The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 3, Number 27, July 2, 2000: 
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 
Copyright (c) 2000, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 


   We have two new subscribers this week: Stoffel Vogelaar of 
   Ireland, and Robert Zavos of Pittsburgh.  Welcome aboard! 
   This brings our subscriber count to 299.  Who will recruit 
   number 300? 


   The American Numismatic Association has published the 
   schedule for the upcoming convention in Philadelphia.  The 
   full schedule is posted on the ANA's web site at: 

   Not a "Great Debate" or even a not-so-great debate 
   anywhere on the agenda...  Still, there will be several events 
   of interest to numismatic bibliophiles and researchers: 

   NBS activities include our annual general meeting, which will 
   take place at 11:30 AM in Room 201C of the Convention 
   Center.   More details in future issues. 

   NBS will also host a Numismatic Literature Symposium. 
   Moderated by NBS Board member Dr. Joel Orosz, the 
   symposium will be held on Friday, August 11, from 2 pm to 
   3:30 (in the same room as the general meeting earlier that day). 
   Participants include NBS Board member Pete Smith, who will 
   be speaking on the books published about the Philadelphia Mint, 
   and Eric Newman, who will be discussing one of the earliest 
   authors on a numismatic topic in the United States, Beale 
   Bordley. Other events of interest for numismatic bibliophiles 
   include the following Numismatic Theater talks: 

   "Exploring the Digital Library",  by ANA Librarian Nawana 
   Britenriker (August 9, 11am) 

   "Noted Philadelphia Numismatic Dealers and Collectors 
   1850-present", by NBS Board member and past president 
   P. Scott Rubin (August 9, 5 pm) 

   "First the Book: Building a Core Numismatic Library", by 
   COIN WORLD editor Beth Deisher (August 13, 9am) 

   NBS members and E-Sylum subscribers (in addition to those 
   named above) make up a large percentage of presenters at 
   the convention, including John Adams, Q. David Bowers, 
   Richard Doty, Michael Fey, George Fuld, David Ganz, Greg 
   and Lisa Heim, David Lange, Tom Sheehan, Bob Van Ryzin, 
   John & Nancy Wilson, and Myron Xenos. Did I miss anyone? 
   Great job, folks! 


   Fred Lake of Lake Books (formerly Function Associates) 
   writes:  "we have completed the catalog for our Mail-Bid Sale 
   #53 of numismatic literature. The catalog contains 692 lots 
   that cover the broad spectrum of reference material from 
   Ancients to Modern.  The sale has a closing date of July 25, 

   The catalog can be sent as an email attachment in one of three 
   different formats. They are MS Word, WordPerfect or PDF. 
   To obtain a copy, write to Fred at" 


   Michael Hodder's long-awaited research on American gold 
   bars has been published by the American Numismatic Society 
   in the American Journal of Numismatics (Second Series), No. 
   11 (1999).  "Western American Gold and Unparted Bars: 
   A Review of the Evidence" (p85-149, 9 plates). 


   An article in the July 4, 2000 issue of Numismatic News notes 
   the publication of a revised edition of  "The Neighborhood 
   Mint: Dahlonega in the Age of Jackson" by Sylvia Galley 
   Head and Elizabeth W. Etheridge.  "Beyond the original content 
   from the 1986 printing, this publisher added several high-quality 
   plates that include a newly discovered picture of the mint. 
   Beyond this, a set of color photographs display a nine-coin 
   set from the mint."   For ordering information, contact the 
   publisher, Gold Rush Gallery, at (888) 740-1774. 

   While we don't ordinarily reference commercial web sites, 
   here are some interesting Dahlonega Mint-related items 
   including the above-mentioned discovery photo (circa 1877), 
   and a "Letter from C.C. Memminger, Secretary of the Treasury 
   of the Confederate States of America, to Georgia Governor 
   Joseph E. Brown, April 3, 1861, concerning proposals that the 
   CSA continue operating the Dahlonega Mint after declaration 
   of War (Written slightly more than a week before War was 


   Bob Dunfield notes that a very useful 1970's-era book on U.S. 
   Ration Tokens has been revised by the Society of Ration Token 
   Collectors. "The new catalog of ration tokens is revised and 
   updated, and from the table of contents sheet that I received, 
   appears to be quite comprehensive!  It retails for $45 to 
   non-members, and for $29 to members. 

   The old catalog which I have is numbered, and as such may be 
   of value, since I believe that it was issued in small quantities to 
   the early club founders. Those interested in purchasing the new 
   catalog for their token reference library, and/or wishing to join 
   the club, may contact:  The Society of Ration Token Collectors, 
   Attn.: Thomas B. Smith, SRTC Secretary, 618 Jay Drive, 
   Gallipolis, OH., 45631-1314.  Dues are $8/year." 


   John and Nancy Wilson write: "We think that Brad Karoleff did 
   a wonderful job on his "Most Important Events in Numismatic 
   History."  On our list we would have added Numismatic News, 
   which predates Coin World.  Chester L. Krause started this 
   company on a shoestring and it is now one of the leading 
   "Hobby Companies" in the world,  with dozens and dozens of 
   numismatic titles.  Yes, we would also have had Coin World on 
   the list." 


   Regarding Peter Jones, Henry Bergos writes: "I visited him at 
   his home and may have bought some books from him after he 
   left Seaby.  He and Donna were great.  One interesting thing - 
   planes kept flying over and disturbed us.  The house shook! 
   After a while one particular plane passed and the WORLD 
   SHOOK.  The books actually moved on the shelves. After I 
   asked about this, he told me their house was in the fly lane for 

  "They" told him that the Concorde wouldn't be any different from 
   regular planes.  Ours isn't the only government that LIES!" 


   Henry also writes about the Carothers "Fractional Money" 
   book:  "There are three printings of this book - 

   1) The original PhD dissertation, which is probably near 
        impossible to get. 

   2) The Bowers paperback reprint 

   3) Kelley's 1967 hard cover reprint. The Kelley can be gotten 
       for about the same money as Bowers paperback.  They were 
       mostly sold to libraries as this was Kelley's main business. I 
       was the distributor of these. I don't remember but I think there 
       were 2500 copies printed of this great quality publication." 


   NBS Board member Joel Orosz writes: "back in the early 80s, 
   when I was earning a Master's Degree in Museum Studies, we 
   were taught that the ideal  relative humidity (RH) at which to 
   store books was 50%, at a temperature of 65-68 degrees F. 
   Maybe the standards have changed since, but I would have 
   grave concerns about storing books at an RH higher than 55% 
   -- anything above that would almost certainly create conditions 
   conducive to the growth of mold and mildew on the book." 

   Darryl Atchison writes: "My question relates to reading old 
   books and catalogues.  For example, I recently received a 
   publication published in the mid 1870s, which I would swear 
   has never been opened since the binding is so stiff.  Obviously, 
   I purchased this text TO READ.  I don't just want to relegate it 
   to some cool, dark and dry bookshelf.  This would be akin to 
   storing coins in a bank vault and never being allowed to see 
   them.  This is not what I got interested in numismatics for. 

   I would look readers comments and suggestions on care and 
   handling of old (and new) publications, specifically those - 
   such as this instance - which are difficult to read due to the 
   condition of the binding and or pages. Thanks for your help." 

   Mike Jones writes: "I guess this subject is a headache for most 
   book collectors. As for myself, I use simple common sense. 

   ONE:  each book/catalog should be protected by placing it in a 
   clear archival sleeve with sensitive closure....this would at least 
   eliminate dust and the rubbings from each other especially taking 
   it out and placing back in the bookshelf ... glass-fitted doors are 
   a must for bookcases 

   TWO:  never, ever pull books from shelves by grabbing the 
   head of spine ... sooner or later you will have nice books with 
   tender spines. 

   THREE:  never, ever open books flat on a table to read ... 
   either hold in your palms and open at a V angle or place 
   supports at each cover so that they do not open flat. 

   FOUR: I just hate it when I see some good books displayed 
   slanted on bookshelves .... they're gonna buckle sooner rather 
   than later. 

   FIVE:  There have been many talks over the years about 
   maintaining proper temperature and humidity for coins and 
   books ... this is quite unrealistic for most of us ... common 
   sense for each region must be used. 

   SIX:  simple repairs are a must! ... tears must be closed before 
   they get to be ugly ... if plates had tissue guards originally and are 
   not there, it's best to substitute with some imagination, otherwise 
   the plates and the facing text pages will turn on you ... sometimes 
   it is best to lightly trim edges of brittle untrimmed pages so that 
   they don't get deeper in trouble, though some purists will disagree 
   ...if the original staples holding them booklets together are about 
   to rust or rusted, best take them out and replace them or just lay 
   loose within, as once the rust starts in, nothing can be done to 
   take the spots off. 

   SEVEN: best never to buy books with problems to begin with, 
   as they will cost you in a long run ... scotch-taped pages with 
   browning ... more than minor foxing ... rebound using modern 
   covers ... waterstaining ... etc.  I am sure each collector has his 
   tolerance level and you know what that is for yourself..." 


   Here's our last installment from A.Word.A.Day, available 
   at this address: 

   biblioklept (BIB-lee-uh-klept) noun 

      A person who steals books. 

   [Biblio- book + Greek klept thief.] 

   "Towards the Persons who frequent your Library maintain a 
   courteous Demeanour, but the utmost Vigilance. For as it is 
   your duty to guard well the Books which are the Riches of 
   your Treasury, so you cannot afford to relax those Restrictions 
   which may save you from Despoilment and the most grievous 
   Loss. The Biblioklept or Thief of Books is your eternal Foe." 
   Charles Robinson, April hath 30 days, Library Administrator's 
   Digest Mar 1, 2000. 


   Stuart Segan writes: "As hackneyed is the party line that Breen is 
   the greatest researcher of US numismatics, so too is the rebuttal 
   in which Breen is reduced to "pure conjecture, speculation, 
   guesswork, and embellished hypothesis."  Further, Moulton's 
   assertion that "Breen did not necessarily change the face of 
   American numismatic scholarship for the better" is absurd and 

   Scientific method, and Breen's application of same to American 
   numismatics, is at the heart of the controversy.  Scientific 
   method is not concerned with facts so much as it is with method 
   and hence the use of the word method and not fact.  If one 
   formula or way of looking at a situation leads to "truth" we are 
   closing in on what is known as theory. 

   To cite one example, Newton developed a theory, often referred 
   to as the Theory of Gravity. Within limits (no pun intended for 
   those familiar with the "little rocks") Newton was able to predict 
   the motion of moving bodies nearly precisely and for a wide 
   range of moving bodies. The generality of the theory was so 
   profound it was not proved "wrong" for 150 odd years. To 
   complete the example, Einstein's General Theory of Relativity 
   was able to account for some ridiculously small wobble in the 
   movement of at least one of the planets that was not accounted 
   for by Newton's theory. While Newton technically was "wrong" 
   it would be the dilettante that runs around saying "Newton was 
   wrong, Newton was wrong." 

   Now back to our humble domain of American numismatics. Breen 
   to a degree constructed a theory of American numismatics. His 
   theory when applied to various situations at the US Mint resulted 
   in predictions that were correct. Needless to say in other cases the 
   predictions were wrong - no big deal really. It is the dilettante that 
   hangs his hat on Breen's mistakes and looks no further at the 
   groundwork Breen provided. It is method and not fact with which 
   we are concerned. 

   It is sad that this discussion continues. Breen's admirers (and yes, 
   I am obviously one of them) at their best understand scientific 
   method and intuitively appreciate Breen's humble approach to the 
   overall question of American numismatics.  At their worst Breen's 
   admirers overlook a great deal of flaws both professionally and 
   personally in order to keep the ideal of his work fresh. Breen's 
   detractors at their best grant that Breen did some good work but 
   there are lots of mistakes. At their worst, they lose sight of 
   scientific method altogether and see only the mistakes. 

   Breen's method in my opinion flowered around the late 1940s 
   which makes it about 50 years old. We might quibble that the 
   "facts" in the Encyclopedia are wrong.  It is riddled with method 
   and that IS Breen's contribution.  Breen for this reason changed 
   the face of American numismatic scholarship most decidedly for 
   the better." 


   This week's featured web page is referred to us by Dave Perkins. 
   The page includes several reviews by Mike Locke of U.S. 
   numismatic books. 

  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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