The eSylum - Volume 10 (2007)

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 10, Number 44, October 28, 2007: 
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 
Copyright (c) 2007, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


WAYNE'S WORDS: THE E-SYLUM OCTOBER 28, 2007

Among our recent subscribers is George Cuhaj of F+W Publications. 
Welcome aboard! We now have 1,073 subscribers. This week's issue 
is being sent out Monday morning as a result of your Editor's 
weekend visit to a coin show.

This week we open with several reports on how some of our 
California numismatic brethren fared during the recent massive 
wildfires, and George Kolbe provides an update in his latest sale 
and publication. Next up are reports on literature dealers Richard 
Stockley and Karl Moulton.

In this issue I review Roger Burdette's "Renaissance of American 
Coinage 1909-1915", and Dave Lange discusses the dynamics of the 
aftermarket for numismatic literature.

In responses to prior topics, Fred Holabird comments on the John 
J. Ford assay ingot sale, Tom DeLorey discusses the thinking behind 
the title of "'The Fantastic 1804 Dollar" book, and relates a great 
story about a 1802 Half Dime. 

In the news are stories on counterfeit Bank of England £500,000 
notes, and a stash of coins is discovered in a long-abandoned 
house. To learn about the Zombie coin show and many other topics, 
read on. Have a great week, everyone.

Wayne Homren 
Numismatic Bibliomania Society


UPDATE: NUMISMATISTS AND THE CALIFORNIA FIRES

On Wednesday I published a special issue of The E-Sylum 
reporting on how some of our California numismatic brethren 
were faring in the face of the massive wildfires in that 
state. David Sklow, David Fanning, Len Augsburger, Bob 
Leuver and several others wrote to thank me for the 
information about our friends George Kolbe, Alan Weinberg 
and Ron Guth.

Doug Andrews writes: "Not only is the news good for our 
friends and colleagues, but this special issue of The E-Sylum 
is numismatic newsgroup reportage at its finest! We hope you, 
and the California firefighters, keep up the good work."

Kerry Rodgers of Auckland, New Zealand writes: "Bush fires 
have had profound affect on numismatics in Australia with 
several major collections destroyed over the years. The 
infamous Ash Wednesday fires took out many rarities in just 
one collection in Victoria."

Anne Bentley writes: "My nephew drives an 18-wheel semi-rig 
and called from the fire area to say the winds are literally 
pushing these monster trucks over. This must be what Hell 
looks like. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone out 
there."

Indeed. Earlier in the week a USA Today article quoted San 
Diego firefighter Mitch Mendler describing what he witnessed: 
"It was nuclear winter. It was like Armageddon. It looked 
like the end of the world." 

Ken Berger of San Diego writes: "The areas hardest hit are 
more to the east and northeast of the city in the more rural 
& suburban areas. The fires are starting to lessen up, 
although a number are still burning. Twelve hundred homes 
were lost in San Diego County. 

"You can smell the smoke in the air. Because of the poor air 
quality, all the schools, colleges and courts are closed. In 
Clairemont (east of Pacific Beach), the air quality has not 
been as bad as it was four years ago during the Cedar Fire. 
At that time, huge pieces of ash were descending from the 
sky. This time it has only been small pieces. Six miles 
north of here in University City (a neighborhood in San Diego 
City), the air has been much worse. There are also fires 
southeast of San Diego City.

"As one gets closer to the ocean, there are more homes and 
less vegetation, so in my opinion the fire danger is less. 
However, we do have some canyons -- such as Tecolote Canyon 
-- which has not been cleared in over ten years and is a 
major fire hazard."

John Ingle of Early American History Auctions writes: 
"All is well in our Rancho Santa Fe offices. We were 
under a Mandatory Evacuation for two days. However, 
we are back up and running now. Our November 10th Mail 
Bid Auction of Autographs - Coins - Currency - Americana 
will run as scheduled."

Gar Travis of Teletrade writes: "My residence and office 
are very close together - where the 55 and 405 highways 
cross. Our offices are very near those of PCGS."

Leon Worden writes: "Here in Santa Clarita (home of the 
Magic Mountain amusement park), the Santa Ana winds have 
finally died down from their 70-100 mph velocities of a 
few days ago, and as I look out the window all I see now 
is a little puff of smoke over Castaic, in the northwestern 
Santa Clarita Valley, where my neighbor and fellow 
E-Sylum reader Oded Paz was evacuated the other day.

"Oded is Vice President of The Elongated Collectors (TEC) 
and was the first-place winner in the Elongated category 
for his display at the Milwaukee ANA). Oded reports that 
he has returned home and his family is safe. We lost 25 
homes in our community, about a mile away from me, as the 
flames attacked our northernmost residential neighborhoods. 
But Governor Schwarzenegger was here yesterday and President 
Bush should be here tomorrow, so I guess we'll be OK. ;-) "

(Thursday) Ron Guth, President of Professional Coin Grading 
Service writes: "PCGS suffered no disruption of service 
due to the fires here in Southern California. Except for 
eerily overcast skies and diminished air quality, it’s 
business as usual here at our headquarters in Orange County.

"This morning, I was able to make the drive from my home in 
San Diego to PCGS Central, which is an 85 mile trip along 
the coast. The air quality ranged from clear and smoke-free 
in some areas to choking smoke through Camp Pendleton (where 
a fire could be seen burning the tops of the mountains off 
in the distance). Much of the acreage in Camp Pendleton has 
been blackened, some of it right up to the edge of Highway 5, 
off into the distance, and even under the transmission lines 
leading out of the San Onofre nuclear reactor. The winds 
have died down and the fires have either remained stationary 
or taken off towards the east, sometimes back over areas that 
were missed when the fire was on its westward march.

"Among our staff, there are many stories being told. A 
consultant who lived in Rancho Bernardo (in San Diego) tells 
how his house is the only one of the nine in his neighborhood 
that remains standing…the rest were burnt to the ground. 
One of our IT guys went to bed one night when the fire was 
10-15 miles away, thinking he was safe, only to be awakened 
at 4 a.m. with the flames right at his back door. He recounted 
how the winds blew the flames up and over his house, such that 
they were licking the vegetation in the front yard. In the 
next second, the flames disappeared completely, leaving his 
house intact. 

"Others tell of intense red glows in the sky from the next 
hill over, waiting in fear for the flames to appear. Others 
were forced to evacuate and they have been unable to return 
because of issues with downed power lines, leaking gas lines, 
etc. Another one of our consultants told about fighting off 
flames in his back yard with a garden hose, only to have a 
Marine helicopter fly overhead and dump a load of water on 
the fire, extinguishing it completely."

"In short, everyone has been affected by the fires in some 
form or fashion either directly or indirectly. The fires 
have been a major disruption in many of our lives. Fortunately, 
everyone on our staff is safe and the overall morale is excellent. 
We’re not going to let a little fire get in our way."

(Saturday) Ken Berger writes: "Life in San Diego County is 
slowly returning to normal. Many evacuees are returning - 
some to their homes and some to nothing. A few fires are 
still burning and are still being fought. The pictures in 
the newspapers say it all. For example, there's an aerial 
view of two cul-de-sacs next to each other. In one, all 
the houses except one burned to the ground; in the other, 
all the houses except one were untouched by the fire (the 
other house burned to the ground).

The remaining evacuees at the stadium have been relocated 
to the Del Mar Fairgrounds. I believe there were seven 
deaths directly related to the fires."

NUMISMATISTS AND THE CALIFORNIA FIRES
esylum_v10n43a02.html


KOLBE 104TH NUMISMATIC LITERATURE TO CLOSE AS SCHEDULED NOVEMBER 1ST

George Kolbe writes: "After an unsettling week on the 
mountain, we have decided to abide by the closing date 
of November 1, 2007 as published in our 104th auction 
sale catalogue of numismatic literature. As reported in 
www.rim of the world.net: "The Grass Valley Fire [the 
one closest to Crestline] is 95% contained as of 8:00pm 
Saturday." Our thoughts and prayers go out to the over 
300 homeowners on the mountain who lost their homes. We 
are humbled by the many emails and telephone calls received 
inquiring about the situation and wishing us well."

"Postal service also resumed on Saturday, though it appears 
that all old mail will not arrive here until Monday. Our 
email was erratic early in the week; if you did not receive 
confirmation of email bidding, please let us know."


JACK COLLINS BOOK ON 1794 DOLLARS ORDERING DEADLINE NOVEMBER 1ST

Regarding the publication of the Jack Collins book on 
the 1794 dollars, George Kolbe writes: "If you have not 
ordered a copy, please remember: "EDITION STRICTLY LIMITED 
TO NUMBER OF ORDERS RECEIVED BY NOVEMBER 1, 2007." Based 
on orders received thus far, the entire edition will likely 
be 50 to 75 copies. The price is $65.00 postpaid; further 
details are provided at our web site: www.numislit.com. 
Those not on our mailing list will also be able to access 
our current auction sale catalogue there, information on 
both editions of the wonderful new Adams-Bentley work on 
Comitia Americana Medals, and other information about 
numismatic literature."


CANADIAN NUMISMATIC LITERATURE DEALER RICHARD STOCKLEY RELOCATES

Literature dealer Richard Stockley of Canada (specializing 
in Numismatic, Philatelic & Business/Banking History books) 
has relocated. He writes: "I just wanted to let all of you 
know that I will be serving you from a new address 

Richard Stockley 
222 Ste. Anne 
Ste. Anne de Bellevue, QC 
Canada H9X 1N7

514-366-1704 (as of 1 Nov only 514-674-0697)"

To visit Stockley’s web site, see: 
Stockley's


KARL MOULTON ISSUES FIXED PRICE LIST OF AMERICAN NUMISMATIC LITERATURE

Karl Moulton announced the release of his Fall/Winter 2007 
fixed price list of American numismatic literature recently. 
The list offers reference books, periodicals, auction catalogs 
and fixed price lists. A printed list is available for $10 
postpaid. Request a copy by writing P.O. Box 1073, Congress, 
AZ 85332, calling (928) 427-3567 or e-mailing numiscats@aol.com. 
A complete list of available inventory can be found at 
coincats.com.


WHERE TO SEND NBS DUES CHECKS

David Lange writes: "I'm still receiving Numismatic Bibliomania 
Society members' dues checks at my box address. Please remind 
readers that these are to be sent to NBS Secretary/Treasurer 
David Sundman at POB 82, Littleton, NH 03561."


THE COLONIAL NEWSLETTER DECEMBER 2007 ISSUE PUBLISHED

[CNL Editor Gary Trudgen forwarded the following announcement 
on the December 2007 issue of The Colonial Newsletter (CNL). 
-Editor]

This issue begins with an exchange of messages between 
John Adams and Dr. Roger Moore, which is presented as a 
Letter to the Editor. Their communication pertains to 
the paper on fake Virginia halfpence that appeared in 
the previous issue.

Next up is a report on a metal detecting find of a 1781 
imitation British halfpenny. The report is authored by 
the finder, Kevin Jackson, with assistance from Dr. Roger 
Moore who recently co-authored an excellent paper updating 
information on this series. This paper appeared in CNL-132 
and was titled "1781 Imitation British Halfpence Update." 
It is believed that this is the first 1781-dated imitation 
British halfpenny to be recovered from U.S. soil.

The paper in our last issue which examined fake Virginia 
halfpence prompted a number of collectors to examine their 
reproductions. Jim Biancarosa contacted the principal 
author of this paper, Dr. Roger Moore, and arraigned for 
him to examine six of his Virginia reproductions. Two 
of Jim's coins resulted in new and interesting observations 
which are detailed in an update paper titled "More on 
Virginia Copper Coinage Counterfeits, Forgeries, and 
Facsimiles."

Next, David Gladfelter reports the discovery of a signed 
small change bill dated March 10, 1796, that was issued 
by the Common Council of the City of New-Brunswick, New 
Jersey. Previously, only remainder notes of this issue 
were known.

In our April 2007 issue we reported the untimely death 
of Mike Ringo. Mike was one of the most knowledgeable 
and highly respected numismatists specializing in the 
field of early American coinage. John Kleeberg, a CNL 
associate editor, had a good working relationship with 
Mike and has provided us with a fascinating personal 
look at Mike while detailing many of Mike's discoveries 
in numismatics. 

Our final paper, titled "1748-dated Counterfeit British 
Halfpenny Source Indentified," locates the counterfeit 
operation that produced several die-linked counterfeit 
halfpennies. Since counterfeit operations rarely, if ever, 
kept records of their activities, it is difficult to determine 
when, where and by whom the many counterfeit halfpence 
varieties were produced. Robert Bowser, however, made a 
significant contribution to this field of inquiry when he 
accessed the criminal court proceedings of the Old Bailey 
in London. Here he found detailed testimony by the arresting 
officers in several cases involving counterfeiting of English 
and Irish coins. Some of the testimony provides truly 
fascinating details about small-time counterfeiting operations. 
One case provided enough information on the coins being struck 
to identify the likely variety produced by that operation 
along with others that are die-linked to that variety. 

CNL is published three times a year by The American Numismatic 
Society, 96 Fulton Street, New York, NY 10038. For inquires 
concerning CNL, please contact Megan Fenselau at the preceding 
postal address or e-mail fenselau@amnumsoc.org or telephone 
(212) 571-4470 ext. 1311.


REVIEW: 'RENAISSANCE OF AMERICAN COINAGE 1909-1915' BY ROGER BURDETTE

Call it "The White Book". Those of us who now have all 
three books in Roger Burdette's "Renaissance" series will 
notice a pattern when lining them up in order on the shelf. 
The first volume, "Renaissance of American Coinage 1905-1908" 
has a red pictorial cover. The middle volume, covering 
the years 1909-1915 has a white cover, and the final volume, 
covering the years 1916-1921, is blue. So this marvelous 
set of books on a wholly American numismatic subject is as 
red, white and blue as the American flag.

The "White Book" covering the middle years is actually 
the last to be published, but no matter - the set as a 
whole will stand for years as pioneering scholarship in 
the field. Collectors of twentieth century U.S. coinage 
(and their numbers are legion) will do themselves and their 
collections a great favor by reading these volumes.

Roger has come to a very satisfying end to an endeavor 
begun several years ago when, as a curious collector of 
Peace Dollars, he set out to read all the information 
he could find on the series. What he found was unfortunately 
what many serious readers discover when delving into the 
body of numismatic literature - that much of what was written 
to date was simply copied from the work of earlier authors, 
and much of the information within was incomplete, 
contradictory, or just plain wrong.

Armed with the confidence only a neophyte researcher can 
muster, Roger set out to look a little deeper, intending 
to compile a short article on the subject in order to set 
his own mind straight on the real story and true sequence 
of events. We all know where Good Intentions often lead, 
but in his case Roger followed a trail one crumb at a time 
to numismatic nirvana.

In a lucky early break, someone advised him to check with 
the Commission on Fine Arts. As it turns out, the Commission 
has an extensive record archive going all the way back to 
its founding in 1910. Per the Commission's web site, its 
charter is to give "expert advice to the President, Congress 
and the heads of departments and agencies of the Federal and 
District of Columbia governments on matters of design and 
aesthetics, as they affect the Federal interest and preserve 
the dignity of the nation's capital... The Commission provides 
advice to the U. S. Mint on the design of coins and medals, 
and approves the site and design of national memorials, 
both in the United States and on foreign soil..."

As readers can guess, one thing led to another and Roger's 
article grew and grew. When he mentioned to dealer Julian 
Leidman that he was considering publishing a book on Peace 
dollars, Julian gave him some fateful advice. Julian was 
unsure that there was enough material for a full book on 
this coin, but thought there would certainly be a market 
for one covering the broader range of early twentieth 
century coinage.

His suggestion encouraged Roger to expand the scope of 
his research to the entire era, heading back to Commission 
archives, the National Archives, Library of Congress, 
correspondence files, personal archives and the occasional 
old newspaper. And just as his intended article had expanded 
to a book, his book on what he dubbed the "Renaissance of 
American Coinage" grew to a three-volume manuscript. Along 
the way Roger published some of his findings in various Coin 
World articles.

Well-researched, thoughtfully written and properly footnoted, 
Roger's manuscript compiled a trove of original information, 
much of which had either never been seen by previous writers, 
or had been overlooked or misinterpreted. Yet Roger encountered 
a new problem when he approached a major numismatic publisher - 
those pesky footnotes would have to go. In the end Roger 
self-published his work, putting what must have amounted to 
tens of thousands of dollars into their publication. Now 
Roger's investment of time and money (not to mention the blood, 
sweat and tears of a lone researcher) are paying off in spades 
for the numismatic hobby. These books are keepers.

"Renaissance of American Coinage 1909-1915" is a large format 
(8 1/2 by 11 inches) 350-page hardcover, with glossy pictorial 
covers like the other two in the series. Roger's Preface 
describes the volume well, so here are some excerpts:

"The scope of this volume differs somewhat from its companions. 
Volumes I (1905-1908) and III (1916-1921) stick closely to 
origin, design and early production of the respective circulating 
coins with limited exploration of other events at the Mint 
Bureau. This middle volume covers the cent and nickel circulation 
designs, then branches out to explore changes taking place at 
the Bureau during the years between 1909 and 1915, including 
the Panama-Pacific International Exposition commemoratives. 

"In this period we also find a great terra incognito of 
American numismatics: a nearly forgotten short-term mint 
director, stories of special deals involving pattern coins, 
dealers buying rarities “direct” from mint employees, and 
a dozen other unsubstantiated “facts” clutter numismatic 
history. Some of these tales were cooked up by auctioneers 
and catalogers, others by collectors determined to establish 
preeminence in their specialty, yet others as sly cover for 
the truth. As will become evident, several events occurred 
which changed the course of the mint and coin collecting. 
Other supposed events either never occurred, or happened 
very differently than reported in contemporary hobby 
publications.

"Much of the basic research material about the Lincoln cent 
and Buffalo nickel comes from a microfilm collection (T620) 
prepared by the National Archives (now National Archives 
and Records Administration – NARA) staff in the early 1960s. 
This has been the source of most material in previously 
published accounts of the coins’ creation. Archivists collected 
all the documents relating to these two coins and placed them 
in separate files, which were then microfilmed. Regrettably, 
this removed most of the documents from their original context, 
making it more difficult to relate documents to one another. 
Although most relevant documents were identified and filed 
together, several escaped notice. These included letters 
in Mint Bureau press copy books, and correspondence from 
persons not obviously associated with the projects so far 
as the archivists could determine. Unfortunately, over time 
the physical files, including some of the photos shown in 
Taxay’s U.S. Mint and Coinage, have become separated from 
letters and telegrams."

The book's Foreword by Mark Van Winkle of Heritage Auctions, 
Inc. likewise does a great job of describing the book, so 
here are some further excerpts:

"The first time I spoke with Roger was in connection with 
writing the book The Coinage of Augustus Saint-Gaudens as 
Illustrated by the Phillip Morse Collection (a.k.a. “The 
Morse Book”). Prior to the publication of Volumes I and III 
of his three-volume series, Renaissance of American Coinage, 
only a couple of articles had appeared in Coin World by this 
previously unknown author/researcher. From reading the Coin 
World articles, it appeared he could make a valuable 
contribution to the writing of our book and when I contacted 
him it was immediately obvious that he could. 

"At that time, all I knew was the working title of his 
three-volume series, and did not really comprehend the 
scope of what he was attempting. When I spoke to him I 
asked if he was familiar with Homer Saint-Gaudens’ article 
in the June 1927 issue of The Mentor magazine. Yes, he 
replied, he was familiar with it and he would not consider 
it as a source for his book. 

"His response initially surprised me. He explained that 
Homer’s article was a secondary source, 20 years removed 
from events, and written by someone who was not actually 
involved in the process of producing the coins. It was then 
that I began to realize what Roger was attempting to publish: 
a comprehensive history of the renaissance of American 
coinage from its earliest inception in 1905 through the 
Peace dollar in 1921 based entirely on original source 
materials. 

"When Volumes III and I were published in 2005 and 2006 
respectively, they set a new standard for numismatic 
research. The reception of those two volumes was uniformly 
positive throughout the numismatic community, and predictably 
the 1916-1921 volume received the 2006 Book of the Year Award 
from the Numismatic Literary Guild. 

"There is some inevitable duplication of material from 
other works, most notably David Lange’s books on the Lincoln 
cent and Buffalo nickel (to which Roger also was a contributor). 
However, most of this volume, as with Volumes I and III, 
presents material that is entirely new to collectors. As 
such, it represents a significant contribution to the 
numismatic knowledge of this important and extensively 
collected era in U.S. numismatics. Once again, Roger Burdette 
has raised the bar for numismatic research."

Heritage Auctions generously underwrote the publication 
of this final volume, and they deserve a hearty thank-you 
rom all of us.

I learned a number of interesting things when reading the 
book although I won't pretend to have read all 350 pages 
in detail (yet). For example, Burdette makes a convincing 
case that it was Roosevelt's involvement in planning for 
the striking of a Panama Canal medal (designed by Frank 
Millet and sculpted by Victor Brenner) that eventually 
led to the selection of Brenner for the cent design. I 
also learned that Brenner was once arrested and convicted 
of counterfeiting official seals in Russia.

Other nifty facts: a Lincoln design was originally considered 
for the nickel, and when Brenner began working on his Lincoln 
Cent design Charles Barber began working on a Washington 
design for the nickel. James Fraser also created an obverse 
design for a Lincoln cent. I further learned from Roger's 
book that Brenner made an extensive proposal for coinage 
redesign including a Lincoln Half Dollar and a nickel with 
a walking Liberty similar to the French two franc coin. 

Burdette also digs into the facts surrounding the controversy 
over William H. Woodin's purchase of two $50 gold patterns 
and his subsequent surrender of them, along with the pattern 
dealings of William Idler and John Haseltine. 

Illustrations are plentiful and often eye-opening, such 
as the very crude 1911 sketches by James Fraser of designs 
for the reverse of the Buffalo nickel and Robert Aiken's 
sketches for the octagonal $50 Pan-Pacific coin.

The occasional typos are minimal, such as the misspelling 
of Glenn Smedley's first name as 'Glen' (p337). In another 
example the word 'or' is used when it should be 'for': 
“the only metal acceptable FOR striking the medals was 
contained in the staybolts” (p23). Although such minor 
problems could be fixed in a second edition, as Dave Lange 
points out in the following article, due to the economics 
of publishing numismatic literature today, a second edition 
is unlikely. Once the set goes out of print I wouldn't 
be surprised to see their aftermarket price reach $350 or 
more. Don't miss out on the opportunity to complete a 
set now while they are still available.

Roger writes: "Though November 15, 2007 I'll honor the 
$44.95 postpaid pre-publication price for anyone who mentions 
The E-Sylum when ordering (the retail price of the 1909-1921 
book is $64.95). For E-Sylum readers wishing to order the 
complete set of three volumes, the price is $155 postpaid 
through November 15 (retail $194.85). I can be reached 
via email at SenecaMillPress@aol.com or accurateye@aol.com."

For more information on the Commission on Fine Arts, see:
Commission on Fine Arts


MORE ON THE AFTERMARKET FOR NUMISMATIC BOOKS 

Last week I asked, "What relatively recent books are 
bringing high multiples of their issue price?" Dave Lange 
writes: "Years ago I heard a saying that applies quite 
well to the market for numismatic books (and other 
specialized books, I imagine). It went something like 
this: 'When a book is in print you can't give it away, 
and when it's out of print you can't buy it at any price.' 
I may have heard that from Cal Wilson or John Bergman, 
but it likely goes back further still.

"Only rarely have I had to stretch to buy a numismatic 
book I wanted, because I make a point of buying most 
worthwhile references as they're published. Of course, 
this has applied only to books issued during the past 30 
years or so, but most of the older references I desired 
were still available in either the original or reprint 
editions. At the time I was building my numismatic library, 
Quarterman was putting out excellent reprints (sometimes 
with additional, new content) of the standard American 
references that were scarce in original editions. I've 
been very fortunate that most of the standard series 
references used by professional numismatists and advanced 
collectors have been either published or reprinted during 
this 30-year period. These days the books I'm buying 
secondhand at above their issue prices are almost 
exclusively titles pertaining to specific areas of 
world numismatics.

"I, too, am amazed by how valuable some once common 
books have become. A title that I'm asked about frequently 
is the Wiley/Bugert book on Seated Liberty Halves. I was 
pleased to buy my copy directly from the authors at its 
debut during the 1993 ANA convention, but it has since 
become one of the most highly sought USA titles and one 
that is almost unobtainable. The same is true for Volume 
One of the Bowers/Borckardt silver dollar encyclopedia. 
As a working numismatist, I've worn out my own library 
copy and have scribbled notes, observations and updates 
all over it. When attributing coins at shows, I now have 
to work from a photocopy of it, the second original copy 
that I used to travel with having been 'liberated' by 
some unknown party, due perhaps to the recent record 
prices for this title in the secondary market.

"To show the contrast between perceived values over time, 
no better example comes to mind than the Breen proof book. 
Though it has been somewhat discredited in recent years, 
it still brings good money when an original hardcover 
copy becomes available. When first published, however, 
this book went begging. The subject matter seemed too 
esoteric 30 years ago, and there were few purchasers. 
For example, I received my copy as a free premium when 
subscribing to NASCA's auction catalogs. 

"Another example may be found in the Akers' six-volume 
series on USA gold coins (7 volumes, if you include the 
gold pattern book). These books came out at a time when 
there was nothing comparable for gold specialists, and 
they did sell quite well. Volume 6 on the double eagle 
series was popular enough that it had to be reprinted a 
few years later. In due time, however, the books were 
all sold, and the demand for them grew at an amazing pace. 
Volume 5 on eagles was particularly rare, as this denomination 
was the most difficult coin series to complete and thus sold 
fewer copies when new. Huge prices were recorded for either 
single volumes or the complete set throughout the late 1980s 
and until quite recently. While these books are still 
desirable, the availability of newer titles in the past 
two years seems to have diminished the frenzy a bit.

"I've always realized far greater profit selling books 
than coins, whenever such occasions arose. For example, 
I purchased my mint copy of Hibbler-Kappan in the early 
1980s, when many copies were available as publisher 
overstock. I doubt that I paid even $10 for it, but the 
recent surge in the popularity of so-called dollars drove 
up its value to the $100-140 range in just the past three 
or four years. Knowing that a new edition was soon to appear, 
I did the unthinkable: I threw my only copy on eBay, where 
it realized a price solidly within that range. I did this 
without any sense of guilt and not wanting to get burned 
once again with a soon to be nearly worthless, obsolete 
book. This had happened to me with the first edition of the 
Breen/Gillio book on fractional gold. I had known of the 
new edition early on and could have sold the old one for 
nearly $100, but I waited too long and ended up just 
donating it to a coin club book sale when the new edition 
rendered it obsolete.

"In my estimation, other books that are likely to become 
valuable once they are sold out include Bob Van Ryzin's 
'The Crime of 1873,' Rusty Goe's historic works on the 
Carson City coinage and personalities and Roger Burdette's 
landmark works on the USA coinage of 1905-21. None of these 
seem likely candidates for second editions, due to the 
peculiar economics of book publishing.

"I suppose it has always been true that highly specialized 
works sell poorly when new, but the best ones are always 
winners in the secondary market once they've gone out of 
print. I don't yet know whether this will be the fate of 
my own coin board book, but I don't see it selling out 
anytime soon. To make it cost effective on a per-unit basis, 
I had to print perhaps more copies than the current market 
for such a specialized work can absorb. I may be wrong about 
this, and I hope that I am, but if book writing and publishing 
were viewed solely as a business undertaking, the only books 
we'd have to read would have titles that start out with 
"How to get rich by [fill in the blank]."

[I've sold a few books under similar circumstances myself, 
such as the Breen-Gillio work on California Fractional Gold. 
I had a nice deluxe hardbound that I couldn't bear to part 
with, but I sold my working softcover copy. One book I 
regret parting with is the Kessler book on Fugio Cents. 
Almost on a whim I threw it in with a consignment I was 
sending to a dealer and I got a great price for it, but 
the new book I’d heard about hasn’t materialized (yet). 

I'm in agreement with Dave about the works of Van Ryzin, 
Goe and Burdette, and could add a number of other recent 
authors to that list. I've also been one to always 
purchase new works at the time they come out, particularly 
the ones in areas where a second edition isn't likely. 
One I regret NOT purchasing (as many of us probably do) 
was the set of John J. Pittman sale catalogs. These were 
priced quite high initially and I'm sure many people like 
myself who would have ordinarily ordered them passed in 
protest hoping to buy them cheaper on the secondary market. 
That didn't happen. -Editor]

ON THE AFTERMARKET FOR NUMISMATIC BOOKS
esylum_v10n42a17.html


THOSE FANTASTIC AND FABULOUS COINS

Last week Pete Smith commented on John J. Ford's description 
of an assay ingot as a "fabulous" piece. Pete quoted the 
dictionary definition of "fabulous" - "of or like a fable, 
imaginary, fictitious or legendary."

Tom DeLorey writes: "Many years ago Eric P. Newman told 
me that the book he and Ken Bressett wrote was entitled 
'The Fantastic 1804 Dollar' to denote that the coins were 
just that, fantasies struck after the date shown on them, 
a fact not generally known at the time. Of course, the 
book made the coins even more popular and desirable 
than ever before."

[The Newman-Bressett book was one of the first numismatic 
books I ever read, and it took me a long time to catch on 
to the true meaning of the title. -Editor]

WHAT FABULOUS ASSAY INGOTS
esylum_v10n42a04.html


FRED HOLABIRD ON THE JOHN J. FORD ASSAY INGOT SALE

Fred Holabird of Holabird-Kagin Americana writes: 
"Concerning the Ford sale last week, certain comments 
were made that continue to exhibit blatant bias and 
unsupported accusations, which, in some cases, The E-Sylum 
noted and carefully responded to. Ongoing work on ingots 
has shown that there are more than one forger, coming from 
different parts of the country during different periods. 
The blatant bias ignores the strong possibility that some 
of these ingots were made by people feeding into the greed 
(or passion) of Franklin or Ford (though they easily could 
have contracted to have had some of these made). Further, 
scientific and historical work on several of the ingots in 
question has not been completed. Wild unsupported 
speculation regarding an ingot's authenticity and maker, 
as well as what ingots Ford had or didn’t have and what 
were done with them, does no good for the industry. 
Likewise, comments on the estimates and cataloguing are 
curious, but basically meaningless. The hammer determined 
the ultimate outcome.

"Simply put, the ingots in the Ford sale did well because 
there are many collectors who want genuine pieces. The 
Stacks sale directly followed the trends set by our buyers 
in past sales: In order of preference: 1) Assayer bars, well 
marked; 2) fancy presentation bars; 3) Scarce mining camp 
assayers; 4) lesser, well marked assayer bars 5) genuine 
antique bars with poor markings. It also follows that those 
bars made by assayers related to those that made the gold 
bars of the SS Central America are worth a significant 
premium.

"While I have my own private opinions on some of the bars, 
I would generally never voice them publicly, because we 
are taught to avoid rendering an opinion on a specific 
piece that we have not tested. Exceptions exist.

"Prior to the sale I was asked about the bars by at least 
fifteen prospective buyers. Because I was involved in 
possible purchase of many, I was unable to fully comment 
to anyone, except those to whom I was a direct agent.

"Where was all the comment on the paper Clark Gruber piece?

"Regarding the comment: 'what were they thinking': If 
prices went high for specific lots, there was a very good 
reason. Just look at the buyer and underbidder as examples. 
In some cases, specific pieces were clearly condition census 
pieces - some of the finest known. In another example, the 
assay sheets, very few people know the actual rarity of 
specific pieces. I hope to publish this in our upcoming 
catalog. In example, I bought all the JG Kellogg pieces, 
and the Wass Molitor bullion receipt. They were among the 
only ones known. Several others were in the same category, 
unknown to most bidders.

"Another curious thing happened. When those of us who have 
dealt in this material for decades see specific pieces we 
have never seen before, sometimes we just step up to the 
plate and buy it. Great rarities, particularly from the west 
for our market, are in tremendous demand. Clearly, more than 
one person had the same opinion.

"In summary, from my view, it was a great sale, well attended 
and well marketed. The material was of premium caliber, and 
my hat is off to Stack's for promoting and selling paper western 
Americana, which until now, was a relative secret held by our 
own clientele. Its great stuff, fabulously rich in history, and 
generally exceedingly rare."

JOHN KLEEBERG ON THE FORD INGOT SALE
esylum_v10n41a07.html

ALAN WEINBERG ON THE STACK'S JOHN J. FORD XX AND XXI SALES
esylum_v10n42a05.html


QUERY: STACK'S FORD SALE HARDBOUND CATALOG PRINT RUNS

David Gladfelter asks, "Do we know what the press runs were 
for the hardbound John J. Ford collection catalogs? My 
guess would be about 500 copies each. This may have varied, 
with the more popular series such as the Massachusetts silver 
sale having higher runs. I understand that some of the 
catalogs are already out of print, but I don't know which 
ones."

[Good question. Can anyone fill us in? This will be 
useful information for future bibliophiles. -Editor]


QUERY: COIN DEALER DAVE BISCHOFF INFORMATION SOUGHT

Jack Leach of Macon, GA writes: "The more I read your 
site the more impressed I become. I will be joining. 
I would like any information on coin dealer Dave Bischoff. 
I knew David as a dealer in the late 1960's and visited 
him as he was setting up a coin shop in Orlando in 1969. 
He went on to success in the poster business in the early 
1970's. I saw him last at a Florida coin show about 1975 
or 1976 where he was a visitor. Also, he had a partner 
whose name I have forgotten but would like to know. Any 
help would be appreciated."


JIM JOHNSON AND THE 1802 DIME

Last week Ginger Rapsus cited the 1802 Half Dime as a 
rare U.S. coin actually intended for circulation, as 
opposed to fantasies such as the 1804 dollar and 1913 
Liberty Head nickel. 

Tom DeLorey writes: "I have a cute story regarding an 
1802 Half Dime. Many years ago I collected error coins, 
and avidly read Coin World's "Collectors Clearinghouse" 
column written by James G. Johnson. Eventually I went 
to work for that column, and worked with him for several 
months in 1974 as he wrapped up his affairs prior to 
retirement.

"In his lifetime Jim had collected a complete date and 
mint mark set of half cents through silver dollars actually 
issued for circulation, including an 1894-S dime. He was a 
teacher before his hearing loss drove him to writing, and 
never had much money to spend on coins. As a result, many 
of his coins were in low grade, but he said that he wanted 
coins that people had actually used. When I was able to 
convince him that the 1864 Half Dime was not a Proof only 
issue, I sold him one that had turned up in Sidney.

"Fast forward to an ANA convention in the late 1990s. A man 
came up to our table with a very low grade 1802 Half Dime. 
The piece was worn almost smooth, but because it had been 
bent early in its lifetime the date area was somewhat protected, 
and clearly showed the 1802. I looked at the coin and told 
the owner that I used to work with a man that this would have 
been absolutely perfect for, and told him briefly about Jim's 
collection and finished by saying 'His name was James G. Johnson 
from Sidney, Ohio.' The man visibly started, and said 'That 
was my father!' It was indeed Jim's coin!"

REAL COINS VS FANTASIES
esylum_v10n42a14.html


INFORMATION ON THE BEESON 1838-O HALF DOLLAR 

Following recent trips to Europe, California, Michigan and 
Pennsylvania, Dave Hirt writes: "I'm happy to be home again 
surrounded by my numismatic books and catalogs. I really 
enjoyed last week's E-Sylum issue. Thanks for the great 
job you do.

"You had an inquiry from David Ganz about the 1838-O Half 
Dollar sold in Haseltine's Besson sale. I believe the purchaser 
may have been fellow Philadelphia collector Robert Coulton 
Davis. I have a plated catalog of the Davis sale held in 1890. 
The obverse of the 1838-O is pictured, and seems to match 
Haseltine's description. The coin realized $51, a high price 
considering branch mint collecting was not widespread at that 
time. The buyer was 'Chapman'. I would think it was the firm 
of the Chapman Brothers, Henry and S. H. Hudson." 

QUERY: 1989 VINTAGE AUCTIONS SALE PRL: 1838-O HALF DOLLAR PRICE SOUGHT
esylum_v10n41a10.html


ON THE NEXT EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE ANA

Alan V. Weinberg writes: "I'd like to see a numismatist, 
not a lawyer or 'professional executive', take the newly 
opened position of ANA Executive Director - someone who 
understands the hobby-industry and the member-collectors 
and dealers. Unfortunately, any candidate would have to 
be aware of the time away from home and family and the 
'political flack' one takes, although it's certain now to 
be substantially less - particularly since the newly-elected 
Board of Directors with its mostly highly qualified membership 
will be taking a much more active role in running the ANA, 
presumably making the new Executive Director's position so 
much easier and less controversial.

Message to the Board of Directors searching for a new 
Executive Director: Look from within the hobby! The talent 
is there."

[While I would never rule out a talented outsider, I agree 
that the board should carefully consider candidates from 
within the hobby or even within the walls of headquarters. 
Sometimes the best candidates are the easiest to find. 
-Editor]


ON THE ANA'S LAMP OF KNOWLEDGE LOGO

Dick Johnson writes: "Our esteemed editor tossed off a 
line in last week's item on returning the name of the 
present version of the American Numismatic Association's 
magazine to 'The Numismatist' -- what it had been for been 
for over one hundred years -- after it had been changed a 
few years ago.

"'What's next' Wayne Homren asked parenthetically, 'restoring 
the Lamp of Knowledge to the organization's logo?' 

"Oh Yes! Please do! Board members please note!

"I wrote a long editorial in Coin World on just that subject 
when the change occurred. The new logo -- what someone called 
a 'Liberty head inside a Russian hammer and sickle without 
the hammer' -- is a GRAPHIC symbol, two dimensional. Our 
field (at least coins, medals and tokens), collects and 
studies GLYPTIC, three dimensional, objects. 

"The ANA should have a GLYPTIC object as its trademark 
or logo. Doesn't that make sense?

"The ANA logo should be a small relief symbol, even 
though it can be expressed graphically in print. The 
old Lamp of Knowledge symbol was exactly that. It was 
taken from a medal designed by sculptor Lewis King, 
created in 1971, from the logo the organization had 
used since its founding (although other relief versions 
have been created over the years). The Lamp of Knowledge 
is a student's lamp to further the symbolism that we all 
study numismatic objects."

[At Saturday's Banquet of the Pennsylvania Association 
of Numismatists, ANA Board member Joe Boling discussed 
a number of ANA issues, and he was asked about the magazine 
name and logo. While both issues have been discussed, no 
decisions have been made. Boling noted that there are a 
number of costs associated with changing a logo, and that 
any change would likely be implemented gradually, just 
as the most recent change was accomplished.

Although some advocate simply going back to the previous 
logo, others suggest considering a totally new depiction 
of the Lamp of Knowledge symbol more in keeping with current 
artistic styles. These suggestions are in line with what 
Dick is proposing - a new version which addresses other 
shortcomings of the old design. I'm in agreement - should 
the Board vote to return to a Lamp of Knowledge symbol, I 
would prefer to see a new version created. -Editor]


SUPPORT ANCIENT COINS FOR EDUCATION

Speaking of numismatic education, I've mentioned the Ancient 
Coins for Education program in the past. Zee Ann Poerio 
of the St. Louise de Marillac School in Pittsburgh PA is 
a teacher who has been deeply involved in the program, 
using coins to help teach her students ancient languages, 
culture and history. She writes: writes: "I will be doing 
the Ancient Coin Museum exhibit at the South Hills Village 
Barnes & Noble again next week on Saturday, November 3. 
Our school is having another Book Fair. Jamie Clifford, 
the author of 'Double Daggers' will be here from South 
Carolina. Also Mike Aquilina will discuss Christian symbols 
on ancient coins. The Latin Club will also do a short 
presentation. We will have coins donated by ACE for a drawing 
to those who attend and The US Mint donated some of the new 
dollar coin boards to pass out along with the penny blanks."

[I'm proud to have had a part in encouraging the Pennsylvania 
Association of Numismatists to make a series of donations 
to ACE to fund coins for classrooms throughout Pennsylvania. 
I encourage collectors throughout the U.S. to consider making 
a donation to this important educational program. -Editor]

To view a narrated photo show on the coins PAN donated to ACE, see: 
Full Story

To visit the ACE web site, see: 
ACE web site

BOOK REVIEW: DOUBLE DAGGERS BY JAMES CLIFFORD
esylum_v10n01a02.html


QUIZ ANSWER: UMI KENETA

Richard Doty, Pete Smith and Neil Shafer were all quick to 
provide the answer to last week's quiz question. I asked, 
"What coin bears the denomination "Uni Keneta", and who 
designed it?" The answer is the Hawaiian dollar of 1883, 
designed by Charles Barber. Gar Travis and Marc Charles 
Ricard also knew the answer.

However, your fat-fingered editor introduced a typo so 
technically, the rest of you can get points for NOT answering. 
Neil was the only one to notice that the denomination is "UMI 
Keneta", not "UNI Keneta". I thought of the question while 
reading the Hawaii chapter of Roger deWardt Lane's dime book, 
quoted below:

"The Hawaiian dime is the only other country in addition to 
the original United States of America to carry the denomination 
of one dime. There is however a second denomination; umi keneta, 
in the native Hawaiian language." 
Full Story

Gar Travis writes: "I wrote the following description of 
the coin and use it in my work: Designed by Charles E. 
Barber in 1881 the Hawaiian One Dime was part of a five 
coin series that saw use in the islands until the islands 
became a territory of the United States. The islands were 
annexed by the United States in 1898; however the coins 
circulated until 1900. Circulation business strikes were 
minted at the San Francisco Mint (without mintmark) from 
November 17, 1883 through June 1884 (all dated 1883). Of 
the 250,000 business strikes minted, 79 were melted. The 
reverse legend UA MAU KE EA O KA AINA I KA PONO means: 
The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness."

Marc Charles Ricard forwarded the following from a November 
19, 1989 New York Times article by Jed Stevenson: "In 1880, 
Hawaii's monarch, King Kalakaua, authorized a new coinage - 
one that more closely followed United States coinage. His 
associate Klaus Spreckels contracted the United States Mint 
to produce silver coins for the islands: 700,000 half-dollars, 
500,000 each of quarters and silver dollars and 250,000 dimes. 
The total was $1 million worth of Hawaiian coins. 

"Spreckels made a small fortune acting as the middle man 
so it is not too surprising that all the coins depicted a 
portrait of King Kalakaua. The coin was designed by Charles 
E. Barber, one of America's most famous coin designers. 
The obverse has the legend ''Kalakaua I King of Hawaii.'' 

"The reverse of all the coins, except the dime, shows the 
royal coat of arms and the value of the coin denoted in 
fractions, such as 1/4 D. for a quarter dollar. 

The Hawaiian motto ''Ua Mau Ke Ea O Ka Aina I Ka Pono'' 
ran around the top of the reverse. In English, the phrase 
means ''the life of the land is in righteousness''. 

The reverse of the dime stated simply ''One Dime.'' 
Translated into the Hawaiian it is ''Uni Keneta''."

To read the original New York Times article on 
Hawaiian coinage, see: 
New York Times article on Hawaiian coinage

[This was the first mention I recall of the involvement 
of San Francisco sugar magnate Klaus Spreckels in the 
production of Hawaiian coinage. Does anyone know if this 
connection has been written up elsewhere? -Editor]

QUIZ QUESTION: UMI KENETA
esylum_v10n42a25.html


NATION OF COUNTERFEITERS AUTHOR STEPHEN MIHM ON BOOKTV

On October 7 we published a review by Richard Doty of the 
new book 'A Nation of Counterfeiters: Con Men, and the Making 
of the United States' by University of Georgia history 
professor Stephen Mihm. 

Harry Waterson writes: "C-SPAN 2 is BookTV on weekends, 
and this last weekend they ran a 1 hour, 10 minute presentation 
about early banknotes by Mr. Mihm. They are rerunning it this 
week at BookTV.Org as a streaming video. I found it fascinating 
and recommend it to your readers, although it may not be 
available for long."

[My copy of the new book arrived in the mail last week, 
and it looks like a wonderful read. The BookTV episode 
is a recording of a talk Mimh gave at the Library Company 
of Philadelphia. Although he illustrated his talk with 
slides, these do not show up well in the video. Still, 
it's an enlightening presentation even for those of us 
already familiar with obsolete currency and counterfeiting. 
Click the red "Watch" button on the page (RealPlayer required). 
-Editor] 

To view the BookTV program with Stephen Mihm, see:

BookTV

BOOK REVIEW: STEPHEN MIHM'S NATION OF COUNTERFEITERS
esylum_v10n40a04.html


MONTROVILLE DICKESON HANDBILL ON EBAY - A LESSON FOR BUYERS

Pete Smith writes: I was very excited by an item that 
appeared on EBay last week. It was a handbill promoting 
a lecture by Professor Montroville Dickeson and presentation 
of the Egan Panorama. E-Sylum readers may recall my report 
of viewing the panorama at the Minneapolis Institute of 
Arts on July 29, 2004.

"Dickeson is the author of a pioneering encyclopedia on 
American coinage. He studied the Ohio and Mississippi 
valleys and dug Indian mounds between 1837 and 1844. The 
panorama, painted by John Egan in 1850, is 7.5 feet high 
and 348 feet long. It was mounted on rollers that were 
turned to show each scene. Dickeson’s lectures around 
1852 were theatrical performances based on his observations. 
While the handbill is not a piece of numismatic literature, 
it is a great “association” item.

"In my library I have five books and catalogs related to 
the Dickeson – Egan Panorama. This is not an indication 
of the breadth of my library but rather the depth of my 
interest in the panorama. The handbill would be a great 
addition to my collection.

"I hoped the handbill might slip by unnoticed. After two 
days the bid stood over $60 indicating at least two bidders 
with a serious interest. Two days later the bid was at 
$16.50. An earlier bid of $355.75 was withdrawn with the 
explanation, “Entered wrong amount.” I knew it would take 
a bid over $60 to get back in competition.

"“Mississippi Panorama,” edited by Perry Rathbone, is 
the catalog of an exhibition in St. Louis in 1949. This 
has an illustration of a Dickeson handbill with a blank 
space near the top. I assume these were printed in large 
quantities with a specific time and location added later. 
The item on eBay had the space filled with “at the City 
Art Museum of Saint Louis.”

"Here is where the story gets interesting. The book has 
this statement about the 1949 exhibition, “The original 
handbill, twenty inches long, advertising Dr. Dickeson’s 
“magnificent scenic mirror, was reproduced in facsimile. 
With the Museum inserted, copies were given to the audience 
as souvenirs of “this gorgeous Panorama.” 

"An original handbill from 1852 would be ephemeral, with few 
survivors (which is why we call it ephemera). A souvenir from 
1949 is much more likely to be retained.

"The item closed Sunday night at $218.49 with the underbid 
at $215.99. The third bid was $105. Six bidders participated 
with 15 bids.

"I won’t pretend to know what the item is worth. If I thought 
it was an original handbill from 1852, I would still not have 
bid enough to win the item. As a 1949 souvenir, the item is 
worth considerably less. I have no way of knowing what the 
seller thought he was selling or the bidders thought they 
were buying.

"It is quite likely that the buyer doesn’t have the book. 
There are a couple of other clues to age. The City Art Museum 
of Saint Louis was named in 1912, a fact easily found on the 
web. Also the paper has the color of deteriorating modern 
paper rather than 1852 era paper. This is easy to say when 
one knows the facts.

"A specialist or scholar with a good library may find bargains 
on eBay based on knowledge of the topic. Knowledge and a 
good library can also keep one from bidding too much."


MILITARY PERSONNEL RECORD ACCESS OPENED

Dick Johnson writes: "If you are researching a person 
of numismatic interest that served in the U.S. military 
this could be good news. The National Archives announced 
this week that they have opened access to all military 
records prior to 1946.

"Apparently this applies to the massive records center 
located in St. Louis, and the earlier records in Washington 
DC. Is there, perhaps, an E-Sylum reader who would like 
to do this research in the St. Louis area?

"Here is the exact wording of the release this week: 

'The National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) has announced 
it will open for the first time all of the individual 
Official Military Personnel Files (OMPFs) of Army, Army 
Air Corps, Army Air Forces, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast 
Guard military personnel who served and were discharged, 
retired or died while in the service, prior to 1946.

'Collectively, these files comprise more than six million 
records. This is the second step in the progressive opening 
of the entire paper and microfiche OMPF collection of over 
57 million individual files. Additional military personnel 
records will be made available to the public each year 
through 2067 until the entire collection is opened.

'To view an original record, individuals may visit the 
NPRC Archival Research Room in St. Louis, MO. Research 
room hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Central Time Tuesday 
through Friday. Visitors are strongly encouraged to call 
ahead (314-801-0850) to make reservations.

'The National Personnel Records Center, Military Personnel 
Records (NPRC-MPR) is the repository of millions of 
military personnel, health, and medical records of 
discharged and deceased veterans of all services during 
the 20th century (Records prior to WWI are in Washington, DC). 

'NPRC (MPR) also stores medical treatment records of 
retirees from all services, as well as records for dependent 
and other persons treated at naval medical facilities.' "


WAYNE'S NUMISMATIC DIARY: OCTOBER 28, 2007: THE ZOMBIE COIN SHOW

I worked on completing last week's E-Sylum while I ate 
breakfast in my home office early Monday morning. When I 
got to my REAL office I attended to some priority tasks, 
then completed the E-Sylum chore and published the issue 
(a chore I repeated this week).

Wednesday afternoon, after getting a phone call from John 
Burns, I pulled together the special E-Sylum issue on 
numismatists and the California fires. That evening I 
compiled responses on the topic and finished drafting my 
review of Roger Burdette's book.

Thursday morning I called Don Carlucci to discuss the 
weekend's PAN show and make some suggestions for the 
officer's meeting. That evening I made sure my exhibit 
on Operation Bernhard notes was packed and ready to go.

At noon Friday I left my office and met my family at home. 
My wife Dee had pulled our boys out of school early so we 
could begin our journey to Pittsburgh, where I would be 
helping out with the Coins4Kids session at the coin show 
sponsored by the Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists. 
We checked into the Radisson hotel next to the show and met 
her sister's family for dinner. Afterwards I went off on 
my own to meet an old roommate from my single days living 
in New Jersey. He and I had both worked at Bell Labs but 
lost touch over the years. He was in town for a convention 
at the Airport Marriott hotel. A wedding reception was 
also going on at the hotel, and it being close to Halloween 
the couple decided to make it a costume affair. I did a 
double take as I watched Pancho Villa, Snow White and an 
Amishman walk into the bar. (If anyone can complete that 
joke for us, I'd love to hear it!)

It was great to see Tony, his wife Mary Lou and their 
lovely daughter Veronica. Afterwards I got in my car and 
headed back to the Radisson on the other end of town. It 
was going to be a spooky weekend. The other event going 
on at the Pittsburgh Expo Mart was the 2007 Zombie Fest. 
Inspired by Pittsburgh filmmaker George Romero's 'Night 
of the Living Dead' films, the event features 'The Zombie 
Ball - The Zombie Party of the Century', where The Expo 
Mart 'will be transformed into a huge Zombie discotheque.'

First thing in the morning I went over to the convention 
to set up my exhibit on Operation Bernhard notes. I quickly 
ran into PAN show regulars Ray Dillard, John Eshbach and Jerry 
Kochel. At the exhibit area I was greeted by Joe Boling, a 
Governor and former Chief Judge of the American Numismatic 
Association. He was working on judging the exhibits, which 
(except for mine) had been set up Thursday night or Friday. 
The exhibit area of the PAN show gets bigger and better each 
year. This time there were two very long rows of exhibit cases.

I didn't have to look too long at the other cases to know 
I didn't have a snowball's chance of winning. I wasn't 
bringing my "A" game. I had a passable exhibit, but it 
was more of a "first draft" than a completed exhibit. I'd 
learned my craft as an exhibitor from Eshbach and Kochel, 
two of the best, and knew better, but hadn't invested the 
time to bring it up to snuff. I fared better than I thought 
on my scores, but I know how to improve, particularly given 
the helpful suggestions offered by some of the judges.

My wife had taken the kids off on an adventure for the day, 
so I was left to my own devices at the show. Despite 
having more time to spend there than I'd expected, the 
show went by in a blur. I didn't get to see Byron Weston 
like I'd hoped. Part of the problem (and it's a good problem), 
is that I can't walk five feet at the show without running 
into someone I know. I stopped to talk with many dealers 
and collectors, including Larry Dziubek, Richard Crosby, 
Dick Gaetano, Ed Krivoniak, Ed Narcisi, and Blaine and 
Brad Shiff of Cybercoins.

After setting up my exhibit I stopped at the PAN Kid Zone 
tables where Sam Deep, Josh Wadsworth, Emily Rankin and 
her father Keith were getting set up before the show's opening 
at 10am. The Kid Zone is a wonderful idea. There are three 
tables with piles of Lincoln cents that kids are free to 
look through in search of coins they need to fill in their 
date/mintmark collection folders. The piles are seeded with 
a wide variety of older coins. The tables were busy throughout 
the show and afterwards Keith told me he thought a few 
lifelong numismatists were made at the event - the kids 
just loved it.

Next I went back to the registration area where I found 
PAN Chairman of the Board Don Carlucci and Josh Wadsworth 
working harder than elves the week before Christmas to fill 
a couple hundred 2x2 holders with examples of the new Adams 
dollar coin. The inserts for the 2x2s were printed up and 
cut by Don based on my layout. The dollar coins would be 
given to the first 75 kids at Saturday afternoon's Coins4Kids 
event. I'd arranged for Joel Iskowitz (designer of the 
Adams dollar and other recent coins) to come and speak to 
the kids. I jumped in to help. While we were working 
there Larry Korchnak (a fellow Western Pennsylvania Numismatic 
Society member and expert on siege coinage) walked by and 
told me, "Sam Pepys has got nothing on your London Diaries!". 
He said he's enjoyed them so much he would pass them on to 
his wife Karen to read.

Soon Joel Iskowitz arrived at the show and I went up to 
introduce myself. I showed him around and learned that 
PAN was the first coin show he'd ever attended. After 
introducing him to Sam Deep and others at the Kid Zone 
table, we found a quiet spot and worked on my computer to 
make some last-minute updates to his slide presentation.

After finishing Joel's slides I got a call from another 
old friend, a local high school buddy who'd come to the 
show with his wife and son on my recommendation. I hadn't 
seen Guy in a few years. I told him about how the show 
worked, and we went back to the Kid Zone tables to meet 
his wife and son, who was pouring through the cent pile 
on his table. Later they came to the Coins4Kids event.

At lunchtime I took a walk with Don Carlucci and Joel 
Iskowitz to the nearby Monroeville Mall, where we had lunch 
after stopping at a framing shop to have two pieces of 
artwork framed. One was a limited edition print of George 
Gershwin donated to PAN by Joel for the fundraising auction. 
The other was a nice print of an African Elephant made by 
Joel. I was getting it framed to give to my wife Dee, 
who collects elephant items. 

Monroeville Mall was the setting for Romero's 'Dawn of 
the Dead' film, where human survivors holed up to fight 
off the approaching zombie hordes. I learned later that 
on Sunday it would be the setting for an attempt to beat 
the Guinness Record for World's Largest Zombie Walk, as 
hundreds of people dressed as zombies shambled through 
the Mall.

The rest of the afternoon was a real blur. I dashed back 
to the show and set up my laptop and PAN's projector so 
Joel could deliver his presentation. About 120 kids and 
parents attended. Sam Deep warmed up the crowd, then I 
introduced Joel. Next up was Joe Boling who talked about 
exhibiting. The last segment was the auction, which the 
kids always have fun doing. After Coins4Kids was over, 
Joe walked through the exhibit area talking to several 
kids about exhibiting. Later long lines of kids and 
adults queued up to meet Joel Iskowitz.

I went back to the hotel to shower and change for the 
7pm banquet. Dee and I left our kids in the able hands 
of her Mom and went downstairs for the PAN banquet, where 
we sat at a table including Joe Boling, Sam Deep, Kathy 
Sarosi, Josh Wadsworth, Richard Jewell, Corleen Chesonis 
and Charles "Skip" Culleiton. Jerry Kochel emceed the 
event, where Joel Iskowitz was the featured speaker. He 
gave a marvelous presentation about his career as an 
artist and work with the U.S. Mint.

As the banquet was breaking up for the evening I went 
around the room and had attendees sign a copy of a 2001 
New York ANA Red Book that had been sold in the fundraising 
auction. I lost out to Don Carlucci, then had loser's remorse. 
I decided I should have bid more to have the book since 
I'd then have something people could sign. When I offered 
to buy it from Don he nicely just gave it to me. I missed 
Tom Sebring and his wife and Kathy Sarosi who'd already 
left, but I got most of the other attendees to sign. 

The next morning as I waited to get in to the show to take 
down my exhibit, the security guards were taking about the 
Zombie Ball and the great costumes they'd seen walking by. 
I went back to the hotel and picked up all of my bags - I 
wanted to take my stuff down to the car so I'd have my hands 
free to carry some of my family's stuff. A woman got in 
the elevator, then I did the same. As the elevator doors 
closed, a hand reached in. It looked bony and bloody. I 
stared. The woman stared. The doors reopened and there 
was a man with an ashen and bloodied face, wearing a dirty 
and torn suitcoat. He asked "Got room for a zombie?" 
My startled fellow passenger and I laughed and said, "Sure". 
Down we went.

It was a nice drive home through the fall colors of the 
Pennsylvania hills. We stopped for dinner near home, then 
after unpacking got the kids ready for bed. I finished 
drafting the E-Sylum, then called it a night myself. I 
hope I dream of anything but zombies. 


A BIZARRE BANK OF ENGLAND COUNTERFEIT TALE

The Sydney Morning Herald reported this week on the plight 
of an Australian grandfather who got involved somehow in 
a scheme involving counterfeit Bank of England notes.

"British police say Ross Cowie is the audacious frontman 
of a counterfeit gang that sought to defraud the Bank of 
England out of $64 billion. His Australian family says 
the 62-year-old grandfather is a patsy.

"In this instance, Cowie's associates and fellow defendants 
are five Chinese nationals - and a New Zealander still at 
large. It's not disputed Cowie was their point man.

"The question to be settled over the next six weeks in 
Southwark Crown Court is whether or not Cowie was suckered 
into believing a story so crazy it could never, as it turned 
out, be true. To wit, six Chinese people, aged between 109 
and 116 years, had been hoarding £28billion from pre-Communist 
days. They had decided to exchange the money for modern notes 
and share it among their offspring.

"The yarn goes from quirky to quackery with claims that 
the cash included a small mountain of £1000 notes, which 
were in circulation until 1943 - and only 63 are said to 
remain outside the bank's vaults - and the inclusion of 
hundreds of special issue £500,000 notes that, in fact, 
never existed.

"On Friday, the court was told the alleged conspiracy started 
in December last year when Cowie sent an email to James Higgins, 
team leader of counter services at the Bank of England. Cowie 
said he was representing several Chinese families who owned 
rare cash with an issue date of 1933.

"'Can you confirm £1000 bank notes were in circulation in 
the 1930s and, assuming they are genuine, are redeemable 
for current bank notes?' was the polite inquiry.

"In his reply, Mr Higgins confirmed the notes did exist, 
and outlined the process to redeem them.

"In January Cowie sent a follow-up email, explaining that 
'the family have been holding back a little and giving a 
little information to see how things develop … while they 
do have those £1000 notes, they also have £500,000 notes. 
They have appointed me as a power of attorney to act for them'.

"A female bank employee replied that to the bank's 
knowledge, £500,000 notes did not exist.

"Cowie responded that this caused him 'a great deal of 
concern … I will take this up with the family as the bank 
notes in my custody certainly seem to me to be the genuine 
article, not that I am any expert'.

"He said that he still planned to travel to London to 
swap the £1000 notes for smaller modern bills. 'The only 
way to check [their authenticity] is to present them, so 
we will proceed on that basis, if that's OK,' he wrote.

"On February 14, Cowie and a number of associates travelled 
to the Bank of England's neo-classical premises in London. 
They met a man who introduced himself as William Hickson, 
a Bank of England employee. In fact he was an undercover 
policeman and the meeting was being secretly taped.

"Following a further meeting in March, Cowie was arrested, 
along with his alleged co-conspirators - Ping Shuen Mak, 
56; Kim Ming Teo, 41; Kwok Kwong Chan, 55; Chi Kuen Chung, 
53, and Chin Daniel Lim, 50."

To read the complete article (and view an image of one 
of the 500,000 pound notes), see: 
Full Story


JOHNSTOWN HOME HOLE-IN-THE-WALL COIN HOARD FOUND

"Talk about throwing away money. Piles of old coins 
worth as much as $200,000 were found in a long-abandoned 
home, including scores that the owner had apparently 
thrown down a hole in the wall. 

"Jeff Bidelman, owner of Rare Collectibles near Johnstown, 
said he was helping the family clean out the house after 
the death of the owners, who had not lived there for two 
decades. He was dragging a bag of old coins down the 
steps when he noticed the hole in an upstairs wall.

"'The woman said when she was a kid, there were always 
rumors that that's where they threw their money,' Bidelman 
told the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat.

"Within minutes of tearing down the first-floor wall 
below the hole, Bidelman was wading in piles of old coins.

"After sorting through the coins, Bidelman found some 
minted as early as 1793. Some are worth about $8,500 
and have already been posted on the Web for purchase, 
Bidelman said."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

[The original Tribune-Democrat article is more accurate 
than the Associated Press report. There have been no 1793 
cents found in the hoard yet, only coins as early as 1826 
including Large Cents "which were minted from 1793 to 1857". 
Still, it's an impressive hoard of pocket change. -Editor]

To read the complete article, see:  Full Story


THE STRANGEST THINGS TURN UP IN AUCTION

Once in a while we mention other collectibles in the news, 
and one reader forwarded this item on an unusual lot in a 
recent Heritage sale:

"A lock of socialist revolutionary Ernesto 'Che' Guevara's 
hair and related items were auctioned on Thursday in Dallas 
to a Houston-area bookstore owner for the very capitalist 
sum of $119,500.

"The curious collection had belonged to Gustavo Villoldo, 
71, a former CIA operative who helped hunt Guevara down in 
the jungles of Bolivia in 1967 and who claims he cut off 
the lock before burying the guerrilla fighter with two 
of his comrades."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

[This item brings back memories of the interesting John J. 
Ford monologue I witnessed at Armand Champa's home during 
the 1988 "Invasion of Louisville" where a busload of numismatic 
bibliophiles, including Ford, descended upon Champa's Louisville 
home. Asked about what a particular item might be worth, 
Ford launched into a long discourse on supply and demand 
highlighted with a colorful description of the onetime auction 
sale of a jar containing the pickled private parts of Napoleon 
Bonaparte. 

How much am I bid for this unique item? Were any of our 
readers in the room to hear Ford's statements? And where's the 
jar today? -Editor]


FEATURED WEB PAGE: CIRCULATING COINS OF THE ISLE OF MAN

This week's featured web page is the circulating coinage 
of the Isle of Man, from the web site of the government 
of the Isle of Man.

gov.im/treasury/coins/coins.xml
 

  Wayne Homren

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To join, print the application and return it with 
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