The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 14, Number 23, June 5, 2011, Article 10


Some E-Sylum Delivery Problems
Ken Berger writes:

I received the most recent copy of The E-Sylum at my two email addresses. Although I got the complete E-Sylum at my college email, at my Juno email The E-Sylum was truncated at the end of the Daniel K E Ching's Rice Bowl Collection paragraph. I can only assume that Juno has a limit on the size of attachments. Was the most recent E-Sylum larger than other previous ones? I wonder if other subscribers have encountered a similar problem.

Well, last week's issue WAS a whopper. Does anyone else have this truncation problem? No sure what we can do about it, but our issues are always available on the NBS web site archive. A few others reported not receiving their issue at all, and these may have been blocked by ISPs due to their large size. Sorry! -Editor

On Greaseproof Paper
Philip Mernick of London writes:

Regarding Joe Boling comment on greaseproof paper: I think "greaseproof" was right rather than "greased". The term is used here for a heavy paper with low porosity used in baking or confectionery. It is still available and would have been found in most 1930s/40s homes.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: MAY 29, 2011 (

The Pope's Space Coin

Last week we had an article about a coin carried on the space shuttle for the Pope, and I asked if anyone had an image of it. The coin depicts Michelangelo's Creation of Man. Kerry Rodgers managed to find an image on Wikipedia. Thanks! -Editor


Silver Circulation Through 16th–18th Century Spain

Bill Eckberg forwarded an article from the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Noting that "rarely does numismatics make it into PNAS.". Thanks! The title is Isotopic Ag–Cu–Pb record of silver circulation through 16th–18th century Spain and the lead author is Anne-Marie Desaulty. Below is the summary. Sorry - it's not available online without a subscription.

PNAS cover Spanish Silver Estimating global fluxes of precious metals is key to understanding early monetary systems. This work adds silver (Ag) to the metals (Pb and Cu) used so far to trace the provenance of coinage through variations in isotopic abundances. Silver, copper, and lead isotopes were measured in 91 coins from the East Mediterranean Antiquity and Roman world, medieval western Europe, 16th–18th century Spain, Mexico, and the Andes and show a great potential for provenance studies. Pre-1492 European silver can be distinguished from Mexican and Andean metal. European silver dominated Spanish coinage until Philip III, but had, 80 y later after the reign of Philip V, been flushed from the monetary mass and replaced by Mexican silver.

On Cell Phone Coin Photos
Roger Siboni writes:

In response to Bruce Smith's question, I use a an iPhone with a "Camera Plus" application to enhance the picture quality. It works pretty well for my day to day needs. But for my primary set of coin photographs, I rely on Neil Rothschild who has a fairly sophisticated copy stand, high end digital camera(s) and a ring flash. Then he runs the photos through a set of algorithmic processes with Photoshop to get true color. Coins are a hard thing to photograph well.

Notes from Joe Boling
Joe Boling writes:

About the ANA's use of the NBS gift, it's great to place 19th century auction catalogs in acid-free envelopes, but is anything being done to neutralize the catalogs themselves, to prevent self-destruction within their now-buffered environments?

Looking at the six-medal lineup associated with the story about Graco Awards joining Northwest Territorial Mint, I was struck by the third medal, inscribed "Vietnam Service." It does not match any medal known to me for the US uniformed services. For whom was that medal created? The other five are the Purple Heart, the Silver Star, the Air Force Achievement Medal, the Soldiers Medal, and the Defense Superior Service Medal. That VN Service Medal had to have been created for some non-military agency. For whom?

On to Dick Johnson's treatise on phaleristics: be careful of using terms like "never." Many US decorations are round - some of the several distinguished service medals at the top, going down to some of the commendation and achievement medals, and the good conduct medals. All of these are above the class called "service medals." And we do have one decoration that comes in degrees, such as orders do - the Legion of Merit. As it happens, US citizens may receive only the lowest degree (Legionnaire), but there are three above it, progressing in complexity and gaudiness - Officer, Commander, and Chief Commander. These are awarded to foreign dignitaries (which can include heads of state, so not necessarily only military recipients).

Serge Pelletier writes:

Thanks to fellow terminology enthusiast Dick Johnson, I've discovered a new term. In his paper, Dick says that decorations are never round. Well, I'm sad to say that is false. In the Canadian Honours System there are decoration that are round, such as the Medal of Bravery, which, by the way, was the subject of a circulation 25-cent piece and a collector 1-dollar piece in 2006.

For more information on the Canadian Honours System visit the Governor General's website at:

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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