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


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Terry White, Treasurer
Numismatic Bibliomania Society
P. O. Box 39 Hilliard, OH 43026-1278s


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Volume 19, Number 48, November 27, 2016


New subscribers this week include: Rich Hollow. Welcome aboard! We now have 2,040 subscribers.

Thanks to John Mutch for sending some new information about San Francisco Mint superintendent George B. Gillin to Bruce Smith, in response to his request last week. Also, Dennis Tucker put me in touch with the San Francisco Mint inventory manager and historian, who may be able to shed some light as well.

Arthur Shippee reported a problem with the table of contents links in recent issues. Anyone else? And how about the Back to Top links? I've seen it happen where only the first so-many links will work, and I'm not sure if it's just a browser issue or something we could fix on our end. If you experience problems, please contact me at

This week we open with one new book, three reviews, some Newman Portal holiday research, and a new digitization project at the Smithsonian's National Numismatic Collection.

Other topics this week include fore-edge painting in a numismatic book, two-part medals, Harold Whitneck, Erik Goldstein, Arthur Friedberg, Marcus Aurelius, coin found far from home, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Trump Dollar.

To learn more about early mints in British North America, 1717 Perpignan coppers, Vietnam Military club tokens and chits, Comitia Americana medals, coin folders as banquet programs, overstruck Russian copper undertypes, the Eliasberg 1802 Half Dime, and Sir Robert Robinson's medals, read on. Have a great week, everyone!

Wayne Homren
Editor, The E-Sylum

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Dennis Tucker of Whitman Publishing submitted this press release for the newest book in the Bowers Series, A Guide Book of the United States Mint. -Editor

GB-USMint_Cover_Flat Whitman Publishing announces the release of A Guide Book of the United States Mint, by Q. David Bowers. The 448-page softcover book is available from booksellers and hobby shops nationwide, and online (including at, for $24.95.

The 23rd volume in the award-winning Bowers Series explores the heart of American coin collecting: the United States Mint itself, which is gearing up to celebrate its 225th anniversary in 2017 with special coins and medals.

The U.S. Mint is the official source of the material that numismatists collect, study, and catalog. It is the sole manufacturer of the nation’s legal-tender coinage and national medals, and its products are used every day by millions of Americans nationwide. As a federal repository its facilities safeguard more than $300 billion in national assets. It employs nearly 2,000 people, including its own police force.

GB-USMint_pg-067 Bowers’s new book unearths a treasure trove of numismatic knowledge, including the history of the Philadelphia Mint and every Mint branch, plus colonial, state, private, and territorial mints; information on historical and modern minting procedures; a study and price guide of historic medals and collectibles commemorating the Mint; data on every director of the Mint and superintendents for every branch; and illustrated behind-the-scenes looks at the modern Mint and its facilities. The text is illustrated by nearly 1,300 photographs, engravings, diagrams, blueprints, and other images.

Chapters cover: early American money and commerce; early mints in British North America (e.g., colonial Massachusetts and Connecticut) and the post–Revolutionary War states; the first federal coinage; the Philadelphia Mint; the New Orleans Mint; the Charlotte Mint; the Dahlonega Mint; the San Francisco Mint; the Carson City Mint; the Denver Mint; the West Point Mint; the Manila Mint in the Philippines; and private and territorial mints such as those of Templeton Reid, the Bechtler family, and many issuers of California and Colorado gold pieces. Chapter 13 covers “Mints That Never Were”—the Cincinnati Mining & Trading Company, the Dalles Mint in Oregon, LeRoy Henning’s nickel-counterfeiting operation in New Jersey, and others.

Four appendices include, among other things, a study of medals and other collectibles related to the U.S. Mint—Assay Commission medals, Mint director medals, Philadelphia Mint superintendent medals, service medals, Mint ledgers and paperwork, postcards, books, and more.

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“Dave Bowers takes you on a ‘you are there’ experience with over three dozen mints,” writes Kenneth Bressett in the book’s foreword. “I know you will enjoy this delightful narrative!”

Because Whitman Publishing is the Official Supplier of the American Numismatic Association, ANA members receive 10% off the book when purchasing directly from the publisher. It can also be borrowed for free as a benefit of ANA membership, through the Dwight N. Manley Numismatic Library.

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A Guide Book of the United States Mint
By Q. David Bowers; foreword by Kenneth Bressett
ISBN 0794843972
Softcover, 6 x 9 inches, 448 pages, full color
Retail $24.95 U.S.


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 .


Christopher McDowell published a review in the Fall 2016 C4 Newsletter (a publication of the Colonial Coin Collectors Club) of Syd Martin's book French Coinage Specifically for Colonial America. With permission, here's an excerpt. Thanks to Christopher McDowell for sending the text of the article. i added an image of the book's cover from an earlier E-Sylum article. -Editor

French Coinage Specifically for Colonial America Most collectors will use this book the way I initially did - as an attribution guide for 1670 Gloriam Regni coins, 1717 Perpignan coppers, and 1721-22 nine-denier coppers. For this purpose the book is without equal. I was able to attribute some low-grade nine-denier coppers with no trouble. Helpfully, in addition to providing an attribution guide, Syd also incorporates the first rarity ratings for these coins, including condition rarity for the Gloriam Regni and 1721-22 nine-denier coinages – the 1717 Perpignan coppers are so rare that almost all the known extant coins are discussed individually. Considering the scarcity of the Gloriam Regni and Perpignan coins contrasted with the abundance of 1721-22 nine-denier coppers, preparation of a rarity guide is an impressive accomplishment. Both the attribution guide and rarity tables are easy to use and understand. While I am sure future generations of collectors will build upon Syd’s work as more coins are examined, this book will never be surpassed in its breadth and scope of coverage of these coinages. Indeed, French Coinage Specifically for Colonial America is sure to be The reference for collectors interested in this area of numismatics.

More than half of the book is devoted to the 1721-22 nine-denier coppers that circulated in the central and southern United States for over 100 years. The 1721-22 nine-denier series is the most abundant and complex of the three coinages covered in the book, as it utilized the largest number of different obverse and reverse dies. As with the other series, the obverse and reverse of each nine-denier die variety is imaged with large black and white photographs of some of the finest known examples. The key diagnostic points are well illustrated and explained. In many instances, different die states of the same variety are shown. When two dies are substantially similar, as is the case, for example, with obverse dies 1.6 and 1.8 of the nine-denier coppers, Syd includes side-by-side comparison images of key differences to assist the collector in determining a match. I found this added feature to be very useful in identifying my coins. Indeed, this book should serve as an example regarding what must be included in a top-notch attribution guide.

1721 Nine-denier copper obverse 1721 Nine-denier copper reverse
1721 Nine-denier copper. Image courtesy of ANS.

French Colonial coins are one of the largest overlooked segments of American Colonial numismatics. As the title to the book states, these coins were all specifically manufactured for circulation in France’s North American colonies, including much of what is today the United States. Despite the fact that these coins were made for and circulated in America, they are mostly ignored by American collectors. I suspect this is in part because most collectors are like me and do not speak French; therefore, until now, there was no easy way to learn about or research these coins. Syd has largely solved this problem for non-French speaking collectors by obtaining, translating, and publishing the original source material relating to each series. I am overjoyed to see these contemporary documents along with an English translation published for the first time. By publishing and translating these materials, Syd has opened the door to numismatic research on these coinages for others.

The Colonial Coin Collectors Club and its members should be proud of their association with this work. In publishing this book, C4 has furthered its core mission to promote colonial numismatics and increase the public’s knowledge of colonial numismatics. French Coinage Specifically for Colonial America, by Sydney F. Martin, is available for $85, plus $7 shipping from bookseller Charles Davis (, Box 1, Wenham, MA 01984, or telephone 978-468-2933.

For more information on the Colonial Coin Collectors Club, see:

To read an earlier E-Sylum article, see:


John Sallay published a detailed review of Neil Musante’s new work Medallic Washington in the September-October 2016 issue of The MCA Advisory, a publication of the Medal Collectors of America. With permission, here is an excerpt. -Editor

Medallic Washington Cover Vol.1 Medallic Washington Cover Vol.2

MEDALLIC WASHINGTON, A Catalogue of Struck, Cast and Manufactured Coins, Tokens and Medals Issued in Commemoration of George Washington 1777-1890
by Neil Musante (Two Volumes, Spink & Son, 2016)

Neil Musante’s new book on the medals, tokens and federal coinage related to George Washington is a beautifully produced, painstakingly researched, and well-written catalogue that every serious American numismatist will want to own and read. The dozens of mini-chapters synthesize previously published research on the most important pieces, and Musante has added his own considerable new findings and thoughts. With nearly 900 pages of crisp color photos illustrating essentially all the pieces – which are described in detail, including die varieties – the book is both valuable for study and beautiful even to just flip through. Importantly, it establishes a new, chronological numbering scheme that is much more logical and convenient than the Baker (Rulau/Fuld) numbers used for the last 130 years. Medallic Washington will undoubtedly become the new standard reference on the subject, and a classic in its own right.

Snowden Cover As Neil Musante describes in a thorough introduction, several early lists of Washington medals and tokens were relatively incomplete and mostly comprised the pieces in the collections of their authors. The Medallic Memorials of Washington in the Mint of the United States, by James Ross Snowden (1861) was a record of the small collection of 138 medals that Snowden assembled for display at the U.S. Mint. In 1873, William Sumner Appleton published a list of his collection in a series of issues of the American Journal of Numismatics, and in 1876 published an addendum, bringing his list to 354 Washington pieces.

William Spohn Baker’s Medallic Portraits of Washington was the first definitive catalogue of Washington pieces, consisting of a text list and descriptions of 651 medals and tokens organized topically on about 250 pages, with very limited, commentary. Other subsequent lists didn’t add much. The Early Medals of Washington, published by Wayte Raymond in 1941, was a thin pamphlet with only 42 mostly early medals listed, but all pictured for the first time. Krause Publications reprinted Baker’s work in 1965, adding 14 photographic plates at the back. Washingtonia from the Estate of F.C.C. Boyd, by Jack Collins (1991) was actually a fixed price catalogue of 702 items that Collins had acquired from John J. Ford for resale, with 36 plates illustrating nearly 500 medals, a few of which had not been listed by Baker.

Collectors have continued to use the Baker numbers, partly because the only other recent catalogue of Washington-related numismatics was the 1985 Medallic Portraits of Washington, Centennial Edition, by Russell Rulau and George Fuld. Rulau and Fuld retained the Baker organization and numbering scheme, adding letters before the Baker numbers to designate entirely new and unrelated items, and inconsistently applied letters after the Baker numbers to designate a given variety in various metals, such as A for silver, B for copper, etc. It was essentially an illustrated price guide to Baker, as it provided small newspaper-quality photographs of many items, a small amount of historical background and estimated values. A second edition published in 1999 provided a few additions, numerous corrections and somewhat updated pricing.

Neil Musante has built on this formidable foundation of previous research and cataloguing to give us a complete revision of Baker, arranged chronologically, with some exceptions to reflect variety and die relationships. It represents a synthesis of all of the known information on the many struck, cast and manufactured coins, tokens and medals issued in commemoration of George Washington through 1890 – basically the same scope as the original 1885 Baker, but including the 1889 inauguration centennial medals as well as a few other pieces issued just after Baker’s work was published. Musante lists over 1200, providing excellent color photographs of each medal’s obverse and reverse, with credit to the owner. Then, detailed traditional obverse and reverse prose descriptions of each medal are provided, with each followed by a table of technical information such as metals used, weight and size measurements, cross references to prior listings, rarity estimates and technical notes.

Among the most important positives of Neil Musante’s Medallic Washington are the comprehensive research and synthesis, the chronological organization, the beautiful photographs and sumptuous production. Beyond the considerable amount of new information not previously published, Musante has woven together all of the relevant information about the various Washington-related numismatic items into a series of interesting “stories.” The brief but thorough introduction on the history of Washington medal catalogues, major collections and exhibitions is extremely useful in putting this new work into context. It helps explain why a new numbering system is called for, to replace Baker’s confusing thematic arrangement, which Rulau and Fuld tried to maintain, and only made worse.

These stories build on the foundation of facts with some significant inference, in a few cases to the point of speculation. Musante is always very clear about where his musings surpass the facts, and his narratives are thought provoking. His arguments are well made in most cases, such as in the revised Washington Before Boston die progression.

All told, Neil Musante’s Medallic Washington is a new classic, beautifully produced, painstakingly researched, eminently readable, and well worth the $165 price. Among other things, it reminds us of why the Internet will never completely replace the printed book. Collectors of medals, tokens and federal coinage related to George Washington will love it, as will numismatic bibliophiles generally, and it has the potential to attract some new collectors to this historic and important series.

Thanks to MCA Advisory editor John W. Adams and Producer Neil Musante for sending the article text and images. -Editor

For more information on the Medal Collectors of America, see:

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:

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On November 23, 2016 Ray Bows published a review of Garry Arva's "A Comprehensive Listing of Vietnam Military Tokens and Chits" (Disc Format) in the MPC Gram, an electronic publication for collectors of Military Payment Certificates and other military money. With permission, it is republished here. -Editor

Vietnam Military Club Tokens and Chits Diligence, perseverance and attention to detail were some of the watch-words emphasized to servicemen 50 years ago in Vietnam. Vietnam veteran and retired First Sergeant Garry Arva has carried those concepts forward to the present with his meticulous work "A Comprehensive Listing of Vietnam Military Tokens and Chits," with his resolve and determination to share his incredible collection of Vietnam military numismatics with his fellow collectors, historians and other interested parties.

For many years, Garry has been a primary force in searching out and obtaining slot machine tokens (slugs), paper and metal credit checks (chits and tokens), and wooden nickels and related items used as legitimate money by enlisted and officers clubs as a means to regulate, control, and protect MPC in Vietnam.



The hundreds upon hundreds of tokens and chits that Garry has photographed bring into perspective the fact that these pieces of exonumia were never intended to be collected, but are indeed military necessity pieces of the highest order, yet his filing system is extraordinary.

Anyone with even the slightest interest in collecting military monies, from whatever period, will become enthralled with this magnificent labor of love and devotion in Garry Arva's chosen field. It is apparent that Arva is proud of his collection, as well he should be, and his selfless willingness to share all the pieces that he has acquired with others is both commendable and an important milestone in the history of this fascinating area of Vietnam history.


My wife and I were mesmerized as we scrolled down through what seemed to be an never ending photographic essay of listings. With each purchase of an Arva disc, collectors will feel as though Arva's collection now belongs to them as well. Having the disc is as exciting as owning the collection itself.

Garry, job well done!"

The disc is normally $25.00, but can be purchased by MPC grammers for $20.00 from Garry Arva, PO Box 2481, Clarksville, Tennessee 37042. If you have any questions please contact Garry at

Garry will extend the postpaid $20 offer to readers of The E-Sylum as well. He also provided the images. Thanks! -Editor


Garry adds:

My listing has about 1650 Vietnam Military tokens, 1350 chits, 350 chit book covers and a few other things from Military Clubs in Vietnam. All items have a scanned image.

For more information about the MPC Gram, or to subscribe, see:

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Newman Numismatic Portal Project Coordinator Len Augsburger submitted the following. Thanks! -Editor

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A search on "Thanksgiving" in the Newman Portal readily identifies a number of numismatic objects associated with the word Thanksgiving. In the May 2009 edition of The MCA Advisory, Anne Bentley published a contemporary silver medal and asked readers for an attribution. The obverse inscription reads "THE PILGRIMS PRAISE GOD AT FIRST THANKSGIVING." The question appears to not have been answered in a subsequent issue - perhaps an E-Sylum reader can help?

Thanksgiving for Prince of Wales

Another Thanksgiving medal is mentioned in a couple sources - Jospeh S. Wyon's Thanksgiving for Prince of Wales' Recovery, 1872, is listed both in Forrer's Biographical Dictionary and in the American Journal of Numismatics (April 1889). This medal commemorates the Prince of Wales' (later Edward VII) recovery from typhoid fever. The Newman Portal further identifies auction appearances (S.H. & H. Chapman, 7/12/1895, and Presidential Coin & Antique, 6/24/1989). An image is more elusive - the engraving here is from Wikipedia.

From the TNA News, the journal of the Texas Numismatic Association, we find that the TNA issued a medal in 1978 depicting Thanks-Giving Square in Dallas, a public space dedicated in 1976. Elsewhere the rare DeHaven sale catalog (Edward Cogan, 1861) describes lot 871, a Thanksgiving medal with obverse "Faith Standing" and an angel raising a kneeling female on the reverse. Finally, Elder's sale of 6/24/1912 features a "Thanksgiving medal for harvest after Famine." Of course the most well-known piece of this genre is the Pilgrim Tercentenary commemorative half dollar (1920), which makes no reference to Thanksgiving at all!

I hope all of our U.S. readers had a nice Thanksgiving weekend. My family and I did. No numismatic activities to report besides the usual email and  E-Sylum editing chores. Having a couple extra days made everything easier. -Editor
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Emily Pearce Seigerman is a Museum Specialist, National Numismatic Collection at the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution. She submitted this piece on the digitization of an important group of American medals in the NNC. -Editor

The National Numismatic Collection (NNC) houses over 1.6 million objects that represent every inhabited continent and span more than three thousand years of human history. While the collection is regularly used by scholars and researchers of numismatics for its coin and paper currency holdings, it has perhaps been overlooked as a repository of some important medals and medalic arts. The collection includes a large selection of Presidential medals, many international military standards, and Indian Peace Medals. Thanks to the generous support and guidance of John W. Adams, the NNC was able to properly record, research, and digitize one particularly historic group of medals: the Comitia Americana and associated medals of the fledgling United States of America.

Washington Before Boston medal obverse Washington Before Boston medal reverse
George Washington Before Boston

The Comitia Americana medals were created after a vote by the Continental Congress. The congress commissioned the creation of a series of medals to be given to American heroes, foreign royalty, dignitaries, and even universities as a continued declaration and celebration of American Independence. The series originally consisted of eleven proposed medals celebrating the heroism of George Washington, John Eager Howard, William Washington, Anthony Wayne, John Stewart, Daniel Morgan, John Paul Jones, Horatio Gate, François-Louis Teissèdre de Fleury, Henry Lee, and Nathanael Greene. Each medal was meant to serve as a commemoration and celebration of particular military victories and the champions who led them. The NNC has 119 Comitia Americana medals with the inclusion of the Libertas Americana, and the Diplomatic Medal of Thomas Jefferson’s design. Unfortunately the collection does not yet include any of the three Franklin portrait medals, buts the holdings do include several clichés and a beautiful white metal struck from the Barré dies of the Daniel Morgan medal.

Daniel Morgan at the Cowpens medal obverse Daniel Morgan at the Cowpens medal reverse
Daniel Morgan at the Cowpens

The NNC’s Comitia Americana collection includes a fair mix of originals, clichés, restrikes, and copy dies of the United States Mint at Philadelphia. The visible die breaks, rust marks, and spalling allow for clear study of the progression of dies, demonstrated below with three Nathanael Greene medals in the NNC’s collection. Artistically, the medal engravings range from portraiture, to classical iconography, to panoramic battle scenes complete with ship sails billowing in the wind.

Nathanael Greene medal Original Die Strike obverse Nathanael Greene medal US Mint Strike obverse Nathanael Greene medal Electrotype obverse
Nathanael Greene at Eutaw Springs
Original Die Strike; U.S. Mint Strike; Electroplated Copy

The Comitia Americana medals are some of the earliest moments of the United States – as an independent nation – engaging with the international community through both politics and art. The celebration of military victory through these medals declares America to be a sovereign nation legitimized through not only victory in battle but also through medalic craft. Additionally, these medals serve as a grandiose thank you to France—particularly the Libertas Americana. The Comitia Americana medals, and their later additions, allowed the first American Congress to again make the statement of American legitimacy as it made through the Declaration of Independence, this time through numismatic art.

Libertas Americana medal obverse Libertas Americana medal reverse
Libertas Americana

Thanks to the generosity of John W. Adams, the NNC has now completed the digitization of its Comitia Americana holdings. The collection’s high resolution images can be found on both the NNC’s website and the National Museum of American History’s Learning Lab website. Virtual viewers can observe each of these medals, comment on their composition, or note the probably mint of creation (whether U.S. or Paris) in conjunction with Smithsonian staff. Additionally, these medals can be viewed during research visits to the NNC. To schedule a research visit, please visit: .

Many thanks to NBS Board member John W. Adams and the NNC staff for their work on this important project. See the link below to access the image archive. -Editor

Comitia Amerricana medals in the National Numismatic Collection

To view the Comitia Americana images, see:
Comitia Americana Medals in the National Numismatic Collection (

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In earlier articles we discussed fore-edge paintings, that wonderful method of decorating a book with a painted scene on the outer edges of the pages. I wrote, "I've never heard of a fore-edge painting on a numismatic book. Does one exist?" -Editor

George Kolbe writes:

Guess what? In Christie’s London December 1, 2016 sale of Valuable Books and Manuscripts, one of the lots is a 1533 numismatic book featuring a foredge painting comprised of medallic portraits of six of the twelve Caesars. It is a spectacular volume!

The work itself is recorded in Dekesel as S 108 (Cat.5), the latter designation encompassing “(h)istories of the lives of the Roman emperors, empresses and their families and of other kings, queens, and notables, illustrated with coin-like images or referring to the usage of coinage.” The Christie’s sale volume features an illustrious pedigree going back to the time of publication and the numismatic foredge painting was executed by a cousin and pupil of Titian. Wow.

Wow, indeed! Thanks, George! Here's the lot description. -Editor

Scriptores historiae Augustae spine SUETONIUS TRANQUILLUS, Gaius, et al. Scriptores historiae Augustae. Basel: J. Froben and N. Episcopius, July 1533.

From the Renaissance Pillone library, with a fore-edge painting by Cesare Vecellio, cousin and pupil of Titian, with medallion portraits of the twelve Caesars.

Folio (320 x 222mm). Printer’s device on title and final leaf, fine woodcut initials from the Kinderschule (final gathering with old repairs along gutter). Contemporary Basel binding of blind-tooled pigskin over wooden boards, title in gilt on front cover, brass clasps and catches, from the Pillone Library with painted edges by Cesare Vecellio, edges painted blue with medallion portraits of the twelve Caesars (top catch with tear); modern box. Provenance: [Bonaccorso Grino (d.1553, Italian and German scholar in the service of Charles V) — Giovanni Grino (son of the preceding)] — Odorico Pillone (1503-94; edges) — Sir Thomas Brooke (1830-1908; bookplate) — sold by his heirs in 1957 as part of the Pillone collection to Pierre Berès (Catalogue Bibliothèque Pillone, 1957, no. 97) — G. Nordback (bookplate) — Dorothy Jayne Pedrini Shea (book label) — [sold at Christie’s as lot 262 on 3 December 2010 for $40,000].

This work is one of the 172 volumes decorated by Cesare Vecellio (1521-1601), a cousin and pupil of Titian, in whose studio Vecellio worked until Titian's death. The Pillone Library was formed over several generations, the earliest books acquired in the late 15th century by Antonio Pillone (d. 1533). His eldest son Odorico expanded the library through numerous individual purchases and with one large group of northern books acquired in about 1550 from his kinsman by marriage, Bonaccorso Grino, who had been in the service of Charles V of Bavaria. It was almost certainly Odorico (or perhaps his son Giorgio) who commissioned Vecellio in the 1580s to decorate the books. 154 were painted by Vecellio with fore-edges and 21 with original drawings on their vellum covers by him and other artists.

Scriptores historiae Augustae

Among Vecellio's major paintings is the altarpiece at Belluno Cathedral. In addition to the painted fore-edges executed for the Pillones, Vecellio also painted a room in the Palazzo Pillone with the Four Seasons and the Rape of the Sabines. It was in his famous book on costume and manners, De gli habiti antichi et moderni (1590), that Vecellio mentions the library and other collections of the Pillone family as well as their generous hospitality.

To read the complete lot description, see:
SUETONIUS TRANQUILLUS, Gaius, et al. Scriptores historiae Augustae. Basel: J. Froben and N. Episcopius, July 1533. (

George adds:

I’m wondering if all 12 Caesars are depicted. The illustration seems to show medallions of 3 Caesars on one of the sides.

And, if one amazing early numismatic work were not enough, there is this:

Imperatorum romanorum omnium STRADA, Jacopo (1507-1588). Imperatorum romanorum omnium orientalium et occidentalium verissimae imagines ex antiquis numismatis. Zurich: Andreas Gesner, 1559.

The folio edition of one of the most celebrated iconographical series of the Renaissance, describing the medals in the collection of Jacopo Strada, an antiquary of Mantua.

The 118 portraits of Roman Emperors were based on the octavo-format, Zurich edition of 1557, and enlarged for the benefit of craftsmen decorating majolica, furniture, glass and ceramics. Flötner's arabesque ornaments had been previously published in the rare Kunstbuch (Zurich, 1549). The decoration on the verso of folio 50 includes a small panel containing his initials and tools, with date 1546. Adams S-1919; Goldsmith Printed Books of the Renaissance, pp. 76ff.

To read the complete lot description, see:
STRADA, Jacopo (1507-1588). Imperatorum romanorum omnium orientalium et occidentalium verissimae imagines ex antiquis numismatis. Zurich: Andreas Gesner, 1559. (

George writes:

Perhaps the most visually stunning 16th century numismatic book ever produced, this imposing 1559 volume—approximately 21 by 16.5 inches—describes and depicts 118 finely engraved medallion portraits of Roman emperors in the coin collection of the famous antiquary Jacobo Strada. Christie’s terms it “one of the most celebrated iconographical series of the Renaissance”; and bookseller Ernst Goldschmidt once described its monumental coin engravings as being “as large as soup plates.”

Either volume would have pride of place in any numismatic library.

Thanks, George! -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:

Newman Numismatic Portal Partner of the Week

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2016 PAN Banquet Program Coin Folders
In an email to David Lange, Harry Waterson wrote:

Dear David,

2016 PAN Banquet Whitman folder 1 I just read about and saw your Coin Album museum in The E-Sylum. Reading the next article in the issue about John Mercanti, the penny dropped, so to speak, and I wonder if you would like an example of the dinner program of the Annual Fall Banquet of PAN, Oct. 28, 2016 for your museum? I found it one of the most creative uses I have seen of a Whitman Folder. With each program signed by Mercanti.

If you would like one (and do not already have one), please send me an address where to send it.

All the best,

2016 PAN Banquet Whitman folder 5

Tom Uram was the program designer. Nice job! -Editor

Racine and Central States Banquet Program Folders
In reply, Dave Lange wrote:

CSNS 1942 #1 Thanks for the offer, and I accept gratefully. I have in my collection a specially prepared Whitman folder for Mercury Dimes from the 1942 Racine Numismatic Society Banquet, and this will be an excellent companion to it. The folder has no customized printing. Instead, it's a stock example of Number 9014 with dates and mintages ending at 1941, while the program is attached by a ribbon. Note that R. S. Yeoman was president at the time, and the program is overprinted with two letters "V" for victory.

CSNS 1942 #2

Dave adds:

I also have two folders for Central States Numismatic Society conventions. They're standard examples of Number 9046 with the commemorative text overprinted on their front covers.

CSNS 1990 CSNS 1995

Other PAN Banquet Program Coin Folders
Richard Jewell writes:

This was one of the folders we did for the PAN Banquet when the ANA had their Fall Convention in Pittsburgh 2011. PAN held the Banquet instead of the ANA and we gave "Lifetime Achievement Awards" to the"three Dutchmen", John Eshbach, Gerry Kochel and Dick Duncan. Engraver, sculpture Jamie Franki was the guest speaker. Once again PAN President Tom Uram was the designer of the Banquet folder.

2011 PAN Banquet Program coin folders

2001 PAN Banquet Program folder second page 2001 PAN Banquet Program folder last page 2001 PAN Banquet Program folder first page

Thanks to Richard Jewell of the Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists for providing the PAN images. Neat, fun stuff. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:

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On the Thames River Victoria Cross
Ron Dayton writes:

Just finished reading this week’s edition and wanted to tell you I particularly enjoyed the article about the detectorist finding the Victoria Cross on the banks of the river Thames. The volume and scope of what you are able to gather and publish each week continues to truly amaze me.

Thanks for your kind words. I enjoyed that article, too, and was delighted to come across it. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

Interest on a Dime

In last week's Numismatic Diary I pictured a scrip note owned by Dave Schenkman that promised payment of one percent interest on the face value of ten cents. I asked "1% interest on ten cents from 1837 til now = ?" -Editor

Pennsylvania Slate Co.

Pete Smith writes:

The Pennsylvania Slate Company Note said that it would pay 1% interest on 20 May 1838. Thus it became worth 10.1 cents. It did not promise any additional value after the redemption date. Thus, the most it was ever worth was 10.1 cents.

Ten cents earning simple interest would earn 17.9 cents in 179 years.

Compound interest (interest on interest) would boost the return, but the main question for me is how would they pay the 10.1 cents? Many scrip notes say they must be presented in sums of $1, $5 etc, but this one doesn't. -Editor

Pete Smith adds:

I asked my computer to figure compound interest on 10 cents principal and 1% annual interest compounded over 179 years. I got an answer of 59 cents representing the initial investment of 10 cents and earnings of 49 cents. This is only approximately correct.

The full computation should run out to 357 decimal places. I don't know how my computer rounds and truncates in making the computation. This is complicated because my computer probably converts to binary, computes and then converts back to decimal.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
WAYNE'S NUMISMATIC DIARY: NOVEMBER 20, 2016 : Pennsylvania Slate Company Note (

More on the Colonial Counterstamp Mystery

DCP Counterstamps

Regarding the B / D.CP counterstamp discussed earlier, Jeff Rock writes:

I am just getting through all the E-Sylums that piled up while I was in the UK for a month. I wanted to mention that Burdette's guess of "Denarium Church Penny" seems off to me -- that's basically calling it Penny Church Penny, which is pretty redundant, and a waste of an initial, really. With initials the obvious choice is that they are the initials of first, middle and last name of someone, and with this kind of a decorated border around the counterstamp, perhaps a punch for silver/goldsmith, a pewter maker or something like that. I think that would be the first place to look, and there are books out there that detail those marks -- luckily since all the host coins known so far are colonials we probably don't have to wade through the thousands of British silver and pewter makers and instead just concentrate on North America.

The C.P. initials DO work so well with Church Penny though that I wouldn't ignore that avenue of research either -- but I would suggest that in this case the D before it would most likely be an initial for the name of the church or the town/district it was located in, so something like Dover Church Penny; there would be no need to spell it all out since it would only have been used in the very limited area of the church itself and people would know what the D stood for.

The small B could be an initial of the person who cut the punch or perhaps of the church official who ordered these to be struck. Lots of speculation, and hopefully someone out there can find some facts. If it can be tied to an actual congregation then Syd Martin's example will prove to be the bargain of the auction season as these would rightfully be valued at the same levels as the Albany church pennies (and probably even more in demand from American collectors because the host coins are colonials!)

Thanks. This is an interesting mystery; hopefully it will be resolved someday. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:

More on 1912 Carpathia Medals

Titanic Carpathia Medal Regarding the 1912 Carpathia medal discussed last week, Joe Levine wrote to remind me that he had sold an example in gold in eBay. He provided the lot description for us in a September 26, 2010 E-Sylum article linked below, along with related articles from our archive. Thanks. Here's an image of a bronze one. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:

Jason’s CoinTalk Contest Giveaway #3
Jason Hoffpauir writes:

Below are the links for Jason's Coin Contest #3 Giveaway and the results of the Coin Contest #2. Thank you for including our contest in The E-Sylum.

Contest #2 Results, see:
Jason’s Coin Contest Giveaway #2 (

Contest #3 Questions, see:
Jason’s Coin Contest Giveaway #3 (

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:
NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: NOVEMBER 13, 2016 : Jason’s CoinTalk Contest Giveaway #2 (

Unfortunately, contest #3 will have ended by the time this E-Sylum issue is published. But the questions are still fun. -Editor

Over the years a well-known city in this state was home to many well-known numismatists with such surnames as Cohen, Berg, Garrett, Stablein, Duffield, Fuld, Eliasberg, and Newcomer.

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Author Gary Beals brings up a topic that (surprisingly) I don't think we've covered before in The E-Sylum - the serial numbering of numismatic books. -Editor

Serially numbering numismatic books — is it worth doing?

Since most of the books written on obscure corners of numismatics are limited editions, I wonder about the value of adding this feature to the title pages. Medals are sometimes numbered on their edges and lithographed and silkscreened artwork is signed and numbered down in the lower right hand margin. But what about books, especially numismatic ones?

  • What experience have you had with serially numbered limited edition books?
  • Are serially numbered numismatic books more collectable?
  • Do they add sales appeal to a book’s purchase without adding value? (Like swimming pools in residential real estate).
  • Should books be signed as well by the author other than when requested by a buyer?

A bit of background: In 1966 I serially numbered by first little book, the 85-page Spanish to English dictionary Numismatic Terms of Spain & Spanish America — all 1,000 copies. I sold them all, eventually, but I have no idea if having numbered them added to the appeal. I have seen copies offered for sale with the serial number mentioned! I was age 21 then, by the by.

My pal Dick Johnson (and technical editor of my new book) told me not to bother, but I did it 50 years ago and I am going to continue the slightly delayed tradition now with El Numiscadero, the 352-page Spanish-English numismatic dictionary for this century. I will report to you by mid-December how many hours it takes to stamp 1000 books and pack them back into their cartons.

A numbering machine by Faska cost me $25 — more industrial models can cost 10 times that amount. Your printer may have a device you could use for free.

Number stamping

As a bibliophile I appreciate numbered books. Having a low number is nice, but the number is also important for tracking the pedigree of individual copies, and identifying ownership if lost or stolen. What do readers think? It it worth the trouble? -Editor


The November 2016 issue of Sample Slab Update, the newsletter for sample slab collectors published by David Schwager noted the discovery of a product from a previously unlisted issuer. -Editor

Star Grading Service Sample Slab Sample Slab Update reader Barry Sites discovered the first known sample from third-party grader Star Grading Service, or SGS. This is a different company from Strategic Grading Service, the SGS listed in Sample Slabs. Star Grading Service production slabs are common, and coins encapsulated by SGS usually trade for the same value as raw coins. This is the first one of which I know, however, with sample or related labeling. The label not only indicates this holder is a sample, but includes the words “Sample Slab.”

This brings the number of sample slab issuers from the 35 listed in the second edition of Sample Slabs to 36. It is hard to give a value for a holder with no comparables. Other scarce sample slabs trade at prices anywhere from $15 – $20 (DGS) to $200 – $300 (Hallmark). Based on the market’s opinion of SGS production slabs, I will guess at a value closer to the low end of that range at $40 - $50. In an eBay auction, however, anything could happen.

Collecting enthusiasts gather and publish a lot of good information that would otherwise be lost to posterity. History is written by the winners, and I never would have guessed that there have been as many as 36 different third party grading services in the U.S. Can anyone tell us about the Star Grading Service? Who were the principals? -Editor

For more information about Sample Slab Update, or to subscribe, contact David Schwager at

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Dick Johnson submitted this entry from his Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Terminology. Thanks. -Editor

Vocabulary - Multipart medals v2

This two-part medal, the first in America, was created by sculptor/medallist Frank Eliscu. Inspired by a film showing Kauko Rasanen’s Jonah in the Whale, he chose the theme of Pegasus, symbol of an artist’s Muse or Inspiration. Note the two interfaces surfaces are concurrent; the relief side fits exactly within its incuse mate.

Two-part Medal. A medallic item of two separate unattached parts which form the complete item. The two parts lie loose fitting within each other, sometimes in an intricate manner (like a puzzle). The inventor of the two-part medal was Kauko Rasanen whose Jonah in the Whale first appeared in 1969. The whale appeared on the outside obverse and reverse. When the two horizontal halves are broken apart a design of Jonah is revealed inside on the two interface surfaces. Some form of KEYING, as notching or lettering, assists in seating the two halves correctly together again. The development of the two-part medal led, obviously, to those of more than two parts, spearheaded by inventor Rasanen, and all such items are now classed as MULTIPART MEDALS.
CLASS 12.6

Archives International sale 37 cover


John Lupia submitted the following information from his   Encyclopedic Dictionary of Numismatic Biographies for this week's installment of his series. Thanks! As always, this is an excerpt with the full article and bibliography available online. This week's subject is Massachusetts dealer Harold E. Whiteneck. -Editor

Harold Whiteneck PHOTO 3-12-1972 Harold Everett Whiteneck (1914-2002), was born the son of John, a farmer, and Flossie Williams Whiteneck, both natives of Maine, on January 31, 1914 at Caribou, Aroostook, Maine. He graduated high school in 1932, and attended Suffolk Law School but was forced to leave after the death of his mother in 1933. According to his interview by Dennis Williams, "Collector Becomes Dealer," Springfield Union, Sunday, March 12, 1972, page 7, he lived in Chicopee and began collecting coins in 1935 as a cashier at Charles Restaurant in Boston, when he lived at 9A Falmouth Street with his brother Lloyd and their three sisters Marjorie, Gladys and Arline. The following year he became a coin dealer. However, according to his advertisement in 1963 in The Numismatist he claims he was in the coin business since 1935. Many years later, in the 1970's, his brother Lloyd would also become a coin dealer.

He was ANA Member No. 11683, and LM 329. In 1945, Harold E. Whiteneck was the manager of Sheraton Coin Company, 68 Huntington Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts, with a mailing address at the Sheraton Building, 10 Post Office Square. In 1948 he bought out the Stock of the Sheraton Corporation of America, trading as Sheraton Coin Company.

He held twenty-six coin auction sales from February 6, 1945 until November 22, 1949. He published his first full page advertisement in The Numismatist in September 1945 on page 1032. From 1945 to 1947 he owned what is now called the Million Dollar Cent, a 1799 S-189 MS 62 Brown. He attended the ANA Convention of 1946. He was the Secretary of the Boston Numismatic Society. In 1947 he was considered the foremost expert on U. S. Dimes having nearly a complete set and he issued a fixed price list of them.

The Newman Portal has some invoices scanned of coins sold to Burdette G. Johnson of St. Louis Stamp & Coin Co.

Harold Whiteneck NUM Jan 1948, A29 In the January through March issues in 1948 of The Numismatist he ran a series of full page coin advertisements. In March 1948 he was elected president of the New England Numismatic Association (NENA). He and his wife Elva had exhibits of coins in the 1948 ANA Convention.

It is purported by Gene Gardner (ANA 1176004) that after the death of Wayte Raymond in 1956 that Harold Whiteneck acquired many coins from his collection.

Arthur Conn partnered with Harold Whiteneck in 1960 conducting the ANA Annual Convention Coin Auction sale on August 24. He was a contributor to the 1965 18th edition of R. S. Yeoman's, A Guide Book of United States Coins.

In 1963 he opened Court Coin Company, 101 Worthington Street, Springfield, Massachusetts. He was a steady advertiser in The Numismatist, and also in the Numismatic Scrapbook. In 1972 he moved from Boston to Springfield, Massachusetts.

He was arrested with his license as a coin dealer operating Court Coin Company at Springfield, Massachusetts revoked by police detectives Donald LaDue and Raymond Gebo in April 1982 since evidence supported he acted as a fence for stolen coins and jewelry. After that his full page ads in The Numismatist ceased the last being published in August, page 2117. Later he declared his innocence and sued the police for false arrest. However, the Federal Courts upheld the city charging Whiteneck. It seems as though Harold Whiteneck was a victim of unfortunate circumstances since his record seems to reflect that he was always a reputable dealer. He did not allow this set back to dissuade him as a coin dealer. In 1991, he and his wife Rilla moved to 16 Summer Street, Northfield, New Hampshire and opened Concord Coin Company at Concord, New Hampshire which he ran until November 2000. He died about six months short of becoming 89 on June 27, 2002, Concord, Merrimack, New Hampshire.

To read the complete article, see:

Holabird 2016-12 cover


An article published November 22, 2016 in Antiques and the Arts Weekly is a Question & Answer session with Erik Goldstein, curator of numismatics at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. -Editor

Erik Gldstein Erik J. Goldstein is the senior curator of mechanical arts and numismatics at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and has been in this position since 2002. A student of military history and numismatics, he has lectured widely and instructs a three-year syllabus on Colonial American coins, medals and paper money at the annual American Numismatic Association’s Summer Seminar. He has written more than two dozen articles in both specialties and six books relating to antique weaponry and military history. He recently curated the exhibition, “From Forge and Furnace: A Celebration of Early American Iron,” which opened this week at the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum.

What first peaked [sic] your interest in history and when?

I was a really odd kid, and started to collect things like coins and rocks before I was 5 years old. Much to my parent’s concern, I even had a bound-up Barbie doll that I used to bury in the garden just so I could dig up a mummy. Was I going to be an archaeologist or a psychopath? While the former option came close, I chose to dedicate my life to really interesting old things. For instance, the idea that you can hold a coin in your hand and know where it was made and when it was made… set my imagination going crazy! Take the Continental Currency paper money bills of the 1770s… these were in everyone’s pockets and were the very things that financed the American Revolution.

Coins, antique weaponry and iron… you have quite eclectic interests. Are there any common threads among these besides being made of metal?

I don’t know if there are. People who collect old coins sometimes collect old weapons. The one thing that ties the two together, if you look at the Seventeenth through the Nineteenth Centuries, is that the only things national governments produced were military weapons and coins. Maybe it’s because they were mass produced in their times and they are a researchable and a tangible link to contemporary events, like a Pine Tree shilling is a tangible link to the late Seventeenth Century Massachusetts of Salem “Witch Trials” fame.

Which figure in the Colonial American period most interests you and why?

I’m not a “politician’s” guy, so if I could go back in time and have a beer with anyone from the Revolutionary period, it would be Ben Franklin or “Bloody” Banastre Tarleton, the notorious British cavalry commander. Tarleton was brutally effective in combat, and would be an interesting character to talk to. Franklin was a brilliant wiseguy, and I’m sure he was a real hoot to hang around with.

Yes, that said "peaked" instead of "piqued". Sheesh. Nice article otherwise. While we'd prefer more on the numismatic side, it's interesting to learn about some of the other great artifacts he gets to work with. -Editor

To read the complete article, see:
Q&A: Erik Goldstein (

U.S. Rare Coin Investments


Bill Gibbs of Coin World interviewed Arthur L. Friedberg, dealer, author and President of the International Association of Professional Numismatists. See the complete article online. Here's an excerpt. -Editor

Q: How has the business of selling world coins as a distributor changed over the years?

arthur-friedberg A: Massively. The biggest change has been the commercialization of mints from government entities to privatized corporations, sometimes owned by the ministries of finance and sometimes not. But in either case these self-standing enterprises are now required to return a profit. They are paid a fee for making circulation coins, did not get seigniorage taken into account and so had to resort to collectors for the enhancement of their bottom line. The result has been an overabundance of some nice coins and a lot of sketchy stuff to which you expect people to say “no.” You need only to look at the coinage of modern France. In the new edition of Gold Coins of the World, France from 1226 to 1984 is 598 catalog numbers, and from 1984 to now, 471 and growing monthly.

'Nuff said. I agree that a number of very nice coins have been produced in recent years, but unfortunately accompanied by a lot of dreck which must be dutifully catalogued regardless. -Editor

Q: What is the biggest change you’ve seen occur in the collecting of paper money?

A: No doubt the advent of third-party grading services and the acceptance of paper money collecting as equal to coins. Third-party grading services have added a dimension that was perhaps unanticipated, in that the grading can sometimes be of secondary importance to the other information they provide. We now have more accurate census numbers than ever before. Since they record each serial number when the notes are graded, we have a better idea of rarity. We also know more about rarity based on condition since we have a fairly good idea of what notes are available based on their grade. It is also somewhat interesting to see a note that was graded Very Fine or Extremely Fine 10 years ago improve to a much higher grade thanks to good restoration work. To the credit of the grading services, this is usually noted. The other big change is the rise in popularity of world paper money and obsolete currency to levels that would never have been imagined as recently as even 10 to 15 years ago.

I would also agree that despite its faults, the system of third-party grading is a net positive for the hobby, in both coin and paper money collecting. -Editor

To read the complete article, see:
Editor’s Q&A: Paper money expert Arthur L. Friedberg (

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On November 17, 2016 Mike Markowitz published an article in CoinWeek on the coinage of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Here's an excerpt - see the complete article online. -Editor

coinage of marcus aurelius

OF ALL THE ROMAN EMPERORS, Marcus Aurelius comes down to us across the centuries as perhaps the most likable, because we hear him in his own voice: sensible, dutiful and patient. His book, known to us as The Meditations, survived because it was copied and recopied in medieval monasteries. Marcus wrote in koine, the common Greek used in The New Testament. The Church came to view his pagan Stoic philosophy as, well... not incompatible with Christianity.

His coinage extends over four decades (139 – 180 CE) and it also survives in abundance. On it, we see his progress from adolescence to manhood, prematurely aged by hard campaigning and the cares of ruling an Empire in crisis.

Marcus as Caesar
marcus caeser coin Marcus Aurelius was born in Rome on 26 April 121 CE to an elite family; both his grandfathers served as Consul, an office that still held immense prestige, though little real power. As a child, Marcus attracted the attention of Emperor Hadrian, who groomed him as a potential successor. After Hadrian died (138 CE), the emperor Antoninus Pius adopted Marcus as his heir, along with another young aristocrat, Lucius Verus.

This can be confusing, because each adoption involved a name change. Sometimes it seems as though elite Romans changed their names as often as they changed their togas. Born “Marcus Annius Verus”, he became “Marcus Aelius Aurelius Verus” upon adoption, then “Aurelius Caesar” in 139, and finally “Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus” when he became emperor.

marcus gold aurius On a gold aureus, the beardless image of young Marcus appears on the reverse, accompanying the senior emperor on the obverse. On a silver denarius, young Marcus appears by himself, with the implements of the high priesthood that was part of his duties. A bronze sestertius of Marcus as Caesar bears a reverse depicting the goddess Minerva with spear and shield.

To read the complete article, see:
Philosopher King: The Coinage of Marcus Aurelius (


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David Sundman passed along this article from the Sunday Times headlined "Sunken treasures found where Elgin lost his marbles." Thanks. -Editor

Salvage at 1802 Mentor wreck More than two centuries after the frigate Mentor sank in rough seas in the Aegean, taking with it artefacts salvaged from the Parthenon by the 7th Lord Elgin, divers have begun to retrieve the vessel’s last secrets from the deep.

Marine archaeologists diving on the wreck near the Greek island of Kythera have brought up a treasure trove of coins, statues and jewellery.

Greek experts hope the finds could be followed by the recovery of lost pieces of the Elgin marbles.

In the aftermath of the 1802 disaster Elgin, then the British ambassador to the Ottoman empire, hired the men who made a living from diving for sponge to recover much of the cargo of ancient marble sculptures.

In a missive to London at the time of the loss, Elgin played down the significance of the shipment. “She had on board some quantities of boxes with stones of no value, but of great consequence for me to secure,” he wrote.

He sold the marbles to the British government in 1816 when he found himself in financial straits. To this day Britain and Greece both claim ownership of the 2,500-year-old treasures.

The coins, fine jewellery and Egyptian statues found at the ship’s last resting place have encouraged the archaeologists, and funds are in place for a larger dig next year.

“We always hope to find some fragments or pieces of the marbles that were broken and left on the sea bed,” said Dimitris Kourkoumelis, an archaeologist at the Greek culture ministry, who is heading the mission.

David Sundman adds:

The writer had fun with the headline! It will be fascinating to watch this project's progress. No details on the coins that were found as of yet.

Elgin Marbles
Elgin Marbles on display at the British Museum

To read the complete article, see:
Sunken treasures found where Elgin lost his marbles (

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Via The Explorator newsletter comes this article about a find of Islamic coins all the way in Sweden. -Editor

Silver-islamic-coins-Sweden An interesting find from Uppland in Sweden where archaeologist working for Arkeologikonsult have uncovered a hoard of 163 Islamic coins. Fashioned out of silver, the coins contain Arabic script and the majority were minted in Samarkand, an Islamic state which was located in modern day Uzbekistan and Iran. They date from the mid-10th century AD and were discovered in a much older, prehistoric mound that was erected during the Swedish Bronze Age. This is not overly surprising as such monuments were often reused during the Viking age for votive offerings.

Of the 163 coins uncovered, fifty were complete, while the remainder had been snipped and chopped for use as silver bullion. A number had also been modified with holes or loops so that they could be worn as pendants.

The presence of Islamic coins in Sweden is not unusual and to-date nearly 70,000 have been uncovered. This reflects the extensive long distance trade routes which once existed between the Viking world and the orient. These were mainly focused on the Volga River and saw items such as furs, slaves and leather being exported southwards, while silver coins and exotic goods returned northwards.

To read the complete article, see:
Hoard of Islamic silver coins found in Sweden (


Another The Explorator find is this item from the Daily Mail on two rare Viking coins found over in Ireland. -Editor

Two Viking coins found in Ireland Treasure hunters can often spend hours searching to find nothing at all, but when a valuable find does come along it can be incredibly exciting.

That's exactly what happened to Brian Morton who, after ten years of metal detecting, stumbled across two rare Viking coins in County Down.

Experts believe the coins, which are the first of their kind to be found in Northern Ireland, may have been taken during a Viking raid on a monastery at Maghera.

They have now been sent for independent valuation at the British Museum.

A treasure inquest in Belfast heard the discovery of the Hiberno-Manx silver coins was a first for Northern Ireland, with less than a handful found anywhere in Ireland during the past four decades.

The coins were mainly circulated in the Isle of Man during the eleventh century and are 93 per cent silver. They were found under about 4 inches (10cm) of mud about 5 feet (1.5m) apart.

Some suggest they may have been dropped during a raid on a nearby monastery.

The Viking raids often involved attacking monasteries and churches because they were treasure troves for the raiders.

To read the complete article, see:
How did they get there? Two rare Viking coins are found in Northern Ireland for the first time (

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This November 23, 2016 article from Newport, RI discusses the discovery of 1730-dated coin below a driveway undergoing repairs. -Editor

1730 coin found in Newport Roy Caetano works for Narragansett Improvement; and he was on the job paving on front of 26 Hunter Ave., this morning when he made a rare find.

Caetano, of Fall River, Mass., had found a pre-Revolutionary war coin. He knocked on the homeowner's door.

Former Newport Councilor Mike Farley answered, and Caetano gave him the 1730 British coin.

"Okay, that's yours," he told Farley.

"He just handed it to me," said Farley, who gave the laborer a $40 reward.

Caetano said he was excited when he saw the coin in the ground under the driveway. He has found one other collectable coin in the past, but nothing to compare with this coin.

His other discovery? A 1944 U.S. dime, he said.

OK - can any of our coin sleuths tells us more about this piece from the image? -Editor

To read the complete article, see:
Workmen Find Eighteenth-Century British Coin Under Newport Lawyer's Driveway (


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As mentioned in last week's Numismatic Diary, here is Part I of Steve Bishop's submission on identifying undertypes in overstruck Russian copper coins. Thanks, Steve. -Editor

By Steve Bishop

It’s gratifying to be able to pass on specialized knowledge to other collectors in an area that those collectors may not be familiar. In this case, a question from Wayne Homren at our recent Nummis Nova dinner sparked this article.

I have a specialty collection of overstruck copper coins of 18th century Russia. I have written on this topic before in the E-Sylum, notably on the reoverstriking program of Tsar Paul I in 1797. In that article, I touched on identifying coins from that program and the undertype coins that they were struck from. In this article, I will cover identifying the undertypes of the overstruck copper coins of Russia in general.

I. Copper Coins of Catherine the Great (1762-96) Struck Over Coins of 1762

The two coins that instigated my conversation with Wayne are pictured below.

1788 MM 2 Kopeks struck over 1762 4 Kopecks
1788 MM 2 Kopeks struck over 1762 4 Kopecks

1788 MM 5 Kopecks struck over 1762 10 kopecks
1788 MM 5 Kopecks struck over 1762 10 kopecks

The question that Wayne asked about these two pieces was logical. How did I know that these coins were struck over the coins that I claimed they were, since he could not see any trace of the date 1762 in the undertype?

It is a truism in overstrike collecting that the exact date of the undertype is not identifiable in many instances because the overstrike obliterates the old date. Thus, it is often the case that only the general type and a date range are identifiable. In this case, I know that the coins were struck over 1762 coins for two reasons. First, this particular date and mint combination are very commonly found struck over 1762 coins. The 1762 coins were overstruck by Catherine the Great because Peter III, who ruled briefly in 1762, had changed the monetary standard so that the value of the copper coins were doubled by halving the amount of copper. That is, the value of one ruble of copper was deemed now to be worth two rubles. One kopeck became two kopecks, two kopecks became four, etc.

Catherine changed the monetary standard back to what it had been previously. Although two kopeck and five kopeck pieces of Catherine are sometimes found struck over two and five kopecks of Elizabeth, most of them were struck over the 1762 issue to prevent coins of the same weight but different denominations from circulating concurrently. This is the primary reason that the copper coins of Peter are so scarce. Secondly, Peter’s coins had a distinctive design, so by seeing the traces of his designs on an overstruck piece, no signs of the date are necessary to identify the date of the undertype, since his coins were struck only in 1762.

The most obvious design device usually seen on an overstruck 1762 piece is the denomination inscription. Sometime the “4”, which is a denomination peculiar to 1762, may be seen, as in the coin pictured below.

1766 CΠB 2 Kopecks overstruck on 1762 4 Kopecks
1766 CΠB 2 Kopecks overstruck on 1762 4 Kopecks

In this case, the “4” would be the only thing that identifies the undertype, if not for the traces of the horse and rider and stars on the reverse, and would be more than sufficient. The two kopeck piece pictured at the beginning of this article does not show the “4”, but the rest of the denomination inscription is clearly seen. The five kopeck piece pictured above shows clearly both the “10” and the rest of the denomination inscription.

Even a small amount of the denomination inscription is sufficient to identify the undertype in some cases. The five kopeck piece pictured below shows only a fraction of the denomination inscription (to the left of the eagle), but that is enough.

1763 5 Kopecks Struck Over 1762 10 Kopecks
1763 MM 5 Kopecks Struck Over 1762 10 Kopecks

As noted above, sometimes the smallest design element is sufficient to identify the undertype. One of the distinctive elements of the 1762 designs is a circle of stars around the perimeter, the number of stars reflecting the denomination. In the five kopeck piece pictured below, many of the stars are visible, which makes it easy to identify the undertype, even though none of the other 1762 design elements, other than a portion of the eagle’s wing within the stars and the “10” on the obverse, may be seen. Indeed, even the appearance of a single star would be sufficient.

1788 CΠB 5 Kopecks struck over 1762 10 kopecks
1788 CΠB 5 Kopecks struck over 1762 10 kopecks

For the convenience of the reader, four and ten kopeck pieces of 1762 are shown below so that all of the distinctive design elements may be seen.

1762 4 Kopecks
1762 4 Kopecks

1762 10 Kopecks
1762 10 Kopecks

See next week's issue for Part II. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
WAYNE'S NUMISMATIC DIARY: NOVEMBER 20, 2016 : Overstruck Russian Coppers (

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The November 22, 2016 Heritage Coin News has an article about the Eliasberg 1802 Half Dime, a fabled U.S. rarity the firm is offering for sale in January 2017. Here's an excerpt. -Editor

1802 Half Dime 1802 Half Dime reverse

The 1802 half dime in this lot is one of the more memorable pieces of Americana that we have had the pleasure of offering. It is one of only 40 or 50 examples thought to have survived to the present day. The majority of these are in the lower levels of preservation and/or have been impaired in one way or another. In our upcoming January 4 - 9 FUN US Coins Signature Auction in Fort Lauderdale, we are offering an outstanding example, graded AU53 by PCGS. This particular coin is the second finest known, and once resided in the cabinet of the legendary Louis Eliasberg, Sr., the only numismatist to have assembled a complete collection of United States coinage.

Numismatic researcher Davis Davis listed 167 appearances of this issue for the nearly 140-year period between 1859 and 1998, an average of about one appearance per year. This underscores the infrequent opportunity of acquiring this numismatic rarity, especially at this grade level and with this pleasing surface condition.

Relatively few 1802 half dimes have apparently survived the ravages of time. In order to determine just how rare these coins in fact are, that is, how many have survived to the present day and the grade distribution of surviving specimens, we are using Davis's study as a base upon which to compile a preliminary population census of this important issue. To date we have documented 31 separate specimens, 13 of which are in the Poor to Very Good level of preservation, nine in Fine and Very Fine, and nine in Extremely Fine and About Uncirculated. None are currently known in mint state. Twenty-three of the documented 31 examples (74 percent) exhibit one or more impairments.

Modern-day numismatists differ on the estimated number of 1802 half dimes that have survived to the present day. Walter Breen, in his 1988 Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins, cites coin dealer James G. MacAllister who in 1935 claimed "he could trace 35, mostly in the Poor to VG range." Breen goes on to say: "Nobody has attempted a more recent comprehensive head count, but the probable number is somewhere between 35 and 45." Logan and McCloskey (1998), on the other hand, are doubtful of Breen's estimate. Their contention is that "not more than 35 genuine specimens of this date could be traced today." The emphasis that these authors place on genuine examples is significant, opining that "modern numismatists are cognizant of counterfeit pieces made during the 19th century by altering the date of other Heraldic Eagle half dimes." Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth in their 2015 reference 100 Greatest U.S. Coins estimate that 40 or 50 1802 half dimes have survived. Numismatic researcher and author Greg Reynolds, on the other hand, says of this issue in a recent (2012) post: "I am not convinced that even thirty-one survive."

To read the complete article, see:
Seldom Seen Selections: The Eliasberg 1802 Half Dime, a classic American rarity (

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John Sallay forwarded this press release about an amazing group of medals, including a gilt Nobel Prize Medal, a Copley Medal and more. Thanks! -Editor

Robert Robinson medals1

A Nobel laureate’s extraordinary group of awards and medals, including an extremely rare Order of Merit insignia, will come to auction on 6 December at the Sworders Winter Country House sale.

The group, which also includes a copy of the Nobel Prize Medal for Chemistry, belonged to Sir Robert Robinson OM FRS (1886-1975), the pioneering organic chemist, whose work led to the successful production of anti malarial drugs.

He was knighted in 1939 and awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1947, gaining the Order of Merit in 1949.

Two papers he published in the 1920s remain major source works today on ‘electronic theory’. The second of these introduced the curly arrow symbol as a device to represent electron movement in conjugated organic molecules. And he also invented the symbol now used for benzene.

Together the papers launched a major transition in the field of organic chemistry.

Sworders will offer, as a single lot, a group of more than 30 medals, honours and awards. They include Robinson’s George VI Order of Merit; the gilt medal copy of his Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1947; the Franklin Medal, 1947; the Faraday Medal, 1947; the French Commandeur de la Légion d’Honneur; and his Knight’s Bachelor badge. The estimate is £6000-8000.

“Quite apart from the unique and astounding archive of material associated with one of the nation’s most brilliant minds from the last 100 years, the list of scientific honours included in this consignment would make it the pride of any institutional collection,” said Sworders director John Black.

“For independent collectors, too, the extremely rare chance to secure both the insignia of the Order of Merit and a copy of a Nobel Prize medal alone make this group an enticing prospect, but when you add the more than two dozen other outstanding awards, you really have to wonder whether anything else will ever come close.”

The lot description provides the following list. -Editor

Robert Robinson medals2

Robert Robinson medals3

  • George VI Order of Merit, Civil, with ribbon, cased, 1949,
  • The Knight Bachelors Badge, cased,
  • Nobel Prize for Chemistry, 1947, gilt medal, copy,
  • Longstaff Medal 1927, Chemical Society, cased,
  • Davy Medal 1930, gilt medal, cased, and
  • another silvered,
  • Royal Medal 1932, gilt medal, cased,
  • The Chemical Society Pedler Lectureship Medal 1936,
  • Copley Medal 1942, inscribed to edge,
  • John Scheuchzer Medal 1946, cased,
  • Albert Medal 1947, inscribed to edge,
  • Franklin Medal 1947
  • Faraday Medal 1947, inscribed to edge, cased,
  • Robert J Flintoff Medal, Chemical Society, 1960, cased,
  • USA Medal of Freedom, cased,
  • French Commandeur de la Légion dHonneur, cased,
  • The Society of Chemical Industry Presidents Medal 1958-1959, cased,
  • The Chemical Society Past President Badge, cased,
  • Swiss Theophrastus Paracelsus Medal, Swiss Chemical Society, 1939,
  • Scheuchzer Medal 1946, and a medallion,
  • French Association Française pour lAvancement des Sciences, Caen, 1955
  • Société Chimique de France Medal,
  • Ville de Paris medal,
  • Belgium University of Brussels medal, 1965,
  • German Chemical Society Medal, 1957,
  • Spanish Medal, 1970,
  • Ghent Medal,
  • Academia RPR enamel badge, cased,
  • Dr Bimala Churn Law Gold Medal 1945, cased,
  • Indian Association of the Cultivation of Science, cased,
  • Japanese Order of The Rising Sun, neck badge and breast star, cased,
  • Key to City of Bradford

Although the Nobel Prize medal is a copy, this grouping is extraordinary. What an amazing lifetime haul! -Editor

To read the complete article, see:

To read the complete lot description, see:
An important collection of medals and awards, given to: Sir Robert Robinson OM, FRS (1886-1975), ... (

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From the White House announcement:

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the Nation’s highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.

One of my favorite public events is the annual Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony. Taking place at the White House, it's the most eclectic gathering of luminaries one could think of - standouts from every field and walk of life. The only common denominator is that the sitting President decided to recognize them for their achievements. Every list of attendees reads like the setup for a standup comedian's joke: "So, Maya Lin, Vin Scully, Diana Ross and Bill Gates walk into a bar..." Check out the video - you can tell Obama was having fun. -Editor

Obama giving Medal of Freedom to Bill and Melinda Gates The 21 men and women who stood awaiting the nation’s highest civilian honor Tuesday in the White House East Room represented Barack Obama’s particular vision of the United States: one where pioneering scientists, groundbreaking performers, crusading activists and unconventional artists chart America’s destiny.

President Obama has not stinted on handing out the Presidential Medal of Freedom during his time in office: He has bestowed it on at least 114 individuals, more than any of his predecessors. Nearly half of the latest honorees were artists, actors or musicians, including singer Bruce Springsteen, actor Robert Redford and “Saturday Night Live” producer Lorne Michaels.

But there were also computer engineers and famous architects, as well as what the president called “rabble rousers” and philanthropists.

Throughout his tenure, Obama has used the honor to recognize pioneers in many fields, particularly when they have broken racial or gender barriers. Rear Adm. Grace Hopper, who invented the first compiler for a computer programming language and was known as “the first lady of software,” was granted the award posthumously. Also recognized was Margaret H. Hamilton, who led the team that created the onboard flight software for NASA’s Apollo command and lunar modules.

Obama poked fun at some of the more famous medal recipients, noting that they included “renowned character actors like the guy from ‘Space Jam,’ ” a reference to a 1996 live-action and animated comedy featuring basketball great Michael Jordan.

Obama has come to use these ceremonies both to make a political point and to trot out comedic riffs in front of a friendly audience. There were also unintentional funny moments, notably when the president reached up to put the medal around basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s neck, and when singer Diana Ross had to adjust her enormous hair to receive it.

Obama giving Medal of Freedom to KAreem Abdul-Jabbar

To read the complete article, see:
Obama awards Medal of Freedom to a star-studded list of 21 recipients (

For more background on the awardees, see the White House announcment from November 16, 2016. -Editor

To read the complete article, see:
President Obama Names Recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom (

To watch the entire ceremony video fron CNN, see:
Entire Medal of Freedom ceremony (

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I didn't get a chance to write about this in earlier issues, but Steve Roach covered the topic nicely in a November 11, 2016 Coin World article. -Editor


A bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives that would stop the sale of collectible Purple Heart medals awarded to members of the Armed Forces. On Sept. 28, Rep. Paul Cook, R-CA, introduced H.R. 6234, titled the “Private Corrado Piccoli Purple Heart Preservation Act of 2016.”

The Purple Heart is a combat decoration awarded to members of the United States Armed Forces who are wounded by an instrument of war in the hands of the enemy. The medals are presented posthumously to the recipient’s next of kin in the name of those who are killed in action or die of wounds received in action.

The legislation explains, “The Purple Heart medal holds a place of honor as the national symbol of this sacrifice and deserves special protections.”

The bill would provide that anyone who knowingly purchases, attempt to purchase or sell any Purple Heart medal be punished by a fine or not more than six months imprisonment.

Rep. Cook stated in a Sept. 29 press release, “Military collectors often acquire these Purple Hearts, sometimes through underhanded means, and resell them as collectable items. These medals sell for hundreds and even thousands of dollars on the collector market.”

The release adds, “As Veterans or their survivors pass away, dozens of these Purple Hearts become lost every year and find their way into pawn shops, junk stores, and estate sales.”

John Adams-Graf, editor of Military Trader magazine, wrote on Oct. 26 that he considered the bill misguided, explaining, “I do not argue that a veteran is entitled to keep his or her medals. But, as you are aware, a veteran’s medals are given to him or her by our government. If that veteran chooses to dispose of or sell those medals, that is the veteran’s right to do so. I don’t believe Rep. Cook considered that his bill, if made into law, would infringe upon these rights of veterans or their heirs.”

Adams-Graf added, “Further­more, Rep. Cook’s bill, as it is now written, fails to acknowledge the thousands of private collectors and researchers who often become the custodians of these medals, whether through purchase or gift. In so doing, these people perpetuate the memory and deeds for which the medals were originally awarded. Without these committed researchers, historians, and hobbyists, these actions would be forgotten to the ages. Rep. Cook’s bill would effectively criminalize these efforts to preserve the record of our military history.”

While usually good-intentioned, laws such as these are quite misguided, counterproductive and make little sense in the real world. -Editor

To read the complete article, see:
Should dealers be allowed to sell and collectors buy Purple Heart medals? (

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It's been a long time coming, but Norway is finally releasing their new banknote designs, first unveiled two years ago. See the link below for a story Heather Schena sent us back in October 2014. -Editor

Norway 50 Kroner note

Norway's central bank unveiled the nation's new bank notes on Tuesday and it doesn’t take a super keen observer to see what is different about them. For the very first time in the nation's history, Norway's bank notes will not be adorned with portraits. Instead, the bills pay homage to Norway’s tight bonds with the sea.

The 50 kroner note features a lighthouse modelled after the Utvær lighthouse in Solund that is the nation’s westernmost point. The 100 kroner note displays Norway’s largest preserved Viking ship, the Gotskund, while the 200 kroner bill shows a large cod backed by herring and a fishing net.

The 500 kroner note symbolizes prosperity with an image of the rescue vessel RS 14 Stavanger and the 1,000 kroner note is a rolling wave meant to convey “the sea as a counterforce that hones us, and a driving force that carries us forward”.

Norway's new banknotes The reverse of all of the new notes continue the maritime theme and feature heavily pixilated images designed with patterns that follow the Beaufort wind scale. In debuting the notes for the very first time, Norges Bank touted that “they have already been called ‘the world's most beautiful bank notes’.”

“The combination of the retrospective, iconic obverse motif and the reverse's modern, abstract cubic pattern is completely novel in international bank note design,” the bank wrote in a statement.

The notes all feature state-of-the-art security features, including a ring in the lower left corner that ‘floats’ and displays the currency when the note is tilted, a running anchor chain down the right side that appears to move and a watermark displaying the head of an Atlantic puffin.

To read the complete article, see:
'World's most beautiful banknotes' debut in Norway (

Here's what the complete set looks like, from the 2014 announcement. -Editor

new-norwegian-banknotes-pixel-bills-2 new-norwegian-banknotes-pixel-bills-1

To read the complete article, see:

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Dick Hanscom forwarded a November 24, 2016 Daily Mail article about counting inflation currency in Venezuela. The article was based on an earlier Bloomberg piece. -Editor

VENEZUELA CASH At a delicatessen counter in eastern Caracas, Humberto Gonzalez removes slices of salty white cheese from his scale and replaces them with a stack of bolivar notes handed over by his customer. The currency is so devalued and each purchase requires so many bills that instead of counting, he weighs them.

“It’s sad," Gonzalez says. "At this point, I think the cheese is worth more.”

It’s also one of the clearest signs yet that hyperinflation could be taking hold in a country that refuses to publish consumer-price data on a regular basis. Cash-weighing isn’t seen everywhere but is increasing, echoing scenes from some of the past century’s most-chaotic hyperinflation episodes: Post-World War I Germany, Yugoslavia in the 1990s and Zimbabwe a decade ago.

Venezuela banknotes “When they start weighing cash, it’s a sign of runaway inflation,” said Jesus Casique, financial director of Capital Market Finance, a consulting firm. “But Venezuelans don’t know just how bad it is because the government refuses to publish figures.”

Once one of the world’s strongest currencies, the bolivar has been reduced to a nuisance. Basic purchases require hundreds of bills. Shoppers shove piles of them into gym bags before venturing into crime-plagued streets and shopkeepers stash thousands in boxes and overflowing drawers. In the absence of official data, economists are left to guess what the inflation rate is. Estimates for this year range from 200 percent to 1,500 percent.

To read the complete articles, see:
The cash that isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on: Venezuelan shops take to WEIGHING money as it takes too long to count due to hyperinflation (
Venezuelans Give Up on Counting Piles of Cash and Start Weighing Them (

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Dick Hanscom writes:

India's currency crisis has been covered everyplace. This is a BBC article that has links within it to other facets of the problem.

Thanks. The article focuses on the movement away from cash, which has been underway worldwide, but crises like this accelerate. The links reference related articles on topics like how India will destroy all the obsolete banknotes, and the secret savings of India's housewives. -Editor

India vegetable market stalls On the evening of 8 November, vegetable vendor Vishal Gupta was preparing to shut his roadside stall when Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that 500 ($7.30; £6) and 1,000 rupee notes would be banned effective midnight as part of a crackdown on corruption.

Within minutes, people were out on the streets - queuing outside ATM machines to withdraw money in lower denominations or rushing to shops to buy provisions. The two banned notes account for 86% of all notes in circulation in India's largely cash economy.

"I sold all the vegetables in my stall in 20 minutes. This had never happened before," Mr Gupta told the BBC.

But the following day, he did not earn anything. Very few customers turned up and even those who wanted to buy vegetables did not have change to pay him. The situation continued for the next five days where without buyers all his vegetables got spoilt, causing him a loss of over 10,000 rupees ($150;£121) Desperate to earn some money, Mr Gupta turned to popular mobile wallet Paytm, which he had heard about from his friend. Mobile wallets are apps that allow people to load and transfer money electronically using their smartphones.

"The situation is better now. I get at least four to five customers a day who use mobile wallets to pay me," he says.

Paytm, India's largest mobile payment company, says that it has seen a 700% increase in overall traffic, and a 300% hike in the number of app downloads with daily transactions touching 5 million.

Even though India has successfully opened millions of banks accounts over the last two years to get more people into the financial system, a huge portion of the population still has no access to banking services.

To read the complete article, see:
Can India really become a cashless society? (


Kavan Ratnatunga passed along this article "about a different side of the indian currency demonetization." Thanks. Great man-bites-dog story. -Editor

Exchanging discontinued India currency Delhi:​ Driver Rahul Sharma, 25, remembers the exact day when his employer turned from a wolf into a lamb. It was November 9 when his employer called him beta - Hindi for "dear" - for the first time. The maid was asked to give him a cup of tea, for the first time.

"I was shocked at his sudden niceness. It went on for two days," said Sharma. For the past three years, his New Delhi-based employer has been abusive, bad-tempered, and imperious, often demanding that he turn up for work at 6am after finishing work at midnight.

"He didn't even bother to remember my name. When he wanted to summon me, he'd call out 'driver!'," Sharma said.

"On the third day, the penny dropped. He asked me to deposit 250,000 rupees ($4900) in my bank account on his behalf so that he could get rid of his black money."

Maids, drivers, nannies, and cooks in India are experiencing unusual politeness from their employers. Beyond the work they do every day, they suddenly have another use – to launder the undeclared cash which the rich have been hoarding in steel wardrobes, under the mattress and in under-bed storage.

To read the complete article, see:
For the first time in India, the rich beg the poor to help them (


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The Washington Post has an article about that counterfeit bust in Peru that we discussed last week. It has some interesting details of the operation's workings. -Editor

Sheets of fake $100 bills The product is carefully created in rural facilities throughout the Peruvian countryside using cheap labor, then hoarded in stash houses controlled by violent gangs in Lima.

Once there, the goods are packed into parcels, loaded onto planes or hidden inside luggage, pottery, hollowed-out Bibles, sneakers, children’s toys or massive shipping containers bound for major U.S. ports of entry, such as Miami.

The product’s ultimate destination, according to the U.S. Secret Service, is generally New York, New Jersey, Boston and the greater Northeast.

It’s here, federal authorities say, that a few powerful organizations pass the product to splinter groups that control the streets, reaping huge financial rewards before authorities have time to react.

It’s an illicit trade that bears an uncanny resemblance to narcotrafficking, and while there is some overlap between the two activities, this “product” has nothing to do with cocaine.

Peru counterfieting printing press But the profits created by smuggling the counterfeit currency known as the “Peruvian note” — generally considered the finest fake money on the planet — are just as staggering, if not more so, according to the Secret Service. Responsible for producing and distributing an estimated 60 percent of the world’s counterfeit U.S. notes, more fake American money comes from Peru than any other country, according to the Secret Service, which has been combating the currency’s rise since 2003.

“It’s very similar to the drug war,” said Jose, a Secret Service agent who leads the agency’s efforts to crack down on the trade in Peru and declined to provide his last name. “The modus operandi is very similar, and a lot of the smuggling routes and the hierarchy of organizations involved are very similar, as well as the execution.”

“A lot of these organizations are family-run,” he added. “Making a counterfeit note is a skill that’s been passed down. It’s an art, and the skill isn’t easily transferrable.”

“It can take weeks to create a note, and they dedicate themselves to it,” he added. “They have all the people in place to finish.”

That can mean as many as 10 individuals playing a role in producing a counterfeit note, from financiers, designers, printers and cutters to artists who re-create watermarks and raised textures that provide the appearance of authenticity. The entire process is “compartmentalized,” Jose said, allowing each chain in the link to remain ignorant of the others.

“The person who makes the design doesn’t know the finisher or the distributor,” he said.

Chavez, the Peruvian counterfeiter interviewed by the Guardian, told the paper that raw materials for making counterfeit money are “very cheap.”

“I will give you an example,” he said. “A $100 bill that I sell for $20? My costs are between $3 and $5. So what’s my profit? $15. Here [in Peru], you get the supplies you need at a low cost. This glue? It costs me 50 cents. The flour, even less. . . . The paper you buy in bulk, and that costs 40-50 sols” — or $10 to $15 per stack.”

Chavez echoed Jose’s description of the requisite manpower. He told the paper that it takes “about a week” to fill an order. Typically that means producing about $10,000 to $15,000 worth of fake notes, for which the buyer pays 20 percent of the face value.

“To make these bills, you need 10 to 12 people,” Chavez said. “One runs the machine, there is a designer, you have someone in charge of the supplies — the paper, the inks — you need someone to cut the bills, someone outside watching. The packer. At a minimum eight people, but usually eight to 12 people for the production to come out right.”

To read the complete article, see:
They make the finest counterfeit money in the world. The U.S. just recovered $30 million worth. (

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:


Why look for treasure under the ocean when you can just look under the couch? Dick Hanscom and Arthur Shippee forwarded this BBC News article about a home in France found with gold hidden throughout. -Editor

Gold Hoard from French House A Frenchman who inherited a large house from a relative has found an astonishing 100kg (220lb) haul of gold hidden under the furniture.

The unnamed heir discovered the glittering hoard in a variety of inventive locations, including under piles of linen and in the bathroom.

"There were 5,000 gold pieces, two bars of 12kg and 37 ingots of 1kg," auctioneer Nicolas Fierfort told AFP.

The treasure is worth an estimated €3.5m ($3.7m; £3m).

Mr Fierfort said he had visited the house in Evreux, Normandy, to value furniture the new owner was selling.

He said he totally overlooked the gold, which was "extremely well hidden".

The coins and gold bars only came to light when the house's new owner started moving things around.

First, he found a tin box of coins screwed to the underside of some furniture.

Then came more, carefully concealed in a box meant for a bottle of whisky.

Finally, the man unearthed a staggering pile of gold bars and ingots.

"At that point he called his solicitor to make an inventory," Mr Fierfort said.

According to certificates found in the deceased's estate, the gold was legally purchased in the 1950s and 1960s.

To read the complete article, see:
French heir finds $3.7m gold hoard underneath furniture in house (

The Telegraph also picked up the story. -Editor

This is not the the first time hidden gold has been found in a property in this area of Normandy.

In 2011, three builders struck gold, finding almost a million euros’ worth of ingots and coins buried in the back garden of a house where they had been working on an extension.

Several large glass jars contained 16 gold bars weighing 2.2lbs each, and 600 gold coins from 1924 and 1927. The stash had probably been hidden for safekeeping during the Second World War.

But rather than alert the owner of the house to their discovery, the workers agreed to discreetly steal the fabulous treasure and sell it to a coin collector in the area.

By the time tax inspectors caught up with them, they had already treated themselves to several cars and motorbikes with the ill-gotten gains, but had invested the lion's share – several hundred thousand euros – in life insurance and on improving their own homes.

To read the complete article, see:
French man discovers gold bars worth €3.5m after inheriting home (

So I looked under our couch. Do lost Pokemon game cartridges and ten-year-old Froot Loops count as treasure? -Editor
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A CoinWeek video interview with "Liberty Dollar" creator Bernard von Nothaus was published November 23, 2016. The accompanying article by Everett Millman of Gainesville Coins says that von NotHaus has suspended production and distribution of his new line of "Trump Dollars". -Editor

trump coins

After being entangled with the feds for years because his line of gold, silver, and copper pieces were deemed an illegal “private currency” and confiscated, Mr. von Nothaus has resumed his operations. For months, he has been producing his pro-Trump rounds, even before similar products depicting the president-elect began popping up elsewhere. In fact, these Trump Dollars™ appeared shortly after Mr. Trump announced his candidacy last summer.

Now, however, von Nothaus is being impeded because his Wells Fargo merchant account has been frozen. Apparently, the spike in orders since the presidential election has swamped the funding channel of his business.

Commenting on the high volume of orders, von Nothaus told reporters, “We got over 600 orders in the last 5 days—that’s over a hundred orders a day.”

Describing his conversation with a representative from the bank, von Nothaus continued, “I go, ‘You mean we’re too successful with Trump Dollars? Is that what you’re telling me?’ He goes, ‘Yes.'”

As a result of the frozen merchant account, production and distribution of these pieces has been halted. Von Nothaus conceded that, due to this roadblock, it may take months before he can get access to the capital needed to get the products to his customers.

BErnard von NotHaus video
Bernard von Nothaus

To read the complete article, see:
Bernard von NotHaus “Trump Dollar” Coin Production Halted + CoinWeek Exclusive Video 4K (

The CoinWeek article was based on a story by a Cape Coral, FL television station November 14, 2016, where von Nothaus was interviewed about the situation. -Editor

To read the complete article, see:
Man says bank stopped his Trump coin business (

To visit the Trump dollar web site, see:

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:


Dave Bowers writes:

The Newman Numismatic Portal is a super favorable influence. It is also a game changer. The building of significant numismatic libraries in order to own research material for study will diminish. I probably have city directories, history books, State Papers, sets of Harper’s, Ballou’s, and other periodicals, and general texts, not numismatic but of importance for me in studying finance, politics, and more, that cost me over $100,000. If sold today the value would probably be a fraction of that.

Sea changes are not new. Years ago there were thousands of coin shops in America. Today, relatively few remain. Years ago when we held a major sale it was in a large room filled with many rows of chairs. Often we would have to call for more chairs, and sometime there would be standing room only. Today a great sale can be held with just a handful of people in the gallery, but with thousands of bidders worldwide watching on their computer screens.

Many coin conventions are now replaced by buying, selling, and chatting on the Internet.

Modern communications and access to information have made it possible for many more people to become deeply interested in numismatics. Today in 2016 there are more serious students, researchers, and writers than ever before. Ken Bressett will remember in the 1950s when we started the Rittenhouse Society there were hardly a dozen names we could think of to invite to join! Today in reading the journals of specialized societies I see dozens of potential candidates! Amazing.

Among all of this I still enjoy numismatics every bit as much as I did when I was a kid.

Dave's remarks are particularly appropriate today, for he's had a ringside seat to the hobby for many decades. A November 22, 2016 Numismatic News Viewpoint article by Matthew Andrews addresses the topic of generational change from another perspective. -Editor

Millenials on their phones In the recent issues of Numismatic News, there have been many articles expressing views of the state of the coin collecting hobby. All have been depressing, to say the least. Comments range from the need to mentor young collectors to sustain collecting, to the hobby is on its death bed. I guess this is an easy conclusion to come to when you go to a coin show and see what looks to be a gathering of 45-70 year-old men, shuffling around tables like it’s the early bird special at the local Country Buffet. The fact is, in my opinion, that the optics portrayed at your local coin store and yearly coin shows do not reflect the true demographics of numismatics in the 21st century.

Social media
If you want to find where your average Millennial spends a ton of free time, look no further than their mobile device and social media. It has become a part of everyday life, on equal footing as putting one’s shoes on. I am 34 years old, and I find myself checking Facebook and Instagram multiple times a day to keep up with friends and family.

One day it struck me, I wonder if there are any coin-related accounts on Instagram that would be interesting to check out. I was stunned to say the least. I found thousands of accounts relating to numismatics and precious metals, and they were all run by young people. I instantly made an account of my own. I quickly realized that at the age of 34, I was one of the eldest amongst the group, and some of these guys had some very nice coins. It was amazing to see the passion and knowledge portrayed by these 15-25 year-old collectors, and this grew the passion I held for the hobby exponentially.

If you were looking for a certain Jefferson war nickel in MS-67 graded by NGC, just make a post and there will be numerous people competing for the sale or trade. Along with showing off your favorite items in your collection, it’s a true marketplace for growing your portfolio of awesome coins.

I quickly realized that in the digital age, this is where the youth of the hobby is, and it is thriving!

Like I said earlier, coin shows and local coin stores have become relics in the minds of Millennials. As with many industries, brick-and-mortar stores are quickly becoming obsolete in the age of the Internet. This is no different with the hobby of collecting coins.

And on Internet sites such as eBay, numismatic items are being sold by the tens of thousands each week. All one has to do is a quick search for any denomination of coin out there. Morgan dollar: 127,000 search results. Lincoln cent: 89,000 search results. If the hobby is dying out with the younger generation, who is posting all these coins for sale? Grandpa? Could be, but I think not.

My point is, the next time you see an article about how coin collecting is going the way of the dinosaurs, remember that there are other mediums out there other than coin shows and stores where items can be attained. Young people will always find new ways to interact with others who share their same interest. And with the electronic age in full swing, it’s easier than ever to find an online forum or marketplace to discuss and sell numismatics.

Coin shows have certainly changed, but I wouldn't completely write them off. It's always good to meet new people in person to share a common love of numismatics. The question will be how to draw in some of the crowd who first discover the hobby online. -Editor

To read the complete article, see:
Hobby is thriving, if you know where to look (


This week's Featured Web Site is the Bust Half Attribution Site.

Welcome! I wanted to create a site that contains useful information on bust half dollars (Flowing Hair, Draped, and Capped Bust). Visitors can obtain information such as variety attribution, rarity, mintage information, and top population appearance data. I hope that it is found to be useful information for those who visit as I will try and condense info from various published sources as best I can. Anyone who would like to contribute to the site may contact me at any time. Every die state and die marriage is listed here! New info going up frequently!

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