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PREV       NEXT        v26 2023 INDEX         E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

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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


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


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

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

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


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


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


Sale Calendar

Watch here for updates!


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: Richard Ormandy, Phil Soditch, and Jack Tu. Welcome aboard!

A number of these new subscribers came from a nice post by OAKSTAR on the PCGS Coin forum. Thank you!
Thank You's Are Always Welcome (

Thank you for reading The E-Sylum. If you enjoy it, please send me the email addresses of friends you think may enjoy it as well and I'll send them a subscription. Contact me at anytime regarding your subscription, or questions, comments or suggestions about our content.

This week we open with four new books, one review, a new collector organization, updates from the Newman Numismatic Portal and the ANA, and more.

Other topics this week include Half Cents, New Zealand coinage, Orders, Decorations and Medals, the Medallic Art Company, proof set packaging, coin radius, digital images, really big coins and really big coin bags, subscriber profiles, auction previews, Animals in War and Peace, Texas currency, ink-stained banknotes, and bank failures.

To learn more about Polish coins, Phaleristics, Derek Pobjoy, Thomas Jefferson's 1790 report to the House of Representatives on proposed weights, measures and coins, Harvey Stack, Victor Dubreuil, Pat McBride, Ed Fuhrman, ancient coin collections in Canada, modeling clay, ballistic coin bags, and my nine-year-old shirt, read on. Have a great week, everyone!

Wayne Homren
Editor, The E-Sylum

Image of the week


Ed Fuhrman has published another volume in his series on U.S. half cents. -Editor

The Half Cent Handbook: The Ultimate Grading Guide

HALF CENT HANDBOOK Ultimate Grading Guide book cover I am pleased to announce the release of my fifth book in the Half Cent Handbook series; The Ultimate Grading Guide.

This new book has a soft cover with a spiral binding. It is designed as an affordable and lightweight pocket sized guide (6"X9" format) that collectors can carry. It will help collectors of all levels quickly and easily grade any Half Cent they come across using the EAC (Early American Coppers) method of grading. The guide uses photos from the grading sections in the Handbook series and takes you step by step through the process how to arrive at a proper grade for any Half Cent. The book contains over 500 clear full color photos to assist you in learning to grade. This is the first of two new books containing supplementary material related to the Half Cent Handbook series. This is a limited print run so don't delay in ordering. Copies are $35 shipped.

For ordering information please email Ed Fuhrman at: .

Printed on thick glossy paper, most pages show quality color photos of both sides of two or three coins, allowing for easy comparisons across up to six grades at once. Guides such as these are prime examples of why the printed book is far from dead - the book's spiralbound format will come in handy when working with coins at home or on the road at shops and shows.

For anyone new to collecting (and old pros as well), his advice on negotiating with dealers is spot-on. The "Advanced Grading Tips" and "Ready, Set Go" sections are short but very much to the point. This isn't a copy of Playboy magazine; while the pictures are useful and very pretty, you'll miss a lot if you don't take time to read the text.

Other sections include "What is EAC Grading" (referring to the standards of the Early American Coppers group), "Basics of Net Grading", "Is the Color Original?" and separate sections just for grading low and high relief 1794 Half Cents. While I've never even owned a half cent, I know a good book when I see one, and I think this little volume has a lot to offer. -Editor

To read the complete article, see:

Shevlin E-Sylum ad 2023-03-26 So-Called Dollars Vol 1


Recent subscriber Jerzy Chalupski has published a new book in English on Polish coins. -Editor

POLISH COINS 1917 – 1918 book cover First English edition of the most accurate Polish coins catalog of 1917-1918 era. The only one with all varieties and variants of these coins identified so far. All illustrated with detailed photographs.

In addition, descriptions and photos of counterfeits to the detriment of both the issuer and the collectors, and mint errors. A must-have in the library of every advanced collector of 20th century Polish coins.

    White spacer bar
  Polish Coins 1917-1918 sample page 1 Polish Coins 1917-1918 sample page 2

For more information, or to order, see:
POLISH COINS 1917 – 1918: SPECIAL CATALOG Paperback – Large Print, February 16, 2023 (

For Jerzy's earlier books in Polish, see:

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A new book has been published on the coins of the Hyderabad Mint. -Editor

Coins of Hyderabad Mint
Coins and Notes of Hyderabad State & Circulation Coins of India Catalogue & Valuation 1948 to 2023

Dilip Rajgor (Author)

Coins of Hyderabad Mint book cover Coins of Hyderabad Mint is in the form of a catalogue of coins minted from 1948 to 2023. The book includes details about all coins and currency notes of Hyderabad State minted after its annexation to the Union of India in 1948 till 1955. Circulation coins of Repubic of India minted by Hyderabad Mint since 1953 are catalogued in detail. These coins are catalogued with years in which they were issued: their Mintage figures; edge varieties' their release dates, rarity and current valuation of every coin.

Also included is a catalogue of Canteen Tokens minted by Hyderabad Mint. The book includes may unpublished coins that are not known to numismatists. Similarly, Mintage figures of hundreds of coins are reported here for the first timek. This kind of comprehensive data is not published till now.

Format: Hardcover
Date published: 31.03.2023
Edition: 1st ed.
Publisher: Rajgors
Language: English
ISBN: 9788196208608
Length: 144p.

For more information, or to order, see:
Coins of Hyderabad Mint Coins and Notes of Hyderabad State & Circulation Coins of India Catalogue & Valuation 1948 to 2023 (

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Renniks is offering the new edition of The John Bertrand New Zealand Coin and Banknote Catalogue. Here's the information from their site. The book may be available elsewhere as well. -Editor

The John Bertrand New Zealand Coin and Banknote Catalogue 2023


New Zealand Coin and Banknote catalog 2023 book cover The 2023 catalogue features important information regarding all New Zealand coins issued from 1933 and includes updated values with retail prices given in five grades for the pre-decimal issues. A full listing of decimal issues is also included.

New Zealand Coin and Banknote Catalogue features information about all New Zealand legal tender coins that have been minted since 1933. It includes the maximum and actual mintages produced. Prices given in five grades.

The 2023 edition is edited by Jared H. Thornton and has a hugely expanded Checks, Discount & Special Purpose Tokens section, previously four pages and now expanded to eleven pages, courtesy of Martin Purdy FRNSNZ, and again includes five pages of information on all the major coin varieties, also compiled by Martin Purdy, all being shown with values in the category pages. New Zealand banknotes are covered from 1934 with prices given in up to six grades, including first and last prefixes in the decimal section.

The catalogue as always includes simplified listings of Tradesmen's Tokens, Communion Tokens, Internment Camp Tokens, Checks, Discount & Special Purpose Tokens and Mint Rolls.

ISBN: 9780473669737
WEIGHT: .2 kg
DIMENSIONS: 21 × 15 × .5 cm
ISBN: 9780473669737

For more information, or to order, see:
The John Bertrand New Zealand Coin and Banknote Catalogue 2023 (

WBNA E-Sylum ad 2023-04-02 US Sale 2


Last week we mentioned the new book by Dror Goldberg on the development of currency in the colony of Massachusetts. John Mellman passed along this review of the book in The Wall Street Journal. Thanks. -Editor

Easy Money book cover The year 1692 is infamous in Massachusetts history. It was then that, in Salem, hundreds of women—and men too—were accused of witchcraft, and 20 were tried and executed for an imaginary crime. In the same year, another momentous event took place in the colony, though it has nothing of the same notoriety: The Puritan leadership that had overseen the Salem Witch Trials—responding to some of the same social pressures that had fueled the witch craze—perfected a financial instrument that would prove to be the template for modern currency. In brief, they reimagined money primarily as legal tender for taxes, a conceptual revolution that makes the government's authority the only source of a currency's value. This is the basis of the monetary system that prevails throughout the world today under the reign of the Almighty Dollar.

Dror Goldberg's Easy Money provides an engrossing narrative account of this lesser-known crucible. Although scholarship about the first American colonies could fill the Mayflower, Mr. Goldberg's chronicle is the first book-length attempt to explain why a defining concept in our global financial system emerged within a desperate theocracy on the fringes of the British Empire.

Unlike Virginia and other early colonies in the New World, Massachusetts was led not by aristocratic adventurers but by the upwardly mobile middle classes of English society. And, as Mr. Goldberg points out, the colony was founded at precisely the moment when England was beginning the leap from an agricultural to a capitalist economy. Devout religious motives led the Puritans to Massachusetts, but financial ingenuity allowed their pious enterprise to survive and thrive.

Lacking the institutional structures that reinforced social order in the Old World, Massachusetts's leaders relied on consensus and consent. Though the ministerial elite tolerated no dissent in its religious mission, on practical matters, such as raising revenue and spending it, the colonial government was the most democratically accountable in the world at the time. For good reason, Alexis de Tocqueville identified the colonial New England township as the seedbed of American democracy.

five-shilling Massachusetts Colony note detail Other governments had attempted to solve their fiscal problems by printing paper and trying to force everyone else to accept it as money, with disastrous consequences. Massachusetts was the first to give paper currency genuine value by requiring only that the government accept its notes as payment for taxes. Since the colonial government could force its citizens to pay taxes, its willingness to accept its own notes made everyone else willing to accept them, too. Two years later, after risk of a veto from the king had diminished, the colony expanded the legal-tender act to make its notes lawful payment for both taxes and debts. With that additional change, Massachusetts's notes became, Mr. Goldberg says, nearly identical to the currency of the early twenty-first century.

The power to print money is bewitching however, and led to later troubles. See the related article elsewhere in this issue about bank failures in the U.S. -Editor

The Puritans in 1692 were careful to print no more notes than were to be collected as taxes. This required a superb level of discipline, Mr. Goldberg writes, one that could be expected perhaps only of . . . Puritans. But even they were not immune to the intoxicating power of their invention. The liberating effects of the original legal-tender laws quickly gave way to the scourge of inflation. And the effects were not confined to the economy. Legislative meddling with the relationship between creditors and debtors, as James Madison later wrote, would strike at the foundation of a free society, destroying confidence between man and man.

... one lesson that comes across in Mr. Goldberg's estimable book would have struck the Puritans themselves. The figure the Puritans referred to as that old deluder, Satan has many ways of preying upon the minds of men. The modern word for credit comes from the Latin word credere, meaning to believe. Massachusetts showed how a government can create money out of its own credibility as a tax collector. But that same capacity allows governments to disguise—temporarily—the inescapable fact that they must ultimately collect in taxes the same amount they spend, creating a tempting delusion we moderns still cannot resist.

To read the complete article (subscription required), see:
‘Easy Money' Review: The Currency and the Commonwealth (

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

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Frank Draskovic passed along word of the launch of the International Phaleristics Association after two and a half years of planning. Thanks, and good luck to the group. Here's some background from their website. -Editor

International Phaleristics Association IPA logo Who We Are

The International Phaleristics Association (IPA) is a non-profit organization founded in 2020 that is dedicated to the study and promotion of the history, art, and culture of orders, decorations, and medals.

Our Mission

The International Phaleristics Association is dedicated to the preservation and research of world Orders, Decorations, Medals, and Awards.

Our Members

Our members come from all over the world and include historians, collectors, researchers, and anyone with an interest in the subject. We provide a forum for the exchange of information and ideas and promote the study of phaleristics through meetings, publications, and other educational activities.

IPA medals2 What We Do

The IPA publishes a quarterly journal, The Phalerist, which contains articles, book reviews, and news of interest to members. The association also organizes regular meetings, lectures, and exhibitions to provide opportunities for members to meet, share their knowledge and interests, and learn more about the field.

Our Goals

It is the goal of IPA to preserve and catalog Orders, Decorations, and Medals from around the world. Our databases will serve as a searchable catalog of Medals. Through community outreach, we will introduce a new generation to the history and beauty of Orders, Decorations, Medals and their recipients.

Join Us

Members get access to all our exclusive publications, our shared medals database, a desktop app and much more!

  IPA medals

Unfortunately, much of the website will be hidden from the larger community behind a members-only firewall. -Editor

For more information, or to join:


Newman Numismatic Portal Project Coordinator Len Augsburger provided the following impressive report. -Editor

Newman Portal Reaches Five Million Page Milestone

In March 2023, the Newman Numismatic Portal reached the five-million-page threshold. Among auction sales, we host 12,888 catalogs, comprising 1,136,784 pages, or 23% of our collection by page count. The largest contributors are not hard to guess, with Heritage Auctions at 5.1% of our overall total and Stack's Bowers at 2.1%.

A large portion of the NNP collection is formed by periodicals, coming in at 35,419 items (2,329,172 pages), or 46% of the total size. High runners in the periodical group include Coin World (6.6% of our entire collection), The Numismatist (3.7%), Numismatic News (3.1%), and the Numismatic Scrapbook (1.5%).

storyofmoney1984fede_0001 Among archival holdings, the National Archives U.S. Mint series comprises 9.1% of our entire page count, while the Eric P. Newman research papers come in at 1.7%.

Our video collection, 3,854 items total, includes the David Lisot Video Library, which serves as an irreplaceable record of the hobby for the period covered and numbers 2,722 videos.

One of our contributors this week wondered how often their material was consulted on NNP. One might think of NNP as an online library containing thousands of works, which are frequently an inch wide and a mile deep in terms of research scope. By aggregating the inches together, we build a bridge that spans an ever-growing field.

In 1996, Bowers & Merena sold the Eliasberg 1913 nickel, the first U.S. coin to reach the million-dollar level, eventually hammering at $1.485 million. As the bidding reached the million-dollar mark, Dave Bowers briefly stopped to note the significance of the moment, and to add We're not stopping there! We're not stopping either, with current scanning projects including American Numismatic Society correspondence through the 1930s, U.S. Mint Director correspondence covering 1866-1900, and a series of comic books issued by the Federal Reserve Bank in the 1980s that presented topics in money and banking.

Link to The Story of Money:

To search NNP, see:

It's been a long time coming, and the Newman Portal has reached an incredible milestone. Yet it also seems like only yesterday we were just getting started with this amazing project (it's been seven years now since opening day). Below are links to articles announcing NNP in 2015 and 2016, and a couple of the promotional ads that ran here in The E-Sylum. And like Len said, we're just gettin' warmed up! -Editor

  NNP ad12 research got lighter
  NNP ad07 Vast library

To read earlier E-Sylum articles, see:

Kenny Sammut ANA Election 2023


NNP Project Coordinator Len Augsburger also provided these great photos relating to the Medallic Art Company. See another article elsewhere in this issue for the latest on the Medallic Art Company archives. -Editor

  Medallic Art Company Danbury groundbreaking

Newman Portal User Shares MACO Photographs

A Newman Portal user forwarded this October 1971 photograph from the groundbreaking ceremonies for the Medallic Art Company (MACO) facility in Danbury, Connecticut. Left to right are MACO officials Dick Johnson (research director), Ray Ruete (production director), Julius Lauth (vice president and art director), Frances K. Trees (vice president), and William T. Louth (president). In the photograph, MACO officials pour plaster into the mold for the first medal to be produced at the new facility.

  Medallic Art Company Danbury medal obverse Medallic Art Company Danbury medal reverse

Medallic Art Company Danbury groundbreaking cup An example of this building dedication medal is illustrated here, as well as one of the ceremonial cups used to pour the mold. The cup bears an image of the French Head MACO symbol designed by Daniel Chester French. Visitors to the ANS have no doubt recognized this same imagery on a cast exhibited in the sitting area.

The footprint of the Danbury facility, nearly an acre, provides some idea of the scope of the operation. Originally based in midtown Manhattan on East 45th Street, the remnants of MACO have today come full circle, with the recent acquisition of the MACO archives by the ANS, currently stored in a Brooklyn warehouse. The Danbury groundbreaking ceremony was covered in Coin World, November 3, 1971, with the opening ceremony noted in the November 15, 1972 issue.


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.


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 1987 with more commentary over the mad collector rush for Panda coins from the China Mint, this time at a San Francisco coin show. -Editor

  David Lisot 1987 Rabbit coin Singapore Mint

Reports on San Francisco Coin Expo, coin phrases, Oympic coins, Dealer Certification Program, ICTA, Mike Sherman, and Derek Pobjoy.

  David Lisot 1987 interview Derek Pobjoy
Derek Pobjoy

Purchasers found dealers willing to pay $1,600 for Pandas they'd just purchased for $800, prompting Lisot to remark that $800 isn't a bad payday for sleeping one night in line in the streets of San Francisco. He reported that a couple who'd driven all the way from Colorado with the woman 8 1/2 months pregnant were shut out and turned away by police. Lisot also reported that the Singapore Mint got in on the action with a limited edition Rabbit coin, as did the Popjoy Mint with a piece for the Isle of Man.

Other topics include the U.S. Constitution coins, American Eagle bullion coins, pattern coins, and Gobrecht dollars. Finally, David interviews Derek Pobjoy of the Pobjoy Mint about the Isle of Man coins. -Editor

To watch the complete video, see:

Archives International Sale 84 cover front


The ANA Library has acquired an important document relating to the inception of U.S. coinage. Pictured is ANA Librarian Akio Lis. -Editor

ANA Librarian Akio Lis One of only six known surviving copies of Thomas Jefferson's 1790 report to the House of Representatives on proposed weights, measures and coins for the young United States has been donated to the American Numismatic Association ( by collector and long-time ANA benefactor Dwight Manley of California.

"Thomas Jefferson was the Secretary of State in 1790 and his report to Congress is of extraordinary importance to U.S. numismatics as it led the way to the adoption of our uniform decimal system of money. The provenance of this copy dates back to a Maryland Revolutionary War veteran who later was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, and the book is hand-signed by him," explained Manley.

"I purchased this historic book specifically for the ANA so that it can always be available to researchers and not hidden away in a private collection," he stated.

Entitled, "Report of the Secretary of State, on the Subject of Establishing a Uniformity in the Weights, Measurements and Coins of the United States," the 49-page book was recently purchased for $18,000 by Manley in an auction conducted by Kolbe & Fanning Numismatic Booksellers.

In 2003, the ANA named its library in honor of Manley in recognition for his years of support to the Association and the reference library.

"The staff of the ANA Dwight N. Manley Library is thrilled to add this document to our holdings," said ANA Library Manager Akio Lis. "One of a handful of existing copies, this is a foundational document in the establishment of the United States mint and monetary system."

The Kolbe & Fanning description of the book stated:

1790 Jeffersin Report on Coinage Of extraordinary importance and very rare. Considered to be the most important document written by Jefferson while Secretary of State under Washington, the Report on Weights, Measures and Coins is a breathtaking achievement. It is the culmination of many years' thought for Jefferson, who had long pondered the best ways for a new government to address the chaos resulting from the alphabet soup of competing currencies and moneys of account in the colonial and confederation periods.

Recognizing that even the familiar British system left much to be desired, Jefferson felt strongly that the adoption of a uniform decimal system would not only be more convenient for daily transactions, but would ease the development of a national economic system in ways that would promote trade and encourage investment. The ramifications of this 1790 report are continually felt today.

This is the preferred printing of the Report, being the first edition, fourth printing. It was preceded by three folio editions, which varied only in the corrections Jefferson made to the text while it was being printed. The fourth printing, accomplished in a more convenient octavo form, was the final version, was supervised by Jefferson, and was the edition he kept in his own library. Very rare, with Rink listing only six copies, including Jefferson's own, in institutional libraries. Rarely available in the private marketplace, this is the only copy we have ever offered, having last sold it in 2012."

This copy bears a contemporary inscription from George Gale to James Tilghman. George Gale (1756–1815) was a Revolutionary War veteran, a member of Maryland's Constitutional Convention and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for Maryland. Philadelphia lawyer James Tilghman (1716–1793), originally from Maryland, held a number of public positions and served as a trustee of the University of Pennsylvania (then the College of Philadelphia).

The ANA's Dwight N. Manley Library is open for lending, copying, and research services. The library is also open for in-person services during museum hours Tuesday-Saturday, 10:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Please confirm the library's schedule by phone at (719) 482-9859 or by email at

ANA members can access the world's largest numismatic lending library and its more than 128,000 books, auction catalogs, periodicals and DVDs online at The library features resources and materials on subjects including but not limited to coins, paper money, tokens, medals, military orders and decorations, and stocks and bonds.

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The American Numismatic Association announced a new program of free online video presentations. -Editor


Expand your numismatic knowledge with free webinars presented by top industry experts.

Join us twice a month—on the second and fourth Thursday from 12pm-1pm MT–for live webinars on all things numismatic. These free hour-long presentations are sure to appeal to a wide variety of collecting interests. Plus, all presentations are recorded. So if you can't join us for the live presentations, you'll be able to enjoy them later at your convenience.

Rome's First Silver Coins
April 13, 12pm MT

numismatalks-vagi The date and mint of Rome's first silver coin have been debated by scholars for centuries. In this talk, David Vagi presents compelling evidence in favor of an early date for this important and historical coinage.

David Vagi is a specialist in ancient coins and director of NGC Ancients, the world's leading service for the grading and authentication of ancient coins. He entered the field as a writer for Coin World and worked for Christie's, Superior and other auction firms before founding his own company in New York.

For more than thirty years he has penned monthly columns for major coin publications, including The Numismatist, The Celator, Numismatic News, World Coin News and Coin World. He's earned the Heath Literary Award from the ANA and numerous Best Column awards from the NLG. His two-volume Coinage and History of the Roman Empire won ‘Book of the Year' awards from the IAPN, PNG and the NLG. David is a life member and Fellow of the ANS, a member of the Rittenhouse Society and a life member of the ANA, for which he has taught more than twenty courses on ancient coins. In 2021 he was the ANA's ‘Numismatist of the Year' and is listed among Coin World's ‘100 Most Influential People in Numismatics.'

Coins of the Hasmonean Kings
April 27, 12pm MT

numismatalks-Hendin This illustrated talk will feature the coins of the Hasmonean rulers. The Hasmonean Dynasty began in Judaea with the sons of Mattathias the Hasmonean revolting against Seleucid rule (167-160 BCE). One of his sons was Judah (nicknamed 'the Maccabee' [the hammer). The Hasmoneans struck an extensive series of bronze coins beginning with John Hyrcanus I beginning around 132 BCE and ending with Mattathias Antigonus whose lost his kingdom to Herod I in 27 BCE, three years after Herod was named King in Rome.

David Hendin is vice president and honorary curator of the American Numismatic Society. He is author of Guide to Biblical Coins 6th Edition and 16 other books as well as hundreds of numismatic articles and papers in refereed journals.

Hendin's recent awards include the 2022 Burnett Anderson Award of the ANS, ANA, and Numismatic Literary Guild; the 2022 Trustees Award of the American Numismatic Society; the 2013 Gunnar Holst Numismatic Foundation Medal of the Swedish Numismatic Society, University of Gothenburg.

For more information, or to register, see:

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Last week Randy Phelps asked about 1950-1951 Proof Set packaging. He followed up with two items found on the internet; one was in an earlier E-Sylum article, and both originate with Harvey Stack. Here they are. -Editor

1951 Proof Set - Original US Mint Box "I might also mention the confusion that was created by the Mint in issuing the 1950, 1951, and 1952 Proof sets. Each year was boxed, the first with the coins in cellophane, then wrapped in tissue within the box. The only way we could tell the 1950 and 1951 sets was by the gummed tape which sealed the box."

"The 1950 Proof sets had a single tape strip, and the 1951 had two double criss-crossed strips of tape. Neither box was dated, and only in 1952 did the Mint finally identify the boxes by stamping the date on them. By 1953 the Mint sealed the sets in dated envelopes."

"The introduction of boxing in 1950 caused some buyers to reject sets that came directly from the boxes of issue, if they were opened. As each box was about 3 x 3 inches in size, the Mint used packing tape to seal each set. The coins were packed in cellophane envelopes, wrapped in tissue to further protect them in shipment, were sent out in the boxes, and were kept by receivers usually in the sealed box."

"1950 and 1951 Proof sets had NO MARKINGS ON THE BOX so one could not be sure what was in the box if still sealed. The BOXED sets of 1952 where STAMPED with the date. and later that year [were] shipped in manila envelopes, marked with the date, and coins were Flat Packed in celophane within."

"So the 1950 and 1951 sets, especially to a neophyte were hard to tell WHAT WAS IN THE BOX ? Professional dealers like STACK'S quickly learned that the 1950 sets had a single packing taping around the box. and the 1951 sets had a 2 row crossed taping about the box. So when presented with fresh unopened boxes we knew what we could find inside."

Harvey's submission was comical, describing how customers had convinced themselves that the sealed boxes should never be opened -Editor

Pre-1955 U.S. Proof Set Box 1 A client would come in and ask for a 1950 or 1951 Proof set and since we had bought a quantity direct from the Mint, we took a box out of a drawer, and proceeded to slice it open so the buyer could see just what he was buying . "[I] don't want one from an open box," he would say, " if you have one sealed I will take it, if not, forget the sale ! "

Hearing this I or any of our other [salesmen] would reply, "how do you know what is in the box ? how can you be sure what you are getting ? Maybe there is nothing in the box, or it is filled with sink washers, or just dirty old coins?"

The client would shout back, " I read and heard the value was in the sealed box, and if you cannot get one like I asked for, I will leave the store !" So to please the client, who was so uninformed that we took another SEALED BOX out of the [drawer] and gently handed it to so it would not "drop on the counter" and again lose its value because the box could have been dented(?) and made the sale.

Harvey's comments may be the source of the one vs two strips of tape issue, although we haven't been able to independently confirm that. But his story is priceless, and does confirm the confusion before the Mint began stamping dates on the otherwise mystery packages.

Harvey was a one-of-a-kind hobby fixture, and we miss him. Just this week I came across this March 2014 photo of us, taken at a Baltimore Whitman Expo by another hobby icon, Dave Bowers. That nine-year-old shirt is still with us - I wore it to work one day this week. Guess I got my money's worth. -Editor

  Harvey Stack and Wayne Homren 2014-03-28 Baltimore
Harvey and Me

Tony Terranova writes:

"If you look closely at your images you will see staple holes. The boxed proof sets were sent from the mint with the individual bags stapled. Any taping was done by individuals after they received their sets. This was done to keep the coins safe from the rust that eventually formed on the staples."

To read the complete article, see:

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:
NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: MARCH 26, 2023 : U.S. Mint Proof Set Packaging 1950-1951 (

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Last week I asked if anyone could identify the money painting on the cover of the new book Sovereign of the Market by Jeffrey Sklansky. -Editor

Sovereign of the Market book cover Christopher Fuccione writes:

"Is it an 1891 large-size $1 Treasury Note?"

I believe so, but who painted the image? -Editor

Brad Karoleff writes:

"My first GUESS on the money painting would be Harnett, but it does look a little loose to be his......"

Harnett's a good guess, but we're not there yet. Rob Luton found this by artist Victor Dubreuil at Heritage. -Editor

  American Paper Currency by Victor Dubreuil

One of the sub-genres of nineteenth-century American trompe-l'oeil painting was money painting, i.e., ultra-realistic, actual-scale renderings of coin but primarily of currency. By virtue of its paper thinness, currency could truly appear, through a painter's ability, to be the real thing pasted directly onto the surface of a canvas or a board. This type of imagery grew out of the work of the dean of trompe l'oeil painters, William Michael Harnett, who popularized a more "masculine" type of still-life imagery in the United States during the last quarter of the nineteenth century. His paintings included a rather wide array of motifs such as dead game and hunting gear, smoking and drinking paraphernalia, stacks of books, newspapers, letter racks, musical instruments, guns, and even money which immediately conjured environments such as dens and studies, business offices, banks, taverns and clubs, hunting lodges, and other nineteenth-century male domains. Harnett's imagery, and the success it awarded him among businessman clients who purchased these subjects, spawned specialists. Among them were those who painted money, such as John Haberle of New Haven, Connecticut, who was highly versatile and painted many other subjects as well, and Victor Dubreuil of New York City who painted little else.

Dubreuil remains a rather shadowy figure in the history of trompe-l'oeil still life painting, since little of his biography has been traced. He may have been the son of a French couple, Aime T. and Caroline Ferraro Dubreuil, who emigrated to New York around 1847 (Old Money: American Trompe L'Oeil Images of Currency, exh. cat., Berry-Hill Galleries, New York, 1988, p. 70). His birth and death dates remain unknown, but his base of operation in New York is circumstantial. As Alfred Frankenstein noted, "In the 1890's he frequented a saloon known as the Dickens House at 38th Street and Seventh Avenue in New York. He traded some of his pictures for food there, and some of these pictures, which have survived, contain letters addressed to the artist on West 43rd and West 44th Streets. For at least some time, then, he drifted about the Times Square neighborhood" (The Reality of Appearance: The Trompe L'Oeil Tradition in American Painting, exh. cat., Berkeley, 1970, p. 144).

To read the complete lot description, see:
The Hon Paul H. Buchanan, Jr. Collection. VICTOR DUBREUIL (American, circa 1880-1900). American Paper Currency, circa ... (

Close, but no cigar. We're still looking for the exact painting on the book cover. With a Google image search, I hit paydirt. It's another Dubreuil. See the earlier article (linked below) from January. -Editor

  Is It Real by Victor Dubreuil
Is It Real by Victor Dubreuil

Rob adds:

"Is It Real?", was painted around 1890, and was given to the Allen Memorial Art Museum (which is part of Oberlin College) by Charles F. Olney. It's on display so you can see the original if you're in town!"

Christopher Fuccione adds:

"Cool! I might buy a print of that for my room."

Thanks, everyone. Numismatic detective work is fun. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:

McBride ad 2023-04-02 ANA Governor


Ancient Roman Coin Slabs
David Pickup writes:

"Collectors are divided on whether to buy slabbed coins. Many numismatists like the professional grading and descriptions and the protection the slabbing offers. However many of us prefer to handle the actual coins.

"Interestingly archaeologists have discovered that slabbing coins was known to ancient Roman collectors. Perspex or plastic of any type had not been invented, and glass was expensive, so the coins had to be encased in stone or concrete. This meant the coin was protected from wear, accidental damage and were difficult to steal (or even move at all). However the coins could not be viewed by the collector. Julius Caesar who was a keen collector, came up with the saying veni vidi vici which means I came, I saw, I saw no coin.

"Some coins were stamped SPQR which stands for Slab Pretty Quickly, Romans. So look out for rocks or stones which may contain a coin. You would be a fool not to!"

I had no idea! When Charlie Brown said "I got a rock" while trick-or-treating on Halloween, maybe it was a collector passing out Roman slabs... -Editor

More on NumInt

  NumInt-1 NumInt-2
Regarding his book NumInt - Numismatica e intelligence Author Roberto Ganganelli of Cronaca Numismatica in Italy writes:

"The publisher is AISI - Agenzia Informazioni e Sicurezza Interna (Italian Intelligence Agency) and ISBN is 978-88-88693-45-3. The book is not on the market yet, but copies can be requested directly from me, as the author, writing at the address Price of 60 euro does not include shipping costs."

The book was mentioned last week as a nominee for the IAPN Book Prize. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

Embossed Coin-Cards Sought

  Russian coin-card for Japan
Russian coin-card for Japan
Author Thomas Engelen writes:

"I hope readers and collectors of coin-cards can help filling in some blank spots in my recent listing of Embossed Coin-Cards of the World, 1893 - 1938.

"Most coin-cards were produced in German-, French- or English, or as multi-lingual cards with these three languages combined. But cards have also been produced in Russian, with (1) a header-text in Russian and country-indication bottom-right in Russian, and (2) in both Russian – and French (no header-text but Russian and French next to each denomination of coins), country-indication at the right bottom in both Russian and French.

"Do any readers have Russian–only, or Russian & French only cards? Those already known are listed in the catalogue but I'm sure there must be other cards waiting to be found.

"Any cards that are not yet listed do send me copies and I'll certainly include them in a next update of the catalogue. E-mail gladly received by

"Thanks for your help !"

  Russian-French coin card for Japan
Russian-French coin card for Japan

Can anyone help? -Editor

To read the coin-card catalogue, see:

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

The Great Kanto Earthquake

1923 Japan-Netherlands National Friendship Silver Medal obverse 1923 Japan-Netherlands National Friendship Silver Medal reverse
Regarding the 1923 Japan-Netherlands National Friendship Silver Medal, Yossi Dotan writes:

"The legend in eight lines within a wreath of flames reads STEUNPENNING VOOR DE SLACHTOFFERS VAN DE GROOTE RAMP OP 1 SEPT. 1923 – Aid Medal for the Victims of the Great Disaster of Sept 1. 1923. After reading the Wikipedia article, I think the medal is much more interesting than just a commemoration of another diplomatic event of Japan's post-WWI era reengagement with the West!"

Indeed, and quite timely with the recent earthquakes elsewhere in the world. Thank you. -Editor

To read the Wikipedia article, see:
1923 Great Kanto earthquake (

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NUMISMATIC NUGGETS: MARCH 26, 2023 : 1923 Japan-Netherlands National Friendship Silver Medal (

More on the 1870-S Half Dime

  1870-S half dime obverse 1870-S half dime reverse
Zach Filis writes:

"Thank you for posting stories on the 1870-S Half Dime. I used to buy cookies at that Mrs. Fields in Orland Park and appreciate the history."

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

MacNeil's Into the Unknown

  MacNeil's Into the Unknown
Author Jim Haas writes:

"There were any number of items in the last E-Sylum, but one that touched me especially was the Anna Hyatt Huntington piece. She is mentioned on pages 212, 221, 266 and 270 of my book on Hermon Atkins MacNeil. It was MacNeil's Into the Unknown, pages 160-161 that became the National Sculpture Society logo.

After MacNeil died, because there was no site available that could house the multi-ton work, it was sent to Brookgreen Gardens. I'm hoping to visit there perhaps this summer."

That's on my bucket list! I'll look for MacNeil's work. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:

ANA Summer Seminar Reminder

  ANA Summer Seminar 2023
David Menchell writes:

"I just wanted to make mention of the ANA Summer Seminar courses which are filling up with only a few more weeks to register. David Alexander and I will be back this year, teaching the Medal in America course. The course covers everything medallic either relating to American history and/or being produced in the U.S. We start with the first "Betts" medals and run through the Colonial and Confederation period, including Indian Peace medals and Comitia Americana medals, then proceed through the War of 1812 medals and other medals produced at the U.S. Mint. This includes agricultural, school, exposition, lifesaving medals and others.

"We cover areas such as Washingtoniana, Lincolniana, Bryan money, so-called dollars, Society medals of the 19th and 20th centuries, art medals including Art Nouveau and Art Deco medals and the works of engravers, such as Furst, C.C. Wright, Morgan, Barber, St. Gaudens, Brenner, Weinman and others. We finish up with contemporary medals. Information is available through the MCA website or the ANA."

For more information, see:

To read an earlier E-Sylum article, see:

S.S. Central America Gold Nuggets
Last week Steve Bishop wrote:

"I had one item. In 1857, the S.S. Central America went down in a storm while carrying a cargo of gold coins and bullion. A team led by Bob Evans recovered some of it, and released 1857 PCGS-encapsulated samples of a double pinch (1.5 grams) of gold nuggets, worth one dollar in 1857"

  1.5 Grams SS Central America Gold

Cary Bown writes:

"Unless Mr. Bishop's "double pinch" was recovered during the 2014 expedition, his characterization of Bob Evans as the leader of the team would seem to totally disregard Tommy Thompson's role in the discovery of and recovery from the S.S. Central America. No doubt Bob Evans deserves substantial credit for all his work in that regard but it was Thompson's vision and his persistence that led the team toward success. I would hope that just because Tommy Thompson lingers under incarceration that we would not also deprive him of his due credit."

Bob's a legend, but yes, it was Tommy Thompson who led the team for the historic discovery of the wreck of the S.S. Central America. Neither Steve nor I were sure of when these particular gold nuggets were recovered. -Editor

Steve writes:

"Upon further research, I have found that another seller on eBay is stating that the larger nuggets in these samples was recovered in the second recovery conducted in 2014. Here is a link to an article by Q. David Bowers on the S.S. Central America."

To read the complete article, see:
The History of the S.S. Central America Ship of Gold (

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
WAYNE'S NUMISMATIC DIARY: MARCH 26, 2023 : S.S. Central America Gold (


William Vanornum submitted these thoughts and questions on computers and coins. -Editor

Renaissance of American Coinage 1909 - 1915 book cover I've been reading the early chapters of Roger Burdette's excellent book on 1909-1915 coinage. In the development of the Lincoln cent there were back-and-forth discussions between the designer and the mint about the "radius of the die." This radius apparently establishes how convex or concave the coin becomes during mintage.

Not knowing anything about this, I decided to see what more I could learn. I discovered David Lange's 7-1-2006 NGC posting on "What is Meant by Die Radius?" Mr. Lange noted that, "In short, die radius refers to the curvature of the die face." Starting with the 1936-40 Gobrech designs, noted Lange, U.S. designs started to show (a not always apparent) concavity on the doin, a result, of course, from convex die faces. Experimenting with different degrees of curvature, "would ultimately determine the best standard of filling the dies in a single blow from the press."

[I'm going to do some observation using some well worn Large Cents from 1830s and 1840s--perhaps if I use a 20-power to view the edges this can be discerned, and another way might be to use a micrometer. I suspect this might be too hard to observe with these techniques]

Pretty neat stuff--so I thought I'd try to find out more. Perhaps this is relevant to computer algorithms used in identifying and grading coins?

There is an article in "Stanford Stacks" (the university, not the coin auctioneer) about "Automated Coin Detection on Android Phones" by Mihir Pendse and Yiki Wang.

Coin recognition program on Android phone They note that some coins can be identified and sorted using feature (pattern) recognition--but this lacks precision and requires a great deal of time. A better way, they suggested, is to use hue and saturation, but this is not enough. (They sorted pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters.)

Consequently, they suggested that a mathematical concept called the Hough transformation using pixels could calculate the radii of the different coins and do this with much greater accuracy. It seems they can do this by looking down at the coin.

I wonder if the ChatGPT-4, in its visual capabilities, will be used to evaluate coins, and if this pixel method will be part of the programming?

At least, that's what I seemed to pick up. Perhaps others have thoughts?

Again, thanks to Mr. Burdette for making technical information interesting.

To read the Stanford article, see:
Automated Coin Detection on Android Phone (

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Researcher Peter Huntoon submitted this question about the longevity of digital images. -Editor

  1875 $20 The First National Bank of Paris IL face
A 1636x700 Image Digitized in 2016
  1875 $20 The First National Bank of Paris IL face
The Same Image Today

I have tens of thousands of moderate (300 dpi) to high-resolution (1600 dpi) digital images of U.S. currency, Bureau of Engraving and Printing certified proofs, scanned National Archives documents, scanned historic photos, even family photos, both black and white and color. The vast majority of these are saved as JPEG images but in other popular formats as well. They are stored on the hard drives of my high-end HP Envy computers, in Western Digital external mass storage devices, on removable disks, etc. Many of these images are embedded in PowerPoint presentations, in WORD documents, etc.

It is irrefutable that all of these images are fading with time. If this problem is not specific to me, then the issue is absolutely huge. Digitization of archival material has become an institutional mainstay. At the rate my images are deteriorating, they will be useless within half a century. This topic requires a serious dialog.

The vast majority of my photo archive has been assembled since 1990 and my PowerPoint documents and WORD files since 2000. Serious fading is evident within 10 years.

When I need to view older scans, it is necessary to load the scan into a photo processor and significantly kick up the contrast. This salvages much of the image but loss of resolution is inevitable. You only get to do this a couple of times before the scan is ruined. When I recycle a PowerPoint presentation that is a decade old, it is necessary to pull out every image and enhance it as best as possible and reload it.

What are your experiences, recommendations, solutions, etc?

I reached out to American Numismatic Association Curator Doug Mudd, who has these thoughts on the topic. -Editor

Interesting... I have not experienced this except in cases where jpeg images have been repeatedly saved - so here are my thoughts on the origin of this problem. The jpeg image format is well known as a "lossy" format, i.e. each time you save a jpeg, it loses some of its information - this is because it was designed to be used on the web, where memory space was at a premium - so the jpeg format uses an algorithm to compress an image's information (to different levels as you can see when you save a jpeg in photoshop - you can chose the amount of compression, but even with the least compression, there is information loss). That is why tiff, psd, and more recently, raw image "non-lossy" formats are recommended for archival purposes - as I understand it (but I cannot guarantee this), there is no loss with these image formats. Unfortunately, these formats are unusable in most common applications, particularly for use on the web - and are much larger than their equivalent jpeg, gif and png format versions, which are the formats most used for online applications. I understand that the png format is recommended by archivists for web purposes as it is less lossy than jpeg. The size or resolution of the original image has nothing to do with the problem - it is all about the image format.

The one thing that I learned many years ago about digital image quality preservation, and have taught in my digital image classes ever since, is to ALWAYS save a master image - preferably in tiff or other stable format - though it works for jpeg as well. When you need the image, always use "save as" to create a new working image from the original (i.e. never "save" changes to the original master), which will prevent the loss of information from the original. I have not noticed fading from original images.

With that said, I will have to go back to some of my older powerpoints to check on if the images in them have faded (lost information) - but I believe that the only way that they can lose information is if the files they are saved in (word documents, powerpoint presentations, etc.) have been repeatedly saved, thus losing a bit of information from the embedded images each time. Anyway, I do not have a computer degree, but I have used photoshop and worked with digital images since 1993 or so.

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Yawei Zhang submitted this nice article on ancient coin collections in Canada. Thank you! -Editor

  Ancient Coin Collections in Canada

As an integral part of world coin collections, ancient coins of the West (Greek, Roman, and Byzantine coins specifically) have been most widely researched and collected in Europe and the United States for centuries. Canadian universities and museums also hold systematic collections, though they remain on smaller scales.

One of the best ancient coin collections in Canada belongs to the Nickle Galleries of the University of Calgary. Under the leadership of Marina Fischer, the collection specialist for numismatics, the galleries cooperate with the university enabling students to access the collections in class.

The base of the numismatic collection, about 10,000 coins, comes from the Nickle Family. Following donations from other sources, the collection contains 23,000 objects right now with outstanding ancient coins. One of the most valuable items is a gold octodrachm minted in Ptolemaic Egypt bearing jugate Ptolemy I and Berenice I busts on the obverse, and their kids, Ptolemy II and his sister-wife Arsinoe II, on the reverse.

  Octodrachm at Nickle Galleries rev.1990.1.47_2 1 Octodrachm at Nickle Galleries rev.1990.1.47_2

Octodrachm, Obv. Ptolemy I and Berenice I; Rev. Ptolemy II and Arsinoe II, Ptolemaic Egypt, 285-246 BCE, Gold, No. NG.1990.1.47

Recently, the galleries acquired a Lydian electrum coin at a Heritage auction marking a milestone of the numismatic collection. Fischer uses her enthusiasm to popularize numismatics to the wider public through exhibitions, lectures, and other activities. Having such a passionate supervisor, I am expecting the further development of the collection.

As one of the top-ranking universities in Canada, McGill University not only preserves a comprehensive ancient coin collection but also published a three-volume catalogue listing 1,763 coins. The collection consists of Roman coins (volume 1), Greek coins (volume 2), and ancient bronze coins (volume 3).

McGill's numismatic collection came from the old McCord Museum in 1966. As for how the coins came to the university and what exactly they are, however, the answer is still uncertain because of incomplete records. After investigating the old archives, Sullivan concludes that the majority of the collection probably is a private collection created by a person who was interested in ancient coins. This person may have sold or donated to the university in the late nineteenth or early twentieth century. Now, part of the collection is in the exhibition at Redpath Museum in the university.

  An ancient coin cabinet in the McGill's Redpath Museum (Photo by author)

An ancient coin cabinet in the McGill's Redpath Museum (Photo by author in 2019)

McMaster University and the University of Saskatchewan have coin collections as well but with much smaller quantities. The Bruce Brace Coin Collection at McMaster Museum of Art contains 272 Roman coins. The university created a systematic online catalogue with enlarged pictures and detailed descriptions, as well as a bibliography and glossary. The Museum of Antiquities at the University of Saskatchewan shows a handful of Roman coins on their website as well.

See McMaster University's coin collection:

See the USask's coin collection: collection.php

Apart from the coin collections at universities, Canadian museums have decent ancient coins as well. The most well-known ancient coin collection is at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in Toronto. From Asian-Pacific to the Mediterranean region, the ROM has a collection of comprehensive coins featuring 1800 Greek coins and 534 Roman Republic coins which is the largest in a Canadian institution. The earliest acquisitions of their Roman Republic coins were obtained in 1908 and the collection continuously developed in the following years.

In 1998, the ROM published their Roman Republic coins edited by Alison Harle Easson. See: commemorative-objects/objects .

In an interview with Paul Denis, the Curator of the Ancient Greek and Roman Collections at the ROM, he says that scholars from the University of Toronto are cataloguing the Greek collection.

  ROM2011_11891_19 ROM2011_11891_39

Didrachm with janiform head of Dioscuri, Roman Republic, 225-212 BC, Silver, ROM collection No. 989.117.1

  Ancient Greek coins at the ROM
Ancient Greek coins at the ROM (Photo by author in 2021)

The Bank of Canada Museum in Ottawa has the world's most complete Canadian currency collection while the ancient coins are not their core concerns. Greek tetradrachms and Roman denarius function as a supplement of the economic history exhibition.

As mentioned above, Canada is welcoming international cooperation and generous donations on numismatic research and collection as institutions like the Nickle Galleries are heading to a promising future.


  Jewell E-Sylum ad 2021-10-24


E-Sylum readers are experts on every numismatic topic under the sun. Please consider presenting at the upcoming 2023 American Numismatic Association World's Fair of Money convention in Pittsburgh. -Editor

2023 Theme: The Numismatics of Nation Building; Money, Medals, Tokens and National Identity

Symposium Overview:
ANA Pittsburgh 2023 The theme for this year focuses on how coinage, paper currency, medals and tokens have been used to create, record and/or modify national identity since the ancient Greeks used their money to announce the creation of new states, a phenomenon which continues to this day wherever new nations appear. Presenters should focus on how numismatic objects record the ideals, events and art of a nation which form national identity and illustrate the evolution of that identity over time. An example topic could include: the production of a national coinage by the fledgling United States in order to create a national identity, generate support for the new republic and to affirm its ideals.

Symposium Requirements:
Presentations will be in-person. Presenters are expected to have a PowerPoint or similar format digital slide presentation. A computer and projector are provided - presenters are asked to provide their presentations on a USB thumb drive.

Symposium Date and Time:
Wednesday, August 9, 2023 from 10am to 4:15pm. and will consist of four 1-hour presentations (45 to 50- minute presentation, 10 to 15-minute Q&A) beginning at 10am.

Submission Guidelines:
If you wish to be a speaker at the symposium, please submit a summary of your lecture not to exceed 500 words. Each summary should contain an introduction, a brief discussion of the subject, and sources and research method. Electronic submissions are preferred. The deadline for submission is June 2, 2023. Submissions or questions should be sent to: Douglas Mudd at

Review Process:
Summaries will be reviewed and speakers chosen based on originality, persuasiveness and relevance to the symposium topic. The four selected presenters will be notified by June 16, 2023.

Lectures from the symposium may be published on the American Numismatic Association website ( Presenters must provide an electronic copy of their presentation prior to the symposium. Presenters will receive a $250 honorarium and can attend the Sundman Lecture Luncheon free of charge.

Symposium Admission:
Free and open to all attendees of the ANA World's Fair of Money, the symposium will take place on Wednesday, August 9, 2023.

  MDC Monaco E-Sylum ad 2023-03-12 Auction 2023-04


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

Modeling Clay. A soft material used by sculptors to form the model of an intended numismatic or medallic item. It is more than the substance found in nature, although natural clay has been used for three-dimension modeling since ancient times. Modern modeling clay has beeswax or paraffin and oils added to it in formulas closely guarded by the sculptors who originally prepared it (or the companies who now manufacture it). When clay is formulated for professional use by artists it is called plasteline.

The properties of modeling clay are that it remains in a semi-rigid state once it is formed; it is easily molded, it works well with fingers or tools to be altered at will. It must hold a hard surface once the artist is satisfied with the desired shape and be able to make a casting, usually in plaster. Also, it can be used over and over again (provided the most rudimentary care is taken not to contaminate it). When a sculptor's estate comes on the market his supply of modeling clay is eagerly sought after by other sculptors, it is so nondestructible.

Plasteline is made in four grades of hardness (dyes are sometimes added to color code these grades). The softest is for large sculptures where masses can be formed quickly. The hardest form of plasteline is the most ideal for the relative small mass for coin and medal models, but more importantly because it holds a sharper edge and more precise detail can be molded into its surface.

Modeling clay differs from porcelain clay (which is used only once and is to become the ceramic object being formed). It is possible for porcelain clay to be used for coin and medal modeling but generally a harder clay is more desirable (the difference in the clay and reduction from oversize patterns are two reasons diestruck items can have finer, sharper detail than ceramic ones).

To read the complete entry on the Newman Numismatic Portal, see:
Modeling Clay (


E-Sylum Feature Writer and American Numismatic Biographies author Pete Smith submitted this article on the U.S. Mint's "bulletproof" large coin shipment bags. Thanks! -Editor

  Modern Ballistic Coin Bags

Bulk Coin Bag.01 The E-Sylum has had several recent articles about cloth coin bags. This will be a discussion of the bags that are used by the Mint today.

During 2000 to 2002, the Mint began the transition to large ballistic bags to ship coins. The name suggests that they are bullet proof. They are made of mylar that is tear resistant. Perhaps a couple of used bags could be made into a suit that would be bulletproof.

The bags are part of a system that includes a steel pallet for shipping. These create a package that is 31.5 inches high, 41.5 inches wide and 27.5 inches deep. Coins are run through counting machines as they come from the presses. These counting machines have some ability to screen out clipped planchet coins and other error coins.

Bags of cents are not counted but filled by weight. A full bag should include 400,000 cents with a face value of $40,000. I don't know what is the allowable variance above or below that amount. The steel pallet, ballistic bag and cents weighs about 2880 pounds.

  Modern Coin Bags.01

A bag of nickels has 240,000 coins with a value of $12,000 and weighs 2400 pounds. A bag of dimes has 500,000 coins with a value of $50,000 and weight of 2,560 pounds. A bag of quarters has 200,000 coins and also has a value of $50,000 and weight of 2560 pounds.

The Mint offers bulk purchasing of quarters and dollars for qualified numismatic firms. Their dollar bag includes 140,000 coins. If you can do the math, that comes out to $140,000 in face value.

The Mint and the Federal Reserve Banks say that the Mint provides new coins to the Federal Reserve Banks. That may be only partially true. Most of the ballistic bags are shipped by the armored transportation services with names like Brinks and Loomis. These firms do much of their business in cash processing. They receive new coins from the Mint and may mix them with used coins collected from merchants. Coins are rolled, put in boxes and provided to banks and other clients. Banks can no longer provide Mint wrapped rolls of new coins.

Ballitic bag.01 I read on the CU Forum that bags are lifted out of the pallets by a forklift through straps on the bag and emptied into bins through a spout in the bottom. There is ample opportunity for coins to bump into other coins and acquire dings and scratches. The process is intended to provide coins for commerce and not mint state coins for collectors.

I have a contact in the banking industry who indicated that their source for rolled coins was an industry secret. I assume that the pallets are returned to the Mints. Used bags may also be reused or may be discarded. I have not found anyone willing to talk about that.

Used ballistic mint bags do hit the marketplace. One was offered recently on eBay Buy it Now for $60.

To read earlier E-Sylum articles, see:

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It's been a while since we've run a subscriber profile, and with the American Numismatic Association elections coming up, some candidates have been sharing their biographies. Here's one on my longtime friend Pat McBride of the Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists. In the photo he's off-duty in his Ben Franklin persona. -Editor

Pat McBride as Ben Franklin (off duty) Patrick McBride is most recognized as Living American History interpreter, Dr. Benjamin Franklin. He has collected U.S. Coins since 1962. He joined the Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists (PAN) in 1984 and is currently the association Secretary, PAN Coin Show and Convention Coordinator, Social Media director, and PAN Website Administrator. He is keenly aware of all aspects involved in producing a major coin show.

Pat is a regular member of the American Numismatic Association (1203161). His Military Payment Certificates (WFOM 1989) and Byzantine Coins (NMS 2019) exhibits have received American Numismatic Association first place awards. He received the ANA Presidential Award (2015), Glenn Smedley Award (2019), Good Fellow Award as 2019 National Money Show Chairman and the Adna G. Wilde, Jr. Memorial Award for Exemplary Service on August 2022. He contributed the rare early issues of The Numismatist to help complete the ANA's Numismatist digital archive. Pat is a charter member #19 of the recently created George F. Heath Society. He currently chairs the ANA Fund Development Committee.

Patrick founded the John Burns Memorial Reference Library that has traveled to past ANA Conventions, Central States Convention and PAN Coin Conventions. He was the estate administrator for deceased (2014) numismatic literature dealer John Burns.

McBride is a member of the Western Pennsylvania Numismatic Society, one of the oldest numismatic societies in the country. He created a beautiful non-competitive exhibit of the society's history to commemorate the society's 100-year anniversary as an ANA club. Pat is a member of Roundtable Trading, Society of Paper Money Collectors, FUN, CSNS and the 1715 Fleet Society.

McBride was an avid supporter of the H.R.6192 1921 Silver Dollar Coin Anniversary Act and worked aggressively to see the Morgan and Peace dollar coins become a reality.

Patrick has been a small business owner for over 50 years, and has a comprehensive understanding of finance, scheduling, time management, employee concerns and customer satisfaction.

Between his business background, his numismatic knowledge, and his love of history, Mr. McBride brings a broad perspective to the ANA Board of Governors.

Pat and I go back a long way. He's like my big brother in the hobby. He's been an absolute workhorse for the Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists and helped build the PAN shows into one of the top regional shows in the country. Every show seems bigger, busier and more vibrant than the one before. Whenever someone asks me for advice on running coin clubs and shows, I tell them, "You need to talk to Pat McBride." -Editor

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Here's a profile of author Ed Fuhrman, taken from the preface to the latest volume in his Half Cent Handbook series. See the article elsewhere in this issue about his Ultimate Grading Guide for Half Cents, and how to order his books. -Editor

Ed Fuhrman I started collecting coins at a very early age. When I was only five years old, I found a box of old coins that my grandfather used to keep on his desk. It was filled with a mixture of old foreign and U.S. coins. In the box I found an 1895 Indian Head Cent. For some reason, this coin caught my eye, and I asked my grandfather if I could keep it. He laughed and said that I could keep the whole box! So that night I took the box of coins home with me. I spilled them all out on the table, but the only one that interested me was that old copper Indian Cent. I asked my father if I could get a book on coins so I could learn more about this cool-looking copper coin. This is what started my lifelong passion (some might say obsession) for coin collecting.

At the age of ten, I discovered my love of music and began studying the guitar. I started my own business teaching guitar at age fifteen while I was still in high school. When I was eighteen, I joined a heavy metal group called Hades. The band got signed to a record label and we did a number of albums. We were also able to do some touring of America and Europe. Yet even during the years with the band, I never lost interest in coin collecting. In fact, sometimes when we were on tour, if I saw a local coin shop near any venues where we were performing, I'd try to stop in to see if they had anything of interest.

Up until this point I had been focusing on Indian Cents and Lincoln Cents. In 1995, I found myself losing interest in these coins, so my favorite local coin dealer suggested I try a new series to collect. Half Cents! I knew nothing about them, but the coin dealer had a friend who was an avid collector, so he set up a meeting. A few days later I got a private lesson on Half Cents. I was fascinated! This was exactly what I was looking for. Something new, exciting, and challenging. And so my journey into the wonderful world of Half Cent collecting began….

After about four years of collecting, a chance meeting after buying a coin at a coin show in Baltimore, Maryland, changed the course of my collecting forever. I met a gentleman named Bob Yuell. Bob was an advanced collector of U.S. Half Cents and a member of Early American Coppers (EAC). EAC is a coin club specializing in early U.S. copper coinage – primarily Half Cents and Large Cents. Little did I know at the time of our meeting that Bob and I would soon become good friends, and he would become my mentor. He took me under his wing and taught me everything he knew about Half Cents. What he was able to teach me in a relatively short time would have taken me many years to do on my own. As an educator myself, I understand the importance of a good teacher to work with for any subject matter, not just coins.

One of the most important skills Bob taught me was how to grade Half Cents. Bob was a veteran member of EAC and had been collecting Half Cents since around 1962. He was an expert at grading these coins using the EAC method of grading. I was not familiar with EAC grading at the time. My ability to grade these coins was rudimentary at best. I was grading Half Cents using what I had learned from the Guide Book of United States Coins, otherwise known as the Red Book. Well, needless to say, I was about to get a serious education on how these coins are really graded in the real world by major collectors. It was eye-opening, to say the very least. I had just stepped into a much larger world, and Bob's lessons on grading Half Cents would prove to be invaluable to my future collecting pursuits.

Sadly, Mr. Yuell passed away back in 2011. But just a few weeks before he passed, we spoke on the phone, and he made me promise him that I would pass on what I had learned. I have done my best to keep that promise by mentoring others as he did with me. And I hope this book reaches a wide audience, as well, because some of the information here came about because of Bob's generosity and efforts with me. Few things are more valuable than time, and my good friend and mentor gave his time freely to anyone who wanted to learn about Half Cents. I am forever grateful and hope to inspire others to learn as he did with me.

To read an earlier E-Sylum article, see:

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Press officer Louise Boling submitted this report on the recent MPC Fest for collectors of Military Payment Certificates and other military numismatica. -Editor

MPC Fest celebrates record number of first-time attendees; announces winners of its two major awards

2023 MPC Fest 24 medal MPC Fest #24 was held in person after a three year hiatus necessitated by the Covid virus. Approximately 40 festers, including seven first-time attendees, gathered in cold and blustery Camp Leo May [Port Clinton, OH] to celebrate numismatic scholarship, competition, and fun. One of those new festers, Tom C., expressed the opinion of all in attendance – "It was so educational! I took away so many things from the briefings/presentation, plus folks helping with collecting ideas and the comradery was unbelievable."

Keynote speaker Tom Sparks spoke about the tradition of short snorters, and displayed the Bissel short snorter, 64 feet long and 141 notes, including Allied Military Currency sets. It was signed by over 100 Allied flag officers and senior political figures of the WWII era; an excellent slide presentation allowed the audience to see the famous and less famous signatures.

Winner of the Neil Shafer National Championship and Ray Toy award for service announced

Joseph Boling, well known author and scholar of military currency and American Numismatic Association vice president and chief judge, was crowned the national champion for 2023 in an exciting contest. His opponent in the final matchup was Roger Urce, author, researcher, and retired General Secretary of the International Bank Note Society. Later in the evening, the Ray Toy award for service or achievement was awarded to Loretta and Richard Freyser. The award was accepted by Loretta for her late husband and herself. The Freysers were faithful Fest attendees together for many years. Loretta was the first woman, aside from "the Boss", Judy Schwan, to attend Fest. She became registrar for the event, while Dick served as Fest Delta Company first sergeant. Dick is remembered as the discoverer of the first example of a fourth printing $5 certificate from Series 481. He died in August of 2021.

  Roger Urce, Joseph Boling at 2023 MPC Fest Championship

Roger Urce [left] and Joseph Boling, in the final match up of the Neil Shafer National Championship

Other Fest competitions

The Fest air rifle competition, held at the Director of Civilian Marksmanship range at historic Camp Perry, was won by Joseph Boling. The Poker Championship was won by Brett Irick, who came back from a very low stack in a final match up against second place finisher Robert Drew.

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Here is the announcement for the April 4, 2023 sale by Archives International Auctions. -Editor


The auction will be held by Archives International Auctions at their offices in River Edge, N.J.

Archives International Sale 84 cover front The April 4, 2023, Auction by Archives International Auctions consists of 783 lots of rare and desirable U.S., Chinese & World Banknotes, Scripophily, Historic Financial Ephemera, and Security Printing Ephemera. The auction is highlighted by 129 lots of rare and desirable Chinese banknotes and Scripophily. Also included are over 320 Worldwide banknotes; Over 20 lot of historic U.S. Colonial fiscal documents, Obsolete Banknote, Depression Scrip and MPC; Historic and Security Printing Ephemera is well represented with 58 lots which are followed by 16 lots of U.S. Federal Bonds, Fiscal Documents, Checks, Drafts & Exchanges and American Bank Note Numismatic and Philatelic cards and related material. The auction concludes with 234 lots of U.S. and World Scripophily covering literally every major collecting area with numerous rarities and desirable pieces offered.

We are excited to offer another exciting auction filled with numerous rare and desirable banknotes, historic ephemera and bonds and shares that are rarely seen at auction and include many examples we have never offered previously, stated Dr. Robert Schwartz, President of Archives International Auctions. Included in our 84th auction are hundreds of items that will appeal to every level of collector and dealer.

  AIA Sale 84 Lot 052
Lot 52
  AIA Sale 84 Lot 059
Lot 59
  AIA Sale 84 Lot 111_2
Lot 111
  AIA Sale 84 Lot 320
Lot 320

The auction begins with World Banknotes, from countries Antarctica to Zaire, highlighted by 129 lots of Chinese banknotes and bonds, including many items from an old-time collection being offered for the first time at auction. Some of the many Chinese banknote highlights include a spectacular Bank of Territorial Development, 1915, Urga Mongolia Issue Rarity; a high grade International Banking Corp., $5, Shanghai Branch Issue Specimen; and 2 examples of the 1912, Bank of China, Peking Branch Issue , one being the highest graded in the PMG census. Chile is represented by 2 different rare and desirable specimens including El Banco De Valparaiso, 100 Pesos, 1877 Specimen rarity; France is represented by a 1955 dated, 10,000 Franc high grade issue; Greece is highlighted by a Bank of Greece, 1941 (ND 1945) 50 Drachmai Highest graded example; and, hundreds of other desirable notes too numerous to mention.

  AIA Sale 84 Lot 458
Lot 458
  AIA Sale 84 Lot 461
Lot 461

AIA Sale 84 Lot 451 The U.S. Banknote, Fiscal Document and Historic Ephemera section begins with a 1757 Tax Warrant signed by Harrison Gray, the treasurer and tax receiver for the King of England. Unfortunately for him, he chose to be a loyalist to the throne and had to flee Boston right after the revolution began.

    White spacer bar
  AIA Sale 84 Lot 484 AIA Sale 84 Lot 484_2
Lot 484

AIA Sale 84 Lot 484_3 A historic framed group of New Orleans documents and related ephemera from the J. Edward Clark Estate, who was the 8th governor of Texas right before the Civil War began includes a business card from the Slave Depot in New Orleans, a pass from the Chief Quartermasters Office in New Orleans, dated 1863 (when under Northern control), and many other items. 3 different American Bank Note Company and Predecessor company steel printing plates are included in the sale. The section of Security Printing Ephemera includes many exciting and rarely seen items. The auction closes with 234 lots of desirable, rare, and attractive U.S. and World scripophily including bonds and shares from Belgium, Bolivia, Chile, Mexico, Panama, France, the U.K., and many other countries. U.S. scripophily is highlighted by Communications, Technology, Mining, Railroads, Shipping, State & City, and other interesting and desirable topics.

  AIA Sale 84 Lot 490
Lot 490
  AIA Sale 84 Lot 497
Lot 497
  AIA Sale 84 Lot 505
Lot 505
  AIA Sale 84 Lot 518
Lot 518

Previews will be limited and by appointment only and we will be observing strict safety precautions including the wearing of masks and observing social distancing to protect our team as well as our guests. We will do our best to accommodate anyone who desires additional information and photographs. For questions, please call 201-944-4800 or email

AIA Sale 84 Lot 508 The online catalog for the Tuesday, April 4th, 2023 auction is on Archives International Auctions' website and can be viewed via the Archives International live bidding platform. It can also be viewed as an Auction 84 Virtual Catalog or downloadable Auction 84.pdf, both formats with Live Links on the website. To pre-register for Live Internet Bidding, log on to the Archives International Auctions website, at

Archives International is now working on their late Spring and Summer 2023 auctions and are seeking quality consignments for future auctions or outright purchase including U.S. and worldwide banknotes, coins, stocks, bonds, stamps, postal history, historic ephemera, and autographs. To sell or consign one piece or an entire collection, please call AIA at (201) 944- 4800; or email them at You can also view AIA's weekly eBay Auctions at their eBay ID ArchivesOnline.

You may also write to Archives International Auctions, at 1060 Main Street, River Edge, NJ 07661, U.S.A. To learn more about Archives International Auctions and the auctions planned for April 4 th , 2023 auction, log on to

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Here's the announcement for the April 2023 internet auction from Stephen Album Rare Coins. -Editor

SARC iSale 20 cover Stephen Album Rare Coins will hold its Internet Auction 20 at its offices in Santa Rosa, California on April 10-11, 2023. Internet pre-bidding has already begun and can be accessed through the auction house's website. The Auction is made up of 1,800 lots of coins from all categories and time periods. Every lot in this sale is graded by a third-party grading company (i.e. PCGS, NGC, ANACS).

The starting prices for items in the sale range from $20 USD up to $2000 USD. The largest offerings are from the category of World Coins – Europe with more than 750 lots in that section. More than 400 of the lots in the sale are from the Joe Sedillot Collection of World Coins, a collection that has featured prominently in recent SARC auctions and has set many record prices. The auction schedule itself is as follows:

  SARC iSale 20 schedule

Some highlights of the sale follow:

  SARC iSale 20  Lot 0119_1

Lot 119
BOMBAY PRESIDENCY: AE 2 pice, 1791, KM-196, East India Company issue, proof struck at Matthew Boulton's Soho Mint, Birmingham, PCGS graded Proof 63 BN
Estimated at $250 to $300

  SARC iSale 20  Lot 0355_1

Lot 355
CHINA: Republic, AR 20 cents, year 15 (1926), Y-335, L&M-82, dragon and peacock coat of arms, PCGS graded AU53
Estimated at $300 to $500

  SARC iSale 20  Lot 0743_1

Lot 743
PHILIPPINES: AR 50 centavos, 1904, KM-167, beautiful light toning, mintage of only 1,355 pieces, a lovely example! NGC graded Proof 66
Estimated at $1,300 to $1,700

  SARC iSale 20  Lot 0769_1

Lot 769
SAUDI: HEJAZ: al-Husain b. 'Ali, 1916-1924, AV dinar hashimi, Makka al-Mukarrama (Mecca), AH1334 year 8, KM- 31, a lovely lustrous mint state example! NGC graded MS63
Estimated at $2,200 - $2,600

  SARC iSale 20  Lot 0877_1

Lot 877
BELGIUM: GHENT: German Occupation, 1915-1918, 1 franc, 1915, KM-Tn3, WWI coinage struck in gilt copper, a wonderful lustrous example and rare so nice! PCGS graded MS64, ex Joe Sedillot Collection
Estimated at $400 to $600

  SARC iSale 20  Lot 1227_1

Lot 1227
GREAT BRITAIN: George II, 1727-1760, AE halfpenny, 1729, KM-566, S-3717, a lovely chocolate brown lustrous example! PCGS graded MS63 BN
Estimated at $500 to $600

  SARC iSale 20  Lot 1327_1

Lot 1327
GREAT BRITAIN: AR medal, 1974, 51mm, The Chinese Exhibition, Royal Academy, London, a silver medal commemorating the Chinese Historical Relic Exhibition held in the Royal Academy of London in 1973-74, issued by Toye, Kenning & Spencer Ltd., in association with the Times and the Sunday Times; The 'Flying Horse of Gansu' and Chinese legend // Chinese Exhibition 1973-1974 below building and English legend, "At The Royal Academy London – Sponsored By The Times & The Sunday Times" around, mintage of 2,000 pieces, an incredible quality example! PCGS graded MS67
Estimated at $200 to $300

The firm is now taking consignments for future internet and premier sales. More information can be found on their website at

In the full-disclosure department, I've got a small consignment in the sale myself. In high school and college I collected foreign coins before making the leap to specialize in the U.S. Civil War. To clear out my closets and fill the college fund I've been selling off items to find them new homes. -Editor

  SARC iSale 20  Lot 0277 India Two Annas

BRITISH INDIA: George V, 1910-1936, AR 2 annas, 1917(c), KM-515, a superb mint state example! PCGS graded MS65.

To read the complete lot description, see:
BRITISH INDIA: George V, 1910-1936, AR 2 annas, 1917(c), PCGS MS65 (

  SARC iSale 20  Lot 0719 Palestine 1 Mil

PALESTINE: British Mandate, AE mil, 1944, KM-1, a fantastic red lustrous example! PCGS graded MS66 RD.

To read the complete lot description, see:
PALESTINE: British Mandate, AE mil, 1944, PCGS MS66 RD (

  SARC iSale 20  Lot 1692 Bouquet Sou

CANADA: Montreal, AE sou, ND (1835-38), LC-24A1, Br-679, Bouquet type in copper, Belleville - 16 cherry leaves / 7 shamrocks, PCGS graded AU58.

To read the complete lot description, see:
CANADA: Montreal, AE sou, ND (1835-38), PCGS AU58 (

This one I'd acquired from the estate of my numismatic mentor Glenn A. Mooney. It was in a handmade holder described as a Dickeson copy - he'd purchased it as such from a fellow collector; in fact, it's one of the Empire Coin Company strikes. Great condition, though. -Editor

  SARC iSale 20  Lot 1787 Continental Dollar Empire restrike

UNITED STATES: white metal dollar, ND (1962), HK-854a, "So-Called Dollar" with original folder of issue! PCGS graded MS67. In 1962, 7,200 White Metal restrikes were issued by the current owners of the dies, Empire Coin Company, owned by Q. David Bowers. The medals were minted by John Pinches & Sons, Ltd., of England. Empire Coin die varieties can be attributed by a small die gouge above the O of Continental in the denticles and a diagonal scratch below the C in Continental.

To read the complete lot description, see:
UNITED STATES: white metal dollar, ND (1962), PCGS MS67 (

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World Banknote Auctions owner Dennis Hengeveld wrote this article about the firm's second U.S. currency sale. -Editor

  WBNA Sale US2 montage

World Banknote Auctions US Currency Sale 2 is set to take place on April 14 at 10 AM on This auction is an excellent opportunity for collectors and enthusiasts to acquire rare and unique US currency from a variety of eras and denominations. World Banknote Auctions is known for its high-quality auctions, and this event is no exception. The sale includes a diverse selection of US currency notes, including Federal Reserve Notes, Silver Certificates, National Bank Notes, and more. Whether you're a seasoned collector or a new enthusiast, World Banknote Auctions US Currency Sale 2 offers something for everyone. With a variety of denominations and eras represented, bidders are sure to find the perfect addition to their collection. We have posted some highlights below, but the entire catalog can be found on

  WBNA Sale US2 Lot 2030 One Cent Aerated Bread 1 Cent EPS obverse WBNA Sale US2 Lot 2030 One Cent Aerated Bread 1 Cent EPS reverse

Lot 2030 is an extremely scarce issuer of encased postage, a rather niche collecting area that combines coins, stamps and banknotes. Encased postage was a Civil War era invention meant to remedy the lack of circulating coin by putting stamps (which was being used as small-change) in a casing to protect them when used cas currency. The 1 cent in this lot was ordered by Stephen F. Ambler, who patented an innovative method for producing aërated bread, a new invention at the time. Survivors of this issue are incredibly rare, with less than fifteen known to exist, according to both the Hodder-Bowers and Fred L. Reed III references. The piece being auctioned is a pleasing high-grade example of this rare issuer, with intact mica and excellent eye-appeal, showing only slight scratches and polishing on the tabs. This is an excellent opportunity for collectors to own a piece of history that very infrequently appears at public auction. It carries a pre-auction estimate of $3,500 – $4,000.

  WBNA Sale US2 Lot 2040 $10 National Bank Note 1882 Cliton AZ Territory
  WBNA Sale US2 Lot 2041 $20 National Bank Note 1882 Cliton AZ State

The National Banknote selection starts off strong with a pair of banknotes from the First National Bank of Clifton, Arizona that are both pedigreed to the Peter Huntoon Collection. Lot 2040 is a Territorial Issue on this bank (1882 Date Back $10 graded Very Fine 25 by PMG), while lot 2041 is a State issue (1882 Value Back $20 graded Fine 12 by PMG). These two notes were separated at their 2007 auction, but have now been briefly reunited for this sale, and give an opportunity to advanced collectors to acquire a rare Arizona Territorial issue on a rare bank. The Territorial has a pre-auction estimate of $50,000 – $60,000 and the State issue has a pre-auction estimate of $8,000 – $10,000.

Situated in a canyon formed by the San Francisco River, Clifton, Arizona is a small community in Greenlee County that played a significant role as a base for the mining industry, primarily copper, in the region. In 1901, the First National Bank was established, becoming one of the most reliable banks in the entire state at one point. However, due to a struggling mining economy, the bank went into receivership just over two decades later in 1923. The bank, which succeeded the Bank of Clifton, had a maximum issue of $30,000 for most of its existence, only increasing to $50,000 during the final two years.

  WBNA Sale US2 Lot 2060 $100 NAtional Bank Note Charlestown, MA front
  WBNA Sale US2 Lot 2060 $100 NAtional Bank Note Charlestown, MA back

National Banknotes are a popular choice among collectors, with many focusing on location or specific periods, while others pursue certain bank names or denominations. A rare and appealing offering for collectors is lot 2060, a First Charter $100 from the Bunker Hill National Bank of Charlestown, Massachusetts, which is one of the scarcest types of National Banknotes, and this one features one of the most historical names of all National Banks. The design elements of this rarity remain clear despite having spent considerable time in circulation, with bold overprinting and strong vanity ink signatures. This is an incredibly rare opportunity to acquire a pleasing example of the type, as only nine notes from the bank are currently recorded in the census. With such limited supply, it is not likely to repeat anytime soon. It carries a pre-auction estimate of $40,000 – $50,000.

  WBNA Sale US2 Lot 2095 $5 Silver Certificate 1886
  WBNA Sale US2 Lot 2105 $100 Gold Certificate 1922

Collectors continue to show great interest in large size type notes, particularly those in original grades that have received the Exceptional Paper Quality designation from grading services. World Banknote Auctions' US Currency Sale 2 features two lots that are sure to draw attention from collectors. The first is Lot 2095, an 1886 $5 Silver Certificate (Fr. 260) graded Choice About UNC 58 EPQ by PMG. This note's back design features five Morgan Silver Dollars from 1886, which were the silver dollar in use at the time and could be exchanged for this note. This is a scarce type with high grade examples always in demand, and this particular note carries a pre-auction estimate of $10,000 – $12,000. The second lot is Lot 2105, a 1922 $100 Gold Certificate (Fr. 1215) graded Choice UNC 63 EPQ by PMG. This is the highest denomination that many collectors can hope to add to their collection, and uncirculated pieces are scarce. This high end example carries a pre-auction estimate of $8,000 – $10,000. Both notes are impressive examples of their respective grades and are sure to be coveted by collectors.

WBNA Sale US2 Lot 2003 Sheet $10 notes Lot 2161 is a sheet of 16 $10 Federal Reserve Notes from Boston, dated 2003 (Fr. 2037-A) including a note with low serial number 2. This sheet has been graded Superb Gem Uncirculated 67 EPQ by PMG. These notes bear the signature of then-Treasurer of the United States Rosario Marin and are from the first printing of this series. The sheet has been well-preserved and offers collectors the opportunity to own a rare and pristine piece of US currency with a rare single digit star note. It appears that these sheets were never made available to collectors on the BEP website at the time of issue, and the consignor indicated that the sheet was acquired privately from a BEP contact. With the serial number 3 star note of this district known as a single note, this theory appears to have at least some truth to it, although the exact reasoning how this got into the market remains somewhat obscure. The pre-auction estimate for this lot is $6,000 – $8,000

  WBNA Sale US2 Lot 2183 $500 Gold Certificate 1929

The final lot we would like to feature in this blog is a true small size rarity that is surely on the wish list of many collectors. Lot 2183 is a 1928 $500 Gold Certificate (Fr. 2407) graded PCGS About Uncirculated 55 Details. Despite a total print run of 420,000, few were issued into circulation, and even fewer were not turned in when the US went off the gold standard. With just 119 examples in the Track & Price census, demand for this note exceeds supply. This particular example shows only faint traces of circulation and retains its original color reminiscent of the gold coins then in circulation. This note is a great addition to any advanced collection of small size notes and carries a pre-auction estimate of $20,000 – $25,000.

To read the complete article, see:
World Banknote Auctions Presents US Currency Sale 2 (

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In a blog post yesterday, Gerry Fortin announced some changes to his business model for Gerry Fortin Rare Coins. -Editor

GFRC Announces Payroll Protection Program and Other Innovations

Beginning today, GFRC will accept enrollments in its new Payroll Protection Program. Many GFRC clients have frequently complained that their income goes to expenses other than coins, and GFRC is launching an innovative solution to resolve this pesky problem once and for all. Effective immediately, GFRC customers can sign up to have their entire paychecks automatically deposited with GFRC in exchange for GFRC Trading Desk credits.

For clients who still require food and housing, GFRC has solutions ready. Concurrently with this program, GFRC is issuing a series of F-BUCKS scrip that will be redeemable for meals at the major coin convention concession stands. In addition, GFRC will be providing sleeping quarters in the newly constructed GFRC storage shed, conveniently located at the edge of the Fortin Forest Preserve, where clients can easily access running water and a stocked pond. GFRC, for a minimal charge, will rent coin-themed sanitation buckets.

GFRC Tipping Policy Enacted

In other news, the GFRC checkout process will now include a gratuity option. As most retail establishments now offer options to tip service personnel, GFRC realizes the need to stay competitive, noted GFRC principal Gerry Fortin. Customers making purchases from GFRC will now have the ability to tip any of our table assistants. Fortin further noted this was unrelated to a recent change in the Maine state law that abolished the minimum wage for tipped employees.

GFRC Now Accepts Multiple Forms of Payment

In addition to checks and cash, GFRC will now accept certain U.S. coins at a discount against face value in exchange for credit against GFRC purchases. Coin processing costs are high, noted GFRC head Gerry Fortin. We have to count them all and put them rolls in exchange for credit at our bank. Sometimes they won't accept them because the tellers believe they might be counterfeit. However, if you have a large quantity of 19th century U.S. coins, let's talk. We can credit you up to 90% of their face value, depending on shipping costs.

GFRC Creates Certified Copy Program

Finally, in order to combat the growing threat of counterfeits, GFRC announces the GAC sticker, which will be applied to only the best-made pieces. Recent Chinese counterfeits are a plague to the market, Fortin commented. I built a world-class collection of Chinese counterfeits when I lived in China, and the current product is diluting what took years to painstakingly search out and assemble. Submissions may be made directly to GFRC, which will concurrently launch a GAC census and registry set program. Fortin notes The GAC program will serve to elevate the best counterfeits so that the market recognizes the true value of these rare and important coins.

To read the complete article, see:

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Mike Markowitz published a CoinWeek article on coins of the Byzantine leader Basil II. Here's an excerpt - be sure to read the complete article online. -Editor

BORN IN THE year 958, Basil II was the son of Emperor Romanos II and the beautiful and ruthless Empress Theophano. At the age of two, Basil was crowned co-emperor with his father. Of the 93 rulers of the Byzantine Empire, he had the longest reign, dying of natural causes at the age of 67. Considered one of the greatest rulers, Basil is remembered as the Bulgar Slayer (Bulgaroktonos) for his conquest of the First Bulgarian Empire. The coinage of this long reign illuminates a glorious era that many historians have considered the peak of the Byzantine Empire.

Silver Coins of Basil II

Basil II Bulgaroktonos, with Constantine VIII, 976-1025. Miliaresion (Silver, 30mm, 2.88 g 12).

There was also an abundant coinage of the silver miliaresion, which varied from two to three grams (many surviving examples are clipped). One full-weight gold piece could be exchanged for 12 to 14 miliaresia.

The standard silver coin bears small busts of the co-emperors flanking an elaborate cross. The surrounding Greek inscription translates as By This Conquer, Basil and Constantine. The long five-line reverse inscription abbreviates the word Porphyrogennetoi, meaning Born in the Purple, to emphasize their legitimate claim to the throne.


Basil II Bulgaroctonos (976-1025 CE), with Constantine VIII. AR miliaresion. Classical Numismatic Group, Auction 105, Auction date: 10 May 2017, Lot number: 1058, realized: $3,000.

A remarkable commemorative silver coin was issued to mark Basil's decisive victory over the rebel army of Bardas Phocas on April 13, 989. Bardas suffered a fatal stroke while charging. Basil attributed this victory to the intercession of the Virgin Mary. The obverse bears an image of the Virgin and Child, surrounded by an abbreviated Greek inscription that translates O Virgin, Help the Emperors. The unique reverse inscription in five lines is Mother of God, Full of Glory, He Who Puts His Trust in You Will Never Fail in His Undertakings.

To read the complete article, see:
Bulgar Slayer: The Coinage of Basil II (


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In 2018 the American Numismatic Society purchased the archives of the Medallic Art Company (MACO) at a bankruptcy auction, and has gradually been shipping the material to New York City. This ANS Pocket Change blog article by Peter van Alfen documents the latest and last of these moves. -Editor

Medallic Art Company  dies and hubs The archives the ANS purchased included not just the paper records, but also ca. 50,000 objects including medals, die shells, and the hubs and dies used to produce the medals. Over the last several years, all of this material has slowly been making its way to New York City, truck load after truck load, both to the ANS headquarters and to a warehouse the ANS has now rented in Brooklyn, as detailed in a number of previous blog posts and ANS Magazine articles.

Getting the hubs and dies to New York City, however, has proven more difficult, because of their tremendous weight and the associated storage complications. The hubs and dies currently are stored on wooden pallets each of which weighs between 1,000 and 1,600 pounds. While we've been sorting these issues, Jerry Moran, owner of Medalcraft Mint, located in Green Bay, Wisconsin, has graciously stored the 225 pallets for us free of charge.

Shortly before the pandemic began, in 2019, I made a quick trip to Green Bay to get a sense of the problem we faced with moving it all to New York City along with ANS Fellow George Cuhaj, and soon thereafter gladly turned the problem over to our Resolute Americana curator, Dr. Jesse Kraft, who has proven to be not just a brilliant move organizer, but an astoundingly tenacious and hardworking individual. Little did he realize when we hired him in 2019 that the job of curator would involve so much muscle, sweat, and longs stays away from his family in various parts of the US! In 2021, with funding from an anonymous foundation, Jesse spent weeks in Nevada organizing the move of the die shells and other material, all of which made its way across the country and is now safely housed in Brooklyn, where he has spent hundreds of hours unpacking and organizing the material in anticipation of moving the hubs and dies.

Jesse in the meantime also made a reconnaissance trip to Green Bay last year and a final trip a few weeks ago to stage the pallets for their eventual pick-up. In Brooklyn, he cleared the space in the warehouse, purchased a pallet stacker, and hired a trio of strong men to help with the unloading. Thanks again to our anonymous funder, Jesse arranged for eight semi-trucks in succession to pick up the pallets, under George Cuhaj's supervision in Green Bay, and then deliver them to Brooklyn over two successive weekends when traffic in Brooklyn is minimal and the loading dock at the warehouse is less busy. Aside from one truck driver getting lost and both elevators in Brooklyn malfunctioning for a brief period, Jesse's plan has worked seamlessly.

  Medallic Art Company  dies Jesse Kraft, Alan Roche
Jesse Kraft (l.) and ANS photographer Alan Roche (r.) take a break

For a lot of the material in the MACO archives, the move to New York City is something of a homecoming, since much of it was produced in the City over the course of the twentieth century. The task that now lies immediately ahead is completing the inventory of the archives and creating a record of all of the items to be published and made available on our dedicated MACO website, and ultimately deciding which of it we want for our collection, and which of it we don't.

To read the complete article, see:
The Last of the MACO Archives Return to New York (

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

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Six U.S. animal heroes were honored in the 2023 Animals in War & Peace Medal Ceremony at the U.S. Capitol March 15th. Here's the press release. -Editor

The Third Annual Animals in War & Peace Medal Ceremony recognized and honored six unsung U.S. animal heroes for their accomplishments in both war and peace in Washington, DC on March 8, 2023 at the Rayburn House Office Building with five U.S. Members of Congress.

Since 1943, the United Kingdom has been the only country in the world to honor animals with its international PDSA Dickin Medal, also known as the Victoria Cross for Animals.

U.S. House of Representatives Julia Brownley (CA) introduced and welcomed guests. U.S House of Representatives Gus Bilirakis (FL), Don Bacon (NB), Maxwell Frost (FL) and Mike Quigley (IL) presented medals to America's six animal heroes for either the Animals in War & Peace Medal of Bravery or Distinguished Service Medal which are both commensurate with the British PDSA Dickin Medal. U.S. House of Representative Chaplain, Reverend Dr. Margaret Grun Kibben offered the invocation and participated with medal presentations and a blessing of the animals

  dog getting medal 2 dog getting medal

The Animals in War & Peace Medal of Bravery was awarded to one pigeon and four canines that served in past wars (posthumous) representing U.S. military services. The 2023 heroes are The Mocker (WW1 pigeon); K9 Jafar (Baytown, TX Police Dept (alive)); MWD Paco P352 (U.S. Army (alive)); MPC Kay (75th Army Ranger Regiment); and MPC Shimanski (Marine Corps Special Operations Command (alive)).

The Animals in War & Peace Distinguished Service Medal, was awarded to a horse named Sgt. York (U.S. Army Caisson Platoon (alive)). Sgt. York is distinguished by his exceptionally meritorious service to our nation in a duty of great responsibility.

To continue the efforts of creating the annual process of recognizing our U.S. animal heroes, a second House Resolution will be introduced later this spring sponsored by Representative Gus Bilirakis (FL).

  dog with medal

Nominations are now being accepted for the 4th Annual Medal Ceremony tentatively scheduled for March 2024. Go to

  2023 Animals in War & Peace Distinguished Service Medalists (DSM)

  DSM04 Sgt York Horse MOB12 Jafar dog
Sgt York and Jafar

DSM #4 - SGT YORK: Army Caisson Platoon - Military Working Equine (MWE) (alive): Sgt York served 25 years as one of the Caisson Platoon's most important and storied MWEs. He became a Caparisoned Horse (Cap Horse), a riderless horse that symbolizes an officer's final ride in battle, where empty boots are faced backwards in the stirrups. He was the Cap Horse in President Ronald Reagan's funeral, and countless other dignitaries. In 2004, he was selected as Horse of the Month by the U.S. Trotting Association.

  2023 Animals in War and Peace Medal of Bravery Medalists (MOB)

MOB #12 - K9 JAFAR: Baytown Police, Texas, Multi-purpose SWAT, Narcotics Detection, Patrol, Belgian Malinois (alive) - Jafar and his partner were called-up to a barricaded armed suspect situation where a suspect was reported to have piles of weapons and was firing shots from a handgun into his neighbors "homes. After an eight-hour standoff, K-9 Jafar was deployed into the residence, which had been heavily tear-gassed. Jafar located the suspect hiding in a pantry with two small dogs. Jafar apprehended the suspect, who in turn grabbed Jafar by the head holding his muzzle closed as the cover officers moved into the residence and apprehended him without further violence.

  MOB13 Mocker pigeon MOB14 Paco dog
Mocker and Paco

MOB #13 – THE MOCKER: WWI, U.S. Army Signal Corps, Homing Pigeon: During the Battle of Saint-Mihiel in Sept 1918, Mocker arrived with a message from the frontlines, despite his right eye having been destroyed by a shell fragment and his head a mass of clotted blood. Thanks to Mocker"s flight, the German artillery guns were silenced in only 20 minutes. Even with the loss of an eye, Mocker continued to fly once he healed, eventually credited with carrying 33 messages during the war.

MOB #14 – MWD PACO P352: U.S. Army, Afghanistan, Belgian Malinois (alive). Deployed to Afghanistan in October 2012 in support of Operation Detachment Alpha/Special Operations Task Force. Paco led the unit during night raids on villages in extremely hostile territories, positively identified 33 IEDs during different missions. He was wounded with shrapnel but returned to duty after treated for injuries. Upon returning to duty, Paco led a 30-truck convoy 20-miles during an evacuation that was constantly fired upon with small arms and rocket propelled grenades. He found 19 IEDs during this 24- hour exfil alone.

  MOB15 Kay dog MOB16 Shimanski dog
Kay and Shimanski

MOB #15 - MPC KAY: 75th Army Ranger Regiment, Afghanistan/Iraq, Belgian Malinois: MPC Kay served from 2007–2011 as a Multi-Purpose Canine trained in apprehension, tracking, explosive and article detection, area searches, and hunting down fleeing insurgents. MPC Kay successfully completed over 200 Special Operation nighttime raids, over 75 day operations, and apprehended several high-profile Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders during his four deployments. Additionally, Kay located an important phone sim card that was thrown by a high value target during a raid that was the key that unlocked a new web of leaders in a specific terror cell.

MOB #16 - MPC SHIMANSKI: MARSOC, Afghanistan/Iraq/Jordan/Somalia, Belgian Malinois (alive): MPC Shimanski served 4 tours in 7 years. During one operation in Sangin, Afghanistan, the Team Chief was fatally wounded. Shimanski, his handler, and two other members of the unit rushed to the point of injury. Under extremely heavy enemy direct and indirect fire, regardless of his own safety, MPC Shimanski exited the vehicle with his handler to begin establishing a safe path to their wounded teammate and the surrounding area. The team cleared two hasty helicopter landing zones to evacuate their team member. MPC Shimanski preformed to the highest standard, under gravely dangerous conditions, without error

For more information, see:

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This webpage discusses the Rowe-Barr Collection of Texas Currency at the DeGolyer Library of Southern Methodist University. Found via News & Notes from the Society of Paper Money Collectors (Volume VIII, Number 41, March 28, 2023). -Editor

  Republic of Texas $2 note


The Rowe-Barr Collection of Texas Currency at the DeGolyer Library is the most comprehensive in the United States, representing thousands of notes, scrip, bonds, and other financial obligations, issued in Texas between the 1820s and 1935.

Holdings and Highlights

Texas Powder Company $1.00 scrip note John N. Rowe III and B.B. Barr are brothers-in-law, business partners, and advocates for historical preservation. Both men enjoy collecting and sharing the fruits of their collecting with others. Mr. Rowe, one of the leading numismatic dealers in the United States, started collecting bank notes as a boy. His hobby soon turned into a full-time profession. His special interest is Texas currency through the Civil War. Mr. Barr devoted much of his effort to collecting notes from the post-Civil War period. The men gave their collection to SMU in 2003, so it would be preserved and made accessible to others. This digital collection includes currency from significant historical eras, including the Republic of Texas (1836-1845), early statehood (1845-1861), the Confederacy (1861-1865), and the National Bank Era (1863-1913).

The Rowe-Barr currency collection offers an interesting avenue of access to life in Texas from the early days of its independence from Mexico through the years of the Great Depression. Issued by more than 100 counties, as well as banks, merchants, and private individuals, these notes were most often redeemable for cash, but sometimes for land or shares of stock.

Stine 10 cents scrip note Among the more famous signatures are those of Sam Houston, Mirabeau B. Lamar, David G. Burnet, Asa Brigham, Francis R. Lubbock, John Wyatt Moody, and Green DeWitt. Designs on the notes range from simple to quite elaborate and decorative.

About the Currency Collection

Known to collectors as "obsolete" notes, the Rowe-Barr Collection of Texas Currency is useful in a variety of ways for historical research.

Many of the currency notes are unique, and help to identify the issuing organizations that would otherwise be lost to history. By studying how notes were used, both within Texas and in exchange with merchants and governments elsewhere, scholars can learn much about the true basis and workings of the Texas economy.

  25 cents (twenty five cents) private scrip

In addition, currency notes are often beautiful objects in themselves and can be studied as examples of the art of engraving and printing. The imagery associated with the notes -- from classical goddesses to bison to railroads to cotton bolls -- tells us something about the culture and its aspirations and ideals.

To read the complete article, see:
Rowe-Barr Collection of Texas Currency (


Kavan Ratnatunga passed along this article on ink-stained banknotes from the European Central Bank. Thank you. -Editor

Ink-stained banknotes


The ink on these banknotes is from anti-theft devices, also known as intelligent banknote neutralisation systems (IBNSs), which are activated when criminals open a protected cash container, such as an ATM or a safe in a cash transportation vehicle. These systems make stolen banknotes unusable and worthless, thus reducing the risk for retailers, banks and other professional cash handlers of becoming victims of crime.

How to recognise a stolen ink-stained banknote?
When a banknote is stained by an intelligent banknote neutralisation system (IBNS), the security ink soaks into the banknote and leaves traces which are normally more pronounced on the edges of the banknote. The colours of the most commonly used security inks are bright violet, green, blue, red or black. The ink usually flows from the edges towards the centre of the banknotes and leaves a characteristic pattern. Sometimes, the chemicals that criminals use to wash the banknotes when trying to remove the ink can change the colour. As a result, the banknotes' original colours could also be altered, and some security features may be damaged, or may even disappear.

Does it mean that all ink-stained banknotes are stolen?
No. If there are very light stains or a couple of small marks on the banknote and the edges are intact, then the marks are most likely accidental, caused for example by a pen dripping ink.

Kavan adds:

"Is this used on US$ notes as well? I was shown a few US$100 notes with slight purple ink stains at the edge. The banker who sent me this image wants to know if this method is US ATMs or if EC ATMs also issue US$ and would have been subject to IBNS. This should have much more publicity among the Public and on Social Media "


I'm not sure- what do readers think? -Editor

To read the complete article, see:
Have you ever come across a banknote covered with ink? (


Pablo Hoffman passed along this new article on the big 2017 coin heist in Germany. Here's a short excerpt - be sure to read the complete article online. -Editor

Pablo writes:

"Quite the coin story, not just pocket change . . . no Whitman folders for this million-dollar, 100 kilo coin"

  The Big Coin Heist

Most coins can be struck with a hydraulic press, but there was no machine large enough, or powerful enough, to strike a coin this size. Li and his colleagues would have to turn to casting, a process not unlike pouring batter into a cake mold. The problem with that was the need to create a custom mold that could produce the needed thickness. It would also have to be a mold strong enough to withstand so much hot molten gold, while flexible enough to let the coin pop out after. Precision also had to be considered. Because the coin was to be sold at 100 kilograms, if it ended up weighing 101 kilograms, that additional gold would be an expensive loss for the RCM. If the coin came out of the cast under 100 kilograms, the team would have to scrap the entire coin and start again. The process could also risk contamination, turning five nine gold into four nines.

Over the next three months, the team worked through the process. They knew they were working on something unique. Defining. Whenever a coin was cast, the whole plant would gather and provide support. Everyone wanted to know how successful it would be, recalls Xianyao Li. When we succeeded everyone was so happy. When we scrapped one coin because of the weight, everybody found a way to support the team so they don't feel bad.

Eventually the casting process succeeded. Witten used hand engraving tools to remove slight defects that emerged during the casting process, enhanced the details of the maple leaves and the image of Queen Elizabeth (designed by Susanna Blunt) on the opposite side. The coin surfaces were primed by hand, pre-polished, and then given a frosted finish.

In May 2007, the Big Maple Leaf coin was revealed to the public and the press at the RCM's Ottawa offices. Internally, the team celebrated. Special posters were made and signed by all involved (Li has one framed in his office). Team photos were shot. There was also a celebration in the employees' cafeteria, with coffee and cake, and a chance to stand next to the coin and have a photo taken.

In the days, weeks, and months after, the Big Maple Leaf coin's creators saw their hard work receive international attention. The Guinness World Records organization officially recognized the coin as the world's largest. There was high demand for the coin to tour the world.

The creators received personal attention too. Witten saw his name appear widely in external publications and brochures. All of it has been tucked away in a filing cabinet he keeps at home, to look back on when he retires.

As for Li, he was invited in 2008 to give a presentation at his industry's most prestigious event, the Mint Directors Conference. He broke through in the mint industry in ways he hadn't before, becoming a member of the technical committee that oversees the industry.

The RCM's work with the coins wasn't entirely done, however. The coin had attracted other attention as well. Wealthy companies and individuals reached out to the Mint, inquiring if the coin could be custom made for them. The RCM accepted. In the end, six coins were created. One stayed with the RCM in a vault. One went to Barrick Gold Corporation, a Canadian gold mining outfit. One went to an Austrian investment firm. One went to Queen Elizabeth. The last two went to two individuals in Dubai, one of whom, it is rumoured, uses the coin as a coffee table.

When all the work was done, the team was proud of it as an artistic accomplishment, an engineering accomplishment, and a national accomplishment. I think coins tell a lot about a country, and showcase the country. What's important, what they're proud of, what's meaningful, Witten says. Li adds, That's our history. The coins do give us things we can pass down for years.

They felt they had created something lasting. Coins are permanent, right? Even one this heavy. They don't burn or don't blow away, or get lost, Witten told me.

Unless someone steals it, Li added.

To read the complete article, see:
The Big Coin Heist (

To read earlier E-Sylum articles, see:


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

U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission Rebooted

Last year Wayne Pearson submitted thoughts on coins and paper money to mark the 2026 semiquincentennial of U.S. independence. The date is getting closer and closer, but the Feds aren't any closer to having a plan. Will we ever see commemorative coins or medals? -Editor

2026 Cent design President Biden's choice to head the nation's coming 250th anniversary commemorations is planning to relaunch the project on July 4, promising to get beyond the internal squabbles, mismanagement allegations and mushrooming litigation that have paralyzed the project for years.

At a closed-door meeting Monday, Rosie Rios, chair of the U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission, secured members' approval for her plans, which include gathering suggestions from the public about how the anniversary should be observed. She also intends to ask Congress for a significant increase in the commission's annual appropriation.

Ms. Rios, who was U.S. treasurer in the Obama administration, said her new initiative, America's Invitation, would encourage the American public to suggest their own ideas, tell their own stories, share interesting narratives about their own experiences, about their own communities. Those suggestions would lead to a multiyear planning effort for 2026, she said...

To read the complete article (subscription required), see:
Commission Planning America's 250th Anniversary Attempts Reset (

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:

Newly Discovered Vermeer Works

In non-numismatic news, the art world is abuzz with the discovery of a cache of unseen Vermeers. -Editor

  Vermeer sleeping dog painting

While taking inventory in preparation for an estate sale in Yorkshire County, England, a pair of agents stumbled upon an astonishing collection of canine-inspired oil paintings by Johannes Vermeer.

The unbelievable discovery explains why there were thought to be so few works by Vermeer, as only some 35 paintings were previously attributed to the artist.

Art conservators from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam confirmed that all of the paintings were from the hand of the Dutch painter after conducting material tests and analyzing the signatures in verso. In an interview with Hyperallergic, one of the estate sale agents said that they were still breathless from the discovery after the paintings were attributed to Vermeer.

To read the complete article, see:
Newly Discovered Trove of Vermeer Works Reveals He Painted Mainly Dogs (

A New Van Gogh Biopic

And in this art-related movie news, there's a new Van Gogh Biopic in production. -Editor

Prince Harry as Van Gogh In a casting decision sure to make ripples all over Hollywood, representatives for Prince Harry have confirmed that he will play Vincent van Gogh in an upcoming biopic about the infamous painter. It seems clear now that the ex-royal is not only determined to follow his wife, Meghan Markle, away from life in the British monarchy but into her former profession of acting.

Prince Harry is thrilled about this opportunity to further raise awareness about mental health issues, said his talent agent, Guy Guyerson. He identifies with Vincent van Gogh in so many ways.

Following the announcement, Prince Harry made a surprise drop-in on the Oprah Winfrey Show to further elucidate his connection to the famed — a famously troubled — Dutch painter.

For one thing, we are both redheads, he said, which is a burden that should not be underestimated. Prince Harry also went on to state that he is similarly tortured, and also that his paintings don't really look like the things they are supposed to be. He raised concerns about still having both his ears, but he feels that with sufficient acting prowess, he can overcome that hurdle.

Or … they won't cut it off, will they? he asked Oprah. They won't cut it off, right?

To read the complete article, see:
Prince Harry to Star in New Van Gogh Biopic (


One of my favorite historians, John Steele Gordon, published a lengthy article for American Heritage magazine on the long history of bank failures in the U.S. Here's an excerpt, but be sure to see the complete article online. Very interesting.

Found via News & Notes from the Society of Paper Money Collectors (Volume VIII, Number 41, March 28, 2023) -Editor

  1920s American Union Bank Run

The recent failures of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank were shocking, but shouldn't surprise. Even a quick look at banking history reveals that failures are as American as apple pie. Some 565 banks have closed since 2000, according to the FDIC, and over a thousand saving and loans failed during the crisis of the 1980s and early 1990s.

In 2018, Congress removed bank regulations that were put in place in the wake of the financial crisis of 2007-8. These regulations had required banks to undergo annual stress tests to assess their resiliency in scenarios such as rising interest rates, to maintain adequate levels of capital and liquidity to meet obligations in the event of unforeseen circumstances.

Despite the need to maintain an impeccable reputation, bankers are human. They are sometimes too agreeable to their friends, sometimes too optimistic, or too greedy, or dishonest. Once someone possesses the magic power to create money, the temptation to create too much is very strong. That's why banks need constant watching.

And never forget that banks are in the money business. That's why Willie Sutton robbed them. That's why politicians want the bankers on their side and are thus predisposed to favor the bankers over the banking system.

Why the dismal record?
The first American failure took place in Rhode Island in 1809, when a bank capitalized at forty-five dollars issued eight hundred thousand dollars in bank notes, a sum equal to more than seventeen thousand times the resources behind it.

The two centuries since then have been marked by literally tens of thousands of bank failures in the U.S. In sharp contrast, Great Britain, whence most of American banking theory and practice comes, has had only a handful of major bank failures in over a hundred years.

Why should the richest and most productive capitalist economy on earth have such a dismal record in safeguarding a system so central to capitalism? The answer lies in the peculiar nature of the business we call banking, in our national history as a federal republic of sovereign states, and in our politics.

While no one could dispute that our Constitution and our politics have been, on the whole, a triumphant success, American banking is perhaps the ultimate proof of Sir Winston Churchill's contention that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.

Banks are in the money business, and that, ipso facto, makes banking a very peculiar business indeed. Cash on hand, for instance, is an asset in most enterprises; it is usually a liability to a bank because it is owed to the depositors. Loans, on the other hand, are assets because they are owed to the bank. If an ordinary business goes broke, it is a financial problem for the owners, the employees, and the creditors, who, usually being professionals, have no one to blame but themselves. When a bank goes broke, however, it can affect the personal economic well-being of nearly everyone in the community or even, if the bank is large enough, the entire country.

  First Bank of the United States in Philadelphia
The First Bank of the United States in Philadelphia was chartered by Congress in 1791.

In 1790, when Alexander Hamilton submitted to Congress his Report on a National Bank, his plan for establishing the American banking system, he had cogently argued the folly of allowing politicians anywhere near the power to create money that is inherent in banking. The 1980s were to prove why Hamilton had been so very right.

In 1980 Congress removed the ceiling on the interest rates that bankers could pay and, while they were at it, raised the amount of the federal guarantee on deposits from forty thousand dollars to one hundred thousand. Had the federal guarantee simply tracked inflation since 1934, the guarantee would have amounted to slightly more than fifteen thousand dollars by 1980. Had it remained at the same multiple of average family income, it would have been slightly less than fifty thousand dollars. Raising it to one hundred thousand was not, therefore, done to protect widows and orphans. It was done to help out the bankers.

To read the complete article, see:
Bank Failures: As American as Apple Pie (

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