The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 3, Number 10, March 5, 2000: 
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 
Copyright (c) 2000, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 


   We have one new subscriber this week: Mike Keating. 
   Welcome aboard!   This brings our subscriber count to 285. 


   Karl Moulton of Congress, AZ, has published his 86-page 
   February 2000 catalog of numismatic literature, specializing 
   in 19th and 20th century numismatic auction catalogs, and 
   featuring "the largest selection of prices realized lists ever 
   published!"  Mr. Moulton can be reached at this address: 


   Orville J. Grady has issued a catalog for his mail bid sale 
   XXIV, closing March 31, 2000.  The 672-lot sale 
   features consignments from Frank Van Zandt and others. 
   Mr. Grady may be contacted at this address:  6602 
   Military Avenue, Omaha, NE 68104-2518.  He does 
   not have an email address, but lists this telephone number: 
   (402) 558-6782. 


   The Coin Collector's Yearbook for the year 2000, 
   published by the editors of Coinage magazine, 
   includes an article by NBS Board member Col. 
   Bill Murray.  The article is titled "Coin Books - 
   Whatever Your Taste, Something New Has Just 
   Been Published For You".  It includes reviews of 
   such recent publications at "U.S. Coin Scales and 
   Counterfeit Detectors" by Eric Newman and the 
   late George Mallis, Q. David Bowers' new book on 
   the S.S. Brother Jonathan, and three new books on 
   Lincolns cents. 


   The first correct response to last week's question about 
   the total number of E-Sylum issues published came from 
   Fred Lake:  "The answer to the number of issues of the 
   E-Sylum that have been published is pretty easy. (I think?) 
   Including this issue (Vol.3,No.9), there have been 73 issues. 
   I cheated and went to the NBS web site and looked in the 
   archives of the E-Sylum.  Hard to believe that there have 
   been that many weekly emissions.  Keep up the good work!" 

   I had to go to the archive myself  before posing the 
   question, so Fred wasn't cheating, he was just being 
   resourceful.  Good job, Fred! 


   In response to Ben Keele's question about binding, 
   George Fuld notes: "When I had my original library which 
   was sold in 1971, I had bound 90% of my auction catalogs 
   and  journals and  found that when they sold, the value was 
   about the same as if they were not bound.  Thus even though 
   binding was much cheaper then, it didn't pay.  However, I 
   bound them for a different reason -- when using them for 
   research, when not bound everything would get out of order 
   and I couldn't find things.  So binding is much more helpful for 
   this -- its effect on value is questionable." 

   Dave Lange writes: "It's been my experience that binding is 
   worthwhile if you intend to keep your periodicals for a 
   number of years and use them frequently. Don't expect 
   to recover the cost of binding when you go to sell these 
   publications. I've noticed that even nice sets of periodicals 
   in matching bindings bring somewhat less than it would 
   cost to replicate such binding. I always try to buy long runs 
   of periodicals already bound. This has proved less expensive 
   than trying to assemble sets piecemeal, with all the resulting 

   In summary, George Kolbe adds:   "In my experience, the 
   money spent on binding numismatic periodicals (and most 
   books and catalogues) is rarely recovered in full upon their 
   sale, but they're surely a lot easier to consult in that form. 
   As for book storage: cool, dark, dry (but not too dry)." 


   New subscriber Prof. R. Balasubramaniam of the Indian 
   Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India writes:  "I heard about 
   the Society from a webpage, which listed nearly all the 
   numismatic sites.  My interests are on the technical aspects 
   of coin making, especially, the die striking process, 
   microstructural characterization of the coin material, etc. 
   Some of our studies are quite interesting in that we know 
   much more about the die striking process based on 
   observations at higher magnifications using a scanning 
   electron microscope." 


   In response to D. Wayne Johnson's remarks on Breen's 
   numbering system, Michael Schmidt writes: 
   "You liked this!??" 

   "I discussed this numbering system once with Walter.  He said 
   he had nothing to do with it and that it was all the publisher's 
   idea.  A straight-through numbering system is very foolish.  The 
   numbers bear no real relationship to the coins they are 
   cataloging.  Yes, they left empty numbers for later additions, 
   but at the end of each denomination, not at the end of each 
   series.  Take the 1914/13 buffalo nickel.  This is a major new 
   discovery that deserves its own Breen number, but the next 
   open number comes AFTER all of the Jefferson nickels.  In 
   fact, since the overdate was discovered several years ago, its 
   number would now be contained WITHIN the Jefferson nickel 

   When it happens with older series the problem gets even worse. 
   The 1796 NC-7 large cent has a new obverse and the only 
   stemless wreath reverse for that date.  Its Breen number would 
   be mixed in with the copper plated zinc Lincoln cents. Secondly, 
   even though empty numbers were left they are rapidly being 
   consumed by the new issues each year.  What do you do 
   when the empties have been all used up?  Re-number 
   everything?  Or does next year's Jefferson nickel just get a 
   Breen number in the 8300 range?  No, the numbering system 
   in the Breen book is hopelessly flawed." 


   Bill Burd of Chicago Coin Co. writes: "I read The E-Sylum 
   every week - very enjoyable.  Regarding the Critic's Corner, 
   I would assume most subscribers have Breen's Encylopedia 
   but wonder what percent have Forrer's  Biographical 
   Dictionary.   I am not a critic so I won't comment other than 
   to say I have found it to be very useful on several occasions." 

   George Fuld writes: "The subject of Forrer's Dictionary is 
   interesting.  This is a landmark publication, especially for 
   British related issues.  The indexing is poor, and much 
   American material is sparse -- but it is still the most useful 
   publication of the type available.  Certainly it needs revision 
   based on today's knowledge, but who would attempt it? 

   I have found it to be most invaluable over the years, as 
   long as you didn't take everything as gospel." 

   George Kolbe writes: "I consult Forrer quite often and usually 
   find the information I seek.  To me, it is invaluable! This is from 
   a bibliographical view, so I cannot vouch for it from a 
   numismatic perspective, though I have rarely if ever heard 
   anything negative from my clientele. 

   When the van der Dussen-Baldwin set came out I actively 
   promoted it and sold fifty sets or so. Since then, through my 
   auctions and private sales I have surely sold near that number 
   again. No one has ever expressed buyer's remorse, and it has 
   taken more than a little arm-twisting, on occasion, to sell sets 
   to those I believe should have it.  As I mention in my 
   catalogues, the most recent reprint (the Franklin reprint 
   contains printing errors in the first volume) is one of those 
   cases where the reprint is preferable to the original, though 
   the elegance of a well-preserved original set in the original 
   blue morocco is compelling to some (me included). 

   Not everyone knows that the work originally appeared serially 
   in Spink's "Numismatic Circular." So, if you buy the relevant 
   years of that venerable journal, you get quite a bonus. " 

   [Editor's note:  the original was published between 1902 and 
   1930;  The Burt Franklin reprint around 1970, and the 
   van der Dussen reprint around 1980] 


   Bill Burd added: "I have a decent numismatic library consisting 
   of approximately 2000 books, over 2000 catalogs, plus price 
   guides, association publications, newsletters, etc.   It is housed 
   at Chicago Coin Co. Inc, at 6455 W. Archer, Chicago, IL. 
   Any E-Sylum subscriber that would like to use this library for 
   research can give me a call.   I don't let books leave the 
   property, but they can come to the store.  Bill can be 
   contacted as follows:  Phone:  773-586-7666 


   This week's featured web site is the Currency Museum of 
   the Bank of Canada.  "The National Currency Collection 
   contains some 100,000 items consisting of coins, tokens and 
   paper money in the custody of, or owned by, the Bank of 
   Canada. It includes a relatively complete collection of the 
   coins, tokens and of paper money that have been used or 
   are now being used in Canada. The purpose of the collection 
   is to portray the development of money through the ages with 
   particular emphasis on the history of Canada's currency. " 

  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 21704 

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

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