The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 3, Number 30, July 23, 2000: 
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 
Copyright (c) 2000, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 


   We have one new subscriber this week: Catherine Audval 
   of France,  Welcome aboard!   This brings our subscriber 
   count to 302.   Question:  if Catherine is our latest E-Sylum 
   subscriber, who was the first?   Answer below. 


   Numismatic literature dealer Fred Lake reports that he "has 
   officially opened a web site for Lake Books. The web address 
   is  The site has a listing for their 
   current sale which has a closing date of Tuesday, July 25, 2000, 
   and  also contains information on past sales, a "history" of the 
   company, a spot for future fixed-price lists plus many other 
   features."   Fred can be contacted at 


   This note arrived Thursday:  "I am Sharon Shih, daughter of 
   Kalgan Shih, author of the book: 

      Kalgan, Shih. MODERN COINS OF CHINA. 
      2nd English Edition. Shanghai: 1951. 

   We, his offspring, donated his entire coin collection to the 
   Shanghai museum in order to keep the collection complete 
   as a reference of his book.  Recently, I went back to China 
   to attend the opening ceremony of the exhibition on his coins. 
   The exhibition runs from July 15 to Aug. 15. It was a great 
   opportunity for me to learn something more about my father 
   and the basics on Chinese and foreign coins. 

   I also brought back a new book on his coins published by 
   the Shanghai museum. It is a beautiful and higher quality book 
   compared to my father's book although the latter has its 
   historical importance, i.e., it is the first book in China on 
   Chinese modern coins with pictures! 

   I would like to find out whereabouts of my father's book 
   overseas so that I can ask Shanghai museum to send the new 
   book to those places. The new book will then be side by side 
   with my father's book. Therefore, I appreciate very much if 
   you may provide any information or advice on this matter." 

   [Editor's note:  Sharon Shah may be reached at this 
   address:  It's not clear from 
   her request if she'd like to donate copies of the new book to 
   libraries, or sell copies to collectors and dealers.  Perhaps 
   both.   If any of your obtain a copy of the new book, please 
   send us a review for The E-Sylum] 


   NBS Board member Pete Smith has this question for our 
   E-Sylum readers: 

   "Jesse Watson's 1926 book on "The Bureau of the Mint: Its 
   History, Activities and Organization" has an extensive 
   bibliography.  He lists the 1924 edition of Stewart's "History 
   of the First United States Mint, its People and its Operation" 
   published by the author in Camden, NJ.  He also lists a 1925 
   edition published by William J. Campbell in Philadelphia.  I can't 
   recall seeing a previous reference to a 1925 edition.  It is not in 
   Clain-Stefanelli, Davis or Sigler. 

   Can any of our astute E-Sylum readers confirm the existence of 
   the 1925 edition or explain Watson's error in listing it?" 


   David Cassel writes: "In answer to your question concerning the 
   CDs:  I received the first of two CDs from UBS, the Basel auction 
   firm, in December 1999.  "Gold and Silver Coins Auction 48, 25 - 
   27, January 2000" was featured on their first CD.  A very fine 
   paper catalog also accompanied the CD.  Several weeks later the 
   same firm came out with a fixed price list on CD with also an 
   accompanying paper catalog.  The quality of the CDs are excellent." 

   Andy Lustig notes: "I'm probably the 82nd person to point this out, 
   but UBS (formerly Swiss Bank) started issuing catalogs on CD 
   about two years ago."   Well, just the second.   But it looks like 
   Heritage's CD is not the first numismatic catalog CD after all. 
   Can anyone pinpoint the date of the first UBS CD, or tell us 
   about an earlier CD? 

   Karl Moulton writes: "Perhaps some clarification is due in regards 
   to the heading of "The very first auction catalogue CD" that is 
   found on the cover of my July 2000 list.  Since the list has to do 
   with American numismatic literature, it can stand as being a 
   correct title.  However, in a technical sense, no, the Heritage 
   CSNS  2000 sale was not the very first auction CD ever issued. 

   While I'm no expert in worldwide numismatic literature, I can cite 
   two different examples that were issued earlier than the Heritage 
   CD.  The first, (there's that word again) was for the UBS auction 
   David Cassel mentioned.  The second is for the February 29, 2000 
   Munauktion Tkalec AG sale (thanks to Dan Demeo).  There may 
   be others, but if any were actually released prior to 2000, I'm not 
   aware of them. 

   I am definitely NOT trying to hype the catalogue CD.  My primary 
   desire is to make people aware of its significance and the changes 
   it will bring.  Since the auction CD enjoys worldwide usage, we, as 
   dedicated bibliophiles need to grapple with the new concept of 
   "electronic literature".  Only through discussions can we eventually 
   agree on proper terminology, classification, and so forth. 

   The CD is here and being used now.  Even if the technology 
   changes in the future and the CD becomes obsolete,  (I don't think 
   it will become as useless as an 8 track tape), that's fine.  It will 
   make them even more collectible, as it is extremely doubtful they 
   would ever be "reprinted" in a newer format by the original issuers. 

   The auction houses will push for quick acceptance due to the cost 
   factor being only a small percentage when compared to the 
   extravagant printed catalogues that have been produced lately. 
   It all boils down to a case of  simple economics - that being more 


   Bob Knepper of Anaheim, Calif, writes: "Mr. Daniel's suggestion 
   in E-Sylum v3#29 of including some definitions is excellent.  I'm 
   having trouble, despite the preliminary definitions given, of 
   distinguishing among "medal", "token", and "jeton".  I'm very slowly 
   working on a listing of the possibilities in my theme collection. 
   Unless / until I can find some way to separate medals from tokens 
   from jetons, I'll lump them together.   If the "experts" will tell me 
   how to divide them, great." 


   Alan Luedeking sent the following note for our terminology 
   discussion:  "Here's a quick question for our E-Sylum readership: 

   In a discussion the other day with a friend the question of the 
   distinction between the terms "countermark" and "counterstamp" 
   came up. I know this topic has been written about before, but do 
   not recall when/where. My personal interpretation is as follows, 
   and I'd like to know if most numismatists find this acceptable, 
   or if there is any kind of consensus on this issue: 

   "A countermark is an unofficial struck mark or stamp applied to 
   a coin, token or medal for commercial reasons such as a 
   revalidation, or for advertisement purposes. A counterstamp is 
   an official struck mark or stamp applied by a governmental entity 
   to a coin or token to revalue, validate or grant legal tender status 
   in the issuing authority's area of influence." In both instances this 

   would exclude engraved marks, and marks for purely decorative 
   purposes, and I also exclude full-flan overstrikes in any case. 

   Judging from the very few references in my library, 'countermark' 
   appears to be the term most commonly used for both categories 
   (witness Brunk's several works), however Richard Doty's "The 
   Macmillan Encyclopedic Dictionary of Numismatics" does not list 
   "countermark" at all but presents an interesting discourse under 
   "counterstamp", with much historical background and defining it as 
   an 'official' mark. 'Countermark' is nowhere mentioned until the 
   very end in the closing statement "a synonym for counterstamp is 
   countermark." For what it's worth, in Spanish the term 
   counterstamp does not exist at all, and the only term, used 
   indiscriminately, is "contramarca". 


   Dick Johnson writes:  "Your request for numismatic definitions 
   in the July E-Sylum deserves comment. 

   This need has existed since 1811.  The first numismatic dictionary 
    was published in Germany that year by author Carl Christian 
   Schmieder. (Clain-Stefanelli: 286)  Since then 45 numismatic 
   dictionaries and encyclopedias have been published worldwide: 
   18 in German, 12 in English, 3 in Italian, 2 in Spanish, 2 in 
   Japanese, 2 in Ukrainian, 1 each in Danish, Lithuanian, 
   Hungarian, Polish, Dutch and Latin. 

   Why is it you are still asking for "authoritative" definitions? 
   Could it be you are not satisfied with any existing definitions? 
   I have made a study of these 45 books (and Glossaries in 
   other numismatic works). Perhaps this could be the subject 
   for an Asylum article. 

   The three definitions you cited are "quickie" definitions not 
   necessarily intended for the serious numismatist.  Coin World 
   omits the concept of denomination each coin must have, for 

   The answer to the origin of these definitions goes back to an 
   ANA committee in the sixties whose membership changed often 
   (I served on it the year Joseph Segel was lobbying for an 
   acceptable definition of "medal").  I believe the final chairperson 
   was Virginia Culver and the report was published 1968 
   (C-S 255).  It was abstracted by Howard Linecar in the Spink 
   reprint of Albert R. Frey's 1917 dictionary in 1973 (and 
   appended in blue pages). 

   Like every committee effort, however, it's a horse with multiple 


   COIN WORLD Editor Beth Deisher writes;  "The introduction 
   to the "Numismatic Terms and Abbreviations" chapter in the 1976 
   Coin World Almanac (first edition copyright 1975) notes: 

   "To standardize the definitions of the most important, and most 
   controversial, numismatic terms, the American Numismatic 
   Association in 1966 appointed a 21-member blue-ribbon panel 
   of experts to serve on the Numismatic Terms Standardization 
   Committee. The committee was reappointed in late 1967 with 
   several personnel changes and is still in existence. A second 
   revised edition of the terms is due shortly. 

   "Those definitions which follow here are given exactly as described 
   in ' The Dictionary of Numismatic Terms' published by the ANA 
   terms committee, and published here by special permission from 
   the ANA. Several definitions have been expanded for reader 
   benefit into the working definitions used by Coin World, World 
   Coins and Numismatic Scrapbook." 

   Editors responsible for each successive edition of the Coin World 
   Almanac have reviewed the terms and added or refined as 
   necessary to reflect the working definitions used by Coin World. 
   I have been working at Coin World 19 years and covering the 
   ANA Board of Governors for the last 16 years. I do not recall that 
   a "terms committee" has met or been active in the last 19 years. It's 

   an interesting area and I'll check with Ed Rochette at ANA. 
   Perhaps it's time for another committee of experts to review 
   and/or discuss adding new definitions." 

   COIN WORLD News Editor William T. Gibbs adds:   "The 
   Almanac chapter has been updated with each new edition, 
   including the seventh edition, which is now at the printer. It should 

   soon be available.  The latest edition will include several terms that 
   did not exist when the original edition was published in 1975. 

   Many Coin World staff members have contributed to the 
   "Numismatic Terms" chapter since the first edition was published. 
   The new Almanac also will contain an updated chapter on 
   numismatic literature, including the addition of a number of works 
   published since the sixth edition was published in 1990." 

   Finally, Beth Deisher reports that the new Almanac edition "is at 
   the printers and we hope to have copies at the ANA in 

   [Editor's note:  a trip to my library unearthed a pamphlet titled 
   "The Dictionary of Numismatic Terms", published by the ANA. 
   It is marked as the "Third Edition - 1975"   No mention of the 
   committee is given, but foreword by John Jay Pittman notes: 
   "The association welcomes and solicits suggestions, additions, 
   and criticisms to this edition of the American Numismatic 
   Association's "The Numismatic Terms Dictionary."  There is 
   a definite and pressing need for a term which will adequately 
   describe a "coin dealer."  We would appreciate your ideas." 

   I'm sure some rather colorful terms for "coin dealer" were 
   submitted, which brings me to a final, non-numismatic question: 
   What ever became of Walter Breen's manuscript for "The 
   Cynic's Dictionary?"  Something he'd been compiling for years, 
   the Cynic's Dictionary was comprised of satirical definitions 
   for various words.] 


   Bob Leonard writes: "I would not be too quick to accept Hodder's 
   suggestion that "the question of the Western bars should now be 
   settled in their favor"--especially in view of Hodder's finding that a 
   "Blake & Agnell" $23.30 bar, declared to be "22 Carat," is only 
   .857 fine.  While Hodder calls 22 Carat ".916" fine, of course it is 
   really 916-2/3, and the bar is undervalued by more than 6.5% 

   When Augustus Humbert performed the assays of private 
   California gold coins for James King of William in March 1851, 
   the very worst of them were deficient by only 3%, but that was 
   enough to drive them out of circulation.  A shortfall more than 
   twice this large is not to be expected. 

   This bar was doubted long before Buttrey gave his paper; when 
   sold as part of the Clifford collection in March 1982, it realized 
   less than half its low estimate.  The "Agnell" name seems 
   anachronistic and derived from a typographical error in Adams, 
   as the assayer's name was actually Agrell. 

   The discovery of authentic Blake and Co. bars from the Central 
   America, which are of a completely different appearance though 
   issued at nearly the same time as this bar purports to be, increases 
   suspicions.  Though Hodder contents himself by remarking  "Its 
   difference is the largest measured," it is difficult to see how this bar, 
   at least, can possibly be authentic." 


   Peter Gaspar of St. Louis, MO, writes:  "Today's E-Sylum was 
   one of your best, but they are all enjoyable.  I'm writing because 
   I'd like that Bank of England web-site from last week if it isn't too 
   much trouble.  I can't find last week's E-Sylum. 

   I'm looking forward to face-to-face meetings with Biblio-Maniacs 
   at Philadelphia in August.  Hope to see you then.  Keep up the 
   good work! 

   -Peter  (the first E-Sylum subscriber)" 

   On the morning of Friday, September 4, 1998, The E-Sylum 
   was born, although it didn't have a name yet.   The initial mailing 
   went to NBS officers and Board members, current and former 
   members, and other interested parties, for a total of 49 names. 
   Announcements were also sent to the COINS and 
   BIBLIONUMIS mailing lists, as well the the Early American 
   Coppers "Region 8" mailing list.   The first subscriber to 
   respond was Peter, who has been with us ever since. 

   Here's the address for the Bank of England site: 


   A press release for new web site ( described 
   their "Find A Hobby" feature, where your answers to a series 
   of preference questions leads to a recommended hobby, such 
   as Astronomy, Birding, Comic Books & Action Figures, etc. 
   (conveniently, the "Shopping" feature of the site caters to all 
   of these hobbies). 

   So what questions would you ask to determine if someone is 
   inclined to bibliophilia?  (Besides, "Are you plain nuts?") 
   Here are a couple candidates: 

   1. Do you ever give or throw books away? 

       a. What is a book? 
       b. Once in a while. 
       c. Why would anyone ever want to give up a book? 

   2. You're on vacation with your family, walking to an 
       ice cream stand, and you pass a curious-looking used 
       book store.  Do you: 

        a. Keep walking. 
        b. Hand your spouse some money, and say 
            "I'll catch up in a few minutes." 
        c. Hand your spouse the car keys, and say 
            "I'll hitchhike back to the hotel." 


   On a related note, a column by Michael Batz in the July 19th 
   edition of "In Pittsburgh", a local arts and entertainment weekly, 
   asks the question, "What worthless piece of crap human being 
   collects these damned multiple TV Guide 'collector's covers?'" 

   "People collect all sorts of stuff - coins, stamps, baseball cards, 
   dolls, urine - but whatever it is, there's usually a legitimate reason 
   that boils down to love, money, or mental illness.  Surely the folks 
   over at TV Guide aren't depending on the mentally ill to fill their 
   coffers....  Instead of buying all six TV Guides this week, you 
   would be better off just giving me the $10.74, and when you turn 
   65, I'll just slap you upside the head and call you an idiot.  You'll 

   be spared the embarrassment of realizing it yourself, and 
   meanwhile, you'll have space for other collections..." 


   NBS Board member Bill Murray writes: "I picked this out of 
   the local paper.  "A bibliomaniac is one to whom books are 
   like bottles of whiskey to the inebriate, to whom anything that 
   is between covers has an intoxicating savor." 
       -- Sir Hugh Walpole 

   The paper credited the quotation to: "The Delights of 
   Reading, Quotes, Notes and Anecdotes, "Merrian Webster's 
   Encyclopedia of Literature."   I never heard of the Encyclopedia, 
   but it sounds like it might be fun, doesn't it?" 


   This week's featured web site is the July, 2000 issue of 
   The Tasmanian Numismatist.  "The ‘Tasmanian Numismatist’ is 
   published and distributed FREE, on a monthly basis, to members 
   of the Tasmanian Numismatic Society Inc. and selected associates 
   and institutions. This publication is the only official newsletter of the 
   ‘Tasmanian Numismatic Society Inc.’ and its aim is to promote the 
   hobby of numismatics in an entertaining and enjoyable way, under 
   the guidelines suggested by the executive committee of the T.N.S." 

  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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