The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization devoted to the study and enjoyment of 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 $20 to addresses in the U.S., $25 for First Class mail, and $30 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:



Wayne Homren

New subscribers this week include: Jeremy Cheek, courtesy of David Powell. Welcome aboard! We now have 1,822 subscribers.

This week we open with an update from Kolbe-Fanning, three new books, reviews of two others, plus a nice history of Numismatic Scrapbook Magazine.

Other topics include dealer Joseph Barnet, banknote designer Henry Steiner, the Denver Federal Reserve, another Nobel Prize medal coming to market, the Stack's Schmandt sale, and Harvey Stack's new CoinWeek video interviews.

To learn more about Nomismata, the mystery of the moving Mint Marks, Arlie Slabaugh, gun portholes, an 1815 time capsule, Underground Railroad tokens, Orphanage tokens, tokens from homes for inebriates, and saltpeter money, read on. Have a great week, everyone!

Wayne Homren
Editor, The E-Sylum


David Fanning forwarded this note about the February 28th Kolbe & Fanning online sale. Thanks. -Editor

Kolbe & Fanning Numismatic Booksellers wish to remind clients that their February 28 online sale has been posted, and that bidders may browse the sale’s contents through the firm’s online bidding portal at

The first in what is expected to be a series of smaller online numismatic book auctions, the Feb. 28 sale focuses on North American numismatic literature, and features 380 lots ranging in estimated value from $20 to $2000. All lots are illustrated.

Some sale highlights include:

1896 Numismatist Thirty-one lots of pre-WWII volumes of The Numismatist, including 1896 and 1897 (lots 3 through 33).

Early ANA sales, including rare catalogues for 1908, 1910, 1922 and 1933 (lots 34, 35, 37 and 39).

A number of early Edward Cogan catalogues, a plated copy of the Mackenzie Sale (lot 121) and a lovely 1859 Cogan storecard designed by Robert Lovett, Jr. (lot 116).

A copy of the 1893 Frossard & Hays volume with a rare authorial inscription by Frossard (lot 167).

Betts sale catalog A hand-priced and plated copy of Lyman Low’s catalogue of the Benjamin Betts collection (lot 228).

A 1914 handwritten letter, signed, from Hillyer Ryder on the subject of Massachusetts coppers (lot 278).

Hillyer Ryder letter The online sale is available now for browsing and absentee bidding at A PDF of the catalogue can be downloaded for the convenience of the reader through the firm’s regular website at While bidders are encouraged to bid through the online platform, bids may be submitted through the traditional methods as long as any such absentee bids are received by Kolbe & Fanning by the day before the sale. Absentee bids may be placed directly online at any time prior to the lot being sold. On Saturday, Feb. 28, beginning at noon eastern time, the sale will be conducted as a live internet auction.

Customers who have participated online in any of Kolbe & Fanning’s recent sales will be familiar with the process. Others are encouraged to set up an iCollector account through and see for themselves how easy it is. Bidders wishing to participate in the live sale are strongly encouraged to register in advance.

Any questions may be directed to David Fanning at or by phone at (614) 414-0855. We look forward to your participation.


Dennis Tucker of Whitman Publications forwarded this press release on the latest edition of the classic Red Book. Thanks! -Editor

2016_Cover_RedBook_HC The newest edition of the Guide Book of United States Coins (known to collectors as the “Red Book”) will debut at the Whitman Baltimore Coin and Collectibles Expo on March 26, 2015. The 69th edition, with a 2016 cover date, can be pre-ordered online (including at and after the Expo will be available from booksellers and hobby shops nationwide.

The Red Book, used by coin collectors to identify and value their coins, prices 7,700 entries in up to nine grades each, with more than 32,900 retail valuations in total. Keeping up with the latest coins from the U.S. Mint, the 69th edition has the newest cents, nickels, dimes, National Park quarters, half dollars, Native American dollars, Presidential dollars, commemoratives, official Mint coin sets, and bullion coins. The 69th edition includes 94 new coin issues and 8 new sets, with information about all formats of the 1964–2014 50th-anniversary Kennedy half dollars (including the .9999 fine gold version). Mintages of modern coins have been updated across the board using the latest government data.

A team of experts led by Senior Editor Kenneth Bressett has updated and expanded the pre-federal section on Confederatio coppers and related speculative patterns, with more photographs, new research, and three times as many pricing entries. Expansions are also seen in the addition of Very Fine pricing for Shield nickels, a new entry for the controversial 1859 Indian Head cent with experimental reverse, and a description of the special Uncirculated Mint sets of 1942–1946.

As in past years, collectors will benefit from the Red Book’s recent auction records provided for significant rare coins. Listed throughout the charts are more than 170 notable auction results. Combined with the listed retail prices, the auction data help advanced collectors understand the modern market for high-end rarities.

In addition, the appendix of the “Top 250 U.S. Coin Prices Realized at Auction” has been fully updated. Since the last edition 14 more coins have broken the $1 million mark, for a new total of 79. This includes four new coins that auctioned for more than $2 million apiece since the 68th-edition Red Book debuted one year ago.

In a promising measure of the health of the hobby, the Red Book’s numismatic bibliography includes 26 standard references published within the past five years.

The cover of the spiralbound 69th edition shows three beautiful and historic American coins: a Draped Bust copper large cent, a Liberty Seated silver dollar, and a modern Native American dollar.

2016_Cover_RB_ANA_SpecialEd In addition to the regular editions of the Red Book, a special limited-edition hardcover with a unique design will celebrate the 125th anniversary of the American Numismatic Association. The special edition will be offered by the ANA as part of its 2015 Annual Appeal, launching in October.

A Guide Book of United States Coins, 69th edition
448 pages
Full color
By R.S. Yeoman; senior editor Kenneth Bressett; research editor Q. David Bowers;
valuations editor Jeff Garrett
$14.95 spiralbound
$16.95 hardcover
$19.95 spiralbound hardcover
$29.95 Large Print Edition
$49.95 expanded Deluxe Edition (1,504 pages)
$69.95 leather-bound Limited Edition (500 copies)
[price TBD] ANA 125th Anniversary Edition (500 copies)

For more information, or to order, see:


Here are the latest publications on monetary history from Georges Depeyrot. -Editor

M183-cover 1..1 M184-cover 1..1

Moneta 183
J. Ch. Moesgaard, Les trésors monétaires médiévaux découverts en Haute-Normandie (754-1514), Collection Moneta, 183, Wetteren, 2015, 308 p. ISBN 978-94-91384-51-6

For more information, or to order, see:

Moneta 184
Documents and Studies on 19th c. Monetary History, Korea, Le commerce de la Corée selon Victor Collin de Plancy ministre plénipotentiaire (1887-1906), S. Michon, préf. de G. Depeyrot, Collection Moneta, 184, Wetteren, 2015, 152 p. ISBN 978-94-91384-52-3

For more information, or to order, see:

Stacks-Bowers E-Sylum ad 2015-02-15 Pogue


Ursula Kampmann published a review of the latest edition of Spink‘s Coins of England in the February 19, 2015 issue of CoinsWeekly. Here's an excerpt. Be sure to read the complete version online. -Editor

Coins of England 50th ed Pre-decimal Coins of England 50th ed Decimal

Standard Catalogue of British Coins, 2 volumes, 50th edition. Spink, London, 2015. Vol. 1: Coins of England & The United Kingdom. Pre-Decimal Issues: 536 p., 14.3 x 22.3 cm, Hardcover. ISBN: 978-1-907427-43-5. / Vol. 2: Coins of England & The United Kingdom. Decimal Issues: 157 p., 13.7 x 21.6 cm, Paperback. ISBN: 978-1-907427-44-2. Both volumes throughout illustrated in colour. Both volumes together: GBP 30.

The cover of Spink’s “Coins of England & The United Kingdom” 50th edition features the sovereign that was struck in 1887, to celebrate the 50th reigning jubilee of Queen Victoria. Such a sovereign is the prize five readers of the new catalog can win. This is just one example of what the editors have come up with to mark this incredible anniversary.

Spink‘s Standard Catalogue of English Coins harks back to the price guides published by coin dealer B. A. Seaby before the War. These lists became quite popular with the collectors who started to use them as reference for their own coins. In 1945, the first official edition of “The Standard Catalogue of British Coins” was released. Back then, it still covered Scotland, Ireland and the Isles as well until the material became so vast that a new catalog was developed, specifically for those areas.

Hence, the current “Coins of England” deals with the coinage of England and the United Kingdom from Antiquity to the Present. The range covers Celtic coins, coinages related to Roman Britain until the Migration Period, Anglo-Saxons and early Norman coinages. The material becomes more overseeable with the Norman Kings after the conquest of 1066. All royal coinages are listed here, in the order of the succeeding kings.

On the occasion of the 50th edition, the editors treated themselves to a second volume and hence evaded the problem known from the many editions of the Royal Mint’s catalog which became heavier with each year. The Standard Catalogue is divided into before and after the decimal system, with both catalogs being distributed together (yet).

In short, the latest Spink Standard Catalogue is a must-have for everyone dealing with English coins. That this area has gained a great number of new collectors is evidenced by the considerable price increase of British coins that was to be witnessed in the previous months. To all true bibliomaniacs, Spink offers something very special: of the 50th edition there is a collectors’ edition available that features a golden frontispiece, gilt edge and other carefully designed details.

To read the complete article, see:
50th Edition of Spink‘s Standard Catalogue “Coins of England” (

As noted earlier, Charles Davis is distributing the new Coins of England in the United States. See his web site for more information: -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:


Ursula Kampmann also published a review of an important new work on Byzantine coinage in the February 19, 2015 issue of CoinsWeekly. Here's an excerpt. Be sure to read the complete version online. -Editor

Corpus of the Nomismata Franz Füeg, Corpus of the Nomismata from Basil II to Eudacia 976-1067. Classical Numismatic Group, Lancaster (Pennsylvania) / London, 2014. 161 p., 21,3 x 29,7 cm, figures and graphics in black and white, Hardcover. CD-ROM attached. ISBN: 978-0-9898254-9-8. $125

Franz Füeg is one of the most meticulous researchers currently working on the Byzantine coinage. His new opus commands deep respect from every reader, acknowledging the care with which the author has treated the relevant material. With this impressive publication Franz Füeg provides a die corpus for the nomismata from 976 to 1067 that accesses not only the objects in museums collections but all specimens sold in auction sales as well.

The diligence and the analytic intellect that are necessary to finish such a well-wrought work have to be admired in themselves. Together with his first book that dealt with the nomismata coinage from 713 to 976 (the addenda to which are part of this volume), Franz Füeg has exhaustively researched the Byzantine gold coinage except for the semisses and tremisses of the 8th and 9th centuries.

Let’s face it: anyone writing an auction sale catalog and being in a hurry to find a reference on a coin will be out of sorts with Franz Füeg. It does take some time to identify the exact coin in his work, which makes every reader realize how complex the Byzantine coinage really is – despite the fact that the author has come up with good ideas to keep the actual catalog as lean as possible. He split it into the printed book with the die variants and their descriptions and the actual catalog containing all the accessed specimens – not in a printed format but on an CD-ROM that comes with it.

The most important element to dealers and collectors, however, is Füeg’s thorough list of forgeries he had come to know (an alarming number, by the way). Thanks to his extensive die study he was able to identify several objects as forgeries that could not have been detected with conventional techniques. If only one single forgery is not being bought after checking with the new Füeg then the book is already worth its prize!

The publication of Franz Füeg is a catalog that will still be a reference work in 100 years’ time. For his first volume the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres of the Institut de France awarded him the Prix DUCHALAIS in 2010. We are curious about how many prizes this second volume is going to win. We would award him a prize right away if we had one to give.

To read the complete article, see:
The Corpus of the Nomismata, 976-1067 (


David Alexander published an excellent article February 17, 2015 for CoinWeek about the history of Numismatic Scrapbook Magazine . Here's a short excerpt. Be sure to read the complete article online. -Editor

Numismatic Scrapbook Magazine

When Lee Hewitt planned his new magazine, it was going to be literally a “scrap book” offering excerpts from books published years before that were now long out of print and inaccessible to collectors of 1935. Then monthly news and notices were added to the mix when they could be obtained.

Volume 1, Number 1 appeared dated January 1935. It was a small (4 3/16 x 3 1/3 inches” eight-page publication boasting a bright yellow cover with bold scarlet sunburst enclosing NUMISMATIC/ SCRAPBOOK/ JANUARY 1935. Precisely 200 copies were printed, but by 1938 the year’s run totaled 524 pages. The first year saw new issues every two months but monthly appearance was soon the rule.

Subscriptions were $1 per year. The only serious competitor then existing was The Numismatist, journal of the American Numismatic Association (ANA), a kind of cross between an overgrown club publication and a learned journal.

Lee F. Hewitt recalled in June 1969 that in his magazine’s first year the ANA was 47 years old and had only 1,200 members. There were only 35 functioning coin clubs in the U.S. and perhaps a dozen significant, full-time coin dealers. He became an active member in the Chicago Coin Club and in 1939 helped found the Central States Numismatic Society (CSNS), first major regional coin organization.

A huge boost to Numismatic Scrapbook was the U.S. commemorative coin boom that came to a boil in 1935. American commemorative half dollars had first been issued in 1892, and continued to appear intermittently through 1934, when 50 cents was a still a respectable amount of money.

In 1935-1936 a commemorative madness erupted with dozens of subjects proposed and many actually getting through Congress on subjects ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous. Any modern collector has but to look in the Guidebook of United States Coins (the “Red Book”) to see how many 1936-dated commemoratives were actually issued.

Going monthly, Hewitt’s magazine grew to 5 x 7½ inch format. Its beige and light red cover now bore a fixed design with red script Numismatic Scrapbook MAGAZINE, America’s Authority on Coin Collecting over a large Morgan dollar obverse. The coin’s date 19—was blocked by a tablet announcing A monthly magazine for the Collector of Coins, Tokens, Medals and Paper Money. The issue date appeared at the bottom. This basic design was retained until 1969.

Lee Hewitt Internally, Hewitt separated editorial (written materials, articles and news) from the fat body of advertising that made the magazine marvelously profitable for decades. Each issue included a “Beginner’s Primer,” and each January boasted a “Crystal Ball” of predictions by dealers and a few collectors.

Critics sometimes sneered that the predictions were merely disguised advertising for what this or that dealer happened to have in stock. This overlooked such contributions as Miami dealer William Fox Steinberg’s mid-1950’s urging just after the 1950-D Jefferson nickel boom, “Don’t worry about how many nickels the Mint is going to make, just enjoy your coins and good health!”

Another Hewitt secret weapon was a brilliant young linotype operator named Arlie Slabaugh (born 1926) a deaf-mute whose unerring eye could tell him what space would be left blank by a story he was typesetting. His fast-moving mind and fingers would compose a short to fill the space before his type-setting reached the bottom of the column.

To read the complete article, see:
The Rise And Fall Of Numismatic Scrapbook Magazine (


Central States Numismatic Society (CSNS) Convention Chairman Kevin Foley forwarded this note for E-Sylum readers. -Editor

I am writing to ensure that numismatic authors are aware of the opportunity to participate in an authors’ book signing and sales booth at the upcoming 76th Anniversary Convention of the Central States Numismatic Society during our complimentary public admission hours on Thursday-Friday-Saturday April 23-24-25.

Inaugurated in 2014 to perpetuate the memory of numismatic literature dealer John Burns, the “John Burns Memorial Book Signing Booth” will give scheduled numismatic authors the opportunity to sell their books directly to the public without charge for the booth space. Authors will be able to have up to two separate one hour periods. Scheduling arrangements and reservations should be made by contacting me directly, either by calling (414) 807-0116 or via e-mail at

Our event site will be the Schaumburg Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center, located at 1551 North Thoreau Drive, Schaumburg, IL 60173.


AUTHORS AND PUBLISHERS: Are your books carried by Wizard Coin Supply? If not, contact us via with details.


Last week I mentioned in my Numismatic Diary that David Schenkman was looking for information on Joseph Barnet. Below is the token and envelope that sparked his question. Thanks, Dave. -Editor

Coal Creek token obverse Coal Creek token reverse

601-B500 envelope front 601-B500 envelope back (Joseph Barnet)

Dave Bowers writes:

Joe Barnet is well recorded in magazines of the 1930s and 1940s. “Abe Kosoff Remembers,” copy of which is not at hand as I send this e-mail, probably tells of him. He was a dealer and in the field of Civil War tokens a great resource.

Indeed - there are about a dozen listings for Barnet in the index of the 1981 book Abe Kosoff Remembers. The book is a compilation of Kosoff's Coin World columns. Dave passed along a number of facts about Barnet from his research file. A few are shown below. Thanks! -Editor

  • 1901-06: Listed in The Numismatist as new ANA member #304.
  • 1902-08: From The Numismatist: Barnet solicited want lists for 19th-century Proof coins
  • 1904-01-08: Issued catalogue of American and foreign coins, medals, tokens and fractional currency,

Don Erlenkotter writes:

Joseph Barnet was inducted into the Civil War Token Society Hall of Fame in 2003. He's listed on the page for the Hall of Fame on the CWTS Web site.

Here's the listing:

Joseph Barnet was a major collector and researcher of Civil War tokens during the first half of the 20th century. He is noted for bridging the years from Hetrich and Guttag to the Fulds. Barnet did extensive research into attempting to locate maverick Civil War merchants. He produced a supplement to Hetrich and Guttag’s work in 1943-44, updating that book and adding information previously unpublished. Barnet amassed a wonderfully diverse and high-grade collection of Civil War tokens, which eventually found its way to George and Melvin Fuld in 1948.

Don adds:

I did a bit of digging on Joseph Barnet and was able to come up with some documentation of his background.

The key piece of information is the 1940 census for Kings County, NY, which identifies him as a dealer in coins.

There's a genealogy for this family on which seems to be mostly correct. However, it misspells Joseph's name as "Jesue" as taken from the 1880 census. There's nothing more on him in this genealogy.

From several passenger lists on I found the information that Joseph Barnet was born in New York City on 18 June 1868. There's an entry in the New York City death index for Joseph Barnet, age 80, who died in Kings County, NY on 29 November 1948. This seems right for a man who phased out his numismatic activities in the mid to late 1940s. Obtaining a copy of the death certificate here would complete the documentation of this linkage.

Thanks! This is great information. -Editor

To read the complete page, see:
CWTS Hall Of Fame (


The Society of Medalist Medals
Creation medal obverse Dave Bowers writes:

The Society of Medalist medals, 1930 onward, are one of the greatest “hidden secrets” in numismatics. Sculptors, medalists, and others were given free will to create medals of their own design (not influenced by commerce or patrons, as usual). Offered for sale by Joe Levine (recently in the list you mention) and frequently on eBay, and often for less than $100 each, these are worth adding to any collection. Dave Alexander’s book on the subject, published by ANS (with my encouragement), tells all.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

Coin & Currency Institute Distributing Hungarian Wooden Medals
Regarding the wooden medals from Hungary, Jeff Starck of Coin World writes:

I just learned that distributor Coin & Currency Institute will offer the medals and keychains to North American buyers, for $9.95 and $12.50, respectively. To order, visit its website,

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

Shipping Books from Germany
From the British Airways Executive Club lounge at London’s Heathrow Airport, Numismatourist Howard Berlin writes:

On my last trip I had put 4 copies of my recent book in sealed mailing envelopes to be sent from Berlin to people (in Germany and Switzerland) I owed copies to. It was cheaper to mail from Germany to other parts of the world (7 euros, or about $9.50 per book) compared to $24-$25 the United States Postal Service charges (per book!). And this is without insurance or tracking. Then the TSA tore open every mailing envelope, I guess to see what was inside.

Well, I learned a lesson for the several books this time I had to mail to Greece, India and the UK – I left the books unpacked and pre-addressed the mailers, leaving them unsealed and separate from the books. The books arrived unharmed this time. Two of the books were sent (from London) to other parts of the UK, costing only £3.20 ($4.94) each.

The only downside was that until I actually could mail the books, I had to schlep them around. At almost 1.9 pounds each, the 5 books added an extra 9.5 pounds (20.5 kg) when I left home. You should note that from this experience, if you plan to carry any presents/gifts on any flight starting from the US, either to another US city or overseas, DON’T WRAP IT. Just leave it naked in the original box.

Although neither of us would recommend flying to Europe just mail things cheaper, it is an interesting option for frequent travelers like Howard. -Editor

Determining the Highest Value Banknote
Alan Luedeking writes:

I see nobody understood David Pickup's question properly. He wanted to know what is the world's highest priced currency in unit terms. Thus, for example, the one US dollar (USD) is 0.87822 Euros (EUR) and just 0.6503 British pounds (GBP) as of this writing. The most "valuable" currency I found was the terms of units per US Dollar was the Seborgan Luigino (SPL) at 0.16666 (or 6 dollars per Luigino) followed by the Kuwaiti Dinar (KWD) at 0.29618 units per USD, or 3.37637 USD per Dinar.

The best source for this information is XE's currency converter table, to be found here:

To use XE Currency Tables, just follow these simple instructions:
1. Select your base currency.
2. Set your preferred date.
3. Press "►" button

Well, this gets us closer, but we still need to map currency units to actual banknotes, by multiplying the value of the base unit by the denomination. If the Northumbrian Bango is worth 5 cents but their largest banknote is 2,500 Bangos, then the value of that note is more than the largest U.S. banknote, the $100 bill. I was hoping some economic publication might have a table laying that out for us. -Editor

Alan adds:

I believe the largest US banknote is $100,000, not $100. In any case, the $5,000 and $10,000 notes are larger too.

True. I think I would qualify the question to eliminate non-circulating notes like those and the British 100M pound note, but point taken. Speaking of large-denomination notes, see the next item from Phil Iverson. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: FEBRUARY 15, 2015 : Determining the Highest Value Banknote (

Binion’s Horseshoe Casino $10,000 Notes
Binion’s Horseshoe Casino at Long beach Expo1 Phil Iversen writes:

Sometime last year there were some articles about the million dollar exhibit in Las Vegas at Binion’s Horseshoe Casino. While going through a box of photos I found a couple of photographs of some of the $10,000 notes I took at the February 2000 Long Beach Expo. that a dealer had.

Binion’s Horseshoe Casino at Long beach Expo2

Thanks! -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:


From Denver comes this fun article about the "secrets" of the Denver Federal Reserve Branch. Here's an excerpt. Be sure to read the complete version online to see the gun portholes. -Editor

What building in downtown Denver, specifically on the 16th Street Mall, has billions in its basement?

It is the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, in Denver.

Denver Federal Reserve We took a tour inside and while we can't show you everything, here are 10 secrets of the Federal Reserve Bank.

Secret No. 1: While the building doesn't look like it, it has five stories. Two stories are underground and that's where the money is kept.

Secret No. 2: While we can't show you the basement vault, we can tell you it's the size of the entire building! It can hold approximately 2,450 cash containers.

Each container holds 300,000 notes, no matter the denomination. If each one was filled with $100 bills, it would add up to more than $73.5 billion!

Denver Fed shredded currency Secret No. 6: The Denver Federal Reserve bank DESTROYS $2 to $3 million in cash every day! But don't try Dumpster diving here. The money is shredded by the machines in the basement.

The shredded bills are bagged as souvenirs or shipped to a recycling facility where it is turned into compost. Visitors to the Money Museum get a bag for free.

Secret No. 9: While the Federal Reserve used to print $500 bills, $1,000 bills, $5,000 bills, $100,000 bills and the $10,000 bill seen here, it does not anymore. The largest bill printed today is the $100 bill.

10,000 bill at Denver Federal Reserve

Man, there are $10,000 bills floating around everywhere this week. The Denver Fed museum seems well worth a visit. Anyone been there lately? -Editor

To read the complete article, see:
CHECK THIS OUT: 10 secrets of the Federal Reserve Bank in Denver (

Heritage Newman Sale VI 2015-02-22


This must be the season for uncovering time capsules. Here's an excerpt from a Coin World story by Joe O'Donnell on a capsule unearthed this week in Baltimore. -Editor

Baltimore Washington Monument cornerstone2 Another centuries-old time capsule has been discovered during restoration work on a notable American building, and coins could very well be inside.

An original cornerstone of the Washington Monument in Baltimore, placed in 1815, that, based on records of the time, is believed to contain coins, paper items and a copper plate, was discovered on Feb. 16 and opened on Feb. 18.

“This has all unfolded very, very quickly,” said Cathy Rosenbaum of Mount Vernon Place Conservancy, the organization working to preserve the Washington Monument.

Rosenbaum said that during the opening, three glass jars with newspapers rolled up inside could be seen and were photographed. However, the cornerstone and its contents were too cold to begin removal, so whatever else is inside and under the jars has not yet been revealed.

Mount Vernon Place Conservancy does not have any information yet about the number or type of coins that are believed to be inside.

Conservators are currently developing a plan to remove the items from the cornerstone, Rosenbaum said, but no time frame has been announced.

Baltimore Washington Monument cornerstone Baltimore Washington Monument cornerstone glass jars

To read the complete article, see:
Granite cornerstone at Washington Monument discovered Feb. 16 and opened Feb. 18 (

Here is an excerpt from the original press release by the Mount Vernon Place Conservancy. -Editor

The laying of the cornerstone in 1815 was of national interest because Baltimore’s Washington Monument was the first American monument dedicated to the Father of American democracy. Interestingly, the cornerstone laying ceremony was well documented, but the location of the cornerstone was not mentioned, and its location had been lost to time. The stone was discovered while George Wilk, II, Project Superintendent for Lewis Contractors, was overseeing the digging of a pit for a sewage tank off the northeast corner of the building.

The cornerstone is a large square of granite with a marble lid. Its overall dimensions form a nearly-perfect cube measuring 24 inches. Conservators from the nearby Walters Art Museum will assist in removing the contents of the cornerstone. Accounts mention papers items and coinage, typical cornerstone offerings at the time. The condition of the items is unknown. As the cornerstone is well below grade, 200 years of dampness may have compromised their condition. After the cornerstone has been opened the contents will be taken to the nearby Walters Art Museum for safekeeping and conservation analysis while work on the Monument restoration continues.

To read the complete press release, see:
200-Year-Old Cornerstone Discovered During Baltimore’s Washington Monument Restoration (


The parade of Nobel Prize medals coming to market continues. -Editor

Simon Kuznets Nobel prize medal

The 1971 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences awarded to prominent economist Simon Kuznets will be auctioned by Nate D. Sanders Auctions on February 26. It is the first Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences to ever be auctioned and only the fifth Nobel Prize to ever go under the hammer. Interested bidders may participate in the auction online.

Dr. Kuznets, a Harvard University economist, pioneered the measurement of national income and economic development. He developed a macroeconomics-based measurement system, which the Commerce Department uses to estimate the gross national product. The World Bank and private economists adopted Kuznets’ system to estimate economic growth in industrial and third- world countries.

In 1971, the Swedish Royal Academy of Science awarded Dr. Kuznets the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science for his ''empirically founded interpretation of economic growth, which has led to new and deepened insight into the economic and social structure and process of development.''

The gold medal bears Alfred Nobel’s image and the engraving ''Sveriges Riksbank Till Alfred Nobels Minne 1968” on one side. The medal’s reverse side features the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences’ north star emblem with the engraved phrase “Kungliga Vetenskapsakademien.'' “Simon Kuznet 1971” is engraved on the medal edge. The medal is displayed in the original red leather case with Dr. Kuznets’ name gilt stamped.

Simon Kuznets Nobel prize medal edge

To read the complete article, see:
Economist Simon Kuznets' 1971 Nobel Prize to be auctioned by Nate D. Sanders Auctions (

The Nobel Economics medal is a different design than the more iconic medals awarded for science and medicine, and Dr. Kuznets is far less well known than Watson and Crick, whose medals were sold recently for seven figures. Is $150K a fair estimate? Time will tell. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:


CoinWeek published two great new video interviews of Harvey Stack by David Lisot. Check 'em out! -Editor

Harvey Stack interviews

To view the complete videos, see:
History of Stack's and When We Decided to Hold Coin Auctions. (
How I Was Trained to Be in the Family Coin Business. (


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Dave Lange submitted this background information on the Aragon Ballroom. Thanks! It's fun to see where a little numismatic item can lead us to. -Editor

I have some supplemental information on the Aragon Ballroom referenced on the encased half dollar that appeared in The E-Sylum, as well as Pacific Ocean Park in general.

When Lawrence Welk moved on to another venue, Freddy Martin's orchestra became the house band at the Aragon. This lasted only briefly, as by 1963 it was evident that the main audience for the Aragon had become teenagers, and they wanted rock bands. This led to the Aragon being renamed as the Cheetah, and it operated under this banner from early 1967 through the fall of 1968. The park itself was already closed by then, and access to the pier was made difficult by a massive urban renewal project by the City of Santa Monica that blocked many of the adjacent streets.

A number of movies and television shows were filmed at Pacific Ocean Park, including the famous climax of The Fugitive, where Dr. Kimball confronts the one-armed man who killed Kimball's wife. This final act takes place atop the park's tallest ride, and the murderer meets his end when he falls to the deck below.

POP (as it was labeled in the park's own advertisements) opened in 1957 amid great publicity, with many celebrities in attendance. The park shut down just ten years later in November of 1967, for the simple reason that it was losing too much money to repay its loans. While the Aragon did burn to the deck level of the pier, as noted in last week's issue, the deteriorating remains of POP succumbed to a series of fires, the worst being in 1973-74. All of these later fires were determined to have been acts of arson, and the local fire departments eventually stopped trying to put them out, because the pier on which the park had been built was riddled with huge holes and was unsafe for both men and equipment.

It wasn't until the fall of 1974 that actual demolition of the remains was undertaken. Since the property straddled the border of Santa Monica and Venice, there were many jurisdictional disputes. Lick Pier, on the south side, was in Venice (part of greater Los Angeles), while Ocean Park Pier was in Santa Monica. Los Angeles had the money for demolition, but Santa Monica could not put up its share until 1974. There were also a half dozen federal and state agencies that needed to approve everything, as well as the land owners who argued that the cities were not paying them what the land was worth. As this dragged on year after year, most of the privately owned land was forfeited to the city of Santa Monica for nonpayment of taxes.

The only persons who mourned the lost piers were the local "Dogtown" surfers, who found that the waves created by the pier structure were superior to any naturally occurring waves in the immediate area. These surfers were local legends, and they guarded their stretch of water fiercely against any outsiders.

Duane Feisel submitted these notes and images on the Aragon ballroom encased coins. Thanks! -Editor

First of all a correction to what was presented earlier – the Aragon Ballroom was definitely located in Ocean Park. Not in Venice and not in Santa Monica, but in Ocean Park! The location information obtained from the Internet can be confusing as city boundaries are changed over time.

Over the years the Aragon Ballroom issued a number of different encased coins, all holed as made so the encasement could be threaded onto a keychain.

Let’s begin with the simplest, an aluminum frame 35mm diameter, 1953D cent, and an inscription that provides the location Lick Pier. For many encased coins the date of the coin often provides information as to when it was manufactured. In this case I’d say 1953 or 1954.


Then a horseshoe shaped frame 35x41mm that provides a bit more location information with Ocean Park the locality and a 1953D cent, but also known with a 1954D cent, so it possibly was manufactured in 1955.


Back to the round frame with even more specificity for the locality. This encasement is known with two different cents – 1954D and 1955D suggesting manufacture in 1956.


Then comes an interesting series where a half dollar is embedded in plastic with an imprinted inscription. The clear plastic frame is 41mm diameter, 2mm thick, with an extended loop. The half dollars used for these encasements seem to have been taken from circulation, so a range of dates, mintmarks and designs are encountered meaning the date of manufacture has to be after the latest date half dollar.

Now this series comes in transparent plastic, uncolored or colored, with a hot-printed colored inscription. One piece was reported to me as a reddish brown colored frame with a white imprint, but I have never actually examined this piece. Another piece has a clear plastic frame and a red imprinted inscription, and I have only ever seen a single example.


The remaining items in this series have a red plastic frame with a gold imprinted inscription. The first of these with only an obverse inscription is quite common and is what is usually encountered for the Aragon Ballroom.


Being a ballroom, the Aragon had fox trot dance contests as evidenced by these two pieces with an inscription imprinted on the reverse, the first for SECOND PLACE and the next for THIRD PLACE. I have never seen or heard of a piece for First Place!



The final piece known to me is unusual and I have only ever encountered one example. Note the obverse inscription refers to Pacific Ocean Park.


However, it seems that the Aragon Ballroom was actually located immediately adjacent to Pacific Ocean Park, but never considered to be included in Pacific Ocean Park. This is evidenced by a thoroughly documented map as shown on the site

Does anyone have encased coin varieties different from those shown here? If so, I’d appreciate have the information for my upcoming revised and updated edition of California Encased and Stickered Coins.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:


Swedish American Tercentenary Coin Holder1 Swedish American Tercentenary Coin Holder2

Andy Singer writes:

I was looking for a Swedish commemorative 2 Kronor coin of 1938 which commemorates the 300th anniversary of Swedish settlement in what is now Delaware. This was for a friend who is descended from some of the original settlers. He had just purchased the Delaware commemorative half dollar and asked if I could find him some of the Swedish counterparts.

And look what I found: Here is a four-coin holder put together by the Swedish American Tercentenary Association, Inc. of New York and Chicago. Swiatek and Breen mention a five-coin holder, and the Swedish coins are mentioned in the Red Book, but has anyone ever seen this?

Andy also wrote to David Lange, who reported seeing one of these in a a coin show exhibit. I collect these holders and related pamphlets and correspondence as part of my numismatic ephemera collection. The papers and packaging that organizations shipped commemorative halves, medals, etc. to buyers with were typically thrown away, but a few examples have survived, and are much more rare than the coins themselves. I wish I could say I had one of these, but alas, I do not. Too bad, since I'm part Swedish. My grandfather's name was Gustave Olof Homren.

So... have any readers seen one of these? -Editor

Archives International logo

Archives International Auctions, Part XXIII

U.S. and Worldwide Banknotes, Security Printing Ephemera and U.S. Federal Bonds and Documents.

March 10th, 2015

Highlights include:

Lot 1034 United States Treasury Gold Coin Note

1580 Lemoine Avenue, Suite #7
Fort Lee, NJ 07024
Phone: 201-944-4800


Aylesbury Vale-obverse Aylesbury Vale-reverse

David Pickup writes:

We discussed a coin at our meeting of the Oxford Numismatic Society last week and it has us stumped. Any ideas?

I think there may be a tiny countermark under the ear. I have found similar portraits of Elagabalus 218-232.

The lettering of LEG is unusual. It looks early. I assume the letters are III. The design on the standard looks like a chi- rho but not sure. That would not tie in with the period.

Any Roman Provincial coin experts in the audience? Any help or suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks. -Editor


Fans of Mel Brooks' movie Young Frankenstein know that actor Marty Feldman surreptitiously moved his character's hump from shoulder to shoulder during filming until someone noticed it. "Didn't you used to have that on the other side?" Well, mint marks can move around, too. Ken Potter has a nice article about this published February 19, 2015 in Numismatic News. Here's an excerpt. Be sure to read the complete article online. -Editor

1989 D Cent oddly placed mintmark Numismatic News reader Curtis Jordan of Michigan submitted an interesting coin in the form of a 1989-D Lincoln cent with a very low mintmark.

The Denver mintmark on his cent is positioned much further south than what was considered the normal area of placement during that era.

I use the term “normal area” because up until 1990 mintmark positions varied from die to die.

Starting in 1990, mintmarks stopped moving. They were placed into the master tools, i.e., punched into the master dies and from there transferred to the working hubs to the working dies or were engraved into the epoxy models and transferred down through the same sequence. This is bit of an oversimplification because the sequence of dates arriving at the epoxy was different for proof coins versus circulation coinage.

Up until that time all dies were made in Philadelphia without a mintmark where they were then punched into the individual working dies via hand punch. Placement of mintmarks prior to the 1990s could vary widely though there was a general target area in which engravers strived to stay within. Nonetheless, the variations in placement often strayed outside of the targeted areas and were still deemed acceptable for use.

This policy resulted in mintmarks that sometimes overlapped a bit into a date or other areas of design, or were positioned outside of a target area in any compass position, north, south, west, east or anywhere in-between. Other possibilities were mintmarks tilted way out of normal orientation. In some cases they were inverted 180 degrees from normal.

To read the complete article, see:
Mintmarks can move (

Kolbe-Fanning website ad4


Wayne's snowed-in car at Dulles Airport While Boston and other Northeastern cities have been walloped with snow this winter, we've been relatively lucky in Northern Virginia. Although temperatures have been down in the teens, we haven't had a lot of snow.

I was personally lucky to escape the cold this week while attending a conference in sunny San Jose, CA, where it was in the 60s. But as if to avenge my escape, Mother Nature was waiting upon my return, where eight inches of snow covered my car in the Economy parking lot at Dulles Airport. Which brings me in a roundabout way to Harvey Stack's latest Stack's Bowers blog article, which tells of the hobby impact of a winter storm many years ago. Thanks, Harvey! -Editor

Schmandt Collection
So what does snow have to do with an auction sale? Looking out of my window for the past few weeks and seeing nothing but white covering my lawn and the streets, I could not help but remember a Stack's sale that defied snow.

Stack's ran about eight to ten sales per year, in all seasons as it had for decades before (and as Stack’s Bowers Galleries still does today). In 1957 we scheduled the sale of the J.W. Schmandt Collection for New York City on February 1 and 2. The J.W. Schmandt Collection was a comprehensive collection of United States gold, silver and copper coins that included rarities and extremely choice examples.

During the two weeks before the sale dates, collectors and dealers visited our showroom to examine the lots and make decisions as to what they would bid on. Those who were planning to attend and lived out of town made hotel reservations as this was a two evening sale. Although weather bureaus were predicting inclement weather most still planned to attend this important sale.

As sometimes happened, a storm hit New York, the entire Midwest and New England late in day, on January 30, 1957. It was still snowing on the 31st, and then became a real blizzard on the day of the sale. Cars could not travel; trains were delayed by hours; planes neither landed nor took off from New York. Walking down the street could be a hazardous affair as it was a blind white mess. The subway system ran only sporadically and the city was almost at a standstill.

Ben, Norman and I had previously made hotel reservations, as evening sessions often ended too late to go home. We had also made advance reservations for our auction staff.

But the storm became so hazardous that Stack's considered postponing the sale for a better date. But, how could we? We had a number of collectors who had come for lot viewing and planned to stay in New York to attend the sale. Some people came through the snow on the first day of the sale with extreme difficulty. The telephone was the only way to communicate, and there were interruptions with service. The mailman could barely make it to our doors. The mail was late in arriving, and many bid sheets were no doubt still undelivered.

However, we felt that those who had made the trip should have a sale to attend. So we made the difficult decision that the sale must go on. We agreed to postpone the start of the sale one half hour to 7:00 pm, and hoped that would make it easier for some bidders to make it. We closed the shop at 6:00 pm, walked outside the best we could, as it was still snowing and the sidewalks were covered. On the curbs the snow was piled six feet or more, as shovelers tried to clear a passage so people could cross the street and get through to where the sale was being held. As traffic was hardly moving, we were able to make the crossing. The sale took place in the Great Northern Hotel, directly across the street from Stack's at 123 West 57th Street -- now rebuilt as the grand Parker Meridian Hotel -- and we had engaged the main ballroom for the event. We were concerned who, if anyone, would show up!

As we entered the ballroom where about 150 seats had been set up, we were surprised to find a crowd, close to standing room only, waiting for the sale to begin. We made our apologies for the weather, and ordered another 100 chairs set up which were filled by 6:30! “Wow,” we said. "This is going to be a great auction." People arrived in boots and snow gear, carrying umbrellas to shed the snow and wet. We ordered extra coat racks and tried to make all those who attended comfortable.

While at that time, the auction license commission did not allow the service of anything but water, considering the weather conditions outside we disregarded the regulations. (The Commission felt that the services of food or beverage were considered "an inducement to bid.”) Nevertheless, as we were in a hotel, we ordered lots of coffee and sweet rolls to make our bidders a bit warmer and more comfortable.

Next week I will tell more of this public auction sale that defied a blizzard.

What a great way to spend a blizzard! I'll look forward to the rest of Harvey's tale next week. I wonder how many of those bidders made an extra effort to show up hoping that all their competition would be out of commission due to the storm? -Editor

To read the complete article, see:
Snow Versus the Collector, Part One (


Rich Hartzog writes:

A notched cent was recently submitted to a treasure magazine, as a piece used to identify slaves on the underground railroad. Further research revealed the attached information, from Greenback: The Almighty Dollar and the Invention of America by Jason Goodwin. I do not believe the comments on the notched cents. I was wondering if there was any truth to the comment on the 1799 cents, which also seems doubtful.

Excerpt from Greenback- The Almighty Dollar and the Invention of America

I'm not sure where the author got that stuff. Readers? -Editor


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Johns Hopkins Colored Orphan Asylum token obverse Johns Hopkins Colored Orphan Asylum token reverse

Russ Sears writes:

In answer to your question about orphan asylum tokens, attached are obverse and reverse scans of my piece, one cent, from the Johns Hopkins Colored Orphan Asylum. It is about 19mm, brass.

In 1867, Johns Hopkins incorporated the Johns Hopkins University, Johns Hopkins Hospital and the Johns Hopkins Colored Orphan Asylum. The university opened in 1876 with the orphan asylum opening around the same time. It took until 1889 to open the hospital.

The orphan asylum continued in operation until the 1920's or 30's when it closed. We don't know why it closed. The tokens were used to teach the children about money. Denominations of 5 and ten cents have been know and are even more rare than the one cent which is rare. I purchased a five about 30 years ago in an auction, but it was too worn for me to keep.

Paul Cunningham writes:

In regard to orphan tokens, and thanks to some of my Pittsburgh and area friends, there are some tokens discussing or commemorating orphan camps or training centers of some such which were (1) supported financially by the French after WWI and (2) located in the Pittsburgh area! Totally weird!

Larry Dziubek purchased these from Paul, and sent these images. -Editor

Pittsburgh School Farm for WWI Orphans medal Pittsburgh School Farm for WWI Orphans medal reverse
Pittsburgh School Farm for WWI Orphans medal

Neat - I never heard of such a thing. Larry also sent these. -Editor

Odd Fellows Home token Pittsburgh Odd Fellows Home token Pittsburgh reverse
Odd Fellows Home for Widows and Orphans, Pittsburgh, PA

David Powell writes:

In response to your request last week for some more orphanage-related tokens, herewith a couple. There are plenty of online references to the history of both issuers.

The older one is reminiscent of British school reward tokens c.1820-1850, with the "10" on the back indicating a number of merit points; although often they are smaller, and of lighter-coloured brass, than this 22mm piece. The larger and more modern piece is from the 1920s or 1930s, with the horseshoe/good luck design hinting strongly at 1933-35. Norwood is a South London suburb.

London orphan Asylum London orphan Asylum reverse

Jewish Orphanage obverse Jewish Orphanage

Thanks, everyone! This is an interesting group of tokens and medals. See the next article for an interesting follow-on from David Powell. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:


As a follow-on to his previous item on Ophanage tokens, David Powell adds:

Dalrymple Home token By way of reciprocal challenge, does anyone know of any more pieces out there issued by homes for inebriates? Here's a uniface piece issued by the Dalrymple Home at Rickmansworth, Herts, which is about 20 miles or so NW of London:

David provided links to the following web pages with more information. Thanks. So... does anyone know of other tokens from homes for inebriates? I suppose Alcoholics Anonymous tokens (are there any?) would fit into this broad category, but I'm mainly curious about tokens from homes. With only 16 beds (at least at first), the Dalrymple Home was quite small, and thus its tokens are likely to be quite scarce. I've never seen this (or any similar) token before. -Editor

A brief history of healthcare provision in London


While drunkenness had traditionally been an accepted part of life in England, by the beginning of the 19th century, as the country industrialised, the need for a reliable, punctual workforce prompted a change of attitude. Social reformers, appalled by the drunkenness they witnessed in the streets of large cities and towns, began to campaign for greater restrictions on the sale of alcohol.

To read the complete article, see:

Following a public meeting at Mansion House in 1882, the Homes for Inebriates Association decided to establish a Home as a licensed charitable institution with a view to giving a fair trial to the Habitual Drunkards Act, 1879. For this purpose, the Association purchased The Cedars, a large stucco house situated on a 5-acre site with a finely wooded terrace overlooking the River Colne in the district of Money Hill.

In 1883 a license to admit 16 males under the Act was granted to Dr R.W. Braithwaite, the Medical Superintendent (increased to 20 males in the following year).

The Dalrymple Home for Inebriates opened in 1884 under the direction of the Homes for Inebriates Association. It was named after Dr Donald Dalrymple, M.P. for Bath, who had taken a great interest in the reclamation of inebriates and had tried to pass a Bill through Parliament in 1870. He was unsuccessful, and died prematurely in 1873, but the British Medical Association took up his campaign and set up a committee to continue his work.

Dr Dalrymple's widow donated £1,000 towards the establishment of the Home, which had 16 beds.

To read the complete article, see:
Dalrymple House (


Here are a few selected lots from the Lyn Knight 2015 CPMX World Paper Money sale. -Editor

Joel Shafer of Lyn Knight adds:

CPMX consists of 8 sessions of US and world paper money and includes the Rayspa Collection of British Commonwealth with emphasis on Queen Elizabeth II, Part 2 of the Annam Collection of Vietnam (selected pieces from 1946-48), and many wonderful notes including graded pieces from WBG, PMG, ICG, and PCGS. Also, do not miss our pre CPMX auction which ends on Monday, March 2. Our website is

Lot 185: Chile 100 Pesos 1921

Lot 185 Chile 100 Pesos 7.9.1921

According to the Standard Catalog, notes from this series comprised a special issue backed by saltpeter instead of gold. Allegorical reclining woman. Small internal slit. The first time we have ever offered this rare type

Lot 228: Costa Rica 20 Colones 1918

Lot 228 Costa Rica 20 Colones 21.10.1918

Draped woman with ship's wheel. Reportedly a paltry 20,000 made, from 35,001-55,000. Margin roughness; several small spots. Completely unpriced in any grade and not illustrated in the Standard Catalog.

Lot 356: Finland 12 Markkaa 1862

Lot 356 Finland 12 Markkaa 1862

Printed on green paper. Without series; seven digit serial number. Man with stick and cap and woman with scarf. PMG terms this "Ch. EF 45"; the only example listed on the population report.

Lot 465: Ireland 5 Pounds 1928

Lot 465 Ireland 5 Pounds 10.9.1928

Lady Hazel Lavery/River Lagan river mask. WBG terms this "AU 53". How this rare early type could survive in such mind blowing condition defies explanation.

Lot 491: Italy 50 Lire 1944

Lot 491 Italy 50 Lire 21.4.1944

Little is known about this issue. According to World War II Remembered, the Dodecanese Islands are a group of twelve main islands in the Aegean Sea. Control shifted between Italy and Greece. Wolf with Romulus and Remus, island fortress in background. Issued for only six days; excessively rare World War II classic in exceptional condition

Lot 526: Malaya and British Borneo 100 Dollars 1953

Lot 526 Malaya and British Borneo 100 Dollars

Next in the Queen Elizabeth II series; block A/1. WBG terms this "AU 50". In demand; the best example we have ever offered. A masterpiece from the Rayspa Collection.

Lot 681: Russia 10 Rubles 1865

Lot 681 Russia 10 Rubles 1865

Early Imperial rarity. Crowned double headed eagle in shield. PMG terms this "VF 20 NET small tears"; one of only two examples for all dates of this type listed on the population report. Outstanding opportunity.

For more information or to bid, see:
2015 CPMX World Paper Money (


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The article from Hong Kong features a designer of that country's banknotes, a native of Vienna, Austria. -Editor

Henry Steiner He has been dubbed the father of Hong Kong design, and 80-year-old Henry Steiner's works are all around us, including some of the banknotes in our wallets.

Besides many famous logos, including those of HSBC, the Hong Kong Jockey Club, Wellcome, Hongkong Land and Lane Crawford, he has designed the banknotes issued by Standard Chartered Bank since late 1979, after earlier designing notes for HSBC.

Hong Kong allows the three note-issuing banks - HSBC, Standard Chartered and Bank of China (Hong Kong) - to appoint the designers for their notes.

Steiner was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1934 and moved to New York with his parents to escape Nazi persecution.

He came to Hong Kong in 1961 to work for a magazine on a nine-month contract but fell in love with the city. He stayed and developed his career here for 54 years, also marrying and having two sons.

Steiner initially studied painting but later shifted to design, which he said was a better fit.

"A painter tries to solve his own problems while a designer tries to solve the clients' problems," he said. "I kind of like to help other people solve their problems, so design suited me better."

Steiner said the process of designing a banknote was no different from other corporate design work, with the first step being to talk with the bank's top executives to know what message they wanted to send out through the banknotes.

"They generally would like to have their corporate image as well as the image of Hong Kong and its culture reflected in the banknote's design," he said.

Henry Steiner banknotes When he designed HSBC's banknotes in 1973, he introduced the iconic image of the bronze lion statues, something other designers have since followed.

His Standard Chartered banknote designs have been updated several times but have always featured five animals from Chinese mythology, a theme he is very proud of, believing they add character to the banknotes.

There is a clear hierarchy. The more important the note, the more important the animal. There is a fish on the HK$20 note, a turtle on the HK$50, a chi lin (unicorn) on the HK$100, a phoenix on the HK$500 and a dragon on the HK$1,000 note.

"However, people should remember the Chinese legend that when a fish jumps over the gate, it becomes a dragon. I like all my banknote designs, but I like the HK$20 fish the most as the fish could become a dragon one day," he said.

The reverse side of the current series of banknotes features a theme combining Chinese heritage with new technology, which Steiner said showed Hong Kong as a city where East meets West.

In 2009, Steiner also designed a special HK$150 banknote issued to celebrate Standard Chartered Bank's 150th anniversary in Hong Kong. That note did not feature an animal, but instead a mix of people representing the city.

To read the complete article, see:
Designer's work lives in our wallets (


Here's an article from Vietnam about that country's banknotes and the historic places pictured on them. I passed it on to Howard Daniel, and he says it looks accurate. -Editor

When it comes to the custom of li xi – giving lucky money – during the Tet holiday, Vietnamese always try to put into those symbolic red envelopes the crispest, newest bills they can find.

This explains the presence of so many brand-new polymer banknotes before and during the New Year holiday.

If you happen to have one of those bills, take a closer look at it now.

Vietnam 20,000 bill

The blue bill features the 400-year-old Chua Cau (Pagoda Bridge), a popular destination in the ancient town of Hoi An.

The bridge, 18 meters long, was built by Japanese traders who once made up a large part of the town’s population and is better known as the Japanese Bridge.

It is also a pagoda that was meant for subduing a dragon monster whose head was in India and tail in Japan. Legend has it that when mamazu, as the creature was known, wiggled its tail, earthquakes would happen.

Chua Cau is famous for carrying a mixture of Vietnamese, Japanese, and Chinese architecture styles.

Vietnam 50,000 bill

Phu Van Lau, a historic pavilion in the central city of Hue, and the neighboring communal house Nghenh Luong Dinh have been featured on the VND50,000-bill since 2003

The complex was built some 200 years ago with the pavilion used as a venue to post up Nguyen kings’ edicts, while the house as a royal camping site. Both the sites are part of the Hue Imperial Citadel, a UNESCO world heritage.

Vietnam 100,000 bill

Here's the image of a thousand-year-old Confucius complex in Hanoi and consists of Van Mieu, or the Temple of Literature, and Quoc Tu Giam – Vietnam’s first national university.

One of the capital city’s most popular destinations, the complex attracts millions of visitors and hosts a variety of cultural events every year.

Vietnam 200,000 bill

As one of the country’s most famous destinations, Ha Long Bay has twice been featured on Vietnamese banknotes – the former VND10,000 paper note and the current VND200,000 polymer note.

Against the red background of the bill is a limestone that looks like a giant incense burner. In fact, the iconic stone is locally known as Dinh Huong.

Vietnam 500,000 bill

The banknote with the highest denomination features a five-room thatch roof that is part of Kim Lien, a museum dedicated to President Ho Chi Minh (1890-1969) in the central province of Nghe An.

Located in Sen Village, the museum displays items related to him and his family.

Smaller bills feature modern sites like Hai Phong Port on the VND500 or a textile factory in the northern province of Nam Dinh on the VND2,000 bill.

Tri An Hydropower Plant in the southern province of Dong Nai graces the VND5,000 note.

The VND10,000 has the Bach Ho Oil Field, about 145 kilometers off the southern beach town of Vung Tau.

To read the complete article, see:
Places of note: Five historic sites that grace Vietnam's banknotes (


Back in May we reported on the quest of a blind Australian teenager to convince the Reserve Bank of Australia to print banknotes with tactile features for the blind. It looks like his campaign has paid off. -Editor

Connor McLeod A 13-year-old blind boy's year-long campaign to ask the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) to print tactile banknotes has finally paid off.

Connor McLeod's idea was sparked when he was given money for Christmas, but could not tell the amount he had.

"I received some notes at Christmas time and I kept having to ask Mum what they had given me," said Connor, who has been blind since birth due to a congenital disorder.

"I didn't touch notes because it was really annoying and embarrassing that I couldn't differentiate between them, but I could differentiate coins so I used to go around with only coins in my wallet getting stuff from the canteen with them.

"And then it just sort of hit me that my life isn't going to be all coins, so I thought I'd better make things a little easier, and easier for others as well."

The young New South Wales teenager - who has represented his school at state level athletics, rides a push bike, abseils, rock climbs, swims, and plays the drums and keyboard - started a petition to allow vision-impaired people to be able to tell the difference between denominations.

The Human Rights Commission and Vision Australia supported his campaign, and 57,000 people signed the petition.

The campaign culminated with a meeting last November with the RBA, where Connor lobbied the main decision makers for change.

"Words cannot explain how proud of my young man I am," his mother Ally Lancaster said.

"He spoke intelligently and passionately and factually and Michele Bullock from the RBA, during our meeting, actually said that she was suitably impressed at how well that he had done and she certainly didn't expect that from a young man of his age."

Now the RBA has announced it will add a tactile feature to all bank notes.

In a statement, RBA Governor Glenn Stevens said the new tactile features of banknotes will help vision impaired people tell the difference between denominations of Australian bank notes, along with the bright colours, large and bold numbers, and different sizes for bank notes.

To read the complete article, see:
RBA to introduce tactile banknotes after 13yo blind boy Connor McLeod campaigns for change (

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

Charles Davis ad01


Anne Bentley and Katie de Silva forwarded this BBC News story about a new find in Israel. Thanks. -Editor

Isreali gold coin hoard find Scuba divers have inadvertently discovered the largest trove of gold coins ever found off Israel's Mediterranean coast.

About 2,000 pieces dating back more than 1,000 years were spotted on the seabed by members of a diving club, the Israeli Antiquities Authority said.

At first the group thought the coins were toys, but quickly realised the significance of their discovery.

The Antiquities Authority said the find was "so valuable that it's priceless".

Divers were exploring an ancient harbour in Caesarea when they came across the gold. They collected several coins and quickly returned to the shore to inform the director of the club.

Experts from the authority called to the site uncovered "almost 2,000 gold coins in different denominations" circulated by the Fatimid Caliphate, which ruled much of the Middle East and North Africa from 909 to 1171.

The haul, which weighs 9kg (20lb), is believed to have been exposed as a result of winter storms.

It is now the property of the state and there was no finders' fee.

To read the complete article, see:
Israeli divers chance upon 'priceless' treasure on seabed (

Bill Rosenblum and Stephen Pradier forwarded this version of the story on the find from The Guardian. Thanks. -Editor

Scuba diver Isreali gold coin hoard Kobi Sharvit, director of the marine archaeology unit at the Israel Antiquities Authority, said excavations would be carried out in the hope of shedding more light on the origin of the treasure.

“There is probably a shipwreck there of an official treasury boat which was on its way to the central government in Egypt with taxes that had been collected,” said Sharvit.

“Perhaps the treasure of coins was meant to pay the salaries of the Fatimid military garrison which was stationed in Caesarea and protected the city.

“Another theory is that the treasure was money belonging to a large merchant ship that traded with the coastal cities and the port on the Mediterranean Sea and sank there,” he said.

To read the complete article, see:
Divers find 'priceless' hoard of gold coins off Israel's Mediterranean coast (

Dick Hanscom forwarded this story from the Daily Mail. Thanks. -Editor

To read the complete article, see:
'Priceless' trove of 2,000 gold coins used by 10th Century Caliphate which once ruled much of the Middle East is found off the coast of Israel (


Although non-numismatic, here's something to warm the hearts of all bibliophiles - a blockbuster donation to Princeton University's library. -Editor

Shakespeare First Folio Princeton University has been gifted an astonishing trove of rare books valued at nearly $300 million that includes the first six printed editions of the Bible and the original printing of the Declaration of Independence.

The Ivy League school in New Jersey said Tuesday that the book-loving philanthropist William Scheide, a Princeton alumnus who died aged 100 in November, had bequeathed the university some 2,500 rare printed books and manuscripts. The collection's enormous value makes it the largest gift in the university's history.

"I cannot imagine a more marvelous collection to serve as the heart of our library," Princeton president Christopher Eisgruber said.

"We are grateful for Bill Scheide's everlasting dedication to Princeton and his commitment to sharing his breathtaking collection with scholars and students for generations to come."

The vast collection includes the first six printed editions of the Bible, starting with a 1455 Gutenberg Bible; the original printing of America's Declaration of Independence; handwritten music by Beethoven; and Shakespeare's first, second, third and fourth folios.

To read the complete article, see:
Princeton University gifted $300 million book collection by philanthropist William Scheide (

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Baldwin's in London added some Commemorative Medals to their web site this week. I like this stuff, and can't resist. Here are some that caught my eye. -Editor

Anne, Capture of the Citadel of Lille, 1708

Medal Anne, Capture of the Citadel of Lille, 1708

Anne (1702-1714), Capture of the Citadel of Lille 1708, Copper Medal by J Croker, crowned bust left, ANNA. D: G: MAG: BRI: FRA: ET. HIB: REG:, rev turreted victory holding the shield of Lille above a plan of the city walls, INSVLÆ CAPTÆ. MDCCVIII, 44mm (Eimer 435; MI ii 338/169). Minor cabinet-wear, extremely fine with chestnut patina.

To view the complete item description, see:

Anne, Capture of Tournay, 1709

Medal Anne, Capture of Tournay, 1709

Anne (1702-1714), Capture of Tournay 1709, Copper Medal by J Croker, draped bust left, ANNA. D: G: MAG: BRI: FRA: ET. HIB: REG:, rev Britannia seated, TORNACO . EXPVGNATO., in exergue MDCCIX, 39mm (Eimer 437; MI ii 354/190). Nearly extremely fine.

To view the complete item description, see:

Anne, Bethune, St Venant and Aire, 1710

Medal Anne, Bethune, St Venant and Aire, 1710

Anne (1702-1714), The Capture of Bethune, St Venant and Aire, 1710, Bronze Medal by J Croker and S Bull, bust left, ANNA AVGSTA, rev trophy of captured French arms and standards, BETHVNIA,. FANO. STI VENANTII. ET. ARIA. CAPTIS., 48mm (Eimer 447; MI ii 374/220). Extremely fine.

To view the complete item description, see:

Anne sure did a lot of capturing. Nice trophy medals. Of course, to capture anything, you have to fight. Here's one of Anne's battle medals. -Editor

Anne, Battle of Almenara, 1710

Medal Anne, Battle of Almenara, 1710

Anne (1702-1714), Battle of Almenara 1710, Copper Medal by John Croker, bust left, ANNA. AVGVSTA, rev a cavalry battle, PVGNA EQVESTRIS, in exergue HISPANIS AD ALMENARAM VICT. IVLIIXVI. MDCCX, 48mm (Eimer 445; MI ii 373/218). Extremely fine.

To view the complete item description, see:


What could be more fun than hitting your sister with a snowball? How about finding a rare coin in your snowball? Check out this wintery numismatic story from Cornwall, sent to us by David Pickup. Thanks! -Editor

Boy find Tudor sixpence in snowball A schoolboy who made a snowball literally hit the jackpot and scooped up a rare 16th Century coin worth almost £1,000.

Brandon Sara, 10, was playing in the snow when he knelt down to prepare his latest weapon to hurl at friends. But in his new ball he was shocked to discover a 500-year-old Tudor coin.

He had been seeking cover in ground that had recently been disturbed by building work at Robartes Junior School in Bodmin, Cornwall.

After cleaning it off Brandon realised it was an old coin, and took it to his teacher, Paul Rigby, for further help identifying the find.

1562 Tudor sixpence Mr Rigby was quickly able to identify the coin as a Tudor six pence piece, dating back to 1562.

Brandon, of Bodmin, Cornwall, said: “I felt really lucky, it’s exciting. It was snowing, so I picked up a snowball and it was just sticking out.

“It’s a six pence piece – everyone was using it in 1562. I have to speak to the headteacher now to see what I want to do with it.”

The school are hoping it may now be sitting on a treasure trove of long-lost Tudor coins.

Paul Rigby said: “We’ve put the coin under the microscope and it certainly seems genuine.

“Brandon found it in the soil where we’ve had some new posts installed in the grounds.

One has to be careful of value estimates made by people outside the hobby, but it's a wonderful find nonetheless, assuming the piece is indeed genuine. Perhaps we'll hear more from this site someday. -Editor

David adds:

Perhaps everyone ought to check snowballs for coins!

To read the complete article, see:
Schoolboy finds Tudor coin in snowball (

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This week's Featured Web Site is suggested by David Pickup. It holds books on Anglo-Saxon Coinage by Tony Abramson. Thanks!

Tony Abramson has studied the small, early Anglo-Saxon silver coinage, referred to as sceats for the last twenty years. He has organised a series of symposia held at both the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge and the International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds. These have resulted in the publication of papers presented at the symposia together with other material in Studies in Early Medieval Coinage, edited by Tony and published by Boydell & Brewer. Volume 3 is under preparation.

He has also published a number of stand-alone books. The first, Sceattas: An Illustrated Guide, sold 1,500 copies and was short-listed for the inaugural North Book Prize. This is now complemented by the much more detailed Sceatta List, a radical re-arrangement of the sceatta coinage extending the number of main varieties to 570 categorized in 114 groups, organized into 10 themes.

Anglo Saxon coin

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