The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization devoted to the study and enjoyment of numismatic literature. For more information please see our web site at


Those wishing to become new E-Sylum subscribers (or wishing to Unsubscribe) can go to the following web page link


There is a membership application available on the web site Membership Application

To join, print the application and return it with your check to the address printed on the application. Print/Digital membership is $40 to addresses in the U.S., and $60 elsewhere. A digital-only membership is available for $25. For those without web access, write to:

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


For Asylum mailing address changes and other membership questions, contact Terry at this email address:


To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, just Reply to this message, or write to the Editor at this address:


Content presented in The E-Sylum is not necessarily researched or independently fact-checked, and views expressed do not necessarily represent those of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


As noted last week, due to travel this week's issue was delayed a day. It's also smaller than usual, and I apologize to everyone whose content didn't make it in this time. I'm still in catch-up mode but hope to make progress before next Sunday's issue.

New subscribers this week include: Harry Eichman, courtesy of Dave Bowers; Melissa Karstedt, courtesy of Wayne Homren; Nico Verhoef, courtesy of Matin Kaplan; Rick Wolfe, courtesy of Dave Hirt; Barbara Bailey, Steve Bourassa, Michael Carl, Dale Carlson, Tom Corey, Riley Dahlin, Donald Hanson, David Haugstad, Rob Leach, Sylvia Mann, John Misczuk, Rob Schwein, Jon Seehusen, John Shea and Stephen Timmel. Welcome aboard! We now have 2,064 subscribers.

Wow! Many of these new subscribers likely came as a result of Ron Guth's nice writeup about us last week. Thanks! We hope you enjoy The E-Sylum. Feel free to write to me anytime at if you have any problems, questions, comments or contributions. We'd love to hear from you.

This week we open with one new book, a new periodical, and some interesting U.S. Mint ephemera on the Newman Numismatic Portal.

Other topics this week include Chicago dealer Archie Doherty, Presidential Inaugural medals, a diverse set of auction lots, the Colchis Light Stater, D.B. Cooper's tie, gold coin stashes, and the coins of Malta.

To learn more about the Acanthus Leaf, torculadora work, Eric Newman's homemade coin board, the resignation of the old coppers, Stuart Gwynn and Spencer Clark, and the New York State Poultry Society Medal, read on. Have a great week, everyone!

Wayne Homren
Editor, The E-Sylum

U.S. Rare Coin Investments


Gary Beals has published his new Spanish – English numismatic dictionary. Congratulations! Here's the press release. -Editor

El Numiscadero headline

El Numiscadero A 354-page book just published called El Numiscadero is now the most extensive Spanish – English numismatic dictionary in the field. It is now being distributed by its author from both Spain and California. A first edition of 1,000 serially numbered copies have been printed in Spain. Half of the books for distribution in Europe are in Spain, and half for the Americas have been shipped to California.

The dictionary’s author is veteran numismatist Gary Beals, of San Diego, California who has lived in Spain for 16 years. The inch-thick book has a full color, plastic laminated cover with a sewn spine and fold-in wings. It lists 2,543 Spanish terms, 1,876 English terms and has 1,264 illustrations and photographs. The book’s price is $39, or $30 for numismatic association members.

The book has four sections: An introduction, a Spanish to English glossary, a English to Spanish glossary, and a special lists section that includes major numismatic associations, grading coins, current spending power of old Spanish coins, money slang, monarchs of Spain, monarchs of Great Britain, Roman emperors, a list of popes, and Presidents of the USA. The listings at the rear of the book augment the main glossaries and clarify certain points quickly and easily.

“Spanish-speaking and English-speaking collectors have a lot to share with each other,” Beals said. “This book is a tool to make the numismatic learning curve more fun and a richer experience. This is a jumping off point into deeper corners of the coin collecting world. Sometimes there are three or four numismatic languages to consider. For example the process of rolling the edges of coins for stacking capability is called upsetting in USA English, rimming in UK English and torculadora work in Spanish. There are Spanish terms in the Americas which are different from those of Spain.”

Spanish-speaking collectors could be baffled by such English words as bucks, slabs, crack-outs, brockages, hubs, banknote pinholes, cuds, junk silver, basining, non-circulating legal tender, Sacagewea, smackeroos, chops, bits, whizzing, trussels, tressures and artificial toning.

“English speaking collectors might wonder about Spanish terms like media leche, patacones, pachucos, pacificos, pasta, patolcuachtlis, menudo, mereauz, perra gorda, marias, marinos, ochavos, onzas, óbolos, novenos and vellón — both rico and pobre.

Technical Editor for the book is D. Wayne Johnson, past editor of Coin World and a veteran medals production expert for Medallic Art Company. “Thanks to Dick we have some fascinating and little-known details about coin and medals manufacturing,” Beals notes.

“The English to Spanish glossary makes this book a far more complete cross-cultural reference. It relates the two languages more completely by listing expressions in English about coin production, collecting and a full range of numismatics — much more on medals, tokens and banknotes. Our hope is that Spanish speaking numismatists will add to their English vocabulary of British and American coin collecting with this section at hand,” Beals said. “We can imagine new collectors in Argentina wondering ‘Que es un slab?’ Well amigos, los gringos invented the slab, or encapsulated coin, in 1972. It began its major growth in 1989. Interestingly, slabs are pervasive in the USA now yet still almost unknown in Europe where collectors like a close touching rapport with their coins”

“Some great numismatists generously helped in the research and preparation of these books. As a young collector and author of the 1966 book I received the assistance, friendship and encouragement of noted numismatists who I remember to this day for helping with Numismatic Terms of Spain and Spanish America.

Interested collectors and dealers can contact Beals directly at: .

El Numiscadero Gary Beals, Calle Roble 10B 1-E Segovia, Spain 40002. 34 921 413138

El Numiscadero’s ISBN is: 0-86549- 950-0
Member: American Numismatic Association

Gary adds:

The Numiscadero dictionary is a legacy stretching back 50 years. Your library might have a ¼-inch thick, 85-page book called Numismatic Terms of Spain & Spanish AmericaNumiscadero, with its 354 pages and pound and a half weight is what contemporary research, writing, design and production can create. There may be some wisdom there too, after a half century of life on two continents.

I discovered writing as a columnist for the monthly newsletter of the San Diego International Numismatic Club in the mid 1960s. About the flunk out of college for lack of any career focus, thanks to the late Maury Weekley, our newsletter editor, I found writing as a skill I could connect with. Maury named me “El Numiscadero” for my column — so I used that unique word for the name of my Spanish-English numismatic dictionary.

I got my degree in journalism from San Diego State University in 1966 and began my six years as a USAF officer — ending up in Spain just three years later.

I am something of a numismatic Rip Van Winkel in that I dropped out of coin collecting about 1970 and did not return to the field until 2013. So my ANA membership has a 40 year gap in it.


The first issue of NUMMUS Canada has been published. Here is some information from the new periodical's web site. -Editor

Nummus Canada cover Nummus Canada will be published in all digital formats as well as being downloadable in the user-friendly PDF format, and this in both English and French, a first for Trajan Media.

For more than 50 years, Canadian Coin News has been the leading source of information for all numismatic things in Canada.

We hope that the Nummus Canada’s editorial approach and user-friendly digital format will help us spread the pleasure of money collecting to more readers in Canada and around the world.

Special Offer
Sign up today and receive a one-year subscription to Nummus Canada, Canada’s first digital numismatic magazine. That is six digital issues in English or French. This offer is only valid until January 31, 2017. Take advantage and subscribe today!

To subscribe, see:

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

NBS Do You Love Coin Book card ad


The latest additions to the Newman Numismatic Portal are U.S. Mint Fixed Price Lists. Project Coordinator Len Augsburger provided the following report. -Editor

regulationsgover1898unit_0001 What did the Mint sell and when did they sell it? While we will never completely uncover all the clandestine sales (researcher Roger W. Burdette is currently working on this topic), we can document the ephemeral price lists issued by the Mint in the 19th and early 20th century. Thanks to NNP contributors Dan Hamelberg and Roger Burdette, a number of these are now posted on the Portal, ranging from 1866 to 1911.

The 1898 document can be used to answer the long-debated question, “what is a proof coin?” Straight from the U.S. Mint we have the official answer: “A ‘proof coin’ is one struck by hand on a screw press from a specially polished die, using a polished blank.” Other lists in this series seem to focus on medal sales. Do E-Sylum readers have any similar lists to add to this series?

Link to U.S. Mint Fixed Price Lists on NNP:

I think I have one of these in my ephemera files. I'll compare it to what the Portal has and contribute an image if it's needed. What can our readers contribute? -Editor


THE 1964 MORGAN DOLLAR: The biggest numismatic story of 2016. The fifth edition of Q. David Bowers’s A Guide Book of Morgan Silver Dollars introduced the numismatic world to the existence of hubs, dies, and models for a 1964 Morgan dollar coin. Get your copy for $19.95, online at , or call 1-800-546-2995.


Dick Johnson, founding editor of Coin World and regular E-Sylum contributor, submitted these thoughts on numismatic periodicals. Thanks! Below is a photo of Dick and Shirley Johnson examining the first issue of Coin World off the press. -Editor

I appreciate the praise in last week’s E-Sylum, particularly Harry Waterson’s article on using my books for researching American coins and medals, also the kudos from Harry Cabluck. But I would really like to comment on the broader aspect of numismatic publication.

The literary numismatic field has changed dramatically since the 1960s when there were only two numismatic periodicals in America – The Numismatist and the Numismatic Scrapbook. The articles were stiff, often written without passion and only sparsely illustrated. The advertisements were mostly columns of coins for sale, date and price, very few illustrations. No color anywhere. Numismatic News was started, mostly of classified ads with only three classifications, Wanted, For Sale, For Trade.

This was the landscape when the Amos family in Ohio, publishers of a daily newspaper, Sidney News, had just installed a new newspaper press. They were contract printers for a weekly stamp publication, Linn’s Stamp News. The local paper took half hour each day to print 10,000 copies, Linn’s took an hour and a half to print once a week. That expensive new press stood idle most of the week.

They wanted another newsprint publication to print. Since they printed a stamp publication why not a coin publication. They would have to start their own. They talked to coin dealer Jim Kelly in nearby Dayton, and on a business trip to New York City, they inquired of several coin dealers about such a publication.

Dick and Shirley Johnson review first issue of COIN World “Weekly? No way!” they said almost to a man. “There is not that much news in the field to fill a weekly newspaper.”

Undaunted, they persevered. The overhead cost of that press drove them on. They needed someone who could establish such a periodical and run it. They found me from a tip by Jim Kelly. At the time I was on the staff of a daily newspaper in Kansas City. I had started work there as a classified ad salesman, was so eager to succeed that I outsold two other salesmen. Within nine months I was promoted head of the department managing eight women and the two men.

J. Oliver Amos and Cecil Watkins, from the Sidney newspaper, met with me for an all-day interview at the airport in Chicago. It had been my dream to be an editor of a coin publication since I was in high school 20 years earlier. I did my best selling job: a coin collector since age nine, on staff of a newspaper, had both advertising and editorial experience, knew all major coin dealers having been to dozens of coin conventions, was a member of major coin associations, plus I had a large library. I even outlined how I would gather news, despite what those NYC coin dealers had stated.

The letter offering me the job came in October. Then things happened fast, I got married in November to my wife -- who had been on the staff of that same KC newspaper -- traveled to Sidney in December, went to work in January, had a pilot issue of Coin World  out in March and started publishing weekly in April. At age 29 I realized my dream job.

To their credit the publishers knew how to promote a newspaper. They charged $3 a year subscription (one twentieth of today’s cost), low cost for advertising, and promoted every possible way – even issuing a Civil War centennial medal with a new subscription during the 100th anniversary year.

However I’ll take credit for making a truly classified section with 60 different classifications (not just three) that at its high point ran six to eight pages. Also for introducing more art work in both ads and editorial, even encouraging dealers and suppliers to use ad agencies to create more artistic ads. And finally write more passion in the articles. (I was once criticized I was too excited in my articles.)

Now after 55 years Coin World has morphed into a magazine. Agency designed ads are standard fare in every coin publication. And color abounds.

E-sylum Masthead

I write all this to say that The E-Sylum is closer to what I wanted Coin World to be originally, somewhat more for the advanced coin collector. I recognize, however, that CW has to survive based on successful advertisers. So its editorial and advertising is slanted more for the beginning collector who does more buying, say, for new issues and such that are more heavily advertised. Advanced collectors tend to seek more information of auctions and the literature.

For this reason E-Sylum excels. Now for the real kiss-up. Editor Wayne Homren should receive even more praise than I received in that last issue for his weekly efforts.

Thanks, Dick. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:
NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: JANUARY 8, 2017 : Kudos for Dick Johnson (

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Franklin Mint Stock
David T. Alexander writes:

The recent articles on Bob Julian's Medals of the United States Mint have been fascinating . Readers might find my history of the Franklin Mint that appeared several years ago in COINage Magazine interesting. My late brother John L. Alexander spearheaded the issue of the first stock in General Numismatics Corp. (GNC) through the securities firm of Hill, Darlington and Grimm, of which Franklin Mint was only one department, John and I spent days at the ANA convention following in the wake of the incredibly energetic Joe Segel who should have been an Olympic walker!

A word on Joe Segel's scattering of stock among numismatic organizations. This generosity was correctly seen as a deterrent to possible criticism of GNC's later business practices. In TAMS' case this was less necessary as the late Virginia Culver remained a Franklin Mint loyalist even after Morley Safer and "Sixty Minutes" published their documentary expose years later.

The then-flourishing Society for International Numismatics (SIN) was an organization which resisted temptation, selling its donated Franklin Mint stock immediately before its value sank out of sight. SIN highly valued its independence.

Quite a saga.

Thanks. Interesting aspect of hobby history. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:

More on Fred Lake
Rob Galiette writes:

It's hard to believe that this month makes seventeen years since Fred Lake advised his customers about a new service at that time: PayPal. Following his encouragement and recommendations it was the first time that some of us used this then-new facility. It also was the same month in 2000 that Fred said he was taking the liberty of sending my e-mail address to you so that I'd receive The E-Sylum.

Fred also recommended that I should join Early American Coppers /EAC. When I had several airline delays in January 2005 for the 50th anniversary of the F.U.N. show for which he actively worked, Fred made sure that he had a badge waiting for me, and a very nice seat at the evening's banquet table, together with a commemorative Red Book for the occasion.

I participated in a majority of Fred's auctions, and he was very helpful in assisting me in the expansion of a working reference library. Fred always was promoting the hobby and events connected with it. He was a true gentleman, a very knowledgeable resource, a friend to so many people, and a hard worker. As each year passed and as he neared auction number 125, I'd comment to him that his dedication was remarkable, simply measured by the sheer tonnage of the tens of thousands of books that he continued to pack and mail to his customers.

Fred enjoyed what he did, and generously shared his interests with others. It's exceptional to find and know someone like Fred, with such clear perception in life, and who holds an appreciation for doing things with and for others.

Regarding the Memorial Ad for Fred, Alan Workman writes:

I would like to thank everyone for their donations made toward honoring Fred's service to the numismatic community. The ad space has been ordered and paid for thanks to your generosity. I placed a quarter page black and white ad that will be published in the February 6, 2017 issue of Coin World that will circulate at the Long Beach coin show.

Thanks, everyone. Rob shared with me some of Fred's long-ago emails. I might have been among those who first heard about PayPal through Fred. At the time it was so new they were offering $10 apiece for the first 100 referred friends who sign up and register a credit card or bank account. I still use my PayPal account for eBay bidding and other payments such as coin club dues. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

Slot Machine Coins
Sikeston Standard, Sikeston, MO 19 Jun. 1942 p10 Harry Waterson writes:

Attached is a self-explanatory clipping I found while chasing a research thread.

Thanks! -Editor

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Coin board author and researcher David Lange submitted this interesting item about a homemade predecessor of sorts to the later coin boards sold to collectors for storage and display. Thanks, Dave! -Editor

Newman coin board 1920s

The FUN show was quite busy. As usual, I was too occupied at our booth or the grading room to do any shopping, yet I still managed to acquire something cool that found me. I'm attaching a photo I took of the item.

It is a homemade "coin board" reportedly fashioned by a teenaged Eric Newman and his father sometime during the 1920s before the debut of M. L. Beistle's pioneering holders. It is comprised of a sheet of heavy cardstock sandwiched between two sheets and glass and held together with metal clamps. The cardstock is cut and labeled for Missouri merchant tokens 1845-55. The holder fits within what appears to be a sliding drawer, and this is also seen in the photo.

This historic item was presented to me by Mark Borckardt on behalf of the Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society and Stu Levine. Mark and I discussed how the drawer was used and speculated that there may have been a cabinet into which it slid.

To vist Dave's Coin Collecting Boards web site, see:

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Regarding last week's article about reader Mel Wacks and his work with the Jewish Hall of Fame medals, Mel Wacks writes:

I was surprised to see the Jewish Journal article in The E-Sylum. I just want to point out that while I do have a complete collection of Jewish-American Hall of Fame medals in a custom display cabinet on my wall, there is an actual Jewish-American Hall of Fame exhibit of plaques at the Virginia Holocaust Museum in Richmond. A sample of the plaques is attached. There are almost 50 plaques on view, almost all mounted galvanos made by Greco Industries, the company established by Hugo Greco (formerly of Medallic Art Co.) and his sons.

Thanks! Here are the photos. -Editor

Plaques Karpeles, Berg,  Rosenthal Plaques Salomomon & Strauss
Plaques for Karpeles, Berg, Rosenthal, Salomomon and Strauss

Plaques Touro & Seixas Plaques Zacuto & Asser Levy
Plaques for Touro, Seixas, Zacuto and Asser Levy

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

Stacks-Bowers E-Sylum ad 2016-11-27 Consignment


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

DSC_0021 Art Plaque Acanthus Leaf. An ornamental leaf known for its highly crenulated or saw-toothed edges. Infrequently used in medallic design, the distinctive leaf of the acanthus plant (genera acanthaceae) is widely employed in architecture and used extensively in the design of Corinthian capitals. The acanthus leaf is symbolic of support and strength (because of its architectural use); it is less widely used in medallic design than the LAUREL or IVY LEAF (both symbolic of victory), OAK LEAF (symbolic of merit), corn or wheat (symbolic of abundance). An undated Acanthus Leaf Plaquette was issued (circa 1910) by Jno. Williams Inc., a bronze and iron works of New York City. Also see WREATHS.

References: CLASS 02.8
S5 {1974} Stafford and Ware, p 17.


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 Chicago coin dealer Archie Doherty. Thanks! -Editor

Archibald "Archie" L. Doherty, (1864-1930), was born on August 18, 1864, at Ottawa City, Ontario, Canada, son of George R. Doherty, a cabinet maker, and Lydia McPhee Doherty. In 1887 he married Elizabeth (1868-1936), also a Canadian of Irish parents at Canada. He moved to Chicago, Illinois in January 1893.

He originally began coin and stamp dealing as Archie L. Doherty & Co., Coin and Stamp Dealers in February of 1893 and became ANA Member No. 755 listed in the February, 1893 issue of The Numismatist. He began dealing with the Chapman Brothers beginning in March.

His publications contain the claim "Established 1873" which seems preposterous having a coin and stamp business at age 8 and a half or nine operating in Canada. What we shall find interesting is the same claim "Established 1873" and business name United States Coin and Stamp Exchange owned and operated by William O. Staab of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a business name adopted by Doherty in 1894. It seems reasonable that the two men formed a partnership which has heretofore gone undetected. This notion becomes more tenable since no infringement lawsuits ever seem to have been filed by Staab.

Doherty also attended the 1893 ANA Convention.

DOHERTY Feb 1895 postal cover Doherty's business address in the Masonic Temple designed by the architect John Root had the added advantage of being so tall it introduced the word skyscraper. The engraving of that building by J. Manz & Company became an icon he borrowed to decorate his business stationery in his second year of business. In M. H. Bolender's preface to the June 11, 1932 sale of the Archie L. Doherty estate he relates that Doherty was prominent in Masonic work at the time his firm was located in the Masonic Temple.

DOHERTY 1894-1895 Premium catalog Remy Bourne, Fixed Price Lists & Prices Paid for Lists of United States Coin Dealers 1850-1900, Volume 1, Addendum, pages 111-118 lists the 8-page 1893 Price List of Bargains in Coins and Stamps For Sale by The United States Coin and Stamp Exchange; and the 1894-5 Edition, 36 page, Coin Collectors' Manual and Premium Coin Catalogue.

In September 1905 he was elected a member of the Chicago Numismatic Society. The 1910 Census lists him as a Dealer in Coins and Stamps, with his residence in an apartment building at 550 Surf Street.

In 1911, he became a naturalized citizen.

He was present at the October 3, 1913, meeting of the Chicago Numismatic Society cited in the November issue of The Numismatist. Apparently, Doherty retired from the trade as the comment in the Bolender catalogues suggests.

Dickermans U.S.T. Counterfeit Detector, Vol. 16, No. 8., Aug 1899, p. 5

Original New York Times story published July 10, 1899 and reprinted in Dickerman's United States Treasury Counterfeit Detector, Vol. 16, No. 8, August (1899) : 5

The 1920 Census reports him living at 5555 Winthrop Avenue.

The 1930 Census reports him living at the Hollywood Kenmore Hotel, Chicago.

Archie Doherty headstone He died on June 28, 1930 and is buried at Forest Home Cemetery, Forest Park, Cook County, Illinois. He was survived by his wife Elizabeth.

According to M. H. Bolender, Doherty's collection was sold posthumously in a series of seven auctions (see Bolender's 150th sale February 15, 1943, page 4): the first of 1,889 lots sold on June 11, 1932, notable for his collection of 170 Large Cents, Colonials and nearly 400 lots of Washingtoniana.

To read the complete article, see:

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Julia Purdy writes:

I found this entertaining little article from a 1787 Boston newspaper when doing some related research into the circulation of contemporary counterfeit coppers coins in colonial and early America.

It is promoting the new Massachusetts cent but what I found particularly interesting is the acknowledged preference of the George II Copper (halfpenny) well into the 1780s! I thought that was pretty neat and not something I'd even considered before.

Many thanks to Julia who not only provided the article image but also a transcription. -Editor

OldCopperGII Saturday, December 1, 1787
Massachusetts Centinel (Boston, Massachusetts)

The RESIGNATION of the old Coppers.

T​ired with the cares of empire, and fighting for solitude, I have long waited for a succes- sour, in whom confidence might be placed.- The pretensions of my transatlantick rivals were not good - The Sous of France could not combat pre- judice - the Harps of Hibernia were depreciated -  Gulielmus was defaced, Georgius Tertius, and the offspring of the house of Birmingham were declared to be light and base - Equally unavailing too have been the attempts of my American competitors - the  Nova-Caesarea, the Voce Populi, the  Auctori Connect. And the Vermontese*​ have arisen, lived a few days, and then expired - At length a lawful, worthy and honourable successour has arisen into life - With the appearance of rectitude, ample  weight, and federal features, in recommondation, I readily yield my reign to Massasoit+​ - convinced that the world will be benefited by exchanging for a Federal Cent, A GEORGE II, Copper.

*​The legends on several American copper coins.
+The supposed on name of the Indian struck on our Cents, from whom it is said this State tooks its name.

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From an unlikely source comes this group of images of Presidential Inaugural medals. Greg Ruby's blog The Fourth Garrideb - Numismatics of Sherlock Holmes featured articles this week on the inaugural medals of two Presidents who held honorary memberships in the Sherlockian society Baker Street Irregulars. -Editor

T1666681_214 The polls indicated that a Presidential candidate would win the general election handily. However, when the votes were tabulated, the other candidate was victorious. Are we talking about the recent 2016 Presidential election? No, we are referring to the 1948 Presidential election where incumbent Harry S Truman defeated Thomas Dewey.

Truman was made an honorary member of the Baker Street Irregulars by Edgar W. Smith. With the upcoming 2017 Presidential inauguration days away, this seems like an appropriate time to discuss Truman’s 1949 inaugural medal.

1949 Truman Inaugural Medal obverse 1949 Truman Inaugural Medal reverse

Truman’s inaugural medal features a robust portrait of Truman, facing left, surrounded by 48 stars in the obverse. The reverse features a striking figure of Liberty and a group of small figures below, symbolizing the aspirations of humanity for Freedom. The reverse is inscribed: HARRY S/ TRUMAN/ INAUGURATED PRESIDENT/ OF THE/ UNITED STATES/ JANUARY 20/ 1949.

The 51mm medal had 7,500 copies struck in bronze, more than double the quantity struck for Roosevelt’s 1945 inauguration. Copies are also known to exist in gold and silver. Carl Paul Jennewein, a noted sculptor residing in the Bronx section of New York, designed the medal, which was struck by the United States Mint in Philadelphia. Earlier, in 1933, Jennewein designed the Glory and Fame medal in the Society of Medallist’s series.

To read the complete article, see:
The 1949 Inaugural Medal of BSI Member Harry S Truman (

This January 13, 2017 article discusses the inaugural medals of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. -Editor

We have discussed before how President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was awarded an honorary membership in the Baker Street Irregulars in 1942... With the 2017 President Inauguration a few days away, this seems like a good time to review the four different inaugural medals of Roosevelt. We’ll discuss the medals in reverse order, with the most recent to the first.

1945 Roosevelt Inaugural Medal obverse 1945 Roosevelt Inaugural Medal reverse

The 1945 medal for Roosevelt’s fourth inaugration was designed by Jo Davidson and 3,000 of the 45mm medals were struck by the United States Mint in Philadelphia. Examples are also known in gold and silver. Davidson’s design features a very gaunt Roosevelt, facing right in a Navy greatcoat and surrounded by the legend FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT ~ FOURTH INAUGURATION 1945. The U.S.F. Constitutiion is featured under full sail on the reverse of the medal, with the inscription THOU TOO SAIL ON O SHIP OF STATE ~ SAIL ON O UNION STRONG AND GREAT around the border.

1941 Roosevelt Inaugural Medal type one obverse 1941 Roosevelt Inaugural Medal type one reverse

The 1941 medals, unusually, were struck at the U.S. Mint with the agency’s design input, thanks to Roosevelt’s friend Nellie Tayloe Ross, director of the U.S. Mint, who was appointed chairman of the medals committee. The commission enlisted sculptor Jo Davidson to design the obverse, with U.S. Mint chief engraver John Sinnock designing the reverse. Davidson secured last-minute sittings with the president, modeling the portrait’s style after an ancient Syracusan gold coin.

The obverse of the 42mm medal has a bust of Roosevelt, facing left, surrounded by the legend of FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT / (star) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (star). The reverse is a very basic design of THIRD INAUGURATION around the border and the date of JAN. / 20, / 1941 within a wreath. Some examples may have a small numeral 2 at the open end of the wreath.

Following lackluster sales for the 1933 and 1937 inaugural medals, Roosevelt directed the committee to make the 1941 medals more affordable, according to The President’s Medal 1789-1977 by Neil MacNeil.

At a price of $1, the medal sold out its mintage of 1,000 the first day of sale, and the committee authorized another 1,000 to be made. A small number 2, placed at the open end of the wreath on the reverse, distinguishes the second batch. Those too sold out and another 1,000 were authorized, also with the number 2 added.

1937 Roosevelt Inaugural Medal

For Roosevelt’s second inauguration (the first to be held on January 20th, rather than in March), Joseph Atchinson, a Washington, DC based sculptor, designed this 76mm medal. Tradition is that on a medal for a President’s second term, the vice president is also featured on the medal, so John Nance Garner appears on this medal. The fact that the wording on this medal is incused, and not raised, is highly unusual within the inaugural medal series. Over 1,000 medals were struck by the Medallic Art Company and did not sell very well.

1933 Roosevelt Inaugural Medal

Roosevelt’s first inaugural medal was designed by Paul Manship, featuring a left facing Roosevelt on the obverse and the U.S.F. Constitution (this concept was used again on the 1945 medal) on the reverse. The 76mm medal did not sell at well, probably as a result of the Great Depression that was ongoing at the time. The dies for this medal were created by the Medallic Art Company, but the actual medals were struck in Philadelphia at the United States Mint.

To read the complete article, see:
The Presidential Inaugural Medals of BSI Member Franklin D. Roosevelt (

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A January 14, 2017 Numismatic News Express article by Editor Dave Harper confirms that there will not be an official inaugural medal this year. -Editor

Trump Indecision 2016 While at the Florida United Numismatists convention Jan. 5-8 I learned from retired congressman Jimmy Hayes that there will be no official inaugural medal for President Donald Trump. I had been hoping against hope that the low-key approach to inaugural medals taken by the two Barack Obama inaugural committees in 2009 and 2013 would be improved upon this year. Instead, the low-key approach has turned into a no-medal-at-all approach.

It is the passing of a century of tradition.

Trump ran on a platform of shaking things up. Not having an official inaugural medal is certainly shaking up this small corner of the numismatic collectible market.

The fact no official inaugural medal will be made in 2017 does not mean there will not be medals sold by private firms to commemorate the swearing in of a new President.

Hayes, who has handled the commissioning of such pieces for some past administrations, noted that inaugural medals were fund-raisers for the political parties. No official medal means no funds for the party. However, unofficial medals will route whatever income stream sales generate to the firm or individual that offers them. There are likely to be more than one of these privately produced medal offers. I have not seen any yet, but you might have already seen one before this column is published.

While having the official inaugural medal designation would give a medal a certain cache, the absence of an official designation does not necessarily make any of the new medals to be issued any less collectible.

I have held a number of past inaugural medals in my hand. They have heft. I have even bought a couple, but I do not consider myself a collector of them. I recall that I even gave a silver one as a gift.

But more than anything, an inaugural medal indicates the passing of another four years and a renewal of hope for the country.

Is this tradition now gone for good? It has only been around since William McKinley in 1901. Perhaps it is time for a new private tradition. Whether it might be we will have to wait and see.

It was a shame to see the Assay medal tradition go by the wayside. Now Inaugural medals, too? I'm confident the private sector will somehow fill (or even overfill) the void, but it is a shame not to have an official inaugural medal. Perhaps the tradition will return in four or eight years time. -Editor

To read the complete article, see:
No official inaugural medal – sad (


It's non-numismatic, but we can relate to the similar plight of collectors of Presidential Inaugural license plates. Here's an excerpt from a January 13, 2017 Wall Street Journal article. -Editor

1953 Inaugural license plate

On Jan. 20, Mr. Trump will become America’s first president since Herbert Hoover to decline to produce special license plates for the vehicles in his inauguration parade, a change that has unnerved collectors who have spent decades trying to acquire a complete set.

The 45th president is instead expected to travel from the Capitol to the White House in an armored Cadillac limousine with the same District of Columbia plates in use now. Trump inaugural-committee spokesman Boris Epshteyn said there are “no plans” for special inaugural plates and none have been ordered. He declined to elaborate.

That is crushing for hard-core collectors like Charlie Gauthier, a retired National Highway Traffic Safety Administration executive who is one of just a few dozen to possess every inaugural plate issued.

Inaugural license plate On the wall of his home office in rural Fauquier County, Va., Mr. Gauthier has the rarest of presidential plates: Franklin Roosevelt’s 1933 inaugural—the first in which a president used special plates. There is also one from Dwight Eisenhower’s 1953 inauguration and autographed plates from Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

Greg Hunter, whose family has had the contract to produce inaugural plates since the 1980s, said he designed a plate with the Trump inaugural committee but the group has yet to place an order. Mr. Epshteyn, the Trump inaugural-committee spokesman, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

To print and deliver enough plates for the Trump inaugural parade would take at least three to four days, leaving the inaugural committee until the beginning of next week if it elects to make America’s plates again.

Presidential inaugurations generate an untold amount of memorabilia, from embossed tickets to buttons to hats. The inaugural license plates are unique, because for decades just a few hundred sets were produced.

The president’s limousine is issued a plate with the number 1 and the vice president gets number 2, making them the most valuable in collector circles. The rarest plates—from Roosevelt’s 1930s inaugurations—can sell for $4,000 to $12,000.

“This is considered the hardest collection to do,” said Bill Tuli, a Phoenix engineer and license-plate collector who completed his inaugural set last month. “And most of us collect weird things.” He also saves copies of Mad Magazine and vintage guitars.

There are just a couple dozen people who have complete sets of inaugural plates, said Andrew Pang, a collector from Arlington, Va., who helps others find rare plates using his website,

To read the complete article (subscription required), see:
Donald Trump Declines to Issue Inaugural License Plates. Sad! (

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Here's another group of items in upcoming auctions that caught my eye for various reasons. -Editor

1993 Hawaiian Gold and Silver Proof Set.

1993 Hawaiian Gold and Silver Proof Set

1993 Hawaiian Gold 1 1993 Hawaiian Gold 2

1993 Hawaiian Silver 1 1993 Hawaiian Silver 2

Four piece set. One 1 oz. silver. Three gold 1/4 oz., 1/10 oz. and 1/20 oz. .999 gold. In the original box.

Before he became king of the Liberty Dollar, Bernard von Nothaus ran the Royal Hawaiian Mint. I don't recall ever seeing its actual products. Not bad. Does anyone know what these originally sold for? -Editor

To read the complete lot description, see:
LOT #134: 1993 Hawaiian Gold and Silver Proof Set. (

1798 8 Over 7 Capped Bust Eagle

1798 8 Over 7 Capped Bust Eagle obverse 1798 8 Over 7 Capped Bust Eagle reverse

Nine stars left, four stars right, Heraldic eagle. 900 coins minted. Quite rare.

To read the complete lot description, see:
LOT #88: 1798 8 Over 7 $10 Capped Bust Gold Coin. (

1918 Five Dollar Federal Reserve Note

1918 Five Dollar Note Front

1918 Five Dollar Back

I've always liked this design. Nice example of a nice note. -Editor

To read the complete lot description, see:
LOT #187: 1918 5$ Note (

Pope Pius XI Medal

Pope Pius XI Medal

Papal, Pio XI (1922-1939). Æ Medal 1922 (56mm, 86.40g, 12h). Stabilimento Giuseppe Bergonzio di Milano. PIVS PAPA XI PONT MAX, Bust r. R/ SACRARUM ANTIQUITATUM CULTORIBUS, The Good Shepherd. C.M. 332. With original case, EF

A nice papal medal. Great relief. -Editor

To read the complete lot description, see:

Pope Clement XI Medal

Pope Clement XI Medal

Another nice papal medal. Great series to collect. -Editor

To read the complete lot description, see:

1787 Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand Medal

1787 Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand Medal obverse 1787 Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand Medal reverse

Germany, Brunswick-Luneburg. Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand, 1780-1806. Silver medal 1787 by J. H. Boltschauser on the restoration of the Union of the States General. Silver, 23,19 gr. Brockmann BR531. Obv: Geharnischtes chest image to right. Legend CAR.GVILIEL M.FERD.DVX BRVNSV.ARM.BORVS.PRA E DVX. Exergue RESTAVRATOR CONCORDIADE BELGIOSE Rev: Altar with arrow bundle that is bound together by a banner, about seven coats of arms, held in the ahnd of clouds, Legend NOVITER ETPEREN NITER IVNCTA. Exergue 1787.

This one caught my attention because of who it does NOT represent. What famous historical figure does this portrait look like to you? -Editor

To read the complete lot description, see:
70. Germany, Brunswick-Luneburg - Silver Medal 1787 by J. H. Boltschauser on the restoration of the Union of the States General (

L'Unicorne Dyonisiaque Medal

L'Unicorne Dyonisiaque Medal obverse L'Unicorne Dyonisiaque Medal reverse

L'Unicorne Dyonisiaque Medal obverse2 Salvador Dali (after) - L'Unicorne Dyonisiaque
Very nice medal in golden bronze - monogrammed - signed on the back
Weight: 269 g
8 cm diameter
After Draeger's chapters, the Dionysian Unicorn underlines the passion of the master of Port Lligat for the third dimension.
Numbered: 1380/1500 47. Salvador Dali (after) - L'Unicorne Dyonisiaque

To read the complete lot description, see:

So "after" Dali means "NOT by Dali", correct? Just someone inspired by a Dali design? Anyway, it's a nice medal with great relief. -Editor

1869 New York State Poultry Society Medal

1869 New York State Poultry Society Medal obverse 1869 New York State Poultry Society Medal case

1869 bronze award medal, New York State Poultry Society, year of incorporation. Obverse at the rim reads "NEW YORK SATE POULTRY SOCIETY - INCORPORATED 1869, center with scene with several birds with a ribbon at the top saying "OMNE ANIMAL EX OVO". Reverse inside a wreath it reads "AWARDED - TO - HH Duyckinck, for Superior Bronze Turkeys - Dec '69". Contained in the original fitted gutta percha case, agricultural theme, damage to top and bottom corners on right side, medal 1 3/4" d, case 3 3/4" x 3 1/4"

1869 New York State Poultry Society Medal case inside

So how many Turkey medals do YOU own? Eagles get all the glory in numismatics, and it's rare to find a turkey image. I should save this one for next Thanksgiving, but it's too cool not to include. Check out the hi-res images online. There are even turkey eggs with hatchlings. -Editor

1869 New York State Poultry Society Medal closeup

To read the complete lot description, see:
Full Details for Lot 1065 (


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The January 10, 2017 Writer's Almanac from National Public Radio profiled historian Stephen Ambrose. His journey provides a good lesson for numismatic researchers. -Editor

A pre-med student, he was annoyed when his state university requirements compelled him to take an American history class the second semester of his sophomore year. It was called, "Representative Americans," and was based on biographies of individuals throughout the country's history; the first class focused on George Washington. The professor said that the students would be completing their own biography of an unknown Wisconsinite, which they would have to use primary research from the state historical society to write. The result, the professor promised, would add to the sum of the world's knowledge.

"And that just hit me like a sledgehammer," Ambrose later said. "It had never before occurred to me that I could add to the sum of the world's knowledge." He changed his major to history, and at the end of the term wrote a 10-page biography of a Civil War-era one-term Wisconsin Congressman named Charles Billinghurst. Ambrose marveled that he was now the world's leading expert on Charles Billinghurst. "Now what I soon learned was, the reason for that was that nobody else cared about Charles A. Billinghurst," Ambrose laughed. But his next epiphany was what transformed him from a historian to a world-class storyteller: "But I can make 'em care if I tell the story right."

He became the biographer of Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon, he wrote a best-selling book about the Lewis & Clark expedition titled Undaunted Courage (1996), and wrote multiple books on WWII, like Citizen Soldiers (1997) and Band of Brothers (1992).

You, too can be the Stephen Ambrose of numismatics, adding to the world's sum total of knowledge. Pick a topic that interests you, and go for it. -Editor

To read the complete article, see:
The Writer's Almanac Jan. 10, 2017 (


Jerry Fochtman is the Stephen Ambrose of the Fractional Currency field, researching the area whenever he can. He has the following question for E-Sylum readers. -Editor

One of the little known contributors to the early production of currency by the National Currency Bureau was a gentlemen named Stuart Gwynn. He worked with Spencer M Clark, under contract to the Department of Treasury, in the development of printing and specifically, the paper used for postage and fractional currency. Not a lot is known of Stuart Gwynn before or after his work with Clark. And following the scandal surrounding Spencer Clark, Gwynn returned to New York and there is little additional information.

In the Kolbe sale of Part 1 of the John J. Ford Jr. library, there was a lot which contained a bound set of copies of a large number of letters between Spencer Clark and Salmon P. Chase, Treasury Secretary. The item was lot 368, described as follows:

Lot 368 - Clark, Spencer M. LETTER RECORD OF NATIONAL CURRENCY BUREAU, FIRST DIVISION, U. S. TREASURY DEPT. S. M. CLARK. JUNE 10, 1863 TO MARCH 2, 1864. Spine title cited. (32), 208 pages. Quarto: 29 x 23 cm. Handsomely bound in 1986 in maroon polished half calf, sides ruled in gilt, black morocco spine label, gilt, marbled endsheets. Very fine.

The letters may shed light on Stuart Gwynn, and also shed some light on the production of the 1st issue of postage and fractional currency. However, I've not been unable to find where the book is currently, or anything more about its contents. I suspect it's in the library of a collector. If any of the E-sylum readers happen to know its whereabouts please ask its current caretaker if they would consider communicating with me. My e-mail address is I will of course keep the ownership information strictly confidential. As always, thanks to all the E-Sylum readers for their help and ideas!

Can anyone help? This is a great research lead, and the information could be quite useful to the field. For readers unfamiliar with Spencer Clark, Jerry recommends Benny Bolin's article in Paper Money: Vol: 27 No. 3, Whole 135, pg 77-80. -Editor

Jerry adds:

In checking a number of other accounts on the internet, many leave out enough of the actual details that they don't properly represent what actually did occur. He actually resigned due to a perceived problem with how the bureau was accounting for the currency it produced so they could investigate without employees feeling they could be subject to reprisal. It actually had nothing to do with his portrait on the 3rd issue 5c Fractional Currency note!

I find it odd that Congress forced him to resign on that point. Clark presented a thorough accounting of the process done at the bureau in the handling, and multi-step accounting of what was produced.

To read Clark's complete report, see:
Report to the Secretary of the Treasury from the First Division National Currency Bureau (

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A Stack's Bowers blog article by Kyle Ponterio published January 12, 2017 highlights a coin with a connection to the Golden Fleece of Colchis. -Editor

The Colchis Light Stater and the Golden Fleece

As the New York International Numismatic Convention (NYINC) draws to a close the Internet-only session of our official auction is still to come and offers numismatic treasures for everyone. For students of Greek mythology one piece stands out: Lot 5077 – a Colchis Light Stater. This coin is related to some of the greatest heroes ever written about, including Heracles, Eurytus, Theseus, and Orpheus and also has ties to one of the most iconic relics of the time — the Golden Fleece!

The epic story of Jason and the Argonauts is filled with adventure, loss, betrayal, murder, sorcery and revenge. Pelias, who imprisoned his half-brother Aeson and seized his throne, became King of Lolcus in Thessaly. He began killing every descendant of Aeolus he could, but spared Aeson, father of Jason. After Jason’s birth, his death was faked and he was smuggled out of the city to be raised by the centaur Chiron, the trainer of heroes. When Jason was old enough he returned home to claim the throne as the rightful king of Lolcus. Pelias swore before Zeus that he would give up the throne upon Jason’s return home with the Golden Fleece from Colchis. Of course Jason accepted this task and assembled a truly impressive band of heroes for this perilous journey.

The quest for the Golden Fleece supposedly took place around 1300 B.C. in the years before the Trojan War. However, this light stater is from much later, between the first century B.C. and the first century A.D., and is also from a remote geographic location. This explains the degradation of design in imitation of Alexander III (336-323 B.C.) or Lysimachos (323-281 B.C.). This interesting coinage series would benefit much from further research and study.

To read the complete article, see:
Interesting Coinage Relating to the Fabled Golden Fleece (

To read the complete lot description, see:
COLCHIS (Kolchis). Black Sea Region. AV Stater (4.10 gms), ca. 1st Century B.C.-1st Century (

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The Royal Mint's new 12-sided pound coin is having the predictable impact on coin-operated machine operators. This story from the News and Star interviews the owner of a national amusement machine supplier. -Editor

Coin machine operator with new pound coin The Carlisle boss of a national amusement machine supplier has revealed the huge price his firm has had to pay to support the introduction of the none round pound.

Leisurematic, which operates about 1,000 coin-operated machines across the length and breadth of the country, is having to fork out more than £30,000 to ensure it can survive the arrival of the new pound coin.

That’s the total cost to have the coin mechanism in every machine either reprogrammed or replaced.

“We just really had to bite the bullet on it,” says managing director Jonathan Barker, who thinks the amusement industry and vending sector in general will be hit hard by the introduction of the new coin.

“The impact on businesses that have coin validators is phenomenal.

“It’s imposed on you but we accept the reasoning behind it.

“It’s not something you can protest about it’s just the nature of being in business.”

The company, which was established 10 years ago by Mr Barker, has had a year-long strategy to approach the change over.

Leisurematic offers amusement machines and children’s rides on a shared-income rental basis.

Part of its rental package is that it covers all maintenance of the machines, meaning the firm absorbs the whole reprogramming and replacement costs of the coin mechanisms in its machines.

Mr Barker says the company has dealt with coin changes in the past but thinks this is the most radical experienced due to the shape of the coin and what he says is a narrow timescale set by the Government to phase out the existing pound coin.

He also says the arcade is likely to be able to accept both coins during the co-circulation period.

“Whatever happens it’s a bit of a nightmare really.

To read the complete article, see:
New 12-sided £1 coin could have costly impact on Cumbrian firms (


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


FBI agent's initials on recovered D.B. Cooper $20 bill. It's the story that never dies: "D.B.Cooper", the infamous airplane hijacker disappeared without a trace on November 24, 1971 taking along $200,000 in ransom money. Several notes traceable to that payment have since entered numismatic circles.

Here's an article forwarded by Arthur Shippee from a Seattle-area television outlet (since picked up by the Associated Press) discussing potential new evidence in the F.B.I.'s closed case. -Editor

D.B. Cooper news video still

D.B. Cooper tie A band of amateur scientists selected by the Seattle FBI to look for clues in the world’s most infamous skyjacking may have found new evidence in the 45-year-old case.

They’re asking for the public’s help because of new, potential leads that could link DB Cooper to the Puget Sound aerospace industry in the early 1970s.

The scientific team has been analyzing particles removed from the clip-on tie left behind by Cooper after he hijacked a Northwest Orient passenger jet in November 1971.

A powerful electron microscope located more than 100,000 particles on old the JCPenny tie. The team has identified particles like Cerium, Strontium Sulfide, and pure titanium.

“These are what they call rare earth elements. They’re used in very narrow fields, for very specific things,” said Tom Kaye, lead researcher for the group calling itself Citizen Sleuths.

Kaye says the group is intrigued by the finding, because the elements identified were rarely used in 1971, during the time of Cooper’s daring leap with a parachute from a passenger jet.

One place they were being used was for Boeing’s high-tech Super Sonic Transport plane, which was developed with government funding in the 1960s and 1970s.

Kaye wonders if Cooper could have been a Boeing employee or a contractor who wore a tie to work.

“The tie went with him into these manufacturing environments, for sure, so he was not one of the people running these (manufacturing machines). He was either an engineer or a manager in one of the plants,” Kaye said.

D.B. Cooper tie analysis

D.B. Cooper tie particles Kaye says Boeing was developing cutting edge monitors, like radar screens, that used some of the elements found on the tie.

The FBI closed the case last year unsolved. The bureau was clearly frustrated by the lack of credible leads.

In 2009, the FBI allowed Kaye’s team unprecedented access to analyze the evidence in the case.

Kaye’s team continues to investigate, even though the FBI is unlikely to re-open the case.

Kaye funding for additional research came from the Travel Channel television show “Expedition Unknown,” which paid for untested tie particles to be shipped to a Chicago laboratory for further examination.

To read the complete article or watch the video, see:
New evidence: Was DB Cooper a Boeing employee? (

To read earlier E-Sylum articles, see:

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David Pickup forwarded this article about a stash of gold coins found by a piano tuner in an old upright. Arthur Shippee sent this story as well. Thanks! -Editor

Piano held gold coin stash A piano tuner may be eligible for a windfall of tens of thousands of pounds after discovering a hoard of gold coins inside an instrument while working on it.

The upright piano has become the subject of a coroner’s inquest after a “life-changing” amount of gold was discovered in a cavity that has been undisturbed for at least 33 years, and possibly for as long as a century.

John Ellery, the senior coroner for Shropshire, opened a hearing in Shrewsbury yesterday to try to trace the person who hid the coins. If no one comes forward with a verifiable claim then it will be declared treasure, entitling the piano tuner to share its value with the piano’s owner.

The Treasure Act 1996 determines that hoards that are less than 300 years old will be declared treasure if they are substantially made of gold or silver, were deliberately concealed by the owner with a view to later recovery and the owner (or their heirs) is unknown.

Items ruled to be treasure become the property of the crown, with compensation due to the finder and the owner of the land or object where the treasure was found. This usually means the metal detectorist who unearthed the hoard and the owner of the site, but in this case it is the piano tuner and the piano owner. If a museum raised the money to acquire the hoard, the finder and the owner would split the proceeds. If not, the gold would be returned to them.

The coroner did not identify the piano owner yesterday, but The Times understands that a community group recently received it as a donation from a family that had owned it for 33 years.

The family, who live near Saffron Walden, kept the piano as a working instrument but never noticed anything odd. It was only when the instrument, a 110-year-old model by John Broadwood & Sons, was donated to the community group that the tuner found the hoard of more than 100 coins, thought to be gold sovereigns.

Unfortunately, no details have been published yet on the composition of the coin hoard. -Editor

To read the complete article, see:
Piano tuner finds gold stashed in old upright (

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Coin World covered another gold find story that hit the news this week - Prince's gold bar stash. Here's a link to the story by Colin Sallee. -Editor

prince-gold-bar-holdings The precious metals holdings of Prince, the legendary musician who died unexpectedly April 21 from a prescription drug overdose, were apparently quite significant, according to a recent report from the Star Tribune.

The Minneapolis newspaper reports that Prince had in his possession at the time of his death 67 gold bars, each weighing 10 ounces. With the price of gold at $1,193 per ounce on Jan. 11, the total value of Prince's gold is around $800,000.

It is unclear where he purchased or received the bars.

To read the complete article, see:
Apparently Prince had a serious stash of gold bars when he died (

To read the original Minneapolis Star Tribune article, see:
Prince's estate shows he hoarded cash, eschewed stocks, had $25M in property (

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In his January 3, 2017 Coin Collectors Blog post, Scott Barman visits the issue of animal fat and polymer banknotes. Here's an excerpt. -Editor

British-Fiver-Polymer To be a vegan means that you do not use or consume any animal product. It is a movement that began in the 16th century but organized in the 19th century as part of a philosophy to reject the commodity status of animals. In fact, the term “vegan” did not enter the language in 1944 when Donald Watson co-founded the Vegan Society in England. Fundamentally, I do not have a problem with vegans or veganism but it has recently crossed the line where my tolerance is being tested.

In September, the release a new £5 polymer note featuring the portrait of former Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Even though there were concerns raised at the time of the release, in November, a vegan activist names Steffi Rox asked the Bank of England if the new £5 polymer note contains tallow on Twitter. The Bank of England responded that “there is a trace of tallow in the polymer pellets used in the base substrate of the polymer £5 notes.”

Which was followed up by Ms. Rox asking “what consideration was given to #vegans & their human rights in the making of these?”

This exchange reverberated around the world to all countries that use polymer notes including Australia that has been circulating polymer notes since 1992. The Bank of England issued a statement confirming that the pellets used to make the polymer substrate contains trace amounts of tallow.

But it isn’t like the Bank of England or Innovia is dumping tallow into its manufacturing process. Based on what how it was explained to me by a chemist familiar with polymer manufacturing but not associated with Innovia or the polymer banknote process, tallow is likely used in the resin as part of the pellet manufacturing process. The resin acts as a binder but has to manufactured in a way that prevents it from sticking to everything. Small amounts of tallow are used as a lubricant to make the resin to prevent it from sticking to the machinery. Trace amounts of tallow remain in the resin in the same manner oil would remain on your tires if you rolled over an oil slick on the street.

Just because there is oil on your tires does not mean your tires are made of oil. But the oil remains a trace element on your tires and continues to exist until removed using some type of friction. But it is such a small trace, you never notice.

The same can be said of the tallow. The chemist said that if there are more than 5 parts per million of tallow in the notes then that the manufacturing process should be questioned. Aside from suggesting the process is dirty the proportions may make the polymer unstable and less useful to use as currency. Its 25-year usage in circulation suggests that there are no problems in the manufacturing process.

To understand what 5 parts per million would mean, you can also think of it as one-two thousandth of one percent.

With all due respect to vegans, you are probably breathing more dander in a single day than you are touching tallow in all of the polymer banknotes that cross your paths. For those of us who know that tallow is used in all sorts of lubrication products, especially those used in transportation, you cannot get away from its use. It is everywhere. You need to better educate yourselves before taking a stand against one-two thousandth of one percent because you look like hypocrites.

To read the complete article, see:
Vegans go overboard with polymer notes (

To read earlier E-Sylum articles, see:

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People just love trying to "stick it to the man" by being jerks and paying bills and debts with quantities of coins. Here's the latest publicity hound trying this trick. Guess it worked. Dick Hanscom and Arthur Shippee forwarded this BBC News about a Virginia man who bought five wheelbarrows to the DMV. Thanks. It didn't make the cut for the Washington Post. -Editor

PAying DMV with wheelbarrows of cents A US businessman in dispute with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has paid his $3,000 tax bill using five wheelbarrows containing 300,000 coins.

Nick Stafford from Cedar Buff, Virginia, delivered so many coins that the DMV's automated counting machines could not cope with the volume.

His delivery follows a row he had with the Virginia DMV branch over contacting its staff to make tax inquiries.

It took staff at least seven hours to count the coins, working until late.

They finally finished the task early on Thursday morning.

Mr Stafford told the BBC that he made his protest because he wanted government departments to be more responsive to public inquiries.

"It shouldn't matter if you pay $300 per year in income taxes or pay $300,000 per year in income taxes like myself, because the backbone of a free democracy/republic begins with government transparency, period," he said.

Mr Stafford explains on his company's website that his dispute with the DMV arose because the department would not give him direct phone numbers of who to contact in order to register three vehicles and pay the sales tax - bearing in mind he owns three houses in different locations.

Earlier this week a judge dismissed the three law suits he filed, refusing his request for the DMV and its employees to be fined. But legal representatives of the state did hand over to him the phone numbers he requested - most of which he has now posted prominently on his website.

Mr Stafford says the DMV had to accept his unusual form of payment because the US Coinage Act of 1965 says that coins are "legal tender for all debts, public charges, taxes and dues".

Actually, other laws state that coins are only legal tender in very limited quantities, and the recipient is doing him a favor by accepting them. -Editor

To read the complete article, see:
US man pays tax bill using five wheelbarrows of coins (

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This week's Featured Web Site is suggested by Christoper Bower, who writes:

Among other things I enjoy coins from Malta, especially pieces from the 1500's to the 1700's. I came across this site a few weeks ago. In my opinion it is very well done and educational. Not sure it is currently being updated but I hope so.

From the site:

Welcome to my Coins of Malta web site. This site has images of all the coins in my collection, which includes coins from the Roman period when Malta and Gozo were called Melita and Gaulos, and coins of the Knights of Malta, that were minted in Malta between 1530 and 1798.

There is also a link to my study of the coins of the Knights of Malta, where my aim is to catalogue every variety of coins that were minted by the Knights in Malta.

You will also find links to other items of interest including a brief history of each Grand Master, articles, list of books on the subject and other private collections.

Coins of malta logo

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