The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Wayne Homren

Merry Christmas, everyone. I managed to get this newsletter out despite the holiday week. I'll do my best next week, but be aware that I may not be able to get everything in due to holiday travel.

Among our new subscribers this week are Eugene Meadows, courtesy of Bob Neale, Shimon Nussbaum, Robert Carrell, Jr, Pat Stovall, and Mohsen Jafari. Welcome aboard! We have 1,488 email subscribers, plus 168 followers on Facebook.

This week we open with a note from Fred Lake and notice of three new numismatic titles. In other topics, readers reminisce about Ed Milas of RARCOA and provide more background on the demise of Numismatic Scrapbook Magazine.

To learn more about sculptor Daniel Chester French, the Chicago Continental Bank silver dollar hoard, the Challenging Literature of A.M. Smith, read on. Have a great week, everyone!

Wayne Homren
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


Fred Lake forwarded this note about a postponement of their next sale. Our best wishes to Joan in her continued recovery. -Editor

With my wife Joan recovering from recent surgery we are postponing our sale #110 until Tuesday, February 28, 2012. The sale will feature selections from the library of J. R. Frankenfield who was a prominent figure in Early American Coppers. Other consignors to this sale will round out the catalog to include fine works in World coinage, Tokens and Medals, Paper Money, etc.

The catalog will be posted to our web site during the latter part of January, 2012 and I hope you will find some items of interest. Bids may be sent to us via regular mail, email, fax, or telephone.

I will be at the F. U. N. show in Orlando from January 3rd through January 8th in my capacity as a member of the Board of Directors of this wonderful organization. If you are going to be attending the show, send me an email requesting my cell phone number and I will send it to you so that you can call me while you are on the bourse and we can meet and "say hello".

Again.....Happy Holidays, Fred

Lake Books
6822 22nd Ave. N.
St. Petersburg, FL 33710
727-343-8055 Fax 727-345-3750

NEW BOOK: BEAUTY IN MONEY: NUMISMATIC ART AND TECHNOLOGY OF EARLY SOUTH INDIA announced a new title in India numismatics this week: Beauty in Money by S. Suresh. -Editor

Beauty in Money Beauty in Money: Numismatic Art and Technology of Early South India: Up to and Including the Pallava Period
Authors (s): S Suresh (Author)
Format: Hardcover
ISBN-13: 9788173049095
Pages: 243p., Illustrations; 2 Maps; 23cm.
Pub. date: 30.11.2011, 1st ed.
Publisher: Manohar Publishers & Distributors
Language (s): English

Art historical studies have hitherto been mostly confined to sculptures, paintings, furniture and jewellery. Boldly moving away from the conventional approach to the study of coins as mere economic entities, the present volume is the first systematic, comprehensive and analytical study of ancient Indian coins as objects of art. Coins, like historical monuments, sculptures and paintings, have a symbolic meaning behind the visual form and epitomize the socio-religious conditions and the art traditions in which they emerged.

S. Suresh is currently an ICHR Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Sudharsanam Centre for Arts and Culture, Pudukkottai (Tamilnadu). He has been a Consultant at the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) and the TVS Educational Society, Chennai. He was earlier Research Fellow at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts, New Delhi, Victoria and Albert Museum, London and the French Institute of Pondicherry (India) and Visiting Professor at Sorborne IV University, Paris (France).

For more information, see: Beauty in Money (


Another new title announced by Bagchee is Methodology of Numismatic Study and History-Writing by -Editor

Methodology of Numismatic Study Authors (s): Sitaram Dubey (Editor)
Format: Hardcover
ISBN-13: 9788189131609
Pages: xvi+267p., Col. Illustrations; Maps; 28cm.
Pub. date: 01.01.2012, 1st ed.
Publisher: Research India Press
Language (s): English, Sanskrit

Numismatics is one of the most valuable sources of ancient history. This volume includes 17 research papers in English and 16 in Hindi. They deal with different aspects of the subject under reference and provide valuable data for the furtherance of the numismatic study and history writing. The development of coins, seals and sealings and the economic history are directly related with the development of a civilization and culture. Therefore they provide us short yet authentic information about metallurgy, weight, signs and symbols, legend, manufacturing technique etc.

They are not only an important piece of evidence for the reconstruction of history of their times but also help in substantiating a known fact. Inspite of an important archaeological source they should be used very cautiously as evidence for history writing. They have a plethora of information about the political and cultural history of the period they belong to and may be studied in the light of their mode of exchange, manufacturing technique, symbols and symbolism, legends, scripts, classification, statistical data, metal analysis, artistic evaluation, socio-economic perspectives etc. The book is very useful for the researcher in the field of Numismatic and Sigilography.

For more information, see: Methodology of Numismatic Study and History-Writing (


And yet another new title announced by Bagchee is Age of Traikutakas: Coins, Inscriptions & Art by Suraj A Pandit. -Editor

Age of Traikutakas Authors (s): Suraj A Pandit (Author)
Format: Hardcover
ISBN-13: 9788173201158
Pages: xviii+234p., Illustrations; 29cm.
Pub. date: 01.01.2012, 1st ed.
Publisher: Agam Kala Prakashan
Language (s): English

This book is an attempt to understand contribution of Traikutakas, a dynasty in North Konkan in 5th-6th century CE. This book deals with various types of data related to Traikutakas. First two chapters deal with the political career of the Traikutaka kings and issues related to their chronology. Third chapter deals with the 5 important copper plates of their 'Age' as well as the coinage issued by Traikutaka kings. Translation of two of these copperplates is published here for the first time. Forth chapter narrates the cultural background of 5th and 6th century CE with the help of Epigraphical, Numismatic and Art historical Data. Here an attempt is made to understand Art historical data with archaeological methods. Next Three chapters deal with Architecture, Sculptures & Iconography and their Chronology. The last chapter is a brief review of the book with the concluding remarks.

This book mainly deals with the development of art in this region mainly under Traikutakas and also talks about the motivating factors behind such specific developments in art and architecture. There is an attempt made to assess the contribution of Traikutakas to this change and continuity as the ruling dynasty of the region.

Born on 22nd March 1977, Dr. Suraj A. Pandit is working as Assistant Professor and Head of the Department of Ancient Indian Culture and Archaeology at Sathaye College, Mumbai. He is also Chairperson of Board of Studies in Ancient Indian Culture and Archaeology, University of Mumbai as well as member of Academic Council, Faculty of Arts, Board of University Teaching and Research in the faculty of Arts, Research and Recognition Committee in Ancient Indian Culture and Archaeology in University of Mumbai.

His specialization is Indian Buddhism and Buddhist architecture and archaeology. He did his Doctoral thesis on 'Kanheri Caves', a group of caves in Mumbai representing Western Indian Buddhist Rock-Cut Architecture, under the guidance of Prof. A. P. Jamkhedkar. He had received the K. T. Telang Research Fellowship in Indology of Asiatic Society of Mumbai in the year 2006-07. He has been delivering lectures for various courses under Mumbai University as well as in Pune University. He has total 19 paper published on his name in International as well as National journals.

He was working a visiting faculty for Post Graduate courses in History in SNDT University while he is a recognized teacher of the University of Mumbai. He has been in teaching Under Graduate and Post Graduate students of University of Mumbai and SNDT University, Mumbai for last 12 years. He is actively involved in the creating awareness among masses about the preservation of Heritage and delivered numerous public lectures on different monuments and heritage of Mumbai.

He has worked as consultant for the Ajanta Site Management Plan and Sisupalgar Site Management Plan. He had organized various seminars and workshops on Indology, Epigraphy, Buddhism and Heritage Conservation.

Presently he is working as Coordinator on a 'Research Project' on critical Editing of Manuscript in the possession of Asiatic Society of Mumbai, funded by Government of India. He has completed several projects funded by ICHR and American Institute of Indian Studies in the field of Epigraphy and Art History.

For more information, see: Age of Traikutakas: Coins, Inscriptions & Art (


Bob Schreiner forwarded this announcement from Tom Carson, coauthor of the e-book on the money of Chattanooga, TN. Thanks! -Editor

Schafluetzel Chattanooga.Money The electronic book chronicling the history of money in Chattanooga is now free online. Co-authors Dennis Schafluetzel and Tom Carson have decided to give it as a present to the residents of the Gigacity. This is the most comprehensive book ever written on a region's money. The massive number of color images makes this cost prohibitive as a printed book, but an excellent example of the power of high speed internet. Starting with the pre-Civil war state chartered banks there are color images of hundreds of notes - many unique. There are histories of the banks and many of their officers.

Money was scarce and during periods of economic uncertainty and people and institutions of standing in the community were forced to print money to allow for the continuation of commerce.

Hoarding caused by the Panic of 1857 forced prominent cotton merchant I.S. G. Martin of Eufaula AL to issues notes. He was well regarded and the notes freely circulated.

The Confederacy did not make coins so change was made by Change Notes issued by prominent businessmen.

You can spend hours at$/index.htm learning the history of money in Chattanooga. This is a living work and you can contact Dennis Schafluetzel at or Tom Carson at with items to add.

$0.15 G-1297 Corporation Chattanooga 1861 2

To visit the site, see:$/


DAVID SKLOW - FINE NUMISMATIC BOOKS offers Mail Bid Sale No. 15 on February 11, 2012, including: Unique prototype full green leather bound mockup by Alan Grace [1985] to exhibit his binding techniques to Champa. PH: (719) 302-5686, FAX: (719) 302-4933. EMAIL: USPS: Box 6321, Colorado Springs, CO. 80934. Contact me for your numismatic literature needs!

ED MILAS 1940-2011

Pete Smith was the first reader to report the passing of Ed Milas, longtime coin dealer and founder of RARCOA. -Editor

RARCOA Logo website

Milas' obituary didn't mention his numismatic career:

Dam Hamelberg writes:

I was sorry to hear about the passing of Ed Milas. My first meeting with Ed was at his downtown Chicago offices (now occupied by Harlan Berk). When I entered his office, I was taken by a framed mint director appointment hanging on the wall. It was signed by Washington for the appointment of Rittenhouse. Needless to say, I was most impressed and to this day I can't remember what we discussed during our meeting.

We were occasional bidding competitors at major auctions. I recall us bidding on the Jimmy Hayes 1794 Half Dollar at the first auction it appeared in after it originally sold in the Stacks Hayes Sale. Ed was the winner in the bidding at a nearly 6 figure amount. ( I believe it sold for around 55K at the Stacks sale) Ed held the coin for several years and eventually decided to run it thru one of the grading services. It came back MS 63 and he was upset. He made a few disparaging remarks on the eyesight of the graders, and I told him it didn't really matter since it had to be the finest known. I believe that coin sold the last time it appeared at auction for around 500K.

Ed had a good eye, and I learned much from him over the years. We also had a non-numismatic topic to talk about when we met. Both our daughters attended Illinois Weslyian University in Bloomington Illinois. Ed had many great accomplishments along the way including being one of the originators of the Apostrophe auctions and being instrumental in successfully marketing the Chicago Continental Bank silver dollar hoard. Ed was never shy in sharing his opinions, and had a most definite impact on the hobby. He will be missed.

Some RARECOA catalogs, courtesy of Tom Wetter

Dave Bowers writes:

I was sorry to learn of the passing of Ed Milas, long time friend and professional colleague. At the request of Wayne Homren I share some reminiscences and give some biographical information.

I don't recall when I first met Ed Milas, but it was probably in the 1960s when he traded as the Gold Stella Coin Co. I recall asking him why he picked that name, and he replied that it would attract attention and everyone would know what it meant. He rose into prominence when he acquired the Rare Coin Company of America (RARCOA), a name created by Benjamin Dreiske as the new designation for Ben's Coin Company.

Auction_81_HB In the 1970s RARCOA (Ed liked it to be spelled in all capital letters) joined Stack's, Superior Stamp & Coin Co., and Paramount International Coin Company in the conducting of the so-called "Apostrophe Auctions," such as Auction '79. As some readers may remember, each firm had 500 lots, for a total of 2,000, emphasizing scarce and rare issues. The order of presentation of each company was changed each years. Later, when Paramount faded, former Paramount executive David W. Akers took their slot.

Ed Milas' "eureka!" moment was the handling of a vast hoard of long-stored silver dollars owned by the Continental Illinois Bank. With a comfortable fortune, Ed embarked into some other ventures including real estate development. RARCOA maintained its importance and handled many rarities. I recall that the company discovered the previously unknown 1870-S half dime, which was sold and then consigned to my company for auction.

From 1983 to 1985 he was president of the Professional Numismatists Guild, the same time frame that I was president of the American Numismatic Association. We both participated in various events of the era, including accepting a request by the U.S. Mint to testify before Congress on hearings regarding the forthcoming commemorative coins for the 1984 Olympic Games. Alan Cranston, a powerful senator from California, had dreamed up the idea with his pal, Armand Hammer, of Occidental Petroleum Co., that Occidental should handle the entire marketing of the coins. The Mint was aghast at the idea. Other hobby leaders were there as well. We prevailed, and henceforth the Mint was in charge, as it is today. Later, and unrelated to the coin proposal, Cranston was disgraced and censured by the Senate. On another occasion Ed and I joined others in a reception hosted by President Ronald Reagan in the Rose Garden.

Ed Milas and his RARCOA business continued to prosper, and in time he added overseas operations including Hess-Divo, Ltd., of Zurich. He collected several specialties, including territorial gold coins. His impressive cabinet of half eagles was consigned to Stack's for auction. He also collected just about every honor that can be bestowed to a professional numismatist.

Ed wrestled with health problems and quite a few years ago came to a convention with his head bandaged, from brain surgery he had earlier. In recent times he struggled with cancer and lost. Ed was dynamic businessman-knowledgeable, not at all political, and ever ready to make a good decision after appropriate study. A listing of rarities he handled would be lengthy. I last had occasion to write about him in 1979 when I gave the biographies of numismatists who had handled 1804-dated silver dollars.

Ed Milas will be missed and well remembered by all those who knew him. May he rest in peace.

To see the NBS Bibliography page on the Apostrophe sales, see: 'APOSTROPHE' AUCTION SALES (


John and Nancy Wilson submitted these thoughts on the late John R. Eshbach. -Editor


On December 4th, 2011 at the age of 90 the numismatic hobby lost one of the most enthusiastic, humble and dedicated numismatists who ever lived, John R. Eshbach of Smoketown, PA. We have known John for many years crossing paths with him and Jerry Kochel at major coin conventions from coast to coast. We always enjoyed talking to John (and Jerry) usually in the Exhibit area of the convention we were both attending.

John was one of the best exhibitors we have ever known being the recipient of many Best-in-Show Awards. He was a certified ANA Judge and always did a masterful job when performing that assignment. We always enjoyed our many conversations at the conventions we attended. John and Jerry taught a course on exhibit preparation at the ANA Summer Seminar some years back. He had been an exhibitor and Judge for ANA since 1960.

John was not only a numismatist for over 50 years, but in his youth he served our country as a Technical Sergeant in the U. S. Marine Corps. He served in the South Pacific during WW ll. After the service he went to and graduated from Hershey Industrial School. He worked for RCA as an Electrical Engineer, and retired after 36 years.

John belonged to many coin clubs at all levels, but had a passion for the American Numismatic Association (ANA), Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists (PAN) and the Red Rose Coin Club (RRCC). He received many awards and honors during his time in the numismatic hobby. From the ANA, he received in 1987 the Outstanding Club Representative Award; the President's Award in 1998; the Glenn Smedley Memorial Award in 2000; the Medal of Merit in 2001 and the Farran Zerbe Memorial Award in 2009. In 2007, John along with Jerry Kochel received the Joseph E. Boling Award for Excellence in Judging.

He ran the ANA Board of Governors in the 2007-09 election. It is unfortunate that he wasn't elected to the Board as his wisdom in the hobby would have helped the ANA greatly. We think that in 2012 John would have received his 50 year medal from ANA at their annual World's Fair of Money in Philadelphia, PA.

At the recently completed ANA National Money Show held in Pittsburgh, PA., PAN held a dinner at one of the most beautiful restaurants in the world, the Le Mont restaurant. At the dinner three numismatists were honored with the PAN lifetime achievement award, Dick Duncan, John Eshbach and Gerald Kochel.

Above is a picture of House of Representative member the Honorable John Maher, presenting a citation from the Pennsylvania House outlining their achievements to John Eshbach. Dick and Jerry also received this coveted honor. In 1992 John R. Eshbach received the Krause Publications Numismatic News Ambassador Award. This is one of the greatest honors anyone can receive. The recipients are picked by previous award winners.

Just how does anyone become interested in the hobby of numismatics? In John's case his interest started with his daughter and her coin club at school. Thanks to his daughter, we along with his many friends were fortunate to have John R. Eshbach as a friend and fellow numismatist for many years.

John's life can be summed up with this rhyme: For when that one great scorer comes to write against your name; he writes not that you won or lost, but how you played the game. John played the game of life in an honorable, loving and honest manner and will be missed by us, his thousands of friends around this great country and his family. You will be missed John, but never forgotten. All of our prayers and thoughts are with his family.

Larry Gaye adds:

John Eshbach sure was a presence at many ANA Conventions and always helping someone to make sure the convention was a success. I for one will miss the conversations I had with John.

Kerry K. Wetterstrom, Editor/Publisher of The Celator writes:

In response to your query in last week's E-Sylum, I have some of John Eshbach's Showcase holders. My set of Red Rose Coin Club medals is housed in Eshbach holders, in addition to some other miscellaneous coins.

Eshbach holders are quite common among the "older" collectors here in Lancaster. Members of the Red Rose Coin Club that were active collectors during John's production heyday (1980s) all seem to have one or two of his holders.

Showcase P-1801

I was not aware of any legal lawsuit that would have caused John to cease his production of his holders, but then again, I never asked. I will, however, ask some of our older RRCC members if they know the details of this lawsuit.

Also, as another testament to John. In 2008, the Red Rose Coin Club celebrated its 50th anniversary. The club has a tradition of issuing an updated printed history every 10 years, and we had been saving money the previous ten years to pay for the 50-year history. The only problem is that we couldn't find anyone to write it. As I was president of the club in 2008, I repeatedly asked for a volunteer to no avail. Finally, John came to me, and said he would write the history. Not only did he write it, but he also designed and typeset it using his computer.

John spent the last few years working on this project. At our club's most recent annual banquet, held on November 17th, John was in attendance with his granddaughter, Jessica Miller. She quietly mentioned to a couple of our members (Sam Nolt and John Long) that John's prognosis was not good, and if there was any way they could finish up the booklet in the next two weeks, it would be greatly appreciated. John Long went to the printer, explained the situation, and the printer produced three copies, one of which was presented to John Eshbach the following week.

I visited John the day after Thanksgiving, and he showed me his copy of the Red Rose Coin Club's 50-Year History. He didn't say anything about it, which was not unusual for him, but I could tell he was proud of the finished product.

The Red Rose Coin Club of Lancaster, PA is the host club of the 2012 ANA World's Fair of Money in Philadelphia next August 7-11, and I am the Host Club Chairman. If it were not for John Eshbach's influence and guidance, I doubt that our club would be the host club, nor would I be the chairman. Hopefully, we can help the ANA produce another blockbuster convention, and honor the memory of the quiet, distinguished ex Marine from Lancaster, Pennsylvania that lived the Corp's motto until the very end: Semper Fidelis -- "Always faithful."

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: READER THOUGHTS ON JOHN ESHBACH (


Tom DeLorey submitted these thoughts and recollections on the end of Numismatic Scrapbook Magazine. Thanks! -Editor

Numismatic Scrapbook Magazine 1947-07-20 I was working at Coin World in early 1976 when Numismatic Scrapbook was axed, and the in-house scuttlebutt at the time was this. Amos Press had originally been contracted by Scrapbook founder Lee Hewitt in the 1960's to print NSM for him. He later sold the publication to Amos Press in the late 1960's.

Printing NSM required the purchase of a certain type of press to handle that particular magazine format. Because the press was idle much of the month, Amos Press started World Coins Magazine in the same format to utilize the down time for the press. When I started working for Amos Press in December of 1973, I was an advertising proofreader who read ads for CW, NSM and WCM. Several staff members routinely worked two weeks on NSM, then two weeks on WCN, then back to NSM. The overhead of the two magazines was thus spread out over both.

Krause Publications' new World Coin News newspaper (I think it was biweekly then) deeply cut into WCN's monthly business, just as CW's weekly format had deeply cut into NSM's monthly business back in the 60's. By 1975 WCN was losing money, while NSM was making slightly more money than WCN was losing (or so we heard). As a pair they were pretty much a wash.

After an attempt in 1975 to promote NSM to the point where it might stand alone, a financial decision was made in January of 1976 to eliminate WCN. Since this would have dumped all of the overhead on NSM to the point where it would now be operating at a greater loss than the preceding joint operation, it was decided to axe NSM at the same time. Several editorial and production people were laid off.

NSM and WCN features continued in CW for a while, but eventually just faded away.

To read an earlier E-Sylum article, see: QUERY: COIN WORLD NUMISMATIC SCRAPBOOK SECTIONS (


Wild World by Ginger Rapsus
Wild World cover Ginger Rapsus sends this short note about her new book:

Stacey inherited a rare silver dollar worth millions. The expert who appraised her coin is a football player for the Chicago Clout. WILD WORLD by Ginger Rapsus, an e-book available from

On Numismatics and Wall Street
Alan V. Weinberg writes:

Brasher Doubloon There were two very expensive middlemen between Kagin/Contursi, owner of the $7.4 million Brasher Doubloon, and the Wall Street Hedge Fund buyer. John Albanese and the Blanchard firm. Since Chicagoan Walter Perschke's Virgil Brand-pedigreed Brasher Doubloon is on the market for $6 million and is unsold, it may be reasonably inferred that Kagin/Contursi's specimen was priced at about the same level or less as it has been a financial burden around their necks, costing them an initial $2.9M in 2005 and subsequent financing bringing it to $4.6 million as of the Los Angeles ANA- which was what I was told there by one of the principals.

A little basic math reveals that the two middlemen cost the Hedge Fund buyer approximately $1.4 million. Had the allegedly intelligent Hedge Fund buyer done just a little investigation, he'd have discovered the actual owners of the two available Brasher Doubloons on the market and dealt directly with them. It was well known in the numismatic marketplace of these coins' availability and approximate asking prices. Indeed, just "Googling" Brasher Doubloon would have revealed the current owners and that the Kagin/Contursi specimen has been widely publicized and exhibited at ANA conventions for several years.

These Wall Street types are supposed to be alert , imaginative and outstanding businessmen. Not! No wonder they are at the crux of our national financial problems.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: BRASHER DOUBLOON SELLS TO HEDGE FUND (

Libertas Americana Talk
Richard Margolis writes:

The 40th annual meeting of Societe Americaine pour l'etude de la Numismatique francaise (SAENF) will take place at 2:00 pm, Saturday, January 7, during the New York International Numismatic Convention (Waldorf Astoria Hotel, January 5 through 8).

Richard Margolis will present a slide illustrated talk entitled, "Libertas Americana: Benjamin Franklin, Clodion, Dupre, and others".

Renaissance Portrait Exhibit Article
Arthur Shippee forwarded a link to a New York Times article about the Renaissance Portrait exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Thanks!

To read the complete article, see: Getting Personal (


David C. Klinger submitted these thoughts inspired by a new acquisition and a web search that led to the Numismatic Bibliomania web site. Thanks! -Editor

I recently bought this book on eBay with the title listed as: US MINT and COINS, by A.M. Smith, 1881.

AM Smith binding

When I opened the book to examine the front matter, I became confused as to what the title of the book really was.

AM Smith open

I recognized the book as one I had seen before in the ANA library, but here, there appear to be alternative titles such as Illustrated History of the US Mint, or COINS and COINAGE , or The UNITED STATES MINT, PHILADELPHIA. None of these matched the title on the spine of the book.

After only a few minutes of internet research I realized that I am not the first to be puzzled by an A.M. Smith book. I found this excellent web page by NBS past president Pete Smith, titled: The Challenging Literature of A.M. Smith. It is based on an award winning exhibit Pete made in 1996. It says it all, and answered my naive questions in a very professional way.

AM Smith Literature

To visit the exhibit web page, see: The Challenging Literature of A. M. Smith (


OVER 500 NUMISMATIC TITLES: Wizard Coin Supply has over 300 numismatic titles in stock, competitively discounted, and available for immediate shipment. See our selection at .


Dave Lange dug out this item from his files to answer a question from last week's issue. Thanks! -Editor

Regarding the circulation of half dimes in Cuba after they were discontinued by the U. S. Mint, this is confirmed by a newspaper account from the Havana Post in 1900. I believe I took this clipping from a Bowers & Merena periodical many years ago:

"Americans who visit the interior of Cuba are surprised beyond measure when they are given change from small purchases in cafes. The old American half dime, which is no more in circulation in the United States, is used in the interior towns of Cuba, where it passes for two and a half cents. All of these coins are punched and were brought t Cuba many years ago. When the bangle craze had died away in America, and there were thousands of these half dimes which had been punched and were useless, some clever Yankee conceived the idea that they could be circulated in some way in Cuba and other West Indian islands. The plan worked well, and ever since that time they had been passing for two and one half cents."

By "the bangle craze" I'm assuming they mean love tokens. If these old holed and/or engraved coins went out of fashion as jewelry, I suppose they could have been returned to circulation this way. Neither article says anything about a specific punch or counterstamp. Any other references to this use of old half dimes would still be appreciated. -Editor

To read the complete article, see: U.S. HALF DIME CIRCULATION IN CUBA (


Cliff Mishler submitted this great overview on our recent subject of irradiate Dimes. Thanks! -Editor

I've absorbed with interest the items on "Neutron Irradiated Dimes" that have appeared in recent editions of "The E-Sylum."

I just may have the largest accumulation of these offerings in captivity; nearly full three double row boxes. Most of them were accumulated over a span of roughly 30 years, from the early 1970s through the 1990s; I probably paid in the range of $2 to $3 for most of the pieces. I have purchased very few pieces for which I paid at the $10 and above level.

These pieces come in several varieties, some of which have not yet been enumerated in the published references that have been made to the issues. Here is a quick list, generated from my accumulation, which may not be complete, as I may have overlooked something lurking in the accumulation:

Aluminum Encased with Plastic Window:

  • American Museum of Atomic Energy
  • Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  • ORNL - UCNC - Oak Ridge
  • Mid-South Fair's Atomic Energy Exhibit

    Blue Plastic Pop-In Holders:

    • American Museum of Atomic Energy
    • N.Y. World's Fair 1964 - 1965

    The "ORNL - UNC - Oak Ridge" variety is by far the rarest of the issues; I have only one in my accumulation, unless I misfiled something.

    I believe the Mid-South Fair at which the "Atomic Energy Exhibit" was set up dispensing "irradiated dimes" would have been in Atlanta, but I have no knowledge of what the year might have been.

    In the case of the aluminum/plastic encased pieces, there are several imprint varieties on the inset cardboard ring identifying the origin of the souvenir.

    I had started accumulating these pieces with the idea of someday being able to approximate the dates of issue of the various insert varieties by the presence of uncirculated vs. circulated dimes. That's never happened; perhaps someday.

    Also, stored away somewhere, I know not where, is an archival file of information that I accumulated over the years relating to the history of Oak Ridge and the museum. Again, my objective having been to someday take the time to prepare a definitive exploration of the irradiated dime ear.

    I had occasion to visit Oak Ridge with my parents when I was about ten years old; I believe it would have been in the spring of 1950, but it could have been the spring or fall of 1951. I recall of having personally irradiated a souvenir dime from my change, with the cost of doing so having been another dime. That piece disappeared somewhere over the ensuing years.

    While visitors could irradiate dimes from their pocket change, they could also purchase them pre-irradiated from the souvenir shop, where they were mounted on descriptive display cards. I have three or four versions of those display cards in my accumulation as well.

    My recollection is that at the time of my visit the museum was quartered in two or three improvised stick built World War II structures, which were a bit shopworn.

    My research from some years back led me to believe there were two primary reasons why the irradiation of dimes as visitor souvenirs ceased in the late 1960s (1967 per a reference I noted): 1) Given the era, the idea of "irradiation" and "Geiger Counters" had become politically incorrect, so the thrust of the visitor center presentation was changed dramatically. 2) The level of "irradiation" employed in the souvenir process worked on silver dimes, but it just bounced off the nickel cladding on the clad dimes, so they would not react to the Geiger counters.

    Unfortunately, I am not in a position to presently provide more definitive information on the irradiated dimes realm, but hopefully those who are interested will find what I am providing to be of value.

    Joe Boling adds:

    I don't remember when I got my irradiated dime, but I had it when I went to Japan in 1957. In my chemistry class as a junior (1958-59), we did test it with a geiger counter and the instrument produced a lot more than an occasional click. The device was clearly reacting to the presence of the dime, as it would stop responding when the dime was moved away. I was impressed (but not enough to stop handling the dime).

    Bruce Perdue writes:

    I noticed a couple of irradiated dimes for sale on eBay. Attached is the information from the page. Interesting reading...

    During the 1950s, the Oak Ridge Graphite Reactor was the world's single largest source of radionuclide's, and the availability of these radionuclide's revolutionized the field of medicine and many branches of science. The impact was no less great in the industrial sector. Radionuclides were produced in several ways, but neutron activation was perhaps the most important. The purpose of the dime irradiator at the American Museum of Atomic Energy, located in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, was to provide a dramatic demonstration of the principle of neutron activation. Today, the museum is known as the American Museum of Science and Energy.

    miss universe irradiate dime Miss Universe, Aspasra Hongsakula of Bangkok, Thailand, receives a radioactive dime as a souvenir of her visit to the American Museum of Atomic Energy in 1966. (ORAU News) At the time that the dime irradiator was in operation, the Museum was managed by the Oak Ridge Institute for Nuclear Studies (ORINS). ORINS is now Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU).

    In the late 1940s and/or early 1950s, dimes were also irradiated at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and encased in a similar fashion (see photo to right). While I don't have any details about how the irradiation was performed at ORNL, we do have the following description in what I believe is a 1954 press release from the American Museum of Atomic Energy:

    "One of the most popular exhibits in the American Museum of Atomic Energy is a "dime irradiator." To date, more than 250,000 dimes have been irradiated, encased in plastic and returned to their owners as souvenirs. The irradiator works as follows: A mixture of radioactive antimony and beryllium is enclosed in a lead container. Gamma rays from the antimony are absorbed by the beryllium atoms and a neutron is expelled by the beryllium atom in the process.

    To read the complete article, see: Two Irradiated Dime Encased Both 90% Sivler Lot Front and back (


    Joe Boling writes:

    Herb Friedman refers to the Bay of Pigs counterfeits as "such good imitations." I have to disagree on that point - the fakes are instantly recognizable by anyone who knows them - unlike many other fakes that take careful examination of the various security features. I attach photos of a genuine note and the CIA version. Even in web-reproduction they should be easily separable. I have always thought that the perpetrators could not have seriously thought that the notes would pass in commerce, especially the ones that have only block letters/numbers and lack the serial number. Even when present, the serials are not very convincing.

    CIA Bay of Pigs compare

    CIA Bay of Pigs serial no

    CIA Bay of Pigs serial no

    To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: THE CIA BAY OF PIGS COUNTERFEITS (

    Kolbe-fanning website ad


    I haven't gotten much feedback from Howard Daniel's rant inspired by the "Occupy" currency item. One reader summed up both responses with a simple, straightforward "Don't get yer knickers in a twist, Howard!". Our readers self-police their comments pretty well. I did cut some of Howard's response, but could have cut more. Thanks for not letting this snowball - we all agree we want to stick to numismatics. The politics behind the creation of an item is important to note, but needs to be done objectively. -Editor

    Occupy dollar bill

    I'd noted that NOW is the time to be collecting such numismatic mementos of the protests, and I was glad to see an Associated Press article this weekend about museums that have been clamoring to do just that. Here are some excerpts. -Editor

    It may be only a few months old, but Occupy Wall Street is already collectible.

    More than a half-dozen major museums and organizations from the Smithsonian Institution to the New-York Historical Society have been avidly archiving materials produced by the Occupy movement.

    Staffers have been sent to occupied parks to rummage for buttons, signs, posters and documents. Websites and tweets have been archived for digital eternity. And museums have approached individual protesters directly to obtain posters and other ephemera.

    The Museum of the City of New York is planning an upcoming exhibition focused on the protests.

    To keep established institutions from shaping the movement's short history, some protesters have even formed their own archive group.

    They have stashed away hundreds of cardboard signs, posters, buttons, documents and banners.

    Occupy Collecting

    To read the complete article, see: Collecting frenzy surrounds Occupy Wall Street ephemera, from protest signs to tweets (

    To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: MORE ON THE OCCUPY MOVEMENT DOLLAR BILL (


    I've always enjoyed Australia's holey dollars. Here's an article about one recently acquired by a museum there. -Editor

    1813 Holey Dollar The National Museum of Australia in Canberra has acquired a rare 1813 New South Wales 'Holey dollar' - the first currency minted in Australia.

    In the early days of New South Wales, the colony faced a shortage of currency and in 1812 Governor Lachlan Macquarie imported 40,000 Spanish dollars, called 'pieces of eight', and had William Hensell, a convicted forger, cut the centre out of each coin.

    The outer ring became known as a 'Holey dollar' and the centre was called a dump. Governor Macquarie set their value at five shillings for the Holey dollar and 15 pence for the dump. The coins went into circulation in 1814 and, in doing so, Macquarie created the first currency minted in Australia.

    "Holey dollars speak eloquently of the creative and improvisatory attempts to create an orderly administration in colonial Australia. The holey dollar we have acquired for the National Museum is a finely preserved example of this iconic object from the era of Macquarie," said Andrew Sayers, Director of the National Museum of Australia.

    The Holey dollars were recalled from 1822 and replaced with sterling coinage. By 1829 most of the 40,000 coins in circulation had been exchanged for legal tender. The coins were then melted down into bullion. Experts estimate that around 300 Holey dollars and just over 1,000 dumps remain in circulation today.

    The National Museum of Australia acquired the Holey dollar at auction for a total price, including auction house commission and GST, of $129,315.

    The Holey dollar will go on display in the National Museum's Landmarks gallery along with other items recalling Governor Macquarie's remarkable career including his sword and dirk - a short dagger - and a rose mahogany worktable.

    To read the complete article, see: National Museum Australia acquires rare 1813 New South Wales "Holey dollar" (


    W.J. Elvin III writes:

    I'm curious as to whether Russell Rulau has ever stated personally why and how he came up with the term "exonumia"? There are a great many references and attributions, and I ran across a brief discussion in this newsletter (I've been reading back issues though haven't by any means read all), but I haven't found his own words. I wonder if anyone can refer me to a quote?

    I could swear we did have a reply from Russ Rulau on this topic, but I haven't been able to find in in the E-Sylum archives, wither. I must have read it elsewhere. Can anyone help? -Editor


    Mike Paradis writes:

    I have a 14x18 inch poster of "Buste antique de marbre d'Alexandre le Grand." copyrighted 1970 by Numismatic Communications, New York. I find very little about "Numismatic Communications". It appears they published a pamphlet titled "Fourres and forgeries: general observations of the coins and coinage of the Romans.". I was curious who Numismatic Communications were or are and if anyone knows the purpose of the previously mentioned poster?

    Also, I am looking for information on a dealer from Morgantown West Va. A letterhead has " Phila - Numis - Research / PHILA-NUMIS / STAMPS-COINS / "House of Stone" / H. E. Stone, Dir. & Mgr./ A.N.A. 4998 / C.N.A. 449 /..." Some other associated material has "S. D. Stone". It appears he bought and sold coins in the years 1936-1944.

    Can anyone help? I'm not familiar with either of these. -Editor
    Kolbe-Fanning 2011-12-25 ad


    Dick Johnson submitted this item about an online video about sculptor Daniel Chester French. Thanks! -Editor

    Daniel Chester french video

    I hold the American sculptor Daniel Chester French in very high regard. New England residents are fortunate to be able to visit his home and studio with day trips to Chesterwood, now a National Historic Trust Site, in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. It is worth the time for New Englanders -- and all others! -- to visit Chesterwood whenever you are in the area.

    When my associate at Medallic Art Company, Rob Vugteveen, visited me in 2010 such a visit to Chesterwood was high on our priority list. You see the company symbol -- the French Head -- was created by Daniel Chester French. He modeled it 1917 in the very studio we visited.

    In 1932 the owner-president of Medallic Art Company at time, Clyde Curle Trees, was so enamored with the female head which appeared on that medal French created earlier that he adopted it as a symbol for the company. That original creation was not for some auspicious medal -- it was for a waterpipe! -- the medal was issued to honor the completion of the Catskill Aqueduct in 1917 (this supplies most of the fresh water to New York City).

    To Trees it was not only symbolic of the company -- it signified the essence of the work of the company -- but also the field of medals in its entirety. The term "French Head" is not only a play on DCF's last name, but also as medallic art is somewhat of a French art. It was also the nationality of the two founders of the firm, Henri and Felix Weil (who, prophetically, one was born in France, one in America).

    Rob filmed the original plaster on the wall of his studio, now filled with models and casts and maquettes --small models intended for sculpture enlargements.

    Coin collectors will recognize French's name for the Lincoln Memorial housing his Lincoln statue on the reverse of the 1959 cent and the Minute Man Statue -- whose real name is "Concord Man" -- on the obverse of the 1925 Lexington-Concord Commemorative half dollar. Likewise paper money collectors will recall the Lincoln Memorial on the reverse of the $5 bill. Collectors of decorations will note that French designed and modeled the Manila Bay Dewey Medal of 1898.

    It is for medal collectors, however, to hold Daniel Chester French in highest esteem! Not only did he create that French Head -- for the 1917 Catskill Aqueduct Medal -- but also the Pulitzer Medal of 1917 (he designed and modeled the obverse, Henry Augustus Lukeman modeled the reverse), and also the 1917 British and French War Commission Visit Medal for the American Numismatic Society.

    So you see Daniel Chester French is well represented in the numismatic field by these American numismatic issues.

    What has been released this week is a new video on Daniel Chester French and his Chesterwood site. It has been placed on the internet for all to view. You will enjoy this brief video. Do click on: Daniel Chester French: Sculpting an American Vision (


    Darrell Lewis writes:

    I see the answers that have come in to the online site. My thanks to those who responded. I may be wrong but one or two of the writers seem to think that I make a connection between the coins and Leichhardt. Nothing could be further from the truth. The answers confirmed what I already had discovered - the original identification of the coin was a mistake that writers about Leichhardt ever since have taken as accurate and continued to cite in speculation about a possible Leichhardt connection. The only question that remains unanswered is the number of Maundy threepences minted.

    I believe there is no connection between Leichhardt or any other white men and the site where the coins were found. The site is an Aboriginal site, pure and simple. In the early days every second Aboriginal campsite had items of European manufacture on them. European goods were at least curiosities and at best valued and sought after for use, particularly iron axes and knives. European items moved great distances along traditional trade routes which undoubtedly is the origin of most of the European goods found in remote Aboriginal campsites.

    I have another record of coins being found on an Aboriginal site. In 1934 five shilling pieces were found in a lakeside camp on the east side of the Darling River. Three of them were dated 1826, one 1834 and the other 1845. Typically, the finder (not I) wondered if they might have some connection with Leichhardt!

    Once again, thank you to those who responded and thank you, too, Wayne, for including my query in your journal.

    Thanks to all who responded on this topic. -Editor

    To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:


    Michael Sullivan submitted these neat holiday-themed coin holder images. Thanks - neat item. -Editor

    Christmas Tree Album 1 - Raymond With the holiday season upon us, I thought our fellow E-Sylum readers might enjoy the images attached of coin folder with the coins organized into the shape of a Christmas Tree. This particular folder contains proof 1956 coins aside from the Peace Dollar which is dated 1925. It is 15 cm wide by 30.5 cm in height. The cover reads:

    "The Merry Christmas U.S. Coin Tree A Unique Coin Holder for a Special Greeting. The economical, practical, all visible coin holders. Made under original patent No. 1,719,962. Now used exclusively in National & Popular Coin Albums, Wayte Raymond, Inc., 1927-57."

    Inside the album printed above the coins reads:

    Unique Coin Holder, 30th Anniversary, 1927-1957. Produced by The Beistle Company, Coin Holder Dept., Sold by H.E. Luhrs, Pres.-Sales & G. Mgr. Created by M.L. Beistle, Our First President, 1900-1935. Advertising & Sale Agt., Wayte Raymond, Inc., New York, Thru Alan Faxon, Mineola, N.Y., World Wide Distributor."

    Raymond had an extensive business in coin folders which was a sales and entry point vehicle for collectors. The folders could have been in product mid-1956 before Raymond's death intended for sales during the 1956 Christmas season. The association with the coin folder to M.L. Beistle is an enigma and worth further research. E-Sylum comments and correspondence on the topic are most welcome to

    Christmas Tree Album 2 - Raymond

    Dhristmas Tree Album 4 - Raymond Christmas Tree Album 3 - Raymond

    QUIZ QUESTION: this is a tough one. Here's an idea for another type of Christmas coin tree - how about a "12 Days of Christmas" tree? The coins must have designs representing the gifts in the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas' - three French hens, two calling birds, and a partridge in a pear tree, etc. . Here's one idea - an Olympic commemorating coin might show "Five Golden Rings". So there's the challenge - can you identify other coins that would fill the bill? Is there a coin or medal depicting Maids a Milking? A banknote?

    Have some fun with this. Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good night. -Editor


    This week's Featured Web Page from the Daniel Frank Sedwick web site is suggested by Ray Williams, who writes:

    This Sedwick site is pretty cool. The link provided brings you to a "Google Earth" type map with the locations of shipwrecks around the world. There are a number of colonial collectors who collect coins from shipwrecks. I have some from the Feversham, Nicobar, Vergulde Draeck and others. Merry Christmas!

    Shipwreck Map

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