Volume 14, Number 44, October 23, 2011
Among our new subscribers this week are Bo Smith, Patrick John Uram and W. Thomas Corey, courtesy of John and Nancy Wilson, Randall A. See, Mark Gloss, Paul Karanfilian and J. W. Raymond. Welcome aboard! We have 1,467 email subscribers, plus 168 followers on Facebook, including Jerico Cruz.
First, many thanks to Dave Schenkman, David Gladfelter and Dan Hamelberg, all of whom offered assistance to Tom Wetter with his work on the NBS web site bibliography entries for several U.S. numismatic periodicals.
Also, Len Augsburger, Joel Orosz and myself have offered to write descriptions for some of the books not in the "100 Greatest" (for which we already have some great descriptions written earlier by Len for the "100 Greatest" Asylum article. Thanks to Tom for continuing to work on pulling this all together.
This week we open with announcements of three new numismatic books, and an invitation to review a fourth. Topics discussed include Farouk auction attendees, engravers Weeden and Randall, and the Order of the Golden Fleece.
To learn more about U.K. coin designer Norman Sillman, Egyptian-American dealer F.K. Saab, California dealer Harry Shuhart, the Temple sorting office stamp, moon rocks, meteorites and medals and when paper was worth more than gold, read on. Have a great week, everyone!
Dennis Tucker of Whitman Publications forwarded this release about the new edition of Carson City Morgan Dollars. -Editor
Whitman Publishing announces the release of an expanded and updated second edition of Carson City Morgan Dollars, by Adam Crum, Selby Ungar, and Jeff Oxman. The book will be available November 29, 2011, from booksellers and hobby shops nationwide, as well as online (including at Whitman.com). It is hardcover bound, 128 pages, in full color, and retails for $24.95.
Carson City Morgan Dollars begins with the accidental discovery of gold in California in 1848. The struggles of adventurers in the Gold Rush. . . the Nevada silver boom of the late 1800s. . . the creation of the Carson City Mint. . . these are some of the rich historical veins mined by award-winning authors Crum, Ungar, and Oxman. However, it’s not only the Old West history buff who strikes it rich with this book. Collectors and investors benefit from a detailed coin-by-coin study of every Morgan dollar ever struck at the famous CC Mint, including selected VAM (Van Allen–Mallis) varieties.
The General Services Administration hoard—millions of Treasury-bagged Carson City silver dollars brought out of storage in the 1970s and sold to collectors—is a fascinating “main character” in this story. The authors describe the government’s sales of these coins, and their effect on the hobby. Then they share detailed advice on ways to collect Carson City Morgan dollars.
The second edition includes a new foreword by hobby legend Q. David Bowers, the “Dean of American Numismatics,” who calls the book “a necessary volume in your silver-dollar library.”
The “Collector’s Checklist” has been expanded to two pages, with more space for collectors to record their purchases and write notes about their coins.
Another addition to the second edition is the inclusion of an index, allowing the reader to quickly search for terms—from Adams Brick Works to Brigham Young—relating to the Carson City Mint and its silver dollars.
Whitman is taking preorders at 1-800-546-2995 and the book debuts on November 29, 2011.
Author Rasiel Suarez forwarded this information about his latest book. Congratulations! -Editor
Collectors with an interest in ancient Roman coinage will be pleased to learn of the availability of new title "Aorta: A Guide for the Roman Coin Collector" (ISBN: 9780976466437). This reference work is a low-cost version of the highly acclaimed second edition of the Encyclopedia of Roman Imperial Coins and is slated to go on sale this November 15th from publisher Dirty Old Books.
The book documents 500 years of Roman history neatly compressed into twice as many pages and lists all their coins down to the most obscure issues of minor Caesars and their family members while providing each their own chapter complete with a biography and photos of their likenesses. Clear photographs of their coins are provided at the end of each of these chapters to help the reader identify and date any Roman coin along with much other data.
With information presented in a modern layout and easy reading, even those who are not drawn to classical numismatics are sure to find themselves engaged in the fascinating stories.
- A fully comprehensive catalog of Roman coins in one handy book
Order today with your credit card or Paypal from dirtyoldcoins.com
$39.95. 1st ed. November 2011. Paperback 1,021pp. Limited first printing of 1,000 copies. ISBN 9780976466437. Quantity discounts available.
Order information available on the publisher's website a www.dirtyoldbooks.com/aorta-roman-coin-book.html
About the Author
Rasiel Suarez is owner and co-founder of Dirty Old Coins, LLC, a company founded in 2002 with the vision of bringing the hobby of ancient coin collecting to a broad demographic largely unaware that owning genuine ancient coins was both possible and affordable. 2005 saw the release of his first book, The Encyclopedia of Roman Imperial Coins, which broke new ground in making the subject much more accessible to those entering the hobby.
By 2007 the company had sold over one million Roman coins by way of retail-ready coin kits that taught thousands of families how to restore these ancient artifacts using the same methods museums use. His success as an author and recognized expert in the field of Roman numismatics was cemented by the release of the second edition of his Encyclopedia in the Fall of 2010. An avid traveler and photographer, Rasiel lives with his family in Olympia, Washington.
An email this week from Bagchee announced this new two-volume work on Indian coins. -Editor
Coins form an important source of the history of ancient India; in fact, for certain periods, like those of the Indo-Greeks, the Saka-Pahlavas, and the Western Kshatrapas, monetary issues are almost the only source of our information. In the preface of his magnum opus, The Indo-Greeks, A K Narain very aptly remarks, ' For certain periods of Indian history the historian has to be a numismatist;.
Several years back, the Numismatic Society of Indian launched an ambitious scheme of publishing corpuses of Indian coins, from the earliest times to the modern period, in ten volumes IV, that is A S Alterkar's The Coinage of the Gupta Empire (Varanasi, 1957), saw the light of day. A N Lahiri, in his individual capacity, published a Corpus of Indo-Greek Coins (Calcutta, 1965), Tribal coins were dealt with, first by K K Dasgupta, in his A Tribal History of Ancient India: A Numismatic Approach (Calcutta 1974) and, recently, by Devendra Handa, in Tribal Coins of Ancient India (New Delhi, 2007). R C Senior Produced the masterly work, Indo-Scythian Coins and History ( Lancaster, Pennsylvania, London 2001), in three volumes.
However, a concise A-Z encyclopaedia of the coins of ancient Indian remains a desideratum. Hence, the present Encyclopaedia of Indian Coins. An introduction, in the beginnings, deals with such aspects of ancient Indian numismatics, as the origin and antiquity of coinage in India, and the authority to issue coins. This is followed by A-Z encyclopaedia itself. An Appendix, 'More About Some Issuers and Devices', and a Select Bibliography are given the end.
Authors (s): Prashant Srivastava (Author)
Usually ships 1-2 days
For more information, see: www.bagchee.com/books/BB69045/encyclopedia-of-indian-coins-in-2-volumes
THE BOOK BAZARRE
Dennis Tucker of Whitman Publications is looking for a reviewer. Who wants to be the first kid on their block to have a copy of the upcoming Cherrypickers’ Guide? -Editor
The fifth edition, volume II, of the Cherrypickers’ Guide is debuting in November. This latest volume of the CPG is also the biggest, at 512 pages, and under Ken Potter’s sterling editorship we’ve completely updated the fourth edition and added more than 100 exciting new varieties. The book covers half dimes through dollars, plus gold coins, commemoratives, and a new section on bullion die varieties.
I expect to have a handful of advance copies in my office in Atlanta late next week. Most of these are slated for editorial purposes and for the sales team. But I’ll set aside one copy if there’s an E-Sylum reader who’d like to write a book review in exchange for being one of the first hobbyists to see the new book.
I can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org, and if more than one reader expresses interest I’ll select from among them at random.
Alan V. Weinberg writes:
Dave Stone was a bit incomplete on his list of Americans who attended the 1954 Cairo Farouk coin auction. Maurice Storck, who is still very much alive in Tucson, AZ according to Tony Tumonis, attended and was an active buyer in the sale. Maurice admitted to me in a letter over a decade ago that he still has a few Farouk lots intact.
You'll recall the lengthy Coin World columns by Abe Kosoff some years ago. They were all consolidated into an inch thick soft cover book which I ...and likely you...have. In that book there is at least one column on the Farouk sale and in that article Abe recounts the Americans who attended the Farouk sale and even a picture of approximately seven attendees in a line including Sonny Kliman and Bob Schermerhorn.
There's also the late American dealer F.K. Saab, an Egyptian by birth, who attended. I remember him from my youthful collecting days on the East Coast. Very personable to deal with this once quite young collector. He did attend the Farouk auction but I don't know if he ended up in the United States before or after the Farouk sale.
The book is Abe Kosoff Remembers, compiled and published by Sanford Durst, 1981. There's a whole chapter containing multiple columns on the Farouk sale. Here's the image, from p62. -Editor
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: DR. JOHN E. WILKISON OF SPRINGFIELD, TENNESSEE (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v14n43a04.html)
THE BOOK BAZARRE
David Schenkman writes:
Regarding W. N. Weeden, in my catalog titled “Joseph H. Merriam Die Sinker,” which was published in the April 1980 issue of The Numismatist, I mention that Weeden “was Merriam’s partner for a few years.” His signature appears on a medalet struck for the dedication of the New Masonic Temple in Boston.
Thanks for the great photos! -Editor
Dick Johnson wrote to Kay O. Freeman:
What a delight to read your reply in last week's E-Sylum on engraver Randall. You must have access to some extensive archives. You must live at the library. I appreciate the data on William N. Weeden. Attached is the entry on him in my databank. I have record of only three medals by this engraver.
WEEDEN, William Nye (1841-1891) engraver, Boston. Born New Bedford, Massachusetts, 1841. Onetime partner with Joseph Merriam (q.v.) in Merriam & Company following the Civil War. Merriam sold this firm (circa 1875) to Clarence J. Brigham (q.v.) who operated for a short time as Brigham & Co. and then moved it to Attleboro. Weeden specialized in Masonic medals but did little in latter years of this business or afterwards. Died New Bedford, Massachusetts, 1891.
M E D A L S
1867 Washington (George) Boston Masonic Temple Medal
(obv portrait by Joseph H. Merriam, rev building by
Weeden). . . . . . . . . . . . Baker 294, Storer 416, Marvin 269,
1867 Boston New Masonic Temple Charles C. Dame Grandmaster
Medal [Masonic date 5867] (obv Washington portrait by
Merriam, rev by Weeden). . . . . . . Storer 1898, Marvin 269,
R E P L I C A S & R E I S S U E S
1901 Franklin (Benjamin) Boston Masonic Temple Medal (obv portrait by Merriam, rev byWeeden; restrike of 1867 medal). . . . Storer 415, Fuld FR.M.MA.3, Greenslet GM-64
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: MORE ON ENGRAVER PHILIP RANDALL (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v14n43a14.html)
Dave Bowers writes:
There were two RANDALL engravers in the Boston area, etc., etc. “Our” Randall was NOT the one who did the token illustrated.
Definitely confusing, but makes sense – the token was very different in style. -Editor
Dave Schenkman writes:
Regarding the topic, “MORE ON ENGRAVER PHILIP RANDALL,” the June 18, 1868 patent (number 78923) was issued to Henry H. Browne of Mount Vernon, New York. Titled “Improvement in Advertising Devices.” It describes “a new and useful Improvement in Pocket-Mirror Business Cards.” This patent date is found on numerous embossed shell cards.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: MORE ON ENGRAVER PHILIP RANDALL (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v14n43a14.html)
Last week I asked, " On which U.S. coin or coins does the same person appear on both the obverse and reverse?"
John Mutch writes:
Abraham Lincoln is depicted on both the obverse and reverse of the Lincoln Memorial Cents.
Yossi Dotan writes:
George Washington appears on the reverse of the New Jersey statehood quarter dollar crossing the Delaware River standing at the bow of a troop-laden rowboat. The obverse features his portrait.
And let's not forget the South Dakota quarter, featuring Washington gazing down from Mt. Rushmore. John Mutch got that one and a few others I hadn't thought of. He adds:
The 1900 Lafayette commemorative dollar has the Marquis de Lafayette on both sides, the 1934-38 Daniel Boone Bicentennial half dollar has Boone on both sides, the 2003 First Flight Centennial dollar has Orville & Wilbur Wright on the obverse and (presumably) Orville Wright in the airplane on the reverse. Ditto with the gold eagle in that series. There may well be more examples with all of the commemoratives coming from the government's coin factories.
Bob Neale also hit on some of these. He writes:
I can only think of two or three: the Lincoln cent (with memorial statue showing on the reverse), the Boone bicentennials, and perhaps the Lafayette dollar.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: ROYAL MINT ISSUES DIAMOND JUBILEE FIVE POUND COMMEMORATIVE (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v14n43a17.html)
I received an email this week from literature dealer John Burns. In reply to last week's E-Sylum issue, he responded "Yes". Uh, OK ... yes, what?? If this were Jeopardy, the question would have to be, "Are you a pain in the @ss, or what?" It turns out he was referring to the question "Has there ever been a coin, token or medal made from ore from a meteorite? "
Somewhat more helpfully Larry Korchnak writes:
I know of medals that contain a piece of a meteorite in their center. I went to eBay and bought one. So, they are still available. I Googled a bit and discovered that there is a coin from the Cook Islands that has a piece of a meteor in it.
Eric Holcomb writes:
In regard to the meteorite question, I’m almost certain the answer is yes, and I think I have one, although I can’t locate it right now. It’s a medal commemorating the 1985-1986 apparition of Comet Halley, made from iron-nickel meteoritic material. There are also a few more recent coins or medals with small bits of meteoritic material attached, as I recall.
Kavan Ratnatunga writes:
You would not want to melt a meteorite to make a coin, but parts of Meteorites have been encased in coins see www.spacecollection.info/meteorite_coins/meteorite_coins.html
In particular see the Perth Mint 2009 Australian NCLT. See
Thanks! On the topic of Moon rock, Kavan offers the following -Editor
The moon rocks were encased in an acrylic button. Please see these links:
I did track down the Goodwill rock in Colombo Museum and provided image.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: WAYNE'S NUMISMATIC DIARY: OCTOBER 16, 2011 (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v14n43a10.html)
Ralf W. Böpple of Stuttgart / Germany writes:
I have been the fortunate winner of a lot containing two Harry Shuhart sales, a Sunnyvale, CA citizen who held these auctions containing Mexican coins in 1968 and 1969. A quick look into the Gengerke book revealed that these were the only two auctions of this firm. In the price list of the second auction, a third sale is announced for 1971, but it apparently never took place.
I know this is quite some time back, but does somebody still remember Harry Shuhart? Did he just do these two sales, or did he continue and conduct sales under another firm?
Good question. Can anyone help? -Editor
Dick Hanscom submitted the following question for our readers, Can anyone help? -Editor
I recently spent 12+ hours reading microfilmed copies of Coin World from 1971 to 1974 looking for an article. I failed to find it. It may have been an advertisement, but I was sure it was an article.
The article (or ad) was about a gold disk. It was to be made from raw gold dust, mixed with an epoxy and pressed into a disk. This was to circumvent the gold ownership laws of the day. Since Americans could own gold starting Dec. 31, 1974, it is unlikely that it would have been in Coin World after that date. It could have been in Numismatic News, but I did not have access to them.
Does anyone else remember this article?
On another point….It was interesting to read the headlines between 1971 and 1974. You could take the headlines from then, and just reprint them today. The headline subjects included Dollar Devaluation, getting rid of the Cent, Gold (and silver) hitting new highs, Gold and silver fluctuating wildly, investing in gold and silver (pro and con) and counterfeits. The more things change….
KOLBE & FANNING NUMISMATIC BOOKSELLERS WEBSITE
Regarding his technique for making handwriting more legible, last week Bill Eckberg wrote:
I just copied the signature in Photoshop and used the "Skew" command to straighten the writing enough so it was legible. Et voila!
Larry Gaye writes:
Great idea, "skewing"! I've used it for many things but never thought about it for the identification of signatures to make them easier to decipher.
John Mutch writes:
That technique of PhotoShopping a signature by skewing it should prove to be a valuable tool for genealogists.
Sedwick Sale October 26, 2011
I just returned from the Pittsburgh, fall ANA show. It was quite interesting on many levels including the Larry Shepard termination saga.
I also picked up the auction catalogue for Daniel Frank Sedwick, LLC upcoming auction of October 26,2011 Treasure and World Coin Auction 10 . It's a most excellent catalogue and well done. I especially appreciate the list of wrecks that was included. I haven't had time to investigate the web site (www.auction.sedwickcoins.com) as of yet but I'm sure it will be superb.
Lecture: A Numismatist's View of Herod the Great
Wednesday, November 9, 7:15pm, LeFrak Concert Hall Biblical-Slide lecture Series. $5/lecture or $8/two; Tickets are available through the Kupferberg Center Box Office: 718-793-8080
In Herod's Pockets: A Numismatist's View of Herod the Great
Dr. Donald Tzvi Ariel, Head of the Coin Department of the Israel Antiquities Authority, and keeper of Israel’s ancient coin collection since 1989. Through his discussion of Herod’s coins and other coins circulating at the time, Ariel will focus on: the Romanization of Judea, including the strife between moderate and more radical Jewish groups; the central role of the Jerusalem cult in Jewish life; the economic boom under Herod; his public works program; and divergent approaches to figurative art in the Second Temple period.
Dr. Ariel received his BA magna cum laude from Brown University in 1976, and thereafter moved to Israel. He completed his MA with honors at Hebrew university and then received his Ph.D. from Tel Aviv University. His dissertation was on the subject of Herodian numismatics. He is the editor of Israel Numismatic Research, the peer-reviewed journal of the Israel Numismatic Society.
For more information see: Culture & Arts Guide Fall 2011 (qcpages.qc.cuny.edu/jewish_studies/specialevents.html)
More on Dan Tague Money Sculptures
I thought the bit about folding dollars was pretty interesting and forwarded it to a woman who used to work with me - she does origami and I thought she would enjoy the pictures. She replied that they looked like they had gone through the washing machine...
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: THE ORIGAMI-STYLE MONEY SCULPTURES OF ARTIST DAN TAGUE (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v14n42a21.html)
When Paper Was Worth More Than Gold
Under terms of the Resumption Act, Jan. 1, 1879, was to be an historic day. For the first time since the beginning of the Civil War, Americans were told that gold and silver coins were trading at parity with paper money and the U.S. Treasury would issue the full value of the note in gold or silver coins. All you had to do was present your paper money and ask for coins.
How unlike the dark days of 1863 just before the Battle of Gettysburg when it took $250 in federal paper money to buy $100 in gold coins.
As in other cases when people are told they can have all they want of a previously difficult to obtain commodity, the public decided they did not like bulky coins all that much and since the paper was at long last equal in value to gold and silver coins, they would opt to hold and use federal paper money.
Large quantities of coins were returned to the banking system as a result and mintages of many coin denominations plummeted for roughly a decade.
To read the original article, see: Certificates Worth More Than Gold (www.numismaster.com/ta/numis/Article.jsp?ad=article&ArticleId=24281)
More on Paul Bosco's eBay Ad
Your note about my eBay lot featured a deceptive headline, “Buy Paul Bosco’s Inventory for One Low Price.” I am not putting up for sale my ENTIRE inventory. Just the medals (& plaquettes & plaques). Not my coins, tokens, paper money, books, posters, antiques, collectibles, first-born son, copyrights, beer trays, swords & tsubas, model ships, sex aids and anything made of elephant feet or scrota.
The lot is now up to $8,000,001. It started at $6 million. It is true, no one has actually bid, and that the lot is moving up in price because I raised the opening bid a few times. However, that means a lot, because I am the lonely person who actually knows what’s in my inventory.
The use of the descriptive “amusing” does me a grave injustice. I am always serious. Morose, even.
The listing coincided with an eBay “List items for a penny” 1-day promotion. So far there have been 210 page views. This was a pretty cheap advertisement, even before you (the editor) and Mr. Weinberg (your contributor) copied the listing for the discerning, multi-millionaire readers of The E-Sylum. Unfortunately, it may not be clear what I am advertising. Anyway, I hope the notoriety will entice the curious to visit my Manhattan emporium.
Wait till those snipe bids flood in!
Alas, bidding ended on the 18th. Better luck next time, everyone! -Editor
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: OCTOBER 16, 2011: Buy Paul Bosco's Inventory For One Low Price (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v14n43a16.html)
Here's a story about "real genuine counterfeits". At least, the author calls them "counterfeits". If I understand the description correctly, these are genuine, original, but unissued medals. So what happens to them now? -Editor
Henry Schaloum considers himself just your ordinary business owner. He runs an Army surplus store in the Belltown neighborhood. But what he did recently, the FBI considers extraordinary. "I really appreciate what you've done. We want that medal to be respected, and you were doing the right thing," said retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Bruce Crandall.
Forty years ago, Henry's father bought four medals of honor and they've been on display at their shop. Recently FBI agents were shopping at the store. They suspected the extremely rare awards were counterfeit.
"I was shocked and surprised," said Schaloum.
Agents discovered the medals were authentic in production but fake because they were never awarded to a service member. Henry turned in the medals.
"He knew if these medals were to ever get in the wrong hands, it could be used be anyone fraudulently," said an FBI agent.
As Henry handed over the four medals to a real medal of honor recipient, retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Bruce Crandall, he received an award of his own: a letter of recognition from Congress for protecting the integrity of the award and keeping the medals out of wrong hands.
Since Congress passed the "Stolen Valor Act" in 2005, the FBI has been aggressively tracking down fake medals of honor and criminals posing as war heroes.
But recently, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it will consider if the law is constitutional. Opponents say the law violates the First Amendment's Freedom of Speech.
To read the complete article, see:
Businessman honored for returning counterfeit military medals
Editor Ursula Kampmann has published an interesting article about The Order of the Golden Fleece in the October 20 issue of Coins Weekly, illustrated with some coins including the Order's symbol. -Editor
Charles V. Cast silver medal after H. Reinhart. Half-length portrait with the Order of the Golden Fleece. Rev. double eagle with coat of arms. From auction Künker 189 (2011), 1570.
Countless coins from the Holy Roman Empire show something many catalogs briefly address as “neck chain” of the Order of the Golden Fleece. That order was created by Philipp the Good of Burgundy on the occasion of his wedding with Princess Isabella of Portugal on January 10, 1430.
On November 30, 1431, on the feast of St. Andrew, patron saint of the duke of Burgundy, Philipp invited to the first festive gathering of the order’s chapter to make the articles of the new order of chivalry public. When the order was founded, membership was restricted to 30 knights under a Grand Master – later, this number was increased significantly. They were supposed to be ‘noble people of name and coat of arms’. They had to be ‘truly devoted’ to the Duke of Burgundy, the Grand Master of the order – after all, membership was intended to bind important noble people to the Burgundian court. Main objective was and still is – for the order still exists – to promote and defend the Christian faith (although not only Christians belong to the order). That is why going to church and mass figure prominently in the order’s ritual.
The Golden Fleece was chosen as symbol – that, however, wasn’t a good choice. The duke who was very fond of antiquity probably had a knightly community in mind that had embarked to face adventures – just like Jason and his comrades. The knights, however, having a knowledge of ancient mythology at least as profound, objected against that – a raid to seize the Golden Fleece, a sorcerer whose interference only made the taking possible – the pious 15th century considered that a bit too pagan for an order of knights which explicitly dedicated itself to the protection of the faith. Since the name was already in existence, it was re-interpreted.
Maximilian I. Schauguldiner 1509, minted in 1517 in Antwerp on the assumption of the imperial title. Cuirassed emperor riding r. Rev. Crowned coat of arms, sorrounded by other coats of arms, around the inner one chain of the Order of the Golden Fleece. From auction Künker 188 (2011), 577.
To read the complete article, see: The Order of the Golden Fleece (www.coinsweekly.com/en/Article-of-the-week/5)
David Lange submitted the following offer for E-Sylum readers. Thanks! -Editor
At the recent ANA Money Show in Pittsburgh I gave out tokens to mark my 10th wedding anniversary. These were actually leftover tokens from the wedding itself which I counterstamped with the date 2011. The Badger Mint created the punch for me, and I performed the counterstamping myself, which was a bit of a learning experience. It took awhile to determine the best location for placing the overdate, and I have a small collection of bizarre trial pieces.
As the Pittsburgh show was a bit on the quiet side, I came home with several counterstamped tokens remaining. While they last, I'll send one to any E-Sylum reader who wants it in exchange for a self-addressed and stamped envelope with 64 cents postage. As an alternative, readers can just send me one dollar, and I'll provide the return envelope myself.
For the record, 1000 of these tokens were produced in 2001 by the Patrick Mint in California. 99 of them were slabbed by my employer, NGC, and most of these were given out as wedding favors. I counterstamped 80 of the remaining, unslabbed tokens for our anniversary, and there are still 100+ left over that I hope to counterstamp for some future anniversary.
David W. Lange
Here's a refreshing interview for bibliophiles from the BoingBoing blog. Avi Solomon interviews bookbinder Michael Greer. -Editor
Just before my wife and I started packing to leave, I brought one last project to the binder. I had put together a bunch of essays and travel articles that I’d written and formatted into a proper book. I made seven copies and brought them to the binder. A week or so later I went to pick them up. By this time I was an established client so he really made them nice…all kinds of beautiful marbled papers and nice leathers. It was one thing to have another author’s book rebound, but seeing your own in full leather…well, I was hooked.
School was out so I was there at an unusual time (for me) and as I was talking to the old man who owned the shop I heard a loud pounding from behind the wall. “What’s that?” I asked. “The binder,” he said. I’d always thought he was the binder, so it kind of took me by surprise. Turns out that the actual binder worked in the basement. I’d never seen him. I asked the owner if I could come watch him work one day. The next week my wife and I showed up. The binder hadn’t been told we were coming and seemed a little at a loss at first. I asked a question, my wife translated, and he would give one or two word replies. After a few of these exchanges he got up and reached behind a bunch of old rags and pulled out an old book. For the rest of the day, he showed us the way a book was made. He also told stories about the shop and it came out he would be retiring and the shop would probably close. It was hard news. The end of something special.
That afternoon as my wife and I walked to the train, I told her I wanted to learn bookbinding and that’s what happened. After the summer, I worked at the shop for free and learned by watching and then by doing. It was one of the best experiences of my life.
With so much thread in the book, it’s fatter in back than in front, so to correct for this, the spine is glued up and rounded to take up some of the swell. After that, the book is put into a press and the spine is hammered so that the signatures bend over creating little shoulders. Essentially, you’re creating an arch. The boards act as columns. The arch of the spine works to fight gravity and keep the pages from sagging too much on the shelves.
While the glue is drying you prepare the boards. Heavy carton is cut to size and lined with newspaper on the inside which makes them warp and sort of hug the text block. It looks awful. These boards get sanded and then attached to the text block with the cords. Meanwhile, the leather is cut out. In Morocco, we had a great machine that tapered off the leather so that it would fold over the edges better, but now I do all that work by hand. The leather is pasted up and then sort of molded onto the back of the book and then the front and back covers. It’s tricky getting it folded over at the top and bottom of the spine and bookbinders pride themselves on the shape they give to these “endcaps.” The pull of the leather counteracts the pull of the newsprint and the boards end up flat.
The final task is the finishing…putting on the title with gold foil. It’s the hardest part of the job and the most stressful. You’ve got a pallet full of hot letters and one chance to place them squarely onto the back of a curved spine. I usually feel pretty awful about a book until it finally gets covered in leather. They just look so bad. But then my spirits lift and once the gold lettering is on, I’m usually feeling pretty happy again. It’s like alchemy.
To read the complete article, see:
Bookbinding in the Digital Age: an interview with Michael Greer
Kavan Ratnatunga of Sri Lanka writes:
The world did not end on Oct 21 but Doomsday Coins is cashing in on it
Doomsday Coins announces the release of its first coin, commemorating the numerous ends of the world predicted by radio evangelist Harold Camping. Reverend Camping predicted the end of the world in 1988, 1994 and twice in 2011. His first predicted date in May 2011 passed without event but the world will now end instead on October 21st, 2011 according to Camping. Get your Doomsday Coin before it's too late!
This is the first item I've seen commemorating the (predicted) end of the world. Have there been others? Great topic for a satirical medal. -Editor
To read the complete article, see:
Doomsday Coin (#1 Harold Camping's Armageddons)
“I READ IT IN THE WHITMAN REVIEW”
Communication revolutions are nothing new. Long before the Internet there was the London Penny Post, which changed the world in 1680 much the same way as the Internet did in the 1990s. This is a non-numismatic article, but a stamp of this importance deserves a mention. -Editor
Sotheby's London announces that it will sell a previously unrecorded example of the earliest version of the original Dockwra hand-stamps, the “Murray’s Post” stamp, in its English Literature, History, Children’s Books and Illustrations Sale on December 15th 2011. Marking a crucial development in postal history, the triangular hand-stamp was used in the first penny post, established by William Dockwra and Robert Murray in London in 1680, pre-dating the Penny Black by 160 years.
For an up-front fee of 1d, the system guaranteed delivery of a letter anywhere in London and its immediate environs within four hours. Original Dockwra stamps are exceptionally rare – only one other “Murray” stamp is recorded in private hands (the rest are in institutional collections). The stamp offered for sale (estimated at £15,000-20,000) is printed on a letter sent by William Farmerie, a lawyer working in Holborn, to the politician Sir John Reresby at his house in the newly developed area of Leicester Fields (today’s Leicester Square).
Dr Gabriel Heaton, Specialist in Sotheby’s Books Department said: “This was an ordinary letter, but it was sent by an extraordinary new postal system – the London Penny Post, which was nothing less than a communication revolution. Recently discovered, the Dockwra stamp, which bears the letter “T” at its centre, the designation of the Temple sorting office, is quite unique. Only four other Dockwras of any type are known in private hands, and this is the first to come to auction in more than a decade.”
Launched by the partnership of “undertakers” William Dockwra and Robert Murray in late March 1680, the services of the penny post were advertised through handbills and in several newspapers. For the fee of a penny (equivalent to roughly 55p today), the undertakers guaranteed delivery of a letter anywhere within the capital and its environs within four hours.
Several hundred receiving houses were established where a messenger would call hourly to take all letters received to the closest of the seven sorting offices where they were stamped (at least from December 1680 onwards) and sorted for onward delivery. The sender, recipient and time of posting all letters was recorded in registers, and compensation paid for failure to deliver.
The penny post provided an excellent method of disseminating propaganda and it was also independent of the Royal Mail which was controlled by the Duke of York. There is plenty of evidence connecting Dockwra and Murray to Whig circles and as early as the autumn of 1680 the government brought law suits to try and suppress this infringement of its monopoly.
In 1682 the Post Master General succeeded in its action and the penny post (owned at this date by Dockwra, after the partnership with Murray collapsed) was taken over by the government. The government continued to run the system virtually unchanged for the next 100 years.
To read the complete article, see: Sotheby's London to sell rare, newly discovered 1680 stamp - a communication revolution (www.artdaily.org/index.asp?int_sec=2&int_new=51181)
David Sundman forwarded this BBC News article noting, "It's interesting that they found coins of 16 different emperors in 4,000 coins.". -Editor
Worcestershire's largest-ever hoard of Roman artefacts has been uncovered, the county council has said.
Metal detector enthusiasts discovered thousands of coins, featuring 16 different emperors, at Bredon Hill, near Evesham.
The council said research was at an early stage, but the find was probably of national significance.
BBC Midlands Today reporter Giles Latcham said he understood about 4,000 coins had been found, mainly bronze.
Most of the coins are thought to date to the third century AD, although one featuring emperor Hadrian was produced in the second century.
It is believed the coins were found in a clay pot, and soil analysis suggested they were buried in about 350 AD.
To read the complete article, see: Large Roman coin hoard uncovered at Bredon Hil (www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hereford-worcester-15338551)
Here's another article on the hoard, this one with an image. -Editor
A HUGE haul of Roman coins discovered near Tewkesbury is being hailed as a nationally important find.
Rumours have been circulating that £100,000 of silver coins had been found on farmland below Bredon Hill this summer – and yesterday the Echo uncovered the truth.
Two men from north Worcestershire came across the haul in June. In total, they found 3,700 coins dating back to the third century.
A spokeswoman for Worcestershire County Council said: "With research indicating the hoard was buried nearly a century after it was accumulated – the only known such British example – the Bredon Hill hoard is of national significance."
Ahead of a press conference to be held in Worcester on Friday, the coroner's office refused to give any further details about the matter.
But the Echo understands that the find is the largest ever in Worcestershire and that the coins depict a total of 16 different Roman emperors.
To read the complete article, see:
Roman coin haul 'of national importance'
A newspaper in the U.K. highlights a local man who worked for many years as a coin designer at the Royal Mint. -Editor
Rather than art galleries, though, you’ll find Norman Sillman’s designs in wallets, leisure centre lockers and down the back of sofas.
In fact, dip your hand in your pocket right now, and pull out a £1 coin – chances are, it’s Mr Sillman’s design.
The sculptor has produced more than 200 coins for 33 countries, with Vietnam, Uruguay, Zambia, Qatar, Outer Mongolia and Tonga among those which use his designs.
Mr Sillman also designed four of the most recent £1 coins in circulation in the UK.
When asked whether he is proud to have designed one of the most viewed artworks in the UK, Mr Sillman stated: “It is just a part of what one does; although I suppose you could say it was a dream job, as it combined a number of my interests.”
One of the 90-year-old’s earliest jobs was with model soldier company Britains Petite, and with them, he designed the well-respected Trojan Warriors set - a line now housed in a Singaporean museum.
Mr Sillman received his first commission for a coin from the Royal Mint in 1956 for Bermuda, and didn’t look back thereafter for the next 40 years.
“More often than not the countries wanted you to have the ideas, and that was fine by me, because my interests are art, anthropology and history,” he said.
It’s not just coins that Mr Sillman has designed either: he has made medals too, and sculpted the ones presented to the bigwigs behind the 1969 moon landing.
Despite designing the 1986 British Commonwealth Games’ £2 coin and commemorative medals for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977 and the marriage of Charles and Diana in 1981, Mr Sillman is best known in the UK for his £1 coin designs.
He designed the Celtic cross with a pimpernel flower for Northern Ireland (1996), the three lions passant for England (1997), and the Welsh dragon and Scottish lion coins (1995 and 1994 respectively).
They each took Mr Sillman about four days to design, although he had to be careful with the former due to the delicate political and religious situation in Ireland.
To read the complete article, see:
Norman’s work is in your pocket
An item from The Atlantic pictures the "business card" of Will Wright, creator of The Sims video game. It's actually an old banknote stamped with his contact information. Pretty cool. -Editor
Of all Will Wright's charmingly nerdy habits, I think his hilarious business cards might top the list. He simply stamps his contact information on essentially worthless currency from other countries. It's genius. His contact information is in the fuzzed out box up there; the money is from Yugoslavia (a country that no longer exists, obviously) and features Nikola Tesla, perhaps the great electrical inventor of all time.
Didn't Grover Criswell stamp obsolete banknotes and common Confederate notes with an advertisement? How many other numismatists and dealers have done this over the years? Who's doing it today?
It's nice to see a non-numismatist using banknotes, but who knows? Maybe Wright is a collector. -Editor
To read the complete article, see:
Will Wright's Awesome Business Cards: Just His Information Stamped on Old Currency