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You won't regret it!

Volume 15, Number 41, September 30, 2012

Click here to read this issue on the web
To comment or submit articles, reply to


Wayne Homren

New subscribers this week include Donald Scarinci, courtesy of Bob Fritsch, and John Bremer and Jim Ballenger, courtesy of Nancy and John Wilson. Welcome aboard! We have 1,599 email subscribers, plus 199 followers on Facebook.

This week we open with reminders from David Fanning and David Sklow about their numismatic literature sales closing this week. Get your bids in, everyone! Next up are three new numismatic books, reviews of two others, and information on two just-released periodicals. Great stuff this week!

Other topics include the relative values of early American coins and money, foreign coins manufactured by U.S. Mints, and die varieties of the Washington Before Boston medal.

To learn more about the mysteries of the continental dollars , the Ho Hi Whang token, miniature numismatic books, a campaign to deface, er, stamp U.S. paper money, and the private sketchbook of George T. Morgan, read on. Have a great week, everyone!

Wayne Homren
Editor, The E-Sylum


David Fanning forwarded this note about the upcoming Kolbe & Fanning numismatic literature sale. -Editor

Kolbe-Fanning Sale 126 cover Kolbe & Fanning Numismatic Booksellers wish to remind their customers that their 126th sale of important numismatic literature from around the world closes this Thursday, October 4. The sale features material from several different consignors, including a significant number of lots from the library of the late F. Gordon Frost. The offering of classic 19th- and early 20th-century American numismatic auction catalogues derives largely from Gordon’s collection and is particularly important. Special sections are also devoted to works on British tokens and Russian numismatics, in which quite a few interesting works may be found. In all, the sale features 1092 lots of numismatic publications on ancient, medieval, modern foreign and U.S. numismatics.

The sale catalogue has been uploaded to the Kolbe & Fanning website, where readers may download it in PDF format at Color plates illustrating selected lots can also be downloaded.

Phone bids will be accepted at (614) 414-0855 until 6 p.m. on that day; voicemail, fax and email bids will be accepted until midnight (all times are U.S. Eastern Time). We can be faxed at (614) 414-0860; emails must be addressed to David Fanning at We look forward to your participation.

Kolbe & Fanning Numismatic Booksellers
141 W. Johnstown Road
Gahanna, OH 43230
(614) 414-0855
Fax (614) 414-0860


David Sklow's 17th numismatic literature sale closes October 6th at 8pm Mountain Time. He sent the following schedule of his future sales. -Editor

Sklow Mail Bid Sale #17 2013 Auction Schedule

Sale # 18 - Closes February 2, 2013 - featuring Rare Half Cent Literature of the late Bob Yuell
Sale # 19 - Closes June 1, 2013
Sale # 20 - Closes October 5, 2013

2014 Auction Schedule

Sale # 21 - Closes February 1, 2014
Sale # 22 - Closes June 7, 2014
Sale # 23 - Closes October 11, 2014

2015 Auction Schedule

Sale # 24 - Closes February 7, 2015
Sale # 25 - Closes June 6, 2015
Sale # 26 - Closes October 3, 2015

2016 Auction Schedule

Sale # 27 - Closes February 6, 2016
Sale # 28 - Closes June 4, 2016
Sale # 29 - Closes October 1, 2016

P.O. BOX 6321

TEL: (719) 302-5686
FAX: (719) 302-4933


Dennis Tucker of Whitman Publishing forwarded this notice about a new book, The Private Sketchbook of George T. Morgan, America’s Silver Dollar Artist. Wow! Sounds great! -Editor

Sketchbook of George T. Morgan

Whitman Publishing, working with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, is releasing a historic new book: The Private Sketchbook of George T. Morgan, America’s Silver Dollar Artist. The 160-page hardcover volume will be available nationwide in late November 2012, and can be preordered online (including at Its retail price is $29.95.

George T. Morgan was an artist—a sculptor and coin designer—in the late 1800s and early 1900s. One of his most famous works of art is instantly recognizable as an American classic: the Morgan silver dollar, minted in Philadelphia, New Orleans, Carson City, Denver, and San Francisco from the 1870s until 1921.

Today most collectors know Morgan as the father of this legendary silver coin. Some specialists are familiar with his designs for commemoratives and medals, and his significant work in U.S. pattern coins. But who exactly was George T. Morgan? Karen M. Lee, a curator of the National Numismatic Collection housed at the National Museum of American History, finally answers that intriguing question. Introducing Morgan’s never-before-published personal sketchbook, and with unique access to family photographs and documents, Lee reveals the man behind the coins.

The Private Sketchbook of George T. Morgan is an eye-opening immersion into what Lee calls the designer’s “life of art and labor.” Central to this beautifully illustrated volume are 80 pages of Morgan’s personal and professional sketchbook—the entirety of the creative journal that he carried from his native England to the United States in the 1870s—which is one of the treasures of the National Numismatic Collection. Morgan worked out his designs in this book not over weeks or months, not even simply for a few years, but over the course of nearly two decades. This sketchbook could easily have been lost to history over the nearly 100 years since Morgan died in 1925. Now brought to light for the first time, it shows us the creative process of one of America’s unsung artistic geniuses.

Contents include:

  • a foreword by Dr. Richard Doty, senior curator of the National Numismatic Collection
  • an in-depth historical background on Morgan’s life
  • family photographs, personal letters, and documents
  • behind-the-scenes correspondence from the U.S. Mint and Britain’s Royal Mint
  • analysis and interpretation of Morgan’s drawings
  • never-before-published images
  • an illustrated catalog of Morgan’s American numismatic works

The Private Sketchbook of George T. Morgan, America’s Silver Dollar Artist ∙ By Karen M. Lee on behalf of the Smithsonian Institution ∙ Hardcover, 160 pages, full color ∙ ISBN 0794838227 ∙ Retail $29.95

For more information, or to order, see:


Philatelic bookseller Leonard H. Hartmann is stocking a new book on security engraving that may be of interest to students of banknotes. It was published by The Royal Philatelic Society of London. -Editor

Line Engraved Security Printing Line Engraved Security Printing: the Methods of Perkins Bacon 1790 to 1935 Banknotes and Postage Stamps by Gary Granzow

The first major work on engraving postage stamps since Jamex Baxter's 1939 book; Printing Postage Stamps by Line Engraving, Yes, it is on the nature of the engraving and not on specific stamps. An original approach to the research and understanding of line engraving on steel and the security printing it made possible. While much of the focus is on the evolution of line engraving in the UK, the findings apply to line engraving in general.

Previously students have studied thousands of stamps and dated envelopes to deduce how the stamps were made and why they appear as they do. Gary has traced the development of engraving on steel, the mechanics of design transfer, hardening, inks, perforation and plate repair from 1790 to 1935 by studying primary sources and patents. Using this approach, he has made several basic discoveries and corrected a number of erroneous conclusions in the literature.

2012, 360 pages, 181 illustrations, many in color, cloth, To be released September 27th, 2012, published £50 plus postage of £26, $110.00

To order from Leonard Hartmann, see:

To order from The Royal Philatelic Society of London, see:


Here's a new book about the representation of emperors on Roman Imperial coinage. -Editor

Coining Images of Power Coining Images of Power
Patterns in the Representation of Roman Emperors on Imperial Coinage, A.D. 193-284
Erika Manders

Current scholarship on Roman imperial representation addresses both the ways in which individual rulers presented themselves to their subjects and how particular aspects of imperial representation developed over time. This book combines these two approaches. It examines the diachronic development of the representation of Roman imperial power as a whole in one medium over a longer period of time. Through a quantitative and qualitative analysis of coin types issued between A.D. 193 and 284, patterns in the representation of third-century Roman emperors on imperial coinage are made visible. The result is a new perspective on the development of imperial ideology in times of crisis.

For more information, or to order, see:


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

Siamese Coins slipcase My current schedule is very tight for my last few days in the USA before I depart for almost five months in Viet Nam on October 3 but I somehow found time to read the entire newest book in my library, Siamese Coins, From Funan to the Fifth Reign. So here is some information about it that I can pass on to our readers.

It was authored by Ronachai Krisadaolarn and Vasilijs Mihailovs and published by River Books in Bangkok, Thailand (at 396 Maharaj Road, Tatien, Bangkok 10200 Thailand) just a couple of months ago. The ISBN is 978-9749866354-1 and it has 272 pages with 2,103 illustrations plus a DVD with 1,000 more illustrations.

The book describes and illustrates some non-precious metal and gold coins but the overwhelming majority are silver coins from pre-Siam issuers, where the present country of Thailand is located, and it also has pieces from Siam's neighbors and some other countries. The Siamese pieces start with the first issues of the first Thai kingdoms and princedoms to the modern flat coins of the early 1900s.

It is not a catalogue. It is an in-depth study of the origins of the coins and the scientific data about each piece using Energy Dispersive X-Ray Flourescence (ED-XRF) and Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectroscopy (ICP-MS) tests. The reader will learn about the most minute details about every Siamese piece and it is an absolute must for anyone involved in authenticating and grading Siamese numismatic pieces, and anyone who wants to be a serious collector who can tell the difference between many of the authentic and counterfeit pieces available on the marketplace. The illustrations are among the best of numismatic pieces known to me, and there are also detail drawings to make the most intricate designs absolutely clear to the reader.

The very high quality paper for the pages; excellent material for the hard cover; and the high quality color slipcase sets a new standard for numismatic books. Then the oversized metal replica of Siam's first flat coin imbedded in the cover is something I have never seen in any other numismatic book. I am expecting to see this replica on the market in the future as a "new" Thai discovery piece! The slipcase is excellent protection but I have already placed many fingerprints on the black hard cover. All of the books in my library are for use, but for those buying it for display, wear gloves when holding at it.

Siamese Coins cover Siamese Coins CD

Everyone must know that I have known Ronachai for several decades, and Vasilijs in the recent past. I have seen the draft text over many years of visits to Ronachai's offices, and have actually held or seen many of the pieces in the book's illustrations from his collection. I used to be a very active collector of everything in Thai numismatics but I recently sold it because I need to concentrate more on Cambodia and Laos. This book is a fabulous piece of work, no matter who produced it, and I have no problem highly recommending it, even if you are not interested in Siamese/Thai numismatics.

You can order the book though the publisher's website at, but I ordered mine through Vitoon Eurtivong, the owner of Eur-Seree Collecting Co. Ltd., 1256/8 Nakhon Chai Sri Road, Dusit, Bangkok 10300 Thailand to have a copy speedily sent to me. His website is at and you should also sign up for his auctions which have excellent Thai, SE Asian and other world numismatic and antique pieces in them.

Another excellent source of Thai and SE Asian numismatic pieces is Lee Kim Guan at 33 Charoenbrung Road, Bangrak, Bangkok 10500, Thailand. Contact Kris Sukonritikorn at and he can assist you to collect Thai numismatic pieces, and it likely has this book too. Asia Books ( and Kinokuniya bookstores ( in Bangkok are also sources for this and related books.

In the United States, my primary source for SE Asian numismatic books is Scott Semans at He might also have some Thai pieces in his inventory. A second source in the United States is Amazon Books at, but they list it only for your Wish List and will likely have copies within a few weeks. I am sure there are sources in Europe but I do not yet know them. I have seen prices at about 50 English Pounds, about US$75, AU$155, 75 Euro, and 2000-2500 Baht. None of these prices include shipping. Hurry and order a copy for your library.


John and Nancy Wilson submitted this review of the new edition of Ken Bressett's book on United States Currency. Thanks! -Editor

United States Currency 5th ed United States Currency, Large Size, Small Size and Fractional, An Official Whitman Guidebook, 5th Edition, 2012, by Kenneth Bressett, Foreword by Q. David Bowers, Reviewed by John and Nancy Wilson, NLG

The revised and updated 5th Edition of United States Currency covers large and small size currency, along with U. S. Postage and Fractional Currency, was compiled and authored by well-known numismatist Kenneth E. Bressett. The Foreword was done by Q. David Bowers. Few in the hobby are as well-known as these numismatic legends. This soft cover 352 page reference (6X9) has 100s of full-color illustrations. Treasury Notes of the War of 1812, uncut sheets, error & star notes, and different varieties are also covered. The book utilizes the Friedberg numbering system which is the standard for paper money. Prices are given in seven different grades. A guide for detecting counterfeits is included.

The preface gives the sources this reference is based on. They are, the United States Large Size Paper Money 1861-1923 (6th Edition), by William P. Donlon; A Guide Book of United States Fractional Currency, by Matt Rothert (1963) and A Guide Book of Modern United States Currency 8th Edition, by Neil Shafer (1979). It also draws from more recent references including: A Guide Book of United States Paper Money, by Arthur and Ira Friedberg (2011), and the Whitman Encyclopedia of U. S. Paper Money, by Q. David Bowers (2009).

Large Size Currency has the terms of Treasury Officials, information on the signers of the notes, errors and misprinted notes, and star-numbered notes. The Acts that authorized the different issues or series of notes, face and back designs, and signature combinations are covered.

United States U. S. postage and fractional currency in both regular issue and proof or specimen notes are covered along with the fractional currency shields. Forerunner issues, postage currency envelopes, postage currency notes, encased postage stamps and counterfeit fractional currency (with notes), complete this area.

The small size currency section covers papers and inks; plate manufacture; currency manufacture; the COPE process; notes from test plates; serial number system for U. S. currency; star or replacement notes; block letters, Treasury officials (and chart of concurrent terms served) along with catalog values in up to seven grades. World War ll and Hawaii overprints as well as the Experimental R and S are covered.

Q. David Bowers states, “Many coin collectors have discovered that paper money offers many opportunities with scarce and rare pieces priced quite reasonably, including in high grades.” Whitman publisher, Dennis Tucker, states, “It appeals especially to beginning and intermediate collectors, but its engaging numismatic text and solid market information are valuable for longtime collectors and dealers as well.” We think this 5th Edition is an excellent resource for anyone who has an interest in the monetary system of our country from 1861 to present. We highly recommend it and know it will make you a, “better informed collector, dealer or researcher.”

For information on purchasing the Guide Book of United States Currency, 5th Edition priced at $19.95, you can contact the publisher at: Whitman Publishing, LLC, 3103 Clairmont Rd., Suite B, Atlanta, GA. 30329 or visit their web page, or call, (800) 546-2995.


Serge Pelletier of the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association passed along this press release about the latest issue of The Canadian Numismatic Journal. Thanks! -Editor

CNJournal_2012_October_Cover_Sm The Royal Canadian Numismatic Association (“RCNA”) is pleased to announce that the electronic copy of the October issue of The Canadian Numismatic Journal, the official publication of the Association, will be available – live and free to all – on its Web site at beginning on October 1, 2012.

“This is the first time we offer a current issue of our journal live and free for public viewing,” said William Waychison, President of the Association. “While it is an enticement to potential new members, it is equally our way of sharing knowledge and promoting the hobby” added Waychison.

Asked about the October Journal, Editor Dan Gosling stated, “There are several informative, topical, and fresh articles on hot topics like error and variety coinage and the War of 1812. Included is a definitive article on Hans Zoell, “The Father of Canadian Variety Collecting”, who published the first book on this topic. Other fresh articles feature “WOW Factor” varieties, reports of 1 and 5¢ error coins struck on toonie cores, and a feature article on Sir Isaac Brock, the Hero of Upper Canada in the War of 1812.” Gosling added “there is also a bilingual article that explains what sets a value for a coin, an important consideration for beginners through to seasoned numismatists.”

Other items include book reviews, and articles on medals, world-wide coin auctions, Roman tokens, and association issues.

The RCNA is Canada’s national coin hobby organization, and has been publishing The Canadian Numismatic Journal (and forerunner publication) for 63 years. Members currently have Online access to the first 54 volumes in PDF format and the last four years in flash format within the “Members Only” section.

The Royal Canadian Numismatic Association now offers a digital membership for only $30 CAD. For more information visit the Association’s website at


The September 2012 issue of Chopmark News has been published. The newsletter of the Chopmark Collectors Club is edited by Colin Gullberg, and it’s a wonderful publication. The text below is from his editor's remarks, describing the contents of the issue. A number of E-Sylum regulars show up here, including Bruce W. Smith, Jon Radel, and Howard Daniel. For bibliophiles there are articles relating to the authors of books on the topic of chopmarks, F.M. Rose and Daniel Frank Sedwick. -Editor

Chopmark News 2012-September First we meet member David Reimer. He is well-known as a collector of USA Trade Dollars. In fact his collection holds the #1 ranked set of US trade dollars on the PCGS registry set site, several of which are pictured in this newsletter.

We also see a nice variety of coins from our members’ collections. This issue also marks 20 years since the death of Frank Rose as well as the 25th anniversary of his Chopmarks. We will hear from several of you who knew him.

I also have a short report on my summer trip. I had a wonderful time at the ANA show in Philadelphia and the CCC had its first meeting in many years. You can read about our lunch and the show.

Bruce Smith submitted a fascinating letter to the editor which he found in the English language North China Herald dated 1919 about a chopmark collector and his experiences in China. It’s a great find.

Werner Höpker wrote an article in the March 2012 issue explaining his thoughts on a chopped Mexican 8 reales which he believed was a pattern coin for the briefly independent country of Taiwan. In this issue he has a supplement expanding on his previous work.

Ron Waddell has written a piece introducing his classification of chopmarks which considerably expands on Rose’s list which Rose wrote in Chopmarks.

Wolfgang Bertsch has written a very detailed article in which he introduces counterfeit and genuine Tibetan coins including some with chopmarks.

Finally, I interview dealer Daniel Frank Sedwick. Mr. Sedwick is a leading expert on Spanish colonial, Latin American coins as well as shipwreck coins. His firm has handled a large number of chopmarked Latin American coins over the years. I’m sure you will find my interview with him informative.

Chopmarks by F.M. Rose Practical Book of Cobs

For more information about the Chopmark Collectors Club, see:


The Instituto Uruguayo de Numismática has published the fourth issue of their electronic publication El Sitio. The cover article is by Giancarlo Cassanello. -Editor

“Palabras del presidente” .................................................................... Página 3


“Personalidades en la numismática uruguaya: El por qué del marinero”.
Giancarlo Cassanello ............................................................. Página 4

“La Alcancía ómnibus y las sucursales móviles del Banco Transatlántico”.
Daniel Fernández Calvo ........................................................ Página 10


“Monedas brasileñas para disfrutar y conferencia: 960 Reis acuñados sobre Soles de las Provincias del Río de la Plata” ............ Página 9

“Exposición y Charla sobre Monedas del Imperio Bizantino” ...... Página 12

“Nuevos billetes canadienses” ............................................................ Página 13

“XXXII Jornadas Nacionales de Numismática y Medallística en Argentina”
................................................................................ Página 15

To read the newsletter online, 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 .


John Kraljevich submitted these notes to set us straight on the relative values of early American coins and money. Thanks! -Editor

FPC Albany Church Penny The recent blurb on the Albany Church Penny included one of the most frequently-made errors about early American coins and money: that pounds, shillings and pence in the colonies, Confederation, and United States were the same as British pounds, shillings, and pence. Even though the names were the same, the pounds, shillings, and pence of the various American polities had no more to do with British pounds, shillings, and pence than US dollars have to do with Australian dollars today.

Pegged against the Spanish milled dollar in the era ca.1790, it took eight New York shillings to equal a dollar, but just four shillings sixpence in British sterling. To render this decimally, it means a British penny was worth .0185 Spanish dollars (equal to 54 to a dollar) but a New York penny was worth .0104 Spanish dollars (96 to a dollar). So considering an Albany church penny as equal to a British penny overvalues it by almost 2-1.

In real life, the "penny" was essentially equal to a "copper," a non legal tender unit whose value floated in the marketplace quite independent of the pegged relationship of the Spanish milled dollar to the British pound or the New York pound. During the Copper Panic of 1789, the value of coppers descended as low as 160 to the dollar in parts of New York. By 1790, it had only barely stabilized and varied from locale to locale.

Given this non legal tender status, had the Church Treasurer wanted "British sterling" in the treasury, he would definitely not have asked for donations of copper: just silver or gold would have fit the bill.

Hope this clears up the misunderstanding a little -- it's a very common one in books by major historians of the era!

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: MORE ON THE ALBANY FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH'S PENNY (


Serge Pelletier writes:

A History of the Canadian Dollar is available for free download In English at

Joe Boling writes:

Image Protected by Copyright Yes, you can download PART of the book on the history of the Canadian dollar. Starting at page 57 (about 1949, chronologically), ten of twenty-six illustrations are labeled "Image protected by copyright." And they also omit the captions, so you don't even know what has been deleted. Nice try, Bank of Canada. At least they did not expunge their own banknotes (which are also copyrighted).

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: NEW BOOK: A HISTORY OF THE CANADIAN DOLLAR (

Island of St John 10 Shillings

It's a nice book despite the copyright shortcomings, an otherwise well-illustrated historical survey of Canada's money. -Editor


We had two articles relating to R. W. Julian last week, one quoting a local newspaper article about him, and another about his satirical medals. He forwarded the following notes to clarify a few issues. Thanks! -Editor

Bob Julian writes:

1) The 1960 exchange of books was with the Saltykov-Shchedrin State Public Library in Leningrad, now St. Petersburg. The library microfilmed books for me in exchange for American references, mostly of a cultural nature, such as one on Frank Lloyd Wright and his architecture. Dr. I.G. Spasskii, of the Numismatic Department of the State Hermitage, had suggested that I contact this library.

2) The 1977 "rare coin book" was actually a book on local history. A friend, L'Dean Cornelius, and I published for the Cass County Historical Society a book with 600 photographs of this area with commentary. The book has done well with several reprints and about 5,500 sold; it has proven to be a steady source of income for the Society.

3) I have not seen the Pelligrini article for some time but memory says it was rather inaccurate. There were no silver medals though I did have a few copper-nickel medals struck each year; I also had process sets made. Pelligrini claimed to have sent me a letter asking questions but, if so, I never received it. He did send a copy in advance of the submission and I contacted him to point out the errors but I don't think anything was changed.

4) The artist was Warner Williams, who did not always agree with the topics, but enjoyed doing them anyway. He died shortly after the series ended.

5) The profits were donated to the ANA and ANS.

6) I have all of the original dies but they were lightly defaced so that there would be no future issues.

7) I think the edge lettering was standard for Medallic Art Company at that time.

Medallic Art medal edge lettering 1981

Dave Alexander writes:

Thanks for the stories on R.W. Julian's satirical medals. I treasure my set, recalling that one arrived just as the epic 1978 blizzard was beginning to bury my home in Sidney, Ohio. The satiricals were a welcome diversion for a few days.

Joe Boling writes:

My dad and I each had a set of Bob Julian's satirical medals. Since I recently inherited my dad's set back (from my mother - he died decades ago), they are in the front of my safe (it's anybody's guess where my own are). So I sent Travis Main an email offering him a copy of the insert sheet for the Defense medal.

Thanks! -Editor

To read the Pelligrini article, see: The MCA Advisory, Volume 9, Number 7, August 2006 (

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:

Regarding, Rasiel "Ras" Suarez writes:

There is a free and paid version. Gnecchi is on the paid version which is $15 a month. The free version has 200k records and the paid one 715k.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: REPUBLISHED : GNECCHI'S I MEDAGLIONE ROMANI (

More on Gold vs Tungsten
Regarding the tungsten-filled gold bars, Kavan Ratnatunga writes:

See for older references to this same scam. claims an Ultrasound test can detect the fake bars. It can probably see the Interface between the metals.

At room temperature Gold has a density of 19.30 grams per cubic centimeter and Tungsten has a density of 19.25 grams.

Joe Boling adds:

The conspiracy theorists have the Fort Knox gold bars filled with tungsten, too.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: TUNGSTEN-FILLED GOLD BARS (

Coin Rolls With Pipes Inside
Ken Hallenbeck writes:

Seeing the article on rolls by Harvey Stack in the Sept 23 issue of E-Sylum brings back a memory from about 1950 or so. I was in San Jose, CA visiting my sister and went to a Bank of America branch where a friend of mine worked as a teller. Somehow or other the conversation turned to nickels. The tellers were very careful to check rolls of nickels. It seems there were a number of them where a nickel or two existed on each end of the roll, and a piece of appropriate length and diameter of pipe was in the middle! It didn't take too long for bank tellers to catch on to this scheme. Haven't heard of this recently. But who knows? Of course, this is not recommended.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: COIN ROLLS IN "ORIGINAL BANK WRAPS" (

Mint Director Nomination A Surprise

Here's a note from me. Last week I raised a quizzical eyebrow over the timing of the President's nomination of a new director of the U.S. Mint. Numismatic News editor Dave Harper was just as baffled. Here's a clip from his article on the topic. =Editor

To say I was surprised by the news is an understatement.

It is not usual for an office whose holder serves at the pleasure of the President to be filled just before an election – or should I write attempted to be filled. After sitting vacant for nearly two years, the argument cannot be made that the Mint’s operation depends on someone getting this particular title.

There is no guarantee that the Senate will confirm the nomination before it recesses for the election campaign.

Perhaps that’s the point. Is this a recess appointment in the making? If it turns out that way, it could limit Boerio’s length of service to just weeks or months.

To read the complete article, see: Mint nomination came as surprise (


John Pack writes:

I know there is a book from 1962 on the history of domestic coin production, and I thought there was a publication detailing world coin production at the US Mints as well, but I might remember incorrectly. I know there is data in the Mint Reports, but I don’t have the ones I need.

There is a government publication that dealt with this: Domestic And Foreign Coins Manufactured By Mints Of The United States 1792-1965 by U. S. Government Printing Office (1966). There are also editions published in 1970, 1973, 1975 and 1980

David Lange has an article mentioning these and an earlier Whitman publication, quoted below. -Editor

“Though not absolutely complete (having been published in 1964), the softcover monograph titled Foreign Coins Struck at United States Mints is quite thorough for the years up to that point. Put out by Whitman Publishing Company, the authors were Charles G. Altz and E. H. Barton.”

“A related publication was issued by the U. S. Treasury Department in several editions. This is the softcover book Domestic and Foreign Coins Manufactured by Mints of the United States 1793-1980 (that being the date of the most recent edition). There are no illustrations---just endless tables that are of great usefulness to the researcher. This book fills in the gap from 1964-80 left by the Altz & Barton reference. Also included as an appendix are the complete texts of the Mint Acts of 1792, 1873 and 1965, as well as some lesser legislation pertaining to coinage. I was able to find used copies of the latest edition available at prices from $7.95 to $61.89.”


Kolbe-Fanning website ad3new


RyAnne Scott, Library & Communications Director of the American Numismatic Association, forwarded a press release about the new ANA Mobile Archives. Great news for researchers! Here's an excerpt. -Editor

The American Numismatic Association’s Dwight N. Manley Library will let the public see and hold pieces of numismatic history when it debuts its Mobile Archives at the Dallas National Money Show, Oct. 18-20 at the Dallas Convention Center.

Visitors will be able to see the Mobile Archives by visiting the ANA Area (booth 537). Sitting down with an ANA staff member, visitors and researchers will be able to view historic artifacts and papers stored in protective cases and covers.

“The ANA library’s archives have so many interesting, important documents that it was a shame that they were only available to visitors to the library in Colorado Springs. We wanted to share these items with the public,” said ANA Library and Communication Director RyAnne Scott. “The Mobile Archives area is one of the first steps in an effort to make our archives more accessible to members, researchers and collectors.”

The first collection up for viewing: The personal archives and papers of Frank Gasparro, former chief engraver of the United States Mint. Gasparro, who died in 2001 at age 92, is best known for his work on the obverses and reverses of the Eisenhower and Susan B. Anthony dollars; the reverses of the Lincoln (memorial) cent and the Kennedy half dollar; U.S. Mint medals; and private commissions.

The collection was donated to the ANA in August by Gasparro’s daughter, Christina Gasparro Hansen. It consists of 97 folders arranged by topic and features Gasparro’s notes and original sketches; personal correspondence with notable figures such as Shirley Temple Black, Rosalynn Carter and others; and much more. The papers give major insights into Gasparro’s artistic process, his thoughts on coin design and his contemporaries.

Read the November issue of The Numismatist for a full article on the Gasparro collection and its most interesting pieces.


Joe Boling writes:

In Dave Alexander's response about the Portugaloeser, it should be "Free and Hanseatic City," not Hasseatic. You also omitted the link that Eric von Hove sent for the Google Books source for Portugalozer.

Português David Klinger writes:

I know we had plenty of input to the Portugaozer question. But I wanted to forward this note I received from the Banco de Portugal museum curator. I think her answer to the question adds clarity to the other discussions.

Maria Cristina Mota Gomes writes:

First you have to know what is a PORTUGUÊS - it's a coin minted during the reigns of D. Manuel I and D. João III of Portugal. It was the largest and heaviest coin in Europe for 70 years in the XVI century.

A PORTUGALOZER [various spellings]- is a coin with the same configuration of português, it was minted in various Northern European cities: Hamburg, Lubeck, Dresden, Zwolle, Daventer, amongst others.

David adds:

She made another point to me about the Português coin - It was in obvious competition to the Spanish Doubloon in the XVI century. The Português was larger, and of heaver weight. The Português is above on the right, the Spanish Doubloon below.

Spanish Doubloon Obverse Spanish Doubloon Reverse

David also adds: Here's a link from the Bank of Portugal museum, which is the leaflet explaining both the PORTUGUÊS, and the Portugalozers. Of course, it's in Portuguese.

Português prestige

Thanks, everyone! -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: VOCABULARY WORDS: PORTUGALÖSER AND PORTUGUEZ (


American Numismatic Society librarian Elizabeth Hahn submitted this note about an upcoming exhibit. Thanks! -Editor

Hoshino_book I'm in the process of putting together a new exhibit for the ANS Library rare book room (which I do every year in conjunction with the ANS annual meeting in October). There is always an online component too for anyone that cannot make it to New York. The title of the exhibit this year is "Small Wonders: Miniature and Pocket-Sized Numismatic Literature." It includes one of the smallest (that I know of!) numismatic books, measuring 20mm x 20mm, and is titled "Old Coins of the World." I've attached a photo with a U.S. dime for reference. It is clearly a novelty item and has limited useful purpose, but the exhibit will touch on both novelty and practical reasons for smaller versions of literature. NBS President Dan Freidus also alerted me to an earlier discussion of this topic in The E-Sylum.

Some of these items will also feature in the ANS Library exhibit. For the present purposes, I am going with the definition presented by the Miniature Book Society, which states that a miniature book in the United States is “usually considered to be one which is no more than three inches in height, width, or thickness. Some aficionados collect slightly larger books while others specialize in even smaller sizes. Outside of the United States, books up to four inches (about 10 cm) are often considered miniature.”

I'll send the link to the online version once it is completed. I hope that anyone who is able will come to the ANS 155th Annual Meeting on October 20 (starting at 3pm) and have a chance to see some of these small objects in person! I think they are quite fun.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: THE LITTLEST COIN BOOKS (


Bob Fritsch alerted me to a blog post by Don Scarinci on die varieties of the Washington Before Boston medal. -Editor

Washington Before Boston original

September 8, 2012: Washingtonia was the topic of this year’s gathering of the colonial coin elite at Rodger Siboni’s home in New Jersey. New finds and discoveries were presented and some significant collections of Washingtonia were displayed. The highlight, in my opinion, was a New Jersey collector’s set of Washington inaugural buttons, in a condition that had been previously thought to be impossible.

This annual event always attracts some of the most knowledgeable authorities on colonial coins. It was the perfect venue to present the results of my research on the new die emission sequence for the Washington Before Boston Medal. I knew that I could count on constructive criticism and thoughtful evaluation of my evidence. Combining my research on the Paris Mint, my knowledge of colonial coins and my newly acquired skills with a digital camera, I looked at the Washington Before Boston medals with a fresh perspective. Additional information and the results of my analysis will be published in a different forum, but the immediate access to information available online allows me to share the summary with other numismatists. Surprisingly, we have waited for correct information on this topic for a longer period than the 14 years George Washington had to wait for the medal that the Continental Congress awarded to him in 1776.

Information about the history of the Washington Before Boston medal is available in several reference books, but the most thorough and recent source is Comitia Americana and Related Medals by John W. Adams and Anne E. Bentley, published by George Frederick Kolbe in 2007. This book is a wonderful piece of scholarship and contains important primary source information about all ten of the medals that were awarded by the Continental Congress.

To read the complete blog post, see: Die Varieties of the “Washington Before Boston” Medal (

Don Scarinci writes:

Until the book for Roger Siboni's September 8 Colonial Coin Symposium on Washingtonia is published next year, this is the only place this information is available. Collectors have already waited too long for a die emission sequence of the Washington Before Boston medal--longer than George Washington had to wait for his gold medal. I didn't want them to have to wait another 6 months so I posted the summary of my findings on my blog with pictures that can be blown up when you click on them for easy identification. I bet there are a lot of people out there who have one of these medals in their collection but have no idea which restrike it might be or even what mint it might be from. We are only going to begin to get an accurate census when the correct information is made available so collectors can identify what they have and report it.

Curious to know if this work is an updating of Glenn A. Mooney’s 1976 study, Don Scarinci adds:

No. It appears that one of the reasons there has been so much confusion about the varieties of the Washington Before Boston medals is that numismatists have relied more on previous studies than upon their observations of the medals themselves. The shells and waxes of these medals produced at the Paris Mint have also added to the confusion. The result has been a constant repetition of past errors in auction catalogs and publications like the idea that the F2 (error reverse) was actually struck BEFORE F1 . Even in John Adam's recent book he considers the corrected error reverse as a separate variety and he accepts this as well as the error reverse (F2) as "originals" along with F1.

My study of the Washington Before Boston medal is completely new and based upon a close examination of the medals themselves using high resolution photography to closely examine the details of the medals. The more elaborate version of my Colonial Coin Symposium presentation/blog post will eventually be published in the symposium book. I just didn't want collectors to have to wait for it when there is an online medium that could get this summary version out there quickly. The sooner collectors begin to identify and report the correct variety of the Washington Before Boston medal in their collection the sooner we will have a census of the varieties. Right now, any speculation about rarity for any varieties other than F1, F2 and F2.1 is just that, speculation.


Web site visitor Andrea Grimason has been doing Internet research on the 1776 continental dollars and developing theories about their creation. She has many questions and theories and I offered to put some of them to E-Sylum readers for discussion.

Andrea passed along these segments from the University of Norte Dame site as a starting point. -Editor

The denomination of the coin is unknown, but Newman has surmised the value to be a dollar.

However who authorized or minted the coins is unknown.

Interestingly, there are no records of this coin in the actions of the Continental Congress, although other coinage concerns were recorded.

To date there is no evidence the Continental Currency coins were authorized or issued by the Continental Congress. Indeed, Robert Morris, the Superintendant of Finance during the Confederation period, appears not to have known of the Continental Dollars as he called his 1783 Nova Constellation patterns the first that were, "struck as an American Coin." (Morris, Diary for April 2, 1783).

Newman has identified 'EG' as Elisha Gallaudet, who had previously engraved the design on the plates of the February 17, 1776, Continental fractional currency. His coins were struck in three metals the most common being pewter, with an estimated minting of about six thousand (of which a few hundred survive);

The location of the mint is unknown but is thought to have been New York City. Articles referring to a Continental copper coin are found in the New York Journal of June 27, 1776, and the New York Gazette of July 1, 1776.

On this coin see: Breen, 110-112; Hodder, Michael. "The Continental Currency Coinage of 1776," pp. 7-18 in The American Numismatic Association Centennial Anthology, Wolfeboro, NH: Bowers and Merena, 1991, pp. 7-18; and Newman, Eric. "The 1776 Continental Currency Coinage," The Coin Collector's Journal, July-August (1952) 1-9.

With no official records found to date, and no clear evidence of exactly who struck these coins (and where and when), a number of theories have been put forth over the years. One of the first studies was Eric Newman's and the last really detailed study was Michael Hodder's in 1991. Or have I missed something? Has any new evidence or analysis been done since 1991? Does the community still feel that Elisha Gallaudet is the most likely maker? What is the earliest recorded instance of one of these coins being in the hands of a collector? Were any collected by Sophie Banks (and now in the British Museum)? Were the pewter examples in existence as early as 1776? -Editor

Andrea Grimason writes:

According to Mr. Newman..... Benjamin Franklin designed the original Continental Currency coin and in 1776 Elisha Gallaudet redesigned it seven times.......struck over six thousand three types of metal....with three different spellings.... in two sizes...... in less than six a country that didn't have a mint.......without anyone knowing.

Andrea seems to be questioning whether the coins were actually made in 1776 by Elisha Gallaudet. What do readers think? -Editor

To read the complete article, see: The Continental Currency "Dollar" of 1776: Introduction (


Dave Stone is looking for information on two numismatic figures - can anyone help? Thanks. -Editor

I am trying to find any biographical information on Charles A. Waters, the 19th century collector from Liverpool, whose collection included the Sultan of Muscat's 1804 dollar. I have the two Glendennings catalogs from 1917 in which his collection was sold, and I have Dave Bowers' notes about him in the 1804 dollar book, but little biographical information is available.

Another person of interest is a Dr. Phillip Nelson, whose collection was purchased intact by Waters at some point. He seems to have specialized in coins from the Isle of Man and Colonial U.S. issues. If any readers of The E-Sylum can provide any data on these gentlemen I would appreciate the help very much.


The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston has opened a new gallery devoted to ancient coins. -Editor

Sestertius with head of Titus Five hundred ancient Greek and Roman coins from the world-renowned collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, are showcased in the new Michael C. Ruettgers Gallery for Ancient Coins, debuting today. It is the only gallery dedicated to coinage in a major US art museum and is unique for its emphasis on ancient coins as works of art—masterpieces on a miniature scale. The gallery also illustrates how coins are both a form of cultural expression—reflecting the customs, beliefs, and ideals of those who produced and used them—and primary documents of ancient history. It is named in recognition of Michael C. Ruettgers, whose generosity has made possible the creation of this spectacular new gallery. In addition, Mr. Ruettgers has given 14 rare and important Roman gold coins to the MFA, including Aureus with the bust of Aelius Verus (AD 137).

To enhance visitors’ appreciation of these works, moveable magnifying lenses facilitate closer examination of the coins on view in several cases. In addition, by using iPads affixed to five cases running down the center of the gallery, visitors are able to explore in-depth 274 Greek and Roman coins using the new MFA Coins application developed by the MFA. It allows users to view both sides of each coin, to zoom in, and learn more about the significance of these objects. The app includes highlights of the coin collection, information about Greek and Roman coins, and a timeline of ancient coins. The iPad app is available for free download from Apple’s App Store, or by clicking on a link to the App Store on the new page for the Michael C. Ruettgers Gallery for Ancient Coins on the Museum’s website. Also in the gallery is a touchscreen where visitors can create their own coins—choosing symbols, motto, and metal—and learn the elements of a coin by designing one.

“We are especially pleased to be able to share with our visitors many of the greatest treasures from the MFA’s coin collection in a beautiful new gallery, where they can explore the depth of our holdings and also use interactives to enhance the experience,” said Malcolm Rogers, Ann and Graham Gund Director of the MFA. “It is the latest in a series of niche galleries at the Museum highlighting special aspects of our collection, ranging from ship models to jewelry to period rooms. We appreciate the generosity of Michael Ruettgers in making this newest addition possible.”

To read the complete article, see: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston debuts only gallery dedicated to coins at a major U.S. art museum (

To read the complete article, see: Michael C. Ruettgers Gallery for Ancient Coins (


Ursula Kampmann has published a new installment in her series on the money of Zurich in the latest Coinsweekly. Here's a couple introductory paragraphs and some images that caught my eye. Be sure to read the whole thing online. -Editor

Our occasional series ‘The People of Zurich and their Money’ will present one exciting chapter of Swiss numismatics and economic history at a time. The introduction provides an initial overview in two parts. This second section takes us from the Thirty Years War all the way to the present day.

Zurich. 5 ducats 1720 obverse Zurich. 5 ducats 1720 reverse
Zurich. 5 ducats 1720

The people of Zurich had the great fortune of being able to stay out of the Thirty Years War and, so, were spared its devastation. This fortunate position also allowed them to undergo a rebuilding boom earlier than neighbouring lands. By the last quarter of the 17th century, at latest, Zurich was taking in more money in taxes than it could ever manage to spend. Ten thousand gulden poured into the state treasury every year, quite a substantial sum at the time. Even more staggering is the fact that between 1672 and 1798, at a time when most other territorial rulers in Europe were on the verge of or even declaring bankruptcy, Zurich managed to generate a net profit of just over three million gulden.

Zurich. Double doubloon of 32 francs, 1800 obverse Zurich. Double doubloon of 32 francs, 1800 reverse
Zurich. Double doubloon of 32 francs, 1800

To read the complete article, see: Introduction 'The People of Zurich and their Money' Part 2 (


Ray Bows writes:

A close friend just informed me of the new decorations for Homeland Security (Customs, Border, Patrol [CBP]), and I immediately thought of you and the E-Sylum members.

Thanks! Below are the images and text forwarded by Ray's friend. -Editor

"My agency finally got around to issuing Iraq and Afghanistan Service medals. I'm sending you images. I'll bet you'll be the first kid on the numismatic block to get these. Only a couple of hundred CBP personnel have served in Iraq, and only a dozen or so in Afghanistan (I was the first)."

CBP Iraq medal obverse CBP Iraq medal reverse
Iraq medal

CBP Afghanistan medal obverse CBP Afghanistan medal reverse
Afghanistan medal


In his Joys of Collecting column in the October 8, 2012 issue of CoinWorld, Dave Bowers discusses an intriguing U.S. Civil War Token. At my request he kindly forwarded me the text of the article - here's a lengthy excerpt. Thanks! -Editor

Ho Hi Whang token

I love a mystery! And, numismatics has more mysteries than anyone can easily count. Among these is a Civil War token issued by the Cincinnati shop of John Stanton.

The token described by George and Melvin Fuld in U.S. Civil War Store Cards as variety OH-165-AD-2 has been a puzzle to many collectors for a long time. The words have no obvious connection with each other, but most are pronounceable—not random letters. The obverse includes CONSULERE / GENERI / HOMINUM / HO HI / WHANG / B.C. / 129374. The reverse is lettered MAGI GENII / QUBO DAIRI / WHANG. The Fulds considered them to be magicians’ tokens. It has also been suggested that these were practice pieces for apprentice die sinkers in the Stanton shop.

Trying to learn more I started browsing around in my library:

In the sale of the C.W. Idell Collection, Bangs & Co., New York, January 8 and 9, 1878, cataloger E.J. Attinelli described under Lot 624 the lettering of this token and stated that the token was “a poke at coin collectors.” Similarly, in The Numismatist, December 1899, Benjamin P. Wright in his “American Store or Business Cards” stated it was “a satirical issue directed against coin collectors.”

The words may be mostly nonsense, although consuleri, generi, and hominem (sic) are were widely used in Latin texts. Dairi describes a bronze image of Buddha. Magi and genii have connotations of magic, perhaps inspiring the comment by the Fulds. B.C. may relate to the dating of certain ancient coins. Whang appears in many contexts in the 1860s and earlier, ranging from a proper name to a large quantity of anything such as a whang of cheese or coal. Perhaps in the 1860s a “whang” of 129,374 tokens was imagined.

For me the mystery is solved: a satire on collectors as stated years ago, but seemingly forgotten in the meantime.

Neat item. Gotta love a good mystery. Dave's conclusion is as good as any. I'm willing to accept Attinelli's explanation - we've had little cause to doubt his other writings. Can anyone add to the discussion? Do these words mean anything in another context, or are the completely nonsense? -Editor


Dick Johnson submitted these thoughts on some of the things Canadians are doing with their old cents. -Editor

When the Canadian Royal Mint decreed last February they would stop striking cents and the coins would be redeemed at face value until at least the end of the year, it set off a tempest of activity.

The Minister of Finance suggested donating the orphaned coins to charities. Many got into the act. I found a dozen articles on the internet for causes from clean water to Special Olympics for the donated coins.

The Canadian Mint issued one-cent bullion medals in five and ten-ounce silver celebrating the End of the Cent. With and without a colorized maple leaf.

A Nova Scotia folksinger wrote a song "No More Pennies" and used an illustration of the cent on the record cover. The lawyers at the mint woke up and informed the artist they wanted a royalty for using that image (later rescinded).

It's all part of the fun. But no one yet has come up with the best idea: melt the cents and use the metal --it's excellent bronze -- to make a statue or a bell.

Any organization in Canada need a statue or a bell? Quick, start a campaign for donations of all those loose cents. But don't turn them in for cash. Send them to a foundry. But not in America. It's illegal to melt cents here.

Question. If we demonetized American cents -- an inevitable action -- can we send our cents to a Canadian foundry to be melted and cast into a statue or bell?

Here are some of the latest fun things Canadians are doing with their discarded cents:

Free The Children Penny Drive: Organization Launches Penny Drive For Clean Water (

Kroffat collects plenty of pennies for Play (

Use your pennies for a good cause before they disappear (

Decas Elementary collects pounds of pennies for Special Olympics (

Nova Scotia folksinger song "No More Pennies": A penny saved is a penny earned for N.S. folksinger (


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


Alan Luedeking forwarded this article from The Economist on the British Museum’s new money gallery. Thanks! -Editor

British Museum Money Gallery IT IS considered odd to take too much of an interest in money—in the actual coins and notes, that is, rather than the accumulation of a hefty bank balance, though that is frowned upon too. But you do not have to be a coin-collector or a miser to enjoy the British Museum’s newly refurbished money gallery. Outwardly a display about the evolution of money, from cowrie shells to mobile phones, it is a treasure trove of fascinating stories from a wide range of cultures and time periods.

Hey! Who are they calling ODD? -Editor

Money is a particularly good window on the past, says Ben Alsop, the gallery’s curator, because it is so universal. “We’re lucky, with this gallery, in the sense that money, going back 4,000 years, covers the whole of the world and the whole of history,” he says. His gallery can use its collection to talk about world history in a way that other departments of the museum, which focus on a particular period or part of the world, cannot. Moreover, visitors are already familiar with the subject matter. “People know what money means to them, and therefore what it may have meant to people in the past as well,” says Mr Alsop.

The gallery exploits this familiarity to challenge the way we think about money. There is the standard history, as you would expect. It starts with cowrie shells, stone axes and jade; moves on to the earliest coins from Lydia, now part of Turkey, from around 650 BC, and the “spade money” and “knife money” from China from around the same time; continues with the emergence of paper money in China; and culminates with the switch to payment cards and mobile money in the modern era. But interwoven with this chronological display are countless examples of the unexpected cultural, political and religious uses of money. Throughout history it has always been more than just a medium of economic exchange.

Money is arguably an early communications medium. Indeed, since money is passed from one person to another, you could even argue that it’s an example of social media. For centuries only gods or dead ancestors appeared on coins, but eventually rulers (in the Roman case, starting with Julius Caesar) realised they could be used to project images of themselves. Augustus looks young and dashing on his coins, whereas a series of coins of Nero emphasise his humanity, as he ages and gets fatter.

But you do not need to be an emperor to send messages using money. The gallery includes a Roman coin from 215AD, on which the Christian “chi-rho” symbol has been scratched behind the emperor’s head; a French coin from 1855 overstamped with an advertisement for Pears Soap; and a 1903 British penny on which Edward VII’s face has been stamped with “Votes for women” by suffragettes (pictured below).

British Museum counterstamped coins

Piggybacking messages on coins in this way is just one of many recurring themes in the history of money.

The tradition of overstamping money continues today - see the following article. -Editor

To read the complete article, see: From shells to mobile phones: The British Museum’s new money gallery (


This USA Today article describes a new money-stamping campaign. -Editor

Stamp Stampede logo Ben & Jerry's co-founder Ben Cohen has landed on a new way to spread his campaign-finance message: Stamping dollar bills with slogans.

"I'm stamping anywhere and everywhere. I'm stamping all the time," Cohen told USA TODAY on Tuesday. "It's some monetary jujitsu -- using money to get money out of politics."

Cohen and his partners -- which include People for the American Way and Public Citizen -- want people to adorn money with messages such as "Corporations are Not People" and "Not to be Used for Bribing Politicians."

The goal, he said, is to "demonstrate massive, broad base support" for a constitutional amendment overturning the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision, which allowed unlimited corporate political spending on free-speech grounds.

Over the course of a little more than two years, a single stamped bill will reach an estimated 875 people, according to the organizers of the campaign, StampStampede. Stamp 10 bills every day for a year and reach 3 million people.

Though federal law bars defacing currency, Cohen and his Denver-based lawyer, Stephen Justino, say the campaign is legal because the stamps are political messages that don't damage the bills or otherwise harm their value.

The campaign officially launches Oct. 11 in California with the unveiling of what Cohen calls a "Rube Goldberg-type" 14-foot-long, automated money-stamping machine. Later that day, Cohen will appear at a Los Angeles branch of Ben & Jerry's to stamp bills. Participating customers will get a free ice cream cone.

Good luck with that "it's legal" theory. There are plenty of money-stampers around, but few with such a high-profile campaign. The Feds have bigger issues to worry about, so this might go unaddressed. As a numismatist I like counterstamps and overstamps of all kinds, but this seems over the top. -Editor

To read the complete article, see: Ben & Jerry's co-founder starts money-stamping campaign (

For more on Stamp Stampede see:


EBay is launching a new service targeting collectors, including coin collectors. Will it take off? It's not in wide release yet, but people can sign up for the Alpha testing program. -Editor

Setify logo EBay has launched Setify, a Pinterest-like social curation tool that enables its users to track their purchases and collections.

“Ever since it was founded, eBay has delivered useful resources for collectors, and Collectibles remains one of the most popular buying and selling categories on eBay,” Senior Writer Sebastian Rupley wrote in eBay’s blogpost.

And this is where Setify comes in. The free platform is a hybrid between a wish list that showcases the items that you currently own and items that you need to fill out the collection, and a forum for discussions about said collections. Users can update their Setify pages by uploading images of owned collectible items, along with items they want to complete the collection. Through searches, users can select items in the search results that they wish to own using a “Want” button or they can choose to select “Own” to identify items that they currently own, and purchase desired items off of eBay. Setify will only be geared toward coin and comic book collectors, although Rupley has indicated that more categories are to come.

Not surprisingly, Setify also has a social element where its users can boast their collections or viewers can admire or maybe negotiate for desirable items.

Setify is currently in alpha testing and you can request an invitation.

I signed up for an account, but haven't heard back from eBay yet. This sounds very similar to the NeoCollect system built by John Sallay. -Editor

To read the complete article, see: eBay launches Setify, a Pinterest-like app for comic and coin collectors (

To read an earlier article about NeoCollect, see: NEW WEB SITE: NEOCOLLECT.COM (


Everybody's a critic. Facebook fans of an Australian publication roundly panned the government's new banknote designs. Hmm. Has there EVER been a new banknote design that no one criticized on its debut? -Editor

New Australian 10 banknote

THE first look at the new "youthful" bank notes, created by the Reserve Bank of Australia, has been deemed a "massive fail" by some readers.

More than 100 people took to’s Facebook page to comment on the designs, suggesting the faces on the notes were outdated and should instead include Slim Dusty, Steve Irwin, Peter Brock and even former prime minister John Howard.

As reported earlier today, the RBA has been working on creating new bank notes for the past five years.

The project, called Next Generation Bank Note, is more than two years behind schedule and has so far cost $9.3 million.

Designers were supplied with new portraits of the notes' subjects and asked to capture Australian characteristics with "youthful" and "energetic design qualities", it says.

“Youthful and energetic, with pictures of the elderly on the front, I don’t think so,” posted Rebecca Larson.

While Tiffany Noy described it as a “massive fail”, asking “What about some people that someone in the last 40 years would remember?”

Many did not know Mary Gilmore, who is on the $10 note, confirming research by the RBA that most Australians were unable to name the famous historical faces on our national notes.

To read the complete article, see: New bank notes deemed massive fail; readers not impressed (


Um, about that Renior... The Washington Post followed up on this and apparently the "flea market find" painting was stolen from a museum many years ago. -Editor

Renoir Flea Market Find The lore of the landscape was as irresistible to its owner as its beautiful brush strokes: Renoir had painted it, Baltimore collector Saidie May said, for his mistress on a linen napkin at a Paris restaurant along the Seine.

So how did the small painting wind up in a $7 box of junk at a West Virginia flea market more than eight decades after May’s ex-husband, Herbert L. May, purchased “On the Shore of the Seine” from a Paris gallery in 1926?

The mystery, which generated headlines this month when an Alexandria auction house announced that it would sell what it believes is that Renoir, became clearer this week when a Washington Post reporter entered the library at the Baltimore Museum of Art. In a box full of Saidie May’s letters and artwork receipts lay one major clue: records showing that she had lent the painting to the museum in 1937. The discovery startled museum officials, who had already said the flea-market Renoir never entered their institution.

Renoir catalog record

But armed with the loan registration number, museum officials dug up in their collection records an even-more-astounding clue about the Renoir’s journey. An old museum loan registration document revealed that the tiny landscape, measuring 51 / 2 by 9 inches, was stolen Nov. 17, 1951, from the BMA — shortly after May’s death.

Now the painting’s highly anticipated auction by the Potomack Company has been canceled. The FBI is investigating, and museum officials are trying to learn more about the painting’s theft. They couldn’t explain why it does not appear on a worldwide registry of stolen and lost art.

To read the complete article, see: Flea-market Renoir allegedly was stolen from Baltimore museum; auction canceled (

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: FLEA MARKET RENOIR FIND FOR SALE (


This week's Featured Web Page is, suggested by Arthur Shippee. We've mentioned this one before, but it's well worth another look.

The WildWinds website has been created as a reference, attribution and valuation resource in the field of ancient numismatics.

wildwinds logo

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