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


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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:

Charles Heck, Treasurer
Numismatic Bibliomania Society
P. O. Box 2058,
Bluffton, SC


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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.


Wayne Homren 2017-03-15 full New subscribers this week include: Michael Gunner of the Central Ohio Numismatic Association (CONA), courtesy Gerry Tebben; José Miguel Gallego, courtesy Bob Fritsch; Mike Smith, and Taylor Ratliff. Welcome aboard!

Subscriber Li Tiesheng of Inner Mongolia, China wrote this week to wish me a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Happy holidays to you, too!

Don't forget - our new subscriber contest deadline is December 15, 2022.

This week we open with a numismatic literature sale, two new books, updates from the Newman Numismatic Portal, notes from readers, and more.

Other topics this week include siege coins, George Fuld, Dan Brown, J. V. McDermott, coins in Christmas television specials, fixed price and auction selections, the last Croatian kunas, January 6th Congressional gold medals, and new signatures on U.S. banknotes,

To learn more about American Silver Eagles, the Roman Great Mother of the Gods, 1964-D Peace Dollars, chatbots, chocolate coins, the 1765 Bombay gold mohur, the 1754 Franco-American Jeton, the Most Hopeful Coin of the Year, and the coin with a rose, a thistle, a shamrock and a leek, read on. Have a great week, everyone!

Wayne Homren
Editor, The E-Sylum

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Solidus Numismatik e.K of Munich, Germany is holding a numismatic literature sale December 18, 2022. Here's their announcement and some selected lots. -Editor

With this small but fine Auction 111, Solidus is offering a high-quality range of 148 lots of selected numismatic literature with many rarities and bibliophilic treasures from the 16th to 19th centuries. All areas of numismatics, from antiquity to modern times, are covered.

  Solidus 111 Lot 007 Monographien. Bibliophile Werke. Banduri, A.

Lot 7: Monographien. Bibliophile Werke. Banduri, A.

To read the complete lot description, see:

  Solidus 111 Lot 012 Monographien. Bibliophile Werke. Bizot, P.

Lot 12: Monographien. Bibliophile Werke. Bizot, P.

To read the complete lot description, see:

  Solidus 111 Lot 028 Monographien. Bibliophile Werke. Fletwood, W.

Lot 28: Monographien. Bibliophile Werke. Fletwood, W.

To read the complete lot description, see:

  Solidus 111 Lot 029 Monographien. Bibliophile Werke. Fliessbach, F.

Lot 29: Monographien. Bibliophile Werke. Fliessbach, F.

To read the complete lot description, see:

  Solidus 111 Lot 030 Monographien. Bibliophile Werke. Friese, T.

Lot 30: Monographien. Bibliophile Werke. Friese, T.

To read the complete lot description, see:

  Solidus 111 Lot 042 Monographien. Bibliophile Werke. Hanthaler, P.C.

Lot 42: Monographien. Bibliophile Werke. Hanthaler, P.C.

To read the complete lot description, see:

  Solidus 111 Lot 074 Monographien. Bibliophile Werke. Loon, G. van.

Lot 74: Monographien. Bibliophile Werke. Loon, G. van.

To read the complete lot description, see:

  Solidus 111 Lot 121 Mittelalter und Neuzeit

Lot 121: Monographien. Mittelalter und Neuzeit. Albrecht, J.

To read the complete lot description, see:

For more information, or to bid, see:

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Roberto Jovel submitted this announcement of a new book on siege coins in Latin America. Thank you! -Editor

Siege Coins for Latin America book cover A book on Siege Coins in Latin America has just been published by the Union Americana de Numismática (UNAN), an association of more than 650 individuals residing in the American Continent and Europe and whose common interest is the free exchange of numismatic information.

The new book focuses on a little-known subject: coins minted during the siege or blockade of a city or port, to pay salaries for the defending armies. By extension, coins minted by that attacking forces to pay salaries of their armies. To produce such coins – whose fineness do not necessarily conform to prevailing legal standards – these enemy forces have resorted to utilize metals taken from jewels of the Church or metals of lower quality available locally. The original intent was to issue such coins over a limited time period, after which these siege pieces would be collected and demonetized.

Siege coin Recife Brazil 1645-1646 This bilingual – Spanish and English – book is the result of a 5-year research undertaken by several individual numismatists residing in the countries where the siege coins were minted, and has been put together by UNAN. It constitutes the first such collective undertaking made by this association, and is presently available, free-of-charge, in electronic form only. To obtain a copy, interested parties should send an email to my electronic address ( or to the email address of Pedro Cano (

It is of interest that a book titled Siege Coins of the World was recently published, after UNAN's research was already underway, and that for the Latin American continent it listed only one case of siege money. Our new book identifies and describes more than two dozen such cases that occurred in Latin America during Colonial times, the Independency wars and in the Republican period.

  Siege coin Santiago Cuba 1741
  Siege coin Santa Marta Columbia 1813
  Siege coin Guayana Venezuela 1817
  Siege coin Copiapo Chile 1865

The new book was just launched during the recent Central American Numismatic Congress, held in San Jose, Costa Rica, from 1 to 3 December, 2022.

I reached out to my friend Larry Korchnak, author of Siege Coins of the World 1453-1902. -Editor

Larry writes:

"Most of the Latin American coins that I excluded were coins issued during sieges as emergency or necessity money intended for general circulation due to "transitions of sovereignty and monetary shortages," Perhaps I split hairs in Siege Coins of the World 1453-1902, but my focus (with rare exception) was on coins issued specifically to pay the besieging or defending soldiers. Thus, while there are numerous instances where emergency or necessity money was produced during sieges, not all of those issues were created specifically to pay the troops. I placed most of the Latin American issues in this category. I am eager to add Siege Coins in Latin America to my library along with my copies of Medina and Jaros/Luedeking, and I am open to any additions or corrections that their research offers on the subject. I am the first to admit that Siege Coins of the World 1453-1902 has its limitations."

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In this article from Whitman Publishing, Josh McMorrow-Hernandez discusses collecting and writing about American Silver Eagles. The book debuts this month. -Editor

A Guide Book of American Silver Eagles, volume 27 in Whitman Publishing's best-selling Bowers Series of numismatic references, debuts in December 2022, available from booksellers and hobby shops nationwide. Here, author Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez discusses his own introduction to American Silver Eagles, why the coins are so popular, and writing his newest book.

  Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez on Collecting, Investing, and
Writing About American Silver Eagles


My introduction to American Silver Eagles came about in a most interesting way. My cousin, who also collected coins at the time, visited from out of town for a short summer vacation during 1993. So, there we were—along with my sister, herself a collector back then—three kids talking about coins as a shared interest during much of our cousin's visit. My mom and dad, who encouraged my numismatic pursuits by purchasing hobby books and magazines, had heard about a fairly large local coin show that was happening during the week of my cousin's visit. It was to occur over the course of four days, ending on a Sunday.

My family and I had never been to a coin show before. Sunday was our best day to attend for a couple hours in the afternoon—and the advertisement in that Sunday's newspaper declared it was running from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

  GB-American-Silver-Eagles_Joshua-McMorrow-Hernandez_1993 GB-American-Silver-Eagles_author-portrait_Joshua-McMorrow-Hernandez

LEFT: Josh McMorrow-Hernandez, then 12 years old, holding the 1981 United States Proof set he received as a birthday gift from his family in May 1993.

RIGHT: Whitman Publishing author Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez outside United States Mint headquarters in Washington, D.C.

The show was held in the event hall of a ritzy shoreside hotel in Sand Key, Florida. My dad drove us over and my mom, wanting to make sure we were at the right place, hopped out of the van to scope out the event. She walked into the hotel lobby and was back out before too long, visibly upset. The show manager had told her they were already closing up shop—that it was the last day and most of the dealers were heading home. My mom, armed with the newspaper advertisement, reasoned it was still at least two hours before the closing time.

She went back inside to talk with one of the club's top brass and see if there was any way they could let us at least check out the bourse floor, if even for a short bit. She was inside the lobby talking with the club's leaders for at least five or ten minutes. Soon, she returned to the van holding three silver coins in plastic flips and announced that the show manager had apologized for the situation. They wanted us to come in and visit with the few coin dealers who were still there—they'd stick around for us for the next half an hour or so.

As she announced this news to us kids, she passed out the three coins she had been given. She said they were called Silver Eagles and that they were brand new—dated for that year, 1993—and that we should save them. I had never seen such a large, heavy, or shiny silver coin; not even the cull Morgan dollar I had spent $5.50 to purchase a few months earlier, for my first twentieth-century type set, could compare.

GB-American-Silver-Eagle_Joshs-First-ASE Mom, Dad, and we three kids hopped out of the van and ventured onto the largely deserted bourse floor. I was after a handful of Lincoln cents for my 1909–1940 Whitman folder. Sis wanted a Peace dollar, and my cousin was looking for foreign coins. We visited two dealers. One gave us back in change a rag-condition 1957 $1 Silver Certificate, which was something I had never seen before. Another gave each of us a free vintage cull nickel. Mine was a corroded 1882 Shield nickel.

Mom introduced us to the officials who gave her the three American Silver Eagles, and we thanked them for the coins and for keeping the show open for us. They were very kind and encouraged us to stay interested in the hobby. And that we did, at least through our teen years. I ended up sticking with the hobby as an active collector the longest, though my cousin's interest in foreign coins later parlayed into a globe-trekking career in journalism and the visual arts, while Sis still has her coin collection and is herself an artist.

Some years went by, and I was in college and trying to keep the debt at bay by selling off some of my belongings, including a swath of my coin collection. Don't sell that silver coin I got for you at that coin show! my mom jokingly warned. I worked hard for that!

My dear mom passed away in 2009 from cancer, and I thankfully hung onto that American Silver Eagle— something I now view as a memento of how much she supported my ambitions, including numismatics. As my foray into the hobby morphed from collecting to writing, editing, and journalism, I have enjoyed researching American Silver Eagles, which hold a unique place in numismatics given their crossover appeal to both investors and collectors.


GB-American-Silver-Eagle_cover The American Silver Eagle isn't just a bullion coin. Even in 1986, when the first ones were struck, the coin was offered in Proof format and marketed to collectors. Over the years since, the United States Mint has produced the American Silver Eagle in myriad finishes and collectible variations suitable for numismatic tastes. But even the bullion issues (which were originally marketed as Uncirculated) draw countless hobbyists into building date sets.

These coins are legitimate collectibles on every front, encompassing rarity, value, and numismatic challenge. The bullion strikes boast several relatively scarce issues, including the key-date 1996 and several earlier semi-key dates that have lower mintages and conditional rarity in the higher grades. There are also some significant varieties, with the 2008-W Burnished, Reverse of 2007, a decidedly scarce entry. The undisputed king of American Silver Eagles is the 1995-W Proof, which has a mintage of just 30,125 pieces. But contending for that spot is the more recent 2019-S, Enhanced Reverse Proof, which saw an output of merely 29,909.

While the American Silver Eagle series boasts numerous expensive keys, semi-keys, and varieties, the series remains financially accessible. A handsome set of bullion strikes can be completed for an outlay fairly close to the prevailing spot price of the coins. Meanwhile, more intrepid collectors can work on a comprehensive set encompassing the many finishes and varieties. And collectors anywhere within that spectrum may choose to complete the set with coins in average Uncirculated or Proof grades, or go all-out on a competitive registry set incorporating certified coins boasting a perfect 70 on the numerical grading scale.

No matter the depth of your American Silver Eagle collection, sets like these represent an optimal merging of the bullion and numismatic spheres. The precious-metals investor who wants to dabble in collectibles can build a decent set of Silver Eagles for prices close to their metal value. Meanwhile, the hobbyist who wants to speculate in precious metals has a built-in silver portfolio by completing a set of American Silver Eagles.

Sweetening the deal even further is the outstanding liquidity of a set of American Silver Eagles. Not only are these popular silver bullion coins in high demand among United States collectors and dealers, but they also have global appeal and are quite sought after around the world.

Sealing the deal for many collectors is their colorful legacy. The American Silver Eagle incorporates one of the most beloved designs of all time, Adolph A. Weinman's Liberty Walking motif. This graceful, patriotic design first appeared on the half dollar in 1916 and continued for the duration of that series until 1947. The Liberty Walking half dollar has become a favorite collectible and enjoys incredible demand among collectors of all ages.

Weinman's design became a top choice for the nation's first one-ounce silver bullion coin after President Ronald Reagan signed the Liberty Coin Act into law on July 9, 1985, authorizing production of the American Silver Eagle. The classic design was paired on the Silver Eagle with sculptor-engraver John Mercanti's heraldic eagle reverse, which was retired in 2021 to make way for artist Emily S. Damstra's soaring flying eagle design. Still, the timeless Liberty Walking design continues marching well into the twenty-first century.


d_GB-American-Silver-Eagles_pg053 In the Guide Book of American Silver Eagles, I've explored all of these facets—the history, the artistry, the technology and design work, production, silver procurement, distribution, ways to collect and invest, and many more, including byways as strange and interesting as counterfeits, error coins, and hoards of American Silver Eagles.

I interviewed Mint officials, coin designers, dealers, collectors, investment advisors, silver miners, and others with specialized knowledge, and brought together a treasure trove of historical archives, plus market information and analysis.

The result is 384 pages covering America's most famous and popular bullion coin series.

My hope is that you enjoy reading the Guide Book as much as I enjoyed researching and writing it. I think you'll become as interested in these fascinating coins as I've been since I held my first American Silver Eagle thirty years ago.

  #     #     #

A Guide Book of American Silver Eagles, first edition.
By Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez; foreword by Q. David Bowers.
ISBN 0794849792. Softcover, 6 x 9 inches, 384 pages, full color.
Retail $29.95 U.S.

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:

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Contest Longtime reader and E-Sylum booster Martin Kaplan has donated $100 as a top prize for a new subscriber contest. I'll give 2nd and 3rd prizes of $50 and $25. Here's how it'll work:

Send me ONE email at with ALL the email addresses of people you think might like to become subscribers. List each address on a separate line. DEADLINE: DECEMBER 15, 2022. Put "E-SYLUM CONTEST" in the subject line and be sure to include your full name.

After the 15th I'll process the submissions in order of arrival, adding the new addresses and sending the newbies a note that it's a gift subscription on behalf of the entrant.

Only NEW subscribers count. If someone's address is already on our list they won't get added again. So no need to determine whether they already subscribe - there's no harm in having too many addresses.

Contest results will be announced in the DECEMBER 25, 2022 issue. Who will supply the most new subscribers?

Remember, only send me ONE contest submission. And don't spam internet randos - these should be people you know at least in passing, like fellow club members, customers, dealers you work with, or just fellow numismatists likely to enjoy The E-Sylum. If you like, include with your entry a message to be sent with your gift subscription.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:


The latest additions to the Newman Numismatic Portal auction catalogs of World Banknote Auctions. Project Coordinator Len Augsburger provided the following report. -Editor

World Banknote Auctions Catalogs on Newman Portal

Newman Portal welcomes World Banknote Auctions as a contributor to NNP. Per the company website, World Banknote Auctions was founded by Dennis Hengeveld and is the only auction company in the United States solely dedicated to world paper money. One of the highlights of their current El Central Real collection sale, closing December 13, is this 1879 Peruvian 500-soles note. Hengeveld writes This is the highest denomination issued in the 1879 series of the Republica del Peru, which was denominated in Soles. The number of pieces printed of this denomination was minimal compared to the lower denominations, with a total of 44,000 pieces believed issued. This note represented quite a large sum of money at the time of issue, and most were redeemed, with surviving examples rare.

  Peru 30.6.1879 P-10 PCGS Very Fine 20 500 Soles face
  Peru 30.6.1879 P-10 PCGS Very Fine 20 500 Soles back

Images: Peru 30.6.1879 P-10 PCGS Very Fine 20 500 Soles

Link to World Banknote Auctions catalogs on Newman Portal:

Link to World Banknote Auctions website


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


The David Lisot Video Library on the Newman Numismatic Portal can be found at:

We highlight one of his videos each week in The E-Sylum. Here's one from 1986 with George Fuld. -Editor

  Dr. Fuld interview

ANA Numismatic Personality: Dr. George Fuld

George Fuld

I never got to know Dr. Fuld, having seen him only in passing at a convention or two. He's a giant in numismatic research and his numismatic library was one of the best assembled on U.S. numismatics, particularly in his specialties of tokens and medals. Great numismatic history! -Editor

To watch the complete video, see:

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Last week Chester Sullivan asked:

  • Who is the woman depicted in the drawing?
  • How is she related to American numismatics?
  • What is the astonishing anomaly in the drawing?

  1796 Castorland medal sketch
Photo credit: Bibliothèque National de France

Pete Jones writes:

"Thank you Chester Sullivan for your puzzle! The lady depicted on Duvivier's drawing for the Castorland jeton is presumably Marianne — the French goddess of liberty who started during the French Revolution (1789-1799). Marianne was the French equivalent of the American allegory of Liberty derived from France's Augustin Dupré's 1781 Libertas American medal.

"Thank you Chester Sullivan for your puzzle! However, there is an anomaly on the Castorland jeton: Marianne's attributes should be a Phrygian cap or cockaded hat, not a mural crown, which was for city deities or Tyche (Fortuna in Rome)."

  Washington Before Boston medal
The Washington Before Boston Medal

David Gladfelter writes:

"Let me comment on Chester's third question (Chester has been working diligently for several years on a historical and die variety study of Castorland medals; his observations about the portrait on the medals will be of interest to us all):

"The drawing on which the medal design is based has a signature that appears to read Geente. This name is not found in Leonard Forrer's masterly Biographical Dictionary of Medallists, but it appears to be that of the designer – who, if correct, is not M. Duvivier, the engraver of the medal.

"It is not an astonishing anomaly for a medal of the late 18th century period, or an engraving on paper, to have been designed by one artist and engraved by another. Chester himself provides an example – the Washington Before Boston medal, obverse designed by Houdon, engraved by Duvivier. Perhaps a better example is the series of Washington Military Bust coppers backdated to 1783, designed by Edward Savage and engraved by Thomas Wells Ingram, both of their initials appearing on the reverse.

"So perhaps these comments are off base. Let's see what answers Chester was looking for."

Here's a lengthier response from Roger Siboni. -Editor

The puzzler image is not that much of a puzzler. It is the artistic rendering of Duvivier's Franco American Castorland Jeton issued in 1796 for the Compaignie De New York with respect to its upstate New York Land Venture into the Castorlands. (See below).

  Castorland DS 2 Obverse Silver Castorland DS 2 Reverse Silver
1796 Castorland Jeton in Silver

The image presented represents Cybele, the Roman Great Mother of the Gods personifying Mother Earth and being responsible for its being inhabited and cultivated. The wreath she is wearing represents Cybele's victory conquering the wilderness and nature and bringing the earth under the dominion of man.

Interestingly the reverse of the Jeton ultimately produced from this rendering (see below) features Ceres tapping into a sap flowing maple tree holding a cornucopia of abundant grain flower and foliage. Ceres is the Roman goddess of agriculture, grain, crops, fertility and motherly relationships.

The obverse legend in Latin reads French American Colony. The reverse legend borrows from Virgil SALVE MAGNA PARENS FRUGRAM (see below) and broadly translates to Hail Saturnian Land, Great Parent of Fruits, great Parent of Heroes. Or in short Hail Great Mother of Harvest.

  Castorland DS2 Obverse Copper Castorland DS2 Reverse Copper
1796 Castorland Jeton in Copper

The more complete story here is quite interesting. Duvivier was a royalist and of the wealthy class living at the time under the reign of terror of the French Revolution. It is speculated that his affiliation with the royalist class was the reason he lost his position of Chief Engraver at the Paris Mint and replaced by his apprentice revolutionary Dupre of Libertas Americana fame.

The Compaignie de New York (the Castorland Company) was formed as a refuge for the ruling class to escape France and come to an Oasis of freedom and plenty in North America. Duvivier was a founding subscriber to the Castorland project and agreed to make Jetons privately.

According to Title V article 9 of the Compaignie de New York's Constitution (bylaws), each of the Commissioners (or Board of Directors) was to receive two silver Jetons per meeting attended. Jetton de presence. This was no doubt the genesis for the Silver Jetons. Many contemporary researchers believe the copper Jetons were issued as momentos or given to land subscribers or potential subscribers to the Castorland project as souvenirs.

Sadly, despite remarkable efforts getting to and settling in to what turned out to be near uninhabitable forest and swamp land in upstate New York, the project ended in total failure and the Castorland Company was ultimately liquidated in 1814 in conjunction with the end of its charter. Very few of the many subscribers, including Duvivier, to Castorland acreage never stepped foot in the project or even North America.

A few more interesting numismatic tidbits are that this story would largely be unknown were it not for William Sumner Appleton discovering the original Castorland journal in France in a used book store in Paris while touring Europe upon completion of graduating from Harvard. He later donated the Journal to the Massachusetts Historical Society where later researcher Dr Franklin B Hough transcribed it and made it part of his History of Lewis and Jefferson Counties New York. That made this story available to us.

The final interesting tidbit (to me) about the artisanship of this Jeton is its political contrast to the Libertas Americana Medal made by Duvivier's protege Dupre. The Castorland Jeton is all about escaping the French Revolution to a safe traditional land of plenty in North America. Dupre embraced our revolution and the French revolutionary vision and imagery on the Libertas Americana Medal.

  Garrett Libertas Americana medal obverse Garrett Libertas Americana medal reverse
The Libertas Americana Medal

While still debatable and being researched. Early die states of the Castorland Jeton exhibiting no die spalling near the reverse maple vessel or breaks in the legend are considered very rare originals made for the Company. While later die state versions with heavy spalling and breaks and ultimately even edge assay marks. Are considered more likely to be later day more abundant collectible Jeton Tokens issued by the mint for collectors. But this is a riddle still being worked on by researchers.

Here's Chester Sullivan's response. -Editor

This little puzzler did stir the pot and produce lots of interesting comments. I'm grateful. The answers are:

1. Cybele, the Mother of the gods. She's well known in Europe, and the Fountain of Cybele is an unmistakable Madrid landmark. Triumphant, she's carved in stone driving her chariot—pulled by two male lions. The myth of Cybele seems to have originated somewhere in the north of present-day Turkey. Her Roman cult competed with early Christians, there were Roman temples dedicated to her, and she's one of the false gods despised by early Christians. Practitioners of Cybele's cult paraded the streets of Rome blowing horns, beating drums, and exhibiting, shall we say, obscene behavior. Her image appears on many Roman coins.

2. Cybele is significant to American numismatics because Benjamin Duvivier chose her as a portrait figure for America's Most Beautiful French Coin. Prior to the French Revolution Benjamin Duvivier (and Jean Duvivier, his father) used the kings of France on medals, jetons, and specie money. But Benjamin Duvivier obviously couldn't use the portrait of a French king for this jeton, so he chose Cybele as a substitute.

These first two questions aren't too hard. But the third one was tricky.

3. The sketch drawing is easily recognized by collectors of American coins, especially those who specialize in Colonial coins. It shows Cybele (as she appears on America's Most Beautiful Coin) facing left, adorned with her mural crown, laurel wreath, and scarf. The key date,1796, appears beneath the exergue line, as it does on the coin. No anomaly yet, but now look closely—the legend of the coin is FRANCO-AMERICANA COLONIA, French-American Colony. But the legend in the drawing is COMPAGNIE FRANCO-AMERICAINE, Company French American. The name of the company responsible for making these jetons was, The New York Company (in reference to western New York State, where the Castorland land tract was located).

Therefore, this drawing proves Pierre Chassanis, director of the company, vacillated between the two words and chose company. This, and much other documentary evidence, disproves the longstanding and erroneous myth that Castorland was the tragically failed attempt of desperate Frenchmen fleeing the bloody French Revolution to form a colony and a new life for themselves in America. A full reading of the Castorland documentation (some of it, like the drawing, recently discovered in Paris) shows Pierre Chassanis' company to have been not a tragically failed colony but a well-planned and highly successful land development (exploitation) company involving French investors, Swiss bankers, and American politicians.

Thanks, everyone. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

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Dan Brown Letter 08-22-96 P. 1 Tom DeLorey writes:

"The mention of the Dan Brown video reminded me of this letter he wrote to me back in 1996, after there had been an exchange of Guest Commentaries in Coin World about 1964 Peace Dollars, and whether or not any had ever gotten out of the Denver Mint back in 1965. In my commentary I had quoted a former Denver Mint employee who had told me, during a visit to ANA Headquarters circa 1980, that the story that the Mint sold dollars to employees but then recalled them the next day was true.

"The subject remains very controversial. The Mint says it never happened. I chose to not believe them. Other people do believe them."

    White spacer bar
  Dan Brown Letter 08-22-96 P.2 address deleted Dan Brown Letter 08-22-96 P. 3

Very interesting. Thank you! -Editor

Robert Hoge writes:

Dan Brown "By means of your announcement and the link provided, I was delighted to see the video by my late-lamented friend David Lisot interviewing my other old friend and mentor, the late Denver Colorado dealer Dan Brown. Dan was really a splendid fellow. When I was just a young boy, I had the opportunity to visit Dan's shop on Denver's Broadway. Dan in his charming friendliness took me under his wing, as it were, and showed me many different coins, enthusiastically telling me whatever he could about them. He would invite me back behind his desk and take tray after tray out of his great safe just to entice me and let me browse. Sometimes he would simply hand me an entire box of coins to take home to study, to see what if anything I might like to buy to keep. How I wished I could have afforded to make many, many purchases from this jolly, unassuming "giant".

"One day I was seriously in need of some money, and I brought in, to sell to Dan, some of my few numismatic "treasures". Dan said to me, "Bob, you love those coins, and you are not happy to part with them. Please just take this $100 from me instead, and pay me back some day in the future when you can. It's a loan not to worry about -- just between the two of us." How many dealers are "out there" today who would give this kind of consideration to a youngster who never could spend very much money with him? Dan was a very special man.

"A sad occasion for me was when I wrote the obituary for Dan for the Colorado-Wyoming Numismatic Association. I think much of Dan Brown's sincere, honest and friendly character can be glimpsed through David Lisot's perceptive video production, so generously made available by the Newman Numismatic Portal and now by The E-Sylum as well. Thank you."

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

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Martin Purdy comments on our recent story about a man who paid a bill with an ancient coin. -Editor

Martin of Upper Hutt, New Zealand writes:

"I came across a similar case here a few years ago, though with not so much of a happy ending. A chap brought an ancient coin to me that he'd been given in lieu of payment for work, with the assurance it was a valuable old piece and he'd get good money for it. Unfortunately it came from one of those "Authentic Replicas" boards of crude copies made in Hong Kong sometime in the 60s or early 70s.

"For those unfamiliar with them, I wrote up a bit of a story with descriptions of each for a US collector board about 20 years ago - it's still available online:"

  Authentic Replicas of Ancient Coins

Thanks. Here's an excerpt from Martin's article, which lists and describes each of the sixteen replicas. -Editor

Collectors and members of the general public occasionally ask about ancient or mediaeval coins that they have discovered, and are either mystified that they cannot find them in any of their catalogues, or think they have stumbled upon something highly valuable, as the case may be.

Known at school as a keen collector, I was once shown pieces that purported to be Ancient Chinese knife coins, but they seemed oddly small and of a strange colour. I didn't have examples of the real thing at the time, but had a vague idea from my reading as to what they should have looked like. A couple of years later, a junk tray turned up what looked like a Roman Republican As of Agrippa; the size was about right, but the colour again was wrong, and the lettering looked too thin for the period. For six cents, I figured it was worth it as a curiosity, all the same!

It was only about fifteen years later, in the mid-1990s, that the mystery was solved. I was given a cardboard sheet containing what were described as "Authentic Replicas of Ancient Coins", made, as readers may have guessed by now, in Hong Kong. Because these items do occasionally turn up separated from the board for which they were originally produced, I propose to give a description both of the original board and the various items on it, so readers will know what they are if they are ever presented for identification. I shall describe only the "visible" side from the board display in cases where I don't have a duplicate of the item that I can turn over.

The board itself ... is dark blue and measures 223 x 200 mm. There is a decorative gold border (not shown in the illustration) and recessed holes for sixteen "authentic replicas", as described below. All of the items are in white metal, and appear to have been cast.

To read the complete article, see:

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

NA Sale 67 Coming E


Early World Paper Money Publications Roundup

Last week I put out a call for early paper money publications, particularly the price lists and journals published in the 1950s and 60s by Dwight Musser prior to the formation of the Society of Paper Money Collectors and the International Bank Note Society. Howard Daniel is sending me one Musser product, -Editor

Ray Czahor writes:

"Neil Shafer put out the first Paper Money Catalog of the Philippine Islands in 1962. Until them there was a big hole in knowledge about the US issues for the Philippines."

Thanks, everyone. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

More on Reed & Barton
Andrew Pollock writes:

Reed_Barton_Taunton "I had recognised the name of Reed & Barton from reading about silversmiths and pewterers. According to my recollection the firm had been located in Taunton, Massachusetts. I checked Wikipedia, and that source confirmed the attribution.

"Thanks for your continued service editing the excellent E-Sylum!"

You're welcome. Thanks for your note.

The firm was referenced in last week's Vocabulary article on medal manufacturing excerpted from Dick Johnsons' Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Terminology. -Editor

To read the Wikipedia article, see:
Reed & Barton (

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

Mind Your P's and Q's
Gil Parsons writes:

p's and q's "Your brief comment about the error in the Young America Furnace note leads readily to a discussion of a phrase in common usage, but of which many of your readers may not have considered the literal meaning: One often speaks of "minding one's p's and q's", by which is understood an admonition to mind one's own business. Yet, the phrase has a specific intent, and derives from the world of printing. In most Roman alphabets and fonts in lower case are direct reversals of one another, each rendered backwards in type. Thus P (q) and Q (p) are remarkably similar. Moreover, in most standard type case layouts, the compartments for the two are adjacent or near adjacent to each other. The lowly apprentice, or wonderfully-named "Printer's Devil", charged with the distribution of type could easily be distracted and replace type incorrectly. Hence the phrase...

"There are several other well-known idiomata which derive from publishing or printing, but these will have to wait, for another edition as it were..."

Thank you. A article addressed this phrase, but came to no definitive conclusion. But the Printer's Devil explanation "holds the most water" for me, although there may be no "smoking gun" to prove any of the explanations. -Editor

To read the Snopes article, see:
Etymology of 'Mind your P's and Q's.' (

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: DECEMBER 4, 2022 : Young America Furnace Company Note Misspelling (

  CNG E-Sylum Ad Triton XXVI


Recently I tried out using an artificial intelligence-powered image generator to create some interesting coin images. In the we-welcome-our-robot-overlords department, here's what the AI chatbot ChatGPT from the tech company OpenAI spit out on the first try when I asked it, "Write a poem about The E-Sylum." -Editor

The E-Sylum, a place of knowledge and light,
A treasure trove of numismatic insight.
Here, collectors gather from far and wide,
To share their stories and their passion with pride.

With every issue, a new world to explore,
Filled with fascinating facts and stories galore.
From ancient coins to modern mints,
The E-Sylum covers all that's relevant.

For those who love the art of the coin,
The E-Sylum is the perfect join.
A community of like-minded individuals,
Coming together to learn and share, it's all so critical.

So here's to The E-Sylum, a source of education and fun,
A place where numismatists can come together as one.
Long may it continue to grow and thrive,
A hub of information and community, alive.

Next I asked, "Write a poem about The E-Sylum in the style of William Shakespeare." -Editor

The E-Sylum, a weekly tome,
Where numismatists do roam,
To learn of coins and paper money,
And all things related to money.

In this digital age,
The E-Sylum does engage,
With news and articles to share,
For those who numismatics do bear.

From the latest finds and auctions,
To historical tidbits and functions,
The E-Sylum does impart,
To quench the numismatic heart.

So let us raise a glass,
To The E-Sylum, and pass,
Along our love for coin and note,
And all things that make up our numismatic throat.

Not bad, but I asked it to try again. -Editor

Oh E-Sylum, source of numismatic news,
A treasure trove of knowledge and views,
From ancient coins to modern mints,
Your weekly missive never disappoints.

With articles and insights galore,
You keep us up-to-date and never bore,
Your contributors are wise and learned,
Their words enlighten and never spurned.

Your discussions on coins and history,
Keep us engaged and feeling giddy,
Your subscribers, a loyal bunch,
Anticipate each weekly lunch.

Oh E-Sylum, we thank you so,
For sharing your knowledge and love of the numismatic show,
We eagerly await each issue's release,
To be entertained and to never cease

In our pursuit of numismatic bliss,
We are grateful for your weekly miss,
Long may you continue to thrive,
Oh E-Sylum, numismatic hive.

This is creepy good. Next: "Write a marketing blurb for The E-Sylum." -Editor

Are you a coin enthusiast looking for the latest news and information on the numismatic world? Look no further than The E-Sylum! Each week, our team of knowledgeable contributors brings you articles and discussions on a wide range of topics, from ancient coins to modern mints. Our weekly newsletter is a treasure trove of numismatic knowledge, sure to keep you informed and entertained. Subscribe now and never miss an issue of The E-Sylum.

Sounds great. In the time-for-a-vanity-search department, I had to ask, "Why is Wayne Homren a great editor?" -Editor

Wayne Homren is a great editor because he has a deep knowledge and passion for numismatics, and is able to bring that knowledge to The E-Sylum in a way that is engaging, informative, and entertaining. He has a talent for curating a wide range of articles and discussions, and has a keen eye for spotting interesting and relevant news in the numismatic world. His editorial skills are evident in the high-quality content he produces each week, and his dedication to the E-Sylum and its readers is unwavering. Overall, Wayne Homren is a great editor because of his expertise, enthusiasm, and commitment to the field of numismatics.

Aw, shucks. "Can you edit The E-Sylum for me?" -Editor

I am an AI language model and do not have the ability to edit The E-Sylum for you. The E-Sylum is edited by Wayne Homren, who has a deep knowledge and passion for numismatics. I can provide general information and assistance, but editing a publication like The E-Sylum is beyond my capabilities.

OK, guess I still have a job. Back to work now, but I'll be sleeping with one eye open. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

Lipson ad 2021-04-04 Something for Everyone


Here's another entry from Dick Johnson's Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Terminology. -Editor

Medalist, Medallist. A designer, engraver, maker or collector of medals; one knowledgeable in medals; also a recipient of a medal. As a creator of medallic art, the medalist must not only be a highly creative artist but also know the many techniques in the field. This talented person must be proficient in producing the patterns required for any medallic item and the working knowledge must include design, relief, the capabilities and limitations of die striking and art casting, and, certainly, patina finishes.

The first medalist was Pisanello, who in 1438 created the first sculpture of what was to be called a pendant medal, a portrait of John Palaeologus. Early medalists had to prepare the entire production of a medal, from pattern to casting the final item, and to patina it. They had to know – and do – every step themselves.

With the introduction of the screw presses for striking coins, in 1530, medals were also struck, but the diameter was necessarily small. Few medalists existed at this time. Those that did had to do their own engraving, by hand, and have some mint strike their creations. Thus medalists were concentrated at the national mints of Italy, France and England. One enterprising medalist from Belgium (a doctor!), Joseph Pierre Braemt (1796-1864) in 1824 even developed his own reducing machine, where he could model oversize and cut a medal die on his machine.

Medalists since then have increased in number, as the appeal and demand for medallic art spread. It should be noted however, medalists have always been resourceful. This is lessened somewhat today with the ease of having private mints and medal makers produce what the medalist creates in his own workshop.

Famous medalists. In addition to Pisanello, famous early medalists include Donatello, Leonardo da Vinci, Benvenuto Cellini, Leone Leoni, all Italians, and somewhat later, the German artist Albert Durer. In England Benedetto Pistrucci and the Wyon family of engravers were most noted. French medalists of note is quite lengthy, but mention should be made of David d'Angers, Augustin Dupré, Charpenter, Louis Roty, others. In America: Augustus St-Gaudens, Daniel Chester French, Guston Borglum, Herbert Adams, Laua Gardin and James Earle Fraser, Paul Manship, Frederick Macmonnies, Victor David Brenner, Anna Hyatt Huntington, many others, were famed for their medallic work.

For other meanings of medalist see MEDAL COLLECTING and RECIPIENT. The word is spelled with one or two lls – both are correct.

To read the complete entry on the Newman Numismatic Portal, see:
Medalist, Medallist (

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American Numismatic Biographies author Pete Smith submitted this article on coin dealer J. V. McDermott. Thanks! -Editor

  1913 Liberty Nickel McDermott Specimen
The McDermott 1913 Liberty Nickel
  J. V. McDermott

Two weeks ago I wrote that "James V. McDermott never owned a 1913 Liberty Nickel". I will start the story with the listing for McDermott as it appeared in American Numismatic Biographies (ANB) on the morning of Friday, November 25, 2022.

McDermott, James V. "Mac" Collector (ca. 1898 d. 9/29/1966) Born in Iowa. Married to Elizabeth "Betts." (She died 12/18/67. Her obituary in CW did not mention her first name or maiden name.) Employed as a steeplejack and later in the vending machine business.

Coin dealer in Milwaukee. In about 1957 his wife was driving alone when her car stalled on a railroad track. She abandoned the car shortly before it was hit by a train and $25,000 worth of coins were scattered. Most were recovered. Mac carried a newspaper clipping that reported him dead in that accident.

He was best known as the owner of a 1913 Liberty nickel purchased in 1942. He exhibited it extensively both at public shows and privately among friends. It was shown so extensively that it was rumored to be more than one place at the same time. Although there is no doubt that McDermott owned a legitimate coin, he may also have occasionally exhibited an altered coin.

He died in a hospital in South Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

On that morning I set out to find his birthdate to improve the listing. I ran into problems. I could not find him in the U. S. Census or the other references I use frequently. There were two obvious possibilities. Either his name was misspelled in the Census or his name is misspelled in ANB.

His name appears in print most often as J. V. McDermott. A search of the Newman Numismatic Portal has 678 listings for J. V. McDermott and just 24 listings for James V. McDermott. The first reference as James was in Coin World in 1968.

Eventually I found listings for John Vere McDermott that matched other known facts. I went back to the Newman Numismatic Portal and found two references to John Vere McDermott in Heritage auction catalogs from 2010 and 2014. Those listings give his date of birth as November 10, 1897, which matches what I found.

Although The Numismatist gave his place of birth as Iowa, the Census gives it as Wisconsin and I will go with that. His parents were Patrick McDermott, a railroad yard foreman and Elizabeth.

The ANB listing was incorrect for thirty years and no one complained. It should be corrected when the Newman Numismatic Portal is updated in January of 2023.

To read earlier E-Sylum articles, see:
NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: NOVEMBER 27, 2022 : Smith Teases 1913 Liberty Nickel Article (


Michael Merrill submitted these notes on B. F. Newcomer and the Safe Deposit Company of Baltimore. Thank you! -Editor

In numismatics, Baltimore is known for the #1 and #2 and #3 best ever collectors and collections: Louis Eliasburg, Sr. ,John Work Garrett, and Waldo Newcomer.

Baltimore was also home to two of the earliest safe deposit companies in the US. Their 158 year history:

  • 1864 Safe Deposit Company
  • 1876 Safe Deposit & Trust Company
  • 1884 Mercantile Trust & Deposit Co.
  • 1953 Merger of 2 above companies into Mercantile-Safe Deposit and Trust Co
  • 2006 PNC takeover

  Safe Deposit Company of Baltimore

This Safe Deposit Company of Baltimore stock Certificate was issued 1880 (pre birth, issued after) cancelled in 1945, to Emma Maynard, who owned stock for her lifetime (6/3/1881- 3/25/1945). $1,000. was big money post Civil War.

The certificate is signed in 1880 by Waldo's father, Benjamin Franklin Newcomer, financier railroad owner, banker extraordinaire.

B.F. Newcomer was incorporator and bank President for 33 years. He served 18 1/2 years as President (11 years without compensation). He was known as being extremely conservative, and paid strict attention to duty, fidelity and trust.

Also in 1876 (same year as bank established) he was on the board of Trustees with John Work Garrett upon the founding of world -renowned Johns Hopkins University, and later Hospital,

How sad it is that so many banks world-wide, are so disparate from Newcomer and his bank of yesteryear. In 2020, of $15 BILLION in total United States bank fines, Half of this total was issued to Goldman Sachs (Sovereign Wealth Fund), Wells Fargo (fake accounts), & J.P. Morgan Chase (market manipulation); these are your friendly bankers, numismatists. I am not aware that any of these three banks employ non-paid bank presidents.

Say it ain't so, Joe.

So hip-hip hurrah to Benjamin Franklin Newcomer for setting the high bar for banking and business ethics 150+ years ago. How about soliciting these three banks to commission a .999 gold medal honoring him? If they deep-six, US Mint commemorative?

Link: Lengthy biography article written by son Waldo after his father's death:
A Biographical Sketch of Benjamin Franklin Newcomer (

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

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Michael A. Kodysz submitted these numismatic thoughts relating to two holiday television specials. Thanks! -Editor

  Chocolate coins, the Jefferson Nickel, and the Star of Bethlehem

Two Rankin/Bass Christmas specials, The Little Drummer Boy (1968) and Nestor the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey (1977), were favorites of mine as a child. While re- watching them again last Christmas season, several anachronisms stood out. With the benefit of childhood ignorance back in the 70s, I enjoyed these shows unperturbed by inaccuracies of historical detail. But now as a 50-something adult possessing a basic knowledge of history, these inexactitudes irritate me perhaps more than they should — after all, Rankin/Bass productions exist not for the purpose of teaching history, but as quasi-religious fantasy entertainment for children.


The overarching anachronism of The Little Drummer Boy, which takes place during the nativity of Jesus, is that the Roman province of Judaea is populated by modern ethnic stereotypes. Here the stop-motion puppet characters are dressed in attire more appropriate to Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves than to Jews from the time of Herod the Great. One example is the greedy, hook-nosed Ben Haramed, the leader of a caravan of traveling performers, who kidnaps an orphaned drummer boy named Aaron and forces him to join his troupe. Ben Haramed wears a lavishly embroidered vest resembling a yelek, and his sidekick Ali of Arabia sports a hat called a fez. Never mind that both the yelek and the fez originated in Ottoman Turkey around the 17th century A.D.

drummer-boy-1 A numismatic connection occurs in The Little Drummer Boy when Ben Haramed bursts Tevya-like into song and dance, a kind of If I Were a Rich Man for shifty desert nomads. During the song, Ben Haramed reaches into his bag of shiny gold coins and flings one of them high into the air. However, the coin's perfectly round and regular shape evinces no attempt by the animators to suggest the high relief and irregular contours typical of an ancient coin. On first impression this prop appears to be a modern milled coin; but upon closer inspection of a still frame its true nature is revealed. Despite low resolution and backlighting, the shape of an eagle can be seen on the coin's surface. The design of the eagle is rendered in the post-World War II modernist style symbolic of the Federal Republic of Germany, commonly known as West Germany. Around the eagle a legend is discernible: STOLLWERCK SCHOKOLADE MUNZE, which translates as Stollwerck chocolate coin. These same chocolate coins are shown more clearly in a later scene, in which Ben Haramed sells Aaron's camel companion for the price of a bag of gold. These coins are shown from various angles as Ben fondles them greedily. In one frame the literal other side of the coin is visible, stamped with the number ten.

Ben Haramed's coin, then, is really a child's confectionary treat wrapped in gold- colored foil and made by the Cologne-based chocolate manufacturer Stollwerck. Founded in 1839 by Franz Stollwerck, the company has a storied history, and the brand continues to produce chocolate today. During the 1960s, chocolate coins exported by Stollwerck would have been cheap and readily available in Japan where the Rankin/Bass animations were filmed. It seems logical, then, that the animators decided to use these shiny gold-colored coins as convenient and cost-effective stand-ins for the real thing. Given that the film was made for children, the use of chocolate coins is appropriate — perhaps these would have been the only money available for some children of the target age range to play with. Probably several denominations, each a different size, were sold together as a set. The animators likely selected the ten because it fit comfortably in the puppets' hands.

It seems safe to surmise that the animators, working during the era of low-resolution progressive-scan TVs with relatively small screens, did not anticipate that viewers would ever be able to discern much detail on the coin's surface. Only still frames on an HD monitor and research on Google have enabled me to positively identify these coins as the product of Stollwerck chocolates, which to the best of my knowledge is the first time this fact has been discovered outside of the animation studio itself. The Stollwerck company has been mute on the subject since I reached out to them via email several months ago.

Several of the set pieces and puppets used in The Little Drummer Boy were apparently reused in Nestor the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey, which premiered 11 years later. But commonalities between the two films go beyond shared production assets. For example, in both tales the main protagonist journeys across the desert, following the Star of Bethlehem to the nativity of Jesus. Each witnesses the divine infant lying in the manger. Within their individual stories, both Aaron the drummer boy and Nestor the donkey are destined to assist the Holy Family: Nestor transports the pregnant Mary to Bethlehem on his back, and Aaron plays a calming, rhythmic tune on his drum for the infant Jesus as Mary and Joseph look on. Another commonality: in both films, coins change hands when an animal is sold.


However, unlike The Little Drummer Boy's chocolate coins, in Nestor, real coins are used. In a scene in which Nestor's owner Olaf is forced to sell him to the Romans along with several other animals, Olaf and a soldier discuss their price in silver. During the transaction, Olaf is shown holding a stack of silver coins while the soldier hands him another. On the face of the coin held by the soldier, the shape of Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's home, is easy to discern, making it obvious that these are U.S. Jefferson nickels and not actually silver. As in The Little Drummer Boy, there is no attempt here to imitate the look of a genuine ancient coin. Jefferson nickels were chosen as stand-ins for the denarius, the standard silver denomination in the Roman empire during the reign of Augustus. Probably for similar reasons that chocolate coins were used in The Little Drummer Boy, nickels were cheap, readily available, and of the appropriate size to fit the puppets' hands.

nestor-3 Beyond this I believe that the animators must have chosen the Jefferson nickel, specifically out of all modern coins of comparable size, because its relative chunkiness, smooth edge, and mellow color reminiscent of toned silver help it to appear sufficiently ancient. Indeed, the Jefferson nickel lacks some of the telltale features of many modern coins they might have considered instead, such as the Roosevelt dime with its reeded and copper-colored edge. Perhaps of equal importance in determining the use of the Jefferson nickel as a prop in Nestor is that the reverse bears a frontal image of Monticello. It was Jefferson himself who designed Monticello in a neoclassical style inspired by the architectural forms of ancient Greece and Rome.

The most prominent of these forms on the building's façade are visible on the nickel. These include a portico with steps leading up to it and two rectangular wings extending on either side. Over the portico is a triangular pediment supported by columns, and above this pediment rises a dome. The central part of Monticello's structure is modeled after the Pantheon in Rome, a building which dates to the reign of Emperor Hadrian around A.D. 126, more than a century after the nativity. Nonetheless, the animators must have certainly felt that the image of Monticello lent an authentic but sufficiently generic Roman look to the coins. They therefore hid the more recognizable portrait of Jefferson by deliberately orienting the coins in the puppets' hands so that the reverses showing Monticello faced upward toward the camera.

Many anachronisms in The Little Drummer Boy and Nestor the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey are based on modern ethnic stereotypes. But the use of modern coins as props in these films, whether made from nickel or chocolate, appears to have been a purely practical matter for the animators. For myself as a twenty-first century 50-something adult, a member of Rankin/Bass's original target audience now grown up, these numismatic easter eggs are seasonal gifts that await discovery and invite identification.


BIBLE LORE AND THE ETERNAL FLAME— Kenneth Bressett's latest book is a numismatic and archaeological trip through Biblical times, a roadmap of the Old and New Testaments that explores history through coins. Beautifully illustrated and entertainingly written by a master of the craft. Order your copy online at , or call 1-800-546-2995.


Nick Graver passed along an emailing from Jacob Lipson Rare Coins offering "a selection of Canadian rarities from the collection of a long-time enthusiast." Thanks. Interesting material, and great rarities. I don't believe I've ever seen any of these. -Editor

  Edmonton Hotel Token obverse Edmonton Hotel Token reverse

The Edmonton Hotel token is the premier key among Breton post-Confederation issues. According to Breton (1894), 1,250 examples were furnished by the Charles Pick & Co. of Chicago, who provided Mr. Ross with cutlery and silverware for his hotel. Two varieties are known. One features pentagonal stars on the obverse and the scolloped spoon on the left as here. The other shows hexagonal stars and the scalloped spoon right, suggesting two different striking periods. That fact, and the rarity of these tokens, might call into question what Breton wrote about 1,250 pieces being struck.

This example exhibits strong obverse detail. The reverse is softer, as usual. Brassy-gold surfaces display reddish accents. Missing from many of the most advanced collections of Canadian tokens.

To read the complete item description, see:
(c. 1890) Edmonton Hotel Token, Breton-933. (

  Lower Canada Commercial Change Token obverse Lower Canada Commercial Change Token reverse

24mm. 4.5g. Upset dies. Dr. Eugene Courteau (1924) provided an R.8 rating for this rare token, which features a large left-facing bust on the obverse and COMMERCIAL CHANGE on the reverse. ME in COMMERCIAL is nearly illegible, as usual, while the other letters are clear. The Robins example in MS63+ Brown confirms that these tokens were incompletely struck and even in high grades lack on the hair, shoulder, and legends. We would grade this as a strong Fine or lower-end VF with smooth chocolate-brown surfaces. Rarely offered.

To read the complete item description, see:
Undated Lower Canada Commercial Change Token, Breton-1007, Courteau-45, LC-59A. (

  1754 Franco-American Jeton obverse 1754 Franco-American Jeton reverse

28.8mm. 5.95g. Plain edge. Upset dies. The obverse features a laureated portrait of Louis XIV without an engraver's name below the bust, though clash marks appear there (as on all original strikes seen of this variety). The reverse is signed C.N.R. for Charles Norbert Röettiers. According to McLachlan (1886), it depicts "Three beavers at work on left of stream; on right Indian corn growing. He adds, This has reference to the failure to obtain the much-desired precious metals in Canada. It is here indicated that the fur trade, represented by the beavers, of which the French almost held a monopoly, was in no degree inferior to the products of the Spanish possessions. The present example is naturally toned with shades of gold and gunmetal-blue. There are minimal marks beneath the original patina, and just a brush of friction is present.

To read the complete item description, see:
1754 Franco-American Jeton, Original Strike in Silver, McLachlan-VIII, Breton-514, Betts-389, Lecompte-131. (

  Bust and Harp Blacksmith Token obverse Bust and Harp Blacksmith Token reverse

27.7mm. 4.56g. A terrific example of this scarce Blacksmith variety with a bold portrait, harp, and nearly full date. The only other example I have been able to locate with a readable date is the Robins representative that Heritage sold in 2018. The date is actually clearer on this piece, although the surfaces are not quite as nice. Still, this is clearly one of the finest offerings to appear in the last decade or two as far as I can tell.

To read the complete item description, see:
1820 Imitation "Bust and Harp" Blacksmith Token, Breton-1012, BL-35A2. (

  Repentigny Token obverse Repentigny Token reverse

26mm. 7.15g. The series of Repentigny tokens catalogued by P.N. Breton in 1894 as nos. 546 to 557 first came to light in 1890, having turned up in a Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge sale in London that year. Although New York dealer Lyman Low, who purchased the set, argued in favour of their being legitimate patterns for the Montreal Bridge tokens issued in 1808, it is believed they were actually struck as fabrications for collectors. Breton himself noted in 1894 Since their discovery they have been the object of considerable controversy, many eminent collectors holding that they are of recent fabrication.

Additionally, R.W. McLachlan stated in the September 1912 issue of The Numismatist:

… about four years ago I received a letter from Mr. W. J. Davis, of Birmingham, author of ‘The Nineteenth Century Token Coinage,' stating that he had found the person who had fraudulently produced the Repentigny tokens — one who had also emitted other forgeries. He had made him give up the dies to be destroyed after, as he had learned, six sets in all had been struck and issued.

These Breton-listed tokens are extremely rare. It is believed that three or four sets exist in copper. Perhaps two or three more were issued in silver. Sales are scant. I am aware of a full set of twelve copper tokens sold as part of the Roy Hughes Collection in February 1995. That set was purchased from Frank Rose in 1977 for $3,500 and was thought to be the ex: McKay-Clements set.

This single, which features DE / REPENTIGUY on the obverse and CALECHE on the reverse, is glossy mahogany-brown and essentially flawless.

To read the complete item description, see:
(1890) Repentigny Token, Breton-550. (

Jacob adds:

"The REPENTIGUY version was a mistake. Repentigny is the name of the region near Montreal."

So here's another numismatic example of a mixup between the letters U and N, like the misspelling "Yonng" on the Young America Furnace note. See also Gil Parsons' comments on "Mind Your P's and Q's" in this issue's Notes From E-Sylum Readers. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: DECEMBER 4, 2022 : Young America Furnace Company Note Misspelling (

Archives International Sale 81 cover back


This article from World Banknote Auctions describes their current sale of the El Central Real Collection. -Editor


On December 13 at 1 PM EST / 10 AM EST World Banknote Auctions will sell the El Central Real Collection of World Paper at The El Central Real Collection offers 380 lots offered in a single session. This advanced collection was assembled more than ten years ago by an enthusiastic collector with the assistance of a world paper money specialist. Initially not a collector of paper money, once the beauty, artistry, and scarcity of world paper money was understood this collector set about acquiring notes systematically.

  Chile specimen note
  Peru Banknote

As is readily apparent in the catalog, there is an emphasis on private bank issues, popularly known as specialized issues. For many years, these notes were perpetually underrated and undervalued and only recently have begun to bring prices that are commensurate with their scarcity. Add the fact they oftentimes feature wonderful engraving by American Banknote Company or Waterlow & Sons and it is easy to understand why many collectors pursue these notes. Many of these private banknotes hail from Latin American nations, and the El Central Real collection features many outstanding type notes from Peru, Brazil, and Guatemala, among others. There is also a selection of scarce and high-grade modern pieces from across the globe. The entire collection has been certified by PCGS Banknote and feature the El Central Real pedigree.

  China banknote

The El Central Real collection offers a particularly strong selection of classic banknotes from Mexico. These include both issued notes and specimens from a wide variety of locales and issuers, including types seldom offered for sale in any form. While the focus of the collection was to acquire as many different types as possible there are also some scarce varieties included, making sure that there is something for both the beginning collector as well as the well-seasoned specialist of Mexican banknotes. To aid the collector of Mexican banknotes both the PCGS holder as well as the auction description reference M-catalog numbers from the Mexican Paper Money Catalog.

All of the notes in the El Central Real Collection are fresh to the market and most were acquired privately, with virtually all notes never offered before at public auction. It is our hope that collectors who add notes from this sale to their own collection enjoy them as much as the previous owner.

  Mexico 1880 banknote
  Mexico 1914 5 peso note

To Download the Printed Catalog, see:

To Purchase the Printed Catalog, see:

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This press release describes the upcoming Noonan's sale of an important collection of coins of the East India Company. -Editor

Noonan's Puddester catalog cover A phenomenal single-owner collection of coins of the East India Company will be offered by Noonans on Tuesday and Wednesday, February 8 and 9, 2023. Comprising 1,246 coins, the legendary Robert P. Puddester Collection has been amassed over the past 45 years and will be sold in 907 lots. Described as a once in a lifetime opportunity, it is expected to fetch in the region of £2million.

The spectacular collection comprises coins dating from the inception of the East India Company in London by a group of merchant venturers in 1600, from the Madras, Bombay and Bengal presidencies; the uniform series from 1835 to 1858 and the regal coinages issued by British India down to independence in 1947.

As Peter Preston-Morley, Special Projects Director in the Coins department at Noonans commented: This is undoubtedly the finest and most complete group of coins of the English East India Company, and British India, ever assembled.

He continues: The Puddester collection is vast and this is the first of nine auctions that Noonans will be staging over the next few years. Mr Puddester, who lives in Canada and started collecting in the 1970s, hopes that this and the succeeding auctions will encourage a new generation of enthusiasts to build their own collections within India and further afield.

  Lot 313 - Puddester the celebrated Bombay gold Mohur, 1765 please credit Noonans 2

The collection features many exceptionally rare and unique items from the presidency series. The centrepiece of the sale is the celebrated 1765 Bombay gold mohur of 15 rupees which measures 24mm and is expected to fetch £100,000-150,000.

As Mr Preston-Morley explains: This is an exceptional piece as only three, or possibly four specimens exist. It was bought from the sale of the Wolfson Trust collection in 1986. The first authenticated gold coinage for the Bombay presidency was authorised in the wake of a shortage of silver coin. In July 1765 the Bombay Council considered the cost of recoining Venetian ducats and in November agreed that the new coins were to contain pure Venetian gold of 24-carat standard and to pass current for 15 rupees. A total of some 4,000 mohurs by face value of the new coins, including their fractions, were struck and by a public notice of 8 January 1766, the coins entered circulation.

  Lot 316 - An exceptional and excessively rare Bombay gold 15 Rupees, 1770 please credit Noonans 2

Another high value coin is an exceptional and excessively rare Bombay gold 15 rupees dated 1770, which measures 24mm and is also estimated at £100,000-150,000. With only three other examples known, Mr Preston-Morley puts it into context: With difficulties in the silver currency of Bombay still ongoing, in 1771, the Governor, Thomas Hodges proposed a new gold issue that took into account the advantages of coining gold rather than selling it as pure bullion. The 1765 gold coins had met with some resistance because they carried the Company's arms, so Hodges proposed introducing a new coin, the Bombay, with Persian legends on the obverse. These legends copied those on the contemporary rupees, naming the deceased emperor ‘Alamgir II, rather than the name and titles of Shah ‘Alam, which perhaps was indicative of the Company's preference to follow a directive made to the Surat Council in February 1760.

  Lot 576 - The highly important and unique C-marked Mohur of Calcutta's second gold coinage, 1766-8, please credit Noonans 1

Also of note and from the Bengal Presidency is the highly important and unique C-marked Mohur from Calcutta's second gold coinage, dating from 1766-8, which measures 24mm and carries an estimate of £30,000-40,000.

  Group - Puddester - please credit Noonans

For more information, see:

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An American Numismatic Society Pocket Change blog article by Alice Sharpless pushes back on last week's announcement from the Hunterian Museum. Here's an excerpt- see the complete article online. -Editor

  Coin types from the 1713 hoard
Coin types from the 1713 hoard

A new study, published by Paul N. Pearson et al. last week in Plos One, has made a sensation in global news by claiming to have authenticated several unusual gold coins in the Hunterian Museum collection in Glasgow which seem to feature an otherwise unknown Roman emperor Sponsianus. The coins, which numismatists have long believed to be early 18th-century forgeries, include two gold coins naming the Roman emperor Philip I or II, another naming Gordian III, and a fourth naming a Sponsianus, who is known only from a few examples of this coin type.

All of these coins are ostensibly the exceedingly rare double aureus, though the weights are much higher than was typical. These coins are of uncertain origin but seem to have been part of a hoard discovered in 1713 in Transylvania. This hoard was recorded in a note by Carl Gustav Heraeus as including the same three coin types in Glasgow as well as three other types.

Since the publication of the Plos One study, there have since been several responses to the study. Aleksander Bursche and Kyrylo Myzgin have released a response pointing out several important problems that were not sufficiently addressed by the Plos One study. Alfred Deahl responded in a post from Antigone Journal, reasserting the belief that the coins are forgeries and Csaba Szabó has discussed methodological problems with the study. Björn Schöpe writing for CoinsWeekly cites additional critiques of the Plos One study. Scholars such as Johannes Wienand and Marjanko Pilekic have also taken to Twitter to discuss what it even means to say these are authentic Roman coins.

Clearly, there are still many unaddressed issues surrounding the origin of the 1713 coins. Even the evidence of wear and of surface deposits cannot be shown conclusively not to have occurred in the modern period. As Bursche and Myzgin point out, the coins should have been tested against third-century coins with secure find spots as well as known 18th-century forgeries rather than against third-century coins of uncertain provenience. Pearson et al. put far too much weight on these coins to write an imagined history of Dacia in the later third century with too little critical analysis of the problems with the coins' manufacture and discovery. Unless further study can provide more certain answers, it seems that these coins should continue to be regarded as modern forgeries.

To read the complete article, see:
Is Sponsian real? Further Considerations (


Another (timely) American Numismatic Society Pocket Change blog article by Nathan Elkins discusses numismatic research and peer review. -Editor

Edward T. Newell Numismatics is a rich and diverse topic, which attracts both popular interest and that of historians seeking to understand the past. The number of numismatic periodicals is multitude and ranges from blogs, collector newsletters, print and online magazines, and to academic journals. Each venue has different sets of standards for publication and serves different functions. A key factor that sets well-respected academic numismatic journals apart is the peer-review process, which journals in the sciences and humanities also employ. The reason that scholarly presses and periodicals use peer review is because such venues seek to advance knowledge and conversation in the field. The presentation of information or the simple collection of facts is insufficient; it is how the information and research are put together and analyzed to advance knowledge and understanding that is of critical importance.

In its most basic sense, peer review involves the selection of expert reviewers to read and critically evaluate a work before it is published. Reviewers are asked to remark on the merits of the manuscript, the soundness of methodology and interpretation, the novelty and level of contribution to scholarship, and to point out any errors of fact or shortcomings in the approach, analysis, bibliographical exploration, and so on. They are usually asked also to give a clear verdict, such as reject, revise and resubmit, accept with revisions, or accept in addition to the narrative report.

Editors of scholarly journals and book presses are keen to select reviewers who are especially conversant with the particular topic of the submitted manuscript, so as to get the highest quality feedback and assessment as possible. For example, this means that an editor would seek a different set of reviewers for an article publishing fourth-century CE excavation coins from Jordan than one would for a die study of Hadrianic aurei, a metallurgical analysis of cistophori, a technical study on the production of Connecticut coppers, or for a manuscript on religious symbols on Seleucid coins. Reviewers are, therefore, generally recognized authorities in their specific corner(s) of numismatic research, as established by their own track-record of peer-reviewed publications and sustained scholarship in particular areas. In numismatics and other historical disciplines, typically two or three peer reviewers assess any manuscript. A good peer-review process is usually double-blind, where the author's identity is shielded from the peer reviewer and vice-versa.

While the peer-review process is imperfect, it is an important part of scholarly publication and is critical in maintaining rigor in the intellectual discourse. Some for-profit publishers have abandoned peer review, or greatly diluted the rigor of the peer-review process to the point of superficiality, and as a result publish low-quality content with flimsy methods and simplistic interpretations. One of the more egregious examples is that some predatory for-profit publishers who purport to conduct peer review send manuscripts to referees who have little or no qualifications in the subjects they are reviewing (I and other colleagues in ancient history and archaeology are often spammed weekly with invitations to review articles in subjects such as physics or biology by such venues, and colleagues in the sciences are similarly targeted by them to review manuscripts far outside their areas of advanced training and experience). Even if a for-profit publisher has a peer-review process, not only does it often differ from the traditional model in not-for-profit academic publishing, the for-profit model itself can incentivize a less rigorous process, as more published works equals more fees charged to authors and subscribers and, therefore, more income.

Scholarship not seriously vetted by expert peers and published without the recommendation of quality referees also damages the field, as journal publications and books are how new knowledge is disseminated to colleagues and the interested public. It is very difficult for students and the public to distinguish between what is sound and vetted research versus what is not, as the imprimatur of a journal or a press signals legitimacy, even if there is little quality control behind it, which is why rigorous peer review is so essential.

The American Numismatic Society is a leading publisher of critical numismatic scholarship through its prominent monograph series and internationally recognized journals, the American Journal of Numismatics (AJN) and Journal of Early American Numismatics (JEAN). Our cadre of peer reviewers helps us to maintain high standards and protect the integrity of our publications program in the advancement of numismatic scholarship, and we and our authors owe them a debt of thanks.

The E-Sylum is a moderated weekly discussion forum. We're a place to discuss numismatic news and research as well as ideas and opinions. I'm always gratified to see actual peer-reviewed journals such as The Numismatist and Journal of Early American Numismatics highlight and republish information and thoughts that first came to light here. It's a credit to the high quality of contributions by our knowledgeable readers. -Editor

To read the complete article, see:
Numismatic Research and Peer Review (

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On December 8, 2022 the Associated Press published a story we've discussed earlier here in The E-Sylum - English buccaneer Henry Every and potentially connected Yemeni coins unearthed in New England and along the East coast. I added an image from our earlier articles. -Editor

James Bailey holds a comassee, an Islamic coin minted in Yemen in 1693 One tarnished silver coin at a time, the ground is yielding new evidence that in the late 1600s, one of the world's most ruthless pirates wandered the American colonies with impunity.

Newly surfaced documents also strengthen the case that English buccaneer Henry Every — the target of the first worldwide manhunt — hid out in New England before sailing for Ireland and vanishing into the wind.

At this point, the amount of evidence is overwhelming and indisputable, historian and metal detectorist Jim Bailey, who's devoted years to solving the mystery, told The Associated Press. Every was undoubtedly on the run in the colonies.

In 2014, after unearthing an unusual coin engraved with an Arabic inscription at a pick-your-own-fruit orchard in Middletown, Rhode Island, Bailey began retracing Every's steps.

Research confirmed that the exotic coin was minted in 1693 in Yemen. Bailey then discovered that it was consistent with millions of dollars' worth of coins and other valuables seized by Every and his men in their brazen Sept. 7, 1695, sacking of the Ganj-i-Sawai, an armed royal vessel owned by Indian emperor Aurangzeb.

Historical accounts say Every's band tortured and killed passengers aboard the Indian ship and raped many of the women before escaping to the Bahamas, a haven for pirates. But word quickly spread of their crimes, and English King William III — under enormous pressure from a scandalized India and the influential East India Company trading giant — put a large bounty on their heads.

Detectorists and archaeologists have since located 26 similar coins stretching from Maine to the Carolinas. All but three coins turned up in New England, and none can be dated later than when the Indian ship was captured.

When I first heard about it, I thought, ‘Wait a minute, this can't be true,' said Steve Album, a rare coin specialist based in Santa Rosa, California, who helped identify all of the silver Arabic coins found in New England.

But these coins have been found legitimately and in a few instances archaeologically, and every single one predates the sacking of the ship, said Album, who has lived in Iran and has traveled widely in the Middle East.

Detectorists have also unearthed a gold nugget weighing 3 grams (a tenth of an ounce) — slightly heavier than a U.S. penny — from a potato field perched on a hilltop in seaside Little Compton, Rhode Island.

There's no documented evidence that naturally occurring gold has ever been found in the state. Bailey and other experts believe that the nugget likely originated somewhere along Africa's Gold Coast, a center for the slave trade in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Adding to the intrigue, two silver Arabic coins were recovered not far from the nugget, and Every is known to have seized a considerable amount of gold while sailing off the coast of West Africa.

Bailey had already found records showing that the Sea Flower, a ship used by Every and his men after they ditched the vessel they'd used in their murderous raid, arrived in 1696 in Newport, Rhode Island. He's since surfaced documents that show that the pirate captain was accompanied by three Rhode Islanders he took aboard from another pirate vessel when he fled India. All three came ashore with Every in the Bahamas on March 30, 1696, and Bailey said that they essentially served as getaway drivers in exchange for plunder.

To read the complete article, see:
Murderous 1600s pirate hid out in US colonies with impunity (

Arthur Shippee passed along a CBS News version of the story. Thanks, -Editor

  Yemeni coins

To read the complete article, see:
Coins found in New England help solve mystery of murderous 1600s pirate: "One of the greatest crimes of the 17th century" (

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:

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A Coin Update article by Michael Alexander illustrates the new commemorative coins issued by Ukraine to celebrate the EU's acceptance of its membership application. That's not a non-event, and still worth celebrating despite the years-long long road ahead to actual membership that will be fraught with many obstacles and delays and no guarantees. Is there a category for Most Hopeful Coin of the Year? -Editor

The National Bank of Ukraine has released new collector coins which mark the granting of candidate status of the country to begin negotiations for membership to the European Union. This status became official on the 23rd June of this year. Substantial territories in the Eastern provinces of Ukraine are under some degree of occupation. However, the army of Ukraine has made impressive gains in an effort to defend the nation and has recovered territory in recent weeks. Ukraine declared their independence in August 1991, almost six months before the collapse of the former USSR. The referendum was passed on the 1st December of that year, and since then, the country has sought to charter a course of westernisation and closer economic, cultural, and trade relations with the European Union and further afield. Ukraine's interest in pursuing membership in the European Union was expressed as early as 2002, and at the time, it was believed membership might be possible in two decades, provided Ukraine met specific political and economic reform criteria.


Pictured here is the 10 hryvnia silver proof version with a hologram. See the complete article for more details. -Editor

To read the complete article, see:
Ukraine: Silver Proof coins released in honour of the granting of candidate status for EU membership (

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The Royal Canadian Mint has issued a commemorative two dollar coin ringed in black to mourn the loss of Queen Elizabeth II. Nicely done. -Editor

  Canada black toonie

he Royal Canadian Mint has produced a special, black-ringed C$2 coin to commemorate Queen Elizabeth, whose death in September triggered a huge outpouring of affection in Canada and sent collectors scrambling to secure rare coins and bills bearing her portrait.

The C$2 coin, Canada's highest denomination coin, which would go into circulation later in December, features Susanna Blunt's portrait of Elizabeth on one side and the traditional Brent Townsend polar bear design on the other, the mint said in a statement on Wednesday.

Canadians call the C$2 coin a toonie, a play on the 'loonie' nickname for the Canadian dollar coin, which features a picture of a loon bird.

Canada black toonies in bin at mint The composition of the new nickel-plated steel coin remains unchanged, but differs from regular C$2 coins due to a black outer ring on both sides. There would be nearly 5 million such coins that will begin appearing in circulation gradually as banks re-stock their coin inventories, the mint said.

Elizabeth was Canada's head of state for 70 years and the country observed a 10-day mourning period after her death. She visited Canada more than any other country during her reign.

"Our special C$2 circulation coin offers Canadians a way to remember her," Royal Canadian Mint Chief Executive Marie Lemay said, adding that Queen Elizabeth was the only monarch most Canadians had ever known.

To read the complete article, see:
Canada mints special black-ringed 'toonie' coin in memory of Queen Elizabeth (


David Pickup and Dick Hanscom passed along this article reporting that the new King Charles III coins are entering circulation. -Editor

First Charles III coin held Millions of 50p coins bearing the image of King Charles III will enter circulation from Thursday via post offices across the country.

They are the first mass-produced coins carrying the new King's image, and will be given out in change to customers.

An estimated 4.9 million of the new coins are being distributed to post offices - about half of the total number earmarked for circulation.

Coins carrying the image of the late Queen will still be accepted in shops.

"Today marks a new era for UK coinage, with the effigy of King Charles III appearing on 50ps in circulation," said Rebecca Morgan, director of collector services at The Royal Mint.

"We anticipate a new generation of coin collectors emerging, with people keeping a close eye on their change to try and spot a new 50p that bears the portrait of our new King."

  First Charles III coin

The coin has been struck at The Royal Mint in Llantrisant, Wales, using an image of the King produced over the course of months by sculptor Martin Jennings.

He used pictures of King Charles on his 70th birthday to create a likeness of the monarch, in what is the smallest work he has ever had to produce. He described its production and distribution as a "quite remarkable experience".

The reverse side of the new 50p coin is a copy of the design used on the 1953 Crown struck to commemorate the Queen's coronation.

It includes the four quarters of the Royal Arms depicted within a shield. In between each shield is an emblem of the home nations: a rose, a thistle, a shamrock and a leek.

To read the complete article, see:
First King Charles 50p coins enter circulation (

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Here's the press release for the Croatian Mint's newest coins. Is one of them the world's smallest? -Editor

A Spectacular Farewell to the Kuna: Croatia Mints the World's Smallest Coin

On 1 January 2023, Croatia will introduce the euro. To mark the occasion, the Croatian Mint came up with something very special for the last kuna commemorative issue: it will set a new record for the world's smallest coin. The record coin is only available in a set, together with a commemorative issue for the Višnjan Observatory.

Swissmint just got its Guinness World Record entry as the manufacturer of the world's smallest coin – and is already about to lose this title. The Croatian Mint shows off its skill by undercutting the Swiss record: with a weight of 0.05g and a diameter of 1.99mm, a Croatian issue is now the world's smallest coin. The theme of the issue is more than fitting: the piece is dedicated to the world's smallest city called Hum. It has a face value of one kuna.

The new record coin is both lighter and of a smaller diameter than the 2020 1/4 Swiss franc on Albert Einstein with a weight of 0.063g and a diameter of 2.96mm. The 1-kuna Hum coin also undercuts the Swiss mintage figure of 999 specimens. Only 199 pieces will be issued of the new smallest coin, which will exclusively be offered in a set with the 1000-kuna coin on the Višnjan Observatory.

  Croatia Hum 1 Kuna obverse Croatia Hum 1 Kuna reverse

The Smallest Coin for the Smallest City
The world's new smallest coin has a wonderful topic: the world's smallest city. This city is called Hum, Colmo in Italian and Cholm in German. It is located on a hilltop in Istria. Its population consists of about two dozen inhabitants, perhaps a little more, perhaps a little less – even today people are born and die in Hum, which is why the number is constantly changing.

Despite its small population, Hum has the right to call itself a city, because it has everything that made for a city in the past: a city wall, a self-elected government and its own laws. Hum's history dates back to the 11th century AD, when Count Ulric I, Margrave of Carniola and Istria, fortified the southern border of his territory with small castles. One of them was called Cholm. In 1102, it came under the control of the Patriarchate of Aquileia. The latter lost all its territories, including Hum, during the Venetian conquest in 1420. Hum then belonged to the Venetian maritime empire until it was dissolved by Napoleon in 1797. The 1815 Congress of Vienna put Istria, and with it Hum, under Austrian rule for one century. Then it became part of Italy, Yugoslavia and today Croatia – an eventful history for such a small city.

Today, Hum and its completely preserved city walls are a favourite tourist destination. They love to stroll through the two streets and visit all the historical buildings that tell the rich history of the world's smallest city.

The Design
The obverse depicts the world's smallest city Hum from a bird's eye view, above HUM 2022, below NAJMANJI GRAD NA SVIJETU (= the world's smallest city).

The coin's reverse shows the head of an Istrian cattle with the long horns that are typical of this species. Above 1 KUNA and the Croatian coat of arms, below the word Hum in Glagolitic script.

The Artist
The coin design was created by Ana Divkovic.

  Croatia Višnjan observatory 1000 Kuna obverse Croatia Višnjan observatory 1000 Kuna reverse

The Višnjan Observatory
The Višnjan Observatory, which is currently one of the most renowned institutions of its kind in the world, demonstrates how much of a difference a single person who lives their enthusiasm can still make today. The last 1000-kuna commemorative coin of Croatia of 2022 is dedicated to the institution.

The observatory was founded on 13 November 1992 by the Amateur Astronomical Society of Višnjan. The project was initiated by the Croatian teacher Korado Korlevic. From the private observatory, amateur astronomers discovered an impressive 1,749 asteroids between 1995 and 2001! This makes Višnjan one of the world's top five observatories when it comes to detecting near-Earth objects. The observation of near-Earth space is of utmost importance, especially because this is where asteroids are located that can be dangerous to our planet. Besides the high number of discoveries, Višnjan takes special pride in the fact that many pupils visit the observatory every year and learn with a mentor how to observe the stars at night.

Unfortunately, light pollution in Višnjan got so bad around the turn of the millennium that the astronomers had to relocate. Their new observatory is located further inland on a hill near the small village of Tican.

The Design
The obverse shows the old Višnjan Observatory under a starry sky, one part of the image is designed as a glance through a telescope; on the edge of the circular section the legend ZVJEZDARNICA VIŠNJAN (= Višnjan Observatory) and the technically accurate position 45º 17' 26,9" N 13º 44' 56,6" E

The reverse features an Istrian cattle with the long horns that are typical of this species, above, view of the Višnjan municipality, below a wall with the Croatian coat of arms. Above REPUBLIKA HRVATSKA VIŠNJAN.

The Artist
The coin design was created by Nikola Vudrag.

Only Available as a Set
Both coins are only available as a set. The packaging was created by the Croatian design studio Izvorka Juric. The gold coins are in a box that uses LED lights to recreate a night sky on which the two coins shine. The box contains magnifying glass, which is much needed to properly admire the world's smallest coin.

Issue Date and Price
Since 5 December 2022, the coins can be purchased from the shop of the Croatian Mint at The price for the set is 22,906.93 kuna / 3,040.27 euros (price subject to change).

Kavan Ratnatunga passed along a page from the Mint's website with more images and information on the coin's creation. They have an asterisk alongside their claim to the "smallest coin" title:

*From what we have gathered so far, we can tell that the Hum gold coin is the smallest commemorative coin in the world.


The making of the smallest coin

In order to mint the smallest commemorative gold coin in the world*, phases of the production process had to be adjusted. The process began with the development of the motif of the coin. In cooperation with the author, sculptor Ana Divkovic, we created a display of the motif detailed enough to show an entire town within a 1.99 mm diameter, yet technically feasible. Through a special treatment, we created the smallest die for the smallest coin. The motif was engraved using Acsys' most advanced Femto laser and their pulse forging technology and the smallest coin was minted on the modern automated Sack & Kiesselbach press. In case of such small dimensions, there is little space for material flow. Therefore, adjusting the blanks for minting gave us an adequate void filing, enabling the final print. Lastly, the coins were minted one by one. After minting, the print was controlled in detail using the microscope.


Now that's small! -Editor

To read the complete article, see:

Ken Spindler of San Diego saw the story in Numismatic News. -Editor

  tiny coins 12-22

Ken writes:

"This is not the world's lightest coin, despite its extreme diminutiveness. Maybe it's so hefty relative to its diameter because it's made of finer gold, and/or thicker, but both my fingernail-thin 1800s Nepal dam of silver (KM-593) and my Nepal dam of gold (KM- 604) weigh significantly less. Each is uniface, crude, unround, presumably hand-hammered, and slightly under 7 mm. in diameter. On my hundredth-gram scale, these beauties weigh in at... wait a minute, neither coin registers at all. I.e., 0.00 gram each. I don't know how accurate my scale is, but I get significant bumps when I lightly blow on it while the coins are still on it. Oops, not supposed to blow on coins. Tricking my scale by placing a 2x2 on it first yields increased gross readings indicating that each of my coins weighs about 0.02 gram.

small coins on scale "I have even smaller "coins," albeit not catalogued, or not easily so by me without more reference books. I bought a single 2x2 bearing 2 purported 1/4 fanam "World's Smallest Gold Coins" on eBay. They are quite irregular including as to thickness, but both measure only a few hairs broader than the new Croatian creations, at about 2-1/4 mm. diameters each. They are very Indian-looking, with a clear fanam-type symbol or word on one side, and a different, crude image (raised) on the other, so, struck between dies. Together they weigh 0.04 gram, so, average 0.02 gram apiece, after I did the 2x2 thing, same as preceding. Small change, indeed.

"Maybe at 0.05 gram the Croatian coins still hold record-low weights for machine-struck coins with images on both sides.

"Together my 4 coins weigh about 0.11 gram."

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This is old news, since the U.S. Mint announcement came out last month, But I look for articles about new coins and medals in regional publications hoping to find interviews with local artists who worked on the pieces. Alas, this article just repeats the press release, but I've added more on the artist from the U.S. Mint website. -Editor

Maria Tallchief quarter The United States Mint (Mint) today officially announced the reverse design for the 2023 Native American $1 Coin. The 2023 Native American $1 Coin honors American ballerina Maria Tallchief and American Indians in ballet. Considered to be America's first prima ballerina, Maria Tallchief broke barriers as a Native American ballerina (Osage Nation) exhibiting strength and resilience both on and off the stage. In addition to Tallchief, four other American Indian ballerinas from Oklahoma achieved international recognition in the 20th century, including her younger sister Marjorie Tallchief, Yvonne Chouteau, Rosella Hightower, and Moscelyne Larkin. Celebrated as the Five Moons, their legacy of achievement and inclusion continues to influence ballet today.

Designed by Artistic Infusion Program Designer Ben Sowards and sculpted by United States Mint Medallic Artist Phebe Hemphill, the reverse (tails) design features Maria Tallchief in balletic pose. A nod to the Five Moons is presented in the lunar motif, while the four ballerinas in the background are symbolic of both Tallchief's American Indian ballerina contemporaries and the generations of dancers they inspired. Inscriptions include UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, MARIA TALLCHIEF, $1, and AMERICAN INDIANS IN BALLET.

The obverse (heads) of the 2023 Native American $1 Coin will continue to feature the central figure Sacagawea carrying her infant son, Jean Baptiste, by sculptor Glenna Goodacre. Inscriptions are LIBERTY and IN GOD WE TRUST. The year, mint mark, and E PLURIBUS UNUM are incused on the edge of the coin.

The Native American $1 Coin Program is authorized by the Public Law 110-82 to recognize the important contributions made by Native American tribes and individual Native Americans to the history and development of the United States. The public law mandates that a reverse design, with an image emblematic of one important Native American or Native American contribution, be issued at a rate of once a year.

To read the complete Cherokee Phoenix article, see:
United States Mint Announces 2023 Native American $1 Coin Reverse Design (

Here's more on Ben Sowards from the U.S. Mint website. He also designed coins depicting Wilma Mankiller, Mark Twain, Barbara Bush, Nancy Reagan and Jacqueline Kennedy. -Editor

Benjamin Sowards Benjamin Sowards is an artist and illustrator whose portfolio includes official portraiture, gallery painting, fully illustrated picture books and young adult fantasy. His works are included in public and private collections internationally. He loves the preparation, research and travel necessary to create artwork worthy of the individuals and themes he strives to represent.

When Sowards is not working on his own projects, he teaches others how to paint both traditionally and digitally at Southern Utah University, where he has directed the Illustration Program since 2001. Sowards completed his graduate and undergraduate studies at Laguna College of Art and Design and Brigham Young University.

He and his family currently reside in New Mexico.

To read the complete article, see:
Benjamin Sowards Artistic Infusion Program Designer (

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At a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol Tuesday, law enforcement officers were awarded Congressional Gold Medals for their actions on January 6. 2021. The medals are will be placed at the U.S. Capitol Police headquarters, the Metropolitan Police Department, the Capitol and the Smithsonian Institution. -Editor

  Congressional Gold Medals for January 6th

Congressional leaders have bestowed their highest honor — the Congressional Gold Medal — to the United States Capitol Police and Washington, D.C.'s Metropolitan Police Department for defending the U.S. Capitol from a violent attack on Jan. 6, 2021.

At an award ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda on Tuesday, leaders from both parties described vivid memories of the riot that day and the bravery of officers who responded to the chaos.

"Thank you for having our backs. Thank you for saving our country. Thank you for being not just our friends but our heroes," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said.

Congressional Gold Medal recieved by Capitol Police Chief U.S. Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger, who accepted a medal on behalf of his department, told NPR a day before the ceremony that while there is still more work to do, the force is "much better prepared" to respond to future threats to the Capitol. Manger said "the big things, the big failures that occurred on January 6th have largely been fixed."

In the last year and a half, Manger made staffing a major focus, and set hiring 280 officers a year as a target. He said the department is on track to meet that goal with 195 officers in some stage of training now.

Manger said Tuesday's ceremony honoring the department means a great deal, and he pointed to the list of those who have received it in the past, saying "you're in pretty, pretty high company."

Recipients of the Congressional Gold Medal include the Tuskegee Airmen, astronauts Neil Armstrong and John Glenn, military generals Colin Powell and Norman Schwarzkopf, civil rights leader Rosa Parks and athletes Jesse Owens and Arnold Palmer.

Congress passed a resolution last summer, which President Joe Biden signed into law, honoring both the USCP and Washington, D.C.'s Metropolitan Police Department, the two agencies who led the response to the attack. Manger said he was glad the MPD rushed to respond and that his department got help from other law enforcement partners.

But he said he wants people to know the recognition is important, not just for those who battled and protected lawmakers, staffers and the building, but for the broader work his officers continue to do each day.

"January 6th was a very dark day in our country's history and certainly a dark day for the Capitol Police. And I've often said that anyone who defines the Capitol Police Department by that one day is making a mistake, because these men and women are amazing professionals, courageous, smart and hardworking and very dedicated to their country."

To read the complete article, see:
Capitol Police chief: Jan. 6 failures 'largely' fixed but extremism threat persists (

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:
LOOSE CHANGE: FEBRUARY 14, 2021 : Congressional Gold Medal For Officer Goodman (

  Sullivan E-Sylum ad01


The New York Times reported on the appearance of new signatures on U.S. paper money - Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Treasurer Marilynn Malerba. -Editor

  Yellen signature on dollar bill

During a recent appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen faced an awkward question: After nearly two years in the job, why was the signature of her predecessor, Steven T. Mnuchin, still scrawled across the nation's currency?

The answer, she explained, was a quirk of currency design that required a new treasurer of the United States to be in place before the money could be remade with both of their signatures.

That finally happened on Thursday when the first bank notes bearing the name of America's first female Treasury secretary were unveiled. The occasion was another crack in the glass ceiling for Ms. Yellen and the notoriously male-dominated field of economics.

The bills will also bear the name of Marilynn Malerba, the first Native American to hold the role of treasurer. The first $1 and $5 notes with their signatures will enter circulation next month.

The Treasury secretary noted that things have not always come easily for women in economics. When Ms. Yellen completed her doctorate at Yale in 1971, she recalled, there were no other women in her cohort.

In her remarks, Ms. Yellen noted that while women have appeared on American coinage, there is unfinished work to be done to diversify America's currency.

With your hard work, we will be introducing new currency designs in the coming years — including placing Harriet Tubman's portrait on the $20 bill, she said.

The initiative to add Tubman to the $20 bill was first proposed by Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew in 2016 but stalled during the Trump administration under Mr. Mnuchin's watch. The Biden administration said last year that it was exploring ways to accelerate the release of a redesigned $20 note, but the complexity of developing new anti-counterfeiting technology continues to be an obstacle. The new $20 notes are scheduled to come out in 2030.

  Yellen creating banknote signature

On Thursday, Ms. Yellen — who is known to have a penchant for exacting preparation — acknowledged that she spent some quality time signing her name clearly before submitting it to the director of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

To read the complete article, see:
Yellen Is First Female Treasury Secretary With Signature on U.S. Dollar (

This Reuters article has photos of the launch event at the Fort Worth, Texas BEP plant. -Editor

  Yellen and Malerba sign on banknotes

Malerba choked up when she talked about seeing her signature on the new bills as the first Native American treasurer, remembering the financial struggles her parents and six siblings faced when she was growing up. "This moment is history," she said. "Truly, two women on the currency for the first time is momentous. You are all making history today with all of us."

Gita Gopinath, first deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund, welcomed the new bills and said she was "personally very excited" to spend one for the first time.

"Janet Yellen is an inspiration for all economists. It means a lot to me and my colleagues that she will be the first female Treasury secretary with her signature on the dollar note," she said.

In her remarks, Yellen said Treasury led the first major effort to hire women into the federal government during the Civil War, and singled out Jennie Douglas as the first woman hired in that cohort and Sophia Holmes, the first Black woman.

To read the complete article, see:
Yellen honors pioneers as U.S. prints first banknotes with women's signatures (

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Recently, we discussed Shanghai's newest library, where 80% of the square footage is non-book spaces—reading tables and study rooms, performance venues and lecture halls, cafes and gardens. Here's an article about a similar library in Helsinki, Finland. -Editor

  Oodi library

Two steel arches span over 100 meters to create a fully enclosed, column-free public entrance space; the timber facade is clad with 33-millimeter-thick Finnish spruce planks. There are all manner of curious, Alice in Wonderland-esque places to sit — or indeed, lie down — while leafing through a book.

Among the vast number of amenities, what caught Johansen's attention were the library's 3D printers, laser cutters and equipment to digitally sculpt wood. But over time, he realized that there was a more radical and increasingly rare service that the library provides: a free and egalitarian public space.

Students can sit and study and just hang out, he explains. Or you can have your kid walking around, playing around. I always spend time there with my daughter. It's more of a cultural space. You don't need to consume anything.

Oodi library room Since opening in December 2018, Oodi has begun to write a new chapter in the history of public space. Instead of being merely a repository for books, it is an alternative working and learning space, a cultural and community center, and a platform for democracy and citizen initiatives. Anyone can enter and use the facilities, many of which are free, without needing to provide ID.

The country's flagship library — which is located opposite the Finnish Parliament in a gesture by the architects to signify that learning is as important as politics — aims to embrace technology and progressive values to provide a variety of innovative services alongside its lending collection of books. In fact, the 17,250-square-meter building contains a relatively small number of books — around 100,000. Two thirds of its space is dedicated to public amenities including a cinema, recording studios, a maker space, and areas for hosting exhibitions and events.

As part of the extensive research stage, Oodi's designers took a tour of libraries and cultural houses around the world from Korea to Seattle, working particularly closely with the Danish city of Aarhus and its Dokk Library.

Those decades of insights have been condensed into one building, like a lifetime instilled into the words of a novel. Oodi's ground floor, which includes a restaurant, movie theater, chess boards and events spaces, is meant to be an extension of the nearby Kansalaistori Square, encouraging social mixing. The second floor, filled with work spaces, game rooms, tools and instruments, is for noisy creative activity. And the open-plan top floor, illuminated by circular rooflights, is a conventional yet beautiful reading room dubbed book heaven, joined by a panoramic terrace.

With the explosion of digital technology and cuts to spending on municipal services, many fear the demise of the traditional library. In the US public library use fell by 31 percent over eight years, according to the Freckle Report, and in the UK it is now 70 percent less than it was in 2000. However, Finland's large-scale investment in the public library system goes against the pattern of the United States and Britain, and Oodi's success is a welcome plot twist.

In 2019, the first full year of operation, Oodi received 3.1 million visits — far higher than the 2.5 million expected. Events also attracted crowds: 7,000 events drew more than 300,000 participants, including story hours and book readings as well as chair exercise, language cafes and comic book courses. Pandemic closures have led to inevitable declines in use, but a rise is expected next year.

To read the complete article, see:
Helsinki Built a Library That Brings a Whole City Together (

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:


Here are some additional items in the media this week that may be of interest. -Editor

Roman Treasure Stolen While Under Museum Safekeeping

Despite the headline "Roman Treasure Stolen from British Museum...", the coins were stolen from a regional museum in Preston where they had been deposited before being shipped to the British Museum for review. -Editor

Museum in Preston where coins were stolen Thousands of dollars worth of historical artifacts are suspected of being stolen in England, according to a report Thursday by the Daily Mail. The lost Roman era treasures were slated to be examined by the British Museum.

The trove includes 28 Roman silver coins and a silver ingot unearthed earlier this year in Rutland. The artifacts were given to the museum by the two metal detectorists who found them as required by law.

To read the complete articles, see:
Roman Treasure Stolen from British Museum After Metal Detectorists Forfeited it by Law For Safekeeping (
Thieves steal hoard of Roman treasure worth thousands from museum after metal detectorists were forced to hand it over by law 'for safekeeping' (

Anglo-Saxon Gold Coin Necklace Found

Greg Cohen passed along this Washington Post story about the find of an amazing Anglo-Saxon necklace adorned with eight Roman gold coins. Thanks! Great item. -Editor

  Anglo-Saxon Gold Coin Necklace

Left: A reconstructed necklace of gold and semiprecious stones, dating to A.D. 630-670, was found at a burial site near Northampton in England.

Right: A rendering of what the necklace is believed to have looked like then. (Courtesy of Museum of London Archaeology)

A 1,300-year-old necklace beaded with gold and semiprecious stones has been discovered in an early Anglo-Saxon burial site under a construction project in central England. The location is being hailed as the most significant female burial site from the era discovered in Britain.

This find is truly a once-in-a-lifetime discovery — the sort of thing you read about in textbooks and not something you expect to see coming out of the ground in front of you, archaeologist Simon Mortimer, who worked on the excavation, said in a statement announcing the find.

The jewelry piece, dating to between 630 and 670 AD, was discovered at a gravesite near Northampton this year, and archaeologists announced the details of the find Tuesday. The necklace contains 30 trinkets, including four garnets set in gold, five glass pendants, eight Roman gold coins, and 12 beads, all set around an intricate rectangular pendant marked with a cross motif.

It wasn't just one or two items. That would have been incredible in its own, Paul Thompson, who managed the excavation, told The Washington Post. We have here the only complete example of this type of necklace excavated in modern archaeological standards. … It's an asymmetrical set-out of the gold coins, and the precious stones mounted in gold, which we haven't seen before.

Experts have hailed the find as particularly significant evidence of the role played by elite women at the time. This woman probably belonged to the first generation of English Christians in this part of England, Francis Young, a historian of religion who was not involved in the excavation, told The Post. This is people wanting to show off their newly acquired identity as Christians.

To read the complete article, see:
‘Once-in-a-lifetime' find of 1,300-year-old necklace dazzles historians (

Greg also found a second article from the New York Times. This one has a better image of some coins. -Editor

  Anglo-Saxon Necklace gold coins

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
A ‘Stunning' 1,300-Year-Old Gold Necklace Is Unearthed in England (

A Catherine the Great Seal

Not quite numismatic but related are seals used to mark official documents. A great item "found in a biscuit tin." -Editor

Catherine the Great Seal Charles Brown (1749-95) and his brother William were gem-workers, both exhibiting at the Royal Academy. From 1786-95 they received numerous commissions from the court of Catherine II, Empress of Russia.

Approximately two hundred cameos and intaglios remain in the Hermitage, St Petersburg. The seal pictured here, on offer at Ilkley saleroom Hartleys on December 7, is one of two sold directly to Catherine. Hartleys says ‘an outside expert has suggested that this may be the original stone and the one in the Hermitage was the second to be carved'.

It is a cornelian oval seal, intaglio carved with George Stubbs' (1724-1806) famous work Horse Frightened by a Lion (1770), and is signed in the stone C. Brown F. In a gold scroll mount with plain frame, 4 x 3cm overall, it has been owned by a private family for at least four generations – but found by a valuer ‘in a biscuit tin with assorted bits and bobs, so mucky you could hardly tell what it was'.

To read the complete lot description, see:
A Catherine the Great seal found in a biscuit tin is among five lots to watch (

Robert E. White (1941-2022)

CoinsWeekly published an article about coin dealer Robert E. White. -Editor

To read the complete article, see:
Remembering Robert E. White (1941-2022) (

Sandon, B.C. Good For One Cigar Token

Mainstream media rarely get numismatic details correct, but it's still nice to see them covering the topic. A "Good For" token from a Vancouver ghost town inspired a local newspaper story. -Editor

  Hotel Reco Sandon BC obverse Hotel Reco Sandon BC reverse

A rare token for one free cigar at a long-defunct hotel in a B.C. ghost town has sold for more than $600.

The small token — marked Hotel Reco Sandon B.C. on the front and Good For One Cigar on the back — was listed on E-bay for 99 cents on Nov. 19.

Over the next five days there were 16 bids. One bidder started at $155 and ended up making a final offer of $600 before being outbid for $610 at the last minute by someone who had made no earlier bids.

Sandon is one of B.C.'s well-known ghost towns, located halfway between New Denver and Kaslo off Highway 31A in the West Kootenay.

It was built to service a short-lived but lucrative silver boom in the deep and high valley renowned for its heavy annual snowfall. The community prospered from 1890 to 1900, then died off before having another boom during the First World War.

The first hotel was registered in May 1893 and within a few years Sandon had 24 hotels, two dozen saloons, two rail lines and three breweries with around 5,000 permanent residents. There was also a curling arena, hockey rink and even a ski hill.

To read the complete article, see:
Token for one cigar from B.C. ghost town sells for $610 more than a century later (

Banknotes Found in Moscow-Linked Ukrainian Churches
  Banknotes found in Moscow-Linked Ukrainian Church

The Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) has completed counterintelligence operations at premises of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) in Kharkiv Oblast.

Law enforcement officers found libraries containing pro-Kremlin literature, materials praising the aggressor country, and a large amount of cash in various currencies, including Russian roubles, on the territory of the diocese.

Even Russian-issued field rations were being stored in one of the churches. A monk holding a Russian passport was also discovered there. The security forces are now investigating whether he was involved in intelligence and subversive activities for the Russian secret services.

To read the complete article, see:
Ukraines Security Service finds wads of banknotes and Russian military rations at Moscow-linked Ukrainian churches in Kharkiv Oblast (


With the auctions of material salvaged from the SS Central America behind us, another gold rush ship recovery effort may be on the horizon. -Editor

  SS Pacific

The famous gold-rush steamer SS Pacific which sank as it traveled from British Columbia to San Francisco in 1875 with nearly $5 million worth of gold on board, killing 325 people, has been found at the bottom of the ocean.

SS Pacific, which was carrying $180,000 of gold - around $4.8m in today's money - had collided with the sailing ship Orpheus south of Cape Flattery in Washington. It was the deadliest maritime disaster in the history of the western US.

Two experts from the Northwest Shipwreck Alliance, Matthew McCauley and Jeff Hummel, now believe they have found the lost ship.

Although the team have not made the precise location of the wreck public, a judge has now granted exclusive salvage rights. However the team has given a rough location and said that the wreck lies some 23 miles offshore at a depth of between 1,000 and 2,000ft.

They are hoping to open a museum dedicated to artefacts recovered from the wreck. However, there will be a window of time for descendants to assert ownership in court.

The Pacific was captained by Jefferson Davis Howell, who commanded a rebel gunboat in the US Civil War, and whose brother-in-law, Jefferson Davis, was former Confederate President.

Only two people survived the disaster; he was among the dead.

Some of the others on board the ship included the elite of the Pacific Northwest, gold miners going home for winter and 41 people identified only as 'Chinamen.'

The Gold Rush first began in 1848 and finished in 1899. Due to the mania, people would often move West so that they would be in with a chance of getting some gold.

To read the complete article, see:
Gold-rush steamer SS Pacific is found almost 150 years after it sank with nearly $5M worth of gold on board, killing 325 people, as it sailed from British Columbia to San Francisco (

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