Volume 16, Number 18, May 5, 2013
New subscribers this week include Gilman Kirk, John Linhoss and E. W. Herman. Welcome aboard! We have 1,649 email subscribers, plus 229 followers on Facebook.
This week we open with two new books from Spink and a new online numismatic periodical. Other topics include more numismatic bomb blast items, information on the New Liberty Dollar design trademark situation, Morse Code in numismatics, segmented collars, die heat treating and the portrait lathe.
To learn more about the Liberty Seated Cent, the Kalmar Nyckel, John C. Lighthouse, the Davis-Graves Collection, Howard Berlin's visit to A.H. Baldwin & Sons, and the newspapers of Harbottle Dorr, read on. Have a great week, everyone!
Spink has a couple new books (or new editions, at least) listed on their web site (and mentioned in the latest Spink Insider). Here's the first one, "Coinage in the Roman World" by Andrew Burnette. -Editor
Originally published in 1986, this book takes a fresh look at the development and use of coinage in the Roman world, from the third century BC to the break-up of the Empire in the fifth century AD. The emphasis is upon interpretation of the coins rather than description of types, focusing on both how and why they were circulated, and how they can illuminate the historical and economic background.
An introduction to the beginnings of Roman coinage is followed by two main sections, covering the denarius system of 200 BC to AD 250 and the coinage of the late Empire of AD 250 to 400. Individual chapters describe the organisation and control of the coinage, the monetary history of each period, the relationship of coinage and inflation, and the use of designs as imperial propaganda or symbols of Christianity. A particular feature is the integration of the coinage of the eastern provinces into the discussion of the Empire as a whole. A final section describes the end of Roman coinage with the disintegration of the Empire in the fifth century AD.
Collectors of Roman coins, social and economic historians and all those interested in Roman history will find this a source of valuable information and a lucid survey of a complex historical subject.
Our Price: £20.00
Here's the second new book from Spink, "Coinage in the Greek World" by Ian Carradice and Martin J. Price. -Editor
The development and use of coinage in the Greek world is surveyed in this book from its introduction in the 7th century BC to the late Hellenistic period. Coins can illuminate many facets of history and here the focus is on the reasons why they were circulated and how they were used. As a result, there is a wealth of information that has been gathered in one place for the first time.
An opening chapter introduces the study of Greek coins, outlining the development of modern methods of research. This is followed by chapters discussing the invention of coinage and its spread to all parts of the Greek world. Coinage production and design and the role of coins in the life of people are then discussed, followed by chapters on the Classical period, Alexander the Great and the late Hellenistic world.
As well as being a succinct and readable account for students and collectors of coins, all those interested in the ancient world should find this a fresh and stimulating source of information.
Our Price: £20.00
From London, Philip Mernick writes:
I think this is the first UK coin magazine just available as download. Coin News publishes an electronic edition but, I think, only for purchasers of the paper edition. At £2.99 for a single issue or £9.99 for 4 issues it is competitive. I will have to “buy” one and see the quality of the contributors.
Below is a copy of the press release. -Editor
NEW DIGITAL COIN COLLECTING MAGAZINE!
Coin Collecting Magazine is your indispensable, interactive guide to coins, providing in-depth features on every aspect of collecting coins from around the world.
The first issue includes the following fascinating features:
Editor Matthew Hill said: 'With up-to-date news on coin discoveries, details of the latest new coins, the latest prices and coin auctions, plus expert advice and opinion, the digital magazine is a must-read for anyone with an interest in numismatics and coins. We're really excited about this new publication and are sure it will prove popular with coin collectors.'
In a fantastic iPad-friendly format, Coin Collecting Magazine gives readers an interactive, engaging experience:
Search for ‘Coin Collecting Magazine’ in Newsstand and enjoy your essential guide to the world of coins
To order from the iTunes store, see: Coin Collecting Magazine
Anne E. Bentley, Curator of Art at the Massachusetts Historical Society writes:
For anyone in your readership who is researching and publishing Revolutionary War material, have I got a website for them...The Massachusetts Historical Society has just completed a project to document and index an online version of the newspapers of Boston merchant and Son of Liberty, Harbottle Dorr. For an overview of the project, go to www.masshist.org/dorr/ and explore—his comments will entertain and enlighten!
Early newspapers are a valuable historical record in themselves, but a collection of newspapers annotated by a contemporary citizen is especially interesting and useful. -Editor
This collection is comprised of 805 newspaper issues primarily published between 1765 and 1776 in Boston and surrounding towns. High quality digital images of 3,969 newspaper and pamphlet pages are available.
Beginning in 1765, and continuing over a dozen years, Harbottle Dorr, Jr., a merchant and a member of the Sons of Liberty, collected, annotated, and indexed newspapers and pamphlets. He wrote that he sought “to form a political history” and arranged his collection into four volumes. See the collection outline for an overview of each volume.
Dorr was well-versed in the heated politics of the day and he annotated many newspaper pages with his opinions, cross-references to articles elsewhere in his collection, and sometimes noted the identities of anonymous contributors to the newspapers. Dorr also systematically indexed the contents of his collection, writing 4,969 index terms on 133 index pages. Digital images and electronic transcriptions are available for Dorr’s handwritten index pages. Search Dorr’s index to his collection of newspapers and pamphlets.
To view the collection, see: www.masshist.org/dorr/
THE BOOK BAZARRE
Michael Schmidt submitted this note regarding Joe Boling's question on whether Proof Dollars are being made with segmented collars. Thanks! -Editor
The Proof President dollars have been made with segmented collars since they began in 2007 and the NA dollars since 2009. If you examine the edges of the coins you can see the vertical lines on the edge that separate the edge segments (As you can also see on the Saint-Gaudens eagles and double eagles.)
There are three segments to each collar, one with the date and mintmark, one with E PLURIBUS UNUM, and the last with IN GOD WE TRUST in 2007 and 2008, and 13 stars since 2009. (There is also a small difference between the 2007 and 2008 edges with the addition of two pellets on the edge, on the business strike edges. I do not know if they made that addition on the proof collars.)
Initially the three segments were all the same with the exception of the inscriptions. But this led to a problem in 2007 when two of the segments on one of the presses striking proof Jefferson dollars were swapped so instead of 2007 S E PLURIBUS UNUM IN GOD WE TRUST, it reads 2007 S IN GOD WE TRUST E PLURIBUS UNUM. A small number of these proof were made and got out. The shape of the edge segments were then altered so that it was no longer possible to install them in the wrong order.
For some reason these proof errors never got much press and I think most collectors don't even know they exist.
There's a nice discussion of segmented collars in Roger Burdette's new book From Mine to Mint. Here's an image from the book. -Editor
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: APRIL 28, 2013: Are Proof Dollars Made With Segmented Collars? (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v16n17a08.html)
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: BOOK REVIEW: FROM MINE TO MINT (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v16n17a06.html)
Errata in April 29, 2013 Issue
Joe Boling writes:
You have amalgam spelled amalgram twice in your review of Burdette's book.
And so I do! Oops! That misspelling is not in Roger's book. I copied and pasted from his electronic version hoping to avoid such mistakes, but apparently my spell checker was being "helpful". Sorry. -Editor
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: BOOK REVIEW: FROM MINE TO MINT (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v16n17a06.html)
The Philadelphia Inquirer published a story this week about the reinstallation of the columns from the Second Philadelphia Mint. It has a great photo of the columns being installed. -Editor
PIECE BY PIECE, the six towering marble columns that for years had graced the Old York Road entrance to Albert Einstein Medical Center have carefully been reinstalled at the Logan campus.
The Greek columns, each 24 feet tall and 3 feet wide, are known as the Strickland Columns. They had been part of the now-demolished Second United States Mint, built in 1829 on Chestnut Street near Juniper, which was designed by the architect William Strickland.
The mint was sold in 1902, but the Ionic-style columns were donated to Einstein in 1904. Then in 2000, the columns were removed from Einstein because of road reconstruction and placed in storage until earlier this month.
Now, the columns stand guard at Einstein's main entrance, towering over a parklike setting just off Broad Street, with orange and yellow flowers blooming.
One sunny afternoon last week, Kisha Crowder was sitting in a gazebo outside the hospital with her 6-year-old daughter and the 12-year-old daughter of a friend.
Damien Woods, a spokesman for Einstein, said the return of the Strickland Columns is the first phase of a plan to redesign the park area where they now stand. The medical center will create a new sitting area and install new landscaping to provide visitors and employees with a peaceful place to enjoy the outdoors.
To read the complete article, see:
Iconic columns return to Einstein Medical Center
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: SECOND PHILADELPHIA MINT COLUMNS STANDING TALL ONCE AGAIN (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v16n16a11.html)
THE BOOK BAZARRE
Regarding my question of how the Haymarket shrapnel was embedded in the token pictured last week, Joe Boling writes:
You will note that the shrapnel on the Haymarket bombing token does not show through on the other side. Just lay the planchet in the press, drop a piece of shrapnel on it, and strike the piece - the extra piece is embedded in the token.
The simplest explanation that fits the facts is likely the best. This makes a lot of sense. I was clearly overthinking the problem. Thanks! -Editor
Alan V. Weinberg writes:
With regard to bomb-related numismatics, aside from the often-seen Haymarket Riot bomb relic 1886 token, I distinctly recall and physically handled a 1917-dated gold multi-part suspension pinback badge , approximately 3" in length with a center mounted diamond, awarded (engraved) to a Los Angeles police officer for apprehending an "anarchist" throwing a bomb in that city and saving lives. This was all in the engraved reverse inscription. It was in a Stack's auction perhaps twenty years ago or sold by Tony Terranova to the late Seymour ("Sy") Finkelstein of New York City and Jupiter, Florida, a good friend. It is still in his significant numismatic estate.
Apparently bomb-throwing anarchists plagued the U.S. around the year 1917 from my knowledge of US history, doubtless brought on by the mob-induced anarchy in Russia at the time which created the Communist regime.
Does anyone else recall this item, or know which sale it was in? -Editor
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: BOMB BLAST NUMISMATIC SOUVENIRS (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v16n17a07.html)
Boston Marathon medal sales on eBay are causing a stir, XXX -Editor
Several ads have cropped up on the auction website listing medals from the April 15 race, many of them for hundreds of dollars and up to $1,000. None of several sellers contacted for this story responded to e-mails, but all of the ads claim either that the medal is authentic or that the seller ran the race and received his or her medal despite the explosions that killed three people and injured more than 260.
Two medals were still for sale Tuesday evening. Several other auctions had ended without a buyer. One seller said the proceeds would go to the American Red Cross of Eastern Massachusetts.
One listing said, "I ran the race and this was handed to me at the finish." Another said, "I trained hard, ran and received this medal. Selling to run again next year. This is for shops and collectors of memorabilia."
One eBay user issued a fake listing with nothing for sale, using it to chastise the medal sales and suggesting the medals were not earned by the sellers.
Jon Vizena, a photographer and runner of ultra marathons (races longer than the 26.2-mile marathon distance) said anyone who would sell their Boston Marathon paraphernalia without donating the profits to charity is "a disgrace."
Added Vizena, 31, of Boston, "Monetary gain from an act of terror is disrespect at the highest level, utterly disgusting."
Some runners said the race community was abuzz over the sales, but representatives of the big races, including those in New York and Chicago, would not comment on the eBay listings.
"What individuals choose to do with their runner medals is, and always has been, up to their discretion," said Marc Davis, communications manager for the Boston Marathon.
To read the complete article, see: Sales of Boston Marathon medals on eBay stir buzz (http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/04/30/boston-marathon-medals-ebay/2125299/)
Boston Marathon medal sales on eBay are causing a stir, XXX -Editor
Regarding eBay's apparent banning of all Cuban coin and banknotes, Ralph Lanham writes:
eBay is a very good example of the "Big Brother" use of computers. I had listed a real nice pin from athletic activities in the 1930's that had among other countries' flags the German flag with Swastika. They scanned the photo and took it down and threatened me if I put it back up. I have also heard of this happening to early Boy Scout medals with the Swastika. They are clueless when it comes to collectibles. I moved a lot of items to eBid, which is based in the U.K.
Ken Barr writes:
eBay is quite generic in its rejection message. When I recently tried to list an American Bank Note Company souvenir card that I have been selling on eBay for well over a decade ("ABNC souvenir card SO 84 FUN 1992 Cuba 1889 50 centavos note Columbus woman"), it was rejected with the message "240. The item cannot be listed or modified. The title and/or description may contain improper words, or the listing or seller may be in violation of eBay policy."
Even though it is an American product, and depicts a 120+ year old banknote, eBay won't let it go through ... Rather than fight them, I've just removed this product from my eBay rotation.
This reminds me of the flap a few years ago when eBay put an "electronic payment required" policy in effect. They prohibited the use of the words "cash" and "checks" in the title and item description. eBay tweaked their software very quickly when the music sellers howled that all of their Johnny Cash CD listings were being rejected ...
Orlando Pino, signing himself as "Numismatist, Philatelist, US Citizen, Cuban Expatriate" sent his own letter to eBay and provided a copy for The E-Sylum. Thanks. It's lengthy, but here's an excerpt. . -Editor
As a Cuban American and United States Citizen, I would like to thank you for your eBay’s enforcement of our laws with regard to the Trading with the Enemy Act (and subsequent laws on embargoed goods) recently implemented by eBay as the “Embargoed goods and prohibited countries policy”. It is truly reassuring to know that such a well known corporation as eBay will stand by the laws of our land.
I have some concerns and comments about the inclusion of all of the Cuban items. This topic has to be broken down into First Republic and Second Republic coins, stamps, and paper money. First Republic refers to items minted in the United States prior to the embargo in 1963, while Second Republic refers to items minted after the embargo in 1963.
First, it was a little surprising that this policy was implemented without any advanced notice that would have given us an opportunity to question it before it took effect. The first I learned of the policy was on the day it took effect, April 9, 2013, as I attempted to list additional First Republic coins after selling seven other First Republic coins without controversy.
In the words of a Chinese Proverb that says “Do not remove a fly from a friend’s forehead with a hatchet”, this policy, with respect to Cuba at least, is using a hatchet to remove a fly from the friendly foreheads of loyal sellers, buyers, and collectors of First Republic coins, stamps, and paper money.
I truly hope eBay can find a way to ensure compliance with the law while permitting us to sell and buy the objects of our beloved hobby without fear of being labeled outlaws because we love our First Republic coinage, paper money, and stamps.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: EBAY BANS LISTINGS OF CUBAN COINS AND BANKNOTES (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v16n17a10.html)
In our March 24, 2013 issue we discussed a new version of the "Liberty Dollar". The infamous coins were made by Bernard von NotHaus, who got in hot water with the Feds over them. The new version is being made by Joseph VaughnPerling of California. In the article I asked "Is vonPerling infringing on a von NotHaus copyright?"
Well, web site visitor Joseph vonPerling writes:
I read with interest your article. I noticed that you had posted a question there as in regards to copyrights of the images used for the New Liberty Dollar silver piece. Thank you for asking this. The copyrighted images are used with permission from the copyright holder.
If you have any additional questions, I would be happy to answer them.
This is what I love best about an open Internet forum like The E-Sylum - the opportunity to hear directly from those in a position to truly know the answer to a question. I'm glad Mr. vonPerling found us. And since he offered to answer additional questions, here are the next ones I had for him:
"Who is the artist who designed the new Liberty Dollar? Is this the same artist who created the original Liberty Dollar?"
"What manufacturer makes them", and in what quantities are they being struck?" -Editor
Mr. vonPerling writes:
Although I am not inclined to disclose my business partners without first discussing it with them, I can tell you that I have the utmost respect for them and they were carefully selected after extensive research both on the parts of the manufacturing that are not done in house, and the licensing of the images which were not created in house.
I am personally responsible for the design, but have received the benefit of a great number of experts in the field of numismatics, mintmasters, and of course the careful study of the design characteristics and philosophic rationale for the Original Liberty Dollars. The Original Liberty Dollar's magnificent design was the pinnacle of a career of design and monetary architecture by one of the greatest mintmasters of our time. If I could have made it exactly the same, that's what I would have done. As it turns out, I had the additional benefit of an array of legal counsel who assisted in analyzing every element of the design and its bearing on the still-as-yet-unsettled case against Mr. Von NotHaus.
I maintain the fundamental belief that von Nothaus was and is not guilty of any crime, but in all things, I respect and follow the advice of my attorneys on these matters of communication, distribution and design.
Consequently although we have advanced the production process where we can handle very large quantities, we have not yet opened for retail distribution and still only provide these silver pieces to qualified and contracted wholesale distributors. We are not making it very easy to buy these. Not yet at least. My apologies go out to those that have tried to buy them and been thwarted by our process.
We are reluctant to release any totals of production for the current year as they are still flowing out more each week, and we will make as many as folks want, but for our 2012 issue, only 1501 were made. Many/most were not presentable. Only a very few have been released as most all of them were simply stored as bullion by one of the bullion purchasers who was instrumental in advising us. They may have been melted down for all I know. We did retain a few and have sold them to select individuals who have been helpful in testing our distribution process.
Thank you again for your interest in New Liberty Dollars.
Thank you! -Editor
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: NEW LIBERTY DOLLARS INTRODUCED (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v16n12a21.html)
Dave Bowers forwarded this note about David Sundman's Littleton Coin Company. Thanks! -Editor
I’m pleased to announce that Littleton Coin has just been recognized as the 2013 Business of the Year in the retail/wholesale category by Business New Hampshire Magazine! This news is confidential until the magazine’s release on May 1st.
According to the magazine’s editor, Matt Mowry, award recipients are “successful businesses that are leaders in their industries and communities.” Littleton Coin was selected “for their leadership position in the coin collecting industry and for their outstanding philanthropy.
Dave Bowers adds:
My fine friend Dave Sundman is too modest to trumpet this, so I will on his behalf! Thanks and congratulations! You are a wonderful asset to the North Country of New Hampshire. As mentioned on the phone today, any town would give a proverbial eyetooth of a dynamic, well-run, well-liked company employing over 300, in a wonderful new building, and more!
David Sundman adds:
The item is a notice we distributed to our staff, and the important thing was that there was cake! Anyway, it is pretty nice to be selected, thanks to our wonderful staff and our management team.
Congratulations. I'm one of millions of collectors who owe part of their interest in the hobby to Littleton Coin Company and their ubiquitous little ads for coins. The company was started by David's father Maynard Sundman. I still remember the week in 1969 when a package from the company arrived at my doorstep in Pittsburgh. I was 10 years old. -Editor
The May-June 2013 issue of RNA News from the Rochester Numismatic Association features a nice article on pioneer collector John C. Lighthouse. It is from They Put Rochester on the Map, by Donovan A. Shilling (RNA President, 1975), Pancoast Press, 2012, with introductory and ending notes by RNA Editor Gerard Muhl. It is republished here in its entirety with the permission of the author. Thanks! -Editor
John C. Lighthouse began a leather manufacturing business in downtown Rochester that became known worldwide for its horse collars and halters. He also made mail pouches for the U. S. Post office. But according to RNA past President Donovan Shilling in his latest book, They Put Rochester on the Map, Light-house should also be remembered for his collection of rare coins. Investing profits from his lucrative business in coins, he amassed one of the nation's finest coin collections ever gathered during the Victorian Era. Following is an excerpt from Don's book:
He purchased many of the gold pieces from George Bauer, one of Rochester's pioneer coin dealers and an historic personality in his own right. Mr. Bauer remembers that the J. C. Lighthouse hoard of gold coins was kept in a small nail keg, with each coin protected with a careful wrap of tissue paper.
This fabulous numismatic treasure was brought to the public's attention in 1885 in a most unusual manner. Unfortunately, much of this wonderful collection was burglarized by the Garfields, a husband and wife team who made off with some of the collection's most prized pieces. They stole three 1792 half-dismes (dimes) made of melted silverware belonging to Martha Washington. They also pilfered several rare quarters, each listing for more than $500 in 1885 dollars. These they spent at cash value to enter a stage show at the Cook Opera House. The trial, held at the Monroe County Court House, established that the collection's value exceeded $60,000, not including gold medals and rare papal coins. It took many months to recover most of the rare coins. A substantial portion of the Rochester Savings Bank's vault was then used by Mr. Lighthouse to shelter his irreplaceable collection. It was newspaper accounts of the trial that brought national attention to J.C.'s special hobby interest.
To better understand the nature and value of the Lighthouse coin collection we use J.C.'s own words: "I began collecting in 1860, and my collection today weighs four hundred pounds. My U.S. series from 1793 to 1800 is as fine as I could purchase; from 1801 to 1857 all pieces are uncirculated; and from 1858 to now, all are in proof condition (highly polished first mint strikes) and in duplicate. In the U.S. gold series I lack some of the great rarities, but had I obtained these, the rest of my collection would be more limited and many younger numismatists would someday not have two or three of the same pieces to study. With every coin I have prepared a history card, so that some-day interest to study a series further might be realized."
With his intense interest in the field, John C. Lighthouse was soon recognized by the numismatic community. In 1903, he became member #479 of the venerable American Numismatic Association. In 1904, he was elected to the Board of Trustees for that organization. Following these honors, he decided to travel west in pursuit of a new interest, California gold coins and tokens. In 1905, J. C. settled in San Francisco. There, a new chapter in his life was written. Farran Zerbe, a famous coin collector of national stature, hearing that J. C. was now a resident of the city by the bay, requested that he be permitted to inspect the Lighthouse Collection.
We may remember that it was early on the morning of April 18, 1905, that San Francisco was devastated by its great earthquake and resulting fire. In a letter he received from John Lighthouse following the disaster, Zerbe quoted, "Mr. Lighthouse escaped the fire but writes that his home was severely damaged by the quake: 'Women folks scared to death, chinaware and bric-a-brac all broken.' Mr. Lighthouse's letter, just received, gives me the first information I have had in regard to my insistence on seeing his collection, proving the factor by which it was pre-served. Had it been returned to the safes (Safe Deposit Co.) from which he removed it to show me, melted bullion would have told the story of its fate." Thus fate, through the intervention of Farran Zerbe, prevented the destruction of many of our country's finest coins, while the Safe Deposit Company and all its monetary contents were devastated and turned to a melted ruin. We're not sure if the fire may have also destroyed Mr. Lighthouse's complete collection of fractional notes and "greenback'' currency.
On September 9, 1909, John C. Lighthouse passed away at age 65. As the Horse Collar King, he was able to make a fortune avidly pursue his hobby for forty-nine years, and earn fame in his own time. The 1936 auction of a portion of his collection was conducted by J. C. Morgenthau & Company in New York City. It oversaw the sale of more than 660 choice proof-finished United States coins. Few collectors today can boast of such a fine collection.
Had he lived three years more until 1912 who can say that he might not have preceded George French as the first RNA president? Either way, the club now does have a John C. Lighthouse as President, but one hundred years later.
Would any of our readers know the current whereabouts of Lighthouse-pedigreed coins? -Editor
For more information on the Rochester Numismatic Association, see: www.the-rna.com
CoinUpdate published an article Monday about a Congressman's bill to require the U.S. cent, nickel, dime and quarter to be made of steel. -Editor
On April 25, 2013, Rep. Steve Stivers of Ohio introduced a bill in the House of Representatives which seeks to immediately alter the metallic composition of the one-cent, five cent, ten-cent, and twenty-five cent coins. The legislation would require all four coins to be minted in American steel, with the cent coated in copper to preserve the current appearance.
The bill H.R. 1719 has two cosponsors, Rep. Tim Ryan and Patrick Tiberi, both from Ohio, and has been referred to the House Financial Services Committee. Ohio is ranked among the top three states for steel production and processing. The cent currently has a composition of 97.5% zinc and 2.5% copper and cost the United States Mint 2.0 cents to produce and distribute during the most recent fiscal year. The smallest denomination accounted for 64.2% of all circulating coin shipments in FY2012, with more than 5.8 billion units shipped to Federal Reserve Banks.
The five-cent coin or "nickel" currently has a composition of 75% copper and 25% nickel and cost the US Mint 10.09 cents to produce and distribute in the latest fiscal year.
The dime and quarter both have a composition of 91.67% copper and 8.33% nickel and each cost less than their respective face values to produce. Although the text of the bill is not yet available, a press release from Rep. Stivers notes that the majority of the copper, nickel, and zinc used to produce the cent, nickel, dime, and quarter is imported from Canada. The bill would specifically require the coins be made of American steel going forward. The appearance of the coins would not change, just the materials used to make them. The press release states that according to the House Financial Services Committee, the United States would save up to $433 million over 10 years by changing the composition of the coins to steel.
Not change the appearance? Have they seen the corrosion on 1943 steel cents? -Editor
To read the complete article, see: Bill Seeks Steel Cents, Nickels, Dimes, and Quarters (news.coinupdate.com/bill-seeks-steel-cents-nickels-dimes-and-quarters-1952/)
Dick Johnson submitted this article on a core coining technology, heat treating. Thanks! -Editor
CORE TECHNOLOGY YOU NEVER HEARD OF
If I asked 100 numismatists to list the most important technologies in the making of coins and medals -- the core knowledge -- I'll wager not one would mention Heat Treating (unless, of course he worked in the metal working field like, say, Craig Sholley).
Yet we would not have any coins and medals were it not for Heat Treating. This holds true for dies. Dies must be made of steel; they need to be softened to cut or impressed an image, then hardened for use in striking. Often, more so for medals, they need to be resoftened -- as to change some lettering, or a date -- then rehardened and placed back into production.
Fortunately, iron and steel can be softened and hardened at our will. Mankind has learned to abide by nature's rules We're thankful for the Iron Age, where we have had 4000 years of experience, and for early blacksmiths who first learned how to use that iron to their advantage.
Early die makers knew how to employ iron technology. They were making dies 600 years BC and making hubs 530 years BC. All by the knowledgeable use of Heat Treating, basically conditioning dies by heating and cooling.
This hardening of dies -- by heating and cooling -- must by closely controlled for time and temperature. The procedure requires a vat of hot molten salt in which the die is immersed. It is removed only when it reaches a certain temperature. Old timers could tell the temperature by the color of the steel, it was ready when it was a straw color. Modern equipment has an indicating pyrometer to reveal tan exact temperature.
Out of the vat, quickly immersed into cold water (or oil for oil hardened steel). It must be allowed to return to room temperature slowly on its own, called "normalizing."
A friend, Paul, tells of a client who had him cut a Columbus medal The client was late getting the medal into production. Paul heat treated the die, but the client demanded custody of the die immediately.. It was winter,. He took the die outside, but was back within days. It broke on first strike because it was not normalized properly.
Terms of annealing, quenching, tempering, drawing are used in heat treating in addition to normalizing. Tempering, for example, is to harden a die deeper into the internal metal mass for greater strength. Time and temperature requires even more tight control. Workers in the heat treating department have to know what they are doing.
Hardness is tested with a hardness tester. Brinnel and Rockwell are the two most popular. They employ an "indenter" a hard steel ball or diamond point to press into the metal being tested. A gauge reveals the pressure required to indent the surface.
Ironically, for large art medals which require multiple striking to bring up a high relief, both bronze and silver, react to a heating and slow cooling -- the opposite of steel -- to soften them for a subsequent blow. These metals become "work hardened" after one or two blows. Further striking would not move any more surface metal. You must know nature's rules.
Numismatists should know this core knowledge.
Another core coining technology collectors should be aware of is the portrait lathe. Len Augsburger's column in the May 2013 issue of the E-Gobrecht describes an interesting pattern coin which exhibits evidence of portrait lathe markings: a Liberty Seated Cent. -Editor
A Liberty Seated cent? Yes, Virginia, there is such a thing. In 1853, the Mint got the idea that different compositions might be used for large cents, and that perhaps the large, heavy coppers could be replaced with something more manageable. The Mint began experimenting with German silver, a combination of copper, nickel, and zinc. The alloy has a passable resemblance to silver, but in reality contains no silver at all. Pattern cents were produced in 1853 and 1854 with varying percentages of copper, nickel and zinc. The 1854 edition is the one of interest to Liberty Seated collectors. The obverse for this pattern was created by reducing an 1854 seated dollar via portrait lathe.
The portrait lathe traced the 1854 dollar with a stylus moving in a circular fashion around the coin. This design was then transferred onto the pattern cent die, with the circular lathe lines imparted as well. In practice, the lathe lines would be polished out on the die, leaving no trace of the reproduction. In this particular case, the Mint was more interested in trying out different alloys, and in haste neglected the polishing. Even on modern coinage, lathe lines are sometimes seen - I have a 1996-D Lincoln cent pulled out of circulation which demonstrates the effect, although to be sure it is much less pronounced than on the 1854 cent pattern.
Among Liberty Seated coinage, the Scott Confederate half dollar restrikes (executed in 1879 using 1861 half dollars) frequently come with evidence of lathe lines, although this is thought to have occurred when Scott ground off the reverses of the coins before restriking them with his own reverse (which was a reproduction of the Confederate half dollar).
Back to the 1854 cent, these of course never caught on, and the Mint decided that a smaller format piece in copper would work just as well, and so the 1856 flying eagle cents were born shortly thereafter. To be sure, the coinage was debased, with a smaller amount of metal representing the same face value - governments are good at such things - the Liberty Seated silver coinage, in 1853, had of course also been reduced in weight. Nevertheless, the German silver experiments of 1853 and 1854 leave us with a curiosity in the Liberty Seated series, a coin that tells a story about the technical production of the Mint in mid-19th century.
The E-Gobrecht is the electronic newsletter of the Liberty Seated Collectors Club, and the May 2013 issue is #100! Congratulations! And here's a larger image of the coin, where the circular markings are readily apparent. -Editor
For more information on the Liberty Seated Collectors Club, see: www.lsccweb.org
Numismatourist Howard Berlin submitted this update on his book and a report on his recent travels. Thanks! -Editor
I finally finished my Numismatourist book and it’s at the publisher for processing. It covers upwards of 170 or museums in about 75 countries that report to have numismatic exhibitions (coins, paper money, tokens, and/or medals). There are more than 300 images. Further information can be seen (e.g., the preface) on www.numismatourist.com. Additional pictures can be seen on the book’s Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Numismatourist/403886586362375 .
With the book finished, my wife and I visited Dublin, Belfast, and returned to London for a few days before heading back to the U.S. While in London, I had a chance to stop by the offices of A.H. Baldwin & Sons, the well-known auction house, tucked away in the corner of Adelphi Terrace near the Embankment tube station.
I wanted to meet Caroline Newton, who works in Baldwin’s PR and Marketing Department. She helped provide an image of a rare Islamic coin for my book. Wayne, your E-Sylum editor, has also had the pleasure of meeting Caroline when he was temporarily working in London a few years ago.
In the April 2013 eNEWS from the Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists, editor Pat McBride notes that
PAN president Tom Uram will be making the trip to Schaumburg IL for the Central States Show. His trip is duel purposed. He is taking material to promote PAN and will also be entering an exhibit, Morse code on Money.
I've been reading a fascinating book on the life of Samuel F. B. Morse. QUICK QUIZ: how many numismatic items featuring or related to Morse Code can you name? If you saw Tom's exhibit at Central States you'll have a head start on this one. Next week I'll have some excerpts from an article Tom has written on the subject.
Speaking of PAN, the PAN show has grown and grown over the years, and next week's event is nearly sold out despite the conflict with the American Numismatic Association show in New Orleans. Here's an article about the show from a local newspaper.
To Pat Vetter and Blaine Shiff, who each will be participating at the Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists Coin Show & Convention, set for next week at the Monroeville Convention Center, there is more to collecting coins than the value.
They think that along with “heads and tails,” there are artistic and historical sides to coins, as well.
And the same is true of many collectors heading to the free twice-a-year show, which offers a chance to buy, sell or trade items with more than 60 dealers, said Shiff, the show's bourse chairman. The bourse is the sales floor.
Along with being interested in the value of a numismatic piece, which can include silver dollars, gold coins, U.S. coins, foreign coins and ancient coins, many collectors, such as Shiff, care about the design of a piece.
“They're exquisite pieces of art. I really appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into a coin or token,” said Shiff, who owns www.cybercoins.net with his brother, Brad Shiff.
Those attending next week's show, which runs from 1 to 6 p.m. May 9, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 10 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 11, also can find tokens, medals, paper money and bullion, which refers to gold, silver, platinum and palladium.
To read the complete article, see:
Collectors see historic, artistic aspects of coins
Coming soon is another exhibit of interest to numismatists. Odyssey Marine is opening an exhibit in New York's Times Square of coins and other artifacts the firm has recovered from shipwrecks. -Editor
Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. (NasdaqCM: OMEX), a pioneer in the fields of deep-ocean shipwreck and offshore mineral exploration, announced today that the first public unveiling of silver recovered from the SS Gairsoppa shipwreck will be held when its multi-media traveling exhibit opens at Discovery Times Square in New York City on May 24, 2013.
SHIPWRECK! features hundreds of authentic artifacts and historical treasures recovered from Odyssey’s deep-ocean projects from around the world. Odyssey’s world-class archaeological work is showcased through interactive elements, graphic displays and an enhanced theater experience.
Silver recovered from the World War II-era SS Gairsoppa shipwreck, which lies approximately three miles deep, will be on display. This is the first public showing of some of the 1,218 silver bars (approximately 48 tons) of silver recovered to date from the Gairsoppa, which is the heaviest and deepest recovery of precious metal from a shipwreck in history.
In addition to the Gairsoppa silver, Odyssey is expanding the SHIPWRECK! Treasure Room to include a large selection of never-before-displayed coins from both the SS Republic and the “Tortugas” shipwrecks.
“We're really excited about bringing SHIPWRECK! to Discovery Times Square in New York City. Our team has discovered hundreds of shipwrecks in the deep ocean ranging from 2,000 year old Roman wrecks to WWII U-boats, and last year set a record by recovering 48 tons of silver from a shipwreck nearly three miles deep. One of our company's goals is to share our amazing work in the deep ocean with the general public, and Discovery Times Square is a premiere venue. SHIPWRECK! allows visitors to get up close and personal with the artifacts we’ve discovered and to learn about the team, tools and technology necessary to explore the deep ocean,” said Greg Stemm, Odyssey Chief Executive Officer.
SHIPWRECK! allows visitors to experience the thrill of shipwreck exploration while investigating some of the world’s greatest maritime stories and mysteries. Featuring authentic shipwreck artifacts recovered by Odyssey in the Atlantic Ocean, English Channel and Mediterranean Sea, the exhibit takes visitors on a voyage through more than 2,000 years of seafaring history. A variety of authentic shipwreck treasure, decorative porcelain figurines, personal items like combs and tooth brushes and even the 300-year-old logarithmic calculator on a folding rule – the oldest ever recovered on a shipwreck site – are on display in the exhibit.
To read the complete article, see: Odyssey's SHIPWRECK! Exhibit to Open at Discovery Times Square (www.shipwreck.net/pr263.php)
In his Remember When blog Harvey Stack has begun recounting the story of the Davis-Graves Collection of U.S. Coins, which his family's firm sold in 1954. Here's an excerpt from the first part of the series. -Editor
Stack’s received word that our bid for the Davis-Graves Collection had been accepted and that we were to pick up the collection in a few days. My uncle wasn’t feeling up to traveling and my dad had obligations at the shop so I was elected to go to Massachusetts, pack the collection, and get it home as fast as I could.
On a Sunday evening I drove from New York to Lawrence, Massachusetts, a trip that took about six hours. I stayed in a motel overnight and the following morning went to the address where the collection was housed. When I got to the area I saw an immense group of buildings, surrounded by a fence, with a main entrance off a service street. I saw that the building was an abandoned factory called Davis Knitting Machinery and ran several large city blocks in each direction. I found the entrance to the enclosure, which had a caretaker house as the gatekeeper’s home. I identified myself and was escorted to a large courtyard.
The caretaker told me the history of the place. Up until World War II it was one of the primary knitting machine factories in New England. They build all types of knitting machinery for the trade, from looms down to needles. As it was all now abandoned, I asked what had happened. The caretaker told me how after World War II, the major knitting mills moved out of New England and went to southern states such as Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia where labor was abundant and lower salaries could be paid. The whole industry abandoned the New England area. The Davis factory was a relic and it was unbelievable to see such an immense factory left idle.
As my history lesson ended, we went through large empty rooms, ending in an office at the end of the building, larger than a tennis court, set with a desk for the president at one end, various bookshelves, a huge conference table, and a large cabinet with beautifully carved doors. It was a splendid room, still furnished and maintained, yet not used for several years since the company had moved away. The caretaker led me to the cabinet, unlocked the doors, and inside were 70 or 80 flat drawers, each about ¾ of an inch high. I opened one and there before me were half dollars from 1794 on, mostly in Mint State. Each of the drawers housed various series of United States coins, from the first year of issue to the early 20th century, laid out on tissue lining. Some had tags with special notes on them -- reference numbers, pedigrees, etc.
We'll stay tuned for more! -Editor
To read the complete article, see: Remember When: Bringing Home A Coin Collection In 1953 (stacksbowers.com/Blogs/remember-when-bringing-home-coin.html)
An article by Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker in CoinWeek caught my eye with some great photos of U.S. coins featuring ships. Here's an excerpt - be sure to read the complete article online. -Editor
Outside of the eagle, Lady Liberty and allegorical Native American motifs, no symbol is used on American coins as prolifically as ships. The story of this country – indeed, the story of the New World – is full of great voyages, larger-than-life personalities, and the mighty ships that made it all possible. The following is a short history of some of the more significant vessels and their corresponding coins.
The Halve Maen (Half Moon) – The Netherlands – 1608-1618
In late summer 1609, the newly-built Dutch flyboat the Halve Maen entered New York harbor after sailing up and down the mid-Atlantic coast of North America. The ship’s captain was Henry Hudson, an Englishman hired by the Dutch officials of the United East India Company to covertly discover a shortened eastern trade route.
Hudson had attempted to find such a route twice before, and believed he was heading towards Cathay (China) when he arrived at North America’s northeastern shores. Hudson and Halve Maen made it all the way to present day Albany along the “Hudson” River before deciding his ship could no longer proceed up the shallow waters. So he turned back, finding no route to the Orient.
Amazingly, Halve Maen was in service for only eleven years. The ship was attacked and destroyed during an English attack on Jakarta, Indonesia in 1618. Replicas have been built over the years, including one commissioned by the Netherlands in 1909 to celebrate the 300th anniversary of Hudson’s voyage. That ship outlasted the original by fourteen years, before a fire consumed it in 1934. Today, another replica (built in 2005) sails along the Hudson River, owned and operated by a non-profit organization.
Halve Maen appears on the 1935 Hudson Sesquicentennial half dollar, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the city of Hudson, New York. It was designed by Chester Beach from a medal he’d previously designed to mark the 1909 Hudson-Fulton Celebration.
Other ships featured include the Santa María, the Mayflower, the Kalmar Nyckel of Sweden, the Susan Constant, Godspeed, and Discovery, and even George Washington’s rowboat, as seen on the New Jersey state quarter. The authors mention an interesting fact about the famous image that I don't recall reading elsewhere. -Editor
As a side note, the New Jersey state quarter turns out to be significant for another reason. When we wrote our piece on African-American representation on U.S. coins, we didn’t know about Leutze’s painting. Specifically, we didn’t know that the third figure rowing at the front of the boat is an African immigrant, possibly meant to resemble a free black seaman from one of the northern states. This makes him the first African-American symbolic figure on a circulating U.S. coin. The first real, historic African-American personage to appear on a circulating U.S. coin was York, of Lewis and Clark fame, on the 2003 Missouri state quarter.
So for a generation who grew up collecting the ten-year run of state quarters, the 1999 New Jersey quarter continues the Mint’s long tradition of celebrating great ships, and for those who like to know the story behind the design, the New Jersey quarter is cooler now than ever.
So how did the Swedish ship the Kalmar Nyckel end up on a U.S. coin? See the article to find out. And be sure to check out their list of "Honorable Mentions", a chronological list some thirty other ships seen on U.S. and colonial American coins and medals. -Editor
To read the complete article, see: The Great Ships of American Coinage (www.coinweek.com/commemoratives/the-great-ships-of-american-coinage/)
Frank Draskovic writes:
Thanks for the mention of the Albert Medal. Below is more information from the catalog description, including the interesting citation perhaps of interest to your readers. In addition to the Albert Medal, the railway company promoted him to a higher paying position and the Carnegie Life Saving Foundation awarded him Ten Pounds as amelioration of the injuries and illness he suffered when saving the child. It realized 8500 Pounds plus buyer's fee.
AN ALBERT MEDAL GROUP OF THREE, consisting of Albert Medal 2nd Class in bronze, WWI British War Medal and Victory Medal. The Albert Medal (2nd Class in bronze) in original fitted case, engraved to the back "Presented by his Majesty to Arthur Eccleshall for Gallantry in Saving a Life at Bushbury Railway Station on the 2nd October 1908". BWM and Victory named "203972 PTE. A. Eccleshall S. Staffs R.".
Note: Arthur Eccleshall was awarded the Albert Medal for saving the life of a child at Bushbury Railway Station on the 2nd October 1908. Three children were crossing the tracks when Arthur saw a light engine approaching. Shouting to them, two cleared the tracks, the third, however, ran along the tracks in front. In response, Arthur jumped from the platform and managed to lift the child to safety before being struck by the engine, knocking him unconscious in the process. Albert went on to serve in WWI, and spent part of the war as a prisoner of war at Minden. He died in 1958 as a result of a heart attack, which he suffered while watching his beloved Wolverhampton Wanderers play at Molineux, aged 69.
With the group is also a small silver cross, engraved "Merit Medal, presented by Liverpool Weekly Post, to Arthur Eccleshall", together with an extensive array of related ephemera, to include a number of letters from the Home Office regarding the investigation and then eventual awarding of the Albert Medal, telegrams, newspaper clippings and original photographs of Arthur. Also included is a copy of 'Brave Railwaymen' by Allan Stainstreet signed by the author and dedicated to the family of Arthur, dated 25/11/88 (the book gives a full account of the story and award of the Albert Medal)
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: RARE ALBERT MEDAL BLOWS PAST AUCTION PRICE ESTIMATE (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v16n17a21.html)
THE BOOK BAZARRE
Here are some coin designs that came over the transom this week. My favorite is this one from the Royal Canadian Mint. Ordinarily my reaction to modern colorized coins is one of repulsion, but this one works in a big way. The color is a meaningful part of the design, not just slapped on like lipstick on a pig. And the chosen colors are gorgous. What's not to like? Here's the description from the May 2, 2013 World Mint News blog:
A new coin series will feature Butterflies of Canada, with the Canadian Tiger Swallowtail depicted on the first release. The design depicts an engraved and colored depiction of the butterfly resting on a dandelion. As an interesting first, the box for the coin uses a lenticular design so the butterfly will appear to be flapping its wings.
Each coin is struck in 99.99% silver with a weight of 28.02 grams and diameter of 40 mm. The maximum mintage is 10,000 coins, priced at $99.95 CAD. A silver plated 50-cent coin featuring the same design is also available with a mintage limit of 20,000 and price of $34.95.
To read the complete article, see: Royal Canadian Mint New Product Releases May 2013 (world.mintnewsblog.com/2013/05/royal-canadian-mint-new-product-releases-may-2013/)
Here are a few others sent by Pabitra Saha. Thanks!
Malta Gold Five Euro
Belgium Tour of Flanders
Seychelles Pope Francis coin
This item from the BBC News describes three recent finds which include a Roman gold solidus, a hoard of silver denarii and a medieval silver seal matrix. -Editor
Gold solidus of Emperor Theodosius I
A hoard of Roman gold and silver coins, described by an expert as a "lucky" find, have been discovered in Norfolk.
The gold solidus, found by a metal detector enthusiast in a field near Norwich, is thought to have been dropped or buried circa AD 410.
Adrian Marsden, a coin expert based at Norwich Castle Museum, said: "We see very few Roman gold coins. It would have a spending power of about £1,000."
"We see very few Roman gold coins, just two or three a year if we're lucky. It could be a purse loss, or there's always the chance they are part of a much bigger pot."
Items also declared treasure by Norfolk's assistant deputy coroner David Osborne included an Anglo-Saxon silver pin found in Scoulton, a Middle Bronze Age Gold Bead discovered in Salthouse and a hoard of 59 silver Roman coins that date from the Roman Republic to Tiberius, the second emperor of Rome.
A medieval gold pendant found in Foxley and a medieval silver seal matrix unearthed in Sustead, near Cromer, were also declared treasure.
"They often bear the name of the owner and sometimes other information such as the name of their father or a surname - for example 'Seal of Joan daughter of William' or 'Seal of Marriott Good'.
"Others, like this one, have appropriate but non-personal inscriptions, for example lel ami avet - you have a loyal friend. Religious inscriptions were also popular."
To read the complete article, see: Roman gold coin revealed in 'lucky' Norfolk treasure find (www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-norfolk-22346772)
Here's a more modern treasure find. Evelyn Mishkin forwarded this item about a man who discovered a secret safe in his grandparents' old farmhouse in Tennessee. -Editor
Last week, a Tennessee family embarked on a treasure hunt straight out of the movies -- and their amazing discoveries were posted to Reddit last night.
Just over a week ago, Reddit user evilenglish posted that he'd discovered a 'secret safe' in his grandparents' old farmhouse in Tennessee. The poster was helping his family clear out the house to prepare it for sale when he noticed a block of concrete on the floor of a closet below the staircase.
"This was very out of place since all of the downstairs flooring is hardwood," he wrote in his first post. "I pushed the carpet back further and saw a round cap with a circle indentation on it. I pulled off the cap and... A Secret Safe!"
Unable to open it, he decided to contact a locksmith as soon as his schedule would allow and post his findings, whatever they might be, for the thousands of Reddit users who had since begun following the story.
Among the findings were pocket watches, soggy money, boxes of jewelry, and dozens and dozens of collectible coins.
To read the complete article, see: Silver Coins, Money, Jewelry Discovered In Hidden Tennessee Family Safe (PHOTOS) (www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/01/tennessee-safe-unlocked-treasures-discovered_n_3195237.html)
Tom Kays forwarded another article on the story, and this one has more images. Tom writes:
A Secret Time Capsule from the Twentieth Century! - Boy, do I feel old!
No gold bars or rolls of 1909-S VDB cents, but looks like there's enough silver here to make a decent haul even after paying or the locksmith. Neat find. Luckily it was found by the family, not some future owner of the house. Remember folks, don't stash your stuff where not even your family knows where it is, or some stranger is in for a windfall someday. -Editor
To read the complete article, see: UNLOCKED! Secret Time Capsule Safe found in a Tennessee Farmhouse (www.messynessychic.com/2013/05/01/found-secret-time-capsule-safe-unlocked-in-a-tennessee-farmhouse/)
For avid readers who just can't bear to put that book down, here's an 8-year-old reader's invention for keeping books dry in the bath. -Editor
This ingenious technique for safeguarding books from falling in the bathtub was invented by redditor Crash-From-Space's 8-year-old daughter. The suction cup came from the plumbing aisle at Home Depot.
To read the complete article, see: 8-year-old's invention for keeping books dry in the bath (boingboing.net/2013/05/03/8-year-olds-invention-for-ke.html)
The technology for making coins involves three main steps after melting and refining the metal: preparing sheets of metal, cutting the sheets into blanks, and striking the blanks. From Greek and Roman times to the Renaissance, the technology employed in each step did not change. The metal, once brought to the desired standard, was hammered into a sheet, and then cut into squares with shears. The weight of each square was adjusted and it was then beaten into a round shape. The resulting blanks were then blanched to remove tarnish. Finally, the blanks were struck.