The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Wayne Homren

Among our new subscribers this week is Jon Lusk. Welcome aboard! We now have 1,392 email subscribers, plus 105 followers on Facebook, including Mathew Baca and Paulie Beretta.

Due to your Editor's travel schedule, this issue is being published a day early. Merry Christmas!

This holiday week we open with one new book announcement and one review, plus an update from Whitman Publishing on planned titles on colonial American coins.

Other topics this week include photos of the 1976 Eliasberg collection exhibit at the U.S. Mint, the resignation of a Mint Director and electronic circuits on banknotes. To learn more about the alchemical medallion and Haff cents made with gold, read on. Have a great week, everyone!

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


Carlos Amaya forwarded this press release about his new book on Mexican Revolution coinage. Thanks, and congratulations! -Editor

Guerra Compendio de la Moneda de la Revolucion Mexicana I'm glad to present my newest work, “Compendio de la Moneda de la Revolucion Mexicana” (Mexican Revolution Coin Compendium) by Carlos A. Amaya Guerra. 11.0 x 8.5. Hard cover. 458 pages. Written in Spanish. Monterrey, NL. Mexico.

In 1976 when the Guthrie’s book described 411 coins, it wasn’t an effort to catalog all the Mexican Revolution coins. This book describes 916 coins (742 varieties and 174 errors and fakes) related to the period from 1913 to 1917 when the Mexican revolution coins were made.

The book is divided in chapters for each state (Aguascalientes, Chihuahua, Durango, etc.). In each chapter are an introduction of how the coins were minted and the biographies of the Generals and people involved in the minting of the coins. Then is presented each coin with a black and white 2” photo of the obverse and reverse, an description of the piece, the references of Guthrie, Krause, Gaytan, Howland and Sanchez books, and the prices in dollars in four grades (VG, F, VF and EF). Many coins have also the edge photos and close-ups to show some important parts of the coins to enable identifying them.

At the end of each chapter is a section that describes some interesting coins not mentioned previously, such as: enigmatic coins, errors, curiosities and fakes. There is also is an section with the color photo of each coin at the real size. The book has more than 1700 black and white photos and more than 1200 color photos.

For this first edition only 100 numbered copies were made. For more information please write to:


Mike Marotta submitted this review of The Collector’s Guide to Modern Federal Reserve Notes Series 1963-2009 by Robert Azpiazu. Thanks! -Editor

Azpiazu Modern Federal Reserve Notes 1963-2009 spiral According to Q. David Bowers, modern Federal Reserve Notes are “the most popular field in paper-money collecting,” and now Whitman released the definitive handbook. I found The Collector’s Guide to Modern Federal Reserve Notes Series 1963-2009 by Robert Azpiazu, (Forward by Arthur L. Friedberg; Whitman Publishing, 2010; 428 pages, $29.95) to be a nice delivery of the facts about an area of collecting that I overlooked.

The authoritative narratives and tabulated data revealed to me an abundant treasury of information about money objects that I handled often, yet never perceived. Truthfully, I do have two sets of 12 notes, one from each Federal Reserve Bank, all nominally “uncirculated” (though pulled from circulation), but it was a lark, a bit of a collector’s challenge. I never paid attention to the signatures, plate positions, printing facility, serial numbers (or back plate numbers), or series letters. I never checked to see if any was a star note.

Each collector has their own passions. “Radar notes” are palindromes, numbers that read the same forward or backward such as 158851. (FRNs have 8-digit serial numbers.) Repeaters echo some substring such as 87878787. Low numbers command a special premium, as do interesting sequences such as 17760704. Errors abound – and can be subtle. Typically, the back plate number is on the right, just to the left of the Federal Seal. In 1981 (and 1985), some $1 FRNs have the back plate number on the left. As with anything, values wholesale and retail, buy and sell, bid and ask, can vary by time and place and person, but the opportunity to find a $1 note nominally worth $150 makes it worth checking your paper before you pass it along.

We perceive by contrast. This book made me not only more observant of the money in my wallet, but more aware of how to see the Obsoletes that I have from Michigan’s frontier days. At election time, we argue whether and to what extent money is speech. There is no doubt that every Federal Reserve Note carries a thousand words on each of its two sides. This book is the lexicon for the speech that our modern paper money transmits. Those who learn the language can profit 150-to-1 for their effort.

Whitman’s pre-publication announcement:

Arthur L. Friedberg’s Foreword to this book is here:

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: BOOK REVIEW: MODERN FEDERAL RESERVE NOTES, 1963–2009 (


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James Higby writes:

Bowers Colonial and Early American Coins I have two questions regarding Whitman publications:

1. Is there going to be a second edition of the Bowers Whitman Encyclopedia of Colonial and Early American Coins, especially considering all the corrigenda that have been submitted relative to the first edition?

2. Whatever happened to the plans to release the softcover volume in the Redbook series titled Guide Book of Colonial and Early American Coins, also by Bowers? The original street date, I believe, was to be in May 2009.

I went straight to the horse's mouth for answers, asking Dennis Tucker of Whitman Publications. -Editor

Dennis Tucker writes:

We do plan on releasing a 2nd edition of the Whitman Encyclopedia of Colonial and Early American Coins. No scheduled rollout date at the moment. The Guide Book of Colonial and Early American Coins might be released in 2011, depending on how our publishing schedule works out for the coming year.


Last week Dennis Tucker of Whitman Publishing asked:

I’ve heard it said (by J.T. Stanton) that The Cherrypickers’ Guide, second edition, 1991, might have been the very first numismatic book to be published in spiral binding. Can an E-Sylum reader think of an earlier numismatic book issued in that format?

Joe Levine writes:

I have a copy of "Medals and Tokens of the Industrial Exhibition Association of Toronto" by Norman Wells that was spiral bound in 1975.

Joe Boling writes:

It depends on what you call spiral binding. If comb binding counts, then Howard Daniel's 1975 first edition of his Catalog and Guidebook of Southeast Asian Coins and Currency; V.1 French Colonial gets a nod, and Sten's Encyclopedia of World Paper Money: An Illustrated Guide-Index ...1661-1964 beats it by a decade, at 1965.

Ken Bressett writes:

I suspect that there were several early spiral bound numismatic books. One that comes immediately to mind (and was on a handy bookshelf) is “Auction Prices: United States Coins Third Edition”, published in 1944 by James B. Johnson. It has a stiff paper cover with a plastic coil binding.

I didn't have time to comment on the query last week, but I figured E-Sylum readers would be able to come up with multiple examples. This is the sort of record that inevitably gains qualifiers, such as "earliest non-privately-published spiral-bound numismatic book" or "first commercial print run spiral-bound numismatic book" -Editor

Ken Bressett adds:

Your comments about qualifying which kind of spiral binding came first caused me to do a little further searching. I hate pulling spiral books off the shelf because they never do go back in place the way they should, but this was a fun holiday project.

When I checked my second edition, 1991, of The Cherrypickers’ Guide I found it is perfect bound! Perhaps there is another version somewhere, but I could not locate it. They began using a hidden spiral in 2006.

I did find a wire spiral edition of Edgar H. Adams’ Plates of Lyman H. Low’s Hard Times Tokens, published by Quarterman Publications in 1980.

An in-house publication called Casa de Moneda de Mexico was published by the Mexican Mint in 1991 with a wire spiral binding.

Something that I had forgotten was one of my own books, Collecting U.S. Coins, published in 1992 by Publications International. That could be one of the first commercial numismatic books with a wire spiral binding.

Whitman publications began using wire spirals with their 1997 edition of the Guide Book (in 1996).

An early plastic coil binding was used on a private publication called Kimmell’s Analysis of Pioneer Gold in 1974.

The 1944 publication of Auction Prices: United States Coins by James B. Johnson, is the earliest that I have found that comes closest to your refined criteria.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: QUERY: THE EARLIEST SPIRAL BOUND NUMISMATIC BOOK (


Ray Williams has a copy of Al Hoch's annotated reprint of Miller's The State Coinage Of New England. -Editor

Miller, The State Coinage of New England I have one of the 10 copies of the book described in George Fuld's article. It is a 1950's photocopy of the ANS original, hardbound in red, 10 1/4 high by 8 3/8 wide. I understand that only 10 copies were made. The title is in gold lettering on the front cover.

On the very last page facing the back cover, there is a rubber stamp inking that says:

Wells Bindery Inc. Waltham, Mass. Oct. 1959

Miller, The State Coinage of New England In Charles Davis' book American Numismatic Literature he states that this book was annotated in red ink by Al Hoch's wife in her hospital bed, after giving birth to their last child. She had taken the notes that were the work of Walter Breen, Bob Vlack and Kenneth Bressett and annotated all ten copies in red ink! What a great wife!!!

I was visiting Bob Vlack and his wife in Connecticut a few years ago. Before my departure back to New Jersey, Bob placed this book in my hands and said, "There are many people that would like to get their hands on this book, but I want you to have it." He didn't tell me why it was significant and if I was thinking, I would have asked him to autograph it. All there is to identify it as his copy is an old return address label stuck to the inside front cover that gives his address on Donna St in West Peabody, MA (no zip code).

With respect to the annotations, the section on Connecticut coppers is heavily annotated with notes in red. Nothing in the Massachusetts copper section is annotated. The Vermont copper section has notes on updating rarities, and the first appearance of a new numbering system for Vermonts.

I sent this book to a friend in California doing Connecticut copper research and to another friend that wrote "the book" on Vermont coppers. This way if there is anything of importance in the annotations, it will get to the hobby in future publications. A library shouldn't be just something pretty to look at.



Outstanding Works on Various American Topics Including
Walter Breen’s Annotated 1925 Browning Work on Quarter Dollars; Three Eckfeldt & Du Bois Works With Actual Gold Examples From the California Gold Rush; All Three of James Mease’s Extremely Rare 1821-1838 Works on United States Numismatics; B. Max Mehl’s Own Mehl’s Monthly; a Deluxe Valentine on Fractional Currency, Annotated by Walter Breen; and a Superb Leather-Bound Set of Loubat’s Extremely Rare 1881 Medallic History of the United States

(614) 414-0855 •

MELVIN REITER, 1925-2010

David Gladfelter submitted this note about token author and researcher Melvin Reiter. -Editor

Melvin Reiter has died. He was a retired architect, collector of dairy tokens and active in the Michigan Token and Medal Society (to which memorial contributions may be sent).

His magnum opus (and magnum it is) is his 1,204 page "Catalog of Dairy or Milk Tokens and Related Exonumia" published by Michigan Exonumia Publishers (Paul Cunningham), latest edition of which I am aware is 2002.

The first edition was in 1976 and consisted of only 51 pages in a comb binder. For covers he used recycled Michigan state agency report covers turned backwards. A tree saver. I corresponded with Melvin over the years but never met him.

To read an online obituary of Melvin Reiter, see: Melvin Reiter (


George Cuhaj writes:

Eliasberg Coin Exhibit at Philadelphia Mint 1976 Here are a flier and some images from the American Numismatic Association member reception which kicked off the Eliasberg exhibit at the Philadelphia mint. At 16, my mom let me take Amtrak down to Philadelphia by myself for the event.

Thanks! The flyer indicates the exhibit ran from April 21 to December 31, 1976. -Editor

Eliasberg Coin Exhibit at Philadelphia Mint 1976 Eliasberg Coin Exhibit at Philadelphia Mint 1976

Lobby, sign, with some ANA official greeting folks standing by it in the blue suit. Tiffany Mosaics removed from previous mint building on wall.

Top view of the exhibition area from the tour level. The frames of Eliasberg coins are on the far ledge of the mid-level exhibition area. The long kiosk in the center has US Currency and Mint history stuff in it.

Eliasberg Coin Exhibit at Philadelphia Mint 1976



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David Stone forwarded this information in response to last week's query. Thanks! -Editor

I believe I have some of the information David Davis needs for his article:

1. F.S. Edwards Collection (Ed Cogan, 10/1865), lot 527, realized $.20, sorry no name.

2. Joseph Mickley Collection (W. Elliot Woodward, 10/1867), lot 2143, “Half eagle of 1834 in copper, the new type; extremely rare, perhaps unique.” Sold to Fellows for $.50.

3. William Fewsmith Collection (Ebenezer Locke Mason, 10/1870), lot 1149, “1834; Half eagle; copper; very good. ”Realized $.25, from a notation in the catalog, I believe the buyer’s name was Arnold.

4. Lorin G. Parmelee Collection (New York Coin & Stamp, 6/1890), lot 23, “1834 Half Eagle: same as regular issue of new type: Copper: plain edge: only specimen we have seen; fine.” Realized $1.75, sorry, no name.

I am sending the text of the lots in Woodward’s Jenks sale if David needs them, but I don’t have any price or buyer’s names for the lots.

William J. Jenks Collection (Woodward, 9/1880), lot 1384, “1834 Half Eagle; copper, milled edge, good, scarce.”; lot 1385, “1834 Same; plain edge, good.”

Hope this is helpful, and “Happy Holidays” from everyone at Heritage



Web site visitor Tom ( writes:

Brown Ike dollar packaging Can anyone tell me what the original mint issue price was for 1971-1975 Eisenhower Proof Dollars (Brown Box)? The Red Book gives mintage figures but not the original issue price for these items.

Is there some source I can go to (e.g. on the Internet) for mint issue prices of commemoratives? Again the Red Book doesn't give issue prices for all commemoratives. Thank you for your time and help in responding.

I consulted the Lange and Guth/Gale books on modern U.S. proof sets, but the "Brown Ikes" aren't sets and weren't covered. Do any other publications document issue prices? Can anyone help? -Editor


Len Augsburger writes:

Tom DeLorey is retiring from Harlan Berk at the end of 2010. Tom notes that he will continue numismatic writing, in addition to some well deserved "goofing off" time. Tom has been at Harlan Berk since 1989, and a coin store has been at this location even longer (since 1949), at the corner of Clark and Madison Streets in the Chicago loop.

Congratulations to Tom on reaching this milestone! He's been a regular reader and contributor to The E-Sylum for years, and we'll look forward to more of his writings. Len provided the following picture of Tom on duty at the shop. -Editor

Tom DeLorey

Regarding the design of the Union Shield cent, Arthur Shippee writes:

It looks like the Warner Brothers shield to me... I keep expecting Bugs Bunny to burst through!

warner brothers logo 2010-Penny-unc-rev

Regarding the National Public Radio transcript of a piece on the Union Shield cent, Pete Smith writes:

Who transcribed the item about the NPR interview with Robert Hoge? I understand how "dyes" might be an issue in the printing of paper money, but I do not believe our current cents are dyed prior to release into circulation.

I wouldn't be surprised if machine translation is involved, but it's probably an NPR staffer or consultant who generates the online transcript of radio pieces. Anyone knowledgeable about coining would know the term should be "dies". Good catch. -Editor

Last week Fred Schwan described how members of the Military Payment Certificate (MPC) collecting community often collect particular "numbers" - serial number, plate position number, etc. Describing Larry Smulczenski's favorite number 39, Fred asked, "Can anyone figure out why he collects this particular number?"

Pete Smith writes:

Why does Larry Smulczenski collect items with the number 39?

1. Perhaps, like Jack Benny, it represents his age.

2. Taking a hint from this week's "Car Talk Puzzler", perhaps it represents the number of letters in his name.

Pete's first guess was correct about Larry's obsession with the number 39. Fred writes: "It is his age and has been for many years."


No one commented on this one, but with the holidays maybe the announcement went unnoticed. It will be an interesting exercise to trace the heritage of this firm. Earlier people commented about the fact that after multiple management changes "there was no longer a Bowers at Bowers and Merena and no Stack's at Stack's". Now B&M is merging with Stack's, which is led by Q. David Bowers, formerly of Bowers & Merena. Here's a short excerpt from the article. Neat job on the article logo graphic! -Editor

stacks-bowers zipper logo Spectrum Group International, Inc. (SPGZ.PK) announced today that its subsidiary Bowers and Merena Auctions, one of the world’s pre-eminent auctioneers of rare coins and currency, has entered into an agreement with Stack’s, the oldest rare coin retail and auction company in the U.S., to combine their operations.

The new company, which will be known as Stack’s-Bowers Numismatics, with a world coin division to be known as Stack’s-Bowers and Ponterio, will be owned 51% by Bowers and Merena Auctions and 49% by Stack’s. The closing, which is subject to the satisfaction of customary conditions, is expected to take place in early 2011.

Greg Roberts, president and chief executive officer of Spectrum Group (SGI), commented, “We believe that this combination, once consummated, will create a major player in the coin industry. Stack’s had over $65 million in aggregate sales in 2010 and between them, the two companies have handled many of the significant coin collections that have sold at public auction, including the Eliasberg Sales, the Norweb Sales and the Ford Collections.”



alchemical medallion obverse alchemical medallion reverse
Highlight of the Coin Cabinet at the Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien: The alchemical medallion weighing more than 7 kilo! Photo: Coin Cabinet / Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien.

Regarding the alchemical medallion illustrated last week, David Klinger writes:

According to the following link, the Alchemy Medal you mentioned is made of gold, transmuted from silver in the presence of Emperor Leopold I in 1672. Believe it or not!

The alchemist medal on display at the National Museum in Berlin does show a central portrait of Emperor Leopold I of Austria, surrounded by 40 'famous' alchemists. The museum calls this the reverse of the medal. It also simply says that it is made of gold, silver and copper (no percentages given).

I found a hi-res picture of the obverse of the alchemy medal and was able to read the Latin inscription [my translation]:

The most sacred of the most powerful Emperor of the Romans and Invincible Leopold I. [he was one of a long line of Austrian rulers who held the title Holy Roman Emperor].

As we search nature's secrets and curiosities, this true and genuine Metallic Metamorphoses is a perfect example. On this anniversary of the day we offer humble veneration to Joannes Wenceslaus of Reinburg [the alchemist responsible for the transmutation].

Then a sort of benediction extolling, once again, Leopold I.

Some may feel a little smug or condescending toward these alchemists, who were simply trying for over a millennium to transmute one element into another element. They contributed much to the science of metallurgy. And remember that their only mistake was in trying to do it though chemical methods. For the past six decades we have been transmuting the element uranium into separate and distinct daughter elements using nuclear reactors. I guess you could say that my career as a Navy nuclear engineer was spent as a practicing alchemist.

To read the complete article, see: Turning lead into silver – Experiments in alchemy at the Imperial Court (

Alchemistisches Medaillon Kaiser LeopoldI

Last week's E-Sylum item was from last week's Coins Weekly. Editor Ursula Kampmann let me know that an article in this week's issue provides more background on this interesting piece, courtesy of the Berlin Coin Cabinet. With permission, here it is. Thanks! -Editor

The creator of the alchemical medallion is John Permann, South-Tyrolean born, who worked in Vienna. The unusual title, alchemical medallion, derived from the fact that, in the presence of Emperor Leopold I on Saint Leopold’s day in 1677 - hence the Emperor’s feast day (15 November) -, this seemingly silver object was doused in a liquid and, as stated by the Latin legend, assumed a gold colour.

Unfortunately, there is no modern analytical examination available. A quantitative, yet insufficient, analysis was made in 1930 by the Microanalytical Institute of the Vienna Institute of Technology. According to that analysis, the piece consists of an alloy of gold, silver and copper containing approximately 43.18 % silver and 56.82 % gold which, however, neglects the copper-tin amount of roughly 8%.

Obviously the seemingly transmutation can be explained by the metals’ reaction since silver keeps its colour even in a strong alloy whereas only small additions suffice to change the appearance of gold significantly. The medallion, therefore, had a silvery appearance at first, the high amount of gold notwithstanding. When, in the presence of the Emperor, doused into the liquid, possibly nitric acid, silver and copper dissolved at the surface so that only gold was left. It looks as though the silver object had turned to pure gold. The top part, untouched by the liquid, was left unchanged and still exhibits the original bright colour of silver. At the top and the bottom rim two small triangular indentations each can be seen as a result of the samples taken probably as early as 1677.

“To the Holiest, mightiest and most invincible Roman Emperor Leopold I, the thorough investigator of the secrets of nature, dedicates and offers this genuine sample of real and complete metallic transmutation, as a humble memorial sign of the annual feast day accompanied by the wish of blessings of any kind, a most humble servant of His Dignity, Highness and Majesty, most loyal John Wenceslas of Reinburg in the year of Christ 1677, on Saint Leopold’s day, the surname of the former pious margrave of Austria, now the most gracious patron of the highest Austrian house.”

This is how the 21-line dedication to Leopold I of the alchemist John Wenceslas Seiler reads. Seiler came from Bohemia – he was probably born in Prague - and was a begging friar. In Brünn, he was let in the secrets of alchemy by a fellow Augustinian monk; he managed to flee with a substance which allegedly was the true key to the Philosopher’s Stone. He won the favour of several potentates including Emperor Leopold I whom he dedicated precious manuscripts. One of these donations was the alchemical medallion.

The face celebrates the genealogy of Leopold I. In the center one can see the busts of Emperor Leopold I and his third wife Eleonor Magdalene, arranged in a staggered manner, surrounded in three concentric circles by real and fictitious ancestors, beginning with Pharamend, King of the Franks, and ending with his father, Ferdinand III (rein 1637–1657).

This gold giant can be viewed in the exhibit of the Berlin Coin Cabinet bearing the same title.

To read the complete article, see: Gold for the Emperor ( David Klinger adds:

This is great research! I was wrong on several points about the alchemist medal. I love these details of the alchemy scam pulled off on Leopold!

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: BERLIN AND VIENNA MUSEUMS FEATURE GOLD EXHIBITS (


Mint Director Ed Moy resigned his position this week, four years into his five-year term. As a Republican appointee many were surprised that he stayed as long as he did into the Democratic Obama administration. The move was announced by Moy on Monday, but he gave no hints of his destination, but on Tuesday his new employer, a Seattle-based company, posted a press release (see below). A Wall Street Journal article picked up the Mint announcement and added quotes from E-Sylum regular David Ganz, who speculated on a possible nominee to replace Moy. -Editor

Edmund C Moy U.S. Mint Director Edmund C. Moy is set to depart for a private-sector job next month, the Mint said Monday.

Mr. Moy, a onetime special assistant to former President George W. Bush, took over as the Mint's 38th director in 2006. His term was set to expire in September 2011.

"I'm proud of the progress we've made over four-and-a-half years," Mr. Moy said in a statement. "The Mint is a better place and delivering more value to the American taxpayers."

Under Mr. Moy's tenure, the Mint saw at least one Treasury secretary, Henry Paulson, question the value of producing pennies, which in fiscal 2007 cost the U.S. 1.7 cents each to make and distribute.

It also released the first U.S. coins with readable Braille characters.

The Mint didn't disclose Mr. Moy's new position and a spokesman didn't immediately return phone calls seeking more information.

His resignation is effective Jan. 9, 2011.

"What is surprising is how long he has lasted into the Obama administration," said David Ganz, a former president of the American Numismatic Association and a columnist for Numismatic News.

"If you look back 50 years, there's no Mint director that has served a full term when there has been a change of administration," said Mr. Ganz.

Mr. Ganz said Mr. Moy has long had an interest in coins.

"The most fascinating thing about Director Moy is that as a kid he worked in his parent's Chinese restaurant and as a cashier he used to go through the cash draw every night and pick out coins for his coin collection," said Mr. Ganz.

Among the leading candidates to replace Mr. Moy is Democratic Michigan state Sen. Steve Bieda, a coin collector who is interested in the job, according to Mr. Ganz.

To read the complete article, see: U.S. Mint Director to Leave for Private Sector (

L & L Energy, Inc., a U.S.-based company since 1995 with coal mining and distribution businesses in China, announced today that Edmund C. Moy has joined the Company as Vice President – Corporate Infrastructure. Mr. Moy's appointment will be effective January 10, 2011 and he will report directly to Dickson Lee, L&L's Chairman and CEO. Mr. Moy's key areas of responsibilities include corporate development, global logistics, and general administration. In addition, the company announced the appointment of David Lin as Director of Accounting.

"We are delighted to welcome Ed to the L&L team. He brings a wealth of experience from both the public and private sectors, and has expertise in key areas including operations, strategic planning and executive recruitment," commented Mr. Lee. "We look forward to leveraging his experience and skills as we continue our growth into a global coal company."

Mr. Moy joins L&L from the United States Mint, where he has served as 38th Director of the Mint since 2006. While in this capacity, Mr. Moy was the chief executive officer with full P&L responsibility for the world's largest manufacturer of coins and medals. Mr. Moy oversaw production of the nation's circulating coinage, producing numismatic products, retail sales, production of gold and silver bullion and sales to financial investors, and protecting the nation's gold reserves. He led 2,000 employees located in six geographic locations across the United States, including Fort Knox. During his tenure at the United States Mint, he increased revenues from $2.3 billion to a record $4 billion and increased profits from $350 million to over $1 billion.

To read the complete press release, see: L&L Energy Announces Appointment of VP Corporate Infrastructure and Director of Accounting (


Pete Smith submitted these thoughts on Howard Daniel's beat-up cent. -Editor

Holed and stamped Large Cent1 Holed and stamped Large Cent2

I have a few comments about Howard Daniel III's counterstamped large cent.

1. It is a lousy large cent.

2. It is a lousy photograph of a large cent.

3. The type of coin cannot be determined from the photo.

4. I don't believe this represents a counterstamp. Someone bored a hole through this coin. They also touched the coin several times with the boring bit without going through the coin. This might have some industrial application as a test for the bit. It might also just be a piece of whimsy.

5. Howard should write a book about this coin and call it "Penny Whimsy." Perhaps he can also come up with a grading system to describe such coins.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: QUERY: A HOLED AND STAMPED LARGE CENT (


Nathan Markowitz submitted this question. Does anyone know of any other references to this coin? -Editor

I came across the following excerpts from Gary Moulton's Lewis and Clarks journals. Ample evidence exists to demonstrate that Meriwether Lewis and Captain William Clark carried Washington Seasons Medals and other Peace Medals during their expedition but I have never seen a reference implying that a U.S. coin was used in barter. Can anyone shed light on this possibility?

It seems like this was likely an early U.S. dollar. Although I cannot rule out a Pillar Dollar, that would seem most unlikely with the stated goals of converting Indians to believe in the USA as central to the expedition.

On November 23, 1805 Captain William Clark wrote:

"In the evening, seven Indians of the Clatsop nation came over in a canoe. They brought with them two sea-otter skins, for which they asked blue beads &c., and such high prices that we were unable to purchase them without reducing our small stock of merchandise on which we depended for subsistence on our return up this river. Merely to try the Indian who had one of those skins, I offered him my watch, handkerchief, a bunch of red beads, and a dollar of the American coin, all of which he refused and demanded ti-'-co-mo-shack, which is "chief beads," and the common blue beads, but few of which we have at this time."

Perhaps this is the earliest known appearance of a Bust Dollar in the Pacific Northwest?


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Dick Johnson's son Jeffry forwarded this item speculating on the use of cheap electronics as an anti-counterfeiting measure for currency. -Editor

Electronic 5 Euro note The scientific paper behind this article is now free to access until the 17th of January.

Banks and mints use a wide variety of methods to foil (as it were) attempts to print one's own money. Up to now, those methods have been essentially passive - fluorescent inks, foil strips, holograms and watermarks, to name but a few. Imagine how much more effective a deterrent to theft and counterfeiting a more active form of security would be. If banknotes could incorporate a transponder circuit, or a unique RFID tag, they could be tracked and identified wherever they went, and building a circuit into something as delicate as a banknote is far more difficult than setting up printing plates in your garage.

But just how do you add circuitry to a banknote? Conventional electronics processing is too destructive, and conventional circuitry, even miniaturized as far as possible, is still far too large to be effectively useful. Enter the work of Ute Zschieschang and an international team from Germany and Japan. Using dry processing conditions (vacuum deposition) the team were able to pattern arrays of thin film transistors onto the surface of a 5-Euro note, and even build circuits using the transistors. Out of every 100 transistors deposited, 92 were operational, a more than good enough yield for the circuits to work reliably. Looks like your money is set to become a little bit safer.

To read the complete article, see: Circuits Circumvent Counterfeit Currency (

To read the original research paper, see: Organic Electronics on Banknotes (

One of my favorite magazines, Fast Company, also published an article about this technology. Here are some excerpts. -Editor

Cash counterfeiters have had a hell of a good run. Now the fakers may get a serious sprint for their money.

The battle to make paper currency un-counterfeitable has already seen some cutting-edge science in action, but the latest efforts may be the highest-tech yet: Banknotes could soon get a layer of printed electronics, and wireless readability, to make faking essentially impossible.

The new tech is coming out of research in Germany and Japan, and it involves our old future-tech friends--transparent, flexible microelectronics.

The new research has seen a breakthrough in printing thin-film transistors out of a mix of gold, aluminum oxide, and organic molecules through a patterned mask (similar to how silicon chips are "printed" in layers) onto paper currency. The real trick has been to achieve the printing process without "aggressive chemicals or high temperatures," both of which could compromise or preclude other anti-counterfeit measures, or damage the actual paper of the notes themselves.

The result is an array of around 100 organic transistors on each note's surface, each less than 250 nanometers thick and capable of turning on an off with just 3 volts of juice--the kind of power that can easily be transmitted over short ranges by wireless tech. In other words, the notes could be detected as real by passing them over similar detectors as the ones used in metro stations (and soon, many smartphones).

As yet this research is in its infancy, but it's so very promising that it could easily find its way onto your cash sooner rather than later. Since you can build quite complicated electronic structures on the notes, the circuits are potentially capable of performing basic computations--meaning you could even encrypt an extra layer of protection into the design, which may tempt mints around the world to quickly embrace the idea.

We've just gotta hope that the Federal Reserve, when it gets its hands on this tech, doesn't mess it up and cause another $100 billion printing error recall. Because that kind of mistake is expensive.

Electronic $100 bill

To read the complete article, see: What Would You Do With a $100 Bill Covered by Invisible Transistors? (


Phillipines 500 Peso banknote

We don't have an answer yet to my earlier question about the new Philippine 500 peso note, but the note has generated some controversy over supposed design errors. -Editor

The central bank of the Philippines started to issue new Philippine bank notes this month in time for the yearend holidays. The new bills, however, have a number of graphics errors.

The new notes have the signature of President Benigno Aquino III. While he made history by being the only president with his signature on the new currency and the likeness of both his parents on the 500-peso bill, in the same bank note a native bird was colored incorrectly. The blue-naped parrot should have a red beak and yellow tail feathers, but the note colored the beak yellow and the tail green.

On the same bill, a map gives the wrong location for the Saint Paul subterranean river in Palawan. The site is a designated UNESCO world heritage site.

Another UNESCO world heritage site, the Tubbataha Reefs National Park, was placed on or near Malaysian territorial waters. The site is on the new 1,000-peso bill. On six new bills, the northern limit of the Philippine territory is 150 kilometers south of its actual location and excludes the Batanes islands group.

The central bank admitted the errors on the notes, which has became a hot topic in social networking sites.

In 2005, the central bank had to recall newly printed bills that misspelled the surname of then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as Arrovo. The mistake proved a major embarrassment to the government because the term “arrovo” means thief in Spanish.

To read the complete article, see: New Philippine peso bills have graphics errors (

Here's one article with the bank's response to critics. -Editor

“We don’t have to recall these banknotes because these banknotes are without errors. We did not fumble,” BSP Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo said in a briefing Monday.

He aired this following comments over the week-end, saying the central bank erred in justifying the Philippine map printed at the back of the notes as well as the real color of the beak and tail feather of the rare blue-naped bird at the P500 bill.

The comments said the map on the P500 bill dislocated the subterranean river Saint Paul’s, a UNESCO world heritage site.

Guinigundo said the map used in the new currency was an abstraction “that cannot be expected to reflect all of our islands and the precise coordinates of each site.”

“The BSP’s intention is to indicate the general location of the world heritage sites and iconic natural wonders,” he said reading the BSP statement.

Regarding the color of the bird at the P500 bill, Guinigundo said the problem was due to “printing limitations.”

He said that “while specialized machines for printing money can imprint security features on our banknotes, it has limited capability for printing colors, unlike machines used to print magazines and books.”

“This is not an error therefore but a function of printing capability limitation,” he said.

The bird printed on the new currency has a yellow beak but this should be red while its tail was in yellow instead of green.

To read the complete article, see: BSP refutes design errors in new banknotes (

I think one of the officials got it right with his response, noting in another article I saw that if the purpose was to accurately represent geography the notes would need to picture 7,000 islands. Really, people, get a grip - this is ART, not a pint-size map. These people would complain that on the quarter George Washington's teeth (gasp!) aren't really WOODEN! -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: QUIZ QUESTION: BANKNOTES FEATURING PARENTS AND CHILD (


Philip Mernick forwarded this item on a nice hoard purchased by the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. -Editor

Gold Angel Spanning the period from 1470-1526, covering the Wars of the Roses to ten years before the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the hoard is the largest intact assemblage of its kind. It contains some rare pieces, most notably from the reign of Kings Henry VI, 2nd reign (1470-1471) and Richard III (1483-1485).

The Ashmolean successfully secured more than half of the hoard’s asking price through private, philanthropic giving with the remaining monies raised through government funding and grants from public sources. Over and above the £64,000 from NHMF, the following helped to raise the money: £28,000 from The MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund; £10,000 from The Headley Trust; and £178,000 from the following: Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Seaman; Baron Lorne Thyssen-Bornemisza; The Mougins Museum of Classical Art; The Carl and Eileen Subak Family Foundation; The Friends of the Ashmolean; The Elias Ashmole Group; The Tradescant Patrons Group.

Dr Christopher Brown, Director of the Ashmolean, said “We are extremely grateful to the individuals and funding bodies for their very generous contributions towards this remarkable hoard. Not only will the hoard be a great addition to our renowned collection but it makes a significant contribution to the history of Oxfordshire and the Cotswolds, and to our understanding of the production and circulation of gold coinage in the early Tudor period. ”

The hoard was discovered in the summer of 2007 during building work in the village of Asthall, near Burford. It was declared Treasure in April 2010 and was valued by Treasure Valuation Committee at £280,000 on 12 August. It was unearthed on land which belonged to Eton College at the turn of the sixteenth century. The Tudor gold was buried in the early period of Henry VIII (1509-1547); it is possible this was connected to the hiding of Church wealth, in the context of the Dissolution of the Monasteries under Henry VIII. Alternatively, it may represent a merchant’s wealth - whatever the reason, the Asthall hoard is testimony to the accumulation of wealth in the region, made particularly rich from the wool trade.

Angels and half-angels were first minted in 1465, bearing the Archangel Michael slaying the dragon on the obverse. It has been suggested that this is an allegory of the overthrow of Lancaster by York. European culture in the fifteenth century was a time of chivalry and lay piety. This religious theme continues on the reverse design, where the traditional ship borne by the gold nobles since 1344 is super-imposed by a cross, and by the inscriptions: Per Crucem Tuam Salva Nos Christe Redemptor: - Through thy cross save us, Christ Redeemer (on the angels); O Crux Ave Spes Unica - Hail! O Cross, our only hope (on the half-angels).

In the second half of the fifteenth century, the introduction of the angel with its overtly pious message coincided with the popular practice of the Royal Touch. Since medieval times, kings have been involved in the healing of tuberculosis of the neck (scrofula, the King’s Evil), a practice which involved touching (Royal Touch), and the giving of alms in the shape of coins. Touch pieces retained the design of angel coins for centuries.

Following conservation, the hoard will go on display in a special exhibition in the Ashmolean’s new Money Gallery for a year from 22 March 2011. It will become a key part of the Museum’s permanent collection of coins, one of the leading currency collections in the world.

To read the complete article, see: Ashmolean Museum Acquires A Hoard of Angels This Christmas (


P.K. Saha tracks issues from around the world, and on occasion I'll publish designs that catch my eye. Recently I published a new Austrian 5 euro coin commemorating the "Pummerin Bell 1711-2011". -Editor

Austria 2010 Bell 5 Euro Austria 2010 Bell 5Euro Rev

Pabitra Saha writes:

It was a mistake to translate Austria Bell Coin as 400th jubilee. The translation should have been "Enters into 4th century". In any case, the original bell was lost in a fire and this one is not even 100 years old.

Tim Shuck asked:

Does P.K. Saha have a website where these coin images are posted? I've been keeping an ongoing lists of links to numismatic websites, from which I occasionally post information either on my blog,, or as a news item on Twitter; would like to add this link if there is one.

Pabitra Saha writes:

I do not have any site where the images can be posted. If any of your readers want to get their name included on my mailing list, ask them to contact me (

The site for ultra modern numismatists is maintained by my friend David at . He excludes non-circulating coins, but the site is more comprehensive than my mail since all ultra modern numismatists also report there.

Here's another recent issue I like. -Editor

2011 Canada $20 Winter

Canada has issued a new coin to highlight the beauty and cultural traditions of Canadian winters. This is minted with the year of 2011, although the coin will be available towards the end of 2010.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: DECEMBER 19, 2010 (


An E-Sylum reader forwarded this article from the Reuters news service, adding:

Even a half blind idiot like me can see this image doesn't look like the future Queen. I'm amazed they're releasing this coin.

William and Kate Engagement ODD-US-BRITAIN-ROYALS-COIN

The design for an official commemorative coin to mark the engagement of Britain's Prince William and Kate Middleton was unveiled on Thursday, but not everyone might recognize the bride-to-be.

The depiction, based on photographs of the couple at a sporting event, bears some resemblance to William but less so his fiancee.

Royal watchers said she appears much fuller in the face on the coin than she is in real life.

"This coin is of historical importance -- to get it so wrong seems ridiculous," Editor-in-Chief of Majesty magazine, Ingrid Seward, was quoted on the Sky News website as saying.

The design was approved by the 28-year-old couple and by William's grandmother Queen Elizabeth.

To read the complete article, see: Is that really Kate? UK royal coin raises eyebrows (

Gar Travis also forwarded the story - this one is from National Public Radio. -Editor

The reviews are in about the official commemorative coin for the engagement of Britain's Prince William and Kate Middleton — and they're not kind:

"Apparently inspired by a picture taken at a polo match, Kate looks far chunkier and older — nothing like her normal stunning, finely-chiselled appearance. William's image looks more flattering but he has been engraved with what seems to be an Elvis Presley quiff." They are "dodgy depictions." (The Mirror.)

"The badly executed image of the Royal couple, by the Royal Mint's head of design Matthew Bonaccorsi, bears little likeness to either partner. In, perhaps, a clumsy attempt at flattery, Kate's upper lip appears to have been plumped beyond recognition." (The Daily Mail.)

To read the complete article, see: Oh Dear! 'Dodgy Depictions' Of Prince William And Kate On Official Coin (


The Canberra Times published this article about a refurbish exhibit featuring Victoria Cross medals. -Editor

Hall of Valour More than 60 medal collections from Victoria Cross winners, estimated to be worth more than $30 million, have a $4.5 million new home. The public will be able to see the redeveloped 300sqm section of the Australian War Memorial's Hall of Valour at a ''soft opening'' tomorrow. An official opening will be held on February 23.

Among the new items on show are four uniforms, three worn by Victoria Cross winners, Flight Sergeant Rawdon Middleton, Private Arthur Gurney and Captain Percy Cherry.

The medals of Australia's latest Victoria Cross winner, Trooper Mark Donaldson, can also be seen.

The Hall of Valour now displays more than 60 Victoria Cross medals along with the other medals earned by the VC recipients.

Hall of Valour curator Libby Stewart said medal collections of Victoria Cross winners cost between $500,000 and $1.5 million.

The medals are donated by philanthropists such as media owner Kerry Stokes who paid for a recent addition, medals once worn by Private Henry Dalziel, who fought in both world wars.

The new-look Hall of Valour includes a circular space directly below the resting place of the unknown soldier, who is entombed in the floor above.

To read the complete article, see: Reopend Hall of Valour displays VCs to public (


This story from Burlington, KY should make everyone a little more cautious about throwing stuff away. -Editor

Savings Bonds Found in Recycling Bin

The bin had been sitting at Blue Grass Recycling in Burlington for months, maybe even years, before Mike Rodgers started hand sorting the contents, looking for recyclable materials.

As he looked in the bottom, Rodgers noticed some unusual pieces of paper.

“I wasn’t sure what it was,” Rodgers said. “At first it kind of looked like money.”

The papers turned out to be 23 U.S. Savings Bonds in denominations ranging from $50 to $500.

Rodgers, 46, researched the bonds online and determined they were unredeemed and still valid.

Not only had the bonds matured since they had been purchased in 1971, they had earned quite a bit of interest and were now worth $22,000.

“I have to admit, that surprised me a little bit,” he said.

It took about a week of online research for Rodgers to find the son of the deceased Northern Kentucky woman who had originally purchased the bonds. And that search resulted in a Christmas surprise for a Florida man.

Robert Roberts, the son of Martha Dobbins, had no idea his mother had accumulated the bonds.

“I was totally surprised,” Roberts said. “I had taken care of my mother for several years before she died and she never mentioned anything about any bonds.”

Speaking by phone from his home, Roberts admits he was puzzled when he got the call.

“I told him that we had lived in Fort Wright and the day my mother had passed and I heard someone, who I found out later was Lisa scream ‘yes’ in the background. That’s when he told me about the bonds.”

The bonds were shipped out Friday and Roberts received them Saturday afternoon.

Guy Witte, owner of Blue Grass Recycling, said Rodgers went above and beyond to track Roberts down.

“He deserves all of the credit for this,” Witte said. “He did this at home on his own time.”

It’s not clear exactly how the bonds wound up in the container, but most likely the person who bought Martha Dobbins’ home dumped them in with scraps that ultimately wound up at the recycling center.

Roberts, who is 82, said he tried to compensate Rodgers, but Rodgers turned him down.

To read the complete article, see: Recycling bin yields Christmas surprise (


The blog post doesn't cite sources, but it tells a fun story. Here's an item posted Friday at, a blog for young numismatists. -Editor

A joke by a fish dealer seems to have been the cause of a craze for pennies in 1902. The common belief by many was that when the 1902 pennies were being coined at the mint, a careless employee accidentally dropped a bar of gold into the smelter, and “as a result the alloy of the penny is partly of gold.”

The rumor was said to have been started by Alvah W. Haff, a fish dealer of the Fulton fish market. Being a fish dealer, Mr. Haff had to always be ready to give change and when the Amityville bank accumulated too much small change, it notified Mr, Haff, who would take the change off of the bank’s hands.

On January 29, 1903, Mr. Haff bought 3,000 copper pennies from the bank. Someone who witnessed the transaction commented on the strange occurrence, and Mr. Haff jokingly explained that he was going to take the coins and get the gold out of them.

The story spread like wild fire and people began hoarding 1902 pennies. A public school principal went as far as to have chemistry students test the coins for the presence of gold and results of the test dispelled the dreams of many Amityville residents hoping to strike it rich!

To read the complete article, see: Hoard Pennies for Gold- Feb 9, 1903 (


This week's Featured Web Site is suggested by John and Nancy Wilson of Ocala, FL, who write:

It is very unusual to find such an excellent site (Rebel States Currency by Kurt Jacoboni), that gives you so much information regarding currency issued by the States of the Confederacy. Nothing appears to be for sale on the site which we think is interesting and educational enough to be the E-sylum site of the week.

Virginia Treasury Note

Welcome to Rebel States Currency. I am a collector of both Confederate and U.S. currency that was issued during the American Civil War. This site is strictly for enjoyment and educational purposes and is NOT an endorsement of the policies for which the Confederate States of America was founded on. The following pages contain currency issued by the seceded state governments of the individual Southern states as well as currency issued by the central Confederate government, U.S. Fractional currency, and Civil War sidearms used by both sides, from my personal collection. Also included is a comprehensive list of the serial numbers of known modern fake Confederate and Southern state issued notes as well as instructions on how to tell the difference between a real note and the modern made reproductions that are being represented as authentic on some of the internet auction sites.

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