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The E-Sylum:  Volume 3, Number 46, November 5, 2000, Article 9

BINGHAM PAPERS LOCATED 

   In response to the question about Anne Bingham, Andrew 
   Pollack referred Mr. Goldsborough to the papers of 
   William Bingham (1752-1804) in the collections of the 
   Broome County Historical Society, Roberson Center, 
   Binghamton, NY. 

FILL IN THE <BLANK> COLLECTING 

   Dick Johnson writes: "Collecting coin albums, cloth mint bags, 
   bank deposit slips and other such peripheral money items is a 
   tacit expression that we are moving away from our "core" 
   interests. (I am never one to criticize what another collector 
   assembles as I have gathered some esoteric items myself in the 
   past, so I am not casting any stones from my glass house!). 
   But aren't we numismatists moving in the wrong direction? 

   Question:  What one denominator is common to all coins, 
   medals, tokens and paper money?  What is the one basic 
   CORE subject common to all numismatics?  What should we 
   know more about than any other in the field of numismatics 
   (and perhaps don't)?  Answer: Engraving. Yet how many 
   books, articles, numismatic writing have you seen (ever!) on 
   engraving? Shouldn't we be learning more about engraving 
   as a precept for all numismatic understanding? 

   Yet it is not easy researching engraving.  I have talked with 
   and interviewed both hand and machine engravers, those that 
   worked for Medallic Art when I worked there also, and 
   outside engravers.  I learned a little about their tools and 
   techniques but nothing about the history of engraving. 
   Engravers are craftsmen that can carve a little metal but 
   have little feeling for their heritage. One told me in his entire 
   lifetime he found only one book on engraving; "But it was in 
   German and I couldn't read it!" 

   Most books on engraving discuss the flat engraving for 
   printing. To distinguish this from die engraving for coins and 
   medals some call this "die sinking."  So I checked a number 
   of websites recently for both terms:   On eBay: no books, 
   3 pieces of equipment for die sinking, 3,625 entries on 
   engraving.  On Barns & Noble: 1 new book, 1 old on die 
   sinking, 337 and 7,747 for engraving.   On Yahoo: 9 entries 
   on die sinking, 382 on engraving.  On Abebooks: 1 on die 
   sinking, 14,661 on engraving.  On Google: 102,000 entries 
   on die sinking, 239,000 on engraving.  Not one book of 
   numismatic interest! 

   At ANS's Library Catalog I found 5 entries on die sinking: 
   two on die sinking errors, one on Anglo-Saxon, one on 
   Lauer -- a catalog from the German die sinking firm -- and 
   one on artistic die sinking in 1898.  I must admit I had read 
   none of the articles (but do own two copies of the Lauer 
   catalog listed, but do not consider this a source of information 
   on numismatic die sinking). 

   Point of all this:  I am concerned where we are headed. 
   Aren't we chasing a wider spreading ripple of peripheral 
   artifacts of questionable value when we should become more 
   knowledgeable about an important core interest, such as 
   engraving?  Is this the direction we want numismatics to go?" 

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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