The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 26, Number 27, July 2, 2023, Article 30


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

Why You Should Learn to Grade for Yourself

Last week Alan Weinberg made the case for every collector learning to grade for themselves rather than relying only on the opinions of third-party graders. Here's a Numismatic News article by Mike Thorne on "Why You Should Learn to Grade for Yourself". -Editor

In the history of the numismatic market, one of the main topics has always been coin grading. Defined as a label to describe the condition of the coin, a coin's grade is inseparably intertwined with its value. Coins of the same rarity with lower grades are worth less than coins that qualify for higher grades.

Although it's hard to believe, back before the beginning of the major grading services (ANACS, NGC, PCGS), coins at a coin show were typically found in 2x2 holders or 2x2 brown paper envelopes with the dealer's grade plainly marked on the holder. This was a grade that used adjectives to describe it such as Very Good or Very Fine or Gem Uncirculated. Sometimes pluses were added if the dealer thought the coin was particularly nice for the grade.

Some dealers applied grades that could best be described as optimistic. That is, the coin in reality might be a grade or two (or more) below the grade indicated on the holder. In addition, many coins had serious problems (cleaning, damage, whizzing) not described on the holder.

But how do you go about learning to grade? Cited in the ANA's Grading Standards for United States Coins, Ken Bressett of Red Book (Guide Book of United States Coins) fame listed four things needed to learn how to grade coins: (1) a good magnifying glass, (2) a good light, (3) a good memory, and (4) 20 years of experience. In other words, you're not going to teach yourself how to be an accurate grader overnight. You're going to have to look at coins in different grades, study and remember their characteristics, and read all you can about the grading process.

To read the complete article, see:
Why You Should Learn to Grade for Yourself (

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: JUNE 25, 2023 : How to Learn to Grade Coins (

Prigozhin's Boxes of Rubles

Found via News & Notes from the Society of Paper Money Collectors (Volume IX, Number 2, June 27, 2023) -Editor

Prigozhin's Boxes of Rubles Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Wagner Group Private Military Company, has confirmed that Russian security forces have found boxes full of money near his office in St Petersburg. Russian media reported that the boxes contain a total of 4 billion roubles (approximately US$47 million).

According to Fontanka, Prigozhin is believed to have his office in the Trezzini Hotel. During a search conducted in the hotel, the white Gazel minivan aroused suspicion as it did not belong to anyone living in Akademichesky Lane [the street where the van was parked - ed.]. The van was checked for explosives; when it was unlocked, boxes stuffed with money were found inside.

When the money contained inside the boxes found in the Gazel van was counted, the total was 4 billion roubles in cash (approximately US$47 million).

After this information was shared, Prigozhin issued a statement saying that in addition to the Gazel van, another two minibuses containing his money were also found.

"It wasn't just the Gazel that was found, but two other minibuses that contained money earmarked for wages, compensation for Cargo 200s [unofficial code for bodies of fighters killed in action - ed.], and other things," Prigozhin said.

He also claimed that during its 10 years in business, Wagner Group has always used cash for all payments.

To read the complete article, see:
Billions of roubles: Prigozhin claims Russian forces have found a van and 2 buses containing boxes of his money (

What does money mean if you can't hold it in your hand?

This article from The Guardian on the "Post-Piggy Bank World" asks, "What does money mean if you can't hold it in your hand?" Found via News & Notes from the Society of Paper Money Collectors (Volume IX, Number 2, June 27, 2023) -Editor

Australian banknotes Somewhere in the British Museum is a small gold disc. Just 10mm in diameter, it weighs less than a teaspoon of salt. On one side is a lion roaring at a bull, on the other, two squares. This is the Lydian Lion and, at about 2,700 years old, it is perhaps the oldest coin humanity retains today. This is money.

And despite the civilisations that have risen and fallen in the millennia between the minting of the Lydian Lion and now, people today can still – without effort – recognise the Lydian Lion as money. We can imagine its use in the markets of ancient western Turkey. We can picture it being piled in with others in a pouch by a nobleman's feet. We understand it because most of us grew up using something very much like it: cash. Earned through our labours, exchanged in return for something we wanted or needed.

Until, of course, now.

This month Australia's treasurer, Jim Chalmers, announced a death sentence for cheques but it is not the only way of paying for things which is in a state of atrophy. Across the country just one in 20 point-of-sale transactions now involves cash. We rarely use it and increasingly we cannot access it. Thousands of bank branches have been shut. ATMs have hauled out of walls and wheeled out of shopping centres en masse. Even one of the last bastions of cash, pocket money, is on the march towards apps and cards. Tap, tap, tap. Click, click, click. We wave a card or a phone and that which we desire is bought.

To read the complete article, see:
A post-piggy bank world: what does money mean if you can't hold it in your hand? (

Dame Shirley Bassey visits the Royal Mint

Shirley Bassey with her coin at Royal Mint Dame Shirley Bassey was invited to the Royal Mint to strike one of the first in a limited-edition series of coins created in her honour.

The design features the name and silhouette of the Big Spender singer striking her famous arms-outstretched pose.

It is embossed with the names of her three James Bond theme tunes – Diamonds Are Forever, Moonraker and Goldfinger – and pays tribute to the performer's Welsh roots through a small depiction of the Welsh dragon.

Dame Shirley said: My collaboration with The Royal Mint is an incredibly exciting moment for me.

It's thrilling to know that my silhouette, and the Welsh Dragon, will be featured on my very own coin, and to be the first female included within the Music Legends collection is an absolute honour.

To read the complete article, see:
Dame Shirley Bassey visits Royal Mint to see coin created in her honour (

The Luckiest Chuck E. Cheese Coin

A Chapel Hill man found an old coin under the seat of his car. He used it to scratch off a $20 lottery ticket and won a $2 million prize.

I was cleaning out the car and found it underneath the seat, Bobby Gary said. I told myself, ‘I am going to scratch with this until l get lucky.

Gary kept the coin because it had a special date on it.

It was a Chuck E. Cheese coin from 2010, which just happens to be the year we got married, he said. I said, ‘I feel like it is going to bring me luck. And it did.'

To read the complete article, see:
Old coin becomes lucky coin when Chapel Hill man wins $2 million (

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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