is the equivalent of the Chinese chop mark on 19th century crown-sized coins such as Trade Dollars.

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

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:





DAVID F. FANNING NUMISMATIC LITERATURE buys and sells literature on numismatics from all times and places. We seek consignments of choice material for future auctions and fixed price lists. To discuss options, contact David Fanning at Our Web site is available at .


What a great piece of numismatic Americana - a clay model for James Earle Fraser's Indian Head nickel. The model will be displayed at the Woodbridge Town Hall in Woodbridge, NJ through the month of December. If any of our E-Sylum readers get a chance to view the exhibit, please tell us your thoughts.

It's not clear from this article whether the model (or "mold" as the article calls it) is only for the Indian Head obverse, or also the Buffalo reverse. Has anyone seen it? Was it known previously in numismatic circles? Does anyone know the owner, Gordon Henderson? -Editor
Woodbridge Mayor John E. McCormac and members of the Woodbridge Township Municipal Council will join the Historical Association of Woodbridge Township and the Woodbridge Township Historic Preservation Commission in opening an exhibit on the clay industry of Woodbridge at Woodbridge Town Hall on Tuesday, Dec. 2 at 6 p.m.

The exhibit features the original clay mold used by the United States Mint to mint the first 1913-issue "Indian Head" or "Buffalo" nickel minted from 1913-1938. Also on exhibit are artifacts of the storied Woodbridge clay industry that flourished for nearly a century.

The original Buffalo Nickel mold was created from clay mined and manufactured in Woodbridge. The clay mold design was created by famed American sculptor James Earle Fraser (1876 - 1953), whose classic sculptures of national heroes from Jefferson to Patton adorn public spaces across the country. The mint mold is owned by Gordon Henderson of Rutherford, NJ, an accomplished stained-glass craftsman, and was recently on exhibit at the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum in New Brunswick.

The exhibit at Woodbridge Town Hall will continue through the month of December and may be viewed by the public during regular Town Hall business hours.

To read the complete article, see: Woodbridge to Display Original Clay Mold used to Mint Indian Head Nickel (

I asked Dick Johnson about the piece. He writes:
I would be skeptical of a clay model because it is so impermanent. Fraser did indeed work in clay but he would have made a plaster cast of his clay model. The plaster is what he brought to Henri Weil in lower Manhattan who made galvanos from the plasters. Weil even silver plated some of these galvanos to give Fraser an idea of what the coin would look like in a silver color (as copper nickel). These galvanos were considered "trials" by numismatist Walter Breen who coined the term "electrotrial."

There are a number of these metal patterns in private hands (via a Joseph Lepczyk auction) that anyone with even a modicum of casting knowledge or working with clay could have made a clay model from one of these metal galvanos. The exhibitors would have to prove the provenance of that clay model back to Fraser to be meaningful.


Nick Graver's question earlier this year led to a discussion of George Morgan's sketch for a proposed $100 U.S. gold coin and the Smithsonian's marketing of items modeled after the sketch. Dave Perkins of Centennial, CO noted that yesterday's Wall Street Journal carried an article about the proposed coin. -Editor
In the coin world, it is almost the Holy Grail: a $100 gold U.S. coin.

A forgotten sketch that potentially could have graced the face of what would have been the highest denominated American gold coin, had it come to fruition, was recently discovered at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History in Washington.

No such $100 coin was actually produced by the government. The drawing is the only documentation that exists.

The pencil sketch of Lady Liberty, seated and facing right with a ship coming into the harbor, signals commerce and clearly shows a denomination of $100.

$100 Gold Sketch

Such a coin would strictly have been used for commerce between countries, rather than general circulation, due to its hefty weight.

The sketch in question is one of many drawings contained in the so-called George T. Morgan sketch book. Mr. Morgan created one of the most popular silver coins, the Morgan silver dollar. That is the coin that appears in many Hollywood Westerns.

The sketch was uncovered by Jeff Garrett during the summer of 2006 while conducting research on the National Numismatic Collection for a book on gold coins.

"One hundred years ago, someone knew we had [the sketch], it's just we have not seen it," said Richard Doty, senior curator of numismatics for the Smithsonian. "This was an artist's sketch mulling over something he was asked to work on."

While there are some Russian coins that are bigger than a hockey puck, Mr. Doty said, such a coin, if done in silver, would have been quite a hunk of metal. In gold, it would have weighed nearly one-third a pound when one considers a $20 gold piece weighs 31 grams.

The article goes on to discuss the items being sold under license from the Smithsonian. -Editor
Forbes Union ad It has partnered with a private mint to produce a "fantasy souvenir item" that mimics how the coin might have looked. (Only the U.S. Mint can produce actual pocket change.)

The private mint, New York Mint & Collectible America, in Minneapolis, has been doing brisk business.

It started selling "normal" one-ounce gold patterns at $1,995, according to media representative Steve Von Schmidt, and the price reached $2,450 due to fluctuating gold prices before it sold all 2,000.

$100 Union coin So far, according to the company, it has sold about 10,000 1.5-ounce silver patterns at $99. There is a "high relief" one-ounce gold version, with a limit of 999, which was running about $2,750 recently.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of that product comes back to the National Numismatic Collection, Ms. Lee said.

To read the complete article, see: A $100 Gold Coin? Not Just a Dream (


Artur Shippee forwarded an article from the November 24th New York Times on the striking of the 2009 ultra-high-relief $20 gold coins using Augustus Saint-Gaudens' original 1907 designs. Wow - now THAT'S a bullion coin worth having. -Editor
2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Moy With the push of a button and some 60 tons of pressure, a blank gold disc was converted into an ultra-high-relief coin at the branch of the United States Mint here Monday, and a century-old vision for America.s coinage was finally fully realized.

Producing the $20 coins, initially conceived by the American sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens in 1907, has been a personal goal of the mint.s director, Edmund C. Moy, since he was appointed in 2006. .Saint-Gaudens was a bit of a poet and wanted to tell a story,. Mr. Moy said at a ceremony Monday at the branch, where the new coin was first struck. .Liberty has visited America and is now marching into the rest of the world, led by enlightenment. America.s best days are ahead..

2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle In President Theodore Roosevelt.s opinion, those ideals weren.t embodied by existing coins, and he commissioned his friend Saint-Gaudens to come up with fresh designs.

His vision for the coin, known as a double eagle (it was twice the value of the $10 coin known as the eagle), was hailed by Roosevelt and others as a classical masterpiece. A full figure representing Liberty strides toward the viewer, torch raised, hair flowing and robes billowing, one foot on a promontory while the sun rises over the Capitol dome behind her. The reverse shows an eagle in flight over a blazing sun. The coin.s mastery lay chiefly in two trademarks of the sculptor.s style, typical of his medals: the comparatively high relief and the graceful incorporation of lettering in the design.

But one crucial person was not enamored: Charles Barber, chief engraver of the United States Mint at the time and a designer himself of several coins then in circulation . those Roosevelt and much of the public so disliked. According to Alison Frankel.s 2006 book, .Double Eagle,. Barber fought for his turf and did little to smooth the way for Saint-Gaudens.s designs.

Barber.s main critique was that the coin.s exceptionally high relief made production impossibly slow and difficult, and he had a point. In early tests up to 11 strikes per coin were required to bring out all the details. A variation using a smaller but thicker blank had to be abandoned because such a change would need Congressional approval.

The newest coins, slightly more than an inch in diameter, use the smaller, thicker blanks rejected in 1907, are dated MMIX (2009), and contain exactly an ounce of 24-karat gold. The original coins were larger in size and contained 22-karat gold, hard enough to withstand circulation, but Mr. Moy, said modern investors prefer pure gold, which also has the benefit of being soft enough to turn into ultra-high relief coins.

The first $20 coin will be placed in the National Museum of American History of the Smithsonian Institution. The rest, which will be produced for only a year, go on sale to collectors and investors in January, at a price still to be determined, based largely on the current bullion price of gold. (On Monday afternoon it was about $824 an ounce in New York.)

Though the new coin is largely faithful to Saint-Gaudens.s vision, in one respect it won.t resemble the original: the reverse still reads .In God We Trust..

To read the complete article, see: Century Later, Gold Coin Reflects Sculptor.s Vision (


This week Bermuda announced new designs for its 2009 banknotes, and newspapers from Bermuda to London picked up the story. I guess it's true that no good deed goes unpunished. In what must be routine for every new coin and banknote, critics chime in to tell the designers everything they've done wrong. Subsequent articles criticize the new designs for everything from the size of the Queen's head to the specific species of waterfowl depicted. -Editor
Bermuda 2009 Features Cash may not be plentiful right now - but it's certainly getting more colourful.

The island's currency has undergone a complete redesign, and will soon utilize state-of-the-art anti-counterfeiting technology - and feature animals and local settings in its artwork.

The Bermuda Monetary Authority this week unveiled the new bills - which will begin circulating along side current banknotes in early '09.

They're also typeset vertically instead of horizontally, something not seen on many national currencies, except for Venezuela and Switzerland.

The $2, $5, $10 $20, $50 and $100 denominations keep their overall colour scheme, but now display birds, fish, or in the case of the twenty - a small frog where the Queen's head would normally be.

The portrait of the Queen has been removed as the prominent image, made smaller, and will now be featured in the bottom left corner of the front of the bill.

Pictures of prominent Bermuda landmarks such as the Lighthouse, Somerset Bridge, and St. Peter's Church adorn the reverse sides.

But the most important feature of the new notes is their cutting-edge security features, BMA officials said.

They have a unique feature called 'optiks' in the form of an oval on the front strip, which look metallic in reflected daylight, and transparent with a map of Bermuda on the back strip, according to Marcia Woolridge-Allwood, director of corporate and financial services at the BMA.

I found it interesting that the notes are oriented vertically - this was the first time I'd heard of this type of design, although the article does mention two other countries with notes like this. That would make for a great coin show exhibit. Below is the article's key to the security features labeled in the image above. -Editor
1. Watermark and hibiscus flower visible when held to light
2. See-through feature when held to light
3. Serial numbers increasing in size
4. Iridescent band on the $20, $50 and $100 denominations
5. Latent image (tilt the image and the denomination numeral appears)

To read the complete article, see: High-tech new cash unveiled Redesigned notes to begin circulating in 2009 (


An article in the U.K.' Telegraph notes some displeasure at the reduced prominence of the Queen's image on the new banknotes of Bermuda. -Editor
Already reeling from the decision to scrap the Queen's birthday as an official holiday on Bermuda, monarchists on the island, Britain's most populous remaining Overseas Territory, are now dismayed that Her Majesty's head is no longer the main image on the island's bank notes.

Redesigned after more than 35 years, the new notes feature instead what officials call "a distinct Bermudian look with the use of bold colours, as well as local scenes, flora and fauna".

Pictures of HM hang in public and private houses throughout the island and one Bermudian tells me he is depressed that no one saw fit to register any objection. "There is a faction here that wants to sever our ties with Britain and I guess to appease them the Governor, Sir Richard Gozney, went along with it," he says. "Likewise Buckingham Palace and the UK Post Office." The Bermuda dollar was first issued in 1970 following the switch from sterling and is pegged to the US dollar. The new-style notes will be available for the public to use early next year, which marks the 400th anniversary of Bermuda's settlement by the Englishman Sir George Somers.

The Queen will now feature only in a much-reduced size on the front-left corner of each note, which currently comes in denominations of $2, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100.

To read the complete article, see: Island's currency redesign shrinks the Queen's head (


The Royal Gazette of Bermuda published an article this week noting one expert's opinion of an aspect of that country's new $50 banknote design. -Editor
Bermuda $50 One of the Longtails featured on Bermuda's new $50 banknote as been described as the wrong bird . a species that does not nest on the Island.

Eminent environmentalist David Wingate said he was "appalled" by the choice of the Red-billed Tropicbird, which hails from the West Indies and eastern Pacific, for the main image on the note.

"I was just yesterday looking at the notes and thinking how pretty they are but then I realised the Longtail featured is the wrong species which we don't have nesting here," he told The Royal Gazette.

"I regard it as a serious error for a 400th anniversary note printing, kind of like saying we meant to use a picture of Sir George Somers but one of American President George Washington will do."

Dr. Wingate said the non-native bird is featured sitting at the bottom of one side of the note, as the main image.

The Bermuda Monetary Authority last night apologised for "any specific technical error". However, spokeswoman Pat Phillip-Bassett said it was understood that the Red-billed bird was present on the Island, and it was chosen as the main image because its colour better fits the design of the note.

Ms Phillip-Bassett, assistant director of corporate governance and communications at the Bermuda Monetary Authority said: "A banknote design has to combine aesthetics, accuracy of depiction and technical concerns.

"The new Bermuda notes feature graphical representations of the colours, flora and fauna present in the Island. The research conducted for the banknote redesign initiative in conjunction with our partners in this project, De la Rue Currency, the international note printing firm based in the UK, showed references to both the White-tailed Longtail and the Red-billed Longtail as being present in Bermuda, with both appearing to have similar markings, albeit at different stages of maturation, and this is reflected in the representative graphic on the new $50 Bermuda note.

"Given the aesthetic considerations for this note, i.e. it is predominantly pale yellow in colour, the Red-billed Longtail was used for the main image to provide greater contrast. We apologise for any specific technical error within the graphical representations of the notes; they were designed with the objective of, among other matters, conveying the overall characteristics and image of Bermuda's natural beauty. The notes are now finalised and will be issued early next year."

According to Andrew Dobson, President of the Bermuda Audubon Society, the choice of the non-local bird is not the only thing that has riled environmentalists.

Other creatures that are not endemic to Bermuda feature on some of the other banknotes.

"There is some concern expressed that the whistling frog ($20) was an accidental introduction. Similarly, the cardinal bird ($100) was introduced by man," he noted.

To read the complete article, see: Longtail on new money isn't 'our' species (


Next up in the banknote complaint department, someone has decided to complain about an image that has been in use on Australian banknotes for 13 year. Actually, this one sounds familiar - we may have covered this topic before. Anyway, here's an image of the note. -Editor
The great-nephew of a man whose image is on Australia's 50-dollar note has demanded compensation from the central bank for the unauthorised use of the image.

Allan "Chirpy" Campbell, an activist for Aboriginal rights, told the Reserve Bank of Australia that they did not have permission from the "real family" of David Unaipon.

Mr Unaipon was a preacher, author and inventor who held a patent for a sheep shearing mechanism that is shown on the note. He died in 1967. His image has been used since 1995.

To read the complete article, see: Family demand banknote image payout (



An E-Sylum reader writes:
Here's a neat story of a guy from Texas buying bags of Canadian coins at auction from Houston bus service and turning them into paper money for a tidy profit during a visit up north. While visiting his daughter at college up Northeast, he crossed the border and found a Coinstar machine.

Canadian coin cash A Texas man's cross-border trek to cash in a large number of Canadian coins acquired at auction has paid off with a tidy sum just in time for the holidays.

Michael Lay crossed the border with 42 bags of assorted Canadian coins worth $4,211 that he cashed in at a Coinstar Centre in a Hamilton supermarket Tuesday.

The machine accepts loose, unsorted change without having to be wrapped or rolled, and provides a voucher for value of the change which can be converted to cash or applied to in-store purchases, said Coinstar spokeswoman Marci Maule.

Maule said Lay had called the company's customer service department and mentioned he was going to Connecticut to visit his daughter, who attends Yale Law School, and was thinking of heading to Canada to cash in the coins.

As a collector, Lay said he is interested in foreign and collectible coins, but admits he took a chance buying the bags at a Houston auction not knowing exactly what the contents were.

The coins he purchased originally came from a Houston-area bus company, which over the years had collected them from passengers who had used them as bus fare. The problem was the coins were either no longer in circulation or weren't legal tender in the U.S.

Along with the large amount of Canadian coins, the collection included a rare two-cent coin from the U.S. Civil War era, several 1930s Canadian nickels, a liberty head half-dollar piece and several Chuck E. Cheese restaurant tokens.

"I did get a whole lot of junk pieces, tokens, some things I had never heard of ... but there were a lot of good things in there," Lay said in a phone interview Wednesday at a car dealership in New Haven, Conn., where his daughter's car was being repaired.

"I feel like I've at least doubled the money that we spent at the auction."

To read the complete article, see: Trek north to cash in Canadian coins pays off (


An E-Sylum reader forwarded this article - readers may appreciate the difficulties (and rewards) in researching decades-old numismatic items. He writes:
This article in a local newspaper about a "coin" being donated to a tiny town in Michigan is interesting if nothing else for the steps it took to uncover the items' true origin.

The gift of a coin from a man in Virginia to the City of Farmington Hills created a lot of questions about what happened here.

The coin, about the size of a quarter, says "Good for parking only" on one side. On the other side is written Federal APD, Farmington Hills, Michigan.

Did Farmington Hills ever have a parking lot?

Clyde Pitchford, of Franklin, Va., found the token in his late father's coin box. He speculated it was from his father's Navy days, 1939-60. This would make the little coin an antique.

However, Farmington Hills didn't incorporate until 1973, 35 years ago.

There was a Federal's Department Store in downtown Farmington.

The History Room at the Farmington Library had directories which revealed the answers.

Federal Products in 1977 was located on Indoplex Circle in Farmington Hills. They manufactured gauges. Jack Longlais was the manager.

Before 1989, the listing was for Federal APD on Crestview Court. By 2004, Federal APD moved to Nine Mile Road in Novi.

A call to Federal APD in Novi revealed that APD referred to advance parking devices.

Rodney Hoover, advertising manager, never remembered making gauges in Farmington Hills. They make parking devices.

The coin was from a trade show and used for advertising.

Clyde Pitchford picked a good time to send this artifact to Farmington Hills, because the city is planning a small historical museum at Heritage Park.

The coin will find a place in Farmington Hills history.

To read the complete article, see: Digging for answers on mystery coin (


An E-Sylum reader forwarded this article about a student numismatic display in India. It's a fine article on a nice group of kids, but his interest (and mine) was piqued by the reference to "a rare coin of the US with an image of Marilyn Monroe issued in 1962". We assume this is some private mint issue. Any idea, readers, what "coin" this is? -Editor
Jamshedpur coin exhibit Half a rupee, quarter anna and half anna were introduced by East India Company after the World War I as silver became costly after the war, said Aditya Singh, a Class IX student of Loyola School.

He put the coins on display at the inter-school philatelic and numismatic exhibition-cum-competition organised by the philatelic and numismatic club of Loyola School for the first time.

He had the rarest of rare coins in bronze, silver and other metal that were in use during British era.

The exhibition was a unique journey through history of the world. Five schools of Jamshedpur including the host participated in the competition. The competition proved that students still take a lot of interest in collecting rare stamps and coins, though few write letters in the age of computers. Their collection is through contribution of their parents or grandparents but they have valued it.

One got to see a rare coin of the US with an image of Marilyn Monroe issued in 1962 was also on display.

.Through the exhibition we would like to teach the students the value of coins. Coins are a mixture of knowledge, historical glory, metallurgy and minting excellence. In the age of computers and technology, people no longer write letters and stamps have become just a hobby only. Therefore, we though of organising this competition,. said A. Lilavati, the moderator of philatelic and numismatic club of Loyola School.

To read the complete article, see: Coins, stamps speak of glorious past - Students of five schools come up with rare collection (


David Hall This week's featured web page is recommended by Len Augsburger. It's a video interviewing PCGS founder David Hall about the creation of the third-party grading industry in the U.S. Len writes:
There's a great bit of oral history here.

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