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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 7, Number 15, April 11, 2004:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2004, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


SUBSCRIBER UPDATE

  Among recent new subscribers are William Cowburn, of
  York, PA, courtesy of John Eshbach, and Bill Rau, who
  writes: "I collect numismatic auction catalogs, and have
  done research on US Pattern prices realized from 1855 to
  date."   Welcome aboard!   We now  have 651  subscribers.


2004 PORTLAND ANA

  Regarding the recently-concluded convention of the American
  Numismatic Association in Portland, OR, Howard A. Daniel III
  writes: "The show was a busy one for me.  I handed out almost
  200 banknotes and 200 coin packs courtesy of the International
  Bank Note Society (IBNS) and Numismatics International (NI)
  to school-age children.  I asked them to research their gifts and
  use them for the next show and tell in their school.

  There were quite a few adults stopping at the table and I
  estimate about a dozen were candidates for NBS.  I signed up
  three of them and gave the others a paper about The E-Sylum
  so they can see more about us before joining.

  I was the moderator of the well attended IBNS and NI meetings.
  I mentioned NBS in both meetings, and gave a talk about my
  work to create my next book,  "Socialist Republic of Viet Nam
  Coins & Currency."

  Note:  If you have pieces from this Viet Nam dated from 1975
  to date for sale, please request my want list.   Three Democratic
  Republic of Viet Nam coins I am searching for, to include
  illustrations, articles and information, are the unlisted 1948-dated
  10, 20 & 50 Viet gold presentation coins."


FANNING SECOND FIXED PRICE LIST PUBLISHED

  David F. Fanning writes: "I have published my second fixed
  price list of numismatic literature. The catalogue features
  important 19th-century U.S. material, much of it from the
  library of Dr. Joel J. Orosz.  Rarities include a copy of the
  first article on a numismatic subject ever published in the United
  States (James Mease, 1821); the first article specifically on
  U.S. coins ever published in the United States (Mease again,
  1838); and the first article on U.S. numismatic literature
  (William S.F. Mayers, writing in Norton's Literary Letter,
  1859).

  The fixed price list also includes runs of the Historical Magazine,
  Frossard's Numisma and various other publications. Nineteenth-
  century numismatic auction catalogues and reference works are
  included, including early works by Augustus B. Sage and John
  K. Curtis and sales by W. Elliot Woodward. The free
  catalogue is available in hard copy (limited quantities) or in PDF
  format and can be requested from David Fanning at
  anning32 at earthlink.net."


LAKE BOOKS SALE #73 PRL AVAILABLE

  Fred Lake writes: "The prices realized list for our sale #73
  which closed on April 6, 2004 is now available for viewing on
  our web site at: Price's Realized

  Once on the "Past Sales" page scroll down (or click on "2004")
  to sale #73 and you will find the two options for viewing the
  PRL.

  Many thanks to all of our bidders and mark your calendars
  now for our next sale which will have a closing date of
  May 25, 2004."


PULITZER SECRETS REVEALED

  Dick Johnson writes: "An article in "Editor & Publisher" April
  8, 2004, stated that journalism's top prize cat is out of the bag.
  Some Pulitzer winners' names were leaked. They were not to
  be announced until a press conference Monday the 12th at
  3 pm. But some winners - and some losers - heard the news
  the day after last Thursday's top secret voting of the Pulitzer
  committee.

  The prize, of course, is the Pulitzer Medal.  It is appropriately
  inscribed with the recipient's name on the obverse and the year
  on the reverse. Medallic Art Company has struck this medal
  since its 1917 inception. One of the company's top secrets
  were any lists of recipients - of all medal awards - from the
  time the list arrives in house until fully inscribed and delivered
  to the client organization. For all my years at Medallic Art Co,
  we never had a leak

  The Pulitzer Medal features a portrait head of Benjamin
  Franklin on the obverse, and Franklin at his hand press on
  the reverse. It was designed by Daniel Chester French
  (1850-1931) who modeled the obverse Franklin head in his
  typical classical style. The reverse was modeled by his
  assistant, Henry Augustus Lukeman (1871-1935). Four of
  these medals have come on the secondary market within the
  last decade - all auctioned by Joe Levine's Presidential Coin
  and Antique Co.  The medal is illustrated in Alan Stahl's "The
  Medal in America" (COAC, 1988) in an article by Michael
  Richman on French's medallic work.

  Incidentally, one of the winners this year is the "New York
  Times" (no surprise!).  The Old Gray Lady has won more
  Pulitzers than any other newspaper. Expect the back page of
  the front section of the next Tuesday's edition to list every
  Pulitzer it ever won in a full page self-promotion
  advertisement.

  Editor & Publisher article by Joe Strupp: Aticle



1870-S QUARTER CAUTION URGED

  Alan Luedeking writes: "Regarding the piece on the supposed
  1870-S quarter in the San Francisco mint building's cornerstone,
  I cannot but urge caution.  Nowhere in the warrant itself or in
  the other official documents reproduced in the Coin World
  article does it specifically state the date on the coins. It is clear
  that coins were purchased for inclusion in the cornerstone in
  1870 and in the denominations and amounts listed, however,
  the assertion that the quarter must be an 1870-S is nowhere
  conclusively proven. It may well be that the mint supplied an
  1869-S quarter, that being the last year they were officially
  made. The contemporary newspaper article suggesting that
  coins were "struck off" that year for the cornerstone is in itself
  not conclusive proof, since it is not an official document, nor
  does it specifically state that the dies used to strike these coins
  were dated 1870; however, I grant that the likelihood of this
  is increased by these documents. The existence of dollar coins
  dated 1870-S for which no production records have thus far
  come to light is also encouraging in suggesting that the same
  possibility may exist for the quarter. However, unless the
  authors have other incontrovertible documentary proof, I
  respectfully suggest that the truth must await the actual
  exhumation of the bronze casket and its delightful contents."


THE 1894-S DIME

  Bill Murray writes: "The recent COIN WORLD article by
  Rich Kelly and Nancy Oliver re: the San Francisco Mint
  cornerstone indicates the meticulous research representative
  of these two.  Their book, The Mighty Fortress, includes
  previously undiscovered information about the 1894-S dime.

  "The Barber Dime bearing the S mintmark was said to have
  been struck in just 24 specimens.  New evidence, concerning
  their purpose, has been uncovered within the old 19th Century
  leather bound ledgers of this branch mint. ...three interesting
  telegrams sent (from the San Francisco Mint to Mint Director
  Robert Preston list five 1894 S dimes for the Assay
  Commission.) Did these five add to the total of 24 making it
  29 pieces? Another new element to the story is the
  abundance of letters in 1894 & 1895, from the public, asking
  about this issue of coin.  All of these letters proving
  the public's knowledge of the 1894-S dime's existence,
  appear five years before the first example was announced to
  the general public in June 1900" Thus the saga of the 1894-S
  Barber Dime persists. Perhaps these words will add to
  its story, but the pursuit of the truth as well.  Whatever the case,
  or the count, the full history of the 1894-S Dime may always
  remain an elusive mystery."

  Kelly's and Oliver's book about the 2nd San Francisco Mint
  deserves reading"


SMOLNY CATHEDRAL MEDAL

  While searching the web for other things I came across
  a reference to a medal honoring the famous Smolny
  Cathedral (1748-1754),  in St. Petersburg, Russia.

  "Construction of the Smolny Cathedral was officially
  completed in 1835, and the church was consecrated on
  July 22, 1835, and in honor of the event a large bronze
  medal was hammered out with the dates of the beginning
  and ending of the cathedral's construction: "1748-1835."
  Smolny Cathedral

  Curious to view an image of the medal, I honed my web
  search but came up empty-handed.   As large as the web is,
  of course, it's only the tip of the iceberg of human knowledge.
  Are any of our readers familiar with this medal?  In what
  reference is it pictured?


WEARING MEDALS IS POLITICALLY INCORRECT?

  Regarding last week's item from Dick Johnson, Howard A.
  Daniel III writes: "There is a growing movement on the
  political left to appease the bad and the low achievers.  They
  believe that we should not punish those who break the law,
  bully their fellow students and do other bad things because
  they will only get angry and do worse things!  And the low
  achievers should not be recognized and encouraged to do
  better but to bring everyone down to their level.  This is also
  seen in international affairs for the same people.

  But there are some people who do want to wear medals and
  make people believe them to be military veterans.  There are
  a large number of   people in the USA who have told people,
  and have in their resumes, that they served in the military, and
  many of them have made outlandish claims of heroic actions,
  bravery medals to include the Medal of Honor, and high rank.
  The claims are growing because it has become fashionable
  to be a veteran and it is a key item on a resume to obtain a
  good job or obtain votes.

  There is now a movement underway called "Fake Warriors,"
  where true veterans are researching the claims, to include
  judges, those holding high political office, and even the heads
  of some veterans' groups, and finding many are false.  Many of
  the forms, certificates, uniforms and medals were bought on
  eBay and other sources and were not issued to the individuals.
  We must continue to reward achievers with medals and other
  recognition and forget those who try to downgrade everyone to
  a lower level.  The USA was not built by underachievers but
  overachievers!  And we must be aware of those who are falsely
  wearing medals so that those who truly won them can proudly
  wear them."

  John Kraljevich writes: "I think I can solve Dick Johnson's
  mystery about medallion-wearers now being out of fashion.
  To most people my age who are more in-tune with cable TV
  pop culture than numismatics, medallions have nothing to do
  with veterans or art medals -- the term refers to those massive
  and clunky necklaces that fashion casualties wore in the 70s,
  usually with open shirt and served on a bed of copious chest
  hair. A song by British songwriter Martin Briley sums up the
  look:

  We were lost in a dream on a bed of fluffy rice,
  When I was grabbed by the chef; he had a grip like a vise.
  He had gold medallions and a hairy chest.
  I gave him back his wife but he was still depressed.

  Recalling the textbooks I used in school in the 80s and 90s,
  many of the images were so out of date it was hysterical --
  big Afros and Mark Spitz-mustaches were more common
  than modern hair-dos. I think the publisher was merely trying
  to sum up that out-of-date 70s look.

  Hope this solves the mystery -- I don't think they have it out
  for decorated veterans, only those photos featuring powder
  blue tuxedos. Did you ever get to wear one of them to prom
  by chance?"


COUNTERFEIT CHINESE CROWNS

  Roger deWardt Lane of Hollywood, Florida writes: "Every
  Monday, when I turn on my computer and look at my e-mail,
  I see the E-Sylum in the mail box.  After reading the few other
  items from groups I subscribe to, and deleting the one or two
  virus messages (already quarantined by my anti-virus software,
  I disconnect my dial up ISP connection and settle down to
  read your newsletter.  Then I save all of them in a E-sylum
  directory just in case I wish to go back for a link or a second
  read.

  Attached is a article I wrote for my local coin club,
  Ft.Lauderdale Coin Club. I had to 'pinch hit' for the Educational
  Numismatist and presented this paper at the club meeting."

  [Roger's paper is titled, "Two Thousand and Four down
  Counterfeit Lane".  Here are a some excerpts:

  "Steve pulled his auto into the Swap Shop parking lot just a
  minute after Roger.  About two weeks ago, they had seen an
  unusual counterfeit mule crown composed of a Queen Victoria
  Old Head obverse c.1900, paired with a Bahamas 1966
  two-dollar reverse. Both of the genuine coins were minted
  by the Royal Mint London. The counterfeit mule was in a
  large lot of very plentiful modern Chinese counterfeit crowns.
  For the past year they have been all over the flea market and
  even seen at the local coin shows. They are made of low grade
  silver, cast and of fair to poor quality and sell for about $5.
  The typical coin is a counterfeit copy of the Chinese Yuan
  Shih Kai crown dated 3rd year (1916). This image is
  sometimes called the Fat-Boy emperor.

  How this mule was made and why is still a mystery. There
  should be no demand for a counterfeit crown of 1966
  Bahamas as the original 1966 is very plentiful as part of the
  first Bahamas proof sets.  The whole series of sets, with
  three large silver coins $10, $5, and the $2 sells near bullion,
  most of the time and not often broken up into individual pieces,
  as there is no collector base, except tourists visiting Nassau."

  "The quality of some of the counterfeit coins are getting better.
  The author specializes in Dime Size Silver Coins of the World,
  and was nearly fooled a month ago at his local club show.
  If the price had not been too cheap ($3 for a 1886 Hong Kong
  ten cent piece in au) and the same dealer, who to his defense,
  did not know much about foreign coins, also had a poor
  quality Canton 10 counterfeit, which was the tip off, to take
  a second look with a 16 power glass at the Hong Kong piece.
  It was a counterfeit."

  Submitted by Roger deWardt Lane, Hollywood, Florida. He
  and Steve Schor are active members of the Fort Lauderdale
  Coin Club, both retired and like the exercise of their weekly
  trips to the flea market to look for numismatic treasurers."

  [The article's last word is an amusing typo.  The only time
  most collectors go looking for "numismatic treasurers" is when
  it's time to nominate club officers, OR when there USED TO
  BE enough money in the club account to fund a nice trip to
  Nassau...  -Editor]


BAY AREA FORGERIES: THANKS AND A NEW QUESTION

  Gene Anderson writes: "My thanks to Eric Newman for
  passing on litigation information concerning the excellent
  numismatic forgeries which appeared in the ANA 1978
  Bowers & Ruddy catalog.  This week I received the catalog
  in the mail as well the April 1979 article he wrote for The
  Numismatist. Both were interesting reading. I learned that I
  should have called my Penny-Wise article "Bay Area
  Forgeries" not "Bay Area Counterfeits". The difference
  being a forgery is intended to defraud or deceive collectors,
  investors, or viewers while a counterfeit is intended to
  circulate. Both are equally false as Mr. Newman says. I
  have one question about these forgeries.  Did any of them
  have an edge that was wide and flat or "proof like"?  Where
  are these forgeries now?"


QUIZ ANSWER:  HARASZTHY AT THE MINT

  Regarding last week's quiz question about Agoston Haraszthy,
  Dave Lange writes: "One of my favorite secret pleasures is the
  book "Haraszthy at the Mint," by Brian McGinty.  It is essential
  to any study of the early San Francisco Mint. I bought my copy
  directly from the publisher, Dawson's Book Shop in Los
  Angeles. This rare title was published in 1975 and almost
  immediately went out of print. I don't believe it has ever been
  reprinted.

  The amazing Mr. Haraszthy's cause of death is presumptive: In
  July of 1869 he fell from a tree on his Nicaraguan sugar
  plantation into a river. He evidently drowned, and his body was
  never found."

  [I bought my copy of "Haraszthy at the Mint" during the same
  visit to George Kolbe where I bought The Engineering
  Reminiscences of George Escol Sellers.  Both are favorites of
  mine, and I encourage anyone with an interest in mint history to
  read them.   While Haraszthy is obscure to all but the most
  well-read numismatists, his fame is far wider in the world of
  wine, for he was also a pioneer in the California wine-making
  industry.  -Editor]

  Gar Travis forwarded the following, taken from a capsule
  biography of Haraszthy (1812-1869)  "Father of Modern
  Viticulture in California":  "July 6, 1869. Agoston Haraszthy
  set out alone on a mule to discuss the construction progress
  of a new sawmill. He never returned home and no trace of
  him was ever found. It appeared that he had tried to cross
  a river along a fallen tree when a large limb broke. He lost
  his balance, fell into the water, and was either pulled under
  by an alligator or swept out to the shark infested ocean.
  Neither father nor son was aware of the other's death and
  both now rest in the sea."
  haraszthy.html

  Gar also sent a link to this biography on the San Diego
  Historical Society web site. The page includes a photo of
  Haraszthy.  The text is from the House of Hungary, Balboa
  Park.  Haraaszthy Bio

  That page includes a link to yet another sketch, this one from
  from "San Diego Originals" by Theodore W. Fuller (published
  1987). It summarizes his mint escapade as follows: "In 1857,
  two years after the United States Treasury hired his firm, he
  was charged with embezzling $151,000 worth of gold from the
  mint. The case dragged on four years until he could prove his
  theory about the missing metal.  Soot and grime taken from
  roofs of nearby buildings sparkled with gold particles, which
  literally flew up the chimneys. The culprit? Blowers, installed
  to furnish the mint's furnaces with a proper draft. " Article

  [Although we were looking for "Haraszthy At the Mint,"
  Chris Fuccione discovered the book "Strong Wine,
  the life and legend of Agoston Haraszthy," also by author
  Brian McGinty.  An Internet search also turned up "The
  Father of California Wine: Agoston Haraszthy"  by
  Theodore Schoenman, 1979.   The search also unearthed a
  reference to an article written by Haraszthy himself titled
  "Wine-Making in California (Buena Vista Ranch and
  Vineyard)" in  Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Vol. 29
  (June to November 1864).  -Editor]


THE SPORT OF NUMISMATIC NAME-CALLING

  This week in the Colonial Numismatics email list, Ray
  Williams wrote the following after reviewing Kolbe's
  catalog of the John J. Ford Library, Part One: "I scanned
  through the catalog on line.  It is filled with much information.
  I noticed that the personal communications gave me a better
  view of the famous numismatists.  I think we look back and
  see these people that we respect as all being honest nice
  guys, concerned with altruistic intentions only.  Although
  there may have been a couple like that, I don't believe it
  was the case in general.  It is obvious that there were varied
  personalities and egos then, as now.  Information from some
  individuals was respected while the information from others
  was kept suspect."

  John M. Kleeberg added: " ... it's surprising what you learn
  about the old time numismatists.    The American Numismatic
  Society has the personal papers of Howland Wood, and he
  received correspondence from virtually all the great Canadian
  numismatists - McLachlan, Leroux, Breton, Sandham, S. S.
  Heal.  The correspondence is a hoot.  The letters to Wood
  consist in   of ninety-five percent absolute venom: Canadian
  numismatists badmouthing other Canadian numismatists.  You
  pick up one letter by S. S. Heal, and you read, "McLachlan
  is a stupid old woman and sew up your pockets if you ever
  run into Dr. Lees and Leroux lives one step ahead of the law..."
  and then you pick up a letter by McLachlan, and he says much
  the same things about all the other Canadian numismatists.
  After page after page of abuse, you come to a bit where the
  correspondent says, "Oh, by the way, Brother Howland, I
  think this is a new variety of the Ships Colony and Commerce
  token, and here's a rubbing."  So that's the one nugget of
  actual numismatic content.  This abuse is part of the sport.
  This listserv is the parquet of the Grand Court of Versailles
  compared to what you can read from the great Canadian
  numismatists.  It's amazing that they accomplished so much,
  considering how much time they spent attacking each other.

  If you ever want another good laugh, ask to see Henry
  Chapman's book of "Men Reported Bad" in the ANS library.
  It's remarkable how many great names bounced checks off
  Henry Chapman or his informants: Dr. George French,
  Benjamin P. Wright, John F. Jones ("slow pay"). Numismatics
  - the study of monetary objects struck, usually, in metal, paid
  for by monetary objects written, usually, on rubber."


AN ENCOUNTER WITH THE DUPONTS

  Alan Luedeking writes: "On Friday April 2, I was fortunate
  enough to be invited to box seats at the Nasdaq 100 Open
  in Key Biscayne. As I settled down to watch the men's
  semi-final match, I was introduced to a couple sitting in front
  of me, who turned out to be none other than Willis H. DuPont
  and his wife Miren.

  Between changeovers I couldn't resist mentioning coins to
  him. I congratulated him on his recent recovery of the 1866
  no-motto dollar. I then ventured to ask him if he still collected
  now and was disappointed to learn that he does not. He did
  tell me that his favorite recovery thus far has been the
  Linderman '04, and that of the still missing pieces, the one
  he'd most like to get back is the Stella.  This came as a bit of
  a surprise to me. I had expected him to mention some exotic
  colonial coin or pioneer gold piece, or maybe something from
  the Mikhailovich collection.  I must in fairness say that the
  subject of his lost coins is very far from Mr. DuPont's favorite.
  As he is an extremely low-key gentleman, not at all prone to
  overindulging in conversation, it took me much longer than it
  should have to pick up on this fact.  As a result, I'm afraid he
  did not enjoy the company of his box-mate nearly as much
  as I did the pleasure of meeting him and his lovely wife. In
  hindsight, I regret having importuned him with my questions,
  but who could pass up the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of
  talking coins to the man who owned the greatest coin
  collection ever stolen?  Let's hope he eventually gets all of his
  coins back, though after nearly 37 years the prospects are
  indeed grim. (For those who'd like to know a bit more about
  this collection and the circumstances surrounding its robbery,
  I suggest Edward C. Rochette's excellent article in the
  February 2000 issue of The Numismatist)."


THE UNFORTUNATE FATE OF MANY GOLD MEDALS

  Alan V. Weinberg  writes: "Regarding the whereabouts of the
  U.S. Mint-struck gold Geo Robinson medal PE-27 addressed
  in the latest E-Sylum email:

  It is  probable that George Robinson, a simple soldier, or his
  direct descendant family had the gold medal melted.  It was
  approximately 7 ozs of .900 fine gold, and in those days that
  amount of almost pure gold  represented a sizable sum. His
  contemporary Mary Todd Lincoln, strapped for funds after her
  husband's assassination, was known to have sold off many of
  her possessions to continue eating.  One of the items she likely
  sold/melted was the massive Swiss-struck 4" diameter .900
  or better gold medal struck in Switzerland  designed by
  engraver Franky Magniadas, and given to her by the Swiss
  gov't  - today still the most impressive Lincoln medal and
  occasionally available in pristine chocolate bronze at auction.

  Incidentally, both Ford (ex JHU/Garrett IV ) and I (ex Zabriskie)
  own splendid mint condition silver George Robinson medals,
  great rarities in their own right. I'm virtually certain that Ford
  does not own a gold."


PLAY MONEY GETTING MORE REAL ALL THE TIME

  A recent article in Wired magazine highlights an interesting
  trend involving make-believe money:

  "The buying and selling of virtual currencies, weapons and other
  goods from massively multiplayer online games like EverQuest
  and Ultima Online may be off most people's radar, but it is truly
  big business.

  One company, Internet Gaming Entertainment, or IGE, has
  more than 100 full-time employees in Hong Kong and the
  United States who do nothing but process its customers'
  hundreds of thousands of annual orders for virtual goods,
  the lion's share of which average nearly a hundred dollars
  each. And demand is so strong, says IGE CEO Brock Pierce,
  that the company is hiring about five new people a week."

  While IGE has had several hundred thousand customers
  since its inception in 2001, it depends on a stable of more
  than 100 suppliers -- hard-core players who sell IGE
  surplus currency, weapons and other goods they regularly
  accumulate.

  "They can play games all day and make a little money for it,"
  says Pierce. "Most of the time, they're selling off their garbage,
  but one man's garbage may be another man's treasure....
  They'll sell us that (extra) suit of armor, or sell the suit of
  armor in the game and sell us the currency, and then they'll
  go pay their rent with it."

  IGE's business treads into controversial waters in the gaming
  world. That's because its buyers are spending real cash to
  improve their lot in life, or at least in the games they play,
  without having to spend the time to do so."

  "This has led IGE to bring on Ken Selden, a Hollywood
  screenwriter and leading peddler of virtual goods, as its
  chief economist.

  "There's a relationship between real-life economies and a
  virtual economy," says Selden. "I happen to believe that
  these virtual economies are very real, serious economies."

  Selden says the strength of a virtual economy is determined
  largely by how stable its currency is. And because IGE is
  the largest secondary market for the currencies of games
  like EverQuest, it has a lot of influence over the stability of
  the exchange rates between the game currencies and U.S.
  dollars.

  "Everything circulates around the exchange rate between a
  real and virtual-world economy," explains Selden. "We set
  the rates that we buy and sell at, and those are divined by
  supply and demand. The amount of currency in circulation
  at any point is extremely important to the out-of-game
  exchange rate."

  "One of the problems is that there isn't enough communication
  between the people who are minting the currency and the
  people outside who are selling it and defining it," he argues.
  "It's almost like the treasury isn't talking to the federal reserve
  in these worlds. And I think it's because the game companies
  are just waking up to how important it is."
  Wired Article on virtual currency.


EFFECT OF LARGE NOTES ON ECONOMY

  On a similar note, web site visitor Naeim Karimi writes: "I was
  curious to know the possible effects of introducing large bank
  notes into the market on a country's economy.  For example if
  a country like Iran was to introduce a 20,000 rial bill on top of
  the current bills in circulation (500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10000).
  Thank you in advance for your cooperation and prompt
  response."

  [I have no answer for this question, but perhaps one of our
  readers does.  -Editor]


CATALOGUE PEEVES: ERRATA

  Darryl Atchision writes: "Here is another (perhaps the last)
  contribution on catalogue pet peeves.

  I want to thank the few collectors who chose to respond to
  my previous commentary concerning the absence of price
  estimates and select bibliographies from modern sale catalogues.
  I do have to wonder, however, why no dealers/cataloguers
  have responded.  I know there are many pre-eminent dealers
  with huge reputations on our mailing list and I would have
  loved to hear their viewpoints since I believe that any discussion
  is also worthwhile - even if agreement or consensus cannot be
  achieved.

  Nonetheless, I will once again throw my gauntlet to the ground
  and raise another thorny "pet peeve" which is perhaps even
  more distressing than no page numbers, no price estimates and
  no bibliographies.  I am talking about something which affects
  present day collectors (especially bidders) as well as future
  researchers.

  How many times have you received a catalogue which had an
  item identified as a particular lot no. and when you went to
  view the coin, token (whatever) the item was not in fact what
  was described in the catalogue.  I am not referring to grading
  issues - no two people will ever always agree on grading. I
  am talking, rather, about cataloguing errors.  Either misattribution
  or simple human error.  For example, a recent sale I was
  perusing had coins of mixed denominations listed together -
  even though the descriptions indicated they were all the same
  denomination.  It would have been obvious to an advanced
  bidder that the cataloguer had simply made some typing errors
  and when the material was sorted for presentation in the
  catalogue the coins were lumped together

  It makes me wonder why cataloguers don't publish errata
  sheet(s) for their sales.  I realize that once the catalogues have
  been mailed the catalogues can't be corrected, but how
  difficult would it be to make a sheet available at the time of
  the auction or to prepare one post-sale that corrects the
  cataloguing errors, notes withdrawn lots and covers any
  other issues.  I know that some prices realized lists will
  address the issue of withdrawn lots but not all of them do it
  effectively so that it is immediately evident which lots have
  been withdrawn.

  I'm not trying to be difficult, but I would like to be confident
  when I am looking at a sale twenty years from now that I
  have the best and most correct information at my fingertips
  - short of having to write all over the catalogues myself.
  Even this option is not realistic as no-one can attend every
  sale - so they won't have first hand knowledge of all the
  cataloguing errors that occur.

  I would be interested if any of our other readers have a
  viewpoint on this."

  [I'll offer one thought - while catalogues are indeed
  great tools for numismatic researchers, their original
  purpose is completely different.  They are a vehicle for
  selling coins.  Always have been, always will be.  While
  many auction houses and cataloguers indeed strive to
  present a quality product for both today and tomorrow,
  even the most conscientious among them are already hard
  at work on the next sale as soon as the last one is out the
  door.  As such, they have little time to devote to cleaning
  up the previous sale.  I would also point out that since
  most cataloguers are indeed fairly conscientious about
  producing error-free work, it may be a safe assumption
  that they simply are not aware of the errors you are finding;
  after all, if they knew about them, they wouldn't have
  appeared in the final product to begin with!  Not all
  readers notice them, and of those that do, few take the
  time to notify the author.  -Editor]


NUMISMATICS HELPED WESTERN STUDY OF BUDDHISM

  A book review in The Japan Times notes the role of
  numismatics in the west's discovery of the origins of
  Buddhism.  The book in question is "Buddha and the Sahibs:
  The Men Who Discovered India's Lost Religion" by Charles
  Allen. John Murray, 2003, 322 pp., 8.99 (paper).

  "The story begins with a botanist. At the end of the 18th
  century, a Scottish doctor named Francis Buchanan was
  employed to carry out surveys of Burma and Nepal, neither
  of them with ease, the latter with great difficulty, while on
  missions to those countries. While he was engaged on this,
  he obtained glimpses of a new religion.

  It was a new religion to the British, employees of the Honorable
  East India Company (EICo), but an old one to the subcontinent
  where it had been born. Its fate was curious: Like Christianity,
  this faith had faded from its land of origin, but been taken up with
  enthusiasm in surrounding countries, and extended its influence,
  in varying forms, over most of a continent. It was now about to
  be rediscovered.

  "Discovered," in this context, means by Europeans and the
  Western world."

  "Some of the unsolved mysteries were contained in inscriptions
  that nobody could read. A talented young Englishman named
  James Prinsep, who contributed much to the welfare of ordinary
  Indians and was adept at acquiring languages, managed to break
  the code on one important column.   This had wider consequences
  than at first appeared. "Prinsep's unlocking of the Delhi No. 1
  script . . . remains unquestionably the greatest single advance
  in the recovery of India's lost past," says the author.

  Numismatics also formed a part of the Prinsep's investigation,
  and Allen explains in detail some of mysteries that he unraveled.
  When he died, still a young man but exhausted by his work, the
  native people, independently of the British, "raised a subscription
  of their own to build a ghat in his memory." Prinsep's Ghat still
  exists, on the banks of the Ganges in Benares, though it is now
  "popularly known as Princes Ghat."

  "Because of these remarkable men's work, "by the end of 1836
  the Indian origins of Buddhism had been established beyond
  doubt."

  To read the full article, see: Buddhism Origin Article


NUMISMATICS & RIOTS

  In March 21, 2004 E-Sylum (v7n12) I wrote: "... what
  numismatic items are the result of, or commemorate riots?
  I can think of one example, and rather than list it here I'll
  make it a quiz question for our readers.  Let's see how
  different many examples you folks can think of."

  Well, I didn't think this would stump our readers, but
  I haven't received any replies on the topic.  The incident
  I had in mind were the Old Price Riots, a civil disorder in
  Great Britain centered around the 1809 price increase at
  the new Covent Garden Theatre.

  "Covent Garden burnt to the ground in September of 1808.
  In rebuilding, the managers changed the design of the theatre
  to accommodate a larger audience and the dramatic spectacle
  that increasingly characterized theatrical production. The New
  Covent Garden included twenty-six private boxes in place of
  the old third-tier of dress boxes. In order to finance the
  rebuilding (which was funded partly by public subscription),
  the management raised ticket prices slightly. The theater
  audience objected to the raised prices and the new architecture,
  as well as to the hiring of Angelica Catalani. The changes to the
  theatre, they claimed, had been made autocratically without
  public approval. Chanting "OP" for Old Prices, the protestors
  staged elaborately theatrical riots inside the theatre. Rioters in
  the pits wore OP hats, danced the OP dance, sang OP songs,
  raised OP placards, and circulated satirical OP handbills. At
  one point, rioters organized an "OP ball" to take place within
  the theatre."  From Old Price Riots

  The numismatic association is a medal, #677 in British Historical
  Medals 1760-1960, Volume I, pp. 166.  See Article

FEATURED WEB SITE

  This week's featured web site is Jean-Philippe Fontanille's
  site on the coins of Pontius Pilate.

  "They are not really beautiful, or truly rare, nor are they of very
  great monetary value. Yet these apparently modest coins carry
  in their weight an era and an act which would have immense
  consequence to the history of the world. ... Pontius Pilate
  himself designed and put the coins into circulation, and of
  course he was the man who conducted the trial and ordered
  the crucifixion of Jesus.

  So it is that everyone, whether a believer or simply a lover of
  history or of numismatics, will find in these coins direct evidence
  of and witness to an episode the memory of which has survived
  2000 years."

  Coins of Pontius Pilate

  Wayne Homren
  Numismatic Bibliomania Society
 

  The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a
  non-profit organization promoting numismatic
  literature.   For more information please see
  our web site at http://www.coinbooks.org/
  There is a membership application available on
  the web site.  To join, print the application and
  return it with your check to the address printed
  on the application.   For those without web access,
  write to W. David Perkins, NBS Secretary-Treasurer,
  P.O. Box 212, Mequon, WI 53092-0212.

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