The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 26, Number 28, July 9, 2023, Article 27


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

Robert Higgins Precious Metals Fraud Revealed

A Forbes article describes a silver dealer's scheme to defraud investors. -Editor

Silver Eagle coins Hundreds of depositors who handed millions to a silver dealer in exchange for precious minted coins were told their vaults were actually empty following an investigation by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

Two firms run by precious metals dealer Robert Higgins have been ordered to pay out $112.7 million to the victims of an alleged complex fraudulent scheme, and $33 million in a civil monetary penalty.

The investigation into Higgins and two connected companies began last year.

According to a statement from the CFTC, between 2014 and 2022 Higgins conducted a fraudulent silver leasing scheme via two companies: Argent Asset Group LLC (Argent) and First State Depository Company, LLC.

To read the complete article, see:
Silver coins, promised profits, and an empty vault: How a silver dealer's slow theft of investors' precious American Eagle coins ended in a $146m fine (

Coveted ‘One Ring' Card Has Been Found

Even the Wall Street Journal had to report on the finding of the unique Tolkien "One Ring" card. -Editor

One Ring card slabbed A one-of-a-kind trading card that sparked a global search and a raft of big-money offers has been found.

The card, a depiction of J.R.R. Tolkien's "One Ring" from the Hasbro tabletop game "Magic: The Gathering," has been authenticated, receiving the second-highest available rating for its condition, "Mint 9," according to grading company PSA.

"We are thrilled to hear tale of a new Ring-bearer in possession of the serialized 1:1 The One Ring!" tweeted the account for Magic Friday morning. The person who found the card for now prefers to remain anonymous, according to PSA.

The news appears to end the search for the card—but the story isn't over. Two bidders have offered seven-figure bounties for it: Francisco Rubio, owner of Valencia, Spain-based card shop Gremio de Dragones, has offered more than $2 million, the highest known amount.

Rubio didn't respond to requests for comment Friday. Other interested parties may emerge.

To read the complete article (subscription required), see:
The Coveted ‘One Ring' Card Has Been Found (

Century-Overdue Book Returned to Massachusetts library

It's not a record-holder for the most overdue library book (we learned about that last week), but still impressive. -Editor

Overdue Maxwell book On Feb. 14, 1904, someone curious about the emerging possibilities of a key force of nature checked out James Clerk Maxwell's An Elementary Treatise on Electricity from the New Bedford Free Public Library.

It would take 119 years and the sharp eyes of a librarian in West Virginia before the scientific text finally found its way back to the Massachusetts library.

The discovery occurred when Stewart Plein, the curator of rare books at West Virginia University Libraries, was sorting through a recent donation of books.

Plein found the treatise and noticed it had been part of the collection at the New Bedford library and, critically, had not been stamped Withdrawn, indicating that while extremely overdue, the book had not been discarded.

Plein contacted Jodi Goodman, the special collections librarian in New Bedford, to alert her to the find.

The treatise was first published in 1881, two years after Maxwell's death in 1879, although the cranberry-colored copy now back at the New Bedford library is not considered a rare edition of the work, Melo said.

To read the complete article, see:
Extremely overdue book returned to Massachusetts library 119 years later (

The story was picked up by The New York Times. Thanks to Len Augsburger for passing it along. -Editor

The book, published in 1881 and written by a prominent Scottish physicist, was an early scientific text laying out electrical theories.

Its 208 pages, bound by a cranberry-colored cover, are crammed with technical jargon and medleys of elaborate mathematical equations. The library acquired the book in 1882, Ms. Melo said.

It was likely either last checked out on Feb. 14, 1904, or Feb. 14, 1905. The faded stamp makes it difficult to be certain, but a faint circular shape after the 190- suggests the later date, she said. A prior checkout stamp clearly reads Dec. 10, 1903.

To read the complete article, see:
Overdue Book Is Returned to a Library After Nearly 120 Years (

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: JULY 2, 2023 : The World's Most Overdue Library Book (

The Clutter Image Rating

Numismatists and bibliophiles are born collectors. But at what point does a collection become a safety-risking hoard? This article from The Guardian discusses hoarding interventions and the "Clutter Image Rating" for measuring the scale of a hoard. -Editor

Book hoard Hoarding is an unusual mental health condition because it is defined by external objects rather than solely by a psychological state: what people in the field refer to as the hoard. Given that people have vastly different levels of tolerance, clinicians developed a tool called the Clutter Image Rating as a way to measure the hoard. Used by authorities around the world, the tool consists of photos of a kitchen, a bedroom and a living room. Each is progressively filled with more objects on a scale from one to nine. At level 1, the rooms are fairly empty; the floor is clear with a few items on the surfaces. By level 3, the rooms look messy and items are strewn on the floor. By level 5, clothing, newspapers and rubbish are heaped on the surfaces, and the floor is almost entirely obscured. At level 9, the walls are barely visible.

Many people with hoarding tendencies never face intervention. As the Oxford psychologist Paul Salkovskis has observed, if the hoard is ordered, or if someone has space to accommodate it, it isn't necessarily a problem. If someone is happy in an extremely cluttered environment and there are no safeguarding issues then that's fine – we have to accept that people are different, said Nele Van Bogaert, who runs a hoarding support programme for a charity called MRS Independent Living, but as soon as it starts affecting others then you lose that right. When an entire property is at a level 4 or above, clinicians class the resident as a hoarder and the fire service considers the property a serious risk.

To read the complete article, see:
‘You reach a point where you can't live your life': what is behind extreme hoarding? (

To view the clutter rating images, see:
Clutter Image Rating (

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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