The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 19, Number 20, May 15, 2016, Article 12


Query: How Long Was Brock's Attic Issued?
Dave Hirt writes:

I have a question for our great readers. I have two issues of a dealer's periodical, Brock's Attic Vol 1, No. 1, and No. 2, issued in 1940, and 1941, by dealer Norman H Brock. This publication is not listed in Remy Bourne's book on American Numismatic Periodicals. Does anyone know how many issues were issued?

I don't have my copy handy, but I wonder if this is instead listed in Bourne's book on Fixed Price Lists & Prices Paid For Lists of United States Coin Dealers. Can anyone help? -Editor

Query: The Earliest American Numismatic Book
On another topic, Dave Hirt writes:

I finally took the time to see if I could find where W E Woodward said that R W Mercer was making fake early American items. I was not completely successful. In a 3 and 1/2 page preface to his 72nd sale, WEW states, "frauds have been perpetrated by dealers, especially in steatite and hematite; parties are now engaged in fabricating them with fraudulent intent, and in great numbers. Philadelphia and Cincinnati are most obnoxiously conspicuous". The Cincinnati reference may well be to Mercer.

Of course, during this catalog search it was easy to get sidetracked by other interesting things. I will share a couple with you. Woodward used the back cover of his 66th sale to announce the upcoming sale of the J N T Levick collection. I had thought that Levick had consigned this collection, but WEW states that he had bought the collection outright. It consisted of more than 20,000 specimens, and had a metal weight of over 500 pounds.

In Woodward's 81st sale, a book sale, lot 1548 was a book. An Inquiry into the nature and uses of money, more especially of bills of public credit, Old Tenor, to which is added a reply to the essay on Silver and Paper currencies. Boston 1740. Very rare! Attinelli does not list this book.

This book realized $4.12, a very high price for that era. I thought perhaps the buyer was William Appleton who had a large private library. However, looking through the sale of his library in 1913, I could not find it listed. Does anyone know of an earlier American numismatic book, or know of the whereabouts of this one?

Great question. Prior to 1858 there were no books printed in the U.S. specifically aimed at the numismatist, although there were several like this one aimed more at readers interested in politics or economics, with numismatics being incidental. It's hard to imagine an applicable U.S. title prior to 1740. Does anyone know of one? Can anyone trace the whereabouts of this copy? Is the text available online? -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

The Museum of American Political Life
Tony Lopez writes:

I am following the controversy over the selling of the DeWitt political collection with great interest. I was an avid collector of political memorabilia and made a pilgrimage to the Museum of American Political Life at the University of Hartford in the early 1990's. While I no longer collect political buttons as actively, I still add a few pieces to my Alton B. Parker collection now and then. (Democratic Nominee defeated in 1904 against Teddy Roosevelt)

I had no idea until the news of the proposed sale of the collection that the museum had closed in 2004. It would not have surprised me to hear that the museum closed, however. The museum was obscurely located in the middle of a college campus in the basement of a building with very little signage and was difficult to locate. In the days before the internet, GPS, and Google maps, while roaming around the campus trying to find it, I wondered if I was in the wrong place. For the two hours or so that I was there, I was the only visitor, so the museum was far from being a popular destination.

As we've seen in the media reports, there is an uproar about the proposed sale of the DeWitt collection, not only from his friend and attorney Hubert J. Santos, but within the political collecting community as a whole. A lot of the frustration is being sounded out on the Facebook page of the American Political Items Collectors. A number of prominent political collectors who are well familiar with the collection and have used it for research over the years have indicated that the collection is no longer intact, and that many of the important items from the collection are now missing and may have been pilfered. At the same time, no one could identify any specific piece from the DeWitt collection which has notoriously appeared on the marketplace. As things progress, should the U.S. Attorney open an investigation, there could be more to this story.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

Wooden Money Collectors at 2016 Central States Show

Bob Gabriel submitted this group shot of Wooden Money collectors at at Central States Convention in April 2016. Thanks. -Editor

Wooden Money Collectors at 2016 Central States Show

International Organization of Wooden Money Collectors (IOWMC)
Club table @ Central States 76th Anniversary Convention
Chicago – April 2016
Back row: Harold Eckardt (IL) – Alfred Schubert (OH) – John Wilson (FL)
Front row: Bob Gabriel (NH) – Bob Fritsch (NH)– Darrell Luedtke (WI)
Photo courtesy of John & Nancy Wilson (ANA)

Applications can be obtained by emailing

Coin Board Web Site and Book Available

Coin Collecting Boards

In the Summer 2016 issue of his Coin Board News, Dave Lange writes:

More than a year ago I had to take down my website, because the hosting service had declared my existing template obsolete, and its new options were ridiculously over-engineered and impossible to understand. I've found a new home with Weebly, and it was a simple matter to construct an entirely new website that's much more attractive than the last one. In coming months I'll be adding a second website for my publishing company, PennyBoard Press.

Coin Albums Volume Two Dave also writes:

Volume Two in my series of books on coin albums arrived from the printer in early May, and copies are already shipping to buyers.

Note that the prices of Dave's two previous books on coin boards and albums have been greatly reduced. See his web site for more information and ordering information. -Editor

To visit Dave's Coin Collecting Board site, see:

To read a review by Paul Gilkes of Coin World, see:
David Lange relates history of The Coin and Currency Institute's series (

More on Checks of King Philip II of Spain
Regarding the query from Craig Parks about financial instruments from the time of King Philip II of Spain, Robert Hoge writes:

From the time of the reign of Philip II, the only 'financial instruments' that I can think of in paper format would be 'Bills of exchange' (in Spanish, Billetes de Cambio or Letras de Cambio, and sometimes just efectos), although I have never seen or heard of one in existence from this period. Surely there must be some surviving, somewhere, since this principle had been developed in the time of the crusades, several hundred years earlier, and had been very common for a long time.

An actual numismatic paper item -- presumably NOT what your correspondents want -- would be the emergency tokens from the siege of Leyden, 1573/4, when the beleaguered citizens produced "coins" formed out of compressed pages from prayer books. These, I have seen and handled, and I should think that images of them could be fairly readily available.

I'll try to make some inquiries on your behalf with Spanish historian/archivist types and see if I can turn up anything. When one considers how important historically Bills of Exchange once were, it seems surprising how little information appears to be available about them as objects rather than as economic functions.

Thanks! I came up empty with a Google image search on those terms, finding only modern items. Hopefully an example or image will turn up sometime. Readers: Let us know if you come across one. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

Whittling Away at Denominations Large and Small

500 Euro banknotes

Ron Haller-Williams writes:

I have three observations on "EUROPE TO DISCONTINUE 500-EURO BILL" (and future of USA $100 bill in doubt):

(a) This is strange to me, because 50+ years ago criminals (in the UK, at least) preferred low-denomination notes because they're less remarkable, less traceable, and easier to spend.

(b) May have to change course if hyperinflation rears its ugly head

(c) On the other hand, couple this with "U.S. TREASURY CONSIDERS PLANS TO ELIMINATE CENT" and "CANADA CONSIDERS DISCONTINUING THE NICKEL" and I am wondering whether (eventually) there will be anything left in the middle!

I was thinking that myself while working on last week's issue. Good points. Thanks. See another article later in this issue about speculation that the value of existing €500 notes is about to go up. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:

More on the Lincoln's Funeral Train Engraving
Regarding the eBay Lincoln Funeral Train item Philip Mernick passed along from eBay last week, Engraving Leviathan LOcomotive Pulled Lincoln Funeral Train front David Schenkman writes:

I'd bet anything that is a very modern carving.

Alan V. Weinberg writes:

That Leviathan locomotive medal is modern made and engraved. See the other items the same seller is offering- same modern engraved junk.

Thanks, guys. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: MAY 8, 2016 : Engraving Depicts Lincoln's Funeral Train Locomotive (

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Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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