The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 3, Number 11, March 12, 2000: 
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 
Copyright (c) 2000, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 


   We have no new subscribers this week, thus our subscriber 
   count holds at 285.   Surely we have more numismatic 
   bibliophiles in the world than that.   Pass the word! 


   I'm terribly sorry to report to our members that there has 
   been an additional delay in getting the 1999 No. 4 issue 
   in the mail.   It was printed a couple weeks ago, and 
   should at last go in the mail this week.   We apologize for 
   the delay, this time due to a mailing label snafu. 

   Meanwhile, work continues on the 2000 No. 1 issue, 
   and our backlog of submissions is once again fairly low. 
   Please consider contributing an article.  Long or short, we 
   can use any item of interest to numismatic bibliophiles. 


   Allan Davisson writes: "Re: Breen's numbering problem: Dalton 
   and Hamer had the same problem. That is why they used the 
   obscure term "bis" when something came along that merited 
   insertion.  Open-ended numbering systems can be problematic 
   as well. Richard Lobel has come up with a new and endlessly 
   open system for numbering English coins but I find it 
   cumbersome and oddly unsatisfying." 

   In contrast, Alan Luedeking writes: "I believe Mr. Schmidt's 
   assessment of Breen's straight-through numbering system was 
   perhaps a trifle harsh; first off, the empties are specifically 
   "reserved for future issues" and are only available after 
   currently circulating issues. No other meaning can possibly 
   be intended. Should a new intra-type item be discovered (such 
   as the cited 1914/13 Buffalo variety), it ought to be given the 
   number 2592.1. If 23 new varieties of a particular coin were to 
   be discovered the number of the last one would simply be 
   XXXX.23. Sub-sub varieties (or die states) could be easily 
   added, such as a XXXX.6.2. The obvious advantage is that 
   the item number is always in order, and you can instantly tell 
   when any item is a  post-Breen discovery. 

   Secondly, the system allows for infinite expansion everywhere. 
   No more large cents located within the Lincoln cents, which 
   Breen, who was a superb mathematician, never intended.  Also, 
   given that the Federal issues are not strictly organized by 
   denomination but by first by metal and then by denomination, 
   (note nickel three-cent pieces occur before silver trimes), 
   straight through numbering makes sense, since it is always easy 
   to find any piece by number, regardless of type.". 


   Laurion Numismatic Press announces that it has just reprinted 
   Van Meter's "Handbook of Roman Imperial Coins,"  a catalog 
   of  8,100 coin types, 1000+ photographs, plus useful tables 
   and charts.  334 pp., softbound.  Retail price:  $34.95;   For 
   further details, see their web site at: 


   Alan Luedeking writes: "Does anyone out there know an easy 
   way to scan or convert color slides into digital images? My 
   entire collection is photographed on color slides, which I use 
   for occasional school presentations and at club meetings. It's 
   easy to carry slides in the same coin boxes designed for 2x2 
   flips; but now I wish I had them all in my laptop to be able to 
   make sexier Powerpoint presentations and be able to send 
   images by e-mail for research...   Please don't tell me I have to 
   photograph everything all over again!" 

   Actually, today there are a number of alternatives for 
   digitizing slides.    Most photo processing shops now offer 
   such services.  I've borrowed slides from friends, given them 
   to a processor, and received back the original slides plus a 
   CD-ROM disk containing the digitized pictures.  I've found 
   the process very acceptable and affordable.  This was over a 
   year ago.   Does anyone with more recent experience care to 


   NBS Board Member Larry Mitchell writes:  "I am in the process 
   of completing primary research for an article on early children's 
   money-counting books.  To date, such research has focused 
   primarily on materials in the renowned Elizabeth Ball Collection 
   of Historical Children's Materials at the Lilly Library, Indiana 

   To provide as comprehensive an overview of these books as 
   possible, though, I would appreciate hearing from anyone who 
   may have such books in his or her collection, or who may know 
   of such collections that are available for primary research.  A 
   typical title in this genre is: 

      The Pence Table Playfully Paraphrased / by Peter 
      Pennyless.  London: J. Harris, <1818>. 

   Any help would be appreciated and gratefully 
   acknowledged upon publication."  Larry may be contacted 


   Paul Withers writes:  "There was an index published to go 
   with the van der Dussen-Baldwin set.  This was published 
   jointly by the Royal Numismatic Society and the British Art 
   Medal Society.  It was prepared by the late Joan Martin of 
   the British Museum and her text was considerably modified 
   by my wife before it was edited and we printed it.  This index 
   makes the work navigable and thus extremely useful. 

   We did have a  small number of these in stock, but now all 
   have gone.  However, I have to say that despite its extremely 
   reasonable price of just 40 pounds it was almost totally 

   It is a sad feature of our society that people want information 
   but are seemingly unwilling to pay for it." 


   Dick Johnson, who has for some time been researching 
   American engravers and diesinkers,  writes: "This is what I 
   learned about Forrer's work from everyone's recent 
   E-Sylum contributions: 

   (1)  Accuracy of the data is of the greatest importance. 
   (2)  Indexing [and organizing the material] is also important. 
   (3) A need for data on American artists exists. (George Fuld). 
   (4) A book such as this is frequently referenced. 
   (5) Users like it. 
   (6) The data it contains has great longevity [it is still useful and 
         necessary a century and three major reprintings later]. 
   (7) Buyers have to be talked into purchasing it 
        [reminiscent of the days of the encyclopedia salesman!]. 
   (8) Types of binding are really not that important but must be 
        suitable for a lot of hard use.  (George Kolbe). 

   What writers didn't say also gives intelligence: 

   (9) The arrangement of the data can be left up to the compiler. 
   (10) The same can be said for the content. 

   "My analysis of Forrer is the very disconcerting need to 
   search through four alphabets to make sure you have every 
   entry on an artist.  Listings of numismatic items are given in 
   run-on text; how much better it would have been if these 
   had been tabular. 

   "Forrer's style was eclectic, he copied a lot of other material 
   verbatim, cut and paste style, occasionally in another language, 
   mostly French.  He did include some nonexistent artists, like a 
   J. Beach that should have been J. Boyle, but these errors came 
   from his contributors.  He's more accurate on items that passed 
   through the offices of Spink & Son that he could physically 

  "Perhaps his greatest sin, however, was listing material from 
   sales literature, like attributing items to Robert Sneider that he 
   sold rather than engraved [Sneider had purchased and restruck 
   a lot of Lovett's dies, but did not identify these as Lovett's, 
   leaving the impression they were his creations, which Forrer 
   perpetuated].  Also Forrer had an idiosyncrasy of calling every 
   artist in the Western hemisphere 'American'." 

   If you would like to comment further on Forrer's Biographical 
   Dictionary, send your comments to your editor here for print, 
   or directly to Dick Johnson at 


   This week's featured web site is the currency collection of 
   the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C. 
   "The NCC Gallery houses a large collection of currency 
   that includes subcategories of bank notes, coins, tokens, and 
   scrip. There are nearly 3,000 coins and over 6,000 pieces of 
   paper money in this collection." 

   The reference page lists an item I've never heard of: 
   "Cooper, J.M. North Carolina Currency: a Pictorial Summery 
   (i.e. summary) of coins that Circulated in North Carolina from 
   Colonization to Date and Some of the Provincial and State 
   Issued Paper Money, 19??."   Is anyone familiar with this? 

  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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