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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You won't regret it!


Wayne Homren Among our recent subscribers is Angel Navarro, courtesy of Serge Pelletier. Welcome aboard! We now have 1,228 subscribers.

This week we open with a short update on the 100 Greatest Works of American Numismatic Literature survey, word of Fred Lake's sale of the Charles Hoskins library, and announcements of two new books. Other articles discuss the numismatic libraries at the ANS and Krause Publications.

In keeping with the holiday season we have a special exhibit of Santa Claus notes and a new article about Mike Molnar's Star of Bethlehem book. To learn about Tasmanian Promissory Notes, read on. Have a great week, everyone, and Merry Christmas!

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


Fred Reed writes:
Whatever happened to that survey of the 100 greatest numismatic books?

I checked with compiler Len Augsburger, who writes:
All the ballots are counted, and I am writing up the article. About forty entries are complete (sixty to go), and I expect to publish this spring.

Many thanks for Len for taking on this groundbreaking project on behalf of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society. We're looking forward to it! -Editor


Fred Lake Fred Lake writes:
We are pleased to announce that our 96th mail-bid sale of numismatic literature is now available for viewing on our web site at:

The 388-lot sale features selections from the library of Charles Hoskins, a well-known coin authenticator and grader. All facets of the numismatic experience are covered with reference material on U.S. coinage, World coins, Paper Money, Tokens, Exonumia, etc.

The sale closes at 5:00 PM (EST) on January 20, 2009 and bids may be placed until the closing time via email, telephone, fax, or regular mail.

Joan and I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday season.


In their December 2008 E-News mailing, the ANS announced their latest new publication, a book on the Athenian Decadrachm. -Editor
Fischer-Bossert Athenean Decadrachm The Athenian Decadrachm is the first monograph in over 35 years in any language to study the coinage of classical Athens. It collects for the first time the evidence for the largest denomination ever produced by the Athenian state, the ten-drachma piece, and situates the coinage within its social, political and economic background. This book represents a huge advance on the previous study of the material, Chester Starr’s Athenian coinage, 480-449 B.C. (Oxford, 1970).

Fischer-Bossert has collected more than three times as many specimens as were known to Starr, and has provided a full account of the known forgeries drawn from the photo-files of major dealers, scholars and museums. A die-study of forty genuine Athenian decadrachms in public and private collections is provided, together with a catalogue of more than ninety modern forgeries. Almost all are illustrated. This will be an indispensable work for all interested in the coinage and history of 5th-century Athens. In addition, its judicious discussion of the history of the forgery of these remarkable coins will make this volume a handbook for all serious collectors of ancient Greek coinage. The Athenian Decadrachm is number 168 in the Numismatic Notes and Monographs Series.

A pre-publication discount is available on the American Numismatic Society's upcoming book: The Athenian Decadrachm by Wolfgang Fischer-Bossert. The discount is available only to orders postmarked by December 31, 2008. After December 31st, the price for this title will be $95 for non-members and $66.50 for members.


Fred Holabird is working on a new book about American Saloon tokens. At my request he forwarded some excerpts for publication in The E-Sylum. The following is taken from the book's Introduction. From what I've seen this is a thoroughly researched work, and I look forward to seeing the published book. -Editor
Holabird Saloon Saloons are as much a fixture of the American West as cowboys, Indians and six-shooters. Saloon tokens are some of the most sought-after tokens or coins by collectors today. They have existed for a millennia and once included many types of businesses such as coffee houses, restaurants, ice cream parlors, road houses, bars, taverns, billiard halls, and brothels.

This book primarily deals with the pioneer minor coinage associated with the pre-Prohibition saloon. Merchants used “tokens,” a form of money or pioneer minor coinage as both change and advertising. The majority of American saloon tokens got their start during the Civil War, primarily from coffee house-type saloons.

In the west, the use of the saloon token took off in the 1870s and was in wide usage by the late 1890s. The great discoveries of gold in Virginia City, Tonopah and Goldfield in Nevada, coupled with the Cripple Creek discoveries of the 1890s created a massive influx of miners into remote regions of the American West after 1900.

The majority and use of all American saloon tokens come from this period, which extended over the next decade and expanded at an enormous rate until anti-saloon sentiment began to sweep the country. Prohibition put an end to the old west style saloon. Though there are many of post-Prohibition saloon tokens, they are not the focus of this book.

What is a Saloon Token?

Most will argue that a true saloon token must state the word “saloon” somewhere on the piece, however there really was no distinction between a bar and a saloon in the Wild West. Furthermore, once prohibitive alcohol laws started to take a stronghold, business owners dropped the word “saloon” to continue to operate below the radar of Federal or local laws.

Beginning around the second decade of the 1900s, true saloon tokens began to decrease in number. Tokens that carry the word “saloon” from this time period are extremely rare (except in the west, such as in California and Nevada), though many varieties of tokens from other bars can be found. Surely a great deal of them maintained a “speakeasy” as part of their business. It is safe to say that there are at least twice as many saloon tokens known that did not use the word “saloon” than what has been documented as true saloon tokens inclusive of that famous word, “saloon.”

Watch the Holabird-Americana web site for ordering information once the book is available. Meanwhile, enjoy Fred's "list of some saloon names that made us smile". -Editor
Climax Saloon, Chattanooga, Tennessee
Cock A Too Saloon, Paradise, Arizona
Our House Saloon, Yuma, Arizona
Wigwam Saloon, Jerome, Arizona
Cuthroat Saloon, Markeeville, California
Old Tub Saloon, Bardstown, Kentucky
Frigid Zone Saloon, Sidney, Montana
Last Chance Saloon, Billings, Montana
Bucket of Blood Saloon, Virginia City, Nevada
Dummy Line Saloon, Austin, Texas

Top Ten Funny Saloon Names (


The American Numismatic Society web site documents an exhibit at ANS headquarters which runs through February, 2009. -Editor
Introduction: The history of the ANS Library can be traced back to the history of the Society as a whole. From the first acquisition in 1859, the Library collection has grown exponentially into the widely important resource that it is today. This exhibit takes a glimpse at this history by examining the changing physical space of the Library, to the 20 individuals who have worked to oversee the care of the collections, and finally to the growth of the collections.

ANS Library Acquisition Book,jpg When the ANS Library first began to acquire items for the collections, they were documented in these large, 9.5”x 14” volumes. This volume contains the first 40 years of entries, which list the “title”, “author”, “style” (i.e. publisher), “donors etc.”, and “when” the item was acquired. The first line of the book lists the Library’s first acquisition from 1859...

ANS Librarians Report 1880 This three-page report was generated by Mr. Richard Hoe Lawrence, who served as the Librarian of the American Numismatic Society from 1880-1886. In his report, transcribed here, he laments the resignation of the previous librarian, Mr. Isaac F. Wood, who had served as the Society’s Librarian since 1869, and stresses the need for a catalog of the collections. Three years after this report was generated, there appeared the first catalog of books in the collections of the ANS, which was published in 1883.

To read the complete article, see: The American Numismatic Society Library: 150 Years of Learning (



Tel: (909) 338-6527
Kolbe Sale 107 Lot 94


Alfredo De La Fe of Imperial Coins & Artifacts, Inc. forwarded this press release about his firm's email numismatic newsletter. -Editor
After more than 100 hours of work, the next issue of our newsletter (more like an online magazine at this point!) is ready and will be sent out this evening.

If you are not subscribed yet you can do so right from our homepage at:

In this issue:
  • Grading Ancient Coins (A comparison by type) By: Alfredo De La Fe
  • Colin Kraay's Explanation of the Phenomenon of Overstruck Reverses on Roman Imperial and Provincial Coins By: Curtis Clay
  • Money Minting Brits: Coin Clipping in Late/Post Reform Britain by: Keith Nurse
  • Pro Mn. Fonteio C. f. by: Mark Passehl
  • The Technical Obverse: Another Archaic Convention by: Wayne Sayles
  • The Cornucopia Served as a Jewish Symbol by: David Hendin
  • Ancients in the news - News articles of interest to Ancient Numismatists

To subscribe to the newsletter, go to: Imperial Coins and Artifacts (


This week Ed Snible published a great two-part article on his blog this week. Ed's Reading List for the Eric P. Newman Graduate Seminar in Numismatics offers advice for the participants in the American Numismatic Society's annual eight-week course in numismatics. Here is an excerpt. -Editor
The Seminar is designed to take an expert in a field related to numismatics and make that person an expert in numismatics capable of doing coin research.

ANS members can get permission to sit in on some of the lectures. The ones I attended were quite good!

A numismatic researcher needs to understand the techniques of numismatics and be able to find out what other scholars have written on the subject. There is very little written on how to do good numismatic research. You won't find courses at your local college explaining how to use Clain-Stefanelli's Numismatic Bibliography. Your local library probably doesn't even have it! How does a collector who isn't a graduate student learn to navigate numismatic literature?

Take a look at the Seminar reading lists. The lists reveal the books the ANS curators feel provide the numismatic background to get started with serious research.

To view the reading lists, see: Reading Lists for Incoming Graduate Summer Seminar Students

To read the complete article, see: Reading List for the Eric P. Newman Graduate Seminar in Numismatics (


Scott Tappa, the newly promoted head of numismatic publishing at Krause Publications wrote an article published December 17th on Krause's NumisMaster web site. Until recently, Scott was Krause's online numismatics editorial director. In his article Scott discusses the numismatic research environment at Krause. -Editor
Have you ever been to our office? It's like a coin and currency research museum.

Upon entering the main lobby, you encounter a cased display of Red Feather Money from the Solomon Islands. In the corner is a Norman Rockwell painting of a numismatist called "The Collector." Past the front desk is a large plaque listing all winners of the Numismatic Ambassador Award, and a Coin of the Year trophy. Take five more steps and you'll see a framed copy of the first Numismatic News.

Further into the building is our library. A numismatist could spend a year in there and still leave wanting more.

Numismatics is all around us here at KP, and in Iola as well. If you have any appreciation of history, it's easy to see that none of us in this company would be here today if Chet Krause hadn't launched Numismatic News in 1952. Perhaps many of you reading this publication wouldn't be involved in this hobby to the extent that you are now if not for Chet's creation.

It is with this appreciation of what has come before that I have entered the role of publisher of KP's numismatics group. It is an honor to serve such a rich hobby of dedicated enthusiasts, and to serve them alongside the hard-working, knowledgeable members of our staff.

I am not a numismatist. From my past dealings with our numismatic online properties I have a working knowledge of some basic terms, but most of my education in this field will be on the job - and I intend to get the best education possible!

Now I have the privilege of leading what our management has termed our numismatics community. The community approach to organizing the company is a novel one that has drawn praise both from employees and media industry observers.

In a departure from our old structure, under the new setup one community leader oversees everything in that subject area. For numismatics, that includes Numismatic News, Coins, Coin Prices, Bank Note Reporter, and World Coin News; our entire outstanding book line; the Chicago International Coin Fair, Chicago Paper Money Expo, and MidAmerica Coin Expo; and,, and our e-mail newsletters.

The last few weeks have been a crash course for me, learning as much as possible about our products, the hobby, and our products' place in the hobby. But there is so much more to learn. That's where you come in. I would like to hear from you: what you like about what we're doing, what we could be doing differently, what new things we could do, etc. No promises on implementing these ideas, but we need to hear them.

I plan on attending as many shows as possible to get face-to-face with the collectors and dealers who make numismatics tick. But if I don't see you at a show, feel free to contact me by e-mail or mail:, or 700 East State St., Iola, WI 54990.

Congratulations to Scott - we wish him the best of luck in his new position. -Editor

To read the complete article, see: New Publisher Asks Readers for 'Education' (


In response to last week's obituary on Cornelius Vermeule, author of Numismatic Art in America, Joe Boling writes:
Cornelius C. Vermeule III also wrote, with Norman Jacobs, Japanese Coinage (in editions of 1953 and 1972), long the only English-language book on the subject. It has been pretty well displaced by the Krause books, but is still remembered fondly by those of us who used it regularly in olden days. Norman Jacobs died a few years ago.


Last week Howard A. Daniel III inquired about research by George Groslier on very early Cambodian coins.

Bruce Smith writes:
I saw that book in the American Numismatic Society library when I was there last January. If you go to the ANS website (, and click on "Library Catalog" you can pull down the box for "author" and enter "Groslier". This will pull up the book. The coins made up just a chapter in the larger work on monuments and antiquities in Cambodia.

Main Author: Groslier, George.
Title: Recherches sur les Cambodgiens d'apres les textes et les monuments depuis les premiers sicles de notre re.
Publication Info: Paris : Augustin Challamel, 1921.
Extent: 432 p. : ill., front., pl. ; 31 cm.
Subject Info: France Colonies.
Year: 1921

A web search turned up a photo and some biographical information on Groslier. -Editor
Groslier George George Groslier (1887-1945), historian, curator and author was the motivating force behind much of the revival of interest in traditional Cambodian arts and crafts. He dedicated his life and career to Cambodia, accumulating many titles and honors along the way. He was a champion of the arts, a man of science, photographer and painter, a novelist and writer, and an ethnologist who infused all of his works with passion and sensitivity.

Groslier was born in Cambodia on February 4, 1887. He died in Cambodia, the country he loved, under torture as a Japanese prisoner on June 18, 1945. His genius lives on through his works.

To read the complete article, see:

'Extraordinary Merit' NLG Award Winner

Coin Collecting Boards of the 1930s & 1940s: A Complete History, Catalog & Value Guide. $39.95 plus $5 shipping

Buy directly from the author and get your copy signed. I also sell my several other books.

David W. Lange
POB 20892
Bradenton, FL 34204
Lange, Coin Collecting Boards

Visit my website:


Regarding the Long Branch, NJ Depression Scrip note I mentioned last week, Jamie Yakes writes:
The note listed in the "Special Presentation Copy" you received from Mr. Shafer and Mr. Mitchell can also be found in George Wait's 1976 book, New Jersey's Money. The last chapter in his book lists the known (at the time) issuers of depression scrip from the state.

Joe Boling writes:
Several of Fred Schwan's special editions have notes mounted in them. Ditto Gene Hessler's special editions. There was a Greek catalog published after WWII that was completely illustrated with actual notes (25 of them - but with half-tones of the coins).

Near the end of the productions, one note was exhausted, so copies of that note had to be printed to glue into the book. That note now appears in dealer junk boxes as a replica/counterfeit (in black and white half-tone - it would fool nobody).

The book is Historical collections: Financial breakdown of Greece--April 1941-November 1944, published by The Establishment of Mining Credit Corporation, Athens, no date, no author. I don't know how many editions it went through. The one in front of me is a fifth edition piece, and it has all original notes in it.

Dave Lange writes:
My copy of Fred Reed's book Show Me the Money! came with a piece of stage money tipped in.

David Gladfelter writes:
My copy of Fred Reed’s book Show Me The Money has a piece of movie money laid in – this was a special promotion when the book came out. Some of the sample books of the American Bank Note Co. and National Bank Note Co. included proofs of bank notes, but these aren’t exactly “catalogs.”

In this category too are the fractional currency presentation books described by Martin Gengerke in the ANA Centennial Anthology,

If you count reprints of currency then consider the Woodbury & Co. reprint of the “Great Locofoco Juggernaut” satirical note included in a book on this topic, which sometimes brings more by itself than when included in the book. Nolie Mumey’s book Colorado Territorial Scrip also has a reprint of a Clark Gruber & Co. note. These last two may be worth half credit?


Last week Paul Horner submitted these images of a silver ingot stamped "CSA" and wondered if it was a modern concoction of something possible connected with the Confederate States of America. -Editor

CSA ingot front CSA ingot back

Tom DeLorey writes:
I have never seen or heard of one of these CSA ingots, either at Coin World, ANACS, or out in the "real world."

Other thoughts, anyone? If no one has ever seen such an ingot before, it could be a recent concoction. -Editor


On this holiday week, John and Nancy Wilson were kind enough to share with us images of their marvelous collection of Santa Claus obsolete banknotes. The Wilson also forwarded this link to a web site about St. Nicholas:

Many thanks, and Merry Christmas to all!


santa notes 001

A rare Santa note that was purchased in the Christie's sale of the ABNCo archives in 1990. It also has a Lazy Deuce across the middle.

santa notes 002

Only three of these are in existence, with one on a sheet. Low grade but very rare.

santa notes 003

A Santa from Rhode Island

santa notes 004

A scarce Milwaukee note with a vignette of Felix O. C. Darley's Santa at Bedside vignette. Only three notes are known with one in Krause, one in Durand and one in Wilson - collections

santa notes 005

Another Santa Claus vignetted note.

santa notes 006

Another Santa note from the 1990 archive sale.

santa draft

Here is the actual steel engraved plate for this Santa Certificate that we purchased from the ANR sale a few years ago. it was also used by the ABNCo for a souvenir card some years back.

To view a slide show of full-size photos, see:


Not to forget the Reason for the Season, Christianity Today published an article December 19th about the Star of Bethlehem. The article interviewed astronomers including Michael Molnar, author of the 1999 book, The Star of Bethlehem: The Legacy of the Magi. -Editor
Using powerful computer software, an Australian astronomer says that he has re-created the night sky over Bethlehem in the year 2 B.C. and discovered a planetary conjunction that may have been the Star of Bethlehem that drew the Magi to worship the baby Jesus.

Astronomer Dave Reneke said the close proximity of Venus and Jupiter created a spectacle in the night sky just before the summer solstice that year. Britain's Telegraph newspaper reported that Reneke went so far as to suggest that perhaps Christmas should be celebrated on June 17 rather than December 25. An interesting idea, since the December Christmas celebration probably doesn't mark the true birth day of Jesus either. The December observance has its roots in a Roman celebration of the winter solstice.

The story in Matthew's Gospel seems to indicate that the people of Judea were oblivious to the Star. So, at least one scholar has taken a different approach to identifying the Star of Bethlehem.

"I set out to find what a stargazer of Roman times would have recognized as the star of a new Judean king," wrote retired Rutgers University astronomer Michael Molnar in the preface of his 1999 book, The Star of Bethlehem: The Legacy of the Magi.

Star of Bethlehem

Owen Gingerich, professor emeritus of astronomy at Harvard University, thinks that Molnar is on the right track. "He has made a serious attempt to situate the Star in terms contemporary with the event, tying it in with numismatical evidence and Roman imperial horoscopes," he said. "Too many have tried to formulate the Star in modern terms, without considering the first century context."

Molnar said it was an ancient coin that initiated his Star quest. "That coin had Aries the Ram on it," he said in an interview. "My research of several astrological manuscripts from Roman times showed that the kingdom of Judea was represented by Aries the Ram."

Molnar's extensive research in primary sources led him to a set of conditions that "pointed like an astrological road sign to Jerusalem."

To read the complete article, see: Searching for the Star of Bethlehem (

For more information on Molnar's book, see: Revealing the Star of Bethlehem (


DAVID SKLOW - FINE NUMISMATIC BOOKS Sale #6, February 7th 2009, catalog .PDF is now on our web site for viewing or downloading. We are accepting consignments for all future sales. PH: (719) 302-5686, FAX: (719) 302-4933. Visit our web site for sale highlights


Tom Sheehan forwarded the following note and query regarding neckties with numismatic designs, Leave it to an E-Sylum reader to have such a narrow specialty! -Editor
Turner Ted Did anyone else notice today what Ted Turner was wearing during his December 18th CNBC interview? Since I have a collection of numismatic ties it was the first thing I noticed. Mr. Turner's tie was a representation of a $10.00 Legal Tender Note (F114). It is one of the more colorful and popular numismatic neckties.

I consider myself a bit of an expert in this area since my collection consists of about 50 different ties. Believe it or not there are even varieties in numismatic ties. I do have a dupe or two to trade.

To view the interview, see: Madoff & the Super-Rich (

One of Turner's ventures is a chain of restaurants called Ted's Montana Grill. Turner owns ranchland in Montana where he raises buffalo, and he mentioned both in the interview. That may be the reason for the tie - another way to promote buffalo meat. -Editor


In last week's numismatic diary I mentioned the program for kids that I ran at the Annandale, VA coin show.

Reader Jon Radel writes:
Ah, no wonder you looked vaguely familiar; you look much like your photo at the top of every E-Sylum. :-)

My son reported on the way home that he'd had a grand time at the show which, of course, included getting some goodies and getting a chance to explain what the four Lincoln cents next year are going to be "for." Thanks for putting that on.

E-Sylum subscribers turn up everywhere - I've bumped into them at coin shows across the U.S. and last summer in London. It's nice to meet another one here in my back yard. I asked Jon about his collecting interests. I found them interesting, and thought our readers would, too. So here's something we haven't done in a while - a Subscriber Profile. -Editor
I started with pennies in Whitman folders about 1966, had moved on to material from Thailand (my father traveled there a lot for some years and brought goodies home for me) and attempting to get one coin from every coin issuing entity ever by the time I was in high school. I was serious enough for a time that you will actually find my name in credits for several of the Standard Catalogue of World Coins books from the 1970s.

It all got packed up for college and the following decades (some plastics are better than others for 20 years of storage)!

Meanwhile, I started collecting flags and books about them. And then my son, now 7, got interested in coins (thank you, state quarters and presidential dollars!) and dragged me (with very little resistance, mind you) back into coin collecting.

I largely focus, at the moment, on coins and bank notes of eastern Africa (I used to live in Kenya), Thailand, and modern local currencies (Berkshares, Lewes Pounds, Salt Spring dollars, etc.). The last in particular are an interesting challenge for research, and give me a feel for how banknote collectors must have felt before Dr. Pick came along.

I occasionally wonder where I'll find the time and money to collect everything I collect. Of course, having a very enthusiast fellow coin collector in the household is energizing....

I also collect the books about everything else I collect.

Bravo, Jon. Anyone who collects books about their hobby interest is welcome in the Numismatic Bibliomania Society fold. -Editor


Iraqi Shoe-Throwing
This week's shoe-throwing incident in Iraq prompted some numismatists to consider it as
a possible subject for a companion "heroism" medal to go with the Huey Long toilet-seat medal.

President Bush, on a surprise trip to Iraq and Afghanistan, got a taste of dissent at a Baghdad press event Sunday when an Iraqi journalist threw shoes at him, forcing him to duck.

Barely 24 hours after the journalist, Muntader al-Zaidi, was tackled and arrested for his actions at a Baghdad news conference, the shoe-throwing incident was generating front-page headlines and continuing television news coverage. A thinly veiled glee could be discerned in much of the reporting, especially in the places where anti-American sentiment runs deepest.

In Sadr City, the sprawling Baghdad suburb that has seen some of the most intense fighting between insurgents and American soldiers since the 2003 invasion, thousands of people marched in his defense. In Syria, he was hailed as a hero. In Libya, he was given an award for courage.

In Saudi Arabia, a newspaper reported that a man had offered $10 million to buy just one of what has almost certainly become the world’s most famous pair of black dress shoes.

A daughter of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, the Libyan leader, reportedly awarded the shoe thrower, Muntader al-Zaidi, a 29-year-old journalist, a medal of courage.

To read the complete article, see: In Iraqi’s Shoe-Hurling Protest, Arabs Find a Hero. (It’s Not Bush.) (

Please, hold your fire on the political commentary. There are indeed some parallels here (and some differences). Regardless, it's an opportunity to discuss one of my favorite medals. The image and text below are taken from the 2006 American Numismatic Rarities sale of the medal from my collection, with recent corrections by Dick Johnson and Dave Bowers.

The parallels are in the political controversy over the incident. Depending on one's political leanings for the victims, the acts can be seen as either heroic or cowardly and rude. The makers of the Washroom Warrior medal (and those heralding the Iraqi shoe-thrower) are in the hero camp. Many others of all political affiliations consider it a disgrace. But if a medal were to indeed be designed and struck to commemorate the incident, it would certainly be an interesting addition to numismatic lore.

One difference is that the Iraqi incident played out in public, in full view of witnesses and television cameras. The Huey Long incident, as described on the medal, was " PUBLIC ACCLAIM / FOR A DEED / DONE IN PRIVATE" -Editor

Washroom Warrior medal This greatly prized satirical medal commemorates an "accident" that befell Senator Huey "Kingfish" Long, easily one of the most corrupt politicians ever spawned.

It seems that on August 26, 1933 in Sands Point, Long Island, Long stumbled out of the men's room in a local establishment, his nose bloodied and his head dripping wet; he said he was attacked by a group of men, yet he was the only one in the washroom by the time his supporters entered and looked around.

Local legend has it that he was simply punched square in the face by an irate citizen of Louisiana, then forcibly dragged across the floor to have his head ceremoniously dunked in a porcelain plumbing receptacle. Commissioned by an unknown New York lawyer and designed by caricaturist George De Zayas (1894-1967), the original gold medal was struck by Medallic Art Company and given to the ANS in New York City to be presented to the actual perpetrator. He never showed to claim his gold medal; it has remained unclaimed for 75 years! Medallic Art also struck bronze replicas from the same dies.

Curiously, the U.S. Senate actually took up a collection to try to suppress this broadside at one of their own fine compatriots. More on this amusing incident in American political history can be read in The Numismatist, November 1933, pp. 704-705, and in Coins Magazine, November 1963, pg. 31.

Dave Bowers forwarded the following text from the Whitman 100 Greatest Tokens and medals book, which he coauthored with Katie Jaeger.
No. 140 • 1933 Huey Long Toilet Seat Medal • One of the most improbable subjects ever rendered on a medal, by the Medallic Art Co., no less. But, then, Huey Long, known as the “Kingfish” with his one-man rule of Louisiana politics, was a rather improbable politician. Had he not been assassinated in 1935, American political history would likely be different from what we know today. This satirical medal commemorates a set-to when Long left a rest room in Sands Point, Long Island (New York), August 28, 1933, and was set upon by a concerned citizen (accounts as to what happened varied widely; Time magazine reported that a drunk Long had urinated on the trousers of the citizen), the shape of a convenient rest room facility defining the outline of this medal.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article on the topic, see: FEATURED WEB PAGE: 1933 HUEY LONG WASHROOM WARRIOR MEDAL


DAVID F. FANNING NUMISMATIC LITERATURE buys and sells works pertaining to numismatics and related fields from all times and places. Our 2009 schedule includes regularly-issued fixed price lists and two auctions, and we plan to attend several shows. Contact us at to be placed on our mailing list. Our Web is available at .


An E-Sylum reader forwarded the following item. He writes:
A local newspaper in New Orleans area writes about Paul Hollis, the dealer who (with a client) loaned the rare gold coin for display at the New Orleans Mint Museum.
Hollis Paul Paul Hollis has gotten accustomed to traveling with security guards flanking his sides.

No, he is not a movie star or significant political figure or the ruler of a nation… he’s in the coin business, and he’s your neighbor.

Rare coins may not be his name but collecting them certainly is the Mandeville resident’s game.

It all began at the ripe old age of 6 when Hollis’ grandmother presented him with his first coin. It was all it took for him to fall in love with coin collecting.

During his stint in New Orleans, the Metairie native traveled the nation and the world in search of rare coins. He also played a role in trading some of the most precious coins, including the 1913 Liberty nickel (only five were ever created), the 1804 dollar (more than a dozen known to exist), and the 1907 Ultra High Relief Saint Gaudens coin where only about two dozen are known to exist. Each coin traded for over a million dollars.

Today, Hollis runs his own company, Paul Hollis Rare Coins, with numerous high-dollar clients that include celebrities.

He’s also one of the leading authorities on 2,000-year-old coins that circulated during the time of Jesus Christ. With the large network of suppliers and contacts that are continuing to unearth the ancient coins in Jerusalem, Hollis is able to sell the currency at reasonable prices.

In 1844 the New Orleans mint struck a single ten-dollar gold coin proof known today as the 1844-O proof. Believed to be a gift for the incoming southern president, the coin went to auction in 1911 and sold for $50. Eighty years later it resurfaced and was finally traded to its current owner in 2006 for $1.5 million.

On loan from his client, Hollis is exhibiting the proof, insured for $2.5 million, at the historic New Orleans Mint till Jan. 18.

To read the complete article, see: Local coin collector leading authority on ancient coins (


A December 18th news story reports that South Korea is nixing plans to issue a new banknote because the map it depicts omits some disputed territory. -Editor
Korea has shelved plans to issue a 100,000 won (S$107.71) banknote because a map printed on its back was found to have omitted islands also claimed by Japan, an official said on Thursday. The central Bank of Korea decided in May last year to issue 50,000 won and 100,000 won bills, adding to the existing 1,000, 5,000 and 10,000 won notes.

It unveiled final designs of the 50,000 and 100,000 won bills late last year.

'The issuance of the 100,000 won banknote has been suspended because of problems with its design,' the official at the Ministry of Strategy and Finance told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The famous 19th-century map fails to include Dokdo, a group of islets in the Sea of Japan (East Sea) which are disputed with Japan.

Tokyo's renewed claim to the tiny islands sparked angry protests in Seoul this year.

Local news reports said, however, that the real reason for the postponement was the front design which features Kim Gu, a nationalist who led the anti-Japanese struggle during the 1910-1945 colonial era.

To read the complete article, see: SKorea shelves new banknote (


This week's Featured Web Site is on Tasmanian Promissory Notes.

From the web site (quoting Henry Melville in his History of Van Diemen's Land, 1835):
The occasional scarcity of circulating medium, for the Commissariat did not bring into the colony British Coin, induced many individuals of known capital to issue promissory notes; this system spread like a contagious fever and before long men, almost strangers in the colony, followed the example. At first the notes were of four dollars (about a pound); some persons then reduced them to three - these sums were divided by others, and ultimately three penny and three half-penny notes became commonly current. The effect of all this was that improvements of all kinds were carried on with vigour, and high wages were given to workmen, for the masters paid them on the Saturday nights with coin of their own manufacture - it was one universal system of credit.

Tasmanian Prommisory Note

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