The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 3, Number 3  January 16, 2000: 
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 


   We have two new subscribers this week:  Ed Price and 
   Jim N.  Welcome aboard!  

   Also, thanks to a couple helpful subscribers, Mike Grogan 
   is back in the fold.  This brings our subscriber count to 272. 


   Fred Lake reports: "The show went very well and Bill Murray 
   ran a fine NBS meeting."    The following notes are excerpted 
   from Bill's meeting report:  

   "Twenty-one persons were in attendance, nine of whom were 
   NBS members.  The highlight of the meeting was Fred Lake's 
   presentation, "What Books You Should Buy to Know What 
   Books You Should Buy."   Fred showed several well known 
   and not so well known bibliographies and evaluated each as 
   well as giving specifics as to how one might use, or perhaps 
   ignore,  each when involved in numismatic research. " 


   Darryl Atchison of County Cork, Ireland writes: "Is there any 
   chance you can get a copy of the text from Fred Lake's talk at 
   FUN regarding  'Which books to buy...' and have it posted to 
   me?  I would be glad to reimburse any postage costs incurred.  

   Alternatively, may I make a better suggestion that some of 
   these fabulous talks - including this one - that are given at 
   'NBS'  meetings be published in the Asylum.   With a 
   worldwide membership, it seems a shame that only a hardcore, 
   dedicated group which always seems able to travel to these 
   conventions (i.e. ANA, ANS, etc.) are able to partake of the 
   expertise which is passed along at these meetings.  

   No doubt the George Kolbe's and Charles Davis' of this world 
   could just as easily have presented talks on the same subject as 
   Fred, but for us people who are not quite as up-to-speed as 
   these fellows, these talks provide us with a valuable insight and 
   useful guidelines which assist us in our research and collecting."  

   Actually, Fred has indeed submitted a some notes from his talk, 
   which we plan to publish in first number of the year 2000 
   volume of The Asylum. 


   From the 1817 report of Mint Director R. Patterson to 
   President James Madison:  "The repairs of the Mint, which 
   you were pleased to authorize, are now nearly completed. A 
   substantial brick building has been erected on the site formerly 
   occupied by an old wooden building; and in the apparatus and 
   arrangement of machinery, which have been adopted, many 
   important improvements have been introduced.  Among these 
   is the substitution of a steam-engine, for the horse-power 
   heretofore employed.  A change which it is believed, will not 
   only diminish the expenses of the establishment, but greatly 
   facilitate all its principal operations." 


   Harold Welch writes: "I have taken to printing the E-Sylum - 
   one problem is that it prints with a very narrow margin on the 
   left and a very wide one on the right.  This causes considerable 
   difficulty if you want to bind it, or even three ring punch it. 
   Can the left margin be set wider?"  

   So cyberspace bumps up against the real world.  Well, I could 
   try something like that, but it's hard to please everyone.  A 
   better source for printing would be the archived versions of 
   The E-Sylum on our web site.  It's not up to date, but ultimately 
   all back issues will be posted there and can be printed with 
   wider margins.   Go to and click on 
   "E-Sylum Archive" 


   One book on bank history offered this week on ebay is 
   described by its seller as follows: "The book is in great 
   conditon for its age.  The inside is great, better then great. 
   and the outside cover is good the middle binding is starting 
   to give way." 


   In response to the story about the double-printed article, 
   Pete Smith writes: "I was going to submit something about 
   Brad Karoleff's column in Coin World but you got there first. 
   My copy also has his column printed twice.  I wonder if that 
   represents a new type of literature error and if that issue will 
   become a collector's item."  

   With tongue planted firmly in cheek, Ken Bressett writes: 
   "We have all been worried about the Y2K threat, and now it 
   is evident that the worst has happened.  Two Brad Karoleffs 
   is more than anyone should have to endure.  Is it possible that 
   this is a sign of the beginning of the end of the world? Or has it 
   happened and this is our punishment for past numismatic sins!?"  

   William T. Gibbs, COIN World News Editor writes: "Brad's 
   column appeared twice due to a computer-generated 
   production error (completely unrelated to Y2K, I hasten to 
   add). Brad's second column replaced Gerald Tebben's column, 
   which we are running in the Jan. 24 issue.   Jerry Tebben took 
   the mistake well. He's an editor at the Columbus Dispatch, so 
   he understands how these things happen." 


   Chuck Shepherd's syndicated "News of the Weird" column 
   describes this eyewitness account from the Oaklahoman 
   newspaper:  "Cowboy Pat Ratliff, age 78, won $1,700 from 
   three marks in Ardmore, Okla., by tearing a quarter in half. 
   To erase skepticism, Ratliff also took two quarters from the 
   reporter and tore those in half, each in less than 30 seconds." 
   Can any of you manly bibliophiles top that feat?  (Tearing 
   books in half doesn't count - besides it's frowned upon in 
   our circles).  

   Speaking of mutilated coins, the Carnegie Museum in 
   Pittsburgh has an 1878 medal issued by the Western 
   Pennsylvania Numismatic Society.   The medal appears 
   to have been shot through the center with a bullet, leaving 
   only the outer rim intact.  

   The key to why on earth this piece came to rest in the 
   museum may be found in the following item, taken from the 
   history of the WPNS.   Sometimes the oddest things can 
   be explained with a little library research...  

   The medal was struck in the founding year of the society, 
   and commemorates the 1878 Pittsburg  Exposition.   An 
   advertisement for the event in the August 24, 1878 
   Pittsburgh Commercial Gazette notes:  

   "In addition to a vast display in the provinces of Art, 
   Mechanics, Agriculture, Floriculture, Inventions, &c,  There 
   will be the following SPECIAL ATTRACTIONS, Which 
   have been secured by the management without regard to 

   Dr. W. F. Carver, will exhibit his prodigious skill as a rifleman 
   daily, illustrating his marvelous powers by breaking glass balls 
   in the air, cutting coins, lead pencils &c., using a Winchester 


   This week's featured web page is the History section from the 
   Western Pennsylvania Numismatic Society's web site (authored 
   by yours truly several years ago).  WPNS was founded in 1878 
   and the Society continues to meet monthly. 

  Wayne Homren 
  Numismatic Bibliomania Society 

  The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a 
  non-profit organization promoting numismatic 
  literature.   For more information please see 
  our web site at 
  There is a membership application available on 
  the web site.  To join, print the application and 
  return it with your check to the address printed 
  on the application.   For those without web access, 
  contact Dave Hirt, NBS Secretary-Treasurer, 
  5911 Quinn Orchard Road, Frederick, MD 21701  

  (To be removed from this mailing list 
   write to me at   

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