Numismatic researcher David Lange, author of The Complete Guide to Lincoln Cents was cited in a newspaper article we quoted last week profiling coin designer Victor David Brenner. Lange submitted the following corrections to the article. -Editor I read the snippet about Victor Brenner which referenced my book, and I want to correct a few errors. This is the only one of my Complete Guide books which has never been updated, despite any claims by the current publisher and book dealers. There has never been more than one edition (1996), though it has gone through various printings, each one a bit poorer than the previous. As I have no interest in updating this title, I'm hoping that it will simply go out of print at some point.
In the nearly fifteen years which have passed since I wrote that book, some of the biographical information on Brenner has been refuted (there's that word again). I believe it was Bob Julian who exposed the falsehood of Brenner having been born Viktoras Barnauskus. It appears that he was always Victor Brenner, though I suspect that the European spelling would have been Viktor.
The article contained another obvious error in that Charles Barber did not retire; he died still in office in 1917. That was stated correctly in my book, and the author of the article cited must have just assumed that he retired. The tale of Brenner being imprisoned for making a duplicate seal and having to escape to America is almost certainly nonsense and should be stored in the same locker as Washington's chopping down of the cherry tree.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: NEWSPAPER PROFILES COIN DESIGNER VICTOR DAVID BRENNER (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v12n26a08.html)
Newspaper writers are notorious for getting their facts wrong, something which I guess is inevitable when working under deadline pressure. I'm glad Dave came forth to set us straight on those stories. But where in the world did they come from? How do you just make up a name like Viktoras Barnauskus? -Editor
Dave Lange adds:
The story still being rehashed by many writers today was published in, I believe, 1929. I'm not at my office where I have my article scrapbooks, but I remember Bob Julian outing some Lithuanian-American's account published in The Numismatist that year in which the author turned Brenner into some kind of Lithuanian-American folk hero. In a pre-internet era I simply repeated this material myself, something I will never do again.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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