The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 25, Number 4, January 23, 2022, Article 34


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

Online Auction Grading Lesson

On Coin Update Michael Bugeja published a lesson in grading for beginning buyers new to online auctions. Here's an excerpt - see the complete article online. -Editor

  1921 Morgan Dollar grade comparison

Increasingly I am seeing bidders paying PCGS/NGC sight unseen prices for obviously substandard coins. These can be raw or holdered ones by lower-tier companies. Sometimes the auctioneer just throws out a high grade. Sometimes they add adjectives like superb gem or super gem. In worst-case scenarios, they add a PCGS/NGC retail value to one of these hyped coins.

The sad fact is that newcomers to numismatics lack grading expertise and believe the hype. When it comes time to sell, as in the 1921 example above, they will demand exorbitantly inflated prices because that is what they paid, only to be told the grading truth: They overpaid for a lesser-value coin.

As for viewers here, this wouldn't apply to you because you have dedicated yourself to learning about the hobby.

To read the complete article, see:
Three types of grade inflation in online auctions (

'Unsearched Vault Bags' Consumer Warning

A local Philadelphia television station's Troubleshooters team tackled misleading ads offering 'Unsearched Vault Bags' of 'valuable U.S. Gov't issued coins'. -Editor

Some coins could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, but beware of a letter and claim form hitting mailboxes in the Garden State.

The letter states, "the hotline number you need to call to get your Unsearched Vault Bags loaded with nearly three pounds of valuable U.S. Gov't issued coins dating back to the 1800s."

"Too unbelievable to be true that they found bags of uncirculated coins, and they're willing to give it to New Jersey residents," said Eugene Kattack of Swedesboro, New Jersey.

To read the complete article, see:
Experts issue buyer beware notice for coin collecting mailers (

Tonga's Numismatic History

The intense eruption and tsunami has Tonga in the news this week. Here's an article from Banknote World on the island's numismatic history. Found via News & Notes from the Society of Paper Money Collectors (Volume VII, Number 31, January 18, 2022). -Editor


The Kingdom of Tonga rests in the southern Pacific Ocean in Oceania along with its nearby island nations of Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Fiji, Wallis and Futuna, Samoa, Kermadec, and Niue. The Polynesian archipelago consists of 177 islands grouped into three main islands, namely, Vava'u which comprises the northern part, Ha'apai in the center, and Tongatapu in the south. Tonga is formerly known as the Friendly Islands and a former British protectorate that later became a constitutional monarchy. Although a protectorate, Tonga maintained its sovereignty and is the only Pacific nation that remains an Indigenous monarchy. With rainforests, volcanoes, and tropical beaches, Tonga's tourism industry has been a primary source of its hard currency.

The Tongan pa'anga has been the nation's official currency since 1957, replacing the Tongan pound. Earlier issues of the Tongan pa'anga paper bills depicted a portrait of Salote Mafile'o Tofou III who reigned as queen from 1918 until 1965. Her portrait is replaced with King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV's portrait on banknotes issued between 1973 and 1989. This set of notes has a common design on the obverse, reflecting the coat of arms of Tonga on the left and the king's portrait to the right. Their reverse shows vignettes of landmarks, attractions, and Tonga's way of life. The half-pa'anga banknote, for example, features five men harvesting copra on the back.

To read the complete article, see:
Tonga – Numismatic History (

1943 Copper Gumball Lincoln Cent

GreatCollections is offering the famous 1943 Copper Gumball Lincoln cent. -Editor

  1943 copper Gumball cent

Known as the Gumball specimen, this particular coin was first discovered in 1976 by a Philadelphia businessman in a gumball machine in his restaurant located across from the United States Mint. That year, the restauranter sold the coin to a butcher, who was known locally as a coin collector, for $1,000 (almost $5,000 in today's money when adjusted for inflation).

Prompted by his worried wife, the owner sent the coin to ANACS and then Stack's in New York for authentication in November 1976. Both companies confirmed that it was authentic. Gifted to his children by the now-retired butcher, the coin has remained in the family until the present day. In 2019, the owners contracted with Mitchell A. Battino, President of Hudson Rare Coins, to submit this 1943 copper cent to NGC for certification.

To read the complete article, see:
The Gumball Machine Giveth: GreatCollections Offers Rare 1943 Copper Cent (

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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