Volume 14, Number 37, September 4, 2011
Among our new subscribers this week are Don Walsh and George A. Petrulakis. Welcome aboard! We have 1,454 email subscribers, plus 159 followers on Facebook, including Daniel Krustev.
The Numismatic Bibliomania Society's Internet email newsletter was launched on Friday, September 4, 1998. Now known as The E-Sylum and published each Sunday evening, it's been a blog since before the word was invented, one of the oldest on any topic on the web. To put this in perspective, in December of that year my first son Christopher was born, and now at nearly 13, he stands taller than my wife (and he's gaining on me).
The E-Sylum has inspired several other electronic newsletters, but remains something special. Its secret sauce is you, the readers, who infuse each issue with some of the most interesting numismatic commentary and discussion to be had anywhere.
It's been an honor and a privilege to edit this little journal all these years. Yeah, it's a lot of work too, but the fun and camaraderie make it all worthwhile. Thanks for sticking with me on this experiment. Now back to our regular programming.
First, I'd like to apologize to some of our readers who sent items for publication in tonight's issue. There were so many responses this week that I just ran out of time. I may be able to use a couple next week. Sorry!
This week we open with word from half a dozen numismatic literature dealers, followed by an announcement of a new book on Rosa Americana coinage. Other topics include The Register of the Confederate Debt, National Coin Albums, NASCA and Herb Melnick, and Liberty Dollars.
To learn more about the spectacular Gold Double Daric of Alexander the Great, Izzy Switt and a winner’s medal from the first World Cup, read on. Have a great week, everyone!
Charlie Davis forwarded the following note about his upcoming numismatic literature sale. -Editor
My next Mail Bid Sale of Numismatic Literature will close on October 1. Notable lots include a long run of The Numismatist starting with Volume I, and the most comprehensive offering of Red Books including a 29 volume set signed by Yeoman to a first edition contributor, two additional signed first editions, all known interleaved editions, an interesting assortment of works and letters dealing with counterfeiting, and an early (1554) illustrated work on Roman coins.
The catalogue is usually available on vcoins, but as I write, the site is in great turmoil having been replaced by its new owners with a largely non-functional disaster. The catalogue and 150-200 photos, are however, available at www.Numisbook.com .
Tel: (978) 468 2933
Fred Lake forwarded this note about his upcoming October sale. -Editor
Lake Books announces that its 109th mail-bid sale of numismatic literature is now available on their web site at www.lakebooks.com/current.html . The sale features selections from the library of Dr. Allen Axenfield and contains reference material on U. S. coins, World and Ancient coins, Paper Money, Tokens and Medals, and numismatic ephemera.
Of particular note are long runs of "The Numismatic Chronicle" from the Royal Numismatic Society and many of the "Sylloge of Coins of the British Isles". Bids may be placed via email, telephone, fax or US Mail until the closing time of 5:00 PM (EDT) on Tuesday, October 4, 2011.Remember to bid early as ties are won by the earliest bid received.
Good luck with your bidding, Fred
David Sklow forwarded this following reminder of his upcoming literature auction. -Editor
MAIL BID SALE NO. 14 CLOSES OCTOBER 15, 2011
Bidders may enter bids by mail, telephone, email or fax. The sale closes at 8pm mountain time, October 15, 2011, however, any bids left on our answering machines or sent by email or fax on or before midnight on closing day will be accepted. Auction catalog is viewable on our website
Catalogs have been shipped and individuals on our mailing list should be receiving their catalogs, or have them in hand. Catalogs are available upon request at no charge.
Bryce Brown of Avon, CT forwarded the following note to readers. -Editor
I invite the E-Sylum readers to visit my Numismatic Literature website: http://brycebooks.squarespace.com . My inventory lists have been updated with many new items. Fortunately, I kept high and dry during Hurricane Irene!
David Fanning forwarded this note about recent updates to the Kolbe & Fanning website. -Editor
Kolbe & Fanning Numismatic Booksellers have been adding books for sale to their new website at www.numislit.com , where visitors can browse hundreds of books by categories or search for particular titles. Recently added works include: Hull on coins of Muhammadan India; Jack Collins's important fixed price list of Washingtonia; the Quarterman reprint of Betts; the first volume of Mason's Coin & Stamp Collectors' Magazine; a 1796 U.S. government report dealing partly with Mint expenditures; a copy of Valentine on fractional currency with annotations by Walter Breen; Vol. 7 of the Roman Provincial Coinage series; a number of volumes from the Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum series; and many others.
Information can also be found regarding Kolbe & Fanning's upcoming Sept. 15 mail-bid sale, the firm's publications and other activities. For information on consigning to the firm's January 7 New York public auction of rare numismatic literature, please contact either George Kolbe or David Fanning directly at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Earlier this week on the Yahoo Colonial Coins group Ray Williams wrote:
The Whitman Expo in Philly is less than three weeks away! I heard a rumor that Syd Martin's new reference book on Wood's Rosa Americana Coinage will be available at the table of Charles Davis Numismatic Literature. Rumor also has it that it will be the same price as the Wood's Hibernia Book ($85 or $95 including shipping).
We ALL should have an example of a Rosa Americana coin in our collections! How much more "Colonial American" can you get than to have "Americana" in the coin's legend??? I saw Syd's copy that was rush mailed to him for the ANA Convention. Unfortunately, we were at a restaurant and I didn't have the time to spend with it that I wish I had. But this looks like the book for Rosas that will be called "The Standard Reference" for generations to come.
The Rosa Americana book is available at $85.00 plus $6.50 shipping. (I am sure someone will write a review shortly).
I'm looking forward to the book as well. Who would like to write a short review for The E-Sylum? -Editor
I contacted Ray Williams for more information. He writes:
In response to your inquiry, I have some advance information for E-Sylum readers about the new C4 Publication "The Rosa Americana Coinage of William Wood" by Syd Martin. I plan to purchase my copy at the Whitman Expo in a couple weeks, but I did see Syd's advance copy at the ANA Convention. It is 504 pages long, written in the same format as Syd's 2007 book on Wood's Hibernia Coinage, has an attractive dust jacket and is now the standard reference that will stand for generations.
It is well illustrated throughout, has images and diagnostics for the 123 known Rosa varieties, plus those of all the pattern coinage. All aspects of this coinage are covered, academic, scientific and numismatic. No library dedicated to early American numismatics can be without this book. I am very proud that C4 has published books for the enjoyment and education of the hobby!
As I said in the first sentence, this is advance information. A listing of the Table of Contents (four pages long) along with ordering information should be on the C4 website later this week www.colonialcoins.org If you want to order blindly just on my recommendation, contact
Tel: (978) 468 2933
KOLBE & FANNING SEPTEMBER 15, 2011 SALE HIGHLIGHTS
Rare and Unusual Publications on American Numismatics Including
Original Sets of Dasí and Herrera on Eight Reales and Vidal Quadras y Ramón
John E. Wilkison’s Leather-bound 1954 King Farouk Sale
A Priced and Named 1932 Giovanni P. Morosini Sale of
Italian and Other Rare Gold Coins
Nice Runs of Bolender, Elder, Haseltine, Bowers, and
Pine Tree Auction Sale Catalogues
Catalogue Available at Our Web Site: www.numislit.com
Printed Catalogues $10.00
KOLBE & FANNING NUMISMATIC BOOKSELLERS
141 W JOHNSTOWN ROAD, GAHANNA OH 43230-2700
(614) 414-0855 • email@example.com • GFK@numislit.com
Pete Smith writes:
It is correct that George Kolbe won first place for his exhibit at the ANA. You might also mention that he won the Thomas Law award as best first time exhibitor and placed as second runner-up for the Best-in-Show award.
Larry Sekulich had to settle for second place in the literature class. His other exhibit earned first runner up for best in show. Thus the two literature exhibitors took home second and third places for Best-in-Show.
Congratulations to George Kolbe! And Pete's no slouch himself. His exhibit on "The Challenging Literature of A. M. Smith" won 1st place in the numismatic literature class at the 1996 Denver, CO ANA convention. Not only that, the exhibit won Best in Show and Pete also won the best first time exhibitor award. -Editor
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: NUMISMATIC LITERATURE EXHIBITS AT THE 2011 CHICAGO ANA (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v14n36a02.html)
At this year's World's Fair of Money in Chicago, I had the immense honor of visiting William Burd's impressive numismatic library. I had not originally thought I was going to be able to attend considering the fast pace of the show and was so delighted to learn that I could that I literally ran out the door (ask anyone!)
Mr. Burd has obviously spent a significant amount of time and love putting together his library, evident by the wide range of topics and exquisite condition of his books. I had the pleasure of seeing items that any library would be proud to have.
To Mr. Burd directly - Thank you so much, sir, for extending this invitation and sharing what is clearly a source of passion and pride with all of us. Hats off!
David Fanning writes:
I was one of the lucky bibliophiles able to attend the tour of Bill Burd's numismatic library during the Chicago ANA. Bill provided transportation as well as ample food and drink for the event (indeed, we were all so busy looking at his books that I'm afraid the food was rather neglected). Those of us on the tour were treated to a casual inspection of Bill's considerable library, being encouraged to take books off the shelves and examine them. It was a very enjoyable afternoon.
Bill's library differs from most numismatic libraries due to its depth. While many bibliophiles choose to form a library that provides an intense focus on one or two specific numismatic areas, Bill has cast a wide net. It is a tremendous working library, with it being difficult to imagine a coin, from any part of the world and from any time period, that could not be attributed using his books. Some of the books in the library are common standard references; others are very obscure titles rarely seen and little known. The works are well-organized in an attractive yet practical setting.
This is no mere dealer's reference library, however. It is salted through with a number of rarities and other items important less for their reference value than for their bibliographical significance. I was personally pleased to see a number of wonderful books that had passed through the hands of Kolbe & Fanning and through my own earlier sales: it was like unexpectedly running across an old friend on the bourse floor.
Many thanks to Mr. Burd and I look forward to my next visit!
Anne Bentley of the Massachusetts Historical Society writes:
We received this enquiry and since we don't have this article, we're not able to assist this gentleman. Do you think one or more of your readers would be able to help him?
Howard Cohen wrote:
I would like to purchase a copy of the paper given by Frank Holt at the "Ecole des Hautes Etudes" in Paris, March 2007. I do not know the title of the article. The paper is about the spectacular Gold Double Daric of Alexander the Great. This coin is from the famous Mir Zakah Hoard of 1992. Thank you.
Can anyone help? -Editor
Fred Reed forwarded this research query concerning original copies of Thian's Register of the Confederate Debt. Pictured is a reprint. Can anyone help? -Editor
I am trying to determine where the five known original 1880 copies of Raphael P. Thian’s monumental Register of the Confederate Debt are located at present. It is believed that three examples are in institutional collections, including Duke University and the American Numismatic Society, but where are the other three examples? Any helpful suggestions would be much appreciated. You can reach me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dave Lange forwarded the following research query. Can anyone help? -Editor
I've finished cataloging Wayte Raymond National Coin Album pages for my book, and I'm hoping that readers may be able to help fill some gaps in the numbering sequence. Raymond's own catalog numbers that appear on the upper back of each small-size page are complete from 330-399, aside from the following numbers: 335-339, 341-343, 345 and 361. If anyone has a Wayte Raymond album page in the small, landscape format carrying one of these missing numbers, I would like to hear from him.
David W. Lange
THE BOOK BAZARRE
Alan V. Weinberg writes:
I have known Paul Bosco for several decades & have always found him to be vastly intelligent and his humor boundless. His occasional auction catalogues always contain amusing barbs & timely political opinions related to the fascinating items he offers.
Seldom do I guffaw aloud over what I read in The E-Sylum but Paul's reminiscences over NASCA, Melnick, et al had me slapping my knee in laughter. Particularly the mention of Melnick's hammering down six auction lots to Paul when he was bidding on only three. If Paul hadn't chosen numismatics, he could have been a major stage comedian. Happily, he has managed to combine the two talents as I recall from our ANA conversations.
Ken Berger writes:
I remember NASCA quite well as I bought a number of colonial/continental notes from their auctions. One event I remember quite well is the following. I attended in person the T. James Clarke Sale on 26 June 1978 (I believe this is the correct date). I was seated next to David Sonderman, a dealer whom I knew, as I had bought a number of notes from him.
I was especially interested in Lot #108, a one dollar 11 October 1787 Indent. It was described as Poor condition with "signatures faded, 30% of note missing at bottom right with staining and splits elsewhere, left border trimmed, note is aged and dark." Not many people were interested in colonial/continental currency back in 1978, especially a note in such awful condition.
Anyway, David was interested in the note and I told him I was also. He asked me if I really wanted it and when I said yes, he said OK I won't bid against you. I obtained the note for $55.75 which included the buyer's fee. I should mention that it is only within the past few years that I have seen other 1787 Indents for sale.
David Lange writes:
Congratulations on a particularly interesting installment of The E-Sylum. It made for an excellent read.
I particularly enjoyed Paul Bosco's recollections of NASCA and the people involved. I love gossipy, behind-the-scenes stories of the numismatic business that never appear in authorized articles or ads (I have a number of my own, but those will have to wait for some years yet). I was a subscriber to NASCA's catalogs for several years, though I was never a serious collector of banknotes.
This proved to be an excellent value, as I paid for the annual subscription just once, and the company sent me catalogs for at least four years. I also received Walter Breen's then-new book on USA proof coins as a subscription bonus, the whole package costing me just $15. I don't know how the company survived as long as it did with such a generous policy.
Richard Margolis writes:
I've always felt that the Buyer's Fee, for which we are evidently indebted to the late, lamented Herb Melnick, should more appropriately be dubbed the Buyer's Curse.
Martin Gengerke writes:
I greatly enjoyed Paul Bosco's tales of NASCA. Paul tactfully omitted many darker episodes on the part of the major players (of which there were many), and curiously omitted any mention of his own role.
One famous incident regarded Paul's role as cataloger for the firm. In cataloging some Egyptian material Paul added a footnote about how itinerant rug dealers, upon returning from a mideast buying trip, found they had been cheated by being sold cheap polyester rugs. They were heart to loudly protest "he gypped" me, thus giving "Egypt" its name! Somehow this went over the head of the firm's typists, and even got past the firm's proofreaders.
This, of course, did not sit well with Chairman George Ball, who, as part of his ongoing role as advisor to many presidents, was involved in mideast peace negotiations!
Incidentally, Werner Amelingmeier bought not only Raymond's foreign inventory, but was also the "dumping ground" for tons of U.S. coins that John Ford did not wish to soil his hands with - things like rolls of mint red Indian Cents and Proof Trade Dollars - anything "middle of the Red Book," which Ford considered boring. The true "full" history of the firm would make quite a story!
BTW - In my work with Herb and Doug I was fired or quit six times. I'd just show up for work the next morning as usual.
Dave Bowers writes:
First and foremost, NASCA was completely the brainchild of John J. Ford, Jr. I had detailed discussions with him during its inception. Ford worked behind the scenes. He was no longer associated with New Netherlands Coin Co. He envisioned an auction company that was staffed or drew upon the talents of some of his favorite researchers and writers. The idea was to have numismatics the core, but also to reach out to create authoritative catalogs on Western Americana, historical documents, and the like. Although the idea was a fine one, in practice I do not believe it earned much for its projectors.
Regarding Herb Melnick, last week Paul Bosco wrote:
He was the auctioneer of choice for most other company’s auctions, even calling some of the first Garrett sale after George Bennett nearly passed out from exhaustion.
Dave Bowers writes:
Herb Melnick NEVER called even a single lot in one of my sales. In the late 1960s Melnick was in Texas and issued some price lists. He came to New York in the 1970s and created a flash—with excellent advertising skills and a knack for publicity. His ego got in the way of some of his friendships, and John J. Ford, Jr., who had Herb bid on some lots for him in Garrett I, later became distant. I viewed Melnick as a somewhat brash competitor, never had any close dealings with him, and he was never involved in even the slightest way with any of our auction catalogs or the sales themselves.
Paul Bosco writes:
Did Melnick call some of Garrett? That’s what Carl Carlson told me the day after, but QDB is thought to have the largest memory in numismatics, and maybe the most useful. Unless anyone else remembers Herb at the podium, I think I must defer to Dave.
From sunny Budapest Dave Hirt writes:
The latest issue was very interesting for me. I especially enjoyed Paul Bosco's submission on NASCA, and its principals. It brought back memories of when I sold my coin collection through Pine Tree Auctions and Herb Melnick.
In 1975 I was living and working in Maryland. My coin collection was in a bank in Pennsylvania. I decided to sell, and contacted Pine Tree and Herb Melnick. He made an appointment, and met me at the Pennsylvania bank to inspect my collection. I soon heard an expression that I was to hear several times as he examined the coins. It was "That's a blazer!" He later told me that Water Breen was impressed with my coins. When we finished we went to a local ethnic club for some drinks and lunch together. Melnick was amazed at how cheap the prices were. But this was small town Pa. not New York.
My coins were auctioned in Nov. 1975, and Feb 1976. I was satisfied with the results. However after the first sale quite a bit of time passed, and I had not been paid. I decided to call Mr. Apfelbaum, the president. I explained my problem to him. Soon I received a call from an angry Melnick for going over his head, but, I got my check. I later gave Pine Tree other small consignments with good results. Herb Melnick was an interesting person, and it is a shame that he died so young.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: THE NUMISMATIC AND ANTIQUARIAN SERVICE CORPORATION OF AMERICA (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v14n36a10.html)
Regarding last week's item about PCGS' slabbing of an electrotype Type II 1804 dollar, John Dannreuther writes:
Whoops! Not quite right on the explanation of "Genuine" on the electro of the 1804 dollar that was struck over the shooting taler. Yes, it was made in the Mint, so I guess some would think that it is a "genuine" Mint product. However, that is not what the label means!
The electro was discussed in the grading room (actually "grading tent" at shows) and it was decided not to issue a numerical grade. How does one grade an electrotype, anyway?
The "Genuine" in the tag means that a grade was not assigned, not that it was a "genuine Mint product." Coins that are not numerically graded at PCGS receive the "Genuine" label.
Just a minor correction in an otherwise great article.
To read the complete article, see: GENUINE ELECTROTYPE: PCGS CERTIFIES UNIQUE COPY OF A UNIQUE 1804 DOLLAR (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v14n36a11.html)
Peter-Preston Morley of Dix Noonan Webb had asked for more information on a token he's cataloguing for an auction on October 5. Ken Bressett came through with information from the catalogue of the Col. Cutting collection, where it was sold in 1898. -Editor
Ken Bressett writes:
The piece is described in the catalog thus:
510. Lambeth. Man stdg, smoking, holds a mug and keg of beer,  4. Unc. and v. rare.
The obverse of this lot is photographically pictured in the center of the page on Plate 2 in the back of the catalog. It brought $1, which wasn’t a really low price considering what some other pieces brought in this sale. Lot 252, A Bermuda Sommer Islands ‘hog’ sixpence, also brought $1 !
Peter-Preston Morley writes:
The token I am attempting to trace, which was in the Cutting collection, is a penny of Lambeth, dated 1796, showing a standing figure of Sir George Cook. I append a description of the token and an illustration of it,
Lambeth, Prattent’s Penny, 96, standing figure of George Cook, smoking pipe and holding a mug and a keg, rev. sr. g • cook fruiterer greengrocer & oyster merchant stangate lambeth, vegetables around, edge on demand we promise to pay one penny, 20.71g/6h (DH 1). Struck over a Penny of Mary Lambe of Bath [DH Somerset 8], metal fault in obverse field and light striking cracks, otherwise virtually as struck, original colour on obverse, reverse with rainbow patination, very rare £500-700
Provenance: Col. W. Cutting Collection, Part I, Lyman Low Auction (New York), 23-4 May 1898, lot 510; T.A. Jan Collection, Part II, Spink Auction 35, 11 April 1984, lot 69; M.Z. Gerson Collection; J.A. Bobbe Collection [from M.Z.G. September 1985]; bt J.A. Bobbe May 1998
Wayne Myers writes:
A little more information on Col. Walter Cutting. It appears that the Col. was a New York City native. Moving to Pittsfield around 1869 when he married a Miss Pomeroy. While in Pittsfield he would be described as a "Gentleman Farmer" with a large estate,650 acres," Meadow Farm" located on Holmes Rd in Pittsfield. The location of the farm was across from Holmeswood, home of Oliver Wendel Holmes and about 3/4 of a mile from where Herman Melville wrote "Moby Dick."
While in Pittsfield he supported numerous charities. He was also involved in local and state politics. Data says that Col. Cutting inherited a fortune during the middle years of his life. It appears that the farm remained in the family name after 1898 and Col. Cutting had relocated back to NYC, which was about the time of the Low sale. None of the information that I could locate lists him as a coin collector. Col. Cutting passed away in 1907 in New York City. The obituary located in the New York Times also did not mention anything about numismatics.
Many thanks to everyone for their help. Neat token! -Editor
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: MORE ON COL. WALTER CUTTING OF PITTSFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v14n36a09.html)
CONGRATULATIONS TO DAVID W. LANGE!
Dick Johnson submitted these thoughts inspired by an item in last week's issue. Thanks! -Editor
Tom Dalrymple gave a satisfactory answer in last week's E-Sylum to a question posed earlier by Dick Hanscom about an Alaskan medal that bore a portrait of John Adams. What connection did Adams have with Alaska?
The answer was little or no connection (despite the fact it sent Anne Bentley searching the Adams papers in her institutions collections).
It appears that the medal is a factory artist's fantasy of the Metal Arts Company of Rochester, New York. That medal, and a companion, bearing the portrait of Washington bore the seals of Hawaii and Alaska on the two medal's reverses. It seems the medals were issued to capitalize on the popularity at the time the two states celebrated their statehood entry.
The designs were similar to two series issued by Medallic Art Company, the two portraits from the Presidential Series, and state seals from the State Series, both issued by Presidential Art Medals, created by sculptor Ralph Joseph Menconi and struck by Medallic Art Company in New York City at the time. The designs were similar but the quality wasn't. Imitation is not always complimentary.
Tom correctly identified the medals were struck by Metal Arts Company and not Medallic Art Company. As spokesman for Medallic Art. I faced that problem of confusion constantly of the similarity of the two firm's names. I created a Fact Sheet I sent to all writers and editors with frequent press releases that mentioned there is no "S" in the name Medallic Art Company.
In addition to the No-S rule I mentioned to use caution with the word UNIQUE as it had a numismatic meaning -- only one made -- but this word is widely used by copywriters particularly when writing advertising copy. I don't remember the other taboos.
On several occasions I have searched my files for a copy of that Fact Sheet List of Taboo Words. No luck. I would give a five dollar bill to the first person who can send me one of those from their files. (Don't laugh. I once paid $18 for a letter I wrote to a collector about a medal he had. The eBay seller wasn't impressed I was buying back my own letter. He cashed my check without comment!)
I was asked to comment about that Adams medal when it surfaced with Dick Hanscom's original inquiry. I am glad I didn't respond. It was unknown to me at that time. I had no knowledge of it.
Thanks, Tom, your reply now makes it clear. Now we all know.
Michael J. Sullivan writes:
Our bibliophilic community may be interested in the follow numismatic literature lot sold by Stack's Bowers in Chicago. For those not familiar with the sale, the B52 Collection (2 parts) was an outstanding collection of the finest banknote company engraving material, essay and proof notes, and engraving images on banknotes categorized by theme. I was a participant in the sale, securing a number of choice and rare items for my banknote company art collection.
Below is an excerpt from the lot description. -Editor
Superbly crafted presentation volume of the two 52 Collection Sales conducted by Stack’s in 2010-2011. Made to order by Harcourt Bindery, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Quarto. 8.5 by 10.75 inches. 1.25 inches thick. Full black morocco with raised bands and compartments on spine. Alternating gilt spine ornaments with two color title compartments. Upper with 52/HAGEN on red leather, ornament, then STACK’S/2010-2100 on green leather. Cover and back gilt stamp perimeter lines. Gilt stamped cover titles: THE 52 COLLECTION/PART I: JUNE 29, 201/PART II; JANUARY 25, 2011/STACK’S.
Two catalogues bound into one volume with card covers. Prices realized list tipped in. Top pages gilt. The 52 Collection Part I: Art & Security on American Paper Currencies. June 29, 2011. 208 pages. 781 lots. The groundbreaking sale focusing on the Hagen collection of obsolete proofs and related items associated with geometric lathe patents and design. Emphasis on the Cyrus Durand patents highlighted by 97 plates from the unique archive record book created for Durand. Essay The Mechanical Artistry of Cyrus Durand center of catalogue. Other featured collections including Federal Proofs & Essays, Colonial American notes, engraver sheets, banknote company certificates, vignette proofs from Roger H. Durand, and several other consignors. Prices realized nearly $1,500,000.
To read the complete lot description, see: Lot #5394. Colonial Notes. Stack’s The 52 Collection Parts I And II. Bound Presentation Volume In Full Morocco By Harcourt Bindery. (www.stacksbowers.com/Auctions/AuctionLot.aspx?LotID=238602)
With the recent court decision regarding the 1933 Double Eagles seized by the U.S. Mint, there have been a number of articles about the coin and the family of Isreal "Izzy" Switt, the Philadelphia jeweler and coin dealer who originally obtained the banned coins from the U.S. Mint.
There have been many pictures published of the coins and Switt's descendants, but I don't think I've seen a picture of Switt himself. This week The Daily Mail (of London, of all places) published a 1944 photo of Switt, which looks like it was taken in a tourist shop in Mexico - are those sombreros? Or large silver platters? I wonder how they came across this picture? Another newspaper, perhaps? -Editor
To read the complete article, see:
National treasure: The ultra-rare 'Double Eagle' coin pursued by the Secret Service for 70 years
CoinWorld published an interesting page-one article by Paul Gilkes on the legality of holding Liberty Dollars, the controversial coins made by Bernard von Nothaus. Here are a few excerpts. The image is from the LibertyDollar.org web site (now defunct). -Editor
Liberty Dollars held by collectors may be subject to seizure as contraband by federal law enforcement, officials with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Secret Service said Aug. 24.
Statements by officials for those two federal law enforcement agencies seem to reverse the position taken in comments released from the United States Attorney’s Office in Charlotte, N.C., and published in Coin World in April, that mere possession of Liberty Dollars did not constitute a violation of any federal statute.
Soon after von NotHaus’ March 18 conviction, Coin World obtained and published comments from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte stating that while mere possession of Liberty Dollar medallions was not a violation of federal statutes, actual use or intent to use them in the manner for which von NotHaus was convicted would be considered a violation.
The reversal of opinion surfaced after a Michigan collector sought to display his award-winning Liberty Dollar exhibit at the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money in Rosemont, Ill. Aug. 16 to 20. ANA officials denied the collector the opportunity amid fears the exhibit’s contents would be seized off the convention bourse floor by federal authorities. The collector had exhibited the collection in various venues previously.
With previously public statements in hand from public officials stating that mere possession of Liberty Dollars is not a violation, why would the ANA go out of their way to ask a different government official? That's just asking for trouble. They risked getting a different answer, and that's just what they got from a different source. What would you expect a cover-your-butt bureaucrat to say? And now we have a mess on our hands.
The organization was understandably concerned about the risk of seizure, but the risk is borne by the exhibitor - it's his coins that stand to be seized. If wants to exhibit them anyway, let him exhibit. Now the poor guy not only didn't get to exhibit, he has his name published in CoinWorld, basically putting a "come seize this collection" sign out for the government officials who are now on notice about it.
The only good that can come out of this now is if this incident becomes a test case in the courts. Hopefully the courts will allow common sense to prevail and permit the possession (and public display) of numismatic items that are harmless in themselves.
If this does end up in the courts (and with a successful outcome for collectors), I wouldn't be surprised to see the exhibitor or ANA counsel to come out and say, "Yeah, that was our plan all along". For now at least, it looks like a completely unnecessary stumble into a hornet's nest. -Editor
To read the complete article, see: Liberty Dollars may be subject to seizure (www.coinworld.com/articles/liberty-dollars-may-be-subject-to-seizure/)
THE BOOK BAZARRE
On Temporary U.S. Mint Facilities
The recent threads about mint buildings and coins struck outside of them made me take notice of eBay items 160644041547 (which comes with a COA stating that it was made by the mint, in the Government building at the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition in 1909) and 150655578815 (which does not state where it was made, but could have been done in the mint exhibit at the Columbian Exposition in 1893).
This side topic has generated some useful information. Thanks, everyone! Anyone know of other potential 'temporary" U.S. Mint sites? -Editor
Gene Hessler on 'What's My Line'
I, too, was a guest on What's My Line in the 1970s, when Larry Blyden was the host. However, programs from that time period were not saved or do not appear on YouTube. At the time I was the curator of the Chase Manhattan Bank Money Museum and they didn't guess my occupation.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: NUMISMATIC PERSONALITIES ON "WHAT'S MY LINE" (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v14n36a07.html)
Star Wars Characters at the 2011 ANA Convention
I read Pete Smith's comments in the latest E-Sylum about the characters from Stars Wars wandering the bourse floor of the Chicago ANA convention. As I walked past them on Tuesday, I commented "Wrong convention guys!" Only later did I find out that the New Zealand mint is issuing a set of Star Wars commemorative coins, and that Darth Vader and his comrades were there to help promote this new series. Not my "cup of tea," but based on the activity at the New Zealand booth, there are still Star Wars fanatics out there, even at a coin convention!
Eric Holcomb writes:
In regard to Pete Smith’s comments about the Star Wars characters at the ANA in Chicago, they were a promotion for the New Zealand Mint. According to the ANA, “The New Zealand Mint went all-out to promote its new Star Wars series.” I have a photo at the mint booth (supplied by ANA) that will be published in the MintMark (ANA Club Rep Program newsletter).
Ralph Winter did a similar double-take at the convention.
I'm a little disappointed with the picture. It is a recycled image that has been around the Internet from various earthquakes, high wind events, and whatever tickles someone's fancy. Especially with the actual damage, it just wasn't funny.
However, my dogs' reaction was funny. I wasn't home; I was with my wife at an appointment when the ground began to shake. After it was over, I turned to her and ask, "was that an earthquake?" It just didn't register! When I came home, I found my dogs huddled in the kitchen. They never stay in the kitchen when we're out. But they were just so glad to see me, they clung to me for hours!
The other natural disaster this week was the hurricane that hit the East coast. Spink Smythe issued an email notice on August 29th announcing the postponement of their August 30th sale.
Due to Hurricane Irene and flight delays that have affected much of the Spink staff, Spink has decided to move the Collector's Series Sale, originally planned for Tuesday, August 30th to Thursday, September 1st. The Waldorf Collection, originally scheduled for August 31st, will remain unchanged.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: WAYNE'S NUMISMATIC DIARY: AUGUST 28, 2011 (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v14n36a14.html)
I agree with Dick Johnson that there is no point in debating a new composition for the cent when the coin is hopelessly obsolete. A point which never seems to come up during such debates is that even a coin costing less than one cent in materials will cost far more than that to manufacture, store and distribute.
I would have loved to attend the NBS functions, as well as Bill Burd's library tour, but anyone who works a commercial booth during ANA conventions is pretty much a prisoner of said booth. I did have a chance to speak with Bill earlier that day and thank him in person, and I envy those who got to attend his reception.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: DICK JOHNSON: ALUMINIZED-STEEL NOT A VIABLE CENT ALLOY (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v14n36a13.html)
Coin Laundering at the St. Francis Hotel
The policy of the St. Francis Hotel to wash all the coins it dispenses pops up in the news every few years, and it was reported even more often in the local press when I lived in that area. It's a quaint tradition and one that is no longer necessary. The problem of ladies' white gloves becoming soiled corrected itself about 40 years ago when both hats and gloves ceased to be required fashion accessories.
Also overlooked is that our current clad coins do not tarnish the way that silver coins did. Anyone who has sorted through silver coins looking for better dates will know how it becomes necessary to wash one's hands afterward, but I don't see this happening with the coins in use today. At a time of such high unemployment, it's amazing that someone can still be employed in such a useless activity.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: ARTICLE HIGHLIGHTS SAN FRANCISCO HOTEL'S MONEY LAUNDERER (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v14n36a17.html)
Howard A. Daniel III submitted this diary of his experiences at the recent convention of the American Numismatic Association in Chicago, IL. Thanks! -Editor
Did David Seelye know his bride was at Howard's 2011 Chicago ANA booth?
I just manned a club booth at another ANA for NBS and other organizations like IBNS, NI, MPC Fest/Gram and others. This time it was in the Chicago area but outside the city near the airport in Rosemont's convention center. I drove in on Monday afternoon, parked at my hotel, and went to the convention center to locate my booth and start my setup. I was stopped at the door by security and told that club booth staffs were not allowed in until one hour before opening day (Tuesday) morning! I used to come to an ANA a couple of days early and help the staff set up but my time keeps being pushed back until now it is an hour before opening! I am guessing club booths will not exist in the foreseeable future!
The convention center was alright but getting back and forth with a cart full of stuff was a trying experience. I figured the loading dock was going to cost me money even if I did the work myself since the Chicago area has a lot of union labor, so I did not go to it. I parked behind the Hyatt Hotel and not in their garage. The roll from my vehicle to the convention center garage was over VERY rough asphalt! Then the skywalk to the convention center had metal connectors every 50 feet or so which required me to slow down and lift the cart over them. As a result of the trying roll, I brought over only one of my footlockers of stuff to give away. But I made sure I had my three gifts for Neil Shafer, Roger Urce and Brian Giese. Brian surprisingly did not show up from nearby Milwaukee but the other two men got their gifts.
The Hyatt was an OK hotel but about the same quality as the old Holiday Inn's before they refurbished them around the country into Holiday Inn Express's. One night I invited an NBS member/friend to dinner at the hotel and we were greatly disappointed with the quality of the food and the service. But the service, salads and coffee at their snack bar (called Perks) was top notch. I will write to the hotel about both the good and the bad.
The bourse layout was somewhat boot-shaped like Italy. I found the club booths were in the toe of the boot and as far away from the entrance as possible. We used to have bourse locations (I do not like being ouside the bourse because there is usually no security) so a lot of traffic went by us! The case and electricity was there as ordered. After about two hours, I was set up with what I brought on one cart. It took awhile as friends stopped by to say hello. I got breakfast/lunch, and first coffee too, around 11AM.
It was very quiet back in our area!! Over the entire convention, I gave away much less than 100 of the 400 packets of a world note and coins to YNs. I saw NO scouts, which is very unusual. As it turns out, the convention was scheduled during the opening week of school! Who scheduled this? The few YNs I had were home schooled or had skipped school. So I stopped men with wives and asked them to bring their "daughters" to me. Their wives loved it. And then I asked them if they had any kids, grand kids, neighbor kids they could give some packets to them. Most of my packets went out with these ladies. I am guessing YN activities will not exist in the forseeable future!
The Saturday morning IBNS (International Bank Note Society) meeting had about 20+ attendees. The show and tell had some interesting and new pieces, and lasted awhile, so I did not give my talk and we went into the (MPC) Mini-Fest part of the meeting with another show and tell of military monies and related items. Then there was a paycall where everyone was paid a Military Fest Certificate (instead of a Military Payment Certificate which we got in the military). The newbies were quite surprised with the MFC and we might have converted a few to collecting military monies. My NI (Numismatics International) meeting followed in the same room. Only four of us showed up so we pulled up some chairs and had a great numismatic conversation. I have a sinking feeling that some organizations will no longer have meeting rooms made available to them in the foreseeable future!
I renewed the membership of one person and signed up two new members during the entire convention! This is WAY below my normal numbers and it was all because of the non-existent flow of attendess. Most came within about five or six booths of us back in the club area and turned to another area.
But I had a few interesting people find me. One was a WWII era veteran from the Chicago area whose last name was Myers (no, not the Colonel Bill Myers who collects military and WWII monies) and he graduated from Japanese language school almost on V-J Day. He was sent to Tokyo and listened to Japanese radio broadcasts, among other things. I found an appropriate AMC 1 Yen note for him in my freebie bag of MPC/AMC for veterans and he stared at it for a LONG time. I am thinking it brought back a lot of memories. I told him about the MPC Gram/Fest and gave him the information on both. I hope he contacts us and can become a resource for the researchers among us. There were several other veterans stopping by the table but not like other shows.
I had one young (for me now 30s and 40s) man stop at the booth and stare at a sterling silver money clip with a dollar sign cut out of it. I asked him if he liked it and he told me he would feel like a rich man to have it around his paper money. I told him it was sterling silver and it would cost him only $5, which was below its bullion value. He jumped on it and slipped his paper money into it.
I buy junkbox coins and offer $6-8 per pound for them (and 10 cents each for paper money). The dealers usually sell their junkboxes to me and I pour them into a large Bank of America money bag. When I get home I go through them and often find jewelry and other non-numismatic items. If they have value, I sell them and buy more junk coins.
I asked the young man what he collected and he told me he worked for the Austrian Mint. I quickly grabbed one of my catalogs and showed him three NCLT coins for Viet Nam that are reported to have been minted by his mint but I had no confirmation of it. He said he would email them for me. The next day he told me they were not minted by his mint. Now, I have more research to do.
The most annoying part of the convention was the public announcement system! Most conventions do not realize how loud their speakers are but this time it was absolutely terrible. Most conventions do not have those speaking on their systems test their voices BEFORE opening. All professional events do these tests with everyone who is going to use them and adjust them to each person's normal speaking voice! One man who came on several times almost broke my eardrums with his shouting into the microphone! Many times, my neighbors and I had to cover our ears and completely stop talking or working on something even with the "normal" loudness. This is something that should be on the convention checklist of things to do and the speakers and sound system adjusted to a reasonable loudness!
This was the last ANA where I will set up a club booth because of the hassles and they are becoming less worthwhile of my time. There are additional "guidelines" put on club tables and now there is a cost of $150. This is not a problem for me because I usually donate $100 to all club shows for giving me a booth, but one possible new requirement was that I could only represent one society at the booth instead of the 5+ I represent now. The ANA also did not force FedEx to deliver/accept Ground shipments (as I requested) so my heavy footlocker(s) I ship when flying to a convention will be VERY expensive by air! And they did not tell me that FedEx would have to deliver to the Security Room instead of just to the loading dock. Leaving my footlocker at the loading dock can cost me almost another $200 for a union member to roll it a few feet to the club booth where it is left for anyone to take!
An ANA staff member also passed on to me that the ANA (who there was not said) believes people who staff club booths are freeloaders! I guess I was freeloading with my trip expenses usually between $2000-3000! But I will still be coming to ANAs to moderate the IBNS and NI meetings (as long as we can have them), meeting other collectors, spending my time attending other meetings, and actually having time to see every dealer I want to see on the bourse. I also plan to exhibit for the first time and take the judging class too.
Starting next year, I will be living in my home in Viet Nam (and traveling around Southeast Asia) from about October to March of every year. I will still be setting up a club booth at FUN but will have to switch from the January to their summertime show. I will continue doing the Memphis International Paper Money Show and probably one or more other shows like Baltimore, Central States and Blue Ridge, but I just set up my last club booth at an ANA. But I will walk the ANA bourse and work at recruiting for my organizations while I look for additions to my collection. This does not preclude any of you to setting up a club booth at an ANA to represent NBS and/or other organizations. Good luck to you.
Howard deserves a hearty round of thanks for all his selfless work in promoting numismatics and numismatic organizations like NBS. His club table will be missed. Perhaps another day another volunteer will pick up the mantle. Hopefully the "freeloader" impression of one uninformed person will be outweighed by others, making it easier and cheaper in the future for volunteers like Howard to serve the cause.
In fact, things are looking up already - just after I wrote the above remarks on Thursday, an email hit my inbox with a press release from the ANA announcing that "American Numismatic Association member clubs will once again receive free tables at the ANA’s three annual shows, the Board of Governors voted unanimously during its Wednesday teleconference meeting." Halleluiah, and many thanks to incoming President Tom Hallenbeck and the new Board of Governors. -Editor
It's non-numismatic, but collectors and researchers will appreciate the significance of this landmark exhibition of some the world's rarest and most valuable stamps. -Editor
Only for three weeks and only in Berlin: This unique exhibition is the only one in the world to unite most of the legendary Blue and Red Mauritius stamps still in existence. For stamp collectors all over the world, just the thought of a Blue Mauritius is enough to set the pulse racing – and even for the casual audience, it symbolises everything that makes a stamp special: an astronomical price, rarity beyond compare, and a fascinating story that has inspired myths and legends. At the ‘The Blue Mauritius: Meeting of the Queens in Berlin’ exhibition from September 2 to 25, 2011, the Museum for Communication Berlin will be presenting around two-thirds of the 27 Mauritius ‘Post Office’ stamps still in existence.
In this unparalleled exhibition, the Museum for Communication Berlin, itself the proud owner of a Blue and Red Mauritius, is presenting the largest number of these philatelic gems ever shown together anywhere in the world. The exhibition is only running for a total of three weeks and tickets are limited. Tickets can be booked online at www.mauritius-in-berlin.de. Timed-entry tickets cost €8 (concessions €5), and VIP tickets with no time restrictions are available for €22.
These renowned stamps, issued more than 160 years ago in the British colony Mauritius and now on display in Berlin, are on loan from the Royal Philatelic Collection of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the British Library, the Postal Museums in The Hague and in Stockholm, the Blue Penny Museum (Port Louis, Mauritius), and a number of private collectors. An accompanying exhibition and a catalogue provide an insight into the historical background of the ‘Mauritius legend’ and document the continuing fascination with these famous stamps. The stunning range of exhibits include the original cost estimate for the printing of the stamps, the sole remaining test print from 1847, the year the stamps were issued, and three prints produced in 1912 from the original plate, now lost.
To read the complete article, see: Exhibition in Berlin unite most of the legendary Blue and Red Mauritius stamps (www.artdaily.org/index.asp?int_sec=2&int_new=50212)
A U.K. newspaper reported on the upcoming sale of "one of the rarest football medals in the world". That's "soccer" to us Yanks. Unfortunately, the medal isn't pictured. Can anyone obtain an image for us? -Editor
The team from West Auckland Football Club, County Durham, won the inaugural Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy in 1909.
The players, mainly miners, are thought to have had the medals struck themselves and it is believed that only three are still known to exist.
One owned by the winning team’s captain, Bob Jones, belongs to the club and another is at the National Football Museum.
The third was found in a box of football programmes bought at a car boot sale for £20 in the Newcastle area six years ago.
The anonymous buyer nearly threw away the medal, made of an alloy, as he did not realise what it was.
He has put it up for auction at Newcastle-based Garland and Anderson, with a list price of £3,000 to £5,000.
Steven Moore, senior specialist at Garland and Anderson, said: “He found the medal and tried to find out what it was without success.
“Twice his wife told him to throw it out, but he did more research and found one that had been listed for auction for £15,000 and realised what it was.
“This is from an iconic moment.
It’s one of the rarest football medals in the world.
To read the complete article, see:
World Cup medal to sell at auction
The Daily Mail published an article revealing the existence of an extraordinary set of portrait sketches of the Jewish concentration camp inmates forced by the Nazis to create counterfeits of U.S. and U.K. currency in WWII's "Operation Bernhard". -Editor
Felix Cytrin drew the men as they worked together on a top secret Nazi counterfeiting operation during World War 11.
But now his collection of 43 drawings will be seen by the public for the first time and the story of how he survived the Holocaust can be told.
The sketches - most dated 1944 and 1945 and drawn on paper in pencil, charcoal and chalk - were donated by his heirs to Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust memorial and museum at a special ceremony yesterday in New York.
They are among the few images that exist of the young men who worked on the infamous Nazi operation to produce fake money, fictionalised in the Oscar-winning film The Counterfeiters.
The Nazis hand-picked from death camps a group of about 140 mostly skilled craftsmen at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp north of Berlin around 1942,
They gave them the dubious choice of creating bogus money for the Nazis or almost certain death. They were isolated from the rest of the camp in barracks known as Block 19, surrounded by barbed wire. Initially, the goal of Operation Bernhard (named after its lead SS officer, Bernhard Krueger) was to counterfeit millions of British pounds that could be air-dropped on England to undermine the Allied country's economy.
Cytrin was born in what is now Warsaw, Poland, in 1894, and his name appears on a list of Operation Bernhard inmates recovered from a lake in Austria, where the Nazis dumped documents about the plot. A toolmaker and engraver, Cytrin was working in Leipzig when he was recruited and made chief of the engraving section, a critical job for the men working and living in Block 19.
For many years after he had moved to the U.S. his family said he was suspicious of being watched by the government. Army intelligence documents about him remain classified at the National Archives in Maryland.
At a special handover ceremony yesterday, Marcia Friday, who was then married to Cytrin's grandson, said that about 25 years ago she discovered the disintegrating portraits in a cardboard portfolio at the family home in Pennsylvania.
To read the complete article, see:
Unveiled: The portraits sketched by the Holocaust survivor forced to run a secret counterfeit money operation for the Nazis
Here's an item from Australia about a money "artwork" sold recently at auction. Thanks for Coin Update for pointing this one out. -Editor
As the opening lot of the Deutscher and Hackett auction, a single wad of $20,000 cash - an artwork called Currency - was sold for $17,500. When the 22 per cent buyer's premium is added, the total cost comes to $21,350.
The work - by Sydney artist Denis Beaubois, and brought to life with a $20,000 grant from the Australia Council - was divided into two lots of 100 uncirculated $100 banknotes.
Deutscher and Hackett had given it an estimate of $15,000-$25,000, with both extremes sending competing messages about the inflationary value of the work. The notes can still be used as legal tender, according to the artist.
Beaubois said after the sale tonight that he had no idea what to expect with the auction.
"I thought there was a strong chance it would go for below [$20,000] because there's a lot of suspicion with the work, but it's also interesting it went for above the financial worth," he said.
According to the auction notes, the piece is a conceptual artwork that "explores the tension between the economic value of the material against the cultural value of the art object".
In other words, whether banknotes are worth more as cash or art.
To read the complete article, see:
$20,000 cash artwork sells for $21,350
The Lincoln cent or Lincoln penny is a cent coin (or penny) (1/100 of a dollar) that has been struck by the United States Mint since 1909. The obverse or heads side was designed by Victor David Brenner, as was the original reverse. The coin has seen several reverse, or tails, designs and now bears one by Lyndall Bass depicting a Union shield.
In 1905, sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens was hired by the Mint to redesign the cent and the four gold coins, which did not require congressional approval. Two of Saint-Gaudens's proposed designs for the cent were eventually adapted for the gold pieces, but Saint-Gaudens died in August 1907 before submitting additional designs for the cent. In January 1909, the Mint engaged Brenner to design a cent depicting the late President Abraham Lincoln, 1909 being the centennial year of his birth. Brenner's design was eventually approved, and the new coins were issued to great public interest on August 2, 1909.
Saint-Gaudens model for the cent obverse.