G. G. Wilkins Counterstamps
Tom Casper writes:
In the January issue of The Numismatist I read with interest the article "Revisiting Doctor Wilkins". It piqued my
interest because one of his counterstamps resides in my collection. The article referenced a book that was written about him. I searched
the internet and located a used copy which I purchased. The book was written in 1987 by Q. David Bowers. A check of the contributors to
the book showed one of them is the esteemed Wayne K. Homren. I was unaware a book has been published about this prolific counterstamper,
Dentist George G. Wilkins of Pittsfield, NH. Quoting from the Numismatist article, "Brunk might have stamped more than
100,000 coins based on their survival rate". So the piece is very common but one with an interesting story. Shown is my piece
counterstamped on an 1857 Flying Eagle cent.
Wilkins was an interesting character. My contribution to the book was just in supplying information about the specimens I had in my
collection at the time, about three or four as I recall. A common counterstamp, but an amazing variety of undertypes - you could form a
mini type set of circulating U.S. coins for the period, all with G. G. Wilkins counterstamps. It's interesting that Tom's book
has a counterstamp of its own, a modern bar code sticker. -Editor
The 1964 Michael Caine film 'Zulu'
Last week I wrote:
I'm not familiar with the 1964 Michael Caine film mentioned in this article, which plays up the connection to illustrate the
historical importance of a rare South Africa medal coming up for sale soon.
Chip Howell writes:
Seriously!? I wonder how you managed not to see "Zulu" at one time or another--it got shown a lot on TBS, for example.
It's Caine's first starring role, and a personal favorite of mine.
In a house with kids, the channel stayed pretty much on Disney and Nickelodeon. But I'll remember "Zulu" and give it a try
Eric Schena writes:
Zulu is a fantastic film and one of my favorite films about the various British colonial wars of the Victorian era. While
historically flawed in many respects - most notably with the representation of Pvt. Henry Hook, VC as a malingerer and alcoholic when he was actually
a model soldier - it's a great actioner and a classic war film. The defense of Rorke's Drift produced no less than 11 Victoria Cross winners,
the most ever awarded for a single action, as well as four Distinguished Conduct Medals. It's one heck of a fascinating story, one which prompts
those of us who are so inclined to delve deeper into "Victoria's little wars."
Once you see Zulu, you should also check out the later prequel, Zulu Dawn, which tells the story of the Battle of
Isandlwana which occurred just prior and is referenced in Zulu. While significantly more accurate and shot with a much bigger
budget, it did not do well at the box office when it came out on the 100th anniversary of the battle. There was also an episode of
PBS' Secrets of the Dead that explored the Isandlwana battlefield and clarified many of the enduring mysteries of that battle.
The battle was a decisive and absolute Zulu victory: of the 1,700 strong British forces engaged, 1,300 died. I am not surprised that
South Africa Medal has such a high estimate - medals named to confirmed participants are among the most sought after of the Victorian era
campaign medals. For now, I'll have to content myself with a one-sheet for Zulu framed and hanging in the house (here's a
photo of the poster, albeit not a great one).
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
THE SOUTH AFRICA MEDAL (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v19n05a29.html)
Wayne Homren, Editor
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