The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

PREV        NEXT        V3 2000 INDEX        E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 3, Number 19, May 7, 2000: 
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 
Copyright (c) 2000, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 


   We have one new subscriber this week: Mitch Hight. 
   Welcome aboard!   This brings our subscriber count 
   to 300, a new milestone for The E-Sylum. 


   Mitch Hight is the founder of Coin-Gallery Online - one of the leading 
   numismatic resource sites on the Internet.  A dedicated 
   fan of the Gallery Mint Museum's mission statement, he 
   donates resources to develop the GMM web site located 
   at  He has been involved 
   in numismatics for over 30 years and is a life member of 
   the American Numismatic Association (LM4755). 


   Dick Johnson reports: "Michael Craven, who had built a 
   reputation in the numismatic field as a promising 
   filmmaker was killed Sunday April 30 at 1 AM on a Los 
   Angeles Freeway.  Following a confrontation with youths 
   in a stolen Chevrolet Suburban he had pulled off the 
   Ventura Freeway at Barham Boulevard exit. When he 
   stepped out of his jeep the youths struck him and left 
   the scene. He was dead on arrival at Cedars Sinai 
   Hospital in West Hollywood. 

   Craven, 44, had produced a number of videos for the 
   numismatic field. These included: "The Granite Lady" 
   (on the San Francisco Mint), "Keys To The Treasury" 
   (on the U.S. Treasury), ".900 Fine" (on the Carson 
   City Mint) and "The Medal Maker" (written by D. Wayne 
   Johnson and narrated by former chief mint engraver, 
   Elizabeth Jones, on Laura Gardin Fraser). 

   He had interviewed and filmed more than forty 
   numismatists and dozens of U.S. Mint and Engraving and 
   Printing officials for a major film documentary on the 
   history of American money.  The project had occupied 
   nearly three years of his time and had amassed over 20 
   hours of film.  According to close friend Dick Johnson he 
   had edited this to a six-hour documentary and had less 
   than fifteen minutes to complete the final segment." 


   An article by Victoria Stone Moledor in the May 15 
   issue of COIN World states: "The heated discussion 
   over the authenticity of gold western assay bars 
   that culminated in a live debate last summer in 
   August 1999 has reared its head again. 

   Attorneys for John J. Ford, Jr., Stack's L.L.C. of 
   New York City and Harvey Stack filed suit April 27 
   with the U.S. District Court in the Southern District 
   of New York against Theodore V. Buttrey." 


   Fred Lake sends this announcement: "Function Associates 
   has changed its name to Lake Books and has its 52nd  
   mail-bid sale of numismatic literature ready to send to 
   all NBS members who would like a copy. 

   The catalog contains 655 lots and has a closing date of 
   May 23, 2000. You may request a copy by emailing and specifying which of the three  
   available formats you would like. They are MS Word, PDF, 
   and WordPerfect. 

   The sale features items covering the broad range of 
   numismatics and includes items from the libraries of 
   Col. William "Bill" Murray and George Dillingham  
   (among others)." 


   NBS Board Member Larry Mitchell has added the  
   following sections on Modern Coinages to the 
   NBS Bibliography, available on our web site at: 

      83. SCANDINAVIA 
      84. ENGLAND 
      86. IRELAND 
      87. SCOTLAND 


   George Kolbe writes: "Another interesting and informative 
   big E.  Some "off the top of my head" opinions about Mike 
   Jones's queries: 

   1. [Ramsden] Most of Ramsden's monographs are uncommon.  
      The mother lode, and the source of many of them, is  
      "The Philatelic and Numismatic Journal of Japan" (or 
      something similar), where many of his numismatic 
      contributions first appeared. I believe it ceased 
      publication upon his death. 

   2. [Munro] Not a rare book. Guess on original printing:  
      1000 or so copies. 

   3. [Schjoth] Ditto. 

   4. [Polder] I believe I've had this a few times as an 
      extract from the publication in which it originally 
      appeared. I do not recall offhand whether it was 
      issued separately. 

   5. [Kann] Ditto no. 2. 

   6. [Toda] I recall having the original once or twice 
      but I would guess it is truly a rare work. There is 
      some sort of a reprint I believe. 

   A Bowker bibliography (if your interest is limited to 
   English publications) or a Coole bibliography (it 
   incorporates Bowker and oh so much more) should provide 
   further information." 

   Howard A. Daniel III of Deltaville, VA writes: "In  
   response to Mike Jones' request for information on the 
   scarcity of several references about East Asian coins. 
   Number 6 on his list is Toda on Annamese.  I have an 
   original edition of the society's journal with Toda's 
   article about Vietnamese cash-style coins.  I made the 
   high bid in a book auction about 20+ years ago and have 
   not seen another original since that time.  But copies 
   of Toda have been printed by several dealers for 
   collectors to use and I believe Scott Semans probably 
   has one of these copies for sale." 

   Joe Boling writes: "I have never found Van de Polder in 
   the marketplace; my Xerox copy is from the University of 
   Washington library, c1971.  

   Ramsden’s Numismatic and Philatelic Journal of Japan was 
   reprinted in its entirety (four volumes bound in two) in 
   the ’80s. I've never seen another copy of the reprint 
   besides mine. I have the odd reprint of various other  
   Ramsden works as well, and some original booklets/folders 
   of hansatsu sold by Jun Kobayagawa, Ramsden’s business 
   partner in Yokohama (either Ramsden’s son-in-law or  
   brother-in-law, I can never remember which).  

   The original Munro appears every couple of years in 
   auctions, and the 1962 reprint about once a year.  
   Original Todas appear every few years, but that was 
   reprinted by Bruce Smith several years ago.  

   Original Kanns on Chinese coinage appear about once a 
   year; it was also reprinted.  Much more scarce is the 
   1927(?) Kann on currency systems and exchange rates,  
   which has also been reprinted.  

   The original Schjoth appears every couple of years; I 
   never bought one because the Hancock edition has so 
   much more information in it." 


   On Mike's topic of numismatic terminology, George Kolbe 
   signed his note thusly:  

      "Respectfully, George Kolbe, Nb.  
      [Numismatic Bibliophilologist]" 


   Dick Johnson writes: "Catalogue is a proper term in 
   England (and France).  In America the proper term is 
   CATALOG. For Americans to use the term CATALOGUE comes 
   off a little ostentatious (read "show off"). Thank 
   goodness however, we have no American dealers who 
   COULD use the term SYLLOGE (which means "the 
   systematically arranged contents of a collection").  

   As for 'catalogues", George Kolbe confirms:  
   "It's less serious if you pay for it. ;-)" 


   Dick Johnson goes on to note: "There is one more term 
   that might also possibly be used: CATALOGUE RAISONNE. 
   Obviously French, it means the most complete possible 
   listing, as the entire life's work of an artist,  
   irrespective of who owns the items or where they are 
   located -- every item completely described and annotated. 
   The latter is the end product of a very competent 
   cataloger (note: he is not a cataloguer)." 


   Regarding the story of Josh Tatum, Carl C. Honore writes: 
   "I have published some information with Mike Hodder's 
   help in my upcoming book "The Life and Times of the 
   Liberty Nickel" on the origin of the term "to Josh". 
   Apparently the author Henry Wheeler Shaw wrote some works 
   before 1880 under the nom de plume Josh Billings.  One 
   of these was "Josh Billings's Farmer's Almanac".  Another 
   was "Josh Billing's Sayings"; from these to "Josh" someone 
   could have emerged. 

   This is not to say that Josh Tatum didn't exist.  He 
   possibly did and Mike mentioned that there may even be a 
   photograph of him someplace.  It's just that the term is 
   probably more likely to have come from the former source." 

   On the same topic NBS Board member Pete Smith writes:  
   "For a long time I have suspected that the Josh Tatum 
   story was more fancy than fact and have sought 
   confirmation, one way or another.  I was excited when I 
   viewed the "History, Money in Your Hands" video 
   distributed by the ANA since it included a picture of 
   Tatum. I asked James Taylor about the source of that 
   picture.  He admitted that it was an error and the 
   picture was really someone else. 

   A few years ago we had a file clerk working for us who 
   returned to law school. He did quite well in law school 
   and was editor of the law review. I gave him the story 
   of Tatum and asked him to do a search of legal sources  
   looking for confirmation of the Tatum story.  He was not 
   able to find anything.  One problem, known from other 
   examples, is that most old records have not been 
   converted to searchable forms.  I think it would be an 
   interesting exercise for E-Sylum readers to try to come 
   up with the first published reference to Tatum.  If he 
   existed, and if there was a trial, there would be 
   references in local (Boston?) papers from the era." 

   Back to Josh Billings: the New York Public Library 
   catalog ( lists several titles 
   between 1865 and 1880, and the following entry is found  
   at the Electric Library ( 

   Billings, Josh 
     1818-85, American humorist; b. Lanesboro, Mass. His 
     popular, humorous sketches in rural dialect appeared 
     annually in the Farmer's Allminax (1869-80).  

   There are several web sites that cite quotes from the 
   Billings works.  Here are a few: 

      Always live within your income, even 
      if you have to borrow money to do so.  

      Don't ever prophesy; for if you prophesy wrong,  
      nobody will forget it; and if you prophesy right, 
      nobody will remember it.  

      In youth we run into difficulties.  
      In old age difficulties run into us. 


   This week's featured web page is a new feature of the 
   United States Mint web site.  Designed for kids, it is 
   an interesting educational presentation about how modern 
   coins are made. 

  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   

PREV        NEXT        V3 2000 INDEX        E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

NBS Home Page    Back to top

NBS ( Web