The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 3, Number 28, July 9, 2000: 
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 
Copyright (c) 2000, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 


   We have no new subscribers this week.  Our subscriber 
   count holds at 299. 


   Bob Cochran is back online after a stint in the hospital.  He 
   writes: "I had an angioplasty procedure, and I'm doing quite well. 
   I've been participating in a cardiac rehabilitation program at the 
   hospital gym, and they've pretty much told me that I'm about 
   ready to take the training wheels off. 

   I was planning on going to Memphis last month and re-acquainting 
   myself with all of the "All-U-Kin-Eat" Bar-B-Q joints!  Well, I 
   won't be doing that any more, although I AM able to have one 
   moderate size serving of ribs or pulled pig,  but no more of the 
   fried catfish, unfortunately.  I'm from the South, and being told 
   you can't have all the fried catfish you want is quite catastrophic! 
   But it beats the alternative, doesn't it? 

  I continue to marvel at your ability to produce a quality issue of 
  the E-Sylum each week, with nice articles and CONTINUED 
  contributions from the readership!" 


   Joel Orosz' article in the recent Asylum issue laments the fact 
   that many of the standard references for United States numismatic 
   literature are out of print, including John W. Adams' 1982 work, 
   "United States Numismatic Literature. Volume I: Nineteenth 
   Century Auction Catalogs".  Publisher George Frederick Kolbe 
   notes on his web site that an "updated reprint" is "in preparation". 
   But your help is needed - please send any comments, corrections 
   or updates to George at 


   ANA Chief Judge Joe Boling reports that there are three 
   exhibits entered in the numismatic literature category this 

      Building a Set of The Numismatist 
      Numismatic Revelations 
      Auction Catalogs That Led Me to Collect Numismatic Literature 

   Best of luck to all the exhibitors.  Be sure to stop by the exhibit 
   area during the convention. 


   At our annual meeting at the ANA convention, W. David 
   Perkins will speak on "The Ostheimers of Philadelphia and their 
   Extraordinary Collection of Silver Dollars".   Dave is a collector, 
   student and researcher of the early United States silver dollars 
   1794-1803.  Dave also collects tokens and numismatic literature, 
   especially books, catalogs and documents pertaining to the great 
   early silver dollar collections and collectors. 

   In addition to NBS, Dave is a member of numerous numismatic 
   organizations; he has authored over 15 articles for the John Reich 
   Journal as well as articles for the TAMS Journal, Civil War Token 
   Journal and Talkin' Tokens.  His articles have won awards from 
   NLG, JRCS and TAMS.  His interest in Civil War Store Cards 
   (or tokens) started with a discovery that his great-great grandfather 
   issued two Detroit, Michigan Civil War tokens in 1863. 

   Dave was a consultant to Bowers & Merena in the cataloging of 
   the Eliasberg early silver dollars, and was a major contributor to 
   Jules Reiver's new book The United States Early Silver Dollars 
   1794 to 1803. 

   His talk is based on his research over the last decade.  The 
   Ostheimer early silver dollar collection 1793-1805 [note '1805' 
   is not a typo] included specimens from many of the great sales 
   and collections from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. 


   Fred Reed writes: "I'm not quite sure what Henry Bergos was 
   saying, but my copy of Carothers was co-published by John 
   Wiley & Sons, Inc. of New York and Chapman & Hill, Ltd. 
   of London in 1930.  The book is copyright Neil Carothers 
   (1930) and was actually printed by the Press of Braunworth 
   and Co. Book Manufacturers, Brooklyn.  If this is the "original 
   PhD dissertation" to which Bergos refers, it definitely is not 
   "near impossible to get."  I have seen dozens of copies over 
   the years.  The copy presently in my library was purchased at 
   the ANA in Denver several years ago for $35." 

   [My copies are also of the 1930 edition; I've never seen a 
   copy of the original thesis. Does anyone else have a copy with 
   the original dust jacket?  (spoken like a true biblio-nut)  -Editor] 


   Mike Hodder writes: "I've read Karl Moulton's essay on 
   Breen's shortcomings and  Stuart Segan's more recent apologia. 
   Karl and I have discussed some of Breen's mistakes of fact, 
   many of which are well known, now.  I'm sure Karl would 
   agree with me when I say no one can be expected to produce 
   flawless work, so mistakes are to be expected. 

   I'm not sure I detect in Breen's work what Stuart characterizes 
   as scientific method, however. If he means making factual 
   observations, constructing an hypothesis to explain them, and 
   then testing that hypothesis by experimentation, discarding it if 
   proven wrong, adopting it as an argument if shown to be right, 
   then I'm not sure I see much if any there. Breen typically 
   reports on what he sees in various sources, documentary and 
   anecdotal. He gives equal weight to both at times. He relies on 
   his memory for details of sales, coins, varieties, and owners, 
   even if his recollections are of events 40 years in the past. He 
   is uncritical of his sources and rarely puts them into their 
   contexts. He finds connections and causations when there is no 
   verifiable evidence for them. There is little of synthesis in 
   Breen and little that's really original, especially in the colonial 
   sections of his opus magnum. There is almost no testing of 

   I could go on but there's little point in rehearsing Breen's 
   shortcomings (and god help me when someone starts on mine). 
   In the final analysis, Breen did what no one else had before him 
   and if he produced a flawed book, it's one we all use. Breen's 
   personal life has nothing to do with his published numismatic 
   work. But let's not bang the drum too loudly for his apotheosis, 
   either. Or if we must, let's find some other reason than scientific 
   method for his deification." 


   NBS Board member Bill Murray writes:  "I offer the following, 
   found in a 1999 calendar under the heading, On Bookstores, 
   Unusual:  "Rare, Out-of-Print, and Non-Existent Books," 
   purportedly a sign in a bookstore in Jacksonville, Florida." 

   In his "The New Collector" column in the July 17th issue of 
   COIN WORLD, Bill offered this quotation:  "Old people like 
   to give good advice, as solace for no longer being able to 
   provide bad examples." (Duke of Rochefoucauld, 1613-1680). 


   The collective vocabulary of our subscribers keeps me 
   running for my dictionary.  In an article on images of Lincoln 
   in the same issue of COIN WORLD, Fred L. Reed III 
   writes:  "... an image of Lincoln does appear on this $3 note, 
   in the form of an oblate revenue stamp at the left center." 

   The online Information Please Almanac ( 
   has these entries for adjective and noun definitions: 

         Pronunciation: (ob'lAt, o-blAt'), [key] 
         flattened at the poles, as a spheroid generated by the 
         revolution of an ellipse about its shorter axis (opposed to 

          1. a person offered to the service of and living in a 
              monastery, but not under monastic vows or full 
              monastic rule. 
          2. a lay member of any of various Roman Catholic 
              societies devoted to special religious work. 


   This week's featured web page relates a few amusing stories 
   from the history of the Bank of England, on the bank's web site. 

  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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