The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 3, Number 15, April 9, 2000: 
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 
Copyright (c) 2000, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 


   We have two new subscribers this week: Harold Eiserloh of 
   San Antonio, Texas, courtesy of NBS Board member Bill 
   Murray, and longtime dealer Julian M. Leidman. Welcome 
   aboard!   This brings our subscriber count to 296. 


   NBS Board member Tom Sheehan of Edmonds, WA has agreed 
   to step up as Vice President of our Society, filling the vacancy 
   left by the resignation of David Sklow.   A longtime numismatist 
   and bibliophile, Tom has many years of experience as a 
   collector and researcher.  While he jokes that he acceded "in a 
   drunken moment," we're sure he'll serve with distinction.  Three 
   cheers for Tom!  (or should we say, "bottoms up!"? ) 


   Myron Xenos of The Money Tree writes: "In response to Allan 
   Davisson's curiosity about the usage of the term "Conder Token", 
   I would opt for the most obvious.  James Conder was obviously 
   an obsessive-compulsive about the trade tokens, so I have visions 
   of him running all over England and Ireland looking for new 
   varieties, much like we do today with large cents, bust halves, 
   V.A.M..dollars,etc.  By the time he wrote his book in 1798 on 
   the trade tokens of Britain and Ireland,  I imagine his peers all 
   over England were referring to these tokens as "Conders", maybe 
   in honor or maybe tongue-in-cheek. 

   An issue of the Coin Collector's Journal back in the 1930's 
   referred to them as Conder tokens, and at least two of my peers 
   have used that reference in their catalogs. 

   To conclude, I am sure that if James Conder were alive today, he 
   would be at the A.N.A. conventions on PNG day just to be sure 
   he could cherrypick every scarce "conder" on the floor." 

   By the way, there is a nice article on Conder tokens by 
   subscriber Michael E. Marotta in the April 17th issue of 
   COIN World (p86). 


   New subscriber Harold Eiserloh writes: "I am the editor of the 
   Alamo Coin Club's monthly newsletter "Alamo Coin Clips" and 
   I frequently refer to some of the 150+/- numismatic books in my 
   personal library for information for the newsletter. I have been a 
   member of ANA, Texas Numismatic Association and 
   Numismatics International for over 10 years. 

   Collecting Interests: U.S. coins by type and some currency; minor 
   coins of the German States, Kriegsgeld and notgeld; WWII coins 
   and currency; world coins; lower priced coins of the Crusades 
   era;  some lower priced ancient coins; medals and tokens, and 
   numismatic literature covering these fields. 

   I enjoyed reading your March 12th issue and certainly appreciate 
   the No Cost feature of E-Sylum!  I like the potential for exchange 
   of information, even though most of it will probably be over my 

   I would like to to be added to the list to receive your E-Sylum, 
   on the basis that I would have permission to quote excerpts 
   occasionally in my newsletter, with full credit given to the source. 
   I plan to present information about The Numismatic Bibliomania 
   Society at our next club meeting." 

   Permission granted - NBS is happy to allow E-Sylum material 
   to be reprinted by other nonprofit organizations if full credit is 
   given.  Don't forget to include our web address. 
   Welcome aboard! 


   On the subject of Presidential portraits on U.S. coins, NBS 
   Vice President  Tom Sheehan correctly notes: "You mention 
   in the E-Sylum that Lincoln was the first president to show up 
   on a U. S. coin.  You need to correct that to a "regular issue" 
   U.S. Coin.  Don't we show Washington on the Lafayette Dollar 
   of 1900?" 

   Former NBS Board member Pete Smith writes: "I have a little 
   information to expand your explanation of the direction Lincoln 
   is facing on the one-cent coin. 

   Sculptor Victor D. Brenner prepared a plaque with the image of 
   Lincoln facing right.  President Theodore Roosevelt met Brenner, 
   was impressed with Brenner's portrayal of Lincoln, and used his 
   influence to get Brenner the commission to design the Lincoln cent. 

   If this was an Academy Award nomination, it would be for best 
   coin design based on an earlier work in another medium. We may 
   never know why Brenner chose to have Lincoln facing right on his 
   plaque, but the coin faces right as an adaptation of the earlier 

   As I recall, Laura Gardin Fraser's design for the Washington 
   Quarter has the president facing right while Flanagan had a 
   left-facing president that looks more like Washington on the 
   "Washington Before Boston" medal that was based on the bust 
   by Houdin.  A recent article in The Numismatist comments also 
   on the Franklin Half as an adaptation from a Houdin bust. The 
   Lincoln Cent is not the only coin design influenced by earlier 

   David Lange adds some more details: "The answer to why Lincoln 
   faces right on the cent is quite simple. V. D. Brenner's bust is a 
   very close copy of Anthony Berger's 1864 profile photograph of 
   Lincoln. This photo was rediscovered in 1906 and provided the 
   inspiration for Brenner's bas relief plaque of 1907. This was then 
   adapted in tondo for both the cent and a series of medals that 
   provided the artist with a good income for some years." 

   If Ken Lowe were here, he'd be making some crack about The 
   Lone Ranger, but yours truly was moved to consult a dictionary. 
   The online Merriam-Webster dictionary ( 
   lists this definition for tondo:   "Etymology: Italian, from tondo 
   round, short for rotondo, from Latin rotundus Date: 1890 
        1 : a circular painting 
        2 : a sculptured medallion " 

   Michael Schmidt also noted the medallic source for the right- 
   facing Lincoln portrait.  He went on to note that "on the 
   Kennedy Half the mint was very rushed to create the design. 
   In order to speed things up the portrait was taken from his 
   inaugural medal on which he faced left.  This could be done 
   from the existing hub without having to re-sculpt the bust." 

   Dick Johnson discusses another dimension of portrait direction: 
   "There are some unwritten laws about the direction of a 
   portrait on a coin or medal and the symbology this implies. A 
   portrait of a person facing left is looking to past 
   accomplishments. A portrait shown facing right is looking to 
   the future.  I haven't checked this but I bet all portrait medals 
   for the American Historical Association face left, and the 
   Futurists of America all face right. 

   Also in a group picture -- or the layout in an exhibit -- those 
   on the left should face right and those on the right should face 
   left.  The attempt is to draw the viewer's attention inward to 
   the other items.  You unconsciously look where the person(s) 
   portrayed look (you follow the direction of their eyes, like if 
   one person looks skyward, others will, too).   Finally, if you 
   want the reader (or viewer) to turn the page place a portrait 
   facing right in the lower right corner." 

   Like my Mom always says, "You learn something new 
   every day."   E-Sylum subscribers are a living numismatic 
   encyclopedia.  Thanks to everyone for your interesting 


   Regarding  electronic catalogues, Don Tjossem writes: "I would 
   compare the electronic media to books as I would books to 
   stone.  People used to write on stone, then there came books 
   and now there is the electronic media , which can be preserved 
   on hardrives and disks.  I'll bet in a few years (20-30)  books 
   may be as scarce as hen's teeth.  Why even in my college library 
   I see them removing the "stacks" of books and replacing them 
   with computers for research.  What do you think??" 


   Mike Jones of Honolulu writes: "On any collectible, I guess 
   one has to take good with the bad, and book buying is no 
   different. I am not talking about just coin books but all books in 
   general.  With ever-increasing "net" buying with thousands of 
   booksellers on the market, one has to develop an "eye" and 
   good "hunch" to properly succeed in making a transaction that 
   can be termed "good" or "great".  This may seem quite easy 
   and comfortable, as one can shop sitting on an easy chair, but 
   sometimes it is not the case. 

   Books described as "VG" turn out to be near "mint" from 
   some and just pure "junk"  from others. Quite often defects 
   such as torn pages, scotch-taped torn pages, loose pages, 
   taped bindings, library copies, pen markings, shot spine, etc., 
   etc. are not mentioned as part of  "condition".   It is best to 
   ask the sellers, before buying, about the so-called "hidden 
   defects". Some titles are so scarce that they are worth 
   having even with some defects, but would you not like to know 
   about them before sending payment?  This way you can take 
   all the pros and cons of a certain title and decide for yourself if 
   it is worth what you are considering paying for it. 

   What is this "bookrate" stuff anyways?   Some charge you an 
   arm and a leg and ship "bookrate"!  One seller wanted $5 for a 
   little pamphlet type title weighing perhaps five ounces and that 
   was for bookrate!   After asking "what gives" and hearing a poor 
   excuse I did not order.   Others charge you  plenty for "packing"! 
   I can order for free most any packing materials from USPS 
   including wrapping tape and can find cardboard to secure packing 
   for nothing.  Why should I pay extra for something that I am 
   entitled to for free?  If I buy a shirt somewhere, it will come in a 
   plastic bag for free.   If I go buy bananas, they too, put the 
   bananas in a bag for free. Nobody ever asked me for "packing" 
   fees!!!   If book dealers charge you for packing and priority mail 
   charges and send you "bookrate" he/she can make a living out of 

   If I sounded sour it was meant to be.   Book dealers may have a 
   few words of their own about packing charges and all, but they 
   just don't hold up!   Some dealers will charge only actual postage 
   and those dealers are the ones that describe the condition of a 
   book correctly, at least from my experience.  I will be happy to 
   pay the correct shipping charges and will be very happy to pay 
   for correctly described items, but I will NOT make them rich for 
   overcharging on postage, packing,  and etc.. 

   Yes sir, yes madam...buying books is a whole lot of fun but 
   sometimes we all gotta take good with the bad!  The less bad we 
   take the better. Am I just talking to myself or are there others who 
   feel the same way? Feedbacks please!" 


   NBS Board Member Bill Murray submits the following review, 
   noting, "I encountered this for my annual book review article for 
   COINage's YEARBOOK.  Certainly an esoteric volume, I think 
   many of your E-Sylum readers, erudite numismatists that many of 
   them are, would be interested: 

   "Certainly all would expect a book by Eric Newman and the late 
   George Mallis to be meticulously researched and that describes 
   "U. S. Coin Scales and Counterfeit Detectors".  Starting with a 
   history of scales beginning in the second millennium before Christ, 
   the book then examines all scales and counterfeit coin detectors 
   for which U. S. patents were issued, and many without patents. 
   The tribulations of one inventor, John Allender, and his attempts, 
   finally successful, to get a patent for his counterfeit detector is a 

   story reading like fiction.  While not yet a collectible, I expect this 
   book to be much sought after in years to come.  Inquire of Eric P. 
   Newman, EPNNES, 5450 Cecil Ave. St. Louis, MO 63105. 
   $39.50 including shipping." 


   This week's featured web site is a marvelous look at detecting 
   counterfeit currency, recommended by Fred Reed. 

  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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