The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 3, Number 32, August 6, 2000: 
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 
Copyright (c) 2000, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 


   We have 23 new subscribers this week, 20 of whom signed 
   up while renewing their NBS dues.  Welcome aboard! 
   Our new subscribers hail from Alabama, California, 
   Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, 
   New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, 
   Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia.  They are: 

      Michael Agenta,  Dave Bowers, Michael Bourne, Tony 
      Carlotto, Greg Charlesworth, Ralph Cole, Jr., Arthur 
      Crawmer, Rick Day, Ron Gammill, Robert Johnson, Jr., 
      Bob Korver, Douglas Logan, Gilbert Malone, Marc 
      McDonald, Scott Miller, Charles Moore, Eric Newman, 
      Jon Schmeyer, Terry Stahursky, James Stofel, William 
      Stone, David Vroom, and one NBS member who did 
      not want their name published. 

   This brings our subscriber count to a whopping 327! 


   It's that time of year again - the American Numismatic 
   Association holds its annual convention this coming week in 
   Philadelphia.  The ANA convention is often the only time of 
   the year when our members get to meet in person. 

   The annual meeting of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society 
   will take place at 11:30 AM in Room 201C of the Convention 
   Center.    At the meeting W. David  Perkins will speak on "The 
   Ostheimers of Philadelphia and their Extraordinary Collection 
   of Silver Dollars". 

   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. 

   I'll look forward to seeing many NBS members and E-Sylum 
   subscribers there.   As you go about the convention, please 
   keep NBS in mind and help recruit new members and 
   subscribers.   Spread the word! 

   [By the way, due to convention travel your Editor may be a 
    bit late with the next issue.  Meanwhile, feel free to send me 
    your thoughts on the convention for the next E-Sylum.] 


   It has been suggested that we hold a short auction of donated 
   items at our annual meeting, to help beef up our treasury.  If 
   you're coming to the convention and would like to donate an 
   interesting item of numismatic literature, please bring it along to 
   the meeting.  If possible, let me know by email by Wednesday 
   August 8th.  Write to me at: 

   The auction is a good opportunity to help the organization and 
   free up some shelf space.  Manuscripts, inscribed  or advance 
   copies, "first off the press" copies - all make for interesting 
   auction lots.  Also, we're not above auctioning gag items for fun, 
   so put on your thinking caps. 


   Carl Herkowitz of Detroit has been researching the life of 
   Ard W. Browning, author of the classic 1925 work, "The 
   Early Quarter Dollars of the United States".   On Thursday, 
   August 10th, about 9-9:30am, Mr. Herkowitz will lead a 
   group of interested bibliophiles and collectors on a trip to 
   a churchyard about 45 miles from the Philadelphia convention 
   center.  The group will pay their respects at the final resting 
   place of Browning, and hear an advance reading of Herkowitz' 
   forthcoming article detailing his research. 

   Browning was a long-running numismatic mystery.  In his 
   1992 book "American Numismatic Literature". Charles 
   Davis wrote: "The author is one of the most invisible 
   personages of American numismatics, leaving no personal 
   trace of the history of this work, which some feel was 
   completed long before its 1925 publication by Wayte 

   Mr. Herkowitz can be reached at the convention by paging 
   him to the Message Center, or keeping an eye out for him 
   at Charles Davis' table.  The trip is open to all interested 


   Numismatic literature dealer Richard Stockley of Quebec, 
   Canada announces that his inventory is now available 
   online at this address: 


   Dick Johnson writes: "Please! No more of those awful definitions 
   of coin, medal, token, jeton. Namely: 

    MEDAL:  CoinNews (UK) define the term in their 2000 
      Yearbook as "A piece of metal bearing devices or given as 
      an award. 

   This is atrocious!  Half the objects made in the last 150 years 
   by hundreds of metalworkers worldwide, like Scovill (brass 
   manufacturer, Waterbury) -- including nail-heads, lady's 
   compact covers to manhole covers -- would fit this definition." 


   The August 2000 issue of the TAMS Journal, official 
   publication of the Token and Medal Society, contains 
   an ad by Denis Loring seeking tokens or medals depicting 
   a manatee.   Now that's specialization!  I've seen dolphins 
   on coins, but can't recall a manatee appearing anywhere. 

   Several years ago, your editor developed a code phrase 
   for obscure numismatic specialties.  Whenever I had 
   trouble making someone understand why I like numismatic 
   ephemera, I'd explain that "it's sort of like collecting die 
   varieties of Lithuanian subway tokens."   "Oh, OK," they'd 
   say, thinking to themselves, "I get it - this guy's a nut". 
   You got it. 


   NBS Board member Larry Mitchell reports: "The following 
   scarce works on the paper money of the Confederacy 
   recently were digitized as part of the University of North 
   Carolina (Chapel Hill) project, "Documenting the American 

   "Cato" on Constitutional "Money" and Legal Tender. 
   In Twelve Numbers from the Charleston Mercury" 

   "Facts and Suggestions Relative to Finance & Currency 
   Addressed to the President of the Confederate States" 

   "Remarks on the Manufacture of Bank Notes, and Other 
   Promises to Pay.  Addressed to the Bankers of the 
   Southern Confederacy" (1864): 

   "[Open Letter to the Banks Concerning the Act of 
   Congress to Reduce the Currency]" (1864): 

   Quoting from "Remarks", p5:  "It was in the midst of our grand 
   struggle for independence that Franklin found time, from his 
   lightning-catching, mail-carrying, diplomatizing and printing, to 
   engrave, en amateur, a set, or several sets, of plates for the 
   Continental money;  and his work, much of which is still in 
   existence, shows nothing more than the coarse, ill-drawn 
   practice of the time, easily and frequently counterfeited, 
   lessening in such proportion the value of what was legally 


  NBS member R. S. Thompson wishes to trade Vol I, Nos 
  3 & 4 of The Asylum for a Vol I, No 1.   He can be reached 
  at this address: P.O. Box 1332, Summit, NJ 07901. 


   John F. Bergman writes: "I don't know if it is the first CD, 
   but I have one for the Muenzen & Medaillenhandlung Stuttgart, 
   Stefan Sonntag sale of 23 Feb. 1999: Gold aus Baden- 
   Wuerttemberg; 1000 Muenzen und Medaillen aus der 
   Sammlung Hermann.  The CD features all the text plus 
   illustrations in b/w and color, as does the hardbound catalog." 


   Robert D. Leonard writes: "Regarding the comment of John W. 
   Adams on the "Blake & Agnell" gold bar that "there are rebuttals 
   to all the points he makes," there are several other things wrong 
   with this bar as well.  In Coin World for August 7, 2000, p. 153, 
   Bob Evans, curator of the SS Central America treasure, reports 
   "regardless of the size or shape of the bars, each [including the 
   Blake & Co. bars made in 1857 or 1856] is stamped with the 
   same five pieces of  information, albeit not in the same location: 
   the name and/or identifying stamps of the manufacturer, the serial 
   number, the weight in fine troy ounces, the purity in parts per 
   thousand, and the dollar value based at  $20.67 per ounce of 
   fine gold." 

   The $23.30 "Blake & Agnell" bar dated 1855 

      (1) lacks a serial number; 
      (2) gives purity in carats, not parts per thousand; 
      (3) has a dollar value based on only $20.33 per ounce 
            of fine gold; and 
      (4) adds a superfluous date (not one bar in the entire cargo 
            of the Central America is dated). 

   Furthermore, Evans reports that all the Central America bars 
   have one or two assay chips;  the "Blake & Agnell" $23.30 
   bar has no assay chip.  Really, it is time to stop making 
   excuses for this bar. 

   In view of Mr. Adams' reference to the libel suit filed by 
   Stack's and John Ford, it must be emphasized that, at the 
   time Mr. Ford acquired this bar, the technology necessary 
   to perform the fineness testing carried out by Michael 
   Hodder did not exist, the "Agnell" spelling error was 
   unrecognized, and the Central America bars were under 
   8,500 feet of water.  Condemning this bar based on later 
   knowledge is not intended to reflect badly on Mr. Ford's 
   or Stack's actions at the time.  That said, I hope that study 
   of the authenticity of this or any other individual numismatic 
   object can be carried out free of fear that publication of an 
   adverse finding will make the author the target of a lawsuit." 


   E-Sylum subscriber Jim Neiswinter published an article 
   of interest to U.S. bibliophiles in the July 15, 2000 issue of 
   Penny Wise, the official publication of Early American 
   Coppers, Inc:  "The First Published Study of Large Cents, 
   by "A.S." (1859)".   "I now believe that the first study of 
   U.S. cents appeared in the March 1, 1859 edition of the 
   Boston Evening Transcript.  The article, titled "About 
   Cents," provided the first classification for the large cent 
   series with particular attention paid to 1793."   Copies of 
   the article, along with copies of subsequent articles on 
   the subject, are included. 


   The August, 2000 issue of The Colonial Newsletter, 
   published by The American Numismatic Society, includes 
   a reprint of the 44-page colonial coinage section of the 
   fabled "Exhibition of United States and Colonial Coins" 
   held at the ANS January 17 to February 18, 1914. 
   "The list of notable exhibitors who contributed their 
   collections reads like a numismatic Who's Who... 
   Never before, or since, have so many pristine specimens 
   been on public display all in one place." 


   A front-page article in the July 26, 2000 issue of The Wall 
   Street Journal reported on the disposition of obsolete 
   ruble notes in Russia.  "When Russia's financial markets 
   buckled in August 1998, and the ruble collapsed, Mr. 
   Nikiforov [of the Ulyanovsk Roofing Material Factory] 
   had a brainchild.  Already wrestling with severe shortages 
   of old cloth and wastepaper, his basic raw materials, 
   he proposed an unorthodox way to mop up Russia's 
   excess money supply. 

   We'd already tried wood chips and even straw, but to 
   no avail, " say Mr. Nikiforov.  "We found that bank notes 
   worked much better." A ton of rubles costs less than $15, 
   not even a third as much as scrap paper. 

   Not only do rubles help plug leaky roofs, he says they also 
   eventually could revolutionize personal hygiene.  He shows 
   off certificates from the health ministry and epidemiological 
   control department certifying that bank notes pose no 
   health hazard as toilet paper. 

   Toilet tissue made of rubles - known in the trade as MBS, 
   a Russian acronym for "Special Waste Paper" - would be 
   "a bit rough" and not particularly absorbent, he says, but 
   it would be cheap. 

   "Marx and Lenin predicted we wouldn't need gold and 
   would one day make toilets out of it," says Valery 
   Perfilov, director of a dusty complex of museums in 
   the center of town dedicated to Lenin.  "We don't have 
   golden toilets yet, but we have roofs covered with 
   money.  Who knows what might happen next?"" 


   This week's featured web site is produced by Cameron 
   Kiefer, and up-and-coming young numismatist from 
   the San Joaquin Valley in California. 

   Featured on the site are links to Kiefer's essays, including 
   "American Coinage During the Reign of Norton I of 
   California:  The Only Emperor of the United States". 

  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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