The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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About Us

The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization promoting numismatic literature. For more information please see our web site at


Those wishing to become new E-Sylum subscribers (or wishing to Unsubscribe) can go to the following web page link


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

To join, print the application and return it with your check to the address printed on the application. Membership is only $15 to addresses in the U.S., $20 for First Class mail, and $25 elsewhere. For those without web access, write to:

David M. Sundman, Secretary/TreasurerNumismatic Bibliomania Society
P. O. Box 82 Littleton, NH 03561


For Asylum mailing address changes and other membership questions, contact David at this email address:


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Wayne Homren

New subscribers this week include Steve Starlust. Welcome aboard! We have 1,587 email subscribers, plus 184 followers on Facebook.

I'm on vacation with my family this week and next, so we'll have a couple of abbreviated issues. Keep filling my inbox and I'll start catching up when I return. Sorry if I'm unable to respond to everyone or cover every item of interest in the meantime. However, I do hope many of our readers are planning to attend the American Numismatic Association event in Philadelphia.

This week we open with some details on the NBS events at the ANA show in Philly, and information on three new coin books. Other topics include siege coins, the Clapp family notebooks, and a report from Sri Lanka from an unexpected correspondent.

To learn more about the siege of Landau, the Philadelphia Mint visitor's center and tour, the Rare Book School and finding the Mona Lisa in an attic, read on. Have a great week, everyone!

Wayne Homren
Editor, The E-Sylum


NBS President Dan Freidus forwarded this information about events at the upcoming American Numismatic Association show in Philadelphia. Thanks! -Editor

The Numismatic Bibliomania Society's 2012 Symposium (Thursday 11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m., Room 106AB, Philadelphia Convention Center) will be a panel discussion:

"Numismatic auction catalogs from various perspectives": David Fanning, dealer in used & rare numismatic literature at Kolbe & Fanning Numismatic Booksellers

Scott Rubin, collector & independent researcher (consultant to PCGS CoinFacts)

RyAnne Scott, ANA Library and Communication Director

Alan Stahl, curator of numismatics at Princeton University Numismatic Collection and cataloger for Paul Bosco Coins.

Vicken Yegparian, cataloger and vice-president of numismatics at Stacks Bowers.

The Numismatic Bibliomania Society's General Meeting (open to all) will be held Friday, August 10, 11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m., in room 106AB of the Philadelphia Convention Center. In addition to being the annual business meeting for NBS, it will also include a discussion on "The Challenges and future of Numismatic Publishing" with Steve Roach (editor of Coin World) and Kerry Wetterstrom (editor & publisher of The Celator) and an auction of donated literature lots to benefit NBS.

To read the NBS web site events page, see:

To read the ANA's page for NBS events, see:,-special-events-classes


Dennis Tucker of Whitman Publishing forwarded this press release about the new edition of Grading Coins by Photographs. Thanks! -Editor

Grading Coins by photographs 2nd ed Whitman Publishing is releasing an updated second edition of Q. David Bowers’s Grading Coins by Photographs: An Action Guide for the Collector and Investor. The 384-page spiralbound book is available for preorder online (including at and will be available from bookstores, hobby shops, and other retailers nationwide on August 30, 2012. It retails for $19.95.

Grading Coins by Photographs includes a unique set of step-by-step grading instructions for every U.S. coin, from half cents to gold double eagles. The second edition has been updated with hundreds of new high-resolution color photographs showing each coin type in multiple grades. Bowers describes the historical evolution of grading standards, how to “read” a coin’s surfaces, expert techniques of grading, smart buying tips, and aspects of today’s rare-coin marketplace.

“Accurate grading is the most important skill for a coin collector or dealer to learn,” said Whitman publisher Dennis Tucker. “It’s the foundation of the market. Knowing how to grade coins properly can save a buyer or seller hundreds and even thousands of dollars.”

The first edition of Grading Coins by Photographs won an “Extraordinary Merit” award from the Numismatic Literary Guild. It was praised by graders from the major coin certification and grading services. John Albanese calls it “magnificent” and “a must-read”; David Hall pronounces it “absolutely essential reading for all serious collectors”; David W. Lange finds it “a very useful book”; and James Taylor describes it as “an important reference for hobbyists, whether new or longtime collectors.”

Special consultants to the book are Kenneth Bressett and Bill Fivaz.

# # #

Grading Coins by Photographs: An Action Guide for the Collector and Investor, 2nd edition
ISBN 0794836879
By Q. David Bowers
Foreword by David M. Sundman
384 pages
6 x 9 inches
Spiralbound softcover
Full color
Retail $19.95

For more information or to order, see:


In the JR Newsletter for 22 July 2012, Dick Graham wrote about his new book on Reeded Edge Halves. Sounds great! Who would like to write a review? -Editor

Reeded Edge Half Dollars As many of you know, I have been working on a revised Variety Identification Manual for the Reeded Edge Halves from 1836-1839 for some time now, and I am pleased to report that it is at the printer and I expect to have it the first week of August and available for sale at the ANA in Philly.

The book has 170 pages with each of the currently known varieties featured on a 2 page spread with enlarged photographs of the distinctive identification markers for attribution. I have added updated rarity ratings and condition census, etc. The book is spiral bound for ease of use, and has the ability to lay flat when being used.

For those who wish a copy or two and cannot make it to ANA, if you send a check for $65 plus $6 for shipping for each book that you want, I will try to get them out to you before ANA if I receive your check before August 1, otherwise I will mail when I return. Checks should be mailed to:

Dick Graham
PO Box 100
Braddock Heights, MD 21714-0100

If you have any questions, I can be reached at


Howard A. Daniel III submitted this information about a new book on Siamese Coins. Thanks! -Editor

Siamese Coins A couple of my friends; Misters Ronachai Krisadaolarn and Vasilijs Mihailovs, have produced a new book: Siamese Coins, From Funan to the Fifth Reign. It has 284 pages. I saw the first draft pages and images many years ago in Ronachai's office and was impressed then with the quality. So I believe this book is setting a new Thai standard in the quality of the content and the printing, hardbinding, slip case and accompanying CD-ROM.

It was published by River Books (39 Maharaj Road, Tatien, Bangkok, 10200, Thailand) and is sold by them and Eurseree Collecting Co., Ltd., (1256/8 Nakorn Chaisri Road, Dusit, Bangkok, 10300 Thailand). River Books website is and Eurseree's is . The retail price is 90 Euro or 2500 Baht.

It is listed at Amazon but no price. Ronachai will be present for autographing the book at Eurseree's Auction #29 in Bangkok from August 2-5 at the Narit Hotel in Bangkok. After I receive my copy sometime in mid-August I will send in a detail review of the contents.

I found the Amazon page, which enables visitor to "Sign up to be notified when this item becomes available." -Editor

To sign up for a notification from Amazon, see:


OVER 500 NUMISMATIC TITLES: Wizard Coin Supply has over 300 numismatic titles in stock, competitively discounted, and available for immediate shipment. See our selection at .


Siege coin1 Siege coin2

Two issues back I published images of two siege coins provided by my friend Larry Korchnak, who is working on a book on the topic. When no one responded, Larry suggested "maybe no one has a book!". But E-Sylum readers can't be counted out for long. François R. Velde came through, writing:

The first is obsidional coinage of the siege of Landau by the Germans in 1702, it bears the inscription "2 livres 2s" (its value) and the date "Landau 1702" (hard to read on the picture, it looks like 1700 but that date is impossible). The arms are said to be those of the governor, Ezechiel de Larrard de Mélac, but the arms attributed to his family in standard references are completely different, so I am a bit puzzled. The coin was made from the governor's silverware.

The second reads "Lud[ovicus] XIII pius iustus invictus Aria uno a[nn]o bis obses[sa]" (Louis XIII pious, just, undefeated, Aire in one year twice besieged" and the date 1641. This is Aire-en-Artois or Aire-sur-la-Lys, besieged by the Spaniards during the 30 Years War. The coin is bronze.

Correct! According to Larry the first piece is a section cut from a silver plate at the siege of Landau 1702 (2 Livres 2 sols) Germany. The second is a very rare 1641 siege piece from Aria (Aire) france. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: WAYNE'S NUMISMATIC DIARY: JULY 15, 2012 (


Saving the D-Marks
Bill Bugert writes:

Deutsche Mark 2001 Thanks for another great issue of The E-Sylum. I always look forward to receiving it! Your note on Germans saving their D-Marks hit home. My wife and I were stationed with the U.S. Army in West Germany in the mid to late 1970's. We returned with a large change purse of paper and coin D-Marks that, for the sake of nostalgia, we never converted to U.S. Dollars. I am glad to hear we are not the only ones who hung onto them.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: GERMANS HANG ON TO THE OLD DEUTSCHE MARKS (

How Krause Publications Handles Errata
Scott Tappa of Krause Publications writes:

Any customer who contacts us and requests a printed copy of the errata gets one, at no charge to them. We print it and mail it, at our expense. Call 800-258-0929. We also sent printed versions of the errata to distributors who had not yet taken possession of the books at the time we caught the omissions.

The posted pdfs are simply the quickest way to facilitate delivery. We certainly regret the error and are trying to rectify it as effectively as possible, but our books are sold through so many channels it is impossible to personally reach every buyer.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: JULY 22, 2012: How Publishers Handle Errata These Days (

The Pembroke Good Samaritan Shilling
Last week Alan Weinberg wrote:

The British Museum has a Good Samaritan silver shilling in their cabinet that grades Fair - About Good condition - smooth clean wear, no damage - so someone went to a lot of trouble to make this "fabrication" look legitimate. I believe the pedigree is the Pembroke Collection going back to the early 1800's.

George Kolbe writes:

In 1746, it was illustrated in the series of plates depicting the Earl's coin collection. The collection was auctioned by Sotheby & Co. over a century later, in 1848, which may account for Alan's statement.

Stuart Levine writes:

Regarding the Pembroke example of the Good Samaritan Shilling in the British Museum that Alan Weinberg alluded to: Perhaps it should be called the "Bad" Samaritan Shilling. Alan forgot to mention that the legend FAC SIMILE is present on the obverse. The Bushnell example, which was copied from the Pembroke example and omitted the FAC SIMILE legend, is a fraudulent issue. Please refer to Eric P. Newman's wonderful work, "The Secret of the Good Samaritan Shilling", published by the American Numismatic Society in 1959.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: JULY 22, 2012: More on the Good Samaritan Shilling (

Coinage Act of 1965 and the 1933 $20 Gold Piece
Last week Ginger Rapsus asked:

Did the Coinage Act of 1965 legalize the 1933 $20 gold?

David Ganz writes:

My opinion on that is yes, and it has been so for a long time. The Courts thus far have not bought this argument, The operative section is §102 which says (in substance) that all coins and currency of the United States, regardless of when coined, are a legal tender for all debts, public and private. It also "legalized" the trade dollar.


Ron Guth writes:

A couple of years ago, someone asked in The E-Sylum if anyone knew the whereabouts of the Clapp Family notebooks. Did you ever find out where they are?

Actually, I couldn't find a definitive reply in the E-Sylum archive - just the original question from Bill Hancock and a brief reference from Mark Borckardt six years later (see links below). -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see: J.M. CLAPP NOTEBOOK SOUGHT (


Dave Bowers submitted this query seeking information on two Civil War Token collectors. Can anyone help? -Editor

For Whitman Publishing Company I am completing a manuscript, . This will be a popular book in the “Guide Book” series and will give an overview of the series, comments on many dies and varieties, and will be profusely illustrated and with many prices (by values editor Steve Hayden). My due date for the ms is October 15. It is anticipated it will be published early in 2013 and will be of a popular price, say below $20. -

I am including a chapter on the history of collecting these tokens, which began during the Civil War itself when such numismatists as Edward Groh, Thomas Cleneay, J.N.T. Levick, James Hughes, and Henry K. Ezekiel, among others, had special pieces struck to their order. A mystery has arisen in that in the December 1869 issue of the American Journal of Numismatics, Levick stated that Groh had the very finest collection of Civil War tokens in existence, with the runners up being George B. Davis and John Hanna. I know a lot about Groh (his collection was later gifted to the American Numismatic Society where today it forms the core of its holdings in that specialty), but I know nothing about the token-collecting activities or biographies of Davis and Hanna. Can anyone help?

Kolbe-fanning website ad3


Sandy Pearl submitted this report on the new Philadelphia Mint visitor center. Thanks! -Editor

I was invited to visit the opening ceremony of the redesigned and refurbished Philadelphia U.S. Mint Visitor’s Center on July 3, 2012. I represented the Original Hobo Nickel Society (OHNS) whose members had loaned several Hobo Nickels to be part of a display at the Center.

The ceremony began with welcoming remarks by Marc Landry, Philadelphia Plant Manager, who introduced Deputy Mint Director Dick Peterson and Rosie Rios, Treasurer of the United States. The ceremony was informative, short and to the point. After the ribbon cutting the public was then invited to take the public tour.

The public tour begins in the lobby which contains a gift shop and a nice modern welcoming area. I thought that the artwork on the walls added to the welcoming atmosphere. There is a system that continuously projects Mint operating information (number of employees, etc.) against the wall.

The mezzanine, reached by an escalator and an elevator, contains a darkened side nook that shows a short video reviewing the history of minting coins. The floor displays original equipment used to produce coins and several cases of historical artifacts including a case showing American folk art consisting of Hobo Nickels, military WWII coin rings, and other material. The display is concise, informative and in my opinion very interesting. There is an interactive game for kids and their parents to enjoy while they learn about coining history. I really enjoyed the folk art display.

Another escalator and elevator takes you to the second floor corridor that displays the modern technology used to make coins today. The display is clear and highly informative. It shows the first mint Janvier pantograph reduction machine used to convert coin plaster models into hubs, displays positive and negative hubs, dies used to make the coins, and includes some coins magnified to identify errors found during Mint inspection prior to distribution to the public.

There are interactive displays along the corridor explaining the minting process and the views of the production floor. The public tour includes observation windows that overlook a representative section of the production floor containing planchet blanking machines, annealing ovens and coin stamping and other machines. The tour ends with a view overlooking the medal production area.

Philadelphia Mint Visitor Center Tour Annealing Ovens 3
Photo of Mint annealing ovens

Philadelphia Mint Visitor Center Tour Cent Stamping Machine
Photo of cent stamping machines

The Center redesign was done by Quatrefoil and the refurbishment was managed by the mint.

The public tour was highly enjoyable. It wasn’t the same as the on the floor tour provided during the Denver ANA show a few years ago but it was informative and interesting. It takes approximately an hour to hour and a half to complete.

I highly recommend the tour when attending the ANA show in August 2012 and anytime you are near Philadelphia. The Mint is across the street from the National Constitution Center, a block from the Federal Reserve (which also provides a public tour), a block from the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall attractions, and is five blocks from the Convention Center where the ANA show will be held.

The central Philadelphia area is safe and friendly and worth a visit! For history buffs (me) it is near (approximately 20 miles and a little over 30 minutes by interstate) to Valley Forge, and is close enough to Gettysburg to make the trip worthwhile anytime you are in the area. For non-collectors, there are enough museums and other attractions to satisfy most of the family.

For more information, see:


Colin Gullberg is seeking information about author Frank Rose. Can anyone help? -Editor

Colin Gullberg, editor of the Chopmark News, the newsletter of the Chopmark Collectors Club [CCC], is trying to find out more about Frank Marvin Rose. Mr. Rose is the best known collector in the field of chopmarks, merchants countermarks placed on coins used in the China trade in the 17th - early 20th century. Mr. Rose wrote the most famous book on the subject, Chopmarks, which was published in 1987. He died in 1992.

He was a merchant marine spending much of his life on ships. When he wasn't at sea he could be found at coin shows as a judge. His display of chopmarked coins won best of show at the 100th ANA show. His collection was probably the largest of chopmarked coins ever amassed. After his death the collection was acquired by Michael Chou of Champion Auctions.

This September marks the 25th anniversary of the publication of Chopmarks as well as marking 20 years since Mr. Rose's death. Mr. Gullberg is writing a tribute article for the Chopmark News. Anyone with know of Mr. Rose is encouraged to write Mr. Gullberg at All photos and comments are very welcome.


Howard A. Daniel III submitted this invitation to attendees of the upcoming ANA convention to meet up with members of the Chopmark Collectors Club. -Editor

The editor of the Chopmark News, Colin Gullberg, will be attending the ANA Convention in Philadelphia from his home on Taiwan. One of the member of the Chopmark Collectors Club has set up a lunch at the Rangoon Restaurant in Philadelphia's Chinatown on August 9 at 12:30PM for the members to meet Colin. Information about the restaurant can be found at If you want to also meet Colin and be introduced to other club members, please send Colin an email at For many collectors of U.S. (and other) coins with chopmarks, but especially Trade Dollars, they can show their chopped coins to the members at the lunch and learn what we know about them.

The Chopmark Collectors Club has no dues in the club but donations are requested for its operation and mailing the newsletter. Colin has done a fantastic job of reestablishing the Chopmark News, and I would not be surprised to see it start winning some awards. Many of us receive a digital version of the newsletter to cut down on the expenses of the club.

The above lunch is the first meeting of the club I have attended since the meeting I organized at the last ANA Convention in Los Angeles. I am looking forward to meeting the old and new members of the club, and those who are curious about the club.


Katie de Silva sends this report on her recent travels. Welcome back! -Editor

In case people (I hope, at least, some people) have wondered whatever happened to Whitman's occasional exonumia book author Katherine Jaeger, she has married, moved, and changed her name. That is, she is me, Katie de Silva. I've just returned from a trip to Sri Lanka, where I went to meet my new in-laws and take in some of the sights. Places I've seen in North America, Europe, and the Middle East are nothing like this equatorial island. Mystical Ceylon, jewel of the Indian Ocean, was packed with wonders - I spent 18 days gawking with my eyes and mouth wide open. If you could chop up the works of Arthur C. Clarke, Rudyard Kipling, John Masters, and Michael Ondaatje, mixed them together with onions, curry powder and the scent of flowers, you might get close to the flavor of Sri Lankan existence.

Of course, I couldn't return without making a numismatic report.

My husband's kin live in and around Colombo, the capital city on the southwestern shore, but the archaeological and historical features I visited were inland and upland. We took a four-hour train ride to the mountain city of Kandy, which had been the royal capital from 1472-1815; until it became part of a British protectorate. (The Kingdom of Kandy had successfully repelled invasions by the Portuguese and later, by the Dutch, but peacefully handed rule to the Brits.)

The National Museum of Kandy is in one wing of the original Royal Palace, adjacent to a major Buddhist shrine called the Temple of the Tooth. There I saw a few cases of coins, but the display lighting was so dim and the patinae were so dark, I could barely make out what I was seeing. And nothing bore a label. Another two hours further north and east, we visited the fabulous UNESCO World Heritage sites of Sigiriya (5th century capital known as the "Lion Rock") and Polonnaruwa (11th century capital, famous for its enormous Buddha statues carved from living rock) and their museums, but I saw no numismatic displays. No photography was permitted indoors, in any case.

SL-1000 rupees obv SL-1000 rupees rev (1)

On returning to Colombo, I meekly bought a made-for-tourists "Coins of Sri Lanka" keepsake, feeling mortified at having only this lame souvenir to share with Esylum readers. At the eleventh hour, my stepdaughter Umanga made a brilliant discovery, right in her wallet, and has presented scans for our delectation. It is a 1000-Rupee note issued in 2009 by the current president, Mahinda Rajapaksa. It features his smiling portrait on the obverse, with inscriptions in English, Tamil and Sinhala. I leave it to the readers to judge the reverse, which will be instantly recognizable, but shucks, it's just WRONG in so many ways.

Gihin Ennan! (That's "I am going now" in Sinhala)

Coins of Sri Lanka 2012

And here I thought Kavan Ratnatunga was our only Sri Lankan correspondent. E=Sylum readers sure do get around! -Editor


DAVID SKLOW - FINE NUMISMATIC BOOKS offers Mail Bid Sale No. 17 on October 6, 2012, including: Many works on Canadian Banking PH: (719) 302-5686, FAX: (719) 302-4933. EMAIL: USPS: Box 6321, Colorado Springs, CO. 80934. Contact me for your numismatic literature needs!


It's non-numismatic, but readers should appreciate this recent Find of Dreams: a cache of pristine early baseball cards discovered in an Ohio attic. -Editor

Baseball Card find

Karl Kissner picked up a soot-covered cardboard box that had been under a wooden dollhouse in his grandfather's attic. Taking a look inside, he saw hundreds of baseball cards bundled with twine. They were smaller than the ones he was used to seeing.

But some of the names were familiar: Hall of Famers Ty Cobb, Cy Young and Honus Wagner. Then he put the box on a dresser and went back to digging through the attic.

It wasn't until two weeks later that he learned that his family had come across what experts say is one of the biggest, most exciting finds in the history of sports card collecting, a discovery worth perhaps millions.

The cards are from an extremely rare series issued around 1910. Up to now, the few known to exist were in so-so condition at best, with faded images and worn edges. But the ones from the attic in the town of Defiance are nearly pristine, untouched for more than a century. The colors are vibrant, the borders crisp and white.

"It's like finding the Mona Lisa in the attic," Kissner said.

Sports card experts who authenticated the find say they may never again see something this impressive.

"Every future find will ultimately be compared to this," said Joe Orlando, president of Professional Sports Authenticator.

The best of the bunch — 37 cards — are expected to bring a total of $500,000 when they are sold at auction in August during the National Sports Collectors Convention in Baltimore. There are about 700 cards in all that could be worth up to $3 million, experts say. They include such legends as Christy Mathewson and Connie Mack.

Still not knowing whether the cards were real, they sent eight to expert Peter Calderon at Heritage Auctions in Dallas, which recently sold the baseball that rolled through the legs of Boston Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner in the 1986 World Series for $418,000.

Calderon said his first words were "Oh, my God."

"I was in complete awe," he said. "You just don't see them this nice."

To read the complete article, see: Baseball cards in Ohio attic might fetch millions (

Here's a video from a Baltimore television station. -Editor

To view the video, see: Baseball Cards Worth Millions Found In Ohio Attic; Cards To Be Auctioned In Baltimore (


This story is also non-numismatic, but it's something many collectors aspire to. Legendary art collector Herbert Vogel has died. He and his wife assembled one of the world's greatest modern art collections on two regular-people salaries. -Editor


Herbert Vogel, a retired New York postal worker who, with his wife, Dorothy, created one of the world’s most unlikely — and most significant — collections of modern art, then bequeathed much of it to the National Gallery of Art, died July 22 at a nursing home in New York City. He was 89.

In 1962, when Mr. Vogel and Dorothy Hoffman were married, they came to Washington on their honeymoon and spent several days visiting the National Gallery and other museums. When they returned to New York, they began to buy a few pieces by artists they met, slowly amassing their collection.

Unlike many collectors, the Vogels were not wealthy people. They lived and collected their entire lives on their salaries and their pensions. Mr. Vogel worked nights sorting mail at New York post offices, and his wife was a reference librarian in Brooklyn.

The Vogels never talked about how much they paid for a work of art and did not sell a single piece they owned until the National Gallery acquired much of their collection in 1991. By then, its value was estimated to be well into the millions.

The Vogels visited studios and became close friends with many artists, including Sol LeWitt, Richard Tuttle and the husband-and-wife duo of Christo and Jeanne-Claude. They were often the first collectors to open their wallets to buy from unknown artists. Over a period of almost 50 years, the Vogels amassed more than 5,000 works of art, including drawings, paintings, sculptures and pieces that defied classification.

“Many millionaire collectors wouldn’t have the nerve to buy the kind of cutting-edge art that the Vogels embraced enthusiastically,” Philadelphia Inquirer art critic Edward J. Sozanski wrote in 1994. The Vogels, Sozanski continued, created “one of the most remarkable American art collections formed in [the 20th] century, one that covers most of the important developments in contemporary art.”

“They did not have deep pockets,” Earl A. Powell III, director of the National Gallery of Art, said in an interview. “They did not collect work by marquee artists at the time, but many of them later became well known.”

There have been a number of Herbert Vogels in the numismatic world, such as John J. Pittman, who assembled one of the greatest collections of U.S. coins on a salary and a second mortgage on his house. Who has a story to share about one of the others? -Editor

To read the complete article, see: Herbert Vogel, unlikely art collector and benefactor of National Gallery, dies at 89 (


And here's yet another non-numismatic (but bibliophilic) item suggested by Len Augsburger, who writes: "Great article in the NYT about rare book boot camp." -Editor

Rare Book Camp On a steamy morning last week Mark Dimunation, the chief of the rare book and special collections division at the Library of Congress, was in a windowless basement room here at the University of Virginia, leading a dozen people in a bibliophile’s version of the wave.

He lined up the group and handed each person a sheet of copier paper with a syllable written on it. After a few halting practice runs — “Hip-na-rah-toe ...” — the group successfully shouted out, “ ‘Hypnerotomachia Poliphili,’ 1499!”

The phrase wasn’t an incantation ripped from the pages of a lost Dan Brown novel, but the title and publication date of a long erotic love poem printed in Venice by Aldus Manutius and often described as one of the weirdest and most beautiful books ever produced.

And the occasion was just an ordinary class meeting at Rare Book School, an institution whose football team, if it existed, might well take “Hypnerotomachia Poliphili!” as its official rallying cry.

For five weeks each summer Rare Book School brings some 300 librarians, conservators, scholars, dealers, collectors and random book-mad civilians together for weeklong intensive courses in an atmosphere that combines the intensity of the seminar room, the nerdiness of a “Star Trek” convention and the camaraderie of a summer camp where people come back year after year.

For many Rare Book School is an important networking opportunity, not to mention a chance to bunk in the Thomas Jefferson-designed lodgings that ring the university’s famous central Lawn, with their appropriately antiquarian lack of indoor toilets. But it also fills an important intellectual niche, teaching skills and knowledge that have been orphaned by increasingly technology-minded library schools and theory-oriented literature departments.

To read the complete article, see: Peering Into the Exquisite Life of Rare Books (


Dick Johnson submitted this item about a fun contest. Try it out in 2013! -Editor

A Minnesota brother and sister have been engaged in a yearly challenge for 30 year. Who is first to find a cent of the new year. Loser buys the winner breakfast.

First I've heard of this. Charming custom!

The story made the Twin Cities Star Tribune: Rosenblum: For siblings, mining for pennies is a rich tradition (


This week's Featured Web Site on the Soho Mint is suggested by David Lange.

We are here with a thoroughly modern web site to celebrate the achievements of Matthew Boulton who died two hundred years ago in August 1809. But a modern website is no anachronism; Matthew Boulton was at the leading edge of technology and innovation in his own time. So here, as a tribute to a great man, we will look at Matthew Boulton, and the Soho Mint; how Mr Boulton fitted into the great scheme of things, how the Mint was established and worked, and what it produced.

Matthew Boulton

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