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


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

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

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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 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 two new books, updates from the Newman Numismatic Portal, notes from readers, analysis of the collectibles market, and more.

Other topics this week include the Charlotte Mint, coinage along the Silk Road, Ted Binion, Henry Mitchell, Ray Dillard, fixed price and auction offerings, Byzantine coinage, the Congressional Gold Medal, and secret rooms and hidden bookshelves.

To learn more about counterstamped Stone Mountain half dollars, UNESCO World Heritage Sites on banknotes, exhibits at the 2024 ANA National Money Show, Chinese bamboo money, Dennis Tucker, perspective, elongated coin die rings, a contemporary counterfeit Pine Tree Shilling, the Lord of Lightning medal, the first Manx Bank note ever issued, and Ice Worm Cocktail tokens, read on. Have a great week, everyone!

Wayne Homren
Editor, The E-Sylum

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  Larry Doby Congressional Gold Medal
Image of the week

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Charles Rogers has announced his new volume on the counterstamped Stone Mountain half dollars. Thank you. -Editor

Mystery of the Counterstamped Stone Mountain Half Dollar v3 book cover Charles Rogers has announced his New Book on the Counterstamped Stone Mountain Half Dollar; it has been published in 2024 and is available for sale. This is his Second Book on this extremely rare Counterstamped Coin; Unlocking the Mystery of the Counterstamped Stone Mountain Confederate Memorial Half Dollar, ‘Just the coin facts by Southern States and D.C.', Volume III is to organize the known Counterstamped Coin Varieties, Types, and their uses by Coin Categories of their Coin Pedigree of each Southern State (14) and D.C. while noting their Coin Campaign Era Service to the great cause of the Monument.

The First half of the book provides known State by State Counterstamped Coins of the Campaigns. The four Coin Campaigns to sell the Stone Mountain regular issued Half Dollar took place from June 3, 1925, thru March 31, 1928. In the last half of the book, the Coins of the First/Preliminary and Fourth or Extention Campaigns are featured as well as the Ladies of the Second or Harvest and Third or Last Call Campaigns. New discoveries in all Campaigns are discussed where appropriate. The Book is just short of 600 Pages. A must for the Collector of these coins.

  • Unlocking the Mystery of the Counterstamped Stone Mountain Confederate Memorial Half Dollar, ‘Just the coin facts by Southern States and D.C.' ,
  • Volume III
  • Hardcover -RED
  • 8.5" x 11"
  • case wrap
  • Color cover and interior
  • ISBN 978-0-578-78068-9
  • 600+- pages
  • 13 Chapters
  • Red Book Price $95 includes shipping.


1) EBay: Search Counterstamped Stone Mountain Coin Book


3) Charles Rogers 904-571-8623 Call or Text

4) Black Book, Volumes I & II also available.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

Early American E-Sylum ad 2024-03-10


Author Roland Rollins passed along this report on his latest project - an online catalog of banknotes depicting UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Thanks! Who can assist with new listings? -Editor

UNESCO banknote book cover A new topical collecting field has gained interest in the last couple of years - collecting banknotes with UNESCO World Heritage Sites depicted. So what are these sites? A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area with legal protection by an international convention administered by the UNESCO. World Heritage Sites are designated by UNESCO for having cultural, historical, scientific or other forms of significance. The sites are judged to contain "cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity". In practice, cultural sites are man made - buildings and statutes for instance. Natural sites are locations formed over a great deal of time - Niagara Falls and Kilimanjaro National Park for instance.

After 6 months of research, I have released an Adobe Acrobat pdf file, "The Complete Catalog of UNESCO World Heritage Sites on Banknotes". Some facts gleaned from the work:

  • As of 2024, there are 1,199 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 385 sites shown on banknotes or 32+%.
  • With 195 current countries (this is negotiable!), there are 163 current nations with UNESCO sites or 69+%.
  • 28 "dead" countries no longer surviving have UNESCO sites appear on their banknotes.
  • There are 67 sites shown on multiple nations!
  • Most banknotes for a single site - 184, Great Wall of China.
  • Most countries showing the same UNESCO site - 7, Angkor (but most of these are "dead" countries).
  • Most current countries showing the same UNESCO site - 6, Old City of Jerusalem.
  • Country with the most UNESCO sites - 61, Italy.
  • Country with the most UNESCO sites on their banknotes - 17, Mexico.

  UNESCO banknote book Australia page

The body of the work is sorted by country in alphabetical order, then by site - also alphabetically. There are two approaches to this work, sort by country or sort by site. Since some collectors are only interested in sites on a country they collect, I have added a "quick list" sorted by country. Other collectors are interested in specific sites or collect all world country, so I've added a "quick list" sorted by site as well.

  UNESCO banknote book Ceylon Sample Page

I chose a pdf file for multiple reasons:

  • It's a first ever catalog on the subject with new finds on old banknotes likely.
  • The sites are a moving target:
    • UNESCO adds new World Heritage Sites almost every year.
    • Occasionally UNESCO removes an entire site or a portion of a site.
    • Countries producing banknotes release new banknotes - on average about every 6 to 8 years.
  • With no printing (440+ pages!) or shipping costs, I can offer the catalog at a much lower cost.
  • Since the field is so new, I will offer FREE updated pdf files for the next 3 years.

All the statistics and some other information and link to buy the catalog for $20 can be found on one of my web pages here:

  UNESCO banknote book chart2

The catalog is also for sale at here: 2024 eBook Complete Catalog of UNESCO World Heritage Sites on Banknotes, 442 pages | For sale on Delcampe

Great project! Roland's webpages go into more detail on the difficulty of compiling this information from published sources. -Editor

When I started tallying the world banknotes depicting UNESCO World Heritage Sites I soon discovered it was a daunting and huge task. In most cases the site shown is not titled. Both the banknotes and reference books often use alternate spellings or Diacritic marks. When a search feature is used these issues totally eliminate the subject from being found. Most UNESCO sites have specific locations, meaning a search of words or images can be time consuming. For example, the UNESCO site "Paris, Banks of the Seine" only includes specific buildings along the Seine River in Paris. Most of the sites of cities are limited to specific locations in the city - "Historic Center", "Old Bridge Area", and "Fortified Area" as examples. Even so this book is the result of much entertaining research and detective work.

Should you attempt to find UNESCO sites on banknotes, here is some of the work done for this site. Using Bamiyan as a search term:

  • The Bank Note Book, Afghanistan chapter yields all three notes (but two spelled with the alternate spelling Bamyan).
  • The Standard Catalog of World Paper Money (General & Modern) yields one note.
  • The Bank Note Museum online website yields none.
  • The crowd-sourced Numista yields two notes.
  • The crowd-sourced Banknote database yields one note.
  • The crowd-sourced Coinect yields one note.
  • The crowd-sourced Numizon yields one note, referencing details from BNB.

As can be seen from the above exercise, watch for alternate spellings!

For more information, or to order, see:
2024 eBook Complete Catalog of UNESCO World Heritage Sites on Banknotes, 442 pages (

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


Charlotte Mint Working Volume in the Eric P. Newman Correspondence Files Showcase Auction

The Eric P. Newman collection has revealed one surprise after another, as the largest and most significant cabinets tend to do. The present Heritage Auctions sale, Selections from the Eric P. Newman Correspondence Files, lot 52096, presents a heretofore unknown working volume from the earliest days of the Charlotte Mint. This would be a remarkable find even within the National Archives, and, within private hands, the opportunity to acquire this important volume is especially noteworthy.

Signed by the first Superintendent of the Charlotte Mint, John H. Wheeler, on the front flyleaf, the volume documents the legislation related to the establishment of the Charlotte Mint and includes extensive annotations. An interleaved copy of the January 18, 1837 Act Relative to the Mint and Coinage, which enacted the Branch Mints, shows Wheeler making careful notes on the U.S. coining laws. Also present is a December 15, 1830 Senate report summarizing the state of coinage in the U.S., and subsequent congressional documentation that outlines the rationale for establishment of the branch Mints. Contemporary clips and geological reports provide further background relative to the Charlotte Mint. The volume concludes with a summary table of Charlotte Mint gold deposits and coinage production for 1837-1841, likely in Wheeler's hand.

In an era of slow communication, this volume effectively served as the bible of the Charlotte Mint. Superintendent Wheeler clearly made extensive use of the work, and it is hard to imagine a more significant historical document within the context of the Charlotte Mint operation. As such, the volume will appeal both to Charlotte Mint gold specialists as well as advanced literature collectors. This sale concludes on March 25, 2024.

Image: Charlotte Mint table of gold deposits and coinage production for the year 1840

Link to the Charlotte Mint working volume, lot 52096, at Heritage Auctions:

Link to the Newman Correspondence Files Showcase Auction sale home page:

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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 2005 with Pru Fitts speaking about coinage along the Silk Road. -Editor

  Coinage Along the Silk Road title card

"information highway" is a modern term that denotes the transfer of information. The Silk Road of the 1st-8th century AD was just such a road in ancient times. Goods and coins traveled its route as well as other items. In the image filled presentation you will see and learn:

  Coinage Along the Silk Road
  • the first traveler along the road and who sent him
  • conditions along the way
  • why silk became so popular that provoked commerce
  • examples of coinage found along the way including Sassanian, Byzantine, and Chinese
  • different routes that all ended up in China
  • influence of the Buddha
  • what brought the demise of the Silk Road

Speaker(s): Prudence Fitts.

  Coinage Along the Silk Road map

"Information highway" was an early analogy for the nascent internet. Big portions of it today are more like cesspools, dumpster fires and information dead ends. But other aspects are glorious and far beyond imagining in 2005. Like any invention of humans, it's a tool that enables both the good and the bad of human society and culture. The Silk Road carried war and disease alongside trade and commerce. For better or worse, the yin and yang are one, and for every Newman Numismatic Portal and legit auction house archive, there are fake factories and con men touting quick riches in overpriced bullion and fantasy "coins." Get used to it. -Editor

To watch the complete video, see:
Coinage and Commerce Along the Silk Road (

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Collector Exhibits at the ANA National Money Show

  2024 ANA National Money Show banner
Paul Hybert writes:

"An online guide to the Collector Exhibit Area at the March 14-16 National Money Show is available at:

"The Collector Exhibits are no longer listed in the Show Guide. The above guide groups the exhibits by Exhibit Class, while the ANA website has an ungrouped listing of exhibits at:

"Visit a page before you arrive at the convention center to determine your must-see exhibits, or visit this page to help you remember that exhibit you want to see again! The online guide will be updated during the convention, to list just the exhibits which are present.

"For this National Money Show, the Collector Exhibit Area is located in Ballroom A, the same room as the Registration Area. On Friday and Saturday, you can view the Collector Exhibits while waiting to register or for the bourse to open! (On Thursday morning, the Collector Exhibit Area will open at the same time as the bourse, to allow for exhibit setup.)"

The exhibit area is one of my favorite parts of a show. Be sure to make time to see it. The show includes such diverse topics as Trime dies, Pikes Peak Centennial medals, numismatics of the American film industry, and Ice Worm Cocktail tokens! -Editor

For more information on the show, see:

Chinese Bamboo Money Book Sought
Ted Puls writes:

"Has anyone seen the new book about Chinese bamboo money by Francois Thierry? I saw an announcement in Zeno but can't find this again and no luck on the internet by author or subject. I remember the writer saying "that it was about time". The title was in French of course but I don't clearly remember the real title."

1949 China bamboo dollar reverse

I don't think we covered this one in The E-Sylum. Can anyone help? The book is about emergency money made of bamboo in the late 1800s to WWII. For grins I added an image of the unrelated 1949 Chinese "Bamboo" Dollar sold by Stack's Bowers. -Editor

To read the complete lot description, see:
CHINA. Kweichow. "Bamboo" Dollar, Year 38 (1949). PCGS EF-45. (

Spanish Milled Dollars for Recoinage

R.W. Julian submitted this further note on the recent topic of Alexander Hamilton, the Gold/Silver Ratio, and the recoinage of Spanish silver. Thank you. -Editor

In the February 25, 2024, issue of E-Sylum there were two paragraphs copied from the document prepared by Treasury Secretary Oliver Wolcott on April 12, 1797; this Treasury edict restricted deposits of Spanish dollars for recoinage at the Mint. After reading the March 3 issue, with additional comments by Messrs Sholley & Salyards on Spanish dollars and Mint deposits, I think an additional paragraph from that 1797 document will be of value in understanding the situation.

The advances by the President & Directors of the Bank of the United States, in pursuance of this instrument, not exceeding ten thousand Dollars at one time, shall & may be considered as advanced to the United States, out of the money belonging to the United States from time to time remaining in the Custody of the Bank of the United States.

The above paragraph shows that the coins to be sent to the Mint are from those monies belonging to the United States government and therefore of full legal weight and value. Under this prohibition there would have been no light-weight Spanish milled dollars furnished to the Mint for recoinage.

This discussion has gone on for a while, and I'm ready to wrap it up here. Thanks, everyone. Great topic. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

On the House of Stuart Plaque
Daniel Fearon writes:

"May I suggest that the "GREAT BRITAIN. House of Stuart carved bone Plaque, is in fact horn. It is quite possible that the image is impressed rather than carved. Having said that, I've never seen another or, indeed, anything quite like it."

  House of Stuart carved bone Plaque

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

Making a Dollar Go Far
Mike Costanzo writes:

walterjohnsonthrowdollar "Regarding the Walter Johnson silver dollar throw: I can remember asking my mother, as a child (and in earnest mind you), why Washington threw a silver dollar across the river. Mom, who was never much good with history, replied "I don't know. I guess to prove your dollar doesn't go far."

It was a funny answer, but not what I was looking for at the time. Needless to say, I never asked mom about anything regarding history again. Or coins for that matter."

Indeed. Great story, though. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

Is Nintendo's Mario a Coin Collector?
Justin Hinh writes:

Nintendo's Mario "I have a very serious question to pose to E-Sylum readers that I think has not been discussed enough.

"Should we consider Mario from Nintendo a coin collector?"

"I am very interested to see what readers think. In the meantime, I posed this question to Nintendo directly. I'll let you and your readers know if/when I get a response."

  Is Mario a Coin Collector

Hmmm. Now I'm wondering about Scrooge McDuck... -Editor

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Central States is presenting its 2024 Q. David Bowers Award to Dennis Tucker. Congratulations! Well deserved. -Editor

Dennis Tucker The Central States Numismatic Society will present its annual Q. David Bowers Award this year to acclaimed numismatic publisher and award-winning author Dennis Tucker who recently retired from Whitman Publishing.

The CSNS Bowers Award recognizes the contributions made by numismatic professionals in the hobby.

During his 19 years at Whitman, Dennis oversaw the publication of more than 300 titles of monographs and reference books. These included the 100 Greatest coins series and the annual, iconic A Guide Book of United States Coins, known for generations simply as the Red Book, said CSNS President Mitch Ernst.

During his tenure, more than six million Red Book copies were sold; an astounding achievement to advance hobby knowledge and enjoyment, Ernst stated.

Recipients of the Bowers Award, named after the prominent dealer and esteemed numismatic author Q. David Bowers, are selected by members of the Central States Numismatic Society Board of Directors. The 2024 award will be presented to Tucker during the 2024 CSNS convention in the Chicago suburb of Schaumburg, Illinois, May 2-4.

I appreciate and value this honor from Central States for several reasons. First of all, the award is named for one of my greatest mentors and role models not only in numismatics, but in business and life in general. I've read Dave Bowers's books since I was a kid, and I'm proud to have been his publisher for nearly twenty years, said Tucker.

Second, I'm flattered that it puts me in the league of previous honorees John Dannreuther, Beth Deisher, Charmy Harker, John Highfill, Larry Shepherd, and Rick Snow, all of whom I respect and admire as innovative numismatic professionals. Third, it comes from an important organization in our community, and I'm grateful for recognition from my CSNS peers, added Tucker.

Fourth, it inspires me to continue ‘onward and upward,' as Dave Bowers always says. If I've had a lifetime of achievement, I owe thanks to thousands of people who have helped me on my way, and I hope my career can inspire others to make their own unique and significant mark on the hobby, emphasized Tucker.

CSNS logo The presentation of the Bowers Award will be made during the annual CSNS membership meeting at 8:00 am, Saturday, May 4, and presented by Tucker's long-time friend Barbara Gregory, Editor of the CSNS magazine The Centinel.

For additional information about the Central States Numismatic Society and its annual convention, visit

To read earlier E-Sylum articles, see:

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In a February 29, 2024 email to clients of Holabird Western Americana, Fred Holabird gave this perspective on the collectibles market. Published here with permission. Thank you. -Editor

Fred Holabird The Collectibles Market is Still Changing!

Over the past couple of years, we have seen great changes in the collectibles markets. Our company sells well over 60 different categories of collectibles. I seriously doubt there are others like us. We also specialize in finding new customers – an exceptionally important concept in trying to build a strong market, because competition is what makes price. With literally tens of thousands of customers getting notice of our auctions, it is up to the customers to determine the market price.

Times are Changing

Over the past two decades we have seen the interjection of the online auction business. It has completely taken over the old-fashioned rooms full of bidders. We knew it was the future when it started, and we jumped onboard, quickly using several different online platforms and settling with the best.

Ebay got it all started. At first, it was an excellent way to sell. But over time, as fees increased, it became apparent it was not profitable for large scale auction houses to use these services. Indeed, when eBay Live was in business, they told us we were their largest per-sale customer, and the ability to upload our auctions was so time consuming and difficult, we were lucky for their team to get it done in a few days before an auction, regardless of overall lead time.

The same formula has taken place over the last decade with online live-auction platforms. Through time, fees have increased, and in some cases are way out of proportion to the services provided. This resulted in the formation of timed auctions. The concept is simple, and if the buyer audience is huge, the concept should work – theoretically. Indeed, at least one collecting category - the biggest, numismatics, has turned to this sales format very successfully. The costs are a small proportion of what a live sale costs. And I mean small – nothing close to what a live sale costs, and perhaps up to a 70%-plus savings. This is not something to sneeze about.

Lets discuss briefly the markets, then get on to the topic of collectibles at live and timed sales.

The Hottest Categories

Everybody wants to know what's hot? Its simple, and has almost always been guided by the sheer number of collectors.

  1. Numismatics.
    • Coins are the second largest collectible in the world, following only religious items, which generally do not have collectible value. This category has more cash-paying collectors worldwide than any other. It thus makes sense with a large audience that competition should be keen. Its hot. Parts of this market can cool off – especially coins with direct ties to their silver or gold content. If the precious metal markets are flat, so will the sales. We have even seen dealers and collectors not willing to pay 20% back of spot in a weak market, for fear the price will drop precipitously within the week.
    • Tokens. We seem to have a very hot market, and I seriously doubt any other company sells the number of collections we do. Some geographic or topical sub-genres can cool off from time to time, but the field is still hot.
    • Medals. A similar comment to the above. Medals are hot. There is not a standard guide to pricing here, with a few exceptions, and collectors simply set the prices through bidding.
  2. Philatelics. Ok, another funny word like numismatics … many ask me why don't they just say coins and stamps? What the heck – it doesn't matter, this is the third giant collecting field in the world.
    • Stamps. Handled exactly like coins and in a very parallel manner, inclusive of the mass market sellers, stamps are hot. Condition and rarity guide the way to value.
    • Covers. A very diverse market, basically hot in all directions and sub-genres. Rarity and demand guide the way. First day covers are the comparison to collecting pennies, nickels and dimes out of circulation. It is the bottom level. High-end, rare covers make collectors weak-kneed.
  3. Picking a third category is tough – too tough for me, so I will list a few that we see in our company results and from the number of collectors competing.
    • Rare railroad collectibles. Passes, railroad lanterns, railroad locks and keys. These categories are all strong. The weak part of RR collectibles is general paper ephemera.
    • Antique bottles. Forget the common stuff, just like most categories. Rarities are exceptionally hot.
    • Gold specimens. But do not expect to pay under spot metal price.
    • Native American jewelry. The art of some of these pieces is so astounding, it is a wonder there are not museums full of it.
    • Probably a couple of others that I forgot

Markets Some Consider Cold

  Fred Holabird cold market

Let's face it. Collecting today has radically changed, and buying habits have also greatly changed. Some of this was due to the 2008 economic crash, of which some of these categories have not yet recovered. These include (though there will always be exceptions within each genre, especially for the great rarities):

  1. Post cards
  2. Antiquarian photographs
  3. Pressed glass collectibles
  4. Ceramic collectibles such as wall pockets etc.
  5. Hollywood memorabilia
  6. Autographs
  7. Some antiques in general. Antique and historic trunks are an example.
  8. A few I've forgotten

Other categories seem to have faded or changed through the Covid pandemic and in the aftermath. These categories include (as above, there are exceptions with the great rarities):

  1. Stock certificates
  2. Rare reference books, and rare books in general
  3. Modern toys
  4. Antique furniture
  5. Various segments of the art business, such as signed prints, early or historical engraved prints, etc.
  6. Various US early gold rush material
  7. Wild west collectibles (starting to come back)

The Summary here is simple: the markets are always changing, and what was once popular, may not be today. It is easily recognizable by the number of bidders on these items in any of our sales. Many collectors fail to recognize this, thinking these old markets still exist, and that the dealers or auction houses do not know what they are doing. Oh? Try selling it on your own. You'll see, quickly.

Appraisals and Certificates of Authenticity. The IRS instituted new regulations regarding appraisals, and I doubt most appraisers have ever read them. First, and foremost, any appraisal over one year old is worthless in general. Technically, it is invalid, but can offer some insight. With drastically changing markets, any appraisal over a year old must and will be viewed with skepticism. Also, many appraisals and certificates of authenticity we see do not have a date, name of the company, nor company address. These are perfectly and completely worthless.

  Fred Holabird bids

So How Do You Determine Value?

Buyers set the price, period. Once upon a time, pre-2008 market crash, and for decades before, the seller could set the prices, and thus establish what was perceived as market value. But not today. Competing collectors set the prices. I firmly believe an open market, generally with no reserves, is the only way to go. It allows for full-scale collector analysis through the open bidding process. This said, there are very important components to any public sale. The most important one is that if there is only one item in a special category in the public sale, the market may not ever see it. One item is generally not enough to draw world-interest. It often needs a full collection of 50 or more items to draw the necessary attention. Perhaps, and arguably so, the second – or tied with the first – is marketing. If the company doing the sale does not spend the time understanding and implementing advanced marketing methods, the items may never be noticed by the world collecting community. Thirdly, markets differ from place to place, and genre to genre to genre. One auction house or dealer may be far better at selling specific collecting categories than others. The only way to break through this trend is through advanced internet and print marketing. We do this extremely well, but not all possess the ability to do so for a number of reasons, much of which revolves around cost.

Will Collectibles Collectors Ever Accept the Timed Sale Medium?
As timed sales have begun to take over the numismatics field, at an internal sale cost far below that of live auctions, it became time to examine if this sale concept could work for other collecting fields.

The first thing to understand is that a live, internet sale is very costly. Each platform gets a percentage from the auction house. Many of the platforms also get a percentage from the buyer. That means the platforms get a BIG piece right off the top. The old days of a live sale being able to offer ten percent commission to a collectibles customer are long over. The costs have overcome this pricing model. The ten per cent model can only be thought of when items of approximate million dollars are sold, which can ride the rest of the auction on its back. The alternative? Spend half a million dollars and develop your own platform, then another half million in marketing it. Has this been done successfully? Yes, at least once.

The Single Item, Online, or ebay Effect (there are several similar sites, so I use this term as a sales mechanism).

Many sellers still think online selling costs are cheap. They are not. When we closed our online store and active single item auctions several years ago, our out of pocket costs for the entire last year of operation were 17%, plus our internal labor cost to list, pack and monitor sales. This was absolutely uneconomic. It does remain economic for some categories. Of late, the great majority of our online sellers that call me have told us their markets have all but disappeared after Christmas.

The New Timed Online Sales Medium
We have been experimenting with the new timed sale medium for about a year with admittedly mixed success. It was originally utilized specifically to move out old inventory that had been offered multiple times with no bids, even at greatly lowered prices, which clearly meant that the market for these collectibles was getting weaker through time. We have been lucky, and have consignors who recognize this, and have asked to convert to cash. In at least one instance, an outstanding retired dealer fully recognizes the old markets are gone, and we had to establish new markets, which we have been doing. The only way is through low starting prices that will draw (and make) new collectors. This cannot be accomplished with live auctions because of the huge increase in costs.

We, and other houses, simply cannot front the costs of selling items into the marketplace at low price levels, particularly items selling for under $100. The structure of the new internet market sales pricing is simply far too high and costly.

How are Collectibles Categories Affected by Timed Sales?
Numismatics? No problem. They are already used to it! Philatelics? Mostly ok, too. Antique bottles? Generally also seems to do fine. Other categories we are still experimenting with. Lets take a look, and comment on the why.

Stocks. The markets were beginning to go flat. There were many advanced aged collectors who dropped out of the market over the past decade. The lack of trade shows also had its effect. I have other comments that may or may not be valid, including the lack of interest today in history, both from the lack of teaching in schools, and in the iphone overtaking life. Its sad to see people with their faces pulled to the iphone screen instead of looking up into all the wonderful aspects of life itself, inclusive of history. The only way to get this market going is to start the lots low.

Post Cards. This market was in the tank. We have sold about a million post cards (ok, maybe really half a million) in the past decade. It's coming back. But we have to feed the market at low prices to stimulate collecting, just like stocks.

Will collectors be ready for this change to timed auctions? Some never will. The key is the audience and competitive bidding.

Number of bidders, bids
We have a huge audience. And I mean huge. Tens of thousands of customers. Some only want expensive items, Some of these folks, so far, do not look at the timed auctions. They only look at the live sales. It has the illusion of the best material being in the live auctions. This is a false illusion, as many of the items in the timed sales are unique, or nearly so, but do not carry the price power of certain other rare collectibles.

Many folks bid on items they want. Others bid for resale. Others bid for the fun of collecting. It is an impossibility to predict who will bid on what in advance in advance.

Bidding in the timed auctions is parallel to that of the live auctions. Most bidders prefer not to show their hands (a poker term) until the day of auction. You may not see much action in front of auction day. In timed sales, most of the lots get bid on in advance because of the low prices. Many think, perhaps properly, If you don't bid, you cant get it cheap. But by the end of the auction, there may be an average of three bids or more on each lot! Our live sales often average four or more bids per lot, showing good response and thus demand.

In summary, the timed sale is the wave of the future. Online auction platforms are beginning to price themselves out of business. I expect to see a huge decrease in the insta-online auction house over time. In a similar manner, some collectors do not understand they have a choice, and can actively choose to participate in auctions where the platform does not charge a surplus over and above the auction company's commission. The company we use as our main platform does not charge the customer an extra charge. Virtually all of the competing platforms of what I consider significant stature charge a premium. Why do collectors put up with this? Its simple- they like the format. But at some point the excess charges will cause customers to wake up.

We hope to continue to use the online timed auctions, which allow us the opportunity to gather more and more new collectors. But this format does not work with most online auction platforms because of hidden, and in my opinion, very excessive costs.

  Fred Holabird

To visit Holabird's Western Americana Collections, see:

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

Perspective. How the spatial relationships of a three-dimensional scene or object is expressed on a coin or medal design. This includes the line of sight, the angle or view of vision, and the illusion of depth. Most coin and medal designs are created in linear perspective, a straight on, frontal, single view of the person, scene or object. Every designer must be very obvious in his choice of perspective, as this will influence his design more than any technique or treatment other than the choice of his subject. Any design other than this front view, eye level design is called a "change of perspective," some of which have formal names listed below, others are merely views from a different angle.

While the linear perspective is the standard, customary view – particularly for coin designs – medallic designs are not as restrictive. Medal designers have added interest with a variety of perspectives by changing the line of sight or the viewer's eye position. (In this regard the "change of perspective" can be compared to a camera which can be raised or lowered, or moved around for a different angle, or to move in closer, or to back away for a greater field of view.)

Several problems exist in coin and medal design. First, of course, is the extremely small size. For the artist this is a very small canvas to prepare his design. Second is the raised relief of the design, where everything must be expressed in such low relief (often a few thousandths of an inch). The use of any perspectives within these design constraints are the numismatic and medallic artist's most exacting design problems (and his greatest challenge!).

The kinds of perspective are:

Linear perspective. While standing, point your arm toward a scene or object (line of sight). What you see sighting down your arm is linear perspective. Should you photograph that scene or object, the image on the photo print would be a linear perspective. Another example is that of a scene or object viewed through a picture window. Linear perspective is that image that would appear on the window pane. This is also called picture plane.

The artist who chooses to do a mirror image of reality design must use this obvious perspective: face on, eye level, front view, what you see is what you get in the design. In numismatics this is expressed as the frontal view – the full face, the facade of a building or the principal side of an object, its picture plane.

Linear perspective utilizes several artistic techniques, these include: foreshortening – closer things look bigger, distant things are correspondingly smaller. Foreshortening is far more evident when the depth of field is greater, as in scenes. In portraits and most devices it is hardly evident because the depth of field is not that deep.

Linear perspective makes dramatic use of the vanishing point – things at such a great distance will be so small as to vanish, as the railroad tracks come to a point and vanish in the distance. The medals of Jacques Wiener are the most obvious of this kind of perspective. Linear perspective also makes use of the ground line – which is often the base line – and a horizon line, although these may, or may not, be expressed in any numismatic or medallic design.

It is very important to remember that in numismatic cataloging, linear perspective is considered to be the normal perspective. If the design is any other than that of linear, it must be so stated in the numismatic description.

Aerial perspective. An aerial view is that as seen from above, as from an airplane, looking down usually on some small geographical area. It is also called bird's eye view, as if seen from the eye of a bird. The technique can give a lot of meaning to a number of buildings and has been widely used for World's Fairs since 1851.

Blueprints have a top view, the equivalent of aerial view; a side view, like linear perspective, and often a perspective view. While aerial view is a "map" of many features seen from above, the original concept of aerial perspective was identified and named by Leonard da Vinci. He also related it to the declining colors of distant objects.

Mixed perspective. Many views, each with its own different perspective, as an artistic arrangement of one medallic design, is known as mixed perspective. An example is the American Law Publishing Medal by Frank Eliscu.

Other perspectives. "Vaulted perspective" is the opposite of aerial perspective. Instead of looking down, the line of sight is looking skyward, looking upwards. Tall things like tall trees or buildings come together like the inside of a vaulted ceiling. Dramatic medallic designs have been made of this perspective.

Angular, parallel and panoramic perspectives are other tools of the designer, perhaps with limited application to coin and medal design. Conceivably, however, these perspectives could be employed by daring designers for perhaps some quite dramatic medallic art.

Position of the viewer's eye. While linear is the normal, should the designer move in any direction to change the view, up or down, sideways, forward or backward, this is a change of perspective. Film directors have raised this technique to a fine art, as the camera angle changes often in motion pictures. This is done to add interest, highlight details and emphasize dramatic scenes. It keeps a film from becoming boring. It could do the same in medallic art when coin and medal designers occasionally change the perspective in their designs.

Creating an illusion of depth. Coin relief is about 1/32nd of an inch deep; medal relief can be higher, say as much as 3/8th of an inch. How can a designer indicate vast depth in these restrictive dimensions? The answer is in bas-relief. This sculptural technique enables the designer and modeler to give the perception of distance by extreme compression. A battle scene stretching for miles, for instance, can be shown on a coin or medal in bas-relief within these parameters. The inside of an immense cathedral can be shown on a 3-inch medal that includes extensive architectural detail (the Wiener medals illustrated herewith). Bas-relief gives designers this amazing sculptural ability once it is mastered.

Cataloging perspective. Any perspective other than linear should be identified when cataloging any coin or medal. Since linear perspective is considered the normal, any other should be identified.

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

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TED BINION (1943-1998)

E-Sylum Feature Writer and American Numismatic Biographies author Pete Smith submitted this article on Ted Binion, son of Las Vegas Horseshoe casino owner Benny Binion. Thanks! -Editor

  Ted Binion (1943-1998)

Ted Binion.01 This week I added Ted Binion to the Numismatic Rogues Gallery. He has been mentioned here previously in shorter versions of his story.

Lonnie Theodore Binion was born in Dallas, Texas, on November 28, 1943, the son of casino owner Benny Binion. Benny owned Binion's Horseshoe Casino on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas. He got in trouble for tax evasion and lost his gaming license in 1964.

His sons took over management of the casino. Jack Binion, age 23, became president and Ted Binion, age 21, became casino manager. Ted enjoyed the night life, partying and hosting poker tournaments. He also enjoyed recreational drugs and recreational women.

Sandy Murphy.01 Ted picked up a wife and two children along the way. He was married to Doris from 1980 to 1995. She was set aside when he invited 23-year-old Sandy Murphy to move in with him. She had come from Los Angeles and lost all her money playing poker. To support herself, she worked as a topless dancer at Cheetahs, a club owned by Binion.

Casino owners are supposed to avoid drug use and avoid friendships with gangsters. Binion got in trouble for both. Drug use got his license suspended in May 1997 when he failed a drug test. His license was permanently revoked in March 1998 because of involvement with gangster Herbert Fat Herbie Blitzstein. By that time, Blitzstein had come to an unfortunate end with a bullet in the back of his head.

Ted's banning from the Horseshoe created a heavy problem. He no longer had access to tons of silver stashed in a vault in the basement. He hired a family friend, contractor Rick Tabish, to build him an underground vault on vacant land near downtown Pahrump, Nevada, for $40,000. The vault contained 46,000 pounds of silver bullion. 135,000 Morgan and Peace silver dollars, casino chips and currency.

Rick Tabish.01 Binion was not aware that his trusted friend Tabish was having an affair with Murphy. On July 4, 1998, Tabish and workers transported the treasure to Pahrump and buried it. Binion advised the sheriff to keep an eye on the property.

Tabish had other business interests. It was alleged that Tabish and Steven Wadkins kidnapped Leo Casey and took him to a sand pit he owned on July 28, 1998. There they beat him with the yellow pages phone book and tortured him for more than an hour to sign over ownership of the sand pit.

Sandy Murphy called police on September 17, 1998. They found Ted Binion lying dead on a yoga mat. An autopsy found heroin and Xanex in his system. Although suicide was considered, the death was believed to be a drug overdose.

An investigation found that Binion had bought twelve balloons of tar heroin on the day before his death. He had also filled a prescription for Xanex. That day he told his attorney, Jim Brown, Take Sandy out of the will, if she doesn't kill me tonight. If I am dead, you will know what happened. His brother, Jack, and sister, Becky, pressured authorities to investigate it as a homicide.

Two nights after Binion's death, Rick Tabish was discovered at 2:00 in the morning, digging up the Pahrump vault with two helpers. He claimed that Binion told him (Tabish) that if anything happened to him (Binion), Tabish should dig up the vault and give the contents to Binion's daughter. Authorities did not believe him.

Murphy and Tabish were arrested in June 1999 and charged with murder, robbery, grand theft, burglary and conspiracy. The prosecution contended the defendants had suffocated him by covering his nose and mouth and sitting on him. The trial was a national media sensation. Both were convicted in May of 2000. Tabish received a sentence of twenty-five years to life in prison. Murphy got twenty-two years to life.

Binion was known to keep valuables like gold, diamonds and currency around the house and may have buried some on his property. Intruders came in the night and dug holes in his lawn. Former Binion ranch manager David Mattsen told authorities he could lead them to buried treasure. A septic tank was dug up and a hollow tree examined. The missing treasure was not found.

Three years after the trial the Nevada Supreme Court overturned the conviction. They contended that evidence of the Leo Casey assault should not have been presented and was prejudicial. After a second trial, both were acquitted of the murder charges but convicted on the lesser charges. Murphy was given credit for time served and was released from prison. Tabish was released on parole on April 2, 2010.

Sandy Murphy later married Kevin Pieropan and they own an art gallery in Laguna Beach, California.

Rick Tabish returned to business in Montana. One project seeks to turn smelter waste into pig iron and proppant used in fracking. Another project involves construction of a huge facility to mine cryptocurrency.

Becky Binion Behnen acquired controlling interest in The Horseshoe in 1998. The $1 million currency exhibit was sold to Jay Parino. Long disputes with labor unions put the casino out of business. It was sold to Harrah's Entertainment and reopened under their management in 2004.

At last report, there were two places to see a million dollars in Las Vegas. Binion's Gambling Hall and Hotel at the original Fremont Street location has plexiglass cases in the form of a pyramid. It includes $270,000 in $100 bills, $688,000 in $20 bills and $42,000 in $1 bills.

Horseshoe Las Vegas Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas strip has a display reported to have 10,000 $100 bills. There is also a $1 million wall display at the Horseshoe Casino in Bossier City, Louisiana.

The Binion hoard contained 135,000 Morgan and Peace silver dollars. About 50,000 of them were uncirculated. They were acquired by Spectrum Numismatic International for $3.3 million. Numismatic Guaranty Company put them in holders with a special green label indicating they came from the Binion collection. Goldline International Inc. began marketing them in 2002. These have sold on the market at a higher level than similar grades without the Binion label.

Was Binion's death accidental, suicide or murder? That question remains unanswered.

To read earlier E-Sylum articles, see:

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Jim Haas submitted this article on Boston engravers Henry Mitchell and Francis Nalder Mitchell. Thanks! -Editor

  A Brief History of Boston's Engravers Mitchell©
By James E. Haas

Henry Mitchell portrait Engraver Henry Mitchell was mentioned in my recent comments on MacNeil's models for the Quarter, but little was said about his life, career and many contributions to the medallic arts. With this piece I will offer more about him and answer one question that has often been asked in his regard.

That sculptor Hermon Atkins MacNeil was also a gifted medallic artist has been well documented here and elsewhere. It is known that his uncle Henry Mitchell, 1836-1909, had married his mother's sister Elizabeth Pratt in 1864, and that when a young boy, his aunt had invited young Hermon to join their two daughters in their art lessons. Subsequently, and throughout his growing years, Uncle Henry actively supported Hermon's artistic inclinations and talent to the point of funding his second year of studies in Paris where MacNeil's first teacher at the Académie Julian was Henri-Michel-Antoine-Chapu, a master in low relief. Other than Chapu, MacNeil neither commented on nor referenced anyone who might have been his inspiration or mentor in the medallic arts, not his uncle, not even his uncle's friend and fellow engraver, Augustus Saint-Gaudens and at no time did he ever mention Francis Nalder Mitchell, Boston's original engraver named Mitchell. So, who was he and what was Henry Mitchell's connection to him?

  Henry Mitchell

Henry Mitchell's father was Henry Riddle Mitchell the second child, one of ten, born to Laurence and Rachel McCallum on September 18, 1801 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Notably for our purposes, the eighth child born on May 20, 1810 was named Francis Nalder Mitchell. This information confirms, for reasons that follow, that he was Henry Mitchell's uncle, and not, as has been suggested, that he was his brother.

On April 27, 1821, Henry Riddle Mitchell married Janet Sibbald Sinock at Edinburgh's St. Cuthbert's Church of Scotland. Two children were born, Francis in 1832 and Agnes in 1834 before setting sail aboard the ship Glide from Greenock, Scotland, arriving in New York Harbor on July 26, 1836. A third child, a son named for his father, was born in New York City. According to the New England Genealogical and Historical Association, he was born on September 15, 1837. Others say it was 1836.

Henry Riddle Mitchell moved his growing family from New York to Philadelphia around 1847 and became a citizen on July 11, 1849. He died of typhoid fever on May 4, 1850 and was buried in Philadelphia's North Cedar Hill Cemetery. That year's census taken in August shows Janet, enumerated as Jeanette, living in the city's Kensington section with her family. Three additional children have been born, Isabella, George and Norman. Francis the first-born, whose work is plating silver, will take up engraving. Shortly after his father's death, Henry, Jr. relocated to Massachusetts there to join his uncle Francis Nalder Mitchell's engraving company. Jeanette Mitchell remained in Philadelphia until her death on October 26, 1889. She along with daughters Agnes, who died in 1902 and Isabella, in 1927, are also buried in North Cedar Hill Cemetery. Francis and Norman followed in what appeared to be the family's line of work, engraving.

  Henry Mitchell Engraver ad

In a citizenship document executed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and signed by Francis Nalder Mitchell on July 25, 1847, he declared that he arrived in New York harbor on or about October 13, 1839. His memory was excellent, but off by one day. The three-masted packet ship Rocius dropped anchor on October 12th. Shortly thereafter, he moved to Massachusetts, established his business and began paying taxes in 1842. Living with a family in the Boston suburb of Dedham, he is enumerated in the 1850 census and again in the 1855 census of Chelsea; this year with his nephew Henry. Both are engaged in the art of engraving. Sometime in the future on a date unknown, the two men entered into a co-partnership that was called F. N. & H. Mitchell. It was formally dissolved in July 1862, whereupon the business was conducted under the name of Henry Mitchell. Before that happened, and on another date unknown, Francis returned to Scotland, where on April 29, 1862 he married Mary M. Liddell. The ceremony took place in Anderston, an area of Glasgow on the north bank of the River Clyde that forms the south western edge of the city center. Francis died four days shy of their second wedding anniversary and was buried in Warriston Cemetery in Edinburgh. Charles Liddell Mitchell was born on July 19, 1863, but did not survive. Mary married Rev. W. M. Dempster on August 3, 1869.

Centennial Commission medal Both Francis Nalder Mitchell and nephew Henry rank high in the pantheon of American medalists. Their output was substantial; their quality superb. Over the course of his career, Henry Nalder Mitchell engraved dies for the Royal Hawaiian Agricultural Society, the Maine State and the United States Agricultural Societies, the Massachusetts Horticultural Society and the Commodore Matthew C. Perry Medal among others. His nephew Henry Mitchell's accomplishments, too numerous to catalogue, include being chosen in 1868 as the official engraver of the dies for the stamped envelopes of the U. S. Government. He did this for the next 40 years. 

    White spacer bar
  Belmont Town Seal
  State Seals
  Arms of the United States

Great Seal of Wisconsin Throughout this time, Henry Mitchell was also responsible for engraving the seals of the Secretary of the Navy and the Internal Revenue Service from Alaska to Florida and Maine. He also engraved the state seals for Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin. Outside of state and federal government engraving, Mitchell engraved the seals and coats of arms for many well-known institutions that include Harvard University, the Society of the Cincinnati and the Boston Public Library. He engraved the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition award medal (1876) that was struck in the Philadelphia Mint. Because Mitchell was also a respected designer of Coats of Arms, at the request of Boston-area lithographer Louis Prang, he engraved Coats of Arms for the original Thirteen colonies. His book on the subject was published in concert with the 1876 celebration. As it turned out, it was Prang who encouraged MacNeil to apply for the teaching position at Cornell University which he did following graduation from the Massachusetts Normal Art School in 1886.

  Medal Francis N. Mitchell silver Benjamin Franklin medal
  Treaty of Peace medal
  Royal Hawaiian Agriculture Society medals
  Corcoran Gallery of Arts medal
  Commodore Perry medal
  Massachusetts Horticultural medal

In 1891, Mitchell was invited by the Secretary of the Treasury to join a committee to evaluate the artistic design proposals for a new issue of U.S. silver coins. The two other members were Charles E. Barber, Chief Engraver of the United States Mint and Augustus Saint-Gaudens.  Most informed numismatists know how that turned out.

It is safe to say that if Hermon Atkins MacNeil had models in whose footsteps he wanted to follow, he could not have had any finer ones than Francis Nalder Mitchell, whose work he had probably been shown, and his uncle Henry Mitchell, whose works he undoubtedly knew. February 27th marked MacNeil's 148th birthday.

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The Royal Canadian Mint is issuing a series of coins celebrating Canadian diversity. Here's an article about one of the coins and its designer. -Editor

A London, Ont., artist's design for a new coin has been selected by the Royal Canadian Mint as winner for their newest collection celebrating Canadian diversity.

Soheila Esfahani, a visual arts professor at Western University, crafted small gold and silver coins with a turquoise centre in her design called "transcendence and tranquility."

  Soheila Esfahani with her canadian-Iranian coins

Esfahani spoke to CBC Radio's Afternoon Drive host Colin Butler to share how her Iranian roots inspired her design.

canadian-Iranian coin Colin Butler: Your coin design is beautiful. Can you describe it to us?

Soheila Esfahani: The coin design has elements of Eslimi or arabesque design that comes from Islamic culture. It also has elements from a flower from Persepolis, and also a maple leaf, so all of these things become almost like a medallion on the coin, with the centre being turquoise.

CB: What went through your mind when you found out you had the winning design?

SE: I was quite excited because part of my art practice is that I code these designs on everyday objects and exhibit them as my art pieces. So this was very much in line with what I've been doing but really on another level because the coin is an object that circulates all the time. It was an interesting and amazing opportunity I had. I was excited that all of these things I'm thinking about in the coin design were coming together.

CB: You talked about Islamic design, the floral patterns and the symmetry. Was that the inspiration for this design?

SE: Partly, I was originally thinking about what would be an object that Iranians tend to bring to Canada when they immigrate or visit, to remember their culture, and that one object is a Persian rug. We all sort of bring one with us at one time or another to use in our homes in Canada.

I was looking at the rug that I had in my house — and it's centre medallion — so I used that floral design as inspiration for this coin design. But those kinds of floral designs are also used in other kinds of decorative designs.

To read the complete article, see:
Q&A: London artist's Royal Canadian Mint coin design celebrates Iranian-Canadian heritage (

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The January 2024 issue of TEC News from The Elongated Collectors club featured an article by Cindy Calhoun about a die ring used by Ray Dillard to press elongated coins. With permission we're republiching it here. Thanks! -Editor

TEC News January 2024 issue cover A missing die ring is found
(aka why we need more databases and spreadsheets of elongated coins!
Cindy Calhoun, TEC 3467

One of the elongateds included in this issue was a donation from Alan Hubbard. But there is more to the story than just a donation, there were mysteries to be solved! In June, Alan purchased a die ring on eBay. He doesn't have a rolling machine but thought it would be a great piece of Elongated Ephemera for his collection. He sent me a photo of the United States Mint Philadelphia image (the coin in this issue) from the die ring and asked me if I knew anything about the design. I asked a bunch of additional questions about the other images, size of the ring, initials, etc.

  Die Ring 1

Fortunately, I have a Frank Brazzell spreadsheet that one of our members developed (thanks Jason). I was able to quickly search and find the United States Mint elongated. I then confirmed the numbering in the hard copy of the Brazzell catalog. The United States Mint image is one of the five images listed in that catalog as Roll 596, done for Ray Dillard. Next was a check of Ray's catalog, which listed the image as DIL-125, with 596-B below (the catalog number from the Brazzel catalog NOTE- I will start using FBxxx-x for this article although the FB part of the numbering isn't in Ray's catalog). The image was done in 1988. Another image shown on that roll is on the die ring Alan purchased, David Rittenhouse Director of the Mint. In Ray's copy of the Brazzell catalog, Ray wrote that these five images were on two different rings. (NOTE: The Brazzell catalog has Roll # with the images. Although it may be thought those images were on the same die rings, that often is not the case.) The David Rittenhouse image is cataloged as DIL-127 (FB596-C), also done in 1988. Two images down, and two to go.

The die's next image was U.S. Mint Bicentennial. Again, quickly found on the spreadsheet then confirmed in the Brazzel catalog as #486 (but listed with 3 other images not on the die ring being researched). In the Dillard catalog this Mint Bicentennial image is DIL-106 (FB 486-A) and was done in 1987.

The fourth image on the ring was a bit harder to figure out. It was coin images with no additional wording, meaning I couldn't find it using the spreadsheet search because we didn't know what the images were. A page-by-page review of pictures in Ray's catalog turned up the image of Half Disme (NO, it's not a typo) (Heads & Tails) as DIL-180 (FB836-A) which was done in 1990. All four images identified, but there were still mysteries…

Die Ring 2 There was a large gouge on the die ring before the Half Disme image. I went through Ray's physical die records (stored in 50+ boxes in my office) and found a letter Ray wrote on December 10, 1990 to Craig Whitford. Apparently all four designs were done for Craig over a number of years. The letter from Ray was about rolling the Half Disme image on silver quarters for Craig. Apparently the original rolling of that image was on dimes, so the image size was made smaller to fit better on dimes. Here are excerpts from Ray's letter to Craig:

  1. Image was sized for dimes, so you crossed me up in wanting quarters.
  2. Larger silver coins are more difficult to roll than clad coins. The die bites off the edge of the softer metal.
  3. Rolling circulated silver coins is more successful than rolling high relief uncirculated coins. The high relief areas keep the low relief areas from flowing into the die design.
  4. In my efforts to center the design on the quarter… I ground another starter notch on the die but as I said, it kept biting off the edge of the coin … then I had to enlarge the notch and increase pressure to make the coin longer and thinner to force the silver into the die.

  Die Ring 3

Obviously Ray wasn't thrilled with how the silver coins came out. But his letter provides information I thought would be helpful to current rollers who may be attempting to roll silver coins. It also solves the mystery of the gouge on the die ring. The only remaining mystery… why wasn't this die ring with the rest of Ray's die rings? Who did he send it to, and why? The eBay seller was no help… if you have any information, please pass it along.

Over the next few years, you will receive the other images from this die ring as inserts for the newsletter. You will notice that each of the images will have an engraved star (see previous article about engraving a star on Ray's die rings). I'll be rolling the Half Disme image last… not sure how it's going to roll on a cent with that extra starter slot!

Die Ring 4 What this research taught me is that we really do need to develop more databases and spreadsheets of elongated coins to make research easier. TEC is working on updating Yesterday's Elongateds with the help of a number of our members who have been entering information into a spreadsheet developed by our TEC Editor, Sandy. We are also piloting digital catalog entry of Ray's coins (including expanding to include the last 10 years of his designs), entry of the hundreds of designs I've done, and starting on capturing the designs made by Brad Ream. We are always looking for members willing to do some data entry on these projects or other related projects. Wouldn't it be great if future generations could go to one place to research and find information about any elongated! Probably not in my lifetime, but I hope it happens eventually! Let's take a step in that direction. If you have spreadsheets of private rollers, other catalogs, etc., that you are willing to share, please let us know!

We'll look forward to the update to the Yesterday's Elongateds book. Who can help out with the cataloging? Do you have access to any information about elongated coin makers you could share?

Ray Dillard was a welcome presence at coin shows, always happy to talk with people, roll out some coins, and promote the hobby. -Editor

Craig Whitford writes:

"Wow! That takes me back to the time when I had a business known as the Numismatic Card Company. I produced a variety of postcards, many with artwork that I had commissioned. I produced the series of elongates relating to the Bicentennial of the U.S. Mint. I designed them all and had Ray Dillard roll them for me - I'd love to purchase the roll in the article! I have another roll with similar images on it.

"For a time I served as TEC News editor and publisher. Ray also produced for me a number of elongates for various events at the Michigan State Capitol, Ingham County Court House and others. It was alway great fun! Ray Dillard was a true gentleman. At one event inside the Michigan State Capitol Ray told the legislators who visited the exhibits that he was "stretching coins to make them go farther." Before he passed he sent me a 3-Ring binder of the elongates that we produced together.

"Back to the U.S. Mint Bicentennial elongates. I had them rolled on a variety of coins. Some of them were then attached to descriptive postcards and offered to my clients. Every now and then I see them appear on eBay.

"Many thanks for the walk down memory lane."

For more information on The Elongated Collectors, see:

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E-Sylum supporter Jeff Rock of Rosa Americana, LTD has issued a new fixed price list of U.S. colonial coins. To get your copy, contact Jeff at Here are a few items that caught my eye. -Editor

  The Very Rare Noe 13 Pine Tree Shilling
A contemporary counterfeit issue – clipped to an octagon shape!
Likely struck 1680-1690 - one of the first American-made counterfeits!

  Noe-13.O. Noe-13.R.

2. 1652 Pine Tree Shilling. Noe-13, Salmon 13-X, W-780. High Rarity-6. 41.6 grains. Very Good or better for the variety which is a CONTEMPORARY COUNTERFEIT that was purposely weakly struck, and usually found on heavily-clipped, lightweight planchets. Only faint traces of the peripheral legends can be seen on this example, as the piece has been heavily clipped down to pretty much a perfect octagon shape – a Pine Tree shilling stop sign! The last three digits of the date are faint but visible, as are the II of the XII denomination; the obverse tree is mostly sharp at the center obverse, the distinct triangular leaves making the variety easy to attribute, even in lower grades – which is a good thing since that is pretty much how the variety comes. Nice light silver color, a few light marks from circulation as expected on a well-used coin, but nothing major.

A charming example of a rare variety, especially given its unique shape. The die work and lettering are not so far off from the real Massachusetts silver issues to have caused much notice when these were made. It is interesting that all known specimens are on small, clipped planchets of roughly 40 grains – this means that the counterfeiters were not trying to make the coins look like the Small Planchet type shillings, but to actually make them look like well-used and heavily clipped Large Planchet types. While the silver content of Noe.13 varieties have not been tested it is likely that they are at least close to that found on Massachusetts Silver coins (which were themselves mostly made from melted down Spanish silver).

The profit made by the counterfeiter likely came from these being circulated at the full shilling value, even though they were clearly 40% or so underweight – a 1692 Act stated that the coyn of the late Massachusetts Colony shall pass currant at the rate it was stampt for" (the full text can be found in Crosby, page 99), which suggests that even heavily-clipped coins were passing at their full face value at this time. One of the more interesting varieties in the Massachusetts Silver series, undoubtedly a contemporary counterfeit made at a time that the large planchet types in circulation would have been well-worn and clipped, but still circulating alongside small planchet types, with the 1680-1690 period thus most likely. This time period would make it one of the very first struck counterfeits to be made in America (just one variety of NE sixpence likely predates this as a counterfeit), and it is certainly a very deceptively made one.

Seldom offered for sale, this example is just…

Unknown to Syd Martin, ex Partrick Collection
A chance to obtain a UNIQUE colonial SILVER coin!

  1723 Hib Farth Silver 3.10-Bc.2.Full

6. 1723 Hibernia Farthing, Struck in Silver. Martin 3.10-Bc.2, W-12500. UNLISTED IN THIS METAL, UNIQUE AS SUCH, Rarity-9. NGC graded Good 6, though much nicer than that, and a solid Fine in terms of wear received. An amazing piece, hidden in the collection of Don Partrick, and unknown to Syd Martin when he wrote his book on the Wood's Hibernia series. This was Lot 15227 in the Heritage Auctions March, 2021 auction of the Partrick collection where it was plated and described as:

1723 Hibernia Farthing, Silver, 67.4 grains, W-12500, "M. 3.10-Bc.2," Good 6 NGC. Only a few Hibernia farthings were struck in silver. The Martin reference does not include this example, which has the same reverse as M. 3.1-Bc.2, but features a different obverse. Apparently, Martin was not aware of the coin in Donald G. Partrick's holdings. The die combination is probably unique in silver. This coin shows attractive old-silver toning with smoothly worn devices, with a few light pinscratches below the bust. It is one of the most important coins in the series and a prize for colonial collectors as well as Hibernia specialists. Listed on page 46 of the 2021 Guide Book.
Ex: Donald G. Partrick.

The silver Hibernia farthings are quite rare today as most have been absorbed into large collections. The known silver Hibernia farthings were known in three varieties, two of which were listed as R-5 (3.2-Bc.10 and 3.3-Bc.3), while another was unique (1724 5.1-G.1), so to find a completely unlisted die variety in silver is special indeed. There aren't many opportunities for a collector to obtain a unique variety of colonial coin, but this is one of them! Though I am saddened that Syd Martin passed away before he had a chance to add it to his incomparable cabinet, I am pleased to offer it here.

Accompanied by Donald Partrick's original handwritten envelope, with a provenance to a Lester Merkin sale where it was recognized as unique in silver


  Baker 79C.O. Baker 79C.R.

69. Circa 1800 Hero of Freedom Medal. Musante GW-81, Baker-79C. Bronze, Fire Gilt. Plain edge. High Rarity-6. Extremely Fine, a large and handsome medal that would have gleamed like bright gold when new, and the reverse is very nearly in that condition still. There is rub on the high points of Washington's hair and the epaulet on his shoulder, and those areas and the obverse fields have the gilt worn away, showing the bronze metal beneath, though ample gilt remains in the details of Washington's bust, and the entire periphery. The reverse fared better and is nearly full gilt, with just the lightest rub on the highest points of the design, which suggests this was in a collector's cabinet, obverse side up and the reverse protected by the soft felt it rested on, likely for a century or more. A very rare variant in the series, the planchets were gilded prior to strike and these were clearly made as something special, both flashier and costlier than the regular bronze versions. As late as the sale of the Ford collection this was touted as an extreme rarity with just three known.

By the time the Norweb Washingtonia sold in 2006 the number was 5, but there were a pair in the original Baker collection sold in the 2019 C4 auction, and another pair in the Anton collection sold in the 2020 and 2021 C4 sales, these all high grade pieces that brought $2,400 to $3,600. The true population is likely 15 or so known in fire gilt, some quite high grade which were clearly cherished, others worn down as low as Good (!), which were likely kept as pocket pieces, as they would have been larger than any copper coin in circulation in the US – and wouldn't have circulated as a gold piece as a quick test would have shown it to be gilt and not actual gold.

The 1800 date puts them at the time of the Washington funeral celebrations, and these gilt versions may have been produced for sale at – or for wearing to – some of those events, and the presence of silver specimens that included a holed and worn example in the Norweb sale strongly support that supposition. A special piece for the collector, there are only a handful of early Washington issues that come gilt, and they are quite stunning in hand, especially for those of us more used to copper hues.

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Here's the press release for the upcoming Stack's Bowers Galleries sale of the Richard Margolis Collection of American medals and related items. An amazing sale with many great rarities. -Editor

Stack's Bowers Galleries is pleased to present Part I of the Richard Margolis Collection on March 25 at Griffin Studios in Costa Mesa, California. Gathered over more than six decades of dedication to numismatics, Richard Margolis' collection of American medals and related items showcases his scholarship, his international network of friends and colleagues, and his endless curiosity for objects and their stories. The 243-lot session will feature Margolis' collections of Betts medals, illustrating persons and events related to American history during the second half of the 18th century. Also featured will be Margolis' world class collection of portrait medallions of the period.

  John Stewart at Stony Point medal obverse John Stewart at Stony Point medal reverse
John Stewart at Stony Point medal

The Margolis Collection of Comitia Americana and Related Medals is one of the finest ever formed, led by the only privately-owned specimen of the extremely rare John Stewart at Stony Point medal, Betts-267. His collection of terracotta portraits by Jean-Baptiste Nini formed the basis for the award-winning 2015 work Benjamin Franklin in Terra Cotta, while his collection of porcelain medallions by Wedgwood and others is the finest ever offered in an American numismatic auction as well as one of the finest offered anywhere. Highlights include:

  George III Lion and Wolf Indian Peace Medal obverse George III Lion and Wolf Indian Peace Medal reverse

Lot 1019. (Ca. 1777) George III Lion and Wolf Indian Peace Medal. Betts-535, Adams 10.1, Dies 1-A. Silver, 61 mm. AU-55 (PCGS).

Lot 1070. 1779 (1789) John Stewart at Stony Point Medal. Betts-567. Bronze, 45.8 mm. MS-62 (PCGS). The Only Confirmed Example in Private Hands

Lot 1079. 1776 (1783) Libertas Americana Medal. Betts-615. Silver, 48 mm. MS-62 (PCGS).

  Benjamin Franklin Lord of Lightning Medal obverse Benjamin Franklin Lord of Lightning Medal reverse

Lot 1092. 1790 Benjamin Franklin, The Lord of Lightning Medal. Fuld FR.M.NL.8. Silver, 39 mm. MS-62 (PCGS).

Lot 1103. 1801 Thomas Jefferson Inaugural / 25th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence Medal. Julian PR-2. Silver, 45 mm. SP-62 (PCGS).

Lot 1142. 1774 Portrait Medallion of Marie Antoinette, Queen of France, to left. By Jean-Baptiste Nini. Baiardi- Sibille 83, Storelli-LIV, Villers-35. Terracotta or Terre de Pipe.

Lot 1154. 1778 Benjamin Franklin Portrait Medallion. Bare Head Left; French Legend. By Jean-Baptiste Nini. Margolis-19, Baiardi-Sibille 95, Greenslet GM-292, Storelli-LXVI, Villers-Unlisted. Terracotta.

Lot 1167. (Ca. 1775) Benjamin Franklin portrait medallion by Wedgwood and Bentley. Modeled by William Hackwood. Jasperware, white relief on gray-blue ground dipped darker blue. In an ornate contemporary gilt brass frame with mount and ring. 65 x 88 mm. Reilly and Savage type a.

Lot 1177. (Ca. 1778) Benjamin Franklin portrait medallion by Wedgwood and Bentley. Jasperware, white relief on blue-gray ground dipped dark blue with beveled edges. 80 x 99 mm. Reilly and Savage type c. Wedgwood Portraits and the American Revolution (National Portrait Gallery, 1976), pp. 84-85 (this piece).

  DON'T TREAD ON ME intaglio seal by Wedgwood and Bentley

Lot 1221. (1777) Rattlesnake DON'T TREAD ON ME intaglio seal by Wedgwood and Bentley. Jasperware, dark blue body with black wash. 20 x 18 mm. Wedgwood Portraits and the American Revolution (National Portrait Gallery, 1976), pp. 118-119.

Bidding for the Richard Margolis Collection is available online at Lot viewing will be available at the Stack's Bowers Galleries headquarters in Costa Mesa, in their New York Gallery, and at the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Expo in Baltimore, Maryland March 19-22.

Richard Margolis started collecting coins in 1943 and was making significant acquisitions by the early 1950s. He quickly concentrated on France during the era of the French Revolution and the reign of Napoleon. Rather than American numismatics leading him to international collecting interests, his numismatic Francophilia led him back to the United States, with a focus on Parisian favorite Benjamin Franklin. Franklin portraiture in medallic form was interesting to Margolis regardless of composition — bronze or silver, porcelain or terracotta. Around his Franklin collection, Margolis built an impressive cabinet of pieces that displayed those Franklin knew or associated with, leading to a world class collection of Comitia Americana medals in particular.

The Margolis Collection of Comitia Americana medals is arguably the most complete ever built, noted cataloger John Kraljevich. He's the only collector to have an original John Stewart medal. Richard was savvy enough to locate the medal in an English auction, and it's been in this cabinet for 40 years. Whoever buys it is the odds-on favorite to become the first person to build a complete set of Comitia Americana medals since the era of the Founding Fathers.

Margolis' collection of portrait medallions includes lifetime medallic images of Franklin, Washington, Captain Cook, John Paul Jones, and many other luminaries. The impressions in terracotta of the portraits by Nini have been legendary since Franklin's lifetime, commented cataloger John Pack. To offer these pieces alongside so many fine rarities by Wedgwood, Sevres, and others makes this an important reference catalog and an exciting departure from a more typical medal sale.

Richard Margolis (1931-2018) was a native New Yorker and a resident of New Jersey most of his life. His research was featured in well-regarded publications in the United States and Europe, and his knowledgeable but approachable demeanor made him one of the most respected dealers of his generation. In 1972, Margolis and his late wife Sara were among the founders of the New York International Numismatic Convention (NYINC). Future offerings from the Margolis Collection will include rare French coins and patterns, additional portrait medallions of principally European interest, and important coins and medals from around the world.

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In their March 18, 2024 U.S. Coins Showcase Auction, Heritage is offering a number of nice error coins. Here's a selection from a recent Heritage email. -Editor

Error coins serve as fascinating glimpses into the minting process, offering tangible evidence of the complexities and occasional imperfections inherent in the production of coins. Each error coin is a one-of-a-kind anomaly that escaped the rigorous quality control measures of mints, making them rare exceptions in a field that values precision and uniformity. Our March 18 Error Coinage Showcase Auction focuses on these unique treasures, giving you the chance to add these relics of the minting process into your collection.

  1921-D off-center Morgan Dollar obverse 1921-D off-center Morgan Dollar reverse

1921-D $1 Morgan Dollar -- Struck 5% Off Center -- AU55 PCGS. A boldly impressed Morgan dollar, struck 5% off center between 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock on the obverse and between 9 o'clock and 3 o'clock on the reverse. A trace of highpoint wear appears over the devices, but the coin was quickly removed from circulation by a fortunate finder. This 1921-D remains an important and unusual mint error -- few silver dollar errors were ever released to the public. Attractive gold-gray and lilac patina covers each side, with generous mint luster remaining beneath the toning.

To read the complete lot description, see:
1921-D $1 Morgan Dollar -- Struck 5% Off Center -- AU55 PCGS. A boldly impressed Morgan dollar, struck 5% off center... (

  1999 Lincoln Cent Three Planchet Bonded Group obverse
  1999 Lincoln Cent Three Planchet Bonded Group reverse

1999 1C Lincoln Cent -- Three Planchet Bonded Group -- MS64 Red NGC. (7.5 grams). An NGC photo certificate of authenticity accompanies the lot.

To read the complete lot description, see:
1999 1C Lincoln Cent -- Three Planchet Bonded Group -- MS64 Red NGC. (7.5 grams). An NGC photo certificate of authent. (

  2000 Broadstruck Lincoln Cent obverse 2000 Broadstruck Lincoln Cent reverse

2000 1C Lincoln Cent -- 50% Brockage and Broadstruck -- MS65 Red PCGS. Ex: Fred Weinberg Collection.

To read the complete lot description, see:
2000 1C Lincoln Cent -- 50% Brockage and Broadstruck -- MS65 Red PCGS. Ex: Fred Weinberg Collection.... (

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In their upcoming sale Noonan's will offer a selection of British and Irish banknotes. Here's the press release. -Editor

  Lot 142 - Bank of England, Basil G. Catterns - please credit Noonans

A rare, if not unique£500 note will be offered at Noonans Mayfair in a sale of British and Irish banknotes on Thursday, March 14, 2024. Dating from October 1929, it is estimated to fetch£20,000-24,000 and is the only known surviving£500 note signed by Basil G Catterns, who was Chief Cashier between 1929-1934. It is being sold by a long-time collector of British notes who has owned it for almost 15 years [lot 142].

As Andrew Pattison, Head of the Banknotes Department at Noonans commented: This is a staggeringly rare and important note, and it is in wonderful clean condition, especially considering it is now almost 100 years old. For anyone who collects Catterns notes or indeed any Bank of England notes, this would be likely the pinnacle of their collection.

This is one of several rare Bank of England notes in the sale – all of which have rarely been seen at auction for several decades. An exceptionally early£50 note dating from April 1780 is estimated at£26,000-32,000. Signed by Abraham Newland, who was Chief Cashier between 1782-1807 It is being sold by another long-term collector of Bank of England notes [lot 107].

As Mr Pattison said: Abraham Newland was quite a character, who apparently slept in the bank for 25 years. This is one of only two notes of this denomination to be recorded – so it is truly remarkable.

  Lot 114 - Bank of England, Horace G. Bowen,£100 - please credit Noonans 2

A£100 note from the Birmingham branch of the Bank of England, dated May 1894 and signed by Horace G. Bowen, who was Chief Cashier between 1893 -1902 is estimated at£24,000-30,000 [lot 114].

As Mr Pattison added: This is one of only two surviving Bowen notes above£5 issued anywhere other than London, and its condition is spectacular. It would be a jewel in the crown of almost any 19th century banknote collection

  Lot 113 - Bank of England, Matthew Marshall,£5, Bristol - please credit Noonans 2

A very rare£5 note from the Bank of England branch in Bristol dating from June 1850 and signed by Matthew Marshall, who was Chief Cashier between 1835-64 is estimated at£15,000-20,000. It is stamped issued by Tugwell, Clutterbuck and Ricardo, who were a local bank in Bath [lot 113].

  Lot 754 - Manx Bank Limited,£1 - please credit Noonans 2

The sale will include a large variety of banknotes from English Provincial banks as well as banks in Ireland, Scotland, Isle of Man, Jersey, and Guernsey. The very first Manx Bank note ever issued will be included in the sale. The£1 note with serial number one dates from November 1882 is decorated with an image of the Tower of Refuge in Douglas harbour and is expected to fetch£10,000-15,000 [lot 754].

As Mr Pattison said: This is an absolutely astonishing note and, in my opinion, the finest Isle of Man note in existence! The imagery on it is iconic, showing locations everyone on the island knows and loves, and the fact that it is serial number one of the issue is a remarkable bonus

For more information, see:


In their upcoming sale Early American History Auctions, Inc. offers Historic Americana including a consignment from Ambassador and former Secretary of the Navy J. William Middendorf II. This press release discusses some sale highlights and company president Dana Linett discusses his recent cross-country move to Winchester, VA. -Editor

  A Major Historic Americana Auction Including:
Historic Autographs, Documents, Colonial Coinage & Currency,
U.S. Navy, George Washington,
Political & Decorative Americana & Abraham Lincoln

Early American E-Sylum ad 2024-03-10 Early American History Auctions, Inc. is proud to announce that after 40 years in Southern California, our first major auction catalog written at our new location in Winchester, Virginia is now Online and open for bidding. This first auction from Winchester is truly special; the focus is on the early history of Virginia from the Colonial, French & Indian War, American Revolution, and Civil War Era. We are proud to offer over 90 lots consigned by Ambassador and former Secretary of the Navy, J. William Middendorf II, now 99 years young. He was first appointed U.S. Secretary of the Navy by President Ronald Reagan in 1981, serving in that role under four presidents. His family heritage extends to the very founding of the Continental Navy. Middendorf's collections include such wide-ranging items such as George Washington's writing desk, a lock of Abraham Lincoln's hair, to a large piece of the Berlin Wall. A significant focus within this current auction is on the Colonial and Revolutionary War American Navy plus items relating to George Washington. On December 11th, the United States Navy named a new Navy Destroyer in his honor.

Why move to Winchester, Virginia? According to president, Dana Linett, as a historian I personally feel more ‘at home' here. My personal desire was to get back East and be situated where the history I catalog occurred. For instance, George Washington holds significant connections to Winchester, Virginia. They date back to his early career at age 17 as a Land Surveyor in this area and his military career. In 1755, during the French and Indian War, George Washington, then a young officer in the Virginia militia, played a significant role in and around Winchester. He was tasked with defending the Virginia frontier against French forces and their Native American allies. Winchester served as a key military outpost during this time, and in 1756, George Washington oversaw the construction of Fort Loudoun in Winchester, the largest fort on the frontier, which Washington often used it as his headquarters. Later in life, Washington and his family occasionally visited Winchester, including during his presidency and retirement. During the Civil War, the town of Winchester traded hands between the North and South more times than any other! For these reasons, the March 30th Early American Auction will feature Colonial paper money notes from Virginia and several of the timeframe types that George Washington himself would have carried to pay for items he purchased during both the French and Indian and Revolutionary War era.

Some Auction Highlights Include:

Lot 207: (A Featured Cover Image): The ORIGINAL TELEGRAM HANDED To GENERAL ULYSSES S. GRANT at the Philadelphia Railroad Station The Night Of APRIL 14th, 1865 - NOTIFYING HIM Of The ASSASSINATION Of PRESIDENT LINCOLN.

Lot 1: President John Adams Signed Four Language Ship Papers.

Lot 10: David Bushnell Signed Document for the American Continental Army Corps of Sappers and Miners - Bushnell was the Creator of the First Combat Submarine TURTLE Attacking Ships by Attaching a Timed Bomb!

Lot 18: General G. A. Custer Signed Promissory Note, One of Only Two of these rare Checks known, Signed by Custer.

Lot 20: Jefferson Davis, Choice Autograph Letter Signed as Both CSA President & Confederate States of America President-Elect.

Lot 23: c. 1820 Eleazar Huntington Engraved, Declaration of Independence the Historic Huntington Broadside.

Lot 33: Continental Congress President John Hancock Signed Official Resolve to Authorize the Immediate Purchase Three Ships to be Outfitted for the Continental Navy in 1777.

Lot 43: 1779 Continental Congress President John Jay Signed Vellum Commission Appointing Captain Bartholomew Von Heer as the First Commander of the Marechaussee Light Dragoons in the Army, Instituting General George Washington's and America's First Military Police Force.

  Pennsylvania. March 1, 1769. Three Pounds front Pennsylvania. March 1, 1769. Three Pounds back

Lot 50: Patriot John Nixon Signed Pennsylvania currency note of March 1, 1769, on July 8, 1776. John Nixon made the First Public Proclamation Reading of the Declaration of Independence.

Lot 75: George Washington Signed Three Language Ships Paper, Display Framed together with the Engraving: WASHINGTON Sacred to Memory.

Lot 92: The Hated British AMERICA with DUTY Four Pence Tax Stamp, in Deep Red Print, Scott RM16P, Gem Crisp Proof.

Lot 102: 1773 Rare Engraved Boston Broadside: A Prospective VIEW OF DEATH: ... and DYING SPEECH of LEVI AMES, Who was executed at Boston, on Thursday Afternoon, the Twenty-first day of October, 1773, for Burglary.

Lot 103: 1774 Boston Newspaper With Paul Revere's JOIN OR DIE Engraved Severed Snake Woodcut in its Masthead.

Lot 106: Extremely Rare, June 21, 1759 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN Printed Pennsylvania 50 Shillings Note, PMG Choice F-15, Ex: Boyd; Stack's John Ford Jr Collection Part III May 2004.

  1775 Rhode Island 9 Pence front 1775 Rhode Island 9 Pence back

Lot 108: June 30, 1748, South Carolina TEN POUNDS Deer note, PMG-8, Ex: Stack's John J. Ford, Jr. Collection Part VIII, Jan. 2005.

  1775 Paul Revere Engraved King Philip Bond

Lot 122: 1775 Paul Revere Engraved King Philip Bond to Captain Joseph Lee Boston, a Tea Party Participant & Privateer who Signed this First American Revolutionary War Massachusetts Bond Listed in The Price of Liberty by Anderson as MA-1.

Lot 126: 1777 Massachusetts-Bay Revolutionary War Rare Broadside, Announcing Pay and Bounty Money For Enlisting Soldiers, and Specific to The Financing of the American Revolution.

Lot 144: A CORRECT VIEW OF THE LATE BATTLE AT CHARLESTOWN June 17th 1775. (Robert) Aitken, Sculp, being The Earliest Obtainable View of the Battle of Bunker Hill.

Lot 145: One of Three Known, Historic April 1775 Mr. SAMUEL ADAMS Engraving Printed by and for Charles Reak & Samuel Okey. Newport, Rhode Island. Lot 153: Choice Paul Revere, Jr. Hallmarked REVERE, Decorative Monogrammed Clamshell Design, Coin Silver Tablespoon.

Lot 158: July 18, 1798 Dated, General Washington's Letter Declaring his ACCEPTANCE of the Command of the ARMIES of the UNITED STATES.

Lot 160: General Washington With His Declaration Of Independence: GENERAL WASHINGTON: LATE PRESIDENT OF THE AMERICAN CONGRESS, September 7, 1797, by Thompson.

Lot 163: 1853 Washington Crossing the Delaware large, framed Engraving by Paul Girardet, After the original Oil Painting by E. LEUTZ.

Lot 167: c. 1850 Magnificent Wall Size 53 x 42 Framed Berlin Needlepoint, After the Landsdowne Portrait of President George Washington.

Lot 168: Extremely Rare 1819 George Washington Textile Kerchief, Recorded as Number 54 page 71 in Threads of History.

  George Washingon Inaugural Button front George Washingon Inaugural Button back

Lot 169: (1789) George Washington Inaugural Button, Eagle with Star Type, with its Original Shank.

Lot 174: 1792 Lt. William Bligh, First Edition Book titled, A Voyage to the South Sea... for the Purpose of Conveying the Bread-Fruit Tree to the West Indies in his majesty's ship The Bounty...

Lot 186: Extremely Rare Lafayette Portrait Textile of a Design Not Listed in Threads of History Inscription Stating, he was at the laying of the corner stone of Bunker Hill Monument.

  UNION VICTORY broadside Glorious News broadside
Lots 191 and 202

Lot 191: c. April 3rd,1865 Civil War Broadside, UNION VICTORY ! ... Richmond has fallen! Slavery is abolished! Possibly Unique.

Lot 202: c. April 9, 1865 Unrecorded Civil War Broadside, Glorious News! Lee has found the Last ditch. His Army Surrenders to Gen. Grant !

Lot 212: Abraham Lincoln Beardless Plaster LIFE MASK After Leonard Volk's Original Cast in 1860 Made Circa 1886.

Lot 217: Abraham Lincoln Photograph Portrait, After Hesler, by George B Ayres, Signed on its Reverse Side Copyright Geo. B. Ayres / Phila.

Lot 228: (Harry S. Truman) November 3rd 1948, The Famous Dewey Defeats Truman Mistaken Newspaper Headline by The Chicago Tribune.

Lot 229: World War I: Uncle Sam Recruiting Poster By James Montgomery Flagg with the Iconic Text: I WANT YOU / FOR U.S. ARMY / Nearest Recruiting Station. the 1917 an Original.

  1836 Gobrecht dollar obverse 1836 Gobrecht dollar reverse
  1836 Gobrecht dollar closeup

Lot 239: 1836 Gobrecht Silver Dollar Rarity, Judd-60 Die Variety III with Gobrecht Name on Base, Judd-60, Original with Plain Edge, NGC-AU.

To read the complete article, see:

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The Frome Heritage Museum in Frome, Somerset, England is exhibiting a large roman coin hoard found in the area in 2010. -Editor

Frome Museum hoard coin Imagine finding a treasure trove of ancient coins worth millions of pounds in a muddy field. That's what happened to David Crisp, a metal detector enthusiast who stumbled upon the Frome Hoard, the largest stash of Roman coins ever discovered in Britain.

Now, you can see this remarkable find for yourself at the Frome Museum, which reopens on 12 March with a new display that tells the story of the hoard and its historical significance.

The Frome Hoard, was discovered by amateur metal detectorist David on April 11 2010. It contained a staggering 52,503 coins.

The Frome Museum display features an exact replica of the original urn made by heritage potter Graham Taylor, along with replicas of a selection of the coins aged to reproduce how the hoard looked when it was first excavated. The accompanying display panel, accessible to visitors of all ages, tells the fascinating story of the hoard.

Michael Maggs, the chair of trustees, said: We are very proud of the hard work our volunteers have done over the last few months to bring a smart new look to the upper gallery ready for our 2024 reopening. We have new displays and interpretation boards this year, and we are especially excited about our major new permanent exhibit, 'The Story of the Frome Hoard'."

To read the complete article, see:
Frome Museum's first exhibition shows how metal detectorist struck gold in a muddy field (

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Aaron Oppenheim passed along this story about the discovery in Israel of a coin from the Bar Kokhba Revolt period. -Editor

  Bar Kokhba Revolt Eleazar the Priest coin

Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) Monday morning announced the discovery of a rare coin from the Bar Kokhba Revolt period, precisely during its first year in 132 CE, engraved with the name Eleazar the Priest in ancient Hebrew script.

Found in the Mazuq Ha-he'teqim Nature Reserve in the Judean Desert, during a survey in cooperation with Israeli authorities operating to prevent archaeological theft and looting, the discovery leads to its own mysterious case regarding the identity of Eleazar the Priest.

On the reverse of the coin, a bunch of grapes could be seen surrounded by the text Year One of the Redemption of Israel, again in ancient Hebrew script, which may serve as a clue for the researchers alongside providing a time period.

The researchers indicated there were a few possibilities to the identity of the coin's Eleazar, one of whom could be a Tannaic Rabbi from the period of Rabbi Akiva, who was a disciple of Rabbi Yohana ben Zakai.

Alongside the Eleazar the Priest coin were three other coins from the time of the Revolt, bearing simply the name Simeon. In the same Judean Desert area, the IAA Prevention of Archaeological Theft Unit discovered a number of significant finds, including a scroll fragment from the Twelve Minor Prophets, Roman iron swords and the earliest complete basket in the world.

To read the complete articles, see:
Who was Eleazar the Priest? Coin found in Judean Desert unfurls new archaeological mystery (
Rare coin engraved with the name ‘Eleazar the Priest' found in Judean Desert (

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In his Moneyness blog, economist JP Koning recently wrote about Byzantine coinage and why many civilizations avoided denominating their coins. With permission, we're republishing it here. The mentioned videos and additional links are available on the blog page. -Editor

  Moneyness blog banner

What do I like about Byzantine coinage?

Most people probably admire the Byzantine solidus, a gold coin that maintained its weight and purity for over 600 years, which is quite remarkable for a coin. The solidus was exported all over the world, including to Europe, which lacked gold coinage at the time, making it the U.S. dollar of its day.

That's neat, but it's not the solidus that impresses me. It's Byzantium's small change that I like.

The availability of small change is vital to day-to-day commercial life. Alas, the minting of low-value coins has often been neglected by the state. Small change isn't sexy. And it has often been unprofitable to produce. But that didn't stop the Byzantines. After a monetary reform carried out by Emperor Anastatius in 498 AD, Byzantium began to issue a number of well-marked and differently-sized bronze coins of low value. Anastatius, who had been an administrator in the department of finance prior to becoming an Emperor, appears to have had a fine eye for monetary details.

Let's start with the follis, worth 40 nummi. (The nummus was the Byzantine unit of account.)

The follis in the above video was minted in 540 AD by Justinian I, some forty years after Anastatius's monetary reform. At 23 grams, it contains an almost comically-large amount of material. For comparison's sake, that's the same heft as four modern quarters. Allocating so much base metal to a single coin illustrates the Byzantine's dogged commitment to producing a usable set of low denomination coins for the population.

The decision to go with the hulking follis was better than the small change strategy that the English would pursue hundreds of years later. English monarchs either neglected small change altogether, forcing the public to hack up silver pennies into smaller chunks by hand. Or, if they did produce low value coins, did so in the form of silver halfpennies and farthings, the smallest English denominations. Which was not a good idea. Silver has a much higher value-to-weight ratio than bronze, so the half-penny and farthing ended up being absurdly tiny, as illustrated in the video below from the Suffolk Detectorist.

"Weighing only three troy grains each, these were 'lost almost as fast as they were coined,'" writes monetary economist George Selgin of the farthing. And because the two coins were so small, almost no information could be conveyed on their face. No, as far as small change goes, the Byzantine's bronze coins were the way to go.

Anastatius had another theoretical option available to him, one which wouldn't have tied up so much raw material. He could have made a token coin. With a token coin (say like James II's tin halfpennies, which came almost a thousand years later, and which I wrote about here), the value of the coin doesn't rely on the metal in it, but on the ability of the issuer to repurchase it at the stipulated weight. By issuing the follis as a token, the Byzantines could have been able to make it smaller, say half the size, yet still rate it at 40 nummi, thus saving large amounts of bronze for alternative uses.

But the Byzantines appear to have been committed metallists, abiding by the principle that the value of money comes from the value of the metal in it. And so they bequeathed the world the monster-sized follis.

In additions to the follis, Anastatius introduced lower denomination bronze coins, including the half-follis (20 nummi), quarter-follis (10 nummi), and pentanummium (five nummi). They are illustrated below. Later emperors would add a three-quarter follis, or 30 nummi coin, to the mix. At times, a tiny 1 nummus coin was issued too.

  byzantine small change

Follis (40 nummi), half-follis (20 nummi), quarter-follis (10 nummi), and pentanummium (five nummi). Source: Cointalk

The decision to produce a full array of base coins illustrates Anastatius's sensibility to the transactional needs of the common person, for whom the gold solidus would have been far too valuable to be relevant to their economic lives, almost like a $1,000 bill. Oddly, Anastatius chose not to mint any silver coins. But as the English farthing example illustrates, silver was too valuable to be useful for the lower end of day-to-day commercial life, better destined to act like a modern $50 bill than a humble $1 or $5 bill.

Another neat feature of Byzantine coinage is how Anastatius and his successors used each coin's surface area to convey useful information rather than to aggrandize god & state. The obverse of each coin bore the obligatory image of the Emperor, but the reverse side provides loads of monetary data: the denomination, the date of the Emperor's reign in which the coin was minted, the name of the mint, the number of the workshop of the mint. Compare this to Roman coinage, for instance, which often bore expressive portraits on either side of the coin, but next to no data.

If you're interested in getting a longer description of how to read Byzantine coins, check out Augustus Coins.

A particularly unique feature of Anastatius's monetary reform was his decision to inscribe the unit of account directly onto his coins. As you can see, the follis has a big "M" on its reverse side, which is Greek for 40. The half follis has a "K", which means 20, and the quarter follis an "I", which is 10. Finally, the pentanummium displays an "?", equal to 5. All of these numbers indicate the value of the coin in terms of the Byzantine unit of account, the nummus.

Nowadays, we take this format for granted. The coins in your pocket all include the coin's value on their face, just like Anastatius's coins did. But what you need to realize is that the coinage of most civilizations, both before and after the Byzantines, rarely displayed how many pounds or shekels or dinars that coin was worth. Take a look at Rome's Imperial era coinage. There's plenty of religious symbolism to be found on the sestertius, as, and dupondius. The monarch's face appears, as do dates and names. But there's not a single digit to indicate how many units of account the coin is worth. The same goes for most medieval European coinage. (A lone exception is Roman coinage from the Republican period beginning around 211 BC).

Anastatius's decision to stamp the denomination directly on the coin represents a big improvement in usability. No need for transactors to seek an external source to determine how many nummi a follis was worth. It was right there for everyone to see.

Some of you may be wondering: why did so many civilizations avoid numbering their coins?

Ernst Weber, an economist, has put forward one possibility. A lack of "value marks" may suggest that coins were intended to circulate at "market determined exchange rates" according to their metal content. Coins might have had varying amounts of metal due to inadequate manufacturing technology, people preferring to weigh them prior to payment so as to assess their market value. In this context of non-fungibility, striking a universal unit of account on each coin would be a nuissance, or at least a waste of time.

According to Weber's theory, Anastatius may have had so much confidence in the ability of his mints to produce durable and homogeneous bronze coins that he dared to affix the nummi unit-of-account onto them.

Another reason for not numbering coins may be that a blank slate gave authorities a degree of flexibility to set monetary policy. If a coin isn't indelibly etched with a value, a monarch can alter a coin's purchasing power, or rating, by mere proclamation. This was known as a crying up or a crying down of a coin's value. For instance, an English king might wake up one day and declare a certain type of already-circulating coin that had been worth£0.10 the day before to be worth£0.09 today, thus decreasing its purchasing power. This sort of abrupt change in value would be awkward to implement if said coin already had£0.10 struck on its face.

A ruler might have good monetary policy reasons for wanting this flexibility. But this same malleability could be abused, too, in order to profit some at the expense of others. Anastatius decided to forfeit this flexibility by freezing his coin's value in time. The Byzantine public no longer had to deal with the uncertainty of coins being suddenly revalued.

Unfortunately, the full array of Byzantium small change introduced by Anastatius would only survive for two or three centuries. As time passed, weights would be reduced and workmanship would become "increasingly slovenly," according to numismatist Philip Grierson. The quarter follis and pentanummia would be discontinued by Constantine V (741–775). The half-follis ceased under Leo IV (775–780).

As for the follis, it would stick around for a few more centuries, but around 850 AD, Theophilus would drop the emblematic M in favor of the unhelpful inscription "Emperor Theofilos, may you conquer," writes Grierson. Thus ended the great period of Byzantine low-value coinage. But during the brief period of time after Anastatius, Byzantine produced one of the best examples we have of good small change, presaging the coins we carry in our pockets today.

To read the complete article, see:
Why my favorite coinage is Byzantine coinage (

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Victoria Cross medals continue to gather interest at auction. Here's the story behind WWI Lieutenant-Commander Edgar Christopher Cookson's award for bravery. -Editor

  Cookson Victoria Cross

A Victoria Cross (VC) awarded to a Wirral Lieutenant-Commander in WWI is expected to fetch£200,000 at auction.

The medal was awarded to Tranmere-born Lieutenant-Commander Edgar Christopher Cookson posthumously in 1916, after he was killed while leading a cavalry charge on water in 1915. It will be auctioned by Noonans Mayfair on March 13, expected to fetch between£180,000 and£220,000.

The VC was awarded during the operations involving the Tigris Flotilla, where Navy Lieutenant-Commander Cookson paid the ultimate price for his bravery in the river gunboat Comet. Under a storm of point-blank fire, he leapt aboard a Turkish sailing vessel called a dhow brandishing an axe - a fellow officer later observed "there were more bullet holes in him than they cared to count."

Mark Quayle, medal specialist and associate director of Noonans, said: Cookson's repeated acts of gallantry, in the harshest of environments, led to him making the ultimate sacrifice for both duty and for those who meant the most to him - the men under his command. Leading a ‘cavalry charge' on water in a desperate attempt to force his way through the enemy position ultimately proved futile, but his act was one of cold, calculated bravery in the face of certain death. Alas, he rolled the dice one too many times."

Edgar Christopher Cookson was born at Cavendish Park, Tranmere in December 1883 and he entered the Royal Navy as a Cadet in Britannia in September 1897. His distinguished service order was sent to his mum in September 1915 and she received his VC from the King at Buckingham Palace on November 29, 1916 - she was his only immediate relative since he was unmarried, and his dad had died.

To read the complete article, see:
WWI medals awarded to Wirral navy officer expected to fetch£200k at auction (


Here's a long excerpt from a great article about a heartwarming sports moment and its enshrinement in a Congressional Gold Medal. -Editor

  Larry Doby Congressional Gold Medal

The United States Mint was unaccustomed to requests like the one made by Larry Doby Jr.

For centuries, the bureau of the Department of the Treasury has been responsible for designing and casting the Congressional Gold Medal — the highest civilian honor in the country. And as part of that process, the Mint's team of artists will typically consult with recipients or their surviving family members to determine the proper way to present the individual's achievements and contributions.

But after Congress voted to posthumously award Larry Doby — a World War II veteran, Negro Leagues star and the first Black player in the American League — with a Congressional Gold Medal back in 2018, this process hit a snag.

Because Doby Jr. didn't just want his father on the coin.

He wanted another man on it, too.

I was told [by the Mint] right away, Doby Jr. said, that that's not what they do.

The Mint is not in the habit of emblazoning images of people who aren't being saluted on these precious medals. Yet Doby Jr. was adamant that the image he requested for the back of the medal was too important to be denied.

If you watch Stronger Together, MLB Network's new feature on Doby's Congressional Gold Medal, you'll see that he was right.

The feature tells the story of a photo taken in the home clubhouse at Cleveland's Municipal Stadium on Oct. 9, 1948.

That afternoon, in front of more than 80,000 fans, Larry Doby hit the go-ahead home run and a right-hander named Steve Gromek threw a complete game in a 2-1 victory that gave the Indians a commanding lead in a World Series they would go on to win.

In the aftermath, Doby and Gromek embraced, cheek-to-cheek, in front of Gromek's locker. A Cleveland Plain Dealer photographer snapped the image of the two triumphant teammates, and the Associated Press transmitted it to newspapers across the country. Americans saw a Black man and a white man brandishing big smiles, blissfully unbound by the widespread racial discrimination and segregation of the time.

Some celebrated the photo; many others reflexively cringed.

When Gromek returned home to Hamtramck, Mich., that offseason, he was given the cold shoulder by supposed friends who were angry with him for taking such a photo with a Black man.

He said that people were put off by it, so they would not engage him in conversation if they bumped into him, Gromek's son Carl said of his dad, who passed away in 2002. But I think my dad looked at it like, ‘They've got a problem, I don't have a problem.' He cherished that picture.

So did Doby. He once called it the best moment of his baseball career.

That is the first time that I can recall — or many people can recall — that a Black and a white embraced each other in that fashion, [and it] went all over the world, said Doby, who passed away in 2003. That picture just showed to me the feelings that you have. You don't think about it in terms of color. It's a feeling you have for a person.

Though the Mint's pushback was an early complication, it was not a lasting one. Doby Jr. was persistent and insistent, even enlisting the help of Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), who had sponsored the bill that awarded the medal to Doby.

I guess I dug my heels in a little bit, Doby Jr. said.

The bureau eventually relented to create what Mint Director Ventris C. Gibson called a unique design on the back of Doby's medal.

It's a beautiful image, a milestone image, said Mint medallic artist John McGraw, the designer of the medal. It's also a celebration of Larry Doby being the first Black man to hit a homer in the World Series. To me, as a big baseball fan, I think it's one of the most important milestones we have in baseball.

After long delays due to the design complications, the pandemic and Congressional distractions, the Doby family was finally presented with the finished product in a touching ceremony in the Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol on Dec. 13, 2023 — on what would have been Larry Doby's 100th birthday.

That ceremony was meaningful not just to the Doby family but also to the Gromeks. Carl and his brother, Greg, drove to D.C. with their 98-year-old mother, Jeanette.

We drove 12 hours, because she couldn't fly, Carl said that day. So we made a big trip. She wasn't going to miss this.

No smile, however, was bigger than that of Jeanette when she got to hold the medal after the ceremony in D.C. She had lost her vision with age, but she was able to feel the texture of her late husband's image next to that of Larry Doby.

She was beaming.

She'll take that to the grave, Carl said through tears. So special, so special. … My mother hasn't smiled like that in a long time. Probably the last time was when we had Larry over for dinner.

That moment took on greater poignancy this week, when Jeanette Gromek passed away, shortly after celebrating her 99th birthday. Losing her just two months after the ceremony made her family even more grateful for the medal.

  Larry Doby Congressional Gold Medal video still

To read the complete article, see:
U.S. Mint had never made a Congressional Gold Medal like Larry Doby's (

To watch the video, see:
Stronger together (
"Stronger Together" - Larry Doby's Congressional Gold Medal (

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Kavan Ratnatunga passed along this BBC article on gold recycling at the Royal Mint. Thanks. -Editor

  Royal Mint gold recycling

E-waste is mounting. Now the UK Royal Mint has found a new way to extract the precious metals hidden in laptops and phones to reduce our reliance on raw materials.

Through security, equipped with a pair of safety glasses and a white lab coat, I'm taken behind the scenes at the Royal Mint near Cardiff, South Wales – a place that's world-renowned for making billions of coins for more than 30 nations. For two years, the Royal Mint, the UK's official coin producer, has been developing a mysterious new way to recover metals from electronic waste.

As I walk into her small demo laboratory, Hayley Messenger, a chemist specialising in sustainable precious metals, explains why nothing here is labelled: "Everything is a secret!" she says, pouring a '"magic green solution" into a one-litre-capacity (35oz) glass flask of fragmented circuit boards.

She and a team of chemists and chemical analysts, together with Canadian start-up Excir, have invented and patented a clean, energy-efficient way which they claim extracts 99% of gold from the printed circuit boards found inside discarded laptops and old mobile phones. Later this year, the Royal Mint is opening a new multi-million-pound factory which will be able to process 90 tonnes of circuit boards per week once fully operational, recovering hundreds of kilogrammes of gold every year.

When the luminous mixture starts to fizz, Messenger screws the lid on, then places the flask on a tumbling machine to shake the contents. In just four minutes, any gold dissolves and leaches out into the liquid.

"This all happens at room temperature and it's very quick," says Messenger who explains that this chemical solution gets reused up to 20 times, with the concentration of dissolved gold increasing each time.

When another mystery solution is added, the gold becomes solid metal again. This powder is filtered out and melted down in a furnace into thumbnail-sized nuggets. These nuggets can then be crafted into pendant necklaces, earrings and cufflinks. But the real beauty of these recycled precious metals lies in the scalability of this super streamlined chemical process.

The raw material used by the Royal Mint is comprised of circuit boards, rather than entire laptops or whole mobile phones. Once the gold has been extracted, the leftover non-gold components are all sent off to different parts of the supply chain for reuse, so nothing gets wasted. The gold content varies between 60 parts per million to 900 parts per million, depending on the feedstock, according to Loveridge.

To read the complete article, see:
The gold jewellery made from old phones (


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

Bradford Exchange's Fine-Print Subscription Plan

A Canadian man thought he ordered one collector coin. $1,000 later, the coins kept coming. -Editor

Bradford Exchange Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee coin Lloyd Walker, 92, ordered a collector's coin from the Bradford Exchange for his great-granddaughter's birthday in July 2023. He says he was unwittingly enrolled in an auto-renewal program that he couldn't get out of for months.

The packages from the Bradford Exchange, an American company that's been selling collectibles, trinkets and jewelry since the 1970s, had been coming to his St. John's home since July.

Walker said he didn't knowingly sign up for any subscription program, nor does he want the coins he received. But despite writing to the company to cancel, Walker continued to be charged.

It started in July when Walker says he believed he ordered a single Platinum Jubilee coin of Queen Elizabeth II as a keepsake for his great-granddaughter's birthday, after spotting it in a brochure from the Bradford Exchange among other flyers in the mail.

He said nothing in the flyer led him to believe he would be signing up for anything.

The business appears to target elderly people with products they sell — many of which are advertised as gifts for grandchildren — and the way in which they sell them, she said.

To read the complete article, see:
This man, 92, thought he ordered a collector's coin. $1,000 later, the coins kept coming (

Bank of Estonia Seeks Finnish Boys Coin Designs

The Bank of Estonia is accepting designs for silver coins commemorating the "Finnish Boys" who served in their army in WWII. -Editor

The Bank of Estonia has announced a competition for the design of a silver collector coin dedicated to the Finnish Boys (soomepoisid) – the thousands of Estonian volunteers who fought against the Soviet Union in World War II among the ranks of the Finnish Army.

The new Finnish Boys commemorative coin will mark the first in a new series of collector coins issued by the Bank of Estonia dedicated to resistance, the central bank announced Monday.

An estimated 3,500 Estonians fought in the Winter War and the Continuation War resisting attempted Soviet occupation "For the freedom of Finland and the honor of Estonia," as stated by the volunteers' chosen motto.

In 1944, some of the Finnish Boys also fought against the Soviet Union in Estonia, giving hope that the latter would regain its independence following successive Soviet, Nazi and Soviet occupation.

To read the complete article, see:
Bank of Estonia accepting silver coin designs commemorating Finnish Boys (

Queen Camilla to Present 2024 Maundy Coins

It's official - Queen Camilla will step in for King Charles at the 2024 Royal Maundy Service. -Editor

Maundy coins of Elizabeth II The Queen is set to step in for King Charles at the annual Royal Maundy Service at Worcester Cathedral.

The King continues to undergo treatment for his cancer, which has seen him miss public engagements. Behind the scenes, he continues to work on his red boxes of state papers.

On Thursday 28 March - Maundy Thursday - the Queen will hand out the traditional Royal Maundy gifts, including the ceremonial coins given to 75 men and 75 women from around the country.

The Royal Maundy Service is a notable fixture on the royal calendar, and those receiving the specially minted coins are recognised for their community service.

The tradition runs back to at least the 4th century, with the first record of a monarch taking part in 1213.

Last year, the King and Queen attended the ceremony at York Minster.

To read the complete article, see:
Queen Camilla to step in for King Charles at annual Royal Maundy Service as monarch to miss event (

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

Panama Tomb Yields Gold Treasures

Paul Horner passed along this article about gold found in a Panamanian tomb. Thanks. No coins are mentioned, though. -Editor

Panama Tomb gold treasure Archaeologists in Panama have uncovered the spectacular tomb of a pre-Hispanic chieftain whose funerary offerings include lavish gold items and earrings made of whale teeth, among other treasures. Dated to around 750 CE, the adult male buried within the grave is likely to have been a high-status member of the ancient Gran Coclé culture, which was famous for its gold artisanry in pre-Columbian times.

The burial was discovered within a necropolis known as the El Caño archaeological park, where other tombs as well as stone monoliths and wooden ceremonial structures have previously been found. According to the Panamanian Ministry of Culture, the site was in use between roughly 700 and 1000 CE and has already yielded a number of multiple burials, each of which contains between eight and 32 bodies belonging to elites and lower-ranking individuals who were sacrificed in order to accompany their superiors in the afterlife.

Among these funerary items were five gold chest-plates, two belts of golden beads, two human-shaped earrings (one man and one woman), another earring in the form of a double crocodile, and a series of circular gold plates. A further five earrings decorated with gold-capped sperm whale teeth were also found in the tomb, as were bracelets and clothing elaborated with dog teeth.

To read the complete article, see:
Dazzling Gold Treasures Found In 1,300-Year-Old Tomb In Panama (


For bibliophiles planning a library addition, there's a New York Times article about new and old secret rooms and hidden bookshelves. Perfect for curling up with your favorite volumes to ride out the zombie apocalypse. -Editor

Morgan Library secret shelf Hidden doors and secret rooms have become an increasingly popular feature in American homes, whether the goal is foiling burglars, eking out extra storage or creating so-called safe, or panic, rooms for doomsday scenarios.

No one appears to keep track of how many such sleights of hand are cropping up in American homes. But evidence of interest abounds: Houzz, a website that connects homeowners with design and remodeling professionals, reported that searches on their site for the terms trap doors, kitchens with hidden pantries and speakeasy home bar lounge had all more than doubled between 2022 and 2023. The subject has inspired all manner of blog posts, subreddits and Pinterest boards. On TikTok, posts on the Hidden Room account have garnered some 165,000 likes.

Companies that make pre-hung, ready-to-install doors that masquerade as bookcases and pool cue racks say that business started booming at the height of the pandemic in 2020, when Americans holed up at home dove into renovation projects. Some homeowners who turned bedrooms into offices for remote work swapped out regular closet doors for ones that double as shelving units to make the spaces more functional, as well as more professional-looking on Zoom calls.

The contrivances have a long, varied history.

At the turn of the 20th century, the financier J. Pierpont Morgan had the architect Charles McKim design a jewel-box library next to his house in New York — now the Morgan Library & Museum — with bookcase doors in walnut and fruitwood that maximize shelf space while providing staff easy access to spiral stairs leading to the second and third tiers of the repository. (Slender brass handles are the only giveaway.)

In another room on the same floor, movable bookcases in Mr. Morgan's own study likely hid his stash of naughty volumes, said Jennifer Tonkovich, a Morgan curator. On a recent morning Ms. Tonkovich gently pushed back one of the bookcases, then slid in front of it an adjacent bookcase that smoothly rolled across on a brass rail, revealing a previously concealed opening for books that, she noted, maybe a gentleman wouldn't want everyone to see.

  Morgan Library secret shelf 2

To read the complete article, see:
Not Just for Scooby-Doo Anymore — the Secret Door Is Having a Moment (

One last thing on the way out the door - speaking of unexpected architecture, enjoy this Bizarro cartoon of lunch with Pablo Picasso and M.C. Escher. -Editor

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