The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

PREV        NEXT        V16  2013  INDEX         E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

About Us

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


Those wishing to become new E-Sylum subscribers (or wishing to Unsubscribe) can go to the following web page link


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

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

David M. Sundman, Treasurer
Numismatic Bibliomania Society
P. O. Box 82 Littleton, NH 03561


For Asylum mailing address changes and other membership questions, contact David at this email address:


To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, just Reply to this message, or write to the Editor at this address:


Click here to read this issue on the web
To comment or submit articles, reply to


Wayne Homren

Thanks to Jim Wells' persistence in contacting AOL support, our issues with AOL subscribers not receiving their issues may have been resolved. Hear, hear! A few AOL subscribers have already reported that one of their earlier issues has appeared in their inbox.

This week I'm mailing the issue normally, and hopefully our AOL readers will receive it normally as well. If you're one of the folks I've been in touch with about this, please let me know if your issue arrives. If all is well I won't respond, since I've been overwhelmed with AOL-related messages in recent weeks.

No new subscribers this week. We have 1,661 email subscribers, plus 240 followers on Facebook.

TAKE NOTE: Due to a family vacation, next week's issue will be published early, and the following issue may be skipped.

This week we open with updates from numismatic booksellers Kolbe & Fanning and Lake Books, followed by word on FIVE new books.

Other topics include CSNS author grants, the numismatics of Mrs. O'Leary's cow, headline coin exhibits, CIA medals, and shipwreck finds.

To learn more about Vermontensium Pillarium, an update to Attinelli, the Mickley 1804 dollar, Packard, Kentucky scrip, and Dr. Roper's 1793 Chain Cent, read on. Have a great week, everyone!

Wayne Homren
Editor, The E-Sylum


David Fanning forward this report of results from the firm's 129th numismatic literature mail-bid sale, which closed Thursday. -Editor

Kolbe-Fanning sale 129 cover Kolbe & Fanning Numismatic Booksellers held their 129th mail-bid sale of important numismatic books on Thursday, July 18. Featuring selections from the Del Bland library and other properties, the sale included works on ancient, medieval and foreign coins, as well as outstanding publications on U.S. numismatics.

The sale was one of our best mail-bid sales in recent years, with strong participation and active bidding. The prices below do not include the 15% buyers’ premium:

—Del Bland’s remarkably fine complete set of Stack’s catalogues (lot 556) brought $13,500

—The complete Erbstein collection, bound with the rare 1911 Hess sale of Hermitage duplicates (lot 83), brought $1300

—A complete set of Barney Bluestone catalogues (lot 253), brought $2300

—A fine set of Fiala’s Katalog der Münzen- und Medaillen-Stempel-Sammlung des K. K. Hauptmünzamtes in Wien (lot 73), brought $825

—A rare plated Chapman catalogue of the Simpson collection (lot 354) brought $3600; several other plated Chapman catalogues also sold, including Earle ($3200), Jenks ($2600), Gable ($2100), Sargent ($2000) and others.

—Mayer’s rare bibliography of Islamic numismatics (lot 132) brought $800

—Del Bland’s impressive set of Hesslein catalogues (lot 433) brought $2700 after very active bidding

Mehl’s Numismatic Monthly, complete (lot 484), brought $1500

—Charles Elmore Green’s deluxe, photographically illustrated Dunham catalogue (lot 488), brought $2700

—Ormsby’s very rare 1862 Harvest of Counterfeiters (lot 510) brought $1600.

The full prices realized list can be found on the Kolbe & Fanning website at

For more information on Kolbe & Fanning sales, please contact David Fanning at or (614) 414-0855.


Fred Lake forwarded this reminder of his upcoming numismatic literature sale. Happy Bidding! -Editor

This is a reminder that Lake Books' 115th mail-bid sale of numismatic literature closes on Tues., July 23, 2013 at 5:00 PM (EDT). The 481-lot catalog may be viewed on our web site at and has reference material for all numismatic items including United States books and sale catalogs, World books and catalogs, Paper Money, Tokens and Medals, Exonumia, and some interesting lots covering allied collecting arenas.

You may place your bids via email, fax, or telephone until the closing time. Remember tie bids are won by the earliest bid received. Good Luck with your bidding, Fred

Lake Books
6822 22nd Ave N
St. Petersburg, FL 33710
727-343-8055 Fax: 727-381-6822

Fred adds:

Please note that in our sale #115, there are multiple (3) lot designations as C 37. This was caused by a glitch in our numbering system for lots. Thus, if you are bidding on the first mention of C 37 in the catalog, please call it C 37A and then C 37B, and C 37C for the second and third. Sorry for the error........I'll try to sharpen up my editing skills for the next catalog.


John N. Lupia, III has been working for quite a while compiling and researching information about American numismatics and numismatists. He has a new book forthcoming which will be a substantial revision of the classic Attinelli reference on early American auction catalogs. The following information was assembled from his web site and email correspondence. -Editor

A Documentary History of American Numismatics : Chronicling American Numismatic History

This is a multi volume series designed by John N. Lupia as the American counterpart of the Encyclopedia of British Numismatics.

Regina Caeli Press is neither affiliated with A. H. Baldwin & Sons Ltd nor with Spink & Son Ltd. The above aforementioned series A Documentary History of American Numismatics : Chronicling American Numismatic History is exclusively the property of Regina Caeli Press.

American Numismatic Auctions to 1875 Volume 1 : American Numismatic Auctions To 1875 : A Chronicle of American Numismatic History.© ISBN: 978-0-9826739-1-1

A solid Introduction provides a substantial setting into which is placed the history of American numismatic sales. Well over 700 entries with more than 200 numismatic auction sales "Not in Attinelli" more than 400 pages of numismatic auctions listed from the earliest period in American history to the end of 1875.

The entries are American numismatic auctions both coins, medals and numismatic literature, and salient information on the history of American numismatics and collecting in America from its beginning to the end of 1875 -- following the time-frame established by Attinelli.

The book includes the first part of Attinelli but expanded and enlarged to incorporate the myriad of new entries. Also, the three numbering systems in the book do not tally as Attinelli since he had multiple entries for the same auction in many cases, which are now combined into their respective auction entry. So although Attinelli could claim more than 400 auction entries that number is reduced in this new revised expanded and enlarged edition.

Each entry is annotated with commentary and bibliographic references, some illustrated. The three numbering systems are (1) chronicling American numismatic history and the history of collecting in America, (2) coin auctions, (3) numismatic auctions. An additional numbering system monitors what is not in Attinelli and what is in Attinelli.

An indispensable reference tool for scholars and researchers especially for catalogers and those researching provenance of various specimens and numismatic literature.

ISBN: 978-0-9826739-1-1
Regina Caeli Press
8.5" x 11"
400 pages
(forthcoming September 2013)
$165.00 + S&H

First printing is a short run of 100 copies. If the market so demands a second printing will ensue after the first printing is exhausted.

For more information, see: A Documentary History of American Numismatics Series (

John adds:

An abridged version of the book as a journal article will be published in The Asylum in October 2013. This will be part of a series of three articles on auction catalogs and Attinelli with the first article coming out in No. 2, by John W. Adams, the second is my article, and third Dan Hamelberg on Part 3 of Attinelli.


In the July 18, 2013 issue of CoinsWeekly, Ursula Kampmann reviews a new book on the coinage of Maxentius. Here’s an excerpt. -Editor

The coinage of Maxentius In the series “Etudes Suisses de Numismatiques”, issued by the Swiss Numismatic Society, a new, important work on Roman coins has recently been published. It is a corpus of the coinage of Maxentius with a detailed commentary that exceeds by far that what the RIC can provide.

Let’s start with the catalog that certainly will attract most interest. This is no die corpus – no one would be able to prepare such a thing given the wealth of material from the 3rd century, but a listing of all types and subtypes, i.e. literally everything Maxentius has to offer. Arranged according to mints, dates, metals, Vincent Drost presents the basis of his work, in which he is much more meticulous than the RIC. All collectors who enjoy the different variants of late Roman coinage will find a marvelous overview here.

As already said, this is the basis, and the catalog being written in French is no obstacle to its comprehensibility for every single type and subtype is illustrated in the plates. Strictly speaking, it is here where the author’s work truly starts, with the material he makes talk at great length.

Don’t worry if your schoolroom French is a bit rusty. As I said before, the Swiss Numismatic Society has published this book, meaning that the author provides a detailed 17-page summary of his results that was being translated into Italian, English and German. Quite a luxury one would wish for, for the sake of spreading knowledge in other countries as well. Additionally, the 17-page summary most likely gets more readers than the actual text that covers 200 pages.

Before I forget: the book comes with a gadget, or a ‘bhaltis’, as it is called in Switzerland (it translates as ‘keep it‘). All those who don’t want to carry a heavy catalog with them on coin fairs but own a tablet, can make use of a CD with a PDF file of the catalog which can easily be fed into the tablet. Hence, even on tour no Maxentius collector has to go without identifying his coins. Should I call it a pity that there isn’t (yet) an interactive column one can mark with a cross?

If you would like to order the new catalog you may do so by writing an email to distributor Paul-Francis Jacquier.

To read the complete article, see: The coinage of Maxentius (


Bagchee is offering a new title on Ancient Indian numismatics. The following is taken from the seller's web site. -Editor

Ancient Indian Coins Authors (s): Swati Chakraborty (Author)
Format: Hardcover
ISBN-13: 9789350501047
Pages: xvi+394p., 23cm.
Pub. date: 11.07.2013, 1st.ed.
Publisher: B.R. Publishing Corporation
Language (s): English
Bagchee ID: BB79396
List price: US $ 83,00
Bagchee price: US $ 74,70

The Present work strives to reflect-through the prisms of numismatical sources-the forces at work in the fields of religion, society, art and culture during the pre-Christian and post-Christian period up to the end of the rule of the Gupta Kings in Northern India. It also delves into the epigraphic, literary and other sources as and when necessary.

The first chapter contains a history of coinage, the evolution of coins right from the early crude pieces to artistic Gupta coins, to coins of alien rulers and a large range of silver and copper cast variety. The second records the manifestations on coins of different religious traditions held sacred during different periods. While the third attempts to highlight social growth, the fourth accommodates an interpretation of the artistic impulses of those times. The fifth and the concluding chapter is as much a homage to as a retrospective study of the cultural past of India.

No facet of study has been left unexplored in this tantalizing study of facets of coins.

For more information, or to order, see: Socio - Religious & Cultural Study of the Ancient Indian Coins (

Kolbe-Fanning website ad2new


Dennis Tucker of Whitman Publishing forwarded the following press release about a new edition of the ANA Grading Standards book. Thanks! -Editor

ANA-Grading_7th_cover Whitman Publishing announces the launch of the expanded 7th edition of the Official American Numismatic Association Grading Standards for United States Coins. For the first time the book is published completely in full color. It will debut at the ANA World’s Fair of Money in Chicago, August 13, 2013. The 384-page spiralbound-hardcover guide has a retail price of $19.95. It can be pre-ordered at, and after the ANA show will be available from book stores and hobby retailers nationwide.

“This is the only grading guide officially sponsored and endorsed by the American Numismatic Association,” said Whitman publisher Dennis Tucker. “Its text draws on years of experience from leaders in the field, and it now includes hundreds of full-color enlarged coin photographs.”

Grading experts praised the 6th edition, published in 2006. ANA life member and award-winning researcher Bill Fivaz called it “an indispensable aid to properly grading your U.S. coins—the very foundation of smart buying, selling, and collecting.”

The comprehensive 7th edition spells out the official American Numismatic Association grading standards for each United States coinage series. Every denomination minted since 1793, from half cents to gold double eagles and commemoratives, is studied in 384 pages of easy-to-follow text and photographs.

  • Every standard grade is illustrated and described in detail.
  • Text descriptions of 30 levels pinpoint grades from Poor to Mint State.
  • High-resolution color photographs illustrate exactly what features to look for.
  • All 11 levels of Mint State are discussed in detail.
  • Featured case studies highlight techniques, beyond grading numbers, that smart buyers use when seeking coins.

Editors Kenneth Bressett and Q. David Bowers also discuss the importance and evolution of coin grading; early grading-system proposals; the Sheldon 70-point scale; the start of the ANA’s professional grading service; the history of the ANA Grading Standards; changing interpretations in the marketplace; third-party, professionally graded (“slabbed”) coins; secrets for grading success; lighting and magnification; characteristics of coin surfaces (including die marks, planchet quality, contact marks, wear, and repairs); aspects of striking and die weakness; the concept of Full Details; split grades; Proof coins and impaired Proofs; strike vs. grade, and the importance of sharpness; natural coloration of coins; cleaning, processing, polishing, and similar factors; coin conservation; coin doctoring; storage and handling of coins; overgrading; and other important related topics.

The Official American Numismatic Association Grading Standards for United States Coins, 7th edition

Edited by Kenneth Bressett, with narrative by Q. David Bowers
ISBN 0794838243
384 pages
Spiral-bound hardcover
Full color
Retail $19.95


Krause Publications issued a press release on the new edition of the book Strike It Rich with Pocket Change. -Editor

Strike-It-Rich-with-Pocket-Change-4th-Edition It takes a keen eye to spot them -- and a little know-how -- but errors on coins produced by the U.S. Mint occur every year. And these errors can be worth a fortune to coin collectors. Strike It Rich with Pocket Change, 4th Edition, shows the reader how to detect errors, what to look for and how to cash in on them.

This book by Ken Potter and Brian Allen has a strong appeal for someone with a mild to dedicated interest in coins, while drawing upon the treasure hunter in all of us -- anyone who is looking for a hobby that does not require a great up-front investment, yet offers the potential of discovering valuable rarities. Any collector who has completed the standard set of a type or series now has an opportunity to broaden the scope of that collection.

  • The "Everyman" book focuses on coins readily found in pocket change and appeals to the treasure hunter in all of us
  • Attractive and easy-to-read format - no insider or complicated jargon to confuse the reader
  • Detailed images with arrows to guide the eye, aiding in identification of treasures

Ken Potter and Dr. Brian Allen are leading experts in the field with an absolute passion for uncovering the next scarce variety that eludes the U.S. Mint's quality control procedures. Ken Potter has been a dealer in U.S. coins, specializing in errors and varieties, for many years with a sterling reputation for accuracy and a keen eye. You can visit his website which he regularly updates with new coin discoveries: Brian Allen has been collecting since childhood.

For more information, see: Strike It Rich with Pocket Change, 4th Edition (


Bruce Perdue writes:

I would like to remind E-Sylum readers that the Central States Author Grants program for CSNS's current Fiscal year is open to submissions. Several individuals have already submitted proposals. All grant applications need to be submitted to Ray Lockwood, CNS Education Director by August 31, 2013.

This is a great program and I encourage authors to submit applications for any needed assistance. Books are hard enough to write without having to deal with the expenses involved in their research and publication. Below is more information from the CSNS web site. -Editor

CSNS to award $40,000 to Authors

"Grants for Authors Doubled" The CSNS Board in its April meeting voted to double the amount of money available to authors who wish to research, write and publish numismatic books. Beginning July 1 of this year, $40,000 will be available to prospective authors. Grants of up to $5,000 may be applied for.

Additional information can be obtained from CSNS Education Director, Ray Lockwood, 765-664-6520 or email:

Second-year Book Grants

CSNS awarded $20,000 to Authors

Six authors writing about a variety of subjects, ranging from square coins to Protestant Reformation medals, have been awarded Central States Numismatic Society publication grants for 2012..

Second year grants include:

Michael Van Den Heuval of Fredericksberg, Denmark: $275 to complete and publish a book about square coins of the world: 1900-2008.

Dr. Lawrence Lee of Lincoln, NE: $3,800 for research leading to an expanded article on coins found at Fort Atkinson.

Wendell Wolka of Bargersville, IN: $5,000 to photograph medals to be included in a 500 - 600 page catalogue of numismatic items related to the Protestant Reformation.

Prue Morgan Fitts of Wolfeboro, NH: $4,000 for partial funding of a self-published book titled A Beginner's Guide For Identifying Byzantine Coins.

Jesca Scaevola of Columbia, MO: $5,000 for original research in India on rare coins known as “Kusana” bronze coins. Her objective is to publish her findings as a masters dissertation and an eventual book on the subject.

Kathy Freeland: $1,925 Grant Awarded for her book on Red Cross Numismatics during WWII.

Interested authors should contact Education Director Ray Lockwood at 2075 E. Bocock Rd., Marion, IN, 46952 or for additional information and/or to apply for a grant.

For more information, see: Third-year Book Grants (



In response to Michael Sanders' question, Rich Hartzog writes: As a serious collector of pre-1901 Illinois exonumia, and selected other Illinois items, I have this "Dear Old Chicago" medal. But, it is fairly rare, with Michael's and mine the only two examples I recall seeing.

I recently picked up a celluloid fronted ornate rimmed button featuring the O'Leary cow. This 1903 Centennial Souvenir is a bit over 2" tall, with a pin-back. While I've not been looking for it, it is the first one I've seen. Cute piece, showing the cow kicking the lantern. There are several 1903 Centennial badges, but only these two in O'Leary cow referenced items that I can recall.

Oleary Cow closeup

Dave Schenkman writes:

Regarding the Mrs. O'Leary's cow piece, I devoted a column to it several years ago in "The Numismatist". Here's the text.

Thanks! Here's Dave's article, which has more information on Michael Sanders' medal and one more numismatic item relating to the famous fire. Will any of these be on display at the ANA convention next month?. -Editor

If you're from Chicago, very likely you already know all about Mrs. O'Leary and her cow. The year was 1871, and the story centers around a forty-something year old lady by the name of Catherine (Kate) O'Leary who lived on the West Side of Chicago. Kate kept an assortment of animals and a wagon in a crowded barn on her property, and made a living by milking her five cows twice a day.

As you know, winters in Chicago can be very cold. The O'Learys had prepared well. They had plenty of coal for heating their house, and there was a good supply of hay on hand to feed the animals.

The question that remains unanswered to this day is, did Mrs. O'Leary's cow start the Great Chicago Fire of 8 October 1871? According to legend the now-infamous bovine kicked over a kerosene lantern, setting off a blaze which ignited the barn and then the entire block. From there it spread to the South Side of town, resulting in this country's worst disaster to date. Thousands of downtown buildings were destroyed and losses totaled in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

But there are other versions of the story. Mrs. O'Leary maintained that she went to bed early that evening, and an official inquiry was not able to establish any guilt on her part. It was also theorized that a meteor fell to earth that night and started the fire.

And then there's a press release, written about a man by the name of Louis M. Cohn in 1944 following his death, which said in part that he and Mrs. O'Leary's son, in the company of several other boys, were shooting dice in the hayloft . . . by the light of a lantern, when one of the boys accidentally overturned the lantern, thus setting the barn afire. Cohn even admitted to scooping up the money as he ran from the barn.

No matter what her involvement actually was, Mrs. O'Leary has become part of Chicago's history and folklore. In 1938 the legend was revived in a movie titled In Old Chicago. Kate O'Leary became the widow Molly O'Leary, and although the story was changed considerably, the fire was attributed to the now-famous cow, Daisy.

In 1905 the well-known Chicago die sinking firm, F. H. Noble and Company, issued a numismatic reminder of the fire. Struck in nickel plated brass on a 32mm planchet, the nine-line inscription on one side of the piece reads DEAR OLD CHICAGO / NOBLE CHICAGO / POPULATION 2.000.000. / 20 MILES LONG 15 MILES WIDE / 4.152 MILES OF STREETS. / 25 RAILROADS DAILY TRAINS 1138 / PRESENTED BY F. H. NOBLE & CO. / ADV. SHOW COLISEUM / CHICAGO. OCT. 1905. A building, which I assume to be the coliseum, is depicted in the center.

Depicted on the other side of the piece is a scene of early Chicago, and the following inscription: CHICAGO 1833 / POPULATION 200 / INCORPORATED CITY 1837 / OLEARYS COW / BECAME DISCOURAGED / OCT. 8 1871. THE FIRE WAS / EXTINGUISHED BY RAIN / OCT. 10 SAME YEAR.

The medalet was obviously issued for the advertising show mentioned in its inscription. No doubt F. H. Noble & Co. exhibited there, and gave the pieces away as souvenirs or as samples of their work. It is interesting to note the brief, somewhat cryptic, mention of O'Leary's cow. Apparently even in 1905, thirty-four years after the fire, the issuer assumed that the subject matter was so familiar to most people that no additional wording was needed.

While writing this article another item relating to the Chicago fire came to mind. This 24mm nickel alloy token is well known to collectors, and it's listing in Dr. Wright's American Business Tokens (number 1544) establishes it as being from the nineteenth century. One side reads NICKEL / FROM THE / RUINS / OF THE / N.W. SHOW CASE MF'G C. / OCT. 9TH 1871. The reverse depicts a showcase, with the inscription RE ESTABLISHED / AT / 59 & 61 S. CANAL ST. / CHICAGO. I imagine it was struck shortly after the fire, when the N.W. Show Case Manufacturing Company relocated and resumed business.

The United States Mint even got into the act, striking a 51mm medal which was, as it states in its inscription, MADE FROM THE CHICAGO COURT HOUSE BELL. According to R. W. Julian's Medals Of The United States Mint, where it is listed as CM-13, five hundred of these medals were struck to the order of H. S. Everhard and Company in 1872. The dies were cut by William Barber.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: QUERY: DEAR OLD CHICAGO MEDAL INFORMATION SOUGHT (

Kralvevich esylum ad5


Dave Hirt submitted these thoughts on last week's issue and in particular, Joel Orosz' article on the Dr. L. Roper countermark. Joel provided the below illustrations of the countermarked coin. Dave Hirt is aware of at least one more coin that might be traceable to Roper's collection. Can anyone help? -Editor

Dr L Roper countermark What a great issue! The Newman coins from Col. Green, More items from the JJ Ford estate coming to the market, More comments on the Moulton book. More on JV McDermott, Etc., and tracing a coin to the Dr Roper collection.

That one has always been of interest to me as I own a copy of the Roper catalog. I can't wait to return home to read the whole Numismatist article. However I would have thought it might have been a different coin than the one mentioned.

Some years after the sale the American Journal of Numismatics had an article on the Roper Sale. (Now I am only writing from memory since I am not at home). The AJN stated "a 1793 cent was sold for 10 cents, it may have been poor."

The next issue printed a letter from the buyer, Ammi Brown who said it was a 1793 link cent in the condition as it left the die. He said that he gave an opening bid of 10 cents, and it was knocked down to him. This should really narrow the search for that one, as how many link (Chain) cents are known in that condition, and at least the first buyer is known. Happy searching!

Interesting tidbit! So perhaps another Roper-traceable coin is still out there somewhere. Can anyone help? Is there a top condition Chain Cent with a pedigree reaching back to Ammi Brown? -Editor

Dr L Roper countermark closeup

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: THE “DR L. ROPER.” COUNTERMARK ENIGMA (


Thanks to Francois Velde
John Sallay writes:

Another outstanding issue, and an amazing response to my query regarding the 1768 Royal Academy medal from Francois Velde. As it turns out, I also have one of the other Louis XV medals he mentioned (which is also listed and pictured in the 1724 book he references). All those years of French class finally paying off (well, sort of…)!

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: THE 1768 ROYAL ACADEMY MEDAL DESIGN SOURCE (

Scary Hobby Ramifications of 3D Printing
Bill Eckberg writes:

I enjoyed seeing the bit about 3D-printed book. I don't know much about the technical aspects of 3D printing, but I've seen video of the process. I find it fascinating and bought my wife a 3D printed sterling silver ring a couple of years ago. The ring was very intricate and probably would have been impossible to make any other way.

With this technology advancing rapidly, it seems to me that it is worth speculating that the time is coming very soon when someone will make a 3D printer that can perfectly reproduce a coin with the correct microscopic detail, metal composition and weight. They will also be able to "edit out" the tics and other marks that identify the best struck counterfeits of today - after removing the marks they will no doubt add some new ones to disguise the fake even better. All this without doing any tooling on a die!

This will have obvious and profound ramifications for the coin market. Authentication will become all but impossible, and therefore rare coins will have value only if their pedigrees predate the time at which these "perfect" counterfeits come in to existence.

We live in a scary world.

I'm not sure any counterfeit can ever be "perfect", but these manufacturing techniques do add a powerful tool to the counterfeiter's toolkit. Today we already have to contend with not only faked coins, but faked packaging such as grading company slabs and stickers (wasn't that inevitable?). And don't get me started on faked pedigrees. Coin sellers have long sought to add an aura to their wares by claiming traceability to one famous collection or another, with or without any actual documentary evidence. This makes numismatic literature and research all the more important in today's world. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: A 3D PRINTED BOOK OF TEXTURES AND RELIEFS (

On Cataloging Encased Coins
Regarding books on Encased Coins, Bruce Perdue writes:

Rich Hartzog is correct in his assessment of the size of a book on encased coins if it were to attempt to list all know encased. There are several books currently available by state, which list the encased that are known for that state. Many collectors like Rich collect by state, city or type of business, e.g. car dealerships or banks. The variety of encased is limited only by the definition of encased coins.

I have an encased coin exhibit which illustrates the varieties by shape of the encasement, material of the encasement and the type of coins encased. It is seven cases and contains over sixty pieces and is by no means definitive. Any book on encased coins would have to be about collecting encased coins in general or about a specific type of encased as a catalog of that type. (e.g. state, car dealerships, banks, etc.)

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: JULY 14, 2013 : Rich Hartzog On Token And Medal Books Yet To Be Published (

2012 Finland 5 Euros Wildman Coin Follow Up
Bob Knepper writes:

Thanks to you and to Pabitra Sara in the last issue of The E-Sylum for the answer to my question, ie. that no KM number has been assigned to the Finish 2012 5 euro issued for Lapland.

I tried Mr. Saha’s suggestion and went to, advanced search, and entered Finland, 5 euro, CuNi-CuNiAl, and, separately, 2011 and 2012 but that just returned me to their search box. Oh well, not serious. Maybe one has to be a subscriber or something - or maybe they consider it NCLT and cover it, if at all, elsewhere.

Best wishes, and thank you for The E-Sylum. It is interesting reading even if it is seldom in my specialty.

Sorry for the confusion over the 2011 and 2012 issues of coins. They are two different coins and Pabitra had sent me images of both coins, but I'd only illustrated one of them in The E-Sylum. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: JULY 14, 2013 : 2012 Finland 5 Euros Wildman Catalog Number (

Coin Twins: Vermontensium Pillarium

Fred Michaelson writes:

The E-Sylum keeps getting better and better and I've become a hopeless addict. Earlier today I opened up my cigar box full of old silver coins and had some fun with them. Suddenly I was struck by the similarity between a Two Reales piece and our own Vermont State Quarter. Now I must look for others.

Vermontensium Pillarium

I never thought of that connection before. Interesting. What other unintentional coin twin pairs exist out there? -Editor


Rich Hartzog forwarded these images from the Harper Series School & Family Readers: The First Reader, the Second book of Reading, 1860. Thanks! This is a book from the dawn of American numismatics, which blossomed after the introduction of small cents in 1857. This illustrates one way the population was educated about the new coins. -Editor

Harper's Reader The New Cent Harper's Reader Money Lesson


RENAISSANCE OF AMERICAN COINAGE: Wizard Coin Supply is the official distributor for Roger Burdette's three volume series that won NLG Book of the Year awards for 2006, 2007 and 2008. Contact us for dealer or distributor pricing at .


In his earlier Coin World column, Dave Bowers wrote:

Now in print, John J. Ford, Jr., and the “Franklin Hoard” — containing extensive Ford correspondence, invoices and other material — reveals that Ford created many fabrications — saying one thing about the pedigree or origin of a newly discovered item to one buyer and something different to another buyer.

The John J. Ford Jr. delineated by Karl Moulton is not the John that I thought I knew.

I still like to think that John was very good to me over a long period of time. He helped me with much research in Colonials, early American coins, tokens and other specialties. And, without question, his New Netherlands catalogs were and are magnificent. Let me suggest that he was 90 percent good for the hobby and 10 percent negative and self-destructive.

Not surprisingly, some E-Sylum readers had different assessments. One would put the good/bad mix at 50/50. Here's what some others had to say. -Editor

Tom Fort writes:

I read last week's edition of The E-Sylum with great interest, but I am afraid that I must strongly disagree with Mr. Bowers’ statement that John Ford ‘was 90 percent good for the hobby and 10 percent negative and self-destructive.’ If Moulton’s monograph is correct — I have not read the book and its subject is far outside my area of interest and expertise — then Ford was a criminal forger who profited from the intentional deception of his clients over a number of years. This in turn casts into doubt the accuracy of all of his published works. [some years ago I wrote a list of those I was able to track down: “A bibliography of the published works of John J. Ford Jr.,” The Asylum 23 (2005), pp. 117-120.]

All of Ford’s work, whether in the form of auction catalogues or articles must now be checked due his criminal activity. After all, how can one trust the word of a man who created numismatic forgeries and sold them to clients? Whatever the depth of his knowledge, Ford used it to fool collectors, dealers and researchers so that he might profit from these deceptions. The damage he inflicted on clients (financial) and researchers (intellectual), is incalculable. Moulton’s book portrays Ford as a highly knowledgeable confidence man. The fact that Mr. Bowers and others still respect Ford and his work is evidence that the con is still working.

David Gladfelter writes:

I don’t think there will ever be a “final word” on John J. Ford. Jr.

This person was a respected numismatist who built a unique collection, memorialized in 21+ elaborate catalogs that advanced the state of the art of auction cataloging. John W. Adams has called him “world-class”. Yet, according to facts now public, Ford did engage in dishonest conduct, and on top of that, did deceive those who were duped by his acts.

It’s easy for one to get up on a high horse to protest, but Ford is not the only respected numismatist with feet of clay. Walter Breen and R. H. Burnie immediately come to mind. The ANA Code of Ethics requires its members “to represent a numismatic item to be genuine only when, to the best of [his/her] knowledge and belief, it is authentic.” The Code requires dealer members “to not knowingly handle for resale forgeries, counterfeits, unmarked copies, altered coins or other spurious numismatic merchandise that is not clearly labeled as such.” In my experience, in virtually every numismatic transaction in which I have participated, these principles have been followed. Of course, you must know your subject to take part in such transactions.

So what value does one place on honesty and truthfulness? To try to answer that question is like trying to nail the proverbial jello to the wall. Anyone’s factual representations should be taken as open to scrutiny – in numismatics we are correcting errors all the time. Of course fraud should be exposed. So agree with Ford where he’s right. As for his deceptions, the chips are now falling.

Michael Sanders writes:

After reading the review of the book about John J. Ford and the counterfeit western coins and ingots I was really depressed. Rumors have circulated for years about the bogus nature of these items and Ford's involvement in their marketing. So Ford was a counterfeiter. I thought about my friendship with Walter Breen who turned out to be a pedophile. When you add all of the coin dealers and promoters from the past that were self-serving manipulators and outright liars, I saw the dark side of our beloved hobby.

Then the sun began to shine. I began to think about all of those involved in Numismatics today. Yes, there are some crooked individuals out to make a buck at the expense of others. However, virtually all of the numismatists that I come in contact today with are honest and trustworthy. They are more than willing to share their knowledge and experience even though there is no immediate profit for them.

It is amazing how the charlatans are weeded out and the honest people remain, continuing to grow and prosper. Bravo to the good guys (and women)!

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: DAVE BOWERS' FINAL WORD ON JOHN J. FORD (


Donn Pearlman forwarded a press release (and some nice photos) from PCGS about the display of the Nova Constellatio pattern set at the upcoming ANA convention near Chicago. This is old news now, but we've discussed these coins at length in the past - they're an extremely important set of early American coins that every numismatist should be familiar with, and I love illustrating them whenever I can. If you're at the show, make a point to take a few minutes to see these coins. -Editor

Nova Constellatio pattern 5 Units

Nova Constellatio pattern 100 Units

Nova Constellatio pattern 500 Units Type 1

Nova Constellatio pattern 1000 Units

A unique set of four 1783 Nova Constellatio patterns, insured for $15 million, will be displayed by Professional Coin Grading Service ( and Beverly Hills dealer Kevin Lipton on behalf of the coins' anonymous current owner at the Chicago American Numismatic Association World's Fair of Money, August 13 - 17, 2013. The one copper and three silver coins were recently certified by PCGS and the exhibit will be at the PCGS booth (#701) at the ANA convention.

"The Nova Constellatio coins arguably are the first patterns for a United States coinage system, and this set of four is one of the great treasures of United States numismatics," said David Hall, a PCGS Co-Founder and President of Collectors Universe, Inc. (NASDAQ: CLCT).

"I had not personally seen three of these coins since the famous 1979 Garrett sale, and I’d never before seen the copper piece. Holding the four coins was an amazing experience. I just couldn’t stop looking at them, and my mind kept imagining what it was like in America in 1783," explained Hall.

"The denomination indicated on them is simply 'Units.' They were the brainchild of Robert Morris, the Superintendent of Finance during the Confederation period."

The 1783-dated Nova Constellatio patterns in the display will be the unique copper 5 Units, graded PCGS PR66BN; one of three known silver 100 Units (known as a "Mark"), PCGS PR66; the unique Type 1 silver 500 Units ("Quint'), PCGS PR65+; and the unique silver 1000 Units, PCGS PR65+.

"It was a great pleasure to examine these coins. We hope that this pleasure now can be shared by many others at the ANA. Not only are these coins important historically, but they have been carefully preserved and remain in pristine condition. PCGS is very pleased to have been chosen to authenticate and grade these magnificent pieces," said PCGS President Don Willis.

"Three of the coins in the display -- the 100 Units, the Mark and the Quint -- trace their pedigrees back to Charles Thomson, the Secretary of the Continental Congress. All four in the display were once owned by John J. Ford, Jr., one of the most important American numismatists of the 20th century."

"The 5 Units was not known to still exist until it was discovered in a collection in France in 1977 and eventually purchased by Ford the following year. Ford purchased the other three Nova Constellatio patterns at the November 1979 Garrett Collection auction," explained Willis.

The current, anonymous collector acquired the historic four-coin set in 2007 from the Ford Family Trust in a private transaction through Stack's, according to Lipton who is representing the owner.



In recent weeks we've discussed J.V. McDermott and his 1913 Liberty Nickel. Today the nickel resides in the collection of the American Numismatic Association, where it was donated by Aubrey and Adeline Bebee. Here's an account of the donation by John and Nancy Wilson, with illustrations of the auction catalog where the nickel was last sold. Thanks. -Editor

1967 ANA sale catalog cover We think readers will like the three attached images. One is of the 1967 catalog cover. The second has information along with a photo of J. V. holding the nickel. This page also has personal autographs of Aubrey Bebee and his wife Adeline Bebee. We received the catalog from Gene Johnson. His autograph is also on the page.

The last image is page 2241 which contained the nickel. The autographs of the Bebee's were obtained in 1989 in a room at the Colorado Springs, Colorado - Broadmoor Hotel. A party was held there honoring the Bebee's.

J.V. McDermott and 1913 Liberty Nickel 1913 Liberty Nickel lot description

We can still remember ANA Museum Director Bob Hoge coming into the room carrying a briefcase with the nickel inside. Everyone there had a chance to hold the nickel. It was at this ANA Coin Show that the nickel was donated to the ANA Museum. We took a picture of Aubrey holding up the nickel. This photo was later turned into a slide and would have been part of one of our educational programs on Numismatic Luminaries.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: MORE MEMORIES OF J.V. MCDERMOTT (


Jim Duncan of New Zealand writes:

I see Heritage has a Dollar for sale - but there's no information provided about it. I don't know the Greensboro Collection, and can't relate it back to "The Fantastic 1804 Dollar". Do you have any information? Can you relate it back to the book?

Well, Noah Fleisher of Heritage forwarded a press release on their August 8th Chicago sale, featuring the Mickley 1804 dollar. -Editor

Mickley 1804 dollar There is no other coin in American numismatics with as storied and famous a history as the Class I 1804 $1, of which only eight exist. Heritage Auctions will be offering the Mickley-Hawn-Queller specimen of the 1804 $1, graded PR62 by both PCGS and NGC, from The Greensboro Collection, Part IV, as the lead lot in its Platinum Night event on Friday, Aug. 9, the centerpiece of the company’s Aug. 8-10 U.S. Coins Signature® Auction in Rosemont, IL.

“The Class I 1804 $1 is the undisputed King of American coins,” said Greg Rohan, President of Heritage Auctions, “and it is always an event when one of them shows up for auction. It’s the rare chance for a top collector to add their name, or the name of their collection, to a history that will never diminish in importance. It is, in many ways, numismatic immortality for whoever comes out on top, and we expect there will be many vying for that honor.”

It is widely believed that the 1804 $1 was not minted until about 1834, when the State Department ordered special sets of the coins struck specifically for diplomatic purposes. Records indicated that several of the Class II and Class III 1804 silver dollars were minted after that. In fact, Mint records from 1804 indicated a delivery figure of 19,570 silver dollars, though it is commonly held in numismatic circles that these were all leftover coins dated 1803.

The press release doesn't give any background on this particular 1804 dollar, so the articles appearing in the popular press don't, either. That requires a little more legwork. There's The Fantastic 1804 Dollar book, of course, where the MIckley specimen is described on p122. As noted in the press release, the coin was later sold in the Queller auction, and luckily a great Heritage pamphlet about the dollar is available on Google Books, and the catalog description is still available on the Heritage site - see the links below. The Queller pamphlet description is better than the present auction lot description, which lumps all the 1804 dollars and their pedigrees together into a giddy orgy of collective wonderfulness.

The specimen is named for Philadelphia collector Joseph J. Mickley. It was auctioned in 1867 by dealer Elliot Woodward and bought by William A. Lillendahl. Subsequent owners were dealer Edward Cogan, William Sumner Appleton, the Massachusetts Historical Society, Reed Hawn and David Queller.

Probably the biggest trove of information on the dollars is Q. David Bowers' 1999 book, The Rare Silver Dollars Dated 1804 and the Exciting Adventures of Edmund Roberts. -Editor

To read the complete article, see: The Mickley-Hawn-Queller 1804 Silver Dollar (

To read the Queller sale description, see: HNAI the Queller Family Collection, 1804 Silver Dollar


Last week's issue was such a whopper I ran out of time to write up my numismatic diary. So here goes, with the help of fellow Nummis Nova attendees Tom Kays and Aaron Packard. The monthly meeting of my Northern Virginia numismatic social group was held last Tuesday, July 9th at Ted's Montana Grill in Balston, VA (near Arlington). Mike Packard was our host.

At my request he'd picked al location near the Metro to accommodate an out of town guest, a mystery stranger none of us had ever met. I arrived first and took a seat in our private room in the back. Gene Brandenburg arrived next, inspected the wine list and ordered a couple bottles.

After exchanging a few texts to learn his whereabouts, my phone rang and I stepped outside to meet Matt R., an E-Sylum web site visitor who shared images of his collection of Central Intelligence Agency medals. Figuring him for a spook who worked at CIA HQ in Langley, near where many of our dinners are held, I invited him to join us sometime. He said he'd plan to, but I was wrong about his location - he'd have to travel here. And this month he did, taking a train to Union Station and then the Metro to the restaurant.

CIA medal Special Activities Division obverse CIA medal Special Activities Group reverse
One of Matt R.'s CIA medals

We met outside and talked for a while. He had his whole collection with him, and when we got back to the table he started laying it out - one rare medal after another. I brought a couple recently-purchased CIA medals of mine. He already had these, but agreed mine were nice.

Matt's not a numismatist like most E-Sylum readers, but he has an eye for detail. And like a top numismatist, he knows the diagnostics of real and fake CIA medals. There are a lot of fakes out there, especially on eBay. Viewing his collection and listening to his commentary was a real education.

CIA Distinguished Career Intelligence Medal obverse CIA Distinguished Career Intelligence Medal reverse
My Recent Purchase: CIA Distinguished Career Intelligence Medal

CIA Medal of Merit obverse CIA Medal of Merit reverse
My Recent Purchase: CIA Medal of Merit

Other attendees included Dave Schenkman, Joe Levine, Lenny Goldberg, Roger Burdette, Eric Schena, Jon Radel and Tom Kays. Eric is preparing a talk on token denominations for the kid's event at the upcoming Annandale coin show. I'll be on vacation with my family, and Jon and Tom talked with him about the logistics and will be there to help out.

Tom Kays writes:

Massachusetts Artillery button struck on 1802 Large Cent There were two themes for the dinner in Ballston; to either bring Government Service Medals / Military Challenge Coins (which we learned included a nice assortment of CIA awards), or simply bring something you like. Mike Packard showed us one of his favorite items, which I especially liked, since it serves collectors in three camps - War of 1812 buffs, military relic collectors of uniform buttons, and numismatists. He showed a large copper, one-piece, flat button, struck for the Massachusetts Artillery from the War of 1812 (Albert MS-18) struck over an 1802 large cent (Sheldon-232). The cent host showed clearly on the shank side, enough to identify the type. Neat.

As for the primary collecting topic of the night, few Government Service Medals were to be seen outside of Matt R’s impressive array. I brought some of my wife’s Army awards including a chain of command string, from Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Environmental Security, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations and Environment, to the Garrison Commander for Fort Belvoir, Virginia. These are most difficult to collect, since they must be earned through recognition for individual and special Government Service, by top brass, for work visible above one’s day-to-day duties and outside one’s organization.

Having been awarded to an individual, they mean so much more than anything purchased off of eBay. Most will never be sold by the recipients. Perhaps they will begin to turn up in estates in the future, but for now this is a difficult field in which to amass a large collection. Each service medal is made to order, with only a few tens or hundreds made of each type. As with the English Provincial Token Coinage of the 19th Century, captured by Dalton and Hamer after a century of study, it may take decades before advanced collectors create a Comprehensive Guide to 20th and 21st Century U.S. Government Service Medals. Until then most every example that can be obtained should be considered interesting and potentially important.

Under Secretary of Defense medal Under Secretary of Defense medal
Under Secretary of Defense medal for Environmental Security

Garrison Commander's Award Garrison Commander's Award
Garrison Commander's Award For Excellence medal

Assistant Secretary of the Army medal Assistant Secretary of the Army medal
Assistant Secretary of the Army medal

Aaron Packard I brought several examples of tokens to the meeting. His notes and images appear below.


Smith & Hartmann Engravers:
Several examples hailed from the die-sinking firm of Smith & Hartmann, a company with a legacy that traced its roots all the way back to Richard Trested's business in 1820s New York City. The story of Richard Trested, and his legacy of successive die-sinking firms can be found here: inking-legacy/


Packard Kentucky Scrip:
The second set of specimens hailed from Packard, Kentucky. Packard was a company mining town established around the dawn of the 20th century. Its life was short lived; the town existed only until 1946 when Mahan-Jellico ceased mining operations there. Nothing remains of the town in present time, and the land it sat upon is in private hands. The story of Packard, Kentucky can be found here:

Our food was excellent and conversation (and drinks) flowed freely. Dave Schenkman and I told some jokes as everyone was getting ready to leave. Then I walked outside with Matt R. One of the items passed around the table had caught his eye - a hobo nickel. Perhaps he has a new collecting theme on the horizon. I thanked him for coming so far just for our dinner meeting. It was a delight to meet him and view his medal collection in person; it was a great opportunity to see these rare items all in one place. Then he slipped away into the night, returning to an undisclosed location.

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see: CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY MEDALS (


Everything you need for your currency collection. Click here for free shipping over $50.


Fred Reed published an article recently in Coins Magazine about an interesting Naramore-style card bearing the imprint of New York City photographer G.W. Thorne. Here's an excerpt. -Editor

Thorne card Last fall I added the item shown this month to my collection, and I was excited to get it. Not only is it a Lincoln item, and I gravitate toward Lincoln images, but it is also linked to my interest in anti-counterfeiting measures, about which I wrote several hundred thousand words published in this periodical’s sister publication Bank Note Reporter over the years. It also dovetails my interest in photographic history.

It was also previously unknown to me and also to every other “expert” who I could wrangle an opinion out of.

This slightly larger than CDV-sized calling card was printed and circulated by a 19th-century New York City photographer. Some readers may already have noticed that it bears resemblance to the Naramore “Souvenir” United States Treasury Note and National Bank Note cards that bore approved “photographic copies of the circulating notes issued by Act of Congress, taken from proof impressions on file in the U.S. Treasury Department.”

These were issued as a 18-note card deck or mounted on a wall poster to assist bank tellers and merchants in determining whether the notes passing through their change drawers were legitimate or counterfeit bills.

Incredibly, Naramore, an enterprising Connecticut entrepreneur, secured a patent on these one-fourth size reproductions of real currency on July 19, 1866, and also permission to publish them from U.S. Treasury Secretary Hugh McCulloch 11 days later.

Naramore’s cards were printed in New York City by Maverick, Stephen & Co., and published and copyrighted by the American Photograph Co. of Bridgeport, Conn.

I have made a concerted study of these items as part of my interest in counterfeiting in the Civil War era, as have other collectors.

All Naramore cards are scarce and highly prized. For me the gem of the litter is, of course, the Naramore reproduction of the $10 greenback with its Charles Burt Lincoln portrait.

We know that some very rare Naramore cards bear the additional imprint of a New Haven, Conn. tailor by the name of T[homas] Hurle on the face of the Naramore cards.

It reads: “T. HURLE, Merchant Tailor, 448 Chapel St., opposite New Haven Hotel.” He advertised “Gent’s First Class Garments Made to Order in the Best Style,” and “Gent’s Furnishing Goods,” and “Canes and Umbrellas.”

The Hurle cards are about as rare as hens teeth, however this new G.W. Thorne card is completely new to the literature and may, in fact, be unique.

I've got three of the T. Hurle cards in my collection. Here are images of them. The fourth image is the back of the card, which they share in common. -Editor

T. Hurle Naramore card $5

T. Hurle Naramore card $10

T. Hurle Naramore card $50

T. Hurle Naramore card back

To read the complete article, see: New York Photographer: Legal Tender Business Cards (


Bill Rosenblum writes:

I'm sure interested parties are already aware of this and they have applied or will apply soon but here is the announcement for the Numismatics position at the Smithsonian.

Thanks. I hadn't seen this yet. E-Sylum readers are encouraged to apply. What a great opportunity for a numismatist! Here's an excerpt. -Editor

Smithsonian logo

This position is located in Division of Armed Forces History, National Numismatic Collection within the National Museum of American History (NMAH). The employee is responsible for carrying out the research, collections management, exhibitions development and education mission of the museum.


  • Pass Pre-employment Background Investigation
  • May need to complete a Probationary Period
  • Maintain a Bank Account for Direct Deposit/Electronic Transfer
  • Males born after 12/31/59 must be registered with Selective Service.
  • A copy of your Curriculum Vitae (CV) and unofficial college transcript(s).
  • Requesting a writing sample of no more than 12 pages.


  • Researches American history through objects and collections as well as traditional sources.
  • Collects and manages large and diverse collections.
  • Plans and develop exhibition concepts and content as a team member in specialty area and as part of team for broader subject areas.
  • Has previous professional scholarly experience within the discipline of American Numismatics. Understands monetary devices and their systems, their economies, and their historical context.

To read the complete job description, see: Job Title: Museum Curator (Numismatics) (/


The Only Grading Book Sponsored and Endorsed by the ANA! The Official American Numismatic Grading Standards for United States Coins has been updated and revised—now completely in full color. Get a sneak preview at the World’s Fair of Money in August, and pre-order your copy today at (or call 800-546-2995). $19.95, with free shipping on pre-orders.


Via the Explorator newsletter comes this article about a Roman coin find in Scotland going on display as part of a larger exhibit of found artifacts. -Editor

Ashkirk Roman coin hoard A MEDIEVAL heraldic badge worn by a diplomat negotiating between Scottish and English forces during the reign of King Edward I was among the treasure trove artefacts unearthed in Scotland in the past year.

A hoard of coins used to bribe hostile clans after the Romans retreated from Scotland were also handed to the Crown.

There were 316 cases of historical items being handed over to the Treasure Trove Unit in 2012-13, up from 152 the previous year. The unit aims to ensure significant or important finds are kept for the nation and go on show in museums.

Among the other significant finds was the coin hoard of 219 denarii dated circa AD200. The Crown said the date of the deposition would suggest it might be connected with the bribing of the native population to which the Roman Empire resorted when it had withdrawn from Scotland. The coins have gone to the Scottish Borders Museum Service.

To read the complete article, see: Scotland coining in it out on the treasure trail (


CNN reported on a find of Spanish gold coins in six feet of water just 100 feet from the Florida shore. -Editor

1715 gold coin find "Constantly searching for a needle in a haystack" is what Brent Brisben says he does for a living, and on days like Saturday, the payoff makes the work worthwhile.

Brisben owns the 1715 Treasure Fleet Queen's Jewels salvage company. This weekend, he and his crew of three found quite a few "needles" in their oceanic "haystack" -- 48 gold coins that date back 300 years, to be exact.

The coins, called escudos, were part of the treasure aboard a fleet of 11 Spanish galleons wrecked by a hurricane off the Florida coast on July 31, 1715. It was this famous shipwreck that gave this part of Florida its nickname, The Treasure Coast.

The coins appear to be in good condition, and still have some legible dates and markings. The oldest bears the date 1697; the youngest is dated 1714. The 48 coins have an estimated value of $200,000 to $250,000, said Brisben. Perhaps the most surprising thing about the expedition is that the coins were found just 100 feet from the shoreline, in only six feet of water.

Though Brisben admits his work is exciting, he says it's not like you see in the movies. "You may expect to see a big galleon on its side with treasure chests overflowing, but it's not like that at all," he said.

"With shipwrecks that old, most of the organic material like the actual wood of the ship is gone, due to deterioration. What's left are mostly metals and pottery... china, silver buckles, bronze cannons and gold coins."

To read the complete article, see: Gold! $250K in centuries-old coins found (

Dick Hansom forwarded an article from The Daily Mail with several great pictures. Be sure to read the whole thing online. -Editor

Florida treasure coin

Florida treasure coins

To read the complete article, see: Divers find $250,000 in gold coins among the wrecks of 11 Spanish ships that sank off Florida coast 300 years ago (


Dick Hanscom forwarded this article from the Daily Mail with some great pictures of the recovery of a gigantic haul of silver from the WWII ship SS Gairsoppa. Thanks. -Editor

SS Gairsoppa silver haul A US deep-sea exploration company says it has recovered about 48 tons of silver from a British cargo ship that was sunk by a torpedo during World War II.

The haul comes from the SS Gairsoppa, which was hit by a torpedo from a German U-boat about 300 miles off Ireland's coast in 1941. It now sits 15,420ft deep.

Salvage firm Odyssey Marine Exploration said it is the heaviest and deepest recovery of precious metals from a shipwreck ever made.

So far, workers have brought up more than 1,200 silver bars, or about 1.4 million troy ounces, worth about £23.7 million (about $37 million).

The company is under contract with the British Government and will get to keep 80 per cent of the haul after expenses. The remaining 20 per cent will go to the Treasury.

SS Gairsoppa was steaming home from India in 1941 while in the service of the Ministry of War Transport when she was torpedoed by a Nazi U-boat.

She sank in British waters about 300 miles off the south west coast of Ireland. Only one of her 84 crew members survived.

To read the complete article, see: A £23m payday: U.S. company recovers 48 tons of silver from British wartime shipwreck off Irish coast (


This week's Featured Web Page is a discussion page from the web site on a 1918 10 Stadt Duren Iron token.

In WWI Germany at the time money was being horded thus creating a lack of currency in circulation so towns and cities minted their own local money to be used just in that city or town. There were probably thousands of different types of bills and hundreds of different types of tokens minted. It is Notgeld or 'emergency money'...some of the bills and tokens from this time have great designs, kind of like the earlier Conder Tokens in Britain. This one is no exception.

This coin was minted in Iron as other metals were probably in short supply and it was minted for the city of Duren...Stadt meaning city. This Token was probably only used in Duren and from what I have read even these were probably hoarded as well...

1918 stadt duren iron token

PREV        NEXT        V16 2013 INDEX        E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

Back to top
NBS ( Web